1st Month of 298 A.C. King's Landing
Lord Jon Arryn
It had been four years since he had accepted the Lord Regent's offer to become Hand of the King. Four years in which much and more had changed. The Lord Regent was a clever man, that much Jon had known before, he knew how to manoeuvre people, knew how to get them to do what he wanted them to do. In a sense, that was why they had worked so well, the regent was smart man, but there were certain things he lacked, certain qualities that were missing from his repertoire, that Jon had, and so they worked together, worked to keep things going, to keep the peace as it were. Of course as Hand of the King, Jon had been able to gather some appointments and rewards for his own family, and those who were loyal to him, and as such it had been good to know that there were members of the Vale in high ranking positions at court and within the King's household, all of that was reassuring to him, and gave him confidence. For he was getting old, and he was not sure how much longer he had left, he wanted to make sure that everything was in place for when Jasper became Lord of the Vale.
Jasper, his firstborn son, his heir, with auburn hair and Tully blue eyes, his son was everything a man could hope for in an heir. Smart, capable and martial, the boy reminded Jon of his brother Ronnel when Ronnel had been that age, thankfully, Jasper did not have the temper that Ronnel had had, and he seemed to be much more thoughtful. Jon hoped that his son would be able to face the difficulties that were going to come his way very soon, and he hoped that his friendship with the boy King would spare him any of the fall out that was to come very soon. He was sure it would, but regardless, he was determined to make sure that such a thing was ensured.
Regardless, such a thing would need to wait for the end of this council meeting. The Lord Regent had called for this meeting, to discuss the preparations for the King's coronation, the King who was currently travelling through the crownlands, would be back before the moon ended, just in time for the coronation. Jon spoke first, as was his duty. "My lords, my lady," he says acknowledging Lady Ellaria's presence on the small council as mistress of whispers. "Very soon we shall be hosting many men and women, lords and ladies, and many others, as the King's coronation takes place. I am sure we are all looking forward to it, and seeing that the King has grown into a fine young man, I think that we can be sure that the ceremony shall go off without a problem." He stops then nodding to the Lord Regent.
As always, the Lord Regent takes the thread of the conversation from him. "Thank you my lord Hand. Yes, as Lord Arryn said, the coronation ceremony is fast approaching. An event that is long overdue, and one that shall I am sure be an event that our children and their children will be speaking about for years to come." there is a hearty laugh at that, something that makes Jon slightly sick. The regent continues. "On that note, Lord Wyman, how are the books looking? Are we going to be within budget?"
Lord Wyman Manderly, Master of Coin, a fat man, but a clever one and part of the reason the regent has been able to maintain his hold over the kingdoms and the court for as long as he has, takes a moment and then speaks. "Yes my lord regent. It would appear that as of today, we are on track to remain within our means. So far one million dragons have been spent on ensuring that all the festivities for the people and the lords and ladies are done as requested. The inns and the manors have all been seen to as well, ensuring that they are inhabitable for the lords and ladies and their families. There does not seem to be any issue."
Jon sees the Lord Regent nod satisfied, as he does that, Jon briefly wonders whether or not Ned will be coming south for his nephew's coronation. He is not sure how to feel about that, he has not seen Ned since that trial by combat where Robert was slain all those years ago. It is a strange thought that, and one he tries desperately to push down. He focuses as the Lord Regent speaks once more. "Very good, the more fun the people have, the more this ceremony will be good for our city. Now, Lord Staunton, what word is there from the city watch? How are things looking with regards to the Faith and those poor fellows?"
Jon listens intently then, the poor fellows had emerged from somewhere quite recently, blabbing on about how the Seven were going to return for the end of the days, and how they would appear soon enough. That was something Jon had found hilarious, but he listened intently all the same, as Lord Staunton speaks. "Ser Jacelyn has told me that the City Watch are more than prepared for whatever trouble the Poor Fellows might try and bring about during the King's coronation, my Lord Regent. As for other news, I have ensured that the City Watch is more than prepared for any unruliness that might come forth from the coronation ceremony."
The Lord Regent nods. "Very good."
Jon decides to speak then; to voice a concern he has harboured for some time. "My lords, my lady, there is one small issue that I have with everything." He pauses, allowing for his fellow council members to look at him then. He takes a breath then continues. "The Tyrells have not yet responded to how many members of their family will be attending, and considering the trouble that there was between some of the Stormlords and some of their family recently, I am not sure whether they should be concerned or not."
"Lord Renly has assured me that there will be no trouble from either side." The Lord Regent says dismissively, causing Jon to feel some of the old anger toward the old man flare up once more.
Jon keeps silent though, for the Lord Regent seems determined to move things onward. "Lady Ellaria, what word do you have for us from across the sea?"
Lady Ellaria Sand, paramour of Prince Oberyn Martell, Mistress of Whispers, and a fierce woman in her own right, is silent for a moment before replying. "From what my sources have told me, the Red King is growing ever powerful. It seems as though his ploys from years past have worked, the slaves of Slaver's Bay have finally revolted, and have recognised him as their King. It appears, that the man is now planning to move on some of the other cities."
"Has he managed to bring all of Slaver's Bay under his control?" Jon finds himself asking.
Lady Ellaria fixes him with a calculating gaze, before replying. "Almost all of it. There are segments that are resisting, but they are few in number. It helps, when he is able to bring fire to life and make the common man think that he is a God."
Jon shifts slightly. "I am sure that someone in Essos will find a way to remove him from power. They cannot all be thinking that having someone such as him growing in power is a good thing."
Lady Ellaria responds her voice calm. "It would seem that you are wrong my Lord Hand. Many of the Free Cities are happy to allow his power to spread, regardless of what it does to their economies. Mainly due to the fact that there are several members of the Red Faith influencing the rulers of those cities. The only city that seems impervious to his pull is Braavos, and even then that seems temporary."
The Lord Regent perks up at that. "Braavos is against him? I would have thought they would be in favour of the man, considering they are against slavery."
Lady Ellaria chuckles slightly. "The Red Faith, is just another form of slavery my Lord Regent. It simply removes one thing with another. A chain of bondage if you will, and one that might never be removed, unless with force."
Allowing his curiosity to get the better, Jon finds himself asking. "Do you think then, that there might be a possibility that the man would look toward coming westward then?"
"Almost without a doubt. The man has no limit to his ambition from what my sources have been able to tell me, and as such I believe there is nothing he would like more than to conquer Westeros and finish what his predecessor started." Lady Ellaria responds.
Silence falls over them for a brief moment as they all consider this, eventually, the silence is broken by the Lord Regent, as Jon had expected. "Lord Monford, I want you to keep the fleet prowling the waters, I want to be doubly sure that nothing gets passed us, and into the Kingdom. We cannot afford such a thing, not with the coronation coming so soon."
Jon sees the master of ships nod his head. "Of course my Lord Regent, I shall make sure my best men are on duty during this time."
A brief silence then. "Very well, unless there is anything more that needs to be discussed, this meeting is at an end."
Jon stands alongside the others and watches as the Lord Regent walks out of the council chamber, accompanied by a member of the Kingsguard, once he has gone, Jon waits a moment and then walks out, making his way back to the Tower of the Hand. As he walks, he takes a moment to consider all that he has learned in this meeting today, the growing power of the Red King in Essos is deeply concerning, and some of the rumours he has heard about what Prince Viserys has been doing during his travels, are more than enough reason to breed some small amount of concern. He finds himself wondering if he might be able to use that after all is said and done, and perhaps get his chance at revenge. He opens the door to the Tower, and walks up the stairs that lead to the main rooms in the tower. As he walks, he hears his wife singing some sort of song to one of their children, Robert most likely, that boy is far too soft for his own good, but Jon does not have the heart to take him away from his mother. He still remembers the shouting they had done when he had sent Jasper off to the Vale a year ago. Still, if the boy comes back with sense in his head, it will only be a good thing.
He gets to his solar, and is relieved to see that Selwyn has already placed a cup of wine on the table for him. He will need this cup of wine when the time comes for speaking with Baelish, the man who has proven to be a valuable ally during his time here. He sits down at his table, reads through some of the correspondence that has come from the Vale, mainly reports of harvests and the profit being made from trade, things he has seen before, but are reassuring in these times. The first sign he gets of there being something not quite right, is when he has to blink twice to read one of the words on the letter from Runestone, he looks at it, and then he cannot see it properly, he looks at it again, and then his heart shudders. He shivers, cold all of a sudden, he tries to call out, but his voice is hoarse, that surprises him, and as he tries to move, he falls down, his head hits the table, and the world disappears.