Arella pinned her jet black hair to the top of her head, letting strands fall effortlessly down her shoulders and braiding them to get the look of the south, even though she never before went south, or anywhere outside of Winterfell.
She worked as a tavern wench at a small tavern at the edge of Winterfell's small kingdom. She used to work with her mother, but she was no longer around, just a rotting corpse under the floor boards of their small home; Arella knew the body made her home smell, but she knew she couldn't live without knowing her mother was near.
Arella hated those Ironborn men that were cluttering Winterfell, raping and killing, drinking all of the good beer and wine. She just wanted them to leave and go back to Pike or where ever they came from. It had been one of those Ironborn men that killed her mother. One with filthy black hair, cropped close to his oddly shaped face; one with small black eyes and a flushed fat face. He had been drunk when he stumbled into the tavern, along with a group of his bad smelling friends. They had touched her thighs and breast when she walked by, but she had ignored them, but her mother would not. She had ordered them out and most of them had gone with angry scoffs, but two of them had stayed, calling her mother a good for nothing whore that needed a good fucking; her mother had retorted with, "When you find a man that can do that for me, tell me, because I don't see any here in this tavern."
One of the two had left laughing, saying he liked a girl with a mouth on her, but the other had grabbed her by the throat and choked her, saying, "Beg for your life, whore."
But her mother didn't beg, she was too strong to beg; so instead she looked him dead in the eye, smiled feebly, and spat in his bloated face.
"You ugly whore, you're going to get it now," he had screamed, pulling at his breeches.
"Stop it! PLEASE!" Arella grabbed the back of his cloak and tried to pull him off her, but all he did was push her away and make her fall into a table, ripping her dress down the front and exposing her breast.
Arella tried to stand, but found she couldn't for there was a peice of glass stuck in her stomach, staining her grey dress crimson red. "Get off my mum! Please just stop!"
She weakly reached for his cloak and saw her blood staining the ground deep red; hearing her mother's whimpers as he tightened his grip on her throat. When he was finally done with her, her dead body fell to the ground with blank black eyes and a purple bruise around her throat.
Arella shook her head and came back to her room in the now, lifting up her skirts and rubbing the scar that remained from that piece of glass.
She sat down on her cot and tried to remember a time when things were safe, when you could go out without worrying about getting hurt. The last time she remembered feeling that way was when Lord Eddard Stark was in Winterfell and Robb hadn't declared himself King in the North. She liked to remember when she, Jeyne, and Sansa would play dolls in the yard, she four years older than they, before Sansa had been old enough to finally understand that Arella wasn't high born but just a bastard child of a tavern wench.
She wondered if Sansa and Jeyne were okay in the south, even though they hadn't spoken to her since Sansa turned eleven and told her she was a whore for laying with Theon Greyjoy in the dark of the night, wearing nothing more than a cloak.
She remembered those nights, before Theon had betrayed the Starks, before he had grown mad with power, when he had held her until they both fell into a deep slumber, and when they had done those things married men and women did.
Perhaps Sansa has been right when she called her a whore, because she was certain the perfect Sansa Stark of Winterfell never laid with the son of a rebel traitor. But Arella also knew she wasn't ashamed of doing those things with Theon, for they were the best nights of her life. She may be a parentless bastard, but she knew Sansa didn't know the feeling of a man touching her, eyes connected with hers as his hands travelled down her body; she was a weak highborn that was going to be Queen and have tons of blonde sons from the seed of her Lannister King. She'd never know true passion, nor would she know, wonder lust, for all of her marital meetings would be planned and set in stone.
Arella looked in her seeing glass and saw her heart shaped face, big electric blue eyes, and the shone of her silky black hair. She pulled her black cloak over her lean shoulders and skipped her long legs out of her room and outside. She walked about in the shadows, not daring to walk around in plain view, because she knew the people of Winterfell weren't allowed to walk about after dark or at all.
She knew her way around the castle, from the many times she and young Arya and played together, after Sansa had begun to shun her. Arya was much more accepting of lowborn people, for she considered herself an outsider in her family and thought she had more in common with lowborn people than high. Arella slipped into a dark corridor and made her way to the room she knew Theon would pick for his own.
When she was in front of his door, she met the eyes of his guards, and the only thing she could do was smile.