DISCLAIMER: Chapter One.
Chapter rating: T
Chapter Eleven: Sisters Bonding
Stomping through the dungeons, Arya tried to catch the cat who ran ahead as she skidded to a halt at the dragon skulls. Rhaenyra's ancestors' beasts, subject of the Stark children's fascination. Even Sansa liked listening to the stories when Valaena would tell them. She paused and stared at the black skulls with awe, gently touching one she smiled, the tooth was smooth and cool to the touch. Arya wished that Rhaenyra could see them. These were her heritage anyway. Talking quickly made her hide as she hid in the skull, kneeling behind the tooth she saw two cloaked figures walking towards her.
"He's already found one of the bastards, and now the man has the book with them all written down." The voice sounded familiar, but she couldn't place him.
"What will he do with this?" the other asked, he had a foreign tongue as she spotted it similar to the first man.
"I don't know. The fools attempted to assassinate both his son and ward," he said grimly as Arya's eyes widened with confusion. "What's worse is they botched both," he continued sourly "Now all my birds are going silent, so are the Queen's, and soon enough, the wolf and lion will be at each other's throats," the first one finished as she listened closely. "Soon, we will be at war, my friend. I guarantee it."
"What good is war? If one Hand could die, why not this one?" the second asked as Arya bit her lip to stop the gasp that tried to escape.
"This Hand is not like the other one," the first voice spoke in firm belief.
"Khal Drogo will not make his move until his son is born. We need more time," the second urged while she carefully peeked around the skull.
"You say 'more time,' I say 'push on.' This is not a two-player game any longer," the first finished walking away as the other continued speeking.
"It never was with her sister a part of this," he said as their voices disappeared while Arya watched with caution.
'Were...were those men talking about Rhae? And...Father?' She thought, carefully finding a way out of the dungeon to warn her family.
Dany sat holding her black dragon egg as she read one of her sister's recent letters. She looked up at the pot of coals inside of her tent that she had Jiqui relight. Slowly, she moved over and placed the egg into the coals as Irri walked into the tent carrying sheets for her. Spotting her leader sitting there beside the coals.
"Khaleesi?" the Dothrak girl asked worriedly before watching Dany pick the egg up from the coals. "Oh, Khaleesi!" she yelped as she took the egg from the younger's hands, dropping it instantly as it burned her before she looked at Dany's unburnt hands. Confused, Irri looked at Dany who seemed to snap out of a trance before taking her handmaiden's hand in worry, having burn marks from the scaled egg.
"You're hurt?" Dany asked concernedly as Irri looked at Dany's smooth hands, unburnt and clear.
Robb sighed as he read through a few letters from the noble houses before frowning as Theon raced in. "You got an important letter. From your mother," he panted as Robb stood, accepting it. The young man opened it as Theon sat against his desk, waiting to hear it while regaining his breath before freezing at seeing Robb's face morph into an alarmed one. "What, Robb? What is it?" Theon asked franticly.
"Mother has taken the Imp hostage," he explained grimly as the other man paled. Theon could not think Catelyn Tully, the one who trained him and the other children how to act, would kidnap the dwarf of a powerful house, despite how the father treats that son. "As Father and the girls are still in King's Landing, she had better hope they do not hear until much later," he continued worriedly.
"How?" Theon asked as Robb continued to read.
"She is going to the Eyrie, but claims others are reporting her coming to Winterfell," Robb scowled furiously before leaving his father's solar he had taken as his own.
"Where are you going?" Theon asked, hurrying alongside.
"To tell Rhaenyra, she needs to know," Robb said briskly as Theon groaned lowdly.
"Robb, it's barely been two weeks. Does she need to deal with this now?" the Greyjoy questioned with concern. He worried for the girl he grew up seeing as his sister.
"She is fine, as she has snarled at me the last few mornings, but Valaena and Lynara are keeping her in bed longer," Robb said shortly as Theon hummed doubtfully.
"I'm going to talk to Maester Luwin, he might know what to do," Theon decided as Robb nodded with approval. The young Lord quickened his steps towards his chambers and came across Raynor standing guard who bowed his head in respect. Rhaenyra looked up from the book she was reading as her husband strode in. She smiled in welcome, but her face fell upon seeing her husband's grim expression.
"Robb? Is everything alright?" the Targaryen asked as her hatchlings hissed and growled. They wanted to go out, but refused to leave their mother, Rhaella almost bit Baela when she attempted to take them for a small hunt, but they showed their irritation at others by flashing their wings. Bran had walked down to see Rhaenyra and to show how strong he was becoming, Rickon was usually found with him as they talked to the bed-bound woman.
"Read this," Robb ordered sharply, giving his wife the letter. As she read, the dragon mother worried about the safety of Catelyn against the Lannister family. "Tywin will see this as a slight against his family," Robb growled. "And he would be right to think so."
"What are we going to do?" Rhaenyra asked fearfully, as she was about to get up, Robb put out a hand to stop her. "I cannot remain in bed forever!" she said sharply. With a shrug, he backed away to allow her to stand, Rhaenyra walked around her chambers, her dog-sized hatchlings following in curiosity while Robb watched with concern.
"I'll keep repeating it, Robb. I will not cross Tywin Lannister, but I will try and make sure that your mother will be protected," Rhaenyra started to write out the letter to Doran Martel, she had always sent letters of her progress so he would know of her wellbeing.
"Sweetheart, what can they do? They are within Dorne," Robb spoke gently, not wanting her to overexert herself after the trauma of loosing their babe.
"Do you not remember the stories about Aegon's failed conquest of Dorne after they defeated Rhaenys and Meraxes? They sent assassins after him in King's Landing," the young dragon mother lightly spoke as Robb hummed softly.
"Mother knows how to defend herself and the letter says there are strong family knights with her," Robb reassured her as she sighed heavily.
"I just...I just want Cat to remain safe," Rhaenyra frowned as her dragons came to her. Sighing with frustration, she decided to go on a ride with the hatchlings, they needed to explore.
"I know, Love. I know," Robb soothed as he held her close.
Rhaenyra spent a few more days in bed before getting out of the chambers. Her hatchlings were eager to get out. They were still the size of small dogs, but Robb knew the moment they started to explore, they'd start growing again. So when Robb announced that Bran's saddle was ready, they were all going to go on a ride, Baela joined. She would aid in riding alongside Bran, keeping up with him. Rhaenyra watched as the dragons circled about, they were gaining tempers. Rhaella was dominant in their quarrels, and Grey Wind is the only one she does not spit fire at other than her mother. Rhaenys and Alysanne preferred to play and get pettings instead of fighting or challenging each other. But the dragons obeyed their mother and even seemed to find a 'father' in Robb. Grey Wind took care of them by hunting for them when Rhaenyra was doing something else that would stop her from feeding them when they were hungry.
But Rhaenyra could see their bold flying patterns. It brought a smile to the dragon mother. Theon commented on their beauty before being distracted by Bran, who rode ahead. They came upon the clearing that the Stark children used to play in. Rhaenyra decided to ride around a bit more with Raynor, who urged her to remain near Robb just in case. He was also protective and wished to keep a keen eye on her. They trotted around before Gael froze, Raynor quickly noticed before hearing shrieking near the back. Raynor spotted a wildling and raced after him before Rhaenyra realized she was pulled off Gael. She screamed and kicked, cursing herself of the one day she decided not to bring her knife, she assumed she'd be safe with the men of the group.
"A white-haired lady, I wonder if yer white down below too," he chuckled before attempting to pull her clothes off. Rhaella's angry shriek quickly filled the air as her sisters joined. First, it was the red flames that caught the man, Rhaenys, and Alysanne's followed as Rhaenyra bolted away, clinging to a skittish Gael. The man burned as Robb came into view, helping Bran as Theon made the wildling woman watch when she gave startled cries, she did not think those creatures were still alive. The flying creatures were small dog-size, their wings twice as long as their bodies.
"Rhae," Robb came to her as Raynor returned, wiping off his sword. The dragons shrieked and hissed at the charred remains of the wildling. "Rhae, are you alright?" he asked as she looked at him, looking away from the body.
"I am fine, just...surprised," Rhaenyra spoke softly, voice light and confused.
"We should return, My Lord," Raynor suggested as Robb agreed.
"Come, let's go," the young man decided as they left.
Robb sat in his solar, reading the recent letters before coming upon a thick parchment from Vaes Dothrak, he quickly found Rhaenyra's letter and set it aside as he opened Drogo's. Recognizing Daenerys' handwriting from years of seeing the messages his wife received. He could not wait to hear the news of her birth, he hoped for a boy.
"Robb Stark, I write to you in goodwill. Dany says that your King is to be your father's closest friend. It is a high offense to betray an ally of that kind in our culture.
We Dothrak come in hordes, we never settle. My Khalasar is 50,000 riders and slaves strong. Many from defeated khalasars. Those who are defeated cut their braids and become slaves in the Khalasar of their enemy. There are few reasons for the Khalasars to all gather together unless it is to celebrate the expecting child of other Khals or when deciding something important.
We ride the moment we are strong to stand on our legs, the Dothrak follows strength and if a Khal shall fall from his horse he is no longer a Khal. Should a Khal die his blood-riders will live long enough to deliver his wives to the Crones who were once wives to former Khals before following their Khal in death.
I will have a wife whip created for her, I will gladly accept the bow as Dany accepts the dagger. I will await their arrival to offer the whip.
I close this letter, Drogo."
Robb gave a soft sigh before sending for a guard. A man he knew made the best bows in Winterfell. He knew the best branches to retrieve, he also enjoyed it. For Rhaenyra's eleventh nameday he had made her a beautifully carved bow and even made some for the boys.
"My Lord?" the guard asked curiously.
"I have a favor, my wife's sister's husband is giving us something of his culture. I would like for you to make a bow, but this bow is special. It's to be made from the wood of our weirwood," Robb explained as the man paused, he chose this guard well because he was also loyal to the Old Gods. "He's known as a Khal, a leader. So I wish for him to have something of that pedigree," he explained as the guard nodded.
"I will work on it as I would for you or your Lord father, My Lord," the guard agreed as he left to go searching.
"Are you alright?" Rhaenyra asked as she came in, her dragons following as they trilled and shrieked.
"Aye," he answered, giving her Dany's letter as she opened it. "How is Bran?" Robb asked as Rhaenyra smiled.
"He is well, Maester Luwin had him walking around when I left the tower," Rhaenyra smiled happily, reading her letter as she settled beside the desk when Grey Wind approached, demanding attention from her. Rhaella growled as she looked outside, she wanted to go flying once more. "Good boy," she praised softly, stroking his fluffy ears.
"Rhae, there is something I must tell you," Robb spoke suddenly as he thumbed a piece of paper making her frown.
"What is it?" Rhaenyra asked in worry. Alysanne climbed up into her lap as she stroked the growing creature who purred and shrieked as Rhaella pulled her off.
"Jaime Lannister attacked Father in King's Landing, he put a spear through Father's leg," Robb said softly as Rhaenyra breathed in horror. Feeling sick as she looked away. She was starting to feel a sense of dread settle, she had a gut feeling that Jaime retaliated for Tyrion's capture.
"Your sisters need to be brought home," Rhaenyra said sharply, knowing Ned would never leave King's Landing if Robert was in danger.
"Sansa is still engaged to that little prick, she must remain in King's Landing," Robb snarled as Rhaenyra groaned softly. She had no idea how to safely get the girls home and it worried her.
"We will bring them back Robb, it will just take some time," Rhaenyra soothed as Robb sighed, the dragons surrounded his feet as they sensed his temperament change.
Rhaenyra rode out through the Wolfswood with Raynor as the dragons flew around, shrieking in delight. Rhaenyra had tried to stay out so the hatchlings could get enough flying for the day.
"My Lady, we should not venture out far," Raynor warned as she nodded. Grey Wind trotted nearby as he tracked a rabbit, the dragons tried a few times but were too excited to be outside. The two knew Grey Wind would provide for them, such as they watched now when Alysanne landed after the direwolf came into view with a plump rabbit. The young dragon who was growing in size, shrieked in favor as Grey Wind ate some before giving her the rest. Maester Luwin was amazed by their rapid size growths, he had read through all the books Rhaenyra and their library had. But his assumption was if the dragons had free reign of flying and hunting it increases their size, unlike other animals who grow in age, Robb knew they'd reach 'adult' sizes very soon. He would pray for their safety every time they left the castle. He worried a Lannister loyalist was nearby, someone would see them and kill them. But Maester Luwin stopped him by saying it was the same way Ned felt when they and Rhaenyra would leave the castle.
Rhaella though was hesitant to stay on the ground long, she preferred to stay airborne. Rhaenys flew around in an odd pattern, she liked flying before hiding and coming back into view. If there were ever a battle she would hide in the clouds before striking. Rhaenyra shook her head, she had no reason to think of war. Her dragons would hopefully never see a battle.
"My Lady!" A voice called as Alysanne shrieked irritatedly, stealing her remains and flying off to eat in peace. One of the household guards rode up and gave a rolled parchment to Raynor making Rhaenyra frown. She had just sent off Dany's letter, so it could not be her twin.
"It's from Lord Stark, My Lady," her guard explained, surprise in his voice as she took the message.
"Why would Ned send a message to me and not Robb?" She thought aloud.
"Rhaenyra, I need to warn Daenerys that an assassin will be coming. The king knows she is with child, he worries she will convince her husband to cross the salt water. But someone is telling Varys these things, someone close to her perhaps. Tell her this, please my girl. Ned," Rhaenyra read it silently as the guards sat waiting.
"My Lady?" Raynor asked as the young woman tucked the letter into her dress.
"We need to return to Winterfell. Now," she ordered before whistling as the dragons flew back with her as the direwolf and guards caught up. They knew something was wrong, so they hurried to it.
"Rhae," Robb greeted his wife, surprise in his tone as she entered his solar. The men he had been talking to stood and respectfully bowed to them both as Raynor closed the doors. The dragons flew in through the window as Robb frowned. "What is it? What's wrong?" Robb questioned before Rhaenyra offered him the message. His reaction was the same as hers. "Have you sent word to Dany yet?" He asked as she shook her head.
"No, a guard just now gave me the letter," Rhaenyra answered as she paced back and forth, her dragons watching her sharply. Rhaella was agitated the most, Rhaenys and Alysanne chirped in worry.
"You should write it now," he urged as she nodded. She quickly wrote a message. Repeating Ned's words, even warning someone told Varys of her pregnancy as Rhaenyra had not told Ned yet.
"Sister, I send this as a warning. Someone has told your secret. Robert has sent for your death. He fears if you convince Khal Drogo that you would invade Westeros. But you must be wary, sister, for Ned does not know when Varys' assassin will strike. Please be safe, Dany. Your sister, Rhae."
Rhaenyra prayed her letters would make it to her twin in time.
Daenerys was laughing with Ser Jorah and Irri who told her of a mock battle with taming stallion yearlings. Many of the men got bucked as their Khals jested them playfully, before trying their hand at control. They sat around a giant fire while many smaller fires burned. Viserys has been absent for most of the night, Daenerys could not care as she enjoyed not having her brother's overbearing presence.
"Khaleesi," a young voice made her pause as a girl approached, a message in her hand. Jiqui offered a peach as it was Dany's preferred form of payment for bringing her messages. Just as she was about to open it Irri's frantic voice came.
"Khaleesi!" At the cry, Dany looked at both their wide-eyed looks and spyed him. Viserys, completely drunk, stumbled into the large tent, sword at his side.
"Stop him," Dany begged Ser Jorah who jumped to do so. Everyone knew it was death to bare steel in Vaes Dothrak, no matter if he was brother to a Khaleesi.
"I'm here for the whore's feast!" Viserys shouted. "Where is she?" he goaded before spotting his brother by law, who frowned at his disrespectful show toward Dany and their son. "Khal Drogo!" He called loudly as Ser Jorah came, trying to stop the exiled prince who became agitated. "Get your hands off me!" Viserys snarled as the knight held his hands up, Drogo said something as Viserys looked at him.
"Khal Drogo says there is a seat for you, back there." Jorah pointed as Viserys shook his head.
"That is no place for a king," he pointed out as Drogo leaned forward.
"You are no king!" The horse lord spoke in a clear tone enraging the Targaryen. He drew his sword causing everyone to stop, the women started to hiss and spit at the male, the men stood.
"Keep away from me!" Viserys snarled, even pointing the sword at Jorah who tried to subdue the angry man.
"Viserys, please!" Dany cried out, making him turn slowly when he paused.
"There she is," he said as he approached at a slow pace. Doreah tried to stand in between them before Dany stopped her as the sword almost poked her.
"Don't be a fool! They'll kill us all!" Jorah tried, he slowly came as Viserys pointed his sword tip at Daenerys' swollen belly. It made everyone fall silent and nervous as Khal Drogo leaned forward, having been restraining one of his Ko, who jumped to defend his Khal's wife and unborn child, but Drogo now knew what to do.
"They can't shed blood in their sacred city," Viserys sneered with a mocking tone before focusing on his younger sister. "But I can." He kept his wide pale lilac eyes on Daenerys who kept her calm violet ones on him, studying the madness her sister prayed skipped them, and any children they bore. Robb had once suggested that the more 'foreign' blood mixed with the dragon blood will help 'guard' the risk of madness. Dany could now see the rumored 'madness' their father had. Rhaenyra swore their father, Aerys Targaryen, had gone mad. From torture, it seemed her twin was told. And their brother now showed the same signs. "I want what I came for. I want the crown he promised me," Viserys spoke, seeing Irri translate to Drogo. "Tell him I want what was bargained for, or I'm taking you back. I'll even cut the baby out so he can keep it," the white-haired man threatened as Dany felt dread fill her entire body at the threat to her unborn child. Drogo's face became blank at Irri's words while his bloodriders glared furiously.
"I will give him what he wants," Drogo started as his men turned to him. "I will give a golden crown that men will tremble when they see it," he spoke as Daenerys swallowed.
"What's he saying?" Viserys questioned his sister.
"He says 'yes.' You will have a golden crown, that men shall tremble to behold," Dany translated as Viserys beamed, becoming happier at getting what he wanted.
"That was all I wanted," he chuckled, looking between them. "What...what was promised," he stuttered. Dany followed her husband's movement as he approached, softly cupping his unborn son. Her hand held his as Drogo held his wife's gaze with his own before giving an order for his bloodriders to seize the exiled prince before breaking his sword arm as the weakling shrieked in pain and fury.
"No! You cannot touch me, I am the dragon! I want my crown!" Viserys ranted as Drogo approached an empty pot. Throwing his gold belt inside, waiting for it to melt.
"Look away, Khaleesi," Jorah begged softly while Doreah watched on in horror.
"No," the young Khaleesi denied as Viserys became horrified at Drogo approaching with the pot of melted gold.
"Dany, tell them! Make them!" He ordered desperately. "Dany, make them. No, you can't." Viserys looked to his sister once more. "Dany, please!" Before gasping as Drogo stopped in front of him a smirk in place.
"A crown for a king," Drogo sneered before turning the pot over as Viserys shrieked, the gold boiling his brain as everyone watched. Drogo crouched as he watched Viserys die when the gold hardened before he dropped with a hard thud.
"Khaleesi?" Jorah asked his queen as she just looked at her dead brother.
"He was no dragon, fire cannot kill a dragon," Daenerys spoke with no emotion.
Sansa sat beside her sleeping father with Lady at her feet. The slowly growing direwolf was becoming agitated, she started to snarl and pace in an unhappy trot before Sansa learned of her father's state. Lady nearly mauled the foolish guard who recklessly entered without giving a warning. Sansa had retrieved Arya from her lessons with her dancing teacher, and the girls sat with Vayon Poole who had Septa Mordane send a message to Winterfell. Becoming nervous at hearing what their mother did, Sansa feared what the Lannister queen and knight would do. She wasn't expecting the king to do anything for them, he almost allowed Lady to be killed. Arya sat there glaring at anyone who she thought was on the Queen's side. Sansa continued her prayers until she had to go spend time with the princess.
Rhaenyra's words continued to ring in Sansa's mind as she rejoiced at hearing her father had awoken days later. Remembering an old motto. 'When the snow falls and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.' Ned drilled that into all the children's heads when they were younger. He always made sure they knew what was more important to a northern family. Sansa now understood her father's words, petting Lady's ears. She slowly created the mask Rhaenyra once taught her.
"Hold nothing in your eyes nor face, but hold your blood close," the Targaryen once said as she showed Sansa the look. Sansa had been intrigued by the young adult's ability to keep a straight face before the other told her she practiced it over time. 'A little every day will help,' Baela suggested to the girl who nodded. So Sansa decided she would start the same thing Rhaenyra did if Robert or some royal checked on her. So Sansa decided to do the same but to keep her 'happy/naive' attitude. Her once happy-eager to be married to a prince nature had dulled considerably at being around Cersei's family as her sister was almost run through by the prince, the queen ordered the direwolves' deaths. Jaime was Lady's savior as he was the reason she survived, Nymeria was hopefully, roaming free in the Riverlands. But her opinion on the blonde knight was different now after her father's attack and Jory's death.
"Hey," Arya called to Sansa who was loosely marking the stitches when she decided to start the stitch.
"Aye, Arya?" Sansa questioned petting Lady's head.
"I found the dragon skulls," Arya said excitedly, a large grin on her face as Sansa froze in shock.
"You mean?" Sansa trailed off slowly looking to her sister who nodded with a bright look on her face. "Where?" Sansa asked, laying her stitch down.
"Dungeons, down below. I was chasing a cat and came upon them. Want to see if we can go again and see them?" Arya asked as Sansa paused, thinking it over before nodding with a shy smile.
"Aye, let's go," Sansa encouraged as Arya grinned.
"Come, Lady," Arya called as the wolf did so, allowing the lead to be slipped on as they raced out, being mindful of the guards. Lady seemed to understand that they needed to be quiet, she trotted silently on the pads of her feet. Ears perked up, alert for any danger. Hand-in-hand, Arya led with a lit torch, Sansa's gasp in shock at seeing a skull, fear popped in for a split second as Lady trotted around, tense and cautious around the remains of the powerful beasts.
"This must be Belarion, it's the biggest of them all," Arya claimed as she laid a hand against a large black tooth.
"Do you remember all the names?" Sansa asked with a small smile as she watched Lady who sniffed each skull as Arya followed the wolf.
"Balerion, Miraxes, Vhagar, Quicksilver, Meleys, Moondancer, Sunfyre, and Vermithor," Arya counted as Sansa smiled proudly.
"You forgot Syrax and Silverwing. One of them flew to the Wall." Sansa remembered the stories too.
"I wish the dragons were still alive," Arya wished, longing in her tone as Sansa smiled.
"Rhae would have been a good dragon rider," Sansa spoke wistfully as Arya agreed.
"Stubborn and hardheaded. Not a great combonation," Arya laughed as they heard a clang. Lady went alert, growling softly as Arya urged the wolf to follow the girls who bolted up the stairs. Being careful not to make noise nor look guilty as they carefully walked back out, acting like noble girls with Lady between them. The secretive smile on their faces as they continued to sup.
End of the chapter, I hope you like it!