The night was quiet save for the drumming of heavy rain pouring down from the heavens. The Riverlands have always been prone to rains owing to its tropical nature. In her lessons with Maester Luwin, she had learned her mother's homeland was filled with rivers. It was a land teeming with rivers, fords, lush green forests and rich farmlands. And the rivers of the Riverlands get their water mostly from rain rather than melting snow as is the case in the North.
Right now, Arya appreciated the rain pouring down on her. It was cold and it was loud. If she had a pot, she could get it filled by the time she finished singing The Bear and the Maiden Fair. Nonetheless, it provided her with the necessary cover for what she was about to do.
Arya looked into the distance where the Frey soldiers were patrolling the walls and standing guard on towers on the ramparts. The towers were distinguishable because of the fires burning under the cover of roofs. The rest of the ramparts remained barely visible because of the rain and darkness of the night. This suited her just fine. Shadows were her allies and darkness no longer could cover her eyes. She saw the world with more than just her eyes.
"I hope you know what you are doing girl."
Arya eyed the leader of the Thenn. Sigorn was the man's name and there must surely be an interesting story on how Jon managed to take charge of the Wildling clans. Everything she had learned in Winterfell pushed her to not trust Sigorn and his men. But, Jon was confident in the Thenns. He claimed many of them were good climbers as they had scaled the Wall.
Arya thought that was impossible but she never knew her brother to be a liar.
"If you don't shut up then the men along the wall will find us and pelt us with arrows. So, shut up and stay put." Arya snapped back at Sigorn.
Her brother may hold these Wildlings in high regard but she did not like their attitude. Perhaps, she was not in a good state of mind as she was lying flat down in the mud with cold rain pouring over her without respite.
"The little wolf knows to howl." commented a wildling whose name she was not bothered to learn.
Arya turned to her fellow Northmen by her side holding crossbows. Jon had loaned her the best crossbowmen in his army on her demand and thankfully a few of them were Northmen.
"If anyone speaks again you are free to silence them with your bow."
Her sharp order made the Northerners frantically nod and then there was sweet silence except for the rain. She waited for the signal and by signal, she meant her brother's dragon.
It was quite a surprise for her to see the dragon with her own eyes. Of course, she had heard tales of the great green dragon that decimated the Lannister armies outside the walls of Riverlands in her journey. But, seeing the dragon with her own eyes remained an experience of its own. Words could not describe the awe and wonder she felt when her eyes lay upon a living fire-breathing dragon.
For Arya, dragons were just beasts of wonder only found in old dusty tomes of Maester Luwin and stories of old by Old Nan. She had fancied herself a dragonrider of the likes of Rhaenys and Visenya in her dreams. But, dreams remained dreams as there were no dragons to be found in the sky or any of the known lands.
However, that was no longer the case.
A dragon now soars among the clouds of Westeros. A dragon that's under the control of a Stark.
Arya cared not what Jon called himself these days. He is a Stark and her brother for as long as she lived.
Suddenly, she heard the sound of flapping wings drawing closer. She bunkered down and waited, keeping her senses sharp. An owl promptly landed on the ground just one foot away from her position. Undoubtedly, the owl was under Jon's control.
"The time has come. Crossbowmen, take your position." Arya ordered.
As the owl flew away, possibly to keep an eye on the ramparts, Arya along with the Crossbowmen crawled through the mud towards the edge of the moat. Their movements were measured and silent. Once they reached the moat the crossbowmen split into two groups on either side of Arya while working on their equipment.
Meanwhile, Arya prepared herself by securing a roll of rope over her shoulder while making sure she had her knives and Needle by her side.
Careful not to make a sound, she slipped into the moat and slowly swam to the other side. Once she felt stone beneath her fingers, she held on and waited for the signal.
Then she heard it, the flapping of the wings and the fear-inducing roar of her brother's dragon.
"It has begun." Arya whispered and she prepared herself.
This was going to be her moment, she realised.
Then a tower along the eastern rampart was consumed by dragonfire. Screams tore through the night sky mixing in with the heavy rain. But, Arya realized the screams were not yet to the intensity she remembered the last time she was at the Twins.
'Not bloody enough for what they did to mother, Robb and good Northmen.' Arya thought, as her knuckles squeezed down on the stone she was holding onto.
She could hear the guards on the wall panic and rushing to put out the fire and perhaps to defend the castle wall from an attack. Either way, the plan was working. With the enemy distracted Arya was left with a free hand to roll out her plan.
Crossbow bolts began flying, not aimed at the enemy above but rather straight at the wall. Now, it was time for her to climb.
Daeron circled the Twins on Rhaegal. Rain was pouring down on him and it made visibility non-existent. But, for a warg day or night makes little difference. If his normal eyes could not see then he'd just have to borrow eyes that saw the world in darkness.
Owls remained a powerful tool for wargs during nighttime. His mind jumped to multiple owls and saw everything that was needed. Once he made sure Arya was in her position ready to act, it was time for his part.
"Let's burn some rats out Rhaegal." Daeron whispered to his trusted draconic mount.
Rhaegal let out a roar of approval and dived. He held on for dear life and maintained his vision through the owls flying over the castle and those that he left strategically along the ramparts. A small mental nudge from Daeron made Rhaegal turn at an angle and made a sharp pull upwards while spitting out a plethora of red stone-melting dragonfire on a tower. Winds howled in his ears and the rain hit him like bullets, but he still heard the screams of men as dragonfire turned men, stone and iron to ash.
Just as he assumed, the men standing guard rushed to the burning tower fearing another attack. With the enemy's attention on his attacks, Arya was free to enact her plan.
But, things didn't stop there.
He had his men gathered in groups near the eastern castle with some scorpions. They used the scorpions and the longbows to great effect and began pelting the castle defenders with scorpion bolts and arrows.
Daeron flew high into the clouds while his mind went to the western castle where the Riverlords under Brynden Tully were harrying the defenders. Both castles were now being put to siege while Daeron flew around the stone bridge atop his dragon bringing chaos into the ranks of the Frey soldiers.
"I hope this is enough distraction, Arya." He muttered, before urging Rhaegal to set another tower on fire. Screams once again pierced the night sky as dragonfire burned brightly wholly dismissive of the outpouring rain.
It was exhilarating and quite dangerous but Arya loved it all the same. Looking down she started at the row of crossbow bolts jutting out of the stone wall. It was a testament to her training and discipline that she managed to climb all this way up using the crossbow bolts as crutches.
She thanked the lessons of Syrio Forel which helped her balance her weight no matter the surface. The course she spend chasing after cats and learning from the feline creatures finally paid off. The crossbowmen also deserved their due. They were precise and not a bolt was out of place.
'Jon really picked the best.' Arya thought.
Looking up, Arya tossed the rope to the rampart and climbed herself into the narrow walkway. After quickly tying up one end of the rope, she threw the other end down for the men to climb.
She didn't wait for the men to catch up as she went about her work. She left Needle untouched and instead took her knife and ran. The guards distracted by the attack from both east and west never saw her coming. She was as silent as a cat and as invisible as death.
Arya jumped straight on a guard's back clamping down on his mouth and slit the man's throat in quick succession. Before the man hit the floor she was plunging her knife through another guard's eye straight into the brain killing the man instantly. She left the two guards there on the walkway with the rain washing away the blood.
"You there! Who're you?" a guard shouted from the distance making Arya flip the knife so that she was holding the sharp end of the blade.
The guard blinked and Arya acted without wasting any time.
The knife in her sliced through the raindrops. She could see the blade steadily spinning, unimpeded from the path she laid out for the weapon. The guard opened his eyes and her knife was lodged in his throat. The guard choked in his own blood and gurgled out a scream as he fell attracting the attention of a group of guards further ahead.
Arya could see the narrow pass of stairs on the side which should lead to a portcullis leading to the moat surrounding the eastern castle. She ran straight for the guards but she was given further assistance when a flock of owls attacked the guards. No doubt, Jon was keeping an eye on her.
She put more speed to her legs and slid right between the legs of a guard with her knife in hand. The guard screamed as her blade came out with blood cutting a red line right between the parted legs. Arya was on her feet with a flip simultaneously kicking out the legs of another guard. The guard fell forward by the weight of the armour and she spun elegantly dragging the knife through the gap in the armour.
Needle was on her left hand and Arya promptly jabbed it straight through the screaming guard's open mouth, silencing her enemy. Another guard tried to bash her with his shield, the air whistling above her as she rolled under the man's arm and promptly cut the tendons of his legs. She was about to finish him off when two crossbow bolts felled the man for good.
Her eyebrows twitched as the Northerners called her lady but she held back any retort. There were other things at stake here and time was of the essence.
"The stair to the Portcullis is there." Said Arya, pointing to the narrow plunging stairs downward just as Jon informed her. "Raise the gate and give the signal. The stone bridge should be your priority. Another group will subdue the castle."
"Aye, my lady. What about you?"
Arya eyed the western castle with a cruel glint in her eyes.
"I've my own battles to fight." said Arya, before proceeding to jump from the rampart into an orchard full of Apple trees.
Walder knew there was no victory before him. He has lost. It was only a matter of time before he was in between the dragon's jaws.
He'd have fought on and held out if it was just the Northerners. They no longer had any wolves to rally around. It'd have been easy for him to wait out in his castle and let the Northerners and Tullys starve. But, the Targaryen scoundrel put out any chance of a victory.
Walder did not fear the rabble the Targaryen boy has for his army. He also did not fear Brynden Tully despite the unreasonable fear he could see among his stupid good-for-nothing family. The Blackfish was just a man. A man of flesh and blood. The troublesome trout could be killed easily. A chance arrow could do the deed.
But, a real powerful fire-breathing dragon! Now, that changed things.
There was no hope for a victory. The dragon could burn the Twins to the ground. The fate of Harren the Black was not forgotten by him or his kin. If he was to hold out for long in the castle there was a good chance the Targaryen would burn them all to the ground. This reality was not unseen by the rest of his kin. Walder was aware his kin would rather present him to the Targaryen and the Northerners as a present to save their sorry hides.
However, he could not accept defeat and go meekly to his death. He was Walder Frey. He was the man who brought down the Young Wolf. He was the one who elevated House Frey to the ranks of the Great Houses. No other Frey could claim to have accomplished more as he has and he'd be a fool to see all his gains turn to ashes.
So, he sent raven after raven to all the lords of Westeros seeking aid. His offers of gold and marriages flew to all corners of the South and yet very few answered. Those that answered were politely declining his offers.
'How dare they insult me! Even now, after everything I gained and became, I'm not respected or feared.' Walder thought.
Looking out of the window of his chambers, Walder grimaced. It was a sorry sight, his precious castle.
The western castle was burning along the curtain wall. No doubt, it was dragonfire. The fire burned bright despite the heavy rain. Only Wildfire was known to burn like that but this one was not green. So, Walder was certain it was dragonfire.
This made fear bloom like never before.
'Is the Targaryen going to burn everything down?'
He could not see a way out of the situation he found himself in. He cared not for the lives of his kin. There were too many sons, daughters and grandchildren for him to properly care about. He feared for his life first.
The door to his chambers opened. Walder turned around in his chair expecting one of his sons. But, it turned out to be his wife who wilted under his stare. He turned away from the girl and resumed watching out from the window.
He could hear the door swinging shut and his wife slowly making her way close to his armchair.
"My lord, what should we do?"
Walder turned his grey beady eyes on his young wife, Joyeuse Erenford. The Erenford girl was his eighth wife, young and beautiful, just as he liked. Bit, she has quite a mouth on her. Her bountiful cheeks and round rump enticed him in the bed but she talked too much.
"Do not speak to me girl. The women in my House dare not speak without permission." Walder snapped.
Walder grumbled some more under his breath about women not knowing their place. He may find his new wife comely enough and a good lay in the bed but the girl assumed too much.
'It is the Erenford blood. Up jumped peasants, the whole lot.' Walder groused in his mind while his attention remained at the open window.
The fighting was drawing closer. He could feel it in his bones. His hand started shaking in fear at the thought of dying. He could not die, not now. Not when he had finally become powerful and respected. He was the ruler of the Riverlands. He became the greatest of all Freys. His achievements have dwarfed all those who came before him as he had dreamed in his youth. He had bared all the insults and jokes at his expense all these years. He could not afford to let go of the gains and incur more insults to his name again.
There has to be a way to stave off this nightmare. There has to be!
"Shouldn't we escape husband? The enemy is right at our doorstep."
"Shut up you stupid girl. You know nothing of war." Walder raged. "The Young Wolf thought himself invincible and I showed him, didn't I? The stupid boy thought he could insult me and look where that has gotten him and his family."
"I showed the wolves their place, didn't I? This Targaryen boy is no better. The Lannisters will come and together we shall destroy this dragon." Walder boasted knowing full well this was not the case.
But, he could not acknowledge the truth. He could not face the reality that come tomorrow he might lose his head.
"But, you didn't kill all the Starks." his wife whispered into his ear.
Walder screamed as a dagger pierced through his palm into the arm of the chair. His screams however were muffled by a hand covering his mouth. He tried to fight off his wife but the girl suddenly twisted the dagger making him paralysed with pain. The shock of the attack combined with the pain he was feeling robbed Walder of almost all his meagre strength. He was just on the verge of being unconscious when he was pulled back by a slap across his face.
"Where would be the fun if you fall unconscious Frey?"
Walder screamed again as his wife plunged another dagger into his right thigh.
"Why? Why are you doing this?" he gasped out.
His 'wife' simply smiled and changed her face to another making him question his sanity.
'Did I just see that? Or is this all in my mind?' Walder thought as pain racked his body.
"Leave one wolf alive and the sheep are never safe." The girl smirked and she stepped on the dagger lodged in his thigh making him scream in pain.
"Winter has come for House Frey."
His eyes widened in realization. But, he didn't have the luxury of thoughts as pain consumed him like hellfire.
Arya stood at the very top of the western castle. Her hands were covered with dried blood.
That thought sent a sliver of satisfaction to her mind. Of all her enemies, Walder Frey was her most hated enemy. She never thought she'd hate someone as much as Joffrey and Cersei. Walder Frey was the one top on her list. That's why she took her time to kill the man.
She had flayed the man alive. Somewhere along the way, Walder Frey died but it was a death steeped in agony and blood. Just as the traitorous Frey deserved.
The first light was nearing. She could see the sunlight lighting up some distant hills. The light slowly seeped in through the gaps and she closed her eyes as the gentle warmth touched her face.
The Twins have fallen. As Jon promised, the Northern army now occupied both the castles on either side of the Green Fork. The draw bridges were lowered and her brother should be making his way into the castle.
The light shined on the river and there she saw the relatives of war. The river was swollen with water and it rushed through the channels with an angry roar. The river known for its murky green current was nowhere to be seen. Today, the current was tinted red with blood.
Bodies floated by the river slowly carried away by the current. There must be thousands in the river. Probably, there were some innocents too. But, she could care less about such trivial matters.
"Innocent or guilty, powerful or weak, peasant or lord, death comes to them all. So, why bother. Valar Morghulis." said Arya, and her words were carried away by the wind. A wind that held the tint of blood, sweat, tears and death.