Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Game of Thrones.
Well here we are at last, the final chapter of Swords and Roses. It has been a really interesting experience writing this story and I hope you have all enjoyed it, I had hoped to have this out earlier but I got stuck with a major case of writer's block.
For the last time on this story, thank you to all my regular reviewers and readers you guys are the best!
I am already at work on my next story but it will be a few weeks before I get anything posted as I need to sort a few things out first, I have finally decided on the title – The Peverell Legacy.
Chapter 35—Winter's War Part 2
Winterfell, two days later…
Harry now stripped of his armour lay covered with blankets as Maester Wolkan attended to him, outwardly he looked fine he had not stirred in over two days. The Phoenix tears had done their work but he still slept.
Later as the end of the second day dawned, Jon and Arya looked on worried with Aemon, turning the old man.
"Why hasn't he woken up yet? His injuries are healed aren't they?" Jon asked concerned as he had yet to show any signs of waking. Aemon gave them a small but sad smile.
"His physical injuries have gone, but what other ailments he might have after what happened beyond the Wall we can only guess at." Aemon said, sensing that wherever the king had gone it was important to let him heal on his own. His magical aura was still weak and taking time to regain its strength, given how strong the young man had been the last time they met Aemon could only imagine how devastating such a high use of magic at one time could be to someone that it had left them almost depleted.
"Will he wake?" Arya asked worried.
Aemon had no answer to give them, he could only look at Harry and hope he came back to them soon before his body wasted away.
Harry was completely unaware of the world around him or rather his body as he looked across the jungles of Sothoryos, he had no idea how he had gotten here or how long he had actually been sitting on the mountain top that towered over the thick canopy of trees which covered the area below him but this did not worry him as he watched a majestic flock of Phoenixes fly past him feeling disconnected from everything.
"Beautiful, aren't they?" A familiar voice said from next to him. Harry turned to look and was astonished to see a man sitting on a nearby rock that looked almost exactly like him, he wore eye glasses, was wearing strange clothes and twirling a wand in his hands but the thing that really caught his eye was the lightning bolt shaped scar on his forehead.
"What?" Harry said not sure what to think as he was confronted with his near exact double before recognising the clothes and wand in his hand. "Are you?" He asked with confusion.
"Harry Potter, the original you might say." Harry Potter said from his rock with a smile. "Or one of many depending on your viewpoint."
Harry sat there, thinking he must be going completely mad before asking.
"One of many?" He was not sure what to make of that comment but Harry Potter just laughed.
"The essence of us is spread across many worlds, sometimes we look like this." Harry Potter said gesturing to himself. "And in others we are completely different but that...spirit of us lives on in all of them. In some we are a hero or a villain." Harry Potter said with a grimace at some of the versions of himself he had seen, some were worst than Voldemort he thought with a shudder. "But the one thing we all have in common is that we jump in, we get involved and you are no different although this is the closest to death you have ever come." Harry Potter said with a small smile.
That got Harry really worried. "I was that close?" He asked not sure he wanted to know but felt powerless to not ask the question. Harry Potter then became deadly serious for the first time as he answered.
"Yes, that spell is never supposed to be used like that or on that scale and you were extremely lucky to manage for as long as you did, I hope you learn better in the future." Harry Potter said sternly before suddenly grinning and saying. "That is another thing we all have in common, doing stupid things without thinking. I have seen just in your set of worlds versions of us that have been Lannisters, Martells, Starks, Arryns, Baratheons, even Tullys or Greyjoys but wherever we go we are often cast into the role of saviour whether we like it or not. It is your choice if you accept it though, you have destroyed the Wights. Jon can take it from here if you want to step back."
Harry was instantly struck by that thought, he could go home now to his wife and children...he could rest and let the weight off his shoulders. But at the same time a part of him revolted at leaving something unfinished or letting others risk their lives for him while he ran away to safety. His promise to Rhaenys and his own self appointed obligation to defend the world of the living warred with each other inside his head. Feeling very uncertain over what he should do he decided to ask his opposite a question.
"How can we be meeting like this? We should be worlds apart." Harry asked and Harry Potter only shrugged and said.
"I'd be lying if I said I understood it completely, but magic is interwoven within the fabric of all realities in the multiverse and that it all connects together on some level. That is how sometimes ideas or prophecies bleed across through those links in the form of dreams or visions to those who might be more sensitive or even just the idea of something, it already happened in another universe so it can cross into another where it hasn't...or something like that." Harry said with the air of someone who was more than a bit confused.
"But how can we meet if only ideas and dreams can echo across?" Harry asked and Harry Potter then just gave him a mysterious smile as everything dissolved into a white haze.
Harry then opened his eyes, his body feeling very heavy and sore and he groaned as he tried and with considerable effort, managed to sit up.
"We have been very worried you might never wake." A raspy old voice said from behind him and Harry turned to see the ancient face of Maester Aemon Targaryen sitting at his bedside. "I was worried we would have to tell my niece of your death if things did not change."
"Then I am glad that tales of my brush with death have been greatly exaggerated." Harry said, testing his legs and feet against the floor before trying to stand. He swayed unsteadily as the world seemed to spin for a moment and his legs felt like they were going to collapse from right under him but thankfully they held and Harry managed to slowly walk over to a nearby table and pull a robe on. While doing this he spoke further to Aemon. "My magic was badly depleted and needed time to recover, not to mention healing from those injuries I sustained. Did Jon and Arya make back in one piece?" He asked not knowing what state they had all been in when the portkeys brought them back, he was tempted to ask about Benjen Stark and Melisandre but restrained himself till his could speak to Jon and Arya in person if they were okay he thought.
"They both came back without so much as a scratch for which I thank you, given Jon is an expectant father and my many times nephew." Aemon said with a grateful smile before saying. "But I think you should tell you that your dragon has been flying around and around the tower and spits a small fireball at anyone that dares approach him, I think he's worried about you."
Harry managed to smile at that, Talos was extremely protective of him and the rest of their family both human and dragon. He would hate not being able to see him, in time Harry didn't doubt Talos would probably have torn the roof of the tower to get to him eventually so he pulled on his clothes, thanked Aemon and left to room to find and tend to his dragon.
As he made his way through the corridors of Winterfell though his thoughts turned back to that strange dream he had, whether it was a strange manifestation of of his unconscious mind or actually another version reaching out to him from another world or not it had still made him wonder if maybe he should step back and allow others to deal with things for a change.
Had he done enough? Harry wondered, maybe it was time to be selfish and let others deal with Walkers?
He put those thoughts aside for a moment as he exited the keep and entered the large courtyard and was treated to people screaming and a loud thump as Talos landed right in front of him, the large dragon stared at him with concern but Harry smiled and gently rubbed his head as it bend down. Talos let a little purr out the attention making Harry nearly laugh as his fearsome dragon acted like a domesticated cat.
"Your grace, it is...good to see you back on your feet." Arya said as she came over and nervously looking at the dragon which looked at her with curiosity before allowing her to pet his nose. Arya slowly reached out and petted the dragon's nose gently which the big beast purred to show his liking. Harry smiled and told the amused Arya.
"Talos likes you but I think your wolf is getting a bit jealous." Harry said looking at Nymeria who was quietly glaring at the dragon and Arya turned to admonish her wolf only for Nymeria to lick her on the face and run away causing Arya to give chase. Harry smiled as the pair left seeing some joy was a great balm given the situation and asked a passing servant where he might find Jon and was told he was with Lord Brandon in the Godswood.
So after giving his dragon some more attention he made his way to the Weirwood tree where Bran and Jon had made themselves comfortable, Summer and Ghost sat napping nearby and both humans turned to see him approach.
"Your grace." Both men said with a small bow. "I can confirm that the wights have been eliminated, after you left Uncle Benjen and Lady Melisandre destroyed the last of undead with a fire crystal. My ravens witnessed the event, only the Walkers remain." Bran said with a distance smile. "It cost them their lives but thanks to them we have a much greater chance of victory."
Harry was sad to hear that Benjen Stark was finally truly dead and while on some level glad Melisandre was too given her 'proclivities' she had certainly been on the side of the living in the end. He would have to wait for the volunteer force to arrive before they went back to finish the job as they had the weapons required for the job so he asked Bran to adjust his tactics accordingly.
"How many Walkers? A rough estimate will do." Harry asked wondering if the force he had gathered would be enough, even without the Wights the Walkers were still incredibly dangerous and victory was by no means a sure thing. Bran closed his eyes for a moment and rested his hand against the Weirwood tree before removing it and telling him.
"A hundred roughly, the fruits of years of snatching babies and turning them into walkers." Bran said with an edge of disgust creeping into his voice which honestly was the most emotion Harry had seen in the boy since they had met.
Harry nodded, glad to hear the number was so low but still worried if it would be enough. Who knew what might happen when they were on the other side of the Wall? Some could panic and run, others might freeze and be easy prey for the Walkers. It was a gamble Harry thought with anxiety but one that he had to take.
But while they were coming, he had a decision to make.
Two Weeks Later…
The small army from the south had lined up outside Winterfell, the camp was not looking happy as they wrapped up in their furs but there was not enough room inside the castle for all of them given how many people were currently sheltering from winter there.
Sadly while there had been originally five thousand volunteers to start with a great storm in the Narrow Sea had sank several of the ships bringing them here. Over eighteen hundred men had perished and two hundred had deserted, so their force now stood at three thousand men.
Sansa and Jon walked up to a platform that had been assembled just outside the camp, giving each other a nod before Jon banged a gong to get all the men's attention. Sansa was immune to the looks of lust that were sent her way by the men before her, it would have frightened her before but she knew the guards of Winterfell were watching as was Jon at her side. Also she drew comfort from the Dragonbone bow strapped to her back and the dagger she had at her waist. It all looked out of place with her elegant furs but she didn't care, having decided from this point on she would dress as she wanted rather than how she might be expected too. She spoke as the Lady of Winterfell while Jon stood protectively at her side with her brother's dragon glaring at the men like her human was.
"Welcome to the North men of the south, I am sorry that we could not offer the shelter of the castle but soon you will be marching north to the Wall and so the King and my brother Lord Snowstark would have words with you." She said.
The sound of boots as they climbed the wooden stairs revealed Harry now wearing his Dragon rider armour that he had worn during the recent war with his famous green cloak, the dent in the other suit he had previously worn too much for him to wear it again till he could get it repaired. However both Starks instantly gasped as they realised for the first time since they had known him, Harry was wearing the crown of Aegon the Conqueror. It made him look far more intimidating as his armour and crown gleamed but also more regal than they had ever seen him.
Sansa stepped aside as Harry took centre stage and spoke to the men he and Jon would soon be leading into battle.
"You men are the bravest in Westeros." Harry said simply, knowing appealing to their ego was the right way to start motivating them. "What you have chosen to face is the most dangerous enemy any of us will face in our lifetime, myself and Lord Snowstark have both faced them before and it was the hardest fight of our lives. But." Harry said taking a moment before telling them what he wanted to do and given them information that would be key to their survival. "They are not invincible and we far outnumber them, you have all been given weapons that can kill them but our real strength is in our numbers. On the journey to the Wall I want you to find a group of ten, while a Walker is strong and fast they cannot defend themselves against such a large number attacking all together. Find men that you can work with and practice. We leave tomorrow." Harry said before stepping back down the steps followed by Jon and Sansa, however as they were walking back to the castle Arya ran to meet them. Breathlessly she said with a big smile.
"Ygritte has gone into labour."
There was a silence for a moment as Harry, Sansa and Arya all turned to Jon who froze for a moment before he started running as fast as he could back to the castle with their amused looks following him.
None of them noticed Jorah Mormont as he kept his head down amongst the other volunteers and saw a young man holding his spear awkwardly and clearly had no real idea or experience with it, so Jorah went over and asked him.
"Have you ever fought before?" Jorah asked and the nervous young man stared at the much taller Jorah with nervousness before answering.
"N-Never." He managed to say while slightly shaking with nerves. "I'm just here to not be a burden to my family this winter, the gold I got for joining should see them through."
Jorah gave him a sad smile, clearly if he was prepared to die in some frozen wasteland to ensure his family was better off then they must mean a lot to him. His thoughts turned back as they often did these days to his own family, the Mormonts and it pained him that he had yet to see them since returning home.
Home, he thought the cold and fresh atmosphere the North had even it the midst of winter was like a balm to his soul, he had truly missed his homeland with all the years spent in the hot and seemingly barren Essos. The fact that if he survived what was coming then this would be his last time here was a very bitter piece of news but nevertheless he would he resolved silently to himself he would make sure his cousins were safe.
Turning his attention back to the young man in front of him he offered a kind smile and said.
"I can teach you to use that, if you want me too?" Jorah said and the young man suddenly became very eager.
"Yes good Ser...please?" The young man asked and Jorah merely took his own spear and started to slowly twirl it around and jabbing it to show him how to use it, soon an audience gathered as the rest of the men that made up the force watched Jorah, eager to learn how to handle the spear.
"I HATE YOU JON SNOW!" Ygritte screamed from the bed as she felt the pain that only women could feel and men scarcely imagined, Maester Wolkan was frightened by the sheer force of the lady's anger as was Gilly who was doing her best to help.
"I know." Jon said simply, holding her hand as she clasped it so tightly both their fingers were white from lack of blood. As the pain eased for a moment as the time for the final push came Ygritte took a deep breath and tears ran down her face as she prepared herself.
Soon she was screaming again, the words of Wolkan and Gilly lost as she pushed with energy she didn't know she had.
The sudden relief when her baby finally emerged into the world was so great that she closed her eyes and fell back onto the bed, near passing out only to be stopped when she heard the cry of a newborn.
"A boy my lady." Wolkan said as he carefully cut the cord before handing the babe to Gilly who carefully wrapped him in warm blankets before giving him to Ygritte who stared at the infant completely enthralled as he was placed in her arms. Jon too was unable to speak as he stared at the infant in his wife's arms and instead wrapped his around her shoulders.
"He's..." Ygritte started to say but could not find the words as she looked down at their child. Jon too found it difficult before finally arriving at the right word to describe his son.
The babe had a tiny amount of black hair on his head but for the brief moments he opened his eyes he had the same blue-greyish eyes of his mother. The young parents stared at their child with complete adoration, neither even noticed as Aemon, Harry, Sansa and Arya arrived at the door.
"May I?" Aemon asked gently as Arya led him over to the bed, Jon and Ygritte briefly looked at each other before allowing the old man to hold him. Aemon could not see the babe but the weight off him was enough to bring a tear to his eyes before carefully Arya took hold of her young nephew and stared confused at the first baby she had ever held before handing him back with the care you might have given glass to Ygritte who looked very relieved to have her baby back in her arms.
"Have you thought of a name yet?" Sansa asked with a gentle smile while looking at her nephew, Jon looked to Ygritte who nodded slightly so Jon returned it before putting a gently kiss on her sweat covered brow.
That made Arya and Sansa instantly start tearing up although Arya would deny that and threaten anyone that dared to bring it up again, naming his son after their late father who had done his utmost to keep them safe and warm and loved with all his heart was such a caring gesture they were instantly moved.
Harry stayed quiet during the exchange and looked at his second nephew with a smile, a slight movement of his eyes brought the young parents into his line of sight and he knew that he could not let Jon face the Night King alone, not when this young baby was waiting for him at home. Harry's own children had all however young known him and he was damned Harry thought stubbornly if Jon's son would not know his father.
Both Jon and Harry said a heartfelt farewell to the Starks as they rode at the head of the column towards the Wall, Jon had not been able to say a word to Ygritte or their son and merely held them. It brought a tear to many eyes but only made Harry more determined not to let young Eddard grow up without a father, he would have led the army himself North but Jon had refused for much the same reasons he had. His sense of duty not letting him stay safe while others risked their lives.
A pair of stubborn fools Rhaenys would have called them, Harry thought with slight amusement before thinking no she would have come up with more colourful words than that.
They marched with their men up the road towards Castle Black, the cold winds made it harsh and difficult as did the falling snow but slowly they made progress. Eventually after a long march they stopped for the night and made camp on the best group they could find and saw to it their men knew how to fight the walkers.
"Now." Harry said as he stood before the men with the sun setting in the background. "The crossbow will be the best weapon against the walkers, even one bolt if tipped with dragonglass will be enough to kill one and save you from having to get to close." Harry said with Jon handing him the weapon in question. Harry adjusted his grip before continuing. "This is the best position to shoot from, just point straight at the target and fire." Harry said pushing the lever which set the bolt flying straight into a supply box. The men all looked around and looking at their faces Harry could tell they felt okay with this, it looked simple and the crossbow thankfully was an easy enough weapon to use, not much practice needed and excellent over short range.
Probably why Joffrey liked it so much Harry thought with a slight shake of the head but he had to get on to their other weapon.
"If you do have to get close or run out of bolts then we go for the spear." Harry said, tossing Jon the crossbow who then in turn gave him the spear. "The Walkers ice weapons will shatter steel on contact but these have a dragonglass tip and an ironwood shaft, it is heavier but still useable. Now if you do have to use it to fight a walker, surround them in a circle." Harry said with Jon and a few of the more experienced men using him as the example, forming a circle around him. "A walker is fast and strong but even they cannot defend themselves from every side, so attack together with a single thrust." Harry instructed and the ten men around him did a mock thrust with their spears.
The rest of the men in the camp did not look so confident about this approach but the fact they outnumbered the enemy seemed to sway them, so Harry nodded before finishing.
"Get a couple of hours practice before rations are given out, the more you practice the better the chance of victory." Harry said with a smile at the slight cheer that went through the camp at the mention of food. They disbursed and went into their groups for practice while Jon and him went to Harry's tent to plan their next move. Stepping into the same tent that had been his home while he travelled the world again was bittersweet for Harry, remembering a time in his life where things had seemed a lot more simple. That seemed so long ago now he thought with a small smile before he went over to the table, Jon seemed astonished at the inside of the tent for a moment but soon recovered and came to the table.
"Bran said they were coming close to the Wall." Jon said indicating where they were last reported on the map. "They are looking for any corpses they can find to rebuild their army but since the Wildlings have always burnt their dead and any animal bodies they found the Walkers have had little luck. At our present speed, we should find them here...at Whitetree." Jon said pointing to the area on the map.
"What is Whitetree?" Harry asked not being familiar with lands beyond the Wall and needed Jon's greater knowledge.
"A small wildling village near Castle Black, been abandoned ever since the wildlings came south." Jon said simply, Harry then asked.
"What's the land like around there?" Harry asked needing to know if this was going to be a problem. Jon frowned before answering.
"There is forest but not too thick, there is a clearing around the village."
Harry nodded with some concerns about the terrain being a problem but not one they could do anything about before the two of them left the tent to supervise the training of their men.
The sight of the Wall the next day was enough to impress most of the men from the south who had only dreamed of seeing a structure that big before, they camped outside of Castle Black so the Wall shielded them from the worst weather. Harry and the others ate heartily that night after they trained, knowing full well what they would be facing after dawn tomorrow. Harry watched from his tent and Jon bid a farewell to his friends there and nearly sighed, all this had a bad atmosphere around it...like they weren't coming back.
No Harry thought with anger, pushing that notion aside. He knew in battle there was no certainties...no guarantees of any kind except that there were no rules but he was no going into battle with the idea that he and his men were going to fall, the cost of failure was too great.
They would win this Harry thought to himself, trying to convince himself as he was more nervous than he had been for any other fight before.
When morning came, their small army marched down the long tunnel under the Wall and out the other side. Marching up through the North had felt very safe, a fact they were all suddenly very aware of as they emerged from the tunnel. Now there was no barrier between them and the Walkers, they were in their land now.
Harry and Jon shared a look at each other as they checked the faces of their men, there was a rising tension but no one seemed to be running for the hills yet. It concerned both of them but there was little they could do as they marched to Whitetree.
It was only half the way there when it happened.
The nervous tension in the column was getting worse and worse and eventually it reached a peak, one man said with complete panic.
"FUCK THIS!" And ran back down the trodden path towards the Wall, other men started to turn and run with him. Harry instantly was angry at them and himself for not dealing with this used his magic to amplify his voice and shouted.
"STAY WHERE YOU ARE!"
The shock of his words and how loudly they were spoken caused most of the men to stop and turn to look at him, Harry swiftly climbed on top of a nearby rock so he could be seen more clearly before saying in the same loud voice with anger.
"WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO GO? THE WALKERS WILL FIND A WAY PAST THE WALL EVENTUALLY AND INTO THE LANDS OF THE SOUTH! THEY WILL KILL AND RESURRECT THOSE THEY KILL INTO SERVANTS TO KILL MORE PEOPLE FOR THEM AND THEN BRING THEM BACK TO KILL AS WELL! SOME MAY WELL BE YOUR FRIENDS! YOUR LOVED ONES!" Harry told them sternly, needing to restore order and make sure they didn't suffer anymore desertions from panic and short-sightedness. The men instantly looked more fearful so Harry told them.
"HOWEVER RIGHT NOW THEY ARE VULNERABLE! THEY HAVE NO WIGHTS TO DEFEND THEM AND WE HAVE WEAPONS THAT CAN KILL THEM! WE CAN END THIS THREAT ONCE AND FOR ALL BUT ONLY IF WE ACT NOW! THERE IS DANGER...GREAT DANGER BUT FAR LESS THAN IF WE WAIT OR RUN AND ALLOW THEM TO GATHER THEIR STRENGTH! TO SAVE ALL THAT LIVES...WE MUST FIGHT!" Harry said, layering his voice with a strong compulsion charm to add weight to his words and get through to the men and stop them running away. With every man that did they became weaker but he was relieved to see some resolve re-enter their expressions. Taking stock of the situation from his rock, he looked around and calculated that they had lost around two hundred men which still left them with twenty eight hundred.
Harry really wished he had brought more professional men up here but if they failed those men would be needed to defend the south from the Walkers, still he comforted himself with the knowledge that they still outnumbered the walkers by a large margin and with a look to Jon who nodded, still as resolve as ever led the army back on the march to Whitetree.
Jorah, watching from a distance was mystified at how the king had managed to speak so loudly, clearly and with such impact that men had actually stopped and fall back in line from just one speech but admitted it was very effective. He radiated confidence and authority, exactly as a king should Jorah thought with amazement. None of the kings that he had seen in his life ever had from Aerys or Robert no Jorah to himself, both had confidence or probably more correctly arrogance but no filter or wisdom to temper it. While he of course thought his queen was the greatest monarch in the world and would never stray from her...it was refreshing he thought to be serving under a competent king for the first time in his life.
As they reached Whitetree the weather got progressively worse and they had to wrap their warm clothes as close around them as they could to protect themselves from the cold and the wind, not to mention the daylight had completely disappeared into darkness that was not natural. The men were more nervous than ever and although given their previous experience Harry and Jon were expecting this they too were growing more nervous.
Then as they came upon the ruined village they saw them. Emerging like ghosts from the darkness, around two hundred tall hulking figures seven foot tall or higher with skin the colour of stone and horrific blue eyes. The sight was enough to scare the men shitless but as they closed the distance, Harry using his voice enhanced with magic shook them out of it.
"CROSSBOWS! AIM AND FIRE!"
The men, including Harry and Jon pulled their crossbows out, loaded a bolt with shaking hands, took aim and fired.
The heavier than normal bolts were not aided by the winds and quite a few missed the mark, but several did managed to land home. Maybe a dozen walkers stared at the dragonglass tipped bolts that impaled them before burst into tiny ice crystals.
The men were astonished, not having expected to see the terrifying creatures that had haunted Westeros burst into nothing from what seemed to be a single crossbow bolt each. The Night King likewise looked confused but then annoyed and raised a single arm into the air, for a moment Harry and Jon thought he was about to raise some wights that he might have found but instead they were suddenly hit with a far stronger gust of wind that they had felt before. Unprepared it nearly put them back a step before they managed to regain their balance, Harry grimaced as snow hit him harder in the face understanding what the Night King was doing. The wind was now so strong that accurately aiming a crossbow would be next to impossible...clever bastard Harry thought, their best weapons were now near useless so they would have to get up close and personal.
He looked to see the Walkers begin to charge at them in scattered formation so he dropped his crossbow and drew Blackfyre and Orphanmaker, Jon at his side did the same thing with Dark Sister. Harry then said to his men and shouted over the wind with anticipation and fury in his words.
"WE'VE SHOWN THEM HOW THEY CAN DIE! NOW LETS MAKE SURE THEY LEARN IT BETTER! FOLLOW ME LADS!" Harry said and started running through the snow, followed by Jon and the men were still in shock at the walker's exploding and it bolstered their confidence so they dropped their crossbows or strapped them to their backs before drawing their spears and with a blood fuelled cry, charged alongside their king to meet the walkers head to head.
Harry reached them first and ducked then rolled forward as one tried to strike him with an ice spear, slashing at his mid section and turning him to tiny crystals with one hit before impaling another with his second sword. Jon who followed closely behind him blocked one strike of another walker before sidestepping to let its following heavy cleave knock him off balance when he missed, that gave Jon a clear shot at his chest which the young man did not hesitate to take.
All around them, men formed into small units just as they had been trained and surrounded individual walkers or larger groups circled round a small number of walkers. The walkers seemed unsure of what to do, not used to facing humans without wights to call on but were not afraid and struck at the humans that dared come close, one smiled in its sinister way as he managed to stab one in the gut and cleaved another's arm off but that smirk disappeared instantly as it felt a sharp pain in its back before it exploded into fragments. Although it had gotten two of his attackers he had not noticed another coming up from behind him and stabbing his spear right into his back.
Jorah twirled his spear around before catching walker in the throat with its tip and then blocking a strike from another with the ironwood staff. He smirked at the shock of the walker before stabbing it straight in the stomach with one of his dragonglass daggers.
All around him he could see men dying, but despite the harsh cost they were still winning as groups of men swarmed and took down walkers with daggers or spears. One or two even managing to get close enough to use the crossbow at point blank range, Jorah himself saw another walker was getting dangerously close to the young group of men he had taught and befriended at Winterfell. Frowning Jorah took a firm grip of his spear and charged straight at the walker and with a strong thrust turned the Walker into nothing. The young men watched in awe as Jorah, not stopping for a moment as he then twirled his spear around again to catch another walker in the belly, shattering him near instantly.
Jorah gritted his teeth as he focused on the area around him and where all the walkers were and planning his next move out in his head. He wondered briefly where the king and Jon Snow had disappeared too before turning his attention fully back to what he was doing, he had work of his own to do he thought with annoyance as he saw another walker coming up at him.
Harry and Jon had not gone anywhere, in fact they had at first fought against the walkers with their men until at last the main target of their campaign came into view.
The Night King stood amongst a circle of dead men but before he could think of rising them he saw the two humans from before, the ones that had destroyed his army and if he could get angry he would have been apoplectic, as it was he was...supremely annoyed. He readied his ice sword and stalked towards the pair of them who raised their swords and they marched straight forward to meet him.
Having fought a walker before Jon had more of an idea of what to expect than Harry did but still was put back at how quickly the walker moved, the other had been fast too but far more clumsy in his movements.
The Night King was something all together different.
His movements were absolutely precise, not a single wasted gesture or flourish. His accuracy of his blows was as sharp as Ygritte was with a bow and his strength was easily far greater than both of theirs put together.
Harry felt this first as he felt his arms almost vibrate with the force of the blow which he only just managed to block, but while he was recovering Jon tried his luck only to be blocked immediately by the Night King and forced to step backwards to avoid a counter-attack. Realising he needed the force of one sword rather than the quickness of two as there was no way he could keep up with the Night King, so Harry dropped one of his swords, not caring which one before again going on the attack only for the Night King to quickly wheel around and block the strike and nearly faster than the eye could follow, spin around to block Jon who tried again.
Harry grimaced as he and Jon were constantly kept off balance and unable to find a killing blow by the sheer speed of the Night King, in truth Harry realised as they moved around it was only the fact that they were both working in concert that was saving their lives as the Night King did not have the opportunity to focus on one of them. He frowned as he understood they needed to finish this quickly before the Night King managed to take one of them out of the fight or they were finished.
Jon was having similar thoughts as he struggled to keep up with the Night King, neither he nor Harry had the time to think of a plan nor had they seen anything particularly useful around the area. He gritted his teeth as he barely avoided the ice sword hitting him in the leg and struck back only to be blocked by what seemed to be an impenetrable barrier.
The phrase 'We are in trouble' flashed through their minds as they tried and failed to break through the Night's unwavering defence, desperate to keep up the pressure and think of something that could give them an opening or they were finished.
The distant sound of hooves was almost silent over the sounds of battle or suppressed by the snow, the men who were dying while taking as many walkers as they could barely had time to register the sight of black chargers as they entered the fray, Night Watch Rangers riding at full pelt led by Edd and Grenn but wielding dragonglass tipped spears taken from deserters who had begged for passage back through the Wall.
The walkers closest too them only had a second to see what was going to destroy them before it pierced their chests, some of the rangers were wielding the crossbows also taken from the deserters although aiming them was extremely difficult and many missed the mark but it scattered the few remaining walkers and bolstered the spirits of the remaining men.
The Night King himself was surprised at the sudden attack and when one ranger came at him with a spear had to sidestep to avoid it and slashed at the ranger as he rode past, cutting his leg off at the knee while also maiming the horse.
But the distraction was all Jon and Harry needed, he managed to intercept the strike from Jon but suddenly Harry's sword pierced straight through his belly. He had only a second to notice it but then instantly frosted over and exploded into a shower of ice crystals that disappeared into the snow instantly.
All around them walkers started breaking apart, Jorah was knocked to the ground by a punch from one of them and looked up to see his would be killer vanish into nothing without warning. Volunteers and Rangers all looked on astonished at the Walkers simply fell apart without reason but when it dawned on them that all the White Walkers were finally gone, a cheer sounded across the field with their waving their spears or crossbows in the air with the thrill of victory rushing through them.
Jorah smiled, somehow he had almost imagined that he would die and yet here he was, alive. It would be an interesting tale to tell his queen he thought with a relaxed look.
Harry and Jon sighed in relief and fell to their knees in exhaustion, both giving each other a grateful nod.
It was over...over at last.
The pyres containing the thousand or so bodies of the dead, surrounded by those that had survived who in silent prayer honoured their sacrifice. Whether they believed in the Old Gods or the Seven or in no gods at all it didn't matter but they would honour those that had given their lives for the sake of all life.
No one said anything, silent in their grief, the cost of victory had been too high and Harry honestly felt horrible. He had a plan, a plan to save all of Westeros...and it had worked but at the cost of many young lives who only came to save their families the burden of caring for them. It wasn't even just men as they discovered when they collected the bodies, some were women that had hidden their sex to either escape their old lives at home or ease the burden on their families too.
He knew the risks, they had too he thought trying not to be so self-destructive. He had ordered people to their deaths before and knew he would probably have to again in the future, that however he thought with anger didn't mean he had to like it. That was something he vowed to himself to never stop doing...caring about those that served under him, it would stop him forgetting that leadership, a crown was a responsibility to those you ruled over...not a right.
His wife would think him stupid as would many others he was close too for these thoughts but he couldn't help himself. Even now he was thinking of ways to move those that agreed from the surviving volunteers and their families to a warmer climate. He cared too much Harry thought and remembered other kings that had cared too much in the past like Aegon the 5th and all the problems that had caused.
He would be practical but not a tyrant.
Sadly he had no more time to think about this as Lord Commander Eddison Tollett came over and asked him.
"Your grace, what about those that fled before the battle? I have a few in the Ice Cells back at Castle Black while others are roaming lost around the area."
Harry became stone faced at the mention of the men that had broken rank and fled before the fight even began, if they had stayed the struggle would have been far less bloody at least in his mind so he came up with an ironic and somewhat cruel punishment.
"Those that fled rather than fight in the idea it would save their own necks will be exiled beyond the Wall, they made their choice and must now live with it. I trust the Night's Watch will carry on its duty to keep these cowards out?" Harry asked and both Edd and Jon looked shocked at the brutality of the punishment, many of the men that had deserted were not experienced hunters or foragers and would surely starve to death or freeze in the harsh winter cold. It would be long and slow, in short a horrible way to die.
But fitting Harry thought darkly, they ran away in an effort to save their own lives but ended up ruining it in the process.
No one saw Jorah disappear as they marched back through the tunnel, he slipped away to White Harbour to catch a boat to Essos and make his way back to his queen but unlike many years ago when he had fled justice for selling poachers as slaves and he had been fraught with misery at thinking he had ruined his life and that of his wife. This time however he smiled, feeling for the first time in years like the man he had been before meeting Lynesse, a loyal and brave man who brimmed with confidence and thankfully a clearer conscience than before. His guilt still bothered him but it was far easier to bare now...he had did his part and saved his remaining family. Now Dacey and Lyanna would live what he hoped were long, full lives safe from the creatures that had threatened all life. He didn't need them to know he had been involved, that was not why he had done it and he could quite happily live the rest of his life without anyone knowing.
He had laid the ghosts of the past to rest and was at last ready to embrace the future Jorah thought to himself as the ship carried him away from Westeros for the last time.
Their dragons found them on the road, sensing their coming through their own bond, seeing their dragons brought a smile to both of their faces. Eagerly they relinquished their horses for their normal mounts and took to the skies with them for nearly half a day before tiredness made them set up camp.
Jon parted company from Harry after they arrived at Winterfell, Ygritte and his sisters/cousins were there waiting for him as where his brothers/cousins. Both Arya and Sansa both ran forward to wrap their arms around him, he accepted their embrace and pressed them closer with his own arms. Rickon came next and his youngest brother wanted a hug too but was not sure if it was the 'grown up' thing to do. Jon after unwrapping himself from Sansa and Arya took the decision out of his hands and gave him the hug he wanted which was eagerly returned. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Bran giving him a distant smile which still unnerved him slightly, but Aemon looking older than ever came up and gave him a manly one armed hug with a slap on the back.
"You have made me and your uncle prouder than you can know." Aemon whispered in his ear and Jon felt a great deal with comfort at those words before his eyes turned to Ygritte who stood there alone as their son was inside the warm castle with Gilly away from the bitter cold. She looked at him with eyes that were lined with tears, he broke away from Aemon and walked over to her.
Only for her fist to meet his face as soon as he was close enough.
He stumbled back and while both he and everyone else were frozen with surprise, especially when she then kissed him with great passion. When she was done she leaned her forehead against him and said with a mix of anger and joy, hissing at him while she did so with tears flowing from her eyes.
"Don't you dare do something like this to me and our son again!" Jon took her in his arms despite her slight struggle and kissed her forehead.
"Never again." He whispered in her ear and held her, she beat her fists against his chest a few times but then lent into his hold and wrapped her arms around his neck.
Highgarden, the Reach…
Talos touched down just short of the castle gates where he saw his entire family waiting and all his friends; Rhaenys and their six young children, Margaerey with her young son in her arms, Kanoro with his two sons so tall already despite not being teenagers yet, Caelys with Daena, Noelle and Mors at her side. Brynden and his family and not forgetting Jothos Velaryon with his wife and children.
But also there was Alys, Zara and Myria with all their children around them. Olenna looked so strange as she stood in the middle of all her great-grandchildren.
The sight of those he cared about made Harry smile, above him Talos took flight and started playing with Aegeron and Skyborn eager to spent time with his siblings once again.
Harry walked forward and instantly pulled his wife into a passionate embrace while their children swarmed around them, giving a grateful look to all his family and friends eager to at last spend time with them again. There was still a realm that needed ruling and problems like potential rebellions and rebuilding cities but for now Harry thought with pride they had triumphed.
Six Years Later…
Harry looked out from the window of the Red Keep at the sight below, while it was still not completely finished and likely wouldn't be for several more years (having been slowed by the hard winter they had recently emerged from) the new Kings Landing was finally taking shape. Rows of new buildings and streets lay out in front of him, underneath a new sewer system designed to take waste away from the city and reduce the smell that had affected the previous version of the capital. Harry had actually used some runes in the construction that broke down the waste, turning it into energy to feed the runes themselves partly in an attempt to keep the Blackwater Rush cleaner. That was of course a closely guarded secret and no one but him and Rhaenys knew.
Looking towards the water in question he saw the rebuilt docks already starting to see trading ships arriving from other ports, the new port was much bigger and carefully organised than the last one and able to handle twice the number of ships. It was an encouraging sight and as two smaller figures came up to him he was glad to tell them.
"Moments like this were everything is peaceful and all is right with the world are few and far between so treasure them when they do come." He put his arms around his now teenage children's shoulders, Jasen and Elinor looked down at the city which was younger than they were but would hopefully outlast them all. They looked up to their father who smiled at them and the three of them stood there as they stared out across the city.
Eventually they headed back into the castle that finally had become their home after so many years in Bloodstone and Highgarden, coming to the solar where Rhaenys looking as beautiful as the day they had met sat with their four other children. She stood up and greeted them; a hug that they returned eagerly for their children with a tender kiss on the forehead while a not so tender and more passionate kiss was reserved for him.
Harry took a moment to really look at his children, proud of all of them and the people they were becoming. Jasen now growing so tall and smirking with a devilish smile that honestly reminded Harry of his wife's uncle while his sister Elinor was a dead ringer for her mother only a bit of green in her eyes showed he was her father. She was an elegant and graceful young woman that knew how to charm the birds from the trees, while Jasen was in line for the throne she would one day when she came of age rule their original seat in the Stepstones. She was more than smart enough and would they were sure rule fairly but wisely too.
Garlan their second son was still the energetic boy he had always been only thankfully he no longer swung his sword around like a madman, many hours spent with Kanoro had stripped him of that habit and now was regarded as the finest swordsman of his generation after his elder brother. He still had a long way to go before he was an equal to his father or Kanoro but he was distracted by his lessons of how to rule as when older he would take Highgarden as his seat now Kings Landing was once again the capital.
Mira his twin might have ruled The Ring but the bookish girl had no interest, she spent all her days either reading, writing or painting in the gardens and had no plans to do anything else.
That meant their next child Daeron would rule The Ring when he came of age which was some time away, for now the boy was learning all he could from his tutors on the matter of ruling, he was quite a bookish boy and not comfortable with swordsmanship but was capable all the same. Their youngest Alysanne was still unsure of what she wanted from life so they were allowing her a few years more yet before decisions were made. Betrothal requests came daily from all over the world but that was an ongoing issue as they looked for people that their children could marry.
The roar of dragons as they flew past the window echoed across the city, rather than lock them up in a Dragonpit, their dragons had a walled enclosure outside the city were they could nest and sleep which was close at hand but large enough for them to grow healthily. Jasen and Elinor had recently received a dragon's egg each and would hatch them on their next nameday.
"Ready?" Harry asked with a smile, looking to Rhaenys who sighed as family time was interrupted for a meeting. Jasen meanwhile looked excited as he would for the first time be accompanying his parents while they met with the Great Council and the Small Council to officially establish Kings Landing as the capital again, Elinor was coming too but she looked slightly disinterested.
Leaving the rest of their children with a detachment of the Royal Guard they walked down the corridors to the newest room in the Red Keep, opening the door a massive circular table stood in the centre of one of the renovated halls. While the Small Council had a designated chamber they had nothing for the Great Councils which would be needed from time to time. Tradition would have Great Councils at Harrenhal but from now on they would be held here, it would also give them a more secure place to meet in event of emergencies or war.
Like today, Harry thought as they brought all the Great Houses here to formalise the new capital. Around the hall already were the their chief vassals, talking with each other and staying in the small groups or otherwise standing on their own. They all looked as Harry and Rhaenys entered the room, knowing them all from the Small Council meetings going back years and the rest from their yearly visits around the different keeps of Westeros, reviving the old custom of the first Targaryen monarchs to keep ties with their vassals and themselves aware of the troubles and advantages of each kingdom within the realm. Lord Tarly had been supportive of this idea and would have likely been here had he not been returning briefly to Horn Hill to see his second grandchild born from Dickon and Margaery.
Harry and Rhaenys walked first to the closest, Lord Royce the Lord Paramount of the Vale. The older man was stiff in his response to their approach and spoke very formally.
"Your graces, the Vale is as always at your service." He said kneeling before them and keeping his gaze at their feet. Harry and Rhaenys nodded and responded with the same formality.
"Rise Lord Royce, we are honoured by your service. The hospitality of the Red Keep is open to you." Harry told him and the old man rose with a slight wince from stiffness in his joints. They gave him a stiff nod before moving on the next.
"Lord Swann, how are things with progressing in the Stormlands?" Rhaenys asked when they reached the old lord. He smiled as he bowed and told them.
"The new road and canal system you have constructed across the country we are far more able to transport resources and troops around." Lord Swann told them, it had been their latest project intended to ease the transport of goods around the realm without the need for sea voyages. A series of new roads and canals with barges moving goods around like the veins of the country like blood, making communication easier too they reasoned for those that did not have ravens to rely on. These roads and canals connected all of the kingdoms on the continent together which was another hope of theirs, that tying their country tighter to together like this would prevent future conflicts...not everyone had been pleased but with many had been happier with the increased gold brought about by wider trading.
They both nodded and moved over to Prince Trystane Martell who was representing his family in this meeting alone, his new wife Myrcella having stayed home with her pregnancy. Oberyn might have once been chosen instead but given his love of travel and wanting to appease Dorne that they were not forgotten, Harry and Rhaenys had named him their foreign diplomat so with financial support of the crown he travelled around and made connections with other nations around the world, it was a risky move given Oberyn's proclivities as he could make just enemies just as easily as friends but he was sneaky and cunning. The funny stories he sent them from time to time actually made them laugh and he was more than up to arranging trade deals and other agreements that might be needed although there had been a few bad incidents nothing major enough to make them reconsider their decision.
Guthor Hightower came over next and shook their hands as soon as he had bowed and done the formal business that was expected, their old friend the Lord of the Westerlands looked relaxed and at ease with his position. A far cry from how things had used to be, constantly watching for any sign of trouble from his vassals but was now far more confident.
Lord Harrow gave them a bow, he was still intimidated over what Harry and the other lords had done to the Iron Islands and had been struggling to get the trading of the islands large stocks of iron going in earnest. There had not been a raid since he had become Lord of the Iron Islands and for that at least Harry and Rhaenys gave him a formal smile and a shake of the hand to ensure he realised that he was welcome. The older man carefully accepted it and gave another formal bow before they moved on to the last two of their lords.
The Riverlands and Northern families stood together, not surprising really as they shared blood. Edmure Tully greeted them with a formal bow which they returned before coming to Sansa, power suited her Harry and Rhaenys both realised as the younger woman seemed to dominate a room whenever she entered. The confidence with which she moved now, the certainty in her gaze and in her stance radiated strength. A Northern Lady indeed Harry thought with a smile, certainly a far different image than the first time she had come to Kings Landing all those years ago.
And rightfully so Harry thought given she was a mother to three young boys and Arya too had found someone she could twist around her finger while enjoying all the activities she wanted. Apparently from what he had heard she had ensnared a Flint boy and now more or less ruled his house. She would be happy Harry thought with a smile, she finally got to rule and could do all the horse riding and archery she wanted since her husband was apparently a complete pushover.
"Lady Sansa, I trust all is well in the North?" Harry said, kissing her hand and she smiled.
"Aside from the usual trouble of unruly lords, bandits, bad crops and the like your grace, everything is fine. The Nights Watch has been exploring and charting the lands beyond the Wall to see if there is anything of value up there, our people will surely appreciate it given our recent population boom." Sansa said, the aborted Long Night had seen a lot of drunken 'celebration' amongst the Northerners and their population had risen as a result, with the wildlings being absorbed into the North's population and the White Walkers gone the Night's Watch had to find a new purpose and so they had been turned by Sansa into an Exploration Guild, charting the lands that had gone unexplored which one day would become a part of the North.
Harry nodded in approval of her actions, she was certainly doing better than he had expected. He then turned to the woman standing at the side of Sansa, the ever dependable Brienne of Tarth. She greeted the king by kneeling before being allowed to rise, word had it she now had a son called Jonos although the father was something of a mystery.
With the introductions done Harry and Rhaenys took their seats at the table while the other lords and ladies took theirs.
"Welcome to the new Kings Landing lords and ladies, for the first time in decades a Great Council has been convened only instead it being to resolve a problem, it is in celebration of the successes we have had and to toast towards the future." Harry said with a smile which was echoed by those around the table as the maids served the Arbor Gold he had purchased specially for the occasion. The people around the table took a sip and waited for him to continue. "We have much to be thankful for and I hope to see you all attending court at some point with your vassals, I could go on but I think we are all eager to mix and see the new city. So again, welcome." Harry said not as fancy a speech as was expected perhaps but for the first time in a while they had no major problems to deal with. There had been a decent first harvest after winter, no diseases, no invasions or real civil unrest.
Peace, Harry could hardly believe it. Actual peace in their time, fateful words he thought with mirth but it was true and not the fake peace that had been Robert Baratheon's reign either. And to keep it that way, a Great Council was going to called here every five years to mediate any issues between the Great Houses as well as make sure that potential issues could be identified and dealt with more easily.
The new mills working on the power of wind and water plus crop rotation schedules with new ploughs had increased food production yields considerably, more to trade and more to feed their people. Mechanical clocks to tell time more accurately, like the one mounted near the new Sept with a large bell so everyone knew when services were being held, seven buildings set in the pattern of a seven pointed star with each dedicated to to one of the pantheon. At the centre was a memorial to those that had died during the destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor and then the burning of Kings Landing.
He might have thought more on that but a servant appeared at the door and gently interrupted the meeting. They all turned to look at him and the sight of the most powerful people in the realm all staring at him made the young man bow his head and kneel in fright before saying his message as quickly as he could so he could get out of a place he didn't belong.
"Your graces, my lords an envoy has arrived from Dragon's Bay on behalf of the Queen's Aunt. He is 'requesting' an audience." The servant told them.
There was a silence in the room as they all looked to Harry and Rhaenys who shared a look, in truth they had almost forgotten about the last 'true' Targaryen with 'true' meaning inbred Valyrian. She had been silent for the last few years, word had it that she was securing her rule and otherwise resting on her laurels not really making any changes and keeping things exactly the same. Harry told the servant.
"We will meet them in the throne room in a few minutes, wait till then to show them in."
The servant nodded and rushed to see his orders through, Rhaenys was frowning worried about what her aunt wanted and Harry honestly wondered if his thoughts of peace were premature. Daenerys had always been a concern for him and his wife and who knows what she wanted. So Harry and Rhaenys got up from their seats and walked over to the throne room, followed by the lords and ladies. Kanoro looking resplendent in his functional yet decorative Royal Guard armour joined them with his men, they gave a genuine smile to their steadfast protector which was returned as they walked to the throne room and when they finally arrived there, the looks on the faces of the lords and ladies was nearly comical.
This room had received the most changes of any room in the Red Keep, the columns were of course important to holding up the roof so they were still there but now they had been painted with dragons in green, red or gold. One of the walls was now painted with a mural of all of Westeros and their Essosi territories, the windows had stain glass hawks and dragons decorating them and on other walls banners of the Blood Hawk emblem of House Tyrell hung in the centre and on either side slightly small ones of all the great houses.
But perhaps the most recognisable change was the Iron Throne itself, now instead of one seat of pure metal that looked vicious and old, two thrones sat. While the basic structure was indeed iron (recast from the old Iron Throne) the rest of it was not, the rock on which they stood came from the Stormlands, the silk pads came from the Reach, the silver for the patterns in the iron from the Vale, the gold patterns alongside the silver came from the Westerlands, the Ironwood armrests from the North, the wooden backrest came from the Riverlands, more iron for the second throne to be made from the Iron Islands, some pearls for decoration came from the Stepstones and the marble icon of the Tyrell Hawk which sat between the thrones came from Dorne.
All of them had been expecting to see the old Iron Throne and were still shocked when Harry gently took Rhaenys' hand and walked up the steps to it before taking their places for the first time. It certainly sent a rush through both of them when they sat down on the more comfortable but still firm seats, a sense of power and control ran through them both. It was exhilarating and disturbing at the same time and made them both sit straighter, thinking perhaps Aegon the Conqueror had a point about no monarch never sitting easy they both realised.
With them in place and the lords arrayed around the hall on their side, the doors finally opened and revealed just who Daenerys had sent.
It came as a shock when they saw Tyrion Lannister walking into the room as bold as brass.
Tyrion was very uncomfortable at being here in Kings Landing again, let alone the Red Keep. The new city beneath the castle was certainly a testament to the new regime breaking free from the past he mused with irony. His sister had destroyed the city and they had built literally a new city from the ground up, the sight of him he noticed with some amusement actually created a few glares. His Lannister blood proving very much a curse as it had the last time he was here.
However what really stole his attention was the two new thrones were the old Iron Throne had once been, if that didn't mark a change nothing did, implying the king and queen were equals. A curious and perhaps dangerous statement Tyrion thought, that led him to turn his attention to the two sitting upon those thrones.
Harry Tyrell now had a trimmed beard and wore Aegon the Conqueror's crown on his head, looking Tyrion thought more regal and strong than the last four monarchs to call themselves King of Westeros, his clothes were well made leather rather than silk or velvet. They had been decorated with golden thread but still said more about the man than any more elaborate outfit.
Practical, tough, determined.
Tyrion then looked to the woman who had married him.
She was without a doubt one of...if not the most beautiful woman Tyrion had ever seen, her curvaceous figure with slim waist and large teats attracting his attention immediately but seeing a warning look from the king he had immediately looked to her face and saw the darker skin, sculpted face and alluring purple eyes that he had seen Daenerys Targaryen have. Except he realised immediately she was far more intelligent than her aunt, more cunning as while Daenerys often went with her heart without thinking of the consequences, Rhaenys Targaryen would think more carefully about her actions before taking them. Often it was left up to him to make her schemes reality, a duty that meant he had a lot of power which appealed to him but sometimes left him with little time for himself.
She had the same strength of conviction that her aunt had, a similar desire to make things better but more of calculating mind and Tyrion knew instantly to be more on his toes around her.
"Lord Tyrion, I had not expected to see you in the Red Keep again, nor as the envoy of Daenerys Targaryen." Harry told him with a glare and cold voice, not missing the look he had given Rhaenys who herself looked angry. However Harry suspected it was more about him looking at her like that and being a Lannister rather than being a dwarf as his wife had never looked down on anyone born in such a way before.
"Nor I your grace, but the strange workings of fate have led to a great many changes." Tyrion said stepping forth so he was more in the centre of the room, making sure he had all their attention. He had been about to try and establish control of the conversation when Queen Rhaenys spoke.
"I am sure you did not travel thousands of miles to waste time with pointless posturing Lord Tyrion, my aunt sent you here for a reason and I would know what it is, especially if she intends to bring war on our shores." Rhaenys said and a look of worry on the faces of the lords around the room went around before looking at him with suspicion and Tyrion found himself realising his usual tricks were not going to work here so he cut right to the heart of the matter.
"Her grace Daenerys only wishes to open trade between the Kingdom of Dragon's Bay and Westeros, crops are harder to grow in our climate and trade with Westeros would ease those troubles." He said, giving them half of the truth. It was a goal that he needed to achieve certainly but his other mission here was better kept to himself for now. It had become very apparent that Daenerys was not able to have children of her own, perhaps due to the time she had been cursed by a witch earlier in her life although he had a hard time believing in that. Many were growing worried about what might happen when she died and there was no one to control the dragons who were all very likely to outlive her.
So they had used this trip as a ruse to see if any of her great nieces or nephews would be able to inherit her throne and keep what she had created going. Tyrion personally worried at the dangers of this as the new King or Queen would not be a native of the land or as familiar with the bay and surrounding lands as they would need to be. Not to mention how much support they would have as many followed Daenerys as they had been freed them from slavery and this new monarch would have none of that authority. Civil War was a distinct possibility and more than once he had been plagued with horrible thoughts of all he had built at her beck and call being torn apart.
Harry meanwhile unknown to Tyrion was carefully reading his thoughts and now understood the real reason he was here, it instantly angered him that Daenerys would think they would simply give her one of their children to manipulate into her own image, his own anger clouding his thinking perhaps. He of course wanted the best for all his children and he certainly didn't want to put one of them in that quagmire, especially as the only ones without an established holding of their own yet were Mira and Alysanne. Given the distance between Westeros and Dragon's Bay it would be incredibly hard to fold it under their own rule and difficult to maintain control both of them realised.
But the idea of dropping his girls into that mess angered Harry, they might become queen but for how long and too what? He thought, a kingdom that barely held itself together and was sure to fall apart the moment Daenerys died? Mira was far to gentle to ever rule there and Alysanne was far too young in his opinion. Rhaenys at his side was having similar thoughts and instantly started planning to think of finding more dragon riders that they could trust, eager to expand their force potential (but wary of the lesson of Hugh Hammer and Ulf the White), if they did try to take her aunt's throne or even support it more dragons would be useful as was the secret magic school Harry was planning to set up as magical births had seen an increase in the last few years.
She sighed quietly to herself, looking to Harry who took her hand without asking. They would discuss it with their girls in private later but it seemed another delicate situation was threatening the peace they had worked hard to achieve as whether or not they accepted Daenerys making one of their children her heir, it would cause conflict in that part of the world and it would draw them into it whether they liked it or not.
Damn the game, they both thought together as they started to plan their response.
Thank you again to everyone that read the story and gave it the most valuable thing you could, your time.
I really appreciate it.