Ned felt the coarse hair with his fingers. Varys had transformed himself into a grizzled turnkey, reeking of sweat and sour wine. "How did you... what sort of magician are you?"
A thirsty one, Varys said. "Drink, my lord."
Ned's hands fumbled at the skin. "Is this the same poison they gave Robert?"
You wrong me, Varys said sadly. "Truly, no one loves a eunuch. Give me the skin." He drank, a trickle of red leaking from the corner of his plump mouth. "Not the equal of the vintage you offered me the night of the tourney, but no more poisonous than most," he concluded, wiping his lips. "Here."
Ned tried a swallow. "Dregs." He felt as though he were about to bring the wine back up.
All men must swallow the sour with the sweet. High lords and eunuchs alike. Your hour has come, my lord.
The younger girl escaped Sir Meryn and fled, Varys told him. "I have not been able to find her. Nor have the Lannisters. A kindness, there. Our new king loves her not. Your older girl is still betrothed to Joffrey. Cersei keeps her close. She came to court a few days ago to plead that you be spared.