If not, I shall convene the council to hear his final words and consider the matter of the succession, but I will not dishonor his last hours on earth by shedding blood in his halls and dragging frightened children from their beds."
Lord Renly took a step back, taut as a bowstring. "Every moment you delay gives Cersei another moment to prepare. By the time Robert dies, it may be too late ... for both of us."
Then we should pray that Robert does not die.
Small chance of that, said Renly.
Sometimes the gods are merciful.
The Lannisters are not. Lord Renly turned away and went back across the moat, to the tower where his brother lay dying.
By the time Ned returned to his chambers, he felt weary and heartsick, yet there was no question of his going back to sleep, not now. When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die, Cersei Lannister had told him in the godswood. He found himself wondering if he had done the right thing by refusing Lord Renly's offer. He had no taste for these intrigues, and there was no honor in threatening children, and yet ... if Cersei elected to fight rather than flee, he might well have need of Renly's hundred swords, and more besides.
I want Littlefinger, he told Cayn. "If he's not in his chambers, take as many men as you need and search every winesink and whorehouse in King's Landing until you find him.