Hi there. Here we have one of those little gems I found on that old hard drive I've rediscovered recently. It is one of the alternative scenarios for my story A Lion's Duty.
What makes this different from the story I have posted is the beginning of the story and the consequences of that. Instead of saving Rhaenys in a moment of emotional duress and misplaced chivalry, Jaime Lannister had been influenced by Prince Rhaegar and Ser Arthur for much longer. His part in the prince's greater plan was to protect the princess at all cost, which ended with Jaime taking Rhaenys away to Essos, similar to the way Ser Willem Darry had taken Viserys and Daenerys to the other side of the Narrow Sea. Rhaenys was considered dead by the realm, but Jaime remained in his self-imposed exile, going as far as forming his own mercenary company with a number of other Targaryen loyalists who had been exiled by Robert Baratheon. Jaime had Rhaenys trained both as a noble lady as well as a warrior, which brought about the birth of a new warrior in the ever-growing conflict for the Iron Throne.
It was an idea I like quite a lot, but I discarded this idea, mostly because it seemed a bit too ambitious at that time. Rhaenys being a warrior, similar to the Sand Snakes and Jaime remaining loyal to Rhaegar even decades after the Prince's death are not an easy setup for a story.
This story was a little teaser I had written some years ago. A small glimpse at the mood and the setting. So have fun with it and let me know how this might compare to the plot of A Lion's Duty...
Jaime Lannister inspected the sword in his hand with a keen eye, looking for any imperfections in the steel, or any tiny notches on the blade. It surely wasn't the supreme craftsmanship that a smith in Lannisport or King's Landing, but it was well enough made for the swordsmiths in the former Valyrian city of Tolos.
He himself had no need for a new blade. The one his father had gifted him after he had been knighted was still far better than anything he had encountered, bar the odd few Valyrian Steel swords he had laid eyes on since then. A good sixteen years had passed since that day and his sword was still the best for him. His father had never spared any expenses for his son and heir.
Not even Tywin Lannister could have foreseen how his actions had saved his son's life more than once, even though Jaime had been lost to the Lord of the Westerlands for nearly two decades now...
But he wasn't here to equip himself, but rather to commision a few dozen new weapons for the men in his mercenary company. The fights in the last few months had been hard and the Meereenese had fought tooth and nails for the ruins of Bhorash. Casualties had not been as bad as Jaime had feared at first, but the weapons they had used had suffered more than the men who wielded them.
"What do you say, this one looks promising," he asked the woman who followed two steps behind him.
Myria took the offered weapon from him and gave it some good swings. She was highly capable with the sword, though she was more comfortable with knives and spears. She was an odd one, he had to admit. Far too many haunting secrets and regrets to be considered sound of mind, she was still very capable. And that despite her humble beginnings. She had been little more than the unwanted bastard daughter of some Volantene noble and a rhoynish slave. A bloody mess, when Jaime had received her as a gift from an old slaver almost a year ago.
"Well balanced," Myria said, "But too long for most of the younger men in your company. They lack the stamina. They can barely use their little blades properly."
"Of course you would know about the stamina of the lads," Jaime chuckled.
"And their little blades," she added with a laugh. "But we should look for short swords instead, I think."
Jaime hummed in agreement but considered ordering some more longswords as well. The number of former hedge knights and disappointed second sons of Westerosi nobles in his mercenary company had swelled in the last few years. Those trained on the other side of the Narrow Sea would need the weapons they had been taught with.
"Let's move on, there's another weaponsmith at the other end of the merchant's quarter," Jaime ordered.
Ever obedient, Myria followed him without pause or protest.
A rancid odor filled the Lannister knight's nostrils, as they passed some of the open stalls of the tanners. Freshly acquired pelts hung outside, showing various beasts, both native to the lands around Tolos and from far beyond. Yunkish and Ghiscari traders often brought live animals to Tolos, just so they could be butchered and processed freshly by the slaves here.
He quickened his steps to escape the smells and to reach the other smith before the sun would fully set. The city was already bathed in the ominous orange light of the evening hours and soon enough it would be pitch black darkness in the city. The time when the most unsavory of Tolos' occupants would leave their holes to steal and destroy the work of better men.
"Commander," Myria suddenly called out to him, just as they passed through the last of the dank alleys that would lead them to the smith.
Jaime stopped dead, but didn't turn around to look at the woman, nor did he address her. Instead, his eyes roamed the alley. He knew why she had stopped him. They were not alone. A man and a woman stood in the shadows before him, both armed with spears. It was obvious that those two would not let him pass in peace.
"So the long await trap… at last," Jaime muttered bitterly.
He had expected something like this would happen soon. It wasn't the first, nor would it be the last attempt on his life. The Usurper has placed a large enough bounty on his head to tempt even the most foolish of assassins.
"Very well then," Jaime said, "Don't expect me to go easy on any of you."
He pulled his sword, quicker than any other could do and swung it in a long arc against the closest of his attackers, the woman behind him. Myria was obviously not surprised at all and had deflected the sword with longest knives.
"So you knew all along," she laughed.
"A little serpent tipped me off about your late night strolls every time we are near a city," Jaime replied, "But that doesn't mean that I am not sorely disappointed in you. You could have served a cause bigger than this petty life of an assassin."
He had to shift his focus away from Myria and towards the other attackers, as the man swung his spear at him. The other woman followed soon after. Like a deadly dance, the two spearmen attacked and retread, each covering the openings of the other. The Lannister knight was pushed more and more into a defensive stance.
Things looked grim for him. Jaime had no need for ominous dragon dreams or fire gazing to see the possible future in which he would be very dead and his duty unfulfilled.
The tip of the man's spear found its way into a gap of Jaime's leather armor, grazing the flesh underneath the tunic before he could push the weapon away. The wound hurt more than such a small cut should.
Poison. He bit back the angry curse as he realized this. Their weapons are poisoned and too much of it would end him quicker than their deadly dance ever could. There was no need to skewer him with their spears, small cuts, and the poison would do the trick just as easily.
"I really hope that you realize that the Usurper's gold will be your undoing. Do you really expect that my father would let you leave the Seven Kingdoms alive after killing his firstborn son? You are fools if you believe that," he spat.
The man laughed mockingly, as he stopped his assault for a short moment.
"I have no need of the fat swine's gold. He will meet his end, just like you and your precious father, Lannister."
"Bloody vengeance then, how droll," Jaime growled, "Everyone feels slighted and blood is always the quickest way to fulfill your ominous revenge fantasies."
"Not revenge! Justice," Myria bellowed at him. "Justice for Elia and her children."
Elia… Jaime felt as if someone had hit him over the head. They were here to get justice for Elia Martell. Princess Elia Martell, the wife of the dragon Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Elia Martell, the woman who had chosen to trust him with her child's safety. Elia Martell, the woman who had been butchered by his father, when all pretense of civility and respect had been tossed aside at the end of Robert Baratheon's unjust rebellion.
"You… you are Oberyn Martell," Jaime said.
"So the little lion knows me, how good of you," Oberyn replied angrily, as he pulled the hood back, which had obscured his face during the fight. "And now I will kill you."
"Kill me, Martell, and you will piss on your sister's last will," Jaime told him, "Princess Elia..."
"Don't you dare use her name. Your father murdered her and now I will murder you. He will suffer what I have suffered."
A bitter laugh escaped Jaime's lips, as he saw the blind fury on the Dornish prince's face. Oberyn was one of many. Men and women who have to this day failed to make their peace with the horrific end of the rebellion.
Myria was the first to strike again, as the Dornish Prince seemed preoccupied with his own rage. Jaime's movement had become sluggish from the poison coursing through his blood, so he was barely able to block her swift strikes and kicks. It was only now that he realized that the poison on their weapons was not meant to kill, but to paralyze. It was both a relief and another reason to worry.
"What's up, Lannister, tired already," she mocked, a nasty sneer on her face.
Jaime could only laugh in response. "Poison is the weapon of the craven and weak," he spat back. But his bravado was little more than empty words, as his strength waned, even more, forcing him down on one knee.
"I've tolerated your insolent tongue for long enough, Lannister," Myria hissed, as she got ready to strike him. But she didn't get the chance to vent her anger.
"Nymeria, step back, his life is mine to take," Oberyn ordered, as he slowly approached the kneeling knight. "Any last words, Lannister filth?"
Jaime looked up at the man standing before him. All he saw was the rage distorted mask of a man who had lost himself in his anger. Oberyn Martell had suffered for a long time. A mistake on his own part, Jaime had to admit. He should have found a way to inform the Martells of Elia's plan, but he never saw the need for it. This all could have been avoided. But at least now all would be revealed… in a more painful way than absolutely necessary.
"If I were you, I would bow," Jaime muttered weakly.
"What did you say?" Oberyn asked angrily, as he knelt down so he would be face to face with Jaime.
"I said that you are a fool. And you are not the only one who can lure others into a trap," Jaime replied, followed by a tired chuckle.
Oberyn's eyes widened in shock, as he realized what the Lannister knight had meant. His eyes found his daughter Nymeria first, only to see her go down, an arrow in her shoulder. Obara, who had obediently stayed back to let him have his vengeance on his own terms, followed quickly after.
"Nymeria! Obara!" he cried out in anguish, as he saw his daughters defeated by some unseen assailant.
Archers appeared on the surrounding roofs, all members of the same mercenary company. And down in the alley, the only exits got blocked by numerous heavily armed men, with large shields and long spears.
Nymeria groaned in pain, as she tried to push her up with the one arm that would still obey her commands. "No!" she cried out, "You shouldn't even be here! You were supposed to sail to Elyria! I saw your ship leave the harbor!"
A woman approached the scene alone, as the rest of the warriors stayed in position. It was a tall woman, with silky black hair, falling over her shoulder in a single braid. The polished copper of her armor and the mask, which depicted the angelic face of a young girl made her look like the Maiden incarnate, rather than a living human being.
Nymeria knew well to fear this woman… she had learned a lot from her, even though she was quite a bit younger than Nymeria herself.
"I always knew that you are little more than a whore, Myria," the woman spat, "And I was right to distrust you. Thankfully the Lord-Commander trusts my judgment more than he would have ever trusted you."
"I will not let you interfere," Nymeria cried out, but another arrow to the other shoulder sent her back down on the ground, face first into the dirt.
Oberyn ignored his daughter's pained outcry, as he allowed anger to guide his hand. Even if he would die here in this alley, he would take the Lannister bastard with him. So he raised his spear to pierce the knight's heart and end his miserable existence.
Death was so close… but there was no fear to be found on Jaime Lannister's face. Even as Oberyn's spear rushed downward. Almost as if he had known that Oberyn's weapon would never reach him.
It was knocked away, by another spear, one that Jaime knew all too well. A weapon they had found in the Valyrian ruins of Draconys, some years ago. Serpent's Spine, the current wielder had dubbed the weapon, in honor of her own moniker, the Serpent's Daughter...
"I will be your opponent now, assassin," the woman wielding the spear said, as she pushed Oberyn away and positioned herself between the two men.
Oberyn wasn't sure what to make of this change. It was the first time he had ever been able to lay eyes on Jaime Lannister's second in command. The Serpent's Daughter, a young but greatly feared mercenary. Dornish or maybe Rhoynar, judging by the olive tint of the little skin he could see behind her copper-colored armor and mask.
"Rhae!" Jaime called out to her, but she had not heard his weakened voice. Instead, she had begun to attack.
Another deadly dance ensued between her and Oberyn, as the two spearmen showcased all the skill they had. The Dornish prince was obviously the superior one of them, with many years of experience and more strength at his disposal. But Rhae was just as deadly, more nimble on her feet and ruthless in the execution of her attacks.
She matched his attacks, blow for blow, evading his strikes as he evaded hers.
"Rhae! Don't fight him. You mustn't, I forbid it," Jaime bellowed as loudly as his waning strength allowed.
This time she heard him and halted in the middle of her attack. An opening Oberyn was all too happy to exploit, as he guided his spear towards the exposed flesh of her neck, right between her armor and mask.
Only narrowly she avoided the otherwise deadly blow, but the attack graced her face and dislodged her mask, throwing it far away from her.
Oberyn grew deathly pale, as he saw the young woman's face. This oh so familiar face with those dreadfully unfamiliar eyes.
"Elia… no… you are not her..." he stuttered, eyes wide.
Before him, there stood a carbon copy of his long-dead sister. A bit more voluptuous than Elia had ever been and a good bit taller, but the same face… only her eyes were out of place. Lilac, like those of that bastard Rhaegar Targaryen… And Elia had been a gentle soul, she would have never been able to look so loathing and bloodthirsty. Only he and his own daughters could match that look...
"Greetings, uncle," Rhae said, as she bowed mockingly before him. "What's up with that look? Have you seen a ghost? I can hardly fault you for it, so close to Valyria we see all kinds of strange things."
"What treachery is this? Who are you, to call me uncle? Elia is dead, and so are her children. I buried their remains myself!"
Rhae laughed at him, a bitter sound, full of loathing after being reminded of that sordid affair in the past. "Decoys. At least mine was one. We got lucky that Lorch was such an immoral butcher. No one would have ever been able, to tell the truth, all thanks to that monster."
"Lannister! What have you done!" Oberyn's feeble rage was quickly directed at Jaime, who still knelt on the ground, trying to stay awake to fight off the effects of Oberyn's poison with sheer willpower alone.
"I did as I had been ordered. Protect the princess… at all costs. And I told you before, you should bow, Oberyn Martell. You are in the presence of royalty. Bow before Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, the Serpent's daughter, the last remaining child of crown prince Rhaegar Targaryen and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne."
A/N: So here you have it.
A small story about how the Martells have found out about Rhaenys this time around. Jaime had fled directly to Essos, never meeting Oberyn on the street. And to keep Rhaenys survival a secret, he never told anyone. Rhaenys was considered dead and the few people who might have been able to recognize her were either dead or in Oberyn's case, half a world away.
But Oberyn's hatred grew and festered like it had in the books. Part of his revenge plan was to kill Jaime and send his head to Tywin as a gift. For that cause, he had used Nymeria to infiltrate Jaime's company. But the plot failed, because of Rhaenys' inability to trust anyone but Jaime.
So this is all I have for this storyline for the moment. A story where Jaime had saved one royal child, while Varys supposedly saved the other. But Elia still died in this story, to protect her children, she sacrificed herself.
And that is where we stop for now. Thanks for reading...