The strong winds of the Sunset sea were a harsh force of nature for this time of year, to most Ironborn it was a curse, thrust upon them by the drowned god in all his fury. But to Yara Greyjoy it was a gift. High above the wind howled through her ships rigging and blew life into its sails. As black as the depths of the sea and brandishing the golden Kraken of house Greyjoy proudly upon its sails, Yara watched from atop the helm as her ship ‘black wind’ cut through the rough and storm ridden seas, the cloud coated sky’s above breaking into a dusk of red and orange. Focusing her eyes Yara could see the crumbing towers of castle Pyke upon the horizon, a sight which never failed to fill her with hope. She felt optimistic for once, something she welcomed and greatly needed after the misery of the last few weeks. It had been two weeks since her father King Balon Greyjoy had ordered her to sail down the Westerosi coast to raid the Reach.
“Yara I want you to take a ship and a small crew, sail down to the shield islands and raid the village of Krakenhall”
“You want us to raid the shield islands? one of the most heavily garrisoned parts of the Reach?”
“I do” He had replied unfazed.
“That is madness father, the Tyrell’s will be expecting us”
“Then you’ll just have to think of something then won't you”
“Why are you are sending me to raid Krakenhall? its heavily garrisoned yes but it is only a worthless little fishing village” Balon Greyjoy had stirred with a hint of frustration.
“There is something I want you to find at Krakenhall, or rather someone, a man, a spy who used to work of the crown on the far end of the world. Goes by the name of Brandon Waters. I want you to bring him to me”
“Why do want him?” Balon exploded into a fit of rage.
“If you are too afraid to do as I command girl then I’ll find me a captain who isn’t, go and do as your king commands” Yara had always hated when her bravery was thrown into question but she did as her father commanded of her. In a lot of ways Yara could not blame him for the way he was. It had been two years since the death of house Lannister, two years since Margaery Tyrell's rebellion ended with her crowned Queen of Westeros. All of the seven kingdoms had bowed and declared her their queen, all except the Iron Islands. When an embassy of Tyrell representatives from Kings Landing visited the Iron islands soon after to demanded her father bend the knee he only responded with a dagger to their throats. Tyrell blood was spilled that day and many of the islanders feared the worst, the memory of her fathers failed rebellion against King Robert Baratheon still engraved into their minds. But nothing happened and as the months dragged on the Ironborn raided and pillaged just as they had always done. Her father had told her that the iron throne had inherited the vast debt left over from Robert and Cersei’s reigns.
“The iron bank wants its money, repaying them will be difficult, they will not have the gold or sliver to rebuild their fleets and until that day comes the Ironborn will rule these waters” It had been a year and a half since her father told her that, and it seemed to be true. The Ironborn had ruled the sunset sea until recently. One by one more and more Tyrell ships started appearing upon the waters, some even attacking and sinking Ironborn warships, and the raids had become more and more deadly with Tyrell soldiers stationed at just about every costal village along the western cost of Westeros. Queen Margaery upon her iron throne was now gaining in strength Yara could feel, it would not be long before she was strong enough to launch an invasion of the Iron islands just as King Robert had done. Whoever this Brandon Waters was Yara could tell her father needed something from him.
But what could my father what with a royal spy? much less one that has been in Essos since before Robert died.
Doing as her father commanded Yara sailed to the shield islands. With her iron warriors she attacked the village of Krakenhall and found Brandon Waters. The attack had been a bloody affair however, she had cast off with fifty good men and would return with only fifteen. But Brandon Waters had been captured just as her father commanded.
“Yara, what does your father want with that man?” A sailer asked her.
“I do not know, but I intend to find out one we reach home” Yara had told him.
It was late at night when her ship 'Black Wind' docked at the wooden port on Pyke. Strolling down the board walk and onto land Yara was confronted by her uncle Aeron, a priest of the drowned god. His face was somber and his eyes heavy.
“Uncle Aeron you look troubled” She told him.
“As I have a right to be” He approached her and laid and cold, wet hand upon her shoulder. “I’m sorry girl your father”
“What about my father?” Yara asked.
“King Balon is dead” The words took her by surprise.
“HE’S DEAD? HOW?”
“Fell, from one of the bridges of Pyke during a storm three days ago” The next few days had felt like a dream and nightmare rolled into one, casting her fathers distorted and bruised body out to sea was hard but her thoughts for the future kept her strong. Winning the Kings moot without any challengers Yara Greyjoy was declared the Queen of salt and Rock and first the woman ruler of the Ironborn. No longer the Krakens daughter but the Kraken herself. Crowned Queen the future of the Iron islands now belonged in her hands, she wanted to forge a new direction and install hope and glory into the islands once more. She would start by finding out what her father wanted with the crowns ex spy Brandon Waters. The dungeons of castle Pyke were a cold, damp place. On its lowest levels sea water would flood inside at high tide and drowned any prisoner within. But Yara knew she had to keep Brandon Waters alive, at least until she found out whatever her father was looking for. Alone and with a lantern Yara made her way through the darkness and listened as the waves of the sea crashed against the crumbling ancient castle walls outside. The black stone at her boots heel was damp and covered in sea weed, something the guards often found prisoners eating who were not fed. Outside the steel bars of Brandon’s cell Yara stood and held her lantern high.
“Brandon Waters?” She called out.
“Yes?” a gruff voice replied from the shadows.
“My names Yara Greyjoy, Queen of the Iron islands, these are my cells you waste away in so you’ll answer any and all questions I ask”
“Of course your grace” Brandon’s voice sounded, his body still hidden in the darkness.
“Your a spy aren’t you? for the Iron throne?”
“I was a spy under King Robert but no longer”
“Who did you spy on?”
“I’ve spied on many people over the years, why do you ask?” Yara took a moment.
“My father seemed to think you were important, that you knew something or had seen something that could aid the Ironborn” Brandon laughed.
“The proud Ironborn losing their second rebellion it seems”
“Do you know anything or not?” Yara demanded.
“I don’t know what you think I know but I can only tell you what I reported to Lord Varys”
“And what is that?” Brandon took a moment.
“I’m going to let you in on a little secret, a year from now Margaery Tyrell will not sit upon the iron throne, she will be cast off it just as Cersei Lannister and mad King was before her”
“What makes you say this?”
“There is a new power in the east, a young woman…with three monstrous dragons”
“Dragons are nothing but a tale to scare children”
“They are real and they serve the dragon queen”
“And who this…dragon queen?”
“Daenery’s Targaryen, the mad kings daughter. She has grown powerful over the years, so powerful she has massed a vast army of loyal fighters and sell swords”
“Every so called queen has her loyal followers” Yara scoffed.
“All of the slave cities of slavers bay have fallen to her, one by one without so much as a drop of blood spilled for those who follower her”
“How is that possible?” Yara snapped, her interest ticked.
“Dragons Queen Greyjoy, when I left she had taken up residence in the great pyramid of Meereen as its Queen…but sooner or later she will turn her gaze to Westeros and when that happens, better to be a friend then foe” Yara lingered on his words for some time.
He could be lying? but on the other hand my father would not have risked Ironborn lives to bring him here if he was not sure of him.
“The city of Meereen you say? in Slavers bay?”
“As I say I tell you the truth” Yara lingered for moment in thought.
“How did the small council react at this news?”
“Lord Varys took the threat seriously, but the hand Lord Baelish brushed it aside as gossip and rumours, not worthy of the crowns time and as for sir Loras, lets just say the Lord Commander of the Kings Guard was more interested in his serving boy” Yara stayed standing, her lantern held high.
This could all be a waste of time, or it could just be the saving grace the Ironborn need.
“Thank you for telling me that, I will see you are given a hot meal and released”
“Ironborn? releasing one of their prisoners?” He said as Yara turned her back.
“I am the Queen of Salt and Rock and under my rule the Ironborn will do things different” Yara’s final words to him before returning to her throne room. Inside her hearth burned with the fiery passion she felt for the Ironborn, above the flames the Kraken of house Greyjoy looking down upon her.
“Your grace, you wanted to see us?” One of her four most trusted captains asked as they filled into the room.
“Yes I did, we’re going on voyage”
“A voyager to where?”
“The city of Meereen in Slavers Bay” The Ironborn captains looked at each other in puzzlement.
“Slavers Bay? on the far end of the world? why? what could possibly lay for Ironborn so far from home?”
“Hope” Yara replied.