The Burnt Prince
It was all going badly, as the dragons lashed out at the Windblown. A man had been plucked from the ground and turned to ash in an instant, as fire and flame danced around the cavernous halls below the pyramid.
He tried desperately to get his attention, lashing the whip at the ferocious beast as he took a chunk off of the burnt man, bringing it to its jaws. As he tried to get him under control, the dragon only hissed defiantly.
As he felt the situation slowly deteriorate, he couldn't help but feel something was going very wrong. Gerris shouted, and his instincts were to turn around. He saw a green figure towering over him, and then nothing else.
Looking at the whip he held, he saw that it was burning. Then he looked at his hands, who were melting away.
The screams only lasted as long as he'd had the strength to cry out. He didn't know how long he spent under the pyramid. Too long. This was foolish, too foolish. But there was nothing else to think about but the pain.
Just kill me, he pleaded, but no words came out of his mouth. Kill me. KILL ME! PLEASE, LET IT END!
But it never ended. It continued, over and over. How long, that he didn't know. All he could see were the flames, and then nothing at all.
He saw something else then. What was it? Flames again? Meereen, and then somewhere else. It was him…and then someone else.
The flames died out. A blade struck him. Then another, and another, and another.
A man in the dark, blinded, left to die. An old man, dying alone and in pain. A woman, engulfed in flames. A boy, falling. The sun, extinguished.
No blades, no flames. Peace and quiet, the scorching dornish sun, then nothing once more.
The ground, heading towards him at lightning speed. A giant serpent, ready to swallow him whole. A dream of dust and ash, one of cold and ice, and one of sunlight and hope.
Cletus Yronwood paced around in his room for what seemed like an eternity, hacking and punching away at whatever came into his field of view. How could he have let this happen? One day he was fine, and the next he was unconscious, having fallen twelve to fifteen feet.
How in the seven hells did he manage to fall from that window anyways? Gods, father will be furious, but that wouldn't even compare to the fury Prince Doran would unleash upon them. Quentyn was a ward of House Yronwood, and they had to make sure the prince was healthy at all times. Worse than that, though, Quentyn was a friend, and a close one at that. The sight of him lying face first in the sand, bloodied and unconscious…well that was enough to send him over the edge.
But Maester Morgan had told him that although the prince was alive, there would be no certitude as if he'd ever wake up. Damn, what was he doing in this room by himself anywhom? His place was by his friend, not pacing around like an animal in a cage.
Besides, the maester had assured him that Quentyn's wounds were superficial. There were a few stitches on his head, a broken wrist, and a few scrapes on his legs and arms, but other than that, the prince had escaped mostly unscathed. There was the issue of infection, but the wounds had been treated rapidly. Now there wasn't much to do but wait till Quentyn came back. And he'd be there when he did.
He rushed towards the maester's room, guarded by two of his father's guard, where he saw Quentyn, asleep and well, although the maester seemed disgruntled by his presence.
"Lord Cletus, I appreciate your concern for the prince however…"
"I am not leaving his side, Maester Morgan."
"It would be preferable…"
"He has need of me maester, I…"
Suddenly, the bed moved, and Quentyn seemed to slowly wake up, as if nothing had happened. He then looked distressed, took a quick look around the room, and his face froze.
"Who the fuck are you?" he asked, pointing his finger straight at Cletus.
"Erm…" Cletus fumbled, clearly distressed. "Quentyn, it's me, Cletus. Cletus Yronwood. You fell. Don't you remember?"
"Hold on. Don't say a fucking word." The prince warned. "Bring me a looking glass."
The maester quickly fumbled around as he brought him the looking glass, and handed it to Quentyn. The prince only took a quick look at it, before his face went completely pale.
"Oh no." He muttered.
And then he fainted.
"Quent? QUENT?" Cletus desperately tried to wake him up, by shaking him, but Maester Morgan interrupted him.
"Lord Cletus, please." The old man pleaded. "The prince has gone into shock, and you must let me work.
Cletus nodded, and prepared to exit the room, as it was now getting dark. He'd check on Quentyn in the morrow. Yes, that would do.
Cletus slept for longer than expected that morning, as when he woke up, the sun was already high in the air, likely approaching midday.
"Shit." He thought to himself, as he dressed up, and ran towards the door. He scurried down the corridors of Yronwood as he had done many times before, and quickly approached the maester's chamber, expecting to find Quentyn asleep and the maester grumbling in a corner.
However, he was shocked to find the bed empty, and the maester asleep. Angry, he rushed towards the old man, waking him up from his slumber as the old man tried grabbing at something.
"The prince!" Cletus yelled. "Where is he?"
"Ahe…erm…he woke up…and said he was going for a run…" The maester fumbled.
"Are you taking me for an idiot?" Cletus warned him. "Yesterday the prince was in shock, had bandages over half his body, a broken wrist and stitches in his arms, and on top of that, has not gone for a run in his life, and you are telling me that he went for a run?"
"Well, I told the prince to be careful with his wrist, and told him to report back to me at midday or if ever his condition worsened." The maester babbled. "Then he shaved, cut some of his hair, and went away."
"He was lying UNCONSCIOUS, Maester!" Cletus yelled. "The prince would never go out on "a run" unless he has lost his wits. We need to find him."
"As you say, as you say…" the maester scurried as Cletus scoffed.
"How long ago did he wake?"
Cletus paled, there was no time to waste. He slammed the door behind him and made a mad dash to the courtyard. Looking around, there was nothing amiss, and Quentyn was still missing.
He shook his head. He needed to find the prince, and quick.
Then, a shadow passed him at high speed. He was about to curse the imbecile that had strayed that close to him, until realising the disappearing figure at the end of the hallway was strangely familiar.
"Shit." He thought as he ran to catch him.
Yet something wasn't right. Cletus was running to him, yet he felt as if he was gaining so little. He only knew that it was the prince when he got into distance of the well, standing in the middle of Yronwood's gardens.
"Seven hells, Quent, are you that irresponsible? You need rest." Cletus' chest heaved.
"Hmm?" Quentyn finally faced him as he took a sip of water, before downing the rest of it on his face, splashing his hair.
"If you wanted to drink, you should have just asked." Cletus was about to hand him a flagon of wine, but Quentyn refused.
"I do not like wine."
"Come now, Quent, you've always loved wine."
"What in the seven hells happened?" Cletus asked. "First you go for a run with a broken wrist and bandages. Then you cut your hair. Then you say you do not like wine. What has gotten into you?"
Quentyn looked solemn for a moment, before looking at Cletus straight in the eyes with a look that shook him to the core.
"Quentyn Martell is dead." He spoke. "He died when he threw himself off of that ledge."
"What?" Cletus sounded confused. "Quent, you're perfectly fine."
"No." He answered. "You do not understand. No one pushed me. I jumped willingly. I jumped because I wanted to die, Cletus."
"What…why? You're only fourteen namedays, Quent. Why would you wish to die?" Cletus looked confused.
"Fourteeen…" Quentyn seemed to think. "Early. Good."
"Frog." Quentyn suddenly thrashed towards him.
"What? Quent I already told you…"
"Quent…you know I don't…"
"You look better than…"
"Failure. Disappointment. Fat. Frog. Exile. Unworthy. Broken." Quentyn continued staring into Cletus. "That's why Quentyn Martell threw himself from that ledge."
"It's the easy way out." He looked sad, and shook his head. "And now I'm here. The old Quentyn is dead, Cletus, and he will not come back. I do not intend to be another name on the list of my father's failures. I intend to make everything right. I intend to make Dorne right. I intend to make the sun finally rise."
"I've never seen you…like this."
"As I said." Quentyn took another sip of water. "The fall opened my eyes. It gave me a renewed purpose. I will not be a pawn in anyone's games. Not today, not tomorrow. Not ever. But the fall also took a great deal. You once said that I was a great horse-rider. That I am not anymore. It is as I have never ridden a horse before. I have forgotten much about ourselves, about Dorne, about everything I did here. In truth, I have forgotten almost all I know.
"Well, if I'm honest with you Quent, you haven't taken a sparring lesson in weeks…"
"Good." Quentyn clasped Cletus' shoulder. "Well, we can start again. I do not intend to let others fight my battles for me. I want to know every trick in the book, dirty or not. Sword, spear, mace, hammer, everything. I want horse-riding lessons, geography, history, languages, sailing as well. We have two years."
"It will be done." Cletus raised an eyebrow. "But…two years till what?"
"Till the game begins."