The conquest of Westeros XXXVIII
House Velaryon and the Empire of the Ice.
For what reason the Empress of the Ice sought to restore House Velaryon to its former lofty heights, no one can be entirely certain. Did she simply seek a man to stand by the Dragonknight's side and to serve without question or was it a brother by choice she sought for her son? None can truly tell. Other than in Aurane Velaryon she chose wisely. Despite the shame and fall of their house, the Empress of the Ice ignored all complaints and from early on, Aurane was always there by Aemon's side.
Through their education, their training, the battles they fought, and the travels they embarked on, both men grew closer to each other than they did to their own blood. When the prince was exiled, there was not a doubt in anyone's mind that Aurane would follow and in doing so he was to take his house to heights that had not been seen since the Sea Snake himself. In time he was given charge of a navy that not even the Empire itself could match. He helped build a city that rivaled Volantis itself and brought trade to Westeros the like of which it had never known before.
It was through Aurane that once again the two houses were joined and that once again a dragon could be called upon that bore a rider of Velaryon blood. Aurane who led the attack on the Stepstones and brought that under Aemon's governance and no man did the Dragonknight trust or love more than he. It's said that when Aurane breathed his last breath that Aemon wept and the Blood Wyrm's roar was heard all across the known world.
A history of the Conquest of the Dragonknight,
Marwyn the Mage.
Tumbleton 300 AC.
He was given command of the cavalry and together with the Knights of the Vale and half his own men, he and Daario set out to ride and ride fast to Tumbleton. That they used what was basically trails and unfinished roads should have slowed them down and yet it did not. Though both he and Daario knew that in time Aemon would seek this country to be filled which much more certain routes between each of the major towns and cities.
The Knights of the Vale that rode with him didn't seem perturbed too much by the quality of the ground that they covered and surprisingly seemed well able to keep up with the pace that he and Daario set. However good these men were in a battle was yet to be determined, but in this regard, they were a match for their own men and he welcomed it. On their first night at camp, he spoke to some of the men with him and found them to be friendly enough sort. Aemon had said that these men held to their honor as much as his family from the North did and once their word had been given, they could be trusted. For Aurane and Daario though you only ever completely trusted the men who'd bled with you and so they remained vigilant.
It was mainly the heirs and younger lords that he rode with. Two of Lord Royce's sons, Andar and Robar, Lord Redfort's heir Jaspar, Ser Harrold Hardyng who was somewhere in the line of succession of the Vale, and Ser Denys Arryn who despite being the new Warden of the East had requested to be part of their party. All in all, there were a little over three thousand mounted men. Half of them his and Daario's men and half the Vale Knights and should it come to a battle, they'd be vastly outnumbered. Or they would be if they didn't have two dragons to call upon. Aemon and Rhaenys would set out two days after they had and if they timed this right, they'd all arrive to treat with the Reach King at the same time.
Readying for his bed, he was stopped on the way to it by Ser Denys who asked him what was their plan should they arrive before the dragons, something which made him chuckle.
"I believe our king will arrive either before us or just as we do, Ser Denys. Knowing how much he likes to make an entrance, I'd wager with us." he said much to the other man's relief.
"We've always had issues with the men of the Reach, Lord Velaryon. Some of them are ever prickly and see their cavalry as a match for our own or their chivalry as superior to ours. "
"No, I'd match our men against any in any of the Seven Kingdoms." Ser Denys said almost affronted.
"The Seven Kingdoms are no more, Ser Denys. But I take your meaning. I would fear not about slights or them being prickly, not when they have a dragon to concentrate on, and having come to know some of the ways that Westerosi act, I'd say it will be Aemon they focus their silly games on." Aurane said as he readied to bid Ser Denys goodnight.
"They'll soon learn he has no time for such." Ser Denys said with a smirk and Aurane nodded and then took to his bed.
His sleep was a peaceful one and he woke up the next morning and made his way to the nearby stream to wash, finding Daario and some of the Second Sons already there. With a nod to his friend, he dipped his head into the cool crisp water and welcomed the jolt it sent down his body. After they'd eaten it was back to the ride and though they rode just as fast, this time he took in more of the country they traveled through.
It was a pretty country he felt, a place where a man may wish to settle and a part of him wished it was to be his. Instead, it would be given to one of the men under him or one of Daario's Second Sons. His own place was to be some distance further. Daemon planned to build a new city at the base of Blackwater Bay, a city to rival any in Westeros and even some in Essos. That was to be his seat in the newly formed single Kingdom. A place where he could control the seas from Driftmark and Dragonstone to Gulltown and the newly formed city. No coin would be spared to make it and Harrenhal worthy seats Aemon had said. As impressive as Volantis or any of the major cities in the Empire and run by them and not by his father.
It was a pretty dream and one that would take years in the making. When Aemon had first suggested it to him, he'd almost laughed. Had it come from any other man, even Daario, Thoros, or Torgho Nudho, he would have. Aemon and his determination to see a thing done never left room for doubt. He'd said they'd conquer these lands and so far he'd been proved true. Though Aurane had expected this war to be far more of one than it had thus far. Not even Aemon he suspected could have imagined it would go as easy as it had up to now.
That night they camped, drank, japed with their own men and with the men of the Vale. Daario even naming them as decent sorts, which for him was a compliment beyond measure. It was the next day as they rode that he heard it in the sky. The sounds of the dragon's wings beating and the roar it made when it saw them, was one that had the Vale Knights panicking just a little and his and Daario's men were surprised that Aemon and Rhaenys had caught them up so soon. Only for the Vale Knights reaction to perhaps be more of the apt one as he then looked to see that it wasn't Gaelithox or Meraxes he was looking at.
"Is that?" Daario asked from beside him.
"Nightwing. It seems we have a princess to greet, my friend." he said smiling, though he wondered what had caused Princess Daenerys to fly to Westeros and how Aemon and Rhaenys would react upon seeing her.
It was a bit of an idiotic thought actually. Rhaenys and Daenerys were as close as sisters and Aemon was ever protective of his aunt, even if he rarely was around her. With a nod to the Vale Knights and Ser Denys to let them know that this strange new dragon and its rider were known to them, he and Daario rode to where Nightwing had landed. The relieved look on Daenerys's face when she saw them both, was welcomed and worrying at the same time. Aurane finding himself fearing that something had happened in the Empire or to his or Aemon's family and so his greeting was perhaps less effusive than it could have been.
"Princess?" he said to a frown from Daenerys as she climbed down of Nightwing's back.
"Is that any way to greet someone you've known all your life, Aurane Velaryon?" Daenerys said cheekily and he laughed as first he and then Daario were embraced.
While like with all of the High Emperor's family, protocol and propriety were well known and demanded of them, Daenerys and Rhaenys would only stick to it when absolutely needed. Once out of the sight of any who would find such behavior unbecoming, both princesses would do their utmost to put you at ease. Or they would if you were someone they considered worthy of such. He, Daario, Thoros, and perhaps Torgho Nudho more than any, had always been men they thought highly enough of to be that way with.
"All is well, Princess?" Daario asked and he was glad the other man had done so when he had not.
"All is well. My niece, nephew?" She asked worriedly.
"Shall be along in the next day or two. We travel to treat with one of the men who name themselves kings, shall you be joining us?" he asked and she smiled beamingly at him.
"I think I'd like that very much. Have you food?" Daenerys asked and he heard the small rumble of her belly.
"Come, we'll stop for luncheon, and then I'll introduce you to some of the King and Queen's new subjects?" Aurane said as he moved to walk back to the camp, Nightwing quickly taking back to the sky at a nod from Daenerys.
"King and Queen?" Daenerys asked confusedly.
"Aemon and Rhaenys. There is much you need to know, princess, much indeed."
Tumbleton 300 AC.
Ser Garlan Tyrell.
Listening to the talk of some of the knights and lords made him realize just why his grandmother had so much disdain for most of them. While he had no first-hand experience of Aemon Targaryen or his army, he had heard the tales and it was now being said that Ser Arthur Dayne was with him. A swordsman of a quality that even he had heard about. It was men like Ser Arthur, Ser Barristan Selmy, his own granduncle Ser Gerold Hightower and even father back Ser Ryam Redwyne, Ser Criston Cole, and others who Garlan had modeled himself on.
They were who he aspired to and so he'd taken note that Aemon was spoken of in the same way and had allegedly been trained by the Sword of the Morning himself. Even more so than he had the feats he'd been said to have achieved in Essos, the battles he'd supposedly won and the fact he had a dragon to call on, it had been the swordsman he may be and the one who was by his side that Garlan had found most interesting. So to hear Randyll and Dickon Tarly or Loras and the King speak of the man who would be king so disparagingly, he'd found himself mimicking his grandmother and rolling his eyes.
There was perhaps not a blade as good as him in the Reach, few even in the realm. Ser Barristan, Ser Oswell Whent, wherever the man now was, and Prince Jaime Lannister were the only ones he had heard of or knew about who'd be a match or would perhaps take the day. He found himself keen to know if Aemon Targaryen was another and keener still to test his blade against Ser Arthur's. Though not for the reason that some of the others wished to. Garlan wished for a test of skill, these other fools wished to test it for real or claimed to at least.
"My match, your grace." Loras said happily and Garlan turned to look to his brother and goodbrother.
"What's that now, one each?" Gwayne replied with a chuckle.
"Two to one to me, your grace." Loras said and before they could begin to spar once more, he noticed Margaery and her ladies walking their way.
With a bow of his head and a kiss to his sister's cheek, he greeted his queen, though how long she was to remain so was unknown to him. Whispering in her ear about the follies of the morning conversation and knowing full well that she'd better than any dissuade Gwayne from his most foolish of thoughts, he then made his way to his grandmother to give her an accounting of the morning's activities. Something she would basically demand of him were he not so diligent in his duties. He had made it no more than a few feet when he heard the loud gasps and then he was standing there open-mouthed as he looked to the sky.
They'd expected two dragons and two dragon riders. Aemon and Rhaenys Targaryen and their dragons Gaelithox and Meraxes. Looking to the sky he could see what seemed to be the famed red dragon and the silver of the other, yet it was the dark black one that had taken him and others by surprise. Or as much surprise as something larger than a ship can take you by that was. All three dragons seemed to do a complete circle of Tumbleton and while men beneath them moved to arm themselves, Garlan was sure that they were not here to break parley and so he himself did not. He did however escort Margaery and Gwayne indoors and then he hurried to his family's rooms to find his grandmother staring out the window with Willas by her side.
"Who is the third, grandmother?" Willas asked and he was glad his brother did so before him.
"I know not, those men in the distance Willas, an escort?" his grandmother said and Willas nodded.
Garlan moved to the window and looked to see the men ride towards the town. There were maybe two or three thousand and while few banners were shown, he did see some that were clearly the Knights of the Vale. Something he informed his grandmother of at once. With that, he, his grandmother, Willas, and his father made their way to the front of the keep and readied to welcome the Targaryens to a meeting that would define their future.
He was pleased to see the strained looks on Tarly and his son's faces. As well as the more worried frown on Gwayne's and while he disliked seeing Margaery so perturbed, she at least didn't seem frightened. Listening to the words that were spoken and then waiting for the actual arrival, he began to see the battle lines being drawn. Be respectful but firm, show them the courtesy they deserve but don't seem overly willing to capitulate. His grandmother's words may perhaps fly over some of the heads of those there, but as long as Gwayne understood and listened to them, things should play out to her plan, or so he hoped.
"The dragons have landed outside the city, my king. The men seen on the hill are indeed the Prince and Princess's escort and only a small party rides our way." Ser Jon Fossoway said to the king, loud enough for his grandmother to hear which was the man's true intent.
"Very good, Ser Jon." Gwayne said as firmly as he could manage, his nervousness was clear for Garlan to see and yet most would not.
It took some time for the riders to make their way through the city, but finally, they were in sight and he looked at them eagerly. There were men who were clearly Essosi, one who had blue hair and the same colored mustache and wore a curved blade on his hip. Looking through the group he saw two men in white cloaks and the second one of them shocked him somewhat, though not as much as it did Loras.
"That's the Bold himself, I don't…" Loras said only for a glare from their grandmother to silence him.
Garlan looked to the other man and was sure that he could only be Ser Arthur Dayne, noticing the hilt of the sword that must be Dawn could be seen over his right shoulder. Between both the men in white cloaks rode a tanned man who seemed to have a spear strapped to his horse's side and a silver-haired man who was speaking to a woman that he could only describe as the most beautiful he'd ever seen. She too was silver-haired and she was laughing at something the man was saying. Were it not for the other two riders and his wish to see Aemon Targaryen for himself so he could at last judge the man somewhat, then Garlan may not have been able to stop looking at the girl.
He did however manage to move his eyes away and once he did, he saw both Prince Aemon and Princess Rhaenys clearly for the first time. The princess was as beautiful as the silver-haired girl, though in a much different way. Her hair was almost as dark as the man's beside her and her eyes were the most striking purple he'd ever seen. It took him a moment to remember that her mother was the Princess Elia of Dorne which explained her tanned skin and though she wore no true expression on her face, he felt she looked amused. As for the man beside her, he certainly looked like the warrior people named him as. Well built, well armored, the thin sword hanging by his side being the famed Dark Sister and while the princess wore an amused expression, his was anything but.
Prince Aemon's face looked as if it was carved from stone, there was no hint of amusement or enjoyment, no sense of surprise or worry. Was he to name it as anything, then he'd name it as preparedness. The prince looked as if he was prepared for this to go wrong at a moment's notice and what made that a little worrying was that he almost looked as if he wished it to. That he was almost daring them to break parley or to attack and Garlan found himself wondering how anyone could be that confident that things would turn out as they planned.
The prince dismounted first and helped the princess off her horse while Ser Arthur, Ser Barristan, and the tanned spearman all moved to surround them protectively. Behind them, the blue-haired and the silver-haired men both dismounted, and then he watched as the second of those moved to the silver-haired woman, and once again he found himself looking at her more closely than the others. He had thought her beautiful from a distance, seeing her now a little closer to where he stood, he felt that naming her so would be a disservice. She was more than beautiful, she was otherworldly, ethereal, and her violet eyes when they caught his own were like nothing he had ever seen before. The small smile she gave him almost stilled his heart and he was still under her spell somewhat as she and the others moved forward to be greeted.
"Prince Aemon, Princess Rhaenys, welcome to Tumbleton." Gwayne said in a friendly enough way though it seemed it was not friendly enough or there was some other reason that the prince was displeased with the words.
"My wife is a queen, King Gwayne, she should be addressed as such." Aemon said leaving no doubt that he expected his words to be adhered to.
"Forgive my husband, your grace. We were unaware of a change in your titles and meant no disrespect." Margaery said as Gwayne stared at the unyielding face of Prince, no King Aemon.
"Then none was given, Queen Margaery. Despite what my husband may think." Queen Rhaenys said, the latter words spoken almost chidingly to her husband, her brother, and that itself had been yet another topic of conversation amongst those not best pleased by what his grandmother intended from this meeting.
"Indeed." Aemon said and he swore he could see the beginnings of a smirk on the king's face and then as one all three dragons roared and that smirk grew a little larger.
"Will you accept guest rights, your grace?" his father asked shakily and he along with the rest of those there all breathed relievedly when the king nodded.
Once they were given, he escorted the Targaryen party to their rooms so they could freshen up and make themselves comfortable until the welcome feast began. Walking with them or as close to them as he was allowed to, he found himself staring at the king and queen and seeing just how easily they interacted with each other. It was as if what had happened outside was a front, a mummery of sorts, and yet he knew that wasn't exactly it. More that this was who they were when among people they cared for and felt comfortable with, which in of itself was comforting enough.
"Do you require refreshments, your grace?" he asked once they reached the rooms and with a look to Queen Rhaenys, King Aemon nodded "I'll see them sent to you at once." he said, and then within moments they were inside the rooms and their guards had taken their places so quickly and so assuredly, that it was clear this was something they'd done many times before.
Walking back to inform his grandmother that they were settled, he found himself thinking once more of the silver-haired girl and he wondered if she was a Targaryen too. Either she or the silver-haired man must be given the presence of the third dragon and for some reason, he was certain it was her that was. What that meant to the upcoming talks he knew not, but the mere fact they could have another Targaryen princess in their midst would surely raise his grandmother's interest. So he hurried to speak on what he believed to be true and found himself keen to find out if he was in the right of things.
The conquest of Westeros part XXXIX
The Iron Bank.
Not long after Braavos was formed, the Iron Bank then came into being. Formed originally by six and ten men and seven women, its original purpose was simply to store the wealth that had been garnered and to protect it from those who'd seek it for their own. These three and twenty founders were each given a key to a large underground mine of which its location is still unknown to any but the keyholders of the Iron Bank to this day.
While ostensibly a bank, for many years the Iron Bank involved itself in the many disputes that were wont to occur in both Essos and Westeros from time to time. Sometimes they would back one side or the other, sometimes both, but no matter who won or who lost, the Iron Bank would always get its due. It's said that the Iron Bank believed that with the fall of Valyria they would become the most dominant institution in the known world. That those who ran the bank believed in the golden rule, that he who had the gold, made the rules. Whether this is true or not, no one can tell. What is known is that at a meeting between the conqueror and his sister-wives, a pact was agreed to and the Iron Bank kept its wealth if not its power.
Like other long-standing institutions or traditions in Essos, the Empire cared not for what they did as long as it didn't interfere in the running of the Empire itself. So now the Iron Bank no longer gave coin to those involved in battles or wars that threatened the peace and stability of the Empire, nor played both sides in a dispute. Instead, they simply deferred and accepted that the Empire and the High Emperor himself were to assume that role. It was this neutrality and willingness to keep to the terms of the pact between its keyholders and the Empire that had allowed it to survive and flourish for so very long, and only a fool would seek to break this pact and risk the Empire's wrath.
A history of the Conquest of the Dragonknight,
Marwyn the Mage.
Braavos 300 AC.
He had not expected the Lannisters to reach out so quickly and so he'd not been there to greet the dwarf when he arrived, something that annoyed him greatly. Even being assured that Tyrion had not met anyone else at the Iron Bank didn't fill him with any great comfort. For was his role in what was to come to be found out, it wouldn't just be the Targaryens who sought his head. The Iron Bank itself was content with its place in the Empire and would do nothing to risk the dragon's displeasure. He on the other hand didn't care if he earned it or not, as long as he won in the end.
No that wasn't quite true, were he to earn their displeasure it would lead to only one thing, his death. So he cared, it was just that unlike the fools he worked with, he was willing to take the risk because the reward was so very worth it. The thoughts of what that silver hair would look like spread out on a pillow in his bed and how firm that young nubile body would feel under his fingers, were more than worth any risk.
This was not to say he didn't intend to limit that risk as much as he could and so he had used more intermediaries than anything else in setting forth his plans. Perhaps he should have used one with the dwarf too and had he been aware of his visit beforehand, perhaps he would have. It was too late for that now, he was exposed and his part in the treason to come was out would be there, or would be if it failed. His only true safety net was to ensure it did not or to provoke a wrath so true that no Lannister would ever be able to speak of his part in this plot.
He looked to the dwarf as he entertained himself with the two girls, Petyr smiling at the fact that despite him being only half a man, Tyrion Lannister had the appetites of a fully grown one. It had been a couple of days since he'd met the Imp of Casterly Rock and he like all Westerosi spoke of things in a way that showed just how little of the world they really knew. Tyrion actually believed he was to come here and gain an army, to find allies to take down the dragons, and while that was in a way true. It would not be how he believed it to be.
Other than the Dothraki who were gathering under a new Khal of Khals, there wasn't a force in Essos willing to pull on the dragon's tail. Even with Prince Aemon no longer serving as the sword and shield of the Empire. Dragons travel quicker than armies and so not only would the entirety of the Dragons be brought to bear was the Empire in real danger, but Prince Aemon too would return to fight by their side, no matter the dispute he had with his father. No, to beat the dragons you needed to make them fight each other and so he would and when it was all said and done, she would be his.
"Have the imp brought to me when he's finished entertaining himself." Petyr said and then he made his way to his own rooms, knowing it would be some time until Tyrion had sated himself.
Laying down on his bed, he reached over to the bedside table and opened the drawer before taking the picture out and holding it in front of his face. Her silver hair, her violet eyes, the dress that seemed to be painted on, Daenerys looked like a true vision and he felt himself begin to stiffen. Try as he might he couldn't deny himself the pleasure he would feel and so his hand moved down and untied his britches freeing his now fully hard cock. With merely a few strokes he had spent, and after cleaning himself, he fell to sleep holding the picture tightly. It was a poor substitute and yet it allowed him to dream of the one dance he'd had with Daenerys. The one time he'd held her in his arms and had lost himself to her completely.
He woke up with a start and after washing and changing his now stained clothes, he made his way to his office once more. The sleep had been full of the best of dreams and so he was in a most pleasant mood when Tyrion finally made his way to join him. Like him, the Imp too seemed to be in a pleasant mood and so the conversation was cordial and the wine flowed, only of them drinking it truly. They like they had up to then spoke on things that weren't what either of them wished to. Though tonight it was to end much differently as after a short while, Petyr began to speak on how to beat Aemon Targaryen and what Tyrion would need to do.
"Gold, Prince Tyrion, your family has more of it than any other than the Empire itself, more of it than I can lay my hands on." Petyr said looking to the Imp.
"Surely the Iron Bank…"
"You're not speaking to the Iron Bank, my prince, you're speaking to merely one of the keyholders. Oh don't get me wrong, I'm a wealthy man and I live most comfortably, as you've no doubt seen." he said to a nod from the Imp "But for the endeavor you wish, gold is required and far more than I can manage to provide."
"How much?" Tyrion asked warily.
"To kill a prince, a million gold dragons at least." he said and Tyrion didn't seem surprised or disturbed by the price.
"A Faceless Man?" Tyrion asked and even if he didn't know that they'd already denied the Imp and would any who asked, he could see it was a test he was being given.
"The House of Black and White would refuse any contract against the Royal Family, my prince. Their ties to the dragons go back right to the Conqueror himself and are unknown even to me." he said truthfully and he hated that he didn't know what it was that held their hand when it came to the Targaryens.
"Have you heard of the Sorrowful Men?" he asked and Tyrion shook his head "A group based in Qarth and one who for the right price care not who their target is."
"Even Prince Aemon?" Tyrion asked disbelievingly.
"Even Prince Aemon. However the price itself is not just for them, would that it was." Petyr said shaking his head "They'll do the deed for perhaps two hundred thousand, the rest of the coin is so the conditions are set for Prince Aemon to fall. Have you heard of Khal Drogo?" he asked to another shake of Tyrion's head.
It took him some time to explain who Drogo was and that Aemon had killed his father. How the son had sworn revenge and yet was not yet in a position to seek that revenge. Left to his own devices it would take Drogo years to gather the wealth that was needed to provide for his Khalasar and so the vast majority of the Lannister coin was to go to him.
"You wish us to pay a man to attack the Empire?" Tyrion asked incredulously.
"I wish you to give Prince Aemon a reason to return, Prince Tyrion. Or you can let him run rampant through Westeros and in time he'll find himself at the gates of Casterly Rock itself. For be assured, nothing but this will stop him."
"Sent you here to make a deal did he not?" he asked and Tyrion's slight nod was enough of an answer for now.
"What would you have me do?"
Two days later he watched as the ship set sail for Pentos and Drogo's manse. The coin was the last thing that Drogo needed to launch his attack and once he did, Aemon would come. Yet that was only half the plan he had in mind and while the Sorrowful Nen would target a prince, it was not the prince that Tyrion of his fool of a father wished dead. To start a dance of dragons one needed to give a reason for it and what better reason than one prince who had finally tasted power seeking to end another who was born into it. When Prince Aegon fell it would be to Prince Aemon that the blame would be attributed and the ensuing fight would bring about a chaos the Empire had not seen in many a year. Chaos was a ladder he intended to climb and to see bring a princess to his bed.
"I'm nothing if not an agent of chaos." he said smiling as he turned and made his way back to the Iron Bank and readied for another day.
Casterly Rock 300 AC.
There had been no word from Tyrion and while it annoyed him, he felt it was more the situation he found himself in that was the cause of that. If he was not so perturbed by the events that had happened in the Seven Kingdoms since his son had set off for Essos, then he'd be able to simply accept that not enough time had passed for a message to arrive. Instead, he paced his room, was short with his family and especially his servants, and almost dreaded each time the door opened and another missive was handed to him.
The things they said, the news they brought, and the way each one weakened his position, even more, were all troubling. Considering he was already facing some doubts with his leadership over the debacle of his failed march, each raven carried news that would only chip away even more at the fear, loyalty, and respect his bannermen had for him and he needed some good news, and fast. Alas so far good news was in short supply and after reading the latest missives once more, he walked from his solar and through the halls of Casterly Rock.
Soon enough he found himself in the Hall of Heroes and looked at the statues and armor of his fallen kin. Kings one and all and most had seen their house thrive and prosper under their rule. Their armor was polished and shined and it sparkled when the candlelight hit. Tywin had ever been fascinated with this place and with the thoughts of one day resting here. He would go down as the greatest of all the Lannister King's, the one who'd brought the Seven Kingdoms to heel and who'd forged a dynasty. Or so had been his plans. Plans that while they'd at times suffered setbacks, he'd never had any doubt would eventually succeed.
Now, he feared another fate was to be his. The Lion who lost the West, he thought as he shuddered slightly. All his plans, all his dreams, everything he had worked for would be for naught and his dynasty, his family, would end with him. No, he'd not allow it, no matter the cost or what lengths he was forced to. He would not be cowed and before he met his gods and was reunited with Joanna, Westeros would hear him roar.
Walking out from the Hall of Heroes it was with a renewed sense of purpose, just as it always was each time he visited and spent time with his ancestors. Soon enough he was back in his solar and as if the gods themselves had heard his vow, the raven scroll awaited him. Seeing the sun and spear of House Martell, he broke the seal eagerly, and before he was halfway through reading it, he wore a smirk on his face. Finally, he'd reached out to find someone of equal mind and spirit, someone that he could unite with to see the dragon brought low.
I find your offer most interesting, however, I do have some changes that I wish to make. Your granddaughter Princess Joanna and my youngest son Prince Trystane are to be wed at the earliest convenience. As for other matches, I feel that one will suffice for our purposes and to seal our alliance. I look forward to a wedding in Sunspear King Tywin, for I have no wish to travel from my lands and on this I'm afraid there can be no compromise.
Perhaps such an occasion is most fortuitous as we have much to discuss going forward, but such details are best discussed in private as well you understand. Once the marriage has taken place, you and I are allies, King Tywin, with all that means and again something best discussed between ourselves. I look forward to your reply and with your leave, I'll begin to make preparations for the joining of our two great houses and kingdoms.
Together there is no obstacle we cannot overcome nor no enemy we need fear.
Prince of Dorne.
He sent for Kevan and for Jaime, eager to share the news with them both and to hear his son's objections to the match in private. He had hoped that Joffrey would have been accepted as Princess Arianne's match. The idea of his blood one day ruling Dorne was something that appealed to him greatly and yet he'd almost anticipated it would be one of his granddaughters that Doran sought and if he did, it would be Joanna and not Myrcella.
Cersei was far easier to bring around to his way of thinking than Jaime ever had been when it came to his grandchildren. Her son, her daughter, she'd have given them up in a heartbeat once he explained what it was they were getting in return. Jaime cared not for position or need, or even politics really, his son much preferring to answer any questions or solve any problems with his sword rather than his head. There was a time and place for such and it may, in the end, be Jaime's sword that ended the threats the Dragon posed, though Tywin had always felt the quill to be mightier than the sword.
It was not the sword that had brought Aemon Targaryen four kingdoms and threatened to bring him a fifth one. True he had used it, as well as used the flames of his dragon, but in the end, it was the quill. It had been words both written and not which had done in less than a few moons what Tywin had planned his entire life for. If he was being truthful he was almost certain it wouldn't be the sword that in the end took them away from him either. Shaking his head of such thoughts he looked to see the door open and for Kevan to arrive first as always, Tywin directing him to the wine and then waiting what felt like an age for Jaime to arrive.
"Forgive me, father, Jason, and Tommen wished for some pointers in the yard." Jaime said and though it irked him his son was so tardy, he had no wish to start this off out on the wrong foot and so he held his tongue.
"Prince Doran has accepted my offer, but with one caveat." he said as he handed Jaime the raven's scroll and watched his expression change as he read it.
"Joanna." Jaime said softly and Tywin waited for the angered response only for his son to surprise him "Mayhap we can convince him to let them reside in the West?" Jaime asked and Tywin nodded a little surprised that he'd not thought of it.
"Prince Trystane is a second son is he not?" Kevan asked and Tywin nodded once more "Then if we offered the Martell's a large enough holding…."
"Castamere, father. We've almost cleared it out and the keep needs little work." Jaime said eagerly.
"An interesting offer, one that unless Prince Doran has an equal one to counter with may very well be accepted. For now, we say nothing of this, I shall bring it up with the prince himself when we travel for the wedding."
"We are to travel then?" Kevan asked in surprise.
"My spies tell me that Prince Doran is succumbing more and more to his illness and rarely leaves the Water Gardens. This is less about showing he has power over us or the upper hand in the negotiations than it is about covering up his own infirmaries." Tywin said to nods.
"I'll speak to Joanna and to Alysanne." Jaime said as Tywin stared at the worried look on his son's face.
"You understand the importance of this match?" he asked.
"I understand, father."
"Has there been any word from Tyrion?" Kevan inquired.
"Not as of yet, given the time it takes to reach Braavos and for a message to be returned I'd not expect anything for week or more."
Dinner that night was a pleasant one and both Joanna and Alysanne didn't seem put out by the news of the match, his granddaughter if anything seemed almost keen to see Dorne and to meet her betrothed. Cersei on the other hand was in a much more irritable mood and Myrcella looked both relieved and disappointed at the same time. Something he'd do his best to make up to her in the future. He'd find her a match worthy of her and perhaps in time, it would be with a lord of one of the other kingdoms when he brought them to heel.
The ravens flew over the next few days, his to Doran, Doran's back to him and finally a message arrived from Tyrion. Reading it he was glad to see his son had used the code he'd told him to. The thoughts of their private correspondence being intercepted and understood because he'd not, were far too troubling. While he disliked the cost, he welcomed the rest of what it said, and that Tyrion was to head to Pentos next before he returned back to the West gave him the chance to get a message to his son to meet them in Dorne.
It was less than a moon later that they set off to sail to see his granddaughter wed. Almost thirty ships in all, carry most of the major Lords and Ladies of the West along with gifts and gold for the Martells. His entire family barring some of his good family would be traveling in this fleet. Never before had he undertaken such a journey and never one with such stakes at hand. Looking back at the Rock as they sailed the Sunset Sea, he smiled. When next he saw it things would be much different and that dream of a dynasty and him sitting above any other in Westeros was his to dream about once more.
Moat Cailin 300 AC.
This was not how he'd expected to be arriving back in the North. His brother and father were not avenged and the crown he'd left with had been given up. The North was no longer an independent kingdom after more than eight thousand years of being so. Yet the anger or disappointment he perhaps should be feeling was not there. Instead, he was happy to see Moat Cailin come into view. Happy to know he'd see Cat and his children once again and he believed it was only a matter of time until he'd be face to face with the man or men responsible for Brandon's and his father's deaths.
Though he'd not had much time to speak to Aemon before he and Rhaenys left to treat with the Reach King, his nephew had sworn to him on his mother that he would not rest until those responsible for the deaths of their kin had paid. He'd promised that once he had dealt with the Reach, he and his wife would then come North and they could speak on things more truly. The excitement that his nephew felt at finally getting to see Winterfell and the places his mother had played in as a girl had been palpable.
Riding in through the gates of Moat Cailin, seeing his family lined up and ready to greet him, Ned decided to concentrate on that and that alone for now. Later he would have many decisions to make and who ran Moat Cailin would need to be one of them. For now, he simply smiled upon seeing Cat and the children. Dismounting quickly, he, Benjen, Howland, and some of the other lords who'd decided to stay at the Moat before heading back to their own lands, moved across the courtyard, and once again he was face to face with the woman he loved.
"Moat Cailin is yours, your grace." Cat said and Ned forwent the need to speak up on not being a king anymore, his thoughts more on greeting his wife, which he did with a kiss and an embrace.
"Gods Cat, it's so good to see you. You are well, the babe?" he said touching her swollen stomach.
"I am well, Ned." she said as he kissed her once more, and then as she greeted Benjen and the others, he did the same to his children.
"I missed you so much, father." Sansa said as he hugged her tightly, Arya not letting her sister get the better of her then saying she missed him even more, as did Bran and Rickon.
"As I missed each of you. Now come, I wish to get changed, and then later we can speak on all you've been up to while I was in the South." it felt strange to him saying it that way, and yet he could think of no better way to put it. Saying while he was at war didn't quite cover it, as was a battle really a war?
He and Benjen followed Cat to his solar while he had those who'd be staying and feasted that night brought to their own rooms. They would need to speak on the morrow to decide on certain aspects of the North and its new position and he wished to explain it to Cat and then to send word to Robb long before they had left the Moat. Arriving at the solar they both welcomed the ale when the servant arrived carrying it and though both ate a little, they weren't truly hungry.
"What happened Ned? I'd not expected you back so soon and when I got your raven, I worried so." Cat said after she'd given them a few moments to get comfortable.
"Where to begin." he said softly before he began to tell her that the North and Riverlands had both sworn to Aemon and that he was no longer a king and their children no longer princes and princesses.
He told her that the Vale had knelt and that the Bloody Gate was no more. How King Robert Baratheon had been beaten in a trial of seven and the Stormlords too had knelt to his nephew. Then he told her about the Hoares and Harrenhal, of their arrival to speak to Aemon and the decision that he and the Lords of the North had made. When he told her that right now Aemon and Rhaenys were on their dragons and heading to offer terms to the Reach and that they too would soon kneel, Cat looked at him in shock.
"Four, no five, five kingdoms so quickly." Cat said in disbelief.
"The dragons are part of it, Cat. What Aemon did to the men who had laid in wait to stop our march was something I wouldn't have believed had I not seen the results of it for myself. But it's more than that, he took Harrenhal with less than twenty men. He beat King Robert himself and yet he didn't seek to end his house and named Stannis as Lord Paramount of the Stormlands. His wife and he have a mind for politics that I can't match and whether it's that they're simply mimicking what the Empire does or it's more than that, it matters not." he said while shaking his head.
"And the North accepted him?" Cat asked.
"We have no choice, Cat. I believe him when he says he has no wish to fight against kin, I believe him, even more, when he says that if he's forced to, he will. We cannot beat him, Cat. A crown or the safety of the North, I chose the North." he said looking at her worriedly, hoping she understood.
"As any good leader would. You did what was right Ned. My brother, great-uncle?" she asked worriedly.
"Have sworn to Aemon too. Harrenhal is to be the capital of the newly joined five kingdoms and in time Dorne and the West will be brought into the fold, too. Either by word or deed." he said and saw her little shudder "We have much we must speak on Cat, the Moat, Winterfell, you and I along with the children will be traveling soon, Benjen will man the Moat while we go to Winterfell and speak to Robb and Barbrey."
"We'll be naming it as our home won't we?" she asked and Ned nodded "And Robb?"
"I know not. Do I name him as lord of the Moat and as my heir to Winterfell and the North or do I just do the latter?"
"We'll decide later. Come enough talk of such things, I'm sure the children wish to speak to their father more truly." Cat said as she rose "Benjen, do you wish to send word to Dacey?"
"I already have, Cat."
"Good, I'll see to the night's feast and speak to you both later."
He watched her walk from the room and felt comforted that she'd accepted things so easily. While he'd not truly believed she would not, he had feared it somewhat. Robb may bristle a bit more and Barbrey would no doubt curse him for not bringing her the head of the man who'd killed Brandon, but the latter of those was only a matter of time. Taking a large swallow from the mug of ale, he rose to his feet, and with a nod to Benjen, he went in search of his children. Matters of the North could wait until the morrow, matters of his family could not.
Tumbleton 300 AC.
Seeing Nightwing in the sky had taken them both by surprise, Aemon looking to her concernedly and when the black dragon turned, Meraxes and Gaelithox followed. They saw her long before they landed and Rhaenys let out the breath she was holding. Being so close to the village they knew they couldn't or wouldn't truly have the chance to speak to their aunt before reaching it. So once they'd made sure she was well, Dany then joined them as they flew on to the village and showed off the majesty of the dragons.
They then flew back to Aurane and the others and rode into the village on horseback rather than on dragonback. Aemon was in a more prickly mood than usual during the greeting and it was only when they were alone in the rooms they'd been given, that the reason for that mood was made apparent. His worries and concerns for Dany and for their family soon coming to the fore.
"Why are you here?" Aemon asked brusquely as he glared at Dany.
"Is that any way to greet family." Dany snapped.
"Answer my bloody question. for I've no time for niceties. Now, why are you here? What's going on? Now Dany, don't test me on this."
"I…" Dany stuttered as she looked to her for support, something she got much to Aemon's annoyance.
"Aemon. You don't speak to family that way, you know better than this." she chided.
"I wish to know why she's here and what's wrong? Courtesies be damned." Aemon said angrily.
"Aems." she said as she reached out to him only for him to brush her hand away.
"Speak to me, Dany. Tell me what's going on and do so now, I'll not ask again." Aemon said looking at their aunt.
Dany's tears changed Aemon's mood immediately, in the blink of an eye he'd gone from being angered and unfriendly, to anything but. She watched as he moved even more quickly than she and as he held Dany in his arms as she sobbed through a story. It took some time for it to be made clear what had happened and she didn't need to look to Aemon's eyes to see the fire that burned in them. Their aunt had always had advances, welcome and very much not, this one seemed different and Rhaenys felt guilty that she'd not been there for her.
"I just wished…I wanted to….Rhae…"
"Hush, Dany, hush. I'm here, I'm here."
Aemon let her take Dany into her arms and he paced as she softly stroked her aunt's hair and brushed her hand softly over her back. Dany had been sheltered more so than any of them. Be it because of her father, her mother, their own father's guilt and worry, or even partly because of her position, she'd been kept from most of the worst things in the world. At times she was still a little girl because of it, and yet there was a determination and resolve there too. Aemon had even japed that should their aunt ever let loose her inner dragon then even he'd be wary of being in her way.
For now, it was the little girl that was with them and as Aemon moved to the door and spoke to Arthur, she held her aunt and told her that they were both happy she was here and that she was most welcome to stay for as long as she wished. Something that Aemon himself repeated over and over when he rejoined them. As well as apologizing for his tone and how he'd greeted her since they'd come to the room.
"I worried that something had happened to you, to our family. I let that worry be what I led with rather than my joy in seeing you here. Forgive me, Dany." Aemon said softly as Dany looked at him.
"You are joyful though?" Dany asked nervously.
"Very much so. Truly. As I know Rhae is too." he said and Dany looked to see the smile she wore on her face which answered the question she never asked.
Aemon then wished to call off the night's festivities or their attendance at least. The feast that was to be thrown in their honor was not something he really wished to go to. It was Dany who decided upon their attendance, their aunt feeling much better now that she'd gotten her concerns off her chest and had been welcomed properly to Westeros by them both and who was keen to see what a Westerosi feast was like. So in the end they went to it and while Dany enjoyed it for what it was, she and Aemon did not. Instead, they were both too focused on what it meant.
The looks, the placements, the forced smiles, and even the conversation that was at times stilted and at times very much not. Some things became quite clear to her as she ate and drank, even as she and Aemon danced. Who the true power of the Reach was and how people looked at the lady in question. Which lord may cause problems and which would accept things without any. She took note of it all while Aemon simply took the measure of the warriors in the room and looking at him, she could see he felt them lacking.
She danced with King Gwayne who looked jealously at Aemon when he danced with Queen Margaery, something that didn't last too long considering how quickly Aemon moved to dance with Dany once they were done. Dany herself danced with Aemon, Aurane, Daario, and one of the queen's brothers, who it seemed made their aunt laugh genuinely much to both her and Aemon's surprise. By the time the feast was over she was ready for her bed and Aemon it seemed was ready for something else. Her husband doing his very best to ensure that the entire keep heard her moans of pleasure and when they woke the next morning he did so with a smug grin on his face.
"Who says it was really you, perhaps I was thinking about Gallant-King Gwayne." she said as she dressed and kept her face as straight as she could keep it. Only for her then to laugh loudly when Aemon grabbed her and began kissing her face and neck.
"Do not tempt me, wife. I can end these negotiations as quickly with my sword as I can with your words. I've killed one king already during this campaign, I've no problem making it two." Aemon's voice was light as he japed with her.
"Let me dress you fool, our hosts will think us ungracious." she said pushing him away from her.
"Let them, as long as they kneel I care not what they think."
She knew that wasn't exactly true. He wished them to kneel but her husband had an ego and he wished them to both fear and respect him in equal measure. Unlike her, Aemon was disappointed that there had not been a true fight as of yet, he almost wished for one. Were it left to her there would never be another battle that Aemon would need to fight in, not another man that he needed to kill or another time that the Blood Wyrm was called into action. Rhaenys though feared in this she'd be proved to be wrong and so she intended to delay it for as long as possible.
A/N: Thanks to all who've read and reviewed. I tried to have this up yesterday but I was unwell. For those following my other stories, Brother's Keeper will update Monday followed by Live as a Wolf and Honor so High next week, with maybe the second chapter of Purple Deception also. Up next The Targaryens and the Tyrells get to know each other and Aemon has an encounter with a Striding Huntsman that threatens to derail the talks. Rhaenys takes the measure of the Queen of Thorns and her granddaughter while Dany draws attention from more than one knight. With negotiations concluded, The Targaryens head back to Harrenhal and find out about a new alliance that threatens their new Kingdom.
Daryl Dixon: So glad you enjoyed it.
Classicxd: So glad you liked the Smut, it does worry me at times as to whether it's enough or too much. I wanted to do something different with the Dragon Lore so I'm glad you enjoyed that. As you see it's Trystane and Jaime's daughter Joanna that is the match, Joff is here and we'll see him soon enough. But Arianne is still heir and so Doran wouldn't offer her up just in case this goes pear-shaped. There can be only one king, but the North is offered what Doran has, to be a principality. LF is his usual self, hope I've explained his plan here just enough.
Pickingupstory: I will try.
Undeath: They have, it's almost like dominoes, plus Aemon being their kin helps soften the blow a little. Oh Aemon will have to fight long before then, Dorne and the West can't win as it is, but they can win if that makes sense. I thought long and hard about Brandon living or dying, but it does work better with Ned in charge.
Keb: Exactly, there has to be fly in the ointment, and given who you're dealing with, Tywin and Doran are too stubborn to kneel. Others may look at it for a variety of different reasons, them too, not so much. In terms of men, Aemon has just about 5,000 of his own. He now though has the North, Vale, Stormlands, and the Riverlands with the Reach to follow. So we're probably looking at a minimum of a hundred thousand, possibly closer to a hundred and fifty thousand.
Guest: Dany has now arrived, we'll see her next chapter.
Dunk: I had the thought of using Harrenhal very early on, it's too big a keep to just let go to waste and it allows for them to have a fortress almost, a base to work out of. We'll see its new name in a bit, but Aemon will seek to honor his mother. Having the RL/Crownlands as one is a big deal, but the big issue with the RL is that you need to be there, it can't be done as some think it can, ruling it from KL, it needs to be like here. As you see Aemon intends to build a KL of sorts for Aurane.
The North will keep the prince and princess titles, Aemon will make that concession to them for his mother and it's good politically. LF is as you see working his own angles and using Tyrion as a sort of plausible deniability. That's the thing, originally I saw this as a series of battles, but then you have to take into account the people involved. Olenna would seek to make a deal, the Vale can easily be brought to heel and once you take Robert out, Stannis may or may not become a problem. Tywin is Tywin though, Doran, Doran, and so those you have to fight. Oberyn will be having very serious second thoughts in a chapter or two. Dany has kind of set the cat amongst the pigeons in some ways, we'll see more of that as we go.
Celexys: I had to split the Reach into two, it just messed up the flow of the chapter. Ned not being fostered in the south changes him in the right way I think. As you say he's more calculating and more thoughtful too.
Realmirror: The fact he's not won a battle is going to become a big thing, as you say it's impressive to do as he's done and yet some would seek to diminish it, we may see some of that in part two of this negotiation with the Reach. The North basically has Dorne's concessions plus, so a little more. They will keep their titles of Prince, Princess, but Ned isn't quite sure about that, which is why he's unclear here. Doran would never accept a son of House Lannister when he can take a daughter, but both men kind of think along the same lines and so you can be assured that both are thinking of stabbing the other in the back at some time. Joff is well, Joff, Jason is more Jaime-like than anything and Tommen too is different in that he's more assertive. Joanna is a bit canon Sansa Esque while Myrcella is more Margaery like, hope that explains them better. Oberyn is not going to be happy with this at all. We'll see more of Doran's thoughts in regards to the alliance and how he thinks of Rhaenys in the next few chapters.
Hope this explained Braavos better, basically, both the IB and the FM, did deals with Aegon, and so have been allowed to operate under certain restrictions. LF is obsessed with Dany and with power as you see. Braavos is allowed a certain amount of autonomy and while it pays tribute and recognizes the Empire, it doesn't' bristle under its rule, it's too used to it now.
I did feel that about the sigil, I think the more apt way to describe it is simply coiled, but I wanted to evoke the sense of a lover's embrace. I will be going more into the Dragonknight Lore in an actual proper pov, an explanation rather than simply a piece of Marwyn Lore. Marwyn is exaggerating somewhat, or more aptly, biased, but then most historical texts of campaigns written by one side are. I've been building up to show Aemon actually plan a battle, a campaign, a war and we'll see both it and his rage very soon. Find out why he's so feared in Essos and that the stories are not exaggerated that much. As for the NK and the Threat to the North, it's coming and it will be different, yes the NK has to be amped up power-wise, otherwise, it's a smash and grab lol.
So on the time travel fic, the thing is that no fic I've ever done requires so much plotting out, like the plot points alone take up numerous pages just to write out. To give an example, each thing Jon changes, changes things, shock surprise, but both big things and little things are what's being changed. So take going back to the conquest, he could for example save Rhaenys from her fate, a big thing right, but perhaps it's not to allow Orys to marry or kill character x or y, that's the true change he needs to make. In essence, it's both a bit of the Multiverse and course correction going on. So the ripples from the changes need to be really considered to make them work.
Take the canon timeline and the TOJ for example. What would have happened if instead of it being the White Bull, it was the Bold who was sent there. Ned dies, because Gerold as good he was wasn't Barristan, so you'd have Arthur, the Bold, Oswell vs. the seven who traveled, so whoosh major ripple. Now, how does that change things in a canon story, hugely. So you see what I mean, you have to think of changes at that level, fix them in your head, and know what it would lead to way down the line. If Orys Baratheon died during the conquest, there is not Robert seven generations later, that sort of thing.
In regards to Jon and how long he'll stay in each place, it'll vary. In some, he'll spend simply the time to fix what it is he's to fix, in others he'll live a long time and yes have relationships and maybe even kids. In regards to the dragon, just the one and he'll be constant, won't say which dragon though. I hope this answered some of the questions.
Leonel: Glad you liked the lemon: Ned is smarter because he stayed North, he kind of had to grow up as the reasonable one to Brandon's wildness. More five vs. 2 with the IB to be their annoying selves. LF as you see has a plan, an interesting one. It is funny isn't' it, take out the obvious reason for Lannister and Martell's hatred, and you kind of could see this being how they go. The FM would never take a contract against the dragons, we will however see them again.
Xan Merrick: Thanks my friend: Oberyn will soon have a big choice to make, so we'll see. The North may be stubborn, I don't think they're dumb though. Yep, no FM wants to bring the dragons down onto them.
Uncle Dork: Hopefully excited won out.
Jaimerey: No estoy al tanto de la Guerra Grancest, pero eso suena muy interesante, me gustan las historias más mágicas.
VwChick: Oh should Aemon find out about Tywin's actions, scared won't even come close lol. The North isn't dumb though, they did kneel in canon, and let's face it they would have knelt in the show only for Sansa.
Lord of the East: So glad you liked it.