a second to the Crone

a young wife known to be fertile.  Catelyn rose, threw on a robe, and descended the steps to the darkened solar to stand over her father. A sense of helpless dread filled her. “Father,” she said, “Father, I know what you did.” She was no longer an innocent bride with a head full of dreams. She was a widow, a traitor, a grieving mother, and wise, wise in the ways of the world. “You made him take her,” she whispered water sports. “Lysa was the price Jon Arryn had to pay for the swords and spears of House Tully.”  Small wonder her sister’s marriage had been so loveless. The Arryns were proud, and prickly of their honor. Lord Jon might wed Lysa to bind the Tullys to the cause of the rebellion, and in hopes of a son, but it would have been hard for him to love a woman who came to his bed soiled and unwilling. He would have been kind, no doubt; dutiful, yes; but Lysa needed warmth.  The next day, as she broke her fast, Catelyn asked for quill and paper and began a letter to her sister in the Vale of Arryn. She told Lysa of Bran and Rickon, struggling with the words, but mostly she wrote of their father. His thoughts are all of the wrong he did you, now that his time grows short. Maester Vyman says he dare not make the milk of the poppy any stronger. It is time for Father to lay down his sword and shield. It is time for him to rest. Yet he fights on grimly, will not yield. It is for your sake, I think. He needs your forgiveness. The war has made the road from the Eyrie to Riverrun dangerous to travel, I know, but surely a strong force of knights could see you safely through the Mountains of the Moon? A hundred men, or a thousand? And if you cannot come, will you not write him at least? A few words of love A Bar Education Centre, so he might die in peace? Write what you will, and I shall read it to him, and ease his way.  Even as she set the quill aside and asked for sealing wax, Catelyn sensed that the letter was like to be too little and too late. Maester Vyman did not believe Lord Hoster would linger long enough for a raven to reach the Eyrie and return. Though he has said much the same before… Tully men did not surrender easily, no matter the odds. After she entrusted the parchment to the maester’s care, Catelyn went to the sept and lit a candle to the Father Above for her own father’s sake, , who had let the first raven into the world when she peered through the door of death, and a third to the Mother, for Lysa and all the children they had both lost.  Later that day, as she sat at Lord Hoster’s bedside with a book, reading the same passage over and over, she heard the sound of loud voices and a trumpet’s blare. Ser Robin, she thought at once, flinching. She went to the balcony, but there was nothing to be seen out on the rivers, but she could hear the voices more clearly from outside, the sound of many horses, the clink of armor, and here and there a cheer reenex facial.

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