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A Song Of Flame And Ashes

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CHAPTER 1- The Raven King

 

“ Did you look for Drogon ? I was just thinking it would not a bad idea if you could push him back toward Valyria, or somewhere just as desolate. Nothing like rebuilding the city to remind you of the damage he might still do without his mother to direct him and there’s always the risk he might take up hunting humans again...”

Tyrion shudders at the idea, although his expression reflects the relaxed giddiness it always holds when he managed to have a good cup or two before even touching his breakfast.

Five years from now, his habits will kill him, and Bran will need a new hand. It will be someone from the Vale, a Royce, a rough but competent man who will have very little patience for Bronn’s lack of skill with coins.

Bran’s lips twitch in a barely there smile.

“ That won’t be an issue. I saw Drogon won’t come to Westeros again “.

And that’s the truth. Just not all of it.

“ That’s a relief” Sam pipes in, and relieves his King from the burden of changing subject, carrying news from the citadel about issues Bran already knows, a plague breaking out in the reach and the study of vaccines going on for weeks without apparent result.

Bran’s attention drifts away because he already saw how this story ends too, in another couple of weeks.

This is his life now, being a spectator to lives he can barely touch, preparing and waiting for the day to pass his burden to his heir, the way the previous Three-eyed Raven passed it to him.

There are days he thinks a stronger man would have not crumbled away under the weight, and there are days he simply thinks he was too young when he received it, his character not formed enough to allow him to retain desires or goals of his own.

Seeing has instead consumed everything he was or could be . His mind seems always to be struggling to not get lost in following the threads between past and future.

It is not always ugly tough, what he : there’s still such a beauty to the world, even in the mids of chaos and violence, and such a perfect geometry in the way events connect , forming patterns of meaning , he feels often like the hands of Old Gods are always weaving at the expense of the unaware mankind.

The thing he is sorry about - in any capacity he is able to be sorry now- is that the role of witness he is the only one he seems able to perform.

A different man might have stepped in, when Theon offered to guard him, that terrible night the world almost ended except for the fact it was not meant to, but in all other pathways they could thread, Arya did not make it in time, for a thousand small intricacies of combinations of coincidences. Any other man to guard Bran Stark that night, and all was lost.

So, after looking, Bran Stark retreated behind a mask of apathy, tuned out any inkling of remorse, and let fate play out.

Let Theon die, so everyone else could live.

But he made sure to give that one thing that Theon had craved and thought he would never attain, the one thing Theon was looking for : absolution.

 

Much the same way, he could have stopped Daenerys Targaryen ‘s path to madness so easily, a thousand different ways.

He might have just told her that when Viserion died, her fate had been unmade with the unraveling of the curse on her womb ( only life can pay for death, only death can pay for life),that the child she and Jon had conceived under that waterfall, under the joined blessing of the old gods and the lord of the light, had the potential to someday become the next three eyed raven and so much more.

If he had done that, Daenerys and Jon would have married in the godswood, despite Sansa’s misgivings. They would have had a few months of happiness, as the plan to starve the capital took much longer than it was foreseen. Sansa and Arya would come around the idea of a new family member.

But Daenerys would have died in childbirth and Jon in battle little after, leaving their little boy to be raised a puppet king under the guidance of Varys and Tyrion, Sansa a distant guardian.

King’s Landing would still be near decimated by the common people killing each other for the little food available, in being beaten to death in riots and in the increasingly violent repression Cersei had decided upon to keep potential rebellions from occurring.

So Bran stood back, with little doubt.

He could still have told Jon to stand closer to his queen, but Jon, too confused about his feelings and what the reveal of his birth meant to him , would have just made even more a mess of the situation.

He could have refused to tell his sisters the secret of Jon’s origins and counsel him to stay silent too, but at point a curious Arya would stop to nothing but eventually hound the secret from Sam.

If Bran had acted to keep Sam silent, Sam still would break his promise, too resentful of Daenerys to not press the issue at a later time, venting to Sansa.

In all pathways, Tyrion and Varys turned on the Dragon Queen. In some of them, the poisoning attempt occurred before and the child was lost, spurring Daenerys on a path to vengeance, fire and blood on King’s Landing.

At last, at least, Bran could have acted to avoid Missandei of Naath to be taken, ensuring Grey Worm would stay lucid during the conquest of the southern capital.

In a world where that young woman lived, Tyrion would still turn his trying to prevent the execution of his siblings and managing only to cause his own as well.

Daenerys and Jon would have married in that future too, given a sister to their Daeron within a couple of years, and that Targaryen restoration would have brought the realization that is not possible to break the wheel.
The constant effort of cutting away treasonous plots and ridding away the realm of its corruption would have turned the idealism of Jon and Daenerys in an uncompromising rulership, and Daeron would have grown in a perfectly ordinary prince.

Bran could have liked to live in that world, where he was only the brother to Sansa’s Lady Of Winterfell.

The question of whether he should have caused that world to exist still plagues him, if he is to be honest with himself.

But he had also seen Drogon melting the Iron Throne, and taking the still warm corpse of his mother away. He had seen the priestess Kinvara, gazing in the flames weeks before that, receiving visions of a great fire that would end an era and set beginning to another, visions of the Uburnt guarded in death by her furious beast of a son, seemingly determined to starve himself out in grief.

A resurrection, the birth of a boy touched by the magic of flame and shadow when he was still in the womb, carrying the blood of wargs and dragon lords, a boy that like his mother would bring magic back to the world, only on a much larger scale.

Daenerys, spending the whole pregnancy and nearly the year after sheltered in a temple, battling a deep depression and the shadows of her mind, before reclaiming herself, in both her best and her worst, becoming whole. Rising once more Queen Of Dragon’s Bay, uniting the cities under the second sons and her red god Faith, renouncing the name of her forefathers to create hers.

Opening the path her boy would someday thread.

Bran had known then he was not meant to change anything. He had felt it was almost unnatural, to prevent the events that would lead to the creation of the man meant to relieve him of his burden.

One day, Daeron will come for him, knowing more of magic Bran had when he had taken his place as Three Eyed Raven, and will accomplish great things with that gift.

He will never sit on any throne that is not Essosi, because the six kingdoms will set to secede after Bran’s rule turns to its epilogue.

Everything will be well, only not for Jon, who will never know just how much he lost.

And maybe not telling him is the kindest thing he ever could do for his brother, but the doubt always hovers on the edge of his mind.

For the realm Daenerys Targaryen has to stay dead. Any interfering in her path in the next few years might compromise the final result in any part- her hard won sanity, Daeron’s life, her survival to the trials before her. It is a delicate balance.

Jon, who twice ended up causing the death of a woman he loved for duty, who left the wall to join the free folk, tormented by the idea he became all Ned Stark most despised ( queen slayer and kinslayer and oathbreaker), who now sees he has done to Daenerys what his brothers did to him, is an element too volatile to add to the life of a woman who now equally loves and hates him.

At least for now.

Bran can’t quite quell the hope that someday a pathway will open, and maybe he will be able to tell his brother what he knows without compromising the future.

He will keep looking for a path to an happier future and in the meantime... he will try, at the best of his abilities, to watch out for all of them.

 

—-

Note : I realize right now we are all angry and negative enough after that horrible finale, and I don’t want to add to bad mood creating something too agansty. Ideally if I continue this story there will be at least three more chapters - a chapter about Daenerys journey through the faith of red god, because that always fascinated me and I still think of her as an Azhor Ai figure, a chapter about Jon’s journey among the wildling folk, because I think he has some issues to confront and I would like to bring him closer to his book counterpart, and eventually a reunion and a soft epilogue.

If my inspiration was to die, just remember I wanted my Jonerys growing old together, but I had not figured how, much like Bran .