Bride of the Dragon

The night before her wedding, he comes to her.

Dany is in her bed in Khal Drogo's manse, clutching a bedrobe of persimmon-colored silk around her shoulders and hugging her knees to her chest, when the bedchamber door opens with a creak of hinges and Viserys slithers in. His too-bright eyes and crooked smile tell her he is drunk even before he staggers to her bed or utters a slurred word in her face so that she crinkles her nose at the sweet and sour stench of wine on his breath.

"So, sweet sister," he says, flopping onto the bed at her feet, facing her, "tomorrow you're to be a bride. Are you looking forward to it?"

She doesn't know whether she's grateful or not that Viserys gives her just time enough to swallow the hard knot in her throat before he resumes talking.

"I imagine not," he answers for her, sighing. "How could you be? Oh, your husband will be the great Khal Drogo..." He does not pronounce the word great as if it is anything significant at all; quite the opposite, in fact, as if Khal Drogo is no more than a worm to be trampled under the heel of Viserys' royal boot. As everyone is to Viserys. "And you will be a khaleesi. But you should be Queen of Westeros, wife of the Dragon King."

Dany's eyes follow the line of his long-fingered hand as they uncurl to rest atop her head, stroking the strands that shine like silver thanks to the thorough washing the maids gave it tonight.

"You see, Dany?" his voice drops to a whisper. "It's not just my crown the Usurper stole, but yours, as well. The marriage you should have had, the husband…I only give you to Khal Drogo because I must, you see that, don't you? Because the Usurper forced my hand?"

Dany can only nod, helplessly; it would be easier to draw some comfort from these words, as he means her to, if ones spoken in the past did not clamor in her mind more loudly than this desperate whisper-I'd let his whole khalasar fuck you if need be, all forty thousand men, and their horses, too, if that was what it took to get my army- if his hands were not clasping her jaw, fingertips pressing into the base of her skull so that she feared they might bore holes through her flesh and bone. She wonders if he reads her mind, because no sooner has she thought it than Viserys relaxes his hands, their touch almost gentle as he leans in and brushes his lips across her forehead before sitting back on his heels. A dragon on his haunches, guarding his treasure.

"Now," he says, giving her a pat on her knee. "You must be wondering what to expect from your wedding night."

Her violent blush he takes as an affirmative, though it is true enough that Dany's knowledge of love extends no further than Viserys' drunken ramblings about laying with bed slaves or the occasional whore, when he had the coin for them. She never dreamed he might educate her about her wedding night, and she wishes her mother were alive. Though, if that were the case, Dany would not be getting married tomorrow. And certainly not to Khal Drogo.

She releases her bedrobe, which is crumbled and sweaty from her fingers, and clutches her brother's hand.

"I'm frightened," she confesses, wishing her voice did not tremble so.

"And so should you be. He'll take you from behind, no doubt. Rutting you like a stud with his brood mare. Putting his mongrel brats in your belly when you ought to bear pure Targaryen kings, undefiled blood of the dragon. You'll bleed when he takes your maidenhead. But you mustn't cry-"

Dany didn't realized until he said it that hot tears squeezed out from the corners of her eyes. His grasp on her knee becomes claw-like.

"You must not cry," he repeats, "or moan with any sound but pleasure, or you will disgust him, and he may go back on his word to give me an army. It would be such a shame, wouldn't it, sweet sister, to endure all that pain for us to be left with nothing? As we've always had?"

"Please, Viserys…is there no other way?"

His fingers slip beneath the hem of her robe, tracing circles over the skin of her knee, up along the ticklish inside of her thigh; Dany wills herself not to twitch at his touch, just as she must not react to whatever Khal Drogo will do to her tomorrow night.

"Yes," he murmurs, the smile he wore when he came in once again tilting the corner of his mouth upward. "There is one other thing…In fact I came to you with that view."

Viserys' hand wanders still higher up her leg, his knuckles brushing her sex. Dany swallows and clamps her legs tightly together, his hand, the skin seemingly on fire, trapped between them. His other hand curves over her breast through the silk as he leans in to whisper words that reek of the wine grpwm soured with the bitterness that has long been brewing in his belly.

"I could have you first, Dany. I'd be a considerate lover. You've flowered into a woman of extraordinary beauty. Even for a Targaryen."

Then he is kissing her, his long, slender body pressing hers down into the feather mattress of the bed, and Dany's heart hammers so wildly within her as she feels him fumbling with his belt, his sword clattering to the floor, and with the laces of his breeches, that she trembles all over and cannot push him off her. And even if she could summon the strength, she's not sure she could find the courage to defy him; he has beaten her for far less, and that surely will not make her wedding night any easier to bear. So she lies beneath him, weeping silently, as she must do on the morrow.

But her tears, she soon realizes, are not the only ones; her neck is wet with them as Viserys snivels into it, his manhood limp and flaccid against her mound. He beats the pillow beside her with his fist.

"It's no use," he sobs. "You should be mine, but you won't be. You'll belong to that savage."

Dany finds herself cradling his head against her breasts, stroking his silver hair which has become entangled with her own until the tremors in his shoulders cease, and his breathing evens and deepens. When her neck is tickled by his snore, her relief turns into the realization that she is trapped. Viserys is lean but she is small, and cannot move him. Or risk waking him-and the dragon. But she cannot lay here like this all night.

At the sound of a footstep in the hall-one of her chamber maids, surely, who has heard the commotion-she says, as loudly as she dares, "Please…help me."

She flushes before the girl sets foot in the room at the thought of being seen in this unchaste position, with her brother, no less, and then her face burns when the person who has come to help her is not a servant at all, but Ser Jorah Mormont.

He strides into the chamber and-thankfully-averting his gaze from her, hefts Viserys off her and over his broad shoulder with as little effort as she imagines the big man would require to lift her, her brother never stirring from his drunken stupor. Though the knight doesn't spare her a glance, Dany pulls her bedrobe tightly closed about her body and shimmies beneath the counterpane, pulling it all the way up to her chin despite the Pentoshi summer night being too warm for so much covering. She is shivering.

In the doorway, Ser Jorah pauses and looks back over his shoulder, not quite at her. "I'll send word to Magister Illyrio of what your brother attempted, and ask him to set a guard for your bedchamber, my Princess."

Dany nods, and Mormont makes to leave again. But she calls him back.

"Ser Jorah, please. Do not judge Viserys too harshly. I am all he has of his kingdom, and he thought I would always be his."

"I have no sisters," says the knight, "but it can be no easy thing for a man to give in marriage one so well-loved."

Except that Viserys didn't give me away, Dany thinks, burrowing further down into the bedclothes when the door has clicked softly shut behind Ser Jorah. He sold me, for a golden crown he loved better.