The road was dark and slick from the rain as the black van sped down along the twists and turns of the countryside.
"You're going too fast!" complained a woman in a red wig and medieval dress. "You're going to make us crash!"
"I can't help it if you people have the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car and you're making me drive on the wrong side of the road!" the driver snapped.
"I resent that remark!" the woman replied. "I'm not from England. I'm from Scotland... and only until I was four years old! I haven't been back here since then! And I want to make sure I live to see it another day."
"Will you please stop all the shouting? I've got a headache!" a man groaned from the back seat.
"Yes, please don't make him vomit again," the girl sitting beside him said.
Lyvia glanced into the rearview mirror with a frown. "Has he changed color yet?" she asked.
The girl shook her head, her platinum blond hair flying in all directions. "No, he's still green."
Lyvia sighed and glanced over at Kate, who was now pouting. "Oh, stop it!" she said as she slowed down for a large curve. "It wasn't my idea to drive around Wales before the Con tomorrow. But you and Jon Snow back there, insisted on traversing the countryside for some good scenic shots in your cosplay outfits!"
Kate sighed and sank into her seat, scratching her hair through her wig. "I should have worn my Sansa costume," she said. "My Melisandre wig is driving me batty!"
"I'm Sansa!" a girl with dyed red hair pouted as she pushed herself into the car frame to avoid Jon Snow's groaning and dry heaving.
"You okay back there, Peter?" Lyvia asked.
"Do you even know where we are?" the blond girl asked.
Lyvia slowed the car and stopped, pressing the buttons on the dashboard to fire up the GPS system. "I can't get this crappy machine to work." She pushed a button and suddenly all of the characters on the screen looked Chinese. "Shit!"
"Oh, good going, Lyvvie," Kate moaned. "What did you do?"
"I was just pressing this button to make it go to the map so I can see where the hell we are!" Lyvia replied as Kate batted her hand away from the screen.
"Let me do this!" Kate said with confidence. She pressed the menu buttons and other various keys on the screen before beating upon it with her fist.
"Hey! It's a rental!" Lyvia shouted.
"Oi!" Peter groaned. His mouth suddenly pursed and his cheeks blew up like two balloons. "Get out of the way!" he muttered as his hand covered his mouth.
The blond girl squealed and quickly opened the car door to jump out. Peter followed her and doubled over about twenty feet away from them.
"Is he okay, Maureen?" Kate asked.
The blond tossed her long hair from her face and said, "I'm Daenerys, remember? Or you can call me, Dany."
Kate gave Lyvia a strange expression and said, "Okay. Is he okay, Dany?"
Lyvia pressed her lips together and returned the look with a shrug.
Maureen glanced over her shoulder. "He's making a mess in the bushes."
The girl behind Kate popped up and declared, "I'm Sansa today! But I should have worn my Daenerys costume."
"Whatever, Mandy," Kate smiled at her.
"How're the two guys in the back?" Lyvia leaned towards Kate as she looked in the rearview mirror.
Mandy shifted her dress so she could crawl onto her knees and peer over the back of her seat. She poked the two men in the back with her fingers and when they groaned, she turned her head towards Lyvia and said, "They're still alive."
Lyvia sighed and drummed her thumbs on the steering wheel. "We should have followed the signs."
Kate looked through the windshield at the trees and the darkness. "What signs?"
Lyvia nodded. "Exactly," she smirked. She wasn't in a costume. She found wearing them to be uncomfortable and distracting. Instead, she wanted to be the one taking photos of everyone else in costume.
"You could borrow one of my costumes tomorrow, if you want," Kate suggested to Lyvia with a smile. They were about the same size, after all, both tall and lanky, though Kate towered above her by a few inches. "If you wear heels, you can wear the dresses no problem!"
Lyvia shook her head. "You know how I feel about costumes."
"But you always have fun when you wear one! You fit in! And it's fun to see you smile and having fun! You hardly ever have fun anymore."
"I have fun!" Lyvia said with a frown.
"When's the last time?"
"Vegas a few years ago."
"That was for work. It doesn't count! You need to let loose and have fun. Meet a guy, maybe?" Kate gave her a wide grin.
Lyvia shook her head. "I don't think so!"
"You need to loosen up a little, Lyvvie! Sheesh, if you had a guy in your life, you wouldn't be so tightly wound all the time." Kate moaned.
"I'm in England, aren't I?" Lyvia pointed out. "I'm going to Throne Con, aren't I?"
"After I dragged you kicking and screaming through the airport, yeah! Just promise me, you'll have fun... when we get back to the hotel, we can hit the bar and flirt with some guys or something."
"I'll go!" Mandy volunteered. "I love margaritas!"
Kate smiled at Lyvia, who returned in kind with a grin. "Sure," Kate smiled at Mandy as she glanced over her shoulder.
"You need to meet a man," Kate leaned over and whispered to Lyvia.
"I don't need to meet a man!"
"Who needs a man?" Mandy sat on the edge of her seat and leaned on her hands.
"Lyvvie does," Kate laughed.
"Well, you do! Ever since her husband left her for another younger woman, she's been moping around her house all depressed. I had to drag her to the Con. I begged her!" Kate said.
"You just didn't want to go alone!" Lyvia pointed out.
Kate shrugged as Peter finally crawled back into the van and dropped his head on the back of his seat. "Oh God!" she held her nose at the stench.
Lyvia turned on the air conditioning and rolled down the windows. "Thank God it's stopped raining!"
Kate agreed as she continued to hold her nose.
Lyvia pulled the van onto the road and continued to drive, focusing on the map that Kate managed to pull up on the GPS. She followed the road and its curves, hoping that eventually, she'll find a sign that would lead her back to London.
"Turn here!" Kate shouted as the clouds parted and sheets of rain began to fall again. She rolled up her window and groaned when the stench of Peter's vomit still lingered within the cabin.
Lyvia looked down for a moment to fiddle with the air conditioning. It was only a split-second. She was sure of it. But before she could react, Kate was screaming in her ear to Watch out and she found herself trying to control a moving vehicle as it swerved out of control. She didn't even see anything in the road, but the consequences of the distraction was now coming straight at her as she tried to turn.
The lights went out and the car died. The tree plowed into the van, crushing the fender and most of the front. The airbags did not deploy, oddly. Lyvia had a large gash in her forehead where her head hit the steering wheel.
When she opened her eyes, it was morning and the van sat motionless in the woods. Lyvia shook Kate, but she was still out cold from the bump on her forehead. "Stupid dashboard," she muttered as she glanced behind her at the other passengers.
She frowned when she saw the van was empty. She was positive she wasn't dreaming this whole incident. There were people in the van behind her, she was sure of it. She pushed open the driver's side door and grabbed her purse. Opening it, she pulled out a pen and a piece of paper. She scribbled a hasty note for Kate, instructing her to stay put.
Slamming the car door, she walked around the van to examine the damage. She knew the insurance company will have a serious fit when she gets back to civilization, wherever it may be. "Find the road, Lyvvie," she told herself as she followed the tire tracks back up a small hill. Her lips turned into a frown when she found no road to follow. The tire track merely faded into the dirt of a worn road that led through to a large field surrounded by mountains.
In the distance, she saw horsemen with their white banners, clad in armor. Some of them were in long cloaks with fur around their collars. None of them looked very happy in their situation. She smirked when she used her camera to zoom in on the sigil on the banners. "Direwolf," she whispered. "They must be going to the Con." A veil of relief fell upon her as she realized that they must also be attending the convention in London. "Maybe they know how to get to London."
As she slowly approached them, she saw a man dressed in black, screaming at the others. The guards held him down and one of the men in furs swung his sword and beheaded him. "Oh shit!" she screamed. Her eyes widened when the guardsmen closest to her turned their heads.
"Halt!" one of them screamed as he turned his horse to face her.
Lyvia froze and felt her whole body become numb. Her eyes darted to the little boy in furs, who looked curiously at her, and the older boys who had their hands on the pommel of their swords. She began to slowly back away as the guard approached her.
"I said, halt! In the name of Lord Eddard Stark, I command you to stop!" the guardsman shouted.
She felt foolish but her instincts told her to turn and run. Her legs weren't as fast as the guardsman's horse, however, and she soon found herself trapped, surrounded by the guards. She felt weak and winded as the cold wind cut through her lungs like sharp little pins. Her eyes watered from the pain in her legs. She's too old to be running.
"Who are you?" a young man said from atop his horse.
Lyvia turned towards him and couldn't speak. Her mouth opened and her lips moved, but no words came out. There was no sound, just short gasps.
"She's mute," one of the guards said to the young man. "Captain, she must be a wildling."
"I've never seen a wildling dressed in such strange clothes," he said as he eyed her jeans and woolen coat.
Lyvia cleared her throat as the young man dismounted and stepped closer to examine her. "Eddard Stark," she whispered. "Of Winterfell." Her eyes widened when he nodded.
He pointed to a distinguished man with black hair and grey eyes, who approached on his horse.
"Captain of the guards... you must be Jory Cassel!" Lyvia said in a low voice.
"How do you know my name?" Jory took a step back from her. His dark hair fell to his shoulders and his brown eyes were dark and curious. A crinkle appeared between his eyebrows as he asked her his question.
Lyvia didn't want to tell him the truth, but she knew a lie would be worse. Perhaps, they had already captured her companions from the crash or they knew their whereabouts. "It's very difficult to explain," she said. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
"What's taking so long?" Ser Rodrik Cassel said from his mount. He was a stout man with greying whiskers and a firm jaw.
"What's the problem, Jory?" Lord Eddard Stark rode forward and looked down upon Lyvia. His grey eyes were cold as stone as they fell upon her, forcing her to lower her eyes and shrink.
"This woman, my lord, she... seems to know a great deal of the house," Jory lowered his voice.
"Do you have a name?" Lord Stark asked her in a deep voice.
"Lyvia, my lord," she said in a quiet voice. "Lyvia Turner."
"What part of Westeros do you call home, Lyvia Turner?" Lord Stark asked her.
Lyvia glanced up at his emotionless face. "I'm not from Westeros, my lord." She told the truth and she wished she had thought more carefully of her answer. Her eyes found Jory's kind expression as Lord Stark continued his interrogation.
"How did you end up here?" he asked her.
"It's hard to explain, my lord, when I don't know the answer myself."
Ser Rodrik rode up beside Lord Stark and looked down upon Lyvia with an unamused expression on his face. "What is it, my lord? Shall we take her back to Winterfell for a proper interrogation?"
"Very well," Lord Stark said. "It's getting cold and the girl looks like she's freezing."
"Take her back to the castle," Ser Rodrik ordered the guards.
Lyvia walked between two guards and their horses as the rest of the group went ahead. Her feet hurt and she didn't like the smell of the guards and their horses. She didn't know which smelled worse, but she assumed it was the men more than the beasts.
As she was led further and further away from the van, she hoped and prayed that Kate would be safe and hidden until she could go back to find her. She hoped that the others were safe as well and soon, she'd find them so they could all journey back to London together.