Morning sunlight suffused the air and flowed in through the windows. Tyrion blinked a few times as he wandered in to the private dining room, set into one of the higher towers, which provided a stunning view of the Sunset Sea, and an equally blinding view of the sun itself. He noted with mild displeasure that the table was already set - he’d woken up early a week ago, and since then had been in silent competition with the serving staff to see who could get up earlier. Come now, how old are you? he scolded silently. Arriving at the table, he climbed up into a seat and served himself a grapefruit half to start, dusting it lightly with sugar using a small golden sugar spoon engraved with a lion. Moving mechanically, he dissects the grapefruit, turning over details in his mind.
Tyrell visits Bear Island. Jorah Mormont has his lordship restored for unknown reasons. The Starks are even more silent than usual, Hoster Tully is dying, Walder Frey marries off an inconsequential daughter to Lord Tully’s heir, meaning that he spreads his seed ever further, and now Stannis Baratheon is marrying Mormont.
That was the bit that niggled at him. What could Stannis Baratheon, lord of Storm’s End, want with some daughter from the freezing North? True, the Mormont women were famously fecund, but something stuck in his throat about it. Well, nothing for it but to wait. Soon, he decided, maybe even today, he’d suggest that he, or maybe all the House, moved down to King’s Landing. If they were to have any hope of regaining their former standing, they had to start shoring up connections, forging new alliances. Jaime must marry, surely he sees that? He sighed, pushing aside the empty grapefruit hemisphere and pulling over a small capon. No, he won’t. Perhaps, if I persuade to Genna and Kevan to help, we’ll be able to convince him.
Her husband asleep and Jaime sated, Cersei marvelled at the magnificence of Casterly Rock as she made her way to the Dinning Hall. The familiar stone corridors lead to alcoves so full of memories they seemed to leap out at her, places were she and her twin used to play, back when they were barely interchangeable, when one could pass as the other. In days before moonblood and battles, before Robert Baratheon and his rebellion.
Cersei’s gut twisted. She’d been sat in her chambers, waiting for any news of her brother or her father in Kings Landing, when the raven arrived briefly explaining how her brother was now a Kingslayer and how her father was an enemy of the crown. The Rebellion had been crushed and she had lost everything—her promised crown, her promised husband and her promised throne; instead she had Hightower, although thankfully her children were nothing less than pure Lannister.
It seemed she had been musing for long enough that she’d barely noticed how she’d arrived at their private dinning room. Pushing open the door, Cersei was faced with the pensive face of her youngest brother, deep in thought.
Painting her face with a smile that was faker than her marriage, she sat down across from him, picking up some of the fruit laid out by the servants. “Good morning, brother. What plans are you scheming yet?”
Well, there goes my peaceful breakfast. He pauses for a moment, wandering if Cersei fixes that smile in place with pins or if it’s painted on. “Well, once I’ve finished this breakfast, I thought that I would ride to the Twins and steal all of Lord Frey’s gold, and perhaps a couple of fertile Frey daughters. Thus funded, I shall head to the Vale and take command of the hill-men by defeating their leader in single combat, and then conquer the Eyre. By this point, it shall be time for lunch, the demands of which I shall fulfill. After that, I intend to conquer a Free City or two, after which I shall have a delightful afternoon snack fed to me by the beautiful concubines I shall gain as a result of my position there. Having sated any small pangs of hunger, I shall conquer King’s Landing from the back of a dragon, the pleasant irony of which should whet my appetite in time to eat a reasonably sized victory supper perched on the Iron Throne.” He stretches, shaking out a small cramp in his leg, and leans back in his chair.
He’d never understood Cersei’s hate for him, and he’d never sought explanation; it was just a fact of life, the same as his father’s disgust for him, or the pity or revulsion he saw in the eyes of other men. They had all, however, contributed to making Tyrion a wary man; there were very few people he trusted, and his dear sister was most certainly not one of them. For a brief, wild moment he considered mentioning that she should perhaps try to persuade Jaime to take a wife, but then dismissed it almost instantly, out of hand. “And how do you intend to spend your day, sister?” he inquired, noting suddenly the rosey tint to her cheeks and sighing internally. Not a hope.