The Lords of Winter

Flint Fingers I

Erik writes his mother

Dear Mother,


How is the leg? I know you wanted to come to the wedding, but a broken leg takes time to heal. Perhaps you should find a gentler horse than that devil beast from Dorne. Rest up and worry not, this wedding is a rushed affair, and you are missing little.

After all the pressure you and everyone else put on me and my niece Emma, I was not surprised to find out Lady Stark wanted our new Wildling lord married at once. When I heard it was to a Rayne, it gave me pause. It should have given me great pause.

It turns out Lady Stark had lined up none other than the sweet Sylvie Rayne for my nephew. I have not had a chance to speak to the lass privately, but this must be a shock to the poor girl. On one hand she gets a lord for a husband, and not some broke-down, white-haired, bandy-legged ancient like her father, but a young and strong Slayton. Not me, but what can you do? On the other hand, Malachite is a Wildling. Yes, he has the blood of the North, but he was raised as one of the “Free People,” whatever that may mean. Poor Sylvie must be terrified.

Now I know you will chastise me, but I have been with Sylvie before, and I’m afraid she may be with child. Everyone thinks it’s mine, but honestly, I’ve only visited her a few times, and she may have found other men to her liking as well.

The upshot is that the Rayne’s believe I am the father of Lady Brigit Rayne’s child and now Sylvie’s. It is not my fault if these river men cannot produce heirs, while a Northman has to just stand upwind of one of their women to find her belly swelling.

In any case the Rayne’s will no doubt try and attack me, and I must find a way to defend myself without breaking the peace that Lady Stark has worked so hard to achieve. Any motherly advice on this subject will too late to reach me, so let us trust in the Old Gods to protect us.

The Rayne’s have a Hogg in their midst. Ser Eaton Hogg is sworn to the Raynes, and it seems he is determined to make trouble for everyone, even me.

I have to ask myself, who among the Raynes will profit if this marriage falls through? Certainly they are under pressure from their river lords to see this through. Is this Hogg here as a spoiler?

And what of our host, Lord Arthur Flint? His wife is absent, and there is some secret about her. Their son, Robyn Flint is a capable, if serious, young man. Something troubles him, and we know not what. Perhaps it is only that his father has dreadful pious notions about women that septons prattle on about but seldom practice.

Sorry there isn’t much news to share with you. I will go hunting tomorrow. I assume someone will be hunting me or Malachite. Probably both. Perhaps my next letter will have something of import.

Your loving son,

Erik

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