Driftmark 284 AC
It was hard for Queen Regent Rhaella Targaryen to not look upon the kneeling form of Arthur Dayne without bitterness clouding her heart. Where was the famous Sword of the Morning's loyalty to her family when her son fought Robert at the Trident? Why had not Dawn been there instead. If he or his other brothers had been there instead of hiding her new daughter in law, would her firstborn still be alive? However, she knew the answer Rhaegar would have given if he were still there. Looking over to the young baby boy being nursed by the handmaiden that had accompanied the Kingsguard and his Stark companion, she knew why Rhaegar had left his most capable men protecting his wife. He had only left King's Landing content in the knowledge that Elia, Aegon, and Rhaenys were to be sent to Dragonstone away from the capitol, but her thrice cursed husband had changed his mind abruptly once Rhaegar was too far away to do anything about it.
'Damn my brother and his madness to all the Seven Hells, and damn Tywin as well.' she thought to her self. After a moment of brief grieving that she allowed herself to give in to, she drew a deep breath and spoke softly to the still kneeling knight in front of her,
"Would you care to explain, Ser Arthur why you have shown up here on Driftmark with my son's babe, a lady of the North, Mormont is it not, and if I am not to be mistaken, Ser Benjen Stark, recently knighted upon the Trident by the Usurper himself?"
To her surprise, it was the youngest Stark who spoke up, his eyes blazing with the fury of youth,
"I'd rather freeze at the Wall than ever accept anything from a pig like Robert. Would that I could throw his knighthood back in his face, and spit upon it as well."
The young man's response drew a soft smile from Lucerys Velaryon standing next to her, a comforting presence in the recent weeks. If it had not been for him, she shuddered to think of what could have happened when she saw the ship carrying her Viserys fall beneath the waves, or the struggles in birthing her daughter, a difficult feat that still left her bedridden as she was now. The Lord of the Tides voice was sharp, but Rhaella could tell there was a geniune note of confusion and interest in it.
"Perhaps you could explain to us why you are in the South, Lord Benjen, and not in Winterfell, or even at your eldest brothers side next to the Usurper."
Benjen Stark glanced once more at the Mormont girl standing next to him, who gave a soft smile and nudge in his direction, before he began to speak,
"Ever since Harrenhal, I had helped Lya and your son exchange ravens secretly. At first I didn't know the seriousness of their talks, but knew their intentions to be true, and one night helped Lyanna prepare to escape from Riverrun and meet up with the Prince. When word of the kidnapping came to Winterfell, I knew I had to find my brother and tell him the truth, and try to get him to listen to me when I had failed to convince my father and brother Brandon of the truth as well," at this he paused, his fists clenching for a brief moment, but one that Rhaella noticed nevertheless, "But Ned refused to listen to me as well. He even forbade me from speaking of such a thing to the other lords. But I didn't listen and told Dacey, and she believed me thankfully."
"How did you find your sister? When last I spoke to Elia, only she and Rhaegar knew about the Tower."
"After we arrived at King's Landing, Varys the Spider found Dacey and I, and told us of Lyanna's whereabouts. We traveled there as quickly as possible, telling Ned that we were going home instead. When we arrived, I managed to convince Arthur to let me in, and my sister soon gave birth to her son a day or so after I arrived, though it was too late for her. When we learned that my brother and a group of Northerners were on their way after lifting the siege of Storm's End, it was decided that we would make way for Dragonstone to meet up with you and the rest of the Targaryen forces."
Rhaella held up a hand, and turned her gaze to the still silent Arthur, a familiar grief etched upon his face as well,
"Ser Arthur, where are your brothers? Why did you not all leave together?"
"We believed, with Ned Stark close behind, that it was too risky to all move together. So Lord Commander Gerold commanded me to take Prince Jaehaerys and go to you, my Queen, while he and Ser Oswell prepared to ambush the northerners in the Prince's Pass. I know not if they were successful, but I do know they had no intention of dying needlessly in Dorne to slay a few of the Usurper's Dogs when their King would need them in the wars to come. Ser Oswell intended to make for Essos to find loyalists in exile, while Ser Gerold was to return to Oldtown and gain his families support, and that of the Reach. Though I am certain that if you asked, they would come here instead."
It was Lucerys who stepped forward at that, his voice eager,
"My Queen, we have everything we need for a Restoration here and now. The Tyrells still have a sizable force, and Mace will do anything were we to make his daughter the Prince's wife. The Princess Daenerys could make a bountiful alliance as well, perhaps to repair our relations with Dorne. We can use the treasury to,"
"Enough!" spat out Rhaella, her eyes flashing with a rage that made even Arthur Dayne flinch, "I will not prolong this war anymore by selling my daughter and grandson to Houses who's loyalties are fickle at best. Our arrangement with Lord Stannis is barely weeks old, and the only reason that he has not turned me or my daughter over to Robert is because he believes our claims as women to be weak and unimportant. We cannot risk everything when our army was crushed at the Trident, and our fleet shattered at Dragonstone. This war has already claimed both of my sons, and two of my grandchildren. The war is over, my family has been overthrown. Now is not the time."
The room was silent as the Queen Mother finished her words, save for the quiet babbling of the Prince Jaehaerys and Princess Daenerys in their crib. Eventually though, it was the young Benjen who spoke up,
"Then what is that you intend to do?"
"Let Robert have the Iron Throne and all the suffering that comes with it. A weak willed man like that will soon be overwhelmed by the power and the game, and the Seven Kingdoms will see him for what he truly is. Let Stannis believe the islands stands with him, that the people follow him. But they will never love him like they loved my Rhaegar, and it will be his downfall. We must wait for a time, to gather our strength and let the Baratheons expend theirs, and then we will strike and take back all they have stolen from my family."
"How are we to hide the Prince?" asked Lucerys, "The Princess can be easily passed off a Velaryon with her features, but the Prince is all Northern practically, though any loyalist will be able to see his sire at a close glance. If he remains here, someone could find out and we would all be trapped on Driftmark."
The young Mormont girl, Dacey, if Rhaella recalled correctly, stepped forward at that,
"That's easy, Benjen and I will claim him as our son, which we were already planning on doing anyway before we found out you were alive. We married a few months ago, and left in a hurry from the capitol, which will make people believe we left because I was with child. Ben and I can take the long route to Bear Island, where all my family will stand by us when we say who Jae really is, my mother loved Lyanna, and she was my friend too. He'll grow up safe and loved in the North, hidden under the name Stark while the Princess hides under the name Velaryon."
"You would do that? Risk your family and home for my grandson?"
Dacey took a step forward, her chin raised high,
"Way I see it, he's an innocent child in need of a mother and father, so of course I will, as will the rest of my family. We Mormonts know how to protect our children."
Rhaella envied the look of love that the young Stark and Mormont gave each other, her mind giving her precious memories of a time that she once looked upon Bonnifer in a similar way. Her gaze drifted over to the crib where the future of her house lay next to each other, blabbering and cooing noises at one another. Her grandson seemed to be fascinated at the color of her daughter's hair, or perhaps the taste of it as his little hands kept pulling it into his mouth, while Daenerys slept peacefully beside her nephew, her newborn cries finally dying down the moment he was placed in her crib. Her mind made up, Rhaella turned to the others and nodded once before speaking strongly,
"So be it, the prince will be hidden in the North. Ser Arthur, you are to go with him and guard him with your life. When the time comes, I will call for him to return to me, and the restoration shall begin."
"How do you plan on doing that without raising suspicion, my Queen?"
The Queen Mother allowed a sly grin to grow across her face,
"Leave that to me for now. Lucerys, I require your fastest raven. There is a loyal ally in the capitol that I must have words with as soon as possible."
Eight Years Later, Pyke
"I, Robert Baratheon, do hereby declare that Jon Stark, son of Lord Benjen Stark and heir to Moat Cailin, shall foster upon the island of Dragonstone with my brother, Lord Stannis Baratheon, and also give my consent and approval towards his betrothal to the Lady Daenerys Velaryon of Driftmark."