Aaaaaand here we are. Apologies for how long this took, as well as for the shorter than usual length (not even 7k words) Fortunately more is coming soon if everything goes to plan.
I'd put in a disclaimer too, but my friends Avery_Fontaine and KadenIV on AO3 killed it when I took too long with writing this update, blame them, not me.
Bilrogg Magnar ascended the nearest hill, his leather satchel on his back. He was hunting. On the island of Skagos, men had to hunt for their own food, lest they be weak and be eaten by another. He knew he shouldn't have been alone, but he was a son of House Magnar, one of the few noble houses of the island. His brother warned him not to stray and stay near the caves, lest the great beast take him, but it had not been seen in over a moon, and was likely hibernating near the cliffs. Besides, his family had to be stronger and braver than all others to keep their name on such a harsh land. He needed to hunt.
The other houses on the mainland called them backwards, half-men, wildlings, but Bilrogg knew they were only jealous. The Starks claimed them vassals but no Lord of the island would ever pay taxes, give his daughter in marriage or attend any call to war. A Skagosi chose his own fate. While many others died without the protection of a great master such as the Starks, House Magnar did better without them.
Every raider that came near Skagos, whether it be the ironmen, pirates or slavers, all died at their rocky shores, or their men were cut by their obsidian blades and their women taken as prizes. If the great beast didn't take them first.
They were the truest of the First Men, except for the so-called Free Folk. The Children of the Forest gave them all they needed to survive the harsh island.
Traders from the Summer Islands, those mudd-skinned silk-wearers, would soon arrive, eager for their goods. It only took time for Bilrogg to hunt enough of the beasts, and he was determined, despite the danger.
The mountainous land at last gave way to a small patch of forest. Of course, Bilrogg knew, none but a Skagosi could traverse these lands. They and the unicorns.
And at last the majestic beast in question strolled across the forest, unaware of Bilrogg's presence. Its shaggy grey mane and unpolished horn showed that it was a free beast, just as his people were. Bilrogg took his stick from his satchel and attached a piece of string, tightening it and making a bow. He also removed his obsidian arrow. The beast would be dead any moment, and its horn would be added to the others. Bilrogg almost salivated at the thought of all the fruit the mudd-skinned men would bring. His father might even commission a raid on Hardhome so they could steal and enjoy some of their pretty, wild women.
As he drew his arrow, the unicorn stopped and turned. But where the sun had shone upon Bilrogg's back and lit up the day, everything had been turned to shadow, and the unicorn facing him could see clearly why and then it ran. Bilrogg turned and saw an enormous black figure in the sky, and with it came a dark sky.
'By the Gods! I've gone too far.'
The great black beast, wings like a bat and horns the length of young trees, larger than the ships of the Manderlys or even some of the castles of the mainlanders, screeched and let out a blast of red and white fire.
Immediately, the heir of House Magnar ran. He had to get to the caves, he had to hide himself, and hope it didn't see him.
Bilrogg had only ever seen the beast few times in his life and only from afar; his father told him it arrived after the mainlanders had their Dance, and it settled on the cliff of Skagos ever since. The Skagosi though, were too tough to leave the island or call for help; they would take it on their own way. After centuries of living with the looming darkness of the great beast in the sky, Bilrogg and his people all knew what to do: run and hide.
He dropped his bow, and ran toward the nearest cave. Suddenly a stampede of unicorns came out of the forest and ran behind him, away from the dragon. They passed him and Bilrogg soon found a cave. He ran inside and went as far into the cave as possible. Like his father told him, hiding by itself was useless. The dragon would burn the whole bloody cave, and he needed to be as far away from that godsforsaken flame as possible.
At last he found his hiding spot, and he heard the great beast burn and devour everything near him. Every unicorn near him would be devoured or burnt into the rocky ground. Then he felt a thud on the ground, and it pushed him off the ground. When the great beast landed, it was more damaging than an earthquake. Bilrogg remained. He waited and waited, and yet felt no burning on the walls. He had escaped.
After what seemed like long enough, Bilrogg left the cave. He was confident about one thing. Wherever the dragon went, it would always leave soon. Bilrogg left the cave and smelt the ashes around him. Upon exiting, all he saw was black stone and melted rock.
'Dragonglass. Where it burn our lands it always leave melted dragonglass.'
Bilrogg stood in wonder, wonder at the great sight, everything was burnt or burning and he wondered if he could even walk home. Then he felt a gust atop him, and he looked up.
All he saw were teeth, teeth the size of him. The dragon had him, and his heart fell.
Suddenly a roaring sound of a horn, guttural and dark, like the seven hells of the mainlanders had all been unleashed at once, came across the land. It was so loud it even shook Bilrogg from his trance, and the dragon stilled in curiosity and then turned its head and flew up in the air. The shadow of the grand dragon covered him, and the beast screeched again, so loud it made Bilrogg fall to the ground in pain. He saw the dragon breathe fire again, its dreadful mix of red and white, and it flew away. Bilrogg stood and saw the dragon fly, all the way towards the mainland.
'What the fuck is going on?!'
As Bilrogg tried to walk home, he stumbled and felt blood trickle down his left ear. He called out to himself, trying to remind himself he survived the dragon, how he would brag to his brother, and warn the mainlanders. But he could only hear from his right ear. In the other he was deaf.
The gods, still, had blessed him. They had blessed all the Skagosi by giving them their lives. Now it would be up to the gods again if the mainlanders were to survive, once Cannibal descended from the sky.
Several months previously. Winterfell:
"Jon will you calm down?" Alys finally snapped after watching Jon pace for over an hour. Mere moments after uncle/father Ned, his uncle Benjen and the King had arrived in the godswood, Mance had been swept off towards the dungeons or something, and Jon, Robb and everyone else had been sent packing.
Jon stopped his pacing and looked at Alys who had a look of irritation on her face. "Sorry Alys," he mumbled, "I just can't sit here and wait."
"You said both of your uncles are talking with this… Mance character yes?"
"Aye," he nodded.
"Then perhaps you're fretting needlessly," she said, trying to calm him down. "You told me a tale or two from how things are, reputedly up beyond the Wall, and no doubt your Uncle Benjen knows even more."
"Perhaps if I get the Smalljon," Jon mused as he absently stroked his chin, completely forgetting about Alys again.
"Oh – For fuck's sake!" she swore as she jumped to her feet – and pushed Jon into his chair. "You, are impossible sometimes," she said, as she tried to avoid smiling. "Adorable, but impossible all the same."
Jon smirked slightly as he let his eyes roam over her from top to bottom. Unlike how she wore her hair in a long thick braid during the day her long inky tresses were fully free now, hanging down her back and front, long enough that the tips almost reached her narrow waist. "Come here," he said huskily as he put his hands on her sides, slowly pushing her nightgown upwards to reveal her smooth creamy thighs. Alys appeared to be of a like mind as she swiftly drew the nightgown over her head and threw it away.
Jon licked his lips as he felt his pulse quicken. "Learnt a thing or two from our Dornish guests did we?" he asked as he pointed out the think black stripe of hair above her cunt.
Grinning wickedly she straddled his waist, causing him to groan harshly as he felt her grind her naked sex atop his stiffening cock that was as of yet trapped in his trousers. "You – seemed to like it – if I remember correctly," she panted as she ground back and forth with increased urgency.
Not content to just sit and watch while she rubbed herself off on him, Jon swiftly released his cock from the confines of his trousers and impaled his wife on its length. "Fuck," they both gasped as his cock was enveloped by Alys' heat. "Did – you – ever – take -someone – in – your – room – like – this?" Alys asked, each word preceded with a whimper of ecstasy ash she rode his cock slowly.
"Never," Jon said breathlessly as Alys quickened her pace. "I was – careful not to get – caught," his grip on her thighs grew tighter and he could feel his end nearing. "Gods I love this," Jon whimpered before taking her nipple in his mouth, latching on like a babe dying of thirst, while his right hand went between their bodies to caress the sweet little nub at the top of her flower. He was so aroused that the sudden clenching of Alys' walls took him by complete surprise. "FUCK!" ye yelled as he threw his head back.
"You poor thing," Alys whispered sultrily in his ear as she rode his still hard length slowly, her cheeks flushed and her breathing heavy. "You needed that didn't you?"
He did, no doubts about it, but to admit it on the other hand. "Wench," he mumbled humorously as he guided her lips down to his. "We both needed this I think," he mumbled in between kisses.
Even though he felt more like going to sleep he did his husbandly duty, aided with his fingers to bring Alys to her own climax, and before he knew it he was awoken by a mortified "Oh Gods, I'm so sorry."
Snapping his eyes open towards the door, Jon noted both Arya and Sansa staring at him and Alys' nude bodied, both of them apparently fell asleep in the chair the night before. Sansa the poor thing was so mortified, her face almost as red as her long hair, while Arya had a look on her face that was a combination of fascination, and disgust. "Get out of here," Jon barked at them, "And close the door."
Never before had he seen either of his sisters move so swiftly, as barely had the words left his mouth before the door slammed shut and the pitter-patter of swiftly moving feet on stone accompanied by horrified giggles slowly disappeared.
"Tell me that did not just happen," Alys bemoaned as she dug herself deeper into Jon's chest, curling up in a ball, "cold," she muttered.
Sighing Jon lifted her up and laid her softly down on the bed before drawing the thick furs over her. "Sleep," he whispered as he place a kiss on her brow, and then swiftly dressed and headed out, intent on finding his uncles.
"Do I want to know why Sansa, Jeyne, their other friends and Arya are all sitting in a little circle and giggling?" Robb asked Jon the moment they ran into each other outside the hall.
"Probably not," Jon admitted with a shrug. "Though most like, Lady Stark will have to give them a talk that she and father have managed to hold off on so far."
"Ah..." Robb seemed unsure what to say. "You do know that mother will blame you more likely than not yes?" Robb asked with a grin.
"I'll live," Jon said drily. "Any word from father yet?"
"Actually yes," Robb admitted, "I was just about to fetch you, the Smalljon is already down there."
"Then lets go," Jon said as he quickened his pace.
While his visits to the dungeons had not been too many he still knew the way just as well as Robb. When they arrived the torches were already burning, and two of the Kingsguard stood guard outside one of the larger cells, as did Rodryn and Len 'lefty', two of the better guards in Winterfell. Stepping through the door, Jon was greeted with the sight of Ned and Benjen Stark, Rodrik Cassel, Smalljon Umber, King Robert, and Sers Jaime and Barristan, and lastly Mance Rayder.
It had been a long night apparently. Mance's face was more purple than not, a full three of his fingers broken, and no doubt he had a multitude of bruises elsewhere as well. At least he was no longer hung from the rafters by chains to his wrists, though he could see evidence in the form of blood and bruising that he had no doubt been subject to it earlier. The empty bucket, as well as dripping clothes showed that he must have been subject to many forms of 'questioning' and going by the angry scowls on his 'father's face, as well as that of Ser Barristan, it had no doubt been at the King's command.
"JON!" Robert clapped his hands together before slapping Jon on the back. "Good work catching this one eh?"
"Has he said anything?" Jon pressed.
Any smiles in the room died. "He keeps clinging to the same foolish tale, white walkers, wights, might as well throw in snarks and grumpkins while you're at it deserter," Robert spat.
"Robert," Ned said cautiously. "No man can withstand all that unless he was telling the truth, or what he believes to be the truth at least," Ned shrugged. "A mad man sees what he sees."
"Then the wilds beyond the Wall is overrunning with mad men these days," the Smalljon said angrily. "I don't like it anymore than any of you do, hells, I never thought I'd be siding with a fooken wildling… but what if he's right?"
Ned Stark was still unconvinced going by the look on his face.
"Ned," Benjen said. "I've never seen any of the things Mance, or any of the other captured wildlings say they've seen, but you must admit, it is getting disturbing. Too many similar stories, village after village abandoned, completely empty sake for broken tents and pools of blood."
"And what would you have me do about it?" Robert barked.
"We must go north in force," Benjen said. "There are too few rangers left in the Night's Watch so we'd need men from the North as well," he held up a hand to stop Robert for interjecting. "We go north in force, and take this one with us. He can lead us to his camp, from there we can get the wildlings to help guide us through the lands beyond the Wall."
"If you think I will help any of you…" Mance started before spitting out a mouthful of blood.
"You will if you wish for your people to survive," Jon said coldly. "I've killed my ,fair share of wildlings, and all of them were far more afraid of what stirs beyond the Wall than of me."
"You'd let us south?" Mance asked disbelievingly. "You The Bloody Wolf? Oh yes even in the True North your name and reputation is know," Mance said after seeing Jon react to the sudden dropping of his little 'nickname'.
"You may not recall it Mance Rayder," Ned said. "But it was my ancestor Brandon Stark who built the Wall, he fought during the last years of the Long Night. If the walkers truly are returning I will offer your people what Brandon offered, come south, or stay north and die."
Mance appeared to weigh his options for some time before nodding surly. "You leave me with little better choice, I'll accept."
Ned Stark nods his head. "I'll see to it that you are given better quarters, under guard. Maester Luwin will take a look at those injuries before food is brought to you understood."
"Perhaps a change of clothes as well," Jon notes with distaste, his fine nose easily picking up the reek from Mance's clothes, whoever put Mance to the questioning must have been good enough to make Mance lose control of both his bladder and bowels.
"Thank you lad," Mance rasps, his voice still hoarse from no doubt hours of screaming.
"Ned," Robert cuts in. "What do you think you are doing?"
"I am the Warden of the North, and the Stark in Winterfell," Ned sighs tiredly. "As such it is I who must do this Robert…" he pauses. "If you still insist on me being Hand we can discuss that when I return from beyond the Wall."
Robert looks close to shouting again, before he restrains himself at the last minute. "This. Isn't. Over," he hisses before leaving in a dark mood, the Kingsguard following him.
"I'm coming with you," Jon bursts out as soon as Robert is out of hearing.
"Jon…" Ned whines. "Not now, we'll discuss this later."
It took a few hours but eventually Robb and Jon managed to gather a small cadre of their closest, friends, or trusted retainers and 'allies' inside the armory. Jon, Robb, The Smalljon, Prince Oberyn, Robar and Gendry, Theon and the Hound. The explanation of it all raises more than a few disbelieving eyebrows or sneers (Theon) but as a whole they all keep their silence while Robb tells the tale.
"So you what? Intend to go north to find snarks and grumpkins?" Prince Oberyn, the eldest among them japes.
"Something has them fookers scared," the Smalljon admits. "I for one want to lay my eyes on whatever can scare wildlings better than Bloody Jon here," he laughs as he gives Jon's shoulder a friendly punch.
"Aye," Jon admits. "I too want to see this for my own eyes."
Oberyn stays silent for a moment before shrugging. "I always intended to see the Wall anyhow, now I'll be famous as the first Prince of Dorne to chase down monsters of myth and legends, I suppose I am in."
Jon smirks slightly. "The fact that you can also be the first Dornish Prince to fuck a wildling has nothing to do with this I suppose?" he asks drily, shaking his head as the elder Prince just grins wickedly while waggling his eyebrows.
"I'm coming too," Robar says. "One of them fuckers killed Waymar, besides," he shoots the Hound a challenging grin. "I cannot in good conscience let the dog here go out to kill monsters while I sit home and knit now can I?"
"Fuck you, Royce," Sandor Clegane growls. "I'll come," he says with his gruff voice. "I swore an oath, but you better make sure we bring chicken."
Robb snorts briefly, before schooling his face when the Hound turns his glare upon him.
"So… why am I here?" Theon asks.
Jon sighs before running a hand through his hair. "I don't like you Greyjoy, that isn't a secret," Jon starts, ignoring how Robb mumbles 'understatement of the century'. "BUT, you are the best damn archer I've ever laid eyes on, so what do you say? You wanna continue to stay here in Winterfell and squander your weekly stipend on salty whores? Or do you wanna do something that no Greyjoy has ever done before? Just imagine it Greyjoy, if there really are white walkers you'll be the first Ironborn in history to kill one."
Theon looks thoughtful as he imagines the fame he'll receive on Pyke if he was to return with the head of a white walker. "Fine," he grumbles. "I'll come, and when I save all your arses from snarks and grumpkins I expect a damn good grovelling apology from you bastard."
Jon rolls his eyes, Theon Greyjoy, for all that he does have his moments where he isn't too bad will always be a cunt. "Then we are in agreement," turning his eyes onto Robb, Jon grins. "I'll let you take this to Lord Stark, you'll have better luck than I do."
It's only a few hours later that things take a turn for the worse. The King and Lord Stark had gone out for a hunt to discuss things in private, as well as cool their heads. While gone, Bran had fallen from a tower and broken his spine, he was yet to wake up. Ironically enough the King had tried to use this as an excuse for Lord Stark to not go through with his 'northern foolishness' as he called it, but if anything it had just made Ned more resolute in finding any excuse not to go south to King's Landing.
The King and Lord Stark argued for days. First about Ned going North, and then for not staying in Winterfell when his son was hurt. And then the King had tried to establish a betrothal between Joffrey and Sansa, only for Ned to shut it down instantly, citing both Jon and Sandor Clegane's stories of the Prince. When Robert didn't refute them Ned just asked if Robert would have married Myrcella to someone like Joffrey.
The King was melancholy after that, retreating to his cups more often than not, with only Jon and the few times he showed himself – Gendry cheering him up by plying Robert for warstories. All they could do was wait, both for Bran to wake up, and for men to arrive to Winterfell.
All in all, Ned would take with him five hundred men from Winterfell, including Jon, Robar, Sandor Clegane, Gendry, Prince Oberyn, Theon and the Smalljon after Robb had showed his skills for diplomacy by finally getting his father to agree. Another two hundred men from Castle Cerwyn under Ser Kyle Condon. Ser Jory had already set out towards the Mountain Clans with the hope of gathering a few hundred willing men to join them once they reached Castle Black, while the Smalljon guaranteed that his father would no doubt insist on joining too, as well as supply a good portion of soldiers.
Already men were gathering outside of Winterfell, most of them staying in the Winter Town during the nights, while preparing for the trek up north. Carts to hold food or drink were gathered up, every one carefully inspected by the carpenters of Winterfell to ensure that they were all in pristine order. Horses were also gathered up, to the point where over six hundred of their current number had a horse to ride on. Lywin had supplied them with a few ravens, as well as an acolyte of sorts that he had taken under his wing, hoping to send the young man to the Citadel once he had learnt his letters properly. While the lad still struggled to read or write, he knew how to work the ravens, and lastly had been Robert. Upon learning that Gendry was going North he had (reluctantly) parted with one of his Kingsguard.
While Meryn Thrant was no Knight of great renown, he was still a good enough fighter with a sword, but most importantly he had the instincts of a killer which would no doubt be needed, the fact that sending Meryn along with the left Cersei in a rage was just the cherry n top of the cake, or so Jon thought, and probably Robert as well if the King's smug grins were anything to go by. Jon could have gone without seeing the King blubber with great heaving sobs and tears as he handed over his warhammer to Gendry and told him to 'use it well boy, and crack a few skulls for me,' that Gendry was strong enough to use the monstrosity was certainly a point in his favour, and after being permitted a few practice swings with the deadly weapon that had killed that raping cunt Rhaegar, Jon was almost tempted to have Gendry make him another one just like it, still, he preferred Red Rain over a warhammer in any case, and if for some reason he chose not to wield the lethal greatsword, he still had his axe and trusted broadsword to deal out death and judgement.
The hardest part had been leaving Alys… again. She had not been pleased at Jon's wish to 'go north and play the fucking hero,' as she said it. They had quarrelled several times since Jon had informed her of his intent to go north, up to the point that she had finally refused him both from their bed, as well as even to speak with him. It certainly didn't help that the direwolves 'betrayed' him by choosing her (and their children) all of them following her when she announced her intent to visit her parents and brother in the Karhold. They all left him the day before the King left for the south, leaving Jon standing alone on the battlements with a forlorn look on his face as his wife, and his children all left him behind. At least Jon had enough of a mind to send a hundred of his own men with her, no way was he letting her cross Bolton lands without an escort, even if Domeric was a better man by far than his father or brother.
"Chin up lad," the Smalljon said as he stepped up beside Jon. "She's a feisty one that wife of yours, a true northern Lady."
"Aye she is," Jon said sadly.
The Smalljon let out a small grumble. "Sometimes I forget that you're still young, barely a man by most accounts," he said, remarking on the fact that for all of Jon's ferocity he had still to see his one and eight nameday. "She'll be back to driving you crazy soon enough lad," he told Jon as he threw an arm over his shoulder. "Women, can't live with them and can't live without 'em as me old man always says, sometimes they just need a few days for themselves."
Jon gave a minute shrug before leaning down to scratch Ghost behind the ears. The red eyed and white furred albino runt of Winter's litter was the only one who hadn't obediently followed Alys when she decided to leave, but then again Ghost had always been the on who was closest to Jon, even closer than Winter who shuffled her loyalty and affection between Jon and Alys, no doubt recognizing a fellow 'bitch' in Alys who had children of her own after all.
"Shame about the big one," the Smalljon mentioned. "We could have used her teeth no doubt when we go north."
"Ghost's teeth are more than deadly enough, but feel free to test them yourself," Jon says with a grin as Ghost bares his teeth at the Smalljon, already Ghost is at the size of the bigger hounds in Winterfell, and only liable to grow more. "Beside his fur should help him blend in."
"Warg right?" Smalljon questioned, having overheard a conversation a few days past between Jon and Mance who had been permitted to visit the godswood for some fresh air under guard.
"Aye," Jon admits, before holding out his arm just in time for his faithful crow 'Beak' to land on it. The crow accepted a few strokes over its feathers before shuffling awkwardly up Jon's arm before taking up its usual roost on his shoulder, and immediately started to try and groom Jon's hair with its beak. "Stop that," Jon grumbled as he gave Beak a slight poke with his finger, thankfully the Crow obeyed him. "Between Ghost and Beak here I'll do my best to keep an eye out for any potential ambush."
"I just wish me damn father had taught me how to warg," the Smalljon grumbled surly.
"Oh aye," the Smalljon said. "First Umber in over a century I'm told, didn't teach any of us though."
Jon raised an inquisitive eyebrow to the big man.
The Smalljon looked around shiftily, as if to reassure himself that his big father wasn't around to hear it. "He took it as a bit of an insult apparently," the Smalljon tells gleefully in a low voice. "We don't know for sure if it is true or not, but considering he's had that fookin squirrel since he was a wee lad of five I'm tempted to believe me uncle Mors when he tells me that me old man wargs into a squirrel at times, he certainly fits the notion of a squirrel, fucks anything he can, and hoards battleaxes instead of nuts but the similarity is there."
Jon was shaking from trying to hold in his laughter. Just the thought of the only man in the Seven Kingdoms to nearly rival the Mountain in height and strength warging into a squirrel of all things was so ludicrous that there wasn't much one could do, beside laugh that is.
"You tell me father about this and I'll kill you first."
"That's-that's quite alright," Jon gasped as he wiped the tears from his eyes.
They stood in silence for a few more moments, both of them lost in thought, Jon's thoughts dwelling on Alys, and Arya who had left with her, just how Alys had managed to get Arya over to 'her side' he'd probably never find out, but at least Arya was with Alys, instead of heading south with the King as Robert had wanted, pleading Lord Stark to betroth Arya to Tommen if Sansa and Joffrey was out of the question.
In some ways Jon pitied Robert. Oh he despised his eldest son, wife and goodbrother, nor did he have any respect for how Robert dealt with Tywin Lannister after the Sack of King's Landing, but to be stuck with a wife who hated him, and to have two sons, one a cruel sadistic bastard and another who was a timid weakling was more than any man should be expected to take. At the very least Princess Myrcella was good. Kind, smart, if a bit demure from what little Jon knew of her, and if her mother was anything to go by Myrcella would break quite a few hearts when she grew older.
"You ready for tomorrow?" the Smalljon asked, remarking on the fact that they would be leaving for the Wall the very next day.
"Aye, I'd have left already were it up to me."
The Smalljon laughed. "And that is why you should never plan out a war Jon," he said. "You don't have the patience for proper preparations, no, better by far to simply place you in the front and point you at the enemy I think."
"Perhaps," Jon agreed. "At least I'll have more fun while the rest of you old codgers laze about in a tent staring at faded maps."
The Crow's Eye:
Euron let out a huge bark of triumphant laughter. Ever since Balons pitiful little rebellion he had been sailing all over the world in search of treasures, and magic. Already the hold of the Silence was full of various artefacts that he had as of yet to figure out a use for, and shackled to the oars were dozens of second rate sorcerers, blood mages, woods witches, hedge wizard, alchemists… You name it, and he probably had them. And now, he had the treasure of all treasures. Looking down at the object in his hand he let out another braying laugh. Long, curled and pure black, with bands of brass with engraved runes that he hadn't yet deciphered this dragonhorn, out of all the treasures he found in Old Valyria was truly the crown jewel.
Iwas was a shame, he admitted to himself that travelling through the Smoking Sea had come at such a cost. All but one of his mute crewmen were dead, as well as half of his magicians, all of them sacrificed so that the rest of his cabal of sorcerers could keep up the protections that let his ship traverse the dangerous waters, but such reward. The amount of room in his hold had been reduced by half, filled up with ancient tomes and scrolls, weapons of Valyrian Steel, not to mention the full suite of armour he wore. For a brief moment he considered putting his own sigil on it, but the idea of an Ironborn wearing what must have been one of the few full sets of Valyrian Steel armour that had been forged for House Targaryen was just too good, it was a spit in the face of those sisterfucking bastards.
And now with the horn in his possession he needed only find a dragon. He could scour the hundreds of books and tomes he had in his possession for a clue of how to hatch the seven eggs he had brought with him, but why do that? He had a dragonhorn, and while he hadn't found any dragons in Old Valyria, that did not mean there weren't any dragons still out there. Some Empress in the east had once possessed a dragon a few centuries ago, and then of course the Targaryens had their own dragons, But they were all dead...or at least according to the Maesters at any rate, yet Euron couldn't shake the feeling that there was something he was overlooking, at the very least it wouldn't hurt to look into the Dance of Dragons and its aftermath.
His decision made, Euron took a glance at the sun, noting its position before turning the ship onto a western course, it was time to return to Westeros and make a little visit to the Citadel, the Maesters had the answers he was looking for, and Euron was not going to take no for an answer…
THE PRINCESS OF THE SUN:
Arianne clung to Tyene in her chambers. Upon her return her father had been furious. Only one other time had she seen the normally calm Doran Martell so angry, and that had been when words of Aunt Elia and her children, Ari's cousins Aegon and Rhaenys had been so brutally slaughtered in the capitol by the Lannisters, who then got away with rewards instead of punishment. At least until Jon Snow – Stark killed Clegane.
In hindsight Arianne should have suspected sooner. Moon tea was not foolproof, and drunk regularly over time could have adverse effects, though common wisdom taught that it usually made it safe to fuck for near a week after ingesting, and it was only once she actually started to recognize the symptoms that she remembered with a certain amount of horror that both Nymeria and herself had foolishly forgotten to replenish their cups for a new doze after spilling their first one during their impromptu fight in the great hall of Moat Cailin.
Poor Tyene at least could explain that she had taken the tea… once, that and Tyene and Nym were both bastards, not expected to do anything, unlike Ari who was the next ruler of Dorne. Had a Princess of Dorne ever birthed a bastard before? Truthfully Ari didn't know, 'and I get two for the price of one,' she sulked. Remembering how she had almost fainted when the Maester alluded that she was most likely carrying twins, one thing was for sure, she was gonna murder Jon. Bloody. Stark if she ever saw him again...most likely.
They had left Moat Cailin the same time as Lord Jon and the 'King' had left for Winterfell, their uncle Oberyn among those following him, while Ari and all her cousins had travelled by carriage to White Harbour. They'd been feasted by Lord Wyman Manderly until their bellies were close to bursting for five days before a ship was ready for them. Due to the weather the trip across the Narrow Sea to Braavos took them near a month, and not one of their party questioned why they felt sick. Of course, they fretted somewhat when Ari and Tyene still puked their guts out every morning when in Braavos, but so did a few others in their party, both men and women so none of them paid it any mind.
However when the spent the next one and a half moons constantly sick in the mornings when sailing south from Braavos, as well as the suddenly more sensitive and at times aching breasts they started to worry, especially since Nym who didn't have the morning sickness as much as Ari and Tyene still shared their other symptoms. And by the time they reached Sunspear there was little doubt. Nym and Tyene, both had always been a lot slimmer than Ari and they were starting to show a small bump on their bellies, as did Ari, though hers was a bit bigger, which was why the Maester concluded that she was carrying twins, as Ari's more voluptuous form should have hidden the bump a few more weeks apparently.
Obara the bitch though, she was having the time of her life, and Ellaria had been of no help either when she met with them in Braavos, bursting into peals of laughter on their shared boat trip to Dorne when she sniffed out the likely cause of their discomfort. And Elia, the little bitch… Ari barely had time to greet her father in the Water Gardens before Elia burst out with 'Ari, Nym and Tyene are pregnant.'
The ensuing explosion had been awful. First her father had looked hopefully at Ari, as if it was all a bad joke, and then once no such reassurance was given he had forced all three of them through a most… intimate and invasive examination by Maester Caleotte, who did confirm their pregnancies, as well as to inform them that due to the length they had probably been with child it would be dangerous to take moon tea. So Ari would now have to live with the shame that she was probably going to be the first Dornish Princess to give birth to not one, but two bastards. Her marriage prospects had just lessened immensely, and any hope she had to choose a husband or have any say at all was gone according to her father, who explained that if she wasn't responsible enough to avoid getting a bastard in her belly then how in the world could she be responsible enough to pick a sensible husband?
At the very least Ari still had her uncle Oberyn's return to look forward to. Her father was not going to be pleased with her uncle's failure to keep her from doing something foolish, like getting herself with child. But the worst part was that after a trusted courier sent by her uncle had arrived, her father had apparently lost all anger towards Jon Stark, instead he had taken Trystane aside and informed him that he would foster and squire for the northern Lord when he returned from some expedition beyond the Wall. When Ari had questioned why her father had simply responded with 'justice and loyalty', which could mean any of a thousand things, certainly nothing that Ari could divine. At least her father had taken her aside and informed her that he had once considered making her Queen to Viserys Targaryen, but since that would not be possible any longer due to reasons he refused to speak of he would take a greater hand in her education to prepare her to become the next ruler of Dorne.
Ari wouldn't lie. She had burst into tears at that, broken down sobbing in her father's arms actually, for so long she had feared that he would replace her with Quentyn after a letter she had once found in his solar. Still, she would have liked to go without the constant disappointed looks and remarks about her foolishness, and she couldn't really refute them either. Her biggest weakness had always been how easily she was distracted by a pretty man, or woman for that matter. And for all else he was, Jon Stark was definitely a handsome man, and that cock and tongue – she shuddered, best not think of that. She was unlikely to see the northern warrior for some time, or ever, the lands beyond the Wall being quite dangerous after all.
Well, that is this update finished. I would have preferred to finish it fully, but with all the stuff I wanted to put into this chapter it would probably come closer to +15k words, so instead of waiting even longer for an update I decided to end it here and publish this part. My plan is to take a day or two and then get right back to the next part, which will bring us back to Last Hearth and the Wall, and possibly beyond as well, and while that happens, tragedy will strike south of the wall, and just what IS Euron Greyjoy up to?
A BIG thanks to Avery_Fontaine who wrote the opening for me after I gave him a few points to go by.