Chapter 1: And so It Begins
Everything gains perspective after Death.
Before Jon's first death, he had plenty of moments when he thought "This is the most Painful thing to experience" Of course, then he was stabbed multiple times. But even after that, he had felt things more painful, the suffocating of men surrounding him in what was called "The Battle of the Bastards" or when he had almost drowned, then almost died of Hypothermia. Both had been worse than the stabbing.
Of course, that was before he had fought a White Walker, and lost.
Everything was how he remembered it, the insane speed of the strikes, the raw power behind them, and how even at a yard away, the cold made it hurt to breathe. But when that Sickle of ice pierced his side, every injury in his life had seemed less painful. He could feel it, the blood in his veins beginning to freeze, his breathing coming more and more ragged, and the feeling of every nerve in his body being cut. He barely could say Ghost's name before his body was dead. He awoke in White Harbor, next to Bran's wheelchair, and he knew right then what had happened. He was no longer Jon Snow, Eddard's Fake Bastard was dead, at least his body was. Jon was in Ghost.
He remembered the last time this had happened, albeit not well, before he was already on the move. Bran's Eyes had been white, but they looked at Ghost now, and the two left, they had to quickly. 2 months after his death, when the Battle for the Dawn was truly lost.
He remembered the smell of old stone, the weirwoods, and the dead, stumbling forward, quick and skeletal, and Bran looking him in his red eyes "We've Lost," Brain had said with his cold, mechanical voice, with no emotion behind it. He had stared into the Great Weirwood on the Isle of Faces with eyes as sad as the trees.
He looked at Jon and gave him a phrase, 36 years later that he would never forget "You can't let this happen, not again. Go, protect yourself as an infant, don't let The Last Hero die again" Before everything went black.
The First thing Jon felt was being wet, and cold, and a squeezing around his foot. He could hear something but couldn't see, the voice of a man, scraggly and ruff. "My Lady, it's Twins!" the voice stated with a somber form of pride "Let me see them," another voice, quiet and sweet, almost a whisper, "The boy... Jaime, and the girl..." Jon felt the feeling of being lifted up, "Cersei."
Wait, Cersei! This must have been a mistake! If Bran wanted to make sure that Azor Ahai grew up safely, why wasn't he Rhaegar, or Arthur Dayne? Seven Hells, even Lyanna would have been a better choice!
"Oh come on! Please, Jaime? It would make me soooo happy!" a young Cersei said. It had been 5 years since his, or her now, birth. Yet the sound of the sweet southern accent, having been drilled by Septa and Maester in both Grammar and courtly etiquette, was still bizarre and strange for Jon to hear. But he hadn't been Jon for a long time.
"But what if Father found out?" the voice of a small boy responded. It was weird to see Ser Jaime with both hands, and not with his regal confidence and Gold Armor. Weird indeed. "Besides Cersei, you are much better at letters then I am, the Septa will notice if something is wrong!"
Cersei grimaced. One of the few problems of having almost 2 decades of knowledge of swordplay and learning made being in a body where neither were expected or encouraged all the more annoying. She had already known some High valyrian before being sent back, and it was considered that she was some type of witch, according to the Septon, seeing as how she could already speak the Common tongue at less than 2.
"But Jaime," the all too familiar voice repeated. Cersei hadn't had a proper sword fight in 5 years, although the last one hadn't gone his way, he was itching for another try. Cersei had learned quickly that Sword fighting was not for a Lady. Fortunately, one of the few perks of being her was being able to get what she wanted. And no one was more likely to give it to her then Jaime. "I love sword fighting, and no one will know if we switched for each other's lessons!"
The Kingslayer who hadn't killed a king yet, looked as though he was about to argue, but Cersei used one of her acquired traits. She pouted her lips, opened her eyes, and stared at her new twin with eyes filled with as much fake sadness as possible. Moth-Joanna had said that she ought to give her to the Mummers with her fake crying. "Fine, but only for today!" the Little boy said in the predawn light. Cersei gave a slight cheer, before running to the other side of the room to put on her brother's clothing. She slightly grinned at the last part of the sentence. This was the fourth time they switched, and the fourth time he said it was "Only for today!"
Cersei loved Joana, that much was true, but every time she hugged her, things felt... wrong. Physically, she was her mother, but Cersei knew that wasn't the real Cersei. Still, having a mother was never something that 'Jon' had ever experienced, and Joanna was, to put it mildly, an Angel on Earth. Before Cersei was Cersei, she had not really believed in the Seven, but having spent the last 6 years as a devout worshiper... things had changed. No one in House Lannister seemed religious, not in the way Eddard was with his Old Gods or Catelyn with her New, but the Seven Pointed Star had become one of the most prominent aspects of her life, and she knew it almost as well as the septon did. And Cersei was convinced Joanna was the Mother made Flesh.
"But do we have to go to the City?" Cersei asked for what felt like the 10th time. There was not very much that could be talked about, between what the world saw as a six-year-old, and her not-really-a-mother mother. But Cersei made do, with the same 6 conversation pieces.
"We do, my little lioness. If we don't, the King will be very upset with your daddy." The beautiful women spoke with a grace that was unmatched by everything Cersei had ever heard. Cersei hadn't forgotten the promise she made to Bran, but she knew something else would be happening. She remembered enough about the Dwarf of Lannister that he was probably conceived during the Ten Year Tournament of Aerys the Second, the same tourney she was currently traveling to.
Cersei and the Imp had gotten along, at least when she used to be Jon, but knowing that in order for him to be born, Joanna would have to die was... too much for the little girl. Too much indeed.
Cersei had already felt she had improved this timeline somewhat. Jaime had told Cers-Jon, that they had an incestuous relationship before the tourney. Something that this Cersei had put a stop to, but there were... other problems. As time went on, she was beginning to forget her past life. She stopped thinking of herself as Jon in Cersei's body when she was 3, and soon she was just Cersei. 'This is no different then the Wildlings' had been the only thing keeping him sane at the beginning. He had no idea how wrong he was. When he was with Yggritte, 'Jon' was constantly reminded who he was, everyone called him 'Crow.' But no one was calling Cersei Jon, and so Jon began to fade. More and more...
Jon knew that Tyrion had been one of Daenerys' advisor, and had convinced her to help Jon in the first place; Cersei knew that the little Imp had killed her mother. It was getting harder and harder to decide which voice to listen to.
"Soon, my little Lioness, we will see King's Landing, and you can meet the Prince, and play with all the high born children." Rhaegar Targaryen. The boy was only 12 at the time, but the boy made her feel sick. 'This man caused the death of my mother' It didn't help that Cersei knew Tywin's plans...
The rest of tourney continued as planned, but Cersei was able to do one thing
She made sure her mother wasn't going to die in 9 months.
That blasted little girl.
Tywin knew that girl was to smart for her own good, but how in the name of the Gods she had gotten this idea, Tywin was unsure. He knew it wasn't Jaime's Idea, although he wouldn't have been surprised. The boy followed Cersei like a whipped puppy, and she was well aware of it. So if she might have let slip she wanted to see Dorne, or maybe she thought that Elia was the most beautiful girl in the world, and had merely made that known to Jaime, Tywin was unsure, but he knew the root cause.
Joana had always been a bit to close to the Dornish for his tastes, and there was no doubt in his mind that it was her idea to have the boy marry Elia. But Fostering? This was too much.
But here he was, at Lannisport, saying goodbye to his son, as he went to go squire in Dorne, with Oberyn and his Betrothed. Maybe if Tywin was a bit more stable in his life he could have convinced Joana to send the lad to Crakehall, but with his moving to King's Landing, and getting a castellan set up, as well as moving his entire household, he had a moment of weakness and...
How could one be seduced by one he was already married too! Alas, it appeared as though his wife was pregnant. He didn't want to break this news, not yet at least. Tywin was well aware that with her Brother gone, the girl would be saddened, and this news would raise her spirits.
Tywin Lannister was wrong about what would raise her spirits.
It had been the last feast before the long trip East, and he figured that he could tell it as Good News, and something the girl could look forward to. This was not what happened at all.
Tywin had been standing at the High Table, a cup of Dornish Red in his hands, gifted by Princess Martell, when he said, for all the court to hear, that Joanna Lannister was with child. There had been several cheers, and excited chatting, but when Tywin looked towards the little 8-year-old, all he saw was a dark, sullen look.
8 months later, standing over the body of his dead wife in the Great Sept, knowing that the little monster was waiting back at the keep, he knew his daughter was right.
She Knew it! Damn it! This was what the septa had told her about, the Folley of Man. It had seemed that the Stranger had wanted Joanna, and nothing could stop Tyrion from causing that. She knew it wasn's the boy's fault, but she hated him all the same. It took 4 months before she was ready to go back as one of Rhaella's Ladies.
The Hole in her chest was the first time she had felt like Jon in years
Being one of Queen Rhaella's ladies-in-waiting has its perks. Fact that she could command most household knights, drink more alcohol than average, and have an influence on the Queen. The latter was proving most useful today.
In order to ensure that The Last Hero was born, Cersei had to make sure that Fire and Ice could meet. That meant making sure that Lyanna Stark, her real mom, and Rhaegar, her father, had children.
Unfortunately, Tywin was pushing towards Cersei and Rhaegar betrothal. Her own bloody father! So, Cersei took matters into her own hands.
First, she told Rhaella that she hadn't flowered yet, repeatedly, over 1 dinner. Then, she talked endlessly about how she loved the cold, and that Winter at Casterly Rock was always her favorite season. Then she talked about how a book she read, about Brandon the Builder, and on and on the conversation went. This had... bizarre outcomes.
The Pregnant queen had gotten very much exhausted of talk of the North when she said those seven words that would haunt her until her dying days, "Do you want to Marry Brandon Stark?"
Cersei could feel her face begin to blush. that was her Uncle! well, was... it had been 11 years since she was Jon. She was a Lannister, she knew that, but...
"... I could write to Rickard for you, you know. You could be betrothed before the Year is out. Would you want that, dear?" The woman said, starring the red-faced Lannister in the eyes. Damn It Damn It Damn it!
Cersei said, in a meek voice "As my grace pleases."
Chapter 2: In Third century Westeros we write Letters
Rickard Gets a Letter, Tywin tries his best, Jaime is more confused than ever, and Rhaella isn't taking shit from anyone
So I'm attempting to do a chapter a day, up until chapter 15, in which it will be every 3 days. So you have 2 weeks of new content every day.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Rickard was staring at the letter on his desk. The heat in his solar made things uncomfortably warm and made reading this letter hurt his head even more. None of this was helped by Maester Walys, sitting in the corner, with that sound as he slapped his gums against his mouth. Rickard needed an Ale.
Tywin had always been a stubborn as an ass, and from what Rickard remembered from the Ninepenny Kings, and he wanted his daughter to be queen. The two had never really been close, having met only once or twice during the whole war, but the man's pure willpower and ruthlessness had always made him stand out. It didn't help that the Tywin annihilated 2 major houses within the next 5 years.
When Walys had suggested that the plan of his, Tywin's children seemed to be a superb opportunity. Jaime was heir to one of the most powerful houses in the realm, and if Cersei had married his Brandon, the Western Alliances would have been made even stronger. Besides, Brandon seemed to love hunting and fighting too much to rule, and from what reports Rickard heard from Court, the girl was a genius. At age 9 she could already speak High Valyrian, Braavosi, Pentoshi, and Volantine, and was willful enough to take control. At least, he assumed the latter, judging by the letter on his desk.
This letter is to remain between us, for the time being. As you may know, The Lord Hand, Tywin Lannister, has brought his daughter to court. Many assumed it was to woo my son, Crown Prince Rhaegar, as did I. However, it seems the Girl has taken an interest in your Son, Brandon.
I am quite fond of the little girl, and with the birth of my child pending, a tourney will most likely take place. I shall ask his Grace if the tourney should be held at Lannisport. Perhaps a betrothal could be made?
Queen Rhaella of House Targaryen
Rickard looked at the letter, reading and rereading it. He looked at the other letter.
This letter had been prepared last night by Rickard, with the intention of sending it this morning. By now? He was unsure. The letter was about the betrothal of Catelyn Tully, Lady of Riverun, and Brandon, but then there was the Queen's letter and thus the foundation of his headache.
"Walys," Lord Rickards voice was ruff, but confident enough to stop that obnoxious slapping of lips, "Write to Barrowtown, I need to see my son."
Tywin had never like Court Gossip. He supposed it came from his childhood, although maesters seemed to claim every flaw in a psyche came from Childhood. That was why Pycelle was now analyzing every bit of information he could about Aerys' youth, but Tywin's anger was much easier to find out. As a lad, his father had been the laughing stock of the Realm, and whispers behind the Smiling Lion's back was all too common. Tywin, over the course of 5 short years, had rectified that situation, but still, people still gossiped.
So when the rumor that Cersei was to wed a Stark, of all things, Tywin paid it no mind. Some claimed a Leviathan was eating whales whole in Ib, and this was no different. A silly story with no basis in fact, to help the sheep go through their lives. He figured in a month, all of those rumors would be quieted. That had been 3 months ago.
The whispers continued and grew louder, much to Tywin's dismay. Rumors of secret letters between Rickard and Rhaella was dominating the conversation, to Household Knights, to High Lords, this rumor was a parasite. Tywin had even put Pycelle on the case, but Gods be damned, Rhaella had her own Private Maester.
Tywin was sitting in his Solar when he heard a faint knocking was heard. "Come in." Tywin was nothing if not to the point, and if someone wanted to speak to him he wanted it to be clear from the beginning that he was the one leading the conversation.
The stuttering Old Man walked in, with his long flowing beard, and slightly high pitched voice. Tywin had never approved of individuals with less of a backbone than a worm, like Pycelle himself but the Grand Maester had his uses.
"M-my Lord, I have found some information you may deem most helpful!" Pycelle had always been a bit too enthusiastic when he thought he had done something good. It was a trait that was cute in Lions and Dogs, but to one of the smartest men in the realm, it was considerably less admirable.
"Yes?" Short, and to the point. More lords should try that, Tywin mused silently.
"The rumors, regarding Queen Rhaella and Rickard's Letters are, hem hem, true." He said 'true' as if it was a terrible burden. To be fair to the man, it was the last thing Tywin wanted to hear. But the old man wasn't finished.
"It also appears that this wasn't the Queen's idea.. it was Lady Cersei's plan all along, to hear the Stokeworth Girl speak of it." Tywin's neck snapped up to look at Pycelle at the last part of that phrase. Was it Cersei's Idea? Cersei? Tywin had little experience with little girls, but he had assumed that being Queen was one of the things they all had in common. It appeared as though a decades worth of planning had been tossed out the window by a girl who hadn't even had her first Moon Blood.
Tywin needed Wine.
"Send the Girl to me."
Over the next few weeks, Cersei had tried backtracking. But the damn Queen wasn't budging! It didn't help how she would have to meet him soon. The Queen had tossed the Idea of getting to meet over a Tourney several times, a tourney to celebrate Rhaella's new child. The Queen Mother was currently 5 months pregnant. Cersei had 4 to 5 months to undo the mess she had made.
Yet every time the subject was broached, the Queen had tried to reassure her about 'What a great Match it was!' It had started simply enough, with Rhaella talking about how Brandon was considered a great warrior, a fantastic jouster, and so many other compliments about outrageous claims that if 'Jon' hadn't already known them, she would have labelled as a lie. Gods, this was annoying. Cersei went to confront the Queen, but once again, it didn't turn out well.
"My Lady, if it's your father you are worried about, I can talk to him for you. I could even get the King to issue a command. I'm fond of you, but these comments are getting exhausting." That was the LAST thing Cersei wanted. Having remembered what Sansa had told 'Jon' and what the Septa had told Cersei, a Lady's Courtesy is her Armor, and screaming 'NO!" at the Queen was generally not seen as the 'correct' way of dealing with the situation. Cersei knew that eventually, she was to be wed, that was simply what a Lady did, but 10 years did not make it seem any more appealing. Besides, Lyanna and Rhaegar were what Cersei really needed to happen.
It was currently late 275, she knew that at Harrenhall in 281 Lyanna and Rhaegar had first met, and sparked their love, but that was 5 and a half years away, a lot could happen in 5 years. Cersei, realizing she had been silent for too long of a time, quickly blurted something out without thinking.
"Whatever My Grace wishes," Cersei said, with a blush traveling up her neck.
"Speaking of your Father, he wanted to speak with you in his Solar." This was not something she was looking forward to.
His sister had always been a little... off. When most girls of 8 wanted to be beautiful damsels, marry the handsome knight, and live happily ever after, she had been reading. Granted, she played her share of monsters and maidens, but it was only after Mother had told her that it was a good way to make friends, and then told her she couldn't go to the library unless she played. It didn't help that she despised needlework, seemed to dislike the Gods, and despite all of her bookishness, really wanted to sword fight.
It was times like these where Jaime thought that maybe Cersei should have been the one sent to Dorne. Elia was kind if not closed off, and Jaime had found Oberyn to actually be someone of his level in combat, Cersei definitely would have loved Dorne more. Here, a woman could be more then just a wife, and if Cersei had it her way, she would be down here right now, learning how to sword fight with Oberyn, and that midnight skinned Norvosi Guard.
At least, that was what Jaime had thought before those Letters.
It was a morning like any other in Dorne, Hot as hell, with the smell of Salt being the first thing he noticed upon waking, followed soon after by the bruises crying out. Oberyn's spear, even with a blunted edge, could still bruise, and while Jaime gave back all those he got, it seemed as though Jaime was dealing with the worse side of things.
Jaime quickly dressed in his crimson undershirt, before tucking it into his dark brown silk pants. He marched down the staircase, already feeling overheated. In Dorne, it wasn't odd to see both Lord and Peasant shirtless, and while Jaime was raised to be more dignified, the heat often made him want to reconsider. At least the silks were cool, allowing a small bit of breeze through.
He reached the common hall, to where Oberyn and Elia were sitting, before sitting next to them. The two began talking at once. Jaime had often found that the Dornish accent could be understood if the person was speaking slowly enough. Neither Elia nor Oberyn had given him that pleasure. He heard some words, Arthur Dayne, Tourney, something-something Ser Barristan something-something White Bull, something about Cersei and a betrothal- wait! Cersei was betrothed, and no one had bothered to tell him? He didn't have much time to brood, as the Princess raised her class to signify silence.
"My court, my children have already been informed, but I must tell you of something! There is to be a tourney in Lannisport in a month, to honor the birth of Prince Viserys!" The woman said, her voice husky, yet with a ringing authority.
A tourney! Jaime had not seen a tourney since he was six, and he hadn't left Dorne in nearly 2 years, so seeing beautiful Lannisport again had almost made Jaime forget the other things the Martell children said. Almost
"My lady?" Jaime asked, with the false confidence only a boy of 10 can produce. Jaime internally scolded himself. She was a Princess of Dorne, not a Lady.
"Yes, Lion Cub?" Jaime had never understood that. His mother had died a year previously, and since then the Princess of Dorne was trying to act somewhat like a replacement. But he did appreciate the attempt.
"What was that about my Sisters betrothal?" once again, with that annoying voice on the cusp of adulthood.
"She sent you a letter, I'll send it to your chambers. Just finish your oranges first."
Jaime had never eaten food so fast in his life, the honeyed duck with oranges was one of Jaime's favorite, but the speed of which he ate meant he tasted none of it. His sister hadn't sent Jaime a letter since Mother's death. Jaime had never been one to read letters, he had even told that to Cersei, thus explaining the lack of contact. But Cersei had never been one for doing what she was told, so it was bizarre she never sent a Raven. But now that one was here, Jaime couldn't wait. He pulled out the Dornish Stilleto Oberyn had given him as a name day gift, and carefully cut open the Letter
My Dearest Jaime,
I have made a terrible mistake.
Father has always wanted me to marry the Prince, you know that as much as I do, so I tried hinting to the Queen that maybe the Stark girl should wed Rhaegar, but the plan failed miserably. The Queen thought I wanted to wed a Stark. She is throwing a whole bloody tourney just so I can meet Brandon Stark.
Worse still, Father things it was my idea, and Father has never been one to deny me what he thinks I want. He summoned me to speak about it 2 months ago, but I started talking about History for almost an hour before he sent me off. He hasn't brought it up since. Oh gods, Jaime, I don't know what to do!
Your Beloved Sister,
Jaime loved his sister, truly, but he didn't understand her. What type of girl didn't want to marry the Prince? To be fair, Jaime wasn't thrilled with the Idea of marrying a Princess, but she was 9 years older than him!
Jaime sighed and began to write back.
She had always kept a copy of every letter she had ever sent. 'Jon' learned to do that, Sam said it helped cut down on useless bits of a letter if you have to repeat yourself. Today, Cersei had another reason. She looked at it, "Dearest Brother." She had never called Jaime that, ever. She reread the letter again. By the Gods, what was wrong with her?
At the time, she had meant for it to sound more sisterly, more friendly, but reading it now, she was having difficulty telling herself that. Had she meant it?
Cersei had been having this problem for months now. There would be... gaps, where 'Jon' was all but gone. She seemed to do things unconsciously. When she was angry, her voice picked up near the end, she was prone to gasping in shock, and worst of all, she was beginning to think of men... romantically.
It wasn't like she had dreams of sleeping with men, but yesterday she had zoned out, and began to think about her wedding! Gods, this was so wrong! She had even wondered, what if Marrying Brandon was the right thing to do? Eddard had always loved Robert, but the man whored and embarrassed his wife daily. Was that something she wanted?
What would happen if 'Jon' Faded away?
Tomorow will be EXCLUSIVELY tourney related, with Cersei going, Jaime there, and the first Brandon POV. Who knows, I might even get it out tonight?
I'm debating Robert/Catelyn, but I'm not sure that would make to much sense from a plot perspective, but we'll see. For those who are curious, Oberyn and Elia's Mother is never named in story, so instead, I chose the name of an already existing princess, Princess Allandra Martell
Did anyone get that Broadway Reference in the TItle (Hint: Josh Groban was in it)
Chapter 3: Why you Cersei want to go to tourney, the King's Tourney?
Rhaella tries pushing Cersei and Brandon together, Cersei has to learn what to do about Steffon and Cassana Baratheon, and Robert is intrigued by the first girl who hasn't immediately dropped her skirts for him.
So, for those who didn't get it, last Chapters title is a reference to "Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812," specifically the song "Letters"
I'm playing fast and loose with the Tourney rules, as the World book never really explains the rules if only a Knight can join or an andal, or age limits, so I'm just going with 14 and up, same with the Timeline.
In Story, Cassana and Steffon go to Volantis in 278, but I changed it to 276, simply to move the plot along.
It is left vague when Robert was Knighted, and who he squired for, so I'm choosing Cortney Penrose
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Before, 'Jon' had always looked down on tourneys, to over the top, with men attacking like imbeciles, only to lose their expensive Horse and Armor in 30 minutes. And the garish outfits the men and women alike wore, it grew exhausting. Of course, Cersei now was one of those garishly dressed ladies, so perhaps opinions and circumstance can change.
Regardless if Cersei enjoyed the events themselves, the revelation made on the ride here had ruined the atmosphere a bit for the young girl. It was not made any more helpful by the fact that Cersei had forgotten all of her good books at King's Landing, and what the Baratheon's Announced before leaving.
As the Feast for Prince Viserys was in full swing, the visiting Baratheons had made a speech. Lord Steffon and Lady Cassana stood before the feast, looking all the cheer and joy Robert had when he visited Winterfell, saved only for the fact that they spoke without the slur that accompanied the drunkard king.
"My dear Lords and Ladies," Lord Steffon began, "I am afraid we shall be unable to join you for the merrymaking to the west, although if my memory serves, no Tourney beats a Lannister Tourney, isn't that right, Lord Tywin?" It was one of the few times after Joanna's death that Tywin Lannister, well he didn't smile, but grinned. Steffon was one of the few friends the Old Lion still had.
"Alas, my Lady and I, along with most of my Household, have been sent East, to Volantis, to find a Valyrian beauty for our young Prince, Rhaegar!" The Jovial Syag cried out, raising his voice for Rhaegar, that was greeted by the knights in the hall who, at this point, were violently drunk. The only person in the Hall who seemed not to be smiling with joy was Cersei herself, who sat there, thinking. She didn't know about this trip! Gods, what about the plan? She needed to make Ice and Fire meet, but that couldn't happen if Fire just met another Fire. Damn it!
"My Lord Husband and I," it was Lady Cassana's turn to speak, "have spoken with Lord Lannister, and have decided to send our son, Robert, off to Lannisport with Lord Tywin, before he returns east with the Stark family."
Cersei had spent the entire trip to Lannisport thinking about this. She didn't want them to fail, Aerys had already been growing more erratic, and if the Lord and Lady Baratheon failed, Cersei shuddered to think of their fate. Not even her name day feast last week had helped
None of this was helped by the stressful events of finding a way to stop herself being wed to a Stark, and the newest, most annoying problem, finding a way to avoid Robert Baratheon.
Robert just couldn't wrap his head around that girl!
Everyone in his life, up until this point, had loved Robert. His parents treated him as their favorite, devoting more time to him then Stannis and the Stormlands combined, then there was Ned. The boy had been stiff as stone when the 2 had first met, but within a few weeks, the boy had become practically his brother. And the girls in the vale couldn't stop falling over one another to give Robert their maidenhead.
Which is what brought Robert to Cersei.
He had only known her for 15 days, but in those days, she had said barely a sentence! It wasn't like he wanted her Maidenhead, she was 11 years old! But at the same time, it couldn't be healthy for the girl never to speak with anyone!
At the Tourney, he had asked to wear her favor for the melee, and the little she-devil had laughed! Upon later receiving the 11th place, barely missing even the meagerest monetary reward, he could be heard muttering that it was the lack of favor that had lost him the battle. It was the second to the final day of the tourney, and Robert at least wanted to make some kind of impression.
The only contact with anyone around her age seemed to be her brother, newly arrived from Dorne, no more than 4 days ago. He was here to squire for Prince Oberyn, although rumors had been circling that Oberyn was going to Essos, leaving his young Squire behind.
It seemed as though Jaime was as rumor proof as his father was, with Jaime squiring for Oberyn as dutiful as Robert was to wine. Still, when the Dornish snake and the Rose began their tilt, Robert had a chance to talk to the young lion and started the conversation the way any charismatic lordling would.
"So, about your Sister... what does she like?" said with the smooth confidence of Lord Steffon that Robert had only recently seemed to develop. He had assumed that this would be a rather quick conversation, but it seemed that would not be the case, judging by Jaime's look of slight bewilderment and curiosity. Robert, never one to give up, attempted to try again, "You see, I like your sister, but she treats me like a bloody sack of potatoes, so what does she like? What should I do to show her my favor?"
At this, the Lannister looked up. His mouth twitched into a slight grin for a moment, before settling into a stern look. He spoke with a surprising amount of dignity for an 11-year-old. "Lady Cersei loves language, magic, and prophecy. Ask our maester, she spends more time reading about legends of the East then she does about Knights. And if you know those bawdy songs, she'll laugh along."
Lady Cersei, the pinnacle of Grace and Beauty, with the looks to rival the Maiden herself, liked Bawdy songs? He had assumed a crimson rose, mayhaps even a poem that he had stolen from a book, but bawdy songs?
Robert spent the entire joust restless. It wasn't too long, Oberyn bested Ser Cortnay as though he was nothing.
It had taken Robert nearly 3 hours to prepare it, but here he had the Manuscripts of The Bear and the Maiden Fair, The Last of the Giants, and, from his own collection, The Dornishmen's Wife, and 3 Roses, one Red, one Gold, one Black, for House Lannister's Crimson and Gold and House Baratheon's Ebony and Gold. Now, where was she?
This trip was, to say the least, an interesting one.
For one, this was the first tourney the Heir of Winterfell had ever seen in his life, and he had only had about 6 months training, yet he was confident in his jousting. Why shouldn't he be? In the brief time since he learned the sport, he had unhorsed every knight, squire, and man-at-arms in the North, with the only trouble being that Manderly boy. How was he to unhorse a man that weighed more than Brandon, his armor, and his horse combined? Lyanna had seemed so excited about the idea of a Tourney, she had begged to come along, leaving their little brother Benjen as the Stark in Winterfell, with Lyarra as Castelan.
Secondly, the prospect of a betrothal was an interesting one. He hadn't been allowed to share it, so of course, he only told Ned and Lyanna. A betrothal being written up by and decided by a Lord Father and Lady Mother was common enough, but the prospect of his wife to be specifically asking for him? That was, simply put, an interesting curiosity. How could the Lannister girl even know his name? The Queen Rhaella had written ahead to father of her plan, call Lady Cersei to the Gardens, and have Brandon coincidently, meet her. Of course, the garden would be empty, leaving them plenty of chances to talk.
Until that day, the second to last of the Tourney, Brandon had been asking everyone he could about her. The consensus was, "The Lioness of the West, as smart as she is lovely. The most beautiful woman to ever walk the 7 Kingdoms." Brandon, initially, was quite taken aback. The same phrase, as 'Smart as she is Lovely' kept on playing in her head, more and more.
The 2 weeks of hearing these had raised his expectations a fair bit. Eddard, that practical killjoy, had warned not to get too excited. If when they met she looked like just another person, his hopes would be dashed.
Whilst his Father had forbade him to join the Melee, Rickard had no qualms about his son joining the Jousting. Being that he was 14, he mostly competed against squires. A more petty Lordling would have thrown down his lance and cried about fighting children, but Brandon could care less. It doesn't matter who he beats, only that the crowd was cheering, the wind was blowing, and he had a horse underneath him. Gods, the South was incredible!
7 Reachmen, 2 Vale Squires, a quartet of Freys, and some other lordlings and knights later, when Brandon met his first real opposition
Before him on the lists, on the biggest corsair Brandon had ever seen, sat Jaime Lannister. A Bloody Eleven-year-old? At least the damned Vale prick was 12! But then he saw something.
Up in the stands, in a Lannister red gown, was the cutest girl Brandon had ever seen. She wasn't beautiful, not yet. She was only Eleven, but she had signs that would show her comeliness in years to come. Long blonde hair, of a natural curl, reached down to her back. Her waist, thin and small, her hips, wide and promising. Her gown exposed her shoulders, her collar bones, sharper than any Valyrian Steel sword, and beautiful green eyes, with a type of humor in them, as if she had understood a joke no one else-
Brandon's daydreaming, having been cut short by Jaime Lannister, a Bloody Eleven-year-old, slamming his Lance straight on Brandon's chest, knocking the Stark off his horse.
'It was Worth it.' He started laughing in the mud. 'Oh Eddard, how wrong you are. I am to wed the most beautiful women in the world'
"Tywin Lannister, I don't care who's hand you are, I am still the Queen!" Rhaella yelled for what must have been the fourth time that day.
It had been a while since Rhaella had met someone like Cersei. Filled with both a world-weary gloom, yet a perky, upbeat attitude that always brought a smile to the Queen's face. Aerys was, at best, a bad husband, and if the 7 Pointed Star was to be believed, he should have been made a Eunuch for his crimes, but alas, he was King, and he was Mad. Cersei was one of the few bright glimpses of Happiness in the Queen's life.
Cersei seemed more knowledgeable about History and Languages than the Grand Maester, yet whenever her 'Flower' was brought up, she turned as red as her crimson gown. The Girl was so clueless about somethings. Oh and Brandon. The girl blushed everytime his name was said, it was clear, at least to Rhaella, she was in love, and Rhaella was going to do everything in her power to make the Lioness' Dreams come true. Hence the current conversation.
"You stubborn fool, speak with Rickard! 'The North this' and 'The North that' it's all Cersei talks about! You keep holding out on Cersei's betrothal for Rhaegar, but that isn't happening!"
Rhaella had hit a Nerve. Tywin Lannister never reacted more than a twitch of a muscle, but for a brief moment, Rhaella could see rage.
The Queen went on, "Aerys, gods damn the man, he hates you! He sent Steffon off to find a Valyrian bride so that when Baratheon returns, he can make him the New Hand! Tywin, if you have any love for your daughter, don't wait until she's too old. Make a betrothal now, Strength bonds, just don't be a fool"
The two stood there for a moment, looking at each other in complete silence. "Hmm. She may meet the Stark Boy." and with that, Tywin left.
Thank the Gods he agreed, I already told Lord Rickard about the Gardens. It would be a pity if I had to go behind the Old Lion's back and do it anyways.
The Queen left the Lannister pavilion, feeling more a Queen then she had in years.
When that out of breath cupbearer had come running to her Pavillion, claiming that the Queen had urgent business for her in the Gardens, and to come alone, Cersei had done just that. She barely had time to put a Marker on her page of Asshai-by-the-Shadow, gifted to her by Uncle Gerion, before the boy had left completely.
Walking as quickly as courtesy would allow, it took Cersei five minutes longer then she would have preferred for urgent business to reach the Golden Garden, the Walled Garden, that was cut off from Lannisport by the Tourney grounds. Only for there to be no one present.
Cersei, too stubborn to turn back, lingered, walking around until she settled looking over the Harbor by one of the raised platforms
"Beautiful, isn't it?" A voice said behind her. A thought popped into her head, but it wasn't hers, it was Jon's. 'That Voice is my Father's'
But Eddard wasn't Cersei's Father, that was Tywin, and this voice was different besides. Deeper, and smoother then Eddard's, and with a less of the Andal accent that Eddard had picked up from the Vale. Cersei turned around.
The man was not Eddard. The boy was tall. Cersei had always been considered Tall, but this Northman must have been at least 6 and a half feet tall. Eddard's hair was a light brown, unlike the longer, darker hair of in front of her. 'This is Eddard, but more handsome.' A voice cried out Alarm, 'How could you say that, about your Father!' but Cersei had other things to worry about.
"Lord Brandon, I presume?" The smoothness was still present, as was the confidence, but Cersei could detect the slightest wavering in her speech.
"Aye, and you must be the Lovely Cersei I've heard so much about?" The question wasn't really a question. No one asks a question with so much Authority. Her heart fluttered at the last bit, 'Lovely? He's heard of me?'
"It appears that I am," Responding with her own wits seemed to have worked in the past. "Would you walk with me, my lord?" 'Gods, say no Brandon, say no!'
"I would love to, my lady"
They walked around the Gardens. The talk was of the South, Brandon and Cersei's respective thought on today's preceding, and jabs at other jousters.
Speaking through a laugh Cersei said "Di-did you see that Vale Knight Joust against Arthur Dayne? And when he fell, a tooth fell out, as long as this?" Cersei held her hands up, a comically large distance. Brandon, still snorting at the last story, looked up, before doubling over in laughter. The two guffawed together.
"My Lady, I trust that if I tell you a secret, all of King's Landing won't learn of it?" Brandon asked, a grin still wide across his face, and his blue/grey eyes twinkling with laughter
"Why, my dear lord, it depends on the secret!" Cersei responded, with an equally large grin.
"When I was jousting your Brother, I saw you. And I was so captivated by your beauty, all I could think about was you. I didn't even hear your Brother's horse until his victory lap."
Was he Serious? The thought made her heart flutter some more. Could this possibly be true? Cersei had been called Lovely, and pretty, hell even Ser Allister had called 'Jon' 'Pretty boy', but never so beautiful as to distract someone. The thought made her giggle.
"Why, I suppose I could keep this a secret, in exchange for something."
"A Kiss." Jon was screaming in her head, but her focus was on Brandon.
"Why I suppose that I could allow that," Brandon responded, his voice like honey.
When they kissed, Jon was silent for the first time in years.
It had taken Robert roughly 3 hours to find Cersei. He threatened to beat a Royal Squire to a pulp if he didn't tell him where she was, and even then it took a while. How many damned Gardens does Lannisport Need?
First, he had gone to the Godswood, but when a Household Knight pointed him in the right direction, Robert was on the march. He heard a sweet, high laughter coming from the Garden.
Robert grinned and picked up the pace. He ran inside the garden, slowing down so as to not make a sound and surprise Cersei. He wheeled the corner and saw Him. Robert saw the two engaged in a kiss, and turned around, just as quickly. He walked straight to the heart of the Stormlands camp, to the great fire right outside his pavilion.
Slowly, he dropped in the Roses, then the Songs.
Who needed songs anyways?
I'm debating doing a time jump, but so much could happen, and I don't want to lose that slow burn of Jon turning into Cersei more and more personality wise.
I'm probably going to throw is Maggy the Frog next chapter too
You guys are lucky, you get two chapters today. Chapter 4 should be up by 6 O'Clock EST
Chapter 4: The Beautiful Maiden... and a frog
Robert feels sorry for himself, Brandon thinks he is in love, Cersei meets a witch, and Tywin is unamused. Also, Oberyn is going to Essos
This chapter was going to be a bit shorter, but I got too into it. It's going to be finishing up with the Tourney, the immediate consequences of certain actions, and Cersei's curiosity
This Mornings Chapter name was based on 'Into the Woods' Specifically "Why you Cinderella want to go to the Festival, the King's Festival?"
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Eddard had decided, after careful consideration, he didn't like Tourneys.
His brother had the time of his life, jousting, being showered with more plate and Destriers then he knew what to do with, hence that stupid grin on Lyanna's face, as she led a horse several times too big for her back to the pavillion.
Brandon was nothing if not one to have a good time, so after selling most of the horses, he called the rest of the Northern party into some Tavern in Lannisport. Taverns generally saw the most profit during Tourneys. Nothing like a tourney to get the blood hot, and what helps more than a cool ale? Eddard, who didn't like being warm, was squeezed between a Tallhart Man-At-Arms, and a Manderly Squire.
The other problem that Eddard had to deal with was also caused by Brandon. Although that wouldn't have been fair to Brandon, in all honesty. According to Brandon's version of events, he went on a nice walk through the Golden Gardens with the most beautiful women in the world, then kissed her. As Brandon drank more and more, the next event changed. Originally, the story was he grinned like an idiot and walked her to her Pavillion. Then it changed that he had carried her back to her Pavillion, before finally landing on him carrying her back to HIS pavilion. The pavillion Ned and Brandon shared.
Normally, Ned would have chalked this up to the ale, and then forgotten it moments later. That was until he heard Robert's version of events.
"That damned Vixen," he stared with a prominent slur, "She led me on for what, 2 weeks? Only to kiss your bloody brother in front of me. Ned, who's the bigger slut, Cersei or that Brandon?"
Eddard knew that Robert had a tendency to get very emotional about something for a fortnight, then move on. Yet it seems that the "Damned Vixen" had stolen Robert's heart. Normally, Jon Arryn would find a way to cheer him up, yet he was on the other side of the realm. Ned and Robert were Night and Day, so nothing Ned could think of would be pleasing for Ned and Robert.
A thought struck Ned, 'What if I ask Brandon? The two have always been remarkably similar.' The idea had been put out of his mind nigh instantly. Brandon was who Robert was upset with at the moment.
"I'm telling you, swear to the Old and New, that this bitch knew! I went over to her little tent last night, and she told me. She said 'You'll be unhorsed by the Brother of Rivers' and low and behold, I was Unhorsed by Brydnen Tully!" A drunk voice yelled.
"The fuck does the Blackfish have to do with Rivers?" An equally drunk voice responded
"Hoster, Bryden's Brother, is the Lord of Riverrun, dumbass. Brother to Rivers!" The voice sounded far too pleased with its self
Someone who could see the future? That was... intriguing to say the least. It definitely was enough to get Ned to ask.
"Oi, Frey!" Ned began, staring at the sigil on the man's surcoat, his voice still calm and collected, unpolluted by drink, "Where is this witch?"
The first drunken man looked at him, weak chin, nasally voice, and vulgarity, it didn't take long for Ned to figure out this was Edwyn Frey. "On the opposite side of the Tourney grounds. Better not be squeamish, this little hag cuts ya, then uses your blood for her spells.
"Robert, get up." Ned kicked the stool behind him and started walking. Robert began to stumble behind Ned.
"A drop is all I require, would You like to do the cut, or should I?" she said in a deep, gurgling voice
The Freys had never been known for their intelligence, but it seemed Edwyn was right in regards to the Witch's appearance. She was no taller than Ned's stomach, with a bent back, featuring a prominent hump. Her skin was pale, with a slight green tint, as was her hair. But the most horrifying feature, besides her long, warted nose, was her Eyes. Red, and Prominent and unblinking. 'Like a Weirwood,' Ned mused.
Ned, having already pulled out his hunting knife, poked his left palm with the knife, until a bead of blood fell onto the blade, before handing it to the Witch.
"Three questions, you may have. No more, no less." The woman responded. She looked almost bored.
"Who will I wed?" It seemed like a simple question, and it was. Ned knew that if he told Brandon later, he would be laughed at, but Ned was the second born, with nothing to his name other then "The Back-Up Stark." Besides, he was curious.
"South you must look, eyes of lilac, and a blade of Milkglass, with mountains surrounding." Ned found this answer unhelpful. "You have 2 more questions, Wolfling."
"Do all prophecies have to be so vague?" Ned wondered allowed. It seemed where ever the Witch learned Magic, they didn't teach her what a Rhetorical question was.
"Yes, they must be. Final Question now?" The statement followed by a low, choking sound, which Eddard figured must have been her version of a laugh.
"Will I be happy?" Ned had always been called solemn, but even for him, that was a sad sounding.
"Ask yourself this, wolfling, can you be happy? My happy is not your's, and with those lies you must tell you won't know true peace." The Witch replied, even more, solemn then Eddard had.
That only confused Ned further. ‘What Lies did I tell?’
"My Turn," Robert pulled out his own knife, before slicing it across his thumb, and presenting it to the Seer.
"How will I die?" Robert said it as though he was asking when the Day's bread would arrive.
"With a smile on your lips and a Warhammer by your side, you shall die as you lived." That was surprisingly positive for the Weirwood Woman.
Robert seemed happy with that answer, ignoring the fact that it implied he would die young, with his next question, "Will I marry Cersei Lannister?"
The woman, for the first time that evening, showed confusion on her face, before her face reverted to it's normal, amused look. "No one can truly wed the Lionesses of the Rock."
'That was Odd,' mused Eddard, 'She said the Plural. Are there two of Cersei?' Ned was about to speak before Robert cut him off
"Well, then who in the Stanger's name will I wed?" Robert seemed as angry as he had been earlier. Eddard thought that maybe seeing a fortuneteller wasn't the right idea.
"The little lady was raised as a Lordling, with fire in her hair." The women had apparently decided that being Cryptic was, in fact, necessary. "Be gone now! For the night is Young, and more visitors shall be Coming!"
Jaime liked the Martells, he truly did. Elia was sweet and charming, and he was lucky to be her Betrothed. Doran was too smart for his own good, but he never seemed to lord it over Jaime when he was confused. Princess Allandra was sweet, yet authoritative, and had tried her best to be a replacement mother for Jaime.
Oberyn was Different. People said that the Dornish had fire in their spirits, because of the fire in their food, and Jaime was inclined to agree. When the Prince had an idea, he did what he wanted, nothing in the sevens hells or heavens could stop him.
Which made things unfortunate that he had wanted to go see a Witch.
Jaime had spent most of his life up until this point, fighting, sleeping, or listening to Cersei. And when Cersei opened up her legends, Witches and Wizards were not kind individuals who would grant a fortune, but evil and conniving, not to be trusted. And in Jaime's experience, staying away from the witch that lived less than a league from his old home had kept him safe enough.
Oberyn Martell had a different view of Magic. When he was 10, he went to the Citadel, where he forged 6 links of a chain before returning home. The one which was important tonight was the final one, the Link of Valyrian Steel. Oberyn had never really talked about his father, but he did talk about his favorite teacher.
Marwyn the Mage, 6 feet tall, with hands the size of hams, muscled like an Aurochs, and a mask of Valyrian steel, with a heavy Valyrian Steel Staff, which he had no qualms using to hit someone. Marwyn and Oberyn had kept in contact, and with the news that he was heading to Lannisport, Marywn sent a list of known magic users. The top one was the one they were to meet tonight.
"The Ghost of High Heart, also known as Maggy the Frog, and the Weirwood Women, is a blood witch, who will tell a future in exchange for a drop of blood. She spends her summers in Lannisport, before going to High Heart for Autumn and Winter" the scroll said, in a messy sort of font that Jaime though looked similar to his own.
Jaime had heard of Oberyn's journey to Essos, and no doubt the locations he would visit would match up with those on that scroll.
"Viper, with eyes of coal, and Lion, eyes of Emerald, what do you wish?" The woman gurgled
"Our Future, dear Crone." Oberyn had slowed down his speaking, was considerably louder, even still the Witch had difficulty hearing
"You know the Price, Lad? Aye, of course, you do. I can smell that man on you. Tell that Southern Mage to send me wine every so often, will you?"
"Aye my lady, I will." Oberyn pulled Jaime's stilletto out of Jaime's belt, quick as a Viper, before pricking himself once, and speaking, "What will I see in Essos?"
"Much, and more. The Sea aflame, of Steam and Smoke, wonders and horrors unfit for Mankind, and the Shadow. Oh, how you will see the Shadow." The woman seemed to chuckle after. She didn't seem to be mildly concerned.
"Will I die in the East?" Oberyn asked, more gravely this time.
"Aye, aye you will. Not as far East as you think. Fear stone, my Prince, fear rocks." The Crone responded, matching Oberyn's tone of voice.
"Will I see Magic? True magic, of Shadow and Light? Fire and Ice? The Magics of the North and South?" Judging by how unhelpful and vague the witch had been, and how complex the question was, Jaime supposed that the witch would give a long-winded response, which would effectively mean 'No.'
"You already have, Snake. As have you, Little Lion." The Crone's lips curled back, in what might have been a smile. He could see her teeth or lack thereof. Specifically, the fact that a beetle was comfortably crawling across the few she had. Jaime decided that he didn't need his fortune told.
Her father was not pleased, to say the least.
When asked, she had simply said that she and Brandon had enjoyed one another's company, before he walked her back to her Pavillion. Sure, maybe he kissed her, but this was her Father she was speaking to, and Cersei did not want to share intimate details of her life with Lord Tywin.
Imagine her shock when she was called into his pavillion, to see a Septon, a Maester, and a Septa, and was commanded to strip.
"Why, in the name of the Crone should I do that?" Cersei had yelled. She had just had one of the best nights of her Life, and now Father wanted to make sure she still had her maidenhood? What kind of shit was that! She hadn't even had her moon blood yet!
"It... it is a simple precaution. Brandon Stark has a reputation of stealing one's... Maidenhood, and there was talk..." Her father had never looked more uncomfortable in his life. In a normal scenario, she would have laughed, or at least smiled, but the latter half of the statement had her concerned.
"What did you say about Brandon?" She responded, cold as Ice. She could feel the anger inside her, but she couldn't explode. No one would take her seriously if she screamed.
"Northerners are savages, they worship trees and despise the Seven, so when Lord Stark was heard that he brought you to his tent, we were concerned." The septa said, with a false Bravado. her voice wavering. 'She is Afraid of Me' Cersei realized. 'Jon' would have tried to comfort the woman, make it so she no longer feared, but Jon was dead, and Cersei wasn't making the same mistakes again.
"You may 'Inspect' me if you wish, but on one condition," Cersei decided that she wasn't going to try to dance around this issue any longer. She had the power now, and she knew what she wanted. "Formerly betroth me to Brandon." 'Jon' would say it was so he could watch Lyanna, make sure Ice and Fire meet, but Cersei knew the truth. She was in love.
Her Father stared at her. It felt like winter had come, and gone and come again before he finally nodded his head. "I will speak with Rickard on the 'morrow." And with that, he was gone.
"Did you know this is one of the Oldest Godswoods south of the Neck?" Cersei asked her betrothed, arm in arm in the Belly of Casterly Rock. "It was said that this tree was guarded by a Pride of Lions. The same lions who raised Lann the Clever." Cersei didn't believe that story. The original Weirwood had been cut down 3 thousand years ago by an Iron Born, and this new one had been planted not long after that. Still, the tree was impressive.
"No, I didn't know that. I didn't even know you kept the Real gods here." Brandon replied, with that Grin he always got when he was with Cersei.
"I simply have a request, will you kneel with me?" Cersei asked. Brandon almost always did as she asked.
"Brandon, repeat after me, please" Cersei had learned how to be both demanding yet making it sound pretty so that it doesn't sound like a command from Aunt Genna.
"I, Brandon of House Stark, son of Rickard and Lyarra Stark" He repeated, with his grin widening with the ridiculousness of the situation, "Pledge never to embarrass, cheat on, Lie to, or otherwise cause my Betrothed any undue harm" He repeated, as asked, but with the grin beginning to die slightly. "From now, until her death, I swear it." He repeated.
Thank the Gods, Cersei thought silently. The Robert 'Jon' remembered was no better than a whore, who made his wife miserable, with his cheating and beatings. Cersei would not allow that to happen to her.
"Why has the Wolf come into the tent of a Frog" the little women asked. She grinned, with her horrible, toothless smile.
"I haven't been a wolf in a long, long time, hag. You know what I'm here for." Cersei had said the former with the Upmost confidence, but she suddenly felt more afraid then she ever had been in her life. 'How does she know who I am? She is more powerful then I had imagined.'
Cersei had already brought a knife, she poked herself, wincing through the pain, then gave the knife to the women. The knife was barely in the Frog's hand before Cersei started talking.
"Will Brandon break his promise?" She felt silly. Like a stupid little girl, but she hadn't forgotten what the Septa had said to her.
"Aye, aye he will. For Words are wind, but blood is family."
What the hell does that mean? The phrase always was "Words are Wind, Deeds are Stone" but Blood and Family? Will he betray me for his Father, or his brothers or... Oh, his sister. Cersei had tried to forget what Ned had told 'Jon', about Brandon. His choking to death in King's Landing, fighting for his sister.
"How will he die?" Damn it! She had wasted another question of Brandon! She had come here to ask about Lyanna and Rhaegar, yet she used another on Brandon.
"Blade in hand, defending those he loves, before the cold gets him." The cold... the White Walkers. No, she had to remind herself, they are called Others, what a weird name. The Others would kill her betrothed.
"Will we beat the Others?" Cersei had lost all of her confidence, this was quiet, and meek, like a House Cat instead of a Lion.
"Aye, we will. But will you pay the Price that you must?"
Rhaegar had intended to go to Lannisport with his mother, but he decided, near last minute, that he wouldn't risk it. Inside Dragonstone it was warm and dry, but outside it was wet, salty, and smokey, all are things that could damage a Book. And Rhaegar couldn't lose this book. Asshai-By-The-Shadow, the name day gift for his Eight and Tenth nameday. The book was from Uncle Aemon's personally selection and was truly precious to him.
Of course, he loved his mother, and always loved the pageantry of a Touney, but this book was more important.
Azor Ahai, the Prince that was Promised, or The Last Hero is a mythical Hero with legends from all around the known world. Supposedly, The Last Hero had defeated the Others with the help of the Children of the Forest and the Night's Watch. A similar phenomenon seems to have happened in the Far East, in Asshai. There, Azor Ahai defeated the Great Other with his blade, Lightbringer, which he forged three times. The first time it Shattered when tempered in water, and shattered when tempered in a Lion's Heart, until He used the Blade on his beloved wife, Nysa Nysa, and forged a Flaming Sword.
Both Heros supposedly built structures to keep their enemies at bay. The Last Hero built the Wall, and Azor Ahai built the 5 Forts. In Asshai, Azor Ahai is a religious symbol, and is the prophet or chosen of R'Hlorr, who is reborn to fight his God's Eternal Enemy. There are 7 signs that should point to the new Prince when he is reborn
Rhaegar had taken a boat to King's Landing that evening
"Ser Barristan!" Rhaegar shouted across the training ground. Rhaegar had never been one to go down to the Training Yard.
"It seems as though I must be a Warrior."
The chapter might be a little late tomorrow, I'm spending most of the day in the car, but I will try to write as much as I can and simply release it throughout the day.
Chapter 5: Times are a-changing
Cersei broods deals with puberty, and the revelation that her Father sent her brother to boarding school, without telling her. Oh, and a wedding!
This chapter is just a quick way to age Cersei up so I can talk about her getting romantic whilst talking about a LITERAL 10-year-old!
(Also note, I have no first-hand experience of Female puberty, as I am a boy, and have not had to deal with periods. I read the Wikipedia page, so I'm trying, but if I am horribly wrong about something, don't crucify me.)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Despite the tourney ending 3 weeks ago, a few pavilions could still be seen outside Lannisport. Cersei's had not been the only betrothal and many Lords and Ladies were waiting until said Betrothals had turned into marriages. Cersei's own betrothal was giving her trouble.
Would her Brandon lie to her, like Ned had lied to Catelyn, to protect a sibling? Or would he cheat on her? The witch did say blood, and by having Pycelle blackmail and intimidate other Maester for her, being Tywin Lannister's daughter had some perks, she had been able to find out that he had taken at least one highborn girl's maidenhood before the betrothal, some Ryswell girl. Jon had a faint memory of her wedding a Dustin but had never known the women. What if Brandon had a bastard?
"Bastard..." she spoke it like a curse. How could he have a bastard? What in the seven hells is wrong with him?
Cersei stopped herself. She had jumped the crossbow to much. It went from the possibility that he might have a bastard, to him cheating on her. She had remembered what the Septa had told her. "When a girl begins her entrance to womanhood, the Demons of Rage infect her spirit, making her lash out. A young Lady should take cares to remember to stay calm, and avoid stress." Gods, that Andal book seemed so sexist. 'Jon' recalled being more brooding than usual and uncomfortably... interest in women when he was 11. It made since it would happen to girls too.
Cersei needed some tea and a nap.
She didn't even notice that she said bastard like it was a curse.
Since her betrothal, Cersei had moved back to the Rock. She hadn't left the 10 square leagues surrounding Casterly Rock and Lannisport in almost 6 months and thus hadn't seen her twin that long either.
Until a letter arrived for Ser Kevan that there was to be a Funeral in Storm's End. Lord Steffon and Lady Cassana had died, shipwrecked within sight of Storm's End.
Robert, Stannis, and the Little Renly, only a babe, stood next to her. Jaime, since becoming Ser Arthur Dayne's squire, had been in the hall as well. Lord Steffon was the King's Cousin and thus earned himself a royal funeral.
Eddard was there too. She realized this was the first time she had seen him since, gods, almost 15 years. Since before Jon first joined the Night's Watch. Cersei looked at him and didn't see her father, but Brandon's brother. 'Jon' scolded her internally.
It had taken 2 years of living at Casterly Rock before she realized something. Where in the names of Seven was Tyrion? Gods, she felt like a shitty older sister. When he was first born, a little over 4 years ago, Cersei was too caught up with her Mother's death to even think of him, and Tywin had shipped him off to the Rock in less than a month so that Aerys couldn't take note.
Cersei doubted if she had even met him. She waited until supper to ask Kevan.
"Nuncle Kevan," 'Jon' had always hated 'Nuncle,' it wasn't a northern phrase, but apparently it was an affectionate form of Uncle, and Cersei wanted the truth, and flattery always broke Kevan, "Where is my brother?"
Kevan looked surprised for a moment, before responding. "Jaime is in King's Landing, with Ser Ar-"
Cersei cut him off, "No, my other brother, the.. the Dwarf?" Kevan looked surprised. It only made sense, Cersei had never seemed to care about her brother before now. Kevan knew that Cersei was Tywin's Daughter, and if there was one thing Tywin hated was people slow on the uptake. Kevan responded,
"Gerion has taken him on one of his trips East. Tyrion takes after you, Lady Cersei, and his constant reading made him want to see Braavos before he goes to make his chain." Kevan said it with his usual, monotone voice.
She understood what Kevan was hinting. The real question was why he was making a chain. Something Cersei knew the answer to.
"Does my Father really hate the little bugger so much?"
Kevan looked shocked by the bluntness. Uncle Tygget continued eating as though he hadn't heard what was said at all, and looked like Aunt Genna was trying her hardest not to burst out laughing. Cersei decided she had enough support from the rest of the table that she could continue her rant.
"I mean the Bald Lion acts as though Tyrion was some curse from the gods, sent to punish him for his sins," Cersei had known her father was more than a little self-conscious about his receding hairline, and Cersei had decided she was going to pull all the stops out tonight, "How foolish is Father to think that? It's a bloody Child! But my Father decided to send a child, no older than 5, to the Citadel, to make sure that everyone forgets about Tywin's 'Little Monster' and that he never further his "Hideous, twisted Line" and you bastards let him do that?"
Genna was outright laughing at this point, Ser Emmon laughed too, although he looked at Genna nervously before doing so, and continued passing glances over to his Wife as if he was asking for permission. Tygget continued eating but with his eyes facing forward, refusing to look Cersei in the eye. His wife, Lady Marbrand, made up for her husband's lack of emotions by seeming both confused, delighted, yet also slightly annoyed that someone had raised their voice during her lovely dinner.
Ser Kevan looked like a statue, staring at Cersei with one of Tywin's trademarked glares. "You may write to your father if you wish, but no disrespect will go to any Lannister under this roof, as long as I am Castellan."
'Seven Save me' Cersei thought, "I'm worse than Sansa when she was this age.'
Oh Gods, it finally happened.
Cersei had spent the last 30 months in puberty. She had gotten taller, and to her dismay, her waist grew 5 inches, whilst her breasts had stayed the same. The only upside so far was the increase in her arse, but even that had downsides. Her favorite dress no longer fit. And now this.
Cersei had awoken, like any other day. With the exception of her bed having been covered in blood.
Well, it wasn't covered in blood, but to the frightened 13 and a half-year-old, it had seemed like a lot of blood. Cersei had barred the door to her room, telling her handmaidens to go get her Aunt, before sitting down in a corner of her room, in her slightly stained night shift.
Genna had come in a half hour early, looking furious until she saw the bed, then her niece sitting in the corner. It was like a candle had been blown out, so sudden was the shift from "Why the in Seven Hells did you wake me up!?" to "Oh, my poor baby"
It was times like this Cersei missed her mother.
Cersei had never really thought about how similar Brandon and Jaime were. Both despised writing letters yet seemed to always respond to Cersei's near instantly, and despite their Bravado, both where, at heart, sweet boys, but with a Temper to rival Aerys when severely annoyed. This was the first time she had seen the two together since Lannisport/ With Jaime recently being knighted, her Father had decided it was time to wed to Elia.
Rickard "Southern Ambitions" Stark had decided that this was a perfect opportunity for Lyanna to meet a Southern Gentlemen, before she “Got Ill” and decided to stay home. Benjen had been left behind, being "The Stark in Winterfell" after Lyarra Stark's death of the pox 3 years ago. However, Eddard had made the trip as well
Jaime had changed since the last time she had seen him. At Storm's End, gods four and 3 quarter years ago, he had been tall and lanky, with too much height, and too narrow a face, still ringed with baby fat. 5 years of Squiring for one of the greatest knights to ever lived had burned it away. Jaime had a scar on his left forearm as well. He looked every inch the Southern Knight. Straight from a maiden's fantasy.
Elia looked radiant. Her dark complexion and soft brown eyes where compliments by her golden dress. Rubies hung about her throat, and a small gold and ruby tiara sat upon her head. She beamed at Jaime. Jaime, who clearly was slightly uncomfortable, sent back his own smile.
Cersei had always thought that Weddings were over the top. Northern Tradition dictated that only 10 or so words were required, and then the bedding. Brandon seemed to share her belief. He had begun to start fiddling with his jacket around hour two and had started thumping his foot on the floor, to the beat of the music.
Whilst Cersei shared her displeasure for the events, she eventually had to put her slippered foot on top of his to keep him quiet. 'Only 1 more hour to go' she thought. She looked up at her Brandon.
'Gods, he looks even better than before.' He was taller, somehow, and he had grown into his long face more. his shoulders had widened, and his thighs had become more muscled. Hell, everything about him had become more muscled. Cersei knew she had filled out her body as well. After getting over the initial hurdle of Puberty, Cersei's waist while not as small as before, had gone down two inches. According to Genna, her breasts where "Not melons, but I don't want that for you, my lioness, it hurts your back." whilst the seamstress simply said "34 C, perfect for a little Lady."
Cersei had not dressed as glamorous as she could on purpose. This was Elia's day. Yet before the Princess of Dorne walked to the Septon's Alter, all eyes were on "The Western Beauty." The Golden dress had a plunging neckline, more to the dornish style. Or as her septa would say "3 inches short of a Whore." But Cersei didn't mind. She was a Lioness, and the Dress kept her Wolf staring at Her.
It had grown late into the evening when she spied Eddard. He sat by himself, on the Fountain. Ned hated warm weather and parties. This must have been his nightmare. Cersei looked around, before noticing Ashara Dayne, also sitting alone. Arthur had been able to come but had decided to leave before the feast. Aerys had been getting Madder and Madder, and he didn't like it when his Guards weren't with him.
"Elia, come here please," Cersei said sweetly to her good sister. Cersei gestured to the two somber people in the hall. Elia, gods bless the girl, had understood enough and followed Cersei.
Cersei had called a serving man to find the most potent wine in the Rock, and the two girls began talking. It was mostly small talk, how her mother was, her seamstress, and then Cersei, having decided enough was enough, skipped to the main point of the conversation.
"My lady, can you keep a secret?" Elia nodded in response, "My Brandon's brother, Eddard, has a crush on Ashara Dayne. All I'm asking you to do, is to summon her to the Balcony, were, conveniently, Eddard will be waiting, with a bottle of wine."
Elia smiled a wicked little smile. "My My, and I had thought that the Lioness was too sweet for such Naughty things. I love this."
The two planned the details when the Head Server returned with the wine. It was an Arbor Red, from the year after the conquest. It had spent the last two hundred or so years becoming more and more alcoholic. This would be perfect
So an update on Ages:
Lyanna is 14/15, Brandon is 19, Eddard is 18
Cersei and Jaime are both 15, soon to be 16. Tyrion is 7
Elia is 7 years older than Jaime, so about 22
Rheagar is a year younger than Elia, so about 21
THESE AGES ARE NOT BOOK CANON
I thought it would be a bit creepy if Rhaegar was almost a decade older then, and then kidnapped a 14-year-old, so I made him a bit younger
Chapter 6: 4 Weddings and a Fun-eral
Ned consumes a little... okay a lot of Wine with Ashara, Hoster debates what to do with his daughters, Tywin makes preparations, and, after a long wait, Rhaegar and Lyanna meet.
Sorry for the lack of Chapters Thursday (Unless you count the one that came out at 1 in the morning). Work was stressful and I was tired. I might be able to get out 3 tomorrow, we'll see. If you guys enjoyed the 1 POV a Chapter, feel free to tell me
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Those haunting purple eyes. The eyes looked solemn, at least in the great hall. The woman carried herself as if she carried a burden. But when those eyes saw Ned, they seemed to laugh.
It wouldn't be until years later that Ashara had told Eddard that there meeting, and the exquisite Wine, had all been the brainchild of Cersei and Ellia, of all thing. Eddard was, for all intents and purposes, a complete stranger to Cersei. If she was this charitable to give wine so good away to a stranger, as well as send the most beautiful eligible women of the night to him, well Brandon was a lucky man, to say the least.
The conversation had been slow at first, Mostly about the Weather. The Rock seemed too warm for Eddard and too cold for Ashara. Eddard thought what Robert had said about flirting, confidence was key, and since it had been established Ned was too hot, he decided to give it his shot.
"Mayhaps you would like to use my Cloak?" Eddard said it a bit too quickly, gods, she was lovely. For Eddard, the cloak was slightly too small. He hadn't worn it since Lannisport, and the grey wolf fur was light and complimented Ashara's eyes. What it didn't match was her height, the cloak was trailing 9 inches behind her, she had it wrapped around her, like a blanket. She gave a slight twirl, giggling.
Eddard, despite himself, giggled as well. He poured himself another cup of wine
"And I mean I get it, He's in love, but I have never seen the man more hopeless!" Eddard slurred. He had only 4 glasses, but his speech was beginning to become more difficult to understand. "He has like, never written a letter, but when he isn't bludgeoning greeney boys or knights with his sword, he's trying to write poetry! Poetry! I had to stop him, the bloody bastard, from sending 50 dragons to Pentos. When I sttopped him he said," Eddard comically deepened his voice, "'My Lady has not seen a Lion in 10 years. I am her b'troffed, she deserves 'ne. For a wedd'ng gift, I'll give her a cub!' The bloody maniac!" Eddard had never felt more drunk. Not even with Robert.
Ashara laughed. It wasn't the laugh one would be allowed at court, but a belly laugh, which resonated sweetly into the Sunset Sea. The laugh appeared to stop for a moment, before continuing on with a reborn pleasure.
"When I was a girl," she started, still breathless from laughter, "My brother told me, that Dawn, that stupid sword, was sharp enough to Shave with! I didn't believe him. Granted, he was just a little bit drunk, so this bloody bastard, he pulls down his pants and that damned sword, and it worked! But, but just when he thought things were going great, he started dying of laughter, and his hand, it twitched and..." Ashara began laughing again. Whether it was her Story or Ned's shocked face, none present could say. "The damned bastard joined the kingsguard, and when I asked why he went 'A Eunuch and Chasity go hand in hand'" Ned laughed, whilst making a mental note to avoid Ashara if she was in a bad mood if this was her version of Funny
"Shhh shhh shhh, come on, my chambers are just around the corner," Ashara giggled, stumbling over everything, due to both the darkness and inebriated state, the cloak tripping her. Eddard followed, doing a much worse job at pretending to be Sober. 'That girl must be a third of my weight, yet she can drink 3 times as I can' Eddard mused silently. Or maybe aloud, he had difficulty remembering.
Ned had awoken with the worst headache of his life, a taste of sour wine still in his throat, and in a room he didn't recognize.
"Gods, what did I do last night?" Eddard muttered, head in his hands. He felt a movement beside him, followed by Ashara wearing nothing but the cloak, sitting up beside him, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
"Something remarkable with that Tongue if I remember correctly," Ashara said, with the signs of waking up in her voice, "And you said this was your first time? I've been told that if it's a man's first time, he'll spill his seed before the fun even begins.
"Oh Gods, that's what I did!" Eddard flopped back down onto the bed.
Jaime had grown used to the questions by this point. 'What type of armor oil does Arthur Dayne use?' 'Is he charming? They say that he's charming.' But no one had ever asked if he still had a penis. Until those 6 people, and then those 12, before it seemed the whole of Casterly Rock was talking about Arthur Dayne's dick.
It was the day after Jaime's Wedding, he had married one of the most beautiful people to ever exist, and here he was, being grilled by Cupbearers, serving girls, Squires, Knights, hell even a couple of drunk lords, about whether or not Arthur Dayne had a dick. What the hell was he supposed to say to that? Of course, he had a dick!
The week following the wedding, Jaime had done very few things. Sleep with Elia, eat food, practice, and find out who started the stupid Dick rumor.
Elia was a deep sleeper and slept to noon more times than not, so Jaime often broke his fast with his sister. The breakfast had been silent, a line of tension in the air before Jaime asked the dreaded question; "Did you start the Dick rumor?"
Cersei, who had been sitting there puzzled about the lack of talking, before furrowing her eyebrows, then grinning, in that stupid grin she got when thinking about Brandon. "You mean that's what you've been looking for? Pycelle had written to me wondering why you had sent him a raven saying 'I need a book about Eunuch Kingsguards.' Gods, I forgot you had already gone to the bedding by that point. Eddard and Ashara had left the balcony yelling about how the 'White Sword made the White Cloak's Sword Sore.' I'm surprised those two drunkards came up with that rhyme."
Jaime was reading a letter in his solar. Jaime rarely read or wrote ravens, but his Father demanded a response, as always. It seemed as though Jaime, as Elia's Consort, and Cersei, as Eddard's future good-sister, where expected to go down to Dorne for a wedding. It seemed as though the two Drunkards had more fun then either had imagined.
What was odd was the setting. Why Dorne? Wasn't the wedding normally done in the husband's household? Jaime made a mental note to ask Cersei.
"How was I supposed to know that getting them drunk would make them have Sex?" Cersei shouted, for what seemed like the 5th time that conversation. This morning Cersei had gotten two letters, one from Father with the subject of "Wedding in Dorne. Go to Lannisport next month for ship south." and another one, with the subject "Thanks for getting my brother drunk, now he's getting married."
Cersei felt like she was the innocent party, and if anyone was guilty it was, well probably her, but not just her! Elia had helped too! 'Jon' should have known better. Honorable Ned Stark wouldn't steal someone's maidenhood without Marriage, and it seemed as though this was his way of making up for it.
Elia responded, "You gave two virgins alcohol and no supervision, what did you think would happen! When we talked, I had thought you would watch over them! Not dance with Brandon and talk about Arthur Dayne's Dick!" Now that was probably Cersei's fault.
"Look, they seem to enjoy each other, and they are getting married, so Dayne still has her honor. Are we finished yet? You summoned me for a late breakfast, and you haven't even let me touch my eggs once."
She didn't understand. Why was this wedding so much bigger then Jaime and Elia's?
She knew why she had to go to Dorne. Ashara, technically being the oldest sibling, was to become Lady of House Dayne, meaning she outranked second-Born Ned. She even understood why there was so much gossip. Rumors that Ned had already claimed her maidenhead, that she was with child and such. That wasn't true, not of the Ned she knew. Brandon? Lyanna would be surprised if Cersei and he had consummated their betrothal at Lannisport, but Eddard? Eddard "Ice Hearted" Stark? She didn't believe it.
It helped that Robert Baratheon, one of Westeros' most eligible bachelors, was coming to the wedding. And because he was coming other great lords had gotten Ideas.
She sat in her father's solar, her sister beside her. Her father sat there, reading a paper. He always made the other person talk first. He said it made them uncomfortable, and he and Brynden had laughed at that when they where young lordlings.
She knew why she was here. No doubt was in her mind as to the purpose of her meeting. It was the biggest scandal in Westeros, and also one of the most important places to get a betrothal for herself.
Elbert Arryn and Robbert Baratheon, both living in the Eeryie, had been invited. With Jaime Lannister married, that meant 2 of the 3 "Worthy Matches" left where going to be attending. Catelyn began to talk, "Fa-"
"My girls, I regret to inform you that I can not go south with you." He hadn't even needed to say where they were going, both understood. "But I'm sending Brynden with you. If either of you embarrasses our house, I will know before you have reached Prince Pass." Catelyn would not describe her father as Stern, may be fierce, but not Stern. Right now, he was stern.
Sensing Cat's thoughts, Hoster began to smirk, "Make me proud, girls"
The Western Spy
Pycelle had often been summoned for council, no matter what it was he was to be counseling about. Aerys had long assumed that Pycelle knew everything, and thus would always have the perfect answer. Aerys summoned Pycelle to the small council chamber. The Madman appeared to be speaking to that Lysenei eunuch when Pycelle walked in.
"... every bloody lord in the Kingdom is sending people you say? And no one from the Crownlands had been invited? Those schemers! They think they can laugh at me... I need a man there," The king muttered some more, something Pycelle couldn't hear before the King seemed to notice the Grand Maester. "Grand Maester, what do you think? This boiled egg disguised as a man says that I need to send a spy to the damned Wolf wedding. The only man I trust present is Ser Morgan or whatever," Pycelle knew that he meant 'Sword of the Morning' but Pycelle liked not being immolated, so he kept quiet.
"Mayhaps, my grace, you could send Rhaegar? Even if he doesn't find a scheme, he may find a wife."
Unlike Jaime's wedding, Cersei did not give everyone who didn't maintain proper posture a dirty look. Jaime was her brother, and she wanted the day perfect for him. Eddard had once been her father, but seeing a man in his teenage years, and drunk, definitely had changed her perspective on him. He was just Ned, her nervous Good Brother to be.
The Hours traveled on. About halfway through, she began playing a game of "Dagger, Hammer, Shield" with Jaime. The game had been easy for Cersei since she was 4 years old. Jaime always went Dagger, then Sheild, then Dagger and Hammer, every single time. With only an hour left in the ceremony, Brandon leaned down and asked her the rules. It was simple enough. Dagger beats Hammer, but Hammer beats shield, and shield beats dagger. Brandon chose Dagger every single time.
After what felt like hours, the true party began. Eddard and Ashara sat at the high table, Ser Arthur, the Cockles Knight as the drunkards at the party were calling him next to his sister, and Rhaegar next to him. Eddard had Lyanna and Benjen, who had finally gone in his father's place, at the high table. Brandon liked mingling, so he, Cersei, Elia, and Jaime sat with one another, and switched off dancing throughout the night. In the corner, she saw the Tully girls, Catelyn and Lysa, both sitting down. Arryn and Baratheon where sitting there too, each chatting up one of the Tullys.
'Good for him' Cersei thought. It seemed like Robert bad gotten over his brief infatuation with her. It had been almost 5 years ago by this point. Besides, strengthening these Bonds could only help them.
On the other side of the hall sat Mace Tyrell, who was already wed, his old mother, who had swallowed her hate of Dorne for the trip, and Mace's sister, Janna. Cersei had thought that after a long day, her breasts had hurt her lower back. She could only imagine what Janna had to go through. The intriguing thing was who they were sitting with. 3 men sat at that table, they all had pitch black hair, darker than Robert's, and a look of angry grey colored eyes. 'Jon' recognized that look as Theon's. The Flower and the Kraken, that would never have been a match she would have made. But if the Redwyne and Iron Fleet were united... Cersei shuddered to think of what a war would do.
Rhaegar was glad his father had sent him. Sure, he would have preferred reading or even training, but Rhaegar had been too distracted with winning in the yard that he almost forgot the reason he was fighting.
Until the Stark girl reset his priorities. Young, unmarried, and healthy. Wide of the waist, and most importantly, a First Woman. A tourney would be coming up, to celebrate the end of the mild winter, and with the joy of the Spring Equinox, he would ask to be Betrothed.
That gave him 3 months to plan the wedding, a tournament, and a coup, with no one finding out. Oh, and he also needed to learn the Stark Girls name. That's what letters were for. Maybe if he got closer with a sibling... Rhaegar decided a dance with the girl would be enough for the night. He stood up to go ask.
She had almost forgotten the younger Tully existed until Brandon sent a letter asking her if he was allowed to skip the wedding. Cersei gave a short reply.
We have been to two weddings in the past month. Besides, we have another one in the Stormlands next week. I'll send some fancy gift, and my dearest regrets.
Your Darling Wife-To-Be,
Besides, who wants to travel on their moon blood?
He had always had a thing for Redheads, especially the smaller ones. Lady Catelyn stood below his chest, and her hair was a dark copper. She was cuter then Cersei. He wouldn't say more beautiful, but she had her own unique appeal to her.
"Ned, you bloody Killjoy, give me the damn wine!" Sunset was within an hour, and Robert had spent most of the evening with his lady wife, never able to find his glass. Twice he thought he saw Cersei taking it, and a couple times he saw it wind up in some squires hand, but this time he caught Ned by the elbow.
"Damn it, Robert, we aren't having a repeat of Elbert's wedding!" Ned gave his Foster Brother a pained look. It had taken Ned 4 hours and a box of Dornish lemons to get the stains out of his Doublet. Ned made Robert swear to not drink until his wife was pregnant. But it was his wedding! Surely he was allowed to have something! But Ned was gone, so Robert cursed, took his wife's arm in his, and the two began to dance.
Robert had been pleased by many women before. Hell, he even scheduled one with some Donkey breeder's daughter in the Vale but the Dornish wedding interrupted it. But in none of those cases had Robert been the omega. He had always taken control, thought of his desires.
Catelyn, having been brought in nothing but her shift, stripped it off quick enough, and helped Robert out of his undergarments, before almost immediately grabbing him. He had never seen a woman do such a thing, taking him in her mouth. It felt incredible. She stopped, seconds before he spilled his seed. She looked him in the eyes, hers blue like a river, matching his, the blue like lightning. She smiled, seductively, "My Turn," she all but whispered, before pushing Robert onto the bed and mounting him
Robert forgot about Cersei. He liked where this was going.
Two royal letters, each from a differe\nt person. One for his son, one for his daughter, Rickard stared at them. Southern Ambitions, southern ambitions.
His Son was pledged to wed the Wealthiest woman in the World, his other son was the Consort of the most powerful female in the South. His son's foster brothers had both wed Tullys. Leaving the only place he had no relations was the Crownlands and Reach. The Old Kraken, Quellon, had beaten Rickard to the Reach, but the Crownlands? That was promising.
The King wished to have Benjen squire for Arthur Dayne, and the Prince wished to wed Lyanna. He even asked what songs she liked on High Harp so that he could woo her.
Rickard pulled out two pieces of Paper and began writing.
The Prodigal Brother
Gerion liked to think he had the best of his Father. He was kind, generous, and loved excitement. Something he shared with the little monster sharing his Cabin. Tyrion had always been intrigued by things he hadn't seen, so when Tywin, the bloody bastard, had wanted to send Gerion's favorite nephew to the Citadel, Gerion had done the only Logical thing.
He stole the Son, along with Ten Thousand Gold Dragons, and the fastest ship in the Lannister Navy, Joanna's Kiss, and had left for Essos before anyone at Casterly Rock noticed.
Braavos to Volantis, they had seen it all, except for Lorath and Qhoro. Lorath was too bloody cold and Qhoro too bloody inland. The 2 had spent the last 2 and a half years sailing through the Free Cities, letting the little man live before he was weighed down by that chain. And it had gone swimmingly, until, of course, his ship was attacked.
A strong wind had blown Joanna's Kiss to far away from shore, and whilst the captain assured them they weren't lost, Gerion didn't believe him. But he couldn't let the lad know that. So he went into the Cabin and opened the monster of a book Gerion had bought in Volantis.
Gerion had always told his Nephew and Nieces to learn languages, although Jaime seemed to never listen. The Volantine version was 2 dragons cheaper than the High Valyrian, so Gerion had learned the language so he could translate for the boy.
Reading from the Massive Tome became a nightly pass time, and soon Tyrion could read it even better then Gerion. He had been doing that, sitting with his legs crossed in the Cabin, until a hard thud knocked the boy, Gerion and the book over.
Quickly throwing on his chest piece and grabbing his Lion helmet and Blade, Gerion ran to the deck. He saw men fighting, dressed in red and gold battling Black and Gold. Gerion bulldozed the first man he saw, pushing him overboard, only to be crushed by the boats rocking together. The next man was upon Gerion, a short man, with bristled hair of a Southoryan. The man wore no armor, and the blade went through his neck and collarbone.
Gerion looked around. His men were outnumbered, ten to one, and dropping fast. Gerion assumed a ready stance, waiting for who would strike next, before a thunk of someone with a hammer wacked Gerion on the back of the Head.
"Erik! Erik! Erik Anvilbreaker!" cheered the men. Gerion fell.
I really want to make Arthur Dayne's Dick a running gag, but I feel like I might have overplayed it, and Ashara's story isn't too funny either. I just wanted to bring attention to "Lilac Eyes, and a White Blade" Dawn being the white Sword. Also, "The White Sword made the White Cloak's Sword Sore" to be one of the funniest things I found on Reddit, and I wanted a chance to use it.
If you think it isn't funny, I won't be broken up about it, just let me know
Another apology, I'm Asexual, so writing Sex Scenes is literally the opposite of what I know how to do, but I think I did a good job? There was a Washington Post article about writing a good sex scene, so fingers crossed I didn't make it sound awkward
I always want to clear something up about Robert. Robert loved Lyanna in George's work because she wasn't "Like those other Girls" She was kick ass, and in charge. The Book!Cersei was, well she was like every other woman he had bedded. It didn't help he was blackout drunk. Not being drunk, and Catelyn taking charge meant that Robert got the same infatuation he had fro Book!Lyanna for Catelyn
Chapter 7: The one where the wedding promised in Chapter one finally happens
Benjen squires for Arthur Dayne, Robert is allowed to Drink again, and Brandon and Cersei finally, finally get married.
Oh and the Prelude to Harrenhall.
I just learned that both Young Justice and Star Wars the Clone Wars are being brought back, so thank the lord, my depression has been cured.
Expect more chapters in the following days. I should get 1 a day, of about 2000-3500 words a day, but I might be able to squeeze in two a day.
Catelyn has also never been in her element. We hear that she is a great Administrator, but we only ever see her being a Spy, and someone on the march, neither being her strong suit. Ned let her have some control over her lands, but since Robert hates 'Counting Coppers' and has been suitably impressed with her, ahem, skills, she is basically going to be the one to rule the Stormlands
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The White Cloak
Ser Dayne was sick of people asking about his 'sword.'
Sure, there were a few snickers at Court, drunkards at weddings, but no one had actually confronted him. Until that Northern Boy.
"Is it True? People say that it's true. My good sister said so, and she's a pretty smart lady." Arthur had only met the boy twice up until this point, but apparently, first impressions were not as important as they had been. In his past experiences, the boy seemed to be excited about the South. He had never seen warm sand before, so Dorne was a ripe twist for the lad. And when he saw Dawn, Arthur thought that the boy's jaw would be stuck in that open position.
That had been 3 weeks ago, and it seemed his Goodbrother had finally made enough confidence to ask Arthur. "No. No, it's not true. And you said Ashara told you this?"
The boy flushed to the color of the Red Keep, clearly surprised, before correcting himself. "Aye," he spoke slowly for a change, "Aye, she did. Shall we go back to the Yard?"
Arthur nodded, picked up the infamous 'White Sword' to go make this green wolf-boy sore, even through his leather and plate. He would be a good knight, one day. And with rumors of the Toyne family in the Kingswood, the boy might have a chance of Knighthood.
Lord Stark had a good month. His daughter was to be wed to the Prince, his son had married a southern beauty, not the one Rickard would have preferred, but an important person none the less, and his youngest had gone south as the Squire of the greatest knight to ever live.
All that was left was Tywin Lannister.
6 years ago, the two had betrothed Cersei and Brandon, with the wedding to take place when Lady Cersei had her first moonblood. Which was 3 years ago. For some reason, the old Lion had thought to not tell Rickard. It had taken Jaime Lannister's wedding for the two men to actually talk, and that had proven unfruitful, Only saying "yes, she had her moonblood, but no, I don't want to set the date."
Which made it all the more surprising when Rickard received a letter.
Lady Cersei, of Casterly Rock, and Lord Brandon, of Winterfell, shall wed a moons turn from the New Year.
Lannisport is the Ideal place. A Southron wedding there. Let the couple go on a tour of the Seven Kingdoms, before arriving in White Harbor. I am sending Lady Lannister with her own steed, and her retinue of 40 household Knights.
Lord Tywin Lannister, of Casterly Rock
Rickard had found that most odd. The Hand was expected to add his Royal Seal to the parchment. That was until Benjen sent his weekly letter.
Common Folk restless, too many immolations. Tywin Lannister has been removed from Handship. I am to go into the Kingswood to help put down Rebels. I will not write for a month
This did not bode well for the Realm.
The Wolf Squire
When Arthur had suggested he went to the street of steel for Armor, he had expected something... less extravagant. But here he was, being measured by a smelly Qhoroic while Arthur and Master Mott spoke. Arthur's armor was anything but extravagant, white Enamalled plate, with Lobstered gauntlets, and shiny steel ringmail. But listening to Ser Arthur describe what 'Benjen' wanted, he sat there confused.
"The Boy is from house Stark, so give him a fine helmet, silver if you can, that looks like a wolf. Have the Lower jaw latch and unlatch, so he can lift it up when he needs to..." Benjen zoned out after 10 minutes of describing the engraved wolves on the chest, the reinforced Moons being added down the Armor, and how the steel on his arm was to link like steel plate but be more maneuverable.
Steel Plate Armor was not common in the North. Maybe one Manderly in ten wore it, but they were more Southern in nature. Benjen had been taught to fight in a thick Hauberk, with reinforced Shoulders, Elbows, and Gorget, but never steel plate. And never anything this expensive. Benjen saw Arthur hand over a bag od Dragons, before also pointing at a sword on the wall, a single-bladed Stormlands saber, although Arthur requested some extra engravings. Arthur pointed a greatsword, made in the Northern style, with extra requests for a wolf-shaped Pommel
When they were leaving, Arthur seemed to answer Benjen's question before Benjen even asked it. "The Smallfolk like a symbol. Look at Robert Baratheon, 'The Horned Lord,' he isn't just some man fighting, but a god, more than a man. Or Bronze Yohn Royce. The people love him, for his unique look and appeal. You need one, how does "The Wolf Knight" sound?"
3 days later, with Benjen wearing his new steel, a saber at his hip and a Bastard blade on his back, Benjen felt the symbol and was ready to enter the woods
The axe thudded off of the half buckler, bruising Benjen's arm. The man was clearly hungry and weakened, and the saber slicing through his spine seemed to end his determination to fight. He dropped dead.
Benjen cursed and groaned slightly as he switched the saber to his left, and grabbed the great blade with his right. After only a week of being in this damned forest, bloodshed had lost its horror to the Fourteen-year-old. Besides, another man was emerging from the tree line
Brandon had always been the best Warrior, but Benjen knew that these men would be tired after almost a day and night of marching. Still, that had been true of the Axeman, who had just disarmed him.
The man wore a Stag Cloak and a Long Spear, with a longer neck. He sent a jab Ben's way before Benjen sliced downward. It hadn't been enough to snap the Spear in half, and the saber was far stuck in, but one sword beats no sword. Until the man pulled out a Saxe knife.
It was a skagosi blade, half the size of a Bastard blade, but with a crude anger in it. A faint, a jab, a twist. The two men were locked in a battle.
Benjen saw an opening, slashed his blade up, which the Deerskinned man dodged back from, before the Wolf leaped forward, blade arcing at the Deerskinned man's long neck. The blade cut through the infamous neck, spine, and collar of the man. The Famous Oswyn Longneck, The Thrice-Hanged, was dead. Benjen would have fallen over in exhaustion if 2 more men hadn't just come out of the trees.
Benjen picked up the spear, feeling it in his hand. It was lighter and a bit shorter to what he was used too, but he figured it would work. Benjen got a running start and threw the spear with all his strength at the man on the right. The wind was off, and the man on the left fell, cursing. The other man laughed, pulling out the spear. It seemed that the Chainmail had stopped the spear from penetrating. Benjen picked up his blade, ready to defend himself, when 2 knights, dressed in all white, rode out of the trees.
Benjen had never been so happy to see the damned eunuch in his life.
Maybe being a Knight Wasn't worth it. Benjen had been knighted after Ser Arthur and Ser Barristan the Bold had killed 'The Laughing Knight' and Ser Toyne respectively. Benjen had thought that having Ser Arthur place the blade on his shoulders was enough, yet here he was, soaked and cold in the middle of the Red Keep Godswood, in front of the large Oak they called a "Heart Tree."
Benjen, being a follower of the Old Gods, had been allowed to stand Vigil in the Godswood, but still doused in those damned oils. Technically, he was now the highest ranking of the Stark Kids, until Brandon became the Warden.
The Fourteen Year Old Knight smiled at that.
Robert had just returned from a hunt to see his Lady Wife waiting for him in the Great Hall. This had been part of their routine since marriage. Influential Lords would come, Robert would entertain them, take them hunting, speak with them, and generally be his charismatic self. Then, Lady Catelyn Baratheon will lead the conversation to the actual business of running a realm. And Robert loved it. Nothing got him more... excited, then watching his Lady play Lord. Granted, things had been a bit miserable, as Robert was still required to sit through those meetings, and he wasn't allowed to drink.
So imagine his surprise when returning from a Hunt with Lord Selmy and Dondarion, his wife pushed a flask into his hand. He stared at it, before her, then her stomach, before landing on her face. "Oh Gods, yes!" He picked her up by the waist, which was very improper, and could have hurt her, or so said Stannis later. Lady Catelyn however, merely laughed, before kissing Robert on the cheek. Gods, the meeting. He still had to attend that.
But he supposed it wasn't that miserable, after all, he could drink now.
It was a cool spring night, yet the braziers around the venue kept things warm. Why did we insist on an outdoor wedding? Cersei thought angrily, looking at the clouds in the sky.
Of course, she knew why. This was the Golden Gardens, the same one she and Brandon had shared a kiss in. It seemed only fitting. When speaking with the Septon, a shorter, much shorter ceremony was chosen. Neither cared too much for the New Gods, and both hated standing. Cersei's Gown, a crimson dress, with a low neckline made a wide swoop to her shoulders, where it seemed like to slip off. The sleeves had Golden inlays, which, fortunately, didn't drop so low as to cause stains. Her hair was bound up in a northern braid but wrapped around her head in the southern style. When her crimson maiden's cloak was switched for the Stark Grey and White, she smiled. As did Jon. It had been years since he had worn his Stark coloring. Cersei smiled for the man across from her.
The feast featured their favorite foods, Aurochs for the Northerners, and Goose for the Westerlanders. Dornish wines Elia and Eddard brought flowed almost as much as the homemade Ale the Umbers brought. Her favorite part of the evening, however, was wedding gifts. She got her fair share of Jewelry, gold, and dresses, with everyone seeming to forget she was a Lannister, but her favorite gift came from Brandon. A Hrakkar, pale as the moon, with eyes like Gold. The animal looked at her, with the same silent intelligence Ghost had. She decided her old Friend, even if he couldn't be here person, well Wolf, in this case, his namesake could.
Cersei didn't remember much else. The sheer excitement of the evening clouded all of those thoughts.
"Bedding, bedding, bedding..." The Greatjon Began, shortly after the Hour of Ghosts. Jon realized what that meant, and Cersei couldn't tell if Jon made her nervous, or if that was her. She began being stripped. Jaime stood in front, making sure no one was handsy with his sister. Benjen, or 'The Wolf Knight' as the commons called him, had taken one of the Gold Necklaces and wrapped it around his arm, laughing. Before she knew it, she was in her chambers, naked with all but her shift.
5 minutes later, and Brandon was dropped into the room. Fully naked.
Oh my gods, Cersei thought, he's hung like a bloody horse. Jon was, unsurprisingly, was screaming about how wrong this was. But unbidden, thoughts of Ygritte came to mind, about what she had done.
She walked towards Brandon and began touching him. Stroking up and down his shaft, feeling it tense, as blood rushed to it, and it stiffened. Brandon began to take the lead. He held her and began following on her breast, sucking on them. She felt exquisite, nothing had ever felt this nice, not Ygritte, nothing. He started kissing her, starting at her chin, a slight nibble here and there, before going past her breast, down her stomach, and onto her mound, he started working his tongue in her folds, and she screamed in ecstasy and pleasure.
"Oh gods, oh gods," she whimpered between moans, "Oh Brandon, don't stop!"
She was wet down there, and then he put it in. He pushed her on the bed, and started rising, and falling, rising and falling, all the while he stroked her breast, her nipple hardening. Up and down, up and down.
"Cersei," he whispered, "you are a goddess." Cersei blushed. He took that as a sign and began going faster. She felt it rising, an Orgasm, she knew. "Brandon," she whispered, her voice husky, "Don't come yet," He grunted, and went faster.
She screamed and felt the best pleasure she ever had. Brandon spilled his seed, right on time. Jon was silent.
'Maybe marriage won't be so bad if the nights are like this.' Cersei mused silently. This was night one of the month-long journey north. She had plenty of time to enjoy the more... carnal aspects.
Cersei had never been one to be sick whilst sailing. Yet here she was, vomiting overboard in White Harbor. The same action she had done since Dorne, 3 weeks ago. Cersei nor Jon had ever been this sick. Speaking of Jon, she hadn't 'felt' his presence, also since Dorne. This was mildly concerning, but not unnatural. Everytime she did something feminine that she enjoyed, be it kissing, wearing fancy clothes, or scheming, Jon was normally quiet. Sure, he started off "No, you can't do that" but always shut up eventually, before coming back in an Hour to rant. Yet here she was, almost a month without comment. Ghost, however, was loud, and the times she did have to herself that weren't spent with Brandon where with Ghost, the Lion. He was already beginning to mew softly. He never bit her, but crewmates had started calling him Se TImpa Devil, the White Demon in Valyrian.
Cersei was feeding him today, a bowl of warm milk, dipped with a towel, when she suddenly felt like she had to vomit. She put the Cat down, much to its displeasure, before rushing to the bucket in the side of the room, and vomiting. This warranted a Maester visit.
Bringing Cersei here, in New Castle, listening to Brandon and the Maester talk, before a question was addressed to her. "How often do you perform your maritial duties?" The Maester asked, with the seriousness as if he was a cornor. Cersei smirked slightly, before responding, confidently. "3 to 4 times a night, for the last month, Lord Maester"
Brandon grinned, and the Maester swore, before looking back at Cersei. "Congratulations," He said, his voice looking like he did not congratulate, "You are with Child."
The Iron Man's Prisoner
Gerion had been rowed into King's Landing at the Hour of the Wolf, under cover of darkness, to one of the small pits that could only be seen at high tide. A gruff if not fat man with a torch in hand, along with about 14 armored guards, and little Tyrion, began to climb to the palace.
Gerion lost track of how many steps he had taken at around fourteen thousand. They were deep in the chasm when Gerion saw something in the corner of his Eye, a Large Tooth, and broken Bone fragments.
"You never get used to them," the Bald man said with a Vale Accent, hard and course. "The King likes the whole ones. If they get cracked, he sends them to the Black Cells." So that'ts where they were, and under the King's own omission in the King's own Prison. Wonderful.
"Varys," a voice said in the dark. The torch moved closer, and the Valeman, who could only be Varys, began walking towards the voice. A man came into view, with long fingernails, and unkempt hair. He looked not unlike the various street urchins and homeless folk Gerion had met in Volantis. "This is Him?"
"Why of course, my grace. When has your Spider ever failed you?" 'My grace?' Was this man the King? Gerion was almost so distracted he missed "The Spider" or so he was called, switch to a Lyseni voice. The King put a long fingernail on Gerion's adam's apple and began to croak.
"What do you know of Dragons?"
This chapter was originally going to be about Lysa, the Vale, and Riverlands, but I got distracted writing Cersei and Benjen, so instead you get this.
So, what names should we do? and what gender? I feel like Cersei would give a name that was relevant to her old life, so maybe the names of the OG Stark Kids from the books, but I also think giving the names of the Castle Black Crew would be fun (IE, Grenn, Val, Pyp, Tormund and Dolorous Ed), but I'd like to hear suggestions.
Harrenhall takes place around 1 month after this chapter ends, but chapter 8 will start 3 weeks after, with Lysa
Chapter 8: Tourney 2: Electric Boogaloo
Lysa begins to depart the Vale, Jon!Cersei decides that Pregnancy is exhausting when you get a new pet, Benjen gets a shock, and a murder most a foul. Oh, and Rhaegar tries to overthrow the government
So I'm super tired when I'm writing this, and I kind of don't want to fact check this but let's go. If anyone wants to be my grammar editor, I'm cool with that, as it is EXHAUSTING. It is currently 1:34 AM, I have to wake up in 6 hours, and I haven't even begun edits. Life is good.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The Fish in the Falcon's Nest
Lysa Tully was always second place growing up. Second Born, Second Smartest, Second Strongest, second favorite child, until Edmure took those too.
Which is why the Eyrie was such a pleasant change. Elbert Arryn was, for all intents and purposes, a very bookish man, who had rarely had a visit from Women looking for a betrothal. Lysa, for the first time in her life, was experiencing something that Cat had already done before. When Lysa was doing needlework with the other women of the keep, she was never told "Well Cat did this" or "Cat did that last year."
Elbert would be considered a strange boy to most. He was fond of reading, yet he was well practiced with a War Glave. He was slim and tall, with a lithe sense of strength and a fine black goatee. He was, in many ways, like Petyr, but improved. He was stronger, more of a warrior, and whilst not as sharp of tongue, he knew more about the 7 Kingdoms and their histories then Petyr, Hoster and the Grand Maester combined. And most importantly, he seemed to enjoy her company.
And Lysa was Loving it.
Some women preferred their men fast and brutal in the bed, but Elbert had always thought of her as well as himself. And afterward, he liked to talk to her. Not of anything specific, mostly about her day, what she thought of the Vale, and whatever new thing he learned about and wanted to share. After said loving was where she caught herself now.
"... and the Castle of Harrenhall was considered to be one of the greatest structures of the time. It was almost as tall as Casterly Rock, and twice as long. The curtain wall was so thick, our room was about a third of the size." Elbert said, with real enthusiasm. He seemed so excited she didn't have the heart to tell him that she already knew that, she was a Riverlander, after all. "You know, Tomorrow will be the first time I've left the Vale in 5 years?"
Lysa was aware of the fact, half remembering it as something that he had probably told her. She was somewhat distracted, however, by her surrounding. This was in the same room that she had stayed in during her first visit in Gulltown before she left for the Eyrie. Her thoughts drifted home, and then to Cat. Cat had wed Bobert, or whatever his name was, a week after she had married Elbert, yet she was already with child, or so her letters said. The two were wed for only 4 months, yet Cat had been pregnant for 3 and a quarter. Lysa brought it up.
"What if I can't get pregnant?" She looked over at her Husband. He stared at her, his forest green eyes soft, and comforting. "You will, I have faith. But if you want to be certain, I am willing to try again. If you are, that is?"
Lysa smiled, before throwing the sheets off. She was loving marriage much indeed.
Traveling by liter was just as bad as traveling by Boat, Cersei had decided on the seventh day marching south. She knew once they had crossed the Neck, roads would be smoother, but at the moment, she felt sicker and sicker in the mornings. Thank the gods it was Manderly's liter, easily thrice the size of the Stark one. Plenty of room for Cersei to lay on the floor with her Lion.
At first, she thought it was simply a well-behaved animal. Until she got into the Winterfell libraries Warg section. Varamyr, Tormund Mellisandre, and Bran had all called 'Jon' a warg, with the first Ghost. A Fress is what a skinchanger who interacts with a Cat, as opposed to Warg with Wolves, according to the old tome. Cersei, for once, disagreed with the book, Fress didn't have the same wring as Warg. Whatever she was, the cat was hers at night.
During the early evening, Cersei would give the Lion to Lyanna after feeding. She would then spend the evening with Brandon, before falling asleep. And then she would wake up, in a significantly smaller body, where she would go to her Human pavillion, and lay next to Cersei. Seeing the little bugger in the morning almost made the vomiting tolerable.
So here she was, 2 months pregnant, nursing a lion with a towel in the middle of a swamp.
Harrenhall loomed in the distance.
It was about midday, and 3 days until the tourney began in earnest. The Starks planned on getting there early, for Rhaegar and Lyanna to meet in truth. Eddard was to arrive tomorrow with the rest of the Dornish party, and Jaime was within Eyeshot of the Camp. Which led to the only part of the trip Cersei wasn't excited for. Tywin Lannister.
The damned bastard hadn't even gone to his own Daughter's wedding, claiming he had "Business" in Crakehall. Jaime told it true enough, however. "He only wed you to the Stark because Rhaegar was to wed a Volantine. But neither happened, and this wedding is his greatest failure."
Cersei supposed that was true enough, although how it must sting to know that Stark had both his daughter and the Prince. Cersei smiled at the thought of that stubborn old man failing on both fronts.
Jaime was not a fan of this trip so far.
His wife was 5 months pregnant, which meant that the pace was slower then Jaime would have wanted. It also meant that she couldn't warm his bed, and she was too cranky to talk at dinners. Jaime loved Elia, but that "Dornish Fire-Blood" was apparent whenever Elia decided she didn't want to eat Duck today, and threw it, normally, in the direction of a very unlucky serving boy.
Not that Jaime had wanted a bedwarmer either. Tywin had told him that it was early spring, so to dress warmly. Hence why all he had to wear was wool and Satin. Neither of which were comfortable for a day in the saddle.
All that made the worse by Tywin. He was not happy to see the Stark Host, about half a day's hard ride ahead, yet he, the Illustrious Lion of the West, was forced to march slower than ever before. It was unhelped by Kevan's cool-headedness, urging his brother to slow down. Tygett and his new wife were comfortable with the slower pace, giving them enough time to sneak off to some holdfast to enjoy their time together, which irked his Father all the more.
The only Lannister Jaime wished he was at the moment was Gerion. He was half a world away, drinking fine wine, meeting new people, and exploring the uncharted, all of which seemed to be a better alternative to the very pregnant women, a pissed off Lion, and 2 well-meaning but ultimately worthless Lions. At least he wasn't the pregnant one. Besides, in less than 3 days, he would see Ser Arthur and Ser Barristan.
Robert was never a fan of long sea voyages. She had assumed that it was due to his parents, but never really asked. He had spent the whole trip miserable. Even though he was allowed to get as drunk as he wanted with the sailors, it seemed that his forced sobriety by his foster brother had generally improved his demeanor. Robert had, in the almost 4 months of pregnancy, only been drunk 3 times. Once was Renly's name day, the other being when the Blackfish came, and the two had gotten royally drunk on brandy, and the Third was when Brandon and Cersei had stopped in on the way North. Neither of those occasions happened on this ship, leading to the very grumpy Robert she now found herself with.
Robert's excitement when Maidenpool came into view was thrilling, to say the least. He had hooted and hollered, and seemed almost as elated as he did when she announced she was with child. Whether it was for the tourney tomorrow, or the chance to see his foster brother, Catelyn had no idea, although she assumed it was being on dry land. She herself was excited to see her Sister, who was waiting for the Baratheon party with the Arryn party in Maidenpool.
In Maidenpool, Catelyn was able to meet her sister and her husband, Lord Elbert. The two seemed to be a healthy couple, Catelyn supposed. Lysa had lost her nervous stutter, and carried herself with a bit more confidence, while Elbert seemed to be genuinely excited by most things. They had brought 36 casks of Mountain Brandy to the tourney and saw no reason as to not sharing it with Lord Moonton and his Guests.
Later that evening, Robert and Catelyn laid in bed, talking. Catelyn initiated the conversation, as she normally did. Robert liked being told to do things and having Goals, and Catelyn had given him one; coming up with names for babies the whole trip north.
"So I've been thinking, if it where a boy, we could call him Lyonel, after my Great Grandfather, the Laughing Storm, or maybe Ormund, like my Grandfather. Maybe even Steffon. Orys too. If he looks like a Tully, we could call 'im Edmyn or Tomm-"
He was interrupted by his wife kissing him. She loved his enthusiasm, but the baby, whatever he was to be called, did not. She moved Robert's hand, huge and calloused, over to her stomach, and held it there. A slight nudge. Robert smiled. The maester said it wasn't a full kick, but only the baby moving, but Catelyn liked to think that it enjoyed its father's touch.
Regardless, Catelyn fell asleep that night a Happy woman.
The opening ceremony of the Tourney began only an hour after the Royal party entered Harrenhall. Benjen had been riding with his Patron, Ser Arthur, in the front. In a last minute decision, King Aerys joined the party, so the other 5 Kingsguard went with the King. Benjen had never been so close to Royalty then with Rhaegar. The man exuded confidence from every inch of his being, yet his demeanor was... odd.
Rhaegar seemed to be distant at the best of times, and with Aerys very clearly despising his ever-popular offspring, this was not the best of times. Rhaegar asked about Lyanna, but not in the way a man asks about his future wife, but about how he may ask about a distant relative, with the type of forlorn sadness that was all too common in the Prince. Surprising for a man only of 22 years.
The opening event was the Prince, in full plate, to enter the Tourney grounds, followed by his 7 kingsguard. Except one was dead. The Prince entered the Tourney the land he would later joust on, followed by Ser Hightower, then Dayne and Barristan, Lewyn Martell and Oswell Whent, before ending with Jonothor Darry by himself. Rhaegar began his speech. Benjen had heard him rehearse the entire trip North, and began to look around, focus on other things.
"... Ser Benjen, the Wolf Knight!" Rhaegar Cried.
Benjen looked up. This wasn't part of the speech. Nervous, Benjen vaulted over the guard separating the stands from the jousting grounds. The White bull began to unwrap a white cloak from his bag. Benjen's mind was racing. He was the youngest of 3 brothers, had no chance of getting a good match or ruling lands. He had always thought that a black cloak was what he was supposed to do, yet now he wasn't so sure. The Night's Watch was filled with criminals, thieves, and rapists, whilst the Kingsguard were filled with heroes and legends. Benjen unfastened his cloak, before kneeling before the White Bull.
"Do you, Benjen, of House Stark, the Wolf Knight, pledge to serve the King Aerys, and all true kings after him, to obey his command, and risk your life for him?" Ser Hightower asked, his voice ringing of the stands.
"Aye, I swear it." Benjen tried to raise his voice to match and found the confidence to do so. The Bull fastened the cloak around Benjen's back.
"The Arise, a member of the Kingsguard!" The Crowd cheered.
The jousting went as expected, the only upset being his own little brother.
Elbert Arryn, Robert Baratheon, Ethan Glover, Kyle Royce, Jaime Lannister, Lyle "Strongboar" Crakehall, Jeffory Mallister and himself began a betting circle with some slight Valeman leading the bets. Brandon, after getting advice from his wife, chose to back Rhaegar Targaryen, expecting Rhaegar and Ser Arthur Dayne to be the overall winners, and his bracket was failing, from the beginning.
His brother and Oswell Whent where the first joust of the day, and to Brandon's surprise, Benjen unhorsed Ser Whent on the 5 tilt. His brother was on a continuous climb, which was costing Brandon 5 dragons before he was unhorsed by Ser Dayne. Rhaegar, after an intense tilt, unhorsed the White Sword, probably due to the lack of Testostagen Brandon would later joke, and soon his Sister was marked as Queen of Love and Beauty. This seemed to make the king upset, judging by his mutters.
It wasn't until later that Brandon thought things were really surprising.
"Thank you all for coming," Rhaegar began in the Solar of the northernmost Tower of Harrenhall, furthest from the king's.
Brandon looked around. He saw Freys, Lannisters, Martells, and Umbers. Every major family in Westeros had sent a representative, or so it seemed to Brandon. He squeezed Cersei's hand and saw Robert doing a similar thing with Lady Catelyn.
"My Father has not been, the most orderly. He has begun using Wildfyre as his preferred form of execution and has even resorted to having men picked off the streets to be burned alive. Worse still, he rapes whom he wants when he wants. In general, he shouldn't have the power of a King any longer." Rhaegar's voice bounced off the walls, echoing. Eyes began to widen as the magnitude of the situation became apparent. Rhaegar continued. "I am to form a great council to have my Father removed from kingship, in order to protect himself and all of the Realm. I have called you here for support."
Mace Tyrell began to mutter to himself, Quellon Greyjoy's son, Euron, seemed to smile, like he was about to laugh. Old Walder Frey opened his mouth and closed it, like a horse chewing on Cud. Rickard stood up. "I agree with you. If a King behaves like a wild animal, he is in no fit state to be a King." Brandon stood up too, followed closely by Cersei and the Baratheon couple. Robert began to speak, "Cousin, I support you in this. That bastard is the one who sent my Father and Mother to die."
Soon many other Lords began to stand as well. Jon Arryn, Lord Fossoway, Lord Lefford, soon everyone was standing. Everyone but Tywin Lannister.
"Father, you bloody Idiot!" Cersei felt herself yell. All heads shifted from Tywin to his daughter, the most beautiful and refined woman in the world, cursing out her father. "Are you so stubborn and upset I didn't marry Rhaegar you are willing to leave the realm in the hands of a madman!"
Tywin stood, and spoke softly, "I see your mother taught you manners." He said it simply enough, with enough poison in his words, Cersei felt herself wince. "But I do not want to be the only Lord sitting down. What is your plan, Prince Rhaegar?"
Rhaegar smiled and began to speak
It was late evening when Cersei made it to the Stark Common Tent. After Rhaegar's meeting, The Stark, Arryn, Lannister, and Baratheon families all went to the hall of a hundred fires to drink. Cersei, Elia, Catelyn and Lysa sat talking to one another, occasionally giving their respective husbands a warning, before Cersei felt herself grow weary, and began to return to her Tent.
And when she walked in, she saw Rickard Stark, blood oozing from several bleeding wounds on his chest, and a long sword impaled in his throat.
I got the name for a Cat Skinchanger, Fress, from the Poetic Edda. This Norse book is where we also get the word Warg, sons of Fenrir, so I thought it was appropriate. A fress was one of the cats who carried Freya's Chariot.
And how about that Ending!
I changed the chapter count to 15. I decided that I was going to do a time skip 15-20 years, to the rough beginning of the main story. I want this one to cover 1 complete story arc, and have the second in the Series to cover another.
Chapter 9: So are we going to breeze over this or?
The Stark Family, The Lannister Family, The Baratheon Family, Tullys, and Arryns try to figure out the murder without raising alarm. Benjen is left in the dark.
I'm just jumping into the chapter today, it's probably going to be a bit shorter than usual, because it's setting up tomorrows chapter, and since most of you were asleep when Chapter 8 was released, I'll give you 2 today.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
His father's eyes had been closed, and his surcoat had been changed. All of the servants had been sent to the workers pavillion, and Brandon gave them a cask of wine to ensure that they wouldn't come back until early morning.
So Brandon could kill the rat bastard that did this.
He had called some of his closest friends and family. Ashara, Ned, Robert and His wife, the two young Arryns, and Lyanna. Cersei had requested her brother be sent, but Brandon wasn't so sure. Tywin had been the last person to stand in the North Tower, and Brandon didn't trust him. The contempt between the two men had been well known, so if Brandon had to choose, that would be the mastermind behind this.
Which led them to here, 2 pregnant women, 3 almost drunk men, 2 exhausted women, and a Lion cub. Brandon supposed that if anyone was to solve a murder, these men would be his best bet.
"So who could have done this?" Brandon said to the round table in the center of the pavillion. "There are two people I imagine possible. Tywin Lannister, and whoever swung the sword. We know that this couldn't have been more than 2 hours ago, judging by the fact the blood was still wet, and that the murderer probably knew about Rhaegar's plan. I don't think it is a coincidence that the first lord to support the prince is the one dead." The rest nodded in muttered agreement.
"I'm not sure about it being Tywin Lannister. This is too... violent for him. And it would obviously be traced back to him if it was. You proved that yourself. What we are looking for is someone else." Cersei said, her voice slightly wavering. "Besides, my Father wouldn't do anything to risk my safety, and sending a Catspaw into the Stark tent, where his daughter is staying, is not a wise idea. Which is why I think it must be a Frey." That surprised Brandon. Sure, the Frey's were upstarts and would try to take every last copper you had if they could, but murder? Brandon got a suspicion that Cersei knew more then she told.
Catelyn perked up, "My father has never trusted a Frey. It's also very odd that a Frey squire was beating one of your Father's bannermen with sticks. I agree with Cersei." Lysa nodded with agreement.
Cersei said something else, "If this is tied to the Prince's coup, we should tell him before anyone else. He might be able to help."
Rhaegar normally spent the Hour of the Eel sleeping. And he had until he was woken up by a page. The boy spoke very quickly, but the meaning of the message was "Stark pavillion. Go there." Rhaegar put on his doublet, saw Ser Arthur still awake, and the two went to the Stark pavillion and were quite surprised to see almost all of the Great Lords and ladies of the Age. "Sit Down." Brandon Stark gestured towards a chair. "My father is dead." He said it with a grave, depressed sound, which Rhaegar thought suit the situation. He grimaced. "So it appears that we have a Rat in the Great Council..." The Dragon Prince said, softly with only a hint of Anger.
"Will you help us? Find the killer, that is." Ashara looked up, in the direction of the prince, but mainly towards her brother. "Aye," Ser Arthur began slowly, "Aye, we will."
Rhaegar sat there, thinking furiously. 3 years of planning for a stable realm, and over a thousand for one able to produce a Hero, yet here he was, having everything thrown out the window. His anger was interrupted by Catelyn Baratheon. "We think it is either Frey or Lannister," She said it like she was talking to a servant boy, not the Crown Prince. Rhaegar shook his head slightly.
"No," Rhaegar said every word like it was a great weight, "It was my Father and his Spider"
The Neglected Lion
"I shall ask you this one final time, how do you Wake Dragon Eggs?" The confesser asked while dipping a sword into an intense flame. Gerion spat out some blood from the previous round of questioning.
"I've told you before, I don't know! The scrolls say something about Flame and blood sacrifice, but it never really says what!" Gerion said, for what was the 15th time. The confessor grimaced, before placing the orange hot sword through the side of Gerion's stomach, left it to smolder for a few moments, before removing it. Gerion had long lost the ability to scream when he was forced into drinking oil.
The Confessor came back, this time with one of the original Iron Men who had raided his boat. His blue eyes flashing in the dark, with a sort of smile giddiness that showed both an unnatural sense of humor, yet reminded Gerion too much of a cat about to strike a mouse. The boy spoke, "I'm sorry I missed the questions, I had business up north. But now that I'm here," He pulled out a Valyrian dagger, with a sickle shape to it, "What did you say about Blood Sacrifice?"
Sending Catelyn up north without him was one of the more difficult things Robert had done, and it didn't help that it was by ship. But Robert had agreed that sending their wives to call banners and to safer lands was the better thing to do. Robert had sent a letter south, to Storm's End, for Stannis to prepare for war. Every other lord at the meeting in the Stark tent did the same. The all decided that Winterfell, being the furthest away, was the safest place to send the wives. Brandon had even relented enough for Cersei to ask her brother to do the same.
But here Robert was, right behind his cousin in his full plate, war hammer in hand. He was followed by 5 household knights he could trust and various other Stormlords. It was the same for every Great Lord who had followed Rhaegar to the King's Pavillion. The murder had moved up Rhaegar's timetable, and thus the Coup had to be moved up. Rhaegar had Ser Martell, Ser Whent, Arthur Dayne and the White Bull with him. The Plan was simple, take Aerys from the long hall, back to his Chambers at Harrenhall, where he will stay until Rhaegar is made regent.
As Robert would later reflect, he should have known better. A Spider exists in every tent, and every young child looking to make a coin. Thus explaining why the King was gone, with his Kingsguard and most of his retinue. Rhaegar cursed.
She cursed softly at the letter she received from Ser Brynden. It was 4 weeks after the attempted coup on Harrenhall, and the war began. Aerys announced that his son was no longer Heir, that it was his young son Viserys, and that Catelyn and her little band, where traitors to the realm, requesting their heads off. Ser Hoster called his banners quickly enough. Lord Frey sent a large force of soldiers to help hold Seaguard, only to take it by darkness. Most of the Green Fork was throwing its favor towards the King.
In the Vale, Lord Grafton, Redfort and Waxley rose up for the king too, and whilst Elbert Arryn had sent word that the Vale Rebels had been put down, it was an unsettling thought that Bannermen would rebel. Catelyn knew from her own correspondents that House Selmy, Dondarrion and Grandison had done similar things. Dorne had mostly done nothing, much like the Lannisters, but rumor spoke that Yronwood and a party of 500 knights had been sent to raid the Reach.
Which led to the real threat. Every major house in the Reach and Iron Isles supported the King and had so far closed off Lannisport, Storm's End, and Dragonstone. The only place holding out from the Armada's being The North, where the Manderly navy was able to hold off attackers in the East, and the West had no ports big enough for the Redwynes to worry about, and the loot to poor for the Ironborn.
Which led Catelyn to her letter today. Some Ironborn small ship had found a secret tunnel leading to the inner portions of the Keep. Dropping tar on the ship and lighting it up seemed to work, but no one was sure how long that could be kept up.
Catelyn hated being so far away. The newest letter was sent 5 days ago. But she had a duty. She was carrying the future Lord or Lady to Storm's End, and she had to keep that child safe. Besides, the other women where could company. Lady Elia, who was 6 months pregnant, was genuine and fierce about her beliefs, although she spent most of the day sleeping. Catelyn herself was feeling tired, about 4 and a half months pregnant. Lysa, having the unfortunate duty of being the only woman not pregnant, had most of the days to herself, Catelyn noticed. Everyone seemed a little uneasy, however. The tense atmosphere that was the war and the unfamiliar surroundings caused slight stress in them all.
The most difficult part of all was that Brandon's Brother had gone with the King.
So, Rhaegar's Rebellion? What do you guys think?
The Redwyne ships were to large to follow Davos into Storm's End's undercroft, but an Ironborn ship can, which I thought would add some tensions.
Before you ask, Roose probably won't rebel. Aerys is too insane to scheme with, and without the Great Lion giving him immunity, he wouldn't risk it.
Anyways, tomorrow is going to be a brief fast forward, by about 4 months.
Cersei: 3 months pregnant
Catelyn: 4 and 1/2
Ashara: 2 months (She isn't going to learn until next chapter, but you guys can know)
Lysa: Not Pregnant,
Elia: 6 months
Chapter 10: Rhaegar's Rebellion: Part 1
6 weeks into the War, the Northern Host has split up, half going to White Harbor, the Other Half going to cross the Twins. Unfortunately, the Frey's betrayed them, so they are camped outside. Tywin Lannister broods, before receiving two letters, Euron and Gerion talk a bit and a Baby!
The majority of the Valemen and Robert Baratheon are fighting in the South, having been shipped down after the Taking of Gulltown to Storm's end.
I'm really bad at battle scenes, so these might start getting repetitive.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Cersei was right, the Frey's were untrustworthy, unruly little monsters, and Brandon would kill them all if they ever opened the Damned bridge. Cersei said she was writing to her brother, but so far? Nothing was getting through. The Vale host was to meet up with them next week, and then they would... Brandon hadn't actually got that far in the planning phase, but he thought that he could figure it out.
The Vale host arrived 3 days before the first Iron Born raid.
400 men, both Crownlanders and Ironborn alike landed during the evening. They had come up all the way from the bay of Crabs, attacked, claiming the lives of almost 750 Valemen. Brandon hoped his lady wife's plan would work.
Tywin thought about the two letters on his desk and thought.
One was from King Aerys, with the recognizable scribble he called writing. The other was from Brandon Stark, but Tywin knew it was his daughter's word more than his own.
He called in his family, before reading the letters out loud.
"To Tywin Lannister, Lord of the Rock, I would entreat you to not join this war on the Rebel's side, for your Brother and Son are both comfortable in King's Landing, and any move against me will lead to bloodshed." Tywin finished the letter, looking up. Tygget and Jaime both had the look of a Lion who had just been stung by a hornet, but Kevan was just as angry, only he kept his emotions in check.
"And then the other Letter," Tywin stopped to open it, "This one is from Brandon Stark, 'Lord Lannister, both your Daughter and your Good Daughter are at Winterfell. As is your Heir. Choose your next actions wisely.' Signed by Cersei Stark." Jaime looked less angry at the last phrase, making Tywin regret adding that part. He wanted Jaime angry at both.
Jaime and Tygget left the room, their spurs jingling. "What would you do, Kevan?" Tywin asked, accidentally letting loose the exhaustion inside of him. His daughter was a schemer who had gone against his back, but he still loved the little brat, and he didn't wanter her immolated. Jaime was a fool for sending his wife with the Northmen, although it was, for all intents and purposes, a good plan, if he joined on the Northmen side. Yet he hadn't yet. News of the heir was even more concerning.
The Lion of the West
It had only taken 5 hours for the letters to go out and return, and only 7 more for them to come. Half the Knights in the West had come, around 3 thousand. They had all assembled at the Golden Tooth, with plans to ride hard to the Twins. Tygget had said that flying Lannister red and Gold was a very bad idea, so he had all the banners dyed. A Red Lion on a black background. Most lords had their own personal sigil, and a house sigil, so why couldn't he? Besides, if he was stopped by a Crown Loyal, he could say he was flying Targaryen colors, for the King.
They had stopped at Riverrun, where Jaime met Ser Bryden under siege from the North and western front. Jaime had split up his forces and charged the camp at night. How careless where the Freys that they didn't even put guards or outriders? Which made it all the more easy for the Westerlanders to crush them.
Jaime and his ragtag army of Lions, who had only lost 24 men, stayed at the castle for 3 nights and were joined on the road by another thousand and a half Fish Knights.
Eddard and his portion of the Northern Host left a week earlier with Robert. The Current plan being they would meet up with the Prince at Massey's hook, and then send Robert to his home by himself.
The plan worked marvelously, and the Northern fleet had managed to land him at Massey's, and Robert had sent word that he had landed. The second part of the plan was the real problem. Rhaegar, as Prince of Dragonstone, had a Hand full of minor Lords sworn to him, all of which had come to fight. These Lords even looked past the fact that Dragonstone had literally no guards on it, and was technically Viserys' new seat. Which meant Rhaegar had only a fighting force of 10,000 men with him. Ned's 25,000 Northmen meant that the King and most of the Crownlanders couldn't actually leave, and it was enough to starve out the Crown.
Which lead Ned to this. His host had been split up, 17,500 on the Southern Side of the Blackwater, the other half on the other side. It was working well overall. Only 3 of the 14 ravens the Crown had sent made it past, and with a large enough force that any army from the south would struggle to lift the siege. And the fact that apparently, a Westerlander had lifted the siege of Riverrun, and that the Old Lion was beginning to March south, to The Tyrells, was a godsend.
The Tyrells were easily the most powerful house in Westeros. They could field almost a hundred Thousand men, and anyone hit full force with that strength would be broken, and Eddard knew that which is why Robert was sent south. Breaking up the Tyrell's was the main goal, and thus Robert and Ned would only have to fight about 50,000 men. Still not great odds. But with rumors of a Dornish outlaw raiding the Reach, and then the Lion marching to War, the Tyrell's had been forced to split their forces down even more. To such a point where Ned would be outnumbering his opponents.
The only problem was the Navy.
The Manderly fleet was able to protect the Sisters, and the Vale, with the help of the surviving Gulltown fleet, who had joined the Rebels, but even the combined numbers where Dwarfed by the Iron and Redwyne fleets. Meaning that Ned could only sit and watch as the King sent who knows what in and out of the city. Eddard's first guess was food, but it changed when he saw Ironborn lobbing barrels into the bay. They had heavy rocks tied to them and seemed to be causing more of an issue to Ironborn then anyone else.
Ned hoped he could figure out what Aerys was doing before he did it.
Cersei had very little experience with Babies.
Elia had her water break 3 weeks early, and after a hard labor, delivered a little girl, with olive skin, like her mother, but more pinky too. And Cersei had no idea what to do with the thing. The babe was given to Cersei by Catelyn an hour after the Birth. Since Elia had given birth early, Catelyn wasn't taking risks, although her baby was still at only at her Seventh month. Meaning for the two days Elia was in bed, Cersei had her squealing child and had to... Nurse it. None of this was helped by Ashara, who had learned she was pregnant one week ago, after the second time she missed her moonblood. How she missed her first and didn't notice, no one knew.
Which wasn't an upsetting conclusion, but it was made all the worst when Ghost, who had almost doubled in size, decided he was thirsty too, almost knocking Cersei over. Making it both a blessing and a curse when Elia was good enough to take off the babe.
Elia looked exhausted, but her sad eyes smiled when Cersei entered with her Baby. The little tufts of hair the baby did have where much brighter, closer to Cersei's in truth, but the resemblance was quite noticeable between mother and daughter.
"What was the name of you and Jaime's Mother? Joanna, correct?" Cersei nodded, "Then Joanna it is. She is a Westerner, and she deserves a Westerner's name. Then maybe her Father will overlook how she will fight and train just like her brothers, one day." Elia said, grinning.
Cersei sighed in relief. She had sent a letter to her Father before the baby was even born. If it died, her gambit might have failed.
"Damn it Baratheon, Push!" Cersei heard herself say. In the months spent in Winterfell, Catelyn and Cersei had become very close, and thus she felt comfortable cursing her out in the labor bed. Something which gave her a slight sense of joy, knowing the hardship Catelyn had given 'Jon.' "Come on, I can see the child's head! Push, Push!"
Catelyn was, and the Maester decided at a certain point to simply pull out the Baby. The placenta came and went in less than an Hour.
"Give the little bastard to me," Catelyn said, holding out her arms. Lysa looked shocked that her Sister would call her own true born child a bastard, before Cersei explained it was part of the Stormland's affection, "This baby is huge!" Catelyn said, "I'm calling him Orys, after the First Baratheon. Because he looks nothing like me!" Catelyn joked, showing the baby to Cersei. Cersei looked at the baby, she recognized the wide shoulders and hips, and the black hair, all Baratheon trademarks, yet the eyes lacked the bright blue coloring, like a lightning bolt, and looked more like his mother's, dark blue, like a river.
Cersei didn't have the heart to tell her about the letter the letter Robert had sent about the Stormlands.
The Battle for The Twins was over in less than an Hour.
The Ironborn had started becoming predictable and started taking causalties when the North and Valemen learned their schedule. On the third attempted attack at the Northmen host, half the Ironborn had been wounded and had been taken over to the west side of the river, which was when a huge cavalry force had charged straight through the open gate.
Brandon, always one for taking risks, saw that the Guards on his side of the Bridge where concerned, and half the garrison went to protect the other fortress. Brandon thought this was a good time to storm the castle, battering it down.
Walder Frey and his brood had attempted to defend themselves, but nothing could stop all of Brandon's army once they gained speed. The Freys were caught between a Wolf and a Lion and failed to choose.
Brandon hadn't really checked who did the charging and was pleasantly surprised to see his Good Brother, Jaime Lannister. The two had never been close, but when Brandon saw the man who ended his lethargy, he hugged him.
"Thank you, Lannister. I'm glad that I don't have to sit on my ass anymore. Let's head South."
Robert had just decimated the enemy at Ashford when he received a Letter. Some Ironmen had found a way into Storm's End, and... Stannis was killed.
Robert had never been close to his brother before. He and Stannis shared so many similarities, their differences made them seem all the more different. But the stubborn idiot dead was not something he wanted, at least his wife was safe in the North, and his youngest Brother was a captive. He promised himself he would bash Balon Greyjoy's head in himself. Robert was interrupted in his brooding by a shout.
At least 15,000 riders were coming in his direction from the South, with no banners of any known house. They had sent word ahead, "Here to Help." Robert trusted none of that and had his army ready to fight an hour before said host arrived.
The Banner was unique. A Single Yellow spear, facing straight up, wrapped up by a Red Viper. Robert knew this was likely a Dornish house, but his confusion was made all the more noticeable when the man jumped off his horse. He took off his helm, revealing his black eyes, and a sharp widow's peak. He spoke in a Salty Dornish Accent, although it sounded more Essosian. The man spoke, "I Leave Dorne for 7 years, and you all go to War without me? Oberyn Martell, nice to meet you"
The Lion had been moved to Dragonstone last week, where he could be more safely monitored. As had Tyrion.
Euron came to talk almost daily now, and the Confessor's questions came straight from Euron, Gerion had no doubt. For 16, this was quite an unlikable man with a penchant for torture and whatever secrets he thought Gerion had.
"So you've told me that you need Fire, magic, and a blood ritual. How much blood?" Euron asked, the blade going up and down Gerion's chest. Gerion started screaming, as he felt the knife go over a muscle fiber, "I don't know! I don't!" He yelled, all dignity lost. Euron grimaced, before pulling the knife back into its scabbard and walking away.
Later, he heard screams and a loud whoosh of a flame. The voice continued to sob until it was silent, but for a low crackle. Euron returned.
"I have a question, can there be to much blood?" Gerion shook his head in a no. "Good. Confessor, grab the man, and that little demon up too," he looked back at Gerion, "You are doing a spell for us."
'Oh, Gods' she thought, oh gods oh gods, it's finally happening. She had nine months to prepare, but she didn't prepare near as much as she should have. A small part of her thought that having a child was a terrible thing to happen. A part of 'Jon' that was still there. Cersei dropped her needle and needlework. Catelyn and Elia, who had both been talking while nursing looked up surprised. "It's happening!" Cersei near yelled, Ghost running around anxiously. She was rushed to a bed, her clothes near completely removed.
Cersei felt exhausted. This was even more tiring than when she and Brandon had spent the whole night... she put the thought out of her head. She actually had a baby to take care of, she couldn't reminisce about its creation.
Catelyn handed her the child, and then another? Oh, gods, I had Twins! The thought hadn't even crossed her mind. She held them, a boy in the right, and a girl in the left, just as Joanna had, all those years ago. They both had their father's grey-blue eyes, but their mother's cheekbones. She looked at the girl, "Arya, her name is Arya," She looked at the Boy, "Jon. Jon Stark." After all those years, Jon was a Stark.
I'm using https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/112892-military-strengths-of-major-houses/ as my estimates for troop strength, specifically the second poster.
Chapter 11: Rhaegar's Rebellion: Part 2
The Old Lion Sieges Highgarden, Robert fights the first dangerous battle he's had to, with some Dornish help, And all the strength of The North, Vale, and Riverlands all meet, with only a boy in Wolf Armor standing in their way.
Not sure what I'm going to really do here, but we'll see.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
That idiot boy of hers.
Marrying her daughter to Quellon's son had been one of the better ideas she had, combining two of the most dangerous fleets in the world, yet joining Greyjoy's war against half the bloody realm? That was stupid, to say the least. If Olenna had been made partial, she would have suggested NOT doing that.
And yet here she was, the proud Olenna Tyrell, smartest woman in the world, chatting down an angry lion because her son had to be such an idiot.
"Lady Olenna?" One of the guardsmen had said, after entering the Great Hall, "Lord Lannister has terms for you." Olenna grimaced slightly
"Tell me, are these the same terms as yesterdays? But with a choice word or two dropped? Because if so, tell him that he might as well agree to my terms, 'Leave, please.' As mine is JUST as realistic as his." The Queen of Thorns didn't feel like playing with a Lion. Winter had just ended, but the Tyrells had more than enough in their storerooms to last out not only this siege but another Winter altogether. The only reason she might want to surrender is if she got bored, and the gods help her, she was bored.
She had sent a letter yesterday. The Lannister bowmen were clearly not as good as everyone raved, and so her message was already on her way to her son. Highgarden was practically impregnable, so Olenna thought it made no sense to dived her son's army. So she wrote that half his bloody strength returns to King's Landing to bite those Northerners in the arse.
So she had to sit out another week of Tywin Lannister and his "Generous Terms."
Who could have guessed that half the Western Knights, most of the North, and the full strength of Riverrun and the Eerie would find walking through their controlled territory easy? All they had to do was meet up with Robert and Rhaegar, siege the City, and tell the outnumbered Reach to go home.
Until Brandon learned about their route. Right on the banks of The Blackwater.
They had been marching for 5 days when the Ironborn first attacked. 5 boats, filled with Archers peppering the unexposed flanks, before dropping off almost a thousand Warriors. They had lost almost a thousand that day and lost thrice that much in the coming week. If the Ironborn attacked while they where at camp, they damned Pirates would be dead, but during early morning marches, and late night camp preparations, the Ironborn had easy pickings.
The first target was always the Pack Horses, mules or Oxen. That meant the supplies had to be redistributed, adding another day to the march. What should have been nearly a 16-day trip had turned into a 30 day one and they where still leagues away. Which meant that Brandon had to find a way to stop the raids. He thought he found it.
"Ser Jaime? Will you come with me?" He asked simply enough, the Knight looked up, and Followed. "So how much heavy horse did you bring? 3,000? Good. What do they think of boats?"
Confusion flashed on Jaime's face, before a cold grin. "They don't mind it at all, Stark."
Thieving from the Thieves seemed to be much easier.
When the Ironborn attacked next, he and Stark where ready. They had their own archers on the banks, brought enough pitch to light up a whole fleet. When the Raiders came, their archers got what they gave, and when the lightly armored men came running off their boats, heavily armored Knights streamed back on.
They had lost only 300 men, most household or hedge knights, and had gained 5 boats, and burned 9 others. Ser Jaime gave command of his modest fleet to the Blackfish. He was a Riverman, he was clearly the best suited to it.
With a considerably faster travel speed, as all Oxen and Supplies had been moved aboard, they ran into more Villages, and when they saw the Silver Trout flying overhead, they got in their little fish boats and came with. Soon, the modest fleet of 5, had ballooned into a flotilla of 60 pole boats, River Barges, and Fishermen, all of whom wanted to kill the Ironborn sons of bitches who had burnt their homes.
Which brought Jaime to where he currently was, standing at the prow of an Ironborn ship called "Merman's Shit," which seemed to fit the color and smell, but that wouldn't do for a Lannister of the Rock, so instead Jaime sat on "Lannister Feilds" a ship which smelled of fertilizer, of the natural variety. Jaime found it easier to be here, between the center of the Blackwater and the Paths his severely sore-footed army was traveling. He expected they would reach the delta in less than 3 days.
His Warhammer landed, hard. He heard a crunch of steel and bone, before the knight fell over, dead. He didn't recognize the symbol, it was a brown tree with golden apples. Robert didn't have time to ponder as he felt a smack on his back. He turned around, swinging the hammer spike first into whoever thought hitting him with a sword was a good idea.
A slight grunt escaped the man's lips, as he fell over, the spike piercing his old armor through one of the gaps in the leg. Robert brought the hammer down again.
And so he repeated, for what seemed like hours, but could only have been two-thirds of an Hour. His army was about equal with those of the Reachman, around 45,000 thanks to the Dornish support, against an equal amount of Reachman, only the Reach had the favorable position, as the Arrows fell again. Robert didn't worry too much about the Arrows. He was wearing full plate, with chainmail and a Hauberk. No arrow would pierce it. But his men weren't wearing plate, hence the problem.
Oberyn had said Lord Yronwood was looping around with the other Half of the Dornish Army, but it couldn't come sooner. He must have lost two-thirds of his men, compared to the Reachman barely losing a half. And it was thanks to those damn arrows.
Robert kicked over a man on his knees, before hitting another man with his hammer, sending him crashing over the boy Robert just kicked. The man had already been impaled half a dozen times, by Robert's estimate, judging by the holes. Why did the Dornish bring Spearmen? He just needed that Calvary to bust a hole in the Archers, and then the Tyrells where done
Maybe I should have worried about arrows, Robert would later reflect. The battle had been won an hour ago, and when Robert took off his great helm, one of the Reach bowmen who thought this was his chance of glory, went for a shot at Robert's head. The arrow had only passed through the first few layers of flesh, so the Maester told him, but the pain was unbearable! Why the hell did an Eyeball need to be so Sensitive! It wasn't like he was going to use it to touch something!
But at least he had won, and now he could get his brother back.
His brothers had taken the city in less than an hour. The Goldcloaks where good men, that was true, but they were outnumbered, and demoralized. he didn't blame them when they opened the gates. He was also glad that the Starks entered first. At least there would be no Rape, not while Brandon and Eddard Stark still lived.
My Brothers, he thought, They will want to kill me. Benjen had thought about killing Aerys. He was insane, he burnt at least thirty men alive since Benjen left with the Royal Party, but he couldn't. Benjen had been a Stark, and Starks kept their word. And Benjen didn't want to be the first one to break an oath.
Viserys and Rhaella were safe, he had put Ser Willem in charge of their protection, even moving the 7-year-old Baratheon with them, and he had no doubt that Willem would make sure they were safe, after all, it was the Prince's own mother and brother. The boy was six years old, and he knew Eddard wouldn't let them come to harm
The door to the King's Solar opened. Ser Barristan and the King where upstairs, and Benjen, the famous Wolf Knight was to stop attackers from getting to the King. Brandon walked through the door.
"Put your sword down, Brother" Brandon started, his face grievous.
"you know I can't do that, Brandon." Was he an Idiot! Brandon had been Benjen Stark's brother, but that was before I joined the Guard. My brother is upstairs. "I'm not letting you pass. Don't attack me, I, I might have to kill you."
"Are you still standing by the King? Benjen, he had our father assassinated!"
"Father was a traitor, as much as it pains me to say, but I'm not. And, I have to protect my Charge." Benjen said, tears welling in his eyes, "Brandon leave, before I have must kill you."
Brandon was on the verge of tears. He threw his sword down, "Then Kill me."
The phrase resonated in the chamber. Benjen drew his sword. "Leave, I don't have a choice, I have to protect his Grace." He began to pace towards the man who was once a brother.
Brandon undo his belt, letting his dirk and side sword fall, he began to undo his armor, "Brother, if you are going to kill me, do it! And be named a Kinslayer!" His tears strolled down his undershirt, as the clang of his mail hit the floor. "Do it!" He yelled.
Benjen got a running start and managed to look the Lord of Stark in the eyes. He was crying. Brandon never cried, not even when the mother had died, yet here he was. Benjen stopped.
He undid his southern armor, his plate, mail, and leather, and fell on the ground, weeping. "I... I can't." He pulled out his Dirk and stabbed down.
The Last White Knight
The Eunuch had come from somewhere in the wall while the Starks where downstairs, and had taken King Aerys and Barristan through the tunnels, to a secret dock all the way at the base of Aegon's High Hill, with a company of Ironborn.
Ser Barristan found Ironborn honorless scoundrels, unfit for the honor of Protecting a King, yet they were obeying his Grace's orders, and that was a rare thing. The boat landed on Dragonstone, sailing through a maze of barrels. 2 men and a boy got on the ship. The first was one of Quellon's spawn, but the second looked like a Lannister, but his eyes were much, much sadder, and his hair was grey. A crosswork of Scars covered everywhere on his face, to his semi-exposed chest, and all down his arms. The third was a short little thing, which Barristan could only assume was the famous Imp of Lannister.
The Ironborn paired up, one with a bow of regular arrows, the other with arrows covered in pitch. Quellon's son tapped the scarred Lannister and commanded him to speak. The Ironborn began to shoot their arrows, shooting barrel after barrel, while the Lion spoke, in what could only be Valyrian.
"Sagon āzma zaldrīzoti, spawn hen perzys, se dārōñe se vies lēda zūgagon!" The main said in a parched voice, he repeated himself 14 times, before moving on to a new verse, "Balerion, Jaes hen Valyria, wake aōha riñar hen dōron, ivestragī zirȳ sōvegon bē se jelmio!" At this, the Arrows were lighted. Barristan looked around, he saw that most of the fleet of Dragonstone was here, with 30 ships from the Iron fleet, and about 70 of the Redwynes. Over a hundred and quarter ships, almost a hundred thousand men. Barriston saw the Ironborn through rocks into the bay. It took him a moment to notice that they were actually eggs. Dragon eggs. Looking at the water, Barristan saw green, "Wildfire!" He yelled, he ran to the King, only to be stopped by Greyjoy's son. The boy was strong, he easily pushed Barristan down, supernaturally strong. He pulled a Valyrian knife out, words carved in. Ser Barristan had never been great at language, but he recognized the word Fire, Blood, and Master. The boy stabbed King Aerys, murmuring what must have been a spell.
The Ironman shot his arrow, and the Lion finished his speech, "Sīmonagon, se ivestragī se vys zūgagon se zaldrīzes, se Sagon consumed ondoso se might hen uēpa Valyria!!"
And everything was green, very quickly.
His boat had just entered the Delta. Ser Brynden's was ahead, streaking towards the longship in the middle of the bay that Arrows periodically came from. A Flaming Arrow streaked the sky, and the words of "Sīmonagon, se ivestragī se vys zūgagon se zaldrīzes, se sagon consumed ondoso se might hen uēpa Valyria!" Filled the air. Even from this great distance, he could hear it. And then the modest fleet he had formed, most of which was ahead of him, burst into Jade Flames.
The flame leaped across the bay, devouring his ship's Prow in an instant. The prow which Jaime had his left hand. It's fire, I just have to cover it in water, Jaime thought, in between bouts of screaming, internal and external. So without looking, he Bounded into the water, where his hand, was still burning.
He pulled out his sword and hacked at his wrist
Next chapter is going to be super short, 1000 words, mostly about the events leading directly after the boom
Chapter 12: The World on FIre
The aftermath of the Boom
I'm sort of messing around with Euron, and in my story, Euron has been contacted by the Bloodraven, and that's what drove him mad. Watch the Alt Shift X Bloodraven video for more details
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
He was in the Master's Chambers with Benjen when it happened. Benjen had pierced something important, but the Maester, some boy named Qyduck or something, said that he might live. Brandon had been pacing, back and forth for almost 3 hours when he heard a noise, like thunder, deafening to his ears, that rattled the keep.
He ran to the top of a nearby tower and looked outside, the sea covered in Green Flame. Almost every ship in the bay was burning, although it seemed that the Redwynes where mostly unscathed, the Iron Fleet and Fleet of Dragonstone where on fire, as well as the small Fleet he and Ser Jaime had made.
"Oh Gods, the madman did it," said a voice behind Brandon. Brandon turned, to see his brother leaning on a wall, "Brandon if I had known..." He passed out, the bloodloss getting to him
His army had been marching in force, 75,000 men marched with him, mostly reachmen, with about 10 thousand Ironborn, most having been slain against Robert. They were approaching King's Landing when they saw it, a burst of Jade flame, consuming the whole bay.
He looked at Dragonstone and saw that the stone keep was blacked, burnt, and melted, like the Obsidian it was named for. His horse, along with the Horses of the men around him, began to panic, whining in fear. Mace was afraid as well.
His father was mad, he knew it, as did most of the realm, and in order to stop the Long Night, Rhaegar knew that the realm needed stability. He never knew his father was this mad, however.
He killed thousands of men, annihilated an entire landmark, and burnt the castle of his ancestors, for what? Spite? Vengence? Cruel insanity? If he knew his father was this mad, he would have killed him. All those lives...
The Bloodied Kraken
He would never have guessed it was this... beautiful...
His Apotheosis had been clear, to ascend to godhood, he had been promised it would be difficult, and dangerous. That he could lose part of himself, and the whole world if he did it, but not of its beauty. The Jade Flame, it hadn't killed him, but awoken something, deep inside. Blood Magic was rare, and when it happens, and in such a large quantity, bizarre things happened to the victim.
The Blood of Dragons, and the Blood of Hundreds, it was powerful, but not powerful enough. He needed more.
"Now," Euron said allowed, "How do I leave this damned Rock?"
The blast had been enough to break her water ahead of time.
It was a 10 hour long Labor, from early morning to dusk she sat in bed, with a child inside her. She pushed, and she pushed, but she knew what would happen. All of her dreams pointed towards this. That she would die, amidst a Blackened Sky, and a Green Sea, and it appeared it was happening.
She looked to the window beside her, giving a final push. A bird had landed, Dark white, with a grey fringe. It looked at her, it's head oversized and scaly, it's teeth too long... teeth? Birds didn't have teeth. It belched a flame.
The Last thing Queen Rhaella Targaryen heard was the sound of Dragons, filling the Air for the first time in a hundred years.
Next chapter will have a 2-year time skip
Chapter 13: Dragon Fyre
2 months after the terrible incident on the Blackwater, King Rhaegar and Lyanna are wed, and a council comes to meet about what should be done about the Dragons.
I'm out for Today, Thursday, and Friday, so the chapter will be shorter.
Part 2 of this series will be out the same time as Chapter 15
Having a pet lion, and 2 babies was not a fun experience on the road.
Ghost was old enough to eat real meat now, so a camp cook could feed him, but he always wanted it to come from Cersei. On the other hand, Cersei was always within inches of her babies. She had never met something she had loved so much than little Arya and Jon Stark. But this was important, and Cersei did 80% of Brandon's thinking, so she needed to be present. Dragons. Besides, Cersei loved weddings, she didn't see why she wouldn't love her Good Sisters?
The Babies refused to be quiet. They kept on seeing things and giggling softly to themselves, but during the hours-long standing, they started getting chatty. Catelyn's son was sitting there, the Icon of a lordling, half asleep and silent, whilst his father held him in one hand.
Lyanna loved her niece and nephew and hated Southern tradition, so she giggled every time one of the babies made a loud noise. Rhaegar, that solemn-faced idiot, even he smiled.
Cersei sat on her council seat, staring at the animal in front of her. It had been a lifetime since she had seen a dragon, but those were full grown, not like this, all scales and vulnerability. She looked at him, narrowing her eyes. The little beastling did the same, in a mock form of communication.
The dragon was golden, but near the end of his wings, the color gradually turned redder. And the eyes, like rubies, shone brightly in the hall. Cersei felt her eyes roll into the back of her head.
It's fighting me, was the first thought she had, before she continued her mission. The dragon was not as submissive as some dogs, or wolves, but she knew they had been tamed by riders, why not be Wargs? She felt the resistance begin to weaken, before she could see the hall, from a much smaller perspective. She flew onto her own shoulder.
"Mayhaps," Cersei began slowly, "We could simply see who the Dragons bond to? Let them keep a dragon?"
The yelling Mace and Rhaegar stopped, looked at her then the Dragon on her shoulder, then back again at her eyes. The two had been on for hours, Mace saying every great house should have dragons, to level the playing field, whilst Rhaegar thought they should only be for Valyrians, meaning only Celtigar, who sided with Aerys, Veleryon, and Targaryen got dragons. Mace had argued that was what caused the Dance of the Dragons, while Rhaegar argued that Dragons were too dangerous to be given to every lord in the Land.
"Aye, aye that might work," Mace said, thumbing his beard. "If the Dragon chooses, that person gets the dragon. That works for me."
Rhaegar thought, but Cersei knew what he was thinking, only Valyrians had ever been claimed by Dragons, so he would still get what he wanted. The idiot, didn't he see the Dragon on her shoulder?
37 baby Dragons had been brought into the Dragonpit, along with every Lord, Lady and Landed Knight with 5 gold dragons. Wars are expensive, after all.
Cersei sat in the back, with the little dragon she had claimed the previous day. She named in Morning, seemed beautiful enough, and represented both it's color palette, and its goal, to bring the Morning. She looked at Lord Robert and Lady Catelyn, standing at a line of Dragons. Robert kept poking one, a large thing, with gold-black scales and an array of horns on the top of the scalp, that breathed an even similar colored flame. Cersei smiled, before warging into it. She made the Dragon start to chirp and had it fly to Robert's shoulders.
Cersei did similar things for an ivory-gold dragon with green flecks for Jaime and Elia, walking hand in hand, exuding confidence, a small grey thing, with disproportionately large wings, for Lysa and Elbert Arryn. She even gave Ashara one, small ivory, with Purple eyes and accents, and a disturbing amount of intelligence.
Cersei saw Rhaegar, carrying his little sister and holding his brother's hand. A small snowy one landed on Viserys' head, a green landed on the baby, Daenerys, and a black one, the largest in the pit, landed on Rhaegars shoulder. She was surprised, she didn't have to do anything.
After a very warm night with Brandon, an exhausted Cersei opened the Door, allowing Morning to fly into the room. Brandon sat up, leaning against the bedframe, looking at the thing flying around the room, his own dragon, a stone grey dragon with green fringes, and a disproportionately large head, flew behind Morning.
"Cersei," Brandon said, moving his eyes from the living wonders, "How did you do it?"
Cersei looked at human confused for a moment before she remembered the actual dragons in her Bedchamber, "Well, to answer that question I need to ask you a question first, do you believe in The Old Magics?" Brandon looked at her, equally confused, but with that hungry glint, he had, "Before 2 months ago? No, but now," he moved the covers, exposing his member, "I believe in anything."
"Brandon! Put that away before a Dragon bites it off!" Not remembering that as a possibility, he threw the comforter back over. "Well, Brandon, I must tell you something, I am a Warg." Brandon started laughing.
"No, stop that, I'm telling the truth! See:" She held her arms out, her eyes rolling back, The two dragons, who had been going around in a circle at sonic speeds, zipped to her arms, whilst Ghost jumped on the bed, staring Brandon in the eyes. "Do you want to continue laughing?"
They spent 3 more months in the Capitol, about a month after Robert and his wife, during which time Cersei's idiot husband got royally drunk with the Stag Lord, and started betting on which dragon was faster, Ice or Thunderclap, Robert's Dragon. Thunderclap lived up to its name, being many times faster than Ice, who seemed much more excited just to be there. The two drunkards spent around 10 Dragons before Catelyn and Cersei dragged them away.
What a sight it was, 2 petite women carrying their massive husbands, with dragons flying overhead. "I love the bastard, I'm naming my next son after him!" Both yelled, simultaneously, before laughing once again.
She liked to think that she got pregnant again that night, as when she left with Brandon for White Harbor, she was pregnant and seeing as how Brandon remembered that much, it looked like she now had a baby, Robb.
Cersei exited the Dragoncave, or so she heard Guards calling it. When they returned North, she had set about having a place for the Dragons. She didn't intend for a Dragon Pit, that would only weaken them, but a Cave, with warm waters from the spring. The Dragons had loved the place and were dormant.
The Dragon woke every evening for food and slept the rest of the day. They had already grown huge, about the size of two aurochs, and could eat like it too.
The Others won’t know what hit ‘em
Chapter 14: Nothing could ruin this but...
This chapter takes place over years and is the "Happy Note"
Sorry for being super late!
This chapter will wrap up loose ends, and bring us forward to 299 AC
Apparently, Lions can live up to 30 years, so if you think I am killing Ghost any time soon, you are mistaken.
Delivering one child was much easier than Twins, Cersei had found.
Little Robb had taken less time than the Twins, and was remarkably different, at least in look. His eyes where the dark grey the Starks were famous for, but his coloring's where much more like his mother's, with what might be Golden Hair, but he had his father's cheekbones and jawline, which seemed good enough for Brandon. Personally, Cersei thought anything would be good enough for Brandon, he had taken the slack of Mother and Father while Cersei reached her later days of pregnancy, and was definitely glad that he didn't have to do it anymore.
The Twins were old enough that they didn't have to be breastfed, so Old Nan supervising was enough. The little rascals, at 16 months old were able to cause all sorts of trouble, whether it was breaking into Cersei's chamber while she slept or stealing the odd loaf of bread from Brandon's solar. Arya had even tried to climb the Stairs.
Cersei sat in her Solar with Brandon, the children playing on the floor, while she herself nursed Robb. Brandon was teaching their children how to play Monster-and-Maidens, with Ghost assuming the form of Monster, happily bounding across the room, with 2 toddlers chasing after, and a concerned father, laughing with joy, made sure to catch any youngling when they tripped on a cobble.
The birth of Aegon Targaryen was a cause of joy, and Brandon was invited to see his sister in the capital for the first time in 5 years. Rhaenys had been born 4 years previously, but Cersei had been with Robb at the time, and Brandon refused to leave his wife's side, except when she was sick in the morning.
Aegon, however, was more than a Nephew, he was the future King, and Brandon wanted a good first impression. Besides, he got to see his best friend Robert, and Ned was coming up from Dorne.
The only two members of their friends who were not present were Jaime and Elbert. Jaime because his father wanted him to hold down the Rock, and Elbert because his wife was pregnant. Cersei hadn't known Lysa well, but she was glad that her marriage seemed to be happy. Lysa always seemed like a good push could toss her into insanity, and it seemed as though Elbert would never let that happen.
Robert greeted Brandon with his customary loud yelling and bear hugs, with Catelyn walking purposefully behind him. Only this time, she had Orys, the five years old in her left hand, and a 3-year-old Cassana in her right. Catelyn looked just as good as she had when they had first met, despite being 4 months pregnant, and she seemed to walk with more confidence than anything else. Which made it difficult to know if the Baratheon children emulated their Father's strides, or their Mother's.
Cersei was enjoying herself as well. The Twins seemed to enjoy Orys Baratheon, with the Robb and Arya being practically inseparable from the Baratheon. Jon had always been more brooding, at least for a 5-year-old, and the young boy was more than happy to sit silently next to his mother, or listen to stories than playing, although he always did when Arya begged him to. She didn't know it yet, but Arya would have the world wrapped around her finger one day.
Ashara hadn't changed since the last time she had seen Cersei, still unworldly beautiful, in a way that makes all other beauties seem second best. Ned, however, seemed more "Dornish." He was thinner than Cersei remembered, and his hair was cropped close to his head to deal with the heat, as well as him being tanner. It wasn't bad per say, in fact, it probably did the man some good. He no longer looked like a second place version of Brandon. The two seemed to be childless at the time, and it looked like it would stay that way. When confronted, Ashara merely said, "I am but 20 once, and I wish to dance it away, without worrying about stepping on little ones."
Lyanna and Rhaegar couldn't be more different, Cersei decided at the Great Feast later that night. Lyanna had always been a wild one, almost as much as Brandon, and seemed to live only for the now. Every moment was a moment she enjoyed, as she chatted loudly with her Ladies in the great hall, or played with the young princess, whilst Rhaegar was... Rhaegar. He had a joy about him, a smile in his eye, a grin here and there, yet he seemed distant. Cersei had a hard time believing that he was the Fire in the equation.
The only person who seemed unhappy was Benjen. Since his duel with Brandon, he had been quiet most of the time. He never spoke more than a word or so at once, mostly due to the knife that pierced his lounge. He seemed miserable in his White Cloak, at least around Rhaegar. He at least enjoyed the presence of young Viserys and Danearys over the older Targaryens. Cersei didn't enjoy the look he gave Lyanna's children either. Regardless, Viserys was going to Dorne, to wed Arriane Martell, and Benjen with him.
Little Aegon was his father's joy. Rhaegar was always within spitting distance of his young, and the little dragon he kept with him, Balerion, named after the original. All of the Targaryen Dragons had been named for the Original three, although Cersei held no doubt that he was hoping his children would bond with one of the Dragons in the pit. Only 27 still remained unclaimed, after Ser Willas Tyrell claimed the Brown-Green Dragon, Spring. With the proximity, there was no doubt that the remaining Dragons would be given to the Children left.
The feast was lovely, and Brandon decided that mayhaps they should try for another child that night. Cersei crossed her fingers she wouldn't. One ship ride pregnant was enough in a lifetime, and she had already had 3.
The labor had been long and hard, almost as hard as the Twins had been, but Cersei was well rewarded with the little girl who greeted her. 7-year-old Jon had sat by her the whole time and was the first to see his sister.
Sansa Stark had the Lannister Look, to the T, and Cersei had no doubt that in fifteen years she would be near identical to her mother. But right now, she was a little squealing bundle of blankets, who seemed more demanding for attention than even Jon "Momma's Boy" Stark had been.
"No more Babies," Cersei had told Brandon 3 weeks after the girl's birth. 4 was enough, and another pregnancy didn't seem like fun. Besides, Elia had already stopped at 5, and she seemed stressed, constantly looking for "The Little Bugger," or "That tiny Bastard" when she visited, and Lyanna was planning to stop at 3, Lysa with only 2. The only one of Cersei's friends who didn't seem like she was like to stop was Catelyn, who was already at 6 and counting. Cersei wondered if this was Robert or Catelyn's doing.
"Fine," Brandon responded, "If, you still let me into your bed at nights."
"Honey, just because I don't want to be pregnant doesn't mean I hate fun."
Brandon was in talks with fostering the now 10-year-old Robb with Greatjon Umber when Cersei walked through the Door. It had been four and a half years since Sansa had been born, and Brandon and she had been careful to avoid having another Child and had so far succeeded.
"You got me pregnant, you bastard," was all Cersei said before storming out in a storm of skirts, with Brandon's face reddening, and the Greatjon's laughter echoing out through the Castle.
5 was enough children, and she meant it this time. The little boy, Rickard, was sweet, and young, but that was enough for her. Her pregnancy had been easy enough, but Rickard was a handful. Cersei wondered who actually had control over Ghost anymore. Looks like I have a Warg on my hands, had been her only thought on the matter. But she loved her young pup all the same.
Although the official reason for the visit was "Homesickness" on Lyanna's part, Cersei knew the real reason. Rhaegar had always been against Incest, partially due to his father and mother's relationship, and Cersei didn't have to be a genius to guess what they wanted. A Betrothal, between either Arya and Aegon, or Jon and Rhaenys, there was no doubt, and Cersei wanted to make her opinions clear to Lyanna. She had the Queen brought to her Solar.
"No, no thank you." It was simple, yet neither woman needed to ask what she was saying no to. Lyanna responded, "Why?"
Now that was a good question, "A crown is heavy, good sister, and I don't wish a burden upon my children." Cersei continued, "Maybe Dragonstone and your good sister for my Robb, but not a Crown Princess."
The room was silent, but for the purring of Ghost in the corner, and the fire in the Hearth. "Okay," Lyanna responded. The two continued sewing in quiet. Cersei recognized that tone of voice, was that, sadness? "But my Visenya is marrying your Rickard, deal?"
Cersei looked up, "Deal."
Robb felt rather mature, for a boy of thirteen being sent to marry a princess.
Well, not 'sent' per say, nor would he marry her until he was at least fifteen, but still. The whole family, but for Mother and Rickard had been sent south. His sister was to marry Orys Baratheon, and he was betrothed Danearys Targaryen.
It had been a while since his Father had seen Robert, Orys' father, and even longer since the children had met, yet they greeted each other like it had been days, rather than years. They greeted each other with the signature bear hug Robert was known for.
The Stormlord was different than Robb remembered, although he didn't remember much of Robert Baratheon. The man's right eye was alive like lightning was caught in it, whilst his left had a simple Onyx stone, carved to fit the chasm that once held an Eye, whilst Robert's deep chuckles came from beneath a thick black beard, with white streaks. Robert, whilst defiantly heavier, was not fat. He was, at most, a half stone heavier, and for all Robb knew, that was muscle. However, the most jarring thing about the Man was the Dragon that was always nearby.
Robb had been raised near Dragons, but always at a distance. He had never been allowed to the Dragoncave without Mother, and even then he had to be careful to not annoy either Ice or Morning. Yet Robert Baratheon treated Thunderclap like a pet. The Dragon was huge, around the size of about two and a half fathoms long from head to Tail, and well more than twice that wing to wing. The Head was like the side of a cliff, the ebony skull had several spots where a horn would protrude, so much so that it seemed a single stroke would lead to a bloodied palm.
"... so If I get a running start, I can jump on the bugger," Robert said, patting his dragon on the head, "And soon, I'll have him trained so that I can launch myself onto another Dragon, like that, oh what's his name, Cat! Who was that idiot who jumped on another dragon!"
Catelyn Baratheon, who had been talking to Sansa, looked up, "You aren't talking about that stupid goal of yours, are you?" Robert looked down and started nodding, "Damn Baratheons... It was Daemon, by the Way, during the Dance of the Dragons."
Robert kissed his wife, "Gods know what I would do if I hadn't married you,"
Robb smiled, at least Sansa's good parents where happy.
Robb had met beautiful women before.
His mother was once the most beautiful women in Westeros, with her supposedly perfect body, although only his father said that when drunk, and Aunt Ashara had a strange beauty, with eyes of a dark purple that could be seen as black, while Aunt Elia had the grace like she owned everything she saw, and exuded a perfect confidence. Yet in Robb's eyes, Princess Danearys eclipsed them all.
She was around his age and she hadn't been raised as one of his aunts, so maybe that explained it. She was the first woman he met that he hadn't known since he was a baby.
She was a head shorter than Robb, who had always been tall, though she entered the room like she was an Umber, and breasts that belonged on a tapestry. Her eyes were the most captivating. Lighter than Aunt Ashara's, yet they seemed in a constant state of laughter, and her hair was like beaten silver, as white as the snows of Winterfell.
He thought he might be in love.
Cersei didn't need to know everything, right?
Brandon knew she liked being in charge, and she would probably find out through some other means, but that wasn't necessarily bad, was it? Besides, she got the say in denying his eldest son a princess, so maybe this was purely his turn.
Brandon began to write his response letter.
Chapter 15: It's the Final Countdown
Rhaegar is horrified, Euron is a dick, and Cersei has an uncomfortable dream
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
His royal escort be damned, if the reports were true, nothing else mattered.
For the last 15 years, the Dragonpit has been filled with Dragons. Not a single dragon had left until that Tyrell boy, and almost no one had been allowed inside in that amount of time either, bar feedings, but those were personally overseen by the Kingsguard. So how on earth did this happen?
Rhaegar walked quickly through the door to the Pit. Despite the late hour, it was bright inside, which illuminated the scene in front of him.
Twenty Four Dragons, of moderate to large size, sat on the floor, blood oozing from eyes, noses, mouths, and ears.
"How did this happen?"
The wind beneath her wings filled her with strength, enabling liftoff. The wind of the Iron Man's Coast whipped through her ears, filling her with the noise of a Summer Storm.
Cersei liked to skinchange into Sol, Jaime's dragon, he was much larger than most, bar Balerion and Thunderclap, and was permitted to fly at night by Lord Lannister. Jaime fed his Dragon a lot of food, so much that it didn't need to go hunting, although if a sheep got lost...
Regardless, Cersei flew free tonight, well over the waves, when she saw a light.
A longship, made in the Ironborn design, but much, much larger. Well more than 100 feet across, with a deck as red as blood. Cersei gave a run around it, breathing a brilliant scarlet flame over the bay, just so the Ironmen knew what they saw when suddenly, Cersei heard something, the twang of a crossbow.
The Bolt pierced her wing, straight through to the chest, crumpling a rib. Cersei felt herself screaming, but only heard the supernatural roar of a dragon. Flame protruded from the wound, with her lifeblood, black as pitch and thick as honey pouring out when she felt the water hit her. She flailed, her right-wing useless, and the left unable to beat back the water. She was drowning, oh gods the pain!
Cersei woke up, in a cold sweat. Baby Rickard had been asleep but was now whining. Cersei wanted to go comfort the toddler so much, but she found she couldn't, she was frozen in fear and shock. How could a Dragon be killed by a man? was all she was thinking. Varamyr was the next thought, she remembered from a past life, the Skinchanger who's eagle had been burnt by Mellisandre, he had lost control of his animals. She looked at Ghost, pacing around anxiously. She could still feel his thoughts, so at least he was still hers. She stood up and walked to Brandon's chambers, shaking.
She tapped him on his shoulders, and when that failed to wake him, she pulled the covers off him and socked him in the stomach, which succeeded in waking him. "Wake up, we have to go to the Dragon cage."
The large cage door that had been constructed for the Dragons to enter and exit was near destroyed, the black and rusted metal had been melted, and pushed when something heavy had slammed into it. Inside the cage, Morning sat, still sleeping, but Ice was gone.
Cersei tried to warg into it, but she couldn't find Ice, nor could she feel Wind, The Dragon of the Vale. She could still feel Thunderclap, but not well. It was not like slipping into a fine pair of leather boats, easy and quick, but putting on a steel shoe, several sizes too small. She could manage to read the Dragon's thoughts, but not much else, nor could she manipulate them.
"Brandon, we need to get searching."
Euron's one regret in life was not having the Northern boy on board with him when the Bay was lit aflame.
Sure, getting that Valyrian blood had been good enough, but the real power would have come from a Warg. Euron had a sneaking suspicion that most Starks were Wargs, in some way or another, and he very much wished he had been able to absorb some of that as well. Besides, whoever managed to tame those Dragons, some Lannister or what have you was one of the biggest threats to his plan Euron had seen. At least killing that Dragon would have helped break their mind. Maybe I could... Euron put that thought out of his mind, at least for now.
Euron had sent a group of his slaves down into the water, with chains to pull the dragon back to the surface. That was a long process, and Euron decided that pacing on the deck, staining his boots with blood, was not something he wanted to do. Euron laid on top of his bed and dreamed.
Unlike the normal dreams Euron had, of his Apotheosis and his future plans for Planetos, Euron was in a cave, a Bird staring at him, it started cawing at him, but the caws sounded like speech.
"Who are you?" The crow seemed to say, staring at him with its eyes. A third eye sat on its forehead, glaring at Euron with a malice he hadn't seen in years. "Euron, of House Greyjoy, Master of Magics and Dragonslayer, who are you, Bird?" Euron said, his bravado dripping from every word. I am not afraid of some beast.
"Dragonslayer, Eh? Your bastard killed the dragon, not you, eh?" Euron grimaced, he did not like being insulted by a bird, especially this bird. "You know who I am, Eh?" Euron nodded. He could never forget this bird, it was the one who had shown him the way, all those years on Pyke when Balon had wine and made a drunken decision to push Euron... no, he had to get that thought out of his head. This Bird knew weakness.
"Do you remember what I said, Squid? Fly, or Die, and what did you do?" The bird rolled back it's middle eye, and Euron felt himself falling, the wind from the sea whistled in his ears, the sound of the rope bridge swinging, and the waves crashing. No Damn it, this is a Dream! The crow want's something...
"You flew, and you have been in my debt ever since. But now, I need to equalize this debt. Someone powerful and unknown has changed things. Things I needed to happen. You will correct them, and in exchange..." Euron felt his forehead begin to bleed, a fragment of flesh was gone, and he felt something moving on the upper part of his head, another eye, "I will give you what you The Gift."
Euron smiled. "What do you wish, Lord Bloodraven?"
Sorry, it's a bit short, but you are getting a brand new part today, so I figured you guys could deal with it