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Wild At Heart

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Southern Affairs

 

All through the morning, he had been distracted, his mind constantly replaying the events from the night before. To Viserys, and everything with the King. To Daenerys and the loss, he felt without her cuddled up against him. One night, they had spent together in the same chambers, and without her, he felt lost – he couldn’t understand it. She wasn’t even there during the morning fast, and he felt her absence. 

 

           Skoriot issi ao?

           Where are you?

 

He’d wondered, anxious and worried for her though he had not had a reply – her thoughts unusually absent. The Tyrell’s presence in Kings Landing had just about changed everything within the Red Keep and to a certain extent the whole of the city. The morning felt more formal, there were three tables in the hall instead of one, and the King, Aegon, and Rhaenys were all separated among each of them. Jaeh supposed it was just his luck that he was seated to the right of the King throughout, though in hindsight it was probably better than to sit near Rhaenys when he knew Viserys was sat across from her along with half a dozen brightly coloured Lords and Ladies. Aegon was seated with the Lady Margaery, and half a dozen other Lords and Ladies that all looked like one another. The noise was something else entirely on the other tables, while Lord Tyrell thankfully kept the attention of the King, and the amusing Lady Ollenna much of the time.

 

           Iksan vaoreznuni syt konīpradagon se dārilaros… Sȳrī nyke daor.

           I’m sorry for threatening the prince… Well, I’m not.

 

He frowned in thought, ignoring the smirk from Aegon as he finally felt her respond to him. There were a few things he regretted, threatening the prince was not one of them. 

 

           Umbagon

           Wait. 

 

She replied quickly. The shift sudden. His heart catching in his throat as this connection between them strengthened, growing thicker and warmer. The noise around him, the Lord and Ladies, their words diluting to a strange silence, their faces shifting to faceless shadows… Until all he could feel was her, could see her clear as day in his mind's eye. A ghost of a smile on her lips as she concentrated all her thoughts on him, 

 

You did nothing wrong, Jon. I-,” she trailed off, and he could see clearly as she dipped her fingers through Ghost’s shaggy fur in thought, “I’m sorry for how I reacted, but know I am thankful for what you did.

 

Jaeh blinked, caught off guard by the change, “This is different,” he replied.

She grinned in response, “Here we may speak without others listening, I prefer it this way.” Dany paused a moment, “You mean so much to me already. I was afraid of what Viserys would do,” 

 

“You mean a lot to me too,” he admitted. 

 

The princess smiled shyly in response, “May I see you again tonight?” she asked. It was a question that he needn’t answer, thinking back to that stone door and the passageways beyond. He was tempted last night to go in search of her, though if she hadn’t come to him tonight, he was sure he would. Yes, he may have gotten lost. There was no way of knowing how expansive the world beyond that door was, but he would navigate the unknown for her.  

 

I’d have to come and find you if you didn’t,” he teased, smiling truly as she giggled.

 

Her humour was bright and infectious, “Well, I will see you tonight then.” She replied with a soft smile, as the bond faded if slightly to what it had been since he’d been here in Kings Landing. Blinking as he was once again surrounded by the raucous noise of the morning. 

 

Immediately as they finished the morning fast the King had asked him to join him so they may speak in private. Jaeh wasn’t sure what he felt after their last conversation, even if a part of him didn’t hold any blame on the King. It was the cunt of a prince. Jaeh rubbed his fingers against his palm as he followed after the King and Lannister knight in silence, trying not to think too much into what the King could want to speak of. “There is to be a small hunt in the afternoon in celebration of the Mace Tyrell and his family’s arrival, but before that, I thought it would be a good a time as any for us to speak. I know little of life beyond the wall, and how you…,” he glanced at him, “and your people live. The free folk and their life is quite fascinating,” 

 

The King had told him he wanted to learn more of his people he supposed. Jaeh nodded in reply, unsure how to respond as he followed after the King as they moved to what was called the Royal wing, and a room that King Rhaegar had called his study. There was a guard stationed on the door, though the King pulled a key from his pocket to unlock the door before he gave the Lannister Knight leave.  

 

“I thought we could speak in here,” the King added as he gestured inside before closing the door behind him, “This is my private study. A place I can come to think and take my mind from the politics, if only for a short while,” Jaeh looked away from the King to take in the room. It was messier than any of the other rooms he’d been in so far, though he could see it was an almost controlled mess. Books were spread open on countless surfaces, with parchments strewn around them with drawings and handwritten messages in what he assumed was the Kings own hand. There were many instruments too, some bigger than others, all different kinds of shapes though there were some he had seen before. “When I was young. I much preferred to get lost in books and study instead of training with sword or lance in the yard,” he explained, a soft smile on his face as his fingers skimmed over one of the books before they moved to another. “As I already told you… I had a fascination for prophecies,” the King almost looked apologetic as he avoided his gaze, “I allowed them to drive me in my life… In too much of my life if I am honest,” the King added softly.

 

Why?  It was one of many questions he wanted to ask though he wasn’t sure it was his place. Was it worth it? Jaeh glanced at him from the corner of his eyes, though chose to focus on the room. Smiling faintly as he ran his fingers over the string of one instrument, the soft tune enough to break the awkwardness. They were quiet for a moment, the King's eyes on him as he moved around the room slowly, his eyes scanning the books, the instruments as he passed before they landed on a glass box. Jaeh paused as he narrowed his eyes on its contents, the small scales reminiscent of some he had seen before, and those he’d carved on his mother’s chest all that time ago… There were three piles in total, each with pieces of various sizes and colours though charred and covered in soot in some places. “The dragon eggs, or what remains of them I suppose” King Rhaegar explained as he moved closer, a small smile on his face.

 

“Sunfrye hatched from an egg of deep green, with flecks of bronze.” He pointed to the dark green pile, which was tinged with soot, before he moved to the right and pointed at the paler of the piles, “Eliuvion hatched from a pale cream egg with streaks of gold, and Rhaelāzma hatched from an egg black as night, with scarlet ripples.” The king smiled again. The dragon’s meant something to him even though he hadn’t got his own. 

 

“Why did you keep them?” he couldn’t help but wonder. 

 

“I have been told I can be quite sentimental at times,” the King smirked slightly, “We once had a clutch of five dragon eggs,” he explained as he moved to a small trunk near the glass box and revealed another key, “Rhaelāzma, Sunfrye, Eliuvion of course but we had two more. One silver with swirls of cobalt,” he trailed off with a sigh as he quickly opened the chest, “and the other scarlet with swirls of black…,” he trailed off again as he pushed open the trunk. 

 

Jaeh gasped softly as he caught sight of the dragon egg, the thin black swirls that rippled over the dark red scales –  it was beautiful.  There was part of him that wanted to reach for it, to run his fingers over the small scales, though didn't. Instead, he watched the King reach out and gently brush his fingers against the small scales on the dragon egg. “Is this your egg?” he asked quickly trying to distract himself from his thoughts of home, his heart hurting in his chest. 

 

The King shook his head, “No. This is-,” he sighed, “I thought it would be mine, and then I thought it would go to my brother Prince Viserys.” Jaeh couldn’t help pulling a face at the name, 

 

“Ah,” the King nodded more to himself. “I wanted to apologise for what happened yesterday. Ser Harner and Viserys both came to me with claims that you had made threats to him that were unprovoked, and I was quick to judge when I should have known to show caution.”

 

The King sighed, which was something he tended to do when he was speaking with him.

 

“Thank you for standing up for my sister, for Daenerys.” He shook his head slowly, “She’s strong in everything she does, and yet… Viserys has this hold over her that she can not shake. When I found out the extent of his attentions, I had sent him away from the capital in hopes of changing his behaviour, though I fear I have failed,”

 

Jaeh shrugged, “I did what anyone would have done,” he replied. He couldn’t say he cared about the prince at all, as long as he stayed away from Dany. Did the King know about his connection with the princess? Jaeh didn’t think he did. It probably wouldn’t be good to tell the King exactly what he would do if the prince touched her again. 

 

“You should know that Daenerys also came to me, to explain that you were only trying to help her, as did Ser Arthur,” the King smiled slightly. “I know you haven’t seen much of one another yet, but I hope that will change soon,” he smiled softly. “Anyway, I feel like I have spoken enough for a lifetime. Will you tell me of the North and your people?”  

 

What could he tell him?  Jaeh nodded slowly as he moved on to look at a beautiful bow of black and gold, “It’s a dragon bow made from dragon bone,” The King explained quietly.  What? He sighed in response, feeling the need to step back and be away from it. The dragons were magical. They were sacred. 

 

“Life in the North is harsh, but there’s a beauty to it… To be free from all these…,” he trailed off and pulled a face as he tugged at his fine clothes and gestured to the walls around them. He continued slowly, trying to think of things that sounded interesting though couldn’t think of anything that a King would want to know. Feeling a need to tell him of the hardships his people would be going through like Mance had cautioned him to do. Yet, the North wasn’t all hardships. 

 

They lived. They laughed. They loved. They fought for one another, helped each other survive…  He’d grown in a small village close to the wall though he had travelled with Mance as he began his campaign to bring the different clans together. Gathering all from the northernmost reaches of the haunted forest to the hidden valleys of the Frostfangs, and the stranger places beyond. Each clan was like its own family – in a way, they looked after their own, though only together could they succeed. He supposed people North, and South were more alike than not. There were good people and the bad. Men of honour, liars, cravens and much more… 

 

Jaeh shuddered inwardly at the thought of the cannibals from the great ice rivers. That cursed bastard Craster and his daughter wives – they knew what he did. He was not one of them, no matter what the fucking Nights Watch claimed. His people were stubborn, sometimes too stubborn. 

 

“We fish, and hunt though not as much as we used to do. Some of the clans that live close to the shore hunt seals and walrus,” he explained. They also had two ship’s they’d taken from the damn slavers that were kept frozen in the ice along the coast – not that they knew how to sail the bloody things. They actually had three ships that they had taken from the slavers that came to take from them, one they’d traded to the captain that had returned for the priestesses. “We have mammoths too and a few herds of reindeers, and goats” though it wouldn’t last his people long, and he knew they needed the animals to survive beyond the winter. They had managed to hunt a whale once – it tasted good and the meat lasted much longer than game tended to do, but it was no easy feat in getting the bloody thing. 

 

“Is it true there are some in your people that can speak the old tongue?” the King asked after a moment, as he gestured to the table and chairs and they both took a seat, 

 

Jaeh nodded, “Yes, though I only know a handful of words,” he admitted. In truth, he’d always held a fascination for Valyrian, from the words his Muña had taught him, to when he’d learned from Leraria. “Mance, our King can speak the language, though he can also sing,”

 

“Can you sing?” the king asked, a teasing smile on his lips. Jaeh shook his head quickly and ducked his head, glancing up as the King chuckled quietly. “Do you know any songs or bards?” the King asked in the quiet. It still felt strange to be alone with the King.

 

“Aye, I know some,” he shrugged in thought as he remembered all the songs Mance would sing. “Our King, Mance likes his songs,” Jaeh admitted. “He sings them sometimes, on a night or by the fires.” He paused trying to remember the names of them, “The Dornishman’s wife, The Winter Maid, and the bear and the maiden fair but there were others,” he smirked slightly, “There’s the last of the giants too,”

 

The king looked at him, “I know of most, though I’m unsure I have heard the last one,” he looked at him, in thought like he’d often come to do, “Can you sing the words for me?”

 

“Er… Aye,” he swallowed hard and looked away from the King as he thought to home. The Snow's deep. The biting cold. The way the ground would rumble with every step Mag the Mighty would take. “Oooooh, I am the l-last of the giants, m-my people are gone from the earth,”

 

“Go on,” the King encouraged with a gentle smile as moved to another trunk and returned with a silver harp before he slowly plucked at the silver strings, hesitant at first though less so as he continued with the song.  

 

The last of the great mountain giants,

who ruled all the world at my birth.

 

Oh, the smallfolk have stolen my forests,

they’ve stolen my rivers and hills.

 

And they’ve built a great wall through my valleys,

and fished all the fish from my rills.

 

In stone halls, they burn their great fires,

in stone halls, they forge their sharp spears.

 

Whilst I walk alone in the mountains,

with no true companion but tears.

 

They hunt me with dogs in the daylight,

they hunt me with torches by night.

 

For these men who are small can never stand tall,

whilst giants still walk in the light.

 

Oooooooh, I am the LAST of the giants,

so, learn well the words of my song.

 

For when I am gone the singing will fade,

and the silence shall last long and long…

 

Jaeh felt lost to the world as he finished the song, he remembered odd moments from home. Those tears Ygritte always tried so hard to hide when they sang the song. There were around a few hundred giants left because they were hunted before the wall went up, and the old wars were fought. The South had forgotten them, remembering them only in tales alongside Snarks and Grumkins. It kept them safe from the South and the East, but not the dead. No one was safe from the dead. 

 

The King was watching him, he could almost feel his gaze as the silence slowly stretched, taking a slow breath before he glanced up to see a small smile on his face. “That is a beautiful song,” the King commented softly, though there was a smile playing on his lips, “So, you can sing?” he accused with a chuckle.

 

Jaeh pressed his lips together and shook his head slowly, feeling heat creep up his neck as King Rhaegar slowly began to strum the strings on his harp again, the tune slow and sad… The moment torn at the sudden knock at the door, the quiet thump enough to have the King pause the tune – a curiosity bubbling at what song the King would sing. The tune sounded familiar; he was sure. 

 

The King sighed as he glanced up towards the door, “Enter,”

 

Jaeh watched curiously as the bald lord from the Kings council entered, his lip pursed, eyes narrowed as they looked at him before he looked sweetly to the King, a look that had the King on his feet. “What is it Lord Varys?” he asked, 

 

The Lord looked from the King to him, though the King shook his head and gestured for him to continue. “Very well,” he paused, “It seems Lord Tywin is coming to the capital, your grace.”

 

“He’s what?”

 

Lord Varys looked undaunted as he continued, “I have received word that he wishes to petition Prince Viserys for Lady Myrcella’s hand…,” he explained simply as he looked to the King, who frowned in thought. Jaeh wasn’t sure he understood fully, though he knew there was more to it than a lord requesting the prince’s hand for his daughter or whoever the unlucky lady was. 

 

“Er… Thank you, Lord Varys. Please gather Lord Connington, and Ser Arthur,” he paused, “I will be with you shortly,” he explained as he closed the door and quickly turned towards him. “I am afraid I have to cut this short,” he sighed, “I have greatly enjoyed learning of you, and your people.” He smirked slightly, his eyes alight with amusement, “and hearing you sing,” he added before his face fell slightly and he quickly moved to tuck his harp away, in the confines of its chest, before he bid goodbye and left for the door. Jaeh followed after him hesitantly, watching him lock the door before he nodded to Ser Jamie and headed off down the corridor with Ser Arthur. Jaeh sighed as he looked at the Lannister Knight, sighing again as he smirked and lead him off to who knows where. 

 


 

XIX

 

Jaeh shook his head in disbelief as he twisted around in his saddle to get a better look at the mass of folk wandering all over the bloody place. The King had told him of the small hunt earlier, though he had not imagined anything like this. He’d thought ten or so lords setting out with spear or bow at most… Yet, there were hundreds. Lords and Ladies both in their fine clothes and colourful dresses, Knights in their heavy armour, wild dogs tugging on their leashes, and even squawking birds in wooden creates. He’d never seen anything like it. He was sure there were half of the court attending, many herding inside carriages to travel to the fields before the King's Wood.

 

After the King had left to deal with the politics of the South, and this Lord Tywin, the Lannister Knight had escorted him back to Maester Elden and his lessons, though this time he wasn’t there for long. The Maester showed him the history of House Targaryen, though if he was honest, it was the dragons that interested him the most. Balerion, Vhagarand Meraxes were the most notable, but there were others too. Vermax, Dreamfyre and Tessarion the blue queen…  Aegon’s dragon Sunfyre was named for his namesake’s mount, Aegon II, but perhaps the strangest thing was seeing his own name in the Targaryen history books. Jaehaerys. Could that have been Muña’s way of showing him who he was? 

 

He supposed when he was young, it didn’t matter. He had her there to guide him. To teach him. No one could have foreseen what would happen – maybe if he had been stronger… Jaeh stopped the thought before it could take hold shaking his head as he followed after the royal family on Moondancer. How in the hell were they supposed to hunt with all this noise? Jaeh was sure every animal South of the wall could hear them. He wouldn’t be surprised if they couldn’t hear them beyond the wall too.

 

Servants and pages had already seen to erecting pavilions before they had arrived – the King couldn’t be kept waiting.  They were bloody proficient; he’d give them that. It was as he watched them all scurrying around, he had finally caught sight of Ghost, his wolf trotting along between Daenerys and Rhaenys, his eyes searching. Releasing a breath, he didn’t know he was holding when she finally met his gaze over the din, a small smile tugging at her lips. She was radiant, beaming like the rays of sun breaking from the clouds of grey.

 

“It seems your wolf has made new friends,” Ser Arthur noted, the words forcing him to tear his gaze away as he glanced to the Knight. 

 

“Ghost does as he pleases,” he replied simply, shaking his head as more servants began unpacking a great number of furs and cushions, “I thought we were here to hunt?” he wondered. There was nothing about this that spoke of hunting. North and they would have set out in a small group with bow and spear. They needed to be able to move fast, to find and track the animals.

 

“It was supposed to be a small hunt,” Arthur replied quietly, “Though once Lady Margaery had gotten word, Lord Tyrell had requested that his daughter and her ladies join us,”

 

Jaeh shrugged in reply, unsure how the Ladies would hunt in their fine dresses, even if they seemed to wear trousers underneath them. Surely it would only slow them down?

 

Those that wished to join the hunt convened near the King's Road, there were thirty or so on horseback, while a dozen also joined on foot, some rearing back wild dogs, who barked and tugged endlessly on their leash. How could they hunt like this? There was so much going on, the Lords galloping off with the young Tyrell lord, Robb and Aegon leading the fray, while he followed after the King. The ladies were not allowed to join them – this was for men, though he could not understand why. Igga could hunt better than anyone he knew. Ulethe was the best tracker he had ever seen, and he could begrudgingly admit that Ygritte was much better with a bow than he. Oh, how she loved to hold that against him. 

 

Atop of his saddle he tried his best to watch everything, the way the dogs poised low – no longer barking rapidly – snout low to the ground in search of the scent, tails wagging back and forth as their masters watched on closely. They were dogs trained to hunt boar, or so Ser Arthur explained. The men with the dogs took to the front of the group, travelling slowly. It was different from back home like most things, it didn’t feel like he was hunting. 

 

The dogs began barking again, tugging as they led the party deeper into the woods. They’d caught the scent, and all they could do was follow. Most of the Lords, or those closer to the front of the group all quietened, though there were still those around him that chuckled, and giggled amongst themselves. Well, until Lord Tyrell gave them a pointed look to make them quieten down.  

 

He could hear quiet grunting in the distance, his eyes following the sound and catching a small pack of the wild boars – the sizes varying though the biggest seemed larger than that of a normal wolf, its tusks deep and thick – grunting as they foraged for food. One of the Lords whistled, and as a collective they all looked off to the way he pointed towards them, the men on foot sneaking off quietly before the dogs were let loose. 

 

Jaeh found himself holding his breath as he watched them, the largest pausing in its foraging as the other two copied its movements – ears twitching before it huffed and ran. The Boar squealed, and he watched as the beast galloped away. The boars scattering, one east with men lumbering after it, while the other two galloped off further south.

 

Jaeh followed steadily after the group as curious as he was confused as he watched the Lord's amble on after the creatures. There was so much noise. To the lords here, this was exciting, it was as if this was all a game. This wasn’t done to fill hungry bellies; this was done in sport. A celebration for the Tyrell’s that had just arrived.

 

He slowed Moondancer to the back of the group as he watched the others spur their horses on, the dogs dashing in between the tree’s, the men on foot hot on their trail as the chase continued. Men chuckling, some hollowing as the dogs made quick work of separating the boars, the smaller of the two dashing deeper into the brushes, while the bigger turned west – the Lords and their horses were quick to catch up, the beast squealing in pain as their spears tore through its thick hide. The boar quickly grunting as it shifted direction and galloped on. 

 

Jaeh felt uncomfortable. The way these Southerners hunted made his skin crawl. There was no skill, there was no efficiency, there was no thought to the scent in the air, or which way the wind blew. The lords cared more for the chase. They wanted the boar to run. Laughing and jeering as they blundered after the poor thing with their swords and spears. Other Lords chuckling as they narrowly avoided the boar's tusks as it lunged at them, the animal wild with fear – lashing out at anything that got too close.

 

Moondancer was antsy, as they came to a slow watching from a distance as the lords tried their best to spear the beast, glancing to the side to see Ser Arthur, and the King still on top of his horse as he watched on, his guard Ser Barristan wedged between prince Aegon and Robb Stark near the hunt. 

 

There was no glory in this.  Beast or not, the animal did not deserve this. Jaeh would have killed the beast quickly before it had any thought to his presence. It did not need to suffer. Ghost could have killed it twice as many times, and never would it have suffered like this. 

 

The King broke the silence between them after a moment, “You don’t have to stay on your horse Jon,” Jaeh glanced at him, though he gestured to Ser Arthur that loosened a sword and scabbard from his saddle, 

 

Jaeh shook his head, “We don’t hunt like this,” he replied quietly, tightening his hand around the horn of the saddle as the boar squealed in pain… “How come you aren’t down there, among them?” he asked as he glanced at the King. Jaeh would not say he knew the King well, though he could tell that he seemed distracted… Was this because of what the spymaster had said?

 

The King sighed quietly, “The hunts are more for my lords than I,” he replied as he nodded off to Aegon, who was chuckling with Robb just behind the scrumming Lords and the wild beast. “Prince Aegon does not like to hunt like I, but he does so to bond with the Lords and the men he will one day rule,”

 

Jaeh pulled a face, “It's hardly hunting,” he replied bluntly, pressing his lips together as the King rose a brow at him, “The men would have exhausted themselves in the North, and the animal would have escaped,” he shrugged. In the North, they did not have the luxury to play with food. “I suppose it’s more for sport than needs?” With all the feasts thrown, he could not imagine there was a need for anything. It was one of the things he envied the most, that and how carefree the Southerners were in their everyday lives. To them, there was no threat beyond the wall.

 

The King nodded slowly, “The beast will be used for our supper once we return, but you will return to the red keep along with us before nightfall” he explained. Jaeh nearly rolled his eyes, though instead he nodded in understanding and turned his gaze back to the hunt. It took the fools near an hour to finally kill the beast, the Lords boasting of how big and fat it was, like the bloody oaf himself. 

 

“My Lord,” another Lord cried as he ran towards them, it seems he was from the other group. Blood covering his hands, causing other lords to gasp. Further away, there were three men, two of which held up one as they led him towards them – his face eery pale. Jaeh pulled a face as he caught sight of the gaping wound on the man’s lower thigh, a hand or two higher and he’d be a man no more. The Lords seemed weary of the Lord’s injury though it was apparently a common occurrence according to Ser Arthur. 

 

Sweat riddled the lords returned to their horses while they had men carry the beasts, back to where they had made camp. The wounded was sent to the Maester, while a fire had been built for the boars to roast on. It reminded him of home, though without the snow. There were bards that sang while lords and some ladies sat around the fire and drank though some of the high born sat in their large pavilions on cushioned seats and spoke amongst themselves. Jaeh wandered around aimlessly for a time, watching the ladies from afar as they returned with their pretty birds, and the small game tied to their saddles. 

 

The pretty Lady Margaery was eager to show prince Aegon, and Robb the animals she’d caught while Rhaenys and Dany joined them. He’d caught Dany's gaze from a distance though he gave them their space. There was a distance between him and everyone else there, the strange stare’s a constant until their gazes would shift to his shadow. Jon had come to appreciate Ser Arthur, he didn’t seem to react to him like others. One step out of place and the guards and knight's would be eager to draw their swords, and yet the Ser Arthur seemed calm. He took the time to explain things and ask him questions. It was different from his first days here in Kings Landing – with his quiet stare – though he appreciated it all the same. 

 

The boars had been left to roast over the open fire, while men and women scurried about getting vegetable’s and everything else ready. It reminded him of home. Following after Ser Arthur as they moved to a large pavilion of white – the biggest there. Many Lords and Ladies were already in there speaking quietly with one another in small groups around tables, while a bard sang a calm tune. King Rhaegar was already there too, a smile on his face as he spoke to Lord Stark quietly. Arthur led him to a table close to theirs, nodding kindly at where to sit before he took a seat opposite him. Jaeh watched him carefully – so far, the Knights here rarely joined in whatever event the Lords and Ladies did. 

 

Arthur smiled kindly, “I’m to keep an eye on you, so you do not cause any more trouble…,” he smirked slightly, his words teasing. He ducked his head to hide his smile, a retort on his tongue though it was lost quickly…

 

“Hullo Arthur,” Rhaenys smiled, “Jon,” she greeted, as she took a seat at their table. A smile growing on his face as Aegon quickly grabbed another, and finally, Dany took a seat right next to him. Jaeh blinked as he glanced at each of them in turn before Robb approached with the Lady Margaery and a glum-looking little Arya. Jaeh bit back a smirk as Robb introduced him to Lady Margaery, the lady smiling kindly as she looked at him – she seemed kind, though something felt strange about her… Once pleasantries were quickly exchanged and Ghost had laid himself behind him and Daenerys, they all quietened as the music picked up and a bard began to sing, the tune happy as lords and ladies spoke amongst themselves, or drank their drinks. 

 

It was strange to be sat close to the princess, feeling her heat so close – their thighs almost touching, stealing a glance at her from the corner of his eyes, and pressing his lips together as she did the same. “Will we ever meet the dragons?” Lady Arya asked, breaking the silence – the words making him jump, pulling away from Dany as she did the same. Clearing his throat as Ghost roused and sat up quickly, his cold wet nose pressing into his cheek as he looked down at the table. Jaeh snickered thankful to have something else to concentrate on as Rhaenys quickly moved to answer the question, 

 

“The King has suggested that we visit the Dragon Pit tomorrow, Lady Arya,” she smirked as she looked at Dany, “Rhaelāzma will be getting his saddle tested.” She added as Daenerys sighed loudly

 

“He will not allow it.” She replied with a shake of her head, 

 

Aegon smiled, “Just think. You will be able to fly faster, and do all the twists and turn without the fear of falling,”

 

Daenerys rolled her eyes, “I will watch with great amusement as they try, but I will not force it on him,” she gave Aegon a pointed look, “A dragon is no slave,” Jaeh watched them quietly, the dragons were a topic everyone seemed to wish to know more about, even Robb who all but stared at the Lady Margaery throughout. Arya rattled off every question she could think of, and they all tried to answer them if they could all throughout dinner. Jaeh found it all calming, reminiscent of being away from the walls as they sat in the pavilion enjoying the hearty meal of boar, with vegetables and thick gravy. The princess presence close, her fingers brushing against his under the table, as she answered one of the latest questions from Lady Margaery on which of the dragons were the fastest, 

 

“Sunfrye is the fastest because she never keeps still. Eliuvion would be faster if he didn’t forget he a dragon, and not an oversized cat,” She grinned as she looked at Rhaenys knowingly, and Aegon chuckled “Rhaelāzma can fly much further and longer than the others,” she smiled cheekily, “He likes to explore.”

 

Rhaenys huffed, “My lovely Aunt means, she loves to explore,” she corrected with a grin. The crowd clapped as the bard finished his latest song, watching as the man danced from one foot to the other bowing and eating up the applause. 

 

“Will you sing for us, your grace?” a Lady asked, she was one of the Ladies that he had seen following after Margaery, her brown hair twisted in intricate braids around the top of her head as she smiled prettily at the King. The King looked thoughtful a moment before he nodded in agreement and gestured to a page to bring him his harp, the same silver one he had played in his study. There was a smile on his face as he moved to the open space, and faced them all in attendance, his eyes drifting over the crowd a moment before he looked down at the silver harp, and slowly began plucking at the strings. 

 

“Perhaps you will sing with me Lady Elinor?” he asked softly, his smile growing as the women blushed and those around her chuckled. “What of you Rhaenys?” he asked. The princess rolling her eyes and shaking her head, 

 

“I will leave the singing to you father,” she replied with a smile, her hand slipping into Aegon’s as the tune picked up a moment before it slowed down one again. 

 

“What about you Jon?” he asked as he met his gaze.

 

           kostā vāedagon?

           You can sing? 

 

He could feel her eyes on him, but he pressed his lips together and shook his head quickly as the King chuckled lightly, a brightness to him that he couldn’t say he had seen so far in his time in Kings Landing as he plucked the strings on his silver harp and slowly picked up a rhythm before he began. The room fell into silence as the tune grew sweet and sad as he began to sing, his voice surprised him – his voice was like silk. He held everyone’s attention in the room as he closed his eyes, lost to the song… 

 

           kostagon ao vāedagon?

           Can you sing?

 

Dany repeated, her fingers tightening against his. Smiling softly as he glanced at her, meeting her gaze until she quickly looked back at the King. 

 

           Nyke ivestretan mēre hen īlva songs lēda aōha dārys. 

           I told one of our songs to your King.

 

           Kostan daor vāedagon.

           I can not sing.

 

He replied after a moment, the tune of the song taking him back. Closing his eyes and remembering the woman humming that same tune – his Muña – a smile on her face, her grey eyes bright as she looked down at him. It was a sad song, but it always made her smile. The crowd and those in attendance were enthralled with the King as he sang, on each word as they left his lips, some wiping tears from their eye’s. Jaeh allowed a smile to pull at his lips, with Daenerys hand in his, it was good to see a different side to the King away from negotiations and Southern politics. 

 

The song ended to raucous applause – especially from the Ladies – the King smiling that false smile he often did as he thanked them. It felt as if the King had not sung for them… His mask firmly in place as the song finished and he placed his silver harp in the waiting chest. Soon afterwards they were ready to head back to the Red Keep for the night – the royal family, with a handful of lords and Ladies that wished to though Arthur had told him that King wanted him to return too, and he couldn’t find fault in that because it meant he could still see Dany. 

 


 

XX

 

Gods it had been a strange day. The music, the lesson’s, and all the singing. It still felt strange how all these things could tire him out. Yet, he couldn’t keep still at the thought of getting to see Dany again. Wishing to be alone with her. Smiling as he remembered her tell of the dragons, of Rhaelāzma, Sunfrye, and Eliuvion. Each of them different from one another. They not only looked different, but they acted differently too. They had paintings of the dragons, of Vermithor the bronze fury, Seasmoke in pale silver and Tessarion, the dragon of dark cobalt and copper – the picture depicting them mid-fight. Another of Vermithor with his wings torn and Seasmoke’s head between its teeth. It was called the second battle of Tumbleton, which was part of a greater civil war called the dance with dragons. 

 

These people killed the dragons, whether by choice or action, by power or greed. All that death and they had wiped dragons from the world and all in the name of a throne. Jaeh sighed as he thought to the future, to wars that would come – the living against the dead. Dragon fire would be important to any chance of survival they had though he worried at what they would face when the war finally came. Allowing thoughts to a dream he’d long since pushed away. 

 

Scales pale blue like Ice, eye’s pools of crystal, bearing down on him. He shivered as he felt its cold breath felt under his many layers, covering his ears as its high-pitched screech tore at his mind. A sudden heat washing over him, burning everything, it touched as the monster hissed away from the furious flames. A second flame, joining them, a third, a fourth… Forcing the monster to retreat further away, its menacing eyes boring into his, cold smoke rising from its snout until it snapped its dark sword-like teeth.

 

The scraping of stone made him jump, turning back into the room – the smile falling from his face in confusion as Rhaenys head popped through the gap in the wall, followed by Aegon, as they beckoned him to follow them. Unsure as he glanced at the main door – what would they do if they found him outside his chambers? He supposed it wouldn't matter much as he would be with the prince and princess… 

 

Jaeh took the black hooded cloak that was offered by Aegon and followed them into the cramped darkness. He ducked to get into the tight space, taking a deep breath as Rhaenys was careful to close the passage door behind them and Aegon picked up a glass lantern off the floor and quickly led them on. 

 

           There is someone we wish for you to meet.

 

Rhaenys explained as he copied Aegon in ducking under a low hanging beam and moved to the side to avoid a giant spiders web.

 

           Who?

 

He wondered as he glanced over his shoulder, turning back around when Rhaenys pulled him to the right – so he didn’t bang his head on a large rock that protruded from the stone. Jaeh didn’t understand why this couldn’t wait, he would much prefer to be waiting for Dany to come to him in his chambers than meeting anyone else.

 

“You will see, Jon,” Aegon whispered as they continued to follow him. They slipped through a small opening carved into the very stone as they finally reached their way outside – the breath leaving him as he was pulled back quickly, gaping at the steep drop into dark waters, his heart drumming in his chest as he looked down at the cliffs, before he glanced at Rhaenys, trying to get a hold of his breathing. 

 

           Skoros…Skoros issi ao jāre?

           What… Where are you going?

 

Dany demanded, a wave of anger burning as Rhaenys sighed loudly as they finally got back underway. He’d never put much thought into the passages that Dany had travelled through, though they were more intricate than he had perhaps thought. The small narrow path led them to an ageing bridge made of wood and rope – tightening his grip in fear he’d be blown off the damn thing – as they crossed the bridge slowly. He could hear some guards walking and talking above them on the wooden bridge.

 

           We are going to see uncle. You said you wished to bathe and get ready to sleep.

 

Rhaenys finally replied as they got to the other side, Aegon grinning and shaking his head – he could feel Dany still, a part of him wishing he could just concentrate on her and little else but he couldn’t as he watched Rhaenys rush ahead and quietly unlock a steel gate – the loud click making him jump in the quiet as he followed them through and they closed and locked the gate behind them. There were more narrow tunnels they made their way through until they came to a large opening – the lantern’s light shrouding everything in a faint orange glow. 

 

Jaeh narrowed his eyes on the strange shapes, turning instead of following the steps of Aegon, “They’re dragon skulls,” Rhaenys explained as she came up behind him, Aegon tiptoeing over with the lantern and holding it up to illuminate the space around them. 

 

“Balerion,” he noted looking to the biggest. “Vhagar, and Meraxes,” he pointed to each in turn. Biting his lip as he looked around at the others – trying to picture the sheer size of them. Aegon and Rhaenys glanced at one another. 

 

“Yes, you are correct. This is where the dragon skulls are kept,” she murmured quietly. 

 

Aegon reached for her hand and squeezed it gently, “Our grandfather was mad, and that madness soured the history of our house,” he sighed, “When our people see the dragon skulls, they see Aerys II and remember only the atrocities that he did. That is why they are hidden down here and not hung along the walls in the great hall, in all their glory,” he explained. The mad King. Jaeh wasn’t sure why, but it made him think of the Weeper and those watering and itchy eyes of his. That fear in his eye’s when he knew his time had come, his furs burning, skin blistering and bubbling as he burned. He could not be trusted. He would only plunge them into a war. 

 

They quickly moved on to the other side of the cellar and down a narrow passage with a gate at the end, watching Rhaenys unlock the gate in the dark, though if he was honest, he couldn’t quite tame his curiosity, less about where they were going and more about Daenerys. 

 

“How is Dany after…,” he trailed off hoping either of them could understand what he was asking. He had seen her of course, and he’d seen her smile… Even in the dark, he could see Aegon shake his head as he held the gate open for him and closed it behind them, 

 

“Viserys has never been good with any of us,” Aegon answered in the quiet as they slowed down, “We feared what he would do when we were younger…,” he sighed, “Our Aunt just can’t find it in herself to fight back against him,” he frowned as he looked off into the darkness, 

 

Rhaenys smiled sadly, “She is one of the strongest people I know. She was the first to walk into the flames. The first bring dragons back into this world, and yet in this…,” she trailed off and shook her head slowly as she fixed her gaze on him. She couldn’t be strong. The thought pained him, he’d seen her fight, he’d seen her boldness, her excitement, her smiles. “Thank you, for being there for her.” She murmured, surprising him as she closed the space between them and wrapped him in a tight hug – eyes opening wide as Aegon smiled at him. 

 

There was one more final gate to unlock before they crawled through a tight opening low to the ground, craning his head up at the large stone walls that he knew belonged to the red keep as they crawled through a small patch of long grass. They were in the city. The thought surprised him, taking in a lungful of fresh air despite the foulness of the smell. Glancing one way down the street, and then the other as Rhaenys stepped ahead to continue leading them into the city. 

 

           Se geralbri rȳ bantis issi daor ȳgha.

           The streets at night are not safe.

 

Dany warned them clearly not pleased they were out on the city streets, causing Rhaenys to huff as they continued. 

 

           We will be fine, Dany.

 

Jaeh frowned as he felt a presence behind them, focusing on the steps as they moved down one of the cobbled streets and then another. The steps were even and yet constant, following Aegon and Rhaenys around the corner though pausing suddenly, fists clenched and ready for whatever fight they would face. Only Aegon stepped ahead of him, his hand resting on the pommel of his sword as the hooded figure rounded the corner and stopped suddenly, “You have been told, time and time again to only leave the red Keep with a guard,” Ser Arthur complained, as he pulled his hood back and gave the prince and princess a pointed look, “and now you wish to drag Jon in on your antics?”

 

Aegon rolled his eyes as he twisted around on his heels ready to continue on, “We’re going to see uncle,” he muttered, 

 

“And why is it that Jon is with you?” Arthur asked as he continued in step with them, 

 

Rhaenys gave him a small smile, “I wanted Jon to meet uncle,” she shrugged slightly, “I thought it would be advantageous to Jon and his cause,” she paused as she glanced at Arthur, “and you know how Uncle gets when he’s in the Red Keep…,”

 

Arthur narrowed his eyes though said nothing as they moved on, Arthur quickly pointing out a few of the alleys, lanes, and squares as they passed though he found his mouth falling open as they moved onto what Arthur called the street of Silk. Eye’s wide as he stared at the giddy group of women that noticed them immediately, even with their hoods up they moved towards Aegon quickly, dainty hands reaching for him. Offering to show him a good time, though he chuckled and slipped past them. 

 

“Leave us be,” Arthur bit out, as he lifted his hand to point at a young girl before she could reach him. Jaeh recoiled when he felt cold fingers on his wrist, 

 

“Aren’t you a sweet thing,” the girl cooed, her eyes blue – her smile false, stepping away quickly as another girl in a blue scarce dress smirked up at him and reached for him. Surprised when he could feel Dany’s annoyance surge over him as Aegon sniggered and yanked him away just before Arthur could. “Come on. I don’t think father would be pleased if Daenerys were to burn Kings Landing down this night,” he teased as he dragged him further down the street. 

 

They came to a stop outside a stone building with more girls outside, though what drew his attention more was the lantern hung over the doors of scarlet and silver. It was the scent in the air that hit him as they walked through the door, an exotic spice that made him think of sands and warmth. Of the stories, his Muña used to tell him. Aegon lowered his hood as he smiled in greeting to a dark-skinned woman, with dark eyes who nodded somewhat knowingly before calling another, Alayaya. 

 

The girl smiled kindly at Aegon as he pulled his hood back up over his face before she beckoned them to follow her. He’d heard of places like this before and knew many in the Night watch frequented them in what they called Mole’s Town. The girl led them into a room in the back where a man was sitting at a table, though he stood suddenly as they walked in. Jaeh watched curiously as Rhaenys squealed like a little girl and ran to this man, who laughed and wrapped her up in a crushing hug – this must be their uncle. They did show some semblance, especially Rhaenys hair with the man that embraced her. Aegon smiled as he too hugged the man, “Uncle,” he laughed, 

 

“Gods, look at you,” he smiled as he looked from Rhaenys to Aegon before he shook his head, “You look more like your mother each time I see you,” he smiled sadly, though it settled slightly as he caught sight of him and Arthur.

 

“I didn’t think I would see you so soon, my friend,” the man smirked before his eyes locked on his, 

 

“Ah,” Aegon called as he moved back, “Uncle, this is Jon,” Aegon paused as he gestured to him, “of the free folk,” he added quickly, “Jon this is my uncle, Oberyn Martell,” Jaeh disliked the way this Oberyn was looking at him, clenching his jaw tightly as he nodded his head in greeting. He still wasn’t sure why he was invited along, and why they were meeting in a bloody brothel of all places. 

 

“A Wilding. Now, this is very interesting…,” Jaeh bit his tongue as he narrowed his eyes and held Oberyn’s cat-like gaze,

 

“Uncle his people call themselves free folk,” she corrected, as she slipped into a seat. Aegon followed her while Arthur pushed him closer to the table and gestured to a seat for him. Jaeh sat down slowly acutely aware that Oberyn had not taken his eyes off him, 

 

“You certainly do not look like a wilding, do you, boy?” there was a smirk on his face as he glanced towards Arthur, “Some could say you look like a lord or dare I say, a royal,” he added, his eyes alight with amusement. Did he know? Jaeh glanced around the room carefully, to Aegon, to Rhaenys feeling warm all over. What did they know?  He wondered, forcing a snort out of his mouth as he fixed his gaze back on Oberyn,

 

“Suppose I do in all this,” he shrugged, pulling at his clothes. What and how he looked didn’t matter in the slightest. 

 

“I suppose that could be it,” Oberyn replied. Ser Arthur was stiff beside him, his eyes locked on Oberyn in warning, the questions jumping in his mind before he could stop them. He’d come to terms with who he was. His mother was Lyanna Stark of Winterfell, and his father was the then prince, Rhaegar Targaryen. He was as much Targaryen, as he was a Stark, but above all else, he was a Freeman. He was part of the Free Folk. The King hadn’t spoken of it, and Jaeh still wasn’t sure what he knew or thought on the subject, but for now, he was content to know them. And to see them from afar. The only one he truly struggled with was Dany because he understood who she was to him. Knew that they shared blood, and still, he couldn’t stop. He couldn’t change the way he felt about her. 

 

“You know… You never did tell me why you were in the capital…,” Arthur stated,

 

Oberyn smiled as he looked from Rhaenys to Aegon, “To see my favourite niece and nephew of course,” he answered, 

 

“Ari would not be pleased to hear that,” Aegon chuckled, 

 

Rhaenys grinned, “even if it is true,” she chuckled. 

 

Jaeh watched carefully as Oberyn smirked, though his eyes were locked on Ser Arthur, “I’m sure you are aware that the Old Lion rides for the capital?” He smiled, “He left the Rock before Baratheon was dead. I’m sure you have heard the news?”

 

“Yes,” Arthur replied sharply, “Word has come he wishes to offer Viserys, Myrcella Baratheon’s hand.”

 

“She’s a little girl,” Rhaenys said with disgust,

 

“You think he is to make a move against the King?” Arthur asked in disbelief, “His own brother?” he added with a shake of his head. 

 

Rhaenys snorted in reply, “Considering his actions towards Dany…,” immediately his mood soured, the noise in the room grounding to white noise as his thoughts drifted back to that cunt’s hands on her. The fear. The pain. The torment. Taking a slow breath in an attempt to push the thoughts away as he tried to focus back on the words they were saying. 

 

“There is no way Viserys would accept anyone while Dany is still available,” Aegon argued,

 

“Do you really think the Old lion would accept a third slight against his house?” he shook his head, “What if Viserys were to have no choice?” he asked as he glanced to each of them in turn. “There are rumours,” Oberyn smirked slightly as he met Ser Arthurs gaze, “Viserys is said to have gained the favour with some Vale Lords,” he shrugged, “A lord from the Riverlands, and some minor Northern Lords,” he shook his head as he sat forwards, “The marriage alliance would gain him the backing of the Lannister’s,”

 

“We know the Lannister’s have always been there to support any who would oppose father,” Rhaenys admitted,

 

“Yes,” a voice agreed. “But now Stannis is dead, Viserys has something to offer the Lannister’s,” the women clarified as she slipped across Oberyn’s lap in a scaly their dress, “Ellaria,” she added with a sultry smirk as she met his gaze, “And whom might you be?”

 

“Jon. The ambassador of the free folk,” Arthur added his tone clipped as he looked from Ellaria to Oberyn, “When do you think they will strike?”

 

Ellaria chuckled, “They won't. Not while the dragons are all in the capital…,” she paused “Though what should happen if one of their riders were to find their end?”

 

What?  Jaeh felt himself sit up straighter as he looked Ellaria directly in the eyes, surely, she could not mean what he thought she did? This would put them all in danger… “It’s all hypothetical of course,” Oberyn added, clearly sensing the change in the room. Arthur’s fist was clenched so tightly on top of the wooden table his hands were white while Aegon, held Rhaenys hand tightly. 

 

“It's true is it not?” Oberyn asked as he looked from Rhaenys to Aegon, “The Lannister’s want the crown, and should Viserys happen to tame one of your dragons…,” he gave Rhaenys a pointed look. He would oppose the King for the crown. Is what they left unsaid, a pit growing in his stomach. 

 

“Which means it is Aegon and I that they wish to rid of,” she murmured with a frown, 

 

Ellaria hummed, “Or Daenerys-,” Jaeh surged to his feet fists clenched, his eyes locked on Ellaria as she trailed off. Not a hair would be harmed on her head. No army. No assassin. Nothing would harm her. The anger was curdling, clenching his jaw tightly as he remembered that fear in the bastard’s eyes. That was nothing. That nothing compared to what would happen should he ever cause harm to her again. Jaeh said nothing – his chair skidding across the floor as he turned on his heels and stormed from the room. Fuck.

 

Barrelling through the door and onto the streets, the cool night's breeze doing little as he walked. The Red keep loomed overhead – in truth he did not know where he was going, but he figured he’d come to a gate sooner or later.  He was here in Kings Landing for his people, and in this, he’d found another. Someone who felt as if she was his people. His Dany. His. Yet now… Now he knew just how close war in the South was, he felt stupid not seeing it earlier. The King wishing to return to the safety of the Red Keep before nightfall, Arthur’s insistence that the prince and princess have a guard with them. Gods, he could feel it in the air. The tension of the Lords and the Ladies in the keep, the hidden looks, and the quiet whispers. 

 

King Rhaegar had been central to that peace, and while the Targaryen’s and their dragons seemed close, and would never fight against one another, still others plotted. All for a chair. How many would die in a needless war? Jaeh shook his head as he came to a stop in front of the gates to the red Keep, lowering his hood slowly, 

 

“Who goes there?” one of the guards called, 

 

“Ser Arthur,” his shadow replied nearly out of breath, though Jaeh didn’t feel the need to look at him as the gates slowly opened. Carrying on uncaring of what the others saw as Ser Arthur rushed to catch up, rushing down one corridor and then the next until he found the room he was looking for. Jaeh never imagined a time he would be glad to return to his room in the castle, but he was now as he pushed through the door – feeling like he could breathe for the first time when his eyes caught sight of Dany. No one would ever harm her. Not while he breathed. 

 

Jaeh took a deep breath, watching the smile grow on her face as he closed the distance between them, wrapping his arms around her and burying his face in her neck, enjoying the way she clung to him. Nothing else mattered at that moment.

 


 

XXI

ARTHUR

 

Jon’s reaction had surprised him, watching him storm from the room and down the streets of Kings Landing muttering all the while. His fist clenching and unclenching as he walked, blind to those around him – impulsive. Just like his mother, just like Lya. Arthur hadn’t thought much of it, perhaps it was the discussion? The unfortunate truth to the fragile peace they had. There was a war brewing, there had been since the rebellion ended, and there would be until the old lion was dead. Tywin would never forgive the slight to his family when Rhaegar denied Cersei as Aerys had. Watching his friend pardon that bastard Clegane – after Jamie had refused to lay his cloak aside – in fear that the seven Kingdoms would be plunged into yet another war. It had soured relations with Dorne, but Aegon and Rhaenys were still next for the throne.

 

Standing there… Arthur couldn’t form the words as he watched them. Jon – Jaehaerys – wrapping his arms around Dany’s slender frame tightly. The princesses’ eyes closed as she buried her face against his neck and clung to him. How could this happen? It was far too imitate for strangers, and he couldn’t say they had spent more than a few moments with one another. Yet, the embrace was that of lovers, the way Dany nuzzled against his throat lost in the moment…

 

Arthur cleared his throat in hopes of breaking them from their moment, watching curiously as Dany glanced up at him, her eyes widening to the size of saucers as she slowly stepped back. Her eyes, shifting from Jon to his before she took a fortifying breath and quickly took a step in front of Jon – as if to protect him – and lifted her chin, “Yes?” she asked stubbornly, “What is it, Ser?”

 

He was taken back staring at her – them dumbly. How could this have happened? Arthur was fairly sure had anyone else caught them, the King would be informed and Connington would be arguing for Jon’s head… Well until he knew the truth. “Your brother will-,”

 

“The King will not find out about this until I wish to tell him.” She stated bluntly cutting him off. In truth he wasn’t sure how Rhae would react, Dany was his little sister, and after his mistakes in the past, Arthur knew he just wanted her to find happiness… Would he accept this between them? “I believe he would be less pleased with your escapade to Chataya's brothel,” she stated with a pointed look. 

 

“Dany,” he sighed gently. Turning quickly to shut the door before he faced them again. Of all the royals, the princess was the one that was stubborn when it came to matters of the heart. It was unfair truly though it wasn’t her fault. Aegon and Rhaenys seemed to have this magic aurora around them, they were together always, and then there was Dany… Viserys was there for a time, though after the assassins from the East and the murder of his mother, something changed in him. Arthur could still remember the screams, shouldering into the room where Rhaella and the children were – his heart torn at the blood, and the flames.

 

He had not hesitated. He had wade in the flames, covering his face with the cloak and he found them – Aegon, Daenerys, and Rhaenys – clutching one another as they cried. The heat burning away the tears before they could fall. He carried them out in his arms, uncaring of the burns he felt. Not thinking or taking notice of anything until he was sure they were safe. Until he knew they were out of the room… It was only then he saw them, the dragons. He shook his head a moment as he looked at Daenerys standing in front of him. “It’s not that your brother would be displeased with the news. It’s…,” he sighed again trying in vain to think of the right words. It wasn’t his place to tell them the truth, but he wasn’t sure the King would be against the news. Jaehaerys was his son. If he had grown up in the red keep, perhaps they would have already been matched… “This is much bigger than you both imagine,” he decided instead.

 

“I know what is at stake Arthur,” she replied softly, a frown on her face as Jon – Jaehaerys slowly stepped beside her and grasped her hand in his. A soft smile growing on her lips as she glanced at him – at her nephew – before she swallowed hard and looked back at him, “He and I are bound,” she stated simply though he found his eyes widening. 

 

It was said that Aegon and Rhaenys were bound. Their dragon’s two parts of the same whole, and while innocent in their youth, only in the recent years had they decided they would wed. “The red and black will hatch for him,”

 

Arthur blinked, watching carefully in the way Jon tilted his head and frowned ever so slightly, though it was Dany that chuckled and moved forwards intending to pull him further into the room. He allowed her to direct him to the chairs, by the fire. His thoughts reeling to his earlier conversation with Rhae. He loved the King like his brother, though even he had his limits on damned prophecies. Their words were nothing. Jaehaerys was not a thing to fulfil a prophecy, nor was Dany or Aegon, or Rhaenys. It had taken his friend too long to see that, his actions pushing the world away – pushing those that cared for him away… 

 

Every action at a cost. Forcing Rhaenys to keep to Kings Landing in hopes of allowing feelings to grow between Daenerys and Aegon. Driving a wedge between father and daughter until she revealed her truth. Her and Aegon were connected, bound. 

 

“It is magic,”  She had insisted.  “He can feel me and speak to me, and I can feel and speak with him,”  She had paused, her fists clenched as she glared at her father with fire in her eyes.  “It is hard enough for Dany. She is like a sister to me and Egg, but it will never be more. The more you push us, the more they…,”  she paused.  “The more you push us, the more we will resent you.”  There were tears in her eyes as she had stormed from the room, Rhaegar unsure,  hesitant as he watched her leave.  He had been so insistent on prophecies growing up, of living by them that for the first time in years he truly looked lost.  A broken man that needed to be strong for his people. 

 

Could Lyanna’s son be bound to Dany, could they have this same connection that Rhaenys and Aegon had?  Arthur cleared his throat “What do you mean – How can you…,” he sighed and shook his head slowly, “How can you know you are bound to one another?” he asked instead, 

 

Dany smiled as she reached for her nephew’s hand – like it was the most natural thing in the world – “I knew in the North,” she murmured in the quiet. “We stood in the snows by the gates of Castle Black. Rhaelāzma was curious but he would not cross the wall, just like Queen Alysanne’s Silverwing,” she shrugged. “I could feel it. Here,” she pointed to the centre of her chest, to her heart, “It felt hot, like Rhaelāzma's flame. Only it expanded when I met his gaze. I knew then,” she smiled, “There was this…,” she trailed off, and Jon who had been silent until then spoke,

 

“It was comfort and pain,” he added, his voice low, “Darkness came from the pain, and I woke to the scent of smoke and ash,”

 

“Rhaelāzma came to me. I think he felt my distress,” she shrugged and shared a small smile with Jon as he quickly continued. 

 

“I could feel er… I could feel emotions not my own, could hear words not spoken,” he smiled slightly, the smile of his father. “This,” he gestured between himself and Daenerys, “This has only grown since I crossed beyond the wall.” He smiled again, this time shyly, “Dany has been with me since,”

 

Arthur frowned, though Dany spoke before he could, “I – we don’t know why this happened to us. Why it chose us, but I know in my heart that we are meant to be.” He could see that she believed this, the emotion in her eyes as she looked at Jon was there for all to see. How had he not seen this before? How had he not realised? Jaehaerys wolf had been with the princess since the confrontation with Viserys, though he had only thought it was because of what Viserys had done. He’d not even thought of how Jon found her. How he knew what was happening… 

 

The whispers had spread of what happened, of the wilding doing better than the King's Guard in protecting the royal family. Some Lords mocking Viserys for fleeing from him. They would need to watch the prince he knew. Arthur sighed and regretted what he was about to do, “Princess,” he said as gentle as he could, “Is this not the same as what you believed you had with the Mercenary?” he clenched his jaw tightly, watching the way she stiffened. “You were sure he was your…,”

 

“THAT IS  NOT  THE SAME!” she bit out, her cheeks reddening in anger – her reaction causing a shift in Jon as he frowned slightly at her before he turned his gaze on him, his eyes narrowing.  He would fight for her, without hesitation.  “I- I was lonely and naive. I saw pretty words and flattery for something it was not,” she sighed quietly, “For something I wished it to be…,”

 

Arthur watched as she looked at Jon, a smile growing on her lips, “This is real…”

 

He hated to push them, truly, but he had to know. “I don’t doubt you think I-,”

 

THIS IS REAL!” Dany cut in, the anger resurfacing. A sharpness rarely seen in her – she had not reacted like this when they had found Daario in her rooms, Rhaelāzma large form curled around her – the dragon was just small enough to squeeze in through the balcony – blood-red eyes narrowed on the mercenary as if the dragon would burn any that dared touch her. Dany had tried to argue that Daario was hers like Aegon and Rhaenys were each other though she looked unsure and hesitant. She didn’t believe it, but she wanted it to be real. She didn’t want to be alone, though she had not spoke of any bond between them... Viserys had wanted him dead, had wanted her punished for daring to sully herself with a common sell-sword bastard, but they had thrown the slimy shit on a boat and banished him from Kings Landing. His only saving grace was that he had not touched her, beyond a chaste kiss.  

 

Daenerys sat up straighter, her fingers tightening around Jon’s as she narrowed her eyes on him, “This is real,” she repeated. “There is nothing you, nor the King can say to change that,” she paused and took a slow breath, “This, is for me- for us, is like that what is shared between Egg and Rhaenys. This is not like the King had shared with Lady Lyanna!”

 

Arthur recoiled at the name, his eyes searching Jon’s as the boy blinked slowly, an anger stirring – reminding him of his failures. He should have stayed at the tower to protect her. Lya was a dear friend, and they had left her behind. “Do not bring her name up in vain,” he snapped in warning, closing his eyes, and rubbing a palm down his face as he saw the princess pale, her eyes growing wet with tears. 

 

“I’m sorry princess,” he offered, “There are not many that know what truly happened between Lady Lyanna and your brother, but it is true they loved each other,” he explained quietly, trying his best to stop himself from staring at results of their love. 

 

Dany sniffed, “I’m sorry,” she murmured, as she hastily wiped her face, “I-I just need you to see…,” she looked up, her eyes still wet with tears, “Jon, is my truth,”

 

Arthur softened, and leaned forwards resting his elbows on his knee’s as he looked from the Princess to Jon – Jaehaerys – the prince. “I do not doubt your words Dany. I- I just advise caution,” he decided. He’d never held love for the gods, but Jon had returned to them. They hadn’t even thought he and Lyanna survived. Rhaegar had believed he would be a girl, the second wife to Aegon… 

 

The tower had been burned and had all but collapsed when he had returned with Stark.  “You need to speak with the King,” he told her pointedly.  Hoping by then the truth would be known to them all. Ser Barristan had been the only one to raise suspicion so far, no one else.  

 

Perhaps this was fate? Dany frowned at him, her brow furrowing in thought, “We will. After we have visited the dragons tomorrow,” she smiled then though it fell quickly as she looked back at Arthur. Her brow furrowing again, “Wha-what happened between them, between Lady Lyanna and Rhaegar?”

 

Arthur shook his head, “That is not a story for me to share,” he smiled, “though I will share a story of her, one that brought them to know each other,” he offered instead. The memory was a fond one, even if most memories after it was poison. 

 

“It all began in Harrenhal,” that wasn’t the truth. He could have begun at the Defiance of Duskendale, and the seeds of madness planted in Aerys head. That fear as King he could never shake. He had been held captive for half a year, Lord Denys had broken faith. If he could, why couldn’t others? Now, Arthur could understand. Kings Landing was a cesspool of mummers, and Lords willing to stab you in the back. “Have you heard of the crannogmen?” he asked, smiling as Jon frowned and shook his head, only Dany smiled and nodded quickly, 

 

“They are people that live in the swamps of the Neck, in the North,” she smiled slightly, “Well, the south to you and your people… They are short in stature, but they are very talented hunters and warriors. They wield nets, and three-pronged frog spears...,”

 

“Yes,” he agreed. “They are bannermen and loyal to the Starks of Winterfell,” he paused, “Well, a crannogman, named Howland Reed was bullied. He was attacked by three young squires who were all taller than he was,” he shook his head slightly, “It was Lady Lyanna that shouted at them, and chased them off with a tourney sword,” he grinned, remembering the tale as she told them. Watching the way she acted out the story as if she was living the memory over again, her steps oddly graceful though her sword movement was clumsy. “She looked after the young crannogmen, dressed him in her younger brothers’ clothes, and invited him to the feast as her guest,”

 

“Lady Lyanna was one of the bravest people I knew,” he admitted. “She and her brother Benjen had offered to sponsor Howland to ride in the tourney against the squires, only he refused. You see, the crannogman don’t know much of jousting, the people live differently to you and I,” he glanced at Jon, “You could say it is similar to you and your people in that way,” he offered – knowing that Rhaegar may wish to have his taught soon.

 

“On the second day, a mystery knight appeared in the lists. His armour was made up of mismatched armour, bits and pieces that were too big or too small…,” he shook his head, and smiled fondly, “The shield though, was painted with the image of a white Weirwood tree with a laughing red face. The knight challenged and defeated all three of the squire’s winning custody over their horses, their armour, and the favour of the crowds,” 

 

“When the three squires hoped to ransom back their former property, the mystery knight declared his terms to their knights,” he smiled. “he told the knights they ought to teach their rude squires honour,” he chuckled. “I suppose having met Lya…,” he sighed quickly correcting himself, “Having met Lady Lyanna it was quite obvious whom the knight was…,” he shook his head slightly as he remembered everything else. The good, and the bad. 

 

Jaehaerys was there though. He was alive. His eye’s so dark they almost looked indigo like his fathers, but in the day, out in the sun his eyes were his mothers – he had a child-like curiosity to him. His hand still held in Daenerys as they looked at him, 

 

“The King, your father saw the knight as an enemy, in his-,” he pulled a face, “In his madness, he thought the mystery knight's shield was laughing at him…,” Perhaps that was an oversimplification. The King was mad in his lack of faith in those that he surrounded himself with.

 

Jon frowned, “he was offended by one of your paintings on a shield?” he asked in clear disbelief.

 

“Yes,” Arthur nodded, among other things. “By the next day, the Knight had vanished, and the King became enraged sending all his men to find this Knight and return them to face his justice…,” he smiled slightly. “I accompanied prince Rhaegar and we set off in search of this gruesome knight… Only we found a young girl of six and ten with her head stuck in a helm…,” Arthur snorted. A smile growing on his face in fondness. 

 

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen Rhaegar so helpless as I did when Lady Lyanna thanked him and then in the next breath ridiculed both of us for sneaking up on her,” he shook his head slightly remembering how red Lyanna had grown when she realised it was the prince she was speaking to. They spoke, the three of them and Lyanna had told them the tales of her friend Howland Reed and the three squires. She was unlike any he had met before, in her wildness but she was afraid of what the King would do, and it was not unfounded. They knew they could not reveal the truth to the King, in fear of what he would do. Instead, they had taken the shield and kept that secret -among others - between them, or so they thought. 

 

“Your brother named her the queen of love and beauty, and placed a crown of blue winter roses in her lap in reward of her valour, and loyalty to her father's bannermen,” he explained, and for saving Rhaegar's life. It was said to be the moment the smiles fell. Arthur couldn’t say he knew for sure, but he supposed everything after that turned to shit. “Moon’s later we received word from the capital that the King had sent men to arrest Lady Lyanna Stark. So, we rode out to get to her before they could…,” he sighed, “Even then no one could speak out against the decisions of King Aerys, not even his son.” 

 

Arthur knew now that the Aerys had learned of the ambitions of the North. He knew of the pacts signed to wed the Tully daughters to Brandon Stark, and Jon Arryn. To tie the Riverlands to the North and Vale. Wedding Lyanna Stark to Robert Baratheon, one of the few with a distant claim to the throne,  but a claim, nonetheless.  Tying those houses in an alliance. Whether they would move to dethrone Aerys or not, no one could be sure.  Only the seeds were planted.  That Brandon rode to Kings Landing and dared to threaten the Prince’s life, well, that only sealed house Starks position in the mad Kings eyes.

 

Lyanna was abducted on the road towards Riverrun and thankfully they were able to ambush the party, killing the men and saving her. They fled deep into the Riverlands, “and well… the rest is history,” he trailed off, with only the crackling of the fires filling the quiet room. There had been many things that had gone wrong after that, Brandon rushing to the capital believing Rhaegar had abducted his sister, the King in his madness killing, both Lord Stark and his heir. The seven Kingdoms plunged into a great war, and all the while love grew, vows were spoken, and Lyanna grew with child...

 

“What happened to Lady Lyanna?” Dany asked after a moment, “Rhae never speaks of the end of the rebellion, only the beginning,” she added in thought. Arthur knew that Rhaegar had expalined to them all that Lady Lyanna was his second wife, he wished for them to know that she would have been a wonderful mother to them, and a sister to Dany. 

 

Arthur couldn’t stop himself from locking his gaze on Jon, the boy stiffening slightly –  Did he know who he was?  “No one knows for sure…,” he admitted. “The Tower of Joy was burned. Some think the tower was set upon by those still loyal to Robert,” They had sent men to scour all over Essos in search of her, and the babe. “Some believe they were set upon by bandits,” he shrugged. There were many theories, tales spun of what truly happened to her. Some claiming that Lyanna had burned the tower in her guilt wishing to be dead. Others claiming to see her riding up the princes’ pass… No one knew anything until word had come from Castle Black. Arthur had promised himself he would never climb on the back of a dragon, but he was willing if only to find peace in knowing… They had sent word to white Harbour and a ship was sent, while Daenerys and Aegon were sent to speak to these Wildings.

 

Up until Jon had arrived in the capital, he was sure that there would be a girl in the North, a young woman with her father’s hair and her mothers’ eyes, and yet it was Jon who had stood before them with all the colouring of his mother. Ned Stark had sent them a sealed raven with his thoughts before he had departed from White Harbour though the King remained doubtful until he saw him. Now he is unsure how to regain all these years. Now he fears only losing him again. Arthur sighed in the silence, looking beyond the princess, and the prince at the darkened skies above – it was late.

 

“I think it is time to get you back to your chambers princess,” he noted, watching the way she almost rolled her eyes until she sighed and quickly climbed from her chair – Jon mirroring her movement. Arthur watched somewhat amused as she gave him a pointed look, only he didn’t look away.  She was still a princess and though there wasn’t much he could do about any relationship between them, it was still improper. 

 

Daenerys shook her head and quickly wrapped her arms around Jon, tightly, pressing a hesitant kiss against his cheek before she pulled away and followed him to the door, passing the threshold with him following her. Arthur suppressed his smile as she turned around, “Good Night, Jon,” she murmured softly

 

Jon grinned, “Good Night, Princess,” he replied softly. “You as well, Ser Arthur,” he added with a nod before Arthur closed the door ready to escort the princess to her chambers. They were quiet a moment as they walked along the corridor and up the first flight of the stairs, 

 

“Ser Arthur?” she mumbled in the quiet,

 

He glanced at her, watching the way she ducked her head, “Yes princess?”

 

“Can you -,” she swallowed hard as she looked at him, “Can you swear not to tell Rhaegar?” Dany asked in the quiet, “I wish to tell him myself,” she admitted, 

 

Arthur glanced at her, “I will not tell your brother,” He offered, “But you must tell him soon,” he reminded her, watching the beaming smile stretch across her face as she nodded enthusiastically and wrapped him a crushing hug before she closed the chamber door behind her after wishing him a good night. 

 


 

XXII

 

Jaeh didn’t react at the sound of the quiet scrape of stone – he didn’t need to – because he could already almost feel her. She hadn’t been gone long in truth though he’d had time to change into some thin trousers and a cotton shirt before he slipped into bed. He’d been looking forwards to spending time with her away from the life of courts all day, beyond the incident with the princes and much of the day before too. Did he understand what this was between them? No, not fully. He didn’t know if it was an outside force or need deep inside of him – like Ghost’s primal need to hunt. All he knew was that a part of him wanted to be near her, wanted to see her. Yes, in the beginning and he could admit he was more curious, but now… Now he couldn’t find it in him to question it, whether there was something more to it or not, he wanted everything she would give him. 

 

Gods, what did that say about him? That he wasn’t even questioning this feeling she awoke in him, anymore. She was his blood, his fathers only sister. It was akin to stealing a wife from his own village, a feat that was cursed in the eyes of the gods, but what did he care for the gods? What have they shown him in way of kindness? The Gods only wished to find this Azor Ahai, or this promised prince or princess that would stand against the others, none knowing who that would truly be. Only that he would have a part to play, like a game.  The Targaryen’s were known to wed within their family,  could this be because of his blood?  Jaeh didn’t think it was because every moment he’d spent with her had only shown him what he knew he wanted. 

 

There was a smile playing at his lips that couldn’t be helped as he listened to her quiet movements, watching from the corner of his eyes as she pulled the hood from over her head, the soft silver curls spilling around her pretty face. Jaeh tilted his head to the side to look at her, watching the smile grow on her lips, as she unwrapped the robe from her shoulders, leaving her in a pale pink shift that reached her knees, “Hello,” she whispered, as she pulled something from the floor and crawled under the sheets, 

 

“Hello,” he murmured, grinning as she crawled close and cuddled against him, her nose tickling his skin as she planted a kiss on his cheek. Jaeh grinned as he rolled over and quickly wrapped her in a tight hug, closing his eyes and enjoying the closeness. 

 

           Nyke vaoreznuni Jon. Nyke gīmigon īlē mērī…

           I’m sorry Jon. I know you were only…

 

Jaeh shook his head gently as he pulled away to look at her, smiling when her eyes opened to look at him – there was nothing to be sorry for, and he couldn’t say he wanted to think about her brother now. “Why do always speak Valyrian in this connection we share?” he wondered. Was it a bond? A tether between them? “Aegon and Rhaenys have always spoken common tongue, why not you?” he asked, watching her as she smiled shyly and rolled onto her back and stared at the canopy overhead in thought. 

 

Dany wet her lips, “When I was younger, I was… I was jealous of Aegon and Rhaenys and the bond they shared so,” she grinned as she looked at him, “I used to pretend I could speak to the dragon from old, but even then, I always knew they could only understand Valyrian,” she blushed and Jaeh smiled pulling her back against him.

 

“Even before our dragons, they were so much closer,” she smiled sadly, “I was always alone. I had an older brother too busy trying to mend the realm, and… and Viserys.” She went quiet and Jaeh watched her. Her mind dipping into the past, a place she felt alone.

 

Jaeh nudged her gently, smiling as she tilted her head and smiled at him, “I know you were only trying to protect me with Viserys, but you only put yourself in danger, and I cannot… I will not let him bring harm to you!”

 

“And I will not let him harm you,” he replied, holding her gaze, hoping she would believe him. He didn’t care what they thought of him, he didn’t care for their titles or their standings. Dany smiled that sad smile as she leaned closer and pressed another hesitant kiss to his cheek before she pulled away – a brightness in her eyes that he’d honestly missed. 

 

“I have something for you,” Dany whispered after a moment, “It helps with this…,” she gestured between them, “Egg and Rhaena use this when they don’t want me to be privy to every conversation they share,” he watched carefully as she sat up and opened the palm of her right hand revealing a small thin rectangle of black stone like glass, fashioned against a long thin length of black leather. 

 

“What is it?” he wondered. It looked like stone, but shinier. 

 

Dany smiled, “We call it Obsidian, but the smallfolk call it dragon glass,” her smile grew proud as she looked at him, “In Old Valyria they used to call it frozen fire,” she explained. He could see it now, it looked similar to something he’d seen before though far smaller, beyond the wall they had found a dozen or so daggers made from the stuff. Jaeh reached for it in her opened hand, a smile curling at his lips as his fingers brushed the warm stone. 

 

Gasping at the sudden shift, the connection between them burning to life as it had that morning, only she was there with him, and he could feel her, and see her, and smell the soft scents from her skin, “It helps to control the connection between us, to strengthen it,” Dany explained before it quickly grew to how it was only moments prior, his mind torn for a moment as he gaped at her. 

 

“Sorry,” she smiled slightly as she pulled at some string hidden under the collar of her pink shift to show him a pendant that she wore that matched the one still in her hand. “See, we’ll match,” there was that smile again as she leaned up on her knees and reached over to loop the leather over his head, her fingers careful to move his hair out of the way until the pendent was dangling against his chest. 

 

Jaeh smiled as he watched her, her fingers reaching out to straighten the pendent, while she moved her other arms to his shoulder for purchase, the bright smile falling from her lips when realised how close they were, though he couldn’t find it in him to let her go. Snaking his arms around the low of her back as he pulled her closer gently, noses bumping, he found himself swallowing hard as he watched her bite her bottom lip, 

 

“Thank you,” he whispered. Shivering as their lips brushed against each other, her smile nervous as she met his gaze, 

 

“H-,” she paused, her tongue dipping out to wet her lips, “H-have you ever kissed anyone before?” 

 

Jaeh could only smile as he met her gaze. He wanted nothing more than to kiss her right then and there. “Yes,” he murmured, his nose brushing hers again before he finally – finally – pressed his lips to hers. Silencing every question, every doubt in his mind as she gasped, pulling away to watch her eyes flutter open, until she kissed him again, harder. Her lips soft against his as it deepened, her fingers twisting in his hair, as their tongues met. Jaeh hummed, as she quietly moaned feeling warm all over, and only parting to breathe. A grin pulling at his lips as he opened his eyes and met her gaze again. Yet he could see her mind working over questions, as she looked at him, 

 

“Did you love her?” 

 

Jaeh shook his head slowly. “No, but I cared for her,” He replied“Our village often traded with theirs. When we started to gather the clans, we became close as we grew up,” He reached for her, his fingers tracing her cheek, delving into her silky silver locks, “will you tell me of your mercenary?” He asked as he glanced from her hair to her eyes in time to see her face scrunch up adorably. 

 

Dany pushed him back as she moved from his lap and laid back down pulling his hand for him to join her and smiling as she pulled the blankets up over them both. “His name was Daario, and I did not love him.” she whispered, her fingers curling strands of his hair, “I suppose in a way he made me feel like a girl, and not a princess,” She shrugged. “He snuck into my quarters to give me flowers, and gifts,” Jaeh rose a brow and grinned as she blushed, “He was bold and dangerous, though Rhaelāzma seemed to sense him and return to me every time he came,” she shook her head. 

 

“Rhaelāzma was not best pleased when I shared a kiss with him,” She chuckled. “He is very jealous of his mother’s affections,” there was a sly smile on her face as she looked at him, “It should be interesting when you both meet…,”

 

Jaeh’s mouth opened, and that seemed to prompt Dany to laugh harder, burying her face against his chest to muffle the sound. Perhaps it was foolish of him to not be afraid. Rhaelāzma could end him in the blink of an eye, but in truth, all he felt was wonder and giddy anticipation. “Well, Rhaelāzma hasn’t tried to sneak into my quarters yet,” he jested,

 

“He’s too big now silly,” She chuckled, “Rhaelāzma used to sleep in my chambers until he almost got stuck in the balcony door,” Jaeh watched as she twisted in his arms and looked at Ghost laid up against the doors. “It was nice to have Ghost with me last night, although he did give poor Keira a terrible fright,” 

 

“Ghost would never harm anyone unless he felt threatened,” Or someone was stupid enough to harm her. Dany hummed before they fell into silence allowing himself to enjoy holding her in his arms though it didn’t last long, 

 

“What reason did Oberyn give you to rush to find me?” she asked, her fingers tangling in his hair, the question reminding him of these wasteful Southern games though he knew he should tell her, so he did. He explained everything that was discussed in that room, explained why he was so angry. Perhaps the worst was seeing the look on her face as he told her, the curiously quickly shifting to anger, and then fear. 

 

Jaeh hated that the most. Wishing he could take her North, to his people where she would be safe from the plots of the South. No one would dare harm her or Rhaelāzmabut would it be enough for them? Life in the North wasn’t easy, the dead were at their doors, food was scarce… 

 

Death surrounded them. 

 

Which did he fear more? The shifting shadows of the South or the Cold death in the North? Jaeh shook his head as he rolled onto his back, knowing that regardless of what happened he would be drawn into a Southern war regardless. King Rhaegar was the one person that wanted peace, and Jaeh knew he would have to fight to keep that dream alive. 

 

They laid in silence for a time, Dany’s head resting against his shoulder as she curled against his side – it still surprised him how open she was to this – him. He had seen with his own eyes how the south saw his people, and yet she welcomed him. How would his people react to her in the north? Some would welcome her. Like they welcomed his Ma though he knew a lot of them would distrust her and treat her like an outsider… 

 

How could he bring together their people?  He knew his people understood what was at stake. They knew what was coming, realised the threat they all faced and yet… Could they all put aside their differences to fight it? The King was the only one South that knew of the threat, would his people follow him to face a threat they didn’t believe or understand? Would this bring another threat, one that was circling in his mind more and more since he returned to the red keep…   

 

Would the Southerners turn to a new King? One that saw his people as the threat and destroy any hope of peace they could have…

 

           You brood just like Rhaegar.

 

Jon blinked as she chuckled tilting his head in time to see her face light up, like the sun. Frowning playfully as she pulled him closer and wrapping his arm around her waist. “What is on your mind?” 

 

There was a lot to think about, a lot he had pushed behind a closed door in his mind. It left him feeling as if a part of him was missing, but he knew here in the south where thoughts could stray that he needed to keep control of it. Jaeh sighed, “Everything,” he admitted. “Your brother. The king. This Oberyn Martell and the things he spoke of. I – I can’t explain it, I just feel as if a war is – is coming,” he stopped as her finger silenced him. A sad smile on her lips as she met his gaze, 

 

“Rhae is doing all he can. He knows of the plots against him, but until they move against him there is nothing he can do.” She pressed a gentle kiss against his lips, “Let’s not think about that now,”

 

Jaeh hummed in reply trying to think of something that would make her smile again, “I learned more about your dragons today,” he told her, watching that brightness return to her eyes. She loved Rhaelāzma and the dragons of her ancestors, and the history of her house. 

 

Their family history Jaeh swallowed hard as he looked into her eyes, he needed to tell her. If there was anyone that needed to know, it was her.  Wasn’t it?  Gods she was his… She was his blood and here he was with her in his arms.  He should pull away, shouldn’t he? He should put space between them,  but he couldn’t do it. He didn’t want to do it.  Gods, what would she think? 

 

“I went to the library to see if I could find anything about your people today,” she was saying though her voice was far away. He would tell her soon. He needed to. He wanted to tell her everything. “I could only find one book, and even that wasn’t full of much…,” she pulled a face again, and he smiled because he couldn’t help smiling when he was with her. Because it was easier to focus on her and not the doubt that who his father was would create. “Is it true there are still Mammoths beyond the wall?”

 

Jaeh chuckled quietly, “Aye,” he answered, “And giants too. Mag even rides one,” he explained quickly, “but gods they smell awful,” he pulled a face, “even Ghost thinks they smell foul,” he chuckled answering all her questions easily. The ones about the ferocious shadow cats and denying her questions of Grumkins and the Snarks from the tales. 

 

“Jon?” Dany mumbled after a moment. Jaeh hummed in reply, enjoying the warmth of her cuddled against him. He had truly missed her. “What does it mean to steal someone?”

 

The question surprised him, opening his eyes to look at her – her eye’s locked on the dragon glass pendent as her fingers toyed with it, “We’re supposed to steal the one we wish to spend our lives with,” he shrugged slightly, “The only thing that matters is that they put up a fight every step of the way. It is the belief that a woman wants a man that can fight and protect her, but it is also shows that the woman is strong and will not only rely on her husband,” he explained. You needed to be strong in the North. The stronger your husband or wife, the more chance you would have at stronger babies that would survive the harshness of their life. 

 

Dany glanced at him, “What if a woman wishes to be stolen?” she asked quietly, reminding him of Ygritte. 

 

“Woman can steal men if they wish,” he replied. “They must only be sons and daughters. Not Wives of other men, or husbands of wives. Once they have lain together, they are considered together,” if they survive the night, “Some still wish to stand before the Weirwood tree’s and say words to the old gods, like those here in the South.”

 

“I think you mean North,” she corrected with a small smile though it fell quickly, “Your people’s lives seem so simple, although it does not seem pleasant to be stolen,” she pulled a face as she let go of the pendant and looked at him, “We have received reports from Lords in the North of women being stolen away, being taken from their home, and their family. They were forced North, beyond the wall to do God only knows.” she frowned, her eyes face darkening, “What happened to them? Were they beaten into submission? Forced upon and raped?” Her voice hardening with every word she said, as she pulled away slightly to make space between them,

 

Jaeh frowned, and bit the inside of his lip, unsure of what to say. His people had lived this way before he was born, and he was sure they would continue to do so among their own beyond his death. His people were not perfect, and he wasn’t stupid to think they ever would be. “Some raid lands close to the wall,” he replied slowly, “Or they did.” Jaeh sighed. “It is our way of life. Our way to strengthen our clans for the future,” he paused as he thought to it all. 

 

Unknowingly to him and the others. Mance had been preparing them all for this alliance for years. This was their chance. “We won’t be raiding the North anymore or stealing from you. The alliance ensures that we keep to our own. The penalty of stealing women or men from your North will be death, and that will be enforced.” One way or another. He paused again as he looked at her, the judgement clear in her eyes, “You may think this represents my people, but the truth is only small groups range beyond the wall, and only a very small few survive the journey home,”

 

“Have you raided the North?”

 

Jaeh shook his head quickly. “I helped my people in other ways. I focused all I had on the war, on keeping the clans together,” he reached for her dragon glass pendant resting against the sheets, “I tried to ease the burden on Mance, and keep us alive,” he shrugged. “I didn’t care where the fight took me, I didn’t care what people said or what they thought. I just kept doing all I could to help them,” 

 

“When Mance explained his plans for an alliance with you and the South it nearly tore my people apart.” He shook his head slowly, “The Weeper was a popular leader in his own right, but when the decision was made, he spat at Mance’s feet and declared to any who would listen that he would take Castle Black within a sennight…,” he frowned remembering his charred remains, “So, I killed him. Killed every man that turned their backs on my people, the people who would sooner drag us all into a war with you, yours and the crows,”

 

“I’m sorry, I-I do not hold blame against you, Jon,” she whispered softly, a frown on her face as she grasped his hand, “Our people are worlds apart, our cultures are different.” she smiled softly, “Let us hope in the future we can coexist.”

 

They had to if they wanted to survive.  “We will,” he replied instead.  His people will come beyond the wall. They will prepare for the war. They will fight the war, and they will win the war.  The alliance was not going to be a simple exchange of words, the chieftain leaders would need to pledge oaths to the Southern King –  their word was their bond. Not the Gods, or anything else. 

 

“Perhaps we could secure alliances between chieftain Son’s or daughters, and Northern Lords Son and daughters,” she suggested thoughtfully, though he could only shrug. 

 

“North or South, they’re all just bloody stubborn,” he grumbled smiling as she snorted, a tired grin stretching across her lips as she closed the distance between them, 

 

“Hmm, you are most certainly right. Perhaps they just need someone to set an example?” she mumbled as she pressed a kiss to his cheek and rested her head against his shoulder. 

 

He would like to see Mance suggest something so outlandish, though he wondered if any of the leaders would consider it… “Let us sleep,” she murmured, “Tomorrow you will meet the dragons.”