Disclaimer: Read all previous disclaimers.
A/N: So I was thinking I'd change some stuff around so the plot will diverge from the book. It'll be a surprise for future chapters. I think you all will like it. Also, HBO is making us wait 'til fucking April to get Season 2 of GoT. I just flipped over a fucking table.
Thanks for the reviews! Especially the long, detailed ones. You know who you are. All flattering me beyond my abilities. Was planning to put this up before Christmas, but I'll be honest, holiday food made me lazy as hell. Here's to a wonderful New Year!
Again, words in italics are conversations in Dothraki. I got no beta, so please pardon all mistakes.
Brittany loves Santana's hair. Long, lustrous locks that run like ripples of ebon water down her back. Brittany combs through the tresses, like silk flowing through her fingers, as she kneels behind her khal, braiding the symbol of her victories and the pride of the khalasar.
Usually they speak little during this morning ritual, preferring a comfortable silence that often ends in Santana's strong arms circling her arms around her khaleesi's head, craning her neck to receive a kiss from behind. Today, however, Brittany brings up the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms.
"The stallion who mounts the world has no need for iron chairs," the dark haired warrior says in the guttural Dothraki tongue.
Brittany continues braiding as she responds, "According to the prophecy, the stallion will ride to the ends of the earth."
For as much as Brittany loves Santana, she remembers the honor of House Targaryen. Of her father Aerys, who died on his throne, throat slit by the one they now call Kingslayer. Her mother, who died birthing her at the Dragonstone, a swirling storm of unheard proportions raging outside as Brittany took her first breath and her mother her last. Of Rhaegar, her valiant brother as he was struck in the heart by the Usurper's warhammer at the Battle of the Trident, his wife raped and murdered and his infant children slaughtered at the Red Keep. Of Sam, whose greed and pride brought him a most distasteful but not undeserved death so very far away from home, a death she was compelled to play a hand in.
No, Brittany has no knowledge of the war, but she remembers its aftermath. Forced to flee to the Free Cities of the East, scrounging for food and clothing in a way that a prince and princess should never have to, the blonde girl remembers listening to Sam's stories and longing for the image of home. And now, after hearing the prophecies of the dosh khaleen, she wants her to son to know Westeros as her father and brothers did, to seek justice for the death of her family, to reclaim the throne that one belonged to Aegon the Conqueror and his dragon lineage.
But Santana does not think the same.
"The earth ends at the black salt sea. No horse can cross the poison water."
The Dothraki have never attempted to cross the Narrow Sea, but Brittany persists.
"The earth does not end at the sea. There are many dirts beyond the sea..." Brittany pauses, hands stilling in thick, dark hair as Santana looks away, fixing her gaze on the pelts covering the floor. "The dirt where I was born."
Santana takes a deep breath, not quite contrite, but hearing the sadness in her khaleesi's voice makes her turn her dark head around.
"Not dirts. Lands."
Brittany's hands continue to weave through Santana's locks as she grins, rolling her eyes playfully as the little smirk on the khal's face.
"Lands, yes." A short breath is taken before the exiled princess continues, "There are thousands of ships in the free cities. Wooden horses that fly across the sea–"
"Let's speak no more of wooden horses and iron chairs."
Brittany can tell that Santana is getting frustrated. She understands; the Dothraki heed the good omens for war, and right now the gods give them none.
"It's not a chair. It's a... –" the khaleesi lets out a frustrated sigh herself, head searching for the Dothraki word for throne. She realizes there is none.
"...throne," she finishes. The khal lets out a tiny scoff. "Throne," she mimics.
Brittany smiles, finished with her braiding. "A chair for a King to sit upon..." She lays the end of the warrior's braid on her shoulder, leaning close with a grin, "...or a Queen."
Santana seems more receptive to this, whether it be from Brittany's words or her proximity to the khal's taut body. She leans her head towards a blonde one for a moment, forehead against Brittany's smiling cheek, before turning around to face her on one knee.
"A King does not need a chair to sit upon. He only needs a horse." With that, she leans in for a quick kiss, wrapping her lips around Brittany's briefly before exiting their tent.
She misses her khaleesi's sad, longing sigh.
The caravans of the Free Cities and beyond often stop in Vaes Dothrak, hundreds of merchants and thieves alike hawking their wares. The Dothraki do not have a money system, but they barter with horses and slaves the same way men barter with salt, silk, and seed. The Eastern Market is beautiful and intriguing, with wonderfully strange but delicious foods to be sampled and odd goods to marvel over. Oftentimes Brittany would spend her mornings there with her handmaids and four-guard khas, nibbling on the fire-spiced red noodles of Lys and Tyroshi fingerling pastries so flaky and golden they melted like butter in your mouth. They would visit the small sausage stall run by a shrunken elderly woman and the blonde would buy skewers of spicy grilled garlic sausages, passing some to Doreah and Irri and Jhiqui, even Rakharo who swears he hates them but would eat all the khaleesi gave him and belch loudly.
Ser Mormont, for his part, had excused himself as soon as they stepped foot into the bazaar, apparently needing to run his own errands, though Brittany did not mind.
The Eastern bazaar is everything Essos has to offer Brittany in one place, but it is the Western market that reminds her of home. Stalls with rich bolts of Myrish silks and lace go on for what seems like miles, interwoven with little shops made up in the backs of wagons displaying gleaming iron and steel armor; boiled leathers; swords long, short, bastard and all; dirks and daggers of poor bronze sold next to prized Valyrian steel. Brittany loves being able to speak in the language of Westeros, the Valyrian tongue of her ancestors, as she wanders from stall to stall, marveling at this and that as vendors of all creeds and colors attempt to charm the young khaleesi.
As they round the corner, Brittany's party run into a flamboyant wine merchant offering thimbles of his wares to passersby.
"Sweet reds! I have sweet reds from Lys, Volantis, and the Arbor! Tyroshi pear brandy! Andalish sours! I have them here!"
He spies Brittany from his perch atop wine crate, easily picking out her golden head from among her dark-haired companions.
"A taste for the Khaleesi?" he asks, stepping off the crate as the blonde nears, a blood red bunch of roses in her hands. "I have a sweet red from Dorne, my lady. One taste and you'll name your first child after me."
Brittany laughs a tinkling laugh. "My son already has a name," she replies in fluent Valyrian, "but I'll try your summer wine, just a taste."
The merchant looks surprised, and for a moment something like recognition flashes across his face.
"My lady, you are from Westeros."
It is Doreah who speaks up. "You have the honor of addressing Brittany of the House Targaryen, Khaleesi of the Riding Men and Princess of the Seven Kingdoms."
"Princess," the man bows.
None of them notice Ser Jorah Mormont approaching slowly from a thin copse of trees.
"Rise. I'd still like to taste that wine."
The merchant's tone changes immediately. "That?" he huffs, tossing the cup aside. "Dornish swill! Not worthy of a princess. I have a dry red from the Arbor, nectar of the gods." He turns back towards his wagon. "Let me give you a cask, a gift!"
"You honor me, sir," Brittany thanks.
"No, no, the honor is all mine." The man comes hurrying back with a small cask, making to hand it to the khaleesi, but is intercepted by Aggo, who grunts and steps protectively in front of her.
"Princess, there are many in your homeland who pray for your return." The merchant turns his attention back to Brittany. She smiles at him earnestly.
"I hope to return your kindness someday."
They are interrupted by the voice of Ser Mormont.
"Aggo, put down that cask." He sidles up to the blonde-haired girl and regards the merchant with sharp eyes. His cool demeanor sparks a nervous anxiety in Brittany.
"Something wrong?" she asks.
"I have a thirst. Open it."
Aggo obeys, thrusting the cask at the merchant. The merchant, Brittany observes, is getting nervous.
"This wine is for the khaleesi, it's not for the likes of you."
"Open it," Mormont implores, eyes boring into him. The man obeys as Brittany and her party watches.
"It would be a crime to drink a wine this rich without at least giving it time to breath," the bearded vendor states, the slight shake in his voice almost undetectable.
But Brittany notices. "Do as he says," she orders. He sighs.
"As the princess commands..."
He pours, bringing the cup to offer Ser Mormont, who exchanges a short glance with his khaleesi.
The knight brings the cup to his lips, sniffing and swirling the liquid before offering it back.
The merchant is hesitant, his beady eyes widening slightly in fear. "Me?" he chuckles nervously. "I'm afraid I am not worthy of a vintage. Besides, it is a poor wine merchant who drinks his own wares in front of honored–"
Brittany cuts him off, blue eyes narrowing suspiciously.
"You will drink."
The man finally concedes, bringing the cup to his lips for a split second before dropping it suddenly, grabbing at the forgotten cask of wine beside him. He throws it at Aggo, hoping for a diversion as he pushes past Brittany roughly. If Ser Mormont had not caught her, she would be flat on her back.
The wine merchant does not make it far before Rakharo's whip wraps around his neck and he is yanked onto his back. Brittany, her khas, and Ser Mormont push past, noting with disdain the foul sight of his pants staining with urine.
"What will they do to him?" the Brittany asks, treading lightly across the dirt of the tent, Ser Mormont beside her. The false merchant who had tried to poison her is hogtied to the central mast of the tent amid the fire pit as they circle the area. His face is bloody and raw, a tight noose around his neck preventing him from breathing well.
"When the khalasar rides he'll be leashed to a saddle and forced to run behind the horses for as long as he can," the knight replies.
"And when he falls?"
"...I saw a man last nine miles once."
There is a pause before Brittany speaks. "King Robert still wants me dead."
"This poisoner is the first, he won't be the last."
"I thought he'd leave me alone, now that my brother is gone." Brittany is scared, not so much for herself but for her child, a babe yet to be born. She has never faced the mortal fear for her own life before, only hearing the stories of murderous sellswords and assassins from Sam. But if Robert Baratheon was able to employ a poisoner from across the Narrow Sea...
Her hand rests upon the soft curve of her belly as Rhaego moves restlessly in her womb. Brittany wishes she could touch him, soothe him somehow, but the boy is fluttering about in the way the child of a dragon and stallion only could.
Ser Mormont's voice breaks her out of her morbid thoughts.
"He will never leave you alone. If you ride to darkest Asshai, his assassins will follow you. If you sail all the way to the Basilisk Isles his spies will tell him. He will never abandon the hunt," he says darkly. "You're a Targaryen, the last Targaryen. Your son will have Targaryen blood with forty thousand riders behind him."
Brittany's eyes turn a steely color, blue and hard, as if willing the fire in front of them to turn to ice.
"He will not have my son."
Jorah Mormont turns to her. "He will not have you either, Khaleesi."
Their conversation is cut short as the cloth flap of the tent opens to admit the bloodriders, with Qotho holding the horsehide door for Santana to step in. The tent slowly fills with people, warriors and witch women alike.
Brittany is immediately relieved, her body letting out a breath she did not know she was holding. Santana's eyes flicker to her form instantly, raking over her body, making sure she is safe before she stops right in front of the man strapped to the pole in the middle of the tent.
The Khal's gaze is fierce and intimidating. Here is the Khal of khals, and Brittany is shown further proof of how such a small person is able to wield the authority of kings over thousands of men twice her size.
The brunette steps close to the poisoner, not saying a word, and listens to his fearful whimpers before reaching to the right. Aggo hands his Khal a torch that she upends and spears into the middle of the fire pit, flames leaping into the air.
"Moon of my life."
Santana reaches for Brittany's face, cradling it softly in her rough, sword-blistered hands. "Are you hurt?" Her voice is low and gentle.
Brittany smiles, relishing in her Khal's touch as she wraps her arms around the warrior's waist. She shakes her head softly, eyes tearing the words she could not say.
Santana presses a long, beautiful kiss to her forehead, breathing in the ever-sensual musk of her golden hair and letting out a relieved sigh.
The look they share once Santana is done is one of profound devotion and passionate love.
Her hands still cradling the softness of Brittany's cheeks, Santana turns to Ser Mormont.
"Jorah the Andal, I heard what you did. Choose any horse you wish, it is yours." She lays a hand on the taller man's shoulder, a sign of respect, before leaning in and speaking loudly in his ear, "I make this gift to you."
With that, the Khal lets him go and turns again to the moon of her life. Her hands reach for Brittany's slowly burgeoning waist, still trim but for the small babe growing within. The look of utter adoration has yet to leave Brittany's eyes.
"And to my son, the stallion who will mount the world, I will also pledge a gift," she states hotly, fiery amber eyes meeting Brittany's firmly before turn towards to address the crowd.
"I will give him the iron chair that his mother's father sat upon," Santana says as she paces around the fire.
"I will give him Seven Kingdoms!"
"I, Santana, will do this," she swears in front of Brittany.
"I will take my Khalasar west to where the world ends and ride wooden horses across the black salt water as no Khal has done before!" The crowd lets out a cheer as their Khal speaks. They too are slighted by the attack on their khaleesi. They too are hungry for battle.
"I will kill the men in iron suits!" Santana shouts in the face of their captive, spittle flying as she rages, "And tear down their stone houses!"
Another roar is heard from the crowd as their Khal stomps around the fire pit, angry and vengeful.
Brittany watches quietly, her breathing erratic and hopeful. Her promised dreams are going to be fulfilled by the love of her life, her sun and stars. There are no words to describe how passionate, and grateful, and loved Brittany feels as she stands there; she is khaleesi of a tribe of people who have taken her in as their own, adored by their Khal and blessed by their gods with a son. Brittany wonders how she had gotten so lucky.
"I will enslave their people, and bring their broken gods back to Vaes Dothrak!" Santana beats her chest strongly, her warriors doing the same.
"This I vow, I, Santana, child of Bharbo! I swear before the Mother of Mountains as the stars look down in witness! As the stars look down in witness!
Santana's brown orbs lock with Brittany's passionate gaze, fire in her eyes. The crowd roars.