Today was the day King Baratheon would come to Winterfell, not that it concerned me. Tonight would also be the night that I departed Winterfell and made my way south to King's Landing.
Visitors from the capital poured through the castle gates donning plates of gold and silver. I estimated an entourage of three hundred strong, carrying a banner with the crowned stag of Baratheon.
From where I stood I could see Tyrion Lannister, my favorite character in the story, someone who used his mind to get to where he was. As well as the Ser Jamie Lannister, who seemed to feel that we were all unworthy of his presence.
A huge man at the head of the column crushed father in a bone-crunching hug, who I'd assume was Robert, "Ned! Ah, but it is good to see that frozen face of yours. You have not changed at all."
"Your Grace. Winterfell is yours." Father replied.
By now the others had begun dismounting. Robert's queen, Cersei Lannister, entered on foot. Always hated her the most, manipulative women she was, smart but manipulative.
While I was contemplating my course of action Robert had left for the crypt to pay his respect. AS the crowd started to thin I left to go to my private quarters to pack for my leave.
The Great Hall of Winterfell was hazy with smoke and heavy with the smell of roasted meat and fresh-baked bread. Its walls were draped with banners: white, gold, and crimson – each to their respected sigil – direwolf, stag, and lion.
It was the fourth hour of the welcoming feast laid for the king, and I was appreciating that he was a bastard ever much more just like Jon.
While my brothers and sisters were seated with the royal children, Jon and I were seated among the younger squires. Not that I was complaining, I very much more enjoyed their company than the company of those spoiled royal pricks, hell I could barely tolerate Sansa.
The squires were fine company. Telling tales of battle and bedding and the hunt. "Hungry again?" I asked as something rubbed against my leg beneath the table.
Cutting a whole bird and letting it slide under the table I notice Jon do the same. "He hungry too?"
"His appetite has increased a lot the past couple of days. Probably because he is growing so much." Jon replies as Ghost, the name of his direwolf, nips at his hand.
"Is this one of the direwolves I've heard so much of?" a familiar voice asked close.
Jon and I both looked up happily as Ben ruffled out hair. "Yes," Jon said. "This is Ghost and that one is Duke."
I went back to listening to the wild tales of the squires while Ben and Jon talked about the Wall. While I always wanted to see the Wall, I never wanted to make an oath to sever the Night's Watch. It just didn't make sense for me to do so. I would not be allowed to have children, never be allowed to have a family. I would trade all that to what, to look after a wall, with all the information I have, I am destined for greater things.
Suddenly I hear Jon yell "I will never father a bastard. NEVER!"
The entire table had fallen silent, and everyone was looking at him. I could see the tears begin to well behind his eyes as he pushed himself to his feet and excused himself.
He was always the emotional one. Especially when it came to being born a bastard.
I walk over to the empty yard with the sounds of music and song spilled through the open windows behind me. I could see Tyrion leaving after his talk with Jon, and I knew Jon got heated up again, but Jon will always be Jon.
"Jon, how are you doing?" I ask.
"What you here to berate me about being a bastard like everyone else." Spat Jon, obviously in a bad mood.
"I am just as much of a bastard as you are, brother," I say with a grin. "I came to tell you that I am leaving tonight."
"Leaving?" Questioned Jon, and then as it donned on him, "your going out to make a name for yourself?"
"Me and you, we never belong here. We were meant for more…"
After a pause, I continued, "I am headed for King's Landing where I will take a ship to Pentos. I know you want to go take your oaths with the Night's Watch and I will not try and persuade you, but I just want to tell you to remember that even if no one else cares about you, I will."
"Take care Edward, and may good fortune come your way." I say after giving a big hug.
"Take care, Jon." Replying with a hug of his own.
I head to the horse stables where I already had everything packed ahead of time. My two castle forged broadswords and throwing knives, some dried meats and bread, clothing, and some coin.
Hopefully, father won't be too mad when he finds out I left and stole one of his horses.
"Duke, you ready for an adventure?"