Rise of Silverpine – chapter 48
I do not own ASoIaF/GoT or Warcraft
It was a dark and grim morning in king's landing, with the sun barely making it through the cloud cover. The overnight rain had thankfully hidden the stench of the city, if only for now. Still, it would be a few hours before the midday heat returned the smell with a vengeance. People were mulling in the streets, their heads down, watching their steps, for while the air was cleaner it was the streets that had become muddy and treacherous. Naturally, despite the grim weather, happy children were splashing in the few cleaner puddles before their parents called upon them to do chores and work.
Above the city, the three proud hills were lightly shrouded in mist from the sea, the building there still visible, yet appearing mystical and far away to the average peasant, none more so than the red keep itself, its usual red coloring appearing dark with some likening it to rust and some yet to blood.
And up in those crimson towers, Tywin Lannister was surprisingly happy to be able to take a clean breath of air. It had been two days since his return and things were, to his great surprise, falling into just the right places. He had plenty of good news to discuss with his small council, news brough to him in the early morning hours as he was finishing his breakfast of cheese, sausage and mead. He was surprising himself with his increased consumption of non-watered down drinks, yet even as that though was running though his mind, he nevertheless took another sip.
'But it is not dwarven…I will have Baelish look into it' the mockingbird lord has complained about the Alliance having only tools of war to trade every time the two cross paths. Maybe this will shut him up, if only for a week.
As usually, he arrived early to the small council chambers, or rather the room within the tower of the hand that was used for such things. Taking a seat at the head of the table, he put a piece of paper on the side to his right, not bothering to put it with face down. Running over things in his head that were to be discussed, he nevertheless made a point to sternly look over every arrival within the chamber.
Waiting for several long tense moments to pass after the whole council was assembled, he began, holding up the piece of paper that he had set down previously:
"The princess has emerged, at long last." He said in something that a fool would mistake for a jolly voice before passing over the list to Varys, the eunuch sitting to his right.
"And her identity, and that of my son, have been confirmed by both prince Anduin and queen Arya."
"Tirisfal, my lord?" questioned Varys, as he passed the sheet of paper along.
"Yes, not a stone throw away from Bree, a day's ride away from the undead capitol. Discovered by the Stormwind army, no less." A visible release of breath can be seen from ser Barristan as Tywin finished.
"The king will be happy. It says her royal highness had indeed found that hammer. I remember the king boasting about her quest months ago." Said Bailish, having just finished reading the note, his usually sly smile on his features.
"Yes, of course." Returned Tywin with distinct disinterest.
"Now, the undead capitol is expected to fall within the week and finally the northern army can return to our shores." Said the old lion with such certainly, almost as if it had already transpired.
"Quite liberal of his grace to allow the northerners to finish their campaign aiding Silverpine before returning home." Idly comented Varys.
"Wrong it is!" exclaimed the senile grand maester. "Colluding with those pagans and monster. Before long we will begin seeing the flags of the wolf queens in the north!" he began to huff and puff
"And all this magic and…races… even here, at court! Surely they could have sent a single ambassador from the human kingdom."
"That will be enough." Interrupted Tywin, not bothering to look his way. "And you will keep your opinion to yourself." Before he can berate further the old man, a knock interrupted them. He was not wrong, but not all opinions should be voiced.
A young servant, his face filled with unease, quickly entered and bowed.
"If I may, my lords." Tywin gestured with his hand for him to continue. Straightening and swallowing, the servant said:
"They are here."
"Send them in." quickly exiting, from whence the servant disappeared, six figures entered the room.
Four were human, once could pass for a short one and one was most definitely…not.
The figure on the far right was easily identifiable, keeping his distance from the other five. A man of house Crakehall, if his clothes were any indication.
A red-headed human female clad in dark extremely revealing clothes, her thighs bare to the world, a strange shoulder armor with long black spikes and a black staff with a large red gem on top.
A second human clad in unassuming blue-tinted leather armor with a pair of daggers sheeted on his waist.
In the middle stood what can be nothing else but a dwarf with a massive bushy black beard and light blue tattoos across his face. He bore an armor made of metal, atleast across his shoulders and arms, with light-blue gems floating across the surface and a shield strapped on his back.
The final human was a middle-aged man going bald, his clothing more reminiscent to Silverpine and Gilneas rather than Stormwind, a boomstick on his back and a pair of pistols on his belt. A cylindrical hat rested beneath his left arm, the man having taken it off the moment he entered the room.
But it was the final figure that drew all the eyes and caused all the unease in the room.
A full head taller than anyone else in the room, with horns like a ram on her head, hoof on her legs and a long pale tail in between, stood a draenei female clad in dark-blue armor…adored in skull designs. She held a thin long sword, holding it in the sheath, grasping in just below the cross guard.
"You are from the guild Wicked Alliance?" questioned Tywin, breaking the silence, though it was more of a statement.
"Aye, milord." Said the dwarf, nodding
"Good. And your guild, you five included, are veterans of the war against the Lich king?"
"Yup!" jolly responded the dwarf.
"Now, have you heard of the long night?" asked Tywin. At their blank looks, the hand turned to the master of whispers.
"Lord Varys, if you will."
"The long night is a dark…legend of Westeros, an event eight thousand years ago when the sun did not rise for months, some say even years. Where it was so cold, people stood next to fires and still died from cold and creatures of nightmare roamed the land."
"They were, supposedly, eventually defeated and pushed north and a wall of ice and magic was build to keep them there."
"And this is where you enter." Interrupted Tywin, looking toward the six newcomers.
"Months ago, we received a raven from the lord commander of the nights' watch, the order manning the aforementioned wall, that a dead man had attacked him in chambers." At the word dead man, the draenei woman, previously completely uninterested in the conversation, looking out of the window, turned her head towards Tywin, her eyes with whisps of blue energy boring holes into the old lion.
"Undead?" she questioned, her quiet voice echoing across the room.
"So he claims. Your task is to head north and verify this and if possible, bring back proof. Ser Lyle Crakehall" Tywin gestured to the Westeros knight in the room "Will accompany you, as a representative of the crown."
"Well, a simple ol' fetch and escort quest. Shouldn't be too 'ard, aye lads?" laughed the dwarf. "All that is left is discussing the loot."
"Loot?" questioned Barristan, speaking up for the first time.
"Should you succeed, you will be richly rewarded." Stated Tywin.
"Apologies, milord, but this ain't how we operate. The price if pre-determined."
"Mercenaries …" mumbled the grand maester as he shook his head.
Narrowing his eyes, annoyed by both dwarf and maester, Tywin said:
"What would be a reasonable 'loot'?"
"Hmm, well! A fetch quest, plus supplies for about two months, possible undead."
"Cold weather." Spoke up the scantly-clad woman with the staff.
"If ye have a problem with a wee bit of cold wind, then maybe you should dress better, Ignatieva! Now, where was I…."
"About 500 gold pieces, per person, mind you."
"This is…acceptable." Said Tywin, drawing surprised looks from the rest of the council members.
"Good!" returned the dwarf, a big smile on his face. "Now all that is left are a few documents, you know, free passage, legal fees, funeral arra-"
"Funeral arrangements?" questioned Littlefinger
"Aye. There be this rumor that adventurers just come back to life if they die! Bollocks, that is!" exclaimed the dwarf.
"Do you have any questions?" questioned Tyiwn as a tense silence hung over the room and it was clear that the adventurers had something on their mind. It was finally the Draenei woman that spoke up.
"Leave to kill." An even more uncomfortable silence fell upon the council chambers.
"Leave To…kill?" question Barristan.
"Aye…it be standard. We regularly work in areas full of…neutrals, shall we say. Do we have yer leave to kill anyone whom gets in our ways?" asked the dwarf, letting out air he did not know he had been holding, before quickly adding.
"Obviously as long as it is necessary and they are not of Westeros." He finished, raising up his hands in a defensive gesture.
Tywin carefully looked over the group, mulling it over. They had come recommended from queen Sansa… Finally, taking a sip from his goblet before putting it down, in a completely even voice, he said:
"This mission is of utmost importance to the realm. Do what you must."
Never would have Jaime though he would be happy to see a Stark, and yet, here he was, genuinely smiling as the Silverpine army approached from the west.
The Lannister vague noted the banners of many of the northern houses, intermixed with the Stromgard and Silverpine banners, the colourful Westerosi coats of arms standing out as sore thumbs among the black and dark red of the two local kingdoms. Still, finally a semblance of familiarity of normality would resume. They were northerners, but Westerosi. Westerosi…but northerners.
His smile fell from his face. Was this the end? The end of their adventures? His and Myrcellas'? Ever since getting the hammer he knew that all they now had to do was get home, and seen an army from their homeland brough an uneasy feeling to him. In a few days at most, all these men would be going home. He had taken a look at the undead capitol, from afar, naturally, and he doubted that the ruin would hold out for long. Especially against the massive numbers that the Alliance was bringing to bear. Infact, the numbers were so large, that it was almost as if the Alliance was making a statement. He was reasonably sure that any of the four armies, the Westerosi included, would be able to take the ruin. He was never in an actual full-scale battle, but he was tutored nonetheless.
He vaguely noted a second northern host, barely a few thousand men marching from the south-east, flying the old Stark banners. When it had all cleared up in the camp, they were as befitting, given proper accommodations and filled in on what has happened. If he had to wager a guess, this second host was the Stark boy, having gotten stuck after an attempt at a surprise attack.
He turned back to the Stormwind camp and went to find Myrcella. If he had to guess, she was probably with the Stormwind price. Jaimes' impression of prince Anduin was…strange. He even wondered why he had an impression of the boy to begin with, for usually he would simply ignore anything not directly associated with him and paying attention to a price barely out of boyhood, half a world away, was strange.
Nevertheless, he found him to be a good boy, yet…soft. An idealist, advocating for peace despite living in a world basically running on war.
Before he could find his secret daughter, however, their guests arrived at camp. The massive wolf been ridden by the wild queen passed by him in a blur, but a second rider stopped and dismounted next to him.
"Ser Jaime." Called out Eddard.
"Lord Stark." He replied with a smile. "You almost missed the siege!" Jaime laughed.
"Then it is a good thing you are here, holding the line."
"Indeed, these blue lions would be lost without me." The laughter from Jaimes' face eased into a genuine smile.
"I am happy to see you, truly." Ned's stoic face cracked, raising an eyebrow at the statement.
"I heard about your…quest from my daughters. Did you find it?"
"Indeed, we did. We are Lannisters, after all."
"The princess is a Baratheon." Jaime froze stiff for barely a heartbeat.
"And her mother is a Lannister, thus she is. Besides, if we say she was a Baratheon, she was a Baratheon hunting for a hammer. Didn't old Robert fancy such a weapon?"
The Stark man frowned and said nothing for a long time.
"Will you be joining the battle?" he finally asked.
"I am afraid I have misplaced my armor. Also, I am preoccupied, guarding the princess. King's guard and all that." Jaime waved his hands, smiling.
"Of course." Unconvincingly nodded Eddard.
"Uncle! Uncle!" an excited girls' shout carried on from behind Jaime.
The Lannister man turned to greet his companion. Instead, he was frozen on the spot. Before him, slightly out of breath, stood Myrcella.
Myrcella, clad very distinctly into armor, minus a helmet, what can only be described as a small tiara on her head.
"What do you think? Anduin promised to find you one, too!" her excitement rang across the camp as Jaime was busy inventing new swear words directed at everything, from boy-princes, to gods and undead.
Apologies for the delay.
We are rapidly approaching the end and I really hope to be able to finish soon, in no small reason because I already have ideas/plotlines for the sequel. I also, going forward, want to include more game references, as in, guilds, loot, "adventurers" crazy armors and weapons popping up from nowhere, even crazier mounts, etc.
Thank you for reading.