Summery: This is an alternative universe fic. While in Westeros, the story continues like cannon. In Essos, both Daenerys and Aegon join together while they are young and travel around the Free Cities before organising their invasion.
The leaves rustled in the gentle breeze which were fragrant with the exotic scents of Essos. Fruit, rich smelling flowers, with only the mild scent of the sea. With the sound of heavy footsteps, the exiled lord walked through the cheesemongers estate.
The sun hung above him in the clear blue sky. The weather in Essos was usually sunny, he found. Not the near constant rain and winds of the Stormlands, his home. The home he missed, even for its faults. Not that he wanted to go back there now, with the usurpers claws tightly wrapped around Westeros as he sat the Iron Throne. My princes' rightful throne.
After being exiled after the Battle of the Bells, the former lord of Griffins Roast had been exiled. The defeat still tasted bitter on his tongue. A stain which caused the defeat of an entire house. I should have burnt the entire town to the ground. My prince would still be alive. After hearing of the disastrous battle of the Trident, the lord saw little point and decided to sell his services to the Golden Company, after eating away the few coins he managed to bring with him. Four years ago, he had landed in Essos and he could still remember the events clearly.
With cautious glances, Connington examined the portly eunuchs on guard around the grounds. Like statues they stood with their spiked helms. He didn't trust eunuchs, not since Varys – the king's spymaster who swiftly turned his services to the usurper after whispering poison in the mad king's ear. The spymaster wasn't an easy many to forget in his bright lavender robes and with a scent of sickly sweet flowers clinging to him like the ones which were used to cover a corpse. The Master of Whispers was always quick to point out anything which could pose a possible threat to the king, only serving to increase Aerys' paranoia.
With a horrid groaning sound, the grand doors opened for him and a slave hurried through the marble corridors. The manse was much nicer looking then the castles of Westeros, even more beautiful than ones like Highgarden or the Eyrie. But castles are fortresses first of all. To be defendable against all threats, a palace isn't. Though the high and spiked walls around the manse painted another picture.
The Lyseni slave bowed her head before leading him in to a small and highly furnished room. "This one requests that you wait, milord. Magister Illyrio needs to be properly informed of your arrival." Connington nodded and the girl rushed off, almost running by how quickly she moved. Even though slavery was illegal in Pentos, these servants were slaves in all but name.
Thankfully he didn't have to wait long before the doors swung open and the most obese man he's ever seen walked in. So this is Magister Illyrio. The merchant prince was grotesque, with a yellow fork beard which shun like gold. His bright red and yellow robes could be the size of a tent, yet they did little to wrap around his fat belly, which almost had his hairy breasts hanging out. How he's not eaten all his gold, I don't know.
"Hello my friend," the Pentoshi magister said with a laugh, his entire belly bouncing vigorously. "May I welcome you to the fair city of Pentos. Wine, food? It has sure to have been a long ride from the Disputed Lands, I am told. Anything you require?"
Jon shook his head. "It was a long ride. That is why I don't want to waste time. What is it you require?" Bodyguard work was fine for the knight. While it wasn't as glamourous, it was a steady line of work.
Illyrio smiled a sly smile as he nodded. "I heard you have an interesting history, my lord. Exiled by the king after your failure . . . and still loyally follow your prince."
"For serving my prince, I have lost everything I had and could want." My lands, my titles, my honour. But it was losing him which was the worst. Rhaegar with his silver hair, dark violet eyes which could piece into a man's soul, and the grief he carried around with him.
"It was a shame. You are an inspiring person. To stay so loyal. One of his closest friends and most loyal supporters." He was twisting one of the pongs of his beard.
"Tell me what you want," Jon growled from both frustration and anger. All the memories Connington tried to suppress were brought back up by the cheesemonger. He had made a life for himself in Essos, serving the Golden Company. Not the one he wanted, but the best an exiled lord who knew how to use a sword could do in a foreign land where coin was power.
Mopatis's grin returned, the one which made Jon Connington want to smash the merchants' crooked teeth in. "My friend, but what if I tell you that there is something for you to live for." He paused as if for dramatic effect. When Jon didn't respond, the cheesemonger continued, "His son. Rhaegar's son still lives."
What in the seven hells is he talking about? "Aegon?" His silver prince's son? The one which Princess Elia Martell remained bedridden over. No, it can't be. Aegon was killed by the mountain. He had his head smashed against the wall. "Aegon is dead. Killed during the sack of King's Landing." By the Lannister monsters who killed him, his mother and sister. The babe was ripped from his mother's breast before the monster raped the princess with the child's brain still on his hands before crushing her head.
Illyrio shook his head. "A false story people believe, I insure you. As it should be. Prince Aegon lives, under this roof."
Jon's eyes widened, but he did not let himself be fooled by the magister's words. "What proof?" He wished the eunuchs didn't take his sword, so he could press it to the fat man's throat and see if he kept smirking then.
The Magister turned to the slave and nodded. The blonde haired girl rushed off. "It is simple, my lord. Varys had switched the prince with another . . . one of lesser birth from a family with too many mouths to feed. That was the boy who was killed, not Aegon." He cocked his head. "Do you wish to see him for yourself?"
If he didn't offer, Jon was going to grab the magister by the neck and demand it. Aegon . . . my silver prince's son. He thankfully didn't have to wait long before another two people entered. A young boy and Varys the Spider.
"My sweet lord," the plump, bold eunuch said he the effeminate way he did. "How pleasant it is to see you've come."
"Don't play games with me," Jon almost growled. What is he doing here? He turned to the boy who was standing by the door, his silver hair hiding his eyes. The exiled lord knelt down so he could examine the boy, raising the child's chin so he could look at the face. The boy seemed desperate to look away and was fidgeting, but after a stern look from Varys, the child looked straight ahead but no less nervous. Connington wasn't surprised by the boys' actions. Rhaenys was similar when he first took the little princess from the mother. But whilst the princess looked more like a Dornish girl, with olive skin and dark hair, Aegon looked completely Valyrian, with barely any traces of his mother.
The Master of Whispers giggled. "He's a smart boy. Courteous, brave and not the kind to stay in the same place for long." He showed a smile, but not the kind people would find comfortable. "A fan of stories with valiant knights as well. Ser Arthur Dayne, Aemon the Dragonknight, and Ser Galladon of Morne."
Jon wasn't fully listening, instead examining for Rhaegar in the boy's face. It was hard for a child so young. "Aegon?" The child's eyes were purple, but a slightly lighter shade then the silver prince. Close enough . . .
"Y-yes," the boy replied shyly, his voice soft and barely hearable. "W-who are you?"
Before Jon could answer, Varys said, "The boy is without a father. One to raise him, one to teach him the ways of the world, and one to help him gain his rightful throne."
Connington felt his chest tighten as he struggled to get out a reply. This is Rhaegar's child, his son, his heir. He swallowed. I failed the father, I won't fail the son. He stood up and turned to both of them. The child was quickly ushered out. "What will you have me do?"
The spider giggled. "You will help him regain his rightful throne, when he is old enough. Ten, fifteen or even twenty years from now. Anything can happen during that time which can benefit Aegon. No matter what, the Lannister and Baratheon alliance can't last. When the realm is under threat, our young dragon will come and take back what is his." He smiled. "The bards will sing of that day for decades to come."
But Jon wasn't that wide eyed. "What if anything happens to the boy? What if he is like his mother and weak . . . what if he is like his grandfather?" There was a saying that the gods flicked a coin for every Targaryen.
Illyrio laughed, his chins and belly wobbling. "No need to fear. He's a strong lad, if he falls from a tree, he's back up it a moment later with even more dedication." His smile grew. "And he's not like his grandfather. That much is certain."
Shy is what he seemed. But Jon didn't know enough about the boy so he took their word for it. "He's not the last Targaryen. There is Viserys and the girl, Daenerys." The prince was sent to Dragonstone before the fall of King's Landing with Queen Rhaella. The queen died giving birth to the princess, but now the two royals were somewhere in Essos. "What of them? Are they here?"
The magister shook his head. "Whilst Robert believes that Aegon is dead, he knows that the other two are still alive and well. He will be more then glad to kill them. But for now, they are hidden and safe with Ser Willem Darry."
A good man, and true.
Varys quickly added, "This is a dangerous game I'm playing. If Robert finds out about me, I'll be in danger and with the chance that all our plans are found out and undone. I'm doing my best to protect them, my lord. But I need to keep up the rouse." Jon grudgingly accepted it. "But when they are older, they can reunite. It brings a tear to my eye to think of a family coming back together." He tittered.
Jon glanced at the door where Aegon had left. "You saved the boy, but what about the girl? The princess. Why didn't you save Rhaenys?" He shot a cold stare at the spider. The girl, she was only three when she was killed by the Lannister's. Stabbed half a hundred times' if the rumours were correct. He remembered the little girl staring at him with warm dark eyes and with that black kitten rubbing up against her as she cuddled it.
Varys didn't back down from the stare. He tilted his head slightly and almost showed a sympathetic face. "I couldn't. I wanted too, but I couldn't. A babe like Aegon would be easier to remove from the Red Keep and switched with another. But Rhaenys was older . . . and not many children have Dornish blood in the capital—"
"Not many people have Valyrian blood either."
Varys shook his head. "Blond hair, blue eyes. That was what the boy from Pisswater had. Enough for a child of Aegon's age. But Rhaenys was a different matter . . . I didn't believe they would kill her. Aegon would be in danger because he's a prince and a claimant . . . a girl on the other hand . . . not many in Westeros want a girl to be a ruler. I was hoping that Stark could get there first. He wouldn't have killed Princess Rhaenys even if Robert demanded it—"
"You were expecting Aegon to be killed?" Of course he would.
The spider nodded. "He's a threat to Roberts reign. Of course Aegon would be put to death, with Stark knowing or not. Robert Baratheon didn't think twice about the killing of two children, calling them Dragonspawn."
Jon pressed his nails into his palm. I should have razed the town to the ground. He inhaled sharply. "What are the plans for me?"
It was Illyrio who answered. "My lord Connington, you have experience in the Golden Company and it is known you have a high position within it . . . but not for long. You will have to disappear and fake your own death."
"What?" Fake my own death?
The spymaster nodded. "You will steal from the company's war chest and die from drinking in your grief. Not a heroic way to go, but that is exactly the point. No one grieves or sings for a common thief and drunkard. Your name will turn to sand and blow in the wind. No one will remember you."
The exiled lord barely restrained his anger. "You ask me to dishonour myself? I have lost everything but my honour and you ask me to lose that?"
Varys was unfazed. "The need for secrecy is greater than your honour, my lord. This is the safest cause of action. If people remember you, they could follow our trail, as little as it is. It will be easier if people believed you are dead and disgraced. A person forgotten." He tilted his head. "If you want to avenge your prince, then help us. Help his son gain the throne which is his and raise him to be the best king he could possibly be. One who the smallfolk can look up to and love, but one what the lords both respect and fear."
Jon lowered his head and clinched his fists. A hard line to walk, eunuch. He exhaled deeply. "I will do so," he said grudgingly. "But be careful, if you try to deceive me or put the boy's life in danger, I will find you and end you." He looked up and the plump man's face showed some level of fear to Connington's satisfaction.
"Fear not, my lord. I will do nothing of the sort." He smiled that sly smile. The smile Jon didn't trust.
Illyrio smiled. "It has been a long ride and there is much more to say. I'm sure you'll like some rest and perhaps you can speak with the boy some more." He chuckled. "Fear not, my griffin. He's shy, but he will talk when he's used to your presence." Jon agreed and they walked out.