I sighed as I disembarked from the boat, where Geryon was already for me at the muddy shore of the God’s Eye. The trip was silent, though not uncomfortable. I could tell the boatman was quite ecstatic— who could blame him?
I had essentially just given him enough money to last him a few years— either that or a fun night with STD riddled hookers.
I adjusted my knapsack slightly, before shaking hands with the boatman and giving him a quick farewell.
“Thank you again!” I heard as I mounted Geryon.
“No problem.” I smiled back, and Geryon began to trot away. “Take care of yourself.”
I waited until I was outside of the village before pulling my wand out and incanting. “Tempus.”
Energy gathered before me as white wisps of light, it said:
I nodded to myself, before cancelling the spell and urging Geryon to rush back to the Ivy Inn. The trip back took longer than before, but I really wasn’t surprised.
Geryon had dragged a carriage for around ten hours, before taking a slight break and outright sprinting to the village at the God’s Eye’s shore. It was normal that he would be tired at this point.
I smiled softly as the village around the Ivy Inn came into view, though the streets were deserted as it was almost midnight— people were sleeping, after all.
Geryon’s sprint slowed to a light trot as we entered the village and made our way to the ivy-covered building. I dismounted the tired horse, before leading him to the stables and giving him another Engorged carrot.
Geryon nudged me affectionately and began to devour the huge vegetable. I snorted in amusement and left him to it, going through the Ivy Inn’s entrance. There were even less people in the common room.
The innkeeper was busy putting all his booze in a box. Most likely, he would haul it somewhere no one could steal it. One could never be careful in this world. Literally anyone could show up and try to steal his stuff.
Though, for tonight, I doubted anything would happen. The only one currently inside here was bloke, drinking away his worries in the back. His face was coarse, though it was well hidden behind a thick and matted black beard.
From his tattered black cloak and leather, I assumed he either liked the color black, or he was part of the Night’s Watch. Though, what would someone from the Night’s Watch be doing here? I thought those fucks were killed if they were deserted.
We exchanged glances for a few moments before I looked away. Well, he certainly wasn’t scared of me. So, that meant he was either brazen enough to walk in public after desertion, or that he hadn’t deserted at all. A recruiting job, perhaps?
I didn’t care either way, I thought as I made my way back to my rented room, turning the handle and pushing it open, revealing Jon, who was absently petting the shrunken Ghost and staring out the window until he heard the door open.
Clegane was out like a light, snoring like there was no tomorrow. Sheesh.
I waved my wand at him. “Silencio.”
The snoring disappeared.
We exchanged greetings as I closed the door and made my way to my own bed.
“Well?” Jon asked a little eagerly as I took my place on the bed, feeling the soft mattress underneath and sighing in slight relief. I closed my eyes and languished in the comfort. “Did you get it?”
I gave a short nod, before opening my eyes and reaching into my knapsack, pulling the blue scaled egg out.
Jon’s eyes were glued to it, as I set it on my bed and gazed at it curiously, running my fingers over it. The blue pattern on the egg was beautiful, resembling more like brilliant sapphires rather than the metallic feeling scales they were.
Still, there was something else.
A sort of energy within them.
It resonated with mine, though I could feel it was different. Not stronger, but wilder. More ferocious.
“It’s amazing.” I heard Jon say as he approached it, leaving Ghost behind on his bed. “Can I?”
I gave him a short glance and nodded. He grasped the blue scaled egg with both hands and lifted it.
“It’s heavy, heavier than I was expecting.” Jon said softly staring at the egg with an unreadable expression. “The legacy of House Targaryen.”
I felt a little guilty at that.
Maybe I shouldn’t be the one taking it.
“You could still have it, if you want it…” I offered.
Jon didn’t answer, only staring at the egg, long and hard.
“Jon.” I said after a few seconds.
He closed his eyes, before letting out a deep breath.
“No.” He said handing the egg back to me and resuming his seat on the bed. “I am a Stark, before Targaryen. You can have it.”
“Are you sure, Jon?” I asked uneasily. “This egg… It’s part of your birthright. Aegon himself even said it. You are his descendant.”
“I know.” Jon said, looking conflicted for a moment, before shaking his head and lifting the great sword, Ice, from the side of the bed. It glowed with blue fire, for a few moments, before he reined the power back in. “But, Ice has chosen me— and I possess a Fire of my own. I need no dragons.”
He smiled, set Ice back down, and held Ghost close to him again. “Not when I have Ghost, here, anyway.”
I took in his words, and realized he was definitely not budging on this— months of spending time with the fellow teen allowed us to read each other’s moods quite well.
“All right, then.” I said, and hefted the egg. “Guess Spawn is all mine.”
“Spawn?” Jon looked irritated. “You’re naming your dragon Spawn?”
“What?” I asked, feeling a little defensive. “It’s a cool enough name.”
“That’s like naming me ‘offspring’.” Jon snorted. “Or ‘child’.”
“I—well— I mean you’re right, but—” I huffed. “Well, you name him, then.”
“It’s your dragon, you name it.”
I groaned in a mix of irritation and amusement, before putting the egg back in its knapsack and putting it aside, and lying on the bed, staring up at the ceiling as we both maintained a comfortable silence.
“Hey, Harry?” Jon said after a few minutes.
I sat up slightly, stretching tiredly. “Yeah?”
“Did Father…” Jon said, before hesitating. “When you found him, was he already gone?”
“Ah, no.” I sighed. I was hoping we could wait until we got to Winterfell before broaching the subject of Ned. It still hit too close to home— people around me invariably managed to die, no matter what. “He was still alive. I don’t even know how, with all of that blood… But he held on, through sheer willpower.”
A long silence passed.
“I—” Jon choked on his words. “Did he— I can’t even form the words.”
I sighed and steeled myself. Jon deserved to know this. He deserved to know what happened to his father.
“His throat was cut, but he still lived on.” I said, in a monotone— but with an undercurrent of fragility. It hurt to talk about this. “I tried to heal him, but the effect of the healing was superficial at best. He could talk, but not much else.”
Jon was quiet.
I trembled slightly as the image of Ned, trying to speak but failing flashed in my mind. “He knew he didn’t have long to live. The first thing he said were your names. You, Arya and Sansa. He tried to tell me that he wasn’t your father— but I told him you already knew, and that you still loved him despite all that. He gave me Ice, and then told me to either give to you or Robb. He was smiling. And then, he just closed his eyes.”
I wiped the moistness out of my eyes, clamping down on it with force.
This was not the time to lose control.
I had to be strong.
I promised Lord Ned I’d get his family back to Winterfell, safely.
“Thank you for telling him.” Jon said, looking down and sniffling slightly. “And thank you, for making his passing as comfortable as you could manage.”
If only I could’ve done more than that…
I took a deep breath, wishing the tightness in my chest would lessen.
“It’s my fault.” I said out loud.
“What?” Jon asked. “How could you have expected this?”
“I should have.” I said, shaking my head. “It’s my fault they’re all dead. Lord Ned, Jory, and the rest of the guard.”
“It’s not your fault.” Jon insisted.
“If I hadn’t testified against Cersei and gone through the trial of combat that got her hand chopped off, none of this would have happened.” I shot back. “She sent Faceless Men at us, Jon. She made it look like Lord Ned invited the King to the Tower of the Hand so that he could kill him. All because of revenge against us for what happened.”
“Don’t be foolish.” Jon retorted with a heated glare. “Bran almost died because of her, and she faced justice because of it! You did nothing wrong.”
His words were true, but I couldn’t help but feel that they rang hollow.
There was a soft knock on the door, interrupting our argument.
There was furious wiping of the faces, before Jon and I said “Come in.” At the same time.
The door opened, revealing a distraught Arya, and Sansa. Both looked to be on the verge of tears.
“C—Can we stay here, tonight?” Sansa asked, looking a mix of weepy and terrified. Her eyes were red from crying, and she looked disheveled. Arya, the disheveled look being the norm for her, merely looked ridiculously sad, though she tried to remain strong for her sister.
“Yes. Of course.” Jon said immediately, getting off his bed and motioning for them to sleep on it, instead.
“Where will you sleep?” Arya asked worriedly.
“I’ll make my bed bigger.” I said quickly, pulling out my wand and doing just that. The bed grew under the Engorgement Charm, increasing its size by fifty percent, large enough to fit the both of us, but not so large that we couldn’t even move around any longer. “There. That should do it.”
The two girls nodded gratefully, before climbing into bed with each other.
Perhaps having stay in a room on their own was not such a smart idea. I hid a wince as I watched the two frightened girls attempt to sleep. Before all of this happened, Arya and Sansa couldn’t get away from each other fast enough.
Now, they were clinging to each other like they were each other’s lifeline.
I supposed the death of the father would induce such a reaction in the father’s children.
If Ned were here to see his daughters now, I had no doubt that he would be proud.
“Rest up.” I said to everyone, before waving my wand at the door. “Pati.”
The door glowed slightly, before dimming back into nothing.
“Nothing will break through that door.” I assured them as I stowed my wand away. “I promise.”
I briefly considered throwing stunners onto the two, before dismissing it, as the two girls began to relax. I nodded to myself, and laid back on the bed, and tried to catch some sleep.
Surprisingly enough, I fell asleep quite quickly.
I woke up, much later, to the sound of crows and swans. I shifted slightly to the right, getting a little more comfortable in the bed as I slowly came back to the world of consciousness, a light hum reaching my ears, but I couldn’t decipher what it was.
As my senses gradually returned to me, I realized the noise was simply the hustle and bustle of the inn. I opened my eyes blearily and looked around, letting them adjust to my surroundings.
“Finally awake?” I heard an amused voice from my side, and turned my head to see Jon, sitting between his sisters, while Clegane was nowhere to be seen. “Took you long enough.”
I yawned, before sitting up, and stretching to work all my kinks out.
“He’s getting drunk.” Jon answered easily, shaking his head.
“All right.” I smirked slightly.
Breakfast was a comfortable, and quick affair. The Engorgement Charm was getting practically second nature at this point, I noted as we all fed ourselves and drank— though Arya and Sansa drank watered down wine, instead.
Arya drank it with a grimace, saying she preferred beer, but Sansa seemed to enjoy the wine well enough.
I stopped for a moment to realize I was giving alcohol to young children, before I threw that idea to the side. Their father had just died and they were wound up tighter than a ten day clock. Some alcohol would be good for them.
“So, we go straight from here to the Crossroads Inn.” I said between munches. “It took about ten hours of riding, including breaks to pee and eat, to get from Hayford Castle to here.”
I pulled out the map, and checked the locations, making estimations on the time it would take to get to our next destination.
“Crossroads Inn is more than double the distance from Hayford to here.” I muttered loud enough for everyone to here as my fingers traced the routes. “The next leg of the trip would take a bit over a day, though we’d have to sleep in the wild.”
“Not really a concern with you around.” Jon said easily, going over the map, as well. “After the Crossroads Inn… Around a week’s worth of travel to arrive at Winterfell, provided Geryon continues to run at this speed.”
“Agreed.” I nodded.
“Why waste the time to stay at an inn?” Sansa piped up. “Though we may be under disguise, there is still a chance we may be recognized.”
Jon smiled in her direction, before turning back to me. “Sansa’s right, Harry. There’s no need for us to stay at inns; it will only get us some unwanted attention. We may be faster than those chasing us, but ravens can fly quickly, as well. We can’t avoid everyone, forever.”
I frowned in thought. “Yes. Good point. What’s a little roughness compared to increased chances of survival?”
“Exactly.” Jon said, as I folded the map back up, and put the knapsack on, before reducing the bed’s size back to normal.
“You guys ready?”
I turned to see them already exiting through the door.
“Guess that’s a yes.” I followed them through.
We found Clegane, drinking whole mugs in one gulp. I wondered if he could beat Tyrion Lannister in a drinking contest.
“You coming?” I smacked him on the back before moving outside, ignoring his sputters.
I found Geryon at the stables, nudging another one of the horses— a white mare, I realized.
“Okay, lover boy.” I interrupted his fun, and he rewarded me with an annoyed shove.
“None of that.” I said easily, looking him straight in the eyes. Geryon relented. “Good boy. Come on. We have to get going.”
I found Clegane already with the rest of the group, and we all slowly made our way to the northern outskirts of the village. It was full of people going about their daily business, so I wasn’t going to Engorge a carriage right in front of them— had to exit the village.
Finally, when the coast was clear, I pulled out the shrunken carriage from one of my pockets before restoring its original size and hooking it up to Geryon. The rest wasted no time and got on the carriage as I worked.
“All right.” I said, before taking my seet and signaling for Geryon to move.
We were jostled slightly as Geryon began his run, but aside from that, the ride itself became smooth, even as the wind buffeted us and our surroundings flew right by. Actually, maybe I could…
I waved my wand, tapping the side wall of the box. The strong winds disappeared.
“Good.” I smiled, and pocketed my wand back. “Bubble-Head Charm is the best thing in the universe.”
“Anyway!” I turned to the rest. “Some of you might not be aware, and by some of you I mean Clegane, but we’ve decided not to sleep at inns to save time and avoid detection.”
“Then, why’d we stay at the Ivy Inn?” Clegane asked immediately.
“Honestly, we were all exhausted and mentally drained—”
“Speak for yourself.” I heard Clegane mutter but kept going.
“—so a nice bed and four walls would’ve been a very comforting sight to us. But, that option was only viable because Geryon is a ridiculously fast horse, and word has not yet reached about our grand escape. But that will happen very, very soon.” I warned. “If we’re lucky, we’ll evade all of their trackers through Geryon’s sheer speed. If not, we might have to fight. In either case, we can’t stay at any inns, otherwise we risk detection.”
Sandor grunted in irritation but nodded in acceptance regardless. “Not much choice.”
“Exactly.” I said. “The trip to Winterfell will probably take around a week, assuming we don’t get sidetracked.”
“One week!?” Clegane scoffed. “Impossible, it would take—” He stopped and shook his head. “Right. Magic.”
I quirked an amused grin at the hideously scarred man, but only gave a nod of confirmation in return.
“We’ll rest up a few times a day, to eat and answer the nature’s call—”
“What’s that?” Arya interrupted with a confused frown. “Are you going to speak to trees?”
“He means pissing, Underfoot.” Jon answered easily, rolling his eyes.
“Oh.” Arya said. “All right.”
I gave the young girl a smile, before continuing. “Back to what I was saying. We’ll stop to eat and sleep, before resuming the course. Luckily, Geryon can ride for ten hours straight at this current speed without tiring out, so I’m going to make full use of that.”
“That’s about it.” I nodded, my eyes un-focusing as I checked to see if there was anything I didn’t say, before focusing back on the rest of them. “Any questions?”
No one said a word.
The trip passed without much incident. The days were dull, and monotonous. All we did was sit on the benches, play some cards— conjured by yours, truly— and talk about anything and everything.
During our breaks, I taught Arya how to play hopscotch, as well as other games like jump rope, and was surprised when Sansa joined in. Jon would watch us as he fed the cute, shrunken Ghost some meat— rabbit meat I had placed preservation spells on and Engorged.
If I concentrated hard enough, I could almost pretend that this was simply a fun, camping trip— you know, if I ignored the death and destruction that happened around me, either by my hand or the hands of my enemies; and the fact that these enemies wanted all of us dead, for the threat we posed to their power base.
Surprisingly enough, though, we never did get ambushed. I most likely had overestimated the response to our escape.
But then again, after almost dying from poison and fighting supernatural assassins, could anyone blame my extreme caution?
The bogs and swampland in the Neck were pretty unpleasant, but not an issue, since I had magic. Any obstacles were quickly taken care of, whether it was the road’s disrepair. Luckily, the carriage never got stuck in the bog, due to Geryon’s enhanced strength.
Even so, a few waves of my wand, and the problem would have been fixed, regardless.
Once we had crossed through the Moat Cailin undetected— a large area Disillusionment Charm, followed by Summoning and Banishing Charms to open gates, and move other people and obstacles aside— we all breathed a sigh of relief.
Except Clegane. That guy was very quiet, for a supposed fiendish attack dog borderline rapist.
Maybe all the rumors weren’t what they were hyped up to be. Sure, he’d most likely killed, but in this world, I doubted you would get anywhere in life without killing hundreds of motherfuckers.
Everyone killed everyone here. It was just the way of life— and death.
It took another two days for us to reach Winterfell, and the Stark children got more and more excited as they entered further and further into their homeland, relishing in the familiar cold temperatures and the soft snow covering the lands.
Winterfell finally came into view as we went over a familiar looking hill— the same hill on which I had first laid eyes on the castle. I was right back where I had started.
“Oddly fitting.” Erebus said. “What do the modern humans call it? We’ve gone full circle.”
“Agreed.” I thought back to the sentient blade as I laid my eyes on the welcoming sight.
It looked just as impressive as the first time I’d seen— made all the more majestic by my adventures in King’s Landing, what with the all encompassing stench of human and animal refuse, as well as the corruption at all levels, and many other things.
Even with its wears and tears, the sight was welcoming.
Winterfell stood strong. It was solid, and powerful, just like the family this land belonged to.
“We’re home…” Sansa sounded like she couldn’t believe it.
“Yes.” Jon said, smiling at the sight of their steadily approaching home. “You see, Underfoot? We made it.”
“We made it.” Jon repeated and grunted as the girl in question hugged him tightly, before standing and looking hopefully at her home.
“State your reason for ent— the Ladies Stark!” The guard at the gate had started sternly, but sputtered out as Sansa and Arya lowered their hoods. “Blackscale, and Snow! What are you doing here?”
“Linden.” Jon greeted. “There’s no time to waste, we must speak with Lady Catelyn and Robb.”
“But… I— Right, of course.” He started but immediately complied after a surreptitious wave of my wand. He stood aside and the carriage rolled past him, into the stronghold of Winterfell. We passed by the tall walls and made our way through, the residents quickly recognizing us. We stopped the carriage at the courtyard, and began to disembark.
“All right, let’s go find—”
“What are you all doing here?” I heard a familiar, gruff old voice say in shock. He looked bewildered, though by our disheveled looks, beaten demeanor, and the unmistakable sword on Jon’s back, as well as the presence of the Hound, he was probably piecing it all together.
We all shared a glance, before I took a step forward.
“Ser Rodrik.” I greeted.
“Harry.” He greeted back. “What are you all doing here? Where is Lord Stark?”
“We need to see Robb, or the Lady Stark.” I went straight to the point. “Terrible things have happened at King’s Landing.”
A few moments passed as realization dawned on him.
“Very well.” He said, his face shifting to a solemn look as he lead the way. “Robb has been spending most of his days attending to his Lordly duties in the Great Hall, so that’s where he should be. The Lady Catelyn has been assisting him in these matters, of course.”
I gave grunt of acknowledgement as we opened the doors to the Great Hall, and saw Robb, sitting at the head table, face scrunched up in concentration as he read through documents of different kinds, trying to make sense of it all.
Maester Luwin stood nearby, patiently observing his Lord do his duties, while the Lady Catelyn rifled through papers of her own. Nearby, little Rickon was being entertained by both Shaggydog and Grey Wind, the two great beasts working together to keep the little boy distracted.
Bran and Summer were nowhere to be seen.
“Robb! Mother!” Sansa and Arya shouted at different intervals, gaining the attention of everyone and bolting to them like their lives depended on it.
The Lady Catelyn got over her shock and was almost about to bite their heads off for sneaking out of King’s Landing without anyone’s knowledge until the two girls glomped her, buried their faces into her and began to sob.
“I— what— ” Lady Catelyn seemed at a loss for words, until her maternal instincts kicked in and she began to try her best to soothe her two girls, whispering gently to them.
Robb approached the two girls, unsure of what he was supposed to do in this situation, before being pulled in the impromptu family hug his sisters had initiated.
With a squeal, little Rickon joined in, barreling into them with a delighted laugh.
Jon looked on, stoically. So did I.
After a while, Robb managed to extricate himself from the rest, and made his way to us.
“What’s going on?” He asked immediately. “Why are you here?” He looked at Jon, or rather, the sword at his back. “Why do you have Ice? Where’s father?”
“Robb..” Jon wasn’t even sure where to start.
“He’s dead. Lord Ned gave Ice to Jon.” I said simply. “Everyone is dead. We’re the only ones that survived and made it here.”