The shadow moved stealth and precision, wisps of smoke disappearing and re-forming into something seemingly solid, morphing into the shape of a tall man. None of the kingsguard or the various sentries were of no consequence as the figure slipped past unseen into King Renly’s tent.
Lady Catelyn and Brienne of the kingsguard were the only people to witness the shadow’s attack on king Renly. The elder woman having to pry the far taller and stronger Brienne away from the seemingly dead king before making a hasty get-a-way.
Waking from his slumber, Stannis sat bolt upright in bed, looking over to Melisandre who slept beside him. Having the most disasterous nightmare, having seen a most frightening shadow plunge a dark blade straight through his brother’s chest. There was no love lost between the two of them, that much was known. He did however care for his younger brother, especially now that Robert was gone. Appearances must be kept up for the “lord of light” and his men, he could not be seen being soft toward the “enemy”.
Melisandre shifted and woke beside him, sensing his distress she placed a comforting hand at his shoulder, squeezing lightly.
“It is done.” She whispered, eyes finding Stannis’s.
“My brother? The dream I just had… it… it was your doing?” Stannis’s eyes flickered with recognition and horror, recoiling from the woman lying beside him as if burned.
Leaping straight from the bed upon the woman’s nod and description of the connection between himself and the shadow creature, how he saw the vision, Stannis immediately began dressing himself, including armour.
“How could you? Without consulting me!?” The older man’s anger was reaching a peak. “We all know that good men, thousands of men, are going to die in this war. But my brother, defenceless in his tent at night? Have you no honour?! Had your disgusting shadow creature caught him sword in hand my BROTHER would still be ALIVE!” Fists clenching and unclenching Stannis left the priestess alone.
Taking two of his closest guards, along with Davos Seaworth, a man whom he actually trusted beyond most of those in his ranks, and made way for Renly’s camp.
Sucking in a deep breath, shuddering within his chest, Renly could feel nothing other than grogginess and blinding pain emanating from his chest. Shouting out, three of his kingsguard rushed into the tent, two helped lift Renly onto the table, lying out flat and applying pressure to the source of the blood pooling through the man’s tunic, while the third fetched a maester.
“WHERE IS MY BROTHER!?” A roar in a voice so gruff that Renly in his groggy state could tell that it was Stannis. He could hear Loras arguing and the sound of sword being drawn.
“Stannis…” Renly breathed, calling upon the maester currently cleaning at his wound to allow his brother entrance, and for everyone apart for the three of them to leave, even his guards.
“Renly… I saw it, I saw it all happen as if a dream within my slumber. Melisandre, she…” Stannis eyed the deep gash at his brother’s breast, blood pooling before being cleaned and re-surfacing as the maester pressed a rag to the area to stem the bleeding.
“Stannis, I know it wasn’t you brother.”
“She will pay, the priestess. You were defenceless, the only way I would face you brother would be equally armed upon the battlefield. Give you a respectable death at least.” Stannis sat beside his brother.
A humorless laugh left the younger man’s lips. He still believed that Stannis would never make a proper king, he would be feared and not loved, whereas the perfect king would demand a mixture of both. Renly’s eyes opened wide, almost comically so, as Stannis’s hand carded through his hair almost gently.
“Do you remember when we were children Renly? We were so close… I should not wish for you to die this way brother. I realize neither of us can show any kind of weakness, though I may not love you as Robert did, I care Renly. “