Chapter 1: Stranger? What Stranger?
Sandor POV 280 AC
He rode the horse as fast as he could, his heart hammering in his chest as if he was the one running as fast as he could.
The fear that had gripped him when he had seen his father’s corpse slung on the back of his horse while his brother smirked at him had not left his being. He knew he was next.
He wondered if he would find the protection he had prayed for, the gods had never answered his prayers but this time instead of protection from the Father or the Warrior he had prayed from the very depths of his soul to the Stranger, he had prayed for the death of his tormentor or for his deliverance from this constant state of fear and terror.
Mother had died in childbed trying to birth his sister when he was just three namedays, his sister died before she had even drawn breath. At least the gentle woman had not seen the depravity her eldest son held in his heart. His father had was blinded to Gregor’s cruelties by the glory his tall strong heir could bring to his lowly knightly house. Even when Gregor had burned his face when he was six namedays his father had told everyone that his bedding had caught fire.
The hunt his father had departed on this morning with his cherished son had ended his life.
He knew then that he had to get away, he had packed some food and left while the keep was all in a tizzy over the death of his father. He hoped he would find shelter at Casterly Rock, though was young, he was large and was good enough with steel, he would offer his services to his liege lord and hope that he would be taken in by them.
A bright light shone up ahead as the horse whinnied and reared up on its front legs, Sandor was busy trying to keep his seat and control the horse. It would not do to lose his only horse.
A man stepped out from the light, he had dark hair and was not too tall though even from almost five feet away he could see the striking green eyes that shone out of his angular face.
There was another man lying on the ground, who was groaning as if he was in pain.
Sandor knew magic existed when the dragons lived but this was the first time that he had ever seen something that could be classed as magic. The man had yet to acknowledge him as he grumbled to himself “Bloody Death, he could not tell me who I need to take in, only vague statements - Oh save the burned boy you meet - Hmph I rue the day I united the stupid things. Stupid Potter luck.” he then saw that he was not alone as he dusted his odd clothes “Oh Hello - oh thank Death you are the burned boy I was asked to save, that's awesome normally I have to do a lot more work.”
He then looked down to the man at his feet and started to fuss about him “Sirius, are you alright?” The man eyes opened for a bit and then he fell into a dead faint. The green eyed man panicked and started to wave a stick around and then as if some great question was answered he relaxed and sat next to the downed man.
Sandor wondered if this mage was mad - but wait did he say he was asked to save him by DEATH as in the STRANGER that he had prayed to just this morn “Ah.. Hello My Lord, my name is Sandor of House Clegane. Did you say you were sent to me by the Stranger?”
The man looked confused as he asked “Stranger, what stranger?”
“Death My Lord - the Stranger” Sandor was now sure the mage was little mad but he could not smother the hope that had sprung his his chest and the only burned boy he could think of was himself. “One of the faces of the Seven Gods, the one that means death”
The man shook his head as of to clear his thoughts “Oh you call him Stranger then, yes I was sent to take you in by Death...umm the Stranger, I am Harry Potter Black.” he pointed towards the man lying by him “and this is Sirius” then looked around at their surroundings “Where are we?”
Sandor now had misgivings over going anywhere with this mage, how could he not know where he was, he did just arrive here through some magical light, maybe he was just sent and not told where he was going. “This is the Westerlands My Lord, just a weeks ride from Casterly Rock.”
The man looked even more confused at that “Umm… Sandor right.. How old are you lad?”
“I am ten namedays My Lord.” Sandor by now had gotten off his horse and was standing a few feet away from the mage.
The mage mouthed something and then looked up at him again, Sandor was wondering whether the mage Harry had hit his head somewhere but he was very agitated as he did not want his brother’s men to catch up to him “My Lord we should seek shelter somewhere, there are people after me… We need to get somewhere safe”
The man looked up sharply at that “Who is after you lad?”
Sandor shifted uneasily as he hated to explain to people about Gregor however the mage had not looked at him with pity or disgust, it was as if he could not even see his scars besides the Stranger had sent him to save him and he hated liars “My brother my Lord, he has just killed my father this morning and will surely kill me.. I do not know whether he has sent his men after me however I would not want to stay here in the open.. Our keep is only half a day away from here”
The mage looked at him as if he was scrutinising his very being as the hand with the stick twitched, he did not say anything rather just looked into his eyes for answers that he did not ask, finally as if after an age he nodded and stood “Get your horse lad, I will put up some protections in that forest and we will set up camp there for sometime.”
Sandor was not sure how he was going to set up camp as he only had a small messenger bag on him; though he imagined magic would play a huge part in it.
He watched in amazement as the mage removed a tent from the small bag which erected itself with a wave of his stick, and then he waved his stick around the clearing at the side of the road.
He blindly followed the mage when he was waved to enter the tent behind the floating body of the other man..Serious odd name.. Maybe he too was a mage. He was sure his eyes were the size of shields when he was inside the tent “Seven hells” he blurted - the tent was a house on the inside, it had wooden floors, and from what he could see from here there were at least four doors and a large passageway.
He heard the mage laugh merrily at him “Ahh this reminds me of the time I saw a tent for the first time. It's bigger in the inside” he then looked expectantly at him “Nothing… well you would not know Doctor Who. Sandor sit here, and i will tether your horse, keep an eye on that lump will you.”
Sandor settled on a chair as he saw the mage leave, he looked around and saw that the place was very large, he could see a kitchen from here and the smell of pine permeated the place. There were candles burning around the place and there was also a fireplace a few feet away from the couch the other man was lying on. It did not take long for the mage to come back in.
“I’ll give you a tour of this place lad, don't worry but first I need to see to Sirius.” the mage spoke as he walked down the passageway and into a room. Sandor could hear some rustling and after a minute or so the mage come walking back with a few glass bottles with him.
“Sandor come here, can you hold his head up for me.” the mage asked as he settled near the man.
He scrambled up “Of course My Lord.” he quickly held the man, he was very light and looked quite starved to be honest, maybe he was in a magical war that is why they did not know where they were - how terrifying it would be to watch a magical fight.
As the mage fed him from those bottles, the man’s colour improved and he even opened his eyes for a bit before the mage again waved his stick and the man coughed and finally sat up.
Sandor let go and held his shoulder so he would not fall on his face as he struggled to sit up
Sirius had been in a state of limbo as far as he could tell, from the time he fell through the veil and to when he woke coughing it was as if no time had passed at all.
Harry had explained to him that it had been nine years since the battle at the ministry. Harry was now twenty four and had united the deathly hallows at the end of the war.
He had worked to find Sirius when his shade had not shown up at the eve of the battle, so he had gotten a job with the unspeakables and researched the veil for the last four years.
He loved the boy for not giving up on him, but he also wished that Harry had not wasted so much time on him, and had tried to be happy and find a wife and had a boatload of kids.
They were now not allowed to go back home, bah who cared about that horrid world anyway, all those he loved were now dead it seemed. Remus had a son which was great but it seemed Andromeda had denied Harry contact with his godson - she seemed to blame Harry for the death of Nym which was dumb but the Blacks were never known for their sanity.
As he lay on the bed trying to fall asleep his mind raced with all the possibilities this new world could offer them. Harry had taken in a stray, a young boy called Sandor - the kid was abused by this brother. Harry had used legilimency on the boy to find out what had happened to him and why he was running.
They were now in some sort of medieval world and had been stuck in that age for more than thousands of years. Sirius was happy to have another join their party and from what he had been told, DEATH himself had asked Harry to take the kid in, and he was released by death as a favour to Harry - so even if Sirius was not in full agreement of taking in a young scared boy he would not say no to anything ruddy death asked of him.. He might just fall dead for no reason at all if he slighted death and he had no intention of dying anytime soon.
He finally gave up on trying to quiet his mind and wandered in the kitchen to hopefully find some breakfast. Harry was already at the table scribbling something in a muggle notebook while a few cups of coffee were laying around.
He stood there watching a man that looked like James but was Lily in character and his heart ached for all the friends he had lost. “Early morning pup?”
Harry did even have the decency to look startled let alone jerk in surprise he just waved a hand at Sirius to find a seat.
“I knew you would find your way here sooner or later considering I did not answer all your questions Siri and I am sure hunger would have won eventually.”
Sirius had found that elusive drink that he had not consumed in ages and poured himself a sup of tea and sat opposite Harry. He nursed his drink and took joy in this simple pleasure as he pondered on how to phrase his queries to a man that was much different that the boy he had known.
“Don't get me wrong Harry, I am overjoyed that I don't have to spend eternity as a floating mannequin somewhere in the veil but why did you dedicate so much of your life to find me, you could have had a family, you won the war kiddo, you defeated that bastard that killed James and Lily, you bloody well deserved rest and peace.” by the end of his speech his chest was heaving with agitation and guilt at having consumed so much of his pup’s thoughts.
Harry just sighed and took a drink from his cup, it pissed Sirius that Harry was not angry or shouting back at him “Siri - I wish I could have married some girl, have a bunch of kids and had peace for what it's worth.” Harry’s eyes were sad and he looked defeated making Sirius wonder what the hell had happened in his pup’s life.
“I dated Ginny Weasley you know for almost two years, but then I discovered in a routine health check that I could not have children. We parted ways then, it was all very nice and courteous” Harry gave a self deprecating laugh at that and ran his hand through his hair “That is all I had ever dreamed of a wife and kids - a family of my own, they never could tell why it was so, we just concluded that it could be anything from me being a horcrux, or basilisk venom, or dying or even any number of things I went through in life. What did it matter though whatever the reason, the result was the same.”
“So I decided I would find the only family I had - You”
Sirius reached out and held Harry’s shoulder in a tight grip “You will always have me pup. I am so very sorry about the kids, but hey you have a new pup, one you found yourself, we will take him under our wing, I will teach him how to prank and you can do all the boring things like teach and stuff.”
Harry gave a laugh at that “Well he is good kid and he reminds me of myself.. Though he has been ill treated”
Sirius knew that Harry had never been happy at Petunia’s place but was he truly treated as badly as the new pup “Harry..were they” he started in a slow measured voice but Harry stopped him before he could even voice the question and shook his head and answered with a small smile “No Siri, they were not abusive if that is what you are thinking, they just kinda avoided me as much as they could and tried to keep me out of their way by having me work around the house. It's all in the past now. Sandor reminds me of me in his search for someone to take care of him, he wants to be cared for.. Not all that surprising considering his past.”
Sirius smiled at that “Well he will get that with us then.. Ahh but where exactly are we, do you know anything about this world apart from it being medieval”
Harry shook his head “No, I could get very little from my legilimency scan of Sandor - he is a child after all and knows things a young child would, besides he was not really paid attention to in his house, but I know that there are people called Maesters that are in charge of all the knowledge in this continent Westeros. The have their HQ at someplace called Oldtown.. So I guess we could travel there and find out as much as we can about this world.”
Sirius looked at Harry with emotion swimming in his eyes “I am happy you came pup, more than I can say. You will tell me everything else though, about death and the hallows when you can.. “
Harry stood at that and came and hugged the air out of his lungs.
The hug that he had shared with Sirius eased something in his chest, when he had woken up and Harry had explained a little of what had happened, Sirius was still very disoriented and was unable to process the information that Harry was dumping in him.
It was early in the morning when Sirius had come upon him while he was making a list of all the things that he needed to do in this new world, Hermione would have been so proud.
He had an inkling that he would not be able to come back from the trip to the veil but it was not set in stone, however the only one that knew of his plans was Hermione as she had helped him with some of his calculations.
The war had left them all in a state of preparedness that was the best thing he could call it, so rather than being hit head on with a situation that would spiral out of control, Harry had prepared.
He had gotten all of his belongings, all his money, he went shopping and stocked up in various items that he may not be able to get his hands on, even after the war had ended he had bought and kept a fully stocked tent on himself so that he would not be taken by surprise ever again.
It was only after a year of training as an unspeakable that he had realised that he had won the war with sheer dumb luck and a good dose of stubbornness, What did he know of magic, nothing it seemed. What the students were taught was not even the tip of the iceberg, He was just lucky to have been exceptionally powerful and as the unspeakables that later explained to him - circumstances had conspired to make him as powerful as his nemesis so that he could be his equal.
The win was his and his alone; as the prophecy did not proclaim who would win just that they would be equals.
After being informed that he would never father children, his heart had broken. So he had tried to find the last member of his family and unite with him no matter what it took.
Death had greeted him in the veil and told him he would give Sirius back if he went to a new world as he could not take Sirius back to his old one, he could of course go back alone.
He was also told what it meant to be Master of Death - what a joke. He was a servant rather than it's Master. He was to help Death defeat any imbalance in the course of life of death, he would have the chance to do so in his world after seven hundred years or so.. So he had chosen the world with the closest imbalance - Planetos.
Sandor was apparently a great worshipper of death in another life and thus Death had given him peace and family in this one through Harry.
He was not much averse to taking in a young child, Harry would have been overjoyed if someone had taken him away from the damn Dursleys. Though Sandor’s situation was much much dire. He seemed to be a good quiet lad.
Harry had no qualms in talking about how he had ended up here, there were no great enemies or traitors in his life back home, he could admit that he missed the action and well to find Sirius that was a dream for him. The guilt he had carried over his supposed death had finally abated when he had woken up.
He looked across the table at Sirius and he was sure that he face reflected the happiness he felt “Siri I have no problems in talking about the hallows and life back home - with the exception of Andromeda there were no problems and as I told you she left magical Britain and settled in America after the war. I regret that she did not want me coming around but I did not have the heart to fight with a woman who had lost so much in so little time.”
Sirius did not agree it seems “You lost people too Harry, she was not the only one to lose family in the war and she should not have kept you from Remus’s cub.. It was wrong of her to do so.”
“It's all done now, not like we could go back. Anyways I told you all about the war, you remember all that right?” at his nod Harry continued “It was only when I crossed the veil did I understand what I had done in uniting the damn things. It turns out I have to help death once and only then can I go on and die.”
Sirius was gobsmacked at that “What do you mean by finally go on? Do you mean that you cannot die?”
Harry ran a hand through his messy hair and nodded “Yeah.. apparently I cannot die and let me tell you that was a shock, but the good news is that I will always be in my prime and so I won't grow old and warty” he said with a chuckle “Death needs some major communication upgrades though - coz if I had not tried to find you and gone through the veil I would have had to wait over seven hundred years in our world to get that chance. I chose this world - as it has a problem that needs my intervention in just over 20 years after that I am free of the title if I want or I could keep it, as long as the hallows remain in my possession I will be unable to die or so I am told”
Harry then grinned up at Sirius “You want to know something really wicked though”
At a dazed nod from Sirius he grinned maniacally “I. have. The. Philosophers. Stone.”
Sirius fell off his chair at that statement and them scrambled to stand “What.. are you buggering telling me that I can get younger than I am now and you have not yet fed me the bloody thing.. Harry” he whined and went on his knees “Oh wonderful Master of Death, defeater of evil, vanquisher of Voldemort, saver of life I beseech thee to make me young again so that I Sirius Orion Black can once again be the saviour of maidens and lover of all women through the lands.”
Harry could not stop laughing and the noise brought out a sleepy Sandor through the door who was rubbing his eyes and looking at the two of them as if they had lost their minds.
He waved Sandor over to the table “Sirius get up off your bloody knees, you woke up poor Sandor.”
“It's alright My Lord - it's morning” he said as he sat at the table.
Sirius looked at the boy “Why do you call us My Lord? Just call me Sirius and him Harry. We are after all your family now..um if you will have us that is” Sirius finished lamely
Sandor had tears in his eyes that he did not let fall “I.. will my. Serious.. Um why are you called serious.” hsi question brought about another round of laughter
“No pup my name is not serious it's Sirius - it's the name of a star from our world.” he spelled it out for the boy
“Oh.. sorry I was wondering about it… can i ask why you are calling me pup - is it because of my house sigil?’
Sirius looked over to Harry at that who filled him in “The families that are noble or knights have something like a crest as we had in our world. Sandor’s is three black dogs on a yellow field.”
Sirius looked at Sandor with glee at that “Oh pup you found the right people to help you” he then laughed and stood “let me show you why I call you pup” and then without warning he changed into Padfoot and went up to lick at Sandor’s face.
Harry pulled the giant dog off of the poor boy and asked him to change back “Don't worry Sandor that is normal for wizards. Some study to become animals”
Sandor though far from being worried looked very excited “Can you become something else?”
Sirius smiled and ruffled his hair “No pup, you see each person had a spirit animal and mine is the Grimm which is a magical dog. It's an omen of death in our world. All nonsense I assure you.”
Sandor then turned to Harry and asked “Can you change into an animal too my lord?”
“Call me Harry, and yes I can - though I doubt you have ever seen this animal.”
Sirius was looking happy at his admission of being an animagus “You learned how to be an animagus, when, how? Show me now pup.”
Harry laughed joyously “I learned with the unspeakables, and I will show it to you later though I can tell you that even my form is associated with death.. And that is all I will say for now.”
All the begging and pleading that Sirius did throughout breakfast did not bear fruit as Harry steadfastly refused to change or tell him what his form was.
They had Sandor go for a shower and to brush his teeth so that they could make plans without little ears listening in.
Before they could make any plans a shout came from the bathroom “My Lords...what is brushing teeth and shower?”
Chapter 2: Touring The Kingdoms
When they finally sat down to talk about their future plans it was decided that they would first cure Sandor of his burns and also due to much nagging Sirius would get some elixir of life to reduce his age to twenty four.
Harry and Sirius would claim to be twins and Sandor would pose as their younger brother.
The name they would take on was Potter-Black. They spend their time healing and relaxing in a few days they would start their journey to Oldtown medieval style as they needed to get the lay of the land in order to apparate places. Horses would need to be acquired, it was a blessing that Sirius and Harry both knew how to ride horses.
Sandor when he saw his face clear of the scars was a thing to behold, his tears of joy and effusive thanks had made Harry swell with happiness and Sirius preen with pride.
Sandor had happily agreed to leave the name Clegane behind and take on the name Potter Black and pose as their younger brother.
Sirius after being de-aged had the bright idea to link each other with blood and thus had them perform the blood brothers charm, the potion it required needed half a day to be prepared and since it was Sirius who wanted to perform the spell Harry insisted that he himself prepare the potion.
Sandor was more than happy to be a true family rather than just posing as their brother.
Sirius to Harry’s surprise was surprisingly proficient at potions, a skill that Harry assumed he would not have “Oh ye of little faith - how do you think I got into the Aurors if I was bad at potions. Old Snivellus destroyed a generation of potioneers.” he grumbled
The aftermath of the spell showed slight changes in their features but the most noticeable change was their eyes.
All of them now had the same gray green eyes. The iris was surrounded by a perfect circle of steel gray which almost looked silver in a certain light and the rest was a bright emerald green.
It was a very striking feature and looked quite imposing, especially as all three of them had dark raven hair.
Harry’s messy hair had settled down a bit as they became heavy with a bit of curl to them, Sirius seemed to lose a bit of his curls and Sandor seemed to acquire some curls. They truly did look like a family.
Harry also put on some much needed height bringing him to a great 6’2 the same height as Sirius and they both also filled out a bit. It turns out that Sandor’s family were all large so they gained that from him.
Harry was ecstatic at his newly gained height, he had resigned himself to be a measly 5’7 all his life, if he cursed the Dursleys for anything it was that.
Sirius became very excited and handed Sandor his wand “Give it a wave pup” Sandor nonplussed at the sudden demand took the wand and did as he was asked with no result.
Sirius’ face fell at no sparks being issued from the wand. Harry just gaped at him and said “If it was that easy for a muggle to gain magic, Siri we would be swimming in wizards and witches”
Sirius looked offended at that “I know pup but we are in a different world, I just hoped…” then he looked at Sandor “Ahh pup you are not sad are you?”
Sandor shook his head as he smiled slightly “No my..Sirius. I don't think I would be a good mage, I like swordplay a bit too much for that. I want to be a knight, I will dedicate all my wins to the Stranger when I am a man grown and can fight in his name.”
Sirius was excited again as he looked at Harry again “Yes, swords. We must learn Harry so I can beat you with a sword too. And we need someone to teach the pup too, put that on your prissy list.”
Harry happy at the light banter and teasing shook his head “As if you could ever beat me at anything Siri.” He had missed Sirius and his levity was good for Sandor, merlin knows that he would be a serious boy if he just had Harry for company.
Harry did not wish for Sandor to ever see battle, but from what little he understood of this world he was unlikely to get his wish.
The event that loomed somewhere in the future also preyed heavily on his mind. But damn these people were muggles and he had magic, he could surely solve any problems considering that this world would have had another champion if he had not hopped his way here. He would prepare and have faith, that is all he could do for the time being. Though he wished he knew what he would be facing.
He knew he had changed a lot since he was a teenager and what scruples he had left had been washed away in his later years at the unspeakables when he realised how much potential magic had and how he was wasting it away.
Some may call that immoral but he called it survival, and if Harry could survive and keep his loved ones safe then he was not going to waste any time thinking about whether it was immoral or honourable. If only someone had used a compulsion on Umbridge then so many students would have been spared the blood quill, hell they could have set up a non-aggression ward in her classroom.
Though Snape was a hero in the end, he had ruined potions for so many students, he had lowered the rate of medi-wizards, potion makers and aurors, Dumbledore could have just put a portrait in the classroom and in the name of impartiality - shite he could have done that for every class. It would have helped to keep the teachers from being rude or in the case of Snape from showing favoritism and no Death Eater would have called him on it.
In the last year of the war McGonagall could have done so much more to help the students, she had the house elves on her side, she could have fed the damn DE’s potions to keep them calm and relaxed or had them obliviated when they tried to crucio students, and pacified them with false memories. No use thinking on such things that have passed, what is done is done - but he would use every weapon in his arsenal.
After two days of travelling on horses that they had bought from the first town they passed, Harry had given in to Sirius whinging and they decided to fly to Oldtown.
Truth be told even with the cushioning charm Harry could feel his arse hurting as if he had flown for days on a particularly crappy broom.
They tethered the horses in the tent and packed it up, the horses would not feel a thing.
Harry was a flying enthusiast and over the years he had bought every top of the line broom that was released. Initially he had done this to save his beloved Firebolt from being ruined, but it turned out to be an annual ritual. He now owned seven mint condition brooms that he did not use, and he had another seven brooms that he used of the same brand plus his prized firebolt. However all his plans went down the drain when Sirius saw his old Triumph.
“Harry you kept my baby?” he hurried over to his flying bike and caressed her sides as if it was a particularly beautiful woman. Harry could hear him speaking to the bike in soft proud tones.
Harry cleared his throat “Yeah, after the war I took it from Hagrid and had it repaired by a mechanic who knew of the magical world. He did the mechanics and I tinkered with the magical side over the years.”
Harry had kept it in Siri’s memory, he preferred his brooms over the bike; he just put charms on it when was bored and in need of a mindless diversion.
Sandor was standing by the door looking at the bike with wide eyes Harry thought it made him look adorable, he doubted any ten year old boy would like to hear that though.
Sirius turned around with a wild smile on his face “We are going to ride on my baby, pup you are with me in the sidecar.” he announced
Sandor looked afraid for a moment “Umm alright My..Sirius but what is it?”
“What is it? It is the best motorbike in the world, it's a marvel of muggle engineering and magical ingenuity, it is a piece of finely crafted steel and grease and oil.”
Sandor looked even more confused at that so Harry took pity on him and explained to him what a motorbike was, though he was sure he had not managed to make him understand why the damn thing flew.
They flew in the day stopping in various places to eat and piss and ask for directions to Oldtown, they spent their nights in the tent.
Sandor seemed to love to sit in the sidecar and enjoy the speed, Sirius even let him fly for a few minutes before Harry came upon them and put his foot down. “Sirius, he is only ten - you can teach him how to ride the bike when he is at least sixteen and not a day sooner.” he ignored the pout on both their faces. He was sure Sirius was teaching Sandor the art of puppy eyes.
It took them three more days before they were able to see Oldtown. Harry had them ride horses the rest of the way as it would be very difficult to land in the city walls without being very discreet, better to ride in the old fashioned way.
They stopped at an inn in called the High Mermaid, a decent place though anything medieval decent was a serious health hazard by modern standards.
They settled their things in the one room they had rented out as they would not be using the beds anyways, they would put up protections and pitch the tent in the room when it was time to retire.
“Straw beds, Harry can you believe that they have actual straw filled beds” Sirius laughed and poked the mattresses “I don't think I really want to be a flea bitten dog, had enough of that at Casa Azkaban”
Sirius tended to think of his prison days now and again and it was Sandor that helped him through those times, Harry wondered if Sirius just loved all children due to their innocence.
“But what is wrong with straw beds Sirius? And there are no fleas, this has to be the nicest inn I have ever seen.” Sandor questioned them and Harry imagined the face he would make if he ever saw a 5-Star Hotel, hell even a small B&B back home.
“Ahh pup, the place we come from is very very clean, you have seen the tent right.”
Sandor eagerly nodded at that “Yes, the tent is very clean and I love the hot tub and the toilet, I don't think even Lord Tywin or the King have things that nice.”
Harry smiled at his love for the flush toilet and once they had explained to him how the hot tub worked, Sandor was in love, the boy spent an hour in it everyday.
“Alright let’s go down and get something to drink so I can scout the place and then make my way to the citadel.” Harry announced as he shared a look with Sirius which let him know that scouting meant scanning the room with legilimency and so Sirius has to make talk and keep the attention on himself.
Sirius was regaling Sandor with the marvels of the modern world and it's awesomeness as they made their way down the stairs.
It took them an hour to make their way back to the room, they had ordered three plate of food to be brought up feigning weariness. Once the food arrived the room was secured with a barrage of spells so they could sleep in the tent.
It was only seven in the evening but Harry would be waking up at 1 in the night so he could infiltrate the citadel and copy as many books as he could. He wished he could find someone that worked or studied at the Citadel to get a layout of the place before going in.
It could not be helped now and the average person in the world was uneducated and thus would be of no great help. The nobility rarely ventured out of their castles and when they did they were under heavy armed guard.
Oldtown though was thrumming with Maesters and their acolytes. He was at the hub of knowledge for this continent and he would gather as much as he could in the week they planned to stay here.
“Oh gods Harry, any more bleeding books and we will be drowning in them. Did the unspeakables tamper with your brains, I can't read anymore Harry.” Sirius gave Harry a wounded look as he closed the book in his lap with a heavy thud all the while Sandor silently laughed at him.
They had spent two weeks at Oldtown and Harry had managed to get a copy of the most important things they would need to flourish in this world.
“I am going to go out for a ride, I can't sit here anymore it's making me itchy.”
Sandor looked at him with wide eyed expectation but before he could invite him along Harry ordered the pup to bed stating it was late enough and he needed to go to sleep after his glass of milk.
Sirius mussed the lad’s hair “Don't worry pup, I will take you for a ride tomorrow when grandpa Harry cannot ruin our fun.” it eased his heart to see the lad smile.
“Aye Sirius, but you will take me on the bike for at least an hour right.” Sirius nodded at that and Sandor smiled mischievously. An hour that was their code for letting Sandor ride the bike for himself with Sirius sitting behind and coaching him through it.
The air was so clean in this place, Sirius was happy here, no one knew who he was, there was no mention of dark wizards or the fear of being caught and sent back to prison.
Just the last few weeks they had spent here had loosened something in him, the tension that had permeated his being after escaping Azkaban was finally gone. He felt truly free.
All those he loved were dead in their own world and the only one that mattered was here with him. When he took the elixir of life and reduced his age it had also cured him of all his health issues he had picked up in Azkaban, he had never felt more healthy.
His mind wandered to the young pup, he was breath of fresh air, so angry when he came to them but over the last month he had slowly but surely let go of the rage he carried within him. The burn scars being erased had surely helped with that, it was travesty that such a sweet child would be treated in so appalling a manner.
If Sirius ever thought his family were bad they had nothing on the infamous Gregor.
He was sure he would avada him if they ever crossed paths, or maybe some slow torture first, a killing curse would be too quick for that monster. He would use dark magic for the pup.
When the pup’s face was healed, he had told them of his life at Clegane Keep in between crying and hiccuping. He had done what he did best and made him laugh with really bad puns and jokes.
He wondered why they had taken to the young lad so well, maybe it was the blood brother charm or maybe it was something Death did. Not that he gave one whit why, the pup was great.
He would enjoy his life here, make girls swoon, charm their panties no smallclothes off and live a happy life something that was denied to him before his life even started.. Hmm maybe he could become a honest to merlin Knight! Ser Sirius that had a nice ring to it.
For now Harry claimed they needed to settle somewhere so Sandor could have a normal upbringing and they could travel this world in a few years when the pup was grown enough.
Sirius had managed to convince him to tour the seven kingdoms before they finally made a decision on where they would put down roots.
They had already seen the Westerlands and Sirius did not like the mining and rocks and hills, though the sea was nice. Besides from what he had heard of it's rulers, they sounded like pureblood bigots only muggle.
They were in Highgarden now, and they would tour the Reach for the next month before they moved to Dorne.
He liked what he saw of the Reach, it was warm, with pretty girls, and Harry could be happy with an occasional Library raid. And the clothes the girls here wore, hmm he wished the witches of his day clothes like that!
He landed in the forest clearing near the tent and shrunk the bike and pocketed it. He liked to keep his baby on him, never know when one would need a fast getaway.
“Still reading your books then.” he called out as he walked in the sitting room.
“Aye, going through the history of this world, did you know they had magic till about five thousand years ago but no true witches and wizards like us, just somethings called Children of the Forest and something called the Others ohh and also they have some mages over in Essos - but they sound more like necromancers. Now I am reading about something called Shadowbinders of Asshai ” he shivered “I am quite certain they are worshipping a fire demon and calling it a God.”
Sirius’s eyes widened at that “Fire Demon! Bugger me with a hot poker.”
Harry laughed at his colourful language and nodded back at him “I know right, best keep away from those crazies”
“So we are still going to hide our magic then?” Sirius plopped down on the chair with a glass of Arbor gold in hand.
“Aye, I told you Siri - it will be easier for us to escape notice if no one knows about our magic. That reminds me I was thinking we could perform a fidelius and hide the fact that we are magical. It will give us more protection from accidental exposure.”
Sirius sat up straight at that “Is that wise, who would be our secret keeper? Not the pup surely”
Harry laughed at him and Sirius wondered if he had lost his mind with all his reading “Why the hell are you laughing Harry?”
“Sirius either of us could be the secret keeper, why would we have anyone else hold it?”
He was sure the blood was rushing in his ears at that “You.. You mean that Lily and James could have been their own secret keepers?”
Harry calmed down at that “Aye they could have, I asked Remus once about that when Hermione had read up on the charm when we first came to Grimmauld, he did not know so I asked Professor Dumbledore he told me they wanted people to know where they were incase someone had news so they chose to have someone other than themselves be the secret keeper.” Harry shook his head “I don't want to talk about it anymore Siri, what is done is done and no amount of regret is going to change things.”
Sirius wanted to shout at the man in front of him, wanted to ask him how he could talk that way about the death of his parents but he did not. He knew it pained Harry to talk of past things and he realized it pained him too, it was time to put the past where it belonged. “Aye.. I reckon you are right about that.”
They were quiet for the rest of night till Harry decided to go to bed and Sirius soon followed.
“Hey, that is mine” Sandor exclaimed as he saw a girl looking looking at his new sword, well a blunted tourney sword, but it was his. Harry had gifted it to him just last week and Sandor carried it everywhere with him.
“I was just looking, no need to get angry.” The girl replied snottily, she was stocky with wide black eyes and rat brown hair.
“Do you even know how to use a sword? I heard that they let girls learn to fight here.” Sandor questioned the girl as he pulled his feet from the pool of water. His breeches were wet upto his knees but he was cooler at least.
“I use a spear, it's more elegant than a sword.” she replied with a lift to her chin and she tried to stare him down.
“No, it's not. A sword is the best weapon there is.. You are just a girl anyways what would you know.” Sandor scoffed at her as he picked up his sword and held it close to him.
Before the girl could reply Sirius came up to him with a man that looked an awful lot like this horrid girl.
“Now Now pup, not fighting I hope. Always remember women are as strong as us men and ten times more vicious than any man could ever hope to be.”
Sandor mumbled an apology to the horrid girl out but brightened when Sirius placed a hand on his shoulder “No harm done pup, you're young yet, you will thank me for my teachings soon enough.”
The men both laughed as the girl and he shared an exasperated eye roll as they both had the same thought ‘Adults!’
“Prince Oberyn, this is my younger brother Sandor, Sandor you have met the lovely Lady Obara daughter of Prince Oberyn.” Sandor executed an awkward bow to the Prince and the apparent Lady, she did not look like any Lady he had ever seen.
She wore silk breeches and a tunic with a weapon belt on her waist. But what did he know of how they did things in Dorne.
“Can I go now Sirius, I want to swim, it's really hot.” he whispered to Sirius
“Alright pup, go on, but be back in a few hours alright or Harry will chew my ear out.”
Sandor rushed away before the adults could call him back, as he took a few steps he realized that Lady Obara was following him.
He slowed down a bit so she could catch up, he never was around others of his own age after his face was burned and so was at a loss for conversation “So you are a Princess?” he blurted when she was next to him.
“No, I am Prince Oberyn’s bastard daughter.”
Sandor had heard Harry and Sirius’ rants on the stupidity of people who hated bastards, and agreed with them, Gregor was a true born but a bigger bastard had never been born.
He doubted they knew he was listening to them considering the amount of swearing they both did and Harry was generally very careful about using cuss words in his presence.
“What does that matter, you are his daughter so you are a Princess.”
She looked at him oddly at his pronouncement “So you don't care about me being a bastard.”
Sandor shook his head “Harry and Sirius say that if anyone should be blamed it should be the parents, the child did not ask to be born and should not be blamed for it. Well that's what they taught me”
They had reached the pools of the Water Garden and both shed their tunics to get in the water, though the Lady had a shift on where as he was naked waist up.
“Is Harry your father?”
Sandor snorted at that “No he is my elder brother, Harry and Sirius are twins. I am the youngest” he proclaimed proudly, he was very happy with his new family.
“Oh, then where are your parents.”
Sandor had been coached on what to say “They died a long time ago, I don't remember them, my brothers raised me.”
“Sorry” Obara mumbled
“No problem, I don't mind as I said I don't remember them and I love my brothers. So where is your mother then?”
“In the whorehouse I assume.” Sandor goggled at her and coughed at that blunt reply
“My Father came when I was eight namedays and asked me if I chose to wield a spear or stay by my mother as she cried, I chose the spear and have not gone to her since, I would be a horrible whore anyways.”
Sandor had no idea what to say to this girl, he knew he did not meet many girls but surely this was improper. So he just challenged her to a swim race.
He knew his face now looked nice and so people did not avoid looking at him or give him looks of disgust and pity, especially after they did that magic with blood from all three of them which made them brothers in truth, though he would still love the both of them for the rest of his life even if they were not true family.
Sirius allowed him to learn how to ride his motorbike in secret so Harry would not yell at them both, and Harry taught him his lessons and he thought this is how a father should be.
Sirius was the fun one and Harry was the serious one. He did not know brothers could be this fun, Gregor was an psychopath as he had heard Harry say once whatever that meant.
He did not like to think of the day he had blubbered like a girl and cried in their arms telling them of the way Gregor had terrorised him and the way his father had turned a blind eye.
It was just too much when he had seen his healed face and his full hair which had never grown back after his face was healed.
He sputtered as his head was dunked in the water as he was lost in his thoughts “What was that for?” he asked while coughing but the horrid girl already swam away and he now chased her to give her a good dunking and see how she liked it.
He had to get out of this place, every time he turned a corner he saw Sirius with his new friend The Prince Oberyn.
Harry never thought he would ever meet someone that... horny.
And though he had heard stories of Sirius and his escapades he did not think about what it would mean when he was young again in a place that only knew he was a rich glass merchant. They had stayed here at the Water Gardens for a month now and Harry was sure Sirius had every whore this place offered at least once or even twice.
He entered the set of rooms they were given at the palace and saw Sirius getting ready for another evening out in town “Siri - I think it's time we moved on, we have been here in Dorne for almost two months.”
Sirius turned around with a sad puppy expression “Harryyy” he whined “I like it here, we could settle here, you like the Prince don't you.. And you haven't even sampled the women.. The women Harry!”
Harry laughed at him “No Siri.. I don't intend to sample the women as you put it. And yes the Prince is nice and a good source of knowledge, I have learned a lot from his mind about the politics of Westeros. But I want to move on to the Stormlands, We can come back anytime Siri, we need to tour this whole land if we are to apparate anywhere besides it was you who convinced me to travel Westeros before settling down.”
Sirius spluttered at that “But the pup is settling in so well, he has a sword master and is learning from a proper maester” Harry scoffed at that and cut in before he could go on “the maester is a fool, all of them are, their knowledge is medieval, they still believe that the world is flat! FLAT Siri. No I would rather teach Sandor myself. And you wish to stay here for the women don't bring Sandor in this.”
Sirius’ shoulders dropped at that and Harry knew he had won half the battle as Sirius said “Alright how about this, Oberyn will be going to some tourney at Harrenhal next week so we can travel with him till the Stormlands? Please say yes Harry.”
Harry laughed and agreed, he knew that he would have to take precautions so that they would not be discovered but he loved to see Sirius happy and Siri bloody well knew that and exploited this weakness.
“Sandor should be coming in now from the pools, he would have finished his sword training an hour ago and gone for a swim. I want you to stay in today with him. I want to fly out and map the rest of Dorne tonight.”
Sirius readily agreed to that and went to send word to the Prince that he would not be going out with him tonight.
After the dinner, they excused themselves for a family night claiming they had not spend enough time together and retired to their rooms.
Harry left soon after under his invisibility cloak to finish his mission.
They had met the Prince in Sunspear while trying to find a market to sell some glass, it was then that a guard had come up and invited them to the Palace to meet with the Prince.
Only the free city of Myr knew how to make glass in this world and thus it was a commodity which could be monopolised, so they had decided to portray themselves as Glass merchants who had discovered the secret to make Glass. Their glass was of course magically reinforced and thus did not shatter only cracked and this made them even appealing.
They named their glass ‘PB Glass’
Harry had discovered from the minds of both princes that their monopoly in glass would also allow them to get a Lordship in any of the seven kingdoms as the place they chose as their home would be get their product for a cheaper rate than the other kingdoms, plus the trade agreements they would get would benefit the ruler of the nation.
Harry knew all of this and also knew that Oberyn was tasked with making Dorne as appealing as possible by his brother Prince Doran the ruler of Dorne.
Harry would not mind settling in here, but he wanted to see the rest of the continent before he made up his mind. They would all vote of course but truth be told he hated the heat.
Yes, he knew they could line their clothes with charms, but it was not the same. Besides, he wanted to see if this land had magic anywhere.
Sirius was easy to appease as the Prince and his tastes were similar, they both loved women, drink and fun. He had already informed both Sirius and Sandor of the fact, and asked them to remember this when people were nice to them.
Sandor had readily agreed and asked whether he had to give up his sword trainer and was happy when he was told that no he did not need to do anything of the sort, he just needed to remember that if anyone asked him how long will they stay here for he should tell them to ask either Harry or Sirius.
It was a good three sennights later that they parted company with Prince Oberyn and his passell of men that were going on to Harrenhal. Oberyn had regaled them with tales of his elder sister Elia and her children Rhaenys and Aegon whom he was going to meet.
He heaved a heavy sigh as they managed to convince the Prince that they had no need of a guard and they were used to travelling alone.
Their need to learn how to wield a sword was getting ridiculous as every man that they came across wanted to spar. Harry had scanned many minds and learned the techniques, he was also very lucky that Kingsguard Arthur Dayne had joined up with them at Starfall when they had stopped there for a few days, as he too was heading to Harrenhal. His mind was a treasure trove of knowledge.
But knowing and doing were very different things, and they needed to practise if they would ever hope to hold their own in a fight. It was muscle memory which they needed to build.
But for now what they had learned was more than enough as long as they put a fear ward on their sword if they were in trouble in a public place or a notice me not ward when travelling.
Harry had already put the fear ward on Sirius’ sword, who was very jealous that Harry owned the Gryffindor’s Sword - it seems Death had put that in same place where Harry stored the resurrection stone. He was pretty sure it was do to with the task he had to fulfill if he wanted to be able to die.
Harry warned Sirius and Sandor to stay away from the sword as it was a poisoned blade and nothing would ever clean it of that. This resulted in story time for Sandor of his second year, turns out Sirius had never heard of his exploits and cursed Dumbledore for forcing children to do his work. He then wanted to know about the rest of his time at Hogwarts which Sandor was eager to hear about as well.
Harry promised Sandor all the stories he would like but only at bedtime.
“Pup, I have stories too you know. Harry’s father James and I were best friends and we pranked everyone around us, The Marauders we were called, don't you want to hear my stories as well?”
Sandor eagerly nodded at that, Harry was sure he loved the both of them and loved to hear of their tales from their home world. “Aye, we will all tell you of our tales but not now, now it is time for your to finish your studies and give me your homework.” Sandor groaned at that but still sat up and went to his room grumbling all the way.
“You are too strict with the pup Harry, let him have fun.”
“He needs some routine Siri and I cannot let him neglect his studies, I want him to have a full education and since I cannot teach him swordplay I teach him strategy, history, medicine, geography, math and all other things he would need to succeed in life. I love the lad you know I do, I do not wish for him to be less than what he can be.”
Sirius looked at him with a wistful expression “You may look like your father but you are your mother in nature. She had a whole host of things that she wanted to teach you, she would have been dancing in the streets to know that were an unspeakable.”
Harry smiled a little sadly at that.
The Stormlands they found were rocky at the coast and as the name suggested riddled with storms. There were forests inland as well however they had all unanimously decided that they would not live here.
They had visited Blackhaven and Nightsong before making their way to Storm’s End.
The Lord Paramount of the Stormlands Robert Baratheon was not available to meet with them as he was fostered at the Eyrie with Lord Jon Arryn but they spoke to his Castellan and tried to work out a deal for trade.
It came to nothing as he could make a decision without express permission from the Lord and they did not wish to stay here any longer and thus decided to travel to the Vale bypassing King’s Landing due to its heavy population and proximity to the Royals.
He had not heard good things about King Aerys, they all whispered that he was mad and burned people alive - that was a man Harry wanted to stay far away from. Besides he would never want to live near a city that Prince Oberyn claimed smelled worse than a sewer.
A scan of Arthur Dayne had also revealed the vileness of that city and the King who sat on the Iron Throne.
They needed a Lordship and it would not come from the King, who would just demand things from them rather than negotiate. Harry did not wish to tip his hand with magic and so King’s Landing was a no go for now.
The tourney was over by now and Sandor had bitterly complained all the way when they were travelling with Prince Oberyn about missing such an event.
They had to reassure him that there would be many and more tourneys that he would be able to attend but as children all over the world or rather dimensions he would occasionally go into a snit and complain all over again. When they stopped an Inn for news, they found out about the ‘Queen of Love and Beauty’ Lady Lyanna Stark.
They sat and listened for over an hour to all the gossip before they were shown the way to the Eyrie and left with some provisions.
“So, what's the big deal with this Love and Beauty business, I mean it's only a crown of flowers right. Why was everyone so worked up about it?” asked Sirius as they walked towards their horses.
Sandor looked at him as if he had sprouted a second head “Siri, he did not crown his wife who was there, he rode past her and give it to another woman who is betrothed to his cousin. He shamed his wife and he shamed his cousin.”
Sirius rubbed the back of his neck “I forget sometimes how they view honour here, so fine - big deal. Harry I want to see this Lady Lyanna who stole the heart of a prince. She is from the North right, let us go there next” he finished excitedly
Harry was exasperated and amused with Sirius and love of women “Siri, we will eventually go to the North, but for now we will see the Vale, then the Riverlands and finally the North where you can see this Lady to your heart's content. Just remember she is a noble and you cannot - I repeat cannot get up to your tricks with her.” Sandor laughed heartily at that and Harry wondered if he knew about sex and decided that a talk was in order with him, though he internally cringed at the thought of giving an almost eleven year old The Talk. However if left upto Sirius the poor lad would be as big as a maniac as him, and he needed to teach the lad to respect women, this world truly did view them as weak and lesser of the sexes and any boy under his roof would not disrespect women. Hermione would probably cross the veil and murder him he thought with a smile.
“Aye, fine we will go with your stupid plan. Why are we saying AYE like bloody pirates” he turned to Sandor “this is your fault pup corrupting our speech with your Ayes and My Lords I feel like I am in the Wizengamot all the time” he held his head and gave him a noogie as Sandor struggled to get out of the hold.
They finally reached the horses and saddled them up, Sandor sighed “I wish we could have gone to the tourney at Harrenhal, I would have loved to see the jousting and we could have seen Lady Lyanna too and the Prince and the Princess Elia.” he gave Harry a disgruntled look which Harry let pass, he had expected this when they heard the talk at the inn.
“Aye pup - me too” chimed in Sirius all the while giving Harry an evil look.
He sighed ‘Children the bloody both of them’
The Vale was a disappointment to Harry, it was windy and cold and dreary.
The places they liked were already under some Lord or the other and wherever they decided to put up roots needed to have a shore close by as they would need the sand to make glass. They visited Runestone, Gulltown and finally the Eyrie.
Harry greatly enjoyed his week at Runestone, the runes were different than the ones he was use to and they needed powering up to work but much of the rune structure told Harry what they were initially meant for. It was for protection from cold and death.
He had managed to find their library and copy all the things they had on runes in one night. It did not yield great results but it was better than nothing.
They did not get to meet Lord Arryn as he had left a fortnight ago to the Stormlands with his ward Robert Baratheon. Harry thought it a bit ironic. They left soon after and headed to the Riverlands.
The Riverlands were beautiful, with green plains and rushing rivers all though the land.
Sirius was sure this was the first place he would vote for when time came to decide, the only problem was the sand they needed but Harry assured him that river sand would work just as well.
They stopped at Crossroads Inn and resupplied basic things such as bread and wine.
Harry claimed he did not wish to finish his supply of firewhiskey and butterbeer but Sirius was sure he just liked hoarding them.
They had seen much of the seven kingdoms, and Sirius was appalled at the state if the common people, most of them were left to their own devices and greatly exploited. But Harry kept reminding them that this was a feature of any feudal state and there was not much they could do about it.
They were in the hall meeting with Lord Tully of Riverrun, an old man who eyes were calculating. His brother was also present he was not sure what his name was but most people just called him Blackfish.
“Welcome to my home Potter-Black, please parktake of the bread and salt.” spoke the reedy voice of the Lord Fish.
As Harry and Sirius ate some and then downed a cup of truly revolting wine.
“Thank you for inviting us Lord Tully, though I am surprised to have been escorted here by your men.” Harry had become surprisingly diplomatic in the years that Sirius had spent floating in the veil.
Lord Fish’s eyes seemed to tighten at the edges as he sat up straighter in his throne “We have heard that you are selling something called PB Glass and was interested in wanting to know whether it was the truth or was it just another merchant selling Myrish glass under a different name.”
How did this buggering fish know they were selling glass, yes they had been advertising their stuff wherever they travelled and gave each house a sample of glass products but it was just glass! Ridiculous bleeding medieval world.
Harry seemed to bristle at Lord Fish’s words, Sirius was sure some ugly thought had just passed through Tully’s mind “Aye, we have created glass and it is not from Myr. I am sure you also know that we are travelling through the kingdoms and letting most houses know that we are in the business of glass creation and giving them a basket of our wares to sample.”
Lord Fish nodded at those words, his brother Blackfish was smirking for some reason.
Harry continued “We have a sample for your house too Lord Tully, I would be happy to provide you with it and you could let us know if you wish for more products in the future.”
“And where would we send a raven to establish further trade.”
Harry’s eyes had steel in them “We have not yet decided on the place we will call home Lord Tully, though I am sure everyone would know when we make a final decision.”
Lord Fish seemed offended for some reason “I hear you also a younger brother, is he not with you at Riverrun?”
“He is at Riverrun, however he is young and talks such as these would not interest a boy his age, I am sure you understand Lord Tully as you have children yourself. They are precious gifts are they not. I appreciate your hospitality Lord Tully but we must continue on our journey, I am sure you can agree that the life of a merchant is always on the move.”
Sirius was not sure but there was an undercurrent to these talks, he needed to get Harry alone and find out what exactly had he read in the man’s mind.
“You would do well to remember that merchants are a plenty Potter Black. Where one refuses another one agrees.” came the cold voice of Hoster Tully as Sirius came out of his reverie.
Harry calmly looked back at him “That is true Lord Tully, however I am selling something that is only available from me at this price, besides one can always buy Myrish glass that is far more inferior and far more expensive. I hear you yourself had to pay a large sum for the few Myrish glass panes you have in your sept. Besides if all else fails Prince Doran has personally assured me that he will welcome our little family in his kingdom.”
Tully was quite disgruntled but he did not reply with more cutting words for which Sirius was thankful, he wanted to live here and Harry was not making a good impression.
They left soon after, they were finally out of the castle gates and alone “Why were you so rude with the old man Harry? We could have stayed there for a few days at least so as to not cause conflict.”
Harry had a grim look on his face “You know I scan every new place we go to right?” at his nod he continued “Old Tully had several plans in his mind as soon as he heard our name.. Seems we are quite famous already. He wanted us settle and he would then have our place run over by his people who would learn how we make glass and then he would have us killed somehow or even just leave us be as he sold the glass himself. He even thought of taking Sandor in as a ward to hold him hostage against us while he had us spill our secrets”
Sirius was not as aghast as Harry expected him to be from the look on his face “Harry, that is something to be expected. As you told me glass is something of a rare commodity here and only one place sells it and they guard it's secrets fiercely. Don't tell me this was the first man to have such thoughts? It's politics and capitalism at its finest”
Harry sighed at that “Siri he was not the first man to have such thoughts, all other people that we met wanted to give us a Lordship so they could keep us in their lands so that they could then profit off if us. Yes they wanted to learn how to make glass themselves so they could be finished with us but this man wanted to kill us fuck that” he spat “he wanted to take Sandor. How can you not be angry at that”
“I am Harry, they can try to kill us and that would only result in their downfall, but pup cannot protect himself right now… It's done, forget it, we will not be living here so it does not matter. Lets leave this place. I so liked this place” he whined then he continued in a serious tone “I want you to give something to the pup that can hold a bunch of protections when activated, also give him a portkey that is either voice activated or touch activated.”
Harry wholeheartedly agreed with that idea “Aye that is a sound idea, I will get it done as soon as possible”
“That reminds me we will have to cross the Twins as that is the only place that allows passage to the North, and we will have show our faces there.”
Sirius scoffed “Lets camp out somewhere for a few weeks and then fly there on the last day. Or better yet let’s glamour ourselves and go see Harrenhal. I want to see that place, it is getting bloody infamous.”
Sandor who was listening in to them joined the conversation “Aye, I want to see Harrenhal Harry.. But what's a glamour”
Harrenhal was huge larger than even Hogwarts. However one thing they both had in common was the abundance of ghosts.
Whereas Hogwarts had happy ghosts, Harrenhal was infested with groaning, crying, evil apparitions who wanted everyone to be as miserable as them.
Their party was safe from the ghosts as they instinctively recognised Harry as the Master of Death and gave him a wide berth though some of them wanted to be free from this sad state of being and Harry had granted them that wish.
Sirius wanted to free of the place as it held malice and sadness in its walls thus they had left and visited the famed Isle of Faces where they had spent the remainder of their time in the Riverlands.
The weirwoods of this world had traces of magic upon them and were soothing to be around. They took cuttings of many of the weirwoods to plant in their home wherever that would be. Harry had even put one up in the tent in miniature form or as he called it a Bonsai tree.
Crossing the Twins was relatively easy, Harry had put up a light notice me not ward around them so that they crossed with little fanfare. They could not pass unnoticed, they needed people to see them crossing the twins, at the same time he wanted to be of little interest of the Lord Frey.
He had no wish to meet any more Riverland Lords after meeting it's Lord Paramount. They knew that word had spread about them selling glass and they were quite wanted by the Lords they visited.
The North was the last place they had to tour and Harry dearly wished to see the Wall.
It was in the Longstrider book as one of the wonders made by man.
He wondered why he had decided to tour the buggering seven kingdoms, he was getting tired now.
They had been travelling for more than a year but then he had learned all he needed to about this world in his travels. He had also managed to see most of the continent by flying over it and visiting the major houses and letting them know about PB Glass.
He did not know that he would be this well known all over the land even before he got a Lordship out of it.
Sandor and Sirius were talking about the history of Harrenhal which Sandor had learned about in the last sennight as they flew on the Triumph.
They were crossing the place called the Neck, it was filled with bogs and marshes. He could faintly see a large outline of a dwelling from high up in the sky.
“Sandor, look I think that is Greywater Watch” he called out to the two fools.
Sandor and Sirius looked down and started to scan the place he pointed towards.
Sandor’s young face filled with wonder “Seven Hells” he breathed “I really think that is the floating castle of the Marsh Kings. No one has seen it unless they are invited there by the Crannogmen”
“Little devils” exclaimed Sirius “You think they are like the bloody goblins then”
Harry flew closer to them “No, from what I read they are very closely related to the children of the forest. They claim that they bred with them and thus have some magical powers like greenseeing which is kind of like divination.”
“Oh, so do you think they could see through our spells?” Sirius questioned
“No need to find out Siri, not like we need to go there. Do you truly want to see bogs and marsh land?”
Sirius laughed at that “No. No thanks Harry. I am quite content with clean air and no hobgoblins around.”
“I do not think they may wish to buy glass. So we truly have no reason to go there, unless we wish to” Harry pondered
As they crossed the Neck Harry thought finally we have reached the last leg of this journey. We have reached the North.
Chapter 3: The North
“That boy he has the fortune to be born a son of the Rock, he would someday be the Lord of the richest kingdom and yet he does this.. The boy wants to be a glorified guard in a white cloak to a man that has insulted our house one time too many. Granted he uses his sword more than his brain but I thought he knew better.” Tywin stated in a flat voice.
Kevan inwardly noted that even with his heir denied to him Tywin did not look ruffled, the last time Tywin showed what little emotions he had was when Joanna had died “Tyr-”
“I will not abide that imp as my heir.” came the swift reply of his Lord brother before he could even finish Tyrion’s name.
“There is nothing to be done Tywin, the vows of the Kingsguard are for life.” Kevan spoke tiredly, he had just come from speaking with Genna and she had cursed Jamie for almost an hour for allowing the Targaryens to hit House Lannister with another blow, as if denying Tywin’s request to have Cersei as Rhaegar’s wife and queen was not enough, the day Aerys had called Tywin a servant Kevan had worried his brother might do something rash, but he had done nothing more than quit his position as hand.
“Yes, that they are, but for how long will those vows hold”
Kevan was confused at that remark however the questioning look on his face did not garner any clarification and he knew from experience to not ask further questions.
Tywin pushed a raven message across the desk towards Kevan a silent order to read.
“I too have heard of this, however I do not think they have visited us.” said Kevan as he put the raven scroll back on the desk.
Tywin put his finger tips together with his elbows resting on the table “No. They have not. Traders as they are would know which kingdoms have the most need for glass, But if we could have them settle in the Westerlands it would be prestigious for House Lannister and the Westerlands. The political weightage alone would be enough to grant them some land and make them a knightly house.”
Kevan took a sip of his wine “I would have thought this Potter-Black would come the Rock for trade negotiations at least. Do we know where they are from? Are they Essosi?”
Tywin shook his head “No from what I gather they are from Westeros however no one knows where they hail from originally, but there are rumours that they are long lost bastard descendants of Harren the Black. It does not matter. I plan to invite them in a manner of speaking to the Westerlands soon enough. For now Kevan I have other matters to attend to, you may leave.”
This was the common way for Tywin to dismiss people and he held no anger in his heart towards his brother for being so abrupt with him. Kevan worried how Jamie would fare in the capital with Aerys as King, it would be better for everyone if Rhaegar became the king soon. Jamie he thought with an internal sigh, he was only five and ten and he had given up on everything that was his due as Tywin’s heir and donned a white cloak. He gave up on his chance for a wife, children, lands and dedicated his life to the King. Would he soon regret this choice, Kevan hoped for his sake that he would find what he was looking for in the Kingsguard.
Since Jamie was a young boy he had admired and greatly wished to emulate great knights, he had loved the stories of Ser Barristan the Bold, Ser Duncan the Tall, and his new idol Ser Arthur Dayne. He had always been alive with a sword in his hand, he would not have a been a good Lord of the Rock and this was a truth which would never pass his lips lest his brother hear them.
His sister, his sweet, beautiful elder sister had been shamed by that whoring bastard Prince.
Oberyn held Elia’s hands in his as he knelt by her chair “Tell me Elia, and I will avenge your honour. You are a Princess of Dorne and my dear sister, command me and I will gift you with whatever you desire. The northern girl will not be allowed to get away with taking what is yours and shaming you.” he pleaded with her.
His blood burned with the need for dragon and wolf blood, he had never been happy with his sister’s match to that silver haired prince, no man would be worthy of her but Doran had seen the potential in the match and the chance of making their sister the Queen of the seven kingdoms was too tempting an offer.
Elia’s hands were cold in his as she let out a bitter laugh and stood “Sweet Oberyn” she pulled her hands from his and caressed his cheek lightly with her fingertips ghosting over his face
“Do you think he loves me or that I love him” she stood and held a hand to her stomach
“Do you think he has declared his love for this poor girl by giving her a crown of flowers, do you think she has seduced him, she is three and ten Oberyn - a girl barely in the bloom of womanhood. Do you wish to know why.. Why he has done this?” her final words were a bare whisper her face was shrouded in a melancholy “I am barren brother, I cannot have anymore children now or so the Grand Maester says.”
Oberyn stood to go to her, to somehow comfort her but she moved away from him and he stopped moving forward “You have already given him two children, healthy living children, it is more than Queen Rhaella ever did. What does it matter if you cannot give him more. The line is secure, you have done your duty to the realm and to your husband”
Elia shook her head as a mask came upon her face and the sadness washed away, when had she learned to hide her emotions, to be this woman who would give up this easily, this woman who was not the sister he had played with in the Water Gardens.
“You must not say such things brother, it is treason to speak ill of the royal family.” she turned away from him and poured herself a glass of wine and continued in a calm tone “It matters not what he does, he is obsessed with a prophecy and will go to any lengths to see it come true.”
Oberyn was confused “What prophecy Elia? What new madness is this?”
A huge breath of air left his sisters lungs “A third child, the third head of the dragon, the prince who was promised, the dragon must have three heads Oberyn. Do not ask me any more for I know not and nor do I wish to… I will be Queen and my son will be King someday that is enough for me.”
Oberyn reared back as if she had struck him a mighty blow “Is that all you care for Elia, being Queen and seeing your son on the Iron Throne? While that man parades his shameless affairs in front of the seven kingdoms.. What happened to you sister?”
He could see her stiffen “I married a Prince sweet brother, and a Prince of the realm will not be denied.”
“Then come home, no one will fault you for coming to Dorne after what that bastard has done here, Dorne will always welcome you with open arms, come home Elia, bring my Rhaenys and Aegon let them see their home too” he knew he was pleading with her but he knew not what else could he do to repair the damage the Targaryens had wrought within his sister’s soul.
“My home is at the Red Keep now brother, I cannot leave it.” she still did not look at him and by the tone of her voice Oberyn knew he would not win this argument.
Oberyn wanted to shake some sense into her but he turned to leave, he knew nothing more could be gained here when his sister’s voice stopped him “Leave the girl be Oberyn, she will learn quick enough the fleeting charms of a Prince. That will be more than what you or anyone could ever do to her.”
Oberyn walked out after that statement, what could he say to this woman who was a stranger to him, he did not know this Elia. The Elia he knew was sweet, compassionate, made to love and be loved. This woman was a shell and he knew who was responsible for the death of his sister - the Targaryens.
As he walked across the lands of this great hulking castle he saw Brandon Stark walking towards the stables and picked up his pace to reach him “Stark” he called out in a loud voice and saw him turn and smile before he recognised who was standing before him, the smile fell away instantly and he stiffened as if waiting for a fight to begin.
“I will be frank with you, I have come to warn you.” Stark bristled at that but before he could open his mouth Oberyn went on quick as his namesake “That man is a charmer to be sure, but a conniving one, your sister is young and may not realise the dangers she is walking into, take my words to heart or don't it matters not to me, have a safe journey Stark”
Oberyn walked away with Brandon Stark still standing there with a puzzled look on his long face, the viper hoped the northerner would understand the meaning of his words and warn his sister accordingly.
It just might save his own sister some heartache and bring pain to that lying whoring cunt of a prince.
“I am deeply sorry My Lady if you were offended by my open admission of my admiration for you. I could not contain my desires when I held the crown of blue winter roses in my hand, all I could see was your face Lyanna.” Rhaegar walked closer to her and took her hand in his as he placed a light kiss upon it.
Lyanna felt lightheaded at the proximity to the Prince “No, My Prince I am greatly honoured… to have been crowned the queen of love and beauty by you was a dream.”
“Please call me Rhaegar, I am not your Prince Lyanna - just Rhaegar when I am with you.
I am surrounded by beauty at court, but that is a mummers farce. Your beauty my Lyanna is one of the sun, it shines from your very being and warms everyone that surrounds you. Your spirit is truly that of the direwolf, unwilling to be tamed. You were made to be free my beautiful Lyanna. You deserve to be run wild and free, without the shackles that nobility places on you. When I saw you at the Heart Tree with the shield I knew… I knew that I would never meet someone as alluring and wild as you if I searched the the world for the rest of my life.”
He ran a hand through his silver hair and Lyanna wished she could do the same, would it feel as soft as it looked, she was sure it would be like running her fingers through strands of silk “I wish to stay with you till the world forgets about us. You make me forget the burdens of being a Prince, all my sorrows and problems melt away when you are around” he tucked a lock of hair that had escaped her braid behind her ear and Lyanna shivered at the intimate action “I hope when we part you will not forget the time we have spent here, I will greatly miss your comforting presence”
Lyanna looked at the Prince with stars in her eyes, she forgot everything when he was near her. No one had ever understood her like this man and she was sure no one ever would.
Words failed her when he was so close with her hand still held in his, her stomach was filled with butterflies and her heart gave a tight squeeze when he said things that she expected no man to ever say to her.
How could she marry Robert Baratheon after knowing that Rhaegar loved her so, that he would let her be free and do as she wished. Her betrothed was a man that would want her to be the perfect southron Lady something she never could be. He would bring his whores into their marriage bed and she would be trapped in a hell of her father’s and brothers making.
“Rhaegar” she whispered in a breathy voice which embarrassed her but as he leaned forward to place a kiss on her lips she forgot all about everything and her world shrunk to those soft lips on hers and his hands on her back holding her close to him.
They separated soon after, and she longed for his embrace again “My Wild Wolf, I shall write to you when we leave here, know that I shall miss you each day and pray to be one again. I shall soon come for you my Queen of Love and Beauty. You will wait for me, yes?”
“I will wait for the day you come for me Rhaegar, I will be waiting every day to be back with you” Lyanna was sure she would do nothing else, they would leave the false trappings of nobility and they would find somewhere where they would be just two people in love, he had promised her they would not be faulted for this action by anyone, if the Prince of Dragonflies could give up on the throne for his Jenny then so would Rhaegar.
In the last sennight they had spent together in the Godswood, he had told her of his father and his changing moods, how he wished to have him confined so that more suffering would not fall upon his people, Rhaegar confessed to her that he never wanted to be King but he would shoulder the burdens that his birth had placed upon him and do his duty to his people, but when he met her Rhaegar had decided dethrone his father and have his mother be the regent for Aegon.
They would leave and be together somewhere far away from the seven kingdoms, they would travel, see new places, experience all that the world had to offer them and they would both be free from the expectations that their birth had placed upon them, what was duty in the face of love…
Jon Arryn watched his wards as they came into his solar, he loved the both of them as if they were his own. The seven had not blessed him with this joy and so he grasped it wherever he could.
“Sit down the both of you” he gruffly stated as he knew the next topic would be unpleasant for all involved “I have heard of the business at the tourney” Jon shot Robert a look as his face soured “I hope you have behaved in the manner befitting a High Lord Robert and not an angry child” his wards face flickered with shame but it soon washed away in his anger.
Jon looked to Ned and him shifting in his seat as if he too was ashamed, but what for? Ned was the most level headed young man he had met in his long years, it must be for not being able to hold Robert back from his rash actions - His is the Fury he thought with a sigh.
Robert clenched his fists on the table “No.. I did not do anything Jon, but I should have, I should have demanded a challenge for her honour... That cunt of a prince knows she is my betrothed, he is married for fucks sake.” he breathed angrily and stood as his heavy chair was pushed back at the sudden action.
“Sit down boy.” Jon ordered in a hard voice that was immediately obeyed, Jon opened a drawer removed a raven message and toyed with it “While the two of you were making your way back here I received a message from Lord Stark” both boys straightened at those words and he could tell both were paying the utmost attention, he looked to Ned “Your brother Brandon will be marrying Lady Catelyn Tully in six moons at the harvest festival in Riverrun” he now looked directly at Robert “He has also enquired whether you would be willing to wed Lyanna at the same ceremony rather than when she turns six and ten as was discussed with your father”
Robert answered quick as the storms of his land “Yes, of course I would marry Lyanna today if I could.” a beaming smile took over his face.
Jon and Ned smiled at Robert’s enthusuiasm before Ned spoke up “Jon, I am happy with this news however may I ask why has my Lord father decided to move the wedding to an early date. Is there some danger to Lyanna?” his voice leaked the worry he felt for his only sister
Jon sighed “When royals are involved in any matter there is always danger, I have taught you this. But no we have not heard of any danger to Lady Lyanna. I assume your father wants this mummery over and done with, the Prince may have acted in a manner that is not befitting his station yet when people talk of the crowning the blame will fall on your sister.”
Robert boomed at that “It is not my Lyanna’s fault.. She did not ask to be given the crown why should she be punished for it.”
“So you agree that marrying you is a punishment for any woman?” asked Ned with a slight grin on his face, he always knew how to handle Robert best.
Roberts anger fizzled as a quick as a summer rain “Wha.. No.. Ned..” he looked at his friend with a look of betrayal as laughter filled the room.
But Jon could still see a slight hint of worry on Ned’s face, he had them leave so he could send a reply to Lord Stark to let him know that Robert would have no problem in marrying early.
This business at Harrenhal worried him, the crowing of Lady Lyanna was a minor matter, however the tourney was held for purposes that could be considered treason.
Jon wondered if Rhaegar had committed such folly to make the people and especially the King forget that he had gone there with the intention to convince the great lords of the realm to call for a Great Council to set his father aside and make him the King.
This was why most High Lords had declined to attend the tourney and sent their heirs and bannermen instead.
It was a plausible reason, however he did not agree with the manner in which The Prince had acted to deflect attention from his actions, Lady Lyanna was innocent in all of this and it was her name that was being sullied from Dorne to the Wall.
If Robert had not loved her as much he claimed he did or if she was betrothed to some other Lord then this action of the Prince may have even resulted in a broken betrothal.
Jon hoped that Robert’s upcoming marriage to the Lady Lyanna would end his days of tumbling with as many women as he could, even after the betrothal he had not ceased whoring. Ned believed that Robert truly loved Lady Lyanna and Robert was nothing if not loyal.
He stood by the open terrace in his rooms looking at the high mountains partially hidden by the clouds which surrounded the castle. Sometimes one could almost touch the clouds so high up here at the Eyrie. Sometimes the wind blew so hard that one could hear it whistling through the halls of the castle and Ned mused if that eerie sound was why they had named the place so.
His mind was awhirl with the events that had taken place not four moons ago, they were to leave for the Rivelands soon where Robert and Lyanna would be wed alongside Brandon and Lady Catelyn. Despite the date drawing closer Ned could not dispel Lyanna’s mein when she had received that crown, she was not humiliated as any other Lady might be, or even angry which he had expected from his wild sister, no she had been happy.
It was a hidden happiness but there it was all the same. She had not discarded the crown of blue winter roses ‘It's only a crown of flowers Brandon - who cares what others may think, I have done nothing wrong’ she had argued when his brother had tried to tear them from her head in their rooms.
Ned knew Lyanna was not very happy with her betrothal to Robert, but she did not know him yet, Robert was already enamoured with Lyanna, had been since he heard about her swordplay, horse riding, and other unladylike pursuits from Ned.
It had been ages since he had gone back to Winterfell for a long length of time and so could not understand why Lyanna so vehemently decried the match. Even Northern Lords might not allow her to do as she pleases, whereas Robert would try and fulfill her every wish - yes he had a bastard girl here in the Vale, and he still had his fill of women even now but he had promised to never betray his sister when they were finally wed.
Ned did not agree with Robert cavorting with women, however Ned understood that he was a man full of passion, he held a zeal for life that burst forth from him in acts of… well stupidity if he was being honest.
But he knew that Robert would not dishonour Lyanna after they wed, and Lyanna would be happy only if she gave herself that chance.
The wedding would also end his time here at the Vale, but he did not know whether he would be going back home to Winterfell or would he go with Robert to Storm’s End, that was up to his father to decide.
A new page would open in his life and he hoped that whatever came would be pleasant.
Harry Potter Black
“Thank you for having us at Winterfell Lord Stark, the meal was lovely” Harry coughed to clear his throat and took a sip of water “to be honest it reminded me of the food I ate as child, good hearty fare”
Harry, Sirius and Rickard Stark had just finished lunch in the great hall of Winterfell and now would hopefully move on to talk of business.
Harry was quite happy with the reception they had received in most of the northern castles and keeps, I guess when the elements are against you the people are more mindful of others being left out in the cold. He also liked the idea of guest right, it assured both parties of safety in the halls of another.
“It is our pleasure to have you with us, I have heard of your coming across our land, and have wished to speak with you, if we could please retire to my solar so we may discuss matters of business.” Rickard Stark stood and politely waved the party over to follow him.
Sandor looked up from his own seat at the end of the table where the children of Lord Stark sat, as they walked past him, Sirius leaned down and asked him to stay with the children.
Harry noticed that Lyanna Stark was offended at being called a child, so was Sandor and the other boy Benjen who was of an age with Sandor.
They will miss these days and lament at being adults when they grow up soon enough, he mused thinking back on his own days when he wished to be taken seriously and be treated as an adult.
“Benjen, Lyanna, please show young Sandor around Winterfell.” ordered Lord Stark once they had made their way down from the dias. The two Starks nodded and chorused “Aye Father” and made their way out to the yard to surely whack each other with their swords.
The solar was a warm room with a huge solid ironwood table with four carved wolves for legs, it was truly a magnificent work of art, and the black polish made the wolves look ferocious with mouths barred to show their sharp wooden teeth. There were just three ledgers on it, it seemed Lord Stark was a very neat man.
The Lord’s chair too was heavy on the wolf motif, there was a banner of House Stark hanging behind the chair, the wall on the right was occupied by a wall to wall book shelf though much of it was shelved with scrolls.
The wall on the left was home to a large detailed map of the North starting from the Neck and it reached beyond the wall.
“Please take a seat Potter-Black”
“If you do not mind Lord Stark please call me Harry and my brother Sirius, as we both answer to Potter Black” Harry offered, he was getting fed up of these Lords, calling him Potter Black there were many times it caused confusion as he had no idea who they were talking to unless they were looking at either him or Sirius.
Lord Stark just nodded at the request to show is acquiescence “Would either of you like some mead?”
They both agreed as it would be considered rude to deny and though the man was stoic to the extreme they had been treated with every courtesy here in Winterfell.
Lord Stark was fit man, with brown hair that was graying at the temples and in the front, it reached his shoulders and was held back with a leather tie, he had a long face which was home to lines and wrinkles on his forehead, mouth and eyes. He was a tall man like most Northerners they had met. His eyes were a wide slate gray.
They had arrived quite early in the morning and had been given rooms to freshen and rest from their travels - if they only knew Sandor had laughed.
The lunch was very pleasant, and he really did like the food, very british, the only thing missing were some fish and chips to make it complete. Even the weather was familiar to them, with snow and cold winds.
The only other place they had received such great hospitality was in Dorne, there was very little disdain towards them for being ‘merchants’ as the other nobles had put it.
The legilimency scan of Stark’s mind had been very illuminating.
The North was the largest of the seven kingdoms, one could fit the other six kingdoms in the north and still have space left over, but they lacked food, people, steel, gold, opportunities and everything else that makes a kingdom prosper.
Winterfell was the one of only two castles that could boast of having glass gardens in the North, White Harbour was the other and they could only do so due to the riches they accumulated through their port.
If Harry and company settled in the North, that would go a long way in not only helping the North with not only food but they would also gain enormous amounts of tax in trade and the prestige alone would bring them political and trade leverage that they lacked.
Presently most of food in the North was bought from the Reach and the Riverlands, the price they paid for this much needed source of life took most of the taxes that the various Lords of the North collected from wood and fur trade. This sad state of affairs left very little gold for development of their lands, the North survived but did not truly live.
There was little in terms of enjoyment, whereas the South was decadent in comparison.
That is not to say that the northerners wanted to live their lives in the lap of luxury, they were a hardy people and would not enjoy the fripperies of the South.
But they could not escape the noose that winter tied around their lives, they hunted, stored and collected in the summer and then subsisted on their meagre rations in the winter. It was vicious cycle.
If the North happened to get their hands on the only glass makers in Westeros then they might be able to have glass houses in every castle to grow food even when winter had it's grasp on their necks threatening to choke them as soon as they let their guard down.
Brandon Stark’s marriage to Catelyn Tully would give them reduced rates for food as well as lower taxes on what little trade they conducted.
The glass would also give them the best opportunity to gain taxes from it's trade not only within Westeros but also with the Free Cities, as the PB Glass was stronger than Myrish Glass, it would not break easily and it was also shatter proof, so when hit with enough force it did not break like glass did, but rather it just showed cracks on it, with enough time they could have the gold to build another port or two as well as fortify Moat Cailin, build roads, attract people to work and settle in the North - so many doors would be open to them.
Lord Stark had no reservations against giving the Potter Blacks a large tract of land and a Lordship due to them not being of a recognised noble line, the advantages they brought along with them were without comparison, no Lord that had a history as long as the Starks brought such bountiful gifts that the Potter Blacks would, and so he was ready to bargain to get what would probably be the most defining moment of his Lordship. When people spoke of his rule many years later they would remember that he was the one that brought gold and prosperity to the North, he was the one that made the North self sufficient in food and released the chokehold the South held on the North.
However what interested Harry and Sirius was that there was trace of magic in WInterfell, it felt like wards not truly like what a ward would feel like but still defensive magic hung around the castle and they wanted to investigate this, this was the first time that they had encountered magic in this new dimension.
No other place in this continent had even a small drop of magic, even the Isle of Faces in the Riverlands did not have magic despite their history.
The Isle of Faces was supposed to have been the place where the the Children of the Forest had signed an accord with the First Men. The First Men from what history claims had magic running through their veins, Harry should have visited the Neck, they should not have passed over the bogs of the crannogmen. Harry really hoped he would find what this magic meant, it felt old, ancient but weakened, with great big holes in its defences, it's upkeep had somehow been neglected yet even with that shortcoming the magic still held rather than just lingered as it should have being neglected as it was.
Maybe the stories of the Children were true and they hid just like the magicals of his world had, he wondered if this meant he would have to settle in the North.
Not that he would mind very much, however just a simple ward in a 8000 year castle was not reason enough and he would make sure to milk as much as he could when they finally got that land and lordship.
Oh who was he kidding, he wanted to live here if only to discover what magic still held in these so called savage lands of heathens and barbarians.
“I will be frank with you Harry, Sirius, I am a northman and as such we are not prone to talking in circles, I would very much like if your family agree to settle here in the North, we have always needed more glass houses here, even in the summer it is very difficult for us to grow certain crops and apart from the trade that would bring us much in tax just the glass houses would be payment enough to grant you certain things in return for your agreement to live here.”
Harry was surprised that this man would actually speak so close to what was on his mind “Lord Stark I will afford you the same courtesy and be honest with you, we understand what glass trade and its availability for your own use would bring to your kingdom, and we as a family have not yet decided where we would like to live, but we do know where we do not wish to live. Any decision we make will be made as a family, though I am it's head, this is not a decision that I wish to make alone as it would affect all our members as few as we are.”
“May I ask which kingdoms are not on your list?” Stark asked in a measured tone
Harry looked at Sirius who nodded back at him, this was something that they had decided a long time ago, Sirius did not wish to take part in the negotiations when they visited various Lords, he had his opinions but Harry was better informed to do this as Sirius was not very proficient in wandless legilimency.
“We have ruled out the Stormlands, the Riverlands, the Crownlands and the Westerlands.” Harry informed the man, he could read from his thoughts that the man was truly surprised when he mentioned the Westerlands as they were the richest kingdom in Westeros and the Crownlands were the centre for trade.
Lord Stark leaned back and despite his racing thoughts his face showed very little indication of them “So we are in a race between Dorne and the Reach” a frow appeared in his brow “from what little I have heard of your travels you have not visited either the Reach or the Westerlands or am I mistaken?”
Harry shook his head “No Lord Stark, that is correct though I do not know how I feel knowing that people have been following up on us.”
At this the man smiled “You are selling something that is only available from the one of the Free Cities, and I am sure you know how expensive your product truly is, knowing that someone in Westeros can not only make glass but make it better than the Myrish has everyone in the Seven Kingdoms waiting on you to settle and start trading.”
Harry and Sirius gave a little chuckle at that pronouncement.
“For you to live in North I would be willing to give you a Lordship over Sea Dragon Point and the Stony Shore, he pointed to map of the North hanging on the wall as he stood and motioned at them to walk towards it.
Harry saw that the place offered was very strategic as it was near the sea and yet had Wolfswood forest at the edge of Sea Dragon Point.
“The land is not very fertile in Sea Dragon Point however there are Pine forests and good fishing grounds as well as bogs and hills for game.It's main value is that it could be made into a port for trade in glass to happen from your shores rather than have it brought to White Harbour and then being taken to its respective destinations.”
He looked at them to see if they following his speech and at their looks of concentration he continued “The Stony Shore is also good ground, the name is deceiving as it too would make a good port if you decide to build there, the stones there have been worn down through time and now are rounded pebbles on its beaches. The River Fisher divides the Stony shore from the Rills and mountains lie between the Stony Shore and Sea Dragon Point. The land below the mountains and near the River Fisher are quite fertile.”
They went back to have a seat and Harry had a very important question “Are these lands currently occupied by any house Lord Stark?”
Lord Stark leant back in his seat “No, the houses that ruled these lands have been extinct for hundreds of years, if you decide to take up my offer then you would be a bannermen of the Starks and would only be answerable to me the Warden of the North and the King.”
Harry had to agree that this was truly the best offer that had been presented, Prince Doran had also offered them a Lordship however the lands that he proposed were very small in comparison to what was being offered here, and he would be a major Lord rather than a just minor Lord under House Qorgyle.
But Harry could not appear to be very interested, just like shopping in the streets of London - haggle Harry haggle.
“If I may ask would you expect a discounted price for glass sold in the North or would you buy it at the some price that I would sell to other kingdoms?”
“I would expect a minimum of a 20% discounted price for glass sold to Northerners”
Harry immediately shook his head “Lord Stark the most discount I could give you is 15% anything more than that and it would be bad for business.”
They argued back and forth and finally came to the mutual figure of 17%. Harry did not truly care about the price but he wanted to see what the limits of Lord Stark were, besides if he wanted to build credibility and a reputation for a sharp mind then he could not give people things for free or let them run roughshod over him.
“I would also like assurances from you that the only trade in glass would be done through my house and when the Northern houses buy my goods at discounted prices those items will only be for their own personal use and not so they can sell them at a lower price than what I am offering to the other kingdoms or Essos.”
“We can add this as a clause in our trading agreement and you have my word on the matter that no house in the North will cheat you in such a manner, we hold honour dearly here unlike in the South.”
Harry wondered if the man even knew where they were from, they could be from the South for all he knew, Harry had avoided all questions on their origins so far but he would have to come up with a cover story right quick and one that claimed them to be of so called noble blood - blech.
“What rate of tax would you expect from us Lord Stark?”
The man seemed to think for a while as he looked at them in the eye before speaking in a measured tone “My bannermen pay Winterfell 30% of their profit, I would expect you to do the same. However as you will have to build a keep and port if you decide to take up our offer I am willing to tax you 10% of your trade for the next ten years.”
Harry thought it was a decent offer so he agreed to that provision “Would that include the trade we conduct at the port? Would that too fall under the same purview?”
The man sighed heavily “I assume you will be borrowing gold from the Iron Bank to get the port and your keep built”
Harry quickly answered “No Lord Stark, we will not be borrowing any gold from the Iron Bank or any other place, the family has enough gold for us to build both it will just take us time to recoup the gold through trade.”
The man looked surprised at that pronouncement as that would mean that the Potter Blacks were richer than most houses of the North, but it was considered rude to ask a man how he had that much gold on hand so he did not ask further questions “You must understand Harry that I cannot forego tax from port trade, but I can make some concessions.. We could agree to have you pay 5% for the first year that trade starts at the port, 6% for the second and so on.. After 10 years you would pay the full 30% for all port trade, I am sure you will agree that if nothing else you will have buyers from all corners of the world and loss would not be an option.”
Harry did not much care for the tax rates but of they decided to live here then they would also be obligated to the people who lived in their lands, and for them to lead happy productive lives he would need gold.
“We already have eight and twenty agreements with various houses throughout Westeros for glass, many more wish to finalise agreements with us when we start our supply. So no I do not think we would experience a loss. Lord Stark, I agree to all your terms, they are very fair to both of us, if I am not mistaken the King takes 8% of all that you tax.”
Rickard Stark’s brows rose at Harry’s knowledge of the rate of tax the North payed to the capital.
“Yes that is correct, though I must say I am astounded that you know the rate of tax we pay to the King, but that is under your purview I assume as a businessman”
Harry stood and put his hand out for the man to shake “Lord Stark as we agreed at the start of our conversation to be honest, I will confess that yours has been the best offer that we have received so far, however as I also stated at the start of our conversation I would need to discuss this with my family before we reach any decision, I hope I have not offended you, if so, that was not my intention.”
Lord Stark shot him with a focussed look that showed a certain grudging respect in his eyes “I am not offended, I quite admire your dedication to your family. I propose that you look at the lands I have told you about, and give me an answer when you return.”
Harry quickly agreed to this plan, and they left the man’s solar to find Sandor.
Sandor Potter Back
“And this is our Godswood” Bejen showed off the tree with a flourish of his hand.
This was the end of the tour of Winterfell, so far he had seen the training grounds where they had sparred, the kitchens where they had gotten a few lemon cakes, the broken tower, the armoury, the stables, the kennels and finally the godswood.
Sandor had seen many weirwood trees at the Isle of Faces in the middle of God’s Eye, but this place held something within it, maybe it was because people still prayed here, people had worshipped at this tree for thousands of years.
The pool that lay near the tree had steam rising from it “Is the water hot?” he asked his two companions
“Yes, Winterfell is build over hot pools and this is one of them, hot water runs through the walls of Winterfell like blood through a man’s veins.” answered Lady Lyanna Stark.
Sandor did not know what to think of her, she looked pretty enough he guessed but not that pretty for a Prince to shame his wife, she was very much like Lady Obara, they had sparred in the training grounds here in Winterfell and Sandor thought she was quite good if a bit arrogant, but then again she was the daughter of a High Lord, the warden of the North so a bit of arrogance was to be expected.
Harry had teased Sirius mercilessly all morning when they realised that the Lady Lyanna that Sirius was so eager to see was a four and ten year old child as Harry put it. Sandor did not know what a pedo? paedo? was but it made Siri red in the face and hit Harry with a stinging hex.
“Do you come here to pray then?” he asked the two of them
“Oh yes, we follow the old gods - all of us come here to pray, or just to sit here or to climb the trees” Benjen told him while Lady Lyanna nodded at him.
They made their way to sit at the huge roots of the trees and Sandor decided he just had to ask Lady Lyanna, he could not wait any longer “Um.. Lady Lyanna, did the Prince really crown you at Harrenhal?”
She looked at him in surprise, it made Sandor wonder why surely people had asked such questions of her, but as time went on he started to feel awkward so he mumbled “Sorry I asked, it's just that I wondered.. I mean you would have been so angry when he crowned you in place of his wife.. Sorry”
“Why do you think I should have been angry, it was only a flower crown?” she tossed her braid back and looked down her nose at him, though he was taller than her and they were all sitting on the same huge root protruding out of the soil..
Sandor was surprised at her question, did she really not see what the Prince had done wrong, how could she not be angry and humiliated - words rushed out of his mouth before he could stop himself “Surely you must be japing Lady Lyanna, if your husband shamed you in front of hundreds of people, High Lords and smallfolk alike would you not want to slap your husband, and then to bring you into it, shaming you, your house, questioning your honour and the honour of your house, even if it was done by a Prince. I would kill the person if they did the same to any sister of mine. I feel so bad for the Princess Elia to know that her husband passed her by and crowned another woman as the Queen of Love and Beauty.”
Benjen was just looking at both of them, his eyes round and mouth open, but at Sandor’s speech he nodded his head as if to say I agree with you Sandor.
The Lady stood up and clenched her fists, her gray eyes were hard as she looked at them “What would you know, you are just a boy, and there was no dishonour, what happens when someone is forced to marry and does not love their wife or husband? Should they live in misery? For what… for honour, duty?”
She walked off in a huff stomping her way across the godswood, Sandor turned to look at Benjen who was staring at his sister.
Sandor cleared his throat “I am sorry if I made your sister angry, I wish I had not asked anything, Harry told me not to” he finished sheepishly rubbing the back of his neck.
“It's alright, she just gets angry a lot, she’s always been like that” Benjen consoled him “So have you ever seen a Weirwood before” he lamely tried to change the subject
Sandor brightened at that “Oh yes, I have, when we were in the Riverlands, went to the Isle of Faces, there are so many weirwood trees there, but no one worships the old gods there. I like this one better even if you have only one tree here”
Bejen slightly jumped in his seat from excitement “Where else have you been? It must have been so exciting? I wish I could go places and see the kingdoms like you, I heard father and Maester Walys talking and he said that you and your brothers have seen all the seven kingdoms”
“Aye we have, but we did not go to the Crownlands or the Westerlands. Well we have been to Dorne, which was very hot, there was sand everywhere and I mean everywhere” they both snickered at that “I met the Prince of Dorne and the Red Viper too”
Benjen looked at him with amazement as the Red Viper was infamous throughout Westeros “Does he really poison people?”
“Well he coats his spear in poison, they don't use swords in Dorne” he scoffed at the poor taste in weapons of the Dornish.
“Really, no swords, just spears, how stupid of them what can be better than a sword.”
“I know I agree, you saw my training sword right, I learnt some things from the master at arms at the Water Gardens in Dorne, he was quite good and we even met the sword of the morning Ser Arthur Dayne, I spoke to him about sword fighting” he boasted to his new friend.
However it turned out Benjen too had seen Arthur Dayne at Harrenhal but never got the chance to speak with him, they spoke on length about the various famous knights and the fun he had at the Water Gardens.
Sandor loved to tell people of his training sword and that he had met the sword of the morning, it made everyone so envious of him, he never had had anyone be jealous of his life.
He thanked the Stranger everyday for giving him two new brothers that loved him and cared for him, even after a year with them he marvelled at his scar free face. Only the gods could give him this miracle and he did not know why the gods had favoured him so but he would not let go of the gifts he was given by the Stranger.
“Then we also went to the Stormlands, it was alright I guess, but you could not go in the sea to swim like we could in Dorne.”
“Did you meet Robert Baratheon - Lyanna is to marry him in two moons.”
“No, we met his brother… um Stannis I think his name was… he had such a frowny face, did not even smile once and we had a meal with him, even stayed at Storm’s End for a sennight”
“Robert is his elder brother, he is the Lord of the Stormlands, but he is very funny and loud. He came here some years ago with Ned my second eldest brother they are fostered together at the Eyrie under Lord Arryn.”
“Will you foster somewhere too?”
“I don't know but father has been talking about it, maybe after Lyanna and Brandon’s wedding. Brandon is my eldest brother, he will marry Lady Catelyn Tully of Riverrun. Did you see her when you were at Riverrun, I have heard she is very pretty and has red hair.”
Sandor shook his head and lowered his voice “We did not stay too long at Riverrun, I think Harry did not like Lord Tully because we left after only a day, everywhere else we stayed at least a sennight. Don't tell anyone please Benjen”
“Don't worry I know how to keep a secret” promised Benjen and the two grinned in commiseration of a shared secret.
They heard a twig break and both looked up to see Harry and Sirius walking towards them speaking in low tones.
“Hey Harry, Siri” Sandor called out to them
“Hey pup, hello Benjen, have you two been having fun then?” Sirius questioned them as he came towards the tree root they sat upon; Harry waved and smiled at them as he stood at the side and looked at the tree.
“Alright then you two it's getting dark and cold, let's get back hmm” Sirius informed the two of them, holding a hand out so they could be pulled up at the same time..
“You go on, I will follow you in a bit” Harry called out from his place by the tree.
Harry Potter Black
Harry could feel magic in this godswood, why though it was only one tree.
They had visited the largest grove of weirwood trees south of the neck and south of the wall at the Isle of Faces, there was no magic in that place, just trees.
Harry had dismissed the idea of gods residing in trees but here in this place he could feel someone watching, was it the gods truly or was it some scrying magic that was placed on these trees.
Harry surreptitiously palmed his wand with just the tip showing from his sleeve and started a series of spells to check for the nature of the magic. The result was quite illuminating.
The tree had magic in itself and served as a divining instrument but for who? Who used the trees to spy, was it these children of the forest that he had read about or were there magic users hidden in the North.
Harry donned the invisibility cloak and took out his broom to fly over to the castle, he had been dying to check on the lingering magic at the castle and this was the first time he was alone and would not be missed by anyone.
The flight was short and he was soon hovering over the broken tower of Winterfell, where the wards felt the strongest, this must be the oldest part of the castle where the spell was originally anchored.
The scan revealed that the magic was defensive in nature and its use was for something to do with stopping necromantic constructs from passing through its walls.
What. The. Fuck. What use did necromantic wards have in this world, they must have been pretty serious to have lasted this long, the wards tasted thousands of years old and maybe as far back as when Bran the Builder lived.
The Wall, he would need to visit the Wall and soon. For a people fighting winter to build a wall that high and long would need some serious motivation.
And maybe the Wall held some form of magic. Was that too weakened like the wards here, should be strengthen them by pumping some magic in it.
No, that way led madness, he would not rush into things like he had so often done as a teenager, any calamity that would fall on to this world was a minimum of ten years away and a maximum of twenty depending on events that took place in this world as Death had told him when he was sent here.
And he needed to map these wards and find out exactly what they were meant for before either reinforcing them or taking them down.
He flew back to the godswood quickly got rid of the spells and started to walk back to WInterfell.
The offer the North had made was the best one they had received so far, the tax rate was adequate, the Lordship was a good one, they could have their own bannermen, Harry and company would only have to answer to two people above them, and magic could rid them of most issues they might have in the future with the Warden of the North or the King.
Sirius was not averse to living here as he too could feel the remnants of magic in this land, it looked like they might make their home here, but he still wanted to speak with Sandor and Siri before they took an official decision.
They would leave for the lands they were offered by next week, they would be unable to travel using magic as Lord Stark had offered them a retinue of 25 guards to escort them to Sea Dragon Point and the Stony Shore. There were some abandoned castles at both places and they would have to repair them if they took up Lord Stark on his offer.
He had finally reached his rooms and saw that Sirius and Sandor were already inside drinking mugs of warm butterbeer.
He smiled at Sandor “Did you have fun with the Stark children” Sirius handed him a mug of butterbeer which he readily accepted and took a long gulp savouring the warmth of the drink.
“Aye, Benjen was very nice I like him” he informed them happily
“And what about the Lady Lyanna” Harry quirked an eyebrow towards him
“I don't think she likes me” Sandor looked down at his shoes and confessed “I know I should not have asked but I wanted to know” he confessed
“What did you ask her pup?” now Sirius was interested and smirked at the poor boy
“Well about Harrenhal” he looked up at them with an apology in his eyes
Harry and Sirius chuckled at him “No harm done, what did she say that you think she does not like you”
Sandor informed them of his impromptu speech in her honour, her angry retort and the eventual stomp off.
“Don't worry - but at dinner you must apologise to her for trying to pry in her private affairs” Harry informed the boy who looked aghast and defiant.
“But I did nothing wrong, why do I have to apologise?” he crossed his arms over his chest in a belligerent fashion.
“Pup it's rude to ask people such intimate questions, would you like it if someone pried in your life” at his reluctant shake of the head Sirius continued “there you go, and besides the sooner you learn to apologise to women the happier you will be in your life”
Harry hit Sirius over the back of his head “Don't be sexist Siri, it's hard enough to teach the boy gender equality in this world.”
Sirius looked sorry at that “Aye, I know sorry, but the pup knows not to take my jokes seriously even though I am always Sirius”
“That is one thing I did not miss about you Black” Harry deadpanned
Harry placed his drink on the ground at his feet and threw up a few privacy charms around the room so all noise would be muffled if someone tried to listen to them.
“So what did you make of the offer? Did you tell Sandor about it”
Sirius cracked his neck “Aye I told him when we came to the room, it is the best we have received so far, but we just need land and a title not the gold.”
“No Sirius we do need that gold, if the land is as vast as it looks on the map then we need to show that we have the gold to make the needed improvements. It will be hard to explain otherwise how we are managing to build and repair things without gold coming in”
“I did not think about that, well the gold offered is also pretty decent as far I understand”
Harry nodded back at that “So what do you think Sandor, would you like to live in the North?”
Sandor sat in silence for a bit “It's alright I suppose, I don't mind the snow and cold, besides you gave me that clasp which keeps me warm even if I am rolling around in the snow, so that is not a problem. Whatever you decide Harry and Siri, but promise me you will get me someone to teach me swordplay”
Harry smiled back at the eleven year old “Of course” he then looked to Sirius “What about you Siri?”
“We should first see the land that is being offered to us, I know we can perform rituals to make the land fertile but i still want to see if the land is any good or should we ask for something else, I was talking with the Maester of Winterfell when you were in the godswood, it seems there is a lot of land that is in disuse in the North, so if the land we were offered is no good we could put up a counter offer.”
Harry blew out a huge breath and vanished his empty mug of butterbeer “I agree that is a good idea, we should leave by next week..um sennight” Harry amended at Sandor’s look of recrimination for his usage of modern terms “Oh and I want to see the Wall too.”
Sirius looked at him oddly “Okay.. but don't you think we should first answer Lord Stark and then leave for a journey to the Wall, besides once we agree and get this Lordship we will have a lot of work ahead of us”
“I know, but you felt it right, the magic, I checked the godswood and seems there is some form of scrying magic in the tree here, and the wards of the castle are to stop some form of necromancy.”
Sirius almost yelped “Necro.. What the hell, are you sure?”
“Aye, I am. So I figured a wall that is 700 feet tall and built by the supposedly the same man who built this castle would also have some magic in it too.. I just got excited I guess, this is the first real magic we have come across”
“Hmm.. maybe we can take a short trip to the wall sounds interesting, not like we need to tell anyone, we can just fly there after and once things are settled then we can someday take trip beyond it.” Sirius consoled Harry.
“So we are sure of staying in the North then?” asked asked for a final confirmation
Sandor just nodded his assent while Sirius stated “It's the only place with any touch of magic, you must be as mad as No-Nose Voldy if you think I will live somewhere else.”
The fortnight of travel without magic gave them a lot of respect for the people of the North.
Sirius complained that his saddle sores would have had saddle sores if not for the cushioning charm, not that the man knew what saddle sores were in the first place.
The lands they were offered were vast and had a lot of potential, the shore also gave them a lot of opportunities, the only problem was that Ironborn routinely landed on these shores as they were mostly empty and so they used them as a landing zone to invade further inland.
This would be easily solved with a few well placed wards, some intention wards, an intruder alarm, and of course an identification charm. They could place these all along the coast some 10-12 nautical miles off into the sea, so they would have early warning if anyone decided to raid them.
Harry wished he could place a fear ward and be done with it, but it would be counterproductive to his future trading plans.
There were very few people who lived in these lands due to it having no ruling House, but they would surely come to get employment both with glass making and to first build and later work at the port.
It took them a month to tour the whole area, and they had finally decided to build a castle in between the two areas, as it would be central to their land and yet be close to the sea, they would have the port at Sea Dragon Point as it was a natural harbour.
Lord Stark would be leaving soon for his children’s double wedding and Harry wanted to close the deal before the man left, or they would have to wait for three months before the Starks came back to the North.
They confounded the Stark men to believe that they had left earlier and just portkeyed them all back a days ride away from Winterfell.
They were fortuitous to have caught Lord Stark only a sennight away from leaving for the Riverlands. Brandon Stark was also present at this meeting, Harry found the man to be arrogant but not cruel or malicious, he seemed to be a good man but would not make a good Lord of the North. He was resigned to his upcoming marriage to Lady Catelyn. Harry could sympathise if the girl was anything like her father.
Lord Stark and Harry signed a trade agreement on the very day of their arrival as Lord Stark wished for them to start work on their lands as fast as possible.
He was now Lord Potter Black of the newly named Stony Dragon.
Chapter 4: The Bloody Rebellion
Sirius Potter Black
A fortnight ago, a rider had come to Stony Dragon bearing grave news.
Lord Rickard Stark and Brandon Stark murdered by King Aerys. Lyanna Stark abducted by Prince Rhaegar. All Lords of the North are to come to Winterfell and swear fealty to Lord Eddard Stark. The North heads to war.
They were ordered to bring up their levies, bloody peachy! But they had no levies to raise. The course of action had been decided, the new Lord just needed to agree, if he did not, well that is what magic was for afterall.
It was freeing to use magic without the fear of the ministry bearing down on them.
Sirius obviously did not abuse this new found privilege like the death eaters would have done. But this was a different world; a different time.
Besides the whole feudal aspect worried Sirius.
There were no set laws in this new world. Not that the laws of the magical world had helped him any - the buggering bastards. Here, it all depended on the Lord's and King's. The commoners were oppressed, they lived in the miserable conditions they were consigned to by virtue of their birth.
Travelling through the lands of Westeros had been an eye opening experience for him.
The Dark Age in their world was the worst time for magicals, but even then they lived better lives than the muggles of this world.
Even drinking water was a hazard, he thought with a sigh - he had never been more thankful for aguamenti.
And then there was the stench, oh dear merlin the stench of unwashed bodies, sweat, muck, cattle ugh!
Nobility tended to bathe once every day but the common people bathed less often.
Then there was the monotonous food, so little spice, so little variety.
He could really go for a shepherd's pie or a good indian curry that Lily had fed them so often.
Lords had great say in how they treated their people, where one Lord might be good to his people another might be a right shite stain.
Sirius really hoped the new Lord Stark was the former and not the latter. The father was decent and right honest in his dealings when they last visited Winterfell.
When they made it to Winterfell with the messenger in tow, all the Lords had already left to make final preparations. Could not be helped, Sirius thought with a shrug.
There goes the official ceremony Rickard Stark had wanted to hold when he returned from the Riverlands.
Okay… the traveling was making him lose his mind, he was surely not that callous or heartless. Nah it was just those stupid horses… how did these people travel on horses.
It took too bloody long to get anywhere. Give him magical transportation anyday!
They were escorted to the solar by a guard. It looked the same as the last time they had been here, only now the desk was littered with papers.
A map of the riverlands was also laying on a smaller table with wooden carvings indicating troop movements.
Lord Eddard Stark was young, looked to be only nineteen or twenty. His brown hair was tied away from his face in a small leather cord.
He sported the same gray eyes as his father, sister and younger brother. He was a tall enough man with a stocky build. He might grow taller yet if he is as young as he looks.
“Lord Stark, I am Lord Harry Potter Black and this is my brother Sirius Potter Black. You have my deepest condolences for the unjust deaths of Lord Rickard and your brother Brandon.”
“Thank you My Lords” his voice was gravelly and tired as if he had not stopped speaking for a long time.
It did not bother Sirius at all to let Harry take the reins.
He had spent most of his adult life… actually make that most of his life in captivity, considering his parents were jailors of a sort.
Since coming to Westeros he had slowly started to learn the things he should have; had he not been imprisoned and forgotten by all of his friends. He had done his best to forget his family and they was no great loss.
The years he spent in Grimmauld with the Order were not any better either. It was just another prison with different guards.
It was relaxing to know that Harry could take care of himself, hell he was an unspeakable for merlin's sake and those bastards knew some heavy shite.
He had seen Harry perform magic at a level which even his pureblood dark magic obsessed family could not fathom.
Lily would have been dancing in the streets to know how awesome her son was, and James… James would have been bragging about his son to every person he came across.
It still hurt to know they were dead, but he was slowly moving on, building a new life.
He shook his head to clear his thoughts and concentrated on what Harry was saying to this young man “Lord Rickard, granted my family the Lordship of Sea Dragon Point and the Stony Shore four moons ago. I have with me a copy of the agreement we signed in regards to the taxes, trade and the land. I know this is not the right time to speak on the matter but we have reasons for mentioning it.”
Lord Stark said nothing just accepted the copy and stowed it away for later perusal.
Sirius cleared his throat “Lord Stark the reason we speak of it at such an inopportune time is because the rider that came to us gave us the declaration you sent out in the North. Stony Dragon... Um we renamed the two lands, well we have less than two hundred people living on our lands and only a few of that number are young men.”
Stark held up a hand “I know my Lord's, you have no need to worry, I understand that no men can be raised from those lands. They have been without a Lord for many years now, you have a steep task ahead of you.”
“Thank you for understanding our plight Lord Stark, however, our house would still like to help you in this terrible conflict. We may not be able to give you northmen, but we can help you with gold.”
The young man leaned forward, his eyes intent on them “How much gold can you offer for the war effort Lord Harry?”
“We have brought with us a hundred thousand gold dragons Lord Stark.” Harry’s statement had caused the man’s eyes to widen.
“That.. that would be helpful my Lords.” he finally got out in a strong voice “I thank you for this and you can be assured that House Stark will pay you back for this generosity.”
Harry shook his head at that “No, Lord Stark, you misunderstand us. This is not a loan. Many men that march into this war may not come back, in the same manner we do not wish to be paid back.”
“The amount you speak of is very large My Lords, I can safely say that even the richest house in the north does not have access to the funds you are offering. Actually I doubt most noble houses across the realm have that amount of gold.
It is greater than a King’s ransom.
As your liege I can ask for men to be raised in times of conflict as that is your duty to your liege lord.
But gold… gold is a different matter. In good conscience I cannot take such a large amount without paying your house at a later date.” he looked firm and his voice held conviction.
They had piles and piles of gold, if they spent a hundred times that amount every month, they would still not run out of it anytime soon. The Philosophers Stone was good for such things - a personal lifetime gold mine.
“Lord Stark, your father was a good man and did not deserve to die in such a horrible manner. There was no reason or rhyme to the actions of the Mad King.
We briefly met your brother and he seemed like a good man, but his life too was ended in a most unjust way.
And what has befallen your sister is something I find abhorrent to my personal morals, our family considers anyone younger than seven and ten to be a child.
So for a Prince of the realm - a married man with two children no less - to kidnap a young girl is not something we can stomach.” Harry was surely doing a light scan to see what reasons would sway the man in accepting the gold
Sirius thought it a good time to pitch in and spoke up “Gold can buy medicine, food, horses, good steel, armour and so much more. An army cannot march on an empty stomach Lord Stark and we insist that you please accept our offer.”
They were not offering the money out of the goodness of their hearts though, they needed to prove to the Lords of the North that they were just as valuable as the other Northmen.
The Northerners were a prickly bunch and were not open to outsiders. As insular as the bloody purebloods he thought with a grimace.
Their House needed to show their worth in this conflict so they would be easily accepted in the fold when they came back from the war. And gold always helps open doors.
Plus they were going to kill it in this war. They had gotten pretty good with steel, well magic helped a lot. But the main thing was, they were now deadly with and without magic.
Well, not completely without magic, charms and spells had been laid onto their armour and weapons to make them fast, nimble, slow down perception so they could easily avoid being hit.
The chainmail and armour was feather light. The armour was not unbreakable as that would be very difficult to explain, but it was as strong as magic could make it.
Their swords were ever sharp, and the magnificent fear ward was laid on it, activated by a simple caress of the hilt.
“House Stark thanks you for your help My Lords but the amount is too large for me to accept. I would prefer to pay your House back all the same.”
Harry heaved a sigh “I can see that you will not budge on this matter Lord Stark, we can work out a long term payment plan, or, we can adjust the amount in future taxes or something else that you find acceptable once the war is over... but we will not speak of interest payment only the amount that I have loaned you.”
The man nodded reluctantly, half the battle won thought Sirius.
“There is another matter I would like to discuss with you Lord Stark” Sirius was more interested in this part as he would have a role to play if this idea was accepted.
“Of course My Lord.”
“My brother Sirius will be sailing to Essos to hire sellswords, if all goes well, he should arrive back in Westeros in less than a moon’s turn with a company of 2000 men or more.
It would be prudent to know where they should land, where would they find friendly territory. As it would be near impossible to send messages once they have set sail.”
Stark furrowed his brow and spoke after a minute “Maidenpool or the Saltpans would be best as the troops are heading to the Riverlands. If not, then Gulltown in the Vale would also be acceptable, it is Arryn territory and unlikely to fall in the hands of the loyalists again.”
“Lord Stark” this time it was Sirius that spoke “We have a younger brother, and we would be very grateful to you if we could leave him at Winterfell for the duration of the war. If that is acceptable to you.”
“Aye, I have heard of your younger brother from Benjen, we would be happy to have him. I am sure Benjen would like the company.” his smile when he spoke of his younger sibling was lighter and his eyes lost a bit of the dullness.
“Thank You Lord Stark. We did not like the idea of leaving Sandor alone especially since we have very few guards and the castle is still being built,”
“Please call me Ned, you have helped House Stark in its hour of need, despite being new bannermen, and we have a saying in the North - The North Remembers. I thank you both”
“Then please call me Sirius and him Harry - though I am rarely serious and he is not particularly hairy.”
Harry grimaced while Ned looked confused for a bit before he chuckled and then actually laughed out loud.
It made him look even younger, his eyes crinkled at the corners and his face shined with mirth.
“I thank you for that Sirius, it has been too long since I laughed.” his smile fell at the reminder of his family’s losses.
“If I may ask - do you have any news of Lady Lyanna.” Sirius broached carefully.
That poor girl, a bloody fourteen year old child, kidnapped by a man who was twenty three - a fucking cradle robber as far as Sirius was concerned. A man should have a code - wanker.
Yes he knew that in this world, it was acceptable for girls to marry as soon as they started, what did they call it hmm flowering. But by merlin the whole thing made him feel awkward.
It was not so much the age difference which bothered him.
It was only nine years and if the girl was eighteen or twenty then he would not mind but what does a young girl of fourteen understand of the world. Of marriage, of having children.
And sex here in this time and place would soon enough lead to children. It was not healthy for the mother or child right?
At fourteen he was pranking the shite out of everyone - especially Snivellus, James was busy flirting with anything in a skirt while fuming at Lily for her pig headedness, Remus poor dear Remus was in his books and his self pity at being a werewolf.
And the less he thought of that cocksucker Peter the better.
They had started to learn how to be an animagus in their fourth year, it was all theory at that stage, and if someone had pushed him to marry then, he would have ran away to the muggle world and never looked back.
“No there has been no word, it was some smallfolk in the Riverlands that informed Tully guards of Lyanna’s abduction by the Prince. We suspect she is being held hostage at the Red Keep.”
“I hope that we find your sister safe Lord Stark.” Sirius offered the man, what else could he do, they had tried the point me spell but the girl was too far away to work well.
They could pinpoint her exact position if only they had a bit of her blood.
Harry Potter Black
“I hope you will behave and not trouble anyone” Harry wanted to smooth Sandor’s hair back from his face. Though his scars had been cured Sandor still had the habit of hiding his face when he was nervous.
“I still say I should come and fight in the war, I am almost a grown man, I can fight better than half the men here. And you were killing giant snakes and fighting Dark Lords before when you were younger than me”
Sandor had been arguing his case since he had arrived at Winterfell.
After Sirius had left for White Harbour a week ago it had gotten even worse.
Harry put up the muffliato charm around them and started to walk towards the stables with Sandor in tow.
“You are not going to see any war before you are seven and ten Sandor, that is the last time I am saying this to you. We have made you understand why you cannot come with us. And if you are a man grown as you say you are then you should be able to follow orders like a man.”
Harry had given up on cajoling and making the lad understand why he had to be safe, he now understood how Snape felt each time they got into trouble.
And it was not a good feeling. He was sure somewhere Snape was celebrating his misery.
"Do you think I would have done all those stupid things, if my parents were alive? or had any family that truly cared for me, like we care for you."
He sat on an upturned crate in the empty stall and pulled Sandor down next to him “We may have been brothers for less than a year but we love you Sandor, and neither of us would be able to forgive ourselves if something happened to you.”
“But what if something happens to you or Sirius” his voice was a soft whisper as if voicing the thought aloud would make it a reality.
Harry’s heart gave a painful squeeze and he put his arms around his brother and pulled him into a hug.
“You know what we are capable of, you have nothing to worry about pup.
Sirius and I are the most dangerous people here in this world no matter where we go, you know of our stories.” Sandor nodded against his chest still clinging to him “then you know you have nothing to be afraid of - we will come back.”
“I know, but it's a war and you cannot use magic in front of anyone.”
Should they have told Sandor about him not being able to die? No, it was not something he was willing to share with anyone other than Siri at this point.
Harry pushed Sandor away gently and looked in his eyes “I promise you pup magic or not we will come back to you. Sirius told you all about the magical precautions we have taken, and if either of us are injured we will be transported back to the tent magically. Just like that pendant I gave you.” he motioned to the symbol of the hallows that hung around Sandor’s neck in a gold chain.
“Now I have something for you.”
Harry had already decided to give Sandor a communications mirrors, he had worked on linking three mirrors so they could all keep in touch with each other.
“What is this? A looking glass. I know we sell glass Harry but I am no dainty maiden that wants to see her pretty face every chance she can”
Harry snorted at that, he was sure this dry sarcasm was the work of Sirius.
“Call out my name and see what happens”
Sandor looked at Harry for a moment but shrugged and did as he was told.
Sandor almost dropped the mirror when Harry’s mirror was answered and his face swam into view. “Hey” the greeting echoed in the stall before Harry tapped his mirror and both went blank.
“You see, no need to wait for ravens. Sirius has one of these too. So you can reach either of us whenever you want to talk to us.. But try to wait for us to call you, so we are not around anyone hmm.”
The lad was smiling widely at him and Harry felt his heart soften for the love that shone from his eyes.
The North had gathered over twenty thousand men. The plan was to march towards Stoney Sept, in the Riverlands.
Riders had come bearing news of Robert Baratheon’s defeat by Randyll Tarly at the Battle of Ashford. He was now hiding out in Stoney Sept to recover from his wounds with the rest of his men.
It had taken them over a fortnight to make all the necessary preparations and move out from the North.
He had been alone when he had met all the Lords of the North, Siri had left to gather sellswords.
As expected they had been wary of an Essosi with no ties to the North.
Lord Umber had been outspoken in voicing his reservations.
Lord Bolton was someone Harry would have liked to thump on the head each time he opened his mouth and spoke in creepy whispers.
Lord Karstark seemed to view them with some sort of veiled contempt.
Harry had not had an opportunity to use legilimency on any of the Lords.
Things were too hectic to have a proper sit down.
What he did know was that the Boltons were famous for skinning people alive... Awesome; what a wonderful tradition to leave for your children. Yes, my little kiddies we are going to have a family event, see that nice old lady, yes the one screaming her lungs out, we are going to skin her alive… Isn't that lovely?
Lord Manderly had welcomed someone who would bring gold to the North but he had not been happy at the news of another port as it would reduce traffic at his own.
But considering they would be on opposite ends of the landmass, he did not mind the new port all that much.
Most others had been wary but had started to cozy up to him when Lord Stark informed them of the monetary assistance House Potter Black would be giving to the war effort.
Harry understood that the money he was loaning out was a very, very large amount.
The North gathered less than that in tax annually.
Roose Bolton had started to find ways to speak with him and strike up an alliance or friendship when he found out how much money they had at their disposal - gold will open all doors Harry thought with a derisive snort.
“So Lord Potter Black - where did you get all this gold from?” Greatjon boomed from across the table, most of the hall quietened wanting to hear the answer.
Harry placed his mug of ale down “Well Lord Umber, as you have asked me so nicely I will answer you - it's family gold.”
Umber looked irritated at his glib reply before growling “What family, no one knows where you come from? Who are your people?”
Harry smirked at the man, it was astounding that this loud man was the first to ask them this question. They had lifted the charm that kept people from enquiring about their family.
They had worked on the story and had gotten it down pat.
Sirius would perform the needed spells in Essos so when people went looking for proof, they would be satisfied.
A ward stone with the information of their family history recorded in it, would be placed in Essos and slowly it would cover the continent with its net that would reinforce the information in the minds of the people.
So when someone asked them about the Potter Black family people would always parrot back the information the ward stone fed them. Reclusive House, filthy rich, did not participate in politics, Death worshippers etc etc.
“My house Lord Umber - are descendants of a man called Emrys Myrddin. He lived more than five thousand years ago. It is said that Death favoured him. The reasons why, are lost in the mists of time.”
The table was quiet as a hush fell around him, all the Lords were leaning forward to listen to the tale Harry was weaving. The rest of the hall below the salt were still engaged in their merrymaking.
“Family legend says that Death appeared to him and taught him how to change his face.
It was his followers who started the faceless men.”
Harry heard most Lords take in a sharp breath at that, he knew that people were deathly afraid of the House of Black & White.
“Myrddin was told to always worship Death or as we know him now the many faced god - and to spread his gift to those who are in need of it. If he did so, then Death would always favour his line.”
“So he traveled far and wide to gather disciples and taught them the way of the faceless.”
Harry took a sip of his ale and leaned back in his chair, “Over the years our family took on the name Black… Potter was added when the only member of our family left was a woman.. She was fortunate that the man she married - Charlus Potter was madly in love with her. And so he joined both names and her descendants became Potter Black.”
“Are you telling us that you have faceless men in your family?” came the creepy whisper from Roose Bolton
“No Lord Bolton, I do not believe I said anything of the sort” Harry calmly picked up his mug and took another sip as if nothing was wrong.
“What did you say then Lord Potter Black?” he seemed to lower his whispery voice further and gave Harry a cold look. Oh you sad man - Bellatrix would have eaten you alive, let alone Voldy.
Harry quirked a brow at the man and smirked at him “Faceless men have no family, when you join the House of Black and White you become no one.”
“Fuck that - then how did your family earn so much gold that you can throw it around and still build a castle and a port?”
Harry liked the Greatjon, he really did. The man was crude and rude but had no mean bone in his body..
“We have always been favoured by death and so most ventures our family began have always been successful. Gold adds up over time especially since we don't believe in living... hmm like the Lannisters as you would say in the seven kingdoms”
Harry then put up a sad facade “It's just us three brothers left now of the blood of Myrddin.”
Lord Glover leaned forward to see him better from his end of the table “How is that your house is down to just three if your line is favoured by Death?”
Harry smiled a little wryly at him “There were many patriarchs in the family who did not believe in the family legend and gave up the homage that was asked of us, each time this happened the people of my family who did not give Death, his due - died.”
“Death my Lords, is fair, he gives peace to us all, he does not care if you are a noble or a beggar. All are the same in his eyes. Whether one believes in the gods or not we all believe in Death. And Death… Death comes for all.”
“My father was such a man, he believed in no gods. My mother was a follower of the Red God. My grandfather did not like my mother’s religion all the much.
You see no matter what god you believe in Death is always a part of it…
This red god though, we do not like him, he only speaks of life and terror… They are fond of saying ‘the night is dark and full of terrors.’ Fanatics is what those red priests are.
The Red God does not speak of Death or happiness or peace.
My grandfather had a run in with some of those damned priests once, and he believed that they worshipped some form of fire demon and not an actual god.
Once my grandfather died, my parents died in an accident in a moon’s turn.”
Harry smiled sadly at that and shook his head as if to indicate he was done speaking on his sad tale.
Lord Woolfield cleared his throat to attract his attention “If your family has roots in Essos then why did you come to Westeros Lord Potter Black?” he asked when they all looked at him.
Harry gave the man a small smile “Our great grandmother was from Westeros, in fact she was from the North - Skagos. When we were young she told us many stories of her homeland and that always stayed in our minds. So when we discovered how to make glass Sirius and I decided that we would live here in Westeros and if we got a good trade deal in the North then that is where we would settle.”
“What house was she from Harry” Ned Stark had finally spoken and the use of his first name pleased Harry… it conveyed to the other Lords that the warden accepted his house with their odd beliefs.
“She was from House Stane. She had been taken captive by slave traders which was then attacked by my great grandfather’s ship. The slaves were defeated and they fell in love..”
Stoney Sept, Riverlands
This was it, if he could find and defeat that vile rebel would-be King, then his Prince would be safe. The Rebellion would be over.
When he had been named Hand, he had sworn to King Aerys to deliver him the head of Robert Baratheon, his liege. He spat at the side of the road.
It galled him to have a known whorer and a drunk as his liege lord. A man who would forget his oaths and loyalty to his rightful King. No man would sit the Iron Throne, only dragons were worthy of that honour.
Just one and twenty and the man had already sired a bastard. He was sure, before his death the man would father a few more bastards wherever he ventured.
How could they rebel against the Prince. Rhaegar was an honourable man, a dutiful man.
All this fash for a girl who left with his Prince of her own accord.
In his most private of thoughts, those that he hated to acknowledge. He knew the deaths of Lord Stark and his heir were an act of madness.
The smell of burning flesh invaded his nostrils and the screams of pain and desperation resounded in his head.. No he would not think on that.. Shut it out Jon!
But if these so called great Lords had cooperated with his Prince at Harrenhal then today the realm would be at peace. Aerys would have been deposed, and his prince would sit the throne.
His silver prince was a man in a million, no one could be a better King than him.
And if he had to kill Robert Baratheon to make it so then he would gladly swing the sword.
The rebel army had been defeated by the Tyrell’s at Ashford and now it was his turn to finish this folly and set the realm to rights.
This rebellion should have never happened, if only his friend had been King in place of his mad father, Jon lamented again.
He entered the walls of the town and directed his troops to form up and search the town for Baratheon.
“We are not savages, we are honorable men of the King. We are not here to rape and pillage. These are our people, they have been misled.
We are here to find that traitor Robert and put an end to his treason.”
His voice boomed across the field so it could be heard by all his men.
“I want the gates of the town covered with a party of 50 men at each gate. If that bastard tries to run, you will not let him pass. When you find him I want him alive.”
“I want each party to go to their assigned routes and search each house, you will turn over every bale of hay, every bed, every whorehouse, every tavern. You will not fail your Prince, your King. You will find me Robert Fucking Baratheon and we will be victorious.”
The men all cheered, and the voice carried in the silence which had gripped the town, since they had entered it's gates.
A great gong was heard, Jon looked up at the Bells of bronze and silver at the Sept for which the town was named after.
They normally chimed musically but today they were ringing with a ferocity. The sound did not abate. It continued to reverberate around his head.
If these traitors thought this would deter him, he would be happy to prove them wrong.
“Move Out” he yelled to be heard over the ringing of the bells.
They had kicked in doors, went from roof to roof, pulled out smallfolk from their hiding places. But no one spoke of the traitor! Why could they not see he was doing what was best for them. Why did they give their loyalty to Robert. Rhaegar was a better man, a better prince, a better King. If they did not love Aerys then why not love Rhaegar.
Jon was out of patience, he wished to be honourable and gallant but the townsfolk were making that very difficult. He will not fail his friend, his prince.
“Take the men and women from their homes, put them up in crow cages, the traitor has nowhere to run. They will talk eventually.” he snarled.
As the soldiers obeyed his commands he turned to the crying smallfolk “You only need to tell us where the traitor Robert Baratheon is hiding. The person that comes forth with this knowledge will be rewarded with ten gold dragons and will have the King’s regard.
I personally assure you no man will hurt you.” the people were still defiant in their silence.
The bloody bells were still ringing, he had sent a few men to get them to stop the noise. Either they had not reached the sept yet or… Robert was there!
He turned to order his men to follow him to the sept - when the men at the North gate started to yell for reinforcements. He could hear the sound of horses and steel clashing against steel.
As he watched, the wooden gates which were not particularly strong to begin with burst open and men poured into the walls of Stoney Sept.
“Rebel Forces” he breathed when he saw who had come through the gates “Fight for your King, FOR THE DRAGON!” he screamed as his men answered his call while rushing into the fray.
Jon cut down the first man he came across with a slash of his sword, another replaced him as he ducked down and planted his steel in his back.
His men were around him fighting with ferocity.
He could make out gray and white banner of the Starks, the blue and white of the Arryns and the red and blue of the Tully’s.
He will take the heads of all the traitors today, this thought burns his body with energy. It lends his sword strength.
The men at his back started to turn around and he realises that Robert and his men have come out of hiding, this is bad.. It could turn into a rout. The perfect hammer and the anvil.
Jon may die today but if the seven are gracious he will take that traitor Robert with him.
He turned and ran toward the town and away from the gates “Come men, we will have glory today. Death to all traitors.” a chant taken up by his men.
A man in Arryn colors and coat of arms came at him from the side as he parries. It is Denys Arryn he realised with a start. The heir to the Eyrie.
King Aerys had killed Elbert Arryn.. No this is not the time to think on those who died in the capital, he must only think of his duty to the Prince.
The fight is short, the man may be talented but he is young.
He may be a knight of the Vale but does not know of the unnerving sounds of battle, the dying laments of men, the jarring sounds of horses dying, the smell of blood and shit and piss.
His catches Ser Denys across the ribs, and Jon prepares to stick the steel in his chest as the young man drops his guard and holds a hand to his bleeding side.
Just as Jon is bringing up his sword to plant it in him, another sword blocks his downward trajectory.
An eldritch fear fills his entire being, as a gleaming silver broadsword shoves his own blade away with relative ease. A set of large rubies, as big as eggs are set on it's gold hilt.
The red and gold hilt makes him wonder if Tywin Lannister has also joined the rebels.
The man wielding the broadsword comes at him with economical movement and relative ease.
He is wearing black armour with green and gray accents, he cannot see the face which is covered by a fearsome dogs helm.
The colours and coat of arms are new to him, or is this some landed knight or a small Northern bannermen. But the quality of the sword and armour belay that fleeting thought.
Jon does not understand why he is quaking in fear. He is no craven but he cannot shake the fear that has gripped him.
Jon finds courage in his heart and brings up his sword to block the hit he can see coming at him, as the blades clash his sword shatters as if it was made of clay rather than the best steel one can buy in the crownlands.
The loss of his sword and the momentum of the hit makes him fall backwards on the ground and he is lost in the sea of men fighting around him.
Jon can feel his hands shake with the strength of the blow. His nerves are jangling from the hit and the fear that had coursed through him has left him shaking and weak.
As he looks around from his ignoble place on the ground he can see that they are surrounded. His men upon seeing him fall, had lost their nerve and were falling back.
Better to retreat than to die here today “Retreat, Retreat. Fall Back… TO THE GATES.” his men pull him up by the elbows and drag him away.
He had failed, failed his silver Prince today. And yet those damnable bells rung in his ears.
The city had been sacked by the Lannisters before they had arrived.
It shamed him to see the depravity that lived in the hearts of men displayed around him.
As he and his men made their way across the city streets, he saw women raped and children murdered by men in red. He wanted to stop and kill those who would hurt the innocent but all he could think of was Lyanna… Lyanna… Lyanna.
“Sirius, take your sellswords and put a stop to this” He heard Harry from beside him.
“Aye, this is wrong Harry.. You take care of yourself.”
Sirius took his men who were now down to 1500 from the 2500 he had brought with him and went off to save the people of King’s Landing from the heartless Lion’s.
“Thank You Harry, for sending him. I wanted to do so myself but…”
“I know Ned. You need not say anymore.”
Both men were honourable, he had gotten close to the brothers in the course of the war.
They were fierce and unstoppable in battle. When they unsheathed their swords one could feel fear coursing through one’s veins.
One night as the men were drinking around the fire; Ser Brynden had asked the very pertinent question on why even their friends felt this fear when they went into battle.
“It is a gift Ser Brynden, a gift to our line. It runs in our blood.” answered Sirius with a mischievous smile at his twin.
Ned had wanted to ask more but before he could Denys Arryn had cut in “I for one am very thankful for it My Lords. I would be dead now if Lord Harry had not come between me and Connington. I will always be in your debt” he gave a small bow towards the man.
“What is the blade made of Harry?” Ned questioned, it was a metal unlike any other.
It was not Valyrian steel, it was a heavy sword, but he had seen blood being repelled by it.
Nothing ever stuck to it, it never needed to be cleaned, oiled or sharpened as far as he knew.
“It is silver Ned”
The men all gaped at Harry “Truly silver! but… how?” asked a gaping Edwyn Donniger
“Let me tell this tale please Harry” Sirius said in glee as he rubbed his hands together in glee.
Harry held up his hands in surrender and sat back comfortably.
Sirius was always so cheerful thought Ned. Both men were a boon to the Starks, the gold they had put forth had made things so much easier.
Healers were aplenty in the camp, food was not an issue, and they always had ten blacksmiths on hand.
They even paid the soldiers a stag for each sennight. Morale was high and the results of that showed in battle.
“Well….the sword came into our house a thousand years ago. An ancestor of ours called Godric Gryffindor, whose name you can see engraved on the sword, was a great warrior and roamed the lands searching for the next adventure.”
That man had always loved to tell stories, Ned thought with a shake of his head, as all the men around the fire were enthralled. He also seemed to love women just as much as Robert, but he knew he had not laid with any of the camp followers.
“He sailed across the seas and made it to Sothoryos.
There he was approached by a tribe. They had heard of his prowess as a warrior and entreated him to slay a giant Basilisk which had terrorized them for the past few moons.
It was said to be 80 feet long. It carried off the children and livestock when they strayed too far from the village. No man, woman or child was safe with the beast around.
The people were unable to hunt, they had to stay within the village if they wanted to live.
But food was running out and they were desperate.
The beast was said to be able to kill with just a look. It had eyes of yellow that killed when you looked into them. If you saw them in a reflection then you would be turned to stone, which was a fate worse than death.
It's venom was said to be so potent that it could kill a man in the blink of an eye.
Godric agreed to save the people and slay the giant snake.
So, the elders of the village, crafted a magical sword for him.
They wanted to give him all the tools they could to banish this beast.
The sword was enchanted, it would repel all things that could tarnish it and only absorb things that can make it stronger.
It's blade is always sharp and will never need any oiling or sharpening. It would never shatter or break. It cannot be melted down you know, a crazy ancestor of ours tried to do so, it refused to melt.” Sirius cleared his throat and took a sip of his drink
“Anyway… back to the tale. They also collected all the shed skin of the beast and shaped it into armour for him. It was light as a feather and stronger than the sharpest steel, it is said that even Valyrian steel could not cut it.
Now, Godric could not look at the beast lest he die instantly.
But how to fight and kill something you cannot look at - so he trained with a blindfold over his eyes. He learned to listen for movement and to rely on all other senses except his sight.
When he was finally satisfied that he could kill the snake he set out in search of it.
As soon as he left the protections of the village, the snake fell upon him.
It is said that the fight lasted for an entire moon’s turn, and when the light of full moon shone upon them - Godric drove the sword in its mouth, killing the fearsome creature.
But Godric was mortally wounded, as he drove the sword through the roof of the Basilisk’s mouth. It was the only place where the beast could be pierced you see.
It's hide was so thick that the cuts Godric made on it were like getting a splinter.
The armour which had protected him, was the beast’s own skin and thus only the beast’s fangs were able to tear into it.
As he lay dying - Death appeared to him. The second man in our family to have met Death. Death thanked him for killing the unnatural creature.
An evil mage called Voldemort had created the beast so he could rule over all the lands and not just his own.
The Basilisk was not a creature of life or death. It was something in between, unnatural; an abomination. This was something Death could not abide.
But the rules that govern the gods do not allow them to meddle in the realm of men directly. And so they needed a champion to act for them.
Death took the poison from his blood and blessed him with the fear of his enemies when he went into battle. Just as men feared the basilisk.
He bound the sword to his blood so none may dare steal it, for it had absorbed the venom of the beast and even a single prick with its blade would kill a man.
Godric thanked Death and promised to always pay his respects to the god and that his family would always worship him.”
The men were all silent, absorbing the legend of this brave man. They were just as good as the tales of the Night KIng, Bran the Builder or The Hungry Wolf.
“So.. is the blade truly poisonous then?” Ser Denys asked
Harry just nodded at the man “That is why I always keep it sheathed and on my person even when I am asleep”
“How is it that we have never heard of these tales?” the Greatjon wanted to know as he downed his cup of ale.
“Well these are family tales and we rarely speak of them, in Essos people know of it… but considering that our family worships Death... well lets just say most like to avoid us even across the Narrow Sea.
I hear that it's the same here for those that worship the Stranger” Harry was quite open with the beliefs of his family.
Ned knew most men even the Lords were afraid of the Potter-Blacks.
They had gotten the name of “The Harbingers” or as the smallfolk called them “The Dogs of War and Death”
“You may be Death worshipping heathens but you’re good bastards all the same” boomed Greatjon
“Why thank you for those glowing words of praise you wanking giant” replied a smiling Sirius as he raised his own mug in the said giant’s direction.
“It is not honourable to have a poisonous blade though, poison is a woman's weapon” Ser Brynden voice was disapproving as was his lined face.
Sirius laughed merrily at that while Harry looked at him in consternation before turning to Ned’s new good uncle “The poison cannot be leached from the blade, and I am not so foolish that I would deny a family weapon Ser Brynden. We rarely carry it unless it is for war. The last man to carry this blade was Neville - a great man”
“And how long ago was this?” the Blackfish was still disgruntled at the poisonous blade,
Ned could understand his reticence but it was a family blade.
If Ice was somehow filled with venom House Stark would still not put it aside.
But the Tully’s had no such weapon and they did not understand the weight and history of such a weapon.
“A hundred and fifty years give or take, funnily enough he also killed a snake with this blade. She was called Nagini, but that is a tale for another time. I bid you all a good night.”
Both brothers had made a name for themselves in the war, and the people that counted them as friends knew they were good men, no matter who they worshipped.
But like the Blackfish there were many who did not like them.
Whether it was that they were Essosi, or their worship of Death, or just the gold they seemed to have - Ned did not know.
They rarely even spoke of their beliefs, only when they had to speak of their family tales.
It was really quite easy to forget that particular aspect of their lives.
They lived like the other Lords, nothing fancy like he imagined the Tyrell’s or Lannister’s would have done if they were here.
It was the common soldiers that liked the brothers the best.
Sirius drank and jested with them most nights. Harry was in the healing tent when he was free to help the wounded. It was the southren nobles that reacted unfavorably to them.
But these same southren nobles did not like the Northmen much either.
They finally entered the Red Keep’s throne room after what felt like an age.
He could not wait to feel the blood of Mad Aerys on his blade. He would have justice for his family. And Lyanna… she would be with family again.
What met him was a sight he would remember till his dying day.
A grinning Ser Jaime resplendent in his white cloak, sitting on the Iron Throne.
A bloody sword across his lap and Aerys was lying at the foot of the throne in a pool of his own blood.
“What have you done Ser Jaime?” his voice was like a whip that cracked across the room
“Why, saved your King the trouble - I assume Stark.” the man had the temerity to smile back at him as if he had done a great deed by forsaking his oaths.
“Kingslayer” he whispered in the quiet and saw the golden lion flinch minutely in satisfaction.
“Take him, put him in one of the cells for the King to pass judgement”
Things were a blur after that, and he was thankful for the presence of Howland and the Potter Black twins by his side.
They had spent the rest of the evening scouring the Red Keep for Lyanna.
Sirius heard from a maid that his sister had never been in the Red Keep.
They investigated further and found out from one of the kitchen wenches, that it was rumoured she was in Dorne, she had overheard Ser Arthur Dayne speaking with his sister on the matter.
“Let us go Ned, we fought this damn war to get Lyanna back and get justice for your father and brother.” Howland pleaded with him.
But how could he leave without the say so of his new king, his friend.
Robert was to come here any day now, word had reached them that he was only a few days away.
They were out in the godswood of the Red Keep, the wind was muggy and humid. It stuck to his skin like salt on a wet surface. How could anyone live like this?
He missed the cold winds of his home, even when he was in the Vale it was always cool.
This place smelled of shit and blood and death.
Sirius stood from his place on the bench and put down the skin of wine he had liberated from the kitchens “Ned, you did not get to kill that Mad King… but you can still save your sister.”
“We should wait for Robert” it was his duty that kept him waiting here, he would not forsake his duty.
“He is our King now and we must wait for him, he has waited to hear of Lyanna. He fought this war to get her back. He will want to know… he will want to come with us”
Harry scoffed at him “Oh please Ned, don't make me laugh. I admire Robert Baratheon as a warrior, he is a decent drinking partner, and can tell a mean bawdy tale but as a husband he is the worst choice for any woman.
He may be your friend and the new King, but if he really loved your sister as much as you think he does then he would not have fucked his way across the kingdoms. For fuck’s sake he was in a brothel when we arrived at Stoney Sept.
I hear there is another little bairn on the way.”
Ned wanted to snap back at them, but over the course of the war Howland and the Potter Black twins had also become dear to him. As dear as Robert. A man cannot shed blood and still remain acquaintances. The bonds build in warfare were stronger than ties built in peace.
They had taken every opportunity to point out Robert’s flaws. They did not speak with him directly, but he heard Howland regaling the twins with tales of Lyanna.
And his anger at Robert for chasing anything in a dress. Their eyes full of disapproval at Robert’s wenching and heavy drinking.
Sirius was also quite sought after by the camp followers. He joked with the women quite openly, but did not sleep with any of them as far as Ned knew.
Ned had always dismissed his dear friends ways, it was just the way Robert was, always had been.
‘Love is sweet, dear Ned, but it cannot change a man’s nature’ this is what she had told him once when he tried to convince her of Robert’s love.
The constant assault on Robert’s nature coming from the mouths of men he trusted and loved like brothers was making him rethink everything.
Robert had fought and drank and fucked all throughout the war.
He spoke of loving his sister, but why did he shame her then. He spoke of bloodlust and passion but what of honour and love and faithfulness.
Had she always been right, if they had listened to her and not forced this marriage upon her would she still be at Winterfell with Brandon and father.
Would his new bride be his good sister, would he have been free to marry Ashara.
These thoughts jumbled around his mind and made his head ache. So many doubts and questions.
But no, it was Rhaegar who had taken his sister, but there too he had his doubts. Did she leave willingly? Was she in love with that.. that faithless man?
How could Lyanna love him when she had rejected Robert for having a bastard? The Prince had children, he was married.. Did she truly love him, or was she taken by force?
“Ned, time is of the essence, the news that the Targaryens have fallen will spread far and wide. I do not want Lyanna to pay the price for the deaths of the King and the Prince. Where ever she is being kept in Dorne cannot be safe for her. What if they kill her in revenge? Will you be able to forgive yourself, if we are late”
Howland’s words pierced his heart and conjured images in his mind of him reaching Lya just as a sword was thrust through her heart.
He gripped his hair “Enough Howland please. We will leave at first light.”
Sirius Potter Black
“I have done something.. not exactly stupid but it could prove slightly problematic for us. It was not something I could have turned away from”
Sirius had pulled Harry aside after their talk with Ned in the Godswood on the pretext of paying some of the sellswords who were waiting at the docks for the promised gold.
Harry sat up on his barrel, and looked at him “Ok - Hit me I’m ready”
Sirius ran a hand through his hair, a nervous habit he had yet to break out of. “I have Princess Elia, Rhaenys and Aegon on this ship”
As Harry opened his mouth Sirius held up a hand “I came to the Red Keep as Padfoot. While roaming the halls looking for your scent I heard a child screaming so I changed and took off in that direction.” he gave a full body shudder
“A Lannister man was pulling this little girl out from under her bed, he had a great big knife in his hand.. Well his next action could easily be divined. I killed him and coaxed the child out.”
Harry’s eyes were hard at that news “Do you know who he was?”
“No, just that he was in red armour. I obliviated the girl, put her to sleep and turned the dead man into a vase.”
“Smart - especially since that idiot Robert would kick up a fuss if he knew you saved dragons” Harry said with an eye roll “So where did you find Oberyn’s sister and nephew?”
“Her room was only a few doors down and I saw” Sirius clenched his jaw “It was that cocksucking wanker Harry - it was Gregor Clegane”
Harry stood at that name, he of all people knew what that giant motherfucker had done to Sandor, what their little brother had survived “Is he dead?”
Sirius shook his head “Why? Tell me he did not get away?” Harry was glaring at him now
“Do you think I would let him get away? No, Harry he did not deserve an easy death.. I broke his back” he gave Harry a bloodthirsty look of triumph “he will never walk again”
Harry was looking back at him in surprise and then gave a short cruel laugh “Oh Siri - I agree wholeheartedly.”
“Should we tell the pup?” Sirius would not know where to begin if Harry wished to tell Sandor.
They sat in silence for a while before Harry said “Yes, we should. He will be at peace, justice for the pup. But not over the mirror.”
Sirius nodded at that, they had spoken with Sandor at least twice a week to reassure him of their safety. He was such a good kid, with a big heart.
“So anyway, he was in her room he had already pushed the babe into a wall, and was trying to rape Elia.”
Harry had a look of horror on his face “Death would have been too easy for that fucker”
Sirius agreed with him on that account, he knew they had become somewhat inured to death and gore, but it was the way of this world.
“I stunned everyone except the babe. Luckily the child was only stunned and just had a freely bleeding head wound, I healed the cut put the child to sleep and obliviated the woman.”
“So are they still asleep?”
“Aye, I put them in the captain’s cabin - it's lucky I found a ship heading to Dorne. I need you to weave a story that is believable, you are better at mind magics than I am.”
“Where is Clegane?”
“I pushed him down a flight of stairs, made it look like he fell down and broke his back, near the royal family chambers.”
After a good brainstorming session, they went into the captain’s cabin and planted memories in Elia, Rhaenys and Captain Soler’s mind.
They would safely reach their family and no one would know of Sirius’s intervention.
Harry did not tell Siri but he also made a few modifications to the minds of the royal family.
The Tower of Joy
When they arrived at the Tower of Joy they could hear a woman screaming.
There was no one guarding it's gates.. Well there weren't any gates to be honest.
It was just a lone tower in the middle of the Dornish desert.
Was this where they had kept his sister, alone and helpless.
Were they torturing her the entire time, was the madness of the father also in the son. But Rhaegar was dead. Robert had caved his chest in with his war hammer. So who was hurting his sister now?
He rushed up the steps to the tower, towards the screams that echoed around his ears.
Willam Dustin, Ethan Glover, Martyn Cassel, Theo Wull, Mark Ryswell, Howland Reed and the Potter Black twins had accompanied him to Dorne.
Their thundering steps had warned the people in the tower of their arrival, and out came Lord Commander Gerold Hightower, Ser Oswell Whent and Ser Arthur Dayne.
“Move away Sers, I will see my sister and take her from this place. The war is over.” Ned had raised Ice and was ready for anything.
He had been waiting for find her for more than a year and would not back down even if it meant his death.
The men at his back would take care of his sister if he happened to die here today.
“We cannot Lord Stark, we are duty bound to guard here” Ser Gerold replied as he and his comrades blocked the way into the tower.
They were all standing on the narrow stairs and only the kingsguard had any maneuvering space as they stood on the landing at the top of the steps.
“Your king is dead and so is your Prince, you have no duty anymore” spat Ned
“We will always have our duty, our oaths end with our deaths and not a moment before”
“That can be arranged” came the voice of Sirius
“Sirius… Harry” Ser Arthur did a double take at the faces he saw
Ned was surprised, neither had spoken of knowing the Sword of the Morning.
“Ser Arthur” they greeted him back and raised their swords at him, Ned felt gratitude rising in his heart for these men who would follow him anywhere.
Another gut wrenching scream came from inside “Lyanna” screamed Ned
He heard her calling out his name in between the screams of pain.
“What have you done to my sister? You will let me see my sister or there will be no more words between us.”
“Then we will have no more words” came the heavy reply from Ser Gerold.
Harry jumped, twisted his body mid-jump and was behind the three kingsguard before anyone could advance.
In the blink of an eye Theo, Martyn and Ethan advanced on Ser Oswell; while Howland, Willam, Sirius and Ned took on Ser Arthur.
As they fought a body fell down the tower with it's white cloak fluttering in wind, a red stain bloomed across the top of the gleaming armour.
Harry had killed the Lord Commander, and engaged against Ser Oswell who had killed his three opponents and was coming to the aid of his brother.
While Arthur fought with Dawn, Ser Oswell managed to move his fight with Harry towards the rest of them.
Ser Arthur and Ser Oswell now stood back to back on the landing with five men surrounding them, it was a testament to their skill that they were still alive.
Ned mentally prepared himself to go against the best warriors of the realm and readied his stance for an attack.
Ser Oswell faltered and fell to the ground, blood leaking from his mouth as he gasped for breath.
“Poison! I expected better from Northmen” spat Ser Arthur
“Abducting a girl; nay a child. I expected better from a knight” spat back Sirius
“We do as our Prince commands” Ned wanted to punch the man, how dare he look sad and morose while holding his sister captive, she could be dying while they fought here.
All his worst fears were coming true, he was here and she would die before he could reach her.
“Siri, I’ll cover you go see what is happening to her, you know what to do” commanded Harry as he engaged with the legendary Ser Arthur Dayne.
The men who fought with him had learned to live with the fear he induced in battle, but when he turned his attention on one person alone, the fear that person experienced was crippling.
Ser Arthur experienced that fear now, Ned could see the whites of his eyes and a slight tremor in his sword hand.
In another life, in another time he may have thought of this man as the epitome of honour and chivalry.
Now, he only thought of him as a man who helped abduct maidens and forcibly keep them locked. Blindly following a man whose lust overcame is logic is no honour, no duty.
Ned would have stood back and allowed the fight to be fought one on one, but the screams of his sister made him join the fray.
Willam was grievously wounded and was losing a lot of blood, Howland was crouched protectively over the prone man, pressing a hand to his wound.
It was over in the blink of an eye, Ser Arthur who had so far avoided Harry’s blade had forgotten about Ned.
Ice cleaved his head from his shoulders and he saw it roll down the steps of the tower.
The sudden silence was frightening. He rushed to the room where his sister was being held, hoping and praying for her to still be alive.
The smell of blood permeated the round tower chamber, there were blue winter rose petals fanned across the bed.
A stout woman lay prone on the ground, bleeding from a head wound as Sirius fed something to his sister, massaging her throat to encourage her to swallow.
She looked so pale, he could see the blue veins in her neck and cheeks. Her hair was matted and sticking to her sweaty skin. Her frame was so thin, that the dress hung off of her revealing her bony shoulders.
The lower part of Lyanna’s dress was covered in blood, her clothes pushed back to her waist. The body of a child was lying there in the middle of her legs covered in blood and fluids.
He fell to his knees before he could even take a few more steps further into the room, she had been pregnant and she was now dying, lying in a pool of her own blood.
What horrors had she endured, was she… was she… raped?
As tears streamed down his face, he heard footsteps and a loud gasp.
“Siri, what have you done? You utter fool!”
Ned looked up at the odd statement and saw that moments ago where Lyanna had lain dying, now there was a young girl who looked just like a ten year old Lyanna..
Ned scrambled up on his feet and stumbled to the bed. His legs were weak and felt as if he would collapse at any given moment.
Was this her, what sorcery was this? Just moments ago she had been a young woman of five and ten and now.. Now.
But she looked healthy, her cheeks were full, her frame no longer thin, there was color in her skin. She was… just younger.
He hastily pulled her body towards him and hugged her close to his chest, he could feel the steady beat of her heart in his ears. Lyanna… my sweet sister Lyanna.
“Why is she asleep?” Ned asked in a croaking voice tears still soaked his face.
Harry and Sirius looked at each other, Howland was standing behind Harry by the door gaping at the young form of Lyanna.
If Ned was not so relieved he would be gaping at this miracle too.
Harry swallowed hard “Ne… Lord Stark, I... “ he looked at him intently while his hand twitched, he then straightened as if he had decided on something and turned to pull Howland in the room.
“Siri, seal this place. No sight, no sound.” Ned could not understand what he meant but they had saved the life of his sister and he would give them the benefit of the doubt. He was also pretty sure if it was as he suspected, there was not much he could do anyhow.
Sirius had a stick in his hand as he waved it around the room.
Howland came over and stood by him and Lyanna, his spear held tight in his hand as his eyes flicked between Lyanna, and the twins.
“All done Harry. Are you sure though?” he asked his brother in a whisper who just nodded at him resolutely.
“Lord Stark, Lord Reed - we have not lied to you, just omitted a few truths.
Our family are truly blessed by Death, one of those gifts is the gift of magic to just one member of the family in each generation. But Siri and I are twins and so we both can use magic. Sandor cannot.” He then waved the stick in his hand and the bed Lyanna was lying on cleaned of all the blood and fluid.
The sheets were clean, her dress was changed into a simple clean loose dress.
A bundle flew the bed to lie in the crib which was at the corner of the room.
Ned and Howland both gasped, as Ned clutched Lyanna tighter to him and saw Howland’s fingers whiten as he gripped his spear and moved closer to the Stark siblings.
Harry sighed at their reactions “We mean you no harm Lord Stark… Sirius… I sent him up here to help your sister in anyway he could… I guess he got a bit carried away.” he stared hard at his brother who was still behind Ned and Howland.
Sirius came walking around them and stood next to his brother
“What did you do Sirius? Why was.. I understand why she was screaming but… what happened? How is she like this now? Is she fully healed?” Ned’s words came tumbling out of his mouth.
Sirius ran a hand through his hair and he looked sheepish, he let out a deep breath “When I came in here, that woman there” he pointed to the woman who had been hit in the head “was trying to… well I guess she is a midwife”
His face turned a bit stony “Those wankers had told her to induce birth no matter what… it did not matter whether the mother survived just as long as the child was born.”
Howland sucked in a breath and his hand squeezed Ned’s shoulder.
“By the time I came in the child was already halfway out, and your sister was bleeding freely, when… when the child did not survive the birth. That cunt would not help your sister. So I did what I could to help Lady Lyanna.”
Howland stood on shaky legs and went toward the woman, he looked down at her and without a word or warning he plunged his spear in her heart.
No man said a word as he walked back to his position next to the bed.
“I could have done other things, but to be honest my skills in healing are not great, especially in an emergency” he looked at Harry and lowered his eyes “I gave her the potion, I did not think a full dose would result in this” he finished waving his hand towards Lyanna.
Harry just groaned “Lord Stark, your sister is fine, better than fine. She is the most healthy she has ever been, the extra dosage will not harm her, she has just… just de-aged. She will grow normally, her memories are still intact, she has not forgotten anything. I am sorry Lord Stark”
Ned stood and walked to the men, they both looked apprehensive while clutching those sticks in their hands. Ned pulled the two of them in a hug while whispering thank you over and over again.
“I cannot thank you for this, House Stark will always be in your debt, anything you ask that is in our power..” Ned choked on his words.
“Please Ned, you owe us nothing, just… I would appreciate it if you did not tell anyone of this.. Of what has happened here today.”
Howland came up to them, his spear fell with a clang on the floor as he let of the tight grip he had maintained on it “You have my word on this” he gave the brothers a deep bow.
“Great… thanks. But if it is alright, I would like to place a spell on the three of you, it will literally not allow you to speak of the events here without my permission.”
Ned and Howland give each a long look before nodding in assent, it would be good to know that he would not betray this man’s secrets.
They had saved his sister from certain death, and that was a debt he could never repay.
They pulled down the Tower of Joy and tasked Willam Dustin to carry the sword of the morning to Starfall. Harry had magicked up a body which looked like a five and ten year old Lyanna with a stab through her heart.
Ned did not wish to see any Dayne, after what the Kingsguard had ordered, his sister was not a broodmare.
They had abducted her, kept her locked away, raped her… he felt tears running down his face as the gravity of what Lyanna endured ran through his thoughts again.
William was also tasked with sending a raven from Starfall to inform Robert of Lyanna’s death.
Ned still did not know what Lyanna had endured, but she would wake and she was alive.
All else could be taken care of at a later time.
He did not know what they would tell people, but Lyanna Stark as the world knew her - was dead. Killed in revenge by the Targaryen loyalists.
Ned promised himself even if she had left of her own accord he would not blame her for anything. Robert would not have her, he still loved his friend but Lyanna was family.
She would come back to the North, somehow he would make it work.
They set up a tent for the night when Sirius assured Ned and Howland they would not be discovered by anyone, and they would be safe in that tent even if Balerion miraculously landed in front of it.
The tent was another magical discovery, it was an entire house, pleasantly cool, stocked with foods he had never seen and conveniences that he had not even heard of in his life.
Lyanna and Ned were settled in one room as Ned could not part with her lest she wake alone.
Dinner was spent in silence. He was sure the food was good, but he could not tell for the life of him what he ate. They had seen too much today, Lyanna, the babe, the magic.. It had not sunk in yet. When they finally went off to their rest, Ned was sure they all fell into a deep sleep, thankful that the day was over.
Somewhere in Dorne
She woke with a scream on her lips, the memory of pain and blood so fresh in her mind.
A man came at her as Lyanna tried to scramble back in the bed, but as the man hugged her and spoke calming words she realised it was her brother Ned… dear sweet Ned.
Lyanna clung to him and cried all the harder for this comfort.
She had never imagined she would see him again, she was sure she would die here in this hot desert, away from all she knew and loved. Away from the cold snow and warm walls of WInterfell. Away from her loved ones.
Her breath hitched, as she thought of the gruesome fates of her father and Brandon. Fresh tears fell down her face and she clutched at Ned with all her might.
The door to this strange room banged open and three men entered.
It was Howland, his spear raised in defence of her while the other two men she thought she had seen somewhere were looking at her and Ned calmly.
After she was all cried out, she was told of how she had been healed and she was now ten instead of five and ten.
Lyanna did not understand, where was her child? How did Ned find her? And magic!
Now a few hours later, she was sitting in a kitchen holding a cup of tea, unlike any tea she had ever drunk. It was somehow comforting to hold the warm cup in her hands and sip on this drink.
Her life had changed in a day for the second time in her life, she was now ten whereas yesterday she was a woman grown.
Lyanna did not understand what she would do now, how would they tell people what happened to her, how would she face people when they found out what she had done..tears slipped down her face again and she wiped them away hastily.
She had carried a babe and lost it before it was ready to be born. They did not allow him to grow as he should have in her body. They had wanted the babe and nothing else.
She wished to know everything that had happened in the war, how was Ben? Would she still have to marry Robert? Would Ned accept her back at Winterfell, when he knew? Where would she go when they knew of her selfish actions.
Lyanna had never been more afraid and unsure of things in her life.
But first she would have to tell her tale, and she prayed to the Old Gods that her family would forgive her when they heard of her sins.
Chapter 5: Lyanna's Tale
Small Council Chamber
The small council chamber was quiet. Presently there were no official members on the council. Tywin Lannister sat at the far end of the table waiting along with him for King Robert the First of his name to arrive.
Both men awaiting the King were stewing in their own thoughts.
Jon Arryn was praying to the seven that Lyanna would be not recovered. It was a terrible thing to wish for but he had his reasons.
He had been saddened when Ned left with a small party of Northmen to recover her from Dorne of all places, all without letting him know!
He wished Ned had waited, or even informed him of his departure. He had need of Ned, there were things needed to be done.
And.. as much as he hated to admit it, Lyanna Stark was not fit to be Queen... Not anymore.
She had been in the hands of Rhaegar for too long, for her to remain a maid.
And the North was already allied to their cause so taking a Queen from the North was not politically sound.
If there was to be any semblance of peace the the next Queen would have to come from either the West or the Reach.
They already had the support of the Vale, the Stormlands, the Riverlands and the North.
The line of succession needed to be secured; and, right now the heirs to the throne were being besieged by the Tyrell army.
He had planned to ask Ned to relieve Stannis and Renly. But Ned had flown away like a thief in the night.
This was the influence of the new Lord Potter Black.
Jon was not terribly comfortable with either of the brothers. They were rich death worshipping foreigners.
Yes, they had helped in terms of gold and men, however there was something he could not put his finger on which irked him about the twins.
It also somewhat vexed him that the twins had managed to befriend Ned in a very short amount of time. Ned - who had always been a quiet, shy lad. By the seven; it had taken Robert over a year to gain Ned’s friendship.
He had heard that crannogman Reed and the twins speaking about Robert in a derogatory manner. He wished to confront them on the issue, but had held his tongue.
Nothing the Northmen had said were lies, yes Robert whored, yes Robert drank, yes he was dishonouring Lady Lyanna all the while claiming to lover her.
So what could he say - when all they spoke of was true.
But they had no right to speak in such a manner of a High Lord - one who would be King!
The Potter Blacks were also the richest Lord’s in the alliance, and he could confront them over such an issue. Not at such a delicate time.
The gold they had loaned to the war effort had run out two moons ago. The other Lord’s had all pitched in and loaned the rebellion another 50 thousand dragons.
It was disturbing to know that Potter Black had loaned double the amount single handedly.
And from what he had heard, the loan had not made a dent in their pockets.
Any man that much gold on hand, was a dangerous man. Tywin Lannister came to mind he thought with a quick glance at the stern faced man.
He once again wished Ned was here, he had the gift of calming Robert. And with no news of Aegon, Rhaenys or Elia - they would need someone to calm that Baratheon fury.
His plan was simple, if and when Ned resurfaced with the Lady Lyanna, he would convince Ned to stay in the south. The Master of Laws would be an ideal position for Ned.
Lady Lyanna could be sent back home to recuperate from her ordeal.
In the meantime he would convince Robert of the need to marry if he wished to cement his rule. It would be better for all of them if Lady Lyanna was dead.
By the Seven - it made him feel like the lowest worm, praying for the death of a young girl.
But someone had to think of making Robert’s rule last, and a Northern Queen would not help matters any.
Hoster Tully, his new goodfather would make a good Master of Ships.
He was loath to give that conniving man anything, hmm maybe a Mallister instead of Hoster.
No but Hoster would surely take that as an insult. Besides he had a political mind, he hated the man - sure. But would he have done any different if he was in Lord Tully’s shoes.
A daughter in the North, a daughter in the East. He had secured two of his three borders and would see his grandchildren ruling these lands someday.
His wife was so young though - he felt ashamed when he lay with her. But he needed heirs, not very soon as he still had Denys.
That was the only thing he would thank Lord Potter Black for, saving the life of his nephew.
And then there was Tywin Lannister - a man who had joined the rebellion when he knew there was no other outcome other than victory.
He would surely refuse any position, but someone from the Lannister clan could be made Master of Coin.
It would no do well to anger the Lion. He had held together the Kingdoms for two decades, the true power behind the throne.
It had taken only a year since his resignation for the rebellion to start. If Tywin had still been the hand then they would not have been so fortunate in the rebellion.
Small Council Chamber
He was doomed to be surrounded by incompetent fools.
His heir was a glorified bodyguard, who was now reviled all through the lands as a kingslayer. What right did these people have to judge his son? Did they not rise in rebellion against the same mad man? His second son was a punishment from the gods. His birth was a black mark on the legacy of his great house.
He wished for his daughter to be the Queen. And he would soon see her as one, Lannister blood would rule the seven kingdoms one day.
A simple task, an easy task and yet his bannermen had failed.
Now, his mad attack dog was as good as dead; and the other idiot was missing presumed to be dead.
He had carefully chosen men who would not balk at killing children. He had carefully educated them on the route they needed to take to the royal chambers. He had asked them to be quick and quiet. And yet… they had failed in their orders.
The Mountain that fell - that is what people called Gregor Clegane now.
How could a man of his size and prowess fall down a flight a stairs and manage to break his spine! What good was a man as big as Clegane now that he could not even move.
Clegane might have been able to keep the smallfolk of the Westerlands in line, but he had failed his first real test.
He had heard of a brother once long ago, a boy whose face The Mountain had burned… he might take that boy to Casterly Rock if he was as big as his brother.
Though he was likely dead at the hands of his brother.
This failure would be rewarded - oh yes! He would take those lands back, to be given to someone who could bring him the heads of the Targaryen heirs.
Lorch was lost in the battle, he assumed. No one had seen his body, he was likely being served as a bowl of brown in Flea Bottom.
He had assumed, those idiots would be able to kill a defenceless woman and two babes.
Now - he would have to make an effort to have Cersei as the Queen.
He could not even have his son released from the Black Cells without some leverage.
The North’s sellswords had killed Lannister soldiers in the sacking.
And Jon Arryn had the gall to reprimand him for his men’s actions while taking the capital. Tywin had nothing to say, nothing to show - so he had given the man platitudes about the men’s blood being up or some such rot.
What did the honourable man think happened in war, it was better to be cruel for a day and have order than to show mercy and have sheep bleat at you for the rest of your rule.
His finger tapped on the table in beat with his thoughts, there was something he could offer as a show of fealty. It was a simple task and would give him the leverage he needed to put for his daughter as the next Queen.
He would not trust any fool for this important task, he would have to leave himself to see this executed to the letter.
Tywin turned to the only other person in the small council chamber “Lord Jon, I hear the King’s brothers are still under siege at Storm’s End”
The man’s face was calm, yet Tywin could see a hesitant suspicion in his eyes. Good they should all fear the wrath of the Lion.
“Yes, I was hoping to send Lord Stark to end it” Arryn replied “But as you might know, he has left the capital to search for his sister in Dorne.”
“Might I offer a suggestion?” at his nod Tywin continued “My men are fresh and rested. I can send Kevan to relieve Storm's End. The king needs his heirs here; not starving at the mercy of Mace Tyrell.”
Jon Arryn clasped his hands in his lap and looked steadily back at him “I hope for the Tyrell’s to be back in the fold My Lord. A show of force would get them to back down, now that the war is almost at an end.”
Tywin nodded noncommittally, his house had been dealt a blow by the North when they took up arms against his men, he would need to remind Westeros of the power of the lions.
So, no there would be no peaceful resolution.
“Thank you Lord Tywin, I am sure the King will appreciate your efforts to save his brothers.”
They fell back into silence waiting for the King to arrive.
Tywin would leave along with his brother. But he would not be going to Storm’s End, he would head to Dragonstone.
He mentally composed the letter he would have to send Tygett; the Lannisport fleet needed to be readied to sail.
From what he knew of Robert, he was a brash young man with a temper.
Such men could fight on the front lines but they were ill suited to the game. This was an opportunity he could not let pass.
Cersei was as beautiful as her mother, and she would be Queen. Her sole duty would be to produce heirs for the King. When the match was finalized he would be sure to have Genna remind her of her duty.
Slowly over time, his men would flood the capital. His family and bannermen would be rewarded with important posts by the King.
Tywin knew for a fact Aerys’ treasury was running low. It was a plot of his to get Cersei as Rhaegar’s Queen in exchange for monetary help.
Jon would surely agree to his suggestion to make his daughter Queen - mayhap he would also throw in a good dowry.
If Lyanna Stark came back alive, Pycelle could surely be counted on to poison her.
They could call it a natural death or a slow acting poison given to her by the Targaryens.
Yes, that would do.
His plan of action cemented, he sat back in his seat a man content with his lot in life.
Somewhere in Dorne
They had broken their fast in silence. Lyanna now say playing with the edges of her sleeves, wanting to finish her tale as soon as possible.
This waiting and the silence was getting to her, she was the cause of this war and she would for once in her life take whatever fallout came her way.
She would not make excuses for her actions, she would take every bit of rancor people threw at her. Yes, it would hurt her terribly to have her family turn away from her, but she was a Stark and this was something she should have realised ages ago.
She would not run from the consequences of her actions, like she had run from her responsibilities and duties. No, she was Stark and she would face the winter head held high.
“Ned, I am so sorry, so very sorry for what my actions have caused. All I ask of you is that you listen to me, and whatever you decide I will accept without a contrary word.”
Her eyes were dry, though her voice shook with emotion. She was all cried out.
Sometimes she thought that she had spent her time away from her family and the North, crying.
Ned grasped her hand in his from his seat next to her, it felt comforting. Yet guilt and misery rose up in her stomach. His gaze would turn hateful soon enough, she should enjoy this feeling of love and family as long as she could.
“No matter what you tell me, I love always love you Lya. You are, and always will be my little sister”
A dry sob escaped her at his words, Lyanna composed herself and took a sip of water from the kitchen table they were all sitting around.
Howland was next to her and he too took a shoulder in his grasp and gave it a comforting squeeze.
Across the island were the two magical twins - Harry & Sirius Potter Black. She was told it was due to them she was still in the land of the living.
She did not know whether she should thank or curse them for not letting her die.
No, she was a Stark, she would be brave.
She heard a throat clear from across the table and looked up to see Lord Harry wishing to speak “I don't think we need to be here for this conversation. My lady. It will be difficult enough for you to speak of your ordeals without having two strangers around.”
Lyanna shook her head “No, please. You and your brother have helped my family in the war my actions caused. You saved my life.” she took in a deep breath “I don't mind if you stay”
She looked down at her hands in her lap before she made a request “Let me speak… please… let me finish my piece. I will answer all your questions - Ned after I finish”
Ned took one of her hands in his and nodded at her.
“I… I ran away with the him. He did not kidnap me.” the words were pulled out of her mouth, like glass was being rubbed on the inside of her throat.
She bit her lip at the silence in the room, and dared to look up at her two sentinels.
There was no judgement in their faces only a silent plea to continue her tale.
“You see, I was the mystery Knight at Harrenhal, and he found me by the heart tree when I was disposing the shield.” It had all seemed like a song then, a Prince falling in love and running away together.
“As the days went by, we met by the tree everyday.. And I fell in love.
I did not wish to marry Robert, and he… he said such beautiful things when we met at Harrenhal.” she gave a bitter laugh. Oh what a lovely fool she was.
“He told me we could go to Essos, and be free. See the world, get away from our duty. He told me that he did not love his wife, and that she did not love him either. It was a marriage of duty and alliances...
We were going to be just a couple in love - no titles, no burdens.”
“I was looking to escape Robert any way I could, and when the Prince of the Realm was offering me everything I could dream of.. I was a fool.
I hated Robert for having his bastard in the Vale and I had seen how he bedded every wench that crossed his path at Harrenhal… but what I did was no better… I justified everything in my mind, you see. I did not think of his wife or his children, in truth I was no better than Robert.
I gave no thought his wife, I did not think what she might feel, if I hated Robert so much for his whoring when we were not wed - what would the Princess Elia feel when she was his wife… mother of his children.
I was selfish, I forgot I was a Stark… I had a duty to my family, I thought us running away would cause no problems… I thought everyone would forgive us when we came back after a few years.
“He told me he already had a son who would be King someday, so he had done his duty to the realm. We wrote to each other and when my wedding was moved up by… by fa… father; we planned to run away sooner than we had planned initially.”
Now that she had started to speak, she could not stop. It was best that they know, it was she who was responsible for all the deaths and misery.
“I should have known he lied when he came with three members of the Kingsguard. But I thought nothing of it.. He was a prince, a man claimed to love me, why would he lie”
“We took a ship from Maidenpool and planned to travel to Dragonstone at first. But before we reached there, I heard of what the Mad King did to… well what he did in King's Landing”
She could feel the tears on her face again, every time she thought of her father being burned alive, she wanted to curse and rage and die and kill all at the same time. But there was no enemy, no opponent - it was all her.
“I overheard the crew one day talking about… it. When I confronted him, he tried to lie and cajole me with sweet words” snarled Lyanna
“I would not relent, and finally he told me of what his mad father had done.”
She sobbed in earnest now, and still her brother held her hand. Did he not understand, did not know hear her! It was because of her that father and Brandon were dead.
If she had only done as was asked of her, they would still be alive in Winterfell. Thousands that had died in this war would still be alive.
But she had promised to speak on everything that took place and so Lyanna soldiered on with her tale “I asked him to let me go home, back to Winterfell or to you in the Vale. I told him, we could explain that I was not kidnapped - we had sent a raven to Riverrun declaring that I had run away with him...and I assumed it was lost. I wanted to just go back home, to do something, anything. He refused, I raged, I begged.”
Lyanna took a deep breath and took the glass of water Howland offered her.
“I wanted to run away, but where could I run. We were on a ship in the middle of the sea. When I got too loud they gave me something that put me to sleep. When I woke up I was in that tower you found me in.”
The next part was hard for her to say, it was not something she even liked to think about let alone speak of out loud.
“When I woke up he.. he told me about some prophecy, I do not understand it much.
I was very groggy at the time. All I wanted was to leave. He told me he would let me leave if I gave him a daughter… a Visenya for his Aegon.”
Her brother sucked in a breath, she wondered why - he knew she had been pregnant. Maybe it was difficult for him to hear of her ordeal as much as it was for her to speak of it.
“I attacked him with by bare hands and tried to run. But I didn't even make it to the chamber door. I was still weak from having been under milk of the poppy or sweetsleep.”
The kingsguard had hauled her back to that room.
He had tried to tell her that he loved her but this was for the safety of the realm, this was his last duty and then they would be free.
She had spat in his face, how could he think that she would happily go with him anywhere after what had happened to her father and brother.
He had refused to let her go, and forcibly kept her prisoner in that tower.
His face had been a sad mask, she wanted to claw his eyes out then. If he was so remorseful then why not let her go? Such sweet words had spilled from his mouth as he caressed her hair and cheek. When she did not relent and only glared back at him, he had left her to her own company.
“After that they kept me isolated in that tower. I… have no recollection of falling with child… I have a few blank spots in my memory. He tried to come to me a few times but I was not amenable and he left each time.”
“He apologized… the gallant Prince who still claimed to love me. All he needed was the child, he would send me to the Free Cities after I gave him what he wanted, he said. With gold and guards and a manse.”
Lyanna’s skin itched when she thought of him. She wanted to scrub herself clean of his presence, his touch. She never wanted to utter his name again.
“Four moons later, I missed my moonblood twice in a row, the midwife you saw there was called and she confirmed I was with child. I did not know how that could be, since I had never lain with anyone let alone him.”
Lyanna pulled her hand back from her brother’s grasp and hugged herself.
His name would never cross her lips again.
“He told me, he had not wished to force me, but he needed a daughter ‘for the dragon must have three heads’
He never said what he did, but I understood it was those few blank spots I had in my memory when he…”
Lyanna took a deep breath and carried on, there was no point in feeling sorry for herself.
Everything that had befallen her and her family was her fault.
Some days she thought it might have been better if had raped her, at least she would have paid a little in penance for all the blood her actions had shed.
“One day, he left saying he was sorry it had come to this. He was so very sorry, for my family and the way he had treated me. I was very weak by then, but I gathered all my strength and hit him in the ribs with a vase full of blue winter roses… hearing them crack was a most satisfying sound… I only wish I had cracked his skull instead”
He had kept her room full of those roses the entire time she spent there - as if he was so thoughtful by giving me a piece of home. If he really wanted to help me he would have let me go.
“He disarmed me before I could do anything else. The kingsguard were my jailors from then on - I knew nothing of what was happening in the war. They would never tell me if you were alive or dead? was Winterfell standing? was Benjen safe? They never spoke to me if they could help it, I was alone in that room since he left.”
“Then one day, the same midwife came to examine me. She left for a sennight to gather what supplies she needed. She only came back the day you came to the tower. She informed me that she would be giving me herbs to induce birthing”
“She told me you were coming, she knew she was not to speak with me, but she always liked to taunt me - I had slighted the Dornish Princess after all.
They had heard of how the Aerys was dead, and how Rhaegar had been killed. So instead of waiting, they decided the child would be born early and I would be discarded as so much rubbish.”
“I honestly do not know whether I wanted to live or die by then. I was too weak by then.”
Lyanna had lost all ideals of chivalry and knightly honour during her captivity. These were supposed to be the best men in the realm. She could sometimes see a glimmer of sadness and pity in their eyes. Yet all they ever said was - Our duty is to the Prince. We have taken vows.
Lyanna had wanted to scream at them, ‘What of the vows you took when you became knights? What of protecting the innocent, women, children?’
She never did ask them - she knew they would never help her escape.
They were as trapped as she was, she would feel bad for their situation if they were not the ones keeping her captive.
“I was sickly you see - so much milk of the poppy for so long had left me weak. I could barely get out of bed let alone try to escape. They could not carry me anywhere either as I was almost eight moons by then. So, as their Prince had ordered they chose the child.”
Lyanna looked up now to see her brother’s cheeks wet, tears running down his face.
“I would have still loved the child… it had done nothing wrong. But my poor health and the early birth killed it too.”
For the longest time no one spoke or moved. It was as if a pall had fallen over the room. Lyanna stiffened her spine and got ready for the inevitable flow of heated words and rage that would fall upon her, and she deserved every ounce of hostility her brother would bestow.
However as time went on she could not take the silent resentment any more. Was this how it was to be? Would he just refuse to acknowledge her? Somehow this silent anger hurt her more than his words would have.
She stood up to leave the room so they would not have to bear her presence any longer “I.. I will leave Ned. Know that I am sorry, more than you can ever know. You are right to hate me, I hate me... I know I have done wr…”
The rest of her sentence was cut off as her brother stood rapidly as his chair fell back on the floor.
And suddenly she was crushed in his arms, while he whispered in her hair that she would not go anywhere but home. She was still his sister, they loved her, they forgave her. She had never thought she would ever hear such things from Ned - the brother who had always done what was right, never shirked his duty.
But all Lyanna could do was cling to him tighter and repeat how sorry she was all the while begging him to forgive her for killing father and Brandon.
He had shown everyone the fury of House Baratheon. He had killed that incest born bastard Rhaegar. The Targaryens were finished - no more fucking Dragons to plague the seven Kingdoms. He was the King now and all he needed for his victory to be complete was his Queen, his lovely Lyanna.
She was so beautiful, so wild and wilful. What horrors must she have seen with that silver haired bastard. But he would love her, give her time to recover, he would shower her with affection.
And she would be his and only his... and when they wed, Ned and him would finally be brothers for true.
Robert knew he should have gone to the small council chamber where he had been told Jon was waiting for him; but all he wanted to do was bathe, fuck a tight cunt and sleep in a featherbed for the next year.
He would be true to her when they wed, Robert promised himself. These women meant nothing, they were just teats and a cunt… a man had needs after all.
That is when it had all gone wrong, he had been forced to pull his cock out of the wench’s wet and willing cunt - a letter a arrived from Dorne announced the guard at his door. That was where Ned had gone to get his Lyanna he realised with a start.
He pulled up his breeches, smacked the wench on her arse and made his way to the small council chamber to finally know when his Lyanna would arrive.
He would need to ready things for her, an army of maesters to see if she was recovering from whatever ordeal that whoreson had put her through.
Hmm - Ned had told him she liked riding, so maybe a nice mare for his future Queen.
He would have all the dressmakers come to the Red Keep so he could drape her in the best clothes… and jewels of course. Only the best for his Lyanna.
What else… yes his Lyanna like to play at swords… mayhaps an instructor for her? Yes, that would help her feel safe, being able to protect herself.
He chucked at the thought of his little Lyanna fighting a man grown. He knew it was ridiculous but she did not need to know that!
He pushed the doors open waving the guards to the small council chamber away “Jon… has that grim bastard I call my best friend written when he will be getting back with my Queen?” Robert walked across the room and filled himself a goblet of wine “That reminds me I have a list of things I need you to ready before Lyanna comes to the Red Keep, I want her to be as comfortable and as happy as possible”
But the man said nothing which Robert found out of character, Robert set the cup down and looked at him in irritation “Come on man, give me the letter already.. Let me read it”
Jon did not push the raven message towards him, he just looked sadly back at him.
A frisson of unease went up Robert’s spine and he snatched the letter off the table himself.
Nothing was wrong, he had fought and won for the love of his Lady.
He had killed the man who had the temerity to abduct his betrothed. He had toppled a dynasty that had united the Seven Kingdoms and ruled it for almost three hundred years.
As his mind registered the words on the parchment, his blood rushed to his head. His fists came down again and again on the table until it finally cracked and fell in two on the ground.
We were too late. The kingsguard killed the Lady Lyanna moments before we reached her..
We avenged her. Lord Stark may come to the capital with her bones.
Chapter 6: To Braavos!
Somewhere in Dorne
Sirius Potter Black
Sirius ran a hand through his hair and blew out a breath while keeping the bike steady with one hand. The chilly night air soothed his mind, his thoughts tumbled around, bumping against each other.
This war was brutal on him, he had never killed in battle before coming to this new world. Actually he had never killed.
He let out a loud sigh and wished for the presence of the pup in the sidecar. It had been more than a year since they had been together.
Things were so much more simpler when they had arrived here, they roamed the lands carefree. Now, he was tired of all the bloodshed. Sirius supposed he understood why this Mad King needed to be put down but all this divine right to rule nonsense made him want to laugh.
The Wizarding World never had a king, and he would never deny that they had their own problems back home, but at least they could kick out the bad ministers without going to war. Well, they had dark lords to fight against, which was way worse than a mad king.
Not much to be done about it, this was his world now, with King's and Queen's.
He saw Harry fly closer to him on his broom "Let's head down, Aye"
Sirius wanted to refuse and stay up in the air much longer, but he nodded his assent all the same. They had decided to fly, as it had been a long time since either of them had been up in the air, and they had missed it, a lot.
The pup too had complained of missing his flight lessons when they mirror called him every week.
Sirius landed his Triumph near the sea shore, the waters looked black in the night but he loved the sound of the calming waves that lapped at the sandy beach.
Harry was already standing in the sand looking out at the waters.
Sirius did not wish to get off his bike, so he just lay back on the seat and looked up at the starry sky.
"What's going on in that head of yours?" Harry asked him after a long silence
Sirius sighed out loud, sat up and swung his legs off the bike as he stood up to walk towards Harry.
He saw that Harry had set the broom aside and he was now sitting on the sand, legs splayed out and head looking up at the sky.
Sirius sprawled out next to his brother, a man who was his godson in a different world.
He had not thought of Harry as his godson in a long while and did not think he would ever again, Harry would forever be his brother, his twin.
"It was a harrowing war, then the girl's tale. I expect you were rifling through her mind?" Sirius asked
"Don't say it like that - like I enjoy it…. Well, I think I do, I know it sounds horrible but it's a habit now." Harry's eyes smiled while his face portrayed chagrin.
Harry sat up straight "Besides I don't think I'd enjoy being uninformed. But, aye I was reading her thoughts when she spoke" after a beat Harry added "I also read Ned's thoughts"
"Such a great bore that man is… And, was he as forgiving as he seemed at the end?" Sirius was truly curious now.
The girl was so painfully young. Her actions were thoughtless, but she was a bleeding teenager for Merlin's sake. If he was to be held accountable for his every idiotic action he had taken as a teen, he would have been dead at thirteen.
Harry gave a short laugh "Aye, he is a boring one, isn't he! But he is a good man, better than most others we have met so far. Ned was angry and sad at the same time. He truly loves his sister, but he felt that she should have just married Robert as was her duty and then all this would have been avoided.
I don't think he understands that this fight, this rebellion, was inevitable. Aerys was mad and sooner or later he would have pushed the Lords far enough to rebel. These people did not rise against the King for the kidnapping of a young girl, they rose because they did not wish to be the next ones to be burned by the mad bugger."
Harry shook his head "Ned Stark is a fool. He thinks too much of truth and honour and duty. He is young still, he may see the world for true yet. We Wizards have always led a life of lies, we lie about our nature to the muggle world each day. We hide and cheat and weave elaborate illusions to keep ourselves safe. The people of Westeros though - they speak of honour and the gravity of keeping one's word."
Sirius snorted at the so called honourable nobles "They say one thing and do another Harry. The Westerosi may speak of chivalry, but it's these same Knights and Princes that kill women and children… That fucking Prince can say whatever he likes but what he did was rape a child.
And do these people like a good kill. All through the war, all anyone spoke of was killing and fucking. As if there is nothing else to do in life!" Sirius threw up his hands in exasperation.
They fell silent for a spell before Sirius spoke up "Do you think the Starks would have been alive if she had stayed."
Harry shook his head "Who knows Siri, maybe they would have died in the war, or been killed in some other manner. Blaming the girl for it is stupid. Especially as she seems to have paid for it in spades" Harry snorted "She would have paid for it with her life if we did not tag along"
Sirius stood up and rolled up his pants "Come on, lets dip our feet in the water. I have had enough of this heavy talk" Harry laughed and took the offered hand.
On the way there Sirius asked something that had been playing on his mind for quite a while "Did you mess with Ned's mind? I mean, to forgive the girl?"
"No, I would not have, even if he had decided not to forgive her. I feel bad for her, I truly do… but whether they patch up or not is not something that will affect us.
Ned still has some resentment for his sister, but he seems to have forgiven her for the most part. It was the rape that made him forgive her everything."
"What a fucking mess though!" Sirius breathed out "These knights don't seem to have any sense at all… keeping a child captive and being party to her rape! And Arthur seemed like such a nice guy when we met him."
Sirius shook his head in disbelief at the mindless followers these idiotic knights were.
It made his think of the way he had found Lyanna Stark, lying in a pool of blood. Her skirts hitched up and a small babe lying in between her legs.
He knew the small child was dead as soon as he had looked at it's small blue body, covered in blood and fluid. That was an image he would rather obliviate from his mind.
"I am sorry again Harry, I panicked… all that blood and the babe. I just upended the entire vial down her throat."
Harry clapped him on the back "It's done. We need to figure out a way to keep the secret. No one can ever equate her with Lyanna Stark."
"Why did you not obliviate all of them? Why tell them?"
Harry kicked the water by his feet "I was reading his mind, he was shocked. But apparently Northmen are more accepting of magic than the Southrons. It's all those legends and the Old Gods that make them so accepting of magic."
Harry popped his neck by tilting his head this way and that, a sound that made Sirius want to cringe in sympathy. "Ahhh that feels better. Anyway Ned had already decided that he would help us hide our magic from anyone because we had saved his sister from the brink of death." he shrugged then "seemed like a good idea at the time too. But since we have already performed the fidelius about our true origins, that is something no one will ever know"
"So, how will we hide Lyanna's identity? Long term glamour?" Sirius threw out
Harry laughed at him "Oh! That will never work Siri… No, I was thinking something more simple. It would solve all issues that may arise as she grows up"
Sirius waited for Harry to elaborate, but the man was frustratingly close mouthed
"Oh, spit it out you lump" he finally demanded
Harry cleared his throat and looked his nose down at him "Well, my dear Lord Sirius, if you had more sense than fleas you would know what I intend to do… Fidelius!"
"Ha!" Sirius exclaimed "That seems to be your answer for everything these days."
"Why mess with a good thing… but yeah, I wish we could perform unbreakable vows on Howland and Ned, but that requires magic on both ends."
"So what now?" Sirius questioned Harry as he walked back from the sea and hit himself with a drying charm.
"Now, we will go our separate ways."
"Are we not going with the others to King's Landing? I thought there was some swearing in ceremony and all that"
"That man is a good fighter, but will make a horrid King. Even I can tell from what I have seen of him. All he wants to do is fight and fuck. But no, we need to head to Braavos."
Sirius was surprised "Why?"
Harry rubbed his forehead as they walked on the beach "After this war, there are very few workers left in Westeros. We need to hire builders, mason workers, blacksmiths and the like. Our castle and the port is not going to build itself."
"Are we not going to use magic at all? It will take ages to do it the muggle way" Sirius whined at the thought of living in the tent for so long. Not that it was not more comfortable than any place he had seen in this new world so far, but it was the principle of the thing.
Harry laughed at his tone "Of course, we will use magic to speed up the process, but we still need the men to keep up a facade of normality."
"What about the pup? I am sure he wants to see Braavos as well."
Harry was quiet as he thought of how to get Sandor back with them when Sirius spoke up "I'll apparate to Winterfell, leave a letter with the Maester with some charms that states the pup is to head towards White Harbour to get on a ship to Braavos. When he gets to White Harbour we'll have him portkey himself to the tent."
"That sounds alright. It will take him a week or two to get to us but that will be the safest thing to do."
Sirius flashed him a smile as they walked back to Harry's broom and his bike "So to sum it up, we have to perform two fidelius charms, head to Winterfell then Braavos, conjure up a set of bones, and prepare a cover story for Ned's sister. Am I missing anything?"
Harry shook his head and they took off back towards the tent.
By mid afternoon the next day, the fidelius had been performed and now their secret was safe.
"Is that it, are you sure it worked?" asked a wide eyed Howland Reed
Sirius guffawed at the young crannog "What were you expecting Reed? Smoke and lights? Try speaking about our magic or try to say that Lyanna Stark is alive."
"Harry and Sirius are good people... Lady Lyanna was a true wolf of the North." Howland blurted out and looked confused as he opened and closed his mouth.
Sirius himself looked a bit oddly at Reed "That should not be happening, did you plan to say that?"
Howland shook his head, Harry looked smugly at the two of them.
"It's a twist on the fidelius." Harry informed Sirius "Ideally the spell does not allow one to utter the thing protected under it, however it would look mighty odd if people could not speak of Lady Lyanna at all."
Harry shot him a telling glance, and Sirius understood this was something that his time in the DOM had taught Harry.
"So will they say the same sentences or how does that work?" Sirius was intrigued. This was a wonderful spell… why the hell did the bloody unspeakables have to keep so many things hidden.
"No, there are no set answers. It's like giving the spell a set of parameters, so whenever someone tries to say something about our magic - they will say something nice about us.
And when they try to say that Lyanna Stark is not dead - they will again say something nice about her using past tense." Harry informed them as he got himself a plate of biscuits from the small tea table.
"Nice" Sirius exclaimed, he then looked towards the sofa where the three Northmen were seated with cups of tea in their hands "Ned, I assume you are taking the Lady Lyanna back to the North."
Ned set his cup down and looked down at the young girl who still looked sad "Aye, she will be coming home to Winterfell."
Lyanna looked up at them at that and softly spoke "Please call me Lyanna, My Lords"
Harry smiled at the girl "Then call us Harry and Sirius please, Lyanna"
Sirius pouted at the missed chance to once again use the pun about their names.
So instead Sirius asked Ned "What have you decided then? How will you introduce her to the others?"
Ned sat up and took his arm from around his sister "I will likely claim her as a relative, a distant niece or cousin. The Stark look is very distinct and no one will dispute that she is a Stark"
Sirius nodded at that but Harry butted in "How will you explain the fact that no one has seen her yet in the North?"
Ned sighed "I have not thought that far as of yet, maybe I could present Lyanna as a bastard child of some ancestor"
The girl in question seemed to sink further in her seat at that pronouncement.
Sirius knew that so called bastards were treated in an abhorrent manner here in Westeros.
That is when he lit up on an idea "Hey Ned, have any of your relatives in the last two or three generations gone across the Narrow Sea?"
The man thought deeply and Sirius lamented the fact that he looked constipated when he was thinking deeply.
"Yes, my great grandfather's brother Errold Stark left for Essos to make a life away from Westeros. We have no news of him or his family though. He was assumed to be dead."
Sirius grinned and rubbed his hands together "Why not claim that you sister is his descendant! You could claim that her family was killed in a Dothraki Raid and so she is coming to the North - to be with the only family she has left."
Ned seemed to nod at him, it was a slow and measured movement. He glanced at Lyanna looking for her acceptance, and she timidly nodded back at him.
"That's great, she can come with us since we will be going to Braavos. We can hire a ship and a few guards to take her to White Harbour."
Ned and Howland sat up at that as Ned spoke "Will you not be accompanying us back to King's Landing?"
Sirius shook his head "We need to hire people to start work on our lands. We had hoped to hire locals, but with the war…"
Ned nodded his understanding and they moved on to different topics.
Lyan… Luna, he had to get used to calling her that.
Luna had gone off with Sirius and Harry to Braavos to lend credence to their elaborate tale of lies and deceit.
Tywin Lannister was in the city, he had seen Lannister ships docked by the Blackwater Bay.
Ned had hoped to avoid that odious Lord of the Westerlands.
The Rains of Castamere might be a tribute to him, but Ned felt it was unnecessarily cruel and malicious to even have the women and children killed for the mistakes of a few Lords.
His body felt heavier as they made their way to the Red Keep. His party had spent the last fortnight in Harry's magical tent hiding out in Dorne.
He supposed he was hiding from his responsibilities by claiming Ly… Luna needed the time to rest and recover.
He truly did not wish to face his friend, his brother in all but blood and lie to him.
It was a good thing magic kept him from speaking of what truly happened to his baby sister, or he might just break down and confess all to Robert.
No matter, what anyone thought of Robert, he knew what kind of man he was.
Robert was a good man, a bit rough around the edges but he was a man of honour.
Jon had taught them no other way.
But his sister had already seen much horror, it was not in him to force her to marry Robert. Even if that was not possible for a few years due to her now young age.
His fingers curled around the hilt of the dagger at his waist, how he wished he had been the one to kill the Prince. He was sure Ice quivered where it was strapped at his back.
She had endured what no woman should have to go through, she was a young girl, younger still now… at ten namedays. He would forgive his family anything, and she was his family.
It hurt him to see her so withdrawn and quiet. She used to be so full of life.
Now she was like a flower denied the sun.
"ed..Ned… NED" he was shaken from his thoughts by a hand at his shoulder.
"Are you alright, I have been trying to gain your attention."
"Aye, Howland. Just thinking about things. Was there something you wished to tell me?"
"We have reached the Red Keep" Howland waved over to the large red castle that sat at the top of Aegon's Hill.
The Keep was abuzz with activity. Howland and Ned rushed towards the Great Hall to find out what was happening for the servants and men at arms to behave like washerwomen exchanging choice gossip.
Tywin Lannister stood before the King in a full court. Ned wondered where all these nobles had come from, he had not seen any Crownland Lords or Ladies when they were here last.
Robert was leaning forward on the Iron Throne looking pleased.
All Ned could see was a lot of red cloaks, they must be standing guard around someone.
"Your Grace." Tywin Lannister gave a shallow bow towards Robert.
"The Lord Hand Jon Arryn tells me your brother has ended the siege at Storm's End" Robert asked the Lion.
"It was a pleasure to be of service to the Crown. Your Grace, the Tyrells refused to stand down and Ser Kevan had to end the siege using force. Mace Tyrell and Randyll Tarly were the only casualties amongst the noble Lords. The rest swore fealty to Your Grace when they died."
"Good, good. The flowers thought they were strong enough to clash with the Stags eh. But tell me Lord Tywin, I hear you were not with your brother"
"Your Grace, I was at Dragonstone and have the younger son of Aerys for you."
Robert's face had frozen for a moment and then a sick glee came upon him.
Jon thankfully intervened before Robert could go on another rant about the dragons.
"Lord Tywin, his Grace is very appreciative of your show of loyalty to the Baratheon dynasty."
Tywin gave a stiff nod.
"Please come with us to the adjoining chambers, I am sure you could use some refreshments as you tell us about your travels to Dragonstone."
Robert laughed and stood to join Tywin in a more appropriate setting.
The nobles in the court were speaking amongst themselves as they left the room.
Ned motioned for Howland to follow him as he made his way through the crush of bodies towards the throne.
"Your Grace" he greeted with a small smile when he came upon Robert.
"Ned, you are finally here" Robert hugged him hard and almost picked him up off the floor.
"Come with us Ned, I am sure you want to see the last son of the Mad King."
"Of course Your Grace." Jon turned to him "Ned, I am so sorry for your loss. Come see me later tonight for dinner"
Ned smiled sadly back at the man "Aye, Thank You Jon."
Ned had recounted the tale they had decided upon, and it broke his heart to see the devastation on Robert's face.
"Those bastards killed her Ned… my Lyanna." Robert paced in the large meeting room with a flagon of wine in his hand.
"I had hoped to reach her in time Robert."
"These dragon whoresons did it only to spite me. There was nothing to be gained by her death." Robert spat in anger "They should have just bend the knee and let her go. But they had to kill her in answer for the deaths of the mad king and that incest born fucker Rhaegar."
Ned did wish he could tell Robert that Lyanna was alive, that she was safe. But the magic would not let the words pass his lips.
He could feel the words scratching at the back of his throat, wanting to be let free. But he could not bring himself to let those words pass his lips.
But Robert was correct in a strange way, the kingsguard were going to let her die. They had not even hired a maester for the birth of the child.
"She would have been my Queen. All of this was for her, her honour was besmirched by that bastard. She was…." Robert fell silent.
"We killed them all, Robert. She was avenged."
Robert turned around as the flagon slipped from his hand and the floor was stained red.
His eyes were wild and filled with a burning anger.
"No, Ned. We have not killed them all. I will kill every Targaryen left in this world. I will not suffer one of them to live, to breathe… when she… she…. every dragon will die screaming in agony."
Ned was aghast at what he was hearing, the only Targaryens left were women and children.
"Your Grace!" he exclaimed in alarm "There are only children and women left of that House. You would not kill the defenceless."
Robert roared in anger "I will kill all of them Ned. Each and every last one, be it a babe or a woman. Having a cunt will not save them from my retribution, nor will being young."
The door had flown open when Robert had yelled. Ned turned and saw that Jon and Lord Tywin had entered the room with a struggling young lad held up by two lannister soldiers.
Viserys Targaryen was dirty and disheveled. His clothes were torn and stained with small brown flecks - blood most likely. Was he even ten namedays old? No he looked much younger than that.
His life was destroyed for the actions of his elders. What stake did he have in this war and madness? And yet this young lad would have to pay the price for the mistakes of others.
"USURPER" the young boy spat at Robert. At a gesture from Lord Tywin was smacked in the face by one of the men who held in captive.
His dirt streaked face bloomed red as another bruise was added to his cheek.
The young prince fell silent. But, still glared hatefully at everyone around the room.
"Your Grace, I sailed to Dragonstone to secure your claim. Queen Rhaella had died in childbirth, the babe dead along with her. Only a few loyal men remained at Dragonstone with Viserys Targaryen. They were preparing to sail to Essos with the Royal Fleet, when we attacked the island."
Ned looked towards Jon, wishing for him to say something, anything - to stop this madness.
"Jon, you cannot be in agreement with this, killing children and women. It's not honourable."
But Jon just shook his head "Ned, you must understand, these children will grow up and challenge the Baratheon Dynasty. The boys must not live. You can already see how hatefully he looks at us all. Would you wish for our children to fight in a war, because they will if we let the Targaryens be."
Ned staggered back at what he was hearing, Jon, the man who had raised him since he was eight was condemning a child of the same age to die.
"Robert, please. Do not do this. Let him go to the wall, or join the Maesters or the faith. Anything but this."
"You would ask for mercy for a dragonspawn. This is the family that burned your father alive and made your brother watch as he choked to death. They KILLED MY LYANNA!"
Ned did not know what to say. Was this because of what he had done, was Robert lost to anger and rage? Would he have been better if he had Lyanna at his side?
"I had hoped to present Lyanna with the bodies of each and every member of that accursed family. But now… now I will have their heads in her memory."
Ned pleaded with him again "She would never want you to kill innocents Robert. She would never have agreed with you killing innocents"
Robert stood and towered over him, "I will never know what she would or would not agree with, because of the fucking Targaryens. And if you ask me for mercy one more time, I will have your head too. I will not have any Dragons in Westeros."
Ned stumbled back at that statement "What about the Princess Elia? And her children. Will you kill those small babes as well?" he asked in a cold tone
Ned was finally angry now, he had thought it was Lyanna's death which had brought on this madness. But it seemed Robert had already planned to kill every Targaryen.
"Yes. I will have them killed as well or I will march on the fucking Martells and smash them as I smashed Rhaegar. If they were still here when I arrived, I would have bathed in their blood"
In a sudden lurch the young Prince threw himself at Robert, hitting him with his small hands. "I am the blood of the Dragon. I am the King of the Seven Kingdoms. Many are still loyal to the dragon, they will come for me and then I will kill you, you will not kill me USURP…" and then he was holding his throat as blood poured down his dirt stained doublet.
Robert looked down at the boy whose throat he had just slashed with a dagger. When he breathed his last, Robert spat on his little body.
"There is a new King on the Iron Throne. And I will not have any man or dragon say otherwise. My dynasty will last longer than you foreign cunts who came to this land looking for shelter. Ours is the fury - everyone best remember that."
Ned was numb with shock as he took in the senseless murder of a young child. He did not know who these men were, for surely they were not the same men who had been a part of his life for as long as he could remember.
The South was not for him, nor was his new King or his new Hand.
He turned and walked out of the room, without a look backwards as Jon called out his name.
Somewhere in the Disputed Lands
"Oi! Connington! a man is waiting for ya in the back" the toothless barman grinned down at him as he walked in the dusty tavern.
Jon was mildly intrigued through the haze of wine. He had been exiled by King Aerys after his defeat at the Stoney Sept, his lands given to a distant relative.
He had later learnt of how his Prince had been killed by that useless bastard Robert Baratheon.
He had gained passage to some free city in a state of depression and spent his time travelling with a band of sellswords, drinking his life away. He had nothing left to lose anymore.
The last of the Targaryens were dead, there was no news of the Princess Elia and Rhaegar's children. They were missing when the Red Keep was taken by traitors, and they were not in Dorne.
He was sure that usurper had killed them and hidden the fact from everyone.
The usurper had been universally reviled even by his own supporters when he had slashed the throat of young Viserys.
That old lion would pay for his part in the death of the young Prince, maybe not by his hand, but if the seven truly existed, that prideful whoreson would pay.
Jon made his way to the back of the tavern, where some person was waiting for him.
He had made no secret of who he was, so it was not surprising to know that someone wished to speak with him. He sat down at the small table where what little light penetrated this falling apart tavern did not shine.
His voice was gruff, when he spoke on account of all the wine he had consumed likely "So, I hear you are looking for me?"
The man opposite him, had the dark skin of a summer islander, his dark brown eyes were wide and his nose flat. His hair was cropped closely to his head.
The man did not speak, just handed over a tiny rolled sealed parchment and sat back with his drink.
Jon read the letter, and then reread it as the haze of drink finally receded after what left like an age.
A new silver is in need of a loyal Gryffin.
When the time is right, you will be led to your duty.
Gather your strength for the time is nigh.
His head now reeled not from wine but from the news he had absorbed.
If… if this was true then he would someday be able to make up for his mistakes. He would serve the family of his prince.
It did not matter who the new ruler of the seven kingdoms was, as long as they were a Targaryen. He would do his duty. No more wine, he had to start gathering men for when they decided to take back what was owed to the Targaryens.
Harry Potter Black
It had been a moon since they had arrived in the Titan's City.
The newly christened Luna had been shipped off to the North with a complement of thirty guards a fortnight after their arrival.
Sandor had portkeyed in the tent a sennight ago. Things were peaceful and relaxed compared to the war they had just won.
They had purchased three ships, as they needed five thousand workers at a minimum, if they wished to finish the construction in a timely manner.
Once the word spread and also as Westeros recovered from the rebellion, Sirius and Harry were sure people would arrive at Stony Dragon looking for work.
The days since Sandor arrived had been spent playing tourists. They had wrangled a tour inside the Titan of Braavos. Sandor had even shot an arrow from one of it's murder holes.
They had seen all the various temples that littered the city. The Iron Bank. The pleasure barges. A nice boat ride through the canals.
So, it was a surprise when three days after visiting the House of Black & White, they had been politely asked to attend the den of assassins.
Harry had left Sandor and Sirius back at the inn. He was not sure what situation would greet him in this infamous house of killers, and he would rather have his family safe.
As Harry knocked on the door, he wondered if they would try to kill him. He scoffed, if that does not make them afraid of him, nothing ever will.
The door opened to reveal a middle aged man with a kind face smiling at him.
"Valar Morghulis. I am Harry Potter Black. I was invited to the Temple."
The man opened the door wider and invited him inside "Valar Dohaeris. Welcome to the Temple of the Many Faced God. Your family will always be welcome here."
Harry lightly scanned the man as he walked beside him to the small fountain inside the room.
He was astounded at what the man's thoughts revealed.
Maybe the spells on the wardstone were too strong. Naah. This opportunity was priceless.
The spell over the duration of the war had managed to cover the entirety of Essos in it's net.
Now, no one would dispute the backstory they had created.
The Faceless Men truly believed that the Potter Blacks were favoured by Death and that 'Merlin' taught them how to change faces.
"This man is very sorry that he was not able to welcome your family when you visited the House some days prior. This man was in Asshai and has only returned today."
Okay, this man was odd! thought Harry
"No, that's quite alright. We just wished to show our younger brother the temple. He is a great worshipper of Death."
"Just so." the man replied. Harry knew the man's name was Simon but he had not gone by that name in decades as he was now no one.
"So, why did you wish to meet us?" Harry asked for the sake of polite conversation
They had walked away from the main areas of the temple and were now climbing down a long staircase.
"Your illustrious family has kept away from the House and the world for many centuries. Now, that you are joining the world at large, we wished to ask if you would like to join our council."
The bowels of the temple were lit by sconces on the walls, there were shelf like pillars in the room. These pillars held the faces of millions of people the Faceless had killed.
The man wanted to impress Harry with their collection "You are free to choose any of the faces, if you wish it My Lord."
Harry shot him a look at the title "Please call me Harry, you know the title is recent and in the House of Death it means nothing. We are all the same in the eyes of the Master."
The head of the assassin guild smiled at him beatifically.
Harry wondered if he wore the face of a holy man to have a smile that saintly.
"Yes, Harry. Death Comes For All."
Oh dear Merlin, the spell was truly strong!
They finally came to the end of the journey in a small round room, where eight other people sat at a large rectangular wooden table.
The pleasantries were nothing short of awkward as Harry could read their awe for meeting a descendant of one who had taught them the ways of the Faceless.
After a good hour of how they had furthered the worship of Death and all that Merlin had taught them, Harry was starting to lose patience.
"If I may please, I know you wish for my brother and I to join your council. However I do not think it may be possible. We live in Westeros, and have a long task ahead of us to build our lands." then Harry had a sudden stroke of brilliance.
"The reason why my family has come out of it's self imposed isolation is because my twin and I were visited by the Master in a dream."
The men and women around the table shifted forward as if in a trance. Harry surreptitiously weaved a spell in the room which would make them believe his words without reservation.
"There is a great threat to every living person. I do not know what the threat is, or where it will arrive first, the master did not tell us. However, we were shown an image of Westeros so we left our lives here and went to the Seven Kingdoms.
The Master cannot directly interfere in the world of the living, which is why he has us to do his bidding." They all nodded at his words as if Harry was speaking gospel.
"We were informed that there is something coming within the next ten years. The coming threat is an affront to the Master as the creatures are neither alive nor dead.
I was tasked with being the hand which works in his name, as he had done in years prior with my ancestors.
We would appreciate any help the House could give us when the time arrives."
Simon looked as if he was going to cry tears of joy "To know that you have felt his presence... and you do his work." he shook his head and looked around at the other members "We will be greatly honoured to be able to assist in any way. You are the champion of the Many Faced God, and we will help you in all that we can."
All the other members of the council spoke words to the same effect.
As the meeting was coming to a close Harry assured them that they would visit any time a family member was in Braavos. He also offered any faceless shelter in his lands if they were in Westeros. As he was getting ready to depart the man once known as Simon licked his lips "Have you… has your family kept up with the skill of the faceless?"
Harry wanted to be in the good graces of this band of killers. He also wanted to impress and scare them at the same time, so he waved his wand hand over his face and applied a facial glamour.
He changed the glamour to look like the council members each time he waved his hand over his face, after the ninth time - the face of Simon looked back at Simon.
They were finally ready to depart after three moons of fun and business in Braavos.
The Faceless had put them in touch with a council member of the Iron Bank who had arranged to have the best builders and tradesmen accompany them back to Stony Dragon.
The Iron Bank was greatly feared by everyone mainly due to their close association with the faceless. So, when the head of the assassin guild tells you to play nice, you play nice.
Harry had also opened an account in the bank and stored all the gold they had emptied from Gringotts. The Iron Bank had been ridiculously happy at the new gold they could now use to make fresh loans.
Turned out Harry and Sirius had more than seventeen million in gold lying around in tiny trunks. This made the Iron Bank fall over themselves to make them feel welcome and cared for in every way they could.
It had been some quick spellwork to have the bankers believe the money had been brought in by the Iron Bank from the ancestral Potter Black home in Essos.
The lovely young women from Lys were very welcome to Harry and Sirius.
It had been a long, long time since Harry had been with a woman. He had felt awkward at being with someone who was a whore by profession at best and a slave at worst.
But her thoughts revealed that she was a whore by choice and not someone forced to sell her body. It had something to do with her religion and how they were to spread love. Harry did not understand it fully, but neither was he willing to contradict a very willing, very beautiful woman from having her way with him.
She was willing and that was enough for Harry to ravage her, he might have used some pepper up potion to keep going for far longer than he normally would. But this fact was something never to be spoken aloud. Ever… especially if Siri was around.
Sandor had been given a personal tutor to teach him the basics Water Dancing from the Sealord's palace.
Harry hoped that all the different styles the poor lad was learning would not make him a confused fighter. But all he ever heard from any of the pup's martial teachers was praise.
Sandor was a natural with a sword in his hand. He was a tall, brawny lad. And with all the nutrition potions Harry had been feeding him, he would only grow up to be a tall, broad man.
At three and ten, Sandor was already as tall as Harry and Sirius.
The two years of war had set back Sandor's studies and he would have to set up a new schedule for the teenager, maybe the ship journey would give him time to study.
The Winterfell maester had taught the boy but Harry wanted his brother to learn from the modern world rather than the medieval one. He had many topics he wished to teach his young charge. It was a good thing the poor boy was so starved for affection that he rarely raised a fuss over his education.
Their stay in Braavos had been very lucrative as they had been hosted at a private island where the top officials if the iron Bank resided.
They had also gotten millions worth in contracts for glass trade with various rich merchants and rulers of the free cities and other cities of Essos.
Harry had also bought many seedlings and plants of Essos that he could easily grow in the North, as well as in his glass houses.
Now they were ready to depart back home, with six ships. Three ships loaded with people who would come to work on their lands and three trading ships of the Sealord of Braavos on loan for the trip filled with wares and food stuffs.
"How long will it take for us to land at Stony Shore?" asked an excited Sandor leaning against the railing of the ship.
Sirius pulled the tall lad back, lest he fall right into the sea "It took me a sennight to to reach Braavos from White Harbour. But we are sailing to the east coast and have to sail around the arm of Dorne. It might take us close to three moons to reach Stony Shore."
Sandor looked back wide eyed at the two of them "That long!"
Harry laughed at the teen "I think you have been spoiled travelling around magically. You do realize, most people think that this is a short trip. It would take longer, if one travels by horse from King's Landing to Stony Shore."
Sandor was horrified at this revelation but then he looked back at the fading Titan "I will miss Braavos, it was a lot more exciting than any place in Westeros. Do you think we will come back here?" he looked up at his brothers with big puppy eyes.
Siri smiled at him "We are traders pup, of course there will be lots of chances for you to see the world. We will go to some other free city the next time. I am sure you will like that."
Sandor's smile nearly split his face "Aye, that will be so much fun! I want to go to Lys next. You kept saying how they had beautiful sights"
Harry glared at Siri from behind Sandor, he could imagine what sights Sirius was thinking of.
Sirius just looked sheepishly back at him as he took Sandor by his shoulder and walked away to stall the inevitable lecture.
There was not much Harry could do to keep Sandor away from women and sex now that he was growing up. And Siri was not a good influence in that regard either.
He just hoped the boy waited for another three more years to have sex. It was going to be awkward to give him the bees and the birds talk. He made a mental note to do that when they reached Westeros.
Harry rested his hands on the railing of his largest vessel - Lady Lily - as he looked over the vast gray waters of the Narrow Sea.
There were a great many things he wished to accomplish once they reached his new lands, his new home. He would live and die here in this strange land.
He had so many things he wished to accomplish, a castle, a town for the people, a school, a hospice, glass houses, cattle, food stores, roads and so much more.
It would take time to accomplish all that wanted, but he and his family had all the time in the world. The people who came to live under his rule would prosper, they would be given the chance to get the best out of life.
He would not wish to change the fabric of this medieval land, no good came out of industrialisation. Modern muggle Earth may have had machines and boasted of a better standard of life, but the pollution, the hidden poverty.
These were not things he wished for to be introduced in the as yet untouched flora and fauna of this world.
No, magicals had no need for industry. He had lived most of his life in the magical world, where things were produced by hand, commissioned for each person.
He would better his lands, his people. And everyone else could go to hell.
He would not let himself be dragged into the problems of the world. He had learnt that lesson early on in life. Each time you solved a problem, a dozen more popped up to take its place.
He had been a whipping boy, a soldier, a symbol and lastly a martyr to a problem older than himself.
He would now live for himself and his brothers - his family.
And he would protect what was his by Death!
Chapter 7: The Aftermath
AN - I am very sorry for the long wait but RL has been super busy. I first had my assignments for my Masters then a wedding and then my Masters Term End Exams.. After all of that I took some vacation time.. Honestly I have travelled 5 states in the last 2 months. Now I am free of most pressing engagements and can devote time to this story. Again I am very sorry and hope that you all continue to read and review my work. Cheers
Doran sat in the receiving room awaiting people he had not expected, people he did not wish to see. They should not have come to Dorne so soon after the rebellion.
However he could not turn these people away as they were of use to Dorne. If anyone found out what he was hiding… well another war would begin and Dorne was not in a position to go to war at this time.
As the door opened he shot a quelling look at Oberyn who stood at his side and the Potter Black brothers were showed in.
“Prince Doran” they greeted in tandem and gave a slight bow of the head “Prince Oberyn”
Doran had hoped they would decide to live in Dorne, but he could not fault them for settling in the North, the lands they were given were as large as the Westerlands.
The gold and trade they would bring in would have given him great leverage within Westeros and also Essos. Glass was a commodity that only Myr could provide… well now they had competition.
He had also heard of their skill in battle, and knew it would not be long before bards sang songs of their adventures.
But the thing that hurt more than anything else was the lost chance to have ties with the faceless men. They had not spoken of their family when they were in Dorne.
They had skilfully avoided all mention of family, their lineage, thier blasted connections.
At the time he thought of them as merchants. Wealthy merchants but merchants all the same.
Dorne could have had such advantages, if he had known he would have offered them better lands, a marriage contract could have been drawn up for the youngest brother with one of Oberyn’s bastards. The youngest had gotten along with Obara. All lost opportunities now.
He could have been one of the most feared Lords in Westeros.
“Welcome to Sunspear My Lords.” he greeted them as they were seated and had been served wine and food by the servants.
“Why have you come here? You chose your side when you fought with Baratheon and thus against Dorne.” spat Oberyn and looked directly at Sirius “I thought you were friends of Dorne; but I was wrong Lord Sirius.”
Doran gave an internal sigh, he had asked his brother to hold his tongue when they had been informed who had docked at the harbour. Oberyn would never be able to play the game at this rate. He could not alienate these men, so he held up a hand and Oberyn settled for just glaring at the two.
“Please forgive my brother his harsh words My Lords. However you must know Dorne is angry at what has happened in King's Landing. My sister and her children are missing. The King is a known child torturer and killer, who claims to have no knowledge of their whereabouts - so he could be lying to forego more trouble. We are very worried for my sister the Princess Elia and her children.”
But before he could continue to spin his tale, the brothers looked at each other and Harry nodded at Sirius.
“Prince Doran, We understand that you must think of your family first and we completely agree with that. But there is something we must ask you.” Sirius addressed him and waited for Doran to reply.
Doran gave a nod back to the man “We are very surprised to hear that your sister has not made her way back to you. Especially since the ship she boarded was one of ours.”
Silence reigned in the large room, Doran was at a loss of how to answer this query. He could not kill these two, not right away. Everyone knew they were heading this way, they had sailed from Braavos and docked at King's Landing to resupply before coming to Dorne.
They must have informed the King that they were on their way to Dorne, even if they had not - there were 6 ships filled with men who knew they were here… then there was the youngest brother.. He had not made his way to the Sun Tower, was he still on the ship, or was he waiting somewhere in the castle grounds?
Did they inform Robert Baratheon of where Elia was? Was he coming to war at this very moment? Would he need to muster what little strength he had left to fight a war yet again?
While these thoughts were going through his mind Sirius addressed Oberyn.
“Prince Oberyn, we are friends, at least I still call you a friend. But I now have a liege lord whose family was wronged. Even if that were not the case, he would have had my help.” as Oberyn looked like he was going to argue back; Sirius held up a hand “If your sister was kidnapped and raped would you not wish for help… there are some things that are not to be borne and this - was one of them. I will not apologize for bringing down a mad king and a rapist prince.”
Oberyn was confused at the turn of events, he had thought that they had betrayed him and his family. Now they claim to have helped his sister and her children flee from King's Landing.
On one hand, it was true that they had fought against Dorne but on the other hand had Lady Lyanna been his sister he would have done the same as Eddard Stark.
And his sweet sister, while she lived and was healthy - there was a part of her that had died with her son.
She had warned him of the fate that would befall young Lady Lyanna, and how right she was! If it was Elia who was kidnapped then he too would have rode to war.
“Prince Doran, we know that your sister has arrived safely in Sunspear. How do I know this? As my brother told you, the ship she boarded to flee the capital was one of our’s.
The captain came to us and asked us if he should take her home.
It is not very difficult to root out a noblewoman with two small children.”
“The ship she left on, finally arrived at Braavos - Captain Soler met us and informed us that the package had been delivered safe and sound. We also know that your nephew died on the ship. You have our deepest condolences.”
“Why would we lie Lord Potter Black?” Doran did not want to admit to anything.
Sirius let out a bark like laugh “Prince Doran, we do not care whether you want to lie to us or not. We helped your sister because neither she nor her children deserved to be held captive. Hells, she would have died just like the young Prince Viserys if we had not instructed Captain Soler to keep her hidden and deliver her to you.” the man just shook his head.
Harry and Sirius stood and gave the two men a small bow “We will put your mind at ease nonetheless Prince Doran. We have not, nor will we be telling anyone about the delivery..”
Elia had indeed come home, but she was a changed woman.
When she had agreed to marry Rhaegar, Elia wanted nothing more than to find love.
But the years of her marriage had embittered her, then all she wanted to was see her son as the King. Now; now she had changed again.
Now, she wanted to forget all about her life in King's Landing. She was scared, paranoid and clung to her daughter with both hands. The trip had not been easy on the young ones.
The greatest tragedy was that young Aegon had fallen gravely ill on the journey.
He had lasted mere days on the ship before his small body had given up on life.
She had kept little Aegon’s body for a week after his death in her rooms.
The captain had to tear her away from the corpse of the babe so that he could put him in a makeshift coffin.
He should have had that captain killed, he had wondered why they had not just thrown the body of the babe in the sea - after all they thought Elia a commoner.
If he knew her identity then he needed to be silenced, lest word reach the wrong ears.
Elia wanted nothing to do with the Iron Throne when she arrived in Dorne, she now wished to leave Westeros forever with her daughter.
Rhaenys, the rightful ruler of the Iron Throne, clung to her mother’s skirts just as much as her Elia clung to Rhaenys.
Doran still had time to set up the board, he could allow Elia to travel to his wife’s family in Norvos. By the time Rhaenys grew he could put her forth as the new ruler of the seven kingdoms.
Rhaenys could be surrounded by tutors and playmates who would subtly encourage her, they could make her want the throne, make her understand that this was her birthright.
If only Aegon lived, he sighed. It would be easier to rally people around a male member of the Targaryen family.
He had been contacted by certain loyalists, there was another Targaryen alive. If Aegon was alive, he could have created a marriage pact between him and the young Targaryen.
Ser Willem Darry had taken the newly born Princess Daenerys across the Narrow Sea.
Prince Viserys was to have gone with them however he had dashed away in the confusion of the attack on Dragonstone, and there had been no time to find the Prince.
He was found in Queen Rhaella’s chambers, clinging to her crown by the Westerlander’s. The Lannisters had taken that poor boy captive and their new King had killed a defenseless little boy.
There was time to prepare, to plan, to plot. He could work with two female heirs.
The Tyrells had three boys and they had enough reason to want the end of the Lannisters and the Baratheons. They would need to find ways to sway the other Kingdoms to his side.
The Potter Blacks would also have to be seduced to their side somehow.
Doran had heard from his sources that the entire rebellion had been funded by the Potter Blacks.
How had they not known how wealthy they were, how had they hid their connection to the House of Black and White so well. He could not send Oberyn to Essos with Elia, but he could send Oberyn to Braavos to unearth more information on the Potter Blacks...
If they managed to gain some form of leverage… but then the seven damned house of assassins would kill them in the night!
No, they would have to be trapped with honey, this was only a small setback, not the end of the board. Martell blood would sit on that throne…
Harry cleared his throat and Doran freed himself from his thoughts “Prince Doran, I fear I must caution you against hiding the whereabouts of your sister. We docked at King's Landing and visited the Red Keep. The search for the Targaryen children and Princess Elia is not going to die down.”
Doran was aware of this possibility “And why are you helping us with this Lord Potter Black? If the King were to find out about your involvement in this fiasco he would be wroth with your new house as well.”
Harry smiled at the man “We are quite aware of that and are ready to face the issue when the situation arises. I have a small piece of advice for you - let Westeros know that your sister is back with you, let them know that Prince Aegon is dead and that Rhaenys is alive. If you give assurances that they will not seek the throne then the hunt for your sister will be over.”
Doran was amazed this man would talk to him in such a manner - he may be rich and his family may be the progenitor of the faceless but Doran was a prince, the blood of Queen Nymeria ran in his veins.
Oberyn smirked at the brothers “Ah! So now we come to the meat of the matter. You wish to secure the throne for your chosen king.”
“Dorne’s chosen king as well from what we hear - have you not bent the knee as well Prince Oberyn.” Sirius smirked back insolently.
“Enough” Doran called out in a soft yet firm tone “Lord Potter Black - do you truly believe that Robert Baratheon will let my sister and her child be in peace when he has reportedly brutally murdered a boy of seven.”
Harry shook his head “King Robert is a great warrior, but an average man and will make an even worse King. However his hand Lord Arryn is a smart man with sharp political acumen.”
Doran had to agree with that statement no matter how astounded he was that they would speak so brazenly about his King, so he gave a small nod in agreement.
“While at the capital, we heard that Lord Arryn was readying to sail to Sunspear so they could hammer out the terms of peace and surrender. Young Viserys was killed because he had no family and no allies. Your sister on the other hand sits in the heart of her homeland with every man willing to die for her. The situation is vastly different.”
Doran agreed with that too, though he did not know the dynamics between Arryn and the King, there must be some love and respect involved considering the man went to war for his wards, when Mad Aerys called for their heads.
“Does the King listen to Lord Arryn?” this was something he had to know, even if he wished to see his blood on the throne, he realised that he would need to keep his family safe till that time arrived.
Lord Harry furrowed his brow “That is something I cannot assure you on completely Prince Doran. The King regards Lord Arryn as a father figure, but at the end of the day a man does what he must.”
“And yet you ask me to tell the world of where my sister and her child are?” Doran raised an eyebrow at the man.
There was a rustle and the door to the inner chamber opened and in walked Elia, she had been listening to their talk it seemed. She walked straight up to the brothers and bowed to them “I thank you my Lords for the help you gave me in my hour of need.”
Sirius took her hands in his “Princess Elia, I am so very sorry for your loss, if there is anything I can do for you or your daughter please do not hesitate to ask.”
He looked genuinely saddened at the death of Aegon.
Elia shook her head “You have nothing to be sorry for My Lord, if not for you and your brother we all would have died a horrible death, You have done more for me and my children than anyone else.”
Harry had also stood along with his brother and smiled at her now “It was the right thing to do Princess. I am very happy to see you safely back with your family and pray that your daughter is doing well.”
Oberyn had walked up to Elia and held her hand as she stood in front of her saviours “Yes, she is quite well considering the circumstances.” she looked back at Doran with steel in her spine and turned to the brothers again “You also have my assurance that no one will know about your involvement in my escape” Elia then backed away and took a seat the other side of the table while Oberyn stood behind her, a reassuring hand resting on her shoulder.
Elia looked at Doran “I agree with Lord Potter Black - when Lord Arryn comes to Dorne I will tell him that Rhaenys and I are going into voluntary exile. I want nothing of the barbed throne, I will not see another child of mine die for it.”
They had barely seen the lands the first time around before Harry and Sirius had gone off to war. He had hated being left behind, for Stranger’s sake at just four and ten he was taller than both his brothers.
He wished they had taken him along, all his trainers told him he was a natural with the sword, even though he was still denied the right to bear steel. Sandor felt his brothers were being unnecessarily cautious. He was not a soft weakling, he could fight with the best of them, he was sure of it!
But, he had been needed at Winterfell he conceded.
Benjen had blamed himself for everything that had befallen his family. He had not understood at the time why he would be responsible for the deaths and kidnapping.
But when he had arrived in Braavos, Harry and Siri had told him the truth about Lyanna. Though he was sure that they had left out parts of the tale they thought he was too young to hear.
He had then understood, that maybe Benjen had known about his sister’s plan to run away with Prince Rhaegar.
He would never understand women, if she did not want to marry, then why did she run with a man, why not run away alone? Ok, she was a girl and would have been dead long before she got anywhere, but gaah! Who understood women.
Sandor shook his head and moved quickly down the halls towards his chambers to have a bath, he was sweaty from all the practise and he was hungry.
Sandor made his way back to his room in the magically created cottage. Well Siri called it a cottage. It had three stories and twenty five rooms and was larger than the Clegane holding in the Westerlands.
Harry had build the cottage with magic and made everyone believe that this place had always been around - just needed repairs. Magic was so handy - he smirked to himself.
Since they had made shore five moons ago; the place was abuzz with activity, there was always some kind of noise in the background. The port was being built at the same time as their new permanent home.
It would be a large castle with four towers and a moat around it. The walls of the castle would be 2-4 days ride away as Harry wanted the town to be build within the walls.
Fac-to-ry -- what an odd word! The factory was going to build within a different set of walls close to the port. There would also be a small town near it for the people who wished to lived close to the factory.
He did not know all the plans and he was sure Harry would teach him all about that before long. There were many things that Harry taught him which were from his own world. Who knew that one could sail around the world and not fall off at the edge!
They had even made a map of Westeros which hung in the solar. The map could only be seen by the three of them but it was a wondrous thing.
They could see the names of people travelling places and it could... What was that word.. Yes zoom, they could zoom in places.
The only problem with the map was that it had a few places missing. It only covered places where wardstones had been planted.
Harry had promised him that he would accompany him beyond the wall when he turned five and ten in a year. He could not wait!
He quickly washed in the shower.. Another wondrous thing and scrubbed himself clean.
Sandor thanked the Stranger everyday for sending his brothers to him, each day when he saw his face in the mirror it was a wonder to see himself whole and if he said so himself… amazingly handsome.
His head was full of hair, no burned scalp, no jawbone peeking through, no drooping eye. He was so, so, so, happy with his new family. He loved his new family, this is what brothers should be like - helpful, loving and teasing.
They had told him of what had happened to Gregor, that monster… and Sandor could not be happier. Gregor could not even clean his own shit and piss. His great strength and might - all for nothing. He had heard that he had lost their lands, the Lannisters had taken them back.
He did not know where Gregor was and neither did he want to know. Gregor Clegane was a thing of the past and had no control over his life anymore.
The bastard deserved everyday of misery thought Sandor as he walked in to get his lunch.
“Hey Harry. Where is Sirius? I have not seen him all day, he missed training too”
Harry smiled at him as Sandor sat next to him at the high table.
The tables below the salt were filled with the workers they had brought along from Braavos. There were also many people from all over the North who had arrived looking for work.
“We received a rider from the Umber’s late last night, they wanted to either come over or for us to visit them.”
Sandor swallowed his morsel “Why do they want to speak with us?”
Harry gave a short laugh “Why else, they want to build a couple of glass houses so they want to talk trade.”
Ahh.. that made sense. Sandor had understood during his stay at Winterfell how important his family was to the North, to all of Westeros for that matter.
Winterfell was the only noble house in the North with three green houses, most other nobles only had one. Even that was only for the richer ones, like the Manderly’s of White Harbour.
Harry had not neglected to teach him about the business.
It was boring but he was expected to travel and make deals and trade with the houses when he turned seven and ten.
But Sandor wanted to travel as a sellsword for a few years, maybe join a sellsword company.
That would be amazing, he could fight his way across the disputed lands and come home with so many stories, like his brothers had!
They would see that he was not some weakling and that they were not wasting their time teaching him and making him a member of their family.
He really wanted to prove himself to his family, they had done so much for him and he wanted his brothers to be proud of him.
But he knew Harry would never allow him to put himself in danger, he sighed, well there had to be some drawbacks for getting a loving family. He could start helping with the trade, Harry would surely allow him to do that, right?
Hmm… maybe he could, yes this idea had some merit “Has Sirius left already?”
“No, he is just getting his things ready. You know how much he hates travelling by horse.”
They both smiled at that, Sirius could complain forever about how much he hated horse riding.
“When is he going to leave?” Sandor thought he was quite smooth at his casual questioning
“Ah.. he will be leaving early tomorrow morning.” Harry answered as he finished his morsel.
This was it, he had to do this nice and easy “I could go along with Sirius. I know enough about the prices and what is needed to put up a glass house and this could be a trial run for me. You have taught me well Harry, and it's not that far, just a weeks ride away.”
He loved Harry, he really did - but the Lord of their house was so overprotective when it came to him. He was rarely allowed to go anywhere alone, he was trained by the best in all things martial but Harry did not want him to ever face battle.
Sandor towered over most men and he could best most men in a swordfight too, well with wooden practice swords. His brothers still thought of him as a child. It was so infuriating.
Harry looked intently at him and Sandor met his gaze hoping his brother would see that he was ready for some responsibility. He wanted to prove himself to his family, he wanted to help them, make things easier.
Harry slung a hand around his shoulders “Alright, you can go with Sirius. But you will listen to Sirius and no wandering around.”
“YES!” the hall quietened at his sudden shout and he looked down knowing his face was pink “Thank you Harry. I promise I will not let you down.” he smiled widely and pushed his chair back.
“Where are you off to?” Harry questioned him, but his face looked amused.
“I am going to find Sirius and then pack. I need to know what to take with me”
Sandor hurried down the hall, ecstatic at the upcoming trip. Now, if only some idiot bandits attacked them, his trip would be complete. He could get a little taste of battle and prove himself as a good warrior to his brothers.
Luna Stark / Lyanna Stark
(AN - this is the last time I will refer to to Lyanna as Lyanna, she will be called Luna henceforth)
“Psst.. Benjen” Benjen looked around from where Luna was calling to him.
Luna was hiding in the last horse stall, she was very happy to be back home but this was getting ridiculous.
It had taken a long time for her to repair her relationship with Ned and Benjen.
Ben had been set on going to the wall and it was aggravating to not be able to tell him that she was alive and right in front of him. The entire time she had struggled with the grief she had unknowingly bestowed on her youngest brother.
When she had decided to run off with that bastard she had not expected the destruction she would be leaving in her wake. She understood now, that she was not responsible for the war. The trip to Braavos had been good for her, the Potter Black brothers had hammered the facts of the rebellion in her mind.
Even if she had not left with that bastard, the war would have taken place.
It was not for her that the Kingdoms had risen in rebellion, it was because the King was mad, and the bastard’s madness was hidden. If not her family - Aerys would have killed someone else who was considered important.
They had also explained to her why Robert was put forth as the next King. He had a Targaryen grandmother, that was all - that was his claim to the spiky chair.
She was alive because of them, and before they had sat down with her and explained how the world really worked, she had wished they would have let her die.
But she was a Stark, and slowly she had understood she needed to learn from her mistakes and be better, stronger, smarter.
She would not give up on life or happiness, she would endure, she would survive - no she would thrive. And that would be a slap in the face of that bastard, and Robert as well.
Thank the old gods, Ned had finally pulled away from Robert. And she was vindicated to hear; that Robert had fucked another child into existence while claiming to be fighting for her. The new Queen was welcome to him.
There had been three ravens from King's Landing inviting the Lord and Lady of Winterfell to the royal wedding. Ned had politely declined each and every one of them.
She had to mentally praise Ned for his firm convictions, he may be too mired in his ideas of honour but if only she had had such strength then maybe father and Brandon would still be alive.
No! She would not think like that, she would think of something else..
Ah yes… her bane.. Lady Catelyn Stark - the reason she was currently hiding in the stables.
She was a nice enough woman, but by the old gods she was tiring.
Luna could sew well enough, she did not need to learn intricate embroidery.
And she looked so pinched in the face when she learned to spar with Benjen in the yard.
Ned had been so sad at what she had experienced that he had given her a free hand, she could learn all the martial skills she wanted to learn.
And he had promised he would not marry her off without her agreement.
This, this was all that she had wanted. She wanted to be able to make the big decisions of her life, she wanted to learn how to defend herself and her loved ones.
She was not stupid enough to think she would accompany her brothers into battle, but if she came across someone like - like that bastard again.. Well, they would be sorry.
“Luna, is that you? Why are you hiding in here?” Ben had finally come up to her at the very back of the stables.
Luna pulled him towards her hiding place and shushed him “Where is the taskmaster?”
Benjen smirked at her “Ah, ah, ah, she is the Lady of WInterfell and responsible for your studies.”
Luna rolled her eyes “I know she is, but it's needlework all the bloody time! And why is she calling a bloody septa, We follow the old gods and this is the North. I thought there was no Light of the Seven nonsense here”
Benjen took great joy in her being the youngest as far as she could tell.
He had always been the youngest and therefore the most pushed around as per the sibling laws.
Ever since Benjen had been told the truth when the Potter Blacks finally arrived back in the North, he milked her being the youngest for all that it was worth.
Benjen sat on the hay bale with her and mussed her hair, Luna pushed his hands away and made a face at him. But she secretly loved this, she loved the closeness they had found again.
What she had survived had tarnished the rosy view she had of the world. She knew that most people were not good, but she had thought she was smart enough to not be fooled. Life had taught her how painfully naive she was.
Ned was also slowly becoming the happy brother she had known before the war, Robb her nephew helped all of them to find innocent joy again.
They had all been changed by the war, the deaths of her father and Brandon weighed heavy on all of them, especially her, but they were rebuilding their lives again.
Catelyn was not a bad sort, and she could see that Ned and Catelyn were slowly falling in love. But she was just so... so… southron! All courtesies and pomp.
“Come on, let’s get you out of here, and I think instead of hiding you should tell Catelyn that you do not wish to learn any more needlework. She would understand… well you should tell Ned, and he would tell her to stop.” Benjen amended his words with a smirk.
The crafty bugger had cottoned onto her ways. One could only wallow in guilt and sadness for so long, she was more sad that she could not feel the same amount of sadness the others seemed to be feeling.
She had quickly figured out that Ned was quite guilty at what pushing for a betrothal to Robert had resulted in, so Luna had slowly started to take advantage of Ned’s misplaced guilt to get what she wanted.
The Vale had made Ned more of an Arryn than a Stark, and if he wanted to be taken down by a she-wolf than who was she to refuse.
The new queen had fallen with child a few months into her royal marriage. This was inevitable he mused, but a child could be disposed of in many ways in this keep. A little poison, a pillow to the face, an accident, an illness… the possibilities were endless.
It was the innocent who suffered most in the Game of Thrones, and a death of a royal child had no more importance in his mind than the child of a peasant.
How many had died to make Robert the new King, and Varys would never accept anyone without the blood of the Dragon on the Iron Throne.
No one knew, not even Illyrio knew why he supported the Targaryens. And he would never tell anyone that he was a Targaryen bastard. He was a grandchild of the famed Brynden Rivers.
King Aerys had searched for Brynden’s offspring, hoping to find someone with the gift of greenseeing. Alas! He had only found him, Varys.
Despite his lack of greensight - the King had brought him back to Westeros and given him a chance to be his master of whisperers.
Varys sometimes wondered if he had had the gift as a child, and was that why the sorcerer had chosen him from all the other children.
Was the magic in his veins sacrificed to open a gateway to… wherever that voice answered from? Was his manhood cut off root and stem to appease a demon? He shivered involuntarily and promised himself once again to revenge himself upon that magic user.
He walked across the city disguised as an old woman, shuffling along to the markets at the dock to sell her haul like so many others that called King's Landing their home.
He quietly set up his merchandise on an upturned crate, the smell of fish was overpowering in this particular area, it almost covered the foul smell of human and animal waste.
His contact was coming up to his stall - finally.
“A sickle for five crabs ser”
“GIve me ten of them, and they better be fresh woman or I will come back for you”
The man walked off and Varys had his scroll, pressed in his pouch. He sold off the rest of his crabs and then slowly made his way back to a dirty ramshackle house where he could change and make his way back to the Red Keep from the tunnel in the hut.
The future of the Targaryen dynasty had two options, and both were safe for now.
Daenerys was in Pentos under the care of Illyrio, posing as his daughter.
Sadly, Ser Willem Darry had to be killed to keep her existence hidden.
And the true successor Princess Rhaenys Targaryen was on her way to Norvos, along with her mother. He had dearly hoped for a male successor but that was not to be.
He should have switched the babes, if Elia had died he could have claimed to have switched the babes… but - now everyone knew the truth.
The Hand of the King had been shocked when he met her and Rhaenys in Dorne. Jon Arryn had successfully brokered peace between the Crown and Dorne.
Rhaenys had sworn to never conspire against the crown or set foot in Westeros for as long as she lived.
Princess Elia and Rhaenys had both taken voluntary exile from Westeros - and while Elia could come back anytime Rhaenys never could.
He would work with what he had, and in a way two women were better to make alliances. The Tyrells would surely grasp at any chance to grow strong, and revenge.
The Lady Olenna Tyrell had already started to spread rumours about the King.
The smallfolk thought him to be a whorer, a drunk, a child killer and a child torturer
Three of the those were true, but it was the fourth that hurt his reputation.
The tale of Viserys’ death had only grown in the telling.. It started with his throat slashed, then it was fingers smashed and manhood slowly removed, then raped and beaten with his body flayed in full court.
The last rumour he heard was Poor Prince Viserys a child of seven had been beaten, burned with hot pokers, sodomized with stag antlers and then burned alive.
It had been amusing to see the King saddened at the reaction of the smallfolk.
The tourney for the wedding was sparsely attended by the smallfolk - afraid of his fury, the nobles of course had gathered like the swarm of bees that they were.
The missing presence of the North had somehow managed to confirm the alleged heinous deeds of the new King.
It was the family of the new Queen who had tried to rape, kill and plunder the people of King's Landing - they had been under assault till the brave Northern soldiers had come and saved them.
All the smallfolk knew of the friendship between the King and the Warden of the North, and they had all also heard of how Lord Eddard Stark a young man known for his honour had stormed away from the capital after witnessing the death of Prince Viserys.
Varys smiled to himself, he knew old Olenna Tyrell was a crafty one. And she would not forget who had killed her son. By allying with the Lannisters, Jon Arryn had consigned himself and Robert Baratheon to a lifelong campaign of slander.
She was not powerful enough to move in a direct manner, as Ser Kevan had decimated the troops at Storm's End.
But she was building strength, for now she had to combat the Hightowers who wanted to place one of their own as regent for young Willas.
Maybe, he should start a rumour about the new Queen… hmmm maybe how she killed seven virgins every moon to maintain her beauty.
The weaker the hold of the Baratheon’s on the Kingdom, the easier it would be to wrest it from their grasp once the Targaryens came of age.
“Wardstones - check”
“Calming Ward - check”
“Minor truth ward - check”
“Minor cheering charm - check”
“Weather manipulating runes- check”
“Anti-theft ward - check”
“Minor loyalty Ward - check”
“Fire Suppression - check”
“Minor Warming Charm - check”
“Tracking Ward - check”
Harry wiped his hand over his brow as he stood looking at the ward scheme.
There were things he could add if this was a purely magical area, but so far he was happy with the few wards he had added. Besides he could always add more to the scheme at a later date.
The building was coming along slowly but surely, by his estimate the port should be complete in a moon’s turn, the factory site was almost done - likely a week or more should see it in action.
The village near the factory had been finished, the walls for the factory were close to being complete.
The only thing that would take time was his castle - it was slow going as Harry wanted to finish everything else. The manor they lived in now was great, but this world placed a high value on the castle of a Lord and so… he was building a replica of Hogwarts.
It would take another four to six years for the castle to be complete, but that was fine with him. After the port town and factories were done, he wanted the workers to put their energy into the walls of the castle and the town he was building inside it.
The castle would be surrounded by a moat and walls were being built 100 kilometers away, this way he could set up as many green houses he wanted, farms, housing, markets and everything else.
Harry wanted everything to be as protected as he could make it, when the walls were close to completion he would lay the ward stones in place. The main wardstone for the walls, the port, the castle walls would remain with him so he could add to them as needed.
His masterpiece though would be at the Sea Dragon Port, the tower was 200 feet tall with a winch cage that transported men up and down, the stairs were too long to take.
There was a floor every 50 feet with 10 rooms.
The top of that tower though would house this world’s largest telescope - or far eye as they called them. It would keep an eye on the shoreline. In the past Ironborn and Wildling raiders had raided the western front of the north.
This was mainly due to the lack of a strong house in the western front, and what houses were already established were quite poor and thus could not spare the funds to make their lands safe.
The Mormonts of Bear Island were hit frequently enough that the women of that place were warriors as well. The few smallfolk that lived in his lands were impoverished and without much opportunity.
After his watchtower was complete, no ship could come close to his lands without warning.
Harry had already planned to hire a force of 5000 men who would be stationed permanently in his lands.
2000 men at the port, 1000 at the factory and the remaining 2000 would maintain law and order within the walls of the castle grounds.
He just wanted to get started on the business, they had gained orders for glass houses from every Lord in the North.
In the next month he wanted to get started on the work, once everything was streamlined he could leave and visit the wall. Though Harry had promised Sandor to take him along, he wanted to visit beyond the wall alone the first time.
What he was currently doing felt too much like bureaucracy and he wanted to be finished with this as soon as possible.
Sirius had also been very busy - it was his job to create 200 golems. These would look and talk like normal humans but they were just automatons.
These golems would be the supervisors in the factory. They would ensure no man tried to sneak in or sneak out any of their secrets.
His tour of the kingdoms had assured him that people would be trying to find out how to make glass so that they could undercut him and his business.
They could try as much as they wished, but with loyalty charms and secrecy charms and his golems they would get nowhere.
Once the work began he would finish the orders for the glass houses, Harry had already magically created the glass panes he needed for the telescope, but he could not reveal them till his workplace was build.
The glass panes would be build by the workers but the runes for strength and shatter proofing would be engraved by the golems, the rune scheme also had an invisibility sequence in them so that no one would see them.
If not for the golems then Harry and Sirius would probably spend the rest of their lives charming the glass panes.
The one thing Harry had learned from his time visiting all the various holdfasts was that everyone that was anyone had a network of informants. And if they did not - then they were fools.
Harry wanted to know what was going on in the kingdoms so he would not be caught unaware. Thus all of his products were lain in with a mild loyalty charm towards his family, a trust me charm and a listening charm.
The mirrors he sold were inlaid with a scrying charm as well as a record function whenever a human being was in the room. It was a mix of homenum revelio and the scrying charm.
These things were not possible to do in the wizarding world as a simple revelio would tell you what was inlaid on the item, but here he could kill a man with the spell they learnt in 1st year to snuff out a candle.
Their magic was a boon and a curse here, it would be too easy to subjugate the people of this world to his will.
There was something in this world that made it's people very susceptible to mind magics.
It was now a fact of life that the Potter Blacks had always existed in Essos, his meeting with Elia had proved that his slight manipulation of her mind had made her want to leave Westeros forever. He had tried to make things easier for the newly christened Luna and lessened her guilt over the deaths of so many by tinkering with her mind as well.
The last he saw her, she seemed to be happy.
This was why all the charms he had laid on the ward stones that manipulated one’s feeling were the mildest he could make them.
Did he feel guilt for manipulating the emotions of so many people - truthfully no.
One thing life had taught him was that you must take advantage of every opportunity you have. His magic was a gift and he was not going to waste the opportunities it presented by debating morals and ethics.
All that he was building was going to be Sandor’s someday. Sirius and Harry had already decided to make him the next Lord of Stony Dragon.
When the castle was finally build Sirius would be named the Lord of the Marauder Keep - the manor they were staying in presently.
It was at the edge of the wolf’s wood forest and would serve as one of the vassal houses to the the Lord of Stony Dragon.
Harry had already decided on the places where he would put up his vassal houses, he could easily host 50 banner houses in his lands.
But Harry would only have eight of them, all on the edge of his lands.
When Sandor was ready to rule, Harry would place him as the Lord of the Port Town and then when he had enough experience he would be installed as the Lord of Stony Dragon while Harry took up the post as his bannerman.
There had been many Lords who had hinted at gaining some land for their second and third sons, but Harry was not going to give out land like candy.
He wanted good men, men who had something to offer other than their bloodline.
It would take him time but he would settle this land as he saw fit.
A knock came at the door and was soon flung open as Sirius and Sandor walked in, the guard looked apologetic but Harry waved him away and smiled at his visitors.
These were the very people he had to keep safe in this new world, and Harry would cheat anyone, trick anyone, kill anyone to ensure their happiness.
Chapter 8: Mi Casa
“Hogwarts!” exclaimed Sirius.
“No… just no. I am never going to live in a castle named Hogwarts. No matter how many great memories you have of that place.” Sandor threw up his hands.
The castle had been complete two years ahead of schedule since they had a glut of builders come from everywhere in Westeros and Essos.
They were currently walking in the fruit glass gardens while Harry tried to inspect the berry bushes.
“Well, then what do you suggest?” Sirius crossed his arms and glared at him.
“I don't know.. But not Hogwarts!” Sandor made a face at that gods awful name… what self respecting man lived in a castle called Hogwarts? And it was such a magnificent castle at that… sure it was not as large as Harrenhal or as luxurious as the Red Keep - but it was theirs! He had only been to the capital once when they were returning from Braavos, and though the Red Keep was beautiful from afar, the city was a foul mess.
The towns that Harry had commissioned inside the walls were well planned, and orderly. No one was allowed to build or add anything as they saw fit. No Lord had ever built houses for their smallfolk, Harry was the first to do so in the long history of Westeros and probably even Essos. The smallfolk were free to live outside the walls if they wished to, and many northerners did live outside the walls.
The smallfolk that lived inside were those that worked in the castle or were farmers, crofters, traders and herders. Harry had anticipated and accommodated all the needs of the smallfolk. And if they wanted to build something, then they would have to petition their Lord. The houses were built from stone and mortar, so even the harshest winter would not see the smallfolk die of the cold.
Each house in Fisher Town had two sleeping chambers, a common area, a kitchen, a small livestock pen, a coop and a stable. This village was a days ride away from the Castle, the people who lived here were mostly the farmers.
Rush River Village housed the people who traded in livestock, so the inside of the houses were identical except they had tracts of fenced land to tend to their animals. The Rush River village had been divided in four zones: cattle, fowl, horses and the fourth was for those that did not fall in the previous categories.
This village was closest to the market areas inside the castle walls.
The streets of each town and village were lined with iron braziers topped with glass bulbs which were lit after sundown, when seen from afar it looked like the stars were twinkling on the ground.
The iron braziers were twenty feet high and could only be lit by climbing a tall ladder, this reduced the chance of anyone stealing the glass bulbs.
Sandor knew this was the first land in all of Westeros that had such expensive glass lining the streets. The glass protected the fire from the high winds that was common in the north and also from any summer snows snuffing out the fire.
Each village had a guard of hundred that patrolled and saw to catching troublemakers and criminals. Crime was low in their lands, Sandor knew this was because of the wards that Harry and Sirius had crafted. Harry said that only the most desperate or most determined would take up a life of crime due to the effect of the wards.
Harry had purchased twenty Destriers from Dorne in lieu of one of their glass shipments. These destriers were to be bred with the long haired horses of the north who were hardy but slow. They hoped to eventually produce a breed that could bear the northern weather as well as ride fast. It was an ongoing process and the second generation of foals had been born six moons ago. They had also purchased the seeds of various peppers and other vegetables that were indigenous to Dorne.
The Glass Port Town had smaller houses as most people who worked came from various lands in search of a trade and rarely lived with their families. The port workers preferred to send their families to live inside one of the walled towns.
The factories had been running for a few years now and they were overflowing with orders. Though the demand for glass gardens in the North was dying down finally. They had build a minimum of two glass gardens in each of the northern noble houses.
Winterfell now boasted ten, White Harbour seven, and the Dreadfort had five.
They had built thirty glass garden on their own lands.
They had ten for fruits, ten for vegetables, and ten for various kinds of beans. They were the largest greenhouses in the world, divided in three rows and each section of ten was connected. They were twenty four feet in height so that even trees could be grown indoors. The ones that they build for the other Houses were only sixteen feet high.
Harry was planning to build another section of ten connected greenhouses of twenty two feet so that he could grow grapes, and sell northern wine. These would also grow potatoes as Sirius knew of a way to make a potent drink from them.
Then there were the hidden glass houses which grew magical plants from Harry’s own homeland. They were all queer plants and were manned by the golems that Sirius had created. Harry and Sirius would check on them once a month.
Those plants had not fared well in the beginning and were almost close to death. Sirius had then suggested they add drops of the elixir of life to help them. That was, in Sandor’s esteemed opinion - Siri’s best idea yet!
Many people called Harry, the Merchant Lord, and Harry knew that they meant it as a slight but he did not care. These same people, came to said merchant to buy his wares.
“Alright you two! This has gone on long enough and I am sure even the glass garden workers would like some peace.”
Sandor and Sirius stopped their bickering and looked sheepishly back at Harry.
Now let's put forth a suggestion each and then we will vote on the name for the castle.”
The people who worked in the glass gardens had been trained by an acolyte of the citadel who had arrived two years ago looking for work. The Oldtown oustee had only hoped for some work and food. Instead he found a life here!
Jerret had to leave the citadel because his small knightly house had lost their monies in the rebellion and he wanted to help his family. His father and two older brothers had died in the rebellion at the Battle of the Trident. His young sister, mother were now alone in the world.
Jerret Shingle was from the crownlands, his father was a knight under the Lord Boggs of Crackclaw Point. The new king had taken much in war reparations from the Lords who had supported the Targaryens. Many small lords and knights with land had lost all. These new seats were given to those who had won the rebellion.
Jerret knew that he was not smart enough to forge any links, so he had decided to leave the maesters and find work in the newly flourishing Potter Black Lands.
While Jerret had studied all the subjects taught at the Citadel, his personal interests lay in agriculture. He had come on petition day to ask for something more than menial work, as he had been assured by the other workers that the new Lord was fair and kind.
“Do we have time to think of the names we want to put forth?” asked Sandor
Harry just shook his head “No, this has gone on long enough - one can say we had four years to think of a name.”
“Hogwarts!” Sirius exclaimed
Harry and Sandor snorted at him in unison
“Castle Potter Black.” put forth Harry
Sandor looked down at the ground for a moment, then spoke up “Hallow Hall.”
The castle had been built in a large crater inside a mountain, it was surrounded by a forest and a river that ran down the hill culminating in a large lake at the base of the hill.
Beyond the lake, a moat was being dug, after it's completion the draw bridge would be the only way to enter the castle grounds.
The other side of the crater had vertical rock formations which were impossible to climb due to harsh winds and the steep terrain.
After much bickering on all their parts they finally picked Hallow Hall; it was the most simple name but had a deeper meaning for all of them.
But somehow Sirius won the naming rights of the village by the castle - Hogsmeade.
“Do you have everything?”
“Yes, Siri. For the last time. I am only going to Bear Island!” Sandor turned from his packing and now gave the man an evil smirk “The question is… are you ready to rule when Harry and I away?”
Sirius gave a pained smiled at that and Sandor laughed a deep rumble that reverberated around the room. “I am sure it will not be very difficult, just very boring.” Sirius rallied but his smile was still more a grimace.
Sandor closed the chest he had been packing with a snap “Let’s go, I leave tomorrow and I want to get some time in the yard before I have be on a ship for a week.”
The brothers made sure to have two meals together each day as their daily tasks did not allow them to spend much time together in a day. Thus breakfast and dinner were mandatory to be had in the great hall for the three.
After breakfast Harry went off to his solar to oversee matters of ruling, Sirius went off to oversee the construction and the people of the land, and Sandor had his training, then his studies, and finally he spent his last few hours before supper helping Harry with whatever was needed.
Sandor Potter Black
Jeor Mormont was an old man, a man who had seen many wars and skirmishes in his life. Though when he smiled his eyes crinkled at the edges and he looked like a warm grandfather figure.
Jorah, his son was a tall man, but shorter than Sandor at six and ten. He was more talkative than his father and wished to know all out the places Sandor had travelled. It still amazed Sandor that there were grown men who had seen less of the world than himself. Though they all believed that he was originally from Essos. He was sure that would have been impossible without the use of magic considering they all had pasty skins like most northmen.
Sandor had been on horseback with the Lord Mormont and Jorah, travelling towards the site their builders had finalized. They were not the most comfortable house in the North, but Harry had given him a few options to present to the Lords of Bear Island.
Bear Island was in simple terms beautiful but lacking in resources that would make them rich. It had much in terms of wood and fur. But the most potent resource was the fishing. However the Mormonts had been unable to take full advantage of this great resource as they were frequently assaulted by wildlings from the North and Iron Born from the south.
The Ironmen raids had stopped when Quellon Greyjoy had taken over the ruling of the Iron Islands. Yet the raids from the north continued. Another hurdle in the way of the islands prosperity was the lack of funds to create infrastructure. If they managed to build more fishing boats then the men could bring in a larger haul. However if they attempted to do this is the past, they would have seen few returns as they would have to travel to White Harbour on the Eastern coast to make any trade. Now with the Glass Port open and flourishing, they could sell their fish very close to home.
Sandor was very nervous, this was the first time he was going to try and make a deal alone. Harry had give him a list of things he wanted and things that he could negotiate upon, however when he peeked a look at Lord Mormont he felt like a lad of ten namedays.
Sandor cleared his throat as the two men looked away from the coast and back at him. “My Lords, this bay would be perfect to build the shipyard. The ice here is the thickest towards the north and so the wildings would have a difficult time attacking the men. Additionally since the yard would need guards, even if the wildlings attacked they would be the ones to die. And, the waters near the coast are deepest here. The clearing on the coast will have to be flattened, but our workers can do that quite handily.”
The two men had nodded at all the points he had made, however the old lord had a furrow in his brow and Sandor knew he was going to argue on something or the other.
“Aye lad that is true. Your builder told us as much when he was here last moon. Now, tell me how much is this going to cost in gold.” Jeor’s fists opened and closed minutely as if he was bracing for some bad news.
The Mormonts had sent ravens six moons ago to ask if they could purchase some ships from them and if they could have a sort of payment system set up - like the ones they had given the Flints and Norreys on their glass gardens.
Harry had then made Sandor research House Mormont's finances and resources.
Sandor was deemed sufficiently educated by Harry in theory and now he was to start gaining practical knowledge.
Sandor had realised that they were hard pressed for a shipyard. It was not a issue in the beginning when they had just started in on the building efforts. But now that the trade had started in earnest, the bay was busy.
The coast was shallow in other areas and places where the coast was deep enough on their lands, the logistics of moving the ship from the shipyard to the Glass Port was a nightmare due to rocky and narrow shores. So, Sandor had suggested this harebrained scheme to Harry - now that he was here and would have to negotiate this crazy idea, he was jittery.
A Lord’s lands were his own and no Lord would allow anyone to gain a foothold on their lands in any circumstance. If the Mormonts agreed to this idea then it would be a first in Westeros. He had in truth appropriated this idea from Harry’s own world. Harry had told him of the history of his world, and how his home country had flourished from trade and had once been the largest empire.
A shipbuilding yard would be build on the lands of the Mormonts, financed by the Potter Blacks. All future ships of the Potter Blacks would be build here, and first preference would always be given to Mormont wood, as long as the price was competitive.
They would get anywhere between 20-30 ships for their own fishing needs depending on how well Sandor could bargain. They would be paid a one time sum of twenty thousand gold dragons for the use of this parcel of land. In theory the land belonged to House Mormont but the operation, upkeep and security of the land was the responsibility of the Potter Blacks.
Any future ships they wished to buy would be sold at cost to the Mormonts, on the condition they use those ships for the sole use of Bear Island. Ironwrath was close at hand as well, so the transport of Iron wood was logistically sound.
It was a great deal for the Mormonts, for currently they had no gold to spare for such a large undertaking. This trade arrangement could change the fortunes of Bear Island. Now all Sandor had to do was convince the man that a small parcel of his land and shore would be under nominal control of another lord.
It may look on the outset that House Potter Black was not gaining much by this arrangement, but they would have a foothold on another island, a land that could be used to send their own ships for repair, they would not have to pay ever again for the use of this land, the trade generated here would be taxed only by the Starks and not by the Mormonts.
They would not have to cut down their own trees to build any ships, the men stationed at the yard would be theirs to lend extra security. It would create in essence a trade cum military outpost for House Potter Black.
“My Lord - I have a proposition for you, I beg that you listen to me and then if you have any questions or apprehensions I can surely assuage you.”
Lord Mormont looked at him with a hard look in his eyes “Aye, then. Lets head back to the keep and you can tell me all about this proposition of yours.”
The castle and the grounds were in a better state than they had been during the time of his father. This newfound state of repair was thanks to the taxes they gained from the newest house of the North and the trade they generated.
Ned could only imagine the amount of gold they would receive when the 10 years of lowered taxes came to an end. If this was what he was able to achieve with just a fraction of the tax, he could truly start some projects when the full 30 percent started to come in.
His father had gained a coupe on all the other kingdoms when he made that deal with the Potter Blacks. If he was being honest, Ned would not have given the assumed merchants the lands his father had bestowed upon them. At the time no one knew of the family history of the Potter Blacks, there was no mention it even in his father’s journals.
Ned had managed to repair much in the castle, the new glass gardens made them free of food worries. Now the only food they bought from other kingdoms was grain. They grew their own fruits and vegetables, those were foodstuffs no northern house would ever buy from any other kingdom be it the Riverlands or the Reach. The next thing he wished to handle was to increase the number of guards at Winterfell as well as to patrol the lands.
Though each noble house in the North had gained their own glass gardens, Ned worried on the state of the smallfolk. Now, even in the harshest winter the nobles would not starve, but what would the smallfolk do? They could not afford these hot house marvels, they would still see the sick and the old ride out in the winter, claiming to go on a hunt. They would still go out to die so that their families would have one less mouth to feed.
Ned wished there was an easy solution to his problem, but considering the changes in the North in the last few years, he was optimistic about the future. And the Lords welcomed the smallfolk in their towns when winter came, they distributed food and warm clothes, they gave shelter. It was only a few bad lords that closed their keeps to the smallfolk, like the Boltons and the Whitehills to name a few. Ned grimaced as those houses crossed his mind.
The godswood of Winterfell was a thing of beauty and he liked the solace this place afforded him. The heart tree was especially radiant in the weak winter sun, the bark glowed white, almost blinding him and the leaves shined a deep ruby red. The wind rustled them and Ned felt as if it was the blessing of the gods being bestowed upon him.
He heard a crack and looked up towards the sound, two grinning face swam into his view.
“Ned! Are you going to start living here?” Luna called out impishly as Benjen followed her with a fond look upon his face. She was now ten and two, still the same as she had been the last time she had been this age. Each time he looked upon her, Ned was amazed at the feats magic could perform.
The fact that his bannermen were magical was a worrying fact, he had been so thankful for the gift of life to Luna that he had overlooked the reality of a house that could wield magic. He had fretted and worried for almost a year, and then those brothers had come back from the east.
Somehow, just speaking to them and being in their company had soothed his fears.. He had not spoken of his fears to them, he almost felt ashamed that he had distrusted these men. They had not asked for anything that he would not be willing to give them. Secrecy; it was a small price to pay for the return of his sister.
Ned smiled at his sister - now cousin to the world and beckoned her closer.
“Sansa is a beautiful child but her cries are some of the most piercing sounds that I have ever had the misfortune to hear.” he confided in her in a quiet voice. Her laugh at his small jape was soothing,
“I am going to tell your Lady Wife you said that” piped in Benjen.
He could not hate her, no matter what had transpired due to her actions. She was his blood, his pack. And father had never listened to her fears. He was at fault as well for the turns her life had taken. Lyanna had shouted and cried when she was informed of her betrothal to Robert, she had begged to marry in the North.
If anyone was a child of the North, it was her and Brandon. Both wild and free. And father had tried to smother that wildness in his daughter, all the while inflaming it in his eldest.
Ned thanked the old gods that Maester Walys had died before her had come back to Winterfell. That man had encouraged his father to create ties of marriage with the south. And they were all paying the price for his whispered words.
He kept the new maester at a length due to his distrust of Walys. But Luwin was slowly gaining his trust. The man was also a southron man but less ambitious than his predecessor.
“So, what brings the two of you here? There are no more sewing lessons for you to escape now that I have asked Catelyn to leave you alone. And I am sure you have your own duties at this time Ben.”
Luna stood there and looked down at the ground, he could see that her foot was tapping by the way her dress moved.
Ned held out his hand and beckoned her to sit next to him, she eagerly complied and he put an arm around her thin shoulders. Benjen sat on the smaller tree root and stretched his long legs as he adjusted his sword.
They sat in silence for a while before she spoke, her voice hesitant and low. “We heard that you are sending Benjen to the Manderlys for fostering. Is this true?”
Ned squeezed her shoulder and sighed heavily, he should have known that Luna would react this way when she found out.
“Aye, now that Ben here has given up on the ridiculous idea of joining the watch, and the North grows rich, I have decided to give Benjen the Lordship of Moat Cailin.”
Benjen looked surprised at that and smiled at that “Thank you brother. I will make you proud and defend the North, Lord Stark.”
Ned laughed at that “Oh Aye, I am sure you will, Lord Stark of Moat Cailin.”
Luna burrowed in his side “But why does he have to leave to White Harbour then? Isn't he too old to be fostering anywhere?”
Ben and Ned laughed at that as Ben tried to kick his sister in the shins for calling him old.
“The lands of Moat Cailin extend to the Blazewater Bay and the success of Glass Port shows us how much prosperity a port brings to a land. The Moat is important strategically but it is not rich in farmland or any other resource. The only thing that can maintain the castle and it's lands would be a port.”
Ben nodded at him as he spoke to both his siblings “I must go to the Manderlys because they are losing prestige as they are no longer the richest house in the North.”
Ned looked surprised at his understanding of the situation, his brother had matured in the last few years and Luna had mellowed from the hellion she was when she was truly ten and two.
“Yes, that is true. However the real reason is that I wish for you to learn how to sail a boat, run a port, see what is needed, and run trade. White Harbour has been our only naval and trading port since Brandon the Burner burned down the North’s fleet.
It is fortunate that we now have the coin to rebuild the navy and ports of the north.”
“The two of you are intelligent enough to understand the new situation we face as the ruling house of the North. We do not truly have a court or much politics here in the North, but the lords of our lands are a prickly bunch, quick to anger and quick to take offence. ”
Ned stood up and dusted his clothes “Come, let's take a walk around the godswood, my legs are numb.”
He waited till they had shaken the snow from their clothes and stamped their feet to get the blood moving “The Manderlys, The Boltons, The Cerwyns and the Ryswell’s were the most powerful and rich houses before the Glass Lord came to settle on our lands. Now, we must do all we can to maintain the peace and create a new balance.”
Luna looked oddly at him “Where did you learn all this Ned? You were in the Vale for most of your life.”
Benjen affirmed his sisters sentiments and Ned smiled at the two of them, “Father was a meticulous note keeper. He wrote of dealings with every house - and not just of the North.”
“In truth, I never would found his notes if I had not gone searching for a copy of the land and trade agreement father had signed with the Potter Blacks.”
Ned shook and head at that, he would have been a lost cub, away from his pack if not for his father’s notes on various houses and his dealings with them.
Like, why father had declined the betrothal to Bethany Ryswell the current Lady Dustin. Everyone knew that she was not a maid, and that Brandon had slept with her, but what people did not know was that it was not Brandon who had claimed her maidenhead like she told the world. It was man at arms in her household who had done the deed.
Father had wanted Brandon to marry in the Riverlands for the reduced crop prices this alliance would give the North, along with reduced tolls at the Freys.
He had found the marriage contract that father had signed for Catelyn and Brandon, and after reading it he had been furious and disgusted with Hoster Tully.
The man had not given him one item that his father had finalised with the Tullys.
The north had been robbed by that man, and he would not forget that slight.
If not for the urging of his wife he would not even trade with the damned Riverlands.
The notes had been another reason why he had decided against building a sept for his lady wife, his father had exclusively put in a clause that stated there would be no sept in the heart of the North and that all children of the union would only follow the old gods.
His father had his flaws and was led astray by his great ambitions however the man was a shrewd player of the game. Ned would learn from the mistakes of his ancestors and try not to repeat those mistakes. Building a fleet for the North, was one of those decisions.
“You understand why that particular castle must be manned. I trust that no one will truly know the events of the past” Ned looked pointedly at Luna “but we must stand strong in the event that someone does find out. Moat Cailin is the only way into the North and it stands empty.”
Luna nodded at his side, “I know Ned, I am not some southron flower. I understand how abruptly a war can begin. I know, but I will miss Ben.”
“I will miss him too, but he was going to leave someday, either to the wall or for his own keep. It is good that we now have the funds to repair the Moat as well as good builders here in the North.”
“Would we have been able to repair the Moat without the new funds we gain from eastern trading?” Benjen asked
“We would have been able to manage, though I imagine we would have had to borrow from the Iron Bank.” he slapped Ben on his back “But now, out coffers are filling, our food stores are sufficient, the North as a whole is prospering. And you, young Lord will be the Lord of Moat Cailin - the greatest defence of the North.”
The solar opened as a guard held the door open for Luna, she had actually asked the Maester to schedule a time to speak with the Lord of WInterfell.
Ned was slightly amused at this charade, he wondered what fresh hell his hellion of a sister wanted to bring down upon him.
“Lord Stark” she greeted him cordially and spoiled the effect of her being a young lady by giving him an impish smile.
“My Lady, please have a seat.” he waited till she was safely ensconced in the chair before asking her in his Lord’s voice “I was informed you sought out an audience with me my lady.”
“Yes My Lord, I have a boon I wish to ask of you.” she clasped her hands in her lap as if she was the picture of courtesy.
“And what would that be my lady?”
“I wish to be fostered at Bear Island.”
The blunt statement hit Ned like a chilly wind full of sleet and snow. Why did she too wish to leave. He had to send Benjen away for his house’s and Ben’s own betterment.
He had hoped to keep his little sister for a bit longer, till she wished to marry. And if she never wished to marry, then that was fine with him.
He threw away the game they were playing “Why? Luna, you have only just come back home.”
The girl looked away distressed at his obvious agitation, “I love Winterfell Ned, it's just… I had hoped to learn… I had hoped to learn to fight from the women of Bear Island.”
Luna leaned forward in her chair and held her hand out towards his on the desk, he readily held her tiny palms in his “I want to be able to defend myself, I… I never wish to be” she took a deep breath to calm herself “Please Ned, I know the master at arms has been teaching me, but his style of fighting is not suited for me.”
Ned had hoped and prayed that his sister had forgotten the hurts of the past, she laughed and played merrily but it seemed that she had only buried the pain.
Like him, he assumed. They were all well versed in hiding their emotions.
“Luna, did you know that the women of Bear Island also fight the same way as Rodrick Cassel does?”
She looked alarmed at that “What? But…. don't the women fight differently? I mean I cannot lift a heavy sword and fight with it at the same time. Not if I have any chance of defending myself.”
Ned smiled softly at her “The women of Bear Island are as big as, if not bigger than Ben and I.” Her face fell at that and Ned could not bear to imagine what thoughts were running through her mind.
“Luna.” he called out and she looked up from gazing at the table “There is another type of fighting that would suit you well. You wish to defend yourself & I will make sure that you have all the help you need to achieve this goal.”
She brightened at that “And what would that be?”
Ned laughed, “I had thought you would know… Why Braavosi Water Dancing of course!”
She grimaced and pulled her hand away from his as she hid her face in her hands “You know, I did see them when I was in Braavos with Harry and Sirius.”
“You should not call them by their given names Luna, address them respectfully with their titles ” he chided her.
“But they asked me to call them by their names.” she protested.
He sighed at that and let the topic be, “So, you will stay here and I will inquire about hiring a Water Dancing Master for Winterfell.”
She smiled widely at him and her eyes sparkled at the news. Ned was sure that his sister was part sprite with the way she could make everyone happy around her.
“You should have Sansa learn as well when she is older.” she said with a serious mein “All the women of our house should be able to defend themselves. If it had always been so, then Bael the Bard would have been sorry for even thinking of taking the daughter of House Stark.” she took in a deep breath “You should even have Cat learn how to defend herself.”
Ned led out a loud laugh at the image of his southron wife weilding a sword, and dressed in armour.
Alone in the Tower of the Hand solar Jon looked out at blackwater bay, so far away from the city of King's Landing, no stench fouled the air. It was a breezy evening and he felt his mustache ruffle in the wind. It was a somewhat peaceful evening. There were no matters that required his immediate attention, though books and parchment littered his desk. Moments of relative peace came by rarely these days, he was too old to be this busy. But what other choice did he have?
So many things had changed in the last four years. Robert had won the throne easily compared to how hard it was for them to keep him on it. The manner of Prince Viserys’ death had gotten out and even their allies were horrified by the act. Jon still did not understand why they had reacted negatively to something any of them would have done had they sat the throne.
In the beginning no one had cared and then six moons later his alliance was falling apart. He did not understand why this sudden change had come about, what had changed for the people who had rallied around Robert to come to despise him so.
In times of extreme introspection, he admitted to himself that the boy could have been sent to the wall or to the septry. But that was not a thought he liked to entertain because it made him party to the murder of a child.
Ned had been right when he wanted them to take a better path, the honourable path. His ancestors would surely spit on him as Robert had spit on the Prince’s body, when he met the Stranger.
Ned was more Arryn than him, his honour had been trampled in this mire of politics and greed. This city, this job had taken everything he had and still asked for more.
The day Ned had left the capital was the last time they had heard from him, all further communications from the North had come from the Warden of the North and not the boy he had raised; it was not Ned who wrote; it was Lord Stark.
When Robert had finally calmed down a few moons after the… act, he had felt some remorse for how he had behaved with Ned and written to him. But the reply had been curt, only stating that his king was free to do as he willed, and his subjects could not judge a king.
Jon knew this was because Robert was not sorry for the death of Viserys, he would likely kill the boy again and every other Targaryen he got his hands on.
The Riverlands were another problem altogether. Lord Tully was not in full control of his own bannermen, the Late Lord Frey openly defied old Hoster more often than not, the Mallisters were locked in a silent war with the Freys to become the second strongest house of the Riverlands. The less said about the Blackwoods and the Bracken rivalry, the better.
The number of Targaryen loyalists had not lessened in the Riverlands after the war, they had only become stronger in their convictions in the last years. Oh, Yes. They had bent the knee to Robert but they made things as difficult as possible without outright rebellion.
The Reach had bent the knee when Lady Olenna Tyrell arrived in the capital to take the bones of her son and the other Reacher Lord’s back to Highgarden.
But relations with the Reach was strained at best and hostile at worst.
Jon cursed Tywin Lannister for not ending the siege of Storm's End peacefully, he had after all asked the man to avoid violence and bloodshed. Gods be good; the war was won, the Targaryens were dead, Lord Mace only needed to to made aware of the reality of the situation and he would have packed up and gone home.
But no, the Old Lion’s pride had been wounded when the Northmen and their sellswords had attacked and killed his soldiers in the sack of King's Landing.
Tywin always needed to remind everyone of his superiority, of his roar. The proud lion of Casterly! Pah the man had too much pride and not enough sense.
His brother Kevan had fallen upon the Reachmen in the night and killed indiscriminately. When the chaos ended only bodies were left in the wake.
When he had been told that Tywin had attacked and taken Dragonstone, Jon had been happy. But now, after all these years, he wished the man had killed Viserys instead of bringing him back alive.
If only he had done that, then all the blame and disgust at such an act would fall upon that man. Tywin was already reviled for the massacre of the Reynes and Tarbecks. One more appalling act of savagery would not harm his reputation, he would rather take the fear and disgust he inspired in the people as a compliment.
Stannis had wed the Lady Lynesse Hightower just this year. It was a proposal he had considered carefully. In the end it had come down to two choices - the Florents or the Hightowers.
He had convinced Robert to choose the Hightowers as they wanted to wrest control of the Reach from Olenna’s old hands, and Jon wanted the Tyrell’s to be weak. It was a good thing that the Hightowers had not tried to offerup the Mad Maid - Malora Hightower. It would have been a heinous insult to the royal house.
Or mayhaps Robert would have thought it a wonderful jape to play on his younger brother. His stoic brother match with a mad woman for the rest of his life. Robert had wanted to give the Stormlands to Renly and saddle poor Stannis with Dragonstone. But after the massacre of the Tyrell forces, they needed someone strong to hold those lands. If they had installed a child in place of Stannis the Reachmen and the Dornish would have encroached upon the lands and blamed bandits for the raids.
That too had been a struggle. Jon never understood why there was such animosity between the two brothers. He had to cajole, threaten, lay out facts, shout, scream to make Robert understand why he could not make a child the Lord Paramount of his ancestral lands… lands which were bordered on two sides by seething angry lords.
In the end, he had to play the Targaryen card. Why did Robert wish to follow the tradition of the Targaryens by making his heir the Lord of Dragonstone. He was a Baratheon, he was of the line of the Storm King's and not of the blood of the dragon.
Despite Alerie being a daughter of House Hightower and the Lady Regent of Highgarden, the Hightowers wanted total control. They had always been an ambitious lot, the Dance of the Dragons and Alicent Hightower could assent to that.
Olenna Tyrell had a steep fight on her hands if she wanted to keep the power in the hands of the Tyrells. She was facing a power struggle inside the walls of Highgarden as well. Garth Tyrell the current seneschal and brother of the late Lord Luthor Tyrell was constantly butting heads with the Queen of Thorns. As long as they were busy fighting amongst themselves, they would not turn their eye on those that had wronged the Reach.
The marriage of Stannis and Lynesse would put some fear in the Tyrells of royal retribution as well as create bonds of blood between the two Houses and regions. Jon had enough trust in Stannis to not be swayed to the honeyed words of his new comely lady wife. His first love was duty… at least he hoped that it would remain so after Stannis got a taste of his wife.
The situation with Dorne was resolved as best as it could given the circumstances.
He had been utterly shocked when he reached Dorne and was greeted by Princess Elia and Rhaenys. The news had made Robert fly into another rage, at first he had demanded their heads be mounted on the Red Keep. Anyone could tell what such a demand would result in. It was only by the skin of his teeth had he managed to convince Robert to let them go into exile.
Now, there was a tentative balance between the various kingdoms. The only thing he was thankful to the Lannisters for, was their gold. The treasury of the Mad Aerys had over four million in gold dragons, but there were so many things that needed to be done, so many people to be paid.
The war had ravaged the land and its people. There were rewards to be given out, lands allotted, the gold they had borrowed for the war effort had to be repaid. Thankfully, he did not have to pay the Potter Blacks, that was all on Ned.
Robert had given away two million gold in reward to various houses and knights for their bravery in the war. When a strange mood took him, he almost wished it was Ned who took the throne rather than Robert.
The Queen had recently given birth - her second child. Prince Joffery Baratheon - the first of his name. At least the line was now secure. It had been a horrible time when Robert’s first child had died within months of his birth. A fever; the seven have mercy, but why did they have to be so cruel. All of Jon’s sons too had died before he had had a chance to see them grow.
His marriage with Lysa had given him two miscarriages, but he hoped for a son soon, an heir to the Vale. A strong boy who would someday lead the armies of the Vale as a Knight of the Realm.
His marriage was another sore point in his life. She was too young for him. He was old enough to be her grandfather. But, it was a concession to gain the armies of the Riverlands. Damn Hoster Tully! Damn him to the seven hells.
Jon knew of how much he disgusted his wife, she cringed each time that he lay with her, and he could not even blame Lysa. But, Hoster wanted a good marriage for his disgraced daughter and he had agreed just so that the damn war could be won. There was no going back now, as soon as she gave him a son, he would leave her be. Even if she did not… there was Denys, he would make a good Lord of the Vale and Warden of the East.
He turned from the window and walked to his desk as he shuffled through the papers. He sighed at the amount they owed to House Lannister. In four years alone they were a million gold dragons in debt to the Lions. And that prideful old lion would not forgive the debt, never mind that his daughter was the Queen, and most of the gold went towards her expensive habits.
He cursed the damn Potter Black’s for making glass cutlery and decorations.
It was now the height of nobility and wealth to own plates, bowls, cup and even spoons made of glass.
They even sold glass contraptions called chandeliers that lit up rooms beautifully.
But the cost for a medium sized chandelier could feed a village for a year.
The Queen had replaced all the braziers in the Red Keep with large glass bulbs as they were now called. The royal apartments all boasted of the most intricate chandeliers and the throne room had three large chandeliers lining the path towards the throne. If they borrowed any more, and they would have to, he would rather not borrow from Tywin.
He would have to have the Master of Coin approach the faith or the trade cartels. The Tyrells could not be approached so soon, the Hightowers too were similarly disregarded. Maybe he could, he ran a hand across his balding head, he would have to approach the North.
While the crown had to borrow, the North had flourished in the past years. After all those damn glass makers were taking all the gold from each kingdom and Essos.
He should not blame them, it was irrational he knew, but something about that House made him anxious. He was one of the few who felt this way, Tywin was another but that was to be expected with the actions of the Potter Black men at the sack.
Besides Jon suspected the Lord Lannister hated to see others get wealthy and those men were surely as rich as the Tyrells by now. In a few years they would likely be richer than the Lannisters. This brought a smile to his lips. Despite not liking the Potter Blacks, he knew they were honourable men. They had saved his nephew’s life and that was debt he owed to the brothers.
But, they were not respectful enough to the King, they never showed proper deference towards the nobility. He had also noticed a quirk in their speech, they never called anyone ‘My Lord’ it was always ‘Lord Arryn’ or ’Lord Stark’.
When they visited the Red Keep on their way back North, they had called the King ‘King Robert’ not ‘Your Grace’.
It may just be that they were foreigners and this was their way of showing respect, but it rankled Jon each time they did not give due courtesy to the Westerosi nobility.
They may have gained land and titles, and their line could be traced back generation - but they were never nobles. They were Essosi death worshipping merchants.
And, Jon could not see past that truth, no matter how much gold Westeros had gained in trade from them, the prestige alone of having Westerosi Glass was immeasurable.
It was not that the crownlands had not gained from the Northern trade, however between Robert who threw enormous amounts on drink, whores, large tourney purses and Cersei who liked to live in lavish luxury, there was always more gold going out than coming in.
Robert thought that the people would love him if he entertained them enough, gave them gold and held enough tourneys. He wanted to known as the jovial kind, the good king. But all he did was put the crown in debt. He had heard rumours the Potter Blacks were richest house in the North; though they neither confirmed nor denied this rumour as far as he knew.
The trade in glass had died in Myr and come to Westeros and he had to agree that their glass did not break easily, if you threw it hard enough it developed cracks but held its shape. Jon had always wondered if they had to face assassination attempts from the glassmakers of Myr.
He knew for a fact that most of the Lords in Westeros and many Essosi had tried to gain the secret to making glass. But somehow those brothers had gained the loyalty of their workers or so Varys claimed. No word of their method leaked.
Jon put it down to the number of guards that had stationed in their lands. That was another sore point for him, the guards of Stony Shore were brought over from their own homelands - wherever they had lived before coming to Westeros.
The lands of Stony Shore had more soldiers than Winterfell itself!
But it was all necessary, the trade they engaged in was glass making - a secret art.
The port needed soldiers due to the many foreign ships and men sailing there everyday.
However, even King's Landing had only five hundred gold cloaks, and maybe two thousand soldiers of varying houses.
The Potter Blacks had five thousand, and that is before taking into consideration that they had not appointed any bannermen as yet.
If things had been better with Ned, he could have suggested some of his own Valemen be given lands and be made the bannermen of the Potter Blacks.
But, things were rocky enough with Ned - that he could not reward the second sons of his loyal Valemen with lands and incomes in the North.
Varys had repeatedly tried to get a few of his so called little birds in the Potter Black lands, alas he had no had no luck in doing so. There were no orphan children running wild in Stony Shore, and his little birds stood out like a sore thumb.
All orphans were housed together at an orphanage where they were housed and fed. They were also assured of picking up a trade when they grew so they would not be thrown out on their behinds, when they had to leave at seven and ten which was what Lord Potter Black considered an appropriate age of manhood.
Bah - the orphanages of Westeros housed children only till they were ten and two.
Varys’ little birds had been lost in those lands. Jon assumed that they had willingly taken up residence in the orphanage where they could get a better life.
This had galled the man, if he could be called that, to no end.
As for Jon, he was wary of them, wary of their worship of the Stranger, wary of their connections to the House of Black & White, wary of their foreign roots, wary of their growing wealth, wary of their close ties to the Starks.
Despite his misgivings, they were loyal to the Iron Throne and he knew that Ned would never lift a blade against Robert, no matter how strained their relations. Ned was honourable and held duty above all. He had to have faith in Ned to keep this new House in check.
The new port at Sea Dragon Point saw increased trade in the Western shoreline but thankfully no piracy. It seemed Balon was cut from the same cloth as his father Quellon. Though the Iron Islands remained peaceful, they took no part in the affairs of the kingdom.
The work was never ending, he had to maintain a fine balance in this new order of Westeros. Taking a sip from his glass of watered down wine, he got back to work.
Beta - SITHIS ARCANIS
Who has my undying gratitude for not making me squint my eyes to re-read my work. Trust me, it is a pain.
AN - I love reading reviews. (wink/nudge)