It becomes apparent to anyone who sees her that she gives nothing away. She is polite, courteous, and in complete control of her features. She gives nothing away and nothing slips past the mask she has put into place. She is of the North she has betrayed and lied to get back for her family. She is as cold and frozen as the snow that lies on the ground outside of the hallowed halls of Winterfell.
She is beloved by the north as her words echo thorough out the old land.
The North Remembers. Sansa Stark is no longer the simpering and weak girl who caused her father's death or was raped by Petyr Baelish. Instead she is a woman who stabbed her supposed father in the middle of the Vale's throne room and then chopped off his head in the most gruesome way with his own sword. It was brutal and not fast as all as she had him held down by those loyal to the now Lord Robert. But it was the way of the North. One was not fit to rule if one could not deliver the sentence themselves. These are the words she clings to as she facilitates the murder of every single Frey at the Twins. She does this in her brother's name as she discovers the direwolf they kept captive in the dungeons. A mighty creature kept as a pet to whip and burn and destroy as they did to her dead beloved brother. As she frees the wolf Sansa feels something in her mind and for the first time since Lady died she feels hope that maybe she can go home. And with that the wolf becomes hers. He stays by her side and protects and loves her like Robb would have. With Grey Wind at her side Sansa walks through the grand hall with the bottom of her gown drenched in blood. It is here she stabs Walder Frey and watches as he slowly bleeds to death. She then has his head cut off along with those of his sons and put on pikes. When she finally captures Winterfell from the Boltons she lights the fire that kills every single one of the men who desecrated her home and sits on the throne constructed in the courtyard and watches every single one of them burn. And these are the words she whispers when Lady Stoneheart presents her with the captives Cersei Lannister and Theon Greyjoy. These are the last words they hear before Sansa gives the word to Grey Wind and watches as the giant and now healthy Direwolf rips the turncoat and bitch to shreds with fang and claw. And when the act is done the direwolf rest his bloody head in her lap and she does nothing but sit with her stone face and stroke his head.
Winter Is Coming. These are the words that decorate the parchments that she sends out to every single banner man and family in the North. They are given only one option; swear their allegiance or they will be met with the same fate as all of those who betrayed the Starks and the North. And so almost all come and swear their very lives to the Queen of the North. And those who do not and hunted and gutted by Lady Stoneheart and the forces led by the Hound Sandor Clegane who appeared one day and has been the Queen's Hound ever since. And Queen Sansa surveys the damage and vows to make the North pure once more. She will not allow anyone or anything to taint her father's legacy.
Family. Duty. Honor. These words are harder for her to swallow. For she knows her duty. There must always be a Stark in Winterfell. this is her duty to avenge her father and to take back what was her family's by right. It should have been Bran or Robb or even Jon. But the duty fell on her shoulders; so she will do it to and bringer her father's and brother's bones home and lay them to rest well above she rebuilds her kingdom.
Honor. The words makes her grieve and gives her strength and scares her so much. Her father was the most honorable man she has ever known; he died trying to do what he thought was right. Robb had his own code and other knights did as well. Sansa thinks she has none left in her. Already they call her the Red Wolf for all of the blood she has spilt. She has lied, cheated, stolen, plundered, and murdered all in the name of reclaiming her home and avenging her family. She wonders if her father would be ashamed of her. Her mother, or the creature that once was, tells Sansa that she is proud of her. They call her Lady Iceheart; she is her mother's daughter after all. She knows there is no hope for her but there may be some for Rickon; who was found far North of the wall by scouts and brought back along with his almost feral direwolf once news of her coming was heard. Day by day he is becoming shades of the boy he once was. It gives her hope. So she decides one day that this will be her code and her own shade of honor; she will do what she says and mean what she says. She has kept her promises. She has destroyed those who would hurt the North and its people. So she will do whatever is needed to protect them no matter who she has to kill or destroy or engage.
Family. She has her mother who she made promise to stay with her. Her mother agreed. She has Rickon whom it took forever just to let her near him. Now he clings to her and is fiercely protective and loyal and feral to anyone he does not known or who is a threat to her. Sandor, who she knows loves her but she can't even try to return those feelings, is like her friend. Jamie Lannister is her Commander and Brienne of Toth is her sworn shield who gave everything to try and find Sansa. And she succeeded and brought her back to the North killing anyone who got in the way. Samwell Tarly, the Maester who has stuck by her side even after she made him choose between him and his best friend. These are the people Sansa considers her family. These are the only ones whom she allows to see beneath her stone cold mask and the only ones who know the burden she carries. These are the people she will allow in her home.
Not the ones standing currently in front of her. These people are traitors and all that keeps her from slaughtering them are the ancient guest laws and the dragon mere feet away from her.
In front of her stands Jon Snow, Arya Stark, and Aegon VI Targaryen. The Dragon Prince demands she surrender her crown and give her allegiance to the Mother of Dragons who is in the process of war against Stannis and the Lannisters and everyone else south of the Neck. He carries himself full of arrogance and pettiness and Sansa can see sparks of Joffery in him that give her even more reason to look away. Beside him is her sister; the sister she searched for and wanted and now discovers went over to the side of the enemy. She was in Braavos living a life as Cat of the Canals. An assassin. A murderer. And not once did she try to come home when she discovered Sansa was alive.
Instead she goes to the woman who now wants everything in Westeros and would dismantle everything that Robb and their father died for. Sansa does not want the crown. But Bran is dead and Rickon is nowhere near ready and she will die before she lets Arya or Jon dig their claws into it. So she wears and wields its power like all of the Starks before her. She is Queen of the North like her brother was King before her. And she will die before she ever lets a Targaryen ever wear the crown of the North.
And then there is Jon. It takes everything within her not to go and run into his arms or stab him with the reforged sword of their father that is now her own and will one day be Rickon's. he was supposed to be with her. All those promises he made. All those lies he told. And every time he touched her. It was all a lie. She knows that now. She is much stronger than she was one year ago.
A year ago he left promising to come back. One year he was thought to be dead. And one year he had been laying with that Dragon Bitch; letting her think he was dead. Had died being loyal to her. Well she know better now.
She knows who she is and what she is capable of. She will not doubt herself ever again. So she surprises them when she rises from her makeshift throne and out of the corner of her eye she sees Shaggydog perk up as well as Greywind when she brushes their minds with her own. Brienne nods and places her hand on her sword. Sandor stands ready behind her. She will show them all what she is and what the North is capable of.
She smiles and approaches Aegon and begins to speak in a shy and girly tone. The tone the whores of Littlefinger taught her to speak in. the kind of tone used to lure a man in; to ensnare and to catch in a trap. She hears Rickon growl behind her but she raises her left hand as if to place it upon the Dragon Prince's cheek. He watches her with lazy eyes thinking she has given in. He has let his guard down like a little boy. And that is when Sansa strikes.
Her right hand grabs the dagger hanging on his side. She plunges it into his side; not a deadly wound but one that will scar and burn and ache and bleed. Brienne moves quickly and has Arya down on the ground with her sword at her neck while Shaggydog and Greywind have charged at Jon and have him on his knees. Leaving the dagger embedded in his side Sansa lets him fall to the ground. She hears the swinging of Sandor's sword and knows he has left none of their escort alive. She turns as the tent flap opens and Jamie appears covered in blood. He nods and she knows their small force of men now lays dead; their blood watering the cold hard ground.
She turns and gracefully sinks back into the thrown. Rickon comes and stands at her right, Shaggydog at his side. Greywind settles at her feet.
She feels the weight of the crown upon her head. She speaks clearly and gives the people looking at her warnings. Arya looks at her with anger and shock. She can not bear to look at Jon. And the Dragon looks like he wants to eat her alive.
"This is your one and only reprieve. Your forces are dead. You will be allowed to leave once as a warning to the bitch who calls herself the Dragon Queen. This is the North. I am its Queen. We will never bow down to your Queen or to anyone else. I am a Stark and I will wear the crown like my brother before me and out father before him and my brother after me. We will never kneel to the South. NEVER."
Aegon grits out in a weepy voice, "She will come and kill you."
At the comment Sansa merely smirks and hardens her eyes even more. "Let her come. We will destroy her dragons and anything else she manages to bring. Winter is Coming."
And then she turns to Arya and Jon who have been silent the entire time. "Cat of the Canals. Jon Targaryen. You are hereby banished forever from the North and all of its territories. If you are ever spotted execution will be your fate. You names have been wiped from the Stark archives. You have been branded as traitors. I hope it was worth it."
Only now does Arya shout, "What do you mean..Sansa what are you doing? You are being a fool! Listen to me Dany promised you would be safe."
Sansa feels her heart harden even more. Dany. Dany. She calls the Dragon Queen Dany.
"I am safe enough where I am. You made your choice. Brienne, Sandor. Throw them out. Now!"
And so they are dragged out with swords at their throats and Sansa closes her eyes to ignore Arya's protesting yells and to block out Jon's betrayed eyes.
She feels Rickon put a hand on her shoulder and feels Greywind rub his nose against her knee. Opening her eyes she sees her men and Jamie and pictures Brienne and Sandor.
She then pictures a boy with pale skin and red hair and those silver grey Stark eyes. Her nine month old son Torhen safe in Winterfell. They are her pack. They will stand by her and give her strength.
And yet despite this she knows one brutal and devastating truth that wikll always haunt her and define her more than anything else; she has, always will, and is walking this road alone. Other may join her but it is she alone that wears the crown. It is a burden she always thought and dreamed of as a child but now that she is older and wiser she knows that not all that glitters is gold. The power that she wanted and now wields is what will always set her apart and mark her as something else. It is something that the dragon bitch in the South only wants for herself. Sansa wants it for her people and her family to keep them safe. She will make the North whole once more and she will preserve her family's legacy. Nevermore will the Starks bend the knee. Nevermore will they yield. And if they did happen to fall she would take all of her enemies with her.
She is Queen of the North. The North always remembers and never forgets. And the ground will run red and bleed from the heavens if that is what is takes to keep her home and pack safe.