No one had seen the younger Stark daughter in months, not since she disappeared from the icy halls of Winterfell days after slaying the Night King. There had been whispers of a girl on a horse riding through the Dragon Queen’s camp before the attack (the sack, the massacre, the day hell rained down on King’s Landing from the back of a dragon) , but those were merely whispers, unsubstantiated at best, strange rumors of a wildling child and the Hound heading into the city, never to be seen again once the walls came crumbling down.
The Northmen say that Jon Snow had gone mad when he’d heard talk of his little sister caught in the crossfire of the Dragon Queen’s fiery revenge. He’d received a raven from the Lady Sansa, demanding he find their sister, that he send her home, claiming she’d followed after him, that she’d planned to kill the Mad Lion Queen. Lord Davos had done his best to calm his once sworn king, but the news of Arya Stark’s assumed death was simply was too much for Jon’s tenuous hold on his rage. It was said that he nearly killed his beloved queen in his grief, only stopped by her loyal Unsullied guard. The former King in the North awaited judgement in what was left of the Black Cells, accompanied by the Lannister brothers for treason against the throne. He expected to be joined by familiar faces before his time was up.
Queen Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons , called for a grand trial, witnessed by all the high lords of Westeros. All those who arrived would be required to bend the knee or face her wrath. All those who did not would be burnt. There was a dragon in King’s Landing again, and she would be obeyed.
It would be a reckoning of “Fire and Blood” indeed. The Queen was determined to rule this hostile land, full of those she knew opposed her very existence. Sansa Stark and all her followers, the Mad Queen Cersei and her Lannister armies, nothing was going to stop the reclamation of her birthright, not even the man she thought she loved. The Iron Throne was hers after years of dreaming and scheming, and it was a victory as cold as the metal at her back. To sit in her father’s chair had cost her dearly, and she would make all those responsible pay for the pain she had gone through ten times over, until they were begging for death. Lost in a haze of righteous vengeance, all the measured voices of her counsel dead or led astray, Daenerys Targaryen miscalculated. Badly.
Because little did the Queen know, one of the lords whose loyalty she was most secure in (for after all, she had generously gifted him with his very name and titles rather than kill him for looking just a bit too much like his father), had a rather dangerous secret. A secret that he would have taken to his grave, had he died in the frozen wastes of the North. For you see, he was a man of incredible loyalty… just not to her. Gendry Waters had loved one woman, one person really, in his life, and suddenly becoming Gendry Baratheon did not change that defining trait of his existence. Daenerys had no way of knowing he would betray her, that he would do anything for the girl he called his lady, for there was only one person left alive who knew even half of the history between the Baratheon Bull and the Bringer of the Dawn, and queens don’t take counsel from mere baker boys.
Had he been asked, Thoros would have mentioned how they fought side by side, always protecting each other, how selling the boy years ago had mercilessly torn two hearts in half in the name of the Lord of Light.
Had he been asked, Lord Beric Dondarrion would muse that for those two to find one another after so many years could only be the work of fate, of destiny, of a bond far stronger for all the years and distance caught in between.
Had he been asked, the Hound would have grunted and rolled his eyes. He had seen the way the boy looked for the girl, the source of all the happiness in his gaze, and had heard the girl whisper the boy’s name in her sleep, love on her lips and a small smile on her face. He knew, and he pulled her from the open arms of death to fall back into the warm embrace of life (her smith).
To stand before that pair was to court death. Their love was their defiance, their bond was their strength. They knew each other inside and out, loved each other for every flaw and scar, every experience they shared and those they did not. They were fighters, not soldiers. They were an assassin and her smith, a bastard and his lady. A man and a woman, united against she that would destroy a kingdom where even Death itself had not succeeded.
Robert Baratheon tore apart the realm seeking the love of a Stark woman who would never choose him. His son forged it back together with a fury filled she-wolf standing at his side, fiery heart and well worn hammer working as one.