His Name Was William. GoT OneShot.
A/N: Wrote this in an hour. Hope you enjoy it.
The Multiverse is a remarkable place. So many different worlds and paths spawning from so many people and their decisions. Worlds where Cersei and Robert's first born child lived. Worlds where foreigners come from strange lands to reshape Westeros anew. Worlds where those who know the future do their best to prepare for the coming danger.
But alas this world is not like those worlds. It is nearly identical to the world with which we are all familiar.
There is but a single difference.
The final words of a condemned man.
William did his best not to stumble as the guards roughly shoved him up the hill, the contempt for him clear in their eyes. Eyes that didn't see him. Not as a human anyway. He wasn't a man of the north anymore. Nor a brother of the Night's Watch.
He was a deserter. A breaker of vows and honor. Criminals and common thugs would be looked upon higher. They were vile men but at least they were still seen as men.
The executioner's block came into view with The Warden of The North standing stoically next to it. A small party alongside him to watch him fulfill his duty.
William wasn't sure he believed in the gods, the old or the new, and yet he found himself muttering a prayer to them as he walked closer and closer to his end. Was there anything for him after death? Surely there must be more than there was for him in life. A life where he was the forgotten sixth son of a family of more talented children. A life where he had done so depressingly little.
A life where he never had any true friends. A life where he never made any real enemies. He never lay with a woman. He fathered no children. He never built anything nor did anything of remote importance.
It was as he could finally see Lord Eddard Stark's face clearly that he realized his life had truly been meaningless.
The two guards gripping him held him up as the northern Lord looked at him expectantly. It would seem as though it were time for his last words.
He thought about what to say. He had practiced it in his head while he was rotting in a cell yesterday. Pieces of his small speech flickered in his head. 'I know I broke my oath...I saw the White Walkers...If you can get word to my family...tell them I'm sorry'
He knew the words and yet somehow they were stuck in his throat. He couldn't get them out. He tried to speak them and yet no sound came. So instead he made a different choice. To do the only real thing he'd ever done in his life. He was going to make sure this man believed him.
"I didn't think they were real...I thought they were like snarks and grumkins...just stories used to frighten children..." William started to speak as he retreated into his memories.
The Warden of The North subtly arched an eyebrow in light confusion but made no effort stop him speaking.
"...The White Walkers. I saw them...the stories do not do their horror justice. I saw a wildling girl, no more than eight, nailed to a tree by a spear. Not five minutes later I saw that same girl walking with eyes blue as sapphire, raised from the dead by the Walkers foul magic…."
William saw the disbelieving looks and sneers from some in Eddard Starks party but he pressed forward.
"...I saw my friend. A ranger like me. Beheaded by a Walker with a blade of pure ice...I can still feel them even now...the cold they brought with them as they chased me through the trees...it went deeper than bone. It chilled my very soul...any man who feels it will remember it for the rest of his days...no fire will ever burn it away..."
The Warden of The North stared into the deserters eyes. Looking for any sign of deception. What he found was not what he hoped. The haunt was real in the mans face. He could almost see the shapes of the demons reflected in the mans eyes. There were only four times in his life where he had looked at someone and known beyond all shadow of a doubt that the person was telling the truth. This time would make the fifth.
"...Please Lord Stark...I beg of you...not as a brother of the Night's Watch to The Warden of The North...not as a northman to his liege lord...I beg of you as one human being to another...you have to get us ready...The Walkers have returned...and the dead come with them…If they ever find a way past the wall...it's the end of everyone."
Without needing a prompt or waiting for a response William bent his knees and willingly put his head on the executioner's block. He'd said his piece. He couldn't think of anymore words. Now there was nothing left to do but pay for his crime.
There was silence for a good long while. Was it a minute? Two? Or perhaps no more than 20 seconds. Eventually though there was the slight sound of a sword being removed from it's sheath.
"In the name of Robert of the House Baratheon, first of his name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and protector of the realm. I, Eddard of the House Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of The North, sentence you to die."
With the swing of his sword the deed was done. No one seemed to have anything to say. The two guards wordlessly carried William away for burial and the party from Winterfell got back on their horses.
Each member of the group had different thoughts on what they had witnessed. Different things to say if they were asked about it. But the only one which mattered was Eddard Starks.
The King's delegation was set to arrive any day now and Ned knew what he would be asked. If you had questioned him this morning he would have said he was going to begrudgingly agree to be Hand of the King for his old friend.
But no longer.
He was going to turn his friend down. He was needed here. In The North. He prayed to the old gods that the deserter was mistaken. That he had hallucinated the things he'd seen. But on the even 1% chance that what he spoke was true...The North would be ready.
There is but a single difference.
And it is that one change that will save the world.