Responsible for the Impossible
Sitting on the Cold Iron Chair, the wizard ran a tired hand over his face.
Truly, he had never been built to rule. But with the deaths of his parents long ago, his grandfather's somewhat recent taking of the Black, the former Lord Ebenezar Dresden who had ruled in the Starseat longer than any man before, and with the complete lack of any and all other Dresden's save his daughter, the title of Lord had been passed to Harry a few years ago. With all the weight it carried.
Lord Dresden, of House Dresden, chafed at authority, and it chafed no less when it was his own authority. Already, he had assumed the title of Warden of the Starless Cells, Knight of Winter, and Wizard of the White Council. The Mantle of Warden had been left unfilled for far too long, and to halt the waking of beings great and terrible, who wanted nothing more than to destroy the realms of Creation, a comparatively young Harry Dresden had bound himself to a dark, twisted spirit, one that only showed it's good in how it resisted and safeguarded against even darker beings. For far more personal, more vengeful reasons, he had assumed the Mantle of the Winter Knight, submitting to Queen Mab of Faerie, and possibly damned himself and his people in the process. And in order to keep his head, and to make peace with the Wizards that hid themselves throughout the realm, he had submitted to the ruling body of the Senior Members of the White Council, allowing them to monitor and dictate how he used his magic, regardless of his intentions.
Years later, he still wasn't sure how, exactly, he would manage to balance this new responsibility without being crushed under it. In the cold, harsh lands of the North, in his small Hold, there was little one could do to avoid the swinging of the blade of authority, as if one who needed to failed to assume it, the lands would be ungoverned, the ungoverned lands would fall from the rigidity that survival there required, and as the Starks would say, Winter would come.
And while Lord Dresden was the Knight of Winter, that was not a title he could share with his people, nor was it one that would spare his people any of Winter's wrath. All that the new lord could do was continue to watch the horrors trapped in the Starless Cells, rebuff any supernatural predators that saw fit to encroach on his lands, and now, settle matters of contention between his people and those unfamiliar to his lands.
So while most Lords would clutch a sword or an axe while sitting atop their glorified chair, Lord Dresden clutched a carved wooden staff, and looked down at the rich businessman who sniffed at his accuser, and the man dressed in rags, who pleaded with Lord Dresden to understand that the businessman could talk people out of their livelihoods, out of the food, coin, and supplies necessary to survive the coming Winter, and indeed, their very pride. He told Lord Dresden of how he had seen a man that had insinuated that the businessman, Redoran "Redcap" Reeves, known for the furred crimson cap he always crowned his head with, was a goat poker, moments later becoming entranced, then on his knees kissing the Redcap's boots, before receiving a savage beating from the unnaturally fair man.
Brushing a hand across his stubble, Lord Dresden looked to the Redcap, raising a hand to silence the peasant's continuing claims of evil, of witchcraft, and of thievery.
"Do not speak of witchcraft as a crime," the Lord in the Starseat advised the peasant, "for any magic that preserves the sanctity and dignity of human life will ever be allowed here."
Standing from his seat, and striding down the steps from the Starseat, Lord Dresden stood before the Redcap. "However," he continued, eyes locked onto the Redcap's without fear, certain in his bones that no soul rested behind those eyes, "you were doing no such thing, were you, Redoran Reeves?"
The name was spoken with authority, and with anger, and at its mention, Reeves the Redcap at once looked interested for the first time in the conversation, and uncertain of its outcome, though of course, the name was not properly spoken. It held no power but to get the man's, if he was indeed such, attention.
"I have no idea what you speak of... Lord Dresden."
Dresden smiled then. It was not a friendly smile. It was a cruel smile. A cold smile.
A wintry smile.
The Redcap recognized that smile, and it put fear in his heart.
"I am certain, Redoran Reeves," Dresden spoke, the frightened peasant taking a step back at the tone of certain, calm authority in his voice, "that you have heard the Queen's decree."
"Queen?" Redoran asked, face twisted in false confusion. "Surely, my Lord, you must mean-"
"I mean Queen Mab, of Faerie," Lord Dresden thundered, anger written on his face. "You have entered my lands, bewitched the wills of my people, and stolen their wealth. You will return all that you have taken, and leave with all haste."
"But-" The Redcap's own face was written with rage now, his blustering mouth ahead of his overconfident mind.
The peasant, whose name was Jacob, was lost.
Dresden, far less than lost, snarled, "But nothing. I know what you will say. You are not the first of Faerie to defy my Deal with your Queen, and you will not be the last. You cannot give anything without some type of gift in return, from those you are giving to. You are giving to my people, and by extension, me. You are giving to me what you have taken, and in return, I am graciously returning to you ownership of your life." Lifting the staff to rest just under the Redcap's chin, he narrowed his eyes. "I suggest you accept my generous offer. You will not receive another."
The Redcap was terrified. But, he had grown in the icy grips of Winter. He had faced stronger, and smarter, and he could certainly face an upjumped mortal who believed himself something more than a simple creature that existed for the enjoyment of the Fae.
So he thought.
Pulling his blade free with a snarl, the Redcap slashed at Dresden's neck with a smooth motion.
Lord Dresden was no longer there. With inhuman speed, in fact, with Fae speed, he had ducked away and under the blade, and using his impressive reach, placed a ring-clad hand in the Redcap's face.
"Forzare," Dresden whispered.
BOOM, the rings roared.
Splat, the Redcap's head went.
"TITS OF THE MOTHER!" Jacob yelped.
Looking to the peasant, Lord Dresden, Master of the Starseat, the Dresden in the Cold Iron Chair, Warden of the Starless Cells, Knight of Winter, and Lord in the Starstone Hall smiled tiredly. "I don't much believe in the Seven," he joked to the peasant, "but I could certainly use a firm pair right now." Shaking his head, he focused on the task at hand. "Ser Michael!" He called.
From the large wooden entrance to the Great Hall, adorned with rugs, tapestries, and generally, textures rather than colors and embroidery, a smiling knight in full armor, hand wrapped easily yet firmly around the hilt of a longsword at his waist, entered, stopping as he saw the mess of gore and grey matter that had once been a well known businessman.
"Harry?" He asked uncertainly.
"The man was Fae," Lord Dresden snarled. "Ensure that everything he took from my people is returned, and that no friends of his are looking for revenge."
Surveying the scene again, a serious look came to Michael's face. "As you say, Lord Dresden," he replied in a deep, calm bass. More gently, he said, "before you go to bed, I suggest that you see Lady Maggie. She has been missing her father, as of late."
Lord Dresden nodded without meeting Michael's gaze.
"Milord?" Questioned Jacob, his voice squeaking slightly.
"Jacob, was it?" Dresden turned to him tiredly. "I would suggest that you tell nobody that I blew a man's head off with a word. Things could go..." Harry nodded his head to either side. "Poorly for you."
"Yes Milord," Jacob cried, backing out the same door that Michael had entered. "Thank you, Milord," he said, meaning to be grateful for the fact that his own head hadn't been popped like a bottle of Astapor Wine.
A few minutes after Jacob left, Michael observed, "You have been rather free with threats lately, my Lord, spoken and unspoken."
"And?" Lord Dresden asked with exhaustion in his voice, his shoulders once more sagging under the weight of responsibility.
"Winter is coming," Ser Michael observed again.
"I won't let the Mantle take me," Dresden swore. "Mab will not have me."
"Of course, My Lord." Michael agreed easily, a small, sad smile dancing across his lips. "You're too good a man for that."
With that, Ser Michael left.
Sitting in the seat of his power, Lord Dresden stretched out his senses, and felt the power that ran under the surface, felt the ley lines that intersected beneath the Starseat, and the power that all but thrummed through the air of the Starstone Hall.
He considered this power, and all the terrible things that he could do with it.
He considered this power, and all the terrible things that he could have stopped with it, but didn't.
He considered this power, but not once did he consider the good that he could do, and had done, with it.
He considered the power. And he shook his head away from it.
"'Too good a man,'" he said, unbelieving. He snorted. "I'm not good," he told himself. "I'm just too damn stubborn to be bad."
And so Lord Harry Dresden sat in his seat of power, and he let the world spin on, intent on protecting his people, and the whole of Westeros, from the beasts and monsters that rose out of his lands.
He sat in his seat of power, before shaking his head and he grinning tiredly as he stood from it, taking the advice of his Knight and sworn sword, striding slowly towards his daughter's room.
His smile widened with every step, and when he finally saw his little girl, safe and content in her bed, sleeping without a care in the world, he remembered why he spat in the face of every Faerie, Demon, Vampire, or Warlock that strode into his territory and demanded the power of the Starseat for themselves, or demanded the blood or souls of the smallfolk under his protection.
He remembered, and he reaffirmed to himself, that so long as he drew breath...
Those beasts wouldn't.
AN: I don't know what I'm going to do with this, if anything. It's doubtful that I'm going to try to write a full-on crossover, especially while trying to weave Dresden elements into a world as rich as George R. R. Martin's.
Most likely, if I add anything else to this, it will be in the vein of connected one-shots, playing off of things throughout the TV series, or dealing with the merging of the worlds.
One more thing for this story, I am not completely satisfied with this, and will likely return to edit it before I add anything else to it.
As for how I should be writing Teaching Bravery instead... this One Shot was an accidental, drunken piece that turned out better than I ever would have expected. It happened at 3:00 in the AM, and to be honest, I'm proud that it went as well as it did. It didn't take any time away from my struggling with the most recent Teaching Bravery chapter. Anyways, have a good day all, and Happy FanFic-ing!
EDITS 1: Cleaned up some text and cell-phone auto-correct typos, and added a bit of context that I'm unsure whether or not will add or detract to the story. We'll see, I guess.
EDIT 2: Removed the bit about Harry 'recently' being unapprenticed. I was of two minds when writing this, that of having a young Lord Dresden who had the position thrust upon him before he was ready, and show off a Dresden more like from Storm Front or Fool Moon dealing with Lordship, and being the Warden, and having an older Lord Dresden who was used to dealing with this type of crap, and adjusting to things getting wilder, as Magic reawakened in other parts of the world. I needed to be sure that I chose one for this one shot, and that if another one comes along in which I explore the other option, well, awesome! So Dresden has been Lord for ten years.
AN 2: I'll be brief. The Redcap could be considered there under guest rights, to a degree, though it is unlikely seeing as it is a matter of justice. If he were under Guest Rights, he would have forsaken his protection by hurting Dresden's people, seeing as Dresden made a point of saying his land/people are extensions of himself. You don't hurt your host and stay protected by Guest Rights! (Or is it Rites? I'm genuinely not sure...!)