A Dead Man

Darkness. That was all he saw, all he heard, all he felt. No Heavens. No Seven Hells. Just darkness.

After all I've done for the living, this is my punishment in death?

Yet, even as he thoughtheardspoke these words, the darkness began to shift, fragmented thoughts and words, sights and scents coalescing into concrete memories, of things from the past, and things from the future-

"Next time we see each other, we'll talk about about your mother."

"You have a good heart, Jon Snow. It will get us all killed."


"For the Watch."

"You're going to die today, Lord Bolton. Sleep well."

"I keep hearing stories about you, bastard. The way people in the North talk about you, you're the greatest swordsmen who ever walked!"

"You are my Queen."

"But you, Lord Snow… You'll be fighting their battles forever."

"Promise me, Ned.

"I never met my mother. My father wouldn't even tell me her name. I don't know if she's living or dead. I don't know if she's a noblewoman or a fisherman's wife or a whore..."

"The crows killed him because he spoke for the Free Folk as no other southerner would. He died for us! If we are not willing to do the same, we're cowards. If that's what we are, we deserve to be the last of the Free Folk."

"Let me give you some advice, bastard. Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you."

"Next time I see you, you'll be all in black."

"They were born on the wrong side of the Wall. That doesn't make them monsters."

"You may not have my name, but you have my blood."

"If I fall, don't bring me back."

"He is my king! From this day until his last!"

"You all crowned me your king. I never wanted it. I never asked for it. But I accepted it because the North is my home! It's part of me, and I will never stop fighting for it, no matter the odds!"


He had heard once, from Maester Aemon, that a person was made up of their collective memories and their experiences. And now, memories, not all his but all influenced by him, past, present, and future, were being laid bare to him in a way he had never witnessed before. And finally, they all came together to form something new.

And his memories shifted once more.

He found himself in front of Weirwood tree, snow blanketing the frozen earth up to his ankles. Wondering why a Weirwood he had never seen before was being shown to him, Jon focused on its signature face, said to be carved by the Children of the Forest long before the arrival of the First Men. He vaguely noted the presence of two others behind him, leaning on another tree just out of sight.

Then his gaze fell slightly lower, and his breath froze in his lungs.

It was the flaming hair that caught his attention first, a stark contrast from the white bark of the Weirwood it lay against. Kissed by fire, the Free Folk called it.
Sansa Stark appeared to be sleeping, shivering even unconscious as her body tried to repel the harsh colds of the North, having been too long in the South. Jon stood, frozen in place as he stared at his cousin.

He hadn't seen her in ten years.

He took in her ragged appearance, thin clothes, and near lack of furs, and his concern mounted. What is she doing out here? he thought. Why was she so far North? Then it came to him suddenly, and he clenched a fist in anger. That's right. She was running from the Boltons.


The mere thought of the Flayed Man's Bastard sent fire coursing through his veins. He would love nothing more than to watch Sansa feed him to his own dogs.

Maybe he would get the chance, this time around.

Pulling himself from his thoughts, he quickly trudged over to Sansa, boots sinking into freshly-fallen snow with comforting familiarity. He knelt in front of her, placing a palm to her cheek. To his surprise, she leaned into it ever-so-slightly, savoring the warmth it seemed to bring. That cannot be possible- I'm dead, she can't possibly feel-

His thoughts were cut off abruptly when her eyes snapped open, and Jon flinched backwards, away from the fire-kissed woman, nearly blending into the snow. Sansa, seemingly sensing something amiss, frantically threw her eyes from place to place before she finally focused and settled on him.

Only him.

"...Jon?" she murmured. She stood shakily, eyes widening in disbelief, and she took a step forward, extending an arm towards him, and he instinctively did the same, grabbing it, savoring her grasp. The two Wolves drew each other in with their gazes, and they both took one step more towards each other.

And then she was gone, whisked away by the wind. Jon found himself yearning to go back, aching for just one last glimpse at her. But, alas, his wishes were not heeded.

Oh, the gods were cruel indeed.

Instead, he found himself in the ruins of a massive underground chamber, and somehow Jon instantly knew where he was. The starting point of the dragonlords, the ancestral homelands of his family from his father's side.


There was naught but broken pillars and debris that littered the massive cavern, devoid of anything of note.

Then he turned around, and was met with the giant snout of a dragon.

Strangely enough, Jon did not flinch back in shock or fear. In fact, he held no fear for the massive pale beast before him. As it would seem, the dragon bore him no malice, simply watching him, seemingly content with observing him from where it lay. It then nudged its snout forwards slightly, and Jon only hesitated for a moment before extending his arm forwards and laying his palm on it.

It felt warm.

The dragon immediately pulled back, rearing its head towards the stars hidden above the earth, and let out a mighty roar as the chamber began to collapse around them.

And then it was gone, the sights and smells and sounds distorting until it was once again darkness.

And then it turned to light.

"Awake, Azor Ahai. You are not yet done."

The boy died. A man was born.

The dead man woke.