Chapter Thirty Eight::The Vale

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As it turned out the King's men had not been as far from the Vale of Arryn as they'd previously assumed, meaning that through the night Raina had managed to cross the border without really acknowledging it. She hadn't been entirely sure where it was she was venturing to, only knowing that if she could continue to travel eastward, she might eventually make it to a coastline, which, in any case, she could follow North or South and still end up in familiar territory. North would lead her to White Harbour, where she could seek refuge with House Manderly, old friends of her family and bannermen of House Stark. And South would lead her, eventually to Storm's End, where she might reunite with Margaery, and King Renly. However, first there was the matter of actually reaching the coast without being stopped by Arryn guards, or travelling men serving any king besides Robb. And even still, if they were Northerns, there was nothing stopping them from taking her straight back to him without hesitation. 

Raina had almost forgotten the worry that accompanied running, it had been over a year since she'd last partaken in such a thing. She could still picture the night vividly, when she had jumped from her window, scaled the side of the tower and ran out into the rain, and the dark. Leaving behind her sister. The night had been pure blackness, and would have otherwise scared Raina enough to send her home, yet she was desperate, and persistent enough to keep on going, as she must be now, in venturing, instead of before when she had done the opposite, as far away from the King as she could get. Every word Catelyn had said, no matter how much Raina had hated to hear it, had been true. Raina had been the cause behind Robb's refusal to Walder Frey, and even if he had wanted to do so since the day he made the agreement in the first place, she had still be the reason he had finally decided to refuse. And with her gone, he might stand a chance at making it up to the Lord he would have angered by denying him a husband for one of his many daughters. And with her gone, he might actually go through with it, instead of being blinded by a love that could so easily dissolve into war. Raina loved Robb, she always had, and if she could have her way, she would beg of him not to marry anyone but her, however, in a world such as this, one does not get their own way very often. Especially when a King is involved, they must do what is right, and what is sensible, even if it is something they would prefer not to do. And although Raina would give anything to remain at Robb's side for as long as she could, she knew that would ultimately lead to an untimely end for them both, as she was blocking Robb's rational thoughts, and needed to be gone for him to act as a King, and not a love sick boy. 

It stung to have to talk of him in such a way, as Raina had always loved him passionately, but it had to be said. Just as Catelyn had to push her away. She knew herself that if Robb refused Walder, he would lose allies and assistance he would later rely on, and would make an enemy out of a Lord that should not be crossed, or betrayed. Raina had feared that since the day Robb declined his proposal, she'd even told Robb of her thoughts, and had been naive enough to let him convince her that it would be alright, with his pretty words, and longing looks. Perhaps with the two of them apart things could play out as they were obviously meant to, Raina separated from the rest of her family, and Robb as a King, fighting for the North, leaving Raina to imagine what life would be like at his side, as she had done for many years in the past, and would probably do for quite a while into the future. 

On the road through the Vale, Raina found herself trying hard to focus on anything but Robb, and how he must have reacted when realising she had left. She didn't want to imagine his reaction, as it would more than likely hurt quite substantially, to picture the betrayal that had returned to his eyes upon hearing the news, the pain and hurt he would surely feel. It made Raina feel sick once more to know she had caused these feelings for a second time, when Robb had done nothing but requite her feelings towards him. Even when it was probably frowned upon. And here, walking along a dirt ridden track, through a land Raina had never before seen, she hated herself more than ever, for lying, and then within months going on to do this. She knew her brothers would not fret much over her disappearance, as they would more than likely assume she'd run off again, in fear of something or at least with decent cause, as would the Forresters; who knew her too well to believe she would hurt the King purposefully by leaving. However, Robb might not so easily have seen it that way. 

The Vale was not, in any way, different to the North. The same trees towered over the roads like shelters formed of wood and leaves, the same muddy roads, and rocky landscape surrounding them, the same brittle winds haunting the trail, and biting at the passengers of it, misleading sunlight illuminating the area, as within Northern country, and that of the Riverlands. It all seemed to blur together, all the Seven Kingdoms seemed so alike, the half of it Raina had seen at least. She used to dream about places like Casterly Rock, and Dawn, where the sun would shine continuously, and the orange haze of dusk would forever light the streets of High Garden, or King's Landing, beautiful cities that would never fall into a cold darkness like places in the North. Up in this half of Westeros, things were brutal, hostile and freezing, and in the winter they were worse. Spending weeks, out in the elements, without even the warmth of company, had Raina imagining the sun in the South more and more with each passing day. 

"Halt." Came a voice from behind the young girl, who hadn't long walked onto a main road. She presumed guards of some kind, though upon turning to face the owner of said voice, was pleasantly relieved to find something quite familiar. "Who are you?" Asked the surprisingly deep voice, as the owner of it approached cautiously, sword raised at Raina, and a threatening glare haunting her gaze. Raina merely stopped, eyes trained on the beast of a woman in front of her,  not phased at all by the large weapon that was held at her. "Raina, of House Glover." She sighed, despising the way the words tasted on her tongue. It had taken quite a bit of will to not instinctively reply with Ray, a simple stonemasons son, whom had become her identity for over a year now. Whenever fronted with strangers, that had always been her reply. Until now. Much good it would do, lying to a familiar face, when almost everyone Raina had hidden from, knew of her whereabouts, more or less, and knew of her actions over the year she had supposedly been missing. The game had, finally, ended. Brienne, the woman threatening the young Glover, frowned, curiosity lingering in her contorted expression as she stared intently at the small figure before her. "You were in the Stormlands, with Queen Margaery. You were in the company of the King," Brienne recalled, her sword lowering as she spoke. Raina nodded, fidgeting in the cold that lingered on the open road. "My apologies m'lady. I did not intend to offend you, I was merely being cautious." Brienne stuttered quickly, bowing her head as she took a step closer, her face having soften upon realising whom it was she was addressing. "It is quite alright, Brienne, no harm done. I would have done the same had I come across an unfamiliar person," Raina stated quickly, trying her best to smile in acknowledgement, somewhat relieved to have such brave company on the wild road that lay ahead. 

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