I do not own Harry Potter or Game of Thrones.
We Do Not Sow
On a plateau overseeing a cliff, the parties of Stark and Baratheon met with Stannis' party after a morning's ride. Both sides brought with them only a couple of guards that flapped in the wind. Representing the Starks were Harry and Catelyn while Renly brought two of his Kingsguard with him. Opposite of Renly, Stannis glowered at the opposition openly glaring at Harry as Harry stood by Renly's side.
"Harry. I should have known not to trust a conniving bastard such as yourself. Leading me on like that. I ought to mount your head on a pike," Stannis growled. "You should remember that Eddard Stark supported my claim to the throne. I suggest you do the same."
Harry eyed Stannis cooly. "Its Lord Harry Peverell to you Stannis. And I was charged with keeping the Stark alliance with the Baratheons alive. Your brother Renly proved that he is the better ruler. Its no fault of his that you popped out first."
"You will not talk to the Chosen One like that, agent of the Dark One!"
Harry glanced at the red-haired priestess at Stannis' side. "And you must be the Red Priestess I've heard about."
"I am Melisandre, priestess of the Lord of Light," she proclaimed. "Keep your forked tongue behind those teeth of yours, serpent tongue."
"My, my, so rude," Harry drawled. "I wonder what I did to deserve this."
"Enough!" Stannis barked. He turned to Renly who had a faint smile on his face. "I see you have not given up your claim to the throne, little brother."
"And why should I?" Renly asked. "The people desire me to be their king judging by the number of people that rallied to my cause. All of Stormland and the Reach have mustered their strength in order for me to become King."
"Bah, you are not ready to be king," Stannis scoffed. "You are neither experienced enough or strong enough. The Iron Throne is made for conquerors. Not politicians such as yourself."
"Not all battles are fought with sword and shield, brother," Renly replied cooly. "The greatest ones are fought with words and ink."
"You should fear your brother Renly," Melisandre interrupted. "I have seen his victory in the flames of prophecy. He will be the one to rule all of Westeros."
"And I have seen Renly's victories in the eyes of his men," Harry countered. "Smoke and flame smolder in comparison to the love people have for a king who fights for his vassals."
Renly grinned widely. "Well said, Lord Peverell. I thank you for your kind words."
"Would the both of you stop fighting?" Catelyn scolded. "You two are brothers! Born of the same blood. Neither of you have any reason to fight each other. It was the Lannisters that wronged the both of you."
"I have no reason?" Stannis growled. "I served Robert well and faithfully but all he has ever done is spat at me. The sacrifices I took was pushed aside in favor of rewarding other people like your husband and Jon Arryn. No longer will I stand aside for other people to take what is mine!"
"What is yours?" Renly asked in disbelief. "Listen to yourself. Taking what is yours! A king does not take from the people he rules over. A king does not ignore the people in favor of a mystic who stares too long into the fire. All the men that have joined under me have entrusted their lives to me and you expect me to betray them because you say so? I will become king for them else I'll die trying."
Stannis snorted. "Out of the love for our mutual mother, I'll give you tonight to reconsider your position. Strike your banners, join me, and I'll let you and your men keep their positions. I'll even let you become my heir, until I have a son. Otherwise I will destroy you."
"You can try brother," Renly said. "I'm fighting for more than myself. And I'll show you why your coldness and harshness will be your ruin."
"We shall see Renly," Stannis replied.
Stannis wheeled his horse away, leading his party back to his camp. Renly watched his brother leave and frowned in disgust.
"How far you have fallen brother," Renly lamented as he lead his men back to camp as well.
As Renly urged his horse to leave, Harry was watching to woman in red leave. There was no doubt that she knew the archaic art of magic. Her magic felt foul and overwhelmingly bright. It was sharp and edgy like the blade of a sword. It was the magic of a witch skilled in powerful but sacrificial magic. Magic that was powered by the price paid in blood, flesh, and souls. This was a dangerous opponent and one to keep an eye on.
Harry wheeled his horse around to chase after Renly. However he knew that this wouldn't be the last time he would meet her.
Davos Seaworth, trusted confidant of Stannis Baratheon, was not a man who believed in the ghost stories and monsters that bump in the night. However as he paddled across the sea, he could not help but feel shivers crawling up and down his back as his passenger stared serenely at him. Though she was clothed in thin red cloth, the cold winds of the night sea did not faze Melisandre as she continued to smile without emotion. Davos wished that she would turn her eyes elsewhere, away from him.
Ever since she had caught the attention of Stannis, she had raised an army of religious fanatics for him with staged miracles in honor of her god, the Lord of Light. He did not believe any of them but was silent as she helped his lord. However it is when they burned effigies of the Seven, that is when Davos became wary and afraid of her. The burning of the Seven was renounced by the old maestor of Dragonstone. The old man was afraid of her and in an act of desperation, he decided to poison himself along with her by drinking from the same cup of poisoned wine. However the poison that he made, strong and quick, did not faze Melisandre as she watched the old man writhe in agony before expiring.
"Trouble ser knight?" Melisandre asked.
Ser Davos looked up to see Melisandre smiling, almost smirking, at him. Perhaps she enjoyed unnerving others, Davos thought. In any case, he shook his head.
"No, just confused as to why milord asked me to do this?" Davos replied.
"The Chosen One is enacting the words of the Lord of Light, his god. You would do well not to question them," Melisandre replied. "However it is natural for you to be curious of them. Much like our ancestors before the Lord of Light granted them the gift of fire to peer into the darkness and unknown. Be calm and reassured as in time, all questions will be answered."
Instead of reassuring him, all of Davos' nerves pricked in uneasiness. He nodded stiffly and continued to row the boat. He steered the boat so that it gently touched the shores, not damaging the keel on the rocks. Davos pulled it in and helped the priestess off. She walked gracefully and without a word to a nearby cistern. Davos followed her with a lantern, wondering where they were going. However he continued to walk, not speaking a word until they arrived at several bars embedded in rock, impeding their progress. Davos grabbed one and tugged on it.
"These bars are not coming out," Davos noted. "There's no way we're cutting through these."
"It is no worry," Melisandre answered from behind him. "We are already here."
Davos looked back and recoiled in shock at the priestess. She was unrobed and naked, displaying the swollen stomach of a pregnant woman. Davos knew that she wasn't with a babe. The priestess continued to smile as she laid down with her legs towards the bars, spread open. Her stomach rippled as she moaned aloud. The light within the lantern flickered as magic flowed out of the woman in labor. She pushed and pushed while wisps of smoke appeared from her nether regions. Davos backed away as far as possible and watched in horror as the priestess birthed a monstrous shadow, clawing its way out of her womb and shrieking like a thousand birds. As it rose, it displayed its shadowy limbs, sharp as razors and dripping with poison. Melisandre held the shadow's face tenderly and pulled its ear close to her lips.
"Kill Renly Baratheon, my son."
The shadow shrieked before flying through the bars and away, leaving the priestess and the horrified man in its wake. Davos did not believe in any gods, but now he wished he had one for protection of this witch.
At the Baratheon camp, Gendry watched as his mentor systematically demolished several of the finest knights in King Renly's service in preparation for the upcoming battle. Already the knights around the training field looked at each other nervously as Harry quickly finished off his latest opponent with a bone-jarring blow to the stomach, sending the unfortunate knight tumbling away. Harry planted his warhammer into the ground and looked around at the spectators as a squire dragged away the defeated knight.
"Next!" Harry roared. "I'm still fresh as a daisy! Give me a challenge here!"
Several of the spectators looked at each other nervously as Harry eagerly pounded his warhammer, itching for a fight. Gendry chuckled. After the first four knights being handily defeated, more people were reluctant to fight the northern lord. Harry pounded his hammer again before sighing in disgust at the lack of volunteers.
"Gendry get your arse here!" Harry roared. "Your turn to get your arse handed to you on a silver-beaten platter!"
Gendry groaned but picked up his shield and mace. He approached the training field and settled into a fighting stance. Just as Harry charged forward, a loud piercing scream caused everyone to freeze. Harry turned to the direction where the scream came from and began rushing towards the source. He ignored the knights and lords around him as he pushed and shoved his way to the king's tent. Harry kicked away the pompous Ser Loras and jumped inside to seeing a frightening scene.
The King stared in shock as he saw in his reflection a shadowy creature shriek at him just before it stabbed him in the chest. Harry cursed as he rushed forwards. The magic flowed from his body as he raised his hammer at the shade. The hammer glowed brightly before blasting the creature with a burst of silver light. The creature gave an inhuman screech as it faded into dust and blood. Brienne caught the king as he fell, cradling the dying man in her arms. Harry rushed over to the King's side, frantically opening his bag to pull out a vial. Brienne began to wail but Harry wasn't going to let the King die that easily. To the shock of everyone inside of the tent, Harry stabbed the King violently in the heart. Brienne immediately pulled Harry away from the King. However the King let out a huge gasp as he felt a surge of life through his body.
"Harry," the king croaked.
Harry pulled himself away from Brienne and scrambled towards the king.
"Yes your Majesty?"
"Don't let Stannis get away with this," Renly whispered. "If Stannis becomes King, all of Westeros will fall."
Harry nodded. "Of course."
"Take my ring and speak with House Tyrell," Renly hissed as he felt his life fade. "They shall help you."
Renly let out a shuddering gasp before he succumbed to his wounds. Harry bowed his head in sorrow as the monarch finally left Westeros. Harry picked up Renly's corpse and laid it on the bed, arranging his arms so that they were crossed over Renly's chest. Harry looked up to see the Rainbow guard, Renly's personal guard, all staring at him with suspicion and hostility with the exception of Brienne who was mourning the loss of her king. Harry locked eyes with Ser Loren who stared at Harry for a long moment before pulling out his sword. Harry did not flinch as Loras' sword was a hair's breath from slicing open his throat.
"How could you let our king die?" Loras asked angrily.
"When I got here," Harry explained, "the king was already stabbed through the heart. There was nothing I could do for him. In the confusion, the assassin escaped leaving this."
Harry gave Loras a transfigured handkerchief, magicked to resemble a torn scrap of cloth with Stannis' symbol emblazoned on it. Ser Loras took the cloth in confusion, then realization, then hate as he showed the cloth to the rest of his company. Harry waited until Ser Loras turned back to him.
"We need to tell the queen," Harry said.
"Of course," Loras agreed. "You tell her. I will need to tell the rest of the Lords. They will need to hear of Stannis' treachery."
Harry nodded. "Of course. With Renly gone, you are one of this army's leaders. Don't let the death of Renly also mean the death of his dream."
"What do you mean?" Ser Loras asked.
"Renly saw first hand the corruption and tyranny of Westeros in Kingslanding. He wanted to correct that. Don't let his dream die Ser Loras," Harry explained. Ser Loras nodded.
"I won't," he whispered. "I swear on my honor."
As Ser Loras left, he caught the stare from Brienne and waved a hand in her face. Brienne staggered as a mild confundus charm hit her. Paired with the trauma of the king's death, it was suffice to hide that Harry performed magic on her. Catelyn escorted the grieving knight away as he knelt down to the remains of the creature. Though most of it was ash, he spotted the black ichor that was splattered amongst the dust. Harry pulled out an empty vial and scooped the ichor into it. The ichor let off a foul essence as Harry imbued it with magic. The liquid shuddered violently before morphing to reveal a hooded woman. The woman was covered in fire and had red robes enveloping her. Harry cut off the magic and the ichor reverted to its black form.
Harry turned away and left the tent. He ignored the questions and whispers from the knights and soldiers around him, curious as to what had happened. He headed straight for the queen's tent. One of the ladies-in-waiting greeted him and Harry explained to her that the queen is needed. The servant nodded and alerted the queen who ushered Harry inside, for she had her own news.
The morning after Renly's death, Queen Margaerey Baratheon stood before Renly's banner men. All of them were waiting, confused, and ready to turn to Stannis' army as their liege was dead. Many of them would have left but respect for Renly's kindness and compassion had stopped their armies from moving away. They waited as the queen stood up to speak.
"Milords, as all of you know, my husband and your liege was killed last night. The man who did this escaped but we know that Stannis is responsible," she announced.
She threw out the scrap of cloth with Stannis' symbol emblazoned upon it. At the sight of it, many of the lords roared in anger at Stannis' treachery. However the queen managed to calm them down with a few gestures of her hand.
"We see what Stannis does to his brother, who merely disagreed with him. What do you think will happen if a lord disagrees with him? If one of you left for Stannis' army, do you think he would appreciate your treachery?"
Whispers of concern was heard as the queen made a valid point. Stannis was harsher to traitors than to his enemies. He killed his own brother so why would he care if he killed a lord?
"However Renly is not gone from this land just yet," Margaerey said. "He left me with one last gift. A son."
A huge gasp was heard amongst the lords.
"Yes, I am pregnant with Renly's son," the queen said. "I only knew of this yesterday. Yet all the signs are there. I have spoken to my own healer and the Stark's healer as well. There is no doubt that I am pregnant with a son judging by the signs. Knowing this will you continue to ride with us or join Stannis?"
A lord stood up and turned to face his fellow lords before looking to the queen. She nodded as she recognized him to be Lord Donnel Swann of House Swann.
"For many years, Lord Renly has been kind to my house. He has be kind not only to me in respect to my station but to myself as a person. With Lord Renly, I never had to worry for my life or my children. Yet with Stannis, I've seen how he treats those he deem as enemies and it is to be feared. I have no doubt in my mind that I will be executed for allying myself with Renly. And I would rather die fighting with a sword at my hand as a lord than by hanging like a common criminal. So I stand by Queen Baratheon and I eagerly await the day when my son can happily serve the new Baratheon prince like I had done."
Lord Donnel sat down but his words struck a chord with the lords.
"I stand by Queen Baratheon!"
"As will I!"
"House Fell will lend its shields!"
"The lions of Grandison will support you!"
Queen Margaerey shed a tear of joy as the lords unanimously chose to stand by her in the wake of Renly's death. Not only that it seems as if new life had been born along with new hope that was lost when her husband died. The queen raised her hand and the lords quieted, waiting for the words of their queen.
"By all the Seven Gods, I thank you for your support. We will march against Stannis, Houses Baratheon and Tyrell together and crush his army. With Stark occupying the Lannisters in the west, we will then crush Joffrey and take Kingslanding!"
Stannis couldn't believe it when he heard the news from his spies. Even though Renly was gone, his vassals had rallied behind their queen, Margaerey. Somehow she managed to retain the loyalties of all of Renly's vassals despite her being a Tyrell. Not only that but word had begun to spread of his treachery. Kinslaying was a huge taboo in Westeros. Stannis could feel the fear from many of his own vassals as he walked angrily back to his tent. Beside him, Davos currently attempting to reason with Stannis.
"Milord," Davos began but Stannis cut him off.
"I told you Davos, I don't want to hear it."
"Milord, I mean no disrespect," Davos insisted. "However what I saw in that cave."
"What of it?" Stannis snapped. "Obviously Renly's dead but my army is still much smaller than his is. We'll need to regroup near Kingslanding. If we can take it before that Tyrell bitch can, we can repel her armies while utilizing our fleets."
"You mean if Melisandre can take Kingslanding," Davos cut in. It took a considerable amount of Davos' courage to withstand the furious stare from Stannis.
"What are you implying Davos?" Stannis asked dangerously.
"The men are talking and despite my efforts, they are spreading," Davos said. "They say that she is a witch and has you under her control. That she bewitched you in return for great power and the religion she is teaching us is one of evil. Now I had no reason to believe these rumors but what I saw in the cave, I can only describe it as black magic."
Stannis sighed. "Davos what you saw there, you will never speak of it. However I will heed your warning. I will not bring Melisandre with the army. However you will lead the fleet while I lead the army."
Davos sputtered in shock before speaking.
"M-m-milord, I am a smuggler. My experience is with evading ships not battling. This will give the other lords reason to doubt you," Davos protested.
"The other lords are lucky that I do not run them through for rumormongering," Stannis growled. "Tell the army to start preparing. We'll move tomorrow."
Davos bowed and exited the tent. However he made a shocked scream when he nearly bumped into Melisandre. She gave him a amused smile before pushing past him towards Stannis. She gave him a curtsy but the frown on Stannis' face did not leave.
"I thought you'd give my men," Stannis accused. "Not have them turn against me. Isn't that the reason why my brother died?"
"Yes," Melisandre admitted. "However the wizard must have interfered."
"Wizard?" Stannis asked. Melisandre nodded.
"While my talents in sorcery are formidable, he puts me to shame," Melisandre admitted. "It was he that destroyed my revenant."
"Can you not send more after him?" Stannis asked.
"I cannot," Melisandre said. "Each one takes months to breed. Yet Peverell destroyed mine easily."
"Blast him," Stannis growled. "But we will deal with him later. For now, I want you to make contact with the Iron Islands. We need more men and they have the cause and fleet to make trouble against the Starks. I want you to secure an alliance with them. We will meet you in Kingslanding, understand?"
"Of course milord," Melisandre whispered. "However, there is something you should know."
"What of it?" Stannis asked.
"I have felt another one, gifted with magic in the North," Melisandre said. "Through my divinations, I have pinpointed him. He is still young and has recently discovered his precious gift."
"Indeed?" Stannis asked intrigued. "Who is he?"
"The Stark's second youngest boy, Bran Stark," Melisandre said. Stannis smile widened.
"I see. This changes much," Stannis said. "You have a second objective now. You will capture the young Stark boy. I will send a portion of my army with you and a ship. Do not disappoint me."
"I will not fail you, Lord of the Light."
That evening, Harry was sitting with Margaerey inside of her tent. Harry could tell that she was tired but happy that the men under Renly were convinced to stay with her. Already she had received a raven from her family, House Tyrell, that reinforcements would be coming her way. She drank a small glass of peppermint tea, made by Harry. She smiled at her lover gratefully. They were both free to speak as Harry had placed a strong magical ward around their tent, guaranteeing them privacy for the night.
"Your idea worked perfectly," she whispered. "I had feared that our night together would doom us both but instead was a gift."
"A child is always a gift," Harry reassured her. "I am just sad that I will not be able to raise him as my own son."
"Do not worry," Margaerey said. "When he is of age. I will send him to you to become a warrior worthy to become king."
Harry smiled gratefully. "Thank you."
Margaerey nodded. "The upcoming days will be filled with blood. I only hope that the lives we will sacrifice will be worth it."
"Unfortunately it is the common people that will suffer the most," Harry mused. "I pity them but Westeros must change for the betterment of not only ourselves but also for our children."
Margaerey sighed. "So what will you do now?"
"I will go up North with Lady Stark. She will need to be escorted back as though she is a strong and commanding woman, she should not be on the battlefield near Robb. Winterfell needs her but her sons need her even more," Harry replied. "Once Winterfell is secure, I will go back to the army with Robb."
Margaerey set her tea down and sat in Harry's lap. Harry's arms circled her body and pulled her closer to him. She could feel how warm he was, even in the night wind. How safe she felt in his embrace was indescribable, even to the finest of bards. She sighed softly as she snuggled against him, much like a cat. Harry merely tightened his hold around her and kissed her brow softly.
"Renly, was a good man and I loved him for it even though he loved Ser Loras more than I," Margaerey whispered. "However the love I have for you is so much more. I can see myself giving everything up just to be with you."
Harry chuckled. "I can tell. But you have the power to make a difference. To make this land a better place for everyone, even the lowliest of farmers. It'll be a long, hard journey but know that I will support you even if I cannot be at your side."
"The fact that I know you mean every word gives me strength Harry," Margaerey whispered. "But let's not worry for the future now. I want you to show me how much you care for me."
Harry grinned in delight as he eagerly picked Margaerey up in his arms. Margaerey shrieked in delight but her sounds soon turned to moans as the Stark's magician showed her a special brand of magic that none could compare. Only Sirius could hear them and he growled in annoyance at the commotion his master was making. How could a wolf sleep with all that racket?
"What word have we received from Harry?" Robb asked.
"Lord Peverell's owl arrived yesterday," Greatjon rumbled. "I have the missive that was with it."
Robb took the letter from Greatjon. All the lords were quiet as Robb read the letter detailing his negotiations with the Baratheons. After a long moment, Robb let out a sigh of relief as he laid the scroll down. The lords around smiled, knowing that their leader's relief is a sign of welcome news.
"What news does Lord Peverell bring?" a lord asked.
"We are now allies with House Baratheon and House Tyrell. Within a week, we will have twenty-thousand soldiers to bolster our numbers while the main army marches for Kingslanding," Robb said happily.
The lords around cheered and clapped in delight at the news. Morale was already high with the victories that Robb had garnered but knowing that they were not alone in this fight lightened many shoulders. Greatjon thumped the table with a large fist in order to regain order within the tent. When the lords had settled, Robb continued with the news.
"Renly Baratheon is dead, killed by an assassin hired by Stannis Baratheon," Robb continued. A great gasp of shock was heard.
"Kinslayer," Edmure Tully whispered. "Never thought a man such as Stannis would resort to such a crime."
"He would have if not for Harry," Robb replied. "According to him, the assassin would have laid the blame on the Stark family if he had not caught Stannis' emblem on the assassin's cloak."
"Fortune favors him wherever he roams, it seems," Smalljon rumbled. Greatjon nodded at his son's statement.
"My son speaks true," Greatjon said. "What else is there to tell?"
"Though Renly is dead, he has a son on the way. Margaerey is pregnant with an heir. Harry stated that when she is on the Iron Throne, she will renounce all claim of the North. In addition, any of the great houses that have sworn under me would also have the choice to serve under the Iron Throne or my reign," Robb announced. "The Lannister house will not be destroyed but under the control of Tyrion Lannister."
"The half-man?" Dacey Mormont asked. Robb nodded.
"Harry speaks highly of Tyrion. I suggest we leave House Lannister to him."
"And what of Joffrey and Cersei?" Lord Glover asked.
"Executed," Robb stated.
Greatjon chuckled. "Good enough for me. I'd say the gods on our side now. With King Robb leading us, we only need a few more victories before we're at the lion's gate."
Edmure turned to Robb. "What will our next move be, milord?"
"You and your army will collect the longboats and rafts and wait for our reinforcements. I will take the main army and chase after the Lannisters. We will chase them to Harrenhal and trap them there. When our reinforcements come, you will take them by river with all haste to Harrenhal and cut off all supply. Hopefully the show of force will present Tywin with no choice then to surrender," Robb instructed. "
Edmure nodded. However a figure next to him snorted. Everyone turned to see an elderly man next to the Riverland Lord shaking his head.
"Is there a problem, Lord Brynden?" Robb asked.
"While it is true that we have Tywin on the run, the man is a cunning strategist. Remember that he was able to set himself up as the Hand of the King at the end of Robert's Rebellion. Despite our advantages, Tywin would never let himself be easily surrounded," Brynden stated. "The man is not like his brethren. The old lion is planning something. He knows Clegane's actions has turned the people of the Rivelerlands against him. This land is hostile territory. He cannot afford to stay here any longer."
"So what do you think he'll do?" Robb asked.
"He may have the bulk of his army lead us to Harrenhal whilst he and his elite troops move to regroup. His main priority will be gaining allies. The only houses left that have not joined the war are the Dornes and the Greyjoys. While the Dornes will most likely stay out of it due to their them being so isolated. With the Dornes remaining neutral, he will try and recruit the Greyjoys. The Greyjoys' have officially reduced their armies and territories, many of the Greyjoy family are skilled pirates and raiders. The Greyjoys can muster a fierce fleet, unmatched not even by the Royal Fleet. And with their mastery of the seas, they can rule the seas," Brynden explained. "Not to mention that Balon would do anything to kill Harry."
"Why?" Dacey asked. Brynden chuckled.
"Don't you know?" Brynden said dryly. "It was he that sunk the Balon's ship and stormed the castle. Harry brutally executed his two sons and crippled Balon. It is due to him that the Greyjoys surrendered."
"The grass is greener on the other side of the fence," Theon muttered. "Now I know what you meant."
The Iron Islands was nothing like he expected it to be. All his life he was told that he was the last son of Balon Greyjoy, the heir of the Iron Islands. That he was at Winterfell due to his family losing to the Starks. However the reality was nothing like he imagined. He was scorned, scoffed, and feared at. Even his own father had viewed his return with spite.
When Theon pushed open the doors of the Castle Pyke, he saw his father sitting on the throne. His face was scarred with harsh lines, like the rocks of the island. His hair was as grey as the sky around. Despite the cold air and the dark hall, Theon's face brightened as the realization he was home finally sunk in. Theon strode confidently towards the lord, who did nothing but glare at him.
"Father, I've returned!" Theon exclaimed.
"Who are you?" the lord growled. "I have no sons left."
Theon stopped, confused at the statement.
"Lord Balon, I am Theon Greyjoy. Your last son that was sent to the Starks," Theon said.
"I remember my last son taken from me. And now I see this, pawn! This whore of the Starks come to my hall and proclaim to be my son?! The sons I have were all taken by that monster! My kingdom sunk to the Drowned God. And to see this servant stride in proclaiming to by my son?!"
Theon watched in shock as Balon stood to his full height and walk towards him. With a mighty blow, Balon struck Theon down. He then proceeded to rip off Theon's cloak and armor, along with the sword before throwing them out of the window. Balon then spat at Theon.
"A true son of mine would have never worn the garb of those Starks. Those wolves of the North. If not for them, we would have ruled from the sea," Balon ranted. "If not for that MONSTER, we would have won!"
Theon stood onto his feet, confused.
"Father, what are you talking about?"
Balon whirled about with a crazed look in his eyes.
"You don't know?" Balon hissed. "I shouldn't be surprised how the Starks hid the horrifying truth of what they did. Eddard's dog did this to me!"
Balon threw open his cloak causing Theon to flinch in revulsion. Balon's right arm was a shriveled husk resembling a corpse's arm. Black and wrinkled whilst giving off a foul rotting stench. The arm was mummified yet still alive as Balon was able to clench it into a fist, even though the pain was enormous. Balon grimaced at Theon's expression as he hid the arm from view.
"That boy, Harry did this to me. It was he that blasted open the doors to this keep. He single-handedly slaughtered my men like cattle. As Ironborn blood flowed through the stones, he attacked my son and I. I raised my axe to meet him but he swatted it away. All I saw was a flash and I was on the ground with two knives in my arm. And as I knelt bleeding and crippled, unable to move, he took Maron and ripped him apart with his knives. He flayed him alive in front of my eyes before impaling his skull as he begged for death before my eyes," Balon wept. Balon gave a deep shuddering gasp before continuing.
"Then my Rodrik was next. Harry crushed his feet and brought Rodrik to his knees. Then my boy's legs were crushed into paste by that hammer of his. I could see my son dragging himself on his arms like a gutted fish as Harry slowly worked on the arms. He raised his hammer again and again with each swing grinding a part of my son into paste. Gods have mercy it wasn't until Rodrik was only a head and torso that Harry killed him. But killing him wasn't enough. He had to kill my son, my heir, by crushing his skull underneath my throne!"
When he finished, Balon knelt down, weeping at the memories of that horrific day. His wails brought tears upon the face of Theon. Never before had he heard of these monstrosities caused by the very man that he had looked up to as a child. The person that had taught him to fight. Who had instructed him how to shoot a bow. Who had been with him on his first hunt. To know that he was a monster that had not only crippled his father but executed his two brothers? The realization hit him hard and he fell on his knees, stunned.
"I see you finally realize what the Starks have done to us brother."
Theon turned around to see the maiden that had led him to Castle Pyke. Unlike the flirtatious smile she had when Theon met her, she had a grim frown as she strode forward to support her father. Theon gaped in shock, still reeling from Balon's revelation.
She gave an evil grin. "Yes brother, I am your sister, Asha. After you were taken, father raised me to become the heir of House Greyjoy. House Greyjoy was once a house to be feared by all of Westeros. Yet we are crippled by fear and loss of leadership. Many of the Ironborn men have sought to pirating and raiding. The few that are left are old, weak, or uncaring of us. However we now have a chance to rise."
She turned to a table with a map of Westeros. On the map were figures of where armies were gathering. Theon could see that the majority of the Stark's forces were in the Riverlands.
"With the Starks fighting against the Iron Throne, we can reclaim our territory! We are free to plunder and raid throughout Westeros. A chance to build a fleet that no house could challenge. Who could stop us? Baratheons are no sailors and the Lannisters have no warriors. The Starks are too far away. We will follow the Old Way now, no longer tied to the laws of the landlocked."
Asha turned to her brother with a gleam in her eyes. "Think about it brother! A chance to become kings of the ocean! We have the opportunity. Come back to us brother! Throw away those Stark wrappings and drown into the grey seas with the Ironborn!"
Theon clasped the brooch of his cloak and unbuckled it. He smiled widely but it wasn't the mischievous smile he usually wore. It was the bloodthirsty grin. He clasped his sisters arm and shook it.
"I am with you sister, now and forever!"
Asha convinced her father to lend her brother a ship full of Ironborn raiders. Theon was ordered to raid the castle of Seagard. It was a strong castle that his brother, Rodrik, failed to conquer. However it was garrisoned with half the amount of soldiers it usually had due to the war south. Theon smiled as the castle came into view. It was time to prove he was an Ironborn.
"Castle's in sight. What now?" one of his men asked. Theon turned to him.
"I want you and several others to beat me and four others until we bruise," Theon said. "Then throw me overboard as well. We'll sneak in as refugees from the Ironborn. At night, I and the others will take the Lord as hostage and open the gates."
The men grinned and quickly gathered the Theon's group. Theon and his men were quickly beaten by his crew before being tossed into the bay of Seagard. Theon watched as his men sailed away just as boats were sent out by the Seagard castle. Theon smirked as he felt hands gently pull him into the boat. It wouldn't be long until Seagard fell to House Greyjoy.
"You've got to be joking me."
"I'm afraid not boss. The poor cunt is ignoring the city's defenses."
Tyrion eyed Bronn with an irritated glance before looking down at the walls of the city around them. Under his orders, Kingslanding was being reinforced with stones and mortar for the siege machines that the Baratheons would surely bring. Fortunately for them, the death of Renly Baratheon did not cause the consolidation of the Baratheon allies, only fueling the rivalry between forces loyal to Stannis and those loyal to the late Renly. This allowed Tyrion more time to secure Kingslanding for the eventual siege. Tyrion knew of his father's tribulations thanks to Varys and expected that it would not be long until hostile forces assaulted the capital for the Iron Throne. Most likely the Baratheons as the Starks would be busy consolidating control over the Riverlands. Unfortunately control of the Riverlands is usually a clear sign of the dominant army is. The Targaryeans controlled it in the conquest, the Baratheons controlled it in their rebellions, and now the Starks control it. Mayhaps the Vale knights would send Starks reinforcements. As if the Starks/Tully alliance wasn't enough.
"Confound it all," Tyrion groaned. "This has gone bad to worse. And my nephew intends to meet them in battle if they come?"
"Got that right."
"The fool. What makes him so confident that he could win if Stannis or Margaerey, heaven forbids Robb comes into battle?"
Bronn let out a grim chuckle. "The lady isn't coming to battle. Stannis would probably capture him. The young Stark however would lop off the poor boy's head, never mind capturing him."
"Especially full on charge in a wide area and forces that outnumber us. An army that numbers to a hundred thousand men, not counting the Starks or Tullys. Thankfully they can only provide half that but that half are hardened veterans," Tyrion listed.
Bronn whistled. "Quite a pickle you are in."
"Do you have any advice?" Tyrion snapped. Bronn grinned.
"I'm just a poor sellsword. Dumb muscle so to say," Bronn replied. Tyrion gave his bodyguard an annoyed glance.
"Yet you've been in more battles than I have," Tyrion shot back. Bronn chuckled.
"True. That doesn't mean I know anything about strategy. Mostly I'm down in the mud trying to prevent me head from being cut off."
Tyrion was about to respond when his squire, a young boy named Podrick, came in carrying a letter. Tyrion thanked the young boy before turning his attention to the letter. He popped open the paper to see it was a messenger from his cousin, the queen's lover. As he read, Bronn noticed that the dwarf's expression became more grim. Tyrion tossed burned the letter in disgust before he hurried to put his cloak on.
"What's the rush?" Bronn asked.
"To stop a very foolish move from my sister before we're all burnt to death," Tyrion replied.
Bronn didn't like the sound of that. He followed Tyrion to a more remote part of the city. Down within the bowels of the Red Keep they went, passing through dark corridors and mossy tunnels. Tyrion didn't speak a word until they reached a large door with a strange symbol upon it. Tyrion banged loudly on the door and creaky, whirring noises were held before the door opened. A spindly man opened the door and leered unpleasantly at Tyrion.
"Hello your lordship," the man said in a wheezing tone. "What can your lowly servant do today?"
"I've heard my sister ordered the production of a certain substance, known as wildfire, Wisdom Hallyne" Tyrion asked calmly. "Is this true?"
The master alchemist nodded. "Yes your lordship. Come in, come in and let me show you the fruit of our labor."
Tyrion and Bronn stepped inside the door. Smells of all sorts assaulted Tyrion's and Bronn's noses. Tyrion could see the various substances lining the walls and tables. Some of the more ordinary he instantly recognized but there were many more that he could not begin to identify. A bone here, some mysterious paste over there, a touch of powder floating in the air. It was a madhouse. Bronn leaned over a murky jar and nearly sliced the jar as a three-eyed fish snarled back at him.
While the pair were looking around, the alchemist shuffled back carefully carrying a small jar of greenish goop. He placed it carefully in Tyrion's hands who raised it curiously at the light.
"I've heard an old tale about wildfire. A fire so hot that if you piss on it, it burns your cock off," Tyrion mused. He handed it back to the alchemist who carefully placed it on a table.
"Aye, milord. The substance burns through wood, metal, stone, and flesh," the man said. "It was the key of the Targaryen's power when the dragons died."
Bronn pulled his eyes away from the snarling fish to give the old man a skeptical look.
"If I had a bronze coin for every old man peddling jars of pig shit selling people the magical cure-all, I'd be a lord," Bronn replied snidely. Tyrion eyed Bronn but nodded at his point.
"Our order does not deal with pig shit!" the alchemist protested. "This is fire given substance!"
"To do what?" Bronn asked.
"They are placed in jars and thrown from catapults at the enemy causing grievous death to all who touch it," the alchemist explained. "This is how we defended many armies. Robert Baratheon would have been defeated by this if not for the treachery of Maestor Pycell."
"How much do you have?" Tyrion asked.
Hallyne lead the pair through the room to where the pots of wildfire were stored. As he did, Bronn continued to voice his doubts.
"If you had real soldiers man the catapults, you'd hit your target one out of ten shots. All the soldiers though are in the Riverlands with your father."
"Milord, this man is insulting," Hallyne said indignantly.
"I don't know if you've ever seen a battle, old man, but things can get a bit messy 'cause when we're flinging things at Stannis, Stannis is flinging things right back at us. Men die. Men shit themselves. Men run. Which means pots falling. Which means fire inside the walls. Which means the poor cunts trying to defend the city end up burning it down," Bronn pointed out.
Tyrion couldn't help but agree with the mercenary's statement. However he didn't want to insult the alchemist making the batches of highly volatile gel so he merely nodded and calmly added his statement.
"My friend remains unconvinced."
As Hallyne struggled to open the heavy door, Bronn glanced at Tyrion.
"Men win wars, not magic tricks."
The door opened to reveal a long, long hallway filled with pots. The room was so long that Tyrion could barely see the end. Tyrion wordlessly stepped inside and could almost feel the pure destruction that these pots could unleash. As a noble, he had heard of wildfire's destructive abilities. To see this many pots serenely sitting in a room scared him. He glanced at Hallyne.
"How many are in here?" Tyrion asked, almost dreading the answer.
"Our count is 7,811. More than enough to burn anything Stannis musters to the ground," Hallyne said proudly. "Ever since your sister ordered us, we have been working day and night to prepare Kingslanding."
"This is a shit idea," Bronn warned.
Tyrion shook his head at his sister's madness. "I'm afraid I have to agree with my guard, Wisdom Hallyne. The contents of this room could mean the death to us all if handled improperly. You won't be making it for my sister anymore. You will be making it for me now."
Ten days later, Robb and his guards stood on a hilltop near the center of the main camp. When the war began, the Starks numbered to almost twenty-thousand. Though the war has been grueling, the battles under Robb Stark have been victorious. Every battle that Robb commanded has lead to victory. Under his leadership, the Riverlands were now under the control of his mother's house, the Tullys. Morale was high in the camp since in the last major skirmish, Robb and Edmure Tully routed the last of the Lannister forces out of the borders of the Riverlands. For all the soldiers that were following Stark, the sight of the Lannisters retreating to the ruins of Harrenhall was a sight to see.
However Robb was a young man and his eyes drifted towards the young woman that served as a healer within the camp. He could see her busy making poultices in preparation for the next battle. Again he felt his heart flutter as he stared, transfixed, at the serene woman. He slowly strode towards her and as he was opening his mouth to speak, a loud horn blast echoed in the air. All previous thought out words were blasted from his mind as he rushed back to the hilltop to see green banners flapping in the air. Robb and his men rushed towards the edge of the camp where a familiar figure was dismounting her horse and striding towards him.
"Mother!" Robb cried out.
Lady Catelyn gave her son a fond smile as she embraced him, happy that her eldest was safe. She held him tightly for a long moment before breaking away with a smile on her face.
"I've read the letters that you sent to Harry. You've done so well. You're father would be so proud of you," Lady Catelyn whispered.
"I'm happy you're back," Robb said sincerely. "I'm happy to see that your endeavor was successful."
His mother smiled but shook her head.
"I've grown much to hard for the nuances of diplomacy. If not for Harry, I daresay that this would have become much worse," Lady Catelyn said. "But I shouldn't tell you of this. It is not my place."
"What do you mean?" Robb asked.
"I'm slowly becoming an old woman now. Do not forget I still have two more sons waiting for me back at Winterfell. It will not be long before I travel back to my beloved castle," Lady Catelyn said. "Besides, it is for the best. You still have a kingdom to conquer."
Robb smiled sadly. "I understand mother. Why don't you rest in my tent as I speak to my new arrivals."
"Of course," Catelyn said. She turned to one of the knights escorting Robb. "Ser Dacey, would you mind escorting me to my son's tent."
Robb turned to where several armored men were standing and chatting with Edmure Tully, Greatjon, and a few other of his vassals. Robb walked to them and they immediately knelt down. One of them a young, dashing knight spoke for them all.
"Hail King Stark!" the knight said. "I am Ser Loras Tyrell, brother of Queen Margaerey. She sent us to help finish the Lannister army. I and the five thousand men are yours to command."
Robb nodded grimly as he gave a cursory glance at the men carrying Tyrell banners. The soldiers were young, fresh, and unstained from the march. Many of their eyes still shone of naivety as opposed to the dulled eyes of the Stark veterans. He sighed as he knew that after a battle, that shine would quickly fade as they experienced the horrors of war.
"I'm honored that Queen Margaerey would send her own brother to us just before her assault onto Kingslanding. Five thousand swords are a welcome sight just before we take the fight to the ruins of Harrenhall," Robb said. "We have the core of Tywin's army cornered there. It won't be long until we capture him. But for now, rest. You have marched long and hard to come here. The battle will not be long. Soon Westeros will have peace once again."
"Thank you, your grace," Ser Loras said. "I and my men will take our leave."
The knight bowed and walked away, no doubt to relay orders to his men. Robb turned back to see his mother speaking with Talisa. He glanced at them in curiosity, wondering what the pair were speaking about.
"My, my, my. Small world, eh Robb?"
Robb turned to the source of the voice. Robb's smile grew when he saw Harry leaning nonchalantly against a nearby oak tree. He was gnawing on a granola bar but his eyes were glittering with glee.
"Welcome back Lord Peverell," Robb said. "Word of your feats brought great relief and joy to this camp."
"A stuffy way of saying good job," Harry replied. "I wouldn't let you down, especially when the war is so close to becoming finished. Baratheon/Tyrell is on the move towards an undermanned Kingslanding. A war-torn Lannister army is shivering in Harrenhal. I don't like this Robb. Its much too perfect."
Robb frowned at Harry's concerned tone. "Too perfect? The war here has sundered many lives and cost too much blood for the whim of a boy too soft to see his own blood!"
"I don't deny that," Harry agreed. "But its too straight-forward. Don't forget that while we have advanced so far, we must not forget there are still enemies the Starks have besides the Lannisters."
"What do you mean?" Robb asked. Harry huffed in annoyance.
"The Greyjoys!" Harry snapped. "For years there have been more pirates and raiders since we defeated the Ironborn after Robert's Rebellion. House Greyjoy itself was greatly weakened but they still have a strong command over the stormy northern seas."
"You're worried about them even though we have the Lannisters in a corner?" Greatjon asked behind Robb.
"Why now did you bring it up?" Robb asked. Harry gave Robb an incredulous stare.
"When was the last time you've heard from Theon?" Harry asked Robb.
Robb frowned. "When I sent him to Iron Islands."
Harry sighed and ruffled his hair. "That's why I'm worried. Theon has been gone for a long time with no word."
"First we deal with the Lannisters. Then we'll find Theon," Robb decided. "Theon can take care of himself. Besides, he was raised by you as well."
Harry was not fooled by Robb's jovial tone. "That's exactly why I'm worried. Because he was raised by me as well."
A dark forest.
White-skinned giants speaking to him, encouraging him to come into the darkness.
Wolves howling as the winds blew.
Then the raven came. Always the raven staring at him with three eyes.
This time it carried a red leaf.
Red as the blood that stained the snow.
Bran opened his eyes to see Osha's worried face. He blinked the sleep from his eyes and sat up.
"You had another nightmare, Bran," Osha said gently. Bran shook his head.
"It wasn't a nightmare. A vision," Bran corrected. "I need to go to the library."
"No you need to eat," Osha said. "You haven't been eating much since that day of at the clearing."
Bran nodded. Ever since the trees rescued them, Bran had been seeing visions. Sometimes he saw white cloaks floating in the dim halls of Winterfell at night. Other times he thought he saw green beings jumping from tree to tree. He even thought he saw a face the last time he drew water from a well. He had begun recording every strange sight he saw. It was becoming like an obsession as he hunted through the numerous tomes of Winterfell, searching for answers. Often times he would ask the inhabitants of Winterfell various questions. Every free moment he had, he was trying to find the meaning to these questions.
Bran's behavior worried many of his closest confidants. Luwin had to ask Hodor to carry Bran from the library many times as the young lord was found sleeping there. Dark shadows formed under Bran's eyes as the rest he desired was disturbed by broken images. Osha sometimes found him sleep walking through the halls. Rodrik had also found Bran alone in the middle of the courtyard as if he was speaking to a person.
It wasn't until a large owl arrived that Bran finally had a smile on his face.
The owl had flown in and landed next to Bran, holding its leg out for the young lord to read. Bran tiredly untied to letter and popped open the seal to see Harry's untidy scratch marks. Sharp and angular, it seemed as if their family friend had quickly wrote it.
"Bran, if you are reading this, you must not panic at what I will reveal to you. You are a wizard. A wizard that is able to control the chaotic energy of life that flows throughout the land. The Stark family has always had magic flowing through their veins but it was never fully manifested until you. When you were young, your magic showed when you were afraid or distressed. I and your father wished to hide it. That is why I never trained you in the art of swordplay like your brother or sister. That is why I had Luwin constantly teach you. For wizards, the mind is our greatest weapon. We will never be as strong as warriors like your father and brother but with our cunning, we can become great fighters on our own.
I will soon be coming back to Winterfell with your mother. In the meantime, I have hidden tomes for you to read. Study them because we are not the only ones to use magic. NEVER show magic in front of strangers. Magic is the most misunderstood and chaotic forces in the world. I cannot tell you the consequences if you were discovered to be a wizard!
Bran smiled widely as he hobbled as fast as he could to the room that Harry once stayed in. It was almost like every room in the castle. A small bed and a small desk. Bran searched the room until he found a small carving of a lightning bolt carved into the stone on the floor. It was the size of his thumb and easily overlooked. Bran pulled out a knife and cut open his thumb as per the directions in Harry's letter. He pressed the bleeding diget on the carving and whispered the words Harry wrote.
The stone shook and before Bran's eyes shuddered and morphed into a handle. Bran pulled on the handle to reveal a large chamber under the stones. A ladder lead down to the chamber. Bran slowly began climbing down. When he reached the ground, he shook in surprise as the panel closed with a loud boom. For a moment he was in complete darkness. Then torches lit themselves revealing where Bran was.
Books upon books were stacked high on shelves. Scrolls untouched for years hanged on the shelves. Littered around were items of all sorts. Some were shabby while others gleamed like the sun. They all seemed to glow in an ethereal light. He was tempted to grab a seemingly innocent sword but a instinctive feeling prevented him from holding the sword. Bran limped away and headed towards the shelf. He looked down at the letter and the ink on the letter began moving and rearranging themselves before Bran's very eyes. It soon displayed a list of books that Bran needed to read as well as a warning to not touch the other books. Some of the books, Harry warned, would scream, curse, or even burn the reader without proper precautions. Thankfully, the books that Harry listed were easy to reach.
Bran pulled open the first book. It was a large black tome that seemed to resonate with Bran. Bran carefully opened to book only to see blank pages. Bran frowned at first but ink slowly appeared on the page. More and more words wrote themselves. Pictures were drawn and soon, Bran was reading into the first lesson as the pictures came to life.
"Lesson 1, Magic is alive..."
YO! Sorry for the long update. I've been dealing with several issues, the most serious is the lack of inspiration. I wasn't sure how the story would develop for the longest time as it will soon diverge from the original source. Who lives? Who dies? What happened next. Its difficult for me to plan all the consequences of the actions Harry has made. With GoT season 3 now out, I finally got to writing once more. I've known many people are awaiting eagerly for the next chapter and I am as well because I love this show!