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The North (outline)

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Jon is often cold. I love that about him. He does not waste time jollying around, drinking or gambling. He does not whore like Robb did; as much as I loved Robb, he was a fool that thought he could play king, fall in love and that it would all be okay.

When Robb went South to marry the Westerling girl, he surely had not expected to be ambushed. Taken, captured, his direwolf decapitated. He died tragically, and I was too young, too afraid to do anything. When mother had us escape, when she sacrificed herself, I cried. My hair, brown as mud, was dampened, and my stupid little wedding dress, dirty.

Sansa and I escaped to Winterfell. If not for me, Sansa would have died, the stupid girl, head stuck in the clouds. I secreted us through Rills' lands, through the Reeds' swamps, and got us home. We left by ourselves, only to find that father had died as well, having gone out to search for us, wandering too close to Bolton territory.

It was the end of our House, I thought. Two girls in a large castle would never hold out. They would have charged us, force us to leave or give in. I know I would have died fighting.

Then Jon arrived, walking in tall and in all black. We thought we lost him in the war with the wildings, but he survived. My respect for him grew, and when he declared himself king, against his bastard status, I respected him even more. The winter crown suited him well.

He took me to wife, which was to be expected. Like grandfather, he married his sister. However, Jon was not willing to bet the Stark line on only me. I could blame him, but I understood. If I had a cock I’d have taken a serving wench and legitimized my bastards by her, if it meant maintaining our line.

He married us in the godswood, before the bloody tree. That night he had us both. It took me a day to get over him going to her first, that silly, smiling girl, but at least when he had me, he stayed with me for the night. He did not stop with conquering us though.

One night, after sitting on the winter throne for hours, he came to me. He told me his vision: a North united. He told me his plans, his ideas, what methods he planned to us. I thought of laughing at him, but as he went on and on, I knew he was serious. I still thought it too dangerous; our house was already close to falling. Then he unveiled a Valyrian steel sword to me; he told me it was named Dark Sister, and he smiled for the first time since I had seen him. I agreed to follow him.

Afterwards, he went to Sansa, and to make her feel important, pretended he was telling both of us for the first time. Surprisingly, she agreed to follow him. To think, a girl like that. She wrapped her hands around his head, kissing him and telling him all the silks she would knit for him, that she would polish his crown. She talked about the age before Torrhen, like those times could so easily be grasped. I decided not to smack her stupid head.

In our planning, my relationship with Jon became more meaningful. He took me to bed more often, and he did the same with Sansa. He doesn’t take her like a wolf though. I am more appropriate for his desires, for his coldness, for his lack of smiles, for his need to fight. Sansa is just pretty and lustful, in her seductive gait and love of songs.

But I am not jealous, so it bothered me not. I couldn’t be considering what Jon did next. After bringing about the best soldiers we had from Houses Mollen, Poole, Cassel and Cerwyn, Jon drew Ice, and told them his plan to unite the North. They called him King in the North quite quickly, to my surprise. But I believe it was just the excitement of young men. They couldn't imagine all the blood it would take to do what they imagined, what we wanted. Our first invasion was Torrhen’s Square, kingdom south of our kingdom. They were the weakest and the closest, and weren’t expecting a full-on assault.

I wet my blade that day. Nymeria, my direwolf and preferred warg beast, ripped many a throat out. Jon fought with me, with a few hundred other men, mostly boys and fools. But our savagery drew fear from the Tallharts; they gave up quickly.

Not since grandfather Rickard had Winterfell engaged in a battle, having remained pathetically neutral, inward looking. Torrhen’s Square became ours that day, back under the watch of Torrhen’s heirs. I did not like what happened next, but at least my suggestion that he take the Tallhart heir to Winterfell heeded.

Sansa could have cared less, I believe. But I saw the political necessity in it. Let the Tallharts be an example, and all others will have to bend.

And I've already dreamed about storming the Dreadfort.

Chapter Text

Scampering across the woods, I feel the chill of the wind, I hear the mysterious song of the leaves as they fall upon the ground. All around me is forest. The Wolfswood.

Wandering about this thick forest, a hunger grows in my belly. My mouth waters as I imagine what beasts I must have to satisfy my aching hunger.

Traveling farther, I recognize a change in the woods, a change I had not seen before, despite all the time I’ve spent here. I see a great thicket of burnt trees. Cautiously, I approach. I find there a dozen half-dead trees and a half-dozen dead boys. I approach them and see that they’ve been killed, slashed by sword and animal bites. The boys are holding spears and wear rabbits’ skin around their necks.

I walk further and the forests ends. Abruptly, I recognize grassy fields and muddy hills. I am in the Barrowlands.

I know what has happened now. The dead bodies, the boys hiding in the Wolfswood, the signs of animal attacks.

Then I smell him. I turn my head and run without stop. I hear screams and there at the bottom of the hill are a dozen of men striking at them, but they are too large, too deadly. With each strike, their own blood spills. Then I hear my name called, and my vision turns from red-

 

-to white. I knelt within the Godswood at Winterfell, the knees of my dress damp and my hair in front of my face. The light snow landed on my hair, and my attention turned to the face of the heart tree in front of me. I felt an urge to touch the crying face of the tree, when my attention was called again.

“My Queen,” Jeyne said, concern in her voice.

“My Lady,” I replied, “I believe I told you the dangers of interrupting me when I am warging.” I stood up, and looked down at Jeyne.

She looked down nervously. “Aye, my queen,” she said, in her thick northern accent. “The King has yet arrived. You’re called to attend his triumphal return.”

I approached her, the girl that in many ways is still my best friend and looked down at her. Had I not been made Queen of Winterfell, our relationship would have been as it was before. Now, I must act as a Queen, and I cannot allow such childish feelings to sully the image of the crown. I must act above her, and she knows it. Being a foot taller than her certainly helps.

“I should wear a clean dress then, oughtn’t I?” I asked.

Jeyne nervously nodded. “I shall get one for you, Your Grace.”

I followed her and thought about how I would act once Jon arrived. He obviously won the Battle of Torrhen’s Square. That was clear, since Ghost and Nymeria were on the outskirts, killing the remaining rebels. Then my curious was piqued.

“Do you know if Arya is coming with him? Or has she remained to keep the peace?” I asked Jeyne as she fit me for my dress, a beautiful, dark purple and white silk dress.

“Queen Arya has come with him,” she replied.

Figures. Arya wouldn’t want Jon alone with me, not when he has just come from battle, eager to celebrate his triumph in the only way men want. I can’t help but roll my eyes.

Then Jeyne starts brushing my hair, and she regales with the tales of the battle that she had heard. The surprise attack worked, and her father Vayon had heard that the King of the Green Trees was forced to surrender, only for an arrow from his own side to take him out. Some believed his brother could not accepted a surrender, so he tried to lead a new defense, only for him to be killed in retaliation.

“Proud and Free, Your Grace,” Jeyne said, as she poured the slightest bit of water on the ends of my brown-red hair, “The Tallharts were so proud of their independence they would never have knelt. The King was justified.”

Proud and Free, the Tallhart words, were famous throughout the North. They decided on those words so recently. After Dagon Greyjoy took half the North two centuries ago, it was the Tallharts that successfully fought him off every time. Such an accomplishment brought not only pride their house, but further convinced them that they didn’t need a Stark King. And it convinced the rest of the realm.

“And what of Helman’s heir?” I asked, as Jeyne ties my hair in large, soft curls.

“It’s said he escaped into the Wolfswood,” Jeyne said, “He will be captured soon.”

No, he won’t.

Soon I am ready stare at myself in the mirror. My red hair and many other looks came directly from my mother. I know that nothing can be done about that, to gain the favor of other lords. All I can do is show this face proudly and unashamedly. I put a smile on my face and imagined how I would congratulate Jon on his triumph.

It is not an entirely false smile. I know I will have to speak to him about the cruel and foolish actions, but I am happy that I get to see my handsome husband again.

 

They arrived together, Arya riding by Jon proudly, her face shown through the steel mask on her head, Dark Sister attached to her hips. Jon rode, as usual, without pomp, his dark armour unadorned and without his mask. The people at Wintertown cheered, as their fathers and sons returned. Standing before Winterfell, I welcomed Jon home, and he and Arya got off from their horses.

“Congratulations are in order,” I said, as Jon approaches me, the crowd watching.

“They are premature,” he said, in his gruff voice.

I couldn’t help but gush at seeing my beautiful husband approach me, his dark hair longer and his beard thicker. He kissed my cheek.

“How well did Vayon hold down Winterfell?” Arya suddenly asked, looking up at me with contempt.

I put on a false smile. “Lord Vayon and I did well in keeping the castle from falling,” I said.

“Aye, I’m sure he did,” Arya said. As always, my sister continued to belittle me. I, as always, let her have her simple wins.

“I have had a feast prepared to celebrate your triumph,” I said.

Arya turned to Jon. “We must plan our next offensive. We don’t have time for your feasts.”

“Come, sister,” I replied, “We have time for strategy and to feast. The King cannot march at all times.”

“Enough,” Jon said, “Arya, let Sansa celebrate our works, then we can continue.”

Arya looked visibly upset, until Jon took her hand and brought her into the Keep.

 

Arya and I are often at odds. Ever since childhood, we have fought. Her, the dirty, brash girl that wanted so desperately to be a boy. I, the apparent perfect daughter, but ever the stain on the family’s heritage, the clone of my mother. Arya always believed my childhood was easier because I could please our mother, but she never understood how difficult it was for me to please our kingdom. Her Northern looks automatically gave her greater standing than me, the foreign girl. Where she could be seen as a daughter of the North, I had to try not to be the image of its enemies.

But I knew what I could do far better than Arya: deceive. My image as a fluttery, weak woman has served me well. Sympathy is given to me quickly, and few believe I could ever be plotting against them.

Arya, on the other hand, so desperate to be a boy, acts so brazenly that even Jon has to hold back her fury and need to fight. She’s made herself the “She-wolf of Winterfell” since she became Queen. Mayhaps she likes being finally recognized as a fighter. But I know few will tolerate such brazenness.

I think Jon recognizes that too. That’s why he has me by his side at our feasts. That is why he had me crown him king instead of her. It is better to be seen with me, for the people want to see that House Stark means stability, and not cruelty and blood.

Yet, I know Jon loves her just the same. While he may prefer to be seen with me at court, he prefers her in battle. While he may take me without question-

“Fuck, fuck, fuck me!” I heard coming through the walls.

-He will also take her.

I laid my head down in my bed, hearing my sister get fucked by husband. I wondered why Jon wouldn’t come to me first. He hadn’t been with me since he went to the Barrowlands. I had hoped he would be wanting something different tonight.

Tired of hearing Arya’s moans, I got out of my bed and walked out toward the rookery in my bed clothes. Tomorrow we must decide where we will strike next. Arya thinks I’m useless in strategy. But I’ll show her, I’ll show him.