So yeah…I know, I'm starting a new story here. I apologize for everyone who's waiting for the next installment of IATB, but the muse just isn't working with me right now on that arc. I am still working on it, believe me I'm trying, but I just can't get my mind on it.
For those who are fans of my 'Song of the Master of Death', I am not happy with the way that one has been going. So I'm going to rewrite that one. There are parts that I liked, but if you've read my author notes, I went into that one without an outline and was just free writing it. So not my greatest. I'll probably go back to it at some point, but not right now.
So, how this story started. A short time ago the talented Tellemicus Sundance contacted me with an idea about a SW/GOT(ASOIAF) crossover. And funnily enough, I actually had a similar story bouncing around in my head. So, we decided that we would brainstorm with one another and beta read each other's stories. So please, if you've bothered to read this far into the A/N, please check out Tellemicus Sundance's new story, 'The Jedi of the North'. Now, seeing as how we are brainstorming with one another, and seeing as how the ideas were similar to begin with, if you read both you will more than likely notice some similarities between our two stories. But trust me, they will be a bit different.
As for the cross, I'm going off more the ASOIAF rather than the TV show. Honestly, the main thing that I'll be using from the TV show is the increased age of the characters (meaning at the start of GOT Jon/Robb/Dany will be 16, starting at 299AC). Also, there will be a pairing, and it's pretty much decided on how they'll go. The only thing I'm unsure of is if I'm gonna be given a little more love to some characters (more than one partner). Up in the air. And unlike 'Song of the Master of Death', I've actually outlined most of this story, plot points, dates, pairings, ending, just about as much as I can. So hopefully this one will flow much smoother than my previous crossover.
Anyway, hope that you all enjoy, and again, a huge shout out to Tellemicus Sundance for the help with brainstorming and proofreading. And please, check out their story as well! It's really really good!
One last thing, while I will be using the SI Darth Nox again, it is not Ziri Nox from IATB. I did play around with using her character again, but decided this time to use a male SI Darth Nox (Alim Nox).
Groaning against the pain coursing through his head Darth Nox; Dark Lord of the Sith, Head of the Pyramid of Ancient Knowledge, Member of the Dark Council, Heir of Tulak Hord and Kallig, Master of Death and figurehead of the Cult of the Screaming Blade, shakily raised his hand to his head in an effort to stifle the immense throbbing threatening to implode his brain. Reaching out with the Force, he felt his surroundings and was confused at what he found.
'A long-range star fighter? What the hell happened?' he asked himself as he tried desperately to remember just where he was.
Working slowly, he began to piece together his life before this moment. His enslavement at the hands of his masters. He remembered clearly the moment he'd lost his eyes. His master had ordered the death of his mother and he was forced to watched as his mother was stood up and shot by his master's house guards without a second thought. But not before he'd had Alim watch as most of the household violated his mother in the worst possible manner. The action had caused a reaction in Alim, as his eyes had turned yellow and the guard that'd killed his mother was suddenly and inexplicably choked to death where he stood. While he didn't know what the changing of his eye color meant at the time, his master sure did. And he wasn't about to let a lowly slave have the honor of being sent to Korriban. So, his master had taken a red-hot poker to his eyes and burnt away his sight. It was only after his sight had been stolen from him that he understood what he'd done. He'd used the Force. Something only the most noble and best of the Sith Empire were capable of. Not a handicapped slave boy. But despite his handicap, or perhaps because of it, Nox came into his own. He developed his Force attunement on his own, first in order to see. And second to bring revenge to his 'master'.
By the time the city guards arrived at the estate, his master and his master's mistress were little more than splats of blood coating the walls and floor of their bedroom. The other slaves showed their true colors, turning on him and ousting him immediately to the guards. But instead of being executed, as he'd expected, he was instead shipped off to Korriban. In a way, it was still a death sentence, he knew. A blind teenager with no training other than what he'd taught himself stood little chance of surviving the trials and the other acolytes made sure to remind him of that every day. But he refused to simply keel over and die. He used the Force to develop his other senses to the point where he could actually 'see' better than any other of the acolytes. Many even mistook him for a Miralukan, given that he'd taken to wearing a strip of cloth around his head to cover his useless eyes.
But despite those that doubted or laughed at him, he prevailed. He killed everyone who stood in his way in his quest to become the apprentice of Lord Zash. He particularly remembers the pleasure he felt as he killed his 'rival' Ffon, after Zash had declared him her apprentice. The memory of the pure blooded Sith's screams and pleas for mercy still brought a smile to his face, even after all these years.
Then there was his time under Zash, becoming her own personal errand boy as he went across the galaxy, fetching relics for her. Relics that she planned to use to switch their bodies as hers had become withered with age. But in the end, he'd gotten the last laugh as his faithful companion Khem Val interrupted her ritual and her spirit ended up trapped with the dashade. Only later to be expelled from the ancient beast as well and trapped within a monolith for all eternity. A fitting end for his conniving master.
After Zash, his next challenge came in the form of one Darth Thanaton. The arrogant Darth who had his head shoved so far up his ass that Nox was sure that the man could give himself an oral inspection. The man believed that just because Zash was defeated that Nox's life was forfeit as well. Well, he proved him wrong as well. It might've taken the binding of four Force ghosts to utterly decimate the idiot, but Nox did not once regret his decision. The power gained from those contracts and their subsequent release was well worth the agony that binding them brought. And in the end, it was Thanaton whose corpse was thrown out of the Temple, leaving Nox to take up his seat on the Dark Council.
Then came the battle against Revan. The Jedi-turned-Sith-turned-Jedi was a force to be reckoned with. It took the combined efforts of Nox, Darth Marr, Jedi Grandmaster Satele Shan and Jedi Knight Tabris to stop the madman. Of course, it was Nox who truly ended the fight, by helping to merge the light and dark halves of the legendary force user. An action which ended with Revan accepting death, but not before leaving the Jedi Knight Tabris his lightsaber and Nox his mask.
'Fuck,' he cursed as he pulled his mask, the very mask worn by Darth Revan and gifted to him upon the legend's defeat on Yavin 4, off his face. Running his hands over the surface of the ancient artifact, Nox felt for any damages or imperfections. Finding none, he set the mask aside and reached up to feel his face. He could feel blood coating the fingers of his gloves running freely from his nose. Carefully touching his broken nose, he channeled a light flow of energy into the cartilage, fixing it and stemming the tide of blood.
That taken care of, Nox righted himself in the cockpit of the fighter and began to run a system check. 'The battle,' he thought as he hammered his fist down on top of the ship's console as the display before him flickered on and off. 'I have to know if Darth Marr escaped. And Tabris too, I guess. She is good looking enough that I wouldn't mind…'converting' her.'
As the ship began running through its system check, he thought back on the past few hours. Or the past few that he could remember. Darth Marr's ship had been perched on the edge of known space, searching for the mysterious force that was stupidly attacking both the Republic and the Empire at the same time. He remembered Tabris and her ragtag group arriving on board…and then chaos. The enemy arrived and outnumbered them by dozens, maybe even a hundred to one in terms of ships alone. The battle, if it could even be called that, was a massacre.
Half their ships were destroyed in the first volley alone while the other half were left mostly disabled. And then the boarding parties came. Nox remembered fighting the new enemy that fought mostly with droids and a few force sensitive individuals. Not that it mattered to Nox either way. Force sensitive or droid, he cut them both down easily enough. After he'd killed each of the Force-sensitive individuals he took the time to collect their lightsabers and clip them onto his belt. He wasn't sure exactly why he'd done it, but something in the Force told him that they would be important in the future. He also collected the lightsabers from a few fallen Jedi and Sith that'd been serving aboard the ship as well.
After clearing out a few levels within the ship he'd almost managed to reach the access point to his ship. However, before he managed to get to his ship the destroyer took a massive hit to its broadside that collapse his path. With no other option, Nox made his way to the hangar bay and managed to commandeer a long-range fighter. But just as he was about to enter the battle, Darth Marr came over the com and told him to flee and warn the Empire about the new threat.
Seeing that further battle was pointless, Nox agreed and turned his ship and was about to make the jump to Dromund Kaas when his ship was hit. The last thing he remembered was his ship spiraling off course and then unmistakable lunge into hyperspace. And now…now here he was. Wherever 'here' was.
Hearing a low beeping coming from his console, Nox flicked through the diagnostics, his mood dampening with each line he read. Fuel: 0.5%. Hyperdrive engine: offline. Primary sub-light engines: offline. Secondary sub-light engines: operational. Positioning thrusters: online. Oxygen levels: 10%. Primary weapons: offline. Secondary weapons: offline. Navigational computer: offline. Long-range scanner: offline. Short range scanner: online.
'Well…that's just fucking wonderful,' Nox cursed internally, not wanting to speak in an effort to conserve what little oxygen he had left. 'Even if I could figure out where the fuck I am…Unlikely as the navigation computer is shot and I have no idea just what trajectory I entered hyperspace at…or for how long I was even in hyperspace to begin with! I doubt I'll survive long enough for a ship to just pass me by and pick me up. Fuck…Of all the ways that I thought I'd bite it…floating in an unknown region of space and slowly dying of suffocation…starvation or dehydration was certainly not in the top ten.'
Leaning back in his seat, Nox was just about to turn off the display to conserve power when he felt it. A slight disturbance in the Force. A feeling of…darkness. One he hadn't felt since he'd last stepped foot on Korriban. Closing his eyes, he reached out through the Force and felt for the disturbance. There…just off to this starboard side was a planet. A garden planet if his senses told him anything. A garden world touched heavily in the dark side of the Force. Yet, at the same time…there was a light sided touch as well. Fainter than the dark side…but still there. But, more importantly, he could sense life on the planet: intelligent life.
Coming out of his trance, he immediately booted up the short-range scanner. 'It's not far. I should have just enough fuel if I make sporadic bursts from the sub-light engine.' He thought as he read the scanner results of the planet. 'Definitely a garden world. No satellites or ships in orbit. Pollution and radiation levels seem to place the world as pre-industrialized. Wonderful…Thanks a lot, Force. You raise my hopes of salvation…only to dash them in the next instant. Still, if it's a choice between dying up here in this ship in the middle of empty space, or to live out the rest of my life on a garden world…there really isn't a choice there. And who knows…perhaps if they're not so developed yet that I can turn this situation to my advantage. Although, just getting there will be only half the battle. I'm then going to have to land this bucket of bolts with no navigation, next to no fuel, and with only positioning thrusters to try and arrest my descent. This definitely isn't going to be one of my better landings.'
Manually inputting his commands, Nox used the positioning thrusters to turn his ship in the direction of the garden world before setting off towards his new, and perhaps last, home.
283AC Wolfswood, The North
Panting heavily with his back against a tree, six-name-day Jon Snow, bastard son of Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell, tried desperately to catch his breath while his eyes darted nervously around the dense forest surrounding him. The cold air of the north turning his breath to mist as he breathed. For not the first time that day, he cursed his luck for having caught sight of the falling star that fell into the Wolfswood a week past. 'I should've just listened to Maester Luwin…or father.' Jon thought as he greedily gasped air into his body. 'There has only been one instance of a star falling to the ground. I must have just been seeing things in the night.'
But regardless of the doubts expressed by his father, the Maester…or even his own brother Robb, Jon couldn't shake the thought of being the one to find the fallen star. If he could, maybe he could bring it back to Winterfell. And then Mikken would've been able to forge a new blade for House Stark that could rival Dawn! And then…maybe, just maybe, he would be granted the Stark name. And it was with those thoughts in mind that Jon set off in the middle of the night while everyone was asleep to find the star.
That was four days ago. Two days ago, he'd run out of food. And yesterday he'd run out of water. On top of that, he was completely and utterly lost! Nan had told him and Robb both tales of children wandering into the dense forest only never to be seen again, but he hadn't believed her. Not really. But now…he truly did believe the tales. The trees were so tall and thick that even though it was bright out, he couldn't see the sun! And because of that, he couldn't tell east from west, or even north from south at this point. But being lost, hungry and thirsty weren't the worst of his troubles. No…. the worst had occurred just this morning when he stumbled across the dying embers of a fire, only to find he wasn't the only one in the woods.
"There he is!"
"I call his legs! The best meat is on the legs! Even if he is a little shit!"
"Oh no," Jon wailed to himself as he forced himself off the tree and rushing further into the forest.
'Wildings,' Jon thought as he pushed himself harder than ever to keep his legs moving as fast as possible. 'Nan once told us that they like to eat people…at least she did until Lady Stark forbade her from speaking of such things to Robb…but I never…never thought she was telling the truth! Who would want to eat another person! It's…disgusting!'
"Here little shite! We got a nice little campfire set up just to cook you! I know just how long to keep ya on the fire for to make sure you be done just right! Stop running…and we might just kill ya first, before we cook ya!"
'They're getting closer!' Jon thought desperately as he urged his legs to move faster. 'I…I need to get away! But…where do I go? I have no idea where I am! I need to hide! Maybe if I hide, they'll pass me by, and I can—'
A sharp pain in his leg ended his thoughts as he stumbled forward falling headfirst to the ground as his left leg refused to move. Pushing his hands under him, Jon turned and looked down his body. His eyes widened as he spied fletching and a shaft sticking out from the back of his calf. 'I…I didn't…When did they…?'
His questions were cut off as the Wildlings came into sight no more than a few paces behind him. Each wearing a mismatched of animal pelts to keep them warm. Their faces and hands almost black from the dirt covering them and their hair wild and unkempt. And each were carrying a weapon of some sort. The largest of the group smirked as he approached Jon, his sword idly waving back and forth in front of him as he approached. His yellow crooked teeth on full display as he smiled down at Jon in much the same way that his si-Sansa stared at sweets. 'Gods…They really do mean to eat me!'
"Well, well…little rabbit. That was a fun little hunt, eh? But now it ends…and our meal begins!"
Trying to get back to his feet, Jon instantly cried out and collapsed as he tried to stand on his left leg.
"Ya, that ain't gonna work, little rabbit," the big wildling laughed. "Ida here be a hello'a shot. And she put that arrow in ya. Doubt ye be runnin again any time soon. Not that ya'll get the chance too."
Rolling over onto his back, Jon reached down and pulled out the small knife that his father had gifted him for his fifth name day. The blade wasn't long…barely the length of his fingers…but it was all he had. "Stay back!"
Instead of being intimidated, the Wildlings instead laughed. "Be careful, Kor." A woman wilding with a bow, Ida he thought, laughed. "The little rabbit still has some teeth!"
The big wildling with crooked yellow teeth smirked even wider as he stabbed his sword point first into the cold ground. "Nice little knife ya got, little rabbit." The man laughed as he reached out towards Jon. "Maybe I'll use it pick you from my teeth when I'm – fuck!"
Jon had waited until the wildling was in arm's reach, just like his father had taught himself and Robb, before stabbing forth with the knife, burying it to the handle in the wildlings outstretched arm. "Fuck!" The wildling screamed, stepping back and yanking the knife out of both Jon's hand and his own arm. "Fuckin…fuck!"
Jon tried to run; he really did. But the moment he tried to stand, his left reminded him that he still had an arrow in his leg and he abruptly fell face first back onto the ground. And before he could get up again, a pair of rough hands had him by the neck and were lifting him off the ground. The wildling with crooked teeth was holding him clear off the ground so that his feet here left dangling helplessly in the air.
"That wasn't fuckin smart, little rabbit," the wildling growled, his grip on Jon's neck tightening to the point where Jon was having trouble breathing. "I was gonna make this quick. But now…now I'm gonna cook you…one limb at a time and make you watch as I feast on your flesh!"
Darkness started closing in on the edges of Jon's sight as he struggled against the hand around his throat. 'No…' he thought weakly, trying to breath and failing as the fight started to leave his body. 'I – I can't…not like this…Father…Robb…Sansa…Arya…someone…please…help…'
A scream unlike any Jon had ever heard in his life echoed throughout the forest. The Wildling holding onto Jon let go, letting Jon fall limply to the ground, pain shooting through his leg as he landed on it and his lungs burning as he gasped desperately for breath. "What the fuck was that?" one of the wildlings, this one wielding a club of sorts, asked as the group turned and started looking around the area.
The wildling with rotten teeth stared at the other wildlings. "Where the fuck be Tummer?"
The other wildlings looked at one another before searching around frantically. "Fuck." The bow-wielding one, Ida, cursed as she notched an arrow. "He be…he was right the fuck behind us. What got him? Shadowcat? Direwolf?"
"There be no direwolves south of da wall," another said, his voice as shaky as Jon felt. "Shadowcat, maybe?"
"No," the wildling with rotten teeth growled. "Listen. No birds. No animals. Nothin. There be someone else out there."
Turning back to Jon. Without saying a word, the wildling lifted his boot and stepped down hard onto Jon's leg, breaking the shaft of the arrow off and driving the tip deeper into his leg. "Noo!" Jon screamed in agony as he tried to sit up, only to have the wildling press down harder on his leg.
"Shut the fuck up, little rabbit!" The wildling yelled, a mad tint in his eye. "Who else be with you in these woods?"
Fighting against the pain in his legs, Jon felt tears of pain roll down his face as he cried in pain. "Please…no one! I swear by the old gods! I'm alone! I swear!"
"He be fuckin lyin." Another spat. "Kneelers wouldn't let a kid like him out on his fuckin own. Someone else is with him!"
The boot left his leg, but before he could feel any relief, Jon was roughly pulled upwards by the rotten toothed wildling. "I have the boy kneeler!" The wildling yelled as he put Jon's own knife to his throat. "Come out now or I spill his blood on the snow!"
Silence answered the rotten toothed man as the rest of the wildlings began backing up so that they were all back to back and facing outwards towards the forest. "Fuck…" the wildling woman spat, her arrow pulled back and ready. "I don't fuckin like this…something ain't right."
A flash of black followed by the cracking of a twig caught Jon's and the wildling's attention, making all of them turn as one. Blinking, Jon thought at first that his eyes were playing tricks on him. But even after blinking…the figure didn't disappear. Standing less than a few paces away from them was a man…Well, at least Jon thought he was a man. He was covered from head to foot in black robes and armor. He could see the metal coverings on his boots. And his hands and forearms were covered in gauntlets that extended past his fingers slightly making it look like he almost had claws. The open cloak he wore exposed his chest, showing off a black steel chest plate of some sort. And his face was covered by the strangest visor he'd ever seen with the black hood pulled up over the back of his head. 'Its…one piece. No eye slits. How…How can he see?'
"Who the fuck be you?" the wilding holding Jon demanded, the knife pressing hard enough against his skin that Jon could feel his warm blood trickling down his neck.
The newcomer didn't say anything. He just stood there staring at them. At least, Jon believed he was staring at them. It was impossible to tell just where he was looking with that visor covering his face. After several long moments, his head turned towards Jon. He didn't know how he knew, but Jon could almost feel the man's eyes on him. The moment their eyes met, Jon felt the breath in his lungs freeze. There was something…terrifying about the man's gaze. As if he were looking upon the eyes of death itself! But as quick as the moment came, it passed as the man's head turned off Jon and back to the wildlings holding him.
"Eight of you to capture one young boy. Either he is quite the accomplished warrior or, and far more likely, the lot of you are merely incompetent beyond belief."
His voice sounded so strange, distorted. Jon had heard men talking in their helmets before and knew that the visor on a helmet made a man sound different. But this…this was something completely different.
"Fuck you!" the wildling holding Jon shouted, jostling Jon and removing the knife from his throat so he could point it towards the mysterious man. "Who the fuck be you? Some southern kneeler knight here to save the boy?"
The man's head tilted to the side as he just continued to stand there. "Kneeler? Can't say that I've heard that term before. But, given its general meaning…Nope, still have no clue what you mean by that. And as for being a Knight? I doubt you would understand, but I wouldn't be caught dead becoming a Knight. Too restricting for my tastes. But as for who I am, my name is Darth Nox. Although considering that we are quite the distance away from my home, and you lot will never understand the underlying meaning behind my title, you can just call me Nox."
"Who the fuck cares who this fuckin kneeler is!" Another wilding woman screamed, stepping forward and lowering her spear threateningly towards the mysterious knight. "I want to know where the fuck Tummer be!"
The mysteriously knight merely titled his head. "Which half do you want? His upper body is that way," he said, pointing across his body to his left before moving his thumb to the right, "and his lower half is that way."
"Don't Hilda," the wildling holding Jon shouted. "The fuckin kneeler is just tryin to rile ya up. And if Tummer be dead, then he be dead. You'll just have to find a new cock to please ya."
"Well he fuckin did just that!" The woman wildling yelled, jabbing her spear at the strange man. "What we waitin for? There be more of us then him! Let's just kill this fucker and be done with it?"
Instead of being scared, the masked knight just…laughed. "Amusing. You think that just because you outnumber me means that the advantage is yours? How incredibly short sighted of you. Do you not recognize the sensations running through you all? The cold tingling running down your back. Do you know what that is? Or perhaps the shaking of your hands? Or maybe that warm sensation running down that one's legs. Do you know just what that is? Let me help you: it's fear. It's because your body knows right now that you stand before death itself. Even if your minds are too feeble to comprehend just what that means."
Despite his situation, being held at knifepoint by wildlings that were threatening to make a meal out of him, Jon couldn't help but feel awestruck at the mysterious man standing before them. He didn't look to be carrying any type of weapon that Jon could see, no sword nor spear nor bow. Yet still he stood his ground. 'This…This is what a true knight is. Just like that knight from the tales that Sansa always begs for!'
"Ah, fuck this!" The wildling holding Jon shouted, throwing him off to the side as if Jon was little more than a doll to be discarded. "Let's kill this fucker and eat his cor—"
In the time it took Jon to turn over on the ground, the mysterious knight had somehow managed to cross the distance between himself and the wildlings and had driven his fist right into the much larger man's gut. What Jon couldn't understand, beside just how the man had managed to move so fast, was how he managed to throw the much larger wildling back at least two lengths of men and into a nearby tree so hard that the tree actually cracked and fell over from the impact!
The wildlings, despite the suddenness of the attack, were quick to recover as the next closest one to the mysterious knight cried out and charged at the man's back with his spear lowered and ready to run him through.
"Watch out!" Jon yelled.
His warning though wasn't needed as just before the spear reached the dark stranger, he turned and dodged the attack. A strange hiss, much like the sound of a heated blade in a forge hitting water, came from the stranger and next Jon knew the strange knight was wielding glowing red sword that looked as if it were made of fire! The blade cut clean through the wildling's chest, cutting the man clean in two.
The quick death of two of their members, not to mention the sudden appearance of a sword made of fire, brought the wildlings up short. "Fuckin…How did he kill them so quick! And what the fuck is that…thing!"
"Who cares?" Another wildling, this one holding a rusty and poorly kept sword. "We kill him, we take that…sword of his! Come on! He can't take us all at once! Let's kill this fucker!"
For a moment, just a moment, Jon felt despair as the six remaining wildlings all charged at the dark stranger. He was his only hope of surviving this. But that despair was short-lived as the mysterious knight jumped up and flipped clear over the head of the nearest wildling, his fire-sword cleanly removing the man's head from his shoulders as he did. As soon as his feet touched the ground, the stranger was moving again, sliding to the side to avoid a spear thrust and stabbing the attacking wildling though the chest with his fire-sword.
The fight, if it could even be called that, Jon considered it more of a slaughter, was over in the amount of time it took Jon to sit upright on the ground. The stranger almost seemed to know exactly where and when each wildling was about to strike. The stranger also moved like water! One moment he'd been in one place and the next moment he'd be bending or twisting out of the way of a weapon and countering without a moment's hesitation. By the time Jon had fully managed to sit upright, the only wildling left still standing was the bow-wielding woman, she had an arrow drawn and pointed at him. But Jon could see that her arms were shaking so heavily that he doubted her aim would be true, even from the distance on only few paces. When the stranger turned towards her, the wildling threw her bow to the ground and collapsed. "Mercy! Please mi'lord! Mercy! I beg of you!"
The hiss of water on hot steel sounded again as the sword of fire disappeared, leaving only a strange hilt in the mysterious knight's hand. "Why?"
The almost detached way he'd asked the simple question made Jon turn to him. And the fact that he was still holding onto the hilt of the fire sword in his hand made Jon somewhat uneasy. 'He…He is going to accept her surrender…right? Father always said that there was no honor in slaying a surrendered foe…He's not going to hurt her…is he? She's surrendered and she has no weapon on her! There's no reason to do anything to her!'
The wildling woman slowly raised her head, her eyes wide and pleading. "Please, mi'lord…show mercy! I – I'll let you steal me! I won't fight back! I swear! I'll…I be yours…however and wherever ye want me! Please mi'lord…just show mercy."
The stranger didn't say anything. He just stood there, staring at the pleading woman, his face impossible to read behind his strange mask. Jon could hear his own heart beating in his chest as he waited to see what the knight would do. 'He can't…He can't kill her! He just…He can't…He's a warrior! A…A noble man. They don't…They don't kill those that have surrendered…even if they're wildlings.'
Jon wasn't sure just how long the two stared at one another, all but ignoring him. But after a long time, the stranger finally moved as he squatted down in front of the woman. "Tell me." He rumbled in the strange distorted tone. "The farmhouse that you and this lot came across a week pass. Did you show them mercy? Did you show the father mercy as you cut him to pieces and cooked him one piece at a time? Did you show the mother and daughter mercy as your male counterparts raped them repeatedly while you and other woman in your group simply laughed as they cried and begged for mercy? Tell me: did you show them mercy? And if you're willing to be mine and do whatever I want, then tell me: why are you holding a dagger under your body waiting for the chance to run me through?"
Blinking, Jon's eyes flickered from the stranger to the groveling woman. The wildling blinked and then her face morphed from the pleading look to a snarl as she lunged at the stranger. The dagger he hadn't even seen suddenly in her hand and going straight for the stranger's throat. The hiss echoed throughout the forest again as the sword of fire came to life once more. The blade appearing seeming out of nowhere and cutting the woman's arm off at the elbow.
"That," the stranger said calmly, rising to his feet and holding the tip of the fire-sword at the screaming wildling's head. "was your last chance. Had you shown even an ounce of remorse or not tried to kill me. I honestly might've considered your plea. But now…now, I won't. Just be glad that a child is nearby and conscious. Otherwise…this would last a lot longer."
Without a moment's hesitation, the stranger swiped his blade through the air, cleaving clean through the woman's neck and separating her head from her shoulders and ending her screaming.
Jon couldn't take his eyes off the head on the ground. It wasn't his first time seeing a beheading. His father had taken himself and Robb to the execution of a Night's Watch deserter less than a moon's turn ago. Perhaps it was because it was a woman instead of a man. Or perhaps it was because of the suddenness of her shift from pleading for her life to trying to kill the stranger. Or perhaps it was the dispassionate way the stranger had killed her without giving her the chance to say her last words. But for some reason…the whole scene just seemed more…brutal then when his father executed the deserter from the Night's Watch.
Hearing the unmistakable hissing noise again, Jon forced his eyes off the lifeless head lying on the ground to the strange standing just before him. "I apologize for the brutality, young one. But there was no time to shield you from this sight. But for now, sleep."
Jon wanted to say that he wasn't tired, that he had a hundred questions for the stranger. But for some reason upon his command, Jon's mind went dark as his eyes grew heavy. 'But…I'm not even tired…' was the last thought that went through his mind before darkness clouded his vision as the ground rushed up to meet him.
Kneeling next to the now unconscious boy, Nox carefully turned the child over so that he could examine him properly. 'Small cut on the throat, not critical. Clearly exhausted with how quickly he passed out. I didn't even need to put much into the persuasion to put him under.' Turning to where the arrow had penetrated his calf, he gently probed at the flesh around the wound. 'The arrowhead has nicked the bone. It's going to take quite a bit to heal him. But he's young…and strong in the Force. Very strong. Strong enough that his mere presence tells me that we are no longer in Imperial or Republic space. There is no way the Sith nor the Jedi would allow such a promising young individual to pass them by if he was within their domain of control. Even if he does come from a backwater planet with no discernable technology to speak off.'
It'd been three days since Nox had landed on this technology forsaken rock. Or rather crashed. He knew that he didn't have the fuel for a proper landing, so he'd planned on setting down into the ocean near the coastline and then swimming to shore. But that didn't happen. Entry into this planet's atmosphere didn't go like he'd hoped. With no navigational computer to speak of, he had to do the entry by line of sight. By the time he was fully committed, he was too far off course to make the coast. So, with aid of the Force, and no small amount of luck, he managed to locate a small lake in the middle of forest. It'd then taken him nearly everything he had, but he'd managed to use the Force to not only align his ship, but to also slow himself enough so that when he did hit the lake's surface, his ship didn't fold like a deck of cards on him.
After extracting himself from his now-ruined fighter and the small lake he'd crashed into, began to assess his situation. He had no way of communicating with the greater galaxy, no ship and he was apparently marooned on a pre-industrial world with only a single emergency survival bag and the few items on his person to his name. The survival bag wasn't promising either. Apparently whatever pilot was responsible for that long-range fighter had neglected his preparations duties as the bag contained less than half of the supplies that it should have. Deciding to make use of the excess space, he placed the dozen lightsabers he'd managed to collect from the foreign attackers as well as the fallen Sith and Jedi from Darth Marr's ship.
Deciding that he needed to know more, much more, he knelt next to the water's edge and went into a deep meditative trance for two reasons. The first was that he wanted to see if there was any sign of Republic or Imperial forces, which there wasn't. And second, to try and learn as much about this new world as he could. Which unfortunately, even after spending days in his trance, wasn't much. As far as he could tell, this world was pre-industrial world. But just as he'd sensed out in space, the Force was very strong on this world. He could distinctly feel several dark side presences scattered across the world. However, none seemed to belong to a single individual. It was more like each presence was a collective. A collective that he intended to investigate as soon as he was able to do so.
He'd fully intended on delving deeper into his trance to try and discern more, but his concentration had been broken by a disturbance in the Force. A cry for help. It was mere curiosity more than a sense of duty that led him to follow the disturbance. But now that he'd located exactly what the origins of the disturbance of the Force was. He was glad that he did. It wasn't every day that a Darth could find such a promising, uncompromised individual to potentially train. But first, he needed to see to healing the boy proper.
"And that is where you come in, my unfortunate friend," he said, turning around slowly and making his way over to the large man that seemed to have been the leader of this poor assortment of Free Folk, or Wildlings as they were also known.
Said Free Folk was currently trying to push himself up off the ground, but his broken back as well as five broken ribs, courtesy of his impact with the tree, was preventing him from doing so. "Fuck…you…fuckin…kneeler!"
Tsking, Nox made his way over to the fallen Free Folk and knelt down before him. "You surely do like that word don't you? Fucking. Your friend, Tummer, was it? Yes, he liked that word as well. He kept screaming it at me, even as I was syphoning what little I could from his mind. He wasn't a very bright individual, so, luckily for him, it didn't take very long. It is a very painful process, after all. And a weak mind will fold, break and become useless rather quickly. But he did manage to last long enough for me to gather some bits of information. Including your recent actions. And after what you lot did just a week ago…I can honestly say that I'm sorry I didn't prolong his suffering."
Unfortunately, that was the truth of the matter. The first individual he'd come across in his search for the disturbance had yelled something at him and charged at him with a spear. It was almost child's play to take the spear away and the break his knee and arm. The syphoning of one's mind was a very dark technique, but it was one that had fallen out of favor due to its habit of breaking the mind of the victim, making it useless for interrogation purposes. But it was very useful if, say, you were on an uncharted world and needed to get a basic understanding of the local language and geography.
The wilding he'd come across had only lasted a few moments before his mind broke, leaving him a drooling husk of a human. But in that time Nox was able to not only get a feel for the language, which allowed him to speak somewhat to the locals, but it also let him know that he was in a land called 'the North', unoriginal. And that his victim belongs to a group of people known as 'Free Folk' or 'Wildlings' who came from beyond something called 'The Wall' even further to the north. He also saw just what they had done to a small farmstead a few days prior. It wasn't the worst thing Nox had ever heard or even seen happen. But still, even though he was Sith, such actions filled him with disgust.
"But you, you, my large friend," he continued, enjoying watching the big man flail about as he tried in vain to get away from him. "You will not be so lucky. You see, it just so happens that I need you for two reasons. One, is to help heal that young man over there. And the second is to try and learn more about this land."
The Free Folk glared up at him with utter hatred, a look Nox had grown accustomed too over the years. "Fuck you! I ain't helpin a fuckin kneeler!"
Smirking behind his mask, Nox stood up and rolled his neck, "Unfortunately for you, your cooperation in this matter isn't required." Holding out his hand, Nox channeled his power into his outstretched palm, creating a miasma of dark side energy that flowed around his hand and arm. "Ashara would…not fully approve of this. But unfortunately for you, my light was taken from me some time ago. And given what you lot did to those unable to defend themselves…well, let's just say I'm not feeling very charitable at the moment."
Lowering his hand, the miasma flowed out from his hand and encased the wildling in its dark grasp. Almost immediately the man started screaming in agony as Nox began two-fold process of draining his life force to give to the boy so he could heal, and to also syphon what he could from the man's mind.
"Do try not to scream too loud," he said casually, pulling more and more from the withering man. "The boy over there needs his rest, after all. And it'd be terribly impolite of you to wake him with your wailing."
Kneeling on the ground, Lord Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, carefully inspected the small footprint that was inlaid in a small muddy patch before him. The cool air of the North froze his breath as it escaped his lungs. A stark reminder that while winter may have officially ended by the standards of the Maesters, the cold never truly left the North. 'And another reminder as to why we need to find Jon quickly. He is of the North, but even the sturdiest of men can meet their end in a spring chill.'
"My lord, have you found something?" Jory Cassel, nephew to Ser Rodrik Cassel and recently assigned Captain of the Winterfell guard, asked as he knelt next to Eddard in order to examine what he'd found.
"Aye," Eddard nodded, lightly touching at the single foot impression. "This track was not made by any animal nor a full grown man, it's far too small. No, this track belongs to a boy."
Jory licked his lips as he nodded with the assessment. "Jon," Jory stated, giving words to Eddard's thoughts. "The track looks fresh, my lord. Less than a day old…maybe half a day at best. We're closing in on him."
"Aye." Eddard nodded, rising to his feet and staring off in the direction the single track was heading towards. A direction that would lead them even further into the depths of the unmarked wolfswood.
"He's still alive, my lord," Jory stated, stepping up beside him. "We'll find him my lord, I swear it."
Nodding, Eddard stayed silent as he stared off into the depths of the woods while Jory went back to gather the men. The well of despair that'd been growing within him ever since he'd discovered Jon's disappearance grew even more despite the evidence of Jon's continued survival. 'This is my fault.' He thought to himself morosely as he made his way back to where Jory was giving out orders to the two dozen house guards that'd accompanied the two on the search. 'I should've been paying more attention to Jon. I know that recently he has started to feel unworthy of being in Winterfell. No thanks to that bloody Septa and her abrupt and cruel explanation of just what a bastard, and by extent what Jon was in the eyes of the South. I should've realized that Jon was looking to prove that he wasn't just bastard, that he wanted to prove himself. And that this mysterious 'falling star' of his was the perfect opportunity to do just that.'
But it wasn't just his failing to recognize Jon's need to prove his worth that had brought him into such a well of despair. No, what'd truly brought him so low was the fact that it'd taken him and those within his own house nearly a full day to discover that Jon was in fact missing in the first place! After Jon had failed to show up for dinner, Ned had sent a servant to fetch him, figuring that he'd spent the day in his chambers, but when the servant reported back that Jon wasn't there and that no one had seen him all day, Ned felt lower than even that day in the Tower when he first held Jon in his arms.
Ned had immediately called for a search party to head out and search for Jon. Cat had tried to talk him out of leading the search himself, but he would hear none of it. Her attitude towards Jon had always been a sore point in their otherwise decent marriage. And for not the first time, Ned seriously considered telling her the truth of the matter. But, as always, the words died on his tongue before he could give them voice. 'I have to protect him. I swore to her that I would. And his best shield is his anonymity. The fewer that know the truth, the better. No good will come of it should people learn just who he truly is.'
Robb, unsurprisingly, had wanted to go with them. He'd even been sitting on a horse waiting for them while pointedly ignoring his mother's orders to get down. Jon and Robb, much to Ned's joy, were true siblings, even if they were secret cousins. They played together, learned together, fought together. Just about every first the two boys had experienced in their young lives had been in the presence of the other. Their bond was strong…despite even Cat's attempts to separate the two. It'd taken Ned nearly an hour to convince Robb that he needed to stay behind, that he was still young and that they would be moving too fast for him to keep up with. And that he needed Robb to stay and be the Lord or Winterfell while he was away. Robb hadn't been happy about being left behind, but in the end his son's budding sense of duty won out and he was left behind.
Figuring out where Jon had set off too had been easy. He'd talked for nearly a full day about the fallen star that landed in the wolfswood. But that was merely the start. Finding a single boy in the ancient and dense forest was the true challenge. They'd had to abandon their horses after the first day when the evidence pointed to Jon leaving the trail and heading deeper into the woods than any had ventured before. And now, two days later, they had still yet to find Jon.
'He's out of food by now,' Ned thought as he watched his guards spread out so that dozen or more paces separated each of them in order to cover as much space as possible but allowing them to keep track of one another. 'And unless he's found a new source of water, he will be out of that as well. We need to find him, soon.'
Falling into step with the rest of his men, Ned kept a constant vigilance on the trees around him searching for any sign of Jon. "How much further do you think he could've gone?" Jory asked him as they continued searching. "You Starks are made of sturdily stuff, my lord. But Jon, he's but a boy of six. To think that he could've gotten this far out on his own with little supplies…it doesn't make much sense. Even a fully-grown man would be slowing by now. But your son, he just seems to be keeping two steps ahead of us."
Jory wasn't wrong. Ned had expected to be able to catch up with Jon within half a day, a day at most once they'd set out. But now they were three days in and seemingly no closer to catching up to Jon than the day they'd set out. If Ned wasn't so frightened and worried, he would've been proud of the pace that his 'bastard' son had set.
Nearly half a day passed before they found their next sighting. Ned had been ready to call for a halt when one of his men had called out to him. "Lord Stark! We've found something!"
Desperate for any sign of Jon, Ned had all but run over to the guardsmen, leaving Jory and the others struggling to catch up to him. 'Please be Jon. Please gods of the North, let him be alright.' Unfortunately, his prayers fell on deaf ears as he arrived at the guardsmen who'd called for him. A small camp, unorganized and scattered, lay in a small clearing. Two of Stark guardsmen that'd been closest were inspecting the makeshift tents while a third was holding his bare hand over the remnants of a fire. "The embers are still warm, Lord Stark." The guardsmen explained the moment he laid eyes on Eddard.
Nodding, Eddard looked around the makeshift camp with a critical eye. The smallfolk wouldn't dare venture so far into the wolfswood to make camp. Nor would any bannerman of the North. The threat of wildlife was far too dangerous to venture too far from the road. Which meant that whoever made this camp didn't want to be near the road. Which left two options. Neither of which were appealing. "Spread out." Ned ordered, making his way over to the still warm embers. "Look for tracks. Someone abandoned this camp in a hurry, and I want to know where they went."
"Yes mi'lord!" his guardsmen shouted before dispersing and searching the nearby area for any sign of tracks.
"My Lord," Jory said lowly as he came up beside Eddard. "There are only two types of folk who'd set up camp so far from the road. Bandits and-"
"Wildlings." Eddard finished for his captain. "I am well aware of that fact, Jory."
He could hear the hesitation in his captain's voice as he continued. "My lord, if they spotted Jon before us—"
"I know," Eddard nearly snapped. 'Promise me, Ned.' "But I won't allow myself to think about that situation. My son is alive, Jory. I know it."
"Mi'lord!" One of his guardsmen shouted, bringing an end to their conversation. "Tracks heading west mi'lord! One small and at least six others as well! They look to be moving fast!"
A single shared look with his captain of the guard was all that was needed as Jory drew his sword. "To arms, men! We'll track these fuckers down who dare to hunt a wolf!"
As his men drew their weapons and voiced their approval, Ned continued to stare blankly into the depths of the forest. The wind through the trees and the sound of the animals who made the forest their home died into nothing as the voice of his long-lost sister rang through his head like a mantra. 'Promise me, Ned. Promise me, Ned.'
Sitting on the stump of a fallen tree, Darth Nox, Dark Lord of the Sith, quietly contemplated the situation he now found himself in as he let the soft sound of the small fire he'd created wash over him. Directly across from him, laid out carefully so as to not disturb the freshly healed wounds, was the young boy he'd rescued from the so-called 'wildlings', of 'free folk' as they prefered to be called, less than an hour ago. The boy was powerful in the Force. Completely untrained, but his potential was astronomical. A quick scan of the boy told him that he hadn't ate anything for days, but even still, he'd been able to push himself well past what should've been the normal limits for a child his age. Which meant he'd been unconsciously sustaining himself with the Force. Which was beyond impressive. With the proper training he could become incredibly powerful, perhaps even powerful enough to rival himself one day. So, sticking with the boy wasn't the problem. No, what was the problem was what he was supposed to do now.
He could take the boy and go. But that idea didn't seem logical. For starters, he had no real powerbase on this world. Where would he even take the boy too? No. Simply grabbing the boy and disappearing wasn't an option. But then, what were his options?
Pausing in his musing, he looked over the boy once again through the Force. Even though this world was clearly pre-industrial, and perhaps even pre-gunpowder based projectile weaponry, given the weapons used by the 'wildlings', the boy was actually well groomed. His teeth were clean, little dirt even though he'd been in this forest alone for days. And the few calluses on his hands were obviously not caused by manual labor. And unlike the wildlings' mismatched furs, this boy wore tailed clothing that were designed specifically for him. Which meant that the boy had a relatively easy upbringing so far. Which meant he potentially came from a powerful family.
'That could be the solution,' he thought, bringing his hand up to his chin. 'Given the potential era this world seems to be in, the more influential means the better. Rescuing a potential 'Lord's' son could help me make a place in this world in the short term. And once I get my foot in the door, so to speak, I can introduce some more modern concepts towards engineering, science, agriculture, and philosophy. It's not ideal and it will take a good amount of time and patience. But eventually I will be able to build a new powerbase on this world. I might even be able to gather a few promising acolytes. Yes. That is the best course of action.'
Feeling a slight tremor in the Force, Nox reached out with his senses. 'Well, this is just convenient,' he thought, his lips upturning underneath his mask. 'Over a dozen men are closing in on us. And one of them…he has a…familial connection with the boy. Not direct. But there is definitely a connection there. Good. I can use that. Well, I guess that it's time to play the game once more.'