Father had been fighting with the council again… I could see it on his face
Then Jory asked him about the tourney, they said people from all over the realm would come to joust in honor of my Father’s appointment. How could he be excited for that? Sansa was, she gave father a look like he was a mad man she he told us it was a pain for him, not an honor. She asked him to go, Septa Mordane made him see reason, because Sansa thought it was a good idea. He agreed, but he didn’t seem happy about it. There must be something about tourneys he doesn’t like. I didn’t really want go, all the ladies are one thing, my stupid sister something completely different, but Joffrey? Why would I waste my time anywhere near him, I hate him. He’s a liar and he lost us our Direwolves. Then Sansa had to be stupid and tell father she didn’t want me there anyway. It isn’t my fault about Lady, it’s Joffrey’s, and hers. I don’t have Nymeria either! It made father mad, he’s tired from everything that happened on the Kingsroad, the stupid council, and the stupid tourney. After father left again, angry at my stupid sister and her stupid big mouth, everyone went back to talking. Sansa and her stupid gossip, and everyone else about the tourney, like it matters.
I’d rather be on my own. Sometimes they let me, but most of the time I have to pretend I’m a lady, like Sansa. If it made father happier it might not have mattered. The only good supper was when it’s just the three of us. Sansa, Father and I, but it makes me miss everyone else. Without Bran to tease, or Rickon to play with, or have Robb and Jon there. They remember I’m important, and more fun than Sansa. If we were at Winterfell I would learn so much more than from here, Father always saved a seat at our table for someone. They’d talk to him about anything, and everything and it was always different. It’s never like Sansa chattering about Joffrey, who I hate. It was never about the King, or King’s Landing, or boring things about boring people no one cares about. It was always something interesting, it was always a lesson for Robb, on how to be a lord.
When we were at Winterfell they were protecting us. Now they’re all just stupid men that don’t do anything right. They could have spoken out that Lady shouldn’t have been killed, or even for Micha before the hound killed him, he was my friend, they should have at least tried. But they’re different here, just like father only they’re happy. How can they be so happen when they let the wrong thing happen. We were playing, then in the same day because of Joffrey, I lost my friend, my direwolf, and my sister. I couldn’t take sitting at the table, I couldn’t stand hearing their voices, and I couldn’t eat a thing remembering what Jeyne Poole had said happened to my friend. I tried to be courteous and ask politely to leave, and Septa Mordane told me no, but Father had said he didn’t have an appetite and left. Why should I sit here and listen to them talk?
The only good thing about King’s Landing was my room. I could be alone, and the huge heavy door and bar would keep everyone out. Everyone could just leave me alone, they didn’t care about anything when it happened, why should I care what they’d do now? They could stand on the other side, and say whatever they like. But I’ll be in here ignoring them. Then I started to cry, it was my fault it happened, Sansa said so. She might be stupid most of the time but it was true. I was never like Sansa, I didn’t want to go with the Queen, or the Princess, I didn’t want to pretend Prince Joffrey was great and wonderful and I was happy she was marrying him. I never really cared if she did, until I found out how rotten he is, I just wanted to play like we were still at Winterfell, it never mattered to Father if I played with our servants children why would he be upset now that I was playing with the butcher’s son? If I hadn’t done it he’d still be alive, Lady would too, and Nymeria would be howling at my door….
Are you in there?
I want to go home, I want my brothers. Robb would of told Joffrey what was what. Jon would have tried to stop the Hound from killing him, they would of done it together, they would have made father see Lady was left alone, and Nymeria was safe too. Jon…. I scrambled through my chest tossing all the clothes I was told to bring all over my room. It was still there, at the bottom. My piece of Winterfell, where I was a girl, who had brothers, a direwolf, and nothing was expected of me except to pray and sew reluctantly when I was told to do so. Needle, a sword should protect people, but it couldn’t protect him. It didn’t protect him, I started to cry again.
It’s my fault…
ARYA STARK YOU OPEN THIS DOOR RIGHT NOW.
You better not come in here!
If no one else could do it for me, I’d defend my own honor. I slashed at the air, I would be my own direwolf, my own protector, and Needle would be my friend. Probably my only friend.
The Hand will hear of this!
I DON’T CARE!
I wanted to scream back at her, I wanted to say Father wouldn’t care. He hates this place as much as I do. But I didn’t, let her find him. Let her tell him I’m being unruly, and stubborn, he can’t get in my room unless I want him in here either. Once she was gone I went to the window. If I could climb like Bran, I could get down the tower, into the courtyard and leave this whole stupid place. I could find Nymeria, and we could go home, even to the wall so we could see Jon again. He would make everything better. At least I wouldn’t be alone, he would want to talk to me.
Then there was a soft knock at my door, and father had called to me. He told me we needed to talk. It was too late to go anywhere now. Maybe he would listen, and he would send me back. Or maybe since he looked so bored and as annoyed with everyone as I did, we would all go home. So I picked up the crossbar and decided to let him in. He was alone, but he seemed more sad than angry I didn’t want to make him upset…But father isn’t like everyone else. He asked if he could come in, then he shut the door and saw my Needle. He seemed surprised, and asked me who’s it was. When I told him it was mine, he asked for it. So, I had to give it to him. I’d forgotten it was in my hand, I should of stuffed it back in my chest, far away from everyone. At least I could trust father, if he was going to scold me and say a sword isn’t a thing I should have he would of done it right away. He would of gotten mad, and he hadn’t yet, so there was still a chance he’d let me keep it. As long as I let him look at it.
My nine year old daughter is being armed from my own forge and I know nothing about it?
Now he was getting mad. I wasn’t going to betray Jon, not even for a second. He might have been fine at the Wall if I told on him, but he was my brother, bastard or not. I wouldn’t tell on Robb, or Bran, not even stupid Sansa if she had asked me to share a secret with her. But I couldn’t lie to Father, so I stayed silent.
I don’t suppose it matters truly.
Then he told me how it wasn’t a toy. He’d just held it, only an idiot would think it’s a toy. Then he talked on how I was playing with swords. I hadn’t been playing with it, sure I got mad and slashed at the air with it, but I was going to use it. I would use it the right way, I would find some way to do it. It would make Jon proud, the next time we met, I could show him how to fight with my Needle. And he could have a turn smiling and clapping, and saying I almost looked like a real knight. But father went on, and I started to have my doubts if I’d hold my Needle again. Then he’d said it, that I’m a girl, and I need to act like a lady, and I couldn’t hold my tongue any longer.
I don’t want to be a Lady!
He threatened to break it. I told him Needle wouldn’t break. It isn’t a toy after all. It made him sigh, every great sword has a name and mine was Needle. It made him sad, he told me I had a touch of wolfblood, like my aunt, and uncle, who both died. He didn’t like to talk about what had happened to them, he never really liked mentioning his father, the past was something he didn’t want to be reminded of.
Lyanna might have carried a sword, had my Lord father allowed it. You remind me of her sometimes. You even look like her.
But she was always said to be beautiful. I don’t believe I am, Sansa is the beautiful one. Everyone says so, she’s the one that should be compared to her. Men might start wars to marry her…I would start a war if Father broke my Needle.
She was, beautiful, willful, and dead before her time.
He held the sword out then, between us. He asked what I had thought to do with it, who I wanted to skewer, asked if it were Sansa or Septa Mordane. Now who I got it from wasn’t what was troubling him as much as why I had it. I had it for the same reason everyone else has a sword. To protect the weak, to fight bad people, to save someone… Then he asked if I even knew anything about sword fighting.
Stick ‘em with the pointy end.
He had to stop himself from laughing, we were having a serious conversation after all. I wanted tell him that, I knew what carrying a sword would mean. I wanted to train, I wanted to help people, just like he does as a Lord. Just as he did before then, I want to feel protected. No one made me feel protected anymore, it was all just up to me. I tired to practice, I wanted to practice, I had someone to practice with…but now he was dead. So I told him…It all came out. I told him about Micha and how we were playing, I asked him to, and it was my fault he was dead. He held me, and all I could do was cry. He told me it wasn’t my fault, that I shouldn’t blame myself, I believed him, I could trust father.
I hate them. The Hound, and the Queen and the King and Prince Joffrey. And Sansa, she lied. That wasn’t how it happened….
We all lie, or did you honestly believe I thought Nymeria ran off? Even a blind man could see that wolf wouldn’t have left you willingly.
Then I told him how Jory helped me, we told her to run, I had to throw rocks at her, and yell. I didn’t want her to go, I wanted her to stay with me. But I told her I didn’t want her anymore. I tried to make myself feel better, by telling her there were other wolves to play with. We heard them howling, Jory said the forest was full of game, so she’d have plenty of deer to hunt. I hit her twice with the rocks we threw, she looked at me, I still remember and feel ashamed. “It was the right thing to do, wasn’t it?”
It was, and the lie wasn’t without honor.
He took up Needle again and looked out the window, just like I had before. Maybe he wanted to run off too.Then he sat on the window, and looked back over at me. He told me to remember our house words, because winter is cruel and unforgiving. Just like Bran’s fall, and everything that had happened on the Trident. Our wolves, the Hound, or lies…
When the snows fall, the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies. But the pack survives.
He told me only to hate the ones who would do us harm. Then it came back to how Sansa and I have been fighting. A long fight, and summer is the time for that. But he sounded so tired while he told me that we were sisters. We shouldn’t fight or argue, we’re the same blood and should protect each other, be friends, and talk, and play,and laugh like we were at Winterfell. It made me sad, Father didn’t have a wolf, he just had us. He fought with the stupid council, and the stupid king, he wanted us to be fine. If we fought, it was like he was still at the meeting, if we were fine, it was almost like he was home in Winterfell. He scolded me, for how I’d been acting. My attitude, the yelling, running off, the disobedience….He told me I needed to grow up, I promised I would. For him, and for stupid Sansa since she can’t handle anything by herself.
I can be strong too, I can be as strong as Robb.
Then he held Needle out to me, hilt first and a smiled. He wasn’t going to take it away, he wasn’t going to break it. It was still going to be mine. My piece of Winterfell. Then he teased me, and said if he took it from me he’d find a morning star underneath my pillow in a foreightnight. Which is true, I would have found something else. But Needle was more important than a stupid morning star. The next day I had to apologize or else father would have thought I wasn’t keeping my word to him. I don’t want him to be angry or upset.