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A Kingdom For A Horse

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A Kingdom For A Horse

 

Chapter 1: Blood Tide

 

 

They came as the sun went down. For three whole weeks they’d been waiting for them. The streets of King’s Landing had been prepared, the ships lined with wild fire and put out to the Bay. And yet, when the enemy came it was still a shock. He was dressed head to toe in armour, not daring to move yet, waiting for the sign to come from Ser Mandon Moore or from his uncle. Tommen Baratheon stood where he was watching as the wildfire did its work. He did not approve of it, it was not chivalrous, but he was not stupid enough to bring this up with either his mother or his uncle.

His brother was out there somewhere as well. Not out near the ships, Joffrey was not so dumb as to think he could command the ships from the front. But he was on the wall, watching and barking orders. Tommen would give his brother that much credit, he might be vicious and stupid, but he had their father’s ability to inspire people. It was one of his few redeeming qualities. The ships burned, and the sky was pained green. Stannis Baratheon’s host came with the fleet, Florent ships, sell sails and other assorted menaces came. Tommen watched as they burned under intense pressure, some avoided the danger however and got to land. Tommen drew his mace then, knowing that things would get to a head.

The first sight of the enemy stepping onto land got a shout from the scouts. “Archers, prepare to fire.” When the shout. Tommen listened as the archers, Larys Waters amongst them, drew their bows and knocked their arrows. He listened as the commands were passed down, and felt his own heart begin to beat quicker. “Archers, fire!” came the roar. The arrows were loosed and they soared through the air toward an enemy that had not expected them. The arrows hit the enemy, and Tommen heard the screams and the curses. Another shout and more arrows were unleashed. However, the enemy had caught onto this, and as such was replying in kind. Tommen watched as Ser Tristifer Hardy, the chief longbowman was brought down. He refused to close his eyes though he desperately wanted to. His black hair stuck to his face, sweat dripped from his brow.

The shouts continued, but they were drowned out as a battering ram hit the gate. He was stood atop the River Gate, and he could feel everything shaking. Nothing seemed as if it would be simple. He steadied himself and hid his nerves. The men he nominally commanded did not need to see him nervous. The gate shook. He looked to Ser Willem Hill, a bastard relative, and the man nodded. “Prepare yourselves.” He said, though it came out as a croak, so he cleared his throat and said again. “Prepare yourselves.” That time it came out louder. The men took to what he said, with Ser Lucion being the one leading the shouts. The gate finally cracked open, and the enemy came pouring in.

Tommen hurriedly put down his mace, and put on his helmet, he picked up his weapon again and then moved to greet the first of the enemy as they came barrelling over the steps. Tommen had practiced for a long time to get this right. He decided this was the best way to get things tested. He swung his mace and the first man to come into contact with him fell down. The next man was a tougher nut to crack. He swung his mace and the man took the blow on his shield. Then he pushed and Tommen stumbled back, his heart in his mouth, he avoided the wall, but faced a constant barrage. There was a push this way and that, his body took a fair few blows, and for a moment he wondered if it would be better if he had stayed in the Maidenvault with his mother and Lady Sansa. He shook his head at that. He was a Prince, a Baratheon he would not hide. He knocked the enemy down, another came to take his place and he fought him as well.

More of the enemy came, Tommen took a blow to the head and as his brain took time to recover he saw Ser Lucion struck down, and another young boy, whose name escaped him torn down by a sword and a dagger. The brutality of it all got worse and worse. They were packed in like fish in a bowl. There was not enough space to breathe. Tommen barked out an order and the men moved forward. He had read about how his namesake who had destroyed a Lannister host many years ago, had been killed because he had not pushed forward and had therefore gotten trapped. Tommen heaved forward knocking those who would stand before him out of the way.

Ser Boros Blount was at his side. The man was slow, and not that bright, and not that great of a fighter, but he would do. Tommen walked or ran with him, whatever it was they were doing, they continued going. Tommen swung his mace, and allowed the fool to cover his back. The white cloak billowing behind them. After some time, the scourge slowed down, and they were no longer in danger of being so completely overwhelmed. Still, Tommen knew that more would come. He heard a shout, and saw the burning banner of his uncle, the traitor. The enemy kept coming and Tommen fought. He fought as hard as he could, whether or not that would be enough, he did not know.

He blinked, and tried to keep everything simple and easy. But as always nothing was simple and easy. He took more blows than he cared to remember during the fight, trying desperately not to give into the fear that was clawing at his every fibre. He swallowed, and then heard someone shout something. “What?!” He yelled but no one could hear him above the fray that was going on. He pushed on, determined not to lose his ability or his will to fight. So long as he remained fighting his men would also remain fighting. That was what his father had always said to him and Joffrey. He hoped Joff would remember that. Otherwise they were finished. A King could not leave the field of battle. He took a blow to the head, staggered back, and in his daze he saw Ser Boros Blount cut down trying to get to him.

Is this how I die? He wondered. If it was, it was not a bad way to go. Better than how his father had died.

As he thought that, his old worries came creeping back up again. He did not want to die a virgin. He should have told Jeyne Westerling how he felt about her, he should’ve told Mother to go and do one, there was a lot he should have done. His brain was panicking. And now his father’s words were in his head.

“You have my hair and my eyes, and my mother’s personality. You are Tommen Baratheon, you will be Lord of Storm’s End. Never doubt that. You are a stag, and yours is the fury.”

“I have failed you, father.” he whispered as the fear completely overtook him.