Gendry laid down for the night. He was weary from a long day of patrolling the woods. They were allowed no fire inside the cave where they had decided to camp. A light at night in these hills would draw unwanted attention. He had his cloak for a bed, and his pack for a pillow. His sword lay beneath him.
He and his brothers were looking for the Lannisters, who had left the woods littered with dead. The slaughter looked to be the work of Gregor Clegane, the one they called The Mountain That Rides. They had seen no one alive all day, only a giant boar. The boar reminded Gendry of the boars in the Kingswoods outside of King’s Landing. Gendry seemed to be the only one to see the boar. Harwin said he had never seen a boar in these woods before, and Greenbeard doubted boar even existed in these woods, but a boar Gendry knew he saw. It was there, and then it wasn’t. It looked Gendry in the eyes, lifted his head and snorted, then slowly turned and disappeared into the brush. Harwin said they ought to hunt it, until he gave that notion some consideration.
King’s Landing seemed so long ago now, another life away.
Now, he lived in the countryside, always on the move. War had brought hard times to the small folk of the kingdom, and no one was protecting them. No one except the Brotherhood. Kings and lords and knights fought constantly for lands and castles. Neither side cared what happened to the people who worked and lived on those lands. But Lord Beric never forgot his duty, his responsibility to the people. The Brotherhood sided with no one. The Brotherhood Without Banners protected the people who could not defend themselves. For this, they were hunted by Lannisters and Northmen alike. Outlaws they were called. Outlaws!
The people, at least, were grateful. They would hide the outlaws when Lannister’s crimson soldiers came. They would warn them when the wolves from The North were on the horizon. They brought them pies, and mended their clothes, and tended their wounds. Sometimes the women would come to comfort them at night and bring them fresh horses. They would not give them up, even under torture.
At least they were grateful. Not like Gendry’s keepers from before.
Before the war, and since, Gendry survived by serving one master or another with his skills at forging steel. As a Smith’s apprentice for Tobho Mott, Gendry found that he was a natural at giving life to steel. Hammering breastplates and forging swords was hard work, and Gendry didn’t mind hard work. Sometimes he just felt like hitting something, and forging always gave him something to hit.
Since his mother’s death, when he was a boy, he had no family. His father, he never knew, and of him, his mother never spoke. He had no family, until now. Now, he had friends and brothers.
Gendry had proven himself as a smith, a soldier, and a man. Lord Beric Dondarrion was grateful to have him in The Brotherhood. ”Protecting the people is no job for a boy,” he said. ”Therefore you shall be a knight!” ” Henceforth you shall be called Ser Gendry, Ser Gendry of Hollow Hill.”.
And now he was free. He was no man’s boy. He was free to do as he liked and it felt good. Every man should be free.
The moonlight shone through the mouth of the cave where the men had bedded down for the night. Suddenly, in the back of the cave, where it was dark, Gendry could see a pair of eyes reflected in the moonlight. They were the eyes of an animal. Eyes that somehow looked strangely familiar. He could hear the animal rooting around. The echoes off the walls told him the animal was moving deeper into the cave.
”Who goes there ?”, he said, feeling stupid for asking the question of an animal. Yet he asked it nonetheless. ”’Who goes there?’ I said, show yourself!”.
A pig! He thought. We should hunt it. Gendry turned his head back towards where his brothers would be, cupped his hands over his mouth and yelled ”A pig! Everyone, a pig ! Bring the spears, bring the torches !”. No one replied. ”Surely they heard me,” he muttered. ”They’ll come soon enough.”
He followed the footsteps deeper into the cave, away from the moon’s light, where it was dark. After many twists and turns through the caverns, light gradually faded into the room. A lit sconce on the wall had opened up the room before him. At the far end of the room stood the animal. Except, it wasn’t a pig as he first thought. It was a wolf. A she-wolf. The largest wolf he had ever seen. Her coat was every color of grey, like angry clouds before a heavy rain. Her eyes were the color of the sky in Spring, and they were fixed on his. He knew he should be afraid, but for some reason he wasn’t. The wolf darted up a flight of stairs and Gendry followed, taking a quick look back for his brothers. No one was coming. Up they went, until the stairs opened up into a lady’s bed chambers.
The wolf was gone, and in its place stood the most beautiful woman Gendry had ever seen. She had strong features and a smirk played about her face. He did not know her, but she had a familiarity about her that Gendry could not place. Dead people lay on the floor about her feet. Yet, she was strangely comfortable with them there. ”Who are you?” He asked. I know her, he thought to himself. Her face reminds me of someone. She looks like a grown up… “Arya !” He said aloud. By the Gods, she’s made a beautiful woman! She walked towards him, her eyes never leaving his. As she presented in front of him, she took his left hand, placed it on her chest, and smiled. She had a golden ring on her finger and a wolf made of silver hanging from her neck.”Remember to stand side-faced.” she said. Then she was gone.
The bed chamber was suddenly a throne room and in it was a stag, standing tall and proud on four legs, with his chest pressed out and head held high. It’s antlers reflecting in the light from the fire. As Gendry moved towards the majestic beast, it dipped its head and darted through a doorway at the end of the room. Gendry followed.
As he came through the doorway, Gendry heard the sweet sound of a woman’s voice, singing. It was the sound a boy never forgets and a sound a man always yearns to hear again. A golden- haired woman stood before him, surrounded by a garden. Her arms held out in front of her, palms up. Her bright blue eyes stared right into Gendry’s soul. He felt his eyes fill up with water. ”Mother !” ” I thought you were lost to me, where have you been?”
”I have always been here with you,” she said.
”As have I,” said a rough, robust voice from behind him. Gendry turned to the sound of the deep voice and then back towards his mother. Only. . . she was gone. He could still smell her there, but she was gone.
”Gendry, I have something for you.” The deep voice boomed. Gendry turned back towards the man. The figure standing before the throne was rather large and wore the armor of a warrior. Oddly, he could not see his face. In his left hand, the man held a tankard. In his right, a great war hammer. A golden crown sat upon his head.
Robert Baratheon ?! He realized. ”King Robert !” ”Your Grace.” Gendry said, bowing his head and falling to one knee. Laughing, the king said ”Har!! You still don’t know do ya boy!?!” The king turned and laid his hammer and drink beside the throne. He faced his son and patted the seat next to him. ”Come boy, sit !”
Refusing, Gendry said ”What do you want from me ? !”
”I want nothing from you, I’m dead !” ”It’s what your people want from you Gendry, your people.”
The king reached above his head and removed his crown with both his hands, laying it at Gendry’s feet. ”Its yours my son, you need only pick it up.”
”Gendry !” ”Gendry !” He heard a hoard of people cheer his name.”Gendry !” ”Gendry !”
He felt the point of a boot slamming into his thigh. ”Ser Gendry, Ser Gendry of Hollow Hill open your eyes!!!” Commanded the red man Thoros. “It’s time for your watch.” He said, prodding Gendry once more with his boot.
Opening his eyes, Gendry looked up at Thoros. He sat up quickly and nodded, closing his eyes again briefly as the man took his leave. Gendry took a deep breath through his nose and released it with a sigh. Pressing his hands to his face, he paused, still breathing through his nose. Content to have sufficiently gathered himself, he pressed his hands to the ground and pushed himself up. As he wiped the dirt from his hands, he shook his head one last time and muttered to himself,
”Why do I keep having these dreams ?”