Piper stepped up to the podium. “Good a9ernoon. For those of you I am unfamiliar with, I am the Law of Winterfell.”
Sansa laughed. “He thinks he’s so important now, with his fancy Etle and his crisp suits. I could almost believe it myself. But everything he does, I’ve whispered in his ear. He does everything I tell him to do. The only thing I want is the heirship. Turn it back to me, and your children can be whatever Law they want.” She scanned the family, and her eyes landed on Will. “Well? It’s on you. What do you say?”
“Her killers will be found. I will personally bring them to jusEce. And, with your help, there will be a new rule of law in Winterfell. “Does anyone have any quesEons?”
Ursula Fitzhugh rose. “How do you decide whom to ‘personally bring to jusEce’?”
“Piper says he’s regulaEng the pracEce of law,” Indy explained. “Anyone who wants to pracEce has to ﬁll out an applicaEon and be approved. I don’t know if Arthur and Sabriel ﬁled applicaEons, but even if they did, they wouldn’t have a ghost of a chance of being approved.”
“Aren’t you going to introduce us?” one of them asked. “I was geSng around to it,” Sabriel said. “This is Ferdinand—“ “I’m Mag.” “And this is Magellan.” “I’m Ferd.”
“He’s been invesEgaEng us,” Will explained. “He sent two people to search our house for evidence yesterday, and he quesEoned Arthur today. I wasn’t sure if you’d sEll be here when I came over tonight. I don’t know what to do.”
“Did you tell him that I did it?” Julian asked. “That’s why I did it. You weren’t supposed to be taking the heat.” “Arthur did tell him. It doesn’t sound like he cares.” “No, it doesn’t,” Julian said.
Sabriel took Will and led him away from the house. “They’re going to arrest you,” she explained. “What?” “Don’t worry. We’re going to get you out of there. UnEl you hear from us, don’t say a word. You understand?”
He didn’t feel alone, though. His reﬂec<on looked back at him from a full‐length mirror that covered one whole wall of the room they had put him in. Will stood up and walked over to examine the reﬂec<on. He looked taller in this mirror, with his head far smaller than the rest of his body.
The door opened again. “Will Stark,” Piper said. “Why don’t you have a seat.” He didn’t sit down just yet. While standing up, Will could s<ll convince himself that he could get out of this trap. “What’s with all the mirrors?” “It’s simple, really. A mirror always shows the truth,” Piper explained. “And you know what you’ve done. So when you look at yourself in those mirrors, I want you to think about what you’ve done.”
“I haven’t done anything.” “People say that. But you might ﬁnd that’s not the case a9er you look your guilt in the eye for a few hours. Why don’t you have a seat.”
“I’m not—“ “You are the Stark heir, aren’t you?” “Yes.” Though he was star<ng to think he should have just let Sabriel have it.
“Doesn’t that mean you’re in charge of the family?” “I guess, but nobody’s in charge of Sabriel.”
“So you know what your family members are doing.” “Not when they’re outside the house.” Will remembered Sabriel’s advice. “I don’t want to answer any more of your ques<ons.” “That’s ﬁne.”
Will took a step toward the door. “Then can I go?” “Not so fast. You do understand that when you’re on trial for Sansa’s murder, then the judge will consider your refusal to speak as evidence of your guilt, don’t you?” “What?”
Piper turned toward him. “Maybe your sister and brother have told you that you can refuse to answer my ques<ons. That there won’t be any cost to you if you do. They are wrong. If you don’t speak to me, then convincing a judge that you are guilty will be the easiest thing in the world.”
“If the judge is Lucia—“ “It doesn’t maRer who the judge is. Who do you think that they’re going to believe, Will? My uncontroverted evidence, or your silence in the face of the truth?”
“It’s not true.” “Yes. Yes, it is. I know that the night Sansa died, she was on her way to your house. Your wife was at work. Your children are far too young to pull the trigger on a gun. I know that you killed her. You know it, too.” “No, I don’t.”
“I know when you’re lying to me, Will.” “I’m not lying. My uncle did it.”
“You don’t think I’m actually going to believe that, do you?” “It’s—“ “Julian Stark—no, Julian Amana—has his own family. He doesn’t have to be involved anymore. Why would he leave them to kill someone for you? I don’t you to try to answer that with another lie. We both know that he would never do that. I need the truth, Will. I know you killed your great‐grandmother. I need to know why. Now, sit down and start telling me why.”
It was diﬃcult to make a phone call on the best of days. Tonight, though, either no one was at Brandon’s old oﬃce or everyone was refusing to pick up the telephone. “I should go over there,” she said, pacing in front of the chair by the phone. “Demand that they release him.”
“You can’t,” Jan said from the dining table. “They’ll just take you, too.” “They will, won’t they? Damn it.” Sabriel collapsed into the chair.
“They might not,” Arthur said. “If Will’s the one they really want, then you might be okay.” “Might be.” But Sabriel didn’t move. “I want a liYle more than that before I go running oﬀ to Piper.”
“We need Will. We have to get him back. I think it’s ﬁne to go,” Arthur con<nued. “If you’re so sure it’s not a trap, why don’t you do it?” Sabriel asked. “Sorry, but I’m with Jan on this. Our work is almost as important as Will’s. And aWer what Piper said to you about conspiracy, he could probably lock the two of us up just as easily as Will.”
“I could go,” Jan suggested. “I’ve already done my part to ﬁx things.” “No, you haven’t. The rest of your part, as much as I hate to reduce it to this, is to be there for Gemma, Meg, and the kids you’re carrying right now. Why are they so quiet, anyway?” On cue, one of the twins started crying from upstairs. “It’s my part, so I’d beRer check on them.” Jan got up. “Don’t let yourselves get hurt.”
Sabriel took her seat next to Arthur. “I never thought I’d care about all of her fears and insecuri<es, but for once, I agree with Jan,” she said to him once Jan had gone upstairs. “Are you okay?” Arthur asked. “Am I—of course I’m okay. Why wouldn’t you think I’m okay?”
“Well, you’re—“ “Yes?” “You seem a liRle <mid. I thought you’d be puYng up a bigger ﬁght.” I need you to ﬁght, Arthur wanted to say.
“Yeah, well, I tried to put up a big ﬁght a couple days ago. I stormed into Piper’s oﬃce demanding answers, and by the end of it, I was almost begging to leave. Maybe Mom was right about there being some kind of virtue in wai<ng. I’ll call in the morning before work.”
The girls didn’t need to know that anything was wrong, but Jan s<ll had trouble looking at Gemma. Her eyes were on Arthur, who had tossed Meg high into the air. “Are you sure she’s going to be okay?” Jan asked.
“Posi<ve.” Arthur caught Meg. “Wasn’t that fun?” Meg laughed in response.
“That—I might drop her on her head. I can’t have anything bad happening to her. Gemma likes <ckles, anyway.” Jan smiled.
Meanwhile, Sabriel dialed the number for the Law oﬃces again. “Natalie Horn.” Arthur thought she would put up a bigger ﬁght? It was <me to get going. “Sabriel Stark. You need to release my brother right now.”
“He’s been accused of a very serious crime, Sabriel,” Natalie explained, as if talking to a child. “Piper can’t release an unrepentant murderer onto the streets.” “He’s not a murderer. What does Piper want?” “Jus<ce.”
“You mean his sick, perverted version of it. You need to let me see him,” Sabriel insisted. Natalie dug in. “That’s not allowed.” “Of course it’s allowed. I’m his lawyer.” “No, you’re not.”
“What do you mean, I’m not a lawyer? I’ve studied. I’ve probably studied more than anyone else around here. How dare you say that I’m not a lawyer, when I’m the Law?” “I’m sure you have studied. But you aren’t admiRed to our bar. And no one can prac<ce law without being admiRed to our bar.” “Then how do I get admiYed to this—bar?”
“We have applicaEons in the oﬃce. Fill one out to aYest to your good moral character. Piper will review it and get back to you in four to six weeks.” “Four to six weeks? What kind of—“ Sabriel could hear the horn honking for her carpool outside. “I’ll call back later.”
As far as they could tell, Gemma and Meg didn’t know what had happened to their dad. Jan s<ll hoped that Will would come back quickly enough that they wouldn’t need to know at all. She also hoped that Gemma would stop resis<ng and ﬁnally say “Mama,” but that could be ﬁxed more easily.
Sabriel didn’t feel her best aWer spending most of the night making fruitless phone calls, but she took it out on the opposing team when she took the ﬁeld to play. She s<ll would have preferred to go forward with her plans to build a real estate empire. On the other hand, Sabriel was one of the best players on her team, and she had just nego<ated a higher salary that day.
Arthur also progressed in his career: he would never have to wear the French fries costume again, much to everyone’s contentment.
“You have one hour, Will Stark.” Piper sat across from him. “One hour un<l your carpool leaves for work and you are not in it. If you confess before then, you’ll be able to go to your job. If not, you will be ﬁred.”
Will looked away. “Don’t you have other things to do besides siYng in a room with me?”
“I do. But none of them are as important as siYng in a room with you. You killed someone very important, Will. You killed the founder of your family. How can you stand to look at yourself in those mirrors?” Piper turned and walked toward his throne‐like chair. When Will turned his head, he saw Piper in the wall‐length mirror. “Again, I have to remind you not to tell me that you didn’t do it. I don’t want to hear it.”
Will stared at the outer wall of the room. “I need you to look at me.” Will stayed silent.
“Going silent again, are you? It’s your choice.” Piper sat down again. “Clock’s <cking. If you don’t care about your job, then by all means, keep looking at the ceiling like it’ll open up and you’ll escape.”
Will’s head snapped down. “Of course I care about my job.” “Then talk to me. Show me that you care.” “I don’t need to show you anything.”
“Yes, you do. You have to show me everything from the moment you decided to kill Sansa Stark to the moment that we brought you here, or else you will lose everything. Your job. Your wife. Your children. Everything. Do you understand me?”
“You won’t let me go to work if I confess.” “Do you understand me?” “And I won’t see Jan or Gemma or Meg either.”
“Stop talking to yourself. It’s not going to do you any good. You need to be telling me what you did right now.” “I’m answering your ques<on.”
“No! You’re not!” Piper shouted. He immediately quieted down. “My ques<on is why and how you killed Sansa Stark. You’re refusing to answer it. You’re running away. Is that the kind of heir you are? The kind who’s never willing to face the music? Look at you. I keep telling you, the ceiling isn’t going to help you. No one’s going to help you.” Piper paused. “You’ve made a lot of messes, and you’ve survived a lot of them. But this <me, you’ve goRen yourself into too much trouble. The only way out is to tell me the truth.”
When Arthur and Sabriel rang the doorbell, Valen<ne answered. “Hi! You must be my cousins,” she told them. “Come on in!”
“And you must be Valen<ne.” Arthur gave her a hug. “It’s nice to ﬁnally meet you.” “You too. I have to go back upstairs, though. Daddy’s sick and I need to read to him. He likes that.”
They saw BriRany at the dining table, staring ahead at nothing. “Hi,” she said to them. “Is anyone else coming?”
“Ursula Fitzhugh is,” Sabriel told her, siYng down at the table. “She’s the one who wrote the ar<cle in the paper about Piper caring about jus<ce for some people but not for others.” “Did she? I haven’t been reading the paper.” “I wouldn’t have read it either if I didn’t need to ﬁnd work. But when I read it, I thought, now there’s someone I need to team up with.”
“Thanks for hos<ng us, BriRany,” Arthur said. “We would have the mee<ng at our house, but we don’t want to draw any more suspicion to us than we already have.” “No problem,” she answered. “We’re family now, right?” The doorbell rang. BriRany got up to answer it.
“That’s why we called you. If you’re willing to help us,” Arthur said. “Course I’m willing to help you.” She sat down. “He’s a framming smug jerk who shouldn’t even know anyone with power, let alone have it. What’s new?”
“We have to break him out,” Sabriel said. “Will’s already lost his chance to ﬁx the phones. We have to help him before he loses anything else.”
“I hate to bring this up, but what if he’s confessed already?” BriRany said. “You think Piper wouldn’t have called another press conference as soon as that happened?” Ursula asked.
“But we also don’t want to give Piper a reason to throw us in jail along with Will,” Arthur said. “The family has to keep going. I’m not an Icon yet, and Sabriel isn’t a Hall of Famer, either.”
“So, you’re asking me to break Will out?” “PreYy much. You and anyone else we can get.” Arthur paused. “Do you think it could work?”
“Well, the lack of a police force here means there’s not going to be much security. Which means that the real trick is going to be distrac<ng Piper.” Ursula paused. “What happens once I get Will out? He can’t go home again. Piper will be looking for him.” Arthur, Sabriel, and BriRany looked at each other. “He’ll have to hide, I suppose,” Sabriel ﬁnally said. “And we can’t know where, can we?”
Will liWed his head from the table and looked at Natalie Horn. He thought of how he’d seen rougher nights than this, then started trying to compare sleeping on a bed in a jail cell to sleeping in a reclining chair in his college house. He only said, “Why are you here?”
“Piper’s not going to stop, though,” Natalie con<nued. “You can keep telling him that you’re innocent, but we both know that means nothing to him. You’ll have more nights like the last one. More days away from your family. Your wife’s giving birth today, isn’t she?” “I think so.” Will didn’t know exactly what day it was. “So let me help you. I’ll take you home so that you can see your children aWer you confess.”
“And then I’ll stay here in jail. I won’t.” “There is a lot of evidence against you, Will. You’ll have to admit that it’s true eventually. It’ll be less painful if you do it now, for both yourself and your family.”
“What are you threatening me with?” “I’m actually not threatening you. I’m telling you that if you confess, things are going to get easier. You probably had a good reason for doing what you did. She was threatening your family. She put you in an impossible situa<on.” Will didn’t react. He was geYng <red of talking to these people.
“So if you tell me what happened, I can put in a good word for you with Piper and with the judge. Things might be easier for you.” Will stayed silent.
“Or you can stay here and make it harder. Piper’s going to be angry. He’ll probably be angry enough to kill you. That doesn’t have to happen, Will. At any <me today, you can say that you want to talk to me. But my oﬀer of leniency ends at midnight tonight. Think about it. I don’t want to see you die.”
Natalie was right about one thing: Jan was due to give birth that day.
“What am I supposed to do?” Sabriel asked, throwing up her hands. “I don’t know anything about childbirth! I don’t want to know anything about it!”
“Drugs would be nice!” Jan answered, trying not to scream.
When the pain passed, Jan had given birth to two girls. Lyra had Jan’s blue eyes and the same color skin as Meg, and Lirael had both Will’s gray eyes and dark skin.
AWer Sabriel had put Lyra in her crib, she returned downstairs and found Jan staring into the distance with Lirael in her arms. “I wanted Will to be home before the twins were born,” Jan said. She wondered how long it would take before the next <me that she got something she wanted.
“So did I,” Sabriel said. “We’re going to bring him home, Jan. That means you, too. We’re going to need every friend we can get.”
Piper stared at Will. “Natalie told me that she oﬀered you a deal.” “I thought you knew that,” he answered. Could Piper have goRen a less comfortable chair for Will to sit in?
“Now, I don’t understand why she wants to be your friend. In my experience, no one wants to be friends with cold‐blooded, remorseless killers. Especially judges who hold your life in their hands. “If the words out of your mouth are going to be more protesta<ons of your innocence, do not say them. Stop hiding. There’s nowhere to run this <me. Your sister’s decided not to save you. She knows you’re guilty. She didn’t say anything, but it was all over your face. She’s smarter than you. She’s considered her op<ons and come to realize the truth: You’re going down, Will. So your family decided they’d be beRer oﬀ without a murderer of an heir dragging them down.”
“They wouldn’t do that.” “Of course they would. It’s the only ra<onal thing to do. Your daughters will be beRer oﬀ for it, aWer all. Being raised by—well, not peaceable people, but surely people less violent than you—is inﬁnitely preferable to having a murderer for a father. And in <me, they’ll—“
Someone pounded on the door ﬁve <mes in quick succession. “Hypothe<cally, let’s pretend you’re not lying.” Piper raised his voice to overcome the knocks. “Even if your story is true and your uncle did it, you would have let him into the house and stood by as he pulled the trigger. That means—“
The knocking con<nued. “I need you!” a woman’s voice said. Natalie? “Not now, you don’t!” Piper answered. Except for the <mes when he had pretended to get mad at Will, this was the most emo<on Piper had shown for the last two days. What was going on?
“Yes, now!” she said. Piper turned back to Will. “Don’t move,” he sneered before opening the door and leaving the interroga<on room.
Will stayed seated un<l Piper leW, then rose from his chair, trying to ignore his aching legs and back. He carefully walked to the door to listen, trying to minimize the sound of his loafers on the <le ﬂoor. At ﬁrst, he only heard whispers that he didn’t have the energy to make heads or tails of.
“What?” Piper shouted indignantly. This had to be good. “Ursula said you breached your duty to—“
Their voices dropped again. What did that mean? Who had Piper breached a duty to? Of course, who hadn’t he breached a duty to?
Piper spoke again: “Stay here. Help secure the prisoner. Don’t let me down. I’ll deal with Miss Fitzhugh’s supposed ‘claim of right’ myself.” Miss Fitzhugh? The reporter? What was she doing? Whatever it was, Piper leaving had to be a good thing. Maybe Piper was wrong. Will’s family could come for him aWer all.
Will paced the conﬁnes of the room, placing his hand on the outer wall where he wanted a window to be. Should he get his hopes up? Would it be any use? Did his hopes have anywhere to go but up?
He faced the mirrors again. Will’s distorted reﬂec<on confronted him. “I’m not guilty,” he oﬀered to the reﬂec<on. For the ﬁrst <me in two days, the truth moved and breathed, unopposed by any interrup<ons or claims of falsehood.
Will heard a series of bangs and cracks coming from downstairs. He strode over to the door to listen again. When the bangs and cracks subsided, he heard footsteps. It sounded like people were running.
“Which way are we going?” one voice said. He sounded familiar. “It’s an 8x8 building. How hard can it be to ﬁnd him?” someone answered. “Ow!” “Those must be the steps,” they both said at once.
Will heard nothing for about a minute, then another set of banging noises, this <me closer. Finally, the door opened.
Darkness ﬂowed into the room. Will couldn’t see very well, but he could make out two masked redheads standing in the doorway to the interroga<on room before the darkness swallowed them up. “Time to give Piper hell,” they both said at once.
Julian s<ll found the view outside his own window fascina<ng. True, he saw no more than an expanse of snow, but he saw a diﬀerent expanse of snow than the one he had grown up with. The Brandon in Julian’s head laughed at that sen<ment.
For a year or two, the new house had made Julian feel as young as his daughter, or at least young enough to keep up with her constant requests to be <ckled and read to. He had stayed involved in Will’s life and had even intended to sacriﬁce himself for the next genera<on’s sake. But now, Valen<ne sat beside him and read to him in the evenings aWer she ﬁnished her homework. She would bring him his dinner and talk to him about all the games she played at school, then read to him un<l it was <me to go to sleep.
When Julian heard BriRany coming, he climbed out of bed to put on a good face. “How are you feeling today?” she asked him. “I’ve had beRer days,” he said. In a house full of healthy people, Julian wanted to put the best face on his own health, but his mortality remained at the back of his mind.
So he leaned down to talk to BriRany’s belly. “And how are you feeling today?” he asked. “Are you ready to come out yet?” “Somehow, I’m ready and not ready for this baby at the same <me,” BriRany remarked.
“And what aspira<on are you going to choose when you’re all big and grown up?” Julian asked. He pretended to listen. “Here’s a hint: Choose Romance. It’s the best.”
“Or Popularity. Popularity’s good,” BriRany added. “You mean Family,” Julian said. “You’re Family at heart, but somehow, I love you for it.” “Maybe I am. I love you, too.” She smiled. “I’m going to be Popularity for a while and call everyone while I can, though. You should call people too when I’m oﬀ the phone.” He should. He wondered if he would see the other members of his family aWer this.
“Is there any word about Will?” Julian asked Arthur.
“I hoped you’d have something,” Arthur said. “I might not even know if things go well. I know being able to deny that we know anything is the best thing to do, but it bugs me as much as everyone else.” Julian nodded. “I’d have liked to know for sure today that everything was going to be all right,” he said. “But you, Sabriel, and Jan are going to get everything back to normal again. It won’t be easy, but you’ll get it done.”
“We have to.” Arthur <lted his head to the side. He had chosen a far easier task than this one, but he had learned that growing up as a Stark meant you couldn’t always choose the tasks given to you. “Gemma and Meg are supposed to grow up today. What are we supposed to tell them?”
“The truth,” Julian answered. “No amount of pretending that nothing’s wrong can convince them of that. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s the right thing to do.”
For a few hours, Julian and BriRany’s family and friends kept their spirits up, despite the trouble going on around them.
Everything had to end eventually, though. “I wish I could have been around more, Valen<ne.” Julian hugged his daughter. “I love you very much. Never forget that.”
“I love you too, Daddy.” Valen<ne looked up at him. “Are you sure dying means you can’t ever come back?” Julian shuddered. “If I ever did, it wouldn’t be me. Promise you’ll never try to make me live again, Valen<ne. I can’t imagine anything more awful.”
Finally, Julian said his goodbye to BriRany. Can you lie next to her And give her your heart, your heart As well as your body
And can you lie next to her And confess your love, your love As well as your folly And can you kneel before the king And say Im clean, Im clean
“It’s been good.” Julian closed his eyes and smiled. “Not what any of us expected, but…”
“Is it ever?” BriRany asked. “Probably not.” Julian looked at Valen<ne, who was engrossed in building her snowman. But tell me now, where was my fault In loving you with my whole heart Oh tell me now, where was my fault In loving you with my whole heart He let go of BriRany’s hands. It was <me.
But she placed herself in between Julian and the approaching ﬁgure of Death. “BriRany.” Julian’s face had no emo<on. “You can’t ﬁght him.” “I want to.” She stared directly ahead. “I want you to live.” “I can’t.”
“I know. But it doesn’t stop me from wan<ng it, love.”
So Julian didn’t ﬁght. He took his bag, accepted his drink, and walked forward into the warmth.
Next <me on An Apocalypse of Ice: + In game, Will is having a happy life in his own house and going to work every day. But what’s he supposed to do aWer breaking out of prison? And in the game, what will the consequences be for the job? + What will the family do when Will goes into hiding? + Starklets, ranging from infancy to childhood. Could they be any cuter? Yes, they could, once they get proper makeovers. In any event, they’re geYng old enough to go on playdates. Awwwwwww
Guest starring: + Ferdinand Penguino (The Penguino Legacy) + Magellan Penguino (The Penguino Legacy) + Ursula Fitzhugh (A Villainous Apocalypse) And a cameo by SimMarina. I especially like having Ferd and Mag around. In addi<on to being excellent at causing mayhem, they’re half‐brothers to Will, Arthur, and Sabriel. So take that, Piper—Will’s family did come for him!
Credits: Music – “White Blank Page,” Mumford & Sons. Anybody who says that Julian wasn’t a true Stark will be thrown into the Pit. Need I say more? Interroga<on scenes – see generally Richard J. Ofshe & Richard A. Leo, The Decision to Confess Falsely: RaEonal Choice and IrraEonal AcEon, 74 DENV. U. L. REV. 979 (1997). This ar<cle contains a lot of transcripts from actual interroga<ons to demonstrate why innocent suspects confess. I used those transcripts to lend extra veracity to Will’s interroga<on. There is one crucial diﬀerence between the ar<cle and this chapter, though: In the real world, Will would have had Miranda rights.
I’m not sure why Sabriel didn’t impale Sanjay Ramaswami for pulling this stunt. Also, Brody, I’m really sorry about your ouoit. Happy Simming!