I own nothing. I've been meaning to mention something, but just haven't gotten around to it. There are some events that won't change as a result of what happens in this story or the changes are so minor they're not worth mentioning. GRRM has already covered them better than I ever could, so if I don't cover what a characters doing just assume that things remained the same. Dany's Meeren campaign and the events at the Wall are going according to canon, as are any other plotlines that aren't mentioned that wouldn't change. There are a few plots that have changed, but I just haven't gotten to them yet (Dorne). For reference we're near the end of A Clash of Kings timeline wise.
Chapter 6: Dacey
Waiting, she decided, was worse than actually being in battle. At least on the battlefield you could affect the end result, you could know how things were going. In the camp all you could do was stare at the walls around the city and watch as burning rocks arced from the castle over the low moon and into the city through the night sky. She supposed it could be considered beautiful, compared to shooting stars, but the thought that every rock was headed towards Robb's men, and possibly her friends, killed that quickly. She couldn't know for sure though, the walls blocked any look she could get.
That was more of an annoyance than anything she resented though. The number of men it had cost them to get through the gates had been enormous. Mace Tyrell had claimed to have learned that the King's Gate and Harbor Gate were weak from Stannis' attack, and had concentrated most of his forces there, with almost 30,000 men assaulting the gates. The rest of their forces had encircled the city and Robb had commanded a force composed mostly of Northerners and Rivermen to hit random other gates, keeping Stannis' forces off balance. Either Mace Tyrell had been wrong or Stannis had reinforced the Gates, as the Reach troops had been completely unable to take either gate. She'd spent most of her time fighting at the Gate of the Gods, trying to break through there to let the rest of the army in.
They'd succeeded at the first goal, but not the second. The day before they'd finally broken through the gate after half a week of trying. Shit had never smelled as good as when they'd charged over the broken gates, confident they could reach the next one and take the rest of the city. They'd almost made it to the next gate when Baratheon reinforcements had hit them, led by Stannis himself. She'd known it was him before she'd gotten close enough to see his face or crown. The burning sword had stood out even against the red sky and setting sun, and she and several other members of Robb's guard had charged him. None of them save the Smalljon had gotten close though. Stannis' men fought like madmen, yelling for their god and king and fighting with more fervor than they had any right to. They'd barely been able to recover Smalljon's wounded body after Stannis cut him down. He was missing a chunk of his left arm from where he'd tried to block Stannis' cut, forgetting his shield was in tatters. Most of the same shoulder was smashed through from Stannis' second blow in their encounter. All the SmallJon had managed to do in exchange was cut down his fucking horse. Before long she'd heard the Manderly commander they were under sounding the retreat and they'd ended up pulling back out of the city.
They hadn't let them reestablish the gates over the next day though, hitting them every time they tried to put them back in proper place. They hadn't been able to push the advantage though, as Lord Tyrell was confident his gate would break soon, and then they'd be in the city at two points. It hadn't fallen. She could tell Robb was starting to lose his patience with the man, as his strategies and promises kept coming up empty. Unfortunately that impatience had led to something Dacey dreaded.
For most of the siege they'd kept Robb off the frontlines. It had taken the combined pleading of his guard, wife, extended family, and trusted bannermen to keep him away, but they'd done it. She still thought a commander should lead from the front, but she recognized how dangerous that front was and how much their cause rested on Robb surviving. Sitting out the siege was something she could accept him doing, and she and the rest of his guard had pledged to fight harder for him. It was that last part that was currently biting them in the ass, as Robb seemed to have taken Smalljon's injury at Stannis' hand personally. There was no swaying him from riding with the Northmen, and he seemed determined to kill Stannis himself. She'd had trouble balancing her worry for him with her joy him returning to how he was before his marriage. She'd sworn to work even harder to protect him in the battle the next day.
Not that that matters she thought. She'd forgotten she was on rotation to guard the Queen today. She'd thought the siege would be longer and so she'd gone for the earliest day she could. Robb hadn't wanted to starve Stannis out, and so they'd begun attacking the city right away. All but three of Robb's personal guard fought in the battle, two guarding him back at camp and one guarding his Queen. Guarding her was the easier job by far, as Robb tended to pace around the camp, constantly waiting for updates and always watching the battlefield. In contrast the Queen mostly sat around in her tent with her ladies, only occasionally popping out to ask how the battle was going. Since the fighting had begun the Queen had only been out once to ask. It seemed she barely cared, she thought as she watched a few more burning boulders launch into the city. She couldn't believe Stannis would be so willing to destroy the city to win. She voiced as much to the other guard.
"I can." Brienne of Tarth responded through her teeth. "Stannis will do anything to win. Burning the city down would mean little to him if it meant his victory." She'd forgotten just how much Brienne hated Stannis, it was the reason Brienne had been given guard duty as a punishment. The larger woman had returned when Lord Bolton had rejoined the army, brought as a captive along with Jaime Lannister. Loras Tyrell had wanted her head over Renly's death, though Brienne had protested her innocence, claiming a shadow Stannis had killed him, with the Kingslayer vouching for her. She'd been certain it was a load of shit, but Robb seemed strangely open-minded, noting that the red priestess with him could supposedly do terrible magics. He'd ultimately decided to let Loras decide, leaving him alone with Brienne so she could plead her case.
They'd come out an hour later, Loras declaring he believed her. There had to be some punishment for helping the Kingslayer escape, and so she'd been put on guard duty, unable to aid in the battle against and to kill Stannis. She's the only person in this camp who wants to be in the city fighting more than I do.
The silence that had fallen between them was broken by incoherent shouting that seemed to be coming from nearby in the camp. She could hear multiple voices but couldn't make out what they were saying. She looked at Brienne as her hand moved down to the mace at her waist. Brienne had done the same, her hand at her sword as she looked between Dacey and the source of the commotion. Brienne would be able to hold her own if there was a fight, Dacey was sure of that. Brienne had given the worst thrashing she'd ever seen to one of the Reachlords after he'd insulted Brienne's womanhood, Renly, and implied she'd slept with the Kingslayer. Neither of them knew what to do until the tent flap behind them opened and the Queen exited asking "What's going on? Is there new about the battle?"
Dacey shared a look with Brienne before she replied "Not that we know of, there's some commotion in the camps but it doesn't sound like battle. We were about to send someone to investigate, there's no need for you to be concerned, your Grace."
"Nonsense. If somethings going on and Robb isn't here then it's my duty as Queen to deal with it. Come, we'll see what's going on." She declared before leaning in to tell her ladies in waiting that they could return to their tents. It was at moments like this that she was reminded how different Queen Margaery was from the bitch her cousin had married. That Woman had never been able to adapt at all, expecting everything to be like in the South, and Jorah had disgraced the family trying to provide that. Margaery may have still been pampered and slightly uncaring, but at least she was willing to go into danger and deal with the problems that arose. Brienne began to protest as Margaery finished seeing her ladies off saying "It's too dangerous Queen Margaery, there could be enemies in the camp. Let one of us go and deal with it."
"I know it's dangerous, that's why you two are coming with me." She said with a smile as she started heading towards the commotion. Brienne looked at her, begging her to try and stop the Queen, but she just shrugged and followed after the Queen, she wanted to know what was happening too.
The commotion, once they got through the tents to the center of it, turned out to be centered around the Kingslayer's cage. The guards were shouting at him to shut up and beating him, but the man was still shouting at the top of his voice. By the time they arrived a crowd had formed around the cage they parted when they saw the queen approaching. They had made it to the guards before one turned and hastily bowed while saying "We're sorry, your Grace, we'll have this bastard quieted down before too long."
Lady Margaery smiled politely back at him and said "I thank you for your concern but there's no need for this, call the men off and I'll hear what the kingslayer has to say, if anything." He bowed and stammered out apologies before shouting and dragging the men hitting him off. The Kingslayer looked slightly worse for wear, rubbing at his jaw before looking up at Margaery and saying "Queen Margaery, glad to see you got my message. I tried to get these fool to do it for me, but you know how Northerners can be."
"I take it you have some reason to go to all that trouble to summon me over. So why all the commotion?"
At that Jaime Lannister did something Dacey hadn't thought he could, the smirk dropped off his face and he was suddenly more serious than she'd ever seen him be. He turned to look at the city before saying "You need to get Stannis to stop throwing those flaming boulders or the whole cities going to burn."
She heard several of the guards laugh or shout at that, and fought the urge to join in. Stannis boulders would damage the city, but burning it down seemed impossible. It was a ridiculous attempt to ruin the battle for their side. She turned to look at Margaery and wait for her response but stopped when she saw the look of sheer terror on Brienne's face behind her. She felt the same fear and some confusion when she heard Brienne say "The Wildfire…"
Margaery turned in alarm asking "What wildfire?" and when Brienne failed to respond turned to the Kingslayer and almost shouted "What Wildfire!?"
He was quiet for a moment before almost whispering "There are wildfire caches all over the city, if one of those rocks" he said pointing as she watched another boulder launch into the city "hits one it'll take part of the city with it. If the caches start igniting each other then the whole city might go up."
"He's lying. He has to be." She heard one of the guards say "Why would that be in the city? Who the fuck would put wildfire in a city?"
"The mad king." Jaime responded in the same haunted voice. "A last attempt to spite his enemies."
"Get riders to the city." She heard Margaery order "We need to get word to Robb, and the rest of the army. We should send word to Stannis as well, hopefully he'll stop the attack." She finished with a voice that said she didn't believe it. The men started running about to fulfill her commands regardless. She turned back to the kingslayer "If you're lying…"
"I hate Stannis far more than you do, or have you forgotten how he burned most of my family? Unbelievable as it may seem to you I'd prefer to see your foolish husband on the throne."
"Stannis won't stop. He worships a fire god, he'll probably take it as a blessing." Brienne said in the coldest voice Dacey had ever heard from the woman after Margaery turned away.
"His men might not." Margaery replied "Half of the Stormlanders were in our armies first, and they didn't like the Red God any more than we do."
"Let me go, your Grace." Dacey asked, kneeling "I'll find Robb and get him out of the city." Margaery watched her for a minute before nodding. "He'll take it more seriously if it's you, and you've a better chance of convincing him or his guards." She stopped Brienne, who was going down on a knee to request the same Dacey guessed. "I'll still need a guard, Brienne, and you begged Lady Catelyn to allow you to act as mine, you can't go into the city for revenge now. With all the chaos we're about to cause it would be easy for an assassin to slip in." Brienne nodded but still looked like she wanted to go fight.
Dacey shouted for one of the runners to get her horse as Margaery and Brienne walked over to where the men were massing. She was halfway past the Kingslayers cage when she realized she shoud say at least something to him, as he'd probably just saved Robb and the city. The memories of her friends he'd killed at the Whispering Wood made it hard for her to get out more than a quiet "Thank you."
"I didn't do it for you. Or that king of yours" he responded without looking at her.
"Then why?" she asked before she could stop herself.
"I don't know." He whispered, staring at where the men were gathering. She could tell it was a lie but had no intent of calling him on it. Whatever reason he was hiding was his own problem, and she had other concerns than a conflicted oathbreaker. She simply nodded and move to the rest of the riders as she saw a groomsman bringing her horse up.
Queen Margaery walked up to her with Brienne trailing behind as she mounted her horse and held a white banner up to her. Dacey took it but with a quizzical look, surrendering hadn't been part of the plan. "Give it to the rider you send to Stannis." The queen said "At the very least he'll have to let the man live to talk to them if they think he's carrying terms. What do you plan to do?"
She looked back at the men, there seemed to be about 100 cavalry they'd managed to gather quickly. She thought fast as she looked down at the city before saying "I'll send 20 or so men to the Red Keep to try to force Stannis to stop, then divide the rest in half. I'll send half to find and warn your father and his army, I'll take the other half to warn Robb." When the Queen nodded and stepped back she turned to face the assembled men. "You all know the message: there's Wildfire in the city and we need to get out of it. Tell every commander you find, not just Lord Tyrell and King Robb. We need to get word around and the men out as quickly as possible." She turned to a Reach knight whose name she didn't remember, but whose armor looked nice enough that she could guess he was important. She handed him the banner saying "Take 10 good men with you and ride for the Red Keep, say your there with terms, then tell Stannis or whoever he left in charge about the Wildfire, get out as soon as you can afterwards. He nodded then gathered 10 men and rode off toward the city. She divided what remained about in half before finding another well armored knight and giving him command. "Take this half to the King's gate, warn Lord Tyrell and his forces, Lord Bolton too if he's nearby. The rest of you are with me, we're going after King Robb to get him out of the city. We don't stop until we find him, understand?" The men nodded nervously and she hoped they wouldn't break in the city, this was too important for them to fail at. She turned back towards King's Landing, a city she was growing to hate, before riding off towards it.
Getting to the gate wasn't a problem, they'd taken the gates earlier in the evening. The trebuchets on the wall that had killed so many of their men in the assaults had fallen silent. She had split off from the other group and headed towards the Gate of the Gods. They were riding into the city when they ran into the first set of fortifications. The area immediately within the Gate had been heavily fortified, with stakes and a makeshift wall made of items that looked like they had been pulled out of several of the nearby houses. A few hundred men were guarding the area, with more archers on the walls above the gate. The wooden palisade didn't look very sturdy but she supposed it would hold under an attack. She saw Wendel next to the Manderly banners, and immediately dismounted her horse to go warn him.
"Dacey! Thought you were stuck guarding the Queen, but she must've let you go. We're glad to have you, though I wish you'd have brought a few more men." He said with a grin. The grin faded when he caught sight to her expression. "What's happened?"
"We learned there's wildfire in the city. As long as Stannis is hurling those boulders the whole cities in danger. We need to get the men out of the city, Queen's orders." She said quickly.
"Fuck! We just managed to take this city, are you sure we have to pull all the men out?" When she nodded he shouted to the men nearby to get ready to leave.
"Where'd King Robb go, we need to get him out as soon as possible." Dacey asked him
"He headed north to secure the rest of the gates with a fourth of the men, the rest went to go open the doors for Mace Tyrell. I'm not sure where exactly he is, but if we head up to the walls we might be able to see." Dacey turned to her men after he finished and ordered half of them to head west to try to find the rest of the men.
The two of them raced up the steps and above the gate, with Wendel shouting at the archers to start retreating. He grabbed a spyglass from one of the captains and started searching before he seemed to find something. He passed it to her while pointing and saying "Robb's forces are the only ones that would be moving like that, towards the Red Keep from there."
She found them quickly enough, passing over what she guessed was the light of a camp by the gate to the north of where they were, and finding some force heading towards the Red Keep east of the first gate. She could only make out men moving through gaps in the buildings as the men moved and where the light from the flames was bright enough. "Shit! He's moved a lot farther than the rest of the army." She turned to look at the rest of the forces, darkness made it hard to see but the flames from the boulders provided some light, as did some of the houses they'd set alight while rolling and landing. The Tyrell forces were in the city, but hadn't advanced nearly as far as she'd hoped they would. She could see what looked like fighting, so Stannis' men were pushing back against the Tyrell advance, the narrow alleys helping them. She could also make out some civilians running about, but it looked like most were hiding in their homes. Even if they got Stannis to stop attacking they could still lose the city to those flames any way. "I need to get out there." She told Wendel.
"Aye, we do" he responded as he headed for the stairs down with her. "The area the Kings in is all residential, back allies mostly, we'll take the horses as far as they can go before we have to dismount."
"We? Wendel you need to leave with your men, we need to get everyone out now."
"Fuck that." He said as they exited the gatehouse. She saw about 50 of Wendel's knights were still armed and waiting for them. "You've only got forty men left, we'll need more to alert the other camps and forces, my men can help. I'm a part of Robb's guard too, I won't leave him here." She could do nothing but nod to that as they moved to mount their horses. Wendel's men had cleared a hole in the palisade that she and the rest of the men rode through. When they crossed the first major street they sent 40 of the men to go warn the other groups, they couldn't spare anymore in case Stannis attacked.
It was a few minutes after that when she heard the roar. It was like nothing she'd ever heard before and when she turned southeast toward the sound she saw the awful green glow over the buildings that confirmed her worst fears. "He hit one." She couldn't help but say. It hit her where a second later. "The Tyrell men, that's where they were."
"Wylis." She heard Wendel say in a quiet voice, and when she turned to face him he continued "Robb gave him command of a unit that was helping the Tyrells"
"I'm sure he's fine. The other riders should have reached them by now, they should be heading out of the city. But we need to keep moving, we need to find Robb." He stuttered out an "aye" in response before they resumed the ride. It took a few more minutes but eventually they reached the residential area and things became too narrow for the horses to continue. She turned to her men and ordered 20 of them "Take as many of the horses as you can and head to the city wall. The gate should be north of here, get there and warn the men to leave the city now." It was after the men had left as they were preparing to enter the alleyways that she heard the second roar and the glow intensified.
"More of them are exploding." Wendel observed. "Is it the boulders or…"
"We could just be unlucky enough that he hit two of them." She said not really believing it "Or the caches are igniting each other. No matter what we need to find Robb." Wendel nodded, and they and the rest of his men dismounted and drew their weapons.
Moving through the alley was both the fastest and slowest event of Dacey's life. She knew that technically they were moving quickly, sprinting down the alleys as fast as they could. But stopping at every corner to check if Stannis' soldiers were moving through made it feel so much slower. It eventually fell into a sort of rhythm, an eternity that was only a minute while they watched for Stannis' soldiers, followed by a mad dash through the narrow alleys to the next street. The only breaks were when a civilian would go running by, desperately trying to escape the city and blaze, and when a third and fourth roar echoed through the city in quick succession. Stannis' men had stopped throwing the flaming boulders, or at least they couldn't see them over the houses, which meant the worst case scenario was happening.
At least we won't have to worry about light anymore. She thought as they dashed to the next building. The green light from the flames illuminated the city, like some inverted sunset. It was getting hotter too, she could feel that. Even all the running they'd been doing hadn't been enough for her to be this hot. Wendel looked like he had it far worse than she did though, his armor and larger size meant he was trapping far more heat than her mail and furs, but he kept soldiering on.
It was at the next crossroads they were finally rewarded with part of Robb's column, direwolf sigils on the men's mail as they moved through the city. She didn't recognize the commander or the snowy pine sigil on his armor, but he at least recognized her. "Lady Mormont, Lord Manderly!" he exclaimed while bowing to the both of them. "We're trying to push forward to the keep. If Stannis thinks hurling wildfire will make us stop pressing forward…"
"It's not Stannis with the wildfire, there are caches throughout the city and more of them are going up by the minute, we need to find the King before more of the city goes up." She said to him quietly, a panic wouldn't help anything. She watched his eyes widen for a moment before he stuttered out "A-are you sure?"
"Aye" Wendel replied "Now where's the king?"
"Up ahead near the center of the column. We're near the back of the far right column, the king should stop at the next major road to catch the rest of the army up before we advance farther. If you hurry you should be able to meet him there."
Dacey shouted her thanks as she and the rest of the men ran forward. They were still running when another roar hit her, the wave of heat knocking her down and blowing her back. When she opened her eyes again she wasn't sure she hadn't died and woken up in one of the seven follower's hells. Men were screaming and running about as green fire consumed them. Every house around her seemed to be burning, some red, others the awful green flames of wildfire. The shock only faded once a hand was offered to her, one she vaguely recognized as Wendels. She took it and he helped haul her up. She saw the men who hadn't been hit trying to help their friends, trying to cut off the burning armor or limb, some even giving their comrades quick deaths to spare them the pain.
After a moment the men had finished, but the screams hadn't. The flames must have been thrown farther. She thought. She vaguely heard a commander issuing orders to get the wounded out of the city, not that many of them would make it. Four had lost limbs and another six were badly burned, and with more Wildfire going up by the minute she wasn't sure they'd make it out of the city, let alone to medical help. We need to keep moving.
Wendel had the same idea, and signaled the men to get back into formation as they started to advance again. She had to give them credit for not deserting in the face of this hell. The advance was far faster this time, they'd thrown caution to the wind in an attempt to reach Robb sooner. They kept moving at dead sprint, not stopping to check around corridors or for Baratheon men, there was no point or time.
They finally came to a stop before a river of green fire, melting away where a major street had been and preventing their advance. Their only option now was to head North and hope Robb was on this side of the street. Her prayers were answered when she saw Robb, he was off his horse, and looking at the melting street with a strange fascination, she could see other members of his guard with him, but there were less men than she'd expected overall. "King Robb!" she shouted as loud as she could when she got close enough and she heard Wendel do the same in an attempt to be heard over the sound of the screams. Eventually he turned and saw them heading towards him.
She watched as a smile lit up on his face as he saw her. Once she got close enough she stopped to catch her breath before going to warn him, but he beat her to the punch saying "Dacey! How goes the rest of the battle, have the Tyrells made it into the city?"
"Doesn't…matter. Wildfire…all through…city. Need to….leave!" she got out in between breaths.
"So Stannis has some Wildfire, if he thinks it'll save him he's mistaken." The Knight of Flowers cut in. "We just need a way around this, and we'll have the keep soon."
"It's not Stannis firing it! There are caches in the city, and they're all going up! At this rate there isn't going to be a city to conquer! Please Robb, you need to get out of the city."
Robb sobered up at that, quickly asking her if it was true. When she nodded he shouted for the men to turn and leave out the Iron Gate over Ser Loras' protests. As much as she felt for the knight and his need to avenge his king, she wouldn't allow him to do by endangering Robb. They were almost ready to leave when Stannis Baratheon fucked up another plan, hitting them from the north.
She didn't see him or his men at first, only heard shouts that she eventually figured out were screaming about an attack by Stannis' men. It took a moment for them to process it, before Robb turned and shouting orders for the men to get into position and start moving into the alleys to the North. "We have to go through them to get back to the Iron Gate. There's no way to avoid this fight." He directed at his guard. She and the rest of them nodded as they drew their weapons and prepared to advance. They passed several alleys with Robb ordering some of the forces to split off each time in order to engage the Baratheon men on multiple fronts.
They were still advancing when Dacey watched a group in front of them cut down by a sudden wave of arrows. Robb signaled her ahead with some of the men, while he started moving around the house right next to it. She crept on the aisle and peaked around it, getting a glimpse of a shield wall before an arrow almost took her nose off. Archers behind then, we're not going to break that without casualties. She thought as she grabbed a shield off one of the dead men. She was signaling the men to put shields up and ready to charge when she heard more screams around the alley. A quick look revealed Highgarden men and Loras Tyrell, visible only by the light of the flames, attacking the formation from behind. She and her men charged with a shout of "The North" as they hit the remnants from behind. Loras Tyrell gave her a smile and nod, which she returned as they combined forces and continued moving.
She always went North and West, towards where she could vaguely make out the gates towers in the flickering light of the flames. She had about 20 men with her, a number that was bolstered when she joined up with other squads and fell after battles or when they separated. She'd lost the Knight of Flowers when they'd been flanked while fighting another squad, he and his men had gone chasing after the remnants of that force. Wendel was long gone, lost somewhere in the chaotic clash. She had no idea where Robb currently was, she hadn't seen him since they'd split up. She'd run into other members of his guard though, and they said he was fighting fine.
She was ripped out of those thoughts by shouts of "Stannis!" and "For the Lord of Light" as 30 Baratheon men rounded a corner and charged her group. Battle cries were the easiest way to tell friend from foe, the poor lighting and general chaos made it almost impossible to tell friend from foe otherwise. Twice she and other Stark men had charged each other before realizing they were on the same side. Thankfully there hadn't been any friendly fire yet, though she couldn't say they hadn't killed any innocents. The fires had finally driven the smallfolk from their homes and one of her men had accidentally killed him when he'd rushed out of his house in a panic. She found it hard to blame him though, she'd almost killed a mother with her daughter when she'd rushed out an importune time, she'd tried to tell the woman where to go, but they'd run off too quickly. Not that I can blame her, the cities on fire and I imagine I don't look particularly nice either. She thought as her men reformed after the fighting, if her clothes were any indication, she was covered in blood and gore. Not that any of the other men looked much different, the fighting had given them all a wild look. Not the kind of people you want to stop and talk to.
A few more alleys and fights and she eventually saw Robb in a small crossroads, along with a few hundred men. She saw Patrek, Owen, Grey Wind, and Loras with him and he waved her and her men over once he saw who they were. He signaled for her to follow him up an alley and around the corner, before having her peak around a building at a small courtyard. Even in the light of the flames and amongst his men in a city squad Stannis Baratheon stood out. His sword still glowed bright and his crown glittered with the flames. He was surrounded by about 300 men and he issued orders from among them, pointing and directing where they should attack.
"We've gathered the men to take his force, if we attack now we could end the war." Robb whispered to her. "After that we can head to the Iron Gate, it's just past him." Dacey nodded in reply, the risks were worth it. Avoiding Stannis would put him behind them and in a position to crush their forces against the gate, and if they could kill him the battle would be done. Ending Stannis would end the war.
Robb signaled to the rest of the force to move up and they did so as quietly as they could. Once they were in position Robb drew his sword, and led the charge at Stannis' forces. Stannis' men turned with unbelievable discipline to establish a defensive line and stop them. The archers behind the line managed to get off a volley of arrows that took out some of the men behind her. They hit the defensive line as hard as they could, preventing the archers from getting off another round and eventually Dacey lost herself in the flow of the battle.
She didn't know how long she'd been fighting when she heard the roar and felt another heat wave. She fell back a bit and watched as green fire rained, most of it hitting the buildings around them, but some hit their men and sent them into disarray. That seemed to give Stannis' men a boost, and they fought even harder than before. She saw Robb trying to rally the men, and did the same with her own group, pressing the attack. Despite her best efforts they were still being pushed back, Stannis' men were fighting fanatically, led by their king. Dacey charged a huge knight in full plate, covered with a purple and white tunic, who was cutting through their men, and leading a group of Stannis' defenders.
He turned to face her as she charged him and swung his greatsword at her. She ducked it, hearing a scream as it hit one of the men with her, and swung back at him with her mace. It hit but she immediately knew it wouldn't kill him, the body blow wouldn't do enough damage, best case he might be slowed down. She ripped her mace free before going to take another swing at him, he was staggered but apparently still had enough sense to block with his smoky blade. The sword went right through the handle of her mace, and it occurred to her she'd seen a blade similar to it before. Valyrian Steel. She registered in the moment before she heard his shout of "You cunt!" and felt him drive his armored fist into her stomach. She staggered back, holding in the urge to vomit, and was barely able to duck the next cut he made at her, but not the knee to her face that followed it. She was knocked back onto a burning stall against one of the house walls, and the pain from that hurt far worse than any of the other blows.
She was still trying to get up as he advanced when she heard him scream again, and when she looked up she saw a blade poking through his right shoulder. He dropped the great sword as his arm spasmed, before turning and smashing the soldier who'd stabbed him in the head with his fist. As the man crumpled Dacey grabbed one of the burning planks and jammed it in the knight's face through his helm as he turned back, ignoring the screaming pain in her back. He backhanded her reflexively, knocking her away again as he tried to clear the debris from his face and eyes. "You fucking cunt!" he shouted again as he started advancing. She got up and scrambled for a sword another dead soldier had dropped nearby. She heard a growl and then another scream as she grabbed the sword and turned to see Grey Wind attacking the man. The direwolf bit at his exposed face, causing him to scream more obscenities, though he eventually managed to throw the beast off. He wasn't able to do anything more as a blade abruptly severed his head from his body.
"This…" Robb said to the corpse, holding Valyrian Steel Great sword he'd just decapitated the man with, "is mine." He moved to help her up before a look of alarm crossed his face and he put down Ice for a moment to pull out his dagger. "Part of your hairs on fire, I'm going to have to cut it off." He said before she felt a hard tug on the back of her head as he sawed through her hair. She went to feel it after he'd finished and found it didn't even reach her shoulders now. "Sorry about the rough job, I'm a little new at this." Robb joked.
"Its fine, I'd rather be bald than on fire." She replied. The moment was broken when she heard another soldier charge and watched Patrek and Owen cut him down. "We need to get moving, can't let Wendel and Loras get all the glory." He smiled back before he picked Ice back up and headed into the fray. Patrek charged to follow him, while Owen waited for her to grab a shield off one of the dead nearby and join them.
She'd only partially been kidding about Wendel and Loras taking all the glory. She didn't know when Wendel had joined the fight, but his heavy knights had hit Stannis from the side and broken the defensive line. Stannis men were still holding, but they were outnumbered and out maneuvered. Loras Tyell was leading their strongest charge though, fighting like a demon from the glimpses Dacey got through the other men. He was charging straight at Stannis, though more men kept blocking him from their king. The rest of their forces were pushing forward at a slower pace, but Stannis' men were being pushed back.
Loras had almost broken through when Stannis himself lead his personal guard down into the fray, pushing them back again. She saw Loras dodge a cut by one of the Baratheon men, only to stumble over the corpse of one behind him. Her attention was ripped back to herself as one of the Baratheon men stabbed at her. She parried him and danced around him to cut him down, and found herself past Stannis' line. She saw others were breaking through, and started attacking the men nearby from behind, it may not have been the most honorable way, but she just wanted the battle to be over. They're not fucking breaking. She thought, any other group would have broken long ago. Outnumbered, flanked and now surrounded the men still fought on, their fanatical devotion to their King and God letting them fight would only end when Stannis was dead she realized, and she started to try to fight her way to him. She was stopped by another group of soldiers, but not before she saw that Robb and the rest of the commanders were doing the same. Robb was swinging Ice and shouting, trying to draw Stannis attention and men to him, and it succeeded. The other king noticed him and led his men towards him through the fight. Dacey redoubled her efforts to reach him, and saw the others doing the same.
It wasn't any of them that reached him though. Loras Tyrell somehow got back up, he had fallen into a puddle of wildfire, his left side and arm were wreathed in flames. He'd ripped the cape he'd been wearing off, along with his helm. Even in the light of the flames she could see the left side of his face was and angry red and his armor seemed to be melting. It slowed him somewhat, but he never stopped, staring Stannis down the whole way. She watched as he stabbed Stannis in the back, and the whole battlefield around him seemed to stop for a second.
The spell was broken when one of Stannis' guards took a swing at Loras trying to avenge his king. Loras still had enough in him to block the attack but as the other guards started to attack him it was clear he wouldn't last. The other Highguarden soldiers moved to help him, as did the rest of their forces. The only advantage was that the other men were finally breaking with the loss of their commander. It took some time, but eventually they killed what remained of Stannis personal guards and the rest of his men retreated. Despite wanting to celebrate, they didn't have time to. Robb started gathering the men, and carrying the wounded out. One of the men tried to help her, but she waved him off, there were others who were hurt far worse than she was. Wendel insisted on helping her though, and she accepted just to get him to leave her alone.
Leaving the city was worse than entering it, with nothing to distract her from the idea of the rest of the wildfire detonating. Every second, or sound made her wonder if it was about ignite, and they'd all die in one great blaze. If Stannis' witch had power over fire she figured it would be a fitting revenge. They eventually made it to the Iron Gate, and found it open and abandoned. They rushed out the gate and didn't stop until they'd made it back to the siege line.
It finally hit her then, the same way it had when she'd seen Tywin dead, that things were at an end. She heard the first celebratory cheers go up, and was starting join in when she felt a hand on her back. She could tell it was Wendel by his moustache, despite the blood and ashes on his face. "We're taking the wounded back to the main camp on sleds, you need to hurry and get on one. Get a maester to look at you."
"I'm fi-" she started before a surge of pain through her face and back. She tried to grit her teeth but felt that felt oddly uneven, and hurt even more.
"You're not." She heard Wendel say quietly. "Now come on." He helped her up and put her arm around his neck to help her limp over to where the sleds were being loaded. Now that she could feel it every step was agony, she was barely able to stay conscious. She tried to focus on sweat that was dripping off her, anything to be able to ignore the pain again. Oh. Its blood. She realized when she went to wipe some of it away and felt jagged cuts across her cheek. She decided against checking for any other wounds, with any luck she could keep ignoring them if she didn't know they existed.
It felt so much harder to keep her eyes open now that she could feel all her injuries. She barely made out Loras Tyrell as they walked by, his chest was armorless, but his left gauntlet and shoulder plate were still on, and it looked like they were melted onto him. She saw other men with similar burns on the ground as they passed by. Eventually they reached the sled and Wendel helped her lie down on it. He tried to say something to her but she couldn't make it out as she drifted off.
AN: Remember way back in the author's note for chapter two when I said I'd try to release chapters weekly? Yeeeeah sorry. I'll try for one every month, maybe two on a really good month. It does have upsides, though, this chapter was influenced by the battle of the bastards which wouldn't have happened if I'd been quicker. The general beats were initially the same, but after that episode I made parts more visceral and chaotic, to try to capture that feeling of battle. On another chapters should be about this long now, and I'll start putting extas in these author's notes.
For this first one I figured I'd say how I got the idea for this story, and a little background on it. I first thought it up about a year ago, when I saw an analysis of Robb's command in the War of the Five Kings, and an argument about whether he was lying about the plan to trap Tywin. That got me thinking on whether Robb could even win the war if he did that and what would happen if he did. I went looking for fanfic that might cover it and while there was some, most of it I had some problems with, or it didn't really cover what I want it too. So I had the idea, but sat on it for a while, I'd never written anything before and didn't have any idea how to start. Eventually I drafted an outline and finally started writing it when I felt confident enough. I've gotten a positive response and I'm really happy about that and appreciate it.
So the initial idea was Robb actually tells Edmure, and wins the war. While that was an interesting idea, I had no idea where to go with it after that. I could go with him retaking and then ruling the North, but that felt boring and didn't involve a lot of other characters. I had read some other Robb wins, and Robb/Margaery and that really gave me the idea of where to go and how to draw the rest of the world into this story. I mentioned earlier I had problems with some of the other fics about Robb winning and I kinda wanted to deal with those, or avoid them.
The first problem I had was everything turning out perfect and happy. There were no problems or tensions and Robb and Margaery had a perfect marriage with lots of sex every chapter, and I didn't feel like that was realistic. There should be tensions, and things shouldn't be perfect. In this fic at least they have a marriage build on a lie and breaking a marriage contract, and that isn't a good way to start or maintain a marriage. Shireen and Myrcella are still alive and can challenge Robb's incredibly tenuous grasp on the Iron Throne. Beyond that it shouldn't just focus on Robb and his wife. So many stories focus exclusively on them, and ignore the rest of the realm, or even their families. Some people like that and I get that, but to me that isn't what I like about the books. I want multiple characters and plotlines, with conflict and politicking and different stories and views colliding.
My other big thing involves the consequences and changes that would result from it. Arya still becomes an assassin for no reason or a Red Wedding type event happens despite the fact there's not really a reason for one. Dany's invasion is either ignored or never happens. Things should change, and new events should happen as a result. SPOILERS for a later chapter ahead, though I've alluded to what happens and you may have figured it out, but if you don't wanna know then skip to the end of this paragraph. A lot of stories I'd read ignored changes that should result from it. The main one being the Wildling attack at the Wall. They should win, and Jon should die, but a lot ignore that and the Wildlings and Jon just magically have peace.
That got a little ranty, but it does explain where I'm coming from with this story. It's not going to be a fluffy, easy story. There will be conflicts, and it'll span multiple characters and plotlines. Things won't be perfect for Robb and Margaery, but they should be interesting. The next chapter should come up sometime in July and if you have anything you want to know to know go ahead and ask and I'll try to cover it. See you then