The Crownlands 305 AC.
She sat at the table to one side of the king and queen, the princess sitting on the other side of the table, and the tall woman who unnerved her a little sat off to one side watching them all. Kinvara waited for the king or the queen to look to her and give her leave to tell her tale, but for now there was silence. It felt as if the three royals were taking the measure of each other, the princess staring at the king while the queen looked at the princess and at her husband's reaction to her.
That had been a welcome surprise to her, Kinvara and her men happy to arrive to find not only was the queen and her army marching to take Westeros but she and the man she loved were joined by bonds deeper than those of their wedding vows. The world was righted and the nightmarish dreams she had of a future without Daenerys Targaryen were thankfully now just that, dreams. As the silence dragged on she wondered who it was to be that broke it, her coin would have been on the princess but she found to her surprise it was the king.
"We could speak of how Dorne feels about me Princess Arianne, though truthfully I care not." the king said to a look of confusion from the princess.
"If what you say is true about my brother, your grace, then you're perhaps right. Though I'm surprised you have so little care for our feelings." Arianne said.
"Dorne will kneel to my wife, Princess and they will kneel to me, you will swear your fealty to us both and that will be the end of it. Hate me, despise me, chafe because you have to kneel if you wish, I have no time for it, my wife has no time for it and in the end, you have no choice." the king said.
"Dorne has been taken from you, Princess Arianne, you could march your men back to take it, you could even manage to do so after a bloody battle or two, and then when we call you to kneel you could refuse. But even as strong as you are now we could force you to your knees should we wish, if we waited until then it wouldn't require more than a tap to your shoulder to make you do so. However, that is not our wish." the queen said.
"It's not?" Arianne asked curiously.
"We intend to help you take back Dorne from your usurping brother and to destroy this army he brought into your country and him with it. Do you have a problem with that, Princess Arianne?" the queen asked.
"Why, your grace?" Arianne asked.
"Despite how you may feel about my husband, he does not feel that way about Dorne. You believe my brother's actions shamed Dorne, shamed his wife, and perhaps hold a grudge against his son because of it. My husband however is not his father, just as I am not my own. Children are innocent of the crimes of their father, princess, innocent of their mistakes, their actions, and their failures." the queen said.
"You accept Rhaegar's actions as wrong?" Arianne asked surprised.
"No, I accept that you and Dorne may feel that way about them. That and nothing else, so scorn me, whisper behind my back, name me how you wish. I spent a lifetime with such things and I care not about them, I care for one person's opinion about me that is all and you Princess Arianne are not that person." the king said his voice firm, and Kinvara was in no doubt who it was the king spoke of.
She looked to the princess to see a small smile on her face, a nod of her head and then the king looked to her and nodded.
"Belicho Staegone, Triarch of Volantis and would-be ruler of all Essos is responsible for the army that has taken Dorne, princess. Your brother Quentyn has made a deal with him to take your throne and then to kill the king and queen, to kill their dragons, and with them gone he intends to conquer Essos and bring it under Volantis's control." Kinvara said.
"Is he a madman?" Arianne said as she scoffed.
"Far from it, he's a dangerous man a man to be feared, and one ruthless enough to see it done." Kinvara said.
"He made but two mistakes." the queen said.
"Which were?" Arianne asked.
"He placed his faith in your brother's man to end my life and bring my husband to his knees and he has woken the dragons." the queen said to a smile from her husband.
"Ser Gerold Dayne is dead, Princess Arianne, killed on my orders and by my hand though not precisely." the king said and Kinvara swore she heard a chuckle from the queen.
"You killed him, why?" Arianne asked and Kinvara couldn't make out her expression.
"He was working with your brother and tried to kidnap and then kill my wife. He died painfully and was at least more useful in death than he had ever been in his life." the king said and Kinvara then looked to the chest in the corner where the red dragon slept.
"Dorne won't be pleased with this, Ned Dayne especially, though I care not, the Darkstar was always a pain in the arse and not a very good one at that." Arianne said with a chuckle at some jape only she understood.
"We intend to march on King's Landing, Princess, once it's fallen we shall then make plans for retaking your homeland. You can if you wish march to Dorne and wait for us to join you or march to King's Landing first, the choice is yours." the queen said.
"We'll march with you, your grace." the princess said.
"Fealty, princess." the king said with a smirk.
"I have no kingdom, your grace, my featly would not be that of Dorne's, but I offer both mine and Dorne's to you anyway."
"We accept the offer from the true ruler of Dorne." the queen said and the smile on the princess's face was a full one as the tall lady rose at a nod from the king and then escorted her from the tent.
Kinvara stayed sitting and waited to be spoken to, the king turning to the queen and kissing her cheek before they looked her way.
"You say this Belicho is smart Lady Kinvara, that he is wise?" the king asked.
"He is, your grace."
"Yet he sends his men to die pointlessly, why? The king asked looking at her.
"He has power, your grace, he has some foresight. I don't know how much but he knew enough to gather a force that would be able to take the temple, he knew to send Prince Quentyn and Malaquo to Dorne at just the right time so they'd take it easily. I do not believe he wishes them to die pointlessly but I cannot discern his motives either." Kinvara said frustratedly.
"Not even in the flames?" the king asked and she smiled at him pleased he knew of her god's ways.
"R'hllor shows only what is needed your grace, but I shall look some more."
"Very well, look to King's Landing Lady Kinvara, Belicho, Quentyn, and Malaquo can wait, look to King's Landing and tell us what you see." the queen said as Kinvara stood up.
She heard the squeal from the red dragon and then watched as it flew to the table, the king reaching down to grab some meat which he held up with a knife. After the queen bid it to, the red dragon used its flames to cook the meat and then moved to the queen. Kinvara watched as it rested its head on the queen's stomach, the sounds that came from it ones of joy and as she left the tent she knew there was another little dragon soon to arrive.
The Vale 305 AC.
Lady Anya Waynwood.
The Vale had almost fallen because of one red-headed trout and she'd not allow another to come in and be its lady. Nor would she leave it in the hands of that idiot boy, who the more she saw of him the more she was certain he was not Jon Arryn's son. Robert Arryn carried none of the man Lysa claimed to be his father in him and just as little of Lysa herself, other than her idiocy. No were she forced to wager than she'd name him a mockingbird and not a falcon and even then he carried little of Littlefinger in him either.
Harrold was vain, cocky, not too smart and she disliked his dalliance with the Royce girl, but he was malleable and he was her key to the Vale itself. So she had waited and hoped that his sickly cousin would pass only for him to grow stronger. She had prayed to the Stranger to take him only to have her prayers ignored and so she'd instead begun to plot his downfall. Small doses at first, enough to leave him open to illness and sickness and to allow for it to at least seem natural. It would have taken moons for him to pass and since it was winter and they were stuck at the Gates of the Moon, she had felt she had more than enough time.
Then Sansa Stark had arrived and begun to do what Robert had not and interfere in her domain. This mere slip of a girl had behaved as if she was already the Lady of the Vale and had given each of them a glimpse into what it would be like should they be wed. She spoke as if she was an authority and as if she knew more than they, presenting her ideas as if they were ones that only she had thought of. The girl speaking of grain and storage as if they had never seen a winter before. Talking of preparations to be made as if they were green summer children and she some wise sage. It was too much, for her and for the other Lords of the Vale and so Anya had begun to think she may need to act more quickly.
"That woman cannot be allowed to marry our lord." she said to Nestor, the lord nodding to her as she did so.
"It's what he wishes for." Ser Symond said.
"And we've to go along with the wishes and whims of a boy on this?" Lord Belmore said with a snort.
"But what to do, her brother is King in the North and he is more than close to the Dragonqueen given what Ser Daveth said." Lord Hunter said.
"For now we make it look as if we are welcoming our new lady, we wait my lords, for now." Anya said to nods of agreement.
When the news came from the North of who Jon Snow truly was and they'd seen the reaction from Sansa Stark it had been the final straw. They would not have another Lysa Tully telling them what to do and so Anya had sat and considered and a plan was put into place. The boy was smothered in his sleep, according to the guard that had done so it had happened not long after Sansa Stark had left the room.
The next morning when they found him it was exactly as she had planned it, Lord Robert had clearly been killed and had also been left in such a state that would show he had been engaged in nocturnal activities before he had died. Sansa had made a big mistake in giving in to his demands before they were wed, not only was Lord Robert a boy who'd now gotten access to what all men wanted, he was a braggart too. There wasn't one person in the entire keep who didn't know what happened when he and his betrothed went to his room each night. Not one who wouldn't swear that Sansa Stark and he weren't engaged in more than just light conversation.
That, how he was found, the stain on her dress that they hadn't even had to put there, all of that had been enough to force her to speak out in her defense. The silly girl digging herself even deeper with each word she said.
"He forced me to do things."
"I didn't wish to, no."
"He made me."
"No I didn't hate him for it, I was to be his wife."
"No, you're twisting my words, I said I hated doing those things, not that I hated Robert."
"Aye, I wished them to stop."
"No, No, you're doing it again, that's not what I said."
She had sat and listened as had the others, the words not helping the girl as she thought they would, and at a nod from her, the guards had left to bring the squid to them. Theon Greyjoy had saved the girl once before and Anya knew he'd try to do this time too, men were so predictable when they were in love after all.
It had gone just as she had predicted it would, the squid upon seeing a distressed Sansa had asked to speak to her and, Anya allowed it before she hit him with the truth of why they were here. Then she'd waited while he spoke to the girl softly and when she saw her nod, Anya had smiled. The trial by combat that she wished for was agreed upon and now she just had to ensure the outcome she wanted. It made her feel almost giddy the more she thought about it, the simplicity of her plan aided by playing a game with people who really were out of their element.
"Ser Varn, you shall represent the Vale." she said as the man stepped forward. "Theon Greyjoy, you shall represent Lady Sansa." she said as Theon did likewise and Anya looked to Nestor.
"The fight is to the death, let the gods be the judges this day." Nestor said and Anya saw the nervous look on Sansa Stark's face.
Ser Varn was a big man, bigger than Theon Greyjoy but slower and Anya looked on eagerly as the two came together. Varn's sword was blocked by Theon's shield and then the squid launched his own attack, forcing the bigger man back as he swung far too powerfully. She looked to Harrold who nodded and to Sansa Stark who was holding her hands together in prayer. Anya smiling as the two men came together once more, the noise of the swords crashing together and ringing around the hall.
Theon slipped and she heard Sansa's pained cry, but even she gave the squid credit for how quickly he rose back to his feet. He moved away from the slash aimed his way and almost drew Ser Varn onto him, the bigger man looking as if he was tiring as Theon blocked his blows and backed away further. Anya grimaced when the cut almost caught Theon on the side, the squid lucky he had moved or it would have been the end of him. The blow he aimed back in return though cost Ser Varn his shied and emboldened the squid to move forward.
When the end came it was quick and Varn never saw it coming, a parry, a riposte, a slash to the arm and then the leg and finally a thrust of the sword into the exposed side of Ser Varn. She gasped as did the others in the room when Varn fell. Theon wasting no time to move to him and with a slice of his sword Varn's neck was cut and his blood was pooling on the floor. Anya looked to see Sansa Stark run to Theon, her arms around him as she spoke and asked him if he was harmed, Greyjoy telling her he was not but looking her way instead of at the girl.
"You have been found innocent in the eyes of the gods, Lady Sansa, however, each Lord and Lady here knows the truth of your guilt." Anya said.
"I am innocent, my lady." Sansa said trying to sound unaffected and yet the shallowness of her breathing was clear for all to see.
"No matter, you are no longer welcome in the Vale, you and Greyjoy are hereby banished from ever setting foot in it again. You will both be escorted from our lands never to return, goodbye Lady Sansa." she said as she rose and walked from the hall.
She stood on the battlements watching as the guards rode out the gate, Sansa Stark and Theon Greyjoy amongst them and she smiled as she watched them go. Hearing the footsteps she turned to see Harrold walk her way, her former ward looking confusingly at her as he did so. He waited some time before he began to speak, Anya sure he was trying to figure out her mind before doing so, trying and failing to both her chagrin and amusement.
"I don't understand." Harrold said.
"What would you have had me do, kill the girl?" she asked.
"Would that not have been better, she's nobody anymore." Harrold said.
"But her brother is the King is he not?" she asked.
"A king she's in conflict with." Harrold said.
"A king with a dragon who may hate his sister, may even for all we know wish her dead, but would he welcome us being the ones to do so?" she asked.
"It was legal." Harrold said looking at her and Anya felt like grabbing him and shaking him to wake him up to the ways of the world.
"It was a farce, you think I'd have picked a condemned lowborn thief to act as a knight otherwise?"
"No, but why?" he asked and she just shook her head in disappointment and walked away from him.
Men, most of them were fools she'd found in her time, some more foolish than others and they couldn't see what was right in front of their eyes unless it was a pretty girl with her skirts raised. Words would spread of the trial and what happened, people would make their own minds up about it but most would see the smoke and not look for the fire. They'd see Sansa Stark and Theon Greyjoy and believe they got away with murder, they'd blame them for Robert Arryn's death and not look any closer at her or the Lords of the Vale.
As for her brother the king, he'd either welcome the fact they'd not killed his sister or bemoan that she'd gotten away with her life. Either way, a man that already distrusted his sister so would believe in her lie and not his sister's truths. He'd look to the Vale and see them administering justice and however, he felt about his sister, how he felt about the Vale was something she could now predict. Anya smiled as she made her way to her room, tomorrow they would ride south, they had a king to meet.
Crownlands 305 AC.
Their horses were poor and even more so compared to the one's the Dothraki rode. Jon almost looking enviously at the men as they escorted them to the army that was now marching their way. He could see the nervousness on the faces of Balaq and the others, the worry about the reception they may receive clear in their expressions. His face bore a far different look, one of hope, eagerness, excitement, Jon feeling as if he was a young man once more and if he was heading to King's Landing for the first time and not riding away from it.
When he saw the army truly, he looked at it with awe, the sheer mass of men something that he'd never seen the likes of before. He'd marched with the Golden Company en masse, had seen a Dothraki horde, and had looked on as other companies had taken to the field. During the rebellion, he'd led a large force to try and take the Stoney Sept and faced a larger force that had come from nowhere to rescue Robert Baratheon. All of that paled into comparison to the sight before him. Thousands upon thousands of Dothraki, Unsullied, Dornishmen, Reachmen, even Westerland's men were riding his way.
He heard them at first, the dragons flying over his head and when he looked to them he almost jumped from his horse to fall to his knees. They were real, they were true, the dragons had returned he thought, as he looked at the figures on their backs. The silver hair of Daenerys stood out and showed her for the Draognqueen she was but it was the dark hair of the man on the green dragon that he looked to most eagerly. Jon finally seeing his prince in the flesh and cursing that he was on horseback and the prince was in the sky.
"The king?" he said to the Dothraki who was leading them towards the army.
"Khal Ver." the man replied with a smile.
Ver, the wolf king, king wolf, he smiled at that and yet he wondered why he was not called the Dragonking. It was something to ponder he thought as they were led to the group of men that were leading the marching army. He recognized one of them as Varys and the other he assumed to be Ser Davos. Looking to the others he could see one wearing Lannister colors which surprised him and as he looked closer he saw there were some women among them too.
The Dothraki leader motioned for him and the others to ride and so he did, the group of men soon reaching the leading group and Jon looking to see Varys smirk at him until he saw his face. The eunuch quickly changed his expression and just as he was about to introduce himself, he heard the sound of horses riding his way. He looked over Varys's shoulder and saw a sight that brought a smile to his face. Three men in white cloaks rode beside a man and a woman, a king and a queen, and as he looked closer he could see a white wolf running alongside the king's horse. There were others in the group too, a young woman wearing britches, a young man who looked like a lot like Ser Arthur Dayne, one that looked like Robert Baratheon, and yet it was to the king his eyes were drawn.
Jon watched as the king slowed his horse and turned to his wife, smiling when he heard the laugh that came from Daenerys's lips. More so when the king leaned over from his horse to kiss her deeply and then before he had time to adjust or settle, they were beside him and he was looking at Targaryens for the first time in more years than he cared to count.
"Your graces, Lord Jon Connington." Varys said and he saw how they both looked somewhat pleased to see him, the king though was soon wearing an odd look on his face which he wasn't sure how to take.
"Lord Jon, it's good to meet you finally, Lord Varys has told me much about you and I'm aware of your history with my father." the king said.
"Your grace, It's an honor to finally meet you, truly, you too, your grace." he said with a nod to the queen.
"Perhaps we should speak elsewhere my love?" the queen said and he saw the king nod back to her.
"Aye, we should, Ser Davos, continue the march, we'll ride on ahead and meet you where we'll camp for the night." the king said.
"Your grace, is that wise?" the older man asked worriedly.
"We've scouted far ahead, Ser, we're the only people on these roads for miles around, besides Rhaegal and Drogon will be with us all the way." the queen said and Jon looked up to see the dragons in the sky.
"As will Lyarhaex." the king said with a laugh and Jon almost fell from his horse when the red dragon flew to the queen and landed on the horse in front of her, a worried dark-skinned woman running towards them a few moments later.
"Your grace, I'm sorry." the woman said and Jon watched as the queen stroked the red dragon as if it was a small cat or a pup and shook her head, speaking softly to the dragon before the king looked at him.
"Lord Jon, ride with us." the king said and he nodded as almost the moment he said it both he, the queen, and the girl in the britches were laughing as they rode off. The Kingsguard, some Dothraki, and others soon following behind them as did Jon and his men.
He recognized the stream that he found them stopped at, Jon finding himself smiling to see how carefree the king and queen seemed to be as they watched the white wolf swimming in it. The sound of their laughter pleasing him greatly when the wolf climbed out and shook his body, sprinkling them both with water. Daenerys looked so much like her mother that he almost expected to see the scab king behind her and while Aegon's coloring made him out a Stark, Jon could see so much of his father in him that he wondered how it had been kept secret. Had no one who knew Rhaegar seen the boy? Was he kept isolated from any who could recognize the truth in his features? Or was it simply that being raised as a bastard meant no one spared him a second glance.
Just thinking of the latter made him want to kill Eddard Stark, to dig up his bones and bring him back to life just so he could kill him himself. He had known, he had known the truth and had sent or at the very least allowed Rhaegar's son to go the Wall. Was his hatred of Rhaegar that deep? Or was it his love of the Stag that had seen him pick him over his own blood? He felt his anger begin to rise and it was only when he saw the king being knocked to the ground by the white wolf and heard the laugher grow even louder that it receded. Jon looking on as the king rose and both he and Daenerys walked his way.
"Your grace." Jon said dropping to a knee.
"Rise Lord Connington, there is much my husband and I wish to discuss with you." Daenerys said and he looked to see her staring at him.
"Ask of me anything, your grace." he said as he stood to his feet.
"The Golden Company, Lord Jon?" Aegon said.
"Turned on us, your grace. How our plans were found out I do not know, but we were attacked, myself and the men you saw with me are the only ones of the captains to make it out alive." Jon said hoping they believed his words.
"Strickland?" Aegon said and it caught him so by surprise that it took him a moment to realize that he was asking if he lived rather than had it been him who attacked him.
"Strickland is a toad, your grace, a craven and a coward who cares more for gold than anything else. Whether he knew the company was going to go against him or whether he simply did as the queen asked, I cannot tell. But he holds Blackfyre and so the company will follow him." Jon said almost spitting as he thought of Homeless Harry.
"And should he lose Blackfyre?" Daenerys asked.
"Then they'll turn on him, as some would if they saw my other captains and me, your grace."
"Cersei Lannister, Lord Jon, she and Euron Greyjoy, Varys told me they were close. I need to know how close?" Aegon asked.
"They were lovers, your grace. Reluctant at first but Lysono informed me that something changed between them and they were very close by the time Euron sailed from King's Landing."
"Lysono?" Daenerys asked.
"Lysono Maar, the companies spymaster, your grace." Jon said as he looked from Daenerys to Aegon.
"Is he amongst the men you escaped with?" Daenerys asked and Jon nodded seeing the smile on Aegon's face, a smile that once again made his heart still.
"We shall need to speak to him, Lord Jon, him and the other men you escaped with." Aegon said.
"Of course, your grace."
"You were Hand to my father were you not?" Daenerys asked and Jon sighed before he answered.
"I was your grace. I wished to serve your brother not your father, your grace. I believed in serving Aerys I was doing so but…."
"I know all I need to of my father, Lord Connington." Daenerys said her lips almost curled up in a snarl.
"My wife tells me that she and my uncle met with the Golden Company many years ago, Lord Jon, that they met with them and were laughed at, ignored and belittled." Aegon said his eyes almost a shade of indigo that he remembered all too well.
"They did your grace, I was part of the company at the time, far lower than I rose to, and yet I….I knew of their visit." Jon said looking to the ground.
"Lord Varys tells me that you are a leal man, to my family most of all and yet when a princess and a prince of House Targaryen came your way, you ignored them, why?" Aegon asked Jon watching as he took his wife's hand in his own as he did so.
"Viserys always showed signs, your grace, and Daenerys, her grace, was a woman." Jon said and saw the flicker of Aegon's eyes and what looked to be flame growing behind them, it unnerved him for a moment and so he didn't hear Aegon speak until he repeated himself.
"My wife is a queen, Lord Jon, a Dragonqueen who has brought the dragons back to this world, who then gathered the largest army the world has ever seen and without whom the world would have fallen to an army it was ill-equipped to stop." Aegon said his pride clear in his tone and yet there was an anger there too, an accusation.
"Aegon." he heard Daenerys say, her hand rubbing her husband's hand as she did so.
"But she is a woman and we live in a world that may see that as a reason why she should not rule. Our own family believed this and it caused us to almost be brought to our knees, so I'll not blame you for such outdated thinking. I will however warn you from it, my wife and I will rule together, Lord Jon, equals both in name and role. There will be no acceptance of those who look to me before her, no place at our table for those who think a king better than a queen. We would find a place at that table for you and we would ask you to be a part of the world my wife and I intend to build together, but only if you understand that truth." Aegon said as Jon went to his knees again.
"I do your grace, I give you my oath that I do. Her grace and you, your grace, I would serve you both equally and without favor, I give you my oath on that." Jon said almost pleadingly as he looked at them.
"Then we accept that oath, Lord Connington and when we name our small council we would ask you to serve on it, we already have a Hand and a Master of Whisperers but we are in need of a Master of Laws, arise Lord Jon Connington as a member of our small council. " Daenerys said and he did so nodding eagerly, looking to them both as he felt Aegon's hand on his shoulder.
"Could you tell me of my father, Lord Jon?" Aegon said, the king had now gone and the son of his silver prince was who stood in front of him.
"It would be an honor, your grace" Jon said smiling.
Crownlands 305 AC.
They were camped no more than a day or so from King's Landing and Davos as was his wont to do was walking the camp and thinking of the battle soon to come. It may not be on the morrow that it would actually take place but be it then, the day after or the day after that, a battle was soon to occur and he felt as nervous as he ever did in knowing that. Blackwater Bay, the Battle of the Bastards, the Battle of Winterfell, even if he'd not actually been there when it had taken place, each of them had caused him sleepless nights.
The Battle for King's Landing it seems would be causing him the same and as he walked over the hill and looked down on the camp below him, he wondered how many others felt the same as he did. He hoped the king and queen took their comfort in each other as they more than any would need to be fully rested. As for the Reachmen, they did as Reachmen did and celebrated by almost having a feast on a battlefield, the sight of it stirring dark memories within him. The Dornishmen too celebrated while the few Northmen with them and the Westerland's men looked to be enjoying a Dothraki celebration.
Davos wouldn't begrudge Qhono and the others the night they had planned. These men had fought and bled with his king and queen, they derived if far more than most. Looking to the Unsullied tents he chuckled, they didn't celebrate, not before they won and not even after, the men were far too disciplined for that. He heard the crack of the branch and he turned to see Aegon walk his way, Ghost was walking by his side and Davos laughed knowing it had been the king and not the wolf who had made the noise.
"Your grace." he said with a nod.
"Aegon, Davos." the king said and he nodded.
"Aegon." he said and saw the smile on the king's face.
"They seem to be enjoying themselves." Aegon said as he looked down on the camp.
"The Reachmen don't need an excuse and the Dothraki are much like the Free Folk are they not?" he said and saw an almost wistful look come over the king's face.
"I find I miss, Tormund, Davos, and yet I'm glad he's not here at the same time." Aegon said and Davos laughed.
"I miss the crazy fucker too, but aye, I'm glad he's elsewhere, he and his people deserve some peace."
"As do we all, though it won't be something I'll see for many a year I fear." Aegon said before laughing at some thought or other.
"Aegon?" he asked confused.
"I fought, I lost and now I rest, but you Lord Snow, you'll be fighting their battles forever." Aegon said and Davos looked at him and saw a smirk on his face.
"Thorne, Ser Davos, those were his last words to me and how true they were, though I think he meant wildings and not the gods." Aegon said.
"I don't understand." Davos said.
"Walk with me Davos, I have a story I must tell someone, and be it good fortune or ill that you were here, it was to you I wished to tell it anyway." Aegon said and Davos nodded.
They walked further from the camp, Aegon not saying anything for some time and Davos looked to see what looked to be warring emotions on his face. That alone was strange enough, as from the first time he'd met the boy he'd found it was only his eyes that truly showed what he was feeling. When he did speak he caught him so by surprise that Davos almost jumped, the sound of the voice seemed to be so loud in the quietness of the night, and yet he knew Aegon was speaking softly.
"When King's Landing falls Ser Davos, it won't be the end of things, Dorne, Essos, my wife and I have more fights to come. It's why I was brought back I believe, why I was truly brought back, not just to face the Night King and beat him, that could have been done without me, but to end him and together with my wife, finish what she started." Aegon said.
"You intend to free more slaves?" Davos asked.
"No, we're going to free them all, Davos, each and every one of them." Aegon said determinedly.
"But that could take…" he said and then laughed, the truth of Aegon's words coming to him them.
"Aye, forever." Aegon said as he bid Davos sit with him.
The two of them sat on some rocks, close together but facing each other and Davos was thankful for the fullness of the moon as he could see Aegon's face clearly when he began to speak.
"I'm going to tell you a tale, Davos, a tale that's unbelievable, impossible, terrible, and true. A tale of a life lived that ended alone and broken, a life filled with regret, pain, guilt, and sadness. Cursed is the kinslayer, Davos, and they cursed me for true and though I deserved to die that way, it was not to be my end." Aegon said.
Davos looked to see Aegon's face was now covered in shadow as a cloud or something else blocked the moon's light. When it passed he saw there were tears falling down Aegon's cheeks and he had little idea that his own were soon to follow. He listened as he was told a tale of a wolf who had stood silently and allowed the rest of his pack to tear into a dragon's body. Of a lion that was allowed to take his own piece and of the spider who spun his web and trapped the dragon inside. All the while the Silent Wolf stood by and did nothing until at the end it then decided to tear out the dragon's heart and feasted upon it.
By the time Aegon was done, Davos was wiping his own eyes and through them, he looked contemptuously at the boy who had finally taken the dragons from this world. It took him a moment to realize that this was not that boy, that boy had died long ago and the one who sat in front of him was no longer a silent wolf. Instead, it was a dragon that looked his way, a dragon who'd roared and let the wolves know that should they try to feast on one dragon, they'd face another. A dragon who had taken a spider and threatened to set fire to his web should he try to spin it in the wrong place and who had shown a lion what a true roar sounds like.
"You need to tell her, Aegon." he said rising to his feet.
"Aye, but not today." Aegon said.
"No lad, not today." Davos said as he walked over to the boy, the king, the wolf who was now a dragon.
"I…" Aegon said and Davos grabbed him and looked him in the eye.
"You're a dragon., Aegon, go be a dragon." he said before he hugged him, feeling the boy hug him back, the two of them standing there for some time before he finally let him go.
"Thank you, Davos." Aegon said and he nodded to him as he walked away, the white wolf walking with him.
Davos looked to them both as they walked and he smiled, the world needed the dragons and now they had two, soon to be three and though there were wars to come and battles to be fought, he'd fight by their side gladly. Walking back to the camp he ignored the revelry around him and walked to his tent, laying down on his bed, and he was unsurprised when sleep came.
Meereen 305 AC.
He looked out on the bay at the ships and wondered where so many had come from, his eyes searching the sails to see it was from Yunkai, New Ghis, and Astapor, his brow furrowed as he had thought they'd taken all their ships. As he held the Myrish Eye and looked at more of the ships he sighed when he saw the Volantene sails and he knew then they were fucked. There were no dragons to come to their rescue and he had but four thousand men to hold this city. As he moved from the balcony and made his way through the Pyramid he was soon joined by one of his captains, the man bringing him the news that he knew sealed their fate.
"How many?" he asked the clearly disturbed man.
"20,000 at least."
"Fuck." Daario said.
"What are we to do commander?" the man asked as Daario tried to think.
"What can we do, we fight." he said and the man nodded as he ran off to prepare the men.
He called for a servant and sent her to find Dono, the girl running off to do as he asked while Daario walked to his room. Once he reached it he took off the silks he wore and dressed in his armor before moving to the statue and pushing it onto its side. Reaching into the hollowed-out base he took out the two bags, one full of coin and the other gems and he tied them to his belt before he walked from the room.
"There are too many, you can't mean to fight them all?" Dono said and Daario looked at his second in command, the Norvosi speaking the truth as always.
"I'm not fighting them, they'll kill us all. Once the city has fallen we'd end up as heads on stakes or as gifts sent to my queen and when she looks upon my face again it'll be attached to my body, on that you can count." Daario said and Dono nodded.
"Your orders, Daario?" Dono asked.
"Take the best of our men, gather horses, food, whatever wealth you can carry, and ride to the south tower, I'll meet you there." Daario said.
"You're not coming now?" Dono asked confused.
"I need to lead the men to fight before we can run." Daario said and Dono nodded as he set off to do as he was bid.
It took him some time to walk to the entrance of the pyramid, Daario in no hurry or at least making it look that way. His men needed to see him calm and composed so they'd do as he asked them, otherwise they'd flee and he'd have no time to make good his escape. Mounting his horse, he rode with his escort to the docks, the ships closer now but still some distance away which gave him time.
"Make sure the fire arrows are ready, the scorpions, use the fire bolts." he shouted as men rushed to make ready "Nakos, Jorios, you have command, I'll return once I've seen to the main gates." he said as the two men nodded as he rode away.
He knew he was leaving them to their deaths but the simple truth was that many men would die here today and those who did not would be in chains by the time night fell. Better for them to go out with their swords in their hands and hope in their hearts, Daario thought. Reaching the main gate he dismounted his horse and ran up the steps to the walls. Entering the guard tower he was saluted by the men and he could see how relieved they were to see him.
"The oil is it boiled?" he asked.
"It is commander."
"Arrows, you have enough?" he asked and they nodded.
"Varen, Sallo, you man the scorpions, Draqys, Adaro, the ballista's." he said clapping his hands together to get the men moving.
"Aereo, with me." he said walking from the guard tower.
He walked with the younger man who was clearly nervous, he was unbloodied and though well trained had never even seen a true battle.
"The men will need supplies, Aereo, I want you to go and gather food and water, make sure there is enough to last a day and a night." he said looking to the boy.
"You believe it'll be over so quickly?" Aereo asked hopefully.
"It will, now go, I must ride to the others."
He mounted up and rode to three more guard towers, stopping to talk to forces that would hold the gate, and by the time he'd done his rounds the battle had begun. Climbing to the top of the walls, he gave the orders for the arrows to fly and heard the cheers when men fell, Daario shaking his head at the folly in their thinking that things would be that easy.
"I must go and see to the men on the docks, keep firing, I shall return." he said and ignored the cheers as he walked down to his horse.
The ride thought the city showed that while the men on the walls were still feeling hopeful, the people of Meereen were not. Daario saw them look to the sky, hope and fear were both equally present and he knew what it was they were seeking.
"Your queen will not abandon you, be it today, tomorrow, weeks or moons from now, she will return." he said.
He ignored the cheers, the cries, riding hard he soon reached the turnoff to the docks and looked down at the battle that was taking place. Closing his eyes he told himself that it wasn't just his own arse he was saving by doing what he was about to do. Riding hard and fast he soon reached the south tower to find Dono and twenty men waiting. Daario was pleased to see Dono holding the reins of the spare horse in his hands and he quickly jumped off his tired one and mounted the fresh new one.
"We ride to attack from the rear, we'll give these fuckers a surprise they'll never forget." Daario said loudly for the men in the tower's benefit.
"Open the gate." Dono shouted.
They rode out to cheers and soon the walls of Meereen were far behind them. It took them a day and night to reach the boats and another hour to row to the ship. The Dragon's Kiss he had named it after his queen and it had been one of the first things he'd done as Governor of Meereen. He had known this day could come, though he had hoped it would be many years from now and that she'd be back in his bed by then.
Westeros was not where she belonged and married to some fool of a Westerosi was no life for the queen of his heart. As the sails were readied and the ship began to sail, Daario looked back at the flames in the distance, Meereen burned today but soon enough it would be Essos that felt the fire, true fire. He walked to the captain of the ship, the man waiting for his instruction as they sailed from Meereen, looking to him, Daario smiled.
"We sail for Westeros, we sail to our queen." he said as he walked past him and down to his cabin.
King's Landing 305 AC.
Laying in her husband's arms she could almost forget they were about to attack a city. She listened as he spoke softly to the dragon that lay on the bed beside them and to the one that grew inside of her. Aegon telling them both of each other and Dany enjoying the story as much as she felt that both dragons were. The smile on her face was true as she listened whiles Aegon spoke of Lyarhaex to Rhaella and of Rhaella to the red dragon.
"Yes little dragon, she's red and she's beautiful." Aegon said as Lyarhaex chirped her agreement.
"Of course she'll ride you when she's old enough, you are her dragon are you not?" Aegon said and Dany felt Lyarhaex rub her head softly against her swollen belly.
"I think both dragons wish to sleep, my love." Dany said and she swore Lyarhaex shook her head as she did so.
"You've heard your mother, little dragon, time to sleep, you too, no, sleep." Aegon said and Dany chuckled as he argued with the red dragon who finally flew to his arms and allowed him to rise and to place her in her chest, a chest that was getting more cramped for her by the day.
She watched as Aegon made sure the dragon was comfortable and then he climbed back into the bed beside her, Dany snuggling up close to him and enjoying the comfort of his arms.
"I fear that when our daughter is born I'll lose you to her." she said with a chuckle.
"Never." Aegon said kissing her "Perhaps sometimes." he said a moment later making her laugh.
"Are you sure about this, tomorrow?" she asked and he nodded.
"You heard what Malora said, Kinvara confirmed it also." Aegon said.
"It's too big a risk, Aegon, we could just take the city." she said worriedly.
"It's a risk to be sure, but Arya will play her part and Jon seems more than eager."
"It's too big a risk to you." she said looking at him.
"Everything we do from here on in is a risk, this isn't the end of things Dany and it's not the last battle we must face. Here, Dorne, Essos, we have many fights to come and we will need as many on our side as we can have. Wildfire almost destroyed our family once, I won't give it the chance to do so again." Aegon said determinedly.
"Promise me that you'll return to me, promise me." she said looking at him.
"I promise I'll return to you, always. I promise I will see my daughter born, I will see all our children born. We will grow old together you and me, and one day I'll see what wrinkles look like on that beautiful face of yours, I'll see the silver turn to grey and we'll watch as our children marry and have children of their own." he said kissing her softly.
"We will." she said determinedly.
She woke the next morning and was relieved to see his arms around her. Dany looking to the light that shined in through the tent and rising to her feet, Aegon mumbling something as she moved to her clothing and began to dress.
"Your grace, Lord Varys wishes to speak to you." Jorah said when she reached the opening of the tent.
"Have him brought to me." she said looking back inside and glad to see that Aegon was still asleep.
She walked with Ser Brienne, leaving Ser Jaime at the tent, and soon enough Varys and Ser Jorah were walking her way. The Master of Whisperers looking eager to speak to her and Dany finding herself more than eager to speak to him also.
"Men your grace, an army marches our way from the Stormlands under Lord Edric Storm." Varys said.
"Ally or enemy, Lord Varys?" she asked.
"Princess Arianne believes him to be an enemy, your grace but I disagree. Lord Edric has taken back the Stormlands in his family name it's true, but I believe he means to offer his men to us." Varys said.
"Family name, Lord Varys, is Storm not a bastard name?" she asked curiously.
"It is my lady, however, Lord Edric's father was Robert Baratheon." Varys said surprising her.
"Ser Brienne, have Gendry brought to my tent." she said and Brienne went to move only for Varys to speak.
"I'm afraid he left with Lady Arya, your grace." Varys said and Dany nodded.
She looked to Varys and then to the Dragonguard, nodding to Brienne and Jorah to gave her some room to speak to the man privately. Once they had she moved closer to the eunuch, his perfume even more overpowering than her own.
"Cersei Lannister, Lord Varys is it true she's a woman controlled by her lusts?" she asked.
"Very much so, your grace. Lord Tyrion…" he said stopping when he said the traitor's name.
"Continue, Lord Varys." she said.
"Lord Tyrion would often say it about her, you know of her and Ser Jaime of course but there were many others, your grace."
"And my brother?" she asked.
"Was the love of her life, your grace." he said to nods.
"I think you Lord Varys." she said as he moved away.
By the time Aegon was up they were ready to give a show of force the likes of which King's Landing had never seen before. Firstly though they had a need to deal with a lord who'd come to pledge his swords and fealty to them. Dany looked to Aegon who sat drumming his fingers on the table nervously and it worried her to see him so. She was about to say something when Varys escorted the lord in, Dany looking at the man and seeing the resemblance to Gendry immediately. His beard was the only true difference and she remembered Aegon telling her that Robert Baratheon bore a similar one.
"Lord Edric Storm, your grace." Varys said and she looked to Aegon who was staring at the man, an odd expression on her husband's face and one she didn't understand until she saw how Lord Edric was looking at her.
"Your grace." Lord Edric said and Dany could feel the jealousy that came from Aegon when the man kissed her offered hand, finding that she enjoyed that jealousy more than a little.
"Lord Edric, you've come to pledge your fealty?" Aegon asked more brusquely than she expected, jealous or no.
"I have you grace, to the true queen and king of Westeros." Edric said and Dany wasn't surprised to see him look more to her than Aegon when he said it.
"And what is it you seek in return for your fealty?" Dany asked before Aegon could.
"My house and yours, your grace, we go back to the conqueror himself, my father rose for what he believed to be a true reason and while I am his son, I am not him." Edric said.
"Be thankful that you're not." Aegon said glaring at the man.
"I would renew House Baratheon's loyalty to the crown, but I am a Strom, your grace, a bastard." Edric said looking to Aegon and Dany moved her hand to her husband's thigh to calm the anger she saw in his eyes.
"You wish to be legitimized?" Aegon asked.
"And named Lord of Storm's End and Lord Paramount of the Stormlands, your grace." Edric said looking at her once more.
"In return for your fealty?" Aegon asked.
"In return for that and my army, your grace." Edric said with a smile.
She looked to Aegon to see if he wished her to deny him, it was clear he was disrespecting her husband and the little bit of a thrill she had gotten from knowing that Aegon could be jealous over her, was now gone. Should he wish it of her, she'd strip this man of all that he desired and see him brought low without a second thought. Aegon though nodded and Dany looked to the man and smiled, seeing how it was interpreted almost immediately.
"We welcome your fealty, Lord Baratheon and your army, we'll have the oath swearing once the throne is taken but for now you and your lords should make ready, we're to parley with Cersei Lannister before the day ends." Dany said and the Lord rose and seemed put out that Dany didn't do likewise or offer him her hand.
She waited until he was gone from the tent and looked to see Aegon staring at the empty space he'd just stood at.
"That man is a fool." she said to a chuckle "What?" she asked confused.
"Like father like son." Aegon said and she frowned not understanding only for Aegon to explain a moment later "Another Baratheon who wants a woman he cannot have." Aegon said and something in the way he said it almost made her melt.
"He cannot?" she said as they both rose to their feet.
"He cannot, you are mine, Dany." Aegon said kissing her deeply.
"I am yours and you are mine. Aegon Targaryen" she said when they were done.
King's Landing 305 AC.
Davos, Sandor, Arya, Gendry, Jon Connington, and the other captains of the Golden Company had left in the middle of the night, their destination and orders known only to him, Dany, and Varys. Now as they rode to the parley he wondered if he was doing the right thing and if sending them was the right thing. Looking to Dany he gave her his most reassuring look but he knew that nothing he said or did this day would reassure her, that wouldn't come to pass until the day was over.
Lord Leyton and his heir Ser Baelor, Lord Rowan and Ser Jon Fossoway, Princess Arianne, Ser Daemon Sand, and her cousins, along with Lord Ned Dayne. Lord Edric Storm and some knights and lords he didn't know and hadn't had a chance to meet and finally Lord Varys, Lady Malora, Lady Kinvara, the Dragonguard, and Ghost. The party that rode towards the meeting spot was large and yet when they arrived Cersei looked only at him.
Aegon looked to Malora and Kinvara, both of them nodding at the same time and so he turned back to the woman who had named herself queen and smiled at her. The look that appeared on her face was one that he knew well and he breathed a sigh of relief at that. Dismounting he allowed Ser Jorah to help his wife down rather than he, Aegon not even looking Dany's way as he instead stared at Cersei and smiled once more.
"Her grace Cersei Lannister, Queen of the Andals, The Rhoynar and the First Men, Lady of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm, do hereby order your armies to stand down and halt this attempt at usurping of her rightful place on the Iron Throne." the man wearing the pin of the Hand said.
"I am a king, I give and do not follow orders." Aegon said and he swore he could see the almost giddy look on Cersei's face when he said it.
"Then perhaps you and I should negotiate as equals your grace." Cersei said rising to her feet.
"His grace is not the only one you need to negotiate with, Cersei Lannister." Dany said angrily and Aegon turned and glared at her, silencing her as he did so.
"I can speak for myself." he said firmly "I am willing to negotiate with her grace." Aegon said with a polite bow and Cersei smiled.
The voices rose behind him, Dany, Arianne, Lord Leyton, more, and then the dragon roared, Rhaegal flying over the meeting point and letting his displeasure be felt. Aegon glanced at Kinvara and Malora and despite wishing to look to her and let her know the mummery was working, he ignored Dany as he then looked directly into Cersei's eyes.
"SIlence or it'll not only be my dragon you have to face." Aegon said and he looked on as Cersei breathed deeply.
"Your grace, perhaps we should speak in a more private setting." Cersei said as she licked her lips and he nodded.
"Your grace, surely not."
"You cannot do this."
"What madness is this." Varys said and Aegon turned quickly, the sword in his hand, and pointed at Varys's neck before anyone could move.
"Never speak to me of madness, I am my father's son, Lord Varys, not my grandfather's." he said as Varys gulped.
He turned back and sheathed his sword before untying his belt and handing it to Ser Jorah, Cersei offering him her arm which he took as they both began to walk into the city. Aegon looked to the walls and saw the scorpions, then to the soldiers of the Golden Company as they walked the streets. When he heard the gates close behind him he closed his eyes and prayed to the gods who'd brought him back.
'Let me see the morrow, let me see my wife again." he said softly in his head before he leaned closer to whisper in Cersei's ear.
"You truly look a queen today." he said and he felt her shiver as his breath brushed over her ear.
A/N: Thanks to all who've read and reviewed, I was running incredibly late today and so I will double up on the review replies next week. Up next, Aegon and Cersei get closer, Arya, Sandor, and Gendry move through tunnels, Dany faces questions while Jon Connington seeks revenge and a prophecy is fulfilled as King's Landing falls to the dragons.