Battle for the Dawn 302 AC.
Ser Richard Lonmouth.
He had listened as his king gave a speech to the men while riding a horse rather than a dragon and he had to admit it had been the right choice to do it that way. As impressive as it would have looked from Rhaenix's back, he doubted he'd have been able to ride along the line and look each man and woman in the eyes, something he was certain that Jae had wished to do. Richard was stirred by it, he had felt it resonate deep inside of him and he believed the men felt it too.
Listening to them laugh as the king said that he too wished to be elsewhere had been a welcome sound as had their cheers when he'd finished speaking. Feeling the chill as the air grew colder around him though had taken some of that good cheer away. When he saw the light he'd had to turn away so bright was it. The chill though had retreated and the light itself soon faded into one that he could at least look at and then he heard the king's voice as it boomed out loudly in the quietness of the night.
"Fire Everything." Jae shouted and Richard grabbed his torch and waved it from side to side, hearing the sound of the catapults as they were loosed and the barrels flew through the air.
Some men stood and watched after they'd fired the first set of barrels, almost as if they'd done their jobs and it annoyed him greatly.
"Did you not hear the king, everything, fire everything." he said as the men began to reload the catapults with another barrel, Richard running down the line shouting at others to do the same as he waved the torch in the air.
Another volley, then another and then he heard them in the distance. The two dragons flying over their heads riderless and with their own parts to play.
"Hold" he shouted, waving the torch up and down to send the signal for others to do the same.
Then he like those with him turned to look out at the darkness and he watched as Rhaegal and Sandorix laid down their flames. For a moment nothing happened and then he heard the booming sound and the world was once again bright. He saw the dragons as they flew high in the sky, both turning from where they had just flown over and now heading south once more. Their jobs were done, their part had been played, and looking up to them in the unearthly green light he could see they were unharmed.
"The Wildfire has been dealt with my king." he said as he stood in Jae's solar.
"I believe so, not even a flaming arrow could set it alight according to Thoros and the red priestesses." Richard said as he took a seat and looked to the king who bore an odd look on his face "Your grace?"
"A dragon, Richard, could a dragon's flames set it alight?" Jae asked and Richard looked at him curiously "I don't know your grace."
"Have a barrel brought to the Dragonpit, Rhaenix, and I will see if it's so." Jae said and saw his worried look "Far from here, Richard." he added, alleviating his concerns.
"And if it does, if Rhaenix can set it alight?" he asked.
"Then it could come in very useful in the future, very useful." Jae said with a small smile on his face and was he not who he was then it would have concerned him a little.
Richard though had no reason to be concerned by his king, he was as far from Aerys as any man could be and so when he'd come to him and told him what he wished to do with the wildfire, he'd been amazed. Seeing it now and watching the world be lit up with green flames he wore a large smile on his face. Aerys greatest wish, what would have been his worst ever crime committed upon the realm, was now being used to save the realm by his grandson. The gods work in mysterious ways indeed and as the range of the catapults was set further he found himself just as eager as Aerys had been to see it burn them all.
"Fire." he shouted as the next barrels flew in the sky and the explosion when they landed was a huge one.
Richard ordered the men to let loose again and soon enough they were done. The realm was once again cleansed of Wildfire and this time he knew they had a king who would never see it made again. He took to his horse and ordered the men to reload with the broken Dragonglass and the balls of pitch and rode down the line to make sure it had all been fired and used. To his right men cheered as the green flames rose higher and he thanked the gods they'd gotten the distance right. There were hundreds of yards between their lines and the green flames and yet he could still feel the heat that came from them even as far back as he was.
He looked on as arrows flew carrying flames of another sort and then as Rhaenix flew over his head towards the other dragons, and not the front which brought him a huge amount of relief. Not just seeing that his king and the dragon were unharmed, but that he felt secure enough to do so. Yet as he reached the end of the line he and others looked on as the green flames suddenly began to fall and as their fire was extinguished. Then all three dragons were in the air and this time it was the other way his king flew, to the fight and not away from it.
"Keep him safe, Father and Mother. Watch over him Maiden and Crone. Give him strength Warrior and Smith. Leave him be, Stranger." he said as he rode to his men and readied to play his own part in the battle to come.
It was finally upon them, the fight the company had been formed to fight and as he looked around at his men and at the others who'd come when the White Wolf had called, it made him believe. Not in the White Wolf himself, Jae had already earned his and his men's belief ten times over, but that they could and would win. Never had he seen such a force of men assembled, never in history had one this size been gathered, and they would be needed in the battle they now found themselves in.
While he'd never doubted the White Wolf, his actions had confused him and his men for some time. They weren't to scout the army they faced or to shadow them and report their movements as they marched. Apart from at the Wall itself, they hadn't even engaged with them other than when the White Wolf had brought some of his men with him and at Queenscrown. Jae choosing his battles and his grounds and never was this more true than where they were now.
Torrhen and his men had marched, listened, followed orders, and it was only when they arrived in the Riverlands did he see it for true. Along the way the White Wolf had hit and run, he and his dragon had taken the fight to dead and made them chase after their retreating army. Each day they'd done so he'd taken numbers for them and what had started out as a force twice and maybe even three times what they could call on, was now far more equal. Yet it still wasn't time for them to truly engage as the White Wolf had one last surprise up his sleeve and what a surprise it was. Torrhen was not the only man who cheered loudly when the world was lit up in green flames. The light from which showed what it was they were facing far more clearly than even seeing them close up at the Wall had.
"Flame." he shouted as the flames began to go out, something that those who'd not marched with the White Wolf looked disbelievingly at, but those who had did not.
"Nock." he shouted again as the arrows were lit and the bowstrings pulled back.
Out of what had been green fire they came, these dead things that had no right to move, and again those who'd not seen them before felt their courage began to waver. It was not him that gave them their resolve or steadied their shaking arms. It was the White Wolf as he and the other two dragons flew over them. Their flames being laid down and Torrhen looked on as dead animals that had moved quicker than the dead men, now moved no more.
"Loose." he shouted as the flaming arrows flew through the air and the sky was lit up more than it had been for moons.
He looked on as now much further ahead the dragons split off from each other, their flames the only thing that showed him they had done so. Closer to him and the men, dead men burned as their flaming arrows hit home and Torrhen gave the order for the Dragonglass tipped ones to be fired next, now they could see who they were firing at.
"Dragonglass." he shouted loudly and men moved to take their arrows from their other quivers, each of them bearing a large number of both these and the ones they'd set alight.
He could hear the running as the dead moved once more, the flames from the fallen catching some of them as they simply ran over them.
"Nock." he shouted loudly as the sound of arrows being put in place and men moving made the sound of the dead fade away.
The arrows flew and most hit home, the dead falling, and Torrhen relieved to know they'd not get back up. He repeated the order and was not alone in doing so. The sounds of other brave men calling them out could be heard all down the line. When the flames that burned the dead went out, he ordered them to send the fire arrows again and once they had done so, it was then back to the Dragonglass ones.
That catapults and trebuchets weren't idle as he and the archers loosed their arrows. Though it was balls of flaming pitch, piles of small pieces of Dragonglass and large stones that they fired over their heads. In the distance, the dragons kept about their work and it was his men and the arrows that ran out long before the dragons tired.
"Shield Wall." he shouted loudly and the night rang out with the sound of the shields been pushed together and Torrhen smiled.
Whether it was the White Wolf himself who'd come up with this idea or someone else he knew not, but he hoped he got the chance to thank whoever it was. At the Wall they had fought hand to hand, no cover other than the man's sword to your left or right and even those who hadn't fall had risked it more than perhaps they should. Here now they held large shields almost as big as a man and they wedged them in the ground. Behind them, men bore their arms and as the shields opened slightly and gave them a gap, they and the other men would attack.
"Stakes." he called out and he watched them be moved into place, the large wooden stakes they carried would impale the dead on them slowing their momentum down.
With no arrows flying the dead drew closer and Torrhen hoped he and his men were ready and that their strength and resolve would hold this night.
"Spearmen. Swordsmen." he shouted and each moved to their positions.
The spears they carried were more than twice the size of a man and needed two men to wield it, they'd not even see the dead they hit, though they would certainly feel them. As for the swordsmen, to name them that wasn't exactly speaking the truth. Some bore swords, others maces, morningstar's, axes, pikes, and halberds all of them sharing one thing in common, Dragonglass or Valyrian steel tips.
The orders were shouted out and his men, men from the Reach, West, and the Riverlands and men from the North all listened and none shirked their duty.
"For the Dawn." he shouted loudly and the dead began to crash against the shields.
Jae had not told her that he was to use Rhaegal and Sandorix and when she saw them fly over her head she almost panicked. They'd both been sent away because they had no riders and to see them here when they should not be had worried her greatly. It was only that Tyrion was so close to her that stopped her from taking to the sky and flying after them. His words bringing her the comfort that was needed and she welcomed them.
"Jae has a plan, Dany, trust in that." her brother said and Dany took a deep breath and did as he bid her.
What a plan it was too, firstly sending the barrels of wildfire through the air. The sand the wildfire had been poured over making it safe enough to move and to be around, safe until a dragon let loose its flames that was. As Rhaegal and Sandorix did just that the explosions sounded even louder in the quiet of the night and the sky was lit up in a beautiful green that she and perhaps her dragons remembered well. It had to be Dragonfire, none other would do, and were it to be her, Tyrion, or Jae himself who did so then they risked too much. Dragons could withstand both the explosions and the fire itself, true if they got fully caught up in it they'd perhaps not. Flying over it and letting loose their flames so it caught and then taking to the sky, that they could and did so.
She felt her sons' joy as they flew over her and Tyrion, heard their call as they roared out to Ellagon and Lygaron. They too had played their part and in Sandorix's case, he had avenged his rider. Rhaegal she felt believed that his own rider would be back with him and Dany let his own belief strengthen hers. With a look to Tyron and a look back to see that her sons were indeed flying away from the battle and to safety, she and Ellagon took to the sky and readied to play their own part in the battle. They were soon joined by Jae and Rhaenix, all three dragons flying no more than a few feet from each other and not as high as they could. The sounds of the men cheering as they flew over their heads reaching them as Dany closed her eyes and felt Ellagon's eagerness to do what needed to be done.
"Dracarys" she called out and heard Jae and Tyrion do the same, the three dragons each laying down their flames on the dead below them.
Once they were done, she looked to Tyrion and to Jae and saw them both nod and then each of them flew away from her. Tyrion flying to the left while Jae flew on straight and left the right to her.
"Sōvegon Ellagon, Sōvegon eglie se pār īlon maghagon zirȳ se perzys." (Fly Ellagon, Fly high and then we bring them the fire.)
Her dragon didn't need to be told twice and with a couple of flaps of her wings, Ellagon took her higher and Dany readied for what was to come. She gripped the reins tighter in her hand, felt the bow on her back and the daggers on her hip, and then she told Ellagon to dive.
"For Sandor and for Belwas. For Aemon." she said and she heard Ellagon's loud roar as her dragon answered that she'd see them all avenged.
The arrows flew her way and yet she was ready for them, her words not needed as Ellagon answered this insult with fire. She felt rather than saw the first ice spear and so she told Ellagon to move to the left and then watched it as it flew harmlessly by. When the second came she felt it too and it took her aback for a moment, even after she and Ellagon had moved away from it. While her dragon let loose and her flames took hold of the dead beneath her, Dany closed her eyes and looked deep inside of herself.
"Nrughagon ilagon" (Drop Down).
As she spoke the words she opened her eyes and saw the arrows fly by her, the ice spears miss and she smiled as she reached up to touch the wound on her shoulder.
"Sagon nyke, ellagon, sagon nyke se zūgagon daor." (Be me, Ellagon. Be me and fear not) she said and she heard her dragon's trill as Ellagon understood what she meant.
They were linked her and the Night King, the ice arrow was a magical thing, Jae had told her this and because it had struck her it had left some of the Night King's magic within her. She could feel him calling out to her and willing her to come to him and yet beneath the shouting of his call, other voices could be heard too. Voices not speaking to her but to him, voices that both she and Ellagon now listened to.
As the ice arrows flew and the ice spears were sent her way, no longer did she need to tell Ellagon to move from them. Her dragon didn't need her words to tell her to avoid them or to be ready for when they were fired, Ellagon could feel it, hear it, and she knew what to do because Dany herself did.
"Dracarys." she said as they flew over more dead and she knew that they now flew at no true risk.
Looking to the left she could see Jae and Rhaenix both doing the same as she and Ellagon were, the white dragon laying down her own flames while further down the line Tyrion and Lygaron did likewise. When she felt a need to fly back closer to their men she did so and she watched as a large group of wights moved to where Grey Worm and Bonifer were. Her anger at them daring to do so fuelling Ellagon's own and the flames when they came from her dragon were even more fierce than they had been up to then.
"Dracarys, Ellagon." she said as she protected those she cared about, she'd see no more losses today if she could help it.
Where the explosion came from she knew not, the green fire lit up the ground beneath her and she felt her footing and grip on Ellagon begin to come loose. Ellagon felt it even keener than she did and despite the dead and the danger, her dragon landed and before she did, Dany fell from her back. The jolt to her body stunned her for a few moments and Ellagon let loose her flames as the dead closed in. Taking her daggers in hand, she waited for them. The distance between her and Ellagon was too far for her to make without facing some of them dead and she knew that she had no other choice but to fight.
"Princess you must move." Ser Bonifer said and where he'd come from she knew not, Dany seeing Grey Worm and some of her unsullied coming towards her as well.
She nodded and then the dead were upon them, Grey Worm and the Unsullied formed a protective circle around her and Bonifer stood by her side. Ellagon had taken to the air to easier let loose her flames and was laying them down to form a barrier between them and the dead that came their way. They moved together, the Unsullied using their spears to keep the dead at bay and as they neared their lines, she felt it as she closed her eyes. The air chilled as the White Walker moved forward and then she saw them all fall, each of her Unsullied, Grey Worm, Bonifer, she saw them fall and when opened her eyes they were full of determination to make sure that didn't happen.
"Go, go now." she shouted as Grey Worm looked at her "Do it, your princess orders you." she said and Grey Worm looked at her and shook his head until she moved to him and place a hand on his shoulder "Trust me."
With a nod, he and the Unsullied moved away and as they did the dead stopped attacking. Dany then stepping forward only for Bonifer to grab her hand and pull her back.
"I must." she said and he shook his head, the knight had tears in his eyes and she reached up to touch his face "I'll not be harmed, Ser Bonifer, this is not my day to die."
She moved away from him and the White Walker looked at Bonifer and then at her, Dany moved closer and as she reached him, she pulled the two daggers out, and with a quickness that she didn't know she possessed she drove them into either side of the White Walker's neck. The sound of dead men falling and ice exploding was lost to her. Instead, it was the scream she felt in her head that came from the White Walker and from his master that she heard, and were she in another place and not still in danger, she's have laughed loudly at that scream.
"Princess, we must." Bonifer said and she took his hand as they hurried away, Ellagon landing down in front of them but still some distance away.
The arrow came and she felt it, moving easily to dodge out of its way, and then she saw Bonifer slump and fall down. He'd moved in front of her, in front of where she had just been to take the blow himself, to save her even if it cost him his own life.
"Bon, Bon." she called out, her voice sounding strangled even to her.
"Go princess, go, you must." he said and she shook her head "Go I beg of you, go." he said and she heard Ellagon roar.
Looking from him to the dead that moved towards them and to Ellagon, she knew she had no choice and so she ran and climbed up onto her dragon's back and took to the sky.
"Dracarys." she said and the dead that moved to her were soon aflame and then she bid Ellagon take him from the ground.
She'd not leave him behind, leave him to die alone , she could not do that, not again. As Ellagon flew she bid her take them behind the lines, far back so that she could land and see to him. Her dragon doing as she bid and when they landed she hurried to the man that Ellagon held in her talons.
"Bon, Bon, please...Bon." she called out and heard his pained cry, Ellagon placing him on the ground and Dany quickly running to him and falling to the ground beside him.
"Princess, you should not have…." he coughed, the blood coming from his mouth "You should not have risked yourself."
"I'll get help, a healer, a Maester." she said looking around and cursing herself for bringing him so far from where the healers were.
"The time is long past." Bon said coughing again, the blood splattering against her armor though she cared not for that.
"No, you can't….you can't,…" she said her tears falling now as she knew the truth of the words.
"I die at peace, princess. I die happy to have seen my love's daughter and to have seen my love once more. I go to your mother and I do so with tales to tell, tales of a daughter who is all she could have ever wished her to be. " he said as the blood flowed from his mouth now.
"Dany, to you I wish to be known only as Dany." she said and he smiled at her despite his pain.
"Dany." he said as his eyes closed and he breathed his last.
She leaned down to place a kiss on his cheek and then rose to her feet. Climbing up onto Ellagon's back she knew what she needed to do.
"Dracarys." she said and the flames covered Ser Bonifer's body, Dany making sure he was at peace and knowing that her mother's body had also been given to the fire.
Then she and the dragon flew back to the fight and as the voices once again filled her head, she swore she'd see all of them quietened before this day was done.
They had burned them with Wildfire, with Dragonfire, with flaming arrows and with balls of burning pitch and still the came. The shield wall held and the spears moved, the stakes impaled some and held others at bay, the ax he used hit home, and still they came. In the distance, he could see the dragons go about their deadly work, while alongside him men of the North and men and women of the True North did their own.
Had someone told him years before that he'd be standing side by side with wildings and naming them not only as allies but friends, he'd have punched them in the face for daring to speak such words to him. Now as he looked to Mance, Tormund, to Benjen and Val, he'd punch any who named them otherwise. A little bit away from him Rickard Karstark fought fiercely, the ax he wore on his shoulder not being used, for now, instead, it was the spear he thrust forward that he used to kill things that were already dead.
Somewhere down the line his son, Ned's lad, and Brandon's boy all fought alongside other sons of the North, and were he not needed here it would be there he went. To see his son do as he had always done and make him proud would be something he most welcomed, though it would have to be tales of it he drank to later, he thought with a chuckle. His greatsword was on his own back and it was a large double-sided ax he wielded now. The Dragonglass edges catching dead men and cutting into them like the bags of meat that they truly were.
"By the gods, I could do with a fucking ale." Tormund called out loudly to laughs, they were few and far between this morn and it was most welcomed even given what they were doing.
"Aye, with some ice." he called out to louder laughs.
"A Warm pie."
"Some good elk."
"Fuck that, give me a woman." a voice said loudest of all and the laughs rang out more fully.
He thanked the Old Gods for it, welcomed it greatly as it took his mind and other minds off the fact that they'd been facing dead men for what felt like days and yet was only an hour or so. The Greatjon had fought in a war, he'd been in battle and none of that prepared you for this. Courage faltered, men weakened, eventually, lines broke and men ran, or the line you attacked proved too strong and you retreated, the dead did not.
They just came and came again, never-ending and giving no respite. It was tiring work, thirsty work and he may have felt he could fight for days on end, but he knew this fight would prove him wrong. Swinging his ax through the gap between two shields he felt the crack of the dead thing's skull. The wight, the living dead, this abomination who sought an end to those he cared about. Each of them he took down was one less that could harm those he loved and knowing he stood between them and these things, that he hoped would give him courage and strength enough to fight.
"The King, The King." he heard the cheer go up, The Greatjon looking to the sky to see the dragon and to find it was nowhere in sight and so shaking his head thinking the men were just calling out for him.
The king was about his own business, they should concentrate on theirs and he was just about to shout out and tell them so when he heard other voices.
"Jae?" Tormund called out.
"Are you to fight by our side, my king?" Benjen asked.
"Your dragon, she's unhurt?" Val asked worriedly and the Greatjon turned to see that the king was indeed there, thankfully unharmed and seeming no worse for wear.
"Rhaenix is resting, as are the other dragons, it's time for you all to do the same. When I call, you close your eyes." Jae said and he and the others looked on as Jae knelt down and unwrapped the cloth that covered the crown on his head and unsheathed his shining sword.
He saw the blood flow down the blade, the light of it, and the crown shining brightly and then he heard the king call out and he and others did as they were bid.
"Close your eyes." Jae shouted loudly.
What happened he knew not, but he felt the men in front of him relax and the pressure on the shield wall begin to diminish.
"You can open them now." Jae said and he and the others looked from the king to the light that shone not from his sword but from a few feet in front of them.
He couldn't believe what he was seeing, the wall of light stretched as far as the eye could see and ran from west to east and down the full length of their line he'd wager. It stood maybe ten feet tall and though you could look at it, and through it, something seemed off about it to him. Well more off than the fact, there was a wall of light separating them from the dead that stood on the other side. It took him a moment to see it, to realize what it was and how he did, he knew not. The light shone far more brightly where the dead stood, so much so that he would swear that were they the other side of it and looked upon it, then they'd lose their eyes.
"Jae?" Mance said as the king stumbled when he put his sword back in its scabbard, he, Benjen, and others moving to him.
"I'm well, I'm well. Magic takes a toll." Jae said rising and though he was unsteady on his feet, he was at least on his feet "It'll not hold more than a few hours, I'll know when it's to fall and so I bid you all eat, rest and then make ready to move. We retreat behind the wind wheels and make ready for the next attack."
He watched as Ser Arthur and Ser Jors helped the king away from them, laughing to himself as he'd never even noticed the two Kingsguard's presence.
"Have you ever seen anything like that afore?" Tormund asked as he came and stood beside him.
"I've never even heard of anything like that." he said looking away from the king and the Kingsguard and back to the wall of light.
"He's touched by the Old Gods themselves." Tormund said with a smile and The Greatjon couldn't agree more, only someone who held their favor would be able to do what Jae had done, and not just today either.
"Come, my friend, I think we may get that ale after all." he said slapping the other man on the shoulder, Tormund nodding as they both moved away from what had been the front and headed back to the camp.
He had felt it, as they marched through the North and now here in the Riverlands. The power that he had inside him was growing stronger and each time he used that power it almost felt as if he unlocked even more of it. At the Wall, as he fought against the White Walkers and lured them into attacking him. At the gravesites of the Northern dead even more so. as the magic inside him called out to be set free.
It had offered him a solution to a problem he'd not given much thought to. What to do with those already dead and buried and it had only truly struck him then why the Free Folk and the Night's Watch burned their dead. There were no bodies at the Wall for the Night King to raise, no living people between his army and Jae's own for him to turn, but there were dead buried in the ground all through the North. At keeps and in their grounds, outside of villages, in the Barrows of the First Men, and in Winterfell's crypts. Perhaps it was that most of all that had led to the discovery and helped him to tap into more of the magic he possessed. The thoughts of that monster raising his mother and the rest of his kin were almost enough o make him lose his mind. As were the thoughts of burning her body and that of the other Starks that rested there.
The crown though, it was the crown and the knowledge that it too had been imbued with magic just as Lightbringer had when he had bathed it in the blood of an Old God. He had been gifted the crown of the King's of Winter, it had been left for him and while he knew that it would play another role in the Bringing of the Dawn, it had always been meant to play this one too. So he had let the blood soak into it, closed his eyes, and at gravesites, keeps, and villages that he and Rhaenix passed, he'd said the words and then done the same at Winterfell.
"Let the dead stay at rest."
Nowhere more so than at Winterfell did he feel the Old God's pleasure when he spoke those words. The peace he felt when he left the crypts and they marched south was enhanced by that and by the knowledge that he was only beginning to tap into all that he could do. As he had said his goodbyes to the North he had heard the words in his head, words spoken to him by a woman long since past. Old Nan had not just given him one of the Lealest men that any king had been fortunate to know to shield his back, she'd given him the best advice he'd ever been given when it came to magic.
"Who says you can't, you have a gift given to you by the old gods themselves, you think they put limits on their gifts, Jon Snow?"
The words she had spoken were true and who was he to doubt them. Had he not seen just what could be done with magic? Was his goal not to do something with the power within him that would seem to be impossible? As he readied to fly with Dany and Tyrion, as they had set out to bring the flames to the dead, he had thought of another thing Nan had said to him and it had brought a smile to his face which was still there even as Rhaenix brought her fire to the dead.
"Do or do not, there is no try." Nan said.
So after he felt Rhaenix tire, but more importantly felt through the wolves that his cousins, uncles, Jaime, Oberyn, Richard, and the others were tiring, he'd flown from where he was to where Tyrion were and then to Dany.
"WE GO BACK." he had shouted and they'd listened, though Dany at first he feared would not.
When they'd landed he'd found out why and though he wished to comfort her, he could not. Without the dragons laying down their flames and him doing what he must, their lines would not hold and so he'd gone to Tyrion and begged him to comfort her in his stead. He'd then walked from where they'd landed to the nearest point and found himself amongst the men of the North and the Free Folk and had bid them listen to his word. Before he'd then reached inside himself and willed the magic forth.
It was or would be a temporary respite and he felt tired as he was helped away, though he knew he had no time to rest. Looking to Arthur and to Jors he could see their worries and he felt the blood fall from his nose and the ache in his head. Wiping one away and willing the other to leave him alone, he made his way to the camps and called for Richard, Jaime, Oberyn, his uncle Ned and others to join him.
"Jors, some food, and some water would be much appreciated." he said softly and saw how he looked at him with concern "I'm well, Jors, I'll rest for an hour or so once I've eaten and spoken to my uncles and Jaime."
"Your grace." Jors said with a small nod as he turned to leave and grab him some food "Yourself and Arthur, too, Jors, don't just bring me a meal" he said with a chuckle which perhaps did more to assuage his Kingsguard's concerns than his words had.
Arthur though not so much and so he rose to his feet to walk to the knight, glad to find himself far steadier as he reached out to place a hand on his shoulder.
"I am well, Arthur. It takes less time to recover and while my head hurts it's not as bad as it can sometimes be. I give you my word, I speak no lie, I swear it." he said and finally Arthur seemed to relax.
Jaime arrived first and gave him the once over, frowning when he saw the blood on his armor but happy to see that was the only place where it was. His uncle Ned, Oberyn, Ser Richard, Garlan, Mance, and Torrhen Snow, all soon arrived and by the time Loras, Garin, Melisandre, and Jaqen did as well, he was glad that this tent was so large.
"The wall of light will hold for a few hours, we need to rest up, eat and then move behind the Wind Wheels." he said to no replies which he welcomed "The scorpions need to be attached and made ready to be fired and horses placed by each of the Wind Wheels to allow those who man them quickly retreat. We form the next Shield Wall further back and there we make ready for the attack." he said looking to each of them.
"The wall, your grace. How?" Melisandre asked and he knew she wished it was R'hllor's will that had seen it done and he had no surety it was not, though he felt it was the Old Gods and perhaps R'hllor had only played his part.
"Magic, my lady. The song is being sung." he said and the smile she gave him was beaming.
"You are well, your grace?" his uncle Ned asked and he nodded, seeing the relieved looks on the faces of those in the tent.
"I am, I'd speak more to you all and I know we'd all most enjoy the chance to take a breath. We can and must rest and eat and then we must move and so I'd bid you all to see to your men and to take your chance to do both." he said to nods "My lady if you could stay for a moment." he said and she nodded looking to him.
He waited until the others had left and then looked at her, Melisandre seeming to know what he was to say before he said it.
"The time has come, your grace. My men and I stand ready." she said with a soft smile on her face and he rose to his feet and moved to her.
"I had hoped it would not." he said softly and she smiled at him, this one far a sadder one.
"My god's will be done." she said as she moved to leave the tent.
"Melisandre." he called out and she stopped to look at him "It's been my honor." he said his voice cracking.
"No, my prince, it's been mine."
After she left he ate the food and closed his eyes for less than an hour, waking to find the headache gone and Arthur sitting in the chair by the bed looking down at him. He was happy to see the knight's empty plate on the table behind him.
"We have some time, I'd speak to the men and to my aunt." he said and Arthur nodded.
It was hard speaking to Dany, the loss of Ser Bonifer was yet another blow that she didn't deserve to take. He told her that he'd get to spend time with his grandmother now and that soon they too would see Rhaella and he had no doubt that she'd tell them that Bonifer was happy in his death. The words seeming to offer comfort and he was relieved when Tyrion told him that she'd eaten a little and that they were ready to do what needed to be done.
With the men it was the same, they disliked leaving the tents behind, but the camp was no longer of any use to them. They had welcomed the chance to eat, to drink an ale or two, and to just take a breath, and most had already moved to behind the Wind Wheels. Jae telling them to move even further back and to make ready to form up in an hour or so. Though he didn't speak to his uncles or Jaime, he did offer them smiles and nods of encouragement and as he passed the men of the Fiery Hand he placed his hand on his heart and offered them a small bow. Something that the now less than a thousand men and Melisandre and Moqorro returned.
"Ser Richard, two volleys, two and you ride no matter what, you ride, you understand." he said standing beside the man.
"A command Richard, a command from your king, you ride even if others cannot." he said and Richard looked at him and stood straighter.
"As my king commands." he said and Jae felt relief at that, some would not be so lucky he feared.
He made his way back to the dragons, Rhaenix, Ellagon, and Lygaron had eaten and were rested and as he climbed on Rhaenix's back, he saw the wall begin to flicker and the light beginingin to dim.
The visions had been clear and she felt no fear, nor did Moqorro and the men of the Fiery Hand. Ahead of them the wall of light the prince had used to form a barrier between them and the dead was beginning to fade. Some dead even moving through it only to be taken down with arrows before they could get too far. Behind her the army her prince had gathered was in formation and the scorpions had been moved into place. Somewhere further behind was her prince, his aunt, uncle, and the dragons, fire made flesh and proof of her god's true power.
It was always to happen this way, she knew it, Moqorro knew it and their men knew it. She felt no fear, no doubt, and she was content. Would she have liked longer, yes, but her time in this world had been long enough and she'd seen many things and known more good days than bad. From when she was a slave, to when she became a Shadowbinder, and from the time she welcomed her god into her heart. She had done questionable things, both before she'd donned the red robes and after them. Mistakes that she'd made in misinterpreting his will until clarity had ensured that she would never do so again.
Her greatest achievement in this world had been to serve his chosen prince, to come to these lands and do what her god and the prince asked of her. She'd helped bring the prince and princess together, helped to ensure that princess would be here to play her part just as her god willed her to do. Along with Kinvara and Thoros, she'd seen her god's influence grow in a land that until then had ignored him. A part of her wished she'd see it to the end, see R'hllor become the true religion it was meant to be. Not above all others, not here at least, but an equal with them. That however was not her path and her fate had been sealed long ago.
"Fire." the shout rang out.
Melisandre looked on as the fire bolts flew and cut through the dead as if they were nothing. The force they hit them with forcing the dead in their path back and the flames then taking hold. Unlike an arrow that took down one dead thing, the firebolts took down many. Five, ten, twenty, it was hard to see and tell but the flames caught, and even more fell. It brought a smile to her face to see it, fire cleansed and these dead things needed to be cleansed from the world.
"Fire." the shout rang out.
The second wave was perhaps even more devastating than the first, the firebolts causing much more damage, and as the flames caught she heard the sound of men mounting horses and then those horses as they rode away. They were alone now, her and her men alone and the first line of defense and so she stepped forward as did Moqorro, and then she closed her eyes. Her chant was one she'd made many times before and behind her the Wind Wheels, Catapults and Trebuchets soon were alight. Melisandre chanting even louder as she felt them begin to fall onto their sides.
They wouldn't provide a full barrier, there would be gaps between them and the ones nearest to them but that was what she wished for them. The gaps would invite the dead to use them and once they did, her god's will would be shown. Opening her eyes she looked at Moqorro to see that the Black Flame like her was unafraid, he too ready to meet their god. With a small smile, she watched as the spears of the soldiers of the Fiery Hand began to light up and as she chanted again she felt the fire as it formed in her hands, and then the dead were upon them.
Watching it as it left her fingers, seeing it engulf the dead that came her way while beside her Moqorro's flame's did likewise was to see R'hllor's true power at work. Never did it diminish or disappear, never did the fire weaken or falter. It was in her hand one moment and then it took hold of a dead thing that came near her the next. Forward and forward the dead came, she, Moqorro, and the Fiery Hand no true match for them but that was never to be her role. Delay and damage, play your part and help the prince, and fight for the living. That was her purpose and it was one she served well.
"For R'hllor." she heard Moqorro call out and from the corner of her eye, she watched as the fire took him and he then took down a large group of dead men who'd swarmed over him.
"For R'hllor." she heard as men of the Fiery Hand did likewise.
Each man that fell had taken five, six, or even more dead men with him as he did so. This adding to the ones they'd brought down before then and bringing a smile to her face. Eight hundred men were all that were left of the Fiery Hand, eight hundred, and yet today they fought as if there were thousands of them. It had worried her, the idea that the day would come when they would be no more. Her god's truest warriors were like her to meet their end in this place and it had worried her greatly.
What did that mean for the order?
For the Great Temple in Volantis?
What did that mean for the future?
Again her god had answered and calmed her fears and removed her worries. More were to come, their strength even greater than those who came before them. The removal of the Great Other had always been their purpose and their sacrifice would not go unrewarded, just as hers, Moqorro's and Thoros's would not.
She felt it when the time drew close, the last of the Fiery Hand had already fallen and she stood alone as dead men moved past her and reached the burning barriers she'd helped create. That they passed her and didn't seek to bring about her end should have worried her and yet it did not. Melisandre knew what it was they wished for and what the Night King sought to do and so she turned to look at R'hllor's majesty and the smile she wore when she saw it was the truest she'd ever worn.
It was like an inferno, the flames shooting out from the burning Wind Wheels and other contraptions that the prince's army had brought to this place. To the sides, to the back, and in front. As soon as the dead reached it and could not retreat, her god's flames let loose as if from a dragon's mouth. Were that the last sight she'd see in this world then she'd be happy, but as she felt the icy cold she knew it would not be.
It wasn't the Night King himself, though it was one of his generals and as she turned to face him she felt the cold of the icy blade as it pierced her heart. Had this been a different time it would have tested her faith. Was she unaware of her prince, then it would have broken her as she felt the cold replace the warmth that she felt inside. If her belief wasn't as strong as it was, then her end would have been an ignoble one. Instead, she moved and let the fire flow from her one last time, burning some but allowing her to get close to the White Walker and then pulling the small Dragonglass dagger from her dress, she ended him.
"Melony lot seven."
"The Prince that was Promised will Bring the Dawn."
"A mission from our god, Melisandre, you've been chosen."
"To lose faith is a terrible thing, to have it restored is more than a drunk priest such as I could ever have asked for."
"It's time to come home, my child, to be welcomed into my embrace and to receive my favor."
The voices sounded in her head and some she recognized, Kinvara, Moqorro, Thoros, and the last was one she'd wished to hear all her life, her god finally speaking to her not in flames and visions but in words. She fell to the ground and felt the dead move to her and she knew that her end was to be a painful one. It scared her, she'd not lie it scared her greatly. Not the death but the dying and the pain she'd feel as she did so.
"Do you think I would allow that to be your end."
The voice boomed and she felt her fear just fade away and as she looked to the sky she saw the white dragon as she flew and then she felt the flames as her prince sent her to her god.
The things he'd seen marching with Jae and the army were things he'd never have expected and not just the dead that came after them. What his cousin could do was and should be impossible and yet it was anything but. As he'd then sat with his goodfather and goodbrother and eaten while a wall of light held the dead at bay, he found that he was beginning to almost come to terms with the powers that Jae possessed, almost.
What he'd not even begun to come to terms with was that Jae was not alone in possessing such powers. He like the Lords of the North had simply accepted that his cousin was gifted by the Old Gods and it made it easy enough for them to then not look upon him with fear or doubt. The Red Priests though got their gifts from a god they knew little about, other than that he was the god of flame and shadow. So seeing them in action, watching as they lit fires with barely a snap of their fingers or how their weapons would alight simply by their will, that was harder to understand. Though compared to what he'd just seen, it was very much not.
He'd stood in line, his goodfather a few men down from him, his goodbrother by his side and he and they had watched as what looked to be balls of fire had flown out from the red priest and priestess's hands. They'd watched as the Wind Wheels, Catapults and Trebuchets had lit up with no one near and no flame in sight and then had collapsed onto their sides. Were that all they'd seen then it would have been enough, but he'd looked on as men became fire itself. As dead men burned and those who neared the fallen Wind Wheels had found flames reaching out to take hold.
"Here they Come." a voice called out and he welcomed it, his mind not yet ready to deal with all he'd seen.
"Shield Wall." the call went out and in front of him the shields went up and the spears were moved forward.
Cregan felt the impact as the dead crashed against their shields, he knew was he able to look over them and off into the distance then he'd see the dragons let loose their own flames, yet he could only see what was in front of him. The gap opened and he thrust forward the dagger and felt the wight fall as the gap closed up again.
"Back." the voice called out and as one they moved a step and then two backward.
Again the gap opened and again he thrust forward, the dagger finding its target and another wight falling for true. It was never-ending, the dead just kept coming and no matter how many times the gap opened up and he pushed forward it seemed to make no difference. He felt it then, he knew when it was to happen and that he or they couldn't stop it. They were to be breached and as he closed his eyes he knew it was Dusk who'd told him so.
"Make Ready, Make Ready." he shouted as loudly as he could "Breach, Breach." he added as he moved from the men in front of him and reached for the ax he bore.
As much as he hated that they had forced their way through, he welcomed it a little also. Thrusting through a gap was not where his talents lay and any man could do so. He was a swordsman, even if for now he didn't wield a sword. Movement was key to him, it defined him and as the dead came at him, Cregan began to move. His first strike caught a wight across the face, the dead thing falling to the ground as Cregan already began to swing his second.
He moved through them as if he was at a ball or feast and it was a dance he was doing. Easily dodging a strike aimed at him and then taking down the wight who had dared to do such a thing. Sidestepping another as his ax caught it across the back. When he heard the howl it stopped him in his tracks and his eyes soon found the reason for it. His goodfather and goodbrother were both facing off against a Whiter Walker some distance away and they were losing.
"Alys." he shouted out, though he may have well whispered it, the sound not heard among the sounds of battle around him.
Cregan ran faster than he ever had and moved past men who were fighting the dead, his ax reaching out and helping where he could, and yet never once did he stop and slow down. He saw the blow before it landed and heard the pained scream from his goodbrother as his goodfather fell. His own joining him as he thought about his wife and about the man himself. Rickard Karstark had welcomed him into his family and they'd become close on from that moment onward.
"HARRION, Watch Out." he shouted and was relieved to see his goodbrother had heard his words and managed to dodge the strike.
The next strike was one he himself faced, the White Walker's attention on him and as he moved against him, Cregan quickly realized he was outmatched. It felt as if he was being toyed with and even when Harrion moved to help him, he wasn't certain that together they could take him down. The black shape that moved behind it and the howl that Dusk made as it ran towards the White Walker gave him the opening he needed to win the fight. It distracted it, for a fraction of a second it distracted the White Walker as he looked to Dusk with what looked like concern. Cregan swung his ax and felt the Dragonglass as it slashed down the White Walker's chest.
Around them, dead men fell in their hundreds as the White Walker exploded and ice covered the ground where he stood. Harrion looked to him relievedly and then to the body of his father as he lay on the ground, anything but. He moved with his goodbrother and together they heard Rickard speak his last words, the soft touch he gave to Harrion's cheek seeming out of place for such a large man.
"For the king and for the North. You burn me boy and then you end these fucks, For the king and for the North." Rickard said as Harrion sobbed over his father's body and Cregan looked for a torch.
They had little time to burn him and even less to mourn him as while they'd bought some breathing room killing the White Walker, the dead wouldn't rest for long.
"For the king and for the North." he said helping Harrion away from the burning remains of Rickard Karstark.
"For the king and for the North." Harrion said and they moved to gather as many men as they could and ready themselves for the dead that came their way.
They were relentless, they just kept coming no matter how many you took down. Had they not rested up after Jae had put up the wall of light then the day would already be lost. Even with that rest, he could feel the tiredness within himself and he knew that, as much as the enemy they faced, would cost them dearly today. He fought with Val, Mance, Spearwives and Thenns, Hornfoots, and even Crows. Something that both the Free Folk and his former brothers never would have imagined they'd ever do.
"Curse the old gods for forcing me to fight with a fucking crow." Val said annoyedly.
"You're sleeping with one." he replied smirking at her.
"You stopped being a crow the day you stole me, Benjen Stark." she said as she kissed him.
Even in the situation, he was in the thought of her brought a smile to his face. Then again she'd done that since he'd known her. She caught the look and glared at him, that she did so while she took down a wight was perhaps another reason why he loved her so much. He'd never sought a bride and maybe that was because he found ladies to be strange, confusing, and confounding. Or maybe it was because he was never to be with a lady as he had never found Val to be any of those things.
"Will you fucking stop smiling and fight for fucks sake." Val said and Benjen knew he'd better do as she bid.
Not that he hadn't been fighting, just he was daydreaming as he did so and that along with the tiredness would get him killed. He swung the sword and another wight fell, then another and then another. Looking to Val and Mance he knew they were fighting badly, wrongly, they needed to do better, to be better.
"With Me." he shouted as he began to move, Val looking at him confusedly before she and others began to follow.
They were fighting as individuals, they needed to be smarter and so after they'd put some distance between the dead and themselves, he looked to those with him. Edd and some of the black brothers, Mance, Val, and some of the men and women from Queenscrown.
"We form lines, some in front some behind, we rotate, when those fighting are tired we move them and replace them with those who are not." he said loudly.
"Like with the shield wall?" Edd asked and Benjen nodded.
"Aye, otherwise our strength will give out." he said to nods from the black brothers more than the Free Folk.
"You heard, him, lines." Val shouted and he caught the small smile she gave him.
Around them, others began to do the same once they saw the dead being held back by those that fought with him. There were gaps and the dead tried to get through them and some managed it, but they were ridden down by men on horses. The knights of the Vale couldn't charge against the amount of dead that attacked them, but they were better on the back of a horse than on foot and so they rode against the smaller groups as if they were retreating soldiers, the effect was just as devastating against the dead.
He felt his strength come back to him as he rested, the rotation of the lines allowing them to be so much more effective, and fewer of them fell than perhaps would have. In the distance, they could all see the dragons do their work and he was relieved to see Rhaenix still flying so well. Benjen relaxing upon knowing that his nephew was as safe as he could be. The howl caught him by surprise, it was loud and it was pained and he saw Val look to him as did Mance.
"I must, I must…" he said though he knew not where or who the wolf was calling him to aid.
"I've got this Benjen, go, go." Mance said and he began to run, Val running fast alongside him as they moved towards the sound of the howling wolf.
It felt as if fate or the Old Gods wished him there, the dead leaving them unmolested and when he reached the wolf he found his nephew turning to him and looking at him worriedly.
"Benjen, thank the gods you're safe." Robb said embracing him and Benjen looked from him to the wolf and then back to his nephew "The pack, uncle, Grey Wind called because the pack is in danger." Robb said and Benjen offered him the only comforts he could, a hand on his shoulder and words.
"Your brother is on Rhaenix's back, look." he said pointing off in the distance and he felt Robb take a deep relieved breath.
"Cregan?" he asked and Benjen shook his head.
"I saw him as we ran, he's unharmed." Val said and then Grey Wind howled again.
"Father." Robb said now even more worriedly and when the wolf moved so did they.
Arthur was like ten men, his sword cutting down through the dead as if they were beneath him, which they very much were. How many he alone had ended was impossible to count. Jors knew his own tally lagged far behind, though he reckoned other than the king's or the prince and princess on their dragons, there was not a man or woman who fought today who'd even come close. He himself had been no slouch either and yet the dead still came.
To the left, Arthur fought alongside Jaime and Oberyn, the three of them perhaps the most deadly warriors on the ground this day. He fought close to Ned Stark, he was not able to guard his king and so he'd guard his kin. The Lord of Winterfell swung his greatsword almost as well as Arthur did, no that was a lie, but the effect of him swinging it was as true. Ice just like Dawn and his king's own Dark Sister was a blade of legend and seeing it in action it was clear why.
Who felt it first he knew not, but he moved closer to Lord Stark when he did so. The chill in the air was different than the cold of the North, this one was unnatural where the other was very much not. Looking behind him he saw them as they moved towards Oberyn, Jaime, and Arthur and a part of him wished to run to them, to offer his sword and help. Yet the two that moved to Ned Stark soon changed his mind. He knew it then, this was no coincidence, no quirk of fate that had found the White Walkers and three men his king saw as family meeting each other on the battlefield. This was a plan and as he cut through dead men, he swore he'd not allow it to succeed.
"Lord Stark, Lord Stark, you must retreat." he shouted as the White Walkers moved closer.
"I'll not leave my men and those things shall not pass." Ned Stark said and Jors sighed, though he knew that the time for retreat was long since past.
With a last look at the others, he saw Jaime and Arthur easily matching blades with the creatures of ice they faced and though he couldn't see Oberyn he knew that he too would be doing likewise, Jors moved closer to Ned Stark. The White Walkers easily cut down those who dared stand in their way and he soon found himself face to face with one while the other moved to Ned Stark who stood ready to face him.
As his blade crashed against the icy one he saw the look of surprise on the White Walker's face, or what he assumed was surprise. The two blades coming together once again and he thanked his king for the gift he'd given him. Behind him, Ned Stark seemed to be matching the White Walker blow for blow and he thanked the gods for that. When the blow came it caught him so by surprise that for some time he didn't even realize it was a fatal one. Not until he saw the White Walker move away from him and fell to the ground did he realize he was done for.
"Lord Stark, Lord Stark, run…Runnnnn." he shouted as the single White Walker that Ned Stark had faced now became two.
While not truly a match for either, Ned had held his own against one and as Jors felt his life begin to ebb away he prayed that he'd be able to do so against two until help arrived. He heard the howling of the wolves and looked into the distance to see Rhaenix fly his way and he smiled at the thoughts of seeing his king come to his uncle's rescue. He had done enough, he'd bought Ned Stark time, he'd served his king well, and as his eyes began to close he felt he could rest.
"Alyrs, I come my friend." he said before he screamed out "NOOOOOOO" as he saw the two blades enter Ned Stark's body, one from the front and one from behind, and while he may have not known his own wound was fatal for some time, he knew that Ned's were "Forgive me, my king." he said as the darkness overtook him.
The Night King.
3 White Walkers.
The Armies of those who fight to Bring the Dawn.
800 men of the Fiery Hand.
5,000 men (mixed from each of the realms).
Lord Rickard Karstark.
Ser Bonifer Hasty.
Ser Jors Whitewolf.
The Night King.
250,000 to 300,000.
White Walkers 25 to 50.
The Armies of those who fight to Bring the Dawn.
220,000 to 250,000.
A/N: Thanks to all who've read and reviewed. Up Next The Night King's losses weaken him and Shiera makes a move forcing the Night King to do the same. Oberyn fights for his life as the White Walkers target those that Jae cares about and Jae faces a race against time to save more of his family before learning of those he's lost. The battle reaches nears its climax as Jae receives a boon, a warning, and the stage is set for the final confrontation between the Night King and the Prince that was promised.
The Sphynx: Ah you're back my friend, in poem form I mean lol, great work as always, love to hear it, truly.
Daryl Dixon: So very glad you liked it.
Lady Octarina: It's one of the things I think we miss at times in stories, especially ones that we've been on these journeys with the characters, like we should really feel what they feel. So glad you noticed that with the Council of the Ladies, there is a reason these women are so important, and without them the realm would fall just as truly as it would without Jae and those fighting. That was so my reasoning with the name for the dragon, even with Apples for Joy's horse it was the idea of what a kid would name them, ala Shaggydog lol.
Uncle Dork: Happy you enjoyed it.
Nina: Thanks so much for saying so.
Scarila: Being Irish I've been brought up on that British show mentality, though I care about each and everyone and it hurts me to see any of them fall. I can honestly admit that I tear up with each of them and I've agonized over every single one.
Freelook: So very glad to hear that.
VFSNAKE: The bloodbath is here.
Celexys: It's been a long road to get here, so I'm very glad you've stayed with me on that road and are still excited at what's to come. We're almost there, the end in sight and I hope you continue to enjoy it.
Guest: I think sometimes people don't show the other side of the war, the ones at home and in essence what they're fighting for and how they're dealing with things. Also the sheer amount of preparations and effort they need to put in. Refugees arriving, their worries over those they love, having to keep people calm in a world of darkness. It also I think helps to up the stakes a little, Tyrion isn't just fighting for his wife, it's his son now too.
Groovy, I do have a plan about Essos, which I can't go into now, but I get what you mean. One thing to keep in mind, though I've not shown it, is that the Long Night hasn't just hit Westeros, it's darkness in Essos too and so they have their own issues to contend with.
Mystpointo: I can't say for certain other than it ends next week. Be that 2/3 chapters I don't know.
Sibeal: Thank you so much for saying so, that means a lot. I started this not knowing what I was doing to be honest, you can see it in the early chapters, and at some point, I'll be polishing them. But I've been helped greatly with advice and I feel I've improved. The ending needs to be hit though, we saw how the show did it, and well it ruined all that came before it, I'll at least not make that mistake.
Xand007: I hope this makes up for the wait. I'd not have left it at that if the wait was longer. I love that speech, as you say it's awesome. Stay safe and well, my friend, and hope you like the rest of the battle.