i ran out of internet credit last month, and this month i have been unfortunately busy
but i am back to ava stories and have FINALLY finishes adwd
one thing i like about these stories is that i can use wedding dresses and pretend it's like her normal wardrobe
also i included one of my favourite lines from the books... if you can find it you get five points for gryffindor
i have had some wine so this set sucks. i promise to make better ava sets from here on out.
oh, last thing: favourite song. LISTEN to it.
The wall candles flickered as the knights strode past. Ava Stark watched their shadows dance on the stone wall, following the men silently. She rubbed at her face lightly, flinching at the pain from the gash across her cheek.
Soft voices echoed around the room to her right, and the knights stood still to let her walk inside.
”My ladies.” She curtsied slightly, at her mother-in-law and the young woman in the room.
“Lady Doran,” Myrelle Frey replied, shooting her a sharp glance. Catelyn frowned disapprovingly.
“Stark,” she corrected Myrelle.
Ava simply smiled – the smile she knew looked warm, would draw people into her, but only served to front her anger. “I hear you’ve come to serve me with your family’s terms.”
“I have told Lady Catelyn of our terms. Release Ser Jaime, and you shall have Arya and Sansa.”
Gods be good, Ava thought. She could already see the hope glimmering in Catelyn’s eyes. Her two daughters back, and all they had to do was relinquish their prized possession. No, a thousand times no. But these were Robb’s sisters; Ava would at least have to tell him of the offer before she sharpened a few new stakes for the Lannister party.
“King Robb is no more than a day’s ride,” she told Myrelle. “You would appreciate that I have to seek his counsel.”
The young girl smiled wryly. “And here I thought it was you holding power, Lady Doran. Or do you bow to your husband like every other well-mannered lady in the Seven Kingdoms?”
“You underestimate the virtues of a well-mannered lady.” Ava turned to her knights, nodding slightly, and they stepped forward into the room. “Have our guests’ horses fed and watered,” she instructed, “and find rooms for the men. Lady Myrelle will stay in my old quarters, move my chests to Robb’s solar.”
“A queen’s quarters?” Myrelle chuckled. “That’s very kind of you.”
Ava pressed her lips together in a smile as a group of serving girls wound their way around the long table, placing roasted boar and sweet wine from the Summer Isles in front of the women. They supped in relative silence until Ser Lochlyn arrived to announce that Myrelle’s quarters were ready.
“You must be tired,” Ava said, kindness in her tone. “I will escort you to the quarters myself; I know the way so well.”
The queen had not set foot in her room since the battle, when Martan Frey accosted her in the nearby hallway. His body lay there still, crumpled, beginning to emit a foul odour. The ladies covered their faces as they passed by.
“Ser Lochlyn, have the body disposed of at your earliest convenience,” Ava said.
Myrelle looked at the body, as Ava had hoped she would. “Who is that?”
Ava gave a convincingly disappointed sigh. “Martan Frey. Your cousin, I believe?”
A look of anger, mixed with the tiniest trace of fear, flashed in Myrelle’s eyes. She stayed silent as she was locked in her room.
“You have free roam of the castle, my lady. Of course, one of my Red Guard will attend to you at all times. For your safety.”
For the safety of all of us, Ava thought. The young girl was far more dangerous than she appeared.
The commotion in the nighttime would have woken even the deepest sleeper.
Ava was startled awake as shouts of “King in the North!” echoed around the castle. She rose, a sense of purpose overcoming her sleepiness, slipping into a thin dress and wrapping herself in wolf furs. Throwing open the door, she padded down the hall and to the portcullis, followed quickly by a trail of Red Guard.
She remembered the last time she had seen her husband. He had doted on her, as always, kisses lingering on her lips. He was happy, full of purpose.
How different he looked now.
It was shock, maybe. Anger, surprise, adrenalin. He swung off his horse with great ease. Ava expected him to take her in his arms, kiss her, thank her for saving his new castle.
“What is the meaning of this?” he asked, staring at her with fire in his eyes.
She swallowed, her throat suddenly dry. He seemed to tower over her suddenly, sweat starting to drip down his neck, dirty with a week’s ride.
“You are tired, my love,” she said, brushing his cheek lightly with the back of her hand. He didn’t push it away, so she intertwined her fingers with his. “Come inside. The cooks have been waiting days for your return. As have I.” Her look, though, told him not to fight her. Not in front of all of his men. We are a team, we rule them, together we must be one.
Her king took the hint, allowing her to lead him inside the castle until they were out of sight of Robb’s host, where he promptly dropped her hand.
“Two hundred heads on spikes. Woman, are you mad?”
She couldn’t smile, not now. She widened her eyes, looked out from beneath her eyelids. “They attacked your castle, Your Grace.”
“And you did not think to send a raven?”
“I would not want it intercepted by our enemies.”
Robb ran a hand through his hair, grimacing. He let out a curse.
“You polluted my mother’s fields with heads on spikes. You shot them down with poisoned arrows. You may have killed some lions, but you did not do this with honour.”
“Honour?!” Ava asked, her voice raised. Her usual calm demeanour, so practiced, so unnatural, shattered immediately and the fire that consumed her heart spilled out, dancing in her eyes. “Are you fighting a war, Stark, or just playing at one? Honour does not win battles. Honour does not stop a host of Lannisters from seizing this castle. Have you forgotten our enemy? Have you forgotten what you fight for?”
“We fight for honour. We are fighting for good.”
“You do not truly believe that. You do not believe it is so simple. My ancestors had honour. Adenis Doran was the most honourable man in Westeros. He was promised rule of the South, and he was denied. You do not fight tyranny with honour, you do not win a war with good intentions.”
The king flushed red, glancing around. Men and women faded into the shadows, listening, unseen.
“Accompany the queen and I to my solar,” Robb barked at the Blackfish. Brynden nodded, leading the way.
Behind closed doors, Robb paced. Ava sat in his favourite chair, her eyes bouncing back and forth as she watched her king.
“You have won a battle,” she told him. “Your enemies wish to attack your weakest points. They thought I was one of them. The Lannisters drew you out of the castle, knowing I would stay, somehow knowing Edmure had left too. Now we have shown our strength.”
“You have made yourself a target.”
“No more a target than the King in the North.”
“You...” Robb shook his head, searching for words. But there was something stronger tugging inside him; some conflict, some argument where both sides were right and wrong, something that challenged everything he had ever known. “You are a woman, you are a queen...”
Ava rose, taking her husband’s fingers into her hands. “Tell me, King Robb, just who did you think you were marrying? A lady who concerned herself with dresses and gossip? If there is one thing I know to be true of wolves, it is that they smell danger. You knew, and you took the risk anyway. Let me fight with you. It is all I have ever wanted.”
“I knew less than I thought,” he said, uneasy, not trusting. “The men have told me stories of the battle.”
His eyes met her; accusing, but hoping not to be vindicated. “They told me that you sang The Rains of Castamere before you fired the first arrow. You sang the song of our enemy.”
She dropped his hands with a sigh; a pent-up secret finally releasing itself from her body, hovering in the air between them. The song, the heads, the burning hatred of Lannisters that was as strong as her known hatred of Targaryens.
“My mother was a highborn lady of Folly. Her mother, too. But my great-grandmother, she was a serving lady. A baseborn girl, she claimed. She served for House Lenon and caught the eye of the young lord there. They married in secret, knowing that the bastard girl would not be accepted by other important families, and made a claim that she was a highborn lady. And she lived in lies within lies until her dying day, when she clutched my mother’s hand and whispered her secrets. Her name was Erica, and she was from the Westerlands. Her parents had sent her on a trading galley to Folly when she was old enough to work.”
Robb nodded slowly, recognition flashing across his face. “Erica Reyne.”
“You are a Reyne of Castamere.”