Rise of Silverpine – chapter 46
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Everything did happen surprisingly fast, all things considered, mused Tywin in his head.
By the time he reached their newly acquired former Horde port in the Twilight Highlands, a third of the army had already left back for Westeros. Not long after arriving and speaking with his bannermen and other lords, he realized it would have been half, had they not just sat around and argued for three days what actually to do.
Magical communications were still a new thing for the lords of Westeros, let along that magic as a whole was a point of contention.
Nevertheless, Tywin wasted no time in pleasantries or organization. He simply reinforced that it was indeed him that send that message to begin returning to Westeros before promptly boarding the first available ship back to his homeland.
The winds were favorable, yet it still took him three days to reach Lannisport. It had been several months since he left his homeland and despite having spent more of his life in King's Landing rather than the Westerlands, he always longed for home, for the ancestral seat of house Lannister. The old lion felt himself stand straighter as the tall cliffs of the Rock emerged from the late morning mist, like a majestic sword slicing the veil of white all around him. Tywin also grew impatient, for despite understanding why the ship was slowing down drastically in the low visibility, he somehow wanted to simply land, even if it meant slamming the ship into the coastline. All that mattered was him getting off of it.
'When did I get so impatient…?' he mused to himself as he drank the last of the dwarven mead in his flask.
As much as he wanted, he had no time to stop at the Rock. King's Landing beckoned. As he moved away from the coast and into the hills, his ship having docked a solid two hours after the Rock had been seen, the mist began to lift. What he saw somewhat angered it, yet he understood it just fine at the same time.
The arriving army was for lack of better words disbanding. And it was logical to do so. Daenerys Targaryen was still far, far away. Getting closer, yet nevertheless far. To keep this entire army ready, especially after they all had been away for months would be a financial suicide. There were fields to be plowed, ores to be dug. He reckoned it would not be for another two months at least before the dragon girl decides to come for Westeros.
It seemed strange to him, how when he was in the Eastern Kingdoms, time seemed to be a precious commodity that he barely had any of, yet now that he was here, on Westerosi soil, he felt almost at ease despite knowing that his struggle had not even begun, let alone being over. The long road to Kind's Landing still lay before him, yet he felt he was almost there, in a sense.
Having taken a fresh horse out of Lannisport, he began to swiftly, yet at a measuredly pace ride for the capitol with a small escort of ten riders. There was no point in riding the horses to death. He was in a rush, yet not to such an extent.
For mostly the whole way there, the gods seemed to hate him and gave him nothing but cold rains and fog. This, in turned prolonged the trip by at least another day. They still stopped to rest at inns and castles, Tywin having decided that he had camped enough in the wilderness for one lifetime during his trip to Ironforge and beyond, yet this constant bad weather was beginning to take its toll on him, making his terrible mood even worse.
And to top it all off, Tywin began truly noticing the differences between his homelands, between all of Westeros and lands to the west. It was one thing to go from bad to good and marvel at the progress, if one can call it that, of the Eastern Kingdoms. It was a different matter to have spent months in the pristine lands of the Alliance, where the cities were clean, the roads were actual roads and the villages actually looked suitable to live in.
And now, here he was, on a dirt…track, heading towards a city that no doubt would smell worse than a Dothraki outhouse, if such a thing existed.
When King's Landing was finally revealed before him, he was surprised to see how little it had actually changed.
He did not know what to expect and a part of him echoed that it was foolish to expect a change so quickly, yet he nevertheless did. But the capitol remained just as smelly and dirty as ever, the streets ever as tight and crowded with smallfolk trying to make ends meet. News of his arrival had proceeded him and thankfully the gold cloaks had organized to push the masses away from the feared lion lord so that he can pass unobstructed to the Red Keep.
His two children were awaiting his arrival inside the courtyard of the keep proper along with a large assortment of retainers, lords and ladies and what could easily be hundreds of servants. Only the king himself was missing.
But he was Tywin Lannister and he did not care for them all. A brief greeting to his children was given before he called in a meeting of the small council. And while the meeting was assembled, the old lion took a quick bath and a change of clothes.
And finally, after months at sea and foreign lands, swamps and mountain tops, Tywin Lannister was finally home, at the place where he belonged.
With a proud and confident stride, he entered the small council chamber his eyes not even bothering to land on all the unpleasant figures within. Spiders and Mockingbirds were deep within another of their little power play discussions while the lord commander tried to look impassive in order to hide his annoyance as the grand maester struggled to stay awake.
His dwarf of a son was there and he mockingly left the pin before the head seat of the table and pulled out his chair for him. Not bothering for Tywin to actually take a seat so that his mockery be completed, Tyrion took his own seat.
With the lord of Storm's end still in a serious health condition, Tyrion was to temporarily take over as master of law.
"Report" plainly stated Tywin, addressing them all.
A silence descended upon the council with all members looking uneasy, the awkwardness increasing by the second as no one wanted to keep the great lion waiting, yet none knowing exactly what he was referring to. It was the Lord Commanded that dared speak up, been one of the few people that did not fear Tywin.
"It would seem, you would have to be more specific, lord Lannister."
"Everything worthy of note since I left would be a good start." Said Tywin, barely restraining to bite back sarcastically, if one because it was Ser Barristan. An honor bound fool, yet one a highly respected one.
Once again, all wondered where to start before Littlefinger jumped at the opportunity to shine.
"Let us begin with some good news, my lords. The first contract for the purchase of a hundred boomsticks is ready and signed by the dwarves. All that is missing is your signature, my lord hand." He smirked, as he passed the document before Tywin.
"Will you have to bother me with every little contract?" asked the lord hand as he nevertheless picked up the parchment and scanned its contents.
The smirk momentarily fell from Baelish's face as he seemed at a loss of words. Even his nemesis, the ever-cunning spider could not help but raise a questioning eyebrow towards the master of coin, as he himself was asking that question.
"Ah, my lord hand. This" he said, gesturing to the contract "is the first official contract between the Alliance and Westeros! We do not even have any document for having joined the actual alliance." His posture relaxed.
"I though it prudent to have the signature of someone higher up than a lowly master of coin."
'You though correct, you are lowly…' though Tywin as he signed the contract and place the seal of the hand in the still warm dark red wax. The few years he had been working in Robert's small council, he had grown to despise Baelish. Initially, he though favorably of the lesser noble, the mockingbird having played a major role in indebting the crown to the Lannisters, yet his usefulness was slowly decreasing just as his annoyance grew.
"Go on, Baelish." Questioned the Lion.
"Bad news, I am afraid. Tools of war aside, there is little else we can trade with the Alliance, with their economies been focused on war as it is. And with we having cut off most trade between us and the free cities…well…trade tariffs are at an all-time low." Not something he did not know, yet hearing it from someone else was different.
"And on top of that, dear old Robert wants to build an Airship drydock and an Arsenal."
"I will speak to the king of the matters of his pet projects. No gold is to be set aside for either." Waved away Tywin. His conversation with the Silverpine queen was still fresh in his mind and if Silverpine cannot afford to build airships, but have to instead resort to using undead fortresses, then Westeros most certainly cannot.
"Moving on from matters oh so dear to the heart of my friend here." spoke up in his silky voice the spider. "There are quite the disturbing rumors concerning the Wall. The lord commander of the Nights' watch has been requesting more men even before you left for the west, but he has grown urgent. It would seem that a large wildling army will attack the Wall sometime soon. And he also claimed that a dead man attacked him in his solar."
He passed to Tywin a small piece of parchment that was undoubtedly from a raven.
"This is his twenty-seventh message in the past four months, I believe."
" 'The Wildlings march on the wall with the dead on their heels' " out loud read Tywin before carelessly tossing the message aside. Seeing his disregard for the message, lord Varys felt he needed to press the old Lion.
"With all that has been revealed to us in the past months, would it not be prudent to send a trusted man of the crown to investigate these claims?"
"Hmm…As much as I would like to disregard these as the ravings of a superstitious northerner, we cannot ignore the fact on the matter. The undead are questionable, the wildlings are real. What army are we talking of, what size?" asked Tywin.
"My little birds are few that far north. What songs reach me sing of between a hundred and two hundred thousand."
"That is an awfully wide margin, my friend. "quipped in Littlefinger with a smirk.
"True." nodded the Spider "But I know this much for certain. They are not all fighters. Most of them are in fact not, as much as a wildling cannot be a fighter, that is. Women, children, what elderly can survive up there." He paused, drawing in a deep breath.
"They are running."
"If there truly are undead, Silverpine will take care of them easily enough." Cut in Tywin. "I was personally informed that Silverpine will be moving a considerable asset to Westeros to counter the threat of Daenerys Targaryen and only a fool would believe that they would move it to someplace other than the North."
"No, we need not concern ourselves with northern problems." Tywin waved away.
"I also took the liberty of compiling a list, my lord hand." Once again spoke up Varys. "Of suspicious activities and events that had happened or are happening around Westeros. With everything happening, I have set my little birds to the task of finding what is truly smallfolk superstition and what is…magic."
Tywin squinted his eyes at the spider as he took the list, studying the man before turning his attention to the list itself.
"You are personally invested in this matter." Stated the Lion.
"Oh, I am. For you see, my lord hand, I have never doubted the existence of magic. And while the recent news of the past months brought nothing but shock to other, I found myself filled with purpose."
"I trust your spies will not be overly focused on this new objective of yours as to leave them blind to all else?" asked Tywin
"Of course, my lord." Return Varys with a small bow
"Make sure of it."
"Pardon me, lord Lannister, but what is this Silverpine asset that they will be sending to us?" questioned Barristan.
Tywin considered whether or not to actually tell them, but eventually decided that they would find out shortly anyway. The queen did promise two weeks, and two weeks is tomorrow.
"A necropolis. A flying fortress."
"A necropolis? Isn't that one of th-" began to question Barristan but was swiftly interrupted.
"Yes, yes, the very same."
"Now, tell me all that you know of the Targaryen girl."
Once again, silence befell the council chambers…and Tywin grew angrier by the second.
"You mean to tell me that I was told more by another kingdom's queen half a world away than by my own small council?" nearly shouted the Lannister.
"We know that she is in Volantis and supposedly has three dragons and an army of Unsullied, but I am afraid no more songs have reached my ears."
"We knew that two weeks ago. Right now, the last Targaryen could be sailing towards this very city and none would be the wiser!" he said before sighing loudly, yet the anger remained on his face.
"Out." he ordered and after a few moments he was alone in the room.
Tywin waited a few more moments before almost slumping in his chair, massaging his temples. He was worried. Against armies, he would easily fight and just as easily win. Against dragons and Unsullied?
'Those boomsticks better get here quick.'
We will return to the main stars of the show soon
Thank you for reading.