Riverrun

“I dreamt of a roaring river, and a woman who was a fish. Dead she drifted, with red tears on her cheeks, but when her eyes did open, oh, I woke from terror.”

The Tullys drew their strength from the river, and it was to the river they returned when their lives had run their course.

croclock:

i wanted to do something inspired by riverran’s beautiful tag “bury my heart on the banks of the trident” but i could never get it right

Let the kings of winter have their cold crypt under the earth, Catelyn thought. The Tullys drew their strength from the river, and it was to the river they returned when their lives had run their course.

Let the kings of winter have their cold crypt under the earth, Catelyn thought. The Tullys drew their strength from the river, and it was to the river they returned when their lives had run their course.

You Think Too Highly of Me
catelyn tully/petyr baelish | written in collaboration with rog

—-

“I should have won. You cheated.”

Her cheeks burn but in a way that begs repeating - the kind of flush that only comes with effort or enthusiasm, and in truth Catelyn Tully had made her way through the godswood with both blazing in her breast as her hair came undone. (A red flash between the trees as it whipped behind her, laughter and Petyr’s name caught on the riverwind.) The bark of the birch is rough against the damp seat of her palm as she braces herself against it with all her weight, looking to catch her breath. She is much more used to being the one who is chased rather than the one who is left doing the chasing and so she flusters at Petyr’s declaration of I won, I won, her mouth pursing in a way that fails to be ugly.

With a giddy fingers, she tries to brush the hair from her face but only half-succeeds; an errant strand continues to cling to her cheek.

“Brand the day into your memory while you still can, Petyr Baelish,” Cat pronounces loftily, though she does not begrudge him his victory. He had so few to his name, after all, and there was a fondness in her for the look of pride that danced now in his eyes. “For I shall never allow it again.”

“I intend never to forget it,” is his response, and he won’t. Never, not even years later, when he’s scarred and embittered and holds Seven Kingdoms in his grasp.

Never, even though the boy – the man - will try.

(Seven hells, how he’ll try, and it will be the one failure that he’ll have no choice but to carry forever.)

—-

He calls it ‘the stuff of songs and legends’ - the day he bested Catelyn Tully. When Petyr threatens to pen the tune on the spot, Cat does not hesitate to threaten right back. “Give words to that song and I swear to you now, I will haunt you ‘til your very end of days,” she tells him. “I will make sure you will never know peace,” she grins and then buries her face against his shoulder to laugh.

The early afternoon sunlight dapples through the canopy onto Petyr’s cheeks and through Cat’s hair, and neither of them are aware of how irony gathers her words to itself, twining them into a ball of regret that it covets and holds for safe-keeping.

—-

In the end, the song is sung, and it is sung because Cat is curious and because she asks him for it. And when he sings, it’s lovely.

Truly lovely.

The way in which Petyr’s voice finds the notes, the way his mind produces the words and his mouth shapes the sounds. Most men, Cat imagines, go through their entire lives without ever having known true inspiration. And here Petyr Baelish was, the Tullys’ tiny ward from the Fingers, finding it within himself and with only her name to light the path to it. By the time he’s finished and the last refrain dies on his lips, Cat’s face is warm with a mix of adoration and embarrassment, modesty and flattery. With a shake of her head: “You think too highly of me.”

She humbles herself; humbles herself because there is no other response worthy of Petyr’s little song, as whimsical and as sharp-witted and as achingly earnest as it had been. No one truly loves another person as much as that, she thinks to herself as she brushes her fingertips against the inside of his wrist, so thin-boned and narrow, as delicate as a woman’s.

No.  Cat is certain then: Not a one.

—-

One day she will marry the brother of her betrothed and learn to love him so strongly and so fiercely, that she would tear down all of Westeros of keep him safe, to bring him justice, to avenge his death and those of his children. Not even her own death will stop her, then; vengeance will burn too brightly in her sunken breast. And in turn, Petyr Baelish will dismantle dynasties, uproot empires, supplant despots; move entire kingdoms through ministrations big and small, and all in her name, all to thrust that long-held adoration upon her by force. (Though still, years later, she will not take it.)

Only then will Catelyn Stark realize the error of her youthful assumptions; how wrong she’d been on that afternoon, that day they’d spent in the godswood, hidden by the shade of its trees.

Yes, she will then know, a person can love another as much as that.

And when they do, it is a terrible, terrible thing indeed.

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full,
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s.

We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn’t fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.
Blackberry Picking, Seamus Heaney.

What Happened In the Godswood
catelyn tully/petyr baelish/lysa tully (1299 words)


There were berries that grew on the banks of the Trident. Red and green and deepest purple, they hung in clusters amongst thicketed branches — juicy baubles that taunted the birds above and the scurrying things below. They taunted the Tully children as well, Cat most of all. Whenever she ran past, she would afford them a glance, the braid of her hair whipping against her back in protest, like the reign of a bridle admonishing her, spurning her onwards.

Disobedient thing— the weight of her hair was as heavy as ironman’s rope between her shoulder blades. —be not tempted; the thorns would savage you. Now, on with you. Go.

As she ran, the Baelish boy would chase after. (He was smaller than all of them, a slip of a thing, but with bird legs that could hurry him along faster and quicker than anyone ever gave him credit for.) And without fail, he would always think that glance back was for him — the line of Cat’s profile offered to his jostling vision, those pale eyes framed by even paler lashes. Eyes he knew better than his own.

He was wrong, though; she would never look back for him. There was no need to, for Cat knew: where she went, Petyr would follow. Those were the roles they would play, and always.

A game, until it suddenly wasn’t.

-

After Petyr came Lysa (that was also part of the game), and where Cat would laugh and Petyr would snicker, Lysa would call out in her warbly voice: wait for me, wait for me, I’m coming, then stumble. The echo of her words danced like finches flickering between the trees, carried high above their laughter — the refrain of a song that no one but Lysa would listen to. But still she sang it, she sang and she sang until her throat stung and her knees ached with the scrapes they had collected so indelicately among the fallen tree trunks and gathers of wet moss.

There were twigs in her hair and her lungs had begun to burn as if they were on fire when she finally stopped to find her breath. With a hand, Lysa braced her weight against the sturdy spine of a birch and searched the distant trees for her sister’s white shadow moving amongst them.

Nearby sat one of those tempting berry bushes, its boughs drooping from the weight of its bounty. The fruits winked smugly at Lysa from amongst the thorns, as enticing as a high lady’s jewels. From somewhere beneath and inside, a creature rustled and the whole thing gave a shivering shake, its leaves kicking up a whisper. Perhaps if I am brave, Petyr will reward me, she then thought. If I go where Cat dare not tread.

But Lysa was not brave, her Tully fire ran hot cold, and she was scared more often than not. Still, earlier that week she had dove into the inland lake, had shut her eyes and hopped from the rocky outcrop that hung over its dark waters, even though the shallows had frightened her and taunted her from below. She knows she would not have been able if it had not been for the small hand that had grasped hers, the goading whispers from a boy who had to stand on tiptoe in order to reach her ear.

If it had not been for Petyr—

Lysa gathered her skirts and trembled. (No, she was not brave at all.)

Still, she crept forward. Still.

-

At first she tried tentativeness, her hands not daring to venture past the outer-most leaves, but few berries grew without the shade of the brushes’ branches and those that did had long been scavenged by braver, more daring creatures than Lysa Tully. After, she tried cleverness, wrapping the whole of her arm in the fabric of her skirts to form a protective sheath, like armor. No thorn would catch her, this much was true, but her fingers became ungraceful, leaden things and every berry she managed to grasp was soon squashed to jam as she tried to pull it from the thicket. In the end, there was no avoiding it; she would have to do it bare handed or not at all. But sweet sacrifices gave birth to sweeter rewards, or so that is what her septa taught, and Lysa had no choice but to believe her.

It is nothing, she told herself as the first of the barbs found her skin, the sting as bright and as vivid as anything she’d ever felt before. The berry it earned her was as heavy as a silver stag; its pebbled surface was as cool. It landed in the hollow of her welled-up skirts with a satisfying plonk against the cloth.

(It was a lie, of course, it hadn’t been nothing; but it had gained her something. And if that was not a reason for pride, then nothing truly was.)

Petyr, she reminded herself as she stared at that fat morsel and then thrust her arm into the bush once again. Wherever he had gotten to, he was calling out now (to her or to Cat, she couldn’t tell). Regardless, the thin echoes of his voice reached her ears and encouraged her, a salve to every bracing tear as the skin of her knuckles began to weep.

Petyr, Petyr, Petyr, Lysa repeated, until her skirt was heavy with fruit, until her cheeks were wet with tears rung from her by both joy and suffering.

-

She found them waiting for her, laid out across the dead leaves that had fallen from the crown of a sprawling oak. Its top-most branches stretched outwards into the canopy like the proud tines of a stag’s antlers, and so the tree had earned itself the name of ‘Storm’s End’. Lysa blushed when Cat admonished her disappearance, and then blushed further when Petyr gathered her hands in his own and breathed a warm breath on her wounds. You’ve been bold, he told her, a sly look about him.

Needlessly, her sister added as she wiped at Lysa’s red-rimmed eyes. But the chastisement began and ended with her words, Cat’s mouth soft upon her eyelids as she kissed one and then the other in gentle gratitude for the gift she had brought all of them. They invited her to sit at the base of the tree, where its elaborate network of roots had pushed upwards out of the soft to form a rise of knotted wood. And so, Lysa did, her back straight and her face flushed, regal if only for a moment, having been anointed by the approval gleaned from Petyr’s grinning eyes.

Like a queen, she watched with pride as they ate, the bounty of all of her hard work filling their mouths, dissolving like laughter on the tongue.

-

The afternoon yawned and sprawled itself over Riverrun like a brassy-haired dog. Stains dried on the hands of the Tully sisters and on the fingers of their father’s ward — smears of dirt and berries and blood, childhood things that would be washed away by the cool waters of the Tumblestone before returning home. The sun hung in the low-riding branches of the trees, a blood orange that threatened to fall from its perch and roll away behind the farthest of the foothills, bringing evening with its departure.

We should return soon, Cat told them, but the others pleaded and tugged at her skirts. (“I little while longer, Cat.” “A few more minutes, then we’ll hurry, we promise.”)

And so the three of them sat a while longer in the godswood. Lysa peering after Petyr, Petyr peering after Cat, and Cat peering through the trees, back to the river, to where she knew her father was waiting.

Title: Off I Go (2010 Mix)
Artist: Greg Laswell
Album: Take A Bow
Plays: 370

loose ends, they tangle down and then take flight
but never tie me down, never tie me down

greg laswell — off I go

northernnights: I am as interested in your beautiful tags as the anon - does Bury My Heart On The BAnks Of The Trident refer to a certain piece of fanfiction? Because it is a BEAUTIFUL line.

it doesn’t refer to a specific piece of fan fiction so much as it refers to some collaborate RP stuff that i’ve done with rog (i’ve just posted an excerpt from it in my last post).  if it isn’t completely obvious i’m COMPLETELY PREOCCUPIED with cat and petyr and lysa’s childhoods together and how what happened between them as children (specifically petyr’s complete and utter obsession with cat) ultimately played such an important part in shaping the events of current westeros.  hence the tumblr name!  c:

R I V E R R U N | pre-canon for a song of ice and fire
#the tully girl’s heart
#the little ward’s heart
#the youngest sister’s heart
#what happened in the godswood
#bury my heart on the banks of the trident

Cat laughs again, more quietly this time; a laugh not meant for the birds or the trees, no, this laugh is for them, a secret thing. The dead leaves beneath them give off a damp, brown smell as she moves again (shifting, always moving; Cat was a different creature with him in the godswood; she saved all her stillness and poise for the Tully halls and gave all her restlessness to Petyr here, beneath the verdant canopy where no one else could see). She leans to press her forehead to his, all that fire-red hair in his eyes, brushing his nose, enveloping him (a conflagration).

(I do not love you for being strong, Petyr. I love you for your preciousness, your keenness; that is all. I will be the strong one between us, or else we would be squandered on one another.)

Smiling, mischievous and knowing: ”So come looking, I shall. And find you, I shall.” With thumb and forefinger she pinches at his side, goadingly. (Laugh for me, Petyr. I do like your laugh.) ”And I’ll use both my hands to drag you back to where you belong, little hiding boy.”

(With me, little brother, sweeter to me than my own.) If Cat is guilty of folly similar to Petyr’s it is in thinking that he will be anywhere but close to her, that their actions will do nothing to pull them apart, that his love does not loom as large as it does. Of all the things Catelyn Tully would look to protect Petry Baelish from, she never thinks to protect him from herself.

And, because of it, hearts would bleed. Not just his and hers, but all of Westeros’.

love is shaped like cities burning | a playlist for petyr and cat (for mockeries)

He never asks her to run away with him but if he had, the answer would have remained the same. No; never; you know that, you’ve always known. No, as an answer, is perhaps unkind but sometimes a yes can cut much deeper. 

(Yes, Petyr, I’ll tell you my dreams, every single one of them, but you can never keep them; they’ll never be yours.
Or: yes, Petyr; kiss me, Petyr; but only just the once and never ask again.
Or: yes, Petyr, of course I love you; I love you so dearly; you’re like a brother to me.)

______________________________________

Stillness of the Mind | Abel Korzeniowski (x)

( Instrumental )

Breathing Rapture | Le Loup (x)

Here my eyes look towards the brightest
Point of light, like some great sign.
And know the love—
I was reminded of the time I almost died.

Into You | the Cinematic Orchestra (x)

I’m sinking into you now,
Watch me disappear.
I’m sinking into you now,
Watch me disappear.

I Believe In Your Victory | This Will Destroy You (x)

( Instrumental )

The Season | the Dodos (x)

Miles until this desert brings me back to your face.
Those eyes, you know I think of them still sometimes.
But you’re away in Eden,
And I’m still here the heathen.

White Blank Page | Mumford & Sons (x)

A white blank page and a swelling rage, rage
You did not think when you sent me to the brink, the brink
You desired my attention but denied my affections, my affections.