Chapter 4: King Robert
They would soon arrive to Winterfell, it had been a long time since Jon Arryn had felt this anxious. Magic users, in Westeros, he wouldn't have believed it if not for his foster son, Ned Stark, one of the most down to earth man he had ever meet, confirming it. But in the same letter, he had pleaded them to keep their mind open and to not meet the wizards while desiring their death. It had taken a lot of effort to calm Robert down, the man was already ready to ride to Winterfell with his war hammer in hand, alone if needed. But they had to be cautious, the wizards may have asked for peace, but they were still powerful unknown. This suspicions was only confirmed when the tale of Greatjon's defeat reached them, the leader, Hariel Potter, had with a discomforting ease manipulated fire and water as if it was nothing, and would be a redoubtable foe.
But the idea of going against a powerful enemy wasn't something that would deterred Robert, being the underdog didn't scare him. It was only after he read the letter Ned sent for him, and him only, that his belligerence left him. Jon had seen a succession of emotions flash through his face, disbelief, anger and outrage, and then hope. At the moment the King seemed younger, he had the same expression when he had learn his betrothed's death, like he couldn't believe his ears, thought he was in a nightmare and would soon wake up. Since then the man had been more and more pensive, whored less, drunk less, only lost in his thought, reading again and again the the same letter as if possessed. People began to whispered if the King wasn't already victim of their witchcraft, and when Jon asked Robert about his uncharacteristically silence and people's doubt, he'd scoff and said he was only thinking, thinking about what nobody knew.
When they arrived at Winterfell, they were greeted by Ned and the other northern lords alongs with some of their men. King Robert discard all decorum and traced toward the only woman who fitted Ned's description.
- « Can you really do what you have said witch? »
Lady Hariel didn't showed any sign of discomfort at the aggressiveness of the King, or of having him only a few inches away from her face. Jon wondered what she has promised to put Robert like this.
- « I can. » Her calm only seemed to put oil on fire.
- « Well, then what are you waiting for? »
Green eyes scanned through the perplexed crowd, it was scary how these eyes seemed to be able to gaze into the heart, before finally resting on the King.
- « We should do it in somewhere there'll be no interruption, you'll only have an hour. »
It was only now that Robert seemed to realized that there were other, and after throwing them a withering glare as if asking them why they were here, conveniently forgetting that it was himself for gathered them here for war. He nodded to Ned had followed his friend and the witch, abandoning his army, Jon quickly joined them when it came apparent that he himself had been forgotten.
- « Now can someone explain me what is going on? » asked impatiently Arryn when they arrived in Ned's office.
Without a word Robert shoved the letter in his hand. The letter was short and concise, going straight to the point, but Jon still read it multiple time, feeling his eyes were playing him trick.
- « I felt the same, but Ned wouldn't joke about something like this. Not with Lyanna. »
- « It'll be a little tricky as I have never met Lyanna Stark, so I'll ask you to describe her. »
Their voices were full of emotions as they talk about the girl they both cherished, the words were awkward at first, as if they had to dug into their memories, trying to found what they had tried to bury. Slowly but surely, it flowed more and more easily, and Jon felt like intruding.
Lady Hariel had closed her eyes, concentrating deeply on the description, now that he couldn't see her startling eyes, he could see her features more clearly. She was pretty in the delicate way that ladies usually were, her flaming red haired would have inspired poem and song. Who would have thought that such power was hiding inside of her. Mist slowly begin to form in the room, gathering to from an humanoid form. Little by little, it gained features, long hairs, lithe body, and finally, standing at the center of the room, was the deceased Lyanna Stark.
Robert and Ned both choked out a sorrow filled gasp of « Lyanna », and Jon felt that he was intruding in something he shouldn't have, and left the room after one last glance.
Robert thought he had forgotten about Lyanna's face, but as soon as her spirit appeared, he instantly recognized the woman he had loved, and still loved. She was as beautiful as he remembered, and so incredibly young, making her death even more of a tragedy. Her blue eyes were glistening with unshed tears as she stared at them, her sorrowful voice apologizing again and again, and Robert didn't have the heart to ask her to prove her identity as he had originally planed. Ned was the same, and his eyes were also glistening from the emotion.
- « I'm sorry, I was stupid. I caused a war, Brandon is dead, Dad is dead. I'm sorry Ned, I should have apologized sooner!. » Lyanna apologized through her tears, voice choking from the emotion from time to time.
- « Lyanna. »breathed out Robert.
- « Robert. » recognized Lyanna. « I'm so sorry. »
Robert didn't knew why she apologized. Not marrying him? The cynical part of him knew she wouldn't cry for this, apart tears of relief. Her betrothed never hide her distaste for their engagement, and Ned had threatened him to not shame his sister.
- « Remember, you only have one hour, make the most out of it. » reminded the witch before leaving them alone.
Only one hour, and more than ten years to catch up. They tried to focus on the good news, Ned's children, his marriage, Ned even talked about his bastard, Jon Snow, and Lyanna loved him all the same. She was unsurprised when she learnt he became King, if the rebellion had failed, their head would be on a spike, and their family destroyed. He said he was married, but swore that she was the only one for him, promising that there was never a day he didn't think of her, which only made Lyanna smile sadly.
Ned talked more than him, Robert felt that words were missing him, and only interjected from time to time.
- « And Princess Ellia? Is she safe? »
When she learnt her fate, Lyanna shooked her head.
- « She didn't deserved it, nobody would deserve it, and Princess Ellia even less. »
For the first time, Robert felt guilty about what happened at King's Landing. At the time he only felt satisfaction, all trace of the mad targaryen's blood had been erased, the dragon spawn, the children of the kidnapper Rhaegar, were dead. And when Lyanna come back, she c wouldn't find any trace of this man, and will forget about it. But now that he saw her, Robert realized that she wouldn't have been relived by it, and even less happy, she was a Stark, Ned's sister, she would have asked for Clegane and Lorch to be punished. Maybe he had only used her as a pretext…
« The hour is nearly ended. » stated Lyanna. « I should have said this sooner, but be careful. Something weird is going on, and even the dead have felt it. There is something big happening. » she warned. « The witch is powerful, don't cross her. And I love you both so much, Ned, I'd have loved you children like mine too, tell them this would you? »
And just like that, she was gone, leaving them alone for the first time in years. Like a puppet who had its strings cut, Robert slumped on his chair.
- « So magic, huh. »
Left behind, Kevan Lannister mused, war had been at everyone's mouth, it had seemed inevitable. But with only one raven, it had been diverted, and the one tracked man that was King Robert, was ready to abandon his quest against everything that was remotely close to the Targaryen. The witch had been able to offer something more attracting to the King, something that had made the notorious whoremonger King as pious as King Baelor I Targaryen, and pushed him to ignore his army for her.
Fortunately, Lady Stark had made arrangement for them, chambers had been readied, as long as camps for the soldiers. And when King Robert and his friend returned, if somebody noticed their red eyes, nobody commented on it. All plans for the war had been casted away after one hour.
- « The wizards are welcomed in Westeros! » roared the King. « There'll be no war, and a feast will be organized in their honor tomorrow night. »
Kevan didn't knew what the witch did, but she'll be a redoubtable player if she had leverage on the King, he'd have to sent as soon as possible a missive to his brother.
Such powerful player won't be left alone, and he'd have to make contact with them faster than the Tyrell and Martell who had joined the King's army.
War had been sadly diverted, Marillion wouldn't be able to write song about knights slaying the evil wizards anymore. Maybe he could spun some song about magic then, if the King had suddenly became more tolerant about it. He wouldn't be deterred, and he had a trump card in his sleeves, in the form of a portrait of a bushy haired woman.
Author's note: For those interested, especially those who wanted this fic to be a Jon SnowXHariel, I posted "Death is but the next great adventure" which will gather one shot and short stories, and a poll has been posted with this paring.
As always, if you liked this fic, and have some ideas, please review!
Thunder18: Thanks for always reviewing ^^.
Mfoto: Glad you enjoyed it
DullReign82: Yeah, I only received two (mean?) reviews, and one of them talked about the same problem you had, in a less polite ton, but it feels so weird to not do - « words » when I'm writing, and I'm just to it because of school.
AvalonRivers: I don't think it will happen, but you are welcome to vote on the poll for this pairing. Maybe I'll write an omake of this couple in the MiW verse.
Guest: The house elves will maybe appear next chapter or so, and the rest is in the spoiler zone.