"We can still turn back my grace, make camp and wait on Lord Bolton's men to reach us," Ser Aylward told me as he rode up next to me. "They will be here within the week."
"No, I will ride into Winterfell and I will bring Bran and Rickon away from that place." I paused, "Without the Bolton men." I kicked Myst and she galloped on towards Winterfell. Ser Aylward's black horse followed closely, never letting me get too far ahead. I rode entirely through the gates which were surprisingly unarmed before men were in front of us, swords drawn. I pulled three knives from my boot one right after the other and flung them into the skulls of the soldiers before Ser Aylward even had the chance to draw his sword. I twirled the last two knives and found Theon on the other side of the courtyard. "I have two more left, you decide where they go."
"Amina," he addressed me.
"I believe it would be more appropriate if you addressed me by my title, Lord Greyjoy."
"And what might that be?" He asked humoring me.
"Amina Stark, Queen in the North."
That caught him off guard and his façade slipped. "I should have your head, Queen," he said recovering.
"You could try but I'll plant one of these lovely little blades in your skull before you get the chance to take a step. Do you really think your men will defend a dead lord?" I asked.
"I am Prince Greyjoy now," he said defensively.
I actually laughed then. "Look at you playing dress up, Theon. Remember when I used to braid your hair, you did have lovely hair, like a little girl." I believe a few of his men actually snorted at that. The teasing was unnecessary but I was angry. I wasn't going to kill him but humiliating him worked fine, he hated being humiliated more than anything. "And tell me Lord Greyjoy, has your father sent men to help you? Or a letter to tell you they're on their way?" He broke eye contact. "That's what I thought."
"What made you think riding here with a lone knight would protect you?" He asked focusing the conversation back on me. "I have many men without knives in their skulls yet."
"I have more where those came from," I said narrowing my eyes. "I am the first and last Winterfell, blood of Old Valyria, raised by House Stark and now Queen in the North. You honestly want to test my power?"
He was silent and we stared each other down waiting to see who would break first. "I need to speak with Amina," Theon said glancing at his men. "Alone." I dismounted and took my time sliding the knife belt from my saddle and around my waist. I handed Myst's reins to Aylward and followed Theon through the halls and up to the second floor I knew instantly which room Theon had taken. "You're staying in Robb's room? How cute."
"Drop the act Amina, we're alone. I brought you up here so we could talk like normal people."
"Where are Bran and Rickon?" I asked.
"You're too late," He said. "They're gone."
"How. How Theon? How could you possibly do a thing so horrible? I don't want to know why, I know why. You've always wanted to belong; you only wanted your daddy to love you. But how could you kill two innocent children? I understand how you could hate Ned even Catelyn, but Bran and Rickon did nothing." My rage so cold, so dark I was sure he could see it in my eyes.
"No. I changed my mind; I don't want to hear your excuses. Theon you are the closest thing I ever had to a brother, you were my friend. I thought you felt the same way, I know you did."
"I have a sister. Yara is my only sister."
"You don't know her!" I yelled at him. "I loved you! I still love you! You know me better than anyone, and we were inseparable. What changed?"
"I was never good enough for you."
"What?" I asked. "What are you talking about?"
"You were the Targaryen princess who had a throne waiting for her; you just had to claim it. I guess you have it now. I was the only one who wasn't good enough for you; you fucked the rest of them and just pretended like I hadn't followed you around for years. You're just a whore who will do whatever it takes to wear a crown."
"My Gods, Theon! It was never like that with us! You never felt that way about me. You told me to drop the act now it's your turn. Stop pretending like I wasn't the one person in this world who understood you and was there for you. Stop pretending Theon. This isn't a game, people are dying. You need to stop."
"I can't," he said. That's when his mask fell away and he was just that scared little boy I tackled in the front courtyard so many years ago and he began to cry.
"Don't cry, I don't want to feel bad for you," I said, but it was no use. "Why did we have to grow up?" I asked. He smiled a sad broken smile.
"Things were so much better when we were kids. Amina, we could run, I know it'll be hard for you to forgive me but you could try. I know you never wanted to marry Robb."
"Theon, I've gone through every option. There's no where I can go they won't find me. And I couldn't even if I wanted to." I put my hands on my stomach. "Come back with me to Robb's camp, I'll make him forgive you. It'll be hard, things will never be the same between you but in time maybe...I ask you as your queen."
"I have no queen," he said. "Ask me as your brother."
"If you want me to come with you, ask me."
"I can't. It's selfish to want you with me, Robb might kill you. It's safer if you stay away, I can't ask you as your sister because I know you'll say yes. Theon, Robb and I are bringing a child into this war torn world I will not let it be corrupted by a Greyjoy. Either you leave Winterfell now and maybe one day we can meet again, or stay here."
"I'm never going to see you again, am I?" He asked.
"You're the one who said goodbye."
"I will stay here tonight, unless you gave my room away to some whore. And then tomorrow you will let me and my knight leave without any trouble."
"You're leaving me in charge of Winterfell?" He asked skeptically.
"Make no mistake Theon, people are coming for you. I should kill you myself but I cannot, I can't hate my brother no matter what he's done to me. You killed children; you killed the man that taught you to hold a sword." I shook my head. "You will die for what you've done. But I won't be there, I don't want any part in it, I don't even want to know how it happens. I'll never see you again and that's ok, I don't want to remember you like this anyways."
"You're writing me out of your life?" He asked.
"Don't pretend like you don't deserve it. I'll leave at dawn, if you're smart you won't be there to see me off." I turned and walked to the door.
"Goodbye, little deer."
I didn't stop walking and I didn't say anything, I couldn't bring myself to say it back because then it would be real.
I stood in the middle of a lavish room, I recognized it instantly it was the room Daenerys was staying in. I looked around the room; a dead woman lay on the ground. I turned to face the window where the dragon crates were stacked but the doors were open and they were empty. "Dany!" I yelled. She came running then and flung open the door. She ran past me and to the crates.
"Where are my dragons?" She screamed. She turned on me, "Did you see who did this?" She asked.
"I just arrived and when I looked they were gone, and that girl-I'm so sorry."
"You did this, you found out I had dragons and you took them from me!"
"Daenerys! I would never betray you like that you are my own flesh and blood. And I am not about to lose both my siblings in one day."
"If you didn't take them who did?" She asked.
"I don't know. I appeared in this room and this is what I saw, I screamed for you as soon as I realized what had happened. Do you honestly think I would steal your dragons? I only held Rhaegal for a minute but I know how you feel, as the mother of dragons. I wouldn't take away the only thing you have left."
"I'm sorry I blamed you," she said. "You're my sister of course you wouldn't betray me."
"You're upset, I know. You will find them,"
"How am I supposed to find them when I do not know who stole them or why?" She was getting irritated again, for good reason. I put my hands on her shoulder.
"Daenerys, breathe. You will find them; I'll help you if I need too. They must be in the city still. I can feel someone waking me; call upon me when you need my help."
Aylward and I gathered our things and left Winterfell. I looked at it as little as was possible, I didn't want to remember the way it looked now. Remembering it through the eyes of a child was much better, it was a place where I had been safe and loved, now it was a black mark on the landscape of rolling green hills. Theon didn't see me off as I had suggested. His men moved aside reluctantly and let me pass, I had a feeling Theon would pay for letting me go so easily. No man looked eager to die though, and so no man challenged my exit.
We rode hard and fast for two days, only stopping to eat and even then not if we could help it. I managed to control most of my nausea. The only time I had to abandon my horse for the trees was at about mid morning, and only on the second day. This of course would be the day we met The Bolton men.
"Is the Queen ill?" Ramsey, Roose's bastard son asked.
"I'm fine," I said standing. I waved Aylward away when he tried to help. "You'll reach Winterfell in a matter of days, how long will it be before you return with the prisoner?"
"Not sure, maybe a month, I might want to play with him a little," he said. His smile was slimy and greasy, I didn't like this man and I didn't want him to lay a hand on Theon.
"Robb wants him brought back to camp alive."
"Are you sure you remember correctly? You are with child," he said tauntingly.
"Just because I'm-" I started to yell, then I took a deep breath and composed myself. The last thing I needed was this man I already hated claiming I was mentally unstable. "Fine, kill the bastard. Why should I care?"
"Why should you care?" He asked.
"The queen should be on her way again," Aylward said saving me from the conversation.
"Yes your grace, you must rest," Ramsay said tauntingly. Aylward and I took off in the opposite direction.
"Than man makes my blood boil," I said.
"I'll agree, he's got as much good about him as a rotten ham," Aylward said.
"I don't want to let him near Theon but I don't have a choice, it would treason for me to stop him."
"You have a soft spot for him," Aylward noted.
"Yes I do, it's stupid after all the things he's done but I want him to have a quick death. Ramsay won't give him that."
We rode in silence for quite some time. I couldn't speak for Aylward but I was imagining the terrible things that would possibly happen to Theon in my absence.
"You could run away," Aylward said simply.
"What?" I asked, jarred from my thoughts.
"I can help you find a ship and escort you to Essos," Aylward told me.
"I can't leave now, besides I'm more help to my sister here than there. Daenerys needs powerful allies in Westeros who have armies, like I do. Robb might take some convincing but I'm sure he could see the benefits. He wouldn't have to become king, Dany and I could share the Iron Throne. The North would once again be its own free state."
"I see how staying here with your armies will help," he said.
"And even if Robb were to die, we're married now; I'm queen of the North, his armies are mine and they will help me take the throne."