A Dragon's Roar
The Red Keep was quiet.
Queen Rhaella let out a small, but content sigh when she knew it was safe. When she knew, she was safe. Her husband, her king, Aerys had set out to Lannisport to attend a tournament that Lord Tywin Lannister was gracious enough to host and throw in celebration of the newly born prince Viserys.
Alone and free, she was nearly giddy with the realization that she'd have this for the next few days. She was in her son's chambers where Viserys was sleeping peacefully. She was resting on a sofa in front of a hearth, the embroidery she was working on was resting on the empty cushion beside her.
She had dismissed the servants who tended to her or Viserys, they left with little hesitance. While the honor of staying behind and missing the tournament fell on Ser Harlan Grandison who stood just outside the chamber doors. The Kingsguard knight and a little less than two dozen guards remained in the Red Keep to protect her and the newborn prince.
Rhaella couldn't remember the last time the Red Keep had been so peaceful and still. It gave her a rare opportunity and she relished the quiet, tranquility that seemed to settle over the Keep in the absence of her husband, her king. A feeling she knew she wasn't alone in sharing. Rhaella could see it in the postures of the few servants and guards who remained behind. In how they moved or talked, as if a burden had been lifted from them, that burden being the looming shadow of her husband.
When her husband had decided that neither she nor Viserys would attend, she accepted his decision with a bowed head and a curtsey. Thanking him for considering her health and their new son's safety. Rhaella wasn't sure those had been his intentions when he made his choice, but it did not matter to her.
Rhaella had learned long ago to not try to dwell on the reasoning or the thinking of her husband. When they were young, and only knew each other as brother and sister, he was always so unpredictable, one morning he'd have an idea, by nightfall it'd be forgotten and it'd be on to something else.
She remembered a time when she like so many others were enraptured by the dreams and visions that a young Aerys spun. His idealism was infectious, and he had a way of making you believe they could happen even if appeared to be impossible. Each idea as grandiose as the last, with a passionate spirit that artists would envy. But the burning passion that fueled his dreams were fires that burned bright before dying just as quickly.
He was a dreamer and it was those ideas that captured his attention. He found what others called normal, boring and mundane to him. Why focus on ruling? Settling disputes and listening to petitions, there was nothing to that that fascinated him. So, his Hand, Lord Tywin ruled, and Aerys dreamed.
She did not envy Lord Tywin the task of having to host her husband for this tournament. Aerys was fickle and sensitive, what he liked one day, he'd hate the next. Meanwhile, Rhaella would enjoy her freedom without having to worry about upsetting her husband these next few days.
The only thing that would've made this time better would be if she had all her children with her, but she knew that was too selfish of a dream. She could not deny Rhaegar or Daeron to attend just because she wanted them to herself without her husband's interference.
My two pillars, she thought fondly, Rhaegar and Daeron, the two pillars that gave her the support and strength she needed while the foundation she had built with Aerys continued to crumble. And now I have three, a smile touched her lips at the mention of her newborn son, Viserys.
Said baby was sleeping peacefully in his cradle. She looked down at her discarded embroidery, she was making a blanket for Viserys, red and black, with the proud Targaryen dragon emblazoned on it. Though, where she paused in her work, it didn't quite resemble a dragon but a headless dog.
With that realization, a laugh burst from her lips, she nearly found herself dizzy with mirth unable to recall the last time she had laughed so freely. A true, sincere laugh was a beautiful sound and hers she had barely heard these last couple of years, living with Aerys in the Red Keep there was little use for laughter.
When her mirth subsided, she looked once more at her sewing. It was slow work, but it was busy work. She had time to finish it, time to perfect it. Rhaella had so much time. Her mother, Queen Shaera had been the one who taught her needlework and the blessings it could have.
It had also been her mother, who had tried to comfort her when her father, King Jaehaerys had decided and insisted that like with her parents before her, she and her brother Aerys would wed.
Who better to marry then someone who you've known all your life? She had told Rhaella while she cried into her pillow at her father's decision. When that did not stop her tears, her mother stopped in her kindness, tears will make a poor veil for your wedding day.
Bonifer Hasty, the name came to her like a whisper before drifting away on the wind. My knight, he had named me his Queen and when he could not have me, he chose the Faith of the Seven over marriage. Her heart quickened with his loyalty and his devotion to her, feelings that Aerys never considered for her or inspired in her for him.
If only I could be so free to have chosen who I could've married. When the betrothal had been announced, in her dreams it was Bonifer not Aerys who was her husband. They lived in a small house in the Crownlands, he tended to the fields while she cooked and cared for their children. She didn't need exotic silks or jewels, just him.
Even after she married Aerys over the years, the dreams lingered. And while Aerys exerted his control over her freedom and movement, he couldn't stop her from what to think. Bonifer was her refuge. He made her feel safe and appreciated. He loved her, and that was all she had wanted.
And in the end, it was those dreams that had brought down the gods' punishment down onto her.
When the stillbirths started to come, she feared it was her punishment from the gods for having such immoral thoughts towards a man who wasn't her husband. Aerys had concluded she was unfaithful to him. Physically she never had been, but emotionally, it had been with Bonifer, he had her heart and her dreams.
So, she put Bonifer aside in her heart, once and for all, burying her affection deep within her so she could do her duty to Aerys, for the realm, and then her sons came, first Rhaegar, and then Daeron, and now Viserys.
Even after Rhaegar and before Daeron, she endured the heartbreak of miscarriages, and after Daeron, she buried not one, but two children who survived the birthing, only to perish, in the following weeks and months afterwards. The gods still punish me for my sin.
Aegon and Jaehaerys, she gave them names, and the gods her prayers, but it hadn't been enough to save them.
My children died because I could not love my husband.
Grief filled her heart, pushing away those dark memories, and wiping away tears she found wet on her cheeks. Rhaella stood up and made her way over to her son's crib to check on him.
She looked down to see him sleeping, jumbled up in his blankets, blissfully unaware of the world around him. My baby prince, she reached down her hand and as gentle as a touch of a feather, she brushed her fingers along the side of his cheek. He stirred, a sleepy murmur followed, but he did not wake.
Three sons, a sense of pride washed over her, warm and soothing. I've done my duty for the realm. I've been a good wife to my husband, and will be a good mother to our sons.
Madness and greatness, her father's voice whispered in her ear, they are two sides of the same coin. Every time a new Targaryen is born, the gods toss the coin the air and the world holds its breath to see how it will land.
The old saying from her father caused her happiness to be snuffed out in an instant. Madness and greatness, she remembered, is this the fate of my sons? she feared, Between Rhaegar and Daeron is one destined to rise to greatness while the other falls to madness?
No, she lurched back, she felt cold fingers around her heart, as the fear tightened its grip. Not them, she prayed to the gods. Let them be great!
Rhaella looked around the room for solace, for refuge, there she saw the stone dragons above the hearth looking down at her with cold eyes.
It runs in the blood, they whispered to her.
"NO!" She shouted. Her heart drumming against her ribs, she fell backwards, onto a cushioned chair by her son's crib.
She blinked, pushing away her silvery hair that had fallen over her face to see a concerned Ser Harlan standing in her room. His hand on the hilt of his sword, while his eyes darted around the room for any signs of danger or intruders. "What's wrong?"
"It's nothing, Ser Harlan," she lied, feeling terrible for having let her fears get such control over her. She could tell the aged knight was not convinced, "I fell asleep," she let out a sheepish laugh, that almost sounded genuine to her ears, "And was awoken by a nightmare."
"I see," his eyes were still looking around the room, as he silently processed her story, but when he saw no proof to expose her lie, he nodded, "Very well, Your Grace," he dropped his hand from the hilt of his sword, "If you need me, I'll be outside."
She gave him a genuine smile. He was one of her favorites, preferring him over Hightower or Derry. "Thank you, Ser Harlan."
"Your Grace," he slipped out of her room as quietly as he had come in.
When the door closed behind him, she let out a long sigh, running her hands over her face, as she chided herself for losing control like that. Not wanting to dwell on her outburst or the thoughts that led it to her, she pushed them aside, and brought her attention back to her son.
Getting up from the chair, she was relieved to see Viserys had not woken from her shout. In that moment, she recalled the conversation with her son, Daeron before he left for the tournament.
"He sleeps a lot," Daeron complained.
"He's a baby," she told him, "They need their sleep."
"When will be able to do something?" Daeron looked down at his sleeping brother.
"When he's older." She assured him. At three and ten, her second oldest son was nearly as tall as her, and she was certain would pass her this year, and keep on growing.
"Like me," he mumbled under his breath.
"Still upset that you cannot ride in the tournament?"
"No," he denied, but when his eyes turned to her, she could see the guilt come to his face at his lie, "I mean, yes."
"Let these men have their glories now," she smiled at him, "Because when you're older you will win them all."
He perked up at that, clearly pleased about that enticing possibility. "I suppose that's fair." He smiled.
"More than fair," she kissed his brow. "At the tournament, you will just have to settle for being their prince, and not their knight."
"I can do that."
"That's my son," she was amazed at how quickly he's grown. From the babe, she once held in her arms, to now a boy at three and ten, on the cusp of manhood, who yearned to be a knight.
The smile that was on his face left in an instant at the sound of that voice. "Father," Daeron's posture stiffened, and his head bowed at the sudden presence of his father.
Aerys walked into the room, his hair long and silver, the crown nestled atop his head, his purple eyes scrutinizing the son who stood before him. "Are you packed?"
"Took you long enough," Aerys' caustic tone was casual in its delivery. "Rhaegar was packed hours ago," his lips curled. "Your brother didn't need me to send a messenger."
"I'm sorry, father," Daeron's shoulders slumped at his father's criticism and his comparison to his older brother. "I am ready."
It was a game to him, she knew, Aerys enjoyed pitting the brothers against one another, to have them vie for his affection, for his favor when he bothered to give them any attention. And then when he grew bored of it, he'd put them aside until the next time he wanted to amuse himself. Unaware or uncaring of the damage it had caused to his sons and their relationship.
"You should've been ready earlier," Aerys reprimanded. "Mayhaps, you should stay here as punishment.
"No, father," the words slipped out before he could stop himself, as his face clearly showed he shouldn't have said that out loud.
"No?" Aerys' eye twitched, "I am the king!" He pointed an angry finger at him. "Not you, insolent brat!"
Aerys' anger was a terrible thing. It was like a bolt of lightning, quick and devastating with its burst before disappearing just as quickly. Its damage done and forcing those who suffered from it to try to recover.
Like my sons, the thought angered her.
Rhaella could take no more. She put her hands on her son's shoulders, comforting him, an act which she knew would get Aerys' attention, and she wasn't disappointed. His eyes snapped towards her, filled with annoyance. She ignored his stare, gently pulling her son into her chest, allowing her to hug him from behind.
"It's alright, Daeron," she soothed him, feeling his shoulders trembling beneath her touch. "You can stay here," silently hopeful her son would remain quiet, "We'll have fun, so much fun," she could feel Aerys' eyes on her, boring into her, but she would not flinch under them. "We can go to the Blackwater. You can swim, you always enjoyed that."
"No," Aerys' words were cold and sharp. "He will not be staying with you," his lips peeled back to show a triumphant smile, believing he had denied her what she wanted. "The boy is coming with me."
"As you say," she bowed her head, stopping her own smile from forming.
"Go off to bed, Daeron," his father told him. "We leave at first light."
"I still haven't said my goodbyes," Daeron objected meekly.
"Your mother is needed."
Rhaella's blood ran cold at that tone. She knew what that meant, and whatever triumph she felt at tricking Aerys to make sure he brought Daeron deflated in an instant.
"She has to perform her wifely duties."
I did my duty, she wanted to shout, I've given you three sons, Aerys, now give me peace. But she didn't say that, instead, she resigned herself to her fate, "Go on, darling," she encouraged Daeron. "Off to bed, you have an early day tomorrow."
At that, Rhaella returned to the present. Satisfied, Viserys was well, she returned to the couch before the hearth, and picked up her needles. Beginning the stitching, but the reminder of what happened after her time with her son could not be so easily ignored.
After Daeron had left, Aerys had taken her-roughly. Her fingers brushed along one of the bruises that had formed on her arm from his tenderness.
She had laid there quietly and unmoving, knowing whimpering or any sort of reaction could set him off, the capricious man that he was. She shut her eyes, and did her duty, and when it was over, and she felt his seed spill inside her, she heard the name he cried out in the darkness-Joanna.
Casterly Rock was bustling.
Joanna Lannister was the calm, center of a storm of frenzied servants who moved this way and that to prepare for the noble guests that would be attending the tournament at Lannisport to honor the newborn prince, Viserys Targaryen. It wasn't the noble guests on her mind, but the royal guests.
A sense of trepidation tentatively touched her heart, cold and fleeting. She brushed it aside as quickly as it came, Joanna Lannister was not one to let fear control her. She was not one to let it manipulate her. No, she was one who relied on her intellect to defend her, and this was no different.
Even if the reason for that brief feeling of trepidation was a king. The arrival of Aerys Targaryen always stirred a mixture of feelings for the Lady of Casterly Rock. She knew him before he was a king, when he was a prince during their time in King's Landing, where she had found him charming and handsome.
Different days, she mused, moving throughout her room, and putting final touches onto her appearance before she stepped out of her chambers and took on the mantle of Lady of the Rock to welcome and entertain the guests that would be joining them this evening.
One guest in particular continued to nag at her mind while she tried to keep herself busy. Aerys, was not one to be easily forgotten, she smiled at that, knowing it could serve as a compliment or an insult to the king's infamous character.
He had wanted her, Joanna had always known that. She knew he had cast his eye on her when they were still young and in King's Landing, preferring her to his betrothed, his sister, the princess Rhaella, and didn't care that Joanna was promised to Tywin. Even after Aerys was married, his new bride didn't seem able to sate his lusts that stirred within him that still remained directed at Joanna.
She'd be lying if she said, she never entertained the notion of Aerys as a lover. What woman wouldn't want the title of Queen? One of the few roles where a woman had some semblance of power, but despite Aerys' protests to his betrothed, and his desire for Joanna, he followed through with his parents' wishes and married Rhaella, and when they said their vows, Joanna crushed any further interest in Aerys.
She' d take him as her husband, as her king, but she would not sully herself as a mistress, as some woman who he kept her around in the Red Keep till he grew bored with her. No, Joanna Lannister would not allow herself to be put in that role. To lose her value just as means to entertain Aerys until his interest in her left, and he moved on to the next woman.
Besides, it was Tywin not Aerys who had won her heart, cunning and ambitious, he made for a better match then the King. It was Tywin who had earned Joanna's respect not their king. He understood how to rule. She saw it with his skilled handling of the Tarbeck and Reyne Rebellion. He knew what message that needed to be delivered to his unruly bannermen so that they understood that House Lannister was not one to mock.
It was a harsh, ruthless message, but the Westerlands had it coming. They needed to hear it. The arrogance of the houses Tarbeck and Reyne brought their deaths, not Tywin.
Tywin was not capricious in nature, but calculating, and as Lord of Casterly Rock, Warden of the West, and Hand of the King, he wielded tremendous power in his own right. Tywin was also wise enough to listen to council and not consider it beneath him. He'd never say it, but he appreciated listening, letting others speak while he silently pondered their proposals, mentally going through with their plans and predicting their potential to succeed or fail in seconds. He would not speak himself until the end of these meetings there he would give his decision, sometimes agreeing with a suggestion another had made, others coming to his own conclusion.
It was a trait in her husband which Joanna found endearing, especially when that voice he heard was hers, she added that last thought while a smile played at her lips. The reminder brought her attention to a half-finished letter to Prince Doran which remained on her desk. She kept finding herself distracted in preparing for this tourney with her duties as Lady of the Rock. Whether it was overseeing the kitchens to plan the courses for tonight, the steward to help decide which guest would stay there, and a dozen or so other problems that cropped up and needed her attention.
She moved over to the desk where the letter rested, skimming over the contents of which she'd already put to paper, congratulating the Prince on the recent birth of his heir and daughter, Arianne. News that Joanna welcomed, having always admired how Dorne treated their women when it came to ruling.
One of her greatest friends had been the Princess Mariah Martell, Doran's mother, when she died, Joanna had wept and had mourned her for weeks. It had been their goal to unite their families, Dorne and the Westerlands in a betrothal between their children. An idea that Mariah's son, Doran was receptive to.
Despite having two children each to make the offer there was only really one match that would be well received and accepted by both parties, and that was the match between Princess Elia Martell, and her son, and heir to Casterly Rock, Jaime. The alternative between Oberyn and Cersei would never be approved by Tywin, even if she tried to win him over to it, but it was something she would not, because she found her thinking like his that it would be a poor match for them.
Jaime and Elia, Joanna allowed herself a smile at that potential betrothal, seeing through the desires of her friend, Mariah in binding their families together. She saw only benefits to this arrangement and knew that she could convince Tywin of its merits.
With that in mind, she folded the letter and placed it in her drawer, knowing she would not have time to finish it until possibly after the tournament.
Elia had come as a boon when she arrived to Casterly Rock years ago with her mother, and brother, Oberyn. Coming to Jaime's life at a time when he needed companionship as his rift with his twin sister, Cersei only worsened. It had been good to see him be drawn away from any feelings he may have had towards his sister and direct them at a more appropriate match like Elia.
Joanna tried not to dwell on the incident involving her twins, wanting to brush it aside as them being young and curious. Thankfully, over the years there seemed to be no further interest between them. Something she made certain to monitor, in case any such feelings cropped up again, but it looked as if her twins had directed their attention to pursuing others. Jaime with the Dornish Princess, and Cersei with the Crown Prince of the Seven Kingdoms.
She turned around at the happy voice to see her Tyrion standing in the doorway. "My little cub," She smiled at how his face lit up at her voice, bending down and opening her arms in an invitation that didn't need to be said out loud.
Tyrion waddled over to her, giggling as he went, eyes gleaming with mirth and when he was close enough, she picked him in her arms and held him close much to his delight, as his giggling only continued. She kissed his hair, "My little cub!"
He squirmed in his arms before letting out a small roar.
Joanna laughed, "What a roar!" She reluctantly pulled him away from her embrace so that she could see him, inspecting his appearance as he had been tasked to be dressed and ready before their guests arrived.
"And such a handsome lion too!" She added, his face split in a smile at that, she was pleased that he was properly dressed, all in red and gold, their colors, dancing lions stitched onto his doublet, his slacks were clean, hair washed, and shoes shined.
Satisfied, she hugged him again, who was quick to return the affection, his small arms wrapping around her neck as he nestled his head just under her chin. Was there a better feeling then holding your child in your arms? Joanna didn't think so, the love and happiness that filled her heart in such an embrace was always overwhelming, remembering similar feelings when Jaime and Cersei were younger and she was able to hold and caress them so easily.
Sadly, Tyrion would be her last. The complications of his birth made it all but impossible to have more children, a realization that had saddened her immensely in the days following his birth when she had been told by the maesters. Upon coming to grips with that hard truth, she threw more of her devotion and attention into her new baby son, who soaked up her affection like a sponge, her sweet, attentive Tyrion.
How could she be bitter or hold ill will towards him? What sort of mother would that have made her? It was not Tyrion's fault, sadly it was common for women to perish in the birthing bed.
She recalled after a few months of carrying Tyrion, voicing her discomfort and sharing her feelings with her husband that she was experience new problems with Tyrion then she hadn't had when she carried the twins.
At that, Tywin had spared no expense in making sure she and their child was taken care of, bringing more maesters from Old Town to Casterly Rock. As well as hiring healers from across the Narrow Sea from the Free Cities to come and share their expertise and experience. It was his way of protecting her, and she cherished it. Realizing, his decision very well may have been the cause of her and Tyrion surviving the challenging birthing.
He saved us, Joanna smiled, looking down at her beautiful son. She knew what others saw and said when it came to her Tyrion, words and looks that fueled a burning fire in her chest. He may be a dwarf, but he was still her son. He was still a Lannister. Something she had to remind Cersei, and it had been a bit challenging for her to show Tywin, but in the end, she'd convinced them both.
With those thoughts behind her, she focused once more on her son in front of her. "Are you ready for our guests?"
"Yes, mother," his hesitance was brief, but she still saw it.
She smoothed out his coarse, curly pale blond hair. "You're going to be a host, Tyrion."
"A host?" His face scrunched up. "What's that?"
"Yes," she smiled at those bright, inquisitive eyes, impressed with the intelligent gaze they gave. He was by far more clever then any three year old, that's what the maesters had to say. Words Joanna Lannister took with a pride only a mother could feel for her children. "We are welcoming guests into our homes for the next few days, and we will need to be accommodating to them."
"I will," Tyrion promised, "I can show them around!"
"What a marvelous idea!" She praised, noticing how his chest seemed to puff out at her words. She knew Tywin would be hesitant and may even try to refuse it, but she'd convince him of that folly. She'd just have to make sure Tyrion wasn't alone, perhaps have Jaime or Cersei come too, she trusted the twins in watching their younger brother and discouraging any sort of ridicule or disrespect one may try to show him.
"You, Jaime, and Cersei have made your father and I very proud."
"Really?" The disbelief in his voice made Joanna's heart yearn for her son.
"Of course," she wanted to smother that doubt, bringing him into another embrace, "Just yesterday, your father talked about how impressed he was by the reports the maesters had given on your lessons."
She had been encouraged when her husband had brought it up to her, but knew that his tone and how he said it could've been better. She knew she still faced some challenges when it came to Tywin and Tyrion, but every day she believed she was closing the gap between the father and son.
Tyrion beamed at that. "I always try my best."
"And we're very happy and proud of you for it."
Joanna and Tyrion turned to see it was Maester Desmond, who bowed his head, dressed in grey, his chains clinked against each other when he bowed. A short and stocky man, his black hair was kept short and slicked back by some tonic of his. While a beard covered his cheeks and chin, his blue eyes were alert and kind.
"I'm here for Master Tyrion," he gave her son a smile. "To finish our lesson that had been interrupted," his blue eyes sprinkled with amusement.
"Good timing, maester," Joanna valued Maester Desmond's council and intelligence, his added kindness to Tyrion only further endeared the man to her. She relied on his presence here to help run the household while her husband was at the capital to serve as the Hand.
"I'm sorry, maester," Tyrion apologized.
"It's quite alright, I remember being young and drawn to the wonders and splendors of tournaments," he chuckled at the memories of his younger self.
"I'll have someone come to collect him when the guests are near," Joanna told him.
"Of course, my lady."
"Be mindful to the maester, Tyrion," Joanna reminded her son, knowing it was hardly needed since her son was by all accounts an attentive and obedient student. She nonetheless knew it was prudent to remind him of his duties and expectations as her son and a Lannister.
"I will, mother."
She hugged him once more, relishing the hold his tiny arms around her neck before letting go. Maester Desmond then offered Tyrion his hand which her son took, as the two left her chambers to return to the maester's room to finish their last lesson.
"Mother?" Jaime came walking in seconds later, "Has there been word from any guests pending arrival?"
"Nice to see you too, darling," Joanna smiled, taking in her son's frazzled appearance. He was dressed well, she was pleased to see, in his red doublet with golden lions stitched, his hair looked a bit disheveled and she saw the reason for it when he dragged his fingers through it while a look of anxiousness flickered across his face.
"Sorry," he sent her a sheepish look.
"It's alright, dear," noticing he looked a bit distracted, and taking in his appearance he seemed to have rushed to her chambers. "There has been no word from any of our guests outside of the Westerlands." She saw how he deflated at that news, she decided not to comment on it, knowing he was looking forward to the arrival of a very particular guest.
"Oh," he looked down, clearly disappointed, "I'm sorry to bother you then mother."
She waved that apology off as soon as he said. "It's never a bother," she assured him, pleased when he smiled at her words. "I know your father can be stern when he is interrupted, but you shouldn't worry about interrupting me, ever."
"I won't, mother," Jaime brightened.
"Good," It was then that she noticed it, a smudge under her son's nose. "There's some dirt on your lip." Joanna moved to wipe it away.
"Mother!" Jaime protested, trying to evade her grip. He couldn't.
"Hold still," she held his arm with one hand and with the other, moved to clean his face, when she went to wipe the dirt, she realized it wasn't dirt, but her son's attempt at growing a moustache. "Ah."
Jaime wouldn't meet her eyes. "It's supposed to make me look older."
"Older?" She didn't even try to keep the amusement out of her tone. "Any reason?"
"No," Jaime declined quickly.
"It doesn't have to do with a certain princess?"
"Mother," Jaime groaned.
Joanna laughed, "My apologies."
"Cersei didn't like it either."
"I never said I didn't like it," She corrected her son.
"So, it looks good?"
"I didn't say that either," she said gently, "I just think you may need a few more years before you can grow a proper moustache or beard."
"I just… I just wanted her to think I was older," he said, "Not as the boy she met last time," He ducked his head, "That sounds silly."
"No, it doesn't," She cupped his cheeks, heart brimming with how sweet her boy sounded. "It sounds wonderful, but the Princess doesn't seem to be someone who likes a person just because of how they look."
"She doesn't," Jaime happily agreed, "She's nice and kind to all." His smile widened, eyes danced as they talked about the princess with such obvious fondness. "She didn't even flinch when she Tyrion," Jaime revealed, his voice softened at the mention of his younger brother who he adored. It was clear Elia's reaction to Tyrion was what helped to endear her to Jaime. "She said he was handsome."
"Princess Elia is a wonderful young woman," Joanna agreed. "She'd make a man a wonderful wife someday," watching her son closely when she spoke, and wasn't disappointed at the reaction it got out of Jaime. "But that day isn't today," she reminded him.
"I'll shave it," Jaime announced, his cheeks a bit red.
"Smart boy," she tousled his hair causing him to meet her eyes with a grateful smile. "And you do not need to concern yourself. You'll be the first person be informed when the Dornish party arrives.
Jaime grinned, "Thanks, mother." He then surprised her when he moved to hug her, an act which she cherished, embracing him tightly. As her twins grew older it was rarer for them to initiate the hug or willingness to return it with the same affection they did when they were younger.
She held her son close, confronting the surprising truth of how much her son's grown over the years. He was now a boy of two and ten, but it felt as if yesterday he was seven and begging her to read one more story to him before bedtime.
Finally, the embrace ended, and Jonna looked down at her son, smiling, heart brimming with pride at the young man before her. "Now off you go," she moved her hands in a shooing gesture.
Jaime laughed, "I'm going," he promised, as he moved towards the door, he stopped when he was there, "Remember to tell me."
"I promised, didn't I?" She had her hands on her hips.
Still smiling, he slipped out of the room and went off back to his chambers.
Soon, she thought, if all goes well by the end of this tournament, her daughter would be betrothed to the Crown Prince, and her son, and heir would be promised to Elia, the Dornish Princess.
A/N: I wanted to try to explore these two characters we know little about, and add some believable depth and breathe life into them. Hope you guys didn't mind and enjoyed it.
Thanks for reading,
P.S: For those curious here is a select timeline for 'A Dragon's Roar,' so you can see births and how old the characters are. Some have been altered to better accommodate this story. I hope no one minds.
252: Doran Martell is born
259: Rhaegar Targaryen is born.
261: Elia Martell is born
262: Oberyn Martell is born
262: Prince Aerys Targaryen is crowned King Aerys the Second
263: Daeron Targaryen is born
264: Cersei and Jaime Lannister are born
267: Tywin inherits the Lordship of Casterly Rock