When Lord Renly arrives, Ned said.
Varys gave him a sorrowful look. "I fear Lord Renly has left the city."
Left the city? Ned had counted on Renly's support.
He took his leave through a postern gate an hour before dawn, accompanied by Sir Loras Tyrell and some fifty retainers, Varys told them. "When last seen, they were galloping south in some haste, no doubt bound for Storm's End or Highgarden."
So much for Renly and his hundred swords. Ned did not like the smell of that, but there was nothing to be done for it. He drew out Robert's last letter. "The king called me to his side last night and commanded me to record his final words. Lord Renly and Grand Maester Pycelle stood witness as Robert sealed the letter, to be opened by the council after his death. Sir Barristan, if you would be so kind?"
The Lord Commander of the Kingsguard examined the paper. "King Robert's seal, and unbroken." He opened the letter and read. "Lord Eddard Stark is herein named Protector of the Realm, to rule as regent until the heir comes of age."
And as it happens, he is of age, Ned reflected, but he did not give voice to the thought. He trusted neither Pycelle nor Varys, and Sir Barristan was honor-bound to protect and defend the boy he thought his new king.