The young wolf’s head jerked sharply at the sound of her voice, sending his delicious sunburnt curls dancing.
“What? Why are you here Adain?” Robb asked tensely, hardly surprising really considering as far as he knew she was still in Winterfell
“As for the what, I said I have people in The Twins” She proclaimed “The why, well I thought that I could be of more use here than back in Winterfell”
“God dammit Adain! I am your husband and your lord-“He stopped himself with a weary sigh, he knew her and he knew the shouting approach would be counterproductive. Besides it wasn’t as if he begrudged her presence itself, she just wasn’t safe and was a liability while on the field.
Despite his misgivings he pressed on
“Explain” This was a order plain and simple
“It’s a bit of a long story really…but the barebones of it is that I was expecting something like this to happen so I thought ahead, there are 10 men sworn to House Ryswell –and by extension House Stark- in The Twins, the same 10 men that are in charge of the drawbridge”
“And your sure these men are loyal” Robb said with steel in his eyes
“They’re loyal alright, one of them gave me a piggy back for three hours when I was nine and had a broken leg” She paused her mind drifting off; that was a fun day
“You’ve known them since you were nine?” He seemed more perplexed than suspicious
“Ummhum, it ties into that ‘long story’ I mentioned” As if that explained everything…
“Council, leave us, it seems I need to have a word with my wife” His bannermen seemed reluctant to leave their lord but sure enough they filed out without much complaint
Once alone, Robb guided his Wife to the table. His behaviour charged drastically when his subjects were gone; the light returned to his eyes a tad and his jaw unlocked, it was painfully obvious that the strains of command were taking their toll and she welcomed the change.
“Start from the beginning, the very beginning” He said after they’d sat down, his tone was firm but not unkind, so very like his late father
“Okay, well the root of this whole debacle is with my mother” She started thoughtfully, her eyes glazing as they so often did in thought “As you may but probably don’t know, my mother served for sometime as a Lady-in-waiting for the Queen; she couldn’t really do much else considering how mentally fragile she was after father died”
Robb seemed surprised, Lady Ryswell mental instability was infamous; everyone thought she just sat around at home all day. In all honesty she was somewhat of an enigma
“While worked as a lady-in-waiting she walked in on Cercei and Jaime Lannister having…well…that thing…you know…” She paused at this point to do elaborate hand gestured to illustrate her meaning, stopping awkwardly when Robb seemed to get the idea
”Luckily, they didn’t see her and she backed out the room with none-the-wiser about what she’d seen. She tried hard to forget; Gods only know what the Queen would of done if she’d found out they’d been caught, but it was a…memorable…sight to say the least. She overheard other maids whispering about ‘giving the Queen and her brother privacy’ and worked out pretty quickly it wasn’t a one-time thing”
Robb didn’t act too surprised to hear about the affair, after all it was practically common knowledge by now, but he did seem interested nonetheless so she pressed on
“Mother also had the great pleasure of interacting with Prince Joffery, he was apparently quite the badger’s bum, to say the least” A chuckle sounded at the comparison “And a cruel one at that, my mother once caught him trying to skin a dog…alive” Adain shivered
“Mother is a smart woman despite the eccentricities; she knew there was trouble on the horizon, Cruel children oft make cruel adults and as a child Joffery ordered a serving girl be fired and tried to get her flogged just because she’d been playing with one of his toys. Coupled with the fact that he was a bastard born of incest didn’t exactly bode well for the future stability of the realm” Robb nodded all the while, it was true, whenever faced with a bad king people look for any loop hole to depose him with
“When she came back she set about replicating Varys spy network of ‘Little Birds’ only she concentrated more on training them for the darker aspects of being a spy” She shifted uncomfortably at that; most of her Mothers spys’ had been around her age…
She wanted to stop at this point, her mother had taught her from a young age to never speak of them and it was the one rule she enforced; her sister had been slapped had across the face for even mentioning one of their names around company.
“When Lord Arryn died and King Robert made his ill-fated visit to Winterfell, I knew I should do something…just in case…so I set about thinking about all the different scenarios of a war between the North and the South” She kept her gaze on a fascinating spot of empty air just past his shoulder, fearing to meet his gaze
“You could have told me” Was all he said, as she flicked her eyes to his face Adain wished she had, betrayal looked heartbreaking when it danced across The Young Wolf’s eyes.
“It might have just made things worse; it was just a precaution, as Varys would say ‘the only way to avoid trouble is to prepare for it’. Besides, the only semblance of evidence I had was the account of my half-mad mother who would have believed me?” She defended
“Me” His tone silenced any further justifications she might have had
She sighed but continued in with her tale “As I continued to think about it I realised that most situations had us coming here to The Twins and that Lord Frey would be about as sympathetic to our cause as a Fat man to outlawing cake” She tried to lighten the mood, it didn’t work.
“I knew we had to have some kind of insurance policy for not only Lord Frey but everyone else who might get in the way during the war” Her eyes turned cold and Robb glimpsed the pragmatic side of Adain that she so desperately hid, he could understand why.
“All Lord Frey does is give the orders to lower the bridge; it’s up to other men whether or not they do it.” Adain saw that she really should be acting guilty but she really quite proud of what she’d done, after all, when everyone thinks your hopelessly dopey it’s nice to occasionally prove them wrong.
“Your men, what positions are they in the Castle?” The feared commander of the North, Lord Stark made a reappearance.
“8 of them are stationed at the north tower; the one closest to us and the remaining 2 are at the south tower. I had thought it would be more practical in that arrangement…” She decided not to beat around the bush any longer, they were at war
“And realistically how easy would it be to lower the drawbridge?”
“The drawbridges are operated by turning wheels attached to the chains that lower the bridge, it takes 3 grown men on each wheel to lower it; our men operate both wheels on the north bridge. In addition, there are 2 guards that stand by the door –again, our men-. In short all they’d have to do is barricade themselves into the room while they lowered the drawbridge” She concluded, mentally she was pretending she was a general reporting of battle positions, mental-Adain even had a scary-looking moustache
“Do you expect Lord Freys men to pose no resistance while you commandeer their bridge?” He scoffed
“Probably not, but all of The Towers defences in the vicinity are designed to repel any unwanted visitors to the drawbridge room”
Robb sighed as if the weight of the world had fallen on his shoulders and draped a lazy hand across his eyes. Previously, the situation has been rather simple -they were going to beg Lord Frey to let them in at any cost- there wasn’t another option as The Towers were neigh impenetrable and they lacked the resources for a siege. However, now they had another more risky option and, while Robb begrudgingly welcomed its presence, it was yet more responsibility resting on his young shoulders
“If we did do this, how would we signal them?” His eyes softened, cold exterior melted leaving her husband in its place
“Mirror shine” She answered while squaring her shoulders “It was agreed that if we needed them, we should shine a mirror from the crown of a particular hill into the drawbridge room. I expect their probably awaiting a signal now; after all, this camp is hardly inconspicuous”
Robb leaned forward on his chair and crossed his fingers; Adain could almost see the scenarios playing through his mind. Idly, she wondered if he had factored evil the rabbit’s involvement into his future movements but she admonished herself
Obviously he has, Stupid Adain, he isn’t called The Young Wolf for nothing…
They were seated for almost 10 minutes while Adain tried to read Robb and Robb tried to read the future but neither could ever fully succeed.
“Alright” He finally broke the pin-drop silence with the declaration
“Umm-Wha?” She was as articulate as always when we intruded into her reverie
Robb smirked affectionately “We’re going with your plan after I talk with the other lords. Gods help me; I hope your men are all you said”
He strode out of the tent to send for a squire to gather the Lords before returning to the table. Gently like she might break if he were too harsh, he brushed a strand of her hair behind her ear.
“Why do I get the feeling I have just acquired an unofficial spy network?” He jokingly lamented
“Spies? What spies? That is simply preposterous Lord Stark” Adain mocked with a light laugh, before his arms enveloped her form, smothering her in his furry embrace.
“I still wish you were in Winterfell, it’s not safe here” He mumbled into her shoulder
“By the end of this war, nowhere may be” Was the ominous reply.
The last battle cry did not sound until the early hours of the morning but when it did House Stark were the ones left standing, proud and victorious.
It hadn’t gone completely smoothly; the drawbridge had taken longer than expected to lower giving the Frey guards enough time to gather some semblance of order. However, as it turned out the Freys never expected that they would come to blows with the North and their men been ill-equipped for a battle full battle.
In the end, they hadn’t even had to face the full Frey guard; and quarter of them had turned coats rather than be slaughtered for a Lordship that had never done much to inspire loyalty, this ironically meant that they had gained men from a military endeavour. The following day was full celebration and rest; the only issue had been what to do with the multitude of Freys Lord Waldor had left behind for the Lord himself appeared to of died of a heart attack during the siege.
Robb and his bannermen had held council and after many arguments and thunderous roars from most assembled it was decided that a Frey should remain Lord of the Twins. However, they decided that the nine-year-old Elmar Frey would rule and that before that he was to live as ward of Winterfell for nine years until his maturity with one of the Northern bannermen acting as regent until then. The rest of the younger Freys were to have a similar fate as wards of various lords across the North, it was hoped that this would tie the North and the twins more closely together in future.
As for the elder Freys, a few of them had been killed in the skirmish but the rest were to be stripped of their titles and whatever lands they had. In addition, the men were being sent to the Wall while the women were free to go with but one caveat; they must not marry any of noble blood.
All in all, the Freys were being treated well for Lords who’d been defeated on the field of battle