Disclaimer: All characters (except Amarah) and locations property of George R. R. Martin and HBO Productions

Note: I have been working on this story for a while but decided to go ahead and post it. Several chapters are already complete but I will be posting one at a time. Please feel free to read and review. Since this is my first story ALL comments are appreciated constructive or otherwise. Thank you and enjoy!

It was cold. That was Amarah Baratheon's first thought as she rode through the harsh landscape leading to Winterfell, the home of her uncle, Lord Eddard Stark. It had been many years since she had been allowed to visit her family there, and now to make the trip in the presence of her detestable relations, she had rather wished she could forgo the visit all together.

Instead of riding in the transport with Cersei and her brood, Amarah had chosen to ride on horseback most of the way. After spending months on the King's Road with her stepmother, Amarah half-considered the melodramatic solution of throwing herself beneath her horse's hooves to end her misery, but her keen instinct for survival quickly rejected the thought.

As the harsh winter wind struck her cheek like a thousand icy knives, she tried to still the chattering of her teeth long enough to ask one of the guards how much farther they would have to ride. The cold temperature had not been as much of a bother several days ago, but the farther north they went, the harder it was to endure. She was nothing however, if not a survivor.

"Just a bit farther now, my lady" the guard shouted over the howling wind.

Giving a regal nod of her head, Amarah cantered forward to join Tyrion Lannister who seemed to be faring much better in the harsh atmosphere than she. Tyrion was Amarah's family through her father's marriage, but she had always considered him a friend more than a relation. She would be dammed before she claimed any Lannisters as true relations, even one she regarded as highly as Tyrion.

"I hear there is a very reputable whore house in these parts" she said in a casual tone as if they were discussing such mundane topics as the weather.

Tyrion turned slightly in his saddle to observe her in that condescending way which was so common in his manner.

"And what other recommendations might you have heard in regards to this establishment" he returned with the same casual expression.

"I'm afraid I failed to get any of the particulars" she replied "but has it not been said 'if you've bedded one whore you've bedded them all'?"

"I must confess I have never agreed with that ridiculous assumption" he said in a disgruntled tone, obviously put out that she had not bothered to procure better information.

"Well, I have also heard" she continued "that a particular whore name Ros might see to your needs most adequately." The disgruntled look on Tyrion's face now turned to one of carnal satisfaction as he pondered the possibilities of Ros and her abundant assets. Turning his horse to take a separate path toward the village, he turned to regard her with a cynical smile.

"As always, my lady, you have proven most invaluable." With this, he set off down the trodden path at a slightly more brisk pace.

Amarah smirked as she watched the little man canter off towards the establishment she had been so good to recommend. As it was well known throughout the kingdom, Tyrion Lannister had a very large appetite, and not just for food to be found at the feasting table.

Most people viewed Tyrion as something to be mocked or ridiculed because of his disadvantage of being born a dwarf, but Amarah regarded him with much more respect than most. Not many people of her acquaintance possessed a razor sharp wit that rivaled her own, but she had found in Tryion Lannister a sharp mind and kindred spirit.

Turning her gaze to the other Lannister brother, Amarah felt her smirk turn into a sneer at the sight of his golden armor and sweeping cloak. Jaime Lannister certainly made up for in good looks what his brother lacked, but he would never equal Tyrion in character. Seeming to sense her derisive gaze, the elder Lannister turned his golden head in her direction with the same mocking smile he always wore.

Muttering a curse, Amarah turned away quickly and focused her attention on the road before her. There was no time in the day to waste on thoughts of men as useless and wretched as Jaime Lannister.

To her relief, the walls of Winterfell soon came into view, and the traveling party slowed considerably as they rode through the large, wooden gates. Sweeping her gaze across the crowded courtyard, Amarah's gaze found her Stark relations all lined up in a neat row ready to receive the king. She noted with some pity that Uncle Ned's bastard, Jon Snow, had been relegated to stand behind the rest of the family with the watchmen and squires. It would never do for a bastard to greet the king as a true member of the family.

As their group cantered to a halt, Amarah stayed atop her chestnut mare while she waited for her father to greet their hosts. She could not make out his greeting words to them over the wind, but the smiles on their faces confirmed they had been pleasant ones. After he had finished doling out the pleasantries, King Robert turned to seek her out.

"Amarah," he called out gruffly "come and greet your Uncle."

Sliding off her horse with the assistance of Jaime Lannister, Amarah quickly shook off his unwelcome touch and moved forward to greet her relations. Her Uncle Ned regarded her with a warm expression as he reached forward to pull her into a warm embrace. She took a few moments more than necessary to hug her uncle, but his affection seemed to warm her chilled bones as if she had just sat in front of a blazing fire to bask in its warmth. Pulling back from the embrace she regarded him with an engaging smile.

"It's so good to see you again, Uncle" she said with uncharacteristic sincerity.

Turning then to her Aunt Cat, Amarah repeated the gesture and it was returned in full measure. After greeting her Aunt and Uncle, Amarah regarded the rest of her cousins with a warm smile before stepping back to allow the queen to be introduced as well.

Moving to stand next to little Arya and Bran, Amarah stooped down to envelop each of them in a warm hug. Those two had been so small the last time she had visited Winterfell, she almost wouldn't have recognized them. After returning the hug, Arya pulled her back down to whisper in her ear.

"Where's the imp?"

Grimacing at the nickname, Amarah took no offense at her cousin's innocent question. Tyrion was largely referred to throughout the realm as "the imp," and detestable as the name might have become, it was still commonly used to refer to the little lord.

"Fret not, little cousin. He will put in an appearance shortly" Amarah replied.

Arya did not seem satisfied with this answer, but their conversation was cut short by Robert's demand to be taken to the family crypt. Amarah knew the moment the words came out of her father's mouth, it would not sit well with the queen.

"My love" said Cersei in her warm, husky tone, "we have been traveling for months. Surely the dead can wait."

Ignoring his wife as if she hadn't spoken at all, Robert turned back to Eddard Stark impatiently. "Ned?"

Glancing apologetically at the queen, Ned turned to lead the king down to the crypt and to his sister's grave. Lyanna Stark had been King Robert's one true love and Amarah's mother. She had been stolen away by Prince Rheagar shortly after Amarah's birth, causing her father's rebellion against the ruling Targaryen family. Lyanna was found almost a year later by her brother Eddard Stark but died soon thereafter under mysterious circumstances that had never been divulged to Amarah.

Having no memories of her departed mother, Amarah felt no great need to uncover the mystery of her death. As far as she was concerned, what's done was done, and there was nothing to be gained by delving into the past. Doing so would change nothing and likely only cause her heartache over a mother she had never known.

Robert however, had never truly recovered from his first wife's death. A fact that had caused much contention in his present marriage, and a palatable hatred between Amarah and the Lannisters, save for Tyrion. They could never forgive the fact that because of her mother, she was the King's favorite.

She had been told by many that she resembled the late Lyanna Stark. While she had her father's dark black locks, she had inherited the piercing grey eyes from her mother as well as her fiery spirit and sharp, biting tongue.

Amarah had never considered herself to be a ravishing beauty, but men seemed to be drawn to her the moment she entered a room. "An icy beauty" she had heard a maid describe her appearance. Though short of stature, Amarah possessed a womanly figure that caused men to slaver and women to eye her with envy. But to Amarah, her beauty was not a source of vanity but her most powerful weapon of all. Men were basic creatures. A discreet smile here, an innocent flutter of lashes there, and many a knight would be eating out of the palm of her dainty, little hand.

Contemplating these thoughts, she finally took a moment to glance at Robb and allowed herself to drink in his handsome face and boyish charm. She had been ten years the last time they had parted, but she had not forgotten his face. Many a cold, dreary night when she felt alone and desolate, she would think of gentle Robb Stark and his kind eyes as he handed her a small chain of flowers he had spent hours making.

They had both been mischievous imps at the time. After King Robert had returned from the war he left his only daughter in the care of her Uncle Ned while he left for the capitol. Amarah had not understood at the time why he had done it, but now she understood that her face had been too fresh a reminder of her mother's memory. A memory he could not bear to be reminded of.

She remembered his gruff goodbye in the very courtyard where she stood now. Her two year old mind had not been able to grasp it. She did not understand why he was leaving her. As he climbed on his horse, she began to cry and scream for him to come back down, to come back and hold her. But he paid her no mind. She could have been invisible for all the attention he gave her.

As he began to ride away, she started to scream and cry even harder. "Come back, Papa! Come back , Papa!" she had cried over and over again. But he never looked back. Not even once. Amarah still felt the bone-deep sense of betrayal all these years later. After her father's departure, she went completely silent. No more tears or screams, nothing. She had never cried since that day.

She had been a very solemn child after that, but her solemn demeanor was challenged constantly by her cousins Robb and Jon who decided that she was a most dull girl indeed. They wanted to play in the mud puddles and swim in the river, but she refused to have anything to do with their games. They decided that since she was so unkind as to refuse their offers, they would bring the games to her. She had been five years old when the first mud ball had been thrown at her shiny, black locks. After that it had been all out war between the small trio. Those had been the happiest years of her life, running around in the mud with her two cousins and not a care in the world.

When she came into her tenth year, a summons came from King's Landing for her to join her father at the capital. He had been remarried for several years and now wanted his daughter to come home and take her rightful place in his house. Amarah had inwardly rebelled at the summons, but she kept her feelings hidden and meekly accepted her father's command. The morning she prepared to leave, Robb came to her room with his grubby hand hidden behind his back. Giving him a questioning look, Amarah waiting for him to produce whatever it was that he was hiding.

Sheepishly, her cousin produced a delicate chain of daisies that he had obviously been working on for some time. Amarah fell in love with her little cousin in that instant. Looking into his brown eyes, she felt with some conviction that no one would ever love her as much as Robb. Gazing at him now, she still felt the same.

"Where's the imp?" Arya asked again, rather loudly this time, interrupting Amarah's wandering thoughts.

"Shut up!" Sansa ground out, elbowing her little sister in the side.

"Ow!" shouted an indignant Arya with a look that promised imminent retribution.

Cat leaned over to give both girls a reproving glance, and Amarah struggled to conceal her smile over Arya's less than subtle curiosity regarding Lord Tyrion.

With an even more disgruntled look on her face at the discovery of her brother's absence, Cersei marched toward Jaime who stood back surveying the scene unfolding before him.

"Where is the little beast?" she asked rather ungraciously.

Not immediately venturing a reply, Jaime raised his golden brow in a supercilious expression that never ceased to raise Amarah's ire. Turning his expectant gaze in her direction he waited for her to answer the Queen's inquiry regarding their bother's whereabouts. Obviously he had seen Tyrion ride off toward the village after their brief conversation, but let the clever bastard figure it out himself she thought.

Ignoring Jaime Lannister and his sister, Amarah coldly withdrew her gaze and asked her Aunt if she would be so kind as to show her to her quarters. Sensing the underlying tension between her guests, Catelyn was more that happy to comply, shouting out orders for the servants to get back to their stations.

Following her aunt inside the keep, Amarah could feel that cold bastard's gaze still on her. She did not know why but something about Jaime Lannister simply made her blood boil. Not a pleasant reaction for a girl who prided herself on maintaining her icy composure, but something about that smug son-of-a-bitch undermined all of her well applied self-discipline in one fell swoop.

Ignoring the prickly irritation she felt at the very sight of Jaime Lannister, she fought to maintain a serene expression as she walked behind her aunt. Passing Robb, she gave him a warm smile and turned her thoughts in a more pleasant direction. Taking a deep breath she calmed her frazzled nerves. Maybe this could prove to be an enjoyable visit after all.