Who: Kaelyn, ota When: Jan 1 Where: Maegor's Holdfast, the Queen's chambers Rating: PG-13 Status: Open
"You idiot." The words were a serpent's hiss, and the maid cowered as the queen advanced on her. Kaelyn's features were twisted in a frozen rage. "How dare you set foot in this room! Incompetent or a spy- which is it? Get. Out." She paused and the servant girl did not move quickly enough. "GET OUT!"
From the next room came Brandon's sobs and Kaelyn ran to answer him, her rage disappearing. "Did she hurt you? Oh, darling, come here." She picked her son off the floor, smoothing his hair and inspecting him with wide, frightened eyes. The porridge he'd been having was spattered across the floor, some of it still with steam rising off it.So hot, it could have been boiling. It could have been poisoned.
"Mama! Wanna go out!" the crown prince whimpered.
Kaelyn closed her eyes and pressed Brandon close to her chest. He couldn't go out. He'd disappear, along with all their hopes. She ahdn't conceived again. What if she never could? The poison, the poison on the gowns... she'd asked the wretched Asshai woman who was in the Dornish brat's retinue... But surely it was a lie. A filthy foreign lie. There was nothing in the library on the subject but the Maesters... if you couldn't trust the Maesters...
"Where's Gennie? Want Gennie!!"
"Genna's gone away, but she'll be home later. I promise she'll be home later."
"Supper? For supper?"
She wouldn't cry in front of Brandon. She wouldn't. "I... I don't know, sweetheart." Brandon's tears started again. Where was the nurse? She'd brought her from Winterfell for this. You couldn't trust the servants in the Keep, not even the new ones. All southron. All staring with hard eyes and no hearts... They all had daggers for hearts. All of them.
Kaelyn bounced her son up and down in her arms gently, trying to quiet the crying and fighting back her own tears. "Hush, hush now. You're a prince, Brandon. Princes mustn't cry. You must stop this."
"B-but Wolf wants t-to go outside!!"
"We can't right now. It's too cold. Maybe tomorrow. Wolf can wait til tomorrow can't he?"
Kaelyn winced at the shout and then cast a startled glance at her son. Something... something stopped. "Very well. Then wolf will need to learn his lesson." She put him on the floor, disentangling herself from his tight fists with some difficulty.
"NO! NO NO NONONONO!!!!!"
"Your Highness will stop this at once!" she ordered. Brandon didn't hear her; he was too busy screaming. Katelyn's jaw set and her eyes narrowed. "Very well."
With icy detachment, she took hold of Wolf, the little stuffed figure she'd made him ages ago, and took it out of his hands. "Then Wolf will spend the night in the royal kennels until he can remember how a prince of House Stark behaves."
The scene that followed was deafening. Brandon's screams turned to piercing shrieks that very nearly outdid Genna's highest pitch and Kaelyn only barely managed to pull her sleeves out of his grasp. He threw himself to the floor and began kicking, and she took that moment to retreat and close the door behind her.
It was a half a moment before she realized he was alone. Alone. What if the walls were crawling with... them? The shadows. The poison... They'd gotten Toria. They'd claimed Gwyn, Genna and Celia. They might have taken all her unborn babes as well... Oh, gods be good... please... Mother's mercy... She thought again of The Seven. She would go to the Sept again. And the Godswood.
Brandon's nurse had appeared at her door, a fresh and reassuringly cool tray of porrige in her hands. Kaelyn straightened her shoulders and inclined her head. "His highness will need to be cleaned up. He's rolling in the last porridge just now." She looked down at the toy in her hand. The seams were coming undone, and one button eye was loose, the other missing. It would soon enough be a blind wolf. And winter was here.