Chapter 1: Summerhall - Part I
Aerys travels to Summerhall at the behest of the King; Rhaella feels uncomfortable in her position, Jaehaerys grows more confident.
Aerys hated Dorne, or rather, the Dornish Marches. It was hot and dry, the sun high in the sky and merciless in it's reign of terror. Aerys didn't hate the heat of Dorne, but rather the people. The Dornish were a stubborn lot, they only recently joined the realm proper, under Targaryen rule. When Aegon the Dragon flew Balerion over the Realm, his foes resisted his will of course, but sooner or later, they submitted and followed their rightful King, and bent the knee
The Dornish didn't. The willful curs had the gall to rebel! Against the dragon! It was an outrage he thought, they even murdered Queen Rhaenys and Meraxes, though some say the Princess of Dorne, the fat, blind, spiteful toad Meria Martell gave her to the Uller's of Hellholt to torture. When he heard the story at his Maester's knee, he seethed. They murdered a dragon, the dragon and everyone shrugged passed it like it didn't happen! They ought to be punished, ruthlessly so. They didn't deserve Dorne, the ruling Prince had the nerve to send his daughter as an envoy, sending a letter stating that they wished to live in peace as two separate realms, as if the Gods themselves hadn't chosen Aegon and his sisters to rule over them. If he were Aegon, he'd send the Prince of Dorne his daughters head, and march down the Boneway and the Prince's Pass and kill every high-born lord and lady until they submitted. They would break, unlike their words suggest, and they would never be whole again by the time he was done with him.
Alas, he wasn't Aegon, and he didn't have a dragon. What he did have, were his Gold Cloaks. Aerys was always the bigger and stronger than the other young boys in the training yard. He was vigorous in his training, and by the time he was ten, he was beating boys of five and ten in the yard. The Maester said when he was born, he roared and screeched so loud that no one in the Keep could rest, Mother said he roared proudly, like a dragon. When it came to arms, he knew no peer who could best him, with the sword he was good, with the axe even better, but his mace, he was a God a dragon.
His brother Daeron was no different, being only two years his senior, the two princes grew up close. Aerys took a interest in his brother's training, and sparred with him often. Aerys preferred the mace, but Daeron could have given Daemon Blackfyre a run for his money with the sword. The sons of Crown Prince Jaehaerys became some of the best warriors in the Seven Kingdoms, though his father couldn't even lift a shield.
Soon after word gout out of Aerys and Daeron's martial ability, rumors began to spread at court. Foul, disgusting rumors, the princes cannot be the seed of Jaehaerys, the man is too weak to produce such strong and vigorous sons. Aerys was wroth when he heard the lie, Mother was dutiful and loved father, as useless as he was. She would never betray him, and birth bastards to sit the Iron Throne. He remembered when he was ten and one, he and Daeron decided to listen in on a Small Council meeting. ''These are filthy lies, Father, you know it true!'' He heard Mother say, her voice barely contained. ''I know my daughter, but-'' His Grandfather's voice was cut off by someone slamming their hand down, hard. ''But nothing!'' He knew that voice, it was his father, Jaehaerys, Crown Prince. Aerys was shocked, it was a rare thing for his father to lose his temper. ''These scum have made foul accusations about my wife, and called my sons parentage into question, I will not have it! I want them arrested, I want them attainted, and I want them executed!'' There was no sound for a while, everyone likely in shock of the passion father gave. Then his voice was a whisper, so low he had to put his ear to the door and strain to listen, ''And I will have nothing less.''
And yet, he did have less, as Aerys had not hear of any public executions at all, he seethed, it wasn't fair. Jaehaerys wasn't representative of all Targaryen's, just because he wasn't weak and sickly people thought him a bastard? Aerys wanted the traitors executed, but another part of him couldn't blame them. It was father's fault, Jaehaerys claimed to be a dragon, but might as well be a lizard lion he was so weak. If he had taken to the martial arts, no one would dare question who he was.
Aerys' resentment grew, his father was weak and sickly, always suffering from some ailment or another. Mother said what he lacked in strength he made up for in wit, but he just saw it as her defending her husband, what she saw in him Aerys would die to know. The realm needed a strong King, someone who would ride out when enemies came to their shores, not run and hide, letting others do their work for them. Uncle Daeron died for father's cravenness, and no one seemed to give a flying fuck.
Aerys would be the first to admit he detested his uncle who bore his brother's name. He was sick and grotesque, a filthy sword swallower who decided to spend his life shagging some knight of Norcross than marrying the Redwyne girl as Grandfather bid. What was his name, Joramund, Joffrey? He didn't know and he didn't really care to know. It was his fault they sent his brother away... To make amends with the Reach his wise father decided to send his brother to Highgarden. Aerys protested this, as did Daeron, since he was being sent to Storm's End to be raised alongside Steffon Baratheon, his cousin and longtime childhood friend, Tywin was close to him too, but he would come later.
Another reason Aerys and his father's relationship strained, and this time, it could not be mended together by Mother's sweet but stern soothing, your father means well, Aerys, I know he does Mother would say, and for a time, he would listen. Everyone says father's so wise, and that him and Mother would be Jaehaerys and Alysanne come again. That went out the window when he chucked his brother away to the Reach, to pay for his brother's mistakes.
Highgarden wasn't a place for real warriors, it was meant for summer knights with roses up their arses and fat, craven lords who drank their fill. Storm's End was better, he and Steffon would rough-house in the yard and beat each other bloody, Aerys with his mace and Steffon with the warhammer. They'd sneak out for a night on the town, and drink so much they'd have to be carried back to the castle. It reminded him of his time in King's Landing, he was fifteen now, but he joined the City Watch when he was ten and three.
He died his hair muddy brown, so they think he was a dragon seed prince than heir to the Iron Throne. When they saw him they took him for a man grown, how tall and muscled he was. His arms thick, with fine silver hair up and down his arms from his shoulder to his wrist, broad shoulders and a charming smile, the men naturally formed around him. It wasn't until Lord Erwin Stokeworth, his Grandfather's master of whispers informed the King of what he was doing.
Mother, always doting on her children, feared for his safety, and begged Grandfather to force him to abdicate. Aerys refused, and threatened to give up his position as his father's heir and give the Crown to Daeron. There will be no need of that, son, you can have your Gold Cloaks, as long as you conduct yourself with the honor your station demands, father has said, in that moment, he could have grabbed his father into a hug and swung him around he was so happy.
The Cloaks were his brothers, his pack, his closets friends. There was Jon One-Eye, and Vyrman No Nose, Tom and Pate, Jerry and Jerribald, the twins. They were apart of him, they were dear to his heart. When he wed Rhaella two years ago, he didn't wear the black wool cloak worn by his father, nay, he wore a cloak of gold. He served under Ser Lorimas Rykker for a while, but Aerys was a commander in everything but name.
He was a tad too young, men who had served since they were ten and seven who now resided in their forties might take ill to following a boy of five and ten, no matter how good a commander he is. Soon as his name day comes though, he'd place his name in, and become the youngest commander of the City Watch. He knows he will.
''Has father told you what we're doing here?'' The sudden voice snapped him from all thoughts, he turned his head to see who had spoken. It was his uncle Duncan, before it was Prince Duncan, but no more, after Grandfather disinherited him. It had happened years before he was born, but it was still the talk of court. How Duncan was betrothed to some Baratheon girl, how he spurned her for a commoner, how Lyonel Baratheon, once called the laughing storm renounced his fealty and declared himself Storm King, the ancient title of House Durrandon.
Duncan had caused a shitshow, over some candle maker's daughter or fisherman's get he mused, his uncle was a well-ripe fool. Aerys didn't know what was worse, the fact that he married the girl or the fact that he expected to keep his title of Prince of Dragonstone, and have proud, noble families call a peasant, your grace. Duncan was wroth when he heard his brother had been named heir over him, and threatened to take the crown anyway. His uncle Daeron had the fool seized, what shall we do with this traitor, brother? His uncle Daeron had supposedly asked his father, shall I take his head or his tongue?
Neither was what his father said, that was foolish too, Duncan had been sturring up trouble ever since, rousing up houses to take up his cause, none would. Who would seat the Prince of Dragonflies on the throne when they can have the pure blood Valyrian prince, named after the conciliator himself? Duncan had never forgiven his father for disinheriting him, nor his brother for accepting this and demonizing him for his choice of bride. Aerys was no kinslayer, but he wouldn't bash his head in with the blunt of his mace in a second if he tried to take his throne, and his son's after him.
Rhaella was pregnant, heavily so, another reason he was in a very pissed off mood. His wife should be in the Red Keep, with an army of maid-servants to tend to her every need, so she can be best prepared to birth his son, not riding in a stuffy carriage down the King's Road, on some motley fool's errand Grandfather's thinking of. His Grandsire, Aegon Fifth of his name, had grown up beside a hedge knight, who was now Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. He had grown an affinity for the small-folk, going as far as to make absurd laws that took away the right's of lords, Aegon was stubborn, but made compromises when he saw that his realm could very well turn against him.
Instead of giving up the foolish notion, he began sending men on ships to find lore of dragon breeding and sorcery, apparently thinking the only way to bend the lords to his will were to have dragons. Men went as far as Asshai by the Shadow, Mother told him, Aerys thought it was ridiculous, he would love for himself and his siblings to have dragons, but not his Grandfather. Peasants are peasants for a reason, if you on force lords to bow to people beneath them with a dragon, they won't openly rebel, you'd just find some Strangler in your goblet.
''No.'' Father replied in a short, clipped tone. According to Mother, the two brother's were once two peas in a pod, but after Duncan had refused to accept the King's decree that Jaehaerys was to be the Prince of Dragonstone, their relationship became strained, and father leaned towards his younger brother Daeron. Duncan scowled, and spurred his horse forward, his horse kicking up the tan-brown dirt into their faces. Aerys grimaced.
''What a cunt.'' He said bluntly, father regarded him but said nothing, his eyes said everything. They agreed. Mother scowled however.
''Aerys, he is your lord uncle, you ought to have more respect for him.'' She said in a firm tone.
''Duncan should respect himself,'' He heard father mutter, Mother frowned but said nothing.
''How close are we?'' He heard a sweet, kind voice speak. He smiled, Rhaella was kind, he had no doubt she'd be a dutiful wife, it's just that she was... well... boring. Boring as all get out, Aerys was always wild and willful, where Rhaella was calm and dutiful, he was blunt and didn't care for the games at court, while Rhaella was a master at it. He wanted a Visenya for his wife, a woman who could fight like him, drink like him, make bawdy jests like him. Rhaella was none of those things, she was shy, sweet and innocent, things Aerys certainly were not.
This was another reason he protested their marriage, he didn't want to marry any of his sisters. Rhaella was closer in age, but his younger sister, Myrei, was closer in personality. But Aerys saw Myrei as a second brother, not a sister, he didn't even know if he could go through with the bedding if he was wed to her. Thankfully, Daeron solved that problem and took Myrei to wife, much to Grandfather's frustration.
Sometime Aerys didn't even know if his grandfather was a Targaryen or not, he surely looked Targaryen, with his beaten gold hair with silver woven in the strands and deep dark purple eyes. But his actions made him seem like a completely different person of a completely different heritage, it was probably his Dayne blood. His Grandsire, for some strange reason, rejected the tradition marriage of brother and sister.
Aegon V thought it apparently did more harm than good, another foolish notion the peasants put in his head. The dragon line must be kept pure, and dragons don't mingle with lesser beasts. Though, in truth, Aerys was willing to break this sacred rule, for one woman, with hair spun gold and eyes like emeralds...
Joanna was the first woman he ever remembered wanting, when Tywin presented her to Rhaella, and offered her as a lady-in-waiting he thought his heart might burst from the affection he felt for her, and he didn't even know her. She was funny, smart, and beautiful. By the Gods, Aerys was always loose with himself, and never spent a night alone, and had spent his time ''familiarizing'' himself with the maidens of court. When he saw Joanna, he didn't take another woman to bed, he didn't want her to be scared away, there is nothing a woman fears more than a whore-mongering husband who shames her at every minute.
Aerys, Steffon and Tywin were best friends growing up, all of them being fostered at Storm's End, and the prince considered them to be as close as brothers. Yet when it came to Joanna, nothing could stop him from courting her. Not Jaehaerys insisting that he court his sister Rhaella, not Mother telling him that Tywin obviously cared for Joanna as more than a cousin, nothing. He wanted her and he would have her.
Grandfather agreed with this, noting that the Lannister's of Casterly Rock were the richest family in the realm, and it be good to have Aerys wed outside the family. Mother and father protested, but Aerys didn't care, he would have her. Aerys made many friends while serving in the City Watch, and decided to send a betrothal offer and dowry in secret, lest his father find out. He arranged a massive dowry, one Stafford Lannister couldn't resist, Mother said it was half the royal treasury, but Aerys didn't know for certain. He also added the dragon egg he was given in his cradle at birth. Dragons may be dead, but the eggs are priceless, and costed a fortune.
Lord Rayford Rosby's son Roger was a companion Aerys, and he had went to the wedding of Roger's brother Gyles. The lad coughed the entire time, blood and phlegm heaving from his throat. Lord Rayford was the Master of Coin for Grandfather, and had access to the royal coffers. Aerys sent a force of four hundred men to guard the shipment of they massive dowry and betrothal offer, Rayford allowing men access to the vaults beneath the city.
His little plan went awry Erwin Stokeworth's spies eventually found out, the shipment was seized, and Lord Rayford was stripped of his position, and was given to his brother, Alyn Rosby. Aerys raged when he heard this, and marched into the Small Council chamber, intent on cowering his father into sending the dowry. His father proved to be more formidable than he thought.
''Why was my shipment delayed?'' Aerys had demanded of his father, his face thin and gaunt, his eyes were sharp, his hands clenched.
''You are not to wed Joanna Lannister, the girl is promised to Tywin.'' He felt the world swimming around him, Joanna... Joanna wouldn't! Surely she'd rather be Queen than a mere Lady of Casterly Rock! Aerys would have given her everything, silks, robes, jewels...
''She's mine!'' Aerys was not known for his quietness, his booming voice got the attention of others, and commanded respect. His roar could put a Baratheon to shame.
''She is not.'' Jaehaerys said firmly, Aerys raged.
''How DARE you? You had no right-'' His raging was cutoff by a piercing slap to the face by his father. At first he was stunned still, then he slowly brought his hand up to his face, and gently rubbed it. Jaehaerys was angrier than he'd ever seen him.
''I HAD EVERY RIGHT!'' His father boomed, Jaehaerys never screamed, not once. It wasn't in his nature, he was soft spoken but firm, kind, but decisive.
''You will wed Rhaella, or by the Gods I'll name Daeron my heir! Now, get out!'' Aerys ran from the room tears streaming down his face and hate burning though his heart. At first, he was angry and bitter at his sister, and refused to speak to her. Grandfather was the only one able to get though to him.
''I know she isn't the one you want, and the Seven only know why your father insists on this marriage. But there's nothing you can do about that now, she is to be your Queen, you go on like this, and relationship will remain bitter until the end of your days.'' Only then had Aerys realized how foolish he'd been, which was rare considering Aerys rarely if ever openly admitted his faults.
''About three more hours.'' Jaehaerys had told Rhaella soothingly, there was a thing sheet of sweat on her brow, she wiped it with the back of her hand. Aerys groaned, the long tan road was poorly furnished, he carriage Rhaella was in jostled and turned every five-seconds. Aerys turned to his father.
''We need to furnish a new road.'' He blurted out, father looked at him.
''Oh?'' He asked, he seemed amused, Aerys had never taken an interest in such things before.
''Aye, we can start from the split in the King's Road that heads into the Rose Road and the Stormlands. Go straight down, and lead it into the Boneway. The ruler of Summerhall can act as a buffer and toll collector, watching who enters are Dornish friends home.'' Aerys said the last bit with the most mocking tone he could muster. His father frowned at him but his eyes seemed to lighten up.
''That sound like a good idea Aerys, I shall speak to His Grace about it.'' He nearly fainted and fell off his horse, Aerys never took much interesting in the politics of ruling, he knew how to handle rowdy banner men and how to run a house hold, but other than that he allowed for Rhaella to deal with. His father had never asked his opinion on such matter because he knew he didn't really care, much to his displeasure.
The three hours went by dreadfully slow, the heat was affecting his father most of all. His skin became flustered and clammy, his large purple eyes grew hazy with every breath, and he nearly fell of his horse due to exhaustion. Ser Gerold ordered a stop, and gave the king water from his own skin to replenish him. Aerys would never admit it, but he was feeling uncomfortable in the heat too.
He had visited Dorne before, the Targaryen's spent their summer's leisurely in Summerhall more often than not, but the heat was greater than it ever was, unbearably so. His silk tunic was dripped with sweat under his arms and was pooling around his belly. Aerys felt gross, he would need a bath upon arriving. He turned his head towards the carriage that carried Rhaella, it jostled and jangled so hard he thought one of the wheels would break off.
Aerys grew so tired and exhausted he thought he'd die before he make it there. The party kept riding, Duncan and his wife bolted ahead of them, tensions were so high between his father and uncle that they nearly came to blows. Duncan seemed to get more volatile and aggressive the farther they went on, the heat was getting to everybody he assumed. Daeron had grown restless with the carriage having to be stopped often for damage repairs, and he and Myrei left soon after.
He decided to stay with his wife, he couldn't just leave her pregnant in the Dornish Marches, father was forced by Mother to sit in the wheel house, the heat was affecting him even more than he let on. After three long days they finally reach the castle raised by Daeron the Good. Aerys is in awe.
He had scene the castle before, but now everything was so clear it was hard to describe. When Aerys' horse trotted up alongside the large lake in front of the castle, he heard a slight gasp. He turned his head to see Ser Gerold, staring in awe and admiration. Summerhall was inhumanely large, the white marble steps so large that ten horses and carriages could gallop up and down the steps. On both side of the steps, there were two tall buildings that jutted straight into the sky that were pale white stone, with large black domes black as night for the roofs.
At the top of the marble stairs, there were several white marble pillars mixed with grey and black, chased with gold. Painted on the pillars were the red dragon of House Targaryen, all the from the foot of the pillar to the head. Connected to the pillars, a oily black platform connected the two marble buildings, were crowned by the shape of humongous snarling dragons the size of the carriage itself, onyx teeth bared, ruby eyes glinting, with wings chased with gold.
Aerys dismounted, and handed the reigns to a stable boy who came rushing up the way to meet them, he went over to the carriage to help Rhaella down. When he opened the door, she smiled shyly. He would never understand why she was so shy around him, they were married for two years, and had seen each other naked more times than he could count, and yet you'd think she was the purest maiden, even if her belly was swelling with child.
''Thank you, brother.'' His wife whispered, he smiled. She let out a shriek as he suddenly swooped her into his arms bridal style, Aerys showed her his pearly whites.
''We can't let you walk to the castle, can we?'' Mother gave him a disapproving but amused stare, father seemed to busy admiring the castle to look at anyone. Harlan Grandison and the aged Roland Crakehall flanked them as the climbed the white-marble stairs. Aerys looked in awe of the towering dome covered building, and soon he met the wide pillars, thick and stout, where they stood proud. The red paint gleaming as the Dornish sun beamed down, the flecks of gold engraved in the pillar shining bright.
The actual castle was large and vast, and stretched east to west as far as he could see. There were four rows of stained glass windows, some of them open, allowing the heat in no doubt. Summerhall was made in red-stone, and in the light was bright as the crimson on the Lannister banner. Ser Vyraman Gargalen, the chosen castellan stood there, proud as he greeted the royal family. His thick dark hair cut short, barely passing his ears. His smooth, olive skin was darker than the average Dornishman, his beady black eyes flecked with hazel.
''Your Graces,'' He greeted smoothly ''we welcome you back to Summerhall, His Grace waits in the common room, these servants will show you your chambers as you get ready.'' Mother and father were escorted by Ser Gerold and Ser Harlan, while Ser Crakehall led Aerys and Rhaella to their combined chambers. He carried Rhaella against the smooth sand-stone to the large oaken wood doors, red metal dragons hammered onto the twin doors. To his sides there were several gargoyles fused with black stone, spouts shooting water from their mouths into marble pools shaped into the three headed dragon of his house.
Ser Roland opened the doors immediately, his snow white cloak flowing as he checked the inside for intruders. The room was grossly large, in the center, there was a large dining table forty feet long in the shape of Westeros, similar to the Painted Table on Dragonstone. There were several goblet sitting on the table, along with parchment and quil dipped in ink. To his right was a large bookshelf, towering above him, filled with every topic available in the Seven Kingdoms.
To his left, there were four black velvet couches, sitting comfortably on the sofas were red silk pillows adorned with gold stitching. On both sides there were two marble stairs the wrapped and winded upstairs to the second floor, in the middle of the stairs was a large opening that led to the courtyard, a stretched hallway to the left. Roland escorted them to the middle silently, in Rhaella's condition, she wasn't able to climb the large stairs to and fro.
A shimmering silk veil hid the opening from the courtyard, Aerys took a left and walked down the hallway, stopping when Roland's white cloak halted. The white soldier put his hand on the hilt of his sword, and opened the door, he rushed in, checking for any possible danger while Aerys waited outside, Rhaella in his arms. He tilted his head down to let her know they were near the room, but she was asleep, snoring softly as her chest rose and fell, her protruding belly poking his.
''All clear, Your Grace,'' Ser Roland said flatly, Aerys walked into the chambers, it was well furnished. Black rugs laid at the foot of the massive bed, red and black canopy's falling down with grace, silken sheets laid on the bed, for it was too hot to use furs. To the right there was a alcove covered by a sheer linen covering, inside, was a marble tub of lapis lazuli, and a hint of gold. On the sides was a bench, twenty candles surrounded the alcove.
Aerys turned to the large bed and gently laid Rhaella down, she stirred quietly and mumbled something he couldn't hear. He watched her for a moment, the sweat made her hair stick to her head, her underarms were practically drenched in sweat, Aerys frowned. He walked outside and called for a servant to fill the bath with scalding hot water, just how she liked it. Rhaella may have been shy, but she was still a dragon, temperatures that would have made men scream in agony she used nonchalantly when she bathed.
When the bath was filled, he carried Rhaella to the tub, and slowly stripped her of her clothing. He soon came after her, silken tunic and breeches pooled at his feet, when he stepped inside, he felt something roar inside him. The heat was making his blood bumble and boil in his veins, he smiled.
''What's so funny?'' Rhaella asked, she cupped the water in her hands and splashed it on her faces, than ran her wet hands through her long silver hair. ''Nothing.'' He said, he moved closer to her and cradled his neck into her arms, he didn't even notice that he went to sleep.
She stirred at the sound of her name, eyes blurred and head pounding. Eyes slowly opening, she felt the wetness of water and the sound of splashes, when she came to, she saw Aerys, naked as his name day standing abruptly. Rhaella blushed something fierce, she had been married to her brother for two years, and yet still was uncomfortable with his nakedness. Myrei jested about being a maiden even though she was heavily pregnant, and Daeron often said she so innocent she'd feel right at home in a nunnery.
Despite all the teasing, Aerys had been nothing but kind to her. She knew he called him self ''in love'' with her best friend Joanna, in truth, she could understand why. Her long thick golden hair shone bright in the sunshine, her emerald eyes being nothing more than pools of mischief, while Rhaella was innocent and chaste, something wild and rebellious Aerys resented. Her younger sister had more spirit than her, so there was talk of her wedding Aerys instead of Rhaella.
Father but that talk to bed, by commanding Aerys wed her, and Daeron wed Myrei, unfortunately, Aerys made a futile attempt to betroth himself to Joanna anyway, which caused a scandal and embarrassment to both parties, considering Joanna and Tywin were counting down the days until their wedding. All of that was water under a bridge now, Joanna was betrothed to Tywin, and she was married to Aerys.
''Yes?'' She answered back, Aerys smiled ''it appears our lord grandfather has need of us, he's commanded us to meet him in the great hall in an hour.'' Rhaella frowned, she was heavily pregnant, and was like to burst any minute, and yet Aegon had not deemed that an excuse to stay in the Red Keep when he commanded all others to gather at Summerhall. Mother protested this, and Father requested that his daughter, who's with child, be sent to Dragonstone to give birth to the heir of the throne, Aegon heard none of it.
Rhaella was closer to her Father than her brother, but her brother was certainly closer to Aegon than she was. He had a fondness for making enemies than making friends, and his fetish for the peasants didn't make matters better, it was a good thing Father secretly promised to turn back those reforms as soon as he was crowned, lest resentment grow toward the Iron Throne. She slowly placed her hand at the edge of the tub, and hoisted her self up, she held her breath but soon she was swooped up by Aerys, his hand placed gently on her back as he carried her from the tub.
She blushed when she felt his cock brush up against her leg, Rhaella was always shy, she nearly burst from embarrassment when the men of the court called for the bedding when she was married. Aerys was gentle and considerate, and she did experience pleasure in his company, it was still awkward for her, however. Aerys carried her from the alcove to the room, where fresh clothes awaited them. Aerys dismissed the servants immediately, he almost always helped her dressed, and insisted that they share rooms.
Rhaella thought he liked to gape at her nakedness from time to time, not that she was complaining. Mother was happy to comply with her son, eager that he was showing enthusiasm in his marriage, Father however, bristled at his favorite daughter being in his son's company rather than his own. Her brothers were warriors, through and through, but Father wasn't, not even in the slightest way. He was to sickly to take up a sword or mace like his sons, so that was one thing off the rip they didn't have in common.
Daeron was charming and proud, Aerys boisterous and vain, Father was soft spoken, just and sometimes shy, just like her. They understood each other, while Aerys considered his Father weak and Daeron didn't think of him at all, Rhaella spent most of her girlhood at her Father's knee, learning about this thing or another. While he may not have been a warrior, he made up for it in his wits and cleverness, Aegon, even though he dested Father's marriage to Mother, and his grandchildren's marriages, respected his son and knew he would be a great King.
Rhaella wore a dress of black silk, with a proud red dragon sewn in the front. Aerys a red silken tunic that was split open to his stomach, showing half of his chest, and a lightweight black gambeson held together by a thrice cored belt in the shape of snarling dragons. The sleeves showed dragons of orange, red and yellow, all roaring as the spewed jets of flame. On his brow was a simple circlet of gold, with gems in the shape of dragon heads. Rhaella wore a similar coronet, but more ornate, with amethyst and rubies connected to short chains of gold, swaying every time she turned her head. In the middle was a fierce tigers-eye, bright orange with a black sash, engraved with a red dragon, roaring in defiance.
''Shall we go?'' Aerys asked, she smiled and nodded, taking his arm as they left the room. Ser Barristan was guarding their room, she gave a smile to the knight, which he gave back. They were escorted down the hallway until they reached a split off, one leading to a courtyard and one leading to another room, she could see two tall book shelves and a few couches, but other than that, nothing. She frowned, annoyed for not recognizing anything. She must have been asleep when they entered.
Barristan led them to the area with the book shelves and took a sharp right, she saw two abnormally large stair cases, both on either side of her, she saw Father and Mother already sitting down, the table was large to, and in the shape of Westeros. ''Father,'' Rhaella said performing as good a curtsey as she could muster in her condition. Father smiled, ''Rhaella, my dear, have a seat.'' Father then looked to his first born son, ''Aerys.'' His voice wasn't unkind, but it didn't have the same warmth as when he spoke to Rhaella. ''Your Grace.'' Aerys said, Rhaella seethed, it seems that her brother refused to call their Father by his title.
Mother gathered her daughter up into a hug, and kissed both of her cheeks, she heard footsteps coming down the stairs. She looked up to see Daeron and Myrei coming down, her sister's platinum white hair was in a simple long braid, Daeron's silver hair tied back with a dragon bone brooch, so tight that his forehead seemed to stretch. On his hip was a sword, its pommel a bright, gleaming ruby, the cross guard in the shape of flames, he sauntered over to her, his eyes smiling.
''By the seven Aerys,'' Daeron drawled, looking her up and down, ''our sister looks like to burst!'' Rhaella blushed at the jape, she was always shy when it came to such things, and shrunk into herself, Aerys puffed himself up, ''aye, brother, I do not fail in by duties.'' She blushed even more, Mother gave them a look, and Daeron began laughing, ''forgive me sister,`twas just a jape.'' Rhaella nodded silently, her face still red. Myrei wasn't as apologetic, ''by the Gods dear quit blushing so much, you look like a pomegranate.'' Rhaella blushed harder. Her shoulder slumped. She felt Myrei's hands straighten her, ''and for the love of the Seven quit slouching! You're to be Queen, act like it, instead of some frightened hand maiden.''
''Myrei Targaryen!'' Mother cried out in anguish, ''Myrei, apologize to your sister.'' Father said, Myrei rolled her eyes, ''sorry.'' She mumbled before taking a seat, Rhaella breathed slowly, the flush dissipating, and straightened her back, her sister was right, Father said she was smart, but that meant nothing if she was always sulking and blushing every five-seconds. Myrei gave her a look of approval.
Aerys smiled at her, and scooted back the seat next to to him. Rhaella sat down. Soon, there were more footsteps, coming down the stairs was her uncle Duncan and his wife Jenny. Rhaella wanted to scream, she knew Duncan was her kin, but she loathed him, just like she loathed her Grandmother. Black Betha never cared for Mother and Father, apparently they were to Targaryen for her liking, in their coloring and disposition, and threw a fit when they wed each other rather than the betrothals she set out for them. By extension, she was cool to her and her siblings for being the fruit of her parents incest, and shunned her wedding, pleading illness. Aegon had claimed to loved the woman who hated her, so therefore, she hated him to.
Duncan was worse, he was a fool who fell in love with a peasant, even though she wasn't there; not haven been born yet, she heard the stories at court, and her uncles love affair had become a source for the singers. Rhaella had heard how her uncle had shown up with his bride, and demanded that she be named Princess of Dragonstone, as she was his lawful wife. Aegon was outraged, seeing as he was betrothed to a daughter of House Baratheon. Duncan didn't care, and insisted that nobles call this gutter rat Your Grace.
Then he was disinherited, Duncan flew into a rage, to the point where he had to seized by her uncle Daeron, who offered to kill him, which Father refused to do. He left the Red Keep soon after, attempting to rile up the noble houses to take up his claim, not that anyone would, for who would bow to someone of a lesser station than them? He was down right rude to her, especially when Aerys and her were named Father's heirs.
Duncan said nothing as he sat down, Jenny gave her a look of scorn, no doubt angry that she lost her chance to be Queen. How she thought she would ever get the crown was outrageous, for a moment no one said anything, silence continuing among them. She looked outside, the sun was still shining, bright and orange, and she could feel the heat through the stained glass windows.
Then he was there, Aegon fifth of his name, her grandsire. On his head was a simple crown of gold, without jewels or decorations, the crown of Aegon Dragonsbane. He acknowledged Father first.
''Jaehaerys, Shaera.'' A thin smile came to her grandfather's face, Father and Mother bowed and curtsied, he then turned to her brothers, ''Ah, Aerys, you getting tall on me.'' Aerys smiled and hugged Aegon, Daeron did the same. Then it was her turn. ''Grandfather,'' She stated, trying to force warmth into her tone, the fact that he forced her out here, knowing she was pregnant earned him her ire. His face turned happy. ''Rhaella,'' Aegon then kissed both of her cheeks, ''how's my grandson doing?'' Grandson? ''Err..'' Rhaella stuttered, ''he's doing well,'' Her voice pitched high at the end, so it seemed more a question.
Aegon then went on to ruffled the hair of Myrei and Daeron's children, Aemar, the oldest was stoic and always frowning, strangely queer for a one year old. Maekar was happy and joyful babe relishing in Aegon's attentions, their twin sisters Jaelora, who was also babe and Vyrei, cooed softly in the wet-nurses arms. Aegon took a seat at the head of the table, his voice turning serious.
''I know you all are wondering why I have brought you here,'' He began, everyone nodded. ''For years House Targaryen's strength has relied on the will of good kings, and the fear of our enemies, the fear what me might do, in the case they rebel. Our banners strike fear into lesser men, but now, I'm feeling the fear has begun to fade.'' Father frowned.
''Is someone plotting Father?'' He asked Aegon nodded, ''I gathered you all here to try to bring our house back to glory, to bring the dragon's back, unfortunately I made a mistake.''
''A mistake?'' Aerys asked, Aegon nodded again, he then clapped his hands, ''bring them out.'' Two women, with hair red as flames, came out in their palms were iron chains, and connected to them were two men, in grey robes, chains around their necks. Maesters.
''Tell them,'' Aegon commanded the men, ''tell them of the vile treason you attempted to commit.'' The men remained silent, ''TELL THEM!'' Her grandfather's voice boomed, Rhaella flinched.
''I made a mistake in trusting these grey rats, also known as Maesters.'' Father gasped, Mother paled.
''What are your talking about?'' Rhaella found herself asking, Aegon didn't look at her, instead the women spoke.
''These men committed terrible crimes, Your Grace, they attempted to murder His Grace.'' Father flushed red ''they should executed!'' He said, Aegon nodded. ''They should be, but perhaps they would serve a better purpose.'' The red woman spoke again.
''I am Vinara, this is my younger sister, Melisandre. We came here to stop them,'' Duncan face grew agitated.
''Stop them from what?'' He demanded.
''They lied to His Grace, gave him false information, told him they knew how to hatch dragons, when all they knew was how to start a disaster.'' Everyone looked confused, Aegon spoke up.
''When I first began to seriously consider ways to find the secrets of dragon hatching, I confided in the Maesters. They assured me dragons were dead but I was not so easily swayed. I commissioned trips to Asshai, Yi-Ti, and Volantis, looking for any hope for the scions of Old Valyria. They said it was pointless, that it meant nothing, despite the evidence that dragons weren't dead, the Maester's kept insisting they were. But the one day, Maester Gormon came to me, and said he finally found a way to hatch dragons, a way that involved wildfire.''
Rhaella shivered, wildfire was a highly inflammable substance that melted anything, from steel to flesh. Aegon continued, ''They told me I had to put every dragon egg in wildfire, before setting it a flame, I never questioned it, they were Maester's, sworn to serve the throne, I would never expect that they wanted me dead.'' The sadness in her sire's voice was heartbreaking.
''Then Vinara and her sister came, showed me the truth in the flames, they deceived me! The impact would have disastrous, I would have died, Duncan, my son...'' Aegon shook his head and breathed deep, ''they tried to assassinate me.'' As soon as the words left his mouth, an outcry came from her family members, Father demanded they be executed, Aerys, always looking for an opportunity to fight, wanted a trial, so he could beat the Maester's champion to a bloody pulp with his mace. Daeron and Myrei both shouted for torture, so they could find out how deep the plot is, while Duncan sat there, saying nothing.
''Enough!'' Aegon's voice put an end to the shouting, ''I have found the true way to hatch dragons.'' Rhaella was dumbfounded, he'd just explained that someone attempted to assented him, using his want for dragons, now he still wants to attempt to hatch them?
''Father...'' His face had the same expression hers had, Aegon waived him away, ''I know what you're thinking, Jaehaerys, I assure you I know what I'm doing, the key is within us, we don't need any help.''
''What?'' Mother asked, Aegon sighed, ''the key, Shaera. The key to hatching dragons is within us, it's in our words.''
''Fire and Blood?'' Myrei asked, as if it had no meaning.
''Fire and Blood.'' Aegon responded, ''that's the key, our blood, and the flames.''
''That's why you've brought the Red Priestesses.'' Duncan said suddenly, Aegon nodded, ''I need your cooperation in this, you're my family, despite the fact we all may very well hate each other right now, we're still family, it's all that lives on, this is our legacy.'' Aegon sounded desperate, Rhaella frowned, she would love to have a dragon, but she is pregnant now, her child comes first, before anything she wants. This was simply too dangerous.
''This is dangerous, Father, what if something goes wrong?''
''What will it take to re assure you?'' Aegon pleaded, why was he in such a rush for dragons, the realm was at peace right now, even though some lords resented Aegon's reforms, Father was shaping up to be a good King. They wouldn't have any need to rain fire and blood on their enemies. Father and Mother said nothing, then Vinara walked over to the roaring fire in the hearth. ''Come here,'' she commanded of no one in particular, intrigued, she walked over, her hands intertwined with Aerys'.
Rhaella looked behind her to see Father and Mother walking behind them, Father seemed nervous, Daeron and Myrei were already next to Vinara, waiting impatiently, Duncan was the last to arrive, a scowl on his face as Jenny strided next to him.
''Look,'' Vinara said, and so she did.
She saw the courtyard of Summerhall, gargoyles of black stone, marble pools chased with gold, three headed dragons embroidered on silk, wool and plush couches. Then she saw her Father and Mother, staring at a rectangular bucket, inside were seven dragon eggs, the bucket filled with green liquid.
Rhaella began to panic, dread filled her very soul, she saw Aerys, his eyes had a queer look to them. They seemed almost delightful as he watched the eggs slosh about in the substance. Then there was Aegon, he stood proud and determined, his dark purple eyes eying the eggs with a seriousness she never seen in him before. Two Maester's stood at his eyes, whispering in his ear.
Then there was flames.
Green. The flames were green, they were higher than the Hightower in Oldtown and the Wall in the North. It burned so hot she could feel beads of sweat traveling down her brow and into her eyes, she wiped it away the the back of her hand. The marble buildings twisted, the red stone turned green, the stone dragons malformed, as if screaming in agony. She then saw Aegon again, screaming horror. She saw Father and Mother running, the flames on their heels.
She saw Duncan the Kingsguard attempting to get him out, but he shoved him away. ''Save Rhaella!'' He cried out.
She saw Duncan and his wife devoured, his face slowly melting, his eyes becoming liquid. She saw herself, her thighs slick with blood, as she was carried outside by Duncan the Tall, the Kingsguard knight shoved himself into Aerys' hands and then went back inside. ''Where are you going!'' Aerys cried, ''to save your Grandfather.'' Duncan replied, then the whole castle was green.
The flames burned and burned and burned, until there was nothing left but ruins.
She felt herself losing balance, until she was caught by someone, she turned around to see her Grandfather, a concerned look on his face. He saved me, she thought. Her head was pounding in her skull, she thought she was going to vomit. Aegon looked at her, his dark eyes sad.
''You saw, didn't you?'' Rhaella nodded slowly, he hugged her, she felt stupid for her pettiness. After their hug broke, she turned to her Father, his skin was deathly pale and clammy, his eyes large and full of fear.
''The flames...'' He said, Grandfather placed a loving hand on his shoulder.
''This is no matter of want, son, we must do this.'' Father nodded solemly.
''We will begin at nightfall, I'll leave you to your thoughts.'' Rhaella looked to Aerys, his face had a look of sheer terror.
When they reached their rooms he began to sob, Rhaella sobbed too, the flames, the way her uncles flesh had sloughed off from his face, leaving nothing but bone...
''What did you see?'' Aerys asked, she was confused, didn't they all see Summerhall?
''Summerhall. The fire, the wildfire.'' Aerys flinched at the last words, ''what did you see?'' Rhaella asked.
''Myself. I was King, but I was different, I was mad.'' Rhaella's mouth gaped open, she was shocked, sure, her brother liked war and fights and such, but that hardly constituted to being mad.
''I burned men alive, Rhae, then afterwards I would... I...'' Aerys began a new fit of sobs, Rhaella gathered him into a hug soothing him, running her hands through his silver hair.
''It's okay, Aerys, it's okay.''
Jaehaerys sat down in his chambers, Shaera right next to him. So many things were running though his head, the vision in the flames, his son... his son... Aerys' descent into madness was hard to watch, him nearly dying from his father's botched dragon hatching attempt, him being jealous of Tywin's success as Hand, his capture at Duskendale, it all just boiled up. What he saw in those flames wasn't his son, it was a monster, a vicious spiteful monster.
The wildfire, tying up the lords Stark and burning them alive, staring a rebellion, the overthrow of his family... he wept when he and Shaera reached their chambers. Jaehaerys would have never, not in a thousand years, dreamt that his son would turn out that way, he was a warrior who didn't have much interest in ruling, but burning men alive for sexual gratification... that was beyond his imagination.
His own death was sad as well, but he expected it, he was always sickly at a youth, so much so that people assumed he would die young. But he preserved, and fought through every battle with illness with everything in him. Aerys liked to think otherwise, but he was still a dragon, and a dragon never gives up. Jaehaerys looked to his wife, his sister, his Queen, they had been through so much together, dealing with mother and father's ire, Duncan's jealously, they survived it all.
Jaehaerys was always considered to be wise for his age, but he was willing to for go all of that for his sister, father had thought to outlaw sibling marriages, but he wasn't having it, so he secretly wed Shaera. The two were in love, much to their parents horror, not that they cared. Betha was never much of a mother, she doted on Duncan, who had inherited her eyes and hair, but frowned upon him, Daeron and Shaera, apparently their Targaryen coloring threw her off.
Aegon didn't correct this, not once, so their relationship became strained, and he didn't speak to his father unless he absolutely had to. Duncan was spoiled by Betha, being heir to the throne, and thus, he thought he was invincible, he had to, for him to have the audacity to bring that peasant girl to court, naming her Princess of Dragonstone. Aegon was outraged, and demanded he set the girl aside and wed his betrothed. Duncan refused, and told his King that Jenny was his wife and future Queen.
Thankfully, Aegon ended the charade when he disinherited Duncan, who was apparently surprised that Jenny wasn't a suitable match for a future Queen, fought Aegon on this. I am your first born son, I am the Prince of Dragonstone, and Jenny the Princess of Dragonstone, the crown shall go to my firstborn son. Duncan had proclaimed, Are you a fool, brother? The kingdoms will not except a lowly peasant for a Queen! Daeron had exclaimed.
Duncan refused to give up however, I am the heir, I will fight for my rights, name me Prince of Dragonstone and I will forget this happened. For what his brother lacked in sense, he had in arrogance. I am the Prince of Dragonstone! I am the dragon! I can wed whoever I wish! He had screeched, when Aegon told him he couldn't wed someone beneath his station. Jaehaerys never wished to be King, well, he knew he'd be a better one than Duncan, but he didn't wish to usurp his brother's place, he'd be content with Summerhall, and his daughter will wed Duncan's son, simple.
Then he was named Prince of Dragonstone, and heir to the Iron Throne, when he heard the news, he could hardly believe it. Betha protested this, even to go as far to say that a peasant Queen wouldn't be so bad. Jaehaerys had never seen Aegon so angry before, his hands curled up into fists, his nose flared.
''Get out.'' Was the only thing he said to his wife.
Now they were here, and Betha was in King's Landing, ruling in the King's absence. Jaehaerys was nervous, he still had doubts about the ritual, namely if it would work, or if Summerhall would burst into flames. Aegon without a doubt felt that it would work, that dragons would hatch and he could make the lives of the small folk better. Jaehaerys knew that would make the nobles hate them even more.
Jaehaerys wasn't heartless, he felt for their plight, but he can't risk the nobles plotting, or worse, rebelling because he declared that a peasant has the right to choose if he wished to fight for a lord during a time of war, as Aegon did. Tywin Lannister arrived in court to protest the decision, so did Prince Oberyn and Leyton Hightower. Eventually, Aegon felt pressure from his lords paramount, and decided to take back the reforms, albeit grudgingly.
''Its time.'' Jae sighed, and pulled himself from the feather bed, Shaera behind him. They stepped out only to see Ser Duncan guarding the door, Jaehaerys gave a nod to acknowledge the man but otherwise said nothing.
''Are you nervous?'' Shaera whispered, Jaehaerys nodded. How could he not be? What they were doing could very well in end tragedy, but the visions... Jaehaerys would do everything in his power to stop his son from becoming that man. He walked down the long corridor, his arm wrapped around Shaera's. They walked down the monstrous, black-wood stairs that led to the Great Room. Once they reached the bottom, they walked through the middle of the stairs to the courtyard.
In the middle of the courtyard was a large, deep marble pool. The pool was made of red Jasper, with swirls of black, the water was sky blue, and perfectly still. Next to the pool was a manticore made of black stone, it's monstrous paws raking the air, it's mouth open and roaring. Onyx teeth bared, ruby eyes gleamed. Black and red. Dragon colors.
The continued, there were several tables with umbrellas on top of them, red dragon stitched proudly. Silk pillows, dove skin couches, the courtyard was more expensive than most people's livehood coffers. Their journey took them away from Summerhall completely, the smooth sandstone turning into dark brown dirt. Jaehaerys looked behind him, he could see the red stone castle, the candles echoing his colors.
He saw Aerys and Rhaella, who was clutching her belly protectively, Aerys' finger was grazing the dagger on his hip. Daeron and Myrei looked excited and impatient, just as he suspected. Aegon stood tall and proud, his crown gleaming as he look down at the eggs. Duncan looked at them with barely contained lust, no doubt thinking of ways he would win his crown for his peasant Queen.
When they finally reached everyone else, Jaehaerys saw the problem, there were only seven eggs. Aegon, Duncan, Aerys, Daeron and Myrei..Rhaella, myself, Shaera.... that's eight.
One person would have to go without an egg, he noticed Duncan step closer to the eggs, Jaehaerys frowned. If Duncan got those he'd have no doubt that he'd kill his children to secure his throne, he took one step.
''We need one more egg.'' Rhaella said, Jaehaerys turned to his daughter. ''there's only seven, and there's eight of us.'' She explained, Aegon had a thoughtful look on his face.
''I claim two eggs, for myself and Rhaella.'' Aerys spoke up suddenly.
''I as well! For myself and Jaehaerys.'' Shaera said, Jaehaerys looked at her in shock, this has a chance of going bad, very, very bad.
''Me to!'' Daeron exclaimed.
''What about me?'' Duncan said, his dark eyes gleaming with hate, ''I will have an egg.'' Said Duncan, his voice determined and unwavering.
''I will choose who get's the eggs. As your sire and King, I will choose.'' Everyone's breath hitched.
''Aerys and Rhaella, choose.'' His firstborn son and daughter nodded, and began looking over the eggs. Aerys touched one, and than moved on, so did Rhaella. Aerys grabbed one and hissed, ''fuck that's hot!'' He growled, the egg was a deep, dark green, with swirls of light seafoam blue. Aerys regarded the egg before pointing at it, ''that one,'' he said. Vinara grabbed the egg with ease, not flinching in the slightest.
''Prince Aerys has chosen an egg!'' She called out, Rhaella was still looking then she stopped, the egg was a burst of bright vermillion, with a slash of rose pink. She felt it, and immediately pulled her hands back, Jaehaerys saw a wide smile splay across his daughters face. ''This one,'' Rhaella said, smiling bright. Melisandre came and picked up the egg.
''Princess Rhaella has chosen an egg!'' Melisandre called out. Aegon turned to Daeron.
''Daeron and Myrei, choose.'' His children practically rushed to the scene, scrambling over the three eggs. Daeron touched every single one, his face smiling in childish glee, Jaehaerys smiled.
''This one!'' Myrei called out, the egg was a mixture of smoky grey, black, and white. Vinara walked over again.
''Princess Myrei has chosen an egg!''
Not one to be outdone, Daeron cried out, his voice shrill, ''THIS ONE!'' The egg has the same coloring as Rhaella's egg, bright vermillion red, with even brighter lava red swirls.
''Prince Daeron has chosen an egg!'' Aegon's eyes drifted to Duncan, who immediately puffed himself up, then his neck abruptly jerked.
''Jaehaerys and Shaera, choose.'' Before he could take a step Duncan let out a cry of anguish and protest.
''No! He can't get an egg before me! I'm the dragon, your son! You cannot-!'' His protest were cut off by Aegon's booming voice.
''SILENCE!'' Duncan stopped, his face was a flush of anger, Jaehaerys calmly took a step towards the eggs, there were only two left. One was a mixture, bright yellows and oranges, reds and blacks, and even a tint of blue, it reminded him of a morning sunrise. The other was pale cream and brilliant gold. He touched it.
''Arg!'' Jaehaerys grunted, his hand winced in pain from the shock of heat, he frowned, he was always capable of resisting high temperatures.
''This one,'' Vinvara nodded.
''Prince Jaehaerys has chosen an egg!'' Duncan bristled, his dark eyes filled with malice and hatred. Shaera touched the next one and cried out, she held her palm with her other hand, and nodded.
''Princess Shaera has chosen an egg!''
All of them were gone.
''Now we can began.'' Melisandre said, the gleam in her eyes made him uncomfortable.
''Bring out the prisoners!'' Vinara called, Aegon looked at him ''hold your eggs in front of you.'' Jaehaerys did as he was told. Three men were brought out in chains, he recognized them by their grey robes, they were Maesters.
''You have been found guilty of conspiring against the Iron Throne, and the attempted murder of the Crown Prince and his wife, my daughter Shaera, and his son, my grandson, Prince Aerys and his wife Rhaella, and my son Duncan. For these crimes, I, Aegon of the House Targaryen, Fifth of my Name, King of the Andals, Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm, sentence you to death, would you speak a final word?''
The Maester spat at his feet, ''curse you and your dragons, we killed Maegor's in his wives womb, and we poisoned the little weakling reptile during Aegon Dragonsbane reign, your family will be the bane of Westeros!'' Aegon gave a nod of his head, the men were brought closer to them their neck right above the eggs, Vinara raised a dagger, and cut their throats.
Jaehaerys' eyes widened, he wanted retch, red liquid gushed over his egg and dripped to his hands, slippery and thick. Shaera flinched, Aerys frowned and Rhaella looked about to cry, Myrei closed her eyes while Daeron looked away. The only one who didn't looked disgusted was his brother, he stared at the blood, a gleam in his eyes. Vinarra then handed the bloodied dagger to Aegon.
His father then made an incision on his hand with the knife, Jaehaerys winced. He walked over, and squeezed his hand over the eggs, red droplets dripping down. He felt the egg get warmer as his blood dropped on his egg of gold and cream. Vinarra began chanting, he recognized the words, they were High Valyrian.
''Great God of Fire, champion of R'hllor! Give Aegon Targaryen and his decedents the power, remove the paint of weaker blood from their veins, make them pure again! Bring back the blood of Old Valyria, the blood, the blood!''
Melsiandre began chanting two, the wooden table the eggs were caught fire, ''Don't move!'' Aegon commanded, the kept on chanting. ''Blood of Old Valyria, make them pure! Make them pure!''
Jaehaerys' vision was clouded, smoke filled his nostrils, he heard screams, he felt the egg in his hands begin to split open. The smoke grew thicker, his world was surrounded by grey.
''Shaera!'' He called out, she didn't answer.
''The blood of Valyria, champions of R'hllor, combatants of the Great Other!''
The sound made his teeth rattle, he clutched onto his egg for dear life, he felt another crack. The chants grew louder and louder, until-
Jaehaerys felt the heat of flames behind him, he saw a tint of red behind the grey. His egg burst open, and a dragon the size of a dog came out, roaring. Jaehaerys ducked low, the horns shone solid gold, the eyes were also gold, but the body was pale cream. He waived his hands, the smoke was beginning to clear, he looked up, one two three four five- All the eggs had hatched, he could tell from their colors. He saw Aerys' dragon of deep green, Shaera's colorful dragon of yellow and orange, Daeron's blood red, Myrei's smoky grey, Rhaella's of deep red with a hint of pink.
All of them were flying, roaring, screaming, he turned to his sister, her smile was brighter than he'd ever seen it.
For the first time in a hundred years, the screams of dragons dominated Westeros.
Chapter 2: Summerhall - Part II
Aerys sees the aftermath of Summerhall, Jaehaerys questions his morality, Aegon gets a wakeup call, Rhaella hears something she shouldn't have and deals with Dornish nobles.
Aerys tightened his grip, the smoke from the fire made his eyes water, black soot covered his silver hair, and his red and black garb. Rhaella let out another bloodcurdling scream from deep within her throat. He looked beyond them, men were attempting to put out the flames with water and black tar, his vision was blurred so much he couldn't tell if they were succeeding. Mother was in between Rhaella's legs, helping her with was undoubtedly a difficult birth.
''Push, Rhaella, you're so close.'' Mother encouraged.
''AHH! GET OUT, GET OUT OF ME! MONSTER, MONSTER!'' Rhaella cried, he flinched unwillingly from her harsh words. He knew that they were said during the heat of birth, and that she didn't mean it, but it still hurt.
''Get me a towel!'' Mother had demanded Jaehaerys, who then ripped off Ser Roland's white cloak, and handed it to Mother with ease. Aerys still held Rhaella's hand, the dragons were roaring and screeching so loud he clenched his jaw to ease the pounding in his ears. Aerys heard soft squishing sound coming off to the right, and when he turned his head, he saw his Grandfather, clad in burned robes and soot covered skin, walking with Ser Duncan of the Kingsguard.
Aegon stood tall, his eyes glued to Rhaella, he breathed heavily, his chest heaving up and down with force. Jaehaerys was still along side Mother, who was helping Rhaella with the birth.
''I can see the head!'' Mother shouted.
''AHH! IT HURTS!'' Rhaella began to shriek and cry like a wild banshee, Mother tried to soothe her as she thrashed herself about.
''Push, Rhaella, you're so close.'' Mother said soothingly, Rhaella took in several deep breaths, sweat gliding down the pale canvas of her face. She nodded weakly. Rhaella steadied herself, and Aerys saw her belly contract as she began to push with earnest. The smoke was beginning to thin, but the moon was still high in the sky, the night darker than dragon stone. The smell of fumes and burnt flesh came to him, faint and distant, but still there.
Rhaella began pushing, harder and with more determination than before. Aerys' gripped her hand tighter, with his off hand he fanned away some of the smoke that was near her.
''A couple more pushes, Rhae! A couple more!'' Mother cried, Rhaella nodded and began pushing.
Then it was over.
From between her legs came a squalling, red-faced babe. A wide, feral smile came to his face, Mother was smiling also and Ser Duncan immediately ripped off his white cloak and handed it to her, who in turn wrapped his son in the cloth. Aerys opened his arms as Mother gently laid his son in his arms, he heard a soft groaning next to him. Rhaella was stirring softly, her head turning left and right as she began mumbling.
''My son...'' She said softly, Aerys smiled even brighter and slowly handed the babe to his mother. The babe cooed in his mother's arms, the red in his face starting to diminish. He looked up to see Jaehaerys pacing back and forth. Mother saw this as well, and began frowning.
''Jae, what's wrong?'' She asked, but before he could answer Grandfather cut in.
''Has anybody seen Duncan?'' Aerys searched his mind to find his last memory of his uncle, but couldn't remember anything. He shook his head, while Mother and his father shook their heads. Grandfather frowned, he turned to Ser Duncan.
''Go find Ser Gerold and Roland, then bring Duncan to me.'' Aegon ordered, Duncan nodded and bowed dutifully before walking off quickly. Aerys turned his head to his sister... his wife, it finally hit him, he was a father, everything he did now on would help or harm the babe in Rhaella's arms. His relationship with his own father was awkward, Aerys was strong and powerfully built, with thick, wide arms. Jaehaerys was lanky and frail. Aerys enjoyed war, lusted for battle, and was accomplished in jousting, known for his prowess with mace and sword and joined the City Watch at three-and-ten. Jaehaerys looked near to faint when a shield is presented to him.
Because of this, father and son simply didn't have a relationship, and Aerys couldn't help but feel loathing for his father's weakness. His weakness disgusted him, they frailness disgusted him, Aerys struggled to find any quality of his father that he could relate to, perhaps his sense of justice? Other than that, he couldn't really find anything they had in common, his father had chosen an egg during the ceremony, but who's to say that he would actually claim the dragon? Other Targaryen's with the purest of blood weren't able to ride the beasts.
He took his mind of his father, and chose to watch his wife and new-born son. Rhaella wept silent tears as she held the sleeping babe in her arms, his small mouth suckling at her teats.
''He needs a name, you know.'' He said, Aegon was traditional for his house, it was considered a great honor to be named after the conquerer. Aerys couldn't brag on that however, as his namesake was avid book reader who refused to take his own wife into his bed, another thought that shamed him, since that wasn't like the wild and lustful Aerys, who wasn't shy about his ''swordsmanship.''
''Yes... a name, do you...have a suggestion?'' It was custom for fathers to name their sons, and mothers to name the daughters. Aerys searched his mind for anything worthy of his son. The long dead King Maekar was his great-grandfather and was known for his battle prowess, and fashioned a more warlike crown: a slim band of gold with black iron spikes in the shape of longswords. He was one of Aerys' many idols growing up, he knew the tale of the hammer-and-the anvil tactic during the First Blackfyre Rebellion by memory. His son would be a warrior just as he was, maidens would soon at the idea of wearing his favor and men would growl as he beat them into submission in the training yard.
Then, there was Jaehaerys, before he was old, he was known for his accomplishments with lance and bow, but he didn't want to taint his son with his father's name. Aegon was good as well, the conquerer had forged his own kingdom with fire and blood, but Aerys felt the name was overused, there was rarely a prince with the conquers's name that lived up to it. Aerys wondered, he could name his son Daeron, after his beloved brother.
Viserys was another option, though, the first was ruled by the bitch of Hightower Queen Alicent, dominated by advisors, and was just generally a horrid king. The second was better, ''smarter'' somewhat, but he wasn't a warrior. His son would be a warrior, he would not have his heir shame his house. Mayhaps I should look past my ancestors. The knowledge of the Freehold was still known to the Royal Family, even though the Maester's would claim that all knowledge was lost to the doom. King Maekar had famously ordered all dragon lore sent to Dragonstone and rewritten a thousand times, Grandfather used to say. This was why it was so easy for Aegon to command searches to Asshai by the Shadow and Old Volantis.
There were still old relics of the members of House Targaryen before to doom. There was Aelor the Great, Aelyx Strongarm, Malagor the Bold, Jaehaerion the Wild and countless others, all famed for their boldness, battle prowess, all true dragons. Rhaella didn't put as much stock in battle as he did, and while it was his right to go against her wishes, he didn't want to hurt Rhaella that way. Perhaps the could make a compromise?
''Rhaenor. After Rhaenor the Fierce, he commanded Valyria's main force when the Freehold sent three hundred dragon against the Rhoynish city of Chroyane. In this battle, he personally slew Prince Trebor, who was Garin's brother and most valued counselor and commander.'' Rhaella nodded, she then eyed the boy.
''What do you think about Laegar?'' She asked him, Aerys' eyes narrowed, he hadn't heard of this Laegar in his Grandfather's stories, nor had he read anything about him. Rhaella gave a smile of amusement at his confusion, which made him frown further.
''Laegar was a renown genius for his time and he, along with Lord Freeholder Vhalasar of House Belarys invented the glass candles. Though I must admit, he wasn't a warrior, and advocated trade rather than war, and opposed the Rhoynish wars where his brother Rhaenor welcomed them.'' Aerys pondered that, he didn't wish his son to be a strong lackwit, or a weak genius, why couldn't he be both? Aerys prized his warrior ability over all else, so he didn't really listen when it came to lectures on rule. He always knew that Tywin, Steffon and Rhaella would be there to hold things down politically, while he'd fight in war.
Aerys wanted his son to be a warrior, while Rhaella wanted him to be a genius, as the names confirmed for him. Compromise, he told himself, he would sate his want for a warrior name for his son and Rhaella would be able to tell stories of his namesake's geniusness.
''What about Rhaegar?'' He said, Rhaella looked confused.
''I never heard of such name, who was he?'' Rhaella asked, Mother and Jaehaerys were looking at them, seemingly amused at their children's debate over their child's name.
''The first part of his name would pay homage to Rhaenor, so that he may inherit his braveness and swordsmanship. The second would be to Laegar, so that out son may be as wise and smart as he was.'' After he said his piece, Rhaella began blushing, and then weirdly began weeping. Not the wailing of pain she when birthing their son, softly so. Aerys felt a sharp pain in his chest, he didn't mean to hurt her.
Aerys reached down with his left hand and brushed his wife's brow, he reached down and planted a kiss in between her eyes, on the bridge of her nose.
''I apologize if I gave offense, Rhae.'' He said honestly, just as the words left his mouth, Rhaella lurched up with a jerk a gave him a sweet, pleasant kiss on his lips. He smiled against them. Another blush crept up her chest.
''There is no need for apologies, brother.'' She then smiled again. ''Rhaegar. It is a beautiful name. Rhaegar Targaryen.'' Rhaegar Targaryen. His son, his firstborn son, reborn as the dragons were, Aerys couldn't feel more joy. He smiled at the babe, his pale, silver hair almost translucent, his dark indigo eyes so innocent and childlike. He wondered if Jaehaerys felt this way about him when he was born. A bad feeling started in his throat when he realized he most likely had, and his own son despised him because of his sickliness.
His thoughts were stopped by the sound screams, his head shot up as he faced the sound.
What he saw terrified him.
It was his uncle Duncan and his wife, Jenny. The right side of Duncan's face sloughed off, slowly sliding down the frame of his face; a complete picture of horror. Duncan's screams were high shrieks, his eyes wild and frantic. His jawbone was completely melted, his cheek melted, his skin turning liquid and dripping down his face. The hole where his eye should of been was empty, liquid that only could have been the melted remnants of his eye slipped down his melted face.
Gerold Hightower was carrying him, the white sword's cloak flapping in the wind as he was running towards Aerys and his father. Immediately, his grandfather Aegon ran towards his son, orders coming from his mouth. Mother began screaming in horror as Duncan was given from Gerold to the Red Priestess Vinara, his face accidentally bumped into her dress, and when she backed away, a white, slimy substance lingered on her red robes.
Aerys felt hot bile rising in his throat, the smelt of burnt flesh made his head swim. His knees crumbled beneath him, and the ground rushed up to kiss him. As he face planted on the ground, he heard various shouts and shrieks.
''Find a Maester!''
''By the Gods!''
''Duncan! Duncan! ''
More and more screams, Aerys forced himself up. His knees sunk into the wet mud, Aerys turned his head towards Rhaella. She was clutching their babe, a look of shock on her face, he started crawling towards her, the smell was overwhelming, and suddenly the smoke began growing thicker. When he reached his wife, he wrapped his arms around her, protecting them from the fumes.
Aerys turned his head slightly, only to see Vinara kneeling next to Duncan, blood, gore and melted flesh all over her arms and dress. Melisandre was next to her, a look of disgust in her eyes. Duncan of the Kingsguard was dragging a man in grey robes towards them, Mother and father were just beyond him, ram-rod straight as they watched silently as their brother writhed and thrashed in agony, his screams something non-human.
Daeron was holding his son Aemar, a distance away from all the commotion. Myrei with Maekar, and a serving girl with their twin girls. Aerys shouted his brother's name, who jerked his head towards them. He then gave his son to Myrei and began running towards them, Aerys slapped Rhaella's leg, signaling her to stand up. Aerys staggered to his feet, and took Rhaegar into his arms. When Daeron reached them, he quickly handed his son to his brother, and concerned himself with Rhaella.
Aerys through her arm over his shoulder, and began walking outside the line of the thick smoke. Dark, rank mud squished beneath his boots, his gambeson was burned to a crisp, his princely coronet lost when the smoke began to blind him. He looked behind him, to see Mother and father, along with Ser Barristan and Ser Roland, walking briskly behind them. Aerys looked up, and saw seven dragons shooting jets of flame into the sky.
Cough.. Cough, cough.
Jaehaerys was heaving. The amount of smoke he inhaled caused him to choke and spew and gag, black guffs of soot erupting from his throat. Shaera rushed over to him, bringing a wineskin to his lips, the wine was sickly sweet, Arbor Gold. Jaehaerys drank deep, the dry itchiness in his throat slowly dissipated, he began to breathe slowly, taking in what had just happened.
The eggs hatched, he saw them, the different colors and patterns, the different flames that came from deep within their bellies. After that, his memory became cloudy. Jaehaerys remembered Duncan screaming in agony, his face slowly melting. Jaehaerys searched deeper within his mind, and remembered Ser Barristan and Ser Gerold hoisting him and Shaera up on their shoulders, getting them out of harms way.
Jaehaerys felt sick, the dragons were reborn, his grandson was birthed healthy, so why did it feel so much like a defeat? His brother was permanently disfigured, he might even die, was it worth it? He was always sickly as a child, unable to keep up with Duncan and Daeron in the training yard, it was so pitiful that he stopped trying all together. His brothers and sister were some of the only joys in his early life, before he was a father.
When he was young, he often dreamed of being tall and strong, with thick muscles and rough, calloused hands as proof of practice at arms. He dreamt of riding a dragon bigger than Balerion the Black Dread, fearsome as Vhagar, and with flames hotter than Meraxes. If I had a dragon, no one would make fun of me anymore, that was the logic of a young child, but the ideals still stayed with him as he transitioned from a boy to a man.
Jaehaerys had no fairytale expectations when it came to his eventual rule. He was seen as weak and feeble by the rest of Westeros, he would have to work twice as hard to secure the throne for him and his line, and that was now even harder with Duncan strutting about the kingdom, feeding dissent within lords. If I had a dragon, no one would question my right to rule. Jaehaerys and his brother her close growing up, despite their difference in looks, the two princes grew up to be two peas in a pod.
However, as they grew older, certain things Jaehaerys would get in trouble for were things Duncan would get off scot free on. Betha doted on and spoiled Duncan, to the point where he became arrogant, haughty, and reckless. His former best friend became wild and amoral with a loose compass for what is meant to do the right thing, and it was common for him to abuse his lessers in the Red Keep just for fun. But did that mean he deserved to be deformed for thereat of his life?
His relationship with his father became even more strained as he ignored the growing dissent between his children, choosing to focus on filthy peasants rather than his own family. Jaehaerys received no greater pleasure than when he did something deliberate to hurt his father. He now knew that wasn't the way to go about life, but the seeds have already been planted, and the trees already bore fruit.
His bitterness towards his father and brother left a mark upon his eldest daughter, Rhaella. Taking after her father, she in turn disliked her grandfather and grandmother, and detested her uncle. Even though this was for good reason, Jaehaerys can't help but feel he had a part in helping her come to that conclusion. Was it evil to see his own brother as an end to a means? Was it wrong to rather have a dead or disfigured brother, than have no dragons?
Jaehaerys didn't know. That was what hurt him the most, the fact that he was internally debating about the usefulness of his brother's life burned to the core. Hotter than dragon flame, quicker than wild fire.
''Jae,'' A soothing voice snapped him out of his self pity. He smiled, Shaera's voice was a welcoming snap back into reality. They were safely back into their chambers at Summerhall, they were escorted by Barristan and Roland after Aegon insisted on waiting for Duncan to be healed. When they left them, the smoke was still thick and high in the sky, he hoped they Vinara or Melisandre didn't choke to death on the fumes. They would have need of the Red Priestess soon.
''Shaera,'' He answered back, her face was a mask of worry.
''Do you thing we should look for them?'' She asked, Jaehaerys shook his head.
''We need the Kingsguard to protect us, they're fine, Shaera. Aegon and all the rest will come soon.'' Shaera sighed, but nodded.
''I sure hope so.'' Jaehaerys then laid his head down on the red silk pillow, but he knew sleep would not come.
''Goddammit!'' Aegon cursed, a searing pain wormed through his leg, he bit his tongue to stop himself from seething. Duncan gave him a I told you so, look but he ignored it. He was the king, not some frightened maid that needed to be carried to safety. In Duncan's arms was his son, Aegon had refused to look at the grotesque horror that had enraptured his son. His face was a monstrosity, and he may never recover, but looking at it overwhelmed him with sadness and guilt.
Aegon never expected to become king, his father Maekar was the fourth son of Daeron the Good. The best he could hope for was a decent marriage and Summerhall, his father's seat. But that was unlikely, since he was the fourth son as well, but tragedies amongst tragedies struck his family, and then he found himself with a crown on his head, the weight of the world on his shoulders.
He married young and for love, to his sweet Betha. She was loving, charming, and beautiful, she was one of his most valued councilors, and gave him two healthy sons. Aegon was in love with her, and his eldest son Duncan who was the splitting image of his mother. So much so, that perhaps he neglected his other children. He was to busy with ruling the realm, trying to make the lives of small folk better than to engage in the ''trivial'' matters of his family; in the grand scheme of things, it just seemed unimportant.
Aegon never doubted Botha's ability to raise the children, nor did he doubt the fact that she would be fair to every one of them, regardless of the way they looked.
He couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a dark sinister side to Betha that he never scene before. Something he had never notice before he took a look into Vinara's flames.
Aegon was in the middle of the Grand Maester's chambers. There he saw a young skinny boy, and a muscled boy with dark hair. The Maester, clad in his traditional grey robes, was lecturing the two on who stole a flagon of wine from his chambers.
''I didn't do it!'' The dark haired boy yelled immediately, the Master then turned to the frail boy with pale blonde hair, a frown deepened on his face.
''Jaehaerys? Did you steal my wine?'' The boy gasped at the accusation.
''Never! I swear!'' The Master sighed.
''Well I'll just have to tell Queen Betha about this, I'm sure she can decipher to truth.''
The scene swirled around, the it was gone, like a puff of some. Another reappeared, the same boys were in his chambers now, and his wife, dark haired Betha was looming over them, a scowl on her face.
''What's this I hear about you two stealing some wine?'' Betha demanded immediately, Jaehaerys drew himself up.
''I didn't steal any wine!'' He complained, Aegon wondered what she might say in response to that. Betha didn't say anything though, she did something. As soon as the words left his sons mouth, his lovely wife decided to raise her hand back, and deliver a painful strike to the face.
''Nobody asked you to speak!'' Aegon raged, he began howling curses and profanities he hadn't said in years. Hate burned through out his soul, this woman who he trusted, loved, and admired, was abusing his child, and he was to blind to see it because he'd rather cater to unwashed cretins.
''Forgive me Jaehaerys.'' He said quietly.
He looked towards his son Duncan, he made a monster, he spoiled him rotten, to the point where he openly defied his orders when he didn't get his way. He was now deformed and grotesque, Vinara tried her hardest, Melisandre working nonstop as well, but there was nothing to do, it was in the hands of the Gods now. Soon the bright red-stone of Summerhall came into view, and he let out a cry of relief.
Aegon heard the faint screeches of dragons, he looked up, and saw a smoky grey dragon shooting a burst of fire into the sky. Pale silver was the color, with a dark streak of black. He smiled, his work had been achieved, his family had finally been restored to their divine power. No one would challenge them.
Duncan glided his hand over the red silk veil that led into the hallway. Aegon looked towards him, his Lord Commander had a face of anguish as he looked upon his son. How could a Kingsguard show more emotion than his own father? There are things more important.
Outside was gloomy, with a queer chill unusual for the hot and dry climate of Dorne. The sky was dark grey, gloomy, and sad, it was strange. When Aegon walked inside the veil, he immediately felt warmth surge through his body, his blood began to boil, he suddenly became more alert, instead of being as groggy as he was when he was walking to the palace.
Melisandre was standing there, her hair bright and fiery and robes in the colors of flames. Aegon nodded towards her, and gestured towards Duncan.
''Is there anything you can do for him?'' Aegon asked with earnest, he was certainly angry with his son for his mistreatment of Jaehaerys, but that didn't mean he wished for him to die. Melisandre rubbed her temples, an exasperated look on her face.
''I'm afraid not, unfortunately it's up to the Lord to save him.'' Aegon grimaced, he motioned for Duncan to lay his son down on the table. It was in the shape of Westeros, and Duncan's head had felt short of the Bloody Gate, while the balls of his feet were firmly planted on Maidenpool and Rook's Rest.
''Very well. Duncan, take me to my chambers will you.'' Duncan nodded, Aegon began to ascend to monstrous black marble stairs. His rooms was on the second floor, along with Jaehaerys and Shaera. Aerys and Rhaella were on the ground floor, Daeron and Myrei on the third. Duncan walked ahead of him, a bold white shadow, every step determined and with purpose. Soon, the reached the King's chambers, which was the largest of them all.
The door was dark ebony wood , a three headed dragon painted red was carved into the dark door. Duncan placed a hand on the hilt of his sword before opening the door, he then walked in, checking the room for intruders.
''All clear, Your Grace.'' Duncan said in a low tone after he emerged from his chambers. Aegon moved into the room, but stopped at the door way, Duncan was already posted outside the door, assuming his guard duty. He had a lot on his mind, and Duncan was his friend before he was Lord Commander, if anyone could give sound advice, it would be him.
''Drink with me,'' He commanded, Duncan frowned.
''Your Grace, I should guard your chambers.'' Aegon shook his head. He then walked over to a blood red dresser; the color of House Targaryen. He takes a flagon of Dornish Red and pours two goblets.
''Drink with me, your king commands it.'' Duncan scowled, but took the cup and drank it with ease.
''Is there any reason you have me here, Your Grace?'' Duncan asked, Aegon pulled the cup to his lips and drank deep, his head began to swim. He laughed a drunken, bitter laugh.
''Why do I have to want something? Can't I just have a drink with my most beloved friend?'' Duncan snorted and rolled his eyes.
''You could never hold your liquor.'' Aegon laughed, what he said wasn't wrong. Aegon was always loose-lipped when he got drunk, that was how he told Betha he loved her after all. He'd been a guest at Raventree Hall, where he met her, and he fell in love as soon as he saw her. That long, thick, curly, dark hair those sweet dark eyes full of love and sweetness, where did that go? What happened to that sweet, willful, stubborn girl? Was she there at all?
After a particularly grand feast, and too many cups of wine, he managed the courage to speak of his feelings. He pulled her aside, and told he he loved her with all his heart, and asked her to marry him.
They wed a fortnite later.
''I never wanted this,'' Aegon said without preamble, the Kingsguard were sworn to keep the King's secrets, and Duncan was like an older brother to him, he would never betray him.
''I never wanted the crown, I was only supposed to be a Prince. Never a king, I wasn't made for this, I wasn't prepared. I thought myself to be a good king, but I'm just as bad as the Unworthy.'' The words came out before he could stop it, he lifted the cup to his lips and took another deep swig. Duncan scowled.
''Stop.'' He ordered, Aegon frowned.
''Stop, stop self pitying yourself. Stop. Yes, you've made mistakes, big fucking mistakes, but you know what? So has everyman breathing, so stop sitting here drinking your fill, and feeling sorry for yourself!'' Each word grew louder and louder, and before long Duncan was in front of him, his face red with wine and anger. Aegon scoffed.
''How can you say that?'' He demanded, Duncan rolled his eyes.
''How could I not? I raised you, if you recall. I grew you from a bean, I know when you're angry, when you're sad or happy. I know everything. Even if you think I don't, I know you, Egg. And I know for a fact that you're nothing like the Unworthy.'' Duncan's voice was softer, but still had a firmness to it. Aegon sighed.
''This whole time, I thought I was good husband, a good father, but it turns I'm none of those things. I was blind to Betha's blatant abuse of my children, and that hate has spread to my grandchildren. How can I be a good king when I can't even control my family?'' Tears were prickling in his eyes, he couldn't help it. It made him feel weak, vulnerable, and that exactly what he was. Duncan looked at him and sighed, before pinching the bridge of his nose.
''...I can't say that I understand how you feel. I've known Betha as long as you have, I never would have guessed that she would be cruel to your children. But what I can say is that this is no more than a stone in the road, we've been through worse, Egg. Rebellions, treasons, everything. This will pass like all the others.'' Aegon pondered what he said for a minute, before nodding.
''I should rest. Goodnight, Duncan.'' Duncan nodded and slowly exited the door.
Sand. All around her. Pale, tan sand. Rhaella covered her mouth to keep it from getting into her nose. The rank smell of sulfur and human waste made her gag, in the distance she saw a tall castle, a banner of rayonne yellow over crimson flames flew high and proud.
''Help!'' She cried out, her throat was parched, so dry she swallowed three times and it still couldn't satisfy her. No one answered.
''Can I get some water!'' She yelled, she began walking towards the castle and every so often would turn her back. No one was there. She heard a loud, teeth rattling roar. Rhaella turned around, she saw a gorgeous silver haired woman on a dragon. Golden eyes, with rose pink and silver scales, so similar to her own mount. Her jaw dropped in awe. She turned her head, a olive skinned man with a scraggly beard looked at the sky with disgust, then began shouting.
She was still to far away to hear them, their mouths were moving ten leagues a second. She saw archers come out from the battlements of the castle, arrows and scorpions in hand.
Rhaella turned to the dragon.
A scorpion pierced the golden eye, the silver woman tried to reign the dragon back, but another scorpion pierced it's neck. An arrow hit the woman in the stomach, Rhaella heard her squeal.
They fell from the sky.
She woke with a gasp, a harsh pounding in her head. The rank smell was still heavy in her nostrils, for a moment she could feel the grains of sand in between her teeth, the hot sand in between her toes. To her left, Aerys slept peacefully, snoring every so often. She smiled as she watched his chest rise and fall.
She pulled the silks closer to her chest, a fire still roared in the furnace, the warmth filling her bones. She yawned, before throwing the sheets back and throwing her legs off the side of the bed and standing up. She began walking towards the blue silk veil that hid the candle lit alcove. She stopped, then turned towards the ebon-wood door that guarded her and Aerys' chambers from the hallway.
Rhaella pulled opened the door softly, she found Roland Crakehall standing in front of the door, her white sword, tall and stoic. She tapped her on the shoulder slightly, he immediately jumped up, before turning to her. He bowed immediately.
''Your Grace, is there anything I can do for you?'' He asked, she nodded. She would need a bathe, scorching hot water, just how she liked it.
''Yes, I have need of a servant to fill the bath for me. Hot as possible, if you will.'' Roland resisted the urge to smile, she could tell, she was the shyest member of her family, but she could handle the hottest water, a common jape.
''Of course, Your Grace, I will have Ser Barristan guard your door in the mean time.'' She gave him a nod, and closed the door shut. She retreated back towards the alcove, taking a seat on the light brown wooden bench. The dark blue marble tub, chased with gold called out to her. A short time later, three servants came, with iron buckets filled with water, she could see the steam rising.
She smiled as they poured the water in. She thanked them before stepping into the water. The scalding hot water made her body turn pink, yet she did not flinch as she rubbed it along her body. It heat washed away her uncertainty and her fears, it made her brave, strong, a dragon. The contents of her dream made her feel uneasy, where was she? There was sand all around her in her dream, was she in Dorne?
She hadn't been past the Dornish Marches, only to visit Summerhall occasionally. She did once visit Nightsong for a tourney, where Aerys won the melee and crown her Queen of Love and Beauty. She passed by Horn Hill on the way to Oldtown, but she did not sup with Lord Tarly for more than a fort nite before heading on her way.
There was peace in the kingdoms, but Dorne were always made it clear that they were apart of the kingdom because they wanted to be.
''Bathing without me?'' A playful voice called out to her, she turned towards the sound, the steaming water sloshing in the dark tub. Aerys gave her a mischievous smile, Rhaella blushed timidly. He began undressing, and before long he was in the tub with her.
''How was your rest?'' He asked, she hesitated. I dreamt of a strange land, I dreamt of a beautiful woman of our blood dying on her dying. Who was she? Dragons had been dead for nearly a century, until the night before, at least. Was it the future she saw, or the past?
They both bathed rather quickly, Aerys helped but scented oils on her person. Behind the ears, a dab on both writs, on her nipples, and in between her legs on the bud of her sex. Aerys helped her with her dress, the Royal Family was to travel to King's Landing today, unfortunately not on dragon back. The dragons were born strangely large, about the size of dogs, yet they were still to small to fly.
Her gown was simple orange clothe, with lace woven into the long, silk skirt the trailed behind her as she walked. Aerys wore garb more akin to the Dornish, his under tunic was pale yellow silk, and split open, baring his chest slightly, exposing his fine silver chest hairs. He wore a robe of samite and sand silk, in the color of bright peach and pale yellow, with dragon embroidery along the skirt of the robe. The robe was held together by a black leather belt with dragon bone clasps, Aerys also wore airy, loose fitting black breeches and high boots.
His princely coronet was brought to him by a servant, he put in on gently, the golden dragon heads roaring against his beaten silver-white hair. Rhaella smiled as her own coronet was brought to her on a plush red pillow, she stared into the tigers eye that centered her crown, remembering the scorpion that pierced the dragons eye in her dream. Her smile faltered.
''I have need of the privy, I will meet you down at breakfast.'' Rhaella nodded, before walking out of the door. She found Ser Barristan and Ser Harlan guarding her door.
''My brother has use of the privy, he shall remain here for a while.'' She told them, the white knights nodded.
''I shall remain and escort the prince, Your Grace.'' Ser Barristan said dutifully, she gave him a nod of acceptance and she began walking down the long hallway, her white sword behind her.
Her orange skirt trailed behind her, she continued walking until she heard a faint whisper. She stopped in her tracks.
''Your Grace?'' Ser Harlan questioned, she didn't respond. Then she heard the whisper again, but in a different voice. She frowned, and walked over to the pale white wall where the sound was coming from, by the look on the Kingsguards face, he couldn't hear anything, but Ser Harlan was in his later years, and his ears weren't what they use to be. Rhaella pressed her ears to the wall, and strained to listen.
''Don't you dare blame me for this!'' She heard a fierce whisper command.
''How could I not? He's supposed to be dead, but he isn't, and now he will be more of a problem than he ever was.''
''He is hardly a threat, he is nothing but a grotesque monstrosity now.'' A different voice added.
''We should still put him to death, the longer he lives, the more the future becomes uncertain.''
''We still have use of him, we can still raise the others.''
''Your Grace?'' A gentle, but firm hand was placed on her shoulders, it was Ser Barristan with a concerned Aerys and Harlan.
''Are you well?'' Barristan asked, she said nothing at first. Who wasn't supposed to live? Then it dawned on her... Uncle Duncan. Every person survived the hatching of the dragon eggs, well, except the Maesters. But Duncan was the only who got injured, his face being half-way melted. Grandfather had refused to allow anyone to see him, and moved his chambers on her and Aerys' floor, and whenever she walked passed her uncles room, she was greeted by a foul stench.
''Forgive me sers, I fear I am quite tired.'' She said, Barristan nodded but she can still see the lingering look of concern on his face. Aerys frowned but said nothing else. A queasy feeling bubbled in her stomach, he will be more of a problem than he ever was.
Rhaella and Aerys continued down the corridor in silence, when they reached the large table in the shape of Westeros, she let out a sigh of relief. A hand maiden brought her Rhaegar, joy and warmth filled her soul, her anxiety being washed away in an instant. Her sweet babe didn't make a sound of protest as she held him in her arms. Her long fingers running through his soft, silver hair, his indigo eyes stared at her chest with want, and she gladly released her breast for her babe to give suck to.
She sat down at the table as breakfast is brought out to them. Creamcakes, flatbread, oatbread with bits of sliced apples and mangoes, white cheese and oiled olives were all on the menu. Sour Dornish wine was also offered, but Rhaella declined, when a woman is still feeding her children at the breasts, it is unwise to take part in wine, since it can harm the child.
Breakfast went by pretty quickly, Grandfather had retreated to his chambers as soon as he was done with his meal. Vinara and Melisandre arrived late and hardly ate, preferring to stare into the fireplace instead. Mother and Father seemed distracted as well, only Aerys engaged her in conversation. As she finished her food, a herald came in; short, balding with a fleshliness in his stomach and arms, the olive skinned, brown-eyed, dark haired man announced the coming of the ruler of Dorne.
''Your Graces, a party approaches bearing the sun and spear sigil of House Martell. Shall I request that they state their business?'' The man asked, Father frowned.
''The Dornish have every right to journey into their own lands. I'm only surprised that they haven't come sooner.'' The smoke was mainly cleared up from the dragon hatching, Summerhall was nearly isolated from other castles. Griffin's Roost was to the east, Blackhaven and Vulture's Roost due south, Grassy Vale, Bitterbridge and King's Landing far north, and Ashford and Cider Hall to the west. Grandfather had wished for the nature of Summerhall to be kept secret, until the arrive in the capital at least.
''I will meet them.'' Rhaella blurted, why the hell did I say that? Ever since the dragon hatched she felt something strange within her, a boldness that she never possessed before. The dragon reborn.
''Are you sure?'' Father questioned, before she could think further she nodded in agreement.
''Very well, Ser Barristan and Ser Duncan shall escort you. Aerys, you'd do well to accompany your sister.'' The Lord Commander and the Bold nodded, Aerys stood up and pushed his chair into the table. Rhaella handed her babe back to the hand maiden, and watched as she took her babe towards the nursery.
She took a deep breath as she walked outside of the large double doors of Summerhall, her brother and White Sword shadows behind her. Rhaella enjoyed listening to the members of court play the game, and even dabbled into it herself, but she was far to shy to ever volunteer for any sort of negotiations. It wasn't her way, she preferred to be in the shadows, underestimated, forgotten.
Her steed was brought to her by a stable boy, a glittering silver-white Sand Steed, long and lean and caparisoned in the red and black of House Targaryen. She mounted her horse with ease, although she slightly grimaced as she got on, still grimacing from her child labor three days before. Aerys' horse was caparisoned in red and black as well, with a hint of gold and silver. His destrier was more warlike and stocky than her smooth and slim steed.
They rode hard and fast to the south, and after a short while, they saw several Dornishmen with the banners of House Martell, Yronwood, and Toland.
''House Toland.'' Aerys said with a hint of disgust, House Toland of Ghost Hill's banner was a green dragon biting its own tail, on a field of yellow. In the days of Aegon's Conquest, the Toland's managed to escape the dragons wroth by escaping in the night, while leaving their fool to face Aegon as a champion in a duel. Their house was not well favored in the royal family, due to their dishonorable actions.
''Yronwood and Martell as well.'' Rhaella offered diplomatically, Yronwood were what the Maester's called ''stony Dornishmen'' being of mainly First Men and Andal descent, instead of the Rhoynish descent of House Martell. Their house was known the favor patriarchal inheritance over the gender neutral inheritance the Rhoynar favored. Aerys nodded.
The guard that came to greet them was handsome, tall and lean with dark olive skin, oily black hair and beady black eyes that eyed them with suspicion. His hair was cut short, with a bright orange veil covering the lower half of his face. His armor was enamled copper with rondels of red-gold sunbursts, a bold cloak of yellow sand silk fluttered behind him. When he spoke, his voice was deep and filled with the Rhoynish drawl.
''Your Graces, I present my father, Prince Qoren Martell of Dorne, and his consort Princess Elianta of House Uller.'' The princes and princess in question urged their horses forward, before giving short, curt bows to her and Aerys.
''Your Graces,'' They said in unison, their voices sound annoyed, as if they didn't want to be there. Rhaella slightly frowned, the climate with Dorne were friendly, so she didn't understand their hostile nature. She acknowledged them with a bow of her own.
''Prince Qoren, Princess Elianta, we were given news of your parties arrival, we thought to greet you.'' She said, her voice lilted with the upmost courtesy. The Dornish man nodded.
''I have received troubling reports from my lords Yronwood and Dondarrion, Your Grace. Tales of fire, smoke so high it blocked out the sun for days, I came make good on these stories.'' Before she could explain, Aerys spoke, his voice brutal and blunt-exactly to the point.
''We were conducting experiments.'' He said, Qoren drew himself.
''What experiments, if I may ask?'' Aerys frowned.
''You may not, that is information privy to the royal family.'' Elianta grimaced, while Lady Toland frowned, Qoren however bared his teeth like a rabid dog. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed Gerold's hand moving smoothly towards his sword hilt. Rhaella inwardly seethed, how dare show such disrespect? Wait... what am I talking about? Why is Aerys always so blunt?
''These are my lands, Your Grace. It is within my rights to know what happens there.'' Aerys didn't let up.
''This is knowledge you will have to go without.'' Before he could do more damage, Rhaella spoke up.
''When it is deemed appropriate, the king will gladly answer any and all questions, for now, the matter must remain private.'' Elianta sent her a furious glare.
''When it is deemed appropriate.'' She said, her voice shrill and snarky, Rhaella felt color rising to her face, a barb on the lilt of her tongue. A man with blond hair and sky blue eyes cut her off.
''Very well, Your Grace, I expect the Dornish lords will be the first to receive the news?'' He asked, his tunis displayed a black portcullis on yellow, Yronwood colors.
''Of course, Lord Yronwood.'' The man nodded.
''Well I suppose there is nothing left to speak on, by your leave I would return to Yronwood, my prince.'' Qoren Martell gave a curt nod, the Yronwood man dug his heels into his spurs and rode off, sand rising into the hot, dry air. The Martell guard with the orange veil gave a queer look to Ser Gerold and Ser Barristan, before following Prince Qoren. My father, he had said, he was a Martell, she realized.
Qoren's heir was Princess Mariah, but she had a brother, Lewyn. Was that him? The man in question could have been a bastard, the Dornish were notoriously lenient in such things, but not even the Dornish would insult the royal family by greeting them with a bastard. When the party disappeared into the bronze day, Rhaella and Aerys turned their horses around and rode for Summerhall.
The hot sun blazed down her skin, bronze and high in the sky, when she looked up she flinched from the brightness. Summerhall started to come into view, she looked over to her right, only to see Aerys staring off, his eyes deep in thought.
''Why?'' She asked, he furrowed his brows.
''Why what?'' Rhaella rolled her eyes, she hated when he played dumb.
''Why did you antagonize the Martells?''
''The Martells deserve no respect, you saw the way the addressed us, we are their betters, we need not be polite to those savage curs.'' Normally, Rhaella would have horrified at the notion, the Dornish were leal and loyal servants of the throne, weren't they? Mariah Martell was Queen, and Prince Baelor who looked more Martell than Targaryen would have been king if he hadn't died at Ashford.
But Rhaella wasn't horrified, in fact... she agreed. Something terrible was bumbling in her stomach, Queen Rhaenys, King Daeron, Prince Aemon, King Baelor... all of her ancestors who were killed or dishonored by the Dornish. The names were playing in her head over and over again, they betrayed the dragon, broke guest right. What was wrong with her? Aerys was a freak for war, but never Rhaella, she always advocated for peace, so why does she have so much harbored hate for Dorne when she never went passed the Marches.
''Queen Rhaenys, King Daeron, Prince Aemon, King Baelor.'' A slimy, reptile voice croaked in her head, she flinched.
''Never again sister. They broke us, but I shall be reborn, stronger and harder. We shall rise again, Rhaenys.'' Rhaenys?! Before she could think on what that meant, or who was speaking to her. Her eyes began rolling to the back of her head, vomit spewed from her mouth, spraying all over her horse. In response, the beast jerked back, Rhaella sliding clean off, she heard a curse.
The world went dark around her.
Chapter 3: A Dragon's Rage
Vinara's influence over Aegon grows, Aerys makes an enemy of the Dornish nobles, Rhaella recovers from her illness
A Dragon's Rage
Aegon stood over his granddaughters body, her skin was a deathly pale, her face deep and shrunken-kin to a raisin. It was only a few hours ago when Aerys rushed into the castle, his sister thrown over his arms. The boy was so frantic they could barely get what happened out of him.
Barristan said that the talk with Prince Qoren had gone ''less than favorable'' whatever the hell that meant. Duncan had privately confessed his suspicion that the Dornish were somehow involved in Rhaella's illness, as they were known for their use of poison.
One thing was for certain, this could not stand. According to Aerys the Dornish were rude an insubordinate, he would not have anybody speaking to his family in such a way, especially not his heirs heir.
He sighed and turned to Vinara, she was the only she trusted to help his granddaughter.
''Do you know what is wrong with her?'' He questioned, Vinara paused, seemingly considering how to answer. The red woman took a deep breath, pinching the bridge of her nose before speaking again.
''I might have an idea, but nothing set in stone.'' Aegon nodded, prodding her to speak.
''The dragons.'' Was all she said, Aegon frowned was she mad? The dragons didn't seem to take any of his children for their masters, Aegon chopped it up to everyone being too busy to make an effort to tame them.
''What do you mean, my lady?'' He questioned further.
''The dragons of old. Meraxes, Balerion, Vhagar. All of their bones reside in the Red Keep, yet their souls linger in this world. I have seen it in the flames, Your Grace.'' He didn't have a clue what that meant, souls lingering in the world? Vinara must have noticed his suspicion, as she immediately perked herself up.
''I know it sounds ridiculous, Your Grace. Yet you have seen what I can do, you have seen the flames, you have seen the dragons stir in the world once more, have I ever led you astray?'' You attempted to seduce me when I am a married man, he seethed. He must admit, her offer was tempting, Vinara helped bring the dragons back to the world and opened his eyes when it came to Betha's treatment of Jaehaerys.
Yet for all her faults, she was still his lawful wife. He could take another bride according to Valyrian tradition, but having a Queen who openly practiced R'hllor was bad for business. Dragons belonged to his house again, aye, but they were not even big enough to carry his children into the sky, let alone fight battles.
''How long will it take for them to reach full growth?'' Vinara sighed.
''Years, Your Grace.'' Aegon growled, he needed them now, he needed his family to have their rightful mounts, he needed his family period. First thing he would do is fly to the Wall, it had been so long since he last saw Aemon...
''Though there is another way.'' The gleam in her eyes made him frown, he knew what she was saying without her saying it. Human sacrifice. Melisandre and her sister had convinced him it had been necessary, so he allowed the grey rats to be killed in order to achieve his goal. He lost not one night of sleep over it, they were traitors, and openly admitted to poisoning the last dragons, along with instigating the Dance that saw all the dragons dead in the first place. They also admitted to poisoning Maegor's children in his wives wombs.
Though that might've been a good thing, as Jaehaerys the First was the best Targaryen king to sit the Iron Throne, and brought years of stability and peace to the realm. But what the Maesters did do what start the precedent of succession that brought about the Dance of the Dragons.
Instead of choosing his rightful heir in Rhaenys, the son of Aemon, the old king chose Baelon. Then when Baelon died, he decided on Viserys instead of Rhaenys again, rather than have Rhaenys and Viserys marry to seal the bloodlines together.
How many dragons died due to the war the Maester's instigated? How many lives lost? Poor Prince Maelor, who was just a toddler at the time was ripped to shreds at Bitterbridge. Prince Lucerys was only twelve when he was killed on his dragon Arrax, and Prince Jaehaerys was decapitated in front of his mother and sibling in revenge.
The blood, the death, the war, all for nothing. Due to their meddling, how dare Daeron send my brother to consort with filth! Father had protested angrily about his firstborn being sent to be a Maester, though during the time it was because he saw it as a useless profession.
Aegon now protested on other grounds, how could he send a Targaryen to a place where people had plotted on his families down fall since the beginning! Anger bubbled up inside his stomach, he made a fist.
''How many?'' Asked the King, the Red Priestess gave him a queer look.
''A hundred. No more.'' Before he could speak again, the red witch interrupted him.
''Give me the prisoners of your dungeons, Your Grace. I will wake the corpses of your families beasts. I will wake them. The flames do not lie.''
Aegon did not know what to say to that, he had seen her power in the flames. He had seen what she could do, the flames did not lie. He needed dragons, it was what he longed for, ever since he was a boy. Azor Ahai, the prince that was promised.
''Very well.'' He told the red woman, she nodded before taking her leave. Rhaella's chest continued to heave up and down, he pressed a gentle hand on her forehead, he felt a small layer of sweat on her brow.
She slightly stirred, her eyes filled with worry. Everything is okay, he promised the dragons will come back. I know they will, the flames do not lie.
A DRAGON'S RAGE
''Will you stop already? You're making everyone nervous.''
Aerys ignored his brother's comment, and continued to pace back and forth as he had been for nigh an hour. Filthy Dornish curs! He thought angrily, he knew they shouldn't trust them. Once a traitor, always a traitor, and they proved their nature when they used poison to hurt his wife.
They've always hated us, the reptilian voice spoke once more. Ever since Rhaella's attack, the dragon had been speaking to him, warning him. We shall be reborn again, Aerys. We shall avenge our sister.
The voice terrified him at first, he was thought he was going mad. Just like he did in his vision, then he woke up. He was the dragon, nothing can defeat him, never mind a craven Dornishman, who had to use poison the get rid of Rhaella. But Rhaella was a dragon too, and she wasn't going down without a fight.
Still, he worried. Aegon immediately sent riders to Yronwood to bring the Dornish Prince back to answer for his crimes. Even Jaehaerys seemed outraged, demanding that they re-swear fealty and give hostages to the crown.
Why? That remained the question, why would the Dornish attack Rhaella? They had prospered greatly under Targaryen rule, Aegon was more leniently on them than any other vassal as Tywin and Steffon loved to remind him. Because they are bastards, and bastards are treacherous by nature, the slimy voice told him. That made him even more angry.
Years of prosperity and now they rebel, by poisoning Rhaella, their future Queen?! I will have all their heads! He promises himself, prince, lord, knight or commoner, I will see them all dead! They will never defy the dragon again!
The riders that left to bring the Dornish rebels departed days ago. But Aerys would not wait that long for justice, Rhaella's pain we be paid back tenfold, and these filthy unwashed savages will learn the meaning of fire and blood.
Vulture's Roost, Blackhaven, and Wyl were the closets Dornish settlements from Summerhall. He smiled, the Reacher lords had no love for the Dornish, and if their prince called them to arms they'd surely ride off to battle.
''What are you smiling about?'' He heard Daeron ask, his wroth when Aerys told him of Rhaella's fate was fearsome as Balerion the Black Dread. Daeron's first course of action was to rally men and set Dorne afire from Sunspear to Nightsong. Gerold Hightower confirmed that his lord brother would fight in the King's name against the rebels. But even then, he counseled against attacking Dorne unprovoked, the fool.
Unprovoked? Poising the granddaughter of the king is hardly unprovoking. Nonetheless, Aegon sent the riders after them. If anyone was to join in his quest to punish Dorne, it was Daeron. Myrei might protest, but she will follow them if the honor of their sister was at stake.
''The devastation I'm going to bring upon the Dornish rebels.'' He said, Daeron smirked while Myrei sent him a glare.
''Are you simple? Grandfather summoned the Prince and his lords banner men to answer for their crime against Rhae-'' Aerys cut her off.
''I'll not suffer the summoning of banner men. They betrayed Rhaella, poisoned her during a parlay, just as they did King Daeron. They will pay now and not a second after.'' He declared.
''How do you think the Martells will respond if you start putting their castles to the torch?'' She asked.
''How they'll respond does not matter. I'm doing this with or without you, they will pay for putting their filthy Dornish hands on my sister.'' Daeron nodded in agreement.
''They presume to much, it's time they were knocked down a peg.'' Myrei looked at both of her brothers, the slapped her forehead.
''Seven Hells, if you plunge the Kingdoms into war, I won't let you do it alone.'' She said, Aerys nodded. He took one last look at Rhaella, Melisandre was cooling her with cold water, but sweat continued down her face.
Avenge the dragon.
She was surrounded by sand again, all around her, hot and dry. The dryness of her tongue made her swallow, the suns rays of heat relentless in its pursuit of her.
In front of her was a dragon, monstrously huge. Scales of pretty rose pink blended with silver, she noticed. Rhaella stepped closer, a large bolt stuck out of the beasts eye.
The eyes were gold. More golden Joanna's beautiful curls. She pressed a hand to the beast. It was hot to the touch. A ways away, she could see a body, fear washed over her as she ran towards the person, hoping they weren't dead.
The body was a woman, she was laying on her stomach, face pressed down into the dry sand. She pulled her over on her back. Three arrows were in her stomach, frightened, she pressed a hand to her heart, hoping for a beat.
The woman's eyes snapped open, her hands wrapped around her neck, she screamed.
''Sister,'' The woman said, no...
''Myrei?'' She asked desperately, fear hammering in her heart.
''Sister, you shall avenge me. Avenge the dragon!''
''Rhaella?'' Someone spoke, her eyes fluttered open. Her vision was still blurred, but she could still recognize who was speaking.
''Mother?'' She gasped, Shaera Targaryen instantly got up from her seat, she whined at this, but was soon soothed as she brought a wineskin to her slips.
She drank deep.
''Are you okay, my daughter?'' Mother asked, avenge the dragon!
''Yes mother, I'm well. Is Aerys here?'' As soon as she said it, she felt guilty for her mind going to Aerys when Mother was here all night, but the smile the splayed across her face made her guilt disappear.
''No, him and the others decided to go sight seeing.'' She said nonchalantly, sightseeing? She thought angrily, she was here near to death and he was sightseeing? What is there to see in Dorne anyway?
''Sightseeing?'' She prodded, Mother shrugged.
''I thought it ridiculous as well, considering what those filthy Dornishmen did to you. But I let them go nonetheless, it will keep him from doing something stupid.'' Rhaella frowned, that didn't sound like Aerys at all...
Avenge the dragon!
''Mother,'' She said, her voice near to a panic. ''Where did he go, where did he go exactly?'' She demanded, Mother frowned.
''I don't know Rhae, besides they left hours ago.''
''Hours ago!'' She said, her voice filled with shock. Mother nodded.
''What's the matter Rhae? Your grandfather has already summoned the lords of Dorne to answer for their crimes.''
''What crimes?'' Mother looked at her as if she were a fool.
''Why, your poisoning of course.'' What?
You shall be avenged, sister. The reptilian voice spoke to her again. Avenged, why would she be avenged?
Avenge the dragon, sister. The voice was the woman's in her dream, the one with the arrows in her belly. The one with the dead dragon.
''When will they arrive?''
''The riders sent left some days ago. Yronwood, Toland and Martell have been summoned here.'' All those nobles had defied the dragon, killed the King's men, and burned entire villages pf their loyal servants. The Wyl of Wyl even cut of the valiant Orys Baratheon's sword hand off. She burned with rage to think that could happen to her sweet and brave cousin Steffon. Rhaenys' beautiful dragon was killed...
Avenge the dragon!
''Have they responded?'' She questioned, Mother shook her head.
''Not yet. Your father had left with Vinara to Dragonstone however.'' Rhaella frowned.
''Why?'' She questioned, her lord father loved her mother she knew, but even the most faithful men can be led astray by temptresses.
''King's orders.'' Was all she said, put the look in her eyes told her she knew more.
''You should rest.'' Mother said, her voice hurried.
''Mother, wait-'' She was cut off as her mother gathered her skirts and left the room, Rhaella sat there. She tried to remember her dream... the woman, her beautiful dragon, just dead. A corpse. A scorpion in it's eye. Anger rose within her.
Avenge the dragon!
Chapter 4: Rebirth - Part I
Jaehaerys travels with Vinara, Aerys starts trouble, leaving Rhaella to deal with the consequences..
They had been on the road for two weeks by the time the stone walls of the Red Keep appeared above them. Jaehaerys felt a wave of relief wash over him, they were so close, oh so close.
Dragonstone's next. Then we'll be back to our glory days. A burning sensation bloomed through his chest. Harsh, but welcome. A strangely sweet pain.
Jaehaerys wasn't much of a dreamer, he was a realist, he knew how hard it was for people like him. Frail, sickly men did not fare well in positions of leadership. He knew that he would have to work twice as hard to get half the respect his son does.
But this... he hadn't felt such a strong feelings like this before he wed Shaera. Now that the dragons were hatched, he found himself wondering how he lived without them.
Every night he dreamed of him, fearsome and huge he was, with great wings of tan bronze. His furious howl was able to shake the foundations of Dragonstone in his dreams, and in the sky he was higher above everyone else, he could touch the clouds with the palm of his hand if he wanted. He ached to climb upon his back and take him to the sky. He yearned for his fiery breath and thunderous roar, he didn't know why, but he wanted it bad.
''The Red Keep, the hall of kings.'' Vinara muttered as the neared his home. Yes, the hall of Maegor the Cruel and Aegon the Conqueror and Jaehaerys the Wise. The hall of the Unworthy the Dragonknight and the Good as well. They all ruled from here, so shall I.
''You are correct.'' Jaehaerys said, the red woman regarded him for a moment before speaking.
''We needn't stay here long. I would like to get to your home sooner rather than later.''
''Will you remain on Dragonstone in my service?'' Vinara and her sister were his most useful allies. They helped hatched the first dragons in a century, having their powers with him when he took possession of the island would be helpful. She did not answer him however. Ser Roland stiffened beside him, he knew that the old knight wasn't Vinara's biggest fan, but the woman held power, great power that they needed.
A man of the City Watch rode out of the King's Gate to greet them, his gilded ringmail shining the sunlight. He bowed deeply as he approached.
''Your Grace, we rejoice at your return. His lordship awaits you in the throne room.'' He gave a polite smile and a nod. The man then turned to Vinara.
''Will your companion be joining you?'' He asked, before he could respond Vinara answered.
''I will not,'' She then turned to him, ''I will await you at the docks. Come with the prisoners at a reasonable hour.'' Jaehaerys frowned, a strange as it sounded, he felt power in her company. A fire in his being that roared like a brazier, something that slowly diminished the longer she was away from him.
Nonetheless, he allowed her to wait on the docks as he was led to the keep by thirty gold cloaks commanded by Ser Lorimas Rykker. The city was filled with excitement as men and women gathered around to welcome their prince. Cobblers and stonemasons stopped working their picks into the ground and saluted him, bakers came out of their hot kitchens and wiped their sweat stained hands on aprons, smiths walked out of sweltering forges and ran their sweaty hands through their drenched hair. All cheered.
Jaehaerys wasn't so stupid to think they were cheering for him, it was his sons who were popular among the commons for their battle prowess. All his family had something that endeared them to the commons. His wife for her charity among the orphanages and the the poor, his father for his reforms and attempts to change their lives for the better. His brother for having the boldness to wed one of them. He was just the prince who spurned the Tully girl, the prince who married for love, the prince who wasn't wanted.
When the reached the drawbridge of castle, he dismounted off his speedy grey mare and handed the reins to a squire that came up to him. Surrounded by the Gold Cloaks, and his white shield, he made his way to the Great Hall to present himself before the court. With luck, this will be all over soon. Jaehaerys didn't plan to stay to stay for long, ride fast for the Keep, and sail swiftly to Dragonstone after that, we need you to act quickly, or I'm afraid your son will launch us into war with Dorne. Those were his father's instructions, and he planned to follow them to a letter. It was too important a mission to fail.
His scarlet silk cape flew behind him as he quickly walked towards the Great Hall. They were silent as usual, the City Watch may be fond of japing and drinking with his sons, but he allowed no such folly in his presence.
He came to the large steel and oak and iron doors rather quickly, the royal herald announced his coming.
''The Prince Jaehaerys, heir to the Iron Throne!'' said the man in a high, sweet voice.
The doors opened, swift and smoothly as they ought to be. Two gold cloaks flank him while five march behind him, yet when they enter the Great Hall, the men respectfully bow and remain a distance away. His Father's sanction that nobody was to approach the Iron Throne, the only exception being they were petitioning, or they were the blood of the dragon, which those men were surely not.
Ormund Baratheon stood tall and muscular on the seat of Aegon the Conqueror. His ebony quilted doublet stood out against the gold and silver chain of his title: hands of precious metals interlinking into a handshake. His fierce black beard was trimmed along his square-cut jaw, specks of silvery grey lingered where it was once pure onyx and ferocious.
The man nodded as he addressed him, ''Your Grace, the Red Keep welcomes you back into its halls. We eagerly await the return of your Lord Father, will you share in meat and mead?'' Jaehaerys gave a polite smile, ''Forgive me, my lord Hand. But his grace commands me to sail to Dragonstone with all haste.'' He reaches into his sleeve and produced the parchment that had his father's warrant and seal, giving him all his authority.
He handed it to Ser Crakehall, the old knight of the Kingsguard took the parchment in his hands and studied it, the blood-red wax of House Targaryen was a dragon, it's three mouths open, roaring with flame.
''The king's own seal,'' Ser Roland announced. He then broke the seal before reading the letter, a few moments passed before he recited the contents to Ormund and the court.
''His Grace give the command that all prisoners and attained criminals in the castles of the Red Keep, Rosby, Stokeworth, Duskendale and Rook's Rest are to be given over into the custody of his son Jaehaerys, the Prince of Dragonstone.'' Several rumblings of confusion were heard about the court, but Jaehaerys paid them no mind. This isn't about them, it's about us our legacy and our power.
Lord Ormund had a look of concern on his face, not that he could blame him. They were good brothers for nigh on thirteen years, his sweet sister Rhaelle had married him in place over her brother, who had spurned Argella Baratheon to wed his Jenny of Oldstones. She was however considered for a betrothal to Duncan, but Bethany put that to bed fairly quick. Daeron once japed that he should take both of his sisters to wife, like Aegon the Dragonlord. But as much as he doted on her, he did not want to share her bed at all, she had always been his innocent little sister, and it was hard to imagine her as anything else.
But nonetheless, the storm lord nodded his approval stood up. ''Ser Lorimas, you and your men shall pick the dungeons clean and hand them over to our Prince. Ser Wendel, Ser Guyard and Ser Alyn, you shall take a fifty men each and ride to the castles Rosby and Duskendale and clear their dungeons. Ser Roland, Your Grace, I expect you can handle Rook's Rest?'' Jaehaerys answered for him.
''You would be correct, my lord Hand. Once again I thank you for your gratitude, but I must be on my way.'' He bowed as he left the throne room, once again flanked by gold cloaks that were headed by his white shield.
He decided not to spend the night in the city, he wished to get to Dragonstone as soon as possible, it will be better for us all this way.
The herald stopped him as he exited the Great Hall however, his wool doublet had the three headed dragon of his house sewn into his breast in red silk thread. The man bowed as he began to speak.
''Pardons Your Grace, but the Queen commands you to attend to her in her chambers.'' He rolled his eyes oh great, he thought sarcastically
His mother said in a small wooden chair, polished and shined to a glowy finish. Her dark curls tumbled lazily over her shoulders, and a small crown of light-weight red-gold and saphhires glittered when walked in.
''Mother,'' said Jaehaerys, keeping his voice flat and calm, despite the anger and bitterness he felt. She looked up to him, her eyes dark and lazy.
''Jaehaerys,'' She spoke his name as if she were bored, we'll see whos bored when I'm crowned, bitch.
''My captain of guards tells me that you mean to take all of the prisoners in my dungeons. The prisoners of other castles as well?'' Fathers dungeons, not yours. He nodded instead, not trusting himself to speak. He felt shame for letting this woman get him all bent out of shape, and pulling him out of character.
''Yes, direct orders from the king. I should be sailing to Dragonstone. If you'll excuse me-'' Her voice was high and shrill.
''You do not have my leave to go. You mistake yourself, boy-''
''I'm not your boy, I'm the Prince of Dragonstone and I have royal orders.''
''Damn your orders! I rule here, and I say-''
He had enough of his mother's words, the Hand approved of his course of action, and it was a command, not a request from his father. Betha's opinions of what he was doing meant little and less to him. So he walked out the door without another word.
He barely managed to dodge the goblet of wine that came tumbling after him at full speed, he ignored the load of threats, curses and other foul words that came out of the Queen's mouth. He had an island to get to, dragons to wake, and a grandson to raise.
The Wind Witch was dark and lean, the prow of the ship ornamented by a snarling dragon, ferocious claws raking the air. The salty air of Blackwater Bay tasted lovely on his tongue, it reminded him of fresh caught crabs and trout he and Father used to eat on Dragonstone when he was just a boy.
He was a man grown now, and the island had long been under his possession and rule. Though they may not love him. his people were always fed, had warm clothes for the winter, and were kept safe from any dangers that might prowl the Narrow Sea.
Jaehaerys hadn't been on the island in years however, he served his Father as Master of Laws for ten years, replacing his brother Duncan after he and his wife were removed from court. His castellan, Ser Addam Qhorwyn was as capable a man as any, and served well throughout the years.
He climbed aboard the ship, listening to the soft crash of waves along the rocks below, and the clink clink clink of Ser Roland's plate against his mail. In her spitefulness, the Queen attempted to forbid Ser Roland from attending to him on Dragonstone. You are a Kingsguard Ser, sworn to protect the royal family and obey the king's commands. I rule here in my husbands sted, you are to remain here.
Ser Roland shifted uncomfortably before relying, Forgive me Your Grace, but I'm sworn to protect Prince Jaehaerys on his journey. His mother looked to protest, but he put an end to that before she had the chance. Silence, mother. Ser Roland is my protector, you will stop trying to take him away from me or you will explain your actions to the king.
That had been the end of the debate, the left soon after, but not without being stopped at the gate for no reason. A poor attempt of her trying to flex her power, he thought angrily, I will make sure Father takes another wife after this is all done.
The captain was a tall, sour man who was completely hairless save his wild black beard that was braided. The braid reached the middle of his broad chest, and was ornamented with several gold rings. Rubies and chips of garnet hung in his ear, and his teeth were a bloody horror from the sourleaf he was fond of chewing.
''We leave on the morning tide Yer Grace,'' The man had told him, he gave him his thanks before heading down to his chambers. In there he found Vinara.
''My lady,'' Jaehaerys stammered, unnerved by her sudden presence. His nervousness vanished after a few seconds, and were replaced by his usual warmth and power he felt. She smiled.
''Your Grace, forgive me for the intrusion, I was merely using your brazier.'' True enough, the black iron container was roaring with flames of red, orange, yellow and green. He took a seat next to her.
''Did you see anything new?'' He had taken an interest into her visions inside the flames. He had experienced one by himself, the day before the dragons hatched, when he saw his son... After that it was only in his dreams he saw anything, and they usually were of dragons.
Grown, fierce dragons to the smallest of hatchlings. dragons of silver and pink to bright green to the blackest of night. Dragons of yellow and beaten gold, of cobalt blue and bronze horns, two red fierce beast, a man and a woman riding them fiercely. In some of his dreams he was a young man, fighting a dragons with a bulls head, killing the beast after he tore off Duncan's head with teeth.
In one of his most exciting dreams, there were three dragons, all coming together in blaze of fire teeth and claws. Oe was red as Vinara's robes, one bright green, and other beaten gold, and shone like the sun. He could feel the flames on his faces, and felt the searing pain as their claws raked at each other. When he woke up, blood trickled down his legs and hands, but there were no cuts to be found.
''You, I saw you Your Grace.'' Jaehaerys couldn't help but smile.
''and what was I doing?'' Vinara looked at him, the roar of the flames reflecting red onto her eyes.
''I think you already know, Your Grace.'' With that, she gathered her skirts and swept from the room without another word.
He sat himself into the chair, and stared into the flames.
''Mercy Your Grace!'' The man begged pathetically, eyes widening in fear. Pathetic, he thought as he looked at the man. Storming Kingsgrave was not nearly as hard as he thought it would be. Lord Manwoody had rode out with just his household knights when he saw Aerys and his brother putting villages to the torch. The men were killed, and the women were taken for the men to pleasure themselves with. Aerys abstained, he came here to punish the Dornish for harming his wife, not to cheat on her. And besides, those Dornish sluts didn't deserve the honor of lying with him.
''Cut his throat,'' He ordered, the man begged and cried until they were replaced by the soft whisper of steel against skin. Lord Manwoody gurgled on his blood for a second, before his body became limp.
''Leave him for the crows,'' And so they did.
''We march to Skyreach!'' He announced, a cry went of from his men. Blackhaven was ever glad to aid him in his revenge, two thousand men were given, and after the ravens flew of his intent, more and more lords and knights eager for glory were flocking to him by the second. Aerys tightened his grip on his mace, iron spikes littered with blood and gore, intestines from blows to the stomach, or brains from cracking skulls.
His lovely Princess was still at Summerhall, tending to their sweet babe, his Father should be in the Capital by now, and Aegon was burying his head in scrolls along with Mother, speaking of prophecy and other such nonsense.
He thought of his son, his son. It still sounded so queer to say such a thing, Daeron was a father long before him, with two sets of twins to boast of. Aemar and Maekar, and Daella and Vyrei. Rhaegar his name was, a suckling babe with fine silver-white hair and deep indigo eyes.
He was the first, but would not be the last, he envisioned them, in his sleep. Tall, broad shouldered and long of limb, maces and swords and long axes in their hands.
''How long until Martell call his banners?'' He heard someone ask, he turned around to see Daeron, honing his sword with a whetstone. He sat on the sandy brown earth while Myrei braided his hair.
As far as he knew, Qoren Martell was still in Yronwood. He could see himself know, mace in hand, bashing blow after blow on that vile prince's body until he cracked his breastplate. The dream tasted so sweet on his tongue, like honey.
Rage and hatred bloomed in his heart, fiery and angry. Rhaella was sweet, innocent, and a new Mother. Yet they schemed and plotted to have her murdered! In the presence of her husband and the Kingsguard!
I don't know how they did it but they did! Once again, they slippery, reptilian voice crawled back into his head. The Dornish are treacherous by nature, you know that. They will pay for their insolence, Aerys. Your Father will see to that.
''Soon. Word of this shall reach Yronwood I expect.'' Raiding and pillaging was all he was doing at the moment, Kingsgrave was the only castle he attacked, and that was because their lord dared ride out against them.
His heir was preserved, Michael was a weakling who meekly bent the knee when he saw that all was lost, unlike his father. He was now chained up with the other maids, washing whichever lords chamber pots.
The garrison had been given the choice of providing them with information on their fellow Dornish, or dying. Thankfully some were eager for their lives and advancement, and turned on their countrymen. They are traitors even to their own cause. Some however, had to see heads on spikes before they were convinced. they ones who complied wives and daughter were left alone, he would harm his allies families, the others...
''I will be going to my chambers now,'' He told his siblings, they nodded.
Aerys had taken from Lyonel Tyrell and decided to sleep in the lords bed while he remained there. He had the room double and triple checked for anything suspicious, and refused to have canopies in the bed, tearing them down immediately.
When he reached the large fully furnished room, he sighed. There wasa small balcony outside, but there was nothing of note to see. He stripped off his leather and mail and breastplate, slip off his gauntlets and grieves, and fell lazily onto the feather bed.
I wish Rhaella were here, Aerys thought wistfully. He remembered that day in Summerhall, when he fell asleep in the bath next to her. Even now, he could still hear the slight swishing of the water, or the slow, deep breaths of her. He smiled.
They shall pay for their crimes against you sister, I swear they will.
He drifted off to sleep.
He was back there again, on Dragonstone, walking along the beach, arm and arm with his beautiful wife. He could feel the water swishing through his toes, the wet muddy sand sticking to the bottom of his feet. Wool breached were rolled up to his knee, white tunic billowing violently in the wind.
Then they were there. The same dragons, enormously huge, and daring. One was deep green, with teal wing membranes and onyx horns. Leathery wings were varied in shade from forest green to teal, and even it's flame seemed teal in color. The other was rose pink, with shades lighter and darker mixing throughout the dragon's body.Pale pink wing membranes seemed translucent in the sunlight. Silver horns adorned the beast, yet somehow she seemed more feminine than her counterpart.
''Come to us, brother.'' The green one spoke, the reptilian voice filling him with warmth and comfort.
''Come claim your birthright.'' The pink one said, he reached out and touch their snouts. A whirl of heat ran through his hand, yet he did not flinch. He was a dragon, dragons do not run from flame.
''Come to us,'' Aerys walked towards him, but before he could get close, their mouths opened and flames came out. Ecstasy was what he felt when the flames devoured him. Kissing and suckling at his whole body, almost as tender as Rhaella's kisses. The bathed and scrubbed him clean, of all follies and mistakes and bad habits. Green against red.
The scene shifted and swirled away in a puff of grey smoke. It was black for a while, until another scene came to him. A young prince sat on a throne of swords, a young lordling with cold, dead eyes standing firmly behind him.Two women stood at the foot of the throne, smiling as herald spoke-
''All hail for his Grace!''
Another swirl of smoke, and the scenes began shifting so fast he couldn't focus on them anymore. A knight in white steel plate lay on the ground, arrows sticking out of his neck and under his arms. A ragged man charged at two knights, one with sword and another holding a longaxe. A silvered haired prince stumbled out of a tent, a confused look on his face as blood and fire and death raged around him. He went for his sword, but a dagger found his neck.
A stout woman spat in the face of a man, before a flash of gold bathed her. A boy screamed. A king died in his sleep, after a woman in green robes left him. A stout man roared and cursed and was gutte by a animal.
Then he saw himself, high above all lords of the iron throne. Aerys smiled at his future. Suddenly, a golden lion lept from behind the throne to began to maul him.He could feel it's teeth sinking into his flesh as it's claws raked open his belly,the pressure of the lions jaws cracking open his skull. Aerys screamed.
Then he woke.
The walls of Summerhall were as fortified as they could be, Ser Vyraman told her and her lady mother when they set the task upon him. Spear and crossbowmen walked the battlements, sworn swords and men at arms stood guard at every entrance, and no one was allowed on the property without leave from the king.
I did as much as I could, she told herself. Rhaella felt nothing short of anger for her foolish brothers actions, instead asking her what her opinion was, he decided to ride off on some fools hunt for glory and revenge!
Aegon was useless, burying his head in scrolls and staring into flames with Melisandre instead of demanding that her husband return. Father, gods bless his soul, had seem to take leave of his wits as well, venturing off to Dragonstone of all places! And refused to tell me what for! She and her father were so close, it hurt for him not to trust her with information...
After the meeting with the Martells, she had gotten a little sick. She had recently given birth, and the sun was beating down on her. Nothing more. Aerys however concocted that the Martells had some master evil plan to poison me, and set out with both of their siblings to burn Dorne in revenge. Myrei, you were supposed to be the smart one, how could you let them drag you along for such foolishness?
Foolishness aside, if they didn't do something fast, war was imminent. Thousands of lives had been lost in to efforts in conquering Dorne, and they always haven't been the best of neighbors, but to start an unprovoked attack...
Gerold Hightower was the only one who seemed half as concerned about these events. According to him, Aerys grew most wroth when he dared counseled against violating peace terms that had brought them into the fold in the first place.
Her sweet, brave brother was convince they had purposefully done her harm, and chose to avenge her, Gerold said. Rhaella seethed. Oh Aerys, you galliant fool! If you die, I'll never forgive you!
She would not have her son growing up fatherless, so she sent ravens to nearby castles, ordering Aerys to lay down his sword, apologize to the Martells, and hope they don't seek revenge. He never replied.
Mother attended to her day and night, but Aegon was attempting to steal the last person she could talk to on a personal level by having her read various book about dragon-lore.
Do to her brothers actions, the Kingsguard guard her every waking moment. While she was grateful for the gesture, it was suffocating, and that's putting it mildly. Their own household couldn't be trusted, Ser Roland had said before he departed with father. Rhaella was tired of living in constant fear for her baby, for there were enemies everywhere she went. The guardsmen were Dornish, the cooks were Dornish, and the servants as well. Even the bloody castellan was Dornish, if it came down to their prince and their king, who would they choose?
Most days she stayed in her chambers, for her guards were afraid of someone picking her off with an arrow. Her food and drink was tasted before she touched the plate, for fear of poison. Her maids were question beyond reasonable doubt, for suspicion that they might put a dagger to her throat at the nearest opportunity.
Rhaegar was the only thing that kept her mind off of such things. His silver-white hair was a beauty to behold, and she enjoyed running her fingers through it softly as she sung him to sleep.
But holding him sometimes made her want to weep. His father should be here, to enjoy these moments with me, she would say to herself, as tears ran down her porcelain cheeks.
It wasn't fair. Rhaella was stressed out in recent days then she ever had in her entire life. Only mother seemed to notice the effect it had on her. Her dreams made things worse.
She could still see it clearly, even now, as she rocked her babe slowly as he gave suck to her teat. A woman with silver hair, a quarrel in her dragons eye, an arrow in her belly. She was dead.
The woman was in Dorne, she realized. How she didn't before was a mystery to her, but which woman? Queen Rhaenys is the first to come to mind, but why show her visions of her long dead ancestor? Was it supposed to be her? Fear and rage swam through her body.
No! She internally screamed. I will not die, I will never leave my son! She would kill any man with her bare hands if it would have her her survive to raise her babe, and the babes after that.
What if the Dornish do kill me, as revenge for Aerys' actions? At first she shook away the thought with scorn, but now... she was fearful of every shadow, constantly afraid that something awful would take her son away from her. Or take her away from her son.
I am the dragon. The dragon fears nothing.
She repeated the words everyday. As she broke fast, as she read, as she slept, as she fed her son. It was the only thing to keep her from crying and cuddling her baby to her chest.
Avenge the dragon!
That phrase, she remembered the woman saying during her last dream. She supposed she found the meaning to that. Aerys wrongfully thought the Dornish attempted to murder her, so he sought to avenge her. Yet, something felt uncompleted about that conclusion. There was something more.
A soft creaking sound turned her thoughts off of that topic. When she saw who it was she smiled.
''Mother, good of you to visit me,'' She said, trying not to sound bitter or angry.
Her mother sighed, ''Forgive me, my sweet. Your Grandfather has been most insistent of my presence. Hopefully when the Red Priestess returns she can have all of his attention.'' Rhaella snorted. Her grandfather so bad at keeping his affair a secret it was comical.
Black Betha will have her head if she hears, another reason to hate her grandmother. If she dared harm the woman who gave them their dragons back, she would never forgive her.
Her mother sat down next to her. Rhaegar was done sucking so she removed her breast and sat him upright, ready to burp him if need be.
''Are you alright?''
''Yes,'' She said shortly, her mother sighed.
''Rhaella...'' Uncomfortable, she decided to change the topic.
''Has there been any word on Aerys?'' She asked, her mother frowned.
''No. But Martell has sent word from Yronwood.'' She began shaking, slowly at first, but then more prominent. They'll hurt me, they'll take my son, my sweet little boy... Aerys had dishonored them, if they took no action they would been seen as weak by their bannermen.
The Dornish are murderers, thieves and cravens. We have told you this Rhaella. The slimy voice made her feel sick, she silently cursed them to leave her be.
Why do you reject us? You are the dragon, and the dragon must protect itself, from all its enemies. No! She was going mad... she needed to leave this place. She had no enemies, the Dornis would be brought to heel.
You don't believe that, Rhaella. Stop resisting your ways, Princess. You are a dragon, you need to protect your babe, or else he dies. Just fuck off already!
''Rhaella?'' A startled voice called out, and it was only then she realized she had spoke aloud.
Chapter 5: Rebirth - Part II
Jaehaerys completes his mission, Aerys goes into battle, Rhaella deals with trauma. . .
The Wind Witch entered the bay of Dragonstone within half a week, the prisoners slowing the vessel down with their weight. Jaehaerys stood at the prow, finally looking upon his seat for the first time in a decade.
Ser Addam Qhorwyn and his knights met them on the shore. A man of dragonblood, his hair was a bright silver-gold, but his eyes were dark brown, a testament to his mother, who was a serving woman. Knighted after fighting bravely alongside his father's side in the Blackfyre Rebellion, he was a sturdy man with a resolve made of iron. Unyielding and utterly just, he was the perfect man for the job of castellan.
He walked down the plank, Vinara and Ser Roland trailing just behind him. The knight had grown more suspicious of Vinara than usual he suspected, especially after he caught them both staring into the flames. A good man and true, he thought sadly, but he does not understand. He never will.
Addam and his men sunk into the earth when his feet touched land, and it was then he saw the state of his garrison. Thirty knights, a hundred crossbow men and three hundred men-at-arms were deemed sufficient enough to hold a castle of such strength. All his men were seasoned warriors, ripened during the Blackfyre Rebellions, and of proven loyalty.
With a motion of his hand, he bid his castellan rise. Ser Addam stepped forward and Jaehaerys smiled and shook his hand, before clasping him on the back.
''Ser Addam, you're looking well.'' He observed. Addam was ten years his younger, but had the wisdom of a man twenty years his elder, and when he lived on Dragonstone, he closest thing Jaehaerys had to a friend. Good drinking companion as well.
''And you look tired from the sea. A cup of wine for his Grace!'' A man ran off to obey his orders. Vinara swooped up next to him, flashing red robes clinging tight to her body, making her womanly curves all the more prevalent.
''Vinara, will you take a glass of wine?'' he asked courteously, the woman nodded and Ser Addam ordered that another cup be brought out for his companion. Ser Roland stood at his left, silent but present. Jaehaerys turned to him.
''Let's get these men off the boats,'' Roland bowed.
''As you command, Your Grace.'' As he went to follow his orders, Addam and his men led him into the torch lit throne room of Dragonstone. Set in the Stone Drum tower, the castle was grim and dark as he walked through it. Vinara said nothing as they walked, but Jaehaerys and Addam made decent conversation, what happened in his absence, how thing were at court, the woes of fatherhood.
Apparently, Addam had settled down and married a merchant's daughter while he was away. They already had a young boy, and were expecting another child soon. He congratulated him, and spoke of his own grandson.
''Daeron had another child?'' he asked, Jaehaerys shook his head.
''Nay, Aerys this time. Rhaella birthed a while back, but the boy's still at her breast.'' Rhaegar, they decided to name the babe. Born amidst the smoke of Summerhall as the dragons burned the nearby land. He remembered it as clear as day, his brother's face sloughing off his body like a melting candle, how the rank the flesh smelled, how his eyes oozed slowly out of their sockets. He was no dragon, Jaehaerys thought, strangely calm, fire cannot kill a dragon.
His brother was still unconscious when he had left, his wife staying by his side at every moment. Jaehaerys did not have much grief to give for his brother, Duncan was power hungry and blood thirsty, still holding onto the dream that he could have the crown. If killing him and his sons would grant him the Iron Throne, he doubted Duncan would think twice.
The faster he is dead, the better, I will have no rival claimants to my throne.
The black stone chair was carved and ornamented with dragons. Big and small, their snarling mouths roared with steel ferocity. He remembered his dreams in the flames; three dragons, red and green and gold, fighting with tooth and claw and flames. He could feel the teeth sinking into his skin, ripping at his flesh, the pain was unbearable, yet when their mouths bathed him in flame, he only felt ecstasy.
We need the dragons, he repeated these words every day, like a mantra. Our power depends on them, our lives depend on them.
It made it easier to deal with what he had to do, but Vinara seemed to have no confliction with what was going to happen next.
''They are criminals Your Grace, poachers and thieves and murderers and rapists. R'hllor disgusts such men. We should cleanse their evilness with fire and blood.'' Cleanse them with fire and blood. . .
Jaehaerys reached the throne, and sat on it. At once, he felt something awaken inside him. He could feel the blood heaten in his veins, hard and rushing.Then he felt a roar through his heart, making it pump faster and faster. He cracked a smile.
''Shall we begin, Vinara?''
The mud was caked under his feet, not that it bothered him much. Vinara stood next to him, watching the scene intently. It was the third day the prisoners had been working, and they worked well. The Red Keep's dungeons had forty men waiting for them, poachers and and thieves most of them. The others even less, but Jaehaerys did not complain.
For extra measure, some dragon seeds that had been attained were brought as well, for the promise that they might not spend the rest of their days languishing in some dungeon.
He had set them to work with the promise they'd be given pardons for their crimes. The lie tasted queer on his tongue, for he prided himself on being an honest man, but it was necessary. Our birthright depends on it.
Vinara assured him this was the fastest way to victory, and while it had similarities to the process his father conducted at Summerhall, it was still different. All the skulls of the Targaryen dragons were carried from the Red Keep to Dragonstone with them. Everyone from the Hand to his mother to the Small Council were confused about this decision, and Lord Ormund stated that they had been there for a century, and proved to be a reminder of his family's power.
Fool, he thought sarcastically, they are not a reminder of my family's power, they are my family's power.
Ormund was a Baratheon however, and though they had dragon blood, they were of the storm, they could not understand the dragon's woes. The bones of were washed and scrubbed, years of dust and dirt filed away until only the glittery black surface remained.
After, the appropriate bones were matched with the skulls. This was the hardest part, as some of the dragons were roughly the same size, and it was hard to tell which body belonged to which skull. Vinara tolled through countless books in Dragonstone's library for clues, and eventually they were able to get all twenty nine dragons to match their bodies.
Balerion was the largest of all the dragons by far, yet the five that accompanied Lord Aenar Targaryen from Valyria were larger than the ones born during the reign of King Jaehaerys and King Viserys. As a boy, he read tons of books about dragons,especially after Maekar's famous decree. How to feed them, how to bond with them, how not to anger them, he considered himself somewhat an expert on the subject.
After all the skulls were lined up at the base of the Dragonmont, (the castle was too populated) they commenced. Vinara turned to him, red eyes gleaming with delight. . . and something else. She reached through her robes and pulled out a parchment letter, stamped in red wax was the fiery sigil of the Lord of Light.
''When this is said and done, give this to my sister. Don't read it.'' The prince nodded at once.
''As you wish, my lady.'' Vinara had done so much for him and his family, it was only right that he did her this one favor. This would take time, she said, time they (probably) didn't have.
The men were ordered to slit the throat of pigs, and shower the bones with their blood. They gave him queer looks, but his iron stare bent them back into submission. Next, mud was to fill the entire dragons body, in order for the spell to work. This was hard, especially for dragons as large as Balerion.
It was the third day, and they were still only half way done with the second step. He turned to Vinara.
''This takes more time than it needs, how is mud going to wake them?'' He demanded of her, but the red woman only smiled.
''You will see, my prince. You shall see,''
''I better.'' He warned, she did not seem to feel threatened.
'' Please, some water Your Grace!'' a man begged, Jaehaerys turned his eyes on him.
''Pip, you have worked the least amount of time since you all started. Request denied.'' The man gave him a insolent stare. well, well, you will be the first to be cleansed.
''The faster you work, the sooner them pardons will come!'' He announced loudly, to keep the men from running, Ser Roland Crakehall and two score other knights were tasked to keep watch. Most of them laughed or antagonize the men, but Crakehall frowned every time he saw them. He does not approve, he realized.
Jaehaerys left the men and took his leave in his chambers, when he reached them, he lit the braziers and stared into the flames.
He was once again at the base of the Dragonmont, it had been the seventh day since he'd set the men to work. It was finally done. Fifteen men had already died due to exposure and hunger. That terrified him, their blood was needed to raise the dragons.
Vinara cooled him, insisting that it would be fine. So she cut their throats and emptied their blood into buckets, and ordered the men to pour the blood over the bones before they back them with mud, just as before.
He heard loud footsteps coming from behind him, as he turned around, his steward tripped in his haste to reach him. Jaehaerys frowned.
''What is the matter?'' He asked, the man was trembling like a leaf.
''Your Grace, it's your son. . . the Prince Aerys, he's attacked Dorne! Lord Manwoody is dead, Lord Fowler captured. Prince Martell has renounced his fealty to the Iron Throne and is declaring war!'' Jaehaerys seethed.
''Foolish boy, I told him to wait!'' The man looked at him with confused eyes.
''. . . Your Grace?'' Jaehaerys sighed and rubbed his temples. The man continued to speak.
''Her Grace the queen commands you to return to King's Landing.'' That flared his anger, what I'm doing could cost me my life, yet she dares chastise and order me about like some pot's boy?!
''Tell her Grace that I am busy.'' The man sputtered.
''Y-Your Grace, t-t-t-the realm is at war! His Grace King Aegon has called his banners! It would only be right that his heir attend him!'' My father would skin me if he knew I left without completing my task.
''Send a raven to my lord father. Tell him my task will be completed soon.'' He said, his voice clear and calm. Jaehaerys was so close to bringing back their glory, he could hardly stop now.
''But Your Grace-!'' His patience had run its course with the man, so he drew himself up and deepened his voice.
''GO!'' He boomed, the man flinched as if he'd been struck. Bowing, he turned to leave.
''Make sure that raven gets sent,'' he warned, the man nodded before leaving. He began walking up and down the base, looking at the dragons of his family, Vinara walked beside him, the only sounds were the groans and moans from the slaves.
They were not slaves in truth, but it was easier for him to accept what was coming next if he stopped looking them as human. If they were just slaves or soldiers, perhaps it wasn't so cruel.
''When will we be ready to commence?'' he demanded of Vinara, the red woman just smiled.
''Soon.'' She replied.
''That's all I ever hear from you. If you play me false-''
''I have no reason to play you false Your Grace. One word and Ser Roland will remove my head from my body, do you think I wish for death so?''
''I don't believe you fear death, my lady.'' Jaehaerys said honestly, the red woman smiled.
''In that, you are correct.'' Frowning, he began to walk the shore again. The blood sweat and tears of the slaves filled the air with great sorrow, but he could not say he felt it. The were criminals, hardened cutthroats and drunkards and rapists. The realm would be well rid of them. So why did he feel so hollow? All for the glory of house Targaryen, this is my duty. Duty binds the will of even the strongest willed of men.
The red blood was devoured by the blackness of the dragonbone.
''We start now.'' Vinara said suddenly. Jaehaerys nodded.
The rest of the men were pale and sickly from the work. A green hue cast over their sickly faces, the color of vomit. He walked up to them as they were lying on the black sand of the Dragonmont, Vinara behind them, carrying a large gilded bowl.
''Men!'' He called out, each and every one's eyes opened slowly.
''Your Grace. . . need . . . kof, kof. Water. . .'' Jaehaerys stared down.
''Know that I bear you no ill will, but things must be done.''
Reaching for his belt, he pulled out the dragonglass blade that had been given to him as a boy. Drawing it across his palm, he watched in fascination as red river formed along his hand. Walking over to Vinara, he squeezed his hand into the bowl, thick blood dripping out. With a nod to his knights, Ser Addam Qhorwyn and his men grabbed the slaves by their hair, to their horror.
''Your Grace, what is-!'' His words were cut off by Addam's dagger. Gurgling, the men desperately attempted to save themselves, holding their frail and shaking hand to their bloodied throats. It didn't work.
Their blood spurted over the dragon's bones, and suddenly a red glow grew over their blackness. The sun was setting, and for good measure, he left Ser Roland in the castle. He was a loyal man, but often showed insolence regarding his decisions.
Jaehaerys watched at the men's life force rushed out of their bodies like a red waterfall. Bile began to rise in his throat.
''Your Grace,'' said the red woman. Her voice was strangely comforting. ''Are you alright?'' I will not shame myself in front of this woman, he told himself. Quickly, he nodded his head.
Ser Addam and his knights took a step back, while he and Vinara took a step forward. The gilded bowl shone like a second sun in her hands, and he could feel the heat coming from it. Vinara looked at him, red eyes full of. . . something.
''You remember what I told you about the letter?'' She asked. Jaehaerys nodded.
''Very well. We shall begin.''
Stepping over corpses, Jaehaerys stood in front of Balerion the Black Dread, mount of King Aegon, King Maegor, and King Viserys. The dark pits that were his eyes had a distant fire in them that grew when he approached. Vinara began to chant, and Jaehaerys with her.
''Great God of Fire! Heir of Old Valyria! Bring the Dawn, wake your great beasts! Bring glory to house Targaryen, we bring you blood of your dragon-kin, Jaehaerys of house Targaryen!''
He began to chant in High Valyrian.
''I, Jaehaerys of house Targaryen, offer my blood! Wake my birthright, wake the dragons!'' Once again, he took a dagger and drew it across his palm, a fiery sensation began there, and spread up his arm and into his chest. His blood began to run hot, and soon the fire spread to his throat. Jaehaerys close his eyes, leaned back, and began to mutter in a ancient tongue he didn't recognize.
''Bring the Dawn! Bring the dragons! Bring them, bring them, bring them!'' Vinara took up the chant as well.
''Bring them, bring them, bring them!'' The knights began as well.
''Bring them, bring them, bring, them!''
''BRING THEM, BRING THEM, BRING THEM!'' Jaehaerys roared, hands high in the sky, a streak of red flew across. His whole body was on fire, his flesh felt like it was being incinerated as he spoke. The flames swam through him, scouring him clean.
''WAKE THEM, BRING THEM, WAKE THEM, BRING THEM, WAKE THEM, BRING THEM!''
''WAKE OUR DRAGONS, WAKE OUR BIRTHRIGHT!'' Jaehaerys cried out, Vinara's red eyes rolled to the back of her head, her robes alive with light. He continued to cry out in his mother tongue, beseeching the god to bring the dragons.
Suddenly he felt something enter him, and he spoke.
''AVENGE THE DRAGON!''
The small light that was in the abyss that was Baerion's eyes flashed suddenly. Cringing, he covered his eyes, even with them shut, he could still fear the brightness. When he looked over, he was that Vinara's were wide open.
''AVENGE THE DRAGON, AVENGE THE DRAGON, AVENGE THE DRAGON!'' Blood began to rush in his mouth, hot and metallic. He began to chant with her.
''AVENGE THE DRAGON!''
''AVENGE THE DRAGON!''
''AVENGE THE DRAGON!''
''AVENGE THE DRAGON!''
''AVENGE THE DRAGON!!!''
Blood began to choke him, and suddenly a blast sent him flying across the sky. When he landed, he felt his arm snap, but he didn't feel pain. His ears began to ring. Coughing, blood began to spurt out of his nose and mouth. A slimy reptilian voice entered his mind.
''Welcome back, Jaehaerys, I have missed you sorely.'' Confused, he said, ''who are you?'' A raspy chuckle answered him.
''Why, Vermithor of course.''
Another voice, booming and powerful entered his mind.
''By what right does this weakling seek to claim my dragon? Only a man can ride him, and he is scarce a boy.''
''Silence, bastard. Your are lucky you were nothing more than your father's seed when I reigned, or I'd have you whipped for your insolence. Giving dragons to bastards? Whichever came up with that idea needs to be flogged.''
He attempted to open his eyes, desperate to see who was talking to him, only to hear a disapointed sigh.
''You cannot see us, but we can see you.''
''Aye boy, so stop actin' like a bloody-''
''SILENCE! I swear, say another word and-''
''What, you'll kill me? We're already dead, Your Grace.'' Your Grace?
''Who. . . who are you.'' He said, voice trembling. The reptilian voice spoke first.
''I am Vermithor,'' the voice was slick and slimy, yet it warmed him somehow.
''Me names Hugh Hammer.'' The booming voice said. Hugh Hammer? He had heard the name before.
''I have the honor to be Jaehaerys of the house Targaryen, first of my name, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm.'' His head began to pound, and suddenly he felt very vulnerable.
The heat began to grow, and screams began to silence the ringing that was in his ears. Vinara. . .
''Gods, let the boy wake.'' Hugh said, and Jaehaerys opened his eyes.
The dragon was before him. The one that had plagued his dreams ever since Summerhall, great tan wings with horns of bronze. Slowly, he brought his hand to his snout, and gently rubbed it, in his head he heard a small chuckle.
''Go on Your Grace, I do not bite.'' Vermithor rasped.
''He only burns,'' Hard Hugh replied.
Jaehaerys gripped the snout tightly, and pulled himself up. His legs were wobbly, and blood began to rush to his head as he stood.
''Vinara, we did it!'' He howled. Stumbling, he cried out her name, and the names of his men. Ser Addam, Ser Wylam, Tom and his four sons, pox riddle Jon and Browntooth Ben. None answered.
''Vinara?'' He asked, ''Vinara, where are you, look!'' He pointed to Vermithor. Above him Vhagar, Balerion and Meraxes were rushing south, Silverwing trailing behind. Another small dragon flew high in the air, screeching childishly.
''Addam, come look!'' Him and his sons would have a field day when they saw the dragons, he knew.
''Vinara, Addam?'' He questioned. The grey smoke still clouded his vision, he waved it away with his hand.
''VINARA! ADDAM!'' Jaehaerys screamed, where are they?
His clumsy foot caught in to something, causing him to trip. His hands broke the fall, but he felt something sticky. He waved the smoke away to see what it was.
''Best not do that, Your Grace.'' Vermithor whispered, Jaehaerys ignored him and continued to wave. What he saw horrified him.
He identified her by her bright red robes, for her hair was burned to tatters. Even her eyes were no more, slick river of white and red trailing down her sloughed face. Flashbacks of Summerhall came a mile a minute.
''No. . . no!'' He cried out. A hole in her heart was filled with black blood. I weep for this woman, yet feel nothing for my brother, mine own blood.
He remembered the promise he made to her. Forgive me, Melisandre.
''Addam!'' He called out frantically. He can't be gone, not him. His poor wife, his son. . .
The Gods mocked his begging. Addam was much of the same, his the light had burned so hot that his steel breastplate melted into his flesh.
He held their bodies, still weeping.
''Your Grace,'' Vermithor spoke, ''Your white knight comes!''
Jaehaerys turned around, only to see Ser Roland in his white scale armor, a look of terror on his face.
Aerys stood before the enemies line, clad in his suit of steel plate. Dornish sun was beating down on him, yet he didn't feel the heat. Daeron was next to him, his mouth twisted into a menacing snarl. He was younger, and smaller, more lean than Aerys, so he didn't have steel plate, but only breast plate, shoulder plate greaves and a steel helm.
Gerold Hightower stood next to them, Aerys knew the man meant well, but his hesitation in riding out against the traitors disapointed him. The Reachmen were supposed to be bitter foes of the Dornish. Lord Fowler was before them, bound in fetters and locked inside a gilded cage. The man grasped the golden bars above him, and hoisted himself up, legs clutched to his chest.
The vipers snapped and spat, but the man was to far for their reach. Qoren Martell's bronze face was twisted, his son Lewyn behind him, clad in the same armor as he wore during their assassination attempt. Lord Yronwood stood next to him, a somewhat uneasy look on his face. He'll be persuaded to turn, he will be made the Prince of Dorne if he gives the Martells to me.
''The Dornish are foul curs, yet Yronwood is not Dornish, the blood of the First Men runs through his veins.'' The reptilian voice said. She had come to be one of his most loyal conciliators, he was not ashamed to say. Though men might have thought him mad if he said so aloud. Daeron and Myrei have heard similar voice, he found out, giving them council, speaking to them, jesting with them.
It never happened before Summerhall, so could they be connected to the dragons? He hoped so, once Martell was crushed, he'd claim one of them for himself. Lord Fowler pulled himself higher and higher, until his head was at the top of the cage. The faces of the Martells delighted him. Their bannermen would die as Aemon nearly did. They were lucky he didn't go the route of Daeron I.
King Daeron, Prince Aemon, King Baelor, Queen Rhaenys. All of the fallen dragons would be avenged, he vowed. Rhaella too. I will take Martell's wife for mine own, and give her to my men when I'm done, they will suffer tenfold what my sister did.
His sister. . . Rhaella still brought a smile to his face. While he was storming Skyreach, a raven arrived from Summerhall, written in her own hand.
''My sweet brother,'' the letter had said, ''for the love you bear me and our son, lay down your arms and come back to me. Father has left to Dragonstone, while Grandfather forces his nose into books. I miss you, I need you, I love you. I'm afraid, I'm surrounded by enemies, and I'm afraid. Protect me. Protect our son. I love you, come at once. Daeron and Myrei too.''
He remembered the moistness that had come to his eyes after reading that letter. As much as he wanted to return to her, and hold his son, he could not. He had a duty, not only to her but to house Targaryen.
''Everyday the Martells live, knowing what harm they done to your sister, the less your name commands respect. If another can harm your wife with impunity, you cease becoming a house to be feared.'' The letter from Tywin really brought him insight. He wanted to do this, but he also needed to do this. For the honor of his house.
Thus he replied to Rhaella. It was hard to write the words down, yet he wrote them anyway. He softened the blow as much as he could, but by anger in her next later, he could tell she did not understand.
''Are our spearmen ready?'' Aerys asked, Mervyn Dondarrion nodded. He gave the command, and Michael Manwoody pulled the lever, sobbing. Lord Fowler as his maternal uncle.
The gilded bars snapped shut, and Fowler fell to the bottom. Hundreds of vipers began to bite him at once, and the Lord of Skyreach began to wail in terror. Red marks covered his hands, neck and arse. He'll die within the minute. Horn Hill's maester guaranteed it.
Qoren roared a command, and Aerys did the same. Gerold held the vanguard, Lord Tarly the center, Lord Mullendore the left, Lord Caron the right. Aerys himself was on the front lines, along with his brother Daeron, but Myrei commanded the archers. The Dorish spears were twelve feet long, and they held large, round shield made of sturdy oak and black iron wrapped with golden copper.
The spears, commanded by Ser Jeoffrey Costayne, who had been traveling near Summerhall when Aerys called the banners, were longer, some topping nearly twenty feat. The men were tightly packed together, and the fourth and fifth rows had to hold their spears in the air for lack of room. The infantry was solid as iron, with Ser Rowan commanding them. Aerys himself and Randyll Tarly would have the calvary.
As Prince Baelor and Prince Maekar before him, the hammer and anvil tactic was to be used by Aerys. The Dornish calvary, instead of being in a line like his, were formed into a triangular shape. Their flanks were also heavily reinforced, a s well as slightly curved. The fertile land had been burned by Yronwood, to his wroth, his men were hard from battle, and a good feast would do them well. Aerys ground his teeth.
His warhorse snorted impatiently, with a cry, the battle began.
The spears went first, but they were awfully slow. Aerys grinned when his spearmen began to cut through the Dornish phalanx like a knife through cheese. Aerys shouted and roared with the rest, as men fought and bled and died. Not enough action for me.
With a blow of the horn, Dornish calvary charged. Lord Caron turned his men slightly to the right as Lord Mullendore did the same. The shield wall was commanded by Ser Vyraman. He did not the trust the man alone with his wife, so he commanded him to fight alongside his rightful king, though it was pointless, as his younger brother was named castallean in his place.
Aerys dug into his spurs, and rode, his brother right behind him. Arrows were flying on both sides, picking off men by the dozen. Aerys rode faster, intent on breaking them from behind, his lance in his hand.
Then, to his horror, the calvary went through the spears. the triangular shape cut through the heart of the spearmen, leaving a whole in their place.
''Ride!'' he yelled. Ser Vyraman was still on his horse, looking confused. Hatred bred in his heart. You son of a bitch.
''I told you never trust a Dornishman,'' the reptilian voice.
''Shut up!'' he hissed angrily.
Lord Caron rode to the enemies right, cutting a bloody path between their calvary, yet it did not seem to stop them. Lord Mullendore the same, his lance piercing a man's neck before he drew his sword.
Aerys panicked. Suddenly his lance met flesh, a man with the portcullis of Yronwood engraved on his armor gurgled in shock, clasping his neck as blood poured out. Aerys yanked it out, the wood wet with blood.
His shield still strapped to his arm, Aerys reached below and pulled out his favorite weapon; his mace. Daeron was already cutting men down with his sword, and Aerys was not about to be left out.
The first was some Martell squire, running at him with an axe, a mad look in his eyes. Aerys slammed his shield into his face, before smashing his head in. When he ripped the mace out, blood and gore remained on his iron spikes.
He kept riding, by now the Dornish calvary was tearing their shieldwall to bloody bits. His Ser Jeoffrey Costayne had commanded his men to drop their spears and pick up their swords, and were now aiding the shieldwall. Vyraman was dueling another man before having his neck piercing by a stray arrow. Aerys regretted that he didn't kill him.
The Royal cavalry cut through the Dornish spearmen, and Aerys mace and armor were stained with blood. His horse had took an arrow before stumbling over a dead body and breaking it's leg. Aerys continued on foot.
So was Gerold Hightower, who was shouting a command from his horse, more mounted knights came, lances in hand against the Dornish calvary. His flanks now formed a half-circle around the battlefield and were slowly cutting down the men in the middle.
Aerys fought on. Another man came at him, spear in hand.
''Are you Dornish as useless as you are craven?'' he said. The man howled like a savage beast before running at him, wielding the spear as if it were a butchers cleaver. He easily avoided his wide hacks and slashes, before burying his mace inside his stomach.
Daeron sliced the edge of his blade against the neck of a knight, before putting his boots to his chest, kicking him away while slicing him open. The arrows had finally run out, so Myrei led the men into the fray, sword in their hands. It was originally suicide to engage the calvary directly, but Myrei had picked off the commander's horses, leaving the knights without direction.
Aerys shoved a man to the ground before raising his mace high. He brought it down with all his strength. What remained of his head looked like a burst melon.
One, two, three, four, five. He began counting how many he killed, I could kill a million and it wouldn't be enough.
When Qoren Martell's horse failed under him, Aerys smiled. He ran fast fast as he could, killing anyone who stood in his way. His son Lewyn was engaging Ser Gerold by the right flank, and was too far to help him. You're mine now.
''Father!'' He heard Lewyn cry out, he wrenched his mace free of another skull he bashed in, and walked to Qoren, huffing and puffing. Qoren looked at him in shock. His sword was red with blood, the blood of my people. His breastplate was copper, flashing in the sunlight, his helm was emblazoned with the sun of his house on the side, the same as his rondels.
The anger he had felt this whole time resurfaced again. They poisoned Rhaella, my sister, my wife, the mother of my son.
''Admit to your treason and I will give you an honorable death,'' he said at once, Qoren mouth twisted into a mockery of a smile.
''You are mad! Treason? I have been more loyal than I should have,''
''You poisoned my wife!'' Aerys screamed.
''I did not. Though, perhaps it would have been a good thing, the spawn of incest would befoul our kingdom again.'' Aerys lost it.
''Dance with me then,'' Qoren said cockily.
With a roar, Aerys swung at his head, blood flying off the spikes from the sheer speed. The Dornishman evaded swiftly, ducking the blow before raising his sword. He raised his shield arm, blocking the onslaught of blows Qoren rained upon him. The face, neck, and legs were all targeted.
Aerys answered back. High, low, high, low, he then swung at his right side, then his left. All were evaded.
''Quit running, craven!'' His voice was thick with contempt, but Martell only laughed.
''Seven hells, you Targaryen's sure are thick-headed.''
He twisted his sword around and gave a slash to chin, but his helm deflected it away. Aerys planted his feet firmly on the ground and swung high at his head, the low on his leg, the iron spikes lightly grazed his shin, causing him to hiss in pain.
''You bloody bastard,'' Martell spat at his feet.
Aerys raised his shield, he felt the blows chip away at his oak-and-iron shield. I would be quicker without this bloody thing. In his anger, or madness, he reached over and ripped the shield off before Martell could blink. Then with two hands, he smashed it across Martell's face with all his strength. He felt the crack of his nose underneath the shield.
Qoren grunted and fell back, but he wasn't done. Flexing his right arm, he went for the kill. ''No mercy,'' the reptilian reminded him.
He took his mace with both hands and began swinging, in haste Martell picked up the nearest shield and held it above his head. Blow after blow after blow, Aerys reigned down on that vile prince's shield, until the oak began to chip away.
Shield in one hand, he reflected another one of his blows, and made one for himself. Aerys wrapped a steel fist around the blade, before smashing his mace against his left knee. The enemy howled in pain.
Aerys slowly ripped the spikes out of Martell's flesh, before burying it again in his right knee. Martell's scream was nothing human.
''You goddamn son of a bitch! How dare you-ugghh!'' As before, Aerys slowly removed the iron spikes from his knee. Both were shattered, he won't be running anywhere.
His face was full of fear as he looked up.
''Mercy!'' He screamed.
''Mercy sire!'' He begged.
''No.'' Was Aerys' reply, voice as cold as ice.
Raising his mace high, Martell began to scream.
He brought it down. Then up again.
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken, such lies.
The Prince of Dorne's head completely smashed in when he was done, as he looked to the battle around him, everyone was panicking. Lord Yronwood took his knights and fled, Lord Tarly and Mullendore were finishing the rest of their calvary.
Ser Gerold Hightower rode up with Daeron next to him. When his brother the body, he smiled and hooted, but Gerold had a look of shock on his face.
''We have won, Aerys!'' his brother proclaimed.
''Aye,'' he said, ''Yes we have.''
With the Prince's death, war with Dorne was inevitable. Good, he thought, that way I can punish every Martell for their crimes against my house. Rhaella's injustice was settled, but not King Daeron's, or Queen Rhaenys, or King Baelor, or Prince Aemon. For those crimes there must be justice.
''We won, aye, but heavy costs. Vyraman Gargalen is dead, along with Lord Caron. Mullendore survived, but is wounded, Jeoffrey Costayne is nowhere to be found, it's likely he was captured.'' Dire tidings, he thought.
''We fall back,'' he said, and for once Gerold seemed to agree.
''Back to Summerhall, I need to speak with Grandfather,''
The ride back was a cheerful time, he would back to his wife, his son too.
Traitors, everywhere, in the guards, in the maids. . . what will I do?
''My lady?'' The sound of her bed maid made her cringe. Her ladies had been apart of her life at court were not the same ones who fouled her days today. Joanna was at Casterly Rock, having been sent away after Aerys' actions.
Aerys. . . it always comes back to Aerys, doesn't it? Her husband's refusal enraged her, thus she had no other course than to shame him into returning. Aegon himself refused to see anyone except mother, and she rarely came around as well.
Lord Manwoody executed, Skyreach stormed. . . it just keeps getting worse and worse! Her brother Daeron wrote as well, asking after the health of his sons, but that was once. Myrei wrote her more than anybody, swearing that nothing she could do would sway their brother from their course.
Her nephews and son were decent company. Maekar was a bundle of joy, while Jaelora and Vyrei oft kept her laughing for days on end. Aemar though. . . he was a queer babe. Simply for the fact that he did not act as one.
He did not smile, he did not cry, he did nothing that babes were supposed to do. Only emotion her nephew showed her was a frown. Rhaella tickled his feet, blew on his stomach played ''got your nose'' and ''peek-a-boo'' nothing worked to make him laugh.
It unnerved her, but she did not say so in her letter to her siblings. Myrei had too much to worry about, her son possibly being simple would add to the stress.
''My lady?'' She asked again, Rhaella took her eyes off of Rhaegar and set them upon her. The girl seemed to tremble.
''Yes?'' said Rhaella, voice soft.
''His Grace request your presence.''
''My grandfather is more than welcome to visit me if he wishes to.'' She said, perhaps too sharp. The girl flinched.
''Your Grace. . . this isn't a request.'' Rhaella simply looked at her, and the girl seemed to shrivel.
''I will let his Grace know your position.'' She said finally.
I am surrounded by idiots and fools, father needs to get back here, and now.
''Your father is completing his task even as we speak, princess.'' The voice was slimy and reptilian, yet somewhat womanly as well.
''What task?'' she muttered to himself.
''Why, brining your birthright of course.''
''The Iron Throne?'' Rhaella was confused, Aerys was set to seat the throne, not her. Ever since Rhaenyra Targaryen, the lords decided that women could not rule.
''No,'' Was all the voice said.
Her son cooed in her arms, and she began to look at him again. his eyes were a deep indigo, so lovely to look upon. I'll kill any man who harms you, she vowed.
I'd best prepare to kill the Dornish, then. The Martell's were always a troublesome lot, even after the joined the seven kingdoms. The peace agreement between Aegon and Deria Martell did not long outlast them. During his war for the Stepstones, Daemon was hassled by Dornish as well, and Aliandra Martell advised lords to raid within the Marches for her favor.
They have been plaguing the realm for centuries, a sharp lesson would go far. Yet, she still hesitated, if Aerys hadn't reacted so quickly...
''Are you so weak minded that you blame your brother for defending your honor instead of hating the scum that attacked you?'' The reptilian voice asked sharply.
''The Dornish are traitors, and traitors always pay with their lives. Spare them now and they will cut down your son in the future,'' Fear seized her heart.
''Rhaella.'' The sharpness of the voice could only be her grandfather. Sitting up, she looked to the king.
''Your willfulness is beneath you. Cease acting like a child.''
''When you send for my husband,'' Aegon stiffened.
''Aerys is a man grown, he is fighting on your behalf-''
''You want him to die, don't you?'' Her grandfather's face twisted.
''Are you mad? Clearly, childbirth has made you weary but-''
''Don't patronize me. I want my husband back, give him to me, and I will cease this. Otherwise we have nothing to speak of.'' Aegon ground his teeth.
''Your father will hear of this.'' She didn't bother replying.
The dragon was once again on her mind, pale pink, with the color of rose on her wings. The dead woman was on her mind as well. ''That will be your fate if you don't harden your heart now.'' The voice reminded her.
''Which will you choose. The spear?'' The image of her on dragonback alongside Aerys, bringing fire and blood to Dorne came to her.
''Or the tears?'' She was on her knees, begging for mercy before Prince Qoren. The Dornish took off Aerys' head, along with Daeron and Myrei's. Rhaella screamed. Aegon and Father followed them. Afterwards, the made for a crib, she recognized Rhaegar's cry.
''No! You get away from him!'' The Martell grabbed her by her neck and bent her over. Another took Rhaegar and dashed his sweet head against the wall. Blood and brains of her son on his hands, Martell took her, and gave her to his men.
''Which one princess, spear, or the tears?''
Rhaella sobbed, clutching her son to her heart. She closed off her heart.
Chapter 6: WAR
The dragons meet their matches. . .
Rhaegar gurgled in his arms, much to Aerys' joy. His son looked as beautiful as his parents, with bright silver hair and deep indigo eyes. A true dragon, one worthy of me. He couldn't wait until the Dornish were dealt with, that way he could never be apart from him again.
I will teach him to hunt and to sail, to fight and to charm and to joust.
The army had arrived behind Summerhall two days past, fortifying the pleasure palace as much as they could. Father was still at Dragonstone, though two ravens rad arrived from him. One saying the task was complete, the other saying he would be traveling to the Red Keep soon.
Rhaella sat next to him on their large feather bed, leaning her head against his shoulder, watching their son intently. He's so sweet. . .how could have we made something so sweet?
Aerys grew happier and happier the more time he spent with him. Though he couldn't speak, he felt a connection with his son. Something that was irreplaceable.