Thank you guys for the reviews & alerts. It's much appreciated.
Here's the new chapter. It has a bit of action ! It's two main scenes, so it may feel slow. idk
I hope you like it anyway !
Have a great episode tonight !
She was woken up by strong hands shaking her.
"Raelyn," the voice said, "wake up."
Her eyes fluttered open to her father's face. A groan escaped her lips and she glanced at the window to see the sun wasn't up yet. Her father smiled at her as she pulled on the furs to cover her cold arms.
"What is it, father ?"
Her voice was raspy with sleep and she struggled to keep her eyes open. She hated to wake up in the morning, especially by someone else.
"You wanted to come to my patrol this morning. Told me to wake you up." She blinked and stared at her father.
"Oh ! I had forgotten."
He raised his eyebrows, his hand on the hilt of his sword. For how long has he been awake ?
"You still want to come ?" She slowly nodded.
"Give me five minutes."
He acknowledged and left the dark room silently. Raelyn stood on her elbow and sighed. She was far from a morning person. She loved waking up naturally, when her body felt like it. But she loved going on patrols with her father. It's too goddamn early, though.
After a minute or two, when her head stopped spinning, she got out of bed, clenching her teeth as her feet hit the horribly cold floor, and opened her curtains. The sky was a beautiful pale blue, a sign that the sun would be shining soon. She stretched and got dressed in a thick dress, riding boots and warm cloak whose furs tickled her neck. She decided to keep her hair down, only braiding one lock of hair like she usually did. Her father was waiting for her when she closed her door.
"Come on," he softly said.
They walked in silence to the stables. Jory Cassel was not a loquacious man compared to his daughter. It was a trait she had inherited from her mother, he always said. But he was a good man, and Raelyn loved her father very much. He wasn't very expressive, and sometimes struggled when he wanted to ask her something, but he was brave and loyal, and that was all that was important to Raelyn. He took good care of her and the Starks. She knew he had lived through horror, battling in wars and enduring the death of loved ones, but she never spoke about it and preferred to enjoy his company when he could spend some time with her. He was very busy, but always found an hour or two to go riding with his daughter, and those were moments that she adored.
Father and daughter got on their horses and started to ride around the castle, their eyes seeking for any sort of trouble. But it was a very quiet morning, and when the sun started to rise in the sky, they stopped to admire it.
"It will be another beautiful day" said Jory, patting his horse. Raelyn nodded as she already felt its warmth.
"Another good day for staying outside. I wish my legs wouldn't hurt so bad after hours of riding, because I would be gone all day."
He chuckled. Her father didn't laugh often so it was always good to hear him.
"I saw you take a walk with Robb yesterday." She frowned.
"Is that a question ?" Jory seemed confused and she sighed. "We did. To the godswood."
"What did you do ?" She shot him a look. Jory always seemed to be curious about the silliest things.
"We just talked." He nodded, his eyes traveling to the sunrise.
Raelyn felt weird. It was as if he knew something he didn't want to tell her about. She always took walks with Robb, why was it suddenly of relevance ?
"There's something I wanted to ask you." She glanced back at her father.
"I heard the weirdest thing, and I... I want to clear it off." He seemed truly concerned, and Raelyn's heart started beating quickly in her chest.
"I heard... Well, a guard saw you going to town."
"And ?" she urged.
"He asked me why my daughter was going to a brothel." Her eyes widened and she didn't reply right away, her breath taken away.
"It's probably a mistake, though, because there is -"
"No, it's true," she said softly. A dark look spread on her father's face.
"What in all the hells were you doing there ?"
"Did you ask somebody to keep an eye on me ?" Jory shot her a shocked look.
"Of course I did ! You've always been restless, Raelyn, and the streets are dangerous. I just want to make sure nothing happens to you. But you're avoiding the question. What were you doing there ? It's no place for you !"
His voice was filled with worry and anger. Is he mad because he thinks... No. The thought made her sick so she snapped her head high and faced him.
"I just wanted to talk with somebody. It was nothing, I didn't do anything." He frowned.
"I don't understand. Explain the facts to me, Raelyn, and don't lie."
His words were irrevocable. She sighed slightly, embarrassed. She had hoped her father wouldn't find out.
"There's this girl Theon sees all the time..."
"Theon Greyjoy ?"
"I was just curious to see who she was, what she looked like ! I only meant to spy outside the building, but she saw me and brought me inside. We just talked !" Jory closed his eyes and rubbed his temples.
Raelyn couldn't bring herself to look at him. She had been curious, way too curious. After her conversation with Robb, she had been obsessed with that red haired girl. She had been dreaming about her, and she thought that maybe if she talked to her it would demystify it all and she wouldn't be haunted anymore. But in the brothel, she had been troubled. Everywhere she looked she saw naked bodies and skin and heard and saw dozens of things she never would've imagined. Fortunately Ros brought her to a quiet place where they spoke for a few minutes. Raelyn asked her about Theon, and why he visited her, and everything on her mind. Ros had been very kind with her, she was even pleased by her visit. But Raelyn was uneasy and she quickly left the place.
"I'm asking you not to go there again. At least, not alone. These places are filled with filthy man."
She couldn't deny it. She had seen some men, their dark eyes bright with lust, glaring at her like she was a piece of meat. Fortunately she did not came across somebody she knew.
"I don't want you to go off on your own like that. Do you understand ?" She nodded, her cheeks flushed.
"Yes, father. I swear I won't." She raised her eyes to meet his and he smiled. His hand traveled on her cheek and he kissed her on the forehead.
"I'm sorry." He nodded.
The sun was high in the sky when they reached the stables again. She left her father with a smile and was suddenly very hungry. She hadn't eaten at all, she realized. She was so eager to join her father that she had forgotten to fill her stomach. The breakfast had certainly already been served, so Raelyn went straight to the kitchens, where the main cook, Palia, gave her a piece of bread with jelly. She gladly conversed with the people who worked in the kitchens. They were always kind to fulfill her food craves, so she felt like it was a small payback to do the small talk. They were very nice. After exchanging a umpteenth joke with the butcher, she stepped outside and walked to the practice yard, where she would certainly find Robb, since they were all clear of chores or lessons that day.
The sun was bright and even if it was a bit colder than days before, she felt comfortable without her cloak that she had removed in the kitchens. She heard the sound of wood clashing before she saw Robb, Theon and Jon dueling. They rarely did a three on three fight, but it was very entertaining to watch. Raelyn looked for Bran and Rickon, and even maybe Arya, but they were nowhere to be seen. Odd, she thought, they were usually around. They were probably off riding, since they loved it so much.
She looked back on the boys, who were not chest-naked but instead wore light tunics. Jon suddenly disarmed Theon, but Robb already had his stick on his chest. They chuckled and drew back, catching their breath.
"It seems like we have a winner," she said in an amused tone.
Theon immediately shot her a look, his face glistening with sweat. Jon, who was close to her, lightly punched her shoulder.
"There's always a winner," replied Robb, grinning from ear to ear. "It just usually happens to be me." His laugh was cut by Theon who wiped the sweat off his forehead.
"Shut it, Stark. You never know who's going to stab you in the back."
Robb rolled his eyes and didn't bother to answer. Jon shook his head and Raelyn glared at the young Greyjoy.
"You look a bit hot. Oh, and are out of breath ?" she said, faking a shocked tone. Robb and Jon exchanged amused looks but Theon snickered at her.
"Did you know, sweet Raelyn, that somewhere across the Narrow Sea, the word 'hot' is used to describe a sexually attractive youg man ?"
She glanced at Robb just his time to see a dark look pass on his face. He looked horribly handsome with his messy hair and unshaved jaw. She had to force herself to look back at Theon who smirked at her with sulky eyes.
"Well here's yet another proof that we are not across the Narrow Sea," she declared with a smile.
"I think we have another winner," chuckled Jon. She playfully winked at him and had to hold back a laugh when Theon sighed deeply.
"Care to join us ?" suddenly asked Robb.
She looked at him with wide eyes. His smile was daring her and she had to shake her head at his silliness. It was in his habits to challenge her every once in a while. Last time, it was to ride her horse without the saddle. It ended with a broken wrist, but at least it had been fun. But Raelyn knew very well that her talents at sword fighting were, well, non-existent. Her arms were not strong enough to hold to heaviness of the steel, she grew tired quickly and always ended up on the ground.
"Thank you very much, but I'll pass," she answered, holding his stare.
"Oh, is little Raelyn afraid ?" mocked Theon, who betrayed himself by a huge grin. He was way obviously very excited at the idea. She rolled her eyes.
"You can fight me," proposed Jon.
How bad could it be ? She knew Jon would not purposely hurt her, and would probably even let her win. Theon's words echoed in her head and she felt the anger rise in her throat. She was ready to do it just to prove him wrong. She took to wooden sword Jon handed to her with shaking hands, ignoring Theon's excited laughs. She glanced at Robb and felt her heart twist in her chest when she saw that he was looking at her very intensely, a smile on his lips. He took a few steps back and joined Theon at the barrier of the yard. Raelyn quickly looked around to make sure her father was not close and finally faced an amused Jon.
He was the first to move when she smiled back to him. She lifted the stick fast enough to block his attack and she immediately jerked her arm forward to get his shoulder. But Jon was way too quick and experienced for her and shielded himself with the stick. She pecked her lips, avoided his attack by ducking and kicked him in the knees. He took a few steps back, chuckled and threw his sword at her. She blocked and he attacked for what seemed like forever before she lost any sense of coordination and fell on the ground. Jon's stick poked her neck and, settling down hers, she raised her hands.
"I yield ?" The boys broke into laughter. She realized that a few people, including soldiers she recognized from Lord Stark's Guard, had been watching the fight and were all smiling at her. Some were mocking, but most of them just seemed amused.
She blushed furiously as Jon helped her to her feet.
"It was a good fight, for someone who can't fight," he teased her.
She shot him a dark look. Robb was laughing when he reached her and she pushed him, giving him the big eyes.
"Don't mock me !"
"Very well, it's my turn now," declared Theon, staring at her, a proud look on his face.
She looked back at him. She wasn't sure it was the best idea. She knew very well Theon was not Jon, he wouldn't be gentle with her. He's really going to fight me.
"Don't worry, I won't be too harsh on you," he said, as if he had heard her thoughts. She bit her lip and felt Robb bending towards her.
"You don't have to," he whispered in her ear, making her hair dance with his breath. She shivered but it gave her enough strength to take back her wooden sword and face Theon.
"Raise your sword, Greyjoy." She didn't break eye contact with him as he didn't lose his smirk.
She felt like something had gotten into her. She felt ready to beat Theon and entire armies and even dragons. She felt fierce, she felt invincible. But her bravery did not last long when Theon first attacked, obviously with her neck as his mark. She drew away from him. When he raised his sword again, she did the same and sticks smashed together. He quickly responded with a side attack and she felt the stick poke her side, not too hard though. He chuckled and she felt the anger rise in her chest. She went for his arm but he somehow took her by the shoulders to make her spin. He grasped her arm and held it behind her back, pushing slightly so she shrieked in pain. Her body hit his and his sword was suddenly at her neck. If it had been steel, she would be dead. Her pulse went crazy and pounded her head.
"Game over," he whispered in her ear. Oh, certainly not. She decided that she wouldn't let Theon win like this and kicked him hard with her elbow in the abdomen. He jerked back and she was free of him. She smiled with triumph but he wasn't anymore. His eyes were dark and his mouth was tight with anger. He ran at her and attacked her one, two, three, four times, and soon her stick flew from her hand and his leg was on her chest and knocked her down. She lost her breath for a second, a groan escaping her lips.
All she could feel was the pain in her back and all she could hear was Theon's chuckles. The world was spinning a little bit. She nodded when a distant voice asked her if she was okay. It had not really hurt, only taken her by surprise. Her dizziness disappeared quickly.
"I'm all right," she said in what she wanted to be an assured voice.
Robb was kneeling next to her. She saw Jon running to her and the people around staring at her. She felt her cheeks burn with embarrassment. She had lost, once again. Theon had not been fair to her, but she still felt ashamed. She took hold of Robb's shoulders to get on her feet and shook her head.
"I'm all right," she repeated, but the oldest Stark's eyes were burning. As soon as she got steady, he shrugged her off and ran to Theon, grasping his shirt tightly and bringing his face close to his.
"You little shit," he spat at him.
"Robb, stop," she quickly said. She did not want Robb and Theon to fight. She knew that they both had quick tempers, and the first had told her about the resentment he had about the other's attitude towards her. This would not rectify the situation.
"Calm down, lover boy. I was just teasing her !"
"Teasing her by attacking her like a mad men and kicking her down ? She's a girl, and she was just having fun !" yelled Robb, before his tone went raw and low. "Don't you have any honor, Greyjoy ?" Raelyn's cheeks burned like wildfire.
"Enough !" she screamed. "What's gotten into you ?"
She felt mad, incredibly mad, at Theon because he had been a complete asshole with her but also at Robb for losing all self-control. She felt sick and tired but at the same time, something deep inside her was twisting at the thought of Robb jumping in to defend her. But she couldn't say that. Not now. So she stood quiet after this, staring furiously at both of the boys, completely ignoring the people surrounding them. She thanked the gods there was not a lot of people outside that day. Robb shot her an angry look but let Theon go.
She nearly sighed of relief before his fist violently punched Theon's nose. She heard the heart-wrenching sound of a bone cracking and gasped. The young man yelled in pain, his hands flying to his bloody nose.
"Have you lost your mind, Stark ?" he screamed at him, groaning in pain.
"If you hurt her again, I'll break something else, Greyjoy." Robb, who was staring blankly at him, spoke with a low, deep voice. His words were irrefutable. He silently took a step back and left the yard, his hands tightly clenched into fists.
Raelyn looked at him go, unable to react. Robb's actions exceeded her intendment. What had gotten into him ? She knew that Theon deserved it in some way, but Robb had overreacted. She couldn't bring herself to say something, now feeling very deeply the stares of the crowd around her.
"I'll take care of him," whispered Jon before following his brother. She was glad he did. She couldn't face Robb, not now, not after this. Confusion filled her mind like opaque clouds.
It was when she heard Theon groan in pain that she snapped back to reality. She approached him. He was kneeling down, his hands red with blood. She clenched her jaw and put a hand on his shoulder.
"Come on, I'll take you to Master Ludwin." His reaction was immediate. He brutally shrugged her hand away and stood up, shooting her a furious glare.
"I don't need your help." She pecked her lips and looked at him walking away. Ignoring the small crowd around them, she ran to join him.
"Theon, I'm sorry, I don't know why he acted like this." He stopped and turned to face her. His nose was horribly twisted, she couldn't imagine the pain. Drops of blood stained his shirt.
"Oh, really, you don't know ? How stupid are you ?" She stared at him, frowning.
"I'm trying to apologize to you, why are you being so -"
"What did you do to him, Cassel ? What did you do so he's at your feet like a dog ?" She didn't answer. Theon seemed furious. Blood ran down his face as he spoke, his mouth twisted with anger. He took a step towards her so his face was close to hers. She breathed in.
"I bet you were real good." She didn't want to slap him but her hand hit his face in a snap.
"Shut up. You don't know what you're talking about," she said in a harsh tone, her voice trembling. He chuckled.
"I don't think you know, either," he replied darkly before turning on his heels and walking away.