The Raven's Plan
Author's Notes: Ok my hyperactive muse has struck again. Considering the number of open stories I have ,I should NOT be starting another fic that isn't a one shot. I know most people were expecting an update for Erpman-or any of my other stories, but then this happened...
Rating: M; it's Game of Thrones, anything less is not Game of thrones :D
Summary: The Second War for the Dawn is over, the Others have won. All that is left is one insane plan.
Chapter 1 The Final Defiance
The Three Eyed Raven
It was night, the moon shone down on him as he watched the Children of the Forest prepare for the Ritual at the base of the last surviving Heart Tree. Melisandre stood behind them and observed quietly. A light snow fell on the already white landscape.
In the center of the Godswood of the Isle of Faces, was a massive and ancient Heart Tree. A hidden Heart Tree. It had stood tall since before the time of the First Men.
Bran was propped up on a large stone out of the way and away from the foot of the giant Heart Tree, watching the final preparations for the Ritual.
He turned to stare at those assembled now. The Last of the Great Houses of Westeros.
Sansa Stark stood covered in heavy furs, tall and proud, the grey direwolf stitched across her dress, unflinching, even in the face of death, she remained poised and ready as mother had taught her.
Jon stood next to her. Gone was the bastard of Winterfell, he had changed, gone was the grey direwolf of House Stark, the red, three headed dragon of House Targaryen was etched across his breastplate. Jon Targaryen stood there. The rightful King of the Seven Kingdoms.
Jon's Aunt stood with them. The Dragon Queen, Daenerys Targaryen stood resplendent in fabrics and furs, colored in the traditional black and red of House Targaryen. The red dragon on her dress, almost seemed to move in the wind.
A little a ways away from them, two brothers stood speaking quietly. Jaime and Tyrion Lannister.
Jaime stood tall, thinner than before and not as haughty as he had been, but a measure of it remained. He would not be Jaime Lannister if he was not a little bit haughty. He wore simple armour, adorned with the red lion of House Lannister, Oathkeeper at his belt. His metal hand had been replaced with a much more functional dragonglass hook.
Next to him, Tyrion almost seemed to be a mockery of him, a smaller version of the red lion of House Lannister adorned his tunic, with simple furs on his back.
"This plan is insane." Jon commented to no one in particular.
Bran shrugged, "We have no other choice."
"We could all fight and die horribly," deadpanned Jaime Lannister. "That's always an option."
"My brother does have a point. Not a very good one, but it is a valid one," added Tyrion idly.
"This is the better option," Bran retorted.
"This is our only option." cut in Daenerys Targaryen. "We have lost everything. We will go back. We will change everything. We will save everyone."
Bran blinked at Daenerys, "Not everyone."
"He's right. Not everyone." Sansa agreed with him.
"I think I will deal personally with some of those people when this works," Jaime added wolfishly.
"So we are agreed then. This plan will work," Daenerys confirmed.
"Of course you Grace," Tyrion agreed with a mock bow and easy smile.
"The Children will chant and bleed a little then you chant and bleed some," Jaime jerked a thumb at Bran, "Then he does his magic...and all me and Jon have to do is stall the army of the undead," Jaime stated sarcastically. "Sounds simple enough."
"It's very simple, we lead our army. Hold off the Night's King's horde of undead long enough for you to finish the spell." Jon stated dourly.
An army Three thousand strong...a paltry number, but it was all that was left of the might of Westeros, the Golden Company, and Daenerys's Dothraki and Unsullied followers.
Three thousand against an untold number of wights and White Walkers.
What little mirth had filled them disappeared quickly after Jon's dour comment.
They were quiet, standing in silent contemplation till a scout came to them.
"Your Grace, they're coming." he reported quickly to Jon.
Jon waved him away and turned to Jaime, "Time to do our part."
Jaime nodded before turning to his brother, "This is not the end," he said firmly to Tyrion.
"Of course not, Brother," Tyrion said with his usual self sure smile.
Jaime bent down and grabbed his brother giving him a big hug. Jaime let him go and they nodded seriously at each other before Jaime turned and left quickly without another word.
Jon gave both Sansa and Daenerys hugs and chaste kisses before going to Bran. Or at least he tried to give a chaste kiss to Daenerys, it turned it something more.
Pushing that aside, Jon went to Bran and hugged him, "You do this...for all our sake's," Jon whispered into his ear.
With that Jon strode away.
Bran waited for a moment till they were completely out of earshot, he turned to the watching Children, "We can really begin the spell now."
The Children nodded and five of them formed a circle around the truck of the Heart Tree, daggers in hand.
Melisandre moved to stand behind them with Daenerys, Tyrion and Sansa side by side behind her. The last scions of three Great Houses also held daggers.
The Children stared chanting in their language. The only sound in Godswood was their words.
Bran could feel the magic being woven in the air as the chants intensified.
Barn eyed Tyrion as he stared mournfully at his dagger, "This is not how I wanted to die. I'm not old. I don't have a belly full of wine. And I don't have a girl's mouth-" he broke off as he looked around and realized who he was surrounded by.
Daenerys was giving him a look and Sansa did not look amused.
He looked at them guiltily then frowned, then finished his sentence, "-around my cock. I'm the Imp, I have certain standards of perversions I need to hold up. And I'm about to stab myself in the heart! I'm allowed to say these things!" he exclaimed, emphatically shaking his dagger in the air.
Daenerys and Sansa gave him dark looks before chuckling.
"I think we can forgive him his crudeness this time?" Daenerys said as an aside to Sansa.
Sansa gave him mock reproachful look, "Just this time."
The Children's chanting grew louder and the magic stronger.
"It's almost time." Melisandre pronounced.
Tyrion swallowed, holding the dagger up, "I'll see you all on the other side."
The chanting came to a sudden stop and as one the Children plunged their daggers into their own hearts.
Bran felt the magic peak as their bodies fell.
"NOW!" cried Melisandre.
The three human sacrifices played their part and their bodies joined the Childrens splayed out over the roots of the Heart Tree. The Blood of the First Men, Old Valyria and Children of Forest fed the Heart Tree.
The Heart Tree began to glow.
The magic crescendoed and engulfed Bran.
He let the magic take him and he began weaving the final part of the spell.
Sam gazed out at the frozen surface of the God's Eye. It had started to freeze two days ago and it was completely frozen over now. The wights had already started to shuffle across the ice.
"We're all set," called a voice from behind Sam.
He turned and faced the old Knight, Ser Darvon Cressy, the old scarred and grizzled Master-of-arms of Horn Hill.
Sam looked at him and old memories resurfaced unbidden.
The old Knight had spent countless days trying to make him a warrior during his youth. The Knight had failed miserably back then.
The old Sam had stayed weak and fat, though not useless. Jon Snow had shown him that, but he could have done more back then.
The new Sam knew the value of knowledge. But also that that value could be strengthened with strength of arms. The new Sam was sharp of mind, with hard muscles. The old flab was gone, replaced with hard muscle. Sluggishness, with quickness.
He'd learned much over the years, and all that it had cost him was his family. Gilly. Little Sam. Talla.
It had been so long since Gilly and little Sam had died, he'd started to forget their voices.
He'd failed them.
Dark thoughts swarmed and he felt anger at the old Sam.
The irony of it all was that his father, the redoubtable Lord Randal Tarly would have approved of the new Sam. Stubborn idiot that he had been.
Sam snorted in derision as he thought of his idiot father and how his stubbornness had dragged Dickon into the grave with him.
He and Dickon hadn't been on the best of terms but that didn't mean he'd wanted to see him dead.
Sam shook his head to clear it. Old memories would be a costly distraction now. He returned to the here and now.
His hand clenched around the hilt of Heartsbane.
He stared out at the approaching army of Wights.
"Tell the men, the moment we spot him, I need to know," Sam commanded gruffly.
"Yes my lord," Ser Darvon said before scurrying off to spread the command.
"I see him, my Lord," Ser Darvon said pointing.
Sam followed the finger and rage ignited in his soul as he locked eyes on the Night's King, "Gather the men, it's time! We're not dying quietly tonight."
Ser Darvon started shouting orders and men rushed to obey him.
A man brought him his horse, and he swung astride smoothly. He looked back at the gathered men and his eyes met Ser Darvon's. The Knight nodded at him.
He stared around him, looking at all the men that were looking to his leadership now. Men and Women. All fighters ready to sell their lives to defeat the Others. From all corners of the Westeros and beyond.
Other than Ser Darvon, the only person he really knew was Gendry. Robert Baratheon's bastard son sat astride his horse next to him, warhammer at the ready. He was his father's son.
And a reassuring presence to him and the others with them.
With one smooth motion Sam unsheathed Heartsbane and pointed forward towards the Night's King. He turned to the assembled men. "He's come for us! I say NO! I say his time has come! Who's with me?"
The men screamed in approval.
Sam raised Heartsbane up high and gave a wordless roar.
He gave a final nod to Gendry, "For Gilly." he said grimly.
Gendry nodded back just as grim, raising his warhammer, "For Arya."
Sam pointed Heartsbane forward at the Night's King, "Change!" he roared, spurring his horse forward beginning the cavalry attack.
The shield wall parted and his armored force thundered through the gap towards their target.
The Wights came at them, uncaring as always, the front rows were crushed under the weight of the horses and the men. Sam's men didn't stop for anything. They continued onwards with only one purpose.
The weight of wights began to take its toll and horses started falling. Men and women began screaming their final defiance.
They edged nearer to the Night's King.
"We stop for nothing!" Sam screamed bolstering the men's courage.
Ser Darvon threw his dragonglass tipped spear and hit his mark.
A White Walker screeched and then shattered, the spear clattering to the ground.
The wights began to thin and Sam's force moved faster.
Another Walker crouched down touched the ground. Ice sprang forward towards the galloping men. The men scattered apart knowing what was coming next. Ice spikes broke through he ground impaling men and horses. The lucky ones were only thrown from their horses into the writhing mass of waiting wights.
Out of the corner of his eye he watched, a now horseless Gendry, as he twirled his warhammer, the sharpened shards of dragonglass attached to the head of the hammer glittered in the moonlight. Skulls shattered, chests were crushed, wight after wight charged him.
All were met by crushing blows, returning them to the dirt they had risen from.
A gap formed around Gendry and two White Walkers came at him, blades at the ready.
He deftly dodged their blows, dancing out of the way, blow after blow came at him till one the White Walkers overextended. With a savagery that spoke of Gendry's ancestry, he brought his warhammer up to shatter the Walker's jaw.
The Walker dropped to the ground with a gurgling scream, dragonglass shards stuck in its face and neck. The sound disappeared quickly as it died. It's form disbursing into a white mist.
The second Walker roared it's rage and renewed it's attack with vigor. Gendry continued to dodge till his luck ran out.
He was forced back and parried a blow with the unprotected shaft of his warhammer. The warhammer shattered, leaving him almost weaponless.
In an act of desperation, Gendry launched himself bodily at the Walker, pulling his dagger. His last reminder of Arya. Her Valyrian steel dagger.
With an roaring thrust, the Walker shattered, leaving Gendry sprawled on the ground.
He disappeared under a mass of scrambling wights.
So fell the Reborn Demon of the Trident.
All this Sam saw but didn't pay attention to, his men continued to fall around him, but he had a mission to fulfill.
His gaze was locked on the Night's King, and nothing else mattered to him.
Closer and closer he came, Heartsbane slashing up and down at anything that moved near him.
The Night's King turned his head and their eyes met.
The next moment Sam felt himself flying through he air. He didn't know what had happened but he braced himself and rolled with the impact and came up swinging his greatsword in arc around him, catching Wights and an unwary White Walker.
With relentless force he advanced on The Night's King.
The Wights parted before him and drew away from him.
The Night's King unsheathed his ice sword and stood at the ready, almost beckoning Sam forward.
With a roar a fury, Sam raised Heartsbane high and stuck at the enemy!
Valyrian steel met enchanted ice. The battle was begun.
Sam advanced with a series of blows fueled by his loss. The faces everyone he'd lost to the Others giving him strength beyond anything he'd thought he'd had. Gilly, Talla, his mother, Little Sam, and so many others...
He roared in the Night King's face.
The Night's King parried each blow, then he went on the attack.
Heartsbane was nearly wrenched from his hands with the first retaliatory blow.
Blow after blow rained down on him and his arms ached as he caught the Night King's immensely powerful blows. Each blow more powerful than any he had had thrown at him by other White Walkers.
Suddenly coldness spread through his gut. Heartsbane fell to the ground from his nerveless hands. Sam stared down and saw the Night King's sword stuck in his gut.
The Night's King slowly slid his icy blade out of Sam's gut.
His legs failed him and he fell to his knees. His hands went to his gut and became wet with blood.
He closed his eyes, ignoring the icy coldness spreading though him.
I'll see you soon Gilly...
He opened his eyes and stared balefully up at the Night's King uncaring eyes.
The Night King's sword came up and then swept down.
Further back from the first line of defenders, with a far-eye, Jon watched as Sam fell. He lowered it, unshed tears filling his eyes.
Goodbye Sam. Old Gods willing, I'll see you soon.
Too many friends lost.
Too many allies gone.
Remember our bargain! Theon comes home, You give me back my brother! Jon remembered Yara Greyjoy's last demand before she'd gone off to her death.
Jon nodded, "I haven't forgotten." he said to himself. She'd died a couple of weeks ago helping to make this last stand possible.
What's one more death between friends? Beric Dondarrion had said with an easy smile before he finally died.
I guess it is today for me...but you need to keep telling him not today! Arya's last defiant and cryptic words.
"I haven't forgotten any of you," he repeated mournfully to himself.
Someone pushed him from behind snapping him out of his revere.
"You're thinking too much Snow," Tormund Giantsbane mocked. "The enemy is here. I plan to kill two thousand of those fuckers before I die!" he hefted up two dragonglass axes, one in each hand, "That's why I've got two axes!" he finished with a toothy manic smile.
Jon snorted, "That's still not going get the Big Lady to like you. She likes her men pretty. And blonde." he jerked his thumb in the direction that Jaime Lannister was leading his men. "When we get back...he was even prettier then." Jon finished.
Tormund cast an angry look in the general direction of the distant Jaime then turned away with a snarl of disgust.
"What's eating him?" asked Eddison Tollett as he approached casting a thoughtful look at the Wildling.
"Well if it isn't the last Crow! Tormund Giantsbane said, his disgust turning into a wide smile.
Edd scowled darkly, "Don't remind me, bloody fucking terrific Lord Commander I turned out to be."
Jon grinned at his friend, "I did tell you to try not to knock the Wall down while I was gone..."
Edd's scowl deepened, "Seven Hells! I'm going to go join the Others! At least there I won't have to deal with this bloody abuse!"
Tormund and Jon chuckled.
A horn sounded and the mirth died.
The Others had breached the first line. Their strategy called for three lines of defense on the only path leading to the Heart Tree, traps thrown between the lines. They knew they couldn't win outright...but all they had to do was slow the Night's King's army of wights down.
Jon shared determined glances with Edd and Tormund, before casting a look to the moon and stars. Not much time had passed since the battle had begun. Their whole strategy was aimed at wasting time. Every second that passed was one more that Bran had to finish his spell.
A second horn sounded, the second line had been engaged.
Jaime Lannister was in the second line.
They were commanding the third line.
May the Old Gods and the New protect you.
Jon prayed silently for Jaime's success. Every second counted.
He didn't now how much time had passed since the third line had been engaged, he was bloody and bruised. There was a sharp pain in his chest and his breathing was becoming an issue. He was on his knees, Longclaw clutched desperately in his hand.
By force of will alone, he rose again to his feet, blood was trickling down into his eyes. He wiped the blood from his eyes.
He struck out with Longclaw, he swung with all of his might left and right in a crazed manner. It didn't matter where he struck, only he was left standing...he was surrounded on all sides. He couldn't see any of his men left on their feet around him.
He was dizzy, the world was spinning but still he didn't stop slashing. Movement caught his eye and he forced himself to focus.
The Night's King!
Far in front of him, the Night's King stood still, a spear held at the ready in his right hand.
The Night's King threw his spear and Jon was too weak to dodge.
He went flying back, the power of the spear carrying him through the air.
He landed on his back barely able to breathe, coldness spreading all through his body.
As Jon's blood escaped his body and stained the ground, his last coherent thought was; this has to work...
The Three Eyed Raven
It was too much power! Too much blood!
The roots of the Heart Tree went too far, too deep...
The entire island was the alter to the Old Gods!
Every death on the island was fueling the spell. Every death adding more and more power to an already unstable and unpredictable spell. The blood of the Children of the Forest, the wolfsblood of the Ancient Kings of Winter, lionsblood of the Kings of the Rock, Blood of the Dragon...all would have been more than enough for the spell.
But now...too much blood was being absorbed by the roots of the ancient Heart Tree. The blood of three thousand men and women. The combined bloodlines of Westeros and Essos.
His consciousness continued to stretch out, reaching across time, trying to direct the power into the proper channels, preventing it from going to other channels.
An intricate web, now with too many fibers reaching back into the past. He shaped them, connecting some and severing others.
His mind strained, he could feel himself dying...he kept at it, he could not fail. Everything was at stake now.
He shaped everything, forming a new plan, and after an eternity his new web was complete.
The spell was finally finished.
His consciousness returned to his body.
He returned to the here and now.
He opened his eyes.
The burnt out husk of Melisandre's body burned at the center of the alter. The magic had consumed her. She'd sacrificed herself for him, she'd borne the brunt of so much power. He hadn't realized it, but to help him control the power, she'd let it consume her.
The bodies of the Children, Daenerys, Sansa and Tyrion lay were they'd died, untouched. Blood pooled over the roots of the Heart Tree, feeding it.
He turned his gaze to the glowing Heart Tree.
The Heart Tree did not glow now, it shone like the sun. Light expanding everywhere. He squinted his eyes and he could see red tears were now streaming down the carved face. There was an ominous groan and the light shone brighter for an instant before the tree exploded.
Splinters of Light expanded outwards and overwhelmed everything...
Author's Notes: An explosive beginning with lots of changed characters :D I wonder what will happen next? ;)