From atop her dragon, she could see the horse leading the small army towards her. The banners were the direwolf of House Stark, along with those who had remained loyal to its mistress. Her own armies-Martell and Tyrell chief among them, mixed with her bloodriders and Unsullied-shifted restlessly behind Drogon. They had their orders, though. Daenerys wanted no more bloodshed, not if treaty could be reached.
She saw the horse shy back from the imposing dragon. She didn't blame it; Drogon could eat the creature whole in one bite. The horse's rider managed to retain control, though, and for that Daenerys respected her. Her time with the Dothraki had taught her that a true leader was a strong rider.
The self-styled Queen in the North brought her horse and her armies to a halt, and Daenerys dismounted from her dragon to approach. Her triple-dragon crown was a contrast to Sansa Stark's simple iron band, a fact Daenerys noted as the younger woman dismounted gracefully and rose to her full height. She was graceful and fluid, the same height as the Targaryen queen, a perfect icy contrast to Daenerys' fire.
The Queen in the North offered her hand, and Daenerys accepted it gracefully, lifting it smoothly to her lips and brushing them against it. Sansa's ivory skin was cool to the touch, she noted as she offered her own hand and Sansa repeated the gesture. Her own skin was fire, Sansa's ice.
Neither Queen spoke as they sized up each other's armies. Daenerys had the advantage with the dragons, but if a compromise could be reached, both women would consider it. Daenerys was not quite ready to cede the North to this Queen, but she was open to consider it for peace. Her alternative was to allow Sansa to rule as she saw fit in the North, if she bent the knee. She wanted the Stark girl on her small council, truth be told, but the little she knew of Sansa's story told Daenerys that the girl had seen quite enough of King's Landing.
Sansa spoke first. “Your Grace, thank you for agreeing to see me.”
Daenerys nodded. “The pleasure is mine, Lady Sansa. I was hoping that we could agree to treat. This land has seen enough blood.”
“I quite agree.” Sansa glanced at her armies. “My men and women have lost enough. If we can come to peaceful terms, they will be happy to return home.”
Daenerys smiled. “As would mine. Then shall we adjourn to my tent to discuss? You may bring a guard with you, if you will feel more comfortable doing so.”
Sansa turned to her army and pointed to two women. “Lyra and Jorelle will come with me. The rest of my army will stay here.”
Daenerys nodded and pointed to her own guards. “Ser Barristan, Ser Jorah, you will accompany me. The rest will wait here with Drogon.”
Her guards stepped forward, as did Sansa's own. The womens' eyes widened slightly at the sight of Jorah. Daenerys didn't blame them. He was an imposing sight, with the demon tattooed on his face and the Dothraki arakh in his hands. To their credit, they didn't flinch, merely nodded and continued to follow Daenerys and her guards to the tent.
The exterior of the tent did not look like a queen's tent. This was done intentionally, to prevent it from being targeted while the mother of dragons was inside. The interior, however, was quite the opposite. The canvas walls were covered in furs and tapestries, and a bed with silk drapings sat tucked in a corner. There was a table in the center, with parchment covering it-the correspondence between Daenerys and Sansa. These were quickly swept aside as each Queen took a seat on either side of the table, each with two guards on either side of the elaborate wooden chairs.
As they were settling in, Irri and Missandei appeared, bearing platters of lemon cakes, and spiced teas, and other expensive dishes. Daenerys smiled a bit at the delight on the younger woman's face. The lemon cakes had been a surprise for the Queen in the North, a gesture of goodwill as much as a genuine attempt to bring a smile to her face. The Imp had not lied when he said that Sansa adored lemon cakes.
She lifted a cup of tea to her lips while Sansa nibbled tentatively at a lemon cake. Daenerys giggled a bit at the girl's restraint. “My Lady, nothing in this tent will be seen outside of it, save for a peace treaty. Please don't feel that you need to refuse something you enjoy in my presence. I won't think any less of you.”
Sansa looked at her, the barely-touched lemon cake still in her hands. “Your Grace, my lady mother taught me that politeness is a woman's armor. It's the one thing I have that I can use to my advantage.”
Daenerys bit her lip. It was a painful reminder that Sansa was as alone in the world as she was. The parallels in their lives did not fail to register. Both of them had lost family to the Lannisters. The irony was obvious, when she thought about it. “Lady Sansa, you are safe in my company. And if you are a little less then an absolute lady in front of me, I shall not breath a word to another soul. I know that you enjoy lemon cakes. That's why I chose to have them. Please, enjoy yourself. Peace talks can wait a few more moments.”
Sansa nodded, smiling gratefully. “You're too kind, your Grace.” All sense of decorum momentarily placed aside, Sansa bit into the cake, prompting a smile from Daenerys. The Dragon Queen set her tea down and glanced over a piece of parchment nearby, upon which were the terms she wanted to discuss.
They sat in silence a bit longer, Daenerys sipping tea and Sansa enjoying the lemon cakes, until Jorah cleared his throat. “Your Grace, perhaps you should discuss terms of peace soon. The armies may not be willing to wait much longer.”
Daenerys sighed and signaled to the waiting Irri, who swept over with Missandei and removed the trays of food, leaving only the tea. Sansa wiped the crumbs daintily from her mouth and finally accepted a cup of the spiced tea. “My men will not bend the knee willingly, your Grace.”
“I do not expect them to, Lady Sansa.” Daenerys was all business now; for the moment she wore her Queen's mantle around her shoulders. “I won't lie to you, if I don't have to let the North through my fingers I don't mean to. But we are here to come to peace, and we will discuss terms rationally.”
She placed the parchment on the table. “These are the terms I have come to, on my end, my Lady. I want your honest opinion of them.”
Sansa picked up the parchment and began to read. “Your Grace, I had expected more than this. You are willing to let me rule the North, as I see fit, as long as we bend the knee to you and I refrain from calling myself Queen?”
“That is correct.” Daenerys nodded. “I want peace, Lady Sansa. I had thought to put you on my small council, but from the very little Tyrion has told me about you, I imagine that would be the last place you would want to be.”
“If I were on the small council, who would rule the North in my stead? Arya?”
Daenerys smiled. “I have already placed the Lady Arya on my Queensguard.” She glanced at Jorah. “I thought, perhaps, since Ser Jorah has served me well, I would place the North in the hands of House Mormont.”
Lyra gave a little gasp of surprise behind Sansa. “You would make us the Wardens of the North?”
“The eldest, of course.” Daenerys nodded. “I do not intend to let Ser Jorah leave my side again. I understand that you've lost your mother and eldest sister in the war, Lady..?”
“Lyra, your Grace.”
“Lady Lyra.” Daenerys inclined her head. “My condolences for your loss, my Ladies. The title of Warden would go to the next eldest, then. I believe Ser Jorah told me that would be Lady Alysane?” At Lyra's nod, she continued. “ This is all assuming that the Lady Sansa steps down to join me in King's Landing, of course.”
She watched the younger woman's face for any reaction. Sansa was considering the offer. Daenerys took a sip of her tea and waited on her answer.
Sansa spoke after a long moment. “Your Grace, you flatter me with your offer. But why would you want my advice on your council? I am only a young girl, uneducated in the ways of the world.”
Daenerys had to laugh then. How many times had those words passed her own lips? “Lady Sansa, I am only a young girl as well. I am only a few years older than you. I believe you would have more insight than many much older than you.”
Sansa nodded, a smile playing around her lips. “Then, your Grace, I gladly accept your offer.”
Daenerys smiled broadly. “Welcome to my council, Lady Sansa. I have one more offer to make you, and I do hope you will consider it. The position currently belongs to Ser Barristan, but he has agreed to step down and resume his duties as head of my Queensguard.”
“What position would that be, your Grace?”
“I would like to make you my Hand, Lady Sansa.” Daenerys smiled and took another sip of her tea. “I will not force you, of course, and you may think on the decision.”
“I don't need to think on it, your Grace.” Sansa's face was set, an unreadable mask. “So long as I can serve you, I would be honored to be the Hand of the Queen.”
“Then Hand you shall be.” Daenerys smiled broadly. “Ser Barristan, you and Lady Lyra inform the armies of the agreement reached. The armies of the North can go home. There is to be no more fighting.”
She smiled at Sansa as Missandei brought the lemon cakes back over, and together, the Queens of Ice and Fire truly laughed for the first time in years.