Book 1 (Game of Thrones)
The training yard rang to the sound of swords. A group of new recruits were sparring under the sneering eyes of Ser Alliser Thorne as he lied in wait for a chance to humiliate anyone who made a mistake. The Lord Commander Mormont had his eyes fixed on one Jon Snow as he helped a large boy cowardly curled up on the ground while another beat him with a training sword, he was surprised with the courage the young man had in him.
Suddenly a sound was heard in the distance. Carried by the wind, the sound of a horn. All nights watchmen knew what the horns meant, one blow for a ranger returning, two for wildlings and three, a third horn blow hasn't been heard in centuries but they still knew what it meant. White walkers. But then a second call was heard and Castle black was in chaos, rangers grabbed their swords and readied their horses to go beyond the wall and ward off the wildings that approached. The new recruits stood and watched as their future brothers rode into the tunnel and out the other side quickly closing the large iron door behind them; all they could do was wait in silence until they returned.
The large door opened once again as the rangers rode back in, no one was hurt, they looked as if they didn't fight at all. A ranger climbed down from his horse and announced that they were dead before they reached them. "And how exactly were they already dead?" asked Thorne in disbelief, the ranger turned his head to the entrance; three strangers came riding through the tunnel.
Lord Commander raised his eyebrows, he could see that they weren't wildlings but looked more like royalty as the horses came to a gentle stop. A tall armoured man stepped down from his horse and removed his helm revealing a sigil of a weirwood tree forged into his breastplate. Another climbed down from their horse with the help of the man's guiding hand, their hood covered their face but the silk dress hugged tightly around the curves of the young woman's body. The man helped another woman who was with child down from her horse; she looked up at him with a smile on her lips.
All of the nights watch stood in silence as the young woman approached the Lord Commander and Ser Alliser Thorne, she bowed her head in respect and they did the same. "I am Lord Commander Mormont of the Nights Watch and who are you?" said the Lord Commander his eyes shifting between the strangers, the young woman glanced at her companions for a moment before turning back and removing her hood. It was like time had stopped itself, leaving everyone frozen with their eyes gazing upon the young woman that stood before them, she had piercing blue eyes and long raven-like hair down to her hips. It was either Jon had been there too long and forgot what women looked like or that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever laid his eyes on, for a brief moment he wished he wasn't destined for the nights watch. Jon always knew he would never marry, not when he had the title bastard to follow him. Jon noticed that all the attention was uneasy for her and so he turned his interest to the Lord Commander who was waiting for an answer.
The armoured man stepped forward. "My lord, may I present my sister Princess Tamina of house Greywin and my wife Mayla the Princesses handmaiden" said the man; he smiled at the two women. "So if she is a Princess that would make you a Prince, sir?" asked Thorne, "Uh, no Sir, I am Caine her half-brother and the Commander of her guard" Humph "Another bastard" Thorne mocked, rolling his eyes at the man, "A bastard maybe, but still my brother Sir" Tamina said with such confidence, Sir Alliser Thorne was taken aback. "How dare a stubborn little girl, tell me what is what!" the anger rose in Thorne's voice but Mormont shot him a displeased look before he could say anything else. "Sir Alliser! Take your men and continue sparring" Mormont said as Thorne stormed off completely ignoring the Commander's command, the recruits still standing, captivated by the beauty of the mysterious princess.
"I have never heard of a Kingdom beyond the wall before only in stories, in legends" said Mormont; "We have kept our existence a secret so we could live in peace and sometimes stories are forgotten truths" said the Princess with a warm smile. Without warning Caine dropped to the floor and started to violently shake, Tamina ran to her brother's side, "Brother, what's wrong?" She turned to the Lord Commander "What's happening!" she cried, "Take him to Maester Aemon!" Mormont called to some of the men. With the little energy he had he pointed to his shoulder, Tamina ripped off his armour as fast as she could as she did she noticed a small, thin piece of wood sticking in his arm.
When she removed it she could see a substance on the tip and then realised what is was, poison. "Poison, their weapons were poisoned" she whispered her fear stopping her from yelling. Mormont looked at her with wide eyes, "Get this man to Maester Aemon now!" Mormont shouted, the men came out and lifted him onto a board to carry him. Princess Tamina grabbed Lady Mayla who was in tears before she could reach her husband. "It's ok, he's going to be fine" she said holding her in her arms trying to convince herself of what she was saying. Mormont made his way over to them, "Princess, My lady if you would join me in private we can discuss what we can do next, away from the stairs" asked Mormont with a trusting smile, Tamina nodded and they made their way to Mormont's chambers. Training was done for the day and the men were called to an early supper.
Jon snow slipped into his seat across from Pyp and Grenn who were already eating, the large boy Sam soon entered the room making no eye contact with anyone as he looked for a place to sit. Jon felt sorry for him, the nightswatch was meant to be a place where people were accepted no matter who they were and they wouldn't even accept him. "Sam!" Jon called out from across the room; Sam looked at him with pouting lips as if he was ready to receive an insult but then turned into a faint smile as Jon waved his hand for him to sit with them. Grenn let out a sigh as Sam sat down, the loud chatter of the men fell still as the Lord Commander appeared in the doorway after being in his chambers for some time.
"Alright men, listen up" he cleared his throat "Princess Tamina will be staying here at Castle black until her brother is well, Maester Aemon has said that the man is lucky to be alive from the amount of poison he had in him, he will be staying near Maester Aemon's chambers. The Princess and her handmaiden have been placed a few rooms down from mine and I will say this once and once only, anyone who even thinks about doing any harm towards these women will be answering to me. You are all men of the nightswatch you have taken a vow of not only chastity but also to protect, and those of you who yet haven't if you don't want to abide by ours rules then there is still time to go, go and receive the punishment you would have received if you didn't come here" Mormont said coldly, his expression matching his tone as he left the men to take in what he had said.
Pyp was the first to speak; "Women at the nightswatch that's a first, just like placing meat in front of a dog and telling him to stay" laughed Pyp through his sips of ale. "Women aren't safe here" said Jon playing with his food, losing his appetite. "Especially pretty ones and she was something, she looked bout' seventeen. Ya wouldn't mind that waiting in ya bed" Grenn smirked with a mouth full of food. "You really shouldn't talk like that" said a quiet voice coming from the other side of Jon, it was Sam. "Huh" Grenn said as he stopped eating, "She's still a Princess, it would be the same if the Queen herself came here" Sam said with more confidence. "Worst will be said anyway and don't get me thinkin bout the Queen, I wouldn't lay with her even if I could be King" Grenn said as he continued eating. "A whore wouldn't lay with you even if you paid" Pyp jested and ended up with his lunch sliding down the front of his face by Grenn. An uproar of laughter fill the room.
The sun shined upon the training yard, though it didn't make it any warmer. Training had been doubled because of yesterday's disturbance causing the men to complain and to not try their best, and displeasing Thorne who still hasn't recovered from yesterday's outburst. Under all the misery that surrounded the men Jon could hear a small glint of joy, a cheerful laughter he thought he would never hear again, a girl's laughter. The men stopped training to watch the young princess make her way across the training yard with Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf telling her one of his many hilarious stories.
"You're a very funny man, my lord" Tamina laughed, "Half a man" Thorne muttered loud enough for them to hear, they stopped, Tyrion rolled his eyes and turned back to Tamina with a friendly smile. "Princess, your company has been a great pleasure, unlike some" He turned his head towards Thorne, Tamina laughed "If you would excuse me, I have to discuss my departure, It was very nice to meet you Tamina" Tyrion said with a bow, "You too my lord" she replied with a curtsy. She was glad Tyrion distracted her from her grief; she turned and smiled at the men before making her way to her brother's room, the men not taking their eyes off her as she did.
It was another cold bitter night as Jon made his way to the top of the wall for another watch; the cage scaling closer to the peak. Jon reached the top and walked down the long icy trail, nearing his station. He turned the corner to see a dark figure leaning against the wall and heard faint sobs. He decided not to disturb the person but the crunch of ice beneath his feet made the person turn. The light from the fire revealed the face of the princess, "Oh" she said wiping her eyes "I'm sorry I know I'm not meant to be here, I'll leave" "No, uh...it's… fine" Jon said finding his words. "Thank you" a soft smile appeared on her lips. He walk closer to the fire and stood across from her, "Are you alright? do you want to stand near the fire it's warmer?" Jon asked her with concerned eyes, "Yes, I'm fine, uh…" "Jon snow" he smiled "Jon. I don't the feel the cold, it's a blessing and a curse" she repeated with a small laugh. They stood in silence staring out beyond the wall. "I worry for my brother" she suddenly spoke "I thought this would be a good place to think, he's all I have left" she said with such sadness, Jon wanted to know more. "If you don't mind me asking, what happened to your family?" Jon asked as he watched her face turn hard and then breathed. "Uh…I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked" Jon said feeling horrible.
"No its ok, I haven't had the life you would expect a princess to have" she whispered afraid someone would hear. "My mother died giving birth to me and my father hated me and blamed me for her death. Many say he changed after she passed he became a tyrant. He wanted sons you see and he only had my true brother Richard and Caine. My brother Richard was exactly like my father, he hated me as well and I only had Caine to protect me from them. When I was growing up Caine was treated better than me, I did everything I could to make him love me but I was treated like a bastard, all he wanted to do was put me on a boat and ship me to Essos, I don't think he cared what happened to me just as long as he never saw me again. I was a constant reminder of my mother; they say I look just like her. Her favourite place to go was the godswood and that's where I spent most of my life really. When I was nine my brother Richard went riding in the forest and he never came back, my father was distraught, he sent riders out every day and they always came back with nothing. A year passed and my father's mind deteriorated, he started to say that he had no true born heirs and that his line had ended. It was then one day he went completely mad and order me to come to the throne room and in front of the whole court he beat me" She started to cry "Caine barged through the doors and held my father at the end of his sword and told him to get out, the guards did nothing and so my father followed my brother into the forest and I never saw him again. I was ten years old when I took over the Kingdom I had no idea what I was doing but it has been a peaceful and just kingdom for seven years." She finished drying her eyes feeling a bit embarrassed.
Jon looked at her not knowing what to say "That's horrible, I thought my life was bad but…" he looked at her, she was brave to share her past and no one ever cared what he had to say, maybe she would. "My father is Eddard Stark Lord of Winterfell, I've never met my mother, I don't even know who she is. At Winterfell I was accepted by some but not all, especially Lady Stark she never welcomed me into her family and I would always hear people whisper bastard behind my back. So I've come to the nightswatch expecting to be accepted but even here I'm known as bastard. I'm hoping once I'm made a ranger they'll forget my past and see me as a brother." Jon said a smile appearing just thinking about becoming a brother of the nightswatch. "At least there's one thing" Jon looked at her confused "You now know someone who knows exactly how you feel" Tamina said as she walked closer to Jon. They stared into each other's eyes, Jon finally feeling that he's not alone. They heard footsteps coming moving closer towards them as Sam came around the corner, "Oh, s-sorry… I didn't mean to interrupt" Sam said surprised finding them together. They broke apart as soon as he spoke. "It's alright, I was just leaving. Goodnight Jon Snow" smiled Tamina; "Goodnight princess" nodded Jon, she walked over to Sam, "And…" "S-S-Sam" he stuttered. She smiled "Goodnight Sam" "Goodnight princess" he bowed, barely able to stop shaking. She smiled as she walk around the corner leaving them to their watch. Sam walked over to where Tamina was standing and looked at Jon with a sly smile. "What?" Jon asked, "Oh nothing, nothing at all" He said his smile growing wider. The two men laughed as they looked out into the bitter darkness of the north.
Tamina stood on the stairs next to Lady Mayla watching as the recruits came together she saw Jon looking up at her, she gave him a warm smile, she shared her dark past with him just the night before and he shared that all he wanted to be was a ranger and this was that moment. Lord Commander Mormont stood in front of the new recruits who were waiting to be sorted into their positions and to become men of the nightswatch. "You came to us as outlaws, rapist, killers and thieves. You came alone, without friends or honour. You came to us rich, you came to us poor. Some of you bare the names of proud houses, others only bastard names or no names at all, it does not matter all that is in the past. Here on the wall, we are all one house, here you begin anew" Mormont made his way down the steps to be closer to the men "A man of the nightswatch lives his life for the realm, not for a king or a lord, not for honour, not for glory or for a woman's love" Tamina shifted uncomfortably at that and she could of swore she saw some eyes find her "but for the realm." Mormont continued "You've all learnt the words, think carefully before you say them. The penalty for desertion is death, you can take you vows here tonight, is there any of you that still keep the Old gods?" Jon snow rose from the crowd of men,
"I do, my lord" Jon said, Tamina smiled knowing that at least some people followed the true gods. "You want to take your vow before the heart tree" Mormont asked, Jon nodded in agreement. Sam was the next to stand asking to go as well; Sir Alliser asked why he would forsake the gods of his house. "The nightswatch is my house now and the Seven have never answered my prays perhaps the Old gods will" Sam replied. "As you wish" Sam and Jon took their seats again "You've all been assigned an order according to your strengths. Bolder to the builders, Pyp to the stewards, Grenn to the rangers, Samwell to the stewards, Rast to the rangers, Jon to the stewards. May all the gods preserve you." Mormont finished as he rolled up the parchment and retired to his chambers. Tamina was shocked; Jon was born to be a ranger that's all he wanted to be. She looked over to the crowd of men as it grew smaller and Jon was left standing there before making his way over to Maester Aemon, Tamina couldn't see what happened but Jon ended up storming off with Sam and Pyp following him.
Tamina tried to find Jon to see if he was alright but she thought he might have wanted to be alone for a while, it was only a few hours before the other recruits and Jon would be bound by an oath they could never break if they wanted to keep their heads. Tamina took the time to visit her brother, he was still in a deep sleep after his attack, so Tamina took a book from the library and read to him. Tamina sat next to his bed with a smile on her lips thinking back to when she was sick and her brother would always read her stories, he called one 'The Keeper of the Winter Rose' he had found it amongst her father's things, she had noticed that it wasn't a real book but old letters someone sent him. She read until sunset came and made her way back to her room watching the men take their vows before the Seven gods.
Tamina hated not feeling the cold. She wanted to feel the icy grasp of the coming winter but only felt warmth even as she step out into the night air wearing only her light blue sleeveless gown, the colours of her house. She has never been able to sleep well, she always felt like she wasn't meant to sleep at night so it gave her time to think and to wander without all of the nights watch stares. There was hardly no light as she walked along the walkway and down to the training yard, she was used to being by herself especially in the times her father forbid Caine to see or speak to her and when he didn't obey he would be sent to his room but he always snuck out, her favourite place to go would be the godswood, she felt a strong bond to the gods ever since she was young, she would stay there for hours and pray but mostly she would talk to her mother.
She heard faint footsteps coming up behind that grew louder she had a dagger ready in her cloak pocket, she knew sooner or later one of the men wouldn't be able to resist, she turned to see the figure of a man but something wasn't right, he had glowing blue eyes. Tamina froze the next thing she knew she was struck to the ground leaving the right side of her face burning. She was ready for the second blow but it never came, the monster stood still like he was confused on what to do next. A white blur came out of nowhere, its teeth sinking into the things arm. Ghost she thought as the wolf ripped at his arm causing the man no pain as it fell to the ground. A small light moved towards them, followed by shouting, the ruckus seemed to have woken the men as they ran to aid her. Jon's face appeared before her, he was carrying a lit torch and threw it onto the man who screeched in pain as he threw himself to the ground, the flames roared while the man burned and his movements went still.
"Are you alright?" Jon asked "Yes" Tamina said trying to catch her breath "What was that?" she looked at Jon her eyes filled with terror. "I don't know" said Jon he wanted to give her the answers she wanted but he couldn't give what he didn't have. "Your hand!" Tamina gasped looking down at his burned and swollen hand, taking it in hers, "It's fine it doesn't hurt that much" Jon smiled trying to make light of the situation but Jon could still see the concern in her eyes while they were escorted to Maester Aemon.
"Send the Princess in on your way out" Tamina heard Mormont say as she stood near the door of Mormont chambers. The glowing eyes of the dead man still clear in her mind even days later, she overheard everything about Jon and the nightswatch going beyond the wall at first light. She wanted to go, what use was she staying at the wall, she thought that she could even take them as far as her Kingdom seeing how they found out its existence only a few months ago. Tamina noticed the sadness swimming in Jon's eyes as he left, she closed the door behind her and the uncomfortable atmosphere slithered around her. Tamina took a seat across from the Commander, his eyes fixed on hers.
"I fear that you have become too attached to many of the nightswatch men, and I hope you understand that you must stay here at the wall until we return" said Mormont honestly. "Why I, I can help" she said with a confused expression "You are far from helping" He said sternness appearing in his voice, "You're a sweet girl and very innocent to this world, you have lived in a Kingdom that you have controlled for many years, you don't know of the monsters that lurk inside men" said Mormont his tone becoming softer. "But, I" Tamina said tears starting to well up in her eyes turning them a brighter blue. "You're a distraction to the men, don't think that I can't see their stares and the vulgar words they talk of you" He paused hating himself for revealing the truth "Some men have come here for horrible reasons we don't get the noble and fierce warriors we used too, nowadays the nightswatch is mocked and I won't have the seven kingdoms learn that half of the nightswatch was killed because they cannot focus when a real battle is upon them" said Mormont making his way to open the door for Tamina. Tamina pushed her tears back; he was right and did a wise thing to tell her the truth so many have hidden. "Thank you, Commander Mormont" she said with a faint smile as she left to prepare for the coming morning.
Tamina awoke from the commotion outside, today was the day the nightswatch were leaving beyond the wall and Tamina would be staying at Castle black, she had begged Mormont to let her go seeing how her party didn't run into any danger and that he told her some men don't make it back not just from wildlings but from other unknown reasons. Tamina stepped out into cool air, at home the coldness had beauty to it but here it felt so sad, miserable, forcing Tamina to hide her sorrow and put on a fake smile. Lady Mayla who was now heavy with child waited in the training yard for Tamina.
"How are you feeling today, Mayla?" Tamina asked feeling cheerier seeing Mayla's smile, "Oh very well, I woke last night to the baby moving, it was quite an odd feeling" Mayla laughed "You must tell me next time, I cannot wait until my little niece or nephew is born and I would like to feel it kick" laughed Tamina her smile never leaving her lips, Mayla was only a year younger than Tamina so she always felt like an older sister to her. Tamina turned to see the Commander approaching them followed by Jon and Sam, "Princess, my lady" Mormont bowed. "My lord" Tamina and Mayla said together. "I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay here and I trust that your brother will be well soon" Mormont smiled and bowed leaving them with Jon and Sam. Tamina turned her attention to them, "I hope you have a safe journey both of you, just be careful" Tamina smiled, "You don't have to tell Jon that, me on the other hand they might just send me back" Sam laughed. Tamina liked how Sam was himself when he was around them unlike when he could barely stop shaking. Sam stepped away to say his goodbyes to Mayla as they had become good friends.
Jon and Tamina exchanged faint smiles while they stood together in an awkward silence not knowing what to say, Tamina would have laughed in embarrassment of the situation if Jon hadn't spoken. "Farewell Princess" Jon smiled and bowed his head, "You too Jon" Tamina nodded. After giving Sam a warm smile the two men starting making their way to the rest of the group, "Jon!" Tamina called, he turned to see what she wanted "Tamina" she said with a taunting grin. He smiled "Farewell Tamina". Tamina looked out across the training yard at the leaving horses.
Her eyes turned sad once again looking upon one rider in particular, she was scared what awaited them beyond the wall. She was scared for him. Jon glanced back at her giving her a shy smile, he is a man of the nightswatch she reminded herself and she was a princess. She watched until he was completely out of sight and finally took a breath. 'Good luck' was her final words before following Lady Mayla to her brother's room only glancing back once to reinsure he had truly left.