The Reign of the Promised Prince

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The Reign of the Promised Prince

PostPosted by Siege » Sat Oct 15, 2016 06:02

Prologue & Preamble: how things differ

So, before beginning our story proper, it is only appropriate that I offer some insight to the many tragic events (and few heroic) that brought us here to this alternate present. Our story began its departure from the history with which you are doubtless familiar during the War of the Ninepenny Kings with a slave revolt in Tyrosh, where with the aid of Westerosi adventurers the denizens of that broken city rose up and bloodily slaughtered their masters and the puppet Tyrant installed by the Band of Nine. Now this might have made little difference in history's unfolding had the Lords of ship-breaker bay not thrown their support behind one of the former slaves; a cunning and charismatic Westerosi by the name of Harlan Longwaters. More on him later. With Harlan as 'Lord' in the Bleeding Tower, Tyrosh became a staging post for war in the Stepstones, and island after island fell to the crusading host of mercenaries, former slaves, adventurers and second sons.

However, this conquest might not have been so easy, were it not for the horrors taking place in Dorne, for it is there that Maelys and his ill-companions made landfall reeking ruin on the populous. Sunspear was not spared when it fell, and became a stage for the most grusom chapter of the conflict. The youngest Martell, Elia, was hung from the top of the tower along with much of the court whilst her brother the valiant young heir Doran was was hung, drawn and quartered in the courtyard below by Tom the Butcher. Though Princess Obera and her remaining son Oberyn would live to see the invaders thrown back to into the sea, neither would fully recover from the trauma that had befallen them. Obera would die some years later of the stress, leaving the young Oberyn to become a cruel and venal husk of the man he might have been; forever haunted and finding solace only in copious quantities of food and drink, Oberyn lived out his life in seclusion at the water gardens. Siring no children, he died of a heart attack aged thirty six.

Maelys himself was killed in battle by the young Ser George Martin*, and the remaining members of the Band of Nine either fled, turned on each other or were hunted down. The last of them, Xhobar the Ebon Price, was beheaded by our Lord Harlan; for which he was officially raised by King Aerys, second of his name, to Lord Paramount of the Stepstones, expanding the realm and establishing a bulwark against the remaining free cities and their incessant plotting.

The realm since then has remained in relative peace, with the only rupture of note arising in the Westerlands, with the fall of Tywin Lannister. Following the death of good King Jaehaerys II, King Aerys brought his closest friend Tywin, the Lord of Casterly Rock, to court and appointed him his Hand, but it did not take long for things to turn ill. Aerys came to covet Tywins wife (as he would come to covet the wives and daughters of many lords), bringing the King and his Hand into bitter enmity. Unable to 'woo' lady Joanna, Aerys vented his frustration and vindictiveness in heaping petty humiliations upon his former friend. All expected Tywin to snap, even to raise arms against his king, but none foresaw what came to pass. Tywin began to keep the company of a Red priest, becoming ever more reclusive to the point that the administration of the ream came to almost a complete halt, until one night without warning or ceremony The Hand of the King and all his household left Kings Landing.

None know but the man himself of what the priest had shown The Lord of the Westerlands in his fires, but I became clear that R'hllor's flame now burned in Tywin's breast. A minor controversy at first, overshadowed by The Hand abandoning and disobeying his king, but that was until news of the burning broke. Merchants brought news that pyres could be seen burning day and nigh within Casterly Rock; that petty offences which would have merited no more than the loss of an ear or time in the pillory, all instead consigned the guilty to the flames. Gerion, Tywin's youngest brother bore witness to this before the court and warned that Tywin was mustering men to bring his fire to his banner men. Gerion went into lurid detail as to how Tywin sought to purge his people, as well as his own flesh to satiated his cruel god, and had become a harrowing, monstrous figure to behold. Pleading for the crown to intervene, Lord Harlan Longwaters, once Master of Ships but now Hand of the King lead a fleet to besiege The Rock and face the monster therein.

After a yearlong siege by sea and land Casterly Rock at last fell by both cunning and strength of arms, whilst it's Lord lay in siege of Castamere with his host of new zealots and misguided loyal men-at-arms. Hearing of the Rock's fall, Tywin marched south to his defeat at the battle of Sarsfield. Following which Gerrion was made Lord Paramont ahead of his elder brother Kevan who had remained (albeit begrudgingly) loyal to Tywin throughout the conflict. Tywin himself however escaped and continues to elude the crown, being sheltered by covens of converts to the dread Red God. He now lives as a black legend, like Dannel Lothston, and rumour has it he now leads a band of red cloaked marauders dispensing fiery vigilante 'justice' across the Westerlands.

King Areys' reign proved to be peaceful, even prosperous thanks to the small council, though his lustful depravity jeopardised this stability, culminating in his revival of the practice of the 'first night', and the farcical 'Pants law' decree (whereby braies and hose were to be banned). Fortunately, Areys died before the council was forced to take drastic action, and Rhaegar, first of his name, ascended the Iron Throne and reigned justly and prudently for near twenty years, with the aid of his friend and father in law Lord Harlan.

Before concluding this potted history and bringing us to our tales true beginning, we should acquaint ourselves with Lord Harlan Longwaters and his family; we have already seen how this former slave born of a bastard house has impacted the world's stage, but matters domestic my come to matter more in the story to come. For those unfamiliar, the Longwaters descend from bastard offspring of Alyn the Oakenfist, the famous admiral of the Royal fleet, and Elaena Targaryen, one of the 'maids' of the Maiden Vault who would go on to become mistress of coin. The Longwaters, despite this heritage were poorly regarded by their Velaryon cousins, and were it not for Harlan might have faded into obscurity serving as gaolers of the Red Keep. The Longwaters' now sit somewhat comfortably as overlords of the Stepstones, with each isle now being held by loyal vassals drawn from the most prominent of those adventures who battled the Band of Nine. Tyrosh itself is almost unrecognisable from the city it was; having been depopulated following Maelys sack, Harlans insurrection and the ensuing years of war, Tyrosh was open to settlement by Westerosi, many of whom being veterans of the war. Though by far it remains a city of confluence, heavily accented by its Valerian heritage, the common tong is spoken in all quarters, and the bells of new Septs wring out across the city.

The Longwaters have come enjoy close relations with the Targaryens since Harlan's first born, Rhaenyra, married the then prince Rhaegar. Later, Rhaegar's sister Daenerys would marry Harlan's second son, his heir, Joffrey. Harlan himself enjoyed a somewhat more modest marriage, with a fellow former slave; a Qartheen by the name of Mera, who bore him five children. Following Mera's death however he did enter a second marriage matrilineally, with Maege Stark giving her two daughters. Harlan was truly a man blessed to have wed twice for love, and to have auspiciously sired seven children.

Now to bring us, at last, to our present: King Rhaegar, with his conviction that he would sire 'The prince that was promise', indulged his children; giving them the last of the long dead dragons eggs he encouraged them to it find ways of hatching them. Such eccentricity was welcomed as harmless by the court at large when compared to the madness and vice of his father. In fact it became the focus of great pageantry, where the King could display his wealth and power, and the court might find opportunity to curry favour by lavishing gifts upon the royal children. So it took all by surprise when the brooding prince Aerys emerged from the vaults beneath the Red Keep, cradling a small, silent, but most certainly living dragon.Over the next four years, two more dragons would hatch; one to the young prince Baelor, and the other to Rhaegar's sister Daenerys.

The reality of this has yet to sink in to many; following such a lasting peace many of the common folk tout the news as evidence of the Gods' favour (in their loose understanding of both history and theology), and attitudes amongst the nobility range from rapturous romanticism to outright divisiveness. But some, more prudent minds have fresh cause to meditate on the Targaryen words:

“Fire and Blood”

Today, at the opening of the 299th year since Aegon's Landing, the realm morns the untimely accidental death of King Rhaegar. At age eighteen King Aerys third of his name, styling himself 'the Promised', now sits upon the Iron Throne.

...

Boy what a lot of preamble, and that's the short version! More can (and will) be said about the Longwaters family, but as they shall be our protagonists I shall try to convey it through the 'chapters' of the story proper, wherein I will try to ape the style of GRRM whilst including illustrative screenshots. Speaking of GRRM, it was only in writing this that I discovered that he -Ser George of the Dragon Gate- took assumed Ser Barristan's role in slaying Mealys the Monsterous. It is such mad little details that I hope bode well for the unfolding of this ARR.
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Some practical notes: I will be using console commands every so often, but only to keep things tidy and maintain narrative cohesion. Otherwise I shall take my lead from the game, and do my best to explain its madness.

Feel free to ask for any overviews of any specific houses, realms, the small council and so on, should you want look at the big picture.

Chapter one coming soon!
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Re: The Reign of the Promised Prince

PostPosted by AWildWightAppeared! » Sat Oct 15, 2016 22:43

Cool AAR! Found it when I logged on to Reddit this morning. Can we have some pictures of the King, his family and house Longwaters? Maybe even Tywin? Also it was pretty cool to see Tywin going mad instead of Aerys, (As much...).

Anyway, keep up the good work!
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Re: The Reign of the Promised Prince

PostPosted by White Dragon » Sun Oct 16, 2016 00:33

Good stuff! Would love to see a few pictures of Harlan and Aerys the Promised. Care to recount the fates of some of the other more known figures from canon? Lyanna, Steffon (Robert, Stannis if they are around)
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Re: The Reign of the Promised Prince

PostPosted by Siege » Sun Oct 16, 2016 14:44

So whilst I get a handle on the first installment, here is a image dump of notable folks in the world of Westeros, starting with the cannon characters:

Mad old Tywin, who is currently just south of the wall; I presume he is waiting on the White Walkers showing up.
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I can only assume that it is his followers who call him 'the Wise.'

Speaking of his followers, Tygett the middle brother is keeping the flame alive in the Westerlands
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And long suffering Kevan has become a more cunning figure in dealing with his family's struggles.
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The Queen of Thorns is still around- scheming in the Eyrie for her second son (Mace having died on the shitter). Though she has started to lose her mind to the Winter Fever.
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Roose Bolton is still sticking it to the Starks, having slain Rickard in a duel
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Hoster Tully kept his family safe having hung Walder Frey some years back, but he's starting to slip
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The Blackfish on the other hand remains a credit to his house, earning coin for his family on the mercenary circuit
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The Stormlands are still ruled by Stanis, Robert & Renly's; dad Steffon (though he has a different set of sons set to cause trouble in this timeline)
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And honourable mention to old Jon Arryn who died without a direct heir despite having five wives; his daughters all having died in the Winter Fever.
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As for non-cannon characters:
'Merry' Maege Stark, daughter of Rickard.
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Manfrey Mattell of the Sandship Martells
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And finally, Aerys III. I don't trust this guy:
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But what of the Reach, The Longwaters or the Small Council? Well we'll cover that next, when our story begins.
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Re: The Reign of the Promised Prince

PostPosted by DorlasAnther » Sun Oct 16, 2016 19:48

Tywin Lannister: Mad, one-legged, disfigured eunuch...with a dog. Yes, turned out just like in the books.
Also, Jon Arryn is just as useless in making heirs as his "real" counterpart.

One question, though. Who was husband of Maege Stark?
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Re: The Reign of the Promised Prince

PostPosted by Siege » Sun Oct 16, 2016 20:31

DorlasAnther wrote:One question, though. Who was husband of Maege Stark?


That'd be the old lord Longwaters:
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They met at first great tourney of Tyrosh, held to celebrate Rhaegar's tour of the Free Cities. Harlan being widowed but with 5 children already, and with the Stark line threatening to end with Maege, Harlan obliged her with a matrilinial union.

Though the marriage was a happy one, saw the birth of only two new Stark girls, Tyrosha and Barbrey. So pulling in a few favours, they are each now betrothed to Targaryen bastards. Fingers crossed, the Starks will survive the next few years.
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Re: The Reign of the Promised Prince

PostPosted by Siege » Mon Oct 17, 2016 01:06

Chapter One, part one: Tyrosh

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“My Lady,” mewled the Warlock -prostrate and chained- before the dais, “I have been your husband's most loyal servant, nay, friend for years!”

Lord Grandison, having concluded his interrogation of the accused man, smirked and turned his attention to the woman sat above them. “A friend indeed. Your royal highness, the man is a murderer. He doesn't even deny it! Further, his cruel and depraved lusts...” a raised hand silenced him.

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“You need not repeat yourself, Angron. The lurid truth is abundantly clear to me.” Princes Daenerys, sat languidly on the throne of the old Archons bedecked silks of venerable Tyroshi red, fixed her gaze on the warlock “Stand, Mundello.”
He stood gingerly on shaking legs, unsteady with the weight of the chains binding his wrists to his ankles. He swayed nervously, the air in the silent hall was hot and close, packed as it was with hushed courtiers anticipating judgement; all stood in tense silence silence. Mundello opened his mouth to speak, but was cut short.
“What do you believe my good husband would do with you, in light of your crime?”
Daenerys' voice was disarmingly, dangerously measured; the question a rope for Mundello to hang himself, all knew.
“I could not, would not, presume to know Our Lords mind,” the guilty man began, “though I know that has a kind heart. Many here beyond myself were his comrades in arms long before we came to serve him,” his lips smacked dryly, “and he accepted us all regardless of how stained we might be, or foreign our ways.” He stooped into a bow, “ A wise and just man, Lord Joffrey always...”
“Do not hide behind your Warlocks robe; you are a man like any other, and as a man you are lacking” Daenerys interjected darkly. “My Husband is indeed, wise and just, and he would condemn you for murdering that poor girl. In fact, I am certain that his kind heart would move him to terrible vengeance for the girl you tortured, so that your screams might reach her in the stranger's embrace and give her solace.” She paused, drinking in the man's fear. “But I know my Lord husbands mind, and there is little to gained in such swift punishment, however satisfying. You profess loyally and service, so you shall serve this house and the realm in taking the black. Such is my judgement. Lord Angron, see that Mundello is placed on the next North-bound galley. We are done for today.” She stood, life rushing back into the hall as courtiers fell immediately into gossip. Only those closest dais heard Princess command seemingly as an afterthought, “and see that he has plenty of paper and ink, doubtless Lothor would value a correspondent at the wall.”
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Chapter One, part two: Highgarden

Lord Joffrey Longwaters and his entourage had not long arrived in Highgarden before the siege began. 'The Lords Appellant', as they styled themselves, fresh from their victory at Middlebury fields had marched on the Tyrell's seat with such speed as to outpace the the messengers baring the news; all that had stopped them from storming the unsuspecting garrison, was the King's black banner flying from the gate. Randyll Tarly, head of this little rebellion, was quick to have the fortress encircled and set the host to fortifying their siege camps as their numbers swelled with more rebels from the north.

Joffrey had been dispatched by the young king to mediate dispute but open conflict had erupted whilst he was on the Rose road, and now much to his frustration he was forced to sit impotently in Highgarden having received instruction by raven to merely observe and report.

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Joffrey returned the the apparent he had been granted to find his companion, Young Clarence Quelbar, the lord of Shame Isle sat lazily in the window looking out towards the Mander.
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“Another fruitful meeting, my Lord?”
Closing the heavy, ornately carved door, Joffrey loosened the high collar of his stately blue doublet, and sighed, “ as ever. We discussed the fine weather we are having.”
Clarenced grinned, “still too not ready to bite, eh?”
Joff' nodded, “He won't until Randyll Tarly is hacking his way through the rose garden” he said gesturing out the window, whilst pouring himself wine with his free hand. “To ask the King to intervene, would be to admit that he can't rule the reach himself.” He took a gratifying mouthful from from his cup, handing a second to Clarence. “Proud fool.”
“Not proud, paranoid. Scared. Harrold has, what, ten years on you? And no children.”
“It's not as though the King plans to strip him of his title” Joff' scoffed.
“Of course, of course, but that's not my point.” Clarence took a sip, “he is a Tyrell through and through; see's himself as the embodiment of chivalry, and he's scared that he isn't living up. His lords don't respect him, he's won no great victories he's failed to sire any children. Not even any bastards!” The lord of Shame Isle hid another broad grin behind his cup. “Of course it would help if lay with lady Elyn less piously and more... religiously.”
Spoiler: show
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Joff' made a show of shaking hi head dissaprovingly at his young companion, but he couldn't disagree. Rumour had it The lord and lady only came together every seventh day, and even then not before the Septon cast holy water on the bed. He changed the subject, “I see Loi mo Fai has abandoned me once again,” he gestured to the door.
“Ah yes, he bid me tell you” Clarence sat up and affected, poorly, the bodyguards manner “'Lord-Captain, walls inspect I must. For escape we must be ready.' He is in the barracks swindling more men with that dice and sticks came of his.” The young man drained his cup, before pulling a small scroll-case from beneath the pillow on which he sat and proffering it to his Lord “Measter came by with this for you, looks to be a raven arrived from from Tyrosh.” He continued as Joffrey unfurled and read the note within. “And I presume you heard the news about old Lord Hoster?” Joff' nodded, eyes still on the note, “hard to believe the mad fool took to the field himself, but good that that stupid dispute has ended before any more blood was shed.” He paused and looked wistfully out of the window. “To go to war with the Vale over something so little as the Waxley inheritance. And this, just so that smug brute Tarly has a seat on Harrold's privy council? It's as though the Realm has just been at peace too long. So. What's the news from home?”
“All are in good health, and Lys is still posturing about those slave galleys Mantrays seized on Bloodstone. Your sister misses you...”
“Yes yes, but what's the real news?”
Lord Joff' smiled. “Dany has taken Sunshine for its first real flight...”

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...

A quick note: 'Lord Angron' mentioned is this Angron,
Spoiler: show
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not THIS Angron
http://fav.me/d7930i6
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Re: The Reign of the Promised Prince

PostPosted by Siege » Mon Oct 31, 2016 15:52

A fresh installment is on the way! A look into through the eyes of Tyrosha Stark at the city that is her namesake: Tyrosh!

But whilst I finish that off, here's a letter to the Maesters:

On the New Dragons: A letter to Maesters from the pen of Archmaester Lothor

To my beloved and learned colleges,

It has been some years now since the first new dragon hatched in Kings Landing, and despite speculation to the contrary, all three are of good health and continue to grow in size with each moons turn. Without some great misfortune it would appear that dragons are once again to be part of the reality of life in these seven kingdoms. For many of you in your duties I appreciate that that this may seem to matter little to you, but this is not so. What the rebirth of dragons will mean for the realm is by no means certain, but I can assure you that whatever the case the impacts will be dramatic. As those of a more historical bent will recall, the last century has seen successively larger and more frequent armed risings that have threatened the realm's cohesion, in no small part due to Lords becoming emboldened by the absence of dragons to chastise them for their bellicose ambitions. So, as a first order, it is your responsibility to impress upon your respective Lords and their progeny the mortal threat Dragons present, and the futility there is to be found in opposing them in the field. Peace is the key to prosperity, and to this end dragons may be of service.

It is at this juncture that I must reiterate the words of my venerable predecessor: do not give in to speculation about how King Aerys brought about their hatching outside the walls of the Citadel, and in do not allow the suggestion that King Rhaegar's later death was anything more than coincidence to propagate.

Now, in collaboration with Grandmaester Quentyn and Maester Oberyn in Kings Landing I have assembled some observations on the natures and temperaments of these three great beasts; knowledge I pray the none of you will ever need to put to use.

Eberon the first born, hatched by the young then Prince Aerys in the year 294, is black of scale and appears to currently stand at a length of 35 feet nose to tale, its wings further exceeding this in span and being of a grey membrane. In its 'adolescence', it took to following the prince about like a loyal dog, and continues to be exceedingly biddable by the King. Though the Dragonpit is nearly fully restored, The King keeps his dragon close at hand, either chained in the Lower Bailey, or loose in the Godswood, where the king has it hunt for live goats 'midst the trees. It never takes wing without The Kings's express command. The King has taken to having the beast lie at the foot of the Iron Throne when his Highness hears petitioners, which Eberon does in cold silence.
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Moonblaze, the second born by contrast is somewhat boisterous. Hatched by Prince Baelor on Dragonstone in 296, perhaps some 30 feet in length with iridescent silver-white scales, Moonblaze has been known to abscond for days at time, often flying into storms over Blackwater Bay. More recently, the King has seen to fit to keep it confined to the Dragonpit despite it's frequent vocal and often fiery protests, as well as the objections of Prince Baelor.
Spoiler: show
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The youngest and smallest dragon, Sunshine, hatched later in 296 by Princess Daenerys in the Bleeding Tower of Tyrosh. Even at birth it was a unsightly thing, it's head being so oddly misshapen that it was though not to live long. It's golden scales for which it was named have taken on a greenish tint as it has matured, only serving to exaggerate it's sickly aspect. Decpite it's appearance however, it appears to be in fine health. It has become a common sight for ships passing through the Stepstones to see Princess Daenerys atop Sunshine overhead. The two of them have already proven formidable burning out the last pirate enclaves, and bringing a halt to the slave trade passing into the Narrow sea.
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May this knowledge serve you well in your service to the realm,

Archmaester Lothor of the Yellow Gold Mask, Rod, and Ring,
Serving Seneschal of the Citadel

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Re: The Reign of the Promised Prince

PostPosted by Siege » Tue Nov 01, 2016 01:45

ALSO!

Something that you, dear readers, can help me with: the Words of House Longwaters!

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/House_Longwaters

I've been mulling over their history, from Harlan former slave who lead them to the landed status, to the hedge knight who gave the family its name, to their illustrious progenitors the Alyn Velaryon the Oakenfist and Elaena Targaryen; and I can't quite think of quite the right phrase to sever as the families guiding words.

All suggestions welcome!

Edit: ALSO ALSO, though it is far off in terms of being written up, I can confirm that Tywin, unexpectedly, will be popping up in some future installment!
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Re: The Reign of the Promised Prince

PostPosted by Siege » Tue Dec 20, 2016 21:31

Tyrosha
Tyrosha Stark was in melancholy mood, as he looked out across the city for which she was named. From her vantage on the balcony of Bleeding Tower's solar she could see near all the city curling around the bay before her; from the stately manses and naval wharfs within the old black wall, to the chaotic sprawl of the metropolis beyond with its domed trade halls and market plazas fighting for space with the spires of Septs and temples to half a hundred gods. All the city was a riot of colour, with pennants flying from wherever they might find purchase, and awning turning every thoroughfare into dazzling patchwork rivers of every hue. Tyrosha thought of the North; Hothor Flint, the man her mother had sent to watch over her and teach her of the realm she would one day rule, had said of it that the North had its own beauty 'made all the more precious in it's rarity,' but how could it compare to Tyrosh?

Anxiety rose up unbidden, tying her innards in knots at the though of the day she would have to leave for than cold grey realm that was not her home, not her Tyrosh.

She turned her sullen gaze out to sea, where the summer sun hung in a cloudless sky above the eastern horrizon. Just barely visible at the point where sea and sky met she could see the dark shores of Essos. Perhaps she might run away and become a sellsword in the disputed lands, she mused. Cousin Ulmer captained the Maiden's Men now and he was fond of her, at a feast he had even joked of naming her the company's patron maiden, much to the displeasure of stuffy old Septon Pate. She smiled at the memory, and sighed. No, she couldn't; it would be cruel to let the responsibility fall precarious Barbrey. A flash of white caught her eye distinct against the gently rolling blue waves, a second soon followed and a silhouette rose swiftly to the sky.
“And besides, Essos has no dragons.” She whispered the words to the wind, as she watched the distant dragon pitch about and dive once more into the water.

Ships slid in and out the harbour beneath her, but Tyrosha kept her attention on the golden-green beast for some time, watching as it tumbled in the air like an acrobat. She could just about make out a dark shape being flung from its jaws, only to be caught mid air and then cast up again. Its playing with its food, she thought.

Tyrosha watched a while longer, idly pondering whether Sunshine's prey this time was a seal or a dolphin, before turning back to the black mouth of the solar and stepping inside. Her eyes took a moment to adjust from the brilliant glare of the sun to the cool shade within the tower, yet here too colour permeated even within the dragonstone walls. A great canopy of sea green and red silks hung from the mouths of gargoyles perched in the high vaulted ceiling, and the walls all hung with heavy and richly embroidered tapestries depicting mythic beasts, fruit filled gardens, and great sea voyages. Around her, encircling the door a delicate lattice supported a rampant flowering vine whose perfume carried into the room with the sea breeze. Tyrosha plucked one of the twelve pettled purple flowers and set in her hair, before seating herself at the great white weirwood table that dominated the solar. She cast her eyes over the table, and permitted herself a petulant groan. Lady Dany' had set her the task of sorting through the correspondences to prioritise the most important or pressing. “An exercise in rulership”, she had said. Rulership was what was happening in the hall, Tyrosha though, she should be there watching Princess Daenerys hear petitioners. Perhaps if she found something truly noteworthy she would be allowed to server her Lady when she was to negotiate with the envoys from Lys later in the afternoon.

She picked up the next scroll-case, the leather cord that laced its cap the the tube was set with red wax stamped with a circle of chain links. From The Citadel, she thought, but too large or important a message to be carried by raven, so in must be from Lothor. She cracked the seal. She had never met her eldest half brother, he having left for the Citadel even before their farther married her mother; though he did write to her once on her twelfth nameday, sending along with it a light and crisply bound book on famous members of the Stark line, in the back of which a blank pages were inserted. That queezy tight feeling rose again at the memory, so she read:

“To my Lord Brother,
I gather your time in the Reach is proving eventful, such so that I doubt you will have the time to take a jaunt down to Oldtown to visit me yourself, though I do appreciate the case of pear brandy you had your man deliver to me. The last I heard you and the Tyrell host were chasing Randyl Tarly all about the Northmarch; you must be glad of the chance to finally stretch your legs after three months cooped up in Highgarden. It is quite un-maesterly of me to tell you (but as you shat see this 'til perhaps months after its all blown over I hardly see the harm), but the view from here is that Tarly is playing a losing game with Osbert Serry, a commander easily Tarly's match, bringing up more loyalists from south of the Mander; Lord Harrold will have twice the numbers of these 'Lords Appellant'. But seeing as you haven't yet brought the two parties together peacefully thus far, I can only hope that Randyl will quit the field before more needless bloodshed.”

Tyrosha shook her head, this letter by sea had been outpaced by a raven on the wing. Joffrey was once again at Highgarden but this time with the besiegers, for Lord Tarly had taken Lord Harrold's host by surprise as it sought to cross the Mander. Harrold had escaped with a few men to Highgarden having been first across the river, where as Joff had still been North of the river during the attack. Tyrosha knew that as the crowns representative her Lord brother was ensured safe conduct, but even so she worried for him. Frustratingly, the letter contained no more that might put her at ease, as it went on to report on various scraps of gossip circulating amongst the maesters in the realm. She had started to lose interest skimming over it all when her eyes stuck this passage:

“Now to my true purpose in writing, dear brother. The fall of Tyrosh has rippled out to the other daughters Daughters. With the Stepstones closed to slavers Volantis has been paralysed with intrigue and infighting, with many of the Old families bankrupting themselves in the process leaving the coffers wanting when the Horselords came exact tribute. Things became so dire for a time that the Triarchy was overthrown for a time, and even now in its restoration the pure Valyrian blood is no longer a prerequisite for election; with two mongrel Volantine's now as sitting Triarchs power has crossed the long bridge to the new city. But if anything they have become further consumed with insular concerns, in stark contrast to the Lyseni who have established enclaves in Northern Valyria, and (I have it on good authority) even in the Summer Isles.

I have no doubt that the Lyseni have proven an irritation to you, but it is to the North that real trouble is brewing. You may have heard that Lorath subjugated Qohor some years ago, and indeed that they have made a compact with Pentos, emboldening them to openly reinstate slavery, in defiance of both you and Bravos, but what you may not of heard is that they are colonising the old Rhoynar homelands. With the lumber of Qohor at their disposal each are building fleets on that great river to wrest control of it from the pirates that linger there, and if they are successful trade will flood up from Volantis on oars pulled by slaves, all bypassing Tyrosh...”
The outer door to the Solar swung open and Lady Daenerys' handmaiden Helicent Kellington strode through briskly, knocking on the heavy carved wood almost as an afterthought. Evidently flushed and short of breath she swept into the room straight towards where Tyrosha sat, and slammed he hands upon the table with such force and momentum that she almost seemed like to vault over it, but instead she leaned, bringing her face inches from Tyrosha's own.
“He's here!” she purred. Though Helicent was some four years her senior, she was an unabashed romantic who delighted in little more than the great game of matchmaking, so Tyrosha thought her present exuberance could mean only one thing:
“Lord Clement?!” Tyrosha seemed to turn grey.
“Prince Clement!” the handmade exploded with a giggle.
“Lord Clement” Tyrosha reiterated with a petulant tone, “he's just a Waters.”
“Oh but he is still a Dragon, sweet Tyrosha” Helicent said in her infuriating sing song way, pinching Tyrosha's cheek. The young Stark swatted her away, but Helicent circled around her and continued “a dragon here to court the wolf! I wonder what the bards will call you two?”
“We aren't married yet!” Tyrosha stood brusquely, turning away from Helicent to hide her burning cheeks.
“Yet! But you will be!” Helicent paused and drew in a long breath, before continuing in the more officious, polite manner she used in public “Lady Daenerys requests that you attend her presently in the Archon's Hall.” Tyrosha turned to face her, smoothing out the wrinkles in her purple velvet gown.
“I'm not ready” she said meekly, in near a whisper. Helicent stepped forward and took her by the hand.
“You are Lady Stark, heiress of Winterfell, it's he who isn't ready for you!”
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