Father hasn’t been dealing well with me coming into my womanhood. He’s had Brandon and Benjen watching me like hawks. It is nice to have boys tell you your pretty. Kissing is fun, Brandon likes kissing girls. It was funny when he did it, why isn’t it funny if it is me? I get scolded like I did something wrong. Father has his stern talking tos, and I go back and do the same, with a different boy. So, he wrote to Ned and tried to have him convince me I need to hid from any boy who isn’t related by blood. Father’s words, in his handwriting. So, I went to sleep in the gods wood, and in the day I went off into the wolfs wood. Now he’s sends people to some find me. But it is a funny game.
Only he doesn’t find it funny. Not the kissing, not the hiding, and certainly not wooden sword. So, we had a talk. He affectively bribed me. He’d brought me back to mother’s old room, threw open her trunk and let me see everything he’d kept of hers for himself, and the four of us. He let me hold the dresses, they even smell like her. Her jewelry box, a pair of slippers, gloves, books, quills and inkwells. Even as I’m holding the dresses up and smiling at him. He’s so kind, handing me more, letting me hold them, see them, study them. Then, once everything is out and displayed and I’m thoroughly excited he says, “Which do you want?” Like I could only have one thing out of the entire trunk!
So I did what every child does when they aren’t getting their way. I cried, and I bawled, and he felt guilty and pulled me close. Then, he tells me he’s only giving me one thing at a time. Because if we do things my way, I’ll have everything and misbehave. But if he keeps everything, and I am allowed to have something of my own weekly or monthly if I am on my best behavior, I might be a good lady. Oh did we have misunderstandings….The first week I mended his clothes, even Brandon’s and Benjen’s. When he saw me I was inside reading. So, he’d warmed up enough and given me one of mother’s necklaces. One he had given her, of a wolf, howling at the moon, with a pearl in the center. So, I rubbed his shoulders and tried to convince him to give me one of the dresses. He told me no. I complained, and whined. I told him I am only twelve and her dresses are ladies dresses. If I have to dress like a little girl I’m going to act like one. So he walked me back to my room and took the necklace back.
The next week he’d given it back to me too. Only this time I learned not to talk back or complain. Being willful can only get you so far, I’d do better to get what I wanted by being polite, and showing him I did have manners. So, I thanked him, kissed him on his cheek and smiled. But I went on sewing in the mornings, taking care of my horse and reading in the afternoon, and fighting the best I could with who I could at night. I’d still had plenty of time for kissing, so long as he didn’t find out. So, by my thirteenth nameday I had one of her old dresses, her mirror, three necklaces, a ring, her bracelet, combs, the slippers. But he hadn’t given me the books. The first one he’d given to me was on my name day with my present. It was a diary, and she wrote so small there was so much room for her thoughts. So I read through it, of her home, and the things she knew through study. She was very old fashioned, like father so they were the most perfect match. But she read a lot of the same books I do…She liked the tales of knights, and valor and glory, but they hadn’t been so openly available to her and clan stories more or less are about winters past, the Children of the Forest, and everything there can be in the Land of Always Winter. Then the subjects changed, because she’d been promised to my father.
He family was so ecstatic, which had likely been very true to how any of his banner men would act. But as I turned the pages and looked through them I’d scoured for any mention of him. There is nothing until she wrote about their wedding. Even after, there isn’t mention of him at all. She just talks on how things are different, she doesn’t feel drawn like she had been at her home, and it hardly feels like home at all. I do think I understand now why he waited so long…I am thirteen and he’s sending letters, he’s looking for someone for me to marry…I would be content enough on my own. Living with Brandon and his wife in Winterfell. But he’d kept it hidden, and waited because he couldn’t tell me what I would be feeling. Mother could, but she is with our Old Gods now. I don’t think I could bear to give up our way, the old way, the northern way. I think that is how she felt, Winterfell is huge, the clans are small and concentrated. She knew herself better then than father knows himself now. I look foreword to when I have the next one, when I read it I can almost remember her voice. I hope in the next one, she’ll speak of all of us. I’d like to share it with my brothers, it might mean little to Brandon but I’m sure Ned would be happier for it, and Ben, he can’t remember what she looked like he was so young.