Chapter 2

Forest, a few miles from Winterfell

It was finally morning, and Nic was ready to see what their new home had in store for them. R2 was less excited about being stuck in the ship. "There's no need to pout R2. Eventually you'll get out of the ship. But while I go out and see what I can find, I need to you keep the ship sealed and an eye on the sensors to make sure no one followed us." R2 beeped sadly. "Just a few days, I give you my word. I know you want to feel the wind along your dome." Nic chuckled. R2 made a gesture with one of his appendages. "You sure can be a rude little droid. I'm surprised no one has wiped your memory when you act like that."

With that, Nic stepped down the ship's ramp while making sure he had what may be needed. His belt's pouches with worthless Republic credits and some odd bits for trading, the comlink so that he could stay in touch with R2, and most importantly his lightsaber hanging off the belt.

Nic hoped that it wouldn't be needed. The sky blue blade would certainly draw far too much attention if it was used. But he couldn't lie, if things went south on this new planet, having the elegant weapon on his person would definitely give him a sense of comfort and an edge if need be. Once his check was complete, Nic set off through the misty forest in the direction of the nearest town he saw in the scans.


Serena would've much preferred dealing with all the visitors from other worlds than handling the current task set before her. "Mother, must they come with me to the village? I don't see a need for them to follow me to Winter Town when I could be there and back in very little time." she begged. "Serena my dear, the children must learn how to act when among the common folk. You have very little supplies to get, use this opportunity to help them grow into future lords and lady." Catelyn said lovingly, yet sternly.

Her twin, Robb, never had to deal with the insanity that is babysitting. But what could she expect from the future Lord of Winterfell. Such aspects were left for the oldest daughter. Begrudgingly, Serena gathered Arya, Bran and Rickon to the stables and on their horses. Arya and Bran were old enough to ride their own horses but little Rickon had to ride with Serena.

"Why didn't Sansa have to come with us?" Arya whined as they plodded along. "She had a lesson with Septa Mordane. You would've been there too if you hadn't had your little episode yesterday." Serena called back to her. "Mother thought this may settle your wildness for a bit" "So what are we to pick up from town Serena?" Bran asked inquisitively. "We are to get some fabric so that new dresses can be made before the King and Queen arrive. Mother had some ordered as soon as the news came to us."

They continued on through the rather gray morning, idle chit chat from the younger siblings about what they expected to see in the town or things they hoped to possibly get. Serena still wished they could've stayed behind but enjoyed hearing their excitement.

Winter Town

It took almost an hour to finally get to Winter Town. Aptly named, Serena thought, being the closest town to Winterfell. Luck was not on their side for the time being however. The merchant that was supposed to have the fabric had not yet opened his store. The children began bombarding Serena with various requests on how to kill time until their errands could be completed. Bran and Arya wanted to go see the village blacksmith to see what weapons or armor he might be making. Little Rickon wanted to find something to eat, breakfast fast becoming a distant memory.

"Let us find something to eat first and then we will go find the blacksmith." Serena tried to compromise. "He is, after all, on the other side of town." The two older children agreed to the terms, happy they would still get their wish.

As they made their way towards the baker in hopes of a treat, they passed the smaller vendors who were hoping to sell their wares for a few coppers or silver stags. Serena over heard a conversation happening at one such booth, "I'm sorry, I don't have any coppers for the rabbit. But I do have stuff I'd be willing to trade." The stranger in the robe said. "No money, no meat!" claimed the vendor matter if factly. Serena and the children were passing by the booth when Serena's foot caught on a tree root. She had even begun to fall when the stranger in the robe turned around in a flash and caught her hand.

"Watch out for those roots, don't want to break something." the stranger said, a chuckle in his voice. "Thank you sir. My mind was on other things." Serena said, rather embarrassed. Bran and Arya were a few feet ahead, snickering at her clumsiness. "I understand that all too well." the stranger claimed. "I hope you have a good day miss, and try to keep an eye out for more tree roots." With a smile on his face, the stranger bowed slightly and headed off in the opposite direction.

The Stark siblings finally made it to the baker and were sharing a nice warm loaf of bread among each other as they headed off to find the blacksmith. As they made their way along the lane of houses and shops, Serena caught sight of the robed stranger again. He was headed towards the four of them, a look of concern on his face. He was still a couple of meters away when the sounds of bells ringing filled the air. "Shadowcat!" someone yelled.

Screams began mixing with the bells. A low growl could be heard behind the small group. As they turned towards the growl they caught sight of the beast. Easily the size of a small horse, the large black cat stared down from one of the roofs. Frozen in fear, Serena could do nothing as she watched the fearsome shadow pounce towards her.

Serena's POV

Time has slowed down. I would never have thought this is how my life ends. Shadowcats haven't been seen in these parts in several generations. I notice Rickon take off running in the direction of that nice stranger. Bran and Arya are still by my side. As the cat is nearing us I feel something push the three of us out of the beast's path. I catch sight of the stranger as we stumble. Was he close enough to push us? I didn't think so but who can say for sure. The cat lands where I once stood. It looks back and forth between Arya, Bran and I then the stranger and Rickon. A roar erupts from the animals throat as it makes it's way towards the two of them. I should be helping them but what can I do?

Rickon starts to tremble but the robed do good-er seems calm, in complete control of this terrifying scenario. He raises one hand towards the encroaching predator and in the other, a metal pipe? Is that how he expects to save my brother? And then I can not believe this, he closed his eyes. The shadowcat slowed it's approach, perhaps out of the same bewilderment I am feeling. It inched closer, his eyes remain closed. I refuse to believe this, the cat moved its head until his hand now rests the beast's head and it closed it's eyes. How in the Seven Hells is this man doing this?!

"Its alright. You can come collect your brother. I have everything under control." The robed animal whisperer called to me. I run towards them, still cautious of the enormous beast, and grab Rickon by the hand. He and I return to Bran and Arya as several guards come from behind them, bows releasing their arrows. One of the arrows struck true, dropping the beast with little more than a growl. The stranger had a mixture of relief and a touch of sadness on his face as the shadowcat perished. He turned towards me and gave a small nod.

Who is this man?