i remember him well enough

2

The heat was unbearable. Beggars crowded the streets of King’s Landing, desperately following the shadows of the tallest buildings as the sun moved in the sky. Gendry was grateful for having been an apprentice smith in his youth because, while constantly on the move this past ten years, he had always managed to feed himself and even to help some poor souls. There had been a time when his dreams were filled with images of brave knights, when he believed glory was within his reach. Pain and humiliation found him instead- through the sea, straight to the lair of a red witch. The memory of his weakness, when the lust of youth became a memento of his father’s blood rushing in his veins, still made him feel like gagging. He never speaks unless called to do so, never consorts with prostitutes or any other kind of woman. The only liberty allowed to him is the pleasure coming from his creations, from the hard work, from the feeling that every drop of sweat drains the shame and unworthiness of his nature from his body. Working in the smithy was a mean to survive and a ritual of atonement. No thoughts were crowding his mind when suddenly- the hammer in his right hand posed just above his head, ready to free the blow that would mould the steel on the anvil- a breeze made him stop. It was fresh and sharp, like the feeling of the wind on your skin when you are coming out of the water. Dawn had just broken and there was no reason for him to abandon his work and leave but, for a moment, the walls of the forge seemed to be closing down on him and all he could think of was this sudden need to run and reach the forest at the outskirt of the city where he would be able to breath again. Civilisation was left behind him and the Red Keep looked so small that if he closed one eye and put his hand where the rocky foundations lay on the horizon, the palace seemed to fit in his palm. A sense of uneasiness lingered but Gendry didn’t have time to consider its nature because he was seized by the burliest men he had ever seen- quite the most unusual view since up until that moment he had been the burliest man he had ever seen. He was gagged, blindfolded, and bound, carried on someone’s shoulder like a sack of flour. He hit the ground several minutes later and was made to stand.

‘What is the meaning of this?’

A man’s voice resonated, even though it was just more than a whisper. And rarely had Gendry been more grateful.

'We don’t abduct civilians.’

He was freed, the ropes cut from his wrists, his feet, and his face, yet he had the impression that it would not be any easier to escape now. The man in front of him was slim and though he looked younger than Gendry, his eyes suggested he was much wiser than his age. He was standing with the aid of a cane and from the tension of the muscles in his arm, Gendry could see it was with considerable effort. Then, the tallest among the men that had abducted him spoke.

 'We do when they look like him. The Lannister’s will soon seize every capable-looking man to join their army. We don’t need those like him on the other side. We kill them now and we won’t have to worry later.’

These words were received with silence. Even the men who seemed to agree with this sentiment stopped nodding their approval when they caught the other man’s gaze. Gendry’s would-be-killer shifted his weight from one leg to the other.

'Very well, Bran, if you won’t have him killed what do you suggest we do now that he has seen us, uh? Should we simply let him go? Like that, we let him go straight inside the city. Why don’t we just go with him ourselves? It would be much easier to die, in that way-’

'I won’t tell anything if you-’

Gendry didn’t get to finish the sentence because two soldiers seized both his arms and made him bend over while the one who wanted him dead gripped his hair and pulled. He got closer and when his face was a breath away from Gendry’s he said:

'You don’t have the privilege of participating in this discussion. Whether you’ll live or die-’

'That’s enough, Rickon.’ Bran took a step forward.

'Or, what? You would slit my throat, brother?’

No one was moving. Gendry wouldn’t move even if he had the chance. The man called Rickon had released his death-like grip on Gendry’s hair and had stepped closer to his brother.

'He wouldn’t. But I would.’

Gendry raised his head so quickly that all the muscles in his neck screamed in pain. But he knew that voice. He had heard it before. Decades ago, it had been higher, almost childlike- even if no one would have ever considered it such or said so at the time. And, definitely, not in front of her.

But the woman Arya Stark of Winterfell had become, he did not know. He had known the little girl who had lost everything, who had survived atrocious experiences, and that, occasionally, had had a kind smile and a tart reply for a Southern bastard boy.

'You don’t mean to free him, do you? That would be insane, even for you, sister.’

'Oh, we won’t free him.’

Gendry’s throat was not working, he wanted to scream, he wanted to tell her that he was her friend, that he was Gendry, her Gendry. He had thought about her so much. He had longed for her, for their friendship, because he thought that somehow she would have understood him. She would have approved of his cunning plan: hiding right under the Lannister’s noses. Her eyes would have gleamed with mischief when he would have told her he was now known to all as Jon Waters, that he took her favourite brother’s name to be undetected.

'He’ll be our prisoner. You have never been to King’s Landing- neither of you- and I don’t remember it all that well. We’ll use him.’

She gripped his arm then and commanded him to move. He would wear bruises from her grip more than from the other men’s grip.

When Arya realised she was being followed by her brother Rickon’s soldiers, she stopped and sent them a glare even more deadly than that of Bran. They reprised their walk and moved towards the tents.

The moment they left the crowd of soldiers behind, Gendry finally managed to talk.

'I am Gendry. Waters. Arya, I am Gendry, we knew each other, we-’

'For all the Gods, shut your mouth.’

He was silenced once more and a cold shiver run down his spine. He couldn’t feel the summer heat anymore.

'You were always stupid. Always the stupid one. You. Not me.’

He stopped and stared at her. She stared him back.

'So, you see, I remember well enough.’

He smiled at her. He couldn’t help it. 

'Take that smile off your stupid face and keep walking.’

She didn’t smile back but he would have sworn that her grey eyes looked a bit less haunted and bit more forgiving.

heraldofthewinds  asked:

/)///v///(\

“Eönwë…” Mairon’s voice carried a hint of melancholy . “I remember him well, well enough to still hear his voice in my ears and feel his hair between my fingers. Sometimes I miss him; sometimes I regret leaving just because I left him behind, and I know I left him in pain.” He sighed. “He is too loyal for his own good and has an unwavering honor, without mentioning his golden heart. The thought of staining him with my touch almost pains me, and this is the only reason I did not seek to bring him to my side yet, even if my desire to do so is great, burning within my heart with fervor.”

@heraldofthewinds