AN: Hey guys!

Okay, so this is my first fanfiction on this site, so sorry for any mistakes - I'm still figuring everything out.

Now, speaking of constructive feedback, a comment with your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for reading.

(Hint: By the way, first few chapters are really short, as I think of them as just the "prologue" of this story, if you keep reading the chapters will only get longer!)

A Pile of Books

Ned had never liked stairs. As he reached the top of the staircase that led to the ravenry, he swore softly as he caught his breath. Someone should really clean up here, he thought, making a mental note to mention it to one of the maids. He looked around for any letters that might have arrived with more news from King's Landing. The recent news of Jon Arryn's illness and resulting death bothered him more than he cared to admit. Jon had almost been a surrogate father to him and Robert at the Eyrie, a constant, calming presence in the Seven Kingdoms.

Ned was shaken out of his thoughts by a brown package lying on the floor underneath the window. It looked very large and heavy, but the several ravens that must have delivered it were nowhere to be seen. There was no note or sigil. Curious, Ned thought. Frowning slightly, he picked the package up and turned it around in his hands. Upon opening the package, he found five books unlike any he had ever seen before. They were much smaller than usual, with a queer, thin cover and a colourful, intricate picture on each book. There were no titles, but the books were numbered from 1 to 5. As he opened the book titled 1, a small piece of parchment fluttered to the floor.

Lord Stark,

Please read these books together with Lady Catelyn Stark, as well as your four oldest children, Robb, Sansa, Arya and Bran, and Jon Snow. They contain vital information about the coming wars, and are essential to your family's survival and happiness. The information is yours to deal with at your discretion. Do not let anyone else know that you are in possession of these books.


A friend.

Arya's stitches were crooked again. Trying not to stare at Sansa's stupid perfect pattern, she looked sullenly out the window. Sunlight entered the dim room through the window, and Arya longed to be outside, practicing archery with Jon and Robb, or maybe spending time with her new direwolf, Nymeria. She didn't understand why girls had to sit primly inside doing embroidery and needlework, while boys were free to run around outside, getting dirty and laughing and actually having fun. Gods knew Arya was awful at this anyway, why prolong her torture unnecessarily?

Her mind made up, Arya was opening her mouth to excuse herself from the lessons, when her mother walked in.

Arya was shocked. Mother never interrupted embroidery lessons! With an apologetic smile at the Septa, Mother turned to Arya and Sansa. "Come with me, girls. Your father's expecting you in his study."

With that, mother turned to leave and Sansa quickly got up to follow.

"Why?" Arya couldn't help but ask. "Is it something urgent? Are we in trouble?"

"Honestly, Arya, be quiet and stop asking so many questions!" Sansa hissed under her breath. "I'm sure we'll find out whatever it is when we get to Father's study."

As Mother opened the door, Arya saw that Robb, Jon and Bran were already there, waiting for them. A strange pile of books, such that Arya had never seen before, was on the table behind them. Father was already moving to stand up, a grim expression on his face. "I am sure you are all sufficiently confused. I will keep my explanation short. As some of you are aware, yesterday I happened upon a package containing five books in the ravenry. They have no title, but a note was hidden with them."

He read the note aloud.

"I believe it is in our best interests to read these books as quickly as possible. I have already arranged for a maid to take care of Rickon while we are occupied. He is much too young to understand this. If we spend a few hours reading each day, we should be able to finish them within reasonable time."

Arya was lost for words. This had been the absolute last thing she had expected when being called to Father's study. What kinds of books were they? Who had sent them? How could Father trust that these were true? Were they from the future? The questions were whirling around her head.

Arya looked around to see that the rest of her family had similar expressions on their faces. No one knew what to say. When Mother finally found her voice, she said: "How can you trust that these books tell the truth? What if they are only someone's idea of a cruel jape?"

"I believe that this person is intending to help us," Father replied heavily. "But I suggest reading only a few chapters at first to check whether they are accurate. If I am not mistaken, these books will begin a short time ago in our past, and will go on to describe events that would have happened if we had not been sent the books."

Arya slowly nodded. This made sense to her.

Robb cleared his throat. "Well," he began hesitantly, "Should we begin reading? As we only have one copy of these books, it would probably be for the best to take turns reading aloud, would it not?"

Father looked around solemnly. "Very well, if we are agreed, let us begin. I shall read first if no one has any objection."

With that, Father opened the first book and started reading.