Brotherly Sins

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story inspired by Game of Thrones. A brother of the night's watch ponders his companion's hate for the Northlings.

Submitted: May 08, 2017

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Submitted: May 08, 2017

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The winter wind blew with a certain bite to it tonight, never in his time on the nights watch had he ever experienced such a cold as this. There was no use complaining about it now, the absurdly long summer was coming to an end and winter was coming. Endless nights of freezing his arse off while thoughts of the Northlings consumed his and everyone on this goddamned watches mind’s were in plenty. Somewhere in the caves that inhabited the snowy mountain ranges or in the whispering trees that made up the ominous green masses, they were hiding.

 

He sighed, his icy breath swirling off into the unknown land that lay before him. To the naïve eye the view might appear pleasant, however he found it hard to appreciate the beauty when its accomplice was death. Perhaps these late night watches were slowly reliving him of his sanity.

“Arren, Arren!,” He turned to find one of his brothers of the nights watch hurrying towards him, the echo of his heavy feet breaking the silence that Arren loomed in. “For gods sakes man you looked liked you were going to throw yourself over the wall!”

Arren chuckled at the panting man’s concern. He could now see the brother’s face, rough and crinkled despite his young age. However little light illuminated the curves of his face Arren would recognize him anywhere.

“Gregory, you waste too much energy worrying, save it for improving your fighting,”

There was no laughter in the young man’s rejoinder, the silence of the valley seemed to further the space between them.

“Just be careful,”

An exchange of nods as a goodbye and he was alone again.

The sun had started to crest the tops of the powdered white trees, Arren searched the wall for Gregory but to his dismay he was already a dot at the end of the icy pathway.

He would again, as he did day on end, make the long journey back to The Keep companionless.

 

The lift creaked and groaned under his weight as it made it’s slow decent; the grumble of his empty stomach joined the lifts complaining.

“Thank you for your watch,”

“Thank you for your watch,”

Routine phrases and occasional glances were the only form of acknowledgment he got from his brothers these days. They were all too clad in furs for him to differentiate their distant mumbles, not that he cared. The air bit at him like rats hungry for a meal, it made his skin twitched for the warmth of the common hall.

 

A thin crust of snow mixed with mud cracked against the weight of his feet. Everything looked odd to him, without the height of the wall he felt as if he were at its mercy. It towered over the Keep, a mouse at the mercy of its well and capable prey. Whatever protection the wall provided diminished upon realizing that the wall itself was no ordinary structure. It kept the whole of the land safe, from the freezing hills to the sapphire seas, without the wall all of it would fall to ruin.

 “And then I said ‘what a-’ Arren! You look like shit,” The Lord Commander had a drunken smile plastered on his face. Arren suddenly felt hot in his leathers, without thought he had wandered into the common hall.

“Lord Commander, kind as always,” He replied, emphasizing his sarcastic tone.

The commander roared with laughter, banging his half eaten rabbit leg against the table.

“Get some food in yar, might cheer your arse up,” Traces of meat flew onto the wooden table as he spoke. Arren hung his cloak on the hook next to the door and shouldered his way into to food line.

 

 

Before he could devour the juicy rabbit leg that hung limp in his hand, one of his brothers, the fat one, burst into the common room.

“Samwell, couldn’t resist the food?” The commander chuckled, not realizing the state of Samwell’s unrest.

“I-I-I there’s som-mone at the gate Sir,” He stammered.

“We weren’t expecting anyone, did you ask for their house?” A frail voice said.

Everyone turned to see the Overseer hunched in his usual spot, steam rose in a spiral from the untouched soup in front of him. In the firelight you could see the way his skin folded upon folds, time had not been so kind to this man.

“I will be right out,” The commander’s voice had become rigid, almost as if it had taken another form.

Arran lowered the rabbit leg, scarcely touched and rose from the bench joining the other men who chose to trail the comotion.

 

A woman stood in the middle of the Iron Gate. As the group moved towards her she seemed to shy away, protecting something at her breast.

“What is the meaning of this,?” The Commander demanded.

Arren glanced at the men around him, their eyes seemed to shine like orbs of obsidian, as if their intentions began to manifest.

A pause and then with a shaky breath,

“I’m- I’m from the north of the wall,”

The woman was on her knees in an instant, the men around him were scowling and spitting outburst of profanity. Suddenly she was a criminal, an innocent figure grouped with monsters.

Arren watched, a bystander, he could not change her fate.

That rabbit leg is still waiting for me

He turned on his heel, ready to revisit the warm dias that sheltered his meal.

A high pitched wail stopped him in his stead. Turning back to the women, he now could spot a figure moving under the layers of her fur coat and then a face.

The Commander’s brow furrowed as if trying to make sense of the situation, coming to a conclusion the Commander’s eyes met Arren’s.

“You take first watch, she stays in cells until I say so,” He spoke with authority, with power, the kind that compelled men to follow his every order.

Everyone moved dispersing to the common hall, their next task, the commotion seemed to put a pause on their workings. But it was now over.

 

The air in the cells was colder than any tomb, more still and fridged.

It felt as if a great weight were pressing down on him, as if the spirits of those who perished there were watching him. Arren shivered, a chill in reaction to no temperature change.

The women held her child close; the Commander had agreed to let her keep it, telling her to savor their last few days together. The phrase made him ponder as to why the women would so foolishly wander into their domain knowing the consequences.

“Do you know anyone of the name ‘Arren’?” The women had moved up to the iron bars weary but keen for an answer.

He did not know how to respond, from up close he could make out the colour of her eyes, blue, he looked to the baby, blue as well.

“I cannot say that I do,” He replied.

She moved closer to him, grabbing his arm through the rusted bars.

“I need to know, please, please plea-,”

Several men entered the cells; the tallest paused and looked down at her arm on Arren’s.

“I see we’re late to the party,” He chuckled and began to move forward once more.

The women’s grip on Arren’s arm tightened, so tight that he could feel the dampening of blood on his sleeve.

“What do you want brothers?” Arren asked stiffly.

“Just a few minutes alone with lamb,” One of them replied, frowning at his tone

“Watch the baby while we.. talk with her,” Another added.

Arren was to disagree; he was a man of moral.

Upon glimpsing at the patches on their sleeves, he deduced that they were higher ranked then he was, he could not refuse.

“Of course,” A sharp intake of breath from behind him, It hurt him to say these words, it hurt him to have a hand in committing such a crime.

 

Arren stood outside the cells, trying to block out the bloodcurdling screams.

He stood there helpless, with the child of the women that was being raped just a few feet away from him asleep in his arms.

He stared into the grey sky unfolding above him, trying to find comfort in its aesthetic colors.

Something poked him in the chest; looking down at the child he spotted a note tucked away in its shirt collar. With one hand carrying the baby he carefully picked the note out of its? his, shirt. The paper held many cuts and stains, a long journey he supposed. The commander would need it to decide what to do with the women and her child.

So wearily, he read.

Dear Arren Garrenswove,

…….

 

The screams had stopped and so had Arren’s heart, he dropped the letter and broke down the locked cell door. Red stained the walls, it was everywhere, on the floor, on the ceiling and smeared onto her unmoving body.

“MARY, Mary, MARY!” Arren shrieked.

The baby was screaming, screaming along with him.

There, on the floor of the cell that he put her in, lay his sister’s corpse and in his hands was her son.

She was no northling.

 

~fin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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