For four months Jon Snow or Aegon Targaryen, as his cousin Bran said his mother had named him, had been beyond the Wall, with the Freefolk to help them rebuild after the war of the dawn.
Four months he since he had been banished to the Night´s watch again for saving the everyone from a mad tyrant, hell bent on conquering the world with fire and blood. When he closed his eyes, he could still hear the dying screams of the people of King´s landing and the roar of the dragon.
For four months he had been beyond the Wall, brooding over the feeling that nothing was right with the world. That this was not right and no matter what he did the feeling did not go away. It was like a large part of him was missing and would never come again.
Jon could not help but feel the bitterness and anger fester inside him as he sat on a fallen tree in the snow. Everything he had ever done was to help the people of the North and the people of Westeros and he got banished and named Queenslayer for his troubles. Jon had been the one trying to save everyone form the Night king and the others, but the Lords of Westeros would rather bicker over an ugly iron chair and who got to sit on it.
He knew the only way to get the help of Daenerys Targaryen was to bend the knee but everyone, including his cousin Sansa had only seen this as an act of betrayal. It wasn't until he had come back here, beyond the wall, that he could see how blind he had been to Daenerys´s faults. But as bad a queen she would have made, was she worse than the Night King? It seemed after he came back to Winterfell, all the lords had turned against him. Jon had been trying to save them from the dead and all they saw was that Jon had given the North away.
Both Sansa and Arya had told him time and time again that the Dragon Queen could not be trusted, and the North was in danger as long as Daenerys was Queen. Yes, they were right about that, she had first and foremost cared that the iron throne was her birthright. Like being born to a certain someone automatically meant that you were a good king or a good Queen. She had such grand plans of reclaiming her lost birthright but had no plans on what to do when she actually got it. She said she couldn't have children but who then would rule after her? What would happen to the seven kingdoms after she was gone? Would the Lords and Ladies of the realm accept whoever she chose as an heir? Or would there be another war over the succession?
For all her talk of helping the people of Westeros, she never really offered anything but fire and blood and killing their enemies. But there was never any thought on how to help the country heal after years of war, no she just brought more war to their shores.
Yes, freeing the slaves of Slavers Bay was great and really needed, but she hadn't even tried to replace it with anything or even tried to get the people back to work. Meereen hadn't started to heal after the slave revolt until Tyrion Lannister came to the city and did his best to help.
It was like now for the first time he could think clearly, after a lifetime of mindlessly doing what others told him to do. It was like he had been a puppet on a string and finally his strings were cut. He could now see that Sansa and himself should have made more effort to talk to each other, a lot of their problems had come about because they didn't communicate and just forged on ahead, no matter what. All that they had done had come from a good place, but the effects had left a lot to be desired.
Yes, he felt betrayed that he had trusted her with the truth of his parentage, and she had gone and told Tyrion. He really wished that she hadn't done that, but he couldn't blame her. She had known that Daenerys was unfit as a ruler long before he did, and she had been trying to help the people of Westeros. And furthermore, how could he have asked her and Arya to keep this secret, this secret had nearly destroyed Ned and Catelyn Stark´s marriage, maybe he hadn't wanted it to be a secret deep down. And if there was one certainty in this world it was that all secrets come out eventually.
All his life he had been Eddard Stark´s bastard, the only stain on the man´s honor, and now he had a way to become something else, something more. It wasn't that he wanted to become King, no, in fact that was the last thing he wanted, but it was a relief to know that he wasn't the stain on the man´s honor like everyone had believed for years. No, Jon was a trueborn son of the last dragon and the rose of Winterfell, Lyanna Stark.
He had been so deep in his thoughts that he did not hear anyone approach him and sit down beside him.
"Well, that didn't go according to plan." At the voice, Jon almost jumped out of his skin. Beside him was a man, he was dressed in expensive black and white cloths that were not nearly warm enough for the climate beyond the wall, but he didn't seem bothered by the cold. The man was neither handsome or ugly, neither young nor old. The man had a strange presence about him, like he both belonged but at the same time didn't.
Jon felt like the man was studying him like he was a fascinating insect. Jon could not shake the feeling that they had meet before.
"Who are you" Jon couldn't keep the suspicion out of his voice, and he put a hand on the hilt of his sword, Longclaw. But the man just gave him a small, cold smile.
"I have many names, but you would know me as the Stranger." Jon had never in his life stood up so fast. He could feel a cold shiver run down his spine as he stared at the man claiming to be death incarnate. He was lying, he had to be, that man couldn't possibly be the Stranger of the Seven.
"Don't worry, I will prove to you who I am soon enough." The man said as he like he was reading his thoughts. Jon just continued to stare at him in disbelieve with one hand on Longclaw´s hilt.
"Sit down, Jon Targaryen. We have much to discuss." Jon willed his legs to move back to the fallen tree and sat down, but he was careful never to take his eyes of this stranger.
"This was never supposed to happen, you know." The man started. "You were supposed to win."
"What are you talking about? We won. The Others are gone, never to return." Jon countered.
"Yes, the Others are dead and gone, but you didn't fulfill your destiny and you certainly didn't win. The Bloodraven won." The man replied. Jon had never been so confounded in his life. The Bloodraven was dead. According to Bran, Brynden Rivers had died when Bran and Meera escaped the children´s cave. When Jon voiced this to the man he just snorted.
"That thing in King´s landing, that is sitting on your throne is not your cousin Bran, it is just wearing him to fool you and everyone else."
"Yes, your cousin Bran has been dead for some time now." Jon felt something akin to an iceberg settle in his stomach, it couldn't be true could it. Then again, the Bran he knew would never have banished Jon to the Wall after everything he had done. Even with the threat of the Unsullied hanging over him. But what did he know, Ygritte had told him many times that he knew nothing. And she was right, he really didn't know anything worth knowing. Maybe it was time to try to change that.
"Apparently the Bloodraven has been working in the shadows for a long time to get his revenge on the Targaryen bloodline, and now he has almost succeeded to wipe you all out of existence."
"Why would he want revenge on the Targaryen´s?" Jon had to ask, this was sounding more and more absurd by the moment.
"Brynden Rivers sacrificed everything he had for the Targaryen´s and was awarded for his troubles with banishment to the wall. Does that sound familiar?" The Stranger asked with a mocking grin.
Jon could fell the cold in his stomach even more than before. Yes, that did sound very familiar to him.
"That is why the Bloodraven sent you up here. A poetic justice that you and the Targaryen line should end here at the wall, just like he was supposed to, while he rules from King´s Landing and is free to move his consciousness from body to body when the old one is failing him." There was bitterness in the voice of the strange man.
Jon had only once felt that desperate hopelessness before, and that was when he was resurrected by Melisandre of Asshai. "Why are you telling me this?" He couldn't keep the defeat out of his voice.
"Because I have an offer for you, and when I say I. I mean my siblings and I." The man or the Stranger of the seven said.
"And what is that offer?"
"To do everything again, but this time my siblings and I will offer a little more helping hand than before." Here he thought things couldn't get any stranger. "It wouldn't do to make the same mistakes over again, and we need to make sure that the Bloodraven cannot harvest your magical powers like before."
"Magical powers!? What magical powers!? I have never had any magical powers nor do I what them." This man was definitely crazy, and Jon had to get away from him as soon as possible.
"Sit still, you are not going anywhere, and you are going to listen to what I have to say." How in the seven hells had he known that Jon had intended to run. He hadn't even finished that thought yet.
"Now, where was I? Oh yes, your magical powers. Well every living being in the world is born with magic. Some with more than others. Some are born with just enough magic to keep them alive, and that is most people. But some have more magic in their blood. You are one of those people. But the Bloodraven has been leaching the magic of you, he couldn't take it all because his body, the old one and the one he stole from Brandon Stark, could not hold all the magic. Their bodies were not made to handle that incredible amount of magic." He took a short pause before continuing.
"So, instead he started to put the magic that he was taking from you into someone else. Someone you know well." Jon thought that the dread that had taken hold of him would ever let go.
"You are the prince that was promised, so he couldn't take all the magic, and then you would die, and the Others would win. Now that couldn't happen, that didn't work for his plans, so he directed some of the extra magic into Daenerys Targaryen." Jon had never thought that he could have been so shocked. He actually felt a little faint. This could not be happening. But still the man continued.
"She would never have been able to hatch those eggs without your magic, and that was just a small part of your magic. She was never even supposed to have any dragon eggs. Those three where stolen from Winterfell, by one of Bloodraven´s people and sold to the magister that later gave them to Daenerys."
"Winterfell? Why where their dragon eggs in Winterfell?"
"The dragon Vermax laid them close to Winterfell and Cregan Stark found them and hid them in the crypts. He had to hide them or else the Targaryen´s would have demanded them back. The old gods as you call them, sent Cregan Stark a vision that the eggs could not leave Winterfell. As you can see, we have been planning your destiny for some time."
"I was supposed to have them? But if I hatched them, where on earth would I keep them? I could never have kept them in Winterfell without being discovered and they would have been killed or Robert Baratheon would have found out that I am not the son of Eddard Stark."
"Relax, I will send you back and when I do you will go to the crypts and hatch them. You should be thankful that Catelyn Stark hated you as much as she did, because she never let the servants do anything for you including cleaning your chambers, that just happen to be located in an isolated part of Winterfell. This way until the dragons can take care of themselves you can hide them."
"And what about after? How are we going to hide three dragons without anyone finding them?"
The Stranger rolled his eyes, clearly irritated by Jon´s lack of faith in him.
"The dragons will be bounded to you, and only you and they will listen to you when you tell them to hide at day and only hunt at night. There are caves in the Wolfswood that they can use until you need to reveal them and use them to take back your throne and to win the War of the Dawn."
"And just how are we going to bind them to me? And why should they listen to me, they didn't always listen to Daenerys and they thought of her as their mother."
Death snorted again. "I told you, she only had a some part of your magic, that is one of the reasons she had such a hard time controlling the dragons. With your magic being drained the dragons and your direwolf could still sense that you had a lot of it. Now about the hatching of the dragons, when you get back, all you need to do is slice your hand with a dagger and let a little blood on the eggs and put them in the fire and they will hatch already bounded to you. But as I said before you were being drained of magic but when we send you back, we will make sure that he cannot leach off you again."
Jon was starting to feel faint again. This was getting to much. This could not be happening. This is probably a very strange dream that he would wake up from very soon. Yes, that was it, this was all just a crazy dream.
"Don't worry Jon Targaryen. I promised you proof of who I am, and I am a…man of my word, so to speak." The Stranger stood up, and faced Jon. "When you wake up in your old bed in Winterfell you will know that I have told the truth. We will speak more then."
Death raised his hand and touched two fingers to Jon´s forehead and then all he knew was darkness.