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The Star of the North

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The North:

*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.

*The population is 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.

*The North expects its women to be capable of self-defence, but they still must submit to their fathers, husbands, brothers, etc.

*Certain Houses are matrilineal-e.g. House StarStark. These are called shield-maiden houses. They produce warrior women and the Ladies of the House typically marry second or third sons. In these cases, the husband cannot overrule his wife in matters relating to their House, and the children are all given the mother's surname.

*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.

*'Burner' a derogatory term for the Andals used by the First Men. The First Men's devotion to their gods borders on fanaticism, as their gods are active and it strengthens their faith. They see themselves as the 'last bastion of defenders' for the Old Gods.

*The faith and culture of the First Men is based heavily on the Ancient Celtic/Viking ones and a lot of their myths in this mostly come from Ancient Ireland.

*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. Every Northern child is tested for the ability. Howland Reed is the current High Greenseer.

*The First Men allow both homosexual and polygamous marriages.

*The North does not believe that bastardy is shameful, at least not for the child. The shame is on the parent if they break vows of fidelity, or if they do not support their child. Most Northern bastards are born before their parents were married to another, or after the parent was widowed.

*The North prefers for women or bastards to become heads of Houses over the Houses going extinct.

*Elders are the people responsible for teaching the children of the North about their history, traditions, etc. They can be men or women. There is one in every village and keep. Old Nan was Winterfell's Elder.

*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.

*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 Winterlands' 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 Conclave 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.

*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.)

*Life in the Winterlands centres around the tenet that 'the lone wolf dies but the pack survives'. Everyone works hand-in-hand, regardless of rank or feuds, to keep their kingdom strong. It is tradition in the North that every noble child goes to foster at Winterfell for half the year, every year, so as to foster bonds whilst still keeping close to their family. They call themselves the Wolf Pack, and the heir(ess) of the Starks is the Alpha.

*In the Winterlands (The North, Hardhome-Stark territory beyond the Wall, Skagos, Bear Island and the Three Sisters.) betrothals can only be made official after a lady turns fifteen, and she must be sixteen to marry, as Northern girls tend to flower very young.


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 Winterlands 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 Winterlands. 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 (the North doesn't send criminals to the Wall). 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 Edric Stark XX decided to figure out a way to increase the population of the Winterlands, 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. Edric's son, Edric XXI, 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. However, it is not undefeatable, and they are careful not to become arrogant.

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, becoming the founder of House Spraystark, which ever since has always been involved in the Navy, along with House Starstark, founded by Princess Alayne Stark (it was the first ever matrilineal house, of which there are six).

The Conclave: 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 Winterlands, as well as the nobles. It gives a chance for any grievances to be aired before the Warden of the North, and Lord/Lady Stark 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 Conclaves, the Stark must punish them. The Conclave also have to be summoned for the creation of any new houses. They award and strip the title of 'Honourable House', 'Ancient House', etc. If a Lord/Lady Stark is abusing their power, the Conclave has the power (with a unaminous vote) to force them to abdicate in favour of a more worthy Stark.


House Stark:

{Lord Eddard Stark}- Middle son and second child of Lord Rickard and Lady Lyarra Stark. Inherited his lands unexpectedly after the deaths of his father and brother, whilst his wife Ashara was pregnant with their first child. Executed along with his direwolf Laochra for treason after Queen Cersei discovered that he knew of her adultery and had him and his family framed.

{Ashara Stark née Dayne}- Eldest daughter of Lord Edric Dayne and his wife, Lady Alayne Starstark, second daughter of the late Lady Elissa Starstark. She married Eddard just a month prior to the Harrenhal tourney. Grief over the death of her elder brother Lord Alaric Dayne at the Battle of the Trident sent her into early labour, resulting in the birth of her eldest child, Alarra, named in honour of both her uncle and many greats-aunt, the first Alarra Stark. A strong, beautiful woman, dubbed 'The Star of the North' in her younger years, Ashara was an excellent Lady of Winterfell, a loving wife and adoring and protective mother. She raised her goodbrother's bastard as though she had birthed him. She had seven pregnancies, but only four of her children lived past their first namedays, and Bran was born with damaged legs, unable to walk. She was killed when Theon Greyjoy and Gerold Dayne attacked and ransacked Winterfell.

Alarra Stark- The eldest (and only known) surviving child of Lord Eddard and Lady Ashara Stark. Alarra inherited her father's introverted personality, but has her mother's beauty. She was raised to be the future Wardenness of the North, and has a deeply ingrained sense of responsibility towards her people. The grief of her family's death weighs heavily on her, and she blames herself for everything. The abuse she has suffered since being taken captive by the Lannisters has made her wary of Southrons and fearful of men. Her direwolf is Taibhse, however Larra was forced to send the wolf along with her siblings away when Cersei called for their heads.

Robb Snow- The bastard son of Brandon Stark and (secretly) Lady Catelyn Baratheon née Tully. Lady Catelyn and her family didn't want the shame of having a bastard, but Ned discovered her pregnancy whilst at Riverrun and stopped her taking moon tea, insisting that the babe be given to him to raise and swearing not to speak her name in connection to him. Robb was treated like Ned and Ashara's son, and was always fiercely protective of and loyal to his family. He was particularly close to Larra. When Ned went North to become Hand, he went with them. When the Tower of the Hand was attacked, Arthur gave Robb and Arya Dawn and Ice and told them to flee. They are currently hiding out in the Riverlands, trying to figure out a way to return to King's Landing and save Larra. His direwolf was Morning, and he was sent away with the others when Cersei wanted their heads, however they reunited with them when they got to the Riverlands.

Arya Stark- The secondborn (living) child and daughter of Lord and Lady Stark, Arya was wild and stubborn from the start, with a fierce and unabating love for her family. She was indulged in her wildness by her family, who were too relieved that she was so healthy to be genuinely upset with her antics. She is consumed with revenge against the Lannisters for killing her father and uncle, and only Robb restrains her from going right up to the Red Keep and trying to murder them all. She also wants to kill the Greyjoys and Gerold for sacking Winterfell. Her direwolf is Nymeria, whom she was reunited with upon returning to the Riverlands.

Brandon 'Bran' Stark- The thirdborn and only living (biological) son of the Starks. Bran was born unable to walk due to damaged legs, but he remained an optimistic and clever child anyway. He had his mother's colouring but otherwise favoured the Starks (including the grey eyes). He dreamed of becoming a maester at the Citadel, then learning a way to fix his own legs whilst serving at Winterfell. Larra, who felt that she was 'stealing' his rightful inheritance, often spoiled him with affection and little gifts to try and make up for it. He was killed with his mother and younger sister when Winterfell was sacked. His direwolf, Winter, was killed at the same time.

Alayne Stark- The youngest child of the Starks, Alayne was merely three years old when the Ironborn attacked and sacked her home. She was a shy, gentle toddler often found stumbling after her mother or playing with her dolls. She was the image of her mother as a child. Her direwolf was named Star, and was also killed.


The Ancient and Most Honourable House Dayne:

House Dayne originated in Dorne, however, when the Andals came they fled to the North to avoid conversion. Their keep is 'Starmount', formerly the Dreadfort.

{Lord Edric Dayne}- Former Lord, husband of Lady Alayne Starstark, father to Alaric, Arthur, Ashara, and Allyria. Died two years after the Greyjoy Rebellion.

{Lady Alayne Dayne née Spraystark}- A strong-willed woman descending from a sea-faring, shield-maiden House, she taught her daughter to be a lady who was elegant and demure but strong and independent, capable of caring for and defending herself. She died in childbirth with Allyria.

{Alaric Dayne}- Eldest child and former heir of House Dayne. He was a cheerful man and a fierce warrior with a strong mind. He avoided dying with Brandon Stark like most the heirs of the time, as business had delayed him from going to Riverrun, but he died at the Trident instead, leaving behind a pregnant widow.

Serena Dayne née Icewolf- Wife of Alaric, mother of Edric. She and her husband were a love match, and Serena refused to remarry after his death.

{Arthur Dayne}- The late and most recent Sword of Morning. He was Ashara's twin brother, and spent most of time at Winterfell after her marriage. He was a serious man, but doted fiercely on all of his nieces and nephews (including Robb, whom they all considered as much Ashara and Ned's child as the ones she birthed). On Ashara's request, Arthur went south with Ned to help protect him and the children, and he was executed for conspiracy to commit treason.

{Ashara Stark née Dayne}- See Ashara Stark.

Allyria Dayne- youngest of the late lord's children, she was only three years older than Larra, and more like a sister to her nieces and nephews than an aunt. She fostered at Winterfell under her sister's care (constantly instead of half the year like the other fosterlings) as her father didn't know how to raise a daughter without his wife. She left Winterfell for Starmount a week before the attack, and as such managed to survive.

Lord Edric Dayne the Younger- son of the late heir, he is a young lord, unsure of himself and heavily reliant on his mother and aunt's advice. Most call him Nedric, to differentiate between the other Edric and Ned. He was always very close to his cousins, and his stricken by their deaths and captivity. He advocates for calling arms fiercely, but the Lannisters have been threatening Larra's life to keep the North in line, as they are all devoted to the Starks.

Gerold Dayne- disowned by Lord Nedric for helping Theon Turncloak, has always been jealous of his lack of land. His father died in the Rebellion, his mother of illness shortly before that. He was raised by the Starks, and came to think that he deserved to be heir of Winterfell. He tried to gain Larra's hand in marriage when she was only nine, which was refused. He conspired with Theon to run away to the Iron Islands just after Ned went south, where they convinced Balon to let them sack Winterfell. Due to the greenseers not predicting the attack in time and their knowledge of Winterfell and its secret passages, they succeeded. Gerold tried to claim the title of Lord of Winterfell, but Theon took it instead, backed up by the Iron Born, and Gerold had to go on the run.


List of OC Northern Houses:

Honourable House of Starstark (matrilineal): Lady: Sybelle Starstark, Admiral of the North's Western Fleet, age 34

Lord Consort: Artos Icewolf age 39

Heir: Lynara Starstark, age 13

Others: Rodrik Starstark, age 15, Jorelle Starstark, age 10

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 (end of House Wolfguard) 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 (matrilineal):Lord: Alyssa Icewolf, age 68

Heiress: her granddaughter, Erena Icewolf, age 14

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 Beverstone Hold, between the Stony Shore and Sea Dragon's point.

The Honourable House of Frostfang (matrilineal):

Lady: Alysanne Frostfang, age 48

Lord Consort:Brandon Amber, age 50

Heiress: Raya Frostfang, age 29

Others:Raya's husband, Benjen Harclay age 29, their twin daughters Melessa and Maege age 6

Sigil-a white fang on a blue background.

Words-Strong As the Winter Winds

Keep-Raven's Roost, near to Moat Cailin

The Honourable and Most Ancient House of Amber:

Lord: Bennard Amber, age 78

Lady: None (formerly Lysana Umber, deceased)

Heir: Ellard Amber, age 55

Others: Lyanne Amber of House Greystark age 32, Bennard Amber age 17, Sybelle Amber 16, Arsa Amber age 16, Rickon Amber age 12

Sigil-A piece of amber on a dark yellow background

Words-We Shine in the Dark

Keep-Elden Fort, beside the Long River

The Most Honourable and Most Ancient House of Greenwood (matrilineal, crannog, sworn to the Reeds):

Lady: Berena Greenwood, age 39

Lord Consort: Edrick Greenwood of House Peat, age 40

Heiress: Arya Greenwood, age 19

Others: Meera Greenwood, age 16, Jonos Greenwood, age 14, Jory Greenwood, age 12

Sigil-A green branch spouting upwards on a black banner

Words-We Stand Straight and Steady as a Tree

Keep-Marshwood Keep

The Most Ancient House of Frost:

Lord: Joran Frost, age 59

Lady: Jorelle Frost of House Greystark, age 56

Heir: Eddard Frost, age 21

Others: Asha Frost of House Starkstark, age 22, Lyanna Frost, age 15, Brandon Frost, age 13

Sigil-A white snowflake on a royal-blue background

Words-Frost in Our Veins, Ice in Our Hearts

Keep-The Wolf's Den, outskirts of White Harbour

The Most Honourable and Ancient House of Ashwood:

Lord: Arthur Ashwood, age 37

Lady: Erena Ashwood of House Cerwyn, age 34

Heir: Domeric Ashwood, age 17

Others: Alysanne Ashwood, age 13, Aregelle Ashwood, age 11, Steffon Ashwood, age 6

Sigil-an ash tree on a white background

Words-Unyielding as Ash

Keep-Direwood Fort, based in the Bay of Ice

The Honourable and Ancient House of Snowstark (matrilineal):

Lady: Lysa Snowstark, age 44

Lord Consort: Ellard Blackwood, age 47

Heiress: Lyanne Snowstark, age 18,

Others: Lorra Snowstark, age 16, Eddard Snowstark, age 14, Cregan Snowstark, age 12, Arielle Snowstark, age 10

Sigil-a swirl of white snowflakes on a dark blue background.

Words-Beware The Frozen Heart

Keep-Brawnlyn Fort, circa Deepwood Motte

*These are the main ones who might be mentioned, I will add to it as needed.

*House Blackwood was never exiled in this, and of the canon extinct houses, only the Towers, Fisher of the Stoney Shore and Flints of Breakstone Hill are gone. The Boltons are extinct.


History:

Ned married Ashara before the Harrenhal Tourney. Everything during it happened as in canon, with Catelyn marrying Stannis Baratheon (they went on to have four children: Sansa, Shireen, Steffon and Orys) instead of Ned. Larra was born on the winter solstice (22nd December-I will be using the Gregorian calendar but with BC/AC) and Robb was two months older than her.

Flash forward thirteen years, Jon Arryn was killed and Robert persuaded Ned to become Hand. He agreed because he had already refused to allow a betrothal between one of his daughters and Robert's (step)children and because the greenseers warned him that (A) Jon had been poisoned and (B) if he didn't something terrible would happen.

Ned and Arthur investigated Jon A's death and learned of Cersei's adultery. She learned they knew from her spies, and sent her men to ambush them just after Robert's death. It was the middle of the night, and they were all taken off-guard. Everyone in their party save for Larra was killed. Larra was kept alive to be used as a hostage against the North. Robb and Arya managed to escape with the Dayne and Stark ancestral swords, but they are believed dead.

The North wanted to call their banners, but fear for Larra stopped them.

Theon and Gerold attacked Winterfell, blocking off the secret passages and circumventing the guards due to their knowledge of it. They killed Ashara, Bran and Alayne. Theon then turned on Gerold, chasing him off, and declared himself Prince of the North. The Northerners responded by besieging Winterfell. They defeated the IronBorn, but Theon fled back to the Iron Islands where he resides with his family and people, who are contemptuous of him at best.

Larra was treated the way Sansa was in canon, stripped and beaten before the court, but Baelish has little-to-no interest in her.

While the White Walkers exist in this story, they don't matter to this plot, there won't be a Long Night. This fic focuses on other stuff.