"He did what?!" Lord Leyton Hightower looked at the Seneschal with horror and disbelief. "Yes, my lord. A raven from Grand Master Pycelle himself arrived at the Citadel no more than an hour ago. It seems that he has demanded that Lord Arryn hands over boys." "Gods, he will never comply to those terms", Leyton thought, "not after what happened in King's Landing". "So, what is the position of the Citadel?" he asked the Seneschal. "Well, my lord, the Order serves the realm, not the King", the old maester answered, "and we have brothers on both sides. Maesters do not fight, our mission is to serve and council." "So council me then, what will come of this?" Leyton asked, even if he already knew the answer.
Jon Arryn was a man on honour, even the words of his family said it, and lord Hightower knew that he never would hand his two wards over for a likely execution. He would raise the banners of the Vale and war would break out.
This was not the first war The Old Man of Oldtown had known. In his youth he had fought with his uncle, the White Bull and Barristan Selmy in the Royal Army during the War of the Ninepenny Kings, and he remembered how the Darklyns and Hollards had been butchered after the Defiance of Duskendale, only some years ago. But those were limited campaigns. A kingdom-spanning war like the one Leyton knew would come had not been seen for many decades when brother stood against brother during the Blackfyre Rebellions.
Lord Leyton fealt sick. He had heard rumours about how the king had changed during his imprisonment during the Defiance, but this was much worse than he had imagined. The King had long been suspicous about blades in his vicinity, but his paranoia obviously had gone further than enyone had expected. Now the Starks, having travelled to King's Landing to plead with the King, were dead, murdered without trial, along with several northern lords. The North would never forgive it...