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The dragons of Driftmark

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CORLYS I

 

Corlys Velaryon was many things: a lord, a husband, a father, a sailor, a warrior, but he was no coward. Until now.

Because he was a coward. And a cheater. He had spat on his wedding vows by bedding another woman and now he couldn’t even pay the price. No, he wanted someone else to do it.

It’s not about you. This is about Addam and Alyn, the children who have no father and a mother who can barely take care of them.

His train of thought was interrupted when he heard footsteps. He looked up to see Daemon Targaryen, Lord Fleabottom, The Prince of the City, the wonder and terror of the royal family, himself. And also, his goodson and friend.

-Corlys, smirked the prince at the Sea Snake. However the Velaryon lord was in no mood to banter.

-Daemon, it is nice to see you. How are Baela and Rhaena?

At the mention of his daughters, the rouge prince’s face softened.

-They are good. Laena is feeding them. She should let a nurse do it, if you ask me.

Oh, gods, Laena. He was going to ask his friend to do aomething that will hurt his own daughter.

He banished the thought from his mind. Better Laena than Rhaenys, as hypocritical as that was.

-Good, good. Daemon, I will be honest: I need you to do me a huge favor.

At this, Lord Fleabottom looked intrigued.

-Corlys, he said somehow softly, what is it? You are my friend and the grandfather of my daughters, I will help you with whatever you need.

He truly must have looked like a mess for Daemon to behave like this.

-I have children! He decided to confess.

Daemon simply raised an eyebrow.

-I know, I happen to be married with one of them. Thank the Maiden, it is your daughter and not your son.

-No, I meant that I have children with another woman, not Rhaenys.

For half a second his friend simply stared at him. And then proceeded to laugh.

-Corlys, you bastard. Even in your old age you are still a scoundrel.

-It is not funny, Daemon! Enraged, the Lord of Driftmark has risen his voice. The children… Their mother can’t take care of them alone. And Alyn… Alyn is sick.

-Alyn? So, you have a son?

-Two, Addam is the eldest, he is four. Alyn is three and… A few days ago, Marilda, their mother came to me in tears. Alyn has caught a cold and while she has thought him cured, the boy has stoped eating, walking and talking. She is alone, no father or mother to help her take care of the little ones.

-That sounds similar to King Aenys after his mother, the conquerer queen died.

-Yes, I suppose you are right. Anyway, it is clear to me that Marilda cannot take care of them so someone else must.

At this, the prince simply raised an eyebrow.

-Someone else? Not their father?

-I cannot be their father, Corlys answered refretfully.

-And yet you bedded their mother.

The Sea Snake felt his blood rise. He needed to calm down. This was just Daemon being himself and Daemon is exactly who he needed in this situation.

-Do you have illegitimate children, Daemon?

-No, not that I know of. Mysaria was pregnant with my child but she lost it. And none of the women I have been with had come knocking on my door to ask me to claim their offsprings. Your daughter is the only woman who birthed me a child, as far as I know. Well, except....

The prince had the decency to look ashamed. Except Rhaenyra, he meant to say, for Corlys knew that Aemon and Viserys weren't his grandchildren as his son, Laenor, could never get a woman pregnant. It was not an easy thing for a father to stomach, that his own son was chuckholded but Corlys has decided a long time ago that he would do what is necessary to preserve the Velaryons legacy. However, he was ready to use Daemon's affair with his niece right now, for the sake of Addam and Alyn

-Do you love Laena?

-What kind of question is that? this time it was the prince turn to sound angry. You know very well, that I do not love her. And she loves me even less, he added a little bit amused, thinking of the other person that had warmed his wife’s bed. Truly, he and his wife had the same taste in women.

For any other father, such an answer would have been unpleasant. But Corlys felt only relief.

-In this case, I need a favor. A huge favor. And remember, you owe me.

-What is it?

-I want you to pretend Addam and Alyn are your bastards.

As he said those words, Corlys Velaryon had the honour to see Prince Daemon Targaryen utterly shocked for the first time in his life.

Chapter Text

Daemon I

 

Daemon always thought violence was a very good answer to your problems. But right now he had to wander if hitting Corlys over the head with Dark Sister’s hilt won’t make him even crazier.

-Corlys, how did you get this marvelous idea?

The man had the audacy to shrug.

-You are my friend. I figured you will want to help me. Besides, you awe me!

-Daemon grimaced. It was mostly true, he did owe Corlys a great deal

-Now, now, friend, you think too highly of me. Besides, what man would raise someone else’ children.

-You are Daemon Targaryen. You are no ordinary man.

-Corlys, I can’t do it. They are not mine. I can’t love them.

-You do not have to

-Of course, I have to. My own father and mother did love me. How could I raise a child and not love them?

-Then you will love them. Listen, I am truly desperate, Daemon.

-I can see that, replied the prince in an acid tone.< /p>

But even Daemon could see that Corlys was not going to give up on the idea. Still, the thought of raising children that were not his didn’t thrill him.

At the same time, his mind flew to Viserys, his brother, the reason he had lost his first child with Mysaria.

When he and Laena decided to marry it had been the memory of Lady Mysary heavy with child that had mde him fly over the narrow sea and spend the entire duration of the pregnancy and birth in Pentos.
Laena had hiven birth in no way beffiting a woman of her birth.

Her water had broken in a temple of the God of Light, so instead of midwives she had been surrounded by Red Pristesses, instead of a maester they had a servant of the Prince of Pentos and the only family she had had was Daemon himself.

Yet, the labour ended in less than an afternoon and Laena andd both her girls had been fine.

Have we stayed here would I have found my daughters dead or sickly?

Would some maester come to me to tell that it was not his fault?” The pregnancy was simply difficult, my prince” he could hear him say. „It happens with twins”. Only for the same maester to report back to the Green Queen, to assure her that no, the Rouge Prince does not have an heir.

Now he imagined Alicent Hightower’s face if he went to the Red Keep with two sons trailing after him. True, they were bastards, but that won’t make her less displeased.

He remember two years ago, when he had gone to court to introduce Rhaena and Baela. The woman had glared at the babes with almost as much vitriol as she had given Rhaenyra’ sons.

And then, there was his brother.

Four years apart, both spoilt princes, the world always seemed to small for the both of them. They had always competed with each other. Always

His marriage to Laena has displeased the king like nothing else before mostly because once upon a time Laena has been offered as a bride to him.

And now Daemon had her so of course Viserys felt like his brother has taken something precious from him.

Never mind the fact that Viserys himself has refused the Velaryon lady in favor of some upstart who had spread her legs for him while his queen died in the birthing bed

Daemon knew that deep down his brother was glad that the prince had no sons while he had three.But still, raising someone else children...

-Alright, let’s say that I accept: where do you propose I raise them? At Driftmark, the castle you gave my wife as dowry or at High Tide, where you and Princess Rhaenys live?

At this, the Sea Snake seemed to once again grow frustrated.

-I don’t know, Daemon. Raise them wherever you want. Seven hells, raise them in the Red Keep if it pleases you!

The Red Keep, that was not such a bad idea. Daemon had planned to move there when rhe twins will grow older in order to keep an eye on the Green Queen.

But he had not sugessted it yet, as he had known she would not want to part with Rhaenyra. Hell, he didn’t want to part with his sweet niece either. After all, he needed to be both in her good graces and in her bed.

-Very well, Corlys! It seemed you are stubborn about this. So, one last question: does the boys’ mother know about the fact that you want to entrust her offsprings to someone else?

Corlys grimaced.

-Marilda knows. She wasn’t thrilled, knowing your reputation but she wants better for her children than a life of poverty.

Daemon suppred a sigh. He really had no choice. Corlys was an important part of his plan.So that was it, he was going to follow Corlys’ madness. If he had believed in any gods he would have praied for this to end well.

-Very well, I accept.

And with four words, the fate of Addam and Alyn Waters was sealed forever.

Chapter Text

Laena I

 

The two little boys did indeed look like her husband. With silver blond hair and dark violet eyes, they were true scions of Valyria.

Laena sighed quietly to herself. She had never had any disillusions about the man she had married but the two bastard children had come out of nowhere. According to Daemon, not even he had known about them until recently.

And now here they were, in her home where they will be raised alongside their trueborn siblings. Laena did not held they births against them, especially because they were born before she had even entertained the idea of marring Daemon. Not to mention, they were also second cousins and her daughters will be more than glad to receive new playmates.

So she approached them with a gentle smile on her face. The oldest of the two was watching her warily, the younger seemed to be in awe either of her or her dress.

-Hello, she greeted them softly. Do you know who I am?

The oldest, Addam, shook his head. The other, Alyn, didn’t even acknowledge her question.

-I am Lady Laena Velaryon.

-You are Papa’s wife!

Addam seemed ashamed of his own outburst but Laena just smiled wider. Hearing him call Daemon papa reminded her of Rhaena calling him that in a soft voice like a spoiled kitten when she wanted something.

-Yes, I am. I assume you have been told about me.

-Papa told us that we will leave with him, his wife and his daughters. He said…., Addam gulped, he said that you are a very nice lady, and we should only be respectful to you.

At the word “respectful” the child stumbled a bit, but overall he spoke with the dignity of a noble. Laena was a quite impressed. The child had potential.

-Yes, but I am also your cousin. Did you know that?

The boy shook his head, his lilac eyes wide in disbelief.

-My mother is Princess Rhaenys Targaryen.

-Targaryen, like Papa!

Laena laughed at this. The boy was truly a delight. His brother, on the other hand, did not say a word, he just sulked quietly.

-You are Alyn, aren’t you, sweetheart?

The boy didn’t respond until Addam nudged him. Still, Laena got only a brief nod for answer.

-Are you hungry? Dinner will be served soon and you can meet my daughters.

Addam seemed both nervous and excited at the prospect and even Alyn looked more interested than before.

-They are two years old. Twins, born in Pentos. That is a city from across the sea, she added hastily at their confused looks. Their names are Baela and Rhaena. Baela even has a dragon, Moondancer. It is small, not even six months old but….

-Dragon?

The word was spoken quietly, timidly, but nonetheless both Laena and Addam heard it. The lady decided to take advantage of the opening.

-Yes, dragons. You will see some soon. On Driftmark we have Moondancer, Meleys, rode by my mother, Vhagar, my own beast and Caraxes, your father’s dragon.

-Papa… dragon?asked Alyn confused

Laena didn’t quiet understand what Alyn wanted to ask. But she kept speaking anyway:

-Yes, my love, your father is a dragon rider, just like me and your sisters. You will see the dragons, too.

-Laena!

Speaking about the devil! Daemon himself was descending the stairs and looking at them with a concerned expression. Laena frowned, what did he think, that she was trying to do something nefarious to his sons. For a man so smart, he was quite stupid sometimes.

-Hello, husband! I was talking to my cousins.

-Cousins?... Oh, yes! Addam, Alyn, how are you my boys?

-Papa, dragon? Alyn repeated his earlier question.

Daemon seemed over the moon at being addressed by his own son. And being asked about his dragon, no less.

-Yes, Alyn, you can see Caraxes later. Now, we need to go, the servants are looking for you. Dinner is served.

**

The children seemed more amazed at the sheer number of foods on the table than anything else. Laena had a daughter on each of side and was helping them eat. Baela, stubborn as always, had more food on her clothes than in her mouth. Rhaena wasn’t quite so bad, but from time to time, her mother still had to wipe her chin.

Daemon was trying to feed Alyn some chicken wings, while Addam was eating the soup with more grace than she thought a four-years-old capable of.

-No! Alyn shirked furiously as his father tried to give him another piece of chicken.

Daemon, never a patient man, lost his temper.

-Listen here, child, you need to eat. If you don’t like the chicken, I will give you something else, but, seven hells, YOU WILL STOP COMPLAING AND EAT!

Addam cowered in his seat at the sound of his father yelling. Alyn seemed to be on the verge of tears and Laena could already see the blush of shame on Daemon’s cheeks. But the damage has been already done. Luckily for him, Baela and Rhaena were used to hearing Daemon, and sometimes Corlys, lose their tempers so they gave no reaction. Baela rose from her sit with all the dignity of a toddler and took Alyn by the sleeve.

-You are mean, Papa! Come, Alyn, let’s eat in my room.

Alyn did mot make a sound, following his sister in silence.

-Baela is already too spoiled for her own good, Laena muttered to herself. And, you, she said louder, pointing at her husband, you should know better than to yell at a child.

-I didn’t think he would react like that. Baela and Rhaena don’t bat an eye when I yell at them.

-Yes, but to Alyn you are a stranger. And he probably never had a man yell at him before.

Without realizing it, her own voice rose. She only became aware of it when she heard Addam whimper. Poor boy, he might have been braver than his brother, but he was still a child in a strange place surrounded by strange people.

-I am sorry, she said to no one in particular. I shouldn’t have let my temper rise.

-I am sorry too, Daemon’s apology was directed to Addam. If anything else, the boy seemed to be even more wary at seeing his father apologize to him.

-Can I go after Alyn? He asked softly.

-Have you finished dinner? Asked Daemon, already resigned before having his son nod. Then you may go.

Addam did need to be told twice and bolted out of the room. Seeing Rhaena look wistfully at the door, Laena excused her too.

-Well, it seems we will have an interesting life from now on, she told her husband, more annoyed than she realized she had been feeling.

 

Daemon, rather than look ashamed, seemed frustrated and even a bit angry. He wasn’t angry with her, but who could it be? He had only himself to think for the problems his sons presence will bring. Could he be angry with their mother- Mara? Marisa?- for asking him to raise them? Surely not, even if the woman had been able to provide for them, Daemon would have still insisted to educate them himself. Her husband's greatest virtue was his love for his children. All his children.

-It will be alright, husband, she reassured him softly. I doubt that the mighty Prince of the City will be brought down by four tiny children.

Daemon only smiled at her.

Chapter Text

Rhaenyra I

Splash!

-Prince Aemon! Come here, you have to bath before bed.

-No, no! No baths!!

Rhaenyra could hear her sons scream even before she entered his chambers. The maid was flushed from anger, still trying to get the prince in the bathtube.

-Aemon, she said sweetly when her son turned to face her, listen to your maid. A prince must not be dirty.

Her dear child pouted a little, but allowed the maid to undress him. Her son had a sweet temper most of the time, unlike her. Princess Rhaenys used to say that he takes after Laenor before she found out who his true father was. Daemon, her uncle, was even more vicious than her, and yet, their son was a gentle soul.

-Mama, can I go see the dragons after bath?

Rhaenyra smiled widely when she heard his question. He truly was a true Targaryen.

-Of course, my darling. Your hatchling and Syrax are always thrilled to see their prince.

They truly were. Aemon was beloved on Dragonstone by people and dragons alike. Seasmoke, Laenor’s dragon, behaved like a puppy whenever Aemon was around while Syrax seemed to copy Rhaenyra’s maternal instincts. Even the Cannibal was never angry when they were in the Dragonpit.

After Aemon was properly cleaned, the princess dismissed the maid. She wanted to brush her son’s hair herself. Once again, she marveled at his beauty. She never really liked children, least of all her half-siblings. When her mother lived she was always told to pray for a brother. And she did, until the day he had arrived. Aemma had named him Baelon after the man who had been more father than goodfather to her. The late queen had been raised at court from a young age as both her parents were taken from her when she was only a toddler. She had married Viserys at the age of eleven in order to solidify her position in the royal family. She should have been a queen of legend, loved for her mercy, admired for her piety and Baelon should have been Prince of Dragonstone, a knight like no other. But the gods have taken both Aemma and Baelon from Rhaenyra in one day and have given her Alicent and her spawns instead.

No, the gods have also made me my father’s heiress. I would live to be queen as my mother should have been. Not for a year but for half a century at least. And if I have another son I will name him Baelon, after my brother, my true brother.

Yes, it was a good name and she was sure the others will agree as well. When Aemon has been born she had wanted to name him Aegon, but both Rhaenys and Corlys had not allowed it.

-If you give your son the same name your stepmother gave hers, you would look like a child throwing a temper tantrum, Rhaenys has said. No, you need another name, a Targaryen one, yes, but a name that will show the word that your son is even more fit to be heir than your half-brother.

So, they ended up naming him Aemon, after her great-uncle the Prince of Dragonstone who died before his time, to show the world that her children were descended from four of Jaehaerys’s children. It was not true, of course, but as long as nobody knew it did not matter.

After carefully dressing her little prince in a red and black tunic (she had insisted that they should wear Targaryen colours as much as possible), they made their way to the dragonpit.

Aemon found his hatchling and started playing with him like one would play with a dog.

-Stormy, stormy! Rhaenyra heard him shout.

She hoped he didn’t plan to name him Stormy, for it was not a good name for a dragon, but Aemon was still young. He would find a better name when he grows up.

-Here you are, my princeling!

Rhaenyra turned in the direction of the voice, in time to see Laenor, dressed in a dark blue riding outfit, scoop Aemon in his armes.

Her son giggled delighted, but still asked his “father” to put him down. Laenor complied and they started playing togheter with the hatchling.

Rhaenyra remembered how angry she had been when her father had told her she was to marry Laenor Velaryon. Laenor was not only weak-willed, but also a sword-swallower, she had protested. She need a strong man to give her strong sons, but the king would hear none of it. So, she had married Laenor according to her father’s wishes.

After four years of marriage, she supposed that there was some wisdom in her father’s choice. Not only was Laenor an important dynastic prize, but he also had the character of a good consort. Soft-spoken, patient and politically savvy thanks to his parents, Laenor was a good match for her more fiery temper. And unlike the other man of Westeros, he didn’t feel that it was unfair to have a wife that outranked him.

Still, that didn’t mean they had magically fallen in love so their greetings towards each other were colder than one would expect.

-How is my little prince to day? Laenor asked Aemon, making the boy giggle.

Rhaenyra felt herself soften even more. Laenor knew as well as she did who was Viserys and Aemon’s true father, but he always treated them with utmost love.

-M’lady! M’lafy! Princess!

Rhaenyra turned around surprised at the call to see a young woman dressed in rags approaching her. She seemed to be around two decades old, with a mess of dark curls and pale skin. The princess also noted that the woman, despite being tall and willowy, was holding a hand on her swelling belly. Pregnant, she realized.

-Yes? Who are you? She asked in her most royal voice, sounding neither kind nor unkind.

The woman however seemed to have lost her nerve, because she started babbling:

-Princess, I’m sorry to bother… m’lady I am a servant… I was a servant and …I beg you… You arr kind. …. And…

Rhaenyra was quickly losing her patience.

-Silence, she comended and even the birds seemed to stop their song. Let’s start from the beginning. Who are you?
-M’name is Mya and I am… was a servant in the castle.

The Princess of Dragonstone nodded. She thought she might now why the woman was desperate to speak with her but she asked nonetheless.

-Your Grace, I have been stupid, cried the former maid. I let a man near me and he let me with child. The housekeeper said that an unwed pregnant maid shamed you, Your Grace, even a kitchen maid so she cast me away. But I have no money, m’lady.

-And the child’s father? Asked Laenor who has made his way with Aemon towards them.

Mya spat on the ground. Laenor was shocked by the bold gesture and the woman, realizing her mistake, starting apologizing. Rhaenyra had no qualms for that, however.

-So, what do you want from me? To give you your position back? The housekeeper is right, you cannot tend to your duties and care for a newborn at the same time.

-M’lady, I beg you, I have no one else…

-Then you must do as I say. You can have your job back, but when the babe is born you will give it to the sept to be trained as a sept or septa.

It seemed that the maid wanted to protest, but seeing the princess’ unforgiving eyes she nodded reluctantly.

-Yes, m’lady, as you say. But may Ia ask…

-What more can you possibly ask of me?

Her voice was exasperated, so Mya said quickly:

-I only meant to ask for your permission to name the babe after you, Your Grace! If it is a girl, that is.

On her left, Laenor scoffed. Having the bastard of a kitchen maid named after her was more an insult than an honour for the king’s heir and Laenor realized that. Rhaenyra, however, felt oddly touched. When she will become queen, no doubt there will be no shortage of noble children named after her by their ambitious parents who wanted her royal favor. This woman, however, had nothing to gain by doing this, it was but a sign of gratitude.

-I would be honored to have the child named after me.

Pleased with the response the maid left.

-I cannot believe you agreed to it!

Rhaenyra just shrugged. She so no reason to explain herself to her husband. Aemon, bored by the adults’ talk had left to play with his dragon. The princess tried to follow him, but Laenor stopped her.

-What is it? I am tired and Aemon must go to bed.

-I know, but I wondered…. I wondered if I could join you tonight in your chambers.

Now, this truly surprised her. In their first year of marriage before she took Daemon as a lover, she and Laenor had tried a few times to make a son that would ensure the succession and tie the Velaryons to her forever. The experience was not only with no result but very unpleasant for the both of them. After Aemon’s birth, Laenor had only bedded her a couple of times to avoid gossip.

-What prompted this? she asked, truly curious.

-We haven’t been in each other’s rooms since Viserys’ birth. That has been more than a year ago. The servants talk. The servants talk.

-The servants…

Her voice must have showed the Velaryon knight that his wife didn’t believe him at all.

-And my mother, he admitted quietly. She urged me to … perform my marital duties.

Rhaenyra scoffed. While few knew that Daemon was Viserys and Aemon’s true father it was an open secret on Dragonstone that none of Rhaenyra’s children was fathered by her husband. Only the proud Rhaenys refused to believe the rumors. Even when Rhaenyra, on a drunken night, had all but confessed her adultery, Rhaenys insisted that the Velaryon’ princes were her son’s seed.

Yet, Rhaenyra knew that there was some truth in Laenor’s words. They were husband and wife, and sadly, sometimes they must behave like it.

-Very well, I will expect you tonight.

Chapter Text

Daemon II

Dragonstone was much more beautiful than Driftmark. And his welcome was much warmer than he had expected.

As soon as she saw him, Rhaenyra dismissed all her ladies so they could be alone.

-Let’s make a son, she had said, her voice as sweet as honey. My stepmother thinks highly of herself for giving my father three sons, and that cannot be tolerated. I want seven children, for the seven kingdoms I would rule.

Daemon had laughed and had told her that she had always enjoyed making children more than birthing them.

-And yet, Uncle, I do not see you complaining.

-My sweet niece, how can a man complain when the most beautiful woman in the Seven Kingdoms spreads her legs for him.

Rhaenyra, despite being two decades old, still kept some of her innocence, and blushed prettily.

-What would Cousin Laena say about this, Uncle?

-She would agree with me. After all, she is the one who had called you the jewel of Dragonstone when she first saw you.

Rhaenyra had laughed and Daemon couldn’t help but remember a conversation between two drunk knights he had heard a long time ago when the Old King still lived. One had complained that his wife had found out about his mistress and the two of them were always quarrelling. He had cursed himself for not having women who got along with each other.

-No wife can ever be friendly with her husband’s mistress, his drinking partner had answered.

Daemon wondered what that man would say about Rhaenyra and Laena, who seemed to love each other more than they loved any man.

-What are you thinking about?

His sweet niece’ voice broke him out of his reverie. Now, laying in bed together after their passionate love-making she looked more beautiful than ever.

-About you and Laena, he answered truthfully.

-You are a very lucky man, Uncle. Two of the most beautiful and powerful women in the realm care for you. You must thank the gods for their generosity!

-I am aware how lucky I am, my beloved princess. However my luck has nothing to do with the gods but with and my wife’s kindness.

It was the truth. That Rhaenyra and Laena were the most beautiful women in Westeros there was no question. Their Valyrian features sat them apart from any other. Only Princess Rhaenys could compare, but she was too old to compete with her daughter and gooddaughter. As for the half-Hightower spawn, Helaena, while she had inherited the silver-gold hair and purple eyes of the old freehold, she took after Viserys and had not an ounce of beauty. She would have been prettier, if she would have taken after her mother, Daemon believed, even if Alicent herself was a common woman with no distinctive features.

Not only that, but Rhaenyra and Laena were truly some of the most powerful women of their age. While Alicent may be queen, Rhaenyra was the heir, the lady of Dragonstone and a dragonrider. Laena commended the oldest and largest of all the dragons alive and as a daughter of House Velaryon she had great wealth at her disposal.

And this women had bore his children and has gotten him closer to the throne than he had ever been since Viserys’ remarriage.

“My son will be king someday.” This thought always filled him with joy, but also sorrow because he couldn’t stay with Aemon and Viserys on Dragonstone forever.

-How are my troublesome princes?

-They are not troublesome at all. My children are little angels, as perfect as their mother.

-Modest as always, Rhaenyra. I can only hope that Addam and Alyn will be as well-behaved as them.

 

He realized his mistake too late, Rhaenyra was already watching him like a lynx watches its prey.

-Who are Addam and Alyn?

Daemon cursed internally. It seemed Laena had not taken her time to explain her beloved cousin about the two new children brought into the Driftmark castle. Lovely, it seemed that he would have to explain it to her. For a moment, the prince debated if it wouldn’t be better to tell his lovely niece the truth. Rhaenyra was terrifying when she was crossed and he did not think she would accept his bastards silently. In many ways, she was still a spoiled child who did not know how to share.

However, he quickly dismissed the thought. Rhaenyra had no secrets from Laena, and Laena had no secrets from Rhaenys. Swallowing his dread, he answered:

-Addam and Alyn are my bastards. I only found about them recently and I…. brought them to be raised with Baela and Rhaena.

-How old are they? his niece’s voice was dangerously quiet.

-Addam is four. Alyn is three.

-Three?! So, of an age with my son. Tell me, have you bed their mother the day before or after we conceived Aemon? Who is their mother anyaway?

-Uh, her name is Marilda. She is the daughter of a sailor..

-Is she prettier than me? Rhaenyra cut him off.

-Gods, no! Of course not!

-Then why did you cheat on me?

Now Daemon lost his temper.

-Cheat on you?! My love, in case you have forgotten, we are each married to someone else. I am cheating on you every time I sleep with Laena!

-That is different! She insisted stubbornly. I regret ever giving myself to you, uncle!

-Well then, you have quite a lot to regret!

This only enraged her farther.

-Leave me, Daemon! I have no wish to see you again. I hope your little mouse can satisfy you for you will never have me in your bed ever again.

-Oh, really?! And what about your seven children? Who will father them? Laenor?

The prince knew he shouldn’t her, but she always revealed the worst in him. And to think his predicament was Corlys’ fault?! He cursed the old snake in his head for putting him at odds with Rhaenyra.

-O, do not worry about me, Uncle! There are plenty of men who would be willing to father my children.

Daemon couldn’t believe what he heard!

-You would pollute your royal blood with the blood of lesser man?!

-And why not?! You did!

-But I did not try to put the children of such an union on the throne! The blood of Old Valyria must be kept pure in the royal line! Otherwise, don’t you think I would have tried harder to get my bronze bitch pregnant?

It was true, from a very young age Daemon, finding out his parents were siblings believed dragons should only mate with dragons. Or, if such a union could not be done, they should marry those whose blood was as pure as possible. This is why he had hated his first wife from the moment he had laid eyes on her. How could an Andal bare him true heirs? Even Mysaria, his mistress was lyseni and Laena and Rhaenyra, the mothers of his children, were the blood and seed of the Conqueror.

Rhaenyra also shared his believes so she calmed down a bit. Still, she could not simply forgive the blow to her ego.

-Leave! She ordered him with finality.

Angered, the prince did just that.

Chapter Text

Laena II

-Hush, my sweet, no need to cry, Laena repeated for the seventy-second time. And just like the other seventy-one times, Rhaena simply cried harder.

-But it was my egg, she sobbed. It was supposed to be my dragon. Pretty and not….not a monster!

The silver-haired lady suppressed a sigh. While she understood Rhaena’s pain, she wanted her daughter to understand that there was nothing that could be done now.

This morning, her daughter had come rushing in her chambers to tell her mother that her gold and cream egg has started to crack. For the rest of the morning, Laena had watched anxiously alongside the children how slowly, but surely, a new dragon was fighting its way outside the egg. But after the egg cracked one final time, the creature that greeted them was something that will haunt the children’s nightmares forever. Small, and weak, with only one wing and no tail, the dragon baby survived long enough to watch Rhaena in the eyes before it died right on the nursery floor.

Laena herself felt dread rising in her stomach when she remembered the horrifying scene. “It was like a stillborn child” the thought entered her mind without her consent and the young mother shivered.

-It is not fair! Baela has everything! She is the eldest and everybody likes her and she has a dragon while I …….

-While you will ride a dragon older and bigger than Baela’s Moondancer.

The answer surprised the toddler so much that, for the first time since Laena had taken her in her arms, Rhaena stopped crying.

-When I was born, your grandmama put a dragon egg in my crib. A year later they placed a second one in my brother’s. And when I was six his egg hatched. I felt so jealous that day. I was the eldest, my egg should have hatched first. Since that moment and till I turned twelve I stared at my egg each morning, hoping to see a crack in the shell, no matter how tiny. Yet it never happened.

-But you ride Vhagar!

-Yes, I do, but Vhagar is far older than me. It was ridden by your father’s father before me and Queen Visenya before him.

-This why she is so big! deduced her clever daughter, her previous sorrow almost forgotten.

Laena laughed in delight and told Rhaena the story of her first ride:

-I was twelve the first time I rode the my own mount. All my life I have been spoiled by my parents and by the servants, but there was one woman who was always displeased with me. She always yelled and scolded me. Nothing I ever did was good enough: I needed to sing better, to learn to sew faster and to speak less. That’s what she told me every day when I was a little girl.

Rhaena was listening attentively to her story. For the young girl, the idea that someone would dare order her mother around was almost heresy.

-That woman was my septa, explained Laena, observing how her daughter shivered when she heard the last word. Laena truly despised Septa Perenelle, her childhood nightmare, so she had promised herself that she will never entrust her daughters to one. However, that didn’t stop her from threatening to do just that when the twins exasperated her. As a result, her poor girls were as scared of septas as other children were scared of dragons.

-So, one day, after Septa Perenelle yelled at me for fighting with my brother I ran away. We were at Dragonstone at the time, I can’t remember why. I got away from the guards and I slipped in the dragons lair. I was fascinated by all of them. And yet, it was the biggest one that caught my attention. It was like I was in a dream. I knew who Vhagar was and what a danger she represented, but something in my heart told me not to be afraid. And when our eyes met for the first time, it was like something inside me unlocked. Without thinking , I grabbed a saddle and mounted Vhagar for the first time.

-How was it? her little girl asked, excited.

-I have no words to describe it. I flew before, on Meleys with my mother, but when I flew Vhagar, it felt different. It was like…. Like I finally found my place in the world, Laena tried to explain.

And the very next day, the daughter of the Queen Who Never Was flowered for the first time. Even now, when she was far older and knew better, Laena thought that her moonblood came because riding Vhagar had made her a woman. Her septa had scolded her for such nonsense, but the young girl couldn’t find it in herself to care for the septa’s words anymore. Since that day, Laena had never really been the same.

Unfortunately, the story of her childhood disobedience could influence Rhaena in ways she really did not want to, so the mother continued her tale:

-Of course, my parents weren’t as pleased with me. I sneaked out and did something dangerous so I had to sew for a month, not allowed to leave my chambers.

It was true, but Laena did not say how she had still thought it was all worth it.

-So, you see, my little princess, you might one day ride a much older dragon. Mayhaps it will be Grey Ghost, Sheepstealer, Vermithor or maybe even Silverwing, just like Queen Alysanne.

She added the good queen’s name because both her daughters adored her, but Rhaena didn’t seem to hear it.

-Mama, your egg, the one that was put in your craddle, did it ever hatch?

-No, my sweet, it never did. Why do you ask?

-Do you still have it? Can I see it?

The lady blinked in surprise. She hadn’t expected that.

-I think your grandmama still has it. We will ask her when we go to High Tide.

Rhaena nodded, satisfied, and left to look for her sister, leaving her bemused mother behind.

 

****

That night, Laena collapsed in bed, already half-asleep. She was exhausted after the day’s drama. And to her great frustration, she found Daemon brooding besides her.

-What is it with you? I just managed to console our daughter about her dead dragon, now I have to console you, too?

He glared at the implication that he needed any sort of mothering. She had learned early on in their marriage that he despised appearing weak.

-Do not be stupid, Laena. As saddening as the hatchling’s death was, I have more important things to think about.

-Oh, really? Like what?

-Like how to get back into Rhaenyra’s good graces.

That made her tiredness go away. Instantly, she was alert again.

-What did you do?

-I did nothing! barked the prince.

Laena almost snorted. While she knew how capricious her beloved cousin could be, she did not believe him at all. Daemon seemed to read her mind, because he explained, in a softer tone:

-Well, it is not about something I did recently. She just found out about Addam and Alyn.

The lady let out a breathless laugh.

-I bet that went well!

-As well as you imagine, he said tensely. You know, you are also at fault for this!

-Me?! How is your incapacity to keep to one bed, well, two beds, but that not’s important, MY FAULT?! Laena could hardly believe her ears.

-Rhaenyra didn’t know about the boys. You could have explained the situation to her. She would have understood if it came from you.

Laena stared at him, incredulous.

-What are you talking about? Rhaenyra is jealous by nature. And you always fed her possessiveness. Or don’t you remember that day, four years ago, when I told Nyra about our plan to marry? Because I do:

“Rest assured, my dear princesses, the two of you are be the only women I ever loved and from now on the only ones welcome in my bed. After all, not even the Conqueror didn’t stray from his sisters.”

Daemon winced at the reminder, but Laena couldn’t bring herself to feel sorry for him. Even she had believed him that day, and she was a cynic by nature. After all, it seemed that Daemon would have said anything if it would have brought him the son and the throne he had always lusted after.

-This mess is entirely your doing, so don’t expect me to clean up after you, she finished her angry rant.

-No, it is not! Gods damn it, woman, everything happened because of….

Daemon cut himself off between he could finish his thoughts. However, what he said left her confused and a bit suspicious.

But her husband was in no mood to explain himself, so he changed the subject:

-I think we should go to court, see what the Hightower hen and her greens are plotting nowadays.

-And do you want to take the children with us? she humored him.

-Of course, he answered with an evil smile.

Chapter Text

Alicent I

 

Alicent of House Hightower, Queen Consort of the Seven Kingdoms, Light of the South and Mother of Princes was angry. Beyond angry. She was furious.

 

And the reason for her anger was a well-known one: Daemon Targaryen. The man had come to King’s Landing with no warning ( as he always did ), bringing with him his whore of a wife, his two baby monkeys, and worse, his bastards. And he had the goal to let his children born of sin play alongside her sweet little princes.

Even Viserys, who was always blind to his brother’s faults had seemed insulted. But like always, the fool didn’t use his kingly power to put Daemon in his place, oh, no, he had tried to talk with him. As if one could reason with Lord Fleabottom!

“It is an insult to your lady wife’s honor for he children to be present at court” was what he said.

As if the dragon whore had honor! Oh, no, “the lady” in question has assured her “kind king” that she did not mind her “little cousin’s presence”. Alicent loathed her. What kind of woman could say such a thing?!

A Targaryen, her mind whispered traitorously. What can you expect from a family that had married kin to kin for hundreds of years. She was right, at the end of the day, her husband’s bastards were her own blood.

 

Yet, Alicent could not let such a slight go. She was from one of the noblest and wealthiest family in Westeros and a woman devoted to the Seven. There were no place for bastards under her roof.

And yet here they were playing with her son as if they had any write to. And Daeron, her sweet, obedient son, was entertaining them while she had to entertain their godless father and his insipid wife.

-You should have told us that you intended to come to court, for once in his life, her fool of a husband scolded his brother. Why such a sudden visit, brother? Nothing bad happened I hop!

Alicent wanted to scowl, with each year her husband grew more sick and more frightened. As if the Others would one day rise to destroy his kingdom.

-Oh, brother, nothing bad happened. But I wanted to take Rhaena’s mind from her dead hatchling.

-Yes, that was most saddening to hear about. Every Targaryen should feel the joy of riding a dragon.

-Oh, Your Grace, I am sure my daughter would ride a dragon one day, Laena assured him, in a voice so sweet, Alicent had to wonder if she bathed in honey to achieve it.

-Of course, of course, Viserys agreed amiably. I hope you stay for awhile, my lady! In a fortnight my grandson will turn four years old and I planned to ask Rhaenyra to bring him here to celebrate properly with a tourney.

Alicent’s mouth fell open. A tourney for the Velaryon whelp! It was for the first time she heard of it!

-Oh, we wouldn’t miss it for the world, her sister by law answered promptly. A tourney is very fitting for the future king.

Alicent observed that even Daemon was smiling when being told about his great-nephew. She truly couldn’t comprehend his love for those children.

“He wants to betroth his daughters to them, her father had said to her once. It is his only way of getting closer to the throne and the only explanation why he doesn’t resent Rhaenyra’s whelps like he resents your sons.”

-Sister, you must help me choose a dress!

I am not your sister! Alicent wanted to scream at the whore. But instead she behaved like a lady and smiled:

-Of course, Laena! I would be delighted to. After all, we must look our best for our…. Velaryon prince.

If the world Velaryon was spoken a bit like an insult, it flew right past the men’s heads. But Alicent had to give it to her opponent, the woman was as bright as she was beautiful, for a hateful look passed over her face.

Once upon a time, she might have been queen. The wife Viserys was supposed to take. Instead, Viserys had made me a queen and Laena had mwrried my silver prince. Well, she should have had the king and the crown, all she had ever wanted was Daemon, the prince of her dreams!

Alicent was surprised by her own thoughts. She had thought she had gotten over her girlhood infatuation.

The damned Velaryon girl seemed to have read her mind for she had the goal the smirk at her.

-Your Grace, Prince Aemon will grow up to be as handsome and galant as his namesake, my grandmother, may the gods rest his soul!

-As you say, milady! agreed Viserys. In my eyes he is already the perfect prince. I knew I made the right call when I betrothed my Rhaenyra to your brother! Although, you also share the merits for the success of my daughter’s match, my lady wife!

At the last sentence, the queen forced herself to smile. It was true that , after Viserys refused any attempt to engage his daughter to her firstborn, Aegon., he had asked her opinion, as “Rhaenyra’s loving mother”, which of his daughter’s suitors should be chosen.

All the options were teribble for Alicent’s plans: Jason Lannister was the Warden of the West and had the gold of Casterly Rock at his disposal, Lord Tully was powerful and beloved. Even the Prince of Dorne was vying for the hand of the Realm’s Delight and many fools thought the marriage a good idea ro finally bring Dorne into the Seven Kingdoms.

Needless to say if such a match would have happened, her Aegon would have never stood a chance to become king. So, Alicent has chosen the lesser evil: she had advised Viserys to marry the girl off to Laenor Velaryon. The Velaryons were one of the richest houses of Westeros, rivals to Hightowers and Lannisters, and the boy himself was of the superior line of the royal family so no one could object he was not fit to be a queen’s consort. But the reason why Alicent chose him was because Laenor Velaryon was a well-known sword-swallower. She had hopped that by marrying him, the bitch will never get pregnant.

And yet, almost five years later the girl had delivered two sons that had a better claim to the throne that anyone else. Even their names reflected this: the eldest was called Aemon after the Old King’s heir. The eldest son of the eldest son of the Queen Who Never Was will be king one day, the same way it would have been if Rhaenys Targaryen would have remained the heiress after her father’s death.

 

As for the second son, the bitch had named him Viserys only to spite her.

Thankfully Daemon requested that they rejoin their daughters who were surely tired after the journey and Alicent could leave before she could have a headache.

On the way to her chambers, Alicent bumped into one of the two infamous bastards. The eldest one most likely, who bowed clumsily when he saw her.

-Y-your Grace, he stammered, with a heavy accent, reminding the queen that his mother was as lowborn as they come.

What could have Prince Daemon see in the daughter of a sailor?

-Let me look at you, bastard, she ordered on a whim and grabbed his chin with her left hand. The boy looked at her fearfully, but said nothing.

Alicent tried to look of traces of his mother in his face (she had to be a beauty or a very skilled whore to keep the prince’ attention long enough to bear him a son) but didn’t find much.

The boys eyes were as violet as the summer sky at sunset and his hair was silver-gold like the prince’s. He also had the traditional Valyrian features, and loath as she was to admit, he would probably grow up to be more handsome that any of her sons.

And yet, he didn’t really resembled his father. In fact, the two Velaryon princes took more after Daemon than his own son…..

Alicent’s heart skipped a bit. No, it wasn’t possible and yet… If it was true….

-Your Grace? The boy’s hesitant voice interupted her musings.

-Run away, bastard, she said quietly, her mind elsewhere.

 

When she entered her chambers she summoned her brother.

-Gwaine, I think I finally have something to take down Rhaenyra.

Her brother watched her bemused:

-What could you possibly have that father hadn’t thought of before, sister?

-I have finally solved the mystery that had kept me at night: the bitch’ pregnancies.

Her brother was as thick as the castle’s walls for he still looked at her wide-eyed.

-How could Laenor Velaryon of all people get the princess pregnant two times in five years? We all knew him for a sword-swallower. But now it finally came to me: what if he didn’t?

Gwaine seemed to finally understand.

-If not Laenor, then who could possibly be the father? The boys are as Valyrian as any Targaryen.

-Of course they are. Because their true father is Daemon Targaryen!

At this, her brother had the goal to laugh. Thankfully he stopped when he saw her serious expression:

-Think about it, Gwaine! Laenor has never bedded a woman. When did Rhaenyra fell pregnant? In the second year of her marriage. The second year of Daemon’s banishment when he started visiting Driftmark. And wasn’t it the most natural ring in the world for Rhaenyra to go to her husband’s birthplace. And when she fell pregnant the second time, Daemon was already living there with his little wife. And the boys even look like him!! Haven’t you noticed?!

Gwaine seemed to finally comprehend what she was telling him:

-Are you sure? If you are right, then we tell the king and…

-No! Alicent cut him off. Viserys is blind when it comes to Daemon and deaf and blind when it comes to Rhaenyra. We must think this carefully. If the whore bore her uncle’s bastards she would lose supporters. First, we will make sure she loses Princess Rhaenys?

-Princess Rhaenys?

-Yes, declared Alicent triumphantly. If I am right not only did the whore chokehold her precious son but also, sweet little Laena is being cheated on by her husband with her own cousin.

-You think both Viserys and Aemon are Daemon’s?

-Yes, Gwaine, keep up! Now, how do we do it? Rhaenys is proud, she would not believe it if I simply tell her that the boys look more like Daemon than Laenor. I need more proof.

-Even if you convince her there is no telling that she would support Aegon. She hates you for taking her daughter’s place as queen.

-This is not important now.

In truth, Alicent had already thought about it. Oh, Rhaenys was proud and she desired more than anything was her blood on the throne. If Alicent was right, the princess’ only legitimate grandchildren were the twin girls. She might have to betroth one of them to her Aegon. The eldest had a dragon so she might not be the worst choice.

And yet, despite all the unfinished details, for the first time in a decade, Alicent felt giddy inside.

Chapter Text

Laena III

-I love your hair, you know that?

-Yes, I know. You always play with it.

Laena blushed, feeling a bit like a silly maiden. She did love compliments, she thought, leaning forward for another kiss.

-How is our birthday prince?

-Oh, Aemon is delighted, but a bit overwhelmed by the tourney.

-Not surprising, the poor boy probably had never imagined so many people even existed. All he always knew is Dragonstone and its people.

-And that is my fault?

Laena could hear the anger in the slightly raised voice.

-No, of course not. Well, maybe a bit, she added with a smile, before leaning forward for yet another kiss.

Two identical giggles echoed in the large stone room.

-The king wanted the tourney to be held in King’s Landing.

-And now it is held on Dragonstone!

-And how did you manage that, if I may ask, Rhaenyra?

Laena’s question was playful, but her lover gave a serious answer.

-I am my father’s daughter and heiress. He rarely denies me.

Laena smiled and buried her face in Nyra’s shoulder. She loved her cpusin’s smell: lilies, lemon and ash. The two of them were in the princess’ chamvers, naked on her bed, covered only by a black velvet shield.

-Are you truly fine with what he did?

The subtext of anger and bewilderment was clear in Nyra’s voice. Laena didn’t need to ask what she was talking about.

-Addam and Alyn are my cousins. And, well, when we married we established that each of us is free to do as they please. Hell, this is the entire reason I married Daemon and not the sealord’s son.

-I know but…. Nyra hesitated: It is still a betrayal.

-The truth is, that.. well, it feels too odd to me to take it as a betrayal, Laena confessed.

-Odd?! What makes you say that? Daemon fucking a woman doesn’t seem very out of the ordinary for me!

Laena almost wanted to yell at the prince when she heard her bitterness. Nyra needs to forget her silly childhood songs. Her uncle loved her, yes, but not like Baelon loved Alyssa or like Florian loved Jonquil. That kind of love simply wasn’t in Daemon’s nature.

But, even half drunk, the Velaryon lady knew it was futile to argue with Rhaenyra. Instead she focused on answering the question.

-I can’t tell you why it feels so odd. Till now is just a feeling, but if I find out anything more I will tell you.

Nyra accepted it as an explanation, despite the fact that it was a slight lie. It was more than just a feeling, as Laena had already tracked down the boys’ mother and planned to question her. But some plans she preferred to keep to herself.

 

**

The day was beautiful enough for a tourney, which was very rare on Dragonstone.

-You look lovely, lady wife, Daemon told her as she came to sit next to him.

Laena smiled at him. Dressed in a silver-grey dress ornated with swan feathers and pearls, she had made sure to look more royal than ever.

She and Daemon were placed in the royal box, to the king’s left. Sadly, that meant they were closer to Alicent than Nyra, who was on her father’s left.

The queen was dressed in a dark green dress that made her hair look even blacker than it was and covered every inch of skin except her face and hands.

Oddly enough, that was one thing in common with her cousin’s dress. Nyra’s was a bright red, made of Myrish silk. The skirt was made from twelve layers of different silk, each darker than the other, falling over each other like the ocean’s waves. The last layer was as crimson as dried blood. The upper-part of the dress had long sleeve that embraced Nyra’s arms, making her look like her very skin was red. But there was also black thread on the arms and corset, that Laena had seen a day before, depicted scenes from Aegon’s conquest. The lady would bet her dowry that the seamstress went blind after creating such fine details.

For the first time since she knew her, Nyra had her hair up, in a simple bun. That had something to do with Prince Viserys who was sitting on her lap and was at the hair-pulling age.

Because Daemon had refused to stay near Alicent, Laena was seated between the queen and her husband. So it was easily for the Hightower woman to whisper to her:

-Where are the princesses, Laena?

-They are at Driftmark, Laena answered and for a moment she considered calling her Alicent, before adding a quick, Your Grace!

-How so?

-They are too young for a tourney, my queen!

-Too young?! Viserys is even younger and yet his here.

-Viserys will one-day be second in line to the throne. And it is his brother’s nameday, she added, looking at Prince Aemon, who was seated on his own throne, between Nyra and Laenor.

-My grandson, yes! Does he not look like his uncle?

-His uncle? Laena frowned.

She didn’t thought Aemon looked one bit like the chubby, always pouty Aegon, but maybe Alicent meant7 someone else.

-Daeron? She asled naming the only one of the queen’s children who had the beauty of a true dragon.

The queen gave a small laugh. It was fake.

-Silly me! I meant, his uncle by marriage. Your husband, Daemon.

Laena narrowed her eyes. Alicent couldn’t possibly mean…

Her thought was interrupted by Rhaenyra who stood up to make an announcement.

-Papa, I have wonderful news. And I hope to share it with you on my son’s nameday.

-Yes, my child, I am listening, Viserys said, amiable as ever.

-Papa, I am delighted to tell you that in eight months, I will bear another prince for House Targaryen.

Laena was not at all surprised by the announcement, having been told by Rhaenyra the night before. Her cousin has been a mess of emotion, half happy at the thought of a new child, and half angry, that even after breaking up with him, she still couldn’t be rid of Daemon.

Laena observed the others’ reactions. The king was overjoyed and congratulated his daughter and Laenor. The Hightower-Targaryen children had varied reactions. Helaena was beaming at her sister, Aegon was suppressing a frown and Daeron was as polite as ever when offering his congratulations. Aemond was absent. He might have sneaked out during the tourney.

Daemon’s and Alicent’s reactions were the most interesting however. Daemon was slack-jawed and sent a shocked look at Laena, who only shrugged.

“Now you and Nyra have to make up” she tried to tell him silently.

The queen was sulking and glaring. But glaring at Daemon, not at Nyra.

“No, she can not know” Laena told herself, yet it sounded weak even to her own ears.

-And I humbly ask you for permission to name him after your father, papa! Rhaenyra asked, not paying attention to anyone but the king.

Viserys had tears in his eyes when he answered.

-A little prince Baelon, yes! I would very much like that, my daughter! Gods only know how much your mother wanted one.

At the mention of the former queen, Alicent went even paler, but before she could say anything a servant burst in.

-What is the meaning of this? Nyra asked, enraged.

However, the servant payed her no mind, as his answer was solely for the king:

 

-Your Grace, it is about Prince Aemond…

Chapter Text

Corlys II

The rain was falling for almost ten hours and it didn’t look like it would stop soon. The weather was as damp andd dreadful as the general mood. Corlys felt tired. Tired and old. For the first time in his entire life, he felt sorry for King Viserys.

Yet, when his eyes fell on Alicent, all his simphaty was gone, replaced by anger. While he understood her grief, there was no excuse for what she did. After the servant told them the shocking news, Alicent had gone mad and launched herself at Rhaenyra. Laenor, despited being just as shocked as everybody else, has still managed to put himself between his wife and her attacker. As a result, Alicent has almost scratched his eyes out and, in his effort to subdue her, Laenor tripped and broke his leg. Thankfully, the maesters had assured Corlys that his son would be fine.

Next to him, Rhaenys stood as straight as a spear, watching the royal couple with unfeeling eyes.

Viserys was embracing his daughter, tearfully saying his goodbey:

-My beautiful daughter, I am crushed that I have to leave you! I cannot believe how things could have gone so wrong. I am so sorry to have ruined Aemon’s nameday festivities.

-You are feeling sorry for the brat?!

The queen’s current outburst was as unexpected as her last one. With puffy, red eyes and a raspy voice from crying all night one would think she would have lacked the energy to scream. One would be wrong.

-You are sorry for Aemon?! she said the name like it was an insult. What about Aemond?! What about my baby boy?! He is the one who died! And yet, you are here, embracing his murderer.

 

Everyone was shocked at the statement, even the princess who had come to expect the worst from her stepmother over the years. The king was the one who answered, finally losing his temper.

-Enough, Alicent! How can you say that? My daughter is no murderer. Aemond, our son (Viserys emphatized the word our), was killed by a dragon. Do you understand that?! He was kiled by the Cannibal!

-And the bitch is to blame for it!

-No, we are!

Viserys’statement made his wife so shut up for the first time, most likely in shock.

-We are to blame, he went on. We are his parents, we should have paied attention to him. Instead I was too busy celebrating, while you were to busy slanting my daughter, your future queen!

-Even if that’s true, Aemond should have never made it to the pit. He wouldn’t go to the Cannibal...

 

-Yes, he would have and he did! Viserys’tone was final. Aemond was a reckless boy who would have done anything to get to ride a dragon. And, of course, he would have gone for the biggest one. I would not hear anymore of this! Now, apologize to Rhaenyra!

-I would not do that. I have done nothing wrong!

-Yes, you did! And you would apologize to both my daughter and Ser Corlys and Princess Rhaenys for attacking their son.

 

The apologies were so false that his wife barely aknowledged them with a nod. Corlys and Rhaenyra, however, managed a few condolances for the gieving queen. Soon after, she and Viserys embarked on “Princess Jocelyn” and left for King’s Landing. Corlys himself followed Rhaenys to the dragon pit to Meleys.

-Well, at least one of them is dead. Two more to go.

Corlys looked at Rhaenys, in shock, at her words. He almost wanted to ask what she meant, but he already knew it. Rhaenys, like everyone else, knew that each one of Alicent’s sons were a threat to Rhaenyra, and by extension, a threat for them. As tragic as Aemond’s death was, it was in their advantage.

 

-You are very cold, my love, he said quietly, almost admiringly.

Rhaenys only smirked.

-I just wnat my son as king, as his should have been. And his children as heirs to the Seven Kingdoms.

Corlys felt himself squirm. His wife’s blind inssistance that Aemon and Viserys were Laenor’s sons could be very annoyng.

-Rhaenys, I love Laenor, but you know that he would sooner prefer his knights’ bed than his wife’s. You know the truth, Rhae, just admit it to yourself!

-No, Corlys, I know my son. I know his.... preferences. But I also know he is dutifull. You heard Rhaenyra, she is pregnant.

-So?

-So, this child is surely Laenor’s. Only a moon ago, I told him that he needs to do his duty and bed her.

 

Corlys sighed but said nothing else. It would be nice if Rhaenys was right, but he doubted it.

-When are you going to make Laena your heir?

The change in subject was quick, but not unwelcome.

-Soon, Corlys answered. After she births a son, preferably.

Rhaenys nodded.

-I don’t really understand why you want to do it, but I agree. Gods know that my daughter would make a good ruler and her gender shouldn’t hold her back. Still, I am curious, why are you so keen on it?

Because I am just a man and like any man, I want my descendants to be my heirs which would not happen if Laenor becomes the next Lord od Driftmark. Because I hurt Laena indirectly when I asked Daemon to lie to her about Addam and Alyn and this is the only way I can thnk of to make up to her.

These were his true reasons, but instead he said out loud:

-Because I am old, wife. If I die, who takes my place? Laenor is needed on the Dragonstone and Aemon is Rhaenyra’s heir. As for Viserys he is only a toddler. I need an heir who knows Driftmark and its people. Plus, Laena is my firstborn. Choosing her over Laenor makes a statement. It makes Rhaenyra’s position as heiress even more legitimate.

Rhaenys nodded, accepting his explanation.

-Yes, I am glad Laena won’t me cast aside like I was because she had the misfortune to be born a woman. But I can’t help and have my doubts about Daemon. He is her husband and will rule Driftmark alongside her.

Corlys hollowed with laughter.

-Daemon would aooner drown than do actual ruling. In this regard, he is actually a very good consort.

-But not a good husband. I heard about his bastrads, Rhaenys grittied her teeth. I think I will go and see them for myself.

Corlys felt so faint he thought he would collapse right then and there.

Chapter Text

Daemon II

-Where are you going?

Daemon turned around to see Addam clinging to his cloak.

-I am going to meet someone.

-Who, Papa?

The boy, although shy, has become bolder after spending a few weeks in the company of his sisters. Even Alyn had seemed to become healthier and livelier.

-Mysaria. Lady Mysaria, Daemon said after a moment of hesitation. She is a …. friend who gives me news from time to time.

-Can I come with you?

At first, Daemon wanted to refuse, but then he thought, why not? Mysaria may have been his lover once but that didn’t mean that he would sleep with her now. Addam would not be an inconvenience and if he was honest, Daemon had grown fond of the boy. Since he could not be a father to his real sons, he had found some form of comfort in raising the two young boys.

“Maybe some day one of them would even prove worthy of Dark Sister” The thought was far-fetched but Daemon has always dreamed of the day when he will put his sword in the hands of a young silver haired knight and say: “You have made me proud, son!”

-Come along, he said, and left before he could see Addam’s beaming smile as he trailed after his father.

 

***

His conversation with Mysaria was interesting to say the least. From the way the woman had looked at Addam, he had almost wondered if she perhaps knew the truth, but, alas, there other matters even more concerning.

-Have you heard the new song that has gained popularity in the Seven Kingdoms, my prince? she had asked him with a sickly-sweet smile.

Daemon had been puzzled by the question at first, but had quickly grown angry and worried when she explained it to him.

-It is a new one, but half the bards already sing it. Quite a tragic story. It’s about a queen, who was her father’s only child and heir and who had married her cousin in order to ascend to the throne. But, oh the tragedy, her husband was a sinner who preferred the company of man. The queen, a lustful creature, had instead turned to her uncle to warm her bed. This uncle was also lustful and greedy, born with the cursed name of a bastard as the late king’s half-brother. He had desired his trueborn brother’s crown his entire life. And if he could not have that, he would have his brother’s daughter. He and the queen make toghter three sons, each more handsome than the other, and the queens calls them princes and makes her husband accept them as his heirs. But because the boys were cursed at birth by the gods for their parents sins, all three of them before they can reach adulthood. The queen is driven mad with grief and hallucinates her father’s ghost who is disgusted by her. He commends her to kill her uncle and herself if she ever wants his forgiveness. So, she poisons to cups of wine and drinks the first one, giving her uncle the other. But he was a cunning man, like most bastards are and asks the king to drink first. So, both the king and the queen die together and the bastard prince survives and takes the crown for himself, ruining the kingdom through his sinful ways. Well, do you like it, my prince?

Daemon had been left speechless. The story was clearly about him and Rhaenyra, even if some things were changed. But how could that be? Could Alicent or some other of her thrice-damned supporters found out the truth? And if yes, why hadn’t he gone to Viserys?

They didn’t have proof, he answered his last question himself. However, it did not mean that they could not try and smear Rhaenyra’s name. A great many lords who had met Laenor personally were baffled by Aemon and Viserys’s existence. And the timing could not be worse, now with his niece pregnant for the third time.

-And this is not all! Mysaria kept bringing him bad news. The septons from Oldtown to the Eyre are starting to preach about your sinful nature with new fervor. And every now and then, ladies gossip about a possible affair between you and your lovely niece.

-What does Viserys say about all this?

-Oh, your brother is still kept in ignorance. But, soon this gossip will be too obvious to be ignored. I assume that he won’t be pleased, but his little wife has kept her hands too pristine to be blamed. No, no, some other fools will suffer. And yet….

-And yet, it will be too late. The seed of doubt was planted already, Daemon had finished for her.

-The princess is already losing supporters. And she will lose even more. Or have you failed to notice Lord Vaemond’s sudden invitation to court.

No, he had not. Vaemond was Corlys’ nephew, older than Daemon himself. But he had assumed the invitation had come from Viserys, as some sort of apology to House Velaryon, after Alicent had attacked Laenor in public. Gods, that was truly a frightening moment. Daemon was grateful to Laenor for putting himself between the crazy bitch and Rhaenyra. A pregnant Rhaenyra!

-What is there to be done? He had asked Mysaria, almost dismayed.

-Not much. Just as they can’t prove the rumors, you can’t disprove them. Just keep your distance from the princess.

-Keep my distance?! He was embarrassed to realize that he had almost shouted. What do you mean?

-I do not know, Daemon! Don’t go to her child’s birth and when you go to Dragonstone, take your wife with you instead of going by yourself.

Daemon hadn’t argued. But he was in no way pleased by the situation. He needed Laena, he realized. He needed to talk to his wife, who was smarter than most people thought. And also he needed her comfort, he realized.

-Papa, look! Look!

Addam’s excited voice broke him out of his reminiscence. But before he could ask the boy why he was shouting, he ran away from him towards the two silhouettes at the end of the hall!

-Mama! You came!!

At his excited shout, both women turned around and Daemon noticed their expressions. With dread, he realized the brunette had a guilty look on her face, while the blond looked beyond furious.

Chapter Text

Marilda I

The castle was as splendid inside as it was outside. Marilda almost felt out of place between these walls, who shielded riches beyond imagination.

“And my sons live here. Gods, how must they feel?”

While she had never been poor, Marilda was lowborn. After her parents’ death she had taken up her father’s place on the ships. And she had given up her children to do it.

“They have a better life” she had repeated to herself and now that she saw how they lived she could almost believe it.

Besides, when Corlys had told her his insane plan, she had resigned herself to never see Addam and Alyn again. Daemon Targaryen had somehow agreed (and Marilda didn’t dare ask Corlys how exactly he had conviced the man to do it) to claim them as his bastards and Marilda had doubted she could just come to visit them whenever she wanted. The prince had made it clear that he would raise them as nobility.

Only to be asked by a servant who came to her house to “join the Lady Laena “ for tea. At first she was baffled by the invitation despite knowing that she could not turn it down. She had never asked Corlys how many people would know their secret, but after this invitation, she assumed the prince had told his lady wife the truth.

Of course he had! How else would have she accepted to raise Addam and Alyn under her own roof? The woman must have taken pity on her half-brother and forgiven the lie told to protect her reputation.

Marilda met the Lady Laena in the “breakfast room” (what even was that?!) She truly was as beautiful as they said. Each and every features of her face looked almost sculpted. Her hair fell on her back like a curtain of gold and silver. And her eyes were even more violet than Addam’s or Alyn’s. The dress she wore was designed for heat, flowing around her like a golden-yellow cloud, yet reveling more skin than it should. On another woman it might have looked indecent, but the Valyrian beauty looked more royal in it than any other westerosi lady in their heavy gowns.

-Marilda, I pressume, Lady Laena said with a smile.

-Yes, my lady. I am honored by your invitation, Marilda attempted a courtesy which was clumsy to say the least.

Thankfully, the lady did not notice, as she kept smiling gently.

-I am very glad to meet you, Marilda. I hope I haven’t bothered you, I assumed you might also want to see your children.

-Yes, my lady. I would very much.

-Sadly, Alyn fell asleep waiting for you and I can’t seem to find Addam. Do not worry, it means that he is probably with Daemon. He does to trail after my husband everywhere.

Marilda felt a sense of warmth spread into her chest.

-Thank you, my lady, for your kidness. I imagine having my children here it is not easy for you.

-Oh, I assure you, it has nothing to do with kindness, before Marilda could ask what she meant, Lady Laena, kept talking. They are however very good children, so their presence here is no inconvenient for me .

-Still, I imagine that your reputation suffered.

At this, Lady Laena grew pensive.

-Yes, I suppose it did. Still I knew what kind of man I married.

At this, Marilda felt perplexed. The prince’ generosity in taking in her children suggested a kind heart, but his reputation made him out to be like a demon in man’s body. What could his wife mean by “knowing” what kind of men she married? She could not have possibly anticipated such a situation when she married him.

-My mother, however, is less pleased.

Marilda became pale. Princess Rhaenys was the sole reason for their entire charade.

-Your lady mother, was she here? Did she.. did she see Addam and Alyn? Marilda asked in a small voice.

-She came to visit six moons ago, after Prince Aemond’s death. She wasn’t particularly concerned about the boys, but she was baffled by my acceptance of them.

-What did you tell her, my lady?

-Exactly what I told you: I always knew what man Daemon was and I expected him to father a few bastards.

The young woman felt relief flood her.

-Thank you, my lady! I imagine it was not easy lying to your mother.

Laena put her tea cup down harder than she should and the resulting noise echoed through the room.

-It is never easy lying to one’s mother, she answered, somehow bitterly.

After a pregnant pause, the lady spoke again:

-But it is not your fault, of course. The fault lies with…. Well, it does not matter.

Marilda smiled gently. She understood Laena’s reluctance to blame her father. He was the man that raised her, no matter his sins. When she said this out loud, Laena turned her face away and Marilda could swear she tried to hide a few tears. Not knowing what to say, she tried to comfort the other woman:

-Still, your father is a kind man. He might love his children, but he did not want to hurt your lady mother. How else could have he managed to convince a prince to claim someone else’s children as his own?

-Are you telling me that Addam and Alyn are my father’s bastards?!

The question was spat with so much venom, Marilda realized immediately what had happened.

-You did not know, she whispered horrified.

-Of course, I did not! How could I have? I knew Daemon was hiding something about his children, but this….

Laena did not finish her sentence, instead she stormed out the door. Not knowing what to do, Marilda followed her.

-My lady, please let me explain….

-Mama! Mama, you came!

The excited shout made both her and Laena turn around. Her sweet little Addam was running towards her as fast as he could. Behind him, came Daemon Targaryen himself, looking like he a man about to drown.

Chapter Text

Alicent II

Alicent knew something was wrong when Viserys summoned her to the Small Council meeting. But the question is, were the news bad for her or for her dear step-daughter.

After Vaemond, the fool, had decided to declare the Velaryon princes’ illegitimacy in front of the entire court and asked to be named heir to his uncle, she and Viserys were not on good terms. Alicent had insisted that Vaemond have his tongue removed, but Viserys has decided to put his head on a spike to make an example out of him. Only afterwards, had he declared that any man who decided to spread the rumors of Aemon and Viserys’ bastardy will have their tongues removed.

Alicent had mixed feelings about it. She hated that her husband took the whore’s side but she also knew thaf he couldn’t have done something better if he had wanted the rumors to gain more traction.

-My love, what happened? She asked him with a gracious smile.

-A letter came from Corlys Velaryon, Your Grace, answered Lyonel Strong, the Hand of the King

-Corlys Velaryon?

What could the man want? He had already come to court to say that he did not approve of Vaemond’ stance. He had been laconic as usual, but Alicent had no reason to doubt his honesty.

The Hand started reading:

“To King Viserys I and his Small Council,

It is with most joy that I announce you the birth of our third grandchild. Despite the early delivery, both mother and daughter feel well. The labour was attended by my wife, Princess Rhaenys, who is delighted to announce that her granddaughter, despite being samller than she should be, is healthy, crying from dusk till down and driving her nurse mad. Furthermore, my beloved son, Ser Laenor, is enchanted by his first daughter. Rather unsurprising I should say. The maesters have no concerns, so in a fortnight we will come at Court to present Your Grace with the newest addition to the hamily.

Yours dutifully,
Lord Corlys Velaryon”

 

-What is the meaning of this? Asked Septon Eustace. Why is Lord Velaryon writing instead of the princess? And how do they expect to come at Court so soon when the child came early? And why does it not mention the princess’ name!

Indeed, they were all good question. Before, when her two bastard boys were born, Rhaenyra herself had written to inform her father. The first latter has been long and too detailed for her tastes ending with the fact that they have not decided on a name yet. A week later, a much shorter laetter came from Corlys, announcing that the prince’ name is Aemon. The next letter had come again from Rhaenyra, who was very proud to say that she had named her second son after her father.

-Your Grace, is it possible that the Princess Rhaenyra might be… might be suffering from childbed fever? Lord Strong asked shyly.

-Oh, Ser, do not say that! My poor girl can not… die in childbed…Viserys’s voice broke and Alicent had to comfort him a bit.

Oh, how she hoped he was right. She had prayed for the whore to die since she first became pregnant.

 

-My love, she told Viserys instead, the letter says our daughter is fine.

True, but Corlys might also be lying.

-The letter is odd, Your Grace, Larys Strong spoke for the first time, looking just like clueless like everyone else, which was a rare sight.

Alicent had to agree, the letter was truly odd. Never before had Princess Rhaenys or Ser Laenor been mentioned during the other two births. The queen got the impression that Corlys Velaryon was mocking them. Like he knew something they didn’t.

-What might have caused the early delivery, maester? Tyland Lannister asked to divert attention

Great Maester Mellos looked like a fly caught by a spider.

-It could be a great number of things, my lord. A shock or a fall can cause early labour…

-A fall?! Viserys screamed horrified.

-Now, now, my king, this is improbable. Sometimes early deliveries just happen, for no reason. The princess might be tired after her labor for Lord Corlys to write to us.

-Yes, yes, that might be it. Well, in this case we have to prepare for a tourney. My first granddaughter deserves a great welcome into the world. I worry for nothing. Who knows, perhaps my daughter woukd even ask us to name the new princess! Wouldn’t that be nice, Alivcent?

-Yes, my love, the queen answered with a forced smile, inwardly hoping that the worst of her husband’s fears will cone true.

Chapter Text

Rhaenyra II

Rhaenyra cursed Daemon for the third time in the last hour. This was all his fault! First he got her with child and now his lie had caused her early labor.

When Laena had told her the truth about Addam and Alyn, the shock had been to much. On one hand, Daemon had remained faithful to her and her cousin like he had promised, on the other he had lied! Rhaenyra did not know if she could forgive him that, even if his reasons were good. He had allowed Corlys to blackmail him and that was a sign of weakness, even if he had done it for their children. Yet, she could not contemplate Daemon’s mistakes now, for she was about to bring a new life in the world and the pain was unbearable.

-One more push, Nyra! Laena said. One more and the baby will be here. You can do it!

The princess did as she was told and she was rewarded by a newborn’s cry. She felt relief course through her body. She had done it, she had given birth to her third, healthy!, child. She could almost cry of happiness.

-Bring me my Prince Baelon, please! I want to see my son!

Yet, no one moved to comply. Little Baelon was held by the maester and kept crying while Rhaenys was looking at him with an unreadable expression. Laena, who was still holding her hand moved towards them. When she saw the baby, the lady let out a gasp that frightened Rhaenyra.

-What, what is it? Show me my son! I order you! I order you to tell me what is wrong with my Baelon!

She had heard him cry, so he was alive. But what if he was missing limbs? What if….

-Nothing is wrong with the child, Nyra! Laena answered when no on did. It just that…. Well, it is a girl!

Huh! Rhaenyra had never considered that she might have a daughter. She should have had, in hindsight. It was not some impossible thing to happen. But it still did not explain why the others were so mystified.

-Bring her to me!

The maester hesitated, but Laena took her from his arms and put her in Rhaenyra’s arms.

The princess looked in adoration at her daughter. She was pink, with baby cheeks, a small nose, wide baby blue eyes with spots of purple and a tuff of….

-Black hair?! She exclaimed in horror. How is this possible?

-Well, shouldn’t we ask you this, Princess? Asked Rhaenys, in a cold voice.

Her gooddaughter only glared at her. She resented the accusation. The only man she had ever slept with were Laenor and Daemon, both of them with silver-gold hair. She could not explain how her daughter had ended up with black hair any more than them.

-I will go tell Ser Laenor and Lord Corlys that the birth was a success, said the maester who clearly wanted to get out of the room.

Not long after, her husband and his father came in, both of them looking quite pleased.

-A girl? Laenor asked in good cheer. Well, this is unexpected. Do we even have a name for her, wife?

Seeing the somber atmosphere he immediately regretted his words, but it was Corlys who spoke.

 

-The maester said that the birth went well. Is the child…

-The child is fine! Laena assured him quickly, and taking the girl from her arms, placed her in Corlys’s arms.

-But she looks like you, Rhaenys! the man exclaimed, adding to the general shock.

His wife recovered first.

-What are you saying, Corlys? How could you know what I looked like when I was born?

-I am older than you, wife. When Princess Jocelyn gave birth for the first time, I came to Dragonstone with my parents. You have the same cheekbones, the same nose, and the same hair.

Rhaenys’ cold gaze turned into one of adoration, now. Laeonr too, seemed enchanted by his newborn daughter. His actual daughter!

Rhaenyra, while she had done her duty as his wife, never really thought they will have a child. An actual one. For a moment, she felt sorry that she wasn’t Daemon’s. But her feelings turn to triumph when she realized this little girl will put an end to the rumors spread by the Greens.

-Let’s let the new parents have a private moment, Laena said and ushered everyone by Laenor out.

For a few moment, husband and wife stared at each other in silence.

-So she is truly mine, huh? Laenor asked hesitantly.

-It seems so, she answered shortly

-Are you… disappointed?

Rhaenyra pondered the question.

-No, not really. I would love my daughter, no matter what. And I am glad you have an actual child now! She said, smiling mischievously.

Laenor snorted amused at her antics.

-Mother and father are certanly pleased. This reminds me, we should find her a name. Do you have any in mind?

She didn’t. When she fell pregnant the first time she had thought about a couple of girls names.

-Visenya? She asked, rather than said.

Laenor shook his head.

-For a baby who is the spitting image of a woman named Rhaenys, no!

-Well, she’s your daughter! You can name her! The princess said, frustrated.

-She looks so much like Mother that I almost want to say Rhaenys, but that will be too confusing. Even if having her grandmother name will be a nice way to be welcomed into the family, her husband smiled at the giggling bundle in his arms.

-Laenor you are a genius! She should be named after her grandmother, of course!

-But I just said…..

-Not your mother, she snapped. My mother: Aemma.

Seeing the evil glint in his eyes, Laenor laughed.

-Very well! Welcome, little Aemma! You made your parents very happy.

Then he addressed Rhaenyra:

-You ought to write to the King before father does. I never saw him so happy before!

-Oh, if Corlys wants to write the letter himself he can do it! Just tell him to not mention my daughter’s name! I want it to be a surprise.

Husband and wife looked at each other in mutual understanding, before Laenor left to do just that, leaving Rhaenyra and little Aemma to marvel at each other.

Chapter Text

Laenor I

-Why is he so small? Aemon asked, looking at his newest sibling in the crib.

-She, Laenor corrected him. It’s a girl, not a boy!

Because his mother had called the babe Baelon when she was in her belly, Aemon, like everyone else had been convinced he would get another brother.

-Is she small because she is a girl? Viserys was bigger when he was born!

Laenor chuckled at his son’s curiosity!

-Aemma was born earlier than she should have been, that’s why she is so small. It has nothing to do with her being a girl.

-Oh, Aemon said, before his face became thoughtful again. If she is my sister, does it mean I have to marry her?

Now, Laenor laughed out loud. This child was truly intelligent and it will make a good king one day!

-What makes you think that, son?

-Auntie Laena said that Targaryens marry brother and sister and that one day I would marry a Targaryen to con-sah-li-dat the dinest-ty.

The way he said “consolidate” and “dynasty” was quite endearing.

-But, Aemon kept talking before Laebor could say something, Mother did not marry Uncle Aegon, you you did not marry Auntie Laena either. So, do I have to marry my sister or not?

-You do not have to marry anyone for now, you are too for marriage. But you would probably marry a Targaryen girl to consolidate the dynasty, like your aunt said. But this will be many years in the future.

When Laena had said that, she had no doubt talking about a future betrothal between Aemon and her daughter, Baela. By doing this not only will they eliminate the suspicion of those who wondered why Daemon was such a staunch supporter of the Blacks and his mother would have a true descendant of hers on the throne one day. But now, with Aemma being his daughter beyond a doubt, things have changed. Indeed a marriage between Aemon and Aemma was not out of the question.

His daughter chose that exact moment to start crying. And she had strong lungs for such a small thing!

Laenor picked her up, trying to sooth her. Despite the discomfort his ears were in, Laenor couldn’t help but gaze at his daughter with adoration. After two boys, he had believed Rhaenyra would only have sons. He never imagined he would be a father to a little girl. Unlike most man, ever since he started growing into manhood he had wanted to raise a daughter. However, he had never thought he will be able to have any children, so he had been more than happy to be a father to Aemon and Viserys. And now, he also had Aemma, whom he already knew, will have him wrapped around her little finger. He could not find it in him to mind, not when the girl looked so much like his mother.

-How is my little princess?

Laenor smiled at his wife, who just entered the nursery.

-She just wants attention! She is like her mother it seems! Laenor teased her.

Rhaenyra mock glared at him.

-My first born daughter deserves all the attention she wants.

-That she does!

-How are my parents?

The last time Laenor has seen them, Corlys has just sent a letter to the king, announcing the birth of his granddaughter, while Rhaenys was off with Laena, praising Rhaenyra’s virtues for anyone who was close enough to hear.

-Your mother made a point of hugging me in front of the entire Dragonstone court, the princess answered, annoyed. It took Laena an entire hour to calm her down from her joy.

The mention of his sister seemed to darken Rhaenyra’s mood.

-You know, after Corlys said she looked like Rhaenys, Laena did not hold Aemma again, she whispered softly. She did not even look at her. Do you think she is unhappy?

-Unhappy? Why should Laena be unhappy? Laenor asked, genuinly confused.

-Because Aemma is your daughter and not Daemon’s.

That did not make things clearer for him. While Laenor was the last person to judge someone for their marriages, he had never been content with how his sister’s marriage worked. In his opinion, Laena should be happy that her husband had not had another child born out of his affair with his niece.

-I will never pretend to understand how your relationship with Laena and Daemon works, but I know my sister. She could never be angry with the people she loves and she loves you more than anything, bar her children, he answered truthfully.

His wife nodded, somehow satisfied. Suddenly, another question popped into Laenor’s mind.

-Are you? Disappointed, I mean, that Aemma is mine and not Daemon’s?

Rhaenyra thought for a few minutes, before answering:

-When I was pregnant with Aemon, there was a chance he was yours. But I wanted him to be Daemon’s so badly. I was a child back than. Not even seven-and-ten yet, and very much in love with my uncle. But Addam and Alyn have proved that ours was not a star-crossed love story like I believed. So, no, I am not disappointed. A child is a child and this one is my child! And that is the end of the story!

Laenor smiled at her fierceness. Truly, Rhaenyra was a wonderful mother.

Chapter Text

Alicent III

 

The whore was as beautiful as ever, Alicent noticed. Even after three births she was still worthy of her title as the “Realm’s Delight”. She was plumper than before, and her breasts were fuller, but that only seemed to make her more enchanting to the man who gazed lustfully at her. In fact, Alicent noted, the only man in the room who did not eye her with desire was the king.

Instead, her fool of a husband was looking at his daughter like she hang the moon.

Dressed rather simply, for her standards anyway, Rhaenyra was wearing a dark purple tulle dress that was much less reveling than her usual gowns. However she had an obscene amount of jewels, from the amethyst hairnet to the pearl necklace, she looked like a peacock in Alicent’s opinion.

Next to her, came her husband, dressed in the colors of House Velaryon. Ser Laenor was almost as pretty as his wife. In his arms, he was carrying his “daughter”, another one of Daemon’s bastards that would be placed ahead of her children in the line of succession.

The princess curtsied and waited for Viserys to address her:

-My beloved daughter, I cannot tell you how happy I am to see you in good health. I have been very worried when Lord Velaryon wrote to me to tell me of your early delivery. After your poor mother, I feared….

-Do not worry, papa, the girl said warmly, I am fine. More than fine in fact, now that I have a beautiful daughter to take care of.

The fool, Viserys, seemed close to tears at hearing this. Alicent realized that this was a good time to enter the conversation:

-We are very glad to hear that, princess! We were worried about you and your child! How wonderful to have a girl. I am sure more will follow!

The girl narrowed her eyes, understanding what Alicent truly mean. For her to have daughters instead of sons.

-Dear Mother, I appreciate your concern. I too have been worried sick for you since Prince Aemond’s death.

Alicent felt like slapping the girl. But before she could say anything, Laenor Velaryon spoke:

-Would you like to hold your first granddaughter, Your Grace?

Viserys’ face lit up and he took the girl from Ser Laenor’s arms. Alicent did not look to much like her, expecting another pink bastard, but she saw when her husband’s face fall.

 

-My love, what is the problem? She asked loudly, making sure that everyone knew that something was wrong with the new bastard.

-Nothing, nothing! Viserys assured the court quickly. I was just admiring her! Rhaenyra, she is perfect!

The princess beamed while Alicebt finally got a good look at the girl. What she saw made the queen want to laugh out. She had to pinch her arm so she could be sure it was not a dream. The whore had finally done it! She had been her own worst enemy! As if it wasn’t enough to spread her legs for her uncle, she had slept with others too! And now she bore a child that was clearly a bastard!

Alicent wanted to, subtly, state that, when Rhaenyra herself spoke, and her words shocked the queen:

-Yes, father, she is truly perfect! A bit small, but the maester has assured me she would grow to be strong and beautiful! How could she not be beautiful? A Targaryen princess with black hair will break many hearts.

At the words “black hair” the entire court gasped and started to gossip. Alicent could not understand what the girl was thinking! Could she be that stupid? Next to her, Viserys tried to answer twice, but every time he opened his mouth, he gaped like a fish, before closing it again. But the queen knew she had to make the best of this opportunity.

-Indeed, she will be a peculiar sight. How odd, when you consider neither her father, nor her mother have this hair color.

A shadow of anger passed on Rhaenyra’ s face, but it was Laenor who spoke:

-She has inherited it from her grandmother!

The queen smiled like the cat who just caught the canary:

-Is that why you named her Aemma? But if I remember corectly, the late queen had light brown hair, not this raven-black color!

Now, it was her step-daughter’s turn to smile:

-No, no, my queen, Laenor means her other grandmother!

IN the stunned silence that followed, one could hear the sound of a needle falling on the marble floor. Most people at court had completely believed the rumors spread by the Greens about the princess’ affairs, so no one understood what she meant. Before Alicent could gather her thoughts, her husband finally spoke:

-Princess Rhaenys, of course! Yes, yes, child, they do look quit alike.

-Father says Aemma is Mother’s mirror image when she was a toddler, added Laenor.

-Yes, Corlys is the oldest of us, he would know such things, approved Viserys, who seemed to be happier than ever. Don’t you agree, my queen?

Before Alicent could recover her wits enough to answer, Rhaenyra, rather rudely, ignored her father’s question:

-We even thought to name her Rhaenys when we saw how similar they looked, but we decided it would be too confusing.

-You made the right call, daughter. Aemma would have loved to have her first granddaughter named in her honor. I must say, I thought I will have another grandson. And while I was delighted to have a Prince Baelon for a grandson, I will not trade Princess Aemma for a thousand Baelons.

The princess, her husband and a few courtiers laughed jovially, both Laenor and the whore agreeing with the king.

-Come now, we must celebrate this joyous occasion! Declared Viserys, while Alicent cursed the gods that had ruined her plans and had always favored the bitch.

Chapter Text

Daemon IV

*Flashback*

The tavern they were in was full of music and laugher. Everyone was drunk, courtesy of Prince Daemon Targaryen, the soon-to-be father. The Pentoshi knew very little about the dragon kings of the West, but they loved wine more than anything, so, for a night, Daemon was their king and his conception of hid child was as celebrated with as much joy as King Viserys’s children were celebrated in the Seven Kingdoms.

The mother of the child was dancing one of the tables, drunker than anyone else. At two-and-twenty, Laena was finally with child. Dressed in a vaporous turquoise dress that left her arms and ankles bear, and with her silver-gold hair falling like a veil on her back, Laena looked more like a Lyseni pillow dancer than a princess by marriage. The men were staring at her with various degrees of lust, but Daemon could not bring himself to care.

He was almost as drunk as his wife. His wife! Gods, what a thing to say! After the woman from the Vale, he had thought he would never marry again. Marriage was not for him, he had decided. He had Mysaria to confide in and Rhaenyra to give him children, no need of a wife. Everything changed when his thrice-damned cousin had tricked him into killing her fiancé. After that, she had convinced him that marrying her was the best thing to do, that it will ensure his closeness with Rhaenyra forever.

-To Prince Daemon! Said a wealthy merchant, rising a cup full of the wine Daemon had paid for. May his Seven Gods give him a strong son!

The others raised their cups in salute, shouting his name. Laena had stopped dancing and had picked a cup herself, smiling at Daemon. The prince, dazzled by her smile, answered the merchant more truthfully than he would have liked:

-A son would be good, by I would prefer a daughter!

This statement confused everyone, except Laena.

-Don’t you, westerosi, need sons to inherit your lands and titles? Or are Targaryens different? Asked the same man.

-They are, shouted another, too drunk to think before speaking. They take their sisters to bed, maybe their daughters too. I would like a daughter too, my prince, if my wife looked like yours.

He laughed at his own jest and tried to catch Laena, who jumped from the table before he could. The other men looked worried at Daemon, trying to see if such shmeless words had upset him. In truth it had, but Daemon just laughed and let them laugh with him, so he did not have to explain what he meant. He was too drunk to do it anyway, even if he wanted to.

A part of him wanted to shout that he already had a son, but he could not. At the end of the day, it did not matter that Prince Aemon was his blood and seed, he would never be his child. He will forever be Rhaenyra’s heir by her husband, Laenor. If a boy was growing in Laena’s belly, the world will know him as his firstborn son. In a way, no matter how silly, it felt like a betrayal towards little Aemon, so he hoped for a daughter!

His wife came next to him and put one of her arms around his neck, while holding a cup full of wine in her left hand. The prince noticed how she shook a bit on her feet and took the cup from her hands. Laena made a sound of protest, telling him that she had not drank more than him and it was unfair to ask her to stop when he did not.

-It is not unfair for it is not my belly that carries our child, he snapped.

She pouted, but said nothing. One of the man who heard their exchange and laughed. Judging by his dark skin he was from the Summer Isles and when he spoke, his accent confirmed it:

-If you want a girl, Princess Laena, you should drink sweet drinks and if you want a boy you should drink bitter ones. That’s what our midwives always say back home. .

Daemon saw Laena’s frown as she thought about it.

-Sweet drinks! she declared. I want a girl to name her after my mother. And one day, she will be queen!

The last word was almost sang, and the others started muttering “queen” left and right.

-To my little queen! Daemon toasted, just as years ago he had toasted for the “Heir for a Day”.

*End of Flashback*

Daemon was laying awake in bed waiting for his wife to join him. When Laena finally entered she looked even more tired than him.

-Gods, these children will be our end! I barely manage to separate Baela from Alyn. She kept babbling on and on about how the egg I gave him will hatch and they will be dragonriders together. If she wasn’t only three, I would have thought she has a crush on him.

-She might develop one when she is older, Daemon mused aloud. I am glad that they are all getting along, but if Baela starts to feel more towards Addam or Alyn it would be…

-Disastrous, Laena completed his sentence. Baela is meant for Aemon. I love Addam and Alyn but they are just… bastards, she said the last word silently.

Daemon grimaced, but did not contradict her. While no formal betrothal existed yet, it had always been Laena and Rhaenyra’s intention for their children to marry one day. Daemon has always been delighted by the idea of his son and daughter to rule together one day. Corlys and Rhaenys were also aware of their intentions and when the time would come to ask Viserys to formalize the engagement, they will be supportive of the idea. After all, it was the only way the Lord and Lady of the Tides will have a blood descendant on the throne. Or so they thought, till Princess Aemma was born.

When Laena had come back from Dragonstone to tell him that the shock of hearing of Daemon’s lies about Addam and Alyn had made his niece go into early labor, he had been scared for her life and the life of their son. When Laena told him that Rhaenyra has delivered Laenor’s daughter, instead of his son, he did not believe her. He doubted he ever will until he sees her with his own eyes.

-What do you think is happening now in King’s Landing? He asked his fair lady.

Laena looked surprised by the abrupt change of topic.

-I think Rhaenyra is rubbing it to Alicent that her rumors about the children not being Laenor’s are just lies. Even if they aren’t of course, she added smirking.

Daemon said nothing and Laena read his mood. She took his hand into hers.

-Rhaenyra is angry with you right now. And with Aemma’s birth, she is also drunk with joy. But rest assured she loves you. She will forgive you, I know that.

-How can you be so sure? He asked doubtful.

-Because I did and I do not love you half as much.

-Maybe this is the reason why you forgave me so fast. You love your father more and you did not forgive him.

-But I will, she said almost angrily. Mind you he will need to work for it. And you…

-Will have to do the same with my niece, he finished resigned. On a more pleasant topic: What possesed you to give Addam and Alyn dragon eggs?

-Rhaena was still upset about her dead hatchling. She only cheered up when I gave her the dragon egg put in my crib at birth. And then she asked me why her brothers do not get any eggs. What could I say, especially when Vhagar had laid half a dozen in the last years.

-I have nothing against it, but it feels wrong to give Addam and Alyn false hope. They are not Targaryens, I doubt their eggs will bore them dragons.