prince valiant in the days of king arthur

“And Ser Arthur, I can only assume?”  

The Princess’ voice is unreadable, though perhaps a little airy.  

“Yes, Princess,” says Ser Barristan.  There is a bite to his words.

Brother, how can you do this?

“And you know not where he has gone?”

“No, Princess.  Only that he is gone, and, if Brandon Stark is to be believed, that he seems to have Lady Lyanna with him.”

“Lady Lyanna?  She is only fourteen.”

“Fifteen, Princess.”

Brother she is only a child.

“Small matter.  She’s only a girl.  What is Rhaegar thinking?”

“Princess…perhaps…”

“Perhaps he is as smitten with her now as he was at Harrenhal?”  

Elia’s voice is cold.  She never mentions Harrenhal.  Nor does Rhaegar.  It is as if that blue wreath had never existed.

Girl child, she child, child nonetheless.

“I could not say, Princess.”

“Of course not.”  

Ashara looks out her window at the sea.  She likes the sea less in King’s Landing.  It does not crash against the waves and spray them with salt and color them blue and white.  It is docile here.  

You are a great knight.  You are Sword of the Morning.  You are the one who dove into the Torrentine with me when we were small, who kept me from drowning.  

“And none of your brothers know where he has gone?”

“The King is making enquiries, though I do not doubt that they will be fruitless.”

“The King.  So he knows.”

“He does.  He—ah—heard Brandon Stark’s arrival.”

“Half the city heard Brandon Stark’s arrival.”

“Not the part where he bade Prince Rhaegar come out and die.”

Do you do this for your prince?  Do you do this for your king?  Do you do this because you think it right?

“A fool.  That is treason.”

“Indeed, but I fear the King may…act equally rashly.”

“All is madness these days—the King, Brandon Stark, my husband and his valiant knights carrying off a girl child in the night.”

“Perhaps, Princess.  I fear how it will end.”

“In blood, I suppose.  And fire.  Our king is so fond of fire.”

“Princess—the Prince did not—”

“No, he did not.  I know nothing of his intentions, and I suppose that Ser Arthur said nothing to Lady Ashara before he departed.”

She turns away from the window.  They are looking at her.  

“No.  No, he said nothing.”

How can you do this, brother?  She is a child.  She is a war.