“Sansa, I’m begging you to reconsider”, pleaded Sam. He jogged beside her as she walked swiftly down the corridor.
“My mind is made up”, replied Sansa calmly.
Sam grabbed her arm in a bid to slow her down.
“Sansa, please…just because we can do something doesn’t mean that we should”, he said softly.
She paused long enough for Sam to pull her into an empty chamber. Then he turned to her to make his case.
“Look…I know you really believe that you saw Jon in Ghost’s eyes”, he admitted, “but what if you are wrong. What if…what if in a moment of grief and longing you saw what you wanted to see…an ember of hope that the man you truly love and lost could still live?”
She opened her mouth in protest but he cut her off.
“Hear me out…or what if Jon still resides in his body? You know what the red priestess said, that resurrection changes people”, he continued. “Do you really want what happened to your mother happen to Jon, too?”
Sansa’s face crumpled with the memory.
Her beautiful and protective mother had been murdered at The Twins along with Robb and countless other Stark followers. Her lifeless body had been found on the shores of the Trident and resurrected by the red priest, Thoros. For many moons she roamed the surrounding countryside as a heartless virago, single-mindedly seeking vengeance on the family that caused their deaths before disappearing without a trace.
“And what if his spirit has already fled this world, Sansa?” he added passionately. “You would be left with a reanimated body. Then what do you do with him? It won’t be Jon…it could never be Jon. It would be an empty vessel and nothing more”.
He took both of her hands in his and looked straight into her eyes.
“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t stop and think of Gilly”, he said wistfully. “I often wonder what might have happened if I had taken her with me to Oldtown…that she might still be alive today…that we might still be together”.
“Oh, Sam…” replied Sansa sadly. “I’m so sorry that the memory of her still haunts you”.
“The point is that I would never consider trying to bring her back”, he sighed. “Sometimes you just need to take the time to accept your loss and let the dead live peacefully on in your memories”.
Sansa reflected on his words as she searched for a reply.
“I don’t know what to do…I just…I want him back so desperately”, she implored. She felt the tears begin to sting in her eyes.
“I know it’s foolish”, she sobbed, “to trust in a woman who burns people alive to prove her devotion to her god. But right now she is the only hope I have of bringing him back to me”.
“Sansa, what you are considering goes beyond all the ethical boundaries of a maester’s duties”, Sam pointed out. “But, if you are determined to go ahead with the ritual then I will support you no matter what the outcome”.
She gripped his hands and leaned forward slightly.
“Thank you”, she whispered. “I’ll do as you ask and think on it”.
She left him and hurried to the yard where Melisandre was waiting for her.
“Are you ready, my lady?” asked the priestess.
Sansa looked at the body of her dead husband as it lay motionless on the bier. Then she shook her head.
“Not yet”, she stammered. “I…I need a few more minutes to consider”.
Melisandre raised her eyes to the darkening sky.
“Don’t take too long. We are losing the light”, she replied.
Sansa nodded and walked quickly to the godswood. She knew she needed to pray but she also knew the Seven could not help her.
She knelt before the stark white weirwood tree and looked upon its ancient face. She had often watched her father and Jon pray to the old gods but she was unfamiliar with the ritual.
“What do you say to them?” she had once asked Jon after he returned from his prayers. He had shrugged.
“I speak from the heart”, he replied simply.
So she closed her eyes and prayed for guidance.
“Give me a sign…anything so that I will know what to do”, she whispered fervently. She listened to the wind rustle through the trees and across the snowy landscape. The silence became almost unbearable.
She opened her eyes and struggled to her feet in despair. Then she heard the merry song of a little chickadee as it danced from branch to branch.
“Go away, little bird”, she growled. “My heart and my hands are empty right now”.
The bird paused on a branch and cocked its head to one side as it repeated its cheery chirping.
The birds never give up hope, she thought. Is it because they know that winter will one day give way to spring or do they simply have faith?
She looked up at the sky which was turning a darker shade of purple as it faded into twilight.
I need to make a decision now, she realized. There are no certainties in life. Even Jon proved that the rising and setting of the sun is not an everyday occurrence if you travel too far north in winter.
I can’t survive without hope, she decided. I need to make a leap of faith.
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