Honor And Fealty
By El Chacal
Disclaimer: Don't own anything except the idea for this story and my imagination. Not making one dime off of this. Do not sue. Thank you.
In the dark of night, Dacey was taken to the godswood in Mormont Keep by her mother, the Lady of Bear Island, Maege Mormont. Kneeling before the heart tree, the she-bears prayed together. When they finished praying, Maege took from her side the ancestral sword of House Mormont, Longclaw, and gave it to Dacey. "Take this to Castle Black. The Old Gods have spoken to me in dreams. The one who proves himself will make himself known on the Wall."
"The Night's Watch once held men of nobility and honor. Now it is a rag tag group of outcasts, beggars, orphans and criminals desperate to escape the executioner's block." Dacey protested. "Apart from Uncle Jeor, what man there is fit to even touch Longclaw's hilt? It should be held by a Mormont sworn to the North."
"Which Mormont do you see fit to wield Longclaw? You?" Maege Mormont asked. "The Old Gods have spoken to me about you as well, Dacey. You carry more than an honor-bound fealty for the prince of Winterfell." Upon the silence from her eldest daughter, Maege gave Dacey her task. "Go to the Wall. Take Longclaw to Jeor and seek his counsel."
Dacey knew not to shirk her duties in the presence of her mother. "Yes, mother." As she took Longclaw in her hands, Dacey meekly asked, "Shall I take a barrel of ale with me? Jeor would love a taste of home."
Maege hugged Dacey close. As tough, hardened and thick skinned as she could be, Dacey Mormont possessed a heart as big as the North.
At first light, Dacey landed upon the mainland of Westeros. With the aid of House Glover, Dacey acquired a cart on which to carry her load and a pair of mares to pull it towards the Wall. Galbart and Robett Glover fed her with bread and salt as was the guest rite custom but made sure she had a stein of northern ale before she set off for Castle Black.
Her cargo consisted of casks of beer, meats, sacks of potatoes and Longclaw, which was safely tucked out of direct sight. With a warm cloak with bear's fur lining her shoulders, Dacey Mormont traveled through the Wolfswood, up the Kingsroad, past Last Hearth, the stronghold of the Umbers and through the Gift.
The further north she ventured, the colder it got until she found herself at the doorstep of Castle Black, the primary stronghold for the Night's Watch.
Maege Mormont sent a letter to Maester Aemon telling him of Dacey's arrival to Castle Black. So when the young she-bear arrived, the gates were opened without delay and she was greeted warmly by the elder men of the Night's Watch. The moment she stepped upon the training grounds, the Night's Watch was divided into two groups.
The first one held respect for her, their Lord Commander and the North.
The second one whispered mockeries of the North and the many ways they would have made a she-bear howl.
Whatever words were whispered between the fledglings and the seasoned Black Brothers were silenced immediately upon the arrival of Lord Commander Jeor Mormont.
Having grown up in a military household, Dacey kept her emotions hidden when her uncle stood before her. "Lord Commander Mormont." Dacey addressed him with a bow of her head.
"Lady Dacey." Jeor Mormont responded in equal stoicism. "Come join me in my chambers. You have traveled a long way and I'm certain you have need of rest." With a side glance to the nearest steward, Mormont growled, "Tend to my niece's mares and handle the items in the cart with care."
Dacey quickly moved to the cart before anyone else could reach it and extracted the most important item. The Old Bear recognized what she had in her hands instantly.
After accepting the parcel which he knew was the Valyrian bastard sword of his father, grandfather and ancestors, Jeor Mormont escorted Dacey to his chambers.
Once the door to his chambers were closed and it was just the two of them, Jeor embraced Dacey warmly with a bear hug. "It's good to see you again, Dacey."
"I missed you, Uncle." Dacey spoke, her head buried in Jeor's neck.
The moment was broken when Dacey heard Jeor Mormont's raven cawing from his chair.
Releasing each other from their bear hug, Jeor poured two large mugs of beer for himself and his niece. They spoke of Bear Island and Dacey's sisters (Alysane, Lyra, Jorelle and Lyanna) at first. It then led to Jeor telling Dacey about the state of affairs for the Night's Watch.
"Was it worth taking the black?" Dacey asked. "I had faith is Jorah. I believed him to be ready. Not even the wisest of us can anticipate everything."
"I had not know what Lynesse Hightower would do to him at the time, I should have trusted my suspicions enough to tell Jorah to get rid of that southern gash long before they married."
"Terrible things have a way of happening in spite of our best attempts to prevent them. You could no longer foresee a disgrace to our house as you could prevent a blizzard. Jorah made his decisions and has paid for them."
"He made his decisions and we had to pay for them when he turned craven and fled Westeros." Dacey snapped.
Laying a hand on Longclaw, Jeor asked, "Did you choose to come here or did my sister send you?"
"I had hopes of coming onto the mainland for a while now. This was a good reason as any."
"Something troubles you. What is it? Speak."
"SPEAK!" The raven spoke.
"Some time ago, I received a raven from Winterfell. It appears that Lord and Lady Stark are arranging a betrothal between Robb and Margaery Tyrell of Highgarden."
"Envy has never suited you, Dacey. The she-bears of House Mormont never had to compare themselves to anyone much less a girl from the Reach. What troubles you?"
"The last time a southern bitch crossed the Neck into the North, she brought shame and disgrace with her." The grief and anger Dacey bore for Lynesse was motivation enough for when she trained with her longsword and mace.
"BITCH! BITCH! BITCH!" Mormont's raven cawed.
"If I had any say in the matter, I would go to Winterfell and stand by Robb the way I should have stood by Jorah. In doing this, perhaps I can wash away the shame from our house by making sure the heir to Winterfell does not lose true north."
"NORTH! NORTH!" The raven parroted.
"Somehow, I sense that you are looking for more than just redemption for our house. Why does it concern you who Robb Stark shares his bed with?"
"STARK!" The raven cawed again. Jeor threw a fistfull of corn at the bird to shut him up.
Dacey's jaw was squared and her eyes hardened. "Dacey, do you love him?"
"The Southerners don't give a damn about the North or any Northerners in it. You know it just as I do. Most of all, I don't want to see the shame that fell upon our house fall onto House Stark." Dacey Mormont spoke evasively.
"Catelyn Tully was herself born a Southern lady who kept to the Faith of the Seven long before becoming Lady Stark. If not for her marrying Lord Eddard Stark, Robb Stark and his siblings would never have been born. It may be difficult to grasp for you but not all Southerners are evil incarnate."
"What do I do then, Uncle? Tell me. I can not argue against the betrothal. I can not order Robb to turn away from his duty. At the same time, I can not stand by and do nothing while some flowery cunt destroys House Stark."
"FLOWERY CUNT!" The raven cawed until Jeor threw a fistful of corn that knocked the bird right off the table.
"What are you to Robb Stark?" Jeor Mormont challenged.
A knock on the door interrupted the conversation before she could respond. Walking to the door, Jeor opened it to find First Ranger Benjen Stark standing before him. "Lord Commander, am I interrupting?"
"What do you wish to ask me, Benjen?"
"I wish to speak with you about going south to Winterfell."
"Enter." Jeor said, stepping to the side so Benjen Stark could enter. It was a surprise for Benjen to see Dacey Mormont in the Lord Commander's chambers but a welcome one. "Lady Dacey Mormont. It's not every day when the Night's Watch is graced with a lady's presence. To what do we owe your visit?"
"I came to speak with my uncle, First Ranger Stark, among other things." Dacey spoke, glancing at the Valyrian bastard sword of her ancestors as it lay wrapped up on the table.
Lord Eddard Stark's younger brother bore the map of the North upon his visage. If he had not taken the black and proved himself to her, Dacey probably would have wed Benjen before a heart tree. Unfortunately, he was now a sworn brother of the Night's Watch, which meant he could not take a wife, hold any lands, father any children and would be bound to the Wall until his death.
"Lord Commander Mormont, I have received word from the Warden of the North that there are new recruits for me to send up to Castle Black. With your permission, I will travel to Winterfell in order to see these new fledglings myself."
"You have my permission on the condition that my niece accompany you to Winterfell." Jeor spoke, turning his eyes to Dacey as he continued speaking. "She has affairs of her own to settle."
Benjen looked to Dacey and said, "We shall set out for Winterfell at first light tomorrow. In the meantime, I invite you to dine with myself, Maester Aemon and Lord Commander Mormont."
"I accept your invitation, First Ranger Stark." Dacey said with genuine courtesy and gratitude.
Upon leaving the Lord Commander's chambers, Dacey was approached by one of the Black Brothers who asked her to visit the rookery.
When she reached the cages where the ravens were perched together, Dacey was greeted by the old maester who, in spite of being completely blind, chopped up entrails and dead meat for the birds to feast on without accidentally striking his own fingers.
"Lady Dacey Mormont, I presume?" He spoke in her general direction.
"Yes, I am. I was told to come here. I did not expect to see you until later tonight."
"To be fair, I did not expect to speak with a woman in Castle Black. You are a delightful surprise." Holding out a bucket, Maester Aemon asked, "Would you help me feed the ravens?"
"Of course." Dacey responded, accepting the bucket and filling it with the meats and entrails.
"You are not squeamish at handling such feed. Then again, I should expect no less. The women of Bear Island are very unique in their ways if I may say so."
"You just did and I would agree." Dacey spoke as she threw the visceral feed to the ravens. "We are nothing like any others that have come before us or after." The pride in her voice was clear as day and thicker than fog.
"Like the bear that stands as your house's sigil, I imagine the women of Bear Island are very protective of their young. Would the same care fall to wolf pups?" Maester Aemon asked as Dacey threw food into the cages.
"What of it?" Dacey asked sharply. It had been years since she had last stood before Maester Aemon.
"Your mother wrote to me. No one else knows, including the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch." Maester Aemon revealed as he walked closer to Dacey. "You care for Lord Stark's eldest boy. I know. Do not waste an old man's time by trying to deny it."
"What does it matter to you?" Dacey asked.
"The bear pledged his service and fealty to the wolf many years ago and it is a testament to House Mormont's commitment that such a pledge stood the test of time."
"The Mormonts have sworn their might and service to the Starks. Never once have we shirked the call of duty."
"Is it out of such fealty that you are so concerned with who Robb Stark weds? Has Robb or his lord father called House Mormont to court?" Maester Aemon asked rhetorically.
Dacey sighed and that was all the answer Maester Aemon had to hear. "Lord Commander Mormont has spoken with me about his son, your cousin, on several occasions. He spoke of the shame and disgrace Jorah brought upon his house. Do you have such fears that the same fate could befall your liege lord?"
Dacey slammed the empty bucket on the table. "I've fed your birds. With your permission, Maester, I will take my leave."
"Dear child, do you truly harbor such contempt and scorn for the South?"
"Why shouldn't I? The Andals cut the weirwood trees, mock the Night's Watch and take a flowery shit all over everything we hold near and dear in the North."
The anger in Dacey's voice was clear as a bell and Maester Aemon swore she almost started roaring like a bear. "Do you plan to visit Winterfell in the near future, Lady Dacey?"
"Yes, I do." Dacey answered.
"Go to the ancestral seat of House Stark, seek out the Young Wolf and say your peace. Whatever happens, whether he tells you to return to Bear Island or stay at his side, do your duty."
Dacey nodded her head before walking away from the blind maester.
Upon first light of the morrow, after breaking her fast with Lord Commander Mormont and Maester Aemon, Dacey Mormont and Benjen Stark made the long journey down to Winterfell.
A/n: It is a work in progress but the basic idea is that King Robert will not be able to betroth any Starks to Cersei's 'children' (Joffrey, Myrcella or Tommen). Among the other stories to come after this one will be the betrothal of Sansa Stark and the betrothal of Robb Stark. Before anyone asks, I'm 100% in favor of the North over the South. The Boltons are the traitors of the North. In the spirit of this story, the Red Wedding never happens. The direwolves are all alive and the Starks reign over the North.