Fandom: A Song of Ice and Fire
Main Relationship: Siblings – Rhaenys Targaryen, Aegon Targaryen and Aemon Targaryen (Jon Snow)
Main Pairing: Aegon Targaryen/Shireen Baratheon; Rhaenys Targaryen/Willas Tyrell; and Aemon Targaryen (Jon Snow)/
Side Pairings: Rhaegar Targaryen/Elia Martell; Rhaegar Targaryen/Lyanna Stark; Rhaegar Targaryen/Cersei Lannister; Jaime Lannister/Ashara Dayne; Stannis Baratheon/Mina Tyrell; Viserys Targaryen/Arianne Martell; Renly Baratheon/Daenerys Targaryen; Renly Baratheon/Loras Tyrell; and Daenerys Targaryen/Brienne of Tarth
Warnings: alternate universe; het; slash; femslash; sibling incest; original characters; Rhaegar Targaryen is a flawed human; Rhaegar Targaryen needs to get his priorities straight; character death; mentions of blood and gore; language; mentions of sex and sexual situations; Jon Snow is name Aemon; Cersei Lannister isn't as smart as she thinks she is; Viserys Targaryen is sane; and Joffrey is a twisted individual
Prompt: (Word Count) 10,000 word total
Summary: In which King Rhaegar Targaryen ruled the Seven Kingdoms after the Rebellion of 282 and life moved on. Things changed in 298 AC when King Rhaegar fell ill, putting Aegon, Rhaenys and Aemon against Joffrey, Maegelle, and Aelor for the Iron Throne.
Written in Fire
A Second Dance
Red Keep, King's Landing
Her screams could be heard outside of the rooms. A few servants were rushing in and out, with towels and blankets, and fetching water. It was clear things weren't going well. Dowager Queen Rhaella Targaryen sat waiting patiently. Her gooddaughter – Rhaegar's second wife – had gone to the birthing bed in the early hours of this morning.
A sense of unease filled her as a new servant emerged from the rooms. There was a frantic look in her eyes and her apron was covered in blood.
Rhaella closed her purple eyes, bowing her head in silent prayer to the Seven and the Mother. While her opinion of her new gooddaughter was low, Rhaella wanted to see Lyanna and her child – Rhaegar's third child – emerge healthy and she wanted to get to know them.
As she prayed, a hand came to rest on her own rounded stomach. She had her own babe to worry about. The babe kicked near her hand, as if sensing she needed reassurance.
"Queen Mother?" a servant said, pulling her from her prayers.
Closing her eyes. Rhaella found herself staring at one of Princess Elia's old ladies-in-waiting. She was a beautiful young Dornish woman with dark hair, tan skin, and dark blue eyes, and she wore a modest dress in yellow and black. If memory served correctly, she was Lady Larra Blackmont.
"Yes?" Rhaella asked.
The young woman pressed her lips together. "I have sent for Lord Stark and Pr-King Rhaegar," she stated, her voice quiet. "The girl isn't liking to survive."
Rhaella nodded, feeling sorrow for her eldest son. This would be the second wife he lost in three moons. She even felt a little sorrow for Lady Lyanna, the foolish girl who was too young to die. "Send for my grandchildren," she ordered.
Dark blue eyes narrowed, but Lady Larra nodded. "At once, your grace," she promised, something sharp in her tone.
Sighing, the dowager queen felt a headache forming. She couldn't fault Lady Larra's sour attitude. She was a loyal Dornish woman, and she was grieving the loss of her friend. "Compose yourself before Lord Stark arrives," she added, a note of warning in her tone. "Despite all else, this is his sister."
Lady Larra nodded, looking down. She quickly left.
Taking a deep breath, Rhaella found herself at a loss. She couldn't help but wonder how Rhaegar would proceed. He was busy trying to rule the realm, and his coronation was a sennight away.
Lord Eddard Stark joined her a little later. He bowed politely before he stood straight and rigid, grey eyes fixed on the door.
Rhaella saw through his mask. He looked indifferent and impassive, but she saw the scared brother beneath. This was his little sister – the girl that would forever be remembered as the cause of the Rebellion of 282, a war the nearly divided the realm and thousands fought and bleed over.
Rhaegar arrived a little later, looking grim, with Ser Arthur Dayne following him.
Ser Arthur glared at Lord Stark, making Rhaella want to sigh and scold the boys, but this was neither the time nor place. And her words would have no impact.
At least Rhaegar had sworn to legitimize Ser Arthur's niece as Allyria Dayne, allowing her to join her mother's House instead of her father's. Ashara Dayne would always be a point of contention between Ser Arthur and Lord Stark.
Almost as if she sensed the tension, Lady Larra appeared before the group. She bowed to Rhaegar. "Your majesty," she greeted, no warmth in her tone. "Lord Stark, Ser Arthur."
"How is the babe?" Rhaegar asked.
A frown crossed Lady Larra's lips. "A fighter, according to the maester," she answered. "The babe should be here soon."
"How is my sister?" Lord Stark asked.
Turning to him, Lady Larra sighed and she shook her head. "She has lost too much blood," she stated. "It is unlikely." She trailed off.
The unspoken unable to make it hung in the air.
Something broke in Lord Stark at those word. His shoulder slumped and he bowed his head.
The dowager queen found herself mourning the loss of her gooddaughter. Her unborn babe would grow up like Rhaenys and Aegon, a motherless child.
"Lady Lyanna is asking for you, your majesty," Lady Larra stated.
Rhaegar sighed, briefly looking upset. "I can't stay for long," he said.
Rhaella found herself enraged by his careless words. She knew her son, and she knew he was grieving, but he didn't need to seem so insensitive about it. "Take time with your wife, son," she advised. "You won't have long."
Her son closed his purple eyes and he nodded before following Lady Larra into the rooms.
Ser Arthur took his position next to the door while Lord Stark took a seat next to the dowager queen.
A silence fell over them. It was heavy with tension and sadness.
None of them spoke. They simply remained in silence, watching as servants continued to come and go from the rooms.
After a little, Lady Larra appeared in front of the dowager queen and Lord Stark. "It's a boy," she announced. Looking at Lyanna's brother, she said, "Your sister is asking for you, Lord Stark."
Lord Stark stood up.
"Your grace, I think the lady would benefit from your presence," Lady Larra added.
Turning, Lord Stark offered his arm to assist Rhaella in standing before Ser Arthur could move.
Rhaella took the arm, allowing Lord Stark to pull her to her feet.
Lord Stark maintained a hold on her arm, carefully escorting her into the rooms.
Lady Lyanna was laying on fresh white sheets with Rhaegar kneeling next to the bed. Their heads were pressed together and they held hands. Lyanna was pale with tearstained cheeks, and her grey eyes fluttered close every few seconds.
"–nt to die," Lyanna whispered, her tone pleading.
"I know," Rhaegar whispered back, sounding close to tears himself.
Next to her, Rhaella felt Lord Stark tense. His hold remained, and he took her to a seat next to Rhaegar. He remained by her side long enough to help her sit down.
Once she was seated, Lord Stark walked around to the other side of the bed, opposite her son.
"Lyanna," he whispered as he collapsed next to her.
Lyanna's grey eyes opened wider and she gasped. Turning her head, she offered her older brother a watery smile, fresh tears spreading down her face. "Ned!" she greeted.
Lord Stark reached out with a shaking hand to cup her cheek. He brushed a few tears away.
"I'm sorry," she whispered, her tone filled with heartbreak and sorrow. "I never might for any of this to happen." She sobbed. "Bran, dad, Elia." Her body shook with her sobs. "I'm so sorry."
A pained expression crossed Lord Stark's face. "I understand," he whispered. His hand moved from her cheek to her head. "Remember how much we love you. Bran and dad will be waiting for you."
Her eyes closed, and she sobbed for a little. When she opened her eyes, she looked into her brother's grey eyes. "Please, help my son," she begged. "I know you will have difficulty with Rhaegar, but please be there for my son."
"I will," the man promised.
Lyanna closed her eyes, whispering, "Thank you."
"Your son," Lady Larra announced, presenting a bundle to Lyanna and Rhaegar.
The young lady made a noise of longing, her grey eyes locking onto the bundle.
Rhaegar reached out with shaking arms as he accepted his son. "What will we name him?" he asked, looking between the face of his and his wife. He positioned his arms so Lyanna could see the babe as well.
Rhaella remained silent as she watched the scene unfold in front of her. Witnessing it, she knew her son did care for Lady Lyanna – more than he did Princess Elia.
"Jaehaerys?" suggested Lyanna, her voice soft.
Rhaegar shook his head. "Daeron?" he tried.
Lyanna frowned, looking down at her son. "Torrhen?"
Laughing, Rhaegar shook his head. "Maybe if he was King in the North," he said. "Aenys?"
"No," Lyanna shook her head.
A moment of silence fell between them as each tried to think of other names.
"Aemon?" Rhaella said, speaking for the first time.
Rhaegar hummed, looking down at his wife.
"Every Aemon has a brother named Aegon," added Lord Stark.
"Aemon Targaryen," Lyanna whispered.
"As you wish, my love," Rhaegar told her.
A few minutes later, the dowager queen left the rooms as Princess Rhaenys and Prince Aegon arrived. They were being ushered onto the bed next to Lyanna as they crowded around their new brother.
The Rebellion of 282 ended with King Rhaegar Targaryen ascending to the Iron Throne at the end of 283 AC. It was a bittersweet day. The coronation was overseen by his three young children – Princess Rhaenys and Prince Aegon, the children of Elia Martell, and Prince Aemon, the son of Lyanna Stark – and his younger brother, Prince Viserys. At the time of the coronation, Dowager Queen Rhaella Targaryen, was on bed rest under the watchful eyes of the maester.
At the time of his coronation, King Rhaegar was widowed twice over. His first wife, Princess Elia Martell, was killed by King Aerys II for Dornish crimes of treason and she was sentenced to death by fire. His second wife, Lady Lyanna Stark, died of childbed fever following the birth of their son, Prince Aemon.
For the time being, he decided against taking a new wife. There was too much to be done in regards to the realm and the different kingdoms. Dorne was enraged by the murder of their beloved princess. Tensions were high within the North over the murders of Lord Rickard Stark and his eldest son and heir, Brandon Stark. The Stormlands were were facing a famine, blaming the Reach and questioning their new Ward, Lord Stannis Baratheon. Parts of the Riverlands and the Crownlands were in ruins. The Westerlands were under scrutiny for their invasion of King's Landing.
One of his first acts as king was to pardon Ser Jaime Lannister of the murder of King Aerys II. He was released from his vows of the Kingsguard before being married off to Ashara Dayne. Ser Jaime was kept in the Red Keep as an honored guest, but he was a hostage in reality. Lord Tywin Lannister needed to be reminded of his place, and he had an heir in the form of Tyrion Lannister. The dragon was mightier than the lion.
Following his coronation, King Rhaegar formed his Small Council and he started executing people he held responsible for the Rebellion of 282, like Varys and Pycelle. At the recommendation of his mother, he appointed Lord Jon Arryn to be the Hand of the King. Prince Oberyn Martell was appointed the Master of Whisperers with Lord Stannis Baratheon as the Master of Laws and Lord Wyman Manderly as the Master of Coin. Lord Lucerys Velaryon remained the Master of Ships, and Ser Gerold Hightower remained Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Advisor positions were offered to Lord Randyll Tarly and Lord Raymun Darry. A request was sent to the Citadel for a new grandmaester.
Under his orders, several people were executed. The executions started with Varys, the former Master of Whisperers, who was said to poison the mind of King Aerys II against his family and his subjects. Maester Pycelle was executed for breaking his vows as a maester and as a loyal member of the Small Council. Lord Rossart and the members of the Alchemists' Guild were executed for their plots to burn King's Landing with wildfire.
Benjen Stark stood in the courtyard of Winterfell as his older brother, Lord Eddard Stark, rode in atop his dark brown horse. While his face appeared impassive and frozen, his posture relaxed and it appeared as if a heavy weight was lifted. When he was close enough, his dismounted.
"Winterfell is yours, Lord Stark," Benjen stated with a formal bow as his older brother – his only remaining sibling – approached.
"Benjen," Ned greeted, fondness in his voice, "none of that. I was," he trailed off, shaking his head. "Not from you," he stated, weakly.
Understanding passed between the two. Ned was never meant to be Lord Stark. Their older brother was raised to be Lord Stark. Ned would either serve as a member his household or have a small keep of his own – the most popular rumors were Ned would be given Moat Cailin to restore and pass onto his own children.
Benjen and Ned stared at each other for a little before the two brothers found themselves embracing. It was a quick hug. They would have time later.
"Benjen, I would like to present my wife," Ned began as they separated, "Lady Catelyn Tully."
Something twisted in Benjen's gut at the sight of his goodsister. She was meant to be Brandon's wife, not Ned's.
"And my son and heir," Ned continued, pride coloring his tone, "Robb."
Benjen nodded, offering his good-sister and nephew a greeting. He didn't approach of the name. Robb was a Southron name, not a Northern name, and the boy was likely named after Ned's close friend, Robert Baratheon. Rickard or Brandon would have been a better suited name.
Despite his thoughts, Benjen did politely return her smile. He would be polite for Ned's sake. Turning to his brother, he hopefully asked, "Lyanna's son?"
The tightening of Ned's eyes betrayed his thoughts. "Aemon is safe in the capital," he answered, "with his older siblings."
The answer made Benjen want to scowl. Instead, he settled for nodding. He would have words with Ned about this later – away from his trout of a wife and the bannermen.
As if Ned understood his thoughts, he clapped Benjen on the shoulder.
The next few hours were full of activity. Ned settled into their father's – now his – solar with Maester Luwin, Vayon Poole, and the ledgers and records Benjen had meticulously kept. Catelyn tried to settle herself and Robb into their rooms as she directed the servants – a combination of her own Southron one and some Northern ones. Some of the bannermen were shown to rooms and the rest continued onward to their homes, keeps, and families. They would be due back in a few moons to celebrate their new liege lord, his wife, and his heir.
But such celebrations could wait. This was time of mourning and thankfulness – mourning the loss of their dead and being thankful for those that returned home. The entire realm was in mourning. It was King Rhaegar's fault – no matter how history or the bards portrayed it – and King Aerys II. There was fault to spread out to others: Lyanna, Brandon, and Robert Baratheon.
With all the people and activity in Winterfell, Benjen found himself retreating to the godswood. He needed peace and some time alone. It was strange having so many people within the keep. For nearly two years, the keep housed a third as many people.
Sitting under the hearttree, he started to think and reflect. It might be wrong of him to blame King Rhaegar for the Rebellion of 282, but it couldn't find it within himself to care. Rhaegar was a man grown with a wife and two children when he met Lyanna. Somehow, he convinced Lyanna to runaway with him without leaving a note or telling a soul. Benjen knew it wouldn't take much to convince Lyanna. She was unhappy with bleak future, marrying Robert Baratheon and leaving the Stormlands, kingdoms away from her family and the North. Knowing his sister, Lyanna was love-struck with the crown prince. She would have done anything he said.
Without a note, tales of Rhaegar abducting Lyanna spread like dragonfire throughout the kingdoms. When Brandon heard the rumors, he rode passed Riverrun – where his Tully bride waited – to the Red Keep, where he demanded King Aerys II turn over Prince Rhaegar.
Instead, the Mad King arrested Brandon and his men – executing most of the men within a fortnight – before summoning Lord Rickard Stark to the capital. Rickard had left, entrusting Benjen to remain the Stark in Winterfell, with promises to return with his "wild wolf" of a son. Rickard Stark never returned home. He died within hours of his arrival to the Red Keep in a mockery of a trail by combat, and Brandon died, trying to vain to do something.
After the deaths – murders – of Rickard and Brandon Stark, the Mad King called for the heads of Lord Eddard Stark and Lord Robert Baratheon. In response, Lord Jon Arryn defied his king, calling his bannermen. Eddard sent word to Winterfell and throughout the North, calling on his bannermen with plans to meet them in the Riverlands while Lord Robert Baratheon returned to Storm's End to summon his own.
The following war that nearly torn the realm apart, killed thousands of people, and almost ended the Targaryen dynasty, and it all could have been avoided if Rhaegar Targaryen hadn't convinced Lyanna Stark to runaway with him and become his second wife.
As he thought about the war, Benjen found himself wondering about his other nephew, Lyanna's son. While he didn't approve of the Valyrian name, it was better than a Southron name. Benjen had grown up idolizing Aemon the Dragonknight, and he learned about Maester Aemon on the Wall as he grew older. Out of all Valyrian and Targaryen names, Aemon was a good choice for Lyanna's son.
Winterfell, The North
Lord Eddard Stark stared at the red wax seal of the Targaryen King. Whatever the contents of this letter, he knew would be a headache. It wasn't often King Rhaegar wrote to him. When Ned had questions or requested updates about his nephew, he sent his letters directly to Dowager Queen Rhaella. She wrote long letters detailing Prince Aemon's life along with those of his brother and his sister. Her letters eased his heart. Princess Rhaenys adored her littlest brother, calling him Aems and she was fascinated by his curly brown hair. Prince Aegon slept best when he shared a crib with his little brother, and the two were nearly inseparable.
Sighing, Ned picked up a dagger and he sliced the red wax seal. He barely read two sentence before he could feel the headache forming. This was not what he wanted to read.
A knock on his door sounded as Ned tried to reread the letter, making sure he understood what he was reading. It was rather difficult to believe.
"Yes?" he called, setting the letter down. Maybe some mead would help him with this letter. He would need more than mead to draft his reply.
The door was opened by Benjen. His younger brother wore an expression of determination. "I saw the raven," he stated, stepping into the room and closing the door behind him.
Ned said nothing as he motioned to the letter. He leaned back in his chair, watching as Benjen read over the contents.
Benjen's grey eyes narrowed and his fingers tightened around the parchment. With a look of disgust, he returned the letter. He threw himself in a chair opposite his older brother.
King Rhaegar Targaryen was getting married to Lady Cersei Lannister. There was no explanation given.
Silence fell between them. An occasional noise came from the fireplace with a pop and a crackle. The two brothers stared at each other. Ned carefully studied his younger brother, who looked to lost in his thoughts.
"I know Starks don't do well in the South," Benjen stated, breaking the silence after five minutes, "but I must join Aemon. He's alone, and he needs a pack."
Ned found himself a little shocked by his brother's declarations, but he could admit he wasn't entirely surprised. Benjen was unhappy at Winterfell. "I'll need a moon to make arrangements," Ned told him.
His words took Benjen by surprise. His grey eyes opened and his mouth fell open.
"I know you are unhappy," Ned explained before his brother could say anything, "and if this is what you want, I won't stop you. You're right. Lyanna's son is alone in the South with vipers and dragons. He will benefit from family."
Benjen nodded, looking relieved.
"I will reply to the king," Ned continued, "and send you in my place." He picked up the letter, barely glancing over the words before he placed it down again.
"You won't be going," Benjen stated.
Ned shook his head. "Cat is pregnant," he said. This was the first he was telling someone. Cat's last pregnancy miscarried at five moons.
"That is wonderful to hear," Benjen said with a smile. Ned and Catelyn had fallen into love over the last few years, finding happiness in their marriage.
Benjen lingered in his brother's solar a little longer before taking his leave. He had arrangements of his own to make, like deciding what would go South with him and requesting a new wardrobe for the South.
Alone in his solar, Ned decided to send a letter to Dowager Queen Rhaella. She had invited Ned to the Red Keep in the past, and he knew she would welcome Benjen in his place.
Sept of Baelor, King's Landing
She was finally queen.
This was the best day of her life.
It had only taken ten years, but it finally happened. She was queen, and she married the king. It was just any king, but the silver haired Targaryen king of her dreams.
Her father's promise came true.
Queen Cersei Lannister smiled at her reflection, her green eyes fixated on the crown.
"Come along, Cersei," called Dowager Queen Rhaella Targaryen.
Cersei fought a scowl. She loathed that woman. "Coming, mother," she replied with a fake smile.
Rhaella shot her a cold look. "I am not your mother," she stated. "Don't call me that." She turned and left without another word.
At her retreating back, Cersei scowled.
Glancing back in the mirror, Cersei took a few seconds to admire her new crown and her wedding dress. Her marriage cloak was packed away. Apparently it was family heirloom, and it would used by Prince Viserys when he wed Princess Arianne Martell in a few years.
Cersei turned and she followed her goodmother out of the parlor to the entrance hall where her husband and the rest of the royal family was waiting. Her green eyes narrowed as she took in the sight of Rhaegar's children. After baring him a son, she would need to make arrangements. After all, accidents did happen.
Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, five namedays old, held the hand of her youngest brother, Prince Aemon, who was three, and Prince Aegon stood next to his father.
It would probably be simplest to removed the Bastard Prince first. No one matter the High Sept or Rhaegar said, Cersei knew Prince Aemon was a bastard. Everyone in the realm knew it. He was truly Aemon Waters, not Aemon Targaryen.
It should be simple to have one of her servants slip something in his food or water. She was thinking either a fast acting poison or a slow acting one that could build overtime. Who was she kidding? It would be a fast acting one. This wasn't something Cersei would be patient about her.
Her son deserved the Iron Throne, not the Northern Bastard of the Dornish Whore's Son. Her precious golden haired son did.
Too bad she couldn't drop the pair into Dragonmont. It would be quick and easy.
Leaving the Sept of Baelor, Queen Cersei Lannister was on top of the world. There were thousands of people gathered outside the sept to greet them and look upon their new queen.
Cersei remained happy throughout her wedding feast. She remained composed at the sight of her beloved Jaime with his own Dornish whore of a wife. He was beaming every, pulling her close and laying his hands on her rounded stomach.
The happiest day of her life morphed into a nightmare as the day came to an end. Instead of saying her name, Rhaegar said Lyanna. He had dared to say another woman's name while inside of her.
Red Keep, King's Landing
Benjen found himself beaming as he watched Obara Sand send another opponent into the dirt. She was talented with her spear and she happily challenged man after man. Unable to help himself, Benjen clapped.
It was clear he startled Obara. She tensed, looking around with narrowed eyes until she spotted him.
Cheerfully, Benjen waved at her.
Next to him, Aemon waved as well.
Obara's expression darkened and she stomped over to them.
"Are you mocking me, Northern?" she demanded, pointing her spear at him. She did spare Aemon a smile.
Benjen smile widened as he watched her interaction with his nephew. It pleased him greatly to see the Martells embracing Aemon as family, treating him no different than Princess Rhaenys and Prince Aegon. "I'm not," he assured her, fighting the urge to add my lady. He had seen Obara and her sisters enough to know they hated being addressed as my lady or milady.
Obara's dark eyes narrowed.
"I grew up with Dacey Mormont," he explained. "She enjoyed kicked my ass in the training yard."
Her expression turned impassive as she studied him with her dark eyes. "There are female warriors in the North?" she asked, there was an undertone of disbelief in her words.
"There are," he admitted, nodding. "Ask your father about Maege Mormont."
Obara shouldered her spear, staring at Benjen. "You willing to fight me?" she asked.
"I would be honored," he answered.
She offered him a wide grin, showing off her teeth.
"After we find someone to watch my nephew," he added.
The pair glanced around. There weren't many people they trusted in the training yard.
"Jaime!" called Benjen, spotting his favorite Lannister.
Ser Jaime Lannister looked over. His eyes narrowed when he caught sight of Benjen and Obara. Instead of ignoring them, he walked over.
"Watch Aems," Obara ordered, "while I kick his uncle's ass."
"I take winner," he stated.
Obara and Benjen shared a look before agreeing.
The three traded off sparring for an hour before they were joined by others, including Prince Oberyn Martell and Ser Barristan Semly.
That was the start of a new morning tradition within the Red Keep.
Winterfell, The North
The celebration was loud and in full swing in the Great Hall. Benjen Stark could barely believe everything that happened. Looking to his left, his grey eyes fell upon his new wife. Princess Obara Martell was laughing at something her sisters, Nymeria and Tyene said.
As if sensing his gaze, Obara turned and she met his eyes. Lovingly, she returned his smile. Her attention shifted back to her sisters.
When he was younger, Benjen had no interest in marrying and children. His opinions hadn't changed. He was happy to keep Obara as his paramour. It was the Dornish way, and she seemed pleased with it. Benjen couldn't remember who brought up the idea of marriage, but Rhaenys, Aegon, and Aemon were excited by the idea. They pestered Uncle Benjen, Uncle Oberyn, and Grandmother Rhaella about it. Somehow Dowager Queen Rhaella convinced her son to legitimized Obara while she worked on convincing Benjen to continue his legacy. Knowing the dowager queen, she argued their union would tie the North to Dorne, allowing Dorne into the fold of the North, Riverlands, and Vale marriage alliance, and it would be another tie for House Targaryen.
Casting a look around the Great Hall, Benjen found himself smiling. While he couldn't believe this was happening, he wouldn't trade it for anything. He was married to a wonderful lady, who was capable of kicking his ass.
"Dance with me," demanded Ellaria Sand, tapping his shoulder.
Benjen nodded as he stood up. He had learned not to argue with Ellaria or any of Obara's family.
Ellaria led him to the floor and she proceeded to lead him in a dance. This was another thing Benjen had learned to except. Ellaria, Obara, and all the females in their family liked to lead. It was a trait they shared with the Mormont women.
They shared two dances before Sarella Sand cut in. "It's my turn," she declared. "Ben is my brother now."
Ellaria laughed, delighted. "'T's a good argument, dear," she told the young girl. Turning to Benjen, she pressed a kiss against his cheek. "I must find Oberyn."
Feeling a little dazed by Sarella's declaration, Benjen offered the young woman a smile. When he married Obara, he hadn't thought about gaining five sisters through her. It was something that made him happy, he realized. "Of course, sister," he agreed.
She grinned back before stepping into her position.
After Sarella, both Tyene and Nymeria had decided to dance with their new brother. Following Nymeria, Rhaenys wanted her turn.
"Are you happy, uncle?" she asked, staring him with her dark purple eyes.
"I am, sweetheart," he replied. This was the happiest he had been in years.
Something dimmed in her expression. "Will you come and visit?" she asked, sounding a little sad.
Benjen frowned, staring down at his nephew's sister. What was she talking about? He opened his mouth to say something when he kept sight of her biting her lip. "Obara wants to be with family," he stated, "and I don't think my new sisters would let me venture too far."
Rhaenys' expression brightened a little.
"I think we'll be in King's Landing for years to come," he added.
That news made Rhaenys smile. "We would be sad if you left, uncle," she said. "Aems especially."
The bond Benjen shared with Aemon was strong. They were pack – the only wolves in a castle follow of lions, vipers, and dragons. Although that meant be changing. Obara had been hinting at having children.
Red Keep, King's Landing
Following the failed Greyjoy Rebellion, King Rhaegar Targaryen returned victoriously to King's Landing. He smiled and waved at the peasants as they cheered and greeted him. It was good to be home.
Upon arriving to the Red Keep, he found his family assembled outside to greet him. His wife, Queen Cersei Lannister, stood front and center, beaming as she warmly greeted him. To her left, stood his youngest son, Prince Joffrey Targaryen, and she cradled another child in her arms.
Rhaegar smiled, realizing this was their newest child. When he left, Cersei was only a few moon's pregnant. He received a letter awhile ago announcing the birth of a daughter, Princess Maegelle. While he wasn't fond of the name, preferring Visenya himself, he was happy with a second daughter. With a second daughter, he formally announce his eldest's betrothal.
A little further behind Cersei, stood his other children. Princess Rhaenys Targaryen stood with her head held high and her hands clasped in front of her with Prince Aegon Targaryen on her left and Prince Aemon Targaryen on her right. Aegon wore a frown, casting worried glances at his younger brother while Aemon stared straight ahead with a look of cold indifference.
Sensing something was amiss, Rhaegar dismounted his horse.
Everyone assembled in the courtyard bowed, expect for his wife.
"Welcome home, my love," Cersei declared. She took a step forward, "May I present our daughter, Princess Maegelle?"
Rhaegar glanced down at the sleeping face of his daughter. She had the golden hair of her mother. Much like Joffrey, Maegelle looked every inch a Lannister. "She has the Lannister beauty," he said.
Cersei smile turned into a proud smirk as she lifted her head higher. "I'm glad you noticed," she said. "She's pure Lannister, our precious Maegelle."
Stepping aside, Rhaegar tried to bypass his wife and his greet his oldest children, but he found himself stuck.
Joffrey had jumped forward, wrapping his arms around his father's legs.
Rhaegar placed a hand on his son's head, sighing a little. He didn't understand why Joffrey acted so clingy and possessive.
"I've missed you, father," he stated, staring up with green eyes.
"And I as well, son," Rhaegar told him. While he was away, he had missed his family, mostly his three eldest children.
Instead of being able to greet his three eldest children, Rhaegar found himself pulled into a Small Council meeting by Lord Jon Arryn, his Hand, and his brother, Prince Viserys Targaryen. Apparently, his wife was overambitious while he was gone. She had tried to fire several of his servants and replace them with her own Lannister ones.
"She's trying to stake her claim," Viserys growled. He shook his head in dislike.
Rhaegar fought the urge to sigh or shake his head. His younger brother had never cared for Cersei. "Thank you for stopping her, brother," he said, placing a hand on Viserys' right shoulder.
Viserys beamed at the praise. "I was only doing my duty, brother," he stated. While Rhaegar was off at war, Viserys was the acting Regent with assistance from Lord Arryn and their mother, Queen Rhaella.
"And you did it excellently," Rhaegar said. "I know I can relay on you. If anything were to happen to me, I know you would care for the Throne and Aegon."
"I've sworn," Viserys reminded him, a dark look in his purple eyes.
Rhaegar considered his next words carefully. Things between him and Viserys were tense, and they had been for two years. For a little, Rhaegar had foolishly listened to his wife, insisting that Viserys wanted to take the Iron Throne for himself when the boy had grown quiet and distance. In reality, Viserys was terrified and he didn't know who to confide in. He was scared he would be mad like their father.
"I shall never forget," Rheagar whispered, pulling his younger brother into a hug. He was a good head and a half taller than Viserys, who was likely to have a growth spurt soon. "I know you would never betray our family."
Viserys relaxed into the hug after a minute, but his arms remained fixed at his side.
Following the Small Council meeting, Rhaegar barely managed to collapse into bed before he slept soundly. He was tired. The Greyjoy Rebellion lasted only a few moons, but war was long and tiring. It was wonderful to be home.
Rhaegar tried to find Rhaenys, Aegon, and Aemon in the morning without any luck. By the time he awoke and broke his fast, his eldest children were in their lessons for the morning. He spent the afternoon with Lord Arryn and his brother going over the matters of the realm. He had missed much well he was away, including Cersei's reckless spending.
At dinner, Rhaegar noticed the absence of his eldest children. He frowned. Cersei and Joffrey were talking, but he barely heard a word they said. His mother was eating quietly with his little brother and his little sister.
Turning to his mother, Rhaegar asked, "Where are my children?"
"They're here, my love," Cersei answered, motioning to Joffrey and Maegelle.
"Dad, weren't you listening to me?" whined Joffrey.
"Not now, son," Rhaegar told his youngest son. "Where are Rhaenys, Aegon, and Aemon?"
Dowager Queen Rhaella put her fork down. "They're preparing a visit to Dragonstone," she answered. "They're sent to leave in two days."
That was news to Rhaegar. He was able to reply when he caught sight of his siblings' face. It was clear there was something amiss.
"I wasn't aware they planned a visit so soon," he said, cautiously. "I thought it was in three moons." He remembered Aegon begging and pleading for a chance to visit Dragonstone before the Greyjoy Rebellion.
"They need time away," his mother said. There was a note of finality in her voice.
Rhaegar dropped the subject, knowing his mother won't say another word.
It was the next morning when he found his sons, Aegon and Aemon, in the training yard with Benjen Stark, Prince Oberyn Martell, and Ser Jaime Lannister. Rhaegar stood back watching as Aegon and Aemon fought with the wooden swords. They had impressed greatly since he last saw them.
"Prince Aemon is a natural," Ser Arthur Dayne muttered in approval.
Rhaegar agreed. His sons were different as night and day in their looks and their interests. Aegon had the traditional Valyrian looks with silver hair and purple eyes while Aemon took after his Stark roots with dark hair and grey eyes. Aegon was a scholar, interested in learning and reading, and Aemon was a fighter, easily excelling in swordplay and riding. Between his sons, Rhaegar knew the Seven Kingdoms would be in good hands.
The match ended ten minutes later with Aemon sweeping his brother's legs out from under him and pressing the tip of his wood sword to Aegon's throat.
Aegon grinned as he batted the wood sword away and he jumped to his feet. His grin widened as he spoke to his younger brother, gesturing enthusiastically with his hands.
In response, Aemon turned pink and he ducked his head.
Ser Jaime laughed, clapping Aemon on the back, as Benjen smiled and Oberyn clapped his hands.
It was a warm scene.
"Well done," Rhaegar said, stepping forward.
At the sound of his voice, Aemon and Aegon tensed. Aegon quickly stepped in front of his brother, blocking their father's view of him. Benjen's and Jaime's eyes turned cold. Oberyn frowned, disappointment in his dark eyes.
Rhaegar frowned. It was increasingly clear that he was missing something. "What's going on?" he demanded, looking at his sons.
"That's all you have to say!" demanded Aegon, sounding enraged.
"Leave it, Egg," Aemon whispered. "This isn't worth it."
"Seven hells it isn't, Aems," Aegon said, whirling around to face his brother. "Is it worth it."
Aemon shook his head. "It isn't," he stated. "I won't be the cause of anot–"
"Stop talking like that!" Aegon shouted, glaring. "I won't let anyone talk about you like that. Including you."
Sighing, Aemon muttered something under his breath.
"And our father," Aegon added, turning to glare at Rhaegar.
That caught him by surprise. He hadn't said anything negative regarding Aemon in ages – before his left for the Greyjoy Rebellion. "What do you mean?" he asked.
Aegon's purple eyes narrowed. "Don't play stupid with me, father," Aegon spat. "We saw the letters."
Behind him, Aemon looked uncertain. He reached a hand out towards Aegon, but didn't touch his brother.
"You might not consider Aemon true-born anymore," Aegon continued, "but I do." He shook his head. "You can disinherit him, if you want, but just know I'll restore the second I get the Throne."
Rhaegar's purple eyes narrowed. There was a letter that came to mind. Cersei was insisting he remove Aemon from the line of succession because he didn't need to pretend anymore. He had a second son in Joffrey, there was no need to keep the Northern Bastard around. If Lord Stark and the North had a problem with Aemon's removal, all they had to do was threaten Benjen and his children. After all, hostages needed to be reminded of their place.
Closing his eyes, Rhaegar felt a headache forming. This was an issue with his wife he would need to address. She was overly ambition and her attitude regarding his other children was problematic.
"I think there's been some confusion," he said, speaking in High Valyrian. If he was going to have this discussion in such an open place, he was going to make it harder for others to understand. "I have no plans to disinherit Aemon. He's my son, same as you, Aegon."
Aegon shook his head, opening his mouth to say something. He closed it when he felt Aemon's hand on his shoulder.
"Cersei isn't as clever as she thinks she is," he continued. "She is convinced Joffrey will sit on the Iron Throne."
Aegon snort, though he didn't look convinced.
Rhaegar sighed. "I didn't plan to announce anything soon," he carried on to say, "but I will inform you two, now. Joffrey is fourth in line for the Throne, behind Rhaenys."
That did surprise Aegon and Aemon.
"Though, I suspect Rhaenys will remove herself," he added. "I plan to approve the betrothal between her and Lord Willas Tyrell."
"That will make her happy," Aemon stated. His expression was closed off, a perfect image of an impassive Northern face.
Rhaegar sighed. "Come by my solar with your sister," he commanded. "I have a gift for each of you." It was the same gift he had for Daenerys and Viserys.
It had taken years, but he managed to find six eggs. One for each of his eldest children, and one each for his siblings and himself.
Aegon rolled his eyes and Aemon nodded.
"Come when you're done here," he reminded his sons before he turned to leave. It was clear something would need to be done about Cersei.
Back in his solar, Rhaegar removed a hidden chest. It was decent size, made out of strong oak and iron with three locks. He removed a key from around his neck to unlock the middle lock. Another lock was hidden in his desk, and the third one was in his mother's possession. He sent a Kingsguard to retrieve her. While he waited, he unlocked the left side lock.
"Yes, my son?" Rhaella said as she entered his solar without knocking. Her tone was cold.
The door closed behind her.
"I spoke with Aegon and Aemon," he stated, leaning back in his chair.
His mother's eyes narrowed and her nostrils flared.
"I have no plans to disinherit or remove Aemon from the line of succession," he told her. "Aemon is my son, same as Aegon and Joffrey."
She nodded, "I'm glad to see you haven't lost all sense."
Rhaegar motioned for her to sit.
"I need the key I entrusted to you," he said, standing up.
Rhaella said nothing as she removed it from around her neck.
Rhaegar picked up the chest, moving it to the top of his desk. "I planned to hang onto these until Rhaenys' fifteenth nameday," he explained, unlocking the right side lock with the key from his mother.
Opening the chest, he allowed his mother to see the contents. On top of a velvet pillow laid three eggs: one black, one green, and one cream-colored.
"Are those?" she asked, sounding breathless. Her eyes were wide.
"They are," Rhaegar stated with a smile. Placing a hand on the cream-colored egg, "This one is mine."
His mother looked concern. "That leave two eggs for your four children," she noted.
Rhaegar shook his head. "Joffrey won't be getting one," he stated. "But Viserys and Dany will."
Confusion settled on his mother's face.
Offering her a smirk, Rhaegar carefully removed the three eggs and the velvet pillow. Underneath laid another three eggs: one white, one red, and one golden orange.
"It's nice to see some family traditions restored," his mother said with a smile.
Rhaegar shook his head. "I don't mean to restore a cradle egg," he explained. "I mean to restore dragons."
His mother gave him a look of disbelief.
Dragonstone (Castle), Dragonstone
Princess Rhaenys Targaryen found herself intrigued by the golden orange dragon egg. It was fossilized to time, so she was extremely surprised to discover the egg was warm to the touch. Her surprise was mirrored by her brothers – Aegon with his red egg and Aemon with his white egg. According to Dany and Viserys, they felt the same things from their own eggs – Dany with her black egg and Viserys with his green egg.
Before she left King's Landing with her brothers, their father swore to look and research how to restore the dragons before swearing his children and his siblings to secrecy about the eggs. He didn't want Cersei or Joffrey to know. If Rhaenys had to guess, he would look for two more dragon eggs, one for Joffrey and one for Maegelle.
Rhaenys sighed, putting her egg aside. She felt conflicted about Cersei and her half-siblings. There was something different about Joffrey and Maegelle. Aemon felt like family. She acknowledged him as brother though she knew he was her half-brother. Aemon was such her brother as Aegon was. She tried her best to be friendly and welcoming to Cersei, though the woman clearly wanted nothing to do with her husband's other children. Joffrey was a spoiled brat, and Maegelle was just a babe. For some reason, Cersei refused to allow her children to spend time with their older siblings or her husband's family. She constantly referred to her children as lions and cubs. Joffrey was her furious lion cub.
Her lips turned upward in a smile. Maybe her father should get lion cubs for Joffrey and Maegelle instead of dragon eggs.
It wouldn't be allowed. Cersei would pitch a fit of some kind. It wouldn't be public in front of the court, it would be private behind closed doors. Ser Jaime would likely know how she could act. Rhaenys knew her father's wife well enough to know Cersei would demand dragon eggs for her children. She would be enraged to learn Aemon got a dragon egg before Joffrey.
Sighing, Rhaenys stood up from her bed and she walked across the room to her fireplace. It was a warm summer day, but she felt the need to make a fire. Kneeling down, she arranged the logs in pyre.
When she was happy with the logs, Rhaenys stood back up and she walked to her bedroom door. She found Ser Baelon Sand standing outside. He was a handsome knight with dark Dornish skin, bright blue eyes, and dark hair.
"Princess Rhaenys," the knight greeted with a polite nod of his head.
"Ser Baelon, can you send for a maid?" she asked. "I want the fire lit."
Her request caught the knight by surprise given the raise of his eyebrows. "Of course, princess," he dutifully replied.
"Thank, Ser Baelon," she said before stepping back into her room.
Back in her room, Rhaenys walked over to her bed. She right fingers brushed against her golden orange dragon egg as her left hand picked up a book. Inside the front cover was a folded piece of parchment. She smiled at the parchment, knowing it was a letter from her betrothed. Her father had finally agreed to the match.
"Princess Rhaenys Tyrell, Lady of Highgarden," she muttered to herself, feeling a flutter in her chest.
The wedding was sat for 296 AC, a few moons after her ten and six birthday. The idea excited her as much as it terrified her. Rhaenys had only met Lord Willas two years ago when he was visiting Uncle Oberyn. They met in the library where they spent hours speaking about poetry and plays. It was a wonderful afternoon.
When Lord Willas returned to Highgarden, they exchanged letters every fortnight. After thirteen moons, Rhaenys fancied herself in love and she took her interest to her father. She didn't dare write a word of her intension to Lord Willas, who deemed himself unlucky in love. There was much interest from other highborn ladies. That information thrilled her. Even if there was an interest, no lady would be a match for the eldest Targaryen princess. Her father agreed to consider the match, but he was unwilling to agree after announcing Dany's betrothal to Ser Renly Baratheon.
Upon his return from the Greyjoy Rebellion, he agreed. It would be officially announced in a few moons.
Walking over to her desk, Rhaenys decided to write Lord Willas a letter. She was awaiting his reply to her last letter, but she was eager to share this news. It was reckless of her to send such a letter, but she couldn't bring herself to care.
As she fingered her quill, there was a knock on her door.
"Enter," she called, barely glancing up from her parchment.
A maid with dark hair entered. She bowed before she knelt to light a fire.
Rhaenys was vaguely aware the maid left, closing the door behind her. Her attention was on the parchment as she began to write.
Dearest Lord Willas,
I have taken temporary residence at Dragonstone with my brothers. Aegon is eager to see his seat and see the island of our ancestors. Aemon and I decided to join him. I wanted to escape the Red Keep for a moon or two. It's lovely being away.
I write this letter to confess. We have only briefly spoke of betrothals and marriage. When I learned you were available, I started a campaign to convince my father to betroth. He has agreed. I hope you are pleased with this match.
All my love,
When she finished writing the letter, Rhaenys found herself nervous to send it. She left the letter on her desk, allowing the ink to dry. As she walked around her room, she stopped in front of the fire. It was warm.
With a smile, turning she walked over to her bed. She lifted her golden orange egg with both hands. Running her thumbs over it, she felt the rough texture of scales. Rhaenys walked back to the fireplace, and she knelt down in front of it. She stared into the flames for a few minutes before she reached in, placing the egg in the middle of the pyre.
"Hopefully this will warm you up," she whispered, running her hand over the egg. As if in a trance, she withdrew her hand, barely noticing her hand came unharmed from the fire.
She smiled to herself, staring at the dragon egg.
Unbeknownst to her, Aegon and Aemon were sharing similar experiences with their own dragon eggs.
Dragonstone (Castle), Dragonstone
Lord Robb Stark found himself lost in the halls and corridors of Dragonstone. This keep was large and dreary with cold walls and large dragons. It was unlike Winterfell. Looking around, Robb forced back a sigh. He was lost, again.
"Excuse me, ser?" he asked a nearby knight.
"Lord Robb," the knight greeted. It was an older man with graying red hair, dark eyes, and he wore the red Targaryen dragon.
"Where are my cousin Aemon's rooms?" he asked, sheepishly. His cheek turned pink.
The knight chuckled. "'T's a difficult keep to navigate," the knight stated. "I still lost sometime, m'self, and I been workin' here for nearly ten and three years."
Hearing the knight's admission made Robb feel a little better.
"Let me show," the knight declared.
Robb followed the knight down one corridor then turned left then right on another. As they made a fourth turn, Robb found himself lost and confused. After one more turn, the knight greeted Ser Barristan Selmy.
"Ser Addam," the Kingsguard greeted.
"Just bringin' Lord Robb to him cousin," the knight said.
Amusement filled Ser Barristan's eyes. "How are you liking the castle?" he asked.
Robb shrugged. "It's different than Winterfell," he answered.
"Only Targaryen can make sense of this place," the kingsguard told him. "It's a skill you can learn with time."
Ser Addam laughed. "Lots o' time," he declared. "Ser Barristan here has had years and years." Laughter echoing in the hall, he turned and he walked down the hallway.
"He's inside with Prince Aegon," Ser Barristan said, motioning to the door.
Reaching up, Robb knocked.
"Come in," called the voice of Aegon.
Robb felt a little annoyance. He wanted some time with his cousin without Aegon and Rhaenys around. It was a feeling he tried to ignore.
Opening the door, Robb entered the solar where he found Prince Aemon standing by the window and Prince Aegon seated behind the desk.
"Robb," Aemon greeted, a note of warmth in his tone.
The relationship between Aegon and Robb was tense. They both sought his attention, and they were jealous of the other.
"I heard back from my father," Robb announced.
Aemon's gray eyes lit up and Aegon's eyes narrowed.
"When do we leave?" the younger Targaryen prince asked.
Aegon crossed his arms.
"In a fortnight," Robb answered.
Smiling, Aemon nodded. "I'll make arrangements," he said. "Uncle Benjen is exciting."
The expression on Aegon's face darkened.
Aemon sighed, catching sight of his brother. "Egg, it's only for a few years," he whispered.
Aegon looked at his younger brother. "I don't want you leave," he said. "We've never been apart."
"We'll see each other," Aemon tried to assure his brother. "I'll be back for Rhaenys' wedding, and Uncle Viserys'."
Watching the brothers, Robb understood Aegon's standoffish attitude. None of the royal children had fostered, growing up in the Red Keep and spending time on Dragonstone together. It was well known Princess Rhaenys, Prince Aegon, and Prince Aemon were close. There were rumors of a traditional Targaryen marriage between one of the princes and their sister. Those rumors were quashed when King Rhaegar announced the betrothal between Princess Rhaenys and Lord Willas Tyrell of Highgarden.
The match had displeased his mother. Lady Catelyn Stark was entertaining a union between Lord Willas and her daughter, Lady Sansa.
"I'm sure I can convince my father to invite you," Robb offered. While he wanted time with Aemon, he did understand Aegon.
Aegon's purple eyes narrowed.
"That would be wonderful, Robb," Aemon said, looking excited.
The older Targaryen prince sighed. He won't deny his brother something like this.
"Maybe in a year or two," he whispered.
From there, the three of them headed to the training yard where they took turns fighting one another.
Three nights later, Robb found himself stunned speechless at the sight of his cousin and his cousin's siblings. They were seated on the floor in Aegon's solar, each covered in soot and wrapped in a blanket. Each of them had a small dragon on their lap.
Aegon had a red dragon with black eyes. He was cooing as he petted the dragon and muttering to it in High Valyrian. According to the eldest prince, his dragon's name was Nymerax.
"I thought about naming her after mom," he explained, "but I didn't like Eliaxes." He shrugged. "Instead I named her after Nymeria."
Personally, Robb didn't know how Aegon knew his dragon was a girl, but he didn't want to question it. It wasn't any of his business, and he didn't want to know.
Rhaenys had a golden orange dragon with brown eyes and goldenrod details on its wings. She beamed as the dragon climbing over her lap. Her dragon's name was Sundancer.
"Just look at those scales," she gushed, her eyes glittering. "She's be beautiful in the sun."
Aemon sat still as his dragon climbed onto his head. His white and silver dragon had blue eyes. His dragon was named Sonaxes.
Winterfell, The North
Prince Aegon Targaryen laughed as he watched Arya Stark playing with his dragon, Nymerax, and her direwolf cub, Nymeria. Out of Aemon's Stark cousins, Arya was his favorite. If he wasn't betrothed to Lady Shireen Baratheon of Storm's End, he would press his father for a match with Arya. According to Lord Stark and Uncle Benjen, she was just like her Aunt Lyanna. For the first time, Aegon understood why his father fell in love with Lyanna. Though he didn't understand why they ran away together, triggering the Rebellion of 282 AC.
As he watched Arya, Aegon made a note to write his father. King Rhaegar was looking at matches for his third son, Prince Joffrey. Either of the Stark girls would be betrothed to the prince. Joffrey was cruel and whiny boy with an uncontrollable temper and a sadistic streak.
Hearing footsteps behind, Aegon turned, finding his brother. Sonaxes was perched on his shoulder and Ghost, his albino direwolf cub, was walking along side him. His face was composed in an impassive Northern mask.
"Brother," Aemon said, his tone betrayed his emotions.
Aegon was on alert.
"A raven came," Aemon continued, he looked lost and confused. "It's father." He shook his head, offering up a piece of parchment.
You must return home. Your father has taken ill. The lions are circling.
I have sent for your sister and my children.
Return at once.
Aegon read over the words a few times. He understood his brother's loss of words. There wasn't a lot of information.
"I'll make arrangements," Aegon said, looking up at his brother.
Aemon nodded, looking dazed.
Sonaxes batted his head against Aemon's chin.
"I'll tell Uncle Benjen and Obara," Aemon said.
"You might want to tell Lord Stark to ready his banners," Aegon stated, crossing his arms.
Aemon's gray eyes widened. "Why?" he asked, alarm and concern in his tone.
Walking over to his brother, Aegon explained, "If the worst should happen, we'll be at war."
Gray eyes closed. Aemon hated the idea of war with the legacy of Rhaegar and Lyanna and the Rebellion of 282 hanging over his head.
"I hope it doesn't come to that," Aegon whispered, "but you Cersei. She wants Joffrey on the Throne."
Aemon's eyes nodded and he nodded. "I'll tell him with Uncle Benjen," he promised. Lord Stark was known to be a just and honorable man. He wouldn't understand Cersei's motives unless he understood the Lannister ambition. Uncle Benjen would be able to convince him.
Storm's End, The Stormlands
Princess Daenerys Targaryen knocked on the doors of her betrothed. The message from her mother was clutched in her left hand and she had a letter for Renly.
Stumbling and struggling could be heard, making Daenerys roll her purple eyes. She didn't understand why Renly bothered to pretend. She knew he was entertaining Ser Loras Tyrell.
"Yes, come in," Renly called.
Opening the door, Daenerys found Renly seated behind the desk with Ser Loras straightening his tunic.
"I come barring back news," she said, walking up to his desk, "from the capital."
Renly's blue eyes widened. "Stannis?" he asked.
"Here," Daenerys said, offering the letter from Stannis. "My brother is ill, and the maester is concerned."
Renly grabbed the letter, tearing it open. He read over the contents with Ser Loras reading over his shoulder.
Ser Loras' eyes widened and he gasped.
Renly raised a hand to silence him before looking up at Daenerys. "It's about your family," he said, his voice sounding emotionless. He handed the letter over.
Stay at Storm's End. Send Dany with Ser Davos Seaworth and your most trusted men. Trickery is a foot with the lions. My suspicions about Joffrey, Maegelle, and Aelor might be correct.
Send word to the banners. Have them ready for a Second Dance.
"Loras is going with you," Renly declared, crossing his arms.
His announcements surprised both Daenerys and Loras.
"There is no one I trust more," he explained, looking at Loras. His blue eyes softened. "I know you'll protect her."
Ser Loras nodded.
"Brienne should stay with you," Daenerys said. It would be fair. If she took Loras, then Reny should keep Brienne.
Renly looked reluctant.
"She's a good fighter," Ser Loras agreed weakly. He wasn't overly fond of the female knight. It had something to do with her crush on Renly, though it was more of an admiration and hero worship.
Looking down at Stannis' letter, Daenerys frowned. "What does your brother mean by 'a Second Dance?'" She looked back up at Renly.
He looked conflicted, debating how he would answer. "A Second Dance of Dragons," he muttered.
Daenerys' purple eyes narrowed. "Aegon is crown prince," she said, her voice rising in volume. "He has the support of Aemon, Rhaenys, myself and Viserys." She shook her head. "How dare you say otherwise! Viserys has never wanted the throne."
Renly shook his head. "It's not Viserys that Stannis is concerned about," he said. "It's Joffrey."