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The Rising Son

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The Rebellion was over but at great costs throughout the entire realm, the major houses, the minor houses, the smallfolk and even the land itself. King Aerys II Targaryen more commonly referred to as “The Mad King” had been removed from power by force and the realm was about to begin its road to recovery. Even with the late Robert Baratheon’s attempts at getting revenge and justice for his assumed kidnapped betrothed, House Targaryen remained the ruling family of the seven kingdoms. King Rhaegar Targaryen, first of his name had been crowned shortly after his father's death along with his Queen Elia (Martell) Targaryen but both monarchs had hoped for a third to be crowned on that day alongside them.

Lyanna Stark was the breath of fresh air that their stagnant marriage had needed, both Rhaegar and Elia were good friends but romantically indifferent towards each other, which was not helped by the fact that the maesters had advised for Elia to not birth anymore children after the struggles of birthing her first child Rhaenys and the expected problems they predicted would occur when birthing her second, Aegon (with the later almost killing her). At the Tourney of Harrenhall both Rhaegar and his newly announced pregnant wife Elia along with their appointed Kingsguard for the day Ser Arthur Dayne and Ser Barristan Selmy had witnessed (without her knowledge) Lyanna chase off a group of Riverland squires with nothing but a stick and her wolf-blooded bark after she had caught them beating down one of her father's bannermen.

Lyanna would later go on to procure a mismatched set of armour and enter the lists with only one task in mind, unhorse the knights whose squires were responsible for the beating of her now good friend Howland Reed. She was dubbed “The Knight of the Laughing Tree” and would succeed in her task demanding that the fallen knights chastise their squires in order to ransom back their horses and armour. Shortly after, Lyanna would sneak away to remove her armour but would find that she had been followed by non-other than the crown prince himself Rhaegar and his sworn sword Ser Arthur Dayne.

Rhaegar and Elia had a pretty good idea on the identity of the mystery knight, so when the forever paranoid King had claimed and was whole heartedly convinced that the mystery knight was an enemy, Rhaegar on the advice of Elia had announced to his father that he would attempt to find this knight for him alongside Ser Arthur and would return with them if he was successful. Obviously Rhaegar and Elia just wanted to make sure nothing would happen to Lyanna but also wanted to meet this beautiful northern soul to hopefully get the ball rolling on Rhaegar and Elia’s brand-new plan.

You see, from the moment the pair had seen Lyanna’s protectiveness towards the vulnerable, the love she showed towards her family and friends, the aura of freedom she seemed to radiate whenever they saw her smiling whilst caring for or riding her mare, the happy tears she would shed when she heard Rhaegar’s harp, her strength and sheer devotion to justice when knocking a grown man off his horse and her overall wild beauty had left both monarchs smitten. And with both of their feelings towards the northern beauty being mutual, they both decided to try and revive their relationship by proposing an addition to their marriage bed that not only helped with creating more heirs thus taking the pressure off of Elia but also introducing a beautiful soul into their lives that they were both slowly but surely starting to fall for.

They had come to the conclusion that they wanted her and the plan was to simply make her want them. It began when Rhaegar and Arthur discovered her removing her armour...

*The snap of a twig*

“Who goes there?” Lyanna spoke out.

“Just me and my sworn shadow my lady” Rhaegar japed as Arthur rolled his eyes.

Lyanna’s eyes widened “Your Grace? I....I Heard your father had made me a wanted man, are you here to turn me in?” She tried to make light of the situation but she was already trying to conjure up an escape plan.

Rhaegar could already see she was spooked and looking for an out but he had to take control of the situation and hope their plan hadn’t been ruined before it had even begun, Elia would kill him. “No, I'm not here to hand you in I'm afraid, I'm actually looking for a treasonous man who my father has claimed to be his greatest enemy, you haven't seen him come by this way have you?”

That earnt him a chuckle from the lady and he could already see some of the tension leave her body. “What about him?” nodding at Ser Arthur “Is he gonna turn me in? He is kingsguard after all, the job description is in the name”.

“Unfortunately for my father Ser Arthur here is MY sworn shadow and unfortunately for Ser Arthur shadows aren't known for their power of speech or capturing enemies of the crown, your secret will never leave his lips even if he tried”. Rhaegar japed receiving a look from Arthur who was trying to not give Rhaegar the credit of seeing him grin.

“Bit of a shit kingsguard aren't you then?” Lyanna boldly replied earning a stunned look from Arthur and Rhaegar with the later trying and failing not to grin at her reply.

“Well...that’s...that’s, look your lucky I'm his shadow” Arthur replied, completely caught off guard by her response.

“You're right, they really aren't known for their power of speech” Lyanna replied as she subtly admired the dashing smile the prince was currently blessing her with.

With that Ser Arthur huffed and looked away, Rhaegar burst out laughing and Lyanna began to giggle, it was one of the loveliest sounds Rhaegar had ever heard. They carried on with their conversation with Arthur contributing from time to time speaking about what they’ve been up to at the tourney, what their friends and family are like, what their homes are like and what their plans are for the future, that’s where the conversation took a bitter turn for Lyanna.

“My father has decided to betroth me to an oaf a drunk and a whoremonger, a man I have no plans on marrying.” Lyanna spoke shaking her head. “He can't marry me off to that Baratheon idiot if he can't find me can he now” Lyanna smirked.

This could be a problem, he and Elia were unaware there was a betrothed in the way and if this Baratheon turned out to be his brash, ill-tempered cousin Robert it could become an even bigger problem. “What do you plan if your father forces you to marry him?”

“I love my father, but if he thinks he can force me to marry that pig on the recommendation of my brother then he’ll have to deal with the consequences. I won't marry Robert to just become some trophy wife of his as he leaves me to run his household singlehandedly as he whores himself around the seven kingdoms. He’s already got a bastard and it wouldn’t surprise me if there's more out there” Lyanna spoke passionately.

So, it was Robert...big problem indeed but what scared him more was how determined she sounded about avoiding this marriage. “You still haven't said what your plan is if you were forced by your father?”. He dreaded her answer.

“I’ll leave it all behind, whether I go into hiding here in Westeros, go east to Essos or see what is west of Westeros, I’ve always wanted to go on an adventure” She smiled. “I would rather sail into the unknown, high chance of death than spend the rest of my life with that man”.

Rhaegar had believed every word she’d said and knew she would go through with those plans, he had to act and act fast for his, Elia’s and by the sounds of it Lyanna’s sake. He informed her of his wife's wish to meet her and get to know her as well and hoped he wasn’t being too forward and scaring her away, but to his relief she seemed to be genuinely interested in personally meeting his wife.

He and Arthur had left after leaving an open invitation for Lyanna to speak with him, Elia or both whenever she wanted stating all she had to do was to let Ser Arthur or Ser Barristan know that she wished for a private audience with them. It hadn't taken long for Lyanna to take up that offer and the three of them were enjoying sweets, fruits and Dornish red along with relaxed conversation and even a bit of flirting between Elia and Lyanna that very night.

“I must say, it must have been something very controversial to get Arthur’s tongue twisted Lyanna” Elia smirked behind her goblet of red.

“Lady Lyanna here has a sharp tongue which Arthur unfortunately for him found out about the hard way” Rhaegar smiled as he peeled his blood orange.

“I wonder what else that tongue can do” Elia mused as Lyanna blushed and Rhaegar fumbled with his orange.

“You’d be surprised” Lyanna returned as Elia grinned and Rhaegar tried to not combust.

And with that their budding relationship started to slowly grow, all three started to enjoy their nightly meets with each night becoming progressively flirtier than the last but keeping it innocent even though in their minds all three wanted to push the boundaries with touches and kisses. Rhaegar and Elia knew they had to keep it innocent, they couldn’t force this plan of theirs, it needed to be mutual between the three of them. They also needed to consider a way to get Lyanna out of this betrothal she so vehemently hated the idea of.

The next day was the last day of the tourney, Rhaegar had successfully unhorsed man after man and earnt his place in the final of the joust. Elia had managed to pull Rhaegar away for a few moments to tell him of her idea...

“You want me to what? Wouldn’t this just incite tension and anger Elia?” Rhaegar answered, worried that this plan of Elia’s could come back to bite them.

“If you win you can split the garland between me and Lyanna, I’ll be smiling throughout the whole spectacle so nobody will see that I'm displeased of your actions, blue roses are Lyanna’s favourite as we found out last night, she would love it”. Elia pleaded with Rhaegar, she was confident this act would get the plan moving a little quicker.

And so, after a thrilling final tilt, Rhaegar managed to unhorse his good friend Ser Barristan Selmy to win the joust tournament and go on to crown both Elia & Lyanna as his Queens of love & beauty. Elia and Lyanna’s reactions were as predicted both smiling towards Rhaegar as he placed the two crowns on each of their laps but what wasn’t expected was the deathly silence that the rest of the onlookers were exhibiting which was broken when Robert Baratheon decided to down his wine, launch his goblet into the crowd and storm off muttering to himself.

Unfortunately, after that Lyanna was kept away from both Rhaegar and Elia by her brothers and they didn’t get to talk to each other for the rest of the tourney. In the end both Rhaegar and Elia returned to Dragonstone to wait out the birth of their second child and Lyanna returned to Winterfell to plan out her escape from her betrothal. To be honest, Lyanna didn’t have to think hard on a plan and decided that she would use the wedding of her brother Brandon to Catelyn Tully at Riverrun as a distraction to collect supplies, ride down the river road and fork off to Maidenpool where she would find a ship and leave for Pentos. She wasn’t naïve enough to think her new life would be easy but it sure as shit would be better than marrying that cunt.

Rhaegar and Elia meanwhile had discussed how they could get back in touch with Lyanna but keep it discrete as the whole realm was watching Rhaegar after his stunt at the tourney. Many moons passed, Elia had finally given birth to his heir who they named Aegon but not without problems, the maesters were right, Elia nearly died and they both agreed they wouldn’t risk a third as it wasn’t worth losing both mother and child. Both Rhaegar and Elia were becoming more affectionate with each other with every moon that passed, with Elia surviving her ordeal and both of them still determined to go through with their plan to introduce Lyanna into their marriage, there was an excitement between them of what their future would bring.

Finally, Rhaegar and Elia would catch a break when word got out that Brandon Stark would be marrying Catelyn Tully at Riverrun and that Lyanna would be travelling with his host. Both of them decided that it would be best for Rhaegar to travel up to just outside Riverrun, close to Harrenhall and send a trusted envoy to sneak into Riverrun and hand the note personally to Lyanna instead of using a raven which they did not trust at the time, that note gets in the wrong hands and this whole plan is over. So, after all the planning, Rhaegar decided him, Ser Arthur and a loyal servant they had hand chosen to sneak into Riverrun would ride up to Harrenhall, send the envoy in and wait to see if Lyanna would accept his and Elia’s proposal.

Lyanna would receive the note 4 days before her brother’s wedding and agreed to Rhaegar and Elia’s proposal. She thought about them both, they were both beautiful in their own way, Rhaegar’s mesmerising violet eyes, Elia’s dark eyes that were almost black, Rhaegar’s locks the colour of the stars, Elia’s coal black tresses, both of their caring attitude to some northern girls personal problems, a girl they had never met before and had accepted into their circle of friends with open arms, a girl they had put their necks on the line for by exhibiting a public show of affection in front of the entire realm just because they like her and because she likes blue roses. And now, now they were offering her an out and into their open arms in the form of a polygamist marriage. She must have stared at that note for half an hour and came to the conclusion that yes, she could actually see herself being happy being married to them both, she would have to put up with court but it could be entertaining if she was doing it alongside Elia. Rhaegar can rule whilst her and Elia had fun, she's always wanted to visit Dorne and imagined Elia would entertain her wishes. She’d also get to share their bed and that conjured up all types of images in her mind's eye that caused her to blush.

Surely her father would agree to the marriage, yes, it’s a bit unconventional to say the least but her daughter would be a Queen of the seven kingdoms and not just the Lady of Storm’s End. Robert would just have to get over it, probably in between the legs of some whore no doubt, it still amazed her that her sweet brother Ned had vouched for that man. She would of course have to inform her father of her choice via raven, whether he consents to it or not is none of her concern, if he was willing to sell his only daughter off for some political gain with no interest in her wishes or happiness then she was willing to take charge of her own life whether she hurt his feelings or not. So, with all that she’d decided to go through with it, she gathered her belongings, handed off her note for her father to be sent via raven and left in the dead of night to meet up with Rhaegar and Arthur where the three of them met up with Ser Barristan who had escorted Septon Maynard from Kings Landing at Rhaegar and Elia’s request. The group would then travel to the Isle of Faces to perform the wedding ceremony and then onto Dragonstone to meet up with Elia and their children.

Obviously, it had all gone wrong when Brandon Stark and a host of young nobles had come to their own conclusion and rode all the way to Kings Landing to demand Rhaegar’s head for abducting his sister. He and his host were subsequently imprisoned in the black cells by King Aerys to nobody's surprise with the King summoning their respective fathers for the crimes they had committed. Aerys would go on to execute the sons and fathers leaving just Rickard and Brandon Stark alive with Rickard demanding a trial by combat as was his right fully expecting to be fighting a kingsguard and not Aerys actual champion, Fire. Rickard was suspended in the throne room of the Red Keep, a pyromancer lit a fire beneath Rickard while he was dressed in his steel armour. Brandon, with a noose around his neck and a sword just out of his reach, was made to watch his father roast. Trying to reach the sword to save his dying father, Brandon strangled himself to death.

Aerys's next step was to demand that the Lord of the Vale, Jon Arryn send him the heads of his former wards, Eddard and Robert. Lord Arryn refused the order and instead called his banners, essentially starting a war. Rhaegar, Elia and Lyanna blamed themselves for the start of the conflict although they don’t know how Brandon could have come to such a conclusion and make such a rash decision afterwards, Rickard must have received Lyanna’s raven and known before the summons from Kings Landing came through that Lyanna had left wilfully with Rhaegar so what had happened for everything to go so wrong? This was all a misunderstanding at the highest order, and Lyanna’s Father and Brother had paid with their lives because of it.

Lyanna was heartbroken to say the least with the only thing managing to get a smile out of her being the news that she was with child. Rhaegar and Elia were ecstatic with the news that there would be even more children in their new little family, the three of them discussed baby names all the while trying to be strong for each other in these trying times. 2 moons would pass where Rhaegar would receive a summons from his father to come back to court along with Elia and their two children with the excuse of “I need them close to keep those dirty dornish loyal”. Rhaegar and Elia decided it would be best and the safest for Lyanna to travel to a privately owned keep in Dorne named The Tower of Joy where she would be guarded by ten loyal soldiers from Dragonstone along with her very own kingsguard, Prince Lewyn Martell who had grown fond of Lyanna after getting over the shock of Rhaegar taking another wife and seeing just how happy Lyanna made his niece.

Eventually, Rhaegar, Elia and their two children along with Ser Arthur and Ser Barristan would arrive in Kings Landing where they would find out that Robert and his allies had been winning battle after battle and that Rhaegar would be soon leaving to command the royal army. Rhaegar and Elia were relieved that they had gotten word of Lyanna’s arrival at the tower and that she would be safe to progress through her pregnancy but they were also worried about Aerys and his paranoia and unpredictability, especially around Elia and the children. With Rhaegar departing soon, anything could happen to them when they are gone so Ser Barristan stood up to the task and promised to protect Rhaegar’s family which they both happily accepted. Two moons would pass and with that, Rhaegar along with Ser Arthur, Ser Gerold and Ser Oswell would march with the royal army towards the Trident.

Rhaegar would call for an audience with Lord Robert Baratheon, Lord Eddard Stark, Lord Jon Arryn and Lord Hoster Tully to try and come to an understanding and explain this whole misunderstanding, nobody came and so the Battle of the Trident would proceed as planned. It was a bloody battle with both sides losing great numbers but with a thrust in the armpit with one sword and a slash to the throat with the other, Ser Arthur Dayne would end the life of the would-be usurper, Robert Baratheon and subsequently cripple the command of the rebel troops and ultimately end the great battle. Soon after Rhaegar had Lords Stark, Arryn and Tully and all the other lesser Lords bend the knee and swear fealty to him and not his father stating to them his plans to remove his father from power and end his rule of tyranny. He also explained the entire situation involving Lyanna and her apparent “obduction” and stated it all as being a misunderstanding that got way out of hand. The Lords reluctantly accepted his terms, explanation and his plan to take the capital, although Lord Stark was secretly not buying anything that came out of the crown prince's mouth about his sister.

Rhaegar along with the royal army, Eddard Stark and his personal host would go on to march up to the capital where they would meet up with non-other than a certain Tywin Lannister who had tricked Aerys into opening the gates to the city and proceeded to kill all of Aerys’s loyalist guards and take control of the city for Rhaegar’s arrival. When the host finally got to the Red Keep they made a beeline for the Throne Room where they would witness Ser Jaime Lannister knocking out the King of the seven kingdoms with his mailed fist and following that up by putting his sword through the back of an escaping pyromancer. With that, Rhaegar ordered for Aerys to be thrown into the black cells to await his execution and sent Ser Gerold and Ser Oswell to retrieve Ser Barristan and his family. Rhaegar wasted no time and sent a raven to Lord Mace Tyrell who was told to end the siege of Storm’s End and another raven to Stannis Baratheon who was holding Storm’s End stating that his brother had fallen in battle and all his allies had bent the knee and that he should do the smart thing and follow suit.

With that Rhaegar got started on fixing Kings Landing, starting with the removal of all the wildfire caches hidden underground. With Rhaegar being occupied to the realm at that given moment he decided to inform his good-brother Lord Eddard of his sisters' location in Dorne. With an order stamped with Rhaegars personal wax stamp, Eddard Stark along with his six companions: Howland Reed, Willam Dustin, Ethan Glover, Martyn Cassel, Theo Wull, and Ser Mark Ryswell marched south to this so called “Tower of Joy” to retrieve his sister with the full intention of bringing her home to Winterfell and not Kings Landing. The plan was simple, arrive at this tower, kill the guards so there's no witnesses, burn the bodies, collect some of their ashes, retrieve Lyanna, send her north with his host, arrive at Kings Landing alone with an urn of his “sisters” ashes and a bullshit excuse of a “misunderstanding” when questioned on why he had to fight the guards stationed at the tower. He would then return home with his sister where she would be kept away from the public eye, safe and surrounded by what little family she had left and especially kept from Rhaegar and the poisonous pit they like to call Kings Landing.

As Eddard and his host approached the tower they noticed five guards outside, these odds were okay with Ned who dismounted in front of the guards and asked them the whereabouts of his sister, not even bothering to show them the sealed message Rhaegar had given him. Their reply riled Ned up with them stating that she was under the care and guard of the royal family, with that Ned unsheathed his sword and all hell broke loose. The fight was bloody but over rather quickly, all five Targaryen guards had been dealt with but at the cost of Theo Wull and Martyn Cassel’s lives. Unfortunately for Ned and the survivors, six more guards would emerge from the tower with one wearing the distinctive armour of the kingsguard.

Prince Lewyn saw the mess that was left outside the tower and instantly engaged in combat with the first man he came across who happened to be Ethan Glover, they traded blows with each other but it was obvious that Prince Lewyn was the better swordsman of the two, half a minute later Ethan Glover had been defeated with a slash straight across his throat. Prince Lewyn moved on to Ser Mark Ryswell who was getting the upper hand on one of the Targaryen guards, with a sword through the chest, Ser Mark defeated the guard but was taken by surprise by Prince Lewyn who claimed the upper hand from the get go. Ser Mark never recovered and with a miss step to avoid a strike that never came, lost his sword hand to Prince Lewyn with an overarching strike. Prince Lewyn put the man out of his misery by piercing his heart.

With one final strike, Ned defeated the last Targaryen guard. All five guards were dead at the cost of Lord Dustin, Ser Mark and Ethan Glover with only him and Howland left standing to face the last survivor, Prince Lewyn Martell. The fight ensued between Lord Stark and Prince Lewyn with Ned telling Howland not to get involved between them, Prince Lewyn heard this and fancied his chances a bit more. Unfortunately for Prince Lewyn Martell this was all just a bluff with Howland manoeuvring behind the kingsguard with a dagger in hand. Both Ned and Howland knew it was not the honourable thing to do but they had to get Lyanna back at all costs. And with that, Howland buried the dagger in the back of the kingsguard’s neck and Ned finished the rest.

As soon as Prince Lewyn fell, Ned dropped his sword to the ground and all but sprinted up the stairs to the tower. Ned informed Howland to keep watch to make sure there wasn’t any returning guards they had to prepare for and entered the tower alone, dagger in hand. As soon as he entered the room where noises could be heard he was hit by the intense smell of blood and sweat, with the source laying in a bed in front of him, his sister.

“Ned?....is...is that you brother?” Lyanna whispered out.

Ned rushed to the side of the bed where he could get a good look at his sister. He grabbed hold of her hand and instantly grew concerned with the lack of grip he received back.

“Yes....It's me Lya.....I'm here for you.....I'm here to take you home” Ned explained, trying to be strong but failing as a look of concern took over his visage.

“I don’t.....I don’t think that’s gonna happen big brother....” Lyanna managed to get out as her bottom lip started to tremble and her eyes started to fill with tears.

“Don't talk like that, you're going to be fine...” Ned replied as he looked down at the blood-stained sheets she was laid in. There was too much blood and it seemed to be still flowing to his horror. “Is there a maester or anybody here who can help?” he asked her. He looked around the room and yelled for somebody to bring her a maester or a nurse or anybody. “Bring her some water, somebody!”. Lyanna squeezed his hand with all the strength she had and he turned to look at her.

“It's too late big brother.....I think my time is coming.....just don’t leave me......I don’t want to die alone” Lyanna rasped out as the tears flowed freely from her eyes.

“You're not going to die, stop talking like this!”

“It's all my fault...father’s and Brandon’s deaths are on me....I hope they forgive me when we meet again”.

“Lya, stop...you need to save your energy....stop blaming yourself for all of this”.

"Prince Lewyn had to deliver him, the nurses were returning from Starfall, they should be back soon but he was early".

“You....you have to promise me Ned......promise me that he’ll be loved.....promise me that he won't be blamed for any of this.....promise me he’ll be cared for by his family”.

“What...what are you talking about, Lya?”

As soon as he asked her this he heard the little whimpers of a baby, a baby that was resting inside a small makeshift crib. He had a little wisp of dark brown hair, tiny button nose and a furrowed brow almost as if he was concentrating.

“His name......his name is Jaehaerys.....Jaehaerys Targaryen.....you have to keep him safe Ned.....he’s so small” Lyanna got out as she let the tears consume her.

He could see she was struggling to hang on and desperately needed him to make that promise "I promise Lyanna, I’ll love him, his siblings will love him, he won’t be blamed for any of this, he'll be cared for by his family”. Ned vowed.

“Thank you......big brother”.

Ned took his eyes away from Lya’s little boy and looked at Lya, her eyes were closed with a slight smile on her face. He took a hold of her hand as her breathing slowed down. “Lyanna?” He whispered but received no reply as her chest stopped moving and her face slackened. She was gone.

Ned sat there for a few moments trying to collect himself after what has just happened, he took a deep breath, stood up and went outside to sort things out with Howland, when he reached the bottom of the stairs he could see that Howland was preparing the bodies to be burnt. So much death for nothing, was he right to withhold Rhaegar’s order from the guards? He came to the conclusion that if he hadn't fought then Prince Lewyn would have no doubt followed the babe until he was in Rhaegar’s arms. He did the right thing...for his family.

As Ned was fussing over the little one, Howland burnt the bodies and gathered the ashes to return to their respective families, Lyanna wouldn’t be burnt, her bones would return to where they belong, the Winterfell crypts with the rest of her family. The little family that he had left was all that mattered to him right now and that included Lya’s son. He’d made a promise to her and he would keep it, he would have to claim him as his own, the life of a bastard wouldn’t be easy for him but it would be better than a life of whispers and loneliness in Kings Landing away from his real family, he just hoped his new wife would forgive him.

He hoped the babe would react well to goats milk, they weren't gonna wait for the nurses to return, it was a risk but it had to be done. He needed to ride hard with Howland to Nightsong since that was the closest place he could think of where he could hire a wet nurse discretely. Ned and Howland would have to hide any house sigils and clues to their identities when entering Nightsong, find a wet nurse and leave as soon as possible.

After gathering the Lyanna’s remains and the ashes, explaining his plan to Howland, riding to Nightsong and successfully finding a wet nurse, him, his adoptive son who he had been calling Jon named after the man who was like a second father to him Lord Arryn, Howland and the recently hired wet nurse travelled to Kings Landing where Ned informed Howland to keep Jon and the wet nurse out of sight whilst he went to the Red Keep to do something that he dreaded.

He had to use Lyanna’s body to help with his lie, a lie that would go on to devastate Rhaegar and Elia who would end up crying on each other's shoulders as Lord Stark replayed the events to them of the whole misunderstanding, Prince Lewyn believing Lord Stark was still loyal to the rebels, that he was there to take Lyanna away from her husband and wife and return to Winterfell with her, the battle that would ensue because of it all and the loses of both Ned’s bannermen but also Prince Lewyn along with all the guards that were stationed there. He handed them the ashes of Prince Lewyn and hit them with the hard news that Lyanna had birthed a stillborn girl and that he’d spread her ashes at Summerhall on the way there. They’d appreciated the sentiment and agreed with Ned that the best place for Lyanna was with her family. They looked devastated and Ned felt like shit throughout the whole ordeal, it was cruel but it was the best for his family and Jon, Ned was the Head of his family now, he had a duty and he’d still not forgiven their family for what had happened to his, he was bitter and, in his mind, rightfully so.

He offered his condolences, explained that he had been away from home long enough and made a swift exit with Lyanna’s body after Rhaegar and Elia had said one last tear felt goodbye to her. They took a ship from Kings Landing to White Harbour and from there he and Howland would say their farewells to each other and ride back to their respective homes.

He approached Winterfell dreading Catelyn’s reaction to Jon but also excited to see his new-born child. Catelyn’s reaction turned out to be muted but he could see she was holding her tongue and didn’t agree with his actions one bit, he would just have to live with the guilt for the sake of his family. Seeing Jon and his new son Robb laid in their cribs babbling nonsensical noises at each other was what it was all about now, his family, the future.


 

Chapter Text

 


 

Jon 

14 years, 14 years Jon had lived in Winterfell with the Starks and the majority of that time he’d felt misplaced and experienced a lack of belonging. He didn’t hate the Starks, far from it in fact, he loved his brothers and sisters but he always found himself on the side lines, in the shadows, a plus one if you will when it came to actually belonging in the Stark household. There was a lot of reasons for that but in the end it all boiled down to that one word... 

 

Bastard. 

 

It was bullshit, how in the world could anybody with an ounce of logic in their head blame somebody for the situation of their birth? But they did and that was just the sad reality of the world they lived in. The parents, a majority of the time would get away with a slap on the wrist and an earful from the missus and the bastard in question would be ridiculed and pushed under the feet of the “better” more powerful people in today's society.  

And they wonder why bastards snapped and caused wars.  

Not this bastard though, no, he would never usurper his siblings for their positions, even if a certain stuck up trout of a woman thought otherwise.......cow.  

 

No, let me take that back, that’s being a bit harsh, cows are at least somewhat useful with their milk and their meat and their leather, a lot more useful compared to that thundercunt. Sure, she loved all her children unconditionally and she kept the keep running like any normal lady would but the moment Jon would cross eyes with the woman he would get a reaction out of her like he’d shat in her morning porridge, and if he was being honest, he was at his wits end with the whole situation. 

 

He was currently returning from the rookery where Maester Luwin had tasked him to deliver some scrolls to Lord Stark when all of a sudden Lady Thundercunt came...well...thundering towards him with a scowl that could curdle milk. 

 

“And where do you think you're going, bastard?” 

 

“Just delivering these scrolls to my Father”. Jon always referred to Lord Stark as father whenever he was talking to her, he knew it pissed her off and he couldn’t for life of him care. 

 

“THATS Lord Stark to you bastard”. 

 

“Lord Stark...father, same thing really” 

 

“You will refer to him as Lord Stark, am I clear bastard?” Catelyn seethed. 

 

“Well he fucked another woman and I was the by-product of their coupling so by logic he is my father but I suppose that’s too hard to grasp for lesser more dim-witted creatures wouldn’t you agree Lady Cuntlyn?”. His blood was up and he was swinging wild, he was getting his last hits in before he left this place, he knew he’d get an explosive reaction out of her and he braced for impact. 

 

*SLAP* 

 

 “HOW DARE YOU SPEAK TO ME LIKE THAT, BASTARD!”. 

 

Jon braced for the slap and was able collect himself “I apologise Lady Catelyn, it was a mere slip of the tongue. Not unlike us bastards to bring shame upon ourselves by merely opening our mouths is it?” 

 

Lady Catelyn yanked the scrolls from Jon and brushed past him towards Lord Starks solar “Your father will hear about your disrespect towards me, mark my words”. 

 

Jon picked up on her slip up and couldn’t resist getting the last word in as he headed out towards the godswood. “See, you're learning, you do know he’s my father”. And with that Jon shut the door behind him, not waiting for the reaction Lady Catelyn was no doubt going to send his way, he didn’t care. Gods it felt so freeing to not give two shits sometimes. He knew Lord Stark would be having a word with him before the day was out but he was another person he was starting to get tired of, mainly the secrets and lies whenever the subject of his mother came up. He would ask him the next time they talked who she is and whether she was dead or not, it would probably be the last time he gets the chance if he was being honest with himself and if he still refused to talk about her then well, he supposed it was never meant to be. He knew for certain though, he would never forgive the man. 

 


 

Ned

Ned was quietly reflecting on the week's events when suddenly Cat came thundering in with a face like a tomato. ‘Now what's he done’ Ned thought as he braced himself for another earful of hate towards Jon who as of late showed little interest in anybody's thoughts. He wasn’t sure what had started all of this misbehaviour from Jon, yes, he knew he’d inherited the wolfs-blood from his mother but so had Arya and Rickon and they were nowhere near as rebellious as Jon had been as of late. Coupled with Jon’s sharp tongue, another inheritance from his mother and his adamant nature, Jon had been a pain in the arse, especially in the yard where he would smack people silly with his obviously gifted martial talents without an ounce of remorse, he’d broken Theon’s nose and two of his fingers the last time they faced off and the lad now refuses to spar with Jon anymore. Robb was worried, Sansa thought he was an uncouth brute, Bran was confused with the change of behaviour and Arya and Rickon just found it all bloody hilarious.  

 

Was it him coming of age? Ned noticed Jon had started to sprout up, taller than Robb now and the same height as himself, having to remind him to keep his facial hair tidy as that was starting to appear on his face that was now devoid of baby fat. People always said that bastards were forced to grow up faster than a trueborn but he didn’t think it meant physically. People were also starting to whisper that he was Brandon’s son and not his, based on the fact that every aspect of Jon was starting to outgrow Ned. Muscles, hair, height, you name it, Jon was outgrowing him in it. The girls around Winterfell and Winter Town were starting to take notice of him as well, watching him spar and exercise but every time Ned caught sight of the girls giggling at Jon he would notice that Jon was completely oblivious to it. 

 

He hoped it stayed like that, he didn’t need more headaches. 

 

Speaking of headaches, his wife was currently wailing at him about his “hellborn bastard”. He had to admit, she was getting creative when describing Jon as of late. 

 

 “That insufferable boy has to go Ned, he’s just disrespected your wife and the Lady of Winterfell. He has lost all manners and respect for his betters and he's getting worse with everyday that passes”. Catelyn said as she slammed the scrolls she was holding onto his desk. 

 

Ned sighed as he prepared to defend Jon the best that he realistically could “He's going through the change Cat, we were all moody at that age, he’ll grow out of it”. He knew it was a weak argument but he honestly had no other explanation for Jon’s change in demeanour. 

 

 “No excuse Ned, Robb is going through that as well and he’s remained a respectable young man unlike his bastard half brother who’s been an uncouth brat. Send him to Castle Black with his uncle, I bet Benjen would love to have him there with him and Jon can do his duty by channelling that wolfs-blood of his into repelling wildlings, everybody wins”. 

 

Ned sighed, “He’s not going to the wall Cat, we’ve been over this several times, if you wouldn’t send your son to the wall don’t expect me to with Jon. He can make that choice himself when he’s older but at the moment he’s not going anywhere. I'll have a word with him and tell him to pack it in with these mood swings and to take his aggression out on a straw dummy instead of an actual person, it’s the best I can come up with at the moment “. 

 

Catelyn was clearly unhappy with his response and was holding her tongue but she replied with a curt “As you say my Lord, by your leave” and exited his solar. Ned had to get Jon to start cooperating with him more, he knew he was getting colder with him because of his constant rebuttals about his mother but Ned was not ready to tell him, he was scared of Jon’s reaction if he was being honest so he kept putting off, telling himself that he would tell him soon and with his recent behaviour, anything could happen when he found out. 

 

With that he rose from his desk and made his way out to the yard where Jon would no doubt be, he prepared himself for his talk with him, absolutely anything could come out of this he feared. Unfortunately when he arrived at the yard he couldn’t spot Jon but he saw Robb, Bran and Theon instead so he approached them to find out where their brother was. 

 

 “Robb, Bran, Theon, none of you have seen Jon have you? “ 

 

 “Hi father, sorry he’s not here but we saw him heading towards the godswood, he didn’t look pleased”. Robb replied as Bran nodded his head in agreement. 

 

 “What’s new? He’s always been a miserable bastard”. Theon replied with a smirk on his face, Robb and Bran didn’t look impressed when Theon referred to their brother as a bastard. “What? He’s a bastard, no changing the facts, not my fault he can’t handle that”. Theon defended. 

 

 “He’s only acting out because people enjoy reminding him of his birth every chance they get, you included”. Bran defended, Ned was proud of his children’s protection of Jon. Always protecting members of their pack, unfortunately Jon seemed to be going the way of the lone wolf as of late and the famous stark saying didn’t calm any of his fears. 

 

 “Enough, the godswood you say? “ as Bran nodded. He thanked them and headed towards the godswood, dreading the conversation he was about to have, he knew Jon would turn the conversation towards his mother, he always did when he was getting a talking to, an effective defence mechanism Ned had to admit. 

 

As Ned entered the grove he noticed Jon was nowhere to be seen, he wondered where on earth he could be. As he approached the heart tree he started to think about Jon and ultimately about Lyanna. Gods he missed her, she’d know what to do with Jon and Jon would listen to absolutely everything she said whether he liked it or not. She’d have told him to stop acting like an idiot, had a spar with him and took him out for a ride in the wolfswood, all with a mother’s touch, something completely foreign to Jon in reality. He always asked himself if Queen Elia would have been a mother to him, if he was wrong to do what he did. It was a waste of time thinking like that now though, the ink was dry. 

 

With his prayers finished, Ned got up from the heart tree and made his way back to the yard to see if Jon had returned through there and low and behold he had. Jon was currently sparring with three of Winterfell’s guards, well, sparring was not the word for it, Jon was throwing more punches instead of swinging his sword. Ned spotted Robb, Bran and Theon again as they were watching the fight unfold, all three of them didn’t look best pleased, Arya and Rickon on the other hand, who had clearly snuck out of lessons, were cheering Jon on with every punch he landed. 

 

“What in god's name is happening here?” Ned asked Robb who had a worried look on his face. 

 

“Jon was coming from the godswood just as you entered and accidently bumped into one of the guards” Robb explained. “The guard told him to watch where he was going and called him a ‘daft bastard’, him and the rest of the guards thought they were funny and just started laughing”. 

 

Bran butted in “Jon asked if the guard cared for a spar to work some of that attitude off, told them all three were welcome to come spar with him.  Obviously, the guards wanted to bring Jon down a peg or two so they agreed, 5 minutes later the spar became this, Jon’s already broken Todd’s nose for his ‘daft bastard’ comment and now he’s just throwing them around”. 

 

“You should be on Jon’s side, he’s just standing up for himself like any Stark of Winterfell would. I would have done the same if I was in his shoes” Arya defended as Rickon nodded his head in agreement. 

 

“I am on Jon’s side Arya, I'm just worried that he’s gonna bite off more than he can chew one day and get seriously hurt”. Bran replied with genuine concern for his brother, the sight warmed Ned’s heart. 

 

“Well it doesn’t matter anyway, Jon’s already won and left”. Robb intervened. 

 

Ned looked to the yard to see the three guards dusting themselves off and grumbling something incoherent as they walked off to lick their wounds. Jon was nowhere to be seen. “Now where’s he gone?” Ned thought aloud, Theon came to his aid informing him that he saw Jon walking towards the stables. ‘Oh no you don’t you little sod, that was your mothers' trick that, taking her horse for a ride to avoid being reprimanded for something she’d done’. All Ned heard as he made for the stables was Arya calling Theon a grass and Bran asking Robb if Jon would be ok. Ned was getting worried now, Jon seemed to be lashing out at every chance he got and a pattern was emerging, it all revolved around that one word, bastard. And Ned felt like utter shit about the whole situation he’d put the lad in. 

 

He got to the stables as Jon was saddling and packing a horse, a sudden sense of dread taking root. “Where are you off to?”. Ned asked him as Jon realised he wasn’t alone in the stables. 

 

“Just going to take a ride through the wolfswood to clear my head that's all, why what's up?”. Jon replied as he carried on with his task. 

 

“We need to have a chat Jon, I need to work out what's been going on with you lately”. Ned answered. “Catelyn came into my solar earlier telling me that you’d been disrespectful and vulgar towards her, then I catch you in the yard brawling with the guards, you’ve apparently broken one of their noses, the same thing you did with Theon last week. I would blame it on your entrance into adulthood but that's not a good enough excuse" Ned sighed, "What on earth is up with you as of late?”. 

 

“Not much, you?” Jon replied nonchalantly. 

 

‘Little shit’ Ned thought as he huffed, Ned had lost the conversation before it'd even begun. “Are you gonna tell me what is wrong with you or are you gonna carry on with the snide attitude?”. Ned was always known for keeping his cool but he was losing it with Jon at the moment, he needed answers and Jon was the only one with them. 

 

“I’ll tell you what, I’ll answer your question if you answer mine, do we have a deal?”. Jon replied casually with a slight upturn of his mouth, ‘sneaky sod has me cornered’ Ned thought. 

 

“And what is your question?”. Ned asked but he already knew what was coming. 

 

“Who is my mother?” Jon said stone faced and unblinking, directly into Ned’s eyes, Jon’s eyes the exact shade of silver as his mother ‘Promise me Ned’

 

“I can't tell you right now, look you need to stop asking me, I’ll tell you when the time is right”. Ned rasped out as he stared at Jon. Little reaction was received from Jon, Just cold resignation and exasperation. He'd expected Ned's answer.

 

“Then we seem to have reached an impasse Lord Stark”. Jon replied, he looked bored of the whole conversation as he continued saddling his horse. He’d played Ned so easily, he knew Ned wouldn’t answer his question about his mother and used that to protect himself from answering Ned’s question, Ned sighed, he’d been played by a 14 year old, a 14 year old who was clearly beyond his years already. Something stood out though. 

 

“You can still call me father when it's just the two of us, you know that right?” 

 

“I'm afraid you're misinformed Lord Stark, I have been informed recently to only refer to you as ‘Lord Stark’ from now on from non-other than the Lady of Winterfell herself. I wouldn’t want to disrespect my Lady’s wishes now, would I?”. 

 

“Jon.....” 

 

“If that is all my Lord, I would like to get back before the sun goes down so I need to leave now, with your leave of course”. Jon interrupted with a cold diplomatic tone, Ned hated this. 

 

“Fine, but be back for supper”. Ned replied, resigned at the conclusion of their conversation. Jon had been spending a lot of time in the wolfswood lately, he would always return calmer and more responsive whenever he returned, Arya had asked if she could go with him but Cat had killed that idea off instantly. Ned couldn’t for the life of him keep Jon caged up as of late so he allowed it, for Lyanna. 

 

Jon nodded and galloped out through the gates towards the wolfswood, Ned had flashbacks of his sister doing the exact same thing with the exact same grace many many years ago. Ned was officially on Jon watch now, he’d lost Lyanna because he wasn’t paying attention, he wouldn’t lose her son the same way. 

 


 

Jon 

“What's wrong with me? What's wrong with ME?”. Jon seethed as he rode through the woods towards a small grove he enjoys resting at. ‘It's always me isn't it, I'm always what's wrong, I'm the problem, never anybody else, probably all that bastard blood corrupting my common sense eh’. Jon took a few deep breaths and calmed himself down as he dismounted his horse and unpacked his food he’d brought with him, just some hard cheese and some dried beef. He hitched his horse to the tree and sat down and lent against it, placing his bow and quiver down next to him as he closed his eyes and let the sounds of nature calm his simmering blood. 

 

Jon spent his time in his thoughts thinking about the plan he had conjured up to ultimately make a name for himself. He knew the chances of survival were pretty slim but anything in life that was worth something was never easy, if he pulled this off he wouldn’t be known as the Bastard of Winterfell any longer but as something greater instead, Jon thrived for the adventure, the freedom and the recognition of his own feats. He wanted to create his own stories from his real-life experiences, he wanted to share those stories with his family and friends, he wanted to mean something for crying out loud, he was sick of just being somebody’s stain. It was going to be a rough few months he knew but he had already decided what he was going to do.  

 

He’d researched the closest place to Winterfell that could provide him with a solid ship, not too small, not too big, it was only him after all. The condition being that this place had to be on the western coast of the north, one on the eastern coast would do no good for his plans. He’d decided on the Stony Shore, he just had to get lucky with the boat, he may end up having to steal one if it came to it. He would make the journey with another person into the unknown but he came to the conclusion nobody was daft enough to go along with his mad plan. 

 

He’d also done his research on navigating using the stars, his rope knots for his sails, the most efficient way to fish while out at sea, that was going to be a big one, if he couldn’t fish properly then he might as well not bother with the whole idea, he’d be dead within a fortnight without those skills, he’d be taking plenty of supplies but they wouldn’t last forever. 

 

Jon was so lost in his thoughts he nearly missed the sound of rustling leaves and snapping sticks. His horse became spooked and the reason was slowly making its way into the grove right in front of Jon, a large and angry looking grizzly bear. 

 

The first thing Jon did was cut his horse loose and sent it on its way in the hopes he could retrieve it after, if he survived that is. He grabbed his bow and his arrows and rolled out of the way just in time to avoid the charging bear and losing his arm there and then. The beast collided with the tree and shook it to its roots, gods this thing was big, must weigh at least eight, nine hundred pounds, it was huge. The beasts mistake gave Jon the chance to fire three arrows into its back legs, one in its left leg and two in its right, that’ll hopefully slow it down and give him more time to pick his shots. The bear responded with a pained roar in Jon’s direction, it made for Jon but it was evident the animal was laboured in its movement.  

 

Jon made for another arrow, pulled his bowstring back and fired, he was aiming between the beasts eyes but missed and struck it right in the muzzle. The bear didn’t react well to that as it cried out in pain and tried to claw the arrow out itself. This gave Jon the opening to finish the job but as he reached out for one last arrow he realised one thing, he had no arrows left. ‘Where are the rest of them!? Jon thought, ‘who steals arrows?......*sigh*......Arya'. Jon knew she practised in the godswood with her bow, no doubt “borrowed“ some arrows and forgot to put them back 'suppose it serves me right for not checking', hopefully this wasn’t the reason Jon didn’t survive, the guilt would smash his little sister to pieces if she found out. Jon sighed “Better make sure I survive then”. 

 

Dropping his bow and empty quiver, Jon flanked the distressed grizzly and slowly pulled his dirk from his hip. The bear was too busy tackling the lodged arrow in his muzzle to notice Jon approaching from the rear and with the small opening he needed, Jon mounted the bear from behind and drove his dirk into the side of the beast's head resulting in the instant death of the struggling animal and the collapse of both the bear and Jon onto the ground. “Thank the gods” Jon said as he removed the dirk from the bears head, he just laid there on top of the warm body of fur and caught his breath 'what a rush'. Making a quick decision, he began skinning the bear with his dirk ‘I've always wanted a cloak made of bear fur, this will hopefully keep me warm whilst I'm out at sea’. 

 

Jon managed to finish skinning the animal but not without making a huge mess, the ground and himself was covered in blood and would no doubt attract some more predators his way if he didn’t get a move on. Jon moved to strap his bow over his shoulder, placed his dirk back on his belt, draped the bear fur over his other shoulder and started his brisk walk back towards Winterfell. Hopefully the bear carcass that was left would be a welcome distraction for him to get out unscathed. 

 

Twenty minutes into his journey back he caught a glimpse of movement out the corner of his eye ‘oh gods now what’, he was out of arrows, this would be a close combat encounter and Jon wasn’t confident he could take on another bear or a wolf or whatever it was without his arrows. He didn’t have his sword either because that was still on his horse, he would have to use his dirk and his bare hands, ‘could I batter a wolf with my bare hands?’ Jon wondered, ‘no, probably not you fucking idiot’ Jon concludedJon really needed to get a better grip on his wolfs-blood or he would end up fighting something he really had no right fighting...and suffering the consequences. 

 

The beast he would be fighting emerged from the bushes and trees and thankfully it wasn’t an adversary, it was his horse, ‘the gods are really looking down on me tonight’. Jon swiftly mounted his horse, checked to see he still had his belongings and rode off towards Winterfell. Within fifteen minutes of riding he’d exited the woods and was trotting through Winter Town, he was garnering some queer looks and some whispers but that was probably because of the bear fur and the layer of blood he was caked in and not the usual reason, it's not like he gave a fuck at what they said about him anymore, fuck 'em, he was more interested in getting to his chambers and sorting himself out, he was in dire need of a bath and it couldn't come sooner. 

 


 

Ned 

Ned was on his way to the main hall accompanied by Robb when Jory, Captain of the household guard, appeared at the end of the corridor with an odd look on his face, ‘Now what's the matter? I cannot wait for my bed and for this day to end'.  

 

“Lord Stark, Lord Robb” Jory nodded as he greeted them, “Lord Stark, you wished for me to inform you when Jon had returned”. 

 

FinallyNed thought, “Thanks for letting me know Jory, I assume he’s in the main hall for supper then?” 

 

“Err...not exactly Lord Stark, Jon’s gone to his chambers to wash up, he was in a bit of a state when he returned” Jory replied. 

 

Ned went numb, “In a state? What kind of state? He’s okay, isn't he?”. Ned had all sorts of scenarios playing through his mind, Lya wouldn't forgive him. 

 

“He’s okay Lord Stark, Jon assured me that none of the blood was his” Jory announced, Lord Stark didn’t look pleased with the casualness of the statement so Jory explained, “He returned through the gates unrecognisable from a distance, he was covered from head to toe in blood but he assured me it wasn't his blood. Told me he got ambushed by a grizzly and confiscated its skin for spooking him” Jory chuckled, “I wouldn’t have believed him if it weren't for the huge bear pelt he was carrying with him, told me he wasn’t too clever at skinning large animals and made a huge mess of himself”. 

 

“He killed a grizzly on his own?”, Robb looked shocked but impressed. 

 

“Like I said, that pelt he’s got proved his word, a fine trophy”, Jory finished as all three men reached the main hall. 

 

‘I'm gonna kill him, is he trying to give me a heart attack?’, He was impressed with such a feet but my god did he want to throttle him for getting into that kind of situation in the first place, ‘Oh Lya, have you made him extra difficult just to punish me?’. 

 

“Don't you start getting idea’s Robb, it's difficult enough keeping an eye on him, I don’t need you joining in with his escapades. I’ll be having a word with him about getting into ridiculous situations as of late” Ned finished. 

 

The three men entered the main hall together, Jory took his post by the door whilst Ned and Robb walked up to the high table and took their seats. Catelyn was sat in her spot with Sansa to her left with Bran sat next to her, Arya and Rickon were sat all the way to the right side of the table and it was clear by the look Arya was giving Sansa that something had happened. 

 

“What's all this then?” Ned asked as he and Robb took their seats. 

 

“Children being children Ned, nothing to worry about” Catelyn replied as she took a sip from her goblet. 

 

Ned turned to Arya “What's the matter with you then little one?” 

 

“Sansa said Jon should just leave and go live in the woods that he likes running off to, she said if he was gonna act like a wild animal he should go live with them” Arya answered, burning a hole in Sansa’s head with her glare, "Maybe I'll join him if that happens."

 

“You will do no such thing young lady. Now eat your meal and stop trying to start an argument with your sister” Catelyn said. 

 

“I wasn’t being cruel, I was just saying that if he enjoys going to the woods all the time he would feel more suited there, especially with his recent behaviour” Sansa argued. 

 

“He’s not some stray dog you can just get rid of because you don’t like him, he’s a living person and he’s our brother!" Arya passionately argued back. 

 

“Arya, I won't tell you again, eat your supper and stop with this nonsense about your half-brother” Catelyn warned. 

 

“He’s got two arms, two legs and a head, he looks like a full brother to me” Arya returned as Rickon giggled at her response. 

 

Ned took charge of the situation “Enough, it's been a long day and I just want to have a nice quiet supper with my family, is that too much to ask?”

 

“Sorry father” Arya and Sansa said in unison as Sansa looked down but Arya was still giving her a death stare. 

 

“Alright then” Ned finished. 

 

It was relatively quiet for a good few minutes as people ate their food and quietly chatted but that was broken when Robb decided to share Jon’s story with Arya. 

 

“HE DID WHAT!?” Arya exclaimed as Catelyn glared at her. 

 

“Killed a grizzly bear apparently, still haven't seen the pelt myself yet but I trust Jory wouldn’t lie about something like that” Robb explained as the rest of the table took notice of the conversation. 

 

Arya’s eyes lit up, “Wow, I can't wait to see it. I bet the story is even better”. Arya looked excited at the prospect of the seeing the pelt and hearing a new story and Rickon looked like a ball of energy ready to explode at any minute. 

 

“What happened? Jon saw a grizzly bear?” Bran asked, obviously missing parts and unable to hear properly being sat at the other end of the table. 

 

“Yeah, and he killed it and skinned it for its pelt” Arya replied, looking proud of her brother. 

 

“Really? That’s amazing”. Bran looked equally amazed at Jon’s antics. 

 

Catelyn told them both to quieten down and finish their supper, Arya didn’t look best pleased with her mother shutting down her conversations whenever Jon was the topic of discussion but complied. 

 

As the family was just coming to the end of their meal the main door slowly opened and Jon snuck in and claimed one of the seats near the entrance, he looked freshly bathed with his curly dark hair still showing its dampness. Ned was the only person to notice him enter so he took the chance to observe him from a distance in the hopes of seeing any subtle signs that would explain his recent attitude. He had a rough idea what it was about and Bran earlier seemed to have the same idea, that one word, bastard. 

 

To start off with he was sat on his own, right in the dimly lit corner of the room, he’d always been a boy who enjoyed the peace and quiet of his own company so that wasn’t a red flag. He called over one of the maids to ask her if there was any supper left, she replied that she would fetch him some, looked down and blushed as she walked away to tend to her duties. Ned wasn’t surprised at the girl's actions, Jon had been filling out and maturing rather nicely if the reactions from some of the girls around Winterfell and Winter Town were anything to go by, he just hoped Jon wouldn’t fall for the temptation. Thankfully Ned was the only one who noticed the girl as Jon seemed to be in a world of his own at the moment. 

 

He seemed so lost in his thoughts, Ned really wished he could help him but he wouldn’t talk him, and when he looked like he was about to open up he would ask about his mother. Ned would tell him but he was very confident Jon would take it the wrong way and rightfully so Ned mused. In every scenario that ran through his head, every single outcome had a negative impact whether it be him or Jon. Ned was sure the rest of the family would be shocked but accepting with the revelation but If Jon decided to leave because of it they wouldn’t forgive me. 

 

Ned returned his attention back to Jon as the maid returned with his supper, again, he seemed to be concentrating really hard on something, his furrowed brow and his famous brooding expression a dead giveaway. He was tapping his finger with no rhythm what so ever, was he counting something? 

 

The quiet study of Jon was broken when Arya noticed him and broke the silence. 

 

“Jon!” Arya shouted as she shot up from her seat and made her way towards him. 

 

Catelyn tried to stop her from acknowledging Jon but one look from Ned was all that was needed to silently warn his wife. She was trying too hard to separate her children from Jon and it was slowly wearing Ned down, she had managed to create a barrier between Sansa and Jon but was evidently not successful yet with the rest of them as Rickon too shot up and ran across to his older brother. 

 

“What can I do for you my lady” Jon replied with a smirk. “ooo, now then ya little monster” Jon said as he lifted Rickon so he could sit on his lap. 

 

Arya replied with a punch to Jon’s arm “Don’t call me that stupid, you know I hate all that rubbish”. 

 

“Can we see your bear?” Rickon butted in, a look of excitement on his face. 

 

“My bear?” Jon replied confused. 

 

“No Rick, he’s got a bear pelt, he didn’t bring the bear back with him.....you didn't did you?” Arya said questionably. 

 

“Sorry but the only grizzly beast that’s in this keep is sat on my lap” As Jon tickled Rickon, filling the hall with his laughter. 

 

“Stop!....STOP!, I surrender, I surrender” Rickon replied as Jon stopped his onslaught. 

 

“So, did you really kill a grizzly bear?” Arya asked. 

 

“I did, but I didn’t go searching for it. I was ambushed by it and the only way I was to escape was if I could vanquish my furry foe” Jon replied as he exaggerated his voice to help charm the story to Rickon who was staring at Jon like he was one of those heroes from his stories. 

 

“What happened next?” Rickon replied as Arya took a seat next to Jon. He could see in his peripheral vision that everyone apart from Catelyn was also listening in on Jon’s tale. 

 

“Well, all of a sudden, the great beast bolted towards the tree I was sat under and nearly caught me if I hadn't rolled out of the way to grab my bow. You see, I needed to slow the grizzly down so I put a couple of arrows into its legs, grizzly bears are incredibly fast for their size, when it ran into the tree I swear I felt the roots shake under my feet” Jon continued, capturing everyone’s full attention, even Sansa couldn’t help listening to a good story. 

 

“I went to finish the fight with an arrow in between the eyes but the beast moved just as I released my arrow and it hit it, right up its nose” Jon continued as he tapped Arya’s nose. Rickon giggled and Bran had a smile on his face. 

 

“Now I don’t know about you but when I've got a really nasty bogey up my nose I make it my mission to extract it from its lair, so you can imagine what the bear was trying to do with an arrow up there as well” Jon explained as Arya and Rickon started giggling, Sansa made a face and Catelyn stared daggers at Jon. 

 

“So, with the beast distracted I reached for another arrow to finally put it out of its misery but as I went for another arrow I realised I was out, some of them had magically disappeared” Jon said. He slowly turned to Arya who had the decency to look guilty. 

 

“I was gonna put them back I swear...I just forgot...sorry” Arya explained. She gave Jon her famous wide-eyed look whenever she tried to get out of trouble. 

 

Jon accepted her excuse and carried on with his tale, “Well, since I'd run out of arrows, I had to rethink my strategy. Unfortunately, my sword was on my horse and that had bolted away so all I had left was the dirk on my belt” Jon explained “As the bear was busy with the arrow up its snoot, I had the opportunity to jump the bear from behind and thrust my dirk into its head, thus vanquishing the beast” Jon finished. 

 

“Weren't you scared?” Rickon asked. 

 

“I was, but you remember what father told you?” Rickon shook his head. 

 

“It is the only time a man can be brave when he's afraid” Jon explained, Ned was surprised Jon had remembered him saying that. 

 

“Did you take its pelt?” Arya asked. 

 

“I did, but I made a huge mess of myself in the process, blood everywhere” Jon chuckled. “I’ll show it to you both before you go to bed, it’s so thick I’ll probably lose the both of you in it” Jon said with a grin. 

 

“We’ve both finished our suppers so we’ll just wait here for you to finish” Arya suggested, clearly fishing for Jon to get a move on with his own meal. 

 

“Give me 5 minutes and I'm all yours” Jon replied. 

 

And with a clear of his bowl and a nod in Ned’s direction, Jon and his two shadows left the hall. 

 

“He is alright isn't he father? He barely acknowledged our table, didn’t you have a word with him earlier?” Robb inquired when the three of them had left the hall. 

 

Ned sighed “I did have a word with him, I think he’s just feeling a bit unwanted at the moment. Ser Rodrik had suggested grooming him to be the next master-at-arms after he’s retired, I agreed with him, it's no secret Jon is very gifted when it comes to swordplay and it would not only give him more purpose that he feels he’s lacking at the moment but it would also keep Jon at Winterfell for years to come, something I think you and me both have been worrying about recently”. 

 

“If you say so father” Robb replied but didn’t look confident with Ned’s plan. 

 

“Do you not think that would help?” Ned asked. 

 

“I don’t know, it just seems to me that he can't wait to get out. He’s already got one foot out the door with all the time he spends in the wolfswood and mother and Sansa aren’t exactly welcoming with him.” Robb said and continued, “If he’d heard Sansa’s suggestion about living in the woods he wouldn’t have taken it as an insult, he’d have taken it as a genuine possibility for him, he’s already proven he can handle himself out in the wild if that story about the bear is anything to go by and I'm concerned he’s gonna realise that there's nothing stopping him from going through with it” Robb finished. 

 

Ned had a lot to think about. 

 


 

Jon 

Jon chuckled as he watched Arya and Rickon run ahead of him towards his chambers, a sadness washing over him as he realised that tonight would be the last night he spent with them for a while, ‘I can't be thinking like that, I have to leave for my own sake, no backing out’. 

 

As he followed them into his chambers he realised he’d left all the books about sailing and fishing he’d been reading from the library all over his desk and unfortunately Arya picked up on them pretty fast. 

 

“What are these?” She asked suspiciously. 

 

He had to think fast on his feet “Just some light reading, was interested in how to fish efficiently in the rivers". He hated lying to Arya but he had to, if she found out the real reason he was learning to fish she would tell father then Jon would be made a prisoner in his own home. 

 

“Oh okay” She accepted but Jon knew she was suspicious, “Sooo, where’s this pelt?” Arya asked but Rickon had already found it. 

 

“Eww, why’s it so wet?” Rickon asked as he had the thing draped over him. 

 

“Get that off Rick, I washed it in the bath tub after I’d used it myself and left it to dry in front of the fireplace” Jon said as he removed the pelt from Rickon, his tiny body emerging from its depths. “You should have heard the maid when she came to clean out the tub, she sounded like she was gonna throw up when she found all the blood and bits left in there” Jon chuckled. 

 

“Are you gonna make a cloak out of it? Sansa might help if it involves anything with a needle and thread” Arya asked. 

 

“I haven't decided yet but most probably, I've always wanted a bearskin cloak” Jon proclaimed. 

 

Arya went and joined Rickon who was sat on Jon’s bed and looked up at Jon with those slate eyes of hers almost as if she was trying to find something. 

 

“Are you okay Jon?” Arya asked in such a sincere way it almost made him tear up. ‘I shouldn’t have favourites but I just can't help it with Arya’

 

“What makes you ask that?” Jon asked. 

 

Arya was clearly thinking on how to word her next sentence, “I don’t know, lately you’ve just looked...fed up with everybody that’s all” Arya answered. 

 

“Is this about me breaking squidkid’s nose?” Jon replied. 

 

Arya chuckled “No, not that, he deserved that, he deserves a lot more but you were the only one to bring him down a peg.” Arya then continued, “No its more...you just seem more outspoken whenever somebody mocks you”. 

 

“Father says it’s the wolfs blood coming through, apparently I'm going through ‘the change’ so that’s probably why I have a shorter fuse" Jon answered. “Your parents are gonna go insane when it happens to you two” Jon chuckled as he deflected. Arya was hitting too close to home with her evaluation of him.  

 

Jon has had wolfs blood all his life but he’s had to learn to control it, him coming of age had not changed his situation with it either so he knew it wasn’t that, it was more a self-loathing issue he had and he'd realised he had to discover himself to be truly happy. 

 

Arya didn’t look convinced, “Are you sure?” She asked as she nibbled on her lower lip. 

 

“I'm positive Arya, I’ll be fine honestly, I’m getting annoyed with this conversation and I haven't bitten your head off so it's not like I'm going insane is it?” Jon replied. He wanted this topic of conversation over for many reasons, the main one being the fact he could feel his soul being chipped away bit by bit every time he lied to his little sister. 

 

“Yeah but that doesn’t count, I'm your favourite sister and you love me” Arya replied cheekily. 

 

“Hey! What about me?” Rickon exclaimed. 

 

“You're my favourite sister and I love you too Rick” Jon smiled. 

 

“Good” Rickon replied with a smile as he carried on playing with the bear fur, completely oblivious to what Jon had just said. 

 

Jon looked through his window and knew he needed to get a couple of hours sleep in before he departed. So, with that he caught Arya and Rickon in a big group hug which lasted longer than his normal ones and escorted them back to their wing of the keep, ‘The family wing’ Jon thought bitterly. He said goodnight to each of them as he hugged them one last time before making a swift getaway back to his chambers before he became a teary mess ‘Stay strong Jon’. He returned to his chambers and collapsed on his bed, he just let the tiredness take hold of him. 

 

Jon later woke up groggy and miserable, it was pitch black out. He must have had four or five hours sleep, he wasn’t sure but he knew it was time to get packed. He got up and picked up the books he had borrowed off his desk and carried them under his arm, he then grabbed the empty sack he’d managed to obtain, exited his chambers and made his way towards the library. 

 

Jon, a master of keeping to the shadows all his life managed to return the books to their rightful place without a problem. His next task was to acquire some rations for his journey, he knew he’d have to restock at the Stony Shore so he didn’t plan on ‘borrowing’ much. With that he made his way towards the kitchens but not without nearly getting caught by a guard, he managed to dart into an alcove just before the guard came around the corner into the corridor he was in ’close one'

 

He arrived in the kitchens and quickly filled up his sack with apples, hardtack and some dried beef jerky. He didn’t grab any water as he’d already filled three skins up in a stream he knew about in the wolfswood earlier that day.  

 

With his sack full he made haste back to his chambers, keeping an extra eye out for patrols. Back inside his room, Jon tied up his sack, washed his face in the bowl of water that was left for him in the morning and proceeded to change into his warmest clothing, all black of course. Jon then placed the six sealed notes he had written individually for each of his siblings and his father on his desk so that they could be found the next day...when he’ll be long gone. The notes themselves were just him saying that he’s sorry he didn’t say goodbye in person, that they aren't the reason he left and that he will always love them and he hopes they will one day forgive him for leaving. His father's note explained that he didn’t want to come in between him and his wife anymore, that he felt stagnant and useless in his day to day life, that he just wasn’t happy anymore and that he wanted to enter the world and make a life for himself and not others. Jon also mentioned that he didn’t understand his reluctance to tell him about his mother and that he hoped the information he kept from Jon was worth it for whatever the reason. Jon shouldn’t have written the last part about his mother but he was too bitter at the thought of it all. 

 

Jon pulled on his boots and pulled on his black cloak, with a bow slung over one shoulder, his bear pelt rolled up and hung over his other shoulder, a quiver full of arrows on his back and his sword and dirk strapped to his hip, Jon grabbed his sack of supplies, a bag of gold dragons he’d been saving up for the year and headed out of the keep. He knew if somebody saw him he was busted so he hurried down towards the godswood and made one last prayer to the old gods, a prayer keeping his family safe and another praying for a fruitful journey on this suicide mission he was going on. 

 

As soon as he was done with his prayers, Jon jogged to the stables and saddled a horse for his journey. He packed his sack of supplies and his gold in his saddlebags, tied the bear fur on the back of the saddle and led the horse out and towards the hunter’s gate. He knew this was the less guarded gate and he knew how to distract the guards. With the kennels being close by, Jon rattled the hounds up by banging on the bars and he led his horse down the side of the maester’s turret and hid in the shadows. As the guard on duty, who happened to be Todd who he had broken the nose of earlier, walked towards the kennels to see what the commotion was about, Jon mounted his horse and bolted out the gate before Todd knew what had even happened.  

 

Jon must have galloped towards the woods for five straight minutes before he realised he’d got out before anyone had seen him, the lack of bells ringing being a giveaway. He made one last look at the only home he knew, the home he had outgrown ‘or had it outgrown him?’. If he survived his adventure he might see it again but he was kind of coming to terms that this might be the last time he sees those grey walls. 

 

He knew he was gonna miss it but it was mainly the occupants that resided there that he was going to miss the most, it was also because of some of those occupants that he’d decided to take on this venture in the first place. With a deep breath to steel himself, he turned his horse towards the woods and began his journey into the unknown.

 

To a new beginning.

 


 

Chapter Text


 6 moons later... 

 

Ned 

Ned sighed as he finished reading over the ravens he’d received earlier that day, nothing unusual, same reports he’d been receiving from all his bannermen. If Ned was being honest he was hoping for some mention of anything to do with Jon. 

 

Before Ned could lose himself in his thoughts there was a knock on his solar door, Ned told whoever it was to come in and was greeted by the face of his captain of the household guard, Jory. 

 

“What news Jory?”

 

“The scouts you sent a moon ago have returned my lord” Jory replied. 

 

“And? Any leads? Anything?” Ned replied hastily. 

 

“I’m afraid they couldn’t find anything my lord, they said the hounds lost the scent near a small river in the wolfswood about a week out from here. Said they’ve been looking for weeks in the surrounding areas but found nothing, it was clear the lad didn’t want to be followed.” 

 

‘Six moons. Six moons and barely a trace left of him’ Ned sighed “Tell them I appreciate their efforts, pay them the gold dragons for at least looking for him and make sure they get a warm meal and proper ale in their bellies before they return home.” 

 

Jory nodded as he left the solar and left Ned to his thoughts. ‘Where are you Jon? Where did you go?’ The scouts had said they’d found nothing which means they didn’t find a body or blood or anything, Ned hoped that was positive news and that Jon was at least okay wherever he was. It had been six moons, he could be anywhere, he could be in Dorne, north of the wall or even Essos by now. Ned had specifically ordered Lord Manderly to search all incoming and outgoing ships for a man matching Jon’s description but had received reports from him that nobody matching Jon’s description had been spotted. 

 

Ned sighed again, he found himself doing that a lot lately, at the age of 33, Ned felt twice his age with all the recent events. He thought he was gonna have a heart attack when the news that his son had gone missing reached King’s Landing and that The Crown was helping him in his search, it was a double-edged sword, he wanted him found yes but if Rhaegar, Elia or anybody who’d met his sister looked into Jon’s eyes then whispers would spread. 

 

Ned leant back in his chair and reached into the draw of his desk, he found the note straight away, the note written by Jon specifically for him, the contents of which kept him awake for many nights of the week. 

 

Dear Lord Stark, 

 

I write to you with a heavy heart, I write in the hopes that it will grant closure to both you and I but I fear only one of us will receive such a thing. 

 

As a son you have treated me like one of your trueborn children to a certain extent. I have gone needing for nothing whether it be food, shelter or education. I have grown up with my half-siblings that at times felt like full-fledged siblings and I am eternally grateful for that. 

 

As a bastard you treated me with as much affection as you dare, you have been balancing your marriage and your wife's wishes with the wants and wishes of a bastard boy. This situation wasn’t ideal for anybody. 

 

I came to the conclusion that something had to change. Your marriage couldn’t realistically change without ripping the family apart so that was never going to happen, as much as I appreciate daily reminders from your wife of the situation of my birth I had no control of, I do not wish to cause tension between the pair of you. 

 

With that I realised I had to leave, leave for the benefit of your marriage, leave for the benefit of my future and leave for the benefit of my own sanity. I almost didn’t want to leave without finding out news of my mother, the woman I'm pretty sure I will never know the identity of. 

 

I don’t understand your reasoning for withholding that precious information from me but with the sheer amount of times you’ve denied me, I assume there must be a good reason for it, in the end, I hope it was worth it. 

 

If me leaving makes me a disappointment to you, if you think I'm just running away from my problems then, I'm sorry. 

 

This maybe the last time we speak and if so then, I love you. 

 

Jon. 

 

Ned wiped a stray tear away at the last part of the letter, Ned’s parting gift to him was another denial about his mother and Jon’s parting gift was him saying that he loved him ‘Did I ever say that to him myself?’. Ned closed his eyes in shame, wondering if he’d said it spoke volumes. 

 

He wasn’t the only person to receive a letter of their own, everyone in the family received one, even Sansa, but Cat and Theon received no such thing as to be expected. He remembers when the family found out Jon was gone. 

 

6 moons ago... 

 

The sound of clashing wood could be heard from his solar, he always enjoyed seeing the boys spar after breakfast. 

 

Ned got up from his chair and made his way towards the balcony overlooking the yard. 

 

When he looked over he could see Robb sparring with Theon with Bran and Rickon watching on. 

 

With Theon yielding after being sent to his backside, Ned made his way down to them. 

 

“Good morning my lord.” Ser Rodrik greeted. 

 

“Morning Ser Rodrik.” Ned replied. 

 

Robb turned to his father with a grin as he helped Theon back to his feet. “Did you see me send him into the dirt father?” Robb asked with the grin still plastered to his face. 

 

“I did, but don’t get overconfident Robb, first mistake in a fight is to underestimate your opponent. Plus, I think young Greyjoy here is ready to go again.” Ned replied as he saw the look on Theon’s face. 

 

“Too right I am, Stark over here got a lucky break that’s all.” Theon replied. 

 

Ned noticed that Jon was nowhere to be seen which was unusual for a lad who loved a good spar. “Where’s your brother Robb? Would have thought he’d be sparring with you as well”. Ned didn’t miss the face Theon pulled whenever Jon was mentioned. 

 

“Jon? I'm not sure father, I haven't seen him since last night.” Robb answered. 

 

“Not even at breakfast?” Ned asked. 

 

Robb shook his head, “Nope. He wasn’t even at breakfast.” 

 

“Unusual, not like Jon to miss breakfast, he seems to eat like a hungry wolf as of late.” Ned replied with a chuckle. 

 

“Probably needs to store all that energy for when he cowers away into those woods.” Theon answered with his trade mark grin. 

 

“...or break noses.” Robb replied whilst smiling at Theon. Theon didn’t look pleased at that remark and tried to catch Robb off guard with a swing but Robb had already seen it coming and parried thus carrying on with their spar. 

 

Ned asked Bran and Rickon if they’d seen Jon, Bran said the same as Robb that he hadn't seen him since last night but Rickon’s reply worried Ned a little. 

 

“He walked me to my chambers and gave me a big hug goodnight like the ones you give us papa. I squeezed him back extra hard so he wouldn’t cry.” 

 

“Cry? Why would he cry Rick?” Ned asked. Ned didn’t like his answer. 

 

“I don’t know, he just looked extra sad last night so I tried to hug it away for him. I think it worked but he was already leaving before I could see his reaction.” 

 

Ned did not like this at all and got a dreaded case of foreboding, “Don't worry Rick, he’ll be fine, I’ll go check his chambers see if he’s arisen from his beauty sleep.” 

 

Ned heard Bran and Rickon giggle at that as he made his way up to Jon’s chambers, it wasn’t like Jon to sleep in late so the last thing he expected was to see him still asleep. 

 

Ned knocked on his door to see if he was decent but received no reply, he knocked again with the same outcome. He slowly opened the door whilst still letting Jon know that he was coming in but it was for nought, Jon wasn't there. 

 

Worrying. 

 

Ned left the chambers with haste and went to the godswood to see if he was there, nothing. Main hall, nothing. Stables, nothing. On his way to see the guards who were overwatching the gates he saw Arya making her way towards the yard. 

 

“Arya, you haven't seen Jon around have you?” Ned pressed. 

 

“No father, why? Is he in trouble?” Arya asked. 

 

“Nobody has seen him since last night, he didn’t turn up to breakfast this morning and Rickon said he looked upset last night.” Ned replied. Arya looked worried. 

 

“He might have gone into the wolfswood, he does spend an awful lot of time there, have you asked the guards on duty if they've seen him leave?” Arya asked. 

 

“I'm just on my way there now, go and have a look around, see if you can find him and if you do tell him I want a word.” Ned answered as he went towards the Hunter’s Gate to talk to the on-duty guards. 

 

Unfortunately, when he asked them he was told nobody had entered or exited through the Hunter’s gate or any of the other three gates this morning. Now Ned was getting very nervous as he walked towards his solar and his thoughts were confirmed when he saw Arya running through the corridor towards him with a handful of sealed letters and a face full of tears. 

 

“Father! Its Jon, I...I found these in his room...he...he’s gone” Arya cried. 

 

Ned ushered her into his solar as she hugged his side, “What do you mean he’s gone?” Ned replied, he felt like the walls were closing in. 

 

She handed him six letters, all sealed apart from one which had Arya’s name on it, the rest of which had the names of all his children and one had his name on it. 

 

'What have you done Jon?’ 

 

Arya was still crying as he read his letter and he knew why, Jon was gone, and as much as he tried he couldn’t fault his reasons. 

 

Ned had sent out scouts to search the wolfswood but reported back with not much of a lead. Nobody took the news well, well not nobody. Catelyn had almost brushed her hands clean of the whole situation stating that “If he wants to go out into the world and make something of himself then so be it.” and that “We should respect his wishes.” but nobody agreed with her, not even Sansa to everybody's surprise. Arya screamed at her mother and blamed her for everything whilst storming out of his solar that they were all in, Rickon was silently crying into Ned’s side, Sansa looked regretful and Robb and Bran just looked distraught and disappointed. 

 

Ned had already planned to send scouts, he was going to find Jon and when he returned he was determined to make Jon feel like he was in a home, a home he promised his sister that her son would be a part of. 

 

‘I'm sorry Lya’ 

 

Present day... 

 

Ned was broken from his thoughts when Jory knocked and entered his solar. 

 

“Lord Stark, there’s been a deserter from the nights watch...” Jory left the rest unspoken. 

 

“I’ll be with you shortly.” Ned replied as Jory left and shut the door behind him. 

 

‘Duty calls’ Ned thought as he rose from his chair and exited his solar felling melancholy. 

 


 

Jon 

“CUNT!” 

 

That was the fifth fish that had escaped his hook, each one that escaped gained an increasingly more aggressive name. ‘Twat’ was his previous adversary, he preferred ‘Twat’ to ‘Cunt’, ‘Twat' was bigger and seemed to have a more cooperative attitude but ‘Cunt’ was boisterous and rebellious. Jon was also quite sure he was going insane. 

 

“FUCK YOU THEN FISH! I DIDN’T WANT YOU ANYWAY YOU FUCKING FREAK! YOU FUCKING STINK! FUCK YOU!” 

 

Yeah, he was losing his mind. 

 

Jon huffed as he calmed his breathing, exerting precious energy calling a fish a freak was not the smartest of ideas, ‘why am I so angry towards a dumb fish?’. Heading towards the front of the ship, Jon leant his arms on the railing and looked upon the horizon in the hopes of seeing some sort of land or anything. He’d believed he’d seen land hundreds of times in the past week or so but his eyes or his mind had deceived him, it was all starting to get disheartening. 

 

He was wondering if all of this was worth it, If the moment he finds land he’ll just keel over and die from the first thing he comes in contact with, wouldn’t that just be hilarious. He remembers the whole journey he would have took just to die and he remembers the very beginning of his adventure... 

 

Roughly 5 moons ago... 

 

The Stony Shore looked as miserable as Jon felt, if Winterfell looked grey then the Stony Shore felt grey. 

 

“Shithole” Jon whispered under his breath as he hitched his horse, gathered his belongings and made his way towards the poor excuse  of a dock. Finding a decent ship was his main priority but at first glance he was not very optimistic. 

 

Jon knew he needed to find an inn to sort himself out, he stunk, he needed a good meal and he needed a bed. So, with that in mind he made his way towards a building that look like an inn, it also looked like one of the only functional buildings in this heap. 

 

As he stepped inside he was hit with the smell of sweat and fish, the floor felt damp and the room in general was unlit apart from the few candles that littered the individual tables and the bar. It also seemed that a fresh batch of fishermen had just docked and were getting settled in to the already busy establishment. 

 

He found a quiet corner and called a maid over to take his order, he quickly found out that the inn was completely full ‘fuck me’. He ordered a fish pie and ale and started to mull over ideas on what to do next, no rooms meant he was sleeping in the woods again and with the weather looking as miserable as he felt, he figured he’d be waking up wet. 

 

The maid returned with his fish pie and his ale, “Thank you.” Jon said as he handed over the coin to the young maid who accepted it with a smile and a blush. The meal itself was tasty, fish was obviously fresh, the pastry was crumbly and golden and Jon had no idea what the sauce was that was in it but he still wolfed it down with zeal.  However, the ale...not so much, it tasted like a fermented puddle and Jon was pretty sure there was a chunk or two in it. 

 

The general peace of the inn was broken when a loudmouth’s voice rose above everybody else's. 

 

“Aye, should have heard the little lassie, the way she was crying and screaming you’d have thought I'd gutted her HAHA...Well I gutted her in a sense but that’s beside the point HA!” A scumbag of a sailor gloated to a fellow sailor at the table next to him, the sailor in question not looking remotely interested in what the he was saying. 

 

Jon’s mug creaked from the pressure with how hard he was squeezing it in rage ‘fucking disgusting pig’. Taking a deep breath through his nose, Jon attempted to calmed his ire.

 

“Had her on the boat with me, was planning on making her my salt wife, bit young like but a few weeks and I'd have worn her in HA. Crazy bitch threw herself in the sea, never saw her emerge, pity.” The scumbag finished with a belch. 

 

The other sailor that accompanied him finished his ale, got up and walked out. “Oh, BYE THEN! Plenty more fish in the sea, isn't that right darling” The scumbag said as he slapped the backside of the young maid that passed by. The man was clearly drunk...and clearly a cunt. 

 

“Maybe I'll steal you away and make you my salt wife little lady. I've got a nice boat, made of lovely ironwood, stole it from some northern cunt who was sailing on the sunset sea where he shouldn’t have been, prick should've stuck to fucking his horse and rolling around in his precious snow HA” The scumbag leered at the maid as she made her way back to the bar. 

 

This perked Jon’s ears up. 

 

With a hasty plan forming, Jon watched the scumbag neck mug after mug of ale ‘How can he drink that piss?’ and then stumble out of the inn 20 minutes later mumbling to himself. Jon decided he was going to take the opportunity that was given to him with both hands. He motioned to the maid and she came over to him, he told her that there was a nice grey palfrey hitched outside with a saddle and everything and that she could sell it to earn some coin for herself, that earnt him a lovely smile and a sincere thank you. With that Jon got up and followed the drunk all the way to the docks, Jon noticed the rather nice ship he was heading towards ‘This will do nicely’ he thought. 

 

The scumbag entered the cabin of his ship, Jon followed him on quietly, storing his belongings in a crate on deck. The sun was going down, so Jon waited an hour on deck before sneaking into the cabin to check on the arsehole’s situation, turns out he was completely out cold, Jon even started whistling a random tune to see if he would wake but the man was out like a light. 

 

Jon rushed back and untied the rope the boat had used to dock, pulled down the sails and coasted the boat out into open water. He’d done it, he’d managed to find a decent boat which happened to have decent supplies if Jon’s first glances were anything to go by, coupled with his own supplies he’d brought with him and the fact that he was stealing back a ship that previously belonged to somebody in his homeland, Jon was feeling rather pleased with himself right now. 

 

An hour out from inland, Jon decided it was a fair distance for the drunk prick to swim back to shore from, ‘if he drowned then...pity, like a wise man once said, plenty more fish in the sea’. He walked back into the cabin with his sword and woke the idiot up. 

 

“WAKEY WAKEY, RISE AND SHINE PRINCESS!” Jon yelled as he grabbed hold of the man and dragged him on deck. 

 

“Wha....what the fuck man...who the hell are you?” The drunk asked as he unsuccessfully tried to struggle out of Jon’s grip. 

 

“Captain Jon of the fuck you.” Jon said as he threw the screaming man overboard, spitting down at him as he emerged from the water. 

 

“WHAT THE FUCK MAN?! OY COMEBACK YA PRICK!” The scumbag shouted. 

 

“I’m sorry, what did you say? I don’t speak the common tongue.” Jon replied. 

 

“WHAT? STOP MESSING, LET ME BACK UP AND I’LL FORGET ABOUT ALL OF THIS!” The ironborn frantically replied as he tried to keep up with the boat. 

 

“Eh? Nyke ȳdra daor shifang (I don’t understand)” Jon replied in high valyrian. 

 

And with that, Jon turned away from the screaming man and headed towards the bow of the ship, he looked out to the horizon, “Well, too late to back out now.” and settled into the beginning of his journey. 

 

Present day... 

 

Jon was disturbed from his thoughts by the tugging of his fishing rod. 

 

“Haha, got you now you little arsehole.” Jon cheered as he reeled in a bite. 

 

Jon had read all sorts of books on fishing and the different types of fish, the one he’d just caught was a sea bass but the colouring was off slightly. He’d started noticing a lot of oddities with some of his captures lately. 

 

“Well that’s dinner for tonight to go along with my fish desert and my beverage of fish blood.” Jon japed with himself. 

 

Water, a lack of water was slowly but surely becoming a problem. He had some left but he was rationing it so precisely that he worked out that he had one more month before he was completely out. He needed it to rain badly, he had several barrels open and ready for a downpour. 

 

“Fucking fish.” Jon said as he sat down with a huff and started preparing his dinner. He remembers the first week of his voyage when he nearly burnt down the ship whilst cooking one of his first captured fish, Jon chuckled to himself. 

 

He was numb to the taste of fish now and it didn’t make a difference what type of fish he caught it all just ended up tasting the same way, he’d caught the odd turtle here and there but he wasn't eating them, he’s not a monster. 

 

Ah, what he wouldn’t do for one of Gage’s famous beef-and-bacon pies back at Winterfell, the ones with the thick onion gravy and golden crust... 

 

“I WANT PIEEEE!!!!” Jon screamed into the heavens. 

 


 

Ned 

The pastry was soft and crumbly as Ned tucks in to his supper, one of Gage’s best and with how quiet the rest of the table was being at the moment they too were thoroughly enjoying their meal. Still didn’t ease his concern about what the deserter of the night’s watch had said earlier today though, harping on about monsters and walkers, it's all Ned needed right now. 

 

Ned looked to his right and saw Arya staring into her pie and looking miserable. Jon’s departure had affected everybody in the household in some way or another but Arya had been hit the hardest. She was extremely cold towards Sansa and Theon with the latter even returning from the yard with a few more bruises thanks to Arya and her collection of snowballs she likes to fill with stones. The way she was with her mother was a different story, she'd flat out refused to go to her embroidery classes saying “It's for old biddies and boring people”. She once asked septa Mordane when she plans on “shrivelling up and crawling back into whatever hole she crawled out of” and has proceeded to pick up the mantle that Jon had left when it came to purposefully pissing off Catelyn. 

 

Robb and Bran have been very similar when it comes to Jon’s departure, both being quiet and overall not as lively as they used to be. Robb has thrown himself headfirst into his lordly duties which Ned couldn’t be prouder of but it was a clear way for him to distract himself from the fact that he misses his brother.  

 

Sansa seems to have changed the least out of anybody at first glance but Ned has noticed her trying to hide her disappointment in herself and it doesn’t get easier for her when Arya straight up refuses to talk to her anymore. 

 

Rickon has been running around like a lost puppy, always asking when Jon was coming home, Theon keeps making snide comments and smirking at his own jokes about Jon leaving and Catelyn, well Catelyn isn't in the slightest remorseful from the whole ordeal, if anything, she thinks the family has just overcome a great upheaval and can now move forward like nothing had happened. 

 

Ned had to inform the rest of the family of the scout's findings or lack of if he was being honest, he knew Arya was not going to take it well. He turned to Catelyn and quietly spoke to her, “Round up all the children after supper and bring them to my solar.” 

 

“Has something happened?” Catelyn asked. 

 

“Everything will be explained in my solar, away from prying ears." Ned replied. 

 

The meal had ended and Ned headed to his solar to prepare for what he was about to tell the children, they weren't gonna like it one bit but there was nothing he could do, Jon was long gone. 

 

Sooner than he was prepared for, the children and Cat all made their way into the solar, he could see the questions on their faces already. 

 

“What's happened father? Is it Jon? Have they found him?” Arya asked as soon as she entered the room. 

 

“Everybody take a seat and I’ll explain everything.” Ned replied as everybody took a chair. 

 

Ned sighed and mentally prepared himself for what was to come, “You’re correct in thinking this is pertaining to Jon’s whereabouts” Ned answered as he looked at Arya. 

 

“The last batch of scouts I sent out a moon ago finally returned, but unfortunately they haven't been able to find a conclusive trail of Jon. I received a raven from Lord Manderly in White Harbour, he too has had no reported sightings fitting a man of Jon’s description. Reports from Castle Black from your Uncle Benjen, The Neck from Lord Reed’s personal scouts and The Crown themselves have all come back negative. Jon has completely vanished.” 

 

He could see Arya tearing up but he had to get through this, “The scouts that returned this afternoon said that if Jon is out there he’s made damn sure they can't follow him, he’s being a complete ghost to them. And unfortunately, I have come to the difficult decision to call off the search and send the men back to their homes, it's unfair to keep them from their families, trying to find somebody who doesn’t want to be found” Ned finished as he looked at the gutted faces of everyone in the room, well not everyone. 

 

“YOU CAN’T, YOU HAVE TO KEEP LOOKING, PLEASE FATHER!” Arya screamed with tears running down her face. 

 

“I’m sorry Arya but the decision has been made. If Jon wants to return home then he’ll come back when he’s ready.” Ned replied. 

 

“WE CAN’T ABANDON HIM, HE NEEDS TO BE HERE WITH HIS FAMILY...I...I miss him so much.” Arya looked down as she finished. Devastated didn't even cut it the way Arya was at this point and her screaming and crying had set Rickon off with the tears as well. 

 

Ned felt terrible. 

 

“Calm down Arya, your making your little brother cry.” Catelyn chided, the total lack of sensitivity amazed Ned at times. 

 

The look Arya gave her mother chilled Ned to the bone. “This is your fault this! He’s gone because of YOU! I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU FOR THIS! I. HATE. YOU!” Arya screamed at Catelyn as she ran out of the solar. Ned called to Jory at the end of the corridor and told him to keep an eye on her, he didn’t want her doing something stupid. 

 

Ned sits back down in his chair with a huff just before Robb asked him a difficult question, “Father, you...you don’t think he’s dead do you?” Ned could see the fear in his son’s eyes as he asked him that. 

 

He needed to shut that kind of thinking down immediately, “He’s not dead Robb, it’s Jon, he can look after himself plus if he was dead the scouts would have found something by now surely.” Ned replied, not a hundred percent positive in his own claims. But he was still refusing to believe in the worst-case scenario. 

 

Catelyn timely intervened, “Maybe we have to come to the conclusion that Jon is really gone. It's going to impact all of us with the loss but it's not something that as a family we can’t overcome. Maybe hold a ceremony in his memory so that he knows he’s not forgotten, we can invite some of the lords to attend, lords like Lord Karstark and Lord Manderly. They can bring their whole family along with them as well, we’ll give Jon a respectable send-off.” Catelyn finished with a soft smile on her face, Sansa nodding in agreement. 

 

Ned knew what she was doing and by the looks of things so too did Robb, she’d been hinting about betrothals to both Robb and himself. Robb rose from his seat with a scowl on his face aimed at his mother and ushered Bran and Rickon out of his solar, promising them a bedtime story. Ned couldn’t believe her audacity, there was no way it was a coincidence that the two houses she mentioned happened to have ladies of a similar age to Robb that weren't betrothed. 

 

Catelyn, thoroughly pleased with herself rises from her seat along with Sansa and started making their way towards the door whilst tutoring Sansa on to suitably prepare the keep when holding an event and how a lady is supposed to make sure everything is in order. 

 

“You’re wasting your time Cat, there won’t be a ceremony.” Ned muttered, he could feel his veins boiling from anger. 

 

“Its closure for the all of us Ned, it's something we all need after this ordeal. Once the funeral is over with we can, as a family, begin the path to recovery.” Catelyn replied, unaware of Ned’s rage that at this moment had reached its limit. 

 

“THERE’S NOT GONNA BE A FUNERAL BECAUSE NOBODY HAS DIED! AND YOUR RIDICULOUS PLAN TO FIND ROBB A WIFE DURING THIS IMAGINARY CEREMONY WON’T BE HAPPENING EITHER!” Ned yelled as Catelyn stared straight back with a stone face whilst Sansa was taking a step back towards the door. 

 

“It's going to eat you alive Ned, the first step of grief is denial, you need to come to the realisation that Jon isn't coming back. Whilst you’re stewing in your own misery about the boy your children are growing up around you and you're missing out on it all.” And with that, Catelyn and Sansa exited the room but not without Sansa gracing him with a concerned smile which he returned for her sake more than his. 

 

“FOR FUCK SAKE!” Ned yelled into the empty solar as he launched his chair across the room. Taking deep breaths, he realised he needed to calm down, he needed to pray and there was only one place he could do that.  

 

Grabbing his cloak, he exited his room and walked past a concerned looking Jory, “Not a word.” Ned said to him as he exited the keep into the cold night and made his way towards the godswood to pray to his gods for too many reasons. 

 


 

Jon 

There was a chill in the air, Jon could feel it on his face as he laid there on deck wrapped up in his trusty bear pelt. The sky was clear today and the seagulls were flying around in formation in perfect synchronisation, it was mesmerising. It was one of the many interesting things he’d seen on this trip and Jon had seen a lot of things. 

 

He’d seen some beautiful things, like the oddly stripped fish that looked like it had almost something like bird feathers growing from it. He wanted to catch one and see what it tasted like but if Jon was being honest, he was scared of shitting out a lung from poisoning. 

 

 

He’d seen some odd things, like the dog he saw...or fish...Jon wasn't too sure what he’d seen that day. They were timid but friendly little creatures, unfortunately the moment he’d called out to one they would dart away. 

 

 

And then there was the not so pleasant things, like the thick fog he’d sailed through that lasted for nearly two weeks. The odd jagged rocks here and there that poked out of the water whilst sailing through and don’t even get him started on the rather long appendage that he swears he saw through the dense fog, that thing gave Jon nightmares, it was a miracle he’d even got out the other side. 

 

Thinking back to those memories, Jon’s mind travelled even further into the past. Getting lost in his thoughts about his siblings was one of his favourite past times lately, about Sansa, when she would concentrate so hard on her stitching that the tip of her tongue would peek out of her mouth. Or Bran, who nearly gave Jon a heart attack when he decided to take a shortcut outside by climbing out of Jon’s bedroom window. Of Robb, when he used to wake Jon up on a morning with a handful of snow to the face and a body slam for good measure. 

 

He thought about little Rickon who he still to this day didn’t understand what it was that he saw when he looked at Jon with a face full of awe. He thought of Arya, his biggest supporter. He hopes she’s still soldiering on, being the biggest pain in the arse to her parents that she can possibly be and hopes she’s still turning a blind eye to septa Mordane’s poisonous teachings and beliefs. There was Theon...he can fuck off as far as Jon was concerned. 

 

And then came their parents. Catelyn Tully Stark was prejudiced, she was vindictive, she was a borderline extremist when it came to her twisted beliefs and she was a bitch. Hate is a strong word...Jon hated her, nothing much else to it. And then there was his father, the honourable Lord Eddard Stark. A man who at face value was the most upstanding person you’ll ever meet but to Jon he was a man guilty of lies and secrets, a man guilty of negligence. What on earth had Ned Stark done to deem it necessary to hide the identity of Jon’s mother away from him? Am I the product of rape? Am I the bastard son of a woman who was already married at the time I was conceived? Did Lord Stark cuckold somebody? ‘Oh god, please don’t be Catelyn’s crazy sister’, Jon shuddered. 

 

Its whatever, that’s all in the past now, nothing he can do about it, his mother might as well be the fucking Queen at this point, it wasn't gonna change anything. As much as he tries to keep a positive outlook for the future he wasn’t naive, Jon was pretty sure he was gonna die soon. He’d seen no boats, no people, no land, there was nothing, just an endless horizon for half a year. He couldn’t return back; a lack of supplies would finish him off before he even saw Westeros again and he’d still have to sail back through the mass of jagged rocks and dense fog he only just survived by sheer luck on the way here. 

 

Jon rubbed his face in resignation, brushing his fingers through his thick beard he was rather proud of if he was being honest. He knew it needed a trim and so did his hair, hanging past the top of his shoulders, He’d ended up tying it up in a bun, something he’d never done before and he still wasn’t sure if he liked it or not, regardless, it needed cutting for what it was worth in the long run. 

 

With a sigh, Jon closed his eyes and listened to the sound of the waves, it always lulled him and he would nod off pretty easily. It wasn’t the only thing that helped him sleep, the sound of water splashing, of the waves rocking the boat like his mother would rock him to sleep when he was a baby...if she wasn’t a phantom from Jon’s dreams. The sound of the odd seagull cawing in the distance, the flapping of his boat's sails, the distant shouting of fellow sailors. 

 

...wait. 

 

Jon’s eyes shot open as he jumped to his feet and looked in the direction the shouts were coming from, in the distance, about 150 yards away he could see an odd-looking sail boat, it had an awning of sorts built right in the middle of it and underneath it there were two people shouting and waving their arms in his direction. 

 

‘Pirates’

 

Or so Jon thought. As he prepared for an attack, grabbing his sword that was leant against the main mast, the odd-looking boat gently coasted towards the side of his. He was higher up than them on deck so he got a good view of them, they looked nothing like pirates, they looked...different in a way he couldn’t describe. The two men were looking up at him with friendly expressions but also seemed to be working him out as well. 

 

The man on the right shouted up at him in a language totally foreign to Jon so all he could do was shrug his shoulders, point to his mouth and shake his head. The man seemed to realise the situation and started talking with signs as well. He pointed to himself, then pointed to Jon and then finally pointed towards the horizon while nodding his head. Confused, Jon looked to where the man was pointing and his eyes grew wide. They wanted him to follow them, in the direction they were pointing, to land, to actual land. 

 

‘Oh my god, I did it...I actually did it’. Jon thought has his heart threatened to burst. 

 

Land ahoy. 

 

 


 

Chapter Text


 

 

Jon

Jon was just wide eyed as his boat coasted up to the little docks of this new land, the first thing he noticed about this place was the colour, vast amounts of trees that at first glance looked a subtle shade of red like the weirwoods in the north but in actual fact were a soft pink and at closer inspection, Jon realised they weren't leaves but flowers. ‘I wonder if there's any trees growing winter roses’. 

 

As he disembarked from his ship he noticed that everybody on the docks, who were working, stopped and looked at him. The look wasn’t in disdain or disgust but of intrigue and interest, for once in his life he didn’t feel uncomfortable with the whispers he could hear, it probably also helped that he didn’t understand a word they were saying. 

 

He followed the two sailors that had led him to this new land and made his way up a stone path that exited the docks, passing under a red archway that was like nothing he’d seen before. ‘Absolutely everything is different and new, it's like an entirely different world’ Jon thought to himself as they made their way through what seemed to be some sort of town. The buildings on the way to whatever their ultimate destination was were some of the most brilliant bits of architecture Jon had ever seen. Sloped roofs that were curved and made from strong looking wood, the buildings themselves were predominantly brown and white but he spotted a few that were built with the same red wood he’d seen used for the archway at the docks, these specific buildings also seemed to have green roofs instead of the dark brown ones. Jon was in awe of everything he’d seen up to now. 

 

He was cut off from his daydreaming as a small furry creature ran across his path holding what looked to have been a large red berry, the thing was covered from head to toe with a brown grey fur, had a red almost human like face and a long tail which was currently being tugged at by two children who were clearly chasing the thing. Jon wanted to intervene but with one look from his guides, who shook their heads with a smile, Jon decided otherwise. 

 

They carried on with their journey till they stopped and turned to Jon, the pair of men pointed up to a large set of stairs which led to the top of a steep hill. At the top of that hill was the most amazing building he had ever seen. The backdrop had a narrow waterfall that flowed from a cliff, he looked up and for the first time since arriving noticed the huge snow peaked mountain in front of him.  

 

‘Snow’ Jon thought, the one thing he truly knows here or anywhere. 

 

Jon shook the thoughts away as he once again looked upon this magnificent structure, this thing was 4 stories high with each floor being smaller than the last. Each of the floors had its own roof, sloped and curved like the rest of the buildings he’d seen so far and made from a soft grey wood. The balconies, pillars and archways were made from the popular red wood he’d seen as well and the whole thing was topped off with a golden sculpture at the peak of the building, it was stunning. 

 

 

 

Jon climbed the stairs and reached the front of the building along with the two men, who he’d deduced were fishermen, and followed the pair in. He’d underestimated the size of the building and was shocked by the vast interior, clean white screens, that seemed to block out the view from the outside were on each of the walls and slid open to let fresh air flow through, Jon would say it gave the room an open feel. Low tables and cushions spread around the room, not a chair or stool in sight. 

 

The pair of men led him into a small room that was screened off and motioned for him to sit on one of the cushions, he obliged and untied his scabbard from his waist. He’d left his belongings on his ship and just brought his sword, he couldn't be too careful in this foreign land. One of the men left the room and the other one was clearly left to keep an eye on him, which was confirmed when the man pointed at Jon’s sword and shook his head in a negative manner. Understanding his gesture, Jon picked it up and placed it further across the room from him, but not too far for him to reach if this all went tits up. 

 

The other man returned and beckoned Jon to stand up and follow him, the man who was already in the room with Jon picked up his scabbard and followed him out, Well, there goes that plan already Jon thought.  

 

He was led up a small narrow staircase and into a room with seven men, old men from what Jon could see. They were sat on the same type of cushions he’d been sitting on and were sat in a circle around the room. He believed this was their idea of court. 

 

One of the men who had escorted him talks in their language to a man who looks between the age of forty and fifty and had short cropped golden hair with flecks of grey, he looks at me for a while before speaking to me. 

 

Skoros iksis aōha brōzi valītsos? (What is your name boy?)” The man asked him in fluent High Valyrian. 

 

Odd’ He thought. 

 

“Jon.” He replied, still shocked somebody knew a language he did. 

 

Skoriot issi ao hen? (Where are you from?)” The man asked. 

 

Westeros, se jelmōñe dārion. (Westeros, the northern kingdom.)” Jon answered. 

 

The man looked at him in shock. 

 

Gaomagon ao gīmigon se Quptenkys Ēngos? (Do you know the common tongue?)”. The man asked, clear shock still evident on his face. 

 

“I do.” Jon replied as he looked around at the rest of the men who all looked confused with the conversation that was being had. 

 

The man started talking again, “Good, your High Valyrian is alright but still a bit rusty.” He ended with a grin. 

 

“If you don’t mind me asking, where are you from?” Jon asked. 

 

“I'm from Westeros just like you boy.” The man finished with a laugh. 

 

‘Unbelievable’ Jon thought, he assumed he was the first westerosi to ever discover this foreign land but it turns out he wasn't, very annoying. Granted, he was glad there was somebody who knew his language and by the way he was speaking with the other men in the room, knew the native language as well. ‘Looks like I've found my language teacher at least’ he thought. But it still didn’t change the fact that he’d thought he’d accomplished something nobody else had before. He was broken from his inner turmoil when the man spoke up. 

 

“I've told the elders that you are a visitor from my homeland and you wish to contribute to our society, it is the only way you will be allowed to stay.” 

 

“Thank you, and please tell them I appreciate their hospitality.” Jon replied as he nodded to the old men. The westerosi told them what he had said and they replied to the man, all without taking their eyes off of Jon. 

 

“The Daimyo accept your thanks but will only be convinced of your sincerity based on your actions in the future.” The westerosi replied. 

 

Daimyo?” Jon replied intrigued, the men in the room chuckled at his attempt at the word. He was happy that they chose to allow him entry to their land and not just straight up deny or kill him. 

 

The westerosi answered “They’re like the high lords we have back in Westeros but better.” 

 

“And what is this place called?” Jon asked with anticipation. 

 

“Well this settlement we are in right now is called Kōchi but the island itself is called Shikoku. There are 3 other islands as well, Hokkaido, Honshu and Kyushu.” The westerosi answered.  

 

‘Interesting’ Jon pondered. He’d never heard of any of those places in maester Lewin’s lessons or in any of the books he’d been reading. 

 

“And what's your name if you don’t mind me asking?” Jon finally asked. 

 

“Gerion, Gerion Lannister, I must say it’s a shock and a pleasure to meet a fellow westerosi." He answered with a cheeky grin as he held out his hand to shake. 

 

Jon just froze on the spot. 

 

He accepted his hand and shook it, still shocked at who’s hand he was actually shaking. 

 

“Gerion Lannister? Lord Tywin’s Brother?” Jon asked. 

 

“The very same. Some might even say it's my greatest achievement being related to the great Tywin Lannister.” Gerion replied with what appeared to be his trademark grin. 

 

“Everybody thinks you're dead you know, said you went searching for your houses ancestral sword and never returned.” Jon replied. 

 

“It's not like I could send them a raven telling them my whereabouts, the poor creature would perish before making it even half the journey.” Gerion answered. 

 

“True I suppose.” Jon agreed, he did wonder though, “So...did you find what you were looking for?” Jon optimistically asked, he’d only ever seen one valyrian steel sword before and that was House Stark’s ancestral great sword, Ice. 

 

Gerion replied with that grin still plastered to his face “Not sure, you’ll have to wait and see.” 

 

Jon was sure that grin was permanent. 

 

“Well the Daimyo have agreed that you shall stay with me for the time being so I can keep an eye on you, make sure you don’t get into any trouble, so grab your shit and follow me.” Gerion said. 

 

Jon was surprised but okay with the man’s crudeness. He told him that all his belongings were on his boat so they both headed back to the docks to retrieve them. On the way there they conversed and learnt new things about each other, Jon told Gerion that he’d turned 15 two moons ago which Gerion was surprised about stating that Jon was well built for his age and that having a full beard at 15 was just weird. 

 

"I have been at sea for over half a year, not really had the opportunity to shave." Jon defended.

 

“Took me till I was nearly 30 to grow a respectable beard, seeing you with one at 15 just pisses me off to be quite honest.” Gerion jested. 

 

With his belongings gathered, Jon followed Gerion towards his home, it was a quaint little house that was built with a surrounding garden that had an abundance of different trees, to Jon it seemed peaceful. 

 

 

“Well, this is it, home away from home, it's not a castle but it's enough for me.” Gerion said. 

 

“Oh, don’t worry, your home looks lovely and I really do appreciate you housing me.” Jon replied. 

 

“Not like I really had much of a choice, the Daimyo don’t trust outsiders at the moment, took me a year or so before they warmed up to me. Things are a bit tense between the four islands lately so their attitude is understandable.” Gerion said. Jon just looked at him with an inquisitively raised eyebrow. 

 

“There’s something brewing and the outcome isn't gonna be pleasant.” Gerion mused. 

 

“And what do you think the outcome will be?” Jon asked as he entered the house and put down his belongings. 

 

“War.” Gerion answered. 

 

‘Brilliantbeen here 5 minutes and there’s already death on the horizon’' Jon thought as he laid down on his bed Gerion had pointed out. He shut his eyes and let the darkness take him. 

 


 

 

The Red Woman 

Being led into the wide corridor by the Red Keep’s guards to join the rest of the loyal subjects, Melisandre of Asshai pondered over her thoughts and visions that she had recently seen in her flames. Suffering and death were the main theme of them really but she couldn’t help being drawn to the one vision she had seen only a moon ago. 

 

All her visions had been the same for a very long time and she’d spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to find an answer on how to prevent the misery she had witnessed. Year after year with no answer, she was starting to get disheartened by it all but her Lord of Light had come through for her and given her a clue. 

 

The slow crawl of people inched into the Great Hall with every person dealt with in court, she hadn't been waiting long so it seemed the King was being rather efficient today.  

 

King Rhaegar, First of His Name sat stoically on the throne of a thousand swords and methodically dealt with the issues of the day. The man himself was a jovial King but open to bouts of melancholy if the masses were to be believed. Melisandre could see the hidden pain in his deep indigo eyes as he waved away a Lord to move on to the next one. They say the Queen is very similar to her husband and that it was all brought on when the rebellion ended 15 years ago, when Lyanna Stark...no, Lyanna Targaryen had perished giving birth to a babe that hadn't survived the birth either, both monarchs had clearly been in love and that loss had left a deep wound. 

 

The King had done his absolute best trying to fix the problems his mad father had created but it would all be for nought if her visions rang true. 

 

The King finished his business with the person in front to her, she was ushered forward, Well, here goes nothing’ Melisandre thought as the person in front of her was escorted away. She bowed to the King and hoped that he would listen. 

 


 

 

Jon

The sun had barely risen as Jon was woken up by Gerion at the butt crack of dawn, he’d slept like a baby, sleeping on a boat for half a year was not his idea of a good time so the first night's sleep on solid ground had been blissful.  

 

“Wakey wakey rise and shine sleepy head.” Gerion said as he shook Jon awake. 

 

“Why? Why do you hate me so?” Jon mumbled. 

 

“Time for you to wake and get yourself cleaned up, you stink. I've got breakfast on the go and when we’ve finished we’ll go and meet the Swordmaster to evaluate your worth.” Gerion replied. 

 

“Swordmaster? What's that when it's at home?” Jon replied, still rubbing the sleep from his eyes. 

 

“It's like the master-at-arms from back home, I'm guessing you’ve got some experience with weapons?” Gerion asked. 

 

“I dabble.” Jon answered as he peeled his clothes away from himself, still half asleep. 

 

“Well get a move on, he doesn’t like tardiness and he’ll be itching to break you in.” Gerion said with that ever-present grin. 

 

“You remind me of someone from back home, he was a cunt too.” Jon replied as images of a certain squid prick came to mind. He should watch his tongue but he was never in the right state of mind when woken up and gods help the person who had woken him. Jon was best left to wake up on his own Robb would say after nearly getting his head knocked off for one too many snowy wake up calls, he’d completely stopped his daily ritual after seeing the face Jon had given him. 

 

Thankfully, Gerion took it in his stride, “HA! Can't remember the last time somebody spoke to me like that, refreshing to say the least.” Gerion replied whilst chuckling to himself. Jon believed they would get on quite well. 

 

After he’d washed, trimmed his beard to tidy it up and eaten his breakfast which consisted of scrambled egg and an assortment of fruits and berries, Jon and Gerion headed out into the cool morning air and made their way to the Swordmaster’s hall. The hall itself was at the edge of the town and had its own path down to what looked like a secluded portion of the beach. 

 

Gerion spoke to him before they entered, “Watch that silver tongue of yours when speaking to Master Miyamoto, he’ll fucking destroy you and I found that out the hard way.” 

 

“I'm guessing Master Miyamoto is this Swordmaster you’ve been banging on about.” Jon guessed to which Gerion nodded. 

 

Master Miyamoto Musashi, best sword on the island and has trained everybody who is anybody here. Only the truly exceptional survive his lessons and teachings, unfortunately he gave up trying with me, said I was too proud to learn.” Gerion said. 

 

“You're not gonna cry on me, are you?” Jon japed and earned a jab to the arm. 

 

“I can't wait to see him hurt muscles you didn’t even know you had, HA.” Gerion answered back. 

 

“We’ll see about that.” Jon finished as Gerion led them into the hall. 

 

 

3 hours later...  

 

 

“Fuck.” Jon said as he winced. 

 

Gerion was right, the old Master had found hidden parts of him that now stung and ached after being run through the wringer. 

 

“What in the seven hells was that?” He asked, as him and Gerion made their way towards the town square. 

 

“That was you getting your shit kicked in and me having the time of my life watching it happen.” Gerion replied with a smile. 

 

“I've only just met the man, why does he hate me so much?” Jon replied. 

 

“Trust me, if he hated you that wouldn’t have lasted thirty minutes, the man has just invested three hours into you. You’ve intrigued him, he told me he sees a lot of potential for someone so young.” Gerion answered. 

 

A small swell of pride filled Jon’s chest for a fleeting moment until he remembered how much he ached right now. Before he could complain he noticed again one of those little furry creatures he’d seen yesterday being chased by children once more, he turned to Gerion and asked what they were. 

 

“It’s called a Macaque, it’s a species of monkey native to these islands, mischievous little devils they are. You should watch your pockets.” Gerion answered. 

 

They reached the middle of town and headed straight for the swordsmith on Master Miyamoto’s recommendation. According to Gerion, Gorō Masamune is one of if not the best swordsmiths in the land, Jon was excited to see his wares. 

 

As soon as they entered the store, Jon was instantly amazed at all the steel on display. Rows and rows of finely crafted weaponry lined the walls and shelves, subtly curved long swords and short swords, daggers, bows and an assortment of weapons that looked completely foreign to him. 

 

Gerion explained to him all the different types of blade on display from the katana, wakizashi, odachi, and tachi to the more obscure weaponry like the kusarigama which was a vicious looking sickle and chain. 

 

He also pointed out some of the rarer items on display and explained to Jon what they were made from. 

 

Dragonsteel? What the hell is dragonsteel?” Jon questioned. 

 

“It’s a bit like valyrian steel but lighter and holds a sharper edge, so to put it simply, it's just better.” Gerion explained. 

 

“Better than valyrian steel? How can you be so sure?” Jon asked, still sceptical. 

 

“I tested dragonsteel and my valyrian steel against a blunted sparring sword, the valyrian steel took a chunk out of it, the dragonsteel cut it clean in half.” Gerion answered. 

 

‘That’s a gamechanger’ Jon thought as he stared at the dragonsteel in question, they were all different shades from ice white to coal black, some had patterns and some were jewelled, they were beautiful. 

 

It took a minute before Jon realised something, “Your valyrian steel?” 

 

Gerion smirked. 

 

Jon realised why he was smirking and started to smirk himself, “So you DID find Brightroar then?” 

 

Gerion carried on smirking and just nodded, Jon had to see this when they headed back. 

 

“I found something else as well that might interest you but you’ll have to be a good boy if you want to see it.” Gerion said. 

 

Prick.” Jon muttered under his breath as Gerion laughed at his expression. They both left the store after browsing and handling some of the blades that were on offer, Gerion was quick to point out that dragonsteel can still be produced but is not sold to just anybody with a bit of coin. You have to earn the right to wield it. 

 

Jon did wonder though, “Why’s it called dragonsteel? Did they have dragons here as well?” Jon grinned. He tried to sound nonchalant about it but was very intrigued when Gerion answered. 

 

“Did they?” Gerion grinned, “They still do.” 

 

“Fuck off, I'm calling bullshit right away.” Jon denied but couldn’t help feel a bubble of excitement brewing. 

 

Gerion put his arm around Jon’s shoulders and turned him to look towards the huge whitecapped mountain in the distance. 

 

“You see that there?” Gerion said as he pointed to the top of said mountain, “That's called Mount Hakusan, it means ‘White Mountain’ in NihongoNihongo is the name of the language that they speak here if you were wondering.”  

 

Jon rose an eyebrow at the name, “White Mountain? Bit boring isn't it?” 

 

“Shut up and let me continue.” Gerion chided. Jon motioned for him to carry on. 

 

“It’s one of the ‘Three Holy Mountains along with Mount Fuji and Mount Tateyama. All three of them are actually in fact volcanoes.”  

 

Jon was in awe whilst listening to Gerion, this thing was colossal and was easily peaking above the clouds. 

 

“Inside of these volcanoes are said to be dormant creatures, winged creatures the size of entire villages, waiting to awake from their slumber.” Gerion finished. 

 

Jon rolled his eyes, he’d heard Old Nan’s stories before and this one sounded like it came from her own mouth. “Those sound like some really big birds.” Jon japed. “Oh god...he...here comes one now!” Jon cowered behind Gerion as he pointed up at a seagull. 

 

“Get off me you annoying shit.” Gerion pushed him towards the path up to his house as Jon laughed. 

 

“You mock boy but these people hold strong beliefs to these creatures, so much so they built temples in homage, do not disrespect the culture unless you want to be thrown back into the sea.” Gerion chastised. Jon to his credit apologised for not knowing. 

 

Gerion talked a bit more about these mythical creatures as they made their way back to his home for their lunch, not much was known about them and nobody had claimed to have seen one in many years but the belief still stood that these beings were protectors from a great evil that would ultimately destroy these lands. 

 

Again, Jon was very sceptical about the whole situation but kept his mouth closed out of respect. 

 

It got even more interesting when they finished their lunch and made their way into Gerion’s room. 

 

“So, let's see it then.” Jon said. 

 

“Oh, I didn’t know you swung that way Jonathan.” Gerion replied, trying and failing not to grin like a loon. 

 

“Not that you prick” Jon said as he rolled his eyes, “You know...your sword.” He finshed. 

 

“I’m getting mixed signals here Jonathan.” Gerion replied with a look of confusion. 

 

BRIGHTROAR! Let me see Brightroar you arse.” Jon huffed, “And stop calling me Jonathan.” 

 

“Oooooh, Brightroar...now it all makes sense.” Gerion replied like he had no idea what was being talked about. 

 

“You’re not funny, now get it out will you.” Jon said. 

 

“Of course, Jonathan, I’ll get anything out for y.....” 

 

“No, you're fine, just Brightroar will do you insufferable cunt.” Jon answered, the teasing had run its course and he just wanted to see the goddamn sword. 

 

With a wink and a nod, Gerion walked across the room to his bed and reached underneath it, he pulled a long wooden box out and lifted it onto his bed. Jon approached as Gerion unlatched the lock on the box and lifted the lid off to unveil two long items wrapped in a deep red material. 

 

Gerion felt around the end of one of the items and lifted it out of the box. 

 

As it was unwrapped from its cloth Jon noticed the black leather of its scabbard and the golden finishing's that accented it ‘Typical Lannister’. With it fully uncovered, Gerion grabbed the hilt and unsheathed it, the sound echoing around the room. He laid the sword down on the bed and Jon could fully take in the beauty of it. 

 

An obvious greatsword due to its length, Brightroar was Lannister through and through. Patterned gold adorned all around the hilt and surrounded what looked to be a square cut topaz in the centre. The blade held the same smoky ripples in its valyrian steel that House Stark’s ancestral sword featured and it was finished off with a solid gold lion’s head for a pommel, it was a majestic looking blade. 

 

 

“So...what do you think?” Gerion asked as he broke Jon out of his thoughts. 

 

“It's magnificent.” Jon answered.  

 

“A true beauty aye, a lot of work to recover but in the end, it was worth it.” Gerion replied. 

 

“Where on earth did you find it?” Jon asked. 

 

“It's a long story. I'll tell you some other time but to put it simply, I stole it.” Gerion answered with a grin. Jon just raised his eyebrow. 

 

Gerion explained, “Don't look at me like that, at the end of the day, this sword belongs to House Lannister so in a sense I wasn’t stealing it but reclaiming what is rightfully ours.” 

 

“Bit of a grey area but I can see where you're coming from.” Jon replied as he remembered the boat he ‘reclaimed’ to make this journey here. 

 

“A Lannister always pays their debts...unless they find a loophole.” Gerion finished. 

 

Jon just rolled his eyes as he looked back at the sword. When he caught sight of the box that laid at the other end of the bed, he remembered that there were two items in it. 

 

Jon nodded towards it and asked, “What else is in that box Gerion?” 

 

A sly grin morphed on Gerion’s face. 

 

“Why that young Jonathan is the other thing I mentioned about to you earlier.” He answered. 

 

Gerion picked up the other cloaked item, this one was a bit shorter than Brightroar and seemed to have a plain black leather scabbard as he unveiled it. Jon’s eyes went wide when he pulled the rest of the cloth off and revealed the hilt and pommel to him. 

 

A hand-and-a-half longsword with a simple black leather handle on the hilt was not the thing that shocked Jon, it was the twin dragon heads on the hilt and the giant pear-shaped ruby for a pommel, this was BlackfyreHouse Targaryen’s ancestral sword that was believed to have been lost somewhere in Essos, his beliefs were confirmed when Gerion unsheathed the sword and presented him with the same smoky ripples as Brightroar. 

 

 

 

“And where in the fuck did you find this?” Jon asked as he still couldn’t believe what he was looking at. “This is Blackfyre isn't it? I'm not seeing things?” 

 

Gerion nodded “You are correct in your assumptions young Jonathan, this here is indeed the lost sword of the Targaryen’s. This one was even more of a bitch to get hold of but I saw an opportunity and I took it.” 

 

“You didn’t reclaim this one as well did you?” Jon chuckled as he looked back down at Blackfyre, it was simply beautiful. 

 

Gerion’s chuckle sounded nervous to Jon’s ears as he replied, “Ha, about that. Yeah, I did steal THIS one. It’s a funny story actually, you see...” 

 

“I heard rumours that the Golden Company were in possession of it or someone in their ranks was at least, don't tell me you stole from the Golden Company.” Jon interrupted as he looked a Gerion. 

 

“Might have.” Gerion mumbled and shrugged his shoulders. 

 

Jon raised an eyebrow at that, “Do they know it was you who specifically took it?” 

 

“Well they knew it was me who took it but they didn’t know who I actually was soooo, no?”  

 

Jon just shook his head and placed the swords back in the box. 

 

“Did they chase you down?” Jon asked. 

 

Gerion nodded, “They did but I managed to shake them, the lion is never the one to be hunted.” 

 

Jon just rolled his eyes, he found himself doing that a lot when talking to him, “You're not a lion, you're a person, your house’s coat of arms just happens to have a lion on it.” Jon explained further, “You come into the world and leave it the same as anybody else, it's what you do in between your birth and your death that determines who you really are.” 

 

Gerion smiled at him and not the cocky smile he’s normally got plastered on but a smile that looked almost proud, “Well said, you’ll fit in just right around here. If it's worth anything to you I agree, the name doesn’t make the man but it’s their actions that speak greater volumes of a person's character.” 

 

Gerion continued, “That reminds me, I didn’t catch your last name when we met.” 

 

“That’s because I never told you" Jon replied. "It’s Snow by the way.” He answered. 

 

“Jon Snow...Jon Snow” Gerion said to himself, “the only Jon Snow I'd ever heard of is Ned Stark’s son.” Gerion mused. He looked at Jon like he was trying to piece a puzzle together. 

 

Jon curtsied to him, “The one and only.” He said with a grin. 

 

Gerion just smiled and shook his head as he slid the box back under his bed. 

 

“I think you and me are gonna get on just fin...what’s that smell?” Gerion asked as he sniffed and pulled a face. 

 

“Sorry, whatever that fish was that we had for lunch is playing a number on my stomach.” Jon answered as he laughed and left the room. 

 

“You dirty bastard!” Gerion shouted as he heard Jon laugh even louder. 

 


 

 

King Rhaegar 

The King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men sat at his polished ebony desk as he read through the ravens of the day. More marriage offers for his children more than anything, they would all receive the same response as they have before ‘The boys are already betrothed and the girls will not be forced into an arranged marriage. 

 

The Crown Prince, Aegon Targaryen is a boy of 16 years, short cropped silver-blonde hair, violet almost blue eyes, leanly built and almost the same height as his father. Loved by the masses and adored by girls and women alike due to his valyrian features, Egg, as he was more commonly known to family and friends, was shaping up to be an ideal successor of the Crown, taught the ins and outs of politics and history of all the known kingdoms, perfect courtly etiquette when conversing and dealing with Lords and Ladies and humility towards the less fortunate. He would be a fine King. 

 

 

Aegon had been betrothed at the young age of 12 to Lady Margaery of House Tyrell and would be wedding her later this year. 

 

His daughter, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen is a young woman of 18 years, long dark brown almost black hair similar to her dornish relatives, deep indigo eyes and the same height as her mother. She had the dornish look but also hints of the fair valyrian features, she was beautiful. Rhae, as she was more commonly known to family and friends, was the perfect mix between dornish wit and Targaryen charm and was often seen around the Red Keep with her cousins, The Sand Snakes, getting into, what they perceived to be, innocent trouble. 

 

 

Rhaenys was not currently betrothed but didn’t lack suitors, most notably Willas Tyrell, who was often spotted conversing with the Princess when he came to visit his brother Loras, sister Margaery and grandmother Lady Olenna. 

 

His brother, Viserys Targaryen is a man of 22, long silver hair just like his own, pale lilac eyes with hard lines in his face and a height similar to his own. Bitter and cruel due to him believing that HE should be sat on the throne because of their mad father making him heir before he died, Rhaegar has had to keep an eye on him along with his mother, the Dowager Queen Rhaella Targaryen. 

 

 

Viserys is currently married to Princess Arianne Martell, resides in Sunspear where his wife lives and loathes the fact that he’s referred to as ‘consort’. 

 

His sister, Princess Daenerys Targaryen is a girl of 14, long silver hair just like his, Viserys’ and their mother, violet eyes with a slender build and height, she is what many people claim as having the classic valyrian looks. Dany, as she was more commonly known to family and friends, is a quiet but confident young woman, enjoys the fine arts and is a bit of a bookworm. She spends a lot of time with the common people, often visiting the orphanage in King’s Landing and has expressed a desire to visit Essos and the Free Cities when she is older. 

 

 

Daenerys is not betrothed at the moment stating that if and when she marries is completely up to her with her mother fully backing her up on her wishes. She has a long list of suitors who are hoping to change her mind however, most notably Prince Quentyn of House Martell, Lord Joffery of House Baratheon and even Aurane Waters, a bastard of House Velaryon. 

 

Rhaegar thought on about his family members and wished he could have added 2 or more names to that list, more specifically, his 2 lost wolves. He missed her so much, they both did Elia and him, even Arthur missed her despite the fact she did nothing but take the piss with him, Rhaegar chuckled at the memory. 

 

They both regretted not seeing or being able to say goodbye to their daughter, him and Elia every year would visit the newly reconstructed Summerhall where her ashes lay to pay their respects. She’d be 15 now, Lyarra, a name they both agreed on, named after Lyanna’s mother. 

 

He sighed as he rubbed his eyes. 

 

His brother in all but name knocked on his door and popped his head through. 

 

“You have a visitor your grace, Lady Melisandre begs an audience with you.” Arthur announced. 

 

Rhaegar sighed ‘Not this again’, his interest in prophecies and visions died a long time ago. 

 

“Send her in and let's get this over with.” He replied. Arthur nodded with an amused grin on his face. 

 

The woman in question swept into his solar with the grace of a royal and the mystique of a shadow, she bowed low and greeted him. 

 

“Your grace, I thank you for granting me an audience." Lady Melisandre said. 

 

“Not at all, what can I help you with Lady Melisandre?” Rhaegar replied. 

 

“Dark times your grace, the visions in the flames I ha....” 

 

“Oh, not this again, I told you in the main hall that I don’t believe in any of this anymore. I allowed you residency when you claimed that this was a diplomatic visit and that you were a representative of the triarchs of Volantis but I’m starting to realise that might not be true at all.” Rhaegar said, he could see Arthur slowly pulling Dawn out of its scabbard. 

 

“I will relay my information and leave the city straight away, this has to be known by more than just me.” Lady Melisandre explained. 

 

Rhaegar held out a hand to halt Arthur’s actions and replied to the woman “Fine, explain these visions and then leave. Don’t expect me to take whatever you say seriously though.” 

 

“As you wish your grace.” She answered as she bowed her head in reverence. 

 

“A war is brewing between black and white, good and evil, the living and the dead. I don’t know where and I don’t know when but it is coming.” The lady explained. 

 

She continued, “For years I have seen these visions, I have asked the Lord of Light for an answer, time and time again I received no reply but only recently did he answer.” 

 

“He gave me a vision, a vision of ice and fire clashing and creating a light, a white light. A pool of silver, crimson eyes and a winged wolf. A white fire cleansing the enemy. A warrior of salvation, a warrior of death, a warrior to bring the dawn.” 

 

Rhaegar just sat there stone-faced as Lady Melisandre bowed and left the room, he looked up to Arthur who just shrugged his shoulders as he exited after the woman to return to his post. 

 

He went back over what she had said, a war is not what anybody wanted right now, the realm was flourishing and everything was calm. A warrior of salvation, a warrior of death? Gods be good what was all that about. 

 

It didn’t matter though, he’d left this type of thinking behind, prophecies and visions were the devils work and he refused to believe any of it anymore. 

 

As much as he wanted to forget everything she had said, one word did stick out to him... 

 

Wolf.  

Chapter Text


 

 

Jon  

 

Roughly a year later...  

 

Jon had only just recently turned 16, Gerion found out, Gerion took him out and Gerion got him royally hammered. It’s the first time he’d been blackout drunk and the morning after was one of the worst things he’d ever experienced, and in the past year he’d experienced a lot of things. 

 

For starters, him and Gerion got on like a house on fire now, they bantered with each other, took the piss out of each other but it wasn’t all just jokes and japes with the pair of them. They both had each other's back as well whether it be in an argument or fight with some stranger or just even the smallest things like cooking for each other, doing little favours here and there. 

 

Gerion wasn’t really a friend to Jon, he was more like an uncle...a mad and annoying uncle but an uncle all the same. 

 

Speaking of Gerion, his ‘uncle’ had managed to get him a job working on the docks so that he could pay his way, it wasn’t really fair leeching food and accommodation without contributing so he asked Gerion if there was any work going around and he managed to be earning coin the very next day. 

 

He spent most of his morning, from dawn to midday, in his lessons with Master Miyamoto and the afternoon on the docks, moving crates and pulling ropes was the main gist of it. 

 

Speaking of Master Miyamoto or Master M as him and Gerion liked to call him, that relationship had also grown as well, Master M was the closest thing to a grandfather that Jon had ever had. The man was a pool of knowledge and it sometimes scared Jon how much Master M knew about him, either the man was a brilliant judge of character or he could actually read a person’s mind like an open book. 

 

Master M had kept Jon on the right track since day one of his training, at first, he wondered why he was even doing all of this intense training but Master M told him or believes he told him if Gerion’s translation was accurate that ‘every man and woman should strive to be the best version of themselves’, Jon couldn’t argue with that and the fact that the whole reason for leaving home was to discover himself and improve himself helped with agreeing with the man’s statement. 

 

His lessons were more of a war between him and his own sanity, each lesson was so intense and cut throat that he thought he was actually going to die at points. He would go home battered and bruised, he was sure his bruises had their own bruises it was that bad. Gerion would tell him each night that in the end it would be worth it so he stuck it out. 

 

The Master had claimed that he had a natural gift with weaponry whether it be swords, daggers or even the odd weapons that were native to this land, he’d taken to them like a duck to water. He’d also trained with bows but was quick to determine that the bow was something he should avoid, to put it bluntly, he was awful with a bow, that was more Theon’s expertise Jon hated to admit. 

 

The Master had him doing all sorts of different physical exercises when sparring wasn’t on the agenda for the day, running up and down the mass hill of stairs that led up to the town hall, 50 to 60 times in one sitting at times. Jon had counted the number of stairs due to the fact that he’d ran up them that many times, it was a rough estimate but he guessed around 180 to 200 steps made up the ‘Stairway to Hell’ as he’d had dubbed it. 

 

He’d been tasked with climbing the face of a steep almost sheer cliff that he’d later learned was actually just the base of Mount Hakusan, he couldn’t for the life of him even think about climbing the entirety of it and if Master M tasked him with doing so, he’d probably tell him where to get off, that was a hard no from him. 

 

One of the more embarrassing exercises he had him doing was chasing the same macaques that he’d seen when he was fresh off the boat. Not only were children also chasing these little arseholes around but he was confident that it was all just a game to these bastards. He’d managed to catch quite a few of them ever since he started but his reward for capturing these wily little things was just an abundance of scratch marks with a few of them pissing on him, 1 or 2 of them had even thrown their own shit at him, knowledge he’d kept away from Gerion. 

 

Not only had his sword skills improved but so too had his more stealth inclined skills, the ones he had learnt to adapt to living under Catelyn Stark’s glare. The skills in question had become quite handy when it came to pissing Gerion off, the man was adamant he was trying to get rid of him by causing a heart attack whenever he snuck up on him. 

 

Jon would always tell him he couldn’t get rid of him because who on earth would carry on teaching him nihongo. He wasn't fluent in the language but he believes he can take part in a cohesive conversation with his Master and the natives of the island. Gerion would say that he’s learnt the words well but his northern burr made some of the pronunciations sound ridiculous and hilarious, Jon would always tell him to piss off.  

 

With all the training and lugging around on the docks, Jon would return home at night feeling like a dead, aching weight. This went on for nearly 5 moons but eventually he and his body got used to and adapted to the stresses of the day. The results of it all were shocking to say the least. 

 

Jon would often wake up on a morning and just stare at his reflection in the looking glass, Gerion would jape that he fancied himself, but it wasn’t that, he just wondered what the fuck had happened to the old Jon Snow. 

 

His hair was exactly the same as it had always been, shoulder length raven curls. Although he did try it out in a bun at one point but Gerion just took the piss, always asked him why there was a rat on his head and thus the bun was no more. 

 

His beard was a little bit thicker but still neatly trimmed, something to this day Gerion was jealous of. 

 

No, the thing that shocked Jon the most was his overall physique. 

 

He’d grown a few more inches in the past year and he now had a couple on Gerion, something he would always grin about. Something he would also grin about is his progress with his body in general, a combination of a balanced diet consisting of the right meats, vegetables and fruit with the sheer hard work he’s put into his training with Master M and the hard graft when working on the docks has left Jon a wall of solid muscle. 

 

His hard work had paid off and Gerion was always quick to agree stating that he should ‘Always listen to uncle Gerion, you’ll never go wrong’. He would always roll his eyes at him whenever he said that but had to agree with him somewhat, if it wasn't for that little push at the beginning, he wasn’t sure how it had have turned out. 

 

Him and Gerion weren't the only ones who appreciated his hard work if the looks he would get in town were anything to go by. 

 

Jon had never really taken much notice of the opposite sex in recent years, he’d always been too lost in his thoughts about this and that or ‘Brooding’ as people like to call it, always too busy to notice the looks. 

 

But 16 year old Jon was a little bit different from the younger Jon. He’d lived away from a repressive society that put the man down whenever it could for over a year now and it had done wonders for his confidence and self-esteem. Gerion had called it body confidence but Jon was pretty sure it was getting away from that shit society that had done it. 

 

Now Jon would find himself doing things he wouldn’t have possibly thought he would do ever, he flirted with girls when he was out and about, actually flirted, Jon Snow did not flirt or at least he didn’t. 

 

Harmless flirting was as far as it went though, the word ‘Bastard’ had somewhat lost its meaning to Jon whilst living here but it was still always in the back of his mind, a niggling reminder of who he was and what he wouldn't wish on somebody, especially a child. Therefore, Jon had come to the conclusion that he’d be saving himself, to Gerion’s amusement. 

 

He was interrupted from his thoughts when a wet cloth slapped across his face. 

 

“The fuck was that for?” He asked as he glared at Gerion who was washing the bowls. 

 

“Stop brooding and help me out with the washing up.” He replied. 

 

Jon got up from where he was sat a went over to help. A comfortable silence took over the room whilst they cleaned up until Gerion side eyed him and nudged his shoulder. 

 

“What’s all that about then? Not seen you brood since Master M told you about the whole ‘destiny for greatness’ thing.” 

 

Jon remembers that day, it happened a few moons ago whilst training with the old manThe praise he received from him because of his progress in training was always welcome, it always justified his hard work but when Master M followed it up by telling him he had a destiny for greatness’ and that he wants to test him further, Jon felt a sense of foreboding creep up his spine, almost an outer body experience. Just looking into the old man’s eyes made Jon think he knew more than he was letting on. 

 

Jon answered Gerion who had been patiently waiting, “Nah, its nothing. I was just thinking about how much of a difference a year can make that’s all.” 

 

“Ah, so this does have something to do with Master M, he’s been harping on at me about how he thinks you're ready or something along those lines. and I'm guessing he’s mentioned about it to you?” 

 

“I'm ready? Ready for what? He’s mentioned nothing to me.” Jon replied, ‘this better not be about this destiny thing’ he thought. 

 

“Well I don’t know if you’ve noticed or if it's just the naivety of youth but the town has been preparing for war for months now. Food stockpiled, buildings reinforced, head counts, the Daimyo are not taking anything for granted now that talks with the other islands have completely broken down.” Gerion said and for the first time meeting the man, he looked concerned. 

 

Jon had noticed a lot more movement around town in the recent months but didn't realise that the situation was so dire. As much as Jon acted the confident, silver tongued youth around people, the prospect of war worried him quite a bit. For starters, he’s never killed a man before, the prospect of taking hold of another person's life and choosing to end it disturbed Jon somewhat. 

 

He’d talked about this with Gerion and he’d said that the first one is the hardest and that you have to remember that these people are trying to kill you as well, it's you or them. It somewhat helped. 

 

He replied to Gerion, “I've seen the influx of activity in town yes but I still don’t understand what that has to do with me ‘Being ready’. 

 

Gerion sighed, “He’s grooming you Jon, he...” 

 

“I’m not fucking him.” 

 

“Will you shut the fuck up for once and listen?” Gerion sighed, “He’s grooming you for war, he’s told me that he sees himself in you, he...” 

 

“And he’s not fucking me.” 

 

Gerion just looked at him exasperated, “Can you be serious for once?” 

 

“I’ll try.” He replied. 

 

And so Gerion explained everything to him, on how Master M has been training him to be a Samurai, a highly respected soldier of the field, so that he could fight alongside Master M when the inevitable war arrived. He explained that spies the Daimyo had sent to the other islands have discovered a group calling themselves ‘The Imperial Clan’ and that they’ve been consolidating power by ripping existing clans apart and absorbing whatever numbers they had left into a major powerhouse. 

 

To Jon this sounded just like Aegon the Conqueror if history was anything to go by, but if what the spies were saying were true, it sounded like they were doing it in the most brutal way. 

 

Gerion explained that Hokkaido, the most easterly of the four islands had already fallen to this clan and that the Honshu resistance was already fighting them...and losing. This group was making their way west across the entirety of the four islands, and theirs was next. 

 

“Do we know their motives? It can't all be about wealth and power.” Jon naively suggested. 

 

Gerion just looked at him. 

 

“It's about wealth and power Jon, no two ways about it. Towns and villages and being pillaged for valuables, women are being took for...reasons and children are being trained to fight for them.” Gerion shook his head. 

 

“It's all being spearheaded by a man claiming to be a god, he’s declared himself Emperor of the four islands and everybody has become an automatic enemy of the state.” 

 

“So, this Emperor is just a tyrant lusting for power, is that what you're saying?” Jon asked. 

 

“That’s exactly what I'm saying.” Gerion sighed, “The Daimyo and Master M have been preparing for this for months but aren't very optimistic. The spies relayed their numbers to us and the Imperial Clan have numbers close to fifty thousand soldiers, the Honshu resistance apparently have twenty thousand soldiers but are fighting a losing battle. When Honshu inevitably falls, the Imperial clan will have numbers close to sixty thousand.” 

 

“Shouldn't we be helping them? Consolidate our troops just like they have.” Jon asked. 

 

Gerion just shook his head, “By the time we have everyone armed, ready and traveling there, Honshu will have fallen and we’d be sitting ducks.” 

 

“Well Kyushu will be the last island to be attacked since they’re the most westerly, we should group up with them and compile a defence strategy. We can't just sit around waiting for the inevitable as you put it.” Jon said, annoyed with Gerion’s defeatist attitude. 

 

“At the end of the day Jon all we can do is fight, it’s a fight none of us think we can win but it’s a fight we have to take on. Nine times out of ten, war is a numbers game, and we don’t come close to having the numbers.” 

 

“How many fighting men does Kyushu have?” Jon asked. He was trying to formulate a plan, maybe some sort of suicide mission was in order. 

 

“Six thousand.” Gerion answered. 

 

“SIX!...And how many do we have?” Jon asked, dreading the answer. 

 

“Three thousand.” Gerion finished. 

 

And now Jon understood why they all thought the fight was over before it had even started. 

 

“Wouldn't it make the most sense then to just accept them as your new rulers for the sake of all these people's lives?” Jon wondered. 

 

“Don't you see Jon, they aren't giving people much of a choice. The people they have recruited into their clan from these islands haven't joined because they wanted to, they’ve joined because their families are being threatened and held captive. A third of their clan are essentially slave soldiers fighting for their family's wellbeing.” 

 

“How long do they think it will be before they arrive...” Jon asked. 

 

“2 moons, 3 moons tops.” Gerion answered, he’d never seen him this downtrodden, made sense if you thought you were gonna die soon he supposed. 

 

“Gods help us, we need a miracle.” Jon said to him. 

 

“That we do.” He replied “That we do.” 

 


 

 

Ned  

 

 

Panic struck like a lightning bolt as he read the raven his wife had handed him. Sitting in the godswood under the heart tree was supposed to bring him calm and ease but at the moment, as he broke the Hand of the King’s seal, he felt dread. 

 

‘Do they know?’ He wondered as he unrolled the parchment and laid his eyes on its contents. 

 

Dear Lord Eddard of House Stark,  

 

It has come to our grace, The King’s attention that his most northern kingdom has been somewhat neglected by the crown since the conclusion of the Greyjoy rebellion.  

 

With that in mind, his and her grace, King  Rhaegar  and Queen Elia, along  with   Princess  Rhaenys  and Princess Daenerys will be making the journey north to visit and deal with any grievances that you or your people may have.  

 

By the time you receive this letter, the Royal retinue will be roughly a month away from Winterfell and his grace hopes this amount of time is satisfactory for preparations to be made for their arrival.  

 

His grace looks forward to meeting you again.  

 

Sincerely,  

Lord Jon  Connington  

Lord of Griffin’s Roost and Hand of the King.  

 

Ned read through the letter two more times to make sure he hadn't missed anything, any clues to whether or not they knew. 

 

‘His grace looks forward to meeting you again’, Ned thought that sounded a bit ominous if he was being honest, he suspected there was more to this visit than what the contents of the letter suggested. 

 

“What does it say? Is everything alright Ned?” Cat asked, a concerned look on her face. 

 

“The Royal family is going to be visiting us, they’ll be arriving in a moons time.” Ned replied as he skimmed through the letter a third time. 

 

“Did they say what they were travelling so far for?” Catelyn asked, Ned could already see the gears turning. 

 

Ned handed her the letter, “The Hand of the King said that the King and Queen believe they have neglected the north and this visit is a means to fix that.” 

 

Catelyn read through the letter and replied, “It says that the two Princesses will be travelling with them as well. Why would that be?” 

 

“I’m not sure, all I know is that we need to prepare.” He answered, he didn’t like the gleam in her eye when she handed him the letter back. 

 

“I’ll get right on it, first things first, Robb and the boys need new clothes for the visit and the girls need new dresses as well.” Catelyn said as she walked out of the godswood, rattling off tasks that needed to be dealt with. 

 

Ned picked up Ice that he was previously sharpening before Catelyn turned up and carried on with his task. The letter and subsequently the reason for his troubled mind completely taking over his thoughts. 

 

Jon.  

 

Ned had lost count on how many months it had been since he’d last seen him, if he were to guess he would say a year and a half. Not knowing if he was alright was the worst of it, for all he knew Jon could have died a year ago, something he refused to believe even though it was a genuine possibility. 

 

The majority of the household had somewhat recovered from Jon’s disappearance but to say everything was back to normal would be far from the truth. 

 

The boys missed him, the girls missed him, Jory, Ser Rodrik, Mikken, Gage, they all missed him hell, even the household staff missed him, mainly the maids, something Ned was quite sure he knew the reason why they missed him.  

 

Arya, gods Arya. 

 

She has been her mother's worst nightmare ever since Jon left. Something Catelyn likes to blame on Jon which in turn makes Arya even worse towards her. Sly comments, cold behaviour and a rebellious streak had turned Arya into a force of nature. 

 

It's mainly her mother and Theon who get the worst of it but Sansa receives some of it as well if you count completely disregarding somebody’s existence. Ned knows Sansa is sorry for her attitude towards Jon, she had said so herself but Arya is very reluctant to forgive and forget. 

 

Ned sighed, Catelyn was fighting a losing battle if she thinks she can get Arya to wear any of these new dresses she’s planning on getting, she’d destroy them in front of her mother's eyes if she was forced. 

 

He’d have to have another sit down with her, the last one he’d had with her hadn't gone too well, she’d started to behave somewhat but after a week she’d returned back to her rebellious self again. And Ned didn’t even want to think about the dirty looks he’d received throughout that week from her, it wounded him seeing his little girl look at him like that. 

 

Ned rose to his feet and sheathed Ice, he too had a lot of planning to do, whatever the reason was for the Royal family to be heading their way, he still had to prepare his home for their arrival. 

 

“Let's hope it IS just a visit.” He said to no one in particular. 

 


 

 

Gerion  

Jon had just left for his shift on the docks which in turn had given him the opportunity to sit down and think about what had just transpired. Jon was now aware of the current situation they were all in and his reaction hadn't surprised him at all. 

 

Even after a year of knowing the lad, Jon was still an enigma to him, he had an unexplainable aura to him. One minute he could be chatting away with him, having a laugh and good naturedly ribbing each other, the next he would end silent and almost melancholy. 

 

And his progress with his training was not something that could be easily ignored either, the boy was a demon with a weapon in his hand. The closest person he could compare Jon to at his age would be his nephew, Jaime. He loved his nephew but if Gerion was being honest, that would be an insult to Jon’s ability. To put it simply, Jon was the most naturally talented fighter he’d ever met, something Master Miyamoto would one hundred percent agree on. 

 

Master Miyamoto as of late was being very mysterious when the topic of Jon popped up lately. He knew the old man saw an incredible amount of potential in Jon but only recently has he been more intense with that belief. 

 

Him and Master M had a conversation about Jon just yesterday and some of the comments he made painted Jon as being some sort of demigod and the suicidal task he was planning to give to him was just a waste of time...he also didn’t want him to die. 

 

Gerion had to reluctantly admit he’d grown rather fond of the young northerner. The attitude, the banter, the genuine care they had for one another was very familial. He enjoyed his company to put it simply and although he’d never told the lad, he saw Jon as almost like a son. 

 

Jon had talked about his family to him, talked about his brothers so Gerion talked about his, Jon’s opinion of Tywin was identical to his and the line “He sounds like he needs a hug...that or a ruddy good caning.” from Jon always made him chuckle. 

 

Jon had also mentioned his father Eddard Stark and how he was one of the factors that made him make the decision to leave home prematurely. Jon didn’t understand and neither could he if he was being honest why Lord Stark would hide the identity of his mother. Jon thinks he’s hiding something that could hurt his image and he was inclined to agree with him. 

 

Gerion was lost in his thoughts until he heard somebody knocking on his front door. A peak through the peep hole confirmed the identity of his visitor, Master Miyamoto. 

 

‘Odd, he never visits unless it's really important.’  

 

...And an hour later he understood the reason for his visit. 

 

The Imperial Clan had sent a small splinter group of roughly ten thousand men to their island, Shikoku, in advance of their main group. Scouts had reported back and claimed the group was at most, a fortnight away. 

 

Master M had also left clear instructions for Gerion to help prepare the defence of the town and to send Jon to his hall when he returns home from the docks. Gerion wasn’t one hundred percent sure why he needed to see Jon but he had a funny feeling it had something to do with this final task of his. 

 

His idea was a complete suicide mission, it all rested on Master M’s belief in Jon and in Gerion’s eyes, it was completely insane. Master Miyamoto was rarely wrong but he had a feeling this might be one of those times where he is...and it would cost Jon his life. 

 

‘Master Miyamoto is going to get my friend killed’ Gerion mused, a sinking feeling in his stomach but he had to reluctantly admit, it was the only plan anybody had and was probably the only chance that any of them were going to survive this. 

 


 

 

Jon  

The trek back home was a peaceful one, well, apart from the cheeky little monkeys trying nab his wage from his pocket. ‘They would be an absolute nightmare in Kings Landing' he thought to himself, the image of seeing a perfumed lord running through the streets chasing a monkey as it threw its own making at the man was a rather amusing thought. 

 

As he turned a corner and started his ascent up a set of stairs, his thoughts went back to his and Gerion's conversation earlier, war. Something unavoidable by all accounts, something Jon was reluctant to be a part of but the fact that this town and subsequently this land had accepted him and allowed him to start a new life here kind of made Jon indebted to these people. At the end of the day, it was the right thing to do, whether or not it got him killed. 

 

He also owed it to Master M, the old man had spent an entire year training Jon, moulding him into the refined fighter he was today. He'd made him work hard for it but the result of all the blood, sweat and tears was definitely worth it in the end. 

 

Though he still wasn’t sure what it was that made Master M look at him like some precious gem, he was Jon Snow, some northern bastard who happened to enjoy sparring like most boys his age, what on earth was so special about me? 

 

Jon huffed, he'll probably find out sooner or later. The old man was getting more and more intense with his ramblings and they always seem to involve him in some sense. 

 

Gerion's house came into view as he finished his climb, he was always appreciative of his hospitality and realised he’d lucked out hard when he first arrived here. Though, he did have plans on finding his own housing after the war...if he survived. 

 

Upon entering the house, he could instantly tell something was up. One look across the room at Gerion's hunched body as he sat at the table, reading what looked to be something important and biting his nails in the process confirmed Jon’s suspicions. 

 

Jon greeted him to break him from his trance. 

 

“Hey up, its busy down at the docks tonight, more boat traffic than normal, has something happened?” He asked as he headed over to the stove to boil some water for his bath. 

 

Gerion looked up from his parchment “There’s been a change of plan, Master Miyamoto came round earlier to explain everything...It's not looking good Jon.” 

 

That halted him in his tracks, “What do you mean a change of plan? What’s happened? Master M never comes round here.” 

 

“The Imperial Clan has sent a splinter group in advance and that group is less than a fortnight away.” 

 

“How many?” Jon asked, brow furrowed in concentration. 

 

Gerion sighed “Our scouts report around ten thousand, a thousand of which are mounted soldiers.” 

 

“Fuck.” Was all Jon could reply to that with. 

 

“Fuck indeed, Master M has got me making the necessary plans for a town defence. We have three thousand fighting men against ten thousand battle hardened soldiers, if we do survive this it won't be without huge casualties.” 

 

“And that’s just fifteen, twenty percent of their total strength. This splinter team will do the damage and even if we do somehow manage to repel them, the main host will arrive and clean up.” Jon finished. 

 

“If we survive, not you.” Gerion replied. 

 

Jon looked back at him in confusion “Eh? What's that supposed to mean?” 

 

Gerion shook his head “Master M has told me to send you to him when you returned from work. He’s got a plan, a stupid and ridiculous plan but a plan all the same.” 

 

“And what does this plan entail?” Jon asked, the secrecy between Gerion and the old man was starting to get on his nerves. “You know, I've seen you and him whispering to each other whenever I'm training.” 

 

“I know what it is he wants you to do but he wants to explain it all to you himself, he thinks you’ll understand what he’s asking of you more if it came from his mouth. Even I can't grasp what his full intentions are.” 

 

Jon sighed, he’d just gotten home “Fine, does he want to see me straight away or am I allowed a bath beforehand, I stink of fish.” Jon asked. 

 

“Just take your bath and head out after, I’ll get dinner going when you leave.” Gerion replied. 

 

“Good man, I shouldn't be too long. What you doing for dinner? Ooo, can you do those noodle things again with the chicken broth? That stuff was delicious.” Jon asked. 

 

“Yeah sure.” Gerion replied as he folded up the parchment he was reading. 

 

“Nice.” Jon replied with a grin, Gerion really was a good cook. 

 

He got cleaned up and left Gerion to it. Whatever it was that Master M wanted to talk to him about, he didn’t want to leave the man waiting. 

 

“Don't give him too much trouble Jon, the man means well even if he does seem to be determined for you to go through with his unrealistic mission.” 

 

“Ah, you know me Gerry, good as that Lannister gold your family likes to harp on about.” Jon replied with a smirk. 

 

Gerion rolled his eyes “You're right, I do know you, that’s what I'm afraid of.” 

 

“Love you too.” Jon replied as he headed for the front door, “Right, I won't be long, make sure you miss me.” He finished as he left the house, all Jon heard was the faint response of “annoying shit” from inside. 

 

The walk down to Master M’s hall was brisk and in no time at all he was knocking on the old man’s front door. 

 

Māzigon isse(Come in)” Was the old man’s response from inside. 

 

‘Odd, why’s he speaking in high valyrian?’ Jon wondered. 

 

Since he was using high valyrian he decided to reply back in the same tongue. 

 

Skoro syt issi ao speaking isse Valyrio Eglie? (Why are you speaking in high valyrian?)” He asked the old man. 

 

Ao sagon nihongo's daor olvie sȳz se nyke ȳdra daor gīmigon se ēngos hen aōha lenton.  Iksā daor se mērī issaros gerion ēza issare teaching udrir naejot. (You're nihongo's not very good and I don't know the tongue from your home. You are not the only person Gerion has been teaching language to.)” The old Master finished with a smile. 

 

Gerion ēza caught nyke  va everything se ēza ivestretan nyke emā  kȳvanon. (Gerion has caught me up on everything and has told me you have a plan.)” Jon said. 

 

Indeed eman.  Issa jāre naejot require ao naejot prepare syt aōha journey ahead. (Indeed I have. It is going to require you to prepare for your journey ahead.)” Master Miyamoto replied. 

 

“Ñuha journey? skoriot iksin nyke jāre? (My journey? Where am I going?)” Jon asked, completely baffled. 

 

The old man motioned for Jon to follow him, they both walked in silence out on to the backyard of the hall. Master M looked up at him then looked towards Mount Hakusan and pointed up to the peak of it. 

 

Jon just looked at him like he’d gone mad. 

 

“Bē konīr? skoro syt? whats bē th... (Up there? Why? Whats up th...)” Realisation hitting him like a hammer to the chest. 

 

Ao gīmigon skoros's  konīr yn ao refuse naejot pāsagon isse ziry. (You know what's up there but you refuse to believe in it.)” The old man mused. 

 

nyke ȳdra daor pāsagon isse ziry kesrio syt zȳha horseshit(I don't believe in it because its horseshit!)” Jon answered back. ‘Was the man senile? 

 

Master Miyamoto shook his head Ziry iksos se mērī ñuhoso mirre hen īlva kessa botagon bisa purge.  Ziry iksos  ribazmoqitta kȳvanon ao sagon paktotyn ziry iksos se mērī kȳvanon(It's the only way any of us will survive this purge. It's a mad plan you're right, but it's the only plan.) 

 

Nyke pendagon ao sagon putting tolī olvie stock ezīmagon ñuha abilities, sesīr lo these ra issi real, skoros mazverdagon ao pendagon nyke could harness zirȳ(I think you're putting too much stock into my abilities, even if these things are real, what makes you think I could harness them?)” Jon asked. As much as he hated to admit, the old man had a point, nobody else had a plan. 

 

Master held onto his shoulders and looked right into his soul “Iksā ready syt bisa journey, pāsan isse ao. (You are ready for this journey, I believe in you.)” The old man answered in such a sincere way it nearly made him tear up. ‘He believed in me’, nobody had ever said anything like that to him before. He was finding it hard to say no to the man when he was bestowing that much belief in him. 

 

Gaomā realise bisa iksis ribazmoqitta paktotiksan jāre naejot jikagon  konīr, find daorun se return naejot find se entire lentor isse ñuqir. (You do realise this is mad right? I'm going to go up there, find nothing and return to find the entire town in ashes.)” Jon said. 

 

Kesā find skoros iksā seeking, sepār pāsagonziry iksos mirre emi geptot. (You will find what you are seeking, just believe, it's all we have left.)” The old man answered. 

 

Again, with the belief, Jon had to admit, it was rubbing off on him and it didn’t take him long to come to a decision. Not like he really had much of a choice, if there was a slim chance of this saving the town then he’d do it. 

 

Okay, nyke'll gaomagon ziryiksan daor sure skoros  skoriot iksan jurnegēre yn nyke'll jikagon  konīr se jurnegonkesrio syt ao pāsagon isse nyke. (Okay, I'll do it, I'm not sure what or where I'm looking but I'll go up there and look, because you believe in me.)” Jon said, pride blooming his chest when Master M answered him with a beaming smile. 

 

Nyke knew ao wouldn't ivestragī īlva ilagonao'll sagon successful iksan certain. (I knew you wouldn't let us down, you'll be successful I am certain.)” Master M replied. 

 

The man’s belief in him was approaching dangerous levels and if he wasn’t careful, he could end up with a big head. 

 

The old man motioned to follow him back inside where he took Jon into the armoury and pointed out a large sack. 

 

Gūrogon bisaziry iksos  bag hen mirre se equipment kesā jorrāelagon skori climbing bona run. (Take this, it's a bag of all the equipment you will need when climbing that thing.)” 

 

Inside the bag was some mini scythe like tools, long, thick rope and a pair of spiked footwear that Jon guessed would be tied around his existing boots for extra grip. ‘Well, this is actually happening then.’ 

 

Master M walked over to him and reached up to put his hands on Jon’s shoulders again “Remember, issa  naejot ao naejot save īlva tegun se kesā daor qringaomagongaomagon ao shifang? (Remember, it is up to you to save our land and you will not fail, do you understand?)” 

 

daor pressure. (No pressure.)” Jon replied, trying to lighten the mood a little. 

 

The old man started to shoo Jon out of his hall “sir jikagon, prepare se rest syt se bantisaōha journey rhaenagon  ēlī ōños. (Now go, prepare and rest for the night, your journey begins at first light.)” 

 

He bowed to the old man and made his way back home, thoughts and idea’s running through his mind. 

 

Upon entry of the house, he was hit with a delicious aroma, Gerion turned around from his cooking and greeted him. 

 

“Ah, you're back, that was quick.” 

 

Jon went and placed his bag of equipment down and sat down at the table “Yeah, not much needed to be said really. He told me his plan and I've agreed to do it.” 

 

Gerion just looked at him “You agreed? Why? You must realise it's unrealistic to ask you to do such a thing.” 

 

Jon shook his head “He believes in me Gerry, I didn’t have the heart to throw that kind of belief back in his face. Besides, he’s the only person around here who’s got a plan, a mad plan but it's still a plan all the same.” 

 

Gerion finished his cooking and placed a bowl of noodles and broth in front of him and sat down opposite him with his own bowl. 

 

“You do realise there’s a good chance that as soon as you leave it will be the last time we see each other.” Gerion said as he filled his mouth with noodles. 

 

“Aww, I'm gonna miss you too Gerry.” He replied with a smirk, “Don't worry, I’ll be back and this won't be the last time you ever do my cooking for me.” 

 

He just rolled his eyes, “Just be careful alright, I've never been up there or even attempted it but even I can tell there’s numerous dangers to climbing that thing.” Gerion said, looking concerned. 

 

“You need to stop worrying about me and start worrying about those cunts attacking the town.” He said as he filled his mouth full of noodles and broth, it really was quite delicious. 

 

“Yeah, I suppose" Gerion replied, he looked so dejected. 

 

“Hey, cheer up will ya, I'll be up there and back down before you know it and I'll return with a great beast at my back to save the day.” Jon said, trying to lighten the mood even if he didn’t believe anything he’d just said. 

 

Gerion grinned “Only you could make light of the current situation we’re in.”  

 

Jon grinned as he got up to wash up “That’s because the sun shines out my arse. The light that breaks through the darkness.” 

 

“You're foul, do you know that?” Gerion chuckled. 

 

“You love me, don’t deny it.” Jon responded 

 

Gerion just shook his head as he headed to his room. He turned around at the door and spoke “I'm guessing you're leaving at first light?” 

 

“Yeah, Master M told be to prepare provisions and get a good night's rest. I’ll take some rations but I'll have to hunt whilst I'm up there.” Jon replied. 

 

“You’ll be living off nothing but hares up there.” Gerion smiled, he took one last look at Jon and said goodnight. 

 

As soon as he’d finished cleaning up. He headed into his room and all but collapsed on his bed, he was drained. 

 

It didn’t take long for his thoughts to run away from him as his eyes grew heavy and he ultimately fell into a deep sleep. 

 

Prisms of light flashed in his eyes as he looked left and right, the cavern was huge at first glance.  

 

He could feel the earth breathing  underneath  his feet, a warm draft blowing across his face.  

 

He could hear the dripping of water hitting  an  ice blue lake in the middle of the cavern.  

 

“Look for me.” A deep, feminine voice whispered in his left ear. He turned and saw nothing but darkness.  

 

“Look for me friend.” The same voice whispered in  his   other  ear, again nothing but darkness greeted him as he turned towards the voice.  

 

Straight ahead of him he could see pillars of ice or something that looked like ice at least, behind the pillars was a warm light.  

 

“You know where to go, look for me.” The voice came again but this time instead of hearing it, he felt it down to his bones, in his mind, in his soul.  

 

He ventured forward towards the light.  

 

 

 


 

Chapter Text


 

Ned 

“I can see them!” Bran shouted from the top of the battlement walls. 

 

“Get down from there Bran before you fall.” Catelyn chastised. 

 

Bran scurried down the wall and ran off to stand with the rest of the household. As much as Ned worried, he was still impressed with his son’s climbing ability. 

 

“I worry about him sometimes, I worry I'm gonna find him flat on his back, unmoving one day.” Catelyn said to him. 

 

“He’s just excited to see all the knights, he’ll grow out of it Cat.” Ned explained as they both made their way to the courtyard to await their guests. 

 

Ned was dreading this day ever since he read the letter a month ago, a couple of sleepless nights here and there. All the while worrying if the King knew what he’d done and was here to personally deal with him. 

 

Cat was adamant the King was travelling here for different reasons however and the fact that the King was bringing his unwed daughter and sister with him fuelled her speculation. 

 

All the children had new clothes and fresh haircuts but Cat had spent the most time making sure Robb was perfect for the arrival of the Royal procession. She was convinced a betrothal was imminent between Robb and one of the Princesses and the journey all the way up to Winterfell was the sole reason for their visit.  

 

Ned wasn’t convinced. 

 

He was also quite confident Robb wouldn’t be that interested anyway if the ravens he and Lady Alys had been sending to each other were anything to go by. The pair of them were smitten with each other when Lord Karstark visited three weeks ago. Him and Lord Karstark have kept in touch about a possible betrothal between the two love birds. 

 

That was something Cat wasn’t interested in now that there was a bigger fish to catch and she was confident her son would get his princess. 

 

Him and Cat reached the group lined up to greet the Royals, everybody was there in their best clothes and freshly bathed and groomed, even Arya. The promise of sparring sessions with Jory a great motivator, though by the looks on her face, she was hating every second of it.  

 

The guards raised the main gate and allowed the group in, three mounted knights in Kingsguard armour galloped in first, followed by the King himself on his black stallion, decked out in his black plate, the same armour he’d worn at the trident. 

 

Following the four men was a carriage flanked by Targaryen guards and a Kingsguard on either side. Following up the rear was the rest of the guard. 

 

His family and household kneeled as the King dismounted his horse. 

 

“Rise.” The King proclaimed. 

 

Ned and the rest of the group rose to their feet as he noticed Queen Elia and two younger women exit the carriage along with her, most probably the two Princesses. 

 

“Lord Stark, it’s been too long.” The King said as he shook his hand. 

 

“That it has, Winterfell is yours your grace” Ned replied as he nodded his head. 

 

The King looked to Ned’s right and took in his family “And this must be the family” He looked at Cat, “Lady Stark I presume?” 

 

Catelyn bowed her head “It's an honour your grace.” 

 

He moved on to his children as Queen Elia approached him with the two young ladies in tow. They were both beautiful and Ned could already see Catelyn in the corner of his eye eyeing them up. 

 

Ned placed a kiss on the back of the Queen’s hand as she presented it to him and spoke “It’s good to see you again Lord Stark.” 

 

“The honour is all mine your grace.” Ned replied. 

 

“Allow me to introduce my daughter, Princess Rhaenys.” She said as the young Princess handed him her hand to kiss. “And this is my sister in law, Princess Daenerys.” The Queen finished as the young lady also handed him her hand to kiss. 

 

As the women made their way down the line, he took note of some of the Kingsguard who’d made the journey along with the Royal family. He recognised the Lord Commander, Ser Gerold Hightower, Ser Oswell Whent, Ser Jonothor Darry, Ser Jaime Lannister and last but not least, Ser Arthur Dayne, who, at the moment was looking at him like he wanted to run Ned through with Dawn. ‘He must know, which means Rhaegar knows, I'm a dead man walking.’ 

 

Ned collected himself as the King returned to him “Lord Stark, if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, Elia and I would like to visit the crypts to pay our respects.” 

 

He knew that would be one of the first things he’d ask “Of course, your grace, if you would follow me.” He turned to Catelyn “Could you show the Princesses to their rooms.” 

 

“It would be my pleasure” She turned to Robb “Robb, could you help me escort their graces to their rooms.” 

 

“Of course, mother.” As he led the way into the keep. 

 

Ned made his way to the crypts with the King and Queen, Ser Arthur and Ser Oswell standing guard at the door as the three entered in. 

 

The three of them were quiet as they made their way to the one tomb he knew they were there for. 

 

They finally reached her statue and all three stood in silence as they looked at the visage of her likeness. 

 

After a minute, Queen Elia broke that silence. 

 

“It doesn’t look like her.” 

 

“The sculptor had never met Lyanna, this was the best he could come up with from our descriptions of her.” Ned replied. It truly looked nothing like her. 

 

“She’d probably tell us to stop brooding over a lump of rock.” Rhaegar said as Elia chuckled. 

 

“She was truly a breath of fresh air to this dull world.” Elia finished. 

 

“I miss her every day.” Ned said as he looked down in sadness...and shame. 

 

“Like us all Lord Stark, like us all.” Rhaegar replied. 

 

Another silence took over the group as they paid respect to the dead that laid there. The fresh winter rose Ned cut from the glass gardens earlier this morning lay resting in the outstretched hand of Lyanna’s statue that he’d placed there earlier that day. 

 

After a couple of minutes of silence, the King spoke. 

 

“I'm sorry about your son Lord Stark, it's one of the most difficult things losing a child.” 

 

‘Oh god, why did he have to bring that up at this very moment.’ He thought. 

 

“I appreciate your condolences your grace but he’s not been found yet so there's still a chance he’s still alive. He a strong and smart lad, I'm confident he’s out there.” Ned replied, the entire situation feeling surreal right now. 

 

“Hope. It must be a wonderful thing to have that option Lord Stark. We lost most of that the day Lyanna and Lyarra left this world.” Elia replied. 

 

Lyarra ?  

 

“Lyarra, your grace?” Ned questioned. 

 

Elia looked at him and smiled “Lyanna’s daughter. She was unnamed so we gave her the name Lyarra, named after her grandmother.” She blinked at him “That is if, of course, you don’t mind? We’ve been calling her that for the past 16 years.” 

 

‘I’m an awful person’ Ned thought. 

 

“Of course, your grace, a beautiful name.” He replied, chest compressing as he felt the deceit burn his throat on the way out. 

 

After a few more minutes of silence, the three of them made their way back out of the crypts. On the way out, he passed Ser Arthur as the man once again shot him a look of disgust. 

 

‘What have I done to deserve that?’ He wondered as the Kingsguard followed the three of them back up to the keep. 

 

The King turned to his wife “Elia my dear, would you check up on the girls to see if they are getting settled in well. I would like a quiet word with Lord Stark in his solar.” 

 

“Of course, my love.” The Queen replied as she bid him a farewell and walked towards the guest wing, Ser Oswell in tow. 

 

He, the King and Ser Arthur made their way to his solar in comfortable silence, well as comfortable as a man could be whilst having a hole burnt into the back of his head by one of the greatest fighters to ever live. 

 

Him and the King entered the solar as Ser Arthur took his post outside of the door, Ned was actually relieved when he closed the door behind him, he would have to have a word with the man to find out the reason behind the looks. Ser Arthur was giving Arya a run for her money to see who could turn him into dust with just their eyes. 

 

Ned took off his cloak and draped it across the back of his chair, he offered the King some dornish wine from his personal stash and poured them both a goblet each. ‘He would probably need it for what was about to transpire.’ 

 

This was it, he knew it, this was the quiet talk with the King he was dreading. He was about to be accused of treason and Ned for the life of him couldn’t challenge the accusation, he was guilty. 

 

Guilty of tearing a child away from his father’s family so he could grow up with his mother’s family, all without the father knowing he existed. 

 

Guilty of neglecting his own household and allowing the resentment to build up so much that said child grew up and left home prematurely...all because Ned didn’t have the balls to tell him about his mother. Because he was scared he would not only lose his son but also lose his family from the fallout. 

 

He was a coward. 

 

He’d have to make sure the King knew that nobody else in the family was aware of the treason he’d been committing for 16 years and that only he should be the one punished. 

 

He placed the goblet of wine in front of the King as he sipped on his on the way to his seat. He took a deep breath as he placed his goblet on the desk and looked at his King. As he was about to talk, the King spoke up before him. 

 

“So, Lord Stark, what has been happening up here in the wild North?” 

 

Ned just let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. 

 


 

 

Daenerys 

“Thank you, Lady Stark.” Dany said as Lord Starks wife bowed and left the room. 

 

The room in question she’d be staying in already had a roaring fire when they entered and her belongings had been delivered shortly after they’d arrived at the room. 

 

She sat down on the bed and ran her fingers through the soft fur blankets that laid on top and got lost in her thoughts as she looked into the hearth. 

 

Winterfell seemed nice, in a warm and safe kind of sense. The Starks were nice people although she hadn't missed the look Lady Stark had given her and Rhae, like she was deciding something important. 

 

Dany and Rhae weren't stupid, this had happened countless times. Unwed Royals paying a visit to their vassals, said vassals assuming a betrothal is in the works and ending up poorly disguising their disappointment when nothing transpired. 

 

Lord Robb seemed like a charming boy, thick auburn curls and pretty blue eyes, something any lady would be interested in, especially if those things were attached to the heir to the North. 

 

Unfortunately for him however, her and Rhae had talked numerous times on their perfect kind of man and none of their descriptions matched the heir to Winterfell. 

 

They both had very similar tastes, tastes they seem to share with Rhae’s cousin Arianne, unfortunately for her brother, Viserys. Dark and dangerous were the main two attributes but they also wanted someone with a soft heart and a kindness when it mattered. Somebody they could joke and laugh with and not sit in awkward silence for the rest of their lives. 

 

They also wanted somebody adventurous and not boring, nothing like Rhae’s dullard cousin, Quentyn. They were both Princesses of the realm and they knew what they wanted to Rhaegar’s annoyance. 

 

She was snapped out of her thought process as Rhae knocked and walked into her room. 

 

“So, what do you think of them?” Rhae asked her as she joined Dany on the bed and folded her legs underneath herself. 

 

She got up to start unfolding her clothes out of her trunk “They seem nice, though I did sense a little coldness from the younger girl, Arya I think her name was. She didn’t look at all comfortable with the whole situation.” 

 

“I noticed that as well. I asked Lord Robb if she was okay and he said she’d been like that ever since her older brother disappeared.” Rhae replied as she stretched on the bed like a cat. 

 

“Understandable I suppose, must be really missing him.” She said as unfolded the dress she’d thought about wearing for the feast tonight. “What did you think of Lord Robb by the way?” 

 

Rhae shrugged her shoulders “He’s handsome enough, very courteous but I couldn't really get a good idea of the boy with his mother starring at us like she was waiting for something to happen.” 

 

“I think she might be looking for a bride for her son, with the assumption that the one of the two of us are to be sold off since we travelled all the way here.” She said as she took her boots off and sunk her toes into the warm fur in front of the hearth. “It couldn’t possibly be because we wanted to travel and see more of the world, that would be preposterous.” 

 

Rhae snorted “Your sarcasm is truly inspiring Dany.” She said as she cracked her knuckles, something that went through her something rotten. “Speaking of travel, has father said anything more about that trip to Essos you were planning? I wouldn't mind coming along with you, and Ari, Obara, Nym and Tyene have expressed an interest as well.” 

 

Dany shook her head “I Don't think it's going to happen anytime soon I'm afraid. Rhaegar said Essos is very dangerous place right now, the Golden Company seem to be on a tear at the moment, ripping towns and villages apart, sieging cities. The Dothraki have apparently took offence to some of their actions and have been attacking them, to put it simply Rhae, it’s a warzone at the moment and Rhaegar wants me nowhere near it.” Which was a huge disappointment, Dany had really set her heart on visiting soon. 

 

“I wonder what's got the Golden Company so worked up about. They’re normally quiet unless money is involved. Does father know if they’re funded by anyone?” Rhae asked as she twirled the ends of her hair. 

 

“According to Rhaegar, reports suggest a great insult occurred and they are now trying to remedy it, whatever that means.” She said as Elia walked in. 

 

“What are you two gossiping about?” She said as she joined Rhae and sat on the bed. 

 

“We were talking about Dany’s cancelled trip to Essos, apparently it’s chaos over there at the moment.” Rhae explained. 

 

“Well enough of that, I want to know what you think of our hosts.” Elia replied. 

 

Rhae huffed at her mother’s change of subject “They seem nice enough, the younger daughter seems a little cold but Lord Robb believes she’s missing her older brother who disappeared not long ago.” Rhae answered. 

 

“We talked about that in the crypts with Lord Stark, he believes the boy is still alive wherever he is. You have to admire the hope I suppose.” Elia responded 

 

Dany could see the melancholy from Elia a mile away, Lyarra being the cause most probably. She tried cheering Elia up and also Rhae who had joined her mother in feeling down. 

 

“Right, who wants to help me pick out a dress for tonight's feast?” She asked. 

 

“Sorry Dany, I’ve not even picked out one for myself yet, but if you want my advice, I’d pick that light blue one you were unfolding just a minute ago.” Rhae suggested. 

 

“I’ll help you pick out something nice Rhae, we wouldn’t want you looking anything less than stunning when you enter the feast.” Elia told her daughter. 

 

Rhaenys looked at her mother in suspicion “Why is it so important that I don’t look anything less than stunning? Are you plotting something mother? Because if this has something to do with Robb Stark, I won't be part of your game.” Rhae huffed. 

 

Elia sighed “Rhaenys listen to me, I want you to be happy, okay, smite a mother down for helping her daughter find that happiness.” Elia shook her head, “You’re getting of an age now where you should be looking for a husband, I’m just trying to help you find him, no pressure. I want what’s best for you...for the both of you.” Elia finished as she looked at her. 

 

Rhaenys hugged Elia and apologized for her outburst, she let go after a time and got up to leave along with her mother. 

 

When Elia reached the door, she turned and looked towards Dany “I’ll send some handmaidens up to help you get ready Dany.” She said as she smiled at her “Rhaenys was right by the way, the light blue dress will be perfect for the feast.” She finished as her and Rhae left the room. 

 

Her dress was picked and the handmaidens had bathed her and groomed her hair ready for the evening feast, two simple braids that met in the middle was sufficient. 

 

As the last of the laces to her dress were tied by her handmaidens, a knock on the door was heard, she asked whoever it was to come in and in stepped a young man. 

 

The man bowed and looked at her, oozing confidence “Your grace, Lady Catelyn has asked me to escort you to the great hall for the feast.” 

 

She wasn’t sure who the man was “My apologies my Lord, I didn’t quite catch your name.” Behind the man, in the hallway, she caught Ser Jaime’s trademark grin. 

 

The man didn’t seem pleased with her not knowing who he was and was hiding his annoyance very poorly but answered her nevertheless “Lord Theon Greyjoy your grace, Heir to the Iron Islands.” He finished with a grin. 

 

‘Ah, the hostage’ 

 

She smoothed down her dress and slapped on a fake face of curtesy, one that she’d mastered in King’s Landing, and looped her arm through his. 

 

“Lead the way Lord Greyjoy.” She said as the pair of them made their way down the corridor towards the courtyard, Ser Jaime closely following them. 

 

She attempted to make idle chit chat with the Greyjoy boy but in the end, he just tried to charm her with cocky words and false confidence. The journey to the great hall not being quick enough for her liking.  

 

She turned to him as he finished his story about defeating a grizzly bear single-handedly “Wow my Lord, you seem like a very accomplished fighter.” She fluttered her eyelashes for effect, Ser Jaime coughed to hide his laugh “There must be somebody better than you though, otherwise you would have blocked it.” 

 

He looked at her in confusion. ‘Too easy’ 

 

“Blocked it? What’s that supposed to mean?...your Grace.” The boy replied with annoyance, remembering who he was talking to at the last second. 

 

“Somebody made a real mess of your nose my Lord, I’m surprised a man, who single-handedly defeated a grizzly bear, couldn't block a hit to his face. Of course, it would make total sense if the creature that made this mess was bigger and more ferocious than a bear, then I would totally understand. Was it a dragon perhaps?” 

 

At that Ser Jaime didn’t even try to hide his snicker as the boy fumed “No, it was a bastard, caught me off guard while I wasn’t even looking at him. You could go ask him about it but I’m pretty sure he’s rotting in a hole somewhere now.” he finished as he dropped her arm and stormed off towards the feast, leaving her and Ser Jaime chuckling at his retreating back. 

 

“Bit bitter isn't he.” Ser Jaime commented as he offered his arm to her which she took. 

 

“I was getting bored of his lies the little braggart. The bit about the bear was my breaking point.” She explained as they crossed the courtyard. 

 

“Well, I imagine somebody in there must know if he’s lying. You could end up really embarrassing the lad if you really wanted to.”  Ser Jaime suggested with a wiggle of his eyebrows. 

 

She pondered the idea “Well, if he acts like an idiot in there, I’ll have to find out won’t I, Lord Robb will probably know if I ask him.” She finished as they entered the hall, warmth and the smell of cooked meats hitting her nose. 

 

Ser Jaime escorted her past the tables, one of them Theon was sitting who was avoiding eye contact with her, and led her to the high table that hers and Lord Starks family were sitting at, she bowed before her brother and said her greetings to the Lord and Lady of Winterfell. A place in-between Lady Sansa and Lady Arya was reserved for her, the latter looking like she’d rather be anywhere else right now. 

 

She greeted them both as she sat down and placed a napkin across her lap. The food was warm and delicious and went down well with her dornish wine. Her favourite was the beef-and-bacon pie with onion gravy, she embarrassed herself when she moaned at the first bite, Lady Sansa looked to her lap grinning and Arya, who she found out detested being called a lady, laughed out loud. 

 

A loud boisterous laugh was heard across the room as she caught site of Theon roaring at something, clearly drunk, whilst Robb was trying to shush him. The men around the table with him were also laughing. 

 

She turned to Lady Sansa “Has he always been like that?” She said as she nodded her head in Theon’s direction. 

 

“Who? Theon? Yeah.” She nodded, “Our brother, Jon put him in his place not long ago but ever since he left, he’s returned back to being the same bragging Theon.” 

 

Arya interrupted “He’s stupid. He’s one of the reasons our brother left home, always reminded him on a daily basis that he was a bastard. Now Theon has a daily reminder of Jon whenever he sees the mess he did to his nose.” She smirked as she flicked a pea at Theon. 

 

The food hit its mark and Theon glared at Arya and then glared at her for a second before turning back to his group, she heard the word “idiot” muttered under his breath and she smirked. Time to have some fun. 

 

She spoke up so Theon’s table could hear her “I’m surprised you didn’t block that pea Lord Greyjoy, if you can vanquish colossal beasts then a tiny vegetable must be child's play to you.” 

 

The table that Theon was sat at grew quiet, so did Theon and Robb with the latter looking confused. 

 

It was Arya who spoke next “Colossal beasts? What are you talking about?” She asked bluntly, not one for pleasantries. The girl was growing on her. 

 

She snuck a look at Theon, whose eyes went wide when he realised what was about to happen. She replied to Arya in a louder voice so that Theon’s table could hear. 

 

“Why, Lord Greyjoy here was regaling me on the way to the feast on how he’d taken down a grizzly bear all on his own. I wasn’t convinced in the slightest but I assumed the Heir to the Iron Islands wouldn’t lie to a princess of the realm so I took his word for it.” She finished with a sip of her wine. 

 

Arya started full belly laughing and even the reserved Lady Sansa started to giggle. She saw Robb looking down with a grin and Theon glaring at her, fully red in the face with embarrassment or anger, she wasn’t quite sure. 

 

Arya spoke up after finishing her laughing fit “The only colossal beast he’s fought is that green-eyed monster.” She carried on chuckling as Theon stood up and stormed out of the hall as the table he was sat at, including Robb, laughed at his retreating figure “He’s stolen that story off my brother.” 

 

She looked at Arya with intrigue “So it was your brother who fought the bear?” She asked as she raised an eyebrow and looked back at Robb who was still laughing with the men at the table. 

 

“Not Robb, Jon. And he did kill the bear himself, he showed me the pelt he skinned, it was huge.” She smiled, a sad smile in Dany’s opinion. “He told us about the fight and how he survived, it was the last story he ever told any of us." She finished as a lone tear rolled down her cheek. The poor girl looked away to wipe her eyes but Dany had seen it. She really missed her brother a lot. 

 

Her side of the table went quiet after that, both Arya and Sansa looking down after everything that was said. It gave her chance to think about this mysterious boy, no...man. A man who’d survived a bear attack and gained not scars but furs for his troubles. He sounded dangerous this man, this Jon. 

 

She had her material for tonight's bedtime thoughts. 

 


 

 

Rhaegar 

Rhaegar sipped on his wine as Lady Stark finished talking about her son, the woman was obviously a very proud mother and he had to agree that her son did sound like the perfect successor for warden in the north after his father.  

 

She spoke about her other children as well but not as much as her eldest who by the sounds of it, was her favourite. 

 

“Well, Lady Catelyn, it sounds like the North will be in good hands for the foreseeable future. The crown had neglected your land for too long due to the distance and I feared the worst but it seems my fears were misguided and I hope the Crown and the North can be close allies once again.” He finished with a raise of his glass to the matriarch of the family who returned the gesture, a gleam in her eyes as she looked on at her son. 

 

Whilst this was happening, another conversation was taking place between his sister and the two young Stark girls, the youngest of which being hard to look at for him and Elia. Dark brown hair, grey eyes, although Lya’s were lighter, more of a silver than a grey, and an attitude to match made it hard not to envision a young Lyanna when looking at the Stark girl. 

 

Dany was conversing with the girls and overheard Lady Arya talking about her brother, Jon, and a story about a bear. It seemed he wasn’t the only one who overheard as he spotted Lord Stark lowering his gaze from the corner of his eye. 

 

He decided to talk about the situation to Lord Stark. 

 

“Lord Stark, I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation between my sister and your daughters about your son. I assume there hasn’t been any news or sightings of the boy since you ended the search?” 

 

The man visibly gulped, it was clearly hard for Lord Stark to talk about this “There’s been nothing your Grace, it's been over a year since we stopped the search and nobody has seen or heard anything about him since.” Lord Stark sighed “I just hope he’s alive out there and is doing alright for himself.” 

 

“I’m sure he’s okay Lord Stark, if the story about the bear is anything to go by, he should be able to take care of himself.” He replied as he placed a comforting hand on the man’s shoulder. 

 

Rhaegar decided to change the topic to something he’d been thinking about for a few months now “I was wondering, Lord Stark, if I may have your ear and opinion about a topic I and the small council have been discussing for a few months now.” 

 

Lord Stark nodded “Go ahead your Grace, you have my ear.” 

 

“Excellent. The subject topic is in relation to the 300th anniversary of Aegon the Conqueror’s crowning next year and how the realm could celebrate this. The majority of the council agree that a tourney, the largest tourney the realm has ever seen, be the perfect way to celebrate this event.” 

 

Lord Stark seemed to sigh in relief for whatever reason and answered “That sounds like a fitting way to celebrate, your Grace.” 

 

He smiled but what he said next was going to be the difficult part “As you know Lord Stark, with the tourney being lauded as the biggest the realm has ever seen, we need to hold this event in the centre of Westeros where everybody can reach it without travelling for months to get there.” He looked at Lord Stark to see if he realised what he was saying, by the looks of it, he did. 

 

“That being said, we were hoping that I and the council have your blessing to hold this tournament at Harrenhall. I know there’s not a lot of fond memories of that place but along with the castle being rebuilt and my father no longer being with us, we were hoping to create some new memories, better memories.” 

 

Lord Stark sighed and nodded his consent “Aye, you have my blessing. You have the right of it, that place needs new memories.” 

 

He nodded and a comfortable silence overtook the pair of them, both of them deep in thought and probably thinking of the same person right now. 

 

As he was contemplating, the tables were moved to the sides of the room for the dancing to commence. Elia had asked him whether or not he’d be playing his harp tonight but he thought the time and place didn’t seem appropriate. 

 

Lord Robb approached his daughter Rhaenys and asked for a dance which she agreed to and Lord Brandon, bless his soul, walked up to Daenerys with bright red cheeks and offered her a dance which his sister kindly accepted. She probably made the young boy's night. 

 

Many more pairings got up and started dancing, he turned to Lady Stark to offer her a dance but the look on her face as she watched her two sons like a hawk was unsettling. He decided to ask Lady Sansa, who looked a bit put out that she didn’t have a partner. 

 

After dancing with Lady Sansa, then his wife, who had finished her conversation with Lord Stark, Lady Catelyn and finally his sister, Rhaegar called it a night and escorted his wife out the hall to their chambers to end a very taxing day on his soul. 

 


 

 

Jon 

The arrow pinged off the rock as he missed the hare by an inch. 

 

“Little prick.” He muttered under his breath, not wanting to alert anything in the area. 

 

Not that there was much else in the area other than snow, rocks and...snow. 

 

He’d been on this mountain for roughly a month now, a month since he said his goodbye to Gerion and Master M and told them not to die. Gerion, as always laughing and embracing him in a hug that was unexpected but not at all unwanted. 

 

Master M had been more reserved in his farewell, putting his hands on his shoulders and explaining to him that he needed to stick to the task at hand. Straight to the point, that was Master M’s style. 

 

The Journey to begin with was simple enough, climb, hunt, eat, sleep. But as the weeks went on, the rations ran low, cliffs got steeper and the air got thinner, something Master M had forgot to mention. 

 

He’d nearly died using his spiked boots and picks to climb a formation of rocks, losing one of his said picks in the process. He’d not had to use them since but was dreading it when he did. 

 

Every night, when he set up camp and closed his eyes, he would dream the most lucid dreams he’d ever had. It started the night before his journey began and they’d been getting more and more clearer the higher he climbed. He’d chalked it down to lack of air which in turn was making him delusional. 

 

‘B ut they felt so real.’ 

 

The deep female voice persistently telling him to find them, he didn’t know who “them” was. It would always end up with him roaming around the most vivid looking cave he’d ever seen, blues and purples shining from an unknown source. There was no fire or sunlight to guide his way, only this unexplained light. 

 

The dreams would always end with him walking into a large cavern, lit with the same blues and purples that guided him there. In the centre of the chamber would be a large lake of the clearest blue he’d ever seen and looking up into the ceiling he would always see a large hole that allowed sunlight to beam down into the centre of the water. At that point the whole cavern would fill with a white light, blinding Jon and waking him from his bizarre dream, every night for roughly a month. 

 

And now he was close to the top. He could actually see the top for starters, the clouds had covered the peak of the mountain on his ascent but now he was actually above the clouds, which was mad in itself, he could see the finish and hopefully a reason Master M was so confident in this plan. 

 

At a steady pace, he would make it to the summit in roughly 3 to 4 hours but at the moment he was hungry and in need of something to eat. He had meagre rations left and the hare that had bolted off was the first living thing he’d seen in two days, not even birds were stupid enough to be this high. 

 

Unfortunately for him, the hare wasn’t the only living thing that was in the area with him, the aggressive hissing sound being prime evidence of that. 

 

Stood perched on a formation of rocks to his right was a four-legged animal that he’d never seen before. Its fur was a whitish grey with black spots on its head and neck, Its body stocky and short-legged. Its muzzle, like its legs, was short as well and its eyes were grey, black slitted and completely focused on Jon’s frozen body.  

 

 

Shit’ 

 

The beast let out another hiss as it leapt of the rock and slowly walked towards him, belly low to the ground, fur bristled and its haunches up. Primed to end Jon where he stood. 

 

He decided to crouch down to seem less intimidating to the beast, it stopped in its tracks when it got about ten feet away from him and it looked into Jon’s eyes, right into his soul. It was close enough for him to get a better look at it, it was a beautiful creature to say the least. 

 

His eyes reconnected with the beast after admiring it and before it could pounce at him, Jon blacked out. 

 

He forced his eyes open and felt tension is his legs, he could feel and hear his heart in his chest beating, heavy thumps as he focused in on his  adversary . 

 

Powerful, precise footsteps brought him towards the unmoving target, he was intrigued as he smelt the air around it, a familiar smell. 

 

Confusion and fear took hold of his mind, the prey was familiar, recognisable...him. 

 

How? 

 

He could see himself slumped against the cold ground, limbs collapsed, face looking into the sky. 

 

I approached and flinched as I took note of my face, more preferably my eyes. 

 

Milky white staring into the open air. 

 

What? Am I dead? Did the beast kill me? 

 

I look around for any trace of the creature. Nothing but paw prints in fresh snow. 

 

My eyes follow the prints, they lead closer and closer... they're  my paw prints. 

 

I gasp and flee as fast as my four legs can take me, trying to shake the pain in my head as I ran. 

 

My vision goes black. 

 

He gasped as he sat up from the cold, damp ground. ‘What on earth was that?’ 

 

Jon checked his body for any bites or scratches or anything, nothing. ‘Was that another one of those dreams?’ He wondered. 

 

No...no it can't have been, the creature's tracks are there in front of him, clear as day. It was me, I was the creature...or in the creature’s skin, he wasn't sure. 

 

He’d heard of skinchangers, more common with the First Men than the Andals or the Rhoynar. An incredible ability to enter the mind of a creature and control its actions. He’d never met one himself but knew that they existed if the tales of the wildlings beyond the wall were anything to go by. 

 

Him, a skinchanger, was he always this way? Were the dreams he had as a child, running around the woods like a crazed wolf real? Did this have something to do with the dreams he’d been having recently? He wasn’t sure about a lot of things lately. 

 

“Mad.” He muttered as he shook his head and got to his feet. 

 

He needed to reach the top even more now, a subconscious sense of anticipation spiking through him. Something was happening, something that he feared and greeted all the same. He was anxious. 

 

“I’m going mad, it’s happened, it’s finally happened.” He said to himself as he soldiered on forward. “I’m even talking to myself now...yep...definitely mad.” 

 

An hour passed by, an hour of trekking and thinking and an hour closer to the top. He’d hoped to have seen the creature he’d seen earlier again but it seemed it wasn’t to be.  

 

The path he was currently on was incredibly uneven and narrow, to the left of him was the face of the mountain, smooth to the touch which was odd he thought and to his right was a knee-high formation of rocks along the path, acting almost like a wall. Over said wall was nothing but clouds and thin air when he looked over the edge. 

 

“Gods have mercy.” He said out loud as he shimmied across the path, leaning his back against the smooth surface. 

 

He made it half way across and reached an overhanging of ice and snow above his head. It shielded him from the wind that was slowly picking up and allowed him a breather. 

 

Leaning his head back against the wall he looked up at the ice that was sheltering him at the moment, on second glance he noticed it was actually a very odd-looking ice. 

 

‘Where have I seen this before?’ 

 

He reached out to touch it but before he did, the wall behind gave way under his weight and he was falling. Smooth rock aiding his decent as he recovered into a slide, the decent getting less steep and evening out, passing more of the odd ice on the way down. 

 

He could somehow see ahead of him without a light source and he noticed a hole approaching. 

 

‘Maybe the ice holds light?’ 

 

He reached the hole and prepared to land, if he could, when he passed through. Falling through he noticed the cave he was in as he landed with a huff on his arse. 

 

He just sat there for a moment and looked in awe. 

 

Walls lined with the same odd-looking ice he’d seen on the way down, and his assumptions about the stuff seemed true, it did emit some sort of light. He thought it was safe to say this wasn’t ice, but something more precious and beautiful.

 

 

 

It hit him like a hammer when he realised he’d seen this before, he’d seen this exact cave, in his dreams. 

 

“...It’s real.” He said. Completely baffled. 

 

“Wait...” 

 

‘If this was real then how much of the rest of his dream was real?’ 

 

“Suppose there’s only one way to find out.” He said to himself as he got to his feet and carried on forward. He touched one of the gems on the wall as he passed by and accidently cut the palm of his hand on its sharp edge. 

 

It was like somebody had reached into his chest and squeezed his lungs as tight as they could. He tore his hand away as quick as he could and tried to suck in all the air in the room to soothe his burning lungs. 

 

“What...the fuck...was that?” He exclaimed in between gulps of air. 

 

‘Look for me’ 

 

He heard that voice from his dreams, talking to him through his mind, it was real, it was all real, his head hurt, it felt like a large rock on his shoulders, wanting to collapse and let the darkness take him. He started closing his eyes to ease the pressure. 

 

‘No, look for me friend’ 

 

There it was again, jolting his eyes and mind open. He needed to carry on even if it was just to ease the pressure on his body and soul, a pressure that made him feel like a weapon, a weapon ready to explode...an explosion he wanted. 

 

“I'm going to die, this cave will be my grave.” He muttered. 

 

He walked on, still hearing the voice telling him to look for them, “Look for what?” He said, hoping for an answer, no reply. 

 

After ten minutes of walking he reached an opening in the ground, nowhere else to go but down or back. He’d come too far now to go back and the pressure was subsiding the deeper he went. 

 

“I’m gonna fuckin kill Master M if I ever see him again." He said as he at the edge of the hole and dropped down, thankfully it wasn’t a big drop. 

 

Raising from his crouch as he’d landed, Jon looked forward and took in the same large cavern that was always present in his dreams. The pressure from his mind and body had completely disappeared as soon as his feet hit the ground. 

 

He slowly walked forward along the path that took him the edge of the crystal clear lake that resided in the middle of the chamber. Light shining in from the hole in the ceiling, exactly like his dream had shown him. 

 

Something that hadn't been present in his dreams however was the large, crystal structure in the middle of the lake. 

 

It was amazing to see. 

 

Bright blues and purples seem to breathe when the light from the ceiling hit it. 

 

He placed his hand in the water to clean his hand that hadn't stopped bleeding since he’d cut it. 

 

It was clear, clean and warm. 

 

‘Warm...why was it warm?’ 

 

He watched his blood as it seeped into the clear depths of the water, it looked like it was on a journey with how quick it moved. 

 

It seemed to have a destination as well, the crystal structure in the middle of the lake. 

 

The same structure that was now actually moving, up and down in a slow rhythm. 

 

Breathing. 

 

It was breathing. 

 

Before he could step back, it started to move with more urgency, unravelling like an awakening wolf. 

 

Planes of crystal and flesh spread high and wide from the structure as the ground shook. 

 

Pillars of muscle and power rose from the water. 

 

A colossal whip of strength uncoiled like a snake. 

 

Its thick neck and head rising, teeth razor sharp. 

 

 A growl thundered into the silence of the cave from the beast's chest. 

 

Eyes of crystal staring into his soul. 

 

Salvation. 

 

Purpose. 

 

Home. 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

Jon 

Time had stopped. 

 

Silence had overtaken the cavern, not even his breathes could be heard. 

 

He’d stopped breathing. 

 

He slowly released the breath he didn’t know he was holding as his heart went ten to the dozen. Strong, thumping beats reverberating through his entire being. He could feel his pulse all throughout his body, even his eyes. 

 

He blinked to try and clear his vision but there was nothing wrong with it in the first place. Standing there, right in front of him was the most incredible thing he will ever see between now and the day he leaves this world. 

 

From its huge foot, which was easily bigger than Jon himself, to its neck and head, which was outstretched high and proud, it must have stood eighty feet off the ground. From head to tail it easily broke one hundred feet long. Protruding from its back were huge plains of crystal and flesh, spread wide in a clear act of intimidation...which had worked very successfully. 

 

Either something very interesting was going to happen or Jon was dying very soon. He’d faced a bear and survived but this was just not even realistic when formulating a plan. He placed his bag, that had been with him for a month now, on the floor to at least give him a little less weight to carry if this turned into an escape. 

 

‘You won't be dying today child.’  

 

That voice, that deep feminine voice was in his head again as he kept eye contact with the creature. He wasn’t a hundred percent sure what it was but he could have a guess. 

 

‘Why don’t you have a guess, tiny human.’ The voice replied. 

 

‘Wait...can it hear me?’ He wondered as the colossal creature huffed, ‘It huffed!’ and started to move around the cave, flicking water at him with its tail. 

 

‘Yes, I can hear you child. Don’t reveal to me that you’re simple...’ The creature replied. 

 

He was talking to this thing with his mind, it could hear his thoughts, it's probably hearing me think about this...how? How is any of this possible? Was he officially insane? Can you be self-aware of your own insanity? 

 

‘You’re going to turn my mind to mush if you don’t calm down.’ The voice said, each word laced with annoyance. 

 

“...You can actually hear me then? I’m not insane?” Jon replied, he was baffled but also very excited. Not only had he found, what he believed to be a dragon but he could converse with it as well, like he would with some bloke down at the docks. 

 

‘Yes, I can hear you...and I’m not some bloke, do not insult me!’ Was its reply. 

 

“Sorry...I didn’t mean to insult you, it's just...all this is just overwhelming, you know.” He answered. 

 

The beast curled its wings? back into itself and laid down, not so different to a dog laying down in his opinion. 

 

A deep growl emitted from the dragon’s chest ‘Do not compare me to a lowly mutt, you disrespectful man child. 

 

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I forgot you could hear my thoughts somehow. How are you even doing that anyway?” He asked as he carried on staring at the dragon in awe, this impossibly beautiful being. 

 

A noise almost like a cat's purr echoed around the chamber as the dragon puffed out its chest ‘You woke me. The blood in your veins released me from my slumber and now you and I are bonded through body, mind and soul. 

 

“Bonded? The blood in my veins?” He was confused until he remembered what had happened just recently. “Bonded...like skinchanging?” He did have the blood of the First Men...blood...his hand. He looked down at his cut hand, the bleeding had stopped but the blood that had seeped out into the water had vanished.  

 

“I have the blood of the First Men, we are known for skinchanging...is this what you mean about my blood?” 

 

The dragon looked at him with such intensity he felt in the depths of his soul, in the marrow of his bones, as if it was trying to work him out, its answer clouded in mystery. 

 

‘Perhaps’  

 

Bonded with a dragon. Him. Jon Snow. 

 

Mad. 

 

“What...” He cleared his throat “What does me being bonded with you mean? Am I your pet now?” He asked, trying to make light of the heavy situation by genuinely fearing that he’d be staying here for the foreseeable future. 

 

‘It means that you are mine and I am yours.’  

 

“So... we’re like...married now? Is that what you're saying?” Jon asked befuddled. 

 

‘What is “Married”?’ The dragon replied. He could sense its confusion, no, he could feel it. 

 

What the fuck is happening? 

 

“It's like err...like a union, a ritually recognised union between two people. Its normally between two people who love each other but the land I'm from have been using it wrong for a long time. For the most part it's a political tool, a sham marriage, one of the numerous reasons that place has gone to shit.” Jon ended, feeling his ire rising towards the end of his explanation. 

 

‘I can feel it you know. I can feel your anger and power. What is the cause of this anger?’  

 

“People.” He answered simply, nine times out of ten they were the cause of his anger. 

 

‘And people are your enemy, and now mine too.’  

 

His eyes widened “NO....no. It's not all people, just some people, select individuals, not everyone.” He tried to defuse the situation before he unleashed death upon everybody. 

 

‘Okay, some people. I can help you with “Some people” if you want?’  

 

Images of Theon Greyjoy fucking launched across a field with the flick of a tail ran through his mind and he couldn't help but look away and suppress a laugh. 

 

Yes, I can do that. That IS funny, make the enemy fly.’ 

 

‘Oh right, I forgot you could hear my thoughts, didn’t know you could see them as well.’ He mentally said. “It’s okay, sometimes my enemies just need a punch or a speaking to. Killing them is a last resort.” He answered back. 

 

The dragon huffed and stood up, water cascading down its flank and bouncing off the crystals that adorned its flesh creating a rainbow effect. 

 

‘You have woken me from my hibernation and we’ve bonded via your blood offering, tell me why it is you have come here.’  

 

“Because of you...you asked me to come, you told me to look for you in my dreams.” Jon answered, slightly miffed if he was being honest. 

 

‘Yes, I did, but something triggered our shared dreams, an event or a reason for us two to meet. What is that reason? What is the purpose you seek me out...Jon?’  

 

It...She? The dragon’s voice sounded feminine. She called him Jon, she knew his name.  

 

What Purpose...What reason... 

 

‘OH SHIT!...The whole reason he was here in the first place...’ 

 

“The people! The people from my town need help, they need saving from the enemy!” He exclaimed. All coming back to him now, the reason he’s here for. Gerion and Master M counting on him to make the difference. 

 

‘What is this enemy you speak?’  

 

“A group of people, a large group of people have been ravaging the four islands. They’ve raped and killed many innocents and the town that I'm from is next. I have friends down there that I regard as family and I’ve made this trip, a trip that I was sure was going to be unsuccessful and result in me dying on a mountainside. But I've found you. The answer to all our prayers, the great salvation to end the suffering.” He got down on his knees “I’m begging you, please help me, I can't go back empty handed...they need me...they need us.” 

 

‘I will help you Jon.’ Was the dragon’s calm response. 

 

His eyes went wide “Really!?” 

 

‘Of course. We are bonded now, we are as good as family, and family helps each other, no matter what.’ The she-dragon said. Determination flashing through her and subsequently his own mind. 

 

“Thank you...thank you so much. You have no idea how much I love you right now.” He preached. He’d done it, Master M had been right, and that belief will be well rewarded. 

 

‘On one condition...’  

 

...of course. Nothing in life is free. 

 

‘I stay with you. I am your dragon as you are my human. Only death will break our bond.’  

 

“Okay!” He replied, almost instantly, actually startling the great beast. That wasn’t a condition, that’s was a blessing. Who the fuck wouldn’t want to be best buds with a dragon? 

 

‘Alright then. Shall we go and save your family?’ She asked. Actually, she looked like she couldn’t wait...and neither could Jon. 

 

“Yes, let's do this.” He said as he bounced on the spot and rubbed his hands together. The excitement between the pair was making them both restless, Jon bouncing on his heels... 

 

“I never asked, what's your name?” Jon asked her. 

 

‘I don’t have one. I was born alone and assumed I would die alone. I had no need of a name.’ She replied, a deep-rooted sadness churned through his and her mind. 

 

“You need a name...what if I named you since you aren't alone anymore.” He suggested. 

 

‘Thank you, Jon.’ He could feel the joy in her response. He did that, he’d brought joy to this stunning creature. 

 

‘What shall I be called?’ She asked as her tail slid from side to side in the shallow water. 

 

Now THAT’S a question. What do you name a dragon? A dragon you’ve just met but feel such a deep connection to already that they feel like family. Like a sister or a...mother. 

 

“I've never known who my mother was but I've dreamt about her countless times over the years. In those dreams she’s always been beautiful, the first time a clapped eyes on you I thought the same. Beautiful.” He said as he stared into her eyes. 

 

Her returning gaze was intense. 

 

“I would name you the nihongo word for ‘Beautiful’Kireina.” He finished, hoping she approved.  

 

Silence filled the air but was broken after a few moments. 

 

‘Thank you’ Was Kireina’s sincere reply. 

 

Her whole demeanour changed with in an instant with her next words ‘Now, let's go save your friends.’ 

 

“Right, lets.” Jon agreed but was unsure of the next steps “What...how do we do this then?” He asked. 

 

Kireina lowered her body till she was lying flat in the water ‘Climb on and we’ll fly out of here. We’ll be saving your friends in no time.’  

 

Jon just went with it, trying not to show how excited and terrified he was about doing this. Him, flying a dragon, the world had gone mad. What he’d give to see Lady Catelyn’s face if he ever turned up back at Winterfell with Kireina. 

 

He slowly made his may forward as he spoke “Oookay. Not sure how to do this but I’ll give it a shot.” He grabbed hold of one of the crystals that protruded from her scales and used it to hoist his way up to her back. As soon as he’d touched her, he felt a bolt of energy through his body and mind, and by the jolt in movement of Kireina’s scales, so did she. 

 

He placed himself between two crystals on her back and made himself comfortable. The first thing he noticed was the heat she was emitting, it wasn’t overwhelming but more like the heat of a freshly made bath. It was nice. The second thing however was a little more jarring as she rose up to her full height. The distance from her back to the ground was huge and he had to hold on tight to make sure the light dizziness didn’t make him fall, that would be embarrassing. 

 

‘I can hear you thinking you know. Everything will be alright, just hold on tight.’  Kireina mentally reassured. 

 

“Sorry, just can't believe any of this is happening that’s all.” Jon replied. 

 

’We’ll be heading out through there so hold on tight.’ She told him as she gazed at the huge hole in the ceiling of the cavern. 

 

Jon took a deep breath “Oh, okay. I think I'm reeAAAAHHHH!” He screamed as they took off through the opening. He hugged the crystal in front of him for dear life and closed his eyes tight shut to help calm his heart that felt like it was jumping up his throat. 

 

‘Open your eyes, you're missing it.’ Kireina whispered in his mind. 

 

He slowly opened his eyes. He could feel the cold air hitting his body before opening them but when his eyes grew wide at the sight, he knew he was flying. Flying through the clouds as the vapour attacked his face. 

 

No words. No words could describe what he felt, even the air in his lungs had stopped working temporarily. They coasted lower and emerged from the clouds, Kireina’s muscles and scales working together underneath him felt surreal, the sheer power he felt was unrivalled. This was probably the closest any man could get to feeling like a god. 

 

He could see the coast from where they were, even this high up, in the gods domain, he could make out his town, Kōchi, and it was getting more and more detailed the longer they flew. 

 

“This is amazing! Thank you, thank you so much for sharing this with me!” He shouted over the wind. 

 

‘No need to shout, I can hear your thoughts remember, I know how thankful you are. You're welcome.’ Came Kireina’s response, she sounded so amused and happy. 

 

It took Jon around a month to reach the summit of the colossal mountain he was looking at behind him and at Kireina’s Pace, they’d make it home within in the hour. 

 

He wasn’t sure what he was going to be met with, how people would react, how Kireina would react, but one thing was certain. 

 

Nothing would ever be the same again. 

 


 

 

Gerion 

An arrow flew past his head as he peered over the top of the wall. The walls and gates had been barricaded a few weeks ago, just before the Imperial Clan’s splinter team arrived the very next day. 

 

It had been like this for nearly a month now, hold up behind their walls and in their homes. The clan itself were camped outside the walls, the first few days they’d fought one another, their men versus the clan but it was obvious to everyone that Gerion and the rest of their people had planned perfectly for the defence of the town. 

 

The clan were losing too many men trying to enter the town and seemingly decided to wait it out and besiege them instead. They weren't expecting this much resistance and the main group had been over confident to send a group beforehand, it had backfired and the splinter group was now at a stalemate with them. It didn’t stop them however from trying every siege trick in the book, horns being blown at night to stop the residents of Kōchi from sleeping and various other methods. 

 

 

Thankfully, they hadn't brought siege weaponry with them so the gates we fairly secure, that however didn’t stop them from trying to scale the walls from time to time, often resulting with a failed entry and a corpse. 

 

They’d also not brought ships, so fish was still being caught by the Kōchi residents in preparation for the main group arriving. Unfortunately, scouts had reported seeing a huge naval fleet sailing down the east coast of the island and predicted they’d arrive at the docks in a matter of days. So fishing had stopped and all of their boats were preparing a barricade in defence. 

 

The walls were closing in around Kōchi and there wasn’t an escape in sight, an inevitability he’d told Master M before the Imperial Clan had even arrived. The man in question had refused defeat, told Gerion he would not run, not abandon their town, they would defend her for as long as they could and that his plan will work. 

 

His plan. 

 

His death sentence more like. Not only his but everybody else's...including Jon’s. 

 

Jon, thinking of Jon was hard. He’d left the town to journey up that sodding mountain about a month ago now, the youthful enthusiasm and belief in his eyes when he’d told Gerion that he’d be back and not to worry was easily digested on the day of his departure, but four weeks in, it made the pit of his stomach feel weird and an anger towards Master Miyamoto reared its ugly head. The man had essentially sent his friend to go die alone, in the cold, to never be discovered. His body wouldn’t even be buried for god's sake, probably torn to bits by some unknown predator that lurks up there. 

 

All because he believed in his bat shit crazy plan. 

 

He looked down at the courtyard and saw the man in question, he was instructing a group of young soldiers the formations they needed to use when the true fight inevitably started. 

 

‘How can he be so calm and confident after what he’s done?’ He thought. 

 

Several horns blaring in the distance broke him from his musings, he turned in their direction and his heart sank. 

 

Stood at the peak of a hill in the distance was The Imperial Clan, the rest of The Imperial Clan if his eyes weren't deceiving him. All of them were geared up to the teeth for war, banners waving in the breeze and an aura of sheer confidence radiating from them as they stood stoically on the crest of a green grass hill. 

 

 

‘This is it, the beginning of the end.’ 

 

A few of the men on the walls were yelling instructions, telling the men to get into position for the inevitable. A small part of Gerion wondered why they were even bothering, looking over to the hill again he saw the sheer numbers the clan had. Rows and rows of men broken into groups of roughly 200, all marching down the hill to claim their prize. 

 

Battering rams and trebuchets crested the hill behind them, completely surrounded by the majority of their mounted soldiers. In total, Gerion guessed roughly fifty thousand men as he stared at the mass of steel and flesh marching towards them. 

 

‘They were more successful with their previous battle than we’d expected.’ 

 

And with the fact that a large naval fleet was seen days away, it would seem his assumption was correct. 

 

‘How many men have they fucking got?’ He thought bitterly as he made his way down to Master M to organise the troops. He might not be his biggest fan at the moment but they still had a job to do. 

 

Their soldiers were armed with a pole like weapon with a blade at the end called a Naginata and wore lacquered hardened leather armour pieces that covered their vitals. 

 

Master Miyamoto himself had armour on but less pieces, apparently to aid in his movement. Gerion himself had gone for the full set, he was a decent swordsman but nowhere near the level of Master M to have the confidence of wearing less protection, mad fucker. 

 

Before he made it to the bottom of the stairs, he heard another horn go off. The ground started to shake and he was positive they’d begin their charge. He bolted up the stairs, closely followed by Master M, and checked to confirm his thoughts. The wave of soldiers running down the hill had done just that. 

 

Master M was yelling instructions as soon as he realised what was happening, telling men to prepare the wall for defence. Gerion just stood and watched as the clan got closer and closer, watched as their men released arrows into the group. He grabbed a bow himself and joined in. 

 

He released his first arrow, and his second, and then a third. This was all they could do now, they’ll die but they’d sure as hell be taking some of the bastards with them.  

 

He was nocking his fourth arrow when he heard the mutterings and mumbles from his men. He looked up at them to see what the cause of their chattering could have been and then looked out on to the field.  

 

‘What?’ 

 

They're retreating...or a better way to describe it would be fleeing if the screams from men and horses a like were anything to go by. Stampedes were occurring, men crushing men, horses bolting straight through their ranks, not caring what or who they ran into. Wheeled battering rams and trebuchets left abandoned to steamroll down the hill into their own troops. 

 

Madness had overtaken The Imperial Clan. Madness or fear based on their actions. 

 

He looked across to Master M to see his take on all of it, the man wasn’t even facing them, he had his back to the whole scene. 

 

‘What in the fuck is going on?!’ He wondered. 

 

A second look at Master M made something else obvious that he’d not seen the first time, the old man was smiling. He looked at the other men, half of them were still looking out on to the field just like he was, but the other half were looking behind them with wide eyes and mouths gaped. 

 

He turned around to look at whatever they were so bothered about instead of the fleeing enemy “What in seven hells are you cu....” 

 

 

 

That’s a big bird... 

 

 

 

No... 

 

 

 

That’s a fucking dragon! 

 

 

 

‘When had breathing become so hard?’ 

 

 

 

That’s a huge fucking dragon... 

 

A dragon... 

 

And it was coming right towards them.  

 

The courtyard underneath them was silent, everybody was staring into the sky with mixed looks of awe and fear. Some were even on their knees, bowing and praying. 

 

Gerion, and by the sounds of it everybody else, held their breath as the impossible beast flew over them. This thing was huge! Easily the size of a few houses. Its wingspan blocked out the sun but he could still see the light bouncing off its scales and what looked to be gems that were embedded in its body. 

 

The draft it caused with its beating wings made a few men fall on their arses, Gerion would have laughed at them if he wasn’t too busy gasping. Something Master M was doing as well as a few men pointed at the back of the creature. 

 

A man was on its back, legs and arms gripped on to one of the protruding spikes on the dragon's spine. But what made his heart skip a beat was the very noticeable raven curls flowing in the wind atop the man's head. 

 

“Jon...” He breathlessly whispered. 

 

He didn’t get chance to think any more about his friend being alive because the dragon had decided to attack the clan, and it was the most powerful and devastating thing he had ever seen. 

 

An intense beam of white light erupted from the dragon's mouth as it flew over the retreating men, ripping the ground apart and instantly turning the clan’s men into dust. In fact, the light was that intense, it was already causing him a headache. He appreciated it when the beast closed its mouth. 

 

The dragon rose in the air and banked off to the left to come back round for another run. It gave Gerion just enough time to see the utter destruction that had been left. The main thing he noticed was the huge trench that had been left behind from the dragon’s breath, still simmering and smoking. It must have been 20 feet deep, 30 feet wide and went on for at least 200 feet. Inside this trench was nothing but ash, soil and what looked to have been numerous shards of polished rock left in its wake. 

 

All that damage in less than ten seconds, it must have disintegrated a few hundred people into dust in one run. 

 

And it was coming back for another hit. 

 

“Fuck me!” Was all he could say as he watched the destruction of the dragon’s breath from a side view. The light from its breath was so bright, it would be easier looking directly at the sun. Again, it ripped the ground to bits and made people disappear, he could feel the ground rumble from the impact. Gerion would have felt bad for them but they’d brought this on themselves, raiding towns and villages, raping and slaughtering women and children. This quick death they were currently receiving was punishing them lightly in his opinion. 

 

The devastation was evident and The Imperial Clan had been given a bloody nose, in the most brutal way. 

 

The dragon finished its run and landing on the crest of the hill with a massive thump. It raised its head and looked over the other side of the hill, the side none of them could see. It spread its wings and roared its head off at the fleeing soldiers, the noise was insanely loud and he had to cover his ears to avoid pissing himself. It had really shaken his bladder something rotten. 

 

Cheers could be heard all around the town as Master M started yelling in his native tongue. He ran up to Gerion and started bouncing around as he hugged him. He had a big goofy smile on his face as he laughed, to which everybody else on the wall and ultimately the courtyard joined in on as well. Gerion couldn’t help laughing along with him, mad fucker. 

 

The town quietened down as they heard the thumps getting louder and louder, Gerion disengaged from the old man and looked over the battlements. The image of a dragon lowering its body to the ground and seeing Jon Snow leaping off the back of it will be something that would be hard to forget. Even more so when Jon walks up to the beast’s head and strokes it like a common housecat. 

 

Hushed whispers were heard when Gerion ordered the main gate to be opened, whilst he was calling out his order the dragon had decided to go for a flight. People were still amazed as it flew over the town and up towards the clouds. 

 

Everyone turned their attention back to the main gate as the man of the hour walked in, longer hair (That looked awfully wild after his little flight), bushy beard that was in dire need of a trim and the biggest shit eating grin Gerion had ever seen on a person. A grin that completely disappeared when men started bowing and kneeling to him. 

 

He looked so uncomfortable as he was motioning them to rise. Him and Master M raced down the stairs to the courtyard, almost knocking each other over in the process. 

 

The old man was first to Jon as he seemed to squeeze the young man to death with his crushing hug. Gerion was too far away to hear what was being said but by Jon’s laughing reaction, it must have been something mad, it normally is with Master M. 

 

He reached Jon himself and caught him in a bruising hug of his own “You mad fucker, I can't believe what I have just seen.” 

 

Jon laughed “Did you miss me?” He asked as they broke from their embrace. 

 

“Pretty fucking hard to miss you on the back of that thing!” He jested as Jon laughed again. 

 

He calmed down as his tone changed “I’ll tell you all about it later, but first, I need food and a bath. Then we’ll talk about how to deal with the rest of The Imperial Clan. We spooked them into fleeing but they’ll be back eventually.” 

 

Gerion nodded as him, Jon and Master M made their way up to his house to regroup and plan their next course of action. 

 

“A fucking dragon." He muttered to himself as he shook his head. Jon and Master M chuckled at him as they headed home. 

 


 

 

Rhaenys 

The morning after the feast was rough, she’d over indulged on wine throughout the night and the banging headache she had when she woke up was her punishment. That coupled with the chill in the fresh northern air that seeped through the cracks of her chamber window made it a rough awakening that morning. 

 

Stretching her arms above her head and cracking her knuckles was always the first thing she did when she woke up, the loud accompanying yawn would always alert anybody outside that she was awake. 

 

What wasn’t normal was the phlegmy build up in her throat and the sticky remnants of her sleep in the corners of her eyes. 

 

“Urggh, that’s all I need.” She said to no one in particular as she dragged her sorry ass to the bowl of water that was on the vanity and rinsed her face off. She looked up into the looking glass at her reflection. 

 

She huffed “You look as rough as I feel.” She said to herself. 

 

“Charming.” Was the reply from her mother who’d just let herself in, quiet as a mouse she was. 

 

She rolled her eyes, a dull ache bolted through them since she was still half asleep “You can knock you know mother.” 

 

“Mothers don’t knock, would have thought you’d have learnt that by now sweetheart.” Was her mother’s reply 

 

She rubbed her face again to truly wake herself and searched around her chambers for a handkerchief to blow the death out of her nose. 

 

“Are you alright? You do look a bit...under the weather.” Came her mother's concerned inquiry. 

 

“I’ll be fine, just a bit congested that’s all.” Came her distracted reply as she blew her nose on her newly found handkerchief. 

 

“I’ll send the handmaidens up to run you a hot bath after I’ve had a talk with you.” Elia replied. 

 

Rhaenys strolled back to her bed and wrapped herself up in the furs, her mother joined her and sat at the end of the bed facing her. 

 

“Did you enjoy the feast last night? I saw Dany, she seemed to be having a right old laugh with the two Stark girls.” Her mother asked. 

 

She shrugged her shoulders “Eh, it was alright. I was seated with the three Stark boys so we didn’t have much in common to talk about. Lord Robb was more interested in getting merry with his friend Theon and the two younger ones wanted to talk about the Kingsguard all night.”  

 

She shook her head “And don’t even get me started on Lady Stark. I didn’t appreciate her subtle lecture about the faith and my wine consumption. That wine was my only companion last night and I'm paying for it this morning.” 

 

“Oh Rhae” Elia shook her head “It can't have been that bad. I saw you and Robb chatting earlier in the night and again when you were dancing. He wasn’t ignoring you, just enjoying himself with his friends that’s all. Don’t look too much into it.” Her mother finished. 

 

“I wasn’t planning on it.” She side eyed her mother, trying to catch her reaction. 

 

Elia spotted this “Don't look at me like that. Just don’t judge the boy after one night.” She suggested. 

 

Her eyes sharpened at that “I know what you're doing.” She accused. 

 

“I’m not doing anything.” Her mother replied as she got up and started touching up her hair in the looking glass. 

 

“Don't lie to me, I know what this is.” Came her heated reply. 

 

Elia sighed “Listen Rhae, we aren't forcing you into anything but Rhaegar and I are getting worried. We’re getting worried for both you AND Dany. You can’t be alone forever Rhae, you’ll eventually marry at some point but by the time you realise that, all the good ones your age will have families of their own. You’ll be left with older codgers like Walder Frey to choose from.” They both shuddered. 

 

“Why does he have to be trueborn? Why can't I marry a man who’s made himself instead of getting it given to him? Someone who understands the actual world we live in and not the imaginary one Lords and Ladies live in? Someone who values me because of me and not the title, lands or dowry?” Rhae explained passionately. 

 

Elia came and sat back down on the bed and shook her head in exasperation “It's not that simple Rhae. You’re a royal, a Princess of the realm, the King’s daughter. Nothing but trueborn would be acceptable for you and anything less would be viewed as an insult to the trueborn Lords you’ve previously refused.” 

 

She carried on before Rhae could retort “Just give Robb a chance. Look at your brother, he wasn't too pleased about his arranged marriage at first but look at him now, madly in love with his Lady wife with a babe on the way.” She patted her on the shoulder “Me and your father were an arranged marriage and we love each other very much, I don’t see why it can't happen for you either.” She finished. 

 

Her blood was up and she didn’t think when she replied “Yeah, it only took you kidnapping somebody and sending the seven kingdoms into war for you to get to that point.” 

 

Her mother’s sharp eyes and scowl were on her in an instant, she’d never seen her so angry before. 

 

“I’m sorry mother, I didn’t mea...” She tried to apologise. 

 

Elia put her hand up to cease her apology. She stood up, straightened her dress and left the room with a slam. 

 

“Fuck.” She muttered as she put her face in her hands. 

 

Her head hurt, her throat hurt, she couldn’t breathe through her nose properly and she’d just royally pissed her mother off. The day hadn’t even started yet. 

 

A knock on the door disturbed her inner turmoil as she rose from her bed. She called out to ask who it was and the handmaidens her mother promised responded through the wood of the door. 

 

She replied to them to come in and three young women entered her chambers, one of them carrying a pail of hot water and the other two carrying a copper tub for her bath. 

 

‘A hot bath sounds like heaven right about now. Then I need to find mother and apologise.’ She mused to herself. 

 

Half an hour had passed by since she’d been cleaned by the handmaidens, they’d left shortly after they’d finished and let Rhae relax in the warm water, eyes closed and warmth surrounding her. It gave her a chance to take her mother's words into account and actually think about Robb for once. 

 

Rhae had a type. Dark, handsome and dangerous, a bonus if they could make her laugh. It wasn’t really fair to compare Robb to her perfect man but she couldn't help it. He had short auburn curls that were nice enough but they weren't the long dark curls that she could see in her mind's eye. His eyes were nice. Deep blue eyes the colour of the ocean, still, it wasn’t the deep browns or the ash grey that her mystery man had. A bit of a shame he’d not inherited his father’s colouring. 

 

He was handsome, she couldn’t deny that but she’d established a few years ago she was a girl who liked a nice beard on a man and there wasn’t an ounce of facial hair on Robb’s face, some ladies would love that but not her. She’d not seen much of his body, he’s probably in shape if the dance they had last night was anything to go by so he had that going for him at least. 

 

At the end of the day, any woman would not be disappointed with being married to Robb, he was handsome, respectful and the heir to a great house. But Rhae could not see herself living up here with him in the future. The cold of the North was already annoying her, she’s half dornish, the heat of the sun was in her veins. She was already looking forward to being south of the neck. 

 

‘I suppose nothing is gonna get done sat in here.’ She thought to herself. 

 

She climbed out of the warm tub and into the cold air of her chambers, darting straight for her robe to keep the heat in. She knew she’d forgotten something when the maids were here. 

 

She padded bare foot to the door and ushered in the handmaidens who had been waiting for her to finish, she asked the last girl to help get the hearth up and running. 

 

The girl’s eyes went wide, it seems she’d forgot as well “O...of course your grace.” She said as she passed the rest of the maids and rushed straight to the hearth. 

 

The rest of the girls clothed her in the thickest wool dress that she owned and placed a light grey fur cloak on her shoulders to finish the look. She was cleaned, changed and warm, now she could function properly and the first thing on the agenda was finding her mother and apologising. Her rumbling stomach would have to wait. 

 

Ser Jonothor was waiting outside for her when she opened the door to let the handmaidens out. She said her good mornings to the man and they both chatted away as they made their way towards her parent’s bedchambers in search of her mother. As they both turned the corner, they saw Ser Oswell waiting outside of the Royal chambers so it was evident her mother was inside. 

 

She nodded to Ser Oswell as he knocked on the chamber doors and announced her “Princess Rhaenys is here to see you, your grace.” 

 

“Send her in please.” Was the muffled reply from her mother. 

 

‘Here goes nothing.’ She thought to herself. It's not the first time her dornish temper has gotten her into trouble. 

 

She slowly opened the chamber door and crept inside, Ser Jonothor waiting outside alongside his brother in arms. 

 

She looked across the room and saw her mother sat at her vanity brushing her hair “Mother?” She asked in a soft voice. 

 

Elia turned from her looking glass whilst still brushing her hair. It was obvious in an instant to Rhaenys that she’d been crying “Yes darling?” Was her reply. 

 

Rhae walked with purpose to her mother and instantly embraced her in a tight hug “I'm so sorry mother, I didn’t mean any of what I said to you. I was just angry that’s all, you know what I'm like when an argument doesn’t go my way, I go on the defensive and spew nasty comments. I'm truly sorry mother, please forgive me.” She pleaded as her own tears decided to make an appearance. 

 

“Shush sweetheart, I know you didn’t mean it, it just shocked me that’s all.” Her mother cooed as she stroked her hair. 

 

They held each other for a few minutes, letting each other collect themselves into the royals they were and disengaged from their hug. Rhae still wasn’t convinced her mother knew how sincerely sorry she was “I am truly sorry mother, you know that don’t you? I hate falling out with you.” 

 

Elia shook her head “Shush, no more of that now. Yes, I know you're sorry but I'm sorry too. I’m sorry for pressuring you so much with the whole marriage talk. Me and your father are just trying to look out for you and trying to make the best possible future for you because we love you, always.” 

 

She managed to hold back from crying again as she hugged her mother a second time. Maybe she’d been dramatic about the whole situation. Maybe if she spent some time with Robb then her mother would at least appreciate the effort, even if nothing came out of it. 

 

“I’ll see what Lord Robb is up to today, see if he’d like to show me around Winterfell...for you.” She told her mother whose eyes went bright and smile grew on her face. 

 

“That's all I ask sweetheart, thank you.” Elia replied as they hugged again. 

 

“I'm not promising anything.” She mumbled into her mother’s shoulder. 

 

“That's fine. The fact you're trying is enough for me.” Came her reply. 

 

“Love you.” She said, face still in her mother's shoulder. 

 

“Love you too my Rhae of sunshine.” Came Elia’s reply, childhood nickname and all. 

 


 

 

Catelyn 

She couldn’t be more pleased with herself if she tried, watching her eldest escort the King’s daughter around their home. Both of them chatting and smiling as her son was no doubt charming the Princess with stories of his childhood as he pointed out different aspects of Winterfell. 

 

They made a rather handsome couple in her opinion, strolling around arm in arm in what would one day be their keep to rule. 

 

She herself was strolling around arm in arm with her beloved. She’d told him she wanted to survey the keep to make sure everything was running smoothly while they had guests under their roof but she’d told a little white lie there, completely innocent she thought. She just wanted to see how her son and future bride got on. 

 

She turned to Ned who himself seemed to be lost in his mind, something she’d noticed quite a lot since the Royal family had arrived “Look at them Ned, don’t they make a lovely couple.” She cooed, pride swelling in her chest when thinking of her eldest son. 

 

It would seem she’d broken Ned out of his thoughts when he replied “Sorry love, you were saying?” 

 

She nodded over towards the young couple, both of them were currently walking towards the glass gardens “I was just saying they make a lovely couple my love.” She finished with a soft smile. 

 

“They do aye, but I wouldn’t be getting too carried away Cat, nothing has been made official yet.” Ned answered. 

 

She tutted and softly slapped his shoulder “It’s good as, my dear. Just look at them both, it's an ideal match, not only do they look good together but the marriage would unite four great houses. It’s a no brainer.” She smiled as she looked off into the distance “It would also help explain why the King came all this way with his unwed daughter, I for one don’t believe he came here just for a visit.” 

 

Ned shook his head at her “The King came here to visit his wife’s resting place and get the North’s situation in order. His Master of whispers, Lord Varys has heard some disturbing reports that I've neglected to hear myself.” 

 

This was the first she’d heard of The King and her husband's little one on one meeting yesterday “Disturbing reports? What have they heard?” She asked as the pair of them walked under an archway towards the glass gardens. 

 

Ned sighed “Lord Varys has apparently heard several reports of murders being carried out between Hornwood and the Dreadfort. Reports also indicate that one Ramsey Snow, Lord Bolton’s natural son is behind the killings.” 

 

She shook her head “How dreadful. Have you heard anything from Lord Bolton yourself? The fact that it's his bastard and not his heir Lord Domeric is not the surprise but what is, is that we’ve not heard anything ourselves.” 

 

Ned dropped her arm. ‘Here we go, defending the bastard again.’ She thought. 

 

“It’s not good enough for you is it? It’s not good enough that he’s gone, been gone for over a year now. You still have to pull him down, constantly belittling him. I’m starting to grow tired of it now.” Ned harshly whispered to her. 

 

She wasn’t having it though, his devil born whelp was gone and not soon enough in her eyes. “You know this could have all been avoided if you hadn't spread some cheap tavern wench’s legs and bestowed the poisoned fruit of that act on our family. But no, you had to bring him into our home, the constant reminder that my husband preferred the bed of a whore to his own wife's. You Lord Stark are more to blame in this situation than I ever was.” She heatedly replied as a few workers around the courtyard started sneaking looks at them. 

 

With a huff, her husband turned around and headed back towards the great keep, people moving out of his way to avoid his cold anger. She was in the right she knew. Bastards were the spawn of lust, greed and treachery, the fact that a bastard had been running around murdering people is evidence of that. She was well within her right to reinforce her beliefs to Ned but the fact that he’d tried to pin blame on her had really hurt. 

 

With a huff she picked up her skirts and headed towards the glass gardens to see how her son was getting on. If she was honest with herself, she wouldn’t be too angry if she caught the pair in an embrace of sorts. This would just help the whole situation out if they were already amiable with each other, it took nearly a year for her and Ned to get to that stage. No thanks to the bastard like.  

 

Approaching the glass gardens, she noticed a Kingsguard waiting at the open door to the inside, obviously keeping an eye on the lovebirds. She didn't want to disturb them but she still sneaked a look through the glass before leaving. 

 

Robb and Princess Rhaenys were both sat on a box near the entrance to the gardens themselves. Robb had a piece of parchment and charcoal and was scribbling something down that she couldn’t see herself, Princess Rhaenys was talking to him but that was inaudible. But from the smiles they were sending to each other and at one point, laughter, she was quite confident her son would be getting the Princess he deserved. 

 

‘Just a matter of convincing the King now.’

Chapter Text


 

Jon 

Jon woke up with a gasp, startled by what he’d been dreaming of, or what most people would interpret as dreaming. Recent events would prove otherwise to Jon and he would be more inclined to believe he was warging. And not into some common wild animal no, into a dragon, into Kireina.  

 

When he first experienced flight on the back of a dragon he believed that that was what gods must feel like. Then Kireina had gone one further and shown the sheer power she possessed by ending the existence of a few hundred people in a matter of seconds. Master M’s lessons about survival and ‘kill or be killed when it came to war’ were the only things that were keeping him from feeling bad for those people. In a sense, using Kireina felt like cheating, the sheer destruction she caused was almost haunting. But at the end of the day, this was war and those few hundred people dying sent a message and saved a few thousand people's lives. ‘We made the best of a shitty situation.’ He thought to himself. 

 

The true power wasn’t on dragon back or witnessing total annihilation no, the true feeling of power was looking, feeling, being inside the body and mind of the dragon itself. That was the true power...and it was overwhelming as fuck. 

 

He rubbed his eyes and bolted up out of bed before he got too comfortable. It wouldn’t do well sleeping through a war. He’d gotten back home with Gerion and Master M with the full intention of planning out the war since they’d just received a massive advantage in the form of, as Gerion had put it, a great fuck off monster of a thing. 

 

The first thing Jon had done when he entered the house was make himself a bath. The many layers that he’d been wearing for a month peeled off his body in almost one solid piece and the smell that was cocooned underneath was off putting to say the least. The warm bath accompanied by a bowl of Gerion’s special noodles had sorted him out wonders and whilst sat at the table looking over maps and battle plans with Gerry and Master M, he’d completely dozed off only to find himself in his bed the very next morning. 

 

‘Aww, they must have carried my fat arse to bed. They are good to me.’ He thought fondly. 

 

He rinsed his face, put on some fresh clean clothes and wandered out of his room. He followed his nose to the kitchen where Gerion was cooking something that made his stomach grumble. His shuffling feet alerted Gerion of his presence and he received a beaming smile from the man, one he tried to return but he was just completely out of it this early in the morning. 

 

“Good morning sleeping beauty, eggs are on the way.” Gerion said as he turned from his cooking. “You feeling better now? You must have needed that sleep, you’ve been out for like 12 or 13 hours. Me and the old man had to carry your sorry ass to bed HA.”  

 

“Yeah, feel much better. Back to my grumpy old self on a morning so nothing to worry about.” He said as they both sat at the table.  

 

Gerion slid across a little small pot towards him “Have a go of that. That'll wake you up.” 

 

Inside was a clear liquid not too different from water “What is it?” He asked him as he looked at the drink with suspicion. 

 

“Just try it. I promise you it will help. One of Master M’s creations.” Gerion said as he smirked 

 

“I don’t trust you. You’ve done something to this, I can tell.” He replied. 

 

“Just down it...or don’t. I was trying to help you, it's not me who always feels like shit on a morning.” Gerion replied as he went back to his eggs. 

 

“No, you just look like it, and then for the rest of the day until you go to bed at night. The world is a cruel one Gerry, I’ll give you that.” He replied as he successfully dodged a bit of scrambled egg that was thrown at him. 

 

“Cheeky shit. That’s the gratitude I get for making you breakfast. Drink the drink and stop being a whiny bitch." Gerion replied, grinning as Jon eventually picked up the little pot and down the entire thing. 

 

“URGHHH!” He started coughing to help relieve the intense burn in his throat “WHAT....WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT!?” He looked around the kitchen for anything to take the burn away whilst Gerion was laughing his ass off. “No seriously...my throat is on fire you dick.”  

 

Gerion handed him a mug “Drink that.” He said as he was still chuckling at Jon’s suffering. 

 

He took the mug and looked in it “This better be water or I'm hurting you.” He drank the, thankfully, cold water like a madman. It helped a bit but his throat still somewhat burned. “Seriously, you could strip paint with that. What the fuck is it?” He asked as he eventually collected himself. It was too early for this sort of shit. 

 

“Like I said, one of Master M’s concoctions. He calls it rice wine, I call it Fire water.” Gerion replied as he placed a plate of eggs on each side of the table. 

 

“I don’t care what you call it, keep it away from me.” He replied as he sat back down. “Why would you do that? Why do you hate me so?” He asked as he shovelled a fork full of eggs into his mouth. 

 

“I told you it’d wake you up, that’s why. You running around my kitchen like a stabbed rat was evidence of that.” Gerion said with a chuckle. 

 

“Dick.” He replied with a mouthful of egg. The rest of the breakfast was spent talking about the actual war they were currently in the middle of. Gerion had told him that The Imperial Clan’s naval fleet was spotted by a fishing boat that was being used for scouting and they guessed they were 2 or 3 days away from here...that was 2 days ago. 

 

“That's when they’ll attack again, when the navy is attacking from the sea. And since Kōchi doesn’t really have a naval force, me and Kireina are gonna have to sort them out ourselves.” Jon explained. Not only would it stop them from being attacked on two fronts but it would also prevent The Clan’s fleet from skipping us and going straight for the furthest away island, Kyushu instead. 

 

One of Gerion’s eyebrows rose “Kireina? That the name of your new best friend?” He joked but Jon could see he was very interested in talking about the dragon, who wouldn’t. 

 

He nodded “Aye. When I found her, she told me she didn’t have a name so she allowed me the honour of naming her. I think the name is fitting, don’t you?” 

 

Gerion’s face morphed into a look of confusion “She told you? How? Does she talk like us?” 

 

‘Ah shit, let that one slip. How does he explain this to him without sounding mad?’ He wondered. 

 

He cleared his throat and sat up to explain “Have you ever heard of skinchangers?” He asked. 

 

Gerion’s eyes went wide “Like the wildlings?” 

 

“Yeah, like the wildlings. Since I've got the blood of the first men running through me there was always a small chance I could become a warg. And since I've got Stark blood, the chances were multiplied.” He finished. He looked at Gerion who shook his head in confusion “You know, with the whole Warg King story and House Stark taking his daughters as prizes. Our blood has plenty of that skinchanger magic.” He explained further. 

 

“Sooo, the magic in your blood allowed you to talk with this dragon, and she told you this?” Gerion asked. 

 

“I asked her and she just said “Perhaps.”. I can't think of anything else that it could be though. The fact that I actually dreamt of her for a straight month and then discovered on the way up there that I was actually in fact a warg brought me to that conclusion.” He answered. 

 

Gerion looked at him weird but accepted his response “So let's get back to the plan, you want to fly out to sea and fight all these ships on your own? Even with all the ballistae they have on deck, which for a fact I know they have from the scout reports we received.” 

 

Jon didn’t know about the ballistae. But they didn’t really have any other plans or options. Kireina’s entrance into the war was a gamechanger, but they had to use her efficiently if they wanted to come out the other end alive. His plan was high risk high reward and it had his name written all over it. 

 

“I wasn’t aware of the ballistae but we should manage, I think, I hope.” Gerion didn’t look convinced “Listen, it’s the best plan we’ve got, its one big thing less to worry about. The town recollects themselves and prepares for another siege against The Clan’s ground forces. Yes, it’ll be more than the ten thousand you had to defend against before but the fear of a dragon appearing will make them skittish and less confident. They’ll be reluctant to over commit.” He explained. “While this is happening, me and Kireina will be smashing their fleet and as soon as I've dealt with them, we’ll fly back and incapacitate their ground troops. I would suggest seeking out this self-proclaimed Emperor but by the sounds of it he hasn’t made an appearance at all.” 

 

Gerion shook his head “No, he hasn’t. He’s done a good job at protecting himself by staying elusive. He knows if he gets captured or killed then his little conquest of greed will have been for nothing.” He sighed “I just wish we could have a talk with him to understand his motives, it can't all just be for greed.” 

 

“Well, if I manage to find him, he won't get the chance to explain himself. He doesn’t deserve that luxury for what he's done and I’d rather just cut the cruel fuckers head off there and then.” He answered with conviction. The fucker had to die, no two ways about it. 

 

Gerion sighed as he looked at him “I've only just got you back and now you're leaving again.” He said “I know I've said you're annoying quite a few times in the past but the place doesn’t feel the same without you around.” He finished. No smirk, no grin, just total sincerity. 

 

Jon couldn’t take the piss out of him with how sincere and hard that looked for him to say. Nobody in Winterfell had ever said anything like that to him, except maybe Arya. Still, he appreciated it all the same. “Cheers Gerry, you’d be surprised how much that means to me.” He said as he stood up and cleared the plates to wash up. 

 

Deciding that they needed to get a move on, him and Gerion left the house to go and meet up with Master M to tell him of their plan. On the way down to his hall, Jon side eyed Gerion and noticed the man deep in thought, brow furrowed and staring at the ground while they were walking. At one point they made eye contact, Gerion looked like he’d been caught red handed and promptly looked away. 

 

“Spit it out.” He told him as they sidestepped a cart being dragged up the road. 

 

“Spit what out?” Gerion looked surprised but Jon wasn’t buying it. 

 

“Youve been quiet ever since we left the house. Along the way you’ve done nothing but brood whilst eyeing me up. If somethings the matter, I need to know about it before I leave.” He explained. 

 

Gerion sighed “It's nothing, just silly old me letting my thoughts run away from me that’s all.” 

 

Jon gave him a look that said he wasn’t convinced and just stared at him until he gave him an actual answer. 

 

Gerion’s shoulders seemed deflate as he finally crumbled under Jon’s unblinking stare “Okay okay...god’s I thought Tywin’s scowl was intense.” He said as he shook his head “You told me up at home that you had skinchanger magic from your Stark blood, correct?” He asked. 

 

“Yeah. From the Warg King’s daughters, what's your point?” He replied. 

 

“So, your Stark blood is only one half of your heritage, from that you get the skinchanging and the brooding right. As you’ve said in the past, you are unaware of your mother's side of the family so...now hang on a minute.” He said as he noticed that Jon was about to speak up. “Let me finish without ripping my head off, please?” 

 

Jon reluctantly nodded, not caring very much about this topic of conversation. 

 

“Okay, thank you. As I was saying, you aren't aware of your mother's side of the family so we don’t know what kind of properties her blood has that she passed down to you.” Gerion looked at him “Jon...you met a dragon and was riding it within an hour of meeting it. When you unmounted it, you walked up to its face and started stroking it like a cat...that's not normal.” He strongly suggested. 

 

Jon was getting tired of this and started to up his pace, trying to get to the Master’s hall so that he’d shut up. 

 

“I don’t know what you want me to tell you. I don’t know who she is, whether she’s dead or alive or anything.” He huffed “If you want to know more about her go and ask Lord Stark. He’s the one who deemed me unworthy of knowing something so basic in a person's life, take it up with him.” he finished. 

 

Gerion grabbed hold of his shoulder to slow him down “I'm trying to help you, you clod. Answer this question for me, who was known for having a connection with dragons hmm?” He asked, one eyebrow raised. 

 

Jon just looked at him funny “Targaryens.” he scoffed “Don't stand there and suggest I've got Targaryen blood, I know Master M is going mad from old age but I thought you had a few years left at least.” He smirked as he started to walk again but then turned around “As a matter of fact, she can't have been a Targaryen. There were only two females in the Targaryen line when I was born, one was already pregnant with Princess Daenerys and the other was Princess Rhaenys who was three years old. HA, logicked.” He finished with a proud smirk. 

 

Gerion just looked at him “And what type of blood do the Targaryen’s have?” He didn't give Jon a chance to answer as her furthered his point “Valyrian. I suspect that there's a drop of Valyrian in your blood, not necessarily from House Targaryen.” He said. 

 

Jon went quiet as they carried on walking to their destination, head full of thoughts. Gerion had annoyed him with that conversation but he also did have a point, he had bonded quite quickly with Kireina. He just assumed it was the skinchanger magic that was in his blood but Kireina’s vague reply as to how he’d bonded with her made him not so sure anymore. He would have to have a little chat with her later. 

 

The pair of them made it to Master M’s hall after that rather heavy conversation on the way down but were pushed out by the old man and his trusty stick before they even walked in “Ah ah, no. Both of you, follow me.” Master M said to them and to Jon’s surprise, in the common tongue as well. 

 

He looked at Gerion who looked down and smirked “Master M?! You speak the common tongue now?” He asked as he tried to keep up with the old man who looked like a man on a mission. 

 

He looked over his shoulder at him and grinned a toothy grin “Not only one who can learn new language, cunt.”  The old man replied to Jon’s horror. 

 

He looked at Gerion who was trying his absolute best not to burst out laughing “Why did you teach him that?!” Jon asked, absolutely horrified “You can't have him roaming around, effing and jeffing all up the place, its wrong.” He finished. 

 

Gerion shook his head “It’s not swearing to him.” Jon looked at him for clarification “I may or may not have told him the word for friend in our language is cunt.” He said as he laughed “You don’t want to know what I told him what the word for sword is.” 

 

Jon thought it was somewhat wrong to mislead someone like that but if he was being honest, it was kinda funny in a twisted way. 

 

He kept pace behind Master M and noticed where they were heading to. His eyes went wide as he turned and grinned at Gerion “Taught him the word for sword, did ya?” He turned back and nodded towards the sign for the weaponsmith’s shop as Gerion bit his bottom lip, realising where they were heading “Think I'm gonna find out that word, don’t you? Gods help me.” He finished as they entered the shop after Master M. 

 

The old man was already conversing with the swordsmith when they entered, thankfully in their native tongue. He looked at Gerion who was doing a decent job at keeping a straight face but he could see the humour in his eyes. This was gonna be hard to get through without making a scene. 

 

Master M turned around and spoke to him as the swordsmith went out back “My cunt, Gorō has gone out into back to bring gift from me to you.” He said, still using the wrong word for ‘friend’. Gerion coughed. 

 

He was too busy holding in the laughter that it took him longer than normal to register the words “Gift? For me? What for?” 

 

Gorō, the swordsmith returned with two Katanaseach sheathed in their own individual scabbard or Saya as they are more commonly known on these islands. Jon had been taught everything when it came to these native weapons and he’d absorbed all that knowledge like a sponge.  

 

The sayas themselves were made from a lightweight wood native to the island, painted a pure black and coated with a lacquer to give it a glossed finish. Two black silk ribbons tied to them to finish the look. 

 

The hilt or the Tsuka as they are known around here was finished with a black silk similar to the ones tied to the saya and the guard or Tsuba was square in shape and seemed to have a freshly crafted impression of a dragon on each of the two swords.  

 

Master M picked up one of the blades and unsheathed it, the sound of it almost eerie. Jon noticed instantly the difference between the normal steel he’d been using and the sword that was in front of him right now. He’d seen a few of these around Gorō’s shop but he never imagined he’d have his own. Jon looked in awe at the immaculate steel, a steel the shade of a midnight sky.  

 

Dragonsteel. 

 

 

Jon didn’t know what to say as Master M handed him the hilt of the Katana. The balance, the weight, even the grip was perfect in his right hand. Looking up closely, he could see how truly brilliant the steel really was, freshly oiled and deathly sharp. He was so enraptured with the blade, that the sound of the other Katana being unsheathed was rather jarring to say the least. 

 

Master M held it out for him to grab with his left hand and again, perfect weight, balance and grip. Freshly oiled just like its twin. He stood back as he gave them a test, a couple of spins and twirls, a flurry of slicing motions. They truly were magnificent, the lightweight steel allowing him to speed up his already rapid movements. Everyone had backed away as he lacerated the air around him, Gerion had his arms crossed and was looking at the floor with a grin, Master M had his chin high as he looked on with pride and Gorō was just open mouthed in awe. 

 

“Alright alright show-off, sheath the blades and give the old man a hug.” Gerion said as he walked back towards Jon. 

 

He promptly stopped his fluid movements and sheathed the precious swords. Nobody had ever gifted him something so precious before so he wasn’t sure how to react, so to hide the fact that he could feel the moisture building under his eyes he strode over to Master M and brought him into a crushing hug. 

 

“Thank you...thank you so much. I don’t know what I did to deserve this.” Jon muttered into the old man’s shoulder. 

 

Master M placed his hands on Jon’s shoulders and eased him back “You do deserve it. I believed in you. I believed you would save us all and you did. You have earnt the right to wield Dragonsteel Jon. You deserve it.” The wise old man said determinedly. 

 

Jon wiped the tears from his eyes as he grabbed the two swords and the black leather sword belt that held each Katana on each side of his hips. He thanked and bowed to Gorō for his incredible work and followed Gerion and Master M out of the shop. 

 

He spoke up behind the pair “Thank you again Master M, truly.” 

 

“Again Jon, you are welcome. You truly have earned those flaps.” Master M replied. 

 

Out the corner of his eye he saw Gerion turn his back on them as his back subtly shook. 

 

“Flaps?” He asked but he was pretty sure he knew what had happened here. 

 

The old man pointed at the swords “Flaps. Katana’s.” He tried to explain. 

 

He didn’t want to ruin a nice moment with the man and decided to just play along. He’d be thumping Gerion the next chance he gets “Ahh, flaps. I see.” 

 

The nod and smile from the man was worth the play acting. Gerion was nowhere near them now but he could still see him trying not to burst out with laughter. 

 

All of a sudden, he felt a tingling in the back of his mind, almost as if somebody had just opened a door and let themselves in. A presence, a strong one. Kireina. 

 

‘It's time.’ Was all she said. 

 

Screams and shouts could be heard further into town, near the docks, and the reason why was flying out from sea towards them. Specifically, towards him. 

 

Land in the town square Kireina. In the middle, I’ll meet you there.’ He communicated to her through their bond. 

 

‘Hurry up, we don’t have long.’ Was her curt reply. 

 

He strapped his brand-new blades to his sword belt and tied it around his waist. He wasn’t wearing any plate but he still had his black boiled leathers on so that would have to do. He doubted it would matter really since it’d be mostly Kireina doing all the work but you never know. 

 

He turned to Gerion as he finished fastening his belt, all serious talk now “She’s here Gerry. She’s gonna land in the town square where there’s room for her. You're gonna have to fill Master M in with the plan.” He finished as he gave them both a quick hug and sprinted off into town. 

 

He could see Kireina trying to land as soft as possible to not spook the locals and by the small crowd that had gathered on the outskirts of the square, she’d succeeded somewhat. A shame about the small fountain that was crushed underfoot as she landed though. 

 

‘Quick, get on. We need to leave now.’ She said as he climbed up the flank of her lowered body, protruding crystals providing ample leverage. This would never get old. 

 

He got himself seated and took a little peak at the small crowd, most of them looking at the pair of them like ethereal beings. Jon would like to think of himself as being a somewhat humble man but the attention felt nice. It was nice to feel wanted, to feel needed for a change. 

 

Before he could dwell any deeper on his thoughts, Kireina was stretching her hind legs and back into the sky and scooping up masses of air into her wings, propelling them skyward and hopefully not to their watery graves. 

 


 

 

Robb  

His parents were acting odd.  

 

His father was being rather quiet and his mother was...well, his mother looked and acted like she was on a mission, and he seemed to be involved in it. He’d not missed it when he saw his parents subtly following him and Rhaenys this morning and he’d definitely not missed seeing his mother peeking through the glass garden windows at him. 

 

He also didn’t miss the disturbing smile she wore as she edged away from the window. He’d never once thought he’d associate the words mother and disturbing in his life but for the first time, he’d managed it. 

 

He wasn’t naïve, she was obviously up to something. He wasn’t sure if his father was in on it but he knew his mother was very much the spearhead of this game they were playing. He had his predictions on whatever it was they were up to, the main one being a betrothal to one of the Princesses. 

 

It’s not that they weren't nice, because they were. He’d not spoken much to Daenerys but the little he had, he’d seen a strong-minded woman, one who could take a joke and give one back if the situation with Theon was anything to go by. 

 

He’d spent a little longer with Princess Rhaenys or Rhae as she prefers to be called. Again, she too was a strong-minded person but also incredibly friendly and very easy to talk to. 

 

It was also hard to miss how beautiful the pair of them were. Bran had been smitten with Daenerys as soon as his dance with her had finished last night, he’d not shut up about her when they broke their fast this morning.  

 

And Rhae, Rhae was a dornish beauty. Dark hair, olive skin were classic Martell features but the deep indigo eyes were what gave away her father’s side of the family. ‘They weren't the blue-grey eyes of his beloved though. He mused. Princess Rhaenys was a beautiful woman, a woman of great pedigree, funny, charming, caring. But she wasn’t his beloved, his heart was already claimed by another, his Alys. 

 

They’d met three weeks ago when her father Lord Rickard Karstark had visited his father to discuss about matters of the North or something, he wasn’t sure because he was not present in those meetings. As soon as his eyes had met hers in the courtyard it was over, a true northern beauty. One that he’d offered to keep company for the duration of Lord Karstark’s visit. When he suggested this, his father was stone faced but he could see the humour in his eyes, Lord Karstark looked rather pleased with himself and Lady Alys smiled softly whilst looking at the ground. 

 

The Karstarks were in Winterfell for nearly 2 weeks and in that time him and Alys had grown closer and closer. They spent most of the time almost exclusively together to Theon and Sansa’s annoyance. Theon wanted his friend back and Sansa wanted another girl to chat with. Arya the little devil had done nothing but tease him and at numerous times had caused him to blush when describing the embarrassing yet true things she’d caught them doing. 

 

He’d shown her around his home dozens of times, taken her into Wintertown and bought her a little trinket, a little silver wolf figure. She’d hugged him for that and he’d felt like the King of the world at that moment. 

 

They’d spent time in the library and read a few books together, reading the same book and seeing who could finish the page first. She won most of the time but the smile and laugh it would invoke from her was worth it to Robb. 

 

It had all come to a head the night before her departure, they’d sneaked out of the farewell feast and strolled hand in hand into the godswood. There they shared a kiss and a promise to stay in touch. They’d be sending correspondences to each other when she got home, he told her she’d have one waiting for her by the time she got back to Karhold. It was early days between them but the connection was there, and Robb was pretty confident he’d found the woman he would like to marry. 

 

But it would seem his mother had other ideas. It was a shame for her that nobody was interested in her wishes. It may sound horrible to speak like that about his mother but he’d still not forgiven her for Jon’s disappearance, even if it was over a year ago and he’d come to terms that he was gone. 

 

To her, seeing her son arm in arm with an unwed princess must have been immensely satisfying, but what she didn’t know was that him and Rhaenys had already talked about their own futures and what they hoped for it whilst walking around the godswood. He’d explained to her that he wanted to ask his father if he could ask for Lady Alys’ hand in marriage and that the pair of them were very close. If Rhaenys’ reaction was anything to go by she didn’t look offended or jilted at all. In fact, she almost looked relieved when he told her. He didn’t know whether to be offended or pleased with her reaction. 

 

They’d strolled arm in arm into the glass gardens as her escort, Ser Jonothor guarded the entrance. He’d told her he was writing Alys a poem he wanted to send to her but was terrible at it. She suggested a few ideas here and there and he jotted them down to use for himself. Her suggestion of a few rose petals inside the poem was a good idea as well and was the whole reason for their journey to the glass gardens. 

 

Right now, he was walking up to his father’s solar to discuss the possibility of Lady Alys and him marrying. His father was one of the few people that knew about his and Alys' correspondences, Arya knew but only out of sheer willpower and determination to catch him in the act of writing said letters. She promised not to tell anyone but with the way his mother was acting it might have been best if she knew what he wanted. 

 

Jory nodded at him as he knocked on the door to his father’s solar “He's in there but he’s been rather quiet my Lord.“ Jory warned. 

 

“Thanks for the heads up.” He said as he heard his father tell him to come in. 

 

The Lord of Winterfell looked up from whatever it was he was reading and gave him, in all honesty, quite a pitiful smile. “Robb, what can I do for you? Arya hasn’t been misbehaving has she? I know I told you to keep an eye on her whilst the Royal family was visiting.” He said as he started folding the letter that he was reading. Robb spotted Jon's name at the bottom of the parchment and already deduced that he was reading his farewell letter. 

 

‘You’re not the only one who misses him father.’ He thought to himself. 

 

He cleared his throat to avoid the nerves showing “I’ve come to talk to you about marriage, more specifically who I would like to marry.” He said, he could feel his hands getting clammy. The possibility of his father rejecting his wishes in favour of a more lucrative betrothal in the back of his mind. 

 

This seemed to catch his father by surprise. “Oh...okay. This wouldn’t by any chance have anything to do with Princess Rhaenys?” His father asked. 

 

“No, no it does not.” He said as he steeled himself. “I would like the opportunity to ask Lord Karstark for his daughter’s hand in marriage.” He finished. Preparing for the worst. 

 

His father sat there with a soft smile and nodded “Okay. I see you’ve thought this through. You can send a raven to Lord Karstark asking for his daughter’s hand and I’ll send one with it giving my blessing. Expect a reply quite quickly, he was rather keen on the pair of you marrying.” He finished with a smile. He'd not seen a genuine smile from his father in months. 

 

He couldn’t believe it was that easy, he just hoped Alys would agree to the arrangement “Thank you father.” 

 

“No problem son. I just want to see you happy.” He smiled. “However, you’ll have to have a word with your mother. She’s got the idea of you and Princess Rhaenys being wed and I don’t think she’ll take this news well coming from me.” 

 

He nodded, he knew he’d have to let his mother down gently. 

 

“I'll see you later at dinner.” He said as his father opened the top draw of his desk and placed his letter from Jon in it. 

 

“Father?” 

 

He looked up. “Yes Robb?” 

 

“You’re not the only one who misses him.” 

 

His father looked 10 years older when he replied “I know son, I know.” 

 


 

 

Jon 

The sea breeze attacked his face and filled his senses. It would have been enjoyed somewhat more if they weren't hammering at an immense pace towards what could possibly be their demise. He was quietly confident they could pull this off, and by we he actually meant Kireina. The sheer amount of destruction she had caused against The Clan in such a short amount of time was terrifying, gloriously terrifying. His blood thrummed through his ears and the adrenaline coursed throughout his body when Kireina annihilated a portion of their army. He should have felt remorseful at the loss of life but to his horrifying surprise he felt nothing but fire and power. If he wasn’t too careful, he could become a danger to himself and the people around him. 

 

‘I won't let that happen.’ Kireina responded through their bond. He’d still not gotten used to the fact she could hear his thoughts. 

 

‘I do wonder, are you able to read the thoughts of anybody you want?' He asked. 

 

‘No, only the one I am bonded with. I can communicate with you through thought and hear your thoughts whenever you are close. But, if we are separated by a great distance, I can only communicate with you through your dreams.’ She explained in that deep, thundering voice. 

 

‘That explains the dreams on the way up to find you.’ He realised. Something didn’t add up though. 

 

‘How could you communicate with me in my dreams before we had even bonded? I’d been having those dreams a month before I’d even met you?’ He asked. 

 

She went quiet.  

 

Why had she gone quiet? 

 

After a minute of nothing but the sound of the wind blowing through his ears she spoke up. 

 

‘What you ask pertains to something that I have sensed brings you great emotional distress. Are you sure you want to know?’ She asked delicately, words chosen with care. She was pussyfooting with him and the entire concept of that just seemed bizarre. 

 

He nodded, then realised she couldn’t see him ‘Yes you can tell me, I promise I won't cry.’ He japed even with a sense of unease resting on him. 

 

‘Your blood resonates with me, not your first man blood, no...the other part of your blood’s mixture.’ She told him cryptically. 

 

Jon wasn't fan of riddles. 

 

He sighed and replied to her, although, he was quite sure where this was going ‘And what is this “Other part” of my blood you speaking of?’ 

 

She rose above the clouds in hopes of seeing better as a thick fog had started to ease its way into their vision, she levelled off after their ascent and replied to him. A word he somewhat expected but still sent a lurch through his stomach... 

 

‘Valyrian.’  

 

He took a nice deep breath of the cold sea air through his nose, he never thought he could describe air as delicious but that was the word that came to mind. Delicious, clean air running through his body, calming his senses and mind as he desperately tried to not make his annoyance rear its head. Unfortunately, wolf blood had no such problems with acting now and thinking later.  

 

He almost snarled at the dragon as he replied...almost ‘And how would you know that? Valyrian blood originates from the Valyrian Freehold, a once vast territory on the continent of Essos. A continent on the other side of the world from here. How could you possibly know about valyrian blood hmmm?’ 

 

He felt that. He felt that deep rooted sadness, a wish to forget but failure to. An immense pressure on her soul and subsequently his at the moment. He felt it, he felt his insides burn and his eyes start to boil, his brain feeling too big for his skull, wishing to escape from its confines of bone and tissue. And then, nothing. He felt nothing, normal again. Until another emotion collided with him with such force, he couldn’t stop his breakfast from escaping his stomach or the tears from running down his face. An emotion that was more jarring than her sadness...guilt.  

 

Guilty of what? 

 

He recovered somewhat from his breakdown as they coasted through the air in silence, both needing respite from such an intense experience. Jon was sure he wasn’t supposed to feel any of what he just had but like Kireina had pointed out, they were bonded. Her demons were his demons and his hers, and my god did she seem to have some horrible ones. 

 

She broke the silence after a few minutes ‘Can we not talk about how I know? Can you just take my word for it? I have no reason to lie to you.’ She answered, almost pleaded. At that moment Jon felt awful for his targeted anger. He reluctantly accepted that yes, she had no reason to lie and that he could, quite possibly have some valyrian blood pumping through his veins.  

 

That was hard to swallow. 

 

He sighed ‘Okay, so somehow you know I have valyrian blood and I’m inclined to believe you. That means that my....valyrian blood helped with the bonding?’ He asked, still coming to grips with the reality that he in fact does have valyrian blood. The first thing he’s ever found out about his mother. A small giddiness inside him at finding out something without his father’s input on the mysterious woman. 

 

He felt her powerful muscles move as she banked a little further out to sea in the hopes of catching a glimpse of this fleet, the fog slowly but surely becoming thicker and more than a hindrance towards their task. The conversation they were having had almost made him forget the reason they were out at sea in the first place. 

 

She eventually answered as she levelled herself off, vision still impaired by the dense blanket of fog despite the repositioning ‘Your blood didn’t just help with the bonding, it’s the sole reason we were able to bond in the first place. Your valyrian blood that flowed into the cavern lake was what woke me, your valyrian blood allowed me to communicate with you through your dragon dreams. The blood of the first men that flows through you is the reason why you dreamt of flying last night. But that wasn’t a dragon dream, that was something else.’ She explained. 

 

‘Warging.’ He subconsciously thought. This was all getting too much for him right now. They had a task to go through with, the whole of Kōchi relying on them to pull this off. With failure resulting in the death of him, Gerion, Master M, the Kōchi people and even possibly Kireina herself. He had no time to be thinking about his blood, his mother, dragon dreams? and warging. They had a job to do, and with the surge of determination that ploughed through Kireina’s and subsequently his mind, she agreed. 

 

Kireina dipped lower towards the sea to get a better view, the fog had turned up at a truly awful time, visibility was nigh existent. Thankfully, if they couldn’t see anything then neither could any of the boats they were searching for. 

 

‘Can you see anything? I might as well have my eyes closed, this is ridiculous.’ He thought, a wall of grey facing him. 

 

She was silent for a few seconds until she saw something ‘There, I see shapes.’ She bellowed out loudly through their connection. 

 

Turns out dragons had better eyesight than people because it was nearly half a minute before he started to see dark silhouettes in the distance. He counted ten so far but who knew how many they had further back. 

 

‘Go higher and see if we can fly over them undetected. I want to see how many we’re fighting here.’ He uttered to Kireina. Even in his mind he was whispering. There was always something enjoyable about being sneaky to Jon, it almost filled him with a childish glee when they coasted over the numerous ships. They were that quiet they could even hear the dull voices of conversation. 

 

Jon counted 28 or 29 ships after they’d made a couple of passes over. The ships were moving but not at the pace they clearly wanted, the fear of striking a random rock in the fog being understandable to Jon. He remembered his journey across the sea and couldn’t blame their caution. At the pace they were going they’d probably reach Kōchi by nightfall. 

 

Jon didn’t want these people dead, he just wanted them to stop what they were doing. He wanted to end this with as little bloodshed as he could. He also didn’t want to use Kireina like some weapon of mass destruction, the attack on The Imperial Clan yesterday was a few hundred men out of roughly 50 thousand. It was more of a statement than a massacre that Kōchi was under the protection of a real-life dragon and that if you wanted to attack you would just end up the same as the mounds of ash that were left. 

 

He needed to make a statement here as well, a show of power, a display to the rest of the fleet. Master M had told him once that the human emotion of fear was powerful and if used properly, could become a useful tool, especially in war. Unfortunately, more people would die when he set this example but it was to stop the entirety of this fleet and the people on these ships from being annihilated by Kireina. It wasn’t fair to make Kireina kill all those people either, he wouldn’t make her a mass murderer. 

 

Another bolt of guilt from Kireina hammered through his mind as he finished his thought process. She felt guilty of something but Jon wasn’t sure of what she felt guilty about. He was getting distracted from the task in hand. 

 

‘That ship right there, the one furthest forward.’ He sighed as he told her what to do next ‘Hit it with all the fire you can...we need to make a statement.’ He finished whilst he held on tight to one of the crystals on her back. 

 

When she’d done this the first time he’d held on to a similar crystal on her back and that too grew warmer and emitted a soft glow just like this one. What he hadn't noticed was her actual dragon fire, he was too busy holding on for dear life as she nosedived towards the ground. By the time he’d collected himself she was already landing on the hill and screaming her head off at the fleeing army. 

 

But today, today was hard to miss. 

 

He felt the thrum of power coil underneath his legs, time feeling like it could almost stop as she unleashed a torrent of light into the unsuspecting ship. A bright light that lit up the surrounding area and caused him to squint his eyes at the intensity of it. 

 

That wasn’t fire. That was energy. That was power in its purest form. A power so absolute, it cut the ship clean in half and carried on as the beam of light broke the surface of the sea and lit up the water underneath, numerous sea life seen clear as day darting off to avoid their demise. 

 

His inner thoughts broken by the high-pitched roar from Kireina that caused him to tense his muscles and grind his teeth until she finished. As soon as her roar of dominance was over, she beat her wings and dragged them up high into the sky. 

 

‘Do you trust me?' She asked him as she stopped working her wing muscles and made her body go limp. 

 

‘Yes.’ Was his instant reply. The right answer his mind screamed as she tucked her wings into the side of her body and nosedived towards the remains of the destroyed ship. 

 

The crystal on her back glowed up again as another stream of light blasted towards the remains of the ship, striking it from a vertical standpoint. The feeling of power surged through him as they nosedived closer and closer towards the bombarded corpse of The Clan’s vessel. He took a quick peak in the direction of the rest of the fleet as he rushed towards the sea, men stood at the bow of each of the ships completely frozen in fear. Some chancing it and leaping into the sea in the hopes of being a smaller target. 

 

He looked back forward as he saw how close they had gotten to the surface of the watery grave for some of these men. Muscle and scale bolted upwards as Kireina lifted up at the last second and closed her mouth to halt the flurry of energy she’d discharged at the remains of the ship. Nothing but a thin layer of ash and a few stray planks were left. 

 

Kireina roared again and a good job too. He was pretty sure the sudden change in direction from Kireina had momentarily knocked him out and the sharp noise alerted him back to consciousness. Kireina flew slow circles around the fleet to see if any of them were feeling especially brave today, nothing but scared and resigned men looking back at them. 

 

They’d done it, they’d managed shock them into resignation and fear, the absolute last thing an army needed. He looked back at the ash pile as they circled back around the front of the fleet, a fleet of ships that didn’t have a single sail up now. He had a feeling that the ship they destroyed was carrying their Emperor, the spearhead of their fleet and the whole campaign in general. 

 

‘If we’ve just killed their leader by sheer luck then we might have just won this war.’ He thought. Kireina agreed and hoped he was right. 

 

Kireina flapped her wings and sent a few of the ships in front rocking, she moved as close as she possibly dared which allowed Jon to shout at the men stood at the front of the ship, majority of them looking up at Kireina’s form and some waiting for him to open his mouth. 

 

A man who seemed to be the captain of that particular ship untied his sword belt and dropped it to the floor, along with his katana as well. The rest of the men behind him followed suit. 

 

‘They’re dropping arms, giving him ample time to actually talk to the enemy for once.’ He thought to himself. 

 

‘Could be a trap. If they kill you, I’ll make them wish they’d drowned after I'm done with them.’ Kireina muttered in a concerned but angry manner in his mind. The protectiveness making him smile. 

 

He cleared his throat as he shouted across to the captain, hopefully understand Jon’s dodgy nihongo “Watashi o kizutsuke, daremoga shinu.(Hurt me and everyone dies.)” 

 

The man looked at him, grim and resigned to the fact that their fight was done. It was up to the captain now whether or not his men carried on with this stupid battle or went home alive instead. Jon was feeling confident they would choose correctly. 

 

The man nodded as he slowly looked up Kireina’s flank and gulped. 

 

Jon shouted across again to confirm something for him “Anata no ten'nō wa sono fune ni ita nodesu ka?(Was your Emperor on that ship?)” He asked as he pointed out towards the thinning pile of ash, slowly being claimed by the sea. 

 

A look of anger rose on the man's face as he shook his head and spat on the deck of his ship “Īe, sono otoko wa nigemashita. Korera no shimajima o hisshi ni kōhai sa seyou to shite ita bōkun wa, watashitachi ni kare nashi de kurasu yō ni iimashita. Kare wa doragon o shitteita ni chigainai.(No, the man fled. The tyrant who desperately wanted to rule these islands told us to go on without him. He must have known of the dragon.)" He finished. To Jon it looked like the man really wanted to get that off his chest. 

 

Jon shook his head, killing their leader would have been a major setback for the enemy. Hell, by the looks on some of the men's faces, they weren't the Emperor’s biggest fans. No doubt angered and forced into their position to keep their families alive, families that were being held hostage by their own leader. What the fuck was wrong with this guy? A man fuelled by greed and wielding fear against his own men to ensure loyalty. 

 

A mad man. 

 

Jon was abruptly interrupted when the captain shouted across to him “Kare wa hontōni kieru mae ni, anata ga sugu ni kare o tsukamaeru koto ga dekirunaraba, kare wa watashitachi no ushiro ni sū-mairu shika inai hazudesu. (He should only be a few miles behind us, if you're quick you could catch him before he truly disappears.)” 

 

Jon’s funny feeling ended up being true. Fear was the only thing this man had to ensure loyalty, and they’d lost that fear of him when he ran away. He was still surprised with how quickly they were turning the man over, a look behind the captain at the men behind him was even more surprising. He could see the hope in their eyes as the captain explained how long ago the Emperor had decided to turn back, how he’d threatened to butcher women and children if the task wasn’t completed even in his absence. He explained that the Emperor’s ship was full of hostages, important political figures from each of the sacked towns. Used them as protection and threatened to kill these people one at a time if their respective communities rebelled. To Jon it sounded like this prick had his back against the wall. 

 

The hope was there again in the men's faces when he told the captain that he had a choice, turn all these ships around and help him take down this tyrant or carry on fighting for a man who couldn’t give a fuck whether or not you died. As he predicted, there was some resistance but fortunately for him they were outnumbered 10 to 1 by the rest of the men. The men who resisted the hardest were tied up and held inside the ships they were on to avoid any sabotage. Jon got a good look at a few of these men and they looked nothing like the natives of the four islands, something that was rather odd. Fortunately for them, he didn’t have time to question them as the fleet started to very slowly change their course back the way they came. 

 

He’d managed to do what he’d set out to do and that’s stop the fleet from attacking Kōchi, and he’d managed that without too much bloodshed. But Jon was feeling greedy, he wanted this “Emperor” cunt. He thought he’d got him when the boat was turned to ash. He thought that in one fell swoop he’d essentially crippled their leadership and put them on the cusp of surrender and defeat. But he wasn’t there. He’d wormed away like the cowardly maggot he was...and Jon wanted him. 

 

Kireina was getting restless, he could feel her annoyance through their bond. They needed to move and move fast if they were to catch this cunt. The fog was still thick in the air so spotting the ship would be a lot harder but he trusted Kireina could see it before it was too late. 

 

They circled the fleet a few times to make sure they were in fact turning around and this wasn’t some elaborate ruse. Jon was in no mood for tricks and neither was Kireina, the whole fleet would be annihilated at the first show of deceit. He’d used democracy to win them over but force would be reluctantly used if he was betrayed. 

 

As the ships slowly started their reverse journey back, Kireina let out one last mighty roar for good measure and ascended into the clouds in search of hopefully, the man that would end this war. 

 

North was the only way they could go so that’s the way they went. They didn’t have much to go on other than how long ago the Emperor had ditched the rest of the fleet and that his boat looked nothing like the other ships. They were looking for a ship that couldn’t be anything more than 10 miles away due to the fog and looked different to what they’d seen before, shouldn’t be overly difficult he thought. 

 

It wasn’t long till Kireina was whispering in his mind ‘There’s a ship ahead but something doesn’t feel right.’ She muttered, a sense of unease encompassed the pair of them. 

 

The fog hadn't let up at all, if anything, it’d gotten thicker. It was a few moments after Kireina spotted the ship that Jon did. The men were right, this ship looked nothing like their own. Where the fleets sails had emblems of, what he’d guessed The Imperial Clan’s insignia, this one carried pitch-black sails with nothing on them at all. This one also had a vicious looking iron ram attached to the bow of the ship that looked like it could cut through any ship that decided to get in its way. 

 

There was still a feeling of unease as they flew silently over the ship, a light rain deciding to appear. A look down towards the deck of the ship caused Jon to frown...there wasn’t a soul on deck. The unease grew. 

 

‘I really don’t like this Jon.’ Kireina whispered through their bond as she circled around to get a good look of the ship. One more lap around it confirming his earlier observation, there was nobody on board. 

 

‘Me neither but we’ve come this far. I need to check to see if the prisoners are on board. Hell, this might not even be the right ship, it looks abandoned.’ He replied. 

 

‘I still don’t like it. There’s something really odd in the air.’ She answered, still worried. 

 

‘Are you the odd thing? It is kinda weird to see a dragon wouldn’t you say?’ He japed, a light rumble from her throat suggesting she didn’t find it very funny. 

 

‘Okay okay, I'm sorry. I suppose it's not the best time to be joking.’ He replied. ‘I still need to go down there and check though.’ 

 

He could feel her trepidation about the whole thing ‘Don't worry, I'll be as quick as I can. We can still hear each other through our bond so I can tell you if something is wrong. In the meantime, you can keep an eye out for any more ships just in case this isn't the one we’re after.’ He suggested, hoping to ease her. 

 

It obviously worked somewhat as she slowly descended towards the side of the ship, low enough so he could take one last look at the deck to check for men before jumping and rolling onto the vessel. 

 

‘Good luck. And be careful.’ She told him, almost like a mother hen. It brought a small smile to his face as he watched her coast back up into the thick fog, essentially leaving him alone on this ship. 

 

This was dumb. Jon knew this was dumb, being alone in presumably enemy territory. Well, not completely alone. He did have his freshly forged dragonsteel katanas with him. He almost hoped there was trouble so that he had an excuse to use them. 

 

Using the surefooted stealth skills that Master M had all but drilled in to his body and mind, he sneaked around the top deck looking for any sign of life. The rain was starting to get heavier as he made sure not to make a sound, two laps around the top deck was all that was needed to confirm that it was devoid of life. The sails were still up so the ship was still moving along through the fog, aimlessly traveling into the unknown and possibly death. 

 

Using his barebone skills on sailing, he used the sails riggings to hopefully halt the ship and bring it to a somewhat standstill. With that done he made his way towards the captain's cabin to begin his search. 

 

He entered the captain’s quarters and noticed straight away the sheer lack of luxuries, something that was rather odd if this was indeed the Emperor’s flagship. Dark, damp and dingy would be the words he described the room as he walked across towards the desk in the corner. The only light that was available was the natural type that was seeping in through the crummy windows. 

 

Scrolls and maps littered the dark wooden desk. Maps of the surrounding isles, signed documents written in what looked oddly like valyrian and a few random notes made up the majority of the mess that was left. Random jars and bottles scattered across the little shelf on the wall above the desk. Goblets and glasses shoved to one side, none of them looked like they’d been cleaned in a very long time. 

 

A small decanter was perched in front of a dusty glass jar. The decanter looked to contain a dark blue liquid of which half the contents had already been used. He picked it up, popped the cork and lifted it to his nose, the overwhelming smell making him reel and placing it back where it was. The large dusty jar caught his eye as he placed the decanter back, trying to rub the dust off the label deemed useless. Eyeing the room, he found a dirty rag flung across the back of a chair and used it to remove some of the muck on the jar, after rubbing it for a few seconds he had to place the jar on the table and hold himself together less he threw up. 

 

Mixed in with what looked like brine and blood was a jar full of what looked like worms at first, but after a couple of seconds just looking at it, he realised it was a jar full of tongues, with a few eyeballs thrown in for added effect. 

 

He looked away from the little desk of horrors and took a quick look around the cabin, confirming it to be empty. He unsheathed one of his katana after finishing his search and headed back outside to look for the door to the hold of the ship. 

 

The door wasn’t too difficult to find and he was soon inching his way slowly down the stairs to the hold, trying is hardest to not step on a creaky stair or plank of flooring. He doubted it would matter though, the wind had picked up outside and was currently whistling through the gaps of the ship, essentially cancelling out any slight noises he would make. 

 

As he slowly opened the door at the bottom of the stairs the first thing that hit him was the horrendous smell. Shit, piss, blood, every bodily fluid mixed into one stench of death. The second thing he noticed was the sheer lack of light at his end of the hold, thankfully at the other end there seemed to be a soft glow of light behind a stack of crates about 7 feet off the floor, no doubt a single candle being the source. And Jon was guessing there was somebody behind those crates. 

 

Using his hands to feel his way through he noticed a few metal bars, scratch that, a lot of metal bars, almost like jail cells. He stopped at one of these cells and crouched down to see if he could get a better look inside, what he saw made him sick to his stomach. 

 

On the floor of this cell was the shadowed silhouette of small person and with a bit of squinting he realised it was a small girl. A girl who was curled up in a ball, covered in dirt, blood and what looked to be her own waste. Her ankles and neck were chained to the ground and the worst thing of all, she wasn’t breathing. The little lass had died in this fucking cell, in a puddle of her own making. 

 

Jon could feel his blood boiling, he wanted to hurt something. 

 

He closed his eyes and exhaled deeply through his nose, calming him a little but not nearly enough to douse his anger. There were dozens of these cages, a few of the people in them were alive but barely breathing, most had died the same way as the little girl. 

 

‘What kind of fucking monster were they dealing with here?’ He wondered as he slowly made his way to the far end of the hold, the far end where the only source of light was.  

 

‘And hopefully where this fucking shitbag was hiding.’ He thought, a little surprised Kireina hadn't tried to school his temper through their bond. 

 

Kireina?’ He whispered through his mind. 

 

No reply. 

 

He tried to communicate with her again but realised she couldn’t hear him, and he couldn’t hear her. He couldn’t feel any connection with her at all, almost as if he was in a bubble and she was on the outside oblivious to him. That unease was back as he slowly made his way forward to the end of the hold, light footed and as quiet as a mouse. Kireina did say something didn’t feel right and now he was feeling it too. 

 

He pressed his back against the wall and lifted his blade so it stood vertically in front of him, if anybody was planning on grabbing him, they’d be losing a hand in the process. Light noises could be heard around the other side, it sounded like metal chains being scratched against the wooden floor beneath them. He risked it and took a peek to see what he was dealing with, his eye widened at what he saw. 

 

Four people, three men and one woman were chained to a chair each and gagged with rope. One of the men was unconscious but could still be seen breathing, the rest were by the looks of it, desperately trying to keep their eyes open. Jon saw no threat here, these people were clearly prisoners and could possibly tell him what the fuck was happening on this ship or even better, who the fuck had done all of this. 

 

He slowly crept around the boxes and revealed himself to them, sword raised just in case it was a trap. The woman spotted him first as her eyes went wide, the muffled noise that came from her alerting the other two of his presence, the fourth man was still out cold. 

 

He put his finger to his lips and motioned them to be quiet, which they instantly did. Jon got a closer look at them as he approached the woman first. All four of them were dressed in some very expensive looking silks and robes, not at all like the rest of the prisoners he’d found in the cells. He tried to rack his brain and work out where he’d seen this type of clothing. As he slowly started untying the rope that was round the back of her head, he realised he’d seen this type of clothing in the town hall, where the Daimyo were situated. 

 

These people are Daimyo. These were the important figures the captain from the fleet was talking about. If they were here as prisoners it meant that this WAS in fact the Emperor’s ship. None of it made sense though. 

 

‘Where the fuck is the Emperor then?’ He wondered as he finally loosened the knot and freed the rope from the woman's mouth. 

 

Daijōbudesuka? (Are you okay?)” He asked her as he started untying the rest of the ropes around each of the men. 

 

Watashi wa daijōbuda to omou, arigatō. (I think I’ll be okay, thank you.)” She said as he finished untying the rest of the men. 

 

Dare ga anata ni kore o shita nodesu ka? (Who did this to you?)” He asked.  

 

He got no reply. 

 

He looked up from where he was trying to untie the rope from around her ankles and saw she was wide eyed and looking behind him. 

 

“What...” He didn’t get to finish what he was going to ask as he was jarringly interrupted by a grim voice behind him. 

 

“WELL WELL, LOOK AT WHAT WE HAVE HERE! GOT OURSELVES A WANNABE HERO EY BOYS HAHA!” Came the loud shout from behind. The use of the common tongue startling him somewhat. 

 

His head swung around to take a look at the man or in this case, men that had caught him red handed. There was five of them in total and they were about 10ft away from him. Four of them were pencil thin and dressed in dark black and indigo robes with withered faces and bald heads. The man stood behind these four creeps was a lot more built than the other men, a long dark grey coat covering up a steel breastplate and chain. He had dark brown scraggily hair that matched his beard, scars all over his face and a leather eye patch across his left eye. Slung across his shoulders was a 3ft long steel axe that he was holding with his right hand and hanging around his neck was a black leather strap with what looked like a steel horn strapped to it. Something he noticed they all had in common was an unusual blue hue to their lips. 

 

“WHY DON’T YOU PAINT A PICTURE, IT’D LAST LONGER...A LOT LONGER THAN YOU’RE GONNA!” The man at the back bellowed out at him. One of the four creepy bold men started quietly chanting something as Jon stood up and readied his sword. 

 

“Who are you? Where’s the rest of your crew?” He said in a cold voice, thankful that it didn’t waver. 

 

The man at the back tilted his head towards Jon and grinned rather disturbingly. “Dead, gone, thrown overboard. I had no use for them anymore. As for who I am...I’m your god. Bow for your fucking god you worthless little cretin.” 

 

“The only gods I bow to are the old gods...so forgive me for not bowing to some ratty looking fuck and his little group of cunts." Jon boldly replied. The man looked unhinged and maybe winding him up would cause errors. Master M did always tell him that emotion doesn’t belong in single combat. 

 

His reply seemed to somewhat surprise the man as he paced left and right, not once taking his eyes off Jon. “The old gods? Those fucking tree’s...They call them the old gods cos that’s what they are...OLD! AND YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY...OUT WITH THE OLD IN WITH THE NEW!” The man shouted as he hacked up phlegm and spat on the ground “Even the drowned god will have to kneel when I’m done.” He finished. 

 

Jon using the man’s mad outbursts to ever so slightly inch away from him so he had somewhat of a distance in preparation for what he assumed was a to come. 

 

‘Fucking drowned god? He can't be...’ He thought as he realised what this meant. 

 

He about snarled as he replied “You're fucking ironborn...that scummy little group of small-minded cunts. Bunch of thieves, rapists and murderers who don’t even deserve the piss stained rocks they reside on.” He shook his head as he realised something. “YOU’RE the Emperor, aren't you?” He let out a humourless chuckle “All makes fucking sense now. The greed and the hunger for power. The raping and killing of innocents. The thieving and the taking of prisoners. You couldn’t garner the loyalty so you had to force it and take it...just like the ironborn have always done.” 

 

“Haha, see you’ve got a brain in that pretty little head of yours.” The man paced from left to right still, he looked anxious to fight. “You're right, I am the Emperor, the Emperor of these four islands. The same islands that will become the start of my empire.” He stopped pacing and squatted down, leaning against his axe he’d rammed headfirst into the wood beneath. Looking at Jon with intensity, an intensity he knew was laced with insanity. “I set out on a three step plan you know, a life mission if you will. A mission that would take me all over the world to finish.” 

 

He eyed Jon up and down “You're a northerner, aren't you? Ha, don’t answer, I can tell by your adorable scowl.” He shook his head “You were the first step in my plan you know, not you personally no, the North itself. You see, my brother wanted to be the King of the Iron Islands...but I wanted the rest of the kingdoms under my rule, something my brother was unaware of ha.” 

 

“Well, you know how the rebellion went so I won't waste time explaining that. Shortly after I was banished from the Iron Islands, some would say it was a punishment for raping my brother's wife but I saw it as an opportunity, an opportunity to begin my reign elsewhere.” 

 

“I travelled all around the known world, searching for a place to start. Whilst searching I brought a few...individuals into my circle.” He said as he looked at the four other men. “They showed me what I wanted and what I needed to see. I needed to quietly bide my time and build up a force away from the eyes and ears of the little men of Westeros. Find a place to start my conquest to become more than a King, a ruler of the known world...an Emperor.”  

 

“My three-step plan was simple, become a King...become an Emperor, then...become a God.” He waved his hand across the front of the four men with him “These men here have been helping me with the final step, a step I thought was decades away...until you showed up. More precisely, that beast of yours.” 

 

‘No.’ 

 

“You see, these men right here have been keeping your dragon busy. Hammering it with visions so it can't even see straight, keeping it busy enough for me to prepare...prepare myself to blow this.” He said as he grabbed hold of the steel horn that was tied around his neck. 

 

‘That's why I can't hear her, she’s too busy fighting visions to even acknowledge me.’ He realised. These men would be dying soon. 

 

The man continued “This right here is a Dragonhorn. Said to grant the user control over dragons. I think you know where this is going.” He finished with a creepy smile. A smile Jon couldn’t wait to wipe off him. 

 

Jon gave him a lazy grin “Up your arse I imagine. I’ll probably need some help from one of your whores here but I bet we could get that whole thing in you with a wiggle.” He said as the men around the room started to fan out and slowly surround him. 

 

The ironborn slowly stood up with the creepy grin still plastered to his face “I see you're a funny man, a pretty one as well. Us ironborn take what we want, maybe I’ll make you my whore. Maybe I'll fuck the fight right out of you...just like I did to that little bitch in the cage over there.” He said as he pointed in the direction towards the young girl he’d found caged up. 

 

His blood froze. The rage slowly but surely cracking and melting it away like a molten fire. A fire he could hear in his ears and feel in his chest. It needed to escape, find an outlet before it consumed him...but what if he wanted it to consume him? Consume him till the point of no return. They say fire is the great cleanser, what if he wanted it to cleanse him? Use him to cleanse others? 

 

He got into a stance with his sword, he could feel the need, the want to punish and hurt and destroy these men. The man decided to carried on “Slip of a girl she was, could hold her in one hand just about. Better than using my own hand I suppose HAHA!” 

 

That was the final crack that welcomed the fire. 

 

With a spin, he swung his katana with such force behind him and cleaved the man who was still chanting from hip to hip, essentially cutting the man clean in half. He was still chanting as his legs collapsed underneath him and his body folded in on itself, a few seconds later he stopped with unblinking eyes as the trauma took hold and inevitably took his life. 

 

‘First ever man I have killed with my own hands. I should feel remorse and shame, not a sense of lacking and want.’ He thought to himself. 

 

He wanted more...and there were four other candidates. 

 

The man to his right tried to blow something out his hand into his face but Jon turned his head to the left just in time, just in time to see a man to his left run at him with a dagger. Jon dropped to a knee and lifted his bloodstained blade above his head and pointed into the path of the man. He essentially skewed himself halfway down Jon’s blade, right underneath his sternum. Jon stood back up, readjusted his hands on the hilt of his sword and ripped it upwards through the man’s chest and out through the top of his head, leaving the man’s torso looking like an opened jaw of flesh and organs. 

 

‘This steel is scary...and the perfect tool for what I want to do.’ He thought to himself. The fire was talking now, and he allowed it to power him through his twisted form of justice. In the back of his mind he could hear a whisper but ignored it as the man to his right ran at him with a dagger of his own, unaware that Jon was about to end him. 

 

He swung his leg low and swept the man’s legs from underneath him, sending him flying on to his front. All the while another one of the ironborn’s whores was approaching him with his dagger a lot more cautiously after seeing two of his friends mutilated on the floor. Jon didn’t give the man chance to be cautious as he turned and manoeuvred his katana low, blade edge up and swiped upwards, slicing the man’s dagger hand clean from is arm. He took the man’s head off before he could even scream in pain, the one small act of mercy Jon was willing to give right now. 

 

The man who’d been tripped was startled by the decapitated head landing in front of his face and tried to rear backwards, only to be met with a boot pressing his back into the ground and a blade being rammed through the back of his skull and out through his mouth. 

 

All while this was happening, the ironborn had skirted around the room and eyed Jon with great interest. Jon had his eyes locked right on his figure as he removed his blade from the back of the man’s skull he’d just ended. The wood beneath them both was almost sticky with the vast amount blood and viscera he had spilled. 

 

The ironborn spoke up “Very impressive, I expected somet...” but Jon wasn’t in the mood for talking with this cunt and swung his sword towards the man’s head. The blade moved with such speed, the man only just backed away from taking the brunt of it to the side of his head. Instead, the end of Jon’s blade had caught the man’s face, specifically his forehead and left a deep cut across it, in the process cutting the tie of the man’s eyepatch and revelling a black eyeball underneath. 

 

The man touched his forehead and sucked in a breath through his teeth “...CUNT! You're gonna pay for that!” He growled at Jon. 

 

“Not likely.” He replied as he went for another slash at the man, one that was avoided this time. 

 

The man bellowed out and rushed at him with his axe, moving a surprising pace. His axe came down as if to chop Jon clean in half but he missed as he moved to the left and leant back to avoid the following attack from taking his head. 

 

Jon dipped and dodged the man’s attacks, using the time to learn his moves and fighting habits, just like the ironborn had just been doing. He leant back to avoid another swing at his face but in the process lost his footing and slipped on the remnants of intestines on the floor, giving the ironborn chance to swing the knob of his axe’s handle and catch Jon square in the face with it. 

 

Dazed, Jon lifted his sword to block the following strike. With such force, the ironborn swung his axe down and met Jon’s katana in the hope of cleaving the narrow blade in half but was majorly disappointed when the katana’s steel held true and in turn, jammed itself halfway up the axe’s head itself. Jon avoided a kick to his midsection as the ironborn tried to tear his axe free from his blade, the man wasn’t aware he’d left himself horribly open for the taking. 

 

The ironborn’s face morphed into a look of surprise and horror as Jon took his right hand of the hilt of his sword and unsheathed his second blade from his belt. With as much force as he could he yelled out and swung his newly released blade into the side of the man and cleaved his leg, right above his knee clean off. The man released his axe and collapsed, screaming due to the jarring balance of having one’s leg being taken off, screaming bloody murder as he held his newly acquired stump whilst rolling around in the remains of his men. 

 

Jon leant over on his knees and caught his breath ‘That was close.’ He thought to himself. He looked across at the “Emperor”, who was trying to so desperately crawl towards a dagger that was discarded by one of the other men earlier. Unfortunately for him though, Jon wasn’t finished. 

 

He wiped his blades clean on the robes of one of the corpses he’d created and sheathed them back onto his belt. He eyed the axe that the ironborn had used to try and kill him and picked it up. Out the corner of his eye he saw the dying man reach for the horn that was still tied to his neck, with his eyes widening, Jon rushed over, swung the axe down just below the knee of the man's remaining leg and chopped it clean off. The man screamed in pain and almost instantly forgot about the horn, the horn Jon ripped from the man’s neck and threw behind him. 

 

Jon looked back up from the mess he’d made to the man’s legs and saw that he’d actually been successful in reaching the dagger. Before he could grab it though, Jon moved up and brought the axe down on his arm, cleaving it from his elbow down. He screamed and howled, but little bits of laughter were mixed in as he rolled around in, what looked to Jon, a state of euphoria. 

 

‘He’s truly insane.’ He thought. The fact that he was laughing and almost enjoying himself did not sit well with Jon. It angered him, this man needed to be punished not allowed to die in his deluded state of happiness. 

 

With that thought and unadulterated anger flowing through him, Jon moved across and took the man’s remaining limb off, leaving him with nothing but four stumps. 

 

‘Jon...’ A whisper in his mind said. But Jon wasn’t listening. 

 

The man’s eyes were glazed over as he stared at the ceiling but was still quietly laughing, almost as if this was all some joke. It kept the anger in him alive. 

 

Jon grabbed the ironborns face and looked him square in the eyes. “You're going to die soon oh mighty Emperor. You won't be missed and you won't be remembered.” 

 

‘Jon...' The voice again said to him. Jon blocked it out to finish what he started. 

 

The man coughed up a mouthful of blood as he laughed, he attempted to spit it into Jon’s face but his body clearly didn’t have the energy and he ended up dribbling down his chin. “The great Euron Greyjoy will never be forgotten *cough* I’ll be remembered as the most forward thinking ironborn of all ti *cough* time.” The man, or Euron as Jon had only just learnt of his name, looked up at him and sneered. “I’ll be remembered more than you will northerner. You clearly ran away from home, unlike you I left to become more...become a g.....” He said but Jon had heard enough and proceeded to slam the end of axe’s handle into the mouth of Euron. Smack after smack into the man's mouth, filling it with blood and teeth. Jon looked at Euron’s face as the man finally stopped breathing but Jon wasn’t finished, strike after strike breaking every tooth in the cunts mouth. 

 

‘JON!!’ Kireina’s voice bellowed out as he brought the axe down on Euron’s neck and decapitated him. He closed his eyes to calm the monster that was causing chaos inside him. 

 

In through your nose, out through your mouth was his inner mantra as he tried to calm his racing heart. One look around the room and at the man underneath him was when the reality hit him...he’d done this. He was the cause of this. It looked less like a fight and more like a massacre, all from his hands, hands that were stained red and thick with blood. He’d let his anger take control and this was the outcome. Master M had told him emotions don’t belong in single combat, he’d have to agree. The evidence was laid around him. 

 

‘I’m okay Kireina, I’m okay.’ He told her through their reconnected bond. 

 

‘You're not okay. We’ll be talking about this soon. In the meantime, the fleet is right behind us and we need to get back to the mainland.’ She replied in a determined tone, almost like a scolding parent. 

 

‘What about the prisoners?’ He asked as he looked in their direction, thankful that they were behind crates and hadn't seen what he’d just done. 

 

‘Tell them help is on the way. You'll have to tell the captain to send some men onto the ship to release the prisoners and sail them back to land. But you have to hurry, while you were on the ship I checked to see where the clan’s army on land were...they've nearly reached Kōchi’ She urged through their bond. 

 

“Shit...right.” He said. He had to get his head back in the game. Looking around the room at the crates he saw a burlap sack flung across one of them. With the idea in his mind he grabbed the sack and put Euron’s head inside, hoping and praying the sight of their “Emperor’s” decapitated head was enough to end the fighting and ultimately, the war. He also picked up the so called “Dragonhorn” and tied it around his neck, he didn’t want this getting into the wrong hands if it did in fact control dragons. 

 

He walked over and told the four captured Daimyo that men were on the way to take care of them and the rest of the prisoners. With that being dealt with he headed up to the main deck and waited for the Kireina, who didn’t take long to arrive and line up her body with precise beats of her wings, allowing him to climb up to her back and turn towards the oncoming fleet. 

 

A quick word with captain, who looked at him with wide eyes since he hadn't had the chance to clean the thick layer of blood he was caked in, and they were on the way to commandeer the ship full of prisoners. Their reaction to him telling them that he’d killed their leader and proving it by showing them the head gave Jon hope that his plan would work on the rest of the army. To Jon, it was still crazy to see a group of people erupt with cheers when shown their leaders head, Euron really was a piece of shit, one nobody liked or would miss. 

 

‘Right, you ready?’ He asked Kireina. 

 

Jon didn’t even get an answer as she shot up into the air and headed towards Kōchi, cheers from the men below getting quieter as they made their way to hopefully put an end to this farce of a war. 

 


 

Gerion 

The defences were up, preparations made and men prepared for this uphill battle. The scouts had spotted the Imperial Clan’s main host, again summing up to roughly fifty thousand men, both on foot and mounted. They’d also brought along their siege weapons and if the scouts were to be believed, ballistae. No doubt the involvement of a dragon being the sole reason for their addition. 

 

He was hoping and praying Jon and his dragon had been somewhat successful with their side of the plan, every second that passed since they’d left had been torture for him and not knowing whether or not they had the might of a dragon on their side anymore worried some of the men that were stood around him right now. 

 

Jon was correct with one of his assumptions though, the knowledge of a dragon would slow the clan’s march and reluctance would show in their ranks. According to the scouts, movement of their army was awfully laboured, almost as if they didn’t want to fight. Gerion knew that with every passing moment without a glimpse of the dragon, the clan would grow bolder. And that worried him. 

 

‘What if we don't actually have a dragon to help us anymore? What if Jon failed and is now laying at the bottom of the ocean?’ He thought, the last of which made his heart lurch. 

 

He felt a hand on his shoulder as he was broken from his contemplation, turning to see who it was, he was greeted by Master M’s old mug. To Gerion he looked overly calm about the whole situation and knew that it had something to do with the huge amount of faith he had in Jon. 

 

“What you thinking about cunt?” Master M asked him. 

 

‘Knew this was gonna bite me in the arse at some point.’ He thought. Teaching him swear words in place of the real words was a true passion of his but he’d not thought about how it could affect him

 

He shook his head “Just wondering how Jon is getting on. This is all gonna come to a head soon and I'm hoping and praying we all come out the other side unscathed.” 

 

Master M squeezed his shoulder, a reassuring gesture Gerion believed “We’ll be fine. The war will come to a close soon and I’m pretty sure we’ll survive.” The old man said, his sheer belief being half mad half inspiring. 

 

“How can you be so sure? How are you this confident? I’m having a mini breakdown in my mind.” He said. 

 

Master M gave him one of those goofy smiles, a smile he’d seen before “Simple...we’ve got a Jon.” He said with pride. Something Gerion had always felt when thinking of Jon. 

 

‘Stop it.’ He thought to himself. Ideas running through his mind of Jon being more than just a friend to him. ‘He doesn’t see you like that.’ 

 

He rolled his eyes and gave the old man a lazy smile “You put too much faith in him I fear, I’ve always wondered why that was...” He prodded. 

 

Master M looked over the horizon and was quiet for a time, he looked deep in thought. He broke the silence when he turned back to him “You’ve known me for a few years now, not once have you seen me with a wife or children. The sad reality is, I never saw myself as a parent at any stage of my life.” He said. Gerion had never seen him this serious before. Master M continued “I’ve had an endless number of students in my halls, teaching them the ways of a warrior, a pure fighter. All of them for one reason and that reason being to create them into soldiers. All of them for the exact same reason...apart from one, Jon.” 

 

Gerion looked at him with understanding. 

 

He continued “You see, Jon didn’t want to learn to be a soldier or a guard, he wanted to learn about himself. Learn what he was capable of and learn how to better himself. He wanted, no, needed somebody to help him mould the new Jon, a more confident Jon, a smarter Jon, a better Jon.” He looked Gerion right in the eyes “He gave me the privilege of that task, he gave us both that privilege. I've seen the way you two act with each other and I’ve seen that natural confidence of yours rub off on him.”  

 

“That confidence you gave him he used to push the boundaries of his learning, that self-belief that he can always be better at what he seeks out to achieve. Yes, he was cocky and guarded when he first arrived here but that was a defence mechanism against the prodding and poking he’d endured in his homeland. For him to show how bothered he was by some of the things people said about him would make him look even weaker than his society portrayed him as already.” 

 

“So you see, not only has he put his faith in me but he’s also put his faith in you as well. A belief that the pair of us will nurture and better him, to make him feel wanted and needed for once in his life. And we did that, and so, because he’s put so much faith in me, I give him that faith right back.” Master M finished. 

 

Gerion had never thought of it that way but couldn’t find it in him to disagree with the old man. If anything, Master M was in the same boat as him “It’s more than that though isn't it?” He said. 

 

Master M looked down and smiled “It is. He feels like family Gerion, like that grandson I never had. Whenever he’s around I'm more content.” The old man eyed him “I’m not the only one who feels this way am I?” 

 

Gerion gave him a sad smile “You have the right of it.” He sighed “I have a daughter back in westeros, her names Joy and I abandoned her to go on some crazy adventure. She was 3 the last time I saw her, in the arms of her Aunt Genna as I promised to bring her back a present. I failed her. The moment I saw a boy appear from my country, alone in a foreign land, I knew I had to take him under my wing, to help with the guilt of abandoning one person. I couldn’t abandon another.” He chuckled a little “That annoying little shit has been the best thing to happen to me in years and can't see him as anything less than family.” He finished, a soft grin forming. 

 

He heard Master M laugh and he looked towards him. The old man nodded his head towards the horizon “I think somebody knew we were talking about him.” He said in amusement. 

 

He turned and looked to where Master M was looking, high in the sky out over the ocean he could see the small shape of a winged creature slowly but surely getting bigger and closer towards where they were. An image he would never be able to get over seeing until the day he dies. Hopefully they were returning with good news, Gerion really hoped. 

 

Jon and his dragon, something fucking mad to even comprehend still, landed just outside the walls of the town with an almighty thud that shook the ground. People were already whispering and talking about their “saviour” as he headed up towards the gate and Gerion was inclined to believe some of them, Jon was making a habit of turning up just at the right time. 

 

He motioned for the guards to open the gates for Jon to which they did. The first thing he noticed when Jon walked through the gates was how much blood he was caked in, the second was the burlap sack slung over his shoulder that was slowly dripping blood onto the ground. 

 

‘What the fuck has he done now?’ 

 

“And what in the world has happened to you?” He shouted as he approached Jon, hoping that none of the blood that was on him was his. “You’ve brought me a present as well, you shouldn’t have Jon.” He finished as he smirked at him. 

 

Jon returned his smile as he swung the bag off his shoulder and placed his hand inside. There were a few gasps around him as he pulled out a decapitated head from the bag and turned its face towards Gerion. 

 

“This right here Gerry, this is hopefully the end to this stupid fucking war.” Jon said. Gerion cocked an eyebrow at him, not being sure what he was talking about. “This, this is the ever-elusive Emperor that caused all of this.” 

 

That widened his eyes as he looked at the head. 

 

Jon continued “This cunt right here was the tyrant that started all of this. Notice that he’s clearly not a native to these islands, that’s because he’s from our homeland, more specifically the Iron Islands.” Jon smiled “Euron fucking Greyjoy he said his name was when the life was fading from him.” 

 

Now that was a surprise to him. He knew that Euron Greyjoy had all but disappeared after the Greyjoy rebellion but this was the last place he expected to see him. When he really thought about it though, it all made sense to him. The way the whole war was brought about and the way it had progressed screamed ironborn. Hopefully this was all gonna come to an end with the main culprit’s head being paraded around like a trophy. 

 

“Fucking Euron Greyjoy.” Gerion spat at the ground to which Jon went and rubbed the face of the ironborn’s head in. He smiled. “That cunt was the mastermind behind burning Lannisport, I’m glad he’s dead. I hope you made him suffer.” 

 

An odd look came over Jon as he placed the head back in its blood soiled bag “I did.” He coughed and combed his fingers through his hair “I plan on presenting this to the remnants of his army in the hopes they abandon this farcical war. If the way his navy reacted then I think we might be celebrating tonight.” 

 

He nodded. Before he could reply however, Jon was already walking back through the gates. 

 

“JON WAIT!” He shouted. Jon turned around to him and in the background, he could see the dragon swing its head to look towards the pair of them. 

 

“What?” Jon asked. 

 

“You not going alone surely?” He replied 

 

“I won't be long, trust me. If it doesn’t go the way we want it to you’ll know.” Jon answered cryptically. 

 

“What's that supposed to mean?” He asked. 

 

Jon turned and looked at the dragon with a smile “You'll know.” And with that he started jogging towards the dragon, mounting it and taking off towards the oncoming army. 

 

‘Please be careful. Please don’t do anything stupid.’ 

 

Jon was making a habit of this, appearing and disappearing. Leaving him to wonder whether or not he’s okay like a worrying parent. He sighed, all he could do right now was to sit and wait. Wait to see if the war was indeed coming to an end, wait to see if Jon returned okay. 

 

He stood there for what seemed an age with Master M talking mindless chit chat, all to distract him from the fact that Jon and his dragon might not have been successful. Finally, after roughly an hour they got their answer. 

 

Circling the town and descending from the sky like some great deity, Jon and his dragon made an entrance that Gerion would assume, would not be too different to the dragonlords of old. Just outside the walls of the town a group had amassed to watch the spectacle, Gerion and Master M were at the head of that group as they watched Jon dismount his great beast with surprising ease. 

 

As Jon approached the group, Gerion could tell everyone around him were holding their breath, the suspense was killing them, him included. Jon to his credit seemed to keep a stone-cold look on his face as he approached them but as soon as he made eye contact with him, that shit eating grin started to form on his face. 

 

They’d done it! They’d survived! Thank the fucking gods! 

 

Karera wa kōshin shite iruSensō wa owatta! (They're marching home! The war is over!)” Jon shouted. The group around him responded with glee, cheering and shouting, some even kneeling in front of Jon who quite quickly motioned them to get up, embarrassment written all over his face. 

 

Gerion pulled Jon into a tight hug when he finally reached the group. He could hear the news spreading around the town, cheers and shouts bellowing out all around the streets, they’d be a party tonight. 

 

“Well done lad, you should be proud of yourself. You’ve just saved thousands of lives in there, you're gonna be a very popular man tonight haha.” Gerion said as he broke away from the hug. Jon smiled at him but it didn't look as enthusiastic as it should've been. 

 

“What's the matter?” He asked him, unease taking hold. 

 

Jon shook his head “It's nothing, don’t worry about it. I just need a hot bath and my bed. I'm so fucking drained right now.” He said. Gerion reluctantly accepted his answer even though he knew there was more to it. 

 

The day turned into night and the whole town was out on the streets celebrating. Jon had explained to the Daimyo that as soon as he’d shown the head of the Emperor to the commanders of the now defunct Imperial Clan, the entire army seemed to sigh in relief. A few angry protesters, who Jon recognised as Ironborn, were dealt with accordingly. Though Jon never revealed what happened to them, Gerion had a few ideas. 

 

And now the army had split off into separate groups and headed home to each of their respected islands. Peace at last. 

 

The celebration seemed to go on throughout the whole night, playing music, singing, dancing. Everybody was getting well and truly merry, ale and wine being shared among everyone, Master M had also brought his new rice wine that he was so proud of. When offered some, Jon, in the politest way possible told him to ‘shove it up his arse.’ which got him and the old man laughing. 

 

Jon the poor lad couldn’t seem to get a moment to himself throughout the whole night. Whether it be men wanting to drink and chat with him, women and girls harmlessly flirting and mooning over him or children excitedly asking him about his dragon. Gerion noticed he was struggling to even keep his eyes open and gave the lad some mercy by escorting him away for a chat. 

 

That chat never came though, Jon used the opportunity to head home, stating he was on the brink of passing out from the combination of drink and exhaustion. He knew there was more to it but left it for the night. He had all the time in the world with him now. 

 


 

One month later..

 

As it turned out, Gerion didn’t have all the time in the world with Jon. 

 

A few days after the conclusion of the war, Jon dropped some big news on them...he needed to go home. 

 

Him and Master M had argued with him, telling him his place was here, where he could settle down and start his new life. But Master M and eventually himself realised they wanted him to stay not for his sake but for their own selfish reasons. The main reason for wanting him to stay being that they would miss him. 

 

Turns out the main reason for returning back to Westeros was to find out once and for all who his mother was. Yes, he wanted to see his family again, talking animatedly about his brothers and sisters but what was driving him was closure, the closure of finding out who his mother was and if she was still alive. Jon had told him that he had a point when he was talking about valyrian blood and that Kireina had only made him desperate to find out more. 

 

That was a month ago, and now had come the day Gerion was dreading. The day his...friend would be leaving, who knew if he’d ever see him again. 

 

Jon at the moment was talking to Master M, He’d noticed in the last couple of weeks that Jon had been training even harder than he normally did, trying to perfect what he’d learnt. It was also in these last few weeks that the unthinkable had happened...Jon had bested Master M in a spar. It was the talk of the town for a little while, it turned out the old man wasn’t surprised at all in his defeat stating that ever since he’d returned from his suicide mission up a mountain, Jon had been a monster in their sparring sessions. 

 

He was broken from his musings when he saw Jon hug the old man and move over to him. 

 

Jon placed his two bags down on the floor in front of him and held out his hand for Gerion to shake. He swatted his hand out of the way and brought him in to a tight hug.  

 

“You got everything?” He asked as he broke away from their embrace. 

 

“I think so. My swords and clothes are in that bag.” as he pointed to the long bag to his right. “And my rations and valuables are in that one.” as he pointed to his other bag. 

 

Gerion picked up the long box that was behind him “You think you’ve got space for two more things?” He asked as he lifted the lid to the box and took out the two sheathed valyrian swords, Blackfyre and Brightroar. 

 

Jon’s eyes went wide “I can't...I can't accept these Gerry. And besides, I've got my own set of blades now.” 

 

“Not to keep silly, I want you to take them home. To take them to their rightful families.” He saw Jon’s bewildered look and sighed “I left my home to search for this sword in the hopes of returning it to its rightful place, House Lannister.” He said as he lifted up Brightroar.  

 

“This sword...” He said whilst lifting up Blackfyre “was just a bonus of my travels and belongs to House Targaryen. Getting an audience with Tywin shouldn’t be too difficult if you mention Brightroarhe’s been after a valyrian sword in the family for decades. The Targaryens are a different story, not met one myself so I’m not sure how they’d receive you.” He finished. 

 

Jon smirked at him as he grabbed hold of the swords he was offered “Maybe I'll just keep them myself. Visit Lord Tywin and use Brightroar and a fork to eat my dinner in front of him. Is he an angry man Gerry?" He finished with a laugh. 

 

“Gods, to be a fly on that wall.” He said as Jon placed the two swords in his bag. He looked at Jon “Listen, I know the main reason you’re going back there is to find some answers but if it wouldn’t be too much, I’d like to ask you a favour.” 

 

“You’ve homed me for more than a year Gerion, you’re practically family at this point. It would never be too much to ask.” Jon said with sincerity. 

 

“My daughter, her name is Joy Hill. She’s baseborn like yourself and I suspect is treated the same way you were.” He looked into the distance to avoid eye contact with Jon. “Tell her that I miss her and wished she could be here with me in this free land instead of that repressive land she is no doubt ridiculed in. Tell her I’m sorry that I failed her.” He said as he looked down in shame. 

 

Jon was quiet for a minute, Gerion had never told him that he had a daughter so he was probably processing. “Don’t worry Gerry, I’ll tell her. I’ll tell her what a great man her father is. I’ll tell her that she isn't forgotten and that she’s still loved even from afar.” He said. 

 

He nodded and just about held in the tears “Thank you Jon.” 

 

Kireina roared in the background and paced left and right on the beach, a beach that had attracted a rather large crowd for Jon’s send off. 

 

Jon eyed her “I think she’s getting impatient and wants to get going, gonna be a long journey.” 

 

“You gonna be okay flying that long? Didn’t you say it took you half a year to sail here? You'll be on her back for weeks.” He asked with concern. 

 

Jon gave him smile “It’ll be rough but she’s assured me they’ll make good time, might take less than a fortnight even.” He then chuckled “She told me that if she gets tired of carrying my fat arse she’ll land in the sea and spread her wings in the water to float, and that I can paddle us the rest of the way.” He finished, rolling his eyes. 

 

Gerion laughed but it wasn’t very enthusiastic, Jon was leaving and the situation had now become more real. 

 

Jon brought him in for one last hug “I’ll miss you Gerry, you’ve done so much for me.” He said whilst in the midst of their embrace. Gerion swallowed the lump in his throat and broke away before he well and truly broke down in Jon’s arms. 

 

“Go on.” He said as he lightly shoved Jon in the direction of his beast “Get going before she takes off without you.” He forced out. 

 

Jon gave him a sad smile and clasped him on the shoulder one last time before picking his bags up and carrying them to his dragon. 

 

With his bags securely strapped to one of the many spikes on the dragon’s spine, Jon climbed up onto its back. He looked over his shoulder to Gerion and Master M before giving them a sad smile and one last wave before taking off into the air and flying out to sea. 

 

Master M clasped him on the shoulder in understanding before walking up the path exiting the beach, leaving Gerion on his own looking on out to the horizon with his eyes firmly locked on the small figure in the sky. 

 

‘You coward, you couldn’t say it could you?’ His mind screamed at him. And his mind was right, he couldn’t say it, only when the spot in the sky all but disappeared in the distance could he utter the words as he let the tears finally fall. 

 

 

 

“Goodbye...son.”

 

 End of Act I

 


 

Chapter Text


 

Jon  

2 weeks. Nearly 2 weeks he’d been sat on this hulking mass of muscle and power. He’d had a couple of respites when Kireina had mercy on his (and probably hers) aching body by gently landing on the surface of the ocean and just floating there for a couple of hours, allowing them both to stretch their stiff muscles and rest. He was slightly worried the first time she’d done it, concerned that any manner of sea creature could attack and hurt her. But his concerns were unwarranted, the first time she landed on the sea it was quiet and nothing bothered them but the second time was when a certain giant squid decided to get fresh with her.  

 

The thing was fucking huge in comparison to some of the other squid he’d seen in his time but it still didn’t make a difference to Kireina. She’d managed to grab hold of it between her massive jaws. At first, he was worried the squid was actually choking her as it wrapped its appendages around her head and neck but it wasn’t the case for the unfortunate thing as she proceeded to blast a massive hole through its entire face with her breath. Its body went limp and Kireina munched down on it. The squelching noises as she chewed the odd sea creature were rather disturbing to say the least. 

 

But that was the pattern of the last fortnight, fly for god knows how many hours, and rest for a couple of hours at intervals. He had to admit, Kireina had to be making great time on this journey. He only had to look out to the ocean while they were flying to see just how quick they were traveling. The difference between his voyage here and his return on dragonback was startling. He realised Kireina gave him a lot more freedom than he originally thought. 

 

Maybe we could take a trip to E ssos  one afternoon or see the wall from above ?  

 

The possibilities were endless. 

 

Mind you, he still had things to do before he really stretched his adventuring legs, and at the top of the agenda was his mother. 

 

If push came to shove, he would have to force it out of his father. Enough fucking around with secrets and “when the time is right” bullshit excuses. He would be doing his own digging around at first, putting little bits and pieces of information together that had either been worked out, like the smidge of valyrian blood in his system or incessant rumours he had heard when he was growing up. One in particular popped up quite a few times in his childhood and at times he wanted to believe them. 

 

He remembers planning an escape so that he could finally reach his mother but common sense kicked in before he attempted to make a very long and unrealistic journey for a 9 year old, that and the fact that Robb grassed on him. 

 

Thoughts of Robb made him all warm inside, unable to stop the easy smile growing on his wind battered face as they stormed along at a great speed. Thoughts of Robb merged into thoughts of all his siblings, he loved them all to death and missed them dearly, even Sansa who was somewhat cold with him he missed. She was his baby sister, he would always love and protect her, all of them. 

 

Wonder if any of them are betrothed? Wonder if Robb has gotten married? Wonder if Arya is still an  annoying  little rascal? Wonder if Lady  Catelyn's  mellowed the fuck out since he  left?... probably not.  

 

He shook his head in the breeze huffed out a laugh. He’d hopefully be finding out all of this in the next coming months. He had some snooping and sneaking to do in regards to information about his mother and it would all start at the opposite end of the country to the North. 

 

And hopefully end if the rumours were in fact true.  

 

You're making my head hurt with all that thinking Jon.’ Came Kireina’s exasperated voice in his mind. 

 

He smiled as he ran his hand down her back in the hopes of soothing her. ‘Sorry, just anxious to get started that’s all. So many questions that need answering, hopefully the effort will be worth it in the end.’ He replied. 

 

The motions he was making with his hand on her smooth scales seemed to be calming her somewhat and a pleased purr reverberated through her chest. A thought popping into his head that had to be addressed.  

 

‘We’re gonna have to be careful with you Kireina.’ He said. 

 

‘What do you mean?’ She asked. 

 

‘Westeros think that dragons are extinct. The first glimpse of you and they're gonna either try to hurt you or spread the information that you exist to all corners of the country, including King’s Landing. We’ll end up being wanted and hunted. He explained. 

 

‘Let them hunt us, I’ll fucking kill them all if they touch you!’ Kireina roared through their bond. 

 

Jon smiled at how overprotective she was over him, probably how a mother would be with her children. 

 

He shook himself from them thoughts before he fell down that rabbit hole. 

 

‘We should be alright, you just need to keep a low profile. That would involve being high in the sky a lot of time, thankfully through our bond we can essentially still be together. Out of sight but not out of mind if you will.’ He explained. 

 

‘Also, who taught you that naughty word? You shouldn’t be swearing young lady.’ He joked. 

 

You're a bad influence.’ She answered as she huffed. He just chuckled. 

 

The air around them was slowly but surely getting cooler as they dipped through the clouds to check to see what was below. The build-up of moisture within the clouds soaked Kireina and him through and when they emerged from the cloud, they realised why, it was chucking it down with rain. 

 

"Fucking brilliant, I'm bloody soaked.” He grumbled to himself as he wiped his face in an effort to clear his face. He expected a retort from Kireina, telling him to stop complaining or to stop swearing but all he got in return was silence. 

 

It would seem she was too busy observing something to care about his moaning and a few moments later she confirmed his belief. ‘Look, in the distance...do you see them?’ She asked as she seemed to pick up pace to reach whatever it was she could see. 

 

He had to squint a bit but after a few seconds he could indeed see what she saw. 

 

Out in the distance on the horizon he could just about make out a few shapes. As they flew closer, he worked out that they were in actual fact separated bits of land, islands if you will. 

 

‘We need to get above the clouds before anybody on those islands sees us, if there is anybody on them that is.’ He explained to Kireina who proceeded to rise back up through the rainclouds, in turn soaking them through again. Jon wasn’t bothered about that anymore though, he was more interested in what they’d just found. 

 

The little breaks in the clouds here and there allowed him to get a couple of glimpses of the oncoming islands. There was one to the right and one to the left. The one on the left was a lot bigger than the one on the right and seemed to be made up of small mountains. There didn’t seem to be anything exceptionally awe inspiring about these islands and the weather just seemed to make them look even more miserable. 

 

‘Can you see anything interesting Kireina? I’m struggling at the moment.’ He asked. Maybe she could see something of worth. 

 

‘Not much to look at Jon. There's some odd looking buildings built on some narrow rocks coming up to your right but apart from that, nothere’s nothing interesting at all here.’ She said to him, even she sounded disappointed in what they found. Jon was currently racking his brain on where they could possibly be. 

 

After a few moments of flying high he made out the narrow rocks to his right that she’d mentioned just then. 

 

She was right, there were buildings on top of these rocks. In fact, they weren't just buildings, they were castles. Castles on each one of the rocks and they seemed to be connected by thin bridges if his eyes didn’t deceive him. 

 

He was positive he’d heard about these castles from somewhere, something Maester Luwin taught them as a kid or from a book he’d read himself perhaps... 

 

Fucking Pyke.  

 

The bloody Iron  Islands.  

 

Images of Euron Greyjoy’s face flashed through his mind as he tried to control himself from not going straight down there and fucking shit up. Other images flashed through his mind as well, the one most noteworthy being the image of hundreds of soldiers lining up just to have the privilege of spitting on the decapitated head of their Emperor. 

 

That helped. That helped calm him. 

 

They were both silent as they passed over the piss stained islands, with a start he realised that if these were indeed the Iron Islands then they actually back in Westeros and more specifically, just off the west coast of the Riverlands. 

 

Where  his biggest fan was from ...  

 

He needed to confirm this, he needed to know that beyond these islands was the mainland, he needed to know so he could plan accordingly. 

 

‘We need to pick up the pace a little Kireina. If my hunch is correct then these right here are the Iron Islands and just beyond them should in fact be the mainland.’ He told her. 

 

‘I thought the North was all hills and snow, not anything like this. Is the rest so gloomy and miserable?’ She inquired. She sounded a little excited at the prospect of new land to explore. 

 

‘Aye the North is all green fields and snow-capped hills but these right here are the Iron Islands, probably the least appeasing place in the seven kingdoms. This is actually where that cunt Euron originated from. If his loyal army hadn't taken the head with them to parade around to all the towns, I would have dropped the thing right in the courtyard of Pyke.’ He explained. 

 

Kireina huffed, probably the closest thing Jon would hear to a dragon laughing. They bolted higher up into the sky to avoid detection from any eagle eyed ironborn, the last thing they needed was somebody already blabbering on about a dragon sighting. 

 

‘Remember, you’ll have to stay out of sight if you can. A sighting of you will jeopardise this entire trip and would probably have the crown trailing our backs. The news of a dragon in westeros would probably get the royal family moist at the thought of claiming you.’ He explained. The Targaryens would no doubt send endless amounts of scouts throughout the realm and reward anybody who helped them capture Kireina 

 

She’s mine, they can get fucked. 

 

They could all get fucked. 

 

He wouldn’t be putting up with any of these spoilt brats that call themselves lords and ladies. They could try to demean him or slight him based on his bastardry but it’d be like water off a duck’s arsehole with him...duck’s back? He shook his head, he wasn’t 100% sure of the saying. He was sure of one thing though. The nobles won't know what had hit them. 

 

‘Bear to your right Kireina...we need to be heading south.’ Was all that was said. 

 


 

Ned  

Ned rubbed his eyes as the last of the ravens were written, a call to all his northern bannermen that one Ramsey Snow, natural son of Roose Bolton was wanted on the charges of kidnapping, rape, murder and flaying of, according to Lord Varys, 13 different women. A bounty was put on the man’s head in the chance that the monster would be dealt with swiftly. 

 

A raven had been sent to Lord Bolton inquiring whether or not the man knew of his son’s actions. The letter he received back was cold and straight to the point in denying his acknowledgement of his bastards' actions. Ned wasn’t sure whether or not to believe the man. 

 

“Jory!” He shouted as he gathered up the sealed scrolls in a pile. 

 

His captain of the household guard stepped through the door to his solar “Yes Lord Stark?” He asked. 

 

“Can you get these to Maester Luwin” He said as he handed over the scrolls “They're addressed to all the houses in the north, the faster we find this Ramsey Snow the better.” He replied. 

 

Jory nodded “At once, Lord Stark.” said the man as he exited the solar and closed the door. 

 

He leant back in his chair, the creak of it filling the silent room. He pinched the bridge of his nose as he thought over the recent events that had transpired. So many things he had to think about that had occurred during the last week of the Targaryen’s stay, they’d been gone a month now but it was still fresh in his mind. 

 

The Sword in the Morning, Ser Arthur Dayne was the first thing that came to mind. After seeing Ser Arthur’s cold attitude towards him and the very frost talk he’d had with the man, he was still completely lost as to why the he was so mad with him. 

 

Flashback...  

 

He nodded to the famous  Kingsguard , often  referred  to as the greatest swordsman in the realm. The man  side eyed  him and carried on looking forward as if Ned wasn’t even there.  

 

“Ser Arthur.” He nodded as he attempted to greet the man. He was answered with silence.  

 

“May we have a quick chat, I’d like to get something off my chest.” He asked as Ser  Arthur  just looked at him for a few moments before giving him a curt nod.  

 

“I  can't  help but  notice a sense of  enmity from you when it concerns me. I’m not sure what it is that has caused this but I have it my right to at least know why  you despise me so much. Maybe then I can work to fix whatever the problem is that you have with me.” He asked, hoping that he didn’t come across as hostile.  

 

The Knight silently regarded him for a moment before speaking up “I heard what happened to your son, unfortunate set of circumstances if you ask me. You have to wonder though,  what forced him to choose a  life away from  you.” The man coldly replied.  

 

Ned turned to the man in confusion “I’m not sure what my son has to do with you hating me.” He said. The mention of Jon worrying him a little, especially from the mouth of  Rhaegar’s  shadow.  

 

The knight ignored his query “Some might think his upbringing and  treatment was  what made the boy snap and  choose a life out there on his own instead. I imagine Lady Stark wasn’t the worst affected by the  boy’s  departure.”   

 

Ned felt his ire rising at the implication of him not being able to handle his own household “Yes, my son was treated a little less favourably around some people  but  that had nothing to do with his family, he’s always been loved by his brothers and sisters. Granted Lady Stark could have been a little more  accepting  with the lad but a part of me couldn’t be mad at her, I’d dishonoured her when I claimed Jon and brought him back to Winterfell. She could have forced him out, sent to live somewhere else but she didn’t because I asked her not to make me choose.” He finished, somewhat annoyed with himself that he’d even entertained to answer the man’s subtle jab.  

 

The knight regarded him with a frosty gaze “Maybe you  should've  stuck to your  marriage  bed then Lord Stark. Maybe you  should've  honoured the woman by marrying her before siring a child on her. Maybe all this  could've  been avoided.”  

 

What the fuck did any of this have to do with the man’s clear hatred of him?  

 

“I appreciate the advice on how to run my household Ser Arthur but  I'm  still not sure what any of this has to do with the problem you have with me.” He replied in a cold tone.  

 

The knight seemed to smirk at that, like angering him was some sort of game he’d just succeeded in “Let's just say, you're not that much different from that pig I slaughte red  on the Trident." The man seemed to sneer out.  

 

Pig he slaughtered?...The Trident?...Robert.  

 

How was he no different from Robert?  

 

He really was confused now “What has Robert got to do with this?” He growled out. Ser Arthur didn’t look effected in the slightest.  

 

The knight turned to him with the coldest look he’d seen from the man to date “You’ll never know, you don’t get to know, you don’t deserve to know.” The knight sneered and walked off.  

 

That entire conversation he’d had with Ser Arthur occurred roughly a month ago and he was still having sleepless nights, racking his brain to work out what in the world the man was talking about. At least when he woke up in the middle of the night, he wasn’t waking his wife up in the process, fat chance of that happening with her sleeping in her own room. 

 

The argument he’d had with her a few days before the Targaryens were set to depart back to King’s Landing was the cause of that. Turned out his wife was in fact trying her hardest to pair Robb up with the Princess Rhaenys and when Robb told her of his wishes, she blamed Ned. She blamed him for not wanting the best for his son and for letting him settle for some daughter of one of his bannermen and not for the most eligible girl in the realm. Of course, she’d never said any of this in front of Robb, she was happy that her son was in love and subsequently betrothed to Lady Alys after Lord Karstark had replied to his and Robb’s letters and agreed to the match. 

 

The problem she had was that Ned had encouraged it. That he should have been more suggestive to their son of his duty and what was best for House Stark. That love was a beautiful thing but it didn’t go hand in hand with duty. Ned wondered if there was some warped thinking going through his wife’s mind, almost as if she was suggesting that their marriage was nothing but duty. 

 

The shouting and arguing didn’t make a difference to her manoeuvring in the end, the betrothal between Robb and Lady Alys was made official and the Targaryens departed Winterfell blissfully unaware of the massive Catelyn Stark shaped headache they’d caused him. 

 

His wife for a month now had been cold and bitter towards him, a feeling he had 17 years ago towards a certain silver haired prince. A feeling he now knew was nothing but naïve bitterness and immaturity towards the royal family and he was now ultimately regretting his actions greatly. Actions he couldn’t take back less he pay dearly for it. 

 

Turns out the Royal family were actually decent human beings. The two princesses were kind, witty and easy to talk to, Queen Elia seemed like one of the sweetest ladies he’s ever met and King Rhaegar was kind and understanding. The pair of them seemed to be caring and loving parents to their daughter and even Princess Daenerys. Nothing like he expected from the family that brought the likes of Maegor the Cruel, Aegon the Unworthy and last but not least, Aerys the Mad King. 

 

It was too late now though, he couldn’t take back the things that he’d done. Jon was gone and had been gone for quite a while now, he just hoped to god he was still alive and was living the life he wanted. It was the least he could wish for the lad after he’d taken so much from him. 

 

There was a knock on his solar door that broke him from his thoughts. 

 

“Come in!” He shouted. The door opened up and revealed Jory. 

 

“The ravens have been sent my Lord. Maester Luwin gave me these scrolls he’d just retrieved from the rookery.” Jory said as he handed him 4 scrolls. 

 

“Thank you Jory, you may leave.” He said. Jory nodded and exited his solar to take his spot right outside the door. 

 

Ned rubbed his chin as he looked down at the scrolls, he was hoping he was done for the day when it came to correspondences but alas it wasn’t meant to be. 

 

He read through 2 of the scrolls, both were just simple requests for extra farm hands and builders for some of the surrounding keeps he’d commissioned to be rebuilt but the last 2 scrolls were the ones that were more disturbing. The first was a report of a missing woman who’d been travelling from White Harbour to Hornwood. The woman and her husband had a 4-man escort for their journey to there, the husband managed to escape within an inch of his life but the 4 guards had been murdered and ripped apart by hounds and his wife had been knocked out and kidnapped. The man wasn’t sure but he thinks the criminals actually allowed him to escape, to tell people what he saw. That was a disturbing letter. 

 

The next was even worse. 

 

It was a letter from Lord Karstark. His son, Lord Harrion and his daughter, Lady Alys had not yet returned home from their visit to Winterfell to confirm the betrothal between Robb and his daughter. 

 

They’d departed from Winterfell nearly a moon ago... 

 


 

Rhaegar  

He looked around the room of the small council and greeted his lords as he made his way to the head of the table to take his seat. Ser Gerold and Ser Arthur took their places at the door as he sat down in his chair, the rest of the council following his action. 

 

He nodded across to the opposite side of the table to his hand to commence proceedings. 

 

Jon Connington, Lord of Griffin’s Roost, Hand of the King and dear friend rose to his feet and cleared his throat. 

 

“I would like to thank all of you for joining the King and I to the very first council meeting of the year, the 3rd centenary of Aegon the Conqueror's coronation.” He said proudly. 

 

“I think the best way to start the meeting off would be an update on celebratory tourney we shall be having to commemorate this occasion, Lord Baelish?” His hand said as he looked at the Master of Coin. 

 

The slender man smiled at Jon, a smile that failed to reach his eyes “Thank you, Lord Hand. The preparations for the tourney are going through as we expected. The prize money for the winners has been decided and placed to one side and the ravens to all the major and minor houses have been sent to inform them of such an event. With all being said and done, the tourney should take place in 2 months as requested by his grace.” Lord Baelish finished as he bowed his head to his King. 

 

The Hand nodded his head and looked around the table, this gave Rhaegar the chance to speak with his Lord of Whispers. 

 

“Lord Varys, what news do we have?” He asked. His Master of Whispers had an incredible talent for collecting information, even things nobody had any right knowing. It was a useful tool to have on his side, scary but useful. 

 

The eunuch bowed his head in reverence “Your Grace, my little birds have been singing some rather peculiar songs at this time.” Varys said as he pulled his hand from beneath the sleeve of his robe and placed a few opened scrolls on the table. 

 

“A few scrolls suggesting betrothals between their son’s and either of the Princesses, nothing new there. An interesting one from Lord Tywin, apparently a few lords and sailors in and around the Westerlands have either seen or heard rumours of a large beast in the clouds passing overhead. Some are saying it looked like a griffin or some sort of large bird, and some are even saying it could have been a dragon. Lord Tywin has made it clear that if it was one person reporting it, he wouldn’t have wasted his time writing to us but there have been nearly 100 reports of the sighting.” His Master of Whispers said without an ounce of humour in his face. He was sure the odd man was japing. 

 

His Master of Ships, Lord Aurane Waters butted in and laughed “Just a bunch of drunkards seeing what they want to see, nothing more. Honestly surprised you even brought this up, Lord Varys.” The Bastard of Driftmark said. The man was very good at his job but was incredibly full of himself, the endless amount of times he could be seen trying to charm his sister was proof of that. 

 

Lord Varys spoke up “I’m the Lord of Whispers, Lord Aurane. If I weren't listening to the whispers then I wouldn’t be doing my Job properly would I?” He replied. 

 

“There's a difference between whispers and fairy tales Lord Varys.” Aurane replied with a smirk. 

 

“And there also happens to be a difference between bastards and Princesses Lord Aurane. Wouldn’t you agree?” The Lord of Whispers replied, turning his Master of Ships smirk into a scowl. 

 

He needed this childish argument to be over already “Alright! You’ve both said your piece.” He said as both of the men had the decency to look down in shame. “Lord Varys, tell the lords who have requested the hand of my daughter or sister for their son’s that the Princesses are not currently looking for suitors and that when the time comes, they will be taken into consideration.” He said. 

 

“As for the sightings and rumours of this ‘beast’, tell Lord Tywin that if there are any more sightings of it from him or any of his bannermen, he should inform us and we’ll send men to confirm it. Chances are Lord Aurane is correct and it's just a couple of fools playing tricks on Lord Tywin. More fool them.” He finished as Lord Varys nodded his head. With the King agreeing with him, Lord Aurane smirked. 

 

He looked at his Master of Ships “Lord Aurane, what news do have?” 

 

The man cleared his throat “Not much your grace, the royal fleet is in pristine condition and has been making trips through the narrow sea to keep an eye out for potential problems. Other than that, it’s been rather quiet....oh, I almost forgot, a ship with Martell sails was spotted a few miles out from King’s Landing at the break of dawn your grace. I’m not sure of its occupants yet but I will get back to you with that in good time.” The man finished. 

 

“No need, I already know who is on that ship. Rooms for my brother, Prince Viserys and his brother-in-law, Prince Quentyn will be required for when they arrive, could you see to that for me Jon?" He asked. 

 

The Hand of the King nodded his head “Not a problem your Grace.” 

 

“Good." He looked around the table “Any more news for me?” He asked. 

 

“Ah yes, the Crown Prince was looking for you your grace. He’s a rather proud father right now and wants to show off his daughter to you.” Jon said with a chuckle. 

 

Rhaegar smiled. Aegon and his wife, Princess Margaery unexpectedly turned up from Dragonstone 2 days ago along with their beautiful month-old daughter, Princess Alysanne Targaryen. A head of wispy silver hair, bright blue eyes and a cute button nose, little Alysanne was the talk of the keep the past 48 hours and Rhaegar couldn’t be a prouder grandfather right now. 

 

Elia had talked about the news of their son’s first child nonstop when they all arrived back from their northern visit. She wanted to go visit instead of waiting for the new parents to appear in the capital but the gods must have been listening because later that very day, the new little family had arrived at the Red Keep along with Ser Barristan and Princess Margaery’s brother and newly appointed Kingsguard, Ser Loras. 

 

To say Elia was ecstatic to see her granddaughter would be an understatement, the look of awe on his wife’s face and the endless cooing at every little detail of the little angel had not failed to put a smile on everybody's mush in the Red Keep. Even Lord Varys who was either a brilliant mummer or was actually capable of showing human emotions was caught smiling. 

 

“I’ll visit with them now if that’s everything. Any more news or am I free to see my granddaughter?” He said as he looked around the council room’s table. He was answered with shakes of the head and took that as a no. 

 

With that he stood from his chair with the rest of the council following suit. He nodded his head at the occupants of the room as they bowed their head in reverence and briskly made his way out of the council room towards his son’s chambers, closely followed by Arthur and Gerold. 

 

He heard them both chuckle as they just about kept up with his increased pace. When he looked over his shoulder to see what they found so funny they covered up their laughter with coughs. He just shook his head at them with a smile on his face and carried on heading towards the Royal wing of the keep. 

 

Ser Barristan and Ser Loras were waiting outside his son’s chambers when they arrived. 

 

“Sers. I hear my son has requested an audience with me, is he inside?” He asked as both knights smiled and nodded their heads in confirmation. 

 

“Yes he is, your grace, along with Princess Margaery and Princess Alysanne.” Ser Barristan confirmed. 

 

“Is the Queen not in there also? She’s been rather attached since they arrived.” He chuckled. 

 

“She is not, your Grace. Queen Elia is currently in the Royal Gardens with Princess Rhaenys, Lady Olenna and Lord Willas.” Ser Barristan answered. 

 

I wonder what that’s about? He mused. 

 

He nodded his head and turned to Ser Gerold “You may return to Queen Elia and retake up your guard of her since the small council meeting has ended. You know Ser Arthur will always be enough to take care of me.” He said as the old bull bowed his head and presumably made his way to the Royal Gardens. 

 

He knocked on the door and announced himself before entering Aegon’s chambers. The first thing he noticed was Aegon looking up at him, sat behind his desk with an open book sat in front of him. 

 

“Hello father, what a lovely surprise. What brings you here this fine afternoon?” Aegon or Egg as everybody called him said with a grin on his face. 

 

“Hello son. Well, you see, the Hand of the King informed me that the Crown Prince was looking for me so I seeked you out as soon as the council meeting was over...but I think we both know why I'm here.” He said with a smile. 

 

Egg copied his smile with one of his own “Aye, I think I do. My wife and daughter are currently taking a nap in the bedchambers and nursery respectably, so you’ll have to be quiet when we enter.” He said. Rhaegar noticed the proud look on his son’s face at the mention of his new budding family. 

 

He nodded as Egg got up from his desk and made his way towards the nursery door, he looked over his shoulder at Rhaegar and put his finger on his lips as he slowly and quietly creeped the door open. His son entered the room and he followed him inside. 

 

At the opposite side of the room was the beautiful crib him and Elia had gifted the new parents when the pregnancy was announced and inside was the most precious angel in the world. 

 

Little Princess Alysanne was blissfully asleep in her crib, her small chest moving up and down with each breath and a tiny snore made Rhaegar melt internally. 

 

He looked up at Egg “She’s a true Targaryen angel son, you should be very proud, the both of you should.” He said as he nodded his head towards the bedchamber Margaery was currently sleeping in. “I won't disturb her now but I want another hold later on.” He said as his son smiled and nodded his head. 

 

“You’ll have to get in line I’m afraid, I've already had promises of cuddles from mother and everybody else under the sun.” Egg said as they both exited the nursery. 

 

He put his arm around his son’s shoulders, only just though. Aegon was now the same height as him. “Everyone is in high spirits over the birth of your daughter, a new Princess of the realm. It's an exciting time to be a Targaryen son, who knows what the future will bring.”  

 

An exciting time indeed.  

 


 

Jon  

The air around them was dry and humid and had been that way for a few hours now. The bearskin cloak that he’d had commissioned by a seamstress in Kochi had been discarded and packed away with the rest of his belongings due to the heat, even without the cloak he could still feel his tunic sticking to his back. The appreciated breeze that came with the honour of flying was still not enough to counter act against the sun beating down on him. 

 

Dorne. They must be in Dorne. The lush greens and multitude of colour they’d flown over could have only been The Reach but the greens had become sparse amongst the landscape, the only colour being the reds and whites of the sand below them. 

 

They’d been flying nonstop for the entire day in an attempt to make good time on getting to their destination. Kireina had been flying the fastest she’d ever flown with Jon on her back, either she was trying to impress him, which was working or she was as keen to get to where they were going as much as him. 

 

At this moment in time, the sun had begun to set and the cool air of the night had begun to creep in. Stretching his arm towards and into his bag, Jon grabbed his cloak and wrapped it around his shoulders. He still marvelled at the excellent job the seamstress had done with the bear pelt he’d provided her with, not only was it warm but it was also functional in case he ever found himself in a fight or on the run. 

 

Looking down towards the ground, Jon noticed the river they’d been following the past few hours getting wider and wider with every mile Kireina ate up. He hoped and prayed this was the right river they were following, that this was in fact the Torentine river that would ultimately lead him to the castle he was seeking out. 

 

Starfall. The home of his mother if the rumours were true. The home of one Ashara Dayne. 

 

On their journey here, he’d thought of what he would say the moment he clocked eyes with her, those haunting violet eyes that were whispered about around Winterfell. Would he become speechless? Would he fumble with his words as he tried to take in every detail about the woman? A woman he’d only dreamt of before now. 

 

Would she welcome him with open arms or scorn? Would she answer his questions and more specifically, would she answer the question he’d always wanted to know... 

 

Why did you leave me?  

 

He shook his head, he was getting way ahead of himself. She might not even be my mother. This was just the first step in trying to find out who his mother was and assuming the first step would be the only step would be naïve. 

 

Where do I go if she  isn't  my mother though?  

 

The only thing he knew was that he was born in Dorne, people had whispered it, Lord Stark had confirmed it to him when he asked...it was the least the man could do. 

 

He’d whittled it down to a certain time frame and desperately hoped he was correct. If he was, it would make this a lot easier. In the rebellion, Lord Eddard Stark had departed from King’s Landing after King Rhaegar had taken control of the city. Him and some of his men went to Dorne to retrieve his sister who, unfortunately, had perished from some sort of fever when they got there, something Lord Stark had always been closed up about. In fact, the whole situation involving his aunt was clouded in mystery. 

 

He would then travel back to King’s Landing with his sister’s bones to show to the King and Queen who, it turned out, had married Lyanna Stark. Depart by boat from the capital, arrive at White Harbour and travel back to Winterfell. 

 

So  my mother was either in Dorne or resided  in between  White Harbour and Winterfell...  

 

FUCK!... He thought as he slammed his fist down on his thigh. 

 

He huffed with frustration. Why couldn’t Lord Stark just tell him? What the fuck was so hard about that? It would make it all so much easier for everybody involved. 

 

All he knew was that as soon as he had sufficient evidence and research, he’d be throwing the whole fucking lot into Lord Stark’s face and watching closely for the cracks to emerge, giving him the chance to smash through them and into the truth. One thing was for certain, if he didn’t know who his mother was already, he wouldn’t be leaving Winterfell without the truth. 

 

As dusk turned to night, the darkness came with it. The reflection of the moon on the river guiding them along. Kireina seemed to speed up in her already blistering pace, intrigue whispered in the back of his mind through their bond. He noticed what she was so interested in a few moments later. 

 

An Island. And more specifically on that island was the castle he hoped was Starfall. 

 

The real question was how the fuck was he going to approach without causing a scene. The last thing he wanted was mass hysteria when he was trying to be as discreet as possible. 

 

They’d have to land on the outskirts of the river and camp out for the night, then early next morning he’d have to go and find a crossing or a boat to get over there. Yes, that sounds like the best idea. 

 

And so that is what he did. After landing and making up a little camp for the night, Kireina set off to have a little nosey around her new surroundings with the instruction of keeping out of sight as best as possible. The moment she was spotted that was it, they were done and would probably be hunted down by every fucker with a hunger for glory and a death wish. 

 

Not much trouble was found through the night, an intrigued wild animal here and there was about the worst of it. It wasn't long before the sun was rising on his face and he was being woken from his fitful sleep. It wasn’t that he was uncomfortable, quite the contrary. A solid ground to sleep on for the first time in weeks was a god send. No, he found it hard to sleep because of what he could be learning today. Today could possibly be the day he met his mother. 

 

After fully waking up and having a wash in the river for the first time in 2 weeks he packed up his cloak he’d slept on and made his way towards the small docks that were further up the river. His sword belt and swords were tied around his waist in the walk up there and he came to realise that he may find a backstrap to hold his swords would be more ideal when moving about, it might be more ideal in general. 

 

He arrived at the rather quiet dock and approached a man who was clearly selling the service of ferrying people to and from Starfall. 

 

The man bolted up from his seat when he saw Jon approaching “Ah, friend, how can I help you on this fine morning?” The balding man asked in a thich dornish accent. His cheery tone annoying Jon to the core this early on in the morning. 

 

He was in no mood for pleasantries and got straight to the point “How much to cross the river to Starfall?” 

 

The man rubbed his chin as he eyed Jon’s person, eyes lingering on the swords around his waist “A dragon.” The fool dared to ask for. 

 

“A dragon?! I’m not paying that!” He answered in annoyance. 

 

The daylight robber had the nerve to grin “Those are my prices, take it or leave it. You could swim...or even fly, that way you wouldn’t get wet.” The man finished as he laughed at his own joke. 

 

Don't tempt me.” He whispered under his breath. 

 

“What was that?” The man said. 

 

“Nothing. Listen, I’ll give you 20 stags.” He said. 

 

The man laughed and, in the process, broke any patience Jon had with him “No.” The man rubbed his chin pretending to be in deep thought. “50 stags.” He counter offered. 

 

Jon was getting annoyed, it was too early for this kind of shit. He realised he’d make a shit salesman, he just didn’t have the patience for it “30 stags and I won't cut you in half.” He growled out. 

 

The man’s smile fell and he looked down from Jon’s face and to his hands that were resting on each of his swords. 

 

The man put his hands up in defence “Now now, no need for trouble. I’m just trying to earn an honest living.” The man admitted. 

 

He was done with this whole conversation and just wanted to get across the river “20 stags now.” He said as he handed the coin over “And 20 stags when we get there. Do we have a deal?” He asked. 

 

The man seemed to release a breath when Jon had finished talking “That suits me fine my friend.” He said as he saluted Jon and motioned for him to follow him on to his small boat. 

 

The journey across was quiet, it would seem Jon had spooked the man and turned him into a mute. The closer they got to Starfall the more awed he was at its appearance.  

 

The castle looked like it was part of the island itself. White stone walls and tall towers made up the most of its structure, the tallest of which must have been the famous Palestone Sword Tower. 

 

 

 

As they made their way around the island, he realised the island did in fact have a bridge that connected it to the mainland. He looked across to the man who was ferrying him and he had the decency to look away. 

 

“I suppose it's my own fault for not looking properly.” He said as the man gave him a smile. 

 

“Happens to the best of us friend.” The sailor replied as they approached the docks. As soon as the boat came to a stop he got up from his seat and handed him the 20 stags he promised. The man thanked him and seemed to hang around in the hopes of finding more custom for his return journey. 

 

Jon was too busy to notice whether or not he was successful as he was approached by two guards wearing dark purple robes. 

 

“State your business traveller.” One of the guards said whilst the other eyed his swords. Straight to the point, he liked their style. 

 

“I would like to request an audience with Lady Ashara.” He answered. 

 

Both the guards chuckled at the request “What makes you think we’d grant you that request?” One of them said in a thick dornish accent. 

 

He knew it wouldn’t have been that easy “Because I'm getting into Starfall one way or another and I imagine you’d rather it be because you granted my request and not because your shit at your job.” He replied without a hint of humour. 

 

The guards looked at each other and one nodded to the other before one of them seemed to walk back up to the castle. Him and the other guard stood there in silence as they both seemed to sus one another out. 

 

Jon broke the silence after 5 minutes. 

 

“How long you been doing this?” He asked in his attempt at small talk. He didn’t care how long this random man had been a guard that’s for certain, why would he? 

 

His only response was a grunt as the guard looked back up towards the castle, probably hoping his friend would save him from the stranger asking him odd questions. 

 

“Do you think he got lost?” He asked. He was clearly making the man uncomfortable and he couldn’t for the life of him care. Thankfully, based on the man’s sigh of relief, the guard hadn't got lost and was making his back down to them. 

 

“Lady Ashara has granted you an audience but your weapons have to be handed over.” The returning guard said. 

 

He eyed the precious dragonsteel blades and looked back at the guards “I accept. But if steal them, damage them or in any way mess around with them and don’t worry I'll know, you’ll regret it.” He warned as he handed over the blades. The guards eyed the odd swords with genuine interest. 

 

The journey to the castle was quick, he got a few intriguing looks here and there but overall it was very uneventful. The guards were quiet all the way there and it wasn’t long before he was being escorted to a solar inside the main keep. The main keep itself was very neat and pristine, white stone and tapestries of House Dayne’s sigil of a shooting star and sword adorning the walls. Jon was broken from his thoughts when they stopped in front of a pair of white painted doors. 

 

Is this it? Is this the moment I meet my mother for the first time?  

 

One of the guards knocked on the door “...”, the guard turned to him “What’s your name?” He asked. 

 

“Jon, Jon Snow.” He replied. He had no reason to lie. 

 

The guard spoke up so the occupants of the room could hear him “Jon Snow is here for his audience he requested my Lady.”  

 

The door was ripped open and there stood not a middle-aged woman but a younger one about his age. He looked down at her and couldn’t lie to himself, she was a rather beautiful young lady. She had pitch black hair that flowed down her back, a heart shaped face, dark grey eyes and a subtle pink blush on her cheeks as she made eye contact with him. 

 

“Clarissa! Don’t be so rude!” A woman’s voice called out from the other side of the room. 

 

The young woman looked chastised and exited the room. One of the guards who escorted him here followed her down the corridor, she turned around and had one last look at him before turning a corner out of sight. He received a small nudge in the back from the remaining guard and entered the room. 

 

Stood at the other end of the room behind a desk was the most beautiful woman he’d ever met. 

 

The guard spoke up “Lady Ashara, this is the man who requested an audience with you, Jon Snow.” 

 

Lady Ashara nodded her head without taking those alluring dark violet eyes off of him “You may leave us.” She said as she looked back at the guard. 

 

“Are you sure my lady?” The guard replied. 

 

“I'm positive, you can go now.” She replied. Jon hadn't torn his eyes away from her yet. 

 

The guard must have bowed or something, Jon was too distracted to tell, all he knew was that as soon as the door was closed it was just the two of them. They both drank in each other's appearance before Lady Ashara broke the silence. 

 

“Why have you come here?” She asked with a little bit of aggression. 

 

It was too late to back down now and with the aggression taking him by surprise he just blurted out the first thing that came to mind. 

 

“Are you my mother?” 

 

You could've heard a pin drop.


 

Chapter Text


 

Jon 

Time seemed to drag on endlessly as he awaited her answer with bated breath. The look of shock and confusion taking over the woman in front of his very eyes, he just hoped he’d not fucked this up with how tactless he’d been with his loaded question. 

 

“No.” Was her answer. 

 

That one word. Who would think one word could do so much damage? A spear to the heart, a hope ripped apart in front of his very eyes. 

 

He looked up at her eyes in the hopes it was a slip of the tongue, an involuntary reaction to seeing her son for the very first time in 17 years, almost like she couldn’t believe who was standing right in front of her very eyes. 

 

Instead of seeing that, all he saw was a look of determination and to Jon...annoyance. 

 

“Are you sure?” He asked and instantly regretted what he’d said. Are you sure? It’d be pretty hard thing to miss. 

 

The annoyed look grew on her face, yep, he’d fucked up. “Am I sure?” She asked in a low tone of voice. She shook her head “Is this some sort of jape? Who are you, did my brother send you in some form of joke?” She asked. 

 

He knew he needed to start this whole thing off with a fresh start. He breathed in and shook his head “No this isn't a joke and I think we’ve got off on the wrong foot, my fault entirely.” He cleared his throat “My name is Jon Snow, I’m Lord Eddard Stark’s b...” 

 

He didn’t get to finish as he was abruptly interrupted “Ned Stark? Don't ever mention that man’s name in my presence ever again!” She fumed, momentarily taking Jon by surprise. “The man is nothing but a liar and a coward!” She continued. She looked back at him fury in her eyes, now was not the time to be oddly aroused by this force of a woman. 

 

She’s not your mother, she said so herself. There’s nothing odd with admiring this fiery dornish woman. 

 

“And I'm guessing you’re his son, the one he had outside his and his wife’s marriage bed?” She guessed. 

 

“You can say bastard you know, it's actually funny how little that word or what it means affects me anymore.” He said with a grin. He appreciated the way she worded the circumstances of his birth but the subtlety was unneeded at this point, the word had lost its edge and couldn't be used as a weapon against him anymore. 

 

She looked annoyed at his reply “I know I can say that word, I just choose not to. It’s a horrible word in the first place and the way it's used is meant to be demeaning." 

 

He was starting to like this woman even more. He only just realised something though “Wait, so you’ve met Ned Stark before?” He asked. He’d heard the rumours before, the rumours of him being smitten with the lady right in front of him but that’s all he thought they were, rumours.  

 

It seems the plot thickens he thought to himself. 

 

Now he really saw the anger spew from her entire being “Met him? That man was supposed to be my husband! The promises we made to each other didn’t seem to be even worth their weight in piss to that man. The rebellion happened and I wasn’t even an afterthought to him.” She growled out. 

 

She wasn’t done either “The last thing that man ever said to me was his promise to me. He promised he would talk to his father, promised he would make his father agree to the secret betrothal we’d mutually agreed on.” She sat back down at her desk and sighed “We were in love or more specifically, I was in love like the fool I was. Evidently he’d gotten what he wanted and completely forgot about me shortly after.” She finished. 

 

Still processing what she’d said he still asked what he probably knew the answer to “And what was it he got from you?” 

 

She looked up at him like he was stupid “Do I really need to spell it out for you? A good looking lad like you must have had some action with the ladies, loved them and left them no doubt...just like your father I suppose.” She said, bitterness laced in every word. 

 

“Don't compare me to that man, I’m nothing like him.” He almost shouted out. 

 

She had the decency to look down in shame “Sorry, don’t listen to me. I shouldn't be taking it out on you. The man is full of secrets and if you're going around asking people if they're your mother I’m guessing he’s been keeping secrets from you as well.” She said as she looked on at him in pity. 

 

“17 years I've been alive and every time I've asked him about my mother, he’s said he’d tell me when the time was right. I got bored of waiting for him to decide when that was and just left. Best decision I've ever made.” He said. 

 

She gave him a smile “No regrets?” She asked. 

 

He sighed “The only regret was not personally telling my siblings I was leaving.” He shook his head “It was necessary though, if they’d got wind of my plans I would've been watched like a hawk and would’ve never found the opportunity to leave.” 

 

Ashara left her desk and moved over to a cabinet at the side of the room. She picked up a decanter and poured them both a glass of red wine, dornish red he assumed. 

 

“Were you close with your brothers and sisters?” She asked as she handed him a glass. 

 

He took the glass and thanked her “Thanks. Yeah, we were close, I’d like to think we still are. I love them all unconditionally and would do anything for any one of them. I just hope my time away hasn’t soured our relationship.” He finished as he necked the entire glass, the burn in his throat welcomed. 

 

She quirked an eyebrow as he went a refilled his glass “If you love them and the feeling is mutual then I imagine they just miss you.” She said as she took a sip from her glass. “I bet your father misses you as well and maybe even Lady Stark in some sense.” She said but it sounded more like a question. 

 

He snorted as he returned to his seat “I couldn’t care less if Lord Stark misses me, he made his choice, I made mine. It's up to him to live with those choices the same way I’ve lived with mine.” He said. 

 

“And Lady Stark?” Ashara said with a mix of intrigue and anger. 

 

He let out a laugh “Lady Stark...That woman is a fart in a hurricane when it comes to the bigger picture. Granted, she didn’t need to be nice to her husband's bastard but she could have at least treated me with an ounce of humanity.” He chuckled “I thought I hated her I really did, but the few years spent away from her has made me realise that I just tolerate her existence. I think she was just angry with me because she had an excuse to be angry with the reminder of her husband's infidelity.” 

 

“Didn't Lord Stark speak up about your treatment?” Ashara asked. She looked rather annoyed. 

 

He shrugged his shoulders as he took a sip of his wine “He tried but what could he really do? Take his wife’s or his bastard’s side of the argument?” He grinned which seemed to catch Ashara by surprise, she must think I'm mad. “I was the worst shit to her in my last few months there. The way I saw it, I had nothing to lose.” He said. “The last day I was there, she struck me across the face for something I said.” He smiled as he looked out the window that was across the room, deep in thought. “She ever does that again I’ll break every bone in that fucking hand of hers.” He finished. 

 

He looked back at Ashara who seemed to have been taken back by his little outbreak “Sorry. Not something you really want to be hearing is it?” He said. 

 

She shook her head “No, it's fine. She sounds like a wonderful person.” She said. She looked down at her lap and stared at her hands, brow furrowed in deep thought. Whatever it was she was thinking of it seemed she’d made a decision with deep breath she took and released. 

 

“Look, I can see that you aren't Lord and Lady Stark’s biggest fan but you care very much for your siblings.” She said. He didn’t like the serious look she had on her face, almost like something was about to happen. The dragonsteel dagger belted around his right ankle he’d been gifted by one of the rescued Daimyo from Euron’s ship was a reassurance. 

 

He nodded as he saw Ashara visibly swallow. 

 

“I’m going to tell you something and before I do, you need to know I had my reasons.” She said. 

 

Jon was getting anxious “Oookay.” He replied. 

 

“You were one of those reasons.” She said. 

 

Now he was just confused. It must have showed on his face because she was quick to explain. 

 

“I thought me and your father were in love with each other, that turned out not to be the case. He got what he wanted and left me to fend for myself after the rebellion.” She shook her head. “I understand he wanted to get his sister back but I'll never forgive him or House Tully for what they did. Greed from House Tully or Ned just neglecting to tell anyone of our betrothal caused me so much anger and resentment.” She said. She was practically shaking with emotion. 

 

She took a calming breath before she spoke again “And then news came of your existence and all was lost. You were evidence of what I didn’t think Lord Stark was capable of. He was so kind and sincere when we first met and all the way up to the last day we saw each other. Evidently that was all an act that I fell for so easily, like the young naïve girl that I was. I couldn’t believe I’d found a man who saw me for more than just my looks.” She looked away from him as he saw the moisture building in her eyes “In a way he was the worst because I fell for it.” 

 

Jon couldn’t believe what he was hearing, he knew his father had secrets but he didn’t know he had this many. Turns out Lady Ashara had her own when she spoke again... 

 

“With the stories you’ve been telling me, with the way you were treated growing up, I made the right decision with what I did. She would've been taken away from me the same way you were taken away from your mother and she would've hated every minute just like you did.” 

 

Now he was really confused “She? Who’s she?” He said. The next words that came out of her mouth were shocking to say the least. 

 

“My daughter. Your half-sister.” Was all that was said. 

 

His eyebrows shot up at that. The room was silent for a few moments as he tried to get his head around what she’d just said. Her daughter...his half-sister. He had so many questions to ask Ashara. Does Lord Stark know about her existence? If he did then why didn’t he tell any of them about their sister? Can he meet this sister of his? The questions ran through his head like a stampede. 

 

It would seem that one of his questions would be answered straight away. “Would you like to meet her?” Ashara said. 

 

He nodded “I would love to meet my sister.” He responded with a smile he couldn’t stop. It would seem that his answer was the right one as a smile lit up Ashara’s face in response. 

 

He came here looking for his mother but ended up finding a sister instead. He shook his head as Ashara led him out of the room...  

 

What other secrets do I not know aboutHe mused. 

 


 

Ashara 

She walked along the pristine corridors of her home along with one of the house guards and the boy, no...man who was currently taking up the most of her thoughts. It was shaping up to be a rather boring day with how many mundane tasks she had to complete before the end of it but Jon had turned up and was turning out to be a pleasant surprise. 

 

The first time she set eyes on him it was like looking at a young Ned...well, if Ned was half a foot taller, fifty pounds of muscle heavier and had a chiseled jawline under the thickest beard she’d ever seen. To put it bluntly, Ashara appreciated the view...until he opened his mouth and blurted out the last thing she expected to hear. The questioning on whether or not she was his mother put the whole situation into perspective, Jon was a very young man and she was a jilted, middle aged woman old enough to actually be his mother. 

 

And when he revealed he was Ned’s baseborn son well, the bigger picture was revealed and her lustful tendencies were well and truly reigned in...for now. 

 

“What's your daughter’s name?” Came the young man’s question as they made their way towards her daughter’s chambers, essentially breaking her from her thoughts. 

 

She turned to look at him and smiled. Gods, he was a handsome lad. His colouring was all Stark but whoever it was that turned Ned’s eye, she must have been stunning and most definitly passed on her beauty to her son. Her smile wavered at that thought. Turned out Ned was like every man after all, using his other head to do the thinking. 

 

He quirked an eyebrow at her and she realised she’d not answered his question. 

 

She cleared her throat “Her names Clarissa, named after her ancestor Lady Clarisse Dayne.” She answered as they rounded a corner and approached her Clarissa’s chambers. 

 

Jon smiled and looked down “That's a lovely name my lady. Am I right in guessing that the young lady that I bumped into in your solar was your daughter?” He asked. 

 

She nodded “You would be correct in your assumption my lord.” She said as she quizzically smiled when he shook his head. 

 

“Just Jon my lady. I'm not a lord nor do I wish to be one.” He answered. 

 

It was her turn to quirk an eyebrow this time “You do not wish to be a lord m...Jon? And why is that may I ask?” She said. 

 

He smiled when she asked that, it seemed an easy smile, not one plastered on by the many lords she’d met in her lifetime “Being a lord just seems so...so constrictive, like there’s too many rules that prevent you from actually living.” His smile didn’t waver as he continued “In some odd twisted way, there’s something about being a nobody that’s extremely valuable. It grants you a degree of freedom if you will.” He finished. 

 

“But with the circumstances of your birth, don’t you sometimes wish for that recognition of being trueborn? That one thing that stops the nasty comments or the poor treatment from the ones who, because of their birth, think they’re better than you?” She questioned. 

 

He shook his head “Maybe a few years ago but not anymore. Now that I have a better understanding on things, the words that are used to bring me down mean absolutely fuck all to me. If a lord or lady tries to argue with me or attempts to belittle me with words about bastardry or what have you, I’ll just laugh in their face. I’ll laugh in their face because I know that’s all they’ve got, that they're nothing without their lordship. Using the gift of being trueborn that was bestowed upon them at birth as a weapon just makes that person look like a spoilt, stuck up cunt in my opinion. Sorry for the language my lady.” He finished with a smirk. 

 

Ashara was very surprised with his answer, either he had a rather large chip on his shoulder or he did in fact believe in what he was saying. And with the sense he was speaking when talking about bratty lords being entitled based purely on their status of birth, she believed it was the latter. 

 

She waved off his apology for his language, she was a lady not a septa. They carried on walking until they finally reached her daughter’s chambers, distinguished by the guard at her door. 

 

The guard in question knocked on Clarissa’s door and announced that her mother was here to pay her a visit. It wasn’t long before the door was being opened and her daughter was looking into her eyes, the eyes of the Starks, the eyes of the man right behind her. 

 

“Clarissa darling, may we come in? I've got somebody I would like you to meet.” She said as her daughter briefly looked over her shoulder, no doubt eyeing Jon up. This could get awkward if the faint blush that was appearing on her cheeks was anything to go by. 

 

Clarissa opened her door wider to let her and Jon in. 

 

Ashara scanned the room and noticed an open book on her desk, she picked it up and noticed it was the book her uncle Arthur had sent her for her last name day. It was titled Dragons, Wyrms, and Wyverns: Their Unnatural History and according to Arthur, it was a rather difficult book to find a copy of. Fortunately for Clarissa, Arthur had a rather good source when it came to rare books. She imagined King Rhaegar was involved in that regard. 

 

She turned to her daughter who was currently busying herself by cleaning and putting things back in their place whilst sneaking looks at Jon. “I'm surprised you haven't worn this book out Clarissa.” She chuckled as she picked up said book. 

 

Clarissa stopped what she was doing and grabbed the book from her hands and closed it. “You know I love this book mother and with recent events that have come to light, I deem it necessary to read up on dragons further.” She said as she placed the book back down on her desk. 

 

She quirked an eyebrow at that “You still believe in what you told me earlier?” She sighed “I don’t mean to rain on your parade sweetie but what you saw was probably some bird or some sort of weird reflection off the sea. I very much doubt what you saw was a dragon, they’ve been extinct for over a hundred years for starters." She explained. 

 

Clarissa shook her head as she huffed “I know what I saw mother.” She said as she looked directly into her eyes, eyes that diverted to the man stood at the door when Jon coughed. 

 

Ashara at that point realised she not introduced the two “Oh gods, where are my manners. Jon, this is my daughter Clarissa. Clarissa, this is Jon Snow...erm...” She said as she struggled with how to present Jon to her daughter. 

 

Jon cleared his throat and held out his hand for Clarissa to shake “I’m a close relative.” Was all that he said as they shook hands. 

 

Clarissa quirked an eyebrow at that and looked towards Ashara for clarification. 

 

Brilliant. Seems like subtly isn't something Jon is too fond of. 

 

She cleared her throat and briefly glared at the young man “Yes, a relative. Clarissa darling, you might want to sit down for this little chat.” She said. 

 

Clarissa frowned and hesitantly sat on her bed, Ashara sat next to her and Jon brought a chair from across the room and sat in front of the pair of them. 

 

She looked towards her daughter, Clarissa herself was too busy eyeing Jon up and down to even notice her mother. 

 

“Clarissa...” She said as her daughter dragged her eyes away from Jon “We’ve talked about your father in the past, haven't we?” She said as a grim look came over her daughter's face “And I’ve told you who he is and why I've not told him about you haven't I?” She said as delicately as she could. 

 

Clarissa sighed “I know mother. I've heard the reasons why and I can't help but agree with them...” She said before a whole different look took over her beautiful face “but a part of me wished he knew, wished he knew so he could see what he’s missed all of his life.” She finished. 

 

Ashara knew how passionate Clarissa was about the whole situation regarding her father. She remembers when she told an eight year old Clarissa who her father was and then explaining it all further to her six years later. To say her daughter blew her top over Lord Starks actions would be an understatement. 

 

“And I understand you wanting to hurt him, trust me, I know.” She said as she shook her head and looked up at Jon who was quietly taking in all the anger his father had caused to her and her daughter “You’re not the only one he’s hurt in the past Clarissa." She finished as her daughter followed her line of sight. 

 

Her daughter looked confused at first but that was quickly remedied with what she said next. “Clarissa, Jon here is Lord Starks son...your half-brother.” 

 

Jon gave her daughter a little smile and wave “Hello Clarissa, it's an honour to meet you.” He said to ease the awkwardness of the whole situation. 

 

Clarissa herself just shook her head in confusion “I don’t understand, I thought you lived with Lord Stark? What’s he done to hurt you?” She asked in an almost judgemental tone. 

 

His smile disappeared at her question “You’re right, I did live under Lord Stark’s roof, and I went wanting for nothing. I got a bed to sleep in, I got regular meals every day, I got a decent education and I got to grow up knowing my brothers and sisters...by the way, you’d love every one of them just like I do.” He sighed “It's the torment that finally made me leave that place.” 

 

Clarissa looked even more confused than before “The torment?” 

 

He looked at her and then back at Clarissa “Listen, I’m just gonna be straight with you, I don’t deal well with any of this heavy shit and talking about it all is the last thing I want to be doing right now.” He said as Clarissa’s eyebrows shot up “I’ll just get straight to the point. Since the age of about 5 or 6 I’ve been asking Lord Stark about my mother and I didn’t stop for almost a decade with my questioning. In that time, the only thing I ever found out was that I was born in Dorne. I don’t know her name, where she lives, if she knows about me or if she’s even alive.” 

 

“Well, I got well and truly fed up with the whole situation, coupled with the fact that Lady Stark was nothing but a raging bitch towards me and the pair of them seemingly angling for me to join the nights watch, I decided to take matters into my own hands and decided to just fuck off. The only regrets I have are that I couldn’t personally say goodbye to my siblings.” He said as he took a calming breath. 

 

“Fast forward nearly 3 years after I left to now, where the only reason I’m in Starfall right now is because of some dumb rumour that your mother was in actual fact my mother. Turns out she’s not but at least I made the right choice in coming here or I wouldn’t have found out I had another sister...The end.” He finished as he seemed to slump in his chair in relief. 

 

Mother and daughter were both silent after what had been said, no doubt absorbing what had just been said. 

 

Jon seemed to take that the wrong way “Listen...” He said as he rose to his feet “I’m just gonna go, this seems to have been a mistake. I’m annoyed that the search for my mother continues but I’m glad I got to meet you. It’s safe to say, I won't be informing Lord Stark of anything that has happened today...he’s not the only one who can keep fucking secrets.” He seemed to growl out as he picked up his chair and moved it back to its original spot. 

 

Clarissa shot up from her bed “No wait!” She said as she grabbed hold of Jon’s arm. 

 

Jon looked down at her, almost startled by Clarissa’s outburst. 

 

Clarissa held his hand in between her two smaller one “At least stay for dinner...I want to hear about my brothers and sisters...I want to get to know you.” She said as she bit her bottom lip and looked up at him with her big grey eyes.  

 

Whatever it was that Jon saw it seemed to do the Job as he all but melted at the look Clarissa was giving him. “Okay, I’ll stay. A warm meal sounds lovely. And it would be my pleasure telling you all about our siblings.” He said as Clarissa hooked her arm around Jon’s and headed towards the door. Ashara just shook her head and smiled at her daughter’s antics. 

 

“Well, let me start off by telling you about our little devil of a sister...” Was all she heard as they exited the room. 

 


 

Daenerys 

She lifted her skirts as she upped her pace, the corridors of the Red Keep were almost a blur with how light footed she was being, all to avoid the one person she really didn’t want to be talking to right now. Ser Jaime was hot on her heels in an attempt to keep up along with that annoying but charming grin he carried so very well. There was no doubt he knew the reason for her eager pace. 

 

“Your Grace! He’s your brother, it can't be that bad.” Ser Jaime huffed out as he finally caught up. 

 

He nearly bumped into her as she stopped and turned around, a quirked eyebrow aimed at him “Really Ser Jaime? You’ve met my brother, one of the greatest moments of my life was when my brother told me Viserys was marrying and subsequently moving to Sunspear. You know why I don’t want to see him, the ravens have been getting more and more aggressive." She said as she turned back around and carried on down the corridor. 

 

Ah the ravens. Viserys had been living in Sunspear for around 2 years now and within the first 6 moons of his stay she’d received 5 ravens from him, each one getting more and more aggressive. To cut a long story short, her brother hated living in Dorne, hated living with the Martells, hated his wife and ultimately, hated their brother for making all of that happen. 

 

The first 5 ravens she’d read and kept to herself, obviously Viserys needed somebody to vent to and she was kind of surprised she was the one he’d chosen. Even with him moving away she couldn’t get rid of him. But then the ravens changed, as much as her brother thought she was stupid and simple she, unluckily for him, wasn’t in the slightest. A pattern had started to emerge in the letters he would send to her and she cottoned on pretty early. 

 

He was trying to get out of his marriage. 

 

According to Rhaenys, who had heard from Tyene, who had been told by Arianne, Viserys had only ever visited their marriage bed the one time and that was the night of the wedding. She’d blushed when Rhae had told her everything that Tyene had told her, the fact that Viserys hadn't even finished inside Arianne due to his heavy drinking at the wedding feast. And since he’d not slept with her since, it was no surprise they’d been no pregnancy announcement. 

 

So Viserys wasn’t even visiting his wife’s bed. He’d also mentioned time after time how he felt belittled and laughed at behind his back by everyone in Dorne, how nobody showed him the respect he should be shown except for the likes of his brother in law, Prince Quentyn and his new personal guard, Gerold Dayne. Prince Quentyn was another man she didn’t want to show the time of day to either and was very involved in her brother’s mad plan, a plan that was doomed to fail. 

 

Turns out, Gerold Dayne was more than just a new personal guard, he was in on this elaborate scheme as well, along with her brother and Quentyn...with her unfortunately being the catalyst that tied this entire thing together. 

 

Viserys wanted out of his marriage with Arianne but couldn’t end it without causing offence to the Martells. He couldn’t kill Arianne, she knew her brother had psychopathic tendencies but even she knew he wouldn’t do such a thing. So, his way of fixing all of this would be to runaway to Essos for a few years, the Martells would be offended by his disappearance and demand an annulment and some form of compensation. And in her brother’s twisted mind, her marrying Quentyn was more than enough to fix that.  

 

Gerold Dayne, or Darkstar as some people liked to refer to him as, also profited from this whole farce. The man believed if Viserys was out of the picture then he had a shot at taming the Princess of Dorne for himself. The whole situation made her sick and she wanted absolutely nothing to with it, thus she’d decided to ignore every single one of Viserys’ progressively worse letters. 

 

And then he’d turned up in King’s Landing and she couldn’t ignore him as easily as she wanted to anymore. 

 

She’d only seen him once since he’d arrived and that was during the welcoming party. She’d kissed each of his cheeks in a public show of endearment, fooling absolutely nobody who knew about their childhood. He’d gripped her shoulders like a vice when they’d embraced, not too dissimilar to when they were kids. A whispered breath in her ear “We need to talk soon sister.” was all that was said and he moved on to greet the rest of the family. 

 

Viserys had used the excuse of seeing his new grand-niece for coming to the capital but with Prince Quentyn and Ser Gerold Dayne accompanying him, she wasn’t easily fooled...that and the fact that Viserys didn’t give a fuck about the ‘Half breeds’ of the family. 

 

Daenerys and Ser Jaime hurried down one of the many corridors in the Red Keep with no particular destination in mind. 

 

‘Maybe I should go and see Alysanne again, Viserys definitely won't be there.’ 

 

“Where are we going? if you don’t mind me asking, your grace?” Ser Jaime questioned as his polished armour clunked in the silence of the corridor. 

 

“I’m not quite sure yet but anywhere that isn't in Viserys’ presence is always ideal. I think another visit to my grand-niece is in order, don’t you?” She said. 

 

They were moving that quick that when they rounded one of the many corners in this maze she calls home, she collided into the chest of an unsuspecting individual. Ser Jaime held onto her shoulder and steadied her which gave her the opportunity to look up at whoever she’d clashed with. 

 

Brilliant. Of all the people to bump into right now and it had to be this idiot. 

 

“Your grace, what a pleasant surprise. If I knew you were in such a rush to see me, I would have come to you immediately.” Lord Aurane drawled out. 

 

Dany rolled her eyes, it's not that she hated the man, it was more to do with what he wanted, and he was barking up the wrong tree. The fact that he looked very similar to her brother Rhaegar was enough to make any form of intimacy with the man way too awkward and off putting, coupled with the fact that he was so far up his own arse he could probably taste his breakfast, Dany couldn’t for the life of her see Lord Aurane as anything but a pest. 

 

“Don't worry my Lord, I don’t think people being in a rush to see you is something you should be worrying about.” She said in the most innocent tone she could. 

 

Lord Aurane just looked at the ground and smirked “Duly noted your grace.” He said before looking back at her “If I may be so forward in saying, you look beautiful on this fine day your grace.” He said as he seemed to put his best smouldering look on. To Dany, the compliment was as basic as anything she’d heard from any of her suitors and his face looked like a mongrel chewing a wasp. 

 

She would play this little game though, if she kept him keen then maybe he could be useful against the many advances from her suitors, mainly Prince Quentyn.  

 

She lifted her chin and looked him right in the eyes “I know.” Was all she said and proceeded to carry on walking, past the now smiling Master of Ships. She wasn’t a vain person but she wasn’t naïve enough to think she was ugly, their family had always been blessed with the great beauty of their dragonlord ancestors. 

 

Ser Jaime caught up with her quite quickly, she could almost hear the smirk on his face when he spoke “Well played your grace, you know I’ve never been much of a fan of his and to see him dismissed so casually really warms my heart.” He said. She turned and looked over her shoulder and just smiled back at him. 

 

“Dogs can be useful if they’re trained Ser Jaime, I’m dangling the treat completely out of his reach with one hand and tying the collar around his neck with the other.” She whispered to him in an amused tone. 

 

Ser Jaime just shook his head and grinned “You’ve been spending too much time with your mother.” He said as they reached a door to the outside that lead to the Royal Gardens. Two guards bowed their heads as they opened the door for her. 

 

She looked over her shoulder again at Ser Jaime “So what if I do, I love my mother and she is a remarkable woman.” She said in a tone that refused anything but agreement. Her mother was the most remarkable woman she would ever meet, a survivor and warrior in her own way. If her grace was a weapon, her mother could wield it and cut down any knight with minimal effort. 

 

Ser Jaime to his credit looked down and almost whispered in agreement “That she is your grace, that she is.” He said as he looked back up at her with the most serious face she’d seen on him in a while before his eyes wandered just over her shoulder and widened. 

 

He put his arm around her shoulder and ushered her towards the stables at the bottom of the hill. “Don't look now your grace but I've just seen the three people you’ve been avoiding all this time.” He said in a hushed voice. 

 

Obviously when somebody tells you not to look you look anyway and Daenerys had always been an inquisitive soul. With quick look over her shoulder, the words Ser Jaime had uttered were confirmed. Viserys along with Prince Quentyn and Ser Gerold were having what looked like a rather interesting conversation with her nephew and niece, Aegon and Rhaenys. The pair of them were accompanied by their Kingsguard, Ser Barristan and Ser Jonothor. 

 

With her mind already made up, she hurried her steps and approached the stables, a visit to the orphanage sounded like a wonderful idea right about now. She entered the stables with Ser Jaime close by and walked up to her horse, a light grey almost white mare called Silver, a name day gift from her mother 3 years ago. 

 

With her mounted on Silver and Ser Jaime on his brown stallion, they both left the Red Keep into the busyness of the city to, ironically, seek some peace and quiet from some of the inhabitants of her home. 

 


 

Arya 

“Arya Stark, sit back down right now!” Came the annoyed cry from Septa Mordane. 

 

She completely ignored her as she exited the room, even her last warning from the old bat fell on deaf ears. Sewing fishes into little bits of fabric was the last thing she wanted to be doing right now. She’d rather be climbing with Bran or sparring in the godswood with Rickon with any of the sticks they could find. What she really wanted to do was find out what had got her mother and father in such a state recently, whatever it was surely involved Robb since he was always in father’s solar as of late. 

 

She was heading outside to look for Bran or Rickon when Jory walked past, giving her a small grin and shaking his head “Skipping lessons again m...Arya. Wouldn’t it be easier to just tough them out so you can at least avoid your septa’s and your mother’s ire?” He said. 

 

She shrugged as she passed him and shouted over her shoulder “Not really. It’s fun to see how red in the face I can make them go. Mother gets very annoyed but Septa Mordane is the best, I’ve gotten into the deep reds with her now, I can't be far off purple now surely?” She said with that grin that seemed to work on most people apart from her parents. Jory just chuckled. 

 

Before she opened the door to the courtyard, she shouted back at him “Jory! Do you know where Bran and Rickon are?” 

 

“Where do you think? They’re in their lessons like you should be you little troublemaker.” Came his amused reply. She liked Jory, he was her favourite guard around Winterfell. It was two things about him that stood out really, first he could actually take a joke and have a laugh unlike some people around here and second, whenever he caught her messing around with sticks in the godswood or wherever, he would actually giver her pointers and tips instead of snatching her fun away and sending her to her mother. 

 

She rolled her eyes and huffed at his answer though, of course they’d be in lessons. “Fine, guess I’ll go find someone else to bug.” She said. 

 

He laughed at that and turned around to head off to wherever it is guards go “You could just go back to your lessons.” He said over his shoulder. 

 

“Sod off!” Was all she said as she opened the door and breathed in the cool northern air. She heard Jory laugh one more time before rounding a corner and that was the end of that. 

 

She eyed the yard in search of her two younger brothers but that was empty apart from a few guards sparring, one of which was still sporting a crooked nose that her brother had so kindly gifted him with. Her face fell when thinking about him but recovered quickly before she fell down that hole of misery. 

 

It's not the time for thinking about him right now, that comes one random night of the month where I can bury my face in my pillow before letting it all out. 

 

With a deep breath to centre herself, she headed up towards the maesters turret where Bran and Rickon were no doubt receiving their boring lessons from Maester Lewin. She liked Maester Lewin but he didn’t half drone on sometimes. 

 

She entered the turret and bolted up the stairs two at a time, it wasn’t long before she was reaching the top and pressing her ear to the door of the maester’s room. All she heard was a monotone voice speaking, the words of which she couldn’t decipher for herself. 

 

She decided to knock on the door and hope for the best with the whole situation. 

 

Maester Lewin was the one to answer the door, as to be expected. “Lady Arya, this is an unusual surprise. Especially since, just like the boys here, you are supposed to be in your lessons hmm.” The maester said in a somewhat amused tone. 

 

She got up on her tip toes in an attempt to look over the old man’s shoulder to see what her brothers were doing. Unfortunately, her small height had once again betrayed her and her straining was in vain. With a huff, she planted her feet back down on the floor and looked up at the maester who had an eyebrow quirked, no doubt waiting for an explanation for her appearance. 

 

“I've just come to see what Bran and Rick are up to.” She said in the most innocent voice she could muster. Unfortunately for her, absolutely nobody in Winterfell fell for her act. 

 

“Again, you should be in your lessons with Septa Mordane young lady. What would Lady Stark say if she found out you’ve skipped another lesson this week hmm?” Lewin questioned. 

 

“I finished early...” She lied “and I wanted to see if Bran and Rick had finished too.” She said as she smiled up at Lewin. 

 

“FINISHED!” Rickon yelled from within the maester’s room as he emerged from the gap between Lewin and the door frame and slapped a piece of parchment into the maester’s hands. Maester Lewin didn’t even get chance to speak with the boy as he’d already shot down the stairs whilst furiously giggling at something that had clearly tickled him. 

 

Between the gap she could see Bran still writing at a table in the middle of the room, he gave her a wave and a smile before looking back down at his work. Bran seemed to be the only one out of them all who actually enjoyed Maester Lewin’s lessons...somehow. 

 

“Oh, that little...” She heard after she’d returned the wave Bran sent her with one of her own. She quirked her eyebrow at the old man, almost daring him to finish his sentence. 

 

“You and that boy are going to be the death of me, mark my words.” He said as he shook his head. She looked at the piece of paper Rickon had given him and couldn't stop the laugh that emerged from her. 

 

Rickon had drawn a picture of a dog or a wolf, she couldn’t tell, all she did know is that it seemed to have one too many limbs and happened to be pooping on a person who looked remarkably like a septa. He’d even signed his name at the bottom. 

 

The stern look Maester Lewin was giving her made her reign in the laughter. She cleared her throat and composed herself. 

 

“Maester Lewin...are you gonna keep that or can I have it?” She asked. It was a work of art and it would look splendid on the wall in her chambers. 

 

He shook his head and muttered something under his breath before replying “Yes I'll be keeping it and no you can't have it, Lord Stark will probably want to see this.” He said. 

 

She couldn’t help it when she replied “Why? Does he need visual guidance on how to poop on a septa?” She said and didn’t wait for a response, she was already half way down the stairs when Maester Lewin shouted “You’re not funny Arya Stark! Your parents will be hearing about this!” Was all she heard as she exited the tower. 

 

She laughed as she broke out into the fresh air and it didn’t take her long to notice Rick sat on a barrel across from her munching on an apple with a massive grin on his face. 

 

“We are so dead when mother and father find out what we did.” Rickon explained as he jumped off the barrel.  

 

“Where did you get that apple Rick?” She asked. 

 

“Found it on Maester Lewin’s desk.” He said before taking another big bite out of said apple. 

 

She quirked an eyebrow at him as they started walking off towards the godswood “Found it or stole it?” She asked. 

 

He shrugged his shoulders and answered with a mouthful “I dunno. It was just there and nobody else was eating it.” 

 

She shook her head and smiled as they walked under the arch that led to the godswood, Rickon was so random sometimes. 

 

“I liked your picture by the way, you have a talent. I tried to retrieve it to keep for myself but Lewin seemed to grow attached to it rather quickly. You’ll have to draw another one for me so I can put it on my wall.” She said as she smiled at her little brother. Even at the mere age of 5, he was still shaping up to be her perfect partner in crime. 

 

Rickon didn’t get chance to answer her request because she was dragging him into the thick bush surrounding the grove as soon as she heard the raised voices coming from near the heart tree. She put her finger on her lips and Rickon did the same as she listened in on what was being said. 

 

“Are you sure?!” She heard somebody say, it sounded like Robb. 

 

“I’m almost certain Robb, Lord Karstark received a ransom note anonymously but has already made up his mind. He believes its Lord Bolton’s bastard and he’s already threatening to go to war with House Bolton because of it. This needs to get settled as quickly as possible before any war can be declared so I’m rounding up some of our best hunters and fighters in the North and we are going to hunt this monster down, mark my words.” Her father seemed to growl. 

 

“I’ll kill him. I’ll kill him if he’s done anything to her...that's a promise father.” Robb almost shouted.  

 

What in the world has happened to get Robb so worked up? Done anything to her? Who’s her? 

 

“We’ll get him Robb, I promise you that.” Her father replied. 

 

“I know we will, because I’m going and I’ll put him in the ground myself.” Robb declared. 

 

“Robb...” 

 

“No father, this isn't up for discussion. That cretin has kidnapped my betrothed, what kind of person would I be if I just sat back and did nothing? How could anyone respect a Lord like that?” Robb forced out. She’d never heard Robb speak to their father in such a tone before. 

 

Whatever her father’s response was gonna be was lost to the wind as a guard seemed to rush into the grove shouting. 

 

“Lord Stark, a note from Lady Stark...Lady Arya ran off from her lessons and hasn’t been seen since.” The guard huffed out as he caught his breath. 

 

Shit. 

 

She eyed Rickon who was doing a bad job at keeping the grin off his face “You're in trouble.” He whispered out. 

 

In trouble indeed, and by the sounds of her father and brother’s heated conversation, she wasn’t the only one. 


 

Chapter Text


 

Jon 

The cool morning air blew around him as they flew high in the clouds. The air was cooler this high up and was a much appreciated respite from the humid conditions down below. The heat of Dorne however, was slowly becoming less and less of a problem for him as they travelled north, if he had to guess he would say they were back in the Reach but a part of him also thought it could be the Stormlands. 

 

The cool air came with the necessity of staying high up in the clouds though, Kireina had already been spotted by Clarissa if her claims were true, and with the very detailed description of what she’d seen, he was inclined to believe her. They’d not been back in Westeros long and already people were noticing Kireina’s existence, the last thing they needed. 

 

Speaking of Clarissa, he was glad he’d had the opportunity to spend some time with her. He’d never met a person so interested in swordplay that had never picked a sword up at all. She reminded him of Arya a little bit, if Arya gave a rat’s ass about other things a girl could enjoy. He in fact, profited from Clarissa’s interest in her more ladylike hobbies when she volunteered to give his hair a trim. What he expected to be a ten, fifteen minute job turned into an hour of chit chat and experimentation. Ashara had laughed when she saw the braid and he untied it there on the spot, one look at a grinning Clarissa was all that he needed to work out it had all been a piss take. 

 

He shook his head in the breeze, a smile playing on his lips. Clarissa, as it turned out, was somewhat of a joker, always trying to say something entertaining to get people smiling. The meal they had yesterday evening was interesting to say the least. Him, Ashara and Clarissa had a cosy meal, food and wine was consumed, laughs were had and stories were told. Some causing frowns and sadness, others causing smiles and laughter. Jon felt so welcome in their home, it was mad to think that the two homes he’d stayed in since leaving his actual home, he’d felt more at home in. Maybe at the end of the day, it wasn’t Jon who was the problem, maybe it was something or somebody else. 

 

Wouldn’t that be an interesting turn of events. 

 

Day became evening whilst they finished off their meal and Jon was finding himself being invited to stay the night instead of his original plan of leaving after he’d eaten. A nice bed to sleep on had been missed between leaving Kochi and arriving in Westeros so he easily accepted their hospitality. A room was prepared for him and a much appreciated bath was made as well. 

 

Spare clothes had been put aside for him since Ashara almost demanded his current clothes be washed before he left. Maids filled his bath with steaming water as he perused the room they’d prepared for him, Starfall was a very clean castle he had to admit. 

 

A small blonde haired maid asked him to take his tunic off so that they could take it to be washed whilst he bathed, instead he just took the whole lot off with his back turned to them and plopped them into her arms before darting and submerging himself into the scolding bath. After the eyeful he’d given the poor girls, the maids left him in peace to soak, not without one of them volunteering to help him wash. He was a grown man, he knew how to clean himself just fine. 

 

Sleep came easily that night and before he knew it, he was saying his goodbyes to the two Dayne ladies. He received a hug from Clarissa and she received a promise from him that he wouldn’t be a stranger and that he would come and see her again soon. According to her, there was supposed to be this big tournament at Harrenhal happening soon that she’d managed to convince her mother to let her go to and that that would be a perfect time to meet up again. 

 

Ashara surprisingly gave him a hug as well, nothing much was said after, just a promise to stay out of trouble and to visit again soon. Even with it turning out that Ashara wasn’t his mother, she still welcomed him back into her home. She was a remarkable woman and Lord Stark had well and truly fucked up in that regard. 

 

And all that led up to now. After retrieving his swords, he set off from Starfall on foot and snuck off into the red mountains. There, he was able to meet back up with Kireina and set off whilst hopefully using the mountains themselves as cover from any keen eyed travellers. He didn’t know why he was bothering though, she’d already been spotted once and probably a few other times by some random farmer or fisherman. Hopefully claims of a dragon sighting would be chalked off as madness or just plain seeing things...hopefully. 

 

Now the pair of them where heading north...to see his other siblings...to confront his father...to get the answers he really fucking needed and deserved at this point. 

 

They were a few hours into their journey now, a journey he told himself he wasn't delaying but in reality, he was. He was honestly scared how he’d react or how they’d react when he turned up. Just thinking about Lord Stark and his dirty secrets woke something inside him, like an ancient power being woken up from its slumber. 

 

Probably frustration and anger...or trapped wind, who even knew anymore. 

 

“I wonder what’s happening down there?” Came a bellowing voice in his head as Kireina disturbed him from his inner turmoil. 

 

He looked over the side of his dragon, ‘his dragon he thought with a smile, something he would never get bored of thinkingThe height at which they were at never failed to amaze him, the mini heart attacks he would have when looking down from a great height had dissipated in time, thank the gods. 

 

As he squinted at the ground below, he could just about see some activity around a great big castle. To him, even at this height, it looked freshly built, with pillars and domes making up the main aesthetic of the structure. All of it was built with a mixture of red and white slabs of brick or marble, he couldn’t really tell from where he was sat at the moment. If it was indeed made out of marble then it must have cost the owner an arm and a leg to build. 

 

“Looks like somebody is retiring and building themselves a little summer home doesn’t it?” He said to Kireina who huffed in what he hoped was her attempt at a laugh, he really hoped she was trying to laugh. It would be adorable...or disturbing, something for them to work on he thought. 

 

“You should be spending less time coming up with jokes and more time thinking about what you’re gonna say to your father. How many years has it been?” Kiriena expressed. 

 

“Since the last time I saw him? Well I was about 14 when I left Winterfell so it's been roughly 3 years or near enough.” He replied. 

 

Fuckin hell! He hadn't realised it had been that long. 

 

“And in those 3 years, have you come up with anything to say to the man?” She asked. 

 

Most of the things Jon wanted to say to the him had already been said in his years living there, most of them were unanswered questions. Kireina brought up a very good point it turned out, what was he gonna say? Would he be so against threating the man? Threatening his own father? 

 

Maybe he should just hound the Lord of Winterfell until he crumbled, one thing he did know was that he wasn’t leaving Winterfell again until he had at least some answers. 

 

Who is my mother? 

 

Is my mother dead or alive? 

 

Did my mother want me? 

 

Does my mother love me? 

 

Why are you such a cruel cunt for keeping all this from me? 

 

The questions were endless.  

 

At the end of the day, the past few years had changed Jon into a very persuasive person when he wanted to be and Lord Stark would find that out himself in good time. 

 

The time for pussy footing around the situation was over, it was definitely the time to get answers now. He was ready for them even if Lord Stark said he wasn't. 

 

“When the time is right” his father would say. Well fuck that, the time for the truth was now! 

 

He squeezed his thighs tighter around the bulk of muscle between his legs, urging his companion into a quicker pace. He could feel it now, the anxiety of actually turning back up at his childhood home and explaining himself was slowly fading away. In its place was a brewing excitement, an excitement of what? He didn’t know. Was it seeing his siblings again? Well he was already excited to see his siblings again so that couldn’t have been what quenched his anxiousness. 

 

No, he was excited to confront his father, rage at him, scream at him...maybe do other things? 

 

He shook his head, was he bitter? The things he would do that were conjuring up in his mind must have been the thoughts of a bitter man surely? 

 

“To be fair, you do have a right to be bitter. There is an element of cruelty keeping a child’s parent from them...unless the parent in question was a monster.” Kireina projected. Even she wasn’t sure on the whole situation by the sounds of it. 

 

What if his father had a genuine excuse from keeping the identity of his mother away from him? What if he was in fact, protecting him from something? 

 

“ARRRGHH! FOR FUCK SAKE!” He screamed into the wind. He couldn’t afford to be second guessing himself anymore. It didn’t matter if his mother was a bread basket who ate children and drank her own piss, he needed to know himself instead of being protected from the truth. He was a big boy now for fuck sake, he could look after himself. 

 

“Did that make you feel better?” Kireina asked him. He could hear and feel her humorous tone. 

 

He sighed “It did, sort of.” He replied. 

 

Whatever answers he uncovered when he returned to Winterfell, he hoped and prayed he could handle them. He was preparing for the worst but hoping for the best and at the end of the day, Lord Stark’s response couldn’t be as bad as his gut was telling him it could be. 

 

The answers couldn’t possibly tear his relationship with his father apart or what was left of said relationship. After the revelations in Starfall and the different outlook on his father, anything at this point was possible. Hell, in some mad turn of events, he could at the end of all this, end up actually being trueborn. There could be a keep or a castle just waiting for him somewhere with his name on it and he was oblivious to it. 

 

Surely not? 

 


 

Aegon 

He grabbed his waterskin and took a generous mouthful and poured the rest of its contents all over his face and head. The breeze in the air cooling his hot face after a rigorous sparring session with the Kingsguard. 

 

“That was a rather good session today, your grace.” Ser Arthur said to him as the dornishman pulled out his own waterskin. 

 

Aegon glared at the man but there was no malice behind it, obviously Ser Arthur knew this and proceeded to grin “Good session? For you maybe. I swear you enjoy humiliating me sometimes.” He said, a grin slowly forming on his face. 

 

Ser Arthur chuckled at that “You wound me your grace. I don’t humiliate you because I enjoy it, I humiliate you because it’s the only way you’ll learn.” He said as he avoided the thrown cork of Aegon’s waterskin. At forty name days old, Ser Arthur still had the reflexes and movement speed of a cat. 

 

Aegon grumbled at him “The day somebody slaps you about in a sparring session will be declared a day of celebration around the realm, mark my words good ser.” He said as he walked over to a servant and handed him his sparring sword. 

 

Ser Arthur laughed at that “And I welcome that day with open arms your grace, sometimes being regarded as the best swordsman in the realm can get quite tiring with all the sparring sessions I'm invited to, let somebody else do them for me is what I say. This body isn't getting any younger.” He said as Aegon saw the grin plastered on the man’s face. 

 

He just shook his head “Funny man.” He muttered under his breath, with the chuckle he heard, Ser Arthur had heard him loud and clear. 

 

The good nature of the whole situation soured when he caught a glimpse of his uncle at the other end of the yard. 

 

He turned to Ser Arthur “I’m gonna head up to see my two girls, fancy escorting me there?” He said as he made his way towards the exit of the yards without even an answer from the Sword of the Morning. Based on the brisk movements from the knight to catch up with him, the answer was yes. 

 

Ser Arthur was always a very observant man, today wasn’t any different. “I saw Prince Viserys at the other end of the yard just then, with how quick you left, I’m guessing that ‘little chat’ he wanted with you yesterday didn’t impress you.” He said in a knowing tone. Everybody in the Red Keep knew what his uncle was like, everyone apart from Viserys himself. 

 

Aegon just gave him a grim smile as they walked past a bowing servant “Well, to put it simply Ser Arthur, no it did not." 

 

Ser Arthur just shook his head as he walked side by side with him “What’s the Prince done now your grace?” He asked. 

 

Aegon let out a humourless laugh, he couldn’t believe what his uncle had been subtly proposing to him. Viserys wanted supporters for his plan but he wouldn’t be finding any in between him or Rhaenys “Get this, he tried to convince me that my cousin, Prince Quentyn, is a perfect match for Daenerys. The way he was talking about it, to him it’s a sure thing and all it needs is father’s approval.” 

 

He shook his head “Apparently, him and Quentyn want me and Rhae to have a word with father in the hopes of convincing him of the match.” He laughed “It's almost like he doesn’t know father’s stance on the whole arranged marriage thing, he would never agree to it.” He finished, looking at the knight for his agreement. 

 

Ser Arthur looked down and coughed, that made Aegon frown. 

 

“He would never agree to the match, would he Ser Arthur.” He said in a sterner tone in the hopes of getting an answer out of the now visibly cagey Kingsguard. 

 

Ser Arthur cleared his throat “I wouldn’t like to say, your grace.” He almost muttered. 

 

Aegon stopped walking and held his arm out in front of the knight, he looked at the man’s face and squinted in suspicion “You know something, don’t you?” He said. 

 

Ser Arthur looked at him and shook his head “I’m not inclined to tell you, your grace.” He said. 

 

Aegon got slightly annoyed at that “What do you mean? If you know something about all this that I don’t know then I want to know.” He said in a slightly louder voice, servants walking past looked at them as they passed them in the corridor. 

 

Ser Arthur sighed “I’m not inclined to tell you because the conversation was between your mother and father, I was just merely inside guarding. You know what the Kingsguard’s vows dictate, I cannot break my King’s trust by sharing his conversations and secrets with others. Even if that person does so happen to be his son and the crown prince.” Ser Arthur finished. 

 

Aegon huffed and started walking again “Fine, don’t tell me. Looks like we are paying my mother a visit then doesn’t it. Do you happen to know where she is at the moment.” He asked. Ser Arthur didn’t look happy that Aegon was snooping in his King’s business. 

 

Unfortunately for Ser Arthur, Aegon hadn't asked him anything he shouldn’t be asking so begrudgingly told him his mother’s whereabouts “She’ll be having afternoon tea with your grandmother and some of the other ladies in court. It would be wise not to disturb them, your grace.” Ser Arthur said very hesitantly. 

 

Aegon shook his head and waved his hand “No no, it won't take long. I just want to ask her a few questions that’s all. She’ll be back to having her ear chewed off by Lady Olenna in no time.” He japed. Ser Arthur saw no humour in it if his face was anything to go by. 

 

It only took them a few minutes to get to where the afternoon tea was being held, even with his mother being the Queen of Westeros, his grandmother was the real alpha in these meetings, and if he was being honest, she was the real  alpha in a lot of other things that went on in the Red Keep as well. 

 

Ser Oswell and Ser Jonothor were stood outside the door to the Dowager Queen’s room, both of them giving him a bow. 

 

“I won't keep you good sers, I’m just here to have a word with the Queen.” He said as Ser Oswell rose an eyebrow. 

 

“The Queen is currently in a meeting with the Queen mother and Lady Olenna, would you like me to pass a message on, your grace?” Ser Oswell asked, almost like he couldn’t believe anyone was willing to disturb the Dowager Queen when she was in her element. 

 

“No no, it’s alright. I just want a quick word with her that’s all. Grandmother won't mind, I'm her favourite.” He said with a grin. Ser Arthur snorted behind him and Ser Jonothor’s eyes lit up with mirth. 

 

He turned around and looked at Ser Arthur. To his credit, the knight had recovered quite quickly and he was met with a stone cold face. 

 

He turned back around and quirked an eyebrow at Ser Oswell, the knight sighed “Very well. On your own head be it, your grace.” He said and knocked on the door to announce Aegon to the room. 

 

“Prince Aegon is here and would like to have a word with the Queen, your graces.” Ser Oswell said through the gap of the door he’d stuck his head through. 

 

“I’ll be one moment ladies.” He heard his mother say. Her turned around to Ser Arthur and gave him a grin. 

 

His mother arrived at the door and looked at him “What is it Aegon? We’re kind of busy in here at the moment.” His mother asked with a quirked eyebrow. 

 

“Can we discuss this somewhere private?” He asked, eyeing the Kingsguard. 

 

His mother did the same and sighed, she turned back around into the room “I won't be long ladies, discuss between yourselves.” His mother said to the occupants of the room. 

 

She then exited the room and looped her arm with Aegon’s “We can go to my solar since its just down the corridor.” She said and he nodded his head in agreement. Ser Oswell stayed where he was, guarding the door to his grandmother’s room and Ser Jonothor fell side by side with Ser Arthur as the two monarchs strode along towards their destination. 

 

His mother turned to him “What is this about egg? Has something happened?” She asked. 

 

He carried on looking forward as they walked “I was hoping you could answer that for me. It may or may not have something to do with Daenerys.” He said. 

 

His mother quirked an eyebrow at that and looked over her shoulder at Ser Arthur. Aegon may have inadvertently gotten Ser Arthur into trouble when he said that. 

 

They made it to his mother’s solar in no time, he told both the knights to wait outside for them until they were done. Ser Arthur looked like he wanted to protest but one quick glare from his mother killed that idea off almost instantly. 

 

His mother walked over to her upholstered lounger at the side of the room and sat down, she patted the empty space next to her so Aegon followed and took a seat himself. 

 

“What’s all this about then? I have a feeling Ser Arthur has been loose lipped. I’ll have to have a word with him about that.” His mother said as she looked at him inquisitively. 

 

He chuckled “He might have but don’t go too hard on him, he did say he was in the room when you and father were having a discussion, he didn’t tell me anymore than that.” He said. 

 

She nodded and then waved a hand in front of herself “Well? What is it you want to talk about?” She said. 

 

“Well it's about Daenerys.” He said as he looked at his mother “Me and Ser Arthur were talking and the subject about marriage came up, specifically Daenerys and marriage. I said father wouldn’t be forcing Dany into any sort of arrangement she didn’t want and when I looked at Ser Arthur for his agreement on the matter, he just closed up...Has something happened?” He asked. 

 

She looked down at her hands that were resting on her lap and sighed “Me and your father have been discussing not only Daenerys but also your sister’s future as well.” She said. “We are worried and have been worried for a few years now. We’ve both had a word with Dany and Rhae and gotten absolutely nowhere with the stubborn sods. It doesn’t help that the Rhaella is wholeheartedly on their side of the argument.” She said as she huffed out. 

 

“Is that what you were discussing in there with her just now?” He asked with a furrowed brow. 

 

“Pretty much. Lady Olenna was there as well but I’m pretty sure she’s fishing for a betrothal between Rhae and her grandson and not to actually come up with helpful suggestions. Like the woman hasn’t enough with her granddaughter being Queen one day.” His mother said. 

 

He loved both Rhae and Dany but he felt like they were being a bit too stubborn when it came to marriage. In his eyes, this ideal man that they are waiting for didn’t exist and they need to lower their expectations “Did you come up with any good ideas?” 

 

His mother let out a humourless chuckle “Not really. Rhaella came up with one idea but it sounded like wishful thinking more than anything.” His mother said. 

 

“And?” He asked. 

 

She furrowed her brow and shook her head “She was saying that maybe the upcoming tournament at Harrenhal might help discover some hidden gems for the girls. If this is being touted as the biggest tournament in Westerosi history then surely they’ll be somebody there for them to meet. All the Lords and their sons will be there, maybe one of them will crown one of the girls Queen of love and beauty, maybe not. All I know is that if nothing has changed after this tournament then Rhaegar might have to put his foot down. He's had a few lords and ladies on his back and it’s going to get to a point where the excuses have to end, I’m afraid. The girls won't like it but it’s not like they haven't had years to make a decision.” She finished in a sad tone. 

 

He patted her leg with his hand and stood up “Well, let’s hope this tournament is fruitful then mother. I really don't want it to get messy after.” He said as is mother stood with him.  

 

“At this point, they should just marry each other and be done with it.” His mother said with a chuckle. He just shook his head as they made their way to the door. 

 

Careful what you wish for mother, Rhae and Dany would take that offer in a heartbeat if it meant getting their own way. 

 

They always find a way. 

 


 

Ned 

It was late in the evening when they crested a hill and saw Hornwood in the distance, about an hour's ride from where they were. There was a fair few of them that had made the journey and they’d made very good time since setting off just before dawn. From Winterfell there was him, Robb, Theon, Ser Rodrik and a couple of house guards, from Castle Cerwyn there was Lord Cley Cerwyn and a few of his house guards and from Torrhen’s Square, Ser Helman Tallhart had brought along with him 5 of his best trackers. 

 

All together there was about 25 of them and hopefully even more of them when they arrived at Hornwood where hopefully, Lord Halys would add to the group. After a rest tonight, there should be around 30 men ready and waiting tomorrow morning to sniff out this little beast Roose Bolton calls his son. 

 

He looked to his right where Robb was sat mounted on his horse, next to him was Theon who was quite clearly whispering some tasteless jape into his son’s ear based off the grin that was plastered across his face. It’d been like that for a couple of hours now, Theon had been desperately trying to get a laugh or a smile out of Robb but his son was having none of it. The whole situation they found themselves in had made Robb miserable and quiet, not that he blamed him like. 

 

Will you just fuck off.” He heard his son say in a harsh whisper towards Theon. Thankfully, nobody was close enough to the three of them to hear his outburst other than Ser Rodrik who looked down and chuckled. 

 

“Fine! I’ve done nothing but try and cheer you up these past few hours but if you want to sit there and be miserable for the rest of the journey, go ahead. I thought we’d got rid of the brooding one but it seems I was mistaken.” Theon growled out. 

 

Robb looked like he’d been slapped but recovered rather quickly, anger clearly overtaking him as he lifted his left arm and curled his hand into a fist. Thankfully Ned was there to grab his arm before he caused a scene and got chins wagging around camp. 

 

Ned glared at Theon for that comment, the young man looking rightfully admonished “Ser Rodrik, take Lord Theon here and check around the men to see if they are ready to continue.” He said. 

 

Ser Rodrik sat up straight and raised his chin before nodding to his Lord “As you wish Lord Stark.” He then turned to Theon “C’mon you, you’ve caused enough trouble for today.” He said as the pair of them made their way down the hill, Theon having one last look over his shoulder at Robb. 

 

He leant over to talk to Robb “You want to be careful with your actions when you’re around your bannermen, you shouldn’t have let him get a reaction like that out of you.” He said but all he got back was a frown. 

 

“Did you not hear what he said? He’s been bothering me all day with his stupid jokes and the comment about Jon was crossing the line.” His son said as he looked away from Ned and looked across towards Hornwood. 

 

Ned looked down and sighed “I didn’t like what he said about Jon either but we still have to keep a lid on our emotions.” He said as he looked back at Robb. 

 

Bizarrely, Robb wistfully smiled and then chuckled “In certain situations I find myself in, I always wonder what Jon would have said or done if it was him in my shoes. His memory is a comfort in those times.” He said as he looked down and shook his head “I imagine you wouldn’t have had the chance to grab his arm to stop him from hitting Theon, and even if you had managed to grab hold of him, he would've still swung and probably ragged you off your horse in the process.” Robb said as he let out a laugh “And after, he’d have probably even ask what you were doing on the floor.” He finished. 

 

Ned smiled at Robb’s shared thoughts. He definitely hadn't forgotten who his brother was and everything he’d said Ned could see Jon doing in his mind's eye. 

 

It beat seeing the other things he saw. 

 

Last night he’d dreamt of a scenario he fully expected to find the group in when they inevitably discovered this Ramsay Snow. There wasn’t a confirmation on whether or not he’d been working alone with his criminal activity but there’d been a few rumours about a group of men-at-arms who were very loyal to the boy. 

 

A group of men who’d fought tooth and nail with Ned’s men but had ultimately fallen. 

 

That was the only good thing that had come out of that dream. 

 

Ramsay Snow had never been discovered...but his trophy room had. A trophy room that contained a multitude of corpses, most of them women, most of them flayed. 

 

Apart from one. 

 

A body hanging from a noose and tied to a beam of the old hunting shack. Arms and legs hacked off and skin peeled back from muscle, a body completely unidentifiable if it wasn’t for the raven locks and the dead silver-grey eyes of his sister staring straight at him. Eye’s that were bleeding along with his nose and mouth, a mouth that was still moving, like he’d somehow survived this horrific trauma just so he could see him one last time. A whisper in the wind as the word Jon’s living corpse whispered reached his ears and wrenched his heart. 

 

“Mother?” 

 

Ned had never moved so quick from his bed as he reached the chamber pot to wretch whatever was left in his stomach at the time. There was no Catelyn to disturb either, she was in her own room after the argument they’d had about Robb and his insistence on being involved in the hunt for this murderer. 

 

The truly sickening thing about this dream was that it was a genuine possibility that they would find some sort of trace of Jon. When he’d left Winterfell 3 years ago, he’d left not a single trace behind and nothing had been discovered since.  

 

What if Ramsay had managed to get hold of him? What would he do if they found evidence of Jon’s demise to the hands of Roose Bolton’s crazed monster? 

 

He’d probably break down that’s what. Nothing would stop Ned from doing the exact thing he’d just told Robb not to do, the lid on his emotions will be well and truly thrown into the wind. 

 

His son broke him from his thoughts “You’re thinking about him, aren't you?” Robb said as he looked at Ned. 

 

“Not a day goes by where I don’t think about your brother.” He said as he looked away from Robb and looked to the horizon. 

 

There was silence for a few minutes before Robb spoke again. 

 

“Do you regret it?” His son said in an iron tone, determination written all over his face when Ned looked at him confused. 

 

“Do I regret what?”  He asked, almost snapping at his son. Anxiety building in his stomach. 

 

“Do you regret your actions? What you did to him?” Robb replied as he turned to Ned and looked him straight in the eye. Ned didn’t like this one bit. 

 

“What I did to him? What are you talking about Robb?” He anxiously replied. He kept a straight face to emit a sense of calm but inside he was getting annoyed at the questioning. 

 

Robb huffed “C’mon father, we both know the real reason Jon left, let's not act dumb now.” He said exasperated. 

 

Now he was visibly annoyed “We are not speaking about this right now, do you hear me?” He growled out. Robb was over stepping. 

 

Robb let out a humourless chuckle “He told me that that’s what you always said to him whenever he would ask about his mother.” Robb shook his head “He used to come to me after he’d asked about her sometimes, we’d just talk about whatever but I was his brother, I could see it bothered him a lot more than he showed. And in the end, I think we both know the reason he felt he couldn’t stay in Winterfell anymore. Knowing there was somebody in his home who had the answers to all his questions but refused to answer them for years must have been torture. And as much as I hated the fact he just left without saying goodbye properly, I couldn’t for the life of me blame him for leaving.” He said. 

 

Robb turned to him, Ned just sat there and absorbed everything that was being said, receiving jab after jab to his heart with every truth Robb hit him with. 

 

“Why couldn’t you just tell him? All of this could've been avoided if you had done. Jon would be sat on a horse to your left as we speak, he would've been less miserable if he had known. Maybe take the time to notice some of the girls that had took a shine to him, he might have even married one of them and had a babe. Hell, he might be out there right now, married with his own child and we would never know about it. All because you couldn’t tell him something that he had a right to know, something so fucking basic that to this day I still can't believe you let fester for so long. I’d still have a brother if it wasn’t for you.” Robb growled out as he looked away from his father with an almost disgusted look on his face. 

 

Robb had never spoken to him like that before, ever. He’d clearly been holding that in ever since Jon had left all those years ago. Ned, as much as he wanted to, couldn’t argue with anything Robb had said. His secrecy was definitely one of the main reasons Jon had deemed it impossible to live in Winterfell anymore. Ned had thought about this a lot but could never see how that could push him away so much. Catelyn wasn’t the nicest to him sure, but even Jon would've admitted that he gave as much as he got sometimes. 

 

Jon also loved all his siblings with a burning passion and they loved him, their reaction to Jon disappearing into the night was proof of that. Him not knowing about his mother wouldn’t have pushed him to running away when he’d be leaving behind his brothers and sisters as well, would it? 

 

Well, yes, yes it would, and Robb had explained exactly the reason why he’d left. 

 

He was torturing him. Not physically but mentally. And there was only two ways that torture would stop, either Ned telling him about his mother or running away from it. 

 

Ned had taken one of those choices away with his secrecy and left the lad with no choice but to leave. 

 

Robb’s explanation filled the gap he’d been trying to work out himself and the realisation of the truth was damning. 

 

He cleared his throat, if only he could clear his conscience as easily “Robb..." 

 

“Don't bother father, I get it, we’ll talk about this some other time...when the time is right, yeah?” His son said to him and didn’t give him chance to reply as he trotted back down the hill towards camp without so much as a look back. 

 

He turned back and looked over at the horizon, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. His leather gloves creaked as he gripped the reigns of his horse in an attempt to steel himself against the flood of emotions cascading towards him. At the spearhead of the onslaught was the one emotion he’d felt for longer than he could ever remember... 

 

Guilt. 

 


 

Jon 

The sun was setting and the cool air of the night was drawing in, Jon pulled his cloak tighter around himself. They were making very good time, Kireina had pushed herself for nearly 12 hours straight and they were now probably somewhere in between the the Riverlands and the Vale. He only knew this because they’d flown over a city that could only be King’s Landing with its sheer size and that was about 3 hours ago if he was having a guess. 

 

He’d already told her to slow her pace down and conserve energy, he’d asked if she needed a rest but he was answered with a growl and a comment about being insulted at his lack of confidence when it came to her stamina. With him well and truly told off, he’d made the decision to keep flying through the night. The cover of night was too good to pass up on and his decent night's sleep in Starfall had given him the energy to attempt the all nighter. 

 

“Are you sure you don’t want to rest?” He said to her just to make sure. 

 

“No! My lungs aren't small and pathetic like yours. I've made bigger journeys than this before, don’t worry.” She said. 

 

And she was right, they had made bigger journeys, the flight back to Westeros coming to mind. She’d lasted almost 3 days before resting on that trip. 

 

“Okay okay, I’ll stop asking. Sheesh.” He said through their bond as he rolled his shoulder and adjusted the back strap he’d fashioned out of his sword belt for his katana’s. When they eventually landed, he would have to fine tune his creation in the hopes of making it a little more stable and comfortable than it already was. Even after one day he could see and feel the advantages of carrying his swords on his back instead of his waist, Kireina for one had stopped complaining about the blades tapping against her scales when they were flying. 

 

He looked over the left side of Kireina to see what they were flying over in the hopes of seeing something identifiable. A huge river forking off into 3 smaller rivers was all there was to see at the moment.  

 

Yep, they were in the Riverlands. What Jon was seeing had to undoubtably be The Trident. There were no other rivers like it in this area of Westeros. 

 

He remembers the stories about the Trident, the location where some say the rebellion all but ended. He remembers the lessons from Maester Lewin about the whole ordeal, hearing stories about something that his father was present in was unusual to say the least. He also remembers how quick Lord Stark shut down any questions about the events around the Battle of the Trident as the history books were calling it, how quick he was to anger when a young Jon Snow had asked if he’d seen the battle between Ser Arthur and Robert Baratheon and even apoplectic when King Rhaegar was mentioned. 

 

Kireina broke his thought process with a rather jarring question “This ‘King Rhaegar’, does he share the same blood as you?” She asked like it wouldn’t shock him. 

 

“Share blood? With the King of Westeros? No. I might have a bit of valyrian blood like you claim but it must be a thimbles amount compared to the milk jug that he would have.” He said as he recovered from the heavy question. 

 

“That city we flew over a few hours ago, I sensed a concentrated amount of dragon blood somewhere within. Is that where this ‘King Rhaegar’ resides?” She asked. She was being rather inquisitive at the moment. 

 

That’s where the Royal family resides, House Targaryen is what they’re called and yes, that is where the King resides, along with the rest of his family.” He replied. 

 

“Interesting.” Was all she said. 

 

“Not really but whatever floats your boat sister.” He said, a deep grumble his response. 

 

After a quick landing near the river for a piss break, him and Kireina set off again and started their cold, dark and quiet journey through the night sky of Westeros. About 6 hours into said journey, Jon had managed to rest his eyes for nearly an hour. The risk of actually falling asleep and falling from Kireina’s back was worth it as he let the sweet pleasure of closing his tired eyes take over. Kireina shouting at him through their bond had eventually stopped the chance of sleep taking him and the chance of him falling to his death. 

 

The blacks and greys of the sky were blending with the reds and oranges of the dawn. They were currently flying over a large body of water and had been for the past 2 hours. It was either the Bite that was in between the Vale and the North or his estimations were completely wrong and he had no fucking idea where they could be. 

 

“We need to land soon Kireina, my eyes are fucking gone and I can barely see straight anymore. Just a few hours shut eye and we’ll be back on the road...or in the sky. He said, most of his energy being spent keeping his eyes open. 

 

“Fine. You can rest your little human eyes while I go hunt. There’s lights ahead so you might actually find a bed to sleep in.” She said, almost amused. 

 

That made him scrunch his face up in confusion, lights? 

 

He squinted into the distance, Kireina really did need to be a bit more considerate when spotting things, she clearly had the superior vision and had proven that on many occasions at this point. Finally, after half a minute of squinting in the wind he spotted what she’d seen. 

 

Civilisation. A city. Mmmm, beds. 

 

Question was, where were they? A city, on the coast of the Bite, northbound....White Harbour? 

 

Fuckin hell, if they were in White Harbour then  Kireina  ha d   done exceptionally well  with the flying. 

 

None of that mattered now though, there was a city, which meant there was inn’s, which meant...beds. 

 

God’s he was exhausted. 

 

You're gonna have to land a mile or so outside the city, I’ll have to walk the rest of the way.” He said to Kireina. She just huffed like he’d said something stupid. 

 

Under the cover of the very early morning sky, Kireina glided down and landed softly in a large enough opening of the woods about a mile north of White Harbour or whatever the city was called. He didn’t really care at this point, he’d worry about it when he’d had a kip. He climbed off her back and brought with him his bag of clothes and his other bag with the two precious family heirlooms secured inside. He looped each bag on each of his shoulders and shrugged them to get them into a comfortable spot for his mile walk. He took a step towards Kireina’s head which was currently resting on the cool ground and pressed a gloved hand on her snout. 

 

“I won't be long, just a couple of hours to rest and get sorted and we’ll be on our way again.” He said to her. No need for whispered thoughts between each other’s minds. 

 

“Just call for me when you’re ready, I'm going off to hunt since we are so close to the sea.” She said through their bond. 

 

“Be careful and stay out of trouble.” He said as Kireina started to lift and straighten her body in preparation of taking off. 

 

You're more inclined to get into trouble than I am, stay safe.” Was all she said as she took off into the morning sky, sending a huge gust of air into the trees surrounding him and shaking them to the roots. 

 

It took him around 45 minutes to drag his almost comatose body to the city, a good humoured warning from one of the guards at the main gate to not cause any trouble with any of those swords on his back was the only bit of trouble he experienced on his way into the now confirmed White Harbour. 

 

White washed stone, cobbled streets and a strong whiff of fish would be the best way to describe the city if you were to ask him. He would have described it in a bit more detail if he wasn’t desperately looking for an inn to collapse in. 

 

A quaint little inn called The Maiden’s Rest caught his eye, it was hidden down one of the smaller alleys of the city and seemed perfect for his purposes. 

 

A couple of stags lighter and he was settling in to his small but cozy room complete with a feather bed and thick furs. He’d told Kireina he wouldn’t be long but as soon as he dropped his belongings on the floor and collapsed into the comfort of the mattress, he was starting to regret his promise. He took all his clothes off with the least amount of effort he could get away with and all but chucked them across the room for future Jon to worry about. Within 5 minutes of climbing under the furs and dropping his head on the pillow, he was out like a light.

 


 

A few hours later, he was woken up to the sounds of bells outside. Well, he’d like to say it was the bells that had woken him up and not the disturbing ending to his dream. 

 

He was tied to a tree in the middle of the woods and it was dark out. He didn’t know how he’d gotten there or who had tied him up, the only thing he does remember is feeling the edge of a steel blade scraping across the soft tissue of his eyeball. 

 

That was enough to wake anybody up and blink frantically. 

 

He stretched his arms and legs under the furs and heard the cracks of his joints as he woke up in the north for the first time in 3 years. He just laid there for 5 minutes and let the sounds of the city dull his mind. 

 

“Good, you’re awake! Hurry up!” Kireina spoke in his mind. 

 

He grumbled as he cracked his back and sat up on the edge of the bed “For fuck sake.” He mumbled. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and rummaged through his bag for a clean tunic and pair of breaches. He would have liked a bath and some grub before they got back on the road but it seemed Kireina had other plans. 

 

“No time for any of that, I found something earlier and I think we need to investigate.” Kireina said. She sounded a little anxious. 

 

“Does it involve pork sausages and crispy bacon?” He asked. 

 

“No...” She replied. 

 

“Then I don’t need to investigate shit.” He finished as he finished dressing. He put his dirty clothes in his bag and place his two bags, his sword strap and his cloak on the messy furs of the bed before tying his dagger to his right leg and pushing his feet into his boots. 

 

I'm serious Jon. What I’ve seen reminds me of Euron all over again.” She said in a steel tone. 

 

“Cunt.” Was all that came to mind. 

 

“Jon...”  

 

“Fine! I'm moving.” He huffed as he put his cloak on and strapped his swords to his back. “Meet me where you dropped me off earlier.” He finished as he shouldered each of his bags. 

 

He left the inn but not before the plump middle aged woman who was running the place escorted him out with an arm around his waist and a friendly goodbye. He was also pretty sure she’d squeezed his bum as he made for the door but he was just too sleepy to react. 

 

Groping aside, he made his way back to the main gate that he’d come through earlier in the day but not without buying himself an apple and a buttered roll from one of the market stalls on the way there. He’d demolished both of them by the time he’d got to the main gate and he was washing it down with the warm water that was left in his skin. 

 

Thankfully, the exit from the city was trouble free and he was half an hour into his journey before he sensed Kireina close by, he could really sense her anxiety now. 

 

He picked up his pace and was in the clearing 10 minutes later, Kireina was already laid there waiting for him. 

 

“Hurry up!” She growled. 

 

“Hello to you too. He said as he tied his bags to her back. He received a growl in response. 

 

“Alright alright, I’m hurrying up. Gods, what's got you in a rush anyway?” He asked as he positioned himself on her back and settled in. 

 

“Bad people.” Was all she muttered as she took off into the air, disturbing a large murder of crows from the trees. 

 

“Should have just killed em if they were bothering you so much.” He said as he scratched his beard. He should've asked Clarissa to trim his beard while she was messing with his hair. 

 

“There’s innocents there as well, I couldn’t risk it.” She said as they seemed to veer to their right. 

 

This annoyed him a little “Where are you going? We're supposed to be going north not east.” He said but was growled at in response. 

 

“Have you not been listening? We need to go help these people, I just hope we aren't too late.” She said as she started to really pick the pace up. 

 

So she was serious then. 

 

What the fuck had spooked her so much? 

 

She said that what she’d found had reminded her of Euron so by the sounds of it, they were dealing with a nutjob who kept prisoners and did unspeakable things to them. 

 

Brilliant, that’s all he needed shortly after waking up. And he was pretty sure he had  a  headache coming on as well. Lovely. 

 

They’d flown for about an hour before Kireina said anything else. 

 

“There, do you see it?” She said. 

 

No. He did not see it. They were so high in the clouds the ground was just a blur of green. 

 

“See what?” He said in a rather annoyed tone. 

 

“The smoke.” She replied. 

 

He looked down and surprisingly enough, he could see the smoke. 

 

“Yeah I do. But you do know it's probably just somebody cooking their dinner, you know that right?” He said. Had she really dragged them this far off their path to Winterfell for this? 

 

“From what I can see, they’re doing more than just cooking dinner.” She muttered. 

 

He sighed “And what can you see?” He asked. 

 

“Prisoners.” Was all she said. 

 

He shook his head, as much as he wished he could, he couldn’t in good conscience ignore this. Not after everything that had happened to Euron’s prisoners. The faint sound of barks and howls could be heard down below. 

 

He patted Kireina on her flank “Set us down near them but not too close. If what I’m hearing is what I think it is, they’ve got dogs with them.” He said as he hardened his resolve and made his decision. 

 

There could be a fair few people down there and coupled with the fact they had dogs well, Jon wasn’t stupid enough to take them all on himself. 

 

He took a deep breath and released it as he came to a decision that he hopefully wouldn’t regret. 

 

Today would be the day Kireina would be officially introduced to the northern people. 

 

The gods won't be able to help them where they’ll be going. 

 


 

Chapter Text


 The Bolton Bastard 

He stabbed his dagger into the table in annoyance and turned to one of his men, Ben was his name and he was supposed to be the one looking after his bitches. 

 

“Ben! Go and see what the girls are barking at. Let's hope they’ve sniffed out another game for us to play.” He sneered. It would seem the reports on their activities had spooked a few folk and the roads were experiencing less and less people travelling on them as a consequence. 

 

His kennel master grunted as he got up from where he was sat, whetstone left where he’d been sharpening their flaying knives. Those beauties had seen a lot of action in recent days, the latest of their trophies was hanging just outside and the next ones on the list were in the back room of their newly acquired hunting shack, tied up, gagged and praying for a miracle. 

 

He smiled at that. 

 

The pair that they’d captured a few weeks ago had been an interesting hunt to say the least, a lot more interesting than some of snivelling whores they’d used previously. A man and a woman with a 6 man escort was what they’d sniffed out, the guards were taken care of fairly easily. One of his lads, Skinner was his name, he’d lost a hand in the fight. They decided to put him out of his misery, a knife to the heart while he scrambled for his lost hand was the kindest thing to do. His bitches ate well that night thanks to Skinner. 

 

Lord Harrion and Lady Aly Karstark were their prize in this particular hunt, a high value pair indeed.  Damon, one of his men, had suggested ransoming them, sending a letter to Rickard Karstark. He wasn’t doing what he was doing for money though, no, he wanted to play and play they did. 

 

All the pleading and promises had done nothing to help their cause, they needed to learn that not even the highborn were safe from Ramsay Bolton. 

 

The game was simple, every time him and the boys would come to them, Lady Alys had to let them have their way with her. He would obviously be the one to take her maidenhead, it’s only right a trueborn does the deed. Unfortunately, Lady Alys didn’t understand the simple rules and refused as much as she could for somebody tied up and gagged. He laid out the rules for her once again but also told her the consequences if she didn’t play along. 

 

Every time she refused them, her brother would lose a piece of himself, simple. 

 

12 days had passed and she’d refused every approach, her brother would tell her every time they arrived to not give them what they wanted. The dull man must realise he’s only got a limited amount of many body parts before it started to become a real problem for him, and when he did finally die, Lady Alys’ time would be up. 

 

He had to give Lord Harrion a bit of credit, he was soldiering on with their game, some might even say he was winning. Ramsay however, he knew the man was starting to struggle and it was oh so beautiful to be there to see it. 

 

At the moment he was 10 fingernails, 10 toenails, 4 teeth and an earlobe down. At the end of the week, they’d be starting on fingers and toes but Ramsay wanted both of his ears by the end of the day. Lord Harrion’s stubbornness was grating him a little but he wouldn’t show the man his annoyance, no, he’d show the man the sharp end of his flaying knife. 

 

He heard the muffled cries of the man in question and got up out of his chair to check the back room they were in. 

 

The grotty old wooden door banged against the wall as it was swung open, startling the pair of Karstarks cowering within. The smell in the room was pungent, a bucket in the corner of the room filled to the brim of their own making. Damon wanted them to clean it out since the smell was starting to spread into the main room of the building but he was having none of it. It added a new flavour to their game, an increased pressure to get out of that room. A part of Ramsay wanted them to find a way out just so they could hunt them all over again. 

 

Wouldn’t that be fun? 

 

“You pair of cunts are making more noise than my darlings out there, what's the matter? Finally seen the light and decided to forfeit in your quest to beat me in our little game?” He said with a sharp grin as he spun his dagger in the palm of his hand. He moved across the room and stood in front of Alys, he slid the flat side of his cold steel against her cheek as she whimpered. 

 

Her eyes were full of tears, she had such wonderful eyes, he knew he wouldn’t find it difficult staring into them when he took her. Those eyes he was admiring turned to her right to look at her brother, her unmoving brother. Had he...? 

 

He flicked a strand of grimy hair from the face of the downtrodden lord, a light prick of his dagger against the man’s cheek and the blood began to slowly trickle down his face. There was still no movement from the man. 

 

His head was leant down, eyes closed and chest unmoving. What a shame, the game was starting to get interesting but Lord Harrion didn't seem interested in staying to witness the outcome. 

 

“Oh dear” He said as he bent his knees and squatted in front of the seated Lord. He turned to Alys whose eyes were now wide with realisation “No big brother in the way anymore now. The boys will be very excited to hear about dessert tonight, you’ve kept them wait....” 

 

The top of the assumed deceased lord’s head connected with his nose as the pair of them ended up on the ground. He shook his head from the jarring shot and kicked Karstark square in the gut whilst he was laid next to him. The Lord himself howled in pain and writhed on the floor, still completely tied up to his chair. 

 

He lifted Lord Harrion back into a seating position and struck him square in the face with his fist, blood pouring from his nose. Lady Alys cried in anguish at the sight of her brother being struck. 

 

“Clever” He said as he waved and pointed his dagger at the man “Very clever, but you didn’t think about these did you” He said as he grabbed the ropes tied to the man and decided to tie them a little tighter. The Lord whimpered at the added pressure. 

 

“We are gonna have so much fun with the pair of you tonight. We might even let you watch as Lady Alys here becomes a real woman, would you like that Harrion hmm? Would you like to see your little sister pay for your little ruse? See her mounted by every man in this shack? Yes, I think I'll allow it with it being such a momentous oc.....” 

 

He was interrupted by Damon rushing in through the door “Lord Bolton!” He all but shouted as he gathered his breath “Girls have got a scent, going mad they are, think it might be something big. Ben went to check with a couple of the dogs but hasn’t returned yet.” Damon finished as he left the room to prepare. 

 

He turned back to his pair of prisoners “Looks like my men will be in a wonderful mood when they return from the hunt!” He said with a beaming smile. He turned to Alys “Who knows, if they’re in a real good mood they might make it feel nice for you tonight.” He said as he brushed a strand of hair from her face and cupped her chin “I won't though, I want you to remember it, I want you to feel the pain in more than just your cunt, I want you to feel it in your entire being.” And with that, he pushed her face away and made his way out of the room, remembering to bolt the door. He smiled as he heard the sobs from within. 

 

Damon was looking through the window with concerned look on his face as he grabbed his bow and his whip “Something doesn’t seem right out there boss.” He said as Ramsay joined him at the window. 

 

“There’s nothing in these woods we should be concerned about, we’re at the top of the food chain out here.” He looked at Damon who didn’t look convinced “Don't worry friend” He said as he placed his arm around his shoulder “We’ll get a good hunt out of this, I can just sense it.” He then grinned “And we’ve got afters for dessert.” He finished as he nodded his head to the locked room. 

 

He turned to the rest of the room that consisted of him, Damon, Yellow Dick, Luton, Alyn and Grunt. His boys. 

 

“Right you sorry lot! Ben’s gone out there already, let's go join him!” His men got up from where they were sat preparing “LET THE HUNT BEGIN!” He roared as the rest of the room followed suit with his cry. 

 

Before they even left the shack however, Ramsay realised something was wrong. 

 

The bitches have stopped barking. They never stop until the hunt is over. 

 

He put his hand up to cease the chatter that had taken over the room. Damon was giving him that concerned look he had been before. 

 

He was now weary.  

 

This could get interesting... 

 

He loved a challenge, it made the prize that much juicier. 

 

He made Yellow Dick, a truly awful man to look at, open the door and go out first. The rest of the group were already prepared for a fight that everybody was now expecting due to Ramsay’s change in demeanour. 

 

Yellow dick didn’t even get chance to open the door fully before the rest of the dogs were scratching at it and squeezing through the gap to shelter inside. That was unsettling and it only got worse when the girls started whining. 

 

Damon looked at him even more concerned if that was possible, all he could do was furrow his brow in confusion “Wolves?” Damon asked. 

 

He shook his head “We’ve hunted wolves before, the girls don’t have a problem with them as long as they stay in a pack and we’re with them with bows. No, whatever it is has to be something new.” He looked around the room, the men were waiting for his instructions like the good servants they were.  

 

“Whatever it is, whoever it is...I want its head right there.” He said in a cold tone as he pointed above the fireplace. 

 

His men looked worried but nodded their head in affirmation. 

 

Damon and Grunt leashed all the dogs that were in the shack with them and practically dragged them out of the front door, they did not want to go outside in the slightest it would seem. No matter, they needed to follow, they needed to track and hunt, they needed to win. 

 

The group entered the woods that Ben had been last seen entering with a few of the other bitches. He’d not returned and the dogs in question couldn’t be heard in the distance at all. 

 

A part of him was telling him that something was very wrong as they tentatively advanced into the thicker depths of the woods. 

 

Damon came up to his left “I think it might be a better idea to hold out in the shack my lord. The girls are dragging their heels and the men seem reluctant to go any further.” He said. 

 

Ramsay turned and grabbed Damon by the throat and held his dagger near his neck, he felt the man gulp from underneath his palm. 

 

“You want us to hide, is that it? Ramsay Bolton doesn’t hide which means you don’t hide, understand?” He growled as he lightly slid the dagger across the length of the man's neck, just enough pressure to break the skin and nothing. He didn’t want to kill his men, he begrudgingly needed them right now. 

 

Damon closed his eyes and nodded. He gasped for breath as Ramsay released him from his hold. 

 

“Good! Glad that’s all settled then.” He said as they started walking again. The rest of his boys seem to collectively sigh in relief now that the little outburst from Damon was over. 

 

He climbed over an uprooted tree along with the rest of them...a freshly uprooted tree. 

 

He held his hand up and let out a small whistle to let the group know he was stopping. The men stopped around him and looked at him for further instructions, they’d have to wait though, he was too busy trying to work out why he was experiencing a sense of dread in the pit of his stomach. 

 

He looked to his right and saw another freshly uprooted tree not too far away from the first one, there was even another one even further away from that one. 

 

Something is very wrong... 

 

Yellow Dick turned to him and “What do we do now boss?” He whispered. 

 

He was about to answer but Alyn annoyingly cut him off from his position further away at the front of the party “Err boss....you might wanna see this.” He said, a slight wobble in his speech. 

 

He moved towards the front of the party, passing a few more thick trunked tree’s before standing side by side with Alyn and seeing just what Alyn wanted his to see. 

 

He just couldn’t work it out. None of it made sense. 

 

In front of them was a large clearing, and not a natural clearing it had to be said. 10 or so uprooted trees completely trampled and broken into the soil beneath them. The earth itself looked like it’d been ripped to shreds like he’s seen his dogs do to a whore's face. 

 

“Ben...” he heard Alyn say to his right. He looked at the man and followed his line of sight, Alyn was right, Ben was here. 

 

But he was dead. Very dead. 

 

All they could see was the top end of his body, eyes bulging out of his head, profound veins ready to pop all over his face and neck. The other half of him was under the immense pressure of a fallen tree, he couldn’t see the damage but if he had to guess, the tree probably crushed his entire lower half, including half of his torso and without a doubt, killed the man instantly. 

 

He saw Damon shake his head “What a way to go.” He said. 

 

“Yes, crushed to death by a tree.” He said and huffed shortly after “I can't be dealing with weak links in the group. That tree did us a favour.” He finished. 

 

Damon’s face didn’t change when Ramsay looked at him. He didn’t get chance to retort with something that would no doubt get his tongue ripped out as the whole group, including him he begrudgingly had to admit, were shaken to their core by the intense and increasingly stronger rumblings of the earth. 

 

“What the fuck is that!” More than one person said as they looked around the outskirts of the clearing they had all now moved into the middle of. The bitches were whining even more now and Yellow Dick and Grunt were struggling to keep them under control. 

 

“Shut up and let me think!" He hissed as he tried to work out what direction the sounds were coming from. To his left and his right he heard the unsheathing of steel, it seems that his men had made up their decision and were preparing to fight whatever the fuck was about to come out of those tre.... 

 

Ramsay Bolton is never speechless.  

 

Ramsay Bolton is never fearful. 

 

“Wha...How...” Was all he could breathe out. 

 

I think I might die now... 

 

He’d never given much thought about his own mortality. He just assumed he’d live till he was grey. It was jarring to think his end was hulking its way towards them at a tremendous speed, each step making his entire being shake. He couldn’t run or hide from this. He had to die or fight. He didn’t want to die right now, he had too many plans to see through. He would have to fight, yes, fight is what he would do. 

 

Ramsay Bolton will be one day remembered for the many feats and accomplishments he’d achieved but none of them will be more memorable than the day he slayed a dragon single-handedly. 

 

“C’mon then you cunt, let’s see what you’ve g...”


 

Jon 

He heard the crunch of bone reverberate through Kireina’s neck as she bit the first man clean in half with one snap of her vice like jaw. The men surrounding the now destroyed man just stood there in disbelief, half of them looking at Kireina, the other staring at the remains of their friend she’d just chewed down on. Whimpering dogs fleeing the scene and leaving the rest of these men to be judged by death incarnate herself and based off of the second man being torn in half, she wasn’t in the mood to let them off in the slightest. 

 

It was over in a matter of seconds. 

 

The final man, who foolishly attempted to wrap a whip around Kireina’s neck, was picked up between the dragon’s teeth and catapulted across the clearing, hitting the base of a tree with a sickening crunch and snap before slouching into a pile on the ground unmoving. 

 

He surveyed the area they were stood in from the back of Kireina’s huge figure, carnage everywhere. Corpses and trees strewn about the place, to his left he spotted the first person the pair of them encountered from the group earlier, crushed under a tree in an attempt to avoid Kireina’s feet. Too busy mesmerised by her sheer presence, the man had not even seen the tree fall as Kireina meandered around the forest with her massive bulk, unintentionally uprooting tree left and right in the process.  

 

In the end, mother nature had done them a favour ending the man, some of the things he was saying to the pack of dogs he had with him were disgusting. Mentions of hunts and torture and flaying was all the convincing he needed that the best course of action was to remove this man and the rest of his friends from society. Kireina was wholeheartedly behind his decision and proceeded to get on with the dirty work herself, not that it was especially taxing for her. He did give her one rule though, scare the dogs, don’t kill them. He had a soft spot for canines and these dogs didn’t know any better than their owners. 

 

Kireina let out a huff “We should check that shack I spotted earlier, there might be more of them.” She said almost impatiently. 

 

He checked his back to make sure his swords were still secured and checked his ankle for his dagger, all were present “I’m gonna go in quietly, we’ve made enough noise and mess to alert a town here.” He said as he made his way down off her back and on to the destroyed earth below. “All the witnesses of your existence are all here, we’re back to nobody knowing about you and I would like to keep it that way for as long as I can for now.” 

 

He patted her flank “Back up in the clouds with you, I’ll be fine and if I'm not you’ll sense it won't ya?” He said as he tried to sooth the anxiousness he felt from her. 

 

She huffed again, he’d worked out that that was her way of showing him her annoyance, almost like a dog would. He found it somewhat cute. 

 

“Fine, but If I sense trouble, I’m getting you out. I don’t care who sees me.” She said and set off from the ground into the air with one big flap of her wings. She’d not even said bye the cheeky sod. 

 

He followed her quick ascent back up into the clouds with his eyes, in the corner of his right eye he noticed the plume of smoke that they’d spotted coming from the shack earlier. Thankfully, it was rather close to where he was right now so he didn’t have to traipse through this bloody forest for hours. 

 

He started walking in the direction of the smoke, climbing over a few trees in the process. 

 

Gods, she really doesn’t know her own size, does she? 

 

Within 10 minutes of walking, he was just outside the shack. From the tree he was peeking around, there didn’t seem to be anybody home. He circled around the building, noticing two horses tied up around the back of the shack and something he really didn’t want to see. Flayed corpses. Fresh by the looks of it, blood dripping on to the ground from where the body was hung like a butcher’s wares. 

 

He looked down and shook his head, flaying had been outlawed in the North centuries ago when the Boltons bent their knees to Winterfell and agreed to abandon their practice of flaying their enemies. Seems like there were a few who hadn't heard the news. 

 

After circling the shack and confirming there were two doors into the place, he threw a rock through the door that was wide open at the front. The aim was to draw some sort of movement inside but there was nothing, not a peep. 

 

With a deep breath, he darted across the front yard of the shack and pressed his back to the wall next to the front door, he steadied his breathing and closed his eyes to focus on any sounds that were coming from inside. He heard a shuffle, a small one but it was a shuffle all the same. 

 

There’s somebody in there... 

 

He pulled his dagger out and assumed a defensive stance, Master Miyamoto had always said the best form of defence was a good offence but the situation he was in right now didn't seem like the best time to be running in like a banshee. 

 

He slowly peeked around the corner of the doorway and into the front room, nothing but a couple of tables and chairs, a lit fireplace and a few discarded drinking horns. He looked up to check the ceiling for any movement, you could never be too sure, Master M had proven that one training session when he pounced on him from above inside his hall one morning. He couldn’t believe it when the old man had landed on him and then proceeded to show him how he’d even got up there. Now Jon checked every ceiling of every room he entered. 

 

It wasn’t a big shack, clearly it was an old hunting shack but it was still a nice one, made up of a combination of wood and brick, even had its own brick fireplace. There were four doors in the room, one on each wall. The first door he’d just walked through and the one directly opposite him was the back door to where the horses were tied up. The door to his immediate left was cracked open just a little bit and he quickly peeked through it, nothing but bedrolls laid across a wooden floor, couple of lanterns and a what looked like the only bed that was in this place. 

 

He could only see forwards through the gap so he was weary about walking in. What he planned would alert anybody in the building but stop him from getting his throat sliced, so with his mind made up he kicked the door as hard as he could, it swung wide open and slammed against the wall behind it with a mighty thud. A quick look confirmed the room was empty and as quick as a cat, he darted across the main room and pressed his back to the wall next to the final door in the hopes of catching someone off guard. 

 

He calmed his breathing again and listen closely for any movement from the last room. Another shuffle and additionally, muffled speech, one higher pitched compared to the other one. 

 

A man and a woman. Prisoners or hostiles? Was this a trick? 

 

He looked down at the door knob and waited for it to turn, when he looked at it, he realised something. The door was bolted and locked from the outside. 

 

He was 95 percent sure these were prisoners now. 

 

He loudly banged on the door twice with his fist and shouted “Anybody in there!?” He asked. The muffled shouting and almost sobbing from the pair of voices almost confirmed his belief that these weren't hostile, almost. 

 

“Stand back! I’m gonna break the door open!” He said as the pair inside went quiet. The bolt on the door wasn’t the thickest thing in the world, he looked around the room in the hopes of finding a key but the chances were that it was probably melting at the bottom of Kireina’s stomach at the moment. 

 

He unsheathed one of his blades and lined it up in the small gap between the door frame and the door. He heard whimpers from within when his blade slid through and emerged on the inside of the locked room, with a lift and a quick downwards swing, he managed to sheer the old bolt on the door. He pulled his sword back but still kept it ready for when he opened the door, this could still be all some sick twisted game being played on him. 

 

With his free hand, he twisted the door handle and pushed the door open, before anybody could jump him, he leapt backwards and readied his blade at the other side of the room. The whimpering and mumbling were much louder now that the door was open, but what he noticed even more was the smell.  

 

The fuck has been happening in there? 

 

“Hello?” He shouted from across the room, still waiting for the ambush. He wrinkled his nose in an attempt to fight the strong odour. His greeting was met with even louder cries, a woman’s voice attempting to say something but struggling with it. 

 

He slowly approached the room, the wall behind the door had nobody behind it since it was laid flush against it. “I’m putting my weapon down and I’m coming in.” He said as he made an effort to make the steel of his sword being placed on the floor as loud as he could. He grabbed his dagger and approached the room in the hopes somebody went for an easy kill on an unarmed man. 

 

He peered around the door frame and inside towards the other end of the unlocked room. Clearly a storage room, boxes, shelves and what have you spread around it. Two people, a man and a woman, gagged at the mouth and tied to a chair each. The man was older looking than the woman who looked almost his age. 

 

They were both looking at him with wide eyes, he had one last look to see if they were armed before walking up to them and taking their gags off. The girl was crying the moment he took them off. 

 

The man to his left looked at him like he didn’t know what to make of him “Did Ramsay send you?" He asked with a hoarse voice. He looked battered and bruised, a couple of missing teeth and a nose caked in dry blood. 

 

He shook his head as he checked the girl, both of them looked like they’d seen better days but there was a clear difference between the pair when comparing the treatment of the two. The girl was shaking like a leaf, tears in her wide, bloodshot eyes and her hair was dishevelled. The man had clearly taken the brunt of the physical torture. 

 

He lifted his dagger to cut her binds, both of them flinching when he revealed it. They both calmed a little bit when he started cutting at the ropes around the girl's feet. 

 

“I don’t know who that is.” He said as he broke through the rope around her feet and moved on to the one tied around her stomach “If he was one of those cunts with the dogs then he’s dead.” He said as he finished cutting the second rope. He looked at the man who looked a little less weary than before “They're all dead.” He finished as he went around the back of the chair to cut the final rope around the girl's wrists. The man turned his neck and kept his eyes glued on him throughout the whole process. 

 

The girl got up from her chair on wobbly legs and started rubbing her wrists. “Are you sure? Did you do it? Please, I need to know they're gone.” She asked as she started to tremble with fear, she looked over her shoulder to the open door. 

 

“I’m positive. There were 6 of them and a bunch of dogs. The hounds fled but the men are most definitely dead, very dead.” He said as he worked on the ropes around the man. 

 

The girl seemed to deflate when he said that, like a pressure being lifted, a steadying breath easing the state that she was in. The man’s binds were finally free and he had to help him to his feet as he seemed to struggle somewhat. 

 

The girl came across and took over helping the man, they seemed familial, either that or they were good friends or even lovers. 

 

He stepped back towards the door and checked to see if the coast was still clear. They wouldn’t be staying here much longer; the horses round back would rectify that. 

 

He turned around “What are your names?” He asked as the pair of them slowly made their way out of the stench riddled room. He closed the door behind them as they passed through in the hopes of locking it away forever. 

 

They beelined towards the table which had a few drinking horns, bits of cheese and hard bread left on it. The man turned around and looked at him then looked at the girl who still looked a little worried. 

 

Understandable given the situation. 

 

The man nodded his head at him “You first, what's your name?” He asked as he wolfed down some cheese before glugging whatever was left in the horn he’d picked up. 

 

Should he lie? There was no reason to he realised. 

 

“Jon.” He said as he headed towards the back door and opened it. He turned back and picked up and sheathed his katana that he’d placed down earlier. 

 

“Jon what?” The girl asked as she drunk and ate at a slower pace than the man. 

 

“Jon Snow.” He finished as he grabbed the shovel that was leant against the wall next to the door. He wasn’t gonna leave these flayed bodies unburied. 

 

They slowly followed him out the back door and leant against the wall, they watched him dig two holes for the two bodies that were hung up near them. 

 

“Jon Snow? As in Lord Stark’s ba.....son?” The man said as Jon slammed the shovel into the ground a little harder at the mention of that man. 

 

He huffed out “The one and only.” He said as he worked as quickly as he could with the hole. He didn’t expect to find himself digging graves today but he supposed that was just life, kicking you in the dick one minute then sucking it the next. 

 

“And you two, what are your names since I've just revealed myself?” he asked as he finished the first grave and started on the second. 

 

“My name is Harrion and this is my sister Alys." The man, now revealed as being called Harrion, answered. 

 

Harrion and Alys. Those names ring a bell but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. 

 

“Well it's nice to meet the pair of you, wish it was under more agreeable circumstances.” He said as he ripped the soil apart with his shovel. 

 

Alys chuckled and so did Harrion “I met you 10 years ago Jon, when my father came to Winterfell for a visit and brought me along with him. I danced with you at the welcome feast, don’t you remember?” She asked. 

 

Danced with him? He’s only ever danced with... 

 

His eyes went wide when he looked back at them “Alys? Alys Karstark? And Lord Harrion?” He said to which the pair confirmed with a nod. 

 

He shook his head and finished off with the second hole, he then chuckled “Small world.” He said as he walked towards the two hanging bodies. The mood instantly changed when he looked upon their remains. 

 

Kireina’s quick death was a mercy for them. They deserved a whole lot worse. 

 

The two Karstarks looked down at the ground, almost in respect as he cut the two bodies down. He ran into the shack and emerged back outside with two white sheets he found in the bedchambers. He wrapped both of the bodies in a sheet each and gently picked them up and placed them in each one of the respected graves. He shovelled dirt over the top of them and closed his eyes for a few seconds after in respect. They’d be left in unmarked graves but at least they’d been returned to the earth instead of being left out to dry like somebody's washed clothes. 

 

He returned to the two Karstarks and placed the shovel back where he’d gotten it from in the first place. He turned to them and assessed them both now they were in broad daylight “Are you able enough to ride one of these horses?” He asked the pair, mainly looking at Harrion who looked a lot worse than Alys. 

 

They both looked at each other and seemed to come to an agreement without even speaking “Yeah, we should be alright. Me and Alys will share, she’ll have to take the reins. Bloody cunts messed up my hands with what they were doing to me.” Harrion said as Jon nodded. 

 

He looked around as he prepared the horses for their journey, if push came to shove, he’d have to introduce them to Kireina if the situation became dire but for now, they’d have to rely on horses. 

 

“Do you have a rough idea where we are?” He asked. 

 

He walked over to the horses and closed his eyes while he had his back to the pair of them and attempted to reach out to Kireina. She wasn’t far away but he didn’t know if she’d be able to hear his thoughts from where she was. “Can you spot any landmarks Kireina?” He asked her through their bond. 

 

“I know at one point we stopped near a river west from here. When we were apprehended, we weren't far from the Dreadfort according to our escorts. Ramsay and his men travelled south with us, I know that at least.” Alys said. 

 

“We had to go around the Sheepshead hills, mainly to avoid Hornswood scouts.” Harrion added. 

 

“Is everything okay? Are you hurt?” Kireina asked almost frantically. 

 

He finished with the first horse and moved to the next one, both of the stallions seemed very keen to be away from this place. He couldn’t blame them. 

 

"Yes, I'm okay. I've got a couple of people that needed help and I’m gonna need some sort of direction to go in. Did you see any castles or anything?” He asked. He was pretty sure their best bet was to head towards Hornwood, but he wasn’t exactly sure of the direction. 

 

“The forest is too dense for me to pinpoint anything. You're probably going to have to go north.” She replied. 

 

Forest is too dense. North it is. 

 

“We are probably in The Hornswood forest so heading northwest is probably the best idea. House Hornwood should welcome you surely?...Unless I've missed something since I've been away?” He said as he finished with the second horse and turned to them with a quirked eyebrow. 

 

“No, you haven't missed much I’m afraid, other than your father searching high and low for months looking for ya and this one here becoming your sister-in-law soon.” Harrion said as he struggled but just about managed to mount his horse. Alys followed him up and sat at the front to take the reins. 

 

He kinda walked into the whole ‘your father has been looking for you’ comment he had to admit. He knew Lord Stark would have looked for him but he hadn't thought it would've become public knowledge about him leaving. He thought Lord Stark would've respected his choice when it came to leaving but... 

 

...Sister-in-law?! 

 

He looked at the pair as he effortlessly mounted the red stallion, it seemed very keen to get going, stomping its two front hooves into the soil. 

 

“Sister-in-law?” He asked them as they slowly started trotting away from the murder shack this Ramsay liked to call his home. 

 

Alys nodded and smiled as both horses trotted away, northbound “Aye, me and your brother Robb are to wed. Me and Harrion were on our way back to Karhold after our visit to Winterfell to confirm the betrothal. That’s when all this happened.” She finished as her smile faltered slightly. 

 

He huffed and smiled. Robb was betrothed, that was the first bit of news about his family he’d gotten in 3 years. He looked back at Alys who now had her eyes looking ahead of them, she was a pretty lass he had to admit, a proper northern girl for his brother. He was made up for him.


 

A few hours had passed since they’d left Ramsay’s house of nightmares, conversation had been free flowing, Harrion had soldiered on despite his clear discomfort due to his injuries and they were making good time he thought. What he didn’t like was the fact that the sun was quite low in the sky now and the oranges of the evening sky were starting to dim with every step they took. 

 

“We might have to make camp soon, carry on in the morning.” He shouted over his shoulder at the pair of them following behind. 

 

“Anything is better than being back in that place.” Alys replied, Harrion grunted in agreement. 

 

“There’s smoke about 10 minutes north from where you are.” Kireina whispered in the back of his mind. She’d stayed close to them throughout the entire journey, high up in the clouds. The world's best personal tracker she was. 

 

He really hoped that smoke wasn’t another shack full of nutjobs, he’d dealt with plenty of them today. 

 

As promised, 10 minutes later, smoke plumes could be seen just ahead through the canopy of the forest. He slowed his pace down just a little and Alys did the same with their horse. 

 

“What's the matter Jon?" She asked, worry written all over her face. Harrion tapped her on the shoulder and pointed up into the trees, he’d obviously seen what Jon had seen too. 

 

“How do we proceed? I’m not gonna be much use if this is a fight in front of us but I’ll fight if I have to.” Harrion said. 

 

He slowly approached the edge of the forest and peaked out from in between the dense tree line. There wouldn’t be another fight tonight. 

 

A castle loomed in the distance, nowhere near as big as Winterfell but still a sight to behold. 

 

This has to be Hornwood, for the love of god be Hornwood. 

 

He wanted to make sure they got to safety before he left, this unfortunate detour had cost him almost a day. He could have been in Winterfell by now if it wasn’t for this Ramsay cunt. 

 

“Is that..." Alys proclaimed as they moved up next to him. 

 

“Hornwood Castle. Thank the gods.” Harrion answered. 

 

Thank the gods indeed. 

 

The three of them slowly trotted out of the treeline and made a beeline towards the huge gates of the castle. 

 

“Let's hope somebody is in.” He said with a grin. Alys just shook her head and smiled at him. The relief for the pair of them must have been immense. 

 

The castle walls loomed tall ahead of them, with very little fanfare, the front gates slowly rose and revealed two mounted knights heading straight for them. One of them was holding the banner of House Hornwood, a brown bull moose on a field of dark orange. An orange that almost matched the sky. 

 

“Halt!" One of the men shouted in a harsh tone. Jon and Alys stopped the horses in their tracks. 

 

“State your business." The same guard who’d spoken to them asked whilst eyeing up the three of them. One of the guards looked at him and then just over his shoulder, no doubt at the two swords on his back. 

 

He looked at Alys and Harrion, they seemed to be struggling how to approach this. He decided to help out. 

 

“This is Lord Harrion Karstark and this is Lady Alys Karstark, we request food, shelter and access to one of your ravens if it wouldn’t be too much trouble.” He said in his most superficial lords voice he could muster. Alys just looked at him with an eyebrow quirked and a small grin on her face. 

 

He turned back to the guard who was speaking to him and noticed the man’s eyes had widened. It would seem this wouldn’t be as difficult as he’d expected it to go. However, before he could open his mouth again, both guards were unsheathing their swords. 

 

There goes that idea. 

 

He quirked an eyebrow at the pair of guards, he could take them quite easily but it wouldn’t look great if he did, it’d end up causing more headache than it was worth. 

 

“Very bold of you to try and ransom Lord and Lady Karstark in person, bit of a thick decision but it gives us an easy job. I know a few Lords who would like to make an example out of you.” One of the guards sneered as they started to move closer to Alys and Harrion, almost like they thought they were protecting them. 

 

Before Harrion or Alys could open their mouth to correct them, Jon was beating them to it “I see common sense isn't your strong spot. Use your fucking head next time before throwing accusations around. If I was ransoming them, wouldn’t they be tied up or something?” He said. The guards looked at the two Karstarks, both of them showed just how annoyed they were with the pair of idiots in front of them. 

 

Both of the guards seem to come to the same conclusion and sheathed their swords. One of them spoke up “Apologies. The castle and the surrounding area have been on high alert since Lord Hornwood had announced Lord and Lady Karstark had been kidnapped.” 

 

“Can't have been on that high of an alert, we walked right up to your castle gates unperturbed. You need better scouts." He said in an uninterested tone. 

 

“Jon! You're not helping.” Alys chided. He just grinned in response. 

 

“Enough of all this! Are you gonna let us in or not? Fetch Lord Halys, we’ve met once before. Anything to get me in there where a bath, some food, a maester and a feather bed could be found hmm.” Harrion exclaimed. It looked like it took the remaining energy in the man’s body to raise his voice to the pair of dolts. 

 

The guards looked at each other before riding past the three of them, back towards the castle gates. One of them shouted over their shoulder “Follow us but any funny business and you’ll regret it.” 

 

“Probably not but okay.” He whispered under his breath. Alys heard him as she rode by and slapped him on the shoulder like a mother chidding a child, Harrion just smirked.  

 

Homely would be the word he’d use to describe the inside of the castle walls. It was like everything was 25 percent smaller than Winterfell, Jon was almost charmed by it all as he looked about the place. A few more guards were eyeing the three of them up and some workers even stopped what they were doing to witness the spectacle of Jon riding a horse. 

 

“Please, no more trouble. You have no idea how much I need a hot bath and some warm food.” Alys said as she leaned closer to him. 

 

He held up both of his hands in mock surrender “You can do the talking, my lips are sealed.” He said as they came to a stop and dismounted from their horses. Harrion was a bit wobbly on his feet but shook off any help, Jon just shook his head as he handed the reins of the two horses to the stable keeper. 

 

Northerners could be so stubborn sometimes. 

 

The three of them were escorted into the main keep of the castle and told to wait there as one of the guards disappeared, to get Lord Halys he presumed, and the other kept an eye on them. The guard watching them was looking at Jon intently so he decided he’d do the same and just stared at the man with what Gerion used to call, his Tywin glare. 

 

Jon won the imaginary war as the man looked away. 

 

That’s right bitch, look away. He grinned over his success and stopped when he saw Alys looking at him unamused. He looked back at the guard who now had a grin of his own. 

 

“Prick.” He said under his breath. The guard heard him and started moving towards Jon but was stopped by a bellowing shout from the other end of the hall. 

 

“Harrion! My good man, it's so good to see you in one piece. And you, Lady Alys! Lord Robb will be very happy to know his intended is safe and unharmed, he’s been very worried I tell you.” A grey-haired fellow boomed across the hall. This was Lord Halys he presumed. 

 

Alys to her credit, curtsied to the lord “Thank you Lord Halys, news about my intended is always welcome, hopefully as welcome as we are in your castle? The past few days have been truly awful my lord, my brother here will be in need of your maester and we’d appreciate accommodation for the night if that’s okay my lord?” She asked. You wouldn’t have thought she’d just been through hell with how she’d spoke. 

 

Robb’s got a good one there. 

 

Lord Halys waved her off like she’d asked for something absurd “Of course it's okay Lady Alys.” He shook his head and smiled at the two Karstarks “Lord Robb will be ever so pleased to see you, wracked with worry that one earlier. They should be back soon, getting dark out there.” He said as he held out his hand to Harrion and shook it. 

 

Back soon? Robb is here? 

 

He couldn’t think more of it as the Lord of the castle moved across to him and eyed him up and down. 

 

“And who is this?” He asked as he looked in Harrion’s direction. 

 

“This was the man who saved us, if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would be happening to us right now.” Harrion said as he gave a sad look in Alys’ direction. 

 

Lord Halys turned back to him “Well he certainly looks like he can handle himself, especially with them two swords on his back that he shouldn't really have at the moment.” He said as he looked at the two guards that had escorted them. They had the decency to look down in shame with their failure to claim his weapons at the gate. 

 

“Do you have a name lad?” Lord Halys asked as he turned back to him. 

 

“Yep.” 

 

Lord Halys shook his head and grinned “And are you gonna tell us it?” He asked. 

 

“Probably.” 

 

“Jon...” Alys warned. 

 

“Ahh! So, its Jon. Jon what?” Lord Halys said as he grinned at Alys and then looked back at him. 

 

“Snow.” He replied. Lord Halys’ eyes widened. 

 

“Jon Snow...Lord Stark’s lad?” He asked. Lord Halys’ eyes lit up like he’d struck gold. 

 

He just nodded his head in response. It was out there now. Jon Snow was back in town. 

 

“This just keeps getting better and better.” The man seemed to mutter to himself. 

 

Harrion cleared his throat “Lord Halys, if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, we’d like to get out of these dirty clothes and I really would like the maester to take a look at me.” He said, clearly impatient now. 

 

“Ah, yes yes of course. Donella always said I could talk the ears off anybody when I wanted to, of course she’s the one who gets the worst of it...” 

 

Harrion just raised an eyebrow. 

 

“I’m rambling. Right, you two follow me. Jon, these servants will take you to the kitchens for something to eat while I get the rooms prepared.” Lord Halys said as he escorted the two Karstarks away. Alys looked over her shoulder at him and mouthed ‘Be good’ at him. He just saluted her and she shook her head. 

 

He could smell the food before he could see it, and when he did, he realised just how hungry he was, he’d had nothing all day. It looked like the leftovers from a feast but he didn’t care, one of the servants handed him a plate and told him to help himself. He nearly kissed the man. 

 

With his plate full and a horn of ale, Jon made his way out of the kitchen and into the halls where a different servant showed him to his room. There was no conversation between the two of them even with the girl constantly eyeing him up, it would have been rude to speak with a mouth full of chicken. He wasn’t in the mood for conversation either, he was buzzing with excitement instead, excited to see his brother again. 

 

I hope he’s not mad. I don’t know how I would handle that. 

 

He was shown into his room, it wasn’t large but it had what he needed. A roaring fire, a featherbed and a hot bath. The servant curtsied and left him to it. 

 

He placed his food and drink on the table and took his blades off his back. He grabbed his plate and horn and sat on the bed, he almost sunk into its softness. He lent against the wall the bed was next to and quietly enjoyed his dinner. 

 

I've got good food, good northern ale, a nice soft featherbed and a steaming hot bath. He was also gonna be seeing his brother again, the gods were looking down on him today. Hell, he might even treat himself tonight and toss himself off before he goes to bed. 

 

With his food polished off, Jon undressed and sank into the copper bath he was provided with. The muscles in his arse and back were singing in pleasure at the relief from all that riding. He cleaned himself off fairly quickly and just laid there with his eyes closed, letting the heat soothe the rest of his body. If he wasn’t too careful, he’d fall asleep with how blissful it was. 

 

He must have been laid in that bath for nearly half an hour, it might have been even longer if it wasn’t for the clear commotion that was happening outside his room. He looked over his shoulder at the door, if he was about to be attacked, he wouldn’t hesitate to fight his assailant stark naked. Thankfully he wasn’t about to be attacked, going on the shout he heard outside from his window. Somebody was at the gates and by the sounds of it, they were being opened. 

 

Robb!? 

 

He’d never got out of a bath quicker in his life, water sloshed all over the ground as he towelled off with the fresh linens he was provided with. He dressed as quick as he could, strapping his swords and his dagger in their appropriate positions. He ran his fingers through his damp curls and picked up his horn of ale before necking the remains of it in a single gulp. 

 

Please don’t be mad Robb. 

 

There was a knock on the door and he must have startled the servant with how quick he opened it. 

 

“Lord Halys has told me to tell you the search party has returned mi lord.” The man said as he bowed and walked off. 

 

With a spring in his step he all but jogged through the keep and out of the front door. He was surprised at the amount of horses and dogs that were in the courtyard. 

 

Search party? Robb must have a small army here! 

 

There was a lot of movement in and around the horses that were currently being moved to the stables. There was a small crowd in front of him and he was stood at the back trying to see if he could spot those tell tale auburn locks, what made him scrunch his face in annoyance was the sight of one Theon Greyjoy. 

 

Of course that prick was here, why hadn't he considered that earlier? 

 

His face calmed and a smile grew as he saw his brother, he had a few more inches on him now, still a poor excuse of a beard though. He chuckled at the thought of that, he’d told Jon years ago that he couldn’t wait to grow one.  

 

His brother was in an embrace with a woman, from the back he couldn’t really tell but if he were to guess by the beaming smile his brother had on his face, it was Alys. 

 

He was glad he’d been in the right place in the right time. He would have to thank Kireina for her intuition, if she’d not got his butt moving this morning it could have been a whole different story. 

 

He saw Lord Halys walk up to Robb and shake his hand, Alys was currently stood next to Robb with both of her hands holding one of his, almost hugging his arm. He couldn’t spot Harrion but if he had to guess, the Lord was probably still in with the maester. 

 

Lord Halys then moved across to someone stood behind a horse and held his hand out, who he saw made the blood in his veins run molten, he could hear his heart beating in his ears and his vision narrowed. 

 

Why did I not think I’d be this angry? Why does he have to be here right now? Am I supposed to play nice because we have an audience? WHAT THE FUCK DO I DO?! 

 

He would have to think fast, the man in question had Lord Halys whispering in his ear and his eyes darted all over the place like he was looking for something. 

 

“Where!?” The man said, almost yelling at Lord Halys. Robb looked at the man confused. 

 

That’s when Lord Halys looked around himself and finally locked eyes with Jon and smiled. Jon wasn’t in the mood for smiling anymore. 

 

He was pointed at by Lord Hornwood and all eyes turned to him, especially the two Starks that were in the yard. 

 

Robb was almost crying when he finally realised who he was looking at but the other man... 

 

Lord Stark. 

 

Well, he looked like he’d seen a ghost. 

 

“...Jon?” Lord Stark almost whispered, almost like he didn’t want to scare him away. 

 

Jon just looked at him with cold eyes and didn’t respond. 


 

Chapter Text


 

Ned  

People were staring at him and Jon, eyes shooting left and right in between the pair of them. His heart felt like it was gonna explode out of his chest, he could feel the rapid beats throughout his entire body. His ears had a slight buzz to them and his breathing was becoming harder and harder to grasp with every second that passed. 

 

To his right was a grinning Lord Halys, to his left was a smiling Robb with his intended joining in with him, he was so glad they’d got her back. Thankfully, her and her brother had been rescued, rescued by the boy...man that was stood right in front of him a few feet away. 

 

Him and Robb couldn't believe it when one of Lord Hornwood’s scouts met up with them stating that he’d been sent to tell them that Lady Alys and her brother Lord Harrion were back, safe and sound within the walls of Hornwood castle. When he’d asked how they’d managed to escape, the scout just said ‘some bloke found em, Lord Halys has said he wants to present him to you when you arrive.’. To say he was intrigued to meet this man was an understatement, Robb had even suggested giving the man lands for his deeds before riding off towards Hornwood without even waiting for him. 

 

He’d not seen Lord Harrion when they arrived but they were so happy to see Lady Alys safe and unhurt when they finally entered the courtyard. Seeing his son and his future wife embrace justified his choice even more that Alys was more ideal for Robb than either of the Targaryen Princesses. He hadn't married for love when he was younger, dark hair and violet eyes flashing through his mind momentarily, but he was gonna try his absolute best to give his children the chance to, and with the way the two young ones were holding each other, he’d not failed his son. 

 

You failed one of them though, didn’t you? His conscience uttered to him. 

 

He was now staring across at the man he’d failed for so long, and he was staring back. 

 

Wherever he’d been for the past three years had done wonders for his boy, he looked strong and healthy. He must have grown half a foot whilst away, he’d been the same height as him before he’d gone but now, Jon must be the same height Brandon was the last time he saw him, maybe even more. His hair had grown out a bit as well, mainly the hair on his face, Robb will definitely be having words with him about that. 

 

He smiled at that, his two boys were back together again, he smiled at the fact that Jon was back and the fact that he was indeed alright. Maybe the nightmares would stop now. 

 

He carried on smiling as he took in the rest of his son before looking up and reaching his eyes, that’s when the smiling faded. Those eyes, those eyes that had haunted him for three years, one minute they belonged to Lyanna the next they belonged to her son. In the accumulated years of seeing those eyes, he’d never seen them look so hard and cold before, ever. 

 

The glare he was receiving almost made him flinch, he could feel the blood from his face slowly draining away as he carried on looking at Jon. He could feel the anxiety firing back up again. 

 

Does he know?  

 

He slowly walked up to him, his heart beating quicker with every step. He could faintly hear the footsteps of his son and his intended following him. 

 

If he knows, I'm fucked.  

 

The look on his son’s face hadn't changed when he finally reached him, without a pause he grabbed him into a crushing hug, one part wanting to feel his son in his arms again and the other to hide his worries in the fur of his son’s cloak. 

 

“We need to have a little chat when we’re back in Winterfell.” Jon whispered into his ear. No ‘Hello father’ or ‘I’ve missed you’, just straight to the point, like he was meeting a Lord he had no intention of being friends with, purely business. 

 

He knows.  

 

How?  

 

The only other person who knew was Howland, he’d not seen the man for years. The man swore on his life to not tell a soul. 

 

What had Jon done to convince him otherwise?  

 

In fact, how would Jon know to go to Howland in the first place?  

 

He swallowed hard as Jon squeezed him back within their embrace, almost to the point where he couldn’t breathe. 

 

I can't breathe...  

 

He clapped Jon on the back a few times in the hopes he would let go but he didn’t. He didn’t want there to be a scene so he stayed as calm as he could. With one last squeeze that felt like it had rearranged a rib, Jon thankfully released him, not even giving him another look as he went towards Robb and embraced him a little more lovingly. He could hear the pair of them muttering into each other’s neck, it looked like the both of them were fighting the tears off. 

 

Robb suddenly released him and punched Jon on the arm. 

 

“Where the hell have you been!” He said, almost shouting. He grabbed Jon and started hugging him again. Regardless of the current tension, it still melted his heart to see the two of them like this. 

 

“I’ll tell you later. But first, you need a bath, you stink. Not fair on my sister-in-law having to put up with that.” Jon said as he smiled back at Robb before winking at Alys. 

 

Robb smiled back at him before holding Alys’ hand and planting a kiss on the back of it, poor lass didn’t know where to look with that blush on her face. 

 

The three of them walked back in through door to the main keep, Alys holding Robb’s hand and Jon with his arm over Robb’s shoulder. This was probably turning out to be one of Robb’s best days in recent years. 

 

He was nudged on his right shoulder by Lord Halys, he caught a quick glimpse of a miserable looking Theon in the background. “Turned up at the main gates with Lord Harrion and Lady Alys, bold as brass that one, well and truly showed up my men at the gates according to Lord Harrion.” The Lord of Hornwood smiled and shook his head. 

 

“How is Lord Harrion? I didn’t see him in the welcoming party.” Ned asked as the pair of them walked into the main keep themselves. He was already looking around to see if he could spot Jon. 

 

Lord Halys sighed “In a bit of a shape to be honest, maester was dealing with him last I saw. He did confirm one thing though, it was Roose’s bastard that had caused all this mess.” He said. 

 

He’d thought as much. 

 

“Any word on where he is?” He asked as they made their way towards Lord Halys’ solar. 

 

“Dead. Harrion told me so, claims your son had sorted him out, got the bastard’s associates as well.” He said “Got a good one there Ned, if my Larence had been born a girl I'd have suggested a match ha!” He said as he chuckled. 

 

Jon has killed. It would have come eventually but it still shocked him to hear that his son had taken another’s life. 

 

You can't judge. His conscience whispered. 

 

“Never mind, I’m sure a good looking lad like that won't be short of suitors. Hell, if no woman wants him, we’ll have him. Would probably improve our guard tenfold.” Halys said as he grinned. They’d reached his solar but Ned couldn’t for the life of him understand why he was even here. He wanted to see Jon, he needed to see Jon right now. 

 

“Halys, I know it’s rude of me to say but if you don’t mind, I would like to go see Jon. It’s been three years since I've seen him and I’ve got so many questions to ask him.” He said, hopefully not offending the Lord. 

 

Lord Halys nodded his head and started moving Ned back down the corridor they’d just walked through “Of course of course, my wife says I could talk for westeros haha. Please, go and see your son, we can talk later my Lord.” He finished as Ned thanked the man and made his way towards Robb’s room, no doubt he’d dragged Jon in by his ear. 

 

It didn’t take him long to get to the corridor their rooms were in, Ser Rodrik had found him on the way but Ned had dismissed him and asked him to guard the corridor he was heading down. 

 

The door to Robb’s room opened whilst he was walking down, Jon came out of the room smiling. 

 

“You be good Alys, don’t want to get Robb in trouble.” He said into the room. He heard Robb say ‘Piss off’ which caused Jon to laugh. The smile on his face dropped when he clocked eyes with Ned. “I’ll see you two later.” He said before closing the door and walking in the opposite direction from him. 

 

“Jon!” He shouted. Thankfully, Jon stopped walking and turned around. 

 

“What?” He almost growled out. 

 

“3 years without a word and that’s all you can say to me?” He said. Wrong thing to say with the way Jon’s face morphed into a look of anger. 

 

He visibly gulped. 

 

Jon just turned back around and carried on walking away. 

 

“Jon, talk to me.” He said as he followed him down the corridor. Jon reached a door and entered the room within. Most likely the room he was given. 

 

Jon stood at the door and held it open for him “Get in then, you wanted to talk.” He said as Ned entered the room and scanned it. The slam of the door made him jump and spin on the spot. 

 

Jon was walking right towards him, it was only now Ned realised he had two swords on his back. 

 

He won't hit me...will he?  

 

He released a breath he didn't know he was holding as Jon walked past him and sat down on the bed. He walked across the room himself and stood next to the bed, pointing at it and looking at him. 

 

“May I sit?” He asked. 

 

“No. Get a chair.” Jon replied, emotionless. 

 

This is gonna be awful. He thought as he grabbed the chair at the table and sat a couple of feet away from him, just enough room to avoid Jon lashing out. 

 

He seems in the mood for a fight.  

 

He sighed as he looked at Jon, coming to the realisation that he was a man now, a very moody man. 

 

“What er...what did you and Robb talk about?” He asked. 

 

Jon looked at him. 

 

Why was he so scared of him all of a sudden?  

 

He  kn e w why. It’s because he knows the truth and the truth was damning to him and his family.  

 

“It’s none of your business what me, my brother and my sister-in-law were talking about. But if you must know, we were talking about their wedding and how excited they were, that's until some maids brought in a bath for him and I was chucked out so Alys could take care of him." He said as he ran his hand through his hair. 

 

Ned was momentarily worried “Wait, there not....” 

 

“What? Fucking? Probably not. I bet his mother has taught him how terrible it is to do that out of wedlock." He said “I doubt you’d be the one to teach him given the circumstances.” He finished as he got up from the bed and walked over to the table where a jug of ale was waiting, he poured himself a horn full. 

 

Ned wasn’t offered one. 

 

Why was this going so badly?  

 

He looked at Jon who was now returning to sit back on the bed “Where have you been Jon?” He asked, almost pleading to understand how they had found no trace of him. 

 

He shrugged “None of your concern. What’s important is that I’m back. Back to see my family.” He said. 

 

“None of my concern?!” He almost growled as he stood up out of his chair and stood above Jon “It was everybody's concern! Do you have any idea how many people have been looking for you? Even the crown had people searching for you!” 

 

“I did tell you in the letter I left that I was leaving for my own sake, you sending half the continent looking for me shows that you couldn’t give a fuck about my wishes or choices.” Jon stood up then and looked at him, hard. He couldn’t get over the effect it had over him “I left for a reason, I didn’t do it because I was bored, I didn’t do it in some scream for attention, I did it for me!” He growled out as he moved across the room to look out of the window. 

 

“I've learnt so much while I've been away, met so many good people, evolved as a person. I let my brothers and sisters down, leaving them behind with nothing but a letter. But If I was given the chance to change anything I did, I wouldn’t change anything at all. I have no regrets, I’ve returned a better man than I left as, that’s just a fact.” He said passionately. 

 

He was about to open his mouth but Jon beat him to it. 

 

“I wasn’t gonna return you know. I was gonna stay where I was, a place that felt more like a home than Winterfell ever did. The only thing’s I really missed were my siblings and Gage’s pies.” He said as he took a swig from his horn. 

 

Ned felt gutted “Did you not miss me? Not even a little bit?” He asked, afraid of the answer that awaited him. 

 

Jon looked back at him with determination in his eyes. 

 

“You’re the reason I came back.” He said in a hard tone. 

 

His heart was doing little flips hearing him say that, what he said next ceased said flips and made him anxious again. 

 

“I came back because you have something that belongs to me.” 

 

He furrowed his brow in confusion, mainly to hide what he really felt. 

 

Fear.  

 

Jon caught his expression and explained further “Don't worry, I’m not gonna claim Ice for myself or, as much as your wife would expect me to, take Winterfell from you or Robb. No, you have something of mine that is a lot more important to me and I think you know what I'm talking about.” He growled out as he got closer and closer to Ned. 

 

And Ned knew exactly what it was that he wanted. The same thing that made him leave three years ago had made him return for it. It would seem that it was the only thing Ned could really give to the lad anymore. 

 

His mother’s identity. Something he was thankful Jon didn’t actually know about as he feared earlier. 

 

I’m sorry Jon but I just can’t tell you.  

 

“Don't worry Lord Stark. It’s nothing too serious, just a little chat about my mother will suffice. See, nothing to be worried about. And I’ve decided we can have this simple chat in your home, gives you chance to come up with a good enough excuse as to why this information has been kept from me for seventeen years.” Jon said in what sounded like his most condescending lords voice ever. 

 

“Jon...” 

 

“It's late Lord Stark, been a very busy day today and my bed is calling.” Jon said as he put his hand on his back and started pushing him towards the door. 

 

“Oh, I almost forgot.” Jon said as Ned walked out of the room. He turned around and almost flinched at the look that was being aimed at him. 

 

“If the hear the words ‘when the time is right’ being used as an excuse when we get back, I won't hesitate.” Jon said in a low tone. 

 

He looked at him in confusion “Hesitate? Hesitate what?” He asked. Jon had really changed, that was very evident now. 

 

He smiled “Don’t use the excuse and you won't find out.” He said, slamming the door in his face after. 

 

He walked away in a daze, hopefully in the direction of his bed. 

 

Jon wouldn’t accept anything but an answer to his burning question and expected an explanation as to why it took so long to be answered. 

 

I’m fucked.  

 

... Unless  

 

This would take some thinking but, in the end, his family would be safe and Jon would have his answer. 

 

The answer just couldn’t be the truth that's all.  

 

He just had to make the lie stick and prevent anything from debunking it seeing the light of day. 

 

He’d heard the rumours all around Winterfell, he wasn’t deaf to them. He just had to convince Jon of their credibility.  

 

And hope him or Jon never meet the woman ever again. 

 


 

Rhaenys  

20 years old. 

 

She was 20 years old. 

 

That fact hit her like a runaway carriage. 

 

I'm getting old, I’m not long for this world anymore.  

 

She must have said those thoughts out loud since her mother was tutting at her “You're not getting old darling, stop being dramatic.” Her mother said as she helped her with her hair. She had maids but her mother still enjoyed doing her hair from time to time, mainly on special occasions. 

 

Like her name day. 

 

She didn’t want a massive fuss being made over it but according to father, since all the family was in King’s Landing for the first time in years, they were going to do just that. 

 

Much to her annoyance. 

 

Especially with some of the people he’d invited for it. Unfortunately, the people she would have liked to have appeared were unable to for whatever reason. Uncle Oberyn and Ellaria couldn’t make it because they were visiting Ellaria’s father in Hellholt, Uncle Doran couldn’t because of his health and Arianne was almost running Sunspear single handily due to her father being away at the Water Gardens and Viserys and Quentyn being in King’s Landing. 

 

She should have been annoyed but she wasn’t, because she didn't want this, especially with who had turned up at the Keep. 

 

She knew the reason for it but she refused to believe her father would stoop to that level. Cersei Baratheon, the wife of Stannis Baratheon and her brood had been invited for the celebrations, along with her brother-in-law, Renly. Rhaenys wanted to believe her father had invited the Baratheon clan to keep good faith with the family he’d fought against in the rebellion but she knew better. It was to get her closer to Joffrey and Renly. 

 

She’d met Renly once before when he'd visited her father on behalf of his brother Stannis. Tall, handsome, charming and seemed like one of the easiest people to talk to. He was a little up himself but not as much as some Lords she’d met before and most importantly, in her father’s eyes, unwedded. 

 

Unfortunately for her father, Renly was as about as interested in wedding her as she was with him. At first, she didn’t understand why he seemed so uninterested in her and she had to admit, it wounded her pride a little but then she noticed why he wasn’t interested. 

 

She didn’t have the right parts between her legs. 

 

And she didn't look like Loras Tyrell. 

 

At the end of it all, she felt ridiculous for being annoyed at a man who didn’t find her desirable, even when she wasn't that interested in him in the first place. She was still civil with Renly for the rest of his stay but he would always annoy her now for making her feel stupid. 

 

Annoyed with a gay man for not desiring you, whatever next?  

 

Her pride would get her into trouble one day.  

 

And then there was the other one. The other person on the list of suitors. 

 

Joffrey Baratheon, the wretch of Storm’s End Dany liked to call him. 

 

She’d only ever met him once as well and my god was he the most ridiculous boy she’d ever had the displeasure of meeting. His mother was nearly as bad as him so it was clear where he got it from. Myrcella and Tommen must have been gifted to that family by the gods just to even out the crazy, both of them were saints compared to the wicked witch and her little monster. 

 

That was unfair, Cersei Baratheon wasn’t that bad. She was one of the most protective mothers she’d ever seen, the problem was, she was a little too protective. To the point where her son could do no wrong. 

 

Something that was very dangerous for House Baratheon and maybe even the realm. 

 

If a betrothal between her and that boy was ever announced, she’d be gone by the time the sun rose the next day. Probably leave a special present in one of her father’s desk draws, probably eat some of that spicy beef stew that didn’t agree with her that one time, make it extra special for him. 

 

“What are you smiling about?" Her mother asked as she finished with her hair. 

 

“Nothing." She replied as she stood up from her chair. 

 

“Liar.” Her mother replied but said no more of it. 

 

They were disrupted by a knock at the door and Ser Oswell pocking his head through it. 

 

“Sorry to disturb your graces but Lady Baratheon is seeking an audience with you, my Queen.” He said. 

 

She just rolled her eyes as she looked at her mother. A look of annoyance could be seen on the Queen’s face as she nodded her head. 

 

“I’ll be with you shortly Oswell, I’m just going to finish talking with my daughter." Elia replied as Ser Oswell nodded his head and shut the door. 

 

“You know what she’ll be wanting you for don’t you? She’ll be trying to get you on board with betrothing me to that vicious little idiot she calls a son.” She said as she looked over her jewellery in consideration. 

 

Maybe the rubies today.  

 

She heard her mother scoff from the bed she was currently sat on “It’s no secret that I would like you to marry sooner rather than later but I’d choose you being unmarried for the rest of your life before I promise you to that brat.” Her mother said. 

 

She looked through the reflection of the looking glass at her mother and gave her a sheepish smile “Thank you mother. I know I said I would at least try more and I did when we were back in Winterfell with Robb Stark.” She shook her head “Robb had other ideas though, with the way he talked about Lady Alys Karstark, he was already in love. I couldn’t destroy that.” She said as she started tying her ruby encrusted gold bracelet on her wrist. 

 

She started putting her earrings in but stopped mid action “That reminds me, has there been any more news regarding Lady Alys’ disappearance? I can't imagine what Robb is going through right now.” She asked as she eventually put her earring on. 

 

The other earring was just about in when her mother replied “Not yet no. Lord Varys has been keeping a close eye on the scene ever since we received the letter Lord Stark sent announcing hers and her brother's disappearance. According to Varys, Lord Stark believes it’s a kidnapping and even went as far as to name the perpetrator.” She said. 

 

“And who has he been accusing?” She asked. 

 

“Ramsey Snow, Lord Bolton’s son.” She answered as she stood up from where she was sat and walked over to the table, plopping a grape in her mouth from the fruit bowl that laid on it. 

 

The word ‘Snow’ brought forgotten thoughts back to her mind. 

 

“The Starks haven't had a great time of it with all the disappearances they’ve had, have they?” She said as she looked over which rings to wear. 

 

“And what is that supposed to mean, Rhaenys?” He mother asked in a rather annoyed tone. She turned and looked at her, a stern look, almost angry was what she was met with. 

 

She frowned in confusion “Well, Robb’s intended has disappeared recently as we have just been discussing and a few years back, Lord Starks son disappeared without a trace as well.” She explained as she saw her mother’s stern look fade. She almost looked embarrassed now. 

 

She turned back to her jewellery and started trying a few of the ring on “Why, what did you think I meant mother?” She asked, still fiddling with her rings. 

 

“Nothing. Just forget I ever said anything.” Came her mother’s curt reply. 

 

She knew exactly what had just occurred but she wasn’t gonna mention anything to do with Lyanna Stark again with what happened in Winterfell between the two of them.  

 

Her mother sat at the table and carried on nibbling at the grapes in front of her. Rhaenys was quite aware of what she was doing and found it rather amusing. 

 

“I know what you're doing mother?” She said as she stared at the looking glass and contemplated her appearance. 

 

Good enough.  

 

“I have no idea what you are talking about my sweet Princess.” Her mother said in a light tone. 

 

She rolled her eyes and finally looked at her mother. 

 

“I thought you had a meeting with Lady Cersei to attend to mother? Or had you forgotten?” She said as the corners of her mouth started to rise. 

 

Her mother followed suit then all of a sudden snorting before turning back to the bowl of grapes that she found ever so interesting. 

 

“I do, but she can wait.” Her mother shook her head “Never liked that woman, don’t like the way she looks at your father or Egg either.” She said. 

 

“Now now mother, the quicker you meet with her the quicker you get to return to me so you can help me choose what to wear at the feast tonight.” She replied. 

 

Her mother really smiled then “When did you get so wise?” She said as she stood from her chair and walked over to her. 

 

“Besides, I know exactly what you can wear tonight.” She said as she made her way to the door. 

 

She turned in her seat and looked in her mother’s direction, a look of intrigue on her face as she saw the sly grin grow on her mother’s “What?” She asked. 

 

Her mother opened the door and turned around to look at her “Why one of your name day gifts of course. The rest I’ll give you shortly after.” She replied “A special gown for a special occasion, your 20 years old now you old bat...you're not long for this world anymore, remember?” Her mother said with a cheeky grin. 

 

“Mother!” She huffed, caught completely off guard. Her mother just chuckled as she walked out the room and closed the door behind her. 

 


 

Robb  

Something was off. 

 

They’d been riding back to Winterfell for a few hours now, leaving Alys behind in Hornwood was one of the hardest things he’s ever had to do, especially since they’d only just got her back. She’d told him that she’d miss him but reassured him that it wouldn’t be long before they were wed. 

 

He’d told her to send him a raven when she arrived back in Karhold, his worry becoming more profound after recent events. After a kiss goodbye and a firm handshake with Lord Harrion, Robb, his father and his brother all set off with the rest of their party, all the way back to Winterfell. The excitement of getting back home was felt throughout the entire group, or so he’d thought. 

 

His father looked like he was marching off to war. 

 

It was very apparent that words were had between his father and Jon. 

 

Him and Alys had heard raised voices from down the hall after Jon had left and returned to his room a couple of doors down. He’d expected to hear his father having a strong word with his disappearing son but what he hadn't expected was Jon’s raised voice giving as good as he got. He’d never heard Jon raise his voice to their father, in fact, he’d never heard Jon raise his voice to anybody, ever. He’d always stew quietly somewhere on his own after any kind of confrontation but the new Jon seemed to have no problems with barking back at the patriarch of House Stark. 

 

If there was one change he’d noticed within his brother, it would be this new confidence that seemed to radiate from him like an aura. It wasn’t the only change he’d noticed either, it was mainly his physical changes. 

 

Robb was always the big brother of his siblings, showing a good example to Bran and Rickon, keeping Arya out of trouble whenever he could and humouring Sansa when she’d talk to him about some of her womanly interests. All in all, Robb was the protector of his brothers and sisters, the big brother who kept them safe from themselves and others. 

 

Jon had smashed that image into a thousand pieces the moment he locked eyes with him in the courtyard. 

 

He’d still protect his family to the best of his ability if the occasion were to arise, but nowhere near as well as Jon probably could. His brother looked like he’d just come back from fighting a war and training in a mountain for a few years. He was bigger than him before he left but now it was just annoying, the years spent away had been good to Jon he had to begrudgingly admit. As much as he’d have wanted him to stay, he couldn’t deny those years away had made him into a better, more refined man. 

 

He felt shameful when the idea of Alys preferring Jon over him came to his head, he loved his brother but the thoughts wouldn’t go away. They stuck with him when the three of them talked in his room, they slowly dissipated though, the more and more they talked it was clear that the relationship between his betrothed and her saviour was more familial than lustful. He’d laughed when Jon had said that his sister-in-law had already told him off a few times for bad behaviour and that he was borderline afraid of her wrath. 

 

His jealousy had completely disappeared when Alys had sucked his face off as soon as Jon had left the room. 

 

Alys had left him before he’d finished his bath, before the touches here and there became more than just touches. A kiss goodbye before slipping out of his room left him with a grin on his face that just didn’t want to go away. His day had finished off well, Alys was back and so was Jon. 

 

He shook his head to disperse his thoughts and looked across to where Jon was sat on a red stallion conversing with Ser Rodrik. The old man was bellowing with laughter with whatever Jon was telling him, in his peripheral vision he could see Theon riding next to him with a look of misery on his face. 

 

He knew exactly why he was miserable.  

 

He leant over and spoke in his ear “You had a go at me a few days ago for being miserable, maybe you should listen to your own advice and cheer up.” He said as Theon eyed him with an annoyed look. 

 

“Oh, you're talking to me now are you? There was me thinking I didn’t exist.” Theon grumbled out as he stared straight forward. 

 

He sighed “C’mon Theon, be reasonable. I've not seen Jon in three years, none of us have. I'm ashamed to say that I actually thought he’d passed away a long time ago so you can imagine what I felt when I saw him in good shape when we returned to Hornwood.” He said. Theon and reasonable didn’t really mix but he was hoping he could eventually get him and Jon on good terms. 

 

When dragons fly the skies again probably.  

 

“I've not been ignoring you, I've just been preoccupied that’s all.” He finished, dreading the reason why Theon was now grinning. 

 

“Oh aye, and what’s been keeping you preoccupied eh? It wouldn’t happen to have something to do with that pretty lass of yours leaving your room last night with a red face hmm?” He asked, looking almost predatory. 

 

Damn him.  

 

He shook his head and looked away from him “None of your business, but if you must know, I’ve been trying to figure out what has happened between father and Jon. They’ve barely spoken a word to each other since we set off. Doesn’t help with the longing looks father’s been sending Jon all afternoon either.” He said. 

 

Theon just scoffed at him “Jon Jon Jon, anyone would think you’d rather marry him than that little lady of yours with how much you talk about him.” Theon mocked. 

 

He looked back at him “Why can't you just get along with him? It would make everybody's lives a little easier. Have you even spoken to him since he’s been back?” He asked. 

 

“Have I fuck, not had the chance to with everybody else clambering over each other to talk to him. It’s not like I want to talk to him anyway, I have nothing to say to the bastard.” He replied. 

 

He looked across to where Jon was and realised he was moving over to speak with him “It looks like you’ll get your chance now.” He said as he nodded in Jon’s direction. 

 

Theon attempted to bolt off but Robb grabbed his shoulder “Oh no you don’t, we’re talking this out like grown men. Hell, you might even like the new Jon, give him a chance.” He said as he felt Theon’s shoulder slump under his hand. 

 

“Fine.” Theon growled out. 

 

Jon approached them both and moved to the other side of Robb “Robb, Theon.” He said as he nodded at the pair of them and clapped Robb on the shoulder. 

 

At least one of them was trying to be civil.  

 

“Jon.” He said as he nodded back at him. He noticed Theon didn’t bother saying anything.  

 

Brat.  

 

“What were you and Ser Rodrik laughing about just now?” He asked as he eyed his brother. Jon was currently burning a hole into the back of their father’s head. 

 

He definitely needs to have a private word with him about that.  

 

Jon shook his head “I was just mentioning some of the antics I’ve found myself getting into in the past three years. He seemed to find some of it funny and I couldn’t help but laugh along with him.” He said as he smiled at him. He found that Jon was out of his shell a lot more than he was before he left. 

 

Theon chuckled next to him. 

 

Please don’t say something stupid, please don’t say something stupid.  

 

“Probably laughing at you than with you.” He said, as he laughed at his own words. 

 

Fuck sake.  

 

Jon to his credit just laughed along with him “Yeah probably, some of the things he was laughing at I didn’t think were that funny but obviously I was wrong. Nice nose by the way.” Jon said as he smiled back at Theon. 

 

Theon’s smile dropped and he just looked away. 

 

“Can we just put this all past us and move on? Are you telling me that three years away from each other hasn’t calmed whatever trouble you had between the pair of ya?” He said, frustrated at their attitude towards each other. 

 

“I moved on a long time ago brother, I was just complimenting Lord Greyjoy here on his wonderful nozzle. The artist who created such a piece must have been a genius.” He said, still with a smile on his face.  

 

“Jon c’mon...” He said, exasperated with the whole conversation at this point. 

 

Jon sighed “Fine.” He said as he moved his horse across to ride next to Theon. He could see a small sneer on Theon’s face as Jon moved next to him. 

 

Theon actually flinched when Jon shot his hand out towards him, he recovered and looked down at it in confusion. 

 

“I’m sorry about the nose, let bygones be bygones eh Greyjoy?” Jon said as he held his hand out for Theon to shake. 

 

Shake the hand you idiot.  

 

Theon begrudgingly shook his hand but not without something stupid spewing out of his mouth “Aye, let's move on eh, bastard.” He said as he tried to pull his hand away. Jon held it like a vice if Theon’s face was anything to go by. 

 

I give up with these two.  

 

“You wanna be careful Theon, Greyjoy’s are dropping like flies lately.” Ominously growled out at Theon, still gripping his hand hard. 

 

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” Theon exclaimed as people started to turn and look at the pair of them. 

 

“Nothing. Just make sure you don’t find out that’s all.” Jon finished as he released Theon’s hand and moved his horse back next to Robb. 

 

He looked at Jon and ducked his head “Jon, Theon has the right of it, what was that supposed to mean?” He asked in a hushed tone as people started minding their own business again. He noticed his father’s intense stare aimed directly at the pair of them. 

 

Jon shook his head “I might tell you some other time, we’ll see.” He said as he looked across towards Theon who looked like he wanted to run Jon through. “I've met your uncle you know, I wasn’t a fan but I suppose I wasn’t the only one to be fair.” He said. 

 

That perked Theon up a little “My uncle?” He said with genuine interest. 

 

Jon nodded “Yeah, your uncle Euron. I suppose we should be thankful you didn’t turn out as bad as he did, fucking nut case.” He sneered. A look of disgust appearing on his face. 

 

That was probably the biggest compliment Jon has ever given to Theon.  

 

“No one has seen my uncle in years, where did you find him?” Theon asked. He seemed genuinely interested on news about his family. 

 

“A long way away from here.” Jon answered as he clocked eyes with their father who abruptly looked away. Theon just huffed at the answer he got. 

 

Now he really wanted to know what had happened between Jon and their father. 

 

He nudged Jon’s shoulder and nodded in their father’s direction “What’s all that about then?” He asked. 

 

Jon looked at him “I think you know what that is about.” He said. Robb just shook his head. 

 

Jon sighed and nodded towards their father “Name the one thing I've always wanted from that man?” He asked. Realisation hitting Robb like a force. 

 

He nodded his head and looked down in resignation “Your mother.” He answered, not even having to look up to know he was right. 

 

“Yes, my mother. We had a few heated words last night and I told him we were having a chat about her when we arrive back at his home.” Jon answered. 

 

Robb shook his head “Our home, it's always been our home, your home.” He said with authority. 

 

Jon smiled and shook his head “No its not Robb, it's never been my home. I know what a home feels like and it felt nothing like Winterfell ever did. Don’t get me wrong, I love the place and a few of the people in it, but what that place did to me were never the actions of a somewhere I'd call home.” Jon answered. 

 

He knew it was bad enough for him to run away but he didn’t know it was that bad. A feeling of anxiousness started to bubble in his stomach. 

 

Was Jon not planning on  staying ?  

 

Would he be disappearing again for another three years?  

 

“It’ll be different now Jon, you just wait and see.” He promised. Even to his ears it didn’t sound all to convincing. 

 

Before Jon was even able to reply, the front of their retune started moving their horses into a gallop. Him, Jon and Theon joined in. 

 

Ser Rodrik moved across to join in with their small group “What's all this in aid of Ser Rodrik!” He shouted across to him. 

 

“We’re a few miles out from Winterfell and your father wanted to get back before nightfall!” Ser Rodrik shouted back. He nodded at the old knight. 

 

Home. 

 

All he could think of were people's reactions to seeing Jon arriving with them. 

 

This could get messy.  

 


 

Ayra 

She rolled her eyes as Bran went off on another rant, she was positive he was trying to wind her up and annoyingly, it was working. 

 

She turned to him as they sat there in the main hall finishing their dinner “Will you shut up about it already.” She said, exasperation evident in her tone. 

 

Her brother looked so excited with the way he bounced in his chair “I can't Arya, it's so exciting. How are you not excited?” He said. 

 

She huffed “I’m not excited because I'm pretty certain you were seeing things, that’s why.” She said. 

 

Bran shook his head “Nope, I saw it with my own eyes Arya. Flying high up in the clouds, it was hard to see but it was there.” He said. 

 

She finished the last bit of her chicken pie “You didn’t see a dragon Bran, it was probably a bird. Now will you stop blabbering on about it.” She said as she about polished off her plate, Gage really was a wizard when it came to pie making. 

 

Bran just leant back in his chair and crossed his arms; operation brood was a go. 

 

Jory came through the hall doors and moved towards their mother, whispering into her ear and shooting off again in a hurry. 

 

Wonder what that’s about?  

 

“Right children, finish off your meals, your father and brother’s retune have been spotted and should be home shortly.” Her mother said as she looked at them all with a small smile on her face. 

 

Now that was more like it. Things were getting a little dull around here lately, maybe her father or Robb would have some stories to tell. Hopefully they’d found Alys as well, she’d not really talked to her that much the few times she’d been at Winterfell but she seemed nice and Robb seemed to act very silly whenever she was around, almost like a lost puppy. 

 

Jory stuck his head through the door “They're about 5 minutes away my Lady.” He said and returned to whatever he was doing outside. 

 

“C’mon then.” Her mother said as she rose from her seat and placed a hand on Sansa’s back “We don’t want to keep your father and brother waiting.” She finished as they all rose from their seats and headed out into the cold evening air. 

 

They were stood in the courtyard for only a couple of minutes before they heard the sound of hooves in the distance, the excitement was brewing inside her. 

 

“Stop fidgeting Arya.” Her mother chided. She just rolled her eyes as the main gate to the courtyard was opened up by two guards and a group of horses trotted their way in. 

 

She noticed her father straight away, all the way at the front where he belonged, then she noticed Robb and Theon. Theon looked the same as he always did, annoying and up himself, but her brother Robb looked happy, very happy. The grin on his face almost made her grin for some reason, and she would have if time hadn't just stopped. 

 

Sat on a horse next to Robb was a very familiar boy, a boy who was looking in her direction and smiling at her, a boy that was making it hard to breathe for her and made her eyes water. 

 

She could almost feel her mother tense up next to her as she felt a tear run down her cheek. 

 

Her legs had a mind of their own as she started sprinting towards him, towards her brother, towards Jon. She heard behind her Bran and Rickon gasping and her mother once again telling her off but she didn’t care, not one bit as she collided with Jon’s body and wrapped her arms around him, burying her nose into his mid-section. She felt arms wrapping around her and then she was being lifted into her brother’s arms, she buried her face into his shoulder and just let the rest of her tears leak into his furs. 

 

“Jon..." She mumbled into his shoulder as she felt a hand stroking her hair. “I’m here little sister.” She heard him say as she felt Bran and Rickon’s collision with him. 

 

She wasn’t listening to what he was saying to them as she gripped him harder with her arms, she wasn’t letting go of him anytime soon. 

 

Jon dropped to one knee as he stopped stroking her hair before wrapping his arm around Bran and Rickon bringing them into their embrace, it was now a big group hug between the four of them. She heard Rickon sniffling next to her. 

 

She pulled her face from Jon’s furs and looked at Jon, she could still tell it was Jon but now her brother wasn’t a boy anymore. 

 

Still her favourite brother though. She thought as she buried her face back into his shoulder. He still smelled the same.  

 

“Give him a chance to breath Arya.” She heard Robb say as he chuckled. 

 

She begrudgingly released him from her death grip as he stood back up, he was taller than she remembered. 

 

She heard somebody approaching from behind, when she looked over her shoulder, she noticed Sansa and her mother walking towards them. 

 

“Jon.” Was all her mother said as Sansa slowly walked up to Jon and gave him a quick hug, almost afraid he wasn’t gonna reciprocate the embrace. Jon wrapped an arm around Sansa’s shoulders and returned the hug like she knew he would. Her mother made a face that she didn’t care much for. 

 

“Catelyn.” Jon responded. 

 

That seemed to annoy her mother with how her face soured but she surprisingly kept her mouth closed as she reached for Sansa, who reluctantly left Jon’s embrace and returned to her. 

 

“Let's get everybody sorted out and settled in, get the cooks working on some food for everybody." Her father said as she looked towards his steward, Vayon Poole. The man nodded and walked off to carry out her father’s orders. 

 

She held Jon’s hand in a death grip as they made their way to the main hall, Bran and Rickon excitedly asking all manner of questions as Robb chuckled behind them. 

 

“I’ll tell you all you need to know tomorrow after a night's sleep lads. All I want to do is destroy one of Gage’s pies and sit amongst my brothers and sisters while I’m doing it.” Jon said with a smile as he looked down at her with warm eyes and squeezed her hand. 

 

The next hour or so was the best time she’d had for three years. 

 

Jon was now walking her to her bedchambers, the excitement of the evening had crept up on her and now she just wanted to sleep, and hopefully wake up the next morning realising this was all real and that Jon was really back. 

 

He gave her a big hug when they entered her room “I’ll be here tomorrow morning when you wake up, don’t worry.” He said into her ear as she hugged him back. 

 

He knew her so well. 

 

She punched him in the arm as he released her “You better be, stupid.” She said as she grinned up at him. He just ruffled her hair in response, she hadn't realised how much she missed him messing up her hair. 

 

He opened her chamber door to leave but she spoke up before he left “Jon?” She said. 

 

“Yeah?” He said as he held the door open and looked over his shoulder. 

 

“Love you.” She choked out as she felt her eyes tearing up again. Damn him for making her soppy. 

 

“Love you too, little wolf. Sleep tight.” He said whilst fighting his own war with his tears. He quietly closed the door behind him.  

 

She got changed into her night clothes and jumped straight under her furs. It didn’t take her long to get to sleep, all she could think of was that Jon had come back to her. 

 

She didn’t hear her father open her door to check on her, or see his face match the soft smile that was present on hers as she dreamt of all the things her and Jon were gonna get up to.


 

Chapter Text

 


 

Jon  

The morning rays broke through the slats of the window covers and into his old room, a room that held all types of memories. Some good, most bad. He remembers the miserable nights he spent trying to get to sleep but kept awake instead, his mind would wander, his wandering would turn into worry, mainly worrying about his future. 

 

He stretched his entire body under the furs, the crack from his back felt like heaven. His night's sleep had its interruptions but at the end of the day he couldn’t complain, sleeping in his childhood bed gave him an extra comfort he didn’t think he would feel. He also didn’t expect to even have a childhood bed anymore, he thought that this room would have been completely stripped by now but obviously someone didn’t have the heart to do such a thing. 

 

Almost like somebody had a guilty conscience. He thought. 

 

He sat up and swung his legs off the bed, rolling his neck he noticed his recently collected bags. The interruption in the middle of the night was the explanation for their presence at the moment. An interruption in the form of a very big and very annoyed dragon. 

 

Kireina had scared the living shit out of him in the middle of the night, thank the gods she had the sense not to make an actual appearance in Winterfell. She just decided to make an abrupt appearance in his dreams instead, something he didn’t even know she could do.  

 

Turned out it wasn’t something he should have been incredibly worried about, she was just annoyed with the bags that were still tied to her back. He didn’t expect her to be so stroppy about it but clearly, she wasn’t impressed with having to lug his bags around when she really didn’t need to be. 

 

Sneaking out of Winterfell had been easy 3 years ago, after many lessons from Master M, he could have done it with his eyes closed.  Sneaking back in was a little bit more difficult but he still managed it with relative ease. 

 

Kireina had been very happy to see him, either that or she was just glad to get those bags off her back. He’d giving her a kiss on the snout and a scratch under her jaw before she sprang back up into the night sky without a trace. After the huge mess she’d made in Hornwood Forest, she seemed to be a little caring of her surroundings now. 

 

Now he was sat there on his bed staring at the bags that contained his clothes, valuables and two very dangerous swords to be found in possession of. 

 

I should really get these swords back to their respective owners soon. He thought to himself. 

 

He didn’t know how to go about doing that though. 

 

“Oh hello, my names Jon and I just happen to have come across this sword, I think it might belong to you.” He thought amusingly. Who was he kidding, he was probably gonna be as straight forward as possible with them. From the stories he’d heard from Gerion, he was quite looking forward to meeting the great Tywin Lannister, he’d just have to take Gerion’s warning into consideration and be careful what he said. He didn’t want Kireina turning it into Casterly Dust if any harm came to him because of something stupid he’d said. 

 

He sighed, he missed Gerion. Hopefully it wouldn’t be long before he’d be seeing him again, he’d made the man a promise after all. 

 

He was asked to tell Gerion’s daughter about her father but Jon had another idea. It was a mad plan that might not even be necessary but if the girl was treated like any other bastard, the chances were high that he would go through with it. 

 

It was how to go about it that would be the biggest pain in his arse. 

 

And whether or not  Kireina  was open to the idea of it.  

 

He scrubbed his face and rubbed the sleep from his eyes as he stood up and walked to the bowl of tepid water to wash his face, the cool water thoroughly waking him up in the process. Today was the big day, the day he would get the truth out of his father even if he had to beat it out of him. 

 

Would he have to resort to that? Would he have to pay the consequences for attacking the Lord Paramount of the North?  

 

Doubt Kireina would allow something like that to happen anyway. 

 

All of a sudden there was an incessant banging on his chamber door. 

 

Somebody's keen. He thought. 

 

He dressed as quick as he could, pulling a tunic over his head in the process of walking towards the door, which was now shaking at the hinges with how hard it was being hammered at. 

 

He whipped the door open and looked at the culprit with narrow eyes, eyes that immediately softened when he saw who it was. 

 

“You're up!” His little sister chirped as she walked into his room and plopped herself on the furs of his untidy bed. An unapologetic smile plastered on her face as he attempted to scowl at her but failed miserably. 

 

He could never be mad at Arya. Annoyed sometimes, but never mad.  

 

“Pretty difficult for somebody to sleep through that racket, who knew somebody so small could cause such a big pain in my arse.” He said as he moved across the room and grabbed his dark blue gambeson. The gambeson in question was one of his favourites, Gerion had told him wistfully that it brought out the colour in his eyes, the man just laughed when he’d replied that he would bring out the colour of his nose with his fist if he didn’t shut it. 

 

Arya’s smile grew as she leapt from his bed and started sniffing around his bags “You're not mad, just admit it, you missed this.” She said as she fiddled with one of the straps on his bag, the bag with the two valyrian swords he soon realised. 

 

He realised his mistake when he moved across the room in a flash and batted her hand away from the bag, a cheeky grin emerged on her face like a game had just been initiated. She knew he was hiding something now and she’d make goddamn sure to find out what it was, the way Arya always did. 

 

“You're right, I did miss this...” He said as he moved the bag to the other side of the room, his little sister’s eyes glued to it. “...but I didn’t miss you snoopin....” 

 

“What's in the bag?” She interrupted, he tried to play it cool as he placed the bag on the floor near the window. Unfortunately, the noise it made when he did put it down didn’t help in cooling her intrigue, if anything, it fuelled it. 

 

“Nothing for you that’s what. Why are you here so earl...” 

 

“Is it my present? Is it a sword? I’ve always wanted a real sword, mother says that I shouldn’t be playing with swords but I've always wanted to learn how to use one properly. Me, Bran and Rick sneak out into the godswood sometimes and practice with sticks. Sometimes Jory finds us and teaches us little tricks instead of telling on us, I like Jory. Can I have my sword now? Pleeeeeease?” She rambled on. 

 

He sighed, he’d not really thought about presents when he decided to come back, he had other things on his mind at that moment. But looking at his pleading sister, who was doing that thing she always did with her eyes that made them look bigger than they actually were, who was quite clearly making her bottom lip tremble on purpose, he decided he would have to find a way to get a proper sword in her hand. 

 

He was annoyed that her little tricks, that he was fully aware of, had worked so easily on him. 

 

“No, it's not your present.” He said as crossed his arms. 

 

“Oh...” She said as her face fell, she looked down at the floor and started nibbling on her bottom lip. Her shoulders slumped and she sniffed. 

 

Now he had an upset little sister on his hands and his soul couldn’t take it. 

 

With his decision made he lifted the bag back up and sighed “If you’re good and you promise not to tell anybody about what I'm about to show you, I will ask Mikken to make you a sword that is just right for you hmm? I know there's no point in me trying to hide the contents of this bag from you, you’d find a way of getting into it and probably cause more trouble for me.” He said as he sat on his bed and placed the bag down on his lap. 

 

Jon got nothing from this deal except from making his sister happy which in hindsight, was definitely worth it. 

 

Her face lit up and she sprang towards the bed before hugging him tight around the neck “Thank you thank you thank you!” She happily declared whilst crushing his windpipe. He tapped on her back and she let go, a sheepish grin on her face. 

 

Oh, she knew what she’d done. She’d well and truly played him, and he couldn’t for the life of him be mad at her for it. He was almost proud in some twisted way. 

 

“Right, I’m serious, what I’m about to show you cannot, I repeat, cannot be mentioned to anyone about, nobody, not even Bran and Rickon. Do you understand?” He said as he worked on the straps of the bag. 

 

She nodded her head furiously as she stared at the bag in awe. 

 

He slowly untied each of the straps as slow as he possibly could “C’mon, hurry up!” She said as she almost with excitement from where she sat. 

 

With a flourish, he grabbed the two scabbards inside the bag and lifted them out. He manoeuvred the bag to the floor and placed the two swords on his lap, Arya was just in awe as she stared at the hilts and pommels of each of the swords. She reached out a hand to touch them but he grabbed her wrist before she could. 

 

“You have to be careful touching these, they are extremely precious and not to mention, extremely sharp.” He said as he let go of her wrist and slowly unsheathed Blackfyre on his lap. Her eyes lit up even more when she saw the swirling patterns that adorned the blade. 

 

“Like father’s...” She muttered out as she stuck a single finger out and touched the steel. 

 

“Aye, like father’s.” He said, successfully keeping out the anger from his tone at the mention of that man. She slowly rubbed her finger down the steel. 

 

“Is the other one the same?” She asked. 

 

He grabbed the hilt and stood up, seemingly shocking Arya out of her daze. The rest of the scabbard was pulled from the blade and placed on the furs of his bed next to Arya, along with Blackfyre itself. She was that preoccupied with staring at the old Targaryen heirloom on his bed to notice him unsheathing Brightroar as well. 

 

“Wow...” Was all she could say as he placed the second blade onto the bed, her eyes didn’t know what to stare at as she looked back and forth between the two blades. 

 

He smirked when thinking about what her reaction would be with what he was about ask. 

 

“Would you like to hold them?” He asked as her head and eyes snapped towards him and her mouth just fell open. 

 

“Can I?!” She asked excitedly, almost whispered in fact. The look on her face was the look of somebody who’d just been offered the world. 

 

He nodded as he smiled “See if you can pick one of them up on your own first, if not then I’ll have to help you.” He said as she gripped both hands around Blackfyre and attempted to lift it. She managed to lift it somewhat but he didn’t trust her arms that were already starting to wobble so he gripped over each of her hands with his and helped her lift it all the way so it was pointing towards the ceiling. 

 

“Wow...it's beautiful.” She said as she attempted to swing the sword left and right with her hands from underneath his grip. He rolled his eyes and smiled as he humoured her and helped her swing the blade left and right very carefully, if any accidents occurred and Arya got hurt, he’d never forgive himself. 

 

After they’d finished wielding Blackfyre together, which was a mad thought in and of itself, he sheathed both of the swords and placed them back in their bag. 

 

He turned around and noticed Arya had her hands on her hips and a quirked eyebrow “And where did you get two valyrian swords from Jon?” She asked. He had to chuckle, it felt like she was trying to tell him off. 

 

“Not just any valyrian swords Arya, those are the ancestral swords of House Targaryen and House Lannister. Blackfyre and Brightroar.” He announced as Arya’s hands fell from her hips and her eyes went even wider than before. 

 

“...How?!” She exclaimed, a look of disbelief on her face. He just walked up to her and placed his arm across her shoulders. 

 

“That's a story for another time. I think it's about time we go and break our fast, I could eat a small horse.” He said as he led them out of his room. “And then after, we’ll have to have a little trip to see Mikken.” He finished. 

 

All her heard was a ‘Yes’ as his little sister darted down the hallway, he shook his head and smiled as he closed his door behind him. 

 

He started following her but noticed that she’d stopped at the door to the outside “If I get to the great hall first, you have to spar with me later!" She shouted towards him, leaving him high and dry as she bolted out of the door. 

 

He just smiled as he sped up his walk. 

 

He’d missed this. 

 


 

Catelyn  

No. 

 

This wasn’t happening. 

 

She refused to believe that this was happening. 

 

Her family had just gotten over the loss, they were moving on with their lives, moving on from the ordeal that boy had bestowed upon them. She just couldn’t understand the sheer audacity of him to just turn up out of the blue and disrupt her family to the core. 

 

He’d made his intensions clear, that he was leaving to live his own life, to discover himself, he’d said so in his letter to her husband. So she couldn’t for the life of her understand why he’d decided to turn up again like nothing had happened. 

 

She huffed as she made her way to Ned’s solar, he’d rebuffed any sort of conversation about the bastard yesterday but she wouldn’t be denied the right today. 

 

She didn’t even bother knocking as she got to the door, Jory looked like he wanted to announce her but she wasn’t interested, she’d come here for answers. 

 

Ned looked up from whatever it was that he was looking at from behind his desk “Cat! What’s the mean...” 

 

“We need to talk.” She said as she closed the door behind her, catching a glimpse of an uncomfortable looking Jory before it closed. 

 

He sighed as she walked towards his desk and took a seat “If this is about J...” 

 

She cut him off yet again “Of course this is about the bastard...” 

 

“Catelyn...” He said in a low tone “I've warned you before about referring him like that...” 

 

“I don’t care anymore Ned. He’s not staying here so I don’t see how that is even important right now. What is important is what we are to do with this situation.” She said with determination. She was getting a result from this conversation, she had to. 

 

She could practically hear him grinding his teeth “What do you mean he’s not staying here?” He asked. 

 

“Exactly what I said, he’s not staying here, end of conversation. The real conversation is what we could do to help him on his way, it's clear that he’s been struggling out there these past few years and has obviously returned behind the safe walls of Winterfell because it's become too much for him.” She said. 

 

Ned looked at her like she’d grown a second head “...what?” He said. 

 

She just shook her head “Don't be silly Ned, even you must see how obvious it is that he’s made a huge miscalculation of his own worth and has reluctantly turned back to you for help. We owe it to him to at least help him find his feet.” She said. 

 

It was Ned’s turn to shake his head as he looked at her oddly “We owe it to him? You don’t owe him anything, you’ve made that quite clear in the past. What's with the change of heart?” He asked. 

 

She looked down at her skirts and brushed her hands across them “Answer me this my lord, would you consider me a religious woman?” She asked. 

 

Now he really looked confused “I’m not sure what this ha...” 

 

“Just answer the question please.” She interrupted. 

 

He sighed “I suppose I could consider you a religious person yes, but I still don’t see how this has anything to do with the current topic of conversation we are having.” he replied. 

 

It was her turn to sigh as she looked up at him “I pray to the seven on a daily basis my lord, I pray for many reasons, for the safety of you and our children mostly. And the gods have answered my prayers on many occasion, so I deemed it necessary, in the name of the seven, to forgive a motherless child, forgive him for his sins and to lead him onto a path of redemption.” She answered. 

 

Ned scoffed and shook his head “I knew it was too good to be true, you just can't help yourself, can you?” He said annoyingly. 

 

She shook her head and pleaded with him “You wound me Ned, I’m trying to be the bigger person in this situation. I'm trying to help the boy not hurt him, why can't you see that?” She pleaded with him. 

 

He just looked at her “Okay, I’ll bite, how do we ‘help’ Jon out hmm? Not that he seems to need the help but still.” He asked as he folded his arms. 

 

This was it, she just needed to sell it right “We give him something to be proud of, a duty that he could take pride in. We can't give him a purpose, he made that clear when he left Winterfell all those years ago, no, we have to point him in the right direction, give him the ability to make something of himself, the ability to be his own man. He’ll love you even more for coming up with this idea for him, trust me.” She said, she almost convinced herself of her own plan. 

 

Almost.  

 

She didn’t care if the bastard found the light or made use of his life for once, she just wanted him gone, never to return. 

 

Her husband was sceptical before but now, leaning back in his chair and stroking his stubble, he looked almost convinced. 

 

“It is an interesting idea I suppose, give him the tools to achieve what he wanted to achieve when he decided to leave home. That way, he’ll realise that I have been listening to him and I do respect his wishes and choices.” He said to himself. She didn’t know what he was really talking about but at this point she didn’t really care, she just wanted his blessing. “It might also keep him busy for the foreseeable future, keep him distracted.” He finished, he looked like he was in his own world as he stared off into nothingness. 

 

She managed a smile and nodded at him “I think he’ll really appreciate what you're trying to do for him, instead of giving him a life, your letting him earn it himself, like he wanted to in the first place. He’ll respect you for giving him that.” She said. She could feel the tide turning, he was actually going along with it. 

 

He started nodding to himself “Okay.” 

 

She blinked, he agreed with her? Was it really going to be this easy to get rid of that boy? 

 

She nodded herself and smiled “It's the right thing to do Ned, for all of us, you’ll see.” She said. 

 

“I hope so.” He replied. 

 

He clapped his hands, making her jump “Right, since it was your idea, have you got any suggestions on how we proceed?” He asked. He seemed determined which was good for her since the next words to come out of her mouth would be the final step to her plan. 

 

“I have had one idea but I’m not sure how you'll receive it. You might not like it but it would be the best for Jon and ultimately, that’s what all this is for, remember.” She said. 

 

He took a deep breath “Okay, hit me with it.” He said, preparing himself for her next words. 

 

“Let him join the Night’s Watch with his Uncle Benjen.” She said. Mentioning his brother in an attempt to ease the impact of her sentence. 

 

It didn’t work. 

 

His eyes closed and his head dropped, she was losing momentum. 

 

“The Night’s Watch is an esteemed order, a place where any nobody can become somebody, something Jon has clearly been trying to achieve. Plus, his uncle is there as well, it's not like it's going to be some lonely life living up there. He can still visit Winterfell whenever he’s allowed, I’m sure the children will appreciate those visits.” She pleaded. She left the last part in begrudgingly, she wanted him gone forever but if the promise of sparse visits here and there was the price for him to be gone, well, we all had to make sacrifices at some point in life. 

 

“...get out.” He said, almost growling at her. 

 

She shook her head “What?” She said. 

 

He looked at her with such disgust that she had to straighten her spine as to not cower under his gaze “I said, Get. Out.” He said. 

 

She raised her chin at him, she was so close to getting her way that she wouldn’t be giving up that easily “And why would I do that? We are finally getting somewher...” 

 

He stood up from his chair and pointed at the door “I SAID GET OUT!” He shouted. 

 

She wasn’t gonna get anywhere with him being like this, she’d made good progress today but had obviously gotten too greedy in her attempts at finalise her plan. It had taken a hit but it would recover, and when he’d calmed down, she’d be having this chat with him again. 

 

She cut her losses as she stood up and curtsied “As you wish my lord.” She managed to get out. 

 

Jory gave her a worried look when she exited the room, she barely gave him a second glance as she made her way down the hall. The sound of glass shattering coming from her husband's solar was the last thing she heard as she made her way to break her fast with her children. 

 

Let's  hope the bastard is still in bed.  

 


 

Elia  

The afternoon sun beamed down on her and her little friend as they sat on a bench in the royal gardens. She always felt at peace whenever she was sat in the warmth of it, made sense with her being a Martell and all. It would seem her guest enjoyed the sunshine as well.  

 

Ser Oswell and Ser Barristan were on duty, currently protecting the Queen and her little Princess. 

 

“Bab!” 

 

She smiled as she looked down at her lap where she held her granddaughter, little Alysanne had a small white sundress on with a little matching hat, and she was currently pointing at all the different flowers on display in front of them. 

 

“What's that sweetie?” She asked her precious. 

 

Alysanne looked up at her whilst still pointing towards the flower bed “Bab!” She said. 

 

Elia smiled at her, she was an intrigued little girl, even at such a young age. She was also gonna be trouble when she was a little older, she was still young but already had a vocabulary of two entire words. One being ‘Bab’, which she said whenever she pointed at anything and the other being ‘No’, which was slowly becoming a problem for her mother. 

 

She had to laugh when she offered to look after Alysanne for a few hours, poor Margaery looked like she’d been offered the world when she’d been asked. It's not that Alysanne was a difficult child, it’s the fact that Margaery was new to the whole motherhood aspect of being a wife and was clearly in need of a little break, a break Elia was all too happy to give her. Especially if it meant spending time with her favourite little person in the whole wide world. 

 

Had nothing to do with wanting to hold a little baby girl in her arms again. 

 

She was broken from her sad thoughts as Alysanne gripped her forearm and pointed at Ser Barristan, who was currently walking towards her with a smile on his old friendly face. 

 

“Bab!” Alysanne chirped as she pointed at Ser Barristan. 

 

The veteran Kingsguard chuckled as he approached them “My Queen, princess.” He said as he knelled in front of them. 

 

“No.” Alysanne said before she could even open her mouth. She smiled at him and shrugged her shoulders “Apparently not Ser Barristan, the Princess has spoken.” She said amusingly. She held out a hand and motioned for him to stand. 

 

He laughed as he stood back up “It would seem I have been misunderstood all along.” He said. She looked down at Alysanne who was currently blowing raspberries with her mouth and fiddling with one of the rings on her finger, the one with the ruby that Rhaegar had gifted to her for one of her past name days. 

 

She looked back up at the knight “What can I do for you Ser Barristan?” She asked, bobbing one of her legs as Alysanne started to become a little restless. She’d been trying to climb down and crawl in the flower bed ever since they’d sat down. 

 

He cleared his throat as he looked down at the little Princess “Your nephew, Prince Quentyn requests an audience with you, your grace. He’s just at the entrance to the gardens.” He said. 

 

Interesting. 

 

She nodded “If you would Ser Barristan, tell my nephew I would be delighted if he joined me and the little Princess here on this fine afternoon.” She said as the old Ser nodded in affirmation and went to go and get her nephew. 

 

“I wonder what he wants.” She said, mainly to herself. 

 

“Bab!” Alysanne replied. 

 

She looked into the distance where Ser Barristan had just rounded a corner out of view “Bab indeed, little one.” She replied. Alysanne’s answer was to just bounce up and down where she sat. 

 

She huffed as she readjusted her grip on the little rascal “Slow down sweetie, I’m not a pony.” She said. Alysanne just looked up at her and gave her a gummy smile, carrying on with pretending her lap was a horse. 

 

“Your grace.” She heard as she turned her head, her nephew was stood looking at the two of them with a bemused look on his face. 

 

She patted the space next to her on the bench “Quentyn, please sit.” She said as he took a seat next to her. Alysanne had stopped bouncing on her lap, thank the gods, and was currently staring at Quentyn like she didn’t know what to make of him. 

 

Quentyn gave Alysanne one of the most forced smiles she’d ever seen and went to shake her little hand. Unfortunately for her nephew, Alysanne had other ideas and snatched her hand away before he could even reach it. 

 

“No!” She exclaimed. 

 

Quentyn looked up at her like he didn’t know what to do “Don't worry about her, she’s in one of those moods. Think she might be getting hungry that’s all.” She lied. Alysanne had only just recently been fed, just before Margaery handed her over but she didn’t want Quentyn to feel bad. 

 

“Oh, that’s alright.” He said. "I love babies and all their little charms." He finished as he smiled down at the little girl. 

 

She narrowed her eyes “Since when?” She asked. She could smell a fish and wasn’t best pleased that it was a family member trying to play games with her. 

 

He wasn’t fooling anybody. 

 

His smile faltered when he looked at her “What do you mean? I've always adored babies.” He said. 

 

She just hummed as she started rocking Alysanne on her lap again. 

 

“Ser Barristan said you wanted to see me for something...” She said as she looked at him. 

 

Her nephew seemed to prepare himself before saying whatever it was he was about to say, he cleared his throat and looked her dead in the eyes “I was hoping you could help me?" He said before he looked down at his lap. 

 

Now she was really suspicious, Quentyn had never asked her for help involving anything, it was always her two brothers or even his sister that were asked before her. 

 

She humoured him by nodding, she was still a little bit intrigued as to what he wanted help with in the first place “Go on.” She said as Alysanne finally calmed down on her lap. 

 

He sat up and looked at her “I came to the capital with Prince Viserys not only to see you and my cousins, but to give you a warning.” He said ominously. 

 

She looked at him in confusion, now she was really lost. Her hold on Alysanne became more secure as she checked to see where her two Kingsguard were in her peripheral vision. 

 

Quentyn won't hurt us, he’s not that stupid. And Doran would disown him in a second. 

 

“A warning? And what prey tell is this warning, dear nephew.” She said a little shortly. 

 

He sighed “Its father, he’s beyond upset, he’s angry and he’s losing his patience.” Quentyn said. 

 

She scoffed “I find that hard to believe. Your father is one of the tamest men I’ve ever known. Are you sure you’ve not gotten him mixed up with your uncle Oberyn?” She asked. 

 

He looked a little annoyed by her reply “No, I haven't. Uncle Oberyn isn't the one getting it in the neck by the residents of Sunspear, my father is.” He said. 

 

She arched an eyebrow at him “I fail to see how this has anything to do with me and this so called warning. Your father is a capable man, any problems or gripes his people have will be resolved in time.” She replied. 

 

He shook his head and got closer to her as he lowered his voice “Arianne has been complaining to him as well, it's about Prince Viserys.” He said in a nonspiritual tone.  

 

She rolled her eyes, of course it had something to do with that man child. She felt so sorry for her niece, having to put up with that for the rest of her days. Her and Rhaegar had had a little falling out when that betrothal was announced. 

 

“And what has he done now?” She asked, her nephew looking a little uncomfortable. 

 

“He’s out of control. He’s been harassing anybody and everybody in Sunspear without a single ounce of remorse. He walks around like he owns the place even though my sister is technically the one in charge whilst father is at the Water Gardens. The people want blood but my father has to protect him from them. If anything were to happen to Viserys, it could kickstart a war between Dorne and the Crown. Father wants to avoid that.” He finished. 

 

Her brow scrunched in confusion, the spider, Lord Varys wasn’t the only person in the capital with their own personal line of spies, Rhaella had a few of them herself. A few of them she had planted in Sunspear with the sole purpose of keeping an eye on her son while she couldn’t. She got monthly reports on Viserys, to make sure he wasn’t going the way of his father. 

 

If Viserys was causing trouble in Sunspear, his mother would know and do something about it. The only things those reports ever said were that he was rude to servants, cold to his wife and in general, miserable living there.  

 

So somebody was trying to pull a fast one here. 

 

She was beyond annoyed, but was rather interested in what he actually got out of all this so played along with him. 

 

“What does my brother suggest?” She asked as Alysanne started to babble. 

 

He cleared his throat “He thinks Viserys is being the way he is because he fells isolated, he misses his family.” He said as he attempted to look sad at that notion. 

 

It took all of her willpower not to burst out laughing, Viserys couldn’t give a shit about his family. The only family member he showed an ounce of respect to was his mother and even that was very little. 

 

She decided to play along though, she would have to send Doran a raven to see what in the world his son was playing at. “I suppose it makes sense then that he came to the capital, he just missed us all.” She said. 

 

His eyes widened as he nodded his head “Exactly. Unfortunately, father thinks the visit will do very little to change his ways and that he needs a family member in Sunspear with him, someone to calm him down.” He said. 

 

All the bits were fitting into place for her, another Targaryen in Sunspear. She couldn't possibly guess who her unmarried nephew was about to suggest move there. 

 

She decided to play with him some more. 

 

“Somebody to calm him down.” She said as she tapped her chin “Ooo, I know. The Dowager Queen would be delighted with a little trip to Dorne, in fact, we’ll go see her now and you can ask her yourself.” She said. 

 

Quentyn eyes widened, it was no secret to anybody how fearsome Rhaella had become after going through what she had all her life. The woman was like valyrian steel now, beautiful but incredibly dangerous. 

 

“No no, I...father wasn’t suggesting Queen Rhaella, no, he’d come up with a solution to all of this whilst also strengthening Dorne’s ties with the Crown.” He said frantically. 

 

So predictable.  

 

Doran will definitely be getting a raven now. 

 

“And what suggestion has my brother come up with dear nephew.” She said as Alysanne sat still on her lap again, a lap that was slowly getting warm. 

 

You pick your times you little  madam .  

 

He took a deep breath and looked at her, she’d have found it amusing if he wasn’t lying to her face and she wasn’t currently being shat on by a baby “A betrothal, between Dorne and the Crown. He suggests a marriage between Princess Daenerys and me.” He said. 

 

Of course he does.” She said under her breath as she stood up, desperate to get out of here to change miss stinky who was currently giggling. 

 

Quentyn stood with her “Are you alright aunt?” He asked. 

 

She nodded her head but refused to look at the boy, she was too angry for that “Yes I'm fine, the little Princess here needs changing that’s all. You’ll have to excuse me.” She said as she started to walk away from him. 

 

“So was that a yes?” He shouted at her as she reached Ser Barristan. 

 

She rolled her eyes and turned around “I’m sorry?” She asked. 

 

“To the betrothal. Father would be beyond pleased for this to be resolved so quickly.” He said. She ground her teeth at his shameless attempt at manipulating her. 

 

“I’ll have a word with the King. See what I can do.” She said. 

 

She had no plans to talk about this to anybody but Doran. 

 

He seemed to relax as a smile crept on his face “Thank you, your Grace.” He said. She nodded her head and headed off back towards the keep. 

 

Don’t thank me too early boy, this could very easily turn sour for you.  

 

“Bad!” Alysanne said as they walked along. She looked down and smiled. 

 

“Yes clever girl, he was bad, wasn’t he?” She cooed. 

 

Alysanne just started laughing. 

 


 

Ned  

He’d not seen Jon all day, well, apart from this afternoon when he spotted him, Rickon and Arya sparing in the godswood. He’d gone there to prey but changed his mind when he saw them. He’d told himself that he didn’t want to disturb them. 

 

That was partially true, he’d not seen Arya and Rick smile like that in years. However, as much as he tried to deny it, he just couldn’t.  

 

He was avoiding Jon. In the hopes of avoiding the talk he was dreading. And he’d managed to avoid it all day. 

 

It was currently the hour of the wolf, the black of the night sky cast the whole of Winterfell in darkness. The air was cool and all that could be heard were his own footsteps. 

 

Everybody was in bed, all the children had gone soon after supper along with Cat who was still sleeping in a separate room to him, the argument they’d had this morning had done nothing to help fix that.  

 

Jon hadn't been at supper which had shamefully made him thankful, he’d asked Robb where he was and was told that he’d headed out into the Wolfswood for some alone time. 

 

Even when avoiding him he was still wary about him disappearing again. Arya had seen the worry on his face and affirmed to him that Jon would be back. 

 

He wished he had his daughter's confidence right about now. 

 

He cupped his hands and blew his hot breath into them, the night had took a chilly turn as he walked towards his solar. He nodded at the guard who was on watch at the time. 

 

“Has anyone been to see me?” He asked. 

 

The guard straightened as he answered “No mi Lord, it's been quiet. Think everyone's asleep mi Lord.” The guard said as Ned nodded and walked towards his solar door. 

 

He shouldered the old wooden door to his private solar as he proceeded to unfasten his cloak. The room was in total darkness, completely pitch black. The servants had obviously forgotten to light any candles, he’d have to have a word with Vayon about that tomorrow. 

 

He fumbled around the room, looking for the hook to hang his cloak on whilst squinting his eyes in concentration. He managed to find the hook and placed his furs on it before working on finding the flint and steel near the fireplace to light the candles himself. 

 

He jumped out of his skin as the sound of steel striking flint resonated through the darkness. His eyes jolted towards the direction the noise came from as he saw Jon sat at his desk, striking sparks into a char cloth tin and lighting a candle with it.  

 

“Looking for this?” Jon said as he held the flint and steel in one hand and a candle in the other. He placed the candle in its holder and tossed the flint and steel across the desk, the noise of the impact making him jump. 

 

His heart rate calmed down as he came to grips with the situation he’d found himself in “Seven hells Jon! Are you tryin to kill me?” He asked as he grabbed the candle from the holder and worked it around the room, lighting all the candles he could see. 

 

Not at all stalling what he deemed inevitable at this point. 

 

He returned to the desk and placed the candle back where it came from, Jon was currently sat in his chair and seemed to make no effort in moving from his spot “What are you doing sneaking around at this ungodly hour?” He asked as he moved towards the side cabinet to pour himself some ale. “In fact, how did you get in? The guards said nobody had been.” He finished, confused. 

 

He turned and looked at Jon, catching the shrug of his shoulders “Not important.” He said as he leaned back in his chair and folded his arms. He was already in defence mode. 

 

He shook his head and sighed as he leant against the cabinet “I wish you wouldn’t do that.” He said as he took a sip of his ale. 

 

“Do what?” Jon replied. Closing his eyes and slowly rolling his neck in a circle. 

 

“Playing my questions off as not being important.” He said. 

 

Jon’s eyes opened at that as he stopped with his neck rolling “Compared to the reason why I’m here, it really isn't that important.” He replied. 

 

“I beg to differ, I think yo...” 

 

“Go on then.” Jon interrupted. 

 

His brow scrunched up in confusion “What? Go on then?” He asked. 

 

“Go on...” He said as he nodded to the ground “...beg.” Jon finished. 

 

His nostrils flared in anger, he could hear the air leave it as he took in his words.  

 

“I'm not going to do that.” He almost growled out. Jon just sat there with a passive face, he looked so uninterested in his response. 

 

He was shocked out of his thoughts as Jon slammed both of his hands on the desk “Right, I think it's time we had that little chat, don’t you?” He said as he rubbed his hands together. He was enjoying this. 

 

He sighed as he sat in the chair opposite him, he was trying to delay but it seemed that his actions were for nought “Aye, let's have a chat.” He said. 

 

Jon leant forward in his chair “I think we should start with the big question, don’t you?” He said as his glare intensified. The walls felt like they were closing in as he realised there was only one way out of his current situation. 

 

He placed his mug of ale on the desk and looked at Jon, really looked at him. His sister’s eyes stared back at Ned as Jon waited for him to speak. He wasn’t proud of what he was about to do but it was necessary for the safety of his family. 

 

He just hoped one day he would be forgiven. 

 

He cleared his throat “I’ll start from the beginning if that would please you?” He asked. Jon just nodded as he leant back in his chair. 

 

“It all started at Harrenhal, more specifically, the tourney of Harrenhal. That’s where I met her, your mother.” He said. Something flashed across Jon’s eyes but it was gone as quick as it came. 

 

“When I first saw her, she took my breath away. Everything about her was otherworldly, from her hair to her eyes, beauty personified. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t the only person whose head she had turned.” He said. 

 

“What's her name?” Jon said. He couldn’t tell him just yet, he had to sell the lie the best he could. 

 

“Please Jon, I’ll get to it I promise, just...let me finish okay?” He said. Jon looked at him for a few seconds before nodding. 

 

“She had so many admirers that all hope seemed lost for me, I was quiet, sullen and a second son. A bit like you used to be in a way.” He japed as he chuckled. By the look on Jon’s face, he didn't find it very funny. 

 

“Anyways, it seemed like a wasted endeavour, I’d resigned myself to just looking at her from a distance and just settling for that. That’s until your uncle Brandon caught me staring at her during a feast." He chuckled “Your uncle Brandon was a loose cannon and when he had a plan, he always found a way of making it work.” He said. 

 

“Not always.” Jon replied, striking him right in the heart in the process. Jon’s face hadn't changed from the glare he’d been sending his way ever since he started his story. 

 

He sighed as he looked down “No, not always." He said, the rest of that incident going untold. It made him think, how would Brandon have dealt with Jon if he were still alive? 

 

“...he caught you staring...then what?” Jon asked, breaking him from his sad thoughts. 

 

He swallowed the lump in his throat as he continued “He thought it would be a good idea to go over to her and ask if she would dance with me, all without telling me what he was gonna say in the first place. When he returned to his seat and told me, I was mortified. What was even shocking was the fact that she said yes.” He exclaimed. 

 

Jon’s eyes seemed to be growing softer as he went on, like he was losing himself in his story. 

 

He took a swig of his ale “So, we ended up sharing a dance...and that’s when I was truly lost. I was nervous as hell as we moved around the room, I even stepped on her toes a few times but she didn’t seem to mind, it was hard to look into her eyes as it was so easy to get lost in them. At one point, I was that mesmerised by them, she had to wave her hand in front of my face to bring me back to the real world. I was mortified but she just laughed it off, that’s what she was like, she was so considerate and understanding.” He said. 

 

Jon looked towards the window “She sounds lovely.” He said. 

 

He nodded “She was.” He replied. “Over the next few days, we spent every minute of spare time that we had with each other and I couldn’t have been any happier if I tried. I was living a dream, living a life that didn’t seem real at that moment, a life that I found out she wanted to share with me.” He said. It still genuinely hurt that he couldn’t live that life that he wanted. 

 

Jon’s eyes shot up from where he was staring out the window “Share with you...as in marry?” He said. There was an edge to his tone that he couldn’t decipher. 

 

He nodded “If the rebellion hadn't happened, she would have been my wife. We planned to marry soon after we...we...” 

 

“You what?” Jon asked. Eyes devoid of softness they carried only a few moments ago. 

 

He sighed “We consummated our love and agreed to marry, we just needed permission. Before we could even ask, Rhaegar was crowning the wrong person after winning the joust and we were being separated, I was returning to the Vale and she was returning south.” He said. 

 

The mug in Jon’s hand creaked, he’d not realised that he’d taken it from his side of the desk “So what you are saying is that all of this is Rhaegar Targaryen’s fault?” He growled out. In a twisted way, he felt relieved that he wasn’t taking the brunt of the blame. He would later find out that Jon’s anger wasn’t aimed at the King of the Seven Kingdoms. 

 

He fiddled with his thumb and forefinger, a nervous twitch some might call it “Yes and no, it's not all hi...” 

 

“What's her name Lord Stark?” Jon interrupted. He was disturbed by what he was seeing, Jon was almost vibrating from where he sat. 

 

“If you let me finish my st...” 

 

“What. Is. My. Mother’s. Name?” Jon growled out, his tone sending shivers through his spine as he looked into his eyes. Molten silver swimming with emotion, clawing for a release. 

 

He gulped, there was no going back with what he said next. 

 

“Ashara. Your mother’s name is Ashara.” He breathed out. 

 

There was silence for at least half a minute as the grip on the mug in Jon’s hand creaked with added pressure. 

 

Jon cleared his throat as he looked towards the window again “Dayne? Ashara Dayne?” He asked. 

 

He just nodded but realised Jon wasn’t looking at him so replied “Yes.” 

 

Jon sat there and slowly nodded, his face was a picture of emotion, he couldn’t tell if it was grief or relief from what he’d been told. 

 

They sat there for a whole minute in silence, Jon was obviously trying to take in the information he’d jus... 

 

The mug in Jon’s hand was launched across the room, narrowly missing his head, specks of ale flying from it and spraying his face as the mug impacted with the wall behind him, cracking into numerous pieces as it landed on the floor. 

 

He turned back around towards Jon when he heard the sound of a chair being pushed back, he didn’t realise what was happening until Jon had him hauled out of his chair and pressed against the wood cabinet on the left side of the room. The pressure on his chest was immense as Jon held him there, he could practically feel the heat off of him as a crazed look took over his face, a look he would pay to never see again. 

 

“Why are you lying?!” He spat out as the grip on his gambeson became tighter, Jon’s hands were awfully close to his throat that genuine worry for his own wellbeing slowly leaked into is system. 

 

He shook his head as he gasped out “I’m not lying, I loved your mo...” 

 

“LIAR!!” Jon screamed into his face, he closed his eyes in fear as Jon’s right hand released from its grip on him and morphed into a fist. The impact of it hitting the cabinet behind him making all the colour in his face drain out when he hears a crack and the rattling of the contents inside the piece of furniture. 

 

He slowly opened his eyes and looked to his left where Jon’s fist had just been, a broken crater of splinters and shards of wood left in the door to his cabinet. 

 

The grip of his right hand returned to his gambeson as Jon hunched over and looked down at the floor, his raven curls covering his face from his view. 

 

This had gone so wrong, how had it gone so wrong?  

 

“Why? Why do you keep lying to me?” Jon said, barely audible. It sounded like he was asking himself that question. 

 

He was released from Jon’s tight grip as his son moved around the room, wandered he would describe it. Not once did he look at Ned as he muttered to himself. 

 

“Jon...Its not a lie...I still love your mothe...” 

 

The chair in front of Jon was picked up and hurled across the room, breaking against the wall behind his desk and sending papers flying. Jon walked to the window and gripped the windowsill, still refusing to look at him. 

 

He had to gain some sort of control back from the situation, he was the warden of the North not some child being told off “Can we just sit and talk about this...maybe leave out you breaking all this furniture?” He asked as he made his way towards his desk. 

 

“I either break the furniture or a I break you. Your choice.” Jon growled out, still staring out the window. 

 

He gulped at that. 

 

Minutes passed with nothing said, the only noises that could be heard were Ned’s attempts at cleaning up the wooden shrapnel scattered behind his desk. 

 

“I know you're lying, you know that right?” Jon said as he still refused to look at him. 

 

He shook his head, he couldn’t know that...right? Unless...oh gods... 

 

His fears were confirmed when Jon spoke again “I've met Ashara Dayne. I've met this woman you claim to be my mother.” He said as he finally turned around. He looked angry and tired as he glared at him. 

 

“Funny story, she has no recollection of me. She doesn’t even remember birthing me. Might have something to do with her not actually being my mother!” He said, looking like he wanted to break something again. “So I'll ask you again...who is my mother?” He finished. 

 

He couldn’t, he just couldn’t tell him. It was too dangerous and unfortunately for him, he was shit out of luck and excuses. 

 

So he just stood there, silent. As the rage and anger built and built in Jon’s face. 

 

“WELL!?” He bellowed out as he walked towards him. He mentally prepared himself for what was about to happen because deep down, he knew it was about to happen. And in the end, he definitely deserved it. 

 

He shook his head as Jon advanced “I can't, I’m sorry.” He said, ready and waiting. 

 

“So am I.” His son said as he swung. 

 

The Darkness a welcome respite from his problems.


 

Chapter Text

 


 

Jon

A week had passed, a week since he’d blackened Lord Stark’s eye. Regret had been the last thing he felt when he woke up the next morning and entered the great hall to break his fast and saw what he’d done to his face. 

 

Everybody had asked him what had happened, everyone except from him of course, he’d just sat there and ate his bacon in relative peace. His father had every right to say it was him but claimed he’d walked into the cabinet in his solar and that somebody had forgotten to light candles in there. Vayon Poole, the steward of Winterfell looked chastised as he stood at the side of the room. 

 

It had been a week since then and it had been a week since he’d told everybody he was going to go and see his uncle. It wasn’t a lie that he truly missed his uncle Benjen, he’d not seen him in years and with access to a speed demon in the form of Kireinahe couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go and see him. 

 

He’d had an earful from everyone, including Lord Stark which was a bit of a surprise, he thought he’d be glad to see the back of him for a while. He’d told Arya, who was predictably the most vocal, that he would be back and this wasn’t goodbye, just a see you later. She’d begrudgingly accepted that answer but didn’t cease in her sulking until the moment he was saying his farewells a few days ago. 

 

Everybody else had accepted that he was eventually coming back, all except from Lord Stark and his wife. His father had accused him of running away from his problems again, he was partially right but he didn’t want to give the man the satisfaction of being right, so he just warned him that this wasn’t the end of their conversation. 

 

That had closed his mouth. 

 

Lady Stark’s reaction was odd but quite obvious after a few seconds to think about it. She clearly thought he was going to Castle Black to take his vows and not to see a family member. He’d just nodded his head at her as she wished him good luck but nearly bawled out in laughter when he caught Arya giving her mother the dirtiest look he’d ever seen. 

 

And now he was here, high above the clouds and what looked like a few minutes away from the wall, a structure that took his breath away the first time he saw it. It was truly one of the great wonders of the known world, something you had to see with your own eyes to appreciate. 

 

Kireina’s landing was quick and elegant within the cover of a forest just a mile away from what he assumed was Castle Black, she’d clearly been practising since that mess in Hornwood Forest. 

 

He grabbed his bag from her back and looped it over his shoulder, he’d only brought the one bag with a change of clothes, the other one with the two valyrian swords had been left in Winterfell, more specifically, hidden in the crypts of Winterfell. He would’ve left them in his own room but was too scared of somebody finding them...or Arya messing around with them whilst he wasn’t there. 

 

The snow from the leaves on the tree was disrupted as Kireina sprang back into the air and out of sight. He’d suggested to her that she could have a roam around beyond the wall, something she was very against for some reason. She’d set off without another word so he never found out why she was so apprehensive. 

 

This was the furthest north he’d ever been and it was true what they said about it being colder the more north you went. He wasn’t at the point of shivering but he was getting there as he trudged through the snow before finally finding a beaten path to walk along. 

 

After twenty minutes of walking, Castle Black was in view, and so was the wall. From this perspective it made him feel a little queasy looking straight up, almost like he expected it to just fall on him at any moment. 

 

“HALT!” A man said from above the front gate of the ancient castle. He stopped in his tracks as he looked at the man. 

 

“STATE YOUR BUSINESS!” The man yelled across to him. 

 

“I’M HERE TO SEE BENJEN STARK! IS HE IN OR HAS THIS BEEN A WASTE OF TIME?!” He yelled back. 

 

The man seemed to look at him for a few seconds before turning around and talking to somebody. 

 

He must have been stood there for a few minutes before the gate was slowly opened up, the man who had been speaking to him calling him over. 

 

“What’s your name?” The man asked as they walked towards the now open gate and into the courtyard. Everybody seemingly dropping everything they were doing to stare at him. 

 

“Jon, Jon Snow.” He said as the man nodded and just left him there in the courtyard. He had to readjust his shoulders, mainly to make sure his swords were still in place, he had to remember that he was alone in a courtyard full of criminals. 

 

Lord Stark had genuinely tip toed around the idea of sending him here. He thought as he took in his surroundings. 

 

Heavy running footsteps could be heard as he turned to his left, on a balcony above him stood awe-stricken uncle. He smiled as he saw the look on his face. 

 

He’d never seen his uncle move so fast as he rushed down the stairs from the balcony to the courtyard and half walked half jogged towards him. 

 

He was momentarily shocked by the smack across the back of his head before being engulfed in a bear hug. 

 

“You fucking idiot, I thought you were dead.” His uncle said as he finally let go of him. He held him on the shoulders at arm's length and seemed to drink him in. 

 

“Let's get a good look at ya.” He said as he seemed to hone in on his face more than anything. 

 

“What's this?” He said as he grabbed his face with one hand and rubbed his beard. 

 

He chuckled “Robb’s worst nightmare.” He answered as uncle Benjen just about managed to rest his arm across his shoulder. 

 

His uncle chuckled himself as he walked them towards what he guessed was the main keep “He still trying with all that?” He asked as he smiled and shook his head. His uncle squeezed his shoulder “Gods, what you been eating? You remind me of your uncle Brandon every time I see ya.” He laughed. 

 

The warmth of the hall hit him in an instant as they walked in, thankfully the room was quiet. 

 

“The right things.” He replied as he took his bag off of his shoulder and dropped it on a bench, the jug of what he guessed was ale on the table looking very appetising right now. 

 

His uncle chuckled again as they both took a seat, he grabbed two horns and filled them both with whatever contents lurked inside the jug. 

 

“So...” Uncle Benjen said as he slid the mug across to him “Where in the world have you been Jon?” His uncle finished. 

 

He sighed as he looked down into his ale “I've been very far from home uncle. West mainly.” He said as he took a sip from his mug, pulling a face when he actually tasted it. 

 

His uncle looked at him in confusion “West? As in the Westerlands?” He asked as he took a sip from his own horn. 

 

He shook his head “Even further, across the Sunset Sea." He said as he soldiered on with his drink. 

 

Benjen’s eyes grew wide as his mug halted its journey towards his mouth “You're shitting me?” He said. 

 

He shook his head “Nope, sailed across the whole bloody thing. Pretty sure I had the old gods and every other god looking down on me on the way there though.” He said as he smiled at his uncles gobsmacked face. 

 

“You're not lying, are you?” Benjen said as he shook his head. “Unbelievable.” He finished. 

 

“Believe it.” He said as he necked the rest of his ale with a grimace “I scarcely believe it happened myself.” 

 

“How long have you been back like?” His uncle asked as he unfortunately started pouring him another mug of ale. 

 

He shook his head “Not long.” 

 

“You been back home?” He asked. 

 

He grimaced at that but nodded “Yeah, everyone seemed pleased to see me again, well, nearly everyone.” He said. His uncle seemed to understand who he was referring to as he nodded. 

 

“And what about your father? I bet he was made up to see you again. I know he’d sent a few ravens out asking about you, even one here. I think he thought you might have taken the black.” 

 

He sighed at the mention of his father. 

 

Benjen noticed this as well “Oh dear, what's he done now?” He asked. 

 

“He’s done a few things lately but it's not what he’s done, it's what I did.” He said. 

 

“Out with it then.” Benjen said as he waved off someone who had just popped his head through the door. 

 

“Thumped him didn’t I. Left him with a shiner and I don’t know how to feel about it. It's one of the reasons I came up to see you, a second opinion...and to see my favourite uncle of course.” He said, rushing the last part out. 

 

His uncle shook his head as he took a gulp of his ale “That bloody wolfs blood for ya that, your uncle Brandon and your aunt Lya were exactly the same, act now think later. Sometimes wonder if it’s a blessing or a curse on our family.” He said. 

 

“Well? What should I do?” He asked as he leaned his arms on the table. 

 

“Well for starters, did you apologise after?” 

 

He scoffed “Did I fuck, he had it coming.” 

 

“What happened?” Benjen asked. 

 

“I asked about my mother and he flat out refused to tell me.” 

 

“Ah.” His uncle said as he placed his mug on the table. 

 

“It wasn’t like it was something out of the blue me hitting him, it's been building for a long time and I just snapped.” He said. 

 

“Well you're what, 17 now? You're old enough to know by now and If I knew who it was, I would tell ya myself.” Benjen said. 

 

“You have no idea who it could be? Did he not tell you anything?” He asked. 

 

“Trust me, I asked him quite a few questions when he turned up with you but the identity of your mother was never revealed, sorry lad.” His uncle said as his head dropped. 

 

“The only person I could think of would have been Lady Ashara but he denied it when I asked him.” Benjen expanded. 

 

He shook his head “It's not her, did a bit of digging and found that out myself, from the woman herself.” He said. 

 

His uncle's eyebrow quirked at that “You’ve met her?” He asked as he nodded “You really have been busy haven't ya?” 

 

“You have no idea.” 

 

“Oh, by the way, you have another niece.” He said nonchalantly, his uncle’s eyes going wide like saucers. 

 

“What!?” 

 

He nodded “Lady Ashara had a child, a daughter, kept it from father because I existed. She thought Lord Stark was honourable to a fault but felt betrayed when he married Catelyn and even more so when I came into the picture.” 

 

Benjen rubbed his face and huffed “What is this family coming to?” He said to himself before looking back at him. “What's her name? What's she like?” He asked. 

 

He smiled while remembering about her “Her names Clarissa and she’s brilliant. Bit of a mixture of Arya and Sansa to be honest, has a bit of an interest in swordplay but also the more feminine interests as well, she’d given me a braid when I let her mess with my hair when I was there.” He said with a smile as he shook his head. 

 

His uncle chuckled himself “She reminds me of someone going by your description.” He said wistfully. 

 

“Who?” 

 

“Your aunt Lyanna.” Benjen said “She tolerated the feminine arts as you like to say but she was more passionate about her horses and smacking me and your uncles black and blue with sticks." He said as he smiled, a sad smile obvious to anyone who saw it. 

 

He smiled along with him as he started scratching the wooden table with his nail “I wish I knew more about her, father never really talks about her.” He said. 

 

“Understandable, bit a touchy subject talking about her with all things considered.” His uncle said. 

 

“He sometimes talks about our uncle Brandon with all things considered, I don’t see the difference really.” He replied as he looked down at the little groves he’d made in the table with his nail. 

 

His uncle went quiet for a for a minute until he looked back up from the table at him, seemingly catching his uncle starring at him with an odd look on his face. 

 

“What?" He asked. 

 

His uncle visibly swallowed and shook his head “Nothing, I hope.” He said as he took a sip from his horn. 

 

They sat there in comfortable silence after that, him looking into the fireplace and his uncle seemingly staring at him intently. He could see it in his peripheral vision but decided not to call him out on it, he probably just missed him that’s all. 

 

They were disrupted from their comfortable silence as the door to the hall swung open, revealing two men. One of them was a broad-shouldered man, a head of grey hair and a grey-white beard. Jon held his stern gaze before looking at the lad next to him, he was smaller than the old man, had black curly hair not too different to his own and an almost feminine looking face. 

 

“What's this then?” The burly man said as he looked at his uncle. He turned to look at Benjen and once again caught him staring. 

 

“Well!?” The man asked, seemingly breaking his uncle from his thoughts. 

 

“Hmm? Oh...forgive me Lord Commander.” Benjen said “Jon, this is Jeor Mormont, the Lord Commander of the Nights watch. Jeor, this is my...nephew, Jon.” He said as he stood from the table, him following his uncles lead. 

 

He clasped hands with the older man and shared a hard handshake “Strong grip you got there lad, I imagine you put that to good use while using them.” Jeor said as he nodded at the swords on his back. 

 

He laughed as he released the man’s hand “Aye, you could say that." He said as he looked to his left and notice the other man looking at him intently. He held out his hand towards him. 

 

“Jon.” He said as the other man held his hand and shook it. 

 

“Satin." He replied, as he seemed to reluctantly let go of his hand. 

 

The Lord Commander clapped his gloved hands together “Right, with introductions out of the way, what can we do for you Jon? Come to take the black? Could use some stronger lads like yourself around here.” He said as he chuckled. 

 

He laughed with him “I appreciate the offer but no, it's just a visit, been years since I've seen this one.” He said as he nodded towards his uncle. 

 

“That's a shame, we’re always appreciative of extra men.” Jeor replied as he looked back at his uncle. “Well, if you plan on staying then we’ll sort you a room out for your stay. Satin...” The old bear said as the other man seemed to already know what was asked of him as he headed back outside. 

 

The Lord Commander turned back to them “I’ll leave you two to it then. Feel free to help out at all while you’re here Jon, it was nice to meet ya.” Jeor said as he clapped him on the shoulder before exiting the room as well. 

 

He turned back to his uncle “He seems nice.” He said. 

 

“Hmmm.” Was all Benjen said. He seemed to be in his own world at the moment. 

 

He chuckled “C’mon then, you gonna give me a tour or what?” He said as he grabbed his bag. 

 

Benjen nodded “Course I will, but before that there’s somebody I would like you to meet.” He said, a weird look on his face as he said it. 

 

He nodded himself “Okay, somebody important I’m guessing since I’ve already talked with you and the Lord Commander?" He half guessed half asked. 

 

“You could say that.” His uncle replied as they made their way outside and towards a stout wooden keep across the balcony. 

 

“Who is it I'm supposed to be meeting?” He asked as they approached a door. 

 

Benjen turned and looked at him “Aemon Targaryen, he’s the maester here at Castle Black and probably the wisest man in the seven kingdoms.” He said, shocking Jon in the process. 

 

A Targaryen, he’d never met someone of royal blood before, it seemed odd for one of them to be this far north. 

 

Before his uncle knocked, he looked at him “Just a word of warning, the man is that old he’s lost his sight so his form of greeting might seem a bit weird but just go with it.” He said as he finally knocked. 

 

Weird but okay.  

 

A man who looked nowhere near as old as Benjen had described answered the door and looked at the pair of them, eyeing him a bit more suspiciously. 

 

“Brother Benjen and...” The man said. 

 

“Jon. His nephew.” He answered as he nodded towards his uncle stood next to him. 

 

“What can I do for you?” He asked. 

 

“Just a quiet word with maester Aemon that’s all, you can take a break if you like.” Benjen answered, the man nodding as he opened the door wider for them and walked towards the hall they just came from. 

 

The room they entered was quiet dark apart from the few candles that littered around the place, shelves stacked full of books wrapped all around the room. 

 

Sat in the middle of the room was quite obviously the man his uncle had just described to him, bald, wrinkled and quite clearly blind if his milky eyes were anything to go by. 

 

“Maester Aemon? It's me Benjen.” His uncle revealed to the ancient looking man. 

 

“Ah, Brother Benjen, what can I do for you and your friend?” He replied. 

 

He looked at his uncle in confusion “Thought you said he was blind?” He whispered. 

 

“While that may be true, my hearing is just fine.” Aemon replied. 

 

That thoroughly chastised him “Sorry...your grace?” He said as he looked at Benjen and shrugged his shoulders. 

 

“Ha, I can't remember the last time I was called that, regardless, the moment I joined the watch my titles disappeared. Aemon or maester will suffice.” He replied. “And who would you be?” he asked. 

 

“Jon, Jon Snow.” He replied. 

 

“Ah, Lord Stark’s son. Nice to meet you young one.” Aemon said, confusing Jon. 

 

“You know who I am?” He asked. 

 

“Not personally, but I know Lord Stark has a son of the same name and you accompanied brother Benjen here so I worked it out myself, I’m apparently wise like that.” Aemon said as he chuckled, Jon joined in. 

 

“What can I do for the pair of you?” The old maester said. 

 

His uncle cleared his throat “Just showing my nephew around and decided he should meet you, maybe you can greet him like you greeted me all those years ago?” His uncle seemed to suggest. 

 

It almost sounds forced.  

 

He didn't know what to expect but as soon as the man held his old wrinkled out in front of him, he knew what he wanted. 

 

“May I?" Aemon asked as Jon nodded and instantly felt like an idiot. “Yeah.” he answered. 

 

“What's your colouring?” Aemon asked as he roamed his face with his hands. 

 

“Dark brown hair, grey eyes." He replied as the old man focused his touch around his nose and cheekbone, intently moving them back and forth. The man's hands seemed to shake more the longer he felt up his face. 

 

The hands finally left his face as they returned to the old maester’s lap “What’s your mother's name, if you don’t mind me asking?” He asked as his eyes seemed to start to water. 

 

He looked at his uncle in shock and confusion but never got a response from him, he was too busy shaking his head at the ground with his eyes closed. 

 

He looked gutted. 

 

He looked back at the old maester, completely confused now “Erm, I'm...I don’t know.” He answered, he was too uneasy to feel sad about that reply. 

 

Aemon closed his eyes and took a deep breath, seemingly recovering from whatever incident that had just occurred “It's a cruel world we live in child, it would seem that man is the worst culprit.” He said ominously. 

 

His uncle seemed to recover as well as he cleared his throat “Erm...I...I’ll come and see you later maester Aemon, I've got to show Jon here around the rest of the castle, maybe even take him up to the top of the wall.” He said as he placed his hand on his back and ushered him to stand “You’ll love it, it’ll be the closest thing to being in the clouds that you’ll ever know.” He finished. 

 

Wanna bet? He amusingly thought as they slowly made their way out the room. 

 

He turned around before they left the room and saw the old maester was clearly crying “It was nice to meet you Aemon." He said as he looked at Benjen again in confusion, his uncle just shook his head. 

 

“You too child. Visit again soon, will you?” He sniffed. 

 

“Sure thing.” He replied as he finally left the stuffy room, the cold air refreshing him to the core. 

 

His uncle put his hand on his back and ushered him forward “Let's go to the top of the wall first, shall we?” He said as they walked along the balcony towards a crazy looking contraption, presumably the lift to the top. 

 

He felt a childish giddiness as they entered the cage before slowly ascending up the side of the wall. 

 

He nodded towards the maester’s room that they’d just come from “That was a bit odd wasn’t it, is that normal for him?” He asked, he really couldn’t understand what had even happened in that room. 

 

He looked at his uncle who seemed to be in a world of his own at the moment. He waved his hand in front of his face “Hello? You awake in there?” He asked. 

 

Benjen blinked at him in confusion “Sorry, what did you say?” 

 

He sighed “I said, is what happened in there normal? It all seemed a little odd if you ask me. I mean, why was he crying? was it something I said?” he asked. 

 

His uncle shook his head “No no, you didn't say anything wrong. You have to remember Aemon is like a hundred years old, none of us know what struggles he could be going through at his age, I think meeting a new face may have just overwhelmed him today that’s all.” He answered. 

 

His reasoning seemed a little off but he dropped it nonetheless. 

 

They ascended the rest of the way to the top in silence, the wind slowly crept as the cage they were in seemed to sway. The moment they reached the top his uncle opened the gate and the pair of them made their way out. 

 

“This way Jon.” Benjen said as they made their way through the dugout trenches atop the wall. A small wooden platform almost hanging of the edge of the wall was where they ended up, the view overlooking the vast lands north of the wall as the sun slowly disappeared beyond the horizon. 

 

They stood there just staring out into the distance for a minute or two, both of them in a deep in thought. 

 

After another minute, his uncle broke the silence “Not bad eh?” He said as he nodded into the distance. 

 

He just hummed in agreement. 

 

They sat up there for at least an hour, him and Benjen shared stories with each other. One of the stories he was very wary of telling him about but with them literally being at the end of the world and away from any prying eyes, he decided to just go for it. He trusted his uncle to keep this a secret for now. 

 

He cleared his throat “I’m gonna tell you something insane uncle and you have to promise me you won't go around yelling this from the rooftops. I’ve not told this to anybody because I'm afraid someone would overhear and make my life a lot more complicated. I feel comfortable telling you because I trust you and we happened to be in the most secluded place in westeros where there's no chance of it being overheard.” He said. 

 

Benjen looked at him with a furrowed brow “Bit ominous ain’t it? What's got ya so paranoid?” He asked. 

 

He took a deep breath and took the plunge,  

 

“I have a dragon.” 

 

Silence. 

 

He looked at his uncle and noticed he was trying so hard not to laugh “You what?” He chuckled. 

 

He closed his eyes to calm himself, while doing so he sensed that Kireina was actually quite close to where they were. 

 

She must be above us.  

 

He opened his eyes and looked at Benjen, he was still grinning like a fool. 

 

“Look up.” He told him. 

 

“What?” Benjen replied, still grinning. 

 

“Go on, look up.” He replied. 

 

His uncle smiled and carried on smiling as he looked up. 

 

He shook his head and shrugged his shoulders “What am I supposed to be looking at?” He asked. 

 

“Look into the clouds, what do you see?” He said. 

 

His uncle was still smiling as he shook his head and looked up into the clouds, he probably thought he was taking the piss. 

 

“I see...oh my god! I...see...I see... a cloud.” He answered whilst laughing at his own jape. 

 

He smiled and shook his head, he loved his uncle “Look closer ya clever prick, like really look.” He replied. 

 

“Okay, I’ll look closer at the clouds like an idiot.” Benjen replied. 

 

His uncle looked up and squinted, he must have looked for about half a minute and while he was doing that, Jon just stared at his face just waiting for it. 

 

And there it is. He thought amusingly as he saw the smile drop from Benjen’s face, “Fuck off!” He said as his eyes grew wide. 

 

He smiled and looked down at his lap, giving his uncle time to recover. 

 

He looked back up and saw his uncle leaning the back of his head against the icy wall he was sitting against, staring at him completely gobsmacked. 

 

“Yep.” Was all he said to him as Benjen shook his head, speechless. 

 

He eventually cleared his throat, still shaking his head in disbelief “I have so many questions.” He said. 

 

And he answered them to the best of his ability. When they were done, his uncle groaned and rubbed his face with his hands “It all makes too much sense, I can't believe him.” He seemed to say to himself. 

 

He shook his head “Eh? Him? Who’s him?” He asked. 

 

“Your...father. FUCK!” His uncle yelled as he smashed his fist into the icy snow they were sat on. “What the fuck was he thinking?” He said, again seemingly asking himself. 

 

Jon was annoyed. He didn’t like it when people were vague around him, it made him feel like an idiot and that just pissed him off. 

 

“Are you gonna tell me what it is he’s apparently done or should I just leave?” He asked annoyingly. 

 

His uncle nodded “You're a very dangerous man, Jon. In more ways than one.” He said. “It all makes sense why he wouldn't tell you who your mother was.” he finished. 

 

“Enlighten me, this conversation is starting to grate on my nerves uncle.” He said as he stared rolling balls of snow into his palm and crushing them. 

 

He sighed “I understand why your father has kept this information from you.” His uncle said. 

 

He’d had enough. 

 

He rose to his feet in a flash “I'm leaving. I've had enough of it from him, I don’t need it from you as well. The secrecy is beyond infuriating at this point.” He growled out. 

 

“Jon wait!” Benjen said as he reached for his arm “Sit back down and let me speak.” He said. 

 

“Will this conversation lead to answers? I’m sick to the back teeth with people playing with my life like some sick form of entertainment.” He said. 

 

“I hope so.” His uncle answered. He huffed, begrudgingly nodded and slowly sat back down, folding his arms and staring at Benjen emotionless. 

 

His uncle sighed “I'm not one hundred percent confident because for that I’d need to hear it from Ned myself, but with everything that has been said, it makes too much sense.” He said. 

 

“You said that dragon of yours seems to think that you’ve got some valyrian blood in your system, that she can sense it?” He said. Jon just nodded. 

 

“And you...you can ride this dragon as well? Which is still mad to think about on its own.” Benjen asked. Again, Jon nodded. He didn’t want to speak, hopefully it would get him somewhere. 

 

Benjen sighed “When I suggested meeting with Aemon, it was partly to meet him but mainly to test something. I needed to see if he could recognise any of your features, and if his reaction was anything to go by, he did.” He said. 

 

He looked at his uncle in confusion “That doesn’t make any sense, I've never met the man before.” He said. 

 

“It's no secret that you're easy on the eyes lad, some of those features you didn’t get from your Stark blood.” He said “Aemon seemed to recognise those features instantly.” 

 

He shook his head “Wait, what are you tryin to say? That I’m somehow related to the old maester? That he recognised some of my features cos I share them with somebody from his family?” he asked. 

 

He shook his head as waited for an answer “It doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t add up at all.” He finished. 

 

His uncle sighed “That wasn’t even when I suspected, it was before in the hall when we were talking about your uncle Brandon and your...aunt Lyanna.” He said. 

 

Why did he pause before  mentioning  aunt  Lyanna ?  

 

Jon now was looking at him intently, he felt like he was on the cusp of something...he also felt dread for some reason. 

 

“You said Ned had no problem talking about your uncle Brandon didn’t you?” He just nodded. 

 

Benjen nodded as well “...but he seems to avoid talking about your aunt Lya?” 

 

He nodded again “Practically refuses, I once saw him snap at Arya when she asked about her.” He replied. 

 

His uncle nodded then looked down “...and who else does he avoid talking about? Refuses to speak about?” He asked as he looked up at Jon with such anguish, he nearly didn't recognise him.  

 

He thought for a moment, unaware of the connection when he finally answered “My mother.” 

 

His uncle just looked at him, clearly waiting for him to come to some sort of conclusion. 

 

He was so lost. 

 

He shook his head as he frowned “It doesn’t make sense if you're saying my mother and aunt Lyanna are the same person, Kireina knows I’ve got valyrian blood, neither of them have valyrian blood." He said. 

 

Benjen looked confused at that “Neither of them?” He asked. 

 

“Ned and aunt Lyanna.” He replied. 

 

His uncle shook his head “I don’t know how to tell you this without hurting you lad but it needs to be said since he won’t tell you..." He said as he looked at him. 

 

He just nodded for him to continue. 

 

“I don't think Ned’s your biological father.” 

 

He just blinked at him repeatedly. 

 

What?  

 

He shook his head in a daze “I don’t under...wha...” 

 

“And I think my sister is your biological mother.” His uncle finished. 

 

His jaw set as he refused to believe what he was saying “You need to stop, that’s beyond mad what you’ve just fuckin said.” He said as he refused to look at his uncle. 

 

What kind of sick fucking game was attempting to play here?  

 

He buried his head in his hands and shut his eyes, he hated that it wasn't as farfetched as he wished it was. Everything his uncle was saying sort of made sense but he just couldn’t believe it, the magnitude of the situation was becoming too much for him. 

 

Was his aunt  Lyanna  in actual fact, his mother? If that was true then who was his  fath ....  

 

Rhaegar...” He whispered out, mainly to himself. 

 

“There it is." His un...yeah uncle, his uncle said as he let Jon come to the realisation himself. 

 

His head was fucking spinning, it was too much, it all made too much sense now. He sniffed, not realising he’d started crying, his tears freezing on his face as they made their way down his cheeks, seeking refuge in the warmth of his beard. 

 

He wishes he could find refuge somewhere warm, and alone. A place where he could break down without being watched. He was being watched right now by his uncle, a look of concern on the older man’s face. 

 

“Come here.” His uncle said as he moved over to him and brought him into an embrace. He gripped his uncle tight as he buried his face in his furs and that’s where he just lost his fight against his emotions as he sobbed into his uncle’s shoulder, his body shook as he released all his anguish and pain. A truth bomb that had been brewing for 17 years dropped into his life, destroying what he thought was the truth and leaving behind an immeasurable mess for him. 

 

It went through his mind, any question he’d asked his f...Lord Stark or himself could be answered when Lyanna and Rhaegar were his actual parents. 

 

All except for one. 

 

Why? Why did he do it? Why did he take him from his actual father? Why did he take his actual life away from him just to make him slum it as some stain on his name? 

 

Now that was the only thing that didn't make sense...and it made him angry that there was no obvious answer to it. 

 

I'm gonna kill him. He whispered into his uncle’s shoulder. 

 

“Shush, don’t say things like that. This needs sorting and you becoming a kinslayer won't fix anything.” His uncle replied. 

 

He broke away from the embrace and rubbed the moisture from his face with his sleeve before glaring at his uncle “Kin? That man is no kin of mine anymore.” He growled. 

 

His uncle grabbed him by the shoulders “Hey, who am I?” He asked. 

 

He frowned “Benjen...” 

 

“And what am I to you?” He furthered. 

 

“My uncle.” He replied. 

 

“And Ned is my brother, my stupid brother who has monumentally fucked up, but still my brother, my kin...and yours as well whether you like it or not. The gods won't care about your excuses when they curse you for life.” Benjen explained. 

 

If he wasn’t too careful, he’d be hitting him as well for being so fucking annoying. 

 

“You have to play this smart Jon, keep a level head. I can't imagine what is going through your head at the moment, probably all the different ways you want to hurt Ned but the most important thing is not to lose your head. What you know now could start a war and kill thousands, you don’t want that, none of us want that.” 

 

He looked at his uncle “I just want to know why he did it. What possessed him to do such a thing?” He asked. 

 

Benjen just shook his head “I don’t know Jon, I've been asking myself that the moment I suspected.” 

 

He ran his hand through his hair ”How the fuck am I supposed to go back there and look that man in the eyes without wanting to rip them from his fucking head?" He asked. 

 

He let out a humourless laugh “Hell, how am I supposed to look at my brothers and sisters who are actually my cousins the same ever again?” He said sadly. He’d just lost 5 siblings like a click of his fingers. 

 

His uncle shook his head “They're still your siblings, that won't change, they won't let it, I'm certain.” He said with determination. 

 

“Hope your right, I don't think I could handle losing them.” He said. 

 

“You’ll be fine, trust me.” Benjen replied, he just nodded. He was too tired to argue anymore, he was well and truly spent, physically and emotionally. 

 

They been up at the top of the wall for longer than they realised, the night had well and truly taken over and so too had the even colder air. 

 

“Think I’d like to go to my room now, uncle.” Was all he said as Benjen just nodded. 

 

“You sure you don’t want owt to eat?” He asked as they made their way back to the lift. 

 

He shook his head “Nah, think I just want to be alone for now. I’ll probably fall asleep the minute my head hits the pillow.” He tried to jape. 

 

There was no way that was gonna happen, his mind was going a mile a minute even now. 

 

His uncle sighed as they entered the lift “Alright.” He said. 

 

The entire journey down to the bottom was spent in silence, he could see Benjen eyeing him from the corner of his eye but he just didn’t care anymore, he just wanted his bed. He wanted the day to be over. 

 

The lift came to an abrupt stop and his uncle opened up the gate, he saw the old Lord Commander waiting for them just up ahead. 

 

“Thought you’d fallen off up there.” He japed, Jon gave a very forced smile. 

 

“We were just catching up, it's been a long time.” His uncle thankfully intervened, he really didn’t have the heart or the patience for a conversation with this man right now. 

 

“I was just about to show Jon to his room, the travel was long and hard and I think he just wants to rest.“ His uncle asked as he looked at Jeor. 

 

“No supper? You look like a growing lad who hasn’t missed a meal your whole life.” Jeor japed again. 

 

“You’d be surprised how much I’ve missed in life.” He answered back without a second thought. Jeor just looked at him oddly. 

 

Benjen cleared his throat “Do you know what room Satin sorted out for him?” His uncle asked, diffusing the situation. 

 

The old commander grunted “Aye, we’ve sorted him a room out in the King’s Tower, I’ll get Satin to escort him.” He said. 

 

His uncle shook his head “No its fine, I’ll show him and make sure he’s settled for the night. Lord Commander.” He said as he nodded to the man and ushered him towards what he guessed was the King’s Tower. 

 

“Thanks.” He said to Benjen as they made their way there “I really haven't got it in me to have a normal conversation with somebody right now.” He said. His uncle shook his head. 

 

“Don't worry about it, a good night's sleep will do wonders for you tonight, then tomorrow we can talk some more. Maybe even have another little chat with maester Aemon hmm?” He said as they reached the tower and headed up the stairs to the rooms. 

 

“This one’s yours.” His uncle pointed out as he opened the door to a room with a decent looking bed despite where he was and a roaring fire. 

 

“Thanks again uncle.” He replied as he dropped all his stuff, including his swords on the chair at the side of the room. 

 

“You're welcome.” He said as he pulled him into another hug, he sighed against the older man’s shoulder. 

 

“We’re gonna sort this out Jon, you hear me?” His uncle said. 

 

He didn’t reply, he wasn’t sure anything would be sorted out after today. 

 

“Go on.” Benjen said as he pushed him away and towards the bed “Get out of those furs and get under these ones.” he said as he lifted the furs off the bed for him to get into. 

 

“I’ll see you in the morning lad.” His uncle said as he gave him a sad smile, he returned it as he nodded. 

 

“Night uncle.” He said. 

 

“Goodnight Jon.” He replied as he slowly closed the door behind him as he left the room. 

 

He let out the deep sigh he’d been holding in for a while now and stripped down to his smallclothes, putting his clothes on the chair with the rest of belongings. 

 

He let out another sigh as he laid down in the foreign bed, readjusting to find a comfortable spot. 

 

He laid on his side and closed his eyes, attempting to empty his mind of any thoughts so he could get the rest he really needed right now. 

 

“Are you alright Jon?" Kireina asked through their bond. It hadn't been long since he’d last seen her but he missed her dearly right now. He was touched at her concern. 

 

“I don't know.” He sniffed as he let the tears flow again. 

 

He finally drifted off to sleep, first he dreamt of the mother he would never see, hear or touch. 

 

And then he was dreaming of flying through the night sky, looking down at the north below him, realising that nothing would ever be the same again.


 

Chapter Text


 

Benjen  

He’d had a shitty night’s sleep and it wasn't hard to figure out why. He’d spent most of the night trying to get to sleep but his mind just wouldn’t allow it, there was too much to think about, too much to worry about. The little sleep he did get was in increments, half an hour here half an hour there, just enough to get him through the day but not without making him feel shit for the majority of it. 

 

He groaned as he sat up from his bed, best get up and see if Jon’s awake. He got ready for the day and left his sleeping quarters, stifling a yawn as he passed a few of his brothers. 

 

Not the brothers he’d like to be seeing right now. He mused. He still couldn’t believe what Ned had done, what possessed him to do such a thing was beyond him. He wouldn’t believe it if it weren't for all the mounting evidence that seemed to all but confirm what he’d done. The way he didn’t speak about their sister but talked about their brother had been the first red flag right away, Aemon’s evaluation and reaction had really blown air onto the embers and then the fucking dragon had all but lit that fucker up, a blazing inferno of truths and lies. 

 

He couldn’t imagine how Jon’s night had been when he left him. The lad looked lost, betrayed, distraught and all in all, fed up with everything. When he’d broken down at the top of the wall, he’d become rightfully concerned, he’d never seen Jon cry, it was like he was letting out 17 years of pain. 

 

Jon wanted to hurt Ned and  Benjen  was inclined to join in with him.  

 

He shook his head as he headed for the common hall to break his fast, hopefully Jon was in there already. He’d have to check his room after he’d eaten if he wasn’t, he really didn’t want Jon to be alone right now. After last night, that wolfs blood of his, that he now knew he got from Lyanna, would probably get him or somebody else into trouble if the wrong thing was said. 

 

He entered the common hall, it was full of boisterous talk and laughter but he ignored all that, he was looking for that head full of curls as he scanned the room. 

 

“Lookin for someone eh?” Someone said to his left, Edd, one of his brothers he realised as approached the table he was sat at with a few other lads. 

 

“Edd.” He nodded to dour man “Lads, hope you aren't talking nonsense again, I know what your like Grenn.” He said as one of the other brothers, Pypar, smiled and nudged Grenn in the arm. “Fuck off would ya.” Was Grenn’s reply to Pyp. 

 

“You sitting?” Edd asked. 

 

He waved his hand “Nah, just gonna grab something quick.” He said as he carried on scanning the room, Jon nowhere in sight. 

 

“If you're looking for that lad you were with yesterday, he’s not here. We’ve been waiting to meet our new brother.” Edd said as he bit into some bread. 

 

He looked back and shook his head “He’s not joining the watch, that’s my nephew. He’s just visiting his favourite uncle that’s all.” He explained. 

 

Edd’s face scrunched up for a second then went straight back to his food “Shame, was hoping for somebody new and interesting to talk to instead of listening to these pair of pricks.” He said as Pyp stole a bit of Edd’s breakfast. 

 

Before he could even open his mouth to reply the door to the common hall burst open, Satin entering the hall seemingly out of breath. 

 

“Brother Benjen! Thank god.” He said as he caught his breath. 

 

“Slow down son, too early to be running about like.” He said to the lad. 

 

“Need your help, can't find the Lord Commander so you're the next best thing.” He said as his breathing finally evened out but the look of concern on his face was still there. 

 

Now he was concerned. 

 

“What's happened?” He asked as the table that had Edd, Grenn and Pyp all started to stand due to the commotion. Now everybody in the hall had gone quiet and was looking towards Satin. 

 

“There's fighting in the yard...Jon’s there as well.” Satin said as a funny look took over the boy’s face. 

 

He didn't even think, storming straight towards the door to make sure Jon wasn't in some sort of trouble. He wasn’t naïve, these were his brothers but most of them were here because they were criminals. Murderers and rapists shared these halls with him, men that had done unspeakable things, men who could be doing said things to his nephew right now. 

 

The whole hall seemed to get up to their feet to follow him as he headed outside, the wall was a terribly boring place to live so any form of entertainment was like gold to these men. 

 

He met the Lord Commander on the way to the yard, Satin had run off ahead and seemingly located the old bear. 

 

“The fucks happening Stark? Satin said there was trouble in the yard.” He exclaimed as the pair of them walked through the hall to get outside, a lot of the brothers were already outside on the balconies watching whatever was going on when they arrived at the yard. 

 

Please don’t be involved Jon, please don’t be involved. He thought. 

 

He stopped dead and leant against the balcony railing. 

 

Jon was involved... 

 

...and he was in awe with what he was seeing. 

 

What the fuck?  

 

Karl and Rast, two of the biggest trouble makers in this entire castle were currently receiving a humbling experience from his nephew. The pair of them were attempting to strike Jon with the training swords in their hands and were failing miserably. 

 

A man of Jon’s size and height did not have any right to be moving so quickly and fluidly, every movement was a correct prediction of the pair of twats attacks as Jon avoided a swing at his head and followed it up into a counter, gripping Rast’s arm, locking it behind his back and essentially using him as protection from Karl’s strikes. 

 

Wait?...Jon’s unarmed...they were attacking his unarmed nephew! He had to stop this before something regrettable happened. 

 

Before he could even say anything, Jeor opened his mouth “ENOUGH!" He bellowed out as Jon all but threw Rast into Karl, sending the pair of them into the dirt in a heap, spitting into the ground with a look of disgust on his face. 

 

He followed Jeor down the stairs to the yard, “ITS OVER, GET BACK TO YOUR DUTIES MEN!” The Lord Commander yelled out as the crowd dispersed in a cloud of chatter. 

 

“And what the hell was all this in aid of?” He asked as they approached the three men. Jon looked Jeor right in his eyes with a cold look of indifference “Ask these cunts.” He said as he looked at the two idiots who were just collecting themselves off of the ground. 

 

So much for keeping that wolfs blood quiet.  

 

Jeor looked annoyed with the reply but still looked at the two brothers with a stern look “Well?” He asked. 

 

Karl raised his chin with false confidence but it was Rast who opened his mouth “We were just sparring mi lord, wanted to see if he could fight for ourselves that’s all.” He said. 

 

Jeor looked back at Jon “Is that true lad?” He asked as Jon glared at Karl and Rast. 

 

Fuck me, who taught him to glare at a man like that!? He thought. 

 

Jon opened his mouth but the answer he wasn’t expecting came from it “Yeah, just sparring.” He said, still glaring at the pair, Karl looked affected but held his ground and Rast just straight up looked away. 

 

“Just a word of advice for them though.” Jon said as he moved closer to them, looking down at Rast like he wanted to gut him. “The next time you try to intimidate me, I’ll use cold steel instead of my bare hands." He finished as he walked away without another look back. 

 

Jeor looked back at Karl and Rast “Put those swords away and get out of my sight, you're on trench duty for the week.” He said as Rast looked stricken. 

 

“Oh, what? That ain’t right.” He idiotically suggested. 

 

The Lord Commander’s eyebrows rose at that “A month?” He asked. 

 

Rast wisely shut up. 

 

After they’d both put their swords away and fucked off, Jeor turned to him with a raised eyebrow. 

 

“That was something wasn't it? Is he the son that went missing for a few years?” he asked as they both made their way out of the yard. 

 

He nodded “Yeah that’s him. I've not gotten the entire story of where he’d been for so long but it's clear he wasn't wasting his time while he was there." He said. 

 

He was unarmed and he looked dangerous, what the fuck is he like with a sword in his hand?  

 

“And your positive he’s not interested in joining us? A lad with his talents could really help get these wastes of space into shape. Probably give your old arse a run for your money.” Jeor japed as he nudged his shoulder. 

 

He chuckled but quickly sobered “Nah, he doesn’t belong here, he’s got some things he needs to sort out before he makes any permanent life choices like joining the watch.” He said. 

 

“Shame. The offer is there though, a young and clearly talented lad like him could be the revitalisation this place needs.” Jeor finished as he nodded to him before going his separate way. 

 

Rotting away in this shit hole was the last thing that was on his nephew’s mind right now.  

 

Speaking of Jon, he needed to find him and make sure he wasn’t getting into any more trouble. 

 


 

Jon  

The library of Castle Black was as dingy as he expected. Books, scrolls and thick leatherback tombs of ancient knowledge lined the walls of the room, the couple of candles he’d lit the only source of light and warmth as he sat on the rickety bench and read through one of the books he’d grabbed in haste. 

 

A distraction to cool his temper.  

 

His uncle had been right yesterday, the first thing he needed to do was keep a level head, and he was already failing at that. 

 

He couldn’t have helped it though, those pair of idiots had brought it on themselves, a clear attempt at intimidating what they thought was the fresh new recruit at Castle Black. 

 

The truth of it really was that he was in desperate need of a release and they’d just handed him an opportunity on a plate. 

 

He shook his head as he attempted to immerse himself in the book in front of him, Etched in Stone the spine read and it seemed to have something to do with axes. 

 

This wasn’t working. 

 

He sighed as he closed the book and moved it across the table away from him. He sat there in silence for a few minutes before resorting to just watching the flame on the candle slowly melt the wax. Looking into the flickering flame was surprisingly helpful at calming him, the random flicks of heat and the slow dripping candle a balm to his running mind. 

 

Weren't the Targaryens obsessed with this sort of stuff? He chuckled humourlessly. 

 

Targaryen. 

 

A foreign name to him even living in Winterfell all his life, a word not to be mentioned or at least not around him. Supposed it made sense with all things considered now. 

 

Turned out he was one of them.  

 

Or shared blood with them at least, he could be a Targaryen bastard for all he knew. 

 

Did Lyanna and Rhaegar wed? He wondered. 

 

He was broken from his thoughts as he heard footsteps and the rattle of chains coming from the stairs that lead into the library. 

 

The man, who was clearly the old maester’s helper and Aemon himself came shuffling into the library, the servant whispering into Aemon’s ear as the old man’s face seemed to light up. 

 

“Ah, young Jon, It's such a delight to find you here.” Aemon said as he shuffled over to the table he was currently stood up at. He turned to his helper “You may leave me, I’d like a chat with Jon.” He said as the man bowed and left back up the stairs where they’d just come from. 

 

He reached out and helped out Aemon, easing him into a chair “Thank you.” He said as Jon just nodded “No problem.” He replied. 

 

He returned to his seat and sat there for a few seconds in companionable silence before Aemon spoke up. 

 

“I hear there was an incident in the yard earlier.” He said, a small smile on his aged face. 

 

He sighed, he didn’t really want to get back into that “Nothing important, just a couple of idiots trying to start an argument, it's over now." He replied. 

 

“You never argue with an idiot, they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you through experience.” Aemon mused. He just chuckled, he might use that one himself. 

 

“What had you worked up so much, son?” Aemon asked, incredibly perceptive for a man lacking sight. 

 

He sighed, does he tell him? He might as well, the man probably hasn’t been with family for years and he already seems to suspect who he really was anyway. 

 

“I got some news last night.” He said, resolved to the fact that he’d be talking about this again so soon. It was still raw to the touch and he hoped burying it for a few days would sort his fucked up head. 

 

“I hope it was good news.” Aemon replied. 

 

“I don’t know if it was or not.” He said “I had a little cry but they weren't tears of happiness.” He said as he cleared his throat. 

 

“That's for you to decide.” Was all Aemon said. 

 

He nodded to himself, he cried for the mother he’d never meet, he cried from relief of finding out her identity, he cried out of worry, of his siblings no longer seeing him as a brother anymore. 

 

And he cried out in anger, of the lies and the betrayal of a man claiming to be his father. 

 

“You have to take the positives and negatives out of this news, to decide for yourself if the overall changes are good or bad for you.” The old maester said. 

 

He knew. 

 

He swallowed the lump in his throat “You know don’t you maester?” He asked, already knowing the answer. 

 

Aemon smiled softly “You may call me uncle.” He said. Jon dropped his head and looked at his lap to hold himself together. 

 

“Uncle.” He rasped out as the old man’s smile became wobbly. 

 

Aemon let out a joyous laugh as tears, of joy he hoped, slowly ran down his cheeks. “Can an old man like me get a hug from his blood.” he asked as Jon smiled and chuckled. 

 

Maybe this  won't  be as bad as he suspected, he’d just gained another uncle!  

 

“Of course, uncle.” He replied as he got to his feet and walked over to Aemon. He helped him to his feet and brought him into a big hug. They must have hugged for what seemed like minutes. 

 

That’s until there was a throat being cleared... 

 

He turned towards the noise and saw his other uncle giving the pair of them a confused look, he was smiling however. 

 

“What's this then? I don’t get hugs like that Aemon and I’ve known you for years.” His uncle Benjen japed as he made his way to them. 

 

“Ah brother Benjen, it's not every day a dragon is spotted this far north.” Aemon said as he broke away from the embrace. It’s a good job as well or he’d have felt the shock go through his body, being described as a dragon had well and truly caught him by surprise. 

 

Benjen chuckled “I see you’ve told him about her then.” He said as all three took a seat. He looked at Benjen with wide eyes and shook his head. 

 

“Her?” Aemon asked, brow furrowed. 

 

He shook his head at Benjen who had the decency to wince and mouth ‘sorry’ at him “Erm yeah...” He chuckled “I would tell you sit down for this but you already are.” He said. 

 

Aemon smiled at him “Have you wed Jon? Is that it?” He asked. 

 

He snorted “No, not exactly. We’ve bonded though.” He said. 

 

“Oh how lovely, what’s her name?” He asked, unaware of what he was walking into. 

 

“Her name’s Kireina.” He answered. Uncle Benjen was smiling now. 

 

Aemon smiled wistfully “Ah, a beautiful name, what is she like Jon?” he asked. 

 

“Bloody massive.” He said as Benjen his snort with a cough and shook his head. 

 

Aemon looked thoroughly confused “Massive? I’m...okay...” He drawled. 

 

He decided to have mercy on him Kireina isn't a person uncle Aemon, she’s...well she’s a dragon.” He finally answered, smile on his face as he waited for the man’s reaction. 

 

A look of awe on the man’s face took over as he gasped, holding his chest as his breathing became heavier. 

 

Wait, shit.  

 

“Uncle Aemon! Are you okay!?” He asked as he got to his feet and crouched next to his uncle. 

 

I hope I  haven't  just killed my new uncle!  

 

Thankfully, the man’s breathing evened out as he collected himself. Jon let out a sigh of relief as he looked over at Benjen, smile completely gone from before. 

 

The smack around the head caught him completely of guard as Aemon clipped around the back of it. 

 

“Are you trying to get rid of me so soon Jon?” He asked as Jon rubbed the back of his and sat back down. 

 

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to.” He said, genuinely remorseful for what he’d done. 

 

“Did my ears deceive me or did you say, dragon?” Aemon asked. 

 

“Yeah.” 

 

“Hmm. I want to believe you Jon but...” 

 

“He’s telling the truth Aemon, I saw her with my own eyes last night. I couldn’t believe it either until I saw her for myself.” His uncle Benjen intervened. 

 

Aemon looked awe struck “Gods...” He seemed to say to himself as he leant back in his chair. 

 

He needed to meet her, they both did. He had to make it happen somehow.  

 

He cleared his throat “Erm...would you...would you like to meet her, both of you?” He asked as Benjen’s eyebrows shot up. 

 

“I would be honoured.” Aemon breathed out. 

 

“I...I don’t think...” Benjen murmured. 

 

He shook his head to stop his uncle’s protests “It’ll be easy, a horse and carriage to get us a few miles out and a little white lie as to why uncle Aemon is with us will do the trick.” He said as he looked at Benjen. “We’ll say we’re helping him collect a specific plant or tree bark for research or something, it’ll be fine.” He explained. 

 

“Do not deny this old man such a wonderful thing brother Benjen, we’ll go with or without but with you is preferable. We don’t want the brother’s thinking Jon here has stolen me.” Aemon chuckled as Benjen shook his head and smiled. 

 

“Fine...” He said but pointed at him “...but if she eats me, I’ll haunt you forever.” He warned. 

 

He shook his head “She’s a good girl, she won't do that, trust me.” He explained as he got to his feet. 

 

Benjen looked shocked “What!? Now!? You want to go now!?” He said as Jon helped Aemon to his feet. 

 

He chuckled “Of course...or are you too pussy uncle?” He asked as he gave Benjen a grin. 

 

“Come along now brother Benjen, I’m not getting any younger and I want to meet a dragon before my time is over.” Aemon said as Jon helped him towards the stairs. “Stop being a big pussy and help an old man experience one of his dreams, chop chop.” Aemon finished as Jon just guffawed. 

 

“Fine.” His uncle Benjen muttered under his breath as he got to his feet and helped him escort Aemon to the stables. Benjen shot away for a quick minute and came back with an armful of cloaks and furs. 

 

“Don't want you freezing to death before you get there, do we?” Benjen said as he helped Aemon into a big fur cloak and up onto the only carriage that seemed to be in the stables. 

 

“Got yours out of your room as well, along with these.” He said as he handed his bear fur cloak and his swords to him “I let the Lord Commander know that we were heading out as well, he seemed to buy that white lie about bark you came up with.” He said. 

 

Benjen nodded to katanas he was strapping to his back “Some fancy blades you got there, there’s a story behind them I'm sure.” Benjen fished. 

 

He replied as he finished strapping them to his back “There is indeed, and I’ll tell you that story when we get back.” He answered. 

 

Benjen looked at Aemon who was getting comfortable in his seat with a big grin on his face “Look at him..." He said to Jon as he nodded towards the old man “...like a pig in shit. Think you might be making his week doing this.” He said to Jon. 

 

“More like the past 50 years brother Benjen.” Aemon responded from where he was sat. Benjen just shook his head and smiled. 

 

“C’mon then, before we start losing light. Wanna be back before it gets dark.” Benjen said as they all got seated in the carriage and headed out of the castle. 

 

The gate closed behind them as they made their way down the beaten path away from Castle Black, he looked behind them towards it and nudged Benjen in the arm “This’ll have em talking I bet." He said as Benjen directed the horse on. 

 

“Ah let em have their fun. Life as a brother can get terribly dull.” Benjen answered. 

 

“Until you meet a dragon.” Uncle Aemon furthered as Jon chuckled at the child like glee on the old man’s face. 

 

“You're really looking forward to this aren't ya?” He asked with a smile. 

 

Aemon’s smile didn’t faulter as he turned to him “You have no idea.” He replied. 

 

They must have ridden for about half an hour before he sensed Kireina close. 

 

“Could you land somewhere close Kireina, I’d like you to meet some of my family.” He asked her through their bond. 

 

Absolutely. She replied. She sounded excited herself at the prospect. 

 

“How much further do you want us to go?” His uncle Benjen asked. 

 

“We can stop here, she’s close.” He replied as Benjen pulled on the reigns to halt the horse. 

 

“You seem to have a deep connection with her.” Aemon said as they all disembarked from the carriage and slowly made their way off the road. 

 

He held on to Aemon’s arm to keep him steady as they trudged through the snow and made their way towards a clearing where he knew Kireina was already waiting for them. 

 

She seems very keen. He thought amusingly. 

 

“Aye we do, at first I thought it was the old skinchanger blood from my Stark side but she explained to me through our bond that it was the valyrian blood as well. Blew my mind the first time I heard her in my head.” He explained. 

 

“I can only imagine.” Aemon replied as Benjen chuckled. 

 

He helped Aemon over a fallen trunk “We’re close.” He said to him as they climbed over what he hoped wasn’t something to do with Kireina. 

 

“You insult me Jon, I've gotten a lot better since the forest.” She projected.  

 

“I know you have, I apologise.” He replied. 

 

“Seven hells...” His uncle whispered out from in front as he finally helped Aemon over the trunk. He turned around to see what had him cursing. 

 

About a hundred feet away from them, Kireina was laid down with her tail curled around herself, wings tucked in and her eyes were eyeing his uncle Benjen with a burning intensity. 

 

He ducked his head and smiled. 

 

Benjen cleared his throat as he slowly stepped backwards “Jon?...” He whispered out. He chuckled at his uncle’s actions. 

 

He completely understood his uncle’s trepidation, but it didn't mean he didn't find it funny. 

 

He looked at Aemon “We’re here uncle.” He said to him as the old man’s face lit up. 

 

He escorted Aemon towards the bulk of impossible power, looking at Benjen’s frozen stance as he walked past him “It’s okay uncle Benjen, she won't hurt you. She’s a good girl.” He said to his uncle who was in slack jawed awe. 

 

He saw him visibly gulp but nod in response, moving closer to Jon than he really needed to be. 

 

Kireina lifted her head into the air and seemed to nose the three of them from a distance. 

 

“They smell like you.” She said to him. 

 

“I imagine they do Kireina, their blood runs through me.” He replied. 

 

Yes, it does.” She answered with conviction as she lowered her head and looked at him intensely. 

 

It would seem she’d made her mind up on the whole situation and he trusted her word over Lord Stark’s any day of the week now. 

 

The meet and greet between her and his two uncles was brief but beautiful.  Uncle Aemon had teared up as he stroked his hand down her snout and flank, whispering words of endearment and all round having the time of his life. 

 

His uncle Benjen was a lot more skittish than Aemon to Jon’s amusement. He’d stroked her down her side and that was about it, he mainly stood awfully close to Jon and just stared at her. 

 

Now they were heading back to Castle Black, Benjen had ripped off a piece of bark from the fallen trunk they’d climbed over to sell the fib he’d told Jeor. Aemon had climbed up into the carriage with the biggest smile he’d ever seen on him. 

 

He was glad he could do that for him.  

 

The journey back was swift and without incident, Aemon was talking about Kireina almost all the way back to his amusement. 

 

“What about you uncle?” He said towards Benjen “What was your favourite part about meeting her?” He asked with a grin on his face. 

 

“The part where I din’t piss me sen.” He replied, him and Aemon just chuckled at him. 

 

They rolled into the courtyard of Castle Black with an hour or so of light left if the low hanging sun was anything to go by. 

 

“Got what ya needed maester!?” The Lord Commander spoke as he made his way towards the three of them. He was currently helping Aemon out of the carriage. 

 

“Most definitely, Lord Commander.” His uncle replied. Benjen joined them from retrieving the bark and handing the horse and carriage to the stable hand. 

 

The old bear nodded as he looked at the three of them “Good.” Was all he said as he turned on his heel and made his way out of the yard. 

 

Before he left however, he turned around “That reminds me...” He said as he walked back towards them “A raven came, for you Jon.” He said as he pulled a small scroll from his sleeve. “From your brother Lord Robb, it would seem.” He finished as he handed him the scroll. 

 

He looked at uncle Benjen in confusion as he opened it up, looking down at the note and scanning it answered his intrigue. 

 

His brother was getting married very soon and he really wanted Jon to be there for it. 

 

Apparently, Lord Karstark along with Lady Alys, Lord Harrion and a few other guests had turned up at Winterfell literally two days after Jon had left for Castle Black. Lady Stark was hell bent on having the wedding as soon as they came through the gates that very night but Robb wanted him there, Alys would also really appreciate his appearance as well after what he’d done for her and Harrion. 

 

He handed the note to uncle Benjen as he furrowed his brow. 

 

Looks like I’ll be back in Winterfell a lot earlier than I wanted to be. He mused. 

 

Uncle Benjen looked back at him with an odd look, almost like he was asking if he'd be okay going back so soon. 

 

He just shrugged his shoulders and gave him a sad grin. 

 

Robb wanted him there at his wedding and nothing else mattered at the moment, he’d be damned if he ruined his brother’s wedding by making a scene with Lord Stark. 

 

“Looks like a hot meal and an early night for me uncle, back on the road at the crack of dawn.” He said as they helped Aemon towards his quarters. 

 

“You sure you’re gonna be alright?” He asked as they entered the maester’s quarter. 

 

“He’s going to be fine. He’s going to be patient and level headed, and he’s going to come out of this an even better man than the one I met only yesterday.” Uncle Aemon said as he took his seat. 

 

He felt infinite gratitude and respect for the man sat in front of him in that moment. 

 

“Thank you, uncle.” He said as he squeezed the older man’s shoulder. 

 

The rest of the night was spent chatting with Aemon and Benjen as they ate their supper and before he knew it, he was hugging the pair of them and heading for bed. 

 

His night's sleep was a lot easier than the one he’d had the night before, regardless of the weird dream he had. A dream about blue eyed shadows following him through a forest as he tried to hunt his dinner. 

 

He woke up before he got chance to encounter one of them so that was that. 

 

He got washed and ready for his journey, packing his rations that he’d been given for it before heading out of his chamber and heading towards the common hall. A few brothers gave him a couple of looks but apart from that it was pretty uneventful as he grabbed a hard roll and a mug of ale. 

 

He barely tasted his breakfast, thank god, and before he knew it, he was at the main gate to the castle, hugging both of his uncle’s goodbye. 

 

He hugged Benjen first “Please don't do anything stupid Jon.” He said as he patted him on the back. 

 

“I’ll try uncle but I’m not promising anything. It’ll depend on your brother won’t it?” He replied as he gave him a sad smile. 

 

He hugged his uncle Aemon after that “I’ll miss you. I've only just met you and I'm already saying goodbye.” He said as he broke from the embrace. 

 

Aemon put his hands on his shoulders and looked at him “We’ll meet again sometime soon, whether it be in this life or the next.” He said. A sadness washed over him. 

 

“Uncle...” 

 

“She’ll be proud of you your mother, I know it. And so will your father, your real father when you meet him.” He whispered out as his eyes became hazy. 

 

He sighed as he nodded, he looked down at the ground to avoid the looks from both his uncles. 

 

He was never comfortable in these types of situations.  

 

Uncle Benjen patted him on the back “C’mon then, off with ya. You don’t want to be late to your brother's wedding, you’ll never hear the end of it.” He said as he smiled at him. 

 

It still felt right Robb being referred to as his brother. 

 

Hope it’ll be mutual.  

 

He nodded at them both as he headed out the main gate, the morning sun beaming over the snowy landscape in front of him looked stunning this far north. 

 

The walk took him around an hour before he reunited with Kireinahe found her with blood around her mouth which he would later learn was due to her hunting whale off the eastern coast. 

 

Explained the smell as well.  

 

“C’mon then, back to Winterfell we go.” He said to her before she took off with haste, southbound towards a place he both did and didn’t want to be heading to right now. 

 


 

Robb  

Two days later...  

 

Every passing hour that went by where his brother didn’t walk through those northern gates was another pound of pressure added to him. He really wanted Jon to be here for his big day, the raven he’d sent to Castle Black nearly a week ago should've arrived there in only a few days. 

 

And hopefully Jon had received it and was on his way back. 

 

He sighed as he walked along the battlements that faced northbound, he’d been looking out for half an hour in the hopes of catching a glimpse of his brother. 

 

He walked down stairs and headed across the yard towards the great hall. The guests that had arrived for the occasion were currently being feasted by his parents, in the hopes of keeping them distracted from the wait. 

 

A wait his mother was pressuring him more and more to end. 

 

He could understand why she wanted the wedding to happen now rather than later, the longer the guests waited, the more they ate into their reserves for the winter. 

 

Winter is coming after all. 

 

But he couldn’t help but be selfish, it wasn’t a crime for him to want Jon there and Alys really wanted him to be there as well.  

 

The warmth and noise hit him as he opened the door to the great hall, Greatjon Umber’s bellowing laughter filling the room as he laughed at his son cough up his ale for whatever reason. The giant of a man and his son had turned up along with Lord Karstark’s retinue. 

 

He reached the high table where his seat in between his father and his betrothed was currently stolen by Arya. 

 

“Shift thee.” He said to her as she got to her feet and grumbled something. 

 

He sat down in his seat and gave Alys’ hand a squeeze as she looked at him. 

 

“Any sign of him son?" His father said to his right, the bruise around his eye had lost its black colour and currently had a sickly-looking yellow hue to it now. 

 

He knew there was more to it than him just walking into a cabinet, Jon’s abrupt departure just made him even more certain. He thought. 

 

He sighed as he shook his head “Nothing, starting to get dark out there as well.” He said. 

 

“We can't wait forever for him Robb.” His mother said as she poked her head into the conversation. 

 

“I know I know. Give him till tomorrow at the latest and if he’s not back then we’ll just have to proceed without him.” He said as he gave Alys a sad smile. 

 

“By tomorrow lunch time at the latest, gives us enough time to prepare for the ceremony and feast later in the day.” His mother almost demanded as she returned back to her conversation with Sansa without a second look at him. 

 

C’mon Jon, don’t let a brother down mate.  

 

The rest of the night went in a faze, the only thing he remembers was Arya throwing a spoon of mash at Smalljon’s face after he unwisely called her an ‘annoying little lady’ after she’d accidently knocked his drink out his hand. 

 

Greatjon had laughed the loudest he had that night when all was said and done. 

 

A few hours passed and he found himself tossing and turning in his bed in an attempt to get back to sleep, based on the little light that was coming through the window slats, it was way too early to be getting up. 

 

He’d be too tired to make it through the wedding night.  

 

He managed to get back to sleep as he thought of his future wife. 

 

He woke up with a start a few hours later, the morning rays creating a glow around his window. His chamber door was currently being knocked on. 

 

“C’mon Robb, it’s my son’s big day.” He heard his mother say from the other side of the door before she knocked again. He groaned as he rose from his bed. 

 

The morning went in blur of movement and chatter around him, the whole castle seemed to be at work, servants heading in and out of the godswood where the ceremony would take place. 

 

And before he knew it, it was lunch time. 

 

And Jon was nowhere to be seen. 

 

His disappointment was immeasurable. 

 

He talked to no one as he ripped through his food, the only interaction being his father squeezing his shoulder in comfort. 

 

“He’d have tried his best to get back in time son.” His father said. He didn’t say anything in return. 

 

He needed to get out of this mood before tonight so he did what he always did when he was in a bad mood, he sparred. 

 

With a dummy. 

 

He must have hacked and slashed at that straw prick for nearly an hour, releasing all his pent-up anger and disappointment, leaving a fresh mind for when he said his vows and became a married man. 

 

“That supposed to be me.” He heard a familiar voice say. 

 

He turned around in a flash and saw Jon with a small grin on his face as he leant against a wall with his arms crossed. 

 

“Bloody idiot...” He said as he chucked the blunt sword on the ground and pulled Jon into an embrace. 

 

Jon chuckled “Not too late, am I?” He asked as they separated. 

 

He shook his head “Just in the nick of time.” He replied. “When did you get back?” He asked with a smile on his face as he returned his training sword. They made their way back towards the main courtyard and away from the quiet corner he’d been stewing in. 

 

“Just now, would have been earlier if it wasn’t for the mess at the gates.” Jon said. 

 

He looked at him in confusion “Mess at the gates? Has something happened?” He asked. 

 

Jon shook his head “Not really, guards wouldn’t open the gates for anybody. Not allowing anymore guests or something, I wasn’t listening properly. Ended up bored with the conversation and found a spot to scale up the wall to get in instead. Lord Stark will have to be warned that there’s cracks that can be used as footholds on the western wall, I could've been anybody.” He said. 

 

“Don't tell Bran, he’ll have a field day climbing up and down that." He japed, Jon smiled in return but it didn’t reach his eyes. 

 

He furrowed his brow “You alright?” He asked. 

 

Jon shook his head and smiled at him “Don't worry about me, I'm fine. You should be more worried about your wedding than my mug.” He answered as they walked towards his chambers. 

 

He sighed “I’m not worried, I'm just nervous that’s all. I was rather upset when I found out you might not be here for the whole thing, hence the act you caught me in." He replied. 

 

Jon put his arm around his shoulder, he sometimes forgot who was the older brother between the two of them “Listen, you’ll be fine. You adore Alys, I've seen the way you look at her, and Alys tolerates you so your marriage won't be all that miserabl...ahaha.” Jon said as Robb tried to get him in a headlock for that last comment. 

 

He playfully shoved him away when he failed to get a hold of him, Jon turning around and walking backwards as he smiled towards him “C’mon, up your pace Robb. Gotta get you ready for your bride, wouldn’t want Alys marrying a stinky Stark...especially her second favourite of the Stark brothers.” He cheekily said. 

 

I'm gonna bollock him. He thought amusingly as he caught up with Jon and thumped his arm. 

 

He chuckled as he remembered something, something Sansa had told him “I think you’ll be too busy to be worrying about my wife, a little ginger birdie told me something the other day.” He said in a secretive tone. 

 

Jon was still smiling but had a confused look on his face “Oh yeah, do tell.” He asked. 

 

He gave Jon a wicked grin “Sansa told me that Jeyne likes you. Apparently, she thinks herself half in love with you and she’s already started coming up with ideas and designs for the dress.” He said, the last part about her being in love and designing a dress he lied about just to see his brother squirm. 

 

Jon’s eyes went wide and his smile morphed into a cringe. 

 

Mission  successful .  

 

“I've barely spoken two words to the girl!” Jon exclaimed as they finally made it to Robb’s room. He entered and Jon followed him inside. 

 

He shrugged his shoulders at him “Don't shoot the messenger, probably those silky black curls on your bonce, or those thick eyelashes you like to bat at her.” He said. He was japing of course but he’d missed this type of thing with Jon. 

 

Jon gave him a sly grin “Or maybe it has something to do with my looongthiiick... 

 

“Don't finish that sentence.” He interrupted. 

 

“...beard.” Jon finished as he smiled at him. 

 

He shook his head as he grinned at him ”Fuck off.” He muttered.  Jon laughed at him before telling him he was gonna drop his stuff off in his chambers and get himself ready. 

 

“I’ll see you later...brother.” Jon said before closing the door behind him. 

 

That was hours ago, now he was stood in the godswood under the Winterfell’s heart tree. The cool evening breeze sending a refreshing chill up his back as he stood ramrod, waiting for his bride to enter the grove. 

 

Everybody was in the grove to witness the ceremony, his father would be officiating the whole thing, his mother was stood with his siblings on one side with a smile on her face as she looked at him. Greatjon, his son Smalljon, Ser Rodrik, Jory, Theon and everybody else were stood on the other side, including Jon and Jeyne. The former rolling his eyes as he caught his gaze, Jeyne wasn’t being subtle with how close she was standing next to Jon. 

 

Robb grinned and looked at the ground. 

 

He heard someone clear their throat, he turned and saw that his mother didn’t look impressed at all as she sneaked a look at Jon. 

 

She couldn’t take a break from it for one day, even on his wedding day.  

 

Before anything could be said, his father cleared his throat and nodded towards the entrance to the godswood. 

 

His breath caught as he saw his future wife. 

 

She looked beautiful in her white gown, a light grey pelt laid across her shoulders and a marriage cloak in the colours of her house hanging across her back. Her father was escorting her towards them. 

 

A smile bloomed on his face as he realised she would be his wife very soon. 

 

In no time at all, the vows were taken and sealed with a kiss. The people in attendance cheered and congratulated the newlyweds as the whole procession made their way towards the great hall for the feast. 

 

On the way there he caught a glance of his father trying to talk to Jon as they walked, surprisingly his brother completely blanked him as he took Jeyne’s arm and escorted her away from their father. A huge blush emerged on the girls face whilst his father looked troubled. 

 

At least there was no heated words between them, he wouldn’t forgive them for causing a scene.  

 

The feast went without a hitch, he spent the majority of it holding hands with his wife, chatting away blissfully whilst giving each other shy smiles. They both knew what was to happen later tonight and their nerves seemed to show within those smiles. 

 

The dancing was interesting as well, he had the first dance with Alys and didn’t step on her toes once. Afterwards, he passed her off to her brother and went to sit down. He noticed Jon finishing his dance with Arya before being dragged into another dance by a rather tipsy looking Jeyne. The tight smile on Jon’s face was priceless as he danced with her, clear discomfort to anybody who knew him properly. 

 

After all the dancing was done (Sansa must have danced the most by his accounts), the bedding ceremony was called for as Greatjon Umber bellowed out the request. 

 

There were a few men trying to paw off his wife's dress off as she was lifted in the air. Thankfully, his brother was there to send a few elbows into their ribs to cease their bawdy actions. 

 

He himself was escorted to their chambers, a few giggling girls pulling fabric and copping a feel as they moved through the castle. 

 

He was pushed into the chambers by the women, Arya had managed to sneak into the group of girls and ended up kicking him up the arse, sending him barrelling into the room. He could hear her laughter as he closed the door behind him. 

 

He turned around and looked at his wife, she was stood there at the end of the bed in her ivory shift and her white wool stockings. She blushed and looked down when she saw the heated look he was giving her. 

 

He gulped as his breeches became tighter. 

 

She turned around and crawled up the bed towards the head board, giving him a view that left little to the imagination. 

 

His breeches were off in a flash. 

 

She laid back against the pillows and looked at him, she looked excited but still a little nervous as she looked down at his tenting smallclothes and bit her bottom lip. 

 

She’s  trying  to kill him.  

 

She slowly looked back up to his face and locked eyes with him “Come to bed my love.” She whispered out. 

 

Robb had never moved so fast in his life. 

 


 

Chapter Text


 

Ned 

The sound of the arrow whistled through the air as it hit the straw target, an elated Bran cheered as he hit the bullseye of it. He watched from the balcony above as Robb and Theon gave the young boy a few tips for his next shot. 

 

He blinked as the next shot came, the ache in his right eye had almost subsided from his fading black eye, this shot came from a different source this time. The boys turned around to see a grinning Arya with a bow in her hands, she bowed extravagantly when they saw her. 

 

So she wasn’t with Jon then. He mused. 

 

It’d been a week since Jon had returned from Castle Black and a week of silence from the lad whenever he tried to strike up a conversation with him. 

 

He expected them to start off from where they left off but the silence and the ignoring somewhat baffled him. 

 

It was odd, almost as if something had happened at Castle Black. 

 

He didn’t like  how  unsettling  it  was. 

 

Especially the glares from him. Whenever he caught Jon in the hall or in the yard looking at him it was honestly one of the most unnerving things he’d ever experienced. 

 

He’d just stare at him, unblinking with an intensity that belonged on a battlefield and not in a home. 

 

Ned always looked away first. 

 

He sighed, sooner or later something would happen, it was like they were drifting down a river in separate boats, staring at each other, but sooner or later, the river would end and the waterfall would take them. 

 

It was an  inevitability . 

 

Catelyn had also voiced her opinion once again when she realised her hope of him staying up at Castle Black were in vain. 

 

She wanted him out, she’d had enough. She believed Jon had spent enough time visiting his family and it was now time for him to leave. She’d made the argument that he was just disrupting the household at this point, Arya had become even more stubborn and distracted in lessons and Cat believed it was Jon’s influence on her that was affecting her learning. 

 

She’d also reminded him that Jon could clearly take care of himself and didn’t need babying anymore from him. 

 

He hated that nearly everything that  she  said had merit. 

 

All he told her was that he would think of something, and he had been. Jon ignoring him had been horrible but it had also given him the chance to think about the lad’s future. 

 

Legitimising him so he could rule one of the many abandoned keeps in the north was out of the question, Catelyn and her side of the family would flat out refuse that idea and the less he had to deal with the crown the better. 

 

Castle Black also seemed out of the picture as well. It was Cat’s preferable choice but at the end of the day it wasn't her choice, it was Jon’s. Something the lad didn’t seem too bothered about. 

 

He really didn’t have the heart to force him either. Though he doubted anybody could force Jon to do anything anymore. 

 

It  unfortunately  reminded him of someone. 

 

One of the better ideas was to ask one of his lords if they would take him on as a guard or something, maybe a master at arms somewhere. He’d not seen much of Jon’s skills since he’d returned since he seems to practice somewhere in the wolfswood but he believed he was still very capable. 

 

His first choice would be White Harbour with Lord Manderly, he would have to suggest it to the man when all the lords met up and journeyed to this bloody tournament. 

 

Another headache for him to get through. 

 

He really couldn’t refuse the invitation when it came from the King himself but my god did he want to. It was more trouble than it was worth and brought back memories he wished he could bury and forget forever. 

 

He only hopes that Jon has as little interest in  tournaments  than he did. The further away he was from that the better. 

 

Everybody from the household was going, apart from Robb and his new wife. It was his own suggestion, apparently it would be good practice for when he eventually took his father’s spot. He was impressed with his son’s decision and told him that as well. 

 

Theon was asked by Robb if he wanted to stay with him and Alys but had just scoffed and said he wouldn’t be missing this for the world. He also made a comment about meeting a dornish woman there for himself but he walked away from that conversation before he hit the lad. 

 

Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon were also very excited for the tournament, Sansa had in fact, started packing her things weeks in advance. Arya wanted to enter the archery contest, Bran wanted to watch all the knights in the big melee that was planned and Rickon just seemed to feed off everybody else's excitement, he wasn’t sure if the little lad knew what was even happening. 

 

He wasn’t sure what Jon felt, he’d have to be talking to him to know that. 

 

All of a sudden, Jory came running up the stairs of the balcony and addressed him “Lord Stark...” The man breathed out “...they’ve caught a deserter from the Night’s Watch, my lord.” He said, the rest going unsaid. 

 

Duty calls. He thought grimly. 

 

He turned to Jory “Round up the boys, that includes Theon and tell them to wait at the stables. Leave out Rickon, he’s too young at the moment to see this. I’ll get Ser Rodrik and let Lady Stark know there’s to be an execution." He said as Jory nodded his head and shot off. 

 

Before he went to carry out his tasks, he noticed Jon in the distance, emerge from the crypts with a weird look on his face. 

 

What the fuck is that?! Why does he look like that?! He frantically thought. 

 

He took a deep breath, there was no need to be panicking and there was no need to be paranoid. 

 

He didn’t know. 

 

And anyway, he could have been down there for the peace and quiet for all he knew. 

 

He approached a quick moving Jon before he could disappear for the rest of the day. 

 

“Jon!” He shouted. Jon stopped walking with his back to him and if the rise and fall of his shoulders was anything to go on, he’d just taken a deep breath. 

 

At least he’s staying calm and not swinging for him anymore. 

 

He turned around with raised eyebrows, nostrils flaring. He looked at him with that intensity again and seemed to ask him ‘what?’ with his gestures alone. 

 

He cleared his throat “What er...what were you doing in there?” He asked as he nodded his head towards the entrance to the crypts. 

 

Jon didn’t answer. 

 

This was getting a little old “Will you at least answer me? This whole silent treatment is getting a little childish now, you’re a man grown for crying out loud.” He said. 

 

He could literally see Jon grind his teeth before turning his back on him and walking off. 

 

“Jon, listen.” He said as he grabbed hold of his arm to halt his escape. Jon looked at it like it was something he’d stepped in before locking eyes with him. 

 

He restrained from gulping. 

 

Jon shrugged his arm off but before he could leave, Ned told him about the deserter “Jory is rounding up all your brothers at the stables, they’ve caught a deserter of the Night’s Watch and we’re all going to the execution, you too please.” He said. He shouldn’t have to be asking please but it was just easier at this point. 

 

He was putting his foot in it every time he tried to speak to him. 

 

Jon looked at him and with one final look he said “Fine.” before walking off towards the stables without a single look back. 

 

He released the breath he didn’t know he was holding. 

 

He’d finally said something to him, that was progression in his eyes. 

 

He quickly visited Catelyn to tell her about the execution, she was a little upset that Bran was going with them but he told her that he was old enough and that was the end of that. 

 

Now he was walking towards the stables, he seemed to be the last one to arrive as everybody was sat mounted on horses waiting for him. Robb and Theon were talking with each other and Jon was having a conversation with Bran. 

 

“They're waiting for us with the deserter at the hill Lord Stark.” Jory shouted out, he nodded his head at him and quickly mounted his horse. The hill was the same hill that all his executions were held at. 

 

He looked around at everybody “C’mon then, the faster this is done the better.” He said as he led the way out of the castle and towards the location the execution would take place. 

 


 

Arya 

Gods it was so unfair. 

 

Why couldn’t she go with her brothers? Being a girl was a silly excuse, she was older than Bran for crying out loud! 

 

She huffed as she pulled at her stitching, once again she’d messed it up and had to start again. 

 

Like always. 

 

She looked up at her stitching and noticed the septa commenting on somebody's work. The old bat had practically dragged her into this lesson on her mother’s instruction and she hated every second of it. 

 

I will never do this outside this room. She mused. In her eyes, this was a colossal waste of time, time that could have been spent with her brothers at the execution. 

 

“Oh dear.” She heard septa Mordane say as she looked at what was in Arya’s hands. 

 

Here we go... 

 

“And what has happened here?” The septa asked as everybody looked in her direction. 

 

She shrugged her shoulders as she attempted to fix her mess “I made a mistake so I had to start again.” She answered. The truth, what she should be saying because it was wrong to lie according to septa Mordane’s teachings. 

 

It didn’t make a difference, it never did when she was involved. 

 

“Well if you’d listened to my teachings you wouldn't be making so many mistakes would you Lady Arya.” Her septa said in that annoying, know it all tone. 

 

She just rolled her eyes, she couldn’t be arsed to fight with her at the moment. 

 

“...well if you talk to him you might find out.” She heard Sansa whisper across from her. Jeyne sat next to her had obviously said something. 

 

“I would but I rarely see him anymore, he seems to disappear a lot.” Jeyne replied as she stitched what looked like a black wolf. 

 

Sansa rolled her eyes “When did you last speak with him?” She asked her. Arya was confused with what they were talking about. 

 

Jeyne looked down “The wedding.” She seemed to mutter. 

 

Sansa looked surprised “That was a week ago, you’ve seen him in the great hall during mealtimes since then surely?” She asked. 

 

“Yeah but he’s always got this look on his face when I see him, he looks at Lord Stark funny and I’m scared of talking to him.” She replied with a blush. 

 

Sansa rolled her eyes yet again as she stitched a perfect little winter rose on the corner of a handkerchief “He’ll be just brooding, Jon’s always been like, even before he left.” She replied. 

 

“Jon?!” She blurted out before thinking. Why was Jeyne talking about Jon? She never bothered before. 

 

“Arya!” Septa Mordane shouted “Stop disrupting the lesson.” She said. She just scoffed in response and carried on speaking “Why are you talking about Jon?” She asked Jeyne. 

 

She got no response out of Jeyne, she was rather interested in her stitching at that very moment, so she looked at Sansa with a quirked eyebrow. 

 

Sansa shook her head but she could have sworn she saw a tiny grin on her face “Don't look at me Arya, you should ask her.” She said as she nudged Jeyne’s arm with her own. 

 

She looked back at Jeyne “Well?” She asked. 

 

Jeyne made a funny face as she shook her head “I have no idea what you're talking about Lady Arya.” She replied. 

 

Sansa scoffed and looked up from her stitching and looked at her “Jeyne has a crush on Jon.” She said. 

 

“Sansa!” Jeyne exclaimed, she looked betrayed which made Arya smile in victory until she realised what Sansa had just said. 

 

She has a crush on Jon? 

 

She guffawed at that “That's stupid, you're too boring, I doubt Jon is interested.” She said as she smiled and looked back down at the mess in her hands. 

 

Sansa gasped “Arya! Don’t be rude to Jeyne.” She exclaimed. Arya looked up and saw Jeyne was looking down at her stitching again, she looked unbothered apart from her shiny eyes. 

 

Is she  gonna  bloody cry?! 

 

She shook her head “Seven hells...” She muttered to herself. Before anybody else could speak, septa Mordane intervened. 

 

“Enough of this...” She looked at Arya “...you shouldn’t be trying to start arguments little lady, and you two...” She said as she looked at Sansa and Jeyne “...you two shouldn’t be gossiping about that...boy.” She finished as she huffed. 

 

That boy. It was never Jon or her brother when septa  Mordane  was involved. All because he was a bastard, because she believed it made him less of a person. 

 

He was worth at least ten septa  Mordanes . 

 

She gave her the stink eye for the remainder of the lesson and she’d resorted to making the biggest mess of her stitching, just to piss the old bag off. 

 

She heard shouting coming from outside so she dropped her stitching on her chair and raced towards the window to see what was happening. 

 

“Lady Arya, sit back down!” She vaguely heard the septa moan from behind her but she wasn’t taking any notice. Her father and her brothers were back from the execution. 

 

“Fathers back!” She said, mainly towards Sansa who looked at the septa for permission to leave. Arya didn’t find out her answer since she was out of the room before she answered. 

 

She bolted down the hallway, narrowly avoiding a collision with a guard and entered the courtyard where everybody was dismounting from their horses. 

 

“Arya look!” She heard Bran shout as he rushed towards her, holding a bundle of fur in his arms. 

 

She looked at it in confusion until the fur yawned. 

 

Her eyes went wide “Is that a wolf?” She asked, staring at the little grey and brown furred creature. 

 

He shook his head but was still beaming “No, even better. It’s a direwolf.” He almost whispered. 

 

A direwolf, wow

 

She was officially jealous. 

 

Bran must have seen a look on her face as he opened his mouth again “There's one for all of us Arya, this one is mine.” He said as he hugged his direwolf.  

 

Now she was smiling, her very own direwolf. She couldn't wait to see it. 

 

Bran looked behind him towards the rest of the group “Robb has his and a boy one for Rickon with him and Jon has his and two girls with him, one each for you and Sansa.” Bran explained. 

 

Now she was really smiling, they all had one, even Jon! 

 

She rushed across to Jon and instantly saw the little white pup peeking out of a pocket on the side of his gambeson, it looked at her with piercing red eyes. 

 

She looked away from the pup and noticed that Jon was smiling at her as he walked across to her. He held both of the girl pups in his hands and held out the light grey and white one in his right hand towards her. 

 

“I think somebody wants to say hello.” He said with a smile as she carefully grabbed hold of the little wolf and immediately hugged her to her chest. 

 

She was already in love with the little thing. 

 

Her father walked up to the pair of them and looked at her, Jon moved away from the two of them and headed towards Sansa who had just entered the courtyard. 

 

“I’ll tell you what I told the boys, you will train them yourselves, you will feed them yourselves, and if they die, you will bury them yourselves. Do you understand?” He said with his father voice. She just nodded and hugged her wolf a bit more. 

 

He nodded “Good. I best go and tell your mother, I imagine that’ll go down well.” He japed as he smiled at her before moving towards the great keep. 

 

She looked down at her new friend as the little wolf started squirming and yipping in her arms. 

 

“You need a name.” She whispered to the wolf. Names running through her mind as she made her way to the kitchens. 

 

A giant smile on her face. 

 


 

Rhaegar 

He sighed as he leant back in his high back chair, he looked over his council in consideration as they all waited for his answer. 

 

He nodded “Finish the project.” He answered. “Put the funds for it to the side Lord Baelish.” He finished as his master of coin slowly bowed his head and penned the changes in his notes. 

 

It was nearly finished, the stench of the city that had been a staple of the capital was almost non-existent at this point but with the extra drainage it would be reduced to nothing. 

 

“Anything I should know my lords.” He said as he eyed the rest of his council. 

 

Lord Varys bowed his head and spoke “Good tidings your grace, my little birds bring good news.” The master of whispers said. He nodded his head for the man to continue. 

 

“It would seem the trouble that was widespread through the free cities has come to a close. The Golden Company have ceased their warpath and seemed to have gone quiet your grace.” He explained. 

 

Rhaegar nodded, trade to and from the free cities had slowed down to almost a stand still ever since the mercenary group started their unexplained conquest of them. The cause of which was still a mystery. 

 

“Has there been any word of what caused all of this? They’ve been at it for a long time with no explanation at all.” He asked. 

 

Lord Varys shook his head “I’m afraid not your grace, some of my little birds sing that they were seeking something and some of them sing that they were merely under contract by an unknown benefactor.” Varys answered. 

 

He sighed “Try and find out Lord Varys, the sooner we get to the bottom of it the better.” He said as the master of whispers bowed his head. 

 

“Any more news Lord Varys or is that all?” He asked, looking out the corner of his left eye he could see Pycelle nodding off. 

 

A new grand maester should probably be on the agenda pretty soon. He thought. 

 

“As a matter of fact, there has been a small song that has reached my ears your grace, from the north of all places.” Varys said in his typical riddle talk. 

 

He swallowed a little, he only ever associated the north with one thing and he really didn’t want to dwell on that in the middle of a council meeting. 

 

“Go ahead Lord Varys.” He said as he gestured for the man to proceed. 

 

“It would seem Lord Stark’s son, Lord Robb has wed Lady Alys Karstark, nothing terribly exciting your grace. It would also seem that Lord Stark’s bastard son has returned home as well.” He said. 

 

“Oh, well that is good news I suppose. I imagine Lord Stark is relieved.” he answered. “If that is all I think we can bring this meeting to a close my lords, the grand maester looks like he might pass out if it goes on any longer.” He japed as the man himself seemed to sit up and bumble with his words. 

 

He held his hand up before the old man could speak “Save it for another time grand maester, this meeting is over.” He declared as he stood, the rest of the council rising after him and bowing their heads as he made his way out of the room, Ser Gerold following him out. 

 

He turned to Ser Gerold as they walked down the corridors of the Red Keep “The Queen is in her chambers yes?” He asked. 

 

The knight nodded “Yes your grace, Ser Oswell and Ser Jonothor should be assisting her with the preparations.” He replied. 

 

He nodded and carried on towards her chambers. He’d asked her if she would help prepare the family for the eventual journey to Harrenhal, new clothes were the main thing on the agenda. 

 

All of the preparations at Harrenhal had been completed in time for the tournament in two weeks, it was agreed in advance that the Hand of the King, along with Lord Varys, Lord Baelish and Pycelle would stay behind in the capital to keep it running while the entire Royal family made a collective showing at this statement of a celebration. 

 

A family united.  

 

A united Royal family was a strong message to any would be usurpers. 

 

He nodded to the guard at the Queen’s chamber door and entered. 

 


 

Jon 

He was laid on his bed, ready to get to sleep as he looked down at his chest at the small ball of fur yawning at him. 

 

He reactively smiled at his little action. 

 

He also realised that that was the first noise he’d heard from the white pup. 

 

He moved one of his arms from behind his head where he’d been resting them and stroked his little friend, the pup falling on his side and attempting to nip his thumb playfully. 

 

“I'm not playing with you ya little trouble maker, it's time for sleep.” He whispered to the pup as it stopped chewing on his thumb and stared at him with intelligent eyes. 

 

Eyes like rubies he had. 

 

He shook his head, he couldn’t keep referring to the wolf as ‘him’, he needed a name. 

 

He moved the pup off of him and onto the bed next to him, the fluffball circled the furs under his little paws before curling up and shutting his eyes. 

 

He himself blew out the last lit candle in the room and closed his eyes, a deep sleep grasping at his mind almost instantly. 

 

He walked out of the great keep and into the courtyard, the night sky shrouded the whole place in darkness. The only source of light was the full moon beaming down, creating a morphed shadow in front of him. 

 

He looked around in the hopes of catching sight of a familiar face but the yard was deserted, not a soul in sight. The silence was complete, even the breeze in his ear was devoid of sound. 

 

All of a  sudden,  he heard the scrape of wood and the  squeak  of a door hinge, to his left he could see the door to the crypts slowly moving on  its  hinges as it swayed in the breeze. 

 

Why he thought it was a good idea to approach it he didn’t know, but he was too intrigued to ignore the chill that went up his back when he glanced at it. 

 

The door itself was cold to the touch as he pushed his  palm  against and entered inside, a dull glow lit up the staircase down but no torches that he could see were lit. 

 

The lower he went as he  descended  the stone steps the colder it got, his warm breath  plumed  from his mouth like a winter flame. 

 

The glow was explained as he reached the bottom of the stairs, a single lit torch lit at the other end of the tunnel, like a beacon. He walked towards it like a moth to a flame. 

 

Down here he could hear his footsteps echo  throughout  the length of the tunnel, the echo was muffled however, like his ears were full of water. 

 

The winter flame his warm breath produced thickened as he walked along, the further he went the thicker it got. His breathing became harder as the winter flame darkened, taking on the appearance of smoke. 

 

It was more than an appearance, it was  actually  smoke. Thick, ashy smoke filled his lungs as he choked and coughed. He fell to his hands and knees as he wheezed, tears streaming from his eyes as he struggled to recover. 

 

He froze as a hand slapped him on the back repeatedly, running it in soothing circles  that cleared his  lungs but set his heart racing. 

 

His head snapped around to see who or what had equally helped and distressed his entire being. 

 

Nothing. 

 

Nothing but darkness. 

 

...What? 

 

He slowly turned his head back around and noticed the lit torch again. Rising to his feet, he walked on, approaching the fire, attempted to reach the light. 

 

...But it wasn’t working. 

 

The faster he walked, the further away the fire seemed. He picked up his feet and jogged, the light grew smaller. He set off sprinting and within a flash, the crypts were shrouded in darkness. 

 

He  spun  around on the spot looking for the torch but saw nothing, it was like his eyes were closed. Not even the stairs he come from could be seen anymore. 

 

“This is your fault...” He heard behind him. He  spun around in the direction  it  came from. 

 

Nothing. 

 

“This is your fault...” A different voice whispered behind him. He turned and looked towards it. 

 

Again, nothing. 

 

“This is your fault...” A third voice spoke, a strong voice, it cracked the air around his ears. 

 

The chill it sent down his spine burnt and seared all the way up to the back of his head. 

 

He could hear his pulse in his ears. 

 

“This is all your fault...” The first two voices spoke, they were close now. He  spun  around in their direction. 

 

Two figures, two grey figures. 

 

...Ghosts? 

 

He opened his mouth “What...” 

 

“This is all your fault...” The figures spoke again, two ghostly figures staring him down. One looked older than the other. 

 

What was his fault? 

 

Before he could ask ,  the two figures disappeared in front of his very eyes, a white mist left in their wake. The white mist didn’t disperse, it grew in quantity and thickness. 

 

It circled him like a pack of hungry wolves , surrounding the crypts like a winter tomb . 

 

 A crackle and a hiss filled his ears, filling his  mind  with an  unbearable  pressure. He turned around to find a way out, he wanted out now. 

 

He knew this was a dream, he knew this wasn’t real, but it still didn’t  reassure  him as he scrambled forward in the hopes of escaping this torment. 

 

“This is all your fault...” The third and final voice whispered into his ear, a venomous creaking like a frozen pond cracking, its tone was obvious. 

 

Pure hatred. 

 

He slowly turned around to see what had uttered the words into his soul. He sucked in a hurried breath as he came nose to nose with  something  he could only describe as maleficent. 

 

Unblinking sapphire eyes stared right back at him but there was nothing beautiful about them. 

 

They looked almost demonic, the pupil a pit of darkness and fury, black tendrils broke away like an oozing poison, swimming and corrupting. 

 

“This is all your fault...” The demon spoke again, repeating the same five words like a mantra. The protruding bone from its scalp circling its head like a crown of death. 

 

“What is?” He replied, the belief that this  wasn't  real, that this was just a night terror fortified him, small drops of confidence trickled into his soul as he stood up straight and looked  this...this  thing right in the eye. 

 

Its face was a blank as it replied “This is all your fault...” It repeated, this time it held  its  arm out to the side as a  sharp  length of mist and ice formed in its hand, the same type of ice that was slowly crawling up his back again. 

 

He shrugged his shoulders in a false show of confidence, this wasn’t real, strike me all you want, it  won't  do anything. 

 

He cried out in pain as the spear of ice was thrusted into his ribs, he could feel and even hear the bone creak and crack as the ice was twisted and deepened. 

 

At this point he just wanted to wake up. 

 

The ice crept ever so slowly, moving towards his chest and towards his heart. The pain was excruciating, his hand sizzled when he tried to grab hold of his  adversaries'  arm, jolting his body and driving the spear closer to his heart. 

 

He could feel the blood around it thickening, freezing in place. 

 

WHY WASN’T HE WAKING UP?! 

 

He shook his head at the demon as he felt the fight in him trickle away, the spear was now resting against his pumping heart. He felt it slow down as he stared death right in the eye with the little  energy  he had left. 

 

You..you’re ...not...real...” He wheezed out, gritting his teeth when the spear  applied  pressure to his organ. “None...of...” He struggled to say the words “None...of this...real...” He shook his head “ You're ... gho ....you’re just...ghost.” He finished. 

 

He screamed out as the spear was ripped from him, he dropped to his hands and knees as his blood pooled around him. 

 

He lifted on to his knees as the spear lifted him up by his chin, pointing his face at his end. 

 

You're  just...a ghost...” He said, mainly to himself “Your...ghost...” He whispered out. His eyes went wide as the demon lifted the spear in both hands and pointed it right at his heart. 

 

“Ghost...” A sneer formed on the face of death “Ghost...” He repeated to himself, he was sure of it. The spear was pulled back from his chest as the demon thrusted it into his heart... 

 

“GHOST...” 

 

His eyes shot open, moisture escaped them and ran down his face. His breathing was erratic and his heart was thumping hard in his chest. 

 

At least it was thumping. 

 

His eyes caught the movement on his chest, the small wolf pup was staring at him intently, his scarlet eyes full of emotion. 

 

He controlled his breathing the best as he could at the time as he placed a hand on the wolfs head and gave it a little rub. 

 

His presence calmed him. 

 

“I'm okay boy, just a bad dream.” He said. “...definitely a ghost.” He came to conclusion of, the last word he said making the pups ears twitch and his head angle in intrigue. 

 

He looked back at wolf “What's that? Do ya like that word? Ghost.” He said as the pups head turned again in interest. 

 

He chuckled “Should call you that from now on, you're as quiet as one and you have the colouring.” He said. The furball walking up his chest, pawing and licking his face subsequently bringing a smile to his face. 

 

“Get off me you little idiot.” He laughed as he picked the pup, seemingly now named ‘Ghost’ off his face and to his side, wiping his face of the slobber that had been left there by the beast. 

 

His breathing and heart rate had finally calmed down as he laid back down in his bed and sighed. He looked to his left and saw that Ghost was already curled up in a ball, lightly snoring. He shook his head and smiled. 

 

He closed his eyes in the hopes of getting back to sleep and avoiding whatever the fuck that was before. 

 


 

He slowly opened his eyes, the castle was up and awake, going on their way with their duties. He lifted his arms above his head and stretched, letting out a moan that morphed into god knows what when he yawned. He let his arms fall to his sides after. 

 

He looked to his left when he felt his thumb being nibbled, Ghost seemingly awake as well. He let him have his fun for now but that was a habit he’d have to get out of him quick time. 

 

He laid there and went over his agenda for the day, the castle was preparing for the departure of the Starks minus Robb and Alys. He’d almost forgot about the tourney that Clarissa had mentioned before, he had a lot on his mind right now so he had an excuse. 

 

Robb had reminded him about it though and he would have taken the offer of staying behind with him to help out but he just couldn’t, not when he found out that the Royal family would be there, all of them in fact. 

 

His family. 

 

Lord Stark had overheard him and Robb talking about the whole thing last night at supper and to nobody's surprise agreed with Robb’s idea of him staying behind and helping out. It had nothing to do with him potentially coming face to face with the other half of his family. 

 

There was no  potentially  about it. 

 

It was going to happen and there was fuck all Eddard Stark could do about it. 

 

He’d turned towards Lord Stark when he’d decided otherwise with Robb’s plan, plastered on a smile and said ‘I've always wanted to go to a tourney, should be fun.' Whilst intently looking into the older man’s eyes. He noticed the twitches he’d missed when he didn’t know the man’s dirty little secret. 

 

He thought about that secret now, the 17 year torment at the hands of that man. He’d already come to the conclusion that Uncle Benjen and Uncle Aemon’s advice about keeping a level head was the best course of action. 

 

But they said nothing about him having a bit of fun with it. 

 

See how he likes being tormented. 

 

He was gonna make Lord Stark sweat, drop hints and sentences here and there that to anybody else sounded normal, but froze the blood of Ned Stark. 

 

It wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when... 

 

When would Lord Eddard Stark crack. He’d survived for 17 years but that was with the upper hand, the secret kept just that. 

 

Uncle Benjen and Uncle Aemon had smashed that advantage to bits, leaving nothing left but a circling Jon. 

 

He sat up and rose from his bed, Ghost rolling about in the mess of furs that were left in his wake and leaving little white hairs everywhere. 

 

He looked across the room at his bags that he’d packed last night, they weren't leaving till tomorrow morning but it didn’t hurt to be prepared early, he was eager and who could blame him. 

 

He’s always wanted to go to a tourney. 

 

The other bag that was packed that contained the two swords was also going south with him as well. If all the important lords were gonna be at this thing then it was the best place to hand these heirlooms over to their respective owners. 

 

He wasn’t gonna lie, he was kind of excited to meet the mighty Tywin Lannister. All around westeros the man had a reputation, a man it was unwise to get on the wrong side of. He had the advantage of hearing about him more personally, the Warden of the West’s brother more than happy to divulge details on a man who had a face like a slapped arse, according to Gerion. 

 

He smiled longingly, he wanted to see his friend again soon. The only thing that put him off about it was the journey, both him and Kireina had hated the whole thing. 

 

One day. He had a lot on his plate right now. 

 

He heard Ghost whine from behind him, he turned around and looked at the pup. 

 

“C’mon then, let's get you outside so you can do your business.” He said as he quickly got dressed and picked up the pup. 

 

The courtyard was hectic but nobody batted an eyelid in his direction as he headed for the godswood, the grove itself was quiet apart from one man running a whetstone down the length of his sword. The last person he wanted to see right now. 

 

The man looked up from what he was doing as Jon placed Ghost on the ground, rustling some leaves in the progress. The small pup sniffed about before choosing a suitable place to piss before kicking the grass underneath him. 

 

He smiled at Ghost when he looked back up at Jon with his tail wagging, his face screamed ‘I’m done, now feed me.’ 

 

He turned back around to head out the godswood, absolutely no interest in talking to Lord Stark but he obviously didn’t share his feelings. 

 

“Jon!” Lord Stark shouted. 

 

He counted to 3 before turning around. He’d gotten bored of the silent treatment he’d been bestowing on him but it didn’t mean he’d stop making this hard for Lord Stark. 

 

“Yes?” He replied. 

 

He had the audacity to pat the space on log next to him where he was sat. Jon looked at him with a raised eyebrow. 

 

“Do I look like a dog? If so, try whistling, it might help me remember my place.” He said. 

 

Ned sighed “Just sit...” 

 

He raised his eyebrow at that, Ned nodded his head “Can you sit down next to me, please?” He asked. Jon just nodded at him. 

 

They both sat there for at least a minute before Lord Stark opened his mouth “He been much trouble?” He asked as he nodded towards Ghost who was staring at his reflection in the small pond next to them. 

 

He sat me down for small talk? 

 

He sighed but shook his head “He’s been good as gold, been a good boy haven't you?” He said, the last part aimed at Ghost who dipped his nose in the pool and bolted away from it like he’d been stung. 

 

He chuckled at his little friend. 

 

So did Lord Stark to his annoyance. 

 

“Rickon’s has already gotten him in trouble with his mother, feeding him at the table during breakfast.” He chuckled. 

 

“Hilarious.” He dryly replied, Ned just sighed. 

 

He went quiet again until Jon caught him staring at him almost remorsefully. “What?” He asked him, curtly. 

 

Ned shook his head and looked forward, he took a deep breath “Catelyn wants you gone.” He said as he looked at the ground, completely avoiding eye contact with him. 

 

“What a shame.” He replied. Ned looked up at him. 

 

“Jon...” He said, he would have been scared of that warning tone years ago but the effect of it had been well and truly pissed up the wall when he left all those years ago, even more so when he had the biggest piece of dirt on the man. 

 

“I can respect that she is the Lady of Winterfell but I haven't done anything to her since I returned, I've barely batted an eyelid in her direction.” He said as Ghost slowly walked up to him and licked his hand. He stroked his hand through his fur in thanks. 

 

Ned sighed again “She thinks that you're being an unnecessary distraction and influence on the little ones, mainly to Arya and her lessons.” He explained. 

 

He carried on before Jon could even reply “Don't think we are chucking you out and expecting you to just fend for yourself, even though we know you can.” He attempted to jape, Jon hadn't found anything Lord Stark said funny in years. 

 

When he saw Jon’s face his smile disappeared, he cleared his throat “Obviously the Night’s Watch isn't an option, unless...” He said as he looked at Jon, fishing for a response. 

 

He looked at Lord Stark with his eyebrows raised “Unless what? That one visit to see uncle Benjen made me want to get cosy with the murderers and rapists?” He shook his head and looked down at Ghost “It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made, on one hand there was freedom with endless possibilities but in the other hand there was misery till the end of my days...bit like your marriage, eh.” He japed as he elbowed Lord Stark in the arm, he didn’t give the man chance to respond. “I decided on the freedom in the end, who knows what could happen...” He finished. 

 

Lord Stark looked at him in annoyance with his answer probably more to do with the joke about his marriage than anything else. 

 

He cleared his throat “As I was saying, the Night’s Watch isn't an option, so I had to think of something else for you.” He said. 

 

“You could legitimise me and give me a castle or something to rule...” He blurted out. He didn’t want that either but he couldn’t help saying it to make him sweat. 

 

Ned sighed “You know that’s not an option Jon.” He replied. 

 

He shook his head and faked ignorance “Why not? You do trust me, don't you? I am your son am I not?” He asked, mainly for the reaction. 

 

Lord Stark looked down so he couldn’t see any facial giveaways. 

 

Coward. 

 

“Catelyn wouldn’t allow it, and neither would House Tully. They would see you as a risk to any of your brother’s inheritance. I'm sorry Jon.” He answered. 

 

He scoffed “Inheritance, what do I inherit from you, father?” He growled out. He didn’t want anything from this man but a confession eventually. 

 

“Jon...” 

 

“Save it, we both know all I want from you is something your too cowardice to give me at the moment.” He said, mainly to himself. 

 

Ned looked down in shame. 

 

Good. 

 

“I promised that I will take care of you and that means finding you a purpose when you leave Winterfell.” Ned said. 

 

“Promised who? My mother?” He asked, he might be able to get some backstory here. 

 

Unless he was lying like  he  always does. 

 

Ned nodded “She asked me to take care of you when she handed you to me, to take you to your family. She...the birth was difficult for her and she wasn’t capable of looking after you.” He said, staring at the ground. 

 

He didn't know if this was the truth or not, Lord Stark look gutted after telling him that and it made sense if these things actually did happen to his sister. He also realised that this was the most he’d ever spoken about his mother, ever. 

 

He cleared his throat “She’s dead, isn't she?" He asked even though he knew the answer. 

 

Lord Stark just nodded. 

 

He looked down at the ground himself, Ghost was sat there being a good boy so he gave him a stroke under his chin. It calmed him and helped him think. He felt sympathy for the man somewhat, he couldn’t bear to think how he’d be if anything happened to Arya. 

 

It didn’t excuse his actions though, he wouldn’t give him an out for what he’d done. 

 

He looked back up at Ned “And her name?” He asked. 

 

Would he finally confess? 

 

Ned shook his head “Not now Jon.” He quietly said. 

 

Of course  he wouldn’t. 

 

He took a deep breath and sighed “I think this conversation is over don’t you.” He said. He wasn't asking, as far as he was concerned, this was over. 

 

“Wait Jon, we need to work out what you will do when you leave.” Lord Stark rushed out. 

 

The man had some fucking nerve. 

 

He stood up from the log and straightened his gambeson, Ghost was already trotting away towards the entrance of the godswood. He turned and look at Lord Stark with indifference. 

 

Not now Lord Stark.” Was all he said before walking off without looking back. 

 

‘We need to work out what you will do when you leave’. 

 

I don't think Lord Stark would like what he did when he left. 

 

End of Act 2

 


 

Chapter Text

 


 

Jon  

Walder Frey was a truly disgusting creature, he had to hold his face straight when in his presence with some of the things he did. He was glad in that moment to be known as a bastard, shoved at the back of the group out of the way. It hid the way his fists balled up and turned white. 

 

“Fine, be on your way. You'll have to tell me if you change your mind about the betrothal.” The old lord of The Twins chuckled out as he leered at Sansa. 

 

Kireina  would  raze  this shithole to the ground before you got as much as a sniff old man.  

 

Lord Stark looked rightfully awkward when he nodded and told the old Lord they’d cross the bridge as quick as they could, not to interrupt any of Lord Frey’s duties. 

 

And to get away from their truly disturbing surroundings no doubt.  

 

“He smelled funny.” Arya whispered to him as they made their way out of the great hall of The Twins. He chuckled at her and mused her hair. 

 

“The bath water probably can't stand being in his presence. Bet it scarpers as soon as it smells him.” He japed. Arya chuckled as she hurried her steps to get out of this place. 

 

“Do you think father will agree to his betrothal request?” She asked, a thin layer of worry laced her words. 

 

He grabbed her by the shoulders and squeezed as they walked back to camp “Not a chance in hell, I wouldn’t let him. Lord Wet Fart or any of his brood for that matter won't be getting remotely close to you, Sansa, Bran or Rickon.” He reassured. He felt the tension and worry leave her shoulders. 

 

“Thanks.” She replied as she smiled up at him. 

 

“What are brothers for eh?” He answered as he smiled back down at her. 

 

A sly grin formed on Arya’s face “Teaching me how to use a sword and not much else.” She japed. 

 

He held a hand to his chest feigning hurt “That cut deep, I might need time to recover. Sparring might have to wait now little wolf.” He said as he closed his eyes and sniffed. He chuckled when he felt Arya punch him in the leg. He opened his eyes and saw she was smiling. 

 

“How about a quick spar before we get moving?” He asked her as they entered the camp that most of the northern lords had called home for the afternoon. 

 

Her face seemed to drop when he asked this, a grimace taking over “I would love to but I can't. Mother says she wants to see how my lessons have been going since we left Winterfell.” She said “I mean, why did she have to bring that boring old septa with us, a moon or two without lessons won't turn any of us brain dead. Even Sansa seems distracted in lessons by the prospect of the tourney so I don’t know what she expects from me.” She moaned. 

 

He knew why the septa was brought but didn’t want Arya getting in trouble by rebelling. 

 

The bastard hellspawn is prowling the camp in search of its next victim to corrupt, only the faith can protect these children from the monster nowHe thought amusingly. He just found the old woman amusing now. 

 

“I suppose it's so you don't end up thick like him...” He said smiling as he nodded his head in the direction of Theon who just had a mug of ale poured over his head by Dacey Mormont. 

 

Arya laughed heartily. 

 

“Arya!” He heard her shout from behind them. Arya grimaced and looked at him in the hopes he would save her. He whispered the word ‘Sorry’ in reply. She gave him a sad smile in response and walked towards her mother. 

 

He received the cold glare from her that he’d always had, one he didn’t even respond to as he turned and walked towards camp. 

 

“Look who it isn't?” The GreatJon bellowed out at him as he received a bear paw sized clap on the back. “Heard you sorted my son out in a sparring session this morning.” He said as he draped his arm over his shoulders. 

 

“He said I was pretty like a lady, thought he should know what he was getting into before he tried to fuck me." He replied without thinking. He hid his grimace well. 

 

The Greatjon was a good person to get on the right side of but awful to get on the wrong side of. 

 

It had nothing to do with how big he was. He liked to tell himself. 

 

Thankfully the giant of a lord bellowed out in laughter, turning a few heads in the process. “You should give that advice to young Theon over here, Maege’s lass wasn’t having any of his posturing HA!” He chuckled out as he pointed at a soaked Theon sat on a log and then at Dacey who was grinning. 

 

He chuckled himself as he sat down on the log that Dacey and a few others were sat on, GreatJon sat next to him and handed him a horn of ale. 

 

“What was this I heard of SmallJon?" Dacey spoke up as they all sat around the fire. She looked over to Lord Umber before looking at him. 

 

Pretty. He thought. 

 

“Nothing.” He heard SmallJon shout over from the other side of the fire. He looked across at him and grinned, one eyebrow raised. 

 

“Had nothing to do with the way you grimaced as you sat down earlier?” Harrion asked SmallJon who he was sat next to. 

 

Harrion received a shove because of that, he just laughed it off. 

 

“Fuck off.” He heard SmallJon mutter. That set everyone off. 

 

A couple of whispers could be heard and he saw what had caused it, Ghost trotting into ring of people and sitting down in front of Jon. 

 

They’d only been on the road for a week or so but in that week his little pup had shot up, he was the size of a small dog already. He couldn’t compare him to the size of his siblings because Lady Stark had forced her children to leave the pups at Winterfell while they were gone. None of them were happy but begrudgingly accepted when they were given the choice of going to the tourney without them or staying at home with them. 

 

He was given no such decision. 

 

She wasn’t and never would be his mother, she’d made damn sure of that herself.  

 

“Still can't believe there's direwolves back in the north.” Dacey said as she ran her hand over Ghost’s head. The pup closed his eyes and pushed his head into her hand. 

 

He nodded as he took a sip from his ale “Five more of them in Winterfell. Their mother didn’t make it and it didn’t seem right leaving them to fend for themselves.” He explained as Ghost opened his eyes and took a sniff of his mug. 

 

He held it down so Ghost could take a proper sniff instead he shoved his entire snout into the mug and lapped at the contents. He pulled it away and tapped the pup on the nose but it was too late, Ghost was licking his chops and looking mighty pleased with himself. 

 

The last thing they needed was a pissed up  direwolf  in camp.  

 

GreatJon laughed at the scene in front of him “I think a drunk direwolf is the last thing this camp needs HA!” He said as he took a sip from his own mug. 

 

He pulled Ghost in between his legs and held him there so he couldn’t cause any more trouble, the last thing he needed was Lady Stark on his back about it. 

 

“Lay down.” He whispered into Ghost’s ear as he kissed the pup on the top of his head. Ghost followed his instruction thankfully. “Good boy.” He said as he gave him one last ruffle of his white coat. 

 

“I’ll have to have a spar with you when we set up camp later tonight if you’re up for it? Then I’ll get to see for myself what my lad has been crying about HA.” GreatJon said as he looked across to his son. 

 

“Now THAT I would love to see.” Theon spoke up with a grin on his face. “Bring him down a peg or two while you're at it, Lord Umber.” He finished, laughing at nothing. 

 

“Careful Theon, I'm not afraid to break your other nose as well prick." He warned the young Greyjoy. 

 

Theon looked at him bemused but still had a grin on his face “And what other nose would that be bastard? Did your time away turn you thicker than you already were?” He asked, again laughing at his own words. A few of the lords around them looked on with interest. 

 

He stroked Ghost to keep his hands distracted, it wouldn’t help if he wrapped them around the pricks neck. “The one that’s up his arse you fuckin brownnose.” He answered, nodding his head towards GreatJon and taking a large sip from his mug. 

 

Theon spluttered, denying everything before grumbling and walking off. SmallJon and Harrion chuckled, Dacey snorted into her ale and GreatJon spat his out of his mouth before guffawing. 

 

“I see Halys wasn’t wrong about you lad, Lord Hornwood said you was bold as brass. He said you reminded him of your uncle Brandon the old gods rest his soul.” Lord Umber said, a quiet taking over the small group. 

 

“Lord Hornwood likes to talk, ask his wife.” He replied. The man himself knew he could speak the ear off anybody. 

 

“Ha, you're not wrong lad.” GreatJon replied. His eyes moved over Jon’s shoulder and caught eye with something. “Speak of the devil..." He whispered to his, like they were conspiring or something. 

 

He turned around and saw Lord Hornwood walking towards their group, unfortunately he wasn’t alone, Lord Stark looking at him and GreatJon with a quirked eyebrow. 

 

“Lord Stark, Lord Hornwood. Fancy a mug?” GreatJon asked as he pointed his own to the two men. 

 

His uncle shook his head, catching Jon’s eyes for a split second before responding “No thanks Jon, came to see if everybody was ready. I want us to make good time today, the meeting with Lord Frey didn’t help in that regard.” He said to Lord Umber but looked around to see if people were in fact ready to get moving. 

 

Everyone seemed to get to their feet at that, Jon being the last as he necked the rest of his mug. 

 

Lord Umber was the first to reply “Not to worry Ned, we’ll make up that time no problem. That old fart wont rain on our northern parade HA!” He replied as he walked away, to get his own men ready he assumed. “C’mon you!" He shouted over at SmallJon who necked his own ale before leaving. 

 

“Maege is looking for you my lady.” Lord Hornwood said to Dacey, she nodded at him before waving at Jon and leaving the group. 

 

“I best go and see if my father needs any help, probably needs me to round up his other two sons.” Harrion chuckled before nodding to everyone and leaving himself. 

 

Now it was just him, Lord Stark and Lord Hornwood. 

 

...and Ghost. Can't forget about him. 

 

“I best go and get my men ready as well Lord Stark.” Lord Hornwood said seemingly noticing a tension between Jon and Lord Stark.  

 

“Make sure everybody is ready to move in the next 20 minutes Halys.” Ned said as the other man nodded before walking away. 

 

Now it was just him, Ned and Ghost. 

 

You better not fucking leave as well Ghost. He thought. 

 

Ghost oddly huffed at that from where he was laid on the ground. 

 

Lord Stark cleared his throat “You ready to get moving Jon?” He asked, awkwardness surrounding them. He’d tried to stay away from his uncle for the past week. 

 

“Couldn't we have just gone down the Kingsroad? We would've been able to avoid all of this mess.” He said as he rose to his feet and pointed to the Twins. 

 

Ned sighed as they walked on “Cat wanted to meet up with her side of the family and head to the tourney along with them. She also wanted the children to see their grandfather in Riverrun, her brother Edmure sent her a raven a few weeks ago saying that he’s rather ill and might not have long left.” He answered. 

 

Lovely, a castle full of  Tullys . He would  definitely  be camping outside of the castle, less chance of a dagger in his heart while he sleeps.  

 

“Well, best get a move on then. Won't get far flapping our gums will we.” He said as he started walking. 

 

Ned grabbed him by the shoulder before he could go any further “Jon, we’re okay, aren't we? I’ve barely spoken to you all week, I hope that chat we had before we left Winterfell hasn’t bothered you.” He asked. 

 

The fucking cheek  

 

He shrugged his hand of his shoulder “We’ll never be okay ever again Lord Stark.” He said before walking off. He faintly heard ‘What?’ being muttered from his uncle but didn’t acknowledge him as he carried on walking, Ghost close at his heels. 

 


 

Daenerys  

She tapped her foot as she waited for Rhae, both Kingsguard assigned to the pair of them waiting with her. 

 

“How much longer do you think she’s going to be your grace?” Ser Jaime asked as he looked towards Rhaenys’ chamber door. 

 

Before she could open her mouth, her niece came rushing out of her chamber before closing the door behind her. 

 

“All done.” Came the cheerful response from Rhaenys. 

 

“About bloody time.” She muttered as they all made their way through the corridors of the Red Keep. She heard Ser Oswell snort but quickly cover it up with a cough. 

 

They made good time as they approached the other wing of the Royal apartments, Princess Margaery along with her brother and assigned Kingsguard, Ser Loras waiting outside of her chambers for them. 

 

She had to admit, and Rhae shared the same thoughts with her that they expected Margaery to be stuck up, scheming and an all-round a poor choice for Aegon’s bride. Turned out they were wrong to presume and had crafted an almost sisterly bond with the Rose of Highgarden. 

 

She’d also brought Alysanne into the world so that was another point in her favour. The little girl was the apple of everybody’s eye lately. 

 

Margaery waved at them as they approached, she seemed rather excited at the prospect of this tournament and to be honest, she couldn’t blame her. An event touted as being the biggest the realm would ever see had to build some excitement, even in the most miserable of people she thought. Her brother, along with the council had invested a lot of time and effort to make it a spectacle that would go down in history. 

 

It would be a crime if nothing memorable happened. 

 

“We all set?” Marge asked the two of them as Ser Loras bowed at the pair of approaching princesses. 

 

“Finally.” She replied as she rolled her eyes and smiled. She looped her arm through Margaery’s arm and set off walking, all the while playfully glaring at Rhaenys.  

 

Margaery grinned at the whole thing. 

 

Rhaenys huffed “Stop complaining would you, it's not like they can go without us is it?” She said as they rounded a corner. 

 

“I suppose not. Though I doubt they’d find it hard to leave if it was just you they were leaving behind.” She replied. Rhae just smiled and stuck her tongue out at her whilst everybody else, including their guards chuckled. 

 

They all made their way through the double door opening to the courtyard where they were hit with a wall of chatter. She looked around and lost count of the amount of horses and carriages there were that held numerous chests of luggage. A few of the carriages were reserved for some of the lords and ladies that were already in Kings Landing that would be travelling with the Royal retinue. 

 

Up near the front of the group was the Royal carriage, the one where all three of them along with the Queen, her mother and little Alysanne would be using to travel in. Stood next to it was the King and Queen, clearly having a discussion about something. 

 

They approached the two of them and were noticed by Ser Arthur who cleared his throat whilst nodding in their direction, Rhaegar turned and looked at them. 

 

“Finally. We thought you’d got lost or something.” Her brother japed as he seemed to sigh in relief. 

 

She shook her head but before she could even say anything, Rhaenys was speaking “Where’s the little princess?” She asked, mainly to her mother. 

 

Elia smiled and looked back into the carriage “She’s in there with your grandmother, Rhaella has just gotten her off to sleep.” She said as she smiled. 

 

“Your grace.” Margaery said as she curtsied and entered the carriage to reunite with her daughter. 

 

Her eyes widened when she saw Viserys and his little band of idiots approaching and with her decision swiftly made, she entered the carriage herself in haste. 

 

The inside of the carriage was very spacious, plush sofas lined the sides of their new home for the next few days. On one of the sofas sat her mother along with Margaery, sat in front of the pair was a crib and a sleeping Alysanne. She cooed at the little snores the precious girl was making. 

 

“Try not to wake her darling, I've just gotten her off.” Her mother said as she looked into the crib. She nodded as she stared at the little girl with a smile. 

 

“You’ll be wanting one of your own someday, we have to find you someone to help you with that though I suppose.” Her mother said. She rolled her eyes and sat on the opposite sofa facing them. 

 

“Don't roll your eyes at me young lady.” Her mother said, although there was some amusement behind her own eyes. 

 

“I don’t need it from you as well mother, I already get enough of it from Rhaegar.” She replied as she shuffled around on the sofa, eventually finding a comfortable spot to curl her legs beneath herself. 

 

Before her mother could reply, Elia and Rhae entered the carriage, the latter with an annoyed look on her face. 

 

Rhae settled down next to her on the sofa with a huff and Elia rolled her eyes at her daughter as she took a seat next to her. 

 

“You alright?” She whispered to Rhaenys, she looked towards Elia but the older woman was currently striking up a conversation with her mother. Margaery was cooing over her daughter but was sneaking looks of intrigue in their direction. 

 

“I would be if people got off my back.” Rhae whispered back in reply, side eyeing her mother in the process. 

 

Oh dear...  

 

She furrowed her brow in confusion, she looked across the carriage at Margaery who also seemed confused by Rhae’s attitude. 

 

“Has something happened?” She asked, Rhae was currently rubbing one of the bracelets on her wrist between her finger and thumb. 

 

A nervous tick. She mused, something Rhae had done for years. 

 

“It would appear I am to be wed soon.” Came the shocking reply. 

 

She looked over to Margaery who too had a look of shock on her face. Returning her gaze back at Rhae she replied “Wed? Who to?” 

 

Rhae just shrugged her shoulders and crossed her arms “Ask my mother.” She replied. 

 

She looked over towards the Queen “Your grace?” She said, Elia sighed in reply. 

 

“You're over reacting Rhaenys, I said you should keep an eye out during the festivities, in the hopes of finding a suitable suitor that’s all.” She said as she reached for the fruit bowl on a small cabinet at the side of the carriage and plucked a grape from it. 

 

“Yeah and then father said I should just marry Margaery’s brother and be done with it." Rhae replied. Dany looked across at Marge to gauge her reaction, she looked torn on the situation. 

 

Elia tutted “You know he was joking, he wouldn’t force anything upon you, you know that.” She said. Her mother was sat on the other sofa, silently absorbing the situation. 

 

“Do I? He looked awfully serious when he said it and it would explain the fact that he had me host Margaery’s family when they were here a few weeks ago, alone might I add.” Rhae replied. Elia just looked fed up with the whole conversation as she reached for another grape. 

 

“Two unwed Princesses of the realm appearing at what will be the biggest tourney in history, I would say the pair of you will have every eligible man eating out of your hand. That doesn’t sound so terrible does it?” Her mother mentioned as she sipped on her wine. 

 

“Don't involve me in this.” She said as she filled a goblet of arbour gold for herself.  

 

She’d probably need it with the route this conversation was going.  

 

She narrowed her eyes at Marge when she saw mirth dancing around her face. 

 

“You were always going to be involved in this. Due to your reluctance to even look for an eligible suitor, you and Rhae will be the top prize at this event, none of the winner's purses would come close to marrying a Princess. You can hate that fact all you want but it won't change anything, you’ve placed a target on your own heads and you’ll have to deal with the consequences. You’ll be tripping over fawning men for most of the tourney.” Her mother finished, amusement in her eyes as she took a sip from her goblet. 

 

“This isn't funny.” She huffed as she saw Marge chuckling. 

 

“It is a little bit.” Elia spoke up. She turned in her direction and saw Rhae necking a whole goblet of wine. 

 

Somebody definitely has the right idea. She thought as she reached to refill her own goblet. As soon as it was refilled her mother moved the jug away from the pair of them. 

 

She narrowed her eyes at her but huffed in resignation when her mother quirked an eyebrow at her. 

 

That isn't a fight I'm  gonna  win.  

 

Rhae nudged her in the arm when both of their mothers carried on with their conversation. “My cousins will be meeting me there, Arianne even managed to get her father to return to Sunspear so she could come as well. We’ll find our own fun while we’re at this tourney, mark my words.” She whispered to her. 

 

“Should be interesting to see what happens with her and Viserys.” She replied, Rhae chuckled and took a sip from her goblet. 

 

“I think he’ll be too busy with whatever scheme he’s got going at the moment.” She answered. 

 

“Urgh, don’t remind me please. He’s got it into your cousin Quentyn’s head that if he were to win the joust and place that flowery crown on my head that I couldn’t possibly refuse his hand.” She said as she took a sip from her own wine. 

 

Rhae shook her head “Quent is quite gullible but nobody seems to be able to stop your brother from whispering in his ear. He’s gonna get himself hurt, he’s not even a great rider to begin with.” She said. 

 

“Don't speak about that cousin of yours around me at the moment.” Elia interrupted. 

 

Her and Rhae just looked at the older woman “What's he done now?” Rhae asked. 

 

“Let's just say he’s gonna be in for a rude awakening when he returns to Sunspear. I think brother dearest is gonna make an example of him.” Elia answered. 

 

Please please please be something that keeps him off my back for the foreseeable future. She prayed. 

 

“Is it that bad?” Rhae continued. 

 

Elia chuckled “Let's just say this tournament might be the last time you see your cousin for a long time. Oberyn and Ellaria are meeting us there along with his brood, Ari and Trystane will be with them as well.” Elia replied. 

 

Rhae smiled “I knew Ari, Trys and the girls were coming but I didn’t know uncle Oberyn and aunt Ellaria were coming with them.” She said. 

 

“I've never met Prince Oberyn.” She said. 

 

Rhae turned to her a smiled even more “Oh you’ll love him, he’s the fun uncle.” She said. 

 

“Rhaenys!” Elia scolded. 

 

“Oh come on mother you know it to be true. I love uncle Doran but even you have to admit uncle Oberyn is the wilder brother of yours.” She said with a smirk. 

 

Elia just looked away with a soft smile and took a sip from her wine. 

 

Her silence answered that it would seem. She thought. 

 

Just as Rhae was about to speak again the carriage door opened up, Ser Arthur popped his head in “We’re about to set off your Graces, is everybody ready?” He said. 

 

“Yes I think so Arthur.” Elia said as she looked around the carriage to see if anybody would object. 

 

She turned back to the knight when nobody said anything “Will we be seeing your sister at the tourney, Ser Arthur? I know his grace left it to you to send her invitation.” She asked. 

 

Ser Arthur smiled and nodded “You will your grace, along with Clarissa and Edric. Allyria will be joining them with her betrothed Lord Dondarrion as well.” He answered. Elia smiled and nodded at that, it was no secret that Lady Ashara was a good friend of the Queen. 

 

“Thank you Ser Arthur, that will be all.” Elia said as the knight nodded and shut the carriage. 

 

A few shouts were heard from outside and it wasn’t long before the carriage was moving. 

 


 

Ned  

It had been a few days since they’d crossed the Twins and they were making good time on their journey to Riverrun. Scouts claimed they might even make it there by the end of the day. 

 

“Is everybody ready to get moving?” He asked Lord Karstark as they walked through their temporary camp. 

 

“Pretty much, some of them are still sparring near the river.” Rickard replied. 

 

Bloody hell.  

 

Ever since Jon had humoured Greatjon in a spar the evening after they’d crossed the Twins, everybody had turned increasingly competitive in their daily training sessions. 

 

He’d not actually seen what had happened at that sparring session but if he believed the word that’d got out, they might be seeing a northerner winning the big melee. 

 

If Jon had made an impression on Lord Umber then it was safe to say that he’d done something impressive. 

 

Him along with Rickard and two guards made their way towards the bank of the river they’d decided to rest near, he could already hear the booming voice of the Greatjon as they approached. 

 

“Put ya back into it Greyjoy!” He heard Lord Umber bellow out. 

 

Approaching the group, he noticed Theon currently sparring with Rickard’s son, Torrhen. Everybody else was stood and sat around the pair looking on. 

 

He shouldered his way in between Smalljon and his father, Greatjon look like he was about to shout at whoever was jostling him until he saw who it was. 

 

“Lord Stark, come to show the young’uns how it's done?” Lord Umber japed as he grinned. 

 

He chuckled at the bigger man’s question, the Greatjon was always a joyous man to be around. 

 

“Fortunately for them no, I've come to see if everybody is ready to get moving.” He said as he looked around at all the people there. He noticed Jon who was having a conversation with Maege’s daughter. 

 

“Just about Lord Stark, just have to settle something that was said earlier today. Ser Wylis here reckons that son of yours isn't as good with a blade as everybody else reckons he is. He hasn't seen the lad fight but thinks he can take a green boy like him.” Greatjon said. He got closer to his ear and whispered “Think you might wanna see this if you're looking for a laugh." 

 

He looked up at the grinning giant of a man, he was quite excited to see if Jon had improved in his years away from home and the small delay was worth it in his eyes. 

 

Greatjon turned to the two men fighting “Right you two, you've had your fun.” He said as he declared the spar a draw “Someone here needs to put his money where his mouth is before we get going don't you Wylis?” Greatjon grinned at the Manderly knight. 

 

With the looks of confusion around the group, Greatjon was the only one privy to Ser Wylis’ claims. 

 

Ser Wylis stood “Aye, let's get this over with. There’s bigger game to be had at this tourney and I don’t want to waste energy on green boys.” He said as he took the blunted blade that Theon was holding. 

 

Greatjon clapped his hands and rubbed them together “Remember the bet Wylis, I want my gold dragons after this." He said as he grabbed Torrhen’s blunted blade. 

 

“HA, good luck with that one Jon.” Ser Wylis said as he twirled the blade, stretching his limbs to loosen up. 

 

“Snow!" Greatjon bellowed as he walked towards Jon, he seemed confused at the older man. Once the blade was held out in front of him, he knew what was going down. “Don't let me down lad, got money riding on this.” 

 

There were a few snorts and chuckles around the group, seemingly realising what was about to happen Ned could feel a little excitement building in him as well. 

 

“First one to yield loses.” Greatjon said as both men moved into the middle. 

 

Ser Wylis looked primed and ready for this spar but Jon, Jon looked disinterested, holding his blade low. “It’ll be all over soon lad, maybe I’ll take you on as a squire after, who knows." Ser Wylis said. Jon quirked an eyebrow at the older man but didn’t reply, he just rolled his shoulders and nodded to Greatjon. 

 

“Don't blink.” Smalljon said to him as the two of them looked on. 

 

He turned to the young man “Excuse me?” He asked. 

 

Smalljon folded his arms, still looking on at the two men “I found out the hard way how good that son of your is.” He said. 

 

How good was he?  

 

Very good it would turn out. 

 

Jon had Ser Wylis on his back within ten seconds. The group around him were laughing along with Greatjon as Jon helped the large knight to his feet. 

 

What had he just seen?  

 

Claiming Jon was good with a sword in his hand would be an insult to the lad. Smalljon was right, blink and you’d miss it. 

 

Everybody was up on their feet now, mulling around, preparing themselves for the continuation of their journey. Jon was receiving a few pats on the back as people passed him as he cleared up what was left of their makeshift sparring yard. 

 

Greatjon Umber approached him and Rickard with a big smile “Think we might be in with a chance of winning the melee with your lad on board Lord Stark. He has a gift and I wish to exploit it HA!” He said as the three of them watched Jon walk towards the river to relieve himself. 

 

“Has he urrr...has he got any plans for his future?” Greatjon said as he nodded towards Jon. 

 

He shook his head “Not currently, no. I think having him squire for someone so he can become a knight seems a bit of a step down for the him, don’t you?” He replied. He really did have to have a good think about what he could do for him now. 

 

He could walk into any keep in the north and become their new master at arms in an instant with his level of skill.  

 

Maybe he was destined to take over from Ser Rodrik, maybe Catelyn would have to begrudgingly get used to having Jon around.  

 

His mind was running in circles, so many decisions had to be made and he was slowly running out of time to make them. 

 

Rickard sniffed “He’s gonna catch a few eyes at this tourney I reckon. Who knows, the white bull’s getting old, this tournament is the perfect place to find a suitable replacement for Ser Gerold.” He said. 

 

His blood froze. 

 

Greatjon chuckled “Don't let the white bull here you say that Karstark, he’s old but he’ll still whip you around HA.” 

 

A white blur out the corner of his eye caught the three men’s attention, Jon’s direwolf, Ghost, bounding across to his master with his tail wagging and a rabbit gripped in his jaw. 

 

“Fuckin’ scary how fast those things grow, nearly up to my bloody knees that wolf of his.” Greatjon muttered, Rickard hummed in agreement. 

 

“Wonder how Alys and Robb are getting on with the other five.” Lord Karstark mused. 

 

“Probably too busy doing other things eh Stark.” Greatjon said as he nudged him in the shoulder and wiggled his eyebrows. 

 

“Knock it off Umber.” Rickard said in annoyance. Before any arguments could brew, Jon came walking up towards them with Ghost’s fresh rabbit in his hand. 

 

“What you got there, Snow?” Greatjon said as the four of them headed back towards retinue. 

 

He nodded down at Ghost “This one's dinner. Spoilt little wolf wants me to skin it for him.” He said as the white pup walked along with his tongue lolled out. 

 

“Careful, he might expect it every time he catches owt. Next thing you know, he’s dragging a buck carcass onto your lap HA.” Greatjon replied as they finally made it back to their readied horses for the day. 

 

Before Ned could say anything to Jon, Bran and Rickon came running towards them “Jon!” They both shouted as they knelt down in front of Ghost and started fussing over him. 

 

“C’mon boys, you can help me skin this before we get moving.” Jon said as he walked off with Bran and Rickon, Ghost playfully nipping at his leg. 

 


 

Jon  

4 days later...  

 

Ser Edmure didn’t like him, it was blatantly obvious with the looks he was sending his way. Ser Brynden, or the Blackfish as he was more commonly known, didn’t like him either, but he was a lot better at hiding it than his nephew. 

 

He wasn’t naïve enough to not know why they disliked him. 

 

Their arrival at Riverrun a few days ago wasn’t very eventful, they arrived, they ate and settled down for the night. By the next morning, they were back on the road and on their way towards Harrenhal. 

 

Jon had spent most of the time in the camp instead of the castle, it wasn’t that he was afraid of how he would be received in the house of Lady Stark’s family, he just spent his time with Ghost instead. And when the tents went up for the night and the camp was shrouded in darkness, he was able to sneak off and meet up with Kireina for a little bit as well. 

 

The meeting between Ghost and Kireina was beyond comical. He feared Ghost would be rather scared of the mountain of power and magic, but no, he just wanted to play. And when Kireina deemed herself above such foolery, Ghost hiked up a leg and attempted to pee on her. 

 

He’d never seen her move so fast.  

 

Thankfully, Jon was there to play peacemaker and to prevent the white pup from becoming a pile of furry dust. 

 

That had been a few days ago, now they were about an hour away from the tournament grounds. He could feel the excitement in the air as they passed the odd merchant here and there, hoping to get a head start on plying their wares on travellers. 

 

He was currently riding side by side with Greatjon Umber, a man he’d managed to strike up an easy friendship with. 

 

“So, we’ve got you and me, obviously. I'm struggling with the last two though. Ned left it up to me to decide the group so I'm not sure if he’d be interested. That’s something you can ask I suppose.” Lord Umber continued with the conversation they’d been having. 

 

This melee was turning out to be the talk of the realm according to some people, lords were becoming increasingly competitive with the whole thing. Four fighters from each one of the different kingdoms would be competing in one huge fight to determine the best in the realm. Not only would they be rewarded with such a claim, the winning group would also receive a purse to share between the four of them and more importantly, profit their kingdom as a whole as the crown had announced that the winning kingdom would be devoid of tax for a moon's duration. That last prize was huge for all the lords. 

 

The Crownland’s team was already touted as the ones to beat, since the Kingsguard was to be fielded by the Crown along with the Crown Prince. Three Kingsguard and a man who had been trained by the sword in the morning himself was definitely nothing to take lightly. 

 

The other kingdoms seemed to have kept their teams quiet however, even the Riverlands. Jon had overheard that Ser Edmure and the Blackfish would be part of their team but the other two members identities evaded him. 

 

And now Lord Umber was trying to work out who would be joining both of them. He’d not even said he would like to compete, Greatjon hadn't really given him a choice and most people agreed with him after seeing Jon spar. 

 

He looked across towards the giant lord “What about Ser Rodrik?” He asked. 

 

Greatjon hummed and stroked his beard “That could work, the man is still sharp despite his age. I was thinking more along the lines of Ser Jorah, I imagine he would be the most determined to win out of the lot of us, can't be cheap having a wife with expensive tastes HA!” He said. 

 

He shrugged “Why not both? Unless you can think of anybody else...” He replied. Ser Wylis might have been a choice if it wasn’t for the humbling he’d received a few days ago. Dacey was also another good shout but she’d already said she would rather watch instead. 

 

Greatjon reached over from his horse and clapped him on the back “I think we might have our team my friend.” 

 

“What's this?” He heard Lord Stark say as he trotted his horse next to Lord Umber’s. He mentally sighed. 

 

Greatjon sat up in his saddle when he saw the Lord of Winterfell “Lord Stark, me and your lad here were just deciding who was gonna be on the melee team.” He said. 

 

That seemed to perk the warden of the north up “Oh aye? Who’ve you decided on then?” He asked. 

 

“Well, there's me obviously...” Lord Umber said as he grinned at his liege lord chuckled “...and then there’s our secret weapon here.” He said as he patted him on the back. He turned and smirked at the man but noticed behind him that Lord Stark’s smile dropped slightly. 

 

Now what?  

 

“I didn’t think you’d be that interested Jon?” Lord Stark said as Greatjon turned around. 

 

“Are you kidding Ned? Your lad’s our ticket to victory. There was no way I was letting him avoid this after seeing what he could do HA!” He said “Coupled with Ser Rodrik and Ser Jorah, I think we have a genuine shot. I've already spent my purse in my head HA!” Lord Umber finished as he clapped his uncle on the back, nearly knocking him off the horse in the process. 

 

Lord Stark smiled back at Greatjon but it seemed a bit false in his eyes “Aren't the Crown fielding the Kingsguard?” He asked. 

 

“Ah piss on that! We’ll sort those tin pot knights out good and proper! They won't be able to deal with the northern storm coming their way HA!” Greatjon bellowed out. He looked at Jon with a smirk “Some might say a snowstorm is coming their way.” The giant lord japed. 

 

He rolled his eyes but grinned at the older man’s jokes. 

 

He turned his head when he heard the galloping of a horse, two horses in fact. Ser Edmure and Ser Brynden approached Lord Stark’s side, not without the younger of the two shooting a glare his way. 

 

Carry on, little man. He thought to himself. He’d done nothing but glare at him ever since they’d joined the retinue. He would have no problem showing Ser Edmure up in the melee if the two of them ever met in it, and with how much of a hard on the man seemed to have for him, he reckoned the chances of that happening were rather high. 

 

“Lord Stark.” Ser Bryden spoke up as they trotted side by side with him “This is where we go our separate ways my lord. The Riverlands camp has already been established and we must see to our own people.” The Blackfish explained. 

 

Ned nodded to the two men “Of course my lord, I imagine we’ll see each other again soon. Edmure.” Lord Stark said as he clapped Ser Brynden on the back and nodded to his brother-in-law. With one last glare from the both of them, the two Tullys galloped off supposedly in the direction of their camp. 

 

“They don’t keep their dislike of you very hidden do they lad HA!” Greatjon said when the two men were out of listening distance. 

 

He shrugged his shoulders “Eh, its whatever. Take a bit more than two fishy little idiots to get to me.” He said. Greatjon laughed at that. 

 

“Jon.” Lord Stark seemed to say in a warning tone. 

 

“Hmm?” He replied as they trotted towards their designated area to set up camp, a lush green field just on the bank of the God’s Eye. In the distance he could see a large camp, a couple of Tully banners indicating that it was the Riverlands camp. 

 

He turned in his saddle and noticed Lord Stark was just looking at him, he quirked his eyebrow and the man just shook his head and sighed. 

 

Greatjon made him jump when he bellowed out after they finally stopped “RIGHT YOU SORRY LOT! LET’S GET THIS CAMP SET UP SO I CAN GET PISSED HAHA!” 

 

Everyone seemed to move a little faster after that, moving to erect the tents that were needed for everyone, people laughing and japing whilst getting on with their jobs. 

 

There was a feel good atmosphere within the northern camp. 

 

He took one last look at Lord Stark before moving into the camp to set his own tent up, Ghost darting past everyone with his tongue hanging out, clearly in a playful mood again. 

 

This tourney had the potential to be very messy, in more ways than one. He thought amusingly as he approached the spot that Ghost had clearly chosen for him to set his tent


 

Chapter Text


 

Rhaella 

She slid the curtain of their carriage away from the small window and peeped outside, Harrenhal loomed over them all. A place that held mixed memories for many people, hopefully the tournament would help bring some more happy memories to the people of Westeros. She looked across to her daughter who was looking through her own window, Rhaenys peeping over her shoulder. 

 

“They really did do a good job didn’t they.” Daenerys said as she looked towards the newly renovated castle. 

 

Her daughter was right with her evaluation, Rhaegar and his team of advisors had done a fine job restoring the castle. It had been downsized a little from its completely absurd size but still held a grandeur appearance from the outside at least. The black charred stone that made up the remains of the old castle had been replaced with white stone, the surrounding areas cleaned up to a degree, the grey smog that seemed to be a staple in the area around the castle all but gone. 

 

“The perfect place to hold this celebration if you ask me. Held at Harrenhal, the renovated castle and the same castle that our ancestor burnt to cinders.” She mused. 

 

Her granddaughter turned to her and smirked “Seems ironic doesn’t it.” Rhaenys japed. She hummed in response, ironic indeed. 

 

“I wonder what it was like?” Daenerys seemed to say to herself as the carriage got closer and closer to the castle. 

 

Elia turned to her “What what was like Dany?” The Queen asked as she held little Alysanne on her knee. The little princess seemed to be in a world of her own playing with the jewellery on her grandmother’s hand. 

 

Dany shrugged “Just dragons in general.” She said. 

 

It was no secret to anybody that her daughter always had a love for the symbol of their family, the stories of dragons were always her favourite when she was growing up, that love had followed her into her teens and could be seen in some of the jewellery she wore, even today. 

 

The carriage was quiet as they made their way into the courtyard of the castle, due to the recent renovation everything seemed so clean. Their whole retinue stopped as they finally entered the yard. They were welcomed by Lady Shella Whent, Ser Oswell’s sister and her children and were quickly shown to their rooms to get settled in. They walked through the corridors of the new castle, taking in their surroundings, banners of house Whent and house Targaryen lined the walls of their new home for the next few weeks. 

 

The King and her son, Rhaegar turned to her as they approached the wing of the castle they’d be staying in “Lady Whent informed me that the lords of the North, the Riverlands and the Crownlands are already here. The Vale retinue have been spotted a few miles away so they should be here very soon.” 

 

She nodded as they entered the guest wing “And the rest?” She asked. 

 

“Lord Tywin and the Westerland lords should be here by the end of the day. The Stormlands, The Reach and Dorne should be here by tomorrow or the day after at the latest if the scouts are accurate. Nobody knows when or even if the Iron Islands will be attending, we never received a reply from Lord Balon.” Her son explained. 

 

“Is that something we should be worrying about?” She asked. Silence from the Iron Islands was always a concern. 

 

“Lord Paxter has his fleet on standby just in case, Varys sent the raven to Lord Redwyne before we left the capital.” Rhaegar explained. 

 

She nodded “Good.” She answered. The realm was at peace at the moment but you could never be too careful, especially with the ironborn involved. 

 

Her son chuckled and smiled at her “See, I do listen when you tell me things mother.”  

 

That he did. She remembers the day very vividly when her boy told her that she was his mother and his father, the only one who taught him how to rule, how to be good, how to be remembered for better reasons than the last king. Everything she told him he seemed to absorb, his sister was exactly the same. 

 

Viserys was unfortunately different in that aspect, there was no getting through to him however hard she tried and he would always think he knew best. 

 

She looked across towards her youngest son, he always walked around with an air of superiority, his chin raised high. She didn't miss the side long glances he gave to his siblings, what to make of them she didn’t know. 

 

Nobody knew what went through his mind sometimes.  

 


 

They settled in rather quickly, all given the best rooms in the castle to call home for the next few weeks. Half an hour into settling in, Ser Arthur was knocking on her door and announcing that the Northern lords were here to meet with the Royal family. Meeting with all the lords that would be attending the tournament was a crucial duty for their family, good relations with their lords was paramount however tedious it was meeting them all. 

 

The first of the lords they’d be meeting were the northern ones, Lord Eddard Stark, his family and the rest of his bannermen were being ushered into the great hall of Harrenhal at the moment. The northern lords, the same as her family, were impressed with the rebuild of the castle as they looked around, a short brunette girl at the front was especially impressed, even the word ‘wow’ was heard from where she was stood. 

 

She internally smiled at her youthful  innocence . 

 

The girl was later revealed as Lord Stark’s youngest daughter, along with the rest of his children. His eldest was currently running Winterfell in his absence and his baseborn son was back at the northern camp and deemed inappropriate for this sort of thing according to Lady Stark. 

 

Charming. 

 

She couldn’t blame the woman for how she was like though, a bastard child could cause many problems, especially in marriage. If Lord Stark’s face was anything to go by, it had done just that. His bastard was clearly a sore point based on his reaction at the mention of the boy. The man almost looked terrified at the mention of this, Jon Snow. 

 

“Maybe we’ll see him in one of the events during the next few weeks.” Rhaegar replied, more in politeness than anything. 

 

That reply was received with a snort from the giant of a man known as Lord Umber, he did a poor job at covering up his slip up with a cough. 

 

“Something amusing Lord Umber?” Her son asked as he caught the slip up himself. Lord Stark looked particularly on edge now. 

 

Lord Umber cleared his throat and grinned “Not at all your grace. We look forward to seeing how your white knights fare against us northern brutes HA!” He explained. It would seem that the man was a bit of a character. 

 

Rhaegar smiled back but she could see it was to cover up her son’s intrigue “Oh? I wasn’t aware it would be much of a competition between the two.” Her son light heartedly replied with his own smirk. 

 

Lord Umber laughed at that, a great bellowing thing that made a few of them jump, she even caught Ser Loras unsheathing steel in reaction until he realised what had happened and sheathed his sword back in its scabbard. 

 

“Strong words your grace, but I wouldn't be overly confident just yet.” Lord Umber grinned. 

 

Now her son looked very intrigued “Oh, and why is that Lord Umber? Do you plan on summoning a giant straight from the banners of house Umber itself to compete?” Rhaegar japed, a few people chuckled, mainly the members of the Kingsguard spread a