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The steward

"My lady…"

Vayon Poole looks very embarrassed, fighting the words. Words of refusal, apparently.

"I like that boy. I really do. But he is…"

The word hangs between them heavily.

"He is not your son," he says finally.

"But he is the son of Lord Eddard."

Vaynon Poole is squirming in his chair, but nods.

"What would you say if Lord Eddard asked for the same?" Catelyn asks.

"Would he ask for this?"

For the gods' sake! I don't know. She has been thinking for so many times, for so many fruitless hours what Ned would have planned for Jon.

But there could not be doubt about one thing.

"My lord husband wanted to raise him as a nobleman."

"Perhaps only so he can join the Night's Watch like his uncle did."


Or maybe 'yes', but Jon will not join the Watch. She would not allow that, neither will Robb. Besides, he does not want to. He did not want even before Jeyne. They have not spoken about it since that day eight years ago, but Catelyn knows.

There are other options though. With time, he could get a holdfast. There are abandoned castles in the North, long ruined places, strongholds belonging to no one. Jon was taught as a lord, it would be easy to make him one.

She says this to Vayon Poole.

"Lord Snow?" he asks in a dubious voice. "I wouldn't demand much from the man who weds my daughter, I couldn't even do that, but I expect him to be able to give a proper name to Jeyne."

"It's not much, indeed. But what does matter more? A name or being loyal and kind?"

Vayon Poole offers a sad smile. "I know what the boy is like. I know it very well. But tell me this, Lady Stark! Would you choose someone without a name for your daughters? Of course, they're more important to the North, but if you were a lady of a minor house like mine, would you accept a bastardborn for your children?"

Catelyn does not reply just sends him away until she can do it calmly.

After Vayon Poole leaves the solar, she leaps up from her chair. Pacing helps her to overcome her emotions, helps her to think. She must think.

Rationally she understands Vayon Poole's arguments, moreover, she would even go that far that she agrees with them. But, beyond all rational consideration, she is offended. How does a steward dare to refuse a Stark?

Except… She stops. Except Jon is not a Stark.

He shares their blood, shares their joy, their pain, their fights, but not their name.

A name, however, can be changed.

Catelyn sits back. Then, she takes a parchment and starts writing.

Author's note: Jon could take the Poole name, but after what Vayon said, Catelyn thought it would be useless to mention that version.