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A Rose Torn from the Vine

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The North seemed like a magical land to me before that day. It was a land of various monsters and legends, a land of snow and ice, with people like giants, with great beards, gruff accents, and even rougher manners. That was until the day my carriage rolled through The Twins toward Winterfell entering the North, my future home and realizing this held more terror over me than a pack of direwolfs ever could.

I watched the snow slopes roll by outside as I pulled my heavy, fur-trimmed coat tighter around me, feeling my lips tremble. I never felt so cold in my life, never even saw snow before, I was living in the endless summer of The Reach, ignorant and happy until King Robert died and the whole realm started to crumble from the inside out and my family got involved with the royals, giving my cousin Margaery for the young Baratheon King to wed. Then an even younger, then an even younger one, until finally she and Loras along with my uncle Mace have been murdered in Baelor’s Sept.

That is when my life really had to change as I became the eldest granddaughter of Olenna Tyrell, the one to trade away, to marry off to someone with good prospects, power and influence, someone who could defeat the Lannisters and take revenge for us.

“The choice was obvious”, she said to me, Robb Stark of Winterfell, King in the North, the one that fights the Others with one arm and Cersei with the other. A man who could use our crops, our men, our insight on his council, who is willing to enter the bound of matrimony once more to secure his place on the battlefield, willing to take me as his wife. Grandmother said I should be grateful that she had arranged this marriage, that I can serve the family and marry a man with honor, not like poor Margaery. And I tried to be grateful, I tried really hard to make myself believe that this was the best thing that could happen to us after losing a branch of our tree.

But riding to Winterfell, leaving the safety of my home, my family, all I ever knew, crossing Westeros, getting so close to the frontlines, escorted by a smaller army of our own only made sure I was terrified from the North by the time I set foot in their capital. I watched the high, dark stone walls appear, towers and banners with direwolf sigils all over, a cold rack of rocks sprinkled with snow from a distance and not much more inviting from up close either. I trembled in my whole being when we got past the gates and the carriage halted. Hild and Myra helped me put on my new boots and straightened out my dress and heavy white cloak over it, checking if my braids were still holding.
- You look gorgeous, my lady - Hild whispered to me seeing I was fiddling with my rings nervously. - Everything will be fine.
I nodded at her, straightening out, trying to gather my composure to make a good first impression.

- I present to you the Lady Elynna Fossoway, daughter of Lady Janna Tyrell - one of our escorts announced as he opened the door for me. The cold wind had slapped me sharply, but I got up slowly and accepted his help stepping out in front of everyone.

It a took a moment for my eyes to get used to the blinding light reverting from the snow covering everything around us, but I tried not to squint too obviously as I took a few steps forward, towards the Stark family as I assumed. I ran my eyes over them, trying to put the names to the faces from the notes I was given of them before.
It was easiest to spot the Lady Catelyn, her complexion almost odd compared to the lords and ladies around her, or even just compared to her children, she looked a bit older than what I expected, but her auburn hair and kind blue eyes made me feel right at ease as our gazes connected for a moment. I quickly moved on to her eldest daughter, who looked most similar to her, her younger version almost. There was no doubt about her high-born ancestry, Sansa Stark radiated elegance and sophistication in every detail of her features and outfit, unlike her sister, Arya, who I was most interested in, knowing close to nothing about her. She was dressed simply in pants and a light, gray cloak with a blade on her side, which I found most unusual.
Next to her stood the bastard son of the late Eddard Stark, Jon who was named Snow, whereas in the Reach he would have been called Flowers. His blue eyes watched me intently, his black hair pulled back from his face, making it easy to see that he was not much older than me. He was dressed in black, despite the fact that he was not part of the Night’s Watch no more, but a Commander to his brother, Robb.
Robb, who stepped forward to greet me. He was taller than me, broader too, or maybe it was just the heavy furs he was wearing over his steel armor. I looked up at him, his blue Tully eyes resting on mine, unreadable at first sight, making me feel uneasy but unable to break away from them. His hair framed his smooth, rectangular, bearded face that made him seem much older than what he actually was. His expression was nor friendly, nor inhospitable, it was just blank, but his eyes, they held me captive, making me feel small, but strangely enough, basking in his attention.
I quickly got my glove off my left hand and extended it as he bowed to me and took it, mocking a kiss on the back of it. His touch was warm despite the freezing cold and the fact that he did not wear any gloves.

- Welcome to Winterfell, our home, Lady Fossoway - he said quietly, letting my hand go, so I could courtesy to him, bowing deep as I would to any king.
- Thank you for having me, your grace - I replied politely, looking at him expectantly. I wanted nothing more than to do all this inside where it's warm.
- Please, meet my family - he stepped towards his half-brother first to introduce each of them properly and I tried to smile with my trembling lips on them, cursing the winter inside.
His mother was kindest to me, she saw instantly that I'm close to freezing to death and she sent a maid to prepare some tea for me to sip on while the servants unpacked my boxes and crates and my maids prepared my room for me.
- Poor thing, let's get you inside, my darling - she took my arm and pulled me from Robb's side. - Please apologize in Lady Fossoway's name to our guests, but we will finish introductions later - she instructed the king like he was just a boy, but he didn't take issue with it, he waved Jon to his side and got to it as Lady Catelyn ushered me into the keep.

The castle was, fortunately, much warmer from the inside, they assured me that I got one of the warmest rooms besides Lady Catelyn's as we crossed a corridor and entered a stairway, the walls are laced with the thermal water springing from under the fort, they went on, providing heating to the Great Keep where the family lives.
- A rather large family, might I add - I finally found my voice again as I was led into a room which I presumed was the Lady's.
- A pack of wolfs, some might say - she chuckled. - Do you have a large family as well?
- Two sisters, both younger than me, Leahna and Flora, no brothers, though I always wished we had one - I smiled. The maid from before showed up with a tray and cups. Sansa handed me the first cup and I held it with both hands to warm my numb fingers back up.
- I'm sorry about the cold - the lady started watching me eager to sip the hot liquid. - I know how you must feel like, but you will get used to it. It's a very big gap between the climate of your home and ours, Highgarden and Winterfell.
- Actually, we were living in New Barrel at my father's ancestral home, but we spent most of the past few years in High Garden with my grandmother due to the war.
- I heard you passed near the southern frontlines near Harrenhal, how was that, did you have any problems there?
- Fortunately no - I shook my head, a bit taken aback by Sansa's question. - The Tyrell soldiers my Grandmother sent with me made sure to get me here safely and they will stay around at King Robb's disposal while I am here.
- I see - Lady Catelyn noded, quickly changing the subject. - Tell me, Lady Elynna, how old are you again?
- I had my twentieth nameday just two moons ago, my lady - I smiled, grateful for the lighter question.
- Such young beauty, I wonder why your Grandmother insisted on sending you here, it should have been Robb, who rides for Highgarden to ask for your hand, not the other way around - she wondered and I wasn't sure if she was genuine or if she was implying something.
- She wanted me to see my future, where I would live if the King decides to take me as his wife - I answered, looking into my half-empty cup. - And he is fighting a war from multiple sides anyway, it would be illogical for him to ride down south just to take a look at me and then return later to wed me. We wanted to save him time by my coming here.
- It must have been a long journey, my lady - Sansa commented and I looked at her.
- It was - I sighed, feeling a bit more uncomfortable as silence set in.
- We should probably let you take your room now - said Lady Catelyn, standing from her seat, putting down her cup and I followed her lead immediately. - I'm sure you would want to get some rest before tonight's dinner, settle in and whatnot - she smiled at me and I smiled back before we said our goodbyes and let a maid escort me to my room in a different part of the castle.

My quarters were more than generous, a great fireplace adding to the heat of the large chamber that had a view of the Godswood, a sacred place for all northerners. I spent my time till nightfall by bathing and getting dolled up for the night, but all the while thinking about the way he looked at me. It didn't last for long, he didn't show me any affection, but nevertheless, I felt something; he didn't only see me, he had read me in a moment. I just didn't know if he liked what he saw or not.

I didn't manage to find that out that night.
I was seated between Jon Snow and the King directly on his right, but we didn't talk much in the constant toasts they were honoring him with like they tried to sell me on him. I didn't feel like I was the one that needed convincing, more like the other way around. He barely even gave me a look, in conversation with some lord constantly and Jon Snow wasn't exactly talkative either. He asked me about my home and if I knew someone who joined the Night's Watch in my family and I asked why he decided to abandon his oath, which made him quite uneasy giving me an evasive answer. We talked only about the food after that.
I drank more sweet mead than I ever did in my life, but no amount of it washed the bitter taste of utter defeat from my tongue.
I didn't know if I should be offended or ashamed about it once I returned to my room, but either way, I had a strong sense that the King will not take me as his bride.

I felt like I failed Grandmother like I didn’t try hard enough to make Robb Stark take an interest in me, ruining our chance to have an alliance with the Northerners, but the next morning at breakfast, he stood from my side and announced our engagement without as much as a warning. When he sat back down, he turned to me and informed me that we will get married in two moons time in the Godswood and hold the celebrations in Winterfell the same night, which was not at all what I was promised.

I was devastated.

This was not I was dreaming of, what my mother promised me before I was sent here. I wanted to get married in Highgarden, in the sept where my parents eloped, surrounded by my family and friends, pretty flowers and airy dresses with all the gold jewelry and tiaras I could carry. And now I was being traded off in fur and silver like a wildling at a place as cold as the Wall itself. In fact, I would have liked the Wall better, at least the view would have been nice from above.

But now, it was decided, I would never be able to return to my home, I was cast out here to become the wife of a man who wouldn't even acknowledge my existence.
I locked myself in my room and cried like it would make it better, but I had to realize that there is nothing I could do to change the decision, it would make no sense do it any other way, so I had to cope and make the best of it.
I decided to take part in the planning of the ceremony and the feast after and Robb did not deny my request to do so. From then on, I kept myself distracted from the fact that I was entering matrimony with a man whom I knew nothing about by concentrating on having the wedding I, a lady, a lady of Highgarden deserved.
I choose musicians and ordered cooks from Highgarden to be brought to Winterfell to prepare my favorite meals, I invited a seamstress from Whiteharbour to make me a set of dresses for the occasion to wear, I sent ravens to the best goldsmiths and jewelers of the realm to choose the best rings for my husband and me and when my Grandmother and mother finally arrived a week before the ceremony I made them pay for all of it with a smile on my face.

-------

The morning of the wedding it was snowing heavily.
I watched from the window as the last of the guests arrived from the different parts of the North and the South; followed the small flakes falling in my palm through the open window, pressing my lips together to keep them from trembling of the freezing air. I had been training myself for the cold at night in the Godswood for a week and a half like this, ten to fifteen minutes a morning, so I wouldn’t freeze to death when my father gives me away.
I didn't want to disappoint anyone and cause a scene at my own wedding.

- Morning, my sweet peach - my mother entered my room and I closed the window immediately, seeing how she shuddered. - Are you ready for your bridal breakfast? - she asked carefully, noticing that I am not yet dressed.
- I don't think I'm ready for this day at all, Mother - I replied, starting to undress as Hild came to my aid.
- Why would you say that, Ely? - she came up to me taking me by the shoulders, looking me straight in the eyes, trying to guess what was wrong with me. - Have you seen your husband-to-be? He is a King fit for the Iron Throne and he is the most dashing young widower if I have ever seen one. And not only that, but there is nothing more important to a Stark than family and honor, especially Robb, so he will never mistreat you. And those eyes, my love...
- Mother - I warned before she could go on. - He is not the problem.
- Then what is?
- Me? - I pulled on my undergarments. - He doesn't like me, Mother, I can tell, he finds me dull and boring, we can't speak for more than five minutes even if we are seated right next to each other. He wouldn't even look at me - my voice grew desperate as I tried to hold back my tears.
- Sweet peach? - she shook me by the arms so I would look her in the eye. - There is nothing wrong with you - she said, her tone genuine. - He is a busy man, a King, in the middle of a war he has to fight on multiple sides. He is just too busy to take an interest in anything else. Once you are married, he will have no choice, but to care for you and spend time with you.
- You think?
- If you let him bed you tonight, he will not ignore you ever again, I promise you - she took my hands in hers and squeezes them reassuringly.
- And what if he doesn't want to bed me? What then? - I start to panic again, but she shushes me.
- Then he is a fool, my love, and you can move back to Highgarden as you please, he won't care - she acted like it wouldn't be an absolute catastrophe, but her words made sense and helped a little with the nervousness.
After dressing up, the Breakfast commenced. It was a southern tradition, that the groom and the bride had separate breakfasts on their wedding day which guests of each could attend. For the bride, the female guests from both her and her betrothed's side, for the groom the male guests of the both of them and female relatives of his own, like his mother, sisters were invited. My sisters, my friends, my aunts all showed up as well as Sansa, who decided to attend my breakfast over her brother's.
My worries were fading somewhat as we ate from the table laid with savory and sweet treats, delicious cakes and desserts, that reminded me of the mornings in Highgarden, surrounded by familiar faces, at last, feeling the comfort the presence of my family meant.
The gifts were generous, and the smiles genuine giving me great comfort; my mother gave me a small jewelry box with my family's sigils engraved on its lid: a vine that yielded both golden roses and green apples of precious stones, inside there was a few of her favourite necklaces and rings to remind me of her when I wear them. My sister Leahna gave me some books from our library, rare volumes of romantics and history books, one of them a collection of stories about the queens of Westeros. Flora gifted me a set of custom-made hairpins with golden roses and apples as well as silver wolf-heads and snowflakes to suit my new name "Elynna Stark". Sansa gave me a gorgeous blue cloak to match the color of my eyes as she said and to keep me warm when I travel the North as queen. It had a hood with a white fur trim, the clasp just like what they were wearing all the time: the silver sigil of House Stark.
The last gift I received was from Grandmother, a silver tiara from her collection I was about to wear for the ceremony, heavily adorned with flowers and spears.
- To the new Queen in the North, may she be as fierce, strong and loyal as a Stark should always be, but gentle and fertile like the land she came from - she said almost emotional as she placed the cushioned box with the jewel in my hands. - Make us proud, Elynna - she whispered as I leaned down for her to kiss my forehead.

Her words rang into my ears all afternoon as my sisters and maids were dressing me, complementing the seamstress who had sewn my gown, adorning the silvery-white fabric with small, almost snowflake-like flowers on the bodice, pearls down the skirt and fur around the neckline. My maids braided my hair in a northern fashion, inserting pearly pins where they could before Grandmother placed the chosen tiara on top of my head.
As bad as I felt the day we got engaged with my dreams of my wedding falling apart, the moment I looked in the mirror, I couldn't have been happier with the result.
- If the Stark King doesn't fall in love with you right the second he sees you, there is something terribly wrong with him, Ely - my sister Leahna said jokingly. My aunt Mina agreed, giving me a kiss on the cheek.

Even my father looked truly surprised when he saw me, hugged me close and gave me a kiss before he took my arm and linked it in his. He watched me for a moment, his gaze heavy with emotions but he didn't say a word, so I squeezed his hand reassuringly.
- I'll be fine, Father - I told him, or maybe just myself to make it easier to swallow my nerves.
The snow was still falling softly as we stepped out to the courtyard, and the flakes were glinting in the light of the lanterns the guest were holding to light our way to the Godswood. We walked in silence, hundreds of eyes watching our every move, arms linked and shoulders touching with my father and I felt grateful for his strength beside me, thinking there is no one I would rather walk down this road with.
My heart was drumming hard against my chest and I felt the chill of the North bite into me, but I didn't mind, the cold felt familiar by now. As we were reaching the end of the path, I saw Sansa and Arya, side by side wearing the same gray, fur-hemmed coats, my mother in her brown fur, sisters with clattering teeth and purple lips right behind.
And finally standing right in front of the heart tree stood The Lady Catelyn, in a blue wool dress and a cape in a similar color, her hair braided loosely, making her look younger than I ever seen her. She smiled at me when she saw me and I cloud not resist smiling back at her, feeling a bit more at ease by her approval.
In the absence of his father, she was the one giving away the King, in the fashion of the North, in front of the Old Gods. When we were planning the ceremony this was the only demand of the groom; despite the fact that me, my family, her mother and most of Westeros converted long ago to the faith of the Seven, he wanted us to elope in the tradition of the Old Gods, like a true lord of the North.

A few more steps and I was finally able to see him too. He stood tall and mighty, like any king should, almost towering over his mother, his hands resting behind his back. He wore a heavy black cloak, under it a dark blue doublet with matching close-fitting pants and black boots. It was the first time I saw him without an armor on and his heavy beard; without it, his face looked much younger and his features more defined. His hair was combed back from his face, cut shorter than before, his side-part more defined, but he didn't look overly unnatural for those few stresses that curled over his forehead defiantly.
I turned my gaze to meet his hesitantly, seeing how he ran his eyes over me too, then locking them with mine. He licked his lips nervously before giving me a small smile as he saw me watching him, his eyes filling with some kind of warmness I didn't see before but calmed me more than any words could have.

- Who comes before the Old Gods this night? - came the clear voice of Lady Stark, making me break away from Robbs eyes, squeezing my father's cold hand as he held me.
- Elynna of the Houses Fossoway and Tyrell - he announced proudly. - , comes here to be wed. A woman grown and flowered, trueborn and noble - he went on, making me notice how naturally the words came to him, despite the fact that he only had a day or so to learn them. - She comes to beg the blessing of the Gods. Who comes to claim her?
- Robb, of House Stark, Lord of Winterfell and King in the North - Lady Catelyn glanced at his eldest with pride. - Who gives her?
- Jon, of the House Fossoway, Knight of New Barrel and head of the green-apple Fossoways.
- Lady Elynna, will you take this man? - she addressed me finally and I had to swallow my racing heart before I could answer, looking over to Robb. He watched me still, almost humble, submissive like I would have had the option to turn him away. But even if I could have, I somehow knew I wouldn't.
- I take this man - my voice echoed as I said the words that bounded me to him forever, unable to tear myself away from his eyes burning in the torchlight.

Catelyn stepped forward and took her son's hand as well as mine from my father's to join them together as we all turned to face the bleeding tree. I glanced at my feet as I lifted my dress with my other hand and kneeled down next to Robb in front of the tree, tracing the red lines on its bark with my eyes before resting it on the snow at its roots.
We stayed there in complete silence, only the woods whispered as the wind ran through them and I could feel how his hand was bigger than mine but warm and soft as it held me, before he laced his fingers through mine, his thumb brushing against the back of my hand gently, reassuringly.
It felt like long minutes before Robb pulled me up with him from the ground to face me once more, removing his black cloak with the direwolf embroidered on the back of it. I stepped closer and he wrapped it around my shoulders delicately, clasping it at my neck. The garment felt heavy but radiated his heat and scent, something like smoke and soap, that made me suddenly feel safe and at ease.
He took my hand and nodded towards my father as if he was thanking him for letting him have me before we took our first steps as husband and wife down the path towards the castle. The wedding party erupted in cheer then, clapping and whistling, shouting good wishes and jokes about marriage alternatively at us as we passed them by.
And despite all my worries and all my doubt, for that walk I felt happy, smiling at everyone like I have never been happier in my life and maybe that was true, maybe I was just feeling relieved that it was over, that I completed the mission my Grandmother had given me, even though, the hardest part was still before me.

The festivities had started with a raise of jugs and goblets, my father wishing us a long and successful marriage, as well as a fruitful union between the houses Stark and Tyrell, and everyone drank to that. Some other lords said toasts in our honor during the feast, they wished us many children, they wished Winterfell a worthy heir, they wished the war to be won by the union, the Lannisters to rot in hell and swore fealty to me and my children to be born from our marriage more times than I was able to keep count of.
Robb drinks every time, careful to take only a sip of his ale, just like he warned me I should too. The others were not quite as moderate, soon there was music and dancing, songs were sung and punches were thrown until finally, they started shouting about my maidenhead, the bedding and some men even came up to the King as he was introducing some of his bannermen to me to ask if they could take me to his chambers.
Robb looked over to me and must have seen the dread in my eyes because he smiled wide and turned to his men, waving the musicians off.
- My Lords - he started, looking around the room, drawing everyone's attention to him. - , your wish is my command, but I am King, so I'll handle my wife all alone like any men should - he curled his arm around my waist as they laughed, pulling me close to him. - So let me carry this delicate southern flower of Highgarden to bed myself and make her bloom for me! - he yelled with verve, making me blush hard and the guests cheer once more, clinking drinks as he picked me up and took me out of the hall.
The corridors of the family's quarters were quiet, some servants were just leaving his room and my maids and his squire were already waiting for us to help us undress.
He put me down just by the bed, his face serious, the cheerful glint in his eyes gone as he walked over to the other side of the bed.
Myra got to undoing the strings of my dress and my corset, after folding Robb's cloak carefully onto a chair as Hild was letting down my hair, removing the pins and my tiara carefully, while I watched my husband's form getting revealed to my eyes for the first time. Under his doublet, he wore a white shirt and as the squire unbuttoned that I could see the muscular plain of his chest and abdomen. He shook it off and the boy folded it, revealing his broad shoulders and trained arms. He kicked off his boots and waved the boy away quickly, still wearing his pants as he turned to watch me.
I took a few more minutes for my girls to free me from the many confines, but just like him, I send them away, keeping the dress hugged to my chest. We both watched the servants leave and only turned back to face each other when the door closed behind them.

There was a moment of stillness, a moment of indescribable peace as we were finally alone, just the two of us without anyone watching.
- Should I...? - I asked him hesitantly, breaking the silence and he nodded without a word, just following my movements.
I peeled away the heavy wedding gown carefully, slowly, laying it next to the cloak and removed the remainder of my undergarments as he undid his belt and pushed down his trousers and underpants swiftly.
We moved without intention, no feeling or real thought behind it, it was what we had to do, it was what I had to do to fulfill the purpose, the role I was given and I wasn't about to back down, no matter how scared and small I felt, standing in front of him naked. We looked at each other over the bed, seeing each other for the first time really in the dimly lit room.

He moved first, but instead of climbing on the bed, he circled around it, coming up to me. I felt scared and excited at the same time, my blood running quicker as he took both of my hands and lifted them to his lips.
He kept his eyes fixed on my face as he kissed each of my knuckles and though I found the act kind and sweet, it didn't calm my nerves at all. I started to tremble from his proximity.
- Are you afraid? - he asked softly, his voice so quiet, I could barely hear him over my heartbeat. I opened my mouth to speak, but I couldn't find my words, so I just nodded, averting my gaze.
- Are you afraid of me? - he questioned again, pulling my palms against his chest. The warmness of his skin still surprised me, but even more, his hurried heartbeat under my right hand. I looked at his face, considering my answer.
It was quite dark in the candle-lit room; his eyes seemed almost black, his long eyelashes fluttering as he blinked, the shadows playing on his angular face, highlighting his strong jawline and elegant cheekbones. He looked as honest and open as I've ever seen him, maybe from the beard being gone leaving him boyish and innocent-looking, but a man in every detail nonetheless. I didn't fear him like I did when I first arrived in Winterfell, but I still didn't trust him completely in lack of interaction.

- I would never hurt you - he assured me when I took too long to reply. - We don't have to do this now if you don't want to - he went on, his tone considerate and fond -, you must be exhausted and unnerved from the day behind us...
- Are you? - I cut him off, trying to decide if he was genuinely worried for me or just wanted to avoid bedding me altogether.
- No, not one bit - he chuckled, brushing his thumbs against the back of my hands.
- I'm not tired either - I said, determined to go ahead with the night.
- Good - he nodded, watching me intently. - Good - he repeated running his right hand up my left arm, to cup my cheek and pull me closer. - So you are ready - he half stated, half asked before he dipped his head close and kissed me on the mouth.
His lips were dry and the kiss and gentle as our noses brushed together and his hand kept me close, his heartbeat increasing with mine. He pulled away just for a moment before he claimed my lips again and this time, I was the one leaning in closer, opening my mouth to him, letting him kiss me deeper, more eager and brave.
His other hand slipped from over mine and came around my waist, holding me at the small of my back, pulling me closer to his hard body and even harder member. I felt surprised for a moment by the passion and gentleness he was showing me and it made me a bit more dauntless too; I ran my hands up to his chest, to the nape of his neck to waive my fingers into his curly, dark hair and let a moan slip from the deep of my throat.
We were kissing for long minutes, every second stripping away my fear of being rejected bit by bit, the way he held me firm and close, his erection rubbing against my stomach and his low hums of pleasure all let me know, that he had no intention to let me go untouched anymore.
When we parted, we just stood there for a while, breathless, eyes closed, foreheads touching, chest to chest, our hands tracing circles on the other's skin, not thinking of what was appropriate anymore. I let myself to be carried by my instincts as I lifted my chin and steal a kiss before pulling away. He opened his eyes, stealing one final glance at my face before he pushed me gently down on the bed, joining me in the embrace of the various furs it was laid with. I laid back and watched him move, wondering why he was taking his time with me, slow like this, gentle like this when other lords would have been long finished with me. Not that I had any experience on the subject, I just heard stories of wedding nights.
I watched him look me over from head to toe, kneeling, towering over me, baring his manhood to my eyes to glance at, standing hard and slightly thicker than what I thought I was ready for, framed by a patch of hair and muscular thighs that looked like they were carved by a sculptor, joining at his narrow hips. The V shape from there ran up to his tight, scarred core and continued on in his hairy chest I was longing to feel from the moment I saw it under his open shirt. I could see his muscles move under his skin as he shifted to lay beside me.

He ran one of his fingers up my left thigh, over my side to my breast, placing his open palm over it.
- You look beautiful - he stated simply, his voice serious just like his eyes as they found mine. -, so graceful and delicate like a young doe; in the Godswood almost too beautiful for me, but now, without the dresses and the jewels, you are my wife. Only mine to hold, mine to protect, mine to care for - he pushed himself up to lean over me. - And all this is only possible because you let me, you gave me permission and I will do my best not the abuse the power you gave me over you - he dipped down and kissed me hard and wet. - So don't be afraid to stop me if you want to - he cradled my head in his right, lifting me up from the bed to take my lips again, his other hand wandering further down my body, caressing my hips, my backside, the outside of my thigh. I wrapped my arms around his neck and back, finally rid of the anxiety that slowly gave place for excitement and some sort of confidence I didn’t expect to feel on my wedding night.
When his fingers reached the inside of my thigh he broke the kiss to look me in the eye, touching me for the first time where only he was allowed. He ran his index finger over the slit and added his middle to spread my folds, making me squirm and tear my gaze from his.
- You are wet - he said, almost with wonder as he moved his fingers up and down my slickness, conjuring a sharp intake of breath from me, making him look at my face.
I thanked the Seven for it was too dark for him to see how flushed I got in embarrassment and that he didn’t stop whatever he was doing to me.
Soon I was not able to hold back my moans as he picked up the pace, rubbing me in deep circles and he chuckled when I grabbed his arm, not sure if I wanted him to go on or to stop.
- Don’t fight it, Elynna, don’t hold back, let yourself moan for me - he murmured in my ear before he leaned into my neck to kiss me there, making me cry out for him. - Let me know, that you like what I do to you - he pleaded just as without a warning he slipped a finger inside me, catching me off guard, gasping from the strange feeling, but he kept his thumb rubbing against me, helping me ease back up quickly, throwing my head back against the furs, my moans getting louder.
I was not sure how long he kept this up, my senses were too overwhelmed to keep track of time or anything else besides the newfound pleasure he was showing me, but soon he redrew his fingers and crawled over me, lining his member up at my entrance.
I was grateful he wasn't giving me time to realize what was coming next before he pushed inside me, slowly, but steadily going to the hilt to stop only there, giving me time to adjust to the never before felt fullness and dull pain that made me bite my lip and hold on to his upper arms holding him above me. He waited patiently until my fingers relaxed their grip before he started to retreat and I whimpered as he came back in for the first few times as I got used to it.
By the time he quickened his pace I was welcoming him willingly with my calves wrapped around the backs of his thighs, giving him more access and moaning in unison with him, fisting his hair and gripping his arm hard as he shifted closer, hitting my insides in a different angle, a different way than before, making me mewl and call out his name.
It didn’t take long before he finally let go of his restraint and with a few short thrusts and held-back grunts he came undone on top of me, spilling his seed deep within me, throbbing and pulsing.

I sobered up in minutes, trying to grasp the happenings of the past minutes, afraid to move as my legs eased their grip around him. He stayed there, leaning above me with his eyes closed and hands still on each side of my face panting heavily, his chest pressing against my breasts and his manhood softening inside of me.
I didn’t understand anything that had just happened, I only knew that I was one of the lucky ones, that got over their first with minimal pain and a man who gave his seed so generously that it was spilling out of me; both of these bettering my chances at getting pregnant. I also didn’t expect, to kind of enjoy what he did to me or that I would wish it lasted longer, but I did and I wasn’t sure if I should be ashamed of it.
In a few long seconds, he retreated slowly, without a word and sat on the side of the bed with his back to me, letting me quickly grab the bowl of water and washcloth they prepared near the bed and clean myself a little before I put on the nightgown prepared on a chair by the window. When I was done, I climbed back to bed and let him do the same. I didn’t look over to his side until he had spoken.
- Our families will be pleased - he said quietly and as I looked up at him; he was watching something besides me on the bed: a patch of blood drying on the white sheet, a size of my open hand. I was surprised to see that I bled at all when I felt barely any pain, but what was even more strange, realizing that I was a maiden no more and from all I knew, I could have been a mother in a few short moons.

-------

As a final pledge of our union Robb crowned me his queen the next day in the Great Hall of Winterfell in front of his realm and my family to make me no more a Fossoway, a Tyrell, a lady of Highgarden, but Queen in The North.
The ceremony was short and straightforward; I swore an oath to the people of this most cold and rough land, before Robb placed the crown on my head, a simple silver circle just like the one he was wearing, adorned with arrowheads all around, sharp as the northern wind and a wolf’s head in the middle. I only realized later, they added a rose in the beast's open mouth, a small indication of the bloodline I came from, reminding me of my roots.

Roots that I was torn from soon, my parents and sisters said goodbye to me in tears, afraid we might never see each other again. Flora, Leahna and I swore to exchange letters as often we could and I invited them all to return any time if they wished, fully aware that they would never come above The Twins ever again.
My father made me promise to take care of myself and that I would not forget the home, the family I came from and I swore I would not abandon them completely. Grandmother only told me to please the King and give him heirs so he wouldn’t turn his back on Highgarden if the need arises and to take my house's words to heart:

- Winter is Coming, Queen Elynna Stark, Winter is Coming.