No one can call her as whimsical, nor wild as her little sister, and no one would ever call her as brave, either. Being their papa’s heir might bring about great responsibility, but no one would expect her to leave her home. Today, Lady Wynafryd’s bravest action might just be to accept this suitor’s hand in marriage, and yet as she looks at his pasty skin, worm-like lips, and silky beard, all she can hear are her sister’s whispers in her mind.
“He is ugly, Fred.” Wylla would say, “Look at how weak his arms are! Can he even swim?”
Fred’s lips twitched a little, a response Rhaegar Frey took to be approval of his charm, and Wylla continued to crow in the back of her mind.
“Look at his belly! He is to be as fat as grandpapa, sister.”
Grandpapa, for true, also looks at her as if he believes her to approve of this match, much to his hidden dismay. He is far cleverer than most would think, and most would think him insipid for his size, but Fred, Fred knows better. Fred, who since her birth has been carefully groomed by him for leadership, ahead of her papa almost, has been grandpapa’s little girl, doted upon as much as she dotes upon him.
Oh, she of course loves her papa dear, but her grandpapa was the one who taught her to swim as a babe in his large tub (back when he could fit in it, of course), the one who still held all of her and Wylla’s childish scratchings as they learned their letters and mermaids, as well as her first terrifying attempts at her stitches with Septa.
“My dear, you are seventeen now-you must be wed soon, else people may begin to talk.” Her papa had quietly said after the Freys were sent home to their towers inland, somewhere Fred knows she could never stand, to be so far from the sea. Over a river, yes, but a river can only take you in two directions, narrow and strictly guiding you up and down its path. The sea is where man is most free.
Wylla had written her many letters when she first had left, arriving at Winterfell to find it landlocked, but Wylla was Wylla, and Wylla knew how to adjust. Fred was a little more set in her ways, having decided from a young age that yes, she was to rule White Harbour one day, to stay by the sea the rest of her life. Though she knows this to be no longer true, growing into her papa’s inheritance, grandpapa’s succession, she sometimes still thinks this.
Fred looks out the window, down to the city below, listening to the rowdy yells of the sailors at the docks, thinks on the boy she had told Wylla about (far more than should be safe for a raven, but Fred knew her sister would appreciate it), the boy, nay, man, these people papa was scared would talk about. Eryn was no true love, but he was a lover, and she a mermaid, and she would not let him drown.
“Let them talk, papa. Let them drown in their talk.”
It is to be but days from now when she finds out that Wylla is headed for King’s Landing, following the Stark girl there. She tugs at her braids, sticky with salt, thinks on her young sister’s bravery, leaving the home she had grown to love yet again, pondering at her own, if she would ever test it.