Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction based on the Harry Potter and A Song of Ice and Fire universes. All recognisable characters, plots, and settings are the exclusive property of Joanne K. Rowling and George R.R. Martin, respectively. I make no claim to ownership.
Acknowledgements: This chapter was edited by Lord Lexx and Old Man of the Mountain. I also want to thank my beta-reader Bub3loka, for helping me bounce ideas around.
If you're feeling generous and want to support me, you can find me on P*T*E*N under the same name for up to read three chapters ahead of discord.
Daenerys Targaryen, in the fields outside the Golden Tooth
As she was walking towards the command tent, she felt a wetness on top of her forehead. She raised her head only to see snow beginning to dance in the wind. Daenerys had been used to the warm weather in Essos. There hadn't been anything like snow there. She disliked the cold, and more importantly, she had come to despise snow. It reminded her of her visit to Winterfell, where she had to deal with the rude bastard. The northerner king would get his due soon. Daenerys pulled up her hood and continued onwards, followed by Red Flea and Dogkiller. Those were two of the most inconspicuous unsullied, and Grey Worm had insisted on accompanying her everywhere for her safety. Not that any harm would come to her while with the army. She was their queen, after all.
The war was going so insufferably slow that she could barely stand it anymore. The army had more than thirty thousand men and was slowly crawling less than a dozen miles per day on the muddy roads. She had been used to travelling for moons on horseback when she was with her first husband, but this time it felt tiring. The cold winds, rain, and now even snow made her remember her time in Essos fondly. Sleeping on a hard quilt in a hastily erected tent with the army every night had slowly soured her mood even further. Daenerys almost regretted not staying in Riverrun. But no, she would see the end of House Lannister with her own eyes, and had to ensure that her forces and interests were being represented.
There was nothing else for her to do but fly around. When she had proposed to fly ahead and attack with the dragons, Aegon and the rest of the council had quickly dissuaded her by explaining that while the dragons had little fear of archers, all it took was one lucky arrow, and she would be gone. Not to mention that scorpions were still quite dangerous to her not-fully-grown children. The Ghiscari and their slaver armies had been poorly prepared, but after she flew over the Golden Tooth, she could see hundreds of scorpions lined along its battlements.
As a crow's caw was heard nearby, she left her two unsullied outside and finally entered the tent guarded by two of her husband's kingsguard. It took her a moment to remember their names. Sers Alton Staunton and Grance Morrigen. While the former was quite good with a sword, the latter had turned out to be skilled enough to earn the praise of Ser Barristan Selmy. Her own Queensguard has officially been disbanded, but Strong Belwas continued to guard her quarters. Jhogo, Aggo, and Rakharo, had been sent to lead the thousand Dothraki and had decided to follow her as her kos and bloodriders. She briefly remembered Jorah, who had died in the streets of Mereen during the riots in a vain attempt to regain her favour. The foolish bear knight had brought Tyrion to her court in hopes of earning a pardon, but she was not there to give any. Ser Barristan had reluctantly accepted his services, and that became the demise of the former Lord of Bear Isle.
Daenerys shook her head and glanced around. The tent was quite full, yet as soon as she entered, all conversation inside had ceased. Aegon's council, captains of the Golden Company, and the lords that had followed her husband directly had gathered around a large table with an unfurled map of what looked like the Westerlands. She sat on Aegon's left, much to the displeasure of Jon Connington, who sat to the king's right. The Lord Hand always wore a sour expression on his face when he saw her and inwardly wondered what his issue with her was.
"Now that we're all here, we can begin planning the siege," Jon Connington spoke up. "Winter has come, and we cannot afford to starve them out. The scouts have reported that the Kingslayer has stripped all the surrounding lands bare and has probably stacked his granaries to the brim. We have to storm the Golden Tooth. I have already sent men to cut down the nearby trees. We'll have ladders and battering rams ready to begin an assault tomorrow."
At that moment, a crow covered in snow quietly flew in, landed near the brazier and started cleaning its feathers. Daenerys looked around, but nobody else in the tent paid the bird any heed, and after a few more glances, she also ignored it.
"If the keep is fully manned, we will lose tens of thousands of men storming it!" Lord Simon Staunton countered.
"But we cannot afford to siege it either. The first strong snow would cut off our supply lines," Adrian Thorne pointed out calmly. "The Riverlands can scarcely provide food when all the fields were burned and the smallfolk killed or chased away. We've already stretched our supply lines all the way from the crownlands, which cannot feed an army as large as ours for much longer."
"Golden Tooth would be nearly impossible to take without the dragons," Ser Barristan said. "But His Grace stated that they have prepared scorpions. A well-aimed scorpion bolt can end Drogon or Viserion."
The tent went quiet as everyone looked at the map warily. Daenerys thought the Lannisters were done for after their army was defeated in the field nearly two months ago, yet here they were, stumped in front of a pile of rocks. Aegon shuffled in his chair, which creaked slightly yet unpleasantly.
"What if the dragons attack directly from above?" Tyrion broke the silence. "The scorpions can only shoot in one direction, and while there might be hundreds of them at different angles, they would struggle to move, secure, and aim them in parallel with the walls to point towards the sky. If you start from the main keep, which is the tallest, you can work your way downwards and set all the scorpions on fire, and not a single one would be able to take a shot at the dragons."
"That can work," Aegon agreed after a few moments of contemplation. "We will only attack after the ground troops have begun storming the walls; that way, the defenders will have to deal with attack both from below and from above and would not be able to focus fully on either. And we shan't risk neither mine nor my wife's lives. She and I will be fully fitted in armour lest a lucky marksman strikes us down. Yet if they somehow manage to aim their scorpions upwards, we'll quickly retreat. There's no need to take a risk carelessly."
"Who shall lead the assault, Your Grace?" Manfrey Martell asked cautiously.
Her husband looked around, and for some reason, nobody looked eager to send their men towards Golden Tooth's walls first. Cowards, the lot of them.
"Grey Worm and my unsullied will do it," she declared boldly after a minute of silence. Her army was the best in the world, and mayhaps it was time to show her husband and his lords their power and remind them that she was far more than simply the wife of the king. Aegon nodded thankfully at her.
"Do we have any news on the remainder of the Lannister army?" Ser Barristan inquired. "With Houses Crane and Rowan, they could probably field nearly twenty thousand men."
"No word of any enemy. We're sending scouts in every direction," Connington explained and stiffly raised his gloved hand above the table. "I've already ordered trenches being dug and fortifications being built. Even if they try to sneak up on us from behind somehow, we will be neither unaware nor unprepared."
"Varys, Maar, do either of you have anything on the North or Jon Snow's mother?" Her husband switched the topic.
"It's hard to get any spies in the North during winter. Outsiders are particularly easy to spot, and the most we get is gossip from merchants that visited White Harbour. I've sent half a dozen men and women to Winterfell from White Harbour, but I have not received a word from a single one yet," Maar reported with a frown. "I'm afraid they either died in the wilderness or were quickly caught when arriving in Winterfell."
"It's hard to figure out anything beyond hearsay, Your Grace." The eunuch agreed delicately. "As for Jon Snow, the first time he was seen was in Winterfell. His mother could come from practically anywhere. Eddard Stark had travelled through the Vale, the North, the Riverlands, Crownlands, and Dorne that we know of during the Rebellion. I've heard many different songs of who she was. A fisherman's daughter, a dragonseed whore, a serving wench, or even Ashara Dayne."
"If his mother was Ashara Dayne, it might explain the dragons," Manfrey Martell said before rubbing his beard thoughtfully. "Princess Daenerys," she threw him a surprised look, but he hastily added, "the daughter of Aegon the Unworthy, not Her Grace. The princess that married Maron Martell had a single daughter that lived to adulthood. That daughter married Lord Dayne, and ever since, the Daynes had the blood of the dragon running in their veins."
"A pity because I did send people to check. According to the older servants in Starfall, Ashara Dayne had given birth to a stillborn daughter a few months before Lord Stark even visited. She threw herself into the Torrentine after Eddard Stark arrived with Dawn and the news of her brother's demise. Apparently had no babe with him nor any other retinue. It's quite possible that nobody alive knows who Jon Snow's mother was. It was twenty years ago, and now with King's Landing a cursed ruin and the Riverlands completely devastated, we might never find out."
"Keep looking," Aegon ordered. "And did you find anything on how he procured his eggs or hatched his dragons?"
"No, Your Grace. It was quite hard to find a handful of men to join the Watch, and the ship crashed as it was sailing over the Fingers. It will take at least a fortnight to find and send more volunteers."
"We attack on the morrow at dawn," Aegon ordered. "Meeting dismissed."
The next day, First Assault on the Golden Tooth
As the first rays of the sun peaked over the east, unsullied carrying ladders and pushing battering rams orderly emerged from Aegon's camp. They slowly began to surround the Golden Tooth from every side. As soon as they began to climb the muddy hill, arrows began to rain down upon them from the walls. Jaime Lannister had picked the finest longbowmen from the whole Westerlands to be part of the garrison.
Despite their tight shield formation, the Unsullied quickly began suffering losses. Not all of them were fully armoured. Few had hauberks and ringmail, some had padded cloth armour, and the rest had to be content with woollen tunics and boiled leather. The good masters of Astrapor never bothered buying armour for their soldier-eunuchs, as that would be too expensive. No, the burden of gearing up the unsullied up beyond the basic spear, shield, and spiked bronze cap fell to the employer. And Daenerys Targaryen knew little of logistics and warfare and couldn't afford ten thousand suits of armour. Even if she could, she wouldn't be able to find so much armour in one place to buy. Most of what the Unsullied had right now was the leftover from the spoils of Aegon's victories over the Lannisters and the campaign in Slaver's Bay.
The only reason the Unsullied managed to even get near the wall was the undaunted tight-knit formation made out of their large round shields. Yet they were not large enough to cover every part of their bodies, and the veteran longbowmen on the walls quickly began aiming for the gaps.
Occasionally, a few of the scorpions would fire in the dense unsullied formation, and the iron-capped bolts would piece through the attacker's lines like a hot knife through butter. But most of the scorpions were waiting on standby, and the soldiers manning them were looking towards the sky.
Near the gate, an iron-capped oaken pole was covered by a wall of tightly knit shields from above, the front and the sides. A wooden frame with a thick roof covered by various leather hides was carried by another three dozen Unsullied behind them. Yet as soon as it reached the gates, the contents of two large cauldrons of tar were poured onto the wooden roof, followed by a fiery arrow. The defenders dropped large rocks from above, and before the oaken battering ram could be tied to the wooden frames, the woodwork broke under the onslaught. More tar and pitch were dropped, and soon the shouts of pain and agony accompanied the acrid smell of burning tar and roast meat.
As soon as the first ladders were secured to the ground and the unsullied began to scale the walls, the defenders began dropping rocks straight onto the ladders that had reached the battlements, crushing limbs and sometimes even the ladders themselves and thwarting the efforts. Some were pushed sideways with the long forked poles. Others were victims to the arrows and projectiles fired from Machicolations of the walls.
It took another five minutes before the Unsullied had managed to climb the walls but were met with knights and men-at-arms clad in full plate, who easily butchered the far poorly armoured eunuch soldiers who could not form up in a shield line on the ramparts themselves.
Despite the enormous number of losses that the Unsullied were taking, they fearlessly continued surging towards the walls, now followed by some of the Westerosi levies and men-at-arms. Snow began to fall heavily.
At that moment, two dragons swooped towards the Keep itself from above. Streams of black and pale gold began to bathe the battlements of the Castle Keep. Parts of the defenders along the curtain walls and the untouched part of the keep frantically began to try and face the scorpions upwards while the rest tried to hold the unsullied that relentlessly kept assaulting the walls. The marksmen began shooting towards the skies, but the few arrows that managed to reach the dragons bounced off the dragon's scales harmlessly. Not nearly a minute had passed, and a few clumsily short bolts from the scorpions flew towards the dragons and missed.
"Daenerys! Retreat!" Aegon shouted with all his might as soon as he saw the bolts beginning to fly towards their direction.
As the dragonriders retreated towards the skies, a bolt skewered the cream-coloured drake on the side, making it roar with pain. But Viserion did not waver, and within a few heartbeats, they were out of the scorpion's range.
Another thirty minutes passed, yet the walls or gates showed no signs of falling, no matter how many men were thrown at them. The retreat horn echoed, and the attackers abandoned their assault, leaving the muddy hill littered with blood and corpses.
Nearly half of the battlements on top of Golden Tooth's keep itself were singed by the flames.
Armour was very cumbersome and uncomfortable to wear, and the first thing she did when she landed on the ground was rush back to her tent and have Missandei help her shed all the steel and put on a thick, fur-lined riding dress. Daenerys then threw the shadowskin cloak over her shoulders and headed back to the command tent where the council had gathered again.
This Golden Tooth turned out to be a far tougher nut to crack than originally expected.
"What are our losses so far?"She heard Aegon ask as she entered the tent.
"Three thousand and counting," Jon Connington said grimly. Daenerys felt a stab of sorrow from that number as she sat on her husband's left. She had condemned so many of her men with a single order. "It seemed that we underestimated the Kingslayer badly. He filled the keep to the brim with men and is probably prepared to hold this keep or die trying."
"What if we leave seven thousand men to siege the castle and continue deeper into the Westerlands?" Lord Simon Staunton hesitantly proposed.
"If the remaining Lannister forces manage to sneak up behind us and break the siege, we'll be completely cut off without supplies deep in enemy territory," Jon Connington countered.
"It has started snowing heavily, soon, it might be impossible to continue this campaign any further, Your Grace," Lord Adrian Thorne said with a heavy frown on his face. "We might lose more than half an army trying to take the Golden Tooth without dragons, and we cannot risk either of Our Graces. If every keep on the way to Casterly Rock is manned like this, we will run out of men before we reach the Lannister's seat. I think we should end the campaign for this winter. If our army is caught out in the open when the real cold comes, the men will freeze to death. Not to mention that with the destruction of King's Landing, a new royal seat must be chosen, and come spring, we can press the Westerlands with the full force of the Vale and the Reach behind our backs and fresh supply lines from the Riverlands and the Reach. And in a few years, the dragons would be bigger and would have nothing to fear from scorpions."
Everyone in the room was looking pensive. Were they actually considering retreating now?! Did they mean to give the Lannisters time to concoct plans and schemes?
"This would mean that the plan to attack House Stark with dragons should also be reconsidered," Tyrion mused. "Winterfell is supposed to be even harder to take than the Golden Tooth, and they do have two dragonriders to aid the defenders. Not to mention that Jon Stark has already proven himself a capable commander and would doubtlessly be just as prepared as my brother."
Connington looked as if he had swallowed a lemon.
"But if we give House Stark time, their dragons would also grow bigger," Varys cautioned. "Maybe in a few years, when both royal pairs have children, we can peacefully join our houses."
Daenerys gnashed her teeth at the suggestion. She might have problems with childbearing, but if she ever did manage to get with child, she would be damned if any of them married a Stark!
Just as she was about to speak up and give Varys a tongue-lashing for his audacity, the short Archmaester entered the command tent.
"How is Viserion, Archmaester Marwyn?" Asked Aegon as he tiredly rubbed his brow.
"He will live-luckily the bolt only glanced over the side. The wings were unaffected; otherwise, you would have crashed straight into the Castle courtyard, Your Grace. Only Viserion's scales were broken, and there was some tearing, but the muscles below are healthy, if a bit strained. I recommend not flying on your dragon until the wound closes."
"Thank you, Archmaester. I have much to think on for now. We'll speak again on the morrow; council dismissed," Aegon said tiredly and poured himself a cup of wine from the nearby pitcher.
"I would advise against riding the dragons in a siege again, Your Graces. It would take at least a few more years of growth before your dragon can shrug off arrows and scorpion bolts without any trouble," Marwyn advised just before leaving the command tent.
Daenerys left the tent and walked around aimlessly, followed faithfully by Dogkiller and Red Flea. Why did the Lannisters have to resist so stubbornly?! This was the first time the dragons had proven to be truly vulnerable on the battlefield, and the thought made a cold chill crawl through her spine. When Drogon was younger, he had gotten wounded by arrows and spears, but even then, they had barely pierced his scales. Would her eldest child manage to survive if hit by a scorpion bolt? Daenerys shuddered at the notion and vowed to herself that she would not put that to the test if she could help it. To her displeasure, that probably meant that that arrogant bastard in Winterfell would continue sitting haughtily in his frozen keep.
A loud caw interrupted her musing, and she saw the same raven as yesterday perched on a nearby tent and looking at her with its beady black eyes. Was the damned bird stalking her? She shook her head and headed to the clearing where Drogon rested. Daenerys wanted to fly and leave all the worries behind on the ground for a few hours.
Within a few moments, she mounted her dragon's saddle and flew North. She enjoyed the view of the whitening landscape below. Only if the cold wind didn't sting against her face unpleasantly. But soon, her exposed skin numbed, and even the chilly breeze didn't bother her.
Daenerys lost track of time as she flew in the air, but at some point, her stomach churned unpleasantly and tore her attention away from the view. She could feel her insides trying to twist themselves into knots. What terrible timing to have the urge to relieve herself.
"Tegun," she ordered, and Drogon quickly landed on a clearing on top of a nearby hill. Daenerys made her way to a clump of bushes before she noticed that everything was deathly quiet.
Just as she neared one of the bushes, a terrible roar was heard, making her stop in her steps. She quickly turned around, only to be greeted with a gruesome, heartrending sight. A monstrous dark-blue dragon covered in spikes was diving from above. Before she could even realise what was happening, Drogon's neck was clamped by a terrifying jaw, despite her child's attempt to twist itself.
Drogon tried to wheel around and turn back to bite the neck of his assailant, but a dark figure leapt from the dark-blue dragon and slammed a sword straight in her child's eye.
She felt her blood run cold as Drogon went limp and heavily smashed into the ground not a second later. The man, clad in what looked like black steel, agilely landed on the ground, and he heavily looked at her, while blood was dripping from the sword in his hand.
Daenerys pinched herself, hoping this was some bad dream, yet the sharp pain told her otherwise.
"No, not Drogon! Not my child," She wailed, tears of grief running freely down her cheeks. Her child! Her legs gave out, and she collapsed to the ground, sobbing. But her sorrow did not last long. Fury, searing fury, ran through her veins, and she angrily wiped her tears with her sleeve and looked up. "Why?!"
Jon Snow's dragon began tearing at her child's scales and chomping down on Drogon's carcass, but not before sending a small streak of fire first. She could feel her tears welling up in her eyes again but suppressed her sorrow. Her child, oh, her child! Butchered mercilessly like this.
"Because you forced my hand. You know, now that I think on it, I was getting naive in my old age to think that peace was possible and my enemies would simply stay away from me and mine."
Had he gone crazy? He was scarcely a year or two older than her!
"How?! Dragons are not supposed to grow this fast," a growl escaped her lips at the sight of the vile monster that was scarcely half the size of her child a moon ago.
"They aren't indeed," the Northern King agreed impassively and loomed over her with his tall, armoured body. For the first time in years, Daenerys felt small and insignificant again under his purple eyes. She couldn't help but find them familiar for some reason.
"What happens to me now?"
"I had intended to spare you, you see. You are my aunt by blood, after all." She couldn't help but gape at this bold statement. "My uncle was unusually skilled in his ruse. I'm the fruit that came when Rhaegar Targaryen decided that he preferred a four-and-ten-year-old maiden over his wife, who had already given him two children. After I visited Casterly Rock and enjoyed their idea of hospitality, and listening in on a very enlightening meeting in a certain tent, I reconsidered my peaceful approach rather quickly. My sister was right; southerners cannot and should not be trusted one bit. Some threats are too dangerous to be ignored and must be removed instead."
His heavy gaze and words chilled her to the bone, and she realised that the man in front of her was not jesting. No, no, no! She didn't get so far, only to die on a nameless hill in the middle of nowhere! She tried to move back, but her stomach twisted in protest, and all her limbs felt as heavy as stones.
"But if you're truly Rhaegar's son, we'd be family too! You'd be a kinslayer if you killed me!" She desperately cried out. "I didn't know that you're my nephew! You can still join Aegon and me and rule the Seven Kingdoms together!"
"A foolish notion. How would such a three-way relationship be established? Do you fancy yourself the second coming of Nymeria? But no, even she did not have two consorts at the same time. We could have mayhaps attempted to negotiate a peaceful coexistence. But that ship sailed the moment you dared ask me to bow down and threaten my family in my own home. No, ambitious dragonriders like you and your husband are too dangerous to be left alive. Besides, your dragon is now an excellent source of dragon heartstrings. As for kinslaying? To the world, I am still Eddard Stark's bastard son, and you're no kin of mine."
His final words barely registered in her mind. No, Daenerys' attention was occupied by Jon Stark's icy gaze as he slowly lifted his sword high in the air.
The colour of the blade reminded her of the spiked bronze caps that her unsullied wore, yet it had black veins spreading throughout its length. Combined with the dark blood still dripping from the sword, made the sight completely terrifying.
The last thing Daenerys Targaryen saw was the rapidly descending sword.
It turns out that a keep is far harder to take if the defenders are fully prepared. Who would have thought?
For the Unsullied and their equipment, I went with the book description. Bronze cap, a short sword, three spears, and a round shield. Enough to hold a good line on a battlefield with iron discipline or defend city walls but not good enough to storm a well-defended keep. Not to mention Daenerys would have no way to procure equipment largescale for ten thousand soldiers quickly.
The first assault on the Golden Tooth ends badly for the attackers. The dragonriders find out they are not truly invulnerable in the sky, and are forced to retreat. Aegon finds out why war is a bad idea in winter and is faced with choices he doesn't like one bit.
Daenerys is not happy with her current situation, and goes flying to get away from her worries and troubles.
Unfortunately for her, Jon is less willing to deal with bullshit after he visits Casterly Rock. He is completely out of mercy after spying on the meeting in the command tent. He is not taking any chances and decides to resolve his problems by the sword.
For those of you who would doubtlessly ask why the Lannisters did not receive the same treatment as the Targaryens the answer is pretty simple.
Dragonriders are an actual threat, while House Lannister is not (at least to Jon). Aside from Cersei, every other Lannister has been shown to be reasonable and willing to go through the motions of courtesy and etiquette. Daenerys, on the other hand, was the first representative of Aegon's forces that he met, and she literally threatened him in his own home.
And last but not least, Jon's not a saint or a paragon of virtue either.
I update a chapter every Sunday! You can find me on my discord(dgj93pNeAD), where a chapter is posted two weeks in advance.
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