A/N: Just a reminder, new chapter here officially means new chapter over on the P atreon now, where my patrons are currently voting on the future direction of this story!

That said, be advised that this story is rapidly coming to its proper conclusion. I don't expect there to be more than 5 more chapters of this before I mark it as Complete. As such, my patrons are voting for what setting will replace this slot over on my P atreon starting today.

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… She has no choice, in the end. She has to fight, doesn't she? She refuses to be fodder for a war between the Gods. The world spins faster and faster, but Yara does not go with the flow. She does not move with the tide in order to maximize the chances of her survival. She rejects the Drowned God and in doing so, instinctively rejects the teachings of her forefathers, the culture of the Ironborn she's supposed to lead.

All her life, deep down inside, she's known that the Iron Price was wrong. She's known that the Ironborn were misogynistic, slaving, rapist pigs. She, better than most, should have known she would never be able to rise to the top, all due to what lay betwixt her thighs. In the end, there was no hope for her to ascend from within the system. Her only hope… was to break the system.

But even as she finally begins to fight, even as she finally begins to thrash and claw at the Drowned God's grasp… he is still divine, and she is hopelessly mortal. It's like trying to survive the sea itself all by her lonesome. What can she possibly do against such a thing but sink beneath the waves and drown?

That's exactly what it feels like as she sits there in her father's study, choking on her own spit, clawing at her father's desk. Yara Greyjoy, Lady Reaper of Pyke, can feel herself being pulled beneath the metaphorical waves in spite of her struggle, in spite of her fighting with all her heart. She is but one mortal woman, and the Drowned God has hundreds of thousands of followers more than her.

As her head sleeps beneath the metaphysical waters, Yara knows this is the end for her. The Ironborn Deity will take everything she is and use her up in the process for whatever this battle between deities is that he's having. She's done, and all she can feel is regret and outrage that this is what her choices amounted to. This is who Yara Greyjoy was at the end of it all.

She… didn't want to die.

That's when something strange happens. To extend the earlier metaphor to its breaking point, its as though a hand from above the waves comes down from below and grabs her hand. Yara has to grab back for it to have any effect, but she does. Oh yes, she does. She clings to that hand, that impossibly strong hand, with all of her mental might and waning focus.

And slowly but surely… she is pulled free of the water. Slowly but surely, she is pulled free of the Drowned God's influence.

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It starts with him flying to the Iron Islands with only his dragons beside him. No one is happy about his decision, but Jon stands by it all the same. Taking the fight to the Ironborn would have been a temporary solution at best, as it had proven to be time and time again over the centuries. The most recent example was the Ironborn Rebellion.

Sure, one might say that King Robert was too lenient in his victory. Letting Balon Greyjoy live. Letting his son foster with Ned Stark. Jon had seen enough slavery in this world to know the Ironborn's way of life was too abhorrent for such mercy. And what he saw now with his divine senses made him even surer of that belief.

The Iron Islands were a pit of despair to Jon's senses. Not nearly as bad as whatever the fuck was going on at King's Landing, mind you. That particular horror show was one Jon was still leery about tackling… hell, it was why he were here and not there in the first place.

But that didn't detract from how awful the Iron Islands appeared as Jon gazed down at them from thousands of feet up in the air, riding Drogon and frowning.

… It said a lot about the Drowned God's nature that his greatest concentration of power wasn't in some depths far off in the middle of the Sunset Sea. No, his power was concentrated here, on the Iron Islands. That was why Jon couldn't tackle this as a mortal man with his armies at his back. Even if the Drowned God was loath to offer his followers practically anything in the way of assistance and even if that held true despite Jon's own divine nature… fighting the Ironborn directly wouldn't CHANGE anything.

He would have to kill every single Ironborn, he would have to wipe the Iron Islands clean of all life in order to do away with their pathetic and vile culture. And even that probably wouldn't work, for the Drowned God was not a God of the Sea in the conventional sense… he was a God of People. It was in the name. Water did not Drown. Creatures of the ocean did not Drown. People and animals of land Drowned.

Fighting the Ironborn was a pointless struggle. Jon didn't blame the Kings before him for their attempts at quelling the Ironborn over the centuries, however. Some things a King had to do, even if the results were eventually reversed a generation later. But Jon wasn't just a King. He was also a God… and that meant he had options none of his predecessors had had before.

As he closes in on the Iron Islands, Jon reaches out with his divinity, making his intentions clear. He's not here for the Ironborn. He's here for the Drowned God, to end the threat posed by the bastard once and for all. He's not subtle about it, nor sneaky either. He isn't a God of Skullduggery or Stealth after all. He is a God of Freedom and Dragons, and he does not DO quiet.

… Which is why it's embarrassing that he almost ends up swallowed whole a heartbeat later. Despite being thousands of feet up in the air, despite being very far removed from both the Iron Islands and the waters surrounding them down below… Jon very dearly underestimated the Drowned God's power and reach.

He grunts, having to clutch at Drogon's spines as they're both suddenly yanked down by a metaphysical weight. The Drowned God responds to Jon's challenge by rearing up and attempting to drag him down into the icy depths. As Jon struggles against this attack, he can FEEL the Drowned God's influence over him and his dragons growing, trying to surround him and pull him in like a metaphysical whirlpool.

… Key emphasis on the word try, for even as Jon finds himself outmatched by the older deity, and sorely regretting his overconfidence… the presence of another makes itself known. In an instant, what was a day of clear skies changes. Thunderous, dark storm clouds form, and Jon can only gawk upwards as he realizes precisely what he's just stepped into so unprepared.

The Drowned God is not the only God that the Ironborn acknowledge. It is merely the only God that they worship. There is another God in the Ironborn's culture, one that is no less real and no less powerful.

As Jon finds himself in a losing battle with the Drowned God, he finds an unlikely but also natural ally in the Storm God, the first deity's eternal enemy. The clouds overhead open up, and rain begins to pour down as lightning strikes fill the sky all around Jon. Physical representations of the Storm God's wrathful divine presence, one and all.

In setting such a magnificent storm on the air above the Iron Islands, the Storm God forces back the Drowned God's influence. No longer is Jon the one being surrounded and drowning in an older deity's power. No longer is HE the one on the backfoot. One might worry that in this instance he would be caught between two deities and their eternal feud and torn asunder as a result.

… But the Storm God was not an evil God. Not like the Drowned God. He was an angry sort, but also had a keen mind it would seem. For he recognizes in Jon a kindred spirit and extends a hand in alliance against their shared enemy. There's a tinge of amusement that comes with this offer, mostly directed at how Jon had blindly rushed in to do battle with the Drowned God without any idea what he was up against.

… The Targaryen King figures he probably deserved that. Gratefully, he accepts the alliance. Together, they turn their combined efforts against the Drowned God. Let it not be said that Jon is of no assistance either. The Drowned and Storm Gods have been evenly matched for millennia. Jon's presence tips the scales in the Storm God's favor, perhaps once and for all.

In fact, the Drowned God rapidly gets desperate enough to prove himself the biggest hypocrite of all. The deity probably wouldn't have lifted a finger of Jon came to the Iron Islands in the form of a mortal King seeking to conquer them and bring them under his rule. But now that it is the Drowned God in danger of losing… he's all too happy to pull on his followers, drawing on the essence of every Ironborn there is who worships him and owes fealty to his name.

To Jon's dismay, it seems to be working. The Storm God is not a God of People like the Drowned God. He is a God of Nature, of the World. This means he's more powerful than the Drowned God on a one to one basis but is forced into retreat is the Drowned God draws upon the belief of his followers.

Jon's presence offsets this somewhat, and the Storm God is not immediately forced into retreat. However, something will have to give eventually. Either they will push hard enough for the Ironborn to begin dying en masse as the Drowned God sucks up everything they have to give… or the Drowned God will manage to outlast them.

If the Storm God retreats, Jon will have to flee as well, to regroup and return to fight another day. And truth be told, as the divine combat between the three of them continues, he doesn't know which it'll end up being. Genocide of the Ironborn, or a forced retreat by him and the Storm God.

… Luckily, he never has to find out. In the heart of the Drowned God's power, on the Isle of Pyke… Jon suddenly sees it. A single bright soul, thrashing for freedom. To be clear, there were a handful of Ironborn fighting against the Drowned God's pull. Most were not. Most were giving everything they had to their God.

But this one in particular was special, even if she didn't know it. This one was Yara Greyjoy, last living Greyjoy, Lady Reaper of Pyke. In an instant, Jon knows her. He knows everything there is to know about her. And he knows, instinctively… that she longs to be Free. Free of both the Drowned God and the Iron Price. Free of the shackles placed on her and all her people by their filthy culture.

As the God of Freedom, Jon is uniquely equipped to take advantage of Yara's bid of freedom. Her struggling is rapidly hastening her demise until he grabs hold of her, refusing to let the Drowned God suck her dry. And with Yara Greyjoy saved, with her fighting back with all her heart, Jon has the key to the Drowned God's defeat in the palm of his metaphysical hand.

Pointing out the opening to the Storm God is easy enough. What's harder is shielding dear Yara from the wrathful deity's sudden outpouring of power. The strength of a thousand divine lightning strikes pours into the crack created by Yara's defiance of her God, striking the Drowned God in the heart of his divinity and rending him asunder.

Meanwhile, it takes all Jon has to keep Yara Greyjoy alive through this. Several thousand Ironborn die along with their God, but many more survive as his influence and presence is at long last removed from the Iron Islands and the world altogether. No more will he haunt these waters. No more will he push the Ironborn to rape and reave and pillage.

For a moment, Jon lets himself sag in relief… until the Storm God makes his intentions clear and forces Jon back to full focus.

… The tempestuous deity is loath to let any of the Ironborn survive. He wonders why Jon worked to save Yara, when in truth the slate needs to be wiped clean. The Drowned God and his followers must ALL die… no exceptions.

Before, Jon would have agreed. Hadn't he thought to himself that Robert's half-measures were a failure when it came to the Ironborn? But now… now Jon finds himself wanting to save Yara Greyjoy, funnily enough. He finds himself looking for a way to reform the Ironborn, now that their evil, vile God is destroyed.

He considers briefly taking them under HIS wing and promising the Storm God that he would rehabilitate them. He did so with the Dothraki after all. However, Jon isn't so sure the older deity will go for such a thing. Not when Jon's focus will be more on Westeros and Essos than the Iron Islands going forward, and they both know it.

… Instead, he comes up with a different idea. Pitching it to the Storm God is the work of moments, while waiting for the other deity's answer feels like an eternity. Finally though, he gets a response. Jon can't help but cringe a little at the conditions. Hopefully Yara Greyjoy would be… amenable.

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Yara's eyes are still wide as she pants heavily, slowly but surely recovering from the near-death experience she'd just got done having. The Drowned God… was gone. He was defeated, and she… she was free. She knew this intrinsically, somehow. She knew it in the same way she knew her own hands. She was… free.

"Hello, Yara."

Flinching, Yara looks up from her father's desk before immediately rising to her feet. Her eyes go even wider, as she lays eyes on the man she knows to be her savior. The Targaryen King… but so much more than that. So much more than she ever could have imagined. He was a God. He was also the one who had freed her.

"… H-Hello."

Damn it all. Her entire life she'd been strong, and now was when she got weak in the knees? Smiling softly at her, the handsome deity in mortal flesh clears his throat somewhat awkwardly.

"Ah… there are conditions. The Storm God will demand tribute and sacrifices from your people for the next one thousand years. The Iron Price is over. There will be no more reaving. There will be no more looting. However, in return… you all are free of the Drowned God's influence. Free to do what you like, so long as it does not harm those under my protection."

Slowly, Yara nods. It's about the best she can expect, that THEY can expect. The Ironborn have thumbed their noses at a lot of Kings over the centuries. But this is on a whole other level.

"… There is one more thing as well. The Storm God has a more personal demand of you… and me. He has asked that you bear my child… as proof of his and my alliance."

Yara blinks at that, even as the literal God in front of her rolls his eyes.

"I know that you're on board, Lady Reaper. I can sense your arousal building in your soul. So I will not quibble over whether you will agree or not. I will merely ask that you choose how you would have me take you, to assuage my own guilty conscience if nothing else."

He's right, of course. Though to have it pointed out has her blushing like some Greenlander Maiden, rather than the Lady Reaper of Pyke she's supposed to be. Hm, how to have him take her though… now THAT was a good question…

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