And here is a new chapter! Enjoy!
"I was not expecting this when I found out about your existence, your Grace"
"Why not? We are cousins, we should be friends. Surely, had my mother survived, we would have played together in those Water Gardens Griff told me about when I was little" said Aegon, serving Quentyn a good amount of Dornish Red. The two cousins were in the King´s private solar, waiting for the ship to be ready. Jon Connington have left them space, arranging their travel to Volantis. "And I´m not mad about uncle Doran´s plan of marrying you to Daenerys. It was, after all, the best course to take with the information he had."
"It´s good to know"
"Sit down, please" the other boy invited, signalling a chair in front of him. "Are you familiar with the game of cyvasse?" Quentyn opened his mouth to answer, but was interrupted before he could answer. "Of course you are. It´s quite the popular game between westerosi nobility, no?"
"Yes, cousin, indeed it is" Aegon smiled, pulling up a battered up board, one of the few things his guardian has brought with him from Westeros. It surprised the dornish that a king had something like that in his possession. "I have others if that makes you more comfortable, but this one holds some sentimental value. Here I learned how to play on this board."
"I still have the one my father taught me to play into too, so I can´t blame you" the young knight took a seat in front of his cousin, waiting for him to set up the pieces. Once the board was on, Quentyn made the first move. Aegon followed and soon they were in a familiar pattern that made them comfortable. "I´m not so good at this. You should see my uncle Oberyn playing… he is an absolute genius."
"Yes, I have heard that he was in Oldtown, studying to be a maester"
"Before he got bored and crawled back home to fuck his way through the brothels, as my father like to say" the prince answered, giving Aegon the opening he wanted.
"Dear uncle Doran… I haven´t heard much about him and would like to know" he moved his dragon to another position, reading it to attack. "My mother didn´t live to tell me histories about my kin in Dorne and Griff… Lord Connington´s knowledge of her homeland was limited to what his maester taught him in his childhood."
"I understand, he was a Stormlander, no?" Quentyn moved some of his pieces away from the dragon, to minimalize the damage. "Well, our homeland is very sandy, but still produces good fruits. There are some fruits you can´t find anywhere else, like the blood oranges and…" he spent much time talking about the marvellous land of Dorne. "You should wear those silks, they would surely suit you well. You have your mother´s skin tone, after all."
"I will keep that in mind" the king continued, already visioning how to win. "And our family? I heard a few things about your sister that might... no offence."
"None taken, Arianne is a little bit open with sexuality. All of us Dornish are" the prince said, turning his eyes away. But that was everything Aegon needed to know that everything he heard about Princess Arianne being lax with her favours was true. The rumours about her being more open minded than even many dornish ladies, voracious with men and very experienced. Not quite the match he wanted for his innocent brother, who was still a maiden. "Between us, she can be quite the viper."
"Viper?" asked the king, raising an eyebrow. Why was Quentyn talking against his family? Against his family´s plan? "Why would you say that?"
"Arianne has a good relationship with our cousins, the Sand Snakes, especially with Tyene" he began, remembering the two of them when they were together. "They lost their maidenhead to the same boy. Together" he rolled his eyes, remembering when the news reached his father. Doran was not please, as he wanted Arianne to remain a maiden for a little bit longer, but couldn´t say anything. It was Dorne, after all, and his daughter a maiden flowered. As long as there were no bastards, she didn´t do anything wrong. "She behaves quite manipulative and takes every man she wanted to bed… uses the charms a lot to manipulate people. And likes to play risky moves. Her last one left Myrcella Waters scarred for life, if you want a proof."
"I see" the boy frowned. The girl was sounding more and more dangerous as he
"Don´t take me wrong, I love my family, but you are also my blood, so I feel the need to warn you if you want to betroth her to Prince Jaeherys" and then he understood. The tone of voice the dornish prince used when he spoke his brother´s name… Quentyn desired Jon. Which explained the incommodity the northern boy felt when dealing alone with the knight.
"I´m not going you deny that I was thinking about that, but I was hoping to renegotiate the pact with Prince Doran when I arrive to Sunspear" he joined his hands, pondering how deep those feelings of the prince towards his brother were. If he could use them… without Jaeherys knowing, of course. "There are many noble houses in Westeros, after all, and we need more than one Kingdom on our side."
"Like who?" asked the dornish, interested. "From what I heard, the girl of those treacherous Tyrells is going to marry the bastard, Sansa Stark is a hostage in King´s Landing and set to marry the Imp… probably married by now, and Shireen Baratheon is not an option. Not after what her family did."
"As I said, I´m only planning. I´m still ignorant of much things about Westeros" it was a lie, as he received many reports from Varys about the important families in the Seven Kingdoms, but there was no need for his cousin to know that. Or, by extension, his uncle. "And I believe you should watch your king, cousin, you are about to lose."
"What? Oh…" Quentyn woke up, looking at the board. And, indeed, his king piece was about to be taken by one of Aegon´s concealed archers. "Well, it doesn´t matter. It was a nice game, your Grace. Hope we can play again."
"I´m sure of that. We are going to Dorne together after all" his Hand entered in that moment to announce that they were ready. "Ahhh, Lord Connington, just in time. The prince and I just finished a game of cyvasse." The man nodded as his king gathered all the pieces and the board before returning to his cousin. "Care to wait for us in the port, cousin? I have one last thing to talk with Lord Connington before we leave."
"Of course, your Grace" Quentyn answered, bowing to him. Aegon smiled one last time at the man before leaving with Jon. Then he faced the other seriously.
"Don´t ever leave him alone with Jaeherys. Ever"
"So you also noticed" the lord of Griffin´s Roost said. He had noticed before, of course, those looks were a lot like his own when he saw Rhaegar without a shirt during training, but he didn´t mention it to Aegon, not wanting to sour his relationship with his mother´s family. "And in Dorne?"
"I will put Ashara to it, but it´s going to be harder" he looked through the windows at the ship that would take them to Volantis. "Tell me, the Young Tiger is more prone to listening to reason than his grandfather?" the king asked, thinking about the main conspirator from his opposition, the dead Triarch of Volantis. "Or do I have to introduce him to our almost ridable but completely lethal dragons?"
"I´m not sure his opinion truly matters as he is a prisoner of the Temple of Light"
"Even so, he will be needed if we are to reconstruct Volantis without slavery" the King of Dragon´s Bay, how they remembered their Kingdom, stared at the horizon. "And I don´t want to commit the same mistakes as before. Whoever that poses a danger to our reign must go."
"Of course, your Grace"
-A travel in the sea later-
"Your Grace, we have been expecting you" High priest Benarro received the Dragon King in the entrance of his Temple. The slaves in the city, now free of their bonds, were screaming for their source of inspiration, the Targaryens. Jon walked behind him, looking really nervous. The last time he had been in an environment so obviously related to magic, ancient magicians tried to eat him. Ancient magicians that remind him more of the wights from Old Nan´s tales than human beings. Dany, for her part, was keeping her eyes on the dragons. What a magnificent bunch of creatures her children have become. Big enough to ALMOST carry a human. "And you brought Princess Daenerys and Prince Jaeherys! What a pleasure to meet you."
"It´s a pleasure to me too, your Holiness" the boy smiled as his hand was engulfed by the priest´s. He didn´t like the look Benarro gave in his direction, nor the other red priests. It was as if… he was juicy piece of steak. Much like the Wizards.
"Come on, enter. Our confides are waiting for you" the priest guided them to a room decorated with red motives. A table of black wood sat in the centre of the room and, around it, the most curious recollection of persons sat. There was a young, snappy looking volantene man, who gave him a look of pure fear, a red haired woman and a couple of older men, possibly family of the other Triarch or representatives of the elephant party. "My friends, our stimmed guests have arrived. Now we can begin our conclave."
"Y… yes" the youngest man said, staring at his host… and probably jailer. That´s how the dragons recognized the Young Tiger, new head of his house and party after the death of his grandfather in the Slave Rebellion. "I… I welcome you to Volantis, your Graces. And let me assure you that I didn´t have anything to do with the attack to your Kingdom performed by…"
"I see" Aegon cut him down. "But we aren´t here to discuss your involvement in the attack to Meereen and Yunkai. We are here to discuss your politics about slavery and your new adhesion to our Empire."
"We never agreed to…"
"Thank you, Triarch" the woman stopped cold one of the older men, giving him a smile that made him shudder. "But remember who has the backing of the former slaves here. Your family´s are still prisoners of them and if you don´t accept to be ruled by our Promised Princes…"
"So… you are actually believers in that prophecy?" Jon Connington asked, having heard something of the Prophecy from Rhaegar. Or much, because the Silver Prince was obsessed with that thing.
"What Kinvara meant" Benarro started explaining, smiling lightly at the Targaryens and their retinue. "is that most of the slaves out there are true believers in our Lord, which in turn makes them believers in the Prince who was Promised. And, considering that Princess Daenerys managed to birth dragons from stone, it makes her or at least one of you the Promised Prince or Princess."
"And you believe in that?" Aegon looked around the table. "Any of you?"
"I believe in power. Right now, the slave population who holds control of the city and the dragons who just arrived here are power. You have the upper hand, your Grace, we couldn´t take the conquered territories from you even if we wanted. And, in case we try, it would be counterproductive, as Braavos could attack." one of the elephant politicians said, joining his hands in front of himself.
"Braavos? What does Braavos have to do with this?"
"You are not aware of the ambitions of those merchant bastards?" the man raised an eyebrow. Aegon stared at him, as he was clearly the leader, as his partner kept silent and the Young Tiger was too scared to utter a word. "Many times the Sealords of Braavos and Iron Bankers have tried to conquer our fabled city, but failed. By martial prowess or by coin, they were proved weaker than us" he glared at them. "But right now that we are weak…"
"I doubt the slaves want to give their new hard earned freedom to the Braavossi. Or renounce the fruits of their efforts."
"They will eventually be convinced by the Braavossi, charmed by the wonders those bankers would show them. And we wouldn´t be able to do anything" the elephant continued. "But if you were to tell them to reject the Iron Bankers and Sealord´s proposals..."
"The religious fervour would make them reject them" the oldest Targaryen moved a bit, pondering. "And what would we gain from this deal? Perhaps the adhesion of Volantis to our Essosi Empire?"
"In exchange, the slaves that revolt would be set free and we will accept the banning of slavery in Astapor, Yunkai and Meereen, even that House Targaryen are the rightful rulers by conquest of Slaver´s Bay. We will even supply you with the most powerful warships in Volantis, as a contribution to your effort to recover the Iron Throne."
"I don´t think so" Aegon turned to his hand. "What do you think, Lord Hand? Should we help them in exchange for warships and recognition from a powerless former ruling house as holders of the throne of Dragon´s Bay?"
"You are right, your Grace, it´s not enough" Connington continued. "And I know you and the Princess would never renounce the quest to bane slavery." He put a hand on his adoptive son´s shoulder. "You will have to offer even more than that. And the permanent bane of that savage activity you call a commerce."
"Our economy will suffer greatly if…"
"It will suffer even more if Braavos manages to sink their claws into the former slaves!" Aegon continued. The fight kept going until Benarro announced they should retire for the night, offering rooms for his guests. Jon was escorted to the place by septa Lemore, who whispered at him to bar his door for the night. She didn´t trust this red priests, not at all. And he was about to do it, but then…
"I was wondering if my prince would want to accompany me to the chamber of Fire" Kinvara said, presenting herself on his door just before he undressed to sleep. He was about to refuse, having had enough of this with the maidens that wanted to bed him to win the bet, but the priestess just smiled. And not in an enticing way. "Don´t worry, my prince, it´s nothing of the sexual sort. I was just wondering if you want to accompany me in a little ritual we followers of the Lord of Light use to do."
"I follow the Old Gods of…"
"But it can´t hurt. After all, it´s a ritual to know some things about the past, present and future" Kinvara grabbed his hand and practically dragged him away. Jon wondered if he should run away, but ultimately decided against it. It couldn´t hurt, no? If she had done this before. And she wouldn´t dare to murder someone under guest rights, no? Kinvara, for her part, guided him into a big room with a great fire roaring on the centre. "Care to enter, my prince?"
"Does your ritual has something to do with tossing someone into this fire?" asked Jon, still a little bit suspicious of anything related to magic that was not dragons. A result of his bad experience with the undying, if you want to call it some way.
"No" the redhead tossed some herbs to the fire before turning to him again. "Just a person looking into the Fire. R´hollor will provide then, if it´s his will, clues about the future. Important clues, like when the Long Night is going to fall over the world."
"Have you done this before?" the boy was sceptical. Why would she invite him if this was so effective? Why not Aegon? He was king, Jon was just a prince.
"A lot of times, but can´t unravel the clues the Lord sends to me" Kinvara lowered her gaze. "My last vision was a white wolf with dragon wings… I can´t help but notice both your dragon and wolf companions are that colour" he nodded, sighing. Was she not letting him go unless he looked into this fire? "I believe it means you can help me."
"I don´t think your god will be very happy to show something to a non-believer" Jaeherys said, but turned anyway to stare into the fiery red. At first he couldn´t see a thing, but then… then a wolf appeared. Was that… was that Grey Wind? He couldn´t believe it, but it was clearly his brother´s direwolf, howling in the middle of what seemed like a river. And, in the horizon, a couple of twin castles with the door open. The wolf walked in and… and knifes started to pierce his body once inside. The knives were… were so sharp… so sharp… got into the skin as if it was nothing. Around the wolf, many bloody banners started to fall, from many northern houses. Too many of them… "NO!"
"What?" the priestess approached, suddenly worried. "What did you see, my prince? Was it the others? Was it the Night´s King?"
"No, it was…"
"My prince!" septa Lemore appeared in that moment, looking very upset at finding him in the company of a red woman. "You can´t be here, especially in this company. Come, I will escort you back to your room" she turned to Kinvara with a scold on his face. "Good night, my lady."
Jon lowered his head, feeling a little ashamed at being scolded by the septa. They quickly returned to his room, where the woman bid him goodnight, but… he had anything but that. The boy laid in his bed, trying to make sense of everything he had seen in the fire. It could be just an illusion… but he doubted that. He doubted that very much. And he couldn´t shake the feeling that something really bad was going to happen to Robb… he had to do something. And for that, he needed to go to Westeros.
-The next day-
"Aegon, do you think we can finish this soon? And can I accompany you to Dorne?" the brothers stared at each other before the king rubbed his temples.
"I need to protect the slave population from being shackled again" said the other, trying to explain to him why they couldn´t rush things. "If the new Triarch were more open to the change in their society or economy… or even be less selfish, it would be so much easier."
"I understand that, but it´s in our best interest to head to Westeros to negotiate with Prince Doran quickly" Jon bit his lip. "Besides, I know that it´s possible that the negotiations involve me directly now. I… I know Princess Arianne was on Lord Connington´s list of potential brides for me"
"Yes… that´s why I was going to bring you to Dorne even if you didn´t ask for it" Aegon confessed, sighing. "Just don´t feel pressured. Be charming and polite if you have to, but right now, there are more betrothal options to consider."
"Of course" the boy lowered his gaze.
"Hey, Lord Connington and I were talking last night and believe we have found a solution that would satisfy the Triarch and the slaves, also preventing the plans of the Braavossi. It will probably cause us some troubles with the Iron bank and the Sealord, but they value coin too much to make an enemy out of Westeros."
"I don´t know, Robert Baratheon left a lot of debt."
"Unfortunately for us, but it´s a risk I´m willing to play if it forces the Triarch to bane slavery and supply us, in exchange of keeping their autonomy" Aegon then grabbed his hands. "Don´t worry, I´m sure they are going to accept. It is, after all, the best deal they are going to get with their diminished force. And then, we are heading immediately to Westeros, to negotiate with my uncle Doran."
"I will be looking forward to it" Jon answered, still worried about Robb. He just hoped he could take care of himself enough time for him to go back home. He had to.
Woow, after so much time, I actualised this fic, hope you enjoyed the new chapter. Well, Jon received a warning about a very important event, let´s hope he manages to get to Westeros quickly enough to prevent it. Or to avenge it? Review!