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The sudden punch send Jaime to the ground hard, the man would almost certainly have a black eye and Cersei was immediately at her twin's side. Hadrian towered over his younger siblings, his gaze was stormy and his fists remained clenched. Inside his mind there was a mounting fury as he looked down on them with the utmost disgust. He grabbed Jaime by the scruff of his neck and hit him again, this time in the stomach. Then he backhanded him sending him to the floor once more but with more than a black eye as Jaime's lip was now bleeding too and he was feeling a lot of pain in his gut.

"How long has this been going on?" He hissed at them. Both Jaime and Cersei looked up and tried to answer back but found themselves nearly paralyzed by his intense glare. His magic was reacting to his anger and his eyes almost seemed to glow a frightening shade of green. Later the twins would dismiss it as just their imagination but right here and now they could not help but think that there was something…otherworldly about their older brother. Finally Jaime whose eye was already starting to swell managed to answer.

"Since we were children." Hadrian suddenly felt a headache coming on and his hand started massaging his temple as he considered the situation he was now confronted with.

In this day and age he knew marrying cousins was nearly common place in the upper echelons of the great houses, his own mother in this world had been his father's cousin after all and the Starks were known to breed almost exclusively with Northern noble women until Ned had married Lady Catelyn Tully. But distant memories of another time and place brought forth images of pure-blooded bigotry and idiocy from such practices. That was one reason why he had married Clarice, an outsider from another country with no blood ties to the Lannisters or even Westeros for that matter. Fresh blood to revive the family line otherwise inherited lunacy and disorders would become commonplace. The infamous madness that House Targaryen was known for and King Aerys had suffered from was a perfect example of this as they kept marrying their own cousins and even brothers and sisters to keep their Valyrian bloodline pure. Not all the members of their house had it although Prince Viserys was definitely showing it before the end of his life, Queen Rhaella did not have it and so far her daughter Princess Daenerys seemed to be free of it too but they would constantly have to watch her just in case. Then with that thought Hadrian suddenly realised something.

"Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen." He said looking at Cersei who had moments ago been ready to shout at him for striking his brother as her stubbornness returned only to flee again as her older brother realised the truth about her children and all she could do was nod. Hadrian started pacing as his temper started building again, cursing himself for not noticing it before. All three children were slim, golden haired and green eyed. Not a trace of the blue eyes, dark hair or strong build that the Baratheon line was known for. Admittedly he had not seen much of the children as he was often on either business trips or at Casterly Rock and when he had seen them he had thought that maybe as they became teenagers their hair would darken or something like that. Tommen and Myrcella were still young and he had little contact at all with Joffrey although of course the boy and his siblings were constantly being watched by his own spy network but his spies had focused rather on comings and goings and who they met with rather than what they looked like.

Now his younger siblings had done something so unbelievably stupid that he could not even contemplate how they had thought they would get away with it. If they had been screwing each other for years then there was a good chance someone must have noticed, if Varys had not known it was going on Hadrian would eat his own armour. Thinking he was going to have to have words with the Master of Whispers he turned back to them and with his eyes lit up with rage but careful not to yell in case someone else should someone else hear him.

"Do you have any idea what this could do to you if the wrong person finds out?! To our family?!" He hissed at them both causing them to wince, already Robert hated their family although he did tolerate Tyrion and Hadrian. Tyrion was able to share many of the same pursuits as Robert, namely whoring and drinking although not to the extremes that Robert did but the two were able to share stories over drinks and Tyrion had many to share much to their father's annoyance. Hadrian meanwhile had endeared himself to Robert by gifts that the man could appreciate and adding fresh wealth to the royal treasury with tax from the increased trade. Cersei however due to her bitter and difficult nature, constantly indulging the sadistic whims of Joffrey and general disgust at her husband managed to ruin nearly any good feeling in his highness towards their house. The rest of the Lannisters had not endeared themselves to the King either and if Robert was making Ned Stark, a man with little to no skill in southern politics although admittedly the King's best friend his hand over Tywin and even Hadrian or Tyrion all three of whom had shown the actual skills necessary in the job and with Tywin's many years of experience in that role then it really showed how much the king hated the Lannisters. Hadrian grabbed Jaime by the scruff of his neck and hissed into his ear harshly. "Fuck her again and our father, little brother will be the least of your problems. I'll be watching." He then shoved his brother to the floor again.

A scandal like this would be enough for Robert to rally all the other great houses against them, many of whom would rejoice at the downfall of House Lannister…hated so much due to Tywin's actions despite Hadrian's attempts to repair the damage and the overwhelming possibility to rise up and take their position as the most wealthy and powerful house in Westeros would be too much for any other house to resist especially for the likes of Mace Tyrell, not to mention possible threats from within the Westerlands themselves if one of their banner men got ideas he could replace them as Lords Paramount and betrays them.

Against all the other houses they would be slaughtered, no question about that. House Lannister would go the way of House Targaryen, mostly wiped out except for a possible few survivors lucky enough to escape if you could call having to live on the run for the rest of your life…living.

Hadrian walked out of the room and back down the curving stairs without even glancing at his siblings, breaking himself from nightmarish visions of his home at Casterly Rock being burnt to the ground with his children being butchered by Robert's thugs. He knew that for the sake of his own children and the other members of the extended Lannister family who had no part in this sordid affair he would have to stay quiet and silence anyone that might spill the beans until Robert was dead. With him gone his own house Baratheon would lose its leader and Renly and Stannis would turn on each other for a chance at the crown. Ser Loras Tyrell, Renly's lover and that Red Priestess Stannis had taken up with would see to that if the reports he had heard were true. If they did not stand united then the threat they posed was significantly reduced although both would still be dangerous. Hadrian went back his temporary rooms and sat at his desk pouring a glass of fire whisky as he contemplated the situation in front of him.

There was another problem he had to worry about though. If Robert died before Jon was ready and Tywin was still alive then they would be stuck with Joffrey as king and that was a worry enough on its own. Jon was a smart lad and a capable fighter, but to become king he would not only have to learn how to lead an army but how to effectively and efficiently run a kingdom. Even with the smartest Targaryen of her generation Rhaella as his teacher and other excellent tutors it would be a couple of years at least before they could even think of trying to put Jon on the throne given he would also have to build an army of his own since he and the other allies Jon would have here might not be able to render immediate assistance, not to mention Tywin, Cersei and Joffrey would have to be removed from the equation. He disliked the idea of killing his own family, but this was his course and for the sake of the kingdoms and everyone in them he must stay true to it. Tywin for now would be spared for as long as possible, but not really for sentimental reasons Tywin had blown those long ago. But a man of his intelligence, resourcefulness and cunning was rare to come by and he could be very helpful in the coming war to remove their enemies. So for now Hadrian thought to himself, the man would be spared. But there was little he could actually do about his siblings' incest, any threats he might use would not be a hundred percent effective, he would not be around all the time to watch them and any intense observation or action would likely draw unwanted attention which was the last thing they wanted. So as much as it pained him he would just have to warn them off as best he could and distance himself slowly, in a politically sense from them in event of the worse happening.

However certain plans would have to be accelerated given how little time they might have. So he took the blank parchment from his desk, his quill and ink and started writing. By the time he got to Casterly Rock, he wanted things ready for a major first step.

Meanwhile in another room Lord Eddard Stark and his lady wife Catelyn were arguing over a recently arrived letter.

"She risked everything to send us that letter Ned. Her head could end up resting on a spike." Catelyn argued believing her sister's accusation that the Lannisters had murdered Jon Arryn. The man had been like a father to Ned. The fact that her sister had felt so threatened that she had fled to the Eyrie only added weight to her sister's concerns. It also made her even more uneasy about her oldest and prized daughter being betrothed to that spawn of a Lannister even if it had been what Sansa wanted. Also Lysa's implication that Robert was in danger made the situation seem all the more desperate.

Ned turned away to think as his wife and the long serving Maester Luwin stated the obvious and that he alone could protect Robert. While Ned had conspired to save the son of the man Robert hated most Rhaegar Targaryen he was still Ned's best friend and he would protect him as long as he drew breath. Hadrian Lannister he already knew from the man's own lips was plotting against Robert but had no intention of threatening the man's life before Jon was ready. The rest of his family however could not be more different. Queen Cersei was a cold and bitter woman, he knew that from his wife's own words and the other two brothers were largely unknown to him. He certainly would not put it past Tywin Lannister to pull something like this.

So whether he liked it or not, to save his friend he was going to have to accept Robert's offer to make him Hand of the King. For the sake of his old mentor, he had to find out the truth.

The following day at breakfast Jaime and Cersei were very quiet as they felt their older brother's eyes on them. Jaime had explained his prominent black eye and other bruises on a drunken fight whenever someone had asked him. Tommen and Myrcella along with Hadrian's own children could feel the tension that was surrounding the grown-ups at the table. None of them even Tyler dared ask what was going on between the adults sitting at that table. It was a welcome relief when Tyrion stepped into the hall.

"Uncle Tyrion!" The children cried out and the Imp man smiled and sat on his chair helping himself to some of the breakfast items that were on the table already while ordering more from the servants that hung around the table who immediately rushed to follow the lord's order. Hadrian perked up a bit at the sight of the only sibling he could stand to be around right now. He smiled at his youngest brother who smiled back noticing the tension at the table but planned to ask his brothers about it later.

"Greetings my dear siblings." Tyrion said feeling a sense of accomplishment for slapping that annoying shit Joffrey for his blatant disrespect of the Starks. This was their castle and even here in the North, doors have holes for ears to listen at. The crown prince seemed to think his position made him invincible so he could treat others however he liked and that was going to get the arrogant little shit killed one day. He blamed it on Cersei's influence, her arrogance and misplaced pride had long since been a concern for their father especially as she influenced Joffrey hoping to gain the power that she had long craved.

"Tyrion." Hadrian said firmly gripping his younger brother's hand and shaking it. Jaime looked happier to see Tyrion too although Cersei's eyes tightened despite her slight smile that she put on for appearance's sake at the sight of the Imp she blamed for her mother's death.

"Little brother." Jaime said in welcome and Tyrion asked him when he saw the split lip and black eye Jaime was sporting.

"So who won?" He guessed someone had something against his brother's face but who he wondered. Then he saw the frown his oldest brother Hadrian was sporting so uncomfortably on his face and guessed that it was Hadrian that had hit their brother. That nearly brought a frown to Tyrion's face which he stopped with a casual smirk. His brothers usually got on so whatever had set them off he reasoned must be something pretty big to get his legendarily calm brother to react with violence and judging by the unsettled look on Cersei's face she was probably involved too. Something to do with their sister, that Tyrion thought made a lot of sense. Hadrian and Cersei had always had an uneasy relationship. Still until someone told him what had happened he would not push too hard.

Jaime grimaced as his bruises ached and Hadrian decided to take pity on his brother and his sister despite the situation they had placed him in.

"It does not matter now. Family is what matters, if we don't stand by each other who will? Right dear sister?" Hadrian asked deciding to let his siblings know that he was not going to blow the whistle on them, handing Jaime a salve that would help his bruises heal more quickly and the two of them looked at him in surprised but relief quickly became evident in their eyes. Cersei unconsciously put her hand Myrcella's shoulder who was sitting next to her and said with a smile.

"Absolutely brother." She turned to her nephew Tyler who was cutting up his bacon like a good young lord despite the pranks he and that scruffy looking she-wolf of Lord Stark's had unleashed on the castle. A future Lord of Casterly Rock should have higher standards than running around with such a wild thing from the North Cersei thought to herself. The other girl at least had the right manners, looked half decent and once married to Joffrey would be easy to manipulate, to if necessary shape in her own image. A woman from the Westerlands would have been her preferred choice in a partner for Joffrey tying the crown more firmly to her own homeland but she had to admit making a match between her golden boy Joffrey and a powerful kingdom like the North would make his throne secure. So she did not object to the betrothal and would advise Joffrey on how to court Lady Sansa.

"Very true." Tyrion said as he reached over to pick another piece of bacon before turning to Cersei who was now looking more comfortable although still annoyed at being here instead of the warmth of King's Landing and Tyrion decided to note it verbally. "The charms of the North seem entirely lost on you sister."

Cersei looked at him exasperated and said.

"I still can't believe you are going. It is ridiculous even for you." She referred of course to his plan to head north to the Wall to see the greatest man made object in all the country. Tyrion of course was not bothered in the slightest and asked her incredulously.

"Come now. Where is your sense of wonder? The greatest structure ever built, the intrepid men of the Night's Watch. The wintery abode of the White Walkers." He added changing his tone to mock fearful and looking straight at the children around the table who all laughed and smiled in childish glee. The other adults around the table all looked on in resigned amusement as Jaime slipping his drink said.

"Tell me you aren't taking the black?" Referring to the term used when people joined the Night's Watch. Heard more commonly around the Westerlands these days as men convicted of serious enough crimes were given a choice; death or the Wall. Most took the Wall and those convicted of lesser crimes but still serious enough to land them in the jails were often offered a pass on their crimes if they took the black. It helped keep the jails from overflowing and reinforced the Wall with new recruits who swiftly fell in line after the rough hand of Night's Watch came down on them.

Jaime's question however brought indignation from Tyrion.

"And go celibate? The whores would go begging from Dorne to Casterly Rock. No I just want to stand on the top of the wall and piss off the edge of the world." Tyrion said back in an affronted tone before regaining its previous amusement causing nearly all of them to chuckle, forgetting that he was in the presence of young children who probably had never even heard of a whore before. Cersei despite everyone having a small laugh at Tyrion's crude humour was not amused and said sternly mindful of him corrupting her children with his whoring ways.

"Children do not need to hear your filth." Then Hadrian decided to change the subject and turned to Tyler who was sitting next to Myrcella.

"I noticed you are spending a lot of time with the young lady Arya Stark my son." Hadrian said as he sipped his drink and his son looked up and his cheeks started getting ever so slightly pick causing everyone to smile at his predicament. Tyrion of course decided to tease the boy.

"So the young lord has found himself a young lady? Shall we send for the septon now or should we wait till we get back to Casterly Rock?" That really caused poor Tyler's cheeks to start burning with embarrassment while everyone chuckled even Cersei couldn't help herself. The boy was not one to take it quietly and he argued back far too quickly to convince anyone.

"She was just showing me around that's all." Tyler nearly shouted and Hadrian smiled at his son and ruffled his hair.

"I know my son, but remember despite how rebellious she might be she is still a young lady and should be treated with courtesy and respect. Is that understood?" He asked gently but firmly. Tyler nodded slowly and answered.

"Yes father." Cersei of course had to have her say.

"You should be careful of the company you keep nephew. Arya Stark is not a true lady like her sister." Joanna however spoke up in the girl in question's defence.

"So what? Sansa is so boring! Arya is much more fun!" Hadrian saw his other two daughters and even his niece Myrcella nod their heads in agreement. Even Richard and Tommen nodded.

Later that day Sansa Stark was walking through the corridors of Winterfell with her direwolf Lady trotting dutifully at her side. Sansa was not like her siblings, she knew that all too well despite how much she loved them even Arya who annoyed her at the best of times and who had unleashed a terrifying series of pranks alongside Tyler Lannister since the boy's arrival. Sansa had been raised by her mother to be a high born lady, to marry into a great house or even to a prince if she was lucky so her mother Lady Catelyn had ensured she was fit for that purpose. She was very skilled in; singing, poetry, dancing, sewing and all the other traditional lady's skills. She also had been complimented many times for being something of a beauty although she was still young having inherited her mother's auburn hair, high cheek bones and vivid blue eyes. Many people upon meeting her for the first time thought she was a Tully rather than a Stark. She had also been raised on stories of great and handsome knights that rescued beautiful maidens and lived happily ever after having beautiful children while living in grand castles. He had seen her father frown when she was told these stories, when she had asked him why he had told her that the world was never that perfect and that noble knights like in the stories did not exist. But she did not believe him, noble knights did exist and she was betrothed to her handsome golden prince. One day she would be his queen and her children would be beautiful princes and princesses.

As she entered the training yard she saw a sight that made her stop in surprise. Next to the archery targets she saw the Princess Myrcella with a bow in her hands while the three daughters of Lord Lannister Cassia, Sabine and Joanna were urging her on. She frowned at the four ladies, one of them a princess doing something so unladylike but then Sabine Lannister noticed Sansa and smiling that wide grin of her's waved Sansa over. Sansa wanted to go back inside but her father had warned her about insulting the Lannister family. They were the richest and most powerful house in all of the Seven Kingdoms and could be a very dangerous enemy if crossed. So she took heed of the summons and went over to the four ladies just as Myrcella managed to hit the inner circle of the target. Her cousins cheered and Sansa felt more uneasy as she knew that she should probably congratulate the princess but she was still confused as to what they were doing.

"Lady Sansa, perhaps you should join us?" Lady Joanna said with a beaming smile handing her a bow and arrow which Sansa refused to take.

"I am afraid that I don't use the bow milady's." She said trying not to be rude and the four Lannister women just kept smiling and Lady Cassia asked.

"So what weapon do you prefer?" They all seemed not to notice her increasing unease but when Sansa dropped her gaze to her feet and said in as strong a voice as she could.

"It would not be seemly for a lady to learn the bow." The four blondes looked at her in surprise for a moment before bursting out with laughter. Sansa looked at them in shock as they did this for a moment before Princess Myrcella pulled herself together enough to ask.

"Where is the fun in that?"

"Fun?" Sansa asked confused as to why these ladies were so different to their mother or aunt. The Queen and her own mother Lady Catelyn would not approve of such activities, she knew Arya managed to drive their mother near madness at times but the four girls in front of her seemed to revel in such things too. Then Lady Joanna smirked and said to Sansa with a glint in her eye.

"I bet you could not even hit that target over there? Or are you just an ornament?" That did get a response from Sansa, despite her noble upbringing she was still a Stark and had a temper to match so with her anger rising she snatched the bow and arrow and took aim on the target. Although she had never done it herself before she had seen her brothers and her sister do this many times before and she took aim and fired surprising herself by hitting the outer edges of the target. Her small audience cheered and Lady Cassia smiled saying.

"Perhaps you are not so hopeless after all. You are a Stark girl, act like one. My family will respect you and take you a lot more seriously if you do." Sansa then put down the bow and walked out of the yard with Cassia's words ringing in her ears.

After the king returned from his hunt and a month after he and his party had arrived at Winterfell, the royal party began plans to return to King's Landing, Lord Stark had agreed albeit reluctantly to become his hand and would travel south with them. A party of Northmen would travel with him as part of his own guard given his new position. Sansa due to her betrothal to Prince Joffrey would come with them and Arya was coming too as Ned thought it would be a good experience for her to see the south. Bran was coming along with the royal party but they would separate as Hadrian would lead his own group back to Casterly Rock and Bran would go with him. Catelyn had not been pleased when she had heard but given it was the king's command there was little she could do. Robb would stay at Winterfell and rule the North in his stead. It would be good to give his son some experience for when he became the Warden of the North. Catelyn would stay with him and care for their youngest son Rickon.

As he prepared to leave Ned gave his son a smile as Robb looked nervous at the responsibility being placed on his shoulders and Ned said to reassure him.

"You will be fine Robb." His eldest son looked unsure but determined to live up to his father's confidence in him. So kissing Catelyn goodbye he gave his youngest son a hug which the young lad returned. Reluctantly letting the boy go he got on his waiting horse and the procession set off leaving those staying at Winterfell with a sinking feeling in the pits of their stomachs.

As the large procession made their way down the long route known as The King's Road Jaime and Cersei felt their brother's gaze upon them. His warning still ringing in their ears they decided to play it cool till he was gone. After that they would have to be more careful so the wrong person did not catch them again. Cersei had screamed bloody murder at Robert for sending her two youngest children away to Casterly Rock but for once maybe due to the knowledge that he would have his best friend at his side again Robert did not budge. Myrcella and Tommen would be going to Casterly Rock and that was the end of it.

A month or so later the procession had stopped at an inn near Castle Darry because the king wanted to rest a while before carrying on. Hadrian and his party would soon leave to continue their own journey to Casterly Rock. Hadrian and his children were already looking forward to going home, this trip and all its revelations had left him with a bad taste in his mouth.

He was showing Bran Stark some basic moves with a sword, the boy eagerly watched as he cut, slashed and stabbed at imaginary enemies. As he was fighting no one he had decided to use his proper sword Crimson Night which Bran studied intently.

"Is that a Valyrian steel sword?" Bran asked with the childish enthusiasm and Hadrian smiling handed Bran the sword so the boy could study it up close. Bran found the sword to be heavy but was entranced by the dark but distinctive ripple patterns in the steel, he had only ever seen one other Valyrian steel weapon his own family's ancestral sword Ice. Hadrian let the boy hold it for a moment before taking it back and Bran asked him. "Is that your family's sword?"

Hadrian holstered his blade and sat down next to the young lad before speaking.

"No, my family's ancestral weapon is Brightroar, a long sword like this one currently wielded by my father as the head of our house. This weapon is called Crimson Night that I had made from another Valyrian steel sword and I wield exclusively. One day Brightroar will belong to my son Tyler as head of House Lannister while Crimson Night will be passed down to Richard." Bran looked on surprise.

"Your family has two Valyrian Steel swords?!" Bran knew from Maester Luwin that just having one such blade was incredibly rare and those swords were often treasured family heirlooms. To have two was practically unheard of.

Hadrian was prevented from answered when he noticed his daughter Sabine running towards them as fast as her legs could carry her. Hadrian got to his feet with young Bran beside him and walked over to meet the out of breath girl who looked relieved to see her father.

"Sabine what is it? What is wrong?" Hadrian asked seeing the look on his daughter's face. His second oldest daughter was near panicking and managed to quickly say through her gasps of breath.

"Father, Tyler and Arya have been dragged before the king, the queen is accusing them of trying to kill Joffrey."

Hadrian immediately rushed over to the king's tent where he saw his son and Arya Stark stood before the king with a very worried Lord Stark, an annoyed looking King and his sister Queen Cersei looking at the two children with a vicious glint of triumph in her eyes mirrored by her own eldest son who was standing at her side. But Hadrian's eyes instantly fell on his son who had a makeshift bandage made from his torn tunic around his right arm which was discoloured with blood. Arya had the beginnings of a black eye as well but otherwise looked thankfully unhurt. Joffrey however only had a normal unstained bandage wrapped around his right arm.

"WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?" Hadrian demanded as he barged into the tent. Everyone's eyes turned to see the furious man storming into the confined space. Tyler looked very relieved to see his father confident that he would sort this out. Hadrian meanwhile was very worried at the cut that was running down his son's arm but was thankfully bandaged.

Lord Stark however was worried that Hadrian might dump any blame for the situation on his youngest daughter to protect his own son. Sansa had not made the matter any better my pretending that she did not remember what had happened there not wanting to upset Joffrey or the queen, putting their opinions of her before those of her own father or sister. Cersei told her older brother not realising how dangerous her accusation was given that it was directed at his son.

"That boy and the horrid savage set a direwolf on my son! They hit him with swords and left him with scars that will never heal." She turned to her son and said gently. "Tell them what happened Joffrey." The arrogant blond shit then gave them a long winded and ridiculously overblown story of him being set on out of the blue by Arya, Tyler and a butcher's boy with swords and a direwolf that he had heroically escaped. But the boy was never able to meet anyone's eyes which clued in everyone except his own mother that he was lying through his teeth, something Tyler immediately called him out on it.

"That's a lie." Tyler snapped quickly with a glare directed at his aunt and Arya was giving her a look that promised bloody murder if given the chance. Hadrian decided to let his son and Arya tell their side of the story so he said.

"Tell us what happened from the beginning."

Flashback….Earlier that day

Tyler and Arya were running alongside the Ruby Ford. Arya had wanted to find Rhaegar's rubies that had broken off from his armour during the battle there. She had even dragged her friend Mycah, the butcher's boy to join them but the three children had quickly gotten bored and were playing knights although Tyler was not using his real sword but a stick from a nearby tree like Arya and Mycah were. Nymeria, Arya's direwolf was playing in the water nearby as her mistress and friends had fun.

Tyler saw the way Mycah was holding his stick and told him.

"No don't hold it like that, you are going to get killed. Hold it like this." He said showing him how to correctly hold a sword even though it was just a stick. The butcher was nervous at being so close to an heir to the richest and most dangerous house in all of Westeros but was grateful for the advice, hopefully the first step towards becoming a knight.

Arya beamed as her newest friend showing Mycah how to handle a sword properly and not treating him badly just because of his lowly birth. She did not really know what to make of Tyler, he was a lot of fun to be around, really smart and did not look down on her because she was a girl. He encouraged her to do the things she found interesting like sword fighting, riding or archery often enjoying them with her. He was kind to her siblings and servants alike when he was not pranking them. And when he smiled at her she felt her cheeks heat up and felt like butterflies were fluttering about her stomach. She refused to acknowledge it though, she was not a silly girl like Sansa who would go weak at the knees just because some dashing knight smiled at her. Her sister's bad judgement of character was already showing because of her infatuation with the horrible Joffrey.

Arya and Mycah were wildly waving their sticks around while Tyler who was starting to get bored with the game sat back against a nearby tree watching them. He smiled as he studied Arya, nearly entranced by her gleeful smile and determination. But then he saw trouble approaching from the direction of the camp.

His cousin, Prince Joffrey and Joffrey's betrothed Lady Sansa Stark Arya's older sister walking arm in arm towards them. Tyler hated Joffrey although they had only met several times, the vicious little shit was horrible to everyone he met. Knowing trouble was coming he got up from his spot in the shade and walked over.

"Arya." Sansa shouted looking horrified that her sister was acting so undignified, unfortunately Mycah not having time to stop accidentally caught Arya on the shoulder when she was distracted by her sister. Joffrey sneered at the unkempt Arya who said back to Sansa annoyed that she was interrupting.

"What are you doing here? Go away." Joffrey still sneering walked closer.

"Your sister I presume. Who are you boy?" He asked with distain in his voice and Sansa answered with a shameful nod then Joffrey focused his attention on the boy.

"Mycah, my lord." The boy answered nervously and Sansa looked on with distaste adding.

"He's the butcher's boy." But Arya said quickly.

"He's my friend." Tyler now reached them and worried that something bad was about to go down, stepped in front of Arya and stayed in front of her despite her efforts to push past him. Tyler decided to try and stop the situation before it got any worse.

"Come now cousin, the boy is already terrified why do you need to do anything more?" Arya looked at Tyler confused as to why he was saying such things but Joffrey with that insane smile on his face answered back with deceptive calm.

"The butcher's boy who thinks himself a knight and he struck my future good sister. Let's see how good he is." Joffrey said drawing his own sword Lion's Tooth while Mycah looked on with absolute panic as he was faced with the crown prince armed with a real steel sword while he was only carrying a flimsy stick.

"She asked me too, my lord. She asked me too." Mycah said quickly only for Joffrey to answer back.

"I'm not your lord, I'm your prince." He then started menacing the very scared boy with his sword only for Arya to push past Tyler and shove Joffrey away from Mycah who quickly took off.

"Leave him alone." But that was like waving a red flag in front of a bull as the red mist descended on Joffrey who quickly smacked her in the face knocking her down screaming in an extreme shrill while Sansa screamed at Arya for spoiling everything, she had been having such a good day with her prince until her horrible sister had spoiled everything.

"FILTHY LITTLE BITCH! I'LL GUT YOU! YOU LITTLE CUNT!" Joffrey then with his real steel sword got ready to slash straight into Arya when Tyler out of nowhere rushed forward and caught the blow, crying out in pain as the sword slashed cutting vertically down his right arm leaving a gash which immediately started bleeding. Sansa screamed at the sight of the blood but before Joffrey could attack again Nymeria rushed forward and bit down on his arm forcing him to drop his sword crying out in pain until the wolf let go. Joffrey immediately ran off with Sansa in hot pursuit while Arya grabbed the forgotten sword and threw it into the river before she rushed over to Tyler who was using his good hand to try and stem the bleeding.

"Oh gods." Arya said in horror as she saw the nasty cut which was sure to scar. Tyler despite the pain shrugged off his tunic and said to her desperately.

"Help me tear this to make a bandage so we can stop the bleeding." That got the young Stark to pull herself together and grab the already bloody tunic and start tearing it into strips to wrap firmly around the cut.

End Flashback…

"And that was what happened." Arya said looking imploringly into the King's eyes and her father's desperate for them to believe her.

Hadrian meanwhile was furious. Joffrey had nearly killed his son! Worse his idiot of a sister was trying to get Tyler and Arya in trouble for her son's mistakes and soon enough Cersei broke in with a venom filled tirade.

"They are lying! My son will carry a scar for the rest of his life." She said but then Hadrian started on her with his own angry outburst causing his previously confident sister to lose her victorious glint in her eyes.

"Good! The boy deserves a mark or two after what he did to my son who will carry a far bigger scar than those pathetic little cuts. Not to mention trying to murder a daughter of a great house!" Hadrian bellowed at his sister while Lord Stark and the King looked on in surprise. Tyler and Arya looked at him with relief that he believed them. "The boy can't even meet the eyes of people in this room when he opens that foul pit which is his mouth, he is clearly lying. And just to point out if Arya had set that direwolf on Joffrey then it would have ripped his throat out, all the creature was doing was protecting her mistress. Not to mention if he was so viciously attacked where are his other wounds? All he has is a bite mark on his arm and not a particularly deep one at that. My son has a gash down his right arm and Lady Arya has a black eye. Their story at least matches the present facts." Hadrian looked at the King who looked at Joffrey with the utmost shame and disgust. In that moment Hadrian actually felt briefly sorry for Robert to have to put up with Joffrey as a son. The fat king sighed and said.

"My apologies Lord Lannister. I will see to it the boy is disciplined and send for a maester for your son." Robert said regretfully hoping not alienate one of the few Lannisters he could stand and Hadrian shook his head.

"I have already sent for one, now I had best get my son's arm looked at. Good day your grace." He said meaning to make his exit only for Cersei not willing to totally concede defeat to shout.

"But that wolf still attacked my son! I demand justice." Hadrian's eyes darkened as his sister's bitterness came forward.

"I'd forgotten about the wolf." Robert said and Lord Stark jumped in quickly to prevent any more pain.

"I will send both wolves back north, the heat of the south will be bad for them anyway. At Winterfell at least they will be with their rest of their pack." Robert nodded and said.

"See to it at once Ned. Gods' I need a drink." Robert felt a headache coming on as he left the tent and Ned Stark then took his leave to get the animal guardians of his children away before Cersei decided to have the wolves killed herself and to check on Sansa who apparently was so upset at what had happened she had needed to hug Lady for comfort. Robert was sure to get an nasty earful from Cersei later who had stormed out of the tent with a look of indignation on her face leaving Joffrey behind who was looking angry at not getting Tyler and Arya in trouble only to see his uncle Hadrian suddenly looming over him and his terror mounted as his mother was not here to protect him.

Hadrian looked the boy that had emerald green Lannister eyes just like his own, except Hadrian's eyes were nearly glowing with rage, Joffrey's were showing his fear. Hadrian spoke quietly and with an eerie calmness that hinted terrible violence just below the surface.

"You could have killed my son today. Before I was willing to make some allowances for your behaviour given you are my nephew but from this day forward…no more. One day Joffrey I will take payment for what you did. Not today…not tomorrow…not next week or even a year from now but one day I will make you pay your debt. You can tell your mother this if you like but she can do nothing. She will not always be there to protect you. So just remember…I'll be waiting." With that last comment Hadrian walked out of the tent with Arya and Tyler at his heels and a crown prince was left alone in the tent ready to piss himself.

In a private room at the inn, Hadrian carefully removed the bandages from his son's arm and was worried at the deepness of the cut. Arya and Bran were both sitting across from them looking equally unsettled at the injury inflicted on Tyler's arm.

"You won't lose it." Hadrian said with confidence but added with some remorse. "But there will be a scar. Nothing can be done to prevent that although I can reduce its extent."

"How can you fix…that?" Bran asked looking at the wound on Tyler's arm that was the most horrific wound he had ever seen except from when he had seen his father take the head off a Night watch deserter. Arya too was confused at what he meant and Hadrian smiled along with Tyler although in the boy's case it was tinged with pain. Hadrian then concentrated on the core of energy that was like a fire inside him, focused it with his intent, drawing its warmth into his hands as he carefully put them on his son's damaged arm who winced at the contact but did not shrug him off. Hadrian's hands were slowly engulfed by a bluish fire that shocked Arya and Bran enough to jump to their feet ready to grab a bucket of water only to stop confused at the sudden expression of relief on Tyler's face and that Lord Lannister was not crying in pain from his hands being covered in flames. Through the flames as they looked more closely they were astonished to see the skin was knitting itself back together and the dried blood was vanishing. A moment or so later Hadrian withdrew his hands and despite the long thin scar running down his arm there was little trace of the wound that had been inflicted on Tyler just a short time before. The two Stark children just stood there in amazement as Tyler slowly moved his arm as if to test its response while his father told him sternly.

"Do not put too much pressure on it, it will need to rest before you can continue using it as before. And don't forget to apply bandages every day, we have to keep up appearances right?" He said pressing his son who he knew would probably ignore his advice but he could but try. Tyler just smirked at him and Hadrian shook his head in exasperation at his rebellious son. Arya meanwhile had managed to rediscover her ability to speak and asked.

"What was that?" She looked closely at Tyler's arm and saw there was little to no trace of the injury. Bran just smirked at her as he got over his own amazement and said.

"Arya Stark near speechless, I never thought I would see the day." Bran quickly received a thump on the arm from Arya who looked at him indignantly. Tyler meanwhile said one word to answer her question.

"Magic." Both Stark children forgot their little spat immediately and started asking questions. They spoke so quickly and at the same time so it was a completely incomprehensive jumble and Hadrian put a hand up to stop both children and said.

"One question at a time please." He looked to Arya who was looking at Tyler's healed arm and chose her first question.

"What can you do with magic?" Hadrian smiled at her.

"Depends on your willpower and how strong you are. With practice healing is just the tip of the iceberg." He told her before turning to Bran who eagerly asked with a hopeful look in his eyes.

"Can anyone learn to do magic?"

"Not everyone has the gift of magic and of all of them some never develop the will to control and focus that power. But I suspect you both do." Hadrian told the eager youngsters. Tyler looked at Arya in surprise never having suspected she might have magic. His own magical senses according to his father who educated him and his siblings in secret at Casterly Rock were very good for his age but given his father had years more experience and discipline he had a long way to go before he even came close to his level. The two Stark children perked up and looked excitedly at him and asked him together.

"Will you teach us?" Hadrian gave a mock frown to tease them for a moment before turning his frown into a smile and telling them.

"Of course, magic should be embraced as the gift it is and it will open up to you a world of possibilities you have never imagined. I will start training Bran once we get to Casterly Rock. After that I will try to find a reason for Arya to join us so she can begin her training. But it was not be easy to learn this art and I tolerate no slacking in my students, messing around with magic can be incredibly dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. Also you must never mention this to any one not even your own family. The Faith does not tolerate any signs of magic as it is an affront to their bigoted opinions. They would burn you at the stake for heresy, I say this not to frighten you but to warn you about the dangers that exist for those like us." The two Stark children were silent for a moment as they took his words in although their interest in learning was peaked higher they were unsure if they wanted to keep such a secret from their family or risk being burned at the stake if those stuffy old septons or septas like Mordane found out.

"Does every member of the Lannister family have magic?" Arya asked eventually wondering if Joffrey would begin tormenting them with some demonic power as if he wasn't bad enough without it. Hadrian had a brief moment of worry at just the thought of Joffrey having magic but he quickly reassured the girl.

"No Joffrey is as magical as a lump of horse shit. Only I and my children in House Lannister have this talent, I have seen some signs of magic in others but you two have the strongest potential I have seen outside of my own children." He hoped to put their minds at rest, he could only imagine the terror Joffrey would wreak if he had even the slightest real magic.

Later as the sun set on what had been to say the least an eventful day, Hadrian Lannister went to see Ned Stark. They had chosen a private room for their discussion not wanting to be overheard. Ned had just sent a group of his men back to Winterfell with Lady and Nymeria who thankfully had been found before she had wandered too far.

"My lord, I must thank you for your son protecting my daughter today." Ned said grateful that at least some Lannisters seemed to be decent despite his good sister's claims. Hadrian's son had taken a very bad wound to save his daughter and Ned owed him the benefit of the doubt.

He intended to keep his suspicions to himself and investigate Jon Arryn's death quietly once they had arrived in King's Landing but right now he hoped to get some information from Hadrian about who he might be able to trust there and what he was going to be facing in the capital. The insane amount of debt that Robert had built up was the only thing he really knew about at this stage and he had been working with his steward Poole the father of Jeyne Poole, Sansa's best friend to try and come up with some ideas for trying to ease the situation and some plans had been drawn up but it would be awhile before he could really start trying to stabilise the realm. Hadrian meanwhile nodded graciously and said.

"I will pass your thanks to my son, now was there something that you wished to ask of me?" Hadrian asked knowing that Stark wanted to speak about something privately and was not comfortable speaking about it within earshot of the other members of the procession.

"Who in King's Landing can I count on to work for the betterment of the realm?" Ned asked Hadrian coming straight to the point. Hadrian looked at him in dismay as he wondered how little this man must know of the game of thrones and made a note to contact Varys to have him watch Lord Stark and intervene if necessary in case the man made potentially fatal mistakes. The man was too honourable for his own good and that in the North was fine, most northern men and women were like true Gryffindors in that way. Charging in without any consideration for what might happen and honourable to a fault. But in the south that was a huge liability as it made them vulnerable to scheming manipulators and skilled political actors. Growing up it had become essential for Hadrian as a Lannister to embrace that Slytherin cunning or he would not have survived.

Ned Stark as Lord Paramount and Warden of the North was too valuable an ally to just leave to fate, he had proven himself in war although he hated it and commanded the largest region of all of the Seven Kingdoms with great influence in another the Riverlands through his wife not to mention as Jon's uncle he had a strong blood tie to the younger man. Ned's son Robb was untested and would first have to prove himself to the Northern lords and that might take too long. So for now Hadrian had to make sure that Lord Stark stayed alive.

"You want to know who you can trust in King's landing to work with you to better the realm. Then I will tell you Lord Stark…No one. You can trust no one in the capital." Hadrian said before going into detail. "My father and sister will do their utmost to secure their power in the capital although my father is the one you need to fear more since you generally won't see his attack coming, Cersei will be far less subtle about it and far more aggressive and unrefined in her methods. Also be careful what you mention to your daughters, Cersei will not hesitate to use your daughters against you and although Arya will be difficult to manipulate she could try to get at you through Sansa." Ned did not like the thought of his own daughters being used against him but with Sansa betrothed to Joffrey he had little chance of sending them back north without causing major offense.

"On the Small Council meanwhile where you will be serving the King has attended only three meetings in all the near seventeen years he has ruled preferring to spend the time whoring or drinking or in most cases both at the same time. Grand Maester Pycelle is my father's man through and through and reports all to him, he puts on the act of being old and frail when his mind is just as sharp as ever whoring almost to the extent of Robert, only less because of his advancing age. He is also the man responsible for making sure that King Aerys opened the city's gates to the Lannister army leading to the sacking. It is not a well-known fact but regardless it is true." Hadrian explained to an increasingly un-nerved Ned Stark before continuing on.

"After them there is Stannis Baratheon, the Master of Ships. Out of all of them I would have said he is the most dutiful and honour bound however he had recently deserted his seat and returned to Dragonstone ignoring all contact with his brother. Why is unclean but we do know that he has taken up with a Red Priestess from Essos and converted to her religion alongside his wife." Ned's face showed his distaste for the religion which mirrored Hadrian's own but needing to explain the situation Hadrian carried on.

"Next there is Renly Baratheon, the Master of Laws and Lord Paramount of the Stormlands. While he seems laid back and loyal to his brother he has been conspiring with the Tyrells for years. He has actually tried to convince Robert that their daughter Lady Margaery Tyrell is like Lyanna Stark and while I grant you there are a few faint similarities they are very different. I believe that when Robert dies Renly will declare himself king backed by the Reach and the Stormlands but Renly is lazy. He barely does his duties as Lord of the Stormlands and even less as Master of Laws although I have improved the situation slightly by replacing Ser Janos Slynt as commander of the city watch with a stronger and more efficient leader Ser Jacelyn Bywater, a veteran of the Greyjoy Rebellion and far more dependable and certainly less corruptible. Back to Renly however he is also gay and in a long term but poorly hidden relationship with Ser Loras Tyrell although I cannot be sure if Loras is genuine in his feelings or merely using Renly." Ned was caught by surprise at his description of Renly hoping that the youngest brother of the king would be an ally. While not necessarily comfortable with homosexuality Ned bore those who were gay no ill will whatever was said about it. However hearing that Renly had tried to use the memory of his dear sister Lyanna to break the Lannister hold on the throne and replace it with a Tyrell dominance did bring some anger to the surface and Ned made a mental note to stay clear of Renly or at least watch the man carefully less he be caught up in some Tyrell plot.

"After that there is the Master of Whispers Varys. He refuses a title but the man has possibly the largest spy network anywhere in the world with contacts in every kingdom on both sides of the Narrow Sea." Hadrian explained deciding not to let Ned know that Varys was in fact a Targaryen loyalist himself just in case the man accidently gave Varys away. "The man is near a complete mystery even to those who know him best. He is aloof from most matters but gives good and well thought out advice. He seems to have the best interests of the kingdom in mind but his own motivations remain unclear so while you should listen to the man's counsel, proceed with caution when dealing with the man." Hadrian advised Lord Stark who nodded slowly.

"Then the final member of the Small Council…the Master of Coin…Petyr Baelish." Hadrian said with disgust on his face at the mere mention of his name, he utterly despised the man. "A game player as difficult to read as Varys at times. He has a large spy network of his own and owns the biggest collection of brothels across the country and is known to provide whatever his clients want regardless of what it is." He said with anger at some of the vilest things to pass through the man's brothels but spared Lord Stark those images although his words seemed to be graphic enough for him to guess some of them. But needing to get Ned to understand Hadrian pressed on. "He has plots within plots and has tried on several occasions to enrich himself by attacking my business holdings, I made it clear that it was not a good idea by burning down several of his largest establishments after making sure that the whores could get out. But also I and my own people have long suspected that he has been embezzling from the crown and is a large contributor to the enormous debt the crown has amassed through his own wilful mismanagement of the finances although the man is so slippery we can never prove anything. He has also long claimed that he took the maidenheads of both Lysa and Catelyn Tully and remains obsessed with Lady Catelyn." He added seeing a look of anger quickly spread across the Northern lord's face the comment towards his wife's fidelity and whatever designs Baelish might have on his wife. She had come to their bed a virgin and although they had not loved each other at the time those feelings had developed between them. Their marriage was happy and with five children that they loved more than life itself. Taking in all Hadrian had said he nodded to the Lannister man and said.

"Thank you for your advice Lord Lannister. I think it will prove most helpful." He went to get up however Hadrian put a hand up to stop him and said.

"Lord Stark there is something else on a lighter note that I would like to discuss with you about your daughter and my son." Ned stopped and sat back down and asked.

"What about my daughter?"

"I was thinking that they have developed a genuine liking for each other and seem remarkably well suited. I hope we could arrange a betrothal." Ned's eyes widened in surprise and he knew that he should be careful here.

"My youngest daughter has always made in very plain that she does not wish to get married. She fears losing her freedom and having to give up pursuits she enjoys like riding or learning to fight." Hadrian surprised Ned by laughing and telling him.

"If I wanted a proper lady there are dozens of other more…refined girls across all of the country. I do not want some wilting violet that will meekly bow and do everything her husband tells her while popping out as many babies as she can. What I am looking for is a true partner for my son, someone that will stand at his side as an equal and bring him down to earth if he becomes too full of himself. Who can run a household or even kingdom if she has too while he is away, lead armies into battle without cowering behind a castle's walls. Strong, smart, resourceful and determined are the qualities that I am looking for. Being beautiful is a bonus and despite your eldest daughter and her friend labelling young Arya 'Horse face' which has hurt the girl's self-esteem although she hides it well the girl is not ugly by any means. She just has not had a chance to grow up and come into her own yet, just like your sister who from what I' am told faced similar opinions. All the rest she can be taught." He added learning much of this from his own enquiries and what he had managed to get out of Tyler who had spent far more time with the girl.

Ned meanwhile was not comfortable about betrothing his youngest daughter to a Lannister however much the boy had done for her not to mention he was concerned about what his father and grandfather would be planning. Arya was a handful at times but he loved her dearly, in fact although he would completely deny it if asked he actually secretly favoured Arya over Sansa perhaps due to fond memories of his sister who Arya closely resembled in mind and body and of his own children she was the only one that favoured the traditional Stark look. But he could not deny that it would be a good match and in fact if Hadrian was being honest about not forcing Arya to give up the pursuits she enjoyed then it would be a good deal for both parties. Hadrian then added a bonus to try and sweeten the deal.

"I will also assist in rebuilding of Moat Cailin. My builders and architects are amongst the best in the world. Once rebuilt it would make any invasion of the north from the south by land nigh impossible." That was something that Ned could not ignore, the value of that stronghold in defending the North was incalculable but still unsure he asked.

"Could we discuss this with them? I think that if we want this to even have the slightest chance of being accepted by my daughter or indeed your son if what I have seen of him is true then they need to have some input on this."

Hadrian nodded and went over to the door and told the soldier standing outside to fetch Arya and Tyler.

Later the two children in question arrived looking very confused at why their fathers were summoning them at this late hour. Closing the door behind them they walked uncertainly into the room, Arya seeing the uncomfortable look on her father's face and becoming worried that something was wrong. Hadrian however spoke first.

"Now Lord Stark and I have been discussing a proposal of mine. We want to build bridges between the North and the Westerlands and we have both noticed how close the two of you have become. So we have decided…to make a betrothal between you both."

That brought a complete silence to the room as both Arya and Tyler absorbed what they were being told. That however only lasted for a moment before Arya shouted in dismay.

"WHAT!" Tyler was still too stunned to react although that soon ended.

"Father why would you do this? You know Arya does not want to get married." Tyler only confirmed that he really cared for Arya with that comment, putting her own wellbeing before his own.

"Because as I said we want to build bridges and as your father I have long been looking for the most perfect match I could find for you…which I believe you yourself have found in Arya." Hadrian explained to him and Tyler was surprised to hear his father call Arya the 'perfect match'. He really liked Arya, she was great fun to be around and so much more interesting than the other noble girls that his grandfather had invited to Casterly Rock with the intention of betrothing one of them to him. But although he considered her a friend he had never thought of her in that light.

Arya meanwhile was boiling with anger directed straight at her father who was looking very uncomfortable at his daughter's gaze. She asked him in desperation.

"Why would you do this to me father? I never want to marry. You know that. I'll lose my freedom…have to be a lady like Sansa." Spitting out her sister's name in disgust. Relations between the sisters had never been great but since the incident at the Ruby Ford earlier that day it had become downright stormy with Sansa lying to protect Joffrey and was still defending him regardless of what he had done to Tyler calling both her and the young Lannister nasty spiteful children, jealous of the crown prince. For Arya that had cut deep, more than the horse face comments that were sent her way whenever Jeyne Poole and Sansa were together, that her own sister preferred the company and approval of cold royal strangers over that of her own family who had given her everything and loved her unconditionally. Worse Joffrey had had Mycah killed and Sansa refused to even acknowledge it. Right now they could barely speak to each other and her father was delivering this piece of news that meant the death of all her dreams making this day a living hell.

"Are you so sure of that?" Hadrian told Arya suddenly breaking her tirade. Arya fired back with a venomous comment.

"Yes…women don't rule, they don't fight. They have to be prim and proper ladies that serve men." What Arya had not expected however was for Hadrian and Tyler to burst out laughing and her father looked taken aback too. Hadrian then got himself together enough to explain.

"In the North and the Riverlands perhaps, but not in the South. Say something like that to Olenna Tyrell and she would reduce you to a quivering wreck with that sharp tongue of hers and from all accounts her daughters and granddaughter are much the same. Lady Olenna is a master of politics in the same league as my father and has been the true power behind the second most prosperous house in the entire country for many years. In Dorne the oldest child inherits regardless of gender, Princess Arianne Martell stands to become the new ruler of Dorne once her father Prince Doran passes, over her uncle and brothers. Women even learn to fight there, trust me see the Sand Snakes or for that matter the famous Brienne of Tarth from the Stormlands in action and you would never say that women don't fight ever again." Hadrian told her before he explained his reasoning for choosing her. "You Arya Stark are quick witted, smart, determined, confident and resourceful. Everything the lady of Casterly Rock needs to be, given the right opportunities you could become a great leader and stand side by side with my son, ruling the most powerful house in Westeros. For example can you say that my daughters are the 'prim and proper' ladies that you think everyone wants you to be?" He asked her and Arya found that she could not say they were anything like her sister.

Cassia, Sabine and Joanna were really fun to be around too just like their older brothers. They dressed the part of proper ladies and were really highly educated, but they also rode horses and practiced archery. Princess Myrcella seemed to be a lot like them too, caring little for needlework or other traditional female pursuits. And would it be so bad to be wed to Tyler? She asked herself feeling slightly embarrassed at the fact that her cheeks turned pink when he smiled at her and butterflies fluttered around her stomach. Tyler was fun to be around too and loved to prank people just like her. He was really smart and brave, after all he had taken a horrible sword blow that could well have killed him to protect her. He also treated her with respect and as an equal not looking down on her because she was a girl as so many had done in the past except for her own brothers.

"Would I still get to learn sword fighting?" She asked looking unsure and Tyler smiled and answered her immediately while both Hadrian and Ned's expressions lightened.

"Absolutely you were great earlier even if it was just with a stick and that sword Jon gave you is too brilliant to be wasted." He said indicating the blade that she now carried with her everywhere after what had happened. Hadrian then cast a quick eye over the blade and identified what type of sword it was.

"That is a small sword, designed for the Braavosi water dance duelling style. Not so much use in combat due to the fact that it is very difficult to penetrate armour with but if you are quick enough you can stab at the joints. There is a famous water dance master living in King's Landing right now if I recall named…Syrio Forel I think. If we asked him he would probably teach you to use it properly, at least it would be a useful skill to learn to expand your arsenal." He said and Arya looked hopefully at her father who was suddenly conflicted at the idea of his daughter learning to fight. But he saw the excited look in his youngest daughter's eyes and smiled knowing he could not deny her this. She had it the hardest of all his children just like Lyanna before her, denied the things she wanted most because she was born a girl, forced to conform by her mother and those around her but rebelling as only a true Stark wolf could. He only hoped that history did not repeat itself for her, more than once he had nightmares of losing her just like he had lost his sister. One nightmare that stood out was a grown up Arya lying in a blood covered bed as Robb or Bran knelt next to her just as he had with Lyanna. If only his father had been more open to the idea of Lyanna learning to be a warrior then she might have still been here today. She would have absolutely adored Arya and his daughter would have adored her right back, he made a note to himself to tell his daughter more about her aunt and what they had gotten up to as children before he was sent to the Vale. Sighing Ned said.

"Very well, I will look into it once we reach the capital. So do I take it you will both accept being betrothed?" Ned asked them both and with the youngsters looked at each other for a moment as if silently communicating before turning to their fathers and nodding causing both men to relax.

"You will go your separate ways for now. Once Arya has spent some time in the capital she will come and live at Casterly Rock for a year or so then you both will spent the same amount of time at Winterfell and live with the Starks." Ned said firmly. It was not an ideal arrangement but it was a start, things could be better thought out later. Hadrian looked like he was going to argue for a moment but nodded knowing this was all he could expect this early.

That following morning the Lannister contingent led by Hadrian prepared to leave the main party to continue on their own way to Casterly Rock while the rest of the procession headed for the capital. Bran was upset that he was being separated from his family but was excited to see the Westerlands and get to learn how to be a knight. He hugged his father tightly and then Arya before turning to Sansa. The older girl gave him a stiff nod before heading back to the wheelhouse she was sharing with the queen. A quick glance over revealed Joffrey sneering at them and both of the younger Starks scowled at him. Ned gave the crown prince a cold glare before turning to Hadrian and shaking the man's hand.

"I'll take care of your son Ned." Hadrian reassured the Lord of the North calling the man by his nickname rather than his title. After all if the betrothal between Arya and Tyler panned out then they would soon be in-laws. Ned nodded in gratitude and gave his son a smile as the boy got on his horse next to Tommen Baratheon and Richard Lannister. Tommen had only just pried himself away from his mother who seemed to hope that her angry tirade at the King would have some delayed effect and he would change his mind so she could keep her children close but to her dismay Robert remained resolved. Myrcella was now sat on her own horse with her female cousins chatting away excited at the chance to go to her family's ancestral home and like Tommen had only just managed to pry herself away from her mother who had gone back to her wheelhouse with tears in her eyes. They both loved their mother so while sad they were more eager to be free of Joffrey who looked at them triumphantly like he had achieved some great victory at them going to Casterly Rock, like the whole thing had happened according to his design. So both of his siblings ignored him and focused instead on the adventure they were about to go on.

Tyler meanwhile still unsure of what to say to Arya now that they were betrothed so he came up to her and put on as good a smile as he could. Arya herself still had mixed feelings about it too but resolved to try to make it work. Neither of them was being forced to the sept or the godswood immediately and her father had told her that he and her mother had not really known each other or loved each other at the start of their marriage. But they had gotten to know each other and worked hard and now they had a strong and loving marriage that was the envy of many. If she and Tyler were like that then maybe this marriage would have a chance, not to mention he would let her fight and not force her to be a proper lady so that was a bonus.

"When you get to the capital you will probably meet by grandfather, best I give you some advice beforehand. He respects intelligence and people who think outside the box to solve problems." Tyler said knowing his grandfather Tywin well enough to predict he would probably want to meet both girls as soon as they arrived in the capital. After all one would be married to his royal grandson and the other would be a future lady of Casterly Rock so Tywin would want to judge them for himself to see if they were up to mark.

"Good to know." Arya said and was about to walk back over to stand with her father but then Tyler took her hand and put a kiss gently upon it surprising the girl and all those who had seen it. He smiled saying. "Till we see each other again." And then he let her hand go before getting on his horse and riding off leaving Arya red in the face and his sisters, cousins and Arya's brother laughing while the respective fathers smirked.

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