So I have gotten back into writing stuff lately so that's good. I did get Covid for a bit but now all better. I've also set up the first 5 chapters of this story as a g-doc for people to comment on. You can join the discord to get the link because this site really hates links.
Lyanna watched as they travelled through the ruined Dragon Gate of King's Landing. She heard all about how the gate doors had been torn off by Darth Nagash and then the Lannister forces flooded in to take the city. The war was over and those that caused it were dead and gone. It still didn't give her much comfort.
After her brother rescued her from that tower, she had been brought to Nightsong as that had been the nearest keep to the Tower of Joy. Thankfully it was a loyal keep to Robert and one that welcomed her warmly. There the Maester watched over her for four nights before begrudgingly allowing her to leave for King's Landing. It was during her time in Nightsong that she learned of what happened since her kidnapping. Of the war. She heard of the battles and the struggles from Eddard and Lord Caron alike though none of it was what she really wanted to know. All in that time her brother had refused to tell her what happened to Rhaegar's child. Howland Reed also refused to tell her, likely under orders from Eddard.
"My lady, we have arrived." The knight escorting her carriage spoke through the door and shook Lyanna out of her own thoughts before they had started to turn dark. The door opened and the knight helped the would-be new queen to the ground. She was still quite weak and hoped that it would not be long before she was well enough to ride again.
Looking up the Red Keep was almost everything that Rhaegar had described it as. It was one of the many things he would ramble on about during his time with her. How it was the greatest keep in the entire world and the worthy place of his dynasty. It was indeed magnificent but also imposing in a malicious way. Like it just existed to loom over everything and remind them that they were small and those that lived in it were important. Perhaps that was on purpose but Lyanna much rather preferred Winterfell that felt more like a great hold made to protect everyone from the cold and dangers of winter.
The walk through its gates and halls weren't much better. Servants and soldiers alike were running around, some carrying in creates while others were tearing down the trappings of the previous family. Likely there had been many paintings or artifacts that had been here for centuries that were now being removed or even destroyed. Lyanna had no doubt that the Dragon Skulls that decorated the place would be smashed to pieces if they could. It felt like something Robert would do.
However, the largest of the skulls remained in the Throne Room as that was the very thing she saw when she entered. The massive skull of Balerion had been taken down and now sat at in front of the gates which were in the process of being removed. In the background of the skull was the Iron Throne which at the moment was unoccupied, but the hall itself was anything but.
"Lyanna!" The booming voice of Robert shattered the last vestige of doubt that any of this was really happening in the Stark woman. Once she had walked around the great skull she was immediately in his arms and the whole world snapped back into place. She cried as the unfamiliar sense of safety that came with being embraced by her beloved was too much. "It's okay love, they're all dead. I won't let anyone take you again."
She wanted to correct him; they weren't all dead. But any attempt to speak that died as they emotional exhaustion of everything that happened to her came in full force. All Lyanna could do was remain in Robert's arms and just hold on for dear life like if she even let up for a moment she would be back at that dreadful tower.
"Such a touching moment, this is everything we fought for." The comment came as Lyanna and Robert finally started to part though their hands were glued to each other. The voice of the Grandmaster of the Sith was a welcome one as Lyanna only had fond memories of the man.
"Yes, among other things." The cold voice of Tywin on the other hand was another but familiar or welcome. Along with those two, Jon Arryn, Jamie Lannister, and Hoster Tully were the only faces that Lyanna recognized though there were five other men in the hall with them all.
"It is so good to see you again my lady, there were many that preyed to the gods old and new for your safe return." If that had come from any other person Lyanna wouldn't have thought, it sincere but Jon Arryn was only but sincere. Others gave their thanks and words for her safe return, but they all felt a little more hallow as they went on. It was quickly decided that rest was Lyanna needed more than anything else and discussing any future plans would occur later. She was all for that and ready for a real bed but then one thing came between her and that.
"If… I could make a request. I'd like to speak with Lady and Lord Stark alone please." Everyone looked to Darth Nagash in mild shock. Robert looked like he wanted to protest but Lord Arryn stopped him and reminded him that with Lyanna now back they had to speak with the High Septon about arrangements for the wedding. It seemed to Lyanna to be a signal to Robert to let the matter drop and after a moment of grumbling the new king agreed. He gave her a kiss before promising to be with her the second both of them were free. Once he left with the new Hand of the King, Lyanna and her brother followed Darth Nagash to a separate room that looked bare but for a old bed and high balcony overlooking the city.
"What is this about Darth Nagash?" Eddard asked nervously and the she-wolf could easily guess what this was about. But it seemed her brother wanted to hope that the matter would not be brought up.
"I remember the day I first came to Winterfell clearly. I have seen many impossible sights and things that would make your minds explode. But that keep is still one of the most beautiful. Then to find the family that ruled it one of love, duty, and strength… even better." He spoke as he stood in the archway to the balcony and looked out to the still rebuilding city. Both of the Starks stood and had the uncomfortably feeling of a lecture about to happen. This man had been in their lives from a young age and had appeared sporadically but also maintaining a certain place in their family. One of surprising authority as well. "A poem your mother once told me, an old Stark one I believe is the lone wolf dies but the park survives. A wise woman your mother."
"Why did you ask to speak to us?" Lyanna didn't like the tone of this lecture or the mention of their mother used in this context. Darth Nagash didn't respond at first but instead continued to stare out the archway though now it looked like he was leaning upward than to the city.
"Eddard, it was correct for you to send me the child but he will not be staying among the Sith. For one I have tested him for the Force and he does not possess the talent for it. Being that the case I believe that family must remain with family." Her suspicions were confirmed, Ned had sent Rhaegar's dragon spawn to the Sith. But she had thought him to be loyal to her and Robert until that last sentence.
"That thing is not family. It is dragon spawn and needs to die." She spat and ignored her brother's flitch at her words. She could forgive his weakness, if this was any other baby then she too would be against giving any kind of death. But this was Rhaegar's last torment to her. Every breath it took was a constant reminder of what he had done to her. She was tainted, her first child was a monster given to her by a madman.
"That will not be happening." Darth Nagash finally turned around the deep intensity his eyes held stayed Lyanna's tongue. He was looking into her very core and daring her to speak, and she couldn't rise to the challenge. "I do not believe in the sins of the father should passed to the son. We are all people, capable of making our own choices and mistakes. I understand your feelings about Rhaegar and what happened to you. But it is him that must suffer and not his child."
"You don't understand anything." She crossed her arms and looked away from his gaze.
"Pain is pain, you are not the only person to suffer. You have experienced much of it yes, but all wounds turn to scars and all scars fade. It sounds patronizing right now but give it time. That all said we must still come to a agreement over Jon." That parked up her ears right quick. It seemed like Darth Nagash had given the bastard a name. Didn't matter to her, it would always just be some thing that existed in this world against her wishes.
"Jon?" Eddard asked and Lyanna was sure that he was already swayed.
"Not my idea, Jarman needed to apparently come up with a name during his ride to Dol Guldur. Now, as for what will happen I have already thought up a plan and it will be carried out." The pressure in the room lessened a bit and it gave Lyanna a bit of a chance to fight back.
"Or what?" She snapped, giving the thing a name meant that it was going to be living which she would never agree to. And once she told Robert he would also demand that the beast die as well. However, the unimpressed look that Darth Nagash was giving her took a bit out from her confidence. He continued on regardless of her threat.
"Eddard, you will come to Dol Guldur and pick up the child on your way North. The story you will give is that it is Brandon's bastard, brough to me by his mother. He fathered her during his time at my wedding tourney." The sheer audacity of this man to suggest using their dead brother as a mask for that little monster. The second that Lyanna had the chance she would tell Robert all about this scheme and end it right there. "Now leave, I want to speak with Lyanna alone for the rest of this."
Ned gave her a look and then back to the Sith, before finally nodding his head and leaving her behind. They were going to have a serious talk later about all of this and if it wasn't for all he had done to save her she would seriously be considering not speaking to him for a long time. The door shut behind Eddard and Lyanna and Darth Nagash opposing each other, both possessing a stubbornness that bordered on idiocy at times.
"I'm not going along with any of this." It didn't matter what he could say, her mind was made up. Any remnant of Rhaegar had to go and that was that.
"You will and this isn't even everything that involves you." He began pacing in front of her, a odd smirk on his face sent a shiver down her spine. Looked to be that there was more scheming and plotting that revolved her than she knew. It infuriated her that these men were always conspiring to dictate her life to their whims and plans. "Even before this, you never wanted kids did you Lyanna?"
"No. I know that Robert will need an heir… even more now. But it's never been something I've looked forward to." Even less now. Just the barest memory of that night when that thing crawled out of her sent waves of revulsion through her body. Maybe she could have wanted a child later in life, had it just been her and Robert. But that was gone. Now she would only do so to give a king his prince and nothing more.
"It's doesn't have to be that way. There are options before you." Her head snapped to look at him having before been staring at the floor in disgust at the thought of childbirth. He was being serious, the confident smirk wasn't one of mocking or making light of the situation but of a person that held all the cards and knew what they were saying. "I offer you two gifts for silence of the matter of your child. The first is that of a medical procedure that would remove your ability to get pregnant. No side effects or chance of it failing and an accident happening."
"W-what?" No other person could say such things and it be taken seriously. But this was the man bringing the future to Westeros. Lyanna had seen the technological marvels that were coming to the realm at his tourney. It wasn't impossible that a procedure like that could be done given what else he was creating.
"As for producing an heir for the realm, that comes with a bit of a trade-off, so I guess this isn't so much a gift but an offer. Just as Aegon started his dynasty with two wives so could Robert. Tywin has agreed to have his daughter marry Robert along with you if you agree to this procedure." Cersei Lannister, she would married to Robert second to her. Lyanna had never met the woman before but heard that she was one of the most beautiful women in the seven kingdoms but a Lannister through and through. But the price was worth it in Lyanna's mind. To never have to worry about going through that again. There was no drop of worry in her heart, she and Robert's love was strong. He had gone to war against the mad king for her, there was no doubt that she knew he wouldn't abandon her for Cersei.
"I'm… not sure. I'm not opposed to this. It would be difficult but I believe in me and Robert to work through it. But I don't see this as enough to make me forget about that thing Rhaegar put in me." It wasn't even close. If anything the deal evened itself out with the terms and conditions that came with it. Let alone made up for the idea of letting that dragon spawn live.
"Then I will make you forget. My second gift is a real gift. I can remove all memory of the child. The only ones aware of Jon's parentage will be those at the Tower of Joy and myself." Lyanna stood still frozen as it seemed that Darth Nagash had planned out this entire affair to a disturbing degree. It made her question just how in control all he was. But at the end of the day he was coming to her, these her choices to make.
"You can not be serious!" Robert boomed as he stood up from his seat on the Small Council table. Many people were saying that he certainly had the voice for the Iron Throne, that any word he spoke would never be lost traveling down from its height.
"We are, Tywin Lannister's support hinges on Cersei being Queen. Having him as a enemy even if from the shadows is not a situation we need to be in. Not only that but wars are costly, and we have to face facts Robert… Tywin's money can help us." There were many times that Jon Arryn suspected that the gods had put him here on this world to fix other's mistakes and prevent others from making them. That was what he was feeling like in this very moment.
Darth Nagash had once come to him and saved his wife and unborn child. Now his wife was healthy and they had three children together. Nightmares sometimes came to him about a life where he had nothing but a empty keep high in the mountains with nothing but the wind to keep him company. So he owed a great deal to the Sith and the medical advancement that he brought from his homeland. But never did he think that those two things would cause him this amount of trouble… well… maybe only the latter. When Darth Nagash came to him about this arrangement with Tywin he couldn't believe that he would suggest such a thing. Marry Cersei and Lyanna to Robert and secretly render Lyanna infertile. Then this morning Lyanna came to him with the Sith saying she agreed with the scheme.
"Money and power, that's what this is about?! You are talking about taking sons and daughters away from me! And I fought a war for Lyanna because I love her, I wouldn't fight a tavern brawl for Cersei Lannister!" Never had Jon been so grateful for his own wisdom, deciding to have this meeting without Tywin was a good move. Only himself, Robert, Lyanna, Eddard, and Darth Nagash were in the room and he had made sure to send away every single guard and servant so this meeting would be completely secret.
"Robert." Lyanna's voice had an immediate affect and her hand grabbing ahold of her love's even more so. The anger he felt melted off his face and turned to worry as he glanced down to where she had been sitting next to him.
"Lyanna… this is our life. We don't need to share it." He looked down at her while she stared into her lap. It felt like intruding to speak or even be in the room but this was for the realm's future so Jon stayed.
"I don't want kids. I never have. And after what happened… the very idea makes me sick." Very few knew of what happened to Lyanna at the Tower of Joy. Jon however was one of the privileged few. Two days after Lyanna arrived back in King's Landing she told him, Robert, Eddard, and Howland Tully just what Rhaegar had put her through. She spared no detail and never had Jon felt more right in what they had done. Sometimes there had been moments where he questioned if treason had been the right move, that there hadn't been a more peaceful way to resolve everything. No doubts lingered now. And it all ended with a stillbirth of Rhaegar's bastard child, a child that very nearly killed their mother on the way out. It was… understandable that the Stark woman might not wish to go through that again.
"But Lyanna we…" Robert trailed off with a glance to his hand held by hers. To Jon it was strange seeing such a small and dainty thing hold a large and calloused hand so tightly that looked painful for Robert. The new king stopped, an internal battle on his face as he struggled decide on how to handle this. He looked to Jon, Darth Nagash and finally Eddard. It was when his eyes landed on his brother in all but blood that he seemed to accept or maybe figure things out. "Fine. I'll agree to this scheme of yours."
"Excellent! If you need any advice for-" Darth Nagash started off in his normal causally jovial way when it came to serious situation but he was cut off by Robert.
"Only if I'm not the only one." Every looked to the king dumbfounded by what he could mean. "Ned, you won this war as much as I did. And I know what you did to make sure that it was possible, what you gave up."
"Robert… where are you going with this?" Eddard asked and Jon was already getting a pretty good idea and he didn't like it.
"If I'm getting married for political bullshit but still getting the woman I love as well, then so will you. I'm not marrying Cersei unless Ned gets to marry Ashara Dyane as well." There was a vacuum in the room and Robert took advantage by pulling back and walking out of the room. The remaining members of the conversion all looked between each other and it was Lyanna that ran off after Robert first.
"He's not going to back down from this." Jon muttered as his body went a bit limp from the insanity of it all. They were already dealing with matters that would cause massive scandals once they were implemented. But this was just throwing wildfire on it all.
"Once is an exception. Twice is precedent." The Sith was right, but it didn't sound like he was opposed to any of this. Though that wasn't surprising to the Lord of the Eyrie.
"I can't do it; Catelyn would never accept it." Neither would her father. And the reason why the arrangement between Robert, Lyanna, and Cersei was workable was because of the guarantee that only Cersei would be having children. But this was an order from a king.
"Sorry to say but from the looks of it I think the king is set on this. In fact, I think he's using our plan as an excuse to give this order." Darth Nagash spoke, and both the other men looked to him questioning. "Eddard, you and Robert are brothers and good ones at that. It's only natural for brothers to look out for each other. He sees you marrying Catelyn as taking one for the team so to say. And now he has an opportunity to repay that by giving you the chance to marry the woman you actually wanted to marry. The moment the idea formed in his thick head, its never going to leave."
"I hate to say but he's right Eddard." It all made sense from that point of view. There might even be a chance that Robert could have thought about getting Eddard to take Lady Dyane as a paramour though that would have never worked. "This… will upset quite a few people. But you and Robert are seen very favorably by the common folk. It's not a stretch to say they will see this as a just reward for ridding us of the Mad King."
"But… this isn't right to talk of without Catelyn." Eddard defended just as Jon knew he would. And already he knew that if this was to be carried out then it would have to be done without either Catelyn or her father knowing. In fact it was safe to say that the entire Riverlands, sans Dol Guldur and the lands under it, would become quite cold to the new regime once everything settled.
"Blame Robert, that will be a easy target for her anger. During which time it will be up you and Ashara to convince Catelyn to accept it. Will it be easy? No. Is it possible? Yes. Will everything be sunshine and rainbows? Fuck no. Could it be worth it? Yes. There is a very real chance for everyone in all of this, Robert, Lyanna, Cersei, you, Catelyn, and Ashara to all end up very happy. Just as its possible that all of you could end up miserable. But you'll only get the better ending if you actually try and for sure get the bad one if you give up before anything actually happens." Jon wasn't nearly as optimistic as the Sith was being. It seems that the man was underestimating the cultural impact and was putting some of his own bias into the equation. That being said, Lord Arryn didn't totally disagree with the speech's core proposition. That all of this was possible.
It would take work. Firstly they would need to get Ashara and some of her family up to the capital in secret. Have the wedding done in secret around the same time as Robert's wedding to Cersei. That would mean keeping Eddard in the capital even longer which would cause issues in the North but given that they were setting up a whole new dynasty it would seen as understandable. It might even be seen as favorable as it might be taken that the North was being treated as a equal partner in the affairs of the Seven Kingdoms for a change. Jon was going over all the issues and possible threats that could arise from this, namely the Tullys and the Faith of the Seven. So many things he would have to do to fix the mistakes of others.
Outside, a storm the likes of which only came in a age wreaked the royal fleet and Dragon Stone alike. But inside, in a certain room it was as calm as could be. There were servants and knights all running about Dragon Stone trying to prepare for the worst as they all knew that the Usurper's fleet would be just behind the storm. And many were wondering how long before traitors started showing up among them.
"Hush now sweetling, it's going to be all fine." Rhaella whispered to her new daughter, still a little weak from childbirth but not in danger. The years of recovery from her husband's abuses had done her well and she had no doubt that had it not been for Naraiz's mental commands to Aerys to ignore her she might have died giving birth.
"My lady, we are preparing to leave the moment the storm lets up. We can not be sure who to trust, it will have to be soon." Ser Willem Darry spoke as he stood in the doorway. The good man was trying his best to protect her and her children. But his loyalty was misplaced in the Targaryen name. It was a dying house that would eventually go extinct, this she knew.
"Very good, please be careful." She gave a feint voice of approval and he took it well before leaving her alone. Probably not the best idea as who knows who would come for her now. However, Rhaella only smiled as she felt the air pull and push for a moment. Looking up she saw her love standing in the room and shutting the door to give them some privacy.
"I'm sorry I couldn't be here earlier." He was telling the truth; she knew he hated not being there for those he loved. One of the most reoccurring things he spoke over in their quiet moments was his dream to one day have every single one of his family under one roof, like a true family. "Stannis is on his way just as I predicted, meanwhile Rhaegar is in Braavos with no idea about anything."
"As usual." She snorted dismissively. Oh how Rhaegar had become a disappointment, once upon a time she would have died for him but now he was nothing more than the newest version of the Targaryen mad man. He caused an entire war because he interrupted a prophecy to mean that he must be with a woman that already found love and did not love him. That had been the last straw for Rhaella, the final act that proved that Rhaegar was nothing but his father's son.
"From what I hear he is bumbling about, not understanding how to do things without his usual power and influence. Though I have suspicions he gained some form of attention, just theories though." Naraiz mused as he slowly walked over to her bed and ended with sitting by her side. His hand found hers and entwined together as they both looked down at the fussing babe in her other arm. "Does she have a name yet?"
"Daenerys," It had been a name she had picked out for a daughter for years. Never mind who the father was.
"A Targaryen name." He said, no hint of judgement but the question was there.
"She's yours. I won't accept anything else." There was a chance that wasn't true. The time lined up when Aerys gained some self-control and took her and then when Naraiz returned to regain his control over the Mad King. She made Naraiz promise to never confirm one way or the other but he had warned that even if he did promise, which he did, that one day the child would look. Saying that children in these types of situations always somehow found the truth.
"As you say. She will be a princess and shall spoil her as such." He smiled as he looked down to the small baby that leaned against her chest. This was how it should be for Rhaella, this was the promised future that she knew was taken from her when she had been married to her brother. But there was something more. She knew it and wanted it. Perhaps this was her Targaryen blood talking. But Rhaella knew that there was a whole other world just waiting beyond this man.
"Naraiz." She spared a moment away from her new born child, there would be time to shower her with affection for the rest of her life.
"Yes?" He however seemed more focused on getting her to grab the tip of his finger with her tiny hands.
"I want whatever it is you gave Lyarra and Joanna." She wasn't sure, but she knew that both her friends were still alive and with Naraiz. Tiny clues as well as intuition told her that this was the truth. She knew that Lyarra and Naraiz were together since her time at King's Landing and Joanna had been in that same orbit at well. But his stiffening at her words was her confirmation. But to his credit he recovered quickly and gently pulled back to take this seriously.
"Are you sure? I would think that you might want some freedom now that Aerys is dead." The thought had crossed her mind twice. To live free without a care in the world. But that wasn't who she was. At the end of the day Rhaella wanted a family, a real one. To feel like she belonged with others. So she nodded her head, giving her assurances that this is what she wanted. He sighed but seemed ready for whatever was coming. Out from under his cloak he pulled out a metal collar covered in gold inlaid runes.
"Really? A Slave collar?" That was a bit of a joke to her.
"It's not my design, I've tried to do the same thing but in a ring but they are too small to fit all the script matrixes in it. There is an actual science to this, and this is just the best form to use." He sounded tired when giving the explanation, but then he gave her one of his knowing smirks before continuing. "Besides, it's not like it's first time I've collared you."
"True." Their bedroom activities did get quite unusual at times. "I assume that it is a little more than just a symbolic sing of my submission to you?"
"Just a little more." He teased and Rhaella didn't find herself dreading such a fate. She wasn't assertive by nature and much preferred to follow rather than lead. The trick was finding someone she chose to lead her. "But beyond that, this would give you back something that had been taken from you long ago. Your pride."
"My pride." That was a scary thought, the mere notion that she could have pride in anything was something that had been beaten out of her by Aerys long ago.
"Within the designs of the collar is to imbue the wearer with a fault, made to ensure that they could be manipulated by the owner and the sin within this collar is that of pride. I've been able to tweak it a bit so it's not an overwhelming change but I feel you could do with a bit of pride in yourself once again." Rhaella stared at the collar with eyes wide. She wondered how much it would change her? No… it didn't matter. Anything was better than who she was no. A weak woman unable to protect herself from anyone. What could her life have been like had she had the confidence to stand up to Aerys. He had never been that much stronger than her, if she really tried she could have at least defended herself. Just a little pride in her self and everything could have changed. "And there's the physical changes… but I want those to be a surprise."
"I should be concerned by that but I'm going to trust you not to turn me into something ridiculous." The flat unreadable look on his face did not assure Rhaella but the promise to once again feel pride in herself was too great a prospect.
The former queen of the Seven Kingdoms looked down at her daughter who resting comfortable against her skin. This little one was all that represented of her future life. A child that she could love wholly without fear of what it might turn into. And the promise that they would be free from poison that had infected her other children. The one thing that would forever prevent that from being taken away was herself. The choice to secure that was obvious.
"And that concludes the new roster of the Kingsguard." I yawned as Jon Arryn continued this very vital and important first meeting of the Small Council. Though the Small Council was even smaller than usual. It was just the Hand of the King, the Master of Law, Master of Coin, and Master of Whispers. That being Jon, myself, Tywin, and Varys respectively. The Grand Maester was currently in a jail cell as he didn't have the same protection of helping the Lannisters into the city that he did in canon. Stannis was off fighting Iron Born rebels and the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard had yet to be named. Robert himself was traveling with Lyanna as they went through the seven kingdoms getting all the lord to bend the knee personally.
"I still do not see why Ser Thorne deserves a position among the Kingsguard, there are other knights who proved their loyalty." Tywin ingested to try and once again get my sole nomination removed. We might have agreed to not get in each others way but that agreement did not begin until Cersei was married to Robert so he was getting his licks in while he could.
"Really… that's the one you're fingering?" I asked as there was another name among that list that I felt Tywin should be going after. One of Robert's picks was Khort. I should be happy that a Sith was getting a place among the Kingsguard and publicly I was. But in reality, I was rather against it. On principle I disliked things outside my control and Khort was an obvious ripple that I had caused and one that I couldn't predict. Thanks to Jaesa I knew what sort of man Khort was, and that gave me a good idea but people had agency and life was full of random surprises. Force only knows what sort of things could happen with a change like this. Or maybe nothing? Fuck you Tzeentch.
"Enough. The roster has been decided and we shall move onto our next item on the agenda." We had been at this for some time now, discussing things such a taxes, security of the realm, and how we should be dealing with the kingdoms going forward. It honestly wasn't all that much. This was a feudal system that was high decentralized beyond the basic oaths of loyalty. If this was the Empire than this would only be the first meeting of many regarding the current state of things.
"That would be for my turn to speak." Varys spoke up, having only done a few times since the start of this meeting. He had been pardoned on my word, as I had given him partial credit in my investigation into Rhaegar it wasn't a issue to forgive him. Plus he was just that damn good a spymaster that they couldn't get rid of him. "It would seem that the former Queen and her children escaped Dragon Stone. My little birds have reported back that Rhaella Targaryen has been seen in Braavos with a child and baby, escorted by a few of their loyal followers."
"Stannis never found them or their bodies. It is possible." I pointed out as I heard the thoughts of denial as they begun to form.
"This is not good, the loyalists might try to rally behind Viserys now that Rhaegar is dead." The Hand of the King sighed and I could sense Tywin also have a spike of worry. The Lion was putting everything behind the dynasty and given the known temperament of Viserys it wasn't likely he could switch sides all too easily.
"I feel it be prudent to point out that Rhaella or anyone else for that matter has yet to crown Viserys or declare him King in any capacity. Evidence suggests that she may wish to stay out of Westeros now that she's in exile." That was a form of the truth but one that the realm's elite would take much better than the real truth. From the looks on the faces of Jon and Tywin they appeared to take what Varys told them seriously. Hopefully this will mean less assassination attempts on Rhaella and her kids. Though… given how Lyarra and Joanna react to threats I don't think any assassin would get the chance to touch a hair on Viserys or Danny's heads.
"If that's true then it might change the King and Queen's mind seeing that none of the remaining Targaryens had a role in the war. But we'll have to wait for them to return." Might be awhile as I think they still had four kingdoms to tour. And I don't think those lovebirds are in any hurry to return back to King's Landing. The she-wolf settled down quite a bit after I had sealed away her memory of Jon, not a easy task either and probably be impossible if not for my master's teachings and tools regarding Mind Force techniques. Unfortunately the memories of what Rhaegar did to her remain, they were too many and too core to her psyche now to be removed. I also couldn't get rid of the fact she was pregnant with Jon, I was only able to remove her memory that he survived. To her, Rhaegar dead at the Trident and his linage died in a stillbirth.
"Hopefully they will give some mercy, that poor woman has been through so much. She deserves some peace." Varys had the smarts to not give me a wink even though his words called for it. But he's wrong if ever slightly. Rhaella doesn't need peace she needs a home, a real one. A place where she doesn't feel stifled and confined. Dear Force I really did just bring out the dragon that had been caged up haven't I?
"We'll see about that, now as for what's next… I believe it's-" Jon wasn't able to get the next thing on the docket as the doors to the Small Council burst open. Immediately like twenty all filled into the room, all of them looked to be Septons of various ranks with the last being the High Septon himself. "What is the meaning of this? Guards!"
"They will not be coming Lord Arryn, they are true faithful and know that our purpose is righteous." The High Septon, an older man that had a bit of a hunch to him, spoke respectfully but there was a clear threat in his voice. A cursorily check over all these men, I could feel hate, fear, self-righteousness, and desperation. Hmm… seems that the Faith caught wind of me being the Master of Laws and decided that enough was enough. I don't like this. It's going to force me to do something that I had hoped to do later when the populous was even more on my side.
"This is the King's Small Council, bargaining into the official affairs of the realm could be seen as treason." Jon warned and as he did so I looked over to Tywin who was writing down notes and checking over a few documents. Seems like he didn't see this as a real threat. He knows that I'm the deadliest man in the entire realm, really the world, and we are technical allies so his physical body was safe. Meanwhile he was secure in the knowledge that the Faith was a minor power everywhere in the realm so there was no real political danger either. Or at least they were to him.
"What is treason compared to the souls of all the people in the Seven Kingdoms. We of the Faith of the Seven recognize that the Targaryen Dynasty fell into depravity and lost the grace of the gods, but we have yet to crown King Robert in the light of the Seven. And we will not do so until grave matters are address." Robert's coronation had been a quick and dirty thing in many regards. It was done soon after he arrived in King's Landing, and it had been proclaimed not by a Septon but by Jon Arryn. The reason for this was because the Faith in King's Landing was totally and utterly decimated by the Mad King. Hells, this High Septon until a few weeks ago had been the highest ranking Septon in the Vale rather than one from King's Landing. However, this man was most definitely fitting for the role and as such I knew what these demands what likely be. Best to stop him before he gets them out.
"Or…" I started and immediately the room looked to me. Even speaking up now given the feelings in the room was volatile, let alone saying anything to suggest that we do anything other than give into their demands. "… we do what should have been done a long time ago and declare the government secular."
"Bwaa! Y-you dare! Fiend, you've shown your true colors and schemes!" The High Septon shouted as the rest of them also began to argue while Jon tried to calm them down. Varys just sat there, arms cross, doing nothing. Tywin on the other hand looked up from his work, actually intrigued.
"There's the North and Iron Islands who don't worship the Seven and good third of Dol Guldur are followers of various Essosi religions. This is a multi-faith nation whether you like it or not, the government should be impartial to any religion if that's the case." I explained and the faces of these priests grew redder and redder. What I was suggesting was essentially the removal of their official power. They were the state religion and had major ceremonial power and a little bit of real political power. No organization is thrilled about the idea that they were being left behind in the halls of power.
"None of this can be settled until King Robert returns, and what you are doing is not helping your case." Again, Jon was trying to be peace maker but I had sneaking suspicion that he had been preparing for something like this. Between the upcoming marriages debacle and my continued importance it was only a matter of time before the Faith would pull some sort of bullshit. But they vastly overestimated their importance in the realm. They were not the Catholic Church, their role in Westerosi society wasn't even close to their Earth counterpart. But they thought they were that important.
"No. As Lords of Westeros we demand that you remove this despicable sorcerer from power immediately. It is own divine duty to protect the soul of the people of Westeros and for too long we have been kept silent because of the threat of the Mad King." Okay now I was getting irritated.
"Silent? You've been anything but." I accused as I stood u and walked to stand beside Lord Arryn. They have never once shut up about how evil I am and how I will destroy everything anyone loves. Am I some saint, no. But I certainly am doing more for the lives of the common folk more than these guys. "You know what, let's actually settle this once and for all."
"That is why we have come here demon." He smugly retorted thinking that he was about to get what he wanted.
"Then prove you are what you say you are. Ten years, I bet that you can't save the souls of the Iron Islands in ten years. Convert them away from their Drowned God and bring them into the light of the Seven. If you can do that then I and my Order will leave Westeros forever. Fail and then step aside as progress marches on and we make this nation a true government of the people." I was even giving them a helping hand by picking the Iron Islands. If I had picked the North that would have been harder as they wouldn't be able to try the sneaky plan of getting the lords on their side with the promise of getting rid of me. But still, it was a impossible task but one they set themselves up for. If they refuse then they lose their own moral high ground.
"Ahem, such declarations can not be made without the King's…"
"We accept." Sorry Jon, but the desperation of these holy men to see me gone is too strong. They all looked so self-assured as they filed out of the chamber. I wounder how long before the reality of their task sets in.
"Victarion Grayjoy, Jarman Buckwell, Thoren Smallwood, and Nikola, you have been gathered here to be bestowed a title of the Sith Order." Darth Nagash stood over all of them as they all kneeled before him at the head of the Hall of a Hundred Hearths. All the Acolytes and Neophytes were gathered and were watching as the first four Sith of this new order graduated to what could be considered true Sith. Joining the order properly as Neophytes was all well and good but you were still considered in training. Now, gaining a title meant you had been recognized as worthy of trust and authority. "Victarion, come up."
All eyes were on the Grayjoy, those that had followed him or joined the bloc that he had formed after he left watched with satisfaction. The fact that he had proven himself one of the very best of the Sith had to offer was a source of real pride to them. It gave them proof that they too would join the halls of power and respect. While others may not like the Grayjoy, they said nothing as he ascended the few steps to kneel before Darth Nagash's feet.
"You have been nominated by Governor Quinn and seconded by myself for the title of a Reaver of Morgoth. For your loyalty and dedication you have earned your place amongst us. For your skill in combat and ferocity trained to discipline you prove your power. And for spirit of unexpected wisdom you claim respect from others. Now rise." Victarion stood and fond the proud face of his Grandmaster looking down at him. This is what he had been working for, to prove himself to a man worthy to lead him. A man with both ambition and sense instead of a silent god or a half mad people bent on throwing themselves into the sea. "With the title, comes your badges of rank." Darth Nagash motioned to Governor Quinn who had in his hands one a true Sith Cloak and a wooden box.
"Thank you, my lord." The second part of his appreciation was spoken quietly enough that only they could hear. The Grayjoy took the gifts, and allowed for a small smile to grace his lips. The robes that the Neophytes had been wearing so far had been basic things made for them by a tailor in the city. But from a glance he could tell that the Sith Robes being given to him were from a material and make from off world. Gone was the red trimming of the sect of Morgoth and now was just a simple black cloth that shined ever so slightly.
"Wait until the ceremony is over and were up top to open the box." Darth Nagash whispered to Victarion and he nodded before he walked over to where Rathari and Fay were waiting. He watched as the other three were brought up and given versions of the speech he had been given. With Jarman being praised for his honor and unshakable morals and being granted the title of Paladin of Manwë. Thoren initially tried to refuse the title saying he wanted to be the first to reach a title in the Sect of Revan. But Darth Nagash explained that that was still possible and he would explain later. Nikola had been the unexpected member of this graduation class as few among the Neophytes actually knew what he had been up to in the past few years. But apparently it was enough to warrant a recommendation from Darth Nagash himself which didn't require to be seconded.
The ceremony concluded with a final speech to the rest of the Acolytes and Neophytes by Darth Nagash. Mostly encouraging them to push past their limits and grow into the best people they could be. Victarion was only half listening as he was more focused on the simple wooden box that he had been given. Something was inside, several somethings. The others were just as curious to their own boxes. Eventually the speech was done and Darth Nagash along with Rathari, Fay, the new titled Sith and the Neophytes were all gathered in the first level of the Tower of Revan. The floor had been under renovation for the past month so this was the first time in awhile many had been here. Now there was a new fountain piece at the very center the floor but that seemed to be the only change.
"Congratulations you four, it's been exciting watching you progress and get to this point." Darth Nagash excitedly said as he spun around to face them all in front of the new fountain.
"I thought we had agreed that they needed to be twenty five before any of them would get a title?" Rathari asked rather bluntly to which many of the Neophytes also had been told was a requirement. But the Grandmaster of the Sith simply shrugged as if to say that it might have been a rule but I wanted to do this.
"Regardless, they are now on the next step. You may now open the boxes presented to you." The newly titled Sith quickly looked down and grasped the lid of their boxes. The Neophytes all bunched up around them, curious as to what was their reward for progressing down the path of the Sith.
Inside each box was a set of pieces of various metal and plastic parts, as well as each held a yellow crystal. The young Sith all felt a little confused as to just what they were looking at. Clearly it was some sort of puzzle of a larger whole but none of them had a idea to what. Each looked up to their betters and watched as Darth Nagash pulled out from his robes a cylinder similar to a shaft of a sword without a hilt or blade. Then, with a smile, their leader ignited the lightsaber for the first time in front of them. The crimson blade snapped to its full length and emitted a feint glow and odd sound as he moved it around to show case it.
"This is a lightsaber, the weapon of choice for both Jedi and Sith in the wider galaxy. It is a controlled beam of super-heated plasma capable of melting metal and searing flesh. Force forged steel and a few other materials are able to handle the heat of the blade." They all were in awe at the blade of solid fire, the surprises that came from the stars were truly never ending to them all.
"And these are our lightsabers?" Thoren asked as the four graduates looked back down at the disassembled lightsabers.
"Yes, you will learn how to assemble them and then disassemble them with the Force. The Kyber crystal that is at the core of a lightsaber is a semi-sentient Force sensitive material that will form a bond with you as you use it. This bond grows and eventually the crystal can even help in combat through the Force, though subtlety." Instructor Rathari explained as Naraiz disengaged his lightsaber and put it away. The three elders of the Neophytes then looked to the fountain behind them, moving on from the subject of lightsabers. "Just remember, these are not replacements for your Force Steel weapons, there benefits and drawbacks to both. I personally prefer my sword over my saber but that is a preference."
"Now, while it is true that you four have reached the next step in the ranks of the Order there are higher places to go. The goal of course for the Rule of Three is to achieve galactic balance of the Force. At this early stage I can't be picky so the normal encouragement and discouragement that would come when it comes to the Sects is lessened. If you wish to become a Master of a Sect then go for it. Though none of are even close to that yet." Darth Nagash waved them all off with a chuckle. It rosed the flames of ambition in some to prove that dismissal wrong. But they all were very aware that nothing would come easy. And in fact they were all lucky. As Darth Nagash said he couldn't be picky right now as all the sects were empty of leadership. "There will be a second round of Crucibles for those wishing to become Masters but none of them are ready and neither are you. But, the Sect of Revan is another story. Fay?"
"Watch closely Neophytes." The Light Side instructor spoke softly and with a gentle smile as she walked over to the edge of the center fountain. It stood at the very middle of the room and extended to the ceiling were two streams of water flowed down between eight square pillars, both having four each surrounding them. In the middle of the structure was a V shaped bridge with a split down its core. The assembled Neophytes and titled Sith all watched as Fay stood in the small alcove in the border wall that allow a person to walk to the very center of the entire thing.
The instructor held out a hand above the rippling pool and closed her eyes. Then, a the sound of sliding stone echoed in the chamber and they all watched as the bridge extended into the two streams, allowing the water to flow into one waterfall down to the center. However, the second that the water touched Fay's hand it evaporated into mist. This continued until the pool at the base of the fountain dried up and there was no water left. Fay then let out a breath and pulled her hand back and the bridge that allowed the water to join slid back into place. Moments later new water seemingly started to flow out from nowhere.
"Jaesa!" Darth Nagash shouted, bringing many out of their thoughts as just what they witnessed. Then, a woman dropped form the ceiling clad in all black and wearing a lower face mask. She and the Grandmaster of the Sith shared a look that was a mix of playful flirting and daring warning. None of those in attendance dared to comment on that. Instead they watched as she took Fay's place and also held out her hand in the same position. The bridge slid open and the water fell. Only this time instead of evaporating into mist it turned inky black until eventually all that was left was darkness in the water.
"Am I done?" She asked as she looked back to her master.
"Yes, go find Pan… she's being antisocial again." Again, no one dared to comment and the interaction and all felt a little relieved when the dark woman left the room. They then watched as this time it was Darth Nagash's turn to demonstrate. The water had returned to clear by the time it was his turn and it remained so when it flowed over his hand. It didn't disappear or turn black but continued to flow clear and clean. "I decided that it would be too difficult a bar to pass for members of the Sect of Revan to all achieve perfect Balance in the Force. Instead all they have to do is pass this test. Using the Force you will move the stone pieces at the top to allow the water run free down the middle. Continuing to hold them there as the water passes over your hand. If you can do what I did have the water run clear than you will be able to join the Sect of Revan. However… if one your fellow members suspects you of falling to either the Dark or Light side, they can ask you to take the test again."
"The waters are not so stringent as to prevent those who have yet to achieve Balance from joining. There is no true ratio or scale for this sort of thing, it is merely a test of unconscious skill." Rathari explained as Darth Nagash returned back to his and Fay side. The rest in the room all were debating in their heads whether to take the test at all or just what sort of result they would get.
"Neither of the other results mean what sect you have to join as the other two sects in the Order are meant to also be places of learning for those that don't fit its values. Only the Sect of Revan requires this test." Fay could see the looks of unsureness and appreciation on many of their faces.
"There will be time for you to test later. For now continue to work on yourselves if you haven't gotten a title yet. Those that did today you be getting a bit of break. But in a week, Quinn will summon you for some missions. Your next goal is to either get into the Sect of Revan or to prepare for the Master Crucibles. You're all dismissed." The three older Force Users then left the rest to discuss among themselves. No doubt there were plans to take the test, but none felt willing to do so in front of the others just yet. Right now they were satisfied with what they had heard and the future chances for glory and advancement that had been laid out for them all.
Things had not been going well for the Prince that was Promised. Ever since his arrival in Braavos he was plagued by bad luck and dismal outcomes. At first, he believed that he would be able to secure some sort of meeting with the elite of the city only to find out they would sooner laugh in his face than take his claims seriously. The only reason why he had been surviving was that every few days he would pry off one of the remaining rubies in his armor and sell it off to get food money. It was months later that he had the thought that if had sold the entire thing back when he arrived he could have gotten a lot more for it complete than in piecemeal.
"There must be some way, I am the chosen of the gods." He sat slumped against the back of a tavern that he had been staying in and just recently kicked out of. His only form of assurance was the golden ring on his finger, for even in his darkest moments he could look upon it and be reminded of his divine purpose.
"My prince?" The sound of someone addressing properly was a shock that took him moments to even register. Rhaegar looked up, half expecting his old friend Jon Connington to be there, ready and able to help him. Instead was the face of the Red Keep's master of arms Ser Willem Darry.
"Ser Darry? What are you doing in Braavos?"
"I should ask you that your grace. Everyone believed you had died at the Trident?" The knight helped up his prince who was still in shock at being found by someone he recognized him. Much more than that, someone that recognized him and appeared to be a ally.
"I did die at the Trident, but was saved by the gods themselves." He would never forget that day or allow himself to forget the mercy of the Giver of Gifts. But he needed to focus on the here and now. "You have not answered my question Ser Darry? Why are you here in Braavos?"
"Your mother and siblings escaped Westeros your grace, we traveled here along with a small group of supporters." Yes… the gods had chosen him. They brought him his family and those that would help him in his duties to the Seven. Clearly he wasn't meant to do this type of commoner work of survival but he was meant to lead them instead.
"Bring me to them immediately." The knight nodded and followed his orders as he should. Ser Darry escorted the prince through the streets of Braavos until they came to the district of the merchants and craftsmen, Rhaegar was going to make a comment of it not being suited for their status but kept his mouth shut when they arrived at one of the bigger homes. It was a rather large manor in the middle of district, out of the way and hidden by backstreets and lemon trees. Its sole entrance being a finely crafted wood door of red oak.
"We were able to purchase this manor from the captain who brought to Braavos. I believe he was charmed by your mother and took pity on her given the price she paid for it." So his mother was still up to her whorish ways. That was something that would need to be corrected once and for all. Thankfully they were now a sea away from that vile man that corrupted her in the first place.
"What other resources were you able to bring with you?" Rhaegar asked as Ser Darry opened the door. Inside was sparsely furnished but looked like that wasn't the case recently. Probably the previous owner came and took many of his belongings. Nevertheless it was a good place as any to have as a home base.
"Some gold, enough to last us some years so long as we are careful. Your family jewelry as well. Other than that there are about twenty of us… though we came with thirty seven." This was not what he had hoped but better than what he had before. With this he would be able to at very least dedicate his time to finding contacts and getting his way into the elite circles of the city so that he may find his Champion of Braavos. Maybe it would be the Sealord or another whom he can get into that office. However, as he traveled through the home a passing thought came to his mind about something that Ser Darry said.
"You said siblings… as in more than one? Did mother give birth?" Perhaps his mother had been pregnant when he was in the capital last. Rhaegar honestly had not been thinking of his mother much during the war.
"Yes. You have a sister now, Daenerys Targaryen." A sister, the thought immediately brought him to his father's claims that a three headed dragon would save their dynasty. He believed that it would be his children, a son and two daughters whom would marry each other just as Aegon the Conqueror did. But then Viserys was born a boy and that idea was completely thrown out the window.
"Take me to her." For the first time Ser Darry seemed hesitant to follow orders, and it surprised Rhaegar. The man had been nothing but loyal and the perfect example of how the world should respond to the true rulers of the world. But after a moment he nodded and escorted Rhaegar deeper into the manor.
Soon the prince was brought to a door at the very end of a hallway, he half expected there to be a guard placed outside but there was none. Ser Darry knocked in almost a fearful way which further intrigued and confused Rhaegar. They both heard a woman's voice granting them permission to come it. It sounded familiar to the prince but also alien. Warm and gentle but also assured and confident with a authority that never existed before.
They entered and when Rhaegar stepped through, the sight that was in front of him was beyond preposterous. His mother throughout his whole life had been beautiful he knew, but that was always hampered by damage done to her by both stress and worry as well as the actual damage his father did to her. She had gotten better in her later years but never truly recovered and so always had a bit of a malnourished and gaunt appearance. That was gone. The woman sitting in a rocking chair and holding a small baby resembled his mother but had a youthful vigor to the point that she was only barely passable for what should be her actual age. Any sign that she had lived a abused and trying life was gone and the smile on her lips looked so genuine that Rhaegar could not recall a memory to compare it to. But that smile immediately faded the second she looked up and saw him.
"Rhaegar, so you survived." Her voice was so flat and didn't even try to hide the disappointment.
"Yes mother. The gods saw fit to save me from death itself." He said realizing that not even this horrible situation they found themselves in would mend their fractured relationship.
"Someone saw fit that's for sure." She took her jab before looking back down the baby in her arms, the smile returning but not so brightly. "Ser Darry, I wish that you would have informed me of my son's status before bringing him here. Now he knows where we live. It will be impossible to get rid of him now."
"Is that how you speak about your son, your new king?" This is what his father likely had to put up with back when they were children. While Aerys was wrong for laying his hands on both his sister and his wife, Rhaegar could now certainly understand the frustration he must have had to get to that point.
"Ha, you are no king to me and barely a son really." It was all so surreal. He never heard his mother have such gal. The brazen way she spoke to him, like she was his superior.
"Listen here I-"
"No. You listen boy." She looked back up to him and for a split second Rhaegar could have swore that her eyes had turned to that of a dragon. "I am done with House Targaryen. You can galivant around all you want calling yourself king or what have you but me and my daughter are having none of it. I put up with your father for far too long and I will not suffer having his spawn thinking they can do the same as he did. This is my house and if you wish to stay then you shall live by my rules, understood." There were two forces in the prince's mind, indignity at being spoken to like this at all and by a woman no less, but also a crushing sense of a need to obey that did not feel right but couldn't distinguish from his own thoughts and needs. In the end though Rhaegar stormed out of the room without a word of backtalk, deciding to punish his mother at a later date. And in all of that, he never noticed that the ring on his finger had been lightly glowing the whole time he was in the presence of his mother.
So first to get out of the way since I know people are going to zero in on this, Naraiz telling Eddard and Lyanna that Jon is not Force Sensitive. He told them that. Might not be true.
Second, to all the people complaining about how Naraiz is trying to stick to canon too much. All I can say is that your salt feeds me and to keep it up, I'm sure your complaints will one day get me to change my mind. I'm sure of it.
Shinigami00000 - No, there were three Kingsgaurd there. Arthur Dyane, Oswell Whent and Gerold Hightower.
rebornandlost - no. Rosby was like a year ago in universe time. Robert's Rebellion lasts like a year and half so it's plenty of time.
At Work - your opinion.
Reads too much - Rhaegar will be successful, a successful puppet. The galactic criminal underworld will be a big part of the Last Hutt War arc. In which the Hutts will call upon the entire criminal underworld when the Republic decides to wipe them off from the face of the galaxy.