Winterfell was bustling with activity. All the lords of the North were gathered at the ancient seat of the Starks. There was a small celebratory atmosphere as well as some lordly business as usual.

"The lords seem happy as does the Smallfolk." said Domeric, observing the bustling settlement of Wintertown.

"Pah! The lords of the North are simpletons. They'd go crawling into Stark's bosom like needy whelps." said Barbrey Dustin, waving her hand dismissively.

Domeric eyed his aunt out of the corner of his eyes. He was not ignorant of her hatred of House Stark, especially Ned Stark, whom she holds personally responsible for her husband's death. His aunt's ire was not unjustified. There was ample cause for her aunt to feel this way about House Stark. He had heard the stories from his kin at the Rills. His aunt was in love with Brandon Stark. By all accounts, the Wild Wolf returned the affections but Lord Rickard Stark brokered a betrothal for his heir with Lady Catelyn of House Tully. His aunt was left brokenhearted.

If only this state of affairs ended there.

Some of the rumors he heard from the Rills indicated that his aunt was promised to Eddard Stark. Of course, she was rejected there as well as the untimely death of Lord Rickard and Brandon Stark forced Lord Eddard to honor the alliance with House Tully by taking Lady Catelyn as his wife. He knew his grandfather Rodrik Ryswell took great offense when Ned Stark spurned his daughter's hand in marriage.

But, his grandfather was a dutiful man. When the Starks of Winterfell called the banners House Ryswell answered the call to bring the dragons down from their Iron Throne. When the Starks asked them to proclaim a Baratheon as their king House Ryswell did so as was their duty. When Lord Stark called once again to put the Ironborn down House Ryswell answered.

Some in the family were discontent with his grandfather's decisions but Domeric understood why Lord Rodrik always followed House Stark. His grandfather was a dutiful man. Lord Rodrik swore oaths to Lord Rickard Stark and Eddard Stark to serve faithfully. His grandfather was a man of his word and everyone in the North knows that. Despite the rocky relations between House Ryswell and House Stark, the Northmen of the Rills fought side by side against the Iron Throne. Many of his mother's kin laid down their lives in the Rebellion. That's probably why Lord Eddard personally greeted the Ryswell contingent at the gates of Winterfell and invited his grandfather into the seat of House Stark. While his grandfather was incredibly honored and satisfied Lord Eddard choose to do so, his dear aunt was another matter.

Domeric was far more interested in learning more about the second son of Lord Eddard whom everyone dubs as a sorcerer with great magical powers blessed by the Old Gods. Frankly, the tales he has been hearing in Dreadfort and at Barrowton were outlandish and sometimes felt like they were straight out of the Age of Heroes. However, on his way to Winterfell, he learned there was some grain of truth to those tales. The days he spent in Redfort have insulated him from the happenings of the North. He'd have remained ignorant and considered everything as gossip among smallfolk if he hadn't seen the results with his own eyes.

He always knew the clansmen of the Northern Mountains were a rowdy bunch. But, they were no liars. So, when they say the Northern Mountains bloomed crops overnight right after winter because of the blessings of Harrion Stark then he'd take their word for it. Moreover, his father also took the rumors coming from Winterfell very seriously. His father was a serious man. In all his years as the heir of Dreadfort, he had never witnessed a moment where his father indulged in conjectures or rumors. His lord father was a cold man perhaps even a cruel man. But, he was no simpleton keeping an ear out for the rumors among the smallfolk. So, when his father also started to treat the rumors from Winterfell seriously, he definitely knew the rumors flying around regarding the younger Stark twin carried more truth than he assumed.

"At least, the Starks managed to reverse the ownership of the Gift. The shoddy state of the Night's Watch has caused many tragedies despite the Wall standing between the North and the Wildlings." said Domeric.

His aunt laughed upon hearing that.

"You think that's any good after all these years? The Starks will only end up spending gold trying to rebuild the defenses along the Gift. More than two centuries of neglect cannot be overhauled that easy nephew." said Barbrey.

"Maybe. But 'tis a start. Even you, with your hatred for all things Stark, has to admit 'tis a good undertaking Lord Stark is proposing." said Domeric.

"You have too much of your mother in you. Always looking for a bright spot in a room full of darkness." said Barbrey fondly. "You are right of course. Regaining the Gift from the Iron Throne was tactfully done. Maybe, Harrion Stark is of a different breed of wolf. Shame he is a second son."

"Or he could be a good advisor to Lord Robb in time." said Domeric.

"As if." Barbrey snorted in derision. "Nothing good ever comes out of the Starks. The good ones always wash up in useless places like the Night's Watch or get burned to a crisp in the South."

Domeric eyed his aunt as they left Wintertown behind. There were rumors that his grandfather wanted to marry his aunt to Benjen Stark after the death of Lord Dustin. Some of his cousins at the Rills had said the match was not to aunt Barbrey's liking. By that time, his aunt had developed a serious hatred for House Stark. In the end, it was a good thing though. Benjen Stark was quick to take the Black. If Lord Rodrick had approached with the match it'd have been another rejection.

"Still, there is hope for this Harrion Stark. He already has his banner on every corner of Winterfell and Wintertown. Maybe, the youngster might end up as the Lord of Winterfell."

Domeric looked at his aunt in shock.

"You'd wish for the North to plunge into a civil war?" he whispered heatedly.

"If I could see half of the suffering I had to endure come down on Eddard Stark then I'd die happily with a smile on my face." Barbrey whispered back.

Domeric was taken aback by the hatred shining behind the eyes of his aunt.

"If the Northerners fight amongst ourselves we will be easy pickings for the southerners. If First Men will not stand united our ancestral lands will be taken over by Andals. Is that what you want aunt? Would you have the sacrifices of our ancestors go to waste?"

"Is that why House Bolton has not rebelled after Torrhen Stark knelt to the dragons?" Barbrey asked, quirking her eyebrow indulgently.

"Probably." Domeric said, looking a bit thoughtful. "After all, the North did come close to civil war during Lord Cregan Stark's time. If we Boltons wanted to rebel, that'd have been the ideal moment. Yet, we did not."

"I suppose the Starks and the North ought to thank House Bolton for that." Barbrey japed, managing to make Domeric crack a smile.

"That'd be welcome. Maybe, that'd put a smile on my father's face."

Both of them laughed at the thought bleeding the tension that was built up as they conversed. Domeric was still wary of how his aunt was so invested in hating Lord Stark. If the history of First Men kingdoms has taught him anything, civil wars were the undoing of their people. He'd not wish it on the North where the blood of the First Men runs strong. They were the last bastions of one of the oldest cultures in the world. He did not like to see someone wish ill on his homeland even if it was his dear aunt.

"Tis a shame though." Domeric muttered, looking at the strange five-pointed stars along the way back to Winterfell.

"What is?" his aunt inquired as they walked through the open gates of Winterfell leaving behind the bustling streets of Wintertown.

"I'd have liked to meet this Harrion Stark. It's a shame he went to Skagos."

Suddenly, his aunt stopped in her tracks making Domeric frown.

"Aunt Barbrey. What's the matter?" he asked, confused by her odd behavior.

His aunt didn't answer but merely pointed to the sky with an open mouth.

Domeric followed her pointed finger and he had to blink a few times to make sure he was not dreaming.

"Are you seeing what I'm seeing?" he whispered to his aunt who was looking at the sky just like he was.

"Are you seeing a floating boat?"

"Yes." He replied slowly, barely trusting himself as he stood witness to something impossible.

"Then either we are both dreaming or we both have a problem with our eyes."

Domeric gulped and somehow managed to tear his eyes away from the floating boat. He looked around as people began to take notice of the floating boat. Even the guards who were accompanying them were now taking notice of the boat.

"I think everyone is seeing the boat, my lady."


Harry took in the gobsmacked expressions on each of the faces assembled in the courtyard as his airship lowered into the ground. The journey back was not much of an eventful affair. They made a quick stop at the fishing village to drop off some more eatables for the villagers to share with the flood-affected areas nearby. Other than that, their journey was spent on the ship stopping only when the night came about. The airship could travel at the night but it needed time to safely charge itself with magical energy.

The landing gear of the boat came out as it neared the ground. With a distinct thud, they landed properly making Harry let out a sigh of relief. It was then Harry came to notice all the different banners flying inside Winterfell. That's also when he noticed the faces that were staring in wonder at him did not belong to his family or the familiar faces of Winterfell.

'Oh well. Might as well greet them properly.' Harry thought as he waved enthusiastically.

"Land ho!"

Sadly, no one was amused by his greeting least of all his father who finally showed up to see his arrival. Harry was a little bit afraid to see his father wobble on his feet. Thankfully, the Lord of Winterfell managed to catch himself. It'd have been mightily embarrassing if the Lord of Winterfell fainted before the assembled lords of the North.

"I think you broke them all with that stunt. Told you it'd have been better for us to land somewhere discrete." Benjen complained.

"It'd have been a wasted affair. Too many people have already seen us fly in the boat uncle. So, why hide something like the airship at all? Besides, the secret would have come out eventually when it is used again at some point." Harry argued.

Benjen gave up trying to convince his headstrong nephew otherwise and moved to greet his brother.

Harry, on the other hand, hung back mostly because he had the difficult task ahead of him to guide the Unicorns to their new home.

"My lord, this is Winterfell?" asked Anya, looking breathless as she took in the vast expanse of the castle with massive walls, gates, and towers reaching out into the sky.

"Ah, right. I forgot. This is the first time you are seeing my home. Welcome to Winterfell, the home of Starks." Harry said, with a flourish inviting his students.

He was really starting to dislike addressing Anya, Kyla, and Adela as just his students. They were students of runic magic for sure and Anya was someone he was hoping to groom far beyond a mere rune mistress. AnyaBut, these three were now more than just his students. They were holders of elemental weapons and they braved combat by his side. He made up his mind to reward them and elevate their position, especially considering they were not ready to leave his side. At least, he goes they were not ready to leave his side. He was rather enjoying having students of magic.

"Come, you three. We have the difficult task to set the Unicorns free in their new home."

A few minutes later, they emerged out of the airship with the Unicorn herd in tow. The foals were quite peeved at the men staring at them around the courtyard. It didn't help the men were all muttering amongst themselves pointing at the Unicorns. It took some effort but Harry finally managed to lead the Unicorns away into the one place in Winterfell where people cannot gain access easily.

The Godswood.

After releasing the Unicorns into the interior of the Godswood, Harry was finally ready to face the rest of his family. But, before he did so he needed to make sure of something first.

"You three have a choice to make. I see magical potential in you three more so than others. I'm sure as time passes and you practice more you'll be able to master more complex spells. But, this can only happen if you three are by my side. You can take a few days to think it over." Harry offered.

His three students exchange a look amongst themselves.

"We don't need time to decide, my lord. We had discussed this matter before we began the journey back to the mainland." said Anya.

"We'd be honored to stay by your side and serve you." said Kyla, nodding resolutely.

"We'd like to learn more if you are willing to teach us." said Adela, respectfully dipping her head.

Harry smiled at his three favorite students.

"Well, if you three have made up your mind to stay by my side then your group needs a name." Harry said, after a moment of thought a name came to his mind. "Valkyrie, the handmaidens of gods. Innocent looking to normal eyes but deadly bearing the weapons of gods."

"That's a strong name for sure Harrion Stark." said a voice from above.

Harry looked up as did the Valkyrie finding their eyes land on Spring who was observing them all along. The Child of the Forest jumped down from the Weirwood tree to stand amongst the four sorcerers.

"We have much to talk about Harrion Stark. Now you know who the enemy is. It's time we make some plans because trust me the enemy has been preparing for a long time."