dk65 (dk65) wrote,

The Governess's Secret, Part 3

The continuation of a fic posted on asoiafkinkmeme--the characters belong to GRRM.

Tyrion spent a sleepless night—but he was certain, when he awoke the next morning, that he could take no chances. He did not want the two Cleganes killing each other, after being incited to do so by a Lannister. Just imagine if that got into the papers—how father would fume, if an ice-cold man like father could fume. Finally, he hit upon a plan—he would send Sandor to London with the tapes for Jacklyn Bywaters, hidden in a sack of bulbs. The gardener at the Red House, the Duke of Dragonstone’s London residence, had said he was out of a special batch of tulip bulbs. Would Lord Tyrion send some, if it was not too much trouble?

He acted fast, now that he had hit upon a plan. Jaime had spoken last night (before Petyr Baelish called) of going across to Ashemark, Addam Marbrand’s place, to take a look at a mare. Tyrion hoped he would stick to his plan—he wanted to get Sandor out of the Rock and away while Jaime’s attention was distracted. He sent his man, Podrick Payne, to reconnoitre—Pod came back to tell him that Jaime had already left for Ashemark; he would breakfast with the Marbrands. After he had dressed, he told Pod to go to the conservatory and tell Clegane to get a special batch of tulip bulbs ready in a sack—and to wait for him there. He had a quick breakfast, and then ran down to the basement, as fast as his legs would permit him, where the recording equipment had been set up. He picked up the tapes, wrapping them in their packaging, and went to the conservatory—he could feel the cramps in his legs, and it was just the beginning of the day. He found Clegane sitting on a stool, drinking a cup of tea and grimacing—Clegane was not fond of tea.

“Ah, Clegane,” he said with a gasp, and sat down rather abruptly on an up-ended bucket.

“Have you been running around the Rock all this morning, my lord?” asked Clegane, with a sardonic twitch of his lips.

“Yes, I have—and with good reason. I want you to go to London, Clegane, with a batch of bulbs for the gardener at the Red House. While you’re there, I want you to give these tapes,” thrusting the tapes wrapped in their packaging at Clegane, “to Jacklyn Bywaters at Scotland Yard. I think I will write the man a note,” he was speaking aloud to himself, “I’m sure you’d do well as a policeman.”

“Why do you want to send me away from the Rock, my lord, if I may ask?” demanded Clegane, sounding a little mutinous.

You may well ask, he thought, feeling tired. “Because our friend in Switzerland called to speak to my brother,” he said tiredly, closing his eyes. “He told Jaime you refused to take his messages. And Jaime threatened to set Gregor on you.”

“He did, did he?” asked Clegane ruminatively. “And you think I can’t handle Gregor, my lord?” he asked reproachfully.

“Oh, I’m sure you can take him on, Clegane—I just don’t want you killing him and getting sent to jail or worse for murder,” snapped Tyrion, irritably. “Besides, haven’t you had enough of this place—cleaning up dead leaves, planting rosebushes, weeding and deworming plants? Wouldn’t you rather be in London, chasing hoodlums, than live here, dying of boredom?”

“Speak for yourself, sir,” said Clegane, with another twitch of his lip. “Talking of chasing hoodlums and catching criminals, guess who I ran into in Lannisport the other day.”

“How can I?” demanded Tyrion.

“Remember that pretty housemaid who used to work here before the war...Tysha, her name was, wasn’t it? She was in Lannisport, with her husband—he’s got his own ship now, she says; she’s been travelling with him.”

“Good for her,” Tyrion growled—her betrayal still stung him. He had not lived like a monk since then, but nor had he formed a relationship built on mutual trust and love with another woman. Most of his subsequent encounters with women were businesslike in the extreme—he had a need, which he assuaged, quickly, for a fee agreed on in advance.

“She was asking about the family—about you in particular, my lord,” continued Clegane, looking him straight in the eye. “Her husband’s ship is berthed at Lannisport for some time—it’s called the Lady Marya. Maybe you should go see her? She was a good friend to you when you were a lad, sir.”

Saying this, Clegane got up to leave. Tyrion sat there, staring after him; then he got up and followed Clegane out of the conservatory. “Don’t forget to take the note from me before you go, Clegane,” he called out, to which Sandor Clegane replied, “I won’t, my lord.”

Tyrion walked into his office, wrapped and labelled the tapes, addressing the package to Jacklyn Bywaters. Then he sat down and wrote a note to the police commissioner, recommending Sandor Clegane for a job in the Metropolitan Police. He handed the note and the packet to Clegane, who walked in just then, carrying the sack of bulbs. Clegane tucked the package into the sack and put the note into the pocket of his leather jacket. He would travel to London on his black motorbike.

“Give me a call—leave a message with Pod when your errands are done,” Tyrion said to him.

Clegane merely nodded, grunted and left.

Tyrion decided to go to Lannisport and check out the Lady Marya. He had to talk to Tysha—he needed to know why she had left him. He got Bronn to drive him to Lannisport—there was little to be done at the Rock. Bronn parked the car on the high street and Tyrion strolled down to the docks.  A few questions directed at a dockworker led him to the ship tied to its moorings. He would have stood there on the quayside gaping at the ship—the dockworker said she plied between the Continent and English ports, carrying trade goods—if he had not been spotted and hailed aboard by a brunette, who had recognized him. It was Tysha.

He clambered up the ladder and into the ship. He was guided to the deck, where Tysha sat gazing into the bay. She greeted him warmly—he was surprised at that. But then, he reminded himself, she was the one who had left him.

“How have you been, Tyrion?” she asked him.

“I’m fine,” he lied. He felt angry and tongue-tied in her presence.

“It’s been such a long time since we met.” She spoke quietly. “I came during the war—after Allard and I married. I came to see my parents—I did not go up to the Rock. I heard you were away in London—I was certain you would do well in the war.”

He did not respond—he did not know what to say to her.

“Tyrion,” there was a pleading note in her voice. “Please look at me when I speak to you.” He looked at her—his expression was grim. She gulped as she continued, “I know you must hate me for what I did—walking out on you like that. I had to do it Tyrion—I had no choice. Your father found out about us—he said nothing to you about it, I gather?”

He shook his head silently.

She laughed bitterly. “He had plenty to say to me—and all of it nasty. He could not see what I saw in you; he was certain I was after your money, which was why I’d let you make love to me in the first place; he made it clear he would never permit us to marry; he would not allow you to keep a mistress... all I could do was stand there and listen to him. One of the other servants must have seen us together and told him. “

“Why didn’t you...why didn’t you call or write to me and tell me what had happened?” he cried out, anguished. “Didn’t you think I’d drop everything and come for you, Tysha?”

“Tyrion,” there was a thread of steel in her voice. “Don’t you think I knew that—knew that you would walk out on the one thing that would enable you to seek your independence from your family—an education? And, believe me that was the one thing I didn’t want! What would have happened if you had come back and we had run off together? We could not have lived with my parents—you would have hated living on the farm. You might not have been able to get work. I felt it was best if I were to walk out—I didn’t want to leave a letter; I hoped you’d forget me and find someone who loved you as much as I did, someone whom your family would accept for your sake. I was lucky enough to meet Allard in Lannisport—he’d broken off with his girl on the Continent. The two of us got married—we’ve made a life for ourselves. I hoped you had done the same—until I met Sandor.”

They were both silent for a while until he asked her, “And what in the Lord’s name did Sandor tell you?”
“He told me all that you had done during the war—and how little it meant to your father. He told me both of you were stuck in Casterly Rock—you were managing the estate and he was keeping the grounds neat and tidy. This despite the fact that both of you were capable of so much more. He said it seemed your father wanted your brother to take a greater interest in the estate and the business—and that Jaime just refuses to do so. Is that true?”

He sighed. “Jaime’s an RAF pilot to the backbone—to expect him to give that up for life as a landowner or a businessman is expecting too much of him. My father has always had problems grasping this simple fact. He took charge of the family business—the bank, the newspapers, the estate—as soon as he left university. Jaime, on the other hand, left the University for the air force—I think father fails to realise that Jaime does not think the way he does.”

“Do you want to spend the rest of your life here, Tyrion—at your father’s beck and call? I know you hope he will give you a suitable job managing the business, but knowing the way he spoke of you to me, I don’t think so. I think you should leave Casterly as soon as possible; you have an education—you’ve served your country well during the war; you should be able to get a job that suits your talents better than worrying about the estate.”

He laughed bitterly. “Where do you suggest I go looking about for work, Tysha? If my father himself won’t hire me...”

“Don’t feel so sorry for yourself, Tyrion—you have an excellent education and an excellent brain; thank your father for the first and the good Lord for the second. Now, why don’t you try applying to these new universities that are being set up? I know there are many universities on the lookout for lecturers and professors—I always thought you’d make a great teacher someday.”

He gave her an ironic look. “Thank you, my dear girl—I’m sure I’d be able to get some teaching done, when the students stopped laughing at me.”

“Why? Were you laughed at when you were at university?” she demanded.

“No, I wasn’t—but that does not mean I won’t be laughed at if I become a teacher.”

“I think,” she said stubbornly, “you should give it a try. We’ve just come back, Allard and I, from a trip north, from Eastwatch on the Sea. They’re building a new university at Wintertown—and they’re looking for professors. I don’t know if you will be able to endure the climate there...”

He could not help but recall the conversation in the drawing room a few weeks ago—Sansa Stark talking of the books and manuscripts in Winterfell’s incomparable library being given to the new university—and then he recalled how he had enjoyed his time there just before the war really began in 1940. One of the boys—Bran, he thought it was—had broken his arm when he fell off a tree he was climbing. Lady Catelyn had been frantic with anxiety and Lord Stark had been equally anxious to be on his way to London. He’d liked Winterfell and Wintertown—the weather had not bothered him; it had been comfortable enough.

He got up. “Tysha,” he said firmly, “I’m glad—truly glad—that you’re happy in your marriage. And I’m grateful that you thought kindly enough of me to want to see me after all these years. I wish you all the best in life, my dear girl—and I will take your advice.” Pod and Bronn, he thought, might enjoy Wintertown—the northerners were a hospitable lot.

He returned to the Rock with Bronn, to learn that Uncle Kevan had already left for London, after arranging for the children to start at Crakehall’s and the Crag the very next day. He hoped Sandor Clegane and his uncle would not run into each other on the road.  Pod told him, in a worried tone, that Lord Tywin had been asking for him. Tyrion went at once to see his father.

His father demanded without preamble, “Why did you send Clegane to London? Who’ll take care of his jobs while he’s away?”

“I sent Clegane to London to hand over some tulip bulbs to the gardener at the Red House. He’ll be able to advise the gardener how the soil should be treated before the bulbs are planted. He should be back this evening—if he isn’t, I’m sure Kettleblack can do his job.”

Tywin merely sniffed in disapproval.

“Have you any idea how Cersei and Joffrey have reacted to the dismissal of the staff they brought to the Rock? They see it as a slight to them that the men were asked to leave. I will not deny I was glad to see the back of them—but if we ask Kettleblack to do Clegane’s job, even for a day, I’m certain the two of them will make a fuss.”

Tyrion wondered if he should ask his father about Tysha, then decided not to—he had never confided in him, even as a child. He had faint recollections of his mother—of her kisses, her scent, and the feel of her arms around him as she sang him a lullaby and rocked him to sleep. He could not recall ever being affectionate with his father, not even after his mother’s death. That had been a tragedy for him—he was only a little fellow of three or four when she died in the influenza epidemic. He had been devastated—Cersei had ignored him, but Jaime had been there to care for him. Just as he was about to leave, his father asked:

“Why did you go to Lannisport, today of all days?”

Tyrion had already decided not to talk of Tysha with him. “Oh, I felt the need for a breath of town air,” he said jokingly. His father merely pursed his lips and looked at him.

“Is that the only reason why you went to town?” he asked, in a cold, still voice.

Tyrion said nothing, merely looking straight into his father’s eyes. Tywin continued to look at him coldly as he spoke:

“I have eyes and ears in Lannisport, Tyrion—I know that a certain ship bearing a certain person, who was foolish enough to attempt to get close to you, has berthed in Lannisport. Has this woman tried to contact you at all?”

“What if she had, sir?” he asked, somewhat recklessly.

Tywin said coldly, “She would have broken her agreement with me—I made her promise not to contact you, then or later.”

“I would advise you to leave her alone, father—she did not attempt to contact me; I learnt of her arrival from another source. I too have eyes and ears in Lannisport.”

“So you did meet her? And I’m sure she must have tried to rekindle your friendship? People of her class...”

“She did nothing of the sort—we spoke of old times; she told me of her marriage and congratulated me on my work during the war.”

Tywin sniffed disapprovingly. “Perhaps she was unaware of your mode of life during those years. However, I suppose I should cut you some slack—although Cersei was most shocked at your behaviour. Of course, having to deal with Robert’s excesses would have soured the gentlest of women...”

And Cersei could certainly not be called gentle, Tyrion thought sardonically.

“She wanted me to recall you to Casterly Rock immediately. I refused, because I was told the work you did was critical to our winning the war. She made me promise not to let you live in London ever again—she was certain her friends knew of your exploits and were laughing at her behind her back.”

Tyrion seethed with rage. So it was his sister who had prevented his reaping the fruits of his labour during the war. He was even more stubbornly resolved to do as Tysha had suggested—go to Wintertown and apply for a job at the university.

“Father, I’m certain her friends don’t know I exist—not unless Cersei spread tales of my exploits in London society. Did she?” he asked innocently.

His father merely glared at him.

“Tyrion,” he said finally, “I think you should understand a few things. It is unlikely that a woman will love you for yourself. Women are shallow creatures—they love good-looking men like Jaime, with whom they can dance the night away. If a woman professes love for you, it is likely she is marrying you for your money—our money—and our social position. The only sort of woman who will profess affection for you is a woman of the working classes who is ambitious and wants to raise her social status. You should beware of such creatures. Since you lack self-control, I think it necessary that you should remain at the Rock until you acquire it. You may go.”

Tyrion walked out, resolved not to let his rage show. How dare his father make these judgements about people, such as Tysha! He made arrangements to leave the Rock the very next day—confiding his plans to Pod and Bronn, who were both enthusiastic about leaving. They quietly packed all that they thought they would need and they agreed to leave the Rock soon after breakfast the next morning. Pod told him that Clegane had called and left a message for him while he was talking to Lord Tywin—he had reached London safely and had met the gardener and Jacklyn Bywaters. “He’ll be working at the Met now, he says; he was going to look for digs in London. He said we should call and leave a message for him at the Met switchboard till he gets a place of his own. He said he wanted to thank you for your help.”

I’m glad he got away, Tyrion thought—now I must think of getting away myself.

The next day, at breakfast, he dealt with Jaime’s reproaches. Apparently, Clegane had not yet returned to the Rock, and Jaime wanted to speak to him urgently. “I sent him to London to drop something off at the Red House—I told him to take some time off as well. He should be back in the next day or so,” Tyrion said, as he buttered a toast.

Jaime gave him a dubious look. “I hope he does come back in the next day or so—I want him to do a few jobs for me.”

“I know Sandor—I’m sure he’ll get down to it when he returns from London.” For one mad moment, Tyrion wondered if he should give Jaime the Met’s switchboard number and tell him to contact Sandor there. He decided not to do so—it would mean giving too much information to his brother, who might just decide to fly the coop.

After breakfast, Tyrion strolled down to the garage, where Bronn and Podrick were waiting for him impatiently. They took his Aston Martin down to the railway station, where they purchased three tickets for Castle Black—they would, like Sansa Stark, get down at Wintertown. They were able to sell the Aston Martin while they waited for their train—Tyrion was determined to buy something more inconspicuous in colour when they reached their destination. They got in early the next morning, and checked into an inn where Tyrion had stayed during his visit to read manuscripts in the Winterfell library ten years ago. He’d seen advertisements from the University of Wintertown in the papers, requesting applications from suitable candidates for the posts of lecturers and professors a few weeks ago; he had even cut one out, planning to write an application. Luckily, the last date for receiving applications was still ten days away—he was able to quickly write and file his application. He decided he’d wait to meet the board of governors of the university—he spent some time showing Bronn and Pod the sights. In the meantime, he called the number Sandor had left and spoke to him, to let him know that he was no longer at Casterly Rock.

“That’s good,” Sandor replied gruffly. He continued, “I don’t know if this is known generally, but the Tullys have put in an application with the Home Office to have Jon Arryn’s body dug up and examined for poison.  Of course, they claim to suspect your family, but... the tapes I gave the commissioner tell a very different story. He also says they’ll need your testimony—they can’t prosecute on the basis of the tapes alone.”

Tyrion sighed—he had suspected something of the sort would happen. “I can possibly testify to one call—the one Jaime received two days ago. I’ve had the line tapped since you told me a month ago about Jaime calling up Littlefinger on the Lannisport Hotel phone. I don’t know if anyone else at the Rock overheard a phone call—I think the commissioner will have to question each person living there, above and below stairs, and see what they say. Maybe he could begin with the men who were asked to leave this Monday—suggest that to him and see what he says.”

“All right—can’t do any harm,” Sandor said, and rang off.
After this, Tyrion decided that he, Bronn and Pod could do with a walk around the town.

That day, Sansa was in Wintertown, shopping with her mother. They had received news from Robb, as Daven Lannister had warned her—he was planning to bring home the young lady he’d met in Germany, Jeyne Westerling, who had fixed up his shoulder so expertly.  The mother and daughter were in town to see what they could find to make into finery—the way Robb had spoken of Jeyne indicated that he felt deeply for her and they might as well prepare for the first wedding in the family. Jon, who worked with Uncle Benjen in MI6 (under Jeor Mormont), would also be there, as would Uncle Benjen himself. Uncle Brynden, who was managing the Berlin station of the nation’s intelligence network, had already met and approved of the young lady—he had written to Catelyn to say so and would be there when Robb came on leave. The letter Sansa sent her mother from Lannisport had arrived just a few hours before her mother received the telegram announcing Sansa’s return home. Lady Catelyn and Lord Edmure had then prepared a petition to the Home Office, for the exhumation and examination of Jon Arryn’s body.  They were both shocked at what Lysa had done and they wanted her, as well as Petyr Baelish and Jaime Lannister, to get what was coming to them. They had also heard from the Met and the public prosecutor that Sansa would have to testify in person to the phone call she overheard at the Rock.

Sansa found that her mother treated her more as an equal after her sojourn amongst the Lannisters. She had tried to think and act like an adult after her father died; it had been the greatest shock of her young life to find him gone so suddenly. But mother had tended to discuss matters of importance with Brienne or Robb—she seldom took Jon, Sansa or the younger children into her confidence. Sansa had been able to find work at Miss Mordane’s—she had been planning to work there in any case, before she went to work at Casterly Rock.

They had just finished their shopping when they saw Lord Tyrion and his companions cross the street and come towards them. Sansa pointed them out to Lady Catelyn, who immediately walked up to Tyrion and thanked him for sending her daughter home to safety. Tyrion accepted her gratitude with becoming modesty and invited them to join him for tea. The ladies accepted his invitation.

As they sat talking over tea, Tyrion told them, “I’ve been thinking of settling here, Lady Stark, in Wintertown—I understand the new university is in need of teachers and I’ve sent them an application. I hope you have no objections.”

“None at all, Lord Tyrion—why should I object?” asked Catelyn with a polite smile.  “You visited Winterfell before the war began,“ she continued. “You were working towards a doctorate...”

“Yes, my lady, I was successful in obtaining it. “

“That is excellent—I’ve heard many good things about you,” she said, lowering her voice a little.

“Oh?” He wondered who had spoken so well of him—he knew very few who would say a good word on his behalf.

“My grand-uncle Brynden Tully and my brother-in-law Benjen Stark—you worked with them during the war, I believe.”

“Yes, I did.” To his great regret, he had been unable to go out into the field. “You’re too conspicuous, Lannister,” as Jeor Mormont told him, rather regretfully. But he had put his analytical abilities to good use in the intelligence services—his knowledge of languages and history paid off well.

Jeyne Poole, Sansa’s closest friend from her childhood, was the next to bring news of Tyrion and his household.

“Do you know?” she burst in on Sansa and Lady Catelyn, just as they were arranging the house to welcome Robb and Miss Westerling, “There is a Lord Tyrion Lannister—such a strange-looking man—who’s been hired to teach in the university? He’s rented a cottage in Wintertown—he has a chauffeur and a valet living with him. And they bought an Aston Martin—a crimson-coloured car! Just imagine...”

Sansa responded quite calmly. “I know Lord Tyrion, Jeyne—I went to Casterly Rock, remember, to work as a governess for his family? I told him about the university at Wintertown—and he arrived here only a few days after I returned home. He must have been bored to tears after the war—although he was managing the family estate...”

Jeyne sniffed, “I’ve heard quite a lot about him from friends in London,” she meant Theon’s sister Asha, who ran a very fashionable nightclub there, “and none of it sounds good or respectable. Don’t go making a friend of him, Sansa,” she said, as she took her leave of the Starks. “He has a terrible reputation...”

“Oh, as if Theon’s a saint!” Sansa exclaimed, exasperated. Lady Catelyn was the only one who heard her, for Jeyne had already left.

However, far from scandalizing his neighbours with outrageous behaviour, Lord Tyrion astounded them by behaving like a staid and respectable householder. He lived quietly with Pod and Bronn—they had a woman coming in to cook and clean for them. In the meanwhile, Sansa had begun working at Miss Mordane’s school, where she and Jeyne had studied when they were young girls; she frequently saw Tyrion, Bronn and Pod in Wintertown and greeted them politely when she met them.

The next time they met was in London, after they had testified at the trial of Petyr Baelish, Lysa Tully and the three Lannisters—Cersei, Jaime and Lancel—for the murders of Jon Arryn, Ned Stark, Robert Baratheon and Wyl the chauffeur, and the attempts to conceal the same. Both Sansa and Tyrion had overheard conversations over the phone line at Casterly Rock—and both conversations revealed a lot about how the plot was carried out.

Although Sansa was supported by her family throughout the ordeal, Tyrion got the cold shoulder from his father and Uncle Kevan. They had an extremely unpleasant conversation with him outside the Old Bailey, where the trial was held. Tyrion was walking out onto the street, when he was accosted by his uncle.

“Your father wishes to speak to you,” Kevan Lannister said coldly, indicating a crimson Rolls, parked on one side of the street; Tywin sat at the back.

Tyrion walked up to the car and slid in next to his father, without saying a word.

His father gave him a cold look, as though he would rather have slit Tyrion’s throat with a knife than speak to him face to face. What he said proved to be extremely unpleasant.

“I never thought,” he said coldly, “that my children would indulge in a relationship such as the one described in court today; I had never believed that my offspring would stoop to murder to conceal their sins. But what I cannot forgive,” and his eyes pierced Tyrion like daggers of ice, “is that you, a Lannister, would betray your own so willingly.”

“Father, you are aware they committed a crime—Jaime killed Ned Stark in the East End. Petyr Baelish knew of this or was involved in planning it. He had killed Jon Arryn for his own reasons—Jaime was aware of this. And Petyr was trying to convince Jaime to harm Sansa Stark, Ned’s daughter, in the mistaken belief that she knew of her father’s murder...”

“It is evident,” his father cut in coldly, “that you are involved with the Starks—you would not have got a job in the university otherwise.”

Tyrion snorted in derision. “Of course, the fact that I worked bloody hard to get a doctorate means little to you, doesn’t it, father? Lady Catelyn and the Starks have little to do with the university; I was hired because I had the best qualifications, not because I was friendly with the Starks.”

“Be that as it may,” his father responded coldly, “I cannot stand by you in this matter—your action in tapping a private phone line and sharing the information with the police has put you beyond the pale, in my opinion. I cannot abandon my grandchildren—they need me. You will not receive anything from the estate—I am cutting you off without a penny. In case you had thought to profit by the deaths of your brother and sister for murder, you will be unable to do so.”

“Very well, father.” Tyrion responded evenly.

In the course of the trial, it soon emerged that Lancel had been the one to conceal Robert’s last letter to Catelyn Stark in Sansa’s bedroom. He had at first been furious with Robert for his ill-treatment of Cersei and had willingly encouraged him to drink himself senseless on several occasions, including the night of his death. Although Robert had proved to have a strong head for liquor, he had been befuddled enough to open the doors of his coupe and try to walk out of a moving train. Lancel had done what he did because he was infatuated with Cersei—but he soon realised that she had no feelings for him. It was this that led to his remorse and his decision to give the letter to Sansa.

Lysa Arryn Baelish confessed as soon as she was arrested—she claimed that she had killed her husband because he refused to recognize the fact that his son, Robin, was suffering from tuberculosis. As soon as her husband’s funeral was over, Lysa took her son to Switzerland, to a clinic that specialized in treating cases like his. She remained with him throughout the war—she was able to arrange for the services of a tutor, as he gradually recovered his health and spirits. When she married Petyr Baelish at the end of the war, her son was well and truly over his ill-health. She had frequently complained, in the course of their marriage, that she and her son came a poor second, in her husband’s list of priorities, after Robert Baratheon and his own involvement in political and public affairs. So while his mother went off to prison, Robin was taken in by his uncle Edmure and his aunt Roslin, who brought him up.

The other highlight of the trial was Jaime Lannister’s guilty reaction when Tyrion revealed how he’d planned to get Gregor Clegane to convince his younger brother to do his bidding. When the barrister defending Jaime asked, “Why should Squadron-Leader Lannister not have made this statement?” Tyrion shot back with, “Because Gregor had a reputation as a killer, both within and outside the boxing ring.” He then told a horrified court how Gregor had held his six-year-old brother’s face to the fire, because the younger boy had dared to play with a toy that belonged to Gregor. He also spoke of the suspicion that Gregor might have killed his father.

Luckily for Tyrion, Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane had just died in a boxing match against Oberyn “The Viper” Santander-Martell. It was supposed to be a friendly match between two regiments, until both men ended up killing each other. Had Gregor returned alive after a victory over Oberyn Martell, he would most likely have killed the youngest of Lord Tywin’s brood, rather than going after his younger brother. That, in any case, was what Sandor Clegane chose to believe, as he told Sansa.

Sandor did well at the Met—he soon realised that not all officers appreciated men like Gregor. There were those who respected his doggedness in getting at the truth, his honesty and his sense of justice. These were the men who encouraged him in his career, with praise and promotions.

Joy Hill kept Sansa and Tyrion abreast of all that happened in the Lannister family, after Jaime, Cersei and Lancel were convicted and sentenced—she was able to get help from the ladies at the Crag to have her letters posted. Tywin refused to name him his heir in his will, despite Aunt Genna’s insistence that he do so. After his death, Tyrion’s cousins contested the will on his behalf, to ensure that he got his rightful share as heir to Casterly Rock.

“After all,” as Daven told Sansa when she and Tyrion met him at his wedding, “it took a great deal of courage to stand up and do what he did—admit that his brother had done something so terrible. Jaime was the only one in the family, other than Aunt Genna, Uncle Tyrek and Uncle Gerion, to really stand up for him. And he was the only one of us who stayed on at the Rock and took care of things after the war—it’s only fair he should get it.”

It was some months after the trial and sentencing of the five culprits that both Sansa and Tyrion received anonymous threatening notes. These notes consisted of words, cut from newspaper headlines, pasted onto cheap notepaper. All the police could say was that the notes were posted from somewhere in the West Country, close to Lannisport.  They were soon able to zero in on the main culprit—Joffrey, who had lost his claim to Dragonstone when the truth of his birth was revealed in the course of the trial. The two younger children, Myrcella and Tommen, were shocked at the revelations, but had soon recovered; Joy Hill told Sansa that the two youngest understood that their mother and uncle had committed crimes, which was why they’d been sent to jail.

Unfortunately, Joffrey had few friends—his closest relationship had been with his mother, who had assured him that he was exactly like his uncle Jaime. She had flattered him into an excellent opinion of himself, and he had come to believe that the world existed to do his bidding.  So the trial of his mother and uncle for four murders, and the revelation of their relationship, came as a shock to him, as did the realisation that two people whom he’d thought of as nothing had come forward to testify against his uncle.

Luckily for Joffrey, he was caught before he could do any real harm—but both Sansa and Tyrion spent many sleepless nights wondering who the writer could be and what he could do to hurt them or those close to them. Joffrey ended up in a mental sanatorium, where the doctors tried to undo the harm done during the first twenty-two years of his life.

Sansa continued to work at Miss Mordane’s, and much to the shock of respectable members of her acquaintance, she kept up her friendship with Professor Lannister, of whose dreadful reputation many spoke in whispers. She received many proposals for her hand in marriage; she even liked some of the men who proposed, such as Harrold Harrdyng of the Vale and Willas Tyrell of Highgarden. She could not forget the risks Tyrion had taken to get them all—herself, Sandor, his servants and himself—away from his family and the harm they could do them all.

It was when she thought of all this that Sansa felt more drawn to Tyrion than to her other suitors—they had shared a difficult time together and she had learnt to trust him. He had acted quickly and decisively to get them all out of a dangerous situation and into positions where they had some power to influence the outcome of events, instead of being at the mercy of people like Cersei, Joffrey and his father. Perhaps it was that which kept her at his side long after her suitors had left in search of greener pastures.

Tags: asoiaf; gothic au; sansa stark; tyrion l

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