This is the story of a newborn princess, with snow white hair and bright blue eyes. The story of a little girl who was ripped from her family to save her life. This is my story, the story of Amina Targaryen.
I was found in King's Landing a week after I was born. Soldiers murdered my parents and my siblings. I'm told they deserved it, and everyone knows the stories of the Mad King. Eddard Stark found me, my crib had been knocked over and he was surprised the fall hadn't killed me. He should've broken my neck the moment he realized I was still breathing, but he didn't. Instead he hid me away and took me back to Winterfell.
Catelyn took me in, what else could she do but help a tiny orphaned baby. She covered my hair with paste that turned my snowy white locks a deep brow. No one ever had to know what house I belonged to. If anyone asked Ned told them I was an orphan of the war, no home, no family, it was true after all.
The Starks were the only family I had ever known. I was only a few months younger than their eldest son, Robb. It was decided early that we were to be married. I thought of the Stark children as my siblings, through thick or thin. But years with only Robb, Jon, and Theon Greyjoy made me tougher than your average Lady. For this reason, Sansa and I butted heads over everything. When Arya came along, she became my little shadow.
I'm not sure there's a point in me writing down my story. I suppose I just want it to be told, even if no one ever reads it. Maybe it will have a happy ending, like all Sansa's storybooks. Or maybe it won't. Only the Gods know. I'll just have to tell it anyway, and see where it leads.
"Jon, stop it!" I squealed as he came at me again. I was furiously ticklish and I hated it when anyone tried to touch my stomach, I got quite violent about it. I kicked at him and tried to claw him, but he knew me to well and quickly immobilized my arms. My kicks were feeble at best and soon I was knocked to the ground.
"Promise you won't sneak off like that again and I'll stop."
"No promises!" I squealed trying to roll away.
"Ami," he said warningly.
I glared at him. "How many times have I told you not to call me that?"
"About a million, doesn't mean I'm going to stop. Plus, Ami is cute." He smiled and kissed me on the nose.
"No, Ami makes me sound like a child. I'm almost an adult," I mumbled rolling away from him. "And don't forget I'm the last dragon. I could burn your face off."
He laughed. "I dare you to try. Even if you were a dragon, what good would that do? You tell anyone that and they'd think you were crazy. Or they'd send you away. You'd be more of an outcast than me." Jon gave me a cautioning look. I'd come to know it well over the years. I was always doing something stupid, and he was always giving me that look.
"But it's still my birthright! I should have a crown and a throne. I'm supposed to rule." I picked up the chain of flowers I had been twisting before I was so rudely interrupted.
"You will rule."
"I'll rule the North. Lady of Winterfell, not exactly the same title."
"It's not all that bad is it?" He asked teasingly.
"It's terrible. Yes, I love Robb." I watched as Jon's face fell a bit and I poked him with my boot. "I love Robb, as a brother! I have no interested in being Amina Stark." I rolled over and stared up at the trees. "Amina Snow sounds nice, and it matches my hair." I twisted a strand of faded brown hair around my finger, it needed another dye. Catelyn would be angry if she noticed how light it had gotten. But I hated dying my hair, it made it smell for a week.
"It does have a certain ring to it doesn't it?" Jon leaned over and kissed me again, this time on my lips. I pressed my forehead to his and ran my fingers through his dark black curls. I smiled and he smiled back. His smile lit up his eyes, making them shine like stars. I would be perfectly content to stay right here in the woods, staring into Jon's eyes. But unfortunately, I had other obligations. "We have to get you back inside."
"I'd rather not."
"Catelyn sent me to find you. She'll be worried if we don't come back soon. You had me scared this time, I thought you'd run away without me."
"I'd never," I promised. "You know what I'd do?"
I shook my head. "Never mind, it's silly."
"Tell me," he pressed. His fingers brushed my neck sending chills down my spine.
"If I could truly harness the power of my ancestors, become the dragon...I'd be queen. It wouldn't matter what anyone else said, I'd marry you."
"You wouldn't," he said shaking his head.
"I would," I insisted. "We could live in King's Landing. Some say it's the prettiest place in the whole Seven Kingdoms. Do you think Catelyn and Ned would hate me though? Without them I'd be nothing, less than nothing. I'd be dead. I'd let them have whatever they wanted. They could live in the Red Keep, or be King and Queen in the North."
"They couldn't hate you. You're their daughter."
"They'd hate me. I'm a Targaryen, everyone hates us." Jon wrapped me in his arms and I relaxed enjoying the moment, knowing it would have to end soon. "I think I'd make a good queen. I'm not crazy, not like Aerys. I'd be kind, and generous. I'd help the smallfolk as best I could. People would like me once they got past my bloodline." I shook my head. "But that's just it, no one can ever look past bloodlines. You're born in the house you're born in, or you're a bastard, or you have no house at all. It's all so suffocating. I have to go on living this lie. I'll be Amina Winterfell, until the day I become Amina Stark."
"You're lucky. A hundred other girls would die to be in your shoes."
"I'd gladly hand them over. I'd rather be a peasant than a Lady, as long as it meant I got to be with you." I kissed him again.
"Jon!" Catelyn called. "Did you find her? I see you sitting over there, is she hurt? Don't tell me she fell out of a tree again. Should I call the nurse?"
I sighed and got up. "I'm fine, Catelyn!"
Catelyn tore through the trees till she reached us. She wrapped me in a big hug and squeezed me tightly. "You scared me to death, I was sure someone kidnapped you."
"You shouldn't worry about me so much. You know I like adventure," I said smiling.
She grabbed a handful of my hair. "You're letting your hair fade too much. Come inside, there's still time to set your hair before dinner." I groaned but followed her towards her rooms. "That will be all, Jon."
I glanced at him once before being tugged inside for more torture. He gave me a wave, which wasn't the least bit reassuring. I made a face at him as Catelyn closed the door in his face.
That evening, King Robert's family would arrive from the capital. I was told Ned's younger brother, Benjen, would be making an appearance as well. Benjen rarely came to visit, it had been years since we'd seen him last. He was a Ranger in the Night's Watch, and was quite difficult for him to return to Winterfell even for a few days.
After my hair set for ages, it was washed three times with Catelyn's finest soaps and brushed till it shined. To my surprise, the smell was hardly noticeable. The handmaids finished with a sprits of rose perfume, and you'd never even know I used dye. I made a mental note to steal her soaps the next time I had to dye my hair. My handmaidens helped me dress in a beautiful gown I'd been saving for this occasion.
The crown family coming to visit wasn't an event to be taken lightly. The entire household had been in an uproar for weeks trying to prepare for the arrival of the king and his family. I was only excited because there would be a feast. Sansa, however, was dying to meet the young prince. Maybe she would be his queen one day. I just hoped the evening would be over quickly so I could take a nap and go back to eating sweets.
I peered out my window into the courtyard. Jon was below, practicing with his sword. I was surprised to see him dressed so casually. I'd just spent the afternoon being poked and prodded into pristine condition. I gathered my skirts and hurried downstairs. "Jon!" I called. He turned at the sound of my voice and put down his sword. I motioned for him to join me around the corner of the building, away from prying eyes. "What are you doing playing? Don't you need to be dressing for dinner?"
"I'm not invited," he said simply.
"Don't be ridiculous," I laughed.
"Catelyn didn't think it was appropriate for a bastard to be eating dinner with the King."
"You're as much a part of this family as I am!"
"You're the future Lady of Winterfell. I'm just Jon Snow, the bastard son." He played with the lace on my sleeve. "You look beautiful." He smiled, but it didn't quite touch his eyes this time as it had in the woods earlier. I reached up and tangled my fingers in his hair again and just stared into his eyes.
"Eventually we'll be free, you and me," I said quietly.
"I hope so," Jon said.
"We will be, I can feel it."
He leaned me against the walls and kissed me. "Shh." I wasn't hard to be quiet, especially when there were other things to preoccupy my mouth with. The sound of carriages interrupted us and I groaned. "Go, they need you out there.
"They just want a good show. They don't want anything to infringe on their perfect little view of the world. Aren't all royals just the same?"
"All but you."
I kissed him once more, then slipped around the corner. The other members of the household were lined up, waiting to greet the crown family. "Ah, there you are, Amina." Ned took my hand and smiled at me warmly. "This is my future daughter in law, the future Lady of Winterfell."
Robert Baratheon took my hand and kissed it. "As lovely as a blue winter rose. You were just a tiny thing the last time I saw you, good to see you've grown up well." He stepped past me to Robb, and patted his shoulder. "You're a lucky man. Of all the girls your father could have chosen, and he picked this one."
"Wedding preparations will be under way soon," Ned said smiling. "You and your family will be invited, of course."
"I wouldn't miss it for the world. You'll make a beautiful bride, Amina. You might even rival my Cersei."
Robb looked at me and smiled. His smile was as dazzling as always, but his eyes were full of blind adoration. It hadn't always been that way. There was a time when he didn't see me as some prized vase that he had to handle carefully. I hated that he thought I was so fragile. I may have been a Southerner by blood, but I had the tough skin of a Northerner. I was stronger than he gave me credit for, I always had been. After all, I had been raised a Stark.
"Well then, shouldn't we be getting to the feast?" Robert asked with a hearty laugh.
Robb grabbed my hand and I accepted. Just give them a good show, Ami, that's all they want.