authorsnote: welp sorry for the gap on this one, the next will be much sooner

do enjoy, do comment and all

also, is everyone LOVING house of the dragon? I AM HOOKED, I've already rewatched each episode too many times to count, just sayin' don't be surprised if you see some kind of daemon targaryen fic from me.. (now vying for 2nd place as my fav character, as always no one can supplant my bby jon).

songrecs: Love in The Eyes - GOT Season 1 Soundtrack


'How can such a night be beautiful? Why would the stars want to look down on such as me?'

- Jaime Lannister's thoughts.

-x-

Back on the road the next morning and he knew he was quiet, too quiet. Sure, he'd always been a brooder, but he was near silent as they left the Ruby Ford and continued their plod along the Trident, wheelhouse all fixed up, Northern contingent glaring at it.

And yet, though he knew his silence drew questions he couldn't bring himself to lie, to act. It was exhausting to do so on a normal day, he wasn't a born liar, only a learned one, but today? He didn't have it in him.

Not after what he'd seen.

He ran over every image in his mind again, and again and again, replaying them all like drawings he'd lingered on for too long. Each image was burned into his brain, he wasn't remotely worried about forgetting them, he couldn't if he wanted to.

Part of him did want to, to not have those images pressed at the front of his mind, stained on his brain, unable to shake, unable to ignore. Another part of him knew they were important; well, the last quest had said as much, emphasised it even.

Quest Alert!

The Seven.

Understand your place as a Targaryen, and what this means for the world.

Reward: The world is saved.

Failure: The world is lost.

No pressure he thought wryly, and yet that was all he felt, pressure on his skull, grinding into the bone, causing a headache, and threatening to last. He felt exhausted and not just from a lack of sleep, but from much more.

There was nothing else he could think of after that, he debated during lunch getting out his book, going over stats and yet he could not, the words and images from the night before just playing over and over in his brain, leaving no room for anything else, no other thought.

And there was much to linger on.

The seven rubies flying through the air, scooped up by a Warlock, the seven droplets, and seven Targaryens; himself included. The Prince that was Promised, the rubies on the Trident, so much to take in, too much, hence his exhaustion in his seat, he'd barely slept and what he'd managed had been fitful and the opposite of restful.

He was thankful no one seemed particularly chatty that morning, despite his silence and a few questions he'd waved away with being travel worn, to which the men nodded and commiserated, especially as the fixing of the wheelhouse had been so noisy to prevent anyone getting a good night's sleep. Rob too who looked less tired than he but still worse for wear. Of course, the Northerners were used to traversing harsh terrain, but it was a long journey, stop start and exhausting, and many had stayed up late drinking and eating, unsettled by the Southern sun.

And so, when they paused for lunch Jon decided for once he wouldn't put on an act, but instead shook off any attempt at conversation, explained he was going for a nap, and found himself a nearby tree, propping himself up against it, Ghost next to him, and he found himself near smiling as others followed him to do the same, less suspicious that way, and Robb offered him a smile as he settled at the next tree.

But despite his best efforts, his desperate desire for rest, and his closed eyes, sleep refused to come.

He tried, truly tried, for a good ten minutes (the breaks for lunch always lasted far too long in his mind, he had time), and yet he simply could not drift away. After a further five minutes he opened his eyes and felt slightly annoyed to be surrounded by sleeping Northern men (bar the guard), and yet sleep refused to grace him.

Goddamn it, it was almost like his mind was too full for sleep, stuffed from side to side, with no room for sleep to clear it.

And so, he knew what he had to do, he knew he needed to get his bearings, Gods be damned, and so, as the Northern men slept, Southerners looked on jealousy, Jon delved further into the forest, Ghost at his feet, and when out of sight settled back down against a tree but not to sleep, but to read.

His book, the book, something he knew was invaluable, but as he opened it with a grumble felt he might throw it into the Trident for a decent night's sleep.

Both seemed as unlikely as the other.


He gave it a couple of minutes to ensure he hadn't been followed, and that he was alone (bar Ghost, who settled as he sat against the tree again, but found sleep far easier than he had tried to), before he opened the book, his most prized possession.

Part of him wondered what would happen if he lost it, but he doubted he was in danger of that, as it never left his side, rarely even his breast pocket.

He was tempted to run through every page, double check everything but he knew even Southern lunches didn't last quite that long, and though he couldn't sleep he certainly felt tired (exhausted, he just hoped sleep that night came easier), and not up to trawling through stats. No, instead he focused on his quests.

There was much to do, and much he was facing, and he knew his original plan; improving his skills, levelling up quickly, was still his best way to be prepared, his way to take on the more insane quests he was being given, as well as the constant challenges he was facing.

Even now, months after he had returned (and it had been months to his surprise; sometimes it felt like years, sometimes like none long stretched out, never ending day), he was not what he had been, wouldn't be for a while, but he was getting there. Getting stronger, faster, and he still had his mind, it just needed honing.

On the Wall he had honed his skills with a sword, among the Wildlings he had learned to lie, as Lord Commander he had developed strategy and perfected tactics. Now here? He had to do better at all of those things and more.

It was a heavy burden but one he would bear.

One he must bear.

With a sigh he flipped past the stats pages, the PERKS page, bonuses, inventory, relationships, all things he knew he needed to study again, for this book was so important, but those could wait for now. For now, in the time he had between here and Kings Landing (and he knew that was only 2 weeks or so), he needed to knock quests off his list, one by one, those that lingered, and those that came up daily.

First, he checked his 'Active' quests, as the book phrased it, running through them quickly:

Claiming Your Right

Claim your ancestors throne, the Iron Throne for yourself.

Obtain a Valyrian Steel Sword

Obtain a Valryian Steel Sword

Explore Old Valyria

Explore the ruins of Old Valyria to uncover some interesting secrets and trigger the quest 'The Doom'. Careful, this quest will be extremely difficult, and 'The Doom' even harder.

The Lands of Always Winter

Explore the Lands of Always Winter.

A Continent of Steel

Map out the Valyrian Steel swords of Westeros. Not all will be able to be acquired but some surprising ones will!

Home Again

Return to the Wall

A Prayer in the South

Find the hidden Weirwood none could burn in the Capitol.

Eyes That Can See

Map out the Weirwood Trees of Westeros.

Jenny of Oldstones

Go to Oldstones and learn its secrets.

To Defend a King

Join the Kingsguard.

Blue Lipped, Purple Eyed

Visit the Warlocks of Qarth and understand their words.

That was all of them, and then the one he'd read again earlier, had read five times even, and was burned on his mind for safekeeping regardless, the most unlikely for him to complete any time soon…

The Seven.

Understand your place as a Targaryen, and what this means for the world.

He forced himself to move on, if he saw that one, with its ominous failure penalties as the most unlikely to complete (or even understand) soon, then what was those within reach?

It was frustrating to see so few he could pin down.

Claiming Your Right, To Defend a King both spoke of different paths, he was surprised not to see one that said 'Join the Nights Watch' but he had no doubt it would come, at some point.

Explore Old Valyria, The Lands of Always Winter, Home Again, Jenny of Oldstones, Blue Lipped, Purple Eyed, all spoke of exploring places that were not within reach; even A Continent of Steel and Eyes That Can See spoke to that too.

He was thankful to note so was A Prayer in the South, but that seemed more likely, more in reach, as he was heading for Kings Landing itself; that needed to be high on his priority list, and he resolved to focus on that once they reached the dreaded Capitol.

Obtain a Valyrian Steel Sword was to him the most desirable but also one of the most difficult, quickly he flipped to the map at the front, and raised an eyebrow, this held the detailed map of the North, and then the Gift and Beyond the Wall, but it also now had a page for the South (what he had discovered), and other blank pages, evidently meant to hold other maps.

In total there were 11 pages, and he realised; The North (very detailed but not finished), The South (better but still mostly blank), Beyond the Wall (more detailed but not as much as the North), The Iron Islands (some but again mostly blank), The Free Cities (a bit worse than the South and Iron Islands), Valyria (near blank with a few spots he knew of), and then Slavers Bay, Eastern Essos, Summer Isles, Sothoryos and Ulthos were all blank with only a title at the top of the page.

And as he flipped back to the North he could see the detail, towns, settlements, villages, Houses, but only those he knew of, mapped out across the territory, and then as he'd seen a while ago, he could see the Valyrian steel markers, as he flipped from page to page;

Ice in Winterfell, not an option, not unless he wanted to supplant Robb (which he did not).

Longclaw at the Wall, and he felt a pang for the former sword, maybe one day an option, maybe one day he would hold the blade that had become his nonce.

Dark Sister, the legendary blade, Beyond the Wall, likely because of Blood Raven, amazing.

And for now that was all he knew, or thought he knew, as when he checked he could see:

Blackfyre, hovering over Bravos but with no determined location, even the script next to it said 'in Bravos'.

Brightroar was the same, hovering over Valyria, 'in Valyria'.

And then there was the quest itself, the options it had given him so far

Longclaw – Quest: The Nights Watch.

Dark Sister – Quest: Egg.

Blackfyre – Quest: The Merchant.

Brightroar – Lost in Valyria.

All again in far-flung places, and Maester Luwin had, had him study Valyrian Swords, as had Robb, and few existed that were known, and few great swords were suspected to be hidden where he was going.

The book glowed then, as it sat in his lap, silver, and flipped itself to the end page of his quests, adding another, not an active quest, nor daily, and he smiled, he preferred those, bigger bonuses, but less difficult circumstances;

Quest Alert!

Valyrian Explorer

Research and Read Up on Potential Valyrian Steel Sword Locations.

Reward: Historical Swords in known places will be added to the map (approximate locations), +10 Weaponry Knowledge (Unlocked), +200XP.

Failure: You'll have to discover the spots another way. -10 Tactics, -10 Weaponry Knowledge.

He smiled, that was something for when he reached the Capitol and he could use the library, but would aid other quests, useful but slightly frustrating he couldn't get into it now.

Still, it would be useful to map out the rest of the swords, nudge along that quest, and maybe get one step closer to getting his own again. He quickly checked the stats page and confirmed; Combat, Valyrian Steel Sword: 70, his highest with a weapon followed only by Combat, Sword: 60 and Combat, Bastardsword: 60.

He longed for Valyrian Steel again, it made him a better fighter, but for now it would have to wait.

No, instead now, he flipped to his daily quests, he knew he needed to be better at doing those, he just never found the time, on the road all day, and then (usually) collapsing in bed didn't leave much time for minor pursuits.

Quest Alert!

Southern Charm

Have a Conversation with a Southerner about Kings Landing life – Be nice!

Reward: Unlock Skill: Diplomacy, +10. +50 XP.

Failure: Diplomacy Remains Locked (for now), -100XP.

-x-

Quest Alert!

Warg

This is part of your daily schedule now (if you want to get better)! Warg into Ghost and discover your powers.

Reward: +5 Warging Skill, +100XP.

Failure: -10 Warging Skill, -100XP.

-x-

Quest Alert!

Practice your skills with Hand to Hand Combat

Reward: +10 Hand to Hand Combat, +50XP.

Failure: -10 Hand to Hand Combat, -100XP.

Those seemed fine, though he found himself groaning at the first, the other two were much more desirable and he resolved to fit them into his day.

He then checked the other quests he had, one passive:

Understanding the Rise

Reach Level 5 to unlock player's levels.

And two the book dubbed as 'smaller' quests, including the one he'd just been given:

Test Your Skill

Spar with Ser Barristan in Kings Landing, and learn a thing or two.

Valyrian Explorer

Research and Read Up on Potential Valyrian Steel Sword Locations.

There was much to do then, and he felt better for understanding them, for knowing what he needed to do, and it at least gave him some things to look forward to in Kings Landing, though they were few and far between.

Ghost stirred a touch then and Jon thought of waking him, to Warg, to complete one of the quests already, however, a crunch of the twig under a boot had him jolt, and quickly whip to his feet. Was it Robb? A Northerner fetching him to move on? Or a Southerner looking for trouble?

And yet, as the person who had disturbed him approached, it was none.


"Lord Jon?" The voice, unfamiliar, new, had him turning quickly, already up and alert, and listening in the right direction, he now faced this newcomer.

Mycrella Baratheon.

Or Lannister as the ravens' wings had claimed in his time, and yet as he looked at her, he wasn't so sure.

Had things changed this time? The past? The history? His future had changed of course, brought back from certain death, and he had noted things to be mostly the same in the North, and yet as he bowed his head to the Princess, he could see, she at least was different.

He remembered her visit the first time, vaguely. She was Southern, pretty he supposed, young compared to him, he had been as he was when he'd returned this time, just past his 17th nameday, still a child, compared to his 24th nameday as Lord Commander, and she had as far as he knew had her 12th when she had visited Winterfell for the first time.

It was a little different now.

Here she stood, perhaps at her 14th or even 15th nameday, older clearly, and he noted Joffrey, her brother had celebrated his 16th perhaps, the age gap had been shortened this time … he wasn't sure why.

She also looked a little different.

Sure, he couldn't remember her that well from his old life, but he could see now though her hair remained the Lannister blonde, and her face had inherited the good looks from the Queen (minus the sour expression), her eyes were different, green they had been the first time, and the source of all the suspicion, but now they shone blue.

Baratheon blue.

What had brought that change about he wondered? Though he didn't have much time to dwell on that, as she spoke again.

"Lord Jon?"

"I am no Lord Princess" He hurried out, as he was not, not that anyone knew, and besides he almost laughed then, if the truth were known he'd be a Prince nor a Lord. Or perhaps, with his Father dead, the King.

How strange. It remained often, difficult to believe.

"I apologise" She hurried, looking a little jumpy even, her hands clasped in front of her dress. Whereas he stood in practical wear, a tunic with the House Stark crest, breeches, sword at his hip, dagger at the other, some armour, she stood pretty, in a flowing red dress, with Lannister lions at the hips and shoulders, a gold necklace at her throat.

It ruined her. He could acknowledge now she was beautiful, incredibly so, but the red made him almost see red himself, and he found himself oddly wishing she'd worn another colour, not that it mattered he supposed.

And yet the thought lingered.

"No need" He said gruffly, and realised then they weren't alone, of course not. At her side stood a member of the Kingsguard, he wasn't sure which one.

And like clockwork…

Quest Alert!

The Kingsguard

You may or may not join these sworn brethren, but it is good either way to know who they are. Research the Kingsguard.

Reward: +10 Tactics, +10 History Knowledge, +100XP

Failure: -10 Tactics, -1 INT, -100XP.

He read it quickly, and then back to the Princess, who spoke, she seemed nervous, very nervous, he wasn't sure why, but it crept over to him a touch.

"I was just walking" She said with a nod, "Was that what you were doing out here my… um" She stumbled then.

"Jon is fine" He offered, he wasn't sure why, he had no connection to the Princess, and yet something stirred in him as she twisted her clasped hands, as she seemed to almost lean forwards on her boots in her nerves.

"What were you doing out here J…Jon?" She asked, stuttering to use his name.

"Resting" He offered, unsure why she had struck up conversation with him, perhaps to be polite, though he had no need for it.

But then of course, he remembered, no need for the book to remind him…

Quest Alert!

Southern Charm

Have a Conversation with a Southerner about Kings Landing life – Be nice!

Reward: Unlock Skill: Diplomacy, +10. +50 XP.

Failure: Diplomacy Remains Locked (for now), -100XP.

He supposed he'd have to grit his teeth and do so.

"How have you found the journey Princess?" He asked, placing his own hand on his sword, not as a threat but so not to mimic her, twisting them around, or swinging them idly. Though as she looked somehow more nervous, he instead clasped them behind his back himself, he may not like Southerners, but though he had no connection to the Princess, he had no quarrel with her either.

"Fine, thank you for asking" She said with a nod, answering quickly, her nerves no doubt, "Though the wheelhouse can be tiresome" She acknowledged.

"Aye, for all of us" Jon said before he could stop himself and winced.

And yet then he heard a sound, a delightful sound, not that he would ever, ever admit he'd found it so (and he only did for a split second).

The Princess giggled.

She giggled, and it sounded delightful, truly so.

"Yes, I suppose that is true" She said with a nod, and then her cheeks were red … was that somehow his doing? He doubted it but could find no other explanation.

"Do you ride horses?" He asked, to keep the conversation going for the quest, not out of genuine interest. At least, that was what he told himself, and it was only partly true.

"Yes" She nodded a bit too vigorously, the Princess – Mycrella, "I enjoy it at the Keep"

"Why not ride on horseback now then?" He asked, eyebrow raised.

"Oh, Mother would not allow it" She said hurriedly, shook her head, "Ladies don't ride horseback, not Princesses, at least when they can help it, my Mother said"

"My sisters both do" He offered, "Though Arya prefers it to Sansa" He smiled then, he missed both his sisters, the muddy and the slightly snobby, both, dearly.

"That is nice" She offered, and smiled, her smile was pretty too, another thing he'd never admit.

"You should ask your Father, I'm sure he would oblige you" He said, for it felt like something he should say, but also because he believed it. Robert Baratheon was no great King, nor Father he imagined, but he didn't seem completely unkind.

Just drunk, vengeful, and uninterested.

"I'm sure he would" Mycrella responded, but fear flickered over her face, "But I would not want to anger my Mother"

"As you wish Princess" Jon nodded his head then, it was not for him to get involved, bar the flicker he'd felt in wanting the Princess – Mycrella to smile again.

Something he should stay away from, really stay away from, this wasn't him, conversing with a pretty girl, enjoying her giggling and smiles. The Princess was a Southerner, and a Lannister which was much, much worse.

He'd only ever looked at one girl and enjoyed her smiles, her laugh, Ygritte, and her being gone lanced him like a wound every time.

He didn't realise it felt just a touch easier this time, stood in the woods with a Baratheon Princess, who smiled like the sun.

A call from the convoy to get moving again jolted him out of his thoughts, and he quickly nodded his head, and clicked at Ghost who had been slumbering behind the tree, evidently not seeing the Princess nor Kingsguard as any danger, he lopped up now though, with a silent yawn.

"My goodness" The Princess noted as he came into view. Ghost was already the size of a dog, and he knew would continue to grow and grow, his faithful companion but intimidating to some, "He is beautiful"

She sounded a little scared, but the awe in her voice prompted him to speak, "Do you want to pet him?"

"Princess… "The Kingsguard interjected, but Mycrella stepped forward.

"I'll be fine Ser Arys" She said with a nod, ahh so this was Ser Arys Oakheart, one member of the Kinsguard chosen by Robert Baratheon – 6 more to learn then, though he wasn't focused on that now, no, but the Princess in front of him.

"Ghost will not harm you when I am here" Jon said, as he knew it was truth as his direwolf stepped forward, silent, "No promises if I'm not"

The Princess nodded then, even smiled, her hand shook a little as she stepped forward, but there was that giggle again, one of pure joy, as Ghost nudged her hand and she happily gave him a pet, at ease as soon as she'd realised he would not harm her.

And he wouldn't, Jon was sure of that.

Another call from the convoy interrupted them though, "Princes…" Sery Arys said again and Jon whistled, Ghost back to his side in an instance; perhaps the training was paying off.

"I take my leave Princess" Jon said then, feeling a sudden urge to get away, to not look at her, not after the second giggle, and how it had made him feel warm for a fleeting second, just a second, warmth was often foreign to him.

"Of course, thank you… Jon" Mycrella said then, nodded her head.

"For what?" He found himself asking as he nodded his head in a bow, as was expected, but felt a little less resentful for this time.

"The conversation, your delightful wolf" She said with a smile, a touch more confident herself now, "May I come and see him again sometime?"

"Of course" Jon said, answering far too quickly for his own liking before he bowed his head again, he really needed to get away, it felt imperative to do so, and so he did so, "Princess" One last time, and then he turned and hurried back through the forest, barely seeing the books looping lines in front of him;

Quest Completed!

Southern Charm

Have a Conversation with a Southerner about Kings Landing life – Be nice!

Reward: Unlock Skill: Diplomacy, +10. +50 XP.

Diplomacy +10 = 30, XP: 1450/2500XP.

Instead, he barely read it, and hurried back to the convoy, hurried.


Once back he managed to fend off any questions of where he'd been easily, 'Taking care of private business', (the men understood that), as he hurried onto his horse, swung himself up to it and settled himself, or tried to.

And yet, he found himself glancing forward, and he saw someone in a red dress, with a ripple of blonde hair hurrying to the wheelhouse, and he saw her glance back.

He dropped his own gaze then quickly as she looked at him, and yet the book, and its glow forced him to look up again:

Quest Alert!

A Pretty Princess

Seek out the Princess Mycrella Baratheon, and bring Ghost

Reward: +10 Relationship with Princess Mycrella, +5 Love with Princess Mycrella, +2 CHA.

Failure: -15 Relationship with Princess Mycrella, -2 CHA.

This is a time sensitive quest! If you fail to complete this quest before the timer runs out, then you will fail it. Time sensitive quests offer less XP bonus, but generally higher other bonuses. These quests are also known as 'storyline' quests, in that they have a huge impact on the future! They will be rarer than other quests, but it is highly recommended you complete them!

Time Remaining: 3 Days after you arrive in Kings Landing

One more glance up, and he could see hovering near her head, but magnified near his eyes;

Player!

Mycrella Baratheon

Princess of the Seven Kingdoms

Level:?

Relationship: 15/100

Love: 0/100

Up 15 already. Damn, and a quest with mixed rewards, and harsh penalties either way.

He had no idea what that meant, what the book was asking him, and why, and how he felt about it, how he felt now.

But as the Princess found his gaze across the road, he dropped his again, and didn't look up again until they started moving.

And then for some time after, just to be sure.


damn this was fun to write

try not to read too much into the pairing ... or do, who knows? hahahaha

i will re-iterate a note from chapter 12 here, yes mycrella's eyes being blue is deliberate, clearly.

lemme know watcha thought, I love your reviews

speak soon