Addam had been flying for days. He had left King's Landing in haste, taking Seasmoke northwest to the Green Men on their Isle of Faces. It was their counsel that had sent him to the castles and holds of the riverlords: Raventree, Pinkmaiden, and Riverrun, being only a few among the many he had visited, but it was their lords who now rode with him, along side an army of nearly four thousand men.
Four thousand brave and loyal men, willing to let him, a bastard for Driftmark, lead them to war, to their deaths. Although they faced three dragons, two of whom were far larger and fiercer than his own Seasmoke, and thousands of Reachmen along side them; men, knights, and even lords had listened to Addam's call: the call to defend King's Landing, the city of their rightful Queen.
Ulf the Sot and Hugh Hammer might have turned their black cloaks to green, but he was Ser Addam Velaryon, heir of the Sea Snake, and his cloak was, and always would be, the same black as the scales of Balerion. Addam would honor the promise he made to young Crown Prince Jacaerys Velaryon; and he would uphold the oath he had given to the Crown Prince's mother, Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen. He would ensure that King's Landing remained free and that his queen remained safe, even if it meant giving up what little of his life was left.
And so, when Addam spotted the scorched ruins of Tumbleton in the distance, along with the army and dragons camped close at hand, he calmly accepted that it was his fate to fall. The words of the Green Men thundered once again through his mind: 'Your fate is something you must choose for yourself, Addam Velaryon. Whether you die by illness or in the service of your Queen is something only you can decide,'
Addam had made his choice long before the Green Men had told him he must make it. He had chosen his Queen, because he was loyal to her, but also because he would never let Alyn see him die. Looking into the bloody light of the breaking dawn, Addam knew that the coming day would be his greatest, but also his last.
"So be it," Addam whispered to no one but the wind.
Reaching forward, he gave Seasmoke's side a pat, then guided his faithful dragon lower to the ground in a shallow dive. Addam knew that both he and his mount needed to be closer to the host of Lord Tully and his loyal bannermen, the lords Blackwood, Piper, and Deddings. Briefly, Addam wondered if any of the thousands of men below him, on either side, were as accepting as he was of their fate.
A low but ominous roar rumbled across the fields, and Addam tuned his head to see a slender cobalt dragon rising to meet him and Seasmoke. The dragon was Tessarion, the Blue Queen, the mount of the young Prince Daeron Targaryen, though Addam could not see the prince on her back. As he turned Seasmoke to face the nimble young she-dragon, Addam hoped that Alyn would forgive him for leaving the world without saying goodbye.
He soon found that Tessarion was a swift and agile as she had looked from afar, if not more so. She was also far more vicious and unpredictable than he had anticipated. And now, as they battled at close quarters, Addam could see that the Blue Queen was indeed without her rider. This had him slightly worried, for a riderless dragon was far wilder and willful than one with a rider.
Seasmoke was preparing to slash the Blue Queen's underbelly, left exposed as she turned, but was interrupted when a great roar of rage echoed across the burning fields below.
Turning, Addam saw that Vermithor, who was at least three times the size of Seasmoke, and was called the Bronze Fury for no small reason, had taken to the skys at last.
Addam watched in horror as the massive bronze dragon turned, not to fly up to where he and Seasmoke faced Tessarion, but to the north, towards the loyal men who had followed him into the battle. Addam knew that Vermithor would burn every single one of them, the men who had risked everything by following him, the bastard born heir of Driftmark, who the Queen had declared a turncloak, into battle.
"No," Addam said aloud, although he did not know to whom he spoke. "Today is not their time to die. It is mine,"
If this was to be his last battle, as the Green Men had told him, then he would do whatever was in his power to save the men he led.
'The Old, the True, the Brave' those were the words of House Velaryon. Addam Velaryon, born Addam of Hull, was not old, having passed his sixteenth nameday only moons before, but he would be true to the oaths he had given to the dead Prince, to the Queen who had named him a traitor, and, by both the Old Gods and the Seven, he would be brave.
"Ready, Seasmoke?" Addam called to his dragon.
Seasmoke snored in answer, sending a great cloud of steam into the air. It was all the answer Addam needed.
And so, with the wind whipping his silver hair and the words of his House on his lips, Ser Addam Velayron, rider of the dragon Seasmoke, older brother of Alyn Velayron, who would one day be known as Alyn Oakenfist, dove into the Bronze Fury and forced him to the muddy ground.
The Blue Queen soon joined the battle, but Addam lay broken on the muddy field, torn from Seasmoke's back when the dragon hit the ground, his body crushed under the weight of the two dragons. As his eyes darkened, Addam, the last dragonrider of House Velayron, knew that by sacrificing his own life and that of his dragon, he had proven to the known world that, despite his bastardy, he was loyal until the very last.