Hi everyone, I'm back with a new chapter.

I don't know if the updating I did last night sent any notifications but just in case I have decided to correct a flaw many of you warned me against in the first chapters. Namely, the changes with Daemon/darian, different name, different parents... It turns out I was wrong and well, while it doesn't have much importance for the previous chapters, it does for the future. As such, I've updated chapters 2, 3, 6 and 13, I don't think it's necessary to re-read the whole fic but if you want, be my guest. But basically, while Ashara offered the same idea in Starfall, by the time Ned reaches Riverrun, he has decided on a different course of action and instead of naming him Brandon's bastard, he names the babe as his and gives him the same name as the man who fostered him. Jon.

Otherwise I hope you enjoy this new chapter, I've taken a couple of weeks of holiday in May so I'm hoping I'll be able to write lots and further the story far more than it has been recently. See you soon!

295 A.C

White Arbor

Aemon whistled as the silhouette of White Harbor began to take shape in the distance. It had a high and impressive seawall, guarding its harbor, along with a no less impressive sea stone, dominating the outer waters of the port city. The massive green and grey stone stood at least fifty feet above the waters and was crowned by a ringfort, manned with what Aemon guessed were crossbows, archers, and the like.

"It's beautiful," Daenerys said from his side, shivering under a heavy white fur. "But colder than anything I've known,"

Taking pity on the cold-stricken girl, Aemon flicked his wand and his aunt sighed as his warming charm hit her.

Still, despite the newly found cold, Aemon could not help but be awed by the city that wore its name so well. Two castles stood atop the white-stoned city, one grey and dreary, Wolf Den, a castle that had stood for hundreds of years, if not more, and that now served as a jail for the North. And one as white as the rest of the city, New Castle, also aptly named, and the seat of House Manderly.

The Manderlys were former Reachmen, driven from their home for a slight Aemon could not remember, and who had been given a new home in the North by the Starks. They were the only house worshipping the Seven north of the neck, and also the wealthiest.

The reason why was easy to guess with the number of ships making their way in and out of the harbor, White Harbor was the main trading post for the entire North.

Aemon could spot several ships flying the merman, as well as a braavosi purple-sailed three decks and a few others, most coming from the Vale like the three women's heads of House Sunderland, the white spider crab of House Borrell, or even the partial eclipse of what he recognized was the sigil of House Pryor, all three houses sworn to the Arryns of the Vale.

There were a few of northern descent as well like House Locke or House Flint, but the North was notorious for its lack of any professional fleet.

It was a vulnerability Aemon could not understand, his mother had told him of the legend of Brandon the Burner, a long-dead king of winter who had seen his father lost at sea and who had, in retaliation, burned the entire Northern Fleet. But according to her, it had happened thousands of years before the conquest. The North and the Starks had had plenty of time to rebuild. Except they had not, and it left them more vulnerable than most to Ironborn raids, with no way to catch those who managed to escape the harsh northern lands with new salt wives and new thralls.

"Captain," Aemon greeted Garrick Rambton as he heard him and his wooden leg approach.

"Your grace," the man whispered under his breath. "Fine city, innit?"

"It is," he nodded, White Harbor was what over twenty thousand people called home. "It will be some moons before we see each other again,"

"Where do you want us?" the captain of the HMS Victory asked.

"Resume trade for now," Aemon instructed, he could use all the gold he could get, "If I'm not in contact by then, be at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea in three moons."

It would take them almost a moon to reach Winterfell, first by traveling along the White Knife and then by the King's Road, he had no idea how long they would stay at the ancestral seat of House Stark, but Aemon figured it would easily be a fortnight if not more, and then it would take another moon to reach Castle Black and the Wall. Where they would hopefully not stay very long before making their way to the northernmost harbor of the Seven Kingdoms. And with chance, he and Daenerys would double the number of Targaryens traveling with them.

Garrick whistled, "Looks like I'm going to see the Wall,"

"Looks like it, captain," Aemon smiled remembering the conversation they had shared when arriving in Oldtown almost a year ago.

"By your leave," Garrick said, offering as much of a bow as his crippled leg allowed him, his men calling for him, Aemon only nodded, "Until next time, Captain,"

"May the Seven watch over you," he answered and whispered the last part, "your grace,"

Moments later their ship docked next to the Braavosi one, and they quickly disembarked, loading the trunk and their many bags into a waiting cart.

Aemon's hand instinctively went to his sword as Arthur froze, his face betraying his surprise as they were faced with the smallest man he had ever seen, his striking green eyes met Aemon's purple ones and the diminutive man's face split into a smile.

"Welcome to the North, my king," the small man bowed deeply and Aemon's eyebrows could only rise even more, "My name is Howland Reed, Lord of Greywater Watch,"


"My King," Howland Reed took a knee once they had gotten out of the streets and away from unfriendly ears, "I cannot say how much joy it brings me to see you standing before me,"

"I'm glad to see you once more, my lord, please rise," Aemon nodded, "though I can't say I'd have expected the Lord of the Neck to wait for me so far from his home,"

There were many places Aemon wanted to visit. Greywater Watch was certainly one such place, much like the Wall, the Hightower, or Old Valyria, he was ready to bet that magic had been used, or perhaps still was, to build and maintain those locations. The ancestral home of House Reed was rumored to be impregnable, for the simple and very good reason that only crannogmen knew where to find it. The Neck was the first line of defense of the North for a good reason.

"I only do as a sworn lord should, your grace," the small man answered, bowing his head once more.

"You swore yourself to me?" Aemon frowned, "I think I'd remember that"

"Lord Reed speaks true, Aemon," Arthur answered, "Before leaving Starfall with your brother and uncle, he came before your crib and swore allegiance to Aemon Targaryen the first of his name and rightful king of the Seven Kingdoms,"

"And you didn't think I should know?" Aemon arched an eyebrow.

"To be truthful, I had forgotten," Arthur lowered his eyes, "I shall accept whatever punishment you deem fit,"

"I'm not going to punish you, Arthur," Aemon sighed, rolling his eyes, the man could be dramatic at times. "But do make an effort to remember if any other houses have sworn themselves to me whilst I slept,"

Daenerys let out an unwitting giggle; her purple eyes filled with mirth. "I'm glad to meet you as well, lord Reed,"

"Princess," Howland offered a bow to the fake brunette, "I cannot state how long I hoped for his grace to free you from your shackles nor how much I rejoiced when it was done, I also wish to express my deepest condolences for the loss of your brother,"

"I thank you, my lord," Daenerys offered a small curtsy, "it is most appreciated,"

"How do you know all this?" Aemon could not help but question.

"May I ask what you know of wargs and greenseers?"

Aemon's eyes widened, "Lady Ashara told me tales of them, of Brynden Rivers, the man with a thousand eyes and one, I know a warg is supposed to be able to take control of animals, but other than that, very little,"

Rumors that Brynden Rivers had been a warg were abundant, though they had been spread by his enemies, it was easy to understand why such rumors could be believed, Bloodraven had after all maintained an unnatural amount of control over the realm for decades.

He had read of them also, in the texts stolen from the Citadel, but whether maesters or septons, the subject had always been written about derisively, as if skinchangers were nothing more than Snarks and Grumpkins. The more he came to know about this world, the more Aemon was forced to conclude that myths and legends here had much more than a simple inkling of truth to them.

"Skinchangers or wargs, as some call them, are capable of taking over the mind of an animal," Howland confirmed, "Only those of First Men descent have ever been born with the gift,"

"You know wargs?" Aemon frowned, "Alive ones?"

"I am a warg," the Lord of the Neck chuckled, "as are you, your grace,"

"I'm a warg?" Aemon's eyes widened. "How do you know?"

"Have you never seen through other eyes than your own?" Howland raised an eyebrow, "Have you never felt connected on a deeper level to animals you spend time with? Starks have been known to warg for thousands of years,"

'Balerion,' Aemon thought immediately, his sand steed, not the newly hatched dragon. He had always shared a close bond with the black horse but having spent little time around horses in his first life, Aemon had little experience to refer to. When he mounted the black horse, he always knew what he was about to do and how to direct him. His commands did not even need to be voiced, Balerion simply understood what he wanted.

He also remembered seeing through the eyes of Starfyre, it had not happened frequently, and he had choked it up to the bond they shared as dragon and rider, but maybe there had been more than that. It was not like he had found any other mentions of Dragonriders seeing through the eyes of their mounts.

"I have," he slowly nodded, "but infrequently,"

"As I expected, your grace," Howland said, "your ability as a warg is limited by your other abilities, had it been only the blood of the Dragon, I suspect it would have been fine, but your magic is already strong and nature must have balance,"

Aemon's eyes widened and he heard his guards begin to unsheathe their swords, they knew the policy he usually applied to those learning of his magic.

"How?" Aemon questioned harshly but still gestured and the swords froze, the Lord of Greywater Watch showed no concern at all.

"I am not only a warg, your grace, I am a greenseer,"

Aemon stared at the diminutive man in surprise. As wargs, greenseers had been relegated to myths and legends. Though the second was even more of one. It was rumored Brynden Rivers had been one, but such rumors were oft more unfunded than they were not. And even so, while it was a story for children, wargs were well known for their ability to skinchange. But greenseers, their powers were as mysterious as they were numerous. Bloodraven, as he had been known, had been credited with all kinds of outlandish acts. Most of all when it was convenient to others that the red-eyed bastard took the blame.

Separating lies from facts was far from easy, even if the events had happened mere decades ago. It was no help that a single institution controlled all of the knowledge.

However, that would hopefully change in the coming years if his and Marwyn's efforts were successful.

"I am afraid I've never heard but rumors…" Aemon said, contemplating his limited knowledge.

"It is as they say, your grace," Howland smirked, "one man in a thousand is born a warg, and a single warg in a thousand is a greenseer,"

"But would it not make it far more common, if that were true?"

"You mistake me, your grace," Howland chuckled, "such powers are only ever possible with those of strong First-men ancestry. And even then, it is not because one has the potential that one's powers are awakened,"

Aemon nodded, if he was honest with himself, it opened up perspectives. Even if wargs and greenseers were few and far between. Having an army, or a force even, of skinchangers could prove invaluable.

"What are the powers of a greenseer, my lord?"

"As with any other skill or talent, it depends on the person," Howland began, "a greenseer can see through the weirwoods, to witness what the Old Gods wish us to see. And only what it is they wish. Whether it be past, present, or future,"

Aemon took in a sharp breath. "The future, you say?"

"Indeed, but it is not how you think, your grace," Howland smiled mysteriously. "The future I am shown is not fixed, nor is it clear. The Old Gods show what they will the future to be, but even they are not all-powerful, and interpreting the meaning of the visions is often more perilous than remaining unaware."

The purple-eyed young man nodded. Much like divination and prophecies, the meaning was only ever truly understood after the facts. "Are there others that you know of?" he asked, remembering a singularly pale man with a single red eye.

"I do not," the Lord of Greywater Watch sighed, "I suspect my son Jojen may share my powers but he is still too young to truly know, and it is as I said, his powers will need awakening, as did mine on the Isle of Faces,"

"Where you took my mother and father so they could be wed in front of the Old Gods as well,"

"Indeed," Howland raised an eyebrow, "I knew the Greenmen would not kill me on sight and the Old Gods needed to bear witness to their union,"

Aemon narrowed his eyes, "The Old Gods needed? You know of their will?"

Having witnessed what he had, he would not deny the existence of any gods, though he would have to see before he believed.

"Thrice in my life I have been allowed to glimpse at what it is they need or want," the crannogman began, "When the tourney at Harrenhal came, it was them who guided me out of the Isle of Faces, a second time when I led Prince Rhaegar and Lyanna to the Isle of Faces, and a final time on the day your uncle came to ask me to join his party to search for his sister, your grace,"

"Then how did you know when and where to find us?" Aemon could not help but ask, "You said you could only see the past and present, and they did not tell you I would be here, correct?"

Howland chuckled, nodding, "Even though he is truly too young, my son still suffers dreams of what is to come,"

"The future isn't set in stone," Aemon felt the need to argue immediately, if it was, then everything he was doing served no purpose for it would happen anyway.

"It is not," the lord of the Neck conceded his point, "However, some paths become more likely than others as certain choices are made, and he has asked of me to relay a message,"

Aemon nodded, gesturing for the crannogman to continue. He had never imagined he would encounter a seer in this world, much less in White Harbor.

"You must go north of the Wall and meet the three-eyed raven before making your way to where the dragons first hatched, you will find what is needed to defeat the true enemy,"

Aemon clenched his jaw as the message was delivered, "The tree-eyed raven?" he asked, was that the name of the tree wizard? He had only had one eye, blood red, but maybe it was metaphorical. As to Valyria, he had intended to go there anyway, though knowing a seer also advised him to go only reinforced the urgency of it. He did not doubt as to whom the greenseer referred to when he talked of the true enemy.

"I'm afraid I do not know more, your grace,"

"Surely you do not mean to go North of the Wall, Aemon, it's madness," Arthur argued but stopped at Aemon's raised hand, it was not a subject he would discuss, not now.

"Is that why you came to meet us here, my lord?"

"It is," Howland nodded, "I also hoped to arrange a meeting with Lord Manderly, he will be essential in convincing the North to follow you,"

Aemon raised his eyebrows, he had certainly not come to White Harbor to meet its Lord. "He's loyal to me?" he asked, not at all convinced.

"Not yet, but he can be convinced," the Lord of Greywater watch answered, "More than any other Northern lords, he sees the damage Baratheon does to the realm, and it costs him more than most,"

Aemon nodded, it was true that between the king's expenses and all the money he was being swindled out of, a lot of taxes had had to be increased, and some even created. If he had to take a guess, it would only take a few more years for Baelish to be tempted to create a tax on the air they breathed. "Will he not inform my uncle as soon as I leave his castle?"

"I believe he can be convinced to wait, your grace," Howland answered with no hesitation, "especially if those ships of yours are in the discussion,"

Aemon snorted, of course, the Manderlys would be among those vying to get their hands on one of his three decks, it was something he could arrange. Still, he turned to Arthur. "What do you think?"

"Meeting Lord Manderly could be beneficial, as lord Reed said, they're the wealthiest house in the North," Arthur frowned, "but I would advise against, my king,"

"Speak your mind,"

Arthur nodded. "While I do not doubt Lord Reed's assessment, there is also no doubt the Crown, as well as several others, have spies in White Harbor and likely at the Merman's court itself,"

Aemon nodded, though he could disguise himself, it was likely every meeting the lord of White Harbor had was noticed, if not reported upon.

"Some might also take it as a weakness, that you would prefer dealing with anyone over your family first,"

"It's not what it is, though," he frowned. "It's just that Lord Manderly is here,"

"Forgive me, Aemon," Arthur sighed, "but it doesn't matter, it's what they will think anyway when one day they learn, and they always do."

Aemon nodded, agreeing with his Lord Commander's assessment. He could also not deny there was a definite risk the Merman would tell the Starks of his presence in the North when he wanted the opportunity to surprise his uncle.

"And if I might your- Aemon," Brienne caught herself and Aemon simply nodded. "Northern politics are complex, my father always says only Northmen can safely navigate them, and your uncle might take your approaching of Lord Manderly as a slight,"

"Right…" Aemon whispered, slighting his uncle, the Warden of the North, was perhaps not his best strategy.

He was hopeful that Lord Stark would choose to support his blood when the time came, as such it was preferable if he could avoid antagonizing the man before meeting him.

"What do you think, Dany?" he asked, over the past moon, she had progressively come out of her self-casted shell and his aunt had proven to have a keen mind, if an unnurtured one. Though she still shrank under their collective staring.

"You want my opinion?" She asked surprised, her purple eyes wide open and Aemon only nodded. "Lord Manderly will still be here when we come back, won't he?"

"He should be," Howland nodded.

"Then perhaps we can meet him on our way back, no? That way you won't offend anyone, and Lord Stark will be able to force him to keep a secret." Daenerys suggested and Aemon could not help but nod in agreement. He had not been planning to pass by White Harbor on the way back, but it was only a small detour.

"Then it is decided," Aemon nodded, before turning to the crannogman. "Will you be joining us, Lord Reed?"

"For a sennight, if you will have me," Howland acquiesced. "I'm afraid I must travel back to Greywater Watch first,"

"Then we shall not waste time,"


295 A.C

Winterfell

Jon stood completely still, looking down in shame, his grey, almost dark eyes fixated on the blood still dripping from his fists.

"You cannot mean to let him stay here!" the Lady of Winterfell screeched from the Lord's solar. "You cannot tell me you do not see his nature now! What if he hurts our children…"

Her rant went on and on, though she posed a sensible question. How could he stay here now? When he had almost killed his father's ward.

It did not mean he felt unjustified in his actions. Theon should have kept his mouth shut. By now, after over five years spent in Winterfell, he ought to have known that speaking vile lies about his mother had consequences, especially when you were not called Catelyn Tully. But perhaps just as much as he ought to have known to keep his temper in check.

And yet, the Greyjoy heir had opened his mouth, sprouting obscenities, and Jon had seen red. His anger had been overwhelming, and uncontrollable, and the blows had rained down. Theon might be a head taller and a few years older than he, but he was a weak and pathetic fighter. And only Robb's intervention had saved him from killing the squid. He had not planned to stop, had not planned to relent, and thankfully, his brother has seen fit to stop him.

Controlling his anger had always been an issue for him, but never to this point.

He could not imagine Lord Eddard would allow him to stay now.

Part of him felt the need to rush to his chamber to pack his meager possessions and join his uncle at the Wall. Though that was almost a moon's worth of travel, he had never been this far from Winterfell and its comforting walls.

"Enough!" his father's voice pierced through the heavy wooden door, finally interrupting the screeching. "I'll not discuss this more without Jon present,"

Seconds later, the door squeaked open, revealing Maester Luwin. And Jon rose his head, to meet the contrite look given by the grey-robed man. With a gesture of his head, he bid him to come in and Jon followed silently.

"Jon," the Lord of Winterfell greeted coldly, the grey wolf of the Starks proudly displayed behind him on a large banner.

"My lord, my lady," he bowed his head, feeling the icy glare of the Lady piercing through his skull.

His eyes met those of his father, a paler shade of grey than his, and filled with disappointment. He felt his guts twist and turn at this, he had never meant to disappoint him.

Eddard Stark had given everything to him, a home, hot meals, and a roof over his head. Sure all was not perfect, especially when it came to his wife, but he was also aware he could have had it a lot worse, the orphanage of Winter Town was filled with Snows after all.

"Thank you, my lady," his father said, dismissing his wife who threw him a questioning look, only answered by a shake of the head, before she gave a last, contempt-filled look and left the solar, her cloak billowing behind her.

"Jon…" his father breathed out, passing in front of his desk.

"I am sorry, father, I…"

"No you're not," he gave him a tired smile, "please have a seat," he gestured to one of the chairs Lady Catelyn was likely to have occupied moments ago. Still, the grey-eyed teen complied. "I would like to hear your version,"

Jon clenched his teeth, trying to control his anger. "He said she was a whore you found in a brothel in the South, and that one day he would go find her so that he could… So that he could…" he could not finish his sentence, feeling the white-hot anger rearing its ugly head once more and the need to seek out Greyjoy and make sure he could not speak those words again.

Lord Stark lay a comforting hand on his shoulder and Jon was able to breathe deeply, slowly but surely quashing down the anger he felt.

"I understand…"

"No you don't," Jon was unable to stop his words, "you don't know what it feels to ignore who your mother is, everyone I know does…" He could only widen his eyes in horror at his outburst, none of it was a lie, but he had never spoken to his father this way. He was sure he could see pain cross his father's usually blank traits, but it was gone in a flash, and as he was about to apologize, he waved him off.

"As I was saying, I understand your anger," Eddard said, speaking slowly, making sure not to show any anger. "You have the blood of the Winter Kings perhaps more than any Stark I have known, even Lyanna, and she was the most spirited of us,"

Jon's eyes widened, his father never spoke of his sister, her name had become taboo in Winterfell after what had happened to her.

"But you must control it, here I can protect you, in Winterfell you are safe, but you will not be here forever, you understand?"

"So you won't make me leave? What about Lady Catelyn…"

His father chucked, "Of course not, Jon, you know how women tend to exaggerate in the heat of the moment, she will calm down,"

He felt a weight leave his shoulders at once. He knew he would never be able to stay all his life in Winterfell, but still, he had not planned to leave this soon. There was over a year until he was considered a man-grown, though he knew that the Lady of Winterfell would insist he left on his next name day.

Staying at the stronghold of the Starks was not something he was even sure he wanted. Staying here meant he would never amount to being more than the bastard of Eddard Stark. His father insisted he could be given a small keep, but Jon was far from stupid, he knew the words were said but no arrangements had been made. He also knew that in times of war, bastards could rise high, as high as the Kingsguard for example.

Bran could have recited each of the white-cloaked knights that had been born on the wrong sides of the sheets. Jon only knew a few like Allison Hill, one of the first kingsguards ever, appointed by Vysenia Targaryen herself.

But no wars were coming, the realm was at peace under a Baratheon king, and except for the occasional skirmishes, it meant very little fighting got done. It meant there were fewer paths available for him. Were Jon a Southerner, he could always have become a knight in tourneys, but there were no such things in the North, or at worst, he could have gone to the Citadel, though he doubted he liked books enough to dedicate his life to them as Luwin had. North of the Neck though, options were limited.

Of course, the Ironborns could always rebel once more. If any thought that Theon's presence in the North would prevent the squids from doing so, then they were fools. For as long as he could remember, the Greyjoy heir had never received word from his father, nor any of his homeland. But it would be just as foolish for the Greyjoys to rebel, they had thought the realm weak with a new king and still divided between loyalists and rebels, and Robert Baratheon, along with his father had taught them how wrong they were, not that any claimed the Ironborns were particularly smart.

It was in moments like this that he was reminded of his uncle's tales, that of the Night's Watch, where any man could rise as high the ancient order allowed him to. Many Snows had even made Lord Commander, an honor few could claim to have earned. But taking the Black was for life, there could be no doubt in deciding this, and he still had some time.

"You will not have lessons with Rodrick for a sennight, only with Luwin, no sword training in any way and you'll get to scrub the stables for the next moon," his father said, calling him back to the real world. "You understand why you must be punished, Jon?"

"Yes, my lord," he said through gritted teeth, as far as he was concerned, Theon had deserved everything he'd gotten. Plus, it wasn't like he was truly hurt in the end. "I'll do better,"

"You will," Eddard Stark nodded, his earlier smile now completely gone, "now to your room, you'll only come out tomorrow for the lessons with Luwin,"

"Yes father," Jon bowed his head and left the solar, understanding when he was being dismissed.


295 A.C

Along the White Knife River

"Incendio," she snapped her fingers and a small flame appeared on her palm, she gasped.

With her purple eyes lost in the flame, she could not help but ponder on how much her life had changed since meeting her nephew.

If she was truthful, he had been beyond her wildest dreams.

Daenerys had known there and then that it was the end. Viserys had made his final mistake, as usual, she had been left to pay the price. And in her moment of need, Aemon had intervened, swooping down from the proverbial sky and he had laid waste to her enemies.

One moment, they were laughing, taunting, and jeering, the next they were silent. Heads had rolled, blood had spurted, and as if she was still stuck in one of those weird dreams, and her nephew had dealt death and pain to those who would harm her. To those who had killed her brother.

Viserys had not been perfect, far from it, but he had not deserved what had happened to him. In the end, he was still her brother, and she knew she could not simply stop missing him. No matter if the young boy that had once loved her had changed so much. Maybe knowing their nephew could have changed him, maybe it could have offered him the respite he needed to become once more her loving brother. But that was not to be.

And perhaps it was also for the best. Needless to say, Aemon would not have appreciated Viserys behavior. Her nephew was ruthless and had already proven there were no lengths he was unwilling to go to if it was to protect their blood. And her nephew was without any doubt the most powerful man she had ever met. Though barely older than her, he oozed confidence and power, that much was easy to see. In how he fought, with precise, decisive motions that more often than not found their targets, but also in how he behaved. For despite his power, despite the incredible magic he wielded, Aemon was a gentle soul. Though as the dragon that was the symbol of their House, it was best not to pull on his tail.

He was also the kindest man she had ever met. Ever since meeting him, she had not had to suffer a second of doubt as to what his intentions were, he never leered at her, he never forced her to do anything she did not want to do, he was simply the best nephew she could have ever dreamed of.

More than that, he treated her as an equal, something she could not even have imagined if she had wished to. It seemed there was not a question she could ask that would make him lose his calm, not a request she could make that was too much. He had not even hesitated in teaching her magic! Or to fight, when she knew for a fact that Viserys would have balked if she even dared to ask. If not worse.

Of course, Aemon had explained to her how women in Dorne were taught to fight, to lead, but it went further than that, her nephew trusted her.

According to Viserys, the only thing women ought to be taught about was needlework and taking care of a home, then they should be content popping out children for their husbands. With her nephew, there were no limitations to what she could learn, he was both knowledgeable and a good teacher. In the few moons she had spent in his company, he had begun teaching her heraldry, as it was an essential skill to identify whom one was talking to, but also strategy, and all manners of stately business.

If anything, she had only grown more impressed by him, though he was barely any older than her, he already had a company of eight thousand men at his command, as well as a fleet strong of thirteen of the most incredible ships she had ever seen.

Daenerys could honestly say she had never enjoyed a trip on the sea as much as the ones they had had between Pentos, Braavos, and White Harbor. Part was due to the company, Ser Brienne was both an excellent knight and a good person, and the she-warrior had been more than happy to take part in her training. As had the Black Bat and the Sword of the Morning, two of the most legendary kingsguards there ever were. But it was also due to the ship itself, the HMS Victory as Aemon had named it, the rooms aboard were as, if not more luxurious than many of the palaces and manses she and Viserys had stayed in over the years.

However, nothing could have hoped to compare with the secret he had revealed to her, possibly one that was even more dangerous than their true identities, his children.

Her nephew might only share some of the traditional Valyrian traits, but he had proven more of a dragonlord than over a hundred years' worth of ancestors. He had been the one to bring Dragons back into the world.

And following his rather spectacular discovery, he had allowed her to do the same.

With her children, kept away by Illyrio, as if he had any right to them. The flame in her hand grew as she imagined ways to get back at the fat Pentoshi.

Aemon had freely given away a knowledge most would have kept to themselves, and though it meant having to sacrifice three men, they had made sure to pick truly vile ones, rapists and murderers, men without morals whose fate had been improved by their sacrifices, however unwilling they were.

Daenerys had loved her children the moment they had broken through their eggs, revealing their little scaly heads.

Part of her would have wished to be able to ride one of them one day, but it seemed Rhaenyx meant differently, according to her nephew. And given how much larger and older she was, perhaps it was for the best.

Still, the purple dragon, named after her deceased niece, seemingly had no issue accommodating her much smaller, and far more excitable cousins.

"Very good, Dany," Aemon interrupted her thoughts, and she lost her focus on the flame, which quickly died down. "You must learn to keep your focus even when distracted, but you also just learned a very important lesson,"

"I did?" she asked, confused.

"Your emotions and feelings are intricately tied to your magic," he nodded, "you got angry, you thought about something that angered you and the flame grew,"

"Is anger the only emotion that works?"

"No," Aemon answered. "Anger works particularly well with destructive spells, fire is destructive by nature, love is another powerful emotion with magic, certain spells require you to feel love to cast them, and protective magic can be enhanced by it if you are seeking to protect a loved one,"

Her purple eyes were wide open, already she had seen him accomplish so much with magic, with his wand in hand, he could bend reality to fit his wishes. It seemed it was capable of even more.

"Will you teach me how to do that?"

"Have I refused teaching you anything?" he asked in turn, with a raised eyebrow and half a smile tugging on his lips. "But for that kind of magic, you'll need a wand,"

"Truly?" she could not help but ask, she had hoped, obviously, but she had not dared to ask for such. "One like yours,"

"All wands are different, and I'm not a wandmaker," he explained, "I will mostly rely on magic, and I think it will take some time, but there is much you can learn without a wand, like Occlumency,"

"What's Occ-Occlumency?" she stumbled on the unknown word.

"Occlumency," he repeated slowly, "is the art of defending one's mind against intrusions,"

"You mean people who read your mind?" she asked, horrified by the simple notion and her nephew chuckled.

"Yes, though the mind isn't a book that is to be read, but using Legilimency and, I'm sure, other kinds of magic," he shivered at this, "one may gain access to memories you would rather keep secret,"

"Do you know Legimency?"

"Legilimency," he corrected, "I do, though you don't have to worry, I don't make a habit of invading people's thoughts, unless they've done something to deserve it, but there is another reason for you to learn Occlumency, it allows greater control on your emotions,"

"So the spells you talked about would be easier?"

"Exactly, and to protect you against the effect of dark magic," he waved off her protest before it had even formed on her lips, "sometimes, dark magic doesn't mean evil, but what qualifies a spell as dark is the emotions they use to be powered, anger, hatred, jealousy, someone not in control of their mind could easily lose themselves to such, many have,"

Daenerys nodded, she trusted Aemon so she would learn everything he said was important, or try to at least. Still, his teachings often left her with more questions than answers. "Why do you say dark magic isn't always evil? Isn't it the principle?"

"What's evil?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.

"When it hurts people," Daenerys felt no hesitation in answering, and yet she knew she was wrong the moment the words crossed her lips.

"Aren't there occasions where you'd agree it's necessary to hurt people?" he immediately asked. "Say that I happen upon a woman being raped, is it evil to kill her rapist? Or say that I had the opportunity to take control of a man's mind to prevent him from killing countless innocents, it is one of the darkest spells there is, and yet…"

"It's the law," she immediately countered, "and you're the king,"

"The same law that says you and I, if discovered, are to be beheaded by the Usurper's dogs?" he asked with an arched eyebrow, "the law isn't always good, it isn't always just, laws are made by men and as such, they are imperfect,"

She tried to think of a counterargument, but she could find none. Her nephew was right, in many of the cities she had visited, the law stated men could own other men. It was neither just nor right, and yet it was the law. Laws were only as good as the men redacting them and as just as those enforcing them.

"Plus I do not have to use dark magic, I've already taught you a few spells, like the levitation charm," he continued his explanation. "I could simply use it to make a man fall from a tower, I wouldn't have used dark magic, and yet an innocent would still die,"

Daenerys nodded, her levitation charm was far from strong enough to make a man fly, but she could understand what he meant.

"What I'm trying to say, Dany," Aemon sighed, "is that it's all about intent, dark magic can be used for good as much as normal magic can be used for evil, it's not about the magic, it's about the person, you understand?"

"I think so…" she slowly nodded, the more she thought about it, the more his words made sense. After all, a man with a sword could use his blade both to defend the innocent and to kill them, to protect and to betray, in the end, what mattered was the man wielding the sword, not the sword in itself. "But wouldn't it make more sense for no one to know dark magic? That way no one can use it,"

"It would," Aemon nodded, "but as I explained, dark magic isn't necessary to do bad things, and even if it was, you can trust some will always misuse magic, or weapons, or whatever advantage they can muster to increase their power,"

"Do many know how to master magic like you?" She asked, living in the free cities, she had heard of many tales of magic, from the shadow binders of Asshai-By-The-Shadow to the Red priests of R'hllor, but nothing that resembled even closely to what her nephew did, what he was teaching her. Those legendary sorcerers were all credited with a specific kind of magic, their magic seemed to be able to do anything, or almost, and it was in no way limited to one element or another.

"I do not think so, but some can," he sighed, "I've told you of Marwyn, he could learn, so it makes sense to think others can, and, likely, any children you, Daemon, or I have will also be blessed with this gift, and we will teach them, in turn, they will teach their children who will teach theirs,"

Daenerys could not help but blush at the thought of having children. Ever since she had flowered a year ago, Viserys had made sure to remind her often of her duty to provide him with heirs, as was their family's tradition. Then she had been supposed to be sold to a Dothraki horse lord, no doubt would she have to have given him heirs too. But Aemon had made no mentions of such things, not once had he even alluded to it and he never looked at her like Viserys or many men often did in the streets of the Free Cities, with lust in their eyes. Not once had he made her feel uncomfortable, more than that, in his presence she felt safe, slowly but surely learning he would do anything to keep her safe.

Realistically, she knew it was their family's way, and if she was honest with herself, the thought of having Aemon's children was far from unpleasant. But part of her could not help but remember he had mentioned many times their need to get a bigger army. Eight thousand men, including two thousand mounted, were a good start but not enough according to him. And what better price for such than a princess' hand? Or maybe a king's? Many would be willing to kill for such, especially when the dragons were revealed to the world at large.

In the end, she had no way to know without asking, and mayhap, it was a subject best left for later.


My Friend,

It will please you to learn our young apprentice has collected his final link and has passed the test of the candle without any issue whatsoever, he is currently waiting for his assignment. You will be happy to learn a new Seneschal has been appointed, a dear friend of mine.

Our project progresses as well though I must say the loss of our ears is damaging, I believe it will take a year to identify all of the grey rats. Once more I must caution you to join efforts with the Spider though I understand it has become necessary, I will endeavor to keep an eye on him. I do not trust him to be made aware of our findings, most of all not of the possible implication of a grey rat assigned to the home of your father's first wife, I find it most suspicious that her brother's disease has been this hard to manage for one as learned in the healing arts. But most of all, with the access granted by my friend, I was able to find an account of the reports coming from your half-siblings' family, including a most interesting message reporting an agreement for your uncle's hand, a most secret, at least a decade old pact, I advise to replace the current rat staying in the viper's nest, perhaps with our recently graduated student.

While searching for more proof of your parentage, one of my students found that High Septon Maynard's journals were indeed stolen, confirming our previous intel, I cannot confirm where it has gone but the roses have good connections within the order, as do its protectors, either is most likely to be responsible than any other.

"Whom is it from?" Daenerys asked, interrupting his reading as Aemon reached the end of the message. She had just caught up with him on her mare, each day growing more confident in her riding abilities.

"See for yourself," he handed her the plain-looking journal, her eyes widened in surprise but still, she reached for it, and Aemon had to stop her from falling from the saddle. "Careful,"

"Sorry," she blushed but began reading anyway, her eyes widening even more as she did and Aemon observed her reaction.

"You didn't know then," he observed, as he had guessed.

"How dare they…" she seethed, "They made an agreement for my brother's hand and abandoned us when we needed help, where were they when we were starving in the streets of Myr?"

Reaching over, he lay a comforting hand on her shoulder, "It seems the Martells have their plans for our family,"

"They can burn in the Seven Hells," Daenerys sneered, something Aemon was unfamiliar with as his younger aunt had been rather joyful, even considering her recent loss.

"Do not be so quick to condemn them, Dany," he said, trying to placate his aunt, "Their family was slaughtered as well during the rebellion, it is no excuse for their lack of help, but they too seek to have their justice and no doubt they saw Viserys as the best path to it,"

"They could have still helped us,"

"They could have," he nodded, "but it is also possible that they lost your trace when you had to leave Braavos, and if they had been caught, it would have meant war, the Dornish lost much during the rebellion, likely, they have only begun stabilizing their army,"

"So I shouldn't be angered at them, is that it?" she challenged with fire in her eyes and Aemon chuckled, she had come out of her shell since Pentos.

"I did not say that but rest assured I do not trust them, they have much to answer for, but we cannot turn our back on possible allies this soon, Dany," he explained, "as I said, they too were wronged during the Usurper's war,"

"You think they'll want to follow us?"

"It's possible," he answered slowly though he could not help but wonder if they would try using this contract to either tie him to Arianne, as they had Visery. That was not something he could allow, while having the Dornish as allies would prove very useful, he also knew they were not enough, history had proven that. They could defend their home just fine, using the environment to defeat their enemies but when it came to defeating united kingdoms far from the sands of Dorne? They simply had no chance. "Just as much as they may take offense with my parentage and decide it is an insult to them." According to his mother, it had been Oberyn's initial reaction to learning he existed. Though he had been calmed by his sister's letter, who was to say what Doran's reaction would be?

If Marwyn was right, and that the Citadel had been impeding the prince's treatment it perhaps provided the right avenue to tie the Martells to their cause, though he had no idea how to cure the gout with magic. Perhaps a potion could be made but Aemon was unsure if it was worth it. Inventing such from scratch would take years, decades even and they would need test subjects, which were lacking by the nature of the disease. Not many lived a luxurious enough lifestyle to develop it. In any case, it was a good idea to send Anton to replace the current Sunspear maester, the man would undoubtedly suffer an unfortunate accident though Aemon was sure not many would miss him.