Disclaimer: I don't own ASoIaF/GoT. This was inspired by the series "Acquaint the Flesh" by Author376 on Ao3, influenced by fairytalelovr's Winter Roses also on Ao3 as well as several stories with a powerful North.
BTW, this is not for Tully fans (save the Blackfish. I like Brynden, but I loathe the rest of them. Edmure is an idiot, Hoster is a hypocrite pretty much the same as Walder Frey, Lysa is insane and Catelyn is just slightly better than Cersei if you ask me. If she hadn't been so stupid, the War of the Five Kings would've turned out so much better for her children.) So yeah, I have no sympathy or liking for the woman who admitted to praying for a child to die.
Anyway, so far I plan for this story to start with Alys aged 14 in 297, then there'll be a sequel with a timeskip to 300 AC, which is when the canon series events will start for my story.
Don't bother sending reviews saying 'this is wrong' "that didn't happen" etc. My story and AU for a reason. That being said, enjoy!
List of Historical Soulmates:
These are not ALL the soulmates in Westerosi history, but they're the ones that are significant:
Garth Greenhand and Eilbhe the Fair: First King and Queen of the First Men, led the First Men across the Arm of Dorne.
Brandon of the Bloody Blade and Elayne the Archer: Drove the giants from the Reach and slaughtered so many Children of the Forest at the Blue Lake that it was renamed the Red Lake.
Brandon the Builder and Oak, Daughter of the Forest: Built the Wall and several other places. Founded House Stark
Durran Godsgrief and Elenei: First of the Storm King and Queens. Built Storm's End.
Brandon "the Breaker" Stark and Aida of the True North: Defeated the Night King and then brought the Free Folk (save for the Thenns) into the protection of the Starks by the Marked union of Brandon and King-Beyond-the-Wall Joramun's daughter.
Mors Martell and Princess Nymeria: Led the Rhoynish into Dorne and united it. Founded House Nymeros Martell.
Theon "the Hungry Wolf" Stark and Yara Greystark: Completed the Northern Kingdom's expansion by driving off the Andals, and conquering the Three Sisters.
Loreon Lannister and Alysanne Reyne: First true King and Queen of the Rock according to historical record. Defeated Morgon Banefort and his vassals after a twenty-year-long war.
Torrhen Stark and Visenya Targaryen: Brought the Winter Lands (consists of the North-behind and beyond the Wall, itself, Skagos and the Three Sisters-never lost to the Vale) into the 'Seven Kingdoms'.
Daeron "the Good" Targaryen II and Myriah Martell: Peacefully brought Dorne into the Seven Kingdoms through their marriage.
Oberyn Nymeros Martell and Alyssa Stark (formerly Snow): ?
(The Starks have had more soulmates in their history than any other families.)
- 1. The North is a lot more powerful in this story than in canon. The Free Folk (different to the wildlings) and the Three Sisters are both vassals to the Stark of Winterfell.
- 2. The Magnar of the Winter Lands is the equivalent to a Prince and has more power than anybody save the King. They are only required to bow to the King, not kneel. There was almost no change in the lives of the Winter Landers after the Conquest and the North is the only place that the Targaryens never managed (even temporarily) to defeat.
- 3. The population is also a lot bigger now, and they have a standing army. Due to the North having expanded its territory beyond the Wall, they retain their magic and are aware of the wight/White Walker threat. Southrons don't take it seriously, however, so the North has given up on convincing them and concentrates on ensuring that the Night's Watch is filled with men and backed up by the Army.-Dragonglass is very valuable in the North, and they have several teams dedicated to tracking down any trace of it and mining it. They also have a mining agreement with Dragonstone for it.
- 4. The North expects its women to be capable of self-defence, but they still must submit to their fathers, husbands, brothers, etc.
- 5. The First Men still have magic, and follow the traditions of their ancestors, sacrificing criminals to the weirwoods, etc. The Old Gods are more prominent in this world.
- 6. 'Burner' a derogatory term for the Andals used by the First Men.
- 7. Green Men are common and highly revered by the First Men. Greenseers are also more common, and act similar to Septons or Septas, in that they preach the tenets of the Old Faith. All followers of the Old Faith put great stock in the words of the greenseers, and revere them highly. It's a great honour to be offered the chance to become one of them. Howland Reed is the current High Greenseer.
- 8. Elders are the people responsible for teaching the children of the North about their history, traditions, reading and writing, etc. They can be men or women. There is one in every village and keep. Old Nan is Winterfell's Elder.
- 9. The population is much larger here, so the Watch is stronger. All castles are manned. Any criminals sent north by the Southrons often 'disappear' on rangings very quickly, depending on their crimes.
- 10. The Starks (save their bastards who are lords/ladies) are all addressed as Magnar(a) the Old Tongue equivalent to Prince(ss). No Andal is legally allowed to hold the title.
- 11. In 1557 BC, King Artos XVII 'the Scholar Wolf' Stark set up the University of Winterfell. He believed the education was vital for everyone, no matter their rank or gender, and made a law that every child attend a school from the age of five to ten (one for boys and a separate one for girls) where they are taught the basics of reading and writing as well as history and Northern traditions and stories by Elders, and everything else by Scholars, the Winter Lands' equivalent to a Maester. After finishing at the school, the students can apply to go to the University and study there as an Apprentice Scholar. If they cannot afford the fee, they can use the Courts to appeal to the Starks to fund their apprenticeship. They have to work off the loan and keep their work to a certain standard, however. If they cannot do so, they will no longer be funded, and still have to pay off their debts. The Maesters and their Citadel are sometimes accused of stealing the idea for their organization from the Scholars of the University.
- 12. Torrhen Stark was the first king to agree to bend the knee to his good brother (he married Visenya several years prior to the Conquest, and already had three children with her by the time it began) but only under certain conditions. Mostly they were ways to protect the North's culture and religion and such. The Master of Winter was another one. Basically, the Master of Winter is the Winter Lands' ambassador to King's Landing. They are a part of the Small Council, representing the Winter Lords and focusing on ensuring the North remained prosperous, while also keeping the Starks updated on current goings on at the capital and how it might affect the Winter Lands. Usually, they are a relative of the Starks, and they're always very loyal to the Starks (like most of the North/3 Sisters)
- 13. Houses in the North bear the title of 'Ancient' (for any older than 400 years) and/or 'Honourable'/'Most Honourable' (awarded and stripped by the Courts depending on the House's deeds. Most Ancient is older than 1000 years.
- The Army has several different sections:
The Warg Warriors: this is the second most elite part of the Army. There are a thousand of them, and their base is on the coast of Skagos. They are all wargs, taken from their families at age five and raised to be utterly loyal to the Starks. Each is devoted to their duty. It's a mixed gender unit, the only one in the North. Every child in the Winter Lands is tested on their fifth nameday, regardless of gender or birth and it's considered the greatest honour one can receive to be chosen for the unit. While marriage and families aren't forbidden to the members of the Warriors, they are not common, as the Warriors consider it a hinderance to their duty.
The Ice Guard: this is the law enforcement of the Winter Lands. They ensure that no crime is committed and hunt down any outlaws or brigands. If they discover a criminal, they try them (as required by King Rickard XVI, who made a law ordering that all people be tried and found guilty before being executed.) and then, should the criminal be sentenced to death, they are sacrificed to the weirwoods according to First Men law. The Ice Guard also oversees any criminals sentenced to hard labour, ensuring they don't escape. Many landless second or third, so on, sons join this unit to be able to support their families.
The Twilight Troopers: the Twilight Troopers are the most elite part of the Army, selected from among the Warg Warriors' best recruits. They are a force dedicated to both reinforcing the Night's Watch, defending the settlements beyond the Wall and fighting the wights. All are armed with dragonglass weapons, all are able to warg into at least three animals and are hardened warriors. They are nearly undefeatable. Only White Walkers can defeat them, and they always put up a fierce fight.
The Army of the North: this is the main part of the Northern Army. In 595 BC, King Artos Stark XIX decided to figure out a way to increase the population of the Winter Lands, seeing as there was so much land unused. He then made a law stating that any family with more than five children would be eligible for a decrease in the amount of taxes they had to pay, the amount lessening a bit more for each child, though there remained a minimum. This caused a huge baby boom. The consequences of this was the need to find a way to employ everyone. Artos' son, Edric VII, came up with the idea of having a standing army. They would be trained and kept ready to defend against any attacks, unlike the disorganized and untrained smallfolk levies of the other kingdoms. People flocked to the army, and their constant training has made them the greatest army in Westeros. It can field around 130,000 men altogether, slightly more than the Reach.
The Navy of the North: Although Brandon the Burner foolishly destroyed the entire Northern fleet in grief after his father's disappearance at sea, his son was not so short-sighted. Knowing that their lands would be vulnerable without a sea force, King Rickon restored the fleet, naming his second son Benjen as its' Admiral. Benjen took the name of 'Spraystark' and married Asha Karstark, the daughter of some of House Stark's most loyal vassals, becoming the founder of House Spraystark, which has always been involved in the Navy, along with House Starstark, founded by Elayne Stark after her father King Jonos legitimised her son Rickon Snow, borne to a pirate.
- The Courts: these are inspired by the Cortes of Aragon during the Medieval Age. They are summoned every quarter year, and are filled with representatives of each village in the Winter Lands, as well as the nobles. It gives a chance for any grievances to be aired before the Magnar of the North, and the Magnar is bound by oath to listen and heed it. If a noble is abusing his smallfolk, for example, then if proof is presented before the Courts, the Magnar must punish them. The Courts also have to be summoned for the creation of any new houses.
- House Manderly: Although they were followers of the Seven when they fled North and were allowed to continue in that Faith by the Kings of the North so long as they didn't attempt to convert anybody, after several generations the family converted to the Old Gods. This is mainly due to the fact that evidence of the Old Gods is active in the North especially, but the Seven had never responded to their prayers. After the deaths of Willem Manderly's wife and two of his children in 383 BC, he converted to the Old Gods, blaming the Seven for not saving his family.
- Houses in the North bear the title of 'Ancient' (for any older than 400 years) and/or 'Honourable' (awarded and stripped by the Courts depending on the House's deeds.
Ned: I love Ned, but he made some stupid decisions, so I will be making him more sensible and less rigidly honourable. Although Ned is still honourable, he is not as rigid as in the show/books. After all, the Starks couldn't have kept hold of their power as long as they did if they were that honourable. These Starks have a ruthless streak, but they're dedicated to their duty. He spent less time fostering in the Vale here (two years, and he was twelve instead of eight when he went), so he is less inclined to accept Southron ideals. For example, he realized how stupid it would be to have a Sept in the heart of the Old Faith. He also protested Robert and Lyanna's betrothal, as he realized how ill-suited they were. He and Catelyn never fell in love, and Rickon, while he will exist, is not their son. They had Robb, Sansa, Arya and Bran as well as two miscarriages (medieval times, nobody got away without at least one tragedy in childbed). This will also have effects on Catelyn. Because Ned wasn't fostered so long in the Vale, he and Robert aren't as close, and Robert cares more about Ned than Ned does Robert.
Catelyn: Although Catelyn is married to the Magnar of the North, she is addressed as 'Lady Stark', not Magnara Stark, a blatant insult by the Northerners. This is because she married Ned in the Light of the Seven, and the North still holds a grudge against the Andals. The Children of the Forest are seen in the North a fair amount, and they keep the memories of the Andals' burnings and hangings that drove the First Men north alive. As such, the North refused to consider her their liege lady, and have many doubts about the legitimacy of her and Ned's marriage. She hates this, considering it a humiliation.
She doesn't have the same comfort of her faith, as Ned wouldn't build her a Sept, and Ned and she have a tense relationship. She was very cruel to Alys, in a way that we can only see as abuse, as was Septa Mordane. The Northern people also resent how she refused to preform various duties of a Northern lady she considered beneath her, such as personally overseeing the household, instead only dealing with the housekeeper and steward.
Robb: Robb's position as Heir to the North is unstable here, because of his mother attempting to preach the teachings of the Seven to her children and his colouring. However, because they are all loyal to the Starks, the Northerners accept him so long as he doesn't act like a Southron. Robb has to go to great lengths to prove himself, however. This led to a two year-long fostering with House Karstark, and he was never friends with Theon. Especially because of how close Robb and Alys are, and Theon frequently insulting her bastard status and making inappropriate comments towards her.
Robb is very protective of his sisters, especially Alys. She is essentially his twin, and he vividly remembers how ill she was as a child. That protective love for his sister, combined with his knowledge and resentment of how difficult Catelyn makes things, has given him a resentment bordering on hatred for Catelyn, and he blames her for pretty much anything that goes wrong. More than once he's said that should Catelyn still be at Winterfell when he becomes its Lord, he will send her to become a Septa.
Sansa: Sansa is still Sansa, but sweeter and she will grow up quickly. Sansa is also much closer to her siblings in this. As they were both girls, Alys and Sansa spent much more time together, and they became quite close. Sansa and Arya at first seemed as if they would have a very antagonistic relationship, but Alys intervened to prevent it. Sansa also holds a great deal of resentment towards the Seven that claim her adored older sister is a mistake and a blight on House Stark. She hides this from Catelyn, however, as she is closer to her mother than her siblings are.
Arya: Arya idolizes her eldest sister. Alys is perfect in Arya's eyes, so whatever Alys does, Arya wants to do as well. This means that Arya is more agreeable to acting like a lady, so long as Alys is the one asking her to.
Out of all the Starks Arya has the worst relationship with Catelyn. Catelyn tried desperately to turn her children against their sister, and Arya was the most angered by this. She later learned that Catelyn had taken her frustration out on Alys, which increased her anger.
Although she is more ladylike, Arya is still Arya, however, and she doesn't like acting like a lady, she just likes copying her sister. If Catelyn tries to get her to do something, however, she's inclined to do the opposite just to spite her.
Bran: Bran was recognized as a future greenseer early on, and he began his apprenticeship under Old Nan, a High Greenseer at five. He is dreamy and distant, often lost in his own head. He also has a strained relationship with Catelyn, who hates that her son is so against the 'true' gods, instead worshipping the Old Gods fervently. His best friend is Jojen Reed, who is training beside him to be a greenseer, and he is due to foster with the Reeds for a period of two years once he turns ten. Ned is also planning for a marriage between Bran and Meera Reed.
Alyssa: Alys is a sweet, soft-spoken girl with a core of steel. She loves her family fiercely, and hates the thought of being a 'taint' on her father's honour, as her stepmother and the Septa called her. Initially quiet but happy, when her father left for the Greyjoy Rebellion, Catelyn's abuse turned open and vicious. The result was that Alys drew into herself and became very introverted, only coming out of her shell when in private with her family and their trusted guards. Her father and siblings' reassurances and love helped, but she never quite recovered. She was traumatized by an Incident when she was twelve. She also suffers from guilt at the belief that she was the reason her father was unhappy in his marriage. She adores Ned. She enjoys artistic pursuits, horse riding and swordplay. She also enjoys learning things, and is a good balance of ladylike and independent. She is also very pious, and harbours an unacknowledged hatred of the Faith of the Seven due to Septa Mordane and Lady Catelyn.
In this, I have Lyanna being kidnapped and forced into marriage by Rhaegar. He wasn't malicious, but he was desperate, obsessed with and terrified of the prophecy not being fulfilled. Lyanna had refused his advances in this verse, as she wasn't as desperate as in GoT because all of her brothers were against her betrothal to Robert so Rickard was hesitating and hadn't fully committed to it yet, though Robert claimed they were betrothed. Gerold Hightower and Oswell Whent helped kidnap her and they forced her into marrying him, but Rhaegar didn't tell Arthur because Ashara was already betrothed to Ned. Arthur later died defending Queen Rhaella and her children at Dragonstone.
Ashara was betrothed to Ned when Brandon Stark arrived at King's Landing, and she was arrested on suspicion of treason. She was executed with her would-have-been goodfamily.
Obviously, I'm going to be using Before Conquest and After Conquest for the years and the seasons will be however long, but for the sake of keeping everything straight in my head, I'll be using January, February, March, etc. as months.
Tourney at Harrenhal: 3-13 April 281 AC
Disappearance of Lyanna Stark: 13 January AC
Deaths of Brandon and Rickard Stark and Ashara Dayne: 31 March 282 AC
Rebellion declared: 4 April 282 AC
Battle of Gulltown:26 April 282 AC
Marriage of Eddard Stark and Catelyn Tully/Jon Arryn and Lysa Tully:12 June 282 AC
Battles of Summerhall:15 May 282 AC
Battle of Ashford: 26 July 282 AC
Battle of the Bells: 4 September 282 AC
Battle of the Green Fork River: 12 December 282 AC (this is a battle that belongs entirely to this verse, and is where Ned earned the moniker of 'the Stalking Wolf'
Battle of the Trident: 15 January 283 AC
Birth of Robb Stark: 3 March 283 AC
Sack of King's Landing: 23 March 283 AC
End of the Siege of Storm's End: 20 April 283 AC
Battle of the Tower of Joy/Birth of Queen Alyssa Targaryen: 1 July 283 AC
Birth of Sansa Stark: 12 May 286 AC
Birth of Arya Stark: 2 January 289 AC
Greyjoy Rebellion:289 AC
Birth of Brandon Stark:1 November 290 AC
Marking of Alyssa Snow and Prince Oberyn Martell: 20 June 297
So, a reviewer on ff.net asked about this:
Torrhen and Visenya were Marked shortly before Aegon began his Conquest. Because of this, as well as several predictions by the greenseers, Torrhen decided to pledge allegiance to Aegon, under several conditions. The result was that, while the North was officially subservient to the Iron Throne, their lives stayed the same and the Starks were considered the most high-ranking vassals of the Iron Throne. The Northern Army helped Aegon in his conquest, allowing it to happen quicker. The Northern Library had information on Storm's End's defences from Bran the Builder, for example.
There was no Maegor the Cruel. Aegon the Uncrowned (Aegon the Second in this verse) succeeded Aenys Targaryen. He died fighting the Faith Militant and his nine-year-old brother Jaehaerys succeeded him (Viserys died before his elder brother, also killed by the Faith). Dowager Queen Alyssa Velaryon ruled as Regent for Jaehaerys until he turned sixteen, and put down the Faith Uprising with the help of the North. Jaehaerys earned the title of 'the Conciliator' by reconciling with the Faith after taking full control of the kingdom.
There was also no Pact of Ice and Fire in this world, as the Targaryens had already married into the Starks. (The Starks have a hint of Valyrian features, but not much. Their faces aren't as long, they sometimes have purple tints in their eyes and the girls tend to have more delicate features.)
As for Cregan Stark and the Hour of the Wolf/the Dance of Dragons, in case anybody is wondering: the Starks mobilized quickly when Rhaenrya called them, due to having a standing army ready to march 24/7. They fought for her and killed her younger half-brother Aegon, allowing her to become Queen in her own right and ending the Dance much earlier. However, Aegon's mother Alicent was enraged, and she assassinated Rhaenyra and her son Joffery at a parley where she and her supporters were supposed to be surrendering to the Queen.
She was succeeded by her eldest son, Jacaerys Velaryon, who changed his name to Targaryen on accession, and his wife Sara Stark (born Snow and legitimized by Queen Rhaenyra out of gratitude to the Starks for their aid in the war. They died heirless, however, and his brother Aegon became Aegon III. He was never Aegon the Dragonbane though, and the dragons hung on until the last was killed during the Second Blackfyre Rebellion.
* Credit for the Honourable and Ancient thing goes to J. K. Rowling. I added an explanation to the North part of this.
List of OC Northern Houses:
Honourable House of Starstark: Lord: Mikken Starstark, Admiral of the North's Western Fleet, age 34
Lady: Sybelle Starstark née Icewolf age 19 (second wife, married her after his previous wife died in the third of a series of stillbirths)
Heir: Rodrik Starstark, age 3
Others: Mikken's mother, Alysanne, age 61
Sigil-a white direwolf with stars on a midnight blue background
Words- We follow the Diamonds of the Sky.
Specializes in seafaring, along with the Seastarks, with whom they have a rivalry that alternates between being friendly and vicious. Their keep, Wolf's Way, is a Harbour city on the coast of the Stony Shore.
Lystark (newest cadet house): Lord: Benjen Lystark, younger brother of Magnar Eddard Stark. Warden of the Neck, received Moat Cailin as his seat after its' previous Lord Rickard Wolfguard died heirless in the Rebellion. Age 30
Lady: Dacey Lystark née Mormont, age 32
Heir: Rickard Lystark, age 4
Others: Lyarra Lystark, age 18 moons
Sigil-A grey wolf's head surrounded by winter roses on a black background.
Words-We Will Remember.
Their keep is Moat Cailin.
Honourable House of Seastark:Lord: Brandon Seastark, Admiral of the North's Eastern fleet. Age 57
Lady: Meriah Seastark née Royce. Age 52 (had 10 miscarriages/stillbirths out of 13 pregnancies, very fragile woman)
Heir: Rodrik Seastark. Age 32
Others: Yohn Seastark of the Ice Guard, age 27. Maege Seastark, age 18
Sigil-a ship with a wolf's head on the prow, on a sea-coloured background.
Words-We Rule the Waves.
Specializes in Sailing. Has a rivalry with House Starstark. Their keep, Sailor's Cove, is a Harbour city near Widow's Watch.
The Ancient and Honourable House of Whitewolf: Lord: Torrhen Whitewolf, age 39
Lady: Lysana Whitewolf née Seastark, age 30
Heir: Markus Whitewolf, age 17
Other: Serena Whitewolf, age 15
Sigil- a white wolf on a black background with gold edging.
Words- We Remember
Descended from Brandon Snow, brother to Torrhen Stark. They were entrusted with the method of creating glasshouses by the Last King of Winter, and as such are the richest House (save for the Starks themselves) in the North. Their keep, 'The White Wolf's Den' is midway through Moat Cailin and White Harbour.
The Ancient and Honourable House of Icewolf:Lord: Alyssa Icewolf, age 68
Heir: her legitimized bastard grandson, Brandon, age 12
Sigil-A sword of ice gripped in the teeth of a grey wolf with a black background
Words-First to Charge, Last to Retreat
Their keep is called 'The Sword's Sheath' and based on the Bay of Ice
The Ancient House of Greystark:Lord: Rodrik Greystark, age 49
Lady: His wife and second cousin, Emelia Greystark, age 33
Heir: Eddard Greystark, age 16
Sigil-a white direwolf on a dark grey background (reversed Stark colours)
Words-We Repent (formerly, Ever Loyal)
The Greystarks once rose in rebellion during the era of the Kings of Winter. They were put down brutally, with only the baby heir spared. He was raised by the Mormonts, the Starks' most loyal bannermen, who frequently reminded him of how gracious the Starks had been not to kill him too. Ever since, the Greystarks have raised their children to be utterly fanatical about protecting the Starks. They have been offered to have their title of 'the Honourable House of Greystark' restored by the Courts, who believe they have long redeemed their ancestors' actions, but they refuse. They are the first to attack in battle, and often have to be ordered to fall back by the Starks. Their keep used to be Wolf's Den (now White Harbour) but it was stripped after their rebellion. Their current keep is the Grey's Haven, between the Stony Shore and Sea Dragon's point.