Holy crap, guys! The response has been AMAZING! Thank you so much for all the reviews, follows and faves! You guys are making my day over here!
So, as I stated in the prologue, the chapters are now reverting to the very beginning of Season 1. The first couple chapters are going to be a bit jumpy time wise but it'll even out soon enough. I'm also experimenting a bit with different POVs as you can see here. Also, I apologize for anyone wanting a quick romance. This one is going to be pretty slow. Lots of things to do!
FYI this first chapter is really just an intro to how all the characters are doing. Not much action/plot movement. Sorry if it's a bit boring.
I hope you all enjoy!
Everything belongs to George R. R. Martin. Any similarities to other stories is completely coincidental.
When word of the boy's death came, Ned knew where to find his daughter.
There was a hill not far from their home, the highest to be found before reaching the Lonely Hills in the North. On the clearest of days, it was rumored that one could spot the sea from there, but rumors were nothing more than words, and words were wind.
Still, it was where he found Myra, astride her chestnut mare, gazing at the horizon where the Narrow Sea would not rise up for many more leagues. From a distance, and with her back to him, Ned could almost mistake her for Lyanna. She looked so much like his sister, and rode nearly as well, but that was where the similarities ended. Where Lyanna was headstrong, Myra was willing to compromise; where his sister was hot-tempered, his daughter kept her calm. She was patient, obedient, and cautious, not that she did not have her moments. She was of the North after all.
"I thought I might find you here," Ned spoke as he brought his stallion to a halt beside her.
"There never have been many places to hide."
Ned turned to her, but said nothing else. She would speak when the time was right.
Myra was his eldest, older than her twin, Robb, if only by moments, though there were times he thought years separated them. While Robb still struggled with the responsibility now resting upon his shoulders, Myra had taken to it rather well and with all the grace a person could muster. To be honest, Ned had expected no less from her. She had burdened herself with duties to her family and to Winterfell long before it was ever required of her.
If the situation were not so grave, he might have smiled. There was no denying that Myra was his.
"Did he suffer?" she asked after some time. Myra's voice was a whisper, hardly louder than the wind. Her gaze had left the horizon and settled on the back of her mare's neck as she picked at the mane.
"I could not say. Lord Bolton made no mention of it."
He might have lied, told her the boy's death was quick and painless, but it was not in his nature, even for the sake of his children. The truth was always better. Besides which, his daughter could pick out a lie from leagues away. Some called it a gift; he called it growing up with brothers.
"I hope he did not. Domeric deserved better than that."
Ned paused. "Did you care for him?"
Myra was silent for a long time before she turned to him, her gray eyes glistening with unshed tears, skin reddened by the cold, evening air. Black strands of her hair clung to her face, but she seemed not to care.
"He promised to show me the sea one day, and teach me the harp if I wished to learn. Anything to please his lady wife, who must be so disappointed in her choice of a husband." Myra shook her head, a tear escaping. "The way he thought of himself made me sad, but he was sweet and gentle. I do believe I will miss him."
Nodding grimly, Ned placed a hand on his daughter's shoulder, the only comfort he could offer her on horseback. Myra rested her cheek against his fingers. He could feel her tears streak across his skin.
His daughter was a gentle soul, prone to empathize with even the hardest of characters. She wept for those she hardly knew and sought to comfort many deemed unworthy of such kindness. Truthfully, it made him worry. There were many lords who would have liked to take advantage of someone like her. And for all her strength, Ned could not be certain whether or not she would crumble in the house of a lord not near as kind.
"Am I to marry Ramsay now?" Myra spoke, breaking the thoughtful silence. She lifted her head to look at him, eyes filled with expectation and what he might have guessed was a flicker of fear. "I know he is only a bastard, but with Lord Bolton having no heirs, the king might legitimize-"
"You'll not marry Ramsay," Ned interrupted, not wanting to hear her finish the thought. She did not know the manner of the boy's death and, if the old gods smiled upon him, she never would. A being such as Ramsay Snow did not deserve the blessing of Myra as his wife, nor the blessing of any woman for that matter. "Lord Bolton will have to make do without you as a daughter."
Myra nodded, respectful, but there was no mistaking the relieved slump in her shoulders. She may not have known about the kinslaying, but the reputation of Ramsay was hard to miss.
"Who am I to marry then?"
Ned smiled at her, though there was no happiness in it. All he felt was a yearning for her to be a child again, free and uncommitted to the game all highborns played.
He lifted his hand from her shoulder, wiping away the tears on her cheeks with his thumb. "That is something to worry over another day. You are young and will be married before long, but let us leave it for now."
"I would like that very much."
He did not doubt her. Ned only wished the smile she gave him reflected more than just understanding.
"Come," he said, gripping the reins of his stallion. "Your mother'll be frozen with worry, and don't get me started on your twin."
Now he heard it, genuine happiness echoing in her light laughter. It was a good sign.
"Robb, worry? Father, I do believe you're confusing my dear brother for someone else."
Ned joined in on her laughter, the lighthearted feeling chasing away the sadness in his daughter's voice as they returned to Winterfell.
Had her room always looked so glum?
Myra stared at the walls, hands on her hips, debating whether or not she ought to light another candle. She had already brought so many into her room that Vayon Poole was likely convinced she intended to burn the castle down. And so many were already lit that even with all her windows open, the stench of the smoke would not thin nor would the cloud that seemed to have accumulated around her ceiling. And it would be a lie to say her eyes weren't stinging slightly.
But she did not want to be in the darkness, not this night. The castle was dark. The land was dark. Her thoughts were dark. Myra wanted something to be light, to remind her that the blackness would soon give way to the bright dawn and the warmth of something better than she could hope for. Yet for all the heat the candles and her hearth provided, there was a very real chill crawling up and down her spine.
She had not hoped for someone better than Domeric Bolton when it came to her betrothal. Her father loved her dearly and would never willingly let harm come to her, but at the end of it all they were just pieces in the never ending game. Power married power and moved down the board, whether or not happiness was content to follow. But in the Dreadfort's heir, Myra had found a shyness she had not expected and a willingness to do anything to make her comfortable, rather than just forcing her to adapt. That had sprouted the hope that everything would be fine, but then a raven bore a letter to their keep…
Dark wings, dark words, and her now darkened future.
No, she did not like the darkness at all.
"Gods, Myra, what sort of ritual are you performing in here?"
Myra turned to see Robb in the threshold of her room, his mouth agape. Jon stood just behind him, clearly debating as to whether or not he actually wanted to enter. They still wore their swords and a fine layer of sweat covered them both. Of course they had been practicing again. If they weren't eating or sleeping, they were fighting, because that was how the world should function according to them.
"The kind that teaches boys to knock before entering their sister's room." She walked over to them, scanning the hall outside. "Please tell me you didn't bring Theon as well."
"Of course not," Jon scoffed, pulling the door closed behind him. "This is a family matter."
Robb crossed his arms. "He wouldn't want to anyway. I believe his exact words were 'don't you have something better to do besides wallow in your sister's tears?'"
Myra rolled her eyes, sitting on her bed. "Doesn't he have something better to do than toss coins at the whorehouse?"
Jon snorted and Robb smiled, both moving to sit on either side of her.
They were an odd sort of trio, the twins and the half-brother.
Robb and Myra looked nearly nothing alike. Where she had all the coloring of the North, her brother clearly took after the Tully side of the family, with his red hair and bright, blue eyes. In fact, the only attestation to their relationship was their similar height and uncanny ability to know what the other was thinking. They often finished each other's sentences and had conversations involving only eye contact and the occasional head nod.
Jon, on the other hand, was the boy people often mistook for Myra's twin. Same look, same height, and the same gloomy disposition when left thinking for too long, Myra and Jon found themselves acting more and more like each other than she and Robb. When she was younger, much to her mother's dismay, Myra would often cut her hair, very poorly, and dress in Jon's clothes. Only their father could ever tell them apart.
It had not occurred to her for the longest time how much their similarity hurt Jon. Here she was, a near replica of him, treated far better and given all the courtesy of a trueborn child, while he was left as nothing more than a bastard. That was when she let her hair grow and stopped stealing his clothes.
"Are you really going to make us ask?" Jon spoke after a while, interrupting Myra's thoughts.
"I'm fine," she replied, a little too fast. Both brothers gave her unconvinced looks. Myra slumped and fell back on her bed. "Really, I am."
"I don't believe you," Robb said, looking down at her.
"And why is that?"
"Because I am your twin. I know exactly how you feel."
"Then why do you need to ask?"
Robb fell down next to her. "Courtesy, I s'pose."
Myra snorted. "Courtesy from you? That's a new one, to be certain."
Jon chucked and joined his siblings, now all lying on their backs, watching the ceiling and the smoke that drifted by. Myra said nothing else. She knew her brothers would in time. They weren't ones to stay silent for long periods. Instead, she enjoyed the comfort of their presence, the sound of their breathing, the warmth of their proximity. They would not have this much longer. The days were growing colder; their summer was over.
Myra found the chill returning.
"I can see how you would be sad," Jon started. His words were slow, like he could not quite tell which to use. "He was our age, and he is already dead, but…doesn't that mean you're free as well? You weren't exactly enthusiastic about marrying him."
"And who would be?" Robb chimed in. "He was a bit odd looking."
"And he smelled funny."
Myra sighed. "Do the two of you honestly believe insulting the dead is supposed to comfort me?"
"Absolutely not," Robb replied, stone-faced. "But it is entertaining."
Robb got an elbow in the chest for that. He shrunk away in pain, but began to laugh anyway. The other two soon followed suit, the sound far too contagious to resist. They continued for some time, remembering other funny moments and finding themselves unable to stop. Myra never wanted it to end. She did not laugh enough anymore. And she was not sure if she would have someone who could make her feel this way again.
"The point is," Jon continued when they had calmed down. "You're staying in Winterfell with us now. Aren't you relieved in some way?"
Myra turned to Jon, seeing true concern reflected in his dark eyes. He knew the truth, she just supposed he did not want to believe it. Neither did she, really.
"It's nothing permanent," she murmured, looking back to the ceiling. The smoke cast strange shadows that suddenly made her uncomfortable in the light. "I'll soon be betrothed to someone else in some other far off place. At least the Dreadfort was still in the North. Maybe this time I won't be so lucky. Maybe this time my intended will not be so kind."
The room grew cold and suddenly Myra thought she felt the anger of all the North gathering to her left and right.
"Then your intended would not know this world for much longer," Robb spoke, as serious as she'd ever seen him.
Myra paused. "You would kill for me?"
The words tasted bitter in her mouth.
Jon nodded his assent. "You're our sister, and far better than most of these lords deserve. If they refuse to see it, we'll open their eyes for them."
There was a long silence after that. Myra did not know how to react. Was she to be comforted or mortified? It was hard to tell which.
Robb smiled to her left. "Maybe Father will marry you to Theon."
Myra blanched, abruptly sitting up. "That settles it then. Farewell, my brothers. I am off to join the Silent Sisters."
"You'd never make it. You enjoy the sound of your voice too much."
She smacked Robb again before standing up; she drifted over to some of the candles burning near the doorway, blowing them out slowly.
"In all seriousness though," Robb started behind her. "We'd start a war for you, Myra."
Another candle went out, smoke stinging her eyes.
"No one is worth a war."
Seven hells, he was bored.
They had been on the road for nearly a fortnight, and every league closer they drew to the North, the more insufferably bleak the landscape became. The trees were beginning to thin, as were the animals and the general population, and every time they happened upon some random, shabby inn, the frowns they met were deeper than the last. No wonder the Starks were such a glum lot.
The Queen's carriage had gotten stuck in the mud for somewhere over the twentieth time, and roughly half the caravan was participating in freeing it. The King, in his restless way, had gone off on another hunt, dragging Ser Barristan and Ser Arys with him. When the carriage was finally freed, he would be nowhere to be found, forcing them to stay the night in that very spot until he turned up drunk off his ass and dragging something furry behind his horse.
This was starting to become a daily trend and was very quickly gnawing away at what little tolerance he possessed.
He had been watching the chaos from atop his horse, men slipping in the mud and others bashing their heads on the woodwork when the carriage moved too quickly, but his eyes soon sought out the only thing of interest.
Cersei was standing a good thirty paces away from the scene, eyes scanning over every detail, calculating, her lips curved in a faint look of disgust. It did not do her beauty justice to scowl like that. Her lips should form a smile, or be softly parted, or, preferably, be thrust upon his own, filled with all the desire of two lovers bereft of each other for too long.
It took all the strength he had to not kick his stallion forward and drag her off into the woods, where they could finally be alone. At least then things would stop being so dull.
"My dear brother, you look positively enthused."
Jaime glanced over at his brother, who had somehow pulled up without him noticing. Tyrion was wearing that smirk of his, the kind he only got when everyone else was miserable.
He turned his gaze back to the carriage. "I want to kill something."
"Is there ever a time when you don't want to kill something?"
"Probably after I've killed it."
Tyrion chuckled. "Well, you certainly could have joined our good-brother on his little expedition."
Jaime snorted, eyes glimpsing at the patch of trees where he had last seen their noble King. "And leave you with all the fun here? I hardly think so."
They fell silent, listening to the groaning of the carriage as it finally broke free from the mud. There were cheers and pats among the men as they congratulated each other, but it fell silent rather quickly. No doubt they all realized it would be the same thing tomorrow.
"I don't suppose anyone wants to go looking for the King," Tyrion observed.
"I don't plan on it. He'll be halfway to Riverrun by now." Jaime looked up. "It's barely midday. The Stark words will come true before we get to their bloody castle."
"Perhaps you're right," Tyrion agreed. "Well, I am off for the remainder of the day. Plenty of business to attend to."
"And by business you mean pleasure." Jaime smirked as Tyrion began to ride off. "How do you plan on finding a whorehouse in the middle of nowhere?"
"A man of my skill always knows where to look." Tyrion stopped, turning back briefly. "Oh, but do tell me if our good-brother returns before the sun sets this time. I wouldn't want to miss the twenty paces the caravan moves before we're stuck again."
Jaime rolled his eyes, riding forward into the camp.
He trotted past dozens of Lannister and Baratheon soldiers setting up tents and starting cooking fires. A few acknowledged him, but most kept to their business. He preferred it that way. Why bother wanting anyone to look at you when it was for only one reason?
He grimaced inwardly, but outside he remained the same. It was a good trick he taught himself, never to show what he felt. Your life could hang in the balance when it came to showing your emotions. He and Cersei knew that very well.
Jaime dismounted his horse by the carriage, where he had seen his sister's golden hair disappear into earlier, handing the reins to a nearby Lannister guard. He quickly checked that the area had been thoroughly abandoned before entering.
Cersei did not even react to his entrance. She knew he was coming; she always did. Her emerald eyes were instead watching the land outside the only open window, the sunlight casting an otherworldly glow upon her skin. This was how she ought to have looked all the time. Peaceful. Beautiful. Alone with him.
"I don't suppose you know where my husband's run off to."
Jaime sat across from her. "I'm not sure he even knows."
"No, of course not. How could he? He hates travelling sober." She sighed, pulling the curtain into place. Her eyes locked on to his, a strange combination of aggravation and loneliness reflected in them. "Why does he insist on doing this to us? What possible reason could he have for dragging the entire court into the middle of nowhere?"
"He doesn't need a reason."
"He hates us."
Jaime shrugged. "I think our good King hates anything that isn't easy to kill or easy to fuck. As it just so happens, we Lannisters are both."
The corner of her mouth curved upward. "Does that include our little brother?"
Cersei shook her head. There was a glint in her eyes. Laughter, mischief, lust. But instead of capitalizing on it, she moved toward the opening, ducking to go outside. She always had been paranoid. He was having none of that today.
Jaime grabbed her wrist, tugging her back until she had fallen onto his lap, nearly straddling him. "Where do you think you're going?"
"Stop it," Cersei hissed, struggling against his grip, though it was entirely useless. "They'll see."
"No one's going to see." He ran a hand through her golden locks, so much like his own. His other half. His better half. And though she still fought, her resolve was weakening. He could see it in her eyes. She loved it when he took control; she loved the danger, the thrill of it all.
Her lips tasted like honey, sweet, invigorating, demanding he take more, and Jaime did well to meet that. He felt her fingers comb through his hair and had to bite his tongue to keep from groaning. Her touch did so much to him. It was hard to keep control.
His mouth moved down her jaw, to that little part of her neck that made her sigh, and further still. When he got to the top of her dress, he began to peel back the fabric, eager to touch the skin she hid, but that was when Cersei stopped cold.
She stood abruptly, fixing her hair and composing herself at a rate he found nearly impossible. Suddenly the desire was gone, replaced with that paranoia.
And then she was gone.
Jaime sighed, lying back on his seat. Unlike his dear sister, he could not recover so quickly from something like that. How she did it, he'd never know.
What he did know was that the sooner they got to Winterfell, the better.
*peaks out from behind couch* So...what'd you think? Feel free to comment! I will try my best to get back to people. Feedback is much appreciated! Keeps the muse happy.
Also, I apologize for any grammar mishaps. I've got a cold and am only vaguely aware of my surroundings right now.
Until next time!