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the summer queen

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It had taken her quite some time to name her Queensguard. Not to choose them; Sansa had been choosing them for a great deal of time – since the day she watched her father die, in truth – her choices growing and expanding over the years until she’d known with no doubt who would make up her Queensguard before she knew for certain she would be Queen. But a Stark girl ruling Westeros alone was unprecedented enough, even without her unorthodox choice of guard, so Sansa had tread carefully when naming them, choosing her times and her methods with all the canniness she’d learned at the hands of men like Petyr Baelish and women like Cersei Lannister.

Brienne of Tarth had been named first – an easy choice, easy to want and easy to name. Brienne was already battle-hardened and strong, known as much as a knight as she was a woman, full of fierce loyalty and persistence. Sansa could speak to that intimately, as Brienne had been the person to finally liberate her from the Vale at great cost to herself.

The second choice proved more difficult; Alysane Mormont established a pattern, unsettled those who assumed Sansa’s next choice would be a man, a decorated knight or former Kingsguard member. But House Mormont had fought for Robb, Alysane had helped Stannis Baratheon take back Winterfell. She was of the North, of Sansa’s home now so far away from her, and she was as untamed and strong as the home they both came from.

Then she’d chosen Obara Sand to foster ties with Dorne, the wild, fierce woman seeming to terrify all at court, and Asha Greyjoy to forge a link to the Iron Islands. It had given Sansa pause, to entrust herself to the woman whose brother betrayed Sansa’s family so, but she’d learned enough of Asha from speaking with her, from her strange friendship with Alysane, to believe in her choice. To know all of which Asha was capable.

Each name had caused more scandal, more murmuring and outrage. When only her captain was left to name, they all believed she would name a man. Her council urged her to call Jaime Lannister as her captain, or Loras Tyrell, tried knights, known members of the Kingsguard, men who could protect her and keep her safe.

Her voice had been sure and clear the day she named her sister Arya as the captain of her Queensguard. Sansa Stark trusts no man to keep her safe, not any longer.