Authors Note: Let's give this a whirl, shall we?

*Edited 11/22/16

It was difficult being the son of the most hated man in Westeros.

Aelor Targaryen had seen his fair share of death. He'd watched the executions of the Houses Darklyn and Hollard after the Defiance, a fifteen year old squire to Ser Barristan Selmy who'd been forced to stay behind while his mentor scaled the wall of Duskendale and rescued Aelor's father. He'd killed his first man, some hulking brute who smelled like a pig sty and fought like a boar, two years later during the waning hours of the Kingswood Brotherhood, and sent seven more men to their graves before the conflict was finished, earning his knighthood. And he'd seen men burned alive by his father for years now, more men and more situations than Aelor wished to recall. His father's nickname of the Mad King was well earned.

But the deaths of Rickard and Brandon Stark were…haunting. The smell of the Lord of the North's burning flesh still swirled in his nostrils, just as the sound of the man's son strangling himself as he tried to save his father still rang in his ears. Aelor was no stranger to nightmares, but he knew those deaths would haunt him until the day he died.

If they ever find Rhaegar, I'll kill him myself. There are worse things in life than being labeled a kinslayer.

"My Lord," came a deep, raspy voice in the hall behind him. Aelor didn't turn, his eyes finally seeing what he had been staring at since he'd stormed out of the throne room. King's Landing was breathtaking from this balcony at night, the stench of the city prevalent but easily ignored when one was gazing at the millions of lights down below. The sound of heavy footfalls drew nearer before stopping a few feet behind where Aelor leaned. "My…"

"I heard you the first time, Ren." Prince Aelor Targaryen sighed, running his hand through his short, silver hair. "There'll be hell to pay now." The second son of Aerys Targaryen, second of his name, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, turned to regard his best friend. Renfred Rykker, Lord of Hollard Hall, was a big man, six and a half feet tall and broad shouldered. His warhammer was strapped across his back, a permanent accessory to the man since he'd been big enough to wield it. Black haired and fully bearded, he struck an imposing figure.

Renfred came to lean next to his lifetime friend, arms folding across his chest. Aelor was himself big for a Targaryen, only an inch or two shorter than Rykker and nearly as broad shouldered. His silver hair and trimmed beard paired with his dark violet eyes and classic Targaryen beauty to strike an imposing figure in his own right. They'd both only seen twenty namedays, but each man felt in that moment a lifetime older.

Rykker spoke first. "The King has commanded Jon Arryn to surrender Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon to him."

Aelor shook his head. "He won't, and the Seven know I don't blame him for it."

Renfred raised an eyebrow. "Do you think he will call his banners in rebellion?"

The prince turned to meet his friend's eyes. "My father just burned the Lord Paramount of the North alive in his armor, while his heir strangled himself trying to save him. All of this after my brother, heir to the throne, disregards his wife and kidnaps the man's daughter, who just so happens to be the betrothed of Robert Baratheon, Lord Paramount of the Stormlands." Aelor snorted. "My family has done an excellent job of screwing things up. Yes, Jon Arryn will rebel, and the North and the Stormlands will join him."

Renfred nodded. "So it will be war, then. I don't see your father abdicating."

"My father hasn't done a sensible thing like that in years, old friend."

Rykker glanced around. "You know as well as I, Your Grace, the dangers of talking like that."

Aelor Targaryen laughed, gaining his feet from his leaning position. "Yes, the walls have ears as they say. It is true, I have no doubt. Even now you can hear the wings of Varys' little birds as they flap away to report on King Aerys' traitorous son. Let them. My father will need me now more than ever, and even his madness won't stop him from knowing it." Aelor raised his voice louder. "Ser Barristan!"

The knight stepped out from behind the pillar where he had been waiting, white enamel plate shining in the torchlight of the rather dark hall. "Yes Your Grace?"

Aelor walked towards his old mentor, strides long and confident, his well-muscled but lean body moving as smooth as a shadowcat. Renfred followed, his strides longer, heavier and not nearly as graceful. "We leave tonight."

"At this time of night, Your Grace?"

Aelor nodded, the Kingsguard knight and Lord of Hollard Hall falling into step on either side of him. "Yes. We all know how my father gets after displays like today. I have no intention of hearing my mother's wails for mercy ever again." Aelor's face was hard as stone. "When we reach Duskendale, send the ravens to my bannermen. We prepare for war."