Jon II Stark was Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, titles that he held for decades until his death during the Siege of Oldstones in 434 AC.
Jon II Stark was the firstborn son of Winterfell’s heir at birth, coupled with a scion of the recently installed Starks of the Dreadfort. Serena would give her husband another son, Robb, who was only three years younger than their first. As a boy, he was quiet and observant, and respectfully obeyed his father, Rickard’s, commands. Over time, however, the maester and his tutors would note long periods of silence often coincided with defiant behavior and immovable stubbornness. If he wished his reading and recitations to vary, there was little to do other than to oblige him.
Jon took naturally to the steel, oak, and iron of a northern warrior. He showed enough skill to impress, and eventually he was able to best most of his grandfather’s guardsmen. In addition to his physical skill, Jon showed a considerable ability to efficiently strategize in matters of war and foray. Ever-studious of old tomes, Jon read much content relative to history’s battles. Following the death of his grandfather, Eddard, young Jon grew more reserved, especially then as the new heir of Winterfell.
In 388 AC, a man grown of ten-and-seven, Jon married Lady Sarra Mormont following their having courted shortly thereafter the last year’s Harvest Feast. Their son, Eon Stark, was born in 389, followed by a daughter, Dacey, in 391.
The Great Famine birthed talented, more dangerous bandits to replace the lives it seized. A skirmish along the Kingsroad brewed as result of a small village having been taken and pillaged by such outlaws, and his father, Lord Rickard Stark, took the point of a bandit arrowhead to heart on the same eve he had embarked to dispel the threat. Jon II Stark became Lord of Winterfell then, in 393.
Five years later, Jon and his younger brother, Robb, would travel from White Harbor to the Narrow Sea and fight upon the Stepstones during the War of the Three Thieves. Upon Sunstone, Robb Stark was slain by the hand of a sellsword - a life-shattering moment that forever changed Jon. For five more years, Jon and his Northmen battled in the Stepstones, which had become a horror of war after several years had turned each island into bloody battlegrounds littered with shallow, watery graves of men both long and shortly dead. From then on, Jon would never fight without the boon that were his brother’s bones.
Many Northmen died upon the Stepstones in the name of Aenar I Targaryen and would not cease even after victory was declared upon The Gallows in 402AC. The Northern armies returned to White Harbor four many long years where Jon was quickly alerted to the dissent sowed among the Houses of the North by Lord Ronnel Lake - an elderly lord, who angrily grieved each of his sons that had perished upon the Stepstones, leaving him with no children to follow his name. Spitefully, Lord Ronnel urged his fellow vassals to rebel against Winterfell to little avail, as none of league rose in upheaval alongside him. Jon lead his near-broken men to Long Lake forthwith, where the meager forces Ronnel Lake had amassed dispersed at the sight of his battle-worn host. What remained of House Lake was put to the sword.
The Watch reported restlessness among the freefolk as The Scarlet Winter swallowed many of the returning Northmen before they would ever reach their homes. Those that had been fortunate enough to reunite with their families merely joined them in desperation and hunger as many suffered their dwindling stockpiles. By understanding the cruelty of the cold, Jon turned a blind eye as his bannermen invaded Skagos in 404 AC and never decided punishment for those that participated in the violence against the Skaggs, despite publicly scorning those that had; times were desperate, and the relentless winter had come with fierce, endless storms. Jon reconciled that he had chosen his true people in the end, rather than those that were hardly more than wildlings and savages themselves.
As a result of Jon’s return to Winterfell following the war, his youngest son, Edderion, was born in 403. The next year, his wife succumbed to complications of birth, paired with a sudden illness that had taken her with the cold, creeping fingers of winter and sent her far below her former self in a bouts of hysteria that would deliver her to her end in 404. Stricken by the loss of Sarra, Jon vowed to protect the children she had given him from what harsher winters would inevitably come.
Contrarily to his former neglect, Jon decided judgment of fates when the machinations of Eyron Stark were discovered. Guilty of kinslaying, he had killed his predecessor for greed of title. The former Lord of the Dreadfort was beheaded in the Great Hall by Jon himself, and Jakob Mormont would be sent to the Wall for having supported him.
In 407, as the south was encumbered by the weight of the Mummer’s War- the North felt autumn. Ice still chilled the lakes and bodies of water, and snow still hid the grass green beneath it, but temperatures comfortably rose in relief. Most of Jon's time for the next two years would be spent ensuring the health of Northern agriculture and that his subjects a produced sufficient harvest. In time, their stockpiles were coming close to restoration, and Jon ensured the smallfolk they would eat, as all Starks did. Still, there was ample, growing concern, as crops were dying before they could be harvested. In rebuttal, Winterfell decreed each able-bodied man and woman would contribute to crops, and made of them migrant farmers to work the North’s crops. His law would be known to Winter Town as __________, which saw families of peasants and merchants alike separated (and not often found again) and stockpiles bountiful and full in a matter of two years.
Winterfell knew, then, an unsteady peace. There was prosperity and growth and plentiful harvest, and Jon was able to secure an alliance with the Vale of Arryn through by wedding his heir, Eon, to Alaric Arryn’s daughter, Alys. What Northmen had been claimed by the Great Famine, the Stepstones and further scavenged by the Scarlet Winter were reproduced in a wave of fertility that saw the Northern population nearly double. This illusion of peace was feigned with difficulty by Jon, who knew it by its truth and cooperatively with information received from the Castle Black. Truly, the only true happiness Jon displayed was his genuine affection for his young son, Edderion, and new grandchildren: Rodwell, Berena, and little Jocelyn- but particularly the eldest of the two boys, Ellard.
As the years grew evermore, so did tensions Beyond the Wall. All word that Winterfell received by wing from the Lord Commander worsened with each new raven. The freefolk mustered in masses far greater than those that had once congregated beneath the flags of Mance Rayder, only now in the name of their self-proclaimed King, Ekkil Crowsbane. Jon Stark gathered his men in support of the blackcloaks, and sent his heir to lead them to the Wall - electing those old convicting words as reinforcement in his own decision: ‘there must always be a Stark in Winterfell’, they used to say, and Jon had no desire to exact the truth of them.