A Dragon's Roar
Chapter 2: Brothers
"Was there a tournament when I was born?"
Daeron was too excited to pack. Lord Tywin Lannister had sent an invitation to his family for a tournament he was throwing in honor of the birth of Daeron's new baby brother, Prince Viserys. So instead of packing, he found himself in the chambers of said baby brother.
His mother, Queen Rhaella was there, tending to the infant in his cradle while Kingsguard knights, Ser Oswell Whent and Ser Gwayne Gaunt stood on opposite sides of the entrance chambers doors.
Father wasn't taking any chances in trying to protect his newborn son. He had tasked Lord Commander Hightower with putting at least one knight of the Kingsguard in Viserys' chambers at all times. No one was allowed to be alone with his new baby brother, not even mother, who was attended by a handful of servants, handmaidens, and the wet nurse.
"There was no need, my prince," Ser Oswell Whent replied, "What were we celebrating?"
"Oswell," Rhaella scolded the Kingsguard knight.
Daeron grinned at the playful ribbing from Ser Whent. He enjoyed the knight's sense of humor, and was pleased that Oswell didn't treat him like a pampered prince and had no difficulty in teasing him.
"Mayhaps, I should fight you to regain my honor?" Daeron challenged.
Ser Oswell regarded him, "Let's not add injury to insult, my prince."
"I'm getting better!" Daeron insisted. He had been working diligently in the training yard every day.
"Of course, you are," Ser Oswell agreed, "Once a man reaches the bottom the only place to go is up."
"I think you've insulted my son, your prince enough for one afternoon," Rhaella Targaryen, Queen of Westeros turned away from the crib and her newborn towards them. A playful smile on her lips, she walked and carried herself well even after giving birth so recently. She raised a platinum eyebrow towards Ser Oswell.
He took the playful scolding with a small smile. Ser Oswell then inclined his head. "Of course, your grace."
She nodded towards him before turning to Daeron, who couldn't help but smile at his mother. "Are you excited about the tournament?"
"Yes, mother," he answered quickly, but his smile dipped, "but why can't you and Viserys come?"
The smile she wore slid from her face. "It is your father's concern that keeps me and your brother here." Her dark purple eyes turned back to Viserys, "It's his way of keeping us safe and making sure your baby brother is healthy and that I recover."
"I guess," Daeron found himself saying, unable to find any fault in that logic, but he was still disappointed.
"Come, my son," She called him over.
Daeron obeyed. Approaching the crib, before looking down to see his newborn baby brother who was squirming on top of his blankets, sucking one of his balled fists. He had a few wisps of silvery hair that crowned his head, his eyes were lilac, and he was pale skinned.
"Hello, Viserys," Daeron knew his brother couldn't understand him, but when their eyes met, he couldn't help but smile down at his younger brother. "I'm your brother, Daeron," he introduced himself.
I'll be the older brother, Rhaegar never was to me, he kept those thoughts to himself, not wanting to upset mother.
"The gods have blessed me with three strong sons."
Daeron puffed his chest out slightly at the tone his mother used to describe him.
"And I know that this prince," she poked Daeron's nose, causing himt to laugh. "Will be on his best behavior while he attends this tournament," she turned her eyes to him, "You represent our family. You are a Prince of the Seven Kingdoms, Daeron. You will act like one."
"I will, mother," the last thing he'd want to do is disappoint her.
"I know you will, darling," she ran her hand through his hair, tousling it as she went. "Are you excited to see your brother enter the lists?"
"Yes, mother," Daeron gave the answer she wanted to hear.
Rhaegar had been recently knighted and father had given his blessing to let him partake in the tournament that was being held in honor of their younger brother. Daeron was too young to take part, and had to resign himself to sitting in the stands and watching.
Before she could reply, baby Viserys made his feelings known, letting out a gurgling cry.
Daeron quickly put his fingers to his ears to try to muffle the wailing cries. "He's so loud!"
"He's hungry," Rhaella didn't flinch.
"I'll get the wet nurse," one of the servants volunteered loudly, so that she could speak over the noise.
"The food tester too," Ser Oswell Whent spoke up. "The king's orders."
Rhaella didn't protest, turning to two of the servants. "Go, now," she encouraged, they curtseyed before quickly leaving the room.
Viserys was still crying.
"Shh, darling," she bent over carefully picking up her newborn son. "I know you're hungry. You'll eat soon," she ran her fingers down his back.
Unaware and unable to understand what was being said to him, the baby still cried, but mother had softened them with her gentle touch and words. She smiled in response. "That's a good child."
"Was I so loud when I cried?"
"Louder," Rhaella favored him a smile, her indigo eyes held a teasing glint to them.
Queen and Prince turned in the direction of the new arrival. It was Ser Barristan, he bowed his head, when their eyes met.
"Ser Barristan," she greeted him kindly, "Always a pleasure to see you."
"The Queen honors me," Barristan turned his attention to Daeron. "The King has asked me to escort the Prince to his chambers to make sure he is packed and ready to go by sunrise tomorrow."
"I understand," Rhaella turned to Daeron, "Go with Ser Barristan," she leaned over and kissed his head while Viserys squirmed in her arms. "And be ready to leave like your father requested."
"I will," he assured her. "And I'll make sure to say goodbye before I go."
Daeron smiled at that before following Ser Barristan out into the corridor. They then began the short walk to his chambers.
"Will you be entering the lists, Ser Barristan?"
"I plan on it," he answered, "It's always wise to hone your talents when given the opportunity. Like swords, skills can rust if not continually used."
"I'll remember that."
"As you should," the Kingsguard knight gently reminded him, "Especially if you are to remain as my squire."
"I won't disappoint you, Ser," Daeron told him.
Ser Barristan appraised him for a second before nodding, "Then make sure our horses are prepped and ready to go tomorrow before we depart."
His first reaction was to groan at not just the work he had to do, but the hour in which he had to do it. If they were to leave near sunrise, then that meant Daeron would have to wake up much earlier to tend to his and Ser Barristan's horses. However, he made sure to not let those thoughts slip past, instead he nodded at his orders. "Then it will be done."
"Good lad," Barristan smiled at him. "You'll make a good knight someday."
Someday, Daeron was tired of that word. He was told it so often, he hated it.
Apparently, his reaction didn't go unnoticed, "The impatience of youth." Barristan responded ruefully.
"I just wish it was over," Daeron confessed.
"You shouldn't," Barristan told him, "Savor it, because far too quickly youth melts away and time makes us all old men."
"I don't want to be that old."
Barristan laughed. "I don't think you'll have a say in the matter, my prince."
"I just want to be old enough to enter the lists."
"There will be other tournaments."
It wasn't the answer, he wanted to hear, but Daeron would not show Ser Barristan any measure of disrespect taking the Kingsguard knight's words with a nod. "You're right, ser, it's just a challenge to wait."
"Aye," Barristan agreed with a kind smile. "I recall my own youth and insistence in fighting in a tournament that was being held in the Stormlands."
"That was when there were only six Kingdoms of Westeros, right, Ser Barristan?" Daeron asked innocently, but was unable to contain his grin.
"Cheeky, prince," Barristan scolded with a laugh.
"That's where you got the moniker the Bold?" Daeron knew the story well. It was legendary, how a ten-year-old Barristan had donned patchwork armor and tried to joust, but no one save for Prince Duncan would meet the boy's challenge. It was the Prince who declared him, Barristan the Bold.
"Aye," Barristan answered, eyes hued with memories of the past. "How time can slip before you."
If only I could fight in this tournament, Daeron thought. What he wouldn't give to ride against his brother and to finally beat him, to step out of his brother's shadow in front of the lords, knights, and commoners alike. The image that conjured in his mind's eye was enough for Daeron to smile, relishing that feeling of triumph at finally being able to be better at his brother at something.
Daeron blinked back to the present to see said brother, the crown prince, standing before him. He had to look up to meet his brother's eyes as Rhaegar was a few inches taller than him, his silvery hair fell above his shoulders, purple eyes were on Daeron, but he was certain they were focused on something else. Melancholy clung to Rhaegar like a cloak, who carried himself with quiet dignity.
Daeron was thankful to see that his brother wasn't being followed by his gaggle of squires, and other friends. Daeron was sick of seeing them all fawning over their perfect prince. The only person with his brother was, Ser Arthur Dayne, the youngest knight in the Kingsguard and his brother's closest confidant.
"Ser Arthur," Daeron greeted the Sword of the Morning, seeing the famous sword, Dawn's hilt poking up over the knight's shoulder.
"Prince," the knight greeted cordially.
"Have you gone to see mother and Viserys, yet?"
"No," Rhaegar answered, "I've been engrossed by some tomes in the library," his voice was soft and detached, "I'm on my way to send a letter to our Great Uncle Aemon," he held the piece of parchment loosely in his hand.
Only his brother would find the company of dead men more captivating then his own blood, but Daeron was use to his older brother's aloofness. "What's in the letter?" He found himself curious to what would prompt his brother to send a letter to their Great Uncle, who served as a maester for the Night's Watch at Castle Black.
"It is not of your concern, brother," Rhaegar dismissed his question in a gentle, but distant tone. "I shall see you on the road, tomorrow." He didn't wait for a response, Rhaegar walked past them with Ser Arthur walking with him, the crown prince's pale shadow.
Daeron glared at his brother's back until it was blocked from view. They were only separated by four years, but it might as well have been forty, he thought.
Rhaegar had never been interested in being a brother, Daeron could think of only a few times growing up in the Red Keep that he and Rhaegar played or laughed together. No, being a brother didn't hold Rhaegar's interest, Daeron had learned that at a young age.
It was old books in the library, his harp, and now his sword and lance, that's what captured Rhaegar's attention.
And there didn't seem to be room for Daeron.
Tyrion gasped at the large and tall wooden stands that were being placed beneath the walls of Lannisport. "Look at the colors!" He pointed a stubby finger to the dozens of sigils that were erected to signal the lords and knights who had already arrived for the lavish tournament.
Brother and sister stood together on one of the many balconies of Casterly Rock, Tyrion using a far-eye to see how the preparations were being handled and constructed for the upcoming tournament. Even without it, Cersei could see quite a bit as Lannisport only rested less than a mile from Casterly Rock. She often liked to take in the city from one of the taller balconies in Casterly Rock, preferring to see the city at dusk when it was cast in the reddish sun. It made for a brilliant sight, basking in its glow as the sapphire waters of the Sunset Sea gleamed in the sunlight.
"It's quite something," Cersei was holding his hand. "And you're going to be able to see it all."
Tyrion's head snapped towards her. His mismatched eyes shimmering in disbelief. "Really?"
She smiled, ruffling some of his coarse hair, "Yes, in the best seats at the tournament."
His eyes widened and his smile grew as he tried to imagine the spectacle that was to begin in a few days. His enthusiasm was tempered when a pair of passing guards gawked at him from their post.
"Chin up, Tyrion," She softly chided him, "A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep." She then mustered her best intimidating stare and directed it at the two disrespectful guards, who had the decency to look away, and try to pretend they hadn't been staring at her brother.
I'll want their names. She watched them scuttle off like the insects they were. A swell of satisfaction rose in her chest at being the reason why they retreated. Those men won't be the first she's reported to her parents for reprimand, and they won't be the last.
She treasured the power to have them punished for hurting her brother. Just as a lioness savored the hunt before she made the kill. They were prey, and she was the predator.
Cersei turned away when they were out of sight and back towards her brother to see he had taken her words to heart, raising his head, and not looking affected by how those fools had acted. Good, pleased at how he responded to her words.
"Father will let me attend?" Tyrion's voice sounded so small and frail.
"Yes," Cersei squeezed his hand. "Mother's already talked to him."
"I can't wait!" He looked through the far-eye once more. "Do we need to go in?"
"We can in a few minutes," she knew that was the right answer by the smile she received from him.
"Will we be near the king?"
"Yes," Cersei looked down to see her brother had ducked his head. "Tyrion, remember we're lions," she told him. "This is our home. We can't be afraid here."
"I won't be," He vowed, after a few seconds of silently mulling her words.
It wasn't fair, even so young, her brother sadly understood when people were staring at him or he was the target of their whispering. A cruel reality that no lion should have to endure. These rabble have no right to criticize a lion!
Cowards, anger churning in her gut at their show of disrespect. She'd get them all if she could, silencing every last one of them to make sure they couldn't utter such insults about her brother ever again.
"Mother and I will be with you."
If she had her way she would've been sitting next to her prince, Rhaegar, but he wasn't going to be a spectator for this tournament. No, he had been recently knighted and according to father would be entering the lists.
His first tournament and I'll be here to cheer him on! She couldn't contain her giddiness, it was going to be perfect.
"Dreaming about your prince?"
Cersei snapped out of her thoughts to see her twin brother, Jaime ambling towards them, wearing that smug grin of his that she loathed. She sent him an annoyed look in hopes of wiping it from his face, but it had no effect, which only infuriated her further.
"Jaime!" Tyrion cheered in delight, letting go of Cersei's hand and running over to his brother as fast as his stunted legs could take him. He stumbled in his waddling and for half a heartbeat, Cersei feared that Tyrion was going to fall, but quick as a cat, Jaime was there to scoop him up with a laugh while Tyrion giggled when Jaime spun him around.
"Father wants you back for supper," Jaime informed them, still holding onto Tyrion, who seemed disappointed that he wasn't being spun anymore.
"We shouldn't keep father waiting."
"No, we shouldn't," Jaime was playfully jostling Tyrion in his arms, "And what've you been up to?"
"Reading," Tyrion babbled happily, "And then Cersei got me out of my lessons early so that I could see all this!" He waved his tiny arm out at the tournament grounds that were being constructed in the distance.
"Out early?" Jaime raised an eyebrow at her. "Father won't be pleased."
Cersei detected a mocking tone in her brother's voice, but chose to ignore it, turning her attention to Tyrion. "It was only for one lesson," she pinched her baby brother's cheek. "Besides, the maester says Tyrion excels in his lessons far better than any child he's taught."
Tyrion raised his head up at the praise. "I like to read."
"If only Jaime liked it as much as you," Cersei teased, earning a giggle from her younger brother.
Jaime frowned at her, but seeing how Tyrion took the joke, his frown turned into a smile and then a chuckle. "I suppose that's true."
"Don't worry, Jaime," Tyrion patted his brother's head like one would an obedient dog. "I'll help you."
A/N: So first off-WOW. Just wow, wasn't expecting any sort of reception/reaction from the first chapter when I posted this. It definitely helped to serve as a catalyst to make sure this chapter was ready for you guys this week.
It was a relief to see that there definitely was some interest in this plot bunny. Thank you all so much for voicing your support in the reviews, hearing such great feedback from you guys was humbling and rewarding in knowing that people were curious and excited about the potential of this story. Me too.
Won't lie, writing children is a weakness of mine, I always get them sounding too young or too mature. So sorry if it comes across too jarring, especially concerning Tyrion with reading/maester lessons since he's only 3ish. Can/Will look to edit/change later if needed.
So as you know by now we're dealing with an OOC Cersei, but she still contains some of the traits we're familiar with from the books/show they're just being used/directed differently. Also writing her character in this story has been a fun challenge in seeing how much could change with her if her mother survived among other things that will/have changed from this AU.
Until next time,