This is a Game of Thrones fic. All rights belong to the copyright holders.
This chapter has been edited due to content. If you want to see the unedited version GO HERE.
My mind tried to find anything to cling onto. It tried to make the scene before me logical. Jon and I had killed the Night King which should’ve meant the end of this war, but it hadn’t. Wights still raged in the night and drew the blood of brave men. There had to be something we were missing that would provide a way for the living to survive. I couldn’t come this far just to have everything fall apart.
“We’re missing something.” Jon said softly as if the words had to be forced out.
“We don’t have much time for contemplating.” Tormund point out.
No, we didn’t have much time to think things over. Without the Night King keeping us to himself, we could be attacked at any moment. When Jon had killed a White Walker many wights had died. What if we had managed to misread the hierarchy of the White Walkers? What if the Night King was merely a White Walker who had managed to gain power and thus had become the ruler of his race? That meant-
“We just need to kill the generals, the White Walkers.” I said with more certainty than I felt. “The Night King was powerful, but not a mystical ruler of his perverted race. If we kill the generals than there will be no one left to control the wights.”
“That shouldn’t be too hard.” Tormund replied with a smile. “Just have to get through those nasty wights first.”
I barely managed to stop myself from shaking. There were less White Walkers than wights which made sense. In any good army there were less generals than common soldiers. If there were too many leaders at once then chaos would erupt as they fought for control. But the White Walkers were more than deadly and capable of holding their own. If they didn’t want us to get to them, it was unlikely our blades would cross with theirs. Unless they were distracted as they all fought to become the next Night King.
Jon started to say something and then wights came at us. Compared to the abomination they were easy to kill. Even though there were so many of them, my mind could wander and think about how to best kill the White Walkers. Killing them with a dragon would be easiest but would also have the living as causalities. No matter how well trained one of the winged beasts was, they weren’t a species known to being careful about being precise when they killed.
While Heartsbane continued to end the lives of the dead, my eyes kept glancing at the sky. Drogon was now flying lower than before and I wished I could reassure my queen. She had risked everything for this battle and she must now be feeling like she should’ve never come here. Without knowing what we had done, she might think me and Jon dead. She might think that the Night King would soon ride Viserion again and end her life. The last Targaryen in all of existence.
Our feet and blades soon found themselves under an archway. For the moment we were protected from the endless onslaught. I glanced cautiously at the dead men around my feet. Could the White Walkers make new wights now that the Night King was dead? It wasn’t something I would find myself surprised by.
“I’ll call Rhaegal to me so that I can join Daenerys in the sky.” Jon said, his eyes on Winterfell and not us. “She needs to know that the Night King is dead and that we need to kill all of the White Walkers to ensure victory.”
“I will seek out Melisandre.” I said. “If there is a spell strong enough to kill the White Walkers, she will be able to perform it.”
“And I’ll make sure that Jorah doesn’t die on his way to meet the witch.” Tormund replied.
Never in my life had I thought to be grateful for the protection of a wildling. Yet here I was at the end of the world with no hatred in my heart for him. Maybe it began when we had traveled to get a wight from beyond the Wall. At first we had not gotten along but then we had fought side by side. Now during this night he had been by my side when I had helped slay the Night King. A bond had formed between us because of our time together.
I turned to say my well wishes to Jon but he had already started to run away. The only thing that kept me from running after him was the knowledge he would be safe. Both him and Khaleesi would be safe on dragonback. As long as we succeeded in killing the White Walkers, I would live to see them again. A sad smile started to tug on my lips, but I was quick to hide my emotions from Tormund.
“And here I thought you didn’t feel anything.” Tormund teased me. “Do you have any idea where the Red Witch went?”
“She wouldn’t be in the crypts.” I replied after a moment. “If she came here it was for a reason I doubt her god would like her hiding away at such a moment. Melisandre might be in the Great Hall.”
“And if she isn’t?”
“We try everywhere else in Winterfell.”
With that we began racing towards the Great Hall. We could’ve covered the distance in a few minutes with the speed we were running. But the wights didn’t care about our wants and needs, their only concern was our demise. So Heartsbane did its best to make sure we didn’t lose too much speed. The places I couldn’t kill the wights in time, Tormund was there with his daggers. The further we went the more we became a singular entity.
I turned to allow Tormund the ability to kill a wight that had nearly sneaked up on me. By his breathing alone I knew what to do. Bloodshed was once again enveloping me to the point where I started to become someone else. Someone that not even Khaleesi would recognize. Yet no matter how much I changed, the most intimate part of me remained the same. My wildness must have amused the Wildling as he let out a loud laugh once we were able to move towards the Great Hall again.
Right before we opened the doors I noticed three White Walkers fighting amongst themselves. The wights around them attacked the living more carelessly than they had before. That must be why I had been having an easy time slaughtering them. It wasn’t that killing the Night King had granted me new skills, it was that my enemies were weak.
Without exchanging words with Tormund, I raced into the Great Hall. Here was where Jon Snow had been declared King. Here was where the North had allied with Khaleesi against the dead. Here was where Jaime Lannister had been forgiven for his sins, though there had been many that hadn’t been mention. Here was not where Melisandre was.
“Now to run across all of Winterfell.” Tormund said with a grin.
“The library. It is away from the majority of fighting, from what I could see, and a safe place for Melisandre to observe the battle.” I replied.
Our footsteps soon took us into the cold and the sounds of battle. The majority of the men wouldn’t be able to look at any of the nuances as they were too busy trying to save themselves. They wouldn’t know that the wights were fighting like a toddler throwing a tantrum. But as myself and Tormund knew about the fight for power amongst the White Walkers, making our way to the library was a simple affair. We knew the wights didn’t care about killing us as the White Walkers weren’t paying any attention to the living.
Right before we entered the library there was a shattering of glass. I remembered the same sound when traveling with Jon beyond the Wall. A White Walker rushed towards us and aimed his blade for a killing blow. I traded blows with him and each one felt like nothing more than a waste of time. I had to get to Melisandre, not waste my time battling individual generals. For now he was beneath me.
With a loud yell my blade met its neck. A shower of ice briefly engulfed myself and Tormund. If Melisandre wasn’t in the library then it might just be that the only way to defeat the dead was to destroy the White Walkers. Drogon and Rhaegal could make short work of the generals if it came to that. Though that would be too high of a cost and leave hardly anyone alive. We might win the war, but Winterfell would not be inhabited for thousands of years. And the stain that would be on Khaleesi’s soul might never be removed even if she brought peace to Westeros.
“We need your help, Melisandre.” I said once I saw the Red Priestess.
She hadn’t been in the library but had been close by. She was in a small room a short distance from where I hoped she would be. I should have guessed she’d be by a fireplace, the flames low as if they too were afraid about the war outside. Tormund stood outside the room to make sure my meeting wasn’t interrupted. Though with the White Walkers not concerned about the living, it was doubtful we’d find anyone interrupting us.
“Did Arya Stark manage to kill the Night King?” Melisandre asked, her eyes locked on the flames. “I see he is gone but the war still rages.”
“Jon Snow and I killed the abomination.” I replied. “Arya made an attempt. Though she failed, she managed to give us the hope needed to defeat him.”
“I lied about her being destined to kill the Night King. She needed hope to attempt such a venture. So I appealed to her pride, something hidden and not often looked at. Yet powerful all the same.”
She finally turned to me and I saw a haunted look in her eyes. When she had come to Winterfell just before the battle, there had been hope where despair now resided. If a powerful magic user like her was feeling despair, could there truly be hope for any of us? Yes, there had to be. Melisandre had been wrong before. At least from what Jon had told me.
“Is there any spell that can kill the White Walkers?” I asked. “If we kill them there will be no one left to control the wights.”
“Did you and Jon kill the Night King at the same time?” Melisandre asked.
“At the same time.”
“Strange, I thought it would be him. Show me your sword.”
I handed the woman Heartsbane’s hilt. The Night King’s blood was clear in the weak firelight. There was the blue blood that the abomination bled first and the red he bled last. I would always remember how horrific he had looked as a human. In my mind I couldn’t think of him as both villain and victim. He had to be one or the other for me to get any sleep.
Melisandre touched it reverently as if Heartsbane was much more than a sword. Maybe it was something more after it had slain a creature from legends. I had been kept awake more than one night from tales about the Night King as a child. Until meeting Jon I had thought the abomination just one of many stories parents told children to keep them in line.
“The blade that killed the Night King.” Melisandre said gently. “The blade that might save us all.”
I doubted when Sam gave me his ancestral blade he knew that it would become a thing of legends. One day I would give it to one of my children and after hundreds of years the truth would be thought an old wives’ tale. I didn’t care if the truth of this night was remembered, just that the living would survive this night.
In a swift motion my hand covered my eyes. The darkness had suddenly lit up in a fiery light and screams followed. Once my eyes adjusted I saw Drogon flying to gain altitude. It was his fiery breath that had bathed Winterfell in fire. Rhaegal flew to Daenerys’ side and I knew he hadn’t breathed any fire. He was too high and Jon had too kind of a heart to do such a thing. He would never risk the lives of his men while my love was willing to bend morals to claim victory. While I wanted to side with my queen, I found myself being disgusted with such a thought. My internal thoughts were my own, never to be uttered aloud. Hopefully by the end of the battle those traitorous thoughts would be gone from my mind.
“How quickly will your spell work?” I asked Melisandre as my eyes looked at the damage done to Winterfell.
The more time passed the longer Daenerys had to destroy Winterfell in order to save the living. After the battle she would feel the weight of such a choice. This experience would teach her and make her a stronger queen. We were not bound to our past, a lesson I had learned in full after dishonoring myself for Lynesse.
“Very quickly.” Melisandre promised. “Maybe we have both misread the flames.”
“Is there someone else we have to kill in order to save the living?” I asked and kept the anger out of my voice. “Are you saying this battle is for nothing?”
“My ability to read the flames is not as good as others. But rest assured that what happens tonight does matter, even though the real enemy can’t be seen.”
“Do the spell and you can help us figure out this true enemy later.”
“I’m afraid I won’t have time later. The spell I will use will kill me.”
I turned and saw that the Red Priestess’ eyes were as calm as her voice. She would be dying for this cause and she was afraid, but would not show it. The only way I knew there was fear deep inside her was the fact she was talking to me. From what Jon and Davos had told me of her, Melisandre was not forthcoming with information to most. She had used Stannis just as she had anyone else she ran into. She cared only for service to her god.
“Why are you telling me this?” I asked her, wondering if it was just the fear of death that was making her honest.
“Because you are Azor Ahai.” Melisandre replied and looked at the sword. “And for the first time I think we all have misread the prophecy. We have all seen what we have wanted to see. That is the danger with such prophecies.”
Before I could fully comprehend her words, Daenerys again sent flames to Winterfell. Along with fire, there were countless screams. More were dead and I prayed to the old gods that a few White Walkers were burned out of existence. If Melisandre’s spell didn’t work, this place might very well have to be burned to the ground. A sacrifice for the living.
Faintly I could see Rhaegal guiding Drogon away from the burning castle. It wouldn’t surprise me that the two rulers were having an argument with each other. Both had very different ideas about ruling and what made a good ruler. If this castle had to be burned down for the sake of the living, I would not be there to guide her hand when she needed me the most.
“Azor Ahai?” I scoffed. “I’m no hero. The gods would not mark me for such a task. And, from what Jon has told me, you have said Stannis was the legendary hero. You have said Jon was the legendary hero. Now, at the moment of your death, you say I am the legendary hero. Forgive me if I don’t believe you.”
“The Lord of Light will see you in his service, whether or not you believe your fate.” Melisandre said and then closed her eyes.
I didn’t know what to expect as spellwork was a foreign concept to me. I had heard legends and read books, but not until Khaleesi hatched her dragons had I any reason to truly believe. The priestess started humming and soon that sound went through my entire being. I shivered at the sensation and looked out the window to take my mind off of what was behind me.
If there was a hero the gods had chosen it was either Khaleesi or Jon. Never would any great deity deign to give me a big part in their plans. In all honesty I wasn’t keen on playing a role as that usually meant tragedy to mortals. I had gone through enough in my life, I didn’t need more.
The humming stopped and suddenly the sound of glass breaking filled the air. I smiled and then braced myself when Viserion let out a roar. All of Khaleesi’s children had different screams, yells, and roars. After spending so much time with them I couldn’t help but pick up on the subtle differences. Viserion’s yells changed to the sound of glass shattering and I ducked in time to avoid one of the shards.
There was silence after Viserion and the White Walkers died. The only sounds that could be heard were the fires caused by Daenerys’ children. I cautiously stood up and looked at Melisandre’s corpse. The sound of her fall must have been hidden by the dead shattering. No matter how much I still didn’t trust her, she had risked everything for the living. She would have to be remembered as a hero.
Azor Ahai? There was only one way to make sure and so my hand wavered above Heartsbane. With great strength I put my fingers around the Valyrian sword and held it high over my head. I looked away as flames consumed it.
How could I be Azor Ahai if the Night King was dead? What greater threat would be waiting for me in the future?