That morning, Olyvar returned to his place at his Robb's side as they marched North to go retake Moat Cailin.
They're host numbered eighty-five hundred, with five thousand being mounted. They had left a strong garrison behind at the Twins as well, and another five hundred men going south, to aide Lord Ronnel Stout and Ser Kyle Condon in holding the Ruby Ford, under the command of Lord Edmure.
Olyvar was riding in the main column, which was under the command of King Robb himself.
For five days they rode North, and on the sixth, they were finally in the Neck. Olyvar was further North than he had ever gone before.
That night, the King held the first council of his lords since he had departed the Twins, in his pavilion. In addition to Olyvar and Robb, they were joined by Lord Roose Bolton, the Greatjon, Ser Wendel Manderly, two of his half-brothers, Hosteen and Aenys, and Lord Galbart Glover and Lady Maege Mormont, who had returned after carrying out his grace's orders, and had brought a short man with him.
"Your grace, as you said, Victarion returned to the Iron Islands to have a say in succession, and took with him most his captains." Lord Galbart began.
"That is good to hear my lord." Robb replied.
"But there is more, your grace. He took almost all the men as well. Only seventy men hold the castle by the counts of my men at most, and every day we pick off more of them with our arrows." The little man said.
"Good, keep using the arrows. The fewer men manning the castle when we strike, the better," Robb said. From what Olyvar could gather about the man, he deduced that he was Howland Reed.
"Your grace, you asked me to send word to my father, to raise more men. I have received word that my father has sent seven hundred, with two hundred mounted, heading down the causeway from the North side." Ser Wendel told them.
"Thank you, Ser," Robb said. "I mean to strike 3 days before the New Year, in six days time. Lord Howland, you have the guides that I requested?"
"Yes your grace."
"Then all should go as planned. Lord Umber, you will be leading the southron assault, Lord Bolton, the western, and I shall lead the Northern assault." Robb finished. "Are there any more matters to attend to?" he asked, to no reply. "Then, it would seem our council is at its end."
All of the Lords departed the tent, leaving Robb with Olyvar and Greywind. Greywind had still been a little hostile towards Hosteen and Aenys, but nowhere near as much as he had been according to Robb towards Ryman and his sons, when they first made it to the Twins.
Robb sighed as he folded up the map, before he sat down, rubbing his temples. He set his crown on the table.
"What troubles you, your grace?" Olyvar asked.
His king smiled sadly at that. "Everything," he said, shrugging his shoulders. "My wife grows with child far away from here, Lord Tywin is soon to be upon us again, my brothers are dead, Winterfell is a ruin, I've sent my mother and uncle away, Greywind has taken a strong dislike to your kin and Lord Bolton, one of my sisters remains a captive of the Lannisters, and the other will no doubt curse me until the day I die, the Karstarks have yet to be secured, and my kingdom still has many seats to be filled."
Olyvar looked at his king, and thought for a moment. "If I remember correctly, Little Walder Frey was one of the wards your mother took on, correct?"
"Aye. He wrote a letter to Lord Bolton telling me of how his bastard tried to save Winterfell. Most like I will still have the bastard's head, but for the nonce, Big and Little Walder are with him."
"His mother was a Darry. You could make him your new Lord of Darry." Olyvar offered.
Robb considered it for a moment. "Yes, I think he'll do. That ought to please your father, and he's not much younger than my last Lord of Darry besides. Fetch me some paper."
Olyvar did as he was bid, and he sat as Robb began to draft a document, and sealed it with grey wax when he was finished.
"Well, that's one less problem." Robb said, clearly no more content than he had been before. Not long afterwards though, they both fell asleep.
The next two days were not much different from the past six. It was only on the ninth day of their march that they began to ride through the bogs the neck was famous for.
It was much slower going here as they were riding through the swamp. Olyvar did not know most the trees and plants that grew here. Each night when he undressed, he found himself covered in fresh bites from the bugs. But on the night of their third march, they found themselves back on the Kingsroad. That night they were joined by Lord Wyman's fresh levies as well. They were camped just beyond the sight of Moat Cailin.
The next day they began their march after the sun had set, riding hard south against the Moat. It was two hours before they came upon the Moat. They had ridden under the cover of darkness, as they did not use any torches, and it was a new moon. As they got closer, Olyvar heard the Greatjon's warhorns to the south, and saw some of the crannogmen among the trees.
The Ironmen did not put up much opposition to them. Only 4 men stood guarding the Northern gate, unknowing of the army descending upon them until it was at their gates, and they could not deal with the great host that lay before them. They quickly breeched the walls, and opened the gates, and flooded into the castle. They found that sixty-eight men had been left to garrison the castle, with three of them dying of poisoned arrow wounds. Five and ten of the men yielded or were taken captive, while the rest had been slain during the battle.
The Greatjon's host to the south had lost only a hundred men, while Robb's host under 30. Lord Bolton only lost four men, and only one of them had fallen at the hands of the Ironborn. The others had taken a misstep and sunk into the bogs, weighed down by their armor.
That night, the men celebrated yet another victory for the Young Wolf.
In private though, in his chambers in the Gatehouse Tower, Robb still looked just as grim, for they had grave tidings coming from further North.
This chapter is much shorter than I would like. I think I was counting on the Battle of Moat Cailin being longer, but I rushed through it.
I actually did check the most accurate ASOIAF lunar calendar I could find, and at about the point where Robb's battle goes down, it would've been around the new moon.
In every battle that Robb fought, (Whispering Wood, Camps, Oxcross, Ashemark and the Crag), Robb attacked at night, so this is in line with that.
At this point, Olyvar does not know about the Red Wedding plot.
In response to SortofGuest, I mean kinda. This isn't based on the show where Robb had the whole romance thing with Talisa, this is the books where Robb married Jeyne to preserve his honor after he had taken her virginity on a night when he was loaded up on Opioids, probably given the Westerosi equivalent to Viagra, and learned that his best friend who he considered to be as close to him as a brother had betrayed him, taking his home, and killed his brother. And like Catelyn said, they really don't have a choice. If Robb hadn't broken his word, they might have been able to get around Arya's marriage, particularly if Stevron were Lord of the Crossing at that point, but Stevron's dead, and Robb has broken his word. As for Arya acting too complacent, I guess, but at the same time though, Arya at this point is a traumatized child who's just been reunited with her family, and thus isn't looking for trouble at the moment.