"Do you know what it cost us to save face among our allies and save ourselves from the hole you nicely dug up for our family?" Kevan asked, looking at his monumentally ignorant niece once they were inside the safety of her chambers.
"Do not presume to take that tone with me uncle. I'm the Queen!" Cersei hissed back, her green eyes alight with defiance.
"Yes, you are the queen. Then act like one instead of behaving like a court jester. What exactly were you thinking when you decided it'd be a brilliant idea to turn the High Septon against the Starks?"
"I don't have to explain myself to the likes of you." Cersei turned up her nose.
"The likes of me?" Kevan said slowly, his eyes gaining a sharpness to them that previously lacked as he towered over his niece.
"Do you think you have some power over me because you married Robert Baratheon?"
"I am the…"
"Yes, you are the Queen." he smoothly cut off his niece. "What you refuse to see dear niece is that you can be unmade Queen just as easily if we don't have the support of our allies. Your husband holds the Iron Throne, not because of his prowess, but because of the support of his allies."
"Robert holds the Iron Throne because of father." Cersei snottily replied.
"Did your father fight at the Trident or in the Stormlands or at the Battle of Bells? No! The North, the Stormlands, the Vale of Arryn and the Riverlands fought those wars to seat your husband on the Iron Throne. They can unseat him just as easily should they withdraw support."
"Then they'll be branded traitors and I'll have their heads on a spike."
Kevan eyed his niece for a long moment wondering how she could be so stupid.
"With what army?" he asked incredulously. "The Crownlands, the Reach and Dorne are keeping their heads down because if they rebel, they'll have to face the combined might of the Westerlands, Stormlands, Riverlands, Vale and North. Should the North rebel, Riverlands won't join us and it is more than likely the knights of the Vale stay neutral. Do you not see the danger you court by alienating our allies?"
"Then what are you saying, uncle? That I've no say in my daughter's future? I'll not let you or father use my daughter for your petty schemes." Cersei said defiantly.
"Did your father ask for your opinion before deciding on your marriage? No. Then don't expect you can overreach Tywin in this. He is wroth with your stunts Cersei and the only reason he has spared you from retribution is that you carry his name and blood. But don't think you can cross him again without consequences." Kevan warned, knowing well that Tywin's wrath won't dissipate even for his daughter.
Cersei continued to scream and fling threats at him making Kevan rub his temples. He lamented at the fact that Cersei seem to have taken leave of her senses and for the life of him he could not figure out why she was being unreasonable when it comes to the Starks. It was not as if any Stark has crossed his niece to incur such strong opinions to take root in her mind nor did he think she was particularly a religious person to have strong opinions about the Stark boy's magic.
Kevan left his niece alone to stew in her chambers after delivering a direct missive from Tywin. He had said all he could to convey Tywin's displeasure to Cersei. It was now her choice to behave or invite the wrath of his brother with her pettiness and stupidity. He supposed Tywin would be less forgiving after he reports Cersei's response to his brother's warnings. That was not taking into account the next meeting he was about to conduct with Jon Arryn. Undoubtedly, the Hand was cross with the drama that has unfolded in the capital. For now, he could alleviate Lord Arryn's concerns about the Faith as he managed to come to an accord with the High Septon.
When he finally reached the Small Council chambers, he was greeted by the sight of several Vale knights standing guard outside the door. One of the guards quickly checked with the Hand before giving him entry.
"Lord Arryn." he nodded in greeting at the ageing Lord of the Eyrie.
There was another man beside Lord Arryn whom he was unfamiliar with.
"Lord Kevan. This is Lord Petyr Baelish, the Master of Coin."
"Well met." he nodded at the shorter man but otherwise remained disinterested.
"Go, Lord Baelish. I must have a quick word with Ser Kevan."
Kevan followed Lord Arryn and accepted the offered seat while the older man sat across from him.
"So…" Jon Arryn looked imploringly at him.
"The issue has been dealt with. The High Septon shall recall his edict regarding Harrion Stark with no damages done. The proclamation will be sent to all the septs across the Seven Kingdoms as fast as possible." said Kevan.
"That's good to hear although I wouldn't claim there are no damages done." Jon Arryn said gravely.
"Has Lord Stark raised his concerns with the King?" Kevan tentatively asked, praying such a thing has not happened.
He had spent quite a sum of gold to keep the High Septon away from anything related to the Starks for the foreseeable future. And Jon Arryn, bless his soul, had carefully kept the King ignorant of Cersei's hand in this unfortunate matter. Should King Robert somehow come to realize his best friend's son is being vilified on the orders of Cersei the consequences would strain the present relations between the Crown and House Lannister. Tywin was already pissed at him for not anticipating the ploy by the Martells at the auction and he didn't want his brother's wrath directed at him or any member of his family.
"No, he has not. I've not told him of the Queen's involvement yet, but once the issue is properly resolved, I shall convey the truth."
Kevan didn't like that but Lord Arryn was conveniently leaving it open for negotiations which was a good sign. Perhaps, more trade concessions in favour of Crownland merchants should suffice to buy the Old Falcon's silence.
"Then what damages are you talking about?" Kevan asked.
"It'd seem Prince Oberyn Martell paid a visit to Winterfell." said Jon tentatively.
Kevan could already feel a headache settling in. The Red Viper has been the cause of much discomfort for Kevan as of late.
"What has the man done?" he asked dejectedly.
"It'd seem the Red Viper has managed to woo the Starks to let him stay at the newly constructed castle of Avalon and even take Harrion Stark as a student."
Kevan eyed the lord of the Eyrie incomprehensibly for a moment before his mind registered the important details.
"Oh, no. This couldn't possibly get any more troublesome." Kevan whimpered, thinking of the possible ramifications that could emerge out of this unholy development.
First, it was the Tyrells who somehow managed to foster a child of their blood in Winterfell. Now, the Martells managed to seamlessly wiggle in somehow at the most crucial moment into the good graces of Lord Eddard.
"I was certainly not finished, Ser Kevan. It also seems Lord Eddard has come across a bunch of spies in his lands that are in service of some Westerlanders. You wouldn't happen to know anything about that would you Ser Kevan?" asked Jon Arryn, directing an entirely disapproving frown on the aged face of the Lord of the Eyrie at Kevan.
He was shocked to learn that their budding spy network that was formed by Tywin was busted in Winterfell before it could properly set in. The only relief on his part was that he was not the one overseeing the progression of the spy network. After the fiasco of the Greyjoys burning their fleet, the need for a more robust spy network was all but apparent. Tywin had charged Tygett to oversee the development of the spy network and it'd seem his younger brother has somehow not taken adequate precautions.
"These spies have nothing to do with House Lannister."
"Maybe, but Eddard thinks otherwise. Convey my disappointment to Lord Tywin on this matter Ser Kevan. Spying on allies just when we are healing the fissures that exist between the Seven Kingdoms is not at all helping the King's peace. I hope Lord Tywin take corrective action promptly."
To Kevan, the last bit came more as a command rather than a request. At that moment, he could see the judging eyes of the old Falcon bearing down on him from an unseen height.
"Yes, promptly." Kevan muttered, knowing full well that Tywin was not going to be happy at all.
He doubted his brother's recent good mood with the acquisition of Lionclaw was going to last.
The Archmaesters were floored to see his self-made castle in Avalon. It was also safe to say they were suitably blown away by the airship as well. The maesters inspected the ship and his castle for weeks looking for any tangible process working behind his magic. Without his fullest cooperation, the maesters remained entirely ignorant of his secrets which is how he preferred things be for the moment.
However, he was getting tired of playing ignorant of the workings of his magic and was getting positively annoyed by the persistent nature of the maesters.
"They won't leave you alone. They are like sharks in an ocean. Once they smell blood, they won't leave. I warned you these grey rats are trouble, lad. You did not listen." said the spectre of Archmaester Marwyn, waggling his finger at Harry's face. "They'll suck you dry of everything they want to know and then they'll plot in their dark halls devising your demise."
Harry just shrugged and went back to reading some of the findings of the Citadel when it comes to Astronomy. The Faith often spoke of the Seven wanderers in the sky signifying each of the seven gods of the Andal faith. The Citadel claims the Andal faith took their findings and incorporated them into the Faith. Some fiercely contested such claims, mostly Septons and those close to the Faith. But the fact that two of these supposed wanderers were found by his telescope to be moons of other planets did not sit well with the maesters.
To be fair, they were not personally antagonistic but rather seeing his discovery was going to ruffle the feathers of many holding positions of power in the Faith. The world as the Faith envisions has their planet at the centre and the seven wanderers which represent the Seven orbiting around their planet. Well, that worldview was going to get challenged in the South. It was also going to be incredibly difficult to present the discoveries in the Citadel and expect them to take it all in without some pushback. Archmaester Gormon had already pointed this out in his pitch for seeking a telescope of his design to the Citadel. He had flat-out said no because he didn't want some bunch of muggles taking his stuff away from his home. When he added a little white lie about the devices of his design stop working without his close proximity finally did the trick and let Archmaester Gormon stop hounding him about the telescopes.
The Myrish lens tube in Maester Luwin's possession was no match for the telescopes he designed. Nonetheless, the device has been in use for centuries and the Citadel have all but made it a doctrine to accept the seven wanderers in the sky through several books written over the years. That authority was going to get challenged but his telescopes helped identify the many constellations that could be seen in a clear night sky was indisputable. His telescopes have confirmed and provided more clarity on the existence of constellations like Sow, Crone's Lantern, Moonmaid, Shadowcat and some other locally discovered constellations. It had also unveiled some more constellations not easily seen in the night sky like the Great Swirl or the Axe.
"You know, I'm surprised lord Eddard even allowed you to take the Red Viper into your service." said Marwyn.
"Oh, he was not happy at all when I suggested I want Oberyn Martell to stay a bit longer in the North. He was even more disagreeable when I said I wanted to study under the Red Viper and even train the Valkyrie."
"But somehow you managed to convince Lord Eddard. That's impressive." Marwyn said.
"The credit should go to my mother." Harry shrugged.
"Really! Lady Stark wanted Oberyn Martell to stay and train you?" Marwyn asked incredulously.
"Oh, yes. Once she learned Jory caught those spies the Lannisters sent she was quite furious. So, once she learned of my plans, she convinced my father to allow Prince Oberyn to stay for as long as he wanted. I believe she called it 'sending a proper message' to Casterly Rock."
"Interesting." Marwyn muttered, looking deep in thought.
Harry eyed the Archmaester out of the corner of his eyes. He could see the gears turning behind the man's eyes. Undoubtedly, a man as well versed in the politics of the Seven Kingdoms, Marwyn was rearranging the board so to speak as lines were being redrawn. Fissures were coming in between the allied houses that unseated the dragons from the Iron Throne. It was not just between House Stark and Lannister. There was an ongoing struggle that was quietly rearing up between Riverlands and the North.
Harry had been reviving the vitality of the farmlands in the North with his magic. He had done so within the lands controlled by Houses Stark and Manderly. And last week he repeated the feat in Deepwood Motte. The sheer yield of potatoes, cabbage, peaches and pineapple near Deepwood Motte earned him a lifelong friend in Galbart Glover and Robett Glover. The Glover brothers were rough people but they were strong adherents to the Old Gods which sort of earned him more respect and dare he say it, worship from the two brothers. Those two were convinced his magic was a sign from the Old Gods that the magical bloodlines and abilities are returning to the First Men houses. The two Glovers were not wrong in that aspect as Harry also noticed some signs supporting their theory.
Anyways, with three major Houses of the North gaining fertile farmlands and the Mountain clans gaining their own far early, has increased the availability of food stocks in the North. With the increase in local grain and crop yield, the dependence on merchants from Riverlands was dropping day by day. Northern houses and merchants were now buying from Northern farmers rather than outside sources which earned the average farmer a good profit. This has left the Riverlanders in a bit of a bind as their stocks were no longer in high demand, at least, not at the exorbitant prices they have demanded in the past. All foreign merchants were now forced to sell their crops and grain at much lower prices than they were used to if they wanted their wares sold in the North.
Harry gave two years before the Riverland merchants stop looking at the North as a lucrative market for their wares. He had been in touch with Lord Manderly to purchase seeds and saplings of fruits and trees alien to the North. With his magic, he could reshape the climatic conditions for crops and fruit trees to flourish giving an edge to Northern farmers. Exactly how that'd play out between the North and the Riverlands would be interesting to see in the coming years.
Harry turned sharply towards the door as he heard someone knocking.
"I shall take my leave young Harrion. The longer these maesters stay with you the more they piece together what they want. Send them away from your castle and keep them away from anything that has to do with magic."
With that final piece of advice said, Marwyn's spectral form collapsed leaving Harry alone in his study.
"Come in." he said, hearing more knocking on his door.
He waved his wand allowing the magically locked door to swing open. It was none other than Nymeria Sand at the other end of the door.
"You called for me, my lord." Nymeria gave an exaggerated bow.
Harry scoffed at her antics. Ever since he has been allowed to sort of govern Avalon by his father Nymeria has been addressing him as lord. She was trying her hand at determining what would get under his skin. He'd expect nothing less from the daughter of the Red Viper.
"I need something from you."
"Is it my virginity, my lord? How can a fair maiden be asked to part with her purity even if it is being asked by the fair lord of this castle?" Nymeria gasped, acting like a damsel in distress.
Harry rolled his eyes at her crass thoughts. For some reason, Nymeria was confident that he'd understand all these sexual references and insinuations she uses in their conversations. It was as if she forgets that he was a child. He remains one biologically but he was anything but a child in his mind but that was neither here nor there.
"No stupid. I just want a pinch of your blood." said Harry, a little bit annoyed.
"Oh, okay." Nymeria shrugged and offered her arm making Harry raise his eyebrows.
"Just like that? You are not at all concerned I am going to use your blood for some nefarious purpose." he asked with a raised eyebrow.
Nymeria shrugged her shoulders before sitting down on a nearby chair.
"Are you?" she asked, looking curiously at him.
"No. I'm just fascinated by your ancestry. You are a product of the Rhoynar and Valyrian bloodline. I'm just curious whether your blood holds something that can tickle my magical senses." Harry lied.
In reality, he wanted her blood to study the effects of poison resistance Oberyn talked about in one of his lessons. The man claimed he was training his daughters to resist many poisons. So, he just wanted to confirm and study the effects in Nymeria's blood. Studying the combination of Rhoynar and Valyrian blood came as an added benefit.
"Then sure. Take my blood. I trust you." said Nymeria, offering her hands once again.
Harry happily pricked a small pinch of blood from her thumb using a needle. Immediately he set up the magnifier and put the blood sample under observation.
"Hmm." Harry hummed, as the magic in the magnifier began analyzing the platelets of Nymeria's blood.
He could see slight discolouration around the edges of the individual cells which indicated traces of poisonous substances. Turning on more magical sensors he divined more characteristics of Nymeria's blood. The results were fascinating, to say the least. Harry found her blood to have some distinct magical properties. The magnifier lens was showing some quality readings when he looked for magical properties.
While Harry was focused on Nymeria's blood his guest was wandering around his study without his oversight. When Harry finally took his eyes away from the magnifier, he was stunned to see Nymeria in possession of a very familiar carpet.
"This looks nice." said Nymeria, unruffling the colourful carpet on the floor and standing on it before Harry could warn her.
A shrill scream came out of Nymeria's mouth as the magical carpet zoomed out of the window of Harry's study before he could do anything carrying a thoroughly frightened daughter of Prince Oberyn.
Harry ran near the window and observed as Nymeria was now holding onto the carpet for dear life shouting and screaming obscenities at him as she zoomed around in the sky.
"Yeah. She definitely has some magical potential." Harry muttered, craning his neck to the side as the carpet jerked to the side and took a curve around the tower before disappearing from his line of sight.
Harry laughed before returning to his worktable unbothered by the screams of Nymeria Sand. The carpet was merely a prototype he designed to test out his repository of charms that he was planning to use on brooms. There were spells on the carpet that would direct the carpet back into its original place and there was a plethora of safety charms used which should keep Nymeria safe.
"She'll come back in one piece… eventually." he thought, letting out a chuckle.
As a matter of fact, Harry even came up with a nice alias right on spot for his Dornish friend.
"The flying Sand." Harry smirked, paying no heed to the threats and begging Nymeria was throwing at him outside his tower.
On the other hand, he was sure those maesters were going to hound him about the flying carpet. He was planning to test it out after the maesters were sent away to Oldtown.
'Oh, well. I'll just have to send them away by more forceful means.'