All characters, locations and events are copyright George RR Martin and the events that take place during this game can and will deviate from series canon.
The road from Moat Cailin to the Twins will be somewhat long. I don’t blame Lord Luxon for bringing me along. It was I who discovered the girl, after all, and endeavored to keep her safe. She’s had a difficult time of it, and while I cannot relate to her exact circumstances, I do know what it’s like to realize you’re an unwanted child among a noble house. I realized it at Storm’s End, a year after I first met Ser Davos Seaworth.
When you grow up without the full support of a household in a castle, you often have time to yourself. When I wasn’t finding time to learn more about reading or fighting, I was exploring. Storm’s End, like most castles, is honeycombed with passages and tunnels either forgotten or rarely used. Most were simply shortcuts, and would lead one to the threshold of a hall or set of chambers without being seen. I’d discovered one that deposited me within earshot of the main hall when I learned the fate planned for me.
“The boy is a menace.”
The harsh voice, pinched with anger, belonged to Symeon Trant. Young, fat and spoiled Sandor Trant’s father. He’d been a guest at Storm’s End for some time, angling to work with or even supplant the master-at-arms. I’d seen him fight in the yard. It might have been only for practice, but I knew how vicious he could be.
“Are you seriously telling me you’re afraid of a child?”
The other voice was the castellan, Cortnay Penrose, my mother’s cousin. He ruled Storm’s End in the absence of Renly Baratheon. While not as boisterous as his liege-lord, they shared a warmth; at least, my relative showed me such a side of himself. I’d heard he was a seasoned warrior and battle commander, but he treated me with kindness. As castellan, though, he wanted things running smoothly, and I stayed out of his way, helping my mother when I could, being as useful as possible around Storm’s End.
But that wasn’t good enough for Symeon Trant.
“I’ve been watching him for the better part of a year. That boy showed no respect for the highborn, and even picked fights with highborn youths. He spends far too much time with the maester and those pirates. He should be scrubbing floors and carving meat from game for our feasts.”
“He’s seen in the kitchens more often than not. Maester Aloysius does not mind his company. And Ser Davos Seaworth is no longer a ‘pirate’, nor was he ever one in the strictest sense. He’s the reason this castle still stands, lest you forget.”
“I wasn’t cowering behind castle walls like you during the Rebellion. I was sacking King’s Landing.”
“Yet now you seek to hide behind me from a mere boy?”
“You will not always be castellan, you know. Robert Baratheon, who now as king can overrule his brother, is not too distant. My brother also stands with him, a member of Robert’s Kingsguard.”
“And running south to King’s Landing to ask for help in dealing with a child is such a better alternative. I’m sure the courtiers will love to hear of it. That will go so well for House Trant. I wish you luck.”
There was a deadly silence. I dared not move, or even speak.
“I will not forget this. House Trant will not forget. And when you find that bastard’s body, I trust you will not forget, either.”
“I won’t. Especially considering that bastard’s mother is family of mine.”
He swept out of the hall. I peeked around the corner to watch him go. The castellan sat in the largest chair in the hall, rubbing his temples. I didn’t know what he was going to do, but as I watched him, I realized he would do nothing. What could he do? I was not, strictly speaking, of noble birth. Having guardsmen running around to protect a bastard boy when they needed to watch the walls and man the gates would not go well for him. And all the protective detail in the world would do no good in the dead of night when Trant’s spoiled eldest slipped into my room with his precious knife.
I ran to my mother. I guess it was the only thing I felt I could do. She listened to my tale, and immediately started packing two bags.
“I am going to King’s Landing,” she told me. “Little remains for me here. My cousin is a good man, and I’ve brought him enough trouble. Having you, and keeping you… I knew, in my heart, it would cause trouble here, someday. And I won’t return to Parchment; my father won’t want to take me in.”
“What about mine?”
She paused, then shook her head. “He already has a wife. To have me show up at his doorstep with you would be just as much of an embarrassment. No, it’s King’s Landing for me. I can find work there, and peace.”
“Okay. I’ll find us horses.”
She turned to me and smiled. “Cad, come here.”
I’d been tossing clothes into a bag. I put it down and walked to her. She knelt and ruffled my hair.
“I’m glad you’ve helped me in the kitchens and around the halls so diligently. You make me so proud, with your strength and patience. And learning to read! I never did that.”
I remember blushing. “I want to make you proud, Momma.”
She kissed my forehead. “You always will. But our paths must part.”
I looked up at her. “What? Why?”
“Because King’s Landing is no place for you. I’ve kept your father’s identity secret all these years to protect all three of us. In King’s Landing, such things become known all too easily. A woman alone is only as enigmatic as her smile and what’s up her skirts. A woman with a boy out of nowhere brings up more questions, and someone will pay for the answers.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I know. You will, in time.” She kissed me again. “I want you to go with your friend. I want you to go with Ser Davos. If you are with him I know you will be safe. And… I have ways to find safety for myself. I don’t want you to worry about me.”
“I know you’re scared. I am, too. But it must be this way. We must go, and quickly, and in separate directions, where these terrible people cannot find us.” Tears were in her eyes. I nearly started crying myself but I bit my lip, hard, to keep the sobs down. She gripped my shoulders. “We won’t let our fears drive us, Cadmon. We’ll face them and overcome them. I was afraid of disappointing my father when I couldn’t read more than a few words, and even more afraid of going to Dragonstone to serve the Targaryens. I was so afraid that I ran from my father, from his love and hopes, from any of my prospects. I let my fear carry me on waves to these halls. But because of that, I had you. And you are the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I will always love your father for that.”
I sniffled. She squeezed my shoulders.
“I can’t bear the thought of you coming to harm. That’s why you need to go. Go to Ser Davos. I know you want to go to sea. I also know the sea will bring you back to me. But for now it will take you away. Just as I am going away. This is the way things must be if we are to see each other again in this life.” She picked up my bag, opened it, and put a small pouch and a sealed scroll inside. “There’s some coin, to help you. And… I wrote you a letter, about your father, for when you were older. Read it when you’re across the Narrow Sea.” She closed the bag’s flap, held her hand there, tears in her eyes. “And know how much I love you, my sweet Cad, and how proud I am of you, and always will be.”
She handed me my bag, kissed my cheek one last time, and told me to go. So I went. I went to the docks to find the man who’d take me away from Westeros, from the Trants, into the unknown I’d dreamed of but never truly seen.
Leave a Reply