Hello again! I know I took a very long time with this chapter, but it's extra-long so I hope you thoroughly enjoy it. I really like your reviews so anytime you want to give any, that'd be perfect! Also, I'm actually curious, even though I added a doll-photo of what Greta would look like, do you have any person you imagine as Greta? Leave it in the reviews if you want to, I'd love to know! Anyways, On to the Chapter!
The travelers continued on their way. But there was something was different in the atmosphere among them. After the kiss, Jojen and Greta have become closer and closer. When they're together, they're always talking and laughing with smiles on their faces. This was a rare pleasure for people in Westeros to be happy in a time of war and misery. Greta and Jojen both know that they still have duties to fulfill, but each others company had made the journey much more tolerable, even made them extremely happy. Greta had never felt such contentment in a very long time. She had been taught as a messenger to never seek a place to call home, but with Jojen, she feels at peace with him. And Jojen cannot remember the last time he had so much delight by a persons presence. Their happiness is well known by the others of the group. Meera noticed how happy her brother was now. She was extremely happy by that sight. Since Jojen started having the dreams and visions, it seemed like he grew up too quickly and became more stern and serious. Now, she feels quite thankful for Greta's arrival. Bran saw that after she joined them, the environment around them was much happier and less depressing, feeling like the journey was much more bearable. Osha still didn't trust Greta and Meera completely. She still had her suspicions, but she couldn't blame herself since they were in this situation where anyone could be lurking around. Rickon truly enjoyed Greta being around. She missed Arya and Sansa so much that having her around made him feel happier, almost like he had another sister. And Greta was more than happy to give attention to him when he asked. His childlike curiosity and innocence had given her smiles on many occasions. More than a few times did she follow Rickon when he'd wander in the woods. Even though Bran kept on assuring her that Shaggydog would protect him, she'd insist on following him.
Now, Rickon had made her think of the future, something she hadn't thought about in years, two to be exact. For the first time, she began thinking about children of her own and how they'd be raised. She wondered where would she live, what her children would look like, who would father them. Most girls her age, especially highborn girls who are brought up to become doting wives and mothers, would do this almost every day and chatter about it with their friends, but Greta never did until now. When she thought about how her children would be like, she hoped that they'd have the same curiosity as Rickon, the early leadership qualities as Bran possesses, the intelligence and deep, dark eyes of Joj-
She stopped thinking about that and began mentally chastising herself. No, you can't think that she thought. I only met him a moon ago and I'm already imagining him as my husband. I can't be thinking this stupid, not now. He doesn't even know about mother or Lord Baelish! She ended her self-chastise with the thought of Lord Baelish. It has been a long time since she thought about her time in King's Landing. They were memories that she'd rather forget but can't escape her head. So to make her forget, she went back to Jojen and began talking about her Valyrian book.
By the early afternoon, they all reached a dirt road near The Last River, a River that crossed the King's Road and ended near the Dreadfort. They all heard water streaming from where they were and Rickon started running towards the noise. Shaggydog began following him and Greta stopped mid-conversation with Jojen to acknowledge Rickon. She put her finger up to say wait and followed him. By the time she met up with him, he was already running back. She looked at the river and even though it was a regular river like any other, it looked like paradise for her. She couldn't remember the last time she took a bath. She would normally take some at inns who would offer them, but they were far away from the closest one and she remembered that they couldn't be caught. She turned and saw Rickon leading with excitement the rest of the group.
"Can we stay, Osha? Can we stay?" Rickon begged with a gleam in his eyes. Rickon couldn't remember the last time he saw a river of this size and like many children his age, he wanted to swim.
"No, Rickon. I don't think we should-" Osha started
"I think we could spare a day and set up camp" Greta interrupted, taking Rickon's side. Before Osha could retort, she was again cut off by Jojen who said;
"I'm in agreement. Still, we could use the river to tidy ourselves." Greta looked to him, smiling. Jojen noticed this from the corner of his eye and returned the smile.
"I guess so. Still, we'll soon be a long ways from warmer rivers when we reach Castle Black." Osha said reluctantly, feeling the failure of her side of the argument.
And so, everyone set up camp less than a mile from the river. Meera and Osha found a few stray fish and caught them for supper, and one at a time, everyone used the river to wash the dirt and grime from their skins.
When it was finally Greta's turn, Bran, Rickon, Hodor and Osha have already went. She took a blanket with her and walked down to the river. She stripped down to her underclothes and dipped into the water that reached her waist. It was cold, but Greta didn't mind. She got used to it after a minute and sunk her head in to wet her hair. She ran her fingers through her hair to remove any knots that have been there for weeks. She then took a handful of sand that had been at the edge of the shore and began scrubbing her arm with it. She scrubbed her arm until it was clean and red from being so raw. She repeated this process to the rest of her body until all the dirt on her skin had been off her body. She stayed in the river for another minute to enjoy the feeling of finally getting out of the clothes she had been wearing for weeks. But when her hands began pruning, she made herself get out and put her blanket around her body. Her wet underclothes made the cold air less bearable and couldn't wait to be dry enough to put her clothes back on.
When she returned, still wrapped around her blanket, she told Meera that she could go now. Meera obliged and removed her weapons from her body. She may have took thirty steps before she ran back silently, telling everyone to be quiet. Everyone crouched down and looked concerned and alarmed.
"I just saw two men on the other side of the river crossing it" Meera whispered.
"Are you sure?" Osha asked, doubting Meera's accusation.
"Of course I'm sure" Meera retorted. All in this time, Greta was thinking What can I do, what can I do she repeated in her head until she had an idea. She knew it was crazy, but she felt like she had no choice.
"Listen. I know this is entirely absurd, but I have a plan and I need you to follow me" she whispered calmly.
"Go on" Meera encouraged.
"I'll go out and distract them and during that time, you two" pointing at Osha and Meera. "Will prepare to kill them".
"How will you distract them?" Osha whispered, almost like she didn't believe she would do anything. Greta looks up to Hodor.
"Hodor" she said as he replied with 'Hodor'. Can you please cover Rickon's eyes until I tell you to stop?"
"Hodor" he answerd as he placed his giant hands over Rickon's eyes as he's laid scared.
Greta stood up, looked under her blanket and dropped it. Jojen's eyes opened up so much that he wouldn't be surprised if they fell out of his sockets. Her underclothes consisted of a very thin white undershirt with a hole in the top right corner near the strap and equally thin pants of the same material that reached her knees. Since she was still wet, the material was practically translucent where it left very little to the imagination. She took a deep breath and began walking gracefully to the river.
The two men looked like muscular, burly men in their early 30's with thick beards. They looked like they must have been a runaway from the wall or a prisoner on their way to it. Either way, Greta played the role of the innocent girl who was attracted to them. When they first saw her, they were shocked to see such a woman exposed in such an isolated place as this. Greta began giggling and smiling, attempting to lure them over. She succeeded admirably. They came closer with ear-to-ear grins on their faces, ready to take the girl for the picking. When they came too close for her comfort, she covered her breasts and giggled again, trying to look like a shy virgin who likes them. She then innocently cowered to the back of a nearby tree, looked out to see them following and her finger gesturing them to come closer.
Suddenly, an arrow hit the neck of one of the men who fell down. The other man looked to his comrade just enough time for a blade to slit his throat, Osha's blade. When she saw the blood spill, Greta then stopped playing the character and went to the one with the arrow in his neck, put her ear to his chest and confirmed he was dead. She then pulled out the arrow, washed it in the river and gave it back to Meera. The three women looked down at the bodies.
"What now?" Meera asked.
"We'll bury the bodies, give them fake names and graves, like they're supposed to be here. No one will suspect anything with a forest grave" Osha explained while wiping her blade on one of the men's pants.
While Meera and Osha started rummaging through the men's articles, trying to find items they could use, Greta walked back to the camp with her head down in shame. She didn't want to see anyone's face, more specifically, Jojen's. She felt dirty now. She knew that what she did was essential, but she hated how she used her old talent to do it. She couldn't find her blanket on the ground where she left it, but instead felt Jojen placing it over her shoulders. She grasped it tightly, but still kept her head down.
"All right Hodor, you can move your hands away" she said calmly.
"Hodor" he replied, doing as he's told. Greta walked away from the group to change in peace. When she began walking back, she saw Jojen walking towards her. She took a deep breath, preparing for what was to come.
"Greta, can I ask you something?" he asked. She expected this and was prepared for this. She nodded shamefully.
"I just want to ask; why did you do that? I won't judge you, honestly. But did you do this before?" he asked.
"That was the first time I ever did that" she replied. "But I knew after I did that, I would have to tell you why that was the first thought in my head"
"What do you mean?" he asked with concern.
"I told you before that I hated being reminded of my parentage when you use my last name. It's because of-... Sit down, Jojen. This will be a long story" she said. They both then say down facing one another. She looked down.
"My mother wasn't a whore when she had me, but I was born in a brothel" she confessed.
"What do you mean?" he asked, coming closer.
"My mother came from the North to King's Landing with the hope she could escape being a farmer like the rest of her family and find a suitable husband. She told me herself she was naive when she recalled the tale to me. She worked in a local bakery when she first arrived there. Then, she met a man named Baylor. He claimed to be fro the Kingsguard and quickly swooned my mother. They had a love affair that lasted three moons. Baylor promised my mother the world. He promised her he'd run away from the Kingsguard, he'd go back up North with her and they'd live happily ever after. And she believed that. But by the time he disappeared, she realized she was with child, with me. When she went to the Kingsguard to demand his appearance, Ser Jaime Lannister; or so she believes it was Jaime, told her that no such man she mentioned exists in the Kingsguard. Then, the bakery fired her for they didn't want a 'whore' in their employment. So my mother went to the last place she could find for shelter, Lord Petyr Baelish's brothel. Usually Lord Baelish would turn away almost every girl who'd offer themselves in his service, but according to him, since she was pretty and since he felt pity for her, he took her in under the condition she'd work for him after I was born. I gathered my mother's hair, her lips and physique. And I got my fathers eyes, nose and complexion. My mother taught me that I should exceed the expectations of others because if I settle for less, then I would live unhappily with the constant thoughts of how it could have been different when it's too late. She never had this logic when she was with Baylor, she acquired this knowledge when it was too late for her. I grew up in the brothel with all the other bastard children. Most of the money my mother made went to my education and my well being She told me it was too late to change her life for the better, but it was not too late for me. Unfortunately, she died when I was ten. The maesters refused to tell me what she died from." she paused. Jojen expected for her to perhaps tear up by the thought of losing her mother. But she didn't. She just took a sharp, deep breath.
"Strange, isn't it?" she asks.
"What's strange?" he asks.
"That I could cry so easily about something just right after it happens, but when something even worse happened to me a long time ago, I can't even shed a single tear."
"That's alright. It means that you are becoming stronger inside" he said. she looked up at him in his eyes. She gave him and smile and continued.
"After my mother died, most bastards live in the orphanage. But for me, the brothel had other plans. I was then on raised by the whores themselves. Instead of teaching me words of wisdom and a better future like my mother did, they taught me the art of pleasuring men. They taught me how to always appear interested in them, even if they're repulsive, how to do certain acts right and how to not complain about something, no matter how much you disagree on it. I never had to perform these acts, thank the gods. Lord Baelish was more of a business man instead of the friend he claimed he could be for me. Sometimes, he'd stare at me, almost like he's waiting for me to flower so I can work as soon as possible. He saw me as an investment and not as a person and I hated it. I still repeated in my head my mothers words and promised myself I'd make my mother happy by taking the first opportunity I get to get out of Baelish's brothel. And about a year later, I found that opportunity. A messenger of the name Rendhon came to the brothel sending letters and a few packages containing silk slips for the whores. Before he left and went on his way, I begged for him to take me with him, I begged him, knowing I could finally get away. He told me to gather my things and meet him in the tavern across the road. I did what I was told and I left with him. For the next two years, I traveled across Westeros with Rendhon. He taught me the tricks of the trades of being a messenger such as how I should never gain true allies because that'll be bad for business, how to find the best shortcuts so you can get to your destination faster, how to handle situations of danger and how to avoid it, etcetera, etcetera. Rendhon became not like a father, but like an uncle figure to me. And I enjoyed that. By the time I was three and ten, he told me I could then go on my own and do my own letter and package carrying. And I did. Every day, I pray to thank the Gods for bringing Rendhon to me. I haven't seen him since I left but I am eternally thankful to him. From there on until I met you, I've been traveling Westeros, doing my job as a messenger."
Greta finally finished. Jojen drank up every word she said, astonished by her story. She looked down and took a deep breath. "You're the first person I've ever told this to. I didn't want anyone to know. Even you, at first. I didn't want you to think of me as a whore" she confessed, looking up to his eyes. When he saw her eyes his lips curved to a smile.
"I feel honored being the first one you confided your history to. And do not fret, Greta. You are far from a whore and I can assure you, you are definitely smarter and more beautiful than all the King's Landing whores combined" he said. She smiled at that. She finally rose from her spot of the ground only to sit herself right beside Jojen, taking his hand in hers.
"Thank you" she whispered. They stared at each other until Greta interrupted.
"Tell me" she started "how was it like to grow up in the Greywater Watch with the beautiful forests and servants and a castle that everyone claims to 'move?'" She smiled at him, trying to make things happier.
"Well, it's more of a swamp than a forest" Jojen started, chuckling at what she said. Her intention had worked.
For what felt like days, Jojen had talked about his childhood. Greta listened with every sense of curiosity and wonder in her body. They then after shared stories where they shared laughs words of wisdom and humor. They had forgotten about supper since they were too caught up in each other. For those hours, nothing mattered to them. What mattered was each other at that moment.
By the time it became dark, Osha came to them and interrupted their conversation.
"We made a fire and it's getting dark soon. Best be getting there soon as you can" she said and then walked back.
The two stood up, wiped the dirt from them and began walking back. Before they reached the fire, Jojen stopped and grabbed her elbow.
"Wait" he said. He leads them behind a nearby tree. Greta doesn't feel in danger but she has a feeling what's going on.
When her back touches the tree, Jojen moves his hands from her elbow to one on her shoulder and one on her waist. Greta places her hands on his shoulders and waits for the inevitable. He leans in and places his lips onto hers. It was a closed-mouth kiss, but it held the love and passion Jojen felt for Greta. And felt wonderful to her. Jojen held her tighter around her waist so she'd be closer and Greta moved her right hand to his hair, grasping a few hairs from the back of his head. With their eyes closed, their lips moved between one another and they didn't want to stop. But Jojen had to break it because he knew they'd have to breathe sooner or later. When Greta felt the absence of Jojen's lips, she slipped a very soft moan from her own lips. Jojen smiled at the sound, knowing she liked it as much, if not more, as he did. He then held her face in his hands where his kissed her forehead, took her hand and headed back to the campfire. Greta couldn't stop blushing that night.
So There! What do you Think! So Aschen, there you have Greta's parents like you inquired about. I didn't know at first how I'd incorporate this, but I think I did a decent job. But it's not my place to critique my work, it's you! the readers! If you have any thoughts or suggestions, feel free to leave them in a review. Till next time!