Read Me First: This story assumes a couple of things have not taken place, and actually diverges rather early form both the book and tv series.
- Sandor Clegane does not come to Winterfell with Robert Baratheon, thus not knowing what Sansa looks like.
- Sandor Clegane is higher up in military command for the Lannisters / Baratheons.
- Sandor Clegane is a bad guy in this one….yeah I know. Maybe he will become sympathetic but honestly I haven’t thought that far ahead yet :-)
- Sansa Stark never lived in King’s Landing, as her father would rather start a war with his old friend than become Hand of the King.
Prologue: To Fight From Within
Winterfell was burning, the embers and ash swirled around in the air making it difficult to breath. Everything was gone, everything was destroyed. So many had fought so bravely, but It had ended in complete and utter disaster. Eddard Stark had lost the war against Robert Baratheon; they had lost the War of Southern Aggression. It had started simply enough, Ned Stark had refused to become the Hand of the King. He had refused to wed his eldest daughter Sansa to Robert’s eldest son Joffrey. Lord Stark’s refusal would hurt the pride of the King leading to an argument that would spiral out of control, that would lead to an invasion of their lands.
“We will all pay for the sins of our fathers.” Sansa muttered through her tears.
There was no way to contain her emotions or to heal the wounds inflicted on her as her home, Winterfell, was sacked by the southern armies. So Sansa did what she and her siblings had agreed they would do should the city fall, they would run. The tears were so thick in her eyes that she was bumping into trees and tangling her dress in the underbrush of the deep forest. It was the dead of night, the only illumination in the forest was the light cast by the great fires that now raged in the keep she had call home her whole life.
Sansa cursed the Southerners for breaking their peace, for following a King so easily wounded and so ready to jump into conflict. They had been ready to offer a diplomatic solution, been ready to pay in gold for their refusal of these offers. Robert Baratheon would have none of it.
Sansa wiped her eyes and looked for the clearing. She was five and ten, a woman flowered but still somehow in this moment she was in desperate need of her mother.
‘She’s dead.’ Sansa reminded herself, ‘She and father, Robb… ’ They were dead and she knew it. She had seen it with her own eyes.
‘The southern occupiers will pay for this.’ This was her vow to herself. Made while stumbling toward their predefined meeting ground. Sansa hoped against hope that at least some of her siblings had made it now as she had.
“Sansa?” The voice came from the clearing, she turned to see her half brother Jon waiting for her there. Covered in blood but seemingly in good health. At his side Arya, her last surviving family members. It pained her to know she had lost so much--it angered her too.
Hugging them both at the same time Sansa cried even more, heaving and weeping for happiness, sadness, and loss. Everything had happened at once, it was overwhelming, debilitating and physically exhausting.
“Listen to me.” Jon said to her, “If we want any chance of making it through this we need to split up. We need to scatter to the winds to have any hope of coming back stronger.”
They all agreed, nodding their heads in silence.
“Good.” Jon continued. “I’ll head to the Wall, see if I can round up support from the Crows and the Wildlings. Surely there must be some support for us amongst the Wildling tribes. But it will take time to bring them to our side.”
Sansa nodded, rubbing the snot from her nose.
“I’ll go to Essos,” Arya offered, “Father had some connections in the free cities there, and perhaps I can also train and garner support for our cause.”
Jon nodded in acceptance. Arya was young but she had always been able to fend for herself. Then all eyes were on Sansa.
Honestly, she wasn’t sure what she would do. Sansa had trained to be a lady, not a warrior. She had trained to run a household and a keep, not to live on the run from an army. This war had destroyed everything, turned her world upside down, chewed it up, and spit it back out again.
Then it hit her, “I’ll stay here.” She said, to the shock of her siblings.
Sansa continued, “Most everybody in the castle has been murdered. So no one will know who I am. I will take refuge amongst the people, live under the occupation and...and keep the people ripe for rebellion.” She looked at Jon, “Keep support for you when you come back.”
Jon took her by the shoulders, “Are you sure about this? The Southern Dogs will punish the population. I can’t even think about the crimes that will ensue once they take over in full.”
“Yes.” She said, not afraid of what was to come. “They will never suspect a woman. I will be patient Jon. I will lead a war of sabotage, make it difficult for them to rule the North. They must pay for what they have done, and sowing the seeds of rebellion is the first logical step.”
Jon understood, Arya too. “Then the best of luck to you my sisters. If you need to send me word, do it via the traveling Crow, the one who picks up the men for the Wall.”
They kissed one another and held each other one last time.
When they left, Sansa cast out any finery or riches she had on her, throwing them into a nearby river. She closed her eyes, taking a single deep breath and pushing it out again. She would become Magda, she would learn to work the land, and she would use all of her knowledge of organization and politics to mount a guerrilla offensive against the southern occupiers.
“The North remembers.” She declared out loud, knowing that vengeance would be a long fought battle in and of itself.