Disclaimer: (1) I do not own Harry Potter or Game of Thrones. (2) This is a story about an unrepentant Death Eater running amok in Westeros. Bad things will happen.
Vincent Crabbe kept screaming for some time before he realized the pain of being burned alive had stopped. Rather than stand, the large wizard just laid on the ground, pressing his face and body against the wet grass. After a few minutes, he finally opened his eyes to see why grass was growing inside the Room of Requirements.
With a glance he knew why: this wasn't the Room of Requirements.
It was a forest. Well, a tiny forest surrounded by high red walls. That was odd, but so were a lot of other things. For example he was naked, and his robes and wand were gone. His body should have been covered with painful burns thanks to the Fiendfyre which escaped his control, but under the light of the full moon his skin seemed untouched.
While Vincent was carefully examining his fingers, two muggles wearing armor and carrying swords suddenly appeared at the gate in the wall that surrounded the tiny forest. Both began shouting gibberish at him in some foreign language. That shouting was just the start though, and soon they were kicking the shite out of him for no reason at all.
Normally the young wizard would have fought back, even without his wand, especially against muggles. Vincent was like that—he would fight with anyone at any time, because he thought fighting was great fun. But being burned alive by Fiendfyre… that experience had really screwed with his brain. You think you know how painful magical fire can be, but the reality is a thousand times worse.
So Vincent didn't put up a fight when the two muggles repeatedly kicked his naked body. Nor did he fight when they dragged him out of the tiny forest and into the red castle that surrounded it on all sides. The sight of a castle was kind of reassuring. It reminded him of Hogwarts, even though this place was clearly not Hogwarts. (It had the boring look of something built by the muggles.) The dark dungeon they tossed him into wasn't bad either, since he had lived in a dungeon for the past seven years. This shitehole was filthy and smelled foul, but at least it was safely underground.
Vincent laid there on the dirty floor for an hour or so. Then he got angry. Those kicks hurt. Maybe not as much as the Fiendfyre back in the Room of Requirement, but they still hurt. And he was naked. Vincent was a tad pudgy and he hated being naked, a personal weakness that made him even more angry.
With a great deal of effort the sore wizard got to his feet. There was another prisoner in the cell, but all he kept doing was spouting the same gibberish the others spoke. Vincent punched him in the jaw, and stripped the ragged clothes from his unconscious body. They were several sizes too small and covered with live insects, but it was still better than walking around naked.
The lock on the cell's wooden floor was made of cast iron. Luckily two strong hands and a pulse of not-so-accidental magic shattered it to pieces. Down at one end of the dungeon stood the two muggles, who were chatting away in gibberish. Vincent wanted to teach them a lesson, but those swords could kill a wizard without a wand. Instead he headed in the opposite direction. The door at the far end of the dungeon also had a lock, but again a mixture of strong hands and accidental magic shattered it.
Wandering through the dark tunnel he discovered was a breezy after seven years at Hogwarts. Experience taught that your eyes and hands weren't enough. You also had to use your ears and especially your nose. Different levels of a large castle have different smells, and even in this disgusting place Vincent could tell he was moving towards cleaner air.
After a few minutes the dark tunnel turned into a maze of hallways lit by burning torches. After his near-death experience even small fires made Vincent nervous, but he pressed on. Soon he found a narrow window. Outside was a huge city, but it looked nothing like the muggle cities he occasionally visited with his parents. This place reminded him of Hogsmeade, but on a much larger scale. Where in the name of Merlin's sweaty balls was he? And how did he get here? And who healed all his painful burns?
Answers to those questions would have to wait, unless he wanted to get tossed back in that dungeon. That wasn't going to happen, so Vincent set off down another hallway. He had to escape the red castle before sunrise brought out more armored muggles with more swords.
The next hallway brought a shock that made him forget about escaping for a moment. Just sitting there in the middle of a storeroom was the massive black skull of a dragon. The beast must have been twice the size of a Hungarian Horntail that almost ate Potter during the Triwizard Tournament.
And it seemed to be humming with magic, even though it had been dead for at least a decade. Vincent was drawn to it. Before he could stop himself, he found his hands running over the smooth black bone. It felt good. It felt like being back at Hogwarts.
Of course another one of those muggles had to ruin it for him. Just hearing that stupid gibberish again made Vincent's blood boil. Without thinking he yanked a slightly-curved fragment of the dragon's eye socket away from the rest of the skull. It was about ten inches long, and it felt warm in his hand.
The dim storeroom was instantly filled with green light and a terrifying gust of wind. The muggle with the sword was dead on his feet for a full second before finally dropping to the floor in a lifeless heap.
Vincent stared down at the fragment of black bone in his hand. He had cast the Killing Curse many times before, but his old wand had always been a temperamental bastard. But this thing… this thing reminded him of the old tales about the Elder Wand. A great wand that could produce great magic, even for a lesser wizard like him. That's what the old tales said. Maybe they were true after all.
Escaping from the red castle was easy once he put on that tight suit of armor. It also made wandering the streets of the city below easy too. None of these peasants wanted to look a soldier in the eye, much less talk to one. Finding his next victim was a bit harder, since most of the muggles he saw were short and skinny. Around noon Vincent finally found his twin wandering along a busy street in the middle of the sprawling city. After a quick trip into a nearby alley, he had a decent pair of leather boots to go with his new woolen clothes.
The big dead muggle even had a purse full of gold coins strapped to his leather belt, but they weren't Galleons from Gringotts. Instead they were engraved with a crude three-headed dragon on one side, and a bearded bloke on the other. Hopefully these funny coins would be enough for a good meal. Vincent backtracked eight blocks though the shite-covered streets of the city. The pub he had passed earlier in the day looked respectable enough, but the proof of the pudding is always in the tasting.
Inside was a sizable crowd, which is usually a good sign. Vincent sat down at an empty table in the back, and was soon approached by a slim serving wench with light brown hair. She was missing three teeth and her blue eyes were crossed, but if she wanted a shag he wouldn't say no.
Then came the gibberish. This would be the real test of his new wand.
"... a nice venison stew with cabbage and onions. Or how about fried fish served on warm barley bread?"
By Merlin's dangling dingleberries, it worked! During his last trip to Russia he must have tried casting the Translation Charm with his old wand a hundred times, but it never worked. Now this.
"What do you have to drink?" Vincent asked.
"Sweet wine, nettle tea, beer, apple cider, some fine mead."
Good. The charm was omnidirectional. Even Draco had trouble with that.
"I want the venison stew and an unopened bottle of wine."
He threw a gold coin on the table, which earned him a big smile from the serving wench. (Who was missing five teeth, not three.) So, prices were reasonable here. That was a relief. As he waited for the stew, Vincent began eavesdropping on his fellow customers with the skill that would have made that hag Rita Skeeter jealous.
All anyone could talk about was the "Rebellion" by the "Squids", whoever they were. Apparently "King Robert" had set sail with his fleet of war galleys just yesterday. The muggles seemed very nervous. The "Squids" had a fleet of their own—and a reputation as great sailors.
The stew was bland, but Vincent was hungry. He was also confused. This wasn't the world he grew up in. No, this was the past. The distant past. A thousand years at least, he figured. A wizard could travel back in time using a Time-Turner, but only for a few hours. The magic used to bring him here to "King's Landing" was far more powerful. Had his foolish attempt to kill Potter and his friends brought the Dark Lord's vengeance down on his head?
Vincent's musing were cut short when he took his first drink from the bottle of wine. "What the hell do you put in this stuff? Is that tree sap?"
The serving wench closest to him back away in fear, while the other one ran towards the kitchen. Twenty seconds later a terrified cook was standing in front of his table. "Is there something wrong, my Lord?"
"Yes, there is. Why does my bloody wine taste like tree sap?"
The cook looked down at feet, and you could see the sweat pouring down the sides of his bald head. "My Lord, most wines are cut with a small amount of resin. It helps prevent spoilage during long sea voyages."
The explanation sounded reasonable coming from a primitive muggle. "I guess it's not your fault. What else do you have to drink?" His question sent the two serving wenches scurrying, and soon his table was littered with several pewter cups and ceramic mugs.
The nettle tea (served without cream or sugar) was a crime against nature.
The beer was full of grit and barely had any alcohol in it.
The apple cider was sour enough to pucker your sphincter.
Technically the cup of mead wasn't bad, but Vincent had always hated the taste of honey. Well, in truth he hated bees. A nasty encounter with a hive can have that effect, even on a wizard.
"Do you have any Firewhiskey?"
The muggle cook started sweating again. "My Lord, I apologize. But I've never heard of this "Firewhiskey" before. What is it?"
"It's like wine, but with more of a kick. Do you know what I mean?"
"Well, we do have fortified wine. But it's rare and expensive."
"And I'm sure it tastes like tree sap. Never mind. Let's talk about your dessert menu. What would you recommend?"
The conversation that followed upset Vincent even more than the beverage situation. Sugar was in short supply this far north, which meant candy was almost unheard of. Sure they had sweet cakes and fruit tarts, but no real candy. This was a problem. Candy was the central preoccupation of his life. Sure, the Dark Arts were fun. And witches could be great, as long as they didn't talk too much. But candy… at the end of a bad Transfiguration class you could always rely on a Chocolate Frog to put a smile on your face.
While Vincent tried—and failed—to imagine a life without Chocolate Frogs, the cook began fidgeting. His eyes kept darting over to the four large muggles who just walked into the pub. The newcomers were pushy, and for some reason they kept looking down at everyone's feet.
"Who are those louts?" Vincent asked as he fondled his new wand under the table. There was definitely a new hint of violence in the air.
"Those four are sworn men in Little Otto's Troop. Begging your pardon, your Lordship, but even you would be wise to step lightly around them. They're the top dogs in this part of King's Landing."
"Are they wizards?"
The cook let out a nervous laugh. "By the Seven, no. You might be able to find a few wizards or warlocks across the Narrow Sea in Essos, but there certainly none here in Westeros these days."
"No wizards? But you have dragons. They're even on your coins."
"Dragons use to exist, my Lord, but I think the last one died a hundred and fifty years ago during one of those Targaryen civil wars."
"Are you sure there aren't any wizards or witches around here?"
"The Pyromancers claim they can use magic, but everyone knows they're just frauds. The King hates them all, and with good reason. The crazy fools almost burned King's Landing to the ground when the Lannisters sacked the city back during Robert's Rebellion."
Is this really a land without wizards and witches? Vincent wondered.
The existence of dragons was well-known to these muggles, so the International Statute of Secrecy hadn't been enacted yet this far in the past. Were his fellow wizards and witches hiding behind wards? No, that didn't make any sense. Why would they hide if they didn't legally have to?
"Hey, what are you two talking about back here?" one of the muggle louts asked as he approached their table. "I want an answer, and I want to see your boots while you're at it."
Suddenly everything became crystal clear to Vincent as he stared at the stupid lout. He had traveled through time. But even thinking about the magic of temporal mechanics made his brain hurt, so there was no realistic way he could send himself back to the future. That meant he was stuck here in the past forever. And the past sucked: everything smelled, and crappy food alone might drive him to suicide.
On the other hand he now had a great wand, and there didn't seem to be much in the way of magical or muggle competition. (No guns or cannons this far back in time, thank Merlin.) Who knows, maybe King's Landing could use the services of a real wizard. Or maybe even a Dark Lord.
Vincent smiled and put his stolen boots up on the table for everyone to see. "Are you looking for these?"
"You bastard!" the first lout shouted as he pulled out a dagger with a serrated edge. "You killed Little Otto and stripped him naked!"
Vincent's father was a true Death Eater, and he had taught his son how to fight muggles. Surprise and ruthlessness were the keys to victory. To that end he covering his eyes with his left arm before casting a Thunder and Lightening Hex with his wand. The deafening bang and blinding light caught everyone in the pub off guard, and left them disoriented for a few seconds.
And a few seconds was all Vincent needed. He broke the arm of the first lout, which caused his dagger to fall.
The second lout died when that dagger flew across the room and came to a stop deep inside the muggle's left eye.
Vincent tossed a nearby chair at the third lout. In midair the chair's speed increased rapidly, and crushed nearly half the bones in muggle's body.
The fourth lout died in a freak accident when the chain holding the pub's iron chandelier to the ceiling snapped. The impact cracked his skull open.
With all that taken care of, Vincent turned his attention back to the first lout, who was cradling his broken arm and trying not to cry. "Who's in charge of your Troop now that Little Otto is dead? Give me an answer, useless you want that other arm broken."
"Soren is running things at the moment," he whimpered.
"Tell Soren I want to talk to him. And if I have to go out and find him myself, his death will be long and painful. Got it?"
That sent the lout running out the pub, and the rest of the customers were only a few steps behind him. Meanwhile the muggle cook was still standing in the same spot. He looked terrified, even more so than before. "Tell me about Little Otto's Troop. What do they control in this part of the city?" Vincent asked as reluctantly took a drink of mead.
"Officially, the Troop doesn't control anything. Unofficially..."
"Let me guess: you offer them a pile of gold coins every week, and in return they agree not to burn your pub to the ground for the next seven days? They also protect you from outsiders. Does it go something like that?" Vincent asked. These kind of "protection rackets" were common in Knockturn Alley and the seedier streets of Hogsmeade.
"Yes, my Lord. That's generally how it works," the cook replied. "You know that the rest of the Troop will come here and kill us, don't you?"
"What about whores and gambling?"
"The brothels have their own armed guards, so they're left alone for the most part. There are many floating dice games on the back streets, but they're profitable only for the winners."
"Amateurs," Vincent muttered.
"What should we do with these three bodies?"
"Who enforces the law here in King's Landing?"
"The Gold Cloaks, but they focus most of their attention on the Red Keep and the main gates. We rarely see them this far from the city walls, and that's doubly true since the start of the Squid's Rebellion."
"Fine, then we leave the bodies where they are for now. They'll serve as a good lesson. By the way, what's your name?"
"Rafe," the cook said. "Didn't you did hear me? They're going to kill us."
"Trust me, we'll be fine. Now go find me something sweet back in the kitchen. And make sure it doesn't taste like honey."
By the time he finished his apple tart, Little Otto's Troop had arrived en masse at the pub. For a second Vincent wondered if he could kill all of them if things went pear-shape in the next few minutes.
Yes, he could.
"Which one of you is Soren?"
The muggle that stepped forward was tall and ugly and had thick shoulders. Luckily they weren't as thick as Vincent's shoulders. Physical intimidation was critical to good leadership, which is why the muggle looked so unsure of himself as he stepped forward to face a larger man.
"I'm Soren. Who in the Seven Hells are..."
Vincent leaned back in his chair and used a dirty napkin to wipe the brown apple syrup from his chin. "You're going to threaten me, but that would be a waste of time. You know why? Because I'm the one who killed Little Otto and these other three, and I could easily could kill the rest of you. That means from now on I'm in charge of this gang. It won't be bad. I only have three rules for you to follow. One: carry out my orders, and you will become rich and powerful. Two: fail to carry out my orders and you will die like Little Otto. Three: whenever you find a bag of sugar, steal it as soon as possible and bring it back to me."
A few of the muggles laughed, but not many. Vincent was following the methods the Dark Lord used back during his first rise to power. His father told him it was a time-tested formula: excessive violence + excessive confidence = obedience. Sure a few brave souls would fight back, but the majority would quickly fall in line with the new order.
Soren was one of those brave souls, and he began to bluster like a hopeless Gryffindor. Vincent responded by unleashing the transfigured brown bear he had hidden under a transfigured canvas tarp. Being killed by another human being was something most could accept. Being mauled to death by a wild animal was horrifying on a primal level, like something out of a nightmare. That's why it was such a good tactic to use on your enemies. Both Soren and the brown bear were soon dead (the muggle put up a decent fight), but Vincent's point had been made without even standing up.
"Does anyone else want to die?" His question was met with a long silence as they all stared at Soren mangled corpse. The were probably wondering where he got a live bear, and how he got it to attack a specific person on command. "That's what I thought. Now which rival gang here in King's Landing did Little Otto fear the most?"
"The Stranger's Servants," one of his new minions offered. "They control the area of the city around the Dragonpit. Their leader is Kross. He's the scariest… I mean the second scariest man I've ever met."
"Alright, this is what I want done: search the city and find out exactly where Kross will be tonight."
"Why?" another of his minions asked.
"Because I'm going to kill him." Eliminating a powerful and hated rival would quickly cement his position as their new leader. It was another important lesson from the Dark Lord's early days.
"You mean Little Otto's Troop is going to take over the Dragonpit?"
Vincent wanted to use the Cruciatus Curse in the worst way, but he needed to keep his magic abilities—or at least most of them—hidden for now. "Listen to me carefully: we are no longer Little Otto's Troop. From now on we are Lord Crabbe's Bludgers. Got it? Now, what do you do with dead bodies once you've stripped them of their valuables?"
"After sundown we put them in covered wagons, and then we toss them in the Blackwater Bay during the witching hour. In return for a small bribe the Gold Cloaks at the Iron Gate are happy to look the other way, and the eels take care of the evidence."
Vincent finally got to his feet, and his new Bludgers to backed away in fear. It was a satisfying sight. "Fine, then clean up this bloody mess. I'm going to take a nap. Knock on my door when you find out where Kross is hiding."
Of course when he said "take a nap", that he really meant was bedding a lusty serving wench. Vincent thought it would be an easy proposition this far back in the past.
It was not.
"Why don't you show me your bedroom upstairs?" he casually asked the one with light brown hair.
Her name was Heather, and she was Rafe's sister-in-law. The bald cook was married to the less attractive serving wench, Hilda, who was Heather's older sister. While both Rafe and Hilda were clearly frightened by his violent outbursts, Heather seemed more... intrigued. Plus she was under the impression that he was a rich Lord, which always helped matters.
"Why don't you give me another gold coin, and I might think about it."
Negotiating a price. That was another skill his father had taught him.
Things progressed slowly over the next hour until Heather finally disrobed up in her tiny bedroom over the pub. Her slim but hairy body didn't bother Vincent. Her very prominent red sores and rashes did.
"You have the Curse of Morgan le Fay upon your quim!" he shrieked
Heather rolled her eyes. "And so do half the other women in King's Landing, although I've never hear it called that name before. Do you want to start now, or is your Lordship too good for the likes of me? Because if that's the case, you aren't getting your gold coins back."
Vincent was torn. The start move would have been to walk out the door. Unfortunately he was horny, so he didn't make the start move. "Get up on the bed. Close your eyes and keep them closed.
"Very well, your Lordship," she smirked.
He took out his new dragon bone wand and cast the special healing charm Headmaster Snape taught every first year Slytherin. In a matter of seconds the numerous red sores and rashes on her groin began to fade away, leaving behind only pale hairy skin.
"What in the names of the Seven are you doing down there?"
"Open your eyes and take a look," he told her in a smug tone.
Heather's self-examination was lengthy and thorough, a sight which made poor Vincent even more horny.
"Are you a warlock from the east?" she finally whispered.
"In my distant homeland we call ourselves wizards and witches."
"Can you raise the dead?"
"No. My spells can fix many problems, but death isn't one of them."
"Can you show me more of your wondrous magic?"
Again, the smart move would have been to walk out the door. Unfortunately Heather was naked and awe in her voice was making him incredibly horny. He should have tried bedding a muggle girl before. They were easy to impress.
"Close your eyes again. Then open your mouth wide, and keep it open."
It took a few minutes of intense concentration, but when he was finished the girl had her five missing teeth back. He also removed the cavities and yellow tartar from her older teeth. He figured if you were going to do something like this for a person, you might as well Exceed Expectations.
Heather couldn't believe what her tongue and ten fingers were telling her, so she got out of the bed (her pert arse was a sight to behold) and checked her reflection in the bedroom's small window.
That's when she decided to ravished him.
Vincent had never been ravished before. He was strictly a "sixty seconds worth of the missionary position" kind of wizard. Heather even smiled down at him as she galloped away. No girl had smiled at him before. Not ever. And afterwards she wanted to stay in bed and cuddle. This was all uncharted territory for the confused teenager.
Heather couldn't stop running her tongue over her new teeth, an act that he found fascinating for some reason. "Lord Crabbe, could you heal my sister Hilda and other women as you healed me?"
Now that Vincent's brain was temporally clear of raging hormones, he gave the matter some thought before replying. "I suppose so, but Hilda is my last charity case. The others would have to be rich. Very rich. Or at least very beautiful. Do you know the kind of women I'm talking about?"
"The courtesans at the better brothels. The wives of the great merchants. The more adventurous and high-ranking Septas. And of course the ladies at the Red Keep. Those sad women need your help most of all."
He looked down at Heather. Her blue eyes were still crossed, but that just made her face more interesting. "I could use a secretary. Someone to seek out these rich women. You would explain how I could help them, and how much that help would cost. Up front and in gold, of course. You would also have to arrange all the appointments."
"Would I get a cut of the action?"
"A five percent commission sounds reasonable, but only if you keep things quiet. The less attention I get, the better I like it. Do we have a deal?"
She responded by ravishing him again.
In truth the Battle of the Dragonpit—as it was later called by the proud Bludgers—wasn't much of a battle. Vincent first saw his target Kross at a distance. The leader of the Stranger's Servants was tall and lean, but clearly not a weakling. He only met the Dark Lord in person a few times, but this muggle had the same aura of cold violence surrounding him.
Vincent wasn't afraid per se, but he wasn't eager to take any chances either. That's why he cast a Disillusionment Charm on his body, and went in alone without the any of the Bludgers.
The Dragonpit itself—where Kross was having a meeting with his top lieutenants—was a revelation.
A terrible revelation.
Vincent had visited the famous Dragon Preserve in Romania, and he was expecting something similar inside the huge ruined dome. What he found instead were rusted chains and cramped prison cells where the muggles must have tortured the miserable dragons for years on end. There was an echo of magic clinging to the old stone walls, and Vincent was sure that its source was the blood of the countless dragons murdered there.
That sad echo of magic brought a tear to his eye.
That single tear filled him with rage.
These primitive muggles saw dragons as nothing more than beasts of burden. To actually fly on the back of a dragon, and to force it to take part in their silly muggle wars… it was a crime against magic itself.
Vincent silently marched towards the Stranger's Servants and began slaughtering them. The Killing Curse was too good for Kross and his men. No, the curses he used that night were the darkest of the Dark Arts. Blood was slowly boiled and entrails were violently ruptured. The muggle's screams were loud enough to escape the highest point of the ruined dome. It was a fitting lament for those lost dragons.
Those screams also caught the attention the rest of the Stranger's Servants. The guards posted outside soon rushed in to help their leader. What they found instead was Vincent. He was surrounded by dead bodies and drenched in warm blood.
"My name is Lord Crabbe, and I am looking for recruits."
As before a few brave souls rejected his offer. They died quickly. A few others ran, but the bulk of the Stranger's Servants would join Lord Crabbe's Bludgers in hours that followed. It was a productive night's work.
After killing two of the worst criminals in the city in less than ten hours, Vincent decided he needed to lay low for a few days. He wanted to see how the other gang leaders were going to react to his opening moves. He was also curious so see if the Gold Cloaks would continue to ignore him. With the Squid's Rebellion in full swing, they seemed more concerned with guarding the walls of King's Landing than what was happening inside the city itself. But he wasn't sure how long that state of affairs would last.
Vincent kept himself busy by fortifying the Dragonpit, both physically and magically. There was just enough ambient magic in the old building to support some minor wards. These mostly reinforced the walls, but he also slipped in a tiny ward to repel mosquitoes and flies. The lack of insects and cool breezes (the Dragonpit sat high on a hill with a clear view of the Blackwater Bay) made the place almost bearable.
The Bludgers were not idle either. In addition to consolidating their new territory, Vincent also had them out hunting for certain supplies.
"I can understand why you want us to steal sugar since it's so pricey, but what do you need all these copper sheets for?" Bronn asked. "And beets? Who eats beets, besides starving farmers in the dead of winter?"
Vincent had quickly identified the wolfish swordsman as one of his most promising minions. Bronn was around Vincent's age, so he had no problem taking orders from a young man. He was also a cunning and ruthless killer with great ambitions. In a better time with better blood, he would have been sorted into Slytherin for sure.
"We need the copper for my new stills. We're going to be making Firewhiskey, brandy, cheap moonshine, and maybe rum if…"
"I had some black tar rum once on a sailing ship off the coast of Dorne," Bronn offered. "It tasted like watery shite."
"Everything you primitives drink tastes like watery shite," Vincent snapped. "You have no idea how to properly brew anything. I even found a few pots of Greek Fire down in the basement of the Dragonpit, and the recipe they used to make the stuff is all wrong."
"What's Greek Fire?"
"It's a thick potion that burns for a long time when you light it on fire. It's also hard to put out. It's a lot of fun to play with, actually. Or it used to be."
"Are you talking about wildfire?" Bronn asked.
"Is that what you call it here in Westeros?"
"Aye. Listen, if you know how to make proper wildfire, you should go and have a chat with the Pyromancers."
"I thought they were unpopular with King Robert and his court."
"They are," Bronn admitted. "But their Alchemists' Guild is old and still very rich. They could also provide you with lots of skilled hands. I doubt if many of the Bludgers can make a decent breakfast, let alone something complex and dangerous as wildfire."
"I will think about it once things have calmed down a bit," Vincent said. Secretly he was pleased to have such a clever minion, especially one who couldn't use a wand. "Have we heard anything from the other gangs? Is anyone planning on attacking the Dragonpit yet?"
"No, you have most of them too unsettled for now. In fact a few gangs from Flea Bottom have already approached us, asking to join the Bludgers."
"Isn't Flea Bottom the worst slum in this entire city?"
"True, but think about it: they might not have much gold to offer, but they do have plenty of strong backs you could put to use."
"Send word to their leaders that I want a meeting with them this afternoon. And make sure they don't get here until after my nap is over."
"Isn't it hard to take a nap when you're sharing a bed with two or three ladies at once?" Bronn asked in all seriousness.
Vincent's new secretary Heather had already procured a steady stream of rich women in need of his unique healing spells. In addition to the large bags of gold coins they brought with them, a surprising number also wanted to thank him with a shag. He didn't insist on it, but he didn't say no either. Some days it was great to be the only wizard in a city full of muggles.
"My new lady friends go away happy, don't they?"
"I suppose so, as hard as that is to believe. Now about those beets…"
"We need as many as the Bludgers can find. It fact they should start getting in touch with farmers out in the countryside. We're going to need a large and steady supply of the highest quality beets they can produce."
"Aye, but what are they for?" Bronn asked.
"That's impossible. You can't make sugar out of beets."
"You can't, but I can," Vincent explained. "I admit that sugarcane is easier to work with, but the climate around King's Landing doesn't support sugarcane. The plant only grows in the tropics." He paused a moment to silently thank Professor Sprout for her great skill as a teacher. "Fortunately you can grow beets here in Westeros. If I want a large amount of sugar in a reasonable amount of time, that's what I'm going to have to use. That reminds me, we'll need a lot of crushed limestone to make the milk of lime. Or maybe we can just use crushed seashells, since we're so close to the beach."
Now Bronn looked annoyed. "Seashells? You're no smarter than me, so how can you know all these secrets at your age? Did you study at the Citadel when you were a boy?"
"No, I didn't not study at your pathetic Citadel. I went to greatest school in the world for seven years, and I was taught by geniuses," Vincent said, and he meant it. From his perspective all the professors at Hogwarts had been geniuses—even Trelawny and Hagrid. "And a word of advice: in future mind your tongue. Among the things I learned at school was the secret of ultimate pain. How would you like a taste of that?"
"I'd rather not, Lord Crabbe, if it's all the same to you."
After dismissing his minion with a gesture, the wizard began reminiscing about the many long hours he use to spend at Honeydukes. Old Ambrosius love to talk about the process of making candy, and Vincent had started writing down all the recipes he could remember. If the incompetent cooks of King's Landing couldn't satisfy his sweet tooth, then he would just have to take matters into his own hands.