Prologue

Not too far off in the distance she could see riders were approaching. From their banners, Anya was able to judge that it was her son returning.

Morton is returning from Winterfell, but why? She had gotten a letter from Winterfell, telling that Morton was coming back to Iron Oaks, yet in the letter it had not mentioned why.

There had been chaos in the Vale ever since word of the King's death had come. Though it went unspoken, most knew that the Belmores had sent men to go aid Ned Stark's son to free his father, and most the rest were working to remove Lady Lysa from power.

She remembered Robert well enough. He had lived in the Vale during his boyhood, and taken an interest in her daughter Alysanne. Two children she had given him in return, Orys and Rhaelle, before he had even become king, but after Lady Lyanna had died, it had been Cersei Lannister that Jon Arryn had the new king marry, rather than Alysanne. Not long after, Alysanne had been married off to one of Eon Hunter's sons and had six more children by him, but she was Anya's firstborn.

The only thing that Anya could be thankful for was that she had been able to find a suitable match still for Alysanne, and that Robert hadn't taken an interest in Carolei when she had come of age. Both her daughters had been wed for years, and lived with their husbands, rarely paying a visit to her.

At least she still had her sons. Morton had rarely adventured so far away, and he was returning sooner than she had expected, and Wallace still lived with her at Iron Oaks, while Donnel often paid visits from the Bloody Gate still.

He was the knight of the Bloody Gate now that the Blackfish had taken up service with the Young Wolf, and left Lady Lysa's. With one son holding the Bloody Gate, and her own hold of Iron Oaks, Anya felt content in her place at least.

Anya began to descend from the Walls, to greet her son. Morton was her eldest son, who would one day succeed her and be the Lord of Old Oaks. That day would be sooner than late she knew, but in any case, this was still her castle.

He was a handsome man, not yet even five and thirty yet, and gallant and strong like his father had been. She had been certain that Lady Lysa would find her more desirable than the rest of her suitors, being younger than all save Ser Lyn Corbray with none of his tastes, but she hadn't.

"Mother!" He greeted as he rode through, and began to dismount. There was a girl with him too, who she recognized to be Carolei's daughter, Cynthea. She had been one of Princess Myrcella's ladies in waiting, Anya remembered, but it seems she had left Winterfell with Morton.

Anya hugged Morton after he dismounted, and paid a hug in turn to her granddaughter as well. "It is good to see you," she told the two of them, and began to walk with them further into the castle.

When they were in a more private area, she started to speak with them. Cynthea seemed to be tired, and Anya guessed it was from riding for so long that Morton had picked her up and carried her most of the way. They took a seat on a bench next to the main keep, in a narrow area between the keep and one of the lesser towers of the castle.

"Why did you return so soon?" Anya asked.

"Stark will not help us against Lady Lysa… His wife didn't allow Mychel to stay either, so I returned," he told her.

Anya nodded. She didn't know what Mychel Redfort had done that the Young Wolf's wife had forced him to leave the castle, but it didn't matter. "It is good to see you again. And her," she said, mussing Cynthea's hair a little.

"Is my son well?" Morton asked.

She had arranged for him to marry a Templeton girl when he was young, and they had wed not long after they had come of age. They only had one son together though, Roland, before Lyanne had died of a chill not even three years later.

Roland was older than her youngest, Wallace, who had been born a little more than two years later. "Yes. He's paying a visit to Old Anchor for the nonce, but I shall write to him of your return."

She left it unsaid that Lord Melcolm had offered one of his daughters as a wife for Roland. In truth, Anya still was not certain whether or not she would give her consent still, and had only allowed Roland to go to meet the girl to see if he liked her or not.

"Donnel is still at the Bloody Gate too?" He asked.

"He is," she told him.

"I should like to see him soon too."

"Why did you bring Cynthea back?" Anya wondered. It had been Jon Arryn who had suggested Cynthea be one of the Princess's companions, even if she was still perhaps a little too young.

"She didn't like the North so much… The Princess agreed to allow me to take her with me."

It made sense she supposed. Cynthea was only a girl of nine, and perhaps too young to be one of Princess Myrcella's ladies. "Mayhaps Lady Lysa will allow Cynthea to be a companion for Princess Marla," she suggested. The two girls were closer in age, and it would mean Cynthea would remain in the Vale.

She remembered how Princess Marla had been at her wedding, lonely and frightened, trying to hide her grief for her father. Lysa had been a fool for ordering them to marry so young, and Anya had nothing but pity for the girl.

"I'm certain the Princess could use a friend," Morton replied, approving of the notion.

"In the meantime, the two of you ought to get some rest. We'll have a feast tonight."

They had a modest feast that night, in celebration of the return of her son and granddaughter. There had been a boar that some men had killed only two days past that they feasted on.

It tasted delicious, and that night, Anya went to bed, her belly full and her heart content.

The next morning they began to set out, riding for the Eyrie. It took them two days, Anya traveling with a company of Morton, Cynthea, and a score of men at arms and retainers going with them.

Atop it's mountain, the Eyrie seemed so imposing. Only a handful of men would be needed to hold back an army of thousands from up there, but it wasn't the castle that was stopping them from going to war. It was Lady Lysa.

Their ride up the mountain proved a quiet one, and on the last part of it, Anya rode in the winch basket up the final bit of the mountain with Cynthea.

They didn't find Lady Lysa in the Crescent Chamber that was the greeting hall for the Eyrie, but instead in the High Hall of the Castle.

Lord Edric and his wife sat atop the Weirwood Throne. The lad looked quite handsome, wearing a blue velvet doublet with several falcons sewn into it, and the light in the hall seemed to bring out the fire in the hall.

Princess Marla seemed almost as golden as her mother next to him, wearing a dress that was half golden and half red, like her personal coat of arms.

Lady Lysa sat beside them, on a cushioned seat, dressed in blue like her son, and had her daughter Alyssa beside her too.

"My lord, my lady, princess," Anya said when she saw them, bowing her head slightly to each one as she said them. The rest of her company did the same too, even Cynthea, as she had instructed.

"The hospitality of the Eyrie is yours, my lady," the boy responded.

"Thank you my lord… Perhaps I might have a word with your mother?"

He nodded, and Anya watched Lady Lysa stand up, and walk towards her. She felt Lysa place a kiss on her cheek like a proper lady, and Anya did the same, before they began to walk out of the hall together.

They walked next to each other out of the High Hall, and down one of the corridors. "Tell me, my lady. Why did you send your son away?"

He left on his own, wanting to get Stark's support for our cause in toppling over you. "He went to Winterfell to pay a visit to Cynthea," she said, hoping it would seem innocent enough.

"Do not lie to me. Your son went to Winterfell with my uncle, didn't he?"

"He did," Anya admitted.

"Why did he return?" Lysa asked.

"Because he was returning with Cynthea," she told her. If Lysa doesn't know Morton failed in his quest, that's all for the better. "I had thought perhaps she might be able to take up service here, as a companion to Princess Marla. I'm sure she must be in need of more friends here."

Lysa seemed to be considering the notion. Anya supposed that they could be giving her a hostage, but she shook those thoughts away. "Very well then," she answered after some time. "How long do you mean to remain here?"

"For some time," Anya said. She had remained in the Eyrie for nearly half a year until they had gotten word of King Robert's death and Lord Eddard's arrest, and she had finally returned to Iron Oaks then. Perhaps it would be even longer, perhaps not, but she didn't know yet.

"Might I show you to your chambers then?"

"You are kind, my lady. No thank you though, I'll make my way there in time," Anya replied, ending their conversation.

They made their way back to the High Hall, where Anya found her son and granddaughter still were. She had left Wallace behind at Iron Oaks to serve as Castellan in her absence, and they had gone before Roland had returned, but when she entered the Hall she saw that her second son was there too.

"Donnel," she called, and he quickly came over to her. He was the tallest and strongest of her sons, and certainly looked like a Knight of the Bloody Gate. The last time she had seen him was when he was being raised to the position.

She hugged him fiercely, before she saw his squire there too, Cynthea's brother Sandor. He had been taken on by Donnel as a squire nearly two years past, where he could squire for his uncle, and be close to his cousin, though Anya could still remember the letter she had received from Carolei asking for her son to be sent back to the Twins after hearing about Orys's death.

The years had led to Anya not seeing Carolei and Alysanne and Donnel much, so she cherished every moment she had with them, and she regretted thinking about how worried her daughter must have been at the Twins, with both her children so far away.

When she had finished speaking a few words with Donnel, she placed a kiss on Sandor's forehead too. Lady Lysa spoke several words with Morton too, before a servant came to lead them out of the hall.

For the rest of the day, Anya spent it with her sons and grandchildren. Lady Lysa had announced there was to be a feast in celebration of their arrival, and Donnel refused to tell her what he and Lysa had spoken of.

Less than an hour before sundown the feast began. She and her family were allowed seats of honor by Lysa and her children, and Morton himself was seated by Lysa. It was only courteous, Anya supposed, since they were the guests being welcomed with this feast.

Others were there too, like Bronze Yohn and Sharra, but Anya paid them little attention.

There were three courses served, and Anya only ate a little and drank some of the arbor red that was being served. Most of the Feast passed without note, several hours into the feast when Lysa rose to announce her intent to marry Morton.

Hearing that came as a shock to Anya, wondering what had suddenly changed Lysa's mind, and if Morton were the Lord Protector of the Vale if it meant they would be going to war. But all Anya was able to do was give her congratulations to her son, while the madness of the moment over took the hall.

She didn't feel the greatest though, and it was not long after the announcement that Anya had been forced to pay a visit to the privy to retch up everything she had ate.

Not long after she retired to her chambers feeling sick. Somehow she managed to undress herself without needing any assistance, and she was able to get into bed. And despite how sick she felt, she managed to fall asleep rather quickly.

She never woke again.

Author Notes:

Well I'm back, and this picks up where the Return of Dragons left off, now in the Vale with Anya dying.

So first, I guess just here's Anya's children and grandchildren:

Alysanne Waynwood (264) m. Harlan Hunter

Bastards by {Robert Baratheon}

{Orys Stone} (281)

Rhaelle Stone (282) m. Harry Hardyng

Trueborn children

Tomard Hunter (286)

Brandon Hunter (287)

Gwenth Hunter (289)

Desmond Hunter (291)

Betha Hunter (293)

William Hunter (295)

Ser Morton Waynwood (265) m. {Lyanne Templeton}

Ser Roland Waynwood (281)

Ser Donnel Waynwood (267)

Carolei Waynwood (270) m. Ser Geremy Frey

Sandor Frey (287)

Cynthea Frey (290)

Wallace Waynwood (283)

So that marks the end of Lady Anya Waynwood. We'll learn of what becomes of her family later.

I probably rushed my writing on this chapter, but I just needed to get something done so that I could post this installment of the series. It likely will be revised later, adding more details and actual dialogue to the scenes, but as it was it was all that I needed.

Next stop… Riverrun!

Thank you guys so much for reading, and I highly appreciate all your follows, favorites and reviews.

I do not own ASOIAF.