It had been eight days since Theon had left her with a handful of her men behind him and went to fight for Winterfell. Went to fight for the Starks.
Yara had become anxious as more time passed. She could barely sleep now, fearing the worst had happened. She barely touched the fish that the kitchen maids brought out for her during dinner, poking at it with her fork and only stuffing a few pieces into her mouth. She didn’t have the appetite for much more. But she drank through all the wine and ale that was in the towers, even finding some in her father’s old bed chambers and drinking that as well.
Qarl, her good friend and much trusted warrior, kept trying to calm her nerves and tell her that all was fine. That Theon was safe and probably just taking a rest after the big battle and would write to her any day or arrive off a ship and surprise her, boosting about how amazing he had been and what a great fighter he and the other men had been.
It calmed her nerves slightly, allowing her to have a quick nap in her chambers before tending to more matters from the poor folk down at the port.
She had barely rested for 15 minutes when a loud knock came to her door, her handmaidens voice coming from behind it. “A raven just arrived from the North, m’lady.”
She groaned, rolling herself off of the bed and tugging on her breeches and shift, her bare feet padding across the cold stone and towards the door. She swung it open, scaring the young girl that stood on the other side, gripping the letter in her hand.
“Give it here then.”
The girl thrust it out towards her, Yara taking hold of it as she moves past her and down the hall, the girl following along behind her. The direwolf sigil stared the young kraken in the face, almost taunting her. She felt the shiver going down her spine but pushed it off.
It was probably Theon, telling how amazing he had done, how her other men were on their way back across the sea to her and how he was staying in the North. He’d tell her it was for the Stark’s, all of them. But she knew better. She knew it was for a certain Stark that he had shared time with. A certain Stark that understood his pains more than Yara ever could.
Her thumb hooked underneath the wax and ripped it open as she walked down the stone staircase and into the Great room where her Seastone chair sat. She still felt weird sitting upon it, like the ghost of Balon Greyjoy was scoffing and huffing from the Drowned Gods watery halls.
She felt the presence of her young handmaiden and Qarl, who wasn’t exactly the quietest when entering a room with his big mud covered boots, standing behind her and watching. The air was thick, none of the three of them knowing what was said in the letter.
As soon as Yara opened it, she noted it was not from Theon. It wasn’t his messy, childlike writing. It was neat, curled and definitely took time to write and think out.
It was from Daenerys.
Usually a raven from her favourite woman would bring her delight. Usually it would fill her with joy and she’d have a big grin on her face while hearing all about Jon Snow, the bastard that had turned up at Daenerys door and demanded her help.
This letter did not have the same light-hearted feeling to it. Yara could feel the sadness that came off of it. It gave the same to her as the same feeling the letter Ramsay Bolton had sent to her father years past. That same feeling of bile in her throat and light in her head.
And as she read the words, eyes skimming over them, a great sadness came over her at the news her men had fallen. Daenerys used all of their names, because she was respectful and knew all of their names. Yara noted mentally that she’d tell their families later, when she had the chance.
They had all fought well, and had protected the youngest living Stark. The one that was crippled. The one they say could see things.
It was the next sentence that caused the air to leave Yara’s lungs, and her knees to almost buckle from underneath her.
I am so sorry, Theon also fell. Bran tells he was the last one standing, and sacrificed himself to give more time. He died a hero.
Her heart raced against her chest, the bile rising in her throat. She gulped, straightening her back as she gripped the letter in her hands, nails almost ripping it.
“Leave me.” Her voice was different, lost. She hardly recognised her own voice. Gone was the strength, the power that had won her over the Iron Islands. It was a voice she hadn’t had since she lost her mother as a young girl. A voice she hadn’t had when her father was pushed from the bridge and murdered.
They both tried to protest against it, noting that it could not be good news from their Queens voice and the fact she wished to be left alone. It only fuelled Yara’s anger more. Not towards them, but the Starks. Once again another family member lost, another person she loved lost because of the damned wolves.
“I said leave me.” Her jaw clenched, turning to stare at the fire that burned beside the Seastone chair.
“You shouldn’t be alon-”
“I said get the fuck out!” She screams right at the fire, her voice ringing throughout all of the towers. She heard the scurry of feet as the both of them left, leaving her alone in the dark room.
She could barely feel her legs as she moved towards the chair, sitting down onto it and leaning back, still clutching the letter within her hands. Of course she had taken moments alone after her father’s death. She needed time to think of who had murdered him, and then her brother had turned up at the door, after being held captive for years.
Her brother. Her baby brother.
Her baby brother was gone. Truly gone this time. Daenerys said so herself.
She didn’t feel how she felt when she left him back at the Dreadfort. Not when she just wrote him off as dead and tried to not feel guilt of leaving him behind and not fighting harder. This time she knew. There was no chance he was coming back.
She hoped he had made it to the Drowned God’s watery halls. For a moment she almost wished for him to find their family, but she knew that she didn’t want him with father, or Maron and Rodrik. She hoped he found their mother. She even hoped he found that damned boy Robb Stark that he always was so loyal to.
She hoped his death was quick. She hoped he wasn’t in pain for too long. Was his eyes still open when they had found him, or did he shut them and just accept it?
She hadn’t noticed the tear that had leaked from her right eye and was rolling down her cheek. She quickly swiped it away, not wanting anyone to see her crying. She hadn’t cried for her father. She hadn’t cried for any of her men that had died. She never cried for Ellaria or her children.
Ironborn do not mourn. That’s what her father had always told her.
But as she looked down at the letter again, dark blue eyes finding the words that Daenerys had written to her. Theon died a hero.
She was proud of that. He got what he wanted, forgiveness by the sounds of it. But it didn’t stop the hurting. Didn’t change the fact her baby brother was gone.
The sobs came from her before she could stop them, and she swore she could hear someone entering the room again, but she didn’t even have the energy in her to turn and tell them to get out. She just cried, throwing the letter into the fire in anger and watched it burn through her tear filled eyes.
As soon as Qarl's arms came around her, hugging her tightly to his chest, she let out an anger filled scream. She heard the birds flying away from the windows because of it, and the waves crashing harder against the rocks. She swore the whole castle went silent, mourning along with their Queen.
“My Queen… I am so sorry.” He hushed into her ear, stroking her hair.
She never accepted comfort before. She was strong, she didn’t need it because Yara never cried before. The people of Pyke could swear she didn’t have any tears left in her from crying so much when it had been her mother’s body they sent off into the waves.
Was she going to get to send her brothers off into the waves? Or had they burned him without a thought like Daenerys said they did to the rest of the bodies?
“M-My baby brother is gone… Theon is gone…” She howled out, turning her face to hide it into the crook of his neck. She was thankful that Qarl did not judge her for mourning, for weeping for her brother.
Qarl didn’t answer, only held her tighter and allowed her to cry harder.
“He should have been here. Home. He should have been here with me.”