"Lord Stark requested my presence." I told the guard who nodded and went inside to inform Lord Stark.
After a few moments the guard opened the door and from within the room I heard, "Come in."
Taking a deep breathe I walked in.
# # # # # #
As I stepped into the room I took in my surroundings. There was a desk up against the back wall with a window behind it which the sun was shining through. The sun made it hard to see much of the rest of the room but from what I could see there looked like a lot of books and scrolls were scattered around the room with a map on either wall, one of the nation and the other of the city.
Lord Stark was seated behind his desk, though I couldn't see his face due to the light in my eyes. Moving forward I positioned myself so that the shadow from the split in the window blocked the sun so I could see more clearly.
"Hello, Rickard," said Lord Stark.
"My Lord" I responded.
"I wanted to thank you once again for protecting my daughter; unfortunately I'm having a little trouble with your story." Lord stark said, as he moved around the desk to stand directly in front of me.
"I have asked around and no one had seen you until we reached the riverlands, so while I'm willing to accept that you traveled with the caravan, I doubt that Rickard Snow is your real name. So I would like you to try again, and this time, try to be honest." Lord Stark said as he placed a hand on my shoulder as if to ensure I didn't try to run away.
On the outside I remained impassive aside from a slight widening of the eyes. Inwardly I was panicking, I was banking on him accepting the story at face value, I had no idea what to do. Then I heard a thought enter my mind.
Tell him the truth, trust him and he shall trust you.
Pondering this thought I slowly made a plan on how to explain this to Lord Stark.
"Do you believe in magic and the Old Gods my Lord?" I asked hesitantly.
Lord Stark stared at me for a while before nodding ever so slightly. As he nodded I took a step back away from him and concentrated, making sure to go as slow as possible so as not to spook him I slowly went back into my wolf form.
Lord Stark jumped back with wide eyes at what he had just seen before him. He grabbed for his knife, but then recognition lit his eyes as he recognized who I looked like. "Rickard?"
I changed back into my human form and raised my hands to show that I meant no harm.
"Explanation please." Lord Stark said in a confused and confounded tone of voice.
And so I did, I told him everything that I could remember. From my time at the Dursley's (not including technology and world differences), how I was placed with the wolf family before my new mother was killed, to the point where they found us. From there I explained my thoughts and some of my actions while in his home.
I explained what Arcania had explained to me about why I was sent to live as a wolf and that the Starks were eventually going to be rewarded for their devotion, once the upcoming conflict with the other deity's was at an end.
Lord Stark slumped down into his chair, to give himself time to assimilate all of this new information. Making a decision he looked up at me.
"It seems it's time you returned to your old job of protecting Arya full time, if what you say is true then I want you as close to her as possible to keep her safe. I'll have somebody found to take your place with the blacksmith. During the day I want you to act as Arya's bodyguard, while not appearing to be. I want it to be a surprise when you stop them from getting her." Lord Stark commanded.
"We haven't found out much about those men that you fought in the alley, but with this recent information I'm going to assume that the Lannister's were behind it in some fashion or another. After dinner Arya will return to the tower and remain here where others will be there to protect her. I'll be informing that friend of yours in the guards to continue training you during that time. From what I saw you've done well so far, but if you are really going to protect Arya I want you better. On top of that I'll have one of my guards wake you up at the crack of dawn to put you through some physical exercises to get you stronger, which will only end once you receive word that Arya is up and is waiting for you to join her so that she can go about her day."
I nodded in understanding, grateful that Arcania had been correct and that I could trust him.
"Arya I know you're out there so you might as well come in now." Lord Stark called out.
The door opened and Arya stepped through looking sheepish.
"How may I ask did you get the guards to abandon their posts long enough to allow you to listen in?" Lord Stark questioned.
"I pushed some armor over in an adjacent hallway to make it appear that someone was moving around that shouldn't be, so they left to investigate a non-existent intruder." Arya said, as she looked down at her shoes.
"I'll talk to you later about this. Regardless, I assume that you at least heard the end of our conversation?" Arya nodded to Lord Stark's question. "Good, Rickard you are to escort her to her 'dancing lessons' and remain by her side until after dinner. Now get going."
We both nodded and quickly left the room. Once the door was shut Arya jumped on me and started squeezing me as tightly as she could. I hugged her back for a bit until we heard the sound of feet getting closer. We broke apart and smiled at each other.
"We should get going, don't want you to be late." I said as we began making our way down the hallway.
# # # # # # #
Arya and I made it to her 'dancing' lessons right on time, as we entered the room her instructor turned towards us.
"Ah, the little hero arrives." Said Syrio. "I have been informed of your inclusion in these dancing lessons and the style that you have been learning. You will find the wooden approximate of your preferred weapons on the pillar next to you, take them and let me see what you've got."
With a nod I grabbed the weapons and settled into the opening stance that I had been taught. We stood there for 5 seconds before I dashed forward. Keeping my dagger close I lunged out with my sword. Syrio merely side stepped to the inside with his own wooden blade on the inside, pushing mine further away. Continuing to move forward I brought the dagger horizontal to my other blade by making a cross piece.
As his sword connected with my dagger I used the momentum to spin around him. Unfortunately as I was spinning he stuck his leg out tripping me and sending me to the floor, where I was forced to do a forward roll to regain my footing, and turn to face him quickly.
"Lesson number one, never cross your legs, you can't change directions if your legs are going in different directions." Syrio instructed. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed Arya take a seat on the steps with her own sword on her lap as she avidly watched the fight.
All of a sudden I heard a whistling sound and my head suddenly split with a headache almost making me drop my weapons.
"Lesson number two, never take your eyes off your opponent. Be aware of everything around you but never lose sight of the thing that is the largest threat to your survival." Syrio instructed as he returned to his starting position.
I charged again but started hacking as quickly I could with both weapons in a rehearsed pattern I'd been taught, while keeping the dagger still close to my body to be used in a more defensive position. Syrio merely kept dodging and misdirecting my strikes.
Finally he'd had enough of being on the defense and went on the attack. He started swinging his sword at a speed that I was struggling to keep pace with. I was able to get my blocks up most of the time but I could feel the sting in my arms and my right side where I had been too slow.
After a couple more swings he called for a break which I readily accepted. "Lesson number three, do not block … ever." Syrio stated.
"You will inevitably come up against opponents stronger than you like 'The Hound', or another man of similar stature, who will simply over power your block. Also the block is simply inferior, your arms are locked and all you have to rely on is your arm and back strength, whereas the attacker has the momentum of the attack, the weight of both weapons, and the strength of their arms, legs, back, and core behind each strike. Even if you are stronger than your opponent you will invariably tire out before he does, because while he might be expending more energy in his attacks you are taking the full brunt of those attacks."
"You need to evade, and misdirect and wait for the best time to strike. Those knights that you train with only know how to hack and slash, they have not truly gotten into the true art of swordplay because it is not required for them to know more than what they already do, because they will always have many others around them. That is a luxury you might not always have. Learn to be quicker and smarter than them."
"Another point is to not always aim for the head and main body. There are many other places in the arm and leg that bleed just as quickly, if not quicker, than a stab or slash to the torso. Also most knights don't have these areas protected due to decreased mobility, so make a point to aim for these points." Syrio explained as he tapped each place with his sword in demonstration.
"Now take a seat and get a breather in while I work with Arya and then we shall go again." Syrio demanded as I gratefully sat down and watched Arya's individual part of the lesson.
# # # # # #
This pattern kept true for the next couple of weeks. I was quickly improving in both Syrio' s and Dorian's lessons. I was coming out with less bruises from both. While Syrio would continue to help my two handed sword play he also made me focus on one handed sword play with both hands, to try and increase my versatility. He had taken the ambidextrous teaching too include Arya as well to give her that extra advantage.
It had been almost a month when on the way back to the apartment I heard the servants muttering quietly and maybe a tad fearfully. Subtly moving closer I listened in to what they were muttering.
"The king returned from the hunt injured!" servant one said.
"They are saying he's not going to survive past tomorrow." Another said.
"I heard that his squire made sure he was drunk enough to make a mistake." said a shifty servant who was standing in the back of the group.
"Are you an idiot, if the Lannister's heard you accusing one of their own killing another king you'd be gone faster than the snap of a finger. You get that notion right out of your head, just keep your head down and ignore the politics surrounding the throne. You'll stay alive longer following that advice." stated the head servant, looking around to make sure none of the Lannister's were in that particular corridor.
Hearing enough I swiftly caught up to Arya and told her we needed to get to her father as quickly as possible.
The king was dying and the Lannister's were about to make their move.
AN: Hello all, for those that don't read anything past the first couple lines of the AN I hope you enjoyed the chapter and will write a review on your thoughts.
For the rest of you, as you can tell the poll was overwhelmingly in favor of Harry telling Stark of his powers. While not entirely sure if I nailed Stark's character to the T that was displayed in both the books and the TV show I think I made it believable. He seemed to me to be a good judge of character who could make decisions about people after meeting them for a short amount of time.
Coming up next will be a couple of twists and turns as Harry leaves King's Landing, so if you thought the story was starting to get predictable in the way it was progressing don't worry.
I'd like to apologize for not getting this out sooner. I had most of it written 2 weeks back but then I got caught up in school work. I know this isn't an excuse for most people I'd like to assure those that are unaware, your senior year at college is in no way easier than any of the earlier years. In fact it is harder as most of the harder classes are waiting for you towards the end of your education, and it is in no way a progression from easier to harder. It's more like reasonable amount of work and then moving directly into books where you have to look up every third word because no matter how much you read you have no idea what the theory is behind post-structuralism of history means or why it could be important. I'm thinking of selling the hair I've pulled out trying to understand this god forsaken book on ebay just to see if my pain was truly worth it. (lol)