Though her tongue screamed for her to gag, repent, spit out the iron fluid that flooded her throat, Ithi refused to heed its call. She would be called weak by none. She was khaleesi to Khal Ruarro, He Who Rides With The Wind. Ithi would not shame her husband. She would not disgrace her yet-unborn child.
So Ithi continued on, slowly devouring the once-beating heart of a stallion, unrelenting and unfaltering. Before her, both the Dosh Khaleen and her Khal watched as she consumed the heart, and the khaleesi could see within the eyes of her husband that he prayed for her, and is strengthened her heart and hardened her tongue.
And then there was naught but blood and entrails in her hand, the stallion's heart having gone to join her unborn in her womb. Standing from where she had knelt, Ithi looked to the Dosh Khaleen and awaited their judgement. Ithi opened her mouth to ask what her Khal demanded of her-
-only to stop as she felt the babe kick.
"Khalakka dothrae mr'anha," she whispered, and Ruarro strode to her side at once, concern in his dark eyes.
The Dosh Khaleen halted their murmurs and turned their full attention on her, gazes filled with curiosity and mild suspicion. One of the crones, the High Priestess, shuffled forward to inspect Ithi's stomach only to rear back in surprise, then awe.
The crone stood silent for a moment, before raising her hands to the skys. "Khalakka dothrae!" the crone shrieked for all to hear. "The prince is riding!"
The bustle of Vaes Dothrak slowly began to recede as the Dothraki present watched as the Dosh Khaleen did what had never been done, only prophesied for centuries. The other crones crept forward as well, reverence in their eyes, and beheld Ithi appraisingly.
"Rakh! Rakh! Rakh haj!" they proclaimed, and around them, Vaes Dothrak took up the cry. Slaves, warriors, screamers, Bloodriders, Khals, even Ruarro himself.
All threw their arms up in euphoria.
"Rakh! Rakh! Rakh haj! RAKH! RAKH! RAKH HAJ! RAKH! RAKH! RAKH HAJ!"
The prince was riding.
The Stallion was approaching.
And Ithi screamed.
"He rides! A Prince rides within me- and he shall be known to all the Uniter! Burner of Cities! Trampler of Nations! Scourge of Gods! He With the Ashen Horse!
"HE WHO RIDES WITH A MILLION WARRIORS! HE WHO BRINGS THE END OF DAYS!"
"HE IS DROGO, THE STALLION WHO MOUNTS THE WORLD!"
She had been leaving in the manse for nearly a year, yet Daenerys still found Pentos as beautiful as the day she had first seen it. Whether during the Hour of the Wolf when the stars shone the brightest or in the middle of a day such as this one, Pentos seemed to gleam with wealth and prosperity-at least, within the bubble Daenerys had the grace to live in thanks to Illyrio.
Yes, Pentos was indeed beautiful. Had she not longed for a home she could remember little about, or the house with the lemon tree and the red door, she might have found comfort in the sight of the city.
Only, now the skyline was yet another reminder to her. For here it would remain, while she would not.
Flinching slightly at the abrupt appearance of her brother's voice, Daenerys remained where she stood as she waited for Viserys to approach her, and that he did, striding over towards her with something wrapped around his arms. Catching sight of her, Viserys smiled, the same smile that always unnerved Daenerys whenever it was directed at her, and walked over to her. "Daenerys, dear sister! There's our bride-to-be!"
Moving from her spot in the sun to meet her brother, Daenerys left the balcony and approached him, if not for the curiosity of what it was he held. "Look, a gift from Illyrio, for the wedding."
It was a wedding dress made of fine silk, and Daenerys knew that it had probably cost more to make than anything else she had worn in her life. Yet another gift from the Cheesemonger… While Illyrio had been quite nice to her and her brother since their arrival to his manse, Daenerys wondered what the man's true motivations were. He had asked nothing of them, yet aided them without hesitation. Why?
Putting the thought aside for later examination, Daenerys suddenly realized that Viserys had held out the dress for her. "Touch it," Viserys seemed to command of her. "Come on. Feel the fabric."
Doing so, she found that the dress was just as soft as she had imagined it would be, and Daenerys smile softly. Thank you, Illyrio. She would enjoy wearing this.
Even if she would not enjoy why.
In front of her, Viserys hummed approvingly. "Mm. Isn't he a gracious host, dear sister?"
Daenerys nodded at that, though once again her mind trailed back to her earlier thoughts on the Cheesemonger, and she decided to ask Viserys his thoughts.
"We've been his guest for over a year… but he has never asked us for anything. Why is that, Viserys?"
Her brother smirked knowingly, as if privy to a secret Daenerys was not. "Illyrio is no fool. He knows I will not forget my friend when I sit upon my throne, and he is right to think so." Handing away the dress to a nearby handmaiden, Viserys' gaze suddenly hardened as his eyes raked over her body. "You still slouch. Let them see." Parting her hair and beginning to undo the straps of her current dress, Viserys' smile turned darker. "You have a woman's body now, Daenerys. It would be a shame to hide it from your husband-to-be."
Letting Daenerys' gown fall to the floor, Viserys' hands began to roam across her upper body, and Daenerys barely held back a shudder of revulsion. Thankfully, he seemed to stop before too long, pulling back. "I need you to be perfect today, little sister. Can you fo that for me?"
She wanted to say no. She wanted to step away from her brother, ask him to stop, plead him to not marry her to some horselord she had never met in her life.
All Daenerys did was nod.
Viserys smiled again. "Good, good. You wouldn't want to wake the Dragon, would you?"
"N-no," the girl shook her head, and silently thanked the gods when her brother nodded and turned to leave. Just before exiting, however, he turned back.
"When they write the history of my reign, sweet sister" Viserys proclaimed, "they will say it began today."
When at last he had left her alone, Daenerys rushed to the baths, wanting to scrape away the filth she felt after the encounter. Though the servants warned her of its heat, she lowered herself in regardless, and found no problem with it.
Alls the more better to cleanse myself.
From the sweat she had accumulated standing in the sun, or from the revulsion of her brother's lecherous roaming, she did not know.
Reaching for the brush, Daenerys began to scrub.
Having washed and cleaned herself to a presentable level, Daenerys donned the dress Illyrio had gifted her and strode out of her room to join both the Cheesemonger and her brother at the doors of the manse, though she slowed her arrival as much as possible.
She was to meet her husband today, a man she knew almost nothing about. Daenerys pledged to ask Illyrio about her betrothed upon seeing him.
Finally joining Viserys, Illyrio, and his household outside the doors, Daenerys saw her brother waiting impatiently, looking to the dirt path that led to the rest of the city. She too cast the road a look, nervously listening for the sound of hooves on earth that would herald her husband-to-be's arrival.
"Where is he?" Viserys asked, casting Illyrio a troubled look, but the Cheesemonger only shrugged. "The Dothraki are not known for their punctuality. Not even this one."
At that, Daenerys turned to Illyrio, finding herself wanting to know more. "What is he like, this man?" she asked, and Illyrio hummed in thought. "There are many names for the Khal, princess, depending on the khalasar you ask. Some call him mad. Others call him heretic, or coward. Even more call him weak, unworthy of the Khal to his name- although, to his credit, those who call him such to his face rarely live for long afterwards."
Daenerys' apprehension grew slightly. "The Khal is a great warrior, then? A brute?" Gods help her, that did not sound like a man she wished to marry.
Thankfully, Illyrio shook his head. "While he is indeed a warrior of great reputation, for he has never been defeated on the battlefield, he is no barbarian by any account, Princess Daenerys. His people love him, that much is agreed throughout the steppe. To live under him is to live a good life. Stable food income, homes to protect them from the elements, and warriors to protect those homes and livelihoods. The Khal rides with at the very least fifty-thousand to his name, not counting the many non-Dothraki he has incorporated into his khalasar. They do not ride, but they fight nonetheless."
"Who is he?" Daenarys asked. "Who is he, this Khal I am to marry?"
"He goes by many names," Illyrio spoke. "The Stallion. He Who Mounts The World. Khal of Khals. Scourge of the Gods. And yet, like most men, he was born with one name.
He is Drogo, and he is the man that will win you back your brother's throne."
Daenerys wanted to ask more of what Illyrio knew about Khal Drogo, only for the dreaded hoofbeats that she had been searching for to finally make themselves heard, and she turned to face the road.
Several moments passed before the Dothraki finally appeared, and Daenerys instantly singled out the man that could only be Khal Drogo- board-shouldered and muscular, hair dark and long, interwoven with small, silver bells. Oddly enough, there was someone else riding besides him that looked somewhat out of place besides the Dothraki warriors; a boy that looked to be of her age, with the same copper skin and dark hair of the other horselords. The boy rode slightly behind the Khal but in front of the other riders. A younger brother, mayhaps?
Just as they reached the courtyard and stopped, Illyrio moved to great them, speaking words in what must have been the Dothraki tongue before switching back to the Common one. "May I present my honoured guests; Viserys of House Targaryen; the Third of His Name, rightful King of the Andals, Rhoynar, and the First Men, and his sister Daenerys of the House Targaryen."
Continuing to speak to them in their guttural tongue, Illyrio left the Targyens to their devices, and so caught up in attempting to study her future husband (and the boy that rode besides him, for he peaked her curiosity) Daenerys flinched backwards in surprise when Viserys grabbed her wrist.
"Do you see how long his hair is?" he asked, though waiting not for an answer. "When Dothraki are defeated in combat, they cut off their braid so the who world can see their shame. Khal Drogo has never been bested. He's a savage, of course, no matter what Illyrio says, but he's one of the finest killers alive. And you will be his queen."
Releasing her, Viserys stood back, and Daenerys threw up a mask to hide her discomfort at… everything at the moment, and not a moment too soon, for Illyrio had finished placating the Khal and had turned to her. "Princess. Come forward, my dear."
And, though she did not want to, Daenerys did as Illyrio asked, stepping forward slowly towards the Khal and his riders. As she did she noticed that the Khal had turned slightly to speak to the boy beside him in hushed tones before turning back to her with a blank expression, in stark contrast to the fear Daenerys knew she had displayed.
The boy, on the other hand, flashed a small, reassuring smile, and Daenerys was thankful for it, feeling her fear abate slightly and her curiosity heighten.
Who are you?
The Khal and his brother(?) eyed her for a few moments longer before abruptly wheeling their steeds away and riding off, followed by their warriors. As he did so, Viserys approached for the steps, just as confused as Daenerys herself was. "Where's he going?"
"The ceremony is over," Illyrio replied, and Viserys stared. "But… he didn't say anything. Did he like her?"
The Cheesemonger turned to Viserys with a knowing look on his face. "Trust me, Your Grace- if he didn't like her, we'd know." The three left the courtyard, and the magister walked over to a nearby overlook and gazed beyond it, out into the lands beyond Pentos.
"It won't be long now, Your Grace." Illyrio took a sip of chilled wine. "Soon you will cross the Narrow Sea and take back your father's throne. The people drink secret toasts to your health. They cry out for their true king."
Viserys nodded at that, also taking in the view. "When are they to be married?"
"Soon, my King," Illyrio replied. "As soon as they return to the Dothraki Sea, the Khal and your sister will wed."
The elder Targaryen hummed at that, before looking back in the directions the Dothraki had ridden off in. "Is it true they lie with their horses?"
Daenerys flinched at that, yet another reminder of whom she was to be married off to. Like cattle to be bartered to the highest bidder.
"That is not a question I would ask Khal Drogo," Illyrio advised instantly, and Viserys scowled. "Do you take me for a fool?"
"I took you for a King. Kings lack the caution of common men. My apologies if I've given offense."
Viserys sighed, waving the issue aside. "Worry not, magister. I know how to play a man like Drogo- I give him a queen and he gives me an army-"
"I don't want to be his queen."
The two men stopped at her voice and turned to her, though Daenerys stood her ground in this. Maybe, maybe, if she pleaded her case, her brother might release her of this, find some other way- any other way- to return them to their birthplace. "I just want to go home," she murmured, but Viserys sighed, obviously annoyed. "So do I. I want us both to go home. But the Usurper and his dogs took it from us. So tell me, dear sister; how do we go home?"
When he received no reply from the cowed princess, Viserys continued. "We go home with an army- Khal Drogo's army. And I would let his whole tribe fuck you, all fifty-thousand of his men and their horses, if that is what it took."
With that statement made, Viserys gave Daenerys a kiss to the temple before striding away, followed by Illyrio, and she was left to wallow in her approaching fate.
But though she despaired, Daenerys shed no tears.
Dragons do not cry.
"That is the girl I am to marry, Ave?"
The Dothraki had returned to their camp outside of the city walls, and for that, Müje was glad. He had found the city within the walls far too crowded than what he had grown up with, with little-to-no space dedicated for those who rode. It had been a knew, exciting experience for him, to witness the city walls, though his father had remained tightlipped as to why Müje was accompanying him this far out of the Great Grass Sea until halfway though the journey.
"That is indeed the girl you will marry," Müje's father nodded. "Though, I do believe that they are under the impression that I am to wed her." Drogo chuckled. "As if I would break the vow I made on the Womb of the World and the Mother of Mountains."
Müje nodded. "The Dosh Khaleen would be livid, yes, grandmother included."
The khalakka fell into a thoughtful silence, and Drogo watched his son carefully. "...Müje, what do you think of her? Daenerys Targaryen."
Müje thought on the question for a moment, before shrugging. "I am not sure, father. Will I have time to get to know her?"
"Of course, my son," Drogo nodded instantly, "I would not wed you to a woman who would make you miserable. Should you decide to marry, you shall do so when we return to Vaes Athjikhari." He paused for a moment, before asking another question. "Do you at least see her as a beauty?"
"...Yes, I think so," Müje answered. "She is comely. I would not mind taking her to bed."
Drogo nodded. "Good." Then the Khal stood from his seat. "It is time to return, Müje. They have finished speaking. Let us go retrieve your bride."
A/N: This is a quasi-SI plotbunny that's been begging to be let out of my head for a while, so here we go.
...I'm never going to finish this, am I?