Chapter 16-Changes for the Better

(King's Landing-Red Keep-Days Later)

King Aegon sat on the Iron Throne but did so with care while looking down at the people in front of him while he began his new reign as King of the Seven Kingdoms. He had to be careful. This chair had quite a bit of history to it and not all of the history was good. It was forged with fire and blood, all born from the conquest of the Seven Kingdoms using a few thousand men with three dragons. It had survived one big conflict after the next and one war after another. Indeed, this was a throne one did not sit casually on or believe themselves the master of when sitting upon this mountain of metal.

This chair had been the seat of power and used by many Kings to rule over the Seven Kingdoms. Good ones. Bad ones. Stupid ones. Smart ones. Lazy ones. Serious ones. Weak ones. Strong ones. In the three centuries since it was forged, the Iron Throne had been a symbol of absolute power. It was also known that while the one who was crowned King had final authority over the Seven Kingdoms, the throne itself was said to judge each King by cutting a piece of their flesh if deemed unworthy. Some said the throne was possessed by the souls of all those Aegon killed with Balerion the Black Dread and could influence the King who sat on it. If the actions the King took to run the Seven Kingdoms were the right ones, the chair itself would leave the King alone. if not, the chair would leave one cut after the next all over their bodies. It was the reasons why the Man King Aerys was called "King Scab" in private due to the chair constantly cutting him. It had done the same to King Viserys when he became King and quite a few other Targaryens as well when they sat on the Iron Throne.

The only reason Robert Baratheon didn't have the issue was because he never sat on it for most his time ruling due to spending it drinking, hunting, and whoring. What times he did spend on it were a few mere hours and even then, the man never sat fully on the Iron Throne. Aegon suspected that even the mighty Demon of the Trident feared the chair and would further prove to everyone he was in fact a Usurper to the true rulers meant to sit on this seat of power.

"Today, is a day of new beginnings. Today is a day where truths are revealed and lies are cast down along with those who would speak falsely. Today is a day where we can start healing, truly healing from the wounds of the past, and let the scars left behind to properly mend," said Aegon with many in the room nodding since it was high time for such things.

"Bring forward the accused!" said Ser Arthur before the large doors began to open with sight of Cersei Lannister, Joffrey Hill, Lancel Lannister, Kevan Lannister, Lysa Tully Arryn, and Edmure Tully along with various Lords who supported them.

The only one who was not among them was Jamie Lannister, as he had already surrendered after the city was taken and already admitted to being guilty of his crimes. The man didn't want a trial or to face any of his former brothers in a Trial by Combat. As good as he was, Jamie could never hope to match the skill of Ser Arthur Dayne in combat if said fight occurred.

Instead, the man chose to take the Black while asking for Tommen and Myrcella to be placed in Tyrion's loving care knowing his younger brother would treat them well. Cersei would hate it and rant at the idea of their "demon imp" of a brother being in charge of the two children, but Tyrion was always kind and good to them despite their mother's hatred of him.

"All of you stand accused of treason against the crown. You are also accused of murder, infidelity, and conspiracy to kill the King. What say you?" asked Aegon while Cersei, Joffrey and Edmure glared at him.

Kevan Lannister looked down in shame knowing they were in the wrong when this war started with the Starks and their allies. It was why Tywin had held off marching on the Riverlands with the Lannister army and had talked to Lord Stark about what really happened with Tyrion. Yet, Kevan had obeyed Jamie, as he was the heir and leader of House Lannister regardless of his position in the Kingsguard, even if it was one abandoned when this whole issue occurred. Tywin made it clear that regardless of the rule about the Kingsguard, Jamie was to be his heir and lead House Lannister one day despite what everyone else had wished to say on the subject.

When Tywin died, regardless of how it happened, the man had already made it clear Jamie would lead them into battle in order to "make him into the man he was meant to be for House Lannister". So, being the obedient brother he was, Kevan had obeyed Tywin's command without any resistance, even though he should have done something after his brother's death.

"I plead guilty, your grace," said Kevan with his head bowed in submission since there was no point in denying the charges against him and his House.

Lannisters were known for their pride, but it did little in the face of overwhelming adversarial odds that had your life by the throat or blade to said throat.

"As do I, your grace," said Lancel since he had followed his father's lead on this knowing anything else would be a death sentence.

They both knew it would be to the Wall they would go after this. At least they would be nearby along the massive structure to visit every so often.

"I don't recognize you as King. Some green boy trained by a foreigner on how to fight and is only making his claim due some fantasy of you being Rhaegar's son. It's a lie! A lie to usurp my son from his position as the rightful King!" spat Cersei in defiance.

"I am Rhaegar's true born son. My mother is alive to verify it. I have Ser Arthur Dayne who was a witness to my birth. Even Prince Oberyn himself was there to learn the truth of things when the Grandmaster and my uncle Eddard went to Dorne to bring back Elia Martel along with my half-sister. She had her own marriage annulled with Rhaegar so he could marry Lyanna without upsetting the faith. Naturally, my half-brother Aegon would have been King, had your father's pet monster, Gregor Clegane, not smashed his head into the wall," said the King coldly while Cersei sneered at him.

"As if I care what happened to that Dornish whore's sickly son. If anything, Clegane did the entire realm and even you a favor by putting him out of his misery," replied Cersei, much to the gasps of the people in the room.

"There is no favor to be found in the death of a child, regardless of if he was my brother or not. The fact you do not see this only proves how little you care for the lives of those around you," said Aegon with the former Queen still glaring hatefully at him.

"The lion cares not for the opinion of sheep. Why should I care for a sickly little dragon?" asked Cersei in a mocking tone.

It was only due to Aegon swiftly raising his hand did Prince Oberyn and Ser Athur stay their hand with the former being reluctant to obey.

"Since that is how you feel about weak sickly children, you will have no objections to your eldest son, Joffrey, losing his head in this very room," countered Aegon with Cersei's face going pale and fearful while her son whined pitifully.

"You wouldn't! You can't! We demand a trial! We demand a trial by combat!" exclaimed Cersei knowing her brother could defend both her and Joffrey as their shared champion.

"You have that right. But I doubt you will win," said Aegon while knowing Ser Arthur would gladly do the deed of being the Crown's champion, and if not him, the Grandmaster would.

"I name my brother Jamie as champion," replied Cersei with Aegon shaking his head.

"Ser Jamie cannot be your champion. He has already admitted guilt to his past crimes and is going to the Wall to become a member of the Night's Watch. Plus, I don't think Ser Jamie wishes to fight Ser Arthur at this point," said Aegon knowing it had been difficult for both men to be in a room and not draw swords to kill one another without hearing one of them out.

Jamie admitted to Ser Arthur of killing the Mad King, despite the sacred oath taken as a member of the Kingsguard to defend said King, even if he was mad. But the alternative would have resulted in the death everyone living in the city, plus army that had just entered King's Landing. Ser Arthur had been stunned by this, as many felt Jamie did it to protect his father, or at least did on orders from his father. When Ser Arthur asked why he never told anyone, Jamie replied he thought if it was left alone, the issue regarding the wildfire would be one topic no one could poke at in the future to use.

Afterall it only took one spark, one wrong angle of light, and the wildfire would ignite.

Since that meeting, Aegon had enlisted Varys to use his little birds to find every single cache of the stuff with a means to secretly move such volatile stuff out of the city. The new King did NOT want that stuff under the city knowing the stories of how dangerous just once barrel of it could be if unleashed. From what Jamie had believed to be true, the Mad King had thousands of barrels under the city at key points for maximum damage.

As for Jamie himself, Aegon had pardoned the Lannister for the deed done that day since it was done to save the people of the city all those years ago. But everything after that? He could not. Jamie had slept with his sister, had three children, instigated a conflict (outside help not withstanding), and other things since Robert Baratheon's rule. The man should have lost his head, or at least some would argue as such, but Aegon felt Jamie Lannister could put his talents with the sword to better use alive while at the Wall.

So long as he didn't break his vows when there, he wouldn't lose his head for one reason or another.

"My uncle Kevan. He can fight for us!" stated Cersei with Aegon looking at the man still looking down in shame.

"Do you wish to fight for your niece and her son, Kevan Lannister?" asked Aegon with Kevan looking up and shaking his head.

"No, your grace. After everything she and her brother put our House through, put the Seven Kingdoms through, for their own selfish gains? I wouldn't even lift a finger if it meant the act would save them," said Kevan with Cersei looking betrayed while he glared at her.

"I am your niece! Your blood! You have to defend me!" protested Cersei while Kevan growled at her.

"You are a whore! No, you are the Queen of whores. You spread your legs for anyone and everyone who catches your fancy simply to use them as a means of keeping your so called power. You rant and rave about Robert spending time with whores while you yourself spend time whoring yourself out to not only your own House, but any man from a powerful House you can influence from a night of fucking. You are not my niece. I do not see you as my niece. My niece died long before today and I mourn the girl she once was and not the filthy creature you have become," said Kevan with Cersei snarling and moved to attack the man.

Only for the guards to keep her in place.

"Enough! Since it is clear Cersei and her son have no champion, nor is there anyone willing to become their champion, the Trial by Combat will be withdrawn. There is only two choices before you former Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. The Silent Sisters where you will spend your remaining years… or death," said Aegon with Cersei staying silent since she could do nothing to escape what would be a miserable life with those extremely pious women.

"I am your King! The rightful King! You are the usurper here!" exclaimed Joffrey, who had no intention of being quiet.

Only for Sandor Clegane to smack him in the head from behind.

"You are bastard born of incest. Your real father, Jamie Lannister, has already confessed it to me and the others before you. I have additional proof to further add to that fact, and even your late grandfather was told the truth of things before his death. Your claim to the Iron Throne was denied the moment you were conceived, much less born from your mother's womb," said Aegon while seeing the dark loathing, the vile hatred, and total madness showing in the Lannister boy's eyes just as it did in Cersei's own.

"You lie! You lost your right to the throne long ago with the rest of your inbred family. You are the one stealing my birthright!" exclaimed Joffrey in denial while Cersei decided to stay quiet since there was no point in defending what could not be defended in this case.

"Your birthright?! Your birthright was to die! Had your grandfather known of your birth and how it came about, he would have chucked you from the nearest window and killed all the witnesses who oversaw the birth itself. The only reason you have lived this long was due to your mother's stupidity in fucking her brother and foolishly passing you off as Robert Baratheon's own with Lannister traits! Speaking of those said traits, every one of Robert Baratheon's bastards all had Baratheon traits no matter the hair or eye color of the women he was with. It was why Jon Arryn kept saying 'the seed is strong' before his end because he understood the truth as I did. As your mother clearly did, hence why she was doing all in her power to keep the truth hidden. Any child of Robert Baratheon would have strong Baratheon features and would clearly be seen by any who knew the man. You, Joffrey Hill, are no Baratheon. Even if you were one, your cruelty to others while sitting on the Iron Throne makes you unworthy of being called a Stag. You are Maegor the Cruel and Aerys Targaryen merged as one being with the way you treat others around you," said Aegon coldly while Joffrey wilted under his gaze before turning to one more person kneeling on the ground in front of the Iron Throne.

"I have done nothing wrong! The charges against me are false! I loved my husband! Truly I did! I was tricked by that foreigner and dishonorable assassin!" exclaimed Lysa Arryn Tully while Aegon snarled at her.

"Even now, you lie to the Crown. You would dare speak falsehood to me? I can call all the Lords, Ladies, and knights of the Vale who witnesses Tyrion Lannister's Trial by Combat. I could call each one to stand here in front of the Iron Throne and each one would tell everyone here how you openly admitted to your crimes against Lord Jon Arryn. Not only that, but I have proof and confessions from various parties who helped bring about the dark deception that portrayed my father as a rapist. You and your father, chief among them, Lysa Tully, as my mother left a message for my grandfather Brandon about running off with Rhaegar on her bed. But he never received it. As a result, my grandfather died a painful death while he was watching his father die his own death in this very room. The only reason people didn't know the truth sooner was because certain people who knew about my father and mother being together had decided to intercept the letters and messages revealing the truth of things. Your father, Holster Tully, has already paid for it with his life. Lord Arryn admittedly could have been complicit in this whole dark deception too given the alliance with House Tully during the rebellion. Alas, there is no hard proof of such a conspiracy, and I will not kick dirt further on a dead man's House since it would not be the proper or honorable thing to do," said Aegon while Lysa saw those of the Vale were ready to step forward to repeat what she admitted to while her brother Edmure let out a hollow laugh.

"Honorable? You are hardly honorable. My father was killed because of you. The realms bled because of your father being unable keep his dick in his trousers and just stayed with one woman he was married to and went for another who was already betrothed. Your mother whored herself out to the dragons and the realms suffered for it! You are the living embodiment of it you filthy bastard!" stated Edmure while Ser Barristan and Ser Arthur moved to strike him down with their swords.

Only for Aegon to raise his hand to stop them.

"You speak harsh words Edmure Tully. Yet there is some minor truth to your words all the same. But the fault was not entirely my father's own. Nor my mother's. Ambitious men made sure the truth was either hidden, destroyed, or never spoken to the needed parties that should have been informed. If they had been told the truth, much would have been different, I assure you. For one, the rebellion wouldn't have happened, and even if it did, House Baratheon would have lost. A few Houses would have been slighted or felt offended by such a thing, that much is true, but nothing to warrant a full out rebellion against the dragon. Another difference would have been my brother Aegon, born from Elia Martell, would be here, sitting on this Iron Throne, as the King of the Seven Kingdoms. Not me. I would have knelt, pledged fealty to him, and served my brother as only kin to him could have done. Instead, he was killed shortly after his birth and the duty of being King fell onto my shoulders once I was born. Or rather, it would have if not for the fact those who fought against the Crown won with the Usurper sitting here once he claimed victory," said Aegon while Edmure sneered.

"Robert Baratheon was more worthy of being called King over you," spat Edmure defiantly.

"The man laughed at the sight of my dead brother. Wanted my half-sister dead along with her mother the moment he claimed the Iron Throne. When Robert was King, he drank, hunted, and whored while letting the Crown get so red in debt, the ledgers looked like they were written in fresh blood. You would call him more worthy of sitting on the Iron Throne? Someone who was drunk on the trappings of power, yet cared not for the responsibilities that came with being King?" asked Aegon with Edmure being silent and looking away since there was no defense to that.

No one could come up with a defense for that.

"The punishments, your grace," said Stannis gently but firmly since they needed to move this forward.

"Of course, thank you Lord Stannis. In regard to the crimes against the crown, each of you are guilty one way or another. Since Cersei will be joining the Silent Sisters, her son Joffrey will lose his head for the crime of being cruel to the smallfolk, and the murder of my uncle Eddard Stark," said Aegon while Joffrey tried to protest the decision.

"The man was a liar and traitor! He betrayed the Crown! It was my right to have him killed. He deserved it!" exclaimed Joffrey while many from the North glared at his back.

"He deserved to die? Are you saying my uncle deserved to die because he told the truth? Or because the truth would reveal you were unworthy of the Iron Throne?" asked Aegon with Joffrey glowering at him.

"It doesn't matter the reason. Only that he died. I just wish I could have it done over again before having his body paraded throughout the city in some cruel fashion worthy of a Northern barbarian. To think I was to marry his whore for a daughter," replied Joffrey while many, if not all of the North represented here today were now in an uproar demanding his head.

Only after a long moment were they silenced by a raised hand from the new King.

"It is clear to me that Joffrey Hill does not regret ordering my uncle's death. Nor does he regret the lives tortured, hurt, and killed during his time sitting on the Iron Throne. Therefore, his execution is to take place…immediately!" declared Aegon with Cersei and Joffrey protesting.

"That's not fair! I demand a Trial! I want a Trial!" exclaimed Joffrey in the belief he could prove he was right to do things the way he did.

"You would ask for what you did not give in my place? You would demand a Trial when you did not give one to my uncle? Or the people that were suffering in this very room under your rule? How many people in the city suffered because of your actions Joffrey Hill? How many people left this room dead or lost a piece of themselves because of your cruelty? You do not deserve a Trial, nor will you have a Trial. I will give you the same respect you have shown others you deemed lower than yourself," said Aegon knowing some would think it cruel to do, but he knew it got the point across.

People who were cruel to others would be rewarded with cruelty in return.

"You can't do that!" protested Joffrey while Aegon glared.

"I can and it will be done, Joffrey Hill. Take him out of here along with his mother. Their punishments will be carried out shortly," said Aegon while the two were dragged out of the room.

"As for you, Lysa Tully, I have all the information I need to see you executed for your crimes before and after the rebellion. As for your son, he will become a ward of House Royce until he is old enough to join the Night's Watch. I find your secret affair with Petyr Baelish leaves his lineage tied to House Arryn to be in question. I will not allow bloodline thievery to possibly exist in this case nor will I allow the Vale to be shamed further by your deeds," said Aegon with Lysa shrieking and trying to break free from the guards holding her in place.

"NO! NO! YOU STAY AWAY FROM MY SWEET ROBIN! YOU HEAR ME?! STAY AWAY! HE IS THE RIGHTFUL LORD OF THE VALE!" yelled Lysa while Aegon motioned her to be sent away so everyone in the room would be spared her high pitched shrieking.

Even Sub-Zero was pleased to see her go, as he felt the woman's screaming voice could rival Queen Sindel power in that field any day.

"I am the Lord of Riverrun and the new Lord Paramount of the Trident. You cannot deny me a Trial by Combat," declared Edmure while his Uncle Bryden shook his head at him.

"Lord Edmure Tully, you have made it clear you have no love for House Stark, House Targaryen, or even the other Houses who are loyal to them. You supported your father's decision to throw me in Riverrun's dungeons and even stated a few things to my family, my mother's family, that did not sit well with them. Nor does it sit well with me. It's clear that you have no respect for the position you were going to inherit upon your father's death, regardless of if it was natural or not. As such, I hereby decree you unworthy of your Lordship of Riverrun and being Lord Paramount. You will be sent to the Wall to spend the rest of your days serving the Night's Watch while your Uncle Bryden will rule as Regent until his great nephew, my dear cousin, Brandon Stark, comes of age to rule over it," declared Aegon with Edmure looking at him with fury in his eyes at being what he felt was usurpation by one of his sister's children.

"You can't do this to me! I demand a Trial by Combat! I will not take this lying down like some common whore!" exclaimed Edmure angrily while Aegon glanced over at Robb and Bryden watching things from their own position.

One nodded while the other looked away in shame.

"So be it. Ser Arthur, you will stand for the Crown as its Champion while I assume Edmure will be his own when defending himself," stated Aegon with Ser Arthur stepping forward and ready to do his duty.

"Yes, your grace," said Ser Arthur while Edmure's anger and confidence quickly eroded when glancing at the famous Sword of the Morning and it was clear to the King, he was trying to think of a way to win.

"Why not fight me yourself? Or are you not a true Northerner like you claim," said Edmure before spat in front of him.

"You wish to fight me?" asked Aegon while already knowing what the man was trying to do.

"Why not? What do you Northern barbarians say? He who passes the sentence swings the sword. I say prove it!" stated Edmure in the hopes the new King would accept and he would have a means to escape with his head intact.

For a long moment, Aegon was silent. He glanced slightly at the Grandmaster, who turned slightly to look back, and saw the Lin Kuei warrior give his student a subtle nod.

"Your words have merit Edmure Tully. As such, I will represent the Crown as its champion," said Aegon, much to the shock of many hearing this.

"Your grace?" asked Ser Barristan in surprise.

"Edmure Tully is right, in his own crude and stupid way. Which is why I must do this. However, to ensure a member of the Targaryen bloodline sits on the Iron Throne, I wish to make it clear who my heir will be in the unlikely event I somehow die at this man's hands. At the end of the rebellion, it was decreed that Elia Martell's only remaining child, Rhaenys Targaryen, would have no claim to the Iron Throne in any shape or form, in exchange for their lives after King's Landing was sacked. I hereby counter said decree by making it invalid on its face due to such a decree is not binding on account it was done under duress, and swords pointed at two innocent lives. At this moment, I declare Rhaenys Targaryen will be my heir until I am married and have a child, regardless of gender, born to me from my future wife," said Aegon with Ser Barristan and Ser Arthur glancing at one another.

They had no doubt the King would win against Edmure Tully. The man might be older than the boy, but it was clear the King had more experience, more courage, and better training over that of his opponent.

"A woman? You must truly be mad! A woman has no business ruling on the Iron Throne. That is not their place in life," remarked Edmure with a smirk, which died when Aegon stood up and took several steps forward to look down on the kneeling man.

"My teacher and mother taught me to never enjoy killing someone, Lord Tully. To never enjoy taking a man's life. The alternative would be to become a monster in a man's skin. But deep down, I have this feeling, if I were you kill you now, a very small part of me, would enjoy it. So, to ensure this small part of me does not grow in strength, I want you out of this room, and back to your cell before I do something rather…violent," replied Aegon coldly to the now nervous former Lord of Riverrun.

"You better pray to your heathen Gods, you bastard! When I win, I am going to parade your corpse all the way to Riverrun!" stated Edmure while being taken out of the throne room.

"You know he will try something, your grace," said Ser Barristan knowing a man like Edmure will not risk is life in a fair fight unless it was unfair and in his favor.

"Which is why we will be keeping an eye on him Ser Barristan for two reasons. First, to see if he tries to contact anyone to do such a thing. And second, to see who answers the call," said Aegon calmly knowing Lysa Tully, and her brother would try to do something, if not Cersei and her son.

They always did.

(Dragon Pit-Day of Trial by Combat)

Many were in attendance to see Edmure Tully fight against the King. Everyone was thinking the man was a fool for challenging the King, much less one who was no mere green boy who would shit himself at the site of blood. Aegon had been trained by the Grandmaster of the Lin Kuei himself. Plus, the boy had seen his fair share of fighting and battles. The new King was no pushover and knew Edmure was in for a rude awakening when the two fought under the eyes of the Gods above.

As such, it confused many when Edmure was acting cocky and so certain of himself when he came out to face the King in combat to the point where he acted like victory was already certain. It made many in the Dragon Pit suspicious of the man and wondered if the fool had tried to do something to stack the odds in his favor. A catspaw? Did the man somehow hire an assassin to kill the King? Surely not. No one in their right mind would want to kill the new King. He was already proving himself to be an improvement over the previous three, and one was his own Grandfather.

So why was Edmure Tully acting so confident in the face of certain defeat against the new King?

"Does something amuse you Edmure Tully?" asked Aegon, as he came out to the arena with the crowd cheering him on while the look on the floppy fish's face was one of shock and disbelief.

'He shouldn't be here! He shouldn't be alive!' thought Edmure in shock, horror, and anger at the sight of the King looking back at him ready to fight in the Trial by Combat.

"Surprised Lord Tully? You shouldn't be surprised I am here, all things considered. Or did you really think your plan to hire an assassin to kill me would work? To have someone poison my food to have me too ill or dead before the Trial by Combat, resulting in your automatic victory, would work?" asked the King and his words echoed throughout the Dragon Pit making many scowl and boo the Lord of Riverrun.

"I don't know what you mean, but what would a bastard know except lies and deceit," remarked Edmure while Aegon laughed a little.

"I think you do know. I think you do know what I mean since you tried to hire Tyrion's bodyguard to do the deed. Bronn, I believe his name is, am I right? A cutthroat who you could hire for the right price to see my life end before this moment. Did you really think he would go for it? That you could pay him the steep price he asked should the attempt be successful to kill or incapacitate me?" asked Aegon while Edmure grimaced a little since the price the man asked for was high.

A lot of gold and a large castle to go with it.

Edmure had promised as much to Bronn when brokering the deal. Stating he could give him gold easily enough and would use his position as the Lord Paramount of the Trident to give the Twins to him while expunging the Freys from their home. Since no one had any real love for the Freys, no one would fuss over the removal of one House from its position for someone else taking over the seat. Bronn worked out a few minor details with him to further sweeten the deal due to the target being a well-loved King, which Edmure agreed to without much hesitation.

Only it seemed his plan was foiled before it could be implemented.

"I don't know what you mean your grace?" asked Edmure while Aegon frowned.

"Bronn was quite forthcoming about the deal you made with him. In fact, he told us a lot about the deals you, your sister Lysa, Cersei, and Joffrey made to him for his services in getting all of you free from your current situations," said Aegon since the man had told him everything after all guilty parties wishing to escape their punishments that justice demanded they face.

'Damn cutthroat sold me out,' thought Edmure while frowning at being discovered.

"You shouldn't be too surprised about this, Lord Tully. Bronn was and still is under the employe of Tyrion Lannister. Whatever price you offered for his services to kill me before the Trial by Combat, Tyrion would have paid him double to do the opposite. The Bronn and Tyrion know the people would not tolerate me being killed and would have hunted down those responsible for it without mercy. Not to mention, even if you had hired someone not loyal to the Crown, the Lin Kuei and other spies loyal to it would have known about the attempt before said assassination could be carried out," explained Aegon while Edmure could see many seated in the Dragon Pit were glaring at him with contempt at such a disrespectful act he tried to do in order to win.

"Your lies will not help you against me, bastard. You may have these fools eating out of your hands with such deception and dishonor, but I know the truth of things," said Edmure though it was clear no one was going to believe he was the victim here.

"You know nothing Edmure Tully. You never did," said Aegon before he took out his sword and prepared himself for a fight.

"I will win this day bastard. I will win and free the Seven Kingdoms of your wretched bloodline through Rhaegar," said Edmure with Aegon smirking while now wearing his Lin Kuei face mask.

"The only one freed here this day through the embracement of death is you Edmure Tully. The only real questions to be asked now are, will it be quick? Or will you suffer before the end?" asked Aegon calmly with Sub-Zero raising his hand from his position.

"In the eyes of the Gods above watching, this is a fight to the death. The victor is the one who lives, the one who loses will be dead. Is this understood by both parties?

"Aye!" stated Edmure eagerly with the notion he would win regardless of the skills the boy in front of him possessed.

"Yes, Grandmaster," replied Aegon while making sure to keep his eyes on his opponent.

"FIGHT!" yelled Sub-Zero before bringing his hand down.

The moment the words were spoken by the Grandmaster, Edmure wasted no time engaging Aegon in combat. He rushed forward, sword ready to swing, and confidence in his eyes in the belief he would slay the dragon in front of him and avenge his family. It didn't matter to him if his House was in the wrong or had done something horrible that had resulted in a rebellion that cost many their lives for the ambitions of a few men. In truth, he cared not for the smallfolk on his lands nor cared if they suffered so if he did little to nothing to help them.

The only person Edmure Tully cared about was Edmure Tully. He was the Lord of Riverrun, Paramount of the Trident, and ruler over all of the Riverlands. He would not have his position challenged or put into question by this King, who in his mind, should not even be King, much less be born. In Edmure's eyes, the man before him was a mistake born from a treasonous Northern whore for a mother, who seduced the dragon prince, and caused the rebellion to become what it had been. It didn't matter that the rebellion was inevitable and was going to happen no matter what lit the fuse that travelled to the barrel of wildfire it had become.

In Edmure's foolish mind, he was correcting a mistake made by the Gods. He was carrying out their Will to remove this abomination from the land of the living.

As for Aegon, his focus was sharper than the blade of the finest Valyrian steel sword. His mind analyzing so many different scenarios on how to deal with Edmure Tully before the man even got halfway to him. It would be so easy to kill Edmure quickly with a just one or a few single movements when the trout was close enough to strike. Or he could slice through the man piece by piece, draw out the fight slowly, and see the man suffer before finally taking his head.

Decisions. Decisions.

In the end, Aegon felt a quick, yet powerful demonstration of his skills was in order. It would end Edmure in a way where the people do not think of him as a cruel man, and it would show he was not one to be trifled with.

When Edmure's sword arched to take his head, Aegon quickly saw the angle of it, the trajectory allowing him to move without being hurt or any part of his body coming remotely close to the blade. He moved so quickly, it almost seemed supernatural to those watching the King move out of Edmure's pathetic use of his sword. With the opening available to him, Aegon stabbed Edmure underneath the arm, making the supposed Lord of Riverrun cry out in pain, and swung his sword again in a clumsy manner with his one good arm with the other now being useless. Aegon stayed well out of his way when the trout tried to hit him and waited for Edmure to properly right himself, though it was clearly difficult with the blood now flowing out from the wound.

Aegon had stabbed at just the right angle at just the right spot to cause massive and immediate blood loss to the body with Edmure having only a few minutes to live. Less if the man kept on trying to attack him in his currently situation.

Which he was clearly trying to do.

It was clear the man couldn't even see straight by the third swing and was soon on his knees, the ground having multiple pools of blood all around the man. It wasn't until Edmure finally looked up at Aegon did the King know the man also knew his time was coming to an end now. The Lord of Riverrun grit his teeth, blood coming out of his mouth as well as the spot under his arm and Aegon wouldn't be surprised if he slumped over right there on the spot.

"Your rule will not last. The dragons were overthrown once before and will be again one day," remarked Edmure while finding his vision going from seeing three of Aegon Targaryen to darkness creeping up on him from all sides.

"I will not lie and say it will never happen. It still could, though whether or not it is during my lifetime or future generations from now is something only the Gods know. What I do know, Edmure Tully, is you will not live beyond this moment to see it come to pass," replied Aegon with Edmure making a small noise before he slumped over fully onto the ground and died.

"King Aegon Targaryen is the winner of the Trial by Combat!" declared Sub-Zero with many among the masses watching now cheering at the King's victory and thus proving he was indeed skilled in the way of fighting.

The fact the King did it with one strike and let his enemy simply bleed out without a single additional act to end him was proof of this.

'Now to deal with the rest,' thought Aegon knowing he still had much to do.

(Essos-With Daenerys)

Her campaign through Essos was naturally met with resistance. Many of the Free Cities were against the idea of freeing slaves, ironically enough given their titles. They embraced slavery yet called themselves free all the same. The only place truly living up to their position as a true Free City among them was Braavos after their founding by former slaves of Old Valeryia who wished their chains broken and know what it is to make your own choices without the fear of the whip striking your back. Daenerys had made sure a messenger was sent to the Sea Lord of Braavos to let him know she would not march on the city and was seeking to do what many before her could not.

To unite Essos under one banner. Her banner. Her family's banner.

The Sea Lord of Braavos had appreciated her message and swore to keep out of her campaign against the rest of Essos so long as she didn't turn her army against Braavos or its people. He also wanted her assurance that various trading caravans from Braavos were not raided, plundered, or its many merchants traveling the lands killed.

Naturally, Daenerys gave him such assurance since attacking any trading caravans and merchants from Braavos would only earn her the Sea Lord's ire with an enemy at her back, which she did not need. Not only would Braavos being her enemy foolish, there was also the risk of the Faceless Men being hired to end her life too.

Why make the Sea Lord an enemy when he could at least be neutral or at most a future ally when the new ValyrianEmpire emerged from the ashes of the old?

Her path took her to Yunkai first, per Ser Jorah's suggestion since there were many slaves there, but not for fighting like in Astapor. No, this Free City made its coin with pleasure slaves. All shapes and sizes were trained, bred, and used to make more coin to continue it in a never ending cycle. Whatever threats that came their way were easily handled by their high walls or paid off with a fraction of the overall wealth they gained from their dealings with powerful friends who visited them for their wares.

Of course, Daenerys made sure what and who she had with her was not something to be ignored in the slightest, regardless of high walls or the powerful friends the Yunkai had in their corner.

Hence the emissary who came to her tent to strike a deal with Daenerys had suggested she turn around and return to Westeros with her dragons. They had offered the young woman a single ship, some wealth stowed away in it, and supposedly safe passage home to Westeros. All the while surrendering all of the Unsullied who had followed her back into the hands of these so called Masters.

Her response? She told him no. After that, the words he spoke were ones of threatening her, her very dragons, and the Unsullied who followed her. Even going so far as to call Daenerys a whore meant to be violated and bred to produce children who would be enslaved to continue things long after she had her throat slit after being used up. In response, Daenerys ordered the man detained, stripped of his clothing in front of his slave escort before ordering one of the Unsullied to bestow the Yunkai Wise Master with a parting gift that would not be forgotten anytime soon.

The parting gift?

A small taste of what it meant to be slave and earn the displeasure of their Master through a lash and the whipping of ones back. When Daenerys asked the man how old he was, he spat her feet and cursed the Targaryen woman while again calling her a whore. His resistance crumbled when her eldest dragon for a child, Drogon, decided to get in the man's face and snap his jaws at him.

The Yunkai Wise Master soiled himself right there on the spot and whimpered like a frightened child with everyone present to see it, including the slave escort that brought him to the Mother of Dragons. When Daenerys asked again, the man told her through his whimpering and sobbing that he was twenty eight name days old.

As such, Daenerys ordered this so called Master from Yunkai to be whipped twenty eight times for each year of his birth, plus an additional ten for insulting her.

Afterwards, she sent the man back to Yunkai, but now the once proud fool would return alone, naked, bloody, and without his escort of slaves to take him back in the manner he traveled. It would send a message to the Wise Masters of Yunkai that she was not to be taken lightly, but very seriously. She would not be underestimate simply for being a woman, who many men in the world saw as beneath them in more ways than one.

She would show them what happens when you cross the Mother of Dragons.

Her demonstration came after the Second Sons attempted to bolster the defense of the city by adding their strength to the city's walls. They would have made things more challenging for her in taking the city with the loss of many Unsullied, who she did not wish to lose so soon and during what could have been a long term siege.

If not for one man in her employ, who she was quicky learning could get things done as easily as one was breathing air into their lungs.

Smoke had definitely lived up to the fearsome reputation the Lin Kuei were known for in Westeros when asked to perform the seemingly impossible task when required. While some would say enlisting such an assassin was dishonorable, one could not deny the results of the strong yet subtle hand she employed to do what must be done. He had killed quite a few men in Daenerys's name and even more in terms of those who were seeking to take her head. Smoke had been useful in providing information about her enemies thus far during his time within her camp. Ser Jorah was cautious of him and had frowned at some of the things he did, no doubt due to a sense of honor the men from the North in Westeros were known for. But Smoke had told Ser Jorah that in times of great need or when odds were against you, a subtle hand can do more than a iron fist ever could.

Besides, his actions spilled the least amount of bloodshed, which was what Daenerys wanted since it would prevent the needless loss of any life and the losses she would have from her own army. Even the blood he shed in her name were for good reasons and protected her from harm when so many wished to end the Dragon Queen's life. A few high nobles here, rich merchants there, and many others who had felt she was an upstart at least, or a threat to their power at worst. They all profited in the way Essos did things in regard to slavery and her campaign to end it was a threat to all the wealth they and their own blood before them obtained in years past.

Smoke had proven that for all their coin and wealth, it did little against a man who could wield a blade from the shadows, of a man who could disappear and reappear elsewhere. To kill in a way that would make even the Faceless Men of Braavos green with envy with the way he could take the lives of others so easily.

As he did so with Yunkai.

He had killed the Captains and Lieutenants of the Second Sons in the dead of night when there was no moon to light up the sky with only the stars above to provide some form of sight in the darkness. Smoke had recommended the guards be double to ensure no assassins came into the camp to kill her since that one night would be the best time to do it. Daenerys didn't question him about such a thing since she also knew if anyone could spot an assassination attempt on her person or those close to her, it was an assassin in her employ.

When it came to the Second Sons, with their commanders now dead, the Sell Sword Company turned on itself outside of Yunkai's walls, ambitious men among them seeking to lead and determined to kill off the competition. While this was happening, Smoke moved through the city, the distraction outside making it even easier for him to move through the darkness. It didn't take long to find a guard who knew more than he should about things within the city and was given a clean death in exchange for information on where the vast population of slaves were located within Yunkai not in the personal service of the Wise Masters. The man had revealed the slaves in the city outnumbered those who did not and even admitted to their being several failed slave rebellions. Hence why those tucked away were not as well fed or given the whip to their back while in skin ripping chains to ensure they didn't do it again.

Hence why Smoke went to these slaves, after killing some more guards and raiding the armory, to give them a means to not only free themselves, but to willingly serve the one who seeks to break the chains of slaves throughout Essos. Some had been reluctant to join in the rebellion Smoke was proposing at the time, which wasn't a surprise to him since some of these slaves had lived to see and survive the past slave rebellions. These slaves no doubt recalled the punishment they endured for either joining it or were simply punished to make an example to others.

That quickly changed when Smoke presented them with the keys to their shackles and the weapons to arm themselves with in order to take their own revenge against those who put the chains on them.

Before, in your previous attempts, you rebelled without a true plan. Without weapons or the key to your chains. There are more of you than there are of them. You know this city better than they do. Take away their so called nobility and the guards who protect them, what are they? They are people. Same as you. The only difference is they have never worked for anything in their life. They have never felt true pain and suffering outside of an upset stomach from poor food or a stubbed toe. They barely leave their homes and walk the city streets to get where they need to go. But you know everything. You know every place, every corner, and every spot to strike at them and their guards should your courage be strong enough to wield the blade in front of you. Should your anger and hatred at these so called Wise Masters be strong enough, pierce their flesh and beating hearts with these blades I give you. There is a woman outside who leads an army of free men who were once slaves and seeks to break the chains on those who suffer from it. Aid her in taking Yunkai and when the Sun rises in the morning you will truly be living in a free city where the city is free of slavery.

Inspired by his words, the slaves moved in force, their anger, hatred, and courage to be free, even if the freedom came in the form of death was stronger than their fear. What was their left to fear? More whips and chain added to their already scarred flesh? More beatings? Violations of their bodies? It was all said and done. But what the assassin had told them, shown them, and revealed who he served, was different in their eyes. They wanted to believe in this one moment, if no other moment until the end of time, that if they rebelled here and now, the freedom they all longed for, lived for, bled for, and would die for, was within their grasp.

And their faith in this moment was rewarded. Smoke had helped end the lives of a few more guards who could have raised the alarm. Ended a few guards who stood watch over the Wise Masters they were all sworn to serve and protect. Ended every guard who could stop the ranging storm of angry hated filled slaves who unleashed their wrath on the Wise Masters who had taken so much from them and given so little back.

By morning, the city had run red with blood. But not with the blood of slaves. Rather, it was the blood of the slave owners. Blood of those who whipped, beat, humiliated, and violated others simply because they were not the ones in chains and were born of supposedly noble birth. By morning, Daenerys stood in front of her army and awaited the outcome that Smoke had promised with a city ready to embrace the woman over opposing her.

And true to form, Smoke had delivered by opening the gates while leading the newly freed people of Yunkai out to meet the woman leading her army in the campaign to free slaves.

"You delivered as promised," said Daenerys with a smile.

"As promised, the Free City of Yunkai is now free of slavery and is yours, my Queen," said Smoke before he bowed respectfully to her.

"Did we lose anyone?" asked Daenerys knowing there was always a chance of that happening.

"No. I removed quite a few guards who could have killed several of the people before they were struck down. Speaking of the people, they are most interested in meeting the one who wished to see them without chains," said Smoke before he motioned her to follow him.

"Khaleesi, be careful," warned Ser Jorah while hesitant to see his Queen get close to so many people or be near the Lin Kuei assassin.

"Mysa! Mysa! Mysa!" exclaimed the populace.

"Mysa?" asked Daenerys while the people chanted it louder and louder for all to hear.

"It means 'mother', your grace. They see you as their mother," said Missandei while Daenerys smiled at that and walked further in with the people lifting her up to carry the woman into the city.

And Daenerys loved every second of it.

The taking of Yunkai had been a large boon for the woman. Not only in getting more supporters for her cause but also the taking of the wealth left behind by those no longer alive to claim it. Daenerys would use the vast wealth of these now dead slave owners to fund her campaign even further without the risk of draining the city treasury used for the betterment of the city when required. Ser Jorah had even gone so far as to comment that the overall wealth taken from the late Wise Masters now made her richer than House Lannister several times over.

Smoke had commented that such wealth was blood money and a good portion of it should be given back to the people in the city. Or at the very least, used to improve the city so everyone living in it could share in the wealth once used to pay for their suffering. Daenerys agreed with him though it would have to be to a certain extent as military campaigns were expensive and while her wealth was now exceedingly vast, it could leave her if spent improperly in a few moons.

Her brother Viserys had been proof of this after Lord Darry had died and the servants had taken what they did within seconds of that good man's death. Her brother thought his right to be King meant that everyone would bow to him when the title meant nothing in Braavos or Essos in general. Unless you had wealth, power, and influence, you were nothing to those who had it.

And now Daenerys had it with every intention of keeping it for all the right reasons. To use it for all of the right reasons.

The campaign to take Mereen was much more difficult. Even if the army she led had nearly tripled in its overall size. For now, an army of not just Unsullied and several Dothraki marched with her, but those of freed slaves who wished to join the fight to free others who were enslaved in Essos. They saw this as a chance to fight for something good and true while following a Queen who would set Essos to rights while breaking the chains of every slave in every city. They saw a chance to end slavery and bring about a new generation of free people in Essos while making the Free Cities of Essos truly live up to their very words in terms of being free.

But a large army takes time to move and the larger the army, the slower it moved. Supplies, equipment, and even training those willing to fight was a challenge until itself. The Unsullied were all well trained in the arts of killing others, but they could not be so easily replaced if one were to fall, and it would take time to train others to reach even a fraction of their training prowess. Daenerys also knew she had to be careful in balancing quality and quantity in her growing army, knowing she risked losing one for the other before having neither if not careful.

"Do you think they will take the message seriously, your grace?" asked Ser Jorah after Daenerys had sent the salve collars of Yunkai over the city walls of Mereen for slaves and their owners to see.

"They would be fools not to Ser Jorah. And if they do not take it seriously after this, no one truly cares for the death of fools," said Daenerys calmly while she knew the slaves would understand the message quicker than their owners.

She had freed slaves elsewhere and would do so here no matter what. She brought hope to those who had none. She brought freedom to those who dreamed of it but had never tasted it. She brought these slaves courage where there had known only fear.

"Mereen is not like Yunkai or Astapor. It is arguably the most difficult city to take here," said Ser Jorah knowing Mereen didn't specialize in one or two things.

This city dealt in every aspect of slavery. Pleasure houses, fighting pits, labor workforce, and other things you could stamp the word "slavery" to for a profession, Mereen did it all. Slavers Bay made it where they could trade slaves not only by land, but by sea. They had a vast trading network allowing them buy and sell just about everything while making more money in an entire year than the Lannister's could obtain in a lifetime with their gold mines when the veins in their mountains were still plentiful.

"Which is why we must work extra hard to take it," said Daenerys she glared at the city with anger in her heart due to what she saw on the way here in the dead bodies of crucified slaves.

Some among those among the dead were children.

"No doubt word of our exploits has reached them and have planned accordingly," said Smoke while he looked at Mereen with a calculating gaze.

"Will that be able to stop you from infiltrating the city like you did in Yunkai?" asked Daenerys curiously.

"I didn't say that, but I would be a liar and say they aren't planning to up their level of security to make it more difficult," replied Smoke knowing arrogance was unbecoming of a member of the Lin Kuei.

"Do you think they will harm the slaves?" asked Daenerys since she knew these slavers would not hide their slaves away but would rather put them to the sword out of spite.

"It's hard to say Khaleesi. Out of all the Free Cities in Essos, the city of Mereen has the most slaves due to being a central trading hub for it. Whether by land or sea, it matters not, the demand for slaves is needed somewhere and Mereen is where people go the most to buy them in bulk," said Ser Jorah with Daenerys grimacing.

"Which means we need to get this plan moving forward sooner than later. Otherwise, those with darker and crueler minds will act before we do," said Smoke with Daenerys nodding since she knew as well as he did what those minds would do if allowed to have their way in the city.

Staining the streets of Mereen with blood of slaves and blaming it on Daenerys for marching here with her army to ruling their way of life. These so called "Masters" would paint the woman as the enemy of Essos rather than its savior. All so they could keep their slave trade and put others in chains. It sickened the two of them knowing the "Masters" within the city of Mereen were the ones who would, and most likely have, butchered innocent lives without hesitation, yet she was the monster.


"How soon can you get into the city?" asked Daenerys while seeing Smoke glance at her.

"Anytime you wish. But I would advise waiting for nightfall. While the Moon will be out tonight, it will not be so bright as Sun above right now," said Smoke with Daenerys grimacing.

"That's too long," remarked Daenerys to herself.

"We also have to consider our last plan we used for Yunkai is known to the Masters of Mereen. They will not allow someone like Smoke to get into their city using the same method twice," added Ser Jorah with Smoke nodding.

"That is also a distinct possibility, Ser Jorah. But I'm not a one trick pony who can only do the same thing every time. You can send me into a city day or night, it doesn't matter. Just have the army on standby to march into Mereen for a possible fight with those who seek to resist you. I will do the rest," said Smoke before he was gone in a puff of Smoke.

"Do you believe him, Ser Jorah?" asked Daenerys curiously.

"The Lin Kuei are said to be Masters of the shadows, as we have already seen Khaleesi. But for one to take on an entire city, or at least weaken it enough to open the gates for us for one as big as Mereen, is another matter entirely," said Ser Jorah knowing it will take some time before their Lin Kuei warrior could get into the city to do his dirty work.

"Tell the men to get ready for a fight. We will be taking Mereen today before the Sun sets in the West and see it free when it rises again further in the East," said Daenerys while knowing time was of the essence here.

"Yes Khaleesi," replied Ser Jorah while moving to command the army with them.

(Pyramid of Mereen)

"The nerve of this Dragon Bitch. She thinks Mereen will fall against her army. Ha! Laughable at best," said one of the Great Masters angrily in the room among several who were all members of highly prestigious families.

And slave owners all.

"Careful Master Knuth, this Daenerys Targaryen is not to be underestimated. Woman or not. She has an army of Unsullied with her, a Lin Kuei assassin, and three actual dragons. Dragons, which need I remind you, are now well over the size of a war horse. It will only be a matter of time before they become truly massive creatures capable of riding but bringing fire down on anyone who challenges the mother," said Master Kor while other Masters in the room grumbled at the truth of things.

"Fortunately, we can count on her not using the dragons on the city. She wants it intact and the slaves in our city freed. Just saying the word makes me sick. It appears our warning to her with the crucifying of those slaves leading here did not impede her resolve to oppose us," commented Master Lez Uk Ta with a sneer on his face.

"She is made of sterner stuff. Shame she was a born a woman. I might actually respect her," said Master Telx Ma Sun lazily while playing with a braid from his hair between his gold talon covered fingers.

"Now is not the time to appreciate our enemy. What we need to do is find out how to end the campaign this cunt has started to end slavery and the claiming of our city?" questioned Master Knuth angrily since he viewed slavery as a way of life for Mereen as well as apart of Essos with the wealth behind it making him along with others very rich beyond most men.

Anyone who disrupted his means of obtaining wealth had to be eliminated or enslaved. Whichever came first.

"You will never know how to defeat her. You will all be dead," said Smoke from the shadows of the room with a sword in hand.

Already stained in blood.

"Intruder! Guards! Guards!" exclaimed Master Lez fearfully while the others ran to the door, only to find it was locked from the outside.

"How?!" asked Master Telx while trying to get the door open by shaking it.

"Easily when you have killed all the guards in the hallway and convince hate filled slaves to rebel against the owners to make sure no one here escapes this room alive," answered Smoke while finding these men were as pathetic as the ones in Yunkai, if not more so.

All it took to encourage the slaves to rebel in this pyramid was the silent killing of the guards around this area with the slaves watching in shock and awe of it. Once it was done, he told them, promised them, if they trusted him this one time, he would ensure none of the Masters of Mereen having their meeting to discuss Daenerys Targaryen would live to see tomorrow. To further show he meant business, he showed them the various medallions showing House symbols from the Masters who once lived in Yunkai he had collected when there. Some of them were kin to those in Mereen with some of the slaves recognizing those symbols.

The fact he had them showed credence to his claims. It also didn't hurt that Smoke had killed the guards around the pyramid and gave said weapons to them. Driven by this new sense of courage, their desire to be free, and their complete hatred for the Masters, due to their cruelty that they chose to follow him.

And Smoke intended to deliver.

"Wait! Whatever that woman is paying you, we can easily double it. No! We can triple it! Bring us her head and you will have enough wealth to claim a spot among our ranks. Any woman you desire will be yours and I have no doubt even the dragons will bow to your greatness!" exclaimed Master Lez while Smoke just let out a chuckle.

"You think I do this for money? The chance to have my own slaves? You know I am a member of the Lin Kuei, but you know little of our clan. We do not enslave others. We cannot be bought or bribed to do the bidding of others when already serving someone. We are not like those sell sword companies who will change allegiances if offered more money from the opposition over the initial client. Besides, I am not being paid to serve Daenerys at all. Nor do I wish to be paid. I do this on my own accord," said Smoke with the Masters in front of being baffled by the fact he was aiding the woman for free.

"But, if you are not doing this for wealth, why are you helping her? Why do you aid Daenerys Targaryen in her quest to conqueror us?" asked Master Telx while Smoke looked at him with disgust in his eyes.

"If you can't understand why she is doing it, I don't have to give an answer to your own stupid question," replied Smoke since he had his own reasons for aiding the woman free of charge.

Oh, she would no doubt reward him with gold and maybe a plot of land to build his own Lin Kuei Clan or "House" if you will here in Essos, but that was far from Smoke's mind right now. He was doing this for a reason beyond those things and it tied in with his newfound freedom of not being bound to Quan Chi's or Shinnok's power as a Revenant. A Revenant, who admittedly, was a heartless son of bitch during his time as one, and Smoke recalled everything he did during that time with extremely clarity.

Which was why he sought to redeem himself for the evil deeds done as a Revenant and to not ruin this new second chance at life. To fight for a worthy, noble cause, and prove to himself that he was indeed a good man with a sense of honor that would no longer be manipulated by outside forces.

Money meant nothing to him. If he was paid, it was just an added bonus to be used later for some grand idea to help bring about some measure of improvement in the society he was living in. Smoke's honor as a man and as a member of the Lin Kuei meant everything to him.

"Killing us with accomplish nothing. Even if the bitch does free every slave in all of Essos, there will be those who will not stand for it. Slavery will not die in Essos. It is a part of Essos. A part of the culture that makes us strong. The people will who support slavery and strength will see her dead along with all those who support her!" exclaimed Master Knuth with his eyes and face showing a mixture of fear and anger over what would soon be his end.

"Perhaps. Perhaps not. But I do know one thing, you will not be alive to see what happens next," said Smoke before he was upon them and ending all their lives in a violent gory fashion with their screams echoing throughout the room, if not the entire pyramid.

When the task was done, he teleported to the outside of the room where a small contingent of slaves he had recruited to the cause of rebellion awaited him. After telling them to lay low for a while with the others, Smoke move through the pyramid, carrying out his duty to slay those who would defy Daenerys and the men they would employ to do it.

Just one place among many requiring him to take lives.

He had no doubt there would be additional fighting in the city, even after his work was done and the gates were opened. But that was for soldiers like the Unsullied to do when the time came to claim the city of Mereen for Daenerys. It was what they were trained for, and it was high time they put their skills to work and to the test when taking on any additional resistance.

His Queen couldn't risk their skills getting rusty after all.

(Mereen-Sometime Later)

Daenerys looked on as the Unsullied had obtained more of the so called "Masters" from their homes to be brought before her after the gates had been opened with the Unsullied marching through to claim it in the woman's name. As expected, they were met with some measure of resistance by some of the men the Masters had for the city's militia and who guarded the city itself. Smoke had forewarned Daenerys that while he would take out some of them to get the army through, even his skills could not claim them all in a city this big.

Hence the Unsullied doing the rest to remove any further resistance.

When it was all said and done, the city had fallen to her, and the remaining Masters were rounded up for judgement and punishment for their past crimes against the people they enslaved. Some had protested their treatment, claiming they were descended from powerful Houses and ancient bloodlines. How she had no right to take Mereen and invade their city like she did the others.

They were all silenced by the dragons that were flying in the air, roaring on occasion, making their very presence known to all.

"Are these all the Masters?" asked Daenerys calmly while seeing so many of them bound, kneeling, and awaiting her judgement with the Unsullied at the ready to carry out her orders.

"More or less Khaleesi. Some of them have family members still living in the city. No doubt wondering if they will be punished as well," replied Ser Jorah knowing they always did have family yet to be captured.

"But these are the main ones? Those who not only approve of slavery but treated slaves like they were trash to be thrown away or made examples of?" asked Daenerys with Smoke nodding.

"Every single one. There are still quite a few documents from their homes to sort through, but from what I gathered, these are all the major slave owners, holders, movers, and shakers in the slave industry living right here in Mereen. You want to put a massive hole in the slave economy, this will do it. Plus, they have the names and contacts of all the other slaving locations throughout Essos they do business with outside of the city. Given the time and resources put toward such a campaign while the iron is still hot, we could cripple the slave economy within Essos for generations to come," said Smoke while Daenerys nodding since it meant more work on their end, but they it was all coming together for the dream she envisioned for the future.

A world without slavery. A world without men, women, and children in chains. The Valyrian Empire with all the strengths the once great civilization possessed, but without the slavery that corrupted it.

"What do you plan to do with them, Khaleesi?" asked Ser Jorah with Daenerys eyes now narrowing at the men who dared call themselves Masters and owners of lives.

"Were the people these so called Masters deemed slaves and crucified, taken down from their displayed position?" asked Daenerys to Torgo Nudho, who was standing next to her.

"They were my Queen. Per your orders after Mereen fell," said Torgo Nudho while waiting for her orders that would no doubt follow.

"Are the posts they were on still standing?" asked Daenerys with Torgo Nudho nodding.

"Yes, my Queen," answered Torgo Nudo.

"These so called Masters crucified innocent men, women, and even children to send a message to me about coming here. A message saying how unwise it would be to take this city and free the people here suffocating under their rule as slaves. A message needs to be sent back, only this message will be for everyone who still embraces the act of slavery, much less supporting the Masters in their own business dealings in such filthy trade," replied Daenerys while already having an idea on what to do.

"Khaleesi, surely you don't intend to crucify these men? It would be considered cruel. It could send the wrong message if you are not careful. We should answer this injustice with mercy," said Ser Jorah while glancing over at him with narrowed eyes.

"Mercy? Give mercy to those who enslaved hundreds of people. Thousands of them? Mercy to those who have beaten and violated countless slaves in chains. Laughed at those they deemed inferior to them, all due to being born into a wealthy House that has made a profit off of slavery since the time of my ancestor Aegon the Conqueror, if not before that? How can I be a Queen who brings justice to the people if I show their enslavers mercy? No Ser Jorah, I will answer the injustice caused by slavery with justice for those slaves they have harmed since the forming of those so called ancient Houses," said Daenerys while nodding to Torgo Nudho, who ordered the deed be done since he was told of it ahead of time.

"She is not wrong about this Ser Jorah. I get it, you wish them to pay in a less violent and brutal fashion for their crimes. Your upbringing in the North of Westeros, and your homeland, makes you feel that way about all of this. I feel it too in my own odd way, but I am also a realist in this situation when it comes to the people Daenerys seeks to rule. If she showed these 'Masters' an instant of mercy, it would be seen as a form of weakness on her part. The inability to do what must be done to punish them for crimes against those they enslaved and all those slaves who came before them. She would lose the love and respect of the people with some believing she is just like those Masters who hurt them. She has to be decisive in all of this without hesitation or fear," said Smoke since he knew Daenerys had to make a point and drive it home about this situation.

He should know because Smoke put the idea in her head while explaining her punishment needed to be just on those "Masters" they had caught while leaving innocent lives out of it. By only punishing the ones they needed to and making sure the reason was known to all, no one could challenge her the way these men died.

She would wield the steel gauntlet, but keep it concealed in velvet garment and appear gentle until the time comes to make a fist to give her unsuspecting enemies a bloody nose when knocking them on their ass.

Something Daenerys agreed with entirely, given the current nature of the world, which was why she felt no guilt over seeing the so called "Masters" of Mereen become crucified on the very posts they placed those slaves on. Some pleaded and begged for their lives as they were nailed into the wood, some had tried to shout out curses in different languages, only to have their tongues cut off and burned to prevent them dying from blood loss. Through it all, Daenerys never wavered in what was being done to these men and made sure a sign was placed above each and every one of these "Masters" so anyone passing by would know just who they truly were in life leading to their deaths.

And the word in question placed above each crucified body?

It was Enslaver.

It was not "Master". Nor was it the name of the man who now suffered in the hot sun while being in this position. It was not the title of "Merchant". Not the tile of "Priest". Not the title "Nobleman". Not even the title "Lord" that goes from being a part of some great House.


It would send a clear message of who these men were in life and why the Queen of Mereen did what she did to them. This one word above their bodies would paint a clear picture of what awaited you in her domain should you embrace slavery. Those who did would find no friends here. No refuge. No profit or pleasure from the deed itself.

Only a painful violent death.

For she was the Queen of Mereen, Yunkai, and Astapor. Soon, she would rule over all of Essos with a new Valyrian Empire being forged through hard work, dedication, and conviction. A new Valyrian Empire that would last well over a thousand years, with her name, along with those who followed Daenerys down this road, would all be written in the history books of those who helped make the dream possible in her lifetime. How it would state in those history books how she made the world, or at least her part of the world, a better place when she left it when compared to how she was born into it.

But more importantly, those books would say how the new Valyrian Empire she would see made was forged through fire and blood.

(A/N: YAY! I updated. A little difficult to write. So many things going on in life. My mind is scrambled at this point I can barely think straight when writing these days. Story of my life. LOL! Hopefully, it meets your expectations and not rushed. I kind of wants to finish this up so I can get back to my previous older fics and make new ones soon after. Until next time…PEACE!)