Chapter 1: Arya I
Arya and the Hound stop the Red Wedding.
Arya glanced at the soldiers in the yard. She could hear a wolf howling from nearby.
She ran blindly towards the sound, passing some soldiers here and there. Soldiers that were setting fire to the tents. Stark tents.
Arya felt her mouth go dry. The howling got closer and closer.
Then she stood in front of a locked kennel. Kennel which contained Grey Wind.
There was a metal lock on the door, and she knew that her swords would be useless here.
Fortunately, she found a rather large rock, and started striking the lock with it. Eventually, the metal gave away.
She swung open the doors, and Grey Wind was suddenly upon her, licking her face with extreme fervor.
"Grey Wind." she said between giggles "Take me to your owner."
Grey Wind obeyed, heading for the castle which loomed nearby. Arya followed him, unable to repress her anxiety.
The doors of the Great Hall were large, and made of wood. Several latecomers were just entering. Arya slipped in unnoticed with Grey Wind in tow.
Then the doors closed, and uncle Edmure stepped forward. On the other side of the room stood the bride, whose hand was held by one of her brothers.
Uncle Edmure. She needed to warn him. Something sinister was going on. Something was wrong.
Grey Wind let out a low, menacing growl, his hackles raised.
Arya's fingers curled around Needle's handle.
Grey Wind cut the path for her, growling at the Freys, who were backing off.
If she could just reach uncle Edmure......
"That's the wolf!" one of the Freys yelled out
"How did it get out?" another wondered
And then, she spotted him. Robb, who was seated between Mother and Lord Bolton.
She darted out, with Grey Wind watching her back. Together, they evaded various Frey men who tried to get in their way.
"Get to Robb." she muttered "Get to Robb."
The bride and the groom had now reached one another, and started moving towards the altar.
She watched as they tied the knot. Watched as their marriage was sanctioned.
Watched as they left to consummate it.
She heard the new melody. She recognized it. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up.
A warning was blaring in her head.
She shuffled closer to where Robb sat. She saw as Lord Bolton covertly removed the dagger from his belt.
She had a sinking suspicion regarding what he planned to do with it.
"Grey Wind, stay with me." she told the wolf in a whisper "We'll save your master."
She lost all senses. Everywhere around her, people talked over one another. Lord Walder Frey was making a speech.
And then the music stopped. Arya looked up. Instead of instruments, the 'musicians' now held crossbows.
And each one was aimed at her brother.
With one last push, Arya finally made it. She now stood side by side with Robb.
Then she moved behind him.
"Play along." she whispered into his ear
She pressed Needle against his throat.
"All right, the party is over." she said in a shrill voice "You people probably thought that you could kill the King in the North before me, like your grievance with him is greater than mine own."
The Freys stared at her, frozen in place.
"What he did to me and my family is far, far worse than whatever he did to slight you. Therefore, I will be taking my vengeance outside. Open the door and let me out. Then you can watch as I take his head."
"You've got spunk." Lord Walder Frey chuckled "Maybe I'll make you my next wife."
"Over my dead body." Arya thought "Or yours, for that matter."
Two of the Freys opened the door on Lord Frey's orders. Arya stepped through, pulling Robb outside with her. She forced him to his knees.
"I shall now execute the one who murdered my father." she announced "This I swear on his memory."
She raised the Needle above her head.
"I shall execute King Joffrey." she muttered under her breath
And then she swung downwards. Robb rolled away, and Needle struck snow.
Then he was behind her, just as she had planned. He pinned her arms down.
"You are reckless." he said "And your accuracy still needs work. You can't hope to best me like this."
Then he whistled, and Grey Wind emerged from the crowd. He was by Robb's side in an instant.
"Those who wish ill upon me and my family need to be taught a lesson." he remarked idly as he placed her upon Grey Wind's back
Then he mounted the wolf himself, using legs to stay on and hands to steer.
"The Starks are wolf-riders once again!" he exclaimed "So let's ride, Arya! Grey Wind, full speed ahead!"
And then the wolf bolted, disappearing within the white mist before anyone could react.
"Stop them!" one Frey shouted
"Kill the King in the North!" another yelled
Lord Bolton mounted his horse and galloped after them, dagger at the ready.
Chapter 2: Robb I
Roose tries to assassinate his target. Arya and Robb double-team him. And Grey Wind is not idle either.
The white mist lifted to reveal four figures locked in a four-way duel, doing a macabre dance of death.
Two men, a girl and a direwolf fought in a flurry of blades.
Robb Stark and Arya Stark stood back-to-back, their swords at the ready. Roose Bolton and Grey Wind circled around them, waiting for an opportunity. One wanted to kill while the other wanted to protect.
Then Roose broke the impasse. He surged forward, his blade aimed for Robb's heart.
Robb and Arya quickly turned around, so that their positions were now switched. The Needle intercepted Roose's blade.
At the same time, Grey Wind advanced, snarling. He pushed Roose back.
Suddenly, they heard a sound of hoofbeats in the distance.
"Reinforcements." Arya stated "Run!"
"Yes." Robb nodded "Grey Wind, kill the traitor."
They both sprinted away. Roose tried to follow, but Grey Wind lunged at him, forcing him aground.
And then sharp teeth buried themselves into his neck. Blood seeped from the wound as the direwolf tore his throat out.
"This should stave off any infection. Neither Riverrun nor Winterfell are safe anymore. There is only one safe place. The Wall." Arya reasoned
"Or the Greywater Watch." Robb pointed out
"There is no guarantee that we'll make it there in time." Arya shook his head "We must go the Wall and stay there, with Jon, until you recover from your wounds. Then we'll leave the continent. I've been given a token that will ensure safe passage to Braavos for me and any companions I may have with me. From there, we'll head for Volantis, where your wife's family lives."
"We'll have to avoid Frey, Bolton or Lannister men." Robb said "They're still looking for me."
"Don't worry." Arya smiled at him "I'll be your bodyguard. Not to mention Grey Wind, who'll die for you."
Thankfully, they encountered none. As the land turned white under the snow, they knew they were close. Close to Winterfell, and closer to the wall.
Sounds of horses reached their ears, and soon the horses themselves emerged. Their riders wore a flayed man sigil.
"Bolton men." Arya hissed "Hide."
They ducked behind a rather large boulder, and the riders passed them by, unaware of their presence.
"We need to head east. There is a stream crossing far enough from Winterfell that they wouldn't notice us. There we can cross to the other side and make for the Wall." Arya whispered
Robb nodded, and they were on the move once more.
A man, a girl and a direwolf crossed the harsh terrain.
Chapter 3: Jon I
Arya, Robb and Grey Wind arrive at the Wall.
Arya smiled at the sight before her.
They made it. It wasn't easy, but they finally made it to the Wall.
There were sentries at the gate, and the three of them made their way towards it carefully.
"Who goes there?" one of the sentries asked
"Jeyne Poole." Arya responded promptly "This is my brother, Lyton Poole. We were in Robb Stark's army when he was killed. We managed to free his direwolf, Grey Wind, and escape per his request. We chose to come here upon hearing that his brother Jon was here from some villagers. Grey Wind took a liking to us while we traveled together. Didn't you, boy?"
She punctuated her words by scratching Grey Wind behind the ears.
"Very well." one of the sentries nodded "We'll take you to see our Lord Commander."
Spreading the news was all well and good, but if he Boltons found out.....
Arya refused to consider that possibility.
"Men." Jon ordered "Give Lord Lyton and Lady Jeyne our best rooms, and give Grey Wind his own kennel. I'll talk with them in private at my earliest convenience."
And so, Arya and Robb allowed themselves to be led away to their new rooms, at least for the time being.
Once they were sure they were left alone, Arya changed into nightclothes and practically threw herself onto the bed. She was asleep as soon as her head touched the pillow.
Robb, on the other hand, was much slower due to his injuries, but he too managed to put his nightclothes on. Once he lay down in bed, he felt like he was lying on a cloud. And given what he went through, it was accurate. He was reluctant to fall asleep, knowing that he'd have another nightmare about that massacre.
"Seriously, Jon? You might be my favorite brother, but you are so dense at times." Arya rolled her eyes "If the Boltons learned Robb is alive and is here with me, they'll tell the Freys and the Lannisters. Then they'll invade the Wall with their combined armies, take me prisoner and...."
"And kill me." her brother finished for her
Jon smiled slightly at that.
"Then it seems that I have no choice." he stated seriously "You two are to stay here as our guests until you're fit enough to travel again, but then you must leave."
"We expected as much." Arya nodded
Jon motioned for two girls to step forward. Both of them were carrying a dish made from bread, salt, and pork. They placed the dishes in front of Robb and Arya, who dug in instantly.
"How much have they heard?" Arya asked Jon sharply
"Most of it." Jon replied with a laugh "However, Val and Alys won't tell, especially not since you've been extended guest rights."
"Alys?" Arya asked "As in Alys Karstark?"
"It's Alys of Thenn now." the girl to the right giggled "I got married a week ago."
"Given what happened, I don't trust guest right protection anymore." Robb whispered acerbically
"Alys is a great stickler for guest rights, both because of her birth family's traditions and because of her family-by-marriage and their traditions." Jon explained "Val is even more so. They won't tell."
Chapter 4: Talisa I
Talisa escapes with the help of some allies.
"Get up." a voice commanded "Get up and come with us. Grandfather requests your presence."
"Demands it, more like." another voice corrected
"We're to bring you to him." a third voice - this one female - revealed
Talisa opened her eyes. There, in front of her, stood Olyvar Frey, Perwyn Frey and Roslin Tully nee Frey.
"I am sorry." Roslin apologized "Grandfather wants you dead, but he also holds my husband hostage. For his sake, I must obey."
"I understand." Talisa rose to her feet "Let's get this over with then."
And she did understand, truly. Protecting a loved one was something she could get behind.
Robb......wherever you are, know that I love you and I am sorry..."
They walked in silence. Talisa's hands were bound with a thick rope still.
Then she realized they were in an unfamiliar place in the castle.
"Is this the route to lord's chambers?" she asked
In response, Olyvar grinned. He pulled out a dagger, small but sharp.
And cut the rope binding her wrists.
"Perwyn?" he turned to his brother
Perwyn removed a loose panel from the wall, and revealed a human-sized hole.
"It's a secret passage. It leads to outside the castle. No one knows the castle better than those who live in it." Olyvar beamed with pride "You and I shall go, my Queen. Perwyn and Roslin shall stay behind and cover for us."
Olyvar entered the passage first, and Talisa followed. Perwyn and Roslin slid the panel in place, and darkness surrounded her.
"Don't fear, my Queen." Olyvar's hand found hers "The Manderlys will be glad to see you. They will aid our departure east."
"East?" Talisa raised an eyebrow
"Aye." Olyvar nodded "We're headed to your home city. After all, who better to shelter you than your own family?"
Talisa smiled down at the bundle in her arms. He was tiny, but he was alive, and he was hers. He had red hair and blue eyes, just like his father. The shape of his face, however, was all hers.
"Eddard Stark." she pronounced "His name shall be Eddard Stark."
"A beautiful name." Olyvar agreed
"Indeed." Wyman Manderly nodded "The ship is ready, so you could leave at your convenience."
"We're thankful." Talisa smiled "We're leaving on the morrow."
"Are you sure about that, my Queen?" Olyvar frowned "You are still..."
"I am sure." she cut him off "This place isn't safe for Ned, or for me, with Freys, Boltons and Lannisters skulking about. The sooner we leave this place, the better."
Chapter 5: Arya II
The arrival and the introductions
The manse was lavish, or at least that was Arya's first impression. Every part of the building screamed luxury.
The last two weeks had been a blur. Their stay at Castle Black as they recuperated. Getting to know the people that lived there. Setting out on a journey as soon as they were able, with Jon's blessing. Finding a ship that would take them straight to Braavos. Acquiring a camel there in order to complete their journey. Asking around for any information regarding the people they were looking for.
All of it led them here, to this manse.
Arya hesitated only briefly before strolling up to the door and knocking. A middle-aged man opened the door. He seemed gaunt, but his eyes were sharp and alert.
"We're seeking an audience with the master of this house." Arya enunciated
"That would be Master Malaquo." the man nodded "I'll inform him you are here."
And so Arya and Robb waited, restless. Grey Wind, who was equally restless, paced around them.
Finally, the man returned.
"Master Malaquo will see you." he announced "Follow me."
Arya and Robb stepped forward, and Grey Wind moved to follow, but the older man raised his head.
"It must remain outside."
Robb nodded, and the door closed behind him and Arya. They were led down the maze of corridors, until the older man stopped in front of a certain door.
"The visitors are here, master Malaquo." he announced
"Let them in." a muffled voice responded
The older man opened the door, allowing Arya and Robb to step inside.
The man in the chair had black hair and brown eyes. There were papers strewn about the table in front of him.
"You're from Westeros." he stated "My granddaughter went there. Have you heard anything about her?"
"Me?" Arya smiled "Not much. My companion, on the other hand, knew her well."
Robb stepped forward, revealing his face.
"She was my wife." he confessed "We were ambushed by our so-called allies. We were separated and I don't know what happened to her since."
"Then you're kin." Malaquo stood up "My house is yours, and so is my personal army. It's time we turned our eyes to Westeros and there is no better time than now."
"I thank you." Robb dipped his head "I will see your granddaughter safely here. And then...."
"Then we'll go to war." Malaquo finished the sentence
"We'll reclaim our home." Robb avowed solemnly
"This is Aghar, a Faceless Man under my employ." Malaquo introduced the man to Robb and Arya "I have enough money to buy his service. He is my gift to you. I imagine he would be....useful."
"Indeed." Robb agreed "Thank you for the gift."
"I wonder if I could train to be one." Arya mused aloud "Imagine our house having a Faceless Man of our own, to kill all of our enemies."
"That's a thought worth considering." Malaquo nodded "But an impossible one. The Faceless Men shed their former identities completely. Their only loyalty is to those that buy their services, and even that is temporary. Do you really want to live like that?"
Arya shuddered at the implications.
"Come." Malaquo switched the subject "I'll prepare rooms for you. You can give Vhagar some names once you're well-rested and he'll do the rest. Under my pay, of course."
Robb nodded and pulled Arya along as Malaquo led them to their rooms.
Chapter 6: Walder Frey I
The North remembers.
Getting out of bed was not something his old bones enjoyed.
Yet it was something he had to do in order to reign over his castle. Especially today.
Today was the anniversary of his becoming Lord of Riverrun, and he prepared a feast, one he had invited all of his children too. Even the bastards.
The only thing that marred his victory was that the Young Wolf had escaped, along with his sister and wolf. And they weren't the only ones. The Hound had helped the Queen Mother escape, while his own grandchildren spirited the Queen in the North away.
"You betrayed me." he turned to Olyvar
"I am the squire." Olyvar raised his chin high "To Robb Stark, the King in the North! The King in the North!"
"Silence!" Walder Frey roared "I will not have anyone praising him in my halls!"
He turned to one of many servants attending him.
"You, fetch me a pallet of wine!" he ordered
The servant scurried away, eager to please. He grunted appreciatively as she brought what he requested.
"You're a beauty." he remarked, grabbing her ass "Come to my chamber later."
She nodded bashfully, and he waved her away.
The feast continued, uninterrupted.
He moved forward to pull her into the bed, when his arm froze midway.
"What's going on?" he furrowed his brows
"Paralysis." she smiled sweetly
Then she removed her own skin, revealing a different person altogether.
A young man.
"I have been bid to give you a gift of the Many-Faced God, by my Master's grandson-in-law." he remarked casually "Along with all of your accomplices in what you call the 'Red Wedding'. For the North remembers."
Walder Frey's eyes grew impossibly wide.
"Name is Vhagar." the young man whispered softly "Valar Morghulis."
Vhagar strode to the door, and turned around, his hand ready to push it open.
"Oh, and I almost forgot." Vhagar grinned "My client bid me to give you his regards."
He watched Vhagar go, unable to move, or scream for help.
Chapter 7: Olyvar I
Not everything happens as you thought it would.
It felt good to be on solid ground again.
The journey on the ship had not agreed with him. Not at all.
It was times like that when he thought that his King's choice of bride was truly a blessing.
For Talisa's medical expertise had eased his sickness, and he was thankful for that.
And now that they were on solid ground again, he breathed in relief. No more seasickness.
Well, at least not for long while. And when it happened again, he'd have Talisa by his side to help.
He'd make sure of that.
"We should go, my Queen." he turned to Talisa "Your family awaits."
He nodded to a score of men and a wolf standing nearby.
"Yes." Talisa smiled brightly "Let's not keep them waiting."
She shifted the baby in her arms into a more comfortable position, and walked towards their escort.
Malaquo Maegyr stood tall, with his granddaughter and grandson-in-law standing on either side of him. A giant wolf was also there, lying by his master's feet.
"You're Olyvar Frey." Malaquo finally said "You're a part of the family of traitors. To your sovereigns and to my family. Here, we don't abide traitors."
"He helped me escape....." Talisa protested feebly
"He is still a traitor." Malaquo pronounced "You're too soft-hearted, my granddaughter. But sometimes, hard things must be done. Take him to the dungeons."
Two of the guards grabbed Olyvar by the arms and dragged him away. His hand brushed against Robb's side as they went by.
"Help.....me....." he pleaded
Robb's blue eyes bore into his, face like granite.
"I am sorry, but he is right." Robb whispered, not looking away "In times like these, we can't show weakness. Not when hundreds of my men were slaughtered at the hands of your family."
And then the door was shut, severing him from the King and Queen he swore in his heart he'd always protect.
The rest of the way was spent in silence.
And when they were at the end, he was thrown onto a cold, hard floor, and the door with iron bars was slammed shut.
"Forgive me, Robb." he thought
He buried his face in his hands and wept.
Chapter 8: Tywin I
Tywin receives unsettling news.
"What do you have to report?" Tywin's fingers drummed against the table
"There is an invasion brewing in Essos." Varys reported "One of the Triarchs is raising an army. He took an interest in Westeros, and he swore he would see the Lannisters fall, and that he would steal all of your gold."
Tywin frowned. He could understand if this was about gold, but somehow, he doubted that the gold was all there was to it. A sense of foreboding descended upon him.
They were interrupted as one of the servants stepped into the room.
"You have a letter, my Lord." the servant bowed
Tywin snatched the letter from the man, who departed hastily. The seal was an unfamiliar one. Well, a part of it was familiar, but the other part wasn't.
Nonetheless, he broke it open and skimmed the contents.
He grew angrier and angrier as he read. The letter was a declaration of war from the Triarch himself.
Well, Tywin would show him how he dealt with his enemies.
To Lord Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock and Warden of the West.
The night is dark and full of terrors. Wolves howl at the northern moon, and tigers sing the song of mourning. For blood has been spilled on that day. Blood of thousands of innocent people. My grandson-in-law's people.
Tigers don't forgive or forget. Neither do the wolves. The wolves of Essos. Of Volantis.
When tigers and wolves clash with the lions, then we'll see who better predators are.
We've already dealt with one of your allies. An old man who laughed while the lambs were killed.
We haven't forgotten all the other slights you've done us either. Justice will be meted out in the wolf way.
We pronounce the sentence, and we carry it out.
See you real soon,
Malaquo Maegyr, Tiger and Triarch of Volantis
Robb Stark, head of House Stark of Volantis
Arya Stark, deputy head of House Stark of Volantis
Tywin threw the letter into the fire, before he began to pace to and fro, barely containing his rage.
"Tell Cersei and Tommen to come here." he turned to Varys
"Right away, my Lord Hand." Varys bowed before shuffling out of the room.
Tywin saw this as a challenge. A challenge to the survival of his House, and to his legacy.
And this challenge won't go unanswered.
It was the start of another war, and he would finish what he'd started.