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Winterburns

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The fires in the nights of late have roared with the urgency of desperate men searching for the Spring. The Winter upon them was long and hard, and the thought of sunshine through the snow seemed but a dream that would never come. They wanted the sun to shine through and bring warmth to the land and the hearts of the people. But winter was here, and it wasn't leaving anytime soon.

So people turned elsewhere for warmth. To the fires. The promise of a god of fire intrigued so many in the dark nights of the times. When she was last here, the god of fire was not nearly as popular. There was only a select few who looked to the fires to see the face of their god. She traveled with those folk for a while too. But that was long ago, that was when she had a name, a family, a smile, a face of her own.

The thoughts of those days seemed like a sweet memory of a dream. A dream that you remember all too vividly when you wake up, but within the first couple of minutes forget what even really happened.

But a dream of a life back then. Other people would look back at those days, and maybe shed a tear. She however, did nothing. She recognized it for what it was: a time where she was young, and when she could feel. They were hard, hard times sure, but so were these. Sprinkled within them were tears and shouts and laughter. Those are the points that accentuated her thoughts, more than the events. The different things she used to feel, and how much she felt them back then.

She could feel absolutely nothing anymore.

She walked across the land that used to be the land of her home, amongst the people who used to be her people. And then within a city, the bells tolled for the nightly fires, and she found herself being swept up into the crowd towards them. The crows cawed and flew away as the people around her hummed with an excitement that seemed to be more than she'd expect for the prayer fire. She adjusted the hood of her cloak to fix around her more but followed along with the crowd. She was not afraid of being noticed, of someone recognizing her. She left this land as someone, and now she was back as no one.

She didn't know why she came back. After all the years, after everything she'd been through, after becoming no one even, the place still called to her. Well, at least something did. She wasn't sure what though. So she ended her training and left with the face that was hers and no name to tell of herself to the first ship that sailed back to Westeros. It wasn't going home, it wasn't going back. It was just another thing for her to do.

She made her way with the crowd and ended up within the mass of people in front of the huge night fire. There was a woman behind it, dressed in red, and she looked like a flame herself. The Red Lady had already started her prayer. "Lord of light, hear us."

"Lord of Light, defend us," The crowd chanted. She, within the crowd, stayed silent. "For the night is dark and full of terrors."

The chant went on for a while, back and forth. The fire crackled against the sound of it all and snow came down upon the people. She sighed in impatience, hoping that this wouldn't last long. She had nowhere to go, in truth, but she never took care for the Red God.

"R'hllor," The Red Lady sang out into the night. "We give you a grown man with the blood of Kings. He was hidden by his birth, one of lust and adultery. We give him to you with your cleansing flames so that you can burn away the temptations that created him and let his spirit ascend to the light as a King. Accept his blood. Accept this sacrifice, and continue the fight against the dark and cold and melt away the Winter upon us all."

Everyone around her chanted again. "Lord of Light, accept this sacrifice."

She has seen death many times. Death seemed to create her very being, and live within her bones. The amount of people who are now with whatever damned god they believed in because of her was a number she lost track a long time ago. She thought of what was about to be before her, and frowned. She didn't ever give a death of torture; death was nothing ever to be of an enjoyment. She was an agent of death, was all; it was her job, her duty. The thought of burning to death was enough to make her want to leave.

That was until the bastard who was legitimized came in front of the crowd.

She fought through the crowd to get a better look, and it was a good thing that she was still scrawny and fast for she made it past someone before they even realized there was someone there. She was then in front of the flames, her cloak's hood had fallen down, the big fire that was set forth to consume him.

"No," She breathed as he stepped beside the Red Lady.

Her bones were made of death itself. Valar morghulis; all men must die. But not this one, She thought to herself. Not him, not now, not yet, no.

"Lord of Light, hear my prayer," The lady of Red called looking up with her hands above her. "We send a man of the house Baratheon, the blood of the true King runs deep within. Burn through the bastard blood and find the King within."

"The night is dark and full of terrors," The crowd chanted.

And just before he goes to step into the fire, he looks up and sees her. He is walking into the flames on his own, but she can tell by the look in his eyes that they may as well have chained and dragged him. No.

He saw her. A ghost of his past that haunted him at every moment. It was fitting, he thought, that she'd be here during his final moments. He wanted to laugh at her timing, but he instead took a step closer to the flames. He was used to heat, working in a smith for most of his time. He thought of all the time he spent in smithies, and wondered if he should have spent his time while he had it doing other things. At least you became a knight, Ser Gendry Waters - no, Baratheon, thought to himself.

Fight this, she suddenly thinks in her head. She's surprised by all the urgency and panic she was feeling. She was unused to it. Fight them off. Fight this, don't you dare die. Don't you dare let them put you to the fires. You stupid, you-

She cut off her thoughts, and realized her hand was on her sword that dangled at her hip. She was scared and uncertain, and she felt like she was back to being ten. Breathing heavily when suddenly, emotions that she fought off for the years she was gone came flooding through her.

No not flooding, but burning. Burning like the fires in front of her. Burning like he was about to.

Everyone deserves a death...but not this. Not now, not yet. Was this selfish? No, she could see the protests in his eyes to it as well. But he was going through with it. Stupid. So stupid.

I became a knight for you, he thought to himself just at the edge of the flames. I joined these people for you. You wanted me to make swords for your brother, but I wanted to do more. I wanted to be more. And it was all for you. Always. He doesn't say any of that, though. Whether it's because he doesn't think he has time or because he can't put it really into words that show what he means is unknown. All he gets out is one word. A name – hers. "Arry."

The Red Lady grow impatient and pushes him into the flame, towards the pole in the middle where he is to stand and let the fires consume.

She yelps aloud, the word "No!" escaping through her lips. And suddenly she has her name. Arry. Arya Stark. He gave her back his name and now he was going to die.

She heard many people's last words, and was the cause for most. Some people just gasped at the end. There were many that pleaded for their life, or asked for their god to grant them peace. Once or thrice a person caught the appearance of her and shouted out a name towards her. A name like whore or cunt, but never her name, never who she was, never Arry.

Arry, Arry, Arry, it pulsed through her brain. He thought she died, and she did. He just brought her back and she was going to die again, with him.

Arry, Arry, Arry. He was screaming from the pain of burning alive, she supposed, but she couldn't really hear him. She was screaming herself, letting herself go to emotions. Wild as a wolf, she thought to herself. After all these years of nothing she wondered if she was able to ever let loose and howl. She realized that she could, and she did.

She howled into the night and started to run towards the flames where she watched as the one friend she had be consumed. He was screaming and falling down but he still saw as the crowd held her back. She gave in to it all, and she screamed and cried and shouted "No! No! No!" Over and over. Within her, she heard it over and over again. Arry, Arry, Arry. The wolf within her was alive again, the wolf that people made her deny, and it cried against the flames. Arry, Arry, Arry.

 

 

Long after, she's still hunched over in the snow and there's silence (Silence is a sign of death, she thinks to herself). The crowd wrestled her away from the fires at some point during it all and threw her in a bank of new powder. She had been laying there some time. The cold seeped into her, and made her heart beat slow and drum in her head. Arry. Arry. Arry. It didn't stop, her heart or her name.

It hurts, she thought to herself. She didn't know that anything could hurt anymore. But it could, and it did. I made myself as strong as Valyrian Steel, as unbreakable, she told herself. Just like the sword my father used to own, her thoughts betrayed her. Reminding her of who she was (Arry, Arry, Arry). The sword that took his head off.

She was not Valyrian Steel, though. She was not no one. And out in the cold snow, with ashes sweeping throughout the wind and finding her, she felt it all.

The crowd was gone, long gone. The fire was just a black scar upon the earth. And ashes...the ashes were everywhere. In the dark moonlight, Arya Stark walked over to where the fires consumed her one friend in the world just hours ago. All she knew of her family was that they were dead or missing. She could ask around, but no. Everyone around her was an enemy, and the name Stark meant something. She had her name back, and she had to be careful with it. Arry, Arry, Arry.

Picking up some of the left over ashes, she stared at the dark dark black within her hand. If I only came back sooner, Her thoughts ran with the idea. If I came sooner and could have found him sooner. Before the fires. She let the ashes blow with the wind, mixing with the white snow. She pulled up her hood, knowing that living in the maybes was a thing a child would do. A child named Arya Stark. But she was not a child. She was a woman named Arya Stark.

And so she left the scorched ground, and tried her best to stay away from fires. The winter and cold suited her better anyway.