AN: So, here is the new chapter. Hope you enjoy and please do leave a review or comment, and let me know what you think!

If you have any specific questions or suggestions, please feel free to PM me.

Also as a tag, when I have the time I am going to be dipping into some of my older chapters cleaning up the grammar and typos that I missed in the past. Nothing major will change, just a bit of polished and minor editing.

But yeah, otherwise, please do enjoy. I've run this through Grammarly so it should be okay, but if you spot any mistakes do let me know.

Disclaimer: I do not own Percy Jackson, Game of Thrones or A Song of Ice and Fire.

( - )

(Last Time)

"I, well, she doesn't have one yet, Your Grace," Ros said, her cheeks flushing red with embarrassment. "I didn't know what would happen, or whether-" Her voice choked in her throat, and her eyes turned a little shiny from unshed tears.

Reaching out, he gently took her small, slim hand in his own.

"What would you like to call her?" He asked gently.

Ros took a deep breath and shook her head. "I don't know. I never knew my mother, and most of the girls I know are…, well…" She took another breath to collect herself and forced a smile. "Do you have a name in mind, Your Grace?"

Percy smiled as he looked over at the crib again.

One name immediately jumped to mind.

"How about..."

( - )

Chapter 34

( - )

It was a dark and cold night. A spooky, icy mist had rolled in from the gently lapping sea. Chilling anyone foolish enough to be out on the streets to the bone and engulfing most of the bay within its impenetrable swirling grip.

In response to the inclement weather conditions, the nobility and wealthier citizens had taken shelter from the biting cold in their well-built, stone townhouses safe behind the port's defensive walls, with servants to care for their every need.

The poor, meanwhile, just huddled around the hearths in their hovels outside of the city walls, desperately feeding the flames with their stocks of firewood to stave off the coming winter. Or, if they were still cold or too miserly to burn through their stores of firewood, they crowded into taverns at the docks alongside all visiting sailors and the poorer merchants.

Only the foolish were out on the streets of Lannisport that night. The foolish and the men of the city watch – or 'the red cloaks' as they were colloquially known – who were unfortunate enough to be on patrol duty that night.

Thomas was one such redcloak, and at nearly forty namedays he was a veteran one at that.

Resting the shaft of his spear against his shoulder, Thomas took a moment to rub his gloved hands together and blow into them as he bit back a foul curse, even as he glared out at the dark, mist-covered sea.

He was currently patrolling the merchant docks with three other redcloaks. This was their second loop, and just like before there was nobody stupid enough to be out that night. Nobody but them, and the occasional mangy-looking fox.

"Fuck this," Thomas grumbled to himself.

His lips were chapped which made talking painful, and his cheeks were stinging from the chill wind.

"Chin up Tom. The patrol will soon be over," Mikael, a fellow guardsman replied cheerfully.

Thomas sent the younger man a sour look as he grabbed hold of his spear again.

Mikael was more than ten years his junior and still retained the reckless confidence and optimism of youth.

Shaking his helmeted head, Thomas bit back a nasty reply and instead continued walking.

He hated patrol duty.

Right now, he could be warm and toasty in a tavern drinking hot mead and eating some good hearty food.

But alas, it was not to be.

Fate had never been his friend. Not when he was younger and had wanted to be a squire and later a knight – commoners didn't become knights. Nor when he was a man grown and had pursued the woman he loved, only for her to marry a rich, old merchant instead and move with him to King's Landing. Turns out gold was worth more to women than genuine love and devotion.

Thomas felt his lip curl as old thoughts and hurts resurfaced.

As he got older, the regrets from his past only seemed to weigh on him more with every year that passed.

At this point, it felt more like was living in his past, which was full of bitter regret and self-loathing, than he was in his miserable present.

"Oi, what's that!" Mikael's grating voice cut out again.

Scowling as he was brought out of his morbid thoughts, Thomas glanced back at the younger man irritably, only to see him pointing out into the mist-covered bay.

Turning, Thomas looked in the direction the lad was gesturing and frowned.

There were a lot of clouds that night hiding the light from the moon, and with the mist hanging thickly across the bay, it made seeing anything but shadows impossible.

Still, as he squinted out across the large bay and ignored the mist, he could feel soaking through his mail and underclothing, he did spot something in the dense fog.

A large shape was looming through the mists, only visible now due to the distant light coming from the nearby taverns and torches.

"A ship maybe," Thomas muttered as he tightened his grip on the shaft of his spear.

"But they're sailing silently, and have no torches," Will, another of the redcloaks with him, muttered as he walked over to stand at his side.

"Raiders," Thomas growled, his eyes narrowing. He was old enough to remember the Ironborn Rebellion and the brutal attack on Lannisport, and so knew a raid when he saw one. "Blow the warning horn."

"Right," Mikael nodded quickly grabbing the horn at his hip and blowing a long, powerful note that echoed out across the bay.

Ignoring the warning call, Thomas's eyes widened and the grip on his spear became white-knuckled as several other black ships emerged from the darkness.

Yes, he recognised the design of the ships. They were graceful, long, narrow, and light, with a shallow-draft hull designed for both speed and to allow for easy navigation in coastal waters. They were boats that had been perfectly designed for a single purpose. Raiding and pillaging.

His heart started thudding quickly.

The warning horn sounded out a second time.

Again, he ignored it and the commotion he could hear behind him as people started to spill out onto the streets to see what was happening.

Instead, he just continued to watch as a dozen more longships emerged from the fog.

There was a whole armada.

His mouth felt dry as the third horn blast echoed across the bay calling the garrison to arms and warning the citizens of an imminent attack.

Panic started to spread as those in the streets fled toward the keep, or to find safety behind the city walls.

All around him, there was complete chaos.

Despite that though, he couldn't look away as the fleet's flagship exploded out of the mist and forced its way into the bay.

The ship was gigantic and was many times the size of the longships around it.

It looked to be made of dark wood and had multiple billowing black sails with a Kraken emblazoned across the front.

Behind it, other large ships started to emerge from the darkness, all of them bearing the sigil of the golden kraken.

The moment he saw them, Thomas knew they were doomed.

Those ships were too large to just raid in.

No, these vessels were the type that formed the core of the infamous and much-feared Iron Fleet.

His mouth felt dry as the enormity of what was happening settled on his shoulders.

Now that they had been spotted the raiders on the ship were no longer silent.

Instead, as the ships drew closer, he could hear those on board chanting.

"What is dead may never die."

"What is dead may never die."

"What is dead may never die."

It was more of a dirge or even a prayer than a warcry.

"What is dead may never die."

"What is dead may never die."

"What is dead may never die."

The chanting was growing louder as the dozens of ships drew closer to the docks.

A chill went down his spine, even as he saw the first flaming ballistae bolt fly through the air as those manning the walls finally started doing their jobs.

Behind him, he could hear footsteps as the gates to the city were temporarily opened to allow the panicking masses in and garrison out as more red cloaks headed for the docks bearing spears and shields.

The garrison was on the way, but even as the men assembled and the citizenry fled, a part of him knew it would be futile.

What could a few hundred spears do against the entire Iron Fleet?


Their best bet would be to buy time for the citizenry to retreat to safety, and then do a fighting retreat, and abandon the docks and lower part of the city – the area outside of the walls – to the mercy of the Iron Fleet.

"Shield wall!" He shouted.

His fellow red cloaks ran up to him and started interlocking their shields, even as other sergeants in the city watch took up his call.

The castellan had not yet emerged from his keep with his men-at-arms, nor had the captain of the city watch arrived on the scene. Which left the command of the assembled guardsman somewhat nebulous.

It had been a long time since the port was raided, and that period of peace had taken its toll.

Gritting his teeth, Thomas brought his spear against his shield and started to make a loud banging noise.

Those around him copied him, and soon enough they were creating a rhythmic crash of weapons on wood that helped to drown out the Ironborn's chanting.

They were getting closer.

Sweat trickled down his brow despite the cold.

They were so close now that he could actually see the features of some of those on board.

Their skin was a ghastly white colour, and their eyes were glazed and shadowed in darkness. Black bile seemed to dribble from their mouths, and the veins on their flesh stood out like black spiderwebbing against their alabaster skin.

They looked like they were dead.

Fear clawed at his soul.

"The fuck!" Will shouted as he too caught sight of the raiders.

There were so many of them.

Too many.

"Fighting retreat!" Thomas roared.

Bracing his legs, he prepared to receive the raiders.

Overhead he could see yet more arrows and bolts starting to fly.

Their shield wall had started to spread as more and more men rushed down from the barracks' to join them, and as a hastily formed militia further reinforced the lines.

If they broke discipline and retreated now, they would be overrun with ease.

At the same time, there were too many raiders for them to hold off.

The only thing they could do was to smash back the Ironborn's first assault, and slowly retreat back to the city wall.

Once they were within its shadow, the defenders on the wall could pour down death on the lightly armoured Ironborn.

And if that still didn't work, they could open the portcullis and allow the guard to slip back behind the walls before dropping the heavy, wrought iron gate once again.

There was still a chance he could make it out of this alive.

Clinging onto that thought, Thomas watched as the fleet drew close.

They were nearly at the shore, and already arrows and bolts from ballistae had started whipping through the air from the fleet. They scattered off shields or punctured through them in the case of the heavier bolts.

The defenders continued responding in kind, and Thomas could only watch as arrows peppered those on board the ship.

But despite many arrows finding their mark not many of those struck fell.

With a crash, the ships started to hit the beach, and lightly armoured men wielding shields and axes and maces leapt off the side of their and rushed the shield wall roaring incoherently.

There was no fear or hesitation in their black eyes as they charged straight at a wall of iron-studded wooden shields bristling with spears.

First, there were only a couple of dozen that made it to the shield wall, and those few were easily repelled. But, as more ships reached the shore the numbers rapidly grew, even as fiery bolts hurtled off the ships and struck some of the buildings deeper in the lower city.

Shoving his shield forward as the first man reached him, Thomas put the fucker on the ground and thrust his spear forward and into one of the raiders behind the downed man.

The spear blade took the screaming, bearded madman through the throat.

Wrenching his spear back alongside his fellow soldiers, he repeated the process, one arm holding his shield steady even as the other repetitively thrust forward into the swarming crowd of killers in front of him.

Behind him he could feel rank-smelling breath on the back of his neck as the man behind him shoved his shield into his back and pushed forward, helping him brace himself against the mass of raiders trying to break through the shield wall.

Breathing heavily, Thomas's breath hitched as a heavy axe blade slammed into the metal rim of his shield.

Growling, he shoved forward and jabbed with his spear, only for his spear to be ripped from his hand by one of his angry attackers.

Drawing his sword, he grimaced.

They smelt awful, like rotting flesh and seaweed.

They looked awful too. The veins on their face were blackened, as were the tips of their fingers. Their flesh was a greyish white, and worst of all were their eyes. There were no whites in their eyes, only darkness.

With a thud, a bearded axe hooked onto the top of his shield.

Grunting he tried to hold on as his shield was ripped forward creating a gap through which a familiar raider shoved through with a grimy short sword in hand.

Black blood was bubbling from a wound in his neck and yet more black bile was dripping from his screaming maw.

It was the same raider he had killed at the start of the fight.

"By the Mother," Thomas whispered, his eyes wide as the man lunged forward with a manic smile and thrust his sword up through his groin and into his guts.

Screaming in pain as his attacker sawed his blade back and forth, Thomas felt his legs give out.

The only reason he had not fallen was because the guardsman behind him was shoving him forward with the same force his attacker was pushing him back.

Gasping as he was pinned in place, Thomas felt the life quickly leaving his body.

The last thing Thomas heard before the darkness took him was the ringing of the city bells, and the screaming of the men around him as the mass of crazed Ironborn raiders broke through the shield wall and started their massacre.

The defences had failed.

The lower city had fallen.

( - )

(With Percy)

It was still somewhat early in the morning when the sound of clashing blades woke him.

Groaning and yawning, Percy pushed himself out of his bed and onto his feet.

The room was still warm thanks to the still glowing embers in the hearth.

His bed however was cold, and empty, despite thick fur covers that had been thrown over it.

Rolling his shoulders, and clearing his throat with a chesty cough, Percy rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and headed for the shuttered windows.

After having spent a little time with Ros, his sister and his daughter the night before. He and his men had been taken to one of Winterfell's many towers, where they had then been given the complete run of the place for the duration of his stay.

It provided a sense of privacy and separation for all parties.

And naturally, after settling in, he'd been given the best room on the top floor of the tower. While his men had ended up squabbling and negotiating about who got the other rooms.

His lips twitched up into a slight smile at just how juvenile they could all act when behind closed doors. His men were trained killers and veterans, and yet when no one was looking they sometimes behaved like stubborn teenagers.

In many ways, he was no better. Mentally he was far older than them, even if physically he was the youngest of the group. Yet despite that, he could still be just as immature. But then again sometimes, when out of sight of judging eyes, it was nice to act out and be stupid.

Shaking his head at that thought, he pushed open the shutters and looked down at the dirt-covered training yard below.

Finding the source of the commotion, his smile widened.

It seemed he was not the only early riser.

From where he was standing, he could see two armour-clad figures already working up a sweat in the training yard.

Leaning forward, his smile turned slightly more amused as he spotted how short and thin one of the fighters down below was.

They were wearing a helmet and some padded leather armour, but despite that he could still recognise the figure by both how they stood, and the way they doggedly chased who he now recognised as the recently returned Jon Snow across the training yard.

It was the young Arya Stark, the second and youngest daughter of House Stark.

Chuckling to himself at the distinctly unladylike behaviour, he continued to watch for a while.

He had heard about Arya training with some Bravosi sword master back at King's Landing when her father was still the Hand of the King.

At the time though he hadn't put much stock in the rumour.

Ned Stark had not struck him as a particularly liberally minded man.

From what little he had seen he was a good man and had probably been a good father too who most likely doted on his daughters.

But he had also come across as stubborn-minded and dutiful.

Ned Stark, like most of the other Lords of Westeros, didn't seem all that progressive. Instead, he came across as a man who devoutly stuck to tradition and custom. He hadn't come across as the type of Lord that would allow his daughter to learn how to fight.

Apparently, though, he had been wrong.

Or maybe young Arya Stark learning to fight was a new thing or something she kept hidden?

It could be either, really.

Not that it really mattered much.

What Arya Stark did was of no concern to him.

Letting out a misty breath of air as he watched Jon Snow continue to teach his half-sister the way of the sword, he pushed himself up again.

The sight of them sparring did make him start to think though.

Would he be a good father?

He wet his lips at that thought.

He honestly wasn't sure of the answer.

When he met his daughter last night. He hadn't known what to think or how to feel. And when he had later held her… well, he was still processing all that had happened.

It might be stupid, but for some reason, he hadn't ever thought he would be a father this soon.

He hadn't thought the womanising he had done in the past would come back to bite him like it had.

In hindsight, he had been a colossal moron.

In more ways than one.

Sighing, he scratched at the stubble on his chin.

Now that he had met the girl, he didn't think he could find it within himself to deny her or abandon her.

He couldn't do to his daughter what his own father – Poseidon – had done to him.

Unfortunately, it was not so easy.

Anne, his daughter, was illegitimate.

In the eyes of many, she was the bastard daughter of a former whore.

The Court in King's Landing would never accept her, and the Tyrells….

His brow furrowed at the thought of his wife's grasping, greedy family.

He liked Margaery. She was a kind, sweet girl who seemed to have a genuinely good nature beneath all the cunning and ambition that her grandmother had fostered in her. He even thought he could one day grow to love her.

He didn't mind her brother's either.

Or at least the ones he had met.

Garlan was boring but pleasant enough.

And Loras, although a massive tool, was alright in small doses.

Olenna and Mace Tyrell though, he wasn't so sure about.

Olenna Tyrell the Queen of Thorn's was cunning, crafty and ruthlessly ambitious. In many ways, she was as dangerous as Tywin. Only unlike his grandfather she worked in the shadows using guile and subtlety, as opposed to force and ruthless brutality.

In many ways, she was an ever-present threat. But at the same time, she was also useful and so long as their goals were aligned, she was a very good ally to have. And for the moment at least, their goals were the same. They both wanted the realm to prosper and remain stable. They also both wanted their dynasties to continue.

Not that he trusted that to remain the case forever.

She was too conniving and ambitious, and although not as violent as Tywin she was just as ruthless as him when it came to pursuing her ambitions and destroying anything that got in her way. And that anything could include a daughter born to the king out of wedlock, no matter how little of a threat such a child might offer.

Her son, Mace meanwhile, was a grasping, greedy little shit. He wasn't as clever or cunning as his mother, but he also wasn't quite as stupid as she tried to make out either. One thing they both had in common though, was ambition. Mace, like his mother, wouldn't hesitate to stab someone in the back, even an ally, if it meant advancing his cause.

Percy wet his lips.

On the field of battle, there was little he feared. Especially in the new world, he found himself in. One where gods remained hands-off and disinterested, magic was a rarity, and the average man paled in strength compared to a pseudo demigod such as himself.

But when it came to dealing with courtly intrigue, he was self-aware enough to know that he was a bit too much like his grandfather when it came to dealing with political bullshit.

Like Tywin he relied on brute force and pre-emptive strikes to get his way and bullied anyone who stood up to him into compliance with threats of violence if he had to.

It was not a pleasant way of going about things, and he liked to think he wasn't anywhere near as needlessly cruel as his grandfather. But it also got results. It was a tactic that had worked very well for him so far as it had allowed him to end threats before they could fully establish themselves and crush any and all resistance before it had a chance to become entrenched.

But it was also a tactic that only worked as well as it had because he'd had the initiative and had managed to strike before his enemies could ready themselves.

Things had now changed though.

Now that he had secured his rule and consolidated his position, he no longer had the initiative. Instead, he was stuck playing defender now as his enemies slunk in the shadows plotting against him. On top of that he had Seven Kingdoms to rule, nobles to mediate for, policies to dictate, alliances to maintain, and the expansion of the realm to oversee.

In many ways, it was already starting to happen.

Previously, he had managed to head off the escalating trouble in both Dorne and the Vale before things got out of control.

But the same couldn't be said for what was happening with the Iron Islands – who were on the verge of open rebellion. Or to the growing threat in Essos – the Targaryen girl had two dragons, an army of unsullied, slaves and Dothraki, and had now joined up with the traitor Stannis and his fleet. And now, in addition to the threats from the west and east, he also had the White Walkers in the north to deal with too. Only unlike the Targaryen in the East and the wannabe Vikings in the west, the necromantic ice zombies in the north were far more dangerous.

The Ironborn, he knew, could be dealt with. It might be a pain. But he was confident that with enough resources, and with the aid of Lannister and Redwyne fleets, he could put the Ironborn down once and for all. The fight would be certainly messy, especially when it came to purging the islands. But it was still a mortal threat and so eminently doable.

The Targaryen girl, likewise, was a problem. Especially with her dragons, Stannis and the fanatics of R'Hllor backing her. But like with the Ironborn, she could be managed. After all, the Narrow Sea stood between Westeros and her horde, and now that they had taken and nearly secured the Stepping Stones. They were the ones who controlled the Narrow Sea.

Admittedly her two dragons were a danger to the Royal Fleet. But she wasn't the only one who had dragons, and once Oz was large enough, he would ride out on him and face down the Targaryen horde before they even had a chance to step foot on Westeros. And if need be, he could use his abilities to turn the sea against her fleet, even if doing so meant contending against the will of a Sea God.

The Ironbron and Targaryens were problems that needed to be dealt with but they were still at least mortal problems.

The same could not be said of the undead scourge north of the Wall.

He didn't know much about them, save what Leaf and Jon had told him, but from what he had heard, he was concerned.

He shook his head.

He was worrying too much.

After all, the White Walkers were the whole reason he was in Winterfell, to begin with, and were the reason why he wanted to liaise with Robb and the other Lords of the North and sort out the creation of a defensive line.

If they could use the Wall and the resources in the North, Riverlands and Vale to hold back the White Walkers long enough for him to nip the other threats in the bud or beat them down into a more manageable state. Then that would buy him enough time to then gather an army in the south and march them up to the North to help push back the White Walkers and keep them locked behind the Wall without worrying about a threat from behind.

He mussed up his hair and looked down at the training yard again at that thought.

The situation was in hand.

And now that he had spoken to Jon Snow, he at least had a rough timeline to work to.

That said, once he had sorted out the logistics with Robb and sent out his orders to the Lords in the Riverlands and Vale. He would need to get back to King's Landing to sort out his other problems too.

Though hopefully, Kevan and the rest of his Small Council, had most of those issues in hand already.

Taking solace in the fact that he still had time to react to the threats to his kingdom and that he had capable people who would help him deal with them, Percy returned his attention to his more immediate issue.

His daughter.

When he returned to King's Landing, he wouldn't be able to take either Ros or his daughter back with him as the Tyrells might see them as a threat and work to remove them. Which in turn would provoke him to react. He couldn't just sit by and allow his blood, his daughter, to be hurt.

Unfortunately, any reaction on his part could impact the unity of the realm. This considering the dangers they were currently facing, was not something he could allow to happen.

He shook his head.

If he took his daughter south with him, he could only see it ending in violence.

Fortunately, Myrcella was in the North and didn't seem at all put off by the presence of his daughter.

If anything, she seemed practically giddy when it came to her niece.

He smiled fondly at the memory of his sister interacting with Anne, even as he looked back down at the training yard and saw Jon Snow suddenly knock Arya on her arse.

He knew he would need to head back down south sooner rather than later. But while he was here, he would make sure to maximise his time with both his daughter and his sister.

But first, he needed to make more concrete plans with Robb about how they would defend the North, including the logistics of sending more reinforcements to the Wall, and how those men would be supplied with the food and resources they needed.

His smile slipped.

He could already foresee several long days of planning in his future.

Rubbing the remaining sleep out of his eyes, he turned away from the window.

But that could come later.

Right now, though, he felt like working up a bit of a sweat before he washed for the day and had breakfast with Robb and his family.

Smiling, he quickly dressed himself and then started to tug on some lighter armour than the heavier set he had worn the previous day.

From what he could remember, Ubba was on guard duty that morning.

Which was fortunate, as the massive, bearded Valeman absolutely loved fighting.

Grinning at that thought, he finished strapping on some armour and headed for the door, with only his dagger at his hip.

( - )

"Morning," Percy greeted cheerfully as he approached the similar-looking siblings.

Thankfully it was still quite early in the morning, and so aside from the occasional bored guard patrolling the walls and busy servant scurrying about the courtyard was empty.

Jumping at the sound of his voice, Arya was the first of the siblings to respond as she broke off from her conversation with Jon and stared at him wide-eyed.

She looked like a deer in headlights.

Jon, meanwhile, barely hid a scowl as he noticed his approach and gave him a quick perfunctory bow.

Percy could almost taste the older man's distaste.

Continuing his steady approach, Percy noted that although they both had a light sheen of sweat on their foreheads, they didn't otherwise look too winded. By the looks of it, they had only been doing some light sparring.

"Y-Your Grace," Arya said, her voice shaky as she futilely tried to hide the sword behind her back. "This isn't what you think. We were not doing anything."

Percy tilted his head to the side curiously.

She looked scared.

Suspiciously so.

Looking between the two of them, he saw Jon Snow's hand tighten on the hilt of his training sword.

His chest was rising and falling evenly as a few trickles of sweat ran down his face and into his scruffy black beard. He looked more warmed up than fatigued. Arya, meanwhile, was more flushed as she continued to try and disguise what they had just been doing, her eyes darting nervously between him and Jon.

"It's fine, Arya," Percy smiled choosing not to use titles. From what he remembered she didn't like them overly much. "There is nothing wrong with a bit of friendly sparring between siblings. So, there is really nothing for you to be worried about."

The tension in Arya's shoulders relaxed minutely, but despite that, she still looked like she was on the verge of bolting.

His brow furrowed.

She still seemed nervous around him.

Which was strange considering he had not had too many interactions with her in the past, and the few that he had had were friendly enough. That said, she might have been still holding a grudge for what went down between him and her father. It was a possibility, but at the same time, he would expect anger from her if that were the case, not fear.

Her fear did not make sense.

He took a moment to recall their previous meetings.

Only for his eyes to widen a fraction, as he realised why she might be feeling nervous.

"I am not Joffrey, Arya. You do not have anything to fear from me. If anything, I came out here as I wanted to spar a little too. We've been travelling for a while, and it's been some time since we've done a bit of training." Percy said as he gestured between him and Ubba.

In response, Ubba grunted and nodded his head curtly.

The bearded Valeman didn't look at all interested in the ongoing conversation.

"Are you sure that would be appropriate, Your Grace?" Jon Snow asked, his tone measured as he tried to soften his words just in case Percy took offence.

"Well, it doesn't bother me," Percy shrugged. "I've never been one to stand on ceremony, and from what I remember you're decent with a blade. So, what do you say, Snow? Do you fancy teaching a soft southerner how it's done?"

Jon tried to retain his stoic expression.

Tried being the operative word, as for a single moment his serious façade broke as interest filled his gaze.

Looking over at Arya, Percy smiled.

The younger girl looked pretty worn out and in need of a rest.

"Do you mind if I borrow your sparring partner, Arya?" Percy asked kindly.

Arya glanced at Jon, and at his nod, she backed off to give them room.

Plucking a spare training sword off a nearby rack, he gave her a smile.

It was a training blade and so was blunt and poorly balanced. It was more akin to a metal club than a sword.

Giving the sword a few test swings to get a feeling for the weight and balance, Percy sent Jon Snow a smile.

"Let's keep it easy-going," Percy suggested. "There is no need to let things get too wild."

"As you say, Your Grace," Jon nodded, his expression still stoic as he raised his shield and assumed a fighting stance.

In contrast, Percy decided to eschew a shield and instead just held his borrowed sword in his right hand. Shifting his feet to give himself a firmer base from which to fight, Percy raised his sword above his head and steadily met Jon's eyes as he waited for him to make the first move.

The tension between them started to build.

Percy's lips quirked into a slight smile as he watched Jon shift about uncomfortably.

If anyone at court were to see him no, they would be aghast at the lack of propriety.

In their eyes, a king should never dirty his hands by sparring with a bastard, especially a bastard that didn't even have a knighthood.

But honestly, he didn't give a shit.

The decorum and expectations that came with wearing a crown were stifling at times.

Smiling as the seconds rolled by, Percy kept his eyes on Jon as he started to rock back and forth.

The northerner had a good poker face, but he wasn't able to mask his body language anywhere near as well as he could school his facial expression.

Which was convenient, as it allowed Percy to instantly react when Jon finally made the first move.

Bringing his sword down decisively, Percy easily deflected Jon's opening swing away from him.

Jon was quick.

Remaining steady on his feet, Percy adjusted his stance to compensate for the momentum of his swing as he easily flicked Jon's blade away from him.

Exhaling, he stepped to the side and deftly avoided the follow-up shield bash, and then whipped his training sword around and once again deflected Jon's blade away from him.

He could almost feel Jon's training blade cut through the air as it passed within inches of him.

Giving ground to the bastard, Percy kept his eyes on Jon as he continued to advance.

The northerner had good form as he kept his shield raised and his movements conservative. He did not over-extend, nor did he rush in. Instead, he always retained his discipline and doggedly stuck to his chosen style of fighting as he continued testing Percy's defences and pushing his advantage.

Idly holding Jon off with one hand, Percy kept his gaze locked on Jon's grey eyes.

Jon's eyes were expressive when he was fighting.

They were constantly moving as he assessed the terrain and calculated his next move.

Unfortunately for Jon, this almost meant that he tended to look where he was about to strike moments before he did so.

Which in turn meant his attacks were telegraphed, and easily predicted.

Taking advantage of Jon's tell, Percy easily took control of the fight as he swiftly countered every one of his attacks.

Growing bored of being on the defensive, Percy stopped giving ground and instead locked blades with Jon for a moment, trapping their blades against Jon's shield.

Grinning, Percy continued to push forward and slammed his shoulder into Jon's shield, breaking the stalemate and knocking him back a few steps.

Stumbling from Percy's abrupt change in tactics, Jon was slow to adapt as he sent out a few stinging jabs and lunges.

Grimacing, Jon was forced to take shelter behind his shield and retreat.

Steadying his breathing, Percy backed off and allowed him to recover.

This wasn't supposed to be a proper fight, just an easy-going spar.

Keeping his eyes fixed on Jon, Percy took hold of his sword with both hands. The hilt of his borrowed saw was shorter than his Valyrian sword which meant he could not grip it with both hands and instead had to partially grip onto the pommel as well to wield it two-handed. It wasn't the most comfortable.

Lowering his stance, Percy held his sword steadily in front of him his eyes on Jon as the grey-eyed man started to circle him like a wolf might circle its prey.

He could easily see the anger in Jon's Snow eyes and resentment.

Narrowing his eyes, Percy kept his senses alert as he felt Jon suddenly rush him once more.

Turning on his heel, he caught Jon's sword on the flat of his blade and deflected it away from him forcing Jon's swing wider than he intended. This in turn created an opening that Jon quickly tried to fill up with his shield.

Moving forward, Percy avoided Jon as the bastard tried to hit him with the heavy metal boss in the centre of his shield, and instead stepped around him allowing Jon's momentum to take him an extra step forward.

Swinging his sword around, Percy smacked the flat of the blade against Jon's exposed back and sent him stumbling forward a few steps.

"You're good," he complimented, taking a step back and twirling his sword as Jon quickly recovered and turned to scowl at him. "But you're easy to read. It's not an easy fix, but you need to be careful with where you look. By watching where you look I can predict where you're about to attack and what you're planning to do."

Jon scowled.

He had not been going all out, but despite that the older man looked annoyed with himself.

The sight of the annoyance lingering behind his dull grey eyes almost made Percy smile.

Jon was probably pissed off because he thought himself superior to Percy when it came to swordplay.

Percy could see it in the way he stood, his attitude and the look in his eyes.

Jon thought of Percy as nothing more than a spoilt royal brat. Someone who was used to people fawning all over him and letting him win. He didn't see him as a warrior king, or a seasoned soldier.

It was why he was annoyed that he was losing when he truly believed that he would be able to handily beat Percy, even when holding back.

Percy's smile widened.

It seemed Jon had either forgotten what had happened the last time Percy had come to Winterfell. Or he had written off his previous feats as luck, or something that an experienced fighter could easily overcome. From what he could see, Jon had become accustomed to winning all his spars at the Night's Watch. He had also probably gotten a taste of real combat beyond the Wall and now believed himself to be a true warrior in every sense of the word.

It was hubris plain and simple.

Percy had gone through something similar himself when he was a youth.

Fortunately, he had quickly learned his lesson after a spar with Daedalus.

Raising his sword, he locked eyes with Jon.

Jon Snow was a good swordsman.

He had good technique, his footwork was stellar, as was his situational awareness.

Were he facing off with Joffrey, then Jon would thrash him without breaking a sweat.

But he wasn't fighting Joffrey.

Instead, he was fighting against a stronger, faster and more experienced opponent, with excellent training.

"Would you like to go again?" Percy asked.

Jon scowled and threw his shield aside.

On the sidelines, Percy could see Ayra grinning excitedly.

Ubba meanwhile, was barely paying attention. The Valeman didn't think much of swordplay. Instead, he preferred using 'proper tools of war' like axes and warhammers. Weapons which, unlike swords, could shatter or crush armour.

Turning back to Jon, Percy watched as he gripped his sword with both hands and mirrored Percy's stance. "When you're ready…, Your Grace."

Grinning, Percy took the initiative this time as he lunged forward and started driving Jon back.

The flats of their blades clashed against one another as they both attempted to land a hit on the other.

Percy's smile widened as he once again watched for where Jon was looking.

He was still telegraphing, but less so than before.

For a few minutes, they fell into a pattern of sorts as they duelled across the training yard, their strikes becoming sharper and faster as they both eased into the rhythm of battle.

But eventually, Percy once again started to dominate.

He was taller than Jon and had longer arms and a greater reach.

He was also stronger and faster.

And above all, he had more experience and stamina, which started to show as he forced Jon back.

Catching Jon's extended blade between his arm and torso, Percy twisted on his heel and disarmed Jon. Continuing the motion, he stopped the blunted tip of his own sword mere inches from Jon's chest.

The spar was over.

"You're good," Percy acknowledged.

Jon scowled.

"You're better."

"For now," Percy smiled. "Next time we spar though, who knows. To keep your skills sharp you need to use them, and considering what is happening up at the Wall I suspect you are going to be getting a lot of practice quite soon."

Jon grimaced.

Handing his sword back to him, Percy took a moment to pat him on the shoulder.

"But you won't be alone in the fight," he continued. "The rest of the Seven Kingdoms will march to reinforce the Wall when the time comes."

Jon nodded curtly. "We're going to need the help. The Night's Watch is too small to fully man the Wall."

Percy nodded.

He could understand Jon's concern.

But there was also the bigger picture to look at.

The army of the dead beyond the Wall was just one of several threats Westeros was currently facing.

"We'll be meeting later today to sort out the logistics," Percy said. "But trust me when I say that you won't be facing the dangers alone."

Jon grunted but said no more.

Forcing a smile, Percy patted him on the shoulder and headed over to Ubba.

"Fancy a spar Ubba?" Percy asked.

Ubba grunted and shrugged noncommittally.

"I can spar!" Arya said quickly.

Jon paused mid-step and sent him a cautious look.

Percy however ignored him and smiled.

"Sure, why not." He grinned nostalgically.

Grabbing her sword, Arya hurried over to him.

"We'll go slow, and I'll show you a few tricks I've picked up over the years. Including several… an old friend… showed me. You'd have liked her." Percy said, his smile turned slightly sad. "Although she preferred fighting with daggers, she was very good with a sword too. And I'm pretty sure you'd be a good match for her old style."

"Wait, your friend was a girl?" Arya asked, her eyes widening.

"She was," Percy nodded.

Arya grinned, her eyes alight with interest.

Smiling in response, Percy twirled his sword and started his impromptu lesson on the basics of swordsmanship, with Jon occasionally chipping in from the side.

It wasn't exactly how he saw his morning going.

But he had no complaints all the same.

Especially considering that the rest of his day would be filled with dull meetings about the logistics of raising an army to send north to the Wall.

An army that would need to be fed and equipped for an indefinite amount of time. Which meant organising secure supply lines, and sourcing where the food and other resources would be coming from and how they would be paid for and managed. And that didn't even take into account the arguments that would likely take place on who would have authority over whom. All of these would first need to be agreed in principle with the lords of the north before being passed on to the lords of the other kingdoms via ravens. Many of them would likely want to offer their own incite or advice to advantage themselves. Which would just lead to more meetings and negotiations.

Suffice to say, he was not looking forward to the next few days.

In fact, the only highlights he had to look forward to over the coming days were spending more time with his sister and daughter.

Holding back a grimace at that thought, Percy focused his attention back on the matter at hand.

( - )


Looking out over the ever-peaceful gardens for which the Water Gardens were named, Doran Martel, the Prince of Dorne, let out a soft, melancholic sigh.

He already knew his remaining time at the Gardens was limited.

In a few weeks, maybe a month, he would be leaving for King's Landing for the foreseeable future to assume his seat on the Small Council as the new Master of Ships.

Allowing his gaze to rove over the glistening pools of blue water and the multitude of brightly coloured flowers, he allowed another soft sigh to leave his lips.

He would miss the palace and its beautiful gardens.

Taking a breath, he luxuriated in the scent of the many different kinds of flowers that filled the courtyard.

The peace of the Gardens was like a balm for his soul.

They soothed the ever-present pain from his gout and washed away the ache in his heart from the loss of his siblings.

First Elia, his dear sweet sister who had died at the hands of the Lannisters and their foul dog, the Mountain.

And now his rebellious brother, Oberyn, purportedly killed by Targaryen Loyalists.

His lip curled in disgust at the thought, and he sank back into his seat.

When the news had reached of what had happened, he knew instantly that it was a pretty lie meant to save face.

The reality was that his hothead brother had ignored his orders and had gotten involved with a group of Targaryen loyalists looking to overthrow the Baratheon dynasty and had been murdered for it alongside the young Viserys Targaryen, and half dozen other nobles.

His eyes narrowed, as he remembered the reports his trusted men had sent back after investigating the massacre.

The killers had been clever and had hidden their tracks well, but he knew a set-up when he saw one.

Clenching his hands into fists, Doran let out a loud sigh.

Robert Baratheon's untimely death had completely changed the game.

No longer was he dealing with a drunken whoremonger. Instead, he was now dealing with the usurper's vicious son, Tytan Baratheon.

Doran frowned at the thought of the young king.

Tytan was an entirely different animal than his father.

He had the ruthlessness of Tywin Lannister, the ambition of Cersei Baratheon and the martial might of Robert Baratheon. And to top it off he also somehow wielded ancient Rhoynar water magic as if he were blessed by Mother Rhoyne herself.

Yes, the game had irrevocably changed and so in response, he and the other players would need to adapt to not only survive the new regime but win.

The Tyrells, he knew, had already made the first move by submitting to the king before he could have them murdered like he did all his other enemies.

And now it was his turn.

His fingers began to drum against the arm of his chair.

He had easily seen through the king's offer to join the Small Council; it was an attempt at appeasement.

It was also an insult.

One that he would let slide for now.

After all, although the game had changed and his next moves were no longer viable, that didn't mean that he had to change his overall tactics.

Patience was the answer, as it had been before.

The king had other enemies. Enemies that he could surreptitiously support and assist. Enemies who would weaken and distract him.

His lips curled into a smile.

When the time was right, and only then, he would strike.

But for now, he would lie in wait like a snake hunting its prey.

"Father," a sweet voice sounded from nearby.

Blinking a the interruption, he turned to see who it was.

Smiling, he watched as a buxom and beautiful woman in her early twenties approached. She had olive skin, large dark eyes and long, thick black hair that fell in ringlets to the middle of her back.

"Arianne," Doran said.

His daughter smiled coyly.

She wanted something.

Then again, when didn't she want something.

"It's been some weeks, father," Arianne said, moving forwards to lay a soft kiss on his forehead before stepping back.

He couldn't help but smile at the gesture.

"I know," Doran nodded. He spent most of his time in the Water Garden these days and had done ever since the death of Oberyn. "But I feel blessed to see you now."

Arianne smiled sweetly. "Well, hopefully, we will soon be able to spend more time together."

"Oh?" Doran asked, curiosity warring with suspicion.

"Yes," Arianne continued. "I was hoping to accompany you to King's Landing."

"I see," Doran said softly.

Arianne smiled wider.

"With you soon to take up your seat on the Small Council it seems like the perfect time. Visiting the Capital would also act as a distraction for my cousins. All of whom are still hurting from the loss of Oberyn," Arianne continued innocently.

Doran's eyes narrowed at the mention of his nieces.

"I hope you're not planning anything dangerous, dear daughter," Doran said cautiously.

He'd had enough trouble trying to wrangle his rebellious brother, the last thing he needed was for his wilful daughter and her crafty, manipulative cousins to start causing trouble too, especially in King's Landing of all places.

Things were far too precarious right now for there to be another upset to his plans.

Then again, if she truly was up to something it was better to have her close where he could keep an eye on her than to leave her in Sunspear where she could run rings around her brothers and get up to who knows how much mischief.

"Dangerous, father?" Arianne asked shocked. "Why of course not. I just want to visit the city and get the full experience of life at Court. Who knows, you might even be able to find me a suitor while I am there."

Doran resisted the urge to roll his eyes.

As if it would be so easy.

His daughter had only grudgingly accepted the last suitor he had picked for her, Viserys Targaryen, and even then, that had only been because she would have only needed to marry him when his victory and position as King of the Seven Kingdoms was all but assured. Now that Viserys was rotting in the ground though, she had become far more rebellious when it came to shooting down and sabotaging potential betrothals.

"Very well," Doran finally said.

He knew he could order her to stay and she would obey him. But at the same time, he also knew that she would then use his absence as an excuse to act out and cause who knows how much trouble in retaliation.

Yes, it was definitely better to keep an eye on her.

Arianne smiled and gave him a hug.

Smiling and returning the hug, Doran tiredly started reassessing his plans.

Now that Arianne was coming, he would need to make some new arrangements.

He couldn't allow her to disrupt his plans, and yet he would now need to adjust them to keep both her and her cousins safe and out of trouble.

It wasn't ideal, but at the same time having his daughter along could turn out to be quite useful depending on the king's temperament.

( - )

AN: So hope you enjoyed the chapter. Can't say I was a hundred percent happy with it but I've rewritten bits of it several times and reordered bits too. And then eventually said screw it. So hopefully it works and is an enjoyable chapter. If not, I can always come back to it and tinker with it once I've taken a break. I spent far longer on this chapter than I normally would, in part because I have too much I want to include and not enough time or space to add it all in.

But yeah, I'll just wait and see.

Hope you enjoy, if not sorry I guess.

Also, for those who bother to read my ANs, please do check out one of my newer stories 'A Matter of Life and Death' which is another PJO/GoT story. Only this one follows Nico's struggles as he arrives in a world of ice and fire. So yeah, if you like my stuff, please do check that one out too!

Have a good one.