3 Chapter 3: Marching off to war

Long has it been since Harry knew of love. Ever since he found out he was an immortal he had tried to live the life he had with Daphne and his daughters Stephanie and Gwyneth in full. He knew he would live to see his children and grandchildren grow old yet he lived by their side as happy as one could be. He made the best of the time he had with his family before quietly fading away into anonymity lest seekers of immortality and power target his family as a means to capture him.

The only one with whom he confided his woes was his wife. Daphne was the one who concocted the plan and made him swear to live out the rest of his life. It was her advice that gave him the strength to plough on and live the time he was gifted. She was the one who taught him how precious life was and as she said on her deathbed; All life has a purpose. But, purpose does not appear in an instant. We create a purpose in life. After I'm gone I want you to find another purpose.

When Daphne closed her eyes never to open them again, he followed her advice to the letter. He found a new purpose one that ensured he would be detached from emotional attachments. His new purpose was knowledge.

After making sure his daughters stood on their own legs he began his journey around the world. It was a changed world he stepped into as the existence of the wizarding world became public knowledge. Despite some rising tensions, he began his quest to acquire more knowledge.

Muggle or magical knowledge, didn't make a difference to Harry. He studied everything worth studying regardless of their origin. He travelled the world learning different languages, experiencing different cultures, adopting new cuisine. Those travels even helped him cope with his existence as he observed the troubles that bothered other people. His voes were trivial in comparison.

Then, the war happened.

It was inevitable in his opinion. Anyone who was intimately aware of human behaviour could have predicted war was inevitable.

Despite stringent progress within wizarding communities across the globe they failed to realize how destructive muggles and their ability to wage war can be. The muggles were not a single tribe just as the people of the wizarding world. They were more than ready to destroy themselves so long as their perceived 'enemies' were destroyed. Not to mention the political leaders of muggles were mad lunatics believing in an all-powerful God who demanded an apocalypse to 'cleanse' the unworthy from Earth.

Seriously! One would hope people have enough sense not to worship genocidal maniacs!

Nope! People were perfectly happy to trash the world so long as they were allowed in their heaven, a concept cooked up by bronze age barbarians.

Well, if one needs to get to heaven they've got to die first. Of course, this led to all religious nut jobs in the world to wage a 'holy crusade' in the name of their God.

What started as a war for resources later turned into a stupid genocidal war based on humanity's imaginary friend in the sky.

Growing up, Harry cared not a single whit about religion. It was only when he saw how religion became a mental sickness to vast proportions of people did he realize the dangers it held.

This is why he felt a deep aversion to any of the new religions of the world he found himself in. Despite coming to care for his new family he didn't like their beliefs, especially his mother's religion. The Faith of the Seven gave him too many vibes of another religion that employed some sick child molesting weirdos as priests. It felt like he was living in a cheap imitation of a medieval version of his Earth.

It was a strange world and in an even more strange way, he arrived here. Harry knew he was most likely walking to his death when he walked into the Veil but never had he imagined he would be reborn as a newborn. Sure, there were theories that the Veil was a doorway to another world but those were theories.

Either way, he was reborn into this new world as a Stark of Winterfell. Harrion they named him and he grew alongside his twin brother and half-brother in the castle of Winterfell.

It was mentally exhausting for him to bear the early years of his infancy. He retained little control over the motor functions of his body. And when he finally managed to regain a semblance of control he was constrained by the weakness of his young body. Even his magic had suffered quite a blow but surely he was growing more powerful each day.

At the age of three, he could barely make a stone lift a few inches from the ground. Now, he could cast the hovering charm easily all thanks to the Elder Wand which returned to his hand on his fifth birthday. So far, the Resurrection Stone and the Cloak of Invisibility was nowhere to be seen.

Despite his less than wobbly magical power, his access to Elder Wand gave him a certain advantage. An advantage he was going to use for the benefit of House Stark and the North.

War has been declared in the Seven Kingdoms. The land of his new family was going to war with the Ironborn who he was fascinated to note was a far worse version of ancient Vikings. While he had nothing against some bunch of barbarians on an island far away, he was not prepared to have his 'father' and the people of the North suffer needlessly in this war.

It was this decision that led him to the armoury of Winterfell. Harry felt the familiar weight of Elder Wand settle in his right-hand palm. Rows upon rows of swords, shields, armour and spears lined the armoury. More was being made by the smiths of Winterfell and Wintertown. Taking a deep breath he began his work in earnest.

It took him a while but he managed to cover enough tools of war with spells that ought to give Northerners an edge in the coming battles. Applying the unbreakable and repelling charms on chainmail, armours and other weapons he was sure there will be a far less death rate. He had already repeated this feat with his father's set of armour and shield last night.

With the deed done he quietly extracted himself from the armoury. The armoury of Winterfell was placed right at the centre of the inner walls near the courtyard. So, Harry had to walk through the courtyard to the library where he was supposed to attend the daily lessons with Maester Luwin.

On the way to the library, he slowed down his pace to watch the men train in the courtyard. With his father calling the banners of the North, Winterfell was gathering men to fight the Ironborn. More and more levies were being drawn up from the lands under Stark rule.

A lot of lords from the east and north side of Winterfell were also arriving one by one. Last he knew there were quite a few Clansmen of the Northern mountains being welcomed in the Great Hall by his father.

The library tower was one of the largest structures in the castle. Winterfell being one of the oldest castles in the Seven Kingdoms boasted a great repertory of books in the library. It was one of Harry's favourite places in the castle other than the underground hot springs, crypts and Godswood.

Standing at the base of the tower he felt like the tower was too high to climb. Well, his young legs could race all the way to the top of the tower without much strain. That was not the case for Maester Luwin who was old. Yet, the old Maester retained his stellar health while climbing the steps of this tower on a daily basis.

"The old Maester has been askin' for ye little lord." said Brown Wendell, one of the guards that usually was on guard duty at the tower.

"Is he cross with me, Wendell?" Harry asked

"Saw him lookin' all over the courtyard a moment ago. He didn't look happy to me." said Brown Wendell with a shrug.

"Are you going to fight the Ironborn?"

"Maybe, if Lord Stark would allow me, that is. The squids 'ave kept away from Northern shores from what I 'erd. Good sense if ye ask me cause we ain't like the simpering southerners."

Harry laughed before entering the tower and began to climb the stone stairs. The tower somewhat reminded him of the towers of Hogwarts especially the owlery. While the ravens of Winterfell were kept in the Maester's tower a few of them usually hung back at the top of this tower. This made him remember his trips to Hogwarts owlery where Hedwig would be waiting for him.

As he climbed the stairs he could hear the sound of Maester Luwin teaching Robb and Jon.

"A black battle-axe on a field of silver. Which house's banner is that Robb?" asked Maester Luwin

"House Dustin?" Robb answered hesitantly.

"Wrong. Jon, what is the banner of House Dustin?" asked Maester Luwin.

"Umm… a black crown between two crossed longaxes on a field of yellow." answered Jon after taking some time to think it over.

It was at that time Harry stepped into the room with Maester Luwin eyeing him in a dissatisfied manner.

"Harrion might be able to remind us the banner of House Cerwyn." Said Maester Luwin with a pointed look.

Harry rolled his eyes as Robb looked at him with a cross look. He knew that look. His twin oftentimes was too clingy. Always wanting to join him in one of his escapades. Jon on the other hand waved at him enthusiastically and moved a bit to the side to give him a seat between Robb and the black-haired boy.

"A black double-headed battle-axe in a silver field." Harry answered, and looked at the offered seat on the small wooden bench pointedly.

"You may take the seat if you can answer this question. What are the words of House Cerwyn and the name of their castle?" asked Maester Luwin

"Honed and ready are their words. House Cerwyn's seat is called Castle Cerwyn." Harry answered and took the seat he was offered with Maester Luwin's permission.

"Where were you this time Harry?" asked Maester Luwin leaning over the large book he was holding.

"Just here and there." he answered evasively.

"How many times have I told you to be on time for your lessons?"

"Many times Maester Luwin. I shall endeavour to be on time from now on."

"This is what you said yesterday when I had to drag you out of the Crypts."

"But, I heard a sound that led me deep into the crypts. I swear it was the Builder." Harry said with an exaggerated whisper at the name of their famed ancestor.

Robb was now looking excited while Jon looked scared. It has been his bit of entertainment to tell ghost stories to Jon who was scared of ghosts. Robb on the other hand was excited and wanted to see the 'ghosts' his twin kept talking about.

"There are no such things as ghosts Harry." said Maester Luwin, who eyed him with a warning look as he patted Jon on his head. "Jon, your brother is only trying to scare you. There are no ghosts in the crypts of Winterfell."

"I know what I saw. Only those with Stark blood can see the Builder."

"Is he strong? Did he teach you his magic?" asked Robb, all but jumping in his seat with excitement.

"I'm learning but I'm just a novice compared to the Builder. When I'm grown I'll build a wall twice as big as the one we have right now." said Harry with a smirk.

"Yes! But one with steel this time! And it should be around Winterfell. Bad men won't be able to attack Winterfell that way." said Robb

Harry had to admit his twin had some weird ideas floating in his head. But, he got to admit, the kid sure has a vivid imagination.

"Harry! How many times have I told you…?" Maester Luwin trailed off as they all listened to a horn being blown in the distance.

"It's from the north gate!" said Jon

Robb and Jon raced towards the window side and began to pull a chair near the window. They began to climb over the chair and onto the window to see what was happening. Harry also joined in on the fun but he was given assistance by Maester Luwin who gave him a lift.

Harry saw his two brothers' eyes shine with excitement as they saw men marching in lines behind long lines of horses and on the far back, they could see carts being drawn by bulls.

"Who are they?" asked Robb excitedly.

Winterfell getting filled with banners had turned his two brothers into excitable little hell raisers.

"A white sun on a field of black are their banners. Surely they must be of House Karstark." said Harry

"Right you are young Harry. It'd seem we will have to cut our lessons short." said Maester Luwin

The excited yell let out by Jon and Robb was amusing to watch for Harry who was reminded of his two children. At the same time, his smile disappeared as he trained his eyes on the marching men. He held no notion that most of these men were going to return alive or even whole. War always took some toll be it life, injury or the mind itself.

He just hoped his enchantments would help save as many lives of the Northmen as possible.

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