The gates stood open to him, the rusted iron portcullis drawn up. The guards atop the battlements watched with strangers' eyes as Theon Greyjoy came home at last.
Beyond the curtain wall were half a hundred acres of headland hard against the sky and the sea. The stables were here, and the kennels, and a scatter of other outbuildings. Sheep and swine huddled in their pens while the castle dogs ran free. To the south were the cliffs, and the wide stone bridge to the Great Keep. Theon could hear the crashing of waves as he swung down from his saddle. A stableman came to take his horse.
A pair of gaunt children and some thralls stared at him with dull eyes, but there was no sign of his lord father, nor anyone else he recalled from boyhood. A bleak and bitter homecoming, he thought.
The priest had not dismounted. "Will you not stay the night and share our meat and mead, Uncle?"
Bring you, I was told. You are brought. Now I return to our god's business. Aeron Greyjoy turned his horse and rode slowly out beneath the muddy spikes of the portcullis.
A bentback old crone in a shapeless grey dress approached him warily. "M'lord, I am sent to show you to chambers."
By whose bidding?
Your lord father, m'lord.