What did he tell you? I’ve been the perfect lady. Brandon has been going on about how he can beat anyone. So I challenged him, he accepted. Then he went and told our father so when I met him where we were supposed to be sparing, father saw me. He scolded me, took my things, completely searched my chambers. It was so embarrassing.
I am so upset. I’ve done everything I was told to do. He said I was so sweet and gentle, a devote lady and sweet daughter just the night before. I’m so horribly upset even remembering it it’s made me cry. The blame is not with me alone, there is another subject that comes into question. He’s only just becoming a man and I offended our brother’s pride. I didn’t mean to, and I’ve told him a thousand times I was only teasing. I caught him kissing a girl in the gods wood. I scolded him, could you imagine if word had gotten to our lord father? He’s the heir, he’s not to be kissing girls, already betrothed and father would be reasonably furious. His wrath would be worse than the mad king, I’m sure. Don’t you agree? As I scolded him, she ran off embarrassed no doubt, and he decided I wasn’t someone to tell him what to do. He didn’t strike me, but he was very rough. He grabbed my arm harder than he should of, and covered my mouth. He left a mark.
I knew it made him upset, and he was embarrassed. He’s six years my senior and that alone made it uncomfortable for him to speak to me about it. But you know me, I brought it up again and asked him if the situation were reversed what he would have done. His response was, he would have killed the man for kissing me. During this fiasco I had trouble sleeping, I hate thinking he’s so furious with me. Father had been planning a trip to the clans. Well, anyway the point more or less being, one of our household guards mentioned to him I was looking a little under the weather. What could I really say he called me to his chambers and was looking over me with such concern?
Naturally my health is fine, everything is normal and I am trying to be a little more well rested. But all he needed was to pull up my one sleeve enough to see the marks on my wrist from when he pulled me away, and on my upper arm from when he grabbed me to keep me from running to tell father. He was absolutely furious, I never in my life have seen him so angry. He threatened to have all of the household guard punished. So I had to tell him it was Brandon, it was the right thing to do, I know you agree. Now we’re starting to come back to how I started my letter. After being scolded by him he told father I had things he’d like to see. He’d planned for me to be caught by him so I would be in just as much trouble. I couldn’t meet father’s gaze but the anger was palpable in the air of my room. Then finally once father was calmed enough for reason, and the situation was explained Brandon just happened to let it slip. He told him you’d left me your old practice things, the horrible bow we fixed, the wooden sword. The lance I’d just made in the gods wood, all things I used to spar, gone.
He yelled over and over again. I assure you this is no exaggeration. He threw them all into the fire, all I could do was cry, Brandon said nothing, then finally after his anger dissipated he helped me up and tried to dry my tears. But how could he? I told him over and over again they might have just been stupid toys, and I’m a lady with no need of them, but they were all I had left of you. You taught me how to string the bow, and tried to teach me how to shoot it. But I was so young… The sword you’d given me when you left, you probably don’t remember but you told me to keep it safe until you came home. I couldn’t even bear to say Ben had played his part in off of it too. Brandon had already betrayed you, there was no reason for all of us to suffer. But while it burned there it was like he’d thrown my innocent childhood in there with it. He never meant for you to come home, just like he’ll only let me leave Winterfell wed. The only sort of comfort he offered to me while I said all of this was winter is coming, winter is coming.
Am I less of a Stark because I wanted to hold on to the thought I’m comfortable learning to care for myself? I did everything he’d asked. I mended what needed mending, I sewed a new cloak because mine was looking ragged. I pray to the old gods to watch over us. It hadn’t hurt anyone, none of you know how lonely and boring it is to be a lady. I’m the only girl. So now I’ve been keeping to myself in my room, I’ve been having my meals alone, and neither father nor Brandon has said a word to me since that night. I’ll ask you, was it really my fault? I didn’t cry to father and tell him anything about the girl, it was just the marks he’d left that caused father’s rage.
You wouldn’t love me better or worse if I were a boy would you? I think I can guess the answer, you have always had a kind soul and a good heart. You wouldn’t treat your daughter in the same manner. I do understand Ned, I know they only want my safety. But I can’t be ignorant, I am not soft spoken, and I certainly can not be happy leading the life of an obedient lady. It’s in our blood, our wolf blood. I think I’m manageable, a little wild but I know right from wrong don’t I?
If he has said something, or does after this letter reaches you. Let him know that, you understand. You’re the only one I feel understands me, because they like to think they know our place but to them it’s always somewhere between glory and disappointment.