Lons left the pyramid, planning a defense of the city with Selmy as they walked out. “I’ll do my best to take care of the bay.” Selmy nodded. “I’ll give them hell outside the gates, we have to do something about those catapults.” the old warrior said with a youthful confidence that Lons knew was warranted. The two parted, each wishing the other good fortune in the daunting tasks set ahead of them. The knight moved towards a task he had done hundreds of times, marshaling his troops against an enemy that had been known to them. He knew what he was doing. Trepidation and uncertainty ruled Lons’ consciousness as he faced a task even his razor sharp mind couldn’t grasp. Tyeen ran up to him, catching him before he left to a fate even he wasn’t sure of. He thought of the boy, Quentin… the blackened and charred body haunting his mind, the skin sloughing off like that of a roast hog. That could be his fate, his mind warned. “Lons, where are you going?” Tyeen asked, ripping him back to the real world. “I have to go take care of the bay, the Yunkai are trying to bring the flux into the city through the docks, they’ve already begun to spread the disease with the trebuchets.”
“And just how do you plan to do this?”
“The dragons… it’s the only way.”
“What? Lons, I know you’re a little mad, but this is completely insane.”
“I don’t see any other option. I have to try.”
“Your going to try to ride a dragon. Is that what I’m hearing?”
“Yes, if there is anyone qualified here to try this, it would be me, Tyeen.” Lons said, finding the boost to his confidence a welcome boon.
“Lons… you realize you’d be turned to ash the instant you approached the-”
Lons raised a hand, gently understanding but allowing no more argument. His mind was made up, even if his heart wasn’t.
“Lons, just promise me… that you’ll come back.”
“I give you my word. I’ll return.”
“I mean it, Lons. If anything even looks remotely wrong… promise me. Promise me that you’ll turn around and leave.”
“I promise, Tyeen.” he said with a smile, embracing her for what might be the last time. “I’ll be back.”
Lons hobbled out away from the Great Pyramid and into the desolate night. Tyeen stood watching until he was lost into the night, praying to any god she’d ever heard of to bring him back safe.
As Lons walked, he fought an inner war amongst the shadows of the night.
‘This is insane.’ he told himself. All he knew about these creatures was from dusty old tomes, and none of them specified anything about riding a dragon. It was something the ancient myths were made of, surely nothing more than tales told of exaggerated heroism carried out by legendary warriors and sorcerers.
Lons was no hero. He was no walking legend…
Still, he pressed on, the click of his cane echoing through the alleyways and vacant streets of the great city. Just days before, the city had been a vibrant, bustling place with peace and prosperity. Now, it was a mere ghost town, a shade of it’s former self. It had been left to die like so many other cities, languishing back into its’ ways of enslavement and greed.
‘No. Heroes are born of circumstance. There is no blood of heroes, coursing through the veins of a lucky few. It is the stalwart man, in the face of an insurmountable challenge, that forges a hero.’
He thought of those hundreds of dagger length teeth, the massive, predatory eyes gazing at him. They were no trifling matter, Rhaegal was the size of 4 wagons and Viserion was not too far behind him. They were much different than the whelps he had met during their youth.
He thought of the flames, the stories welled to mind, the horrors of dragons’ fire, melting men alive in their armor. Even the mightiest of knights could not best a dragon. Whole cities had fallen trying to kill them.
He thought of the boy again. That burnt body, gasping for nothing but death to ease the pain. And there would be no milk of the poppy for him, if that were his fate. Nothing but searing agony until he drew his final breath.
‘No, I can’t do this.’ he thought.
“You must.” he said aloud, a wave of fear washing over him.
The fear took hold deep within his bones, and he stopped at a crossroad.
The night was silent, waiting expectantly.
He willed the fear down, imagining it passing through his feet and dissipating into the ground.
“I have to do this.” he said aloud.
“Fear cripples only those who let it.” he continued, trying to will himself forward. Still, he didn’t budge.
“I am in service to the Mother of Dragons. This city was entrusted to my care… Fear is the only wall in my way. And fear, is just a creation of the mind.” he said, feeling his courage well up. The stories of ancient warriors and tales of heroic stands against horrors unknown rose up in his minds’ eye.
He thought of something he and Marwyyn had talked about once. Whether Dragonblood was a real thing, a blood line that let some live fearlessly while others cowered. Lons had argued that it was not the blood, but merely a state of mind that let them exert their will on the world, much like the sorcerers had done for millenia.
“I have surpassed everything in my path for this very moment. Failure will not exist. Viserion and I will ride into battle. It is already done.” he said, with finality.
He took a step forward.
Slowly, he kept moving through the city, corpses littering some of the street around him, stricken with the flux. An audience of hundreds of hollow, lifeless eyes watched as he began a feat not attempted in at least a hundred years.
He finally reached the large pyramid. The doors had been thrown aside as if the building had vomited out its’ contents. People had left everything, money, lavish possessions. The top of the building was cracked open like a massive stone egg.
Lons entered the top of the building, the click of his cane echoing through the broken building. Timber had been piled up in the middle, parts of the stone were scorched, some small fires still burning.
In the corner, a large white form hung. Lons paused.
“Fear not the dragon, nor the fear within your heart.” he said, half whisper, half prayer.
Two orange eyes opened, gazing at him with that familiar predator’s stare. He felt himself sized up, as a chunk of meat might be. The thought was unsettling, but he let it pass.
The great dragon shifted, dropping from the ceiling and whirling around in mid-air with a grace unfitting of a creature that size. He landed with a stone shaking thud. Sandstone cracked and splintered beneath him as the dragons claws sunk into the soft rock. The sound reverberated through the pyramid, and through Lons.
Strangely, he felt a sense of serenity come over him. There was no fear. No trepidation. There was nothing but Lons and the dragon. Viserion padded over to him, the massive creature dwarfing the crippled man.
A low throaty growl came from Viserion as he stopped mere inches from Lons face. When the dragon exhaled, it felt as if a searing desert wind had struck him. He had to fight to keep his balance. Viserion reared back, letting out an ear splitting roar as he shot a massive burst of hellfire into the wall. Lons watched as stone began to melt and still he felt nothing. There was a task that needed to be done, and he was here to see it through. The gold flecked fire was astonishing in its’ illusory beauty.
“Viserion.” he yelled, sternly. The dragon moved forward, eyeing him with sidelong glances and bared fangs. Those dagger length teeth that had shredded larger men than him threatened him with a vicious, bloody death. Somewhere, deep within, he felt a pang of fear. It wasn’t him talking. It was just the worthless part of his mind now.
He didn’t give the creature an inch. “Viserion, to me.” he commanded as calm and collected as if he were finalizing ledgers in his office at Rockfall.
The dragon moved forward, rearing back again. Lons thought for sure that he would be dead in an instant. Suddenly, the white dragon nuzzled against him as he had when he was young, begging for his cinnamon.
Lons hesitated a moment.
“Down, Viserion.” he said, in the same commanding tone.
The dragon obliged, lowering its’ head. Not so much in supplication, but as a privilege.
Lons slowly climbed onto his back, surprised that the creature did not double back and end him in any manner of horrifying ways. Lons could feel the power of the massive creature between his knees, every gigantic breath pulsing through his own body. Somehow, this felt right.
His cane clattered to the ground. He felt like he should care, the cane had been one of the only things to afford him any mobility whatsoever. It seemed an insignificant matter now.
Every movement of muscle was enormously powerful. Every inch of the creature was bred of dominance and violence. And yet, the intelligence of a dragon was not something to be trifled with. Without warning, the creature leaped off the ground, as effortlessly as if it had a fly on its’ back.
Lons held on for dear life, squeezing his knees against Viserion’s neck. His hands found purchase between slabs of inch thick scale, the intrusion less bothersome than a flea on an elephant. The night air rushed over him, moonlit clouds racing to greet him and Viserion as the pair climbed ever higher into the night sky. In the distance, Lons could see the ships in the harbor, moving towards the inner port. Selmy’s war raged by the front gate, but the clatter of swords had fallen away.
Within seconds, they had reached the cloud bank. Cool mists rushed past Lons, wetting his clothing quickly and making the hand holds that much more difficult to grab hold of. The slick dragon scales were as treacherous as they were hauntingly beautiful. The pair broke through the top of the clouds and Lons could do nothing but marvel at a sight no man could even imagine. The full moon shone high in the sky, as if it were a symbol of hope in a despaired time.
“A cripple can even fly.” Lons murmured with a smile, in awe of the sights before him.
As if on queue, Viserion rolled over,tucking his wings in and dropping from the sky. Lons held on with all his might, praying he wouldn’t slip. The sense of speed was immense as they fell, the dragon more at home here than anywhere in the world. The sky was his domain, and he aimed to keep it that way. The cityscape raced into view as the dragon dropped altitude, dropping lower and lower. Suddenly, a mere one hundred feet off the ground, he opened his wings, gliding only inches from the ocean. The salt spray covered both of them, Viserion’s body glistening in the full moon like some haunted monster of a child’s nightmare. His wingtips dipped into the darkened water, casting a vapor trail behind them. Lons nudged Viserion towards the left, lining him up with the ships moving on the harbor. The dragon already knew what to do, crashing into the masts of two of the ships, breaking the masts and capsizing the vessels like a toddler bashes toy soldiers together. Screams echoed from below as they moved on the others. Lons knew he wasn’t commanding him, so much as he was along for the ride. The dragon knew what needed to be done without any orders. Lons would have to pen this experience one day.
Lons felt a rumble within the beast, watching as a massive bout of flame engulfed the fleet, Viserion torching each of the boats as they flew overhead. Soldiers screamed and jumped from the vessels into the cold ocean, burning as they fell.
The fleet was in shambles by the time they had finished. Hundreds flailed among the waves rather than risk death in the infernos of the Valantese fleet. Many more weren’t so lucky.
Lons nudged Viserion again, but the great creature was already making for the battle on the ground, torching the trebuchets as they flew overhead. Wood exploded as the siege weapons ignited like tinder.
Soldiers broke rank, running for their lives.
He squeezed his knees, willing the creature to land behind a forming army on the outskirts of the battle. Brown Ben-Plumm stood before the warriors, giving a speech of heroism and courage, of glory and honor.
“What are you all quivering for, you craven bastards?”
The men pointed towards Lons. The scholar couldn’t help but smile.
Brown Ben turned and nearly exploded of fright.
“Y-yield. Yield!” he yelled, putting his hands up. His sword clattered to the ground.
Lons grinned. “A wise choice, my friend.”
Viserion roared and beat his wings to get back off the ground. Ranks of Brown Ben’s troops were tossed off their feet with the gale. Again, the air raced past them. The sensation was too beautiful for words as man and dragon relished in the freedom of the sky. The battle had seemed to go their way. The fleet was on fire, burning in the waves. Half the bay burned, covered in oil slicks and tinder, preventing any real approach. The ground battle was being mopped up by Selmy and The Unsullied, the army working with a cold-blooded efficiency. Dawn broke as Viserion perched on the battlements. The sunlight flooded the city, for the first time in a hundred years, a dragon was sighted on a battlefield, being ridden by a scholar, no less.
In the distance, a mercenary company marched onto the field, crashing into the remaining Yunkai forces. The Golden Company was a strong, respected unit. And they flew Targaryen banners under their sigil. A few outriders moved to meet Selmy. In the bay, House Greyjoy’s fleet had moved on the remainder of the massive Valantese fleet, crushing them as a Kraken would crush a crab.
Lons flew out to meet the riders.
Viserion landed with a thud, the massive creature startling the horses by its’ mere presence. A man spoke. The voice unfamiliar to Lons. “I am here to marry you, Daenerys Targaryen.” From his vantage point atop the dragon, he could see the characteristic silver hair and purple eyes, obviously a dragon in his own right. It would seem Daenerys was not the last of the dragons. “I didn’t know you swung that way.” Lons retorted with a smile, Viserion moving his head out of the way at just the right moment.
The look of shock on the man’s face was priceless.
The other man stammered, nearly falling off his horse. “It-It’s Lons!” he shouted, as the familiar voice of Ser Jorah Mormont echoed through his ears. Lons wondered when Dany would return. Despite all of this, his rightful place was beside her.
For now, the Sorcerer of Mereen would have to make do. The city needed someone to run it, and if not the Mother of Dragons, the Rider of Dragons would have to suffice.
Stonewing flew in from nowhere, landing on Ser Jorah’s shoulder. Jorah turned to look at the bird as it tilted it’s head. “BACOOON!” the bird shrieked, rearing back and pecking him square in the center of his forehead in an exaggerated manner. The pockmark swelled. Jorah cursed loudly, flailing as he tried to hit Stonewing, who flew off to a nearby tree. His caws seemed to echo in a laughing tone. The party laughed as a new day dawned on the city.
Lons grinned. “We missed you, Ser Jorah.”
(This is why I was up until 1:30 last night… I went through and changed some wording/proofread it just now, but again, I’m going to call it done, lest I screw everything up :P Special thanks to Monsieurs Brobert and Tony for really making this world come to life. And of course, our lovely Lady Lauren for all of her awesomeness.)