He didn’t have the Fox Knight, but he did have a few Braavossi sailors as prisoner. Gareth shrugged ever so subtly as if to conclude, ‘two out of three isn’t bad,’ and stared out the window of the room he had claimed since arriving at King’s Landing. His sister was on the other side of the door, surely annoyed to have been made to wait. And she would not wait much longer, he knew. Kat was not a woman that conformed to feminine expectations. The scowl on his face that he presented on his arrival from Red Keep would buy him only a handful of minutes. There was a knock at the door; or less than a handful of minutes. The door swung open and she entered.
“This cannot be an offense to ‘right of gallows’, Gareth. Surely you don’t care who hangs an old man?” her breeding produced a practiced smile that nonetheless contained just a hint of authenticity.
He turned to look at her and shook his head, ‘No.’ Kat raised her eyebrows, a look he understood well, and spoke, “I don’t care who hangs him.”
She nodded and made an assumption, “You weren’t able to question him yourself.”
“And that was what I took offense to,” he completed.
“Oh, what would he have said that you don’t know already? It’s over, Gareth. Your point has obviously been made. Jon Arryn ruled in your favour. The Lugus’s are well known for this sort of blood soaked nonsense, even amongst themselves; blood mingled with the Cleganes, I might add. Luisa’s cousin to the Mountain’s father, did you know that?” Before allowing him to answer she said, “You’ve won. You do realize that, yes?”
Gareth just looked at her, obviously unconvinced of any victory, “It’s not as simple as that. It never is. Now there is an oily Braavossi rogue out there adept in the ways of poison who is smitten with Marita Lugus, and prepared to indulge the Black Widow’s darkest plots.”
“They were lovers?” Kat said with mild surprise.
“They are. And this rogue is a slippery one. Goes by various aliases: Glarus Ptek, Maiyo Vierro,” he waves his hand.
“You learned this from Marqer, I take it?”
Gareth nods, “I did, and more, and from others as well. Yet, it isn’t he that concerns me most.”
“It’s her,” Kat sighs.
“Hell hath no fury, Kat.”
There was an uncommonly long pause before she asked rhetorically, “Is there room in your day for any lighter news? We have received raven that a wedding date is confirmed just over a month hence. We are to host it.”
A glimmer of surprise appears in Gareth’s eyes, “Stephyn?”
Kat grinned, “No. Not yet. Although that is coming soon, I assure you. It’s Henry’s niece, Sylvie. You’ve been invited, of course.”
“Why?” Gareth puzzles as much as asks.
“Because you are my brother and she is my good-niece.”
“I will not be trekking to Lannisport to attend the wedding of some distant relation my dear sister,” he said matter-of-factly with a dismissive wave of his hand.
“Of course you won’t,” she says causing Gareth to stop his gesture. “We could argue about it here for a few hours, but at the end of it you still won’t go. So, instead of going through it, why not yield to me what it is I really want?”
He nods in understanding, “Aaron.”
“And Gerbold too; I pledged them as escort for the groom.”
“The groom is here in King’s Landing?”
“No, he is a Crownlander though, Ser Kevan Manning, freshly knighted; a knight for a noble girl. A proper fairytale wedding don’t you think?” Kat made a genuine smile more typical of a woman half her age, “Anyway, on this point, brother, I will not yield. There will be several suitable maids at this one and your house lacks children. I want to see my trueborn nieces and nephews before I grey. And who knows, now that it appears Gerbold has come into his own?”
“Sometimes I am convinced that there is a little girl still buried deep inside you, Kat.”
“Do we not all deserve to be happy? Where are we happiest except in our children and lovers, yes?” And just as she had said it, she bit her lip. Even after all these years, she could see a wave of grief sweep over her brother. It lasted only a few seconds, but it was enough. She stepped close and placed her hand on his cheek. She whispered, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…”
“I know,” the memory still thick, Gareth nodded and took her hand. The two lingered there for a moment before he regained his usual composure. He grinned, “It will be a good opportunity for him. Perhaps, for both of them. You may have them.”