***King's Landing, 291 AC Cuāuhtli or 10th month****
Bella took a bow before her Queen, her friend Joanna's daughter, and retired for the night. Sometimes Cersei reminded Bella of her natural father, granted Joanna was not certain at the time she was carrying, or even after, which man was the natural father of the twins. King Aerys II Targaryen or Lord Tywin Lannister. It was Bella who knew what transpired between her cousin Joanna and the King – and later made the connection. Both Cersei and Jaime had Lannister coloring and some of the features, but for anyone who looked more closely, there were echoes of features of Valyria on Cersei's face. But not on Jaime's.
Could it be that the twins had differentfathers?
It was never documented in humans, but it was quite possible in the animal world. It was a possibility then that Cersei was Aerys Targaryen's daughter and Jaime was fathered by Tywin. After all, Joanna, upon leaving court, stopped drinking the Moon Tea that Bella brewed for her twice a day one she drank in the morning and the other at high noon. Because Queen Rhaella might have turned her head at her husband's paramour, but she could not abide a child to come into being from the union of Aerys and Joanna. Bella remembered the conversation between the three of them; she was present on the day that Lady Joanna joined the then Princess Rhaella Targaryen as a Lady in Waiting.
Bella Lannister was serving as a handmaiden to her cousin and came to court after Joanna served for two moons.
***Red Keep, King's Landing 259 AC -3th Month/ Ātl***
Bella arrived to King's Landing as a handmaiden of Lady Joanna Lannister, her cousin, two moons ago, and now she was standing behind her cousin in the presence of Princess Rhaella – while they were drinking tea and eating cakes in Princess Rhaella private chamber. There were only the three of them. Joanna served as Princess Rhaella's Lady in Waiting since before the wedding of Prince Aerys to Princess Rhaella. Bella had, while serving as her cousin's handmaiden, the opportunity to observe the Royal Family – and breathe a sigh of relief when she saw that the Grand Maester that served in the Red Keep had not seen the Citadel in years, even the youngest of the maesters that served in King's Landing did not look familiar.
That was good; until her hair grew back in full, she could have been recognized – or not, as Marwyn was found of saying "The people who ran the Citadel are of the mind that knowledge is the greatest power. And the world they will build has no place for magic, prophecies, and dragons. But they can be woefully blind to reality – like blind to a little girl studying in the Citadel."
King Aegon the Fifth or Aegon the Unlikely was tall, slender, and handsome with shoulder length beaten gold hair with strands of silver – and gray. With eyes so dark purple that they were black. Her Master Marwyn often told her that the King Aegon was the greatest King because he honestly saw peasantry and lowborn as people. His wife Queen Betha of House Blackwood did not hold to the Seven, and so the Septon was not particularly pleased with her as a Queen. When King Aegon was merely the fourth son and fifth child of then Prince Maekar Targaryen and his five Dyanna Dayne – it was none of the High Septon's concerns whom Prince Aegon wed. Queen Betha was a high spirited woman – with raven dark hair and coal colored eyes; her moniker as Black Betha was well deserved because of her coloring. They had five children together; Bella had met them all.
Prince Duncan, their first born, was as black haired as his mother, but he inherited his father's eyes and body build. Bella thought that he was a good man and would make an even greater King than his father if he did not abdicate the crown, but Bella supposed, the love he and Jenny, strange, lovely, and mysterious Jenny of Oldstones held for each other was worth losing the Iron Throne.
With that, Prince Jaehaerys became the heir to the throne. Unlike Prince Duncan's dark looks, Prince Jaehaerys was sickly looking, with large and protruding purple eyes, pale skin, and long platinum hair. He married his sister Princess Shaera – who was a real beauty with her slim curvaceous figure and long Targaryen silver-gold hair and a heart-shaped face. The beauty that her daughter Princess Rhaella shared, she was wed to Prince Aerys – her elder brother.
Next of Kings issue was Prince Daeron, who was fond of horses and swordplay. He had a pretty face with light lilac eyes and hair like polished silver – he was often found in the yard with his friend Ser Jeremy Norridge. Prince Daeron refused to marry Lady Olenna of House Redwyne, preferring to remain unwed. Lady Olenna married the Hair of Highgarden instead of Targaryen Prince.
The last child, Princess Rhaelle, was a future Lady of Storm's End – unlike her sister, Princess Rhaelle was more rounded in body – though her face was sharper than her sister Shaera's. Her hair was more golden toned than silver, and her eyes were dark purple as were her father's.
"Lady Joanna, is your handmaiden…trustworthy?" the Princess suddenly asked, pulling Bella back to the Princess and Lady Joanna's conversation.
"Yes, Your Grace," Joanna confirmed.
Well of courseshe was trustworthy, as it was she who brewed Joanna's Moon Tea ever since her and Prince Aerys ...
"Joanna," Princess Rhaella sipped her tea daintily, "I'm aware of your liaison with my brother. No, you don't need to say anything only listen … I'm with child for four moons now, and I am well aware of my brother's and husband's fondness of you."
"I'm taking Moon's Tea, Your Grace," Joanna interrupted, her face closed off. Bella was aware of the Princess Rhaella's violet gaze on them both.
"I'm brewing it myself, Your Grace," Bella demurred, her eyes downcast; it was discontenting when that violet gaze settled on her.
"My cousin is very talented, Your Grace," Joanna assured the Princess who was still studying her – Bella could feel when Princess's gaze stop at her short hair.
"Lady …?" the Princess trailed off, the wing-like silver eyebrow raised, questioning.
"Bella Lannister, You grace." Bella said and curtsied. "I'm a distant cousin of Lady Joanna," she elaborated.
Her grandmother was Alysanne Farman's first wife and Gerold Lannister's daughter; they had a son they named Cellion Lannister. Cellion wed Rochelle Reyne of Castmere, and Bella was their only offspring for many years.
"Lady Bella, what happened to your hair?" Princess Rhaella suddenly asked.
"I cut it off, Your Grace," Joanna answered, praying 'please don't ask me why I did that.'Because the usual answer she gave was lice infestation.
"I see," Princess said, and Bella almost asked what is it was she saw. "There will come a time when you'll wed Tywin Lannister – then you will have to stop taking the tea." This was directed to Lady Joanna.
"No, Your Grace," At that, the Princess's eyes winded and her face took a curious cast. "Don't get me wrong, Your Grace – I would like to have children eventually..."
"But not with your husband? Or rather, the first child you'd want fathered by a man you love – the man you surrendered your maidenhead too?" The Princess smiled at Joanna's shocked expression. "As I've said, I'm well aware of the regard you bear for Aerys and the regard my brother bears for you – ever since you had seen each other before our marriage. I know my brother and what I saw when he was …." the princess bowed her head. "I know my duty; I will give my husband an heir – but I won't – I can not love him as a wife should, and I never will. Aerys feels the same – if he had an opinion he would have married you, Lady Joanna." Then she met Joanna's eye – green meeting violet. "After you marry Lord Tywin, you may stay for a year and a half, then I will request for you to leave my services."
***King's Landing 8th Month/ Ācatl***
It was a somber affair – empty funeral piers for the royal family were burning for King and Queen, for Prince Duncan and his wife Jenny of Oldstones who perished in the fires that took over Summerhall. Right before the burning piers was King Jaeharys, the Second of His Name, wearing his grandfather's King Maker crown with his sister-wife Queen Shaera. Their heads bowed in mourning.
Behind them stood their surviving brother Prince Daeron and their son Aerys and his sister-wife Rhaella who was holding her son Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. However, Bella was happy for her friend and cousin Joanna, for her marriage to her first cousin Tywin Lannister – Heir to Casterly Rock was pro-spooned for another year.
Bella still lived in the Red Keep; there was a War of the Ninepenny Kings that claimed the life of Prince Daeron. Tywin was knighted. The death of Maelys Blackfyre was one of two good things that came from this war …. the other was the postponement of marriage of Joanna to Tywin. Because Tywin was … occupied with war.
Marriage pro-spooned, again. This time because there was some domestic issues. Joanna advised her that showcasing that she was related to the Red Lions of Castamere was not prudent. Bella still recalled the fierce rivalry between Lady Ellyn Lannister from House Reyne and Lady Jejyne Lannister of House Marbrand, wife of Tytos, father of Tywin Lannister. Bella mourned her family – the guilty and innocent when Tywin and all bards that Bella heard sing that accursed song. They developed a case of sore throats – singing birds turned into croaking frogs at least in King's Landing.
Bella felt vindictive pleasure when the marriage again pro-spooned because King Jaehaerys died of illness and then because Aerys was crowned. The new King named Tywin Hand of the King. She was half tempted to start brewing tincture that would render Tywin unable to sire children.
This year bared witness to two sad events in Bella's humble opinion.
Tywin married Joanna. Bella was developing quite a dislike for Tywin and his hanger on and bootlicker Pycelle. The Grand Maester was constantly singing praises about him. He conducted a physical search on Joanna because Tywin lamented lack of begotten an heir.
Pycelle had given her a tonic that should have solved the problem – but there was none so they poured it into the privy. Bella ruffled Pycelle's feathers, asking to give Tywin a physical inspection if he was the one with the inability to sire children. The sputtering that resulted in that was entertaining. The other sad news was that Queen Rhaella had another miscarriage. Bella was present and the baby was too young to survive outside the Queen's womb.
It was a beautiful babe it was a shame that it was no longer of this world.
***265 AC / Tititl ***
Two years passed and in the seventh month – Tititl – Bella accompanied Joanna back to the Rock. They were on the Kingsroad in a closed wheelhouse.
"I will miss him," Joanna whispered.
"At least you'll be able to stop taking it," Bella whispered back – and by it, she meant the Moon Tea. She brewed this tea for Joanna many times that she was beginning to worry about Joanna's health, as her moon's blood almost disappeared. Bella had to gradually lower the dosage of ingredients before they left King's Landing. Now Joanna had two bleeds a month and one month without any. Bella hoped this would correct itself, otherwise Joanna would be fertile, twice, only every per second month. Fortunately, the man she loved and the man she was married to both stayed in the Red Keep. It would be a while until Tywin returned to the Rock.
***Westerlands; Casterly Rock 265 AC 14. Month/ Izcalli***
There was a great hunt held in Westerlands. For the Westerlands were known for three things:
Lannisters – The Golden Lions of Casterly Rock.
The gold that rested in their mines.
And lions, the great felines that hunted the plains and mountains and hills of the region. And it was because of those lions that Tywin and the King would come to hunt. Bella was watching the tapestry that depicted the lion hunt. Men mounted and on foot and driving chariots carrying spears and swords and bows. The hunting dogs bred specificity to hunt lions ran before them.
"Lady Bella," the serving girl bobbed her head, "Lady Lannister wishes to see you."
Tywin rode to the Rock to warn of the coming of the Royal hunting party, and Bella managed to do what Joanna bid of her – to give King Aerys a sealed letter from her lady, requesting a meeting. The King wrote a quick reply... That she handed to Joanna in the privacy of her rooms.
"He agrees to meet," Joanna said.
"Of course he does," Bella nodded, "and I'll make sure I'm seen with him."
"If that is alright with you, for some men …."
"My lady, I have no desire to marry anyone. There is enough Lannisters, and as Lady Bella Lannister, my dowry is meager, and I can not claim my mother's heritage."
"I'm sorry, Bella." "Don't be, Joanna."
The night had fallen, and Bella was holding a candle at the secret entrance to The Rock. She was waiting for the King and his most loyal Kingsguard to arrive, and sure soon from the dark, two riders appeared. Strange that she hadn't... ahh, now she saw they they put cloth around the horses' hooves to muffle the sound.
"Your Grace," she curtsied, then she offered him her hand and they left the Kingsguard with the horses.
"Lady Joanna is waiting for you, Your Grace," she whispered to the King.
"Lady Lannister," the King was whispering as well. "To who are you loyal to? And why are you doing this?"
"Your Grace, you can trust me to never betray Lady Joanna. You can trust in the fact that I neither respect nor have any love toward Tywin Lannister."
"Can I ask why, Lady Lannister." "My mother was from House Reyne of Castamere. I am unsure if Tywin is aware of this or not, but Lady Joanna is, and she never agreed with her then betrothed's action – he should have spared those who had no hand in Lady Ellyn Reyne-Tarbeck's animosity toward House Lannister."
Bella left them then and made sure they had cold refreshments brought later. She also made sure that the hunting party didn't return too early.
***10 Weeks Later***
Joanna was pacing the room.
Maester Creylen sent a raven to King's Landing to the Lord of the Rock and Hand of the King, that his wife Lady Joanna was expecting a child.
Joanna was elated, because it was a high possibility that the child was Aerys's own. Still, she fretted.
"What if my child has Valyrian features, Bella?" Joanna asked her in a whisper.
"Unlikely, Joanna." Bella looked through the window, "Targaryen blood would have won out if your grandparent was a Dragon. But you are Lion through and through."
***266 AC 8. Month/Calli**
Tywin arrived just before Joanna gave birth and went back a week later. He was just around for the naming of the children. Joanna gave birth to twins: Cersei, a baby girl, with hair the color of spun gold and cat green eyes. But the shape of the baby's skull, her nose, and chin … was that of a Valyrian baby.
"Two golden haired, green-eyed babies," Bella muttered as her green gaze switched to the girl's twin, her younger brother Jaime.
"I'm glad – but Bella ..."
"It doesn't matter; there is no way to know for sure ..."
"Bella? What is it?"
"I saw Queen Shaera's daughter as she was stillborn – your daughter looks just like that babe.
" "It is possible then, that ..."
"It is, however, Jaime has pure Lannister looks."