Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Game of Thrones.
Hello again everyone! Glad to be posting again and since this is likely to be the last update of 2022, I will wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
As some of you have noticed I have put up a poll to see what people are thinking in regards to a possible future pairing for Meera. Rhaenys seems to be in the lead while others believe she should stay single. What do you think? The pairing isn't decided yet so if you want a voice and haven't yet voted, please do so.
This chapter finally reveals just what the Red Wisps are and what their intentions are. It also shows how everything from Asgard got to the world of Game of Thrones.
Review Responses from the last chapter…
Guest - Here, sorry for the wait.
ReadingFenatic - Hope you enjoy it.
Sky - Sorry it took so long but real life has been hard at the moment especially with Christmas going on.
Blaze1992 - Can't quite reveal what will happen too soon but eventually there is another fight coming. About Dany, true not sure just where this will come from at the moment.
Foxy-Floof - I know but while she is wiser, she is still Harry at least partly, she is reckless but if anything, this will help her learn. As for her going beyond the Wall? Remember Loki was holding Jon hostage at the time and the North couldn't manage a whole army beyond the Wall for long not to mention how easily seen that would be. She was thinking a quick raid to snatch the hostages and then get out like Barristan Selmy did with the Mad King at Duskendale.
10868letsgo- I know but that will feature more in coming chapter.
BioHazard82 - Glad you enjoyed it!
Joe02 - I really am glad you like my stories! I will try to update as often as possible but it will likely be at least once a month. Loki? If he gives you something it is entirely for his own benefit and about the dragon eggs? All I can say is keep watching. About Mance and his people, oh they will deal with them soon enough. As for the Tyrells, can't say too much without giving away the story but you are onto something there.
frankieu - Glad to hear you enjoyed it! Can't escape this time, nowhere to run so the only thing left is to stand and fight. The Night King though isn't the main enemy in this story.
More reviews at the end of the chapter.
On with the chapter…
Chapter 25 - Battle for the Dawn Part 5
Forest outside of Warm Caves, Beyond the Wall…
The bitterly icy winds cut through both Jon and Meera as they stood facing the walkers. Their thick furs didn't seem to provide much protection against the cold and only the powers granted by their weapons enabled them to hold off freezing to death.
The walkers were a horrible sight, tall and skeletal with grey skin draped against the bones underneath while creating some disturbing tears all over their bodies like it was going to fall off. Their thin white hair seemed to almost be falling off of their heads and they were dressed in thin rags that were barely holding themselves together.
But despite the ice-covered swords and spears they were carrying what really made them terrifying was those inhuman blue luminous eyes. They should have been used to that by now but with the wights those eyes had been completely empty, nothing was there just an animated shell of a person and that had been terrifying in itself.
But with the walkers it was scary in a different way. They had those same eyes but instead of the emptiness like the wights there was a cold intelligence at work in their eyes. Completely inhuman which neither of them had ever seen before.
They both felt fear, it was hardly unexpected did their best to stand their ground.
The Walkers surprisingly didn't seem eager to charge them, maybe worried about being destroyed like the other walkers that had met their ends at their hands. This did give Meera and Jon some comfort but knew they wouldn't win this fight by waiting around, it depended on who made the first move. There were no more traps or schemes, just basic survival…either they went down, or Jon and Meera did.
So, without any further thought, they charged the walkers.
Jon swung his sword into the ice sword of one walker before using leverage to force sword away from the walker and then swung around on his heel faster than the Walker could move, shattering the walker into pieces but while successful Jon paid a price for it as he then had to dodge a spear thrust from another walker and then was punched by another.
The force of the hit was enough to knock Jon back and was sure to leave him with a black eye but Jon didn't have time to waste and jumped back to his feet as soon as was possible and stabbed his sword straight into the belly of the Walker that was about to try and stab him.
Meera like Jon was surrounded by walkers and twirled her spear around in a constantly swirling motion to fend off attacks that seemed to come from many different directions before she managed to impale a walker that was trying to creep up behind her, it shattered into pieces but for her actions Meera was punched in the side by one of the walkers who seemed to have dropped his weapon.
She reeled away from the strong hit but like Jon was protected from being hurt too badly by the spear's strengthening of her body. She side stepped another spear thrust from one Walker before impale another which reduced another to bits but again, she paid a price for it.
One of the walkers slashed at her chest and when his sword failed to penetrate her armour, he kicked her right in the chest and sent her back a few steps. Meera shrugged the pain off before she leapt back into the fight.
Jon was facing roughly four of the walkers while the remaining six were ganging up on Meera. While they seemed so focused on her would have confused them had they didn't have the chance to think about it given they were fighting for their very lives.
Meera managed to jab her spear into another walker but the sheer number of walkers meant that she was going to get hit some times. While they had now discovered their weapons couldn't penetrate her Valyrian steel armour, they knew physical impacts could still hurt her till they could find a killing blow.
Jon didn't have the same armour that she did but thankfully he was an expert fighter and not subject to the same attention as she was. He managed to strike down another of the walkers attacking him before immediately blocking the next attack. The power of his sword was now far strong and he was easily able to ignite the blue flames, covering the blade of Hofund.
A walker swung his ice sword at Jon but when it came in contact with the burning blade it was cut in half! The Walker and Jon were super surprised at this but Jon immediately took advantage of this and killed the walker while he was still in shock.
Meera twirled her spear around and caught another walker with the pointed other end as he tried to creep up behind her. But paid for it with punch to the face. She could feel her nose was now crooked and her shoulder and chest ached but she couldn't focus on that for now. She caught the offender with her spear and saw him break into ice crystals and then swung her spear around in time to block an ice spear that was aimed at the gaps in her armour and then used the vambrace of her armour to smack him in the face. The Walker let out an inhuman shriek as if the contact with the metal hurt it but it didn't hurt for long as Meera managed to stab the creature in the gut, rendering to nothing a second later.
As Jon downed another Walker Meera, looked up to see a sight that was worse than the walkers coming towards her.
The Night King himself.
He wore armour of some kind unlike his brethren and had ice shards in his head that seemed to resemble a crown. Meera honestly with her body aching was really intimidated but she was too stubborn to just give up. So, she raised her spear and strangely the other Walkers surrounding her reduced now though they were stood back a little, as if the King himself was going to deal with her personally since she was too much as threat for them to handle. A few noticed that Jon was now ending another one of the walkers and went to aid in the fight against him.
Meera with her spear in hand saw his ice sword, he swung at her and she parried it but he moved far quicker than his fellows and jabbed at her which hit her armour so hard she honestly felt like she had been punched in the stomach but had no time to recover and had to roll back to avoid his ice sword taking off her head. Meera got back on her feet and swung her spear in a large arch that he eluded and then advanced on her again.
Meera knew she was in trouble; her body was tired and the cold was sapping away her strength being this close. But she wasn't going to give him she thought and jabbed again but the Walker merely sidestepped and slashed at her again which she blocked but then had to move quickly to prevent his next attack.
He was smarter than the others and stronger Meera thought as she felt even her enhanced strength being tested, when he hit, she felt the impact keenly and was wondering briefly what hit harder, a giant or the walkers?
She got into a lock with the Night King who glared at her while she glared back then another walker attacked randomly from the side.
Meera's quick reactions saved her, managing to jump away just in time to avoid its ice-covered spear thrust but the Night King took advantage and with a heavy cleave sent Gungnir flying free from her grasp.
Meera now was deprived of her spear and her fear spiking as she was faced with a number of walkers all around her with nowhere to run too. She looked around and dived to the side as one of the walkers came at her with a sword and saw the Night King advancing towards her and he grabbed her by the throat before she could escape.
He lifted her up, holding her high enough that her feet were dangling helplessly above the ground and her hands tried desperately to pull his hands away as she felt herself becoming lightheaded as he squeezed her throat but his grip was just too strong.
She honestly was starting to feel darkness creeping into her vision and Jon was fighting off six walkers on his own and barely managing so he was not going to be coming to her rescue. Meera honestly was struggling to deal with the fact that this was how it was going to end…with the life literally being squeezed out of her by the Night King.
However just as her vision was growing more clouded and vaguer, she saw a glint in the snow behind the Night King, dimly she realised it was her spear and with all the effort she could manage, she used her magic and bond with it to call it back to her hand.
The Spear responded immediately and shot through the air and between her and the spear was the Night King. He barely reacted as the spear stabbed itself into his back. However, his grip on her slackened and she fell to the ground, gasping for breath and feeling her bruised throat as she got to her feet and managed to get behind the Night King and force the spear more deeply into his chest.
The Night King's body started frosting over as he struggled but as it spread over his body, for Meera time seemed to slow down as a rush of images flooded through her mind.
A magnificent city spread out across the land buildings made of what looked like gold seemed to go on forever, pleasant blue skies with a bridge that led off into the sky that seemed to be made of a giant and yet solid looking rainbow.
In the centre of the city was an enormous golden palace that made every other castle look like a worthless shack in comparison. Entering it art covered the walls and men and women walked around in finer clothes than anything that Westeros or Essos could produce. Eventually arriving a throne room with a massive golden throne.
Upon it sat a man who wore spectacular golden armour and a metal eyepatch, his hair was white and he had a long beard. In his hands was clearly Gungnir but kneeling at the foot of the throne was a tall and fierce looking man.
"Father. Loki has fled but his actions have brought Asgard to Surtr's attention." The kneeling man said with a booming baritone voice.
The older man on the throne nodded looking sad for some reason before telling him.
"Then Thor, my son we must prepare for Surtr, his power is great and we will need a special weapon to slay him. Bring your hammer." The Older Man said and gestured for his son, Thor to follow him.
Then the area changed into a forge where Gungnir and a hammer were melted down and then the molten metal was poured into a spear shaped mould. While he stood over the still liquid metal the older man began to chant and inlay the still forming spear with new magic. Runes were carefully added to the metal as the process continued.
This seemed to go on forever till finally the stone case was shattered and revealed a brand new Gungnir inside. Odin, smiled slightly as he handed the spear to Thor who held it in his hand with awe.
"Now it carries the powers of both my spear and your hammer, not to mention a few new abilities. It will be our weapon against Surtr and destroy him once and for all." Odin said with pride.
Then the image changed, a massive figure stood above Asgard with hair made of flames, roaring as he breathed fire down on the city below like a dragon. On the top of the now burning castle as the city was destroyed stood Thor with Gungnir in hand as the city was in burning ruins around him. As the creature, Surtr breathed another blast of fire Thor leapt and plunged the spear into the creature which screamed in pain.
Then there was an incredible explosion, it tore through the remains of the city. Sif on the rainbow bridge was pushed off the edge into what looked like the night's sky below by a tall armoured man while his sword fell with her.
The explosion threw Gungnir through the air and down into the starfield as well, falling down a seemingly endless abyss. But along with it went a field of angry looking red energy that fell like a stone through the endless depths.
Then after what seemed like an age, a world emerged. One covered in snow and the sword, the spear and the cloud of red energy fell towards the ground.
The sword and the spear fell separately, stabbing themselves deep into the ground while the red energy seemed to divide itself and shot itself out in all directions.
Meera blinked and saw the Night King shattering before her eyes, not able to believe that what she had experienced lasted in what seemed to be a blink of the eye. But the runes on the spear glowed fiercely and inside she felt something shift, like a weight that she hadn't known she was carrying was lifted. Around her the other walkers including those Jon had been fighting broke into pieces too as they seemed to have been tied to the Night King. Out of the Night King though came a red wisp, the largest she had ever seen emerged from his mouth before it evaporated into nothing before her eyes.
But what Meera stayed there with her spear in hand, still confused by what she had seen and one word that came to mind…seemingly from nowhere.
"Surtr." She said in a quiet whisper, she knew he was a destroyer in Norse Mythology. The bringer of Ragnarok which would end Asgard but little more than that given all that had been lost over the centuries and most of what remained was conjecture.
The mass of energy however was merely a larger version of the red wisps that she had seen before although the Night King's part seemed to have been the biggest so far.
Meera shook herself out of her trance to look around and confirmed that only her and Jon were still standing, they blinked as they stared at each other, not sure if they believed it…that they had just slain the White Walkers! Meera, with her nose still hurting and crooked forced it painfully back into shape. It hurt but at least it would heal right.
Then above them the clouds started to break; light began to shine through which was almost blinding. They blinked and saw the clouds breaking quickly, revealing a clear blue sky above them. The biting cold too seemed to dissipate at least a little and the feeling of the sun warmed both of them.
Meera and Jon both smiled as they looked at each other and hobbled over to the middle where they hugged each other, so full of emotion as they had fought what might well be their hardest battle in what they hoped would be their darkest hour. And they had triumphed.
Meera however felt different, like a heavy weight that she had not been aware she was carrying was now off her back. She wasn't sure just what this feeling was at first but as she looked at her firestone ring after separating from Jon, she couldn't help but wonder.
"Lumos." She whispered and to her complete astonishment, a light appeared at the edge of the ring, just like it would with a wand back in her old world! Meera was astonished and Jon too but what was happening.
"Magic, its…it's starting to grow again! To recover!" Meera said with joy as she realised the Walkers must have been a major part of what was poisoning and draining magic from the world. She went to try and apparate but found herself rooted to the spot. Meera frowned as clearly the hold whatever it was had on magic wasn't completely gone yet but it was a start, she thought with excitement at having some of the old powers back again.
It would take time she realised to see just what she was capable of now but it was exciting so she smiled as she and Jon limped back to the cave, supporting each other as they had both taken a beating in the fight.
It was slower getting back to the now ruined village than it had had been leaving it but soon they arrived and saw the others emerging from the cave looking around in astonishment. They turned to look at them with awe and Ygritte yelled out.
"How the fuck did you survive?! How the fuck did you win?!" She said almost disbelief but nevertheless didn't wait for an answer before rushing over to Jon and jumping on him. Jon groaned with pain as she touched some of the areas, he'd been hit in but she just snogged him as hard as she could and Jon was powerless to resist her. Strong Shield and Quentyn came over to help her, taking her by the arm each and carrying her to the cave before sitting her on the ground.
"It's done, its dead." Meera said since Jon was currently too busy to say anything. "The Walkers are dead!" She told them with relief in her voice.
The others couldn't quite believe it but Samwell managed to speak.
"You're like the legendary heroes." Samwell said brightly with a smile as if a great weight was released. "You just saved the living from the dead."
"Well, those stories don't often mention how beat up those so-called 'Heroes' get." Meera said as she felt her body aching not to mention remembering all the injuries she had gotten when she was Harry back in the other world when they had been 'saving the day'. Some of those made her cringe even now.
"Well." Quentyn said looking at her with a whole new respect for not just what she had done but for her humility as well. "We can breathe again thanks to you. Spend a day healing and then head back to the town. I think we have all had enough 'adventure' for one lifetime." He said with a tired look in his eyes but Edd just shook his head as he held on to Gendry.
"Tempting fate, never a bright idea." He said with a look of worry, Meera and the others agreed it was best not to risk it. But for now, at least they were relieved as they had faced the Long Night and emerged, bringing the Dawn.
- x -
Niflheim, Beyond the Wall…
In the town to the south that had been grimly preparing itself for the battle to end all battles, Lorra and Benjen were standing on the walls with Ghost looking mournfully north as there had been no contact with any of the party that had gone out to fight the Walkers and they suspected the worst. Lorra and Benjen had taken to looking out from the walls in hope that their family was alright but each day without some kind of sign it just got harder to hope.
However, in the distance one day as they looked out and saw something that seemed almost magical. The storm that had been raging in the distance for so long was literally breaking up before their eyes. They could hardly believe it and a spark of hope emerged in them both, Ghost yipped happily as if he knew something they didn't and the green haze of the curse that had been placed on them that kept them and the others from fleeing the town left their bodies, vanishing before their eyes. Lorra stroked his fur gently and turned to her half-brother.
"They did it." She said not sure if she was ready to fully believe it. Benjen too was amazed.
"I think they have." Benjen said as sunlight peaked through and seemed to warm the entire area.
Sif who was nearby looked up at the breaking storm and was then hit with a massive surge of energy.
She shuddered as it ran through her, power that she hadn't felt in ages as the magic of this world was freed and began to flow naturally again. She could feel more of her old powers returning and smiled as if embracing a new day. It wasn't completely free but it was a lot freer than it had been before yesterday Sif thought with a smile…it was a start.
- x -
Storm's End, the Stormlands…
While Stannis was planning to head out to another battle with the Lannisters Loki in his disguise as Master Kilburn was enjoying his meal as best that he could on this miserable world given the inferior food when he felt the surge.
It almost made him choke it was so strong but it was like someone had given him a massive dose of sugar as he began to feel like he was humming with power again.
They did it. Loki realised with a smirk and now with the magic of this world at least partly freed he could feel his own abilities growing too. The work was far from over he thought with a smirk but it had just gotten a lot easier.
Meera Stark, he thought knowing she must have been the one to strike the final blow for it to have been so effective. What plans I have for you my dear, you are going to be so useful to me. Loki thought with a cold smirk.
- x -
Winterfell, the North…
At Winterfell there was still a sense of celebration in the air as the two new babes of House Stark were healthy and kept their carers and mother up half the night but still, they were so adorable that most of the castle was already wrapped around their little fingers.
Sansa wished she could spend more time with her little niece and nephew but she was still running a lot of things here while Wylla recovered from birth and adjusted to being a mother.
One of her more pleasant duties though was handing over one of the Valyrian Steel swords to her future husband Harrion Karstark who took the sword with a beaming smile. Proud to wield it for his family. Admiring the longsword, white leather on the black steel hilt but in the centre was a handful of diamonds that had been arranged carefully to resemble the white sun burst that was his house's symbol.
Holding the sword in his hand it was perfectly balanced he thought with admiration and now House Karstark had Valyrian Steel of its own. It was a proud day for him and for his house.
But another reason for his pride was standing there with a smirk on her beautiful face before she blinked for a second, the smile freezing on her face as if she was distracted by something. Harrion was concerned and asked her.
"Sansa, are you alright?"
She didn't answer for a moment before seemingly shaking herself out of it and then smiling again although it was rather forced.
"Of course, Harrion, never better. Just worried for Meera, since we've not heard a thing in weeks." Sansa said before giving him a small kiss on the cheek which set his face aflame before she left the room and headed straight for the Godswood.
Entering the small wood within Winterfell's walls she was comforted when Lady came up to her and rubbed her big head against her leg. She gently scratched the wolf behind the ears before continuing on Lady trotting at her side.
Eventually she arrived at the Great Weirwood where Arya stood with Rickon, with the rest of their siblings away her younger sister had taken it upon herself to try and train Rickon in mastering his magic. Sansa shook her head as Arya seemed not to be having much success, amused more than anything as she seemed to be struggling to put things into a way that Rickon could understand. Both looked up at her approach, so did Shaggydog and Nymeria who were staying close by their humans. Rema and Romulas who had been miserable for weeks since Meera left though seemed to have perked up and started playing energetically with each other.
The sight of the two direwolves being so happy seemed to indicate something was going on with Meera, she was…happy for some reason Sansa thought which was a relief as they had all become more and more worried the longer it went without word from her. The fact that her wolves who had been the most worried of all were now acting much happier was a good sign Sansa thought given her elder sister's bond with them. However, it was something else she had to ask about.
"Did you both feel that? To do with magic?" She asked, referring to strange feeling of her magic seeming to expand in a way that honestly, she didn't understand. Arya nodded while Rickon was confused as he had no real experience with magic just yet.
"Yeah, I think something was effecting it and now it's gone or at least mostly." Arya said, trying to put what she had felt into words but since it was beyond their norm it was hard.
Sansa frowned, not sure really what to do or say about it given she had little experience to draw on.
- x -
Moat Cailin, the Neck…One Week Later…
Robb Stark rode his horse in through the gates of the most important defensive castle in the North, home of his younger brother and a major point for repelling any invasion of the North.
He had seen Moat Cailin a couple of times now as he had ridden through it twice, once with his father, Jon and Meera along with the Northern Army to wage war against the Freys. Then again more recently leading a part of the Northern Army to protect their own interests in the Riverlands not to mention his future goodsister's family, the Blackwoods.
But those times he had never really had the chance to look at the castle properly given the rush they had been in at the time. It was impressive Robb thought with a slight feeling of awe given how many invasions this castle had prevented and still managed to repel the Ironborn.
What soured the moment was that his mother had followed him despite his instructions to stay at Riverrun. He frowned thinking it could only be because Bran was here and she was desperate to see him although she at least had the sense to leave Minisa safe with Ser Brynden at Riverrun.
A battlefield was no place for a child, Robb thought with a cold look in his eyes.
Catelyn was looking up at the castle with awe, smiling broadly as her second son had done so well for himself and was now establishing the first new cadet branch of House Stark in a thousand years or more, she thought not sure exactly when House Karstark had been created. That in turn made her think of Sansa who would be getting married to Harrion Karstark, the heir to the house in a few short years.
She wanted more than anything to be there to see that, Catelyn thought with desperation, she had missed one of her precious children getting married she was determined not to miss another. So, it was important that she did her best to get on Robb and Bran's good side she thought with worry, determined not to ruin her only chance of reconciling with her children whatever it took.
As they rode in through the gates, they saw Bran and Meera Reed standing there to greet them. Catelyn's heart stopped as she saw her second son, gods he had grown she thought with despair at not being there to see it. The Direwolf at his side was enormous she thought and far too dangerous to be around her children but knew better than to say that or she would be out on her ear.
Bran looked surprised to see her and for a moment she was hopeful that he might be happy but soon he frowned and turned to Robb as he dismounted and knelt before his elder brother and liege lord.
"Lord Stark, welcome to Moat Cailin." Bran said so formally. "Our home is of course yours."
"Rise Bran." Robb said not in the least formal and Bran did as his older brother bid and rose to his feet before giving him a warm brotherly hug which brought a smile to each of their faces. "It has been too long."
"Yes, it has. But what is she doing here?" Bran asked, becoming annoyed as he looked past him to see Catelyn who was still on her horse and hopefully looking at them although her face fell slightly when she realised Bran was ignoring her and angry at her presence. Breaking her heart into pieces as yet another of her children rejected her.
"Followed me from Riverrun." Robb said with annoyance in his voice but then Meera Reed spoke with a smile on her face.
"Oh Lord Stark, we just received word from Winterfell. Lady Wylla has given birth." She said brightly.
Robb was not shocked by this as he knew the due date was around now but it still was a terribly bitter thing for him that he had not been there for his own children's birth. Still anxiously he asked.
"The children and their mother are fine. Strong and healthy from all accounts." Bran said with a smile. That surprised all of them Robb especially, not that they were healthy as that was real blessing but that she had used the word 'children' rather than 'child'.
"Children?" He asked and Meera Reed nodded.
"As it was with you and Lady Meera, a boy and a girl together." Meera Reed said with a bright smile.
Robb was so stunned he couldn't believe it; he was a father…to twins! He thought with awe, Catelyn too was stunned and shocked that history had repeated itself. But at the same time the knowledge that she was now a grandmother lifted her spirits immensely. The only thing that she would wish would be that she had been there to see her grand babes born and that Ned would have been there too she thought with sadness.
- x -
While Catelyn was distracted by Meera Reed, Robb snuck away to meet with Bran and Jojen Reed who had come from Greywater Watch to meet with them over the sudden change in magic in the last week or so. Robb was still reeling from his new fatherhood but needed to know what had happened to magic.
"So, what changed? I know something happened but not what." Robb asked, his own magic was now far stronger and had far less limitations even if he didn't really know what those limitations were now.
"I would like to know too." Bran said, his own ability at foresight have grown much stronger in the last week although he was still working to gain full control of it.
Jojen smiled in a detached kind of way before telling them what he had managed to learn.
"I think your twin sister, my sister's namesake is responsible." Jojen said. "I managed to see her fighting the ancient enemy. One that I didn't think we would have to fight for years but they started moving sooner than we thought…the White Walkers. Slaying the Night King and freeing magic from the hold he had on it." Jojen concluded.
Robb and Bran were astonished at the announcement but the idea that their sister had been fighting the White Walkers just sounded so ridiculous that it might just be true.
The Red Keep, Kings Landing…
One of the few magic users in Westeros besides the Starks, Loki and Sif and one of the very few south of the Neck, Thoros of Myr was confused when he felt the very nature of magic that he had spent his entire life training with change. He wasn't exactly sure just what had happened, visions had been influx since the change and it was hard for him to get answers but one thing that he had managed to learn was that it had originated from beyond the Northern Wall.
The Ancient Enemy, he thought with worry. Had they achieved something like breaching it? He thought with worry but then felt that was unlikely as their power over magic would have increased rather than decreasing.
Had it happened? He thought with hopeful anticipation, igniting the flame on his sword with much greater ease than before. Had the Azor Ahai brought the dawn as was promised?
By the Red God, he hoped so.
He would he realised with some fear have to go up there and see for himself what was going on, he might stretch some of the rules of his faith but in the face of the Other, the true enemy of all life he would not stand by and allow it to spread.
So, he went to pack up his few possessions and prepare himself for the journey North and hope what he found there was going to be good. Because the alternative was something he didn't want to consider.
- x -
"Me…marry the daughter of a steward! A family who betrayed me and are leveraging their gold and men for being my queen!" Joffrey said with a snarl, the disgust at been married to what he saw a lowborn tart.
Tywin Lannister, freshly arrived in the city to be here when the Tyrells came, frowned with annoyance as it seemed Joffrey hadn't grown up as much as he had thought. He was still hiding from his duty…to marry and produce an heir from an advantageous family. Clearly, he needed to be brought back into line Tywin thought with frustration.
"The Tyrells are helping us win this war, to keep you on the throne or would you prefer to face Stannis Baratheon's form of justice." Tywin said with a cold glare that seemed to scare Joffrey but he managed to rally his foolish courage and spoke.
"Other families are helping to win this war and the Tyrells have proven next to useless so far." Joffrey said with some of his old pompousness coming back. Referring of course to the fact that they had failed to win nearly any battles so far or even protect their own lands. Many areas of the Reach were still damaged from the war and it would likely remain unable to supply the capital for a while yet which was not good with winter coming. That meant they were and still would be dependent on the Riverlands for the foreseeable future.
Tywin realised however that this was more about him being still attracted to another woman, one that Tywin himself had once tried to bind to the throne…Meera Stark. The Starks had certainly been more helpful to the crown than the Tyrells so far so it even made a sort of sense to go with them first. If he had been an emotional man like his father, he might have seen it as sweet or endearing but Tywin was revolted at such things. His father had nearly destroyed House Lannister with his incredible stupidity and pathetic decisions.
Hence why Tywin would never allow such things to determine decision making.
He stepped up to the throne and towered over his grandson as he sat on it, Joffrey trembled a little in his presence.
"A king does what will keep him on the throne." Tywin said with an air of finality but Joffrey it seemed was to have some courage that was born of foolishness and actually stood up even though he was shorter than his grandfather and told him.
"Then she had best be a queen that can do her duty. One who will be useful to me." Joffrey said before walking out of the throne room with the Hound at his side, looking concerned as annoying Tywin Lannister was not something that any sane person would do.
Tywin himself looked at the young king and frowned, wondering if he putting a crown on his head and not being appropriately disciplined had made a king that was like Aerys, uncontrollable. He would ensure if that was the case that he would not allow Joffrey to walk all over him like Aerys had done.
- x -
Public Square, Kings Landing…
Princess Myrcella Baratheon, guarded by Ser Oakheart and her uncle Ser Jaime stood as food was being distributed to the people of Kings Landing. She stood with a smile, seeing the happiness of the people as they received food that they desperately needed and some even praised her name.
Myrcella while young was not stupid, of all her siblings she was probably the smartest. And certainly, the most sensible of them all.
Which again made her almost the mirror opposite of her mother in temperament even if in looks they were very much alike.
It was that intelligence that had brought her to do this, to prevent any possible revolt. Joffrey's sadism had frightened the people and many were thinking it would be better to be rid of him. The only reason that it hadn't happened so far was that her Uncle Tyrion had managed to downplay his actions and kept the city fed. Honestly how Tyrion had managed to keep the peace was a great inspiration to her, Myrcella thought and really felt that her Uncle Tyrion was the smartest, most cunning person she had even met.
And the best storyteller too she thought with a smile. How he found the time to continue writing his plays and run Kings Landing for Joffrey was a great mystery to her. Myrcella thought, in awe of him and just how well he managed things.
- x -
Dragon Pit Theatre, Kings Landing…
Tyrion looked down from the balcony to see Tommen with a knight of the Kingsguard watching him while he enjoyed spending time here. Tommen loved to see the construction of sets and making costumes and all the other things that it took to make a successful production work. He even enjoyed watching the actors learn their lines and prepare for new roles.
Tommen it seemed had a real love for the theatre Tyrion thought with amazement and knew he was happy here. As prince it was not particularly acceptable and he knew Tywin would try to stop him coming here at all but for now, Tyrion thought sadly, let him enjoy himself.
Tyrion had problems of his own, while his plan to undermine his father was actually going well with the majority of the lords now in his pocket or wouldn't care to help his father if they weren't. Only two remaining bastions of support for Tywin really remained; his own brother Kevan Lannister and the Mountain.
Tyrion was aware that of the pair the Mountain was the more dangerous threat, he was only getting more uncontrollable as time went on so he would need to be eliminated at some point but Kevan was also someone Tyrion knew better than to simply wave aside. Kevan might be slower than Tywin but he was far from stupid and was an independent man with his own incomes and chests of gold stashed away. He had two hundred knights in his service with the means to double that if needed, to get freeriders to swear themselves to him and the coin to hire sellswords.
To that end, Tyrion was now considering which one would be best to eliminate first. The Mountain was as stable as a twenty-year-old cask of wildfire and Kevan while his uncle was still a threat.
But for now, Tyrion thought with anger, his face twisting with rage. He was putting that issue on hold as he was forced to act to protect his own daughter.
Tywin to get another source of coin and not be so dependent on the Tyrells had betrothed Lanna to an old magister in Pentos. One with an impressive treasury and connections that already had seven wives so far and six grown children, some with children of their own now.
That had made Tyrion's blood boil and his hands wrapped themselves around the railing and started turning white with the tightness of his grip. His fury had made him smash up a good number of things that day but eventually he had recovered his wits and immediately began to plan the death of the old bastard in question.
Varys had been surprisingly helpful, Tyrion thought, knowing full well not to completely trust the man but he did in a strange way. The eunuch had friends in Pentos and better yet, an agent in the man's home, one who answered to another of the city's magisters. Illyrio Mopatis who was only too happy to help facilitate the removal of the man in question.
Tyrion knew that would not stop his father and was now watching him more closely than ever to ensure that he did not plan anything like that again.
Lanna would never be forced to wed anyone she herself didn't want too, Tyrion thought with determination to protect his daughter. He was considering just trying to kill Tywin now but the man's guards were vigilant so he would need to find a moment when his protection was relaxed.
- x -
Elsewhere in the same theatre was another man watching the young prince play in the theatre and smiled a little at his enthusiasm and wished the world was so kind that he could might follow his dreams but sighed as he knew the young boy was unlikely to find a happy ending for himself.
Varys was worried as things were not going as he had foreseen but not as badly as he had feared. While Joffrey was far too sadistic than he would have hoped things and Stannis now on the backfoot in the war things were mostly stable. Tyrion was well on the way to removing Tywin Lannister and ran Westeros with efficiency and just thought, his man Lord Lynthorne as he was now was likewise a good administer and diplomat who had kept Kings Landing in line and prosperous. Marei who now ran a lot of the businesses in Kings Landing and Bronn who had turned the Gold Cloaks into a credible fighting force.
He was distracted briefly by his thoughts of Princess Daenerys and considered she might be even more capable than he had thought, she had managed to his surprise to not only bring all the Dothraki under her and her husband's banner but ally them with the Lhazareen in a mutually beneficial partnership and now was not only bringing about an alliance with the Warrior Women of the Bone Mountains but had managed to hatch dragons as well.
The last part was what had caught him completely by surprise, no one in centuries had managed to hatch a dragon at least successfully and now she had. Three dragons that were small for now but one day could be the same size as Balerion the Black Dread himself!
Varys sighed as he wished he could find a way to bring her to Westeros as she would do very well here but he could only hope her attention would turn to the west eventually.
For now, he would focus on trying to end this war and maintain the betterment of everyone or as many as possible, Varys thought knowing it was an almost impossible task but glad he had found the very capable Tyrion Lannister to help him in this endeavour.
Dragonstone, the Narrow Sea…
The deary island of Dragonstone was the same all year round, miserably cold and boring.
The only bright spot in the castle where life flourished on this otherwise barren island was the garden which was so carefully tended too by the Princess Shireen Baratheon.
This was the only place on the island that she felt truly happy, she thought sadly as she tended to her flowers, so lovely and colourful in such a dark place. The only place that was actually hers.
She did very well in her lessons, Maester Cressan had nothing but praise for her and her education was very diverse. Not only did she learn to dance, sew and sing like other noble ladies but also how to govern. She knew all the lands of Westeros and some beyond, she could do mathematics very well, history, religion, politics, warfare and classical literature among other things. She had even practiced with weapons she thought thinking of the longsword her father had insisted she learn to use. She wasn't comfortable with the weapon yet but her father wanted her to learn as despite her status as second in line for the throne after her younger brother he might still die and she would need to take up the mantle.
After her three elder brothers had died and Shireen had nearly died herself, Stannis was taking no chances in making sure she knew how to rule.
Shireen was grateful for that she thought with a sad smile, wishing he was here now instead of fighting on the mainland. Sometimes she wondered if the war would go on long enough for her to grow up and join the struggle herself.
She was a Baratheon after all Shireen smirked, their family had been warriors going back for centuries and she would not be an exception Shireen swore to herself.
A shadow appeared nearby and she looked up to see a familiar face standing there.
"Ser Davos!" She cried out in joy at him being back and got to her feet, he smiled himself at her warm smile.
"Your grace." Davos said formally, respecting their different stations in life. Shireen wished he would not be so formal as she regarded him as an uncle or certainly someone she looked up and respected. "Have you been enjoying yourself on Dragonstone?" Davos asked.
Shireen hesitated to answer the question as to be honest, no she hadn't. Maester Cressan was her only friend on the island with her father and Ser Davos gone. Her stepmother and her family including Ser Raymund Connington who acted as regent here while her father was away disliked her presence intently and never let her forget they ruled here. She was protected as she was Stannis's daughter but that didn't stop them from using every opportunity to demean and deride her, Shireen thought sadly.
She kept to herself and read her books which were one of her few joys here. Losing herself in stories and knowledge to distract herself from the misery of the castle.
Steffon was growing every day, not that Shireen was ever able to see him. She was kept as far away as she would be a 'bad influence' and possibly make her half-brother sick. Shireen frowned at that as she had been cured of Greyscale for years and even healed of her scars, not to mention she was a good girl who spoke no ill of her stepfamily or her brother.
Davos saw her silence and knew she was holding back something, realising just what it was from the disgusted looks on the faces of the Conningtons as they walked past.
He frowned, knowing that he was their social inferior and there wasn't a great deal he could do to change that or shield Shireen from them. The Conningtons had the position of queen under their belts through Alynne as Stannis's wife and had been awarded most of their old lands and titles back that they had been stripped of during Robert's Rebellion.
Davos wondered if he could persuade his grace to let someone else run here in his absence, someone who would be nicer to the princess but knew that was unlikely given their loyal service so far. He made a silent vow to himself though to use whatever influence he had to find somewhere the princess might be happier.
Blackhaven, the Stormlands…
Lord Beric Dondarrion was a younger man than others but no longer inexperienced.
When Stannis had called his banners, Beric had been one of those to answer and fought hard for his king, earning himself a good reputation as a warrior in his king's service. Stannis had even named him Master of Laws on his small council. It was a respected position and one envied by others.
But Beric was now quite disillusioned with Stannis Baratheon, all the things he had done over the course of the war especially those cannibals may the demons of the Seven Hells curse them and then the sellswords from abroad. Some of the sights he had been unlucky enough to see were haunting him even now and he honestly had no idea how a man could be so twisted that they would find such things acceptable.
But alas he was sworn to Stannis and his word was his oath. He would not betray his king nor abandon him; however, he was sending his squire young Edric Dayne home as quickly as possible. He would be far safer at Starfall, especially now the Reach army had joined with the Lannisters and was probing their borders for a sign of weakness.
One such attack had already been launched and while repulsed it would not be the last, Beric thought wondering if Blackhaven would be brought under siege at some point soon and doubled his efforts to get Edric back to Dorne as soon as possible before that could happen.
Horn Hill, the Reach…
After several months of illness, some of which had left him bedbound for most of that time Lord Randyll Tarly was finally able with effort to stand on his own two feet. He waved away his wife and daughter's attempts to help him and dismissed them from the room as he made his way over to his desk and looked at the maps which showed the current situation in the Reach, Stormlands and Crownlands.
He was appalled to see how bad things had gotten in his absence, the Reach had truly bled from Stannis Baratheon with many villages and farms being slaughtered and gutted by him and his men to say nothing of the cannibals.
That made even his hardened stomach twist and wondered just what hells those creatures had crawled out of.
The destruction of much farmland and crops had set the Reach back by years and it would be a struggle to get through the coming winter so easily now. Randyll always ensured his family had a good supply so they would be well prepared for the bitter cold to come but others wouldn't be so fortunate and many were angry at the weak rule and leadership shown by the Tyrells during the war so far. Something Randyll himself was frustrated by if he had not been sworn to them and his honour and integrity not demanded it, he would likely no longer heed their call.
So, Randyll turned his attention back to the maps and the last battle in particular, a combined force of Lannister and Reach armies had tried attacking Felwood, one of the Stormlands castles but had failed and been driven off.
That meant he would need to find a place to strike where it would be difficult for Stannis to defend Randyll thought to himself, pondering his options before wondering if he could just wait for Stannis to come to him instead?
The hot sands of Dorne were something its people had long learned to live with and even celebrate, the scorching sands that enabled them to withstand many invasions and break their enemies just like the cold of the North had broken their enemies.
Rhaenys Targaryen had been to many lands since her unofficial banishment from the land of her birth and some could have made Dorne seem pleasant in comparison for different reasons, but this land honestly made her feel whole…safe.
Something that she hadn't felt in as long as she could remember. From her earliest memories she could only just hear the screams of her royal grandfather as he had yelled insults at her and her mother not to mention his cackling glee at the screams of those he burned. She could remember her mother sobbing at Rhaegar, her father's abandonment and betrayal and her mother telling her on that last night before she had lost her family that everything was going to be alright.
Rhaenys tried to put such thoughts out of her head, she didn't want to think about those days anymore. She wanted to try and focus on the future.
Spending time with her mother's family had been something she cherished, Rhaenys thought with a smile. Arianne and her had been as thick as thieves and spent many days in each other's company as she had with Trystane and her uncle Oberyn's younger daughters. Her Uncle Doran too had been extremely kind to her, telling her many stories of her mother when she was a girl and letting her find out sides to her mother that she had never known.
Never had the chance to know, Rhaenys thought with the old anger and hatred coming back. She couldn't help but let her face twist with the incredible rage she felt whenever reminded of the horrible fate that had been forced on her mother and younger brother. She wasn't just angry but disgusted at what had been done to them. But her uncles had finally given her answers to some of the questions that she had been asking herself her entire life.
But that wasn't what was on her mind today.
No, what was worrying her and the rest of her family was that they hadn't heard anything from Quentyn ever since he had left Winterfell for the Wall and that was months ago now. They had sent several messages to Winterfell asking for information but all they had received back was that he had joined the party that had ventured beyond the Wall and there had been no contact since. That if there was any information that the Night's Watch would contact them and that they could do no more than that.
It honestly felt like they had abandoned Quentyn to die, Rhaenys thought with anger but couldn't direct it truly at the North as she knew that they had plenty of problems of their own right now. On top of fighting the Iron Born there was a potential invasion of Wildlings happening with a force rumoured to be as large as the Reach's combined army, one hundred thousand. After seeing the damage one group of wildlings could do during the war in the Reach it had made a lot more sense for the North to be extremely careful.
Not to mention no less than three members of House Stark had vanished also; the uncle Benjen, the bastard of the house Jon Snow and even their treasured lady Meera.
They must be as worried as she and the Martells were about Quentyn, Rhaenys thought sadly.
She was considering going up there to look for herself but her uncle had persuaded her against it just in case her identity was discovered. Promising he would send some men himself that would be leaving this afternoon to go up to the Wall and ensure some answers were at last given but it would take weeks for them to get there, especially with the war going on.
Rhaenys frowned, hating that this was going to go on any longer but for now she would wait…but if they didn't get answers soon, she would go up there and find out just what was going on.
The small port city of Saath was a relatively minor settlement in Essos that had survived the Dothraki thanks to help from Ib and Lorath. It's position on the coast and at the mouth of the large and widely spread Sarne river gave it great value as a trading port and it was wealthy enough to afford defensive walls and a main gate but they were far smaller than those of the larger Free Cities.
The Dothraki assembled and the carts containing the parts of the rams they would be using not to mention the wood and twine for ladders was put together. The war machines were constructed under Haldon's direction and would help break through the city's defences easily.
Daenerys with Rhaego in her arms was stood with Beskha and Irri looking at the event with interest, this being the first time she had witnessed an attack on a city. She knew what she was doing was ruthless and her better self, the one that cared for all the peoples of the world was screaming at her to stop this but she kept silent.
If she was to keep building her empire, she thought doing her best to be cold, then she had to get them a port she thought with determination and it would take forever to actually build one from scratch.
It had to be she thought with reluctantly, her ancestors hadn't built their own kingdom by being kind.
She was staying back much to her own irritation as she needed to make sure that if the worst happened, Rhaego would not lose both parents as Drogo would be leading the assault. Ser Jorah would be fighting at his side alongside the bloodriders and her warrior women too.
Daenerys was eager to join the fight but held back, intending in future to be there fighting alongside her husband. She watched with the others including the warrior women from the Bone Mountains that had accompanied them as the Dothraki launched their attack.
The heavy ram was moved into place and the men with all their strength pushed it forward to give in the most force possible. Its front was hardened with an iron pointed head to cause the maximum damage.
While this was happening men carrying the ladders ran towards the walls. Archers on top of said walls went to attack and some of the men were hit by arrow fire but her women archers began to shoot back and keep the enemy archers under cover while the men put up the ladders and started to scale the walls.
At the same time the ram was slammed hard into the wooden gates which shuddered under the impact. The men however did not stop and instead pulled the wheeled ram back before slamming it into the gates again which caved in a little more with each impact.
Then as the men managed to get on top of the walls, the gates, not as sturdy as it had appeared from the outside caved in and gave way, bursting open.
Drogo on the back of his horse rode in with the rest of the men and women, signalling the start of the sacking. The sounds of yells and screaming were painful on her ears but Daenerys had to tune them out or she would have fled in tears. The Warrior Women she noticed were watching her expectantly, as if thinking she would run and prove she hadn't the stomach for war.
Daenerys was infuriated at their assumption and turned back to face the city as it was sacked, not looking away as despite hating herself for it, if she wanted to build her empire…this was the sort of thing she would need to do.
So, she watched and listened, hearing the innocent dying so her dream could live and it made her wonder if her dream was even worth pursuing anymore but she knew if things were going to change in Essos, it would need to be forced through. Change never happened peacefully or quietly and never without someone driving it. She made a vow to herself there and then to never enjoy such things but she would not shy away from them either.
So, she looked on, impassive as a stone.
- x -
Finally, after some time the city was firmly in their hands. Daenerys under heavy escort met Drogo in the centre of the city. She heard some of the Dothraki cheering that the last part of the Sarnor Kingdom had finally fallen after four hundred years to the Dothraki at long last. She ignored that and managed to smile as she saw her husband standing tall and proud in the city and walked up to him.
He himself smiled broadly and pulled her and Rhaego into his arms which she gratefully leant into. Ser Jorah bowed to her and she returned it with a respectful nod.
She listened as her husband gave a speech about their great victory and how this would remain on outpost of their people, smiling although it was largely for show. After the speech was over though and their people went off to enjoy themselves and celebrate their achievement the Bone Mountains Warrior Women came up to them.
Daenerys was worried, she knew they had not just been watching her during the sacking but their men as well and if she was to get them a good supply of steel for not only weapons but tools as well then, their judgement was going to be crucial. She managed to hide her worries behind a firm mask, devoid of real expression. The Women all were looking around impressed and told her.
"You were correct." The leader said calmly which surprised Daenerys a little not to mention Drogo.
"Your riders are exactly as you promised, strong, powerful and capable." The leader said with almost smiling now. "We are open to this alliance, tonight…we will see if their prowess in battle is comparable to their skill as studs." She told them, making it all sound like a duty.
Well maybe for them it was Daenerys thought with a slight smile, many men would be up to spend a night with them after the thrill of battle. If they proved up to the task at hand then she was pretty sure that there would be a revolution in the Bone Mountains against the rather pathetic Great Fathers soon enough.
- x -
While the bodies of the dead were cleared from the city Daenerys returned to her and Drogo's tent with Rhaego still in her arms. She smiled as her son pulled at her hair, seeming to play with it but it only gentle so she let him do it and smiled as he made those adorable sounds that children do when something interested them.
Daenerys was already so proud of her son; she thought looking down at him with a gentle smile. She had never thought to be a mother but now she would never want it to be any other way.
The three dragons were now as big as hounds were happy to greet her and she knelt down with Rhaego as they all clustered around them. She had named them already as each had a distinct personality of their own and needed to be told apart.
The one with black scales was Drogon, named for her husband was somewhat larger and the most protective of the three, not just of his brothers but of her and Rhaego as well. He clung to her the tightest, so she had to guess he was the one that had bonded to her which was good she thought, knowing he would be the one that she rode through the sky.
Rhaegal was the one with green and bronze scales. Now he was clearly the bravest and the most daring. He pushed boundaries all the time and many times he had to be reeled back in by her or Drogon as he went too far.
Lastly, the cream and gold scaled dragon who was perhaps the most easy-going of the three. His voice was far louder than others and yet he had little cause to use it. She had named him Aegeron, after her famous ancestor that had taken Westeros and established their dynasty.
Watching them was becoming a full-time position in itself Daenerys thought with some exhaustion, they were growing faster than she had thought they would and now were beginning to try to fly. They could already breathe fire and had nearly set the tent ablaze several times but as they grew bigger, they learned and at least had realised not to do that anymore Daenerys thought with some relief.
She played with them and Rhaego for a while before the children dragon and human all fell asleep for a nap while she watched over them.
She smiled and turned to see Drogo entering the tent, she turned and walked into his arms. He wrapped them around her and just held her which she took great comfort in.
"If the noises from the Warrior Women's tents were any clue, I think they will be very satisfied." Drogo said, knowing some of his riders had taken up the women on their offer and were being put through their paces. He wondered if the men could handle the women or the women handle the men? Not sure exactly just who was the more energetic of the respective pairs.
Daenerys was relieved at that as it meant her alliance was pretty much secure, a good supply of steel would soon be coming their way and allow now only the Dothraki and the Lhazareen to have the best equipment possible which would make not only better weapons for the fighters but tools for their farmers, craftsmen, builders and others on other side. The Women on the Bone Mountains would get strong healthy children that male or female would be better than those they would ever have gotten from the Great Fathers.
But with their child and the dragons all sleeping nearby Drogo's hands moved around her back and she could feel the familiar rush of heat in her belly. She and Drogo hadn't had any sex in months, ever since her pregnancy had started and she honestly had missed that with her husband who it seemed wanted to enjoy working off the edge of battle another way, with her she thought with triumph that he would never stray from her and feeling very much like the most special woman in the world.
So, she reached up and pressed her lips to his. It didn't take long for him to respond and he lifted her into his arms easily, letting her wrap her legs around his waist so he could carry her easily to their bed pile and enjoy them as they hadn't been able to in months.
Ravager, The Sea off Fair Isle, the Westerlands.…
Theon Greyjoy was standing on deck, looking out across the dark and choppy oceans as his ship made slow but steady progress towards the Iron Islands and the inevitable reunion with his family.
Of gods he thought with depression this was going to be bad, Theon worried with his face tensing tighter than it had ever done before.
He had been given a ship and a crew and instead of going to fight against the North and waste everyone's time with no real chance at any real spoils he had sailed off to have a merry time on the other side of the world.
What awaited him at home was anyone's guess but it was unlikely to be good.
He was just glad the Lannisters hadn't rebuilt their fleet or getting past them to return to the Iron Islands would have been to say the least a challenge. Given who would likely be deciding his fate if he was caught, it was better to be dead.
Which he thought with worry might be what awaited him back in the Iron Islands.
Niflheim, Beyond the Wall…A Few Days Later…
The sight of the walled town was such a great relief to the cold and tired party that they almost cried, fortunately they didn't because if they had the cold would have frozen those tears to their faces. Despite the walkers being gone now the land was still extremely cold and walking through the snow with bags carrying precious food while being slowed by those that were injured had made getting back here far more difficult than it had to be.
The gates opened and they pulled down the scarves and head covering that protected them from the cold to see most of the town's population had come out to see them.
They saw Grenn and Gilly who was standing with her sisters while Mira surprisingly was with her half-siblings Josera and Elsera. Quentyn's other friends Ser Gerris Drinkwater and Ser Wells were there too and at the centre was Benjen and Lorra with her sons and Sif. All were smiling in great relief at the sight of them but the most enthused of any to greet them was Ghost who came bounding up to Jon excitedly. Leaping up and licking his cold face which made several people laugh including Meera who was thinking of her own direwolves at home. Next time she went away from Winterfell she would definitely bring them with her she thought with a pang, missing them both so much!
"Did you?" Sif asked before anyone had the chance to speak and Samwell who was now pulling his head covering off answered.
"Yes, they did. While Jon fought off the other walkers, Lady Meera Stark killed the Night King!" Samwell said with pride and excitement.
The people who had been optimistic a moment ago went completely silent for a moment, the only sounds breathing and the pants of Josera's snowbear and Ghost's loud breaths.
But then it was broken by the loudest and most excited cheers that any of them had ever heard, screaming almost like they were mad, grabbing each other and hugging with huge joy while cheering and praising the gods!
The returning people, who were tired from the journey looked on in surprise but were soon swept up in the crowd's excitement as they found themselves being surrounded and carried by the people, all of them found this extremely uncomfortable but were powerless as they were carried by the crowd while the others all looked on and followed with smiles on their faces, all happy for them to be back safe and sound.
But the men carrying Meera, some of whom she thought were a little to daring with their hands she thought uncomfortably kept chanting a word that Meera didn't know.
"THE MORRIGAN! THE MORRIGAN!" They called out over and over again as they carried her and she guessed that whatever 'Morrigan' meant it applied to her. She had no idea just what it entailed but the way they were chanting with excitement made her think it was important somehow. Lorra and her sons when she managed to catch a glimpse of them were actually looking impressed and even proud at them calling her that so she guessed it must mean something good.
- x -
When they arrived at the great hall, they were given pride of place seats at the high table alongside Lorra and her sons while food and drink were quickly brought in to fill all the tables. It was quickly apparent that they were preparing a feast and they were apparently the guests of honour. The hall was soon filled with people that were cheering and eager to celebrate the amazing news. They tucked into the food and drink with gusto and given how hungry and thirsty the Warm Caves Group was they didn't take long to join in, desperate for something to eat and drink other than the rations they had been stuck with for weeks.
Ygritte who was virtually sitting in Jon's lap told the story of what had happened up there with Samwell occasionally clipping in with some details that she seemed to want to gloss over which got him a few glares from her but Gilly who had sat herself right next to him squeezed his hand gently to give him support.
Then when they came to the part about Meera killing the Night King, the loudest cheer went up. They chanted and repeated 'Morrigan' again and some called for her to give a speech. Meera felt the eyes of everyone turned to her and was suddenly nervous as her experience in public speaking was limited and this was to a room filled with people that had hated her family for generations but she marshalled her courage and started speaking as she stood up.
"I have only known your people for a short time." Meera said, staying as calm and clear as possible. "But I fought alongside your people to defeat the greatest threat that the living has ever known. Creatures that are literally inhuman, that destroy the natural order of life and death. Intent on destroying all of us. But because we fought back, we were smart, we were determined…we ended the threat they posed once and for all." She told the Free Folk who all were looking enthused at what she was saying. She took that as a good sign that she was on the right track and kept on talking.
"The victory came at a cost. So many who left to fight with us did not return. We must honour their sacrifice by remembering the roles they played. The Free Folk, the Nights Watch guides and the Unsullied who gave their lives to protect the world, they were all heroes too. And live each day to the fullest." Meera said with a smile on her face. "The True North Remembers!" She called out, referring to the land as they did and they echoed her words immediately.
"The True North Remembers!" The people in the hall called out. And returned to eating looking as happy as ever.
Meera sighed quietly to herself as she sat back down and Lorra smiled and told her.
"You did well. Your father would be proud. I know I am and so is Benjen." Lorra said and although they hadn't known each other very long, her words did mean a great deal to Meera who was comforted by the mention of her father being proud of her. His approval meant a great deal to her and so she could only hope he was proud wherever he was now, hoping to see him again one day.
In her other life, father figures had been few and far between, often snatched away from Harry just as he was getting to know them. Sirius coming keenly to mind and a familiar pain ran through them at how their stupidity had gotten him killed not to mention their friends hurt.
At seventeen, nearly eighteen they were now aware of how Voldemort had finally been defeated and often wondered what their coming nameday would reveal. They were still no closer to figuring out just how they had ended up in this world or being reborn as Meera.
She stopped thinking about the past as Lorra was still talking and rather than admit she hadn't been listening she asked her.
"What does the 'Morrigan' mean?" She asked Lorra who had a knowing look in her eyes and Meera could tell she wasn't fooled by her sudden question but did answer it rather than call her out for not listening.
"The Morrigan is an ancient warrior in Free Folk mythology who has become a goddess to some. She was said to determine the fates of warriors in battle and controlled the realms of life and death. Those that stood against her, died. She was a great leader and for some she is a great or phantom queen that could command the weather to help her people. Lastly, she is a vengeful creature that will kill those that wronged her." Lorra told her with a smile. "The people see you as her reborn or at least her chosen. You are her champion."
Meera was troubled by this, mainly as she knew that fame was a fickle thing and people if they put you on a pedestal then they would tear you down just as quickly. Living up to the legend they created was next to impossible as she remembered when she was Harry and all the times the people had been near worshiping them one moment and then tearing into them the next.
But also, was the mention of 'death being her domain' that unsettled her. It reminded her of her old title of Master of Death…something that she didn't really understand even now. What did it really mean she thought with confusion. Death was her domain?
- x -
Later that night when more than a few people had stumbled off drunk Meera took the opportunity to get out of the uncomfortable setting and get some fresh air. Sighing as she leaned back against the building. She hadn't drunk any alcohol as the last thing she needed was to get drunk but it seems as she looked over Ser Wells hadn't been so careful and was now stumbling around, so drunk he didn't know up from down. Quentyn was trying to help his friend while the other two remained passed out inside.
She just shook her head in dismay and went to help, taking his other arm she helped Quentyn guide Ser Wells back into the hall to sleep it off.
"Thank you." Quentyn told her and she nodded before telling himself something she felt she had too.
"No, thank you. For staying and risking your life with us when you could have fled back south or stayed here." Meera said, he was certainly braver than she had given him credit for and she wasn't going to shy away from that.
"Thank you, but I have always done my duty by my family and by my country." Quentyn said with modesty. "This was no different only this time it was my duty to the whole world…one that everyone regardless of where they come from. Those creatures were coming for us all, it didn't matter whether you were Stark, Lannister, Martell, Tyrell whatever. We all needed to fight to stop them. I was honoured to be able to fight for the world." Quentyn said with complete honesty, he was truly honoured to be a part of such a big and important fight and to do his bit to save the world.
Meera of course was not sure if he was merely using pretty words but at least he seemed to grasp the importance of what they had just done.
As he went to get some sleep and she was left alone, thinking deeply as she had honestly thought they would be killed facing the walkers but here they were, she had never imagined the seemingly impossible…that they might live.
That made her wonder about the future again, not sure just what she wanted. Honestly, she was really not sure if she was comfortable with the idea of sleeping with a man or a woman, if she wanted children of her own or if she wanted to be in a relationship at all.
As Harry she had wanted a family someday, they had dreamed of having children with Ginny and making a whole new life free of past worries and not being alone any more. She just hoped they'd had those children and a good life.
The old frustration at not knowing how it happened bubbled up inside her but she suppressed it, she would find out someday but for now she had to live her life as Meera without thinking more on how she been as Harry.
But back to her original thoughts, she had given up on having any kind of romance in her life when Domeric had died and while she wasn't sure yet just what she wanted she would have to open herself to the possibility…to see just what it was she wanted.
- x -
That night many people would become entangled with each other as they celebrated the great victory and freedom from the Walkers and their wights for the first time in thousands of years.
Samwell who despite his supposed cowardice had fought for the living was treated a hero, one of the 'Brotherhood of the Dawn' as they were starting to be called and indulged in perhaps too much to drink and woke up with a pounding headache.
But as he felt his aching head, he noticed that he was entangled with someone else, his other hand felt the warmth of another body and soft skin. He slowly opened his eyes and saw that Gilly had wrapped herself around him and thankfully he noticed they both still had their clothes on. He breathed a sigh of relief that he hadn't taken advantage of Gilly while they had been drunk but at the same time he was confused as this was the first time that he had ever had a girl in his arms like this. It was truly strange and he found that he did like the sensation, maybe because it was Gilly he thought, settling back down to let her sleep. He didn't want to disturb her and to be honest he wanted to rest in the hope his head might stop hurting.
- x -
Meera, having not touched a drop of alcohol the night before was fresh when she awoke the following morning. Wrapped up in her furs and not in the armour which was something of a relief at being to wear something else.
Wandering around the town she saw many people struggling with the aftermath of last night and smiled, not sure why but it was so good to be surrounded by people again after so many had died fighting the Walkers.
She wondered what her siblings would think of her and Jon's recent adventure but thought with a smile they would probably never believe it; it was so strange she honestly doubted anyone who hadn't seen the Walkers and wights for themselves would believe it. She would not lie out of respect for those that had given their lives but how she would make people believe it she wasn't sure.
She was distracted from this by the sight of Sif, she was sitting in the open with Hofund in her hands and staring at it with eyes that were almost tearful. Mindful of the apparent goddess as she seemed to be very interested in Jon's sword. She knew it came from Asgard like Sif but little beyond that.
So, she decided to approach her, partly because there were some questions that she really needed to ask about what she had seen when she had destroyed the Night King. Questions that only Sif could answer. Sif with the instincts of a warrior born looked up the moment she came close and frowned a little before telling her.
"I have to admit, you are a warrior." Sif said with a small smile coming to her face. "I just hoped you'd be able to hold the White Walkers off till we were ready to face them but you managed to defeat them on your own. That impresses me and I am seldom impressed." Sif said.
Meera knew this was probably a rare compliment and accepted it, especially as Sif had likely been fighting battles for centuries and if with all that experience, she considered her a warrior…that was a big deal. Meera nodded and asked.
"I appreciate that. I was meaning to ask…you know about Hofund?"
Sif seemed surprised she knew the name but then her eyes darted to Gungnir on her back and smiled again.
"I forgot the spear can help you understand runes." Sif said before explaining. "Hofund was my brother Heimdall's sword. He guarded the Rainbow Bridge that connected Asgard to all the other realms and watched for threats against our home. Given all I have heard about your cousin, it seems that it has found someone as steadfast and honourable as Heimdall to wield it. I think he would approve." Sif said with a smile, thinking of her dear brother and wishing he was with her now. "It has special powers of its own, wonder now that magic is partly restored if some of them might be usable, same with Gungnir." Sif said with a thoughtful look on her face.
The mention of special powers made Meera wonder about just what they were but had another thing to ask her about.
"What is Surtr?" Meera asked suddenly becoming serious and Sif looked at her with shock at her knowing that name.
"How do you know that word?" Sif asked suspicious and Meera told her with a serious expression.
"When I destroyed the Night King, I had a vision…of Asgard…of what happened." Meera admitted which made Sif raise an eyebrow in suspicion. "I saw Thor and Odin combine Thor's Hammer with Gungnir to increase its power. I saw Thor stab it into that…thing Surtr. I saw you fall from the Rainbow Bridge into the void. I saw Asgard burn." Meera admitted, not wanting to think about the sight of an entire world being wiped away especially one as glorious as Asgard.
Sif was surprised and for a few moments was lost in deep thought. Meera waited patiently for her to come back to the moment and when she did, Sif looked unsettled and angry, the mention of the day she had lost everything so painful it made her want to smash something but she managed with all her will to hold herself together and explain after some deep calming breaths.
"Surtr is the demon to end all demons. He exists solely to destroy; it is literally all he does. He feeds on death and destruction. When Heimdall learned he was coming for Asgard Thor and Odin turned Gungnir into the only weapon that could kill him. My husband tried, oh he tried but Surtr got the upper hand on us, he destroyed Asgard as Thor managed to land the blow but even with all the power put into Gungnir, it wasn't enough to completely kill him." Sif said with frustration.
"What do you mean?" Meera asked, with confusion. "Completely kill him?"
"It destroyed his body but his spirit survived and made it to this world." Sif said with a snarl on her face. "The Red Wisps as you know them are merely his collective essence, they infect others to encourage them to cause as much as death and destruction as possible to feed on it. It like the magic he consumes sustains him. Gungnir is the only weapon that can permanently destroy his spirit but since it is spread so much over the world, he is hard to track down and destroy. I would have tried myself but I didn't have the spear and now it is bonded to you, you alone are the only real threat to him. When you destroyed the large portion of him that was driving the Walkers it freed much of this world's magic although he still has some hold of it. The real problem though is that we can't tell just who has a piece of him inside and who doesn't." Sif said with great annoyance at the problem. "Magic can only be restored and the other worlds have a chance to return when he is gone completely. If he should gain a body though, he will destroy this world like he did Asgard."
Meera was stunned as she had never expected all of this even though some of it, she knew already from her vision if not the context. But Sif had one last warning to impart.
"And now he will definitely try to destroy you, he knows the spear is the only real threat to him and therefore he will try and come for you. He will find it more difficult to possess people with magic in them though, their own powers work against him." Sif said hoping that would help.
Meera felt a chill run through her as she considered that once again, for the second time in both her lives she had a target on her back and this time to a far more dangerous creature than Voldemort could ever have been. It honestly was scary to think that a disembodied world destroying demon was out to kill her and worse she couldn't be sure just who was possessed by it or not.
Seeing how unsettled Meera was Sif put a hand on her shoulder to comfort her, knowing that she had a right to be afraid especially as the world's very survival might depend on her.
The Wall, the North…
At the Wall what Jeor Mormont had feared had taken place, all four of the Night's Watch castles had fallen and now Mance Rayder had taken all of the Wall for himself and his people. All the passages were now sealed and all the hidden tunnels all blocked off. The Wall now truly was impenetrable and completely blocking all movement between the Far North and the Southern North.
Lorra's scouts had been observing the strange situation for the last few days but had no real idea of just exactly what Mance had done. They looked at all the places around and saw little sign of the Night's Watch now and only learned what was going on when from the top of the Wall someone threw a stone with a message from the top of it. It was Lorra's only spy in Mance's camp who had only just now managed to get away long enough to send the message.
The scouts saw the rock and went over quickly to pick it up. They were all taught to read and unravelled the message quickly before they started making their way back home to inform their queen of what had happened.
Niflheim, Beyond the Wall…A Few Days Later…
Ygritte lay in her own bed and enjoyed the hard muscle of Jon's torso against her as they lay entangled with each other, he was way too uptight she thought but he honestly was one of the few true men she had ever met. He treated her like a person with a mind of her own and not as some cunt with legs.
Not to mention that thing he did, the 'southern kiss' he called it Ygritte thought with a slight flush coming to her face as she thought about what it did to her. She honestly had come undone Ygritte though with a warm feeling that made her shake him awake. He came too slowly and saw her smirking at him.
"Morning." He told her with a small smile.
"Morning." Ygritte replied before noticing his cock was already upright and smirked as she carefully and teasingly touched it with her hand. The look on his face made her smirk wider as she climbed onto of him and 'aided' Jon with his problem.
- x -
Some hours later many people had gathered in the main hall including Lorra and her sons, who proudly presented her with her first grandchild, Rickard. Named for his grandfather, Lorra's own father. Everyone looked on as Lorra proudly held her grandson in her arms for the first time.
Benjen sat with Meera and the others all smiling at the scene. It was a sweet moment which were few and far between in this world.
But the moment was ruined by a messenger coming in looking exhausted and came up to Lorra and offered her a piece of parchment. Lorra was visibility annoyed by this but reluctantly handed her grandson back to his father before taking the message and read it.
She looked at it with surprise, her elegant eyebrow raised before walking over to Meera and Benjen and handed them the message with a frown on her face.
Meera took the message and held it so both she and Benjen could read it, they did after a moment to collect themselves and for both of them it came as a hell of a shock, so much so they had to remind themselves to breath when their breath caught in their throats. Then they read it again to make sure that they had actually read it right the first time.
The Wall had fallen to Mance Rayder who had cut off all travel south or north of the Wall and no route known was still passable.
Meera felt a cold feeling running down her spine, she realised that they were now trapped on the other side of the Wall.
There we are, I hope you all enjoyed the chapter. It closes effectively the second season of the story and next chapter brings us into the third season. Please review and let me know what you thought.
Elements of the Morrigan legend are used with some slight changes to make it fit Game of Thrones.
More Review Responses…
hunterofartemis126 - Thank you! I really appreciate that!
Aithusa - No, sorry!
Shugokage - Glad to hear you liked it!
PhaedraZev - I appreciate your comments!
femalefarrier - Will do! Why Loki? He has a purpose mainly driving certain events forward like bringing them beyond the Wall and he isn't done yet.
chibichibi98 - Indeed! A Joffrey that isn't so easily manipulated is about the worst thing for the Tyrells to come against. But this has a purpose too in bringing about something later. Oh, the Tyrells will not be winners in this game. Without giving away too much, they will learn just how overstretched they are.
Daemoniorum - Got ya! Quentyn? Whatever gave you that idea? He is here for another reason.
sidtrix - Indeed! I think people have a fascination with Psychopaths, mainly because on the surface they are really charming and some have some very strange ways of thinking. Joffrey is intrigued by Meera as not only does she know how to stroke his ego and keep his interest but she is also firm enough to bring him back into line when he starts acting up. He has been not only made more reasoning but aware by her which of course is a problem as him being smarter is dangerous.
Anonymous Wandmaker - Thank you! Daenerys is in a far better place with her husband and son still alive and she isn't done yet. Pairings? I know, since this is my first gender swap story, I was unsure of that but believe me when I say she is not going to Essos or just retire to some keep somewhere.
orthankg1 - Thank you!
EP - Merci!
Jebest4781 - I appreciate that! Thanks!
Puffgirl1952 - I have thought about it, never have to time to try I'm afraid. Will try again later next year. Thanks for the suggestion though! Appreciate you saying that!
End of Review Responses.
Next Chapter - Joffrey makes his future queen for the first time, Theon returns home while Meera and Jon are faced with a difficult challenge to get home.