The march to Riverrun took three times as long as the one from the Twins to Seagard— but Robb had insisted that his men get the required amount of rest to keep their minds and bodies as sharp as their enchanted blades.
Good news came in the form of Ser Brynden Tully, Robb’s great-uncle— better known as the Blackfish. He was tall and lean, his clean shaven face craggy and windburnt. His once auburn Tully hair had gone to grey, but his eyes still remained a bright blue.
He had been harrying the Lannister supply lines as best he could with the small amount of men he had. Two hundred, at most, to the Lannisters’ thirty thousand. They relied on guerilla tactics, ambushing their enemies while they were sleeping.
After the battle would be done, the men would carry as much food as they could, and set fire to whatever remained.
It was a good plan, and they were met with great success. Their scouts reported more and more men began to mutiny, or simply flee— all were killed for their disobedience, which stirred up even more discontent in the ranks.
Another bit of news was that Robb’s prediction turned out to be true; Tywin Lannister had split his army, moving a quarter of it to Harrenhal, while the remaining three quarters besieged Riverrun, and set the rest of the Riverlands on fire.
Their army was scattered— likely, they were unaware of the army marching towards them. The Blackfish had done a lot of work, in that regard, having his archers kill any ravens he saw heading to and from the Lannister camps.
So, Robb called a meeting as the sun was going down.
“Riverrun is a few hours’ march away.” Robb adressed his lords in the main tent, while Grey Wind, Hestia and Ghost lounged around the side.
It was a point to the many Lords gathered here that almost none of them gave Hestia a second glance— with the exception of the Blackfish, as he wasn’t used to seeing either direwolves or dragons.
“Ser Brynden’s news have offered us an opportunity.” Robb said, grasping the handle of the sword at his side. “The Lannister armies are scattered along the morale has taken grave hits due to a lack of supplies, and dissent within the ranks. Now is the time to strike.”
“Aye.” The Greatjon said, excitement in his voice. “Lord Stark is right. Now’s the time to teach these southron cunts what happens when you attack the North!” He gave a glance to the Lady Stark. “Begging your pardon my Lady.”
Catelyn nodded, trying her best not to roll her eyes at Lord Umber’s behavior.
“It sounds too good to be true.” Lord Glover objected. “How can we be sure they are not aware of our intentions?”
“No bird has reached them; my archers have seen to that.” The Blackfish explained, smiling grimly. “They are scattered around the castle in three separate camps, with the rivers between. There’s no other way to besiege Riverrun.”
“The Lannisters have outnumber us by ten thousand men.” Lord Glover insisted.
“The Lannisters are also very tired.” I cut in, gaining the attention of the lords. “They’re tired, hungry, and a few steps away from outright mutiny, if the Lord Blackfish’s—” Brynden snorted. “—information is right. Ten thousand men at each camp. It will either be three battles against armies of ten thousand or two battles, one against ten thousand and the other against twenty thousand.”
“Astute observation, Blackscale.” The Blackfish replied, finding something amusing about that particular title— ah, he was the Blackfish, and fish had scales, as well.
“Trust in our men.” Robb said with a confident smile. “With Harry’s aid, we will be unbeatable on the battlefield.” Here, a few men nodded. “But, more importantly, we’re fighting for something more important than gold, and riches. We fight to save my Lord Grandfather. We fight to rid the Riverlands and the North of Lannisters and their gold.”
“Aye!” The Lords all replied.
“We fight for something more than a useless iron chair in King’s Landing.” Robb was breathing hard as he drew his sword. “We fight so that men of the North shall never be slaughtered in the South! We fight for my father, Lord Eddard Stark, killed for doing the right thing! They shall face our swords and know the fury of the North and the Riverlands! Winter is coming!“
A loud roar met his words as the entire army cheered.
“I— wha—” Robb almost looked dumbfounded, looking around in the tent as he sheathed his sword. “Are we being attacked?”
“No.” I smiled, gaining everyone’s attention, my wand in my hand. “I made sure the army heard your speech.” The wonders of a simple Sonorus…
Robb smiled, nodding to himself as Lord Glover fidgeted nervously— everyone heard his own almost cowardly words. If the Lords dared argue against Robb now, well… Public opinion was with him, now.
I made sure of it.
“Then, let us go forth.” Robb said, looking to his Lords. “Gather the men. Today, we free my Grandfather!”
The tent burst into a flurry of motion as the assembled Lords exited, barking out orders left and right, leaving Robb, Jon, Catelyn, Tyrion, Brynden and I in the tent.
“Well played, Harry.” The Imp congratulated with a smirk. “The timing could not have been more impeccable.”
I nodded graciously— the idea was his, after all. I had consulted with Tyrion, a few days after learning of the dissent within the Lords sworn to Robb. They did not feel he was leading them well, as he deferred to me on a great deal, often allowing me to get away with things he wouldn’t let his own mother do.
Speaking of those two…
“Mother, I’m going to leave fifty men with you.” Robb said. “They’ll be your guard.”
“Fifty!” She said in shock. “You need the men, Robb! Ten is more than enough.”
They argued for a good while longer, until she finally gave up at twenty men, though she didn’t look satisfied by that result.
“Jon, Harry.” Robb turned to his ‘brother’ and I. “Are you ready?”
Jon nodded, and suddenly hugged him. “As ready as I’ll ever be.”
“I’m leaving Hestia with you, and the Lady Stark.” I said to Tyrion.
“Are you sure?” Catelyn said, looking at the beautiful, blue scaled dragon wearily, her disdain for Tyrion forgotten for the moment.
“Yes.” I gave a nod. “I’ve told her to help protect you until we all got back.”
“We’ll be waiting.” Tyrion said, extending his hand to me. “It wouldn’t do if I had to hear of your demise, Harry. My infinite wine-maker.”
I rolled my eyes and shook his hand. “Take care of yourself, infinite wine-drinker.” I joked back, before my features turned serious. I followed Robb and Jon outside, Ghost and Grey Wind trailing behind us while the shrieks and chirps of Hestia were heard.
The men were already in position, and it took a single shout on Robb’s part to get them going.
“To Justice!” He had shouted and mounted his horse, and the men repeated the words from the top of their lungs, before marching forth. The trip was quick, and a little tiring, but we were all overcharged with excitement, and— dare I say— righteousness.
We finally crested a hill overlooking the large, forested valley called the Whispering Wood. A few of Ser Brynden’s scouts were there, already waiting for us.
“It is not as you say, Lord Stark.” They gave a short bow to Robb, who nodded impatiently. “fifteen thousand men encamped in the woods. Ten thousand further south.”
“And the rest?” Robb asked.
“We’re not sure, but we believe they are south east of Riverrun.” One of the scout replied.
“Not what I was hoping for, but, perhaps it is better this way. Take half of their available force immediately and slaughter the rest.” Robb said, smiling grimly, before riding down the line of his men, under the moonlit sky. “Tonight, we take back Riverrun!”
There was a muted cheer among the men, as we had to sneak over to the camps if we wanted this ambush to be done correctly. Ten thousand men, led by Lords Bolton, Manderly and Glover, would do their best to get as close as they could to the camps from the north east, before putting the Lannister men to the sword and torch. All the while, riders would circle the camp before splitting into two, attacking the men from the west and the south east in a triple envelopment.
I elected to go with the Greatjon, and Lord Mallister to the west end of the Whispering Wood, while Jon went with Robb and the Blackfish. Geryon snorted as we trotted slowly towards the camps within the forested valley. It was tense, and honestly quite boring.
“How long until the signal, do you reckon?” I asked in a faux light tone as we slowly moved closer and closer.
“Took us a fair while to get to this point.” The Greatjon spat to the side. “Should be any moment, now.”
Five minutes passed, and still nothing. And then, the screams started as flashes of orange light erupted in the forest as the howls of Grey Wind and Ghost echoed far and wide.
“There’s the sign.” Mallister acknowledged as I drew my new weirwood staff. It pulsed with power as arcs of Lightning appeared all over it. “Lord Umber.”
The Greatjon nodded before bellowing to his men. “Let’s get ’em, lads!”
A roar met his declaration as we all charged, the ground beneath us shaking.
“For the North!”
“For the Riverlands!”
Shouts of a similar nature were heard as we intercepted the fleeing men, cutting them down— or in my case, smashing them down with a contemptuous swing of my Lightning charged staff. We rode onwards, smashing through men like they were made out of paper.
Arrows flew and bounced off our unbreakable shields and armor, though a few of the horses were shot, forcing some of the men to go on foot.
A small setback, though nothing unexpected, I thought as I sent bolts of Lightning into the dozen or so archers, the scent of burning flesh filling the air as they all began to fall from their various spots on trees and the like.
A loud roar was heard ahead of us, a very large, but disorganized group of men charging right for us, swords and spears drawn. I stopped Geryon and hopped off the black stallion, shrinking my staff and drawing Erebus, who vibrated with anticipation and blood lust.
And then I ran right into their lines, Geryon following right behind me. It was very similar to the melee during the Tourney of the Hand, though each and every strike of mine was aimed to kill. I tore into their shield line, Erebus cutting through their castle forged steel— and then them— like a knife through warm butter.
“Die!” One of them shouted as he drove his long sword in what he thought was a quick thrust, but was slower than a snail to me, as Lightning coursed through every cell in my body, enhancing them beyond the realm of human speed, completely missing my form as I simply sidestepped it, pivoted on my left foot and rewarded him with a quick decapitation, blood spraying from his neck, painting me crimson as his head hit the ground with a thud and rolled before stopping— but I had already moved on, blocking another man’s swing with my armored arm, before driving my falchion through his plate mail like it was paper, before kicking him off my sword, right in front of Geryon, who crushed his head with a mighty stomp.
But, there was no time to rest.
Arrows flew from the back of their lines— were they not afraid of killing their own men?— forcing me to turn and shield my head as the men who were about to attack me were shot down by their own brethren.
I felt something metallic slam into my back, but it did little aside from knocking me forward slightly. I stopped my body with my right foot, stopping my stumble, before spinning to my left and slicing upwards diagonally, cutting through my attacker’s sword, cleaving his left arm at the elbow and cutting right through his chest, right over his lungs. He fell forward, the shock sending him into blissful unconsciousness. He would not survive the next minute.
And, so we pushed onward, killing any men in our way, and trying my best to make sure my own allies didn’t die, either by shielding them or by killing anyone about to catch them unawares, going deeper and deeper into the forest until the rest of men threw their arms down in surrender, having suffered extreme casualties from the perfectly executed ambush.
“Did we lose anyone?” I asked after reuiniting with Jon and marching southward. He looked even bloodier than I did, though he still moved easily, and gracefully, like he wasn’t even tired— same as me, really.
Ghost and Geryon walked by our sides, each trying to shake the blood off their skin and fur, to no avail.
“I don’t think so.” Jon frowned. “The men knew to defend their necks, faces, and such. I doubt we’ve lost more than a hundred men, at most, and those are only due to arrows finding their mark, or an enemy’s lucky spear or sword thrust.”
“Still, a hundred something dead out of twenty something thousand?” I smiled slightly. “A decisive victory.”
“Yes.” Jon agreed as we reached the Tumblestone River. “Not to mention the men from Raventree Hall joining their power with ours at the end, adding another thousand to our ranks.”
I nodded. Their timing was almost perfect, as they charged the men who had repelled the Glover, Bolton and Manderly forces attacking from the north east, taking them completely by surprise.
“This looks like a good place.” I said, and pulled out my wand. “Defodio! Defodio! Defodio!”
The earth was blasted apart with each successive use of the Gouging Spell. Another few waves of my wand, and I had pretty much created a makeshift bridge. Still, it needed to be a solid piece.
“Callesco!” I jabbed my wand at the rock pieces, hearing a loud, sizzling noise as all of the individual pieces melted together, the water cooling it down quickly.
“Let’s go!” I called out to the men, some of which stared at the feat of magic with incredulous eyes, before being pushed forward by the impatient Stark men over the surprisingly solid bridge over the river.
This was part of Robb’s modified plan. We would go over the Tumblestone River, and take the remaining Lannister men from behind, as they had no warning whatsoever from their brethren in the Whispering Wood.
The battle, if you could call it that, turned out to be an even bigger massacre than that of the Whispering Wood. Though the men were all getting tired, they were all still high on their last victory, and confident in their chances, as my enchanted armor had delivered on its promise to shrug off anything the enemy could throw at them, while their weapons never broke, or lost their sharpness.
Add to that, the fact that the Lannister men were caught completely unaware…
Jon and I didn’t even get to fight anyone, this time.
Considering that all twenty something thousand men of the North and Riverlands charged north east into the Lannister camps, and with Tumblestone and the Red Fork blocking any easy escape routes to the north and east respectively, the remaining Lannister men were penned in, outnumbered two to one and caught unaware.
Add to that, the fact that Riverrun opened its gates, allowing its besieged soldiers, led by Edmure Tully, I assumed, to attack the Lannister men from the north east, catching them in a double envelopment.
The next few minutes were nothing short of bloody and brutal, the Lannister men quickly throwing down their arms and surrendering, just like their brothers in the Whispering Wood.
After that ‘battle’, ten thousand men were sent out with orders to clear out the remaining five thousand men, south east of Riverrun, with additional orders to track down and stop anyone attempting to flee. If they resisted, their lives were forfeit. If they relented, they would be sent to the Wall— a gesture I appreciated greatly, from Robb’s part.
A few more orders were issued out to start the cleaning process. Hostages were taken, including Kevan Lannister, Willem Lannister, and, in a surprising turn of events, Jaime Lannister, himself. The others taken were either grunts, or various Lords of the Westerlands.
“Ser Jaime.” I said in slight shock as I approached the makeshift cell they’d made him sit in. As Lord Tywin’s firstborn son, he held great value as a hostage and was kept away from the rest of his family. “I thought you’d be in King’s Landing, still.”
“Blackscale.” Jaime greeted back, though he looked worn and beaten. Likely the men who’d taken him had also taken a few… Liberties, shall we say. “No, I was sent here at King Joffrey’s command.”
“You mean your sister’s command.” I corrected wryly, watching him closely. “Still, it matters little. Thanks to my efforts, the great majority of your army has been smashed into the dust with negligible deaths on our end. The remainder of the men who laid down their arms and surrendered peacefully will be sent to the Wall or held for ransom.”
“As it is expected.” Robb approached us, Grey Wind at his side. “Kingslayer.”
“Oh, your Grace.” Jaime said sarcastically. “Wonderful to be in the presence of the King in the North. Such an honor!“
“King in the North?” Robb looked confused as he spoke. “What are you on about, Lannister?”
“Your proclamation as King in the North, Stark.” Jaime shot back. “Or, have you already forgotten?”
“I am no King, Kingslayer.” Robb denied, seeing the look of shock on the blonde haired man’s face. “Who’s supplying you with this information?”
Jaime looked a little uneasy, and tried to close his mouth, but a wave of my wand forced him to speak. He fought back with all of his considerable will, but I managed to get him to say a single name.
“Littlefinger.” Jaime snarled as his face turned red with the strain against my spell. I cancelled it, hearing him sigh in relief and sag in exhaustion.
“Baelish.” Robb snarled. “It keeps coming back to Baelish. This changes things, Harry. We need to hold a meeting in Riverrun, after we finish getting rid of the bodies. If the remaining Kingdoms believe the misinformation spread by Baelish…”
He turned and left, not even giving Jaime a second look.
“So.” He started when I also made to leave. “What happens now?”
“You’ll be held as a hostage, for now.” I said. “Your father will tread carefully because of it, as you’re his firstborn son.”
“And what of the fate of my little brother?!” Here, Jaime fought against his restraints as he approached his prison ‘door’. “Is he not as important as I?”
“Tyrion’s fine.” I rolled my eyes. “He’s actually one of the few people in your crappy family whom I actually admire.”
“People admire Lannisters?” Jaime asked, before shaking his head. “And, where is my brother?”
“Not people. Me. I admire you and Tyrion.” I corrected. “We may be on different sides, but I know you’re a good knight, and a good Kingsguard, even in spite of what happened during Robert’s Rebellion.”
“And, what would you know of that!?” Jaime challenged. “You weren’t even there.”
“I know that you killed Aerys for ordering you to kill your father.” I said, watching his dumbstruck face. “I know he also planned to destroy the city by having his pyromancers ignite caches of wildfire hidden throughout King’s Landing.”
“I— how do you — I’ve never told anyone…” Jaime looked pained at knowing his secret was out.
“The curious thing about possessing a talent in magic..” I explained patiently, ignoring his start of surprise. “Is that I can perceive the spirits of the dead on our plane of existence. And they’ve shared so many secrets with me.”
“Like what?” Jaime said doubtfully, before a loud trill and the heavy flapping of wings were heard as Hestia, as big as a horse now, landed beside me with a loud thud, staring curiously at the chained Lannister knight.
“Like where to find a dragon egg, as well as how to hatch it.” I smiled as I patted Hestia on her neck’s sweet spot, making her trill and chirp in pleasure as she leaned into my touch. Jaime simply gaped. “Among other things.”
The trot of a horse was heard nearby.
“Seeing people’s faces after they lay eyes on your dragon never ceases to amuse, Harry.” Tyrion said as he approached us on his pony, dismounting it before quickly making his way to his brother.
“Tyrion, thank the gods you’re alright.” Jaime said happily.
“It’s not the gods that have kept me safe and out of harm.” Tyrion gestured to me. “I’ve declared for the Starks, brother— or rather, I’ve declared for Harry, who is allied with the Starks.”
“What?” Jaime blurted out in shock. “Why?”
“It’s quite simple, big brother.” Tyrion calmly explained as he moved to sit by his brother’s cage. “All my life, I have endured nothing but scorn and ill intent from everyone in our family but you, and a few others. You’ve always been kind and good to me, defending me from father and sister’s constant attacks however you could.”
“I—” Jaime looked pained.
“Let me finish, brother.” Tyrion said gently, looking at me and nodding.
“Alohomora.” I waved my wand and the cage’s lock clicked and the door swung open.
“Magic, remember?” I rolled my eyes at his dumbfounded expression at such a casual feat of magic. “Focus.”
“Jaime.” Tyrion waved his hand in his brother’s face, gaining his attention once more. “I’ve known about you and Cersei for a long time. Let me finish!” He added quickly as Jaime was about to say something. “I have never judged you for it. I know what happened in the North has hurt you greatly.”
Jaime looked down, looking truly defeated now.
“She’s killed the King, Jaime.” Tyrion said. “Granted, not a good King in any fashion, but still the King. She killed the Lord Stark, as well.”
“You don’t know that.” Jaime denied, shaking his head furiously.
“I do.” I cut in. “I was led a good ways away from King’s Landing where a group of Baelish and Cersei’s sell swords tried to murder me. I took care of them and rushed back to the Red Keep, where I found the dead bodies of Lord Ned and the King. A Faceless Man was there. I killed him, found Sansa, and tore a path through the soldiers with my Lightning—”
“That was you?” Jaime asked in shock. “I saw the flash of light, and the devastation after… You did that…? And killed a Faceless Man?”
I lifted my left hand and channeled Lightning into it, lighting the area in its bluish white light, before clenching my hand, dissolving the power with a shockwave which rattled everything around me.
“That answer your question?” I smiled slightly.
“Look.” I said uncomfortably. “I don’t really want to think about what you did with your sister—in fact, I’d rather we skipped that subject entirely, and never let that kind of news get out. But, you have a few choices, here.”
“And, what would those be?” Jaime gave me a wary look.
“Option one.” I lifted a finger. “You remain uncooperative and live as our captive, being held for ransom until this situation is resolved. Then, you’ll either be executed, or sent to the Wall.”
“Option two.” I said. “Join Tyrion and I.”
“And, do what?” Jaime almost snarled. “Kill my family? You’d have me become a kinslayer on top of being a Kingslayer?”
“I won’t force you to do anything you don’t want to.” I said. “I’m not Aerys, but this farce of a ‘war’ needs to end, and it needs to end quickly. We have a little bit of time to consolidate our power before the Others attack.”
“The Others?” Jaime scoffed. “Snarks and grumkins.”
“You’ve seen my magic.” I said, and gestured at Hestia, who was poking Tyrion with her tail, the dwarf in question futilely trying to bat it away. “There’s a dragon, right there, a supposed mythical being of magic and fire.”
“I’ve seen their skulls in the past, when Aerys ruled. Giant beasts, granted, but magical…” Jaime shrugged dismissively. “And your little light show—”
I pulled out my wand and conjured a chair, calmly taking a seat as the impossibility of what I just did shut him up completely.
“Go on. Do continue.” I grinned. “You were saying something about a ‘light show’..?”
He closed his mouth, nodding for me to speak. Likely, he was speechless.
“As I was saying.” I said. “Your war is lost. I’ve enchanted the Northerners’ armor so that they are unbreakable. As long as they protect their vulnerable areas, they are essentially invincible from the common weaponry. You’d need Valyrian steel to break through— and I doubt you have much of that.”
“‘Tis true.” Tyrion agreed. “Less than a hundred men lost, and fewer even wounded.”
“The Whispering Slaughter, the men are starting to call it.” I added, before shaking my head. “As we speak, the remaining five thousand men have either been killed or captured. Like I said, you have the choice of remaining a captive, or joining me.”
Jaime looked down for a few moments.
“Please, brother.” Tyrion coaxed. “You’re not happy, now. She’s betrayed you, betrayed us.”
“I will not kill my family.” Jaime snarled out, and despite the chains holding him down, I felt a little threatened.
Hear me roar, indeed.
“No one said you would.” Tyrion said. “You can simply guard me, if attacking our family bothers you that much, brother.”
Jaime sagged. “There’s no real choice, is there?”
“Either this, or the Wall.” I shrugged. “I sincerely doubt you could provide any accurate data on the protections of the Golden Tooth, or even Casterly Rock, at that. You’ve not been there since you were fifteen, and I doubt you paid all that much attention to their defenses, even back then.”
“You plan on taking the Rock.” It sounded incredulous coming from his lips. “How?”
Hestia slapped me in the face with her tail. §I’m sick of you saying ‘magic’ to everything, like it’s an answer!§
“Hey!” I protested. “He was begging for it! Ow! Stop that!”
The blue scaled she-dragon trilled and smacked me again.
A slow chortle came from the chained man, and he began to laugh.
Tyrion and I joined him shortly afterwards.
A short while later, the laughter died down.
“You don’t have to decide, right now.” I said. “I’ll give you a few days to gather your thoughts, put things into perspective. Tyrion will stay with you at all times, though.”
“You’ll just let me roam the camp freely?” Jaime asked incredulously.
“I’m not worried. You’ve got no weapons and your enemies have unbreakable ones.” I waved him off. “Furthermore, Tyrion will try to keep you out of trouble. And if you escape… Well…” I pulled out my wand and pointed it at a nearby rock. “Accio.“
The rock flew into my hand.
“I can summon you from anywhere.” I said, fibbing a bit— not that he knew that. “But I doubt I’ll have to.” I smiled, and turned to leave, Geryon and Hestia following me obediently. “Think on what I said. I will see you two later.”
And so, I left the two brothers to their own devices.
“You really think he will stay?” Erebus asked.
“He’s just one man, with no supporters, in doubt about his sister who’d betrayed him at least once— likely thinking ‘how many times?’ or something of the sort— with his brother, who supports me fully.” I replied confidently, dismissively even. “He’ll join us. I won’t need to do anything. Tyrion’s likely doing the work for me, as we speak.”
“Fair enough.” Erebus said, and went quiet, as I was met with Jon, and a relatively clean Ghost.
“You’ve cleaned up fairly well.” I noted lightly as he and Ghost fell in step with us, the combined armies of the North and Riverlands giving us a wide berth and staring at us with amazement— at least, the Riverlands men who weren’t used to seeing Hestia and Ghost, or a horse following its owner without any reins.
“Aye.” Jon said, pointing at the castle of Riverrun. It was a peculiar, triangular castle, though not especially large, though it was surrounded by water on all sides, making it practically unassailable. I’d heard they could last for two whole years under siege, if done right. “Robb has called an emergency meeting in Riverrun’s Great Hall. What exactly it entails, I’m not really sure.”
“The remaining Kingdoms have been fed misinformation by Baelish. They all most likely believe Robb has declared himself as the ‘King in the North.'” I made quotation marks as I said the words. Jon’s eyebrows flew high.
“What?” He blurted out. “Surely, this is a jest?”
I shook my head in the negative as we crossed the drawbridge into the castle of Riverrun, finding a Tully man already waiting for us. “My Lords.” He was about to say more, but stopped to gape and stare at Hestia and Ghost.
I rolled my eyes and snapped my fingers, gaining the dumbfounded man’s attention. “What is it?”
“I—” He stammered, blushing in embarrassment. “I was told I should take you to the Great Hall, where Lord Robb is waiting.”
“Very well.” Jon said, trying not to smirk as I handed Geryon’s reins to another one of the men, who obediently led the mighty stallion away to the stables. “Lead the way.”
The trip there was fairly quick, though I had to endure the stares of shock, fear and admiration of the Tully men I passed by. I stifled the urge to pinch the bridge of my nose in irritation and grit my teeth through it all, until, eventually, we reached the Great Hall.
Robb already stood at the center, with a few men sitting on the nearby tables.
“Harry. Jon.” He greeted us with a smile as Ghost and Hestia went over to where Grey Wind currently sat. “Take any seat you like.”
We complied, and waited. Lord after Lord trickled in the room, as well as the Maester of the castle, an old man by the name of Vyman, who looked at the direwolves and dragons for the most part, though he seemed to master himself quickly enough.
Respectable enough, if he could curb his urges to explode into questions. I was thankful for it.
A few minutes later, with all the Lords finally gathered in the Great Hall. Robb began to speak.
“My Lords.” Robb smiled grimly. “Tonight was a great victory for us! The majority of the Lannister army has been torn apart, and scattered to the winds. Their remnants to the south east are being dealt with as we speak.”
A cheer came at his words, but died down quickly when he raised his hand.
“The remaining men will likely consolidate their power at Harrenhal, it is likely where the Lord Tywin is currently located.” Robb said. “It is too early to tell, however.”
“Our scouts are due to come in tomorrow morning, my Lord.” The Maester Vyman bowed his head as he spoke.
“Excellent.” Robb nodded. “There are a few matters which I need to bring to attention. Firstly, Jon Snow, come forward.”
Jon complied, though he seemed surprised at being called forward.
“Kneel before me.” He did.
“You have done my House, nay, your brothers and sisters.” Robb said specifically. “The greatest service one could hope to ask for. You’ve saved Arya, and Sansa from the atrocities of King’s Landing. You’ve fought valiantly, and bravely in the fight against the Lannister men, saving hundreds of our own from certain doom by selflessly cutting through their ranks.”
He drew his sword and laid it on Jon’s shoulder.
“Rise, Jon Stark of Winterfell.” Robb said, smiling down at Jon, who had looked up in unadulterated shock, which then turned to joy as he rose back up.
Not one of the present Lords dared protest it. I was definitely curious about what he actually did in that particular fight— he’d tell me eventually, I figured.
“You may resume your place… Brother.” Robb smiled, before motioning for me to come forward. “Harry Potter. Come forward.”
I froze for a few seconds as all attention in the Great Hall was focused on me, but I nodded and made my way to the fellow teen, giving Jon a smile as he passed me by and took his seat.
“I promised you a Lordship before we began our march.” Robb said. “It was because of you, that our supplies have lasted so long, that we have lost so few men, and that we have made enriched our Houses.” He was referring to the Twins. “Kneel, Harry Potter.”
“Rise, Harry Potter. Lord of the Twins.” Robb declared, and I rose back up, wide eyed at his declaration.
“Lord Stark!” A few of the Riverlands Lords protested. “The Freys—”
“Harry himself ended the Freys when they broke their oaths to their Lord Paramount.” Robb cut through their protests harshly. “If it were not for him. We would have been delayed by days, and our weapons and armor would not have been so durable. As I see it, none of this would have been possible without him.”
“Aye.” The Northern Lords agreed without question.
“Still, it is highly irregular, my Lord.” Maester Vyman interjected, gaining everyone’s attention. “As you say, The Crossing is under the purview of the Lord Hoster Tully. It is not yours to give away.”
“Come off it, Vyman.” The Blackfish interjected with an amused scoff. “My brother would reward the man who showed Walder Frey his place— or anyone from House Frey, for that matter. I know him better than all of you, combined.”
“Still…” Vyman protested, even as the remaining men reluctantly agreed. “He’s a man of unknown history. Can we really trust him?”
“He’s the man who bested the Kingslayer, Ser Barristan and the Mountain in single combat!” Lord Jason Mallister rose to my defense. “I’ve seen him fight. He has no mercy for his enemies, but watches for his friends as much as he can. I’ve had the time to take the measure of him, and I can find no better person to receive such a reward. Not to mention, the fact that he possesses a dragon means he is of noble Valyrian birth.” He pointed at the snoozing Hestia.
He sat down, giving me a nod of respect, which I returned.
“Any more objections?” Robb questioned the men who glanced between me and Hestia.
“Lord Potter.” Robb continued with a tone of finality. “You may take your seat.”
“Thank you, Lord Stark.” I gave a short bow, before sitting next to Jon. We shared a look for a few seconds, both of us not really believing what just happened.
“Onto the real reason I have called you all here.” Robb said. “I have questioned many of the Lannister men we have captured, and what they’ve shared with us is troubling.”
“Indeed?” One of the assembled Lords said. “An impending attack?”
“No, this is information of a different nature.” Robb shook his head, before pulling out a roll of parchment. “Ravens have been sent from King’s Landing, stating to any and all that ‘the rebel Stark has declared himself as the King in the North’. The letter goes on to say that any able bodied man should join the Westerlands’ armies to quell the senseless rebellion. The bottom is signed by Joffrey Baratheon, himself, King of the Seven Kingdoms.”
Absolute silence met his words.
“The King in the North?” The Greatjon repeated, sounding oddly thoughtful.
“Why?” Lord Glover asked dumbly. “Surely he realizes this only gives you more power, if he acknowledges you in this way, even if it is worded in a negative light?”
“I do not pretend to understand the boy’s addled mind.” Robb shook his head. “Further questioning of our prisoners has yielded us the source of this information. Lord Baelish of the Vale.”
“The Master of Coin?” One asked, and Robb nodded.
“What of the Baratheon Kings?” Lord Bolton cut in softly. “Where do they stand, in this? Both militarily, and in response to this letter?”
“King Renly has the combined might of the Reach and Stormlands behind him, whereas King Stannis possesses the royal fleet, as well as the Houses pledged to Dragonstone.” Maester Vyman informed the gathered Lords. “Though, no responses were issued from either Baratheon.”
“That doesn’t necessarily mean anything.” Lord Karstark cut in. “News takes time. The ravens could simply have not reached us, yet.”
“Perhaps we should negotiate an alliance? Sue for peace with the Baratheons?” Lord Blackwood suggested.
The Greatjon laughed boisterously, rising up quickly, the chair grinding against the stone floor with a high pitched groan. “Declared a King by our own enemies… It reeks of their fear of the combined might of the Riverlands and the North!” A few loud agreements met his words. “Let the three Baratheon shits play at being Kings, while our own King has been in the field with us, this entire time! Our own enemies have already crowned him, so, why shouldn’t we?”
He drew his humongous great sword and knelt down, holding it up towards Robb.
“The King in the North!”
“The Greatjon’s words are true.” Lord Mallister said, rising and addressing Robb. “But I do not believe you should be the King in the North.”
Heated whispers and murmurs broke out.
“Because it is not only the North you’ve defended! We stand here, at Riverrun, the heart of the Riverlands, because of your pledge to protect the land of your Grandfather! A pledge you have honored by smashing the Lannister army only hours past!” Mallister continued, drawing his sword and holding it up to Robb, taking his place by the Greatjon’s side.
“The King in the North, and the Riverlands!”
One by one, the gathered Lords and Ladies stood, proclaiming Robb King.
“The King of Winter!” “The King in the North and Riverlands!” They chanted, over and over.
Things were certainly getting interesting, weren’t they?