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the pact of ice and fire

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i. "We were promised a Targaryen Princess," Lord Cregan's voice booms, bouncing off the walls. "Your Majesty no longer wishes to hold to the pact?"

Rhaenyra sighs. "I have no daughters. Unless you wish for my brother's daughter, then I have no Princess to give."

"A Princess is a princess always." The knowing look in the man's eyes sets the Queen on edge. "The pact of ice and fire must survive, Your Majesty."

And they bring Princess Jaehaera before the winter lord, the shy child keeping her head down. Kneeling, Lord Stark puts two fingers under her chin and raises her head. "Look at me, child."

ii. It is a relief to have her brother's child gone from under her roof. Rhaenyra thanks the Seven her son had such an idea. Now she may produce a female child of her own and see to securing the line and her dynasty.

Only her sweet Aegon is morose and quiet, displeased that they have taken away the little girl who trailed after him. "It is better. You shall have an Alysanne or a Rhaenys of your own my son." She tells him, seeking to ease the grief.

In his childishness, the boy does not understand. He demands his cousin back.

"Never her, Aegon."

iii. She is barely two-and-ten when Rickon Stark wraps her in the grey of his house, the heavy cloak covering her in warmth. Jaehaera looks up into his eyes. He is so much taller than her. They must look quite the match, he a giant, she a dwarf. But then Rickon bends down and picked her up, spinning her in circles.

Jaehaera laughs. She is dizzy by the time he sets her down. "My lord," she whispers, her head resting against his arm, "do not let me fall."

"I will never let you fall," he promises her, the red eyes of the weirwood on them.

iv. Winterfell is rather cold. Her newest good-sister in weeping, no doubt in hunger. Jaehaera wishes something could be done for the child. Mariah Stark is motherless, as motherless as Jaehaera herself. Alysanne Blackwood is dying in her bed, the life flowing out of her.

Rocking the child gently, Jaehaera waits for her husband to come. Rickon slips in, behind him following the wet-nurse. Jaehaera hands the child to her with a slight twinge in her breast. A guilty looks in her eyes has Rickon murmuring soothingly in her ear.

"It shall be fine, my love, you'll conceive soon."

v. They try, they try with all their might, but Jaehaera never seems to catch his seed and keep it within her. At eight-and-ten she is no closer to being a mother than she was as a maiden. Frustration gives way to resentment. Rickon had been distant of late. And Jaehaera worries.

"I wish to join the Faith," she tells him on the day his father weds for the third time. Lynara Stark looks between the two of them with worry in her eyes. But Jaehaera smiles her way. "You need an heir and I cannot seem to give you one."

"The Queen would never allow it," her husband says in the end.

vi. She is one-and-twenty when Queen Rhaenyra dies. Lord Cregan says they are all to attend the funeral. And now there is hope. Jaehaera and Rickon are more distant than ever, each of them with a plot of their own.

The Queen is dead. Long live the King. Rhaenyra Targaryen had been what held them together. And with her gone, they may yet break apart.

"Husband, release me from my vows," Jaehaera tells him again, as the Queen burn of her pyre.

"The pact," he reminds her.

"It shall endure," Jaehaera promises.

vii. Aegon is no longer a child. Jaehaera smiles at her cousin and waits patently for him to approach. "My lady," he greets her. There is familiarity in his touch. Enough of it to make her relax. And then there is something unfamiliar about the way he looks at her. And that makes her shudder.

"Your Majesty." She looks over her shoulder. Rickon is speaking to Lady Jeyne Manderly. "I wish to ask a favour."

"What favour?" Her hand is in his and Jaehaera gathers her strength. Aegon continues to watch her. "What favour, my lady?" he insist.

They slip away together.

viii. The High Septon is easily convinced to break the bonds of marriage. "After all, 'twas not towards the Seven that you spoke the vows." Jaehaera smiles at Rickon and he grins back at her.

After, once it is just the two of them he spins her around in circles again. "You are a goddess among women," he tells her, putting her back down to her feet.

"I suppose I am," Jaehaera replies, laughter bubbling on her lips. "I think Jeyne shall do well."

Once more, her former husband kisses her cheeks. "You truly are the best woman I've ever known." But Jeyne waits for him and he must away.

ix. Queen Daenaera scowls at her as Aegon leans in to whisper something in her ear. Jaehaera merely smiles and nods along with the words. She knows what the rest of the court thinks. She knows they wonder at her presence.

But Jaehaera wants no crown. There is something else she seeks. Aegon takes her hand in his under the table. "Stay awhile longer, cousin. You ca speak your vows to the Seven at a later time."

She agrees.

Receiving Aegon is different. It fits in a strange way. Like they were meant for such. Jaehaera prays to the Mother for strength to fulfil her vow this time.

x. Shaera Waters is born when winter comes. The first snowflakes have started their descent and the sweet babe cries. Jaehaera kisses the crown of her head and Rickon sweeps in and takes the child in his arms.

"The pact shall endure, our pact of ice and fire." Her words prompt a nod from her former husband.

"She is beautiful," he says, marvelling at the tiny creature swaddled in blankets. "Winterfell awaits you."

Jaehaera smiles, covering her hair in thick dark gauze. "This is satisfactory then, my lord?"

"A Septa will be needed to teach her," he says after a moment of silence. Jaehaera nods her head.