Chapter Twenty One::Walk With Me

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Looking up to the person stood beside her and her brother, Raina felt something sink in her stomach, something painfully heavy. Stood, looking down at them, was Lady Stark, someone who had not been particularly fond of Ray since the start, and having potentially heard that previous conversation, things would surely not end well with her from here onwards. She had a polite smile lurking on her wise features, one that misguided Raina into believing there could be nothing wrong, even when there probably was. For what reason could Robb's mother wish to speak with her unless there was something important that needs to be discussed.

"Of course, m'lady." Raina stammered, jolting to her feet quickly. Lady Catelyn said nothing else, but simply began to walk away from the group, only now with Raina trailing cluelessly behind her. Casting one final look back to her brother, Raina felt the sinking in her stomach grow from the look of complete terror filling Finn's eyes. He suspected, just as she did, that things could go terribly wrong with just a few words from the King's mother. Given the chance, Raina would've looked to Rodrik as well, only by the time she'd thought of it, she was forced into walking further away from her two closest friends, leaving them out of sight. Catelyn said nothing for quite sometime, ensuring that the two of them were a good distance away from anyone before she began to conversation that had brought her in search of Raina in the first place. Raina, wincing as Catelyn begin to talk, was almost stunned to hear the words that came out. "Your father has spent some time with the King today, complicated business, but I thought it would give the two of us a chance to talk in the meantime." Catelyn began, her voice not wavering from a simple, pleasant tone, which shocked Raina even more. "Excuse me?" She spat out in surprise, her eyes widening when it had registered what Lady Stark had actually said. Catelyn merely chuckled, a warm smile on her face as she looked to the completely confused girl at her side. "My dear, I have known you since the day you were born. I might be getting older, but my eyesight is well enough to recognise you, even with your new haircut," Catelyn said, her eyes locking with Raina's as they stopped on their walk. It was fair to say that Raina was speechless; she hadn't even considered Lady Catelyn being able to identify her, all she had cared about was Robb and her father, never considering a woman who had fared as a second mother to her for most of her life.

"You've known all this time?" Raina inquired, scared that Catelyn would announce something worse, like her having told the King, or her father. "I must admit you had me fooled at first, when Robb brought you back to the Camp. But it was when the pair of you started practicing together, and when my son kept you at his side, that I noticed it. You two, despite your age, are still the same children you used to be." Catelyn mused, an odd sense of pride growing in her words. "I am ashamed that Robb has still not recognised it yet," She added quietly, her words hitting Raina like a brick wall. "You mean to say you have not told him?" She questioned quickly, her head whipping around to face Catelyn again. Lady Stark smiled, bringing a cool hand to Raina's cheek, "My dear, I knew from the day I saw you again that there was a reason you were here; that there was something wrong, but it was your place to tell Robb that, not mine. I trusted that you knew what you were doing, and that when the time came when you were ready to tell Robb of your true name, that you would do it without motivation. I have always had you best interests at heart, just like I have with my own children, and your safety, and I would never dream of doing anything that might compromise that." Catelyn exclaimed, her hand still placed affectionately on Raina's face whilst she talked. Raina was overwhelmed, not once had Raina ever heard such kindness from either of her parents, nor anyone in her family for that matter, and to hear it from someone whom she'd grown up admiring, had her feeling an odd sense of security.

"Thank you," She gushed, still phased by the loving words she had just heard. Catelyn's smile grew, as she reached for Raina's hand affectionately. "May I ask you something?" Raina asked timidly, watching Catelyn's welcoming expression. "Of course," Catelyn replied instantly, "what is it?" "How did our families, after so long of being close, drift apart so easily?" Raina inquired, that being the first thing that came to her head at this time. Catelyn had said she'd known Raina since the moment she was born, which was true, but Raina could not help but notice how long that had been, and that the Stark's had known the Glovers long before her coming along, and then suddenly it stopped. "It was a difficult time, with you all rapidly aging our families became devoted to our children, they of course are the ones to succeed us after all. But I believe that that was our very downfall. My husband had thought you and Robb would make a good match, for marriage, when of the right age. It would link two old Northern families together, he said, and it isn't as though they do not know or like one another. I'd agreed with him on that, if there were ever a logical match for my son at the time, then it should be you. House Stark and House Glover had always been close families, but this would surely secure a permanent alliance between us. The only issue was your father. He'd already intended on you marrying a Forrester, and instead requested your sister be the one to marry Robb. We hardly knew your sister, as she and your mother scarcely visited Winterfell, compared to you and your brothers. You can imagine our cautiousness on the matter, but we were prepared to consider such a union. It was only when your mother refused the offer that things became bad. She'd not wished for her daughter to marry a Stark, but instead wanted to send her South to find a decent Lord in King's Landing. It all kicked off from there, when we'd proposed the alternative of you and Robb, your family became defensive, and were offended we'd think that such a match would ever happen. I don't know the details of your family's side of it, but from that point onwards we hardly saw you again, until one day it just stopped, and that was that. Like we'd never known you." Raina felt horrible, the news of her family having caused the detachment made her feel sick to her stomach, and guilty on her parents behalf. "That sounds like them," Raina mumbled, bowing her head, ashamed of the name she still carried. How had she not suspected it to be her father? He is the one, after all, to ruin every decent relationship he's ever had in his life, as well as destroying it for his children. It's like he wants their happiness to burn.

"Do not blame them for this-" Catelyn sighed, "They only wanted whats best for you and your sister," "I blame them for a lot more than this." Raina snapped, "They wanted to marry me to Ramsay Snow, instead of Robb, I can't help but feel there is some lack of logic there," She continued, infuriated at the thought of all her family had done to wreck her and her sibling's lives. They wished to send Esme South? This was the first Raina had ever heard of such an idea, and yet Esme was still at Deepwood Motte, Finn had only just received a letter from her this morning. There was so much of her family Raina did not know of, and it made her mad beyond belief. All these things had been kept from her and the rest of her family, and only now, when she was incapable of doing anything about it, did she find out all that her family had done. Catelyn said nothing, and simply gave the girl a sympathetic look. There was an element of understanding in said look, one that almost hinted to her knowing Raina's situation more now than she had done before they had started their conversation.

"Lady Stark!" Called the voice belonging to a squire, whom ran towards them from across a grassy hill. "The King wishes to speak with you!" The squire announced, once standing a few feet away from them. Catelyn nodded to the squire, and watched as he dashed off again just as quickly as he'd came, leaving them to say their farewells. "I am glad you had this chance to talk," Catelyn smiled, holding Riana's hands carefully. "I do hope I shall see you again soon," And with that she began to walk away, leaving the Glover girl in silence. There was an aching fear of what Catelyn would do with her knew found knowledge of Raina, but all she could do was trust that Lady Stark had meant what she had said before, and would not divulge her as Raina feared she might.

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