Foreword: here continues the series that began in my separate story Event Horizon: Storm Of Magic - Prologue, a reading of which is recommended (though not absolutely essential) in order to understand the greater universe within which this story takes place. But the basic premise is simple: in 2154, a space mission from Earth discovers four new habitable planets in the Epsilon Eridani System ... and one of these planets just so happens to be the World of Ice and Fire (combining elements of both the books and the HBO show ... since this story aims to parody both!). Prepare thyself, fair reader, for the adventure about to unfold...
Acknowledgements: I would like to take a moment to briefly thank all those who have taken their time to read and support this story, whether through inspiration, inputting creative ideas and suggestions, proofreading, or simply leaving a review in the reviews section. In particular, I would like to thank the following users at AlternateHistory dot com, the original home of this story: Corsair_Caruso, ZIM19, RosoMC, Teslacoil, WanderingWanderer, Silver, TheScottishMongol, Ridli Scott, Rostov, Darksnider05, Monty Burns, terranova210486, berat2beti, iddt3, Panica, ignuus66, Amras89, Coalition, meichiri, Wolf1965, Beer, and many, many others.
Disclaimer: this is a noncommercial fan work meant as a light-hearted parody and transformative work of the original source material, and thus falling within the perimeters of current United States Fair Use Doctrine. Any other new characters or places are my own creation.
Winter is coming indeed, thought Jon to himself as he accompanied his father and his half-brother Robb, riding along the slow winding trail through the Wolfswood.
Another late summer snow had fallen last night, blanketing the land in a thin layer of fluff – most of it had melted as soon as the sun had shone its face upon the land, reducing the Kingsroad … or at least what passed for the Kingsroad in this parts … to little more than a canal of mud and horseshit. Summer snow showers were a common occurrence up North, but their increasing frequency over the last few months could point at only one thing: this summer, the longest one in living memory, was finally coming to an end.
Riding alongside the Lord of Winterfell and his two sons were Ser Rodrik Cassell, loyal as always to his liege lord, as well as Lord Stark's ward, the Kraken's boy Theon of the House of Greyjoy, and five loyal household bannermen of the Starks serving as their honor guard, including Alyn, Cayn, Porther, Varly, and ol' Fat Tomard. And, of course, running and playing alongside the horses came the direwolves Grey Wind and Ghost. They were still technically pups, found barely over a month ago, but they were growing fast, and now keep pace with the steady march of the destriers.
Jon had only known the life of a bastard, and all the prejudice that entailed. But even he took pride in his heritage, and always looked up to his father with the deepest of respect and admiration. Jon may not have shared Lord Stark's name, but he shared his blood. And right now, Jon could not help but admit to himself that the Lord Of Winterfell and his loyal bannermen, astride their mighty destriers – they certainly made for a magnificent show of honor, dignity, and silent stoicism against the bleak and grey backdrop of the land.
It was often easy for people to forget that the North was easily as large as the other Six Kingdoms put together, yet with an entire population barely larger than any of the others. After Winter's Town, the men had to ride for over three days before meeting the next village. As it was, Lord Stark and his wards had been following the Kingsroad north of Winterfell for the last couple of days. The purpose of their little ranging had been, on the surface, to reconnoiter the lands around the Wolfswood for the perfect hunting grounds for when His Grace King Robert, First Of His Name, and his royal court would arrive in Winterfell next month.
But implicitly, Jon knew that Lord Stark had other reasons as well for wanting to increase the frequency of his patrols and inspections of the countryside. Just over a month ago, the day that they had first found the direwolves, the Warden Of The North had beheaded a deserter of the Brotherhood Of The Night's Watch. There had always had been deserters for as long as there had been the Watch. But now sworn brothers were forsaking their oaths far more than usual, and this last one in particular had had a chilling tale to tell. Others? Could it be true? No one had seen an Other for thousands of years! But then, so too had no living soul ever seen a direwolf until just over a month ago…
As the sun neared the high point of this otherwise grim and grey day, the party of two-and-ten finally arrived at the first village they had seen in the last couple of days. As they drew closer, the villagers recognized the direwolf banner the party bore, and immediately discarded their activities to come out and greet their liege lord. Being so close to Winterfell, Lord Stark had visited this crofter's village on numerous occasions, and the smallfolk here had almost come to love and regard the honorable lord with the same familiarity and affection that they would for a brother (well, in the North at least. Jon wasn't so sure if people treated their brothers with familiarity and affection anywhere else in the Seven Kingdoms, at least not from how he'd heard his father describe the rest of Westeros).
As Lord Stark and his wards and bannermen dismounted, Jon saw the head crofter of the village come up and bend the knee in humble greeting to his liege lord. "M'lord Stark", he began, "'tis an honor. What bringeth thee to our little neck o' the 'Wood?"
"I bid thee greetings from Winterfell", began the Warden Of The North. "My men and I have come here to survey the land in preparation for the arrival of His Grace, King Robert of the House Baratheon, First Of His Name".
"Aye, so I've heard", replied the crofter. "M'lord, t'would be our honor to host the King upon our humble lands".
"Tell me", said Lord Stark, "what news is there of late that I should be aware of?"
"M'lord", said the crofter, "the snows are returning and the days grow colder. Winter is coming, and we begin preparing the best we can. But, m'lord, there is one thing that would perhaps whet thy interest. Two nights ago, I was awoken by my youngest son, who'd 'ad troubles getting to sleep. At first, I scolded the young lad for his disturbance. But then he showed me what it was that had caught his attention".
Jon could see from the look on the face of the crofter, and of those gathered near to him who must have been his close family, that they had seen something that had disturbed them. Lord Eddard kept himself composed, but he too seemed rather apprehensive to what he was about to hear.
"M'lord. It appears that a … a comet fell from the skies and, eh, came to rest somewhere in the Wolfswood north of here, in the direction of the Wall".
"Yes, m'lord, I swear on the Old Gods and the New. T'was a blue star that left a bright stream of light across the sky and came to rest somewhere yonder. And then last night, there was a light in the 'Wood, like the glow that comes from a wildfire yet many miles away. I'd say perhaps two or three days north o' here. T'was a white light, unlike any fire I'd ever seen".
"Are you perhaps telling me", said Lord Eddard, "that this falling star of yours … landed in the Wolfswood? And that it … eh, continues to burn?"
"M'lord, let the Old Gods be my witness. We saw what we saw. If the light in the 'Wood appears again tonight, I will show you myself."
"Fear not, for I believe your word", replied Lord Stark, "but what do you make of it?"
"I know not, m'lord. We are but humble crofters. Perhaps, m'lord, you would know a maester learned in the workings o' this world and o' the heavens".
The discourse continued for another few minutes. Lord Stark heard the voices of the villagers and answered in return. Most of the smallfolk had the usual things to report: the weather, crops, village festivities, and the like. But the topic of the crofter's comet remained at the forefront of everyone's curiosity.
"Others, Direwolves, and now a falling star" remarked Lord Eddard as he and his bannermen remounted their destriers. "Sometimes I wonder if the Old Gods have something greater in store for us."
"Father", spoke up Robb, "we must go investigate! If it is indeed the Old Gods, or the New, then it must be something important for us to know."
"Seconded!" said Theon.
"I say we return to Winterfell and wait to see what happens before we do so", said Ser Rodrik, "there is no need to rush headfirst into things."
For a moment, Lord Stark contemplated these options raised to him. And then, he turned to Jon.
"And you, Jon? What have you to say on the matter?"
Jon was honored to have his opinion called upon, but he also knew that whatever he said next could change things for better or for worse. He looked at his half-brother Robb and at Theon, at Ser Rodrik and other bannermen, and then finally, he gazed down at Ghost and Grey Wind, who had suddenly stopped playing around and had become attentive, as if they too expected an answer from him. At last, he spoke.
"Lord Stark", began Jon, "I agree that we should exercise caution. But if we wait too long, whatever it is the old crofter saw may, eh, disappear. My Lord, a month ago, it was fate that brought the direwolves to us. Perhaps this falling star is no different."
"Thank you Jon for your honest opinion", said Lord Eddard, after which he turned and addressed everyone: "it is decided then. We shall ride at once and search for this 'comet'. It may take us a day or so to find it, but when we do, I want you all prepared for whatever it is the Old Gods have in store for us. To the North!"
And with that, Lord Eddard Stark, Lord Of Winterfell, Warden of the Kingdom of the North to His Grace King Robert Baratheon, First of his Name … set off towards the Wolfswood. For better or for worse, Jon had an uneasy feeling that whatever it was that awaited them, The North would never be the same again.
Footnotes: and thus we begin the adventure. Welcome aboard, fair reader; I hope that the rest of this story proves to be a blast (in more ways than just one), and I encourage you all to leave your reviews, as we writers always hunger for feedback!