New story, yes, I know I should probably write more on New Wolf in Town, but I've pretty much lost all inspiration there... It's not dead! It's just in a bit of a coma...

For those of you who managed to read the teaser before it was removed, I guess it took less than a week to get the first chapter up:-)

Any questions, just ask!

/MinnaVipera


The ship set out from White Harbour on the first tide. The cog was loaded to the brim with lumber from the Wolfswood, ironwood and sentinels and soldier pines were highly valued in the south. Walrus tusks and spiralling narwhal horns, hunted in the cold expanses of the Shivering Sea, were sought after amongst the artisans of Myr. A small number of weirwood saplings were also brought, as was tradition, to spread the Gods' sight of the World.

But the most important cargo onboard was currently standing on the bow and watching the scraggly mountains of the Vale pass by to her starboard side. The Princess of Winter, second daughter of the King of Winter, was headed South.

Raya Stark wasn't entirely convinced of this idea of her father's. He had been looking South for some time and had asked her to establish trade relations with the Martells of Sunspear and the Dayne of Starfall. She scoffed. It was nothing but a poor way of trying to get her fastened to a man. The Martell prince was supposedly handsome and only three namedays her senior, while the lord Dayne's younger brother, the current Sword of the Morning, was her own age of six-and-ten namedays. Her father, Cregard Stark, had undoubtedly hoped that one of them may manage to tame his wildest daughter where every would-be suitor north of the Trident had failed completely. Raya had always been happiest when atop one of the horses that made up her mother's banners and swinging the sword her favourite cousin had gifted her on her tenth nameday. She wasn't made to sit in a tower and only pop out heirs to a husband.

She would see the world before that would ever happen. She knew her duty to her kingdom meant she would be forced to marry eventually, but she'd be damned if she wasn't going to live first!


A moon later found the Princess and her ship in the middle of the Narrow Sea, well out of sight for any lookout from the Durrandon stronghold and shielded further from land by light fog in all directions. A storm had passed two nights prior and Raya had just gotten over her sea sickness enough to leave her cabin. The two handmaidens she had brought with her from Winterfell wasn't faring any better and little Serena Snow was still bedridden while her elder sister Sarra was trying to get her to eat something.

"Princess, how are you faring today?"

The captain, Medric Threefinger, was the son of a bastard cousin of the Manderlys and had grown up sailing. He had supposedly lost two fingers to a shark when he was eight. Or to a rigging mishap at age one-and-ten. Or during a pirate attack at eight-and-ten. The story changed every time she asked, so she wasn't sure how he actually lost the two fingers of his right hand, but he seemed to do pretty good without them.

"Better, thank you Captain, but I am afraid Serena may require some time on solid land soon. I certainly hope we shall be spared from any more storms."

"We are around four leagues out from Rain House, if the winds are good we should reach Sunspear within a fortnight. I'm afraid that I cannot promise anything about storms, but we should have passed the worst of them. The Stepstones should provide calmer and dryer winds, Your Grace."

"Good. I do not look forward to more storms like the last one."

At that moment the lookout suddenly dropped down from the rigging. "Captain, three ships sighted to the south east, five points to port! Moving fast, contact should be in an hour, but it's hard to determine their speed."

Captain Medric was immediately fully alert, eyes scanning the foggy horizon and cursing as he made out the foggy silhouettes of three ships with full sails. Their own cog wasn't a small vessel but she had much less sails than the approaching ships and was built for cargo rather than speed. "ALL HANDS ON DECK!" he bellowed, followed it up with a "pardon princess, but please get below deck for your own safety" before going back to shouting at his men to shift the sails and get their weapons ready.

Raya ran to the cabin she shared with her handmaidens and dug her beloved sword from the trunk at the foot of her bed while hurriedly explaining the situation to the Snows and telling them to get their own weapons out. Sarra dug out her own sword and threw three daggers to Serena before hiding another in her skirts. Raya had her poisoned hair pin out and held out two more to the sisters. "I know they are plain, but they can still kill. Manticore venom. You know what hairstyle to use. Do not let anyone take them from you. Last resort only." The three had figured out a way to put their hair up while also not making the pins obvious a year earlier, and Raya kept three poisoned hair pins on her at all times the three left the safety of Winterfell.

Almost an hour later the captain came down to inform them that the three ships were almost upon them and would they please barricade their cabin door as best as they can, before he ran back up to the deck. The girls did the best they could and soon their three trunks were stacked up to the door.

Shortly thereafter all hell broke loose.


The bearing to the pirate ships is marked in points. One point is 1/32 of 360 degrees and is how compasses are commonly marked (NNNW level of accuracy, if that helps). This goes back to at least the old Traverse Board, a way of using dead reckoning to figure out the average course during a four-hour watch on a ship.

Ages:

Raya: 16

Sarra: 15

Serena: 10