Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Game of Thrones.
Hi again! Sorry I had hoped to get this chapter up sooner but I was feeling unwell for awhile so it took a bit out of me before I could finish.
During this chapter you will finally get to see just what Gungnir can do as Meera uses its true powers for the first time. Magic will grow but something has to happen first.
On with the story…
Chapter 22 - Battle for the Dawn Part 2
Unnamed Forest, Beyond the Wall…
Meera was moving silently through the forest alongside Jon as they wanted to see just how bad their situation was.
She dearly wished she had the invisibility cloak right about now she thought with anger, or even just a broomstick! Either would be incredibly useful at the moment since there were no birds around to warg with!
Gods Meera thought with a lot of anger and nostalgia. She missed being able fly through the air on a broomstick or slip past people undetected with the cloak. How she had taken those things for granted at Hogwarts and wished dearly she had them now. She knew how to make a flying broom or even turn herself invisible from her magical knowledge that to this day she didn't know how she had acquired since they had hardly been the greatest of learners at Hogwarts and could only imagine it must come from years more learning afterwards, maybe when they didn't have the threat of Voldemort hanging over their heads.
But regardless of how she had acquired this knowledge it remained largely useless here. Magic was still being 'constrained' she thought wondering if that was the right word for it? Consumed maybe? She pondered. Never before had she taken waving a wand to do something simple for granted before arriving on this world but clearly, she thought with annoyance it was a crutch.
So, to find out just what they were up against she and Jon crept around the edge of the forest that surrounded the village, while those back there prepared it as best that they could.
"They've cut us off." Jon said with a trepidation, seeing the situation was bleak to say the least. "Why don't they just come in after us?" He asked with some fear creeping in.
"Perhaps because they know we can hurt them." Meera said remembering they had weapons capable of killing the walkers. "Perhaps they just intend on starving us out, after all they don't need food…we do." She added with a grim look on her face.
"If they fear us so much, why not just rush us? Get it over with?" Jon asked looking as nervous as she did.
"Maybe…maybe." Meera said trying to come up with a reason that might give them a chance of survival but was failing. Either they were waiting to mass their forces for one huge attack which was sure to succeed or they were not going to risk a direct confrontation and just starve them out.
Seeing she couldn't figure out anything good to say right now Jon told her.
"Let's get back to the village. This cold will kill us if we stay out here much longer."
Meera nodded and together they started creeping back to the village to warm up and try to come up with a plan before those creatures slaughtered them like animals or they starved them to death.
- x -
The camp inside the small town was now inside one of houses nearest to the caves, it had a roof and walls to protect them from the cold and let them store their supplies while sleeping together to share warmth and for protection.
"We'll need more firewood soon." Samwell said with a chill making his teeth chatter as they huddled around the fire.
"Aye." Edd said with a cold shiver as he and the others pulled blankets around them. Wondering if they could stay in the cave for a moment.
"We'll send out a scavenging party tomorrow." Meera said as she and Unsullied did their best to share warmth. "For now, we need to get some sleep. I'll take the first watch."
"Right then, time for Snow to get his beauty sleep." One of the Wildlings joked and Jon frowned before ignoring it. He was preparing his bed roll when he saw Ygritte was setting up hers right next to it. She smirked when she caught him looking at her, staring at her rear in particular.
"If you want my arse then you had better make it worth my time Snow." She said with a smirk and Jon was left almost spluttering at her outspokenness yet again but she then told him. "We need to share warmth so bed down with me." She told him and without wasting another moment she settled down into her sleeping roll and looked over to him. "Well…come on!" She said with impatience at him just standing there.
Jon was just literally at his wit's end with this woman, however exasperating he found her he literally just couldn't take his eyes off her whenever she was around and his stomach twisted in knots whenever she was close, his tongue almost tied in how hard it was to speak to her.
So, with a sigh he lay down and she threw her blanket over both of them before he frowned and then settled his blanket on top of that to ensure more warmth in the cold night. Although Jon couldn't see it, he was sure Ygritte must have a big smirk on her face and he certainly felt her indecent attempts at enticement, rubbing her bottom against him just enough that it could be an 'accident' although he knew full well it wasn't. Something that despite his honour and all the values he had been raised with growing up he couldn't help but enjoy and Ygritte could well feel the effect she was having on him as his arousal grew each time that she did it. The feeling of her warm body so close and her red hair against his chin wasn't…unwelcome either.
Meera watched with a smile, seeing that at last her brother/cousin had finally met his match. A girl that could actually crack that hard shell of his. She honestly was glad of that, maybe at last Jon would actually think of something else other than his honour and duty…maybe even see that it was alright to want more and maybe even have a family of his own. Although she wasn't sure of Ygritte herself completely yet and knew her other siblings wouldn't be either at first but at the same time…she might be a nice addition to their family Meera thought with a warm smile.
Ygritte reminded her of Ginny Weasley in some ways, both were forceful and independent women who wouldn't hold back or let anything get in their way albeit in a rougher way with Ygritte as Ginny would have been more subtle. They wouldn't let anyone intimidate them and just face them down without fear. Not afraid to laugh and eager to make herself heard.
As Harry they had been planning on asking Ginny to marry them soon, Meera thought with a sad smile. She just hoped that maybe that was what had happened. She missed that girl so much and hoped against all logic to see her again someday even if she wasn't Harry any more, she thought sadly but she could at least dream.
But regardless of how she felt about the past she had a job to do right here and now she thought becoming serious as thousands, maybe the lives of all of Westeros and beyond were hanging in the balance. She would do whatever she could to help regardless of whether she was called Harry or Meera.
- x -
The Following Morning…
Dawn if it could be called that was a great disappointment as it only took the pitch-black night and turned it into a grey mess that was so gloomy and depressing, they almost missed the black of night and could only dream of actually seeing the sun or blue skies.
They were however out early to gather some more firewood. The party of six led by Meera and Jon ventured outside the walls of the village and started chopping down some trees and then chopping the trucks into logs they could carry back to the village. The quiet of the forest with the exception of their axes hitting the wood and their own grunts as they worked was the only sound that could be heard at all. They wanted to speak to fill the silence but felt fearful to do so, in case they missed the sound of something approaching them.
The longer the silence went on the worse this feeling got and finally as they cut down one last tree a sudden screeching appeared from nowhere and they all jumped in shock before a wight appeared from the branches of the tree that they that just cut down. It leapt forward and before any of them had a chance to intervene it used its rotten teeth to tear into the throat of one of the Free Folk that had accompanied them, blood spilling from her ruined throat. Gendry who was closest rushed forward swinging his axe hard into the back of the wight.
However, that only seemed to irritate the creature which kept on screeching and squirmed trying to free itself from the axe. Gendry was absolutely terrified as he faced the dead creature that he was struggling to hold down before he saw Prince Martell throw him a dragonglass dagger. Gendry caught it and with all his strength stabbed it down into the wight's back. The creature's screeching continued and became higher pitched for a moment before it stopped squirming and fell silent.
They all were silent except for Gendry's rapid breathing but he eventually pulled the dagger free and handed it back to Quentyn.
"Thank you, Prince Martell. You saved my life." Gendry said but Quentyn just smiled and shook his head.
"No, you saved us all with your quick reaction. Well done, Gendry." Quentyn said with a more dignity than was normal for someone of his age. The baring of a real prince.
Meera was surprised at Quentyn yet again, she knew Dorne treated bastards better than the rest of Westeros but still to treat Gendry almost as an equal was exceptional even for them. However, with the presence of the wight she felt the need to move them back to a safer position.
"Yes, good work." She told Gendry who smiled proudly. "Now we had best get back to the village after dealing with this in case any more wights show up." She told them pointing to two bodies.
As they covered them with branches and other bits of wood to make sure they burned Quentyn spoke to her.
"One wight alone doesn't seem right with how they were described." Quentyn said and she nodded with a frown.
"If this were a normal living army, I would think he was a scout, spying on us while the army converges and from that tree, they would have a good view of the village." Meera said, seeing that if the wight had climbed high enough then it would have been able to see the entire village or rather the walkers would be able to see through its eyes.
This frightened her as the walkers had never used tactics like this before, not in any of the legends she had heard of at least. That worried her as they were clearly more intelligent than they had believed and far more cunning.
Looking at the horizon she saw the clouds with the snowstorms were not only gathering again but condensing, like more of the walkers and their wights were massing for an attack.
One that she and the others would never manage to repel.
She wanted to take the group and run but knew that they wouldn't get far before either they froze to death or the Walkers caught up…after all they didn't need sleep or food to keep going. Nor did they need fire to keep warm.
But given the firegems she and Jon had one their hands and the fact they had managed to restore Gungnir and Hofund to their full power she had a sizable reserve of magic to draw on. A plan began to form in her mind that combined all these things and the skill of her and Jon. Something that if the Army of the Dead was gathering against them would even the odds in their favour.
"Jon." Meera said quietly as they returned to Warm Caves carrying the wood, he turned and looked with his usual expression of seriousness on his face. "I have an idea. It's mad but given what we are facing…I think a little madness might just win the day for us."
- x -
Niflheim, Beyond the Wall…
Benjen and Lorra stood on the wall of the town and stared in the direction the others had departed with frowns and worried expressions on their faces.
"We just sent our niece and nephew off on a quest which has the real potential of being totally fatal to them while we stay here. What the hells is wrong with us?" Benjen asked, wondering if he had been right in the head to ever let this happen.
"We have little choice." Lorra said sadly. "We will all die here when the Walkers come. My boys among us and my future grandchild with them. This was the only thing we could do." She concluded sadly. She hadn't wanted too, not after finally managing to contact her family again after nearly twenty years apart but what other choice did, they have? She fumed to herself, wishing dearly that creatures from hell would rise up and swallow Loki whole.
"I would do anything to get you and your children out of here." Benjen said sadly and Lorra smiled sadly before taking his hand and squeezing it gently.
"I know." She said, she honestly had more a connection with Benjen than she had ever had with Brandon and Lyanna let alone Eddard. The latter had been away fostering while she was around and Brandon and Lyanna while welcoming had always been full of themselves. Benjen like her was humble and been more grounded in how he approached life. "But it seems we have no other choice left, doesn't it?" She asked and he sighed knowing how limited their options were.
"It does indeed." He said after a long pause.
- x -
Sif meanwhile was working to prepare their defences. Food was being stockpiled for the eventual siege and weapons being prepared while the town's fighters trained.
She wished she had killed Loki when she had the chance! Sif thought fuming. He literally couldn't help himself, could he? Causing trouble? She snarled to herself which made many people hurry past her rather than incur her wrath.
Sif was incredibly angry at herself too she thought, sending those young people against the Walkers just to buy time for them to prepare. She wished she could join them but to her own shame her powers had been limited ever since she arrived in this world and not only did it mean she had to eat far more than before but using her powers was exceptionally tiring she thought with disgust at her weakness. While not a magic user like Loki she had some abilities of her own including the great strength and longevity of her people. She also had the ability in her original role before she had become a warrior of goddess of being the Goddess of the harvest. So, she could strengthen crops and increase their growth and that of women's fertility too, she thought with a smile thinking of all the women who had prayed to her for fruitful wombs in the distant past.
Those days with Thor, living in their married bliss had been the happiest of her life but Loki and other dangers had ruined their peace and she to help her husband had taken up the sword and become a warrior like him.
But using those powers now was so draining it was stealing her lifeforce away from her the more she used them. She could use her strength but only when she stuffed herself with food to counter the loss or did it for very brief periods.
If only the magic in this world was stronger! She thought with dismay. Maybe she could do more, maybe even find some way to bring back her husband and their home! But for that she thought with anger and hatred…he had to be destroyed.
Bear Island, the North…
Unaware of the danger that their fellow countrymen and the Free Folk were facing further north, the rest of the kingdom was still facing regular attacks from the Iron Born.
They were nothing if not persistent, despite being forced back several times already and taking losses all the time, they kept pressing their luck against them. Coming again and again in random places to try and launch successful raids.
Bear Island, due to their once having held the island was now their latest target. Whether to retake it or just raid and burn it, the Northerners didn't care. They only cared about sending the bloody raiders, rapists and thieves to the bottom of the sea.
Asher Forrester was commanding the North's Western Fleet as it positioned itself between Bear Island and the Iron Fleet as it approached. Although neither of them had brought all their ships here they were evenly matched with roughly twenty ships a side.
Asher was understandably nervous as the Iron Born were supposed to be unbeatable at sea. He had been hoping for more ships than this but twenty was all they had managed to call together in the time they had.
So, he was not going to have much time to deal with them before he got overwhelmed, so it was vital that not only did he strike first but that it was devastating hit at the same time.
To that end he had placed the biggest ballista's he could find on the front of the ship and had bolts with steel sharpened and serrated tips loaded. The bolts themselves held a nasty surprise for the Iron Born but they would need to close the range before he could use them fully.
The catapults on both sides started firing but as was usual they would rarely hit their target as the sea was a bit choppy and the sometimes-erratic movements made even the best of marksmen miss their targets. All the while the distance was closing.
Asher was fortunately not one to get seasick as he judged the distance in his mind. Trying to guess when they would be close enough to use the ballista he had brought. Soon they finally were and he called out to the men manning those weapons, many of them former wildling hunters and Northern bowmen who were renowned for their ability to shoot accurately.
"LOOSE!" He called out as loudly as he could so they would hear him. They did and took as best aim as they could and let the bolts fly. The other ships took notice and followed suit, starting to fire their own special ballista.
They had a good stockpile of bolts which was good as the seas still made hitting the target difficult. The only good thing was the Iron Born where suffering the same problem, not expecting a sea battle so those manning their weapons were green boys and not the experienced hands they needed.
That being said, as they got closer both sides began to find their mark.
The Iron Born managed it first, arrows came streaming down onto the deck so men took cover where they could but some were hit. Screaming in pain as their flesh was tore and the arrows stabbed into them sometimes fatally.
However, the Northerners were not so far behind and started to hit the target. The bolts rotated in the air to penetrate deeper into the hull of an enemy ship. Once inside the glass containers broke and released the oil and fire into the ship, setting them ablaze. In the middle of the battle and with their own archers now also shooting arrows and crossbow bolts into the Iron Born the enemy didn't even notice at first and with all hands now manning their weapons it was hard for them to fight the fires they were started aboard their ships.
As they noticed the fire panic started breaking out aboard the Iron Born ships while the fight continued and so they were now stuck with a real dilemma, fight the fire or fight the enemy who were now so close that they make out individual people and the Northerners were now in range to use the special crossbows designed Meera Stark to pick people on the deck off. Not to mention lighting some on fire to help spread the blazes aboard each ship by dipping the bolt tips in oil and setting them on fire before they released them.
Several Iron Born ships were now on fire which was rapidly spreading along the decks which made the North men cheer but a larger vessel which so far had managed to weather their attacks pulled up close to them and men on the deck threw hooks to pull their two ships closer.
Asher grimaced as he realised just what the Iron Born were doing now and called out while drawing his own sword.
"Men to arms!"
The sailors and archers on deck immediately responded to the authority in his voice and dropped whatever they were doing and picked up whatever weapon they had to hand. Spears, swords, axes, clubs not to mention bows and crossbows as they waited for the inevitable.
Soon enough planks dropped as Iron Born charged down them to the deck of the Northern vessel. The archers and crossbowmen were not men to panic though and started shooting as fast as they could at the intruders, cutting down many before they even set a foot on the deck.
However, one man managed to get on deck wearing the colours of House Drumm, taller than most and with thick muscular arms with a scraggly beard, he wasn't smiling like the others and although Asher had no idea just who he was he knew this man would be his opponent.
The man swung his axe at him the moment they were close enough while other fights broke out across the deck. Asher despite the pitching of the ship was able to side step and slash at the man's arm but with impressive speed the Iron born dodged the attack and swung again.
Asher was impressed reluctantly with his ferocity but while he was fast and strong, he wasn't paying attention to where he was standing and so Asher was able to lead him to trip over some rope on the deck and while he stumbled Asher managed to stab him straight in the chest. Tearing roughly to free his sword the raider's intestines and guts spewed free from his body and he dropped to the deck with blood pouring from the jagged wound.
Asher grimaced at the mess but seeing their leader was dead had many of the Iron Born lose heart and try to retreat but Asher wasn't going to let them get away that easily and led his men on a charge to take over their ship.
By the end of the day the North had lost one ship and a hundred men, the Iron Born however had lost nine ships to the sea while three more had been captured and over six hundred killed. Asher with the head of the ship's captain in hand and the ship itself as a prize led the cheering as not only had he won but in doing so he had broken the myth that the Iron Born were unbeatable at sea.
- x -
Winterfell, the North…
Lanna sat in Sansa's solar extremely worried about the recent silence regarding Tywin's order for her to come to Casterly Rock so she could be wed off to gain him a new alliance. She hadn't heard anything since the initial letter and it was both a relief that he seemed to have forgotten her or worst that he might be planning something.
Jory had told her she was just being paranoid and that Tywin had far more important things to worry about than her but she suspected he was just telling her that to make her feel better.
Lanna was so distracted by her worries that she didn't even notice when the door opened. She nearly jumped out of her seat when Sansa spoke with a smirk.
"Hard at work?" Sansa said more loudly than was necessary.
"DON'T DO THAT!" Lanna yelled as she tried to still her racing heart. Sansa just smirked.
"I know you are worried but don't be. We are looking for a solution to this. In the meantime, though have you the latest figures on our trading?" Sansa asked her pressingly. With Wylla now getting closer to the latter stages of her pregnancy she and Lanna were taking more of the responsibility for running Winterfell, their preparations for winter and trading in particular so she could stay healthy and avoid the stress. Arya was out riding with the Northern Rangers and enjoying herself greatly so it fell largely on them with Robb away.
"Yes, here." Lanna said remembering her position and handed the documents to Sansa who took them and smiled more gently at her.
"Chin up. Things will get better." Sansa said trying to cheer her up but Lanna kept worrying and wondered if she should consider disappearing rather than put the Starks at risk from the Old and rather vicious Lion of the Rock.
- x -
Wylla was dealing with her aching feet and back as she got closer to her due date. The babe's arrival was greatly anticipated by not only both families but also by the castle's household and much of the North. Many were waiting with bated breath at whether it would be a boy or a girl across the North.
No doubt wondering if they had a potential match as a route to power.
Wylla was shaking her head at the eagerness to already be planning to get into Winterfell before her child was even born. She knew that was nature of the game but it was still enough to make her blink with disbelief that before they knew whether it was a boy or a girl, they were planning marriages.
The door to her room opened and she saw little Rickon come in although the boy was starting to shoot up like a weed. He had barely been up to her thigh when she had first arrived but now, he was past her hip. He was adorable, a real darling boy, Wylla thought with a smile. With his older brothers and eldest sister out of the castle and Sansa so busy running the castle so Wylla could relax Rickon had taken it upon himself to keep her company. He and his direwolf Shaggydog would stay close to her side and spend all day in here with her if she let him.
He was a good boy she thought with a warm smile, he would make a good Lord of the Crossing when the time came.
"Sister. Are you well?" Rickon asked her as he came up to her bed and she smiled before gently ruffling up his hair and petting Shaggydog who was now as tall as any of his litter mates. But they enjoyed the attention and she then had a suggestion.
"How about you and I play some games hmm? Just to pass the time?" She said hoping given how bored she was getting it would give them something to do. Rickon eagerly started nodding and rushed to get the marked stones so they could just enjoy themselves for a few hours.
- x -
Moat Cailin, the North…
Bran was just leaving his lesson with Lord Reed on all the creatures and plants that called the Neck home and he was surprised at how full of life the swamps were and how dangerous they really were. He clearly had a great deal to learn about his new home and just the maintenance of the castle was proving to be something of a concern. Since it was made of stone rather than the previous version which had been wood it didn't rot but repairs would be needed occasionally not to mention they needed to purchase steel for weapons which rusted a lot faster here. Something was becoming more apparent as extra men where now staying here in anticipation of another Iron Born attack on the castle. Food likewise was becoming an issue so more was being sent to them from further north to ensure they could manage so many warriors here at the same time, at least till they had more glass houses built.
So, he was scratching his head trying to discover just how he might get enough income for this without having to be beg his brothers and sisters for help. Even after the war was over and they didn't need such a large standing force here it was going to be expensive to run this castle and the lands it controlled.
He would need to look at what they had here and see just it anything was worth exploiting. Some of the plants were ones he had never seen before and maybe some of them had uses he wasn't aware of.
He would have to ask Meera Reed and Jojen when he saw them later, having grown up in the swamps Bran reasoned that it anyone knew of something that might be useful it would be them.
- x -
Stark Camp, the Riverlands…
Robb Stark was looking at maps of the coast, trying to determine just where the Iron Born might strike next. There were too many places he realised with worry for him to completely cover the entire coast even with the army of the Riverlands aiding them. They could cover most of it but some places were bound to be missed somewhere. He could only hope that it was a place they were prepared for next time and the Iron Born didn't slip through his net.
He sighed massaging his temples as he tried to focus and put everything else out of his mind, especially his mother's odd tale.
Red Wisps that controlled people? He thought with incredulousness. Seriously with a war going on to the north, south and west she was trying to get him to chase red wisps…and that they were responsible for her behaviour.
He scoffed at that; he knew magic was real but the idea that these whatever they were could make her do the things she had was completely ridiculous. Animal minds maybe but human minds, by red wisps!
Impossible he thought with derision. He had might had sworn he would keep an eye out for more but what was the point!? He thought with dismay when he had a war to fight.
Speaking of which he thought with deep thought, how was he going to reward the Northerners that had risked their lives in the war in either the North or the Riverlands. He stood there tapping his fingers against his chin as he thought of what he might do so their bravery and devotion was recognised.
If this were a southern matter then they would usually get land or titles or get knighted but the North was not like that, Robb thought with a frown. Knights were extremely rare there and being knighted would act as an insult to many of their people due to its connection to the Seven as opposed to the Old Gods. Land and titles? It was possible he thought but most already had something like that or the land they might get would be unappealing.
So that left titles.
He wondered if maybe creating the Northern equivalent of a knight might be an idea worth pursuing, not an actual knight of course but something like it. There were words in the Old Tongue that still were remembered in the North. Many had lost meaning with time but one referred to a great warrior, a Paladin that was the word Robb thought with concentration or it sounded like that, the Old Tongue was hardly something he was fluent in. It meant an ancient warrior which had been in some respects like a knight; a great fighter, an honourable man and loyal to a fault.
Maybe that was something he could do, Robb thought with a blast of inspiration. A 'Paladin' of the North. A great warrior who was dedicated and loyal. Just and skilled.
One whose deeds would be recorded in a book like the White Book of the Kingsguard with a copy of each being kept in all Northern keeps and in the Citadel in Oldtown. So, their deeds would be remembered for all time. A custom weapon for them made in Winterfell maybe he thought or some armour or a horse maybe? Can only be named by a lord and only confirmed by the Lord of Winterfell?
These were just ideas but they were stuck in Robb's head and he wondered if it was something that was useful and practical. Maybe for those of lesser means it was a way to get noticed and find a place within a lord's household or if they were part of a noble house maybe make arranging matches easier.
He would need to put more thought into it but it had some promise.
Dragon Pit Theatre, Kings Landing…
Tyrion was sitting in his solar at the theatre which had become his own place to relax at least as much as one could in the great game and in a city like this. Right now, he was deep in thought as he considered his progress so far and the likely outcomes of the war.
His secret passing of information was still paying dividends as a few more of his father's loyalists were now dead and their lands in the hands of heirs who were nowhere near as loyal to his father as their own had been. Some were already in his pocket and he was working to bring the others under his influence with rewards and other enticements or threats.
But he was not yet ready to replace his father, especially with Stannis and his band of cannibals running around and now the vicious sellswords that Varys had just informed him were coming to fight instead. He had thought Stannis might be a better option and even would recognise him as Lord of Casterly Rock after the war with all the information he had sent to him but now Tyrion was having doubts.
Stannis would make a good Master of Laws due to his being rigid in their application and notions of duty. As a soldier he was if not as brilliant as his late elder brother had been but he was quite capable.
But as a king? One who could be diplomatic and manage all the houses of Westeros? Matters of trade? Forgiveness to keep the peace after the war was over?
Not a chance Tyrion thought with a frown.
Renly would likely be dead soon too, he thought with a headache coming on. The Tyrells would only take his behaviour for so long before they grew tired of him and cast him out and ended their alliance. They might try to ally with Stannis but Tyrion with a dismissive shrug felt that was very unlikely given it wouldn't give them any chance of putting one of their own family on the throne not to mention how he had unleased those cannibals on their lands.
No Tyrion thought as he leaned forward on his desk with his head rested on his arched arms, their only possible way to get what they wanted now was for them to wed their beloved rose Margaery to Joffrey. That was he realised exactly the kind of thing they would do.
That should worry him and it did, the Tyrells might upset his plans to usurp his father but thinking more about it he realised that Olenna Tyrell would likely purposefully not interfere if she learned of it as she would want Tywin out of the way so she could rule through her granddaughter who herself would rule through Joffrey. That was something else that concerned Tyrion as while before he knew that Margaery would easily have handled Joffrey before his recent maturing…now he wasn't so sure.
Joffrey before was much more easily led but now was more aware and assertive, more alert and Tyrion worried that the rose from Highgarden would not find Joffrey as easy to manipulate as she thought. Something that could easily make her a target of his sadism or his growing list of execution methods with each one more disturbing than the last.
Making Tyrion develop yet more plans to kill Joffrey should the need arise.
Already he had no less than five plans in place to end the vicious boy king should it be needed, one that would even be put into play if something should happen to him. Tyrion would do that just to spite Tywin and Cersei, laughing at it from beyond the grave.
While he didn't want to force the throne onto Tommen Tyrion knew he would certainly be a more stable and likable monarch than his brother but also easily manipulated by the likes of the Tyrells.
Tyrion took a sip of his wine with a sigh; this game really was tiring he thought but all the twists and turns were part of what made it so intriguing. He decided to put his web of spies onto finding out if his theory was correct about the Tyrells, if it was chances are they would likely have reached out to Tywin by now.
- x -
The Red Keep, Kings Landing…
Cersei who had now had her gowns adjusted to hide the horrible scars on her back was taking a walk around the gardens while men tried their hands at attracting her attention. She might have enjoyed the attention if they had been of any use too her but sadly few were.
Too old, too fat, too little gold, too little brains, too weak. She thought as she judged each one of them. One however did strike her as comely enough and she would have him in her bed later tonight.
She watched as her son ruled the kingdoms while the Hound and Jaime stood on guard nearby. She was glad that her son was protected but at the same time she was angry at Joffrey, seething in fact.
He had deliberately hurt her, more than that he had left her with scars that could never completely heal, Northern salves might help she thought with gritted teeth but with the wars ongoing it was hard to get hold of such things although not impossible. Some would she had been reassured be arriving soon but she gritted her teeth, that was what they had said days ago.
Cersei felt the gaze of her minders staring at her and moved on with a sneer on her face, another thing she hated that her son had done to her. He had men now following her around all day and watching her every more so she wouldn't undermine his rule or risk having more wildfire made.
She was seething with rage but a firm prod at her back made her move again, she then looked at the face of the man that dared touch her and committed his face to her memory, vowing to make him pay for what he had done. To dare touch, her! She fumed; he would pay dearly.
Lannister Camp, Reach/Stormlands Borders…
Tywin was finally feeling a little like he had taken one step forward towards his goal of wiping out the Baratheon brothers that threatened his hold on the throne.
After his victory in the Kings Wood, he had hoped to blunt the assaults from Stannis but the man was nothing if not persistent Tywin thought with anger. He had instead of pulling back, he renewed his assaults on all Lannister positions. Three lords had been taken as hostages with their heirs either dead or taken prisoner as well.
This left him with fewer men capable of leading in the field and worse he had just learned that Stannis had managed to hire a large sellsword company that replenished his numbers and that they were from Essos with a reputation for ruthlessness.
His own gold reserves were being quickly depleted by the war and would soon be completely empty, something that made him grit his teeth as he was now the first Lannister in thousands of years that did not have the gold of Casterly Rock to back him. He was so close to his goal of having a Lannister Dynasty that could last for a thousand years but now was beset with all kinds of problems, any one of which could completely unravel all his work.
His only real solace was that his secret communications with Olenna Tyrell were finally baring fruit.
She was completely irritated with Renly Baratheon who was completely useless and was just wasting their gold while eroding the confidence of his vassals. It gave him the confidence to make his proposal and it had been accepted rather faster than he would have thought from the so-called Queen of Thorns.
He could only guess her irritation with Renly must run even deeper than he thought. This served his interests well as it would enable him to use the resources of House Tyrell, the only rival to the Lannisters in terms of resources and get them on his side. With them banking the throne his debts and problems would be eased considerably Tyrin thought to himself.
So, he had his ally in that camp which was the more immediate thing to be glad of.
But furthermore, a lord who had finally reached his breaking point with Stannis too had agreed to work with him over bringing first the cannibals and now these sellswords. He was in his camp and ready to act when he was assured of the Lannisters giving him their backing to assume control of the Stormlands.
Things were falling into place nicely there, Tywin thought with a raised eyebrow. He considered his moves but getting someone close enough to Renly was tiresome and difficult. He would need to work more on that.
- x -
Longtable, the Reach…
House Merryweather had never been as wealthy or powerful as it had been since Robert's Rebellion. Its Lord, Owen Merryweather had been stripped of his lands and title not to mention been exiled by the Mad King Aerys for his failures as a hand. Robert might have been convinced to restore Owen's grandson Orton to his traditional seat and title with some of the lands restored but not all of it and worse he had drained the treasury in return.
So, they were always trying to restore their wealth and as such had opened their doors to the Lannister army.
An army always brought money with them, whores and taverns could turn great profits as could the local blacksmiths among others. Hosting a Lannister force here benefited many in the town especially its lord Orton and his lady Taena. Their treasury was filling up with Westerlands gold and silver. It benefited both parties and so they were keen to keep up with this arrangement.
Unfortunately, this particular part of Tywin's army hadn't been near the front and boredom had set in. Tywin had been counting on them to prevent Stannis or Renly from moving further north, but weeks of doing nothing had made the men there lazy and easily distracted. The presence of the Lannister army had also made the Merryweather guards lax as having so many soldiers made them think the town was far too well garrisoned to attack.
An assumption that would prove terribly false.
Stannis had brought his foreign sellswords and Clansmen together and under cover of the darkness they had managed to reach the town walls. They had brought climbing ropes and hooks, their best climbers began to scale the walls and crept up where the few guards on watch after drinking with the Lannister soldiers were slow to react. Many fumbled for their horns or weapons but axes swung hard into them before they could manage to raise the alarm.
The climbers quickly opened the gates and waved a lit torch at the gates which let the rest of their army in.
Some of the older men in the Lannister Army had been with Lord Tywin when he sacked Kings Landing and were about to get a taste of their own medicine, as on a smaller scale the sellswords and the clansmen were about to give them their own recreation of that event.
Screams erupted into the night's sky as the vicious thugs hired to fight for Stannis turned the town into a slaughter house, women including Lady Taena would find themselves prey to many nasty acts before finally being killed. Riches stolen and the town burned for the second time in its history, Stannis's army cheering as they left with anything they cared to take while the town was ablaze behind them. They hadn't taken any prisoners this time and left all but a few lucky survivors dead in their wake, the few who escaped having managed to hide till they left and then ran as far and as fast as they could.
Spreading tales of the terrible slaughter as they ran as far away from Stannis as they could, the fear that the Tyrells had been so desperate to combat was now being sown once again.
Highgarden, the Reach…
Olenna was glad to hear back from Tywin Lannister that her proposal had been accepted and all that needed now was break with Renly and dissolve Margaery's marriage to Renly and Olenna was relieved as she had just the weapon to do it.
Even better word from the Tattered Prince had reached her, he and his men had discovered the location of one of the main wildling camps where a good number of their vicious kind hid. They were massing and preparing for an attack that would hopefully wipe out most of the nasty near human creatures Olenna thought with cold satisfaction.
She sat in her rooms feeling a great deal more secure about the future although there was still much to do and to make sure her army didn't engage the Lannister Army any more before the time came to switch sides and to scale back on how much gold they wasted on Renly. There was no way to gain back the gold he had already wasted but they should but able to at least keep it from getting any worse.
She would break the news to Margaery in due time, namely somewhere where they wouldn't be overheard. Margaery was trustworthy but one never knows who might be listening and she certainly didn't want word to reach Renly before they were ready to make their move.
Loras would be difficult she thought with annoyance, but he would do as he was told, if not they would remind him of his true loyalty and he would fall in line quickly she thought sternly. He would do as he was told.
Speaking of which, Olenna thought with a calculating look on her face. It's high time Loras was married so she would begin to look for his future bride immediately. She knew his preference but that hardly mattered, all he had to do was rut with the girl once and put a babe in her or how many times that took to father a son and maybe a daughter then go back to taking cocks up his arse or spearing his into others.
- x -
Renly was in the yard for once although it was not to train sadly, instead he was enjoying the sight of all the men that were training there and even better many were training without their shirts or leather armour so their chests were revealed to him.
Loras and he were both enjoying the show while making at least some appearance of training, circling each other with wooden training swords while Brienne of Tarth stood nearby on watch. As they made a show of swinging their swords around only to take a rest after a few minutes the other men who were truly training their hardest to become greater as soldiers and knights were quick to notice. They looked their way with open derision on their faces and scornful sneers.
Renly and Loras at first were not really aware of this as they were far too caught up in each other, sitting nearly on each other's lap and still intoxicated by all the time they were able to spend with each other doing anything that they wanted. They had never had so much freedom before and without half the scrutiny they were used too.
This freedom though was becoming a double-edged sword as they were starting to become careless and used to the luxury they had been enjoying. Too used to living off House Tyrell's gold and power.
Something that the men who were actually properly training were getting more and more angry about. Pulling on their shirts they walked over and sneered at Renly who was barely even trying and with obvious sarcasm said with an exaggerated bow.
"Your grace. Finally going to honour us with your presence on the battlefield? Or are you content to stay here and waste our time and lives while wining and dining yourself on the coin of your wife's family while making eyes at her brother?" The leader said with an angry look in his eye.
Renly and Loras looked shocked at his interruption and more so what he had said. They blinked for a moment and seemed confused at the accusation, as if it had not occurred to them just what people would think of their non-existent presence on the battlefield and that men would just fight for Renly. He was the king after all.
The fact that no-one wanted to fight for a king that wouldn't fight himself had never even crossed his mind that some might not want him to be king over his older brother or might lose faith in him after all the losses and horrors inflicted on the Reach during this war.
He had thought merely because he was better at making friends that his brother had been that everyone would support him as king, even if he was no real warrior, he was popular enough to be king.
Renly was however greatly mistaken, even before the war he had been little more than a fancy fool in the eyes of many and negligent in his duties. As a Master of Laws and Lord Paramount of the Stormlands and Lord of Storm's End he had been extremely ineffective. The problem with bandits and other law breakers often fell on the shoulders of the individual lords to deal with often without any aid. Sure, he had cut taxes to be popular but what use was that when your castle walls needed repair? He had left nearly everything in the hands of his steward but didn't care to listen to any advice he might give. Nor did he bother with keeping crime down or keeping his vassals in line.
That was precisely the reason that so many of the Stormlanders had defected to Stannis, why some Reach lords were defecting now. His weak leadership was driving many to seek a better option instead of following him.
"You will respect your king." Brienne said, her intimidating presence making the men scoff but instead of continuing to insult Renly they started walking away with bitter laughs which stung their ears and made Renly feel very uncomfortable. Brienne glared after them but did nothing more without Renly's leave. Her powerful frame and image of strength she created with herself in her armour and her sword in hand was enough to scare off most people even those as angry as those men had been.
"What do you think they mean?" Renly naively asked Loras, who looked unwilling to speak as it was going to hurt his feelings to know that many especially in the Stormlands and Reach thought the same. In other kingdoms there was a similar sentiment that Renly was a complete fool and even a coward for not leading his men in the war. Joffrey might suffer something of the same problem but it was mitigated a little because he had led the defence of Kings Landing and had sworn to defend the city personally until the war was over.
"They are bitter men your grace." Brienne said with a dismissive wave. "They are merely jealous of your rank and privilege."
"Indeed." Loras said quickly adding his own comments to ease Renly's worries. "They are ugly, poor and worthless men at arms who cannot even call themselves knights. You are more handsome, rich and skilled at arms than they will ever be."
Renly grinning widely at the comments and with a rather stupid grin at that. Neither Loras nor Brienne said anything though as they were so loyal to him and in both cases in love with him in their own particular ways.
Renly just accepted their words; those men had just been jealous of him…not realising that this little paradise of his would soon be coming to an end and with it the start of a fresh new nightmare for him was about to begin and he would realise that being so open in his relationship with Loras had been a huge mistake.
- x -
Ice River Clansmen Camp, the Reach…
Enough time had passed that some of the Ice River Clansmen had decided to move back into the Reach so they could continue their raiding even if they now had to spare some places that had knelt to the uptight prick they fought for. They hated working for Stannis but the warmer weather and abundant food source, much of which could not really defend itself made the whole thing worth it since they had never fed as well as they did here. However, this move into the rough lands where storms happened along the coast was angering them. Pigs were a decent meal but nowhere near enough for them and other meats were not the same as their preferred prey…humankind.
So, they had returned, largely without Stannis even knowing to finally get some good meat.
The Tattered Prince who was watching the camp some distance away with a Northern made telescope which had better lenses than many of the Myrish equivalents, was studying the camp so that he could ensure that few if any of the horrible beasts that looked like men could escape.
He was honestly disgusted at what these 'beasts' did, he wasn't going to call them men or women because honestly that was an insult to actual human beings he thought with horrified fury. He had seen first-hand the sort of things they did and honestly it sickened not only him but most of his men too and some of them were among the roughest men you could find in Essos.
Even the Dothraki didn't sink so low as to eat other people, he thought with anger. No group anywhere that he knew of actually ate people regularly. He had heard that men cast adrift in the seas did so sometimes…but that was only to survive in the face of certain death and never again should they be rescued or reach land. When they had no other choice other than to die.
What hell had spawned these creatures then that did it to the exclusion of other foods? He asked with disgust.
So, he completed his observation of the camp and called together his men.
"Right, cavalry. Ride around the camp to pick off any who attempt to flee. I will not let any of them escape us this time." He told the commander of his small but skilled horses.
"Archers will soften up the beasts with arrow fire before joining the infantry in the assault." He ordered the rest of his men before they all left the tents and prepared for battle.
An hour later the cavalry rode alongside the infantry and archers as they marched down to the enemy camp using small woods to mask their approach. The horses peeled off to make sure they were in position to encircle the camp when the attack came and the Tattered Prince led the rest of his men in what would be the final charge.
When they got as close as they dared the archers took up position and notched their bows. Raising them with arrows ready into the sky and then when in the right position letting loose.
The deadly projectiles soared cleanly through the air and then plunged downward straight into the camp, they even managed with practised skill to notch and fire another arrow each before the first volley hit the ground and then put their bows down and picked up whatever other weapons that they had to join the infantry in their running charge towards the camp.
The arrows hit all over the place and the wildlings were not able to avoid them all especially as they had no shields. Men screamed in pain as they were hit in the arm, the leg, the chest or other places by the arrow fire but the sound of hooves and charging men was enough to terrify those that were injured and those that weren't. Turning to see an enormous host of men coming right at them, many froze, not able to understand that this was actually happening and panic soon began to spread.
Some just froze in place, too scared to move while others tried to run only to be cut down on the run by the cavalry.
Inside the camp the infantry in full armour was able to start hacking into the underprepared wildlings with no mercy, they were paid to kill them not ask why.
Some of the wildlings picked up weapons and tried to fight but they were outnumbered and caught by surprise not to mention a good number of them were already injured from the arrow strike. They had no chance of survival.
When at last the slaughter was over the bodies were burned without any thought, the smell was noxious in the air and many of their hardened men were sick which the stench. They set fire to the entire camp before they left, eager to close the door on this whole business. The gold being offered for tracking and killing these cannibals was high but many were just hoping to get it over with as soon as possible and leave this cursed land as soon as possible.
Battlefield, Dothraki Lands…
The ground was slick with blood and entrails as the last Khal other than Drogo had been cornered by the much larger khalasar and now was being beaten into submission.
The only other Khal, Khal Moro was putting up a fierce fight but his own men were far outnumbered by Drogo's and he already injured from an arrow to the knee was now face to face with the man himself. Drogo was not only powerful but almost graceful in the way he moved, not a single motion was wasted as he pressed his strong attacks home on the man that could barely move.
Moro was a fierce fighter and any other time he would at least have been able to give Drogo a proper challenge, maybe even defeat him. But injured as he was it was laughably easy for Drogo to move quickly around him and cut deep into him. Moro gave as good as he got but it was simply not enough.
Moments later Drogo easily severed Moro's head from his body, he was bloody from the fight and sweating like crazy but he was proud and held the severed head up for everyone to see, roaring in triumph as he did so.
His cry seemed to echo across the battlefield, and all turned to look in his direction regardless of what they were doing. Seeing the head of their khal held aloft made those that were part of his khalasar lost their spirit and sheath or drop their weapons seeing that the fight was now over.
"You have all fought valiantly! Like true Dothraki!" Drogo said in their language with a proud smile on his face. "Your Khal is dead but there is no need for you to join him. Become one of the great Khalasar and ride across all the lands of this world! One that eats well and rides with many horses! The Great Stallion has blessed us and now you may become a part of the greatest khalasar the world has ever seen." Drogo proclaimed, calling out for all of Moro's former followers to join them.
The followers all stared at him and shared glances between each other as they considered his words before they all, one after the other began to kneel before him.
Drogo smirked in his bloodthirsty way as at last he had become the true Khal of Khals. All the Dothraki now followed him and gave him a force that was incredible in their numbers.
Something that would proudly be passed down to his son when the time came for his Moon to give birth. He loved her dearly as she had helped bring so much joy into his life but also her own strong and incredible spirit drew him like a horse to water. She was a mind unlike any he had ever met and she had helped bring about all this. Now their women could fight alongside their men and the rush and draw of battle only made them all more likely to mate after. Quite a few now carried children in their bellies and so their numbers grew all the time.
The farms his moon had set up grew as well now that they were not being raided all the time and giving them food that was enough for all. Now they rarely ever went hungry and had as many horses as they could ever need.
It was a great time for him and his people Drogo thought with a gleam in his eyes.
- x -
The camp had now swollen to incredible size as they all rode around the vast territories that Drogo controlled. All of the Dothraki lands now were his and hers Daenerys thought as she gently rubbed her now much larger belly.
Her hand gently moved over it her mouth smiling gently as her son grew inside her. She could feel him move sometimes and it was the strangest but most incredible sensation that she had ever known in her short life so far.
And then there were her other 'children' she thought with a smile as the chirping of the dragons reached her. They cuddled around her with all the eagerness of human children she had seen and she couldn't help petting them. They lapped up the attention, especially as she fed them the cooked meat chunks that she had prepared herself for them.
They certainly ate a lot she thought with amusement but knew from the book she had that it was very normal for young dragons to have big appetites. They needed a lot to fuel their growth which would begin to happen rapidly within a year or so. Within a year and a half, they might be big enough to ride even.
She could feel a shiver of anticipation run through her at the idea of riding through the skies on the back of her dragons, maybe in the years to come with her children. The son she was carrying right now and another child that would come in the future.
Oh, how she yearned for that day Daenerys thought with a smile, gently petting her dragons and her belly as dreams of the future ran through her mind.
She saw the tent open and saw Drogo come in, he looked tired and had a few injuries but nothing major, she smiled in relief and he too smiled as he looked down at her with her dragons. He knelt down and even petted the dragons gently which loved the attention before putting hand carefully on her belly.
"Our son will be the Khal of Khals and rule over all the lands of Dothraki and Lhazareen. He will ride overall." He said in his strong voice which was still surprisingly tender. She only smiled wider as she knew this was Drogo's way of telling her that he had been successful, she leaned up and pressed a kiss to his chin, the only part of him she could reach and whispered.
"I knew you would, I only wish I could have been there fighting with you." She told him and he smiled too before sitting at her side and putting a strong arm around her shoulders. She leaned into his warm and solid chest and he let her rest her head on his shoulder and told her.
"And I would have been so proud to have you there. But what you are protecting here…is too precious. A Stallion that will mount the world." Drogo said with a rumble in his chest as he pressed a kiss to her forehead. She snuggled into him and took comfort in the security he radiated. She herself loved the idea of that, her child, her son she was sure of ruling over Essos. It was a great dream and one that they would have to work very hard to make a reality.
They stayed like that for a while before it was time to go to the main tent for their evening meal. She had to stop Drogo from carrying her to the tent as while it did hurt her back and feet, she was damned if she was going to become some kind of invalid and be seen as weak by the rest of the Dothraki! He did however stay extremely close to her side as did his blood riders and her ladies which annoyed her but the smell of the food was enough to make her forget about any annoyance as she sat with Drogo and they ate while listening to all the tales of the battle she had missed.
Ser Jorah was claiming to have downed no less than five of Moro's blood riders on his own and while the man was highly skilled with a sword Daenerys wondered if he was merely jesting to make himself sound more impressive as she knew men were prone to do after a battle. She briefly wondered with a smile if her warrior women would start doing that themselves soon enough.
The news of their victory would soon spread and doubtlessly any of the Lharazeen who had not already allied with them would likely come now to save themselves from being raided. She would accept them but knew there would be a lack of easy targets to raid however thankfully she knew of other places that the Dothraki could raid while she worked on getting them better weapons for attacking better protected targets. They would need a least some rudimentary siege equipment like rams to break down gates or at least tactics to get around such barriers Daenerys thought when the time came for them to go after cities that would be a potential threat in the future.
That was challenge as few in Essos had such equipment and while capable on foot the Dothraki were nowhere near the warriors they were on horseback.
She would need some warriors that could fulfil that purpose.
While pondering that she had hoped that maybe her friends in the Bone Mountains would have reached out to her by now but so far, they had sent nothing. She was concerned by that but hoped that it was merely the difficult journey that had slowed their response and not something else. They represented a big part of the next stage of her plans and she needed to know whether or not they would be willing to ally with her. If not then it could set her plans back years, she thought with a slight bit of worry but hopefully it wouldn't come to that.
For now, she was just trying to get through her pregnancy, raise the dragons and secure her existing power base as even now she knew it could well break apart before her eyes if she didn't keep track of it.
The tent's flap parted and a pair of Dothraki entered escorting a man with the pale skin of Westeros into the tent.
He had lined and disciplined face with his dark hair tied firmly back and had no beard, remaining clean shaven. His cool grey eyes looked around with quiet confidence and came before her and Drogo, the blood riders and Drogo all had their hands near their weapons before he knelt and introduced himself, surprisingly in the Dothraki tongue.
"Greetings Khal Drogo, Khaleesi Daenerys. I am Haldon, I have come all the way from Westeros to serve her grace. The last Targaryen." Haldon said with a serious voice.
That was a surprise Daenerys thought, they were far away from Westeros now and had little to no contact with the country now, she honestly felt it was far behind her and she was immediately suspicious of what this man was really doing here.
Here because he was loyal to her family? She highly doubted it, it had been many years now since her father had sat on the Iron Throne and so why hadn't he joined them while they had been living with Maester Mopatis in Pentos? Something wasn't right here she thought to herself and asked him with cold eyes.
"And why should we accept you into our service? You could be an assassin hired by enemies of myself and my husband to kill us." Daenerys said with suspicion. The mention of him possibly being an assassin had most of the Dothraki reach for their weapons and point them in his direction.
"Khaleesi nothing could be further from the truth." Haldon said quickly, raising his hands as if to prove there was no weapon in his hands. "I seek only to give my knowledge in hopes of your favour. I studied at the Citadel in Oldtown and although I did not forge a full chain, I did become skilled in the arts of healing, managing money, warcraft, history and metal work. I have much to offer the Dothraki if you permit me the chance to earn your trust." Haldon said.
Drogo and the other Dothraki looked ready to show him out of the camp as roughly as possible or kill him to make sure he would never be a threat again. Daenerys however paused, some of those skills if he had them were rare around these parts. A healer alone would be very useful to the Dothraki to heal them when injured or sick. Right now, even injuries or sickness that were not necessarily fatal were treated as such. A skilled enough healer could save those that could be saved and the mention of him being skilled in warcraft and metal work caught her attention.
"Warcraft and metal work. How so?" She asked him that confused most Dothraki who did not know what warcraft meant although metal work they did understand.
"I know how to build war machines, siege engines Khaleesi. I can teach your people to do the same. More so I know how to make good steel, improve the weapons of your warriors if the ore is available." Haldon said and Daenerys realised this man if he was to be trusted could save her valuable time and effort. Instead of having to look for someone to help her people learn these important skills she would now have someone here already. That still left her with the problems of getting a supply of iron ore to make steel or at least iron weapons with but hopefully the Bone Mountains would soon solve that issue.
"Prove you are what you say you are…you have one moon's turn. If you are lying or attempt to harm anyone in this camp, then you will see just how nasty punishments of the Dothraki can be." She warned him and he nervously nodded.
"I will prove myself worthy of your trust Khaleesi. I swear it." Haldon said and Daenerys nodded before telling them all.
"Haldon is a healer, what is broken he can sometimes mend and more than that he will teach us how to create weapons that can break any city in the world. Weapons made of steel that will be far better than those we have had before when we find a source of the ore. This will take the Dothraki further than we have ever gone before, even the greatest cities will not be safe from us." Daenerys said with a grin that made the men look around in surprise but soon where cheering at the idea that even the strongest of the Free Cities wouldn't be safe from them.
Drogo looked at her for a moment before saying with concern.
"That is a big promise my moon. Are you sure it is achievable?" He asked, concerned this could destroy any good will she had with the people but she smiled with a rather cunning grin.
"I am not bringing them, he is. If they don't work as planned then he takes the blame not me." Daenerys said. "But if they do our warriors will be bettered armed than they have ever been before and with the means to bring down any city. Walls have always been an obstacle to our people, soon we will have the means to tear them down." Daenerys finished with a smirk.
Drogo was glad that she thought of the Dothraki as her people now and could see the value of what she said but he was worried if it was possible since they had neither the expertise to do what she was saying but that was what the outsider was for. He would allow it, see if it worked as she claimed and hopefully, they would ride over all their enemies.
Warm Caves, Beyond the Wall…
The night was hard but they managed to make it through, the clouds directly in front of the village were getting darker and darker as the Army of the Dead assembled ready for a charge against them. Jon and Meera stood on the wall, frowning as they looked at the task ahead of them.
"Are you sure about this?" Jon asked with nervousness tightening around his eyes. Meera recognised the signs having grown up with him and spending so much time together. She nodded and said with some reluctance as she allowed Jon, who was closer to her than her own twin to see that she was as fearful as he was about what they were about to do.
"Sure no, but we don't have a choice Jon. Our original idea of hit and run tactics is now impossible as they close in on us and with supplies so limited, we cannot hope to outlast those that need no food, no sleep and feel no pain or the cold. They far outnumber us and we haven't got enough weapons to stop them. We need to even the field or soon enough we will be marching with them." Meera said with fear as she considered just what was waiting out there for them.
An army of zombies effectively, far bigger than any she had faced as Harry when dealing with the Inferi and worse the Walkers were out there too. This was a far more dangerous thing than she had faced so far and she didn't even have her full magic to rely on, instead she was having to use objects to help her in something so insane it could easily destroy both her and Jon but it was maybe their only chance of balancing the odds in their favour.
"We'd best get going, the less the others see of what we are about to try the better." Meera said, hoping that despite their trust in most of the people present they could keep their magic and the true nature of their weapons a secret. Magic was feared for often stupid reasons and a few sensible ones so they wanted to try and keep what they were about to try a secret or at least that they had done it.
So quietly they crept out of the village and out into the forest, unaware that they had been noticed by three people who followed them quietly wondering just what the pair were planning.
Jon and Meera exited the forest and saw what they expected although the sheer horror of it made them gasp in shock and stare almost frozen.
There were thousands of wights standing there, maybe ten thousand or even more it was impossible to say just how many but the creatures had yet to notice them. Meera and Jon shook themselves out of their stupor and prepared themselves as best they could.
Jon took the firegem ring he had been given by Loki and Hofund, taking deep and steadying breaths to calm and focus himself while Meera did the same basic breathing exercises to call on her magic and that of her spear not to mention to merely focus her mind.
By now the wights had noticed them and started charging at them, screeching loudly but neither Jon nor Meera showed signs of fear. Meera instead held Gungnir above her head and started twirling around in a circle with her eyes closed as she started summoning the winds around her, a tornado slowly started forming as she spun the spear faster and faster while she and Jon at the eye of the storm where untouched although Meera's hair was whipped up by the storm she was creating.
Jon meanwhile held Hofund in one hand while pointing his firegem ring high above his head. He pricked his finger with a dagger and let a drop of blood touch the ring which was now glowing fiercely and said a single word that in Valyrian.
"Dracarys!" He cried out.
For a moment nothing happened, and they briefly wondered if Loki had set them up but suddenly a massive blast of fire erupted from the tip of Jon's ring and surged upwards, it began to merge with the tornado Meera was creating and turned into a massive swirling mass of flame reaching into the sky.
Quentyn, Ygritte and Sam couldn't believe what they were seeing, it was so unlike anything that any of them had ever seen before that they just stared in awe at the awesome sight in front of them.
But Jon and Meera weren't done yet.
Meera, still in control of the wind began to direct it by moving the spear in the direction she wanted it to go while continuing to spin it. The fire tornado began to bend and then slammed down on the ground where the wights were charging at them.
They burned instantly in the intense fire which then started moving along the surface of the ground leaving huge burn marks wherever it touched but more importantly there was nothing left of the wights which seemed to burn away to nothing upon being touched by the intense blaze which swung around and destroyed the army of wights that was charging at them.
Thousands of wights seemed to vanish in the fire storm that was wiping them off the face of the world every time it moved. The storm swung around like someone swinging their arm from side to side, wiping entire groups with a single swing.
Inside the storm though the heat from the fire storm was unbearable and worse the strain of channelling all the magic from themselves and from their special weapons was starting to tell as they felt more and more depleted. Meera was literally struggling to stand while moving her twirling spear around so the fire went where they wanted it too rather than merely rage out of control. Jon was no better and fell to his knees as he tried to keep the fire going.
Neither of them had ever used so much magic before and never on this scale! It was almost more than they could bare and finally the storm collapsed as they simply couldn't go on anymore. Both fell to the ground and could barely lift their heads to look at their handy work. Both straining almost fell down again in shock at the vast areas of blackened earth before them.
It seemed to stretch out in front of them for at least half a mile or more and nothing remained of the wights that had been charging straight at them, the seemingly invincible army had vanished and they could hardly believe that their crazy plan had worked and that the odds against them had been considerably eased, they managed to give each other a weak smile as they rejoiced in their plan working.
Samwell, Quentyn and Ygritte all were completely in shock over what they had just witnessed but soon realised that neither Jon nor Meera seemed to be getting up and ran over. The moment they got closer and saw that they were okay just completely exhausted, surprising both.
"What are you doing here?" Meera asked with a quiet voice, too exhausted to even be worried about the fact they had likely just seen what had just been done. Quentyn helped her to her feet while Samwell and Ygritte did the same with Jon.
"Just decided to see what you were up too. Gods Snow you don't fuck around do ya?" Ygritte said in surprise as she cast her eyes around the damage the storm they had created and not sure whether she should be in awe of them or scared but saw right now the pair couldn't even stand up on their own and needed their help.
"Not if we can help it." Jon said with a vague smile on his face, the others just looked on unsure of what to think but Quentyn then turned their attention to something in the distance. The five of them looked and saw in the distance as the storm briefly cleared enough to see, figures massing against them. All tall and extremely emancipated with their greyish white skin clinging to their skulls and bones. Their hair what there was of it was pure white and their eyes were an inhuman eerie blue, the same as the Wights but somehow much more disturbing.
There was an intelligence to these eyes, cold and cruel with no empathy or guilt. No humour as they would understand it or kindness of any kind.
They were nothing human.
The group all looked at them with fear in their eyes and Meera with her own energy nearly depleted and what was left in the spear lower than it had been when she found it all those years ago told them quickly.
"We must get back to the village, this battle isn't over yet and we still don't know if we got all the wights." Meera warned them and Samwell couldn't help but agree.
"Let's get moving, I don't want to be here when they get their courage up." Samwell said as he began to with Ygritte's help carry Jon back to the village while Quentyn did the same with Meera. Neither of whom could walk and it was all they could do to hold on to their weapons.
As the left the Walkers looked at them, led by one who was the tallest and most vicious looking of all stared coldly, judging whether they were to follow or not…to destroy the girl and her spear.
There we are, I hoped you enjoyed the latest chapter so please leave a review and tell me what you thought.
The war goes on as now the walkers get involved and they still have some wights left.
Next Chapter - Cersei grows more dangerous while in the south the war begins to shift. In Essos meanwhile Daenerys begins to make a new alliance that will strengthen her people considerably.