Disclaimer – if you recognise it then it belongs to GRRM

Jon VIII

"If I truly am half wolf then why am I shivering so much whilst a Dornishman does not appear to feel any cold?"

Arthur smiled at Jon's question. "You grew up under the sun of Qarth so it is no wonder you have never felt cold like the North of Westeros. After you have slept by Shipbreaker Bay in the howling wind and rain with nothing but a cloak for shelter, you get used to dealing with feeling cold."

Jon wrapped the furs around himself and walked around their chambers. Although it was clear they were not chambers but a prison. You only had to open the door to see the sheer number of guards patrolling outside to know they were not regular guests. Jon had once made to leave but was told in no uncertain terms to remain in their room until summoned. This was the only room they had been permitted to see and they had stared at the same four walls now for three days since their arrival at Winterfell.

Their journey to the North had been gone with relative ease. They had left Starfall with only a small number of fifteen Dornish spearmen to act as guards. Jon knew that Daenerys would have gladly given more but there were few able men at Starfall as it was. A positive of their low numbers was that they were able to travel the narrow sea with speed, ably helped by the winds which seemed to favour them the entire trip. "A sign from the Seven." One of the older spearmen had stated. It was a nice thought and Jon had hoped it was true.

In order to avoid being apprehended at White Harbour, they had sailed up the Broken Branch as far as possible till they were forced to land. From here they had set off towards Winterfell to request an audience with Lord Robb Stark. It was only a chance encounter with Ser Kyle Condon that had alerted them that Robb Stark had spent the previous night at the pleasure of his House and now was en route to the Dreadfort. Ser Kyle had bravely ridden out to meet Jon's party, believing them to be bandits or thieves. Once he had listened to Jon and ascertained that they meant no malice he had led them on the correct path where they would meet Robb. It was moving down along this road that led them to the scene of betrayal by the Bolton Bastard.

They arrived just in time. Robb Stark had been dragged from his horse and was defenceless on his knees under the sword of Ramsay Snow until Jon sprang forward to engage him in combat. The fight did not last long as Ramsay had very little prowess and swung his blade wildly with no accuracy. Jon cut him down and run him through in a swift manner before aiding Ser Arthur and the guards in taking care of those remaining. When the fighting had ended only two spearmen had perished and there were only four Northmen left, including Robb and his mother, though Lady Catelyn had sustained a heavy blow to the head and was unconscious. Robb was thankfully unharmed aside from a few cuts and a probable broken rib.

They had immediately returned to the keep of House Condon where they waited for a day until the full garrison of Winterfell arrived, led by a relieved Ser Brynden Tully, to escort them back to their own castle. As soon as they entered Winterfell, Jon and Ser Arthur were taken to the chambers where they had remained till now. The Dornish spears were flatly refused entry to Winterfell and were instead told to wait at the tavern in Winter Town. Jon had been very unhappy with their treatment but Arthur actually understood the behaviour and encouraged Jon to wait patiently until they were called upon. "He had been nearly killed by the son of his own bannerman before being saved by a Northern looking stranger leading a band of Dornishmen including a knight not seen in Westeros for many years. He is entitled to be cautious." Arthur had explained, calming Jon's temper.

"Were you not worried that you would be executed straight away?" Jon had asked him. It was a worry that Jon had considered throughout their journey.

Arthur had wryly smiled "I was not worried about it but I knew it was a possibility. I gambled on the chance that the son was as noble as the father. Fortunately I was right."

Jon reflected on that memory as he moved closer to the fire, rubbing his hands together to try and fight away the cold. He wished the Rhaegal was here, and not just so his dragonfire could warm him. He missed the dragon, though he was glad that he still dreamt as him every night and their bond remained strong.

A knock at the door brought Jon out of his thoughts. A tall older man stepped into the room, Jon recognised him as Ser Brynden Tully.

"Firstly I want to apologise for your confinement since your arrival at Winterfell. Lord Stark was concerned about your sudden arrival, especially after everything that happened." Brynden said

"Nothing to forgive." Arthur said quickly.

"I also want to thank you for saving Lady Catelyn and Robb from certain death. You have my eternal thanks for your actions. Now you have been summoned by Lord Stark. He is holding court in the Great Hall and is ready to listen to what you have to say."

Brynden swiftly led them down the many stone hallways of the castle towards the Great Hall. Jon noted the high number of guards along their route. He guessed that they were still far from safe. Arthur did not seem concerned though, his face like stone.

Eventually they arrived and entered the Great Hall at the rear. The room was filled with seemingly all of Winterfell. Soldiers were spread all through the audience, fully armoured and clasping swords. Jon and Arthur remained unnoticed as all the attention was focused forward where Robb Stark sat on a platform. Jon watched from the back of the Great Hall as the Lord of Winterfell addressed a pale man, who stood solitary in front of the platform where he sat.

"My Lord." The man said emotionless.

"Lord Bolton. Thank you for coming so swiftly." Robb replied, "Now do you care to tell me why your bastard did what he did and why I shouldn't have you thrown in the castle dungeons right now?"

If Robb's words were meant to scare the Lord of the Dreadfort it did not work. The man did not even flinch, his face like a statue. "My bastard was of bad blood. I have long attempted to rectify the many flaws in his behaviour but it has been futile. My bastard did what he did because that is his nature. I had no idea of his actions towards you until I received your raven."

"Your treacherous bastard spoke of a raven from the Iron Throne, offering rewards for the deaths of me and my mother." Robb stated.

The crowd murmured at this news. Lord Bolton waited for them to quieten before he replied in his same low tone. "I have not seen such a raven my Lord. I assume my bastard decided to act upon it independently in order to claim the rewards mentioned for himself."

"What if you would have received such a raven?" Robb pressed.

"I would have brought it straight to you Lord Stark. As my liege lord, I am loyal to you." He replied instantly.

Robb raised his head, briefly looking to the ceiling whilst he thought, before he returned his gaze to Lord Bolton. "Though our houses have been enemies in the past, the loyalty of House Bolton under your Lordship has never ever been called into question. Hence I am inclined to believe you Lord Roose. However should other evidence emerge that suggest you had a part in your bastard's plot, I will personally ensure justice is dealt for all of those he murdered."

Lord Roose gave a slight nod to this before saying "Please remember Lord Stark that my true born son Domeric was one of the victims. Why would I ever condone a plot that would involve the death of my heir? All I have left of him now is Nightfall, which I thank you for retrieving from my bastard, my Lord."

As Robb motioned to an elderly man with long white whiskers, who in turn passed the Valyrian steel blade to Lord Bolton, Jon found himself staring at the head of House Bolton. The man was calm, measured and spoke softly, yet there was something truly threatening about him. Jon got a sense of malice and cold calculated viciousness from the man, although he was not sure exactly why that was. Even though the argument presented by Lord Roose regarding his lack of involvement was entirely logical and believable, Jon couldn't shake the feeling that it was a blatant lie.

After Lord Roose sheathed the sword, he took his leave and slipped back into the audience. "It is your turn now." Ser Brynden whispered to them.

Ser Arthur led the way, guiding Jon through the crowd. Jon realised as he walked that he had not yet actually spoken to Robb Stark. Jon had wanted to speak to him whilst they returned to Winterfell but, seeing how he was obviously concerned about his mother who remained unwell, he left him be. However when they were immediately directed to their chambers upon their arrival at the castle, Jon attempted to speak to him across the courtyard only to be ignored. Currently Robb remained sat atop the dais, arms firmly folded as he surveyed them approaching. An elderly maester stood to his left whilst a man with similar features to Jon was on his right.

Jon and Arthur both stood in the clearing and faced the young Lord of Winterfell. After what seemed an age Robb spoke. "Firstly I want to convey my thanks for your actions. You saved my life and my mother's. When she is well enough to leave her chambers I am sure she will give her thanks in person."

Jon mirrored Arthur and said nothing.

Robb carried on, facing Arthur. "My great uncle Ser Brynden has already confirmed to me who you are. Ser Arthur Dayne, the legendary Sword of the Morning. A member of the Mad King's Kingsguard… and the man who killed my father."

Jon felt the tension immediately grow within the room. The crowd seemed to hiss and growl behind them. Arthur however remained still, unmovable.

"Westeros has long believed you dead Ser. Had you not come to our aid against Ramsey Snow, I would have made that a fact." Robb said firmly before turning to Jon, "I do not know who you are, please tell us."

Jon spoke clearly "I am Jon Sand, the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark."

"Impossible!" The man to Robb's right shouted. He moved forward pointing his finger at Jon. "Watch your tongue boy. Speak lies about my sister again and th-"

Arthur interrupted, firmly but composed "Jon is telling the truth Benjen Stark. Do not doubt his word."

Arthur then proceeded to tell the whole tale. He spoke of the forbidden love between Rhaegar and Lyanna, Jon's birth and Eddard's death at the Tower of Joy, their life in Qarth, the meeting with Daenerys, the dragons (something which drew loud gasps from the maester and the audience), Ser Barristan, Starfall, everything.

Robb listened to it all in stoic silence whilst Benjen appeared a mixture of crestfallen and shocked. "This…it cannot be." Benjen mumbled once Arthur had finished. Jon felt for man – his uncle – as he clearly had no idea that his sister went willingly with the Dragon Prince.

Robb spoke up "Ser Brynden, what do you make of this tale? Can we trust the word of this man?"

Jon had not noticed that the Blackfish had moved forward and was only stood a few steps behind them now. "Lord Robb, Ser Arthur Dayne was known throughout Westeros as a true knight and a man of honour. Even his enemies, including you father, had nothing but respect for the Sword of the Morning. I do not doubt his word."

"My sist….Lyanna was always so wilful." Benjen said softly. Jon could see tears in his eyes.

"His appearance is that of a Stark." The maester added.

Robb thought on all he heard before speaking "Now you ask the North to ally with the daughter of the Mad King, the same King who burned my Grandfather and Uncle to death."

"Yes." Jon spoke plainly. Unfortunately he could not think of what to say next, he felt overwhelmed.

Luckily Arthur did. "Daenerys is not her Father's daughter. She is kind, well balanced and will be a noble queen. She has none of King Aery's madness."

Robb looked surprised "I was expecting you to deny that Aerys was indeed a madman."

"Why would I deny what was plainly true." Arthur answered.

"Then why did you serve him?" Robb asked, his voice rising slightly but noticeably to Jon.

"I made a vow and, for better or worse, I honour my vows. That is something I have adhered to all my life, even if it pains me to do so." Arthur paused briefly. "I vowed to Rhaegar that I would defend Lyanna and die before handing over her or her son to any of the Usurper's men. That is the reason why your father died. I took no pleasure from his death but I made a vow."

Robb stared solemnly at the Sword of the Morning, his hands clasped together in front of his mouth. Jon could not tell what effect Arthur's words were having on him and whether they were any closer to bringing the North to their side. The silence became deafening.

Jon could not take it anymore. "When your father raised the North in rebellion it was to dispose a tyrant who sat on the throne. From what I have heard the current King is fast becoming another Aerys, aided by his mother, the Kingslayer and all those snakes in the Small Council advising him. After all look at how they tried to kill you and your mother – are they the actions of a worthy ruler and Small Council?"

Robb's face suggested he agreed with what he heard. He looked interested in Jon's words so he continued. "Now I ask you to raise your banners, just as your father once did, and help dispose of this new Mad King and all those who support him so in his place the rightful Queen can sit atop the Iron Throne."

"And if I don't, then what? Will be bring your dragons up here and burn us into submission?" Robb asked.

The question took Jon aback and he answered honestly. "No. I have little family left and I have no desire to kill any more. If you do not wish to join us then all I ask is you let myself, Ser Arthur and our men leave here unharmed. When we have put Queen Daenerys on the Iron Throne I would invite you to come meet her and, after such a meeting, I'm confident you would be happy to swear fealty to her."

Robb too spoke honestly "Family….I suppose you are Jon Sand. But you ask for much. The path you want to lead us down is filled with death."

"If you believe that the other path is not filled with death then you are mistaken Lord Stark. The Iron Throne has already tried to kill you two times, instead killing your betrothed at Kings Landing and your men on the road to the Dreadfort. I'm certain they will try again. King Joffrey will bring war to the North eventually unless we take it to him first."

Robb took in Jon's bold answer and briefly whispered something to his uncle Benjen. In the silence Jon took a sideward glance at Arthur, who gave him a slight nod. Jon interpreted it as pride.

Robb Stark stood up from his seat and spoke for all to hear. "Jon Sand, the North will rise and support Daenerys Targaryen in her claim to the Throne. But there are some conditions, none of which are negotiable. Firstly I will lead the Northern forces but you and Ser Arthur will fight alongside us, with your Dornish spears as your guard."

"I wouldn't have it any other way." Jon answered confidently.

"Secondly I want claim justice for Lady Margaery and I intend to carry out the sentence personally."

Jon nodded.

Robb turned to Ser Arthur "Lastly once we have placed Daenerys Targaryen on the Iron Throne, I demand justice for my father. Ser Arthur, you and I will duel one on one with no repercussions for the victor. I will avenge his death for my mother and myself."

Arthur's face gave nothing away. "The last time Ice and Dawn met, it was Dawn who prevailed." He stated.

"That will not be the case next time." Robb replied sternly. "I want you to swear a vow to me Ser, as you once swore to Prince Rhaegar, that you will stand and fight me once Daenerys is Queen."

"On my honour and title as Sword of the Morning, I swear such a vow." Arthur said with hints of regret tinting his voice.

Robb accepted this. "Maester Luwin, send the ravens."