You win or you die [Sansa Stark x Stannis Baratheon]

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  1. [​IMG]

    Stannis Baratheon,First of His name(Lord of the 7 Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm)

    "Your Grace..." the man who had disturbed him looked pale and frail, his cheeks were hollow, his jaw - bomy and one could spot his harsh features in the light of the bright bonfire. Sannis could very well recognise the obvious effects of malnutrition - his soldiers were enduring quite the torment here, in their frozen camp, while the traitorous Boltons and whoever other "lords" of the north had agreed to bend the knee to them were quite likely to be feasting in the halls of Winterfell, to which they did not belong. And that just made Stannis grind his teeth. The other thing that caused this reaction was the timidness of the soldier - it was true he was addressing a King, but such timidity wasn't healthy for a man, let alone a man at war. Unbefitting, yes indeed, but the man was nevertheless carrying out his duty and that won him some respect.

    "Speak up lad, I can barely hear you from over there. What is it?" Stannis' voice came out, harsh and loud, as usual, cutting through the awkwardness of the situation with the steel knife of urgency. His soldiers and even his lords might have been thinking he was sitting here, alone atop this would-be tower with the large bonfire in front of him, in order to speak to the Lord of Light, but that wasn't true. Stannis had a battle to plan. No - a campaign. Getting out of the North was not just needed for the survival of him and his men physically - it was required that they get out of this land with more force then they've had when they entered. So far, however, fate had been against him - the addition of the mountain clans surely helped quite a lot to recover his losses and then some, but this damned cold was taking out more of his soldiers than the wildlings and the Lannisters did. Unlike the human foes, however, he had nothing to do against the cold other than wait it out, trapped between a rock and a hard place, those being the wasteland beyond and the enemy stronghold in front. He would not back, of course, but marching anywhere in this condition was suicide... and Stannis was not a man to commit one. He did the best thing he could do with the time - plan his campaign while hoping his men showed some restraint and durability. It was taxing - both for him and his, but alas, such was their fate and men ought to rise up to their fate.

    When the weather cleared, he need to march against Winterfell, his soldiers were both bitter from the time spent in the snow and anxious to get their revenge of the enemy, both feelings reinforcing one another and as a commander he would take advantage of that. The Boltons and their allies were warm and cozy, yes, but warm and cozy doesn't make a good soldier. Determination does and he knew all about it. Some of his men were with him since that dreadful siege of Storm's End that he had endured and they must be aware of this as much as he was. However, unlike before, when he knew each men in his army had his back for sure, that was more than he could say for the force he currently lead. It was a sad thing for a leader to admit, yes, and Stannis hated it - deceit and trickery were some of the things he hated and despised more than anything in this bloody world, but for now he'd have to endure those - one of the far too many things he had had to endure in this accursed war since his brother's death. After all, he was undermanned and had less resources than all of his enemies - he couldn't afford to bring about punishments left and right to his limited soldiers risking desertion. The fact that at least half of those who'd come with him were turned into R'hllor zealots was a stretch enough, when it came to his army's espirit de corps.

    "Your Grace... m'lord Florent asks..." the man was obviously disturbed by the request he was supposed to convey and Stannis' stern silence, as he refuse to even turn his back at him didn't make anything easer "...m'lord Celtigars asks, that Your Grace allows him to give more of the unbelievers to the Lord of Light, so that He may lift this storm away for us. He claims the Lord is not answering our prayers because he needs more sacrifices."

    Stannis grinned his teeth even harder - he had been doing this far too often recently. "Half of my army is made up of unbelievers. Pray harder!" that was all he had to say and it was more than enough. Yet, as the man bowed and stepped back, visibly relieved, Stannis questioned whether a burning wouldn't actually do him any good. The Karstarks hadn't been very talkative since he had imprisoned them for the treachery they'd prepared, but perhaps seeing a man die a fiery death would make them far more willing to opt for the painless execution by accepting his offer and spilling their guts. Yet it wouldn't be just to execute one man solely for the sake of extracting information from another, even less so if it meant trading a subject for an enemy. Stannis turned his gaze from the fire and made his way down the tower at a fast pace - the time he had spent here was quite enough. He knew his new move at this point - he knew his moves for the entirety of his northern campaign, in fact. But to execute, he needed to make an appearance and reverberate his men - the southerners, at lest - it seemed that those northerners were taking the punishment of the winder far lighter than his own men - "summer knights"... was that how lady Stark had called them? He never quite understood the reason for that constant frown that northerners had for the knights of the south, but seeing the latter shiver and quiver as he walked across the camp, unescorted, he could very well see why. Unfortunately he couldn't confess his understanding neither to Lady Stark, nor to her husband, as both of them were dead long ago - just some of the many deaths and treasons he would need to avenge, one he had put his iron boot across King's Landing. Oh, how the streets of that den of debauchery would run with blood!

    "My King!"
    "Your Grace!"
    "Your Grace!"
    "King Stannis?"

    The King's movement throughout his camp hadn't gone without notice. Just as he expected, the idle men, bored and disheartened a couple of seconds ago had jumped in doves, following their King's rapid pace across the camp. They had all not seen him in a long time and rumours were a dangerous thing, especially in such times - it was best that everyone saw and heard him. Lords and knights went out from their cabins and tents, all alert after hearing the whisper that had traversed every mouth and was quickly carried like a virus by running footmen all across the crofter's village - "The King is on the move". Seeing him eager and, despite physically weakened, as decisive as always would work wonder on his troops, especially after their continuous apathy and exposure to adverse conditions - he had seen his brother doing it and although he wasn't Robbert, a King ought to act as one. The men following him were of a rather different kind than Robbert's were, anyway.

    "What's all the fuss?" he spoke loud and confident, after running a prolongued, iron-clad stare across all the men who were piling around him "Have I risen from the dead, or have I grown horns that you act as if not seeing your King before?" Many faces who had seemed overjoyed a second before went blank at the realisation of who he was and how they've reacted. Just as he needed them to. Some faces grew faint smiles and the most battle-hardened veterans remained unaffected at all. Good - he was a commander, not an orator, he didn't need applause and a kneel every time he took a shit. "Very well, since you are all here anyway, then I command you to begin preparations immediately. We do not know what the Boltons plan, but they could be upon us as soon as the snowfall stops. I want those woods chopped clean and spikes put in three lines all around the camp. Lord Florent, Ser Narbert Grandison, Ser Benethon Scales, Ser Dorden the Dour and Ser Lambert Whitewater" he paused naming most of the self-titled "queen's men" who were with him and staring into the eyes of every single one of them "I was made aware that you wanted to be of some use. Take charge of the lodging and foraging activities." he stared across them once more, noticing their revolted and annoyed expressions, adding "...Personally. Lords Wull, Burley, Harclay, Knott, Liddle and Norrey" he addressed all the mountain clans as lords, just as the Starks had - those men were supporters of his claim and if they rose to expectations, he would name them such officially, after taking power - "you are to assemble your men to receive a training on how to fight a mounted knight cavalry by my own royal guard."

    "Your Grace, we have been fighting ever since Ned took us for his war! I think our boys know a thing or two, if there's anyone who would need a lesson it's those pretty boys" lord Hugo, also known as "The Big Bucket" Wull had spoken out - the huge northerner was not only the leader of the most numerous clan, but also a self-appointed speaker for all of them - an openness which Stannis appreciated. "I was made aware of lord Burley's men getting massacred by Lord Greagor "The Hound" Clegaine, lord Wull. I was also aware that those same men had won the fighting competition amongst the clans during the same year. I also know, that every knight who is really worthy of the name is capable of running down Clegaine's pack of mongrels like a hot knife through butter. It is not your men's courage or strength that I'm questioning, it's merely their technique - the North doesn't have too many knights for you to meet." Stannis hadn't moved his gaze from Lord Wull's eyes the entire time he spoke. Most of his men had learned not to question him and those mountain clans would have to acquire the skill eventually. To his credit, the large man endured his intense stare and agreed "Well, there's not much to do anyways, why not make the men sweat a bit..."

    Stannis awarded him a quick nod and ordered the men to disperse. Two guards accompanied him, as he was getting ready to finally get some rest in his tent, despite the cold, after hearing the encouraging sounds of his men actually moving to some sort of action. He didn't really expect an attack, nor did he expect any good to come from either practising or setting up defences, but any work was better than standing idly in the snowfall. Nevertheless, his march was interrupted by Asha Greyjoy, his prisoner was actually running towards him without a guard and with a grim look on her face: "Your Grace...! " she yelled towards him, barely catching her breath - she had been running for some time, apparently. What could be so urgent... and why was the bloody Greyjoy without her guard?
  2. Sansa Stark
    "If I am ever a queen, I will rule these people with love instead of fear."

    It was the second time Stannis Baratheon's war banners darkened her horizon. She was far more fearful in the days of the past, a girl of porcelain instead of steel, but the reminder sent shivers down her spine. She had just become a woman at the Battle of the Blackwater, but some would say she'd become a woman now instead of then, now that she was "Lady Bolton." Her greatest fears by Joffrey's hands were carried out by her husband's. It seemed, with the sight of Stannis's flaming heart banners in the distance, that her circumstances hadn't much changed. But had they truly remained the same? Sansa felt stronger than the little girl in Maegor's Holdfast, crying under the Hound's gaze or Queen Cersei's cruel words. She was more powerful than she'd been before, more educated and empowered, and her sense of self-worth was indestructible despite everything, nurtured by her own will to survive. Surely Stannis would not throw away such a valuable ally, but that was assuming he actually won the fight and Ramsay did not retrieve her before fleeing. She could not think of a worse fate, for the night would see her a victim to Ramsay's joy.

    Not for the first time, she prayed for a Baratheon victory.

    Sansa would not wait to be saved, however, and retrieved the corkscrew she'd stashed under her mattress. Picking the lock was easier than she'd thought. Freedom, although rank with horrifying possibilities, was more desirable than the fate of her continued capture. Sansa pulled the hood of her cloak over her head and rushed from the top of the tower, down spiral stairs and out into the courtyard of Winterfell. Snow fell in sheets, blurring her vision in a familiar white. Eyes watched her every move. No one seemed to recognize her so long as she walked fast and kept her hair concealed. Battle was everywhere. Even inside the fortress, soldiers bustled here and there on unspoken missions, giving her no attention. If I could just make it to the Broken Tower, Sansa thought. If I can light the candle and signal to whoever's out there that I'm in desperate need, perhaps hope is still alive...

    That small kindling did not remain. Sansa rounded a corner too hastily and ran straight into the filthy rags and tortured body of Theon Greyjoy--or what remained of him. Sansa's eyes widened in panic upon their collision and she looked frantically around, seeing no one had noticed them. "You shouldn't--!"

    "Shh!" Sansa hushed. She covered Theon's mouth with a gloved hand and pushed him back against a wall, out of sight from the nearby soldiers. "You're not going to stop me, Theon. Not this time."

    Theon pushed her hand away. "He's gone to find you, Sansa. The fight's begun. He wants to--to hurt you for good luck. He's going to notice you're not there, and then he'll come back!"

    Her heart shot through her feet. "What? What about Winterfell?"

    "Doesn't matter," said Reek. "Ramsay's gonna find you and he'll make sure you suffer."

    "Not if I'm gone before then. Come on."


    "Theon." Her tone was stern yet kind. She cupped his cheeks in urgency, eyes digging into his and praying he would listen. "Don't stay here and suffer needlessly. Come with me. I'm not going to hurt you. You know I couldn't, regardless of what I said before. We can look for Bran and Rickon together. We can leave." Sansa's hands slowly fell from his face and she offered one to him, solemn and hopeful. "Don't make me leave you here alone."

    Reek's face was unreadable. The constant smudge of fear permanently staining his features masked his feelings, but when he took Sansa's hand there was certainty buried beneath. Ramsay's shouts of fury were lost to the wind as the duo of escapees mounted a spare horse together and bolted through Winterfell's open gates.

    To Stannis's front lines, Sansa thought desperately, arrows raining down around her. I will not wait to be rescued anymore.
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  3. [​IMG]

    "It has nothing to do with what I want. The Iron Throne is mine. By right. All those who deny that are my foes!"


    "Form the ranks! I want those spikes into the ground, planted firmly and I want every man to equip a spear with his sword!"

    Stannis did not need to listen to Asha's tale a moment longer than when she'd mentioned the name Bolton. He knew all too well what would follow, he had considered this possibility. Roose was a smart man and he knew all too well that those lords he had gathered cared not for him and his cause any more than he did for them - it was an alliance of mutual convenience - a pack of stray mongrel dogs, forming a cut-throat pact to avoid righteous damnation for what they've done. They grew to hate each other with every passing day, and the comforts of Winterfell exacerbated that. So, Roose had decided to march them forth - every man who fell in that fight would be one less enemy for Dreadfort and Stannis had little doubt the Lord of the Leeches would have his own men trailing last.

    He would not have it.

    "Yes your grace! Move along men, your King commands it! By R'hllor's fiery sword, victory for Stannis!!!" - several of his lords all went forward, each shouting similar orders and running towards his own men, to prepare them for the battle to come. Most other armies, hell, any other army would be caught off-guard by such an attack, most lords in the Seven Kingdoms couldn't scratch their butts without a proper war council. Not Stannis and not his men. The traitors of the North had made a tremendous mistake by underestimating him as a commander.

    "For Ned! For Bran, Rickon and Arya! For Winterfell!" - the yells of the mountain clans somehow combined into one ferocious howl, much more like a pack of wolves than men. He had little time to lecture them in the importance of a single combined battle cry - this would have to do.


    "Your Grace! Allow us to ride against Roose's cavalry! Those northern mongrels he has assmebled will not hold against real knights!" - Lord Robin Peasebury had approached him rapidly, with Lord Poddingfield and two of Stannis' own sworn knights -ser Ormund Wylde and ser Harys Cobb all catching up to them and raised their voices in approval.

    "You will do no such thing!" Stannis commanded, while mounting his own steed and looking around for a suitable high enough place that would allow him to overlook the battlefield "Assemble all my knights, Lord Peasebury, take half the men and ride south, away from the woods, Ser Cobb, inform Ser Richard Horpe, that he is to take the other half and ride north. You are to wait until the battle had fully commenced and strike the Bolton army in the back, executing a pincer move. You will be informed if you are needed in the woods."

    "Yes, your Grace!" Lords Peasebury and Poddingfield both bowed and hurried together, anticipating the honour of having the final say in the battle. The knights, however were not pleased that Ser Horpe was the one chosen to lead them and not one of them, their voices raising above one another in loud discontent. "You shall do as I ask, or I shall give you to the Lord of Light myself the moment this battle is over." - Stannis' voice was as categorical as can be, as he ushered his horse forward, followed by the king's guard.

    "Your Grace!" how had Asha Greyjoy acquired a horse?! "Your Grace, let me fight! The Bolton bastard has disgraced my family and murdered my brother, let me have my revenge!"

    "Lady Asha, you are my prisoner and you are to behave as such." he barely looked at her, while still searching for a good place to oversee the fight

    "Your brother was famous for turning old enemies into friends, Your Grace! I am not a lady, make me your man, I beg of you, let me fight!" she sounded as desperate as she was angry

    "The gods did not make you into a man, so how could I?" he had found what he was looking for and galloped forward, not leaving her time to respond


    The battle commenced just as he had expected - Roose's cavalry was ample and it charged forward without delay - they had hoped to run through his mostly unmounted troops and force chaos in his ranks... and they were successful. Despite the trenches and spears, despite the spikes planted in the snow, his frontlines were broken in several places, allowing the cavalry to charge across the woods and regroup, in the back of his men for another decimating strike. However, the only space they could use for that purpose was the frozen lake, the one which his men had poked completely full of holes in order to catch fish. hundreds and hundreds of armoured riders galloped across it, lining in formation, when a sudden warcry forced all the men who were not prepared to turn their heads and hear it. "THE NORTH REMEMBERS!" - less than a few dozen clansmen jumped from nearby trees, or simply burrowed out of the snow around the lake, smashing its borders with their steel hammers. The cavalry knew what was about to transpire, but their panic all but exacerbated the situation, as the already cracking icy cover completely broke apart, under their horses' panicked hooves. "Oh, you can't die yet!!!" The clans Burley and Harclay - the first one being decimated by Clegane on their way to The Twins and the Harclays, having been present during the Red Wedding saw their men jumping half-naked into the frozen waters, holding knives inbetween their teeth as they struggled to personally murder as much of the drowning men as they could. Not a thing Stannis had commanded or would even approve, but there was hardly anything to do about it right now.

    Meanwhile, as his frontlines met the enemy footmen and dealt with what was left of the cavalry, two simultaneous war cries, from both North and South echoed through the distance. Only one word was shouted - "STANNIS, STANNIS, STANNIS, STANNIS!!!" He could hear the clashing of steel-clad knights slashing through the Boldon backlines, or whatever was left our there. He could do nothing more from the observer's position, all his designs had already transpired, and with righteous anger forcing his hand, he raised Lightbringer high for all the men around him to see and charged forward, moving in order to lead his frontlines personally, as his guard and all the men he passed through echoed the same warcry - his name.

    "Stannis, Stannis, Stannis!"


    "Your grace! YOUR GRACE!" two cavalry men rode towards him, amidst the fray of the battle. As he moved to look at them and took off his helmet's Visor, his men formed a tight circle around him, isolating him from the battle. "Your Grace, we've salvaged these two running for our lines, escaping Winterfell. They clam to be-" the knight looked back on his horse to ask for the names he had forgotten. It was only then, that Stannis actually noticed two frail bodies, both without armour and both looking like they've taken some beating. One had long hair and seemed to be a woman, the other - an old man. What could have been so important, as to interrupt him amidst battle - more importantly - to make those two knights give up the glory of battle!
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  4. Sansa Stark
    "If I am ever a queen, I will rule these people with love instead of fear."

    Sansa was truly exhausted. Malnourished. Bruised. Sore. She was weakened by all medical account, nor should she be riding a horse so recently after being abused for Ramsay's pleasure, but she was the Stark heir and winter was her strength. Snowfall left her empowered, boldened by her surroundings, and the howl of distant wolves made her straighten her aching back. Theon kept his arms around her, which she did not mind, knowing he was harmless. The group surrounding King Stannis moved for Sansa to come forward atop the weary horse. Like a declaration, she removed the hood from her head. Bright orange hair blew like flame in the wind, and she ignored the gasps of realization from those surrounding her. Sansa felt powerful again. Her identity came from her mother's gift of beauty, her father's name and her brother's royal title. But Sansa Stark was a force all her own.

    It was the time the Seven Kingdoms heard her howl.

    "Your Grace," she said with a voice as confident as she felt. "My name is Sansa Stark, last surviving daughter of Eddard and Catelyn Stark, and rightful Wardenness of the North. My home has been invaded by the Boltons. Please, help me take it back and I will give you my aid and the wrath of the North in support of your claim."

    These were the demands Stannis wanted, were they not? There was more to Sansa's story than she would reveal before his knights, but she may not live to tell it, and Stannis may not live to hear. She would have to pick her words carefully and help the king win this battle for the sake of her own safety.

    She waited to hear his response before she furthered her proposal. ​
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