Her time comes early—earlier than it should by a month at least, Maester Luwin says panickedly when he enters the room to find her lying there, already sweating. Her time comes early, the little babe inside her eager for the world, eager for her arms, eager to add her cries to Robb’s and Sansa’s and the bastard’s. The babe comes early, and Catelyn breathes deeply as she pushes, for it would be like this—the rebellion would have ended, and Ned would be on his way home, but his child will not wait for him. This child would greet him too.
It is a girl, small and squalling and completely bald at her birth, and when Catelyn holds her in her arms She is smaller than Sansa had been, but more boisterous than Robb, and when her eyes open, it is not the familiar Tully blue that Catelyn had expected peeping out from pale eyelids, but Ned’s deep grey. Deep grey, and confused, as all babes are on the day of their birth.
She is lovely, Catelyn thinks as she gives her her breast to suckle. Lovely, and she is like Ned. She had so longed to give Ned a child that took his look. And here she was—this third child with her long face and Ned’s eyes.
"What will you call her, my lady?" Luwin asks her the next morning.
She had hoped Ned would be home for this, but he will be on his way from Seagard, perhaps, or maybe he was still on the water, sailing to the Stony Shore so that he can be in the North again, and so the task falls to her, and her alone.
Robb had been easy to name. She’d been raised on stories of the bravery of Red Robb Rivers—a favorite of Edmure’s. Robb, which sounded like Robert, her new husband’s dear friend. She knew so little of him, just that he wasn’t Brandon, and she feared that if she named their firstborn boy Brandon, he might take it ill, take it as a sign of her heartbreak, and he must never know how she grieved for Brandon.
It had been Ned who had suggested Sansa—Sansa Stark, had been some great-great-great aunt, and he had always liked the sibilance in the name. Sansa, not Lyanna, though his grief for his little sister still tore at him sometimes, when he didn’t think Catelyn would notice. And Catelyn had liked the name—loved it, truly. It sounded like Lysa, and Minisa, and was a name of the North all at once, and she’d been glad of that, for she knew that if she kept giving Ned sons and daughters with their Tully red hair, it would be best that their names be as northern as could be.
But this little girl, with her grey eyes and her long face…
She could name her Lyanna. Some of Ned’s lords had sworn to name their daughters Lyanna in her honor. But there was something about the way that Ned bit his lip when he thought about her, the way his eyes darkened and the way he retreated into his own mind that made her think that perhaps…perhaps the next daughter. Not this one.
She could name her Lyarra, like Ned’s mother, but Lyarra sounded very much like Lyanna. And perhaps it would make no difference, but if Robb or Sansa grew to call her “Lya,” and Ned didn’t stop biting his lip, would it not be the same pain, the same reminder that this girl could never replace the sister he had lost?
She runs her finger down the girl’s cheek. She knows of other northern names as well—Alys, and Arsa, and the rest. She likes the feel of them well on her tongue, but they do not quite fit the little girl who is now watching her, waiting, wondering who she will be.
Who will you be, little love? Catelyn wonders, looking down at her daughter. Who are you now?
She likes the starting sound of ‘A,’ different from Sansa and her sibilance. Alys and Arsa, both have that s, but Arrana does not. There had been an Arrana Stark, and an Arra. But no…Arra had been a Norrey, if she remembered correctly. A Norrey who had wed the Stark of Winterfell and—
She smiles. Ned’s own grandmother had been named Arya.
Arya. Arya Stark.
She likes that name. She likes it very much.