A/N: Hello. This story is my first Game of Thrones fanfiction and I am super excited for all to read. I have edited this chapter probably three times now, trying to make sure it was perfect. Let me know of any mistakes that need attended and also if anyone is looking for a story to beta I am looking for a Beta. :)
The idea of this story if what if The Hound had escaped the Battle of Blackwater with Sansa? He would not have run into Arya and taken her from the Brothers without Banners. In this story, Khal Drogo has not died yet. Basically everything on the other side of the Narrow Sea is still going on, it is just slowed to leave for some more time. That will come into play more in the second story though, so no need to worry about what lies beyond the Narrow Sea at this time, I will explain when it is time I promise.
So this is what I gather would have happened. Or could have I should say. There is quite a bit of gore and there will be mature themes as this progresses. I have a total of 3 fifteen to twenty chapter stories planned. They are set in Arcs.
Chapter One: The Birth of the She Wolf
The smell of the dead clung to the air and Arya voiced this to the three men taking her supposedly to be united with her family while they were being hosted by Walder Frey. "We're at war little Lady, it's bound to have a touch of death in the air around these parts. Nothing to be concerned with, soon enough you'll be returned to your Lady Mother, and that brother of yours, the King in the North. " The rest of their ride away from the clearing they had left to other Brothers in was silent.
As Arya rode with Lord Beric, sitting in front as an attempt to better control the wild child and her probable (likely) plan to escape before they reached her family, in attempt to save them the ransom that was to be demanded of the Starks for her safe return. She didn't make to escape though, instead sitting quietly, some what sourly, staring off into the forest that was much too quiet for her liking. As the small group rode she thought of Gendry and her time with him ending. She bit hard on the inside of her cheek to control her emotional reaction, the burning in her eyes that came with the thought of him wanting to remain with the Brotherhood instead of joining her on this last stretch to her family. She had thought that he would remain by her side through anything after all they had been through together, after two years together, but he just like Hot Pie before him had found their own way and it did not involve her.
She tried to push the image of his face from her mind when he told her that he would remain with the Brotherhood. He had looked sorry but resolute with his decision, and even when she argued that he was stupid she knew that it would not sway him. His mouth had been set in the way it always did when he was determined to keep to his word, no matter what. She hadn't spoken to him since.
The smell of death became thicker the closer the four came to their destination and the smell of smoke began to filter in as well. Lord Beric stopped his horse at the edge of the forest clearing and signaled for Anguy and Thoros to do so as well. "Something is wrong." It wasn't a question that fell from her lips but rather a statement. She could tell by the body language of her "escorts" and the smell that clung to the ever colder morning air, of death and fire and blood. It was more than that though, it was a feeling she had in the pit of her stomach, a deep feeling that felt wrong. She turned her gaze from Lord Beric and looked through the trees that gave them sparse coverage. "Where are the banner…" the wolf girl had begun until her eyes almost immediately were drawn to the top of the gates, where she saw the most horrific sight she had ever seen in her short and tormented life.
He was hanging limply, his body not yet stiff from death yet, even in the cold of the morning. She knew that meant he had not died long ago, mere hours before. He could even still be warm to the touch. His body was mutilated, arrows and daggers sticking out of him here and there, and head missing, in it's place was Greywinds fierce, snarling jaws, crudely stitched upon her eldest brother's body. She didn't ask where his head was, most likely sent to Joffrey on a silver platter. Too late Lord Beric realized what the child was staring at her fallen brother and moved to shield her from the sight, but when he lifted his arms to hard turn his mount away from the battlements and back into the forest she swung her leg faster than he'd ever seen and had toppled off the horse, running full blast toward her fallen brothers disgraced corpse.
"Damn it, the girl" Without thought Beric tore after her, spurning his horse hard toward the now feral child. Beric caught up to her quicker than he had hoped, but only because she had ran into a pair of guard patrolling the forest outskirts, not paying attention to their surroundings. Before Lord Beric was able to register what was happening one of the guards was dead and the other was being slashed at violently, with lightening quick little hands fueled by pure hatred. By the time Beric reached down and wrapped an arm around the viscous urchin the second Bolton guard was on his way to dying, with a number of deep weeping wounds about his person.
He threw Arya across the front of his horse, wrenching the dagger, his dagger she had somehow gotten as she dismounted the steed, and setting off at full gallop for the woods, thankful the girl had been efficient enough in her blind rage to kill the men quick enough as to not alert the surrounding sentries. As they barreled into the forest Thoros and Anguy fell in behind, not a word needing to be said. They saw what had happened, they saw the King in the North strung up like a tapestry for all to see, his head replaced with that of his direwolf as one last insult. They saw the little lady damn near get herself strung up there with him, or worse. Lord Beric couldn't blame the child for her violent reactions, in the short time he had known her, he could see that she was volatile and short tempered. This was exactly the reaction that should have been expected, reckless and violent. But of course, he hadn't expected for her family to be murdered under guest right's either.
She kicked and cursed the whole time, wriggling relentlessly to try and break his grip on her arms he had behind her back using one hand to hold her at the elbows. She was a small girl, and under fed as well, so it wasn't as if he had much trouble restraining her, but the cries she let out, like a wounded animal fighting to free itself from a snare, pierced at his heart. She was a wounded pup, orphaned now and without a pack to protect her. She was the last known living Stark. The last of perhaps the oldest great house in Westeros.
There were rumors that Lady Sansa had escaped King's Landing during the Battle of Blackwater Bay, running off with none other than the dog of the boy king Joffrey, Ser Sandor Clegane. Lord Beric thought it far more likely that the Lady had been kidnapped by the Hound when he was fed up with serving a pretentious little twat of a king. So, it was really a coin toss as to whether the fairer sister still lived. All that was truly known of the girl is the last time she was seen was before the battle of Blackwater.
Arya though, was alive, and fierce as ever. She was the last known living Stark and thus the heiress of Winterfell, rightful Queen in the North.
Not that it mattered though. All the Stark bannermen were dead, she had no armies to command, no allies to call upon. All was lost with the loss of her brother and Lady mother. This girl was now just as any other child who had lost everything to the wars of this land, alone. She had nowhere and no one to go to or call upon to defend her, protect her or care for her in any way. It was no wonder why she howled and screamed as she did, like her heart was being ripped viciously from her chest. Unfortunately, they couldn't have the commotions, not with enemy forces so close they may very well hear the little Princess's cries and come to see what banshee haunts these woods. So, without a second thought, Beric took the dagger he had confiscated back from Arya and with the hilt of the dagger came down on the back of her heard, effectively silencing her for at least a little while.
It was not long after that Beric, Anguy and Thoros charged into the clearing they had left the rest of their party. With few words he commanded that they return to Hallow Hill immediately and would discuss further upon arrival. No one argued and everyone mounted their horses and followed. Lord Beric noticed the look on young Gendry's face as he saw the little Arya, covered in blood and haphazardly slung over a horse, looking dead to the young and untrained eye. To the boys merit he said nothing, only did as he was told and mounted quickly and followed as best he could, being fairly new to riding. The look of concern never leaving his face as he bounced painfully on his horse, spurring it as fast as it could without being able to manage the ride himself smoothly.
The ride took nearly two hours and was without a doubt exhausting as they did not slow down as much as their horses would allow. The entire time Lord Beric thought of the realm and the impact this shift in power would make, There must always be a Stark in Winterfell, he thought to himself, knowing it was a common saying amongst the Northerners he had known throughout his many lives. Who would seize power in the North now? The Bolton bannermen had been the one's to be scouring the forest perimeter but it was the Frey banners that decorated the castle. If he were to wager, it would be the Boltons over the Frey to seize control, as they were more powerful. But he didn't know if this had been a strict mutiny or if the powers that be in King's Landing had made for this to happen.
Lord Beric supposed it mattered little to him as nothing really changed. He would continue to fight the Lannisters at every turn, and any Lannister allies he may find. He would continue to protect the small folk of the realm just as he had been before another player fell from the game of thrones.
Upon their arrival at the Brothers hideaway Gendry was at Lord Beric's side within a breath, gently pulling the little thing down from the tired horse and into his probably sore and shaken frame from the ride. His tired muscles barely seemed to feel her weight though as she was so small compared the the strapping young smith cradling her in his arms. "Come inside, we must speak of what has happened."
"I don't see any injuries, where is she bleeding from?" Gendry asked helplessly as he followed Lord Beric's quick footfalls seamlessly. His voice was tight and cracked a little, reminding one just how young this bull of a boy actually was, only six and ten years. It was commonly known that the orphan teen had a soft spot for the little Lady he had been responsible for close to a year before they had been found and he took her care seriously. He must have been shaken seeing her this way.
"Don't worry lad." It was Anguy who spoke up as he moved in step with him, both following closely into the cave. "Ain't a lick of that blood is that little she wolf's. After she seen what they did to her brother she killed two guards before Lord Beric pulled her back and escaped into the forest. So don't worry yourself so lad. Physically she is right as rain."
"Then why is she knocked out? What happened?" Gendry asked as they made it to the inner room of the cave and made to lay her gently by the fire on a pile of this blankets. He knelt swiftly beside her and did his own little check over her, to be sure she had no injuries. The only thing he found was a large lump beging to form on the back of her head. Suddenly it became clear what had happened. He looked up at Lord Beric not truly angry but obviously upset it had come to that with little Arry.
"It had to be done lad, she wouldn't be quiet and had already caused a commotion. We had to get away as quietly as possible and she had no sense about her at the time." Lord Beric felt himself explaining to the young lad, obviously sick with worry and guilt. No doubt he blamed himself for not going with Arya for the condition she was currently in, but he would have had no sway on the animal that took hold of her soul when she saw her brother.
It was then Beric explained the death of the King in the North and the seeming betrayal by both house Frey and Bolton. He told the men of her brother, strung up for all to see, the head of a wolf grotesquely sewn to replace the one they had taken from him. The smell of so many dead permeated the air and left the land feeling ominous and unclean. When the tale was well and done there was only one question that needed to be answered.
"What are you going to do with Arya if there is no one left to pay her ransom?" Gendry asked, sitting stiffly next to the young girl who looked so broken there vulnerable on the ground.
Indeed, what were they to do with her? There was no place for a Lady let alone one so tiny among his band of merry men. If anything she would only get underfoot, a liability in these times of war. They couldn't just leave her though, not a game piece as valuable as her. she held no power in the North at this time, while she was but a small girl. One day though, She would be seen as the rightful liege Lady of the North, granted the elder Sansa wasn't still alive and well, and the banners may come when called, after sometime under the unjust rule of either the Boltons or the Freys.
He rubbed the bridge between his eyes, fighting off the steady ache mounting there. What to do with the girl indeed. She may very well be more trouble than she was worth. Keeping his thoughts to himself and said simply as he sat down on the stone floor, happily accepting the wine from Thoros, "There is nothing that can be decided tonight. Get some rest, I will take council with Thoros and we will decide what must be done."
It was then a resounding and off putting howl broke the silence of their group, its keys strong, fierce and powerful. It seemed to go on and on, and even in it's sadness, there was an undeniable rage below, promising retribution. The North will remember.
He looked down at the little thing curled into him as he tried to find sleep rather than staying awake endlessly worrying of what had happened to her. He had heard Lord Beric telling of what happened, but he wanted to know from her what had happened. He had done his best to clean the blood from her hands and face, little droplets speckling most of her free skin. Anguy had said that she had killed two men, and it didn't surprise him. He had seen her kill before, and now, he imagined he would see her kill again. If she is allowed to stay…
It was a hopeful thought, though not very likely. He didn't see Lord Beric allowing her to remain with a group of outlaws, it wouldn't be proper or safe for a Lady of her status. But she wouldn't care. And where else could she go? If what Lord Beric had said was right then the last bit of family she had was gone, stolen from possible mutineers. Nothing remained of her house except for her. She was alone.
Suddenly, realization hit him harder than a bag of bricks. She was an orphan, just like him. She and he both had no one to care about them as the Winter came barreling toward them. Her home had been taken from her, her family, her life as she had known it, it was all gone.
But we're still not the same. She's still a Lady. Gendry thought, quickly catching himself as he began to hope. She was still nobility, of high birth and status, born to one of the great houses, and he was a bastard born in Flea Bottom to a tavern wench. He was nothing and she was still so valuable. If some other house were to get a hold of her and force a marriage they would have stake to claim her ancestral home for themselves. He knew she would rather die than let anyone use her as a player in the game. She hated to whole lot of it too much to be involved.
He suddenly let himself find a little peace as he looked down at the girl, still not yet woken from the strike she had received to silence her. He could only imagine the commotion she had made before being knocked out. Kicking, screaming, biting, were all things he could imagine her doing to get past them to attempt and fail to exact her revenge single handed. She probably didn't even have words, was probably just yelling things without meaning, primal noises. That's what always seemed to happen when she saw red. She looked so young when she slept, closer to the one and ten that she actually was, without the hard marks that their lives caused them. Her hair was getting longer, it fell to just below her jaw and was starting to wave. He imagined it would continue to do so as it got longer. She was so thin, such a small little thing. He often felt she was too thin, all knobby knees and elbows. He did what he could, giving her larger shares of the rations they'd had before the Brotherhood had found them, and she certainly took matters into her own hands (he remembered the worms she'd eaten and nearly gagged), but no matter what she stayed thin as a rail.
Suddenly, her quiet voice began murmuring and Gendry leaned in a little farther to better hear what she was saying. "Cersei…. Joffrey… Ilyn Payne, Meryn Trant, The Hound, The Mountain, Tywin Lannister, Walder Frey…." She trailed off, her breathing uneven and her eyes fluttering behind her closed lids. He hated her list. He knew she was obsessed with vengeance for her family, for all the wrongs done to her and those she cared for, she said the little prayer every night and apparently she said it in her sleep as well. He brushed a hand over her forehead, brushing her hair off her face gently, trying to comfort her in some way from the events she had to witness today. He felt so guilty, so at fault. He should have stayed with her. He should have gone with her to the castle, made sure she made it to her mother. He would have known she would bolt when he saw what had happened, he would have known to hold her a little tighter to keep her from running after the stray sentries. He would have comforted her, quieted her as he always had when she was lost in grief, or anger, rather than being brutally knocked unconscious.
It was in that moment, staring at the young Lady's face, silent tears beginning to stream from her tightly closed eyes, that Gendry decided he would never let something happen to her again. She was his now and he was hers. Neither had a family so they would be their own family. He would look after her and she him, if she would forgive him. Really, nothing would change. As he drifted off to sleep, his arm encircling her little body and holding her to him, protecting her from the world with his already large form. He finally found sleep as he wondered how he would make it known to her that she would not leave him ever again.
The fire priest took another long swig of the wine that was left in his sheep skin as he leaned back against a rock, staring and the two children huddled together on the other side of the fire. He was trying to process all the happenings of the day, and the problem they were currently stuck with, the Lady (or should he say Princess?) Arya Stark. He felt a tight aching taking form between his brows. The girl was most certainly a pain in the arse.
The girl was as dangerous as his fire and he had no doubt she would be just as beautiful, someday sooner rather than later. She resembled her late Aunt too much to not become a Northern beauty, harsh and intense. She was more wild than her Aunt had been, Lyanna would at least dawn a dress and act as a Lady when necessary from what he had seen of the woman. This skinny little urchin was more animal than human it seemed most of the time, all snarls and bite. Thoros took another healthy swig from his skin and thought mayhaps it was because of her recent years. She couldn't be more than one and ten, and from the looks of her she had been on the run a long time, starving, scrounging and fighting just to live. She was something akin to a feral dog, savage from circumstance and not from nature.
Thoros eyes drifted to the man-child with the she wolf. One look at how the bastard practically surrounded the little thing with his body told Thoros that they would not be able to dump her off anywhere, not without a scene that would draw undue attentions. If she were going to leave them it would have to be for an actual haven where she could find sanctuary. It looked as if the bastard had taken personal responsibility for the well being of the child lady now that she too was orphaned. Kindred spirits as it were, already fueled by their like of each other. Their ridiculously intense loyalty toward one another had only been tried when the boy thought her better with her mother and brother. Now that she had no one he knew that the bull would never leave her.
Yes the little she wolf would always be safe with her pet bull to protect her.
As Thoros looked across the fire as both children shifted slightly ending in Gendry laying on his back with an arm tucked around Arya's waist and she lay her head on his already broad chest. It was in this particular angle that Thoros felt as though he had been thrown back in time. His breath caught in his throat as he took in the two bathed in the light of the fire, her with her Stark features and the boy looking like a Stag warrior, protecting what was his. He thought he was looking upon the faces of Lyanna Stark and Robert Baratheon. With a shake of his head and another swig of wine he shook the ghosts of the past from his mind.
"It's the spitting image of the woman and the man who started the last great war, isn't it old friend?" Came the ever calm voice of Lord Beric. He reached out to Thoros and without having to ask, Thoros handed him the sheep skin of wine. He took a deep swig of the liquid and wiped his mouth with the back of his sleeve. "She really does look the image of her Aunt Lyanna. And he resembles that old war monger King beyond belief, like looking at a scene from the past."
Thoros laughed. "Aye, I had seen the girl's resemblance to her Aunt but had not noticed the boys look until now. He always keeps his bloody face to the ground. Could be one of the man's bastards for all we know, word around the kingdoms is he had at least fifty with how he enjoyed a good whore." A brooding silence followed his off hand remark and Thoros wasn't sure if he was thinking of Gendry as the late King's bastard or about their current Stark problem.
"What do you think should be done about the girl?" Lord Beric asked Thoros seriously now, needing his most trusted counsel on the matter. He was at a loss. He wanted her safe but he also did not believe she should be traveling with them, too dangerous of a bargaining chip to have gallivanting around the Seven Kingdoms.
Thoros didn't know how to answer. He didn't know what was right. Instead he let eyes loose focus from the two figures he'd been watching through the flames. He let his mind go blank and opened his heart to the voice he prayed for answers from. He knew Beric was understanding of the prolonged silence, probably understanding he was welcoming the Lord of Light's guidance on this particular problem. Without warning the flames of the fire seems to take shape, swirling and twirling together until they created an image that only he was privy to.
A wolf stood before a stag the size of a bull, it's antlers raised high and proud. There the wolf guarded the stag, biting and snarling at any enemies that came toward the stag. First the wolf fought a lion as it lunged for the stag, claws spread wide as it swiped at the stag, but the wolf would have none of it. The giant wolf attacked the lion with a ferocious snarl. The lion fell in a bloody mess.
As quick as the image was there it was gone and Thoros was left blinking at the flames that seemed to have lost their magic. With a sigh he put together his interpretation of the vision. "Shield her. Protect her. Defend her and she'll got to war for him as no one else will. She will turn this pain into power and the only one who will be able to reign in her fury is the boy." Thoros said simply. "There is a destiny in these two Beric, and I believe it is in our destiny to keep them close."
Lord Beric seemed to ponder this a moment before looking back and the fire priest, something in his eyes that hadn't been there in sometime now, hope. "They could start another rebellion, looking as they do, so much the King and his would be Queen. A symbol for the people to stand behind." He said, his voice sounding far off, as if his mind was too preoccupied to be fully present.
Thoros nodded, understanding where Beric was thinking. "You mean to make him like Robert's ghost returned, to take back his kingdom from the Lannister scum. He is only a boy, and a base born as well Beric. You aim too high."
Beric nodded, "Aye, I aim to end this incestious lots hold over the kingdom once and for all. And base born or not, who would not believe him the true born son of Robert? He is good in his heart and cares for people, as he cares for the girl. Everything he needs to know, he will learn. We can teach him to fight, to plan, to deal with the masses. We can make this kingdom right again. Put, if not a legitimate Baratheon on the throne, than at least a true born son of the late King."
"You're sense of justice will get you killed. You know that?" Thoros teased lightly, offering the one eyed man another drink from his skin. His friend took a long gulp and settled back against the rock wall of the cave. "And you've already got the one day Queen of the North to legitimize him as well as possibly unite the Kingdoms again one day. Seems you've planned this out well."
Beric shook his head. "No, I dare not attempt to control the girl. She is like a wild thing. We cannot predict her movements, her feelings or what she may end up."
"But it is obvious she cares for the boy." Thoros replied.
"She had cared for him, before he decided to remain with The Brothers. She has not since seen him and though he did leave her for the right reasons, she only sees it as betrayal. We can't hope to predict what the girl will do." Beric said pointedly. The girl was like something primal and ancient, at least she had been when he had seen her today. She had been like the sigil of her house, a wolf, uncontrollable and insatiable in her thirst for blood and vengeance.
Thoros didn't share his friends same worries of the girl. No he had seen in the flames that she would always protect him. She was fierce and would fight tooth and nail for what was hers. She would be loyal to him and with her help and her name, she may be able to turn the Flea Bottom bastard boy into the King of the Seven Kingdoms.
A/N: Expect updates bi-monthly. :)