Right! Next fic is here :D Hope that you guys like it, but warning: I won't be able to update as quickly cause I've got a lot of other stuff on at the moment. I'll try to keep to one update a day, but no guarantees.
Chapter 1: Winter Is Coming
"Who built Winterfell and raised the Wall?" she asked.
"Bran the Builder," Rickon replied quickly.
"Who built up a great Northern fleet, only to have his son of the same name destroy it?"
"Brandon the Shipwright, and Brandon the Burner," the little boy answered, "I'm bored."
"You're always bored," she pointed out, "What did King Jon do?"
"Built White Harbour, can I go outside?" he inquired.
"No," she replied, "And King Rickard?"
"Defeated the Marsh King, please? You're just as bored as me!" Rickon argued.
He was right, but she kept going, "Karlon?"
Rickon sighed, "Defeated the Boltons and started House Karstark. C'mon, please! I can hear Bran practising his archery, you don't want to miss that do you?"
She sighed, looked down at the massive book that held the history of House Stark, then back to the blue eyed boy practically bouncing with impatience. A very long list of names stared back at her from the page, and it was only one of many. She closed the book with a snap and got to her feet.
"Alright, but if Maester Luwin kills me I'm blaming you," she warned.
Rickon laughed and grabbed her hand, "He won't, I know it all."
Elyanna Stark couldn't help but smile as her little brother led her down the corridors of Winterfell. Maester Luwin had been busy tending to a patient today, so he'd asked her to take over Rickon's lesson, which she had agreed to do. A few minutes in she could not remember why, it was a miracle that they'd made it to their family history at all today. Elyanna was just not cut out for this sort of thing, she would have much rather been outside riding or practising her archery. She wanted to learn how to use a sword as well, but her father had drawn the line at that; for now anyway. She brushed a stray wave of brown hair from her grey eyes, it just refused to stay back today. She had inherited that Stark colouring from her father, while most of her other siblings took their Tully colours from their mother, she and Arya were the only ones with brown hair and wolf grey eyes. Well, Jon was like them, but he was only her half brother. She didn't like saying that out loud, but it felt better than saying 'her father's bastard' she hated it when people called him that. Elyanna may or may not be responsible for threatening several young men around the castle for teasing Jon about his status. She couldn't help it, she just had that strong urge to defend her brother. Needless to say though, her mother had not been happy.
She and her little brother emerged from the castle and into the courtyard, the day was typical for one in the North; grey clouds covering the sun, chill in the air, the words of House Stark trembling on everyone's lips. Winter is coming. A simple enough phrase, until you knew what it truly meant. Many Southerners thought that they had the Eternal Summer upon them, and basked in its warmth. They knew nothing of the cold in the North, they never had Summer Snows, frost, biting winds; these were but dreams to their minds. The Starks were made of the cold though, they had made it their domain for many generations, and they knew that their words spoke true right now. Winter was indeed coming, Elyanna couldn't say now she felt it, it was simply engraved into her bones. Her siblings and father were the same, they all knew it in their hearts, they all felt it on the wind.
Bran was indeed practising, concentration on his young face, blue eyes serious as they looked down the arrow to the target. The boys watching were holding in their breaths, and no doubt their laughs, while they waited for Bran to release his arrow. Elyanna gave a nod to her watching parents, then lifted Rickon up to sit on the saddle hanging over a small fence. He giggled and swung his legs wildly, she just laughed and ruffled up his auburn hair. Theon, her father's ward from the Iron Islands, gave her a grin and a wave. She returned it, earning her a wink, which she gave only an eye roll. Theon was a notorious flirt, and she was used to it. He didn't mean anything by it, it was just for fun. She flirted back sometimes, it was just a joke between them, not one that her brother's found funny though. Jon smiled at her, but then went back to watching Bran carefully. Her twin brother Robb left the others and walked over to her, blue eyes sparkling with laughter.
"You should have come down earlier," he said, "Missed out on a lot."
"I wanted to, but I had to take over Rickon's lesson," she gestured to their little brother.
Her twin gave her a look that said the words that next came out of his mouth," Really? You managed to stay teaching him for that long? I think that this has set a new record!"
She whacked him, "Oh shut up, I was dead bored."
"After the first second no doubt," he teased.
"I wanted to leave!" Rickon put in, "But Elyanna said we had to stay."
Robb spluttered, "Ha! You sound almost responsible my dear twin."
She gave him a death glare, "I'm still the older one."
He sobered, "Not by much!"
"Still counts," she retorted smugly, knowing that she'd won.
"You might want to lose that arrow now Bran," Theon advised, "Your arm's starting to twitch a bit."
Bran turned his head to look at the young man, and his arrow slipped on the bowstring at the same moment. The resulting occurrence was the arrow flying of course and striking a wooden barrel not far away. The boys chuckled softly, and people rushed to check the barrel. It was a cask of fine Dornish wine, and they fretted over it.
"Leave it be," her father commanded, "Just don't take the arrow out and it won't leak."
"I'll be right back," she whispered; then made her way back to the castle.
After weaving through the hallways for a bit she came to the door she wanted, knocked once, then let herself in. The young ladies of Winterfell were doing their needlework, while Septa Mordane watched over them like a mother hen. A large mother hen, Elyanna thought privately, she was so glad that she no longer had to suffer under her instruction. She and Robb's sixteenth birthday had indeed become a more glorious occasion to look back on with that. She may be able to perform all the required lady's tasks with passable skill, but she loathed it all. It was simply no fun, boys got all the good lessons, it wasn't fair. Her younger sister Sansa loved it all though, and excelled with great talent in pretty much all areas required. She was by far Septa Mordane's favourite of all the three Stark girls she'd had under her wing. Arya was not quite so happy looking as her sister though, she stared moodily out the window, not even listening to her sister chatting with her best friend Jeyne Poole. Her head was the first to snap up when Elyanna barged in, and a wide grin split her face.
"Elyanna," Septa Mordane greeted, "Have you come to join us?"
She fought back a wince at the thought, "I'm sorry Septa, I have not. I was wondering if I could steal Arya away for a little? I need her help with something."
Septa Mordane frowned, "I don't know, she hasn't finished yet. Nor has she paid much attention during the lesson. Speaking of which, aren't you meant to be with young Rickon?"
Elyanna gulped, "Uh, that's why I need Arya! We're… umm… doing a re-enactment to help him remember a detail of… what happened with King Torrhen knelt to Aegon the Conqueror!"
The old Septa didn't look like she believed a word of it, but Elyanna tried for her most winning smile. There were several giggles from the girls present, her sister Sansa among them, but she ignored those. Arya was giving her a pleading look, she wanted out desperately.
"Please?" Elyanna begged.
The Septa sighed, "Oh alright."
Arya was up in a flash and out the door, at least she remembered to stop and wait for Elyanna, who had been called back by the Septa.
"Hmm?" she asked; not having heard the woman's statement thanks to Arya pulling a face that made her nearly laugh.
"I said you have so much of your aunt in you, I remember her," the Septa said wistfully, "On you go."
"Come on!" Arya tugged on her hand and pulled her away, "I heard them, I want to watch Bran shoot!"
But Elyanna's good mood had faded with the Septa's comment. It wasn't like she hated it, well, she did a bit she supposed. It's just that all her life she'd had people saying it to her. Her family, Maester Luwin, Septa Mordane, Ser Rodrick Cassel, and numerous other people all around Winterfell. 'Oh how like your aunt Lyanna you are' it had to be the phrase spoken to her the most in her life. She looked like her, she laughed like her, she smiled like her, she walked like her, she had the same bloody temperament as her; it was a nightmare! Did nothing of her's actually belong to her? Or was a dead girl's ghost walking all that people saw then they looked at Elyanna Stark. Even her name and come from her aunt, sure lots of her family were named after pats members, but still! She was just grateful that there was at least the 'E' there to give her some variation to this aunt she'd never met. They'd even given her Lyanna's old nickname; Rose of the North. But at least Elyanna had managed to carve one for herself, even if her mother didn't approve of it; the Wolf of Winterfell. She'd gotten that one from her rather… unusual habit of being perhaps just a little over aggressive when it came to things she cared about. Her father often told her that she had the 'wolf's blood' in her, his brother Brandon and sister Lyanna had possessed it as well, and that didn't' exactly raise her spirits. They were both dead now, along with her grandfather Rickard.
Elyanna was so deeply wrapped up in her thoughts that she hadn't noticed that they were back outside until Arya came running up to her again, she hadn't noticed her leaving either. Arya held two bows in one of her hands, one of which she thrust at Elyanna, and her hand held two arrows. The grin that split her little sister's face was what brought a smile back to Elyanna's.
"Did they see you?" she whispered.
Arya shook her head, "This'll be fun."
Elyanna heard the sound of disturbed birds, followed by the laughter of Jon and Robb.
"And which one of you was a marksman at ten?" her father demanded; which shut them up pretty quickly, "Keep practising Bran."
As her little brother turned back to the target, she and Arya crept forward and took up a position where they could get clean aim at the targets set up. Arya was going for Bran's, while Elyanna was just aiming for one of the other ones.
"Don't think too much Bran," she heard Jon murmur to him.
Robb was watching critically, "Relax your bow arm."
Bran steadied himself, aimed at the target, and was beaten. Two arrows flew at the same time from behind the boys, burying themselves at the centre of two different targets. They whirled around in shock, Elyanna laughed, while Arya performed a small curtsy. Her smirk changed to laughter as well when Bran ran at her, she threw aside her bow and made her escape. Elyanna grinned as she watched her two siblings run after one another, she spun around just in time to see her twin sneaking up on her.
"Damn it," Robb swore, "You always do that."
"Instincts," she preened, "Where'd Theon get to?"
Jon was putting away the archery equipment, but she hadn't seen Theon since her return.
Robb shrugged, "I don't know."
"Aww, did you miss me?" Theon inquired; appearing behind her.
"Oh you have no idea!" she replied dramatically; which made Robb wince, that just egged her on more, she loved to make her dear twin uncomfortable. Then she noticed the serious look in Theon's eyes.
Robb did as well apparently, "What's happened?"
"They've found a deserter," Theon said, "Your father is going to execute him, as law commands, he said to get you and Jon ready."
"Alright," Robb began moving for the stables; but Theon grabbed his arm.
"Bran as well," he said.
Robb stilled, but nodded his head in an automatic kind of motion. Elyanna wasn't quick so easy with the idea though.
"He can't!" she protested.
Theon level a glance at her, "He's the Lord of Winterfell Elyanna."
She looked at the boys, saw that they weren't going to agree with her, and stormed off to find her father. He was readying his horse, something that most Lords got their grooms to see to, but Lord Stark liked to do it himself. That was one of the things she loved about her father, he was still happy to do simply tasks in spite of his status. He turned when he heard her approaching, and picked up on her moods at once. It would have been hard not to with the frost in her grey eyes.
"You can't take Bran," she stated.
"It's time," he replied simply, "Robb and Jon were his age."
Elyanna shook her head, "He's just a boy father!"
"Winter is coming," he said; he used it like an explanation, a way to justify his choice.
She hardened her glare, "Alright, then I'm going to."
That pulled him up short, he gave her a seriously look, "No you're not."
"You're taking Bran," she pointed out, "Why not me? You said Robb and Jon were only ten when they first saw something like this, well I suppose it must be past time for me then."
"Death is not for a woman's eyes," he protested.
"And yet there have been warrior Queens," she argued.
"Ellie…" he tried using his old pet name for her, "Please, stay back."
She shook her head firmly, "No father, as you yourself said, Winter is coming."
Then she turned on her heel and went to saddle her horse.
Right, what are we thinking? Hope that you all like it!
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