aegon VI targaryen
Aegon Targaryen rides north from Storm’s End with a Martell to his left and a Dayne to his right, banners of griffins, suns-and-spears, and dragons at his back. He reaches the Vale of Arryn to find no Arryns, but a wife of a Lannister, widow of a Hardyng, with the look of a Tully, but no doubt a Stark.
There is snow in her hair and ice in her eyes when she greets him, clearly lady over all in a house and land so far away from her own. “And what proof do you have that you are who you say you are?” She asks, after he had proclaimed himself and his intent, and endured the derisive snorts and disbelieving laughter of her lords and ladies.
He nods to one of the women behind him. The dyes are washed from her hair, the white septa’s robes traded for skirts in the lavender of her house; Ashara Dayne is Lemore no longer. “The word of my foster parents. The Lady Ashara Dayne of Starfall and former- Hand of the King Jon Connington.”
Sansa Stark is unimpressed, though her eyes drift to Lady Dayne with curiousity. “Words are wind. You would have the knights of the Vale go to war for you, have them fight and die to seat you on a throne to rule over them on this? The promise of a woman long thought dead and an exile?”
Aegon smiles. “Ah, but you see, my lady, I do not mean to fight for the Iron Throne. Not yet. There is another war we must see to first.”
The lords around her begin to grumble, some even begin shouting, but Lady Stark holds up one delicate hand and they bow to her will, silent but sullen. “Another war? And who exactly would we be fighting against in this war?”
“The Long Night.” The lords break out in laughter, but Lady Stark silences them again. “I would have your armies march north with mine, to the Wall. The words of your house have told true, my lady, winter has come, and it crueler than anyone could have imagined. As we speak, my aunt, Daenerys Targaryen, her army, and her three dragons fight with what is left of Stannis Baratheon’s forces and the Night’s Watch against the Others. I mean to gather what true soldiers these kingdoms have left and meet her there. Her, and my brother.”
The men around her begin to mummer again, but she ignores them, her eyes still hard and impassive, but her knuckles clenched white against the arms of her chair. “Your brother? I was not aware Rhaegar Targaryen had two sons.”
To her clear surprise, he begins to laugh. “Neither was I until a few weeks ago. My father had a daughter and a son with Elia Martell. And then he had a son with Lyanna Stark. The boy was hidden away and kept safe from the Usurper, like I was. I’m sure you know him well, my lady. Your lord father hid him at Winterfell and raised him as his bastard son.”
The great hall of the Gates of the Moon is silent, motionless, every lord of the Vale watching their lady, waiting for her response. From the corner of his eye, he sees Duck tensing, and Ashara standing breathless. Finally, white-faced and trembling, Sansa Stark stands. “Your Grace. You have my attention now.”
She hears her before she sees her. The rhythmic tap-taping of heeled shoes against marbeled floors echoes throughout the sept, empty save for two. The woman stops beside her, her skirts shifting with the end of motion, and sending a wave of sweet Lyseni perfume through the air. On her knees, the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms wrinkles her nose. I would command her to kneel before the Mother, were she not heavy with child, she thinks as she rises to her feet. As much as she wished it different, Naerys was still queen, and she would not be towered over by the king’s mistress.
Serenei of Lys stands tall beside her, affrontingly beautiful in the candlelight of the sept. Her arms rest over her stomach, and her eyes stare up at the Mother with something like reverance. “Who do you pray for, Your Grace?”
Everyone. Myself. Instead, she answers truthfully. “You. Your child.”
There is a moment, a fleeting, quickly ended moment, when the awe Serenei holds in her eyes for the Mother focuses on her. “Why?”
Because you live. Because you are a woman. Because you could be my way out. “It is my brother’s child you carry.”
She twists her lips into a half smile. “It is your husband’s child I carry.”
Naerys finds herself wearing a matching smile. “That too.” She has no reason to like the latest of her husband’s conquests; on the contrary, she is expected to hate her with a passion, to shame and scorn her at every turn, for the simple crime of usurping her rightful place in her husband’s bed. But Naerys wanted no place in her husband’s bed, she never had, nor had she ever begrudged the misguided women that did. My place is here, in the home of the gods, serving them. She had never given up hope that Aegon would release her from her marriage vows, that he would find a better queen to replace her. She hopes that he has found one in Serenei of Lys. “Do you love my husband, Lady Serenei?”
To her surprise, the woman laughs. “No, Your Grace.”
Naerys begins to smile. Perhaps he has finally found my replacement after all. “Neither do I.”
maegor I targaryen
The crash of thunder echoes across the keep. Lightning strikes somewhere in the Kingswood. Maegor startles awake. His hand catches a blade and slices open, blood spilling onto his sleeve and the Iron Throne.
“Are you alright, my king?”
Maegor looks up. Lightening illuminates the throne room, and, for a brief moment, he can see his queen walking towards him, before the darkness returns. “It’s this damn chair.” He says, clutching his wound closed.
“Let me.” He hears a rip of clothing, and suddenly Jeyne is there, wrapping his hand with tender efficiency. He tries to look up at her, but can see nothing but black. He can imagine her face though: her brow furrowed in worry and thought, her brown eyes darkened by the lack of light, her lips pursed and focused. She’s always been his favorite wife, the one he takes to bed the most, the one who disappoints him the most when, month after month, her womb refuses to bear him a son. Still, he cannot make himself kill her. He kills all the other ones, the ones who are of no use to him, the ones who disappoint him, or refuse him, or simply annoy him. But not Jeyne Westerling. He cannot make himself kill his queen.
“Come here,” he says, dragging her down onto his lap. She laughs and lifts up her skirts, twisting around so that she straddles him. “Shall we make a king upon a king’s throne?”
He can feel her smile against his lips as she pushes his coat back and rips his shirt down the middle, her hands roving over his bare chest until they come to rest over his heart.
In the pitch black, Maegor doesn’t see her blade until it’s already in his chest.
Her mouth is still pressed against his when she pulls the dagger out and stabs him once more. “You will never kill another woman again.” His queen whispers against his lips, her hand twisting the blade. “Your reign is done.”
Lightning strikes, and when she pulls back, he can see his blood on Jeyne’s lips, before everything turns dark.
→emilie de ravin
Duncan doesn’t come to her wedding. Though the sept is crowded with people standing shoulder-to-shoulder, to Rhaelle, there is a gaping hole among the crowd where her brother should be.
He should be standing beside me. She thinks, glancing at her husband-to-be. He’s strong and large and handsome, all black hair and blue eyes, a true Baratheon. He’d be a good husband, or so her father said, and she’d be a good lady wife.
A lady wife. Not a queen. Not Duncan’s queen. Her whole life, everyone told her that she was meant for Duncan- meant to marry him, meant to rule with him, meant to love him.
No one ever told her what she was meant to do if Duncan loved someone else.
The heavy red and black cloak around her shoulders falls to the ground, replaced by an even heavier yellow one. Her father kisses her cheek as she passes by him on the way out of the sept, as do her two brothers.
Her third brother is outside with the smallfolk, standing under the statue of King Baelor with the woman he loved more than a crown. She sees him as soon as she steps outside the sept, her eyes drawn to him, just as they always have been. He smiles at her and blows her a kiss, and she cries all the way back to the Red Keep.
She waits for him every night, naked in the bed with the sheets turned down. The Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, locked away in a tower, waiting for her husband to come fuck her.
He doesn’t, though he eventually does let her out. Her black dresses turn to white then, just to annoy and embarrass him, because he annoys and embarrasses her. The courts and kingdoms whisper- Daena the Defiant, they call her. Baelor calls her nothing, not sister, certainly not wife. He’s too busy calling on the Seven to suppress his manly urges than to actually be a man.
Their cousin Aegon embraces his manly urges. He likes the white silks on her skin and the confident upturn of her head when she walks into a room knowing that every eye is on her. He was even handsome, some years back. Now his waist has grown a little rounder, his face a little fuller, and his appetite for pleasures beyond food and drink have doubled abhorrently.
But he looks at her as if she’s the most desirable woman in the land, as if she actually matters. And, after years of indifference from the man who vowed to love her, Daena’s defiance has become all but desperation.
daeron II targaryen
Daemon’s quiet when he enters the throne room, the soft sounds of his boots falling against the tiles and the mourning bells outside combining to a strange, haunting rhythm. It sends a chill up Daeron’s spine.
His bastard brother stops beside him, his eyes trained forward, to the Iron Throne. “I get the sword, you get the throne. Is that how this works?”
The new king cuts his eyes downward, to where Blackfyre sits at Daemon’s hip, looking as if it belonged no where else but there. (Years later, when the kingdom is ripped apart between the two of them, he’ll wonder again if it, and everything else, really did belong with him.) “I didn’t know you’d even get that.”
Daemon has grace enough to laugh. “Neither did I. Blackfyre and legitimization.” There’s a wicked stirring in his eyes when he turns back to stare at the throne. “It makes you wonder.”
Daeron’s imagination doesn’t have to wander far. Some of the lords have already been quietly questioning which son Aegon had truly wanted on the throne. He doesn’t comment either way. Partly because acknowledging such talk would only fan the flames of the simmering treason even more, but mostly because Daeron doesn’t know the answer to that either.
He looks again to the sword of his ancestors, now in possession of someone other than the king for the first time in it’s history. “It does make you wonder, brother. It does indeed.”
daenerys targaryen martell
She spends her first month in Dorne crying. Her new husband says nothing, though she knows he can hear her silent sobs in the night.
Everything is so different. The people, the climate, the food, the culture. Nothing is familiar. None of it is what she wanted. Especially her husband.
She wanted Daemon, with his Valyrian hair and violet eyes, his smirk and his charisma, his strong shoulders and slim hips, his intelligence and ambition. She wanted to be his queen, to sit beside him when he took the Iron Throne, like Father had wanted. She wanted to wake up beside him every morning, and lie with him each night. She wanetd to sit next to him and watch him clean the blood of his enemies from Blackfyre. She wanted to call him husband with a smile on her face.
Instead, she sits across from Prince Maron Martell and calls him husband with no emotion at all. It takes time, but when she realizes that Daemon isn’t going to burst into the halls of Sunspear and demand that his love be returned to him, like a hero from a song, she begins looking for traces of him in Maron. A witty remark, a mischevous glint in his eyes, a righteous fury against those that wrong him, something, anything. But she finds nothing.
Decades later, as she sits beside her husband and watches their grandchildren play in the pools with the orphans, she finds herself struggling to remember Daemon Blackfyre at all.
aegon V targaryen
He imagines it would be green. It’d have to be green. With white wings, or a white belly, or white eyes. Strong too, and large. Large enough to ride down to Summerhall in a matter of hours, or north to the Wall, to visit his brother, in days instead of months.
“Staring at it won’t make it hatch.”
Aegon looks up and smiles as Ser Dunk enters his chambers, still somewhat awkward in his white armor and heavy cloak. “Do you ever think it will hatch?” He asks, only half serious, once Duncan’s sat down.
Dunk shrugs, helping himself to the wine. “Maybe. Maybe not. Could be one day you wake up to egg shells and a little green dragon crawling around on the floor.”
The king smiles down at the egg, his eyes tracing over the pattern of white swirls against the green. A dragon, his dragon. The first in years. “That would be splendid.”
daeron “the drunken” targaryen
His hands shake as he lifts the too-full glass of wine to his lips, the motion spilling red liquid onto his hands. It’s early in the morning- too early for drink, Aemon would say- but he passed caring years ago.
Fire, nothing but fire, burning- burning everything- but not her. Not this woman. And the eggs- the eggs are opening, they’re hatching! And the sounds! The sounds of the dragons!
He shakes his head, trying to shake off the night’s dreams. He’s had that one before, many times. The music of the dragons would sing him to sleep as a child, when the visions of fire and blood would keep him awake in the night. He’s seen it so many times, but never like this. This time it changed, the visions of fire morphing into ice then back again nearly seamlessly.
It’s cold, it’s so cold. There’s nothing but ice and snow and things moving in the darkness. And a dragon. A dragon lost in the snow, burning brightly against the darkness.
He doesn’t understand it, but he never really has. He sees the future more than he sees the present, but it seldom ever makes sense. It’s a mad world we’re going to live in. A mad world filled with blood, and ice and fire.
Daeron pours another drink.
aegon II targaryen
He stays in the throne room after it’s all over, after the servants have cleaned up the blood and vomit and done what they could with the scorch marks. Most of the floor and walls are black, and there’s a lingering scent of cooked meat hanging in the air, but he doesn’t care. It’s all worth it.
He runs his hand over the bladed arms of the throne, and watches as the blood wells up in his palm. How many kings have cut themselves on this very throne? How much dragon’s blood has been shed over these old, contorted swords? Aegon presses his palm against the arm, letting his blood mix with the blood of his predecessors. It’s all mine now.
His father had tried to keep it from him, even after his death his father had rejected him. And his sister. Rhaenyra had tried to take what was rightfully his. She’d paid the price of her treason with her life. But I was merciful. I gave her a fitting death. A death to be celebrated and remembered.
Aegon stares through the black darkness to the black floors, remembering the charred body of his sister being bitten off in smoking chunks and consumed by his dragon. She will be an example to others. He thinks, leaning backwards until his crown clinks in contact with the throne. He stays there, alone in the darkened throne room, for hours more, savoring the feeling of having everything for the first time in his life.
It’s all mine now.
She visits him in the dark of night, well after all the respectable ladies and lords have left the feast to the drunks and singers. He’s almost surprised when he finds her on the other side of his door, the crown of flowers in her hands, and a petulant look on her face. He’d expected her brothers to have hidden her deep inside the Stark camps, out of gossip’s sight and far away from him.
“My queen.” He bends forward in an only slightly mocking half-bow.
Lyanna opens her mouth, but, hearing a servant shuffling down the corridor, hurries inside and quickly shuts the door. Only once she’s sure they’re alone does she speak. “Are you mad or do you just wish to die? Because I can’t think of any other reason for what you did today. Your Grace.”
Rhaegar fights back a smile. He’s sure if he smiled or laughed at her now, she’d slap him, crown prince or no. “I’m not sure what you mean, my lady. I awarded the title of Queen of Love and Beauty to the one I found most deserving of it.”
Lyanna Stark considers him for a long moment, then laughs. “You are bold, I’ll give you that.” Her gray eyes roam over him once more. “And you’re not half bad with a harp either. Or a lance.”
This time Rhaegar does smile. “I’m told I have many commendable qualities.”
She laughs again, a full, genuine sound. Nothing like the suppressed giggles of the court ladies. “I suggest you keep your ‘commendable qualities’ to yourself before you get us both in trouble. Again.” With a defeated sigh and a roll of her eyes, she places the crown of winter roses back on her head, and sees herself out.
Rhaegar stares at the door long after she’d shut it behind her, a rising sense of intrigue and amusement filling him. Lyanna Stark is different from any other woman he’s ever met. Young, but mature and sure of who she is- and of who she isn’t. She absolutely fascinated him.
He’d been told by everyone from his wife to his friends to his guards to leave her alone, to put as much distance between them as he could and wait for the scandal to subside.
Just this once, Rhaegar doesn’t think he’ll do as he’s told.
He wonders sometimes what it would have been like. When the winter is hard and long, and his blood seems to freeze inside his veins, when the winds blow out his fire in the night and his still-young bones creak as he walks through the ice tunnels, he wonders what it would have been like to be king.
He knows it is better the way it is. Egg- Aegon has made a good king, a king to be proud of and thankful for. Aemon knows nothing of being king. He knows books and history and healing. He never learned how to rule because he never thought he’d need to.
It is better this way. He has his place on the Wall and his brother has his on the Iron Throne. Maester Aemon and King Aegon. That is what’s right. He knows it down to his ice-chilled soul.
But it isn’t enough to keep him from asking his new Lord Commander what it was like. What it felt like sitting the massive monstrosity of a throne and knowing that you had power over everyone.
Bloodraven stares at him from under his hair for a long while. “It feels like there’s an entire kingdom weighing your shoulders down, pressing you into the ground until you suffocate. Because there is.”
Later that night, Aemon steps out of his chambers and takes a deep breath of air, savoring the feeling as it freezes it’s way down to his lungs. It is better this way.