A/N: I'm not quite sure where this came from, I think it's because I'm ill again and have nothing better to do with my time. This isn't Betaed so any errors are mine and mine alone, so if you would kindly point them out, I will bear you no ill will. this chapter is quite short, however, the next shall be longer. Any reviews would be appreciated.
Disclaimer: I do not own the places or people, except those who you do not recognise.
A wall of ice, miles high, a single fortress and many men near by. I was finally at the wall, so close to finding what I needed. I'd stopped my horse about a mile away from the gate to Castle Black; I needed time to take in how huge the wall was; now I was close to it. It looked to tower into the sky, miles above me. I was drawn from my thoughts when Lya began to growl. I looked down at my companion and shushed her gently. If the stories were true I knew what she could smell and it would be good for her to find one of her own kind after so long.
I spurred my horse forward and signalled to my company and Lya to follow, with a whistle. I was determined to find the two people I had spent my life looking for. I knew I could not alter their decision to join the Night's Watch, and I wasn't one to try, but I wanted them to know who I was, who they were. I wanted them to know the truth.
We were close to the gate when a challenge stopped us: "Who comes before the gate of Castle Black?"
I looked up at the young man stood above us, taking in his ragged appearance and thin face. He was young, very young, no older than I was sixteen, maybe seventeen. I pulled my hood lower and gestured forward to my right guard, Ari, who came forward and shouted, "We are visitors from King's Landing. We wish to see the Lord Commander; there is an urgent matter we must address with him and the First Ranger."
"Who is in your company?"
"Men of arms and our leader: Lady Rhaenyra." My herald replied.
The man nodded and said, "I will have to check for your admittance." With that he turned and shouted something incoherent to a person below him. I looked across at Ari, my oldest friend and my teacher, a Braavosi with a talented sense of humour. I nodded my appreciation of his speech; there was little else anyone could wish to be said.
"Get off your horses," I said to everyone, "If we stay on them it may look slightly hostile. If we place ourselves at a lower level, it might allow them to trust us more,"
I jumped down from my horse, taking his reigns into my hand and patting his neck gently.
"We'll always look hostile with that dirty great wolf following us." Another of my companions, Daereon said sarcastically.
"And yet, you would not be alive without her, remember that Daereon Blackstone." I replied coolly, knowing he hated to be reminded of the incident.
A small snicker went through the other six of my companions. We were a small party of nine, although we should have been ten, had the youngest of us not taken ill and died on our way North.
I knelt down and look Lya in the eyes, her deep red eyes, a startling contrast to her white fur, an albino direwolf. My direwolf. I was never sure where she came from; I think Daereon and Ari found her while we were travelling about a year ago. They presented her to me, saying it was the right thing for me to have a direwolf.
The gate guard returned and said, "You are welcomed into Castle Black by the Lord Commander."
I looked up to him and then to the slowly opening gate. Taking the reigns of my horse tightly in my hand I nodded to Ari and he led the way into the gate.
Upon entering I noticed how, old everything was. The castle was crumbling. It was cleverly designed though. Part of it was carved into the Wall as an anchor and it spread out from there, leaving a largish space in the middle which was currently being used as a practice area for the newer recruits. Their style was more clumsy and brute force than I was used to, I'd been taught to be a water-dancer from a young age by Ari, my slim but sharp Splinter was not designed for such a fighting style and, more importantly, nor was I.
I was fascinated by one boys movements, obviously properly trained and from his appearance, rather wealthy. His blocks were strong and his attacks fierce but restrained to suit the weaker and inexperienced nature of his partner. His dark hair had started to fall in front of his eyes, though it did little to hinder him, his experience was clear, even to a bystander.
"You are all very welcome to Castle Black,"
I turned from the training ground towards the voice and saw a tall man, balding with a grey beard and a crow perched on his shoulder:
"I am the Lord Commander Jeor Mormont and this," gesturing to the man on his left, "is our First Ranger, Benjen Stark."
The latter part was something I did not need to be told. He had sharp features and very blue eyes, but aside from that he was a Stark through and through, the same dark hair and gruff manner they all held. I stepped forward.
"My name is Lady Rhaenyra. These men are my company and these two here are Daereon Blackstone and Ari Sayar, my personal bodyguards."
Ari and Daereon bowed slightly when I mentioned their names. I stood tall and felt Lya move against my leg, staring at the crow upon the Lord Commander's shoulder.
"I have a few questions before I will admit you further, where is that wolf from? And you have not given us your full name either, your ladyship."
I nodded and replied, "The wolf is my own, her name is Lya and I will brook no attempt to separate her from me, and neither will she. I do not have a second name; I have no house only the truth of what I know, and what I would discuss with you today."
"Is she dangerous?" Benjen Stark asked, obviously wary of an animal that should stay beyond the wall.
"Not unless she feels I am in danger, or she is provoked. No matter how tame she is, I cannot be held responsible if she is taunted into a reaction." I answered simply, hoping that my honesty and reassurance would be enough to allow us all to stay.
The lord Commander looked over our group carefully, eyeing up each man, scanning the lines on the faces of those he could see and straining to see those hidden under hoods. His eyes eventually rested on my and even though he could not see my eyes, due to the hood of my cloak, I held his gaze.
"Have your men take the horses to our stables. They should be looked after there, if you and your two guards would follow me up to my quarters, we can have our discussion there."
I nodded and turned to the company, "Do as he says and make sure they're looked after properly, then sit down and rest."
The group nodded in response and one of them took my reigns from me and led my horse away. As I followed the two rangers up the stairs, I leaned over the balustrade and said, "And don't make a mess."
I was met with laughter and reassurances they wouldn't. I smiled under my hood and gestured to Ari and Daereon to follow.