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.
I looked at Khaleesi as I got dressed. Today was somber but when looking at her I felt a great happiness in my heart. The night before I had thought the world would end and my death would be at the hands of the undead. Now the woman I had longed for for so long had given me her heart. Whatever the gods threw at me, if the title of Azor Ahai was truly mine, she would protect me from any darkness.
“If you keep staring at me, Jorah, we won’t ever get to the funeral.” Khaleesi said as she looked over herself one final time.
“I’m not staring at you.” I replied and turned my attention to my outfit.
To the funeral for all those that died at the Battle of Winterfell I would be wearing my armor. Though we had no enemies at the moment, it felt good to wear the same armor that had protected me from the dead. Perhaps the great battle had affected me more than I admitted. But at least it was over and the nightmares would only remain in my head. When we arrived at King’s Landing we would not know fear as we had killed death itself already.
“You could have worn something a little more ceremonial.” Khaleesi said with concern in her voice.
“It will be good for others to see me in the same armor I slayed the Night King in.” I replied. “Perhaps it will inspire the young to pick up swords in the future.”
“You don’t have to hide your fear from me, my love.”
“I would never think of doing such a thing.”
“Are you afraid because of me?”
I didn’t want to talk about this to her. It was not something a knight admitted to those around him. But Khaleesi was much more than a mere person to me, she was the other half of my soul that walked in this world. I should not be embarrassed to tell her anything.
“I’m not afraid because of you. The battle against the dead wasn’t easy on me.” I admitted.
“But you fought bravely and didn’t retreat.” Khaleesi argued.
“In battle I am fearless because I have to be. If I allowed myself to fear then I would be dead. When I am going against an enemy there is not a shred of doubt in my mind. Especially against the dead when they are clearly the villains.”
“And after the battle you allow yourself to feel everything?”
“Yes and so I’m terrified. For years the nightmare of the dead won’t fade from my mind.”
Since I had somewhere to be, I pushed the images of the dead from my mind. There would be enough time to discuss my fears with my love tonight. For now the sun had risen a few hours ago and now was the time to mourn those that had lost their lives in this great fight. It wasn’t about me and my feelings.
“The people can wait.” Khaleesi said and put a hand on my arm after I finished getting dressed.
“No, they can’t.” I replied with a gentle smile. “They lost their loved ones and need to see their queen mourning with them.”
She looked at me and I could tell she wanted to argue with me. She wanted to point out how my feelings mattered and it was wrong for me to have to put myself down. In our complicated history there had been many times we had both pushed the feelings of the other away for what we saw as something more important. But now things were different, now we didn’t have to do that.
“You’re right, as always.” Khaleesi said regretfully. “I am the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and me not appearing would show these people a severe lack of respect.”
Right before we left our room, we kissed deeply. By our lips we said what words could not. We promised each other things that could not be put into words. We showered each other with emotions that could not be defined. The moment our kiss ended we were both happy and having to hide our smiles so as not to be disrespectful.
Winterfell was eerily quiet and oddly deserted. The smell of burned bodies had seeped into every inch of the caste that would hopefully be gone in a month’s time. The few sounds of people were merely footsteps as they couldn’t speak. The civilians had had to hide and their safety turned out to be imagined. A fact that I could have told them. But today was not a day to remind people of what they should have already known.
As Khaleesi and I walked through the snow we looked at the parts destroyed by Drogon. Northerners did not forget easily and quickly which meant the destruction would be written down as yet another terror inflicted by House Targaryen. It didn’t matter that my love’s actions would have been the only thing protecting Westeros if I had failed in my own task.
I looked up at the sky and heard dragon roars in the distance. It would be good for both of them to go back south where they were more comfortable. The Northerners would also find comfort in the fact that the dragons were gone.
“What is it like to ride Drogon?” I asked her.
“As if there is anything in the world that could stop me.” Khaleesi said with a grin on her face.
“Nothing can stop you in the air.”
“The Night King nearly did.”
“He’s not here now.”
Now there would be nothing stopping Khaleesi’s reign. The thought made it even harder than before to resist grinning. Cersei Lannister would find it impossible to stand against the might of my queen. She would have to surrender against the strength of two dragons. I was sure she had tried to find a way to kill dragons, but there wasn’t a realistic way to kill one. Unless it was by the claws of another dragon or a lucky shot through one eye. So soon enough Khaleesi would sit on the Iron Throne that should have been hers by mere birthright.
Finally we met a crowd of people as all of us walked through the gates of Winterfell. Though we all ranged through ages and sexes, there was a haunting look on all of our faces. While Khaleesi did a good job at hiding her anguish, it was clear to me. The way she tried to stop looking at the others must make it evident to everyone how hurt she was. Or maybe they would take it to mean that she cared for nothing but power.
Out of the corner of my eyes I managed to catch sight of a blurry white form racing towards me. I barely managed to put my arms out to hug Ghost before he slammed into me. A few seconds after he made impact I thought I would fall over. There were a few chuckles behind me as I hugged the direwolf that towered over me.
“I’m glad to see that you survived, Ghost.” I said with a smile on my lips.
Before he left me to go back to Jon’s side, he licked my face which caused me to laugh. The fake bastard looked me in the eyes with a smile on his lips and I quickly put my usual stoic expression back on my face. The somber nature of this event caused him to quickly put a sad expression on his face.
Any humor was soon gone from everyone’s faces as we all gathered in front of the numerous pyres. Those of House Stark and Khaleesi stood at the front. Those of high position, including myself, stood a short distance behind them. The common people were the farthest away and after looking behind me briefly I knew they were fine with that. No one wanted to be close to those fallen as it was a harsh reminder of the cost of survival. We had survived but so many had died.
Just as I was growing used to being so close to the dead, Khaleesi looked at me to indicate I had to take my place beside her. Even though I feared being by the dead, my feet took me so that Khaleesi was to my left and Jon to my right. My body did not show a hint of the fear I felt while facing the pyres. They were piled high with the many dead that had given their lives so that I could feel this fear today. And soon they would burn and the sky would be full of black smoke. The air thicker with the stench of death.
Those in the piles before me had battled beside me but in the heat of battle I hadn’t remembered their faces. They had merely been shapes that had passed by me as we all fought against the dead. Some must have been corpses I had managed to run by while struggling for my own life. Some must have tried to run before being slaughtered. Bravery and cowardice had been rewarded the same way in the Battle of Winterfell. The dead had not cared about who we were, they had just wanted us dead.
My eyes finally found their way to Lyanna Mormont’s corpse. She was the cousin my own sins had made the head of House Mormont. She had done a better job at ruling than I could ever hope to do. The loss my House now suffered at her demise was not to be underestimated. I wanted to turn my eyes away from her corpse, but respect made my gaze steady. Her young body was mangled as if a giant hand had squeezed her to death. The bear-like anger on her face showed that she had faced her final foe with bravery in her heart. A true Mormont to the end.
“My queen,” I said under my breath so only Khaleesi could hear me. “May I request that Lyanna Mormont’s bones find their resting place at Bear Island?”
“Of course, Jorah.” Khaleesi replied in an equally quiet voice. “I wouldn’t dare disrespect your cousin for all that she sacrificed.”
“She wasn’t killed by dragonfire.”
“I am aware.”
Khaleesi must be wondering how many of these people she had killed by Drogon. In the moment she had made a hard decision and now she was truly starting to see the cost. Was she wondering if there was any of her father in her? That if she won the Iron Throne if she would merely be another him? While she walked a fine line between good and evil, she had never shown herself capable of being an heir to the Mad King. She was much too kind for that to happen.
But now was not the time to talk with her about such things. Sansa looked briefly at my queen and I could feel Khaleesi tense up. Northerners hardly let anyone into their inner circle and held a grudge against House Targaryen. While my love had fought the Night King, she had also burned some of Winterfell. Sansa might very well take that as a reason to not trust her. A wrong conclusion, but one that made sense. Hopefully the two women could work things out before we left for King’s Landing.
After she glanced at Khaleesi, Sansa looked at me. It felt as though she was looking into the parts of me that I hid even from myself. The parts that only those that loved me should be allowed into. Yet my mind could be an open book to the woman trained under the likes of Littlefinger. Why was she giving me so much attention? Was it because I was Khaleesi’s most ardent supporter? Or was it because of something else?
Sansa only stopped looking my way once Jon began speaking. I didn’t focus on his words but instead on how they made me feel. His voice was strong and made me feel strength at having survived. I was sure that the other survivors felt relief by merely hearing his voice. Those who had been trapped in the crypts must think that they had sacrificed just as much as any knight had. He would have been a great king of Westeros if he had decided to stay in Khaleesi’s bed. If wiser, he could’ve been enough to cool my love’s wilder side.
As my eyes focused on Arya Stark’s corpse, Jon’s voice seemed to be far in the distance. She had attacked the Night King with all the rage of a wolf. But, unlike me, she was dead. In the heat of battle I hadn’t had time to cry for her but the fighting was done now. Now was the time I could feel great remorse at a life cut short. If Arya had lived, she would’ve helped lead House Stark into a new age. Most likely as a military leader.
I thought back to the one moment that had ended her life. Arya had had such courage that she had faced death without fear. In her last moment she rushed to her future without any thought but to kill the greatest evil Westeros had ever known. How much courage had been because of Melisandre’s false prophecy and how much had been her own? At least the Stark girl had died fighting and there was a body to mourn. Unlike Bran Stark and Theon Greyjoy who had been turned into ash by Viserion.
In the back of my mind I realized that Jon had stopped speaking and torches were being handed to those standing in front. My hand nearly dropped the torch that was handed to me. It felt too heavy and my feet too weak. Yet I held it steady and walked in front of Lyanna’s pyre and my eyes tried to make sense of the scene in front of me.
“Lyanna Mormont was one of the strongest rulers of House Mormont.” I said as my voice increased in volume and my eyes stayed focused on my cousin. “She was also placed in such a position because I did not know how to rule and chose a woman over my own House. Lynesse was like a beautiful deity when I first saw her. She was the only one who could replace my late wife. The fact she loved me made it feel ordained by the gods.”
I closed my eyes at the bittersweet memories of first meeting Lynesse. At the time they had been some of the happiest I had ever known. But they had become tainted by what happened afterwards. Such sweet love ending so horribly had felt like punishment from the gods themselves.
“Lyanna Mormont made the wise decision to back Jon Stark.” I said once my eyes opened. “Out of all of House Stark’s allies, she was the only by his side at the start of the Battle of the Bastards. She showed courage in running House Mormont and I have no doubt she faced death without fear. I am honored to have such a ruler for my House and shamed for making her take so much responsibility for one so young. It should be me dead now and her that lived. Lady Mormont could have shown Bear Island such prosperity that none could now imagine it.”
Those words shouldn’t have left my lips now. Today was for mourning all of the fallen, not for me to mourn my own shortcomings. Now when people reflected on this time they would remember how I had disregarded all those who had died for my own selfish reasons.
“Lord Jorah Mormont.” The crowd behind me started to softly mutter. “Lord Jorah Mormont. Lord Jorah Mormont.”
The soft mutterings soon turned to loud shouts of joy. This must be what Lira had hinted at earlier. I turned around to observe the cheering crowd. In such simple words they absolved me of my various sins. Even Jon was shouting my name and new title. He was smiling and there was a light in his eyes that shouldn’t have been there. They should have been damaged after fighting against the dead and losing three of his siblings. Yet they still shone with the same hope as before.
Tyrion Lannister was repeating the words and actually had pride in his voice. He had once told me that Khaleesi needed me so I should return alive. I was the support she needed and yet my House needed me. My heart was pulling me one way and my honor another. There had to be a way to fulfill both duties because I would never be torn from my love’s side ever again.
As I lit Lyanna’s pyre, on my right side Jon lit the pyre of Arya who had joined us briefly in the the fight against the Night King. As my memories of my cousin flooded my mind with the help of the rising flames, I was sure Jon and Sansa were also full of their memories of lost family members.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw a forlorn look on Daenerys’ face. To anyone else looking at her it would appear as though she was saddened at the high cost the Battle of Winterfell had taken. That no matter that the living had won, the cost did not feel worth it. But I could nearly feel the fear of abandonment coming off of her. She saw me reuniting with my people and thought I’d be swept away with the promise of my former position.
But I didn’t seek power like she did. All I needed was her.