Reviews for Hadrian Lannister Lion of the Rock
Guest chapter 6 . 2/6
Horse hooves pounded into the ground as a party of men in flying the flag of House Tully rode into King's Landing. At the head of the formation was Lord Edmure Tully, the only son and heir of Lord Hoster Tully, the lord paramount of the Riverlands. He rode his horse on as they passed through one of the city gates and into the capital. He took no time to admire the city before arriving at the Red Keep where his brother in law Ned was waiting for him.
"Edmure." Ned was happy to see someone he could trust after being in this snake pit for weeks. Edmure meanwhile noticed the considerable shadows under Ned's eyes and was worried for his brother in law's health and how much strain was being placed on him by his new position.
"Ned." Edmure swiftly dismounted from his horse and took off his gloves. "Have they arrived yet?"
"Not yet." Ned told him as the two men walked into the Red Keep. "I take you heard."
"Heard? Ned, the entire kingdom is talking about it." Edmure referred to the recent invasion of the Stepstones by three of the great houses. "Some of the rumours flying around are getting out of hand. I need facts to calm down my own lords. How come the King was not leading the invasion?" Edmure asked Ned, knowing Robert Baratheon would never have missed a chance to fight.
"He did not know about it. Nobody did. How they managed to keep it so quiet till after the fact is beyond me. We did not even know those houses were talking to each other." Ned surprised Edmure even more. Ned himself was astonished by the massive but swift invasion that seemed to have been planned out to the last detail and faultlessly executed. To have achieved something like that without attracting the attention of anyone before the event was an amazing feat in itself.
The two men soon reached the Tower of the Hand where Edmure was met with an enthusiastic welcome by at least one of Ned's children.
"Uncle Edmure!" Arya cried out as she was happy to see her mother's brother. She ran over and he had given her a one armed hug.
"Hello there, my dear niece." Edmure warmly smiled, remembering how much this girl's rebellious nature drove his sister to near madness from not only Catelyn's letters but on rare occasions, he had actually visited Winterfell in person. He saw his other niece, Sansa give him a swift nod, however, her face remained impassive. She neither even said a word of greeting nor familial affection to him before she walked off into the Southern Red Keep which caused a frown to formed his and Ned's faces.
Ned was growing increasingly worried about how little time Sansa seemed to be spending with her own family these days, preferring to spend nearly all her waking moments with Prince Joffrey and Queen Cersei much to his own discomfort. Which had gotten even worse since her lunch with Lord Tywin Lannister although the fact Tywin had invited his daughters to lunch without consulting him first had angered Ned he was not so ignorant to make a fuss about it. What had been said he did not know but he knew Tywin was going to meet him later so he intended get some answers.

Meanwhile, in the North, Robb was feeling the strain of running a kingdom as large and harsh as the North. Now he had known what had made his father start to go grey before his time if this was what he had contended with for years. He sat in his temporary office, looking through the mounting pile of papers and frowned as he read the letter than had just arrived from Bear Island.
Maege Mormont was interested in building a closer relationship between their two houses despite already being one of the most trusted houses that the Starks had under their wing. She wanted her daughter, Lyanna to marry his younger brother, Bran. He couldn't deny that it'd be a good match for Bran, he had heard of the strong, capable young lady from House Mormont. And as the reports on the reconstruction of Moat Cailin with its twenty towers and wall that was nearly as high as those of Winterfell had started pouring in, Robb realized Bran might be in a position to gain one of the biggest, most important strongholds in the North with a strong wife at his side so the betrothal was a good choice in his book although he'd have to write to his father for permission.
He might've asked his mother, Catelyn for advice but she hadn't been in the best of moods, however, she had been in the worst moods lately. She was feeling like a mother bird whose chicks have flown away. Only he and his youngest brother, Rickon remained at Winterfell. Bran was being fostered elsewhere at Casterly Rock, whereas, Sansa & Arya were elsewhere in the south with their father, Ned. Hearing the news that Arya had been betrothed to Tyler Lannister which had sent his mother into such rage, Robb had nearly gotten Maester Luwin to sedate her and she had been ready to ride south to give her husband an earful only for him (Robb) to stop her with a desperate plea to respect his father, Ned's judgement. Which had assuaged her anger somewhat but Robb felt that it was only a temporary measure.

"Thank you, My Lord, I am glad Sansa was up to your expectations." Only for the patriarch of the Lannister family to tell him in no uncertain terms.
"Not your older daughter, your younger daughter, Arya. That girl has a smart head on her shoulders and a fierce attitude that I can respect. If she learns to channel all that energy of hers, she could truly become something great. With all due respect, your older daughter is unsuitable as the queen. She is too ignorant of how southern court politics actually work, too trusting and does not understand the importance of family. Although I may seem distant and uncaring to my children…I do love them and my grandchildren. When I'm dead, they will be all that is left of me." Tywin said and Ned could only nod. Although they saw the concept somewhat differently the importance of family was something that both men could agree on.
Bran, the Stark boy who listened to the exchange with interest was happy to hear a rare compliment paid to Arya, the younger Stark girl who often found herself on the receiving end of other people's scorn although displeased to hear the slight against his oldest sister, Sansa, but he thought maybe given how full of herself she had gotten with all the praise heaped on her by their mother, Catelyn, Septa Mordane and more recently, Queen Cersei, she could use something like this to bring her down to earth.
Unknown to them, Jeyne Poole, Sansa and Arya had heard every word. Arya was stunned to hear the Lannister lord thought of her so highly, whereas, Sansa was near tears at the slights against her, where, Jeyne tried to comfort her, not understanding what she had done wrong.
Guest chapter 4 . 2/6
The following day at breakfast, Jaime and Cersei were very quiet as they felt their older brother's eyes on them. Jaime had explained his prominent black eye and other bruises on a drunken fight whenever someone had asked him. Tommen and Myrcella along with Hadrian's own children could feel the tension that was surrounding the grown-ups/adults at the table. None of them, even Tyler dared to ask what was going on between the adults, sitting at that table. It was a welcome relief when Tyrion stepped into the hall.
"Uncle Tyrion!" the children cried out and the Imp man smiled and sat on his chair, helping himself to some of the breakfast items that were on the table already while ordering more from the servants that hung around the table who immediately rushed to follow the lord's order. Hadrian perked up a bit at the sight of the only sibling he could stand to be around right now. He smiled at his youngest brother who smiled back noticing the tension at the table but planned to ask his brothers about it later.
"Greetings, my dear siblings." Tyrion felt a sense of accomplishment for slapping that annoying shit, Joffrey for his blatant disrespect of the Starks. This was their castle and even here in the North, doors have holes for ears to listen at. The crown prince seemed to think his position made him invincible so he could treat the others around him however he liked and that was going to get the arrogant little shit killed one day. He blamed it on Cersei's influence, her arrogance, misplaced pride had long since been a concern for their father, especially, as she influenced Joffrey, hoping to gain the power that she had long craved.
"Tyrion." Hadrian firmly gripped his younger brother's hand and shaking it. Jaime looked happier to see Tyrion, too although Cersei's eyes tightened despite her slight smile that she put on for appearance's sake at the sight of the Imp she unfairly blamed for her mother's death.
"Little brother." Jaime welcomed him and Tyrion asked him when he saw the split lip and black eye Jaime was sporting.
"So who won?" he guessed someone had something against his brother's face but who he wondered. Then he saw the frown his oldest brother Hadrian was sporting so uncomfortably on his face and guessed that it was Hadrian who had hit their brother. That nearly brought a frown to Tyrion's face which he stopped with a casual smirk. His brothers usually got on so whatever had set them off he reasoned must be something pretty big to get his legendarily calm brother to react with violence and judging by the unsettled look on Cersei's face, she was probably involved too. Something to do with their sister, that Tyrion thought made a lot of sense. Hadrian and Cersei had always had an uneasy relationship. Still until someone told him what had happened he would not push too hard.
Jaime grimaced as his bruises ached and Hadrian decided to take pity on his brother and his sister despite the situation they had placed him in.
"It does not matter now. Family is what matters, if we don't stand by each other who will? Right, dear sister?" Hadrian asked, deciding to let his siblings know that he was not going to blow the whistle on them, handing Jaime a salve that would help his bruises heal more quickly and the two of them looked at him in surprised but relief quickly became evident in their eyes. Cersei unconsciously put her hand Myrcella's shoulder who was sitting next to her and smiled.
"Absolutely brother." She turned to her nephew, Tyler who was cutting up his bacon like a good young lord despite the pranks he and that scruffy looking she-wolf of Lord Stark's had unleashed on the castle. A future Lord of Casterly Rock should have higher standards than running around with such a wild thing from the North Cersei thought to herself. The other girl at least had the right manners, looked half decent and once married to Joffrey, she'd be easy to manipulate, to if necessary shape in her own image. A woman from the Westerlands would have been her preferred choice in a partner for Joffrey tying the crown more firmly to her own homeland but she had to admit, making a match between her golden boy Joffrey and a powerful kingdom like the North would make his throne secure. So she did not object to the betrothal and would advise Joffrey on how to court Lady Sansa.
"Very true." Tyrion reached over to pick another piece of bacon until he turned to Cersei who was now looking more comfortable although still annoyed at being here instead of the warmth of King's Landing and Tyrion decided to note it verbally. "The charms of the North seem entirely lost on you sister."
Cersei glared at him with exasperation in her eyes.
"I still can't believe you are going. It is ridiculous even for you." she referred of course to his plan to head north to the Wall to see the greatest man made object in all the country. Tyrion of course wasn't bothered in the slightest and asked her incredulously.
"Come now. Where is your sense of wonder? The greatest structure ever built, the intrepid men of the Night's Watch. The wintery abode of the White Walkers." He added, changing his tone to mock fearful and looking straight at the children around the table who all laughed, smiled in childish glee. The other adults around the table all looked on in resigned amusement as Jaime slipped his drink said.
"Tell me, you aren't taking the black?" Referring to the term used when people joined the Night's Watch. Heard more commonly around the Westerlands these days as men convicted of serious enough crimes were given a choice; death or the Wall. Most took the Wall and those convicted of lesser crimes but still serious enough to land them in the jails were often offered a pass on their crimes if they took the black. Which helped keep the jails from overflowing and reinforced the Wall with new recruits who swiftly fell in line after the rough hand of Night's Watch came down on them.
Jaime's question however brought indignation from Tyrion.
"And go celibate? The whores would go begging from Dorne to Casterly Rock. No I just want to stand on the top of the wall and piss off the edge of the world." Tyrion said back in an affronted tone before regaining its previous amusement causing nearly all of them to chuckle, forgetting that he was in the presence of young children who probably had never even heard of a whore before. Cersei despite everyone having a small laugh at Tyrion's crude humour, was unamused and said sternly mindful of him corrupting her children with his whoring ways.
"Children do not need to hear your filth." Then Hadrian decided to change the subject and turned to Tyler who was sitting next to Myrcella.
"I noticed you are spending a lot of time with the young lady, Arya Stark, my son." Hadrian sipped his drink and his son looked up and his cheeks started getting ever so slightly pick causing everyone to smile at his predicament. Tyrion of course decided to tease the boy.
"So the young lord has found himself a young lady? Shall we send for the septon now or should we wait till we get back to Casterly Rock?" That really caused poor Tyler's cheeks to start burning with embarrassment while everyone chuckled even Cersei couldn't help herself. The boy was not one to take it quietly and he argued back far too quickly to convince anyone.
"She was just showing me around that's all." Tyler nearly shouted and Hadrian smiled at his son and ruffled his hair.
"I know my son, but remember despite how rebellious she might be she is still a young lady and should be treated with courtesy and respect. Is that understood?" he asked gently but firmly. Tyler nodded slowly and answered.
"Yes father." Cersei of course had to have her say.
"You should be careful of the company you keep nephew. Arya Stark is unfit to be another true lady, like her sister." But Joanna spoke up in the girl in question's defense.
"So what? Sansa's so boring, whereas, Arya's much more fun!" Hadrian saw his other two daughters and even his niece, Myrcella nod their heads in agreement. Even Richard and Tommen nodded.

Later that day, Sansa Stark was walking through the corridors of Winterfell with her pet dire-wolf, Lady trotting dutifully at her side. Sansa wasn't like her siblings, she knew that all too well despite how much she loved them even Arya, the younger Stark girl who annoyed her at the best of times, had unleashed a terrifying series of pranks alongside Tyler Lannister since the boy's arrival. Sansa had been raised by her mother to be a highborn proper lady, to marry into a great house or even to a prince if she was lucky so her mother, Lady Catelyn had ensured she was fit for that purpose. She was very skilled in; singing, poetry, dancing, sewing and all the other traditional lady's skills. She also had been complimented many times for being something of a beauty although she was still young having inherited her mother's auburn hair, high cheek bones and vivid blue eyes. Many people upon meeting her for the first time thought she was another Tully rather than another Stark. She had also been raised on classic stories of great and handsome knights that rescued beautiful maidens and lived happily ever after having beautiful children while living in grand castles. He had seen her father frown when she was told these stories, when she had asked him why he had told her that the world was never that perfect and that noble knights like in the stories didn't exist, however, she didn't believe him, noble knights existed and she was betrothed to her handsome golden prince. One day, she would be his queen and her children would be beautiful princes and princesses.
As she entered the training yard she saw a sight that made her stop in surprise. Next to the archery targets she saw the Princess Myrcella with a bow in her hands while the three daughters of Lord Lannister Cassia, Sabine and Joanna were urging her on. She frowned at the four ladies, one of them a princess doing something so unladylike but then Sabine Lannister noticed Sansa and smiling that wide grin of her's waved Sansa over. Sansa wanted to go back inside but her father, Ned had warned her about insulting the Lannister family. They were the richest, most powerful house in all of the Seven Kingdoms and could be a very dangerous enemy if crossed. So she'd taken heed of the summons and went over to the four ladies just as Myrcella managed to hit the inner circle of the target. Her cousins cheered and Sansa felt more uneasy as she knew she should probably congratulate the princess, however, she was still confused as to what they were doing.
"Lady Sansa, perhaps you should join us?" Lady Joanna beamed as she smiled, handing her a bow and arrow which Sansa refused to take.
"I am afraid I don't use the bow, My Ladies." Sansa said, trying not to be rude and the four Lannister women just kept smiling and Lady Cassia asked.
"So what weapon do you prefer as opposed to?" They all seemed not to notice her increasing unease but when Sansa dropped her gaze to her feet and said in as strong a voice as she could.
"It would not be seemly for a lady to learn the bow." The four blondes looked at her with surprise in their eyes for a moment until they burst out with laughter. Sansa looked at them in shock as they've done this for a moment before Princess Myrcella pulled herself together enough to ask.
"Where is the fun in that?"
"Fun?" Sansa asked confused as to why these ladies were so different from their mother or aunt. Neither the Queen nor her own mother, Lady Catelyn would approve of such activities, she knew Arya managed to drive their mother near madness at times but the four girls in front of her seemed to revel in such things too. Then Lady Joanna smirked at Sansa with a glint in her eye.
"I bet you could not even hit that target over there? Or are you just an ornament?" That did get a response from Sansa, despite her noble upbringing she was still another Stark and had a temper to match so with her anger rising, she snatched the bow and arrow and took aim on the target. Although she had never done it herself before she had seen her brothers and her sister do this many times before and she took aim and fired surprising herself by hitting the outer edges of the target. Her small audience cheered and Lady Cassia smiled.
"Perhaps, you are not so hopeless after all. If you are a Stark girl, act like one. My family will respect you and take you a lot more seriously if you do." Then Sansa put down the bow and walked out of the yard with Cassia's words ringing in her ears.

After the king returned from his hunt and a month after he and his party had arrived at Winterfell, the royal party began plans to return to King's Landing, Lord Stark had agreed albeit reluctantly to become his hand and would travel south with them. A party of Northmen would travel with him as part of his own guard given his new position. Sansa due to her betrothal to Prince Joffrey would come with them and Arya was coming, too as Ned thought it would be a good experience for her to see the south. Bran was coming along with the royal party but they would separate as Hadrian would lead his own group back to Casterly Rock and Bran would go with him. Catelyn had been displeased when she had heard but given it was the king's command there was little she could do. Robb would stay at Winterfell and rule the North in his stead. Which would be good to give his son some experience for when he became the Warden of the North. Catelyn would stay with him and care for their youngest son, Rickon.
As he was prepared to leave, Ned gave his son a smile as Robb looked nervous at the responsibility being placed on his shoulders and Ned reassured him.
"You will be fine, Robb." His eldest son looked unsure but determined to live up to his father's confidence in him. So kissing Catelyn goodbye, he gave his youngest son a hug which the young lad returned. Reluctantly letting the boy go he got on his waiting horse and the procession set off leaving those staying at Winterfell with a sinking feeling in the pits of their stomachs.
As the large procession made their way down the long route known as The King's Road, Jaime and Cersei felt their brother's gaze upon them. His warning still ringing in their ears they decided to play it cool till he was gone. After that they would have to be more careful so the wrong person did not catch them again. Cersei had screamed bloody murder at Robert for sending her two youngest children away elsewhere to Casterly Rock but for once maybe due to the knowledge that he would have his best friend at his side again Robert didn't budge. Myrcella and Tommen would be going elsewhere to Casterly Rock which was the end of it.
Guest chapter 3 . 2/6
He saw Joffrey telling Lady Sansa and her friend, Jeyne Poole of his 'many' hunting successes and tournament wins which was enough to make Hadrian laugh. The boy was a vicious coward, however, Sansa was just blindly eating it up. He almost pitied her, however, she was probably going to get disillusioned and badly hurt very quickly if she kept that attitude up.
Guest chapter 12 . 2/6
"I wonder if Lord Vayon Poole's actually another real regular powerful ghostly spirit who's there to make sure his surviving orphaned daughter, Lady Jeyne Poole doesn't waste away?" "Lady Jeyne Poole's been silent since she became newly orphaned all because of what that traitorous inner Southerner at heart, Sansa did." "Poor Lady Jeyne Poole's newly orphaned thanks to her traitorous ex-best friend, Sansa Stark." "I know, right?" "Right." "Aw man, no wonder Lord Stark had no other choice but to banish his traitorous elder daughter from Winter-fell and the North as a whole elsewhere to High-garden." "Lord Vayon would've still survived longer if Sansa hadn't told Queen Cersei that Lord Stark was about to head home to Winter-fell, Jeyne Poole's orphanhood would never have to end up becoming reality." "Brats get what they deserve, especially Sansa." "Brats deserve what they get, especially Sansa." "Catelyn took Sansa's banishment from Winter-fell and the North as a whole very badly." "Oh yeah." "Sansa's blind naivety was Catelyn's own fault." "Which shows how irresponsible she is." "Catelyn's just as bad as Cersei and Lord Baelish." "Lord Stark's beating himself up for it." "Which he shouldn't keep doing that, should he?" "Nope." "I wonder if Arya Stark had known about Sansa's banishment to the High-garden." "Let's find out." "Yeah." "Count me in." "And me." "And me." "And me." "And me." "And me."

Meanwhile, Arya was in the castle's gardens, playing with her pet dire-wolf, Nymeria. The dire-wolf eagerly yipped and jumped around as Arya spent time with her pet dire-wolf. Now that her magic was getting stronger, but she was able to feel the emotions of her wolf and in her dreams occasionally see through her eyes. Nonetheless, she had yet to achieve that while awake, but for the moment, she was content to simply enjoy time with her wolf while she had taken a break from her lessons.
She had to admit though while they annoyed her at times, she was starting to understand the world was a far more complex place than she had previously thought and how brutal politics could actually get as she received lessons on the subject from Lady Genna. Which made her head spin at times but she begun to see how the world wasn't a place of black and white…good and evil but in fact, was shades of grey. Lord Tywin, her betrothed's grandfather for example, he was a cunning, cruel lord to many who had been widely feared especially after the brutal way he had disposed of the Reynes and the Tarbecks when they had risen up against him. Even more so when he had sacked King's Landing at the end of the rebellion but now she could see that he was merely practical in many cases, taking the most effective and perhaps quickest approach to deal with the situation in front of him. He had brought much needed order and stability back to the Westerlands after his father's ill-suited approach to ruling had left its mark. Later as the Hand of the King he had created widespread prosperity across the realm until his relationship with King Aerys had deteriorated. He had also been a man devoted to his family, ensuring they were safe and well cared for. She now had to admit at least to herself that things were far less simple than she had envisioned before coming here.
Arya was brought out of her thoughts when Nymeria accidently knocked her off her feet and started slobbering all over her face. She giggled and struggled to get to her feet as the wolf acted like an over affectionate dog. She hugged the wolf and laughed as she felt Nymeria lick her face. She was disturbed from her quiet time with her wolf when she heard footsteps and looked over to see Richard Lannister approaching looking rather glum with a message in hand.
"A raven arrived from the North addressed to you. Which is from your father." he told her, looking rather serious. Which dissipated the earlier happier atmosphere immediately as she had taken the letter, Richard left to continue reading the new books being added to the library of Casterly Rock. Arya slowly opened the message with a mounting sense of dread. She had known Ned had been released from King's Landing and returned home to Winterfell (the North), however, there was no mention of what happened to Sansa nor any other members of her family and she (Arya) worried that the letter might contain bad news. When she read it, that fear was only confirmed and her eyes widened with shock as the words were absorbed.

My dearest daughter,
I write to ensure that you know I am alive and well and now grateful to be back home at Winterfell. I can only apologize for not writing to you sooner, but I must inform you which hurts my heart to tell you that your sister, Sansa had been banished from Winterfell and the North as a whole. While this must seem like a cruel, horrendous punishment, I was left with no choice after the events in King's Landing. I know you must be outraged at my doing something such as this to a member of our own family but I hope you will allow me to explain my reasons before cursing me.
When I learnt that Robert was dying and soon Joffrey would sit upon the Iron Throne, I was concerned for the safety of our retinue in the capital, especially your sister so I hoped to send them home until the dust had settled. However, your sister did not want to leave the southern city and her betrothed, Prince Joffrey, so she went to tell the Queen of my intentions. The moment that the King fatally passed on, she set a vicious band of Mountain men upon myself and our retinue in Kings Landing to prevent us from returning back home to Winter-fell. Her intention was to gain hostages to ensure that the North would comply with her son's rule and in the process with the exception of myself, your sister, Jeyne Poole and all of our servants were slain by her thugs. Whereas, Sansa and Jeyne Poole were confined elsewhere in the Southern Red Keep, I was taken elsewhere to the Black Cells before thankfully, Lord Lannister arrived elsewhere at the southern city to arrange my release. While I have now safely returned to our ancestral home with Jeyne Poole as my newest ward, I was unable to bring your sister home because of her actions in King's Landing, I dispatched her elsewhere to Highgarden where she is to marry Ser Loras Tyrell which was the only way to save her life. I am sure you understand the fact that she has effectively committed treason under Northern law and if she returned elsewhere to the North, the lords who're my vassals, would surely demand her head as would the families of the men who fatally passed on. I hope you understand why I have done what I have although it breaks my heart to see my own child denied her true home and exiled for the rest of her life but I did it with the best of intentions. I wish you find it in your heart to forgive me as I fear your mother might not. She has already left to see her elsewhere in the South. I truly hope to hear from you soon, my sweet wolf.
Your loving father,
Eddard Stark.

Arya couldn't believe the words that were written in Ned's steady scrawl. She had known Sansa could be silly at times and even blind to Joffrey's true nature, what had happened at the river with Mycah and him (Joffrey) had proven that…but the fact that Sansa actually betrayed their family albeit in what must have seemed to her like a trivial matter was a shock Arya found hard to believe. Anger begun to rise in the younger Stark girl and her hand crushed the letter into a ball of ruined parchment. Some of those servants had been with her family since before Arya had even been born, however, they were all dead because of her stupid sister, Sansa and her (Sansa's) idiotic ideas about love and golden princes. Slightly upset about the fact that their playtime was over, she (Arya) stormed off until Nymeria sensed her mistress's mood with concern in her eyes, following her (Arya).
Guest chapter 16 . 2/6
Withdrawing into oneself means to retreat into one's mind or otherwise isolate oneself so as to avoid undesirable thoughts, situations and interactions with other people.

Waste away means to become thinner and weaker because of illness or lack of food.
Guest chapter 11 . 2/2
Ned had hoped he was comforted by the colder Northern winds as he and Jeyne Poole have ridden back home to Winterfell. The loneliness of their small party was a sobering reminder of the events that have befallen them since they had left home nearly a year ago. He had gone to King's Landing with a large party of men and his only two daughters, but now he had ridden home alone except for his dead steward's surviving orphaned daughter. All of his men were dead, but his younger daughter, Arya was elsewhere at Casterly Rock being taught the gods know what, whereas, his elder daughter, Sansa was being banished elsewhere to the Reach to marry a gay man who even preferred the company of other men. Ned only kept his calm through a complicated struggle as he and Jeyne came into sight of Winterfell, his heart was comforted by the somewhat grim looking castle. Despite everything that had happened, he could take comfort from the simple fact he was home. He and his companion have ridden through the open gates to see the newly promoted Archmaester Luwin standing there as he waited for him. Luwin noticed that none of his family were here but he (Luwin) soon revealed the reason for that. "My Lord, welcome home. We were not expecting you so soon and with such a depleted party." Luwin greeted Ned as he'd seen Jeyne Poole arriving with him. The reminder of how many people he had lost elsewhere in King's Landing quickly banished what warmth Ned could draw from being back home. His face remained stern as he told Luwin for his family to meet him in his solar and that Jeyne Poole was to have her own room made ready for her. A maid took the orphaned girl who remained silent for the majority of their trip home away. He was deeply worried about the orphaned girl who seemed to be withdrawing into herself. Which had taken a great deal of effort to get her to show interest in anything and he had to be quite stern in his reminders for her to eat and drink. Perhaps he had written to Bear Island and gotten Dacey Mormont or one of GreatJon Umber's daughters to come to Winterfell to try and help her if they could. He didn't know if it'd work but it was worth a try to see if they could aid Young Lady Poole in her grief rather than let her waste away. Luwin told him as they walked. "We have received ravens from both Lord Stannis and Lord Renly. They have both named themselves king and are calling for your support." "Burn those letters, Luwin. The North is having no part in this stupid southern war, we are neutral which is my only word on the matter." he (Luwin) allowed himself to raise an eyebrow in surprise at the statement but he didn't question his lord. He had known him since he was a boy and recognized that tone. Which wasn't heard often but it was the voice Ned had when he was so set on something that nothing and no-one was going to stop him. Whatever happened elsewhere in King's Landing had obviously affected his lord deeply and Luwin wisely decided not to speak. As they passed several of the previously abandoned towers, Ned noticed that Luwin's copies of the Citadel library had arrived which also counted as the Stark's copy of the library as each of the great houses was being entrusted with a copy to ensure the knowledge was protected for the future. The sheer quantity of books had quickly overwhelmed the existing library at Winterfell and they were using some of the abandoned towers to store them until they could find somewhere to permanently house them, but Ned put those thoughts aside as he entered the familiar corridors and rooms of the castle where he had been born. Coming to the solar, he hadn't set foot in for over a year, he sat in his chair and was somewhat relieved by its familiar feel and saw that one of the servants had the foresight to put a jug of fresh water there for him with a goblet. He had taken a grateful sip as he waited for the rest of his family to arrive with the exception of Rickon, the boy who was still too young for such things. Which didn't take long, Catelyn had burst into the room and she'd thrown herself into his arms when he stood up to meet her, she kissed him deeply. They were only broken from this by a lack of breath and Robb entered with Bran, the other boy who was accompanied by his betrothed, Lyanna Mormont and Ser Brynden Tully. He thought for a moment about sending the lady from Bear Island and the knight from the Riverlands out but he decided as they would undoubtedly squeeze what he was going to say out of Bran anyway and they were already or would one day be a part of his family so they should probably be a part of what he was about to tell them. Luwin excused himself and left the small group alone, Catelyn looked around for Sansa and Arya, expecting both of them to be here with him only to frown when she had seen neither of them, but Robb had spoken although he had noticed his younger sisters' absences, too. "Father, thank the Gods. I was about to call the banners when I heard you had been taken by the Lannisters. What happened down there?" he asked his father, the Northern lord who looked even grimmer than usual, told them. "Robert fatally passed on and the Queen had chosen to take power." He had spoken in as steady of a voice as he could manage. He explained Sansa's betrayal by revealing the fact that she (Sansa) told Cersei which happened afterwards. Robb, Ser Brynden, Bran and Lyanna looked shocked, hearing about her (Sansa's) betrayal from Ned, whereas, Catelyn only had grown angrier demandingly which meant she was incredibly ready to burst.
"She was tricked by a nasty bitch and you sent her away to High-garden?! She needs to be home…."
"She betrayed us, Cat." Ned tried to get through to his wife only what that meant. "Northern law has only two punishments for that; death or the Wall and given she is a girl the Wall is out so if she were to come home again, my vassals would demand her head not to mention the families of the men who fatally passed on. Sending her to High-garden was the only way to save her life." he (Ned) told her. Most Northern laws were from the time when the Starks had been Kings of the North and were set in stone. Punishments were harsh and unyielding just like the land around them. If he had tried to change that for the sake of his daughter, he'd be facing a full on revolt from some of the more diehard lords. Ser Brynden nodded sadly and tried to make Catelyn understand. "It is for the best, Cat. Sansa might have been tricked but she still betrayed her own family and the North as a whole. The families of the men who fatally passed on, would want vengeance for their loved ones and the Northern lords would want her as an example. Not even a Stark is above the law. If Ned had brought her back and denied them, he'd lose their loyalty. All it'd take is one of the rival claimants to the throne offering say House Bolton lordship of the North and they'd rise in revolt and Ned wouldn't have the support of the other lords to stop them." Robb nodded in agreement. He might carry Catelyn's looks but he was Ned's son through and through. There was a bigger picture here that Catelyn wasn't seeing the reason and although he dearly missed his younger sister, Sansa, he had known she'd never be able to come back home or else, she'd face the chopping block. Bran and Lyanna looked unsettled although Lyanna could understand Ned's reasons, too. She knew her own family had pretty firm ideas about honor and loyalty and even if they were one of the most loyal houses to House Stark, they'd think twice about support a house that flaunted the law when it suited them. By sending Sansa Stark away, it'd keep the lords if not happy, satisfied that she'd been punished since the Starks were true to their own honor, but Lady Stark didn't see it that way. "She is our daughter, Ned! You are the Northern lord and they should follow where you lead, not cave you in like a craven when they start making demands!" Her face was red with fury and her words seemed to shake the walls with their intensities. Which was followed by the temperature in the room seemingly dropping several degrees as silence also had fallen with Robb, Ser Brynden, Bran and Lyanna all looking at Ned, the Northern lord whose face had gone from its tired, grim mask to one of rage and without warning, he responded with a tirade of his own.
"I have had given you far too much of your own way here, Catelyn! I have allowed Septa Mordane here which I never should've at all! This is the North, the Old Gods are the ones we worship here at Winterfell, but you and Mordane filled our daughters' heads with those pathetically stupid ideas about what a 'good lady' is supposed to do and act like! The sole reason Arya did not want to marry all because she believed she would have to be like Sansa or you rather than only be true to herself which would cost her freedom! You filled Sansa's head with those nonexistent, idiotic tales of love and honor by giving her moronic, ridiculous, foolish, stupid dreams that blinded her to the truth about reality! Which I allowed that in my own complacency when I should have made sure Sansa understood the fact that family is the most important thing, the fact that loyalty to them is far more important than ideas of love or glory, but now it is too late. She can never set foot here in the North again because if she does, she will be killed!" he told Catelyn with more anger in his voice than anyone had ever heard from him before. Everyone in the room was shocked no more than Ned himself. He had never raised his voice to his wife before but the last year and all of its events had taken their toll on his patience. Catelyn was stunned into silence at her husband's words, they cut deep and she silently walked out of the room as she tried to wrap her head around them. As everyone else in the room made their excuses to leave, Ned sat down and rested his head in his hands as he leaned against his desk. He doubted his marriage would ever be the same after today, those words have spoken in anger no matter how much he had never meant to say, it had opened the spouse (husband/wife) drama between Catelyn and himself that he was unsure they could ever repair.

Meanwhile, Margaery was out in one of the gardens, looking for her future sister in law. No one had seen the elder daughter of Lord Stark much since Willas had arrived with her just days ago. She'd (Margaery had) only seen the girl briefly but despite the fact that she heard enough from Willas to know the girl must be suffering. To be exiled from your own homeland because of one error of judgement seemed harsh but when Willas had explained about how strict Northern law was, Sansa realized that she was lucky to get away with her life. However, if the girl was to be a member of the Tyrell family, then someone should at least try to make her welcome. She eventually found her in a grove near the bottom and most secluded part of the gardens. The pale redhead who was kneeling in front of a blue flowered bed, hummed some strange tune that Margaery didn't recognize. She (Sansa) sensed her (Margaery's) presence before she'd gotten to her feet quickly. "Lady Margaery, I am sorry if my humming disturbed you." She (Sansa) apologized to her quietly with her head bowed. Therefore, she (Margaery) wouldn't see the tears that were threatening to run down her cheeks. "I was hoping I can speak to you in person especially since we are to be sisters in laws one day." Margaery smiled at the exiled Stark, the same younger girl who looked very much like a startled deer that was completely frozen. Margaery guided her slowly by putting her hand gently on Sansa's shoulder. "Do you like blue flowers?" she asked, hoping to start a conversation, but she regretted it once she'd seen the tears in Sansa's eyes. "They remind me of the winter roses back home. They are beautiful at full bloom." she (Sansa) remembered mournfully. Margaery took one of her (Sansa's) hands and held it gently.
"Sansa, I know what happened in King's Landing and it is not your fault." Margaery went for the root of the problem assuringly. However, she (Sansa) immediately felt her guilt tearing into her and insisted sadly. "It is, instead of just following my father's simple command, I went to tell the Queen exactly what he was planning. That got our entire retinue killed, made my former best friend an orphan and my father locked up in the Blacks Cells like he was a criminal. What I did is treason and now I pay the price. Marrying your brother is more than I deserve." she (Sansa) said, knowing that she was not worthy of a knight now, let alone one of the great houses like the Tyrells.
"Sansa." Margaery put her hand to her (Sansa's) mouth to stop the girl from speaking anymore self-criticism. "My brother will respect you as long as you are loyal to him, you are a beautiful young woman who will blossom when you are ready such like those winter roses." she (Margaery) assured her (Sansa), seeing the uncertain look on her (Sansa's) face, she added. "And as for what happened in King's Landing, you were outwitted by a far more devious woman than you were prepared for. Cersei just used you as a pawn, Sansa and I can teach you so it does not happen again. Like my grandmother taught me." She (Sansa) was quiet for a moment as she absorbed Margaery's words. She had heard Willas Tyrell speak on their journey of how clever and cunning his grandmother and sister were. If Margaery was serious in her desire to teach her, then it'd mean that should she ever cross paths with someone like Cersei again…she'd be ready for them. Her mind was made up immediately and she said.
"Teach me."
Guest chapter 16 . 2/2
Withdrawing into oneself means to retreat into one's mind or otherwise isolate oneself so as to avoid undesirable thoughts, situations and interactions with people. After getting mugged, he'd withdrawn into himself and didn't speak to anyone for nearly a week.
Guest chapter 16 . 2/2
Waste away means to become thinner and weaker because of illness or lack of food.
Guest chapter 10 . 2/2
Later, after Ned had returned to the tower to retrieve what was left of his belongings he had gone and tracked down Ice. Which seemed that Ser Ilyn Payne had taken a fancy to his family's ancestral sword and claimed it for his own but Ned had swiftly retrieved his blade and was in the process of cleaning it to try to relax his mind, however, it didn't do any good. He had always valued family above everything else, his wife and children meant the world to him and he wouldn't have traded the years, he had had with them for anything and he hoped for many more years yet to come and perhaps even grandchildren if his children obliged him. Even if Jon wasn't his own son, he (Jon) was still included in his family and he'd protect the boy until death, telling no one the boy's true identity to keep him safe from those who'd kill him only for who his father had been. However, what Sansa just did had shaken him to the core. He doubted that she'd done it maliciously but regardless of her motives, the damage was done which means he'd have to make sure Sansa understood the consequences. He wasn't looking forward to what he was going to have to say to his elder daughter but all too soon the time came as both Sansa and the now newly orphaned girl, Jeyne Poole entered his room. Seeing Ned, Sansa rushed over to eagerly throw herself into his arms, crying with relief that he was alright after everything happened. He (Ned) held his elder daughter but not as tightly as he might've done a week ago which made him terrible. His eyes moved to Jeyne Poole, the orphaned girl who was standing at the door with tears in her own eyes. He was worried about the young orphaned girl because this world was a terrible place to be all alone and she (Jeyne) was still just a child. However, Sansa regained his attention by telling him how much she wanted to go back home to Winter-fell (the North) and forget everything that happened which was too much for Ned, the Northern lord who removed himself from his elder daughter's embrace much to her (Sansa's) surprise. She (Sansa) was unsettled at his (Ned's) stern expression. "Do you know what you have done?" Ned demanded. "You betrayed us. You told the queen that we were to flee King's Landing. Our entire retinue was wiped out because of what you did behind my back, Lord Vayon is dead." Sansa's eyes widened as she (Sansa) shook within horror at what Ned had found out from Hadrian, the terrible realization gripped her. There was a moment of silence as his words have sunk in, however, it was neither of them (Ned nor Sansa) who ended the silence, but instead, the silence of the room was broken by a scream filled with rage & grief. Therefore, Sansa found herself being hit by the fists of none other than her enraged, orphaned ex-best friend, Jeyne Poole, another girl who'd known she (Sansa) betrayed her (Jeyne), their fathers and the other Northerners to Queen Cersei, started screaming at her (Sansa) like an animal till she (Jeyne) was pulled off by Ned. She (Jeyne) struggled for a moment before she (Jeyne) freely burst into tears after her (Jeyne's) anger collapsed, she (Jeyne) sobbed onto Lord Stark's shoulder, especially into Ned's arms. "They killed my father!" As he (Ned) carefully wrapped the grief filled orphaned child in his hold, he (Ned) rubbed her shoulder carefully as he reassuringly told her gently. "Do not worry, girl. I will make sure you are well cared for at Winterfell." He'd make Jeyne his ward because of Vayon's loyal service and the fact that she (Jeyne) had no family on her own in this world anymore thanks to Sansa. He regretfully turned to mournfully tell Sansa, the disguised inner Southerner/at heart who was suddenly distraught. "And you, you are guilty of treason. Under Northern law, death is only one punishment…. I cannot even change that without angering all of our vassals. Which is only elsewhere in the North. As long as you stay south of the Neck, I have no choice but to opt for the lesser punishment of exile. Perhaps, I would try to find a place for you to live elsewhere in the Riverlands with your uncle, Edmure or elsewhere in the Vale with your aunt, Lysa, but you can never set foot elsewhere in the North again. Otherwise, the Northern lords will kill you on sight." he really did love Sansa but unfortunately, this was the only way to save her (Sansa's) life. To send her away…to deny her the land of her birth because if she ever returned there and the truth about what she did came out, he'd probably face the ire of his own lords and if they didn't kill her, they'd make him to do it instead. However, the look of utter desolation that his older daughter was giving him made his heart shatter into a million irreparable pieces.

Meanwhile, Sansa felt like her entire world was leaving her alone in a vast, empty wasteland filled with terrible predators who filled her with terror. Ned's words had cut deeper than any blade, filling her with total, absolute devastation as the full impact of what she did threatened to overwhelm her. Her real home, Winterfell, the one she arrogantly dismissed, assuming that it'd always be there for her was now beyond her reach. The cold Northern winds but warm, loving atmosphere of her family's home was now stripped from her. Her family would be so far away and she might never see them in person again…her loving, caring mother, the Southerner who soothed her tears, told her such wonderful stories. Her brothers, Robb, Bran and Rickon all so full of life and mischief that secretly they made her laugh with their bad jokes. Her dire-wolf was sent home to protect it after she foolishly lied to earn Joffrey's affection in front of everyone. With Ned's grim but loving aura that always made her feel safe and protected. All was lost now. As her own tears filled her eyes, she felt Ned's warm hand grip hers tightly and she held on for all she was worth, scared that he'd be gone the moment that she let go.

The following morning after the secret meeting, Ned had bidden one of the most painful farewells that he had ever bidden in his life when he brought his daughter to meet Willas Tyrell in person so he could take her to meet her new betrothed, Ser Loras Tyrell in person. The tears that stained his daughter's cheeks have torn his heart. He wished he could take her with him back to Winterfell however, it'd cost his daughter her life if he did. So he pulled her into his arms and kissed her forehead gently as her arms wrapped around him. The pain he felt was unbearable as he held her in his arms for what could be the last time in a very long while. His darling daughter would be some man's wife when or if he saw her next. He'd always see her as his small angel who'd make him smile with her pure innocence and joy. He felt his own eyes teared up and he hugged her closer.

Sansa was feeling more wretched than ever, too. Her own stupidity separated her from her family forever. Never again would the halls of Winter-fell be hers to wander. Nor would she ever see her brothers' spar in the training yard, never would she sit in her rooms and sleep in her own bed ever again. Now she was being cast adrift in the brutal world that seemed to be so large and cruel that it'd swallow her up any moment.
"We will ride south to visit you, write to you as often as possible and I promise I will be there on your wedding day." Ned had sworn to his daughter lifting her chin carefully so she'd meet his gaze and her tears made him hate himself more. "Father." Sansa said, tightening her hold on him as if to stop him from leaving her behind. "I love you, my sweet wolf." Ned embraced her in return. Willas Tyrell and the small group of Tyrell men who had accompanied him, all looked away from the uncomfortable scene that unfolded before them. They were intruding on something very private between father and daughter which seemed like an eternity before they finally separated by dispersing and Sansa reluctantly climbed onto the horse that had been provided for her. With fresh tears ready to erupt any moment, she'd taken one last, final look at Ned before she started off down the road accompanied by Willas Tyrell, the heir who'd sworn on his honor to protect Sansa. He told Ned that his only one sole sister, Margaery would be there to help his daughter through this and his cousins would be there as her new friends but that didn't at all reassure Ned, the Northern lord who only felt like the lowest creature in all of creation for sending his daughter away and as he had ridden away back North, he was accompanied by Jeyne Poole, the silent orphaned girl who never even bothered to bid her ex-best friend goodbye. He had known neither Catelyn nor his sons would ever forgive him.
Guest chapter 10 . 2/2
Lord Stark rushed over towards the Tower of the Hand and his steward, Lord Vayon Poole was there with Septa Mordane. They both looked surprised at his abrupt entry but he wasted no time before he told them. "Pack only what we need and ready the horses. We leave the capital as soon as possible." He was unprepared to tell them in explanation when they looked ready to ask him, however, a familiar, feminine voice at the door prevented him from doing this. "Father?" He turned around to see Sansa standing there. She (Sansa) looked upset. "Why must we leave? I like it here. The Queen and Joffrey have been so nice to me." Ned nearly begun to grit his teeth, not wanting to have to deal with this instantly so he snapped at Sansa. "Do as I command. We must leave immediately." he told her shortly before he had gone about his own quick packing. Renly had already fled the capital and was no doubt on his way to High-garden or Storm's End to call his banners. He had no intention of being here when Joffrey had taken power since that boy had a sadistic streak as wide as the Narrow Sea. He wouldn't allow his daughter to become intertwined with such a monster, but he (Ned) was so focused on getting out of the southern city. Sansa's face screwed up in anger at Ned for treating her (Sansa) like a child. She (Sansa) was nearly shaking with anger at just the thought of it. She (Sansa) swiftly turned around to storm downstairs/out towards the Southern Red Keep. If he (Ned) wouldn't explain himself to her, then he'd (Ned would) have to explain himself to the Queen.

"Thank you, sweetling." Cersei appreciated her (Sansa) gratefully as she smiled at her (Sansa) kindly after Sansa Stark told her that Lord Stark was ready to flee the capital. The Queen had taken the time to clean herself up and now looked as radiant as ever at least in her own mind. "I shall deal with the situation but do not fear, you will not have to leave the city. Now while I speak to your father, perhaps you and Joffrey should take a stroll around the gardens." she suggested and although he (Joffrey) had given her a look that told her he could think of nothing more tedious, Sansa brightened considerably and held out her (Sansa's) arm for Joffrey, the Southern prince who reluctantly had taken it, led her (Sansa) away. After Sansa was out of sight, Cersei gritted her teeth and Baelish, the man who had kept his mouth shut at the back of the room, came forward. "If Lord Stark goes back to Winterfell, Your Grace, you will lose the North and getting it back would be next to impossible given how difficult the North is to invade." Baelish told her as his scheming mind worked a mile an minute, he stated with satisfaction in his eyes. "I have brought eight hundred of the most vicious Mountain Clansmen from the Vale to serve at your side in exchange for gold. They are yours to command against whoever you decide. They will make everyone fear you, Your Grace." Starting a war with the North surely would result in Lord Stark's fatal death and if he was able to arrange a suitable end for Lysa, it would leave him as regent of the Vale and then with Catelyn a widow, he would finally have the opportunity to make her his.

And there she (Cersei) was, compiling a list of all the people she wanted dead here in the Southern capital and where they would be right now.

Back at the Tower of the Hand, Ned and his retinue were throwing whatever they needed into whatever boxes they could get their hands on and sending them to the outdoor carts. Ned looked around to make sure there was nothing more than needed to be packed until he rushed wondering how much time they had to his daughter's room to make sure that she was ready. When he had gotten there, he was astonished to find out that Sansa was not there and nothing had been packed. Everything was exactly where it had been earlier today. As his daughter's absence caused him to worry, he rushed out of the room when he was alerted by a scream from one of his guards, he rushed downstairs and came across a horrific sight…his unprepared men have been torn apart by Mountain Clansmen from the Vale. In the midst of their packing to flee the capital, his men were unable to protect themselves against the vicious, completely unexpected attack. Ned hadn't had time to think on why the clansmen were here until he was compelled to draw his sword Ice and fight for his life. Two of the Clansmen tried to double team him but despite the confined quarters, Ned was able to stand his ground against the two vicious but relatively unskilled savages and he easily dispatched them, but four more piled on him, reigning down blows with their fists or battle axes. None of the axes hit, but he received a vicious blow to the head and managed to stay conscious only long enough to see Jeyne Poole being dragged, screaming downstairs by a Clansman, followed by another Clansman who held Mordane and Vayon Poole's severed heads.

At that moment, Sansa was locked up here in a room/the Southern Red Keep. She was completely obvious as to what was going on which somewhat scared her. Ned had yet to find her.

Earlier that day…

Sansa just finished her lovely walk through the gardens with Joffrey when he had led her to a disused room, he shoved her in, locking the door from the other side. She banged on the door with confusion in her eyes, however, all she heard was Joffrey laughing as he walked away. The room was bare so she had to lower herself to sit on the floor while she waited for someone to come and let her out. She knew Joffrey liked to make fun of other people sometimes, however, she couldn't understand why her golden prince had done this to her. Which had been hours before finally the door unlocked and she looked up, getting quickly to her feet before she brushed off the dust from her dress.

Present…

She felt slightly relieved to see Joffrey standing there when the door finally opened with a member of his Kingsguard, Ser Merlyn Trant. She was about to smile at the sight of them, however, something stopped her as she'd seen the looks on their faces. There was something about the way they were smiling made her feel uneasy. She stayed wherever she was. "My Prince. Is there something wrong?" she asked, not understanding/wondering why Joffrey was doing this. His unsettling grin widened as he told her. "I have something to show you." he offered her his arm. Therefore, she had to force herself to take it. She didn't know why but something about his touch which made her feel warm once, now felt uncomfortable, however, she'd shaken herself and tried to put these silly thoughts aside and walked at his side with her arm in his but all the same that feeling that something was wrong just kept nagging at the back of her mind regardless of how hard she worked to suppress it. Soon, they were approaching the walls of the Southern Red Keep and Sansa nearly managed to convince herself that nothing was wrong, however, they walked up the steps on to the wall and Sansa stopped at what she'd seen with horror in her eyes. There on the wall mounted on spikes were the heads of her beloved Septa Mordane, her family's steward, Vayon Poole, all her family's guards and servants that they've had brought here to King's Landing. She would've screamed if not for Joffrey's hand wrapping itself around her elbow so tightly, she winced. "Quite the collection, do you not think?" Joffrey asked her, looking extremely excited at the sight of the mutilated heads on display. However, Sansa was unable to reply and unsure what she would've said, even if she did. Then suddenly, a horrible thought popped into Sansa's head and her eyes flittered from one mounted head to another before she realized that Ned wasn't there with a small sense of relief, however, she was unable to take her eyes away from the gruesome display in front of her no matter how much she wanted to. "Where is my father?" she asked desperately just for her to feel the hand of Ser Trant to knock her to the ground and she could not even look up in her shock as Joffrey raged at her. "YOU ARE NOTHING! YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DEMAND ANSWERS FROM A KING! FROM AN EMPEROR!" Suddenly, she felt the boot heel of Ser Trant in her right side which was like the veil had been pulled from her eyes and she could see things in the clear light of day, who Joffrey really was, what he was really like…all the things she waved off or ignored suddenly came into focus like a tapestry by revealing his true character. He was everything she was warned about; greedy, sadistic, willful, vicious and cruel. Masked by a golden façade, he was a monster in disguise, one who had taken her in so fully, she betrayed her own family so he'd like her. Those heads were on that wall because of her much to her own horror. Sansa realized the fact that Joffrey cared about no-one but himself. Sansa was nothing more than a foolish girl.

As day turned to dusk, Sansa, a bruised girl who was forced to walk to a room in the Southern Red Keep wherever she was shoved through the door, groaned as her bruised body hit the hard floor. As she struggled to her feet, she felt gentle hands helping her get up and a female voice that brought her a small measure of relief. "Sansa, are you alright?" Jeyne Poole asked her and she (Sansa) managed to get to her feet with her (Jeyne's) help and she (Sansa) nodded in reply and stumbled over to a bed on the other side of the room. She'd seen Jeyne pour a goblet of water and press it into her (Sansa's) hand wherever the Stark girl gratefully took some careful sips of water. Taking a moment once she drained her goblet, she (Sansa) could see that she (Sansa) didn't need to tell Jeyne what happened, the bloodshot eyes told her that not too long ago, Jeyne had been crying hard. However, she (Sansa) could not meet her gaze. Jeyne's father, Vayon was dead just like their entire entourage because of her (Sansa). She (Sansa) told the Southern Queen that they were fleeing the capital. If she'd just done as Ned said, they'd be far safer away from Joffrey and Cersei. Instead, all their trusted servants were dead, whereas, she, Ned and Jeyne were prisoners of the Southern Queen. Sansa knew Jeyne was worried about her despite all the grief that she must surely be feeling at this moment, however, she (Sansa) was dreading the time if/when Jeyne found out who betrayed them to the Southern Queen. She was about to lie down to get some sleep or at least as much as she could when suddenly and without warning, Lord Varys and two men appeared in the corner of the room seemingly from nowhere. She would've sat up, however, her body protested too much and Jeyne nearly screamed but the bald eunuch said quickly. "My Ladies, I must apologize for my abrupt entrance but we have little time. I have been sent on the behalf of Lord Tyrion Lannister to ensure that you do not remain in the hands of the queen and her eldest son. But we must move now or we shall certainly be discovered. I know for a fact that the queen intends to simply give young Lady Poole to the owner of a brothel." Jeyne looked terrified at sheer idea and was keen to go with them to avoid such a fate, whereas, Sansa struggled to her feet and asked him demandingly. "What of my father? We must rescue him." But Varys shook his head before he explained. "Your father is currently being held elsewhere in the Black Cells but if the queen and the crown prince do not have you and Lady Poole, they will have nothing to use as leverage against him. Now, My Ladies, we must hurry." he urged them and Sansa reluctantly allowed one of the men to help her, whereas, the other helped Jeyne into a hidden passage that had been concealed in the wall of the room. The dark passage was unsettling in how far/long it seemed to stretch illuminated solely by Lord Varys's torch. However, the eunuch knew where he was going and soon, they emerged near the manor houses on Rhaenys's Hill. The dark streets were surprisingly quiet as they carefully made their way up the hill to the same manor house that Sansa and Arya once visited to meet Tywin Lannister in person what seemed like a lifetime ago. They soon arrived at one of the side doors rather than the main entrance and Varys knocked a series of times that sounded like the first few lines of the Rains of Castamere. There was the sound of a lock being undone and the door swung open to reveal Ser Barristan Selmy who ushered them in. He frowned when he saw the condition Sansa had been left in by the still to be crowned king. Once they were inside, he and the rest of the servants in the manor re-secured the door and moved them into the drawing room. The maester who had just finished changed Ser Jacelyn's bandages when he saw them come in with Sansa, went straight to work as they put her down on the available couch. Now Jeyne almost completely drained curled up in the adjacent seat and quickly fell asleep. Tyrion Lannister approached her (Sansa) as the maester had gotten to work and she never thought she'd be so glad to see the Imp in all her life. She derided him in private whenever with Cersei or Joffrey because of their hatred of him, but right now, he was the most welcome person in her eyes outside a member of her own family. "Lady Sansa." Tyrion greeted warmly. "Welcome to Lannister House. Do not worry, you are safe here. My brother is at this moment riding for King's Landing with his men, soon things will be put right." he assured her, however, she (Sansa) shook her head. "No I do not think things will ever really be alright ever again." Her eyes drifted over to Jeyne, the other girl who's newly orphaned, already looked like she was suffering from some kind of nightmare.

As his men secured the Southern Red Keep and have begun to gather the Gold Cloaks in an effort to regain full control of the southern city, Hadrian walked in one of the rooms of the Southern Red Keep and was much relieved to see Lord Stark being tended too by Grandmaester Pycelle, the elderly man who had finally crawled out from whatever rock he had been hiding under. Seeing the wounds on Ned from his time in captivity made Hadrian frown but he kept his face straight and asked briskly. "Lord Stark, I hope your time in the cells was not too hard. I was appalled when I discovered what my sister and nephew had done." He sat down opposite the Lord Regent. "I had ridden here as fast as I could." "Sure you did." Ned stated bitterly. "My friends and the others I trusted were slaughtered, my daughter's friend was left recently orphaned. My daughter herself was traumatized, I do not see why I should believe any of the words that come out of a Lannister's mouth." He glared angrily at Hadrian who merely raised an eyebrow, not rising to Lord Stark's anger. Pycelle looked ready to say something but a glare from Ned silenced him and with his job finished, the old man excused himself, keen to get away from the two lords who were sure to argue given what had happened.

Meanwhile, Ned was about to blow his top when Hadrian said first eager to head him off before the Northern lord said something they would regret. "When I discovered the slaughter of your retinue, the imprisonment of yourself and your daughter was down to the advice of Petyr Baelish." Ned was shaken out of his anger for a moment in sheer surprise at that piece of news. "When she heard that you were fleeing this city, he convinced her that you were plotting against her and Joffrey and that she needed hostages to ensure that the North would bend the knee to her son." "And how did she know I was planning to leave the capital?" Ned asked as he was annoyed with the fact that the arrogant Mockingbird had been behind this whole thing. "Your daughter, Sansa told her." Hadrian revealed which caused Ned's annoyance to turn into complete disbelief. "No." Ned was unable to wrap his head around the fact that his daughter betrayed him. "This is another trick…Sansa would never go behind my back like that." Hadrian had given the man a sad smile in explanation. "No, but she wanted to marry Joffrey and be his queen so she went to tell the Queen, hoping she would stop your departure which she did it her own way of course. And it is not the first time your daughter lied by going against her own family to win the approval of my sister and my nephew. She lied about what happened at the river that day with Nymeria and Arya. No doubt she has been saying anything the queen asked of her ever since." Ned didn't want to believe Hadrian but he couldn't deny the fact that the signs of betrayal were there so now that he looked at them in a different light, she'd spent with Queen Cersei and Joffrey without her family there all the time. She was trying to mimic the queen no matter how much he had tried to convince her not to. Those pieces and others like them that he had dismissed at the time now came together to form a terrible picture in his mind. He groaned in realization. "If you still intend to return home to the North, I will not try to convince you to remain here because you all have suffered here and I will make sure that the bodies of your retinue are sent back for proper burial, but I hope you will stay at least till tonight, there is a meeting that I would very much like you to attend." He stated but he added the last part quietly in case anyone was listening. Ned glared at him suspiciously and asked in a whisper. "What quite of meeting?" Hadrian smiled before he told him. "The secret kind."
Guest chapter 10 . 2/2
Sansa was never a true Stark, she acts more like another Southerner than another Northerner because of the fact she'd broken an oath made in the Godswood, something that no true Northerner would do. She constantly screwed with Jon’s authority as King by undermining him, allowing lords to speak of treason in the middle of Winterfell, she let Rickon die knowing that it would make her the last true-born Stark, she never told Jon about the Knights of the Vale, and she's constantly trying to destroy their alliances with Dany for no reason other than the fact she wants to be queen. She is truly a no good Andal and neither is her mother.
Stormborn chapter 10 . 2/2
Great chapter. Sansa isn't a Stark, she's more of a Tully.
Jon Stark chapter 10 . 2/2
Great chapter. Love how you are following the cold hard truth behind people such as Sansa, the inner Southerner at heart who was never a true northerner anyways.
Guest chapter 12 . 1/31
"I wonder if Lord Vayon Poole's actually another real regular powerful ghostly spirit who's there to make sure his surviving orphaned daughter, Lady Jeyne Poole doesn't waste away?" "Lady Jeyne Poole's been silent since she became newly orphaned all because of what that traitorous inner Southerner at heart, Sansa did." "Poor Lady Jeyne Poole's newly orphaned thanks to her traitorous ex-best friend, Sansa Stark." "I know, right?" "Right." "No wonder Lord Stark had no other choice but to banish his traitorous elder daughter from Winter-fell and the North as a whole to High-garden." "Lord Vayon would've still survived longer if Sansa hadn't told Queen Cersei that Lord Stark was about to head home to Winter-fell and the North as a whole, Jeyne Poole's orphanhood would never have to end up becoming reality." "Brats get what they deserve, especially Sansa." "Brats deserve what they get, especially Sansa." "Catelyn took Sansa's banishment from Winter-fell and the North as a whole very badly." "Oh yeah." "Sansa's blind naivety was Catelyn's own fault." "Which shows how irresponsible she is." "Catelyn's just as bad as Cersei and Lord Baelish." "Lord Stark's beating himself up for it." "Which he shouldn't keep doing that, should he?" "Nope." "I wonder if Arya Stark had known about Sansa's banishment to the High-garden." "Let's find out." "Yeah." "Count me in." "And me." "And me." "And me." "And me." "And me."

Meanwhile, Arya was in the castle's gardens, playing with her pet dire-wolf, Nymeria. The dire-wolf eagerly yipped and jumped around as Arya spent time with her pet dire-wolf. Now that her magic was getting stronger, but she was able to feel the emotions of her wolf and in her dreams occasionally see through her eyes. Nonetheless, she had yet to achieve that while awake, but for the moment, she was content to simply enjoy time with her wolf while she had taken a break from her lessons.
She had to admit though while they annoyed her at times, she was starting to understand the world was a far more complex place than she had previously thought and how brutal politics could actually get as she received lessons on the subject from Lady Genna. Which made her head spin at times but she begun to see how the world wasn't a place of black and white…good and evil but in fact, was shades of grey. Lord Tywin, her betrothed's grandfather for example, he was a cunning, cruel lord to many who had been widely feared especially after the brutal way he had disposed of the Reynes and the Tarbecks when they had risen up against him. Even more so when he had sacked King's Landing at the end of the rebellion but now she could see that he was merely practical in many cases, taking the most effective and perhaps quickest approach to deal with the situation in front of him. He had brought much needed order and stability back to the Westerlands after his father's ill-suited approach to ruling had left its mark. Later as the Hand of the King he had created widespread prosperity across the realm until his relationship with King Aerys had deteriorated. He had also been a man devoted to his family, ensuring they were safe and well cared for. She now had to admit at least to herself that things were far less simple than she had envisioned before coming here.
Arya was brought out of her thoughts when Nymeria accidently knocked her off her feet and started slobbering all over her face. She giggled and struggled to get to her feet as the wolf acted like an over affectionate dog. She hugged the wolf and laughed as she felt Nymeria lick her face. She was disturbed from her quiet time with her wolf when she heard footsteps and looked over to see Richard Lannister approaching looking rather glum with a message in hand.
"A raven arrived from the North addressed to you. Which is from your father." he told her, looking rather serious. Which dissipated the earlier happier atmosphere immediately as she had taken the letter, Richard left to continue reading the new books being added to the library of Casterly Rock. Arya slowly opened the message with a mounting sense of dread. She had known Ned had been released from King's Landing and returned home to Winterfell (the North), however, there was no mention of what happened to Sansa nor any other members of her family and she (Arya) worried that the letter might contain bad news. When she read it, that fear was only confirmed and her eyes widened with shock as the words were absorbed.

My dearest daughter,
I write to ensure that you know I am alive and well and now grateful to be back home at Winterfell. I can only apologize for not writing to you sooner, but I must inform you which hurts my heart to tell you that your sister, Sansa had been banished from Winterfell and the North as a whole. While this must seem like a cruel, horrendous punishment, I was left with no choice after the events in King's Landing. I know you must be outraged at my doing something such as this to a member of our own family but I hope you will allow me to explain my reasons before cursing me.
When I learnt that Robert was dying and soon Joffrey would sit upon the Iron Throne, I was concerned for the safety of our retinue in the capital, especially your sister so I hoped to send them home until the dust had settled. However, your sister did not want to leave the southern city and her betrothed, Prince Joffrey, so she went to tell the Queen of my intentions. The moment that the King fatally passed on, she set a vicious band of Mountain men upon myself and our retinue in Kings Landing to prevent us from returning back home to Winter-fell. Her intention was to gain hostages to ensure that the North would comply with her son's rule and in the process with the exception of myself, your sister, Jeyne Poole and all of our servants were slain by her thugs. Whereas, Sansa and Jeyne Poole were confined elsewhere in the Southern Red Keep, I was taken elsewhere to the Black Cells before thankfully, Lord Lannister arrived elsewhere at the southern city to arrange my release. While I have now safely returned to our ancestral home with Jeyne Poole as my newest ward, I was unable to bring your sister home because of her actions in King's Landing, I dispatched her to Highgarden where she is to marry Ser Loras Tyrell which was the only way to save her life. I am sure you understand the fact that she has effectively committed treason under Northern law and if she returned elsewhere to the North, the lords who're my vassals, would surely demand her head as would the families of the men who fatally passed on. I hope you understand why I have done what I have although it breaks my heart to see my own child denied her true home and exiled for the rest of her life but I did it with the best of intentions. I wish you find it in your heart to forgive me as I fear your mother might not. She has already left to see her elsewhere in the South. I truly hope to hear from you soon, my sweet wolf.
Your loving father,
Eddard Stark.

Arya couldn't believe the words that were written in Ned's steady scrawl. She had known Sansa could be silly at times and even blind to Joffrey's true nature, what had happened at the river with Mycah and him (Joffrey) had proven that…but the fact that Sansa actually betrayed their family albeit in what must have seemed to her like a trivial matter was a shock Arya found hard to believe. Anger begun to rise in the younger Stark girl and her hand crushed the letter into a ball of ruined parchment. Some of those servants had been with her family since before Arya had even been born, however, they were all dead because of her stupid sister, Sansa and her (Sansa's) idiotic ideas about love and golden princes. Slightly upset about the fact that their playtime was over, she (Arya) stormed off until Nymeria sensed her mistress's mood with concern in her eyes, following her (Arya).
Guest chapter 10 . 1/30
Later, after Ned had returned to the tower to retrieve what was left of his belongings he had gone and tracked down Ice. Which seemed that Ser Ilyn Payne had taken a fancy to his family's ancestral sword and claimed it for his own but Ned had swiftly retrieved his blade and was in the process of cleaning it to try to relax his mind, however, it didn't do any good. He had always valued family above everything else, his wife and children meant the world to him and he wouldn't have traded the years, he had had with them for anything and he hoped for many more years yet to come and perhaps even grandchildren if his children obliged him. Even if Jon wasn't his own son, he (Jon) was still included in his family and he'd protect the boy until death, telling no one the boy's true identity to keep him safe from those who'd kill him only for who his father had been. However, what Sansa just did had shaken him to the core. He doubted that she'd done it maliciously but regardless of her motives, the damage was done which means he'd have to make sure Sansa understood the consequences. He wasn't looking forward to what he was going to have to say to his elder daughter but all too soon the time came as both Sansa and the now newly orphaned girl, Jeyne Poole entered his room. Seeing Ned, Sansa rushed over to eagerly throw herself into his arms, crying with relief that he was alright after everything happened. He (Ned) held his elder daughter but not as tightly as he might've done a week ago which made him terrible. His eyes moved to Jeyne Poole, the orphaned girl who was standing at the door with tears in her own eyes. He was worried about the young orphaned girl because this world was a terrible place to be all alone and she (Jeyne) was still just a child. However, Sansa regained his attention by telling him how much she wanted to go back home to Winter-fell (the North) and forget everything that happened which was too much for Ned, the Northern lord who removed himself from his elder daughter's embrace much to her (Sansa's) surprise. She (Sansa) was unsettled at his (Ned's) stern expression. "Do you know what you have done?" Ned demanded. "You betrayed us. You told the queen that we were to flee King's Landing. Our entire retinue was wiped out because of what you did behind my back, Lord Vayon is dead." Sansa's eyes widened as she (Sansa) shook within horror at what Ned had found out from Hadrian, the terrible realization gripped her. There was a moment of silence as his words have sunk in, however, it was neither of them (Ned nor Sansa) who ended the silence, but instead, the silence of the room was broken by a scream filled with rage & grief. Therefore, Sansa found herself being hit by the fists of none other than her enraged, orphaned ex-best friend, Jeyne Poole, another girl who'd known she (Sansa) betrayed her (Jeyne), their fathers and the other Northerners to Queen Cersei, started screaming at her (Sansa) like an animal till she (Jeyne) was pulled off by Ned. She (Jeyne) struggled for a moment before she (Jeyne) freely burst into tears after her (Jeyne's) anger collapsed, she (Jeyne) sobbed onto Lord Stark's shoulder, especially into Ned's arms. "They killed my father!" As he (Ned) carefully wrapped the grief filled orphaned child in his hold, he (Ned) rubbed her shoulder carefully and reassuringly told her gently. "Do not worry, girl. I will make sure you are well cared for at Winterfell." He'd make Jeyne his ward because of Vayon's loyal service and the fact that she (Jeyne) had no family on her own in this world anymore thanks to Sansa. He regretfully turned to mournfully tell Sansa, the disguised inner Southerner/at heart who was suddenly distraught. "And you, you are guilty of treason. Under Northern law, death is only one punishment…. I cannot even change that without angering all of our vassals. Which is only elsewhere in the North. As long as you stay south of the Neck, I have no choice but to opt for the lesser punishment of exile. Perhaps, I would try to find a place for you to live elsewhere in the Riverlands with your uncle, Edmure or elsewhere in the Vale with your aunt, Lysa, but you can never set foot elsewhere in the North again. Otherwise, the Northern lords will kill you on sight." he really did love Sansa but unfortunately, this was the only way to save her (Sansa's) life. To send her away…to deny her the land of her birth because if she ever returned there and the truth about what she did came out, he'd probably face the ire of his own lords and if they didn't kill her, they'd make him to do it instead. However, the look of utter desolation that his older daughter was giving him made his heart shatter into a million irreparable pieces.

Meanwhile, Sansa felt like her entire world was leaving her alone in a vast, empty wasteland filled with terrible predators who filled her with terror. Ned's words had cut deeper than any blade, filling her with total, absolute devastation as the full impact of what she did threatened to overwhelm her. Her real home, Winterfell, the one she arrogantly dismissed, assuming that it'd always be there for her was now beyond her reach. The cold Northern winds but warm, loving atmosphere of her family's home was now stripped from her. Her family would be so far away and she might never see them in person again…her loving, caring mother, the Southerner who soothed her tears, told her such wonderful stories. Her brothers, Robb, Bran and Rickon all so full of life and mischief that secretly they made her laugh with their bad jokes. Her dire-wolf was sent home to protect it after she foolishly lied to earn Joffrey's affection in front of everyone. With Ned's grim but loving aura that always made her feel safe and protected. All was lost now. As her own tears filled her eyes, she felt Ned's warm hand grip hers tightly and she held on for all she was worth, scared that he'd be gone the moment that she let go.

The following morning after the secret meeting, Ned had bidden one of the most painful farewells that he had ever bidden in his life when he brought his daughter to meet Willas Tyrell in person so he could take her to meet her new betrothed, Ser Loras Tyrell in person. The tears that stained his daughter's cheeks have torn his heart. He wished he could take her with him back to Winterfell however, it'd cost his daughter her life if he did. So he pulled her into his arms and kissed her forehead gently as her arms wrapped around him. The pain he felt was unbearable as he held her in his arms for what could be the last time in a very long while. His darling daughter would be some man's wife when or if he saw her next. He'd always see her as his small angel who'd make him smile with her pure innocence and joy. He felt his own eyes teared up and he hugged her closer.

Sansa was feeling more wretched than ever, too. Her own stupidity separated her from her family forever. Never again would the halls of Winter-fell be hers to wander. Nor would she ever see her brothers' spar in the training yard, never would she sit in her rooms and sleep in her own bed ever again. Now she was being cast adrift in the brutal world that seemed to be so large and cruel that it'd swallow her up any moment.
"We will ride south to visit you, write to you as often as possible and I promise I will be there on your wedding day." Ned had sworn to his daughter lifting her chin carefully so she'd meet his gaze and her tears made him hate himself more. "Father." Sansa said, tightening her hold on him as if to stop him from leaving her behind. "I love you, my sweet wolf." Ned embraced her in return. Willas Tyrell and the small group of Tyrell men who had accompanied him, all looked away from the uncomfortable scene that unfolded before them. They were intruding on something very private between father and daughter which seemed like an eternity before they finally separated by dispersing and Sansa reluctantly climbed onto the horse that had been provided for her. With fresh tears ready to erupt any moment, she'd taken one last, final look at Ned before she started off down the road accompanied by Willas Tyrell, the heir who'd sworn on his honor to protect Sansa. He told Ned that his only one sole sister, Margaery would be there to help his daughter through this and his cousins would be there as her new friends but that didn't at all reassure Ned, the Northern lord who only felt like the lowest creature in all of creation for sending his daughter away and as he had ridden away back North, he was accompanied by Jeyne Poole, the silent orphaned girl who never even bothered to bid her ex-best friend goodbye. He had known neither Catelyn nor his sons would ever forgive him.
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