It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a fortune is in want of a wife… Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
It has come to our attention, dear readers, that Storm’s End is let at last, with one Gendry Baratheon as the new tenant. He hails from King’s Landing and has 5,000 dragons a year. But, dear hearts, hold on to your bonnets, he is single and will be attending the Midsummer festival, if our sources are to be trusted! As the county’s most eligible bachelor, we are sure his dance card will fill up quickly!
“ Do you think he will come, Sansa? Truly?” Jeyne rolled her apron strings between her fingers, a sure sign that she was anxious about the newest gossip.
Sansa, Jeyne, and Arya were gathered around the weekly Westeros Post, containing, amongst mundane news and ads for ribbons and frocks, the most exciting gossip Winterfell had ever been a part of in as long as they could remember. Sansa and Jeyne always checked the post for the latest fashion and finery while Arya was always there for the gossip, though she’d sooner run you through with her “needle” than admit to it.
“ I don’t know Jeyne, “ Sansa shifted on the low wall dividing the inner courtyard of Winterfell from the rolling hills of Westeros,eyeing the missive trying to glean as much insight as she could from so little, “Coming from King’s Landing, I doubt out little gathering is what he’s used to.”
She could just picture the grand ballrooms lit with soft candle light bouncing off gilded walls, the soft shushing of crushed velvet dresses against the floor as they moved synchronous with melodies, and gentlemen dressed in finery she had only read and dreamed about. She had always wanted to attend the midsummer festival, begging details from Robb when she was little. Having come in to her majority after the festival last year, Sansa was anxious to see if the dreamy tableau she created in her mind’s eye from her mother’s stories fit the reality of the festival itself.
Sighing and shaking her auburn tresses back, Sansa smiled at Jeyne, “ I guess we’ll find out tonight, Help me get the laundry in so we can get ready and remind Arya that a muddied hem does not make a good first impression!”
The girls tuned and gathered dry sheets and clothes, strung between the time worn warm stone walls of Winterfell and the modest stable housing the Starks’ two hearty horses, Phillipe and Maximus, as well as their donkey, Jeoffry, as they made their way back into the ivy covered house, giggling and discussing the night’s festivities and what to wear, Jeyne expertly dodging puddles while Sansa masterfully maneuvered around the cart their coachman, Jory had pulled out as the transportation for the evening.
Placing the laundry on the table just inside the modest and warm kitchen, Sansa and Jeyne parted ways, promising to find the other the moment they both arrived at the festival.
As she ascended the stairway to the bedroom she shared with Arya, Sansa could hear Rickon crowing like the chickens he disturbed as he stampeded through the modest courtyard while a flicker of movement outside the window hinted at Bran scaling the outer wall. Her mother's voice rose above the cacophony to scold Rickon and to swear she was going to nail Bran’s boots to the ground if he kept climbing while her father's boisterous laugh good naturedly encouraged Rickon to continue on his quest to catch the unsuspecting fowl.
Reaching the bedroom, Sansa sighed in contentment as she fingered the ribbons that were set aside to complement her evening's attire. She couldn't help but think that everything was as it should be.