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Faith - northernlass49

Chapter 17

Viserion snorted black puffs of smoke from its oversized nostrils and clawed at the ground impatiently as if sensing the impending reunion with its siblings. At the same time, Ghost circled Jon and Sansa anxiously as they stood silently entwined, bumping up against them and nipping at their cloaks.

Sansa laughed as Jon leaned over to grab Ghost and command him to keep still.

“Be kind, Jon”, she said as she patted the direwolf’s head, “he knows you’re breaking up his pack again”.

“It’s only temporary”, he replied, “I’ll be back before you have had time to miss me”.

“That’s impossible”, she whispered, “because I miss you already”.

She clung to his shoulders as he leaned down to press his lips against hers. Then she reached up to pull his head closer to deepen and prolong the kiss as long as possible.

As they parted she could hear faint wails coming from inside the castle walls. Torrhen was awake and crying for his mother. Jon gave her a quick kiss before turning to the waiting dragon.

“I believe it is time for both of us to go”, he said as he mounted the scaly creature. “Give Torrhen one more kiss from me”. She nodded as she fought back the tears. She held on to his hand until the last possible second and then watched as man and beast rose into the pre-dawn light and faded from view.

As she returned to the castle, she replayed an earlier conversation in her mind.

She had stared into Jon’s eyes seeking confirmation of his words.

“And…you would be king, of course”, she countered, nodding her head slightly.

Jon shook his head and then leaned back against the pillows.

“No”, he replied, “I can be your consort, your Hand, your knight in shining armour, even your plaything if that is what you prefer but I will not be king of the north”.

“But my brother…”, she began.

“I know”, he interrupted, “but that was only because he feared having Winterfell falling under control of the Lannisters”.

She understood Jon’s refusal to be legitimized by her brother’s decree. He had no wish to take Winterfell away from her no matter how odious her husband’s family.

“The truth of my parentage confirmed what I already knew, Sansa, and that is who births you is important but who sires you is more important”, he said firmly.

“The northerners have long memories. And even though I was raised as a child of the north with the blood of the First Men flowing through my veins, what matters now is that I am descended from the people who conquered the north...who made the northerners bow down and pledge fealty to the invaders from the south under the threat of dragon fire”, he continued. “If I can force the Others to return from whence they came then the north might accept me as their king out of gratitude, grudging respect and a healthy fear of dragons. But, if you were to become queen then I believe that the northern lords would happily flock to you to pledge their loyalty. Northerners are a fierce and proud people who have always regarded the Starks as their natural leaders. Therefore, you, as Ned Stark’s living legacy, are the natural choice to rule the northern kingdom as its queen”.

Queen, thought Sansa with a sigh…it’s what I craved as a child but I’m not sure that is what I want now.

Sansa returned to her duties as the Lady of Winterfell, overseeing the running of the daily activities, mediating disputes and organizing the watch. In between tasks she often walked the battlements with Torrhen cradled in her arms, scanning the skies and peering into the woods for signs of movement.

“I have become the watcher on the wall”, she chortled under her breath.

Torrhen was now almost completely recovered, much to her relief. She enjoyed taking him outside into the crisp, cold air, especially on sunny days so that he could feel what little warmth the weakened sun could provide.

She badgered Sam on a daily basis for news of Jon and the battle for the north. But, so far, there was nothing to report. She had hoped he would have returned by now but that hope had now faded. There was nothing but silence.

Sansa often spent a couple of hours in the afternoons sewing, accompanied by a few other women who attended her. They usually spoke quietly of mundane matters as they manipulated the needle and thread. They never spoke of the menace that lurked beyond the walls.

The knock at the door was both loud and sharp. One of the women rose to open it to reveal an agitated Sam.

“We have had a raven”, he announced. He was panting and holding a crumpled note to his chest. He must have sprinted from his quarters, realized Sansa with a frown.

She dismissed the other women with a nod of her head. When the last of the women closed the door behind her, Sansa turned to Sam with her hand held out to receive the letter.

She read through the lengthy note quickly and then sank to her chair. She scrubbed her face and held the letter loosely in her grasp.

“I assume you have already read it?” she asked Sam wearily.

Sam nodded with his eyes full of concern.

“So what are we to do?” she asked.

“We have to abide by his decision, Sansa. Otherwise we might all face a death worse than being felled by a wight”, he replied.


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