Firstly: I must apologise for the long wait, I had two job changes and a couple of other things that occupied my time for writing this huge story (you would not believe the amount of research that goes into this one)- Now onward to Guest review responses
Guest (12th November 2018): Yes well, one or the other is becoming predictable, so I decided to shake things up and combine the universes, and as a cherry on top added Buffy& are two possibilities of two BtVS characters, as since there will be two girls born, before the main (canon) storyline starts. Lyarra Stark, little Lyarra will be 3 years old when the events (a bit altered) of the 1st the book starts, and one baby girl to Myrcella/Jon later on.
Guest (22nd of April, 2019): You are explaining just fine, thank you for your lovely review. Updates will be ... between the new job and writing drabbles for TTH August fic a Day.
Guest (12th of July,2019): Thank you.
Chapter Summary Part 2: Jon's journey continues, as he tries to come to terms that his fiancé will be living at Harrenhal. Lysa has a problem, she needs to prepare her niece for real life and Jon Arryn dies, Jaime Lannister has a new mission in life and Bran has his own menagerie. And King Robert is well himself.
Part 2 Weddings a Funeral and Reunions
Jon Vermilion-Stark; Archduke of Harrenhal
***King's Landing – 298 AC***
One of the most despicable kinds of poisoned leech was Lord of the Fingers, Petyr Baelish. He was the Royal Counter – all the regional counters worked for him, and answered to him, like how Lord Baelish answered to Lord Willas Tyrell of Highgarden, the Master of Coin.
Fortunately, Willas was not like his Lord Father, Mace Tyrell, at all, and Baelish didn't do much damage, or at least Willas made sure that he could not. All success that Baelish boasted about and managed to embezzle, Willas allowed it – for what end, Willas never told Jon. Not that Jon particularly cared; perhaps Willas was setting up the Lord of Fingers?
In the short time, he knew Willas, the Heir of Highgarden made an effort to converse with and befriend Jon – and yes he knew that Willas had an ulterior motive for befriending him, but then again so did Jon, so it worked out for both of them to become allies. For a while, he even considered wedding Willas' sister Lady Margery, but then the King hinted that even if Princess Elenei was lost at sea during the Greyjoy Rebellion, he still desired to join their Houses. Sometimes King Robert lamented that if the King and his aunt Lyanna wed, he imagined that their son would look just like Jon.
Jon doubted that, since Baratheon's tended to favour coal-black hair and blue eyes, as witnessed in all the bastards King Robert sired in the Red Keep. There were at least five working in the stables, all lads, broad-shouldered, black of hair, and blue eyed. And there was also Gendry Waters, the smith's apprentice.
Back to the before mentioned Lord of Fingers - Petyr Baelish was one of the counters. Jon feared that Lord Baelish would step into that position when being the heir of High garden would eventually call Lord Willas back to the Reach. He was already taking steps, aided by Willas and his sister Lady Maergery Tyrell; somehow, betwixt the three of them, they will find a Lord that will fill the position of Master of Coin.
Grand Maester Pycelle … he was Tywin's man – at least according to the Silver spy web Jon inherited from Princess Elenei he finally got confirmation that the Sliver Spy Web was run and maintained by the missing Princess. Along with a letter addressed to him from said Princess, handed to him by a smirking Rosa.
She appeared to be under the impression that Princess Elenei wrote him a love letter – which was not even close. True she mentioned the betrothal between them, but she also instructed him about the Silver Spy Web, along with the locations of profiles on every player of the Game of Thrones. There were no flowery declarations of love – the kind Sansa would have had said at which he was grateful for, but also a part of him was disappointed ... unsettled, sad, feeling a sense of loss to never have met her?
Princess Elenei was at Estermont Isle when Jon arrived at King's Landing and then the Greyjoy Rebellion happened and she was lost – dead, most couriers whispered. He knew better, but he also knew that she wouldn't return to the Westerossi shores for years. He did receive another letter a year after she was presumably lost at sea.
It contained only five sentences.
"Hope you are doing well Jon. Take care of my sister. If you hurt her, I will beat you with a shovel and use it to bur) you. Sincerely yours, Elenei. Or not because we are not getting married."
How by the Gods did she know that King Robert intended to betroth Myrcella to him?
Come to think of it – how did she send this missive?
It just appeared on his bed one day!
Today was his six and ten nameday, a marker of him being a squire for Ser Jaime Lannister for two years, and he was now considered a man grown, Lord of Harrenhal, and Archduke of the Crownlands. He only needed to be knighted after squiring for Ser Jaime Lannister for three years. He never imagined when he first met Ser Jaime that he would grow to respect and even considered a friend in the arrogant man.
It all changed one day when Ser Jaime got drunk and revealed some things that Jon really should not know – the reason why he killed King Aerys was the least dangerous one of the bunch and the one Jon found very telling of the man's character. He will never forget the face Ser Jaime made when Jon first thanked and praised him for saving King's Landing from wildfire. Then Jon chided the older man, like he was a boy in swaddling clothes, for drinking so much and telling things that should not be voiced out loud.
Jaime paled when Jon said that – Jon said that he wouldn't tell a soul because that would mean too many innocent deaths and probably war. Something Jon would like to avoid. When Jaime tried to threaten Jon, he pointed out that if he had any intention of telling someone, he would have already shared them.
After that, the White Lion of the Kingsguard and his squire were often seen together – officially the Kingslayer wanted to push his squire into knighthood to be rid of the legitimized bastard; unofficially, Jon was running interference between the Queen, who wanted her lover back, and her brother, who didn't want to be the Queen's lover.
It was Jon's idea to seek Lord Tyrion's consul in solving Jaime's dilemma; after all, when Jon is knighted, Jaime will still be of the Kingsguard.
And when Jaime voiced his desire to get away from it all, Tyrion hatched a cunning plan to allow just that. The canny dwarf was all mum about it as well, saying that if they knew what it was it wouldn't work. That was very much Tyrion.
"I bet on Lord Vermilion-Stark!" that was Lord Tyrion; both Lannister brothers were watching the spar.
"I bet on Ser Loras Tyrell!" and that was Renly Baratheon, as wherever Ser Loras was, Lord Renly was not far away.
"Prepare to lose, Lord Baratheon!"
Jon ducked Ser Loras' swing and slammed his shield into the slimmer man, and then he angled himself so that Ser Loras tripped and fell.
"Yield," Jon had said, holding the tip of the blunted sword to the knight's throat.
"I expect to settle your debt, Lord Baratheon."
"Not to worry, my Lord of Lannister; it's not only your House that pays their debts." Jon heard Lord Renly say as he helped Ser Loras to his feet.
"The victory is yours, my Lord," Loras said; when he lifted his visor, Jon mirrored the action.
"Aye, but I expect a rematch in a tourney tomorrow," he informed Loras. He might not be as close to Loras as he was with other Tyrell children, especially Willas, but he had a passing familiarity with Loras.
"Will you participate in the joust?" Loras asked.
The trek back with the Royal procession from Robb's wedding took longer than it took Jon to get from King's Landing to Winterfell. This was frustrating since he could not wait to enter his halls. Mostly he just wanted confirmation of his suspicion – a suspicion that took root after his talk with Robb under the Hearttree. He also wanted a respite from some of the Royal family. Prince Joffrey was insufferable – not that that was new. Queen Cerise alternately glared at him and shouted at her Royal husband – and sometimes she sported bruises around her wrists.
Myrcella, however, hadn't changed her manner towards him – for which he was grateful, and he was looking forward to getting to know her better while she stayed with Lady Whent through her engagement till they wed.
He was riding in front with the King and his Kingsguard and with Lord Stark he had no idea what he should call the man, so he settled with the formal address when he saw the familiar walls of his keep. It took a lot of willpower to not urge his horse into a gallop and leave them all behind.
He was just glad that Lady Stark stayed at Riverrun; she was too far along with her pregnancy to travel all the way to King's Landing with Lord Stark and Sansa. But she would join them after her confinement and weaning of the newest Stark was done with.
"I must say, Jon," Lord Stark stated, as he kept his gaze on the repaired castle. "You did great work on Harrenhal."
"Thank you, my Lord," Jon said – and almost winced at how pained Lord Stark was at the distance between them.
Not that he was close to his father or was he an uncle - when he lived as the Bastard of Winterfell, He always felt like an outsider; it took coming to Harrenhal to finally feel at home.
*** Lady Whent Rooms***
The Royal Progress stayed for three nights at Harrenhal. King Robert decided that Princess Myrcella should stay as a ward to Lady Shella Whent since Jon wouldn't be going to King's Landing because he had duties at Harrenhal.
The Princess, his betrothed, just retired for the night when the King left Harrenhal, on the way back to King's Landing. Fortunately, Jon was required to stay at Harrenhal until both he and Princess Myrcella wed; the wedding would be held in King's Landing a year from now. King Robert was most pleased with this decision. His wife less so. Jon and Myrcella were just glad that they would spend a year together, getting to know each other.
But now Jon focused on the old lady on her padded chair. Lady Shella caught some ailment that caused her to cough and she had a sore throat that she soothed with spoons of honey and warmed Ingvar water. Maester predicted that she would make a full recovery.
"I take it that Lord Ned didn't tell you?" Lady Shella said knowingly and with a wry smile on her old face. "Cannot say I'm surprised – that boy never could choose between Robert and anyone else."
His head spun at the things Lady Shella was telling him. Even if he half expected it. The truth shocked him. His name – his real name was Prince Jacaerys Targaryen, and he was the son of Princess Lyanna of House Stark and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen.
A red furry head nudged his side and he reached down to the direwolf's head and pets it. Spectre was as a larger full-grown pony.
"Well," he murmured to the direwolf, "it is not like I didn't have suspicions after having that conversation with Robb."
***King Robert Baratheon – 2***
Kings Landing 300 AC
Robert was staring at the cup and for a change his mind was clear – he did not like it. But he made a point to be sober when reports from the Kingslayer came. At the moment the accursed man was dawdling in Dorne for two years ever since his dismissal from the Kingsguard.
Tywin was a bit furious, a thing of beauty; he loved to infuriate his wife's father – it was his fault that Robert didn't make it in time with Ned to that accursed Tower where his love died. If he was there then she surely would be alive and his.
Those damned dragonspawns. Why was Ser Jaime tarrying in Dorne – he should be on his way to Essos to finish what he started, stabbing Targaryens in the back.
Kings Landing – flashback 298
Robert was looking at the kneeling Lannister brothers; supple kitchen wench in his lap, with a pitcher of wine. He really didn't want to deal with the damn lions - it was enough that he was wed to that Harpy of a Lannister.
"Well you are a Kingslayer, but you saved King's Landing - take off that White Cloak in the name of your King; I'm banishing you to Essos for the next five years, and I'm discharging you from the Kingsguard and you forfeit all rights to become Lord of Casterly Rock..." he took a deep drink from his goblet, "and Lord Jaime Lannister, if you find the other dragon-spawn, you are free to stab them as well."
Done with this, Robert waved them away.
***Jaime Lannister – 2***
After he was kicked out of the Kingsguard, he hightailed out of King's Landing so fast that there was probably an afterimage of him. But he refused to spend any extra time near Cersei – the temptation to be with her was far too great.
He decided to spend some days preparing to journey to Essos from Dorne. He also longed to see his nice Argella and he wanted to inquire about Myrcella's letters.
He did not expect to land in the middle of a Dorne conspiracy.
"Let me get this straight, my sweet niece, you want me to bear witness to your wedding?" Jaime raised both eyebrows at the request – and he just had to repeat it.
"Yes." Argella nodded, calm and serene as she always was since she was a toddler. She certainly hadn't changed as a young woman of five and ten.
"To Red Viper?" he had to confirm it.
"You do realize that you're Father and Lord Arryn intended for you to wed Prince Quentyn? Have you even flowered yet?"
"Yes. And no. Probably will within the next two years."
"You know that your Mother will be furious and probably your father as well."
Argella shrugged. "They'll survive."
"Will it make you happy?" That was the only reason he'd do it.
"Yes." She was resolute in her decision.
"All right then, count me in. But the wedding will be when you flower, not before."
"That is fine; you'll stay in Dorne till then?"
She finally smiled – a smile that did reach her eyes. And that more than anything convinced Jaime that he did the right thing.
"Thank you, Uncle Jaime."
"Now tell me, what's this I hear about my other niece?"
"Myrcella is fine ..."
"Oh good try, I meant Elenei."
All he got was an Innocent blink. That won't do, so he said two words that would hopefully prompt his eldest niece to tell him the truth.
"I saw Myrcella's letters."
She hadn't shown them to him, but he took note of them when he hid in his daughter's room when Cersei was looking for him. They fell from book margins and Jaime was curious and read them.
"Did you tell anybody?"
Jaime snorted, "No."
That lush of a King wouldn't care, and Cersei – he better not come into too much contact with her; one touch from her and he would again be in her spell; One more reason to put a continent worth of distance between himself and his sister, his beautiful cheating lover.
"I am unsure about how you could reach my sister. She is too far and there is not a ship built yet that could reach that distance. There are however settlements of Torran on Northern Sothoryos."
Argella smiled and then her next words shocked him. "They succeeded in settling in Yeen, something all other people failed." That was quite an achievement of a people who were at the most part labelled as savages by both his sister and father. Yet to make a settlement at that cursed place and thrive...
Princess Argella thought for a moment. "I will write a letter in the Torran language and give it to you for the chief that runs the Yeen settlement. I will also send word ahead so you don't run the risk of becoming a pincushion for Torran arrows."
Jaime felt his eyebrows climb up that sounded like his niece had dealings with the Torran that lived in Yeen. Argella apparently anticipated his question because she smiled and said, "The Martells started to trade with Yeen about a year ago."
Then his nice wound her arms around his, "Now then Uncle let's get you settled into your rooms, I hope you'll like them since you'll probably be staying for a long time."
Lysa was content – she might have an old husband, but she had three beautiful children and a fourth on the way. Her twin daughters were thriving and growing into polished and confident young women. Her son, and her husband's heir, who inherited Arryn's colouring entirely, had a Tully's body and face structure. He looked like Lysa's brother Edmure when he was Robin's age; only her son had fair hair instead of the red curls.
Soon her son would have to be fostered. She asked for her Lord Husband to not send him to either her Lord Father – he'd make a calculating, wedding connection obsessed man out of him or Cat's Lord Husband, who despite being by all accounts staunch, loyal, and honourable, when her Robin would return he would surely die in the Game – as he would not be prepared for the realities of court life.
Her Lord Husband was the second most important man in the Realm, directly under the King. Or since the King in question was a spendthrift and the whore chasing Robert Baratheon, then Jon Arryn was the King in all but name.
It wasn't like that at the beginning.
In the beginning, Lysa resented her Lord Husband as much as she did her Lord Father. It even got worse, her loathing when she suffered a miscarriage. Even if this time her babe was not killed by moon tea with tansy and black wormwood. And to disguise the poison mint with a spoonful of honey and a drop of pennyroyal. It was like a repeat of her losing Petyr's babe.
Petyr Baelish, her Lord's Father Ward. When she saw him again, in King's Landing, summoned by her Lord Husband to serve as a counter, she decided that this time nothing would stand between them and this time the babe, born from Petyr's seed, would live.
Things did not develop the way she thought, the way she dreamed they would. Oh Petyr was sweet to her and promised her the moon and the sun, and then a letter from Cat arrived and he became distant. She was distraught and crying all the time, and she could feel the scorn of the other Ladies in Waiting and the mocking gaze of Queen Cersei.
She was afraid of the Lannisters, Lysa knew, and not because Tywin Lannister was a ruthless man who did not shy away from making enemies by killing – murdering the Crown Princess and her children so that his daughter could be the Queen. No.
Or that the Lannisters were a rich and influential and scheming House. Every House in Westeros was scheming to rise in the world.
She was afraid because Tywin Lannister and the Queen shared the same oversensitive mind for slights, real or imaginary. Princess Elia didn't need to die, and Tywin refused to name the man responsible – Ser Gregor Clagene was not an influential man. Claganes were raised by Landed Knights after Ser Gregor's grandfather who was a kennel master saved the Lord of Casterly Rock from being eaten by a lion.
In addition, there was another Clagene brother, so it would cost Tywin nothing to leave Ser Gregor to the Dornish. But no, Princess Elia Martell married Prince Rhaegar, and then dared to survive two childbirths – that was after she was deemed, by Tywin, to be unfit for Jaime Lannister. And yet she wed a man that the Old Lion wanted for his own golden daughter.
Lysa was not sure why Tywin agreed with her Lord Father to send Ser Jaime to Riverrun, for him to court her. She winced, remembering how aflutter she was – not that she planned to wed the Heir of Casterly Rock, oh no, for Petyr was always on her mind then and long after that point. But then Ser Jaime became a Kingsguard and Cat was all set to wed that Northerner brute.
She shook her head, her jewellery clinking and her heavy earrings swaying. No, that was unfair to Brandon Stark. But she hated him with a burning passion for so long, him and Cat. She was so mad that she secreted that letter away – she wanted to punish the mutt for harming her Petyr, for him to be taken away. She thought that ... she never meant for him and so many others to die.
She never mentioned this to Petyr either, but she still had that letter that Lady Lyanna Stark gave her for her brother that day. She hid the letter, but Lord Brandon heard something about his sister that he rode directly to King's Landing. Her Lord Father was furious and called him a fool. Gallant fool when he was feeling generous. If she would give that letter to Brandon Stark then perhaps all the deaths would have been avoided.
It was long ago though, and no amount of regret now that she thought everything through with a clear head – and what a disappointment awaited her when she looked at all of it through her new lenses.
The old her, the woman that she was, a child-woman, a bride for a year, and later newly arrived at King's Landing. Never mind the two miscarriages that followed during her two years in King's Landing. That version would rage and deny the truth staring at her; the horrible truth that Petyr never loved her, and never would, that he was only using her – the fool her, who gave her maiden's gift.
It was in her Lord Father's home. Petyr was lying wounded by Cat's betrothed, Lord Brandon Stark, and her Lord Father decided to send him back to the Fingers while Lord Brandon was at Riverrun. The fool her thought that if she and Petyr consummated their love, never mind that Petyr was really lusting after her older sister when he greeted her and professed his love when she came to his chamber...she happily fell into bed with him.
After that, he was carried off on a litter, and she was fed poison that killed their babe. And then there was that letter, and then a war, when King Aerys called for Lord Eddard Stark's and Lord Robert Baratheon's heads for being part of conspiracy and treason. Lord Jon Arryn answered that command by calling his banners.
Then Lord Eddard wed Cat, and soon after, her Lord Father negotiated with Lord Arryn for more swords. She was offered for her Lord Father's cooperation on the side of the rebellion, first to Robert Baratheon, and when he refused, citing that he is betrothed to the Lady Lyanna Stark mind the same minute he took a chambermaid to his bed, and later that maid bore Lord Robert a black haired, blue eyed bastard, Jon Arryn wed her instead.
After the Rebellion, the Maesters called it Robert's Rebellion –a miss title if she ever heard one. If the rebellion should have a name, it should be Arryn's Rebellion. After all, if her Lord Husband did not rebel and compiled to the King, sending him his two wards, Lord Stannis would have been Lord Paramount of Storm's End. And Lord Benjen would be Lord of Winterfell. Regardless of the name - Lord Robert was crowned King and married a Lannister woman as soon as Lord Eddard came back bearing news of Lady Lyanna's demise.
***King's Landing 302 AC***
It was a sunny day, the day her husband had died suddenly and from a high fever that tore through his entire being. Grandmaester Pyrcelle said that it was some ailment combined with old age; Arryn's Maester, however, suspected poison. But who would have poisoned him?
***Winterfell 302 AC***
"Bran, come on!" Jonnela's voice beckoned, "we are getting on our ponies and ..." she listed excitedly.
He felt another presence. "And Jon's arrived!" Jonnel piped in with his twin sister's ramblings. "He came all the way from King's Landing just to celebrate with us! And he brought Princess Myrcella with him."
"I'm not deaf, you know," Bran muttered crossly. Then he whistled softly and an eleven-inch blackbird landed on his shoulder. This bird was very intelligent and at some point, Blackie became Bran's eyes. Sometimes he even saw what Blackie was seeing, not that Bran ever mentioned that to anyone – or that the reason why he could ride even blinded, as he was only partly because he had the most docile gelding in the Winterfell stables. That and his pocket pet, as Robb dubbed his ferret, that was mostly curled in his pocket with the occasional peeking out from it.
Pocket and Blackie were Bran's sight and company during the night and day. He never stumbled when he went exploring, seeing from his blackbird's or ferret's eyes.
Next, we will start with the Storyteller ARC. And since we are done with World Building/Slice of Life Arc's and because it's been so long, before I start with the next Arc – The Storyteller Arc, which will deal with Princess Elenei adventures.
It is time to clear some things up because some readers missed some things. Or forgot, or I wasn't clear enough ...
First the reminder, there is such thing when characters in SSoR think or do something that its interpreted differently, both by characters in story and readers.
The "Tywin would not allow for the Princess to marry a bastard!" outcry that I got from one reader, I am sure that she/he is not the only one that thinks that. So I say this: Tywin is in the same situation that he was when his sister Genna was betrothed to Frey, he can object all he wants it doesn't change the thing. With Genna it was his Lord Father's decision – Tywin objected and argued Genna married Frey anyway. And now it's his King decision. Tywin is not the Realm's ruler or the Princess Elenei (or Myrcella) father – he does NOT have a say in who they marry.
Regarding Jon Snow in my fic (PLEASE DO NOT MISTAKE FIC FOR CANON), I suppose I created an interesting web of lies and truths around him and apparently confused some of the readers. So to recap: Ned Stark brings Jon along with Lyanna's bones. He declares that Jon is his son. Some years later Robert legitimized Jon and betrothed his daughter to New Lord of Harrenhal. Soon after the Realm finds out that Brandon Stark married Lady Ashara of Starfall. "It is known" that Jon is their son trough out the Realms. In truth, Jon is born to Princess Lyanna and Prince Rheagar at the Tower of Joy and named: Prince Jacaerys Targaryen.
Elia Martell, Lyanna Stark and Rheager Targaryen, to remind again Elia Martell is alive along with her children. There was no divorce, and yes Rheager married Lyanna, with Elia as a witness. Polygamy was not outlawed (book canon as well) just as incest between siblings was not. Just to remind everyone that says Starks was not into incest – by modern standards THEY were so please do not think they were some kind of paragons, Starks married first cousins, nieces married uncles etc. Elia may be frail with the health, but she is not discounted by her husband or her sister-wife.
Catelyn Stark (Tully), Cat is a complicated character – in a lot of ways she is happier and more paranoid than in canon book or TV. But there are glaring differences in her life. She also takes some of Lysa's role in letting Pyter Bealish influence her. As seen in her PoV's concerning Jon.
Lysa Arryn (Tully), I admit when writing this story I had no idea that Lysa will get that kind of role in it. Or that she will redeem herself. Also, Little Robin is definitely Arryn and so are his twin older sisters.
Additional Arryn's and Stark's – Lysa here after the initial miscarriages carried all her pregnancies to full term. None of them is Literfingers. Cat and Ned had fewer arguments and more kids.
Brandon "Bran" Stark is blind, since surviving a sickness, Jonell and Jonella Stark were also sick but they didn't have any lasting consciences, the Stark twins are born before Rickon. During blindness, Bran develops his warging and green-seeing abilities.
Timeline for Swan Song of Reflection is a bit stretched, and some events are postponed such as Jon Arryn's death occurs in 298 AC in canon. Here Jon Arryn dies in 302 AC. He is still poisoned only not by Lysa as he was in canon.