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The First Rodeo of the Next Keeper (ASOIAF SI OC)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by MoonyNightShade, May 15, 2023.

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  1. Threadmarks: Chapter 1 - Kr’Tall the Second Keeper
    MoonyNightShade

    MoonyNightShade Quickest Gun on the Other Side

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    Chapter 1 - Kr’Tall the Second Keeper

    Disclaimer:
    I don’t own the characters or the world appearing in this story, they are creations and property of the fantastic George R. R. Martin. I’m not sure if I can claim my OCs as my own, so I’ll play it safe and dedicate them to GRRM.



    Author’s Note: Hello, and welcome! Thanks a lot for picking this up. This is my first attempt at writing a good-length story, hence things might be a little rough. I hope we can keep our comments constructive and reviews positive. Now, let's get on with it.



    [Year - Undefined]

    “Gasp!” Harry sucked in a long breath as he woke abruptly. It was a unique sensation for him to experience, the suddenness with which his consciousness returned.

    Getting ahold of his condition, he found himself sitting slack at the visitor's end of a very nice walnut-epoxy table. The room around him was extremely posh – checking almost all of his interior design needs. It was a small but cosy room; the wallpaper and carpet giving it a sort of British look. His mom was very consistent at pestering his father to replace his home office table for a while now. Dad was making do with an old plastic table, something which had been in the family since before Harry was born. His mom would have liked this table.

    Gathering his wandering thoughts, Harry returned his attention to the situation at hand. It was a unique affair, to say the least, and Harry wondered why he was regaining consciousness; because he did not recall losing it at all, to begin with. However, at that moment, he guided his scrutiny towards the opposite end of the table, for there was a man sitting on the other side with a very charming smile. Harry could swear that he’d never met this man before in his life, but even more importantly he had no recollection of how he’d ended up in this place either.

    “I would have been very surprised if you’d known how you’d gotten here, my friend. I designed this room just a minute ago, with the sole purpose of hosting you, after all,” the man said with an arch look.

    Harry was understandably brought out of his musings. The fact that this man had read his mind did not surprise him for some reason. Also, any confusion, anxiety or fear he might have had with the situation seemed to get pushed back to the recesses of his mind.

    “That’s Gamer’s Mind at work,” the man explained. “It pushes back overwhelming emotions to protect Keepers from harsh effects on their psyche. But don’t you worry, you’ll have complete control over it and nothing I give you will ever be detrimental. Unless I preface it as such of course,” the man continued, having read his mind yet again.

    Harry grasped the chair he was perched on and pushed himself to sit upright. Meeting the man’s eyes, he spoke for the first time since waking up in the nice room.

    “Who are you and where am I?”

    The man chuckled, his entire countenance shaking with humour.

    “Right!” the man exclaimed. Clearing his throat to set the mood for the conversation, he began his explanation. “So, Harry, you’ve been removed from your world to be provided with a purpose,” he said.

    “A purpose?” Harry repeated.

    “Yes, A higher purpose,” said the man, “although, I suppose I should have introduced myself by now.”

    Leaning back into his chair, the man straightened his back whilst also smoothening his outfit; a really classy outfit, Harry noted. “I am Kr'Tall,” he said, “the Second Keeper of the multiverses.”

    Harry raised an eyebrow, not impressed with the declaration. However, the man – or the God, if what he said was true – just continued on with an amused glint in his eye.

    “I was chosen hundreds of million years ago by Alan, the First Keeper, to join his rank and become the Second Keeper,” said Kr’Tall, “and now, I’m giving you the same opportunity that I was provided with, all those years ago.”

    Harry did not let loose a peep in response and Kr’Tall continued on without losing momentum.

    “We, the Keepers, have been monitoring anything and everything for a long– long time, and now we believe that the time has come for another to join our ranks,” he finished rather simply in contrast to his awe-inspiring tale.

    Harry had gone through a multitude of emotions through the explanation – from disbelief to panic to being overwhelmed. Whatever he’d been expecting, this had not been it. He was caught flatfooted and it took him a moment to digest the overload of information. Kr'Tall waited patiently with a small smile on his face; waiting for Harry to ask his questions.

    “Alright,” Harry declared, “I’m going to take… everything that you just said for granted. So, let’s start with what a Keeper is, and why you chose me for– for– whatever this is…”

    Kr’Tall had a kind smile on his face throughout.

    “A Keeper,” began the man, “is the most powerful being in all of time, in every multiverse.”

    Harry nodded. Simple, so far.

    “Apart from us, there are always other entities trying to gain power in every multiverse,” said Kr’Tall.

    Harry nodded yet again.

    “While that in itself is not something that we condone – after all, we Keepers ourselves were mundane powerless entities at some point – some of these entities do it in ways that alter the code of the universe. We, Keepers, make sure that these people are taken care of before they do any lasting damage,” Kr’Tall explained.

    “Right,” Harry said.

    “As for why you were chosen,” Kr’Tall looked at him with some expectation. “It’s because you are a perfect candidate for immortality. Your mind is even better suited for it than Alan's.”

    Harry couldn’t really understand what that meant for him, but it seemed to be a good thing from how Kr’Tall phrased it. So, he just went with it.

    “Immortality is a very volatile state,” Kr’Tall stated, “it is something that hardly one person in a billion can handle.”

    He moved his hand and gestured towards his right. Suddenly two people materialised at the place he’d pointed his hand towards. A man and a woman.

    “These are two of my spouses. Enit is a little more than a million years old while Ka’rim is just over sixty-six thousand years old.”

    Ka’rim and Enit smiled at Harry, while Kr’Tall continued on. “While there are some entities, like Enit, who are capable of handling immortality for a long time, only a rare few can continue forever. I myself have lost six spouses to the passage of time over my lifetime, and now Enit has–”

    Enit cut in before Kr’Tall could finish.

    “–decided to pass on,” she said as she sent a soft smile towards Kr’Tall. He returned a sad smile at the gesture.

    “I wanted you to witness her passing on,” Kr’Tall said turning back to Harry.

    He vacated his chair, only for the table and chair to dematerialise. Harry followed, only idly noticing that his own chair had vanished as well.

    Enit kissed both Kr’Tall and Ka’Rim, one last time, before sending a small smile towards Harry, bidding him goodbye. Kr’Tall moved forward and tapped her chest and she – just – disappeared. There was nothing left over, no fanfare, no tears, nothing at all. One moment she was there and then suddenly she wasn’t.

    Harry only idly noticed as Ka’Rim bid him before vanishing. He did notice some glistening at the edge of his eyes, however.

    “Ahem…” Kr’Tall cleared his throat.

    Only then did Harry notice that he was gaping in shock.

    “What the fuck was that!?” Harry yelled. Even Gamer’s Mind’s currently high tuning couldn’t sort him out.

    Kr’Tall brightened significantly; seemingly taking comfort in his confusion. “You just saw what happens to a person when they choose to pass on, Harry,” he said.

    Harry breathed in for a long moment and exhaled slowly, trying to calm himself.

    Somewhat pulling himself together, he lifted up his head and locked eyes with Kr’Tall. “I’m going to ask you simple questions and you are going to keep answering me in simple sentences. Is – that – clear?

    “Crystal,” Kr’Tall nodded. “Although, there might be some questions that I am just not able to answer at this point.”

    “I can allow that,” Harry nodded, “so, you are Kr’Tall and you rule the universe?”

    “I monitor and remove dangerous individuals from the multiverses,” said Kr’Tall, correcting him.

    “What do you mean by multiverses?” Harry asked in turn.

    “Each multiverse has multiple universes and there are multiple multiverses,” Kr’Tall said as if that cleared everything up.

    Harry shook his head in exasperation; even his simple sentences were unclear. “How many multiverses and universes are there?” he questioned.

    “You cannot put a number on it, Harry, there are new planes of reality created all the time,” Kr’Tall said, his face showing a little pity; as if he did understand that the concept could be hard to get his mind around.

    “Uggh!” Harry clenched his hand, irritated enough to sock the man. Then just as suddenly as it appeared, all his irritation was pushed back. With a sigh, he relaxed his hand and looked up at Kr’Tall, who seemed unaffected by his entire display.

    “Are you saying that I have to take care of these multiverses now? Am I all-powerful and immortal?”

    “Not exactly,” Kr’Tall said as he sat down. His chair materialised as he lowered himself. “You’ve been chosen and given a chance to join our ranks as the next Keeper. While this does give you immortality – it doesn’t mean that you’re all-powerful. You will have to amass power slowly by working for it or taking it from other entities,” Kr’Tall answered.

    “How do I take power from other entities?” Harry asked thoughtfully.

    “By killing them of course,” Kr’Tall answered smoothly.

    Harry was shocked for just a second before his emotions were smoothed out.

    “I thought that’s what you prevented – people gathering power through untoward means?” Harry questioned with a scowl.

    Kr’Tall laughed at that. A genuine hearty laugh.

    “Ha! Killing is not what alters the code of the universe, Harry. Death is just a part of life,” Kr’Tall said with a small smile.

    “So I’ll have to kill people?” asked Harry.

    “Yes I’m afraid so... you can do without it, of course – It’ll just take more time. Although, we both know you don’t have a high aversion towards the deed, don’t we?” Kr’Tall said simply.

    Harry just glossed over it to the next question. “So what happens now? I go home and start killing people?”

    Kr’Tall stilled for a second before chuckling. “Oh, by the Old Ones! Not at all! You are not going back to your home universe. At least not until you obtain the power to freely travel the multiverse without aid.”

    “What about my life back home? And my parents?” Harry asked.

    “The moment you were brought here, you were wiped from the multiverse. There is no trace of you left. Your parents don’t remember you anymore,” said Kr’Tall.

    “So I can’t say no?” Harry asked with an oddly blank look.

    “Come now, we both know it – we both know how much this excites you,” Kr’Tall replied with the same blank look.

    For the first time since this whole ordeal, Harry’s face displayed a positive emotion. The grin on his face was wide and feral. Because what Kr’Tall had said was true. Harry’s life had lost all charm since he got his college acceptance letter. There was simply nothing that excited him anymore.

    “Yes, I suppose I won’t.”

    Kr’Tall’s face morphed into a similar grin as well. It was a bit unsettling. His handsome face was not suited for such a grin. “I knew you wouldn’t already.”

    “So how might we go about this?” Harry questioned, rubbing his hands together.

    “Well, I’ll drop you off on a planet and you’ll slowly start amassing power. You’ll get an AI companion to help consolidate and categorise power. Any gifts that we Keepers wish to share with you will be sent through your companion,” Kr’Tall explained.

    Harry sighed. This seemed like it would take a long time. “This is going to take millions of years, isn’t it?”

    “Depends on how you go about it. You’re intelligent enough to figure out that this isn’t my first attempt at choosing the next Keeper. I’ve made six attempts so far and well – the fact that you are here makes their fates pretty self-explanatory,” Kr’Tall said shaking his head. “Just because you are immortal doesn't mean that you can’t be killed. You’ll have advantages, of course, but it depends on how you capitalise on them.”

    Harry took some time to internalise the information. He had gone through quite a lot this day. Then finally –

    “Alright, let’s begin,” Harry said.

    “Hmm... I was thinking of sending you to Kuoh, just to start things off. Shall we start wit–”

    “Wait what?” Harry interrupted, “Kuoh? Are you talking about the same Kuoh I’m thinking of?”

    “Fictional worlds are just echoes of other universes, Harry,” Kr’Tall explained calmly. “They are sparked through interference from multiversal travellers. Alan himself is from one of the Wizarding worlds.”

    “Okay…” Harry said, his mind working at a furious pace. “Alright… Then I don’t think Kuoh is a very good starting point. It has some very powerful people and if I start at the bottom, they’ll be thousands if not hundreds of thousands of times more powerful than me.”

    “Is that why all six of them met such untimely ends?” Kr’Tall muttered thoughtfully. “But it really just is a suggestion – you can ask for something else if you’d prefer it. Though if the world has nothing to do with the supernatural your gains might be very slow.”

    “Hmm… What about the ‘Game of Thrones’ universe? The power scaling shouldn’t be too much to handle,” Harry suggested.

    “Yes, that is a decent enough option. If you are sure then we can move on to any appearance change you might wish for.”

    Harry was a huge fan of the medieval-sword-and-kings-genre. His choices had been deviating between GoT and The Witcher but ultimately he chose GoT. At least he won’t face any actual monsters in the former.

    “Yeah, let’s move on. How do I change my appearance?” Harry asked.

    A mirror materialised to his side. “Just think about it and adjust it to your liking,” Kr’Tall said.

    Harry had decent enough genetics already. An oval face, brown hair, black eyes and a slim body. At the age of seventeen, he measured 5’10. But like any living person, he had some insecurities about his appearance.

    He started with his body type. He preferred a fairly muscled body to a swimmer’s. Also, it made a lot of sense for the world he’d chosen. He would need power and strength to use a sword.

    He started with a swimmer's body type and kept increasing the muscle mass till he reached a decent middle ground – a body type of someone who lifts but also does cardio. He especially made sure that his shoulders were nice and wide. He was a bit self-conscious about his slim body.

    For his face, he already knew what he wanted. A jawline like Superman himself, ‘And Witcher too’ he thought to himself. ‘That dude is in all the cool stuff.’

    His current face shape was oval with a sharp chin like one of those boy band members and it made him look girlish. He definitely won’t be keeping that. His hair colour was changed to black. He put more effort into his eyes, however. He really liked heterochromia so he decided to go with two colours. A nice purple for the left and grey with amber-golden specks near the pupil for the right eye.

    For some reason, his complexion was set to a pale skin tone with what seemed like a healthy tan the moment he picked his hair and eye colour. He had definitely gotten the feeling of being able to change it when he’d started customising.

    Finally, he took a step back and took everything in at once. Although he was tall enough in his current life he would need to be a lot taller in a world where people fought with swords. He played with his height for a bit, a little bit with his arms and then his face. Before long, he reached something where everything just seemed to fit. He could afford to be a little vain when it was handed to him on a silver platter. Looking at himself in the mirror, Harry could confidently say that he had never seen a more handsome man in his life. And that's saying something since Kr’Tall’s looks weren’t anything to scoff at. Although Kr’Tall’s charm seemed to lean towards a sexy professor rather than a knight or a warrior.

    “Seems like you’re all done,” Kr’Tall said, looking him over.

    “I think so, I keep feeling like I’ve forgotten something… but I don’t know why,” Harry said.

    “I wouldn’t know, I’m afraid,” Kr’Tall said a little evasively, “But let’s move on to the final part of it! Your companion and blessing!”

    Kr’Tall moved closer to Harry and touched his chest, just like he did with Enit. There was no change to what he was feeling at all, but he could suddenly see words floating in front of him. He intuitively knew what the words were and their meaning.


    [ Status

    Name: Undecided
    LVL: 1

    STR: 1
    END: 1
    DEX: 1
    CHA: 1
    INT: 1
    WIS: 1
    Points: 0


    Perks
    Gamer’s Mind
    Gamer’s Body


    Skill
    Mind Reading ]


    It seemed like his companion system would help him consolidate his abilities through the use of points and also keep track of the abilities that he gains.

    He had also been granted a blessing, as a starting advantage. In this case, he had gotten Mind Reading!

    “This is… too useful, what are the drawbacks?” Harry asked suspiciously.

    “None at all! When the power comes from Keepers, it is always the most powerful variant, at least until we develop a better variant. You should be able to read anyone’s mind unless they have Gamer’s mind. Which doesn’t really matter, since only Keepers have Gamer’s mind,” said Kr’Tall.

    Harry was pensive for a moment. “How are you able to read my mind then, don’t I have Gamer’s Mind?” he asked.

    “You haven’t consciously reached out to Gamer’s mind yet. When you do that – ah, see, now that you’ve done it, even Alan and I won’t be able to read your mind unless you allow it,” Kr’Tall replied with a proud look.

    Harry took a moment to think everything over and focused on looking at the system a bit more.

    “You don’t seem very upset over losing your wife,” Harry stated sometime later, with more than a little trepidation. Even though the man had been very accommodating, he still was an all-powerful being, after all.

    Kr’Tall eyed him, without showing any emotion. Then with a sigh, he allowed a sad smile on his face. “We had already made our peace with it, Harry. However, I wanted to show you and delayed it until I felt you were ready. I want you to know that in the next hundreds, thousands, millions or even billions of years that you might live for, people are going to die, and you have to live with it. Just like I am now.”

    They were both silent for a while.

    “Okay!” Harry said, trying to cheer himself, “I think I’m ready… Unless there is anything else you might want to tell me?”

    “Not at the moment, no. Good luck on your journey Harry!” Kr’Tall said with a soft smile. He moved forward to touch his chest.

    “Wait a second!” Harry exclaimed at the last moment. Kr’Tall paused and raised an eye.

    “Can you clear my parents’ debt? Pay off the loan for our house and car and –” he spluttered quickly.

    Kr’Tall nodded at him with a chuckle. “Yes – yes, I can.”

    Harry’s eyes widened. “Also make them the richest people in the world?” he tried.

    Kr’Tall glared at him, but Harry could see some amusement in it as well.

    “No,” he heard before everything went black.



    Consider Patreon if you’d like to support me. It is ahead by a few chapters.

    patreon.com/MoonyNightShade
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2023
  2. Venyr4434

    Venyr4434 Well worn.

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    Spacing. It's a wall of text man.
     
    Darcksage and Hammerfury like this.
  3. MoonyNightShade

    MoonyNightShade Quickest Gun on the Other Side

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    Yea... I'm not able to figure out the formatting here, and I have no idea how to delete the thread. I'm kinda screwed right now. You know how to delete and start afresh?
     
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  4. gymrat

    gymrat Getting out there.

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    Start a test thread or a new post, cut and paste with different tools/via different web editors until it looks good, then edit first post and paste the good spacing. It looks good on SpaceBattles.
     
    Darcksage likes this.
  5. MoonyNightShade

    MoonyNightShade Quickest Gun on the Other Side

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    Is there a particular tool that people prefer over here?
     
  6. gymrat

    gymrat Getting out there.

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    I just cut and pasted from the pure text of the first chapter from SpaceBattles, formatting looks good over here too. Just the normal cut and paste tool on a Mac.
     
    MoonyNightShade likes this.
  7. MoonyNightShade

    MoonyNightShade Quickest Gun on the Other Side

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    Wow. I was searching all over the net for a rich text to bbcode converter and it was there right in front of me!
    Btw, is there a way to delete a post? It's making me go bonkers.
     
  8. gymrat

    gymrat Getting out there.

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    You can usually ask the moderators to delete a thread. Report your first post, and tell them why.

    Start a new thread with your new knowledge :)
     
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  9. MoonyNightShade

    MoonyNightShade Quickest Gun on the Other Side

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    Oh, kind of a roundabout, but I can work with it.
    Also, can you delete the example you posted above? Just to keep it clean. Thanks a lot btw.
     
  10. gymrat

    gymrat Getting out there.

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    Deleted.
     
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  11. MoonyNightShade

    MoonyNightShade Quickest Gun on the Other Side

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    Thanks mate.
     
  12. MoonyNightShade

    MoonyNightShade Quickest Gun on the Other Side

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    Spacing's fixed now. :)
     
  13. Threadmarks: Chapter 2 - Of Brandon and Ashara
    MoonyNightShade

    MoonyNightShade Quickest Gun on the Other Side

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    Chapter 2 - Of Brandon and Ashara

    Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters or the world appearing in this story, they are creations and property of the fantastic George R. R. Martin. I’m not sure if I can claim my OCs as my own, so I’ll play it safe and dedicate them to GRRM.



    [Year - 283 AC]

    “Gasp!” Harry desperately sucked in air, trying to quench his thirsting lungs. His limbs flailed about wildly as he struggled. Although, however much he pulled, his lungs seemed unable to take in much.

    Harry’s consciousness had returned just like it did the last time. Very abruptly.

    As he tried to gather his bearings, he found that breathing was proving to be an incredibly difficult task; every pull of breath was demanding. It was as if his body had forgotten how to breathe and he was learning it all over again. Adding on to the suffering, his eyes weren’t working as they should either and he vaguely realised that he was bawling his lungs out as if his life depended on it.

    For a long while, that was all he knew. He cried and tried to breathe. But eventually, with a lot of effort, he regained control over his respiration, allowing him to breathe again. That granted him leave in setting aside some energy to concentrate outwards.

    Through his blurry vision, he could guess that people were scuttling about – frantically at that. Some of them were crying. His blurry eyes didn’t help any – he could hardly see anything and he could hardly hear anything over his own bawling. Thus, he concentrated on trying to stop bawling.

    Listening in on his surroundings, he could pick out an old voice amongst the cacophony of crying women. He tried latching on to that.

    “–eak constitution worked against her, my lord. She’s passed on. There was nothing we could do,” croaked out the voice.

    There was a moment of silence that followed the old man’s statement.

    “Leave us,” said a different voice, probably the lord.

    Harry was picked up, and it took just a moment for him to understand his situation. He had just been borne. He was a baby again.



    Nine long months had passed since his birth into the Dayne household. And Harry had spent a majority of that time being upset.

    For some inexplicable reason, he had expected to just be dropped into the world and figure out a way from there. He hadn’t expected to be born again. He couldn’t help but feel cheated. He’d even worked so hard on configuring the perfect body…

    Subjectively, he could see that the current scenario was better. People don’t just appear out of nowhere, after all. As a lord, he would have access to things that he would have had to work very hard for otherwise. He could definitely see the advantages of his current state. But, sometimes it got really hard to look at the advantages when he couldn’t even walk properly.

    At present, Harry was leafing through a few books, acting as if he was having fun flipping through the pages. He would read a few sentences, flip some pages, flip them back, quickly take in the next few sentences and repeat. It was a pain, but he had to make himself look like any normal child. He wasn’t even a year old – he couldn’t parade around reading complex text when he hadn’t even been taught the alphabet.

    It hadn’t been easy getting his hands on the books either. Of course, Lord Dayne would never let a babe anywhere near a book – however, Harry’s repeated tantrums had allowed him the privilege of getting access to a few low-importance books. His first quest from the system had pretty much forced him to do all could to get his hands on some text.

    “Alice, what’s the time?” Harry asked in his mind.

    “It’s 8:13 am, Harry,” Alice’s reply echoed through his mind.

    “Right! Anytime now…” Harry thought to himself. He was shaking in excitement.

    Harry was born the son of Brandon and Ashara in this lifetime. It hadn’t been hard to figure out, the entire castle had mourned the death of the Lady Ashara. He’d only had to look into the minds of a few maids to get the information he needed. While he’d gotten the information he needed, it had also left him confused. The popular theory had been that it was Ned who’d been in love with Ashara, hence the knowledge of Brandon’s involvement had been very confusing, to say the least.

    He wondered whether choosing black hair with grey and purple eyes had forced fate and brought them together.

    He thought back to what he knew of their deaths. His mother had passed away due to blood loss during childbirth. It had already been a late-term birth, which had weakened her significantly. Adding to that all the loss she’d suffered through the year; it had taken a lot out of her. As for his father – he had passed on along with his grandfather when they’d confronted the man king.

    Honestly, Harry didn’t know how to feel about this. He found it extremely hard to think of these people as his parents. His mother had only been a young lady of seven and ten, whereas his father had been slightly older at one and twenty. It was especially hard to convince himself when he still had vivid memories of his parents from his past life. So he just left it be – it was better that way. He had a lot to do and parental relations would only hold him back.

    Although it got to him at times. He was just so alone – all the time.

    Apart from his parentage issues, there was one other little thing that perplexed him. What was Jon Snow doing at Starfall? In the beginning, before he’d confirmed his parentage, Harry had wondered if he’d been born as Jon Snow. However, the knowledge that his eyes were of different colours had relieved him of that burden. Also, the fact that he had the real Jon Snow in front of him helped as well.

    Harry had begun noticing this during his first month – that there was one other baby in the nursery apart from him. However, his poor eyesight had prevented him from properly laying eyes on the other baby. What bewildered him the most, however, was the fact that the wet nurse cared more for the other babe than for him. This had boggled Harry’s mind. After all, he was Lady Ashara’s son, nephew to the lord of the house. He wondered who could possibly be more important than him in the Dayne household. The only name that came to mind was Edric Dayne, though he shouldn’t be born for several more years.

    However, then he had learned of the wet nurse’s name. Wylla. This had confused him yet again because he knew that name, although he couldn’t remember why. He had kept thinking of why he knew the name of a wet nurse – why could her name have possibly imprinted itself in his memory? For the next four months, he immersed himself in digging through his knowledge to find the tidbit of knowledge he knew he had of the woman. The knowledge eluded him like a dream would after rousing.

    In the fifth month after his birth, his eyes finally started clearing up and he finally laid eyes on the boy. The boy was a Stark, that much was extremely clear. Everything cleared up for Harry in but an instant. Wylla was one of the women rumoured to have been the supposed mother of Jon Snow. Ned himself had uttered the woman’s name to King Robert, and Edric Dayne had also alluded to it at some point. The other baby was Jon Snow.

    The more he thought of the happenings over the past year, the more Harry realised that the world was following the books rather than the television show. He thought back to his encounter with Kr’Tall – had he not been clear about what he wanted? By the Mother– the man could read his damn mind, how could he not have known?

    The entire year had been one issue after the other. As if it had to top everything that had happened, he’d gotten screwed by the system as well.

    Harry was extremely familiar with systems from his past life. The moment he’d heard the words ‘Gamer’s Mind’, his mind had started racing – oh, the possibilities! He’d only needed to take one look at his status to let go of all his dreams of dominating the entire world.


    [ Status

    Name: Undecided
    LVL: 1 [Status Effect: Growing Up]


    [Growing Up: The Keeper’s status grows with time. All stats will rise to ‘1’ by 13 years of age. The process can be sped up by working hard or through quests]

    STR: 0.1
    END: 0.1
    DEX: 0.1
    CHA: 0.1
    INT: 0.1
    WIS: 0.1
    Points: 0


    Perks
    Gamer’s Mind
    Gamer’s Body


    Skill
    Mind Reading ]


    What kind of a sick joke was this? He’d himself jokingly stated that it would take a million years, but this was too much.

    Not all was lost, however. The system did say that he could work hard to gather strength – he could do that… sure.

    Although, there wasn’t much allowance for him to increase his strength currently. He couldn’t exactly start jogging and lifting weights as a babe not even a year old. Hence he turned to books; if he couldn’t physically become stronger, he could at least sharpen his mind. Mayhaps he would get lots of points and rise to be the wisest of warriors?

    Alas, the endeavour wasn’t proceeding as well as he’d expected it to. Harry had a connection to the system – a sixth sense of sorts. It told him that reading books would increase his intelligence and wisdom; but at a much slower pace than he expected. He couldn’t even comprehend how many books he’d have to read to get even a single-point increment.

    It hadn’t been completely in vain, however. He’d gotten a quest out of it.


    [Quest: Read 100 books]

    [Rewards: Skill (Observe), 1 point]


    The quest appeared once he’d begun reading his second book. It had given him quite the scare with how it had popped up. The quest just appeared and he could neither accept nor deny it – it was present, and he could do it if he wanted to.

    At present, he was in the middle of reading his ninth book. His intelligence and wisdom points hadn’t budged a single decimal the whole time.

    “When do you reckon they’ll reach the castle?” Harry asked in his mind.

    “I don’t know Harry,” Alice replied in her usual calm voice.

    He chuckled to himself. The maid looking after the nursery glanced at him fondly.

    Harry had made it a habit of conversing with Alice in his mind. At nine months, his vocal capabilities were nothing extraordinary, so Alice was his only option to share an intelligent conversation. His vocabulary at the moment consisted only of the words – ‘Book’, ‘More’ and ‘Harry’ – in the exact order he’d learnt to utter them. The last word, in particular, had confused the maid who took care of him; since there was no one by the name of ‘Harry’ in the castle.

    It was Alice and the maids that had kept him company at the castle. His aunt Allyria would drop by at times – but as a young girl, she was much more interested in other things than her nephew. His interactions with Lord Dayne were better left unmentioned.

    Suddenly there was some commotion outside the room and a maid rushed in. The one in charge of the nursery stood to address the new intruder but she ran straight to Harry.

    ‘They must have arrived!’ Harry thought to himself.

    Closing his book, Harry stood and presented his hand to the maid – it was finally time to meet his uncle.



    His life had changed too much. The last two years had flipped around his entire life. He’d lost most of his family over the span of a few months. Ned wouldn’t wish this sort of curse on anyone; not even upon his worst enemy.

    He’d only been a boy – barely come of age. Spending his days learning the way of the sword and enjoying his time at the Vale. That’s what his life had been. He’d never wanted to be Lord Stark – hell, Benjen had spent more time at Winterfell than him.

    Why him? He’d only been the spare…

    His father had been a good warden, a little too ambitious if anything. His brother would have made a better warden once he’d succeeded – if he’d managed to keep his cock in his breeches.

    Ned thought of that accursed maester. Walys. Everything had started going to shit when his father gave his ear to that man. Why did his father have to turn his attention towards the South?

    Now, at twenty namedays, Ned found himself with the title of the warden, a wife meant for someone else and a nearly extinct family. All because his father wasn’t happy with his lot in life.

    ‘At least I’m already working towards increasing the numbers,’ Ned thought rather wryly.

    He’d gotten news – ages ago, it seemed like – that his wife was with child. She must be expecting the child.

    ‘No, not expecting,’ Ned reminded himself, ‘the child must nearly be a year old by now.’

    Ned’s musings came to a halt as his party reached the castle walls. The gates had already been raised and there were men waiting to escort them inside. It was to be expected – they had sent word ahead of time. There was no need for surprises; both sides had had enough surprises to last a lifetime.

    Starfall was bustling with activity, no doubt word of their arrival had spread even amongst the smallfolk – the Sword of the Morning had been popular, after all, even amongst the commoners.

    The ride to the castle proper passed by in a haze and Ned found himself passing his horse’s reins to the stable boy soon after. Tensions were running thick, they were deep within unfavourable territory. However, there would be no fighting today. Ned had had enough of it, and he doubted the Daynes would risk treason at this point.

    “Welcome to Starfall… Stark,” he heard a voice say to his side.

    “Thank you, Lord Dayne. I just wish the occasion had been a better one,” Ned replied, turning to the man. ‘There is no need to get offended,’ he said to himself.

    “An occasion where you don’t come to my house after killing my brother, you mean?” Lord Dayne spat, not being able to keep his emotions in check.

    Ned saw Howland tense, while some of the others palmed their swords.

    “No,” Ned stopped them with a glance and a raised hand. Turning back, he locked his gaze with Lord Dayne. “They had my sister, Lord Dayne. Ser Arthur was a good man– probably the best of men. But he helped the prince take my sister… and then tried to keep me away from her. Now she’s lost to me. He made his choice.”

    Lord Dayne did not answer.

    “I am not here for your hospitality. Let us finish this exchange, maintaining civility, and then we’ll be on our way,” Ned spoke with a resigned tone.

    Abruptly there was a disturbance to the side. Ned tensed, fearing the worst – his own hand reached for his sword.

    He turned to see two children being led towards them by two maids.

    One of those maids, he identified, and it made his blood run colder than when he’d expected to be attacked. Glancing at the child in her arms made him wonder if he would have preferred being attacked.

    The other child was younger. He had his hand held by the other maid and was walking towards them with wobbly steps. Ned could see, however, that the child seemed to have Stark blood in him. The child had dark hair, which could have been a Dayne trait as much as it could have been Stark. Although, the grey eye could only ever be from a Stark. The purple eye gave him pause, however – probably a Dayne trait? Ned was colossally confused as to who the child could be.

    Noticing his confusion, Lord Dayne voiced out. “Ashara’s son, through your brother,” he said, gesturing to the child.

    Ned only nodded, not being able to find his voice. His mind went blank. This changed so many things. Ashara had been with child?

    Ned had known that his brother had married her. Brandon had gotten quite infatuated with the girl at the tourney, but Ned had dismissed it as another mark to his brother’s tendencies. Hence, when they got secretly married after, he had been surprised. However, he couldn’t say whether it had been a pleasant surprise. He’d known that there would be repercussions, especially from Hoster Tully.

    The war, however, had swept everything under, and Brandon’s marriage had gone unnoticed.

    Looking at the child, Ned’s heart clenched. He’d not been very happy with his brother’s choices, but to see that he’d passed on without ever having laid eyes on his son. All the pain he’d pushed away the past year – he felt it all rushing back.

    “And where is Lady Ashara…?” Ned asked, already fearing the answer.

    “She did not survive childbirth,” Lord Dayne said in a slightly strained voice.

    “I see,” Ned said, offering his condolences. Looking at the man standing opposite to him, Ned realised that the Dayne had also lost a brother and sister. The war had taken a lot – from both of them.

    He turned towards the other maid and the child she held; his heart clenched yet again. Dark brown hair and grey stormy eyes.

    He needed no one to tell him about the other child.



    The rest of the exchange didn’t take much time to conclude. The only reason they’d made the trip was to return the sword, which didn’t take long. Both parties had not been in any mood to dawdle and after nearly two years, everyone was looking forward to going home. The only hiccup was the addition of two children to the group.

    Ned thought it a little ironic how they lost three Starks to the war and came out with three children with Stark blood in them. He wondered if it were all a cruel prank the gods played on them.

    He was of two minds about his bastard’s mother. He wanted the child to have a mother growing up, but he could give him a better life at Winterfell. He couldn’t even contemplate bringing the woman along. He was already skirting around propriety by deciding to raise a bastard within the castle; he couldn’t insult his lady wife any more than that.

    The journey back was largely uneventful.

    His relationship with Robert had become heavily strained since the sacking of King’s Landing. He’d always known that Robert could be quick to anger, but the fact that he was unable to see sense in admonishing Lord Tywin for murdering children. Ned couldn’t live with such a stain to his name. Hence he tried to finish his business as quickly as possible and leave at the first available opportunity.

    However, looking ahead at the journey to Riverrun – it almost made him want to turn back and stay a few more weeks at King’s Landing. Only his eagerness to meet his son had allowed him to hold on tight and usher his horse onwards.

    Lord Tully had been furious, both with his bastard and Brandon’s son. Ned had never liked him to begin with – the man was an opportunist and whatever honour he had in him was not enough to redeem him in Ned’s eyes. The man hadn’t even waited to get through mourning, before marrying off his daughter. Catelyn herself seemed to be a proper lady and he didn’t have any strong thoughts about her. She was pretty to look at and it had been a good match– or it had been a good match when they thought him to be the next Lord Paramount, but now, he couldn’t really say. He had expected some disappointment on their part, but, when Lord Tully started insinuating Brandon’s son to be a bastard, he couldn’t stand for it. Not wanting to fight the man at his own home, Ned had chosen to leave instead.

    Catelyn had also been upset about his bastard, as he’d expected her to be. He could only wish that she’d forgive him as time passes on.

    In the sixth month of the year 284 AC, Ned returned to Winterfell, ready to take the seat as the Stark of Winterfell – until a time came when his nephew would be ready enough to assume the role himself.



    Consider Patreon if you’d like to support me. It is ahead by a few chapters.

    patreon.com/MoonyNightShade
     
  14. T4ndoris

    T4ndoris Not too sore, are you?

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    Damn book GOT is way scarier than tv show GOT, hope Mc will survive this clusterfuck more or less sane cuz between Euron the antechrist and all the wars incoming he is in for a hard time as the future Stark in chief lmao
     
  15. MoonyNightShade

    MoonyNightShade Quickest Gun on the Other Side

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    I hope so as well. :sneaky:
     
  16. Threadmarks: Chapter 3 - The Three Eyed Raven
    MoonyNightShade

    MoonyNightShade Quickest Gun on the Other Side

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    Chapter 3 - The Three Eyed Raven

    Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters or the world appearing in this story, they are creations and property of the fantastic George R. R. Martin. I’m not sure if I can claim my OCs as my own, so I’ll play it safe and dedicate them to GRRM.



    [Year - 293 AC]

    Harold Stark, or Harry, as his family fondly called him, could usually be found in between the dusty shelves of the library at Winterfell. But only if he was free of his duties. If there was one thing Harry was known for – it was that he never failed to keep his promises or fail his duties. However, for all the ostentatious talk about promises and duties, as a ten-year-old, Harry didn’t really have a lot of duties to speak of.

    At present, like most days, Harry was predictably at the library.

    He had spent the morning attending his uncle’s court, fulfilling his duty as the heir. He’d pulled Robb to the court along with him, much to Robb’s chagrin. When the court had adjourned, he’d moved on to sword practice with Ser Rodrick. Due to his skill with the sword, he’d made it a habit of finishing up before his cousins could begin their lessons. However, once the practice was done with, Harry had dropped all pretence of being the perfect heir and locked himself up in the library. The library had been his place of respite for nearly as long as he’d been at Winterfell.

    And he’d been at Winterfell for nearly nine years.

    The quest he’d received for reading books had been completed a long time ago. He’d only been of four namedays when he’d read his hundredth book. Harry had wondered if he should hoard up the extra point he’d gotten as reward for later use – however, accounting for his abysmal state of affairs and the poor point economy he expected from the system in the future, he’d taken a risk and used the point to increase his endurance. He’d believed that it would help him in growing healthy and strong; which it indeed had. Harry was taller than all his cousins. Not oddly so, but taller by a good amount nonetheless.

    Even after the quest had ended, Harry had made it a habit of studying books. Westeros was truly a wondrous place, and even if only a rare little of it was documented, he felt it a waste to not learn of its history when he could. He’d read several hundred books in the years since, and his intelligence point had already reached the average value of ‘one’. All his stats had, actually, except for wisdom – wisdom was the only statistic to still not have reached the value of ‘one’.

    Lately, Harry had had the feeling that his intelligence was right at the cusp of getting an extra point, so he’d buckled down on his studying. Maybe it would bring wisdom to the average level along with it when it increased. He was really intent on getting this extra point – if he was getting one – before his trip to the Citadel.

    “Harry!” he heard someone call out.

    Harry stood up with a sigh. The Crone hadn’t seen it fit to give him the extra point today, it seems. His studies for the day would have to be shelved – for Robb had just entered the library.

    ‘Tomorrow might be the day…’ he thought longingly.

    “Harry – Harry! Where are – oh! There you are!” Robb exclaimed as he made his way navigating in between the shelves. “It’s time for supper,” he announced with a wide grin.

    Robb’s grin could never be this wide for something as mundane as supper. Especially when it meant being under the heavy scrutiny of his mother. ‘Something is wrong,’ felt Harry.

    Extending his mind, Harry took a look at Robb’s thoughts. Jon was waiting outside with a packet of flour to upend on him.

    Harry returned the same wide smile. “Thanks, dear cousin,” he drawled, “I was starting to feel a little peckish. Lead the way.”

    Robb’s smile slipped for a second, suspicious at Harry’s cheer. He quickly took a glance at the door, before making up his mind. “You first, Harry,” Robb said, scuttling behind and pushing him forward. “I’ll be right behind you.”

    Harry shrugged and began walking, with Robb following behind; all the while maintaining a little distance in between. He could practically feel the mirth radiating off of Robb – his body was visibly quivering in excitement. Harry almost felt bad for ruining his fun.

    “I’m leaving for the day, Maester Luwin,” Harry shouted as he neared the door. “I’ll see you on the morrow.”

    “Yes, Harry, good night,” the maester smiled as he called out. It wasn’t a secret that Harry was the maester’s favourite. It made sense since he was the only one to actually spend time studying from amongst the merry band of unruly kids at the castle.

    He waved at the maester as he made his way to the door and Robb turned to wave at the maester as well. Seizing Robb’s shirt from behind, Harry threw him out the door. The packet was promptly emptied on him.

    “Ye– what!?” Jon’s face brightened before falling, he seemed to have difficulty figuring out whether to be happy or embarrassed. “I – I’m sorry R– Robb, I thought it was him!” he stammered.

    Not wanting to give them even a moment to gather themselves, Harry grabbed Jon and pushed him at Robb. They collided even before Robb had gotten the chance to properly gather himself, and before long they were both on the floor, covered in flour.

    Harry sniggered. "By the gods!” he laughed, “I can already imagine the scowl on Aunt Cat's face as she beholds your sorry state at supper."

    Righting himself, Jon tried to pull Harry, trying to smear the flour on him. While Robb – who had the most flour on him – tried to lunge at him.

    However, Harry didn’t have one whole point in dexterity in vain.

    Sliding under Jon’s hands, he extended one hand to reach behind and pushed Robb in the same direction he’d lunged at. Falling forward, Robb collided with Jon – again – but ended up on top this time. Before either of them could start the dance again, Harry took off in a full sprint towards the hall. He was laughing the entire way, not being able to control his happiness at the perfect manoeuvre.

    Reaching the hall, he saw Theon moping about outside. ‘Aunt Cat must’ve already situated herself at the table,’ he thought to himself.

    Theon curiously regarded his good mood.

    “I – I just – pranked Robb and Jon,” Harry confessed as he chuckled.

    “I could have helped!” Theon complained.

    “Ehh… they were the ones to prepare it,” Harry said as he walked into the hall. “I just turned it on them.”

    As he’d guessed, Aunt Cat was already sitting at the table. Sansa, Arya and Bran had also already begun their meal.

    “Good evening, Aunt Cat,” Harry said as he took his usual seat. Sansa was seated to her mother’s right – as was normal. “Lady Sansa,” Harry greeted with a bow, his tone a little mocking. Sansa looked pleased, not understanding the meaning behind it.

    Robb and Jon chose that exact moment to barge into the hall. Theon snorted with a full mouth; spraying some food on the table and earning a glare from Sansa.

    “What is that on you!?” Aunt Cat hissed at Robb.

    Muttering an excuse he walked away to clean up, all the while glaring at Harry.

    Dinner was otherwise uneventful, with Robb and Jon joining halfway through the meal. Robb kicked him under the table as he situated himself at the table, and Harry, not being one to shy away from a challenge, kicked him back. The resulting kicking game only ended with all of them getting glared at by Aunt Cat.

    As the supper came to an end, Harry suddenly noticed some quick movement outside the window. ‘The raven,’ Alice informed him.

    “I’m done,” Harry exclaimed as he quickly stood from his seat. “Thank you,” he threw to the maid before rushing towards his room.

    “Wait – Harry!” he heard Robb shout from behind.

    “Not today, Robb,” he shouted back, slightly slowing down.

    Catching up to him, Robb scowled. “You’ll leave within a week!” he said, “God knows when we’ll meet again…”

    “We have the rest of the week, Robb. Just sleep in your own room today,” Harry said as he reached his room.

    “Mother would never let us!” Robb said bitterly. “Every single day counts.”

    Jon and Theon, who’d caught up to them, looked on as they argued. Jon looked sad, while Theon looked angry.

    Harry sighed. “I know, Robb – I know,” he said soothingly, “But I really do have something–”

    Noticing Robb getting ready for another verbal bout, Harry stopped his tirade.

    “Alright,” he conceded, “I’ll come get you after a while… just give me some time.”

    Robb brightened immediately. Not wanting to push his luck, he agreed in an instant. “Okay!” he yelled. Pulling Jon and Theon with him, he retreated back into the corridor. “We’ll be in my room.”

    Harry walked into his chamber with a small smile. The raven on his desk looked at him curiously.

    “Don’t judge me,” Harry said as he threw a blanket on top of his mattress. “My cousins can be very persuasive.”

    The three-eyed raven placed a letter on his table as he situated himself on the bed. It then flew towards him and took a perch on his leg.

    “Please tell me there are better beds out there, I might as well just end it here if I have to sleep on this my entire life…” Harry complained.

    The raven looked at him with the same curious look in two of its three eyes. It might as well be a resting expression at this point. “There are,” he heard a voice in his head. “And your cousins aren’t that persuasive.”

    Harry rolled his eyes. “Compared to what you grew up with, I bet nothing is as persuasive.”

    The raven did not answer, but Harry took it as grudging acceptance.

    “Then… let’s… begin, shall we?” Harry asked hesitantly, putting an end to the small talk. “How has she been?”

    Harry felt that if it could, the raven would have sighed.

    “She’s frightened– most of the days,” the raven said. “Viserys hits her when his anger gets ahead of him, but he still soothes her after, when he gets ahold of himself.”

    Harry felt a little sad, he could see how confused the girl must be.

    “I think he’s nearing the point of giving up the queen’s crown,” The raven continued. “He has started keeping an eye out for buyers.”

    “Hmmm…” Harry hummed, “His madness is starting to fester – give him a few years and he might mirror his father,” Harry said, as he thought over the new knowledge. “The Targaryen blood must be especially strong in this one.”

    “That’s what I’m afraid of – and that is why I must ask you, Harry,” The raven began in his usual inflection-less voice, “is it really wise to not do anything? I’m afraid one of these days he might not hold back.”

    “No, Brynden,” Harry said, shaking his head. “You know it already, I have things to do in Westeros before I can even think of the free cities.”

    “The girl is too important, you can’t afford to lose her,” Brynden said in a chiding tone, “You’d have no legitimacy.”

    “Legitimacy is nothing in front of overwhelming strength,” Harry stated hotly, “I thought you Targaryens of all should know about it.”

    Leaning back into the bed, he tried to calm himself.

    “And never expect me to not have other plans,” he bit back, “because putting all your eggs in one basket is how you ended up in a fucking tree of all places…”

    “Don’t act as if you don’t care for the girl,” Brynden said plainly, seemingly not affected by his censure, “you forget– I have a thousand eyes and one, and Winterfell has weirwood trees in droves. I’ve seen your letters.”

    “She’s just a girl – and I’m not a heartless monster, of course, I care!” Harry exclaimed, seemingly offended. “But I also know when to shear off something useless,” he said with finality, “I have priorities, and my family always comes first.”

    A moment of silence followed his declaration. Harry waited for Brynden to say something but got nothing in return.

    “Is she keeping the money hidden? I hope Viserys hasn’t sniffed it out,” Harry said finally, interrupting the silence.

    “No, she’s surprisingly resourceful in finding hiding places,” Bryden replied, “She gives him the money in small amounts, passing it off for alms. It should be starting to run low, however.”

    “Right, I advised her to do so… in my last letter that is,” Harry said as he got off the bed. “Let me read this one and write out a response.”

    Plopping himself down on a chair, he quickly glanced over the letter.

    “Hmmm… says she got to play with some children. Are they in Lys currently?” Harry asked.

    “They’ve been in Lys for the past couple of months,” Brynden confirmed, “Viserys has taken to whoring since. That’s where all the coin is ending up.”

    “Even I’ve heard of the whores in Lys – Jory can be quite vocal about these things when he’s drunk,” Harry said as he chuckled, “Well… as long as the prince is keeping busy I suppose.”

    Picking out a parchment, Harry started penning down his response. Brynden sat silently – just watching him think and write.

    “She thinks of you as her friend, Harry,” Brynden said after some time, hopping onto his shoulder. “She reads your letters often – whenever she’s feeling down.”

    “I know… I really do,” Harry said, his expression downcast, “but she has to go through this. And there is precious little I can do to help her from a continent away.”

    His expression turned expectant as he continued. “And have I not told you, Brynden? Of what I’ve seen in my dreams?” Harry said in an excited tone. “The dragons, their magnificence. She will bring them back into the world and magic will come alive once again!”

    “I know Harry, I know,” the raven said in resignation, as he dropped down from his shoulder to the newly sealed letter. “I just hope your visions come true.”

    Harry opened his drawer to pull out a pouch and filled it with coin.

    “Take this as well, I hope it lasts a while… I can only make so much money off of gold – people will start asking questions,” Harry said, throwing the pouch to the raven. “Dany’s keeping quiet about the letters I hope.”

    “She’s never taken out the letters in his presence and I only ever give it to her when she’s alone,” Brynden said, “There is no reason for anyone to suspect anything. She’s smarter than you give her credit for, Harry – she’s never even uttered your name out in front of anyone.”

    “I’m sure she’s being careful, but she’s still naive, Brynden,” Harry said with a wry smile, “the fact that she trusted me so easily is enough to attest to it. The moment a kind face shows up, she might spill everything – even if only unintentionally.”

    Folding his arms to his chest, he continued. “The moment my name gets associated with her – it will spell my end,” Harry said, a small shiver escaping him from just thinking of the prospect. “The king hates Targaryens with a passion. Even my uncle might not be able to salvage the situation.”

    “I’ll see to it,” Brynden said simply, trying to reassure him. “Before I leave – I’ve picked up trail for Connington, he’s in Pentos.”

    Harry shot out of his chair in elation. “That’s wonderful news! Why didn’t you lead with that?” he asked in a complaining tone, although his face held a huge grin.”

    “It… slipped my mind,” Brynden said a little evasively.

    Harry looked at him with a little scepticism. “Sure – I hope you aren’t having second thoughts,” Harry asked, “since this is unavoidable, Bryden. I hope you’ve made your peace with it.”

    “Harry,” Brynden said in a stern tone, a tone Harry had never heard him use before. “I might have been a Targaryen loyalist then, but I’m much more now, I’m the last greenseer,” he said with conviction. “That day when you beckoned me to talk – I placed my hopes and the responsibility of the realm on you. And I’ll see it to the end.”

    Harry read the raven’s mind. Brynden was finding it hard to believe how clear Harry’s dreams of the future were; when his own were cryptic and needed heavy interpretation. Otherwise, he was more or less accepting of his plans.

    “Right…” Harry said, “It’s best if we both are of one mind – our road together will be long and hard as is.”

    “Yes,” Brynden affirmed.

    “I should be at the Citadel by the time you’re done with these tasks,” Harry said as he thought over their conversation, trying to see if he’d missed anything. “Right, I’d nearly forgotten – what’s the progress with the white raven I’d asked for?”

    “I’m tracking a nest beyond the wall,” Brynden supplied, “the mother has only just laid her eggs. I’ll bring along a bird when it's hatched – the next time I visit.”

    He looked at Harry as if waiting for permission, and Harry nodded. Picking up the letter, the raven flew out the window. Harry kept an eye on it until it disappeared into the darkness.

    He took a moment to reflect on the conversation with Brynden. While his plans for outside Westeros were on track for the moment, he’ll have to start focusing on the ones within in the upcoming years. There was a lot to do, and subtlety would be key in ensuring that the flow of events doesn’t change. At least until he’s amassed power of his own.

    Clearing his mind – for the moment – Harry headed out to Robb’s room.



    “Mmhm…!” Harry felt exhilarated beyond measure as a feeling of contentment washed over him. He had to clamp down on his mouth to prevent moaning by accident.

    “Did you say something, Harry?” Maester Luwin asked from his seat at the front of the library.

    “It’s nothing Maester,” Harry quickly answered to appease him, “I accidentally stubbed my toe.”

    “You didn’t break your nail, did you?” Maester Luwin asked in concern.

    “No, I’m alright. Even the pain’s passed already,” Harry supplied to the maester, before quickly hunching back down to admire the result of years of studying.

    “Alright, Let’s see it,” Harry spoke in his mind, excitedly.

    “Here you are,” Alice said before pulling up the status.


    [ Status

    Name: Harold Stark
    LVL: 2


    STR: 1
    END: 2
    DEX: 1
    CHA: 1
    INT: 2
    WIS: 1
    Points: 1


    Perks
    Gamer’s Mind
    Gamer’s Body


    Skill
    Mind Reading
    Observe
    Warging (Self-Learnt) ]



    “What!” Harry exclaimed, his excitement pushing through his clamped mouth.

    “What’s the matter, Harry?” Maester Luwin asked as he vacated his chair.

    “No, no – it’s nothing Maester,” Harry said quickly as he internally admonished himself. “I was reading through a book on the various keeps and – uhh – Moat Cailin is just really impressive!”

    He cursed himself for losing composure. If Lord Tywin could kill off entire houses without displaying any emotion, then this was the least he should be able to do.

    ‘But maybe this slip could be forgiven?’ Harry thought to himself. After all, this was the first time he’d levelled up and gotten a free point.

    “Yes,” the maester agreed, “one of the most impressive castles to have ever existed. I’ve seen it. It’s little more than a ruin these days, but its former glory cannot be erased merely by the flow of time.”

    “I hope to make a visit during my journey to the Citadel,” Harry replied, “I hope its splendour has remained untouched.”

    Bringing close to the conversation, Harry turned to Alice for answers.

    “Your actions in the world have culminated to push you to the next level, Harry,” Alice replied, already aware of what he was going to ask for.

    “Are there any conscious actions I can take to speed it up?” Harry asked – though he doubted it. Hell would freeze over before the system makes it easy for him.

    “No,” Alice answered curtly in confirmation.

    “I thought so,” Harry thought wryly.

    Even this disappointment couldn’t keep him down for long, however. He had earned a point for his intelligence – all on his own – and had also gotten an extra point through the level-up. Two in a day!

    ‘Two points in a single day, will there ever be a repeat of it in the future… what are the odds,’ Harry wondered.

    Adding to the excitement, his wisdom had finally reached the average value as well.

    Harry’s sixth sense had told him – a long time ago – that some of these statistics depended on each other. Like strength to endurance and wisdom to intelligence. Thus he had taken a leap in faith that wisdom would increase with intelligence; which had paid off wonderfully.

    Looking at the extra point he’d gotten, Harry wondered where he should use it. Last time he had used it on his endurance which had helped him grow stronger and healthier as a result. Currently, while he could always do with more strength, that’s not where his priorities were. For the first time in his life, he was about to leave the safety of the North for the unfavourable lands of the South. He might not just have to worry about physical harm, but political as well. Maybe he could do with a little extra charisma?

    Making up his mind, Harry used the point on his charisma. His endurance and intelligence were already above average, and he had a feeling that his dexterity would improve in a year or two at most. Strength and wisdom, he could always improve slowly through hard work. But charisma… that he didn’t know how to improve.

    Looking at his accomplishment, Harry couldn’t help but feel a little happy. He now had three stats that were twice as much as an average person. Most people he observed had an average of ‘one’ across their status. Only a handful of people who excelled at something in particular, had any extra points at all – while people with two extra stats were even rarer.

    His uncle had an extra point in his endurance and strength while Maester Luwin had an extra point in wisdom and intelligence. He’d also seen some of the smallfolk with extra points in endurance, probably from living in the harsh North.

    So, Harry was especially pleased with having extra points in three statistics – it was truly special.

    As Harry was getting down from his high, he heard someone call for him.

    “Harry!”

    Robb made his way towards him with Jon and Theon following close behind.

    “Father’s calling for you,” he said with his ever-present excitement.

    “Do you know why?” Harry inquired as he closed the book.

    “Something to do with your trip to the Citadel,” Robb replied as he snatched the book from his hands, to take a look.

    Harry already had an idea of what this summons was for.

    Uncle Ned had not been very inclined to send him South to the Citadel. He distrusted the South with a passion. However, Maester Luwin had promised to ask his old friends to look after him and managed to appease Uncle Ned somewhat. If only they knew of the other things Harry was planning to do.

    Nonetheless, his uncle had asked him to take an escort with him, to keep safe on the roads. Harry had agreed wholeheartedly – he definitely was not looking for an early grave. However, the lack of knights and sworn swords at Winterfell had been a thorn in their side, and they’d not had much luck in gathering swords for Harry’s retinue. So, his uncle had had to call in some favours.

    And now this escort must have arrived. Harry was extremely excited to see who it was.



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  17. Threadmarks: Chapter 4 - Robb, Jon and Theon
    MoonyNightShade

    MoonyNightShade Quickest Gun on the Other Side

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    Chapter 4 - Robb, Jon and Theon

    Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters or the world appearing in this story, they are creations and property of the fantastic George R. R. Martin. I’m not sure if I can claim my OCs as my own, so I’ll play it safe and dedicate them to GRRM.



    [Year - 293 AC]

    Ned stood outside the castle as he embraced his old friend. Life had been good for him since he returned from the rebellion, good enough that time had gone by in an instant.

    He felt a rush of emotions flood him as he smelled the bogs and moat on him, emotions from long ago. It had been so very long since he’d seen him; nearly a decade had passed since he left Howland at Greywater Watch and returned to Winterfell.

    His return to Winterfell hadn’t magically turned everything to be perfect from the beginning. Catelyn had justifiably been upset with him bringing Jon to the castle, however, his stubbornness had won over her persistence. He still kept the matter of the boy's mother a closely guarded secret. Learning of the woman would only serve to increase Catelyn’s ire, and it might push Jon to seek her out. Thus, he had let the woman be a nameless, faceless, ghost from his past. He knew he would have to tell Jon at some point – the boy deserved to know his mother’s name. He only hoped that the day would come later rather than sooner.

    His wife had given him three more children after Robb and they were hoping to have more in future. While he’d not had any strong thoughts of her at the beginning, he’d come to love her over the years. He’d been a little worried that she would feel cheated with their children not inheriting the seat at Winterfell. Initially, she’d been much more occupied being upset with Jon to think of Harry. However, the fact seemed to have dawned on her later, and she’d gotten agitated at their children’s fate. She would deny it of course, whenever he asked her, but he could tell. However, she changed over the years and grew to care for Harry as well. The change hadn’t been gradual however, it was quite sudden. He wondered if there was a reason behind her change.

    His children were wonderful, more than he could have hoped for, more than he deserved. Sansa was just like her mother, not just in her looks but in her nature as well, and was on path to becoming a proper lady. It was always chucklesome to watch Harry tease Sansa for wanting to be Lady Stark after her mother. On the other hand, Arya was turning out to be more and more like Lyanna by the day. Ned had a soft spot for Arya, she was the only one of his children that took after him, with the others favouring their Tully side. Other than Jon of course, but he’d always kept the boy at arm's length. Bran was still a boy but he was showing all the signs of taking after Robb in his mischievousness.

    He was over thirty now, but the past ten years – after he’d lost most of his family – had been good to him. There were more of them now than ever before. If only Benjen had married to do his duty to the family.

    Even the future looked good for them with Harry as their lord.

    Growing up, the boy never caused him any problems. In a sense, he had raised himself. However, as a result, the boy had turned out to be a little distant and independent for Ned’s liking. Harry was always roaming the castle or the town by his lonesome, doing something or the other. However, Ned left him alone as long as the boy kept happy. He just took solace in the fact that the boy wasn’t completely alone and was at least close to his cousins.

    Harry was also very diligent in his studies. In fact, the boy loved to study. He loved it so much that one could always find him at the library if they were looking for him. Luwin absolutely adored the boy. The maester had asked him years ago if sending Harry to the Citadel would be possible. He had rejected the idea immediately. If it were up to him, his family wouldn’t have anything to do with the South for a long time. However, the boy had brought up the trip to the Citadel, again, a year ago, on his own, and Ned was rebuffed at every turn in his attempt to put an end to it.

    Harry had also grown to wield the sword with dizzying skill. Ned himself had seen the boy’s talent, he was certainly one of a kind. However, he was a little confused as to how Harry could be so strong – the boy’s raw strength was unnatural. Harry was tall for his age, yes, but the boy had nearly as much strength as a man grown. Ned had felt the shake in his sword in one of his spars against the boy. Even Robert hadn’t been that strong in his youth, and he was one of the strongest warriors Ned knew. Harry also liked to wield all sorts of weapons other than the sword – from spears to morningstars, he wielded everything.

    Observing the determination driving Harry's actions, Ned occasionally found himself pondering what exactly the boy was striving so diligently towards.

    Harry was almost uncannily focused on his thirst for knowledge and strength. It wasn’t as if the boy was studious by nature. He would swear on the Old Gods and New that Harry could be just as mischievous as Robb. Even the other day, Catelyn was telling him about a prank involving powder or flour. Nonetheless, Ned had also heard Robb express frustration on multiple occasions when Harry declined to accommodate him, owing to his duties. Children that age usually weren’t very dedicated to their duties. Especially young lords and heirs. Only the gods knew of all that Brandon had been up to in his childhood.

    Thus it made him very happy to see the camaraderie the children shared despite their differences. Robb and Jon looked up to Harry almost as if he were their big brother, which was somewhat comical because Harry was the youngest. Theon was sort of an odd one out, being older than the others, but Harry was friendly with him as well. Their friendship could go a long way if they made it work like he and Robert.

    Since the year before, Harry had started to attend the court before his lessons with the maester. The odd thing, however, was that he’d begun pulling Robb along to the court with him. It made Ned wonder whether Harry already had plans to give Robb a keep in the future. He’d never brought the topic up with him, but seeing how Harry adored his cousins, it could very well be possible.

    Sometimes his thoughts turned towards his brother and lady Ashara when he gazed upon the boy. He couldn’t talk for the lady, but his brother would have been so proud to have Harry for a son. The boy was so unlike his parents but so similar in other ways. He was a perfect mix of them. His features were a cacophony of little things borrowed from each of them, but his eyes... His eyes were the perfect reminder of a world that no longer remained – a mirror that showed people of a world that had held Brandon and Ashara.

    And with such a perfect heir came the current situation. There was simply not a lot he could do at Winterfell anymore, so he had wanted to study at the Citadel. Ned himself had squired at the Vale and come out the better for it, thus he had no reasons to give for wanting Harry to stay at Winterfell. Even If something were to happen; then Robb, Bran or even Jon could stay on as the Stark in Winterfell.

    When the trip had passed through his attempts of putting an end to it, he’d thought of assigning Jory to guard Harry, but Rodrik had advised that the lad wasn’t responsible enough. He truly lamented not having sworn shields at that moment. And Winterfell had no knights.

    So he’d turned to his old friend.

    Howland had been the only one to return with him from the tower of Joy and Ned trusted him with his life – after all, he’d already done so once before and lived to tell the tale. They'd kept in contact through ravens over the years that followed but Howland had never visited Winterfell in person. But Ned had asked his friend for a favour, and now he had arrived.

    “It’s every bit what I imagined,” Howland said, lifting his head to gaze at the castle.

    “Every bit good, I hope,” Ned inquired with a soft smile.

    “Every bit good,” replied Howland, facing him with a pleasant smile of his own.

    “Father!”

    Looking towards the holler, he saw Robb leading Harry like he’d asked him to.

    “I’ve brought Harry with me,” Robb said excitedly.

    He nodded at his son as he shifted his attention to Harry. However, Harry started before he could even begin making the introduction.

    “Lord Reed,” he said, “Welcome to Winterfell. When my uncle had brought it up, I hadn’t expected him to ask you,” Harry said courteously with a smile.

    The boy would surprise even Southerners with his manners.

    “You recognise me!?” Howland asked, taken aback, although Ned wasn’t very surprised. Harry knew all about the various houses and their lords. In fact, he was oft surprised with the quality of information Harry processed and had asked him for the whereabouts of where he’d gathered it. Harry always cited it to the merchants, smallfolk and song, but Ned had his doubts.

    “Yes, Lord Reed. Uncle Ned has shared with me stories of the fateful tourney and he’s described you in them. But of course, even without, your coat of arms and the bow on your back alone would have sufficed for me to identify you,” Harry supplied, smiling.

    “You were right Ned, he really is something. Seems like he doesn’t have a hint of Stark in him,” Howland said with the slightest mock in his tone.

    Robb looked scandalised as Ned shook his head fondly.

    “Come, let’s head inside,” he said.



    Harry had a good idea of the people his uncle kept in contact with, so it wasn’t a huge surprise to see Howland Reed at Winterfell. As far as he knew, the man had never gotten the chance to see Winterfell. Even during the war of the five kings, he’d sent his kids to Winterfell while he himself had helped Robb with the war efforts.

    “Why the Citadel, my lord? Wouldn’t it be better to foster?” Lord Reed asked.

    After welcoming Lord Reed’s party, they’d moved inside the castle to a room more suitable for entertaining.

    “I’ve read nearly all the books Winterfell has to offer, Lord Reed, and I thirst for more,” Harry said wryly. “Winterfell is awfully limited in books written outside of Westeros. And what better place to visit than the Citadel for books? I also wanted to see if I could earn a few links. However, that’s not all I want – I want to visit other keeps and castles and learn from them as well.”

    “Please, my lord, call me Howland. You’ll be my liege one day,” Lord Reed said.

    “If you say so, Howland,” Harry said with a smile.

    Howland nodded in confirmation. “I do. Are there any places in particular that you’d want to visit? We’ll have to plan for food, supplies and such accordingly,” he asked.

    “Yes, I wanted to start with Moat Cailin then move on to Greywater Watch, The Twins, Riverrun,” Harry said, shifting into a thoughtful position and continuing. “Also if possible I wanted to visit Casterly Rock and Lannisport before moving on to Highgarden and then finally Oldtown.”

    “Casterly Rock would be a bit out of the way – however, it would be safer to move into Lannister land from Riverrun, rather than moving through the crownlands. It should increase the journey by about twenty days,” said Howland.

    “We can sacrifice some time if it results in safety… If it’s alright with you then let’s proceed with this, Howland,” Harry said.

    “It’s quite alright, my lord. I’ve prepared the castle for at least a year of my absence. I should be back home in nine months if all proceeds properly,” Howland answered.

    “Good,” Harry said. He pushed back his chair gracefully, vacating it and then moved to the door. “Let’s leave in four to five days. I should’ve taken care of my affairs and finished reading any leftover books by then. I hope that’s enough time for taking care of the supplies.”

    “I’ll take care of it,” Uncle Ned interjected.

    “If that’s all, then I’ll leave you to reminisce,” said Harry, closing the door.

    He hadn’t taken three steps away when he was assaulted by a mass of red-brown hair thrust into his face.

    “What did you talk about?” asked Robb in open curiosity.

    Harry, unspeaking, started towards his room as the others followed. It was somewhat of a tradition for their motley group to assemble in Harry’s room as they discussed the various topics that plagued their minds.

    “We made some plans for the journey,” Harry revealed, not being able to deny Robb’s curious energy assaulting him from behind. “What supplies to take, which places to visit, how long will the journey be and such.”

    “When are you leaving?” Theon asked bluntly.

    “In four to five days from today. Uncle Ned will need some time to prepare the supplies,” Harry replied.

    “I wish I could join as well…” Robb said longingly. “I haven’t even been to Riverrun yet… you’ll pass through, won’t you?”

    “Yes, that and many others,” he replied. Turning to Robb, his face took on a mocking smirk. “You only have to read all the books at the library to convince Uncle Ned. What do you say, will you join me next year?”

    “Rodrik told me to work on my strike. I’ll be too busy to finish reading the books, I suppose,” Robb said as they reached the room.

    “Jon promised me that he’d study more often and join me at the Citadel,” Harry said blankly, moving through his usual motion of covering the bed with a fur blanket before taking seat.

    Robb turned to Jon, shocked beyond measure, while Theon had already caught on.

    “No, I did not!” Jon protested. “He’s lying!”

    Harry laughed as Robb plopped down on the bed with a scowl.

    “This bed is so much more comfortable than the ones small folk use,” Jon said, taking a seat. “I don’t understand why you hate it.”

    “I’ll get a better bed one day. You’ll see what you’re missing then,” Harry replied in a snotty tone.

    “Who cares about a bed? What’ll you do if you face bandits?” Theon asked eagerly, interrupting the conversation.

    Harry pursed his lips as he thought it over. He already knew what he wanted to do, it was only a matter of whether he’d be allowed.

    “Fight, of course, I’ll have to do it someday,” he replied. “That’s one of my aims for the trip. To gain more experience.”

    “Is it necessary? Surely the guards would take care of any bandits,” Jon said, worried that it could be dangerous.

    “They would, but I’m going to ask Lord Reed to let me fight. You know how good I am, even Uncle Ned said I’d defeat him in a year or two. I have to test my mettle,” he replied with some confidence.

    “Harry is strong, he’ll be fine,” Robb said quickly, getting bored with the conversation.

    "Yes, I'll be fine," he said, nodding. "Nevertheless, it is fortunate that we have all gathered here. I have some instructions for the three of you during my absence."

    “What is it?” Robb asked disinterestedly.

    “Not as your brother but as your future lord.”

    That sobered the lot of them. At their young age, they still didn’t have the sense of individuality that came with age. As a result, values such as honour and duty – from the stories of knights and kings they’d heard growing up – formed the core of their mindsets. Robb’s gaze turned serious immediately following his declaration, while Jon looked alarmed. Theon had an indescribable expression.

    "Whatever we discuss within the confines of this room is for our ears only. No one, including Uncle Ned, should be made aware of our conversation. Is that perfectly clear?" Harry inquired, his voice stern.

    “What is it?” Robb asked again, however, his tone was much more to Harry’s liking this time around.

    "No, I want all three of you to explicitly state your understanding. The subjects we are about to discuss are capable of changing the course of the entirety of the North," Harry emphasised, attempting to convey the gravity of the situation.

    "Yes," "I understand," "Understood," each of them responded in turn, affirming their acceptance.

    "I'll begin with Theon," Harry stated. "Theon, you are well aware that I regard you as my brother in all but blood."

    Theon nodded at the younger boy in confusion, wondering what this was about.

    "So, you understand that I have your best interests at heart. It's important for you to realise that I don't want you to remain trapped here as a hostage for the rest of your life," Harry expressed gently, causing Theon to grimace in response.

    “No, Theon,” Harry said a little forcefully. “Whatever happened in the rebellion wasn’t your fault – It was your father’s for putting you, a child, in that position.”

    Theon nodded uncomfortably.

    “I have some bad news for you. Your father has been raising your sister to be his heir for some time now,” Harry informed grimly. “You might not get a warm welcome if you ever go back to the Iron Islands. Your sister would try everything, and I stress upon everything, to try and get rid of you to maintain her position.”

    Theon's reaction, filled with profound sadness, caught Harry off guard. At four and ten, Theon wasn’t the cocky and self-assured youth he would become, but he still didn’t have one of the calmest of heads. Harry had anticipated anger, but instead, all he got was despair.

    “However,” Harry started, trying to reassure the boy. “You needn’t worry too much. You will always have my backing – and the North’s – when the time comes.”

    "Y– you would do that for me?" Theon stammered, his voice filled with surprise and uncertainty.

    "Of course," Harry replied. "However, until that time comes, I need you to remain loyal to the North. Do not attempt to go to the Iron Islands without my explicit permission. Even if I am unable to secure you the seat at Pyke, I assure you that you will have a keep in the North. You will not be treated as a servant."

    “T– thank you, Harry,” Theon said.

    “I need you to repeat it. What did I ask of you?” Harry asked sternly.

    “Never go to the I– iron Islands and stay loyal to the S– Starks,” Theon affirmed, shaken by the firmness in Harry’s tone.

    “Good,” Harry replied, smiling, as he placed his hand softly on Theon’s back.

    “Now Jon,” Harry said, turning towards the boy watching him with wide eyes. He chuckled as he gazed at the expression on Jon’s face.

    “I have absolute certainty that you’ll always be loyal to me and the family,” Harry said firmly, Jon looked relieved and just a little bit proud at the faith. "You are my blood, Jon, and I am determined to ensure that you won't remain a bastard forever,"

    “N– no!” Jon exclaimed in fear and disbelief more than anything. It was all he’d ever wanted, to be rid of the title that came with being a bastard, however, he’d always known it would only ever be a fever dream. And he’d never voiced it in fear of being overheard.

    “Yes, Jon,” Harry continued over his protests. “Although I’m afraid I will never be able to legitimise you as a Stark, that would cause a rift too big in the family.”

    “Then how?” Jon asked, deflating a little.

    “As a cadet – just like the Greystarks and Karstarks,” Harry announced.

    Jon’s eyes welled up with tears. “But I haven’t done anything! Karlon Stark put down a rebel lord for the honour,”

    “You haven’t done anything yet,” Harry said, lightly slapping the boy on his head. “I have plans, Jon, plans that I’ll need your help with in the future. Won’t you help me with them?”

    “I will, I will do anything,” He said fiercely.

    "That's not all... During my time in the South, I will also try to find your mother," Harry revealed, his words delivered slowly and deliberately.

    The chair fell to the floor as Jon stood up in shock. “H– how?”

    “I have ideas of where she could be. My guess at the moment is Starfall, I’ll start my search from there,”

    “Thank you, Harry. I’ll pledge my life for that,” Jon said with conviction.

    “I don’t want your life, Jon. I just want you to be happy,” Harry smiled at him.

    Jon wiped his tears, sputtering something incomprehensible.

    “Finally,” Harry said, turning to Robb, who sat straighter at his attention. “We’ve reached Robb.”

    Robb looked both excited and afraid at what he could be told to do.

    "So… Lord Robb Stark, are you curious as to what I have in store for you?" Harry asked with a chuckle. Robb nodded almost comically.

    “I’ve to repeat – I’ve clearly told you, none of this is to get out of the confines of this room,” Harry reiterated to drive in the seriousness. “But what I’m about to tell you could start a war if it gets out.”

    “A w– war?” Robb asked, clearly not having expected such high stakes. Harry himself was exaggerating a little, but the possibility of backstabbing really couldn’t be discounted with this particular information.

    “I’ve found gold ore north of the abandoned Holdfast, a little below where the White Knife branches out,” Harry revealed, “The veins of ore might be as enriched as the mines at Casterly Rock – when they were first discovered.”

    “By the gods! That’s truly fortunate, Harry. Why are you worried?” Robb said with obvious excitement.

    “Yes, it’s fortunate – for us that is. How will the lords in the South feel when the poor North suddenly finds riches beyond measure,” Harry said sarcastically.

    “They will not be happy,” Theon interjected, surprisingly beating Robb.

    “Yes. Do you understand how serious this is?” Harry asked. Although he himself was more worried about the backstabbers within North rather than outside.

    “I do,” Robb said in a serious tone, nodding along.

    “There are two things that we’ll have to do,” Harry said, “Strengthen North and keep the mines a secret for as long as possible.”

    He continued in a weighty tone. “I’ll be informing Uncle Ned of the gold before I leave – with two instructions to follow. First is to start recruiting Knights and shore up the number of soldiers. And then the second is to weed out spies,” he said, “and I already know who the spies are.”

    “You do?” Jon asked, flabbergasted.

    "You know how Harry is when it comes to information," Robb remarked in a matter-of-fact tone, displaying no surprise whatsoever. "He always seems to be in the know about everything."

    “Yes. It’s the orphans on the streets and the whores in the brothels,” Harry said. He continued with a smirk noticing the expression on Theon’s face. “Don’t worry, it’s not all of them. I have a list and I’ll be giving it to Uncle Ned. You three will have to help in paying them off.”

    “You don’t want to put them down?” Robb inquired.

    “No, the masters only need know of the spy’s demise to realise of their unmasking – we do not want that. It’s better to keep them sated by feeding them trivial knowledge,” he said chidingly. “It’ll only be for a while. Once our defences are shored and our ranks increased, we won’t have to hide behind anything.”

    “I’ll do what is needed. I’ll put my life on the line,” Robb said solemnly with a look not suited for his young visage.

    “I will as well,” Jon voiced out.

    "Today, I pledged my loyalty to House Stark, and I will continue to do so," Theon affirmed with utmost seriousness.

    "I know you will, and it brings me great joy," Harry responded happily. He had delved into their thoughts and seen that the boys were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for the North.

    “I have one last thing for you Robb,” he said, vacating the bed to make his way to the library. There were still books to read after all. “I’m going to rebuild Moat Cailin and make you its lord.”

    Robb looked ecstatic at the revelation of getting a castle but not so much with it being the moat.

    “Don’t look so disappointed,” Harry said with a grin. “Ask the maester or your father about it, the castle is the best defensible in all of North.”

    The news about the castle’s defensive capabilities didn’t seem to appeal too much to Robb. Harry had higher plans for Robb in truth, but the boy was still too young to make them known to him.

    “I expect to see you three at court from tomorrow,” Harry said walking to the door. “I’ve promised to make you landed lords, and I expect you to conduct yourselves as such.”

    “I won’t let you down, Harry,” Robb said with certainty. “I’ll make sure to assist Father with what is to come.”

    “I expect all three of you to do so.”



    Author's Note: A somewhat packed chapter compared to the rest. What are your thoughts on the happenings? If you've read the previous version of this chapter, let me know your thoughts on the changes. Cheers.



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  18. HarryHunter13

    HarryHunter13 Enthusiastically Trawling

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  19. New_Thracian

    New_Thracian Making the rounds.

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    This is getting interesting. Thanks!
     
  20. Darcksage

    Darcksage Not too sore, are you?

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    Can't wait for more, thanks!
     
  21. Vanbers

    Vanbers Well worn.

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    Just binged it, and it's looking pretty good.

    Not the biggest fan of the first chapter, but that's mainly my innate dislike of the 'I talked to ROB for a few thousand words' before the story *actually* starts trope. The rest is looking pretty nice so far, though, can't wait for more!
     
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