“Please, Sansa, you need to eat”, pleaded Sam.
Sansa pushed away the plate and turned her head towards the window.
“Leave me alone, Sam”, she replied vehemently. “I’m not hungry”.
Truthfully, she still felt nauseated but she didn’t feel like elaborating. She just wanted the world to disappear.
The bleeding had stopped not long after Sansa’s cry for help. A couple of maids assisted her back to her bed while another fetched Sam from his tower.
“Is there any hope, Sam?” she had asked mournfully after a cursory examination. She remembered her mother’s miscarriage between Arya and Bran. The sadness that lingered in her mother’s eyes was heartbreaking to behold.
Sam tried to look non-committal but was failing miserably. Sansa took it as a no. And so, confined to her bed until further notice, she burrowed under her furs and slept, trying to numb herself into believing she lived in a world free of pain and loss.
After two days, she awoke to find an elderly woman sitting by her bedside. In one hazy moment, Sansa thought that she was in the presence of Old Nan until she realized belatedly that her nanny had been dead for years now. And this woman was very much alive. She recognized her as the woman who spoke so eloquently at the mass funeral for those who died at the hands of the wights.
The old crone reached out to take her hand and patted it gently.
“The cook asked me to see you, milady”, she said in a slightly quavering voice.
Sansa withdrew her hand and sat up.
“Why?” she asked.
“She believes that I might be able to give you some hope”, the woman replied. She rose up out of her chair and leaned over Sansa, pressing one gnarled hand firmly against Sansa’s abdomen. Sansa was too surprised to object.
The woman closed her eyes and keened softly. Sansa was mesmerized.
Then the woman opened her eyes and moved her hand to cup Sansa’s face.
“There were two. One is sadly gone forever but the other remains and she grows bigger every day”, she said with satisfaction.
Sansa stared and wondered if the woman was mad.
“Twins?” she finally ventured to ask.
The woman nodded and sat down again. They both remained silent. She desperately wanted to believe the old woman but she had become so cynical since the miscarriage that she almost couldn’t bring herself to believe in anything anymore.
The lull was broken by the elderly woman.
“Whether you choose to believe me or not is immaterial as time will either prove or disprove what I have told you”, she said.
She rose again and leaned over to stroke Sansa’s hair.
“I’m asking you to choose life…your own, the child that quickens in your womb and the child that cries piteously for his mother”, she said gently.
Before leaving Sansa’s room, the woman paused and turned to her once more.
“He will return…I’m sure of it”, she said with fervour. And then, with a swish of her skirts she was gone.
Sansa laid a hand on her belly and wondered if it had all been a dream.
She slept for most of the day, arising finally in the early evening. She threw open the shutters and watched the pale butter sun slowly sink below the horizon until it was lost to sight. Then the moon appeared, a silvery orb high in the sky, casting shadows on the crystalline snow. She closed her eyes and dared to imagine a baby daughter with Jon’s dark curls, a pink rosebud mouth and her own lively blue eyes.
Her reverie was broken by the creak of the door opening and a startled maid standing in the doorway.
“I’m sorry to disturb you, milady”, she apologized. “I’ve just come to add more wood to the fire”.
Sansa nodded her assent.
As the maid laid more logs on the grate, the fire devoured the wood and grew robustly, dancing and swirling as it rose towards the chimney.
“Can I get you anything, milady?” she asked.
Sansa was silent for a few seconds before replying.
“Please have the nursemaid bring me my son”, she answered.
“Of course, milady…will there be anything else?” the girl replied.
“Yes…yes, please”, she said, “a little light supper would not go amiss”.
The maid smiled shyly before nodding.
“I’ll alert the cook, milady”, she said. “She will be ever so pleased”.
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