In this, Arya is fourteen. Daenerys is still off somewhere near or in Meereen (it does feel like she will never come to Westeros lol).
I do not own A Song of Ice and Fire. GRRM is master of the universe, I could not come close
Please tell me if I make major errors. I reread the books recently but do not always have the best memory. Also this is not beta'd
I will try not to take too long to add chapters but this is an exercise in procrastination (I am supposed to be finishing my thesis)
No one watched without being seen, having taken the place of one of the serving girls. She had used a glamour and her face was plain, all the better to not be noticed. A battle had been successfully fought and the men were in high spirits. She took no notice of most of them. Her target sat on the dais, arguing quietly with the man sitting next to him. No one moved closer as she continued pouring wine, repressing the urge to sink her finger knife into the neck of the soldier who had just groped her arse.
"You took a great risk your Grace" Lord Jon Connington was saying, the displeasure plain in his features. "If you act so recklessly you will not live long enough to take the throne".
"I cannot expect men to fight for me if I am not willing to fight myself" the young man next to him replied. "I'll hear no more of this. The men want to celebrate their victory and these arguments will dampen spirits".
The look Connington gave the young man was a mix of frustration and reluctant approval and No one did not miss it. No one did not miss anything anymore. She continued to watch discreetly as she served, being careful not to get close enough to be pulled into anybody's lap. The other serving girls had not been quite so lucky but No one was good at anticipating and sidestepping their advances.
Her target japed and laughed with the men on the dais, his violet eyes glinting with amusement. No one was disappointed that he didn't look more like Joffrey. That would have made things very easy. She was even more disappointed that he wasn't behaving as Joffrey had though there was still time yet. No one had only just begun her mission. She would need to watch for her opportunity. She would not get close enough tonight. She would need to bide her time and observe. That was how these things were done.
She had arrived at Storm's End a week earlier. Her time had been spent learning all she could of Aegon Targaryen and the men around him. He had been away fighting but the time was not wasted. What she had learned had been useful. She now knew where she might find him in the castle, what his habits were and how he might be vulnerable. It had not however helped make it easier to kill him.
No one knew she wasn't supposed to judge whether men were good or bad. The Kindly man had said so back when she had been given her very first name. She had still fallen into the habit of looking for a motive, a reason why the gift should be given. This time she could not find one and it bothered her.
She watched closely over the next few days. One day she posed as a camp follower while he visited men in their tents (she chose the most unattractive face she could think of so as to avoid having to actually fuck anybody), the next she posed as a maid and the day after that a servant in the set of chambers where he and his inner circle resided. Her task did not get easier, instead it got harder.
Her target was well liked, he was not pretentious as she had expected and he treated people well. She had learned that he was hoping to arrange a betrothal with his aunt, Daenarys Targaryen though that hadn't stopped hopeful lords from bringing their daughters to the castle. Some remained still and His Grace was charming and polite but as far as No one could tell there had been no incidents of dishonourable behaviour. The girls reminded No one a little of Sansa and No one felt sad.
His Grace did snap at one of the squires when they temporarily misplaced his sword. No one didn't blame him for that. It was a special sword too. She had seen it earlier. It was valyrian steel and it brought to mind memories of Ice which she promptly pushed out of her mind. The squire was pretty stupid and she thought with a pang her own sword, her Needle, hidden with her belongings. If somebody had misplaced Needle she would have snapped too. The sword was promptly recovered and all calmed down.
The lack of a reason to kill him wasn't the worst part. The worst part was that No one felt herself liking her target. She was drawn to him. Something about his smile and his laugh reminded her of Jon Snow, her brother. Stupid, No one has no brother she told herself but that didn't change things. She sank down into the furs she was sleeping in feeling very weary. The need to use a glamour every time she wanted to change her face was tiring her.
The Kindly Man had insisted she wear her own face for this mission. She protested but he was not swayed. He had taken a firm grip of her chin, tilting her face up to look into her eyes. "This face will serve". There was something that bothered her in the way he said it. She couldn't put her finger on it. She had gathered the clothes she expected to need and items to help disguise herself. As she had made to leave for the ship which would take her to Westeros, the Kindly man had stopped her again.
"Who are you?"
"No one" she replied.
She had stopped quickly to retrieve Needle and boarded the ship which had taken her to Shipbreaker bay. Fortunately it wasn't difficult from then on to blend in with others on their way to pledge fealty to the young man who made claims to be King.
More days passed and No one began to see opportunities pass. She knew she was to kill him and only him so in the beginning the limited access to his food and wine restricted her. After another week she had missed at least a dozen opportunities to poison him and still more chances to stab him in his sleep. His chambers were well guarded but No one found ways around that. She stood watching him sleep one night and cursed herself the next morning for failing.
Tomorrow she told herself each night but when tomorrow arrived she still held back. By the time a moon had passed she was confronted by a man with shaggy brown hair and a large mole above his lip.
"The many-faced god will be displeased. There are others waiting to receive the gift. Why do you delay?"
No one hesitated. They would know if she was lying.
"Why was he chosen?"
The face in front of her showed no flicker of emotion. "That is not your concern. Valar dohaeris. He must be given the gift".
No one thought for a moment. Aegon was not a bad person, she had seen that. Why was he chosen while people like Cersei and Ramsay Bolton still lived? The answer came to her suddenly. Nobody offered gold to the House of Black and White to have Cersei and Ramsey killed. She began to feel incredibly stupid. This, being faceless, had nothing to do with serving the many-faced god. The gods had nothing to do with it.
"I won't do it"
The man shook his head sadly. "Disappointing. Another will be sent. A name has been said, the gift must be given". He turned his back to walk away. "Goodbye Arya of House Stark".
No one knew what this meant. She no longer served the House of Black and White. She had clung to it for so long that she thought she might have been sad. Instead she realised she felt free. They had given her the tools she needed, she could now wield them as she wished.
"Wait" she called out.
He turned back to face her and she caught up to him quickly. "They can't send somebody else. He doesn't deserve to die".
"Valar morghulis" was the response.
Yes, she thought as she slit the man's throat with her finger knife, hidden inside her sleeve. All men must die but it isn't Aegon's turn yet. Arya had many more names to give the many-faced god first. A whole list of them.