Different Paths to Destiny

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In case anyone missed it I started a new story "Different Lives, Different Destinies" and there is a flashback chapter that goes into Amina's backstory with Theon! So go check that out if you haven't already. :)

"Amina, you've been summoned to the command tent. Robb just received new from Winterfell," Aylward called into my tent. I was in the middle of having my hair braided into four small braids that wrapped around my head like a crown, the look was simple yet elegant, very fitting for the wedding that was about to take place.

"Tell them I'm a little busy right now!" I called back.

"It's extremely important, you'll want to hear this; forget about having your hair done!"

I sighed and stood up waving away my hand maidens. I pulled on a warm and comfortable coat and excited my tent. Aylward walked dutifully behind me to Robb's command tent. "I was called?" Catelyn pressed a piece of paper into my hand and I took it without meeting her gaze. I read it quickly and looked up at her. "No, this cannot be serious. This is someone's sick idea of a joke. Theon? Why would he take Winterfell? Why would he possibly do a thing as vile as that?"

"Never trust a Greyjoy," Catelyn said. My hand went directly to the pendant around my neck and she noticed it. "He sent you your necklace."

"Yes, and-and he said goodbye," my voice cracked on the final, awful word.

"You said yourself you believed he might betray us," Catelyn said trying to be rational. She always was the most patient with me out off all the Starks, when I would run off into the woods she would be the one to find me and ask me if I wanted to talk about it. Robb stood to comfort me but Catelyn held up a hand to stop him.

"He was my friend. Friends don't-" I thought I had cried my eyes out enough the night before but obviously I wasn't finished and I started up again. I tried to breathe and remember what it felt like to sit under the trees in the Godswood at Winterfell; I couldn't very well run there now but I could remember. "Where are Bran and Rickon? Are they safe?" I asked.

"We haven't heard anything of them," Robb said.

"You have to let me go to Winterfell," I said.

"It's obvious you're upset. I can't send you off in your state, Amina."

"You're going to kill him aren't you," I didn't say it as a question. "You can at least let me say goodbye. It's not fair that he should be allowed to say his goodbyes and not me. I won't stand in the way of his death when the time comes. I just want to know why he did it, why would he give up the family he had for a group of people that barely even care."

Robb glanced at him mother. "It's a better plan than you turning around and marching back," Catelyn told him.

"You were going to march back?" I gaped. He nodded. "That's honestly the worst idea I've ever heard! No, you can't turn back; the Lannisters will think they've beaten you. Let Aylward and I go, send men behind us."

Roose Bolton, a man I had a natural instinct to distrust, stepped forward. "My son would be honored to go to Winterfell on behalf of you."

"That's very kind of you but I should take men that I know already, play to my strengths," I said as politely as I could manage.

"The men you are familiar with are some of Robb's best men, he needs them here. My boy knows the way well and he will be just as useful to you as your men."

"Then it's settled, Amina and Aylward will ride to Winterfell with the Bolton men behind them," Catelyn said. It was all I could do to refrain from yelling at them all. I had this unshakeable feeling that the Boltons were bad news but I couldn't very well say that; especially since my last outburst almost cost me my leave to Winterfell.

OoOoO

Catelyn came into my tent that afternoon as I tried to pack some things to take with me. She patted my shoulder and I shrugged away. "Don't think just because you took my side in there it makes us one big happy family again."

"I know you do not see things the way I do but your marriage to my son is necessary for your safety, the two of you will still be wed before I send you off to Winterfell."

I stared at her. "How could you have a wedding under these conditions? You know that your youngest sons are in danger, your home is under siege, not to mention the war that is raging on our doorstep?"

"It isn't meant to be a joyous occasion, it is meant to be a convenience."

I laughed a laugh devoid of any kind of humor. "A marriage of convenience, exactly what I always wanted."

"From the day you were born your destiny was to be chosen for you. Whether your family was still on the throne, or if Ned had left your fate up to Robert; someone would still have chosen your life. It's a cruel thing when your heart and your destiny are in different places, but it happens more often than not. Now, I will see you out by the trees at sunset, there are no Weirwoods here but we will make do."

"Always making do."

Catelyn ignored me and continued. "Now I do not want you staying in Winterfell long. I know you think you can talk some sense into Theon's thick head but I highly doubt you can. I want you to get out of there before any fighting begins, preferably with Bran and Rickon."

"You know I'd do anything to save those two," I assured her. "If I had just stayed in Winterfell when the war started Theon never would have taken it. If he had stormed through the gates all high and mighty I would've laughed in his face. He isn't meant to lead people, not like that. "

"No, he will never become a leader like his father."

"He's stupid like him though," I said with a sigh. "Fine, I'll see you at sunset. I need to redo my hair."

OoOoO

The ceremony was short; it bothered me this wasn't happening in front of a Heart Tree. I may not be the best follower of tradition when it came to the Gods but this just seemed unnatural, and not to mention rushed. The priest spoke ancient words and I we repeated them. Even I didn't believe what came from my lips but what other choice did I have?

After the ceremony came the feast. It was a solemn affair, which was appropriate with the current situation at Winterfell. There was plenty of food though not as much as we would have had at a feast back home. There were supposed to be guests from all Seven Kingdoms and everyone was supposed to be wearing their finest dresses and armor. Even though this was never what I had wanted I couldn't help but revert to my old wishes for this day, it was supposed to be the grandest wedding ever seen in The North if not the Seven Kingdom. This clearly was what no one had been planning. "Pour some more wine," I said motioning to the cup barer.

"Are you trying to get me drunk?" Robb asked laughing.

"No, I'm trying to get me drunk. It's not proper for me to drink more than you." I wasn't going to say why yes, I was trying to take a tip from Queen Cersei and get your drunk so you won't remember anything about tonight. Something told me that wouldn't go over well. I grabbed my cup and drank it quickly, forget being proper.

OoOoO

I opened the flap of my tent and Robb followed me inside. So I might have had too much to drink but at least most of the things I was worried and upset about seemed fuzzy and far away. Robb kissed me and moved his hands over my hips. He found the ties on the back of my dress and gave them a pull; the flowy summer dress fell to the ground in a little pile. So this was really happening then, I obviously hadn't gotten him nearly drunk enough.

Hands running across my body. Kisses down my neck.

It was quiet outside the tent but I knew there were least a few people listening, waiting. I thought about running, but where would I go? Essos. With what ships? The Wall. And what dress as a man and join the Nights Watch? The South. And risk getting captured by the Lannisters? No. I was stuck, trapped, caged.

Falling into a steady rhythm. Two bodies, two hearts, two entirely different existences.

Fire, honor, duty, family, blood; a rhythm, words that had always defined me. Could I ever break free of that? Could anyone ever redefine themselves? Was anyone really free to choose their own destiny?

"I love you."

I love him.

OoOoO

We had been traveling for a little over four weeks. We would be arriving in Winterfell shortly. I was positive I was going to die before I got there though. It wasn't that I was ill-equipped for riding this long; I had ridden to Storm's End which was about the same distance. I was sick, I didn't want anything to do with food and mostly I just wanted to sleep. "Stop!" I yelled. I jumped off Myst and collapsed on the ground and heaved up what little breakfast I'd had. Aylward was at my side in an instant.

"Are you well?" He asked.

"Not in the slightest. Are you feeling sick?" I asked.

"It's just you, your grace."

"Check the food I might have gotten food poisoning," I told him. I dry heaved, having nothing left to throw up.

"The food is fine. I believe you might be-"

"Gods!" I cursed. "One time, I only slept with him once! Help me up." I commanded him.

"Are you sure you're alright?" He asked pulling me up to my feet.

"I'm fine!" I snapped before mounting my horse again.

"We should turn back; it is too dangerous to take you to Winterfell in your condition."

"I will be fine," I said calmly. We rode in silence for hours until the sun went down. Why did this have to happen? That was it wasn't it? The beginning of the end. If I wasn't trapped before I obviously was now. This was not how I wanted to meet Theon in Winterfell. I was entirely too weak from lack of food but I thought I might die if I had to throw up again. "Gods!" I cursed again. At least the soldiers hadn't been there when I dropped from my horse, they had stopped a bit farther behind us. I would not look weak in front of men I did not trust.

There it was, Winterfell. The only home I'd ever know. But looking at it now, after so many things had happened, it only looked like a prison.

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