Actions

Work Header

The Rogue Prince

Chapter Text

The First Ride

104 AC King’s Landing

It was almost dawn when the Prince of the City returned to the Red Keep. The chilly air of that autumn morning helped him keep his eyes opened. He had spent half of his night gambling and the remaining half in a famous whore house, and throughout the entire night drinking heavily.

He returned to his rooms and fell on his bed exhausted.

Not three hours had passed when a young page boy came knocking on his door to awake him. There was a Small Council meeting in two hours and he, as Master of Laws, was expected to attend.

He threw an empty goblet at the poor lad’s head and ordered him to close the door and disappear.

Gods what a night it had been. He had won nearly two thousand golden dragons, his new personal record, and had bedded four women that night, two of them, a pretty brunet with full lips, and a blonde girl with unusual tanned skin at the same time. But of course, the last one had been his new favourite, a lysene dancer (and prostitute) called Mysaria.

She had the palest skin he had ever seen on a person, very light blonde hair, and pale-blue eyes. She was slim and flexible, and the best fuck he had had in years. She was also quite smart and funny, and she entertained him well in and outside the bedchamber.

As he got out from his bed, his mind wondered over to her.

He spent the next hour soaking in a scorching hot bath, the way only a Targaryen could enjoy, and drinking some Arbor Gold to help with his headache. How he wished that Mysaria could be with him right now to pleasure him with her talented mouth.

After dressing he broke his fast in the balcony.

His was the biggest and most luxurious room in the entire palace. It would be expected that his brother the King would have those rooms, fortunately for himself, the previous owner had been King Maegor the Cruel. Memories of the torture and death of King Jaehaerys’s brothers had kept the Old King from ever occupying those quarters. In Daemon’s opinion tales of the orgies and blood magic that had once taken place there, kept Viserys away from them too.

When a servant appeared to re-fill Daemon’s cup, he sent him to find out if the Small Council meeting was still taking place. The young-man bowed and disappeared, and Daemon contemplated how excruciating it would be to have to attend those meetings once he became the King. Though if he was King, he could probably just skip them, and no one would bat an eye.

Smiling satisfied with himself, he took another sip of his Arbor Gold and re-entered his chambers.

Suddenly his thoughts were interrupted by the sound of knocks on the door.

He became quite enraged. Did the fool servant not know to open the door himself?

The prince made his way to the doors, yet when he opened them, he saw not a servant there, but a little girl dressed in a lavender dress.

-Uncle Daemon! Father told me to come and get you.

Daemon smiled fondly at his niece.

At seven, Rhaenyra already had all the promise of becoming a great beauty one day. She was bright, bold, precocious and beautiful as only one of dragon’s blood could be beautiful. Her silver-gold hair fell well past her back in large ringlets, her skin was pale and smooth, and her eyes held the valyrian purple of their ancestors. Whilst most people would describe Daemon’s eyes as purple, the truth was that his were more lilac, or perhaps a color in between lilac and violet. His niece on the other hand had genuine purple eyes, a deep and haunting color. He had little doubts that in a few years’ time she would have men fawning over her and tripping just from a glance at those eyes. And the singers appeared to agree with his perception since they had been calling her “The Realm’s Delight” for quite some time.

But for now, she was just a child, always smiling, always clinging to him and begging him to spend time with her. Her mother, his cousin, Queen Aemma had once told Daemon that Rhaenyra was enamored of him, and whenever Aemma told her stories of princes she always demanded that the prince had her uncle’s name.

Although she had no interest for him just of yet, he was hopeful that one day her affections for him could be of use. After all, she was her brother’s only child.

Daemon kneeled so his face was close to Rhaenyra’s. He noticed how she blushed when he looked at her.

-First things first my little dragon, where is my kiss this morning.

Giggling she kissed him on both his cheeks.

-There, now that my good-morning kiss is out of the way do tell your favorite uncle what your father wants of me.

-He bid me to fetch you uncle. He is most upset that you were not present at today’s meeting.

-And you were there my pet? - he asked her, raising one of his eyebrows.

She nodded happily.

-Father let me be present. Mother was not feeling well this morning, so he took me with him.

Oh of course. Queen Aemma must have fallen pregnant again, gods knew she was getting too good at that, though even better at having miscarriages. After all, after twelve years of marriage, she had had close to six pregnancies, only one resulting in a living child. Pity for Viserys though, the babe was only a girl, his niece to be more precise, and bold and strong as she was, she was female, so she would never inherit. Luckily for Daemon, he was still first in line for the throne.

He smiled listening to his niece’s words.

-Lucky for you, you did not have to be surrounded by boring women all morning my niece.

She smiled back.

-I guess.

-So, you had a mission. - he stood to his full height and looked down on her with a smile- You were commanded to retrieve prince Daemon Targaryen, Master of Laws, to the small council chambers. I am your prisoner princess Rhaenyra, take me.

He held out his hand for her in a dramatic fashion and she grabbed it gently leading the way.

She was almost skipping with excitement down the corridors of the Keep.

When they arrived, Rhaenyra happily opened the doors of the Small Council’s chamber and they both entered.

All of the members of the Council were there. Presiding over them was his brother Viserys, King of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.

Though only four years apart in age, Daemon knew he appeared to be much younger than his older brother. The prince wore his face always clean shaved, he had been told that he had a sort of a boyish look to him with very fine features, as befitted his valyrian heritage, large lilac eyes, a straight nose, perfect eyebrows two or three shades darker than his mane of silver hair that reached his shoulders. He was tall, with broad shoulders yet lean, charming and more than a little dangerous.

His brother Viserys wore his silver-gold hair short, and on his face, he sported a mustache. He had always had a robust figure, but years had made him more plump. Unlike Daemon, the king was no warrior. He was also shorter, and although his face was handsome, many would say that it paled in comparison to his younger brother’s.

Next to him was his Hand, the dammed Lord Otto Hightower. Lord was more of a courtesy of course since he was the younger brother of Lord Hightower, in truth he was no Lord himself. The man despised Daemon ever since he had humiliated both him and his older daughter Alicent, a girl more boring than Council Meetings, though ambitious as only one with a great name and no personal fortune could be.

He could have easily taken her to bed, but she had no interest to him, and the look on Ser Otto’s face when he told him that his beloved daughter had almost offered herself to him on a silver platter was priceless. The fact that the girl was hoping to marry him had been even better.

Since that day Alicent almost ran away from him, and Lord Otto had been doing anything in his power to undermine him, constantly trying to influence his brother to remove him from the Small Council. He had been somewhat successful though; he had managed to remove Daemon from his post has Master of Coin. Though for the man’s disappointment, he had been named Master of Laws shortly after.

Rhaenyra skipped merrily over to her father.

-Papa I have completed my mission.

Viserys pulled the girl to his lap and hugged her tenderly.

-I never doubted it my beloved princess. You are the brightest girl that ever lived, now I think it is time for you afternoon lessons, is it not?

-Kessa. – she replied in the valyrian word for “yes”. Daemon could not help but notice how perfect her accent was.

Before leaving she addressed the Small Council and bid her goodbyes in valyrian again curtseying to them.

As she walked by Daemon she giggled and blushed again, and he blew her a kiss.

The doors closed behind Rhaenyra and after a few moments’ Ser Otto broke the silence.

-Good afternoon Prince Daemon, it is truly a joy for us to be blessed by your presence. Truly at this late hour we were not expecting you to attend, so you can of course imagine our great pleasure!

Daemon smirked.

-Not at all Lord Hightower. Though, I must express my surprise in you of all people being happy with my presence, since you do everything in your power to make sure I am removed from this Council for good.

Viserys was less than pleased at his words.

-For the love of the Mother Daemon, it is your own fault you were dismissed from your previous position, not Lord Otto’s!

-If I may have the word your Grace, although you believe I hate you prince Daemon, that is simply not the case. I have been called to serve at this council as Hand, and I have been doing so for years, or need I remind you that your blessed grandfather the Old King Jaehaerys was still alive when I started to serve here? If you were dismissed from your old position as Master of Coin was because of your constant absences and lack of work! And let us not forget the more than twenty thousand golden dragons that magically disappeared from the coffers never to be heard of again, which you had no idea about!

The man’s face was turning red. Daemon rolled his eyes.

-Yes, what a terrible tragedy that was, I do not know how we ever recovered from such a great loss of money…

-The amount is beyond concern! The fact that you stole money is the issue here prince Daemon. And now, not a year since you were appointed Master of Laws and you have attended what three Small Council meetings?

-I believe it was four and a half.

Otto’s eyes were gazing him with hatred and Daemon was sure that if he could, he would have spit on his face. His brother Viserys quickly intervened to prevent their heated discussion from escalating even more.

-Brother, Lord Otto speaks the truth, and I know that you know that your behavior as not been in accordance to the great honor that was bestowed upon you!

Daemon examined his nails.

-What great honor did you grant me? I am a Targaryen prince and your heir until you have a son.

Viserys was clearing his throat clearly nervous.

-Oh, by the way Rhaenyra let slip that your wife was not well so I take it that she is pregnant again. Here’s to hoping that this time will be the one and she finally gives you a son! - he mockingly told Viserys.

Septon Eustace had a somewhat shocked expression on his face upon hearing Daemon’s words.

-She is yes brother.

Silence fell upon the room.

-You are from this day relieved from the title of Master of Laws. - Viserys declared.

-WHAT? - Daemon angrily demanded.

-The decision was unanimous prince Daemon. - Otto pronounced with a smile.

Daemon turned his enraged eyes over to Viserys who started couching.

-Nevertheless, we wish to offer you a mission that we believe you will be better-suited for you and your talents brother.

The prince raised on of his eyebrows.

-I wish to offer you a position as Commander of the City Watch.

Daemon’s eyes were murderous and Viserys immediately shrunk in his chair.

-And you will keep your seat in the Small Council of course brother!

-But Your Grace…- Lord Otto tried to protest.

Clearly, they had decided to exclude him from attending meetings and being a member of the Small Council, yet Viserys was too much of a coward to have the necessary back bone to go forward with said decision. Thus, to appease Daemon, the prince would retain his seat although he was no longer Master of anything.

Viserys raised his hand, a gesture that instructed his Hand to be quiet.

-So, brother what say you?

Daemon pondered for a moment. He knew the City Watch was a joke of an order. The men barely had any proper weapons and were dressed in little more than rags. There was not a man alive that respected those poor excuse for guards.

-I will need proper funds so I can make something of your City Watch.

-How much? - Lord Otto demanded to know at once.

Daemon gave him a cruel smile.

-As much as I need Lord Hightower.

-No more than…- once again Viserys interrupted Lord Otto silencing him.

-The coffers will be opened for you brother. You will take as much as need be.

Daemon smiled again, his eyes meeting Lord Otto’s. The old fool adverted his eyes and focused on Viserys instead.

-Well, if there are no more issues to discuss, than I declare this meeting to be adjourned.

The men nodded and one by one took his leave.

Daemon waited for Viserys to rise and went to stand by his side, forcing Lord Otto to step aside.

-So, you now send my niece to do the job of a servant and fetch me?

Viserys smiled.

-Well Daemon, she was the only person I knew for certain that you would not yell at or threaten, so yes, I sent her.

Daemon felt the fool Otto trailing behind them, almost glued to their backs, so he suddenly stopped and turned to the man.

-Yes, Lord Hand? Is there some other issue you have to discuss with me or my brother?

-You work too much my good friend, take the rest of the day and rest if you will, there will be a feast later!

Oh yes, how his brother loved feats, banquets and celebrations. Anything was an excuse to stuff his face and get fatter.

Lord Otto bowed and left them.

-Congratulations brother, here's to hoping that this time won't be like the previous ones were. - Daemon told Viserys concerning Aemma's pregnancy.

Viserys’s face frowned.

-The maesters told me that they believe that her difficulties in the birthing bed are because she was bedded so young.

Daemon sniggered.

-You don’t have to be a genius to know that Viserys. The girl was thirteen, light as a feather, with as much chest as I have, and no hips to speak of. Bedded immediately after her first blood… I will attest to the fact that some girls at thirteen may be ready for such things, but that was certainly not our cousin Aemma.

Viserys turned to him.

-And do you think I had any pleasure in doing so? She was a poor thing, scared and trembling, married to me at eleven! How could there ever be any genuine love between the both of us after that? But we did as our grandfather commanded, and so did you when you married.

Daemon felt bile rise in his throat just at the mention of his “bronze bitch”.

-Our grandfather the Old King certainly had a special talent for matchmaking and raising daughters- he said rolling his eyes.

-Well, our parents’ marriage was successful, and so was the marriage between our uncle Aemon and Lady Jocelyn Baratheon.

-If you call a marriage that only managed to produce a girl successful than we have different notions of what constitutes a successful marriage.

Viserys was silent for a moment.

-Be that as it may, no need for crying over things that cannot be undone.

-Yet, certain things, like my marriage, can be undone and yet you refuse to do them.

-Oh, Daemon give it a rest already! Your marriage was consummated. What grounds is there for an annulment?

-Mmm, maybe the fact that the bitch is as fertile as a rock.

-You do not know that. Some women take longer than others to become pregnant.

Daemon rolled his eyes.

-After seven years of marriage I would say it is fair to consider the bitch barren.

-We will talk of this matter at another time, right now I must go and change before the feast, and you should do the same brother!

Daemon watched Viserys go.

“When I become King, that bitch’s days are numbered…” he thought to himself.

 

-I want a new pony papa. - Rhaenyra said at dinner.

Three hours into the feast, Viserys had stuffed his face with as much food as he could manage, Aemma was silent and composed as ever seating next to him, and Rhaenyra had been seating next to Daemon whilst he told her storied of his many adventures. Suddenly however, the girl had turned away from him and was now requesting a new pony. Who could ever understand children?

-What’s wrong with Silver my love? - Viserys asked with a smile.

-I do not like her, she is lazy and not smart enough. I want a black pony not a silver one.

-But you liked her because she complemented your hair my princess.

-A black pony would look fiercer! Silver looks weak, nobody takes her serious.

-Fine, fine I will talk with our horse master myself and we shall find you a better mount my beloved princess. - Viserys assured the girl with a smile. He always indulged her in whatever she wanted, regardless of how stupid it was

Daemon laughed amused by the girl’s logic.

-And why do you wish to look fierce my little dragon? - he asked Rhaenyra.

-I am the blood of the dragon uncle, I do not want to ride a weak pony!

He moved his face closer to hers.

-If you really are blood of the dragon than you should ride a dragon not a pony…

Rhaenyra’s eyes bulged in shock.

-I am only seven! - she protested.

-Shh…- Daemon told her- Do not speak so loudly or your papa might hear us, and he will spoil our fun!

- I am only seven…- she told him again, this time in a low whisper.

-Is Syrax not big enough for you?

Syrax was a young dragon with yellow scales. She had been placed in Rhaenyra’s crib while both of them were new-borns, and they had been very close ever since. His niece believed the dragon to be a female and had given her the name of an ancient Valyrian goddess. She often went down to the Dragon Pit to visit and spend time with Syrax. Although still fairly young, the yellow dragon grew fast and Rhaenyra was a small girl, so the dragon was more than big enough for her.

-Yes, I guess she is…- Rhaenyra admitted.

-Then, why not my princess?

Rhaenyra’s face frowned.

-How old were you when you first rode Caraxes?

-Thirteen.

-Well, I am half that age. - she replied pleased with herself.

-Well, Caraxes had a rider before me. But you can bet I would have ridden him much sooner if he was only mine. And just so you know little girl, I rode a dragon for the first time fifteen days after I was born.

-You were strapped to your mother, so it does not count. - she countered with a smile.

Daemon stared at her and she continued to smile defiantly.

-That is still more than you ever achieved little niece.

Rhaenyra looked around before continuing.

-Then take me to the Dragon Pit tomorrow, and I will take my little lady to the skies! But it has to be a secret or mother and father won’t allow it!

-You want to have a secret with your uncle Daemon? - he asked amused.

She nodded.

-Do you have secrets with all of your uncles or just with me? - he asked her with a wink.

Rhaenyra blushed and lowered her eyes.

-Just with you- she admitted- You are my favorite uncle.

-Well, you are my favorite niece little one.

-I am your only niece.

-Even if I had others, you would still be the favorite.

She smiled.

-Will I always be your favorite?

-Oh yes, my princess! - he assured her.

She looked around.

-How are we going to do this?

-Tell you what, we will leave at the first light yes? That way your mother and father will still be asleep. I will come to your rooms to get you.

-Promise? - she asked.

-Promise. - Daemon assured her. - Unless… you are not bold enough to go through with our plan. - he was teasing her.

-I am Rhaenyra Targaryen, I do not fear anything, much less riding a dragon!

-We shall see little one…

 

The next day, as the moon started to disappear, Daemon made his way to Rhaenyra’s room. She was already waiting for him, clothed with a shorter dress and a pair of boots, her hair tied into two braids.

-I see you are dressed for the occasion. - he told her with a smile.

-I do not wish to ruin my proper dresses.

The girl was young but already quite vain, though there were no surprises there, being spoiled, doted and complimented by everyone was bound to get to her head at some point.

They made their way to the Dragon Pit, and the usually talkative Rhaenyra was dead silent. Every now and then Daemon would lightly pull at one of her braids playfully, and she would swat his hand away playfully.

-Stop that uncle Daemon. - she giggled.

People glanced at them as they walked by, after all it was impossible not to note their silver hair, expensive garments and otherworld beauty and not recognize them as Targaryens. Although Daemon was a familiar sight in the streets, Rhaenyra was a sheltered and young thing, so they were probably question themselves as to what she was doing wandering the streets of King’s Landing .

Although his niece was quiet her eyes were drinking in the scenery around her and the odd people. She stopped on her tracks once or twice and Daemon had to gently push her forward again.

When they finally arrived at the Dragon Pit, they entered to the surprise of many of the Dragon Keepers.

-Good morning my prince, my princess.

Daemon smiled and Rhaenyra bid them a good morning.

-I will require my lady dragon Syrax to be prepared for I wish to take her to the skies today. - the girl announced.

The men looked around over each other and then towards Daemon who smirked.

-Are you all deaf? - Rhaenyra demanded to know- I said that I want my dragon Syrax to be prepared, for I will go for a ride in her!

-Prince Daemon? - one of the men said, trying to understand if he agreed to this or not.

-You heard the princess. - he told the man quite amused- Prepare her dragon, and Caraxes as well. We are both taking to the skies today.

-Now! - Rhaenyra added- You will do so now, and you will not question an order from your princess ever again!

Although young, Rhaenyra already had the fiery temper that befitted a Targaryen, and though she could be sweet and charming when she wished to be, she was very much aware of her position as a royal princess. Daemon liked that about her very much, she was not weak or eager to please like her father, his brother, Viserys, nor quiet and reserved like her mother the Queen Aemma. No. Rhaenyra was more like him.

As the men prepared the dragons, Rhaenyra petted Syrax’s snout lovingly, and the small yellow dragon shrieked in a tender way, leaning into her touch.

Daemon’s own mount, Caraxes, a red, lean, formidable beast called the Blood Wyrm by the common folk, was usually silent but always had a somewhat calculating look on him.

-Hello there old friend. - Daemon greeted the beast- You know Caraxes, our day today will not be so boring. We will witness my little niece taking little Syrax here on her first flight.

Some smoke came out of Caraxes nostrils and he glanced over to Syrax who was perhaps four times smaller than himself.

As the dragon keepers finished preparing Syrax, Daemon could see that Rhaenyra’s resolution was perhaps a bit diminished. He went over to her.

-So, changed your mind yet?

Mustering as much bravery as she could her purple eyes met his.

-No.

-Then allow me to help you.

He picked her up and placed her on the saddle placed over Syrax. The she-dragon made no objections, she had known Rhaenyra for years, and had even slept at her crib when she was nothing more than a small hatchling. He locked the chains over his niece securing her to the dragon. Before leaving her to go over to his own dragon, he winked at her.

Once on Caraxes’s saddle with his own chains secured he turned to Rhaenyra again.

-Any questions?

She looked around nervously.

-What do I have to do?

He laughed.

-Well, the fact that Syrax made no objections to you mounting her is a definite plus. If she had done, we would not be having this conversation. Now you have to give her a little kick on the side to tell her you want her to fly. But wait, I will show you how. - he turned to the dragon keepers- Free them! - he ordered.

The dragon keepers removed the heavy chains that kept the dragons from flying and running away from the Pit. As they did so, Caraxes stretched his huge red wings. Little Syrax glanced over to the bigger dragon and did the same.

-Open the dome! - Daemon commanded.

As light begun to enter the Dragon Pit, Rhaenyra looked up and then over to her uncle.

-Hold on as best as you can. And kick her gently on the side so she starts to move.

Both Caraxes and Syrax looked up towards the skies. Daemon barely touched the Red Wyrm before he was making his way up. He looked back and to his surprise the prince saw that Syrax was also flying fast, following Caraxes, and that his niece had her eyes closed and was holding as tightly to her dragon as she could.

Being small and lighter, in no instance Syrax flew past Caraxes. Once they were well above the city, Daemon turned to his niece.

-Open your eyes!

She did so and looked around, a smile flowered in her face and she started to laugh.

-We did it Syrax! We did it!

They flew over the city, the cold morning breeze in their faces. Rhaenyra was laughing and Daemon found himself smiling too. They were circling the city, down on the ground the houses and people were little dots.

After four laps around King’s Landing they finally made their way down, all fear had disappeared from Rhaenyra and the girl was glowing.

The two dragons landed and looking around Daemon could see that most of the court was there. They must have noticed that Rhaenyra was gone, and quickly had discovered exactly where she was.

His cousin Queen Aemma looked like she was going to faint. Next to her his brother had a tear falling from his eye when he saw Rhaenyra on her small dragon, and a look of absolute adoration on his face.

As Rhaenyra undid the chains securing her to Syrax and dismounted her, she threw her head back and glanced at the people present with a bored yet amused look on her face.

-Good job Syrax.

Her father King Viserys started clapping and after a few seconds of hesitation the entire court followed him.

Daemon dismounted Caraxes and clapped too.

-I hope this is the first of many rides together my princess. - he told his niece.

She smiled to him, and petted Syrax again. The yellow she-dragon looked happier than ever as she leaned against Rhaenyra.

Chapter Text

97 AC

Dragonstone

When the ship carrying prince Baelon to Dragonstone arrived at the ancient island of the Dragon Lords, the first thing the prince saw was his son’s dragon. Caraxes, called the Blood Wyrm by the smallfolk, had once been his brother Prince Aemon’s dragon, and in fact, he had been his first rider, that was until the cruel year of 92 AC, when his brother had lost his life.

Two years later, when his younger son was barely thirteen, he had claimed Caraxes as his mount, taking him to the skies for the first time with the same confidence and ease that his mother princess Alyssa had once done with Meeleys, the Red Queen. He found Daemon on the throne room at Dragonstone seated at the ancient chair in which the Targaryen Lords had presided.

At six and ten Daemon was as beautiful and handsome as only a Targaryen prince could be. Unlike himself and his older son Viserys, who had slightly curly hair despite wearing it very short, and unlike his mother, Daemon’s light silver hair was smooth and straight. He wore it past his shoulders, like a silver curtain and there was not a trace of gold in it. Daemon had a boyish face and he always smirked in a cold and calculating manner. His eyes were big and had a cold shade of lilac contrasting with his sun-kissed skin. He was tall and slender, yet his body was hard and strong as a result of the many hours he spent training.

-Hello Daemon, I did not expect to find you here.

His son turned to him with a bored look on his face.

-My choice these days is here or in that damned place I have been condemned to spend my life thanks to your father.

-Married two moons and you already tired of your lady wife.

-One tires of things one likes. How can I grow tired of something so absolutely dull as she is?

-Your grandfather wanted to make a good match for you. The Royces are an old and proud house, and very rich.

Daemon rolled his eyes.

-They are beneath us. Don’t we marry within the family to keep our bloodlines pure? Surely, I had a cousin or something I could marry? Anything but that cold bitch…

-I don’t know about cousins son, but if the Gods are good you will soon become an uncle. - prince Baelon told him with a proud smile on his face.

-If there is any chance of the babe being female and me marrying her instead of staying married to Lady Royce yes, I accept. We can have the annulment today!

Baelon laughed.

-You have your mother’s sense of humour.

-I am not joking. I have no problems waiting thirteen or fourteen years, I can find ways to occupy myself until then rest assure.

-Daemon enough. You are married and your marriage had been consummated- Daemon pretended to throw up upon hearing prince Baelon’s words- I am sure soon enough your wife Lady Rhea will give you sons of your own.

-Don’t remind me of HER!

-Fine, I shan’t.

-Why have you come here anyway father?

Baelon smiled.

-Your cousin Aemma is giving birth as we speak, and your grandfather ordered me to come and collect an egg for us to place in the child’s crib. We are praying hard for a boy.

-Whatever possessed that old man to marry a girl of eleven with as much tits as me to my brother I will never understand.

-You know they did not consummate until she was three and ten.

-Please father. Aemma’s breasts continue as big as mine and she has the hips of a child. Their consummation went so well that she has been having miscarriage after miscarriage ever since. In fact, this one should fare no better if you ask me.

Baelon was silent.

-The maesters assure us that there is no reason why the babe should not be healthy.

-Have it your way. I will go back with you to the Capital.

-Your grandfather won’t like it.

Daemon rolled his eyes again.

-And you will tell him that I longed to meet my new nephew.

-And he will ask you why you have not brought your lady wife.

-And I will tell him that she did not want to face the hard and long journey or some other lie, gods this is boring!

-Fine. Then get out from that chair and come help me pick an egg.

Daemon smirked, satisfied that he had convinced prince Baelon. He almost ran after his father and they went to the room where the Targaryen eggs were stored.

As Baelon examined the eggs Daemon leaned against the wall observing his father.

-I thought you came down here to help me.

-That was your suggestion not mine father…

Prince Baelon sighed with frustration and continued to examine the eggs. Personally, he had no clue which to pick. Should he choose it by size? By age, since perhaps it was more likely that a younger egg had better chances of hatching? By colour?

After a while Daemon came and stood next to him.

He said nothing as he glanced over the eggs, he simply chose one and tapped it as his eyes turned to his father.

-The yellow one?

-Laid by Vhagar herself. A bright and bold colour with a fine size, it should make of a formidable dragon.

Baelon smiled.

-And here I thought you would favor an egg laid by Meleys.

-Meleys is quick but she is not the fiercest. Her body is slender and more graceful than fearful. No, Vhagar is a female that imposes her presence, only the Black Dread was bigger than hers.

The prince picked up the egg and fell the warmth of it in its hand.

-It’s hot. Perhaps it is a good omen.

-Or perhaps it feels its rider is coming. - Daemon replied.

-You know son, for a quarrelsome and hot-headed boy of six and ten, sometimes you do say a few wise remarks.

-What else do you think I do in the Vale besides restraining myself from committing suicide and trying to find decent looking women to fuck?

Baelon ignored his son’s remark.

-Well, let’s go little one. - he said aloud talking with the yellow egg. - And who knows, if the gods are good you may have your rider waiting for you back at King’s Landing. And I might have my first grandchild. Are you coming with me on the ship Daemon?

-Sometimes father, you ask questions to which you already know my answer… I am going on Caraxes of course.

-Have it your way. I will see you in a few hours then.

Once on the beach, prince Baelon saw his younger son mount his red dragon Caraxes and the two disappear through the skies.

 

It was a short voyage from Dragonstone to King’s Landing, specially on dragon’s back.

For Daemon it did not matter how many times he rode Caraxes, it always thrilled as if it was the first time. He loved the feeling of power being atop of a dragon gave him, and also the feeling of the wind on his face and the warmth of Caraxe’s body. After all, Targaryens had been made for the heat.

How could anyone think they were mere men? It irked the young prince. Did mere men ride dragons? Did mere men have silver hair and purple eyes?

Daemon could not remind himself of one time in his life where he had been sick. Sometimes, specially when he was younger and less accustomed to drinking, he would empty his stomach when he drank too much. Other than that, nothing.

He had never had a fever nor anything of the sort. The old Septon Barth used to say that it was because their body temperature was higher than that seen on other men which helped them fight off infections more easily. The old man also said that dragons could change their sex, so Daemon trusted him very little. He was sure his Caraxes was male, and he had many doubts about the dragons not mating.

“Why do we call ourselves blood of the dragon if the dragons don’t fuck?”.

It seemed almost laughable to him that such powerful creatures would not indulge themselves in one of the greatest pleasures of life.

The dome of the Dragon Pit was opened, and he landed with Caraxes. The Blood Wyrm was a fierce dragon though most times, he was also somewhat calculating. It was rare for him to shriek or make too much noise, but as quick as rush of wind, Caraxes would snap and rip the arm off of any men who approached him too much or touched him in a way that displeased him.

As he got off from Caraxes Daemon took note of the concerned faces of the Dragon Keepers. Caraxes was seldom a welcomed face there.

They bowed to him respectfully.

-Good evening my prince.

-And the same to you. - Daemon replied smirking. - I am here to welcome my new nephew to this planet it seems, so I expect I will stay a while for the celebrations. I expect you will take good care of my friend until then.

-Aye, we shall my prince. -one of the oldest Dragon Keepers said. - But you won’t welcome any nephew on your trip here I am afraid.

-The child died?- Daemon asked.

“Surprise, another stillborn! I must put my best troubled face on for this.”

-No. But word reached us quickly. It is a girl not a boy. But a fine girl, robust and healthy!

“Still the third on the line of succession! Thank the gods!”

-There can never be too many beautiful women on the world. A cause for celebration I believe!

He left the Dragon Pit and quickly made his way to the Red Keep.

A girl was the best outcome possible! He would not have to pretend to be sad about Viserys’s loss and the babe could not be the heir.

“You could have been born a few years before, and maybe you would have been promised to me and right now I would be unmarried and free instead of tied in matrimony to the bronze bitch of House Royce!”

As he entered the Red Keep he encountered his grandfather King Jaehaerys seated on the Iron Throne.

-Daemon? We did not expect you here! A newly married man!

Daemon bowed.

-As you can see by my presence here, the marriage has been a great success so far!

-You are young still Daemon. Years will teach you that true love and companionship are not created in a day.

Daemon had to force himself to be quiet, he felt the anger boil within him though.

-I heard that my brother had a daughter.

-Yes, he did, a fine and beautiful girl.

He turned to his right seeing his grandmother, the Good Queen Alysanne as the people called her.

-What else could be expected of a Targaryen princess?

His grandmother pulled him into a hug.

-Oh my Daemon. I did not expect to find you here.

-I had come to meet my nephew but I just heard the news that I am meeting a niece instead.

Alysanne smiled fondly.

-It matters not if she is a girl. I loved all my babes the same, the boys and the girls, and I grieved for my sons no more than for my daughters… Gods only know how many I have lost. - her voice trembled as she spoke.- Unlike other men- she emphasized the word men and looked over to Jaehaerys- Viserys is delighted that she is a girl! And I can promise you Daemon that a boy would not have made him happier.

Daemon smiled.

-It appears that he has not inherited our father’s talent for making boys.

Alysanne laughed.

-Maybe you will.

-So grandmother, will you give me the honour of introducing me to my niece?

-Only if my most handsome grandson gives me the honour of helping me walk all these steps. - she replied.

-Don’t say that next to Viserys.

Alysanne laughed again. They took their leave and made their way to Viserys and Aemma’s quarters.

They found the doors opened and they entered after the servants announced their arrival.

-I hope we are not disturbing you. - queen Alysanne said as they approached the bed.

-You could never disturb us grandmother! - Viserys proclaimed.

Although brothers Viserys and Daemon were not very similar. Viserys was a handsome young man, though not as dashing as Daemon and not as tall. His hair had more gold in it than Daemon and his eyes were more purple. He had also had a healthy appetite and he had a fuller figure. He was also much kinder and much more eager to please than his younger brother.

Daemon looked over at his cousin Aemma. Although she was a beautiful girl, with pale skin, gold hair with just a small trace of silver, and dark indigo eyes, by Targaryen patterns she was nothing out of the ordinary. What Viserys had in weight she lacked, and every time she fell pregnant there was less of her in the end and she was as skinny as a peasant girl half-starved that worked the fields every day. She looked weak and frail, more dead than alive and looking at her Daemon wondered how she had managed to produce a healthy child.

-I am so glad to see you Daemon, I would hug you, but as you see my arms are full.

They were indeed, and in them was no other than Daemon’s niece. He kneeled next to Viserys and studied the babe.

The girl seemed to have a fine weight. She had very pale skin. Not much hair to talk of, but what she had appeared to be a perfect mixture of silver and gold. Her face was as perfect as expected of a Targaryen princess, or perhaps a bit more, and she had a small mouth with very plump lips that gave her a sort of a pout. Her eyes were opened, and they were focused on Viserys with much more attention that a newborn could have. They were big and had a deep and haunting purple colour, true purple and absolutely inhuman.

-What do you think of Rhaenyra brother?

-Rhaenyra? - Daemon asked. - That seems to be a rather flamboyant and exotic name for such small babe.

-A name fit for a queen. - his grandmother queen Alysanne proclaimed. - And who knows, she might just become one, one day.

-Did we ever have a Rhaenyra in our family? In the times of Valyria?

-Not that I know of. - Viserys said- I think such a beautiful and special girl deserved a name that belongs to her and her alone, with no taint from anyone nor any glory that was not her own.

- I am sure that another valyrian family had a few Rhaenyras.

-Not ours. Do you want to hold her? - Viserys asked.

From her spot on the bed Aemma smiled.

Although uncomfortable around babies, and disliking them, Daemon forced himself to accept the offer.

-Well I did the journey from Dragonstone to here, so I might just make the best of it. Let me have my niece then.

With a huge smile on his face, Viserys passed him the baby explaining to his brother how he had to hold her.

Rhaenyra’s huge purple eyes studied Daemon.

-A pleasure to meet you princess Rhaenyra.

“Well this isn’t so bad… she has a pleasant smell and hasn’t cried yet. Could be worse. I just hope she does not drool over me.”

Rhaenyra’s chubby arm moved and she grabbed one of his fingers. Daemon raised an eyebrow.

-You are a young lady who certainly knows what she wants. Good for your my niece.

Her eyes never left his.

-And you have the most amazing eyes.

-She will be a beauty brother, I am certain! - Viserys proudly proclaimed.

-If there is one thing that will always be lacking in this world are beautiful women!

Daemon returned the babe to his brother.

-It is a comfort to my heart to see you both married. - queen Alysanne said turning to Viserys and Aemma.- You know, your mothers were never the best of friends. Daella was a small thing, scared of everything, always crying and clinging to my skirts. Alyssa no, she was fearless, more boy than girl most days and brave. Daella was afraid of Alyssa and would often run away from her, and many times Alyssa teased her. But I will tell you this much, I only saw Alyssa crying two times in her life. One was when she was four and ten and she and Baelon had a small argument. Your father had gone to the city with Aemon, they went drinking and gods know what else, when Alyssa confronted him about it, he said some unpleasant things to her and she was left in tears. They made up soon after that of course. The second time was when Daella died. I remember it as if it were today. I delivered the news myself when I returned from the Vale. Alyssa was holding you Daemon, and Viserys was seated on Baelon’s lap. She said nothing, yet the tears fell from her face when I told her that Daella could not even hold Aemma. She clung to you Daemon. And a few moons past she was gone as well.

Alysanne’s old and tired blue eyes were filled with tears.

-Strange how in life we remember death.

-You should rest grandmother…- Viserys said.

Daemon noted how Aemma was quiet. She did not even glance over at her grandmother. If she was upset over something however, they would never know, Aemma would rather die than complain about anything.

-Let me hold her Viserys. - Aemma asked.

Very tenderly, Viserys gave her, her babe. The only one she had been able to successfully give life to thus far.

Daemon could not help but to feel a bit sorry for his cousin. A young thing, five and ten, though she looked not much older than twelve. His niece looked even bigger in Aemma’s thin arms.

-Did you met our father in your way here? - Viserys asked with a smile.

-In Dragonstone actually. He should not be long for the capital.

-Is he bringing back an egg?

-Big and yellow, from a clutch laid by Vhagar.

Viserys laughed.

-Yellow is a happy colour. Fitting for my princess.

Viserys stood and Daemon accompanied him.

-You are happy then? Even if she is a girl?

-I am not our grandfather Daemon. And I think our grandmother is correct. As she once said “A ruler needs a good head and a kind heart. A cock is not essential.”.

-I would be more careful if I were you brother. - Daemon warned. - Don’t forget that it was that fact that our cousin Rhaenys lacked a cock that made our father heir, and you after him.

“And me after you”. Daemon thought to himself with a smile “King Daemon Targaryen, it sounds good”

Viserys looked uncomfortable.

-Well, maybe in his place I would not have decided so.

Daemon raised an eyebrow, but before he could say anything, they heard rushed steps.

The doors opened again and their father prince Baelon entered in a hurry.

-I apologize for my delay! And for not bringing an egg, but as you can see, just as your child Viserys, this little thing was born today.

Perched in their father’s shoulder was a small hatching, with bright yellow scales and yellow eyes.

Baelon pulled his older son Viserys for a hug.

-Congratulations my son! And you too Aemma!

-A girl father! Rhaenyra! - Viserys proudly proclaimed.

-I heard it was a girl once I arrived. I had not heard the name, however. Rhaenyra?

Viserys went and picked Rhaenyra from Aeema’s arms so he could better show her to prince Baelon.

The prince picked her up.

-My oh my. What a beautiful child she is! Nice work you two!

-The most beautiful babe there ever was! - Viserys said with a proud smile on his face. - She needed a name fitting of her.

The little yellow dragon looked down at the babe, and little Rhaenyra looked up at him. The hatchling shrieked and carefully started to slide down Baelon’s arm to approach his niece.

The hatching was smaller than Rhaenyra, and the two seemed rather interested in each other.

-Looks like you just found your mount my niece. - Daemon said- And if you all excuse me, it is time I find my way over to a cup of wine.

Before he left, he stole one last glance at his niece. Her big purple eyes were fixed on him and her dragon was also staring at Daemon with his small yellow eyes.

-Farewell for now Rhaenyra.

With a smile he closed the doors.

“Still the third in line. Things are looking up!”

Chapter Text

101 AC

King's Landing

-I cannot believe it my love, what an honour this is! You, Hand - Lord Otto’s wife beamed at him most pleased.

-Aey wife. And you Alicent, keep your ears and your eyes wide open child, you are to serve the King, read to him, and care for him. It is a great opportunity for you to make yourself well known, and to make connections at court and with other influent families.
And who knows, you could make an advantageous marriage.

Fifteen-year-old Alicent smiled at her father Lord Otto Hightower.

It was indeed a great honour. As a second son, her father Otto would not inherit Oldtown, so it was up to him to earn his place in the world. Thankfully, they were an old, rich and powerful House and her father had a great mind. When a raven came from Kings Landing inviting Ser Otto to serve as Hand of the King, her father had smiled triumphantly and so had her uncle, the Lord of Hightower.

Packing their things as hastily as possible, they had departed for the Capital. Lord Otto was bringing with himself his wife, his elder daughter Alicent, and her younger brothers Gwayne and Gunthor.

It had been weeks since Alicent had slept a proper night though not because of the journey. She was beyond excited with the prospect of seeing King’s Landing and the Red Keep for the first time. How many tales had she heard about that place? About Aegon and his sisters Visenya and Rhaenys. About Maegor’s wars and of course about the Good Queen and the Old King. Most of all however, she was excited with the prospect of meeting the members of the royal family.

She had heard time and time again that Targaryens were more god than man. They had silver and platinum hair and purple, lilac or indigo eyes and they were said to be more beautiful than regular men. Unlike the other Houses of Westeros, the Targaryens learned valyrian before they learned the common-tongue, and they practiced incest, an act forbidden to any other house other than them. But what most fascinated Alicent about them was that they rode dragons. She was as terrified as she was fascinated by those strange beasts and she had made her father promise that he would ask for her to go to the Dragon Pit.

Her brothers also wanted to the see the dragons and they talked about it over and over again.

-I have already told you that you will be able to see them. As Hand, no one will think to forbid me to do as I please.

-Enough of this talk- her mother Denyse urged- The gates of the Keep are upon us and we are close to arriving. Alicent, pull your back straight when you are presented before the court. Let every man see how beautiful you are.

Alicent ran her hands through her long dark hair. She had spent the night combing it until it shined bright and was as soft as silk. She was also wearing her best dress for the occasion, a beautiful gown made of a soft peach-coloured damask with a pearl necklace adorning her neck. Every man had eyed her intensely as she walked to the carriage that morning, and even the women had thrown envious glances at her.

Once she stepped out of the carriage, she ran a hand to smoothen her skirts.

They were received by Grand Maester Runciter who greeted them enthusiastically.

-Lord Hightower, it is my pleasure to give you a warm welcome to King’s Landing.

Her father Otto smiled smugly.

-The pleasure is all mine. - he said without a shred of sincerity. -Where are the rest of the small council members? I was informed that we would have a proper reception.

-And you shall my Lord Hand. The royal family and the other nobles are waiting for your arrival in the Throne Room. So, if you will follow me, this way.

Her father looked annoyed. His mother placed her hand in his arm in a loving gesture and they followed the Grand Maester into the Throne Room.

Alicent took in her surroundings. The Red Keep was the most formidable and monstrous castle she has ever seen. She thought its name suited it well, for the bricks of the palace were a bright red colour, made even redder by the light of the setting sun. It looked like a proper seat for the dragon lords.

She was somewhat disappointed though that she did not caught sight of any dragon.

-Will His Grace receive me? - her father asked.

-Oh, there is not a chance of that my Lord Hand. King Jaehaerys has been bedridden for a while now. I thought you had been told that your daughter Alicent was to attend him?

-I was yes, yet I had no idea His Grace’s condition was that severe.

-Only the gods know how much time we have left in this world.

-It’s a good thing that the Great Council of 101 settled the succession issue and that prince Viserys will follow his grandsire’s place as King.

-The prince himself will receive you on the Throne Room. - Grand Maester Runciter said- He is an amiable and kind young man. He knows how to listen and has a great mind; he will make a fine King one day I am certain. I am sure you will like him.

Her father nodded.

They made the rest of their way silently. Once they arrived at the Throne Room they were announced and entered those greats walls.

Hearing about the Iron Throne was one thing. Alicent had always pictures a magnificent Throne, with the thousand blades of Aegon’s foes shining bright. The truth was another thing. The throne was a huge and grotesque object with countless steps and an uneven seat, and the blades had no shine to them, there were dead melted swords with no soul.

She was beginning to give credit to the tales that it had been the Iron Throne himself that had killed King Maegor the Cruel. As dead and soulless as the blades were, they seemed dangerous and sharp enough to cut bone.

The nobles stood in either side of the throne, and only the small council members stood before the steps of the great iron chair.

Grand Maester Runcinter quickly made the introductions.

-Lord Hightower, may I present you his grace Viserys Targaryen, prince of Dragonstone and heir to the Seven Kingdoms. My prince allow me to present you the new Lord Hand, Lord Otto Hightower, his wife the Lady Denyse, his daughter Lady Alicent and his two sons Gwayne and Gunthor.

-It is my pleasure. - Viserys promptly said.

Curtsying low, Alicent took the opportunity to observe the prince as her father greeted him and exchanged some pleasantries.

Prince Viserys was a man of good height, not too tall though taller than most men. He had a robust figure, not fat, more big boned, with broad shoulders and thick arms and legs. He looked strong nonetheless and was richly dressed in purple velvets and a heavy gold chain around his neck. He was a very handsome man with a pleasant face and full, plump lips which soon opened into a smile revealing a set of pearly white teeth. Atop of his mouth he had a golden moustache. His hair, however, was a perfect mixture of silver and gold, unlike any colour Alicent had ever seen on human hair, though even more unusual were his eyes. They were a bright shade of purple with a lilac colouring near his pupil, a haunting and mesmerizing colour.

-I am honoured to meet you my prince, and my family is as well.

-Well, allow me to greet them too.

Viserys kissed her mother on both cheeks before moving over to Alicent. He seemed to stop for a moment once his eyes met hers, and though she tried to look composed she was too lost in that strange colour. She tried to smile at him, and he smiled back kissing her on her cheeks as well. He smelled sweet, of rich oils and perfumes.

Her brother Gwayne looked over to her.

-Can you believe that prince Viserys once rode Balerion, the Black Dread? - he asked.

-The greatest of the Targaryen dragons…- Alicent said still distracted with the prince.

-Before I present you to the other members of the Small Council Lord Otto, I would like to introduce you to my wife Lady Aemma of Houses Arryn and Targaryen.

-It would be my pleasure. - her father replied.

A small girl approached from a group of women, and Alicent was shocked when she saw her for she looked no older than three and ten.

Lady Aemma Arryn was a small thing. Whilst Alicent stood at more than five feet seven, Aemma barely reached five feet of height. She was a very thing woman with a chest flat as that of a boy and barely no hips. Her face however was surpassingly lovely, with very fine and delicate feature, though the salience of the bones of her jaw and her cheekbones somewhat diminished her beauty. Her large eyes were a deep indigo colour, though not as unhuman as Viserys’s, and her hair was a bright gold colour with just a small hint of silver. All in all, she was a graceful little thing though standing next to the prince, she looked more like his younger sister than his wife.

-It is a pleasure to meet you your grace. - Alicent curtsied to Aemma.

The girl did not return her smile, however. Instead, she studied her with cold eyes and a distant stare and the only reply that Alicent got was a nod.

As her father and mother were introduced to the other members of the small council, Alicent was left standing in her place as several of the courtiers observed her with curious eyes. She heard Viserys and Aemma talking to each other.

-I though you were bringing Rhaenyra with you.

-You should know that she vanishes with your brother whenever he comes to court. Last I heard of them she was running through the corridors and he was pretending to be a dragon trying to catch her.

Viserys laughed.

-Well, no harm done. You know how much Daemon dotes on Rhaenyra.

-I know how much she idolizes him. Every time I tell her a story, she always demands the prince or knight to be named Daemon.

-Daemon will make a great father one day. - Viserys proclaimed pleased.

-Not if he spends all his time in King’s Landing and away from his wife. You should speak to your brother. Now that the succession is settled, he should return to the Vale and to Lady Rhea his wife.

-I will see what I can do. - Viserys replied with a smile.

Aemma’s eyes suddenly turned to Alicent. She must have noticed that Alicent was staring at them. The prince’s wife stared arrogantly at her.

Alicent blinked a couple of times and turned to her father seeing him being greeted and complimented by the other lords. She felt Aemma’s eyes on her the entire time.

 

-How long as prince Daemon been married for? - Alicent asked the next morning as they broke their fast together.

-That’s an odd question child. - her mother said.

Her father voiced no complaint to her question. He was standing tall and proud that day with the Hand’s silver pin already placed on his doublet.

-Four years. He married Lady Royce the same year the princess was born.

-Gods, has it been four years since Aemma gave birth to the princess? It’s most unfortunate that she still had not give the prince his heir. With Viserys becoming the next King he needs a son, two at least to secure his position. Princess Rhaenys has a son, Laenor.

Otto waved off his wife’s concerns.

-Laenor is a Velaryon and the lords of Westeros will never accept a King who is not named Targaryen, much less one who descends from the female line. Aemma and Viserys are both still young, they can have more children, boys and girls and plenty of them! Aemma took a while to have Rhaenyra but she did, and she was a robust babe and grew to be a beautiful and brilliant child, or so I have been told.

-What if they have no sons? - her mother asked.

-Well I guess that in that case prince Daemon would succeed his brother.

-This displeases you husband.

-Mmm… not quite that. It’s just that I have heard some rumours about the prince… and let us just say that he is not the good-natured prince Viserys is, that much is beyond dispute.

-Why would you say that father? - Alicent asked.

-I have heard reports that Daemon is a hot-tempered and quarrelsome young man. He is a skilled warrior and carries the valyrian steel sword of Queen Visenya, Dark Sister. He is also said to be as dashing as he is dangerous and although married it is rumoured that he enjoys, well, seducing younger girls. He has caused more trouble than not and from what I have gathered, many of the Small Council members are wary of him.

-He was not present yesterday, neither at your arrival nor at the feast.

-Aye. A common thing for him for what I heard. He has little regard for others, and he cares not if he disrespects powerful men. Spoiled boy thinks himself a man while he is as green as summer grass.

Her father hated to feel undermined by others, and prince Daemon had started with the wrong foot forward.

-Luckily, I heard he is soon to return to the Vale. Thus, I won’t have to find out just how much trouble he can cause just yet.

There was a knock on the door. Lord Otto gestured one of the servants to go and open the door.

An older lady appeared; she should be in her mid to late fifties. She had a rich dress made of dark red and maroon velvets, a heavy gold necklace around her slim neck, and her hair was covered by a heavy headpiece. She had a smile face and kind brown eyes.

-My Lord Hand. - she greeted his father though she did not curtsey to him- I am Lady Jeyne Beesbury, wife to Lord Lyman Beesbury Master of Coin.

-Oh yes, I believe I saw you yesterday in the Throne Room.

-Yes, my lord, you did. I am here to escort your daughter Alicent to the King’s chambers as she is to serve as his personal handmaiden.

Alicent stood and gave the woman a low and elegant curtsey.

-It is my honour to serve his Highness the King.

Bidding her parents and her two younger brothers a good day, Alicent followed Lady Beesbury.

-So, how old are you, Lady Alicent?

-Five and ten my lady. - she replied smiling.

-I was married to Lord Beesbury when I was your age. Is there perhaps some young lord who you are promised to?

-Oh, no, there is not.

Lady Beesbury gave her a kind smile.

-Don’t worry my dear, you are from an old and rich family, and now daughter to the Lord Hand so I am sure you will be betrothed before too long. All my daughters wed before they were six and ten, so careful as not to wait too much or you might be left to be an aunt.

Alicent’s face frowned as the old woman giggled.

They arrived at the King’s private chambers and the servants opened the doors and stepped aside for them to pass. They met a strong and handsome older man dressed in a shiny gold armour with a white cloak. Lady Beesbury soon introduced him as being the Lord Commander of the Kings Guard Ser Ryam Redwine.

-Ser Ryam our Lord Commander guards the King himself, though in these days there is little threat to his grace’s life from someone on the outside. His greatest threat now is his dying health and old age. He never recovered after the death of his beloved wife Queen Alysanne. If a broken heart can murder a man, then our poor King is living proof of that.

The King’s chambers were richly decorated and most of the furniture had dragons engraved in it. The three-headed dragon of House Targaryen was also above the huge canopy bed in which His Grace was lying in.

Above the fireplace, lit even though it was a warm day, Alicent saw the legendary sword of Aegon the Conqueror, Blackfire.

Lady Beesbury noted her eyes on the sword and smiled.

-It truly is a magnificent piece. Prince Daemon has the other one.

-Dark Sister. - Alicent said.

-Aye, Dark Sister. People say it suits him since he is prince Viserys’s Dark Brother. A skilled warrior he is, I was there when he was knighted, by our Lord Commander himself.

As they reached near the King’s bed, Lady Beesbury curtsied and Alicent followed her lead.

-Your grace, I have brought a very special young lady to serve you. Our Lord Hand’s daughter Lady Alicent Hightower.

-A pleasure to make your acquaintance your grace.

-Alysanne… is it you?- a faint voice asked.

-No your grace, the queen has been dead a while as you know.

A single tear trailed through Jaehaerys’s eye has Lady Beesbury spoke.

Although tales of the King’s many great deeds had been told and retold, he now was but a shadow of his former self. The once young and surpassingly handsome King had turned to a thin old man with a long beard. Because of the silver hair of the Targaryens, it was hard to understand if his hair and beard had turned white, or if they were still silver.

Lady Beesbury adjusted the covers of the King’s bed as she told Alicent of her duties.

-You are to keep company to his grace. Help him rise and lay him, fed him his meals and sing to him when he wishes. If you ever need help, there will always be servants around and I shall visit you frequently as well my dear. Now, I must run some errands so I will leave you. Have a good day Lady Alicent.

-You too Lady Beesbury.

As the door closed, Alicent sat by the King’s side.

-Your grace, it is an honour to serve you. Do you want me to perhaps read to you for a while?

-I miss my Alysanne- the old king wept.

Alicent was touched seeing the old king Jaehaerys cry for his dead queen.

-She was the only woman I ever loved, we lost our children, and then I lost her. Aemon, Baelon, Alyssa, Daenerys, Viserra, Gaelle… too many to count. Why have the gods see fit to take them from us Alysanne? How you suffered my queen…
Alicent grabbed his thin wrinkling hand into hers.

-Don’t worry your grace, she is still with you, you just can’t see her no more. And your children are in the Seven Heavens, they are all being cared for by the Mother.

Jaehaerys purple eyes met hers, and through his tears he gave her a smile.

-That’s better. Now, what was Queen Alysanne’s favourite book so I may read it to you?

 

A fortnight had passed and Alicent’s days were always the same. She spent them looking after the king, telling him tales, helping him bath and dress, and feeding him his meals. It was like having a child only an old child.

As the year of 101 approached its end came the princess Rhaenyra’s birthday. Though Alicent heard many talk of the princess she had yet to see her. She had hopes that she might be able to attend the feast celebrating the princess’s name day, sadly she was told by Lady Beesbury that she had to stay with the King.

“If my father had ever hoped to find me a husband then he was sadly mistaken. Whilst other girls spend their days parading through the Keep on their pretty dressed, I spend mine cocked up in here tending to an old and sad man.”

As in every other night, after bathing the king, and giving him dinner, Alicent sat by his bed reading to him. Unlike every other day however, she had a most unexpected visit.

She heard voices approaching the rooms. It was a man talking to a little girl, she recognized the childish tone of the laughter.

-Go see who it is. - she told one of the servant girls who helped her.

The servant stood and went to the door opening it.

She bowed and Alicent heard her greet the visitors.

-Good evening my prince, my princess.

Alicent’s heart almost stop when she saw the man. It could only be prince Daemon.

He stood at more than six feet tall, strong yet lean with silver hair that fell past his shoulders. His face was the most beautiful face that Alicent had ever seen on anyone. He had big heavy-lidded eyes of a light lilac colour, framed by dark eyelashes and elegant yet thick eyebrow. He had a straight nose and high cheekbones and his mouth had full and sensual lips, with a strong jaw yet a delicate chin.

In his arms the prince carried the most striking child that anyone could envision, with a face so perfect and delicate not even the most skilled painter or poet could make justice to. Her big and innocent eyes were almost a copy of the prince’s yet hers were a purple colour, even more haunting than her father’s and darker. The little girl was dressed in a white and silver dress, her silver-gold curls fell well past her shoulders and gave her an ethereal look.

-I am bringing our birthday girl to our grandsire so he can give her a kiss. - the prince said in a low, deep and sensual voice with an unusual accent. - And who are you? - he asked turning to Alicent.

She stood and curtsied.

-I am… I mean- she forced herself to breath deep before speaking again- Good evening your grace, my name is Alicent Hightower, I am the Lord’s Hand daughter. I was charged to take care of the King.

-Who is it? - Jaehaerys asked from his bed.

Daemon’s eyes moved over to his grandsire and with Rhaenyra still on his arms, he sat on the bed close to the old king.

-It’s Daemon grandfather, I brought Rhaenyra over so you can wish her a happy name day.

-Rhaenyra?- the old king asked confused.

-Viserys and Aemma’s daughter, you remember Rhaenyra.

Jaehaerys opened his eyes and looked over to the little girl on Daemon’s lap.

-Is it… is it you Viserra?

Rhaenyra looked over to Daemon.

-Just five him a kiss my little dragon.

Alicent thought that handsome prince Daemon with little Rhaenyra on his arms had to be the most heart-warming scene she ever witnessed.

-I see he fares no better.

It took Alicent a moment to understand that prince Daemon was addressing her.

-Oh, no, I mean yes. He usually does not remember much, he only asks for his wife the late queen Alysanne and I try to distract him and read to him.

-And do you spend most of your days in here?

-Yes, I never leave his grace’s side.

-That would explain why I never saw you at court. Pity such a beautiful girl. - he told her with a smile. - So, may I ask why a young girl preffers to take care of an old man rather then going to banquets and jousts and dances?

Alicent’s cheeks burned red and she smiled back. She was about to answer him when another person arrived. It was Lady Aemma, prince Viserys’s wife.

-I was told I would find you both in here.

-Mama! - Rhaenyra said running to her mother.

Aemma picked her up and Alicent was surprised that the thin young woman had enough strength to pick up the child.

-I was looking for you my princess, you escaped your mama again.

-I was playing with uncle Daemon. - the little girl replied with a sweet smile.

-Of course you were, whenever your uncle is here you can always be found where he is.

Rhaenyra giggled and Daemon gave her a wink.

-Are you long for the capital? - Aemma asked him, ignoring Alicent.

-I am leaving for the Vale on the morrow. - he said with a dark look on his face.

-You don’t like the Vale cousin?

-How could I like that place?! It’s filled with rocks and sheep bawling. I go to sleep at nights with the bawling of sheep and wake up to the bawling of sheep. Even Caraxes hates them.

-There are also rams there. - Aemma teased.

-You are so amusing cousin, are you learning your jokes from my brother Viserys?

Aemma laughed again. Rhaenyra however looked sad.

-I don’t want uncle Daemon to leave. - she said turning to her mother.

-Rhaenyra, hush now, your uncle must return to his lady wife your aunt Lady Rhea. They are wed my sweet princess, they belong together, like me and your father.

Daemon rolled his eyes.

Standing up he walked over to Rhaenyra and kneeled before her.

-I will go to her, but I leave my heart with you, you are its lady and I will count the days until I can come back to you again my little dragon.

Rhaenyra looked down and there were tears filling her purple eyes.

-No crying or I won’t return. - he told her- You are blood of the dragon, and the dragon does not weep.

He brushed his thumbs over her eyes tenderly and she gave him a smile.

-Now, I insist you give me your best dragon rawr!

She did so and so did Daemon, the two growling to each other playfully.

-When I return, we will play big dragon and little dragon yes? I promise. - he told her placing a hand over his heart.

-Princess Rhaenyra will hold you unto that promise. - the little girl told him very serious.

-Prince Daemon is a man of his word my princess. Now kiss me.

Wrapping her skinny arms around him, Rhaenyra filled his face with small kisses and he did the same to her.

Before leaving, Daemon turned to Alicent.

-I hope to see you again too my lady. We don’t have such beautiful women in the Vale as we have here in Kings Landing.

Alicent lowered her head and smiled.

-Nice travels my prince. - she replied blushing.

Alone once more with the old king, Alicent tried to steady her breath.

That night when she went to bed, she turned from one side to the other unable to take the image of prince Daemon from her mind. Like little Rhaenyra, she too wished to be able to see him again soon.

Chapter Text

103 AC

King’s Landing

It had been many moons since Daemon Targaryen had last been on the capital, and every turn of the moon he had spent on the Vale with the company of his “bronze bitch”, has he had dubbed his wife Lady Rhae Royce, had been more boring than the last.

Though on certain occasions, such as his brother’s name day, he could escape and visit, he could not get away with spending more than a fortnight on the Keep before having Viserys on his heels telling him that his place was with his wife on Runestone.
Fortunately for him, his niece’s name day proved to be another wonderful opportunity to visit King’s Landing. He knew he could convince Rhaenyra to go running to her papa to plead with him, as sweetly as only she could, to allow her favourite uncle to stay awhile.

In order for Rhaenyra’s pleas to be extra effective he was bringing her many magnificent gifts.

There was another thing that helped him endure is days in the Vale. Viserys still had no son.

“The old man will soon perish, everyone says it, and when he does my brother becomes King and I shall become the Prince of Dragonstone and heir to the Seven Kingdoms.”

He also planned on persuading his brother to annul his marriage to the sterile woman he had been forced to marry. Being almost six years older than himself, with thin and bristle brown hair, similar to a rat’s fur, an exceptionally boring face and a body that did not inspire him an ounce of desire, Rhea Royce was everything Daemon did not want in a woman.

He had stopped bedding her when it became apparent that she would not give him children and he could no longer stomach sharing her bed. They spent their days apart and he loaded having to spend time with her. Although she voiced no complaint, he knew that she had no affection for him. Every girl he had ever bedded, whore or not, had trembled with desire at the mere sight of him and would scream and turn in pleasure when he fucked them, his bronze bitch however would lie still as a corpse and would not utter a single sound. Many times he would just push her aside and finish himself off (he had no other option in the Vale where most women were as bad or worse than his wife).

Yes, going to King’s Landing he would not only win himself time away from the woman but also have a chance to go down to the Street of Silk and indulge himself on proper women. Ones with good tits and bodies that made him hard and not soft.

Entering the great Dragon Pit atop his red and lean dragon Caraxes, Daemon took a deep breath and almost moaned.

No smell of goats, no smell of mountains, not the awful lavender perfume his wife would wear, only the smells of the city lingered in the air.

He slid off Caraxes patting him on his side.

-How do you feel to be back home my old friend?

Caraxes red eyes met his and he let some smoke out of his nostrils.

-Well, I guess you would prefer Dragonstone… nonetheless this is better than the Vale!

He blinked his eyes a couple of times.

-I will take that as a yes.

Their attention turned to the small noises of small yellow dragon, flying merrily around the pit and around Caraxes. The small yellow dragon landed next to Daemon’s mount and gave him a small shriek. Caraxes observed the dragon and its shiny yellow scales, he smelled it and then gave a small shriek back, it sounded friendly.

Lying down, the red dragon allowed the small yellow dragon to lie next to him.

Daemon petted the yellow dragon and it gave him a happy shriek. He would recognize the bright yellow scales anywhere, it was his niece’s dragon, though she had yet to mount it.

-Syrax! - he heard a voice call.

One of the Dragon Keepers approached the two dragons bowing once he saw prince Daemon.

-Apologies my prince, we let the princess’s dragon wander for a little while, but we meant it not for her to go and bother the Blood Wyrm.

Daemon smirked.

-Caraxes minds it not. Syrax you said?

-Aye your Grace. The princess your niece came in a few days ago and informed us that her dragon was to be named Syrax after a valyrian goddess she red about in a book.

“She already reads?”

The girl had always been precocious. He was surprised at the name however; he did not expect a small child to name her dragon with such a formidable name.

-My niece believes the dragon is female?

-Aye my prince, she does.

Daemon smiled. It appeared that like him Caraxes also had a small lady to tend to.

He arrived at the Keep quickly and found his brother in the Throne Room. Once Viserys saw him, he went to Daemon and gave him a hug.

-Brother, you took so long I started to wonder if you would come at all.

-Like I would lose Rhaenyra’s name day, and an opportunity to get away from the bronze bitch of the Vale. - he replied- How fares King’s Landing since I last saw it?

-Same old, same old. Calmer without you.

-Boring you mean? - Daemon asked earning himself a big laugh from Viserys.

-Come brother, I was on my way to the Tower of the Hand to see Lord Otto Hightower. Care to join me?

-Why not? It’s not like I have anything better to do.

“Before nightfall that is.”

As they made their way to the Tower of the Hand, Viserys made some small talk with Daemon, mostly mentioning Rhaenyra. It was clear from the way he talked, and his eyes shined, that the girl was the light of his life. It was also clear that he was in no hurry for a son.

-She will be thrilled when she sees you.

-Not half as thrilled as when she sees the gifts I have brought for her.

Viserys knocked on the door and entered the Small Council chambers with Daemon behind him.

They found Lord Hightower seated on his usual chair reviewing some parchments and seated next to him and talking in a low voice, his daughter Alicent.

The girl was thin, with long dark hair and blue eyes. Although most would consider her pretty and many could even say she was beautiful she was far from being Daemon’s type. Her chest was too flat for his taste, and he liked his women to be innocent yet sensual and confident, she was rather boring, and he thought her to be somewhat dissimulated. It was amusing however to see how she fawned over him and blushed when he approached her.

-Ah, prince Viserys and prince Daemon. - Lord Otto greeted them- And what do I owe this visit?

Ignoring the Hand, Viserys greeted his daughter.

-My Lady, and how are you this day?

Alicent blushed when Daemon smiled to her. She stood and curtsied to them both and then answered Viserys.

-I am well prince Viserys, thank you for your concern, I am honoured by it.

Although the girl was not his type, clearly, she was Viserys’s. His brother’s eyes were stuck to her and he was smiling stupidly in her direction.

-And how fares our grandsire? - his brother asked Alicent, ignoring Lord Hightower who was looking annoyed.

-His Grace is as good as expected. He has been eating very little, alas there is little to nothing we can do, the maesters say they have done all that they can for him.

-We give you our most sincere thanks to all that you do for our grandfather and for your dedication to him. You have a heart of gold and you are as pious as you are lovely my lady.

-I am unworthy of such kind words my prince.

“Am I seeing my brother flirting with this bitch?”

Lord Otto coughed a few times, trying to catch Viserys’s attention.

-Oh, my Lord Hand, is your throat quite dry? Best to send a servant for some water perhaps. - Viserys said.

Daemon laughed and Lord Otto’s face turned even redder.

-I thought you had come looking for me to ask me about the preparations for the princess’s feast.

-Ah, yes, you are quite right. All is being taken cared off I am certain. Well, I bid you both a good day.

With that Viserys turned and left with Daemon next to him.

The younger prince was begging to believe that Viserys’s true intention in visiting the Hand had been less about knowing about preparations and more about having a chance to glimpse at Lady Alicent.

If he had questions however, his brother’s next comment removed them.

-Lady Alicent is quite beautiful don’t you think? And she cares most well for our grandsire. She is an accomplished young woman.

Daemon raised an eyebrow.

-Quite beautiful? Brother are you, a married man, complementing another woman?

Viserys almost chocked on his next words.

-It’s not like that Daemon, I simply admire her it is all… such a young and beautiful girl that could have any man she wanted and instead spends her days tending after an old man.

“An old man that is King no less.”

-And don’t you think such generosity to be odd?

-What could she gain from this? - Viserys asked.

-Nothing. Everything.

-Sometimes brother, people do things because they are good, they don’t always have some hidden motive you know? Look at you with my Rhaenyra, you have genuine affection for her, you treat her with all the kindness and yet you have nothing to gain. If even you can be good, why don’t others can too?

Daemon smiled at Viserys’s innocence.

-You must be right then brother.

-Uncle Daemon! - he heard a sweet girly voice call.

Dressed in a pale lavender dress and with her hair braided Rhaenyra was running towards him. Kneeling he caught her in his arms picking her up.

He rubbed his nose against hers and she giggled.

-And how is the most beautiful princess in the world?

-Far happier now that you are with her! - the girl replied.

Viserys smiled.

-I thought you were with your mother Rhaenyra.

-Well papa, you thought wrong. - she told him smiling mischievously.

His brother laughed and Rhaenyra wrapped her arms tighter against him.

-I missed you. - she whispered in his ear.

She smelled sweet like freshly backed strawberry cakes, roses and a summer day, no hint of lavender.

-And you know I missed you more. - he told her. - You won’t believe what I brought you.

Her purple eyes stared at him intensely.

-What is it?

He smiled at the princess placing a loose silver and gold curl behind her ear.

-First thigs first my little dragon, how did you came up with the name Syrax?

 

“He returned, finally he returned.”

Alicent was so happy she could almost skip down the corridors towards His Grace’s chambers. After many moons, prince Daemon was in King’s Landing again.

It had been a year since she had arrived at the capital and she had found little joys in her days. She took care of the Old King day and night and seldom left his chambers for more than an hour or two. She attended no feasts and meet close to no people. Her days were long and lonely, and she had little to no reward in them.

One of the few things that kept her going was the sweet memory of the youngest Targaryen prince. Tall and lean and perfect he was. Even his name fitted him like a glove and slipped from the tongue as a drop of sweet honey. Daemon.

Oft times she would lose herself in thoughts of him. In her dreams he would confess his love for her, he would have his marriage annulled and take her to wife instead and she would become his princess. Father would walk her down the aisle and Daemon would place a black cloak with the red three-headed dragon of House Targaryen, around her shoulders.

It was a sweet dream but the smell of sickness and the saturated air inside the royal bedchamber, brought her back to reality.

-How is His Grace? - Alicent asked the servants.

-As well as can be my lady, though the maesters say he will not be long to this world.

-That is for the gods to know. All we can do is tend to his person as best as we can. - she dutifully replied.

She approached his bed and asked him if he was feeling any better.

-Is it you Saera? - Jaehaerys asked. - My daughter?

For many moons he had been mistaking her for his lost daughter the princess Saera.

Saera Targaryen was not dead, however. She had disgraced herself and after being sent to the sisters, she had run away and become a whore across the Narrow Sea. It was no secret that the skills that Jaehaerys had in ruling his Kingdom, were equal to the skills he lacked in raising daughters. From Saera who became a prostitute, to Viserra who died drunk on the streets to Gael who was a simpleton who killed herself after being dishonoured by some singer, only Gods knew with whom he had failed more.

-It’s Alicent your grace. - she replied.

-Saera? - he asked again.

-No, your grace, it’s not Saera.

-Then have someone send for her…- he pleaded with a weak voice.

-Don’t worry your grace, she will come to you soon. In the meantime, perhaps I can read you something.

Not waiting for him to reply, Alicent picked up the heavy volume of “The Seven-pointed Star” near the king’s bedside table and begun reading to him.

It should be the hour of the eel when Alicent set the book aside. The king was in deep sleep, so she took the opportunity to sup. Lady Beesbury accompanied and they shared a small meal of venison stew, grilled fish with herbs, freshly backed barley bread, some spring vegetables grilled with honey and some duck with a crisp skin with a thick buttery sauce.

The two women also shared some sweet Arbor Gold to accompany their meal.

They ate in silence as the servants busied themselves cleaning the king’s rooms.

-I often praise your work with the king to my lord husband my lady. - Lady Beesbury told her kindly. - You are most gifted.

-I am not worthy of your praise Lady Beesbury. - Alicent modestly replied.

-You are worth of my praise and much more. I am confident such an accomplished young girl such as yourself shall make a fine match.

Thinking of prince Daemon, Alicent smiled.

-I am in no hurry just of yet my lady.

Lady Beesbury smiled back and took another sip of the exquisite wine.

-If I may ask, why are you not in the feast of the princess’s name day Lady Beesbury? - Alicent politely asked.

-You may ask at will child. I grow tired of feasts and balls and masquerades my dear. After a few years at court such lavish events become taxing and you come to realize that the smiles you see are fake, most of the fair maidens are not maidens at all, and the musicians who sing of love all prefer the company of men. I much prefer sharing a quite dinner.

Alicent pondered over her words for a moment.

-You seem to have a very cynical view of the world.

Lady Beesbury laughed.

-You are much too young my lady, and much too innocent. A few more years at court and you will begin to comprehend what I mean with all of these. It’s not a pessimistic view, it’s a real view.

Alicent smiled and continued to eat. On the inside however, she could not help but think that Lady Beesbury was nothing more than an old woman with a fading beauty, envious to not be part of all the glamour of court life.

When they finished their meals and the servants cleared their plates, they were graced with an unexpected visit. Prince Daemon had brought the little princess once more, so the king could wish her a happy name day.

Alicent’s heart begun beating faster with the mere sight of him.

-I hope we are not interrupting your dinner. - prince Daemon said with his velvet voice.

-Not at all my prince, we were just finishing. And may I have the honour to whish our most precious princess a happy name day. Five yes?

-Yes. - Rhaenyra confirmed. - Thank you for your wishes Lady Beesbury.

Rhaenyra gave the old woman a small curtsey with such grace that even her uncle smiled.

-A true princess you are my little dragon. -he caressed her hair and her face.

Daemon then turned to Lady Beesbury again, not before giving Alicent one of his dashing smiles.

-May we go to our grandsire then?

-As you will my prince, we will be waiting for you here. - Lady Beesbury.

Alicent had wanted to share a few words with the prince, to smile back at him, at least to escort him to the Old King. Unfortunately, the old woman had taken charge of the exchange and she had to step back into the shadows and just smile politely.

Nonetheless, she bit her tongue and forced herself to be courteous to the old woman.

-Isn’t the princess Rhaenyra the most beautiful thing you ever saw? - Lady Beesbury whispered- I swear by the gods, when that girl flowers there won’t be a man alive who won’t fall to her feet. She makes every other lady around her look plain.

The old bitch gave Alicent a little giggle.

“Her eyes must be going blind. How can she think that child is more beautiful than me?”

It annoyed her even more by the fact that that day she was wearing her best gown, made from a light blue silk adorned with golden thread, bringing out the colour of her eyes. Even the Lord Commander of the kingsguard had complimented her.

-It is as you say Lady Beesbury.

Prince Daemon emerged a while later with the princess on his arms. She had her head lying on his shoulder and her skinny legs wrapped around his waist and Alicent noted that she had lost her shoes somewhere.

-Well, it’s time for us to retire. It was a pleasure seeing you ladies. Specially you Lady Hightower.

Alicent looked up and smiled.

-It’s always a pleasure to see you prince Daemon.

-I am planning to stay a while this time, so perhaps we shall meet each other more frequently now.

She felt her cheeks blush, as she watched him leave, she couldn’t stop smiling.

-Well, seeing as the feast is over, I will excuse myself for a moment so I can go to my lord husband.

-As you will my lady. - Alicent replied.

Finally, alone, save for the fastidious presence of the old king, she was free to once again dream about her prince.

Over the next days, often the prince would go to visit her in the Old King’s bedchambers. Though usually he would bring little Rhaenyra with him, Alicent would still enjoy every second she spent in his company.

 

No matter how many times she saw him, she still could not stop herself from gawking at how unbelievably handsome Daemon was.

There was no doubt that the dragon’s blood was strong in him, he was more like an otherworldly being than a regular man. Alicent did not understand how his wife Lady Royce had allowed him to wander so far away from her.

“If I was married to such a man, I would not let him spend a single day away from me. If we married, I know he would love me dearly.”

She could have him though. Her father was Hand of the King, he would easily manoeuvre things so that his marriage could be set aside, after all, it was common knowledge that his wife was barren. Then Alicent would be able to marry him, and if the thin and weak Aemma never gave prince Viserys a son, Daemon would one day become King and she would be his Queen.

-I hope our visits are not a bother to you Lady Alicent. - Daemon told her.

She took a minute to answer, so lost she was in his unusual lilac eyes…

-It is my pleasure to be graced with your company my prince.

He must share her feelings for he often searched for her in the King’s apartments, and how could he not? She was young, beautiful and born into one of the richest and important families of the Kingdom. The Hightowers were neck in neck with the Lannisters in matters of wealth, though because of their connections to the Faith, they were far more influent at court.

-In fact, I was wondering if…

-Uncle I want to go and play with you. - Rhaenyra interrupted before Alicent could finish her sentence.

She meant to invite the prince for a walk in the gardens, but the brat ruined everything. For the life of her, she could not understand why such an interesting man as Daemon enjoyed spending his days with his five-year-old niece, who by all accounts was a spoiled child used to getting her way.

-You know I live to tend to your wishes my little dragon. - he told her rubbing his nose with her- So, let us depart.

They left without the prince even giving her one last glance.

She felt anger boil within her. It was so unfair to have him so close, and yet, so far. Alicent went back to the Old King, and that night, she prayed for an opportunity to be alone with the prince.

The gods must have heard her request, not a week later she heard the prince walking from his chambers.

It had not been difficult to find out the prince’s routine, and every day at the hour of the wolf, he would leave his quarters. Luckily for her, they were not far from the Old King’s, so he always walked past the door to Jaehaerys’s apartments.

She had planned it so that she would be outside the doors when he walked by. With a book in hand and dressed in a dark green gown with her dark hair falling down her back, she knew the prince would not be able to resist her.

-Good evening my prince. - she told him as he strode by.

-Lady Alicent, what a surprise. I did not expect to find you in this lonely corridor, all alone, at the darkest hour of the night. I wonder what your father would think of this.

She blushed a little at his words.

-I was hoping I could talk to you prince Daemon. Alone.

He raised one eyebrow at her words.

-And what were you hoping to talk to me about?

Gathering all the courage she could muster she stepped closer to him. His scent filled her nostrils, it was an intoxicating smell and she felt almost dizzy with desire.

-I must confess that I have long hoped that we could be alone with one another, without your niece, or the Old King, or Lady Beesbury or anyone else.

He lowered his head, so their eyes met.

-And why would you want to be alone with me? I am a married man, you are an unwed maiden. Does your reputation mean so little to you?

-So, you do feel something for me! - she quickly replied- As I do for you!

Before he could react, she closed the space between them and gave him a kiss. He was as still as a rock and when their lips parted, he just stared at her in disbelief.

-I love you Daemon, I have loved you since the first time we met! You are everything I ever desired in a man. I know you don’t love your wife; I could speak to my father you know, and we could have your marriage annulled and you would be free to marry me.

-To marry you?

-Yes! - she almost shrieked. - I am the Hand’s daughter, my family is rich and powerful, we could help you. Your brother has no sons, after the king dies, you will be his heir. You could rule one day, and my family would help you get there, we could help you to get that crown, and I could rule by your side. I promise I will give you the sons you long for! Targaryen princes with your silver hair and your purple eyes…

After she poured her heart out to him, she did not expect his next question.

-So, would you give yourself to me then?- he asked with a smirk.

-Give myself to you?

-Your maidenhead. -he replied.

Something in the way he phrased it made her take a step back. He was not eyeing her with love, he looked like a predator who was enjoying himself in stalking and taunting a prey.

-But… we are not wed….

-If you really love me than you would let me claim your maidenhead. It matters not that you are not my wife, or did you no said it yourself that you will arrange for my current marriage to be annulled?

His words reassured her.

-Yes, I did, and I shall.

-Then what are we waiting for. Let’s find a room so you can show me how much you want me.

Grabbing her arm, he brought her closer to himself, pressing her body against his own. He smirked as he lifted her skirts. And let his hand touch her thigh.

-Tell me something Alicent, has any boy ever stuck something in you?

As much as she wanted him, the vulgar way in which he was talking to her was rather unpleasant.

Daemon moved his face close to hers and she closed her eyes waiting for him to kiss her.

-WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?!

Alicent almost jumped, and she turned around she saw nonother than her father Lord Otto Hightower, with a murderous look on his face.

-Unhand my daughter this instance! Who do you think you are?! My daughter is not one of your whores!

Daemon let go of her and gave her father a cruel smile.

-She might not be a whore Lord Hand, she does however have the modesty of one. You see I was making my way into the streets of the city, when I was surprised by your daughter Alicent, who proceeded in throwing herself into my arms and proclaiming her love for me. She even went as far as to agree in giving me her maidenhead.

Her father looked like he was going to have a fit of rage.

-Oh, don’t worry my lord Hand, I was about to politely decline her offer, for I have no wish to bed her. I was actually just seeing how far she would go. - Daemon laughed loudly- It’s always amusing to see a girl of high birth throwing herself at my shoes like a common peasant. Don’t worry Lady Alicent, though you are not my type, I am more than certain that other men at court would be glad to take you to their beds.

With tears in her eyes, Alicent snapped and pushed the prince with all the strength she could muster.

-You are disgusting!

Daemon just laughed.

Lord Otto was beyond livid.

-I should have your head for trying to dishonour my daughter! We are a great and noble house, and we could destroy you with a snap of my fingers!

Any humour was gone from Daemon’s face.

-Careful my lord, don’t forget you are speaking with a member of the royal family, a prince of the blood and the second in line for the matter. Neither your house, nor any other house in the kingdoms will ever be a match for House Targaryen, and the next time you threaten me, shall be the last.

Daemon turned to leave but stopped when her father yelled at him.

-You will never be king Daemon Targaryen! Never! Mark my words!

-Is that a threat? - the prince asked.

-No- her father said giving him a dangerous smile. - It’s a fact.

-We shall see. - the prince replied with a smirk.

When she and her father were alone, he grabbed her by the arms violently.

-How dare you ruin your reputation like this? Have you forgotten yourself?

-My lady, my lady!

The doors of the Old King’s room were busted open and one of the servants was screaming and crying.

-What is it? - Alicent asked with her father still holding her.

-His grace is dead…

 

-Father, Smith, Warrior, Mother, Maiden, Crone, Stranger. May the Seven take witness as I crown thee King Viserys, the first of His name, King of the Andals, the Rhoynars, and the First Men. Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.

Viserys Targeryen knelt as the crown of his grandsire was placed over his head, a simple gold band set with seven gemstones, each in a different colour and each representing one of the seven gods. Next to him, another crown, the same one the Good Queen had worn, was placed at top of Lady Aemma Arryn’s head, thus crowning her as Viserys’s Queen.

Then, the new King climbed the steps of the Iron Throne and sat atop of it claiming it for his own.

Everyone in the throne room knelt acknowledging Viserys as their new monarch. When people begun to stand, Viserys ordered his daughter to be brought to him, so she could sit on his lap as he sat on his throne for the first time.

Little Rhaenyra Targaryen was wearing a beautiful red dress and there was not a person present in the Hall that did not cheer and clap as His Grace kissed his beloved child on each cheek.

Alicent felt her father pulling her closer to him. His voice was cold as ice.

-I should sent you back to Oldtown for everything you did.

She lowered her head.

-Unfortunately for me, Viserys asked that you stay at court.

Alicent looked surprised at the new King’s request.

-I bid his request him. This may yet come to our benefit. Aemma is weak, mayhaps she dies in childbirth, and an opportunity may arise for you. Until then your behaviour must be without reproach you understand?

She was too shocked to speak, her father cared not however, and he continued.

-And Daemon Targaryen can think again if he believes he will be the heir.

Otto’s eyes landed on little Rhaenyra Targaryen and he smiled.

Chapter Text

105 AC

King’s Landing

The sound of thunderous applause still echoed in the room long after Mysaria left.

After she finished her performance there was not a man present who was paying attention to anything but her. She could see the desire and lust in their eyes as she gave one final and elegant bow, before exiting the rooms.

The brothel keeper collected the coin with a smile from ear to ear. Mysaria did not even look back at it. She was a dancer and a courtesan, not some cheap whore desperate for a piece of silver. Throwing her light blonde hair back, she made her way to her rooms to change, after all she was sweaty from her dance and she wanted to look as desirable as possible for her prince.

The other whores eyed her with distain and no wonder. Mysaria was the most expensive thing of the house. She served three times less men and charged almost ten times more. The only thing more expensive than having the lysene dancer for a night was a beautiful virgin. The brothel keeper held her in such great esteem that she was even allowed to choose her costumers. Mysaria also had the most luxurious quarters, and the best clothes and jewels.

Consequently, many of the women there envied her position and her privileges, going as far as to call her, “Lady Misery, the white worm”, as a way to mock her pale skin.

She only laughed at the others’ scorn for her.

When she reached her chambers, she called two girls to help her bathe. They were six and eight, daughters of other whores of the establishment. Still too young to sell their bodies, for the meantime they sold their hands scrubbing the floors, helping in the kitchen and assisting the more expensive girls to prepare and dress. Most prostitutes had no more than one girl, Mysaria of course, had two.

She removed her clothes as they filled the tub with warm water and scented oils.

Once inside she relaxed as the water eased the pain in her sore muscles. Ever since she had become the prince’s favourite, she had stopped having other customers. To make up for the loss, she danced almost every night. In truth she made more coin simply dancing, than an average girl did in a single night of work. It was taking it’s tool on her though, and she welcomed the rest.

One of the girls was massaging her scalp whilst the other was storing her jewels.

The girl was taking twice as long as needed, too mesmerized with the beauty of her bracelets and necklaces.

-It’s ok if you want to admire them. - she told the small girl.

-Thank you, my lady. - she replied.

-So, what is your name?

-Annara.

-A beautiful names, it suits you. - Mysaria told the girl kindly earning herself a small smile.

It was true, she would definitely become a beauty one day, with dark auburn hair and dark green eyes. Little doubt that the men would find her exotic.

The other one, eight, had golden hair and bright blue eyes. Mysaria soon found she was named Faye.

When she was done with her bath, they helped her comb and dry her hair. It was then that there was a knock on the door and another whore from the house appeared.

-It must be good to be the rising star of the hour. All the girls are on their backs and you are up here being pampered like you are royalty. -she sneered.

Her name was Luciya. She was a dornish girl with dark hair, large brown eyes and sun-kissed skin, and one of the women who delighted themselves in mocking Mysaria.

-Well Luciya, it appears I am not the only one who is not on her back at the present moment.

-I was sent here, for your information!

Mysaria’s eyes twinkled.

-Yes… you have been having far less to do ever since you lost the patronage of Lord Stokeworth. But what did you expect Luciya after he lost his erection with you and you just gawked stupidly at him?

Luciya’s face turned a bright shade of red.

-And what was I supposed to do pray tell?! It’s not my fault he is an old man with a limp cock!

-You should have pretended nothing was wrong and used your mouth on him. And I would have advised you to do that if you had bothered to ask. Alas, your hatred of me is too blinding and you prefer to lose valuable patrons.

-Oh, is that what you do when your prince is soft? - she mocked.

Mysaria laughed and threw her head back.

-You wished that were true. Unfortunately for the likes of you Luciya, my prince’s member is as hard as his valyrian sword and he always rises to the occasion.

-I am surprised he even has a cock to speak of. I heard children born of incest have nothing between their legs, like eunuchs. Weren’t his parents, brother and sister?

Mysaria’s face was blank as a piece of cold marble.

-If he even dreams you have said that, he will cut off your head.- she simply stated.

The fear in Luciya’s face was palpable and with good reason. Daemon Targaryen was not a man to be teased, and the last whore who had mocked his valyrian heritage and his family’s costumes of marrying brother to sister, had not lived to tell the tale.

-I only joke of course Mysaria. After all it is well heard how your prince enjoys using his cock. Specially on young and beautiful virgin girls. - she turned to the young girls tending to Mysaria- With any luck the two of you will have the privilege of having your maidenheads claimed by Lord Flea Bottom in a few years… I heard he particularly enjoys it when the girls cry and beg him to stop.

The girls looked beyond frightened.

-Seriously Luciya, have you nothing better to do than terrorize children? - Mysaria asked. - Or perhaps it is just that you are envious of their youth. After all, you are almost eight and two and you just lost your most valuable patron. Finding new costumers on your age and lack of grace must be getting harder I imagine.

-Careful Lady Misery. When the prince grows tired of you, you will go back to spreading your legs to any fool with enough coin in their pocket to have you. And that may be sooner rather than later…- she added with a cruel smile- After all, I have heard comments that all those maidens your prince likes to deflower are only practice for another one.

-Pardon me?

Luciya smiled again quite pleased with herself.

-Well, he is always trailing around that niece of his. At least that’s what the other gold cloaks say… And what can he want with a child? The men appear to think that your prince will want the girl for himself. After all, she is his brother’s only child, and if he ever becomes prince of Dragonstone she would definitely solidify his claim. So, your gallant dragon prince might just be grooming the poor girl until she is old enough for his… affections. She would make a much better wife than many, present company included, after all she is the fit consort for a king, unlike you.

Mysaria laughed.

-If any of the men you speak of really knew Daemon, they would know he would never use the girl to solidify his claim. If his brother had no son, he is next in line. He is prince of Dragonstone by right, he doesn’t need her for it.

-Suit yourself Mysaria. I am sure he just loves her as an uncle loves his niece.

Luciya stopped for a moment before leaving and added.

-Just keep in mind they are Targaryens.

-Lock the door when you leave, and good luck for tonight. Just remember the fate of those who are empty ended for several days Luciya, I would hate for you to be thrown out…

Luciya slammed the door and Mysaria smiled. She then turned to the girls.

-I think I will wear the blue dress tonight. Be so kind to go and fetch it.

When finally she was ready, she descended into the main room of the establishment. It was elegantly decorated with luxurious chairs and lounges and several tables filled with expensive wines and other exotic fruits.

Some men played games, other drank, and most had a girl or two on their laps.

She found prince was on a lounge chair with a drink in his hand and surrounded by his companions. His long silver hair was hard to miss.

-Finally, Mysaria! I was beginning to think I wouldn’t see you until the year ended!

-I always tell you that you should learn how to be more patient.

Daemon pulled her to him and kissed her. His kiss was like no other man’s. Passionate and all-consuming like fire, and nothing had ever compared to the feeling of his silver hair between her fingers.

She would often contemplate him and think how such a beautiful man could have been born of something as vile as incest between brother and sister.

As he deepened the kiss his hair fell over her face and she smelled something nothing alike Daemon’s scent. It was a girl’s perfume, too sweet for her prince’s tastes. A combination of summer roses and a plate of strawberry cakes with just a hint of burned sugar and ash.

-You smell as a girl who hasn’t had her blood yet. - Mysaria complained. - You reek of it actually.

-Oh, it must be Rhaenyra. She was on my lap during dinner and he were riding our dragons this afternoon.

Keeping her face as composed as possible, Mysaria tried hard not to betray her thoughts.

-I wonder why you spend so much time with that child, she has nothing of the things you like my prince.

Daemon shrugged.

-She is my niece. And she is a sweet young thing, too enamoured of me for her own good. Plus, Caraxes likes the little yellow dragon Syrax.

Mysaria studied his face for a moment.

-That reminds me, I just bought something for her, but I wanted to see if it will suit her or not. Call those servant girls you have, they can try it for me to see.

-This is surely a jest Daemon. You keep me waiting for you through most of the night to then ask me to call my servant girls over so they can try on a piece of jewellery you bought for your niece?

His face had a bored look.

-I am in no mood Mysaria. I had to spend my morning on a Council Meeting hearing His Lord Hand, better known has the Hightower cunt going on and on about how valuable his work his, and how efficient he his and so on and so on, and almost falling to his knees to suck my brother’s cock, so do me a favour and just call the girls.

She crossed her arms over her chest.

-Don’t worry, afterwards we can go and there will be no more talk of Rhaenyra or any other women except you.

His words earned him a smile.

Mysaria summoned both Annara and Faye.

-The blonde one. - Daemon said- Her colouring is more similar to Rhaenyra’s.

He gave her a splendid necklace made of white gold with a big ruby encrusted at the centre, the size of a pigeon’s egg. Annara helped Faeye, the little blonde girl, to put the necklace around her neck.

Mysaria noted how their eyes budged and how scared they both looked. Little wonder, they had probably never held anything so valuable in their lives. Well, it was either that, or they were terrified to be standing in front of the infamous prince Daemon Targaryen. His reputation was well known.

-Do I have to say everything? Pull your hair up so I can see how it looks around your neck.

The girl, Faye, did as she was told, and Daemon inspected her for a moment.

-It’s a bit hard to tell. You are of a similar size to her, but your hair is too yellow, and your skin is not as pale as hers. But whatever, yes, I think it will fit Rhaenyra quite well. Red is definitely her colour; it brings out the purple in her eyes.

He gave the small girl a box so she could store the necklace inside. He then waved them both off when they returned the small box containing Rhaenyra’s gift.

Mysaria smiled and sat on Daemon’s lap. Finally, there would be no more talk of his niece and she could have his undivided attention.

-Let’s go upstairs my prince. - she whispered in his ear. - You have no idea how much I have been longing for you all night.

-I would say the same Mysaria… putting up with those feasts my brother likes to throw is absolutely taxing! But for tonight I have a better idea than going to your quarters.

She raised an eyebrow.

-And pray tell what that would be?

-Let’s go over to my quarters, in Maegor’s Holdfast… at the Red Keep.

Mysaria had never been to the Palace that housed the Targaryen family. She had seen it in a distance though. An imponent and magnificent building made of pale red stone overlooking the mouth of Blackwater Rush. Seeing it up close was another matter entirely.

-You look impressed. - Daemon noted with a smile.

-It is rather impressive, like everything coming from you my prince.

-Wait until I take you to Dragonstone-he replied- It’s much better than our palace at King’s Landing. Particularly since there are not half the cock suckers you find here at court.

-So where are your rooms?

 

Daemon moved to the side so she could enter his private quarters. He smiled as he watched Mysaria’s light blue eyes take in his giant chambers.

He removed his gold cloak throwing it to the side.

Mysaria also removed her long cloak and begun to take in her surroundings.

-How many people does that bed fits?

Daemon laughed.

-I must confess I never tried to find out. I come from a big family or have you forgotten that my grandparents produced ten children. Besides, my grandparents’ and my father’s rooms were on this floor, so I never gave the room the use it needed.

-You never brought another woman here? - Mysaria asked turning to him with one of her most seductive smiles.

The prince gave her an amused smirk.

-I guess not. There was never anyone worthy of sleeping in my bed.

-Not even your wife Lady Royce?

Daemon sniggered.

-Who? The bronze bitch of House Royce? We never slept in the same bed, and you can be damn sure I don’t fuck her in my quarters.

Mysaria’s blue eyes met his.

-Am I supposed to feel special then Daemon?

-Whatever you like Mysaria, as long as you take that dress on and you let me fuck you.

Daemon pulled her to himself and begun removing her dress. As the light-blue gown hit the floor, Mysaria was left in nothing but her jewels and her expensive sandals. She brought his face to hers and kissed him, they opened their mouths and deepened the kiss. Before she pulled away, she bit his lower lip and pulled it gently.

-Let’s get you naked as well my prince.

She removed his tunic letting his sculpted chest come into view. Her prince was so perfect that he looked more like a marble statue than a real man, and no matter how many times she had seen him undressed, the sight of his naked body always made her weak.

He kicked of his boots before she removed his belt and his pants, and as the last piece of clothing was gone, she felt to her knees and took him in her mouth.

He moaned in response as she worked her mouth on him, sliding it over his length over and over again.

-Stop! - he ordered bringing her to his level. - I want to have my release inside of you.

Mysaria smiled before kissing him. Without a moment more to lose, she pushed him to one of the expensive fur rugs next to the huge fireplace, carved with dark stone, and straddled him. She descended, taking his manhood slowly into her core.

As she moved Daemon’s hands caressed her breasts. She threw her long light blonde hair back and leaned forward into his touch.

Suddenly his hands were on her hips and Mysaria gasped as she felt him flip them over so that now she was under him.

He threw her legs around his neck and begun thrusting into her in a cruel pace. With each thrust she would scream louder, and she begun to feel the familiar burn in her lower abdomen as her peak was approaching. She felt his moves become more erratic and she knew that he was close to his release as well. The room was impossibly hot and the feel of Daemon inher was more than she could take. The world could be ending the she would not care.

-This is so much better than that old brothel room, don’t you think? - he asked her.

Mysaria nodded slightly incapable of forming coherent words at the moment.

She thought she heard someone knocking on the door, but she chose to ignore it. Daemon showed no signs of wanting to know who it was.

-Fuck! I hate people who knock at this late hour.

He captured her lips into a searing kiss, holding her face gently. Mysaria moaned into his mouth.

The knocks persisted.

Daemon quickened his pace holding her hands into his own.

-Uncle? - they heard a girly voice call.

-FUCK! - Daemon almost yelled.

Mysaria felt him release his hot seed into her.

Before either of them could catch their breaths, Daemon untangled himself from her and with a jump he searched for his breeches. He dressed more quickly than she thought possible and he ran in search of an undertunic.

There was another knock and the girly voice called again.

-Coming Rhaenyra!

“What’s the girl doing in his rooms at this late hour?” Mysaria wondered to herself.

Daemon then helped her get up and pushed her behind the curtains of his windows.

-Hide there and don’t make a sound! It’s my niece!

-We barely finished making love before you tell me to hide because a child is outside?! Are you jesting Daemon?

-Quiet!

He only had time to grab their closes and throw them under the huge canopy bed before opened the door.

On the other side was a very impatient Rhaenyra, dressed in her sleeping gown with a pink robe around her slim frame. Her silver-gold hair fell in waves to the middle of her back.

Her face lit up like a rising sun when she saw him.

-Uncle!

She ran over to Daemon and hugged him tightly.

-What are you doing in here my little dragon? - he asked gently.

-I couldn’t sleep. - she told him- I was having nightmares.

Daemon raised one of his eyebrows.

“Worse than this nightmare?” the prince thought to himself.

-And why did you not call your mama? Or one of your maids, what are they being paid for if not to tend to you?

Rhaenyra looked sad all of a sudden.

-Mama is with child uncle… and she has not been feeling well. And you know I hate my maids. I much rather sleep with you tonight.

“Well you chose the perfect time!”

Daemon forced himself to smile.

-And pray tell my little dragon, how did you find where the lair of the big bad dragon was?

His comment earned him a few giggles.

-I found one of your page boys on the way here and I asked him where your rooms were.

The prince smiled. The young lad, barely ten and sent to court to serve him as a page, must have found impossible to resist one of Rhaenyra’s striking smiles. At only seven, she was already more beautiful than anyone had the right to be. The singers had even taken it upon themselves to dub her “The Realm’s Delight”, an honour that had never been bestowed to any woman of their line so far at such a young age. Daemon had little doubts she would grow to surpass every Targaryen princess, and queen that had come before her.

-Do you wish to tell me about your dream? - he asked her kindly.

She nodded her head no. He saw how her eyes were swelling with tears, so he picked her up in his arms.

-Come then my little dragon, we can nest together for the night. I will protect you from nightmares.

Rhaenyra giggled has he carried her to the bed. She sat there and took of her pink robe folding it with care. Daemon pulled back the covers and she slid beneath them. He joined her and she moved closer to him. He glanced over to the curtains that covered his windows, making sure Mysaria was well hidden.

-Your bed smells like you. - Rhaenyra told him blushing deeply.

Daemon moved some of the hair that was covering her face.

-You like my smell, do you?

She gave him a smile and covered herself, leaving only her eyes visible.

-I take it you will want to use my arm as a pillow, or am I wrong?

-You are right uncle!

-I am always right. - her told her with a wink.

Her face turned serious all of a sudden.

-I am worried for my mother… that was what I was dreaming about. She always loses her babies, and she is always sick and pale afterwards. Every time it takes her more time to recover.

Daemon had little word of comfort to offer her. The girl was beyond right. With every miscarriage, Aemma got frailer, thinner and weaker. And the babes all died. Only the gods could tell when she would follow them to the grave. The only child Aemma had only successfully delivered to term was Rhaenyra. He remembered well when he had first held her in his arms, his only niece, and she could very well remain the only child his brother would ever have. And that would be very fortunate for the prince.

-I hope your mama’s misfortunes don’t put you off having babes of your own one day.

Rhaenyra thought about it for a moment.

- I would like to get married yes. - she told him.

-Mmmm, and is there someone you would like to marry I wonder?

Rhaenyra blushed and hid her face from him giggling.

-And would you like to have children with that mysterious man you wish to marry my niece? - Daemon asked.

-I would like to have a daughter one day, so I could name her Visenya after the warrior queen.

-She is your favourite ah? - Daemon asked. - She was always my favourite too. The fact that I have her sword gives her a few points too, I guess.

-Do you want to have children one day too uncle? - Rhaenyra asked.

-Oh yes. Absolutely. I would like to have a son one day to carry my name. But that must be what every man would tell you.

It was not often he discussed it, but it was the truth. He knew his bronze bitch from the Vale would never give him children however, and part of him was happy for it. She was not worthy of bearing any child born from the blood of the dragon.

-How would you like to name your son? - she asked him.

-Baelon. - he answered at once.

-That was my grandfather’s name.

-It was my princess.

-It’s very sweet that you would want to name a child after him. - Rhaenyra replied with a smile- You have a big heart uncle.

Daemon had to contain a laugh. Never in his life had anyone told him he had a big heart.

-You are the sweetest thing that ever was.

-I know I am.- she smugly replied -Everyone says so.

He laughed.

-Tell me something my little dragon, what does your mother do so she can get you to sleep?

-She sings to me.

-And if I sing to you, will you go to sleep.

Rhaenyra turned from one side to the other giggling.

-What’s the matter my little niece?

-You never sung to me before.

-I never sung to anyone before.

He rubbed his nose with hers and she closed her eyes.

-Let me see, what could be a good song to put my beautiful princess to bed?

 

There had never been a more heart-warming scene than prince Daemon with little Rhaenyra in his arms singing softly to her. He sang in high-valyrian and Mysaria marvelled at how his voice became even more beautiful when he used his mother-tongue. Little wonder though, she had always heard that valyrian was the most perfect language for songs and poetry.

She had never seen Daemon being as gentle and sweet with anyone before, and it was quite shocking to observe how unlike himself he was with little Rhaenyra. Every time she thought she was finally getting to know the real Daemon Targaryen, he always found a way to show her she did not. It was sad in a way and hopeless to assume she would ever truly know him.

How could the same Daemon that would delight himself in torturing people and cutting off body-parts of thieves and rapists, be the same man who would sing a lullaby to his niece to help her sleep after a nightmare?

After three, or four more songs the room was silent.

She took a peek from the curtains and saw that Daemon had gotten out of bed. He handed her dress and her cloak.

-Go…- he whispered. - Before she wakes up.

Mysaria dressed quickly, throwing lastly the dark cloak over herself. As the sweet moment was over, she felt angry with him once more.

-Did you have to open the door to her? - she complained as he escorted her out. - She is but a child, you owe her nothing!

-This is not the time to complain Mysaria! We shall talk later!

Without another glance at her, Daemon shut the door and returned to his bed where little Rhaenyra was already in deep sleep.

On her way back to the street of silk, Lady Misery was pondering. Often singers and poets would praise the beauty of a lady or another, not because they were beautiful, but because they were important, and every story and song needed a beautiful maiden in it. But that was not the case of the princess, not in the slightest.

She saw Daemon’s niece well enough. It almost hurt how perfect the girl was. More beautiful than a doll, with a mane of silver-gold waves, she had big dark-purple eyes, a haunting colour, even more mysterious than her prince’s.

Luciya’s words started to sound in her head.

Could Daemon really have anything else planned for when the girl was older? Did he want her for himself?

It was too disturbing of an image. The girl was a child of seven, and his niece.

“He is a Targaryen. Blood matters not to them. In six, seven years the girl will have flowered. She loves him now; how hard could it be for him to one day seduce her?”

The pleasure house was quiet when she returned. It was almost dawn after all. The two young girls, Annara and Faye were asleep by the fire, so Mysaria decided against waking them. She could change herself for the evening.

When she entered her room, she immediately spotted a small wooden box by her vanity. She opened it and inside found a lavish necklace made with white gold and adorned with blue sapphires. There was also a note next to it written in Daemon’s elegant handwriting.

She admired the piece and ran her elegant fingers over the cold stones. Her prince was indeed a mystery.

The next day there was not a pair of eyes that were not glued to her pale neck.

On the Red Keep, once again knocks on his rooms’ doors startled prince Daemon who woke up instantly almost jumping out of bed.

-Fuck!

Only after the words were out of his mouth did he remembered he was not alone.

He slowly turned his head to his right, half praying that she was still asleep. Of course, she was not, and he was greeted by a pair of big purple eyes staring at him.

-You said a bad word uncle. A real bad word.

There were several other knocks on the door.

-Daemon? Are you in there?

It was Viserys’s voice. Daemon rolled your eyes.

-You know my princess, I think your father might be looking for you.

Scooping Rhaenyra up in his arms, he went over and opened the door. Truth enough, Viserys was on the other side with Rhaenyra’s septa next to him.

-Rhaenyra! Me and your mother were worried sick! She almost collapsed and she went over to your room and your bed was empty. Of course, I should know that if you are getting into trouble than your uncle is surely with you guiding the way.

-Why brother must you always think the worst of me?

-I am not even going to answer that. - Viserys turned to his daughter- Did you slept well my princess? Did your uncle behave?

Rhaenyra looked at him mischievously.

-More or less.

-That’s good enough for Daemon. Now, kiss your uncle goodbye and let’s go my princess.

-Please don’t tell him that I cursed in front of you. - Daemon whispered in her ear while she kissed him.

The girl gave him one of her flamboyant smiles, yet she made no promises.

As she left in Viserys’s arms Daemon her him ask her how her night had been. Rhaenyra threw him a kiss and Daemon pretended to catch it.

As he returned to his rooms, he noted the small box with her gift next to his gold cloak.

“Damn it. I should have given her the necklace… that would guarantee she would not rat me out to Viserys. Well… here’s to hoping a little lullaby will work just as well.”

Chapter Text

107 AC

King’s Landing

-He’s gone.

Lord Otto Hightower was walking through the room with a big and happy smile on his usual sombre face.

-He’s gone. - he repeated louder this time.

Alicent was seating by the window watching as her father walked from one side of the room to the other, almost skipping with glee.

-Ah my beautiful daughter you did it. You married the King, you quickly conceived, and Lord Flea Bottom is gone! After he ran with that whore of his to Dragonstone and Viserys sent him back to the Vale, he decided to leave Westeros with the Sea Snake! And even better, I heard reports that that prostitute he kept as a paramour, Mysaria or whatever her name is, lost his bastard at the sea on her way back to Lys! - her father paused for a moment rubbing his hands together- Soon, you will give your husband an heir and settle the matter of the succession and all will be well.

Alicent’s laid a hand on her swollen stomach. The maesters had told her that her babe was expected to come in less than a moon’s turn. Tired as she was from carrying the child in her body, she was happier than ever. She had never expected to love someone as much as she did love the little being inside of her.

Looking over to her father, she hesitated for a moment before daring to ask.

-What if I give him a girl?

-Oh, Alicent so what? A girl this time, a boy the next. You are young and healthy, I am sure you will have boys soon enough don’t concern yourself over that. And then my beloved daughter, your boy shall become Prince of Dragonstone, and one day, King of the Seven Kingdoms! A boy born from our line. I couldn’t be prouder of you! You overcame all of my expectations, I always knew you had a bright future ahead of you, but not this bright.

Otto kneeled next to her and took her hands into his. Alicent gave him a small smile.

-You have the future of our proud house in your womb daughter. A Hightower on the throne one day… well, part Hightower, of course the boy will be a Targaryen. It’s important that you chose a good Targaryen name for him Alicent.

The queen frowned.

-I don’t know father… if I must be honest, I confess that I care little for their flamboyant names. They sound to, to… foreigner. - she said looking for the right words.

Her father turned to her.

-So? Of course, they are foreigner, or have you forgotten that the Targaryens came from Valyria?! They like those weird valyrian names of them what of it? You know as well as I do that they like to go around and pretend to be gods brought unto earth to rule over us mortals. As far as I am concerned, as long as we have a piece of the profit and we can rule, I will swear that their shit doesn’t stink no matter how well I know that it does.

-Still father- Alicent pressed- What if Viserys wants to name the child some ridiculous name. Alysanne or even Alyssa I could deal with fine enough, but what if my husband wants to name it something like Daenerys, Visenya or even Rhaenyra, as he named his daughter?

-What is the issue with the name Rhaenyra? - Otto asked, raising an eyebrow.

-It’s pretentious. They all are, but Rhaenyra most of all. It’s the name you give to a spoiled and entitled brat who thinks she is better than anyone else!

Alicent tried to hide the resentment she felt towards Viserys’s daughter, but it spilled out of her before she could stop herself.

Although her relationship with the girls had had an auspicious start, like old milk, it was beginning to sour. As much as Alicent tried she could not bring herself to care much for Rhaenyra. She was a pretty thing, of that no doubt, in fact beautiful as a doll, and at first glance not a person could not fall in love with her. But the girl had been spoiled rotten by everyone around her. She was arrogant and stubborn and quick to dismiss anything Alicent advised her on. Oft times, if Alicent pressed an issue, Rhaenyra would simply ignore her and then go ran back to her father to complain like a little snake.

Not a fortnight before, Alicent had paid her a little visit as her maids were doing the princess’s hair. She had kindly suggested to Rhaenyra that she would look lovely with the typical hairstyle worn by the ladies of the Capital.

-And why would I want to look as ridiculous as the other ladies of the court do with their hair up? - she has petulantly asked Alicent.- It makes them look as if they have a huge pumpkin stuck to their heads.- she had added giggling.

At least she had had the decency to blush when she noted that Alicent was wearing that same hairstyle. But had she apologized? Of course not, princess Rhaenyra Targaryen was too proud for it.

She had also tried to educate the girl, to teach her embroidery, how to run a household, she had even attempted to teach the girl to sing for she had a beautiful voice. All of these things and more Rhaenyra had promptly refused.

-Why should I learn how to make dresses if I have people who do that for me? And what good is learning how to rule a household if one day I am expected to rule over Seven Kingdoms? Singing? Do I look like a court jester or something? People sing to me, not I to them.

Alicent had even tried to talk it over with Viserys, which had come to no satisfactory fruition of course.

-She is not an ordinary girl my love. She is the future queen; you cannot expect her to do the same things that other ladies do. Rhaenyra is in the right.

-I have told you once and I will tell you again Alicent: you must keep the girl on your side. She might be female and her days as heir might be numbered but we need her on our side! Don’t forget that as long as Lord Flea Bottom lives, he will always pose a threat to us. He wanted this crown and I took it away from him and gave it to his niece. He will never forget it.

Otto paused a moment looking out the window.

-He isn’t a trustworthy man. He might be reckless and somewhat of an idiot yet still very dangerous. We don’t need more enemies. Viserys loves that girl and so must you.

Alicent crossed her arms over her chest.

-She makes it exceedingly difficult for me to do so.

-Don’t exaggerate Alicent, how difficult can it be to love a girl dubbed as “The Realm’s Delight” by the singers?

-She is not dubbed that on account of her personality I can promise you that much father.

-Still, everybody loves her. Nobles and commoners alike, and so must you.

Alicent rolled her eyes.

She felt the babe kick and laid her hands on her stomach again.

-Aegon. - she heard her father say.

-Aegon?

-For your child. He should be named after the conqueror, to remind the people that he was born to become King one day. It might be a valyrian name but it is a simple name so you cannot complain about it being too flamboyant as you put it.

Alicent still frowned a bit.

-Or would you rather name the babe Daemon?

-What?!

She felt as though her father had slapped her across the face.

-You heard it right Alicent. Or do you do not like to be reminded of the man for which you almost through your reputation and any chance at an advantageous marriage out of the window?

Furious with her father, Alicent bit her lip and simply stared at him in anger.

-No? Good. At least you still have your wits. Stop being stubborn and learn to listen to me. We must play our cards right to win this hand and I am telling you how to play it. And when in doubt, just remember what happened the last time you listened to your own judgment instead of mine.

Her father’s dark and cold eyes met hers for a moment.

Humiliation washed over her as if she was reliving the moment again and she had to close her eyes in an attempt to stop the tears.

-Well, I must leave for now seeing as I have important matters of the Kingdom to attend to.

Lord Otto kissed her forehead before leaving.

-Take good care of yourself my child, and of my grandson. Worry not, I am sure you will have a boy, and Westeros will finally have a proper heir!

Her father had been right.

As the ninth turn of the moon approached, she was taken to the birthing bed. For more than a day and a night she laboured, surrounded by an army of maesters and midwives as ordered by her sweet husband Viserys.

His late wife’s difficulties during birth had made him quite fearful and so he made sure that Alicent had every possible care at her disposal. Silly man, it had made no difference to her to have two people in the rooms or two thousand. Giving birth was a lonely experience, she was on her own, and if she failed, it would be on her and her child’s head. There was nothing that anyone could do to help her, and she found that during those hours, having people trying to comfort her only annoyed her. Particularly those stupid septas who would never know the pain of bringing a child into the world and yet they spoke as if they understood her.

Relief came when finally, she heard her babe cry for the first time. Even filled with more pain than she could describe she smiled, and when the small bundle was placed in her arms, she had almost forgotten about the suffering she had endured to bring him to the world.

-A boy your grace. - Grand Maester Runciter proclaimed- A robust and healthy boy.

She admired his small face and his wisps of fine silver air. And when he opened his eyes, she immediately saw that he had inherited the purple eyes of a true Tragaryen.

-You did it Alie! - her cousin Mina, recently come to court to serve as her handmaiden said. - You have a prince.

-Aegon. - the queen replied.

-Like the conqueror, a fine name your grace. - Grand Maester Runciter said.

-It was my father who suggested it, but of course that Viserys has to agree to it.

-I am sure he will. - Mina reassured her. - Can you imagine how happy the king will be? He has been waiting for a son for more than ten years, and finally, thanks to you, he has one! You gave birth to the future King Alie, and from your line, a line of Kings will come.

Alicent could only smile at her cousin’s words. Looking down at her babe she felt proud of what she had accomplished.

“I am no longer the young girl who served the Old King and had to spend her days locked away in a smelly room with an old man! I am a Queen now and someday, my Aegon shall be King!”

Even the name was growing on her.

When Viserys finally came, the rooms had been cleaned and she was composed and prepped, waiting for him with their son properly fed and bundled in her arms.

-My love. - she called out, she had been practicing that moment for weeks and her voice didn’t fail her- I present you our son Aegon. Your first son.

Viserys almost fell to his knees next to her, his purple eyes filled with tears.

-Oh, my beloved child, welcome to the world. At last we get to properly meet you. - he contemplated his son for a moment before turning to Alicent- Are you quite well my queen? I spoke with the maesters and they assured me that you are strong and that there is little danger to you. I sent the septons and the septas to pray for your quick recovery.

-I am quite well Viserys thank you. The important thing is that he is here.

Alicent’s eyes looked over to her son once more and then to Viserys, who had his eyes glued to her.

-More important than anything is your wellbeing.

She was deeply touched by his words. Viserys truly loved her.

-And you finally have a son of your own now my love. I am glad I could finally give you an heir.

-Son or daughter it matters not Alicent. For me it never did, and when my Rhaenyra was born I loved her no less for being a girl.

Alicent looked over at Viserys in disbelief.

-But you needed an heir.

-I already had an heir before our son was born. - he replied.

She was too incredulous to speak so she simply stared at her husband. Luckily for Alicent, her father soon entered the rooms.

-Let me be the first to offer you my congratulations my king. A son! And a healthy one at that!

-The gods were good Lord Otto, and mother and babe are both fine. I cannot wait to bring Rhaenyra so she can meet her brother.

-Aegon. - Alicent said in an attempt to awake Viserys- Prince Aegon Targaryen, named for the conqueror.

Both the queen and her father stared at Viserys waiting for his reaction.

-A fine name you chose. My parent’s youngest son was named Aegon as well, alas the babe died before he counted his first name day. Still, no need for such talk on such a happy occasion. - Viserys stood from her bed- If you excuse me, I will go and fetch Rhaenyra so she can meet her brother, she must be dying with expectation!

As soon as Viserys left, Alicent turned to her father.

-Did you see it? Why did he care so little that the babe is a boy? I was hoping he would proclaim Aegon his heir the minute he held him and nothing. He told me he was just as happy with a boy as he would have been with a girl!

Otto looked around searching for anyone trying to hear their conversation.

-Worry not, it is all too new for our king, I am sure he is still in shock from all of this and he is barely believing he finally has a son and heir.

-Still, his main concern after he saw that me and the babe were fine was to go and fetch his daughter!

-Calm down Alicent, you have just given birth and you have to regain your strength. Don’t say anything more on the subject and let me deal with this.

Viserys soon returned with his daughter the princess. The little girl looked lovely as ever in a pale pink dress with her long silver-gold hair lose. She had an unsure look upon her face and was holding her father’s hand tightly.

-Princess Rhaenyra, I present you, prince Aegon.

Rhaenyra’s face looked over to the babe and then over to her father again.

-He is so red… and wrinkly.

Something in the way the girl phrased it made Alicent’s face frown. Her father Otto soon intervened.

-So were you once my dear princess.

-I doubt it. - the girl quickly replied- My uncle once told me I was beautiful even as a babe.

The room fell silent as Rhaenyra mentioned the only thing no one could mention in Viserys’s presence: his younger brother Daemon. The king’s face turned to a rigid mask and his voice was stiff.

The princess quickly noted this and lowered her head. Alicent saw how her purple eyes had turned sad.

-Do you want to hold your brother Aegon princess? - the queen kindly asked her.

The princess was about to answer when her father Otto spoke.

-An honour for you princess Rhaenyra, to hold the Prince of Dragonstone and future King in your arms. What a story for you to tell him one day!

The girl’s face immediately darkened. Instead of answering Alicent’s question, Rhaenyra turned to her father most angry.

-I am no longer princess of Dragonstone?! - she demanded her little body shaking. - You gave me a ceremony father, you had all the lords of Westeros swear fealty unto me, and now, I am no longer your heir because HE was born?!

Viserys looked furiously over to Lord Otto before replying to the princess’s question.

-Lord Otto’s words my child, not mine. Of course, you are still Princess of Dragonstone. Your brother is born, and we are all very happy, but he will certainly not take your place as far as I am concerned.

Viserys kneeled in front of his daughter and took her hands into his own.

-I have told you this once, and I will tell you again. You are my heir princess, and one day you will rule as Queen in your own right. Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, the first of her name.

Rhaenyra gave her father a smile and then she turned to Alicent. Something in the way the girl looked at her made her remember of prince Daemon Targaryen’s cruel eyes and she felt the hairs on the back of her neck all stand.

Lord Otto’s face was incredulous upon hearing the king’s words and his mouth was still open.

After Viserys left to put Rhaenyra to bed her father finally spoke again.

-Don’t worry Alicent, don’t you worry. - in a way the queen thought he was reassuring himself and not her- He just didn’t want to upset the girl. He did not mean it. I will talk to Viserys and in a day or two your son shall be declared as prince of Dragonstone. After all, it could be no other way. I know I once said better the Realm’s Delight than Lord Flea Bottom, but now we have our prince Aegon, so the girl is no longer needed.

Lord Otto gave her a genuine smile.

-Worry not Alie, worry not. And now, let me hold this grandson of mine.

Alicent passed Aegon over to her father with a big smile on her face.

 

108 AC

Somewhere in the Stepstones

-Our best course of action is to attack here, here and here. We should also block all possible trade routes to force their ships to meet ours in the open seas. You should also fly high enough for the clouds to conceal the Blood Wyrm and then come down with full force to blast their fleet. If all goes well, they won’t be able to do anything.

Daemon’s eyes turned over to Lord Corlys Velaryon and he addressed the Sea Snake who had a satisfied smile on his face.

-Your plan sounds good enough, but unless we can meet the leader of the Triarchy on open field this victory shall be for not.

Corlys’s bright blue eyes, the colour of the sea on a summer day, turned over to Daemon.

-It’s still one more victory that we will have on them. Their forces may be larger, but we have Caraxes and no army can match a full-grown dragon.

-This will only be over when I kill that cunt Craghas Drahar, and you know it Corlys.

-What I know Daemon is that you won’t get your single match with the man just now, so until you do, we need another way to win this war. Because if you look over to here…

Daemon cut off the Sea Snake.

-Yes sure, fine whatever you say Corlys you are the sailor.

Corlys rolled his eyes but did not bother to reply to Daemon’s comment. Almost two years spent with the prince had taught him that there was no point in trying to talk back to the prince for as always, they would start throwing shade at each other, Corlys would at some point get too offended and leave, and a few days later he would have to break the ice and endure one of Daemon’s annoying smirks and some snide comment.

-Perhaps we can put aside the preparations for today. - Corlys suggested.- We are both tired.

Daemon didn’t reply yet he stood and left the meeting chambers with Corlys walking closely behind him.

-So, I heard your wife has been sending you news from King’s Landing.

-She has in fact yes. Alas I know that a well-informed man such as yourself already must know that your brother the king recently fathered a son with Alicent Hightower. - Corlys refused to refer to her as queen.

-I heard as much yes. - Daemon replied.

The prince was in no mood to discuss his brother and the Hightower bitch, so he quickly changed the subject.

-And how are things back in Driftmark?- he asked Corlys.

The Sea Snake smiled fondly.

-Everything’s good. Rhaenys wrote telling me how much she misses me and begging me to return for Laenor’s name day, he is about to turn three and ten.

-Almost a man then. And that should make your daughter… five and ten?

-Precisely. My pride and joy those two are. And both dragon riders. Laena commands the mighty Vhagar and Laenor rides Seasmoke, born from an egg we placed on his cradle after he was born. He loves that dragon more than anything. I guess there is more Targaryen in my children than Velaryon. Though my girl inherited my adventurous spirit, and thankfully for myself, she likes her dragon and flying much more than boys!

-My niece’s dragon was also born from an egg we placed on her crib after she was born. - the words were out of his mouth before prince Daemon could stop himself and the Sea Snake stared at him amused. -Syrax she named it, a yellow she-dragon.

-How old was she when she became a rider?

-Seven, I was the one who dared her to do it.- prince Daemon replied with a smirk.

-Seven?! Gods take you Daemon, that’s too young! Laena claimed Vhagar at twelve and I almost shat my pants! And Laenor became a rider at eleven and I still thought that was too damn young, but seven? You are lucky your brother Viserys has no backbone, were you to convince my children to mount those monsters at seven and I would have fed you your own entrails.

Daemon laughed.

-The younger the better. How many people can claim they became riders after seven name-days?

Corlys studied Daemon for a moment.

-It seems that your animosity towards your niece is no more.

The prince shrugged.

-My niece is not to blame for my brother’s idiocy. Not only did that imbecile not made me prince of Dragonstone, but not content with himself, he then married the Hightower bitch!

Corlys ignored Daemon’s musings.

-If only King Jaehaerys had been such an idiot I would now be seating in the Red Keep, and not here in the Stepstones with the likes of you…

-In any case it matters not Corlys. Now that he has a son, my niece is no longer Princess of Dragonstone, so she and I are on the same boat together in a sense.

There was something in the way Corlys looked over to him, that made him guess what the Sea Snake was about to say before he said it.

-You are less informed than I supposed prince Daemon. According to reports from the capital, Viserys insists that the girl is still his heir and his new son, your nephew, Aegon has not been proclaimed Prince of Dragonstone, much to Lord Otto’s distaste.

Daemon’s shock amused the Sea Snake.

-Oh yes, it appears that the great favour that your old friend Otto Hightower always held with the king is rapidly slipping away from his grasp and within the Red Keep tensions have been rising. There is almost a poetic justice to all of this, the man who worked so hard to undermined you now sees his own ambitions undermined by the same girl he used to get to you.

Corlys laughed and summoned a servant to bring him some wine.

-How old is your niece now anyway? When was she born again 97? Laena is four years older so she must be what, ten? Eleven?

-Ten. - Daemon replied- Her name day is at the year’s end.

He thought of her, something he hadn’t done since he had left King’s Landing in a fury. Sweet Rhaenyra with her little braids, her charming smile and her big purple eyes. When last he saw her, she had the promise of becoming a great beauty one day, and he wondered how she had been faring over the years… soon three years would mark the day when he last saw her, just hours before her mama died giving birth to her dead brother Baelon, “the heir for a day” as Daemon had dubbed him.

He never got to say goodbye to her before Viserys demanded he left the capital.

“Ten you are now my little dragon, soon to be eleven… in three or four years you will certainly have flowered. I wonder if your beauty will fade or increase as you grow?”

-Well, I never saw the girl, but I am guessing she will not lack for suitors. Every man alive and of marrying age will want that crown of hers. After all, she might be the heir, but she is female, thus the man who marries her one day will be the real king.
Daemon looked over to Corlys and smirked.

“The Old Sea Snake is correct, you will be the Queen one day my princess and what a pity it would be for you to marry the wrong person. But fear not my pet… perhaps in a few years, uncle Daemon can pay you a little visit to make sure you don’t fall into the wrong hands. After all, it would be a shame if the Hightower cunt tried to marry you to Alicent’s son.”

The prince excused himself and retired to his chambers for the evening. As he removed Dark Sister and placed her near his bed once again, he thought of his little niece again and how much the girl liked to wear those braids as Queen Visenya was reported to have worn.

“You loved Visenya yet you always had very little of her in you. You are softer and sweeter, and I doubt the warrior queen ever placed silk ribbons in her hair as you do.”

Perhaps the girl could provide him with an opportunity he had never seriously considered before…

Nonetheless, it was still too soon to make for any concrete plans. After all, Rhaenyra was still a flower yet to bloom and he had a war to win and men to kill.

109 AC

King’s Landing

Father had been wrong. For the first time perhaps, he had been wrong. They had a winning hand and somehow, when they laid their cards on the table they lost.

She had given Viserys a son, a daughter and she was now pregnant again and yet Rhaenyra’s position as his heir had not been changed.

Her father had tried to persuade the King, he had pleaded with the King and, in his anger and in front of Rhaenyra, had almost ordered and threatened the King to settle once and for all the matter of succession.

-And was it not you Lord Hightower who once spoke for my daughter Rhaenyra and that said that she should be queen over my brother? But the years have changed you mind I see and although my girl was good enough to be the first in line when Daemon was her rival, she is not good enough to be so when her rival became your grandson.

-Your Grace I…

-Enough! The matter of the succession is settled and Rhaenyra is the heir. I will hear no more talk of this Lord Hightower, am I clear?

Alas her father, ever the ambitious man, had tried again, and again. Until one day Viserys had enough and in front of court and nobles, descended the steps of the Iron Throne and removed the pin of the Hand from her father’s breast dismissing him as Hand and sending him back to Oldtown.

As the once proud Lord Hightower, who served as Hand for two kings left the Throne Room, princess Rhaenyra, now two and ten, glanced over at Alicent and smiled smugly. And she was not the only one to do so for the queen saw several other nobles whisper to each other and smiling satisfied with her father’s humiliation.

There had also been news from prince Daemon and his wars on the Stepstones to which her husband had laughed and had simply said:

-Let Daemon play at war, it keeps him out of trouble.

He agreed to send frequent vast sums of money to his reckless brother.

And as a bad omen she saw how even with Ser Criston standing by her side, the princess’s eyes grew hopeful at the mention of her uncle and a smile appeared in her beautiful face lighting it up like a sun.

-What is it Alie? -her cousin Mina asked.

-Nothing Mina. - she quickly replied. – Nothing.

Chapter Text

110 AC

King’s Landing

-I dreamed of him last night Syrax… of my uncle that is.

Dressed in her riding clothes, Rhaenyra was getting ready to take her yellow she-dragon Syrax to the skies. She was alone at the Dragonpit for the most part, save for the Dragon Keepers, soldiers whose job it was to take care of the royal dragons.

She stroked Syrax’s yellow scales again. Her little lady was the only creature who she could talk about anything. There were no secrets between them.

-I dreamt he kissed me. He had come back for my name day and when he got off from his dragon, he ran to me, took me in his arms and kissed me…

Rhaenyra felt a deep sadness take root in her heart as she spoke. Not a day had passed since she had counted her fourteenth name day and yet she had heard not a word on her uncle. There had been a huge feast with lots of singers and musicians, and her father had gifted her countless valuable jewels and new fabrics for her to commission more than twenty gowns. But the person she wished to see there had once again been absent.

When she awoke that day, after that wonderful dream. only to find herself alone in her rooms and no sign of her uncle she had been beyond disappointed, so much in fact, that not even seeing the handsome Ser Criston had brought any joy to her.

-It was a proper kiss too that he gave me Syrax, not a little girl kiss, but a woman kiss. - she said with a smile.

A cramp on her stomach made her flinch for a moment. Rhaenyra took a deep breath trying to steady herself.

-Life isn’t fair Syrax, I had the most wonderful dream, and yet not only did I find it was just a silly dream, but I also woke with the most terrible pain in my belly as I have never felt before. And…- she whispered the last part- My breasts are so tender.

It had been more than a year since her body had started to develop. Her hips had grown and so had her breasts giving her a lovely womanly shape. She noted how men’s looks had changed with her body and how they followed her everywhere. She knew how beautiful she was becoming, even more than when she was a child, and she would often stay awake into the long hours of the night admiring her figure in the mirror, many times with no clothes on.

The princess had a tiny waist, enviable to any maid, wide hips and shapely arms and legs. Her back and her backside were elegant and firm, and her breasts had grown larger and full, with perfect pink nipples. Often some of her ladies would look with envy to her. Hair had also started to grow on her womanly parts though it was just a thin layer of light gold, barely thick enough to cover her lower lips.

She now wore more womanly clothes as well that clung to her waist and with lower necklines. They made her feel desirable and grown.

Syrax gave her a small shriek and rubbed her huge head on Rhaenyra.

-Yes, yes. I know you can’t wait to go to the skies and that you are ignoring my every word… You are not a very nice little lady.

Syrax shrieked again clearly impatient.

With a small smile, Rhaenyra threw her long braid over her shoulder and climbed on her dragon’s back. She fastened the chains securing her to Syrax and nudged her lightly as a cue for her to spread her wings and take to the skies.

The soft wind on her face always made her giggle. There was not a feeling in the world that came close to flying. The princess felt like she owned the skies atop of Syrax, and everything underneath her. She had become a dragon rider almost seven years ago, although in many ways, each time she took to the skies felt a little like the first time.

Together, she and Syrax gave several laps around the city and were bold enough to fly over the waters of Blackwater Bay seeing the ships and the people bellow them, small as ants.

It had been several hours when they finally landed. As Rhaenyra dismounted Syrax, she saw her faithful Ser Criston approaching.

Syrax’s large yellow eyes followed her knight and gave him a less than friendly shriek. Her message was clear as water, she did not want the knight to approach.

-Your Syrax does not like me.

-Well, then she is the only lady at the capital that does not. - Rhaenyra told him with a smile.

He gave her a small smile but said no more as they left the Dragonpit together.

When at last they reached the Red Keep immediately she was surrounded by her ladies to help her bath. She bid Ser Criston goodbye and let the women fuss over her.

-You are a bit pale today princess.

-True? - she asked.

Her handmaid nodded.

-Well, I have felt a bit under the weather. I am sure a bath will help with my pain.

They helped her out of her riding leathers and undid her braid, letting her long silver-gold hair fall.

She entered her scorching hot bath and moaned with pleasure as the water soothed the discomfort in her lower stomach. Her ladies washed her hair and scrubbed her back with scented oils.

Lady Beesbury, an old woman married to Lord Lyman Beesbury and one of the most respected ladies at court entered her rooms.

-Your grace- she said bowing- I was bid to ask you to hurry. Your father told me you are to attend a Small Council meeting soon.

-Of course, Lady Beesbury, I wouldn’t want to keep them waiting.

Splashing some water on her face Rhaenyra grabbed either side of the tub to help her stand.

Lady Beesbury gasped at once as she saw her.

-My princess… best to say you are going to be a bit late.

-Why? - Rhaenyra impatiently asked.

-Because your moon blood just came.

 

-We should start discussing the princess’s marriage immediately!

-Aye we should your grace.

-If the girl has had her blood best to marry her quickly.

-I have several candidates I think your grace should consider.

The moment Rhaenyra and her father entered, her father’s advisors had started to speak about marriage and about her woman condition as if she was not there. The princess hid behind her father and felt her cheeks grow warm, the small girl in her wanted to run away, but the dragon in her raised her head and faced them.

-Good day to you all my lords. - she told them raising her chin and eyeing them all coldly.

She shouldn’t be afraid of them, they would serve her one day, not the other way around.

Some of them had the decency to look ashamed, others not.

-Princess, we were not expecting you here. - Septon Eustace said. - A girl in your condition should be in bed.

-My moon’s blood is not a sickness, and my place is here not in my bed. I will be queen one day, and I will never be kept away from my duties from something as silly as this.

The room fell quiet for a few moments before the men turned to her father once more.

The only person who kept silent throughout the whole thing was Lord Strong her father’s Hand.

As Lord Jasper Wylde continued to address Viserys going as far as starting to suggest the prince of Dorne as a good match for the princess, finally her father snapped.

-ENOUGH! - the room fell silent at last- We are not animals! My daughter may have had her blood but that does not mean that the mating season is open!

-Your grace pardon me the bluntness but the princess is four and ten and a woman flowered.

-And still too young. - Viserys shot back.

-Enough of this! - Lord Strong demanded. -Lord Jasper, I will remind you that you are here to serve at his grace’s pleasure. Not the other way around. If the king says that this subject is finished, then it is finished.

-Thank you Lord Strong. - her father said. - I know most of you are concerned about who my daughter marries, and I assure you all that none of you are more concerned than myself. After all, the man who marries the princess will not only be her husband, but will also be the royal consort and the father of the next King after her. So, rest assure that this matter shall be addressed. But not until the princess comes of age.

Rhaenyra looked over to her father and gave him a small smile. In truth, she had never given much thought to who she would marry one day. When she was a small child in her dreams, she would always marry her uncle Daemon, but then he had left and for the most part she had tried to keep him away from her mind. A few years ago, she had had a little crush on her handsome knight Ser Criston, in a way though, she thought that perhaps she was just using him as a way to distract herself, and in truth, he could never marry her nor anything of the sort! He was too beneath her! Too low! She was blood of the dragon and he a humble knight.

With upset looks on their faces, the meeting continued, and no one else dared any talk of marriage.

Afterwards, Rhaenyra went back to her room. The doors had barely been closed when there was a knock.

Her maids opened the door revealing a very happy and smiling Alicent.

-Oh my dear. This is such a wonderful occasion.

The queen went over to her and have her a very insincere hug.

Rhaenyra raised an eyebrow.

-No occasion worth of note, your grace. - she quickly replied.

-Of course it is princess! You flowered today, now you are a woman.

Without her leave, Alicent took a seat on Rhaenyra’s bed.

Rhaenyra clearly saw through her façade of kindness.

The two of them had grown apart and colder to each other as the years passed. Although Alicent thought her a fool only concerned with jewels and pretty dresses, the princess knew full well how she and her father had conspired against her trying to convince her father to make Aegon his heir instead of her. It had not been by chance that Lord Otto had been sent back to Oldtown.

-It’s most fortunate that your blood finally came. I was beginning to worry! Four and ten is rather late for a flowering.

Rhaenyra ignored her and went over to her vanity admiring herself in the mirror. Her hair looked specially shiny that day.

-If you have any questions princess, feel free to talk them over with me. As you know, I am a woman wedded and I have birthed three children.

The princess turned to her.

-Good for you my queen.

She could tell that Alicent was becoming irritated with her and this only amused her.

Suddenly, the doors were opened once more and Lady Beesbury entered.

-Excuse me your grace, I came to bring you… Queen Alicent? I did not expect to find you here at this hour!

Alicent looked like a child that had been caught doing something she shouldn’t.

-Well, I have come to offer a word of wisdom to our princess in this special day, and to kindly asked her if she had any questions.

-What could the princess possibly have questions about that her septa did not tell her?

Alicent gave a small giggle.

-Lady Beesbury, you a married woman, should know better than most that there are certain things the septas don’t understand and aren’t capable of fully explaining to our princess.

-What I know your grace, is that the princess is an unmarried maiden who knows just what she is supposed to know. The rest is up to her future husband to teach her on her wedding night. You know what my mother used to say when I was little? Ignorance is bliss.

-Well, if the princess ever needs me, she knows where to search.

-I won’t. -Rhaenyra quickly replied with a small smile.

As Alicent left, the princess and Lady Beesbury exchanged a look.

-That one acts as if half the court doesn’t know she tried to seduce prince Daemon… and was rejected.

Later that night, lying in bed with a cloth between her legs and a tray with a buttery mushroom soup on her lap, Rhaenyra was playing with the spoon and thinking to herself.

She was a woman now, capable of having a man and bearing a child. Finally, after fourteen years her blood had come. In true she was happy, before it she had begun to get worried, after all most of the ladies she knew had had their blood at two and ten, or three and ten. She was the oldest girl she knew that had still to enter womanhood.

The princess took a spoon full of soup to her mouth and savoured it closing her eyes.

There was a knock and the door.

-Come in her. - she called.

It was her father king Viserys. He was bringing a silver platter on his hands filled with freshly baked strawberry cakes, her favourites. She gave him a big smile.

-Papa!

-There’s my beautiful princess!

He quickly sat next to her on the bed, laying the cakes down.

-I thought they might cheer you.

-You thought right. - Rhaenyra replied grabbing one of the cakes. - They are my absolute favourites.

Her father also grabbed a cake taking a small bit.

-You have a sweet tooth like me.

Rhaenyra giggled.

-Are you in a lot of discomfort? - Viserys asked her.

She shrugged.

-It could be worse; it could be better. I am just glad it came; between us I was beginning to get worried. I am four and ten after all! At my age mother was already married at my age and had already been with child.

-Your mother was married too young… one and ten. And our marriage was consummated two years later and too damn early. At the time the maesters insisted it was fine, but after she started to have difficulties conceiving, well, they changed their tune…

Viserys was quiet for a moment.

-I am sorry she can’t be here with you at this moment.

Rhaenyra felt her eyes sting. Forcing herself to take a deep breath, she took another bite of her cake.

-That’s life papa. No point in crying about it.

Viserys’s eyes met hers.

-When did you became so wise?

She giggled.

-You must have been the only person who ever called me wise before.

He gave her a big smile.

-You know, my mother was a late bloomer like you, even later in fact. From what I heard my grandmother say, she only flowered when she was four and ten, almost five and ten, and not long afterwards they married her to my father. People used to make jokes about it.

Rhaenyra laughed.

-They loved each other, didn’t they?

-Who? My parents?

She nodded.

-Yes, very dearly. My father was very young when my mother died. But he never remarried. And there were a lot of women throwing themselves at him. He was faithful to his lady, until the very end. It brings joy for me to think that they are together now. It’s a pity you never got to meet your grandmother princess Alyssa.

-How was she? - Rhaenyra asked.

-Well, she was no Realm’s Delight. She had a crooked nose, a long face, mismatched eyes and tangled dirty-blonde hair without a hint of silver. If she was alive, she would have teased me as to how I had such a beautiful daughter. She was always smiling, always playing with me and your uncle. She enjoyed life and love and the skies.

Rhaenyra smiled again.

They shared the rest of the cakes together and Viserys made her laugh until her face hurt. After he left, she stayed awake for a while just thinking.

She sat by the window looking into the dark sky. There was definitely a storm brewing, and there was not a star in sight.

“I wonder if you miss me as much as I miss you… I wish I could speak, or even write to you, but what would I tell you? And where would I send my letters to?

Rhaenyra closed her curtains and decided to return to her bed. That night when she slept, she dreamt of red scales, long silver hair and his famous smirk.

 

111 AC

Somewhere in the Stepstones

The night air was cool and there were more than a thousand bright stars on the skies. A red shadow suddenly appeared, and the Rogue Prince whistled calling Caraxes back to him.

The great and lean beast descended and landed next to his rider shrieking softy as Daemon petted him.

-Just another boring night in the Stepstones my old friend. Is it me or is this place becoming duller by the day?

Conquering the Steps had been a thrilling and exciting prospect. It had taken three years and countless battles but finally, by 109 AC he had finally slaughtered Craghas Drahar, the commander of the army of the Three Sisters, or as they were better known in Westeros, the Three Whores, and had become King of the Stepstones.

The old Sea Snake Lord Corlys Velaryon had laid a crown on his head and proclaimed him king. And yet… that was not the crown he so desired. He was King yes, but of a meagre and forgotten place in the midst of the Narrow Sea.

He decided to take Caraxes to the skies. He always thought more clearly after flying.

When he returned there was a slave boy sent by magister Haryllo. He had come to ask him for leave, in the name of his master for him to visit Daemon at the Steps.

-My master is nearby and had hoped to be able to visit you your grace.

-And what is your master’s business with his visit? - Daemon asked removing his riding gloves.

-He did not say your grace.

Daemon raised one eyebrow.

-But, if it pleases you, he sent a gift to you.

-A gift?

-Yes, it is in your private chambers, he thought you might enjoy it.

The prince smiled, magister Haryllo’s gifts were always most appreciated.

He looked over to the magister’s slave.

-You may tell your master that he will be more than welcomed to the Steps. He shall have prince Daemon Targaryen’s hospitality for as long as he wishes. Let no one say I am not a grateful man.

The slave bowed and left.

With a smile on his face Daemon climbed the steps to his rooms. He opened the doors only two find two very lovely, and naked, young girls waiting for him.

“Perhaps the Steps are not as boring as I thought”

 

-May I offer my compliments on this delightful food prince Daemon. It had been years since I last sampled such a fine roasted duck.
Magister Haryllo was one of the most powerful and wealthy magisters that ruled Pentos. He was a rather short man with red hair and a long-pointed beard that he braided. He always wore flamboyant clothes of bright orange and red and his rings were always filled with rings.

Daemon studied his fat face for a moment.

-I know magister that you did not came all this way for some duck.

The man laughed and took another sip of his goblet.

-You know me too well prince Daemon. May I offer you a casket of Dornish Red? I recently acquired some and it truly is some of the best vintage I have ever sampled.

-I have no taste for things that come from Dorne. And that includes its wine and its women.

-Well, if you disliked Dorne before, I figure that the reason of my visit here will make you dislike it even more. I heard some disturbing rumours you see… it appears that what remaines of your enemies of the Triarchy have decided to seek an alliance with Qoren Martell prince of Dorne against us.

“Fuck!”

-I heard as much during my trip to Westeros. What remains to be seen is how Prince Qoren will respond to such a request.

Daemon laughed though there was no humour in the sound.

-Of course, he will accept! The cunts over at Dorne hate my family with passion. That son of a whore Prince Qoren will not pass over an opportunity to go to war with us and to try to kill some dragons. And the bastards over at the Three Whores are clever, they have no chances against Caraxes so they are trying to team up with the descendants of the cunts who more than a century passed, were able to slay Meraxes.

Magister Haryllo took another sip of his wine.

-For the meantime prince Daemon, this is all speculation. But I agree that we should keep our eyes, and ears opened.

Daemon nodded.

Haryllo was silent for a moment.

-I was very well received in your brother’s court.

-You were at King’s Landing? - Daemon asked surprised.

The magister laughed.

-I just told you I was in Westeros.

-Westeros is one thing, King’s Landing is another.

-Your brother is a most gracious host my prince. I was feasted and music was played, and beautiful women danced in my honour.

Just the memory of Viserys was enough to bring anger to the prince.

-Yes, Viserys is fat and happy and very good at sucking up to people.

-His generosity is legendary, that much is beyond dispute! Though not as legendary as that precious jewel he keeps stored in the Red Keep… I should be mad with you prince Daemon that you did not tell me about her.

The rogue prince raised one of his eyebrows.

Magister Haryllo had a rather perverse smile on his face.

-I have no idea of what you are referring to. - Daemon replied.

-What why am talking about prince Daemon is about the princess your niece. The delight of the Realm indeed for I have never seen a more beautiful girl. Looking at her, it was hard to believe she was a real maiden and not a goddess come to our planet to entice men into eternal damnation. I swear on my children’s life that I never seen a more splendid creature.

Daemon was surprised. Of course, that every now and then singers would come to the other side of the Narrow Sea proclaiming the beauty and grace of the Princess of Dragonstone, or as they preferred to call her, the Realm’s Delight. But they were singers… they were paid to praise a girl’s beauty even when she had none.

The last time he had actually talk to someone about her had been almost three years passed with the Sea Snake, when his companion had told him that sweet Rhaenyra remained her brother’s heir, even above her half-brother Aegon.

-It’s almost tragic that such a beautiful woman is to be queen for it makes her unavailable. Were she a mere princess I would have offered her father the Iron Throne’s weight in gold to have her hand in marriage.

Daemon raised an eyebrow.

-Do you even own that much money Haryllo?

-There’s always the Iron Bank prince Daemon. I might have more than half of that though, after all, I am a very, very wealthy man - he replied raising his goblet before emptying it.

-You know something magister. For the first time in my life I feel glad that my niece is my brother’s heir and not myself. Don’t get me wrong, I want that crown, yet the image of having my little sweet Rhaenyra with braids in her hair on her knees with your cock in her mouth is more dire than never becoming king.

The magister laughed loudly and asked for more wine. Daemon also filled his own goblet and took the wine to his lips sipping slowly.

-Is she really as beautiful as you say?

-More prince Daemon, more. It’s a good thing your friend Corlys is not here to hear me because, I have seen his wife and I have seen his daughter, and on my life, I believe your niece surpasses even them. The blood of Old Valyria runs in her veins and damn me, those purple eyes of hers were made to entrap men’ souls and to curse them into damnation.

“She’s four and ten now, she surely has flowered…”

-If you don’t believe me ask any of the men who accompanied me. But don’t think me the only one entranced with her beauty. Every hot-blooded man that night flocked to her as a moth to a flame. She puts all the other women to shame without trying. It took me a while to even notice the queen, so mesmerized I was with the princess!

Daemon smiled to himself thinking of how annoyed Alicent Hightower must have been when all eyes were on little Rhaenyra.

“Well, she is not so little now, almost a true woman.”

In his mind she was still a small child, enamoured with him more than she should be, with little braids in her hair and a smile sweet as summer wine. He should change that image and soon.

-I was surprised to see that the queen is not Targaryen. I thought your family followed the old valyrian customs and only wedded brother to sister.

-We sometimes wed cousins, or nieces and uncles. - he replied with a smirk sipping more of his wine. -Perhaps I should go to Westeros too. After all, it has been years since I last set foot in the capital.

Magister Haryllo gave him a lustful smile.

-I wonder if you prince Daemon are returning to Westeros for your longing of home, or because you long to see the beauty I told you about.

-I have seen the girl.

-Right choice of words you just used. You have seen the girl, not the woman.

-Magister Haryllo, we have known each other for quite some time now, so I believe I can speak freely. You know as well as I do that a girl becomes a woman after she has a man. The same way a rose is just a true rose after it blooms.

The magister laughed.

-Do you want the girl to yourself?

-She is to be queen of Westeros, she would need the right man by her side, and who better than her uncle and the king of the Stepstones?

-Are you jesting me, or are you speaking true?

-My dear magister, when have I ever jested about deflowering a beautiful maiden?

-You really are a son of a whore, but damn it I like you prince Daemon!

-Not as much as my niece does, I can promise you that.

-When will you depart then?

-Well… I am tired of the Steps. But I have to make some preparations before I go, and I should get some gifts for the Realm’s Delight.

-With whores we give them gold, but with rich girls, we have to give them presents…- magister Haryllo mused.

-She always liked presents, ever since she was a child. This time however, I should bring her something truly memorable.

He and magister Haryllo finished their meal and afterwards said their goodbyes and the fat man departed once more on his luxurious ship making his way back to Pentos.

His visit had proven most entertaining in more ways than the prince had anticipated. It was true that he was becoming more and more bored with ruling the Stepstones and it had been close to seven years since he had last been at the capital, and more than that since he had since his princess.

“Perhaps I should see for myself if you really are the beauty that I hear so much about.”

He could use her to become king, after all she would be queen one day and although she was of marriage age, he heard no talk of a betrothal or any upcoming marriage. Furthermore, Daemon needed to acquire some children and soon, he was almost one and three and thus far, as far as he knew, he had never fathered a child.

“Except when…”

He refused to think about it. About the egg he had to give back, about the letter that came from Lys, about the joy he had felt when she had told him and how passionately they had lay with each other that night…

“It doesn’t matter Daemon, it doesn’t matter. You lost the throne once when you played your cards wrong, but now the gods have given you a second chance. The girl always had feeling for you and now she is grown, you just have to seduce her and to marry her and the Iron Throne shall be yours. That will be easy enough, her papa is too busy with his new wife and the brats she spawned for him, and her new mama sees her as a threat. Oh, my beloved Rhaenyra, how much you must need a pair of strong arms to hold you.”

Daemon smiled to himself.

“I will convince my brother to set my marriage to the bronze bitch aside, and then I shall be free to take the girl to wife. She will make me king and she will give me the sons I was always meant to have, Targaryen princelings with silver hair and purple eyes that will continue my line. A line of Kings!”

The prospect of having his niece was becoming more and more inviting by the minute. In truth the solution of marrying them to each other was obvious and only a fool such as Viserys would have done otherwise. He should have long annulled Daemon’s marriage. He should have also made him prince of Dragonstone and betrothed Rhaenyra to him, tying their claims to the throne as one. The king’s brother and the king’s daughter married to each other. It was so obvious, that only a sucker like Viserys wouldn’t have seen it.

“What is it in this family about marrying uncles to nieces that gets everyone into such a raucous?” he asked himself, remembering King Maegor who had also been denied his niece Rhaena.

“One would think that after so much brother-sister fucking no one would bat an eye to uncles and nieces. Don’t worry my niece, we will show them my sweet Rhaenyra how good uncles and nieces can work together won’t we?”

She should make for a fine wife. He just hoped she was better at having boys than her mother.

“But first… I have a debt to settle with my beloved brother Viserys for everything he has done to me over the years… so I am sorry to say princess that you won’t arrive to your wedding night with your maidenhead intact. Don’t worry, I will guarantee you will be more than happy to get rid of your innocence. Let no one say that Daemon Targaryen is not a generous man.”

After a few more turns of the moon he finally found the perfect present for her. A jade tiara that had belonged to the Empress of Leng. He would give her father his crown, and her the tiara. He had also brought her many other gifts, books, a hawk, rings and jewels and many expensive fabrics for her dresses. The tiara would be the final gift, for her name-day, something memorable. And in good time, he expected the girl would give him quite a few gifts of her own.

So, as the first lights appeared over the skies of the Stepstones, Daemon Targaryen, the Rogue Prince, the Prince of the City, the Commander of the Gold Cloaks and Lord Flea Bottom, mounted his lean, red dragon Caraxes and set towards Westeros. It was almost the end of 111 AC and he did not plan to get back to his Kingdom anytime soon.

As they crossed the Narrow Sea and passed Dragonstone, Caraxes shrieked loudly happy to be back to the island where he had been born. Daemon smiled.

-Soon it shall be our home again my old friend, when I marry its princess.

A few hours later, they finally arrived at King’s Landing and Caraxes shrieked again, and louder.

Daemon looked down and saw the great Dragonpit at top of Rhaenys’s hill, a huge building that housed the Targaryen dragons. Caraxes had probably smelled the other dragons and he was responding to their scent, or perhaps…

-You wish to reunite with your small yellow friend too perhaps?

As they continued their path to the Red Keep, somehow the prince thought he heard a very faint dragon shriek answering Caraxes.

Chapter Text

92 AC

King’s Landing

Dark wings, dark words.

Or so it was on that fateful day on the ninth day of third moon of the year 92 after Aegon’s conquest when a letter came from Tarth written by the hand of Lord Tarth himself. In it, he told of how bravely prince Aemon had fought, and how bravely he had died.

-A crossbow bolt in the throat Your Grace, intended for Lord Tarth.

Jaehaerys sat quietly on the Iron Throne. He uttered not a single word though he felt his heart shatter into a million pieces.

His older surviving son. His heir. The pride of their house and a prince with so much promise in him, taken by a crossbow bolt struck by some lowly mirish pirates. It was almost laughable in some morbid way.

His grandson Viserys, five and ten had to reach for his wife Queen Alysanne to keep her from collapsing on the floors. In her grandson’s arms she cried and screamed for her son Aemon.

The prince’s own wife, Lady Jocelyn Baratheon, half-sister to himself and his queen also began to weep loudly. Corlys her son by law did the best to console her and so did her daughter princess Rhaenys.

The princess, daughter of his fallen son Aemon, did not weep. No more than a tear fell from her eyes and she quickly wiped it away. She was blood of the dragon and she always remembered it. Much too proud of a girl to do something as human as cry in front of others.

Baelon left immediately promising to avenge his brother. There was a loud shriek that echoed on the skies as the cries of Vhagar filled all of King’s Landing. Bells were also ringing throughout the night, for Aemon was prince of Dragonstone and future King of Westeros, and Jaehaerys planed on giving him in death every honour he would have had in life.

Nobody ate that night and it was with a heavy heart that king Jaehaerys retired to his chambers taking with him his sister and beloved wife queen Alysanne.

He helped her lay on their bed and dried her tears.

-Another one of my babes dead Jaehaerys, another one. How many have we lost so far? Our first born who never lived Aegon, our daughter Daenerys still a child, Daella and Alyssa both on the birthing bed, Viserra drunk in the streets, and finally, Gaemon and Valerion still as babes. Saera is as good as dead…- she paused- And now my Aemon.

Her blue eyes looked sadder than Jaehaerys had ever seen them.

-You have a child and throughout your whole pregnancy you are afraid. What if something goes wrong? Then there is the birth when both lives, the mother’s and the child’s, are at risk and still you hold on to hope and pray to the Mother for strength. And if your babe is born then you pray everyday for him to be strong and to grow and you continue praying until he is no longer a child. But once he reaches adulthood you hope that he is finally safe… and turns out Jaehaerys… that he wasn’t- fresh tears fell from her face- And all it took was a damn bolt.

Alysanne covered her face with her thin hands.

-What is the point to any of this Jaehaerys? Perhaps the masters were right all those years ago, perhaps we really were cursed by the gods when we wed one another.

Jaehaerys took her in his arms as she wept.

-Don’t say that Alysanne! Don’t you dare say it! I loved you then just as I love you now. We were born to be together; you are the keeper of my heart and I will love you even after we are both just ashes. I would have never taken another for wife. - he turned her face to his so that they could look into each other’s eyes- I never had another woman in my life and I never wanted another. For me, there could only ever be you.

-Oh Jaehaerys…

Their lips met and they kissed each other just as fiercely as they did on their wedding day so many years ago.

When they pulled apart, Jaehaerys’s face was also stained with tears.

-We must hold each other through this grief my love, and we must remember that this is not the end. We have another son Baelon, and he and our lost Alyssa have given us two wonderful and strong boys our Viserys and our Daemon, both so full of promise. So, we must hold our heads high and move forward. Our Aemon will not be forgotten.

-Nor his daughter our princess Rhaenys. - Alysanne said- You must make the preparations to officially name her princess of Dragonstone.

Jaehaerys stared into her eyes yet gave no answer.

-Did you hear me Jaehaerys? - Alysanne pressed taking his hands into her own. - Preparations must be made to name her your heir as her father had been before. It’s her birthright!

Jaehaerys stood from their bed and went over to close the curtains over their bedroom window.

-It’s late my love and it has been a long day. We shall talk this over in the morning.

Alysanne narrowed her eyes yet she remained silent.

The king called over Grand Maester Runciter and asked for something to help them both sleep.

 

In another bedroom in Maegor’s Holdfast prince Baelon’s sons were also preparing themselves for bed.

-Will our father be prince of Dragonstone now Viserys? - prince Daemon, a tall and lean boy of ten asks.

He wears his silver hair long, almost reaching his shoulders, and his eyes are a bright shade of lilac.

Viserys is the older of the two, almost five and ten. His hair is not as straight as Daemon’s and there is gold mixed with the silver. He has a more robust figure and a handsome face in which a smile can almost always be seen. His eyes are a bright shade of purple and they are friendly when they look at his younger brother.

-I don’t know Daemon, I think it’s up to grandfather to decide.

-Why? - Daemon asks. - Our father his is oldest son now, to whom else could he give the title of prince of Dragonstone?

-To our cousin Rhaenys of course. She was uncle Aemon’s daughter.

-She is a woman. - Daemon replied. - She can’t possibly become queen.

-I think that’s up to our grandfather to decide. He is the king after all so his ruling is final.

Daemon climbed over to his bed.

-What would you do in his place Vis?

-I don’t know. Give it to Rhaenys perhaps.

-But she is female! - Daemon insisted. - She can’t inherit. It’s Andal law. - the prince added remembering his boring lessons with his maester.

-We are not Andals Daemon. We are Valyrians, and we make our own laws. Or have you forgotten that it is also against Andal law to wed brother to sister and yet our family does so and has for thousands of years.

-We are blood of the dragon; we do as we want to. - Daemon agreed.

-Kessa. - Viserys said using the valyrian word for “yes”- And that is why grandfather will choose as he likes.

Viserys climbed to his bed and pulled the covers over himself. The boys were silent for a moment before Daemon spoke again.

-I hope he chooses father.

Viserys smiled.

-Father would make a great king. - he agreed.

-And if father becomes king one day, you will be his heir Vis, you will become prince of Dragonstone, and one day you could become King yourself! Wouldn’t that be splendid?

-I don’t know Daemon…

-You should know Viserys! King Viserys the first of his name!

Viserys laughed.

-I think you are putting the carriage before the horses. Anyway, it’s late and we should go to sleep.

They blew out the candles, but sleep didn’t come for Daemon. His mind was racing through the recent events and as much as he tried to close his eyes, they kept opening. Viserys was already asleep in the bed next to his so he couldn’t wake him.

He went over to the window and sat by it admiring King’s Landing in the dark. He had hoped to see some of the dragons flying but apparently, they were all asleep at the Dragonpit.

Daemon wished he had a dragon of his own. When he was younger, he had hoped to claim Meeleys the Red Queen, but unfortunately his cousin Rhaenys had got to her first and had become his rider almost four years ago.

Of the dragons housed there only two did not have riders. Dreamfyre and the great Balerion the Black Dread.

He didn’t want Balerion though, as magnificent and formidable as he was, he had heard the Dragonkeepers saying that he was too old and too slow. Dreamfyre did not seem like a possibility. Whenever he visited the Pit she would ignore him and once he had tried to pet her and she had shrieked at him in a most unfriendly way.

-The she-dragons are more temperamental my prince. Like women. - one of the Dragonkeepers had told him.

Meleys had always liked him though.

“Damn Rhaenys!” Daemon thought to himself, “Thanks to her I will likely never have a dragon!”

The thought was terrifying to him. Both of his parents had been dragon riders and he very much intended to become one in good time. After all, what good was it to be a Targaryen if he didn’t ride a dragon?

“I would be just as common as any other man. Silver hair and purple eyes matter little if I do not bond with a real dragon.”

He had always been told that he was no ordinary boy. No one in his family was. They were Targaryens from an ancient family of the Old Valyria and dragon’s blood ran in their veins. That was why they had silver hair and strange purple, lilac, violet or indigo eyes and why they liked the heat more than common men. They also wed brother to sister, uncle to niece and cousins to each other as to not sully their pure linage. They were almost gods in a way.

So he was not a regular boy. He refused to be. And he would claim a dragon of his own! He was just not sure who he would claim…

The next day both he and Viserys had been free from their lessons and Daemon was beyond content. They were not summoned the day after, nor the day after that. But a week later, seven days after the death of their uncle prince Aemon, and with no sign still of their father, their maester called upon them for their morning lessons.

Viserys, always kind and polite said that they would soon go. Daemon on the other hand pouted and crossed his arms over his chest.

-It’s not fair that we must go! - he complained over his porridge. - And I hate maester Petyr. His lessons are more boring than watching grass growing!

-Well I like my maester, he is always telling jokes and laughing. - Viserys said.

Daemon rolled his eyes. As far as Viserys was concerned as long as he could laugh in a situation, all was fine and dandy.

His brother poured more honey on his porridge and Daemon wondered how he managed to eat as much sugar and sweets as he did.

Once they finished their meal, they left for their lessons. A lot of young girls close to Viserys’s own age smiled and waved at him as they walked past them, and his brother greeted them all with a kind smile.

-This is you Daemon. I will come and fetch you when it’s time for our midday meal.

His brother gave him a tight hug. Once he let go, Daemon pulled his hair back and entered his lesson with maester Petyr.

Time seemed to slow down as the maester went on and on about boring things. Daemon spent most of the time daydreaming about his fencing lesson he would have during the afternoon. He was much better at that than during his maester’s boring lessons on politic, mathematics, geometry and history. Though he did enjoy his lessons about ancient Valyria, his family’s ancestral homeland.

Luckily for himself, maester Petyr decided to finish the lesson sooner since he had some business to attend to with Grand Maester Runciter, so Daemon was free to go before midday.

He happily skipped out of the room, hoping to practice a bit with his sword before he went to meet Viserys for their midday meal. On his way toward the courtyard though he was surprised by no other than Corlys Velaryon.

Lord Velaryon was the husband of his cousin princess Rhaenys. Although she was but eight and ten, he at nine and three was twenty-one years her senior. He was a youthful man nonetheless with bright silver hair and eyes that were a bright sea-blue colour mixed with purple. The Velaryons like the Targaryens had came from Valyria, thus they shared their unique physical characteristics.

He was also a respected member of his grandfather’s Small Council and served him as Master of Ships.

-Well, well, well. Look who we have here. - Corlys said.

Daemon raised one eyebrow at his comment.

-Shouldn’t you be mourning the death of your father by law?

-And I have been. But I wanted a little talk with you, man to boy.

-I don’t know how a person your age and married can call himself a boy but I guess you must have your reasons.- Daemon replied.

Corlys’s face turned red. He grabbed Daemon’s arm and dragged him into a deserted corridor so no one could hear them.

-You must think you are very funny prince Daemon.

-I do actually. Thank you for noticing.

-And who tells you that you are funny? Your wet-nurse?

-Yes. And she just happens to be your mother!

Corlys was fuming and stared angrily at the boy who was giving him a cruel smile.

-I should give you the smacks that your father didn’t, boy!

-If you hit me, I will tell my father that you attempted to touch me. Down there. - Daemon threatened.

Corlys face looked beyond shocked.

He pinched Daemon’s arm.

-Ouch! - the boy complained.

-How dare you say something like that?! Go ahead and tell that story, no one will believe you!

-Try me! - Daemon challenged- I heard that the master of arms tried to make the son of Lord Redwyne suck his cock and when the boy complained to my grandfather, the man was sentence to castration and the Wall. I wouldn’t take that chance if I were you.

And for your information I stole books from Grand Maester Runciter’s library, so I know just what to say… I wonder how my cousin Rhaenys would react?

-You are a son of a whore. - Corlys replied narrowing his eyes.

-Actually, I am the son of a princess. - Daemon smugly told Lord Velaryon. - What do you want with me anyway old man?

-I want my bribe back. All two thousand gold dragons.

Daemon smiled.

A little more than two years ago Daemon had caught an unmarried Rhaenys coming into the Red Keep at the very early hours of the morning and slipping into her bedchambers. She was wearing a dark cloak and her hair was a mess. The prince sometimes liked to spy on servants and some of the knights at the Keep and he knew what went on between men and women, so it was clear to him that dear Rhaenys had a lover. He just needed to figure out who.

That part was the easiest for he noted the next night during dinner how Rhaenys and Corlys exchanged looks with each other and how their eyes lingered in the other.

He slipped into Corlys’s private apartments and caught them both naked. In exchange for his silence he demanded two thousand gold dragons, which Corlys paid, and not a week afterwards Corlys asked Rhaenys to marry him.

-I don’t think so Corlys. That deal was closed, and that ship has sailed. Besides I already spent that money.

It was a complete lie, it was hidden on his bedchamber.

-You are a child! What could you have possibly spent that money on?!

-It’s none of your business. And why are you asking for that money back anyways.

Corlys looked uncomfortable.

-Oh, I see. Because her father is dead now, so it doesn’t matter. Wrong. I could tell any number of people Velaryon. Grandfather. Grandmother. Father. Just to name a few, so stop trying to steal money from a child when everybody knows that your family is richer than the Lannisters!

-That’s not…

The man was lost for words.

-Yes, it is. Stop being so greedy and leave me alone. It’s just two thousand gold dragons. Besides I heard your wife is pregnant, so you have better things to concern yourself with.

Corlys’s eyes bulged in his head.

-How can you know that?!

-I have my sources. - Daemon told him as he walked away.

It was almost midday, so he decided to go and meet Viserys.

 

The next day the sun had barely risen in the skies when a loud shriek echoed through King’s Landing. It was Vhagar returning from Tarth, and she carried with him prince Baelon. Flying next to Vhagar was a lean and formidable dragon, Caraxes, who had been the mount of prince Aemon.

Baelon announced to his father and to court that prince Aemon had be avenged and with tears in his eyes, Jaehaerys embraced the Spring Prince and thanked him.

Finally, they could put prince Aemon to rest.

The whole city gathered to say the final farewell to their beloved prince before his faithful dragon Caraxes burned his body per valyrian custom. After the prince’s body was engulfed on the Blood Wyrm’s red flames, Caraxes gave out a shriek and took to the skies to mourn over his first rider.

There was not a face that day that was not glistening with tears. Well, perhaps all except one.

Prince Daemon was almost smiling as he saw the great red dragon spread his wings and take to the skies.

-Isn’t he a sight to behold? - he asked his older brother Viserys. - He sort of looks like a male version of Meleys don’t you think?

Viserys gave him a small smile. Daemon never spoke about their dead mother princess Alyssa, never asked about her. And yet, the prince was always looking and trying to approach Meleys when she was at the Dragonpit, though he had sought her far less after she had been claimed by Princess Rhaenys.

-They say he is one of the fastest there at the Dragonpit. - Viserys said.

-And now he is available…- Daemon whispered. - Do you think father would let me try to tame him for myself?

Viserys looked around.

-Now would likely be a bad time to press the issue Daemon. Father loved our uncle prince Aemon more than anything. Not to mention that you are still too young.

Daemon raised his eyes and gazed upon his father. He thought that he had never seen him look so old as in that moment when he had just lost his best friend and brother. His purple eyes looked sad and had dark circles under them. Yet, when Baelon saw his younger son staring at him, he gave him a smile.

-My beloved son Baelon has avenged his fallen brother, our treasured prince Aemon. It is my and the queen’s wishes for Aemon’s ashes to be buried in Dragonstone next to those of his dead siblings.- King Jaehaerys turned to his son Baelon- I trust a quick trip in Vhagar will allow you to do this my son and I could think of no better person to do so.

Prince Baelon gave his father a faint smile.

-Before we all leave to rest after the recent events there is another issue that must be settled. The succession.

Every eye in the room was locked on the king, and no pair of eyes was so eager as those light violet eyes of princess Rhaenys.

-Baelon.- King Jaehaerys said turning to his son- I King Jaehaerys Targaryen, the first of my name, King of the Andals, the Rhoynars and the First Man. Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm hereby name you Baelon Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone and heir to the Iron Throne.

Balon fell to his knees.

-I am honoured father.

Everyone in the Throne Room cheered and clapped enthusiastically, for Baelon the Brave, the Spring Prince, was beloved by all, and his recent action to avenge his fallen brother Aemon, had only granted him even more love and admiration from common and noble alike. Everyone was pleased with his appointment as the new heir. Well… almost everyone.

Prince Rhaenys’s face fell as she listened to her grandfather’s words. Next to her Corlys Velaryon her husband, looked even more surprised by the announcement. Her mother Lady Jocelyn Baratheon, widow to prince Aemon, and her brother also looked upon the king outraged.

As the cheers and claps died down, princess Rhaenys approached her grandfather.

-That’s it then?!- she demanded; her violet eyes furious- This is how I am passed over in favour of my uncle?! With just a few words on a ceremony little more than seven days since I lost my father? I ask how can he became heir grandfather, when I am the daughter of the Prince of Dragonstone and I am carrying his grandson inside me?

The room was quiet, and every eye turned to the dark-haired princess.

-You have robbed my son of his birthright! - she angrily proclaimed. - And I hope that this decision will haunt you for the rest of your life!

-Rhaenys calm down. - Maegelle, daughter to the king and queen, who was a septa, said as she approached her niece. - You must think of the child.

-I am thinking of my child aunt! But my grandfather clearly is not seeing as he just spit on his face! You might be King, but there are laws of inheritance that ought to be followed! - she angrily proclaimed.

-Princess. - Grand Maester Runciter intervened- According to Andal Law the male line prevails over the female line. As long as you have an uncle as he has sons, you are not the next in line. Your grandfather is very much following our laws.

It was Corlys’s turn to speak and he came into the defence of his beloved princess.

-Andal law never mattered to the Targaryens! Not when you were marrying brother to sister, and not when at least two of your kings took more than one wife! So why now?

-The matter of succession has been settled. - Jaehaerys coldly said addressing everyone- I have thought long and hard on the subject, and whilst we are from the Old Valyrian Freehold in many ways our laws matched those of the Andals. Remember Lord Velaryon that your own family comes from there and that it was always a man who ruled Driftmark, the same way that happened in Dragonstone. My sister Rhaena was older and the crown was given to me. And Visenya was also older than Aegon and yet he was the Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, not her.

Corlys Velaryon’s face was dangerous. He stood next to his wife the princess and coldly addressed the king.

-I will not stand here and withstand such a humiliation thrown at my house, at my wife and at my unborn child. And if you your Grace, have forgotten what is correct than rest assure that I have not. I will no longer serve under a King who betrays his son’s memory before he is cold in the ground! I hereby resign my position as Master of Ships!

-Careful Ser! - Ser Ryam Redwyne, Lord Commander of the Kings Guard said taking a step towards Corlys.

-You are the one who ought to be careful! And I am Lord Velaryon to you.

Eyeing the court for one last time, Corlys and Rhaenys exited the rooms without asking for the king’s leave. They were followed by Lady Jocelyn and her brother Bormund Baratheon, Lord of Storm’s End, who left without giving king and court a second glance.

Everywhere one looked, faces were shocked, others outraged and almost everyone was whispering.

-It is a shame how my granddaughter has behaved. - Jaehaerys said- Alas, she is young and hot-blooded. Fear not Baelon, all is well. - the king said resting a hand on his son’s shoulder whose face looked troubled.

-You are the one who ought to be ashamed of yourself!

There was a collective gasp and all eyes turned to the Good Queen Alysanne.

-How dare you do this to our grandchild?!- she demanded. - How dare you insult my son’s memory like this?

-I will not discuss this here Alysanne. We will speak later!

-No, no we shan’t. - she spat- I will have you know Jaehaerys that a ruler needs a good head and a true heart. A cock is not essential. If your Grace truly believes that women lack the wit to rule, plainly you have no further need of me.

-Enough Alysanne! - Jaehaerys almost screamed- I am king here!

-Then be king Jaehaerys. Alone.

Once again, a person left without asking the king’s leave. This time, it was his beloved queen Alysanne, and nothing that her children could say was enough to make her change her mind. Not an hour later Silverwing took to the skies and returned to
Dragonstone, taking with her Jaehaerys’s queen.

Daemon and Viserys looked at each other.

 

Princess Rhaeny’s dragon Meeleys was also being prepared for travel and so were the Velaryon ships. Lord Corlys said that he would not spend another night on the capital after the recent events.

Rhaenys was as beautiful as ever. She wore her riding leathers and her black hair was pulled back. But there was anger in her young and perfect face.

Corlys went over to her and kissed her passionately. A single tear fell from her eyes and after that she could not hold it in anymore.

-How could he?!- she asked her husband- How Corlys?! He took everything away from me… was it not enough that I lost my father, that my son will never sit upon his grandfather’s knee and then he goes and takes the crown away from me to give it over to my uncle Baelon. And why was that?! Because he was a man!

Corlys embraced her and held her as she cried.

Rhaenys would have never allowed herself to cry in court in front of the court and nobles, but alone with him, in his arms, she did as he had ever seen her do before. She cried in sadness and in anger.

-Don’t worry Rhaenys. The gods are just, and they won’t sit still before this injustice! - Corlys assured her.

Rhaenys pale violet eyes, framed by dark eyelashes, the most beautiful he had ever gazed upon, stared at him.

-Oh, my love. You might have one and twenty years more than me but, in many ways, you are still a child if you believe the gods justice. - Rhaenys’s hand laid over Corlys’s cheek. - If the gods were just my father would still be alive.

She looked over at King’s Landing one more time.

-If you do not mind, I will leave first with Meleys. I cannot stomach another second here! - she spat.

Corlys’s eyes were sad.

-You my captain, are free to ride her with me if you want. - she told him with a dashing smile, remembering the first time she had taken him for a ride… on Meeleys that was.

-I might have Targaryen blood in me princess, but my element is the sea. I will go on my beloved Sea Snake if you don’t mind and I will meet you again at Driftmark.

With a final kiss, Rhaenys climbed on Meleys’s back and took to the skies.

Corlys’s eyes followed the Red Queen until she vanished in the distance. When he turned around, he saw a pair of lilac eyes that belonged to a silver haired boy.

-Oh, it’s you…

-Not very friendly, are you? - Daemon asked.

-Not to a little shit like you! - Corlys shot back a bit too loudly, for all his men’s eyes looked over at him.

-Did my cousin really left?

-If you have been standing there long enough then you already know the answer.

The boy looked sad all of a sudden. Quickly though, he went back to his smug look.

-Good. The Red Keep is always crowded with so many people. Perhaps I will ask my father, the prince of Dragonstone, for your rooms now that they are no longer occupied.

-Tired of your nursery, are you? You do ask him for my rooms… after you have been weaned.

Daemon’s eyes were angry.

-And by the way Targaryen, perhaps use the two thousand gold dragons I gave you to lose your maidenhead in a few years. - Corlys mocked.

His face got red.

-I don’t need money! Look at my face, any woman in a few years will want to have prince Daemon Targaryen in her bed!

Corlys pretended to be examining him.

-You look like a girl with short hair if you ask me.

-And you look old! - the boy replied.

He raised one of his eyebrows.

-Is that the best you can come up with?

-Good enough for the likes of you.

-Run along know prince Daemon and go play and annoy someone else. I have ships to prepare and men to command.

The prince turned around and left. Corlys noted however that he was not going to the Red Keep but instead he was following the path to the Dragonpit.

“I am not even going to try and understand the Targaryens.” He thought to himself.

Not an hour later his ships set sail to Driftmark. It was the year 92 AC and he wouldn’t set foot in the capital again for nine years.

He could have been prince consort, and his wife could have been Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. But that was not the way of the world.

Chapter Text

105 AC

King’s Landing

It was past midday when Viserys came to visit his queen.

For the past moons, Aemma had been spending her days lying in her bed and resting. For company she had only her ladies, the maesters that came to see her and the eventual visit of her husband or daughter, though the maesters advised against the child visiting her so often.

Her belly continued to grow heavy with the child she carried, the rest of her however, continued to grow thinner with passing each day.

She felt so weak that she was unable to even walk on her own without the help of her ladies and she was confined to her bed most of the time. Even eating or breathing too deeply was hard on her.

-How are you feeling this morning my dear?

If Aemma had any doubts about how sick and frail she looked, one glance at Viserys’s expression would remove them. Her husband was a good-natured man, always smiling and cheerful, it was one thing she liked about him, he would always tell her how serious she was, and he would constantly try to make her laugh. But that day, his face was very solemn and concerned and he didn’t feel like laughing.

-Well this child is draining me completely which I hope is a good sign that he will be strong and healthy.

She laid her hands on her stomach and felt very sad. The mere thought of losing another babe was more than she could take.

Aemma had carried so many little lives in her and yet, the only one who actually lived was her daughter Rhaenyra, born so strong and so beautiful with quite the pair of lungs. As the wife of a prince, they had always told her it was her duty to give her husband sons, and yet even as a girl, her daughter had given her such joy that she didn’t thought possible she would have loved her anymore if she had been a boy. Viserys shared her opinion and he had been no less happy when it was announced that the babe was female. Nonetheless, he still needed an heir.

During the past moons, as her belly continued to grow and she hadn’t had a miscarriage, she continued to focus on her own living child and praying deeply that this new babe might live as well. If Viserys and her had been successful one time, then certainly they could do it again. They had to.

-Everything will turn out fine Aemma, I am beyond certain!

She gave her husband a sympathetic smile.

-That’s a very sweet thing to say on your part Viserys, but as you know, more often than not things did not turn out so good. I don’t mean to say I don’t share your hopes, nevertheless we should be realistic.

Viserys’s eyes turned very sad. A part of Aemma felt guilty about her bluntness towards him. She might be strong enough to deal with the ugly true of their circumstances, but he was not.

Even after losing his mother so young, Viserys still had a very privilege life and he had always been surrounded by people who loved him.

“I on the other hand was a child of one and ten when I was taken from my home and family and brought here to birth children for House Targaryen. All because my mother was some Targaryen princess who I never met.”

Aemma immediately felt guilty of her thoughts.

“No. You can’t think like that. Your father did what he thought was best at the time. He married you to Viserys so you could be queen and so one day my son by him would sit on that throne. You might not love him, but he is kind and good to you and he gave you Rhaenyra.”

Just thinking about her daughter made everything look better. It had all been worth it so that she could have her, and her little girl was everything a princess of their bloodline ought to be and more.

She gave Viserys a smile and he took her small hand into his much larger one.

-Let’s change the subject, shall we? How is my princess, I have yet to see her today.

That immediately brought a big grin to Viserys’s face.

-With my brother Daemon of course, where else could she be? I believe they have spent the morning flying. Not too far don’t worry! Syrax is still small and she tires easily.

The smile on Aemma’s face disappeared at once. Her cousin and her had a courteous relationship between them and he had never been unkind to her or unpolite in any way. With other people though, it was a different matter.

She had known his wife Lady Rhea Royce. In fact, before her father had died and she inherited Runstone, and she had been one of her ladies that had accompanied her from the Vale to King’s Landing. Like her, Rhea had not cared for the capital, nor for its people, the food or the smells, and she had cared even less for Daemon.

Even before they had become betrothed, she disliked him deeply. When they had married, their mutual dislike had turned to hate.

“His days are spent between riding that red beast, practicing with that sword of his he likes more than his own mother, drinking and whoring. I have not gained a husband, I have gained a spoiled child who sometimes comes into my bedroom at the late hours of the night to perform his duty, and quite badly I would add.” Rhea had once written to her, “I thank the Mother almost every day that he has not gotten me with child for I would loath having to carry any spawn of his and I have no doubt that his children will be as unable to show any shred of decency and kindness as he is.”

Daemon also disliked, even hated her, and she suffered constant humiliations and provocations from his part. He went as far as publicly describing her as his “bronze bitch”, a great insult both to herself and her house.

Although Lady Rhea was perhaps the best-known case, Aemma knew she was not the only person he mistreated. He was not a good man and she knew that his kindness towards her daughter was far from genuine.

She spoke no word against it of course, Viserys was blind when it came to his younger brother, and Rhaenyra loved her uncle dearly, but Aemma worried much about his true intentions towards her. Rhaenyra was valuable, the king’s only daughter, and Daemon saw himself as his heir. If Aemma failed to give Viserys a son that could be a dangerous combination.

-Your bother spends much time with her.

-Ah Daemon loves our girl as if she was his own. It truly is a shame that he has no children yet. I have no doubts he will make a wonderful father one day!

-As you say Viserys. It will be difficult for him however to become a father if he spends so much time here and so little time at the Vale close to his own wife. Perhaps it would be best if he payed her visits sometimes, even if he does not wish to live with her there permanently…

-We have to give him time Aemma. Every time I attempt to bring it up he shuts me down completely. He truly is unhappy in that union. - Viserys interrupted himself- But what am I saying? Here I am rambling on and on about useless subjects when you are in your present condition. I apologize my dear.

Aemma give a little laugh and waved him off.

-Not at all Viserys. It’s nice to have a distraction.

-You know, I confess that I expected our Rhaenyra to spend less time with Daemon. - Viserys said- After all she seemed terribly taken with Ser Criston! She pleaded with me to make him her sworn shield.

Aemma let out a small laugh.

She knew her daughter better than Viserys and she knew far to well her reasons for wanting Ser Criston, a young knight and a newly made sworn brother of the Kingsguard by her side. First, she wanted to make the other ladies envious of her. Second, she liked him because he liked her and had given her the title of Queen of Love and Beauty in the last tourney. And lastly because she wanted to make her uncle jealous. She had confessed as much when the two of them had been alone.

Aemma had sighed then and sighed again now just recalling it. As much as she tried to explain to her small daughter that he was much too old for her and married, and that she was still a child and much too young for any romantic thoughts, Rhaenyra would not hear it. For her Daemon walked on water.

-After he lost to Ser Criston and I took him to my service, uncle Daemon gave me the most beautiful pair of earrings and made me promise him he was still my favourite mama!- she had told her a few days after the tourney ended as Aemma tucked her daughter into bed.

-I don’t think she will replace your brother in her heart with any other person for quite some time Viserys. For her Ser Criston is just a new toy she wanted or a new gown, and like most things I wouldn’t be surprised if she tired of him quickly. Best if you and the Lord Commander can come up with other occupations for him when Rhaenyra’s whim changes.

Viserys laughed and Aemma took the opportunity to ask him something she truly wanted.

-I would be forever grateful if you could bring Rhaenyra over more often. I know the maesters have advised against it, but I miss my princess so much…

-Worry not my Aemma. I will bring her to you more often, after all it’s important that you are happy!

She smiled and played with a ring on one of her fingers. She noticed that it fell from her finger when she relaxed her hand.

When she looked up again, she noticed that Viserys’s eyes were staring at her.

-What’s the matter? Is there anything on my face or my nightgown? - she asked him.

-Nothing Aemma, I was just noticing how beautiful your indigo eyes are.

Aemma felt her cheeks grow hot and she lowered her eyes.

Although they had been married for more than ten years there had never much intimacy between them. Their usual topic of conversation was their daughter, or the kingdom and his compliments were usually about impersonal things as her clothes or something. But his comment at that moment had been sweet and romantic and it touched her.

-Well, perhaps our new child will take after me and have indigo eyes then seeing as Rhaenyra has your purple eyes.

Viserys laughed.

-Hers are more beautiful than mine for sure. Gods I don’t think there as ever been a more striking girl than her, even in our family! And so clever! She has been attending me at meetings as my cupbearer and she makes the delights of everyone, her maester also say she is a bright student and very quick to learn. Even Lord Otto compliments her and he told me she would make a fine queen.

Aemma raised an eyebrow yet she said nothing.

-I must go no if you will forgive me my queen. It was just a quick visit to see if you were faring any better.

All his visits were rather quick, but she kept to herself.

-I will my lord if you would be so kind as to bring me my daughter as soon as you can.

Her husband smiled and promised her that he would.

After he kissed her forehead he left and Lady Beesbury came in.

-The princess was with her uncle?

-Of course, she was. - Aemma replied- I don’t want him spending so many hours alone with her after she turn thirteen. Much less sleeping in her bed as he often does.

Lady Bessbury gave the queen a knowing look and Aemma corrected herself.

-Twelve.

Lady Beesbury nodded.

 

It took Viserys three attempts to be able to get his daughter to look at him. Unlike her usual, Rhaenyra was beyond distracted that day, sitting next to her father and playing with her fingers as him and the other members of the Small Council talked about the many tedious affairs they liked to discuss.

-What? - she asked in her lovely childish voice.

-I asked you if you could refill my goblet child. - his brother Viserys told her kindly with a smile.

She stood at one and refilled his cup.

Daemon noted how sad her eyes looked and how her young face looked tired. As she was about to set the pitch down, Daemon motioned her to re-fill his goblet as well.

-Would you be so kind to do the same to me my dearest niece? - he asked giving her one of his dashing smiles.

She blushed and had her first genuine smile of the day as she walked over to him.

Lord Otto threw the prince a dirty look and immediately dismissed him continuing his long and boring talk about the taxes on import goods.

He turned to his niece as she poured him his drink.

-You look sad today my little dragon.

Her big purple eyes met his and her lower lip trembled.

-Would you like for us to have supper together today? Just the two of us?

He regretted the words the minute they left his lips for he had already promised Mysaria to spend the evening with her, yet as Rhaenyra’s face lit up, he knew he would have no other choice but to keep his word.

-I would like that very much uncle Daemon. Thank you. - she whispered.

As she went back to her seat, Daemon made a mental note to himself to send his paramour a note.

The meeting dragged on for several more hours and when it finally ended it was the sun was beginning to set in the horizon.

As the other lords exchanged pleasantries with each other, Daemon called his niece again and told her to go and instruct the servants to prepare their dinner.

-I will just go to my rooms and change to something more comfortable and then I will go to your apartments my pet.

-Do you have any special requests? - she asked him, blushing prettily as her silver-gold braids framed her lovely face.

-Anything you like will be fine by me my sweet. - he assured her.

Viserys was still happily talking with Ser Otto when Rhaenyra interrupted them pulling her father’s sleeve.

-What is it my most beloved princess? - Viserys kindly asked his daughter.

-I would ask you leave to go papa. Uncle Daemon is dinning with me tonight and I have to inform the servants.

The king looked over at Daemon and gave him a big smile.

-You do that then with my blessing my child. So good of your uncle to entertain you this evening.

Still smiling she left the Small Council’s chambers.

Daemon stood as well and Viserys thanked him over and over again for his care of the princess.

-Aemma is in a very fragile condition, and the maesters tell me the babe can come at any day now, and I have been so busy that I fear we have been neglecting her. Gods be praised that she has you!

-It’s a pleasure to be with her brother. She is a delight, or better yet “The Realm’s Delight” as the singers took to call her! - Daemon replied.

It amused him how such a young girl could already have so many people fawning over her.

-She must be the only female to find your stories amusing prince Daemon. - Lord Otto said. - The fact that she is only seven surely contributes to it.

-You are right Lord Otto! In Rhaenyra’s eyes Daemon is as much as a god as the Father!

Viserys laughed and Otto stared at him.

-She is the only one no doubt. - he added.

-I would say she is my most devote admirer but hardly the only one Lord Otto… and I believe the reason you don’t enjoy my stories is because you are not an adventurous man.

-Were all of us adventurous men prince Daemon, and there wouldn’t be a man to rule over the Seven Kingdoms properly.

-Well said Lord Otto, well said!

-As you say my Lord Hand, though I can almost bet you never had to reject and admirer before.

Daemon’s comment wiped the smile out of Lord Otto’s face immediately.

-I will take no more of your time since you both have important issues to discuss, but best not to stay too late Lord Otto. You should spend some time with your family after all.

With a satisfied smile Daemon walked to his rooms were a hot bath was already expecting him.

After he was done bathing and dressing himself, he made his way to Rhaenyra’s chambers.

The little girl had also changed her clothes and was wearing a lovely light pink linen dress. She welcomed him by the doors with a big smile on her beautiful face.

-Princess Rhaenyra, may I enter your quarters? - he asked her in his most serious tone.

She giggled.

-Yes, you may prince Daemon.

They took their seats and immediately the servants brought them a creamy pumpkin soup and some freshly baked bread.

Daemon broke the bread and took a piece for himself and a smaller one for Rhaenyra. She smiled at him again and thanked him.

-Good to see you smiling again princess. You were looking very sad this morning.

-I was sad uncle Daemon. - she confessed.

He waited for her to say more, when she did not, he pressed the subject.

-And will you tell your uncle why it was that you were sad this morning my princess?

She played with her food for a while before replying. Daemon patiently awaited for her to speak.

-I am afraid. - she confessed. - I have been visiting mama, and she looks so weak. She looks sick and the maester are always whispering to each other and father also looks concerned and her babe may come any day now and I started to think that maybe… maybe…- the tears were building up in her eyes and she took a small pause.- What if she dies uncle Daemon?

“If she dies and the child with her, then I am still the next King!”

He took a sip of his wine and studied Rhaenyra for a moment.

-I could lie to you and tell you that I am certain that all will be well and your mother is going to live but you are a bright girl and I would believe me, so I will tell you the truth instead. Your fears may very well become true and you may lose her. Many women die in childbirth and your mother has a delicate health and always has.

His eyes stared at Rhaenyra’s for a moment before he continued.

-And if it happens you must hold your head up high and carry on. Because you are princess Rhaenyra of House Targaryen and in your veins runs the blood of the dragon lords of Old Valyria, the blood of Aegon the Dragon and of so many great men and even women, like Queen Visenya you like so much.

That comment earned him a small smile from her.

-So, whatever happens, life goes on princess and so you must do the same. People will always come and go and that’s how the world is.

Their eyes met again, and a few tears fell from her big and sad eyes.

He wiped them away with his thumb before kneeling in front of her and hugging her tightly.

-If you cry, I will let you go. - he warned her. - So, no tears. You are a dragon, and dragons do not cry and fear like regular men. We are more than that princess.

Her body trembled in his arms, but no more tears fell.

When they parted, he caressed her face gently. Looking into her sad purple eyes he decided to give her a little hope.

-There’s a chance princess that all will go well and that your will finally have a brother or sister.

Her face frowned and she blushed looking guilty.

-I want to ask you something uncle Daemon… but I do not want you to think me silly…

-I could never…- he assured her with a smile.

-I am your only niece and I am afraid I will no longer be your favourite when my brother or sister is born… I know it’s silly, but I cannot bear the thought of having to share you with someone else or of no longer spending time with you.

Her eyes looked at him hopefully as she spoke.

-Worry not my princess, I promise you that no matter what you will always remain my favourite of all the children my brother might have, either boys or girls. For no one could ever compare to you.

She blushed and giggled.

-Do you promise on the Seven? - she asked him with a very serious face.

-I promise on anything you would like, anything at all. There’s only space for you in my heart my little dragon.

Rhaenyra gave him a mischievous smile.

-I didn’t knew the big bad dragon had a heart.

He laughed.

-Aye he does princess, and a very black one at that, but then again, it’s one of our house’s colours.

-Black and red.

-Fire and Blood. - Daemon added.

 

The Red Keep stood still when news of Queen Aemma’s birth arrived. No meetings or hearings took place and every septon and septa there prayed for a safe delivery and health of both mother and babe. The most frequent prayers however asked for a boy, a prince. And although not a godly man, even Otto Hightower found himself holding his hands together and asking the Father an heir for his king.

Septon Eustace spent the two days of the birth fastening and praying on his knees and when at last news of the birthing chambers came, he almost collapsed upon hearing them.

Aemma Arryn was dead, though in their mercy the gods had granted her babe, a boy, life. And yet… a small and frail babe he was, he did not cry and did not suck when the wet-nurse placed her nipple to his mouth.

Lord Otto nonetheless rejoiced has he heard of the boy’s birth wanting to ring the bells. He was advised otherwise however because of the queen’s death.

As Viserys held his new son, who he called Baelon, next to his wife’s dead body he wept for her.

-I will have no one bring the news to my daughter just yet. I will be the one who tells her of this, so I don’t want anyone even mentioning anything.

Lord Otto placed a hand on Viserys’s shoulder.

-Your Grace, as much as this is tragic, we should also celebrate the birth of our new prince, for you finally have an heir. In the midst of the tragedy and sorrow, the gods were good and merciful, and Queen Aemma is in the Seven Heavens receiving every grace they can offer her!

The mercy of the gods proved as short lived as prince Baelon’s very short life, and less than a day after his birth he was found cold and pale on his crib by his wet-nurse who screamed and wept.

When the guards found her, she had the prince’s lifeless body in her arms, and she was rocking him back and forward and calling his name.

Viserys almost collapsed when he heard the news.

As the Red Keep wept, in Flea Bottom the rogue prince celebrated with his companions.

-Another round for every man here! - he ordered.

Mysaria watched him with her arms crossed over her chest as he drank and toasted with his friends. There was a woman in his lap, a young blonde prostitute who had been for a while trying to take her place as his favourite.

As Daemon saw her, he called her name loudly.

-Where were you Mysaria? I have been waiting for you for hours.

Daemon’s hair was falling in front of his face, his lilac eyes shined, and he had fits of uncontrolled laughter. Myasaria knew that he was very, very drunk.

-You seem to have been entertaining yourself quite well my prince without me.

Daemon laughed and threw his head back. He looked over to the girl on his lap and then to Mysaria.

-If you want my dear Mysaria she will be gone just like this. - he said snapping his fingers.

The girl looked over at Mysaria in anger. Mysaria said nothing but raised on of her eyebrows.

-I think I will pass my prince. Perhaps when you are less inebriated.

He ignored her and continued to make toasts and japes with his cronies. All of them were wearing their gold cloaks and Mysaria stared at each of the men present.

She recognized Ser Luthor Largent at once next to her prince, and also Ser Petyr, a brutish and big man who sometimes liked to beat up whores. Ser Axell Tarly, a young man barely twenty and of a rich and important family, was kissing the neck of a young red-headed girl. They were her prince’s most loyal followers many of the other men there also admired him, ye there were some, far less loyal. At least in her opinion.

-Congratulations your grace, it appears that you are still your brother’s heir. Certainly, that before too long he will name you the Prince of Dragonstone.

Daemon’s eyes lit up. After all, he had no greater ambition than to be named heir and to achieve the Iron Throne one day.

-It was quite fortunate yes and I would say that my prospects have improved remarkably! After all, my cousin Aemma is dead making my lonely a widower. He will have no more chances of trying to have an heir now!

He laughed loudly.

-He did have an heir my prince, he just didn’t last for too long! - one of his companions said.

Daemon laughed again.

-The heir for a day! - he proclaimed as if it was the funniest joke in the world.

Mysaria stared at him, silent as a corpse. This is what she disliked about Daemon, how cruel he could be, how he would place his own ambitions in front of everyone and everything with little regard for decency.

-Here’s to my brother’s only son, prince Baelon Targaryen! - Daemon said raising his cup- The heir for a day!

-The heir for a day! - many voices echoed.

But they didn’t all said it. And many cups remained on their tables untouched and many eyes looked shocked and unsure.

“This is a bad sign Daemon. This time you went too far my prince… and you should stop.”

He continued to laugh and to make other cruel jokes about the matter with his companions. When Mysaria saw some men leave the establishment whispering to each other and glancing over at Daemon, she knew she had to find a way to shut him up.

-Can we speak for a moment my prince? - Mysaria whispered in his ear.

-What about? - he loudly asked.

-Alone if you would be so kind.

Daemon emptied his goblet again before he stood and followed her to a more secluded place.

-You should be more careful about what you say in a public place with so many people my prince. If the years have taught me anything is that there is always someone listening, even in the most secluded quarters. And this is not even a secluded establishment… You have many friends, but you have just as many enemies.

He smiled and placed some of her light blonde hair behind her ear.

-You worry too much my dear Mysaria.

-And you worry too little. What you just said is dangerous and your brother would be furious if he were to find out about it! - she warned.

-And who would tell him? You?!

-Of course, not Daemon! You know I am loyal to you and no one else. - she replied- But some other person might. There’s nothing more valuable than information my love, as I oft tell you. The content of letters is far more valuable than the content of a purse.

Before she could say anything more his lips pressed against hers in a hungry kiss. He tasted of ale and wine, yet she leaned against him and returned his kiss with passion tangling her fingers in his long and soft silver hair. It was so otherworldly, as everything about him…

-If you are that worried then take me upstairs to your rooms and do your best to distract me… Lady Misery.

Mysaria frowned. Many of the other prostitutes and her enemies liked to call her Lady Misery or the White Worm as an insult to her pale skin and many times Daemon would call her that just to tease her. That day however, she decided to return the insult.
-You know what they say, Lord Flea Bottom- she replied using the least flattering name people liked to call him - Misery loves company.

With a giggle she pulled him up the stairs and into her chambers.

Chapter Text

105 AC

King’s Landing

-Leave us. - Viserys said after the guards had escorted prince Daemon to the Throne Room. - All of you. - he added when Lord Otto made no motion to leave.

His Hand bowed as the doors to the great rooms, where the Iron Throne stood, were closed.

Viserys had to take a deep breath before he addressed his brother, yet once he saw the half-bored, half-amused expression on Daemon’s face he felt himself consumed by rage.

-I expect you know why I summoned you here. - the kind spoke in a voice that was cold as ice.

Daemon stared at his nails before replying.

-Some joke or another I might have made during a drunken evening. - he admitted- Seriously Viserys, there is no need to blow things out of proportion, all of us had had a bit too much to drink and…

Viserys raised his hand silencing his younger brother.

-Had you a shred of shame or an ounce of respect towards your dead cousin and nephew and you would lower your head and your voice would tremble. Yet… here you stand, proud and arrogant as only you can be Daemon, trying to make excuses for the inexcusable!

-Viserys…

-SILENCE!- Viserys yelled.- And that is an order from your king, seeing as you spit on your brother, I will address you as your king for that at least you must respect if you wish to leave this place with your head still on your shoulders. Have no doubts Daemon!

What you said is high treason, and punishable by death!

For the first time in his life Viserys noted a small sign of fear in his brother’s face, and the amused expression he was wearing fell as a piece of clothing might.

-What possessed you to openly mock the son I lost less than a day as the “heir for a day” with your cronies in some house of ill repute at Flea Bottom?! The son that your cousin Aemma died in order to bring to this world?! Do you even realize how cruel you were?! Did you give a single thought on how you were hurting me?!

-Viserys it was just a joke. You are just too sentimental to see it now.

-SILENCE!

Viserys closed the space between them, their faces were inches apart.

-How cruel must one person be to say such a thing? Our mother and father would weep if they saw you at this moment. How you became as you are, I will never understand Daemon, you were beloved from the moment you were born by everyone. You were my best friend growing up, even if we were four years apart in age. I gave you every honour I could once I became king, I always stood by you when the Small Council asked, even pleaded with me at times, to take away your seat there. And still, I took your side. But no more. No more Daemon.

-There was one honour you never gave me! - Daemon shot back. - You have no sons! It was your obligation to name me prince of Dragonstone!

-I have a child Daemon.

The prince let out a dry laugh.

-You have a girl! - his brother said it as if it was an insult.

- A girl I once thought you loved as a daughter, but in that certainly I had to be wrong as well, for she just lost her mother before her eighth name day, and instead of offering her your sympathies and consoling her you were too busy drinking and being cruel at the drinking pits of the capital!

Viserys suddenly stopped, his hands started shaking with rage as he understood the true meaning of Daemon’s actions.

-No… this was not a mere cruel joke that you made drunk… you really were happy to see my son dead because it meant that you as my brother were still the heir to the Iron Throne.

The king prayed with all his heart for it to be a lie, for his own grief to be making him too harsh on his brother, staring at his lilac eyes however he saw the truth.

Tears swelled up in Viserys’s eyed and one of his hands clung to his chest like a claw.

-You are taking everything out of proportion brother.

With his hands still shaking, Viserys pointed a finger to Daemon.

-You are not fit for the Iron Throne Daemon. You are cruel, and vicious and incapable of ruling even yourself, much less the Seven Kingdoms.

That was enough to make his younger brother angry.

-Oh, and pray tell who will sit upon the Iron Throne if something happens to you before you have a son?

-I would give it to any person before I gave it to you! - Viserys spat back- You are reckless, cruel, you have no talent for ruling and you do not understand the most important thing of all. A king doesn’t do as he likes. He serves his kingdom and only afterwards himself! You are only worried about satiating your own wants without a second thought about how you hurt others!

-Is it Rhaenyra then? Will you give the throne to her? A spoiled girl of seven?

-A spoiled girl of seven who understands far more about politics and ruling than you do and who pays much more attention to what’s going at our Council Meetings.

Daemon threw his head back and started laughing maniacally.

-So that’s it? I have been robbed of my rights by the girl who I shower with gifts and sing songs to? Why don’t you make me her cupbearer while you are at it?!

-I don’t want you around my daughter ever again! In fact, I don’t want you around me ever again as well!

-You would do well to remember the precedents of the Council of 101 Viserys! The same council who took the crown from our cousin Rhaenys to give it to you! - Daemon half yelled. - You don’t have the power to decide who rules after you!

-Ah, but that is where you are wrong Daemon, because I do! I am King and Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and I decide who shall rule after me! Not you, and not some council. Nonetheless, that is beside the point.

-What is the point of this idiot conversation then?

-You are hereby dismissed from your position as Commander of the Gold Cloaks. Your seat on the Small Council has also been revoked and you will leave King’s Landing tonight. If come morning you are still found at the capital, I assure you that you will regret it! Pack your things and leave!

-Is that your final saying… your grace? - Daemon asked in a mocking tone.

-Get out from my sight before I have the guards throw you out.

Daemon shot him a deadly look and turned on his heels to leave.

-And one more thing. Write to my daughter again and I will have your hands cut off!

As soon as there was no sign of prince Daemon, Viserys summoned Grand Maester Runciter.

-I would like to ask you for a calming draught Grand Maester, if it is not much of a bother. I feel a terrible tightness in my chest. Please deliver it in my private quarters.

Viserys made his way to his rooms and ordered the guards to let no one enter save for Septon Eustace, who he summoned at once.

He sat next to the septon and poured his heart out seeking some relief.

-How can my brother be so cruel?

-You must pray to the Father for answers Your Grace, and for your brother’s soul, for his crimes are too big for the Seven to forgive and I fear he will be cast to the deepest pits of the Seven Hells when he dies. He needs all the prayers he can muster my king.

Viserys listening as the septon spoke. He felt far older than his twenty-eight name days and tired beyond measure.

“It’s as if the gods do not tire of tormenting me. First, I lost Aemma, then my son, and now I am forced to cut ties with my dear brother Daemon.”

As he remembered the adventurous boy who was his constant companion during childhood, Viserys felt a painful pang in his heart.

How could the same boy who shared his rooms, his meals and his lessons have become so cruel?

A knock on the door pulled him from his thoughts.

-I said I did not wish to be disturbed! - he boomed.

-I apologize Your Grace. - Lord Otto Hightower spoke- But when I heard of all that had gone by, I couldn’t not be here for you in this troubled hour. I am your Hand after all, and you need me now more than ever.

-Of course, Lord Hightower, of course. You are right as always.

Otto and septon Eustace exchanged a small smile with each other, and the Hand pulled a chair next to Viserys.

-I know now it’s hardly the time my king, but we need to speak about the recent events and its repercussions.

Otto paused and glanced over to septon Eustace who gave him a nod.

-Your brother’s actions cannot go unchecked my king. What he said is a great insult to us all and most of all to you in particular and he should have a fitting punishment.

-I gave him one Lord Otto. - Viserys replied- I stripped him of his place as Commander of the City Watch and of his seat at the Small Council. Furthermore, I ordered him to depart King’s Landing before morning comes.

Viserys took another deep breath and gulped down some wine to help him steady himself.

-With all the respect I owe you as my liege lord and king Your Grace, that is not enough. - Lord Otto proclaimed, his dark eyes shining with anger.

-What would you have me do Lord Otto? Kill my brother?

Septon Eustace immediately blessed himself.

-Your Grace I beseech you to not repeat such a thing please! No man is as accursed as the kinslayer! As monstrous as prince Daemon’s crimes are, he is still your brother and you cannot, and must not taint your hands and your soul with his blood, for the same blood runs in your veins my king!

-I would not dare suggest it septon Eustace. - Lord Otto assured them both. - What I propose is something different. We all know what drove prince Daemon’s words, and what drives him in everything he does: his desire for the Iron Throne. That is where we should strike.

-I did that Lord Otto. - Viserys replied. - I told him that he was not my heir.

-Words are wind Your Grace, and if gods forbade something happened to you, the Throne would be his and there would be little we could do to stop it. Princess Rhaenys is female and her son Laenor is a descendent of the Old King from the female line, so they can hardly inherit. Furthermore, they are Velaryons not Targaryens. But your daughter could and should inherit the throne. She is Targaryen, with Targaryen blood on both sides, a bright and accomplished girl and she is beloved by commoners and nobles alike. I have no doubts that any man would support her against her uncle for anyone knows that if one day he ruled, he would be another Maegor the Cruel, or worse…

-Lord Otto speaks true Your Grace. Our princess is well beloved, and many would support her claim as Princess of Dragonstone.

-Aye. But that knowledge is not enough, if I may be as bold to say. We have to make it official and name her Princess of Dragonstone publicly.

Viserys drank in every word spoken by Lord Otto.

-Give her a lavish ceremony and name her the heir my king and call every high lord and lady of the Seven Kingdoms. Let them kneel before the princess and pay her her due, promising to defend her claim against any other. Do this Your Grace and no one will doubt that if anything happens to you, it is the girl we should crown and not your brother!

Lord Otto’s words were passionate, and his eyes shined as he spoke on his daughter’s behalf touching Viserys deeply.

-You are a good man Lord Otto, a very good man. My grandfather knew what he was doing when he named you his Hand.

Lord Otto lowered his head in gratitude and septon Eustace smiled.

-The Seven themselves placed Lord Hightower in your family’s path Your Grace, for they knew the trials and tribulations you would suffer, and they knew that only a strong Hand could pull you from the darkness and lighten your path.

Viserys turned to his Hand.

-I thank you for your valuable guidance Lord Otto, you are a true friend to me, my family and the crown, and I will never forget it.

-It’s an honour to serve you and House Targaryen my king. - Lord Otto replied.

There was a knock on the door and Viserys commanded the person to enter. He thought that it was likely to be Grand Maester Runciter with the calming draught he had requested so the king was baffled when instead he was greeted by the vision of a girl of surpassing loveliness with dark brown hair and a pair of bright blue eyes that smiled at him.

Tall and elegant, dressed in a dark blue dress, the colour of a night sky, stood Lord Otto’s young daughter Alicent who held a tray.

She bowed and blushed as she caught sight of Viserys.

-I apologize for the intrusion but Grand Maester Runciter asked me if I could bring you the draught you asked of him my king.

Viserys’s heart beat faster but no longer because of anger. He had sympathized with his Hand’s daughter from the moment he had meet her when she still served as handmaiden to his grandfather the Old King. Oft they would share a few smiles with each other and although they had little chances to speak alone, Viserys always enjoyed those moments. She was smart and a pleasure to talk with.

He immediately scolded himself and his thoughts. His wife had just died, he could not have such feelings about Alicent so soon.

Looking into her lovely face however, it was harder not to think of her in such a way.

-I thank you Lady Alicent, you are as graceful as you are beautiful.

The words were out of his mouth before he could stop himself, yet he immediately felt very bad about it.

The girl blushed and lowered her eyes giving him a timid smile.

-I am honoured by your words my king. I am only doing my part. Yet… if I could be so bold, I would like to express my deepest condolences on your loss. And…

-And? - Viserys asked immediately.

She blushed again as she set her tray down.

-If you ever need some company or some words of comfort, I would be honoured to be considered.

Lord Otto nodded satisfied.

-My daughter’s time with your late grandsire gave her vast experience into consoling and listening to others.

Septon Eustace smiled.

-The gods smile down on your kindness Lady Alicent. You are a pious young woman as little are.

Viserys mixed the calming draught with his wine and drank deeply.

-I would be more than happy to accept your offer Lady Alicent in this time of grief.

The girl smiled at him once more.

-I will be waiting for your call my king.

She gave him a deep curtsey before picking the tray and leaving. Viserys eyes followed her all the way out of the room.

Lord Otto Hightower and septon Eustace glanced at each other and exchanged a knowing look.

 

-Pack your things. We are leaving for Dragonstone.

Those had been the words Daemon had said when he busted into her private chambers.

Mysaria did as bided and followed him to the Dragonpit, where Caraxes, his lean red dragon awaited their arrival. She asked no questions. There was no need for them.

Word on the street was that the girl seated on Daemon’s lap had ratted him out to the King’s councillors. Better informed people knew better… for the informant had been one of his companions of the Gold Cloaks who sought promotion and a monetary reward.
Before her prince had come to her, she had known that Viserys had exiled him from the capital. For her the surprise had been that Daemon had come back for her.

Mysaria hesitated for a moment when Daemon saddled his dragon and told her to climb with him.

-Are you certain it is safe for me?

-Don’t worry. I am here, there is no danger. Though for your sake, never attempt to ride him without me. Dragons only know one master and there are dire consequences to those who try to take a dragon with an owner.

-Why? - Mysaria asked with genuine curiosity.

Daemon shrugged.

-Who knows the exact reason. This is a truth passed on from our ancestors, and every Targaryen has always believed it. And so, do I. With me next to Caraxes though, you have no reason to worry.

Mysaria casted an unsure glance at Caraxes. He returned her stare with his big red eyes and some smoke escaped his nostrils.

-Behave Caraxes. - Daemon warned.

Just then they heard the sounds of a chain dragging through the stone floors and the happy shrieks of a small, well in comparison to Caraxes small, yellow dragon little larger than a horse but with great wings.

-Is that?

-My niece’s dragon yes. - Daemon replied clearly annoyed.

Caraxes moved forward and smelled the yellow dragon who gave him another happy shriek and started to look around for her rider.

-She is not here you stupid hatchling go back to your nest.

Caraxes gave a little shriek to Syrax and the smaller dragon started shrieking nonstop.

-Quiet Caraxes! - Daemon ordered- I am in no mood for crying dragons today. And you- he said turning to Syrax- Go away. Rhaenyra is not here and she won’t be coming any time soon.

Syrax shrieked at him in a less than friendly manner and then attempted to fly. The chains on her leg though, stopped her from flying more than a few meters from the ground.

-Just ignore them. - Daemon told her as he climbed over Caraxes back and then helped her do the same.

The dome opened and Caraxes spread his great red wings.

-Where are we going exactly? - Mysaria asked.

-Dragonstone. - he replied with a smile.

Mysaria returned his smile and placed her arms around his waist.

As Caraxes took to the skies and left King’s Landing, a very sad yellow dragon observed him longingly.

Watching King’s Landing from above, all its little houses and lights was something Mysaria would never be able to forget, nor the feeling of absolute freedom she experienced flying in Caraxes’s back. She had a smile on her face from the beginning to the end of their journey, and when they finally landed, she felt almost disappointed though not for long.

Her mouth was opened as she took in the sight of Dragonstone, the ancient seat of House Targaryen, a huge and formidable castle made from black stone and with magnificent carved dragons everywhere she looked. It was something out of legend, nothing like the other castles and holds she had ever seen in Westeros.

“This, they, are all that remains of Old Valyria. With everything of good, and bad, that that ancient civilization had.”

The castellan soon met up with them and Daemon quickly dismissed him, saying that they would be staying for indefinite time and that rooms ought to be prepared for both of them.

He then gave her a tour of the castle of Dragonstone, who had the same name as the island, and she marvelled at each and every one of the rooms, particularly the Throne Room.

Her hand wandered over the carved stone and she turned to Daemon.

-Did Aegon the Conqueror sit here?

-And Aerion before him his father, and Daemien Targaryen, and Aerys Targaryen and another Aegon who was never king and Gaemon the Glorious, son of Aenar Targaryen who ran off from Valyria before the cataclysm. And Gaemon took to wife his sister Daenys the Dreamer who dreamt of the Doom twelve years prior.

-She dreamt of the Doom?

Daemon nodded.

-There’s magic in dragon’s blood Mysaria. That’s why we are not common men. That’s why we command dragons.

-Magic my prince? - she asked amused. - I can’t say I believe you.

Daemon took her slender frame into his arms kissing her deeply.

-You don’t?

-Carry me to your rooms! - she boldly told him as his lips were on her pale neck- And perhaps I can believe that you have a little magic in yourself.

He did as she said and took her to his private apartments, a luxuriously room with black walls and a huge canopy bed with blood-red bed covers. All of the furniture was carved from a dark wood and had engraved dragons.

“How they love to remind everyone of who they are” Mysaria thought as she took note of the style of décor.

She took off her cloak and her gown in a slow and sensual way. Every one of her movements was graceful and she noted how Daemon’s eyes grew dark with desire as he watched her. After she finished undressing herself, she helped him to remove his clothes as well, all the while kissing his full lips and near his neck.

Mysaria pushed him on the bed and straddled him. She admired his body, perfect as a statue depicting an old valyrian god. Never had she seen a most perfect man than him, in every way.

She guided Daemon’s glorious cock into herself and she moaned as she felt his full length, throwing her long blonde hair back.

His hands moved to her breasts teasing her small nipples as she rocked her hips against his slowly increasing her speed.

It did not take long for her pleasure to reach her and she passionately screamed his name. Daemon soon followed her, and she smiled as she felt his hot seed fill her.

When he came down from his peak, she lied next to him on the bed and stared at him taking in the sight that was prince Daemon Targaryen with his sun kissed skin, his lilac eyes and his light silver hair.

-Are you admiring me Mysaria?

She smiled. Unwilling to admit it though, she changed the subject.

-So, from everything so far, I take it that the conversation with your brother did not go well.

Daemon’s face frowned.

-He told me he is naming Rhaenyra princess of Dragonstone.

-A seven-year-old child? Heir to Westeros? - she asked incredulously.

Much of the conversation between Daemon and Viserys had already reached her ears before her prince had come to meet her, yet the part about his niece being named her father’s heir had not.

-Can he do that?

Daemon stood from the bed and went to fill two goblets of wine for them.

-In theory he can’t. It was made clear in the Great Council of 101 following my father’s death that woman cannot inherit nor any person who descended from a female line when there are male heirs, or someone descended from the male line.- Daemon handed her the cup.- In practice however, he is the king, if council and lords agree with him, he can do it.

Mysaria’s drink was left untouched. She studied her lover for a moment.

-He won’t do it. I don’t believe it. He might be angry with me now but when the dust settles, he will come around. I am his brother; I have more Targaryen blood than Rhaenyra and I am a man. On all accounts I should be heir!

-And yet… you are not. And since he ascended to the throne, he had more than enough time to name you heir and he did not.

Daemon filled his own cup again.

-This is the work of that cunt Otto Hightower. Ever since his bitch of a daughter decided to throw herself into my arms and I rejected her he has done everything in his power to undermine me. First, he took my position as Master of Coin, then Master of Laws, and now he takes my place as Commander of the City Watch and my seat in the Small Council. I don’t care how long it takes me, but I swear I will destroy him!

-And until that day comes? - Mysaria asked raising an eyebrow.

The prince gave her a seductive smirk.

-For the meantime, we stay here my dear Mysaria, and you will know the life of a princess by my side.

She smiled at his words.

He set his cup aside and she did the same. Their lips met again and this time he tasted of wine and passion and his skin was hot like fire against hers.

-Luckily for you my prince, I am a much better lover than any princess you have ever met. - Mysaria told him as she lowered her mouth to his manhood taking him.

 

In King’s Landing, Viserys sat with Rhaenyra has he told her everything. Her mother’s death, and her brother’s as well.

She sat stoically and listened to him quietly.

-After all of this settles and we burry your mother and brother, I meant to throw you a great ceremony my princess. Something I should have done a long while ago.

-A ceremony? - she asked confused. - For my name day papa?

Viserys stared into her daughter’s face. Had any face ever been more perfect he wondered.

-You are the brightest child I ever met, and you are my only child. Of all the babes your mother Aemma and I had, you were the one who lived, and if the gods saw fit to make you a girl it’s not up to any man to question it.

-Papa I don’t understand. - Rhaenyra said, her face frowning.

-Your great-grandmother the Good Queen Alysanne once said that a good ruler needs a good head and a true heart. A cock isn’t essential. That day your uncle asked me if I thought the same and I didn’t have an answer for him then, but I have it now.

Viserys turned to his daughter and took her hands into his own.

-You are my heir Rhaenyra, boy or girl it doesn’t matter. You are my eldest living child and the throne I sit upon shall be yours one day. There could be no better ruler for Westeros than you, and you will be Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, the first of her name.
Queen on your own right. Not because you married the King!

Tears build up in her beautiful and haunting purple eyes. True purple.

-You speak true papa?

-I never spoke truer in my life my child.

They stayed silent as Rhaenyra took in everything he had just told her.

-It’s just us now my Rhaenyra. But I shall take good care of you and I shall teach you everything you must know to become a good queen one day.

Viserys embraced his daughter and when they parted his little girl was smiling and crying at the same time.

After her father left, Rhaenyra dressed herself for the funeral. All black. The only colour she allowed herself to wear came from the rubies on the necklace her uncle had offered her some time ago.

She told her maids to tie her hair in a long braid, in the manner of Queen Visenya.

“She is your favourite ah? She was always my favourite too.” Daemon had told her what felt like a lifetime ago.

When she looked at her reflection in the mirror she felt older and sad, but she did not cry, not then, and not when the flames consumed the body that had once belonged to her mother and the little bundle who had for just a day been her younger brother Baelon.

Afterwards, the princess returned to her rooms followed by her sworn shield Ser Criston Cole. Lady Beesbury also accompanied her and tried to speak to her to make sure she was well.

-I loved your mother dearly princess, and I hope you will allow me to remain in your company.

-Your family as always faithfully serve us my lady; I will welcome your presence at my side and at my table.

-My husband told me of your father’s plans. You shall make a fine queen.

Rhaenyra smiled.

-I would like to dine in my apartments tonight. - she told her servants. – It will be something simple, but you are more than welcome to share the meal with me my lady. - she offered to Lady Beesbury.

-You honour me princess.

A knock on the door interrupted their exchanged. Ser Criston appeared and bowed before them respectfully.

-Princess, Lady Alicent Hightower is outside and she asked for a moment with you.

Rhaenyra glanced over at lady Beesbury.

-Very well, send her in.

Lady Alicent entered at once and immediately she embraced Rhaenyra. She was dressed all in black, as befitted mourning clothes, and her dark hair was pulled back.

-My poor princess, my poor little girl.

Rhaenyra exchanged a glance with Lady Beesbury. Lady Alicent, still holding Rhaenyra begun weeping.

-I apologize for my boldness but the second I knew I had to come and offer you my sympathies princess. I cared for your great-grandfather during many years, so your family has a very special place in my heart. This was a terrible tragedy.

The princess stared at her silently. Alicent let go off her and gently caressed her face.

-I can stay with you tonight so you are not alone, I can ever read to you if necessary. I used to read to King Jaehaerys and he always told me I had a lovely voice. - she added with a kind smile.

Rhaenyra could not say what, but there was something about her that sounded very insincere.

-I thank you my lady but it is not necessary. I am the blood of the dragon, and the dragon does not cry!

Lady Beesbury turned to Alicent.

-My lady, your devotion to House Targaryen truly is inspiring. Fortunately, you will find that our princess is already being well taken care of, so your services with her won’t be necessary at this time. Perhaps it’s best you return to your father, he must have so much to do in this troubled time, much more with the preparations to the princess’s ceremony! Certainly, he will be far gladder of your help than either of us.

Alicent stood and stared silently at Lady Beesbury who smiled at her. She turned to Rhaenyra again before leaving.

-Still princess, if you need anything, you need only ask. I will be here for you.

Rhaenyra forced herself to smile.

-Thank you again Lady Alicent. I shall.

That night Rhaenyra slept with her ruby necklace, one of the last gifts Daemon had given to her, still around her neck and she clung to it in the darkness.

“I lost my mother, my brother is dead, and you are gone… why did you left me as well uncle Daemon?”

She had dared not press the issue of why her uncle had departed with her father, though she had heard the whispers between nobles and servants during the burial.

Turning from one side to another on her bed, she tried not to think too hard on it, or she feared sleep wouldn’t come.

“Don’t think of him now Rhaenyra. As he said life goes on. He is gone. And you’ll be queen.”

Chapter Text

97 AC

King’s Landing

The royal family shared dinner that night at King Jaehaerys’s private apartments. Beside the king and his queen and sister Alysanne, there with them were also their eldest surviving son Baelon who counted forty name days and their youngest daughter Gael, a simple girl of seven and ten who sat next to her mother queen Alysanne.

The king and queen had only three other children still alive, though they did not live at court. Vaegon a archimaester and Maegelle a septa, spent most of their time at the Citadel and the first seldom visited them. Then there was also Saera, but she was never mentioned, and no one had spoken or written to her since she had run away from King’s Landing… well almost no one. Though she never had a reply, Alysanne continued to write to her daughter to ask news of her well-being and always wished her happiness on her name-day.

Then there were the king and queen’s three grandchildren of the four they had that had lived to adulthood. Viserys was Baelon’s oldest son, a young man of twenty charming and pleasant to all, who always sported a big smile on his face. Next to him was his wife and cousin, daughter of the late princess Daella, Lady Aemma Arryn five and ten and currently pregnant. And on Viserys’s right side his younger brother Daemon, a quarrelsome and dashing youth of six and ten, recently knighted.

Daemon had been recently given a rather treasured procession, Black Sister, the valyrian steel-sword of Queen Visenya, when he had been knighted a few days after his name day. Ever since, Daemon took the great sword with him everywhere, even at dinner table and that day it was no exception.

One might have expected that his brother Viserys, being the elder of the two, would be gifted the sword. Alas, Viserys was no warrior.

Halfway through the meal, king Jaehaerys kindly turned to his granddaughter Aemma.

-I think you will be pleased to know Aemma that your father Lord Rodrik Arryn will soon come to visit us.

Aemma’s face lit up at once and she looked over to her grandfather.

-Is Your Grace speaking true?

Jaehaerys exchanged a glance with his son Baelon and the two shared a smile.

-Yes child.

She smiled broadly and turned to Viserys speaking in a low and excited voice.

-Mayhaps your father can stay long enough to meet our child Aemma. Wouldn’t that be most fortunate? - her husband Viserys asked.

-I don’t believe her father will stay for so long Viserys. - prince Baelon said.

Aemma interrupted her uncle.

-Well he should at least stay a while, it’s still a long journey from the Vale to King’s Landing.

-Actually child, your father won’t be coming alone. - Jaehaerys added with a smile.

His grandfather continued to speak to his cousin, but Daemon was already distracted, he called Viserys and the two started talking about more interesting matters than boring visits from distant family members.

-I am going out tonight do you want to join me?

-Are you going to Flea Bottom again? - Viserys asked.

-You can say I am.- Daemon replied with a smirk. - Though I have a particular spot in Flea Bottom to go to with a rather more pleasant name.

Viserys looked from one side to the other making sure no one was listening to them.

-The Street of Silk? - he whispered.

Daemon smirked.

-Bingo.

-I thought a man like you did not need to pay women to take them to your bed.

-And I don’t Viserys, but I prefer to do it. Whores leave after you spill your seed in them and their fathers don’t come knocking when you deflower them. You should try it sometime; I can hardly imagine you have that much fun with our cousin. As pretty as she is, she looks little more than a child.

Viserys narrowed his eyes.

-No talk of my lady wife Daemon.

-Why? We talk of everything else.

His older brother gave him a look.

-Fine as you wish Viserys.

-What are you two conspiring about? - prince Baelon asked turning to his sons.

Aemma looked over to Viserys as well and he let out a nervous laugh.

-Nothing father, Daemon and I were just talking.

-Yes, yes. Viserys was telling me how he cannot wait to become a father.

Baelon gave his oldest son a warm smile.

-Seeing you two together like this reminds me so much of all the times Aemon and I lost ourselves in deep conversation. Oft times our father lost his patience with us.

-Of course, I did! - Jaehaerys replied- You two were always whispering and chuckling with each other. Even in serious situations!

Baelon laughed and his mother queen Alysanne gave a faint smile.

The rest of the dinner went out quite peacefully, Aemma had been so happy to hear of her father’s visit that she obliged to eating more than she usually did much to everyone’s delight.

After their plates were cleared, they retired to their rooms, though Daemon had no plans to stay in his rooms for long. For him the night was about to begin.

-Are you going to bed now son? - Baelon asked him as he stood from his seat.

-I was yes father.

“Eventually.”

-I wonder if I could perhaps accompany you. We could share a cup of wine together; I have a dry-red from the Arbor I think you will like.

Baelon walked beside his son Daemon.

-I thought you didn’t like me drinking more than a cup. - the young prince said raising an eyebrow.

-You are a man now my son. I just have trouble coming to terms with it at times.

Daemon studied his father. At forty, Baelon was still a handsome man. Tall though not as tall as him, with light silver hair the same colour as his, though whilst Daemon wore his hair at shoulder-length, his father preferred to keep his neatly cut and short. There were lines around his eyes and some around his mouth. Before his brother prince Aemon died, it was as if the years barely passed his father, after Aemon’s death however, he aged considerably, and lost weight and he now looked well into his forties.

As they reached his private quarters, Daemon let his father walk in first.

-I still don’t understand how you wanted these rooms for yourself. - Baelon said studying the high and black walls and the huge fireplace who glowed red with the fires burning within.

Daemon shrugged.

-I like them, plus they are the biggest apartments of the Keep and without a doubt with the ones with the richest furniture.

-They belonged to king Maegor the Cruel…- prince Baelon told his son with a very sombre face.

-So did the sword I carry on my hip given to me by my grandfather. Once his, now mine, the rooms and the sword. I don’t believe in foolish superstitions of peasant curses father and neither should you.

Baelon looked around.

-May I sit son?

-Of course. I will just send the servants for the wine you promised. - Daemon replied smirking thinking of the fine drink.

A part of him however was feeling a bit concerned. His father rarely was so formal with him, usually he only was when he had done something bad… and had been caught.

-Sit, sit Daemon.

Prince Baelon’s behaviour made Daemon raise an eyebrow.

-Do you want to speak to me about something in particular father?

His father laughed.

-Ah, how much like your mother you are my boy! I could never hide anything from her too. You know I miss her very much, even after so many years… and I imagine my son, you always missed her as well. Gods, you were little more than a babe when she died. You remind me of her, and you have her nose… well before she broke it of course. She was a rebel, you inherited that from her as well.

Daemon hated to discuss his mother with anyone, it always made him uncomfortable.

-And yet you were the one who was called the Brave because you hit Balerion on the snout with a stick.

Baelon laughed loudly.

-I am not even going to ask where you heard that story.

Daemon’s face remained straight.

-Was that what you wanted to talk to me about father?

-No, no. You are right. Back to the matter at hand. - Baelon paused for a moment- I believe you heard us during dinner when we told your brother’s wife about her father Lord Arryn’s upcoming visit to the capital.

-Yes, I did.

-And I believe you also heard me saying that he wasn’t coming alone.

-I did not expect the Lord of Arryn to come all his way from the Vale to the capital without escorts and guards. What of it?

Baelon stood and begun walking from one side to the other with his hands behind his back.

-You know Daemon, since your grandfather chose me to become Prince of Dragonstone, I am expected to become King after he departs, gods be so good to keep him between us for as long as possible. - his father added. - And if I do become king, I expect that Viserys will one day follow me and his and Aemma’s son afterwards.

-If they ever have one.

His father’s face frowned.

-Don’t speak like that Daemon. Of course, they will have sons!

Daemon raised an eyebrow.

-I really have to commend my grandfather. It takes a lot of guts to marry an eleven-year-old girl and have her bedded as soon as her blood comes.

-A lot of girls marry at thirteen Daemon.

-The problem father is that although she has been wedded and bedded, she remains just that. A girl. I wouldn’t give her more than twelve name days. And so far, her pregnancies have been a complete failure.

Baelon raised a hand.

-I am not here to discuss such issues with you, and you should mind your tongue son! It’s not your place to question the king’s better judgments.

Daemon rolled his eyes.

-As you wish father.

-What I meant to speak to you about did not concern your brother’s future but your own Daemon. As I was saying he will likely inherit the crown one day, but your grandfather and me, have hopes to also leave you well set in life and with a fortune of your own.

-Seeing as I am a prince, I would say I am pretty well off.

-You need your own lands, your own title apart from prince. And the only way you will get those is by marrying and marrying well.

“Fuck no.”

-I thought we believed in keeping our blood pure and seeing as Gael as the wits of a headless chicken and Rhaenys and Aemma are both married I cannot see who you mean to marry me with.

-Our blood may be important Daemon but making good connections and ties with other families is just as important or more. Your own cousin Aemma was born from the union of my sister Daella to Lord Rodrik Arryn.

-For all the good it did her. - Daemon interrupted.

Baelon gave his son a look.

-In any case you have come of age. You are a man grown and you ought to marry. And it just so happens me and your grandfather have chosen the perfect woman, and better yet Daemon, I believe you know her.

-I know her?

The prince was going through his mind remembering all the women he had ever known, and he was looking for one who could possibly make a good wife. So far, he had found none.

-She was one of your cousin Aemma’s ladies.

“Oh no.”

-Which one? - Daemon promptly asked.

-Lady Rhea Royce, her father recently died and with no brother she was the only heir to the…

But Daemon had already stopped hearing. He remembered Lady Rhea well, an ugly woman with yellowish skin hair and eyes the colour of a rat’s fur and with a body that was nothing worth to look at. To top it off, she was six years or more his senior, an old maid in truth whose maidenhead his cock had absolutely no desire of breaking.

“Fuck no…”

-No! - the prince almost shrieked.

-Daemon I…

-No thank you. I am fine as is. There is no fortune worth taking that… thing to bed. Much less take it for wife. - Daemon shuddered.

Baelon looked baffled.

-I was not asking you if you wanted to marry her, I was informing you that you are going to marry. Your grandfather has already arranged everything with the Royce family and your grandmother agreed that it’s a fine match. She has been away at the Vale as a consequence of her father’s passing but now she is set to return to the Capital for your wedding. Afterwards, you are going to leave with her to the Vale and to your new estate.

-You jest…- Daemon replied in disbelief.

-I don’t my son, and I would advise you to not cross my father. I love him dearly Daemon, I truly do, and he is the greatest king this country ever seen, perhaps even more than Aegon the Dragon himself, but he is a dragon as much as you and me, and he doesn’t stand well to being named a fool. This marriage was arranged as countless others before, and you will do our House proud by accepting it.

Daemon simply stared at his father.

-Why are you doing this to me?

-Oh, come on Daemon! It isn’t that bad.

-If it isn’t that bad father then may I suggest you marry her instead of me. It’s far more fitting for a man of your age to take a twenty something woman to wife than a young man of sixteen to do so.

-I had this conversation years ago with my father Daemon and I can repeat the same to you. I won’t take another wife, not now, not ever. Your mother was my lady. She might not be here now but as far as I am concerned, she is still my wife.

The young prince was fuming.

-Daemon listen to me. I know she is not the woman you dreamed of, and I will give it to you that Rhea Royce is no great beauty. But beauty fades over time. Other things are more important. You will have dominion over great lands, and you will have a vast income. And Lady Royce is in her childbearing years, she will give sons of your own and your legacy and mine, our Targaryen legacy will live on.

Daemon stared coldly at his father, inside though he was raging.

-Lady Royce won’t arrive for another fortnight. I hope that gives you time to come to terms with this arrangement son. And please Daemon, for the love of all the gods, don’t do anything stupid.

After his father left Daemon soon left his rooms too and he made his way to Flea Bottom where he whored and drank himself until he no longer remembered he was supposed to marry a lesser woman from the Vale.

 

Lord Rodrik Arryn and his committee from the Vale were received with all the honours in the Throne Room. The entire royal family was present, except for prince Daemon.

King Jaehaerys and Queen Alysanne were very pleased to encounter him again since for many years Lord Rodrik had served under King Jaehaerys’s Small Council as Master of Laws. The years had been less than kind to him and his once dark hair was covered with silver, or at least what hair he still had left, his eyes were tired and he looked thinner than they had ever seen him, though he retained his kettle belly. Lord Arryn look weak and tired from the journey and of the would have to sit clinging to his heart.

Nonetheless he had retained his fine spirits and when he hugged and kissed his daughter Aemma, he smiled so broadly he looked almost ten years younger.

He gave a faint cough as they parted and Aemma looked at him concerned.

-Are you quite well father?

Lord Rodrik laughed.

-I am the one who should ask you Aemma. You have a big belly, bigger than mine now.

He laughed again and with a bright smile Aemma touched her swollen stomach with her small hands.

-The maesters assure us the babe is healthy and strong. It looks strong enough from the kicks he gives, or she.

-Gods be good it will be a boy. I had only boys! - prince Baelon bragged with a smile.

-I had both boys and girls, prince Baelon, and though I tried not to play favourites with my children I was always accused of favouring Aemma beyond all others. My eldest daughter Elys was always jealous of Aemma, even when she was a babe. I never understood why; she was old enough to be the girl’s own mother.

-Targaryen women have that effect on others my lord. They inspire as much admiration on ones as envy and contempt on others. - Baelon replied with a smile.

Lord Rodrik smiled to prince Baelon and gently pulled Aemma closer to him. He moved with her a little away from the crowd as Lady Rhea Royce was introduced to prince Baelon and prince Viserys.

-Just so no one can hear me and want to feed me to one of the dragons, I think you have a little princess inside you child. Your belly looks the same as your mother’s did when she was carrying you.

Aemma blushed prettily.

-Whatever it is I just want it to be born alive father. My first babe was born dead, I never got to hold it in my arms, they didn’t let me…- Aemma took a deep breath to compose herself.

Lord Rodrik studied his daughter.

-I always thought you were a bit too young for marriage when your grandfather approached me. But he was dead set on having you marry Viserys. I think making you queen is his way of appeasing the guilt he feels for your mother’s death.

Aemma glanced over to her grandfather and then back at her father.

-It is an honour to serve the realm in any way I can. I just hope the gods give me the strength to do it father, because a queen who cannot give the king a son is no queen.

-Do not think too hard on that child. You are barely five and ten, still little more than a girl. And no matter what, you will make a fine queen.

Silence fell between them.

-Let’s change the subject, shall we? Where is our groom prince Daemon? I thought he would be here to greet us and his wife to be.

Aemma gave her father a look.

-My husband’s brother is not my husband father. Let’s just leave it at that.

-And talking about prince Viserys here he comes.

Aemma looked over to her husband who came holding two goblets.

-Lord Arryn it is such a pleasure to see you again after so many years. May I offer you a refreshment?

Lord Rodrik accepted it and thanked Viserys.

-I was just telling my daughter that I was surprised to not see your brother here prince Viserys.

Viserys laughed.

-I would be surprised if my brother was here Lord Arryn. It’s just Daemon being Daemon. - the prince shrugged- What is there to do? And just between us, he is less than pleased with this wedding.

Aemma and her father exchanged a look.

-I am sure he will make his appearance at dinner. - prince Viserys added with a smile

Certain enough Daemon arrived midway through supper as the meat courses were being served.

King Jaehaerys frowned and whispered to his son prince Baelon.

Baelon immediately stood and went over to Daemon.

The prince looked like he was healing a hangover, or a series of hangovers. His long silver hair was untidy, and he had dark circles under his eyes, he smelled of wine and women’s perfume.

-Gods Daemon you could have at least bathed before coming here.

-Why should I? Clearly, I am not trying to impress anyone.

-Your absence has been noted by everyone Daemon. This is no way of behaving.

-What?! Is the old man upset, is that it?! I am already marrying the bitch what else would he have me do?!

Several eyes turned to them. Irritated, Baelon grabbed Daemon by his arm and pulled him to the side.

-Behave!

Daemon released himself from his father’s grip, throwing him a menacing look, he went over to greet first his grandparents, then their guests and lastly his bride Lady Rhea Royce.

-My lady what a pleasure it is to finally make your acquaintance! - he said with fake enthusiasm- I do believe we already met, though I must confess I never paid too much attention to you when you were just my cousin Aemma’s lady. After all, if someone had told me then I was to marry you, I would have laughed in disbelief, and in fact I barely believe it now!

Lady Rhea Royce stared at Daemon with a composed face. She studied him for a moment before giving a reply.

-A pleasure to meet you prince Daemon, and may I say, that I share your sentiments.

Without another glance, Daemon left his betrothed and took his seat next to Viserys. He immediately summoned the servants and asked for wine.

-The strongest you got! I am far too sober to have to deal with any of this!

-It is very good to see you after so many years prince Daemon. - Lord Rodrik greeted him from afar- You grown; last I saw you, you were just a boy of thirteen I believe.

-Lord Arryn, my brother’s father by marriage! Will you stay with us long enough for the birth of my niece or nephew?

-Unfortunately, I shall return with you and Lady Royce to the Vale after the wedding. As much as I wished to be with my daughter, I fear I am needed there.

Daemon gave him a smirk.

-I sincerely hope my cousin, your daughter, has a girl, and a good-looking one! Ever since Viserra died drunk and Rhaenys married and went to Driftmark with Corlys there is little to look at here!

Jaehaerys pulled Baelon to him and whispered to him again. At once Baelon left his seat and went to his younger son once more.

As the servants filled Daemon’s cup again, Baelon forbid them to give him more alcohol.

-Your grandfather and I believe you have had your share for one evening Daemon.

Daemon reached over to Viserys goblet and emptied it.

-Then you are both wrong. I can drink far more than this father!

Baelon turned to Viserys instead.

-Can you please help me keep your brother in line until dinner ends son?

Viserys looked a bit hesitant.

-I can try…

-It’s all I ask.

Over the next few hours Aemma watched as Viserys gave his best to control Daemon. As soon as it was appropriate to do so, he excused himself and took his younger brother with him. Aemma stayed for a while longer for she was enjoying her father’s company as well as talking to some members of Lord Arryn’s household she hadn’t seen in a while.

As the desserts were being carried away, Rhea sat by her side.

-So, there he goes, my future husband… Could it be any worse?

Aemma gave her a small smile.

-Your face says it all. Gods! I am marrying a child of six and ten that drinks and talks like a sailor and behaves like a peasant! And did you felt how he reeked of perfume? Whore’s perfume no doubt.

-He is very handsome…- Aemma said in a weak attempt to offer Rhea some comfort- And he is a very skilled warrior. He was given Dark Sister for his prowess in battle.

-In a real battle or in a silly tourney?-Rhae asked.- Besides, if I want someone skillful in combat, I will find myself a soldier, and if I want to stare at something beautiful, I have jewels or fine clothing or even statues if it pleases me. What I wanted out of a husband was someone kind and loving… and that did not behave as a spoiled child.

Aemma did not know what else to say.

-You must not say these things to anyone else.

-I know very well how to behave and who I can or cannot discuss my feelings about my future husband with Aemma. With any luck we will just live separate lives and he will go about his business and I mine. Ugh, men…

 

Daemon spent the night before his wedding getting drunk in one of the most expensive pleasure houses of the Street of Silk, and he did not go alone. After many protests and pleas, Viserys was dragged there by Daemon and other young noblemen and knights that resided in the Red Keep.

Upon minutes of his arrival Daemon was taken to some chambers by a very shapely young woman with red hair, he returned about an hour later with a cup in hand and a satisfied face. Viserys was seating in a corner.

-Daemon I am leaving.

-What for?! No, none of that you are staying with me! If I have to marry that… thing, tomorrow the least you as my older brother can do is to stay here and help me have the best night of my life!

The younger prince raised his cup.

-Let us toast Viserys!

-To what?

-Whatever you like brother!

-To the good health of my child then! - he replied with a smile.

Daemon rolled his eyes and obliged his brother.

-But you will empty the cup!

With a guilty look on his face, Viserys did as Daemon bided. After four more cups, his face begun to turn red and time seemed to slow down.

-There you go, doesn’t that feel better?

-We shouldn’t be here… I am a married man, about to become a father.

-If a married man who is about to become a father isn’t meant to be in a whore house then I do not know where he is meant to be. Seriously Viserys, can you really look me straight in the eye and tell me you like fucking our cousin Aemma? She is beautiful sure, but she looks like a small child!

Alcohol set Viserys’s tongue loose and for the first time ever he poured his heart out.

-And she is! She is just a child, gods bless me… they sent her over to my bed as soon as her blood came Daemon. She spent the entire time shaking and trying not to cry, I hugged her when it ended, and then I tried not to cry. Father insisted with me… he told me I had to have a son as soon as possible to strengthen my claim. It’s easy for him to speak, mother was fifteen when he married, and she had me two years after. Seventeen is a proper age, but thirteen? - Viserys drank again- Our first babe was born dead and deformed, she had two more miscarriages and now she is two moons away of giving birth, but who knows what is to happen?!

Daemon almost felt bad for his older brother. He placed and arm over his shoulders to offer him some comfort.

-You are young brother and yet you live the life of a tired old man. You deserve to have some fun.

-If your idea of fun involves me bedding some whore, I won’t do it Daemon! I am mindful of my vows, and I am not a cad like you!

-A cad? - the prince asked amused.

-You know, a scoundrel. And may I add that you are far too young to have bedded as many women as you did.

Daemon threw his head back laughing.

-Don’t worry about anything Viserys. I will take good care of you.

-I won’t bed any prostitute! - Viserys insisted.

-Of course you won’t. - the rogue prince smiled.

It was almost morning when they left the establishment and made their way back to the Red Keep. Daemon and his friend Ser Robert Darry, a young knight of sixteen, helped Viserys walk back to the castle.

His brother’s face was red and sweaty, and he was mumbling under his breath.

-What have I done?! How could I?!

-Calm down Viserys.

-I don’t deserve to live…

Ser Robert turned to Daemon.

-What happened exactly?

-He bedded two prostitutes. Or better yet, they had their way with him. I tried it to keep his betrayal to a minimum, but every girl there wanted to try the possible future king. I couldn’t fend them all away now, could I?

Ser Robert shared a laugh with the prince.

-What if I impregnated one of them?!- Viserys asked on the verge of tears.

-That’s highly unlikely Viserys, but in the case you did, these girls take moon tea to get rid of undesired pregnancies, so you shall be safe.

That appeared to appease his brother a little though he continued to whimper that he was a monster who did not deserve to live also adding:

-My poor, poor Aemma.

When they arrived at the Keep, Daemon took Viserys to his rooms. He summoned the servants and helped his brother bathe the scent of wine and whores from him.

-Go to his rooms and fetch some clothing as well.

-I can’t go to Aemma! - his brother sobbed- I am still drunk.

-Don’t worry, you can stay here.

When Viserys finished bathing, Daemon told his servants to dress him and lay him on the bed.

After washing himself, Daemon went to bed as well and slept next to Viserys for a few hours. His brother continued to mumble and cry in his sleep, and he had covered his own head with a pillow to muffle the sounds.

They were awakened by the servants when the sun was high in the skies, an hour or so before the ceremony was set to begin. Viserys was calmer though part of it was because he couldn’t quite recall their night, though Daemon believe he was actively trying to block it out from his memory.

Without mentioning their night, Viserys tried to make small talk as they quickly broke their fast together.

-Daemon?

-Yes Viserys.

-Can we not mention anything to anyone… specially father?

Daemon laughed.

-Of course, Viserys, it will be our secret. And stop being so hard on yourself- he told his brother.

 

The wedding happened in a blur though it was mostly because Daemon was still half drunk from his previous night. Every now and then he glanced over at his… wife and felt bile rise in his throat thinking about how common and generic she looked.

“Like a sheep. I am a dragon who married a sheep.” He thought to himself.

He said the words as he once recited prayers – without even thinking about the content and rolling his eyes at their foolishness. And when he had to kiss Lady Royce he didn’t even look into her eyes.

Everyone cheered as the old and fat septon declared them “one heart, one flesh, one soul” and his grandmother hugged him afterwards with the help of his dim-witted cousin Gael who held her cane.

-I am so happy to see you wed Daemon. - queen Alysanne told him, her bright blue eyes shining- And I know if your mother was here, she would be happy as well.

Daemon hated when people mentioned his mother princess Alyssa, yet not even him could be unkind with the small and kind queen Alysanne, so he hugged his grandmother back and gave her a smile.

-You are so handsome my Daemon. I have no doubts you shall have some beautiful children. You have my brother Aegon’s lilac eyes you know. He died too young... They say that he inherited the exact same shade that Aegon the dragon had, so mayhaps with any luck you will give them to one of your sons one day.

His grandmother gave him another kiss on the cheek and then left for her seat with the help of her youngest daughter.

He had to endure as noble after noble payed him his respects and offered him their congratulations on his union. It was a tiresome affair though better than the tedious feast that followed, made only bearable by some several cups of wine.

-Please try not to get too drunk tonight Daemon. - his father Baelon told him looking over to Lady Rhea Royce.

-Drunk is the only state that will allow me to consummate this union! - he loudly replied- For all the good it will do me anyhow. - the prince added.

Rhea stared at him, her eyes burning with silent rage.

-Please Daemon not so loudly. It will do you good, it will give you access to one of the biggest fortunes there is!

Prince Baelon gave his daughter by marriage a smile and turned to her kindly.

-Are you enjoying yourself Lady Royce?

-It’s a feast. - she coldly replied- Same as any other. Neither better, nor worse.

Daemon mad a gaging sound.

During the banquet neither him nor his wife ate too much and they spent as much time as they could apart from the other. He drunk, probably more than he ever had, and made toasts with his friends and companions and some with his brother who still looked less like himself as a consequence of their night on the Street of Silk.

When the time came for the bedding ceremony, he was half dragged, half pushed by the ladies of the court who eagerly stripped him naked. No one could guess how wild women could be until a bedding ceremony and he felt nails scratch his skin and hands wander over to places they shouldn’t.

As he entered his rooms, he could barely stand and all he saw was blurred. He looked over to a woman who ought to be Rhea, but truly he was too drunk to tell, and spoke the first words to her he did all day.

-Turn around.

Daemon woke up the next day with the worst headache of his life. He looked around the bed and saw that Rhea was not there but by the vanity and her maids were brushing her dull brown hair.

He noted a few drops of blood on the sheets and he searched for his breeches.

-How old are you again?!- he asked his wife.

-Three and twenty. - she answered him in a cold voice.

-You were far too old to still be a maiden. - he mocked.

She turned over to him.

-Any woman of respect remains a virgin until she is wed, and you would know that prince Daemon, were you accustomed to deal with high-born ladies.

-And many whores are virgins until someone pays for the pleasure of deflowering them. - he replied with a smirk.

Rhea did not flinch.

-I am guessing you know all about women of ill-repute. Shame you don’t know about running an estate. Those are skills that would serve you better than laying with prostitutes since the first brings you wealth, and the second brought you no great skill in that department.

Daemon stood from the bed.

-What did you say?!- he spat at her.

Rhea stood as well and faced him.

-I believe you heard me the first-time husband. But if you wish I can repeat myself. - she told him with a voice sweet as honey.

He grabbed her by the arm and her ladies shrieked in terror.

-I don’t enjoy hitting women dear wife, but when the need is there, I have no problem doing it!

Again, Rhea stood her ground and faced him.

-I excepted nothing else from you if we are being honest prince Daemon.

Angrily, Daemon let go of her and left her rooms naked as his name-day.

“I am not a dragon who married a sheep!” the rogue prince thought to himself “I am a dragon who married a bitch. The bronze bitch of House Royce!”

 

“I spend my days flying Caraxes and fighting with lesser men and in the evening, I have to endure the company of a lesser woman who I was made to marry. The weather is terrible, and the food is bad but the worse of it all is the women. In the Vale, the men fuck sheep. You cannot fault them. Their sheep are prettier than their women.”

Viserys set the letter down and looked over at his father prince Baelon.

-It’s just Daemon being Daemon Viserys. Just let him be. He will get over this… I hope.

Chapter Text

103 AC

King’s Landing

Rhaenyra listened excited to her father as he spoke to Lord Otto Hightower about the preparations regarding the celebration of King Jaehaerys’s accession to the throne.

A tourney and a great feast would be held in the capital and lords from across the Seven Kingdoms would come, including some of the great Houses. The Lannisters, and the Tyrells would attend, and the festivities would last for several days.

The princess loved the glamour and the luxury of the banquets and follies her father prince Viserys liked to organize and she lived to dance and to hear poetry and sweet music.

Her great-grandfather had been a great king, or so she had always heard everyone said. She was too young to remember much of his reign though. In the later years, his Hand Lord Otto Hightower had assumed much of the government since her great-grandfather had become much too weak to rule.

Sometimes her father, or when he came to visit, her uncle took Rhaenyra to see him, but it was much too boring. Oft he did not even remember who she was and one time he had called her Viserra.

-You do look a bit like your aunt I believe. - her father had told her. - Though I think you will surpass even her.

She had never met her aunt Viserra though her uncle had told her that she had been in love with her grandfather prince Baelon. He on the other hand did not return her feelings and she had been made to marry some Northern Lord against her will. On her last night as an unmarried maid she had escaped the Red Keep to go to Flea Bottom and take part in drunken horse races, and so the gods made it that she would forever be an unmarried maid.

Rhaenyra thought that it was sad how many children her great-grandparents had lost, which was just another reason why she felt so bad for the Old King.

-No less than a hundred courses Lord Otto! - her father Viserys told the Hand with a smile.

-Is this really necessary my prince? – Lord Hightower asked- After all, King Jaehaerys is too weak to be able to attend. He will not even comprehend that we are having a celebration for him.

Viserys laughed.

-That matters not Lord Otto. The important thing is that we organize something worthy of my grandfather’s many great deeds and of his prosperous and long reign. - the prince turned to his daughter the princess. - Can you believe it my Rhaenyra? Your great-grandfather has reigned for fifty-four years soon to be fifty-five! He has been king since the year 47!

-48 AC papa.

Lord Otto and her father looked at her surprised.

-If he celebrates fifty-five years on the throne this year and it’s the 103 year after conquest, then my great-grandfather became king was in the year 48, not 47.- Rhaenyra clarified.

Her father laughed.

-Oh, my Rhaenyra! You are such a bright child. Bright, bold and beautiful! - Viserys boomed loudly. - Could any man ask for a more gifted daughter?

Rhaenyra smiled at her father. Viserys took her small hand into his own and brought it to his lips kissing it.

-The princess is a credit to her House indeed prince Viserys. - Lord Otto Hightower said. - Much more than others, that is beyond dispute.

Her father and the Hand exchanged a look.

-Here you are Rhaenyra, I have been looking for you everywhere!

Her mother Lady Aemma Arryn appeared surrounded by her ladies.

-I should have known your father was behind your disappearance…- she said narrowing her eyes.

Viserys laughed.

-You caught me my dear. I confess I might have taken our princess after her lessons were done.

Lady Aemma approached them and Rhaenyra ran towards her.

-Dear husband, may I take my princess now or do you mean to hold her as hostage for the remaining of the day? - her mother asked playfully.

-Take her yes, my sweet, I will go and meet up with you just as soon as Lord Otto and I are done. Ah, I almost forgot! Make sure Rhaenyra has a new dress made for the upcoming celebrations Aemma. I think a dress in our house colours would be splendid!

Aemma’s face frowned.

-Are you telling me to dress a little girl of six in black and red? Those colours are too heavy on her Viserys…

Her father the prince looked a little disappointed.

-How about red then, with just a black ribbon? - he asked hopeful.

Rhaenyra looked up at her mother with a huge smile on her face.

-I know I have lost when the two of you look to me with those smiles upon your faces… I will see what I can manage, but you will not see our princess in black! It’s too much for a child!

Her mother took her little hand into hers.

-Come now my princess, let us leave the men to their affairs and attend to ours.

As Rhaenyra left with her mother and her ladies leaving her father and the Hand as they continued to discuss the preparations. Her mind had already drifted somewhere else.

The princess could not wait to have a new dress made!

Though Rhaenyra had only counted six name days, she loved new things, specially gowns and jewels and silk ribbons for her hair which she had over a hundred all in different colours! Unlike other girls her age, she much preferred to spend her time pampering herself than to play with dolls or other such nonsense. In fact, the only doll she had ever played with was one her uncle had gifted her of Queen Visenya, her favourite of all the Targayren queens! Which reminded her…

-Mother?

-Yes Rhaenyra.

The princess blushed.

-Is my uncle coming to the celebrations for my great-grandfather?

Her mother sighed.

-I don’t know sweetling. About your dress…

But Rhaenyra wasn’t listening.

-Can you ask father please? I really want my uncle to come… I almost never get to see him. - she complained.

-My darling girl, your uncle is married, and he has his own affairs to handle in the Vale. He can’t come here all the time. The capital is too far from Runestones.

-It’s not such a long journey on dragon’s back! - Rhaenyra countered- And he is so unhappy there…

-And how, pray tell, my little girl would you know that? - Aemma asked raising an eyebrow.

-He told me that in my last name day when he came to visit. He said the Vale is boring and the only thing more boring than it, is his lady wife. - Rhaenyra explained, proud that her handsome uncle confided his troubles with her.

-That is the type of conversation your uncle should not have with you. Ever. - her mother said very angry.

It truly upset Aemma how completely inappropriate her cousin and brother-by-marriage prince Daemon could be with her daughter, particularly how he would bribe her with gifts to get her to ask Viserys to allow him to come to the capital more often.

She had tried to talk it over with her husband. Of course, that he had waved her off telling her that Daemon loved Rhaenyra as if she were his own daughter.

Aemma had given up. Viserys was blind when it came to his brother Daemon and he only saw the good.

-Why shouldn’t he? - Rhaenyra asked her mother.

-That is a subject for grown-ups Rhaenyra, not for a little girl. And what goes on between two married people should stay between them.

-I don’t understand why.

Aemma sighed once more. Her daughter could be as stubborn as she could be sweet and charming. She did not understand why though, neither Viserys nor herself had such a fiery personality. Of course, that her husband only laughed and turned Rhaenyra’s stubbornness into a good thing.

-Good for her to know what she wants Aemma! My mother was like that too and so was our grandmother Queen Alysanne! My little Rhaenyra will never be a soft girl controlled by others!

She turned to her daughter.

-One day when you are grown and you marry, you will come to understand such issues Rhaenyra.

The princess blushed when her mother spoke of marriage. And in her dreams, there was only one man she dreamt of marrying…

A turn of the moon later Rhaenyra was greeted by two great surprises and a lesser one.

The first was her new dress. Although her mother did not permit her to have a black dress, her new gown was made from the finest red silk with some black details on the sleeves and on her waist of the dress.

She thought she looked like a true Targaryen in it, and the red colour made her feel older and more grown. It also made her purple eyes, true purple, look even brighter.

The second was a letter from her uncle to her- specifically for her- telling her that yes, he would attend the celebrations.

Rhaenyra had barely been able to sleep that night so excited that she was!

Of course, that she should expect that there would be a price to pay for such happiness, and true enough, alongside with her uncle’s letter something else arrived for her from the Vale…

-You will not believe it Viserys! - her mother had told her father.

They were in her mother’s apartments; her father was going through some letters and Rhaenyra was still reading and re-reading her uncle’s message. He had such elegant handwriting.

-My cousin Lady Maris just send the most beautiful gift for Rhaenyra.

The princess raised an eyebrow.

-That is so kind Aemma. - her father said with a big smile. - What did she send for Rhaenyra?

Aemma took something out of the little wooden chest and present it to them.

It was a necklace. An ugly necklace. Beyond ugly in fact.

It was a large piece made of solid gold that reminded her of a chain and there were several large stones decorating it, each from a different colour.

-Seven stones. - her mother said. - One for each of the gods.

-Like in our grandfather’s crown! - Viserys said. - It’s a rather original idea!

Rhaenyra looked over at her father with an incredulous look on her face. Her father noticed her expression and gave her a look that said: “Be kind. It was a gift.”

The princess’s face frowned. She was good at many things, hiding her feelings was not one of them.

-Look Rhaenyra! Isn’t it beautiful?

She looked over at the necklace and then back at her mother.

-I don’t know…

-Let’s try it on my sweet.

Rhaenyra turned to her father pleading with him with her eyes but it was of no use. She felt defeated as the cold metal touched her skin and her mother made her stand in front of the mirror.

-How beautiful you look. It will look wonderful with your new dress.

The princess began to panic.

-I don’t think it will mother! I had thought of using another necklace for the occasion, maybe the silver with the ruby to match the red of the gown.

-Nonsense Rhaenyra, of course it will match your gown. Besides my cousin sent it to you specifically for the occasion, and you have worn the silver necklace countless other times. This time you shall wear the new. New dress. New necklace.

She turned to her mother.

-I would really like to wear the silver one.

Her mother would hear no more.

-Rhaenyra it would be indelicate of you not to wear the gift my cousin sent.

Her only response was a big pout.

Sensing her mood souring, her father immediately tried to change the subject.

-Your uncle just wrote to may saying he will be arriving in a few days. I expect the letter he sent you says the same.

The princess blushed heavily.

-He does yes, and he says he misses me dearly!

-Of course, he does. I know how much your uncle cares for you, it truly is a pity that he spends so much time away from King’s Landing. I must confess I oft miss his company as well. No one makes me laugh like my brother Daemon.

-His life is in the Vale my love. - her mother said. - At Runestones with his lady wife.

-Of course, of course. It still pains me to see so little of him. He was one of my closest companions for most of my life. We shared a room throughout our younger years and until I was married. He used to be the first thing I saw in the morning and the last at nights.

Aemma was not touched by Viserys’s words.

Anyone, we knew Viserys and Daemon knew that Viserys’s affections were mostly one-sided. In fact, Aemma believed the only reasons Daemon wanted to be at the capital for was to drink himself half-blind, to collect more money of the royal treasury for his follies and to go to the Street of Silk to shame Lady Rhea. But of course, there was no point in trying to say any of it to her husband. Thus she simply smiled.

 

The rogue prince arrived on the exact day of the festivities.

From the moment that Caraxes great red wings spread, and he left the cursed soil of the Vale that the prince felt as if heavy chains had been lifted from him.

“Chains would seem sweet next to my bronze bitch. At least chains do not make noise and I don’t have to stick my cock in them every once in a while…”

As the Red Wyrm landed on the Dragonpit, Daemon took a deep breath.

People said the capital smelled of shit and mayhaps that was true. Still, it was a sweeter smell than that of sheep shit of which the Vale had plenty.

“Sheep, manure, rocks and ugly women…”

-Safe journey my prince? - he heard one of the Dragon Keepers ask.

Prince Daemon smiled.

-The winds were favourable aye. - he replied removing his leather gloves. - It’s good to be back at King’s Landing.

And it truly was.

He quickly arrived at the Red Keep who was busier than he had seen it in a while. Everywhere servants came and went carrying things and supplies and he could already smell the sweet wine and the meat roasting in preparation for the feast.

The prince found his brother at the Tower of the Hand.

Viserys was already dressed for the festivities. He wore a deep purple doublet with gold thread and a half-cape fastened with a gold brooch shaped after the three-headed dragon of House Targaryen. His silver-gold hair shined where the light touched it and he had been wearing a golden moustache above his lip for the past years which had been neatly trimmed.

Next to him was the Hand Lord Otto Hightower, showing him some documents.

-I expected to see you in black and red today brother.

Viserys smiled as he saw him.

-What can I say brother? I prefer purple.

His brother Viserys stood and embraced him tightly.

-I was beginning to think you would be late.

-Wouldn’t dream of it. - Daemon replied. - And how is everything in King’s Landing? How is my cousin Aemma and my niece Rhaenyra?

-In King’s Landing everything is the same. And Aemma and Rhaenyra are both fine. My daughter grows smarter and taller and she has been talking about your visit nonstop.

Daemon smirked.

-As she should.

Lord Otto Hightower coughed lightly.

-Good evening my Lord Hand. I almost did not notice you!

Daemon had little love for Otto Hightower. He was a cunning and ambitious man and the prince did not trust him. If he recalled correctly his daughter had been tending to the Old King since their family had come to court.

-Good evening to you too prince Daemon. Did you have a pleasant journey?

-Same old, same old. - the prince replied taking a seat. - Is there wine?

Otto’s face frowned.

-Lord Otto, would it be a terrible bother if I were to ask you to bring my brother some wine? - Viserys asked the Hand.

Daemon half expected the man to tell them both to go and fall on their swords, but the ambitious Hightower knew better than that.

Standing up he promptly agreed to Viserys’s request.

-No trouble at all my prince.

The rogue prince’s eyes followed Otto until he left the rooms.

-Kind man, don’t you think brother? So eager to please everyone!

-I bet he is…

-How are things in the Vale? - Viserys asked.

Daemon raised an eyebrow.

-Must you really ask a question to whom you already know the answer?

The princes studied his fingernails for a moment.

-The weather is terrible, food is shit, the women are uglier than sheep. Talking about sheep you have those. Everywhere. And rocks also and plenty of them. Most days I almost cry of boredom. The only entertainments I have are flying on Caraxes and practicing with my sword. Once or twice I have also killed a few men from those wild clans they have in the Vale, which was fun, but the fun can only last so long. I miss the capital brother…

He was waiting for Viserys to say something, but his brother remained as quiet as a stone.

-How fares our grandsire.

-I hear reports that he grows sicker every day, and weaker. They do not expect him to last much longer.

-You don’t go to visit him? - Daemon asked.

-Well… I… I am busy most of the time Daemon. With our grandfather in bed most of the responsibilities of governing have fallen on me and that leaves me little time for follies.

Daemon’s hand rested on his brother’s arm.

-When our grandfather dies you will need help ruling the kingdoms brother. Seven Kingdoms are quite the burden for only one man.

-I will have help Daemon. Lord Otto will likely want to remain on his current position and…

But Daemon was not hearing his brother anymore. He moved closer to him.

-Lord Otto is a Hightower brother. It was a Targaryen who united the Seven Kingdoms and it takes Targaryens to rule them. I will gladly come back to King’s Landing to help you when you need me to.

-Daemon I…

-Where in the Seven Hells is Lord Otto with my wine?! Did he go over to the Arbor to fetch it?

Viserys laughed.

-I still must change my clothes for the evening and we don’t have much time on our hands.

Daemon stood from his chair.

-Let’s go to my rooms so I can change, we can continue our conversation there.

-What about Lord Otto? - Viserys asked also rising from his seat. – We sent him for some wine.

The rogue prince waved him off.

-We will just tell the servants to let him know it’s best to send the wine over to my apartments. He won’t mind now, will he?

-Certainly not! - Viserys agreed. - Lord Otto is a kind man. I am sure it will be no trouble at all.

-Then let’s go brother.

As the two princes left the Tower of the Hand, Daemon couldn’t stop himself from sniggering as he pictured the face of the Hightower man arriving at the Small Council’s chambers, wine in hand, and finding a message for him to take it to Maegor’s Holdfast.

“That sounds like a job more fitted for his talents. Better than being Hand anyway.”

 

Rhaenyra had just finished being dressed when there was a knock on the door. The servants opened it and her father entered her rooms followed by her uncle prince Daemon.

-How beautiful you look my little niece. Red suits you.

-Uncle!

She ran to him and he lifted her up in his arms as she threw her one skinny arms around him. His soft silver hair tickled her face as she buried her face in it. She closed her eyes taking in his scent.

-I missed you so, so much!

-As I tell you each and every time we part with one another, I always return to you my princess. Always.

They parted and he looked at her.

You look taller.

-I do? - she asked with a smile.
-Oh yes. And even more beautiful than the last time I saw you.

Prince Daemon turned to his brother.

-I fear to tell you Viserys that if your girl continues to grow more beautiful with the years, after she becomes a woman you will have to have someone just to keep her suitors away. Of course, that I will have every pleasure in volunteering for the job.

Rhaenyra blushed and giggled at his words. Viserys laughed.

-Your uncle always makes me laugh so much!

-Did you bring me a gift? - Rhaenyra asked her uncle.

-Of course I did, my little dragon. When have I ever come to you empty-handed?

-You are the best uncle ever!

-If we are all ready, then lets go to your mother so our festivities can commence.

Daemon set her down and took her little hand in his asking for the honour of accompanying her to the Great Hall. Her heart was pounding in her chest and she couldn’t stop smiling so happy that she was.

The princess noted that such as herself, Daemon was dressed in their house colours. And she smiled again. They would match one another.

As the royal family entered the Great Hall, all eyes turned to them. Rhaenyra was well used to this. She knew that her family was different from the other Houses of Westeros. The blood of Old Valyria and of the dragon lords ran in their veins. Their silver hair, purple eyes, inhuman beauty and their ability to bound with dragons was a testament to the fact that they were not completely human. And she quite liked it.

Before the feast could begin her father said a few words about her great-grandfather the Old King. He praised him and his many good deeds throughout his long reign and he also payed tribute to all of King Jaehaerys’s great losses throughout his life.

Rhaenyra noticed that there was a blonde woman who wouldn’t stop staring at her uncle prince Daemon. She was dress in a deep crimson gown richly decorated with golden thread and she had striking green eyes. Looking at the other people sitting next to her, the princess noted that all of them had gold hair and green eyes, which could only mean that they were the Lannisters of Casterly Rock.

They were said to be the richest family of the Seven Kingdoms though Lady Beesbury had told her that in the last years that title had been threatened by the rise of House Velaryon whose riches had increased considerably under the lordship of Corlys Velaryon, called the Sea Snake.

Lady Beesbury had also told her that the Velaryon rise had angered the Lannisters in more than one way. Not only were they on the verge of losing their title as the most powerful House, but the Velaryons had something that they did not, a close connection with the royal family.

After all, King Jaehaerys’s mother, Rhaenyra’s great-great grandmother had been a Velaryon, and the conqueror’s mother was also a Velaryon. Her own aunt princess Rhaenys was married to Lord Corlys.

-I wouldn’t be too surprised if they tried to push one of their sons to marry you princess, now that your father’s relationship with the Velaryons is estranged. - the old woman had told her.

Rhaenyra frowned at the idea. She did not want to marry some Lannister boy and leave her home forever! Especially because she had a very clear idea of who she wanted to marry and the person in question did not have gold hair.

The Lannister woman continued to stare shamefully at her uncle and did so throughout the feast.

Rhaenyra ignored her stares through most of it, after all, she was finally reunited with her uncle.

He told her countless stories of his adventurers fighting the Clans of the Vale of Arryn, wild tribes more beast than man and she drank them all as sweet nectar.

-Caraxes had his share of them that’s for sure! Which reminds me, how fares your little Syrax?

-She grows big uncle. - Rhaenyra said with a smile. - I think she is the best dragon ever.

Daemon laughed.

-Hopefully soon she grows big enough for you to ride her.

A chill went through Rhaenyra. She knew she ought not be afraid. It was unfitting of the dragon as her uncle oft said, and yet she still felt fear at the thought of taking to the skies with Syrax.

“What if she refuses me, what if she lets me fall, what if she lacks the strength to carry me and we both fall to our deaths…”

-After you claim her, we can ride our dragons together. I promise you that nothing in this life will ever be sweeter than riding a dragon… well almost nothing I guess.

That brought a smile to her face immediately.

-I would like nothing more.

-Good evening my prince.

Rhaenyra looked up to see the Lannister woman standing next to their table and addressing her uncle.

-I don’t believe we have met. - her uncle said in a cold voice.

-I am Lady Myrcella Lannister prince Daemon, sister to Lord Lannister.

-How very fortunate for you.

-It is yes.

-Why are you at our table? – the princess asked Lady Myrcella.

Though only six, Rhaenyra already could make any person tremble when she spoke with the right tone. At that moment she was very much a Targaryen princess of the line of Aegon the Conqueror, and she was in no mood for some blonde lady trying to throw herself at her uncle!

-I believe I still wasn’t given the honour of meeting you princess. It truly is a shame that our families are not closer. - the woman said as her eyes drifted to Daemon again.

-If you wanted to meet me, then now you have. You can leave now. - Rhaenyra said giving her a very sweet smile.

The obnoxious woman only giggled.

-You are so funny princess! My nephews Jason and Tyland would certainly love you! They are close to age with you. I believe they will be eleven next year.

But Rhaenyra wasn’t feeling very funny, in fact, as she watched Lady Myrcella Lannister taking a seat next to her uncle, she felt at her most unkind self.

Her uncle didn’t look particularly pleased with having to endure the woman’s constant yapping. In fact, as far as she knew, not too many ladies seemed to attract prince Daemon’s attention.

She has asked Lady Beesbury about it since she would not dare ask her mother.

-I ought to tell you that your uncle does not pay much attention to other ladies because he has a lady wife of his own, but you are much too smart for that, so I will tell you the truth. Your uncle prefers the company of another sort of women. The sort who will never be allowed to be in your presence princess.

Rhaenyra had not understand what Lady Beesbury meant. Alas when she tried to ask, the old woman had refused, claiming she was too young and of too high birth to know.

She looked at Lady Myrcella once more and she couldn’t help but feel jealous. No matter what Lady Beesbury said the truth was she was a very beautiful women, and most men on the halls that night had their eyes on her.

“But I am more beautiful” Rhaenyra told herself “Her hair is gold, while mine is silver and gold. Her eyes are green and bright, but how many people can claim to have purple eyes? And her face isn’t nearly as perfect as mine!”

Still, she was a woman and Rhaenyra was just a child, young enough to be her uncle’s daughter though they looked more like siblings than like father and daughter.

She felt sad and disappointed. It was so rare for the princess to have a chance to spend time with sim and now some blonde woman with some stupid lion for a house sigil was ruining everything!

“I can’t just throw a tantrum or pull at his arm or I will look even more like a child…”

Looking down to her lap the princess suddenly remembered something.

Rhaenyra excused herself from the table and exited the Great Hall. As she walked the corridors of the Red Keep, she removed the heavy necklace from around her neck.

Once in her rooms she went over to the balcony.

She gave the ugly necklace one last look before she threw it as far as she could and watched it disappear, swallowed by the darkness.

 

-I thought that maybe we could dance prince Daemon. Just one song!

-Uncle Daemon…

Daemon turned to a very sad Rhaenyra who had returned from her rooms.

He silently thanked the valyrian gods for an opportunity for the Lannister bitch to be quiet. He could not take one more moment of her constant yapping.

-What is the matter my sweet?

Rhaenyra’s big purple eyes stared into her, they looked even bigger and her lower lip trembled as she played with the sleeve of her dress.

-My necklace… - she said in little more than a whisper.

Daemon’s eyes looked at her neck and he noted that the awful thing she had been wearing was gone. He thought that the girl should be crying with happiness for not having to wear such an ugly thing, but she was just a poor child. So innocent and naïve.

-What happened?

Lady Myrcella or whatever her name was, was trying to look over at them and to be a part of the conversation. Tired of her, Daemon turned his back on her direction and gazed at his niece’s sad eyes.

-You can tell your uncle Daemon.

-I… I lost my necklace. I took it off for a moment when I went to my room to fix my hair and then when I looked around it was gone.- Rhaenyra’s eyes were filled with tears.- I don’t know where I put it… mother will be so mad at me, it was a gift from one of her cousins in the Vale. I loved that necklace uncle, and now it’s gone. Gone forever.

Daemon had to stop himself from flinching when she said that the necklace had come from the Vale and that she had liked it.

The blood of the dragon was so strong in his niece it was easy for him to forget she was in fact one quarter Arryn.

Rhaenyra continued to make big eyes at him and she was trembling.

-There, there my poor princess. I will help you find that necklace.

-You will? - she asked with a voice sweeter than honey.

He pulled her chin up and gave her a smile.

-When have I ever denied you anything?

Rhaenyra blushed and returned his smile.

Daemon turned to Lady Myrcella.

-Pray forgive us my lady but my niece and I have to leave.

-What for? - she anxiously asked. - Perchance I could accompany you.

-I fear not my lady. This adventure only requires two dragons, but I am certain we will have the chance to meet each other some other time.

Lady Mycerlla’s mouth opened and closed like a fish as she watched uncle and niece go.

Daemon followed Rhaenyra out of the hall. He offered her his hand and she took it giving him a shy smile.

-Do not worry my little dragon all will be well.

Rhaenyra turned to him, her eyes back to their regular size.

-All is well now uncle. Because you are here.

Chapter Text

81 AC

King’s Landing

Jaehaerys left the Small Council Chambers accompanied by his Hand and closest friend, after his queen of course, Septon Barth.

It had been a long and tiring day and His Grace wanted nothing more then to rest and share a quiet meal with his wife and children.

-I would like to offer my thanks for the invitation to dine with your family tonight Your Grace.

-Nonsense, you speak like it is the first time we share a table together. After all these years, I should take insult to your words my old friend!

The Septon smiled. Jaehaerys spoke truth, often Barth had dined with the king and his family and it was something that had bothered nobles and members of the Small Council for years. It struck a chord on them that a man of such low birth as him could be so close to the King’s Grace. Some even whispered that he was more sorcerer than septon and looked for cause to speak ill of him.

-It will be a small affair I expect, but we would all be honoured to have you. Alysanne should be pleased as well. Ever since Daella married Lord Arryn and left for the Vale, she has been feeling lonely, the girl was with her at all times as you know. Your company will do my queen well!

The Septon smiled.

He had been serving Jaehaerys for thirty years now. He had officiated his second marriage to his sister Alysanne, helped him to write the Doctrine of Exceptionalism and several laws for the Seven Kingdoms. He assisted him with governing and with countless diplomatic issues as well as several improvements made to Westeros and to King’s Landing.

Concerning his low birth, Jaehaerys had once said that a knight needed his sword, a horse needed shoes, and he need Barth. To that day, the king’s words still moved him.

Many men considered him less because of it, but not Jaehaerys. It was somewhat ironic that the person most above Barth was one of the few who looked at him as an equal. It said much about Jaehaerys, but even more about the other nobles.

-I am not well used to luxuries Your Grace, as any of your courtiers will note. A simple dinner in your words will certainly mean a grandiose feast to me. - he replied with a smile.

-If only they were like you my friend, this continent would be better. Less coin would be spent on follies and more work would be done to improve the lives of those less fortunate!

-The less fortunate are more fortunate just because they have Your Grace as their king.

Jaehaerys laughed.

-Now my friend, you are the one who is being too kind!

They were turning the corridor towards the royal apartments when, to much of Jaehaerys’s surprise, he saw his daughter princess Alyssa walking arm in arm with his second son Baelon.

-What in the name of the gods are you doing out of bed Alyssa?!

-Trying not to die of boredom father. - the princess replied rolling her eyes. - And I would also like to have dinner if that is fine with you.

-That is highly unadvisable, you are very close to giving birth, you should be resting!

He spoke the truth. Nine moons had come and went, and prince Baelon’s second child with his sister was due to be born any day. That did not bother the princess, however. If her first pregnancy had done nothing to stop Alyssa’s desires to ride, hunt and fly, neither had the second one.

Jaehaerys turned his gaze to Baelon.

-I don’t expect your sister to know better, gods only know she is stubborn as mule, but I expected you would know better Baelon! Alyssa could go into birth at any time and you let her wander about? This could hurt your child! Seriously, what is wrong with you two?!

Baelon shrugged and smiled.

-I could never say no to her father, you know that.

-It seems a fine time for you to learn Baelon! Does your mother know where you are Alyssa?

Jaehaerys stopped for a moment.

-Of course she doesn’t! Gods, sometimes I speak as if I do not know you!

The princess grunted.

-Father please, I have been dying of boredom these past days. I can’t ride, I can’t hunt, I can’t do anything! - she complained pouting. - The only source of entertainment I have are Baelon and Viserys, and my son is only four! Mother has been pestering me all the time asking if I need anything and biding me to rest. And of course, those boring septas praying around me… I am pregnant, not dying…

Septon Barth had to smile at Alyssa’s words.

The oldest surviving daughter of king Jaehaerys and queen Alysanne was a wilful and independent girl with no patience for most of the things that other women enjoyed. She did not know how to sow, or sing, and she seldom wore jewels or elaborate gowns. Although a Targaryen, and thus more beautiful than most other women, the princess had a wild beauty somewhat diminished by her crocked nose, her large ears and her mismatched eyes, one green and one purple. Her hair was also the colour of straw instead of silver or silver and gold, like her siblings. She had always been thin and even at nine months with child Alyssa had barely gained any weight. In fact, only her stomach was bigger.

That night she wore a simple dark red dress and her hair was as always, a mess, not quite curly, neither straight, falling down her back.

Next to her was her husband and brother prince Baelon, who the smallfolk called the Spring Prince.

Unlike his sister he had the trademark silver hair of the Targaryens, his nose was straight, and both of his eyes were purple, though not as bright as Alyssa’s one purple eye. It would be more accurate to say his eyes were more a dark lilac colour. He was taller than the princess and had broad shoulders and a well-built body. That evening the prince dressed himself with their house colours of black and red, and on his face he sported a smile from ear to ear.

-You ought to rest and listen to your septas Alyssa! And you ought to stop doing everything your sister says Baelon! Gods! You are both grown and still you behave like children!

-You ought to not be so grumpy father. Especially since you are about to become a grandfather for the third time. Do you want your grandchildren to think of you in such a way? As the grumpy old man with the big hair and beard? - Alyssa teased. - Besides, there is more than enough cause to celebrate! Our family will soon have a new prince!

The thought of another grandchild softened the king’s face. Septon Barth smiled.

Jaehaerys has always loved children, and he had a soft spot for his two grandchildren, princess Rhaenys, daughter of his oldest son Aemon and his wife Lady Jocelyn, and Viserys the first son of Baelon and Alyssa.

-Fine Alyssa. You may attend dinner with us, but I expect you to retire early! Soon you will have to bring my second grandson to this world, and I want a healthy and robust boy!

Prince Baelon’s face grew smug. Although there was no way of knowing, both he and Alyssa had boosted from the beginning that they would have another son. This of course had delighted the king, after all, another boy would help to further secure the Targaryen line.

They made their way to the royal apartments and found queen Alysanne and the younger princesses already there. The queen made no attempt of hiding her surprise when she saw daughter out of bed and wandering around.

-Alyssa! Why are you not resting?

-Not you too mother!

-Too late my dear Alysanne. - Jaehaerys told his queen giving her a quick kiss on her lips- I already made that question and I already insisted for her to return to bed.

The queen narrowed her eyes at her daughter as she gave her a hug.

-Then why may I ask is she here and not in her bed?

Jaehaerys gave a sigh.

-When pray tell me my love, have I ever been able to control any of the women of this family?

-You haven’t Jaehaerys, but as you like to remind everyone, if Targaryens aren’t mere men, then they aren’t mere women either. - she replied with a wink.

Alyssa whispered something in Baelon’s ear and they both laughed.

-I have invited Septon Barth to dine with us, I hope you do not mind.

-Of course, I don’t! You are a welcome sight septon Barth!

Alysanne immediately went over to him kissing him on both cheeks.

There was not a woman who could bring out a smile quicker than the Good Queen. At five and four she remained a beautiful and elegant woman. Her honey-coloured hair had long been turning silver, but her smile was as sweet as that of the young maid he had married to the king so many years ago, and her blue eyes still shone bright as precious jewels.

Her youngest children also greeted him. After Daella had left for the Vale, following her marriage to Lord Rodrik Arryn, and with Maegelle and Vaegon both at Oldtown, the only ones remaining at the capital were princess Saera and princess Viserra. There was also the little princess Gael, though with only one name day, she would not attend the feast.

-You look fat. - Saera mockingly told her older sister. - Your belly looks about ready to burst! I can’t imagine ever looking like that!

Saera counted fourteen name days. A beautiful but unkind girl, Septon Barth had often heard her septa cry in despair not knowing what to do of the girl. He had little consolation to offer the septa, telling her merely that what Saera needed was comfort and patience.

If some more simple people, or those of a weaker predisposition fell victims to the princess’s cruelty, Alyssa was not one of them and she quickly shot back.

-Well, this is what happens when a woman shares a bed with a man sweet sister. I wouldn’t expect you to know of course, still just a little maid of fourteen…

Alyssa’s words angered Saera, she hated to be made fun of and to feel ignorant.

- And mayhaps you will never know. I heard mother and father talk of a place for you next to Maegelle… as a septa.

Alyssa’s mismatched eyes glowed with malice as she caressed her big stomach.

-How lovely would those grey robes look on you.

The cruel smile disappeared from Saera’s face and she immediately turned to her father begging him to tell her the truth of it.

-Don’t mind your sister. Alyssa is merely teasing you. - her father reassured her.

The princess breathed in relief. Ever since she had flowered Saera had been entertaining the idea of wanting to become queen somewhere and she often expressed interest in men and a desire to marry. There would be no worst punishment for a girl like her than to be made a septa.

-Not that it would do you bad to spend some time praying to the gods. - Alysanne told her daughter. - Was that any way to speak to your sister, Saera? She is not fat; she is with child, and you should show her more respect during her delicate condition. Pregnancy is no laughing matter!

Baelon laughed.

-No need to be so mad at Saera mother. She was just jesting with Alyssa. Anyone who looked at my wife would know she is anything but fat.

Alyssa threw her brother a look. It baffled her how the women of her family were the only ones who seemed to understand who Saera was. Her father and brothers just laughed off every one of her bad deeds like it was nothing, and they always seemed to find excuses for her.

Noting her stare Baelon pulled her more closely to him.

-Come on Alyssa, she was just trying to provoke you, you know Saera doesn’t mean what she says. And you are the most beautiful woman ever, even more when you are carrying my child.

The usual outspoken princess felt her cheeks burn upon hearing her brother’s words. Only Baelon could always make her blush and swoon as the maidens of the songs and stories the court was filled with.

-You already got me pregnant. Twice in fact, so you need not try to seduce me further Baelon.

He laughed at her words.

-I will always want to seduce you Alyssa, no matter how many times I get you with child. That is because I love you.

Alyssa blushed again.

-You know, for someone who likes to have erotic conversations when we are in bed, you do blush quite easily when I speak to you of love or I tell you that you are beautiful. I think the opposite is true for most women.

-Well I am not most women. And by the way Baelon, you have no idea how much I miss our nightly talks. - she replied wiggling her eyebrows.

-I hope we are not late.

-Nonsense Aemon. Your father and your siblings just arrived as well. - Alysanne told her son.

Prince Aemon came accompanied of his wife Lady Jocelyn, half-sister to Alysanne and Jaehaerys, as well as their daughter Rhaenys, a stunning girl of seven with her mother’s long black hair and her father’s pale violet eyes with a face like a doll’s.

Alysanne’s eyes lit up as she took note of the child. In the queen’s own words, she was “our queen to be”, and she loved her first grandchild dearly.

-I hope there is no issue that we have brought Rhaenys. - Lady Jocelyn said. - She begged us to come tonight.

Rhaenys smiled to everyone, a smile that could melt anyone. Well… anyone save for princess Saera who seemed annoyed at the presence of her niece.

-Don’t be silly sister. - Jaehaerys said at once- We are well used to being surrounded by children! And it’s good to see our new Master of Laws here tonight!

Aemon smiled as he took a seat next to Baelon and Alyssa. Jocelyn sat by his side. She meant for Rhaenys to stay with her but Alysanne insisted for the princess to sit by her side instead.

-If you don’t mind seating next to an old woman that is. Since Daella left me, I have been feeling a bit lonely.

Septon Barth had to hide a chuckle. Only a heart as big as that of the queen’s could ever claim to be lonely. If there was one thing no Targaryen could feel in the Red Keep was loneliness as there were so many of them. And soon there would be one more.

-I am surprised to see you here Alyssa. - Aemon said as the servants begun serving their dinner. - Shouldn’t you be tied down to a bed with the septas praying over you as you throw insults at them?

Baelon threw his head back laughing loudly.

-No! Of course not! - the princess turned to her husband and narrowed her eyes.

-I wish there were ropes strong enough to keep her there Aemon! - Jaehaerys said from his seat- Alas, as always, I am powerless against the will of the women of this family so your sister is here instead of resting as you can see.

-I will pay you all to talk about something else rather than me not being in bed resting! - Alyssa said rolling her eyes. - Plus, I don’t need the reminder that that’s all I have been doing in bed for the past month.

Jaehaerys almost chocked on his wine.

-Don’t start with me father, you and mother had thirteen children. Clearly you did more than resting in bed!

-May I remind you Alyssa that your niece Rhaenys is here and that she is only six! And your sisters Sarea and Viserra are both unmarried maids?!

-Please, I have said much worse than this! - Alyssa replied crossing her arms over her chest.

-Aren’t you going to say anything? - Jaehaerys asked Alysanne.

The queen shrugged.

-Alyssa is just being Alyssa my love. What are we to do?

-Nothing please mother, I love her just as she is. - Baelon said.

The prince’s sweet words rendered Alyssa speechless. She pulled her brother for a passionate kiss that made Jaehaerys look uncomfortably around the room and to Septon Barth, who simply shrugged.

Since Baelon and Alyssa married there was not one day they spent apart, and they showed their love publicly for all court to see. If there was a word Alyssa knew not the meaning of was shame. Thus, their days were spent with each other riding their dragons, and their nights were spent alone in their bedchambers. Oft times their servants giggled and commented at how loud the princess was during their night-time activities.

Lady Jocelyn tried to change the topic.

-Have you decided on a name yet? - she kindly asked with her soft, musical voice. - I don’t believe Aemon as told me.

-We have not. - Alyssa replied. - I want to see him first before I decide. But we have a few good names for our son.

-Are you that certain it is a boy then?

-A mother knows. - the princess replied running her hands gently through her swollen stomach. - I know it will be another prince. A brother for my Viserys to play with!

Jaehaerys smiled filled with pride at his daughter’s words.

-Viserys will certainly love to have a brother. - the king agreed- He will be glad to be rid of Rhaenys. Did she not made him wear bows on his hair once and a dress?

Almost everyone on the table laughed apart from seven-year-old Rhaenys who immediately provided an explanation.

-He would not leave my rooms! I told him that if he wanted to stay then he would have to play dolls with me! It was his choice not mine…

-You were in the right Rhaenys. - Alysanne said with a kind smile- And you spoke like a true queen! Your father may not have told you, but he and your uncle Baelon used to follow their sister Daenerys everywhere and they did everything she bided of them. I see much of her in you my beloved princess.

There was a moment of pause. Though most of the presents had not been alive at the time of Daenerys short years in the world, those who had met her had suffered greatly for her loss.

Jaehaerys offered his hand to Alysanne.

-Viserys is too kind a boy. - the king said- And well-behaved. Hard to believe he was born from Baelon and Alyssa who were the biggest troublemakers Alysanne and I had.

-What a terrible lie that is father!

Jaehaerys narrowed his eyes at his daughter’s words.

-Not even you believe that Alyssa…

Laughter echoed in the rooms again. It was a happy occasion for House Targaryen and Septon Barth felt his heart warm with happiness. After so many tragedies in the lives of the king and queen from such tender ages, it was good to finally see them being rewarded by the gods. They had a big and happy family, very soon to grow again.

Barth however couldn’t help but notice the look of contempt princess Saera had throughout the dinner, and how often she attempted to say or do something to catch her parents’ attention. That night however, all eyes were on prince Baelon and princess Alyssa as almost everyone waited anxiously for the arrival of their new child.

The gods so willed it that they need not wait long, and two days after, princess Alyssa was taken to bed with pain as her labour started. It would be another day before the good news were heard though.

By her side were her mother queen Alysanne, countless midwives and the Grand Maester. Prince Baelon was sent to wait for the arrival of his new child in another room, though he did not go without protest. Keeping him company was his brother and best friend prince Aemon and his father the king.

Baelon spent the entire time walking from one end of the room to the other, only stopping every now and then for a cup of wine to help with his nerves. His father went as far as threatening to give him a cup of Dream Wine so he would calm down.

-This is not your first babe Baelon! Give it a rest, you are making everybody around you anxious! In a few hours your son will be born, and your sister will be laughing and teasing you for your concerns, just as she did last time.

Aemon offered Baelon a smile.

-He is right you know.

Baelon lifted an eyebrow.

-Says the man who almost pulled his hair out and emptied his stomach when his wife was giving birth…

-At least I didn’t star wearing out the floors.

After much insistence Baelon finally sat… for five minutes, after which he rose again.

-I will go over and see how things are progressing!

Jaehaerys pulled him down to his chair.

-You already went there many times… Setpon Barth please help me here! This boy is bringing me on the verge of madness!

-Prince Baelon, the gods are with our princess Alyssa today and all shall go well. In a few hours we will have a new Targaryen princeling and much to celebrate.

-They are right brother, besides, I though you were called Baelon the Brave. I can’t imagine anyone calling you that if they saw you in this state! - prince Aemon said teasing him again.

Usually Baelon would give some witty remark to his brother, but that day his only response was to tremble a little and grow even paler.

The prince rose from his seat even before anyone could her the steps in the corridor and he ran out of the room before he could be stopped. Alysanne appeared a few moments later by the doors, a huge smile on her face.

-It’s done! He’s born! Our third grandchild Jaehaerys!
The king ran to his queen and took her into his arms spinning her across the room as they laughed together.

-Everything was alright then? -Aemon asked.

-More than alright! - Alysanne replied when Jaehaerys set her down- Your sister was a true warrior. Almost a day it took but their new son is finally here! With a full head of silver hair! Even lighter than Baelon’s, and a lusty cry!

-Healthy? - Jaehaerys asked.

His sister nodded.

-A boy with fine weight and size.

-Baelon was right then- prince Aemon said- Another boy.

A few rooms down the corridors, prince Baelon almost tripped on his feet as he entered his and Alyssa’s rooms.

-Baelon? - she called from the bed- Are you alright?

-I should ask you that, not the other way around! Gods, I am such a fool! How are you Alyssa?

She gave him a smile.

-I could do better without the pain, but it was well worth it. Meet your new son brother!

Baelon finally allowed himself to take a good look at the babe in Alyssa’s arms. His new son was a bit smaller than Viserys had been, but he was robust. He had light silver hair without one trace of gold, a perfect face with fine valyrian features and he seemed very healthy.

A very tired Alyssa placed the child on her brother’s arms. The new babe studied his father with a rather suspicious look on his pale lilac eyes.

-Hi there little one! Welcome to the world! I am your father prince Baelon.

The babe’s expression softened a little.

-He is so beautiful Alyssa! - Baelon told his sister- I think he even surpasses Viserys. Just don’t tell him I said that.

-No need to tell me, I saw him. Well safe to say he did not get his good looks from me.

The Spring Prince turned to his sister. Her mismatched eyes that he loved more than anything in the world were shining brightly, her dirty-blonde hair was tied into a braid, and her lovely face was still very red and sweaty. And there had never been a most beautiful woman on that world.

-I wish you would stop saying things like that Alyssa. You are the most beautiful thing I ever saw, and I love you more than anything. If you don’t see how beautiful you are than you are blind!

The princess lowered her eyes and looked uncomfortable.

Baelon smiled and turned to his son again.

-I think our little prince has your nose. Before you broke it of course.

-Luckily, I think he gets most everything else from you. He will break many hearts; of that I am certain. What woman will ever resist prince Daemon Targaryen?

-Daemon? - Baelon asked surprised- I thought we had been considering naming him Jaehaerys or Aegon.

Alyssa stared at her brother.

-I know we did, but… I think he should have a name that is only his and that no one in our family ever had. Don’t worry though Baelon, we will have many more sons! And we can name the next one Aegon, or after father. I am sure he would like that very much! For now though, we have Viserys and Daemon.

-Prince Daemon Targaryen… it has a good ring to it, and I think he likes it too!

Baelon returned Daemon to Alyssa’s arms and sat by her side as they both contemplated their new son.

There was a knock on the door, and they were joined by the rest of their family, all of them eager to meet the little prince.

Jaehaerys was the first to greet his son and offer him his congratulations. The king then kissed his daughter on the cheek.

-So, do you want to hold our little Daemon? - Alyssa asked.

-Must you ask your father the obvious? Of course I want to hold him!

He eagerly took his new grandson into his arms and marvelled at his soft silver hair and his lilac eyes.

-His eyes look like my older brother Aegon’s. And he will no doubt be a very dashing prince.

Little prince Daemon looked up at his grandfather studying him. Tears swelled in the king’s eyes and he smiled broadly.

-Another son for you my Baelon. Another one to further our Targaryen line. How proud I am of you! How proud we all are of you!

Lady Jocelyn and princess Rhaenys soon arrived at the rooms as well. Prince Aemon was now holding his newest nephew.

-Daemon you said brother?

-Aye. - Baelon replied.

-I don’t think there ever was a Daemon in our family. - Jaehaerys said, pondering for a moment.

-We had a Daemien, the grandfather to our Aegon the Conqueror. - Alysanne said- But no Daemon.

-Better yet father! His name is his and his alone. But don’t you worry, Baelon and I plan to give you many more grandsons and we will name the next one after you… or the one after that!

Jaehaerys laughed at his daughter’s words.

-Well, what is the point of becoming king if not to have people naming their babies after us?

-Do you want to see your cousin Rhaenys? - prince Aemon asked his daughter as she approached.

Rhaenys rolled her eyes.

-Just what the world needs, another boy!

But the princess did smile and coo when she saw the small baby in her father’s arms.

-He is cute! - she admitted.

-Of course he is, my little queen. There as still to be born a Targaryen babe who doesn’t put all other children to shame! - Alysanne told her grandchild.

Aemon meant to give baby Daemon to his wife Lady Jocelyn but with a hurt look on her face she declined.

-I feel I am coming down with a cold my love. I don’t want him to catch anything from me… I will hold him some other time.

-As you say.

Prince Aemon returned Daemon to Baelon.

-Congratulations brother, another boy!

The Spring Prince smiled smugly.

-It’s as I told you when you took up your position as Master of Laws. You make our laws and I make sons for House Targaryen.

Though prince Baelon did not said so with bad intentions his words hurt Lady Jocelyn, who took a step back and did her best to hide her sadness from anyone. Alysanne however took note of it.

Later, after everyone had a chance to see and meet prince Daemon, Alyssa and Baelon were left to rest alone and of course, to present their youngest son Viserys with his new brother.

Alysanne offered to help Jocelyn put her daughter to bed so she would have the opportunity to offer her sister some comfort. She brought up the subject as they left Rhaenys’s rooms.

-You mustn’t take Baelon’s words to heart, he did not mean them. He and Aemon have been competing with each other from the moment they left my womb and in these matters it’s no exception, but there is no malice in it. They love each other fiercely and they would die for one another.

Lady Jocelyn nodded without a single word. Her black eyes blank.

-In any case I wanted to offer you my apologies, you were clearly made uncomfortable by what my son said. You should know however that the king and I love your Rhaenys dearly and we would love her no more if she was a boy. And I have no doubts that if you and my Aemon don’t have sons, she will make for a wonderful queen!

Alysanne took one of Jocelyn’s hands into her and was surprised when she felt her squeezing them.

-I… it isn’t for lack of trying. - Jocelyn confessed, her pale cheeks growing red.- We do try quite often, and we have prayed the gods for more babes, but since Rhaenys… I never got with child again. Oft I feel guilty… Aemon is the love of my life and we love our daughter more than anything, but he will be king one day, he needs his own heir. And…

Jocelyn’s voice trembled again.

-Baelon has two heirs, two sons… I…

Alysanne took her half-sister into her arms and embraced her.

-It doesn’t matter Jocelyn! You gave us Rhaenys as she will be queen after my son! Boy or girl it doesn’t matter, all that matters is that a ruler as a kind heart and a good head. This issue should not trouble you. You have my word.

The queen wiped a few tears away from Jocelyn’s dark eyes.

-You are right as always, your grace. I was just being silly. - she said with a smile. - I think I should have held little Daemon. I hope my nephew and niece did not take it the wrong way…

Alysanne waved her off.

-Nonsense. Those two did not even noticed it I can assure you!

-Good. It was not my intention to hurt them… much less in such a happy occasion! It is wonderful to have another little babe in the family.

The two women stopped when they reached Jocelyn and Aemon’s chambers.

-Well this is me. Thank you for your words your grace and I apologize for my silly tears.

-How many times must I tell you to call me Alysanne Jocelyn?

Lady Jocelyn giggled.

-Force of habit. For me you are and will always be Queen Alysanne.

-Queen Alysanne your sister! - she playfully scolded. - I wish you a good night and rest. I am off to finding the old man I married! If I know Jaehaerys he will still be up, likely talking with Barth and drooling at the memory of his new grandson!

Jocelyn giggled lightly again. Kissing each other on the cheeks the two women parted and as promised, the queen went in search of her brother.

 

-Another grandson Septon Barth. I really am blessed by the gods! - Jaehaerys said with a smile as he filled another cup of wine for the septon.

He tried to protest since he did not like to indulge in too much drink, but the king would hear none of it.

-This is a special occasion Barth! Do not tell me no. At least a toast.

-Very well Your Grace, then allow me to toast to the long and happy life of your grandson prince Daemon Targaryen!

The two men raised their cups and then proceeded to emptying them. Jaehaerys smile faded just a little.

-My Baelon has two sons now. And Aemon has none…

-Prince Aemon and Your Grace’s sister Lady Jocelyn are both still young. They have a lot of time for more children, boys and girls. Do not concern yourself over this matter I beg you.

-A king must concern himself with the future my old friend. And I fear if my son the Prince of Dragonstone doesn’t have an heir of his own soon, one day me or him may be faced with a difficult decision… a very difficult decision…

The septon was silent for a while.

-Would you not allow princess Rhaenys to become queen after prince Aemon?

-It is not a matter if I should allow or not Bath. The lords of Westeros would not abide by it. If she was to marry my grandson Viserys mayhaps, but on her own right they would never.

The king took another sip of wine.

- My own sister Rhaena did not rule. The throne was given to me. The conqueror himself was the second child and yet he too had precedence over his sister Visenya. That is the westerosi way.

-And yet my king, Westerosi lords were against incest before the arrival of the Conqueror and they have grown to accept it, and in great part thanks to you. Why would a woman on the throne be any different?

-I fear the answer could take us both by surprise. - Jaehaerys replied. - In any case the gods are good and certainly Jocelyn and Aemon will have a son one day.

The king stood from his seat just in time for Alysanne to appear in the rooms.

-There you are Jaehaerys! I thought I might find you here with Barth! Still talking of his new grandson, is he? - Alysanne asked the septon with a smile.

Jaehaerys was the one to answer.

-You know me all too well my love. With your leave my good friend, I believe me, and my queen will retire for the evening.

Barth had to smile at the king’s words. What other king than Jaehaerys would ever ask for leave, and from a man so bellow him?

He bowed deeply.

-A good night your graces.

Alysanne and Jaehaerys walked back into their rooms arm in arm, and she rested her head against his shoulder.

-Grandparents again my queen, and if the gods are good, not for the last time.

-It’s safe to say when it comes to Baelon and Alyssa we are guaranteed more grandchildren! - the queen replied. - Or so those two say.

-I am happy for them. - Jaehaerys said. - Viserys and now Daemon, and gods know how many more! Did you note how Daemon’s eyes were lilac? Just as our brother Aegon’s were.

-A very beautiful babe he is. - she agreed- I do hope that him and Viserys get along well with each other…

Jaehaerys threw his head back laughing.

-No worries there my queen. Viserys and Daemon shall be as good of friends as our Aemon and our Baelon are. Of that, I have no doubt.

Chapter Text

105 AC

Dragonstone

A storm was raging outside of Dragonstone, though it was not nearly as fierce as the one that raged inside the Rogue Prince as he red the letter that had come from the capital.

-Damn Viserys… damn you to hell!

Daemon’s hands gripped the parchment and he furiously threw the letter into the fires.

A tall and pale figure appeared at his side, quiet and mysterious as a shadow. It was his paramour Mysaria.

The former lysene prostitute was an elegant woman with a willowy figure and long pale-blonde hair. Her milky white skin beloved by men was often the subject of ridicule by other women who scornfully dubbed her Lady Misery, the White Worm.

She wore a black dress that day, which made her skin appear even paler and her hair even lighter. It gave her an almost otherworldly glow.

Her pale blue eyes fell on Daemon and he immediately turned his angry gaze towards her. His lilac eyes burned bright as a flame and he gritted his teeth together in anger. She said nothing and simply raise a perfect and thin eyebrow.

-He did it! - Daemon spat- Viserys!

His eyes looked even more hateful as he said his brother’s name.

Raging Daemon took the flag of wine they had been sharing and smashed against the wall in his black fury.

Mysaria didn’t flinch. Instead she watched him quietly as he smashed more things against the walls and the floors all the while cursing his brother’s name. She leaned against the post of their canopy bed and waited for him to speak.

-He named her his heir! My niece Rhaenyra! He had a ceremony organized in which all the lords of Westeros were called to kneel and pledge to defend her rights to the throne! How dare he?!

-How is this any surprise to you my prince? - she asked with a grin- He sent you a summon for you to go there and swear as well. A summon you chose to ignore.

Daemon turned his head to her.

-I thought he was bluffing! How was I to guess that idiot actually thought that naming an eight-year-old girl his heir over his grown male brother was a good idea?! And most of all, how did his council allow this to happen?! Did the Great Council of 101 meant nothing?! Are females to inherit lands and titles now too?! If he is king today it was because the Lords of Westeros decided that no female could ever rule!

He stopped for a moment and ran his hands through his silver hair in anger.

-I stood by Viserys on that council! I would have gone to war for him! I would have killed our cousin Rhaenys, that old Sea Snake, even their two brats if that’s what it took! I would have done all that and more for Viserys and his claim! For my father’s! Yet, this is how the fool repays me! By naming my niece Rhaenyra Princess of Dragonstone over me?! Fuck him!

Mysaria remained quiet as he continued to speak. Her prince was angrier by the minute, his face turning red and his voice becoming louder and louder.

-How dares that fucker?! If he dies that little… that little… - he wanted to say it but he couldn’t say it- She won’t be queen!

No matter how angry he was the prince was unable to say what he meant. And, how could he? How could he insult a girl who was enamoured of him in such an innocent and true way as his niece was? Who looked at him as if he could walk on water?

“He cares for that girl.” Myaria thought to herself, “He cares for her more than he realizes.”

-I will take my throne! None of the lords of Westeros will stand by her! Just as none stood for my cousin Rhaenys! Neither when her father died, neither when my father died! And they won’t stand by Rhaenyra!

-They just swore that they would my prince. It was the meaning of the ceremony. All of the lords of Westeros were summoned to swear themselves to the princess and to defend her rights. This was not made by chance. It’s a clear strategy on your brother’s part. If he dies, she will follow him on the throne, not you, and the Lords of Westeros will make sure of it.

Daemon’s lilac eyes bore into hers, but she didn’t flinch.

-Rhaenyra will never be queen! I won’t allow it! Mark my words Mysaria. Rhaenyra will never be queen!

Myaria smiled.

-You seem so bitter my prince… I thought you liked her. - she teased- I thought she was your sweetest niece, your little princess, your pet.

She walked towards him.

-Your, what was it that you called her? Ah yes! Your little dragon.

The words had barely left her mouth when Daemon grabbed her arm and pulled her towards him to look her in the eye. Their faces mere inches apart.

-You forget who you are speaking to!

Myaria moved her face even closer to his.

-I know just who it is I am speaking to Daemon.

He pulled her to him, and their lips locked in a passionate kiss. Her hands moved to his hair and she let her fingers ran through it. He had the most beautiful hair she had ever seen. It was the colour of light silver and soft always with a faint scent of ash. It was inhuman, just as the rest of him, and like the rest of him, she loved it with all her might.

His hands wrapped around her thin waist and he pulled her more to himself. Their bodies pressed together just as their lips were.

Mysaria felt as if her whole body had been set aflame. He did that to her, her dragon prince. He was fire made flesh and she burned under his touch every time.

When they parted much of the anger had left him. His eyes were made darker by desire, and he did not look as if he was still thinking about his brother and the crown.

She decided it was time.

-I have something to tell you my prince.

Daemon raised an eyebrow.

She had not been made nervous by his outburst, nor by him smashing things against the walls or going on and on about killing people. But this… this was another matter entirely and Mysaria had not a clue on how he would react.

It had occurred to her that a private dinner and a passionate night would set the right mood, but as most times in her life, fate had other plans.

-I have known it for some time now, but I wanted to be sure before I told you…

Her prince seemed confused.

Mysaria struggled to find the right words. Although she felt it, in some ways it was as if it would not be true until another person knew it. No. Not just another person. Him. It would only be true when he knew it as well.

-What do you want to tell me?

She had practiced it so many times in her head, and yet now, standing before him, she did not know how to say it.

Her pale blue eyes met his and she held his gaze as her hands moved to her stomach in a tender and gentle gesture as if she was holding the creature inside, she already loved so fiercely.

Daemon’s eyes bulged as they dropped to her stomach though they quickly returned to her.

-Are… Is it…? Are you?

He was in complete shock and though Mysaria did not know if it was either out of joy or not, she smiled, and she felt the tears building up in her eyes.

“Whores don’t cry you know why? Because no one cares for their tears!” or so she had been told when she was little more than child, sobbing and scares, just sold for her beauty to a brothel in Lys. But she wasn’t a whore anymore so perhaps it was ok for her to cry.

-Yes! I am carrying your child… our child Daemon!

The words had barely left her mouth when he swept her off her feet and embraced her tightly lifting her from the floors. He kissed her again and again and more tenderly than he had ever kissed her before. Mysaria eagerly met his kisses though she could scarcely contain her smile.

-I knew it! I knew that it was not my fault that that bitch from the Vale had never gotten pregnant! I can’t believe it… I am going to be a father! ME A FATHER!

Daemon was in a state as she had never seen him before. He kept saying over and over again he was going to be a father, sometimes almost shouting.

It was as if her prince was talking to himself more than to her and he looked as if he wanted to jump up and down. It did not matter. It did not matter because it was finally real, all of it, he was real now. Her child.

In her head their babe would be a boy. Beautiful with Daemon’s silver hair and the purple eyes of Old Valyria, and he would have a proper valyrian name. She wondered if Daemon would want to name him Aegon after the Conqueror and the greatest of all Targaryen monarchs, or perhaps after his father or his grandfather.

-How long? - he asked her, pulling her out of her thoughts.

-Almost four moons. - she replied smiling.

-And you have waited that long to tell me?!

-I wanted to be absolutely sure before I told you. It is not uncommon for women to miscarriage when they are in the early stages of their pregnancy. I saw it often. I didn’t want to disappoint you.

Daemon’s hands gently held her face and his lilac eyes bore into hers. All the anger was gone, and his gaze was soft as a lover’s kiss upon hers.

-You could never disappoint me Myaria. Not after this. You will be my son’s mother!

This time she initiated their kiss and she wrapped her arms around him pulling her dragon prince more closely to her.

Soon their clothes found themselves scattered on the floors and their bodies moved passionately against each other. That day, Daemon had her in a way he had never before. It was more than fucking; it was making love. It was tender and caring and sweet. Like two people in love and not a prince and his whore.

They lay together afterwards, and Daemon was still smiling and talking about the child they would soon have. His anger about his brother and the throne pushed towards the back of his mind.

-Let Viserys be king. It won’t last. He is an idiot with no skill for rule who after ten years of marriage only has a girl to show for himself. I am younger, I was always more skilled with a sword than him. And I will soon have a son of my own!

Mysaria smiled at his words.

Daemon sat up, his movement making the bed covers slip to his waist revealing his lean yet muscular chest. His skin was so perfect it almost glowed by the light of the candles.

-It’s us against the world now Mysaria. Us and our son.

She ran a hand through her pale blonde hair pushing it away from her face and she lowered her eyes like a shy girl.

-You have given me the greatest gift any woman as ever given me! - Daemon said as he pulled her face towards him kissing her again.

Mysaria was so happy she feared somewhat it was all just a dream. Dreams were a commodity for whores, but she wasn’t one anymore. Now she was a free woman and she would soon be the mother of Daemon’s child.

He pulled away and his eyes were looking adorably at her.

Daemon’s hand, with his long elegant fingers fell to her still flat stomach and he caressed it lovingly.

-The blood of the dragon lords of Old Valyria runs in his veins. - he told Mysaria- He shall be a great dragon rider as I am. I will give him what we give every Targaryen when they are born. A dragon egg.

 

The dazzling sun rays made Syrax’s yellow scales shine almost too bright. The young dragon though, was little more than a yellow blur moving through the blue skies of King’s Landing as she was ridden by Rhaenyra Targaryen, the eight-year-old Princess of Dragonstone called by many the Realm’s Delight.

Alicent’s eyes followed her and it was indeed a sight to behold.

-How fearless is my daughter? Only eight can you believe it Lady Alicent?

King and court had gathered in the outer courtyard of the Red Keep to see the princess fly in her dragon. Almost all jaws were dropped by seeing such a young girl already becoming such a capable dragon rider and claps and cheers were heard whenever Rhaenyra Targaryen made a bolder move.

Some there however paid more attention to king Viserys and the person next to him, seventeen-year-old Lady Alicent Hightower.

She had worn a light blue summer dress that day, so light in fact it was almost white, that left her thin arms uncovered. For modesty sake’s however, Alicent had complemented her dress with a lavender shawl made from the finest silk, that the king had gifted her some days before.

Her dark thick hair fell to her waist. It was pulled back to uncover her very pretty face, and her blue eyes shined bright as she silently observed the princess and her dragon.

“How wonderful it must be to fly…” she thought to herself.

Alicent noted Viserys’s purple eyes staring at her and it took her a moment to recall what he had asked her.

-She most certainly is Your Grace. Then again, I heard you once rode Balerion, the Black Dread…

Viserys smiled smugly at her words.

-It does not take a great mind to know where the princess inherited her bold spirit and her skill at a dragon’s back from. - she added with a smile.

-I don’t know if I was as talented as Rhaenyra is. Balerion and I did not have much time with each other unfortunately.

Silence fell between them as Viserys’s eyes followed his daughter. It was clear how proud he was of the girl and how much he adored her.

Alicent liked her too. Though the princess was a bit spoiled and regarded almost everyone as a servant, she could be charming when she wanted and when Alicent spoke of her about dresses and jewels Rhaenyra lit up.

Her father kept pestering her about how important it was for her to win over the princess.

-Many nobles want nothing more than to push their own ugly daughters towards His Grace now that Queen Aemma died. But he likes you Alicent, he truly likes you. You can be his queen and sooner than you might think! Win the princess over and no one else will stand a chance against you.

Although Alicent was always a little weary of her father’s plans and ambitions the prospect of being queen was too tempting to refuse.

She knew Viserys cared about her. He often showed her his favour, he brought gifts to her and he always sought after her company at court. It was tempting to marry such a man, even more because he seemed to genuinely care for her.

Viserys might have dragon’s blood but he had little fire. Nonetheless having once loved a man who was all fire and destruction had taught her that some things were more important than passion…

Yes, she could grow to love him too. He was kind, gentle, and he was the king.

-My mother would have been proud of her. She lived to fly and to laugh and to love our father. How happy should she be to know her granddaughter was as bold as her. What else but boldness could take a girl with only seven name days to take her dragon to the skies?

Alicent was about to reply when they were interrupted by the arrival of her father and Hand of the King, Otto Hightower.

He smiled pleased when he noted how close she and the king were.

-The princess is a credit to her House and breeding as I kept telling you Your Grace. You made the right decision never doubt it.

Viserys gave a small nod.

-If I could steal you for a moment sire there is something, we should discuss with each other Your Grace. It’s an urgent matter.

The king turned to her, his eyes loving and kind, and she felt herself getting lost in their amazing purple colour. He was a handsome man, that no one could deny.

-I will have to offer you my deepest apologies Lady Alicent, alas it appears your father has need of me.

Part of her was disappointed that their moment was cut short, yet she gave him her most breath-taking smile, lowering her eyes and looking upon him slowly.

-There is no need for an apology Your Grace. I know the kingdom is your priority. I will leave you to your affairs.

Alicent gave him a deep curtsey. She had just turned to leave when Viserys called her again.

-Lady Alicent!

Her body turned to him again and her face attempted to hide the surprise the felt.

-I am thinking of organizing a hunting trip in the morrow. Well… I am no proper hunter or archer, but mayhaps we could share a few refreshments on the Kingswood while we wait for the men to return with a boar. And my daughter the princess loves hunting so she will want to ride with them!

-I am flattered by your invitation Your Grace! If my father allows me, I will happily oblige your wishes.

Viserys turned to his Hand who had a smile from ear to ear.

-You honour our family my liege. Alicent will happily join you. In fact, I will also take my son Gwayne, he is a promising quire now, and I am sure he will enjoy the adventure.

-It’s settled then! - the king said.

Alicent smiled again.

-I will count the minutes Your Grace.

-Please, Viserys. When it’s just us I would ask that you could call me Viserys.

Otto Hightower looked like he was going to go mad with happiness.

-I would be more comfortable to continue to address you by your proper title my king. I hope you don’t think me cold but it’s just how I was raised.

Her father gave her a look but Alicent held his gaze without flinching.

-Well, perhaps you just need more time. I do hope however Lady Alicent that soon you will indulge my request. And I could never think you cold.

Alicent lowered her head giving him a deep and elegant curtsy. When she finally turned to leave, she noted all eyes were on her and many of them were less friendly. She also heard the cruel whispers.

-How dare she try to take Queen Aemma’s place?! She has not a drop of Targaryen blood!

- Everyone knows the Hightowers are nothing but an ambitious House trying to climb far too high! Selling their own daughter to the King! Have they no shame?!

-She is not even that pretty! Why does the king like her?!

-Well she is comely enough… and those blue eyes and that dark hair… they have entrapped a dragon it seems…

-She will never be queen! Never!

Alicent kept her head high she left. Those words didn’t matter to her. Words were wind. They were all just jealous and bitter. She was young and she knew she was beautiful, and she had the most powerful man in all the Seven Kingdoms lying at her feet.

“Not just a man!” she corrected herself “A dragon!”

 

-What was it that you wanted to speak to me about Lord Otto? - Viserys asked once they were alone.

There was a knowing look in his Hand’s eyes.

-Your brother…

The mention of Daemon Targaryen was enough to wipe out any trace of a smile away from Viserys’s face.

-What?!- he angrily asked. - What has he done this time?!

-Some ravens have reached us over the past weeks Your Grace, but I wanted to be absolutely certain of it all before I approached you. It appears your brother continues to outdo himself and he has learned nothing from the punishment he was given.

They walked together as they spoke.

-You have heard that he lingers at Dragonstone with his prostitute.

-I heard as much! Some lysene whore by the name of Mysaria! What an insult this is to the Royce family…

-Aye my king. A grave insult. Apparently though just publicly having a paramour and shaking up with her in the ancestral seat of your great House was not enough for prince Daemon.

Viserys was quiet for a while already trying to guess what it was.

Lord Otto waited for His Grace to speak, when he remained quiet and sombre, he decided to continue.

-The reports all say the same my king. - he stopped for a moment and turned to look at Viserys- He impregnated his whore.

-Damn you Daemon! This is beyond humiliating for House Royce! Not to mention Lady Rhea Royce… gods that poor woman… This is too much! This is too much! Living in Dragonstone, on my daughter’s seat, with another woman and a whore at that, and now getting a bastard into her?!

-That’s not all Your Grace…

In truth Otto could not wait to tell the rest. After years of dealing with Daemon and his cruel ways finally the gods were giving him the rightful retribution he deserved, and nothing pleased the Hand more.

-He decided to gift a dragon egg to her, to be placed next to the babe when the child is born.

All colour was drained from Viserys’s face for a moment. He quickly recovered though, and his face was soon bright red and purple as the king attempted to control his anger.

-He cannot do that! Those eggs are not his to give! We give dragon eggs to the Targaryen princelings. Legitimate Targaryen princelings! Not the bastard of some lysene whore that probably isn’t even his! He cannot do that! - Viserys repeated.

-But he did Your Grace. He did.

Viserys ran his hands through his silver-gold hair almost pulling it out from his head.

-I was merciful with him! He deserved to be sent to the black cells after what he said about my son…

-Don’t stress yourself over this Your Grace.

-How can I not Otto?! What sin have I committed against the gods that was so great as to deserve such a brother?! I Love Daemon with all my heart. I have loved him dearly since he was born and for him, I have done and forgiven more than I should, but this is too much.

The king paused for a moment to collect himself.

-Write to my brother. He is to return to the Vale and to Runstone next to his legitimate wife. To his legitimate wife! He is to remain there, and the egg will be returned to its rightful place in Dragonstone and is to remain there. He is to be told the eggs do not belong to him and not to any bastard he might have! Should he fail to obey my commands I will name him a traitor to the crown, and he shall be judged accordingly!

The sound of Syrax coming back to the grounds stole the king’s attention and his eyes were already locked on the small frame of the little princess, being helped down from her dragon.

-What about his whore my king? - Lord Otto asked trying to hide his chuckle.- What is to become of her?

-That… that prostitute is a shame for poor Lady Rhea Royce! What kind of a dishonourable and wanton woman lies with a married man and becomes his mistress?! She is too be shipped off back to Lys never to return the Westeros under penalty of death!

Lord Otto nodded, pleased and already imagining the look on prince Daemon’s face. He could almost taste it and it was sweet as a nectar…

-This is to be done now! I don’t want another moon to turn and that woman to still be here and my brother with her. Send a ship to take her back to Lys and as quickly as possible. I don’t want to have to give this subject another thought!

Viserys stopped for a moment.

-May the gods have mercy on that unborn child, if he truly is my brother’s.

The king left his Hand and went to meet with his daughter the princess.

Rhaenyra was flushed and smiling as she was escorted back to her father by Ser Criston Cole. She almost ran to Viserys’s arms and she giggled madly when he raised her in the air.

-You are the brightest princess our House has ever seen! And without a doubt the best rider! Everyone was so impressed with you!

-Syrax is so fast! The Dragonkeepers say it’s because she is still small. But they insist she will one day grow to be even larger than Vhagar!

Viserys smiled.

-I have no doubt she will my beloved child. Now, I believe it’s time we return do the Red Keep. You need to rest.

-But I am not tired! - Rhaenrya protested.

-Aye, but you will rest, and you know why? I arranged a hunting trip for the morrow!

-You speak truth papa?!- the little princess asked, her deep purple eyes sparkling like jewels.

The princess lived for feasts, for hunts and for dances.

Viserys pulled her beautiful face to him and kissed her cheeks. Such high cheekbones she had, such an elegant face with her big eyes and her little nose, so perfect, just as the rest of her… had any girl ever been more beautiful than his daughter?

-I would never lie to you my beloved princess!

-I know you wouldn’t papa!

Viserys took Rhaenyra’s small still gloved hand in his own and walked her back to the Red Keep.

Next to him his daughter threw one last glance at Syrax, her beloved yellow dragon and she couldn’t help but to miss the person who had once convinced her to fly for the first time so many moons ago.

 

Mysaria’s hands rested on her large stomach as she was escorted to her ship. Next to her Daemon was as quiet as a corpse and his face looked to be made of stone.

A few days past, a message had come from the capital and bringing it were the king’s own men. By the time Mysaria had finished collecting her things, the ship was already waiting for her to take her back to Lys.

She saw Caraxes by the beach, he too ready for travel.

The same message banishing her from Westeros also demanded Daemon returned to the Vale of Arryn and next to his wife Lady Royce. The prince had not raged but Mysaria had seen the murderous look upon his face as he was given the king’s command.

Should he not abide by them, he was to be named traitor.

He had stoically done as bided and the egg had been returned to its proper place. And now she was being returned to Lys and the man she loved would soon be returned to the frigid woman he had been forced to marry.

Most of all Mysaria worried for her son. Seven moons had now passed, and her belly had grown. There were but two more turns of the moon before her babe was to be born. But he wouldn’t be born at Dragonstone with his father by his side. He would be born across the Narrow Sea in Lys with nothing but a former whore as his mother.

Daemon had given her all of the golden coins he had, and he had all but emptied the treasury kept in Dragonstone.

-It will be enough for you to buy a good house and servants to tend after you and our son. I will send more when I reach the Vale. Rhea is a useless bitch with a dried-up cunt, but she is very rich, and as her husband, what is hers is also mine.

Mysaria’s eyes were filled with tears as she looked upon him.

-I don’t want gold and coin. I want you by my side.

He didn’t smile nor did he look sad.

He wiped the tears from her eyes and wrapped her cloak more tightly around her.

-Nonsense. You do need coin. Or do you think a lot of men would pay to fuck a whore who is seven months pregnant?

She did not care for his tone of for his insinuations.

-I am not a whore Daemon! Not anymore! And I will never be one again!

Her pale blue eyes stared at him intensely.

-As you say Mysaria.

-I do yes! - she insisted- I am more than just a whore!

His eyes met hers.

-I never doubted it.

He kissed her one last time. She wanted to respond to his kiss, but she didn’t. It would make it all the more real and she refused to believe it would be their last kiss. He gave her a small smile when they parted.

-Take care of yourself and of our son. When my brother is calmer, I will go and visit you both. Send word to me when he is born and if it’s a boy, name him Baelon after my father.

Her hands hugged her stomach as she felt her baby kick.

-I will.

Daemon watched as the ship set sail. When it was gone from the horizon, he went over to Caraxes and mounted him, securing the chains tightly around himself before he urged the Blood Wyrm forward and into the skies.

It was the hour of the wolf when he reached the Vale and the ancient seat of the old and proud House Royce. Lady Rhea Royce was still awake and sitting by the fires of the Great Hall waiting for him.

Rhea had never been what a man would call beautiful. She was far from it. She had an unpleasant and thick body and wide back and she had definitely put on more weight since he had gone. Daemon had no issue with women being a bit plumper, in fact there was nothing he liked more than a curvy figure. Rhea though, had no hips or breasts to speak off. As hair was a dull brown colour now splattered with grey though she was still in her early thirties. Her eyes were also a dull brownish colour and she dressed as a widow would. Always in dark, boring colours and always too modestly.

The fact the he was married to such a creature was laughable.

She stood when she noticed him, and Daemon stared at her hatefully. She looked even older now and even less pleasant.

-Husband. - she greeted. - How good it is to see you after so many moons. How was Dragonstone? Did you have fun there? From what I heard you were well accompanied.

-Better there than here. And the company was excellent.

Rhea smiled but there was no humour in her expression.

-So, I heard yes… you always enjoyed whores. Almost as much as you enjoy shaming me.

-Do yourself a favour and don’t act as if our marriage means anything! - he spat at her-This marriage is a travesty and I will have you know I begged and begged my brother to be rid of you!

-And you think I enjoy being married to a cruel and selfish man who as never been anything but unkind and ungallant who drinks, gambles and whores away my fortune?! I do not. But I am doing my duty as it was bestowed upon me! And you should to the same!

-You should be honoured to have a Targaryen prince for husband! It’s much more than a cold and sterile woman like you deserves!

Rhea laughed and ignore his words.

-I had rooms prepared for you. Goodnight husband and welcome back home.

That night while the rogue prince lied on the hard and thin mattress covered my sheets that reeked of dust, he cursed his brother’s name. When sleep came it was almost dawn. He dreamt of Mysaria that night and of their child, and in his heart, he hoped that they were fine.

A few days afterwards a letter reached Runstones, this one from Lys.

There had been a great storm at the Narrow Sea that had hit the ship Mysaria was on. And somewhere at the high seas, their child had perished.

Daemon threw the letter to the fires that night and watched it burn.

He thought Mysaria might write to him afterwards, but she never did, and neither did he, after all, what else was there to say?

He spoke no syllable of grief, but his heart hard hardened against the king, his brother.

The rogue prince thought no more about Mysaria or of their lost child. From that day onwards only one matter followed him everywhere he went and no matter what he did. Thoughts of the succession stayed with him night and day and would accompany him for many moons to come.