One More Adventure

It could hardly be called an inn, this filthy hole-in-the-wall she had crept to under cover of night, guided by the whispers of those still quietly loyal to the old Lord Commander. Her joints aching with the cold and damp, Alice chided herself for her foolishness.

What am I doing here, slinking around like a thief?

I'm old. I'm a wife, a mother, a grandmother, not some lovesick girl.

But on this night, Alice knew she was where she belonged, where she was needed.

"Here are the clothes you requested, Ser, and I took the liberty of bundling a few provisions for you." Alice thrust the tattered satchel toward him. "Even if you're not here, you can still enjoy my food." Her voice caught in her throat

She knew she would never see him again.

"Not Ser. Not anymore," the old knight corrected her gently, taking the pack from her outstretched arms. "You would do well to remember that, or you'll bring nothing but trouble down on yourself." He opened the flap and peered inside, his lips curving up in a grateful smile. "Raspberry tarts, meat, cheese, bread. You've given me a feast fit for a – king. I thank you for your kindness."

"You're better than any of them, you're – "

"Stop!" He might no longer have the title, but he still had the habit of command. "The world we knew is changing, Alice. Dangerous times are coming. Promise me you'll take care."

She started in surprise. "You know my name."

He looked into her eyes, seeming to search for something he still yearned for, a memory of someone he used to be. "Do you think I would have asked just anyone for aid?" Reaching out a tentative hand, he touched the tiny scar on her cheek.

Alice usually forgot it was there.

Now it burned like a brand.

"That was quite a day, wasn't it?" he murmured, almost to himself. "Such an adventure – a boy clad in borrowed armor, riding into mock battle, rescuing a fair maiden. I've always remembered that little girl, and the boy."

The tears were streaming down her face as Alice tried to force words past the boulder that seemed to be lodged in her throat. "What are you going to do? Where can you go?"

Gathering the satchel up against his chest with one hand, the old knight pulled an old cloak around his shoulders with the other.

"I haven't decided yet. I've never seen much of the world outside of Westeros." He stood for a moment in the doorway, looking out into the dark ally, a shadowy silhouette. "Perhaps I'm not too old for one more adventure," he pondered.

"I've always loved hearing stories about dragons." he added with a slight grin. "I think it's time to find out if there are any left in the world."

Then, without another word, Ser Barristan Selmy, once Lord Commander of the Nightsguard, strode off into the unknown.

He didn't look back.

Now she would have to do the same.