She was about to go to him when the knock came at the door, loud and unexpected. Ned turned, frowning. “What is it?” Desmond’s voice came through the door. “My lord, Master Luwin is without and begs an urgent audience.” “You told him I had left orders not to be disturbed” “Yes, my lord. He insists.” “Very well. Send him in.” Ned crossed to the wardrobe and slipped on a heavy robe. Caitlyn realized suddenly how cold it had become. She sat up in bed and pulled the furs to her chin. “Perhaps we should close the windows,” she suggested. Ned nodded absently.
Maester Luwin was shown in. The master was a small grey man. His eyes were grey, and quick, and saw much. His hair was grey, what little the years had left him. His robe was grey wool, trimmed with white fur, the Stark colors. Its great floppy sleeves had pockets hidden inside. Luwin was always tucking things into those sleeves and producing other things from them: books, messages, strange artifacts, and toys for the children. With all he kept hidden in his sleeves, Catelyn was surprised that Maester Luwin could lift his arms at all. The master waited until the door had closed behind him before he spoke. “My lord,” he said to Ned, “pardon for disturbing your rest. I have been left a message.” Ned looked irritated. “Been left? By whom Has there been a rider I was not told.
” “There was no rider, my lord. Only a carved wooden box, was left on a table in my observatory while I napped. My servants saw no one, but it must have been brought by someone in the king’s party. We have had no other visitors from the south.” “A wooden box, you say?” Catelyn said. “Inside was a fine new lens for the observatory, from Myr by the look of it. The Lenscrafters of Myr is without equal.” Ned frowned. He had little patience for this sort of thing, Catelyn knew. “A lens,” he said. “What has that to do with me?” “I asked the same question,” Maester Luwin said. “Clearly there was more to this than the seeming.” Under the heavy weight of her furs, Catelyn shivered. “A lens is an instrument to help us see.” “Indeed it is.” He fingered the collar of his order; a heavy chain worn tight around the neck beneath his robe, each link forged from a different metal.
Catelyn could feel dread stirring inside her once again. “What is it that they would have us see more clearly?” “The very thing I asked myself.” Maester Luwin drew a tightly rolled paper out of his sleeve. “I found the true message concealed within a false bottom when I dismantled the box the lens had come in, but it is not for my eyes.” Ned held out his hand. “Let me have it, then.” Luwin did not stir. “Pardons, my lord. The message is not for you either. It is marked for the eyes of Lady Catelyn, and her alone. May I approach?” Catelyn nodded, not trusting to speak.
The maester placed the paper on the table beside the bed. It was sealed with a small blob of blue wax. Luwin bowed and began to retreat. “Stay,” Ned commanded him. His voice was grave. He looked at Catelyn. “What is it? My lady, you’re shaking.” “I’m afraid,” she admitted. She reached out and took the letter in trembling hands.
The furs dropped away from her nakedness, forgotten. In the blue wax was the moon-and-falcon seal of House Arryn. “It’s from Lysa.” Catelyn looked at her husband. “It will not make us glad,” she told him. “There is grief in this message, Ned. I can feel it.” Ned frowned, his face darkening. “Open it.” Catelyn broke the seal.