Author's Notes: Welcome back for another chapter! Thank you all, as always, for being so supportive and dedicated readers of this story!
Catzrko0l continues to be a steadfast beta who helps ensure that this story is the best it can be. Thank you!
The 29th of November is the day I first started publishing The Dragon's Roar. It is officially 4-years-old. Hard to believe that it's been so long and I am ceaselessly grateful that you wonderful people continue to support it. It's my hope that TDR will finish up within the next year; I promise, there isn't all that much story left to go. We are definitely 2/3rds through.
Trigger Warning: Domestic Abuse. Please read cautiously.
He kept peering up at her from his plate. Daenerys was quiet, distracted. She didn't seem unhappy because when she did speak, her voice and tone were as usual. Something was clearly occupying her as she did not regale about her day.
Aemon contemplated saying something, but from the time before he knew she was the type to want space, and then she might say what was on her mind. He weighed it a few more minutes and then asked, "Is something the matter?"
"Hmm?" She looked up from her plate, blinking at him.
"You're very quiet. You normally talk about your day."
"I did not do much," she said. "I already told you about the letter from our Uncle Aemon."
He grinned. "Yes, that was a delight to hear." He sighed, "I should have written to him more often. I was so wrapped up in the daily trivialities."
"Well, I can certainly write for both of us. I did ask if there were any questions you wanted answered; have you thought of any?"
"Yuh-yes, actually," Aemon said. "Would you mind terribly asking him if he knows any of the old Targaryen methods for training dragons? Perhaps there's more we could teach them."
Her eyes grew wide and she smiled. "That is a good question! Yes, I will write a letter back to him tomorrow. I will also ask more specifically about the dragons. I want to know which skulls belong to which dragon under the Keep. The Blackfyre Rebellion and the Dance of Dragons also sound pertinent."
"We do have books on those."
"It doesn't hurt to get a family member's perspective," Daenerys replied, her eyes crinkling with excitement.
Just as easily as the conversation had come, it left and they fell back into silence, but it was not entirely comfortable. He felt a tension in his shoulders and an incessant feeling that all was not right.
"There is nothing, right?"
Daenerys sighed and Aemon winced. He should have backed off when she'd skirted the question before.
He had just opened his mouth to apologize, when she said, "I spoke with the healer."
Aemon blinked. "David?"
"Yes, I wanted to know more about him."
"Is this because of seeing him at the magister's palace?" He asked, his brow furrowing. This is just passing strange. I understand how odd it is, but it was easily explained.
Daenerys was quiet, her head down. Aemon was simply ready to let it go when she said, "It wasn't just that…."
"What is it then?"
She raised her eyes to his, her expression troubled. "Are you familiar with the House of the Undying?"
He was quiet as he thought, his eyes searching her face as if he could find the answer there. He slowly shook his head. "No," he whispered.
"It's where the Council of the Undying resided. They stole my dragons when I was in Qarth; I had to walk its halls to find them," she said.
"It was important that I follow very specific instructions or I would be lost in the House of the Undying forever," she continued, her face growing grimmer. Aemon's heart trembled at the thought that she could have been so easily lost to him.
"I walked down a hallway. Various doors opened and I saw scenes from my past. One of those scenes was of Magister Illyrio and the healer," she said, meeting his eyes. "I thought little of it at the time. There were other places from my past, but when I saw him wandering these halls…."
"You wanted answers," Aemon said. He pushed his plate to the side and stared down at the table, his eyes following the waves of grain in the wood. Is this significant? Or not? "Can you tell me what else you saw?"
"Well … there was one place where we hid from the usurper's assassins that had a red door and a lemon tree. Ser Willem Darry watched over us when I was a child. It was a warm place, familiar. He was always so kind. In the vision, he came out the door and waved to me, beckoning me, but he was long dead even then. I knew better and moved on from it. That's when I came to the door with Magister Illyrio and the healer. The Magister beckoned to me. David did not. He just sat there and watched me. I'd never felt so cold before," she said and rubbed her own arms as if chilled.
"Perhaps then it was just like the vision with Ser Willem Darry. Simply not real," Aemon said.
Daenerys nodded, but he could tell she was unconvinced.
"When you were in Qarth, David was here in King's Landing. It's not possible it was him. It couldn't be real."
"He felt real," she murmured. Her eyes connected with him again. "There is more, but it was not in the hallway. I had to pick a door, so I did. It took me out onto the streets of King's Landing. People were running and screaming. Drogon and Rhaellon were huge and were spraying the city with fire, destroying it," her voice broke with her fear and grief.
"Were you there? Where was I?"
"I ... did not see you. If there was another me, I did not see her either. I was just on the streets, I had to run and find the next door. When I pushed through that one, it was the throne room here in the Red Keep. There were bodies strewn everywhere and it was very cold. I recognized Lord Lannister and Lady Brienne and you … you were sitting dead on the throne," she whispered, terror in her eyes. "Then suddenly your eyes opened. They were bright blue. All of the bodies stirred and they began to rise. You all started coming after me. Then there was another. I believe he was this Night King you've mentioned before. He was about to kill me when Drogon and Rhaellon, my dragons, appeared and blew their fire. They led me away."
Daenerys cut herself off and broke off eye contact to stare at her hands and shivered. Aemon stared at her, then rose from his seat at the table to stand next to her and take her hands in his in comfort.
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. But you knew of the wights?"
"Yes," Daenerys replied. "I did not know what they were called. But you all had blue eyes like the one you showed everyone." She swallowed. "I have never felt such fear before as when you showed it to us."
Aemon felt his heart hammering his ribs and his mouth went dry, but he said, "That vision will not come true, Daenerys. We know of it. We're preparing for it right now."
"How can you be so sure?"
"I, uh, I just know it," Aemon said. He struggled to contain the guilt that he felt in his gut. She had just shared with him an important moment from her past. He was on the verge of opening his mouth and spilling his secrets, but he held back.
Should I tell her? he thought. He wanted to, but while her story was outlandish, his was impossible. It shouldn't be. Would she believe him? He wanted to think so. But this wasn't the time. There were likely ears listening in on this conversation.
"We can prevent those things from happening, my love. We can arm ourselves with the knowledge necessary to make sure our dragons never stray from our control. We can make King's Landing safe. It is not a pleasant knowledge, but it does soothe me that you knew about the wights. One more person understanding the threat is vital, and you have your dragons."
Daenerys looked back at him again. A shadow of a smile was slowly growing and sparks of hope burned in her eyes. "Thank you," she whispered and moved incrementally forward so that their foreheads were touching.
The door opened and they pulled away from each other. Aemon scowled at the cause of disturbance but smoothed his face over when he saw a meek young woman hustling over.
"Thousand apologies, Your Graces, but Lord Varys said it was urgent," she squeaked, bowing her head and offering him a folded piece of parchment.
Aemon stiffened; he had never received an urgent parchment. His reports usually were delivered at the small council and rarely ever more than anything of minor note.
He took the note. "Very well, you're dismissed," Aemon said. She scurried out in the time he broke the seal on the parchment and opened it. His eyes widened.
"What is it?" Daenerys asked.
He handed her the note to read for herself, and said aloud, "It seems the Ironborn have decided to come to us."
|-The Dragon's Roar-|
Her heart pounded beneath her breast and she struggled to not shift and rock the dinghy her crewmember was rowing. She had done what she could to soften up the greenlanders, but she overestimated her worth to the dragon queen and underestimated the boy king. Not that there would have been much opportunity for snooping around the Red Keep to ferret out its secrets. Instead, she directed her crew to cause trouble in the streets.
She expected the king to be handing her the promised gold any day now and expecting her ships' sails to diminish in the distance. She wished she could see his face when it didn't happen. But that was up to the man aboard this ship.
Of course, he would want to be on the largest in the bay, she mused, though she noticed it wasn't his ship, the Silence. It was likely too notorious for this simple meeting. It loomed above her and blocked out the scant light from the crescent moon and the stars, casting her in darkness. She steeled herself as the rope ladder was thrown overboard and she pulled herself up.
She was surprised by a gruff, large man who glared at her, not at all like the mutinous mongrels usually aboard.
"Below," the man growled and tipped his head toward the stairs.
He began to follow her when she snapped, "I can find my own way." She kept her head up as she descended the stairs, but her trepidation was growing. She opened the door and nearly breathed a sigh of relief at seeing the man before her fully clothed. She often walked in on him raping his latest conquest much to her ire.
Instead, he was seated at the table, his single blue eye smiling at her. He was just as she had last seen him. His long black hair fell around his shoulders, his beard was crusted with the salt of the sea, and a driftwood crown adorned his head. When he smiled, it was vicious and mirthless.
"Lucia, it's been a while."
She clenched her teeth at the lack of title but fought desperately not to show it. His mood was yet unclear; she had to tread carefully.
"I put the plans in motion, but it seems the dragon bitch is not quite as airy and pliable as expected. She forgets her courtesies and who brought her and her army across the seas."
His smiling eye turned savage and the atmosphere became tense. She thought back on her words and then searched the room until they lighted upon the crown. "Your Grace," she mumbled, head down.
The atmosphere shifted again and he relaxed. He dragged the silence out and then said, "Did it really not cross your mind to report the dragons' activities?"
Lucia scowled back fiercely. "They're vicious beasts, more like rats than lions. Cautious, too. They steer clear of the ships and dive into the middle of the bay. They're not a threat."
He barked a laugh. "I always suspected your cunt had rotted away, but I didn't think it would affect your brain. Have you forgotten the stories of Balerion the Black Dread? Meraxes? Vhagar? Dragons as big as mountains."
"Then perhaps you've also forgotten that they only bonded and listened to their respective Targaryens! To hold one and tame it is a fever dream," she snapped back.
Lucia remained furiously silent, but her curiosity was piqued.
"I have the Dragonbinder," he said, his grin becoming cocky. When she remained silent, he went on, "I found it in the ashes of Valyria. The runes carved on it indicate that when blown it will bind a dragon to the one who has the horn in their possession."
Her mouth fell open and she cocked her head. "Is that so?"
"So say the legends. Knowing the dragons fish nearby, I would have ridden inand snagged them. Then we could turn them against their very masters and take Westeros for ourselves."
A smile curled her lips. "There is still a chance of that, my love. If blowing a horn is all that is necessary, the sound will carry over the water. We can get them yet."
He snarled, "Even they're not so dull to not recognize the Silence when it sails through the strait. They will be ready for a fight."
Lucia waved her hand. "That's of little concern. The dragon bitch calls herself their mother, but they scarcely listen to her. I sailed with them for two months. They often needed multiple tellings for them to heed. I can only imagine them getting more difficult with age and growth."
"That depends on you now, doesn't it?" he replied.
Her smile fell away. "What do you mean?"
"The fleet will be here in a week. You need to position your men on the ground to fight. In the meantime, sabotage their ships, poison the Unsullied, wound them, slit some throats. Do what you promised!" he bellowed.
"I have been, which you could see if you had both of your eyes!" she screamed.
He lashed out. Lucia's head exploded in pain and the next thing she knew, she was laying on her side on the floor. She moaned, a mixture of pleasure and pain. She tried to hide it with a furious look.
He knelt down and grabbed her face. His fingernails dug in, forcing her to close her eyes. "And you, sweet, while we're fighting on the front, you will bring me Daenerys Targaryen."
She scowled. "What need do you have for her?"
"She's blood of the dragon. The throne belongs to the Targaryens. I need a Targaryen queen."
"I am to be your queen," she hissed.
"I only need her for legitimacy. But you must catch her and bring her unharmed, or I'll carve you up and throw you into the drink for the fishes," he finished in a sinister whisper.
Lucia attacked him. She threw an arm around his neck and pulled him closer, biting his lips and indulging in her stolen kisses. He grabbed her by the neck and dragged her across the room to throw her on the bed. She began tearing her clothes off and met his energy with more fervor. She liked it rough and Euron Greyjoy was the roughest she ever had.