And help my son, Ned. Make him be...better than me." He winced. "Gods have mercy."
They will, my friend, Ned said. "They will."
The king closed his eyes and seemed to relax. "Killed by a pig," he muttered. "Ought to laugh, but it hurts too much."
Ned was not laughing. "Shall I call them back?"
Robert gave a weak nod. "As you will. Gods, why is it so cold in here?"
The servants rushed back in and hurried to feed the fires. The queen had gone; that was some small relief, at least. If she had any sense, Cersei would take her children and fly before the break of day, Ned thought. She had lingered too long already.
King Robert did not seem to miss her. He bid his brother Renly and Grand Maester Pycelle to stand in witness as he pressed his seal into the hot yellow wax that Ned had dripped upon his letter. "Now give me something for the pain and let me die."
Hurriedly Grand Maester Pycelle mixed him another draught of the milk of the poppy.