10 Growing Together
Wow some great job I did updating the companion story…Sorry guys. Well thankfully GoT is back and now I'll be writing more on this one!
I sat alone in my tent with a plate of grapes. I had waved my handmaidens away when they tried to braid my hair and they'd scattered. I was thinking I ought to tell Aylward to have them reassigned to someone who might actually want their fawning when the tent flaps opened and Aylward appeared. "My queen, we are beginning to pack up camp. We should be able to make it to Harrenhal today."
"Yes, of course. I'll just move outside and let them get my things," I said rising. Aylward reached for my plate to carry it for me but I shook my head. "I'm not hungry. You can have them if you want."
"Amina, you haven't eaten a full meal in days. Robb is beginning to worry about your health." He put a hand on my arm
"I'm fine!" I snapped moving away from his touch. At Aylward's surprised expression I took a deep breath before repeating more calmly, "I'm fine. Just adjusting."
"You have been spending lots of time to yourself as of late. It's been starting to worry me as well." He placed a hand on my shoulder and this time I didn't jerk away.
"I've been sleeping, trying to reach my sister. Unfortunately the little sleep that does come is entirely dreamless. I have no way of knowing if she's even still alive."
"If she's anything like you I'm sure she is. I cannot imagine a Targaryen going down without a fight." He grinned at me and I threw my arms around him and hugged him tightly. He stood stunned for a moment before carefully hugging me back.
"I'm so glad I have you as a friend. You are all I have left, you know," I told him, grabbing his arms and making him look at me.
"You have Robb, and Catelyn," he reminded me.
"I've barely been able to speak to Catelyn since Robb started treating her like a criminal. And Robb…I can hardly look at Robb."
"Because of your child?" He asked
"No, because of Jon," I said seriously. "I saw him, Aylward. It wasn't just a trick, I saw him and he saw me too. I can't give up on him. That's why I need to get back to my sister, maybe she can help me." Aylward stared at me blankly. "Oh Gods!" I sat on my bed with my head in my hands.
"I sound insane! I'm going mad just like my father!" He rubbed my back soothingly. "And I can barely keep a secret, not that it even matters since half the world seems to know my secrets already."
"Who is Jon?" He asked.
"The man I love." He started to speak but I cut him off. "Before you say anything, I know I'm married to Robb. I know I have a duty as Queen. But I can't bear it! I cannot take another day of this insufferable war!"
"It will all end, maybe not tomorrow but one day. You just need patience."
"I do not have patience and I do not have time."
"Amina?" Robb called from outside the tent.
"Gods," I sighed standing quickly. "Coming!" I glanced at Aylward who was still watching me closely. "I'll be alright. I just need a good night's sleep."
Just as Aylward had said we arrived in Harrenhal by mid afternoon. Even from a mile out you could tell the place was deserted. I couldn't imagine anyone occupying the decrepit old castle but I knew that it had served as lodging for Tywin Lannister's army not that long ago.
We marched through the gates and stopped when we saw bodies hanging from almost every wall. "This is horrid," I said to no one in particular. I dismounted Myst and followed Robb and the others into the castle. Once in the main courtyard we realized there were even more bodies piled up.
Robb grabbed my hand and tried to steer me away. "You shouldn't have to see this."
"I'm fine, I can handle it." I looked straight into a dead man's glassy eyes to prove my point. My stomach churned, the smell was disgusting, but I wasn't about to let Robb see that.
Catelyn stood beside me and looked at the man. "That was one of my father's banner men," she said quietly. I looked at the ground, unable to bear looking at him a moment longer.
"Find her a room to serve as a cell," Robb said to one of his soldiers. They took Catelyn away quickly and I looked back at him.
"She's your mother, Robb."
"She betrayed us," he told me.
"She did it because she loves Sansa and Arya, just like we do. Yes, she was wrong in the way she went about things but that doesn't make her evil."
"I can't let it go unpunished."
"May I visit her later?" I asked. I had plans to go no matter what he said, but I thought it would be appropriate to at least try and ask first.
He looked a bit surprised but nodded once. "Yes, of course."
The mousy nurse who tended to me while I was on bed rest called out to us, I had learned her name was Talisa the second time she'd come to check on me. "This man is still alive!" We both went to her quickly. She began pulling things out of her bag. I could tell she wasn't going to need my help and so I excused myself.
"I'm going to see Catelyn," I told Robb, touching him lightly on the shoulder. I motioned to one of the soldiers and he led me up the stairs to where they had taken her. He opened the door and to let me in and then closed it tightly behind me after I'd entered.
"Amina, it has been awhile since I've spoken with you," Catelyn greeted me. She stood up and hugged me. "I've missed you."
"I've missed you as well."
"Are you still upset with me, about Robb?"
I shook my head. "You did what you thought was best."
"I'm so sorry about what happened-"
"I would prefer not to dwell on it," I said cutting her off. "I came to talk to you about my sister. Ever since that night my dreams have stopped coming and I haven't been able to contact her. Since you appear to be the only person who understands this bond I was hoping you would have some advice as to what I could do to get them back."
"I do not know much, unfortunately. The only thing I can recommend is to take something to help you sleep. Maybe ask your nurse if she has some herbs you can mix with tea."
I nodded. "I should've tried that sooner." I paused for a moment before speaking again. "Do you know of a way to contact someone else through the dreams? Someone who isn't my twin I mean?"
"I've never heard of that being possible. Truthfully, most people don't even believe in the power of the twin bond. Who is it you want to contact?"
"Margery," I lied, saying the first name that came to mind. When Catelyn frowned I quickly corrected myself. "Or Sansa and Arya, something tells me Margery would be more receptive to my calls though. The girls are much more guarded, and I've never been that close with either of them."
"Always one of the boys," she said patting my arm.
"I miss them, Jon and Theon" I told her. "I miss what it was like when we were kids and we didn't have to worry about war or who was king. Things were so much easier then."
"Childhood often is," Catelyn said. "But now you're a woman, and beyond that a Queen. You have responsibilities and as much as you want to there is no running away from destiny."
"How do you know what my destiny is? How is it people can say that something is another person's destiny?"
"Amina, look around you. These people, your people, trust you. They want you to be there Queen as much as they want Robb to be their king."
"That doesn't make something destiny. Me and Daenerys on the throne, that is destiny, it's our blood right." I rubbed my head. "That's why I came in here. Not for some lecture on destiny, for advice. Now that you answered my question I should be leaving. It's not proper for the Queen to be fraternizing with criminals."
I walked out the walls of Harrenhal. I needed a moment away from everyone and not to mention the air in the destroyed castle wasn't the clearest. I heard footsteps behind me but didn't turn to look. I knew who it was before he wrapped his arms around me.
"You've been avoiding me," Robb said quietly, his lips close to my ear.
"Then you've been doing a very good job making it look that way."
"You know I like time to myself."
"You always have, but you've never had a guard keeping me from visiting you."
"I've been…" I started to tell him about Daenerys but changed my mind. He kissed the side of my head.
"I miss the kids too, and Jon" he shook his head. "Even Theon, the bastard. I'm sorry you've been so isolated."
"It's alright," I said quietly. He always knew what was really wrong. This whole week everyone had been treating me like I was some fragile thing but what I really wanted was a friend. Robb had always understood me; it's why we had been such good friends.
"I know that-" he hesitated before continuing "I know that you don't love me the way I love you, you never have. But I want us to be a team. I don't think I can do this without you."
"We are a team." Even as I said it I knew it was a lie. I had been avoiding him and spending all my time trying to be somewhere else. "I want to work together," I corrected myself.
He smiled and brushed my hair out of my eyes. I kissed him lightly. "I love you," he told me. I didn't say anything just kissed him again. "What did you and Catelyn talk about?" He asked after a moment.
"There's something I should probably tell you." He nodded for me to go on. "I have a sister, a twin, in Essos."
To his credit, he didn't freak out. "How did you find out?"
"I had a dream or something like that, while I was in Storm's End. I asked Catelyn and she told me the truth. Apparently Ned found out while in King's Landing and sent a letter back."
"What is she like?"
"A lot like me. She is a Khaleesi, it's like a queen in those parts. She's an amazing leader, she truly loves her people."
"She does sound like you."
"She's hoping to make it to Westeros. Do you know what that would mean for us? Two armies, double the strength. We could take King's Landing and overthrow Joffrey. Everything could be normal again."
"I don't believe we will ever get back to normal, but I do understand. Does she have a way across the sea?"
"I don't know." I leaned my head on his shoulder. "I don't even know if she's alive right now! That's why I was talking to Catelyn. I've been sleeping without dreaming and if I can't dream I can't reach her. The last time I saw her we were being attacked by a warlock. The night I got back from Winterfell."
"When you lost our child." I nodded. "What happened?"
"I don't know. All I remember is thinking I was dying. Magic is a deadly thing."
"It's too dangerous for you to go back."
"I can't just leave her. If she needs my help, I have to help her. I promise I'll protect myself."
"I wish I could go with you."
"But you can't," I told him. "If you see Talisa could you have her send me some sleeping tea?"
He nodded. "Goodnight, my Queen."
An hour or so later I had finished two large mugs of steaming tea prepared by my handmaidens and infused with some herb or another that Talisa had been more than happy to prescribe. I was already drowsy after the first cup and after the second I fell asleep before I could even put the mug on the table.
The first thing I saw was trees. It took me a moment to realize where I was and when I did I groaned because I knew I wasn't with my sister. I sat under my favorite weirwood tree and ran my finger over the heart I'd carved in the wood one day years ago. I noticed something around my finger and realized I had the black ribbon twisted about my finger like a ring. The ribbon was whole, not frayed as it was now. I was having a real dream. "Jon?" I called without even noticing I was speaking. There was a rustling noise in the trees and the crackle of fallen leaves, but no spoken response. "This isn't funny, we don't have much time before Catelyn comes looking for me. I have lessons with Sansa this afternoon!"
He swung out of the trees and landed next to me. "Don't be so cross. I'm the one who's supposed to be moody, aren't I?"
"You always are."
"Not when I'm with you." He grinned and I kissed him. I remembered this day. Not dream then but a memory.
"Theon caught me sneaking out today," I told him.
"What did you tell him?"
"That I was hiding from Sansa and not to tell Catelyn where I'd gone. I don't think he believed me."
"He'd never tell on you."
"Never." I tugged lightly at the pendant around my neck. "Sometimes I wish I had a sister."
"You have two, Sansa and Arya."
"No, a real sister. Someone just like me who I could talk to about everything. Sansa is too prissy and Arya is too young. I have you, Theon, and Robb of course but some things you just can't talk about with boys!" I remembered this conversation exactly; it was funny how it had come true. Suddenly the ground started to shift. I grabbed for Jon's hand but the memory of me didn't reach for him and quickly the image was replaced by another.
Bright light surrounded me. I could smell the salty scent of the sea mixed with the sweaty, dirty scent that could only mean I was at a city upon the coast. I had never been to the coast, so this couldn't be a memory. "Amina!" A voice cried. I turned just in time to be scooped into my sister's arms. "When you disappeared I was afraid you'd died! It's been weeks!"
"I've been trying my hardest to reach. I've been so drained since our trip to the House of the Undying I couldn't make it back until now."
"I'm so glad you're here." She turned looking for someone. "Jorah! She's here!" Jorah turned around and smiled at me. He walked towards us and gave me a pat on the shoulder.
"Daenerys had been worried sick, glad to see you're finally back," he told me.
"I am quite glad to be back." I paused. "Back to where exactly? This is certainly not Qarth."
"After you vanished we managed to secure a ship to travel from Qarth here to Astapor. We're hoping to find an army here so we can travel to Westeros," Dany told me.
"That is the best news I've heard in weeks!" I said.
"You are just in time to survey the army with us," Jorah informed me.
"Oh and soon you will have to see how big our dragons have gotten!" My sister said smiling.
"Hello," a woman said walking towards us with an older bald man behind her. "I am the translator for the slave master Kraznys. Is your party ready to view the Unsullied?"
Daenerys and I nodded in sync and the two of us followed the man and woman as they told us about the army. We walked over a walkway into a separated courtyard area where a small army of soldiers were gathered. The man, Kraznys, spoken in foreign language as the woman translated for him. She explained how the men would stay standing until they dropped. We walked through them and they parted to let us pass. "How are they trained?" Dany asked. The woman explained quickly and then the slave trader walked forwards to one of the man. He quickly cut of the nipples of one of the men and to my surprised the soldier never flinched.
"That is quite impressive," I mumbled to my sister. "Impressive but disturbing." She nodded shortly. "How many do you have to sell?" I asked. The woman translated and the man held up eight fingers. "Eight thousand is a sizeable army," I said nodding in approval. The three of us left and we walked near the water. As Jorah and Dany discussed the slave soldiers, I watched the waves. I had never seen the sea before. It had such a strange lulling rhythm and I thought I might be able to get caught up in its steady crashing forever. I wondered if Theon felt the same way when he looked at the sea in Pyke. Daenerys noticed a child and followed them as Jorah continued telling her how she would make a much better owner to the soldiers than any other would, I had to agree. "I think they would be a good investment," I told her.
"Your sister knows what she is talking about, she has an army of her own," Jorah said to Daenerys. Dany continued to follow the child until it stopped and threw her a ball of some sorts. She started to twist it open as he showed her when suddenly she was knocked to the ground by a man in a black cloak. A scorpion like creature launched itself out of the ball and towards my sister but the man stabbed it before it had a chance to strike. I grabbed her hand and pulled her beside me. The child ran before any of us could do anything.
"The warlocks," Dany mumbled. The man in the cloak removed his hood and looked at us.
"I have been looking you Daenerys. I was once the leader of your father's kingsguard, I betrayed him and now I want to right my wrong by pledging to protect you if you will allow it," the man said. "I am Ser Barristan Selmy."
"I recognize the name," I said.
"Forgive me, I do not know you. Though the two of you look identical, besides your hair," Selmy said.
"I am Amina Stark, Queen in the North," I told him.
It appeared I had caught him off guard. "Your grace, how is it that you come to be in Essos when your war is being fought many miles away?"
"The bond of a twin is a very curious thing," I replied.
"Stark and Targaryen, ice and fire joined together though the blood of sisters. What an honor it would be to serve you both."