When day broke, grey and chilly, the storm had diminished to a steady, soaking rain, yet even so the godswood was crowded. River lords and northmen,

highborn and low, knights and sellswords and stableboys, they stood amongst the trees to see the end of the night’s dark dance. Edmure had given commands, and a

headsman’s block had been set up before the heart tree. Rain and leaves fell all around them as the Greatjon’s men led Lord Rickard Karstark through the press,

hands still bound. His men already hung from Riverrun’s high walls, slumping at the end of long ropes as the rain washed down their darkening faces.  Long Lew

waited beside the block, but Robb took the poleaxe from his hand and ordered him to step aside. “This is my work,” he said. “He dies at my word. He must die by my

hand.”  Lord Rickard Karstark dipped his head stiffly. “For that much, I thank you. But for naught else.” He had dressed for death in a long black wool surcoat

emblazoned with the white sunburst of his House. “The blood of the First Men flows in my veins as much as yours, boy. You would do well to remember that. I was

named for your grandfather. I raised my banners against King Aerys for your father, and against King Joffrey for you. At Oxcross and the Whispering Wood and in the

Battle of the Camps, I rode beside you, and I stood with Lord Eddard on the Trident. We are kin, Stark and Karstark.”  “This kinship did not stop you from

betraying me,” Robb said. “And it will not save you now. Kneel, my lord.”  Lord Rickard had spoken truly, Catelyn knew. The Karstarks traced their descent to

Karlon Stark, a younger son of Winterfell who years ago, and been granted lands for his valor. The castle he built had been

named Karl’s Hold, but that soon became Karhold, and over the centuries the Karhold Starks had become Karstarks.  “Old gods or new, it makes no matter,” Lord

Rickard told her son, “no man is so accursed as the kinslayer.”  “Kneel, traitor,” Robb said again. “Or must I have them force your head onto the block?”  Lord

Karstark knelt. “The gods shall judge you, as you have judged me.”