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Life in Interesting Times

Chapter Text

 

 

 

The clap of thunder from the direction of Harrenhall made Arya jump out of her skin. She looked across the burned down fire to where the Hound slept and saw him awake, eyes wide and mouth open. Again lightening lit up their camp site with a queer greenish purple light. Somewhere by the tree line Stranger trumpeted and reared up on his back legs.

 

“We’re leaving!” Clegane barked at her and the scrambled to get gather the saddle bags and horse tack.

 

The air around them crackled. Arya saw little lights streaking through the forest and was shocked to see they were moths, glowing with some magic light. She felt the pressure in her ears change and she dropped her jaw seeking relief.

 

“Where are we going?” she cried at the Hound.

 

“Away” he snapped back loud enough for her to know his hearing was effected to.

 

This was his fault. There was no need to have gone this far south to get to the Saltpans. Even with the Trident between them and the cursed castle, Arya had begun to feel it's presence. She couldn't see its towers, but it was still close, out there, waiting for her like a monster in the night.

 

Another flash of lightening made Arya see greenish purple spots. Wasting no time the Hound scooped her up and plopped her in the saddle before mounting up behind her.

 

Stranger threatened to bolt and she could feel Clegane’s muscles were tense at her back.

 

They set off at a hasten trot, the Hound wary of hazards in the forest. After a few minutes the storm seemed to have died down. The woods became eerily quiet making Arya very happy when they broke through the treeline and onto the road. The stillness muffled all noise; all Arya could hear was her own ragged breath. She knew the Hound was breathing only because she could feel the billow of his ribs behind her.

 

Suddenly in the distance they spied a white glow entering the road from the trees. As it got closer she could make out that it was just a white horse, its coloring bright against the dark woods.

 

“Keep your head down and don’t fucking speak,” Clegane snarled at her as he pulled his hood low on his face to hide his scars. He didn’t need to snap at her, Arya knew what to do.

 

As they got closer, the rider on the white horse hailed to them.

 

“Hello!” came a woman’s voice.

 

Arya’s head shot up and she stared at wonder at the riders; sitting behind a tall figure with it’s hood pulled over it’s face was a young woman a little older than Sansa. She had a pretty face and her hair was white with a stripe of black.

 

Sandor Clegane stopped Stranger a healthy distance from the riders. Stranger and the white horse regarded each other.

 

“Excuse me, sir,” said the woman. “We appear to have lost our way. Could you tell us where we are?”

 

“North of the Trident and a week’s ride from the Saltpans,” rasped the Hound. His voice was like a saw on wood.

 

“The Trident?” the woman asked obviously confused. “How far from is that from Quirm?"

 

"Quirm?"

 

"Pseudopolis?"

 

"What?"

 

"Ank-Morpork?”

 

"You'll find no pork here, girl"

 

“Nevermind.” The woman said with defeat in her voice.

 

 

The hooded man in front of her urged the white horse.

 

COME BINKY.

 

As they passed Arya swore she could see a flash of white and two glowing blue eyes under the hood. She felt a cold shiver run down her back, she felt the Hound shake behind her.

 

The rider paused behind them and the cloaked figure turned.

 

I'D LAY OFF THE WINE IF I WERE YOU, SANDOR CLEGANE.

 

And with that they vanished.

 

“What in the seven buggering hells was that?!” Arya shrieked as soon as the crickets resumed chirping.

 

The Hound shook his head and tried not to tremble under his armor.

 

Without words they both swore never to speak of the encounter again.

 

 

Chapter Text

“M’lord commander?” Jon felt himself being shaken awake by his steward.

 


The first thing he noticed was Ghost walking in circles whimpering and yawning in distress.

 

Satin stood over his bed, a look of bewilderment and terror on his face.

 


“What happened, boy” Jon asked sitting up and rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "More Wildlings? Are the Others here?"

 


“There was lightening m’lord!” the boy was trembling. “It struck the Wall and then there was a booming noise and they just appeared.”

 


“Who is “they”, Satin,” Jon asked as he rose to dress himself.

 


The boy shook, “I don’t know! They claim they are part of the Watch but, there are women and other things with them!"

 

 

Jon strapped Longclaw to his belt and wrapped himself in his black cloak.

 

 

"What do you mean, "other things"?"

 

 

Satin wrung his hands and shook his head; "You must come see!"

 

 

Jon opened the door and whistled for Ghost. The direwolf followed him into the hall panting heavily. They rounded a corner and were surprised to find a blond wolf standing in the hallway leading to the courtyard of Castle Black. It stared at them with intelligent eyes and began to trot closer.

 

 

Satin gasped' "There it is! That's one of them!"

 

 

Before Jon could question him on the statement Ghost jumped in the air, all hair on edge before turning tail and running as fast as he could up the stairs. Jon stood opened mouthed down the corridor where is direwolf had just vanished in fear before turning to the blond wolf who had grown bored and was walking back out of sight.

 

 

Tormund and Pip meet him at the doorway to the yard.

 


“They came out of nowhere!” Pip cried. “We have archers on them but two of them are made out of rock!”

 


Tormund said nothing, but his face was pale under his beard.

 

 

Truly, no Lord Commander of the Night's Watch had ever had to deal with the scene that met Jon:

 

Standing in the courtyard of Castle Black stood a dozen creatures all in matching armor milling around and talking amongst themselves. Pip had been right, two of them looked like giants made of rock. Some where human, others were short like Tyrion Lannister only with beards that hung almost to the ground. One looked like a statute that moved towards whomever was speaking. Around them the brothers of the Nights Watch stared openly, their expressions varied in between fear and wonder.

 

One of the humans detached himself from the group and strode forward with the air of a person in charge who wanted some answers. Behind him marched a tall man in shining armor accompanied by the blond wolf who had scared Ghost.

 

Jon stood tall and placed his hand on Longclaw. He licked his dry lips.

 

He breathed deep and tried to remember the instruction by Maester Luwin back in Winterfell on how to greet and treat with foreign dignitaries.

 


The man with a purpose stopped an arm's length away from Jon. He was the same height as Jon, but with a wiry build and looked as old as Benjen. He had a funny stick that glowed at the end clinched between his teeth. Jon smelled a funny sweet burning smell as he approached. The man in shiny armor and the wolf flanked him on each side.

 

In response Tormund and Pip stepped forward, although how they would fare against a two meter tall perfectly muscled man with a sword and a wolf that scared Ghost was questionable.

 

A tense moment sent a hush through the castle as the two men took the measure of each other.

 


The moment broke when the man held out his hand in greeting; “Samuel Vimes, Commander Ank Morpork City Watch."

 

Jon let out a breath he didn't realize he had been holding.

 


“Jon Snow, Lord Commander of the Nights Watch,” Jon said shaking the man’s hand in disbelief.

 


Commander Vimes held eye contact with Jon through their shake.

 


“Lord, huh?” Vimes tested the title.

 


Jon felt he should clarify, “More Commander than Lord.”

 


“Ah,” Vimes said obviously relieved and dropped Jon’s hand.

 


He inhaled and the glowing stick flared, then he exhaled smoke and pulled the stick from his mouth.

 

 

The man in shiny armor held out his hand; "Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson"

 

 

His handshake was firm and his face was honest.

 

 

Jon was about to address Commander Vines when the wolf at his boots twisted in a sickening unnatural way.

 

 

In it's place stood a beautiful naked woman.

 

 

A collective gasp rippled through the brothers of the Nights Watch. Tormund made a noise in the back of his throat somewhere between a growl and whimper.

 

 

"Sergeant Angua von Uberwald," she said holding out her hand.

 

 

Jon felt his face turn red as he tried to focus on her face, but her eyes were mocking and her grip was crushing his hand. Out of instinct he almost warned her of the rapist and criminals around her, but then reconsidered since anyone who scared a direwolf would probably have no issue dealing with men.

 

 

Commander Vimes cleared his throat and gestured with his cigar;

 


“Well Commander Snow, could you please explain where we are and how one minute I’m chasing down a slade smuggling mob boss and the next I’m freezing my armor off next to a huge block of ice?”

Chapter Text

A crack of greenish-purple lightening brought the rat out of it's nest in the stable. It wiggled it's nose as electricity gave the air a metallic-flowery smell.

 

A flash of grey, a snap and the taste of blood was the last thing the rat felt before it found itself standing next to it's eviscerated corpse.

 

"Squeak?" it said in surprise.

 

SQUEAK replied the Death of Rats as he went about his duty in this new and alien place.

 

***

 

Mance Rayder watched the little old lady dressed in a black dress, pointed hat and red boots with fascination. While he was used to playing rowdy pub songs, but she was beyond him. Her unashamed laughter, suggestive winking and banjo made her a favorite in the room and the burly Northmen sat around her. They laughed and slapped their thighs at her songs. She smoked her pipe and encouraged the singing along.

 

Mance took note of the lyrics, just in case he would need them later

 

"C'mon my lad!" she laughed elbowing him as she tuned her instrument. "You can't be a bard if you don't know the words!"

 

"Everyone! You can bugger a bear if you do it with care...."

 

***

Ramsey Bolton was in a jovial mood: he was lord of a castle, had an obedient wife and the support of the Lannisters. 

 

As as he turned a corner he spotted a mangy tom-cat sleeping in front of the fire in his study.

 

Smiling with the promise of some fun he dug his fingers into the grey mangy pelt and jerked the cat up by the scruff.

 

Greebo regarded the man with his good eye.

 

He had spent the night searching for amusement in this new castle.

 

First he had found a big fat rat to disembowel, which was always fun.

 

Then he had visited the kitchens and was rewarded with a smoked white fish. After that he had wandered out to the kennels were he grinned at some dogs till their whining got on his nerves.

 

He had just finished having a rut with an unknown she-cat and was dozing by the fire when a human picked him up by the scruff of his neck.

 

"Stupid pussy," Ramsey Bolton snarled as he unsheathed his dagger, "Lets have some fun!”

 

Greebo unsheathed his claws.

 

Fun, oh yes.... fun

 

***

Magrat Garlick shook the wand while addressing the poor girl wrapped in a blanket on the bed in front of her.

 

"You're my what again?"

 

"Fairy Godmother!"

 

Jeyne Poole shook her head. "And what is that?"

 

Magrat tried to smile even when the wand sputtered and shot out pitiful sparks. "I am here to grant you your heart's desire!"

 

Jeyne Poole watched this woman with horror. What was Ramsey playing at now?

 

Suddenly there was a key in the lock and the sound of men's laughter filled the room; in walked Ramsey's boys.

 

They looked at Magrat, and Magrat looked at them. They lunged at Magrat and she screamed waving the wand at them in defense.

 

A blast of gold sparks shot out the end and the men vanished. In their place was a stack of pumpkins.

 

Magrat stared at them in horror.

 

"Oh no!" she shrieked.

 

Jeyne jumped out of bed and hugged Magrat as tight as she could.

 

"You do grant wishes!" she whispered in her ear.

 

Before Magrat could react, Jeyne was picking up the pumpkins and smashing them against the floor.

 

***

 


Theon Greyjoy left Lady Dustin to her thoughts and wandered the crypts.

 

His hand ached, sometimes he felt pain in fingers that were no longer there. Not really paying attention to where he was going he didn’t see the women till he was almost on top of them. The first was tall with dark hair, elegantly dressed and carrying a sword, while her companion was short with long hair carrying a sack.

 

“Pardon me” the tall one stated in a way that implied it was Theon who was out of place. “My name is  Maladict, and this is Igorina. Do you know the way out of these crypts?”


Theon could see her long white teeth flash in the torch light and he took a step back. Whimpering brought his mangled hands up in defense.


“Oh myth dear boyth,” slurped the short woman as she limped to Theon’s side. “You looth lith you could usth a hand.”


Theon stared at the female; she looked like she had been stitched together like a quilt. He could actually see the stitches!


“Hold on,I goth one in here thomewhere,” she said and began rummaging through her bag.