Sitting in the boiling water of his bath as Alaina sat at the rim by his side, scrubbing his hands with a rough leather cloth freeing it of Ronnald Fitzrobert's blood. Every time he closed his eyes Tywin saw him, so calm in the face of his death, so at peace. He even apologised to me! Me! The boy who was about to take his head. So many times he'd wondered what it would feel like to kill a man, but it was nothing like the king had told him it was, it was nothing like the bards sung. It wasn't honourable or righteous. I was sickening, watching his blood spurt from the stump of his neck like a sickly fountain, he read rolling onto the floor to only be picked up by one of the Black Guard to show the king. Eyes staring without seeing. I killed a man...Then the tears came again. Uncontrollable. Unrelenting.
'Do not cry my lord,' whispered Alaina hugging his head to her chest. 'Shhhh don't cry, it's all over now my lord.'
'He was so brave Alaina...I couldn't have stared at the man that was about to kill me like that...he smiled at me...it was like he was sorry for me...he lifted his head...I...killed him.'
'He was a deserter my lord. A man who cowers away from his duties deserves punishment...but from the king...not from you...It was cruel what he made you do.' kissing the top of his head Alaina held him for several long moments. He had virtually grown up with Alaina, she was nearly a decade older than him, he saw her as much a part of his family as Nana. She was like a big sister. Always protecting him.
'Will I go to hell for this?' he whispered to himself more than Alaina.
'What? No my lord! Never that! Hell is for oathbreaker’s, murderers, turncloak’s, rapists and evil people. You're never going to go to hell for following the orders of your king. Tywin do you hear Me.' she said sternly. It shocked him slightly; she hardly ever used his name. Nodding slightly he forced a smile for her. Smiling back she continued to wash his hands and face of the blood.
'Where's Nana?' he asked weakly.
'I don't know my lord...she will be here soon I'm sure. Come on lets wash your hair.' What time they finished getting the whole of Ronnald's blood from his clothes he couldn't be sure...but sun was rising. And still no Nana. Something's wrong...jumping from the bath he strode through the living room, up the stairs and into his bedchambers. When Alaina turned and saw him stood there naked as a baby her cheeks flushed horribly but he quickly turned her back to him. 'My lord!' she said shocked.
'Nana still isn't back. Something's wrong.' throwing open his closet he quickly dressed in a pair of leather breeches and a thin black cloth tunic he used for battle training. 'Go find Ser Roddick Barly, he'll help me find her.'
'Where are you going?' she asked heading for the door.
'She was in the Hall of Heroes last...I'll start there.' as she jogged off down the long corridor heading for the stairs Tywin threw on a black doublet and followed suit. The scream that cracked the echoing of his footsteps made him freeze. 'ALAINA!' Another scream shot down the corridor as she sprinted up the stairs holding the folds of her dress up so she didn't trip on the long fabric, hair billowing, eyes wide. Then he saw why. A bearded man with a weather worn face charged after her, long hair matted with knots, a vest of boiled leather covering his hairy chest. Scraping the axe along the wall as he ran golden sparks fired from the metal as it screeched along the stonework. Laughing like a mad man he swung for Alaina. She ducked. Axe blade missing her head by inches. Tywin sprinted down the long corridor. Bare feet pounding the stone with hard fleshy claps. Alaina tried to start running again but fell, she savage gripping her thin ankle in a bone breaking grip. 'Alaina!' roared Tywin running faster and faster. Smiling with a crop of broken teeth the man raised his axe above his head.
Leaping like a pouncing lion Tywin pushed his legs out in front of him. Dark witless eyes looked up at him just as he drop kicked the attacker in the middle of his chest, knocking him to the ground with a thud that shook the dead torches in their facets. The axe blade toppled through the air, spinning head over handle. Landing on his back Tywin reached out, plucked the axe from the air by its handle just as the savage was getting back up. Sitting up he threw the axe with a yell. It buried itself in the man’s face, splitting his skull with a loud snap and perforating one eyeball, its ooze dripping from the empty socket down his cheek. As he fell backwards with a second shuddering thud Alaina wept slightly, Tywin tried in vain to control his breathing. 'Are you alright?' he whispered. Eyes never leaving the prone body. Alaina whimpered. 'Go into my room, lock the door and don't answer it for anyone but me...do it now!' he ordered pulling her up to her feet with him. Through the silence, the distinctive sound of metal hitting metal. 'GO!' he bellowed.
'Twyin!' she screamed. But he was gone. Halfway down the spiral staircase with the dead man’s axe in his hand. Guttural shouts echoed through the living room, the sharp screech of metal clashing with metal. Jumping down the final steps a spear immediately thrust at his face. Blocking it with his axe Tywin rolled forward avoiding another thrust. As he rose he slashed his axe upwards, slicing he mans groin. Cutting the femoral artery in half with a warm spray of blood. The man fell screaming, clutching at his leg in a useless attempt to slow the bleeding. Battle training kicked in. Spot your enemies. Ser Roddick said in his mind. He saw seven men in boiled leather all looking as wild as the men he had just killed, three were battling Ser Roddick, his sword darting from place to place quick as a flash blocking each attack. Two were fighting his son Ser Baric; one was stood on the balcony overlooking his private arena, looking for any sign of the Black Guard. The last had...
'NANA!' he bellowed. Fighting the blade at her throat and the huge beast of a man that was holding her she held out a hand to him.
'TYWIN RUN!' she screamed. The man holding her smiled at him.
'NO!' his blade drew across her neck. Tracing a thin red line of blood across her skin. Then it burst. Nana's wrinkled loving face went pale as her life blood flowed from that massive gash across her throat. She dropped to her knees, hand still reaching out to the child she'd raised. Then she fell, blood pooling around her. Rage like he had never known filled his chest...he wanted to kill...to make them suffer like Nana...to watch their spark leave their eyes. Tearing the spear from the dying man he launched it across the room. It a clean thunk it passed through the beast that had killed Nana impaling him to the wall. In one synchronised thrust the three fighting Ser Roddick pierced him with their blades. Blood pouring from his mouth into his bushy brown beard he fell. Beside his son, the dirk buried into the top of his scalp. With sick smiles and blooding blades the remaining men in the room made a semi-circle around him.
'Come here little knight...we're not gonna' hurt ya'' spat one of them with a coarse laugh.
'GUAR...' the cry from the one on the balcony was cut short as an arrow pierced his eye. Screaming he staggered backwards, hit the railing and sent himself toppling off the edge, the cracks from his bones breaking against the arena floor sending a chill through Tywin. Turning to the doorway as a dozen Black Guard charged into the room with weapons drawn Tywin took the advantage. Burying his axe into the back of one of their heads.
'Wait wait!' cried another as a Black Guard thrust his short sword through his neck.
'TYWIN!' cried the smooth polished voice of the king as he cut down another.Dragonsfiregleaming with the blood of his victim.
'Father!' the word leapt from his lips, He came to protect me.
'Protect Tywin with your lives!' she bellowed. Two Black Guard stood at his front and back as the last of the savages fought against them. Slicing the head from the last standing attacker the king stood in the centre of the room, breathing heavy.
'NANA!' bellowed Tywin. Darting from between his guards. Dropping to her side he rolled her onto her back, holding her in his arms. 'Nana...please no...please.' tears dripping from his nose and chin Tywin wept into her shoulder as he hugged her close to him. Her blood seeping into his breeches, onto his tunic. 'Nana...'
'Northmen my lord,' spoke one of the Black Guard. Tywin looked up, a guard had lifted the tunic of one of the bodies, revealing tattoo's covering his whole back.
'Tywin...' whispered the king softly placing a consoling hand onto his shoulder.
'Father!' leaping into his arms Tywin hugged him, weeping into the fine silk of his sleeping garments. 'They killed Nana father they killed her...'
'I know...' he said placing a hand onto his back.
'Sir this one’s still alive.' said a guard.
'No!' bellowed Tywin releasing the king. 'He's mine...' gripping his axe he walked over to the last survivor, still clutching his leg, pale as summer clouds. His tearful blue eyes looked up to him, head swaying almost uncontrollably as he fought to remain conscious. Black linear tattoos covering his bare flesh. Northmen. Dropping the axe Tywin beat the man with his bare hands. Pounding his face. Screaming to the heavens. Tears rocketing down his face. By the time his stopped his shoulders ached so badly he could hardly lift his arms...the man’s face was nothing but a bloody bag of skull fragments and pulped brain. 'The north did this...we need to kill them father...slaughter them all!' he raged.
'Not yet Phoenix Knight,' said the king calmly. 'Not yet...be patient, let them think us scared...then we strike!'