So I saw this prompt:
Hermione never believed in reincarnation, and if she had, she never would have imagined her soul being shuffled off to another world/universe/dimension. Around hitting puberty in her new life, her memories of her old life begin to return to her – as do her magical abilities.
Then this came out and well, you know. Hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think.
. ... .
Her name was Roslin. She was Roslin Frey, daughter of Lord Walder Frey and his sixth wife, Bethany Rosby. She was nine. Her lord father was lecherous and bitter, and ancient besides and her lady mother was dead in the ground. She had many siblings and many nieces and nephews.
Sometimes she would repeat the thought over and over, a mantra that would remind her of her reality. It would remind her that Roslin really was her name. The miserable old man she lived with really was her lord father. The wide array of faces that inhabited her father's castle – most so different than her own – really were her blood.
It never felt right, though. Not one bit of it.
Roslin was not her name. This she knew. Her name was something different – something strange to say, to wrap her tongue around. Sometimes she felt as though it was right there, as if she could reach out and grasp it, but then it would fall away from her like sand would from between her fingers.
Lord Frey was not her father. Sometimes she would have flashes of someone else, a kind man with an easy smile and very straight, white teeth. Sometimes she would catch a scent of lemon and his face would swim across her mind.
Roslin had never met her lady mother, at least not that she remembered. Her lord father had been married to her for seven years before she died, and she had given him five children – her four older brothers and herself. Her lord father always said that she had been his most beautiful wife and he had a portrait made of her to commemorate such luck. Roslin would often look upon it. She saw a lot of herself in the portrait of the strange woman – but still this did not seem quite right. Still Roslin had flashes of another woman – a woman that had lived and had nurtured, who looked similar, perhaps a little less beautiful of the face than her lady mother's portrait, but wilder with a vast head of curly locks, a wide smile and light brown eyes that always danced.
She was one and ten when she really began to dream instead of these odd flashes, and these dreams were even stranger – she saw things that never could be possible. A beautiful castle, much grander than the one she dwelled in currently, with a Great Hall that had a ceiling of candles and sky. It had staircases that moved, rooms that would change to whatever was your heart's desire, and portraits that moved and even spoke.
As the years passed, these odd feelings and visions grew more intense and reality seemed to curve and shift around her, even to her waking eyes. In her dreams she was powerful and intelligent and she could do things that Roslin could only name as magic – brewing potions that allowed one to literally breathe fire, like the dragons of old or conjuring a flock of finches that flew above her and sang as she wished them to. But who was she, to dream such dreams? A daughter born to a sixth wife, a girl with a rudimentary education at best. Her lord father was Lord of the Crossing, but she had no such claim to speak of.
It did not matter that she had knowledge that she had no business knowing – words of the Common Tongue written on parchment, maths and figures that far surpassed the understanding of even their own Maester, what plants would heal and which ones would cause ill. If she had been born male, her knowledge and her desperate desire to be more than breeding stock might have served her well. She could go to Oldtown and work to join the Order of Maesters and use her knowledge. Perhaps she could even get a chain link of Valyrian Steel – the high magicks.
Sometimes she cursed the Gods. Out of all the children her lady mother had borne her lord father, Roslin had been the only girl – and the one that had killed her, as her lord father was wont to remind her. He told her that all she was good for was her pretty face and the wet little hole between her legs. Roslin couldn't stand when Lord Frey spoke to her, his ancient voice like a thousand snakes crawling over her skin and his beady little eyes eyeing her flesh as a father should not a daughter. She went out of her way to avoid her lord father, appearing before him only when specifically called upon.
. … .
Roslin had just turned ten and five when her dreams began to change. By that time, Roslin had come to the conclusion that they were not just dreams – it was a life. Her life. That she had lived before, somehow. She was sure of it. Despite her certainty, Roslin never said a word to anyone. The Seven said nothing about living and then living again. It was heresy – she would be labeled a witch and her father would cast her out, like as not.
One night she dreamed that she was running. Not running to get somewhere quickly, as if she were delivering a message. Nor was it for sport, though the two boys - who she knew to be her best friends, Harry and Ron, having dreamt of them often through the years - ran with her through this strange forest she found herself in.
Roslin ran with fear. A deep, instinctual fear - the kind of prey. The predators were people. She was being hunted by men. She knew that there was no escape; no matter how fast they ran their pursuers would catch them and haul them up like animals before delivering them to the dark.
Roslin knew that Harry was in the most danger – though she didn't exactly know why. She knew that she had to hide who he was, and so she raised her hand, fingers wrapped around some sort of stick. She spoke a word and light erupted from the end of her stick and struck her friend in the face. He fell to the ground, groaning in pain.
The dream shifted and she was in a magnificent room, a crystal light hanging above her as her back dug painfully into the cold, stone floor beneath her. It was so cold that it seemed to leach into her very bones, as if warmth had been a figment of her imagination all her life. Pain was everywhere - her stomach, her shoulders and her head. There was a woman with a face of shadows there and she was screaming at Roslin, demanding answers for things that Roslin didn't understand. The woman would raise the stick at her and the pain would come again and again.
Then the woman of shadows was above her, a deadly blade in her hand. She held Roslin down before she began to carve at her arm and Roslin screamed and screamed - the blade was made of fire and there was blood, so much blood and –
"Roslin! Roslin, wake up!"
Rough hands shook her and Roslin's eyes flew open, her scream dying in her throat. Her half-sister Tyta stood above her, looking incredibly annoyed. Tyta was daughter of their lord father through his fifth wife, Alyssa Blackwood. They called her Tyta the Maid, because though she was nearing her thirtieth name day she had never married. Roslin had heard rumors that Black Walder had had her, however, despite her infamous title. It was not surprising, really – Black Walder had had most of the unmarried women in her family at some point or another, along with several married ones.
"You're waking the whole damn castle with your screaming," Tyta snapped, eying Roslin with malice.
"I'm sorry," was all Roslin could manage, her heart still racing wildly from the dream. She threw back her coverlet to stand and gasped – her night clothes were covered in blood, warm and sticky between her thighs. She remembered the blood from her dream, her stomach cramping reflexively from the memory. Fearful tears slid down her face as she panicked, her eyes unable to tear away from the gruesome sight.
"Oh, you've ruined the blanket! What a mess," Tyta exclaimed when she saw the blood. "What're you sniveling about? Stupid cow. It's just your moon's blood," she sneered, rolling her eyes. "Clean yourself up, find a servant to make your bed," Tyta told her, slowly as one would a child. "And don't wake me up again," her half-sister warned, before leaving her to her thoughts.
Roslin cried again when Tyta left, her chest tight with fear and confusion. She looked at her left arm and saw nothing, no indication that she had been cut. But it throbbed painfully, in time with the cramps in her belly.
. … .
The next morning her lord father called her before him, looking her up and down in appraisal. Roslin was nervous, for when she walked into the hall it was empty, other than the two guards at the door. She curtsied before him politely, as her septa had taught her to do when in audience with her father. The last time he had really spoken to her was three turns past, when he had grumpily asked her, in a room full of people, when she would finally bleed.
"Get closer, girl. These eyes are old, I can barely see you," her father breathed in his oily voice. Roslin fought to disguise her disgust – she knew that he could see just fine, despite the fact that he was ancient. He often exaggerated his infirmity when it suited his need – now was apparently one of those times. Roslin kept her face carefully trained as she drew closer to her lord father, her spine stiff and her chin set. She stopped about five passes in front of him, dipping into another curtsy before she stood again, uncomfortable and wishing she were anywhere else. Her lord father observed her again, his eyes trailing up and down her form slowly. Roslin fought the urge to shudder, not wishing to give her father any satisfaction in her response to him.
She took a chance to observe her lord father as he observed her – he had always reminded her of someone, someone she had known in her previous life. No matter how hard she tried to remember she couldn't, although she had a sense that she had not liked him then, either. He was ancient; his skin weathered and thin, both stretched thin in some places and hanging loose in others. He was balding but the few strands of hair he did have hung long and stringy past his shoulders, and age spots dotted the top of his oily head. He had lost all of his teeth but a handful, which had caused his mouth to recede deep into his face. He constantly worked his jaw like a babe at the breast, smacking and sucking loudly. Roslin quickly looked away, staring at a place near his feet – openly showing her revolution would get her no favors from her lord father.
"A girl that bleeds is a girl fitted to be wedded and bedded, daughter," he eyed her closer, as if examining a blade for war. "However, you are one the fruits that hangs higher than others on my tree. You're just as sweet as your mother before you. I bred her every year I had her, you know," he went on conversationally, "I was bound and determined to get a daughter on her – sons I have in abundance, beautiful daughters not so," her lord father laughed, a low hackle that went on to cause a burst of coughing.
Roslin stood impassively, waiting for the fit to pass, doing her best to not outwardly show how much it bothered her for him to talk about her lady mother like she had been some prized broodmare. Perwyn, her mother's eldest son, had told her that their lord father had kept their mother constantly pregnant despite how difficult pregnancies were on her. It had really been no surprise that she had passed shortly after Roslin's birth, Perwyn told her, as her final pregnancy had been the most trying, with her barely able to get out of bed the last couple moons before her birth.
Behind her, a servant entered the hall. The older woman approached humbly towards her father, carrying a chalice of wine and a wineskin. She curtsied before approaching her father, standing within reach for him to take the glass. Her lord father definitely loved his wine, if naught much else.
Finally the fit subsided and her lord father spoke again, "If it is the last thing I do, I will marry you into a Great House, daughter – there will be no minor houses in your future. Perhaps you will be the Lady of Riverrun. I hear that Edmure Tully has not taken a bride yet, though he's well on his way to having as many bastards as I do," at this her father smiled and Roslin felt her lip curl infinitesimally, out of her control as her disgust reached new heights.
Her father seemed to catch it and started laughing and coughing once more, "You even have your mother's expressions – oh, she was disgusted by me as well, though that did nothing to stop me claiming my rights as her husband when I crawled between her legs," he grinned, his few brown and yellow teeth slimy and shining with saliva. "Disgusted by me or not, daughter, you will heed me – if I discover that your maidenhead is in anyway compromised, I will tie stones to you and throw you from the Crossing myself," Roslin startled at the threat, her face growing flush with anger and embarrassment.
"Of course, my lord," Roslin said stiffly, keeping her fury in check by the skin of her teeth, inclining her head. "I have no desire to lay with any other than my lord husband, when it is required."
"Oh, it will be required, daughter. I suspect it will be required many, many times. If you were my wife, I would tie you to the marriage bed," he laughed again, though this time he did not cough because he reached for his chalice, taking a long draw from it.
Roslin stared at him in absolute disgust and fury, inspecting every line of his wizened face with a sort of detached hatred. How had she gotten here? Crossing through time and perhaps even worlds to be reborn again – to this man? This man who treated women as objects – less than, even, because he took good care of his possessions, who did nothing with his life other than obsess over perceived slights and spread his vile seed into the wind. How had she gone from a powerful woman, a woman who could throw magic around like nothing, to be born as a girl in a time where her only worth lay in the sanctity of her maidenhead and how many kids she could birth for some lord?
Absolute fury embedded itself in her flesh, burning through her body and growing stronger with every beat of her heart until she could almost hear it, churning inside of her like a storm that kept building, and building until she could feel the pressure in her ears, underneath her eyelids, in her very teeth until –
The chalice in her lord father's hands exploded, wood and wine flying in all directions. Instantly, the pressure in her head decreased.
"M'lord –" the serving woman yelped, shocked. Lord Frey seemed similarly affected, jumping out of his poor imitation of a throne faster than she would have thought possible. Her lord father looked absolutely stunned, as if he wasn't able to comprehend what just happened. He glanced at the servant and then anger seeped into his expression. Again he seemingly defied his age, raising his hand and bringing the back of it against the face of the poor girl. The sound of his skin smacking her flesh pierced the otherwise silence, and the force of it sent it to the girl to her knees.
"Clean this up, filthy wench," her father bellowed, obviously shaken.
Temporarily forgotten, Roslin's first thought was to relish in the memory of her Lord father's face as his cup broke in his hand – it had been a delightful mixture of fear and confusion, with a helpless vulnerability that made her heart sing.
Her second thought was – had she had caused it?
The thought sent a rush of pleasure through her body. She had seen herself do much more impressive things in her dreams, but had never done so in this life. The thought that perhaps she could do some of the things that she had once done sent shivers down her spine.
"May I be excused, my lord?" Roslin asked, demurely, just loud to be heard over her lord father's screaming at the servant.
Her father glanced at her briefly, as if she were no more than a fly. He waved her away, before turning away.
Roslin hurried from the hall.
. ... .