A Song of Rock and Fire

The Shadow's Stories

Willem Rains put his quill down and folded the letter, sealing it with the green and yellow wax of house Reed. He handed it off to be sent with a raven and began to suit up again, pulling his black leather on and making sure each blade and tool was secured. He would soon be back in the swamps, searching for more of the dragons, scouting out the usurper’s forces, and striking out whenever possible. Alone, Willem would not be able to defeat the army, or stop their marches. But he would make them know fear. They would fear the swamps, fear the darkness, fear walking into the woods to make their water. They would whisper of ghosts in the night, specters in the day, and death always.

Already it had begun.

Willem had leaped from the Gatehouse Tower, diving down into the rising bog waters below, praying that Fil Gussel had been right about some of the water being deeper. He had slipped below the surface with barely a splash and waited. Slowly he made his way towards the swamps, only his eyes above the water, at some points crawling through the mud to slip past the flayed men.

Once amongst the trees, he climbed up high into the branches and watched as below, a mix of Bolton’s and Stannis’ men moved into the trees, swinging torches as they hunted for the dragons and the crannogmen. Silently, Willem moved through the trees, coming up behind the group. He pulled the blowgun that Gussel had given him from his belt and took aim. He fired, the dart hitting the man in the neck. Before the man dropped, Willem unslung a ropedart and threw it down. It bit deep into the base of the next man’s neck and Willem jumped, lowering himself to the ground while hauling the dead man up to hang from the tree.

He slipped through the darkness and right amongst the men, dropping into one of the deep pools of water. One of his foes stepped nearby and Willem reached out, pulling him into the water and leaving him to sink in the depths. He ducked being a tree as two more walked by. Willem spun around the trunk, throwing another ropedart out. It pierced straight through one’s throat. He pulled on the rope and the man was thrown forward into the second, sending him stumbling as Willem darted out wrapped the rope around his neck, crushing his windpipe.

An hour later, Willem saw more torches in the distance, moving towards him, voices calling out. Willem melted into the darkness, watching from his hiding place. The men moved closer. “Where are they?” “They’ve been gone for awhile.” “Probably fucking some frog wench by now.” The group moved close to Willem and paused. “What in the seven hells-” The voice turned into a scream and one of the torches dropped, the figure holding it running backwards. A flash of lightning lit the sky and other yells joined the chorus. Hanging above the men, twenty bodies swung from the trees, blood and rain dripping from their corpses. As the group ran, Willem smiled and melted back through the swamp, making his way back to Greywater Watch.

The next few days, Willem had made more scouting missions than he could remember. He pulled dragons in through the swamps and found crannogmen hurt amongst the bog. Brod Sours had been one of the first to return, and Willem was glad to see Gussel had made it as well. They’d raided the camps of the usurper’s men, killing dozens when they least expected, sneaking right into their camps at night and slaying some in their beds, the crannogmen’s poison wreaking a different kind of terror. Stannis’ men were afraid to sleep, and some refused orders to hunt down the raiders.

The Stark boy had proven himself adept at planning many of their missions, having a keen eye for where the most could be done for the least cost. His direwolf also helped strike fear and death in abundance. Willem was pleased with his results.

He finished securing his armor and smearing his face with dirt. Gathering his men, he moved out into the bog once more, ready to continue his mission. After some time they reached the edge of the swamp, the enemy camp just beyond, men shooting scared looks at the trees. Willem signaled to his men to begin the raid and watched as they moved out. He locked his eyes on his target, a large knight with the pink of the dreadfort hanging from his shoulders. Willem crouched in the shadows. He rubbed his thumb over the stone dragon he had on his chest, as he did before every mission.

“Fire and blood,” whispered the captain of the dragons. “Fire and blood.”

View
Targaryen Tales

The valyrian steel sword clattered nosily to the ground. Gabby backed away from it with her hands over her mouth. “No…” she whispered. “No, no.” She backed straight into Robrik and turned. The older man’s strong arms wrapped around her. Gabby could see tears deep in Robrik’s eyes, but his face and body remained still as stone, tightly holding her as she buried her face in his chest, huge sobs wracking her body and weakening her legs.

After some time she pushed away from Robrik. Her eyes were bloodshot and red, but a defiance burned in them, deep and fiery. She looked at Lena, her hand on the sword, to Robrik, trying to hold himself steady. “He is not dead,” she growled softly, pulling the sword back to her. “He’s not!” She walked back to Robrik and put her finger against his breastplate, the smudges of her own tears staining it. “You find him, Robrik.” Her eyes burned into his and any thoughts of despair weakened beneath her intensity. “You find him. And you bring my husband back to me!”

Days later Gabby was moving about her chambers, clad once again in her boiled leather, her hair drawn up. Shatterstone was never far, either slung across her back or clutched tightly in her hand. She was pouring over maps, moving small figures around and murmuring to herself, desperately trying to think of where to send men and how to move her forces. Not for the first or last time, she wished Toten were there. He would know what to do. He’d take one look at the map and have a plan already formed in his head. Cursing, Gabby flung the map from the desk, scattering the figures everywhere.

Her council had been preparing many strategies for her but her mind couldn’t focus on them. Men were being gathered yet again in preparation for the journey north. A knock came at the door and Oberyn quickly walked in. He looked Gabby over before speaking. “The men are coming in quickly, they’ll be ready to leave in the next few days.” He paused. “I hope you aren’t planning on going with them.”

Gabby turned her fierce gaze on him. “And who do you think is going to stop me? You?” Oberyn took a half step back. It was unusual for anyone to speak like that to him. “I only mean to say that you are the queen, Gabriella. War is no place for a queen.”

Gabby rounded on him, stepping forward, her small frame seeming to loom large over the Red Viper. “Don’t speak to me of where my place is! My place is with my husband. Toten raised every man he could to find me when I needed it. I’ll do nothing less for him. So don’t presume to tell me where I should be. I will find him, with or without help, even if I have to scour all seven kingdoms.”

Oberyn sighed and raised his hands. “I know what you mean, Gabby. But Toten is gone-”

“Get out of my sight.”

“Gabby, I-”

“I said go!”

Oberyn backed out of the room, closing the door behind him. Gabby picked up her map and began studying it again for some time.

“Gabby.” Lena’s voice spoke softly as she entered the room.

Gabby barely acknowledged her as Lena sat on the bed and spoke about dreams. Her mind was elsewhere, anywhere.

“I’ve sent Jamie along with the direwolf into the riverlands, to search for Toten.” She took off her blindfold as Gabby turned, her sightless gray eyes haunted. “I know he’s alive too, Gabby.”

Gabby sank into a chair. She couldn’t bring herself to be angry with Lena, or to find hatred or distrust for Jamie Lannister. A tear leaked down her cheek, and for one moment she was glad Lena couldn’t see her. “I would give a kingdom to anyone who can bring him back to me, Lena.”

Lena gave a sad smile. “I thought as much. Ser Jamie may yet earn his honor back.” They sat in silence for a few moments. Lena reached into a pocket and produced a folded parchment, green and yellow wax sealing it. “There is one other thing, Your Grace,” she said, holding out the letter.

Gabby took it and broke the seal, prepared for the worst and read…

View
Lancaster Log 9

King Toten Lancaster walked into the hall of Walder Frey, done up in its finest for the upcoming wedding. Toten had polished his armor to a sheen in preparation for the event, and is glittered brightly in the torchlight. He moved to his place at the table and sat, Loras standing just off behind him and with Ned and Catelyn to either side.

The ceremony proceeded with little spectacle, the rain pounding outside heavier than Toten could ever remember. Lightning and thunder rumbled the stones of the Twins, and the thrum of the Green Fork was ever present.

Eventually, the feasting began and the ale began to flow. Toten picked at a few morsels and kindly sipped his ale when Frey men toasted him, turning away others who suggested he change from his armor. His companions did the same, save Loras, his eyes always searching.

After some time, Walder Frey yelled out over the din of the band. “This has gone on long enough, heh. It’s time for the bedding, heh!” The young men and women of Frey’s court crowded around Edmure and his new bride, clamoring and stripping away their clothes. Toten set down his goblet and clapped politely, but paused as he saw tears running from the Frey girl’s eyes.

“The girl doesn’t seem too happy with the match,” Toten spoke softly to the Starks next to him. “It can often be intimidating for a maiden at the bedding,” Lady Stark said as he brother and the girl were being hustled from the room. “Still…perhaps I should make sure…” She nodded at Ned and they both stood. Ned put a hand on Toten’s shoulder before following his wife across the room. A Frey moved after them and Toten caught a glimpse of mail beneath his cloak.

“Loras,” Toten said quietly. “If Frey is making comments about me wearing my armor, why is that man wearing his?” The Knight of Flowers scanned the room. “Your Grace,” he said, his hand sliding towards his sword. “I think all of these men are wearing armor.” He spoke what Toten’s eyes had already told him as he saw flashes of mail and hard leather. He stiffened and his hand edged towards Shatterstone.

The music from the band suddenly rose in volume, the tune changing to Lann the Clever. Toten’s eyes moved to where Ned and Catelyn were across the room and to his horror saw half of an arrow sticking out of Ned’s tunic, the other half buried deep in his chest.

“LORAS!!” Toten bellowed as two more arrows sunk into Ned, the crossbowmen in the band turning towards the King and his guard. Loras drew his sword but it was too late. Two arrows pierced his armor, at his shoulder and his side as Toten felt one slash past his face. Shatterstone’s familiar weight was in Toten’s hand as he kicked over the table and pulled Loras behind it. The Knight of Flowers’ face was slick with sweat and blood was already trickling from his armor, but as Toten lifted the table, Loras put his shoulder to it and together they rushed towards the platform with the archers, trampling over a few Frey’s in front of them. One slashed at Toten, but he picked up a large platter and deflected the blow, throwing the dish back at the man.

The table crashed against the base of the platform as the crossbowmen fired again down at them. Arrows scraped against Toten but failed to find purchase against his armor. Next to him, another sank into Loras’ collar at the base of his neck. Toten lunged up, grabbing another sword and began hacking through the cowards on the platform, blood flying as he ended their lives. Loras followed, his sword singing as he cut through foes, red flowing down into his white cloak.

The last crossbowman fell before them and Toten’s eyes locked with Walder Frey, a fire burning within him like none he’d ever known. “FREY!!” The word came out as a roar, a promise of pain and anger, the sound of an animal. “Kill him! Kill him now!” Walder yelled as scores of his men poured into the hall. Toten jumped down from the platform and picked up a dropped shield. Frey’s men came at him, in ones and twos, threes and fives. But no matter what they sent he fought through them. His shield punched through flesh and bone, Shatterstone tore through armor and muscle, guided by righteous purpose. Bodies littered the floor around him, Loras somehow still with him. Covered in blood, Toten rose up the stairs to Walder’s throne. He cast his shield aside and grabbed the feeble man by his throat and lifted him into to air. The wrinkled man choked as he tried to fill his lungs. “You have your wedding,” Toten snarled. “A red wedding.” Shatterstone rose under Walder’s head and slid up through his neck with a force so intense it separated from Frey’s body.

Toten whirled and threw the body heavily down the steps, facing the rest of Frey’s brood. He started down the steps, sword ready when the doors burst open and Roose Bolton strode in, a host of Frey crossbowmen with him. “You!” Toten yelled, stepping towards Bolton. The crossbows raised and Toten paused. Beneath him, Loras fell to the ground. The King knelt next to him. The Knight of Flowers’ cloak was soaked through with his own blood, his face as white as his cloak should have been. Still, his eyes moved, searching desperately. “Loras,” Toten called. “Loras, you’ll be all right. Hold on.” He tried to cover Loras’ wounds futily. Across the room, Bolton stopped in front of Ned, on his knees, his breathing shallow. Lady Stark struggled near him as the men beat her, a knife at her throat. The lord of the Dreadfort drew his sword.

“Stannis’ red bitch sends her regards.” Bolton thrust his sword into Eddard Stark’s heart and twisted, Catelyn managing a brief scream before the knife was drawn across her neck. “NO!” Toten was on his feet again and made to move at Bolton.

Suddenly Loras was in front of him. “It has been my great honor to serve you, Your Grace.” Toten barely had time to stammer before Loras was pushing him, putting every last ounce of life into one effort to bull Toten backwards.

Toten was falling. Above him he could see a window, and Loras standing in it looking down. Dozens of arrows punched through the Knight of Flowers’ and his body slumped against the window. “LORAS!” Toten yelled as he was turned in the air. The roar of the Green Fork rushed up at him, and the last thing Toten knew, was black.

Toten’s arm curled around Gabby laying next to him, her face nuzzling into his shoulder, her soft breasts pressed against his naked chest. Light was streaming softly through their bedchamber, the silken sheets tangled up amongst them. Toten turned his face to hers and smiled. “My queen,” he whispered. Her mouth curled into a smile. “My king,” she purred. She stood and turned back to Toten. Gabby opened her mouth to speak, but instead of words, water poured forth. Her eyes widened in horror. The light was gone. One hand rose to her throat and the other reached towards Toten as she choked, the water cascading from her. She whipped back, as if something grabbed her feet and she was sucked backwards into the darkness.

Toten ran through blackness. Lena was in front of him. “Lena…where is she? Where?” He turned all around, frantic. Before him, Lena raised her hands to her blindfold and removed it. She opened her eyes. They were black, the color of a river in a raging storm. “No!” Toten backed away, the rushing sound filling his ears again.

“Toten.” Toten whirled. Lons stood in front of him, both hands on his cane in front of him. “Lons! What’s going on? I’m looking…I’m looking for them…for someone…”

Lons shook his head slowly. “No, Toten. When you experience severe cold it’s important to take firemilk. It’s normally used to clean wounds but it’s called firemilk for a reason. It helps warm you from the inside and therefore causes…” his voice began to trail off as Toten looked on. He heard the rushing again and watched in horror as a wall of water fell over Lons, crushing him under it and sweeping him away. “Lons!” Toten yelled. The wall of water carried Lons away and then swept back, rising high over Toten. It crashed down on him, and Toten Lancaster knew no more.

A dog nuzzled a hand. A voice echoed in darkness. “Toten. Go west, Toten. I’ll find you…”

The man slowly opened his eyes, his entire body wracked with pain, the gray light of the overcast sky was blinding. He coughed and water bubbled from his throat. He rolled over onto his hands and knees and retched, more water forced up from his stomach and lungs. Slowly, the man staggered to his feet, gasping. A piece of green metal fell from his arm and onto the bank of the river. His right hand felt strangely empty. Bits of a ragged cloak clung to his shoulder. The man brushed it off and stood blinking weakly, staring out at the landscape.

“You there! Boy! You all right!” To his right a man approached, riding on a small wooden cart.

“L-Lons?” the man croaked, his voice hoarse.

“You take a fall in the river there boy? What happened to you?”

The man tried to think, his face full of concentration. “…wedding…”

“A wedding, huh?” said the man in the cart. “Looks more like a war from here. You must have just taken a bad spill is all.” He got down from his cart and wrapped a blanket around the man. “Jeck Jogs, at your service. Come on now,” he said, helping the younger man into the cart. “Let’s get you up here. Don’t want to be wandering around with kings and queens fighting around here.”

“G-Gabby…”

“A girlfriend, huh?” the man with the cart said. “Well, maybe we’ll get you back to her yet. I’m headed to Fairmarket. Plenty of pretty young girls there if you want to find a new one.” He chuckled. “What’s your name, boy?”

A faraway look crossed the man’s face, as if he were trying to view something from a great distance but couldn’t bring it into focus.

“…Toten…”

Shivering, Toten, a smallfolk of little importance, huddled in a blanket and was driven forward, the concerns of kings and queens, lords and ladies, and houses and banners meaning nothing more to him than so many words carried on the autumn winds that swept through the land.

View
Everybody Hates: Maester Lons
Aww, hamburgers!

“Lons Lanncaster! My old friend! It’s so good to see you!”
Lons wanted nothing more at this moment, than to fall on the nearest blade and avoid this whole mess.
Jorah drew his sword and stood.
‘Any blade but his…’ Lons thought.
The Khaleesi sat dumbfounded in a strange mix of shock and rage, that Lons was beginning to think of as the natural state of things. The web of lies he’d been asked to build was now being set alight, and he, Selmy and Tyene were the spiders trapped in the middle.
“Englighten us, Lons. What is the truth?” The Khaleesi glowered at Maester Lons from across the small table, a fire in her eyes more intense than the sun itself raging at him. Jorah drew his sword. Lons was sure he spotted a grin on his face. “There’s no need to draw your blade.” the Maester offered, meekly.
“I’ll be the judge of that. Speak, now.” Queen Daenerys commanded.
Jorah spoke up. “Tell us, Maester Lons, if you’re even a Maester, who is your mother.”
“Maris Ashford.”
Jorah picked right back up. Lons wanted nothing more than to wipe the smug grin off his face.
“Sister to Cersei Lannister, correct?” The Maester nodded.
Daeny stammered. The look of betrayal on her face was painful, and, in reality, completely warranted. Lons began to wonder if he was going to leave this tent alive, let alone see Westeros again.
“What is this Lanncaster business? Where did you serve last?” Dany chimed in.
“Rockfall, currently held by House Lanncaster.” The maester said, this time a bit more confidently. No sense in being cowardly of the truth.
“And this ‘Omara’… who are you, really? Surely not a fighter.” Jorah added in like the smug tattle-tale in the nursery.
Tyene stammered for a moment. “I am Tyene Sands, of Dorne.”
“Am I surrounded by anyone genuine?” Dany exclaimed. “Liars and traitors everywhere.”
“And our squire here… he is quite skilled with a staff. I saw him myself in the Valyrian temple. No squire fights like that. Why don’t you enlighten the Khaleesi, Ser Barristan Selmy?” Jorah piped in. That sly grin on his face seemed to be begging for a blade or even a slap.
“Says the man who has been spying on your beloved Khaleesi in order to win his pardon back to Westeros. How long have you been in contact with King Robert? Since the Khaleesi was with child?” Selmy quipped.
That did it.
Jorah stammered and sputtered, trying to find the words to save his repuation with his beloved Khaleesi.
“I’ve done nothing but give you honest, wise counsel. I’ve save your life, and the lives of your men. I’ve been nothing but genuine.” Lons added thoughtfully.
Truthfully, it felt good to end this charade. A bit more planning would have been nice, but Lons would make due.
“Believe me Lons, if it weren’t for that you wouldn’t be alive right now.”
The Khaleesi sat silently for a moment, simultaneously composing herself and thinking of her next course of action.
“I’m sorry Lons, for all of this.” Selmy added grimly.
“I give you all a choice. Either swear your loyalty to me and take whatever punishment I see fit, or leave now, and take your chances.”
Lons, Selmy and Tyeen exchanged glances and unanimously offered their loyalty. Jorah did as well,, though he looked more shamed than the three he had tried to paint as monsters.

Dany quickly went into planning for her “punishment”, which amounted to a suicide mission to assasinate the Great Masters within Mareen, or at least win them over to take their guards out of the fight. Lons understood the plan, the tactical concept was fine, though the actual operation would have to be determined once inside the city.
Surrounded by at least 500,000 enemies who want nothing more than to draw and quarter any servants of the Silver Queen.
Lons was reminded of a passage he had read in a book years back. A story, most of which escaped him. The following passage rang clear in his memory.
“Betrayal has a scent, does it not, Ser?” the squire asked as he helped the knight out of his armor.
“Aye, Steffen.” the knight replied. “Like the deepest of crypts, the stench of rot. But at the very depths of it, there is something else.”
“Like what?” the squire asked, puzzled.
“Redemption. A clean slate gained by deeds honorable or nefarious but necessary. Some things must be done for the greater good.”
The knight turned to face the sunset.
“Only once that darkness has passed, can one regain honor.”

View
The Captain of the Rock 2
Storm

The stags bathed in fiery hearts whipped and snapped in the Autumn storm. The weather was hard inside Rockfall proper, but it must have been murder for Rossel Storm and Stannis’ troops outside the walls. With around 1,500 men they would have no hope of taking the castle through force, but they were more than happy to starve Rockfall and its inhabitants out.

Jance had already ordered half rations for everyone to conserve food now when they didn’t need to, so they wouldn’t have no food when they needed it. Sieges were hell and the horror stories were always popular among soldiers not in one. Those stories came to Jance’s mind all too often these days.

One of his few solaces was that he had gotten his Lord and Lady’s children to safety. His King and Queen in truth, but no word from the outside had reached Rockfall, so Jance knew not if the decades old secret was still being kept to keep Lady Gabriella safe. As far as Jance knew he, Arianne, the Red Viper, and Doran Martell were the only living people who knew Gabby was a Targaryen. Jance meant to kept it that way until he learned otherwise.

As Jance headed back toward the castle proper along the many drawbridges the men gave salutes to his passing. His decision had caused quite a stir at first, especially not being able to tell the men the full truth, but nearly everyone had gotten behind the half truth of keeping the children safe. Once the siege had started nearly all the men had found great respect for Jance sending the children off. Those who didn’t were likely beaten by their more loyal comrades til they too agreed. Soldiers.

Though food was being rationed and enemies sat at their gates the worst part of the siege had to be Maester Sherman. He always seemed to ooze himself by when Jance wished to see him least, which was always. The man would blurt about how a Maester was neutral and should not be left to such barbaric treatment. Always telling Jance they needed to surrender. Even on half rations the man’s fat had stayed and it wasn’t long before Jance discovered the man sneaking food. He had been whipped after that. Jance felt slightly guilty, he had felt a lash himself and knew it’s pain, but Sherman deserved to feel it after his actions. Lons was a hundred times the Maester Sherman was, and a thousand times the man. Jance would give much to have Lons with him now instead of the fat fool.

Arianne was the one balm to him. At first he had pushed her away, not wanting the men to think he had traded the children for the Dornish woman’s body, but once the siege had started and his true intentions been proven to all Arianne had quickly become a nightly visitor to his bed. This very night he would again feel her soft dark skin on his. Jance had been with few women in his life, and Arianne had been with many men, but Jance cared little as he found her attractive in so many ways despite her past. She was exotic yes, but also smart, and funny, and kindhearted. He found every day he wanted her more, like a drunk craves wine. If he was a great Lord he would marry her and give her every part of himself. As a captain of the guard he could only share with her the short time they would have together. In some ways Jance hoped the siege would never end. Jance thought he probably loved Arianne. He didn’t think she felt the same of him, but that doesn’t matter to a man in love.

- – -

Deep in the night, hours after their passionate love making Arianne slept in his arms as Jance faded in and out of reality and dream. He dreamed of darkness and smoke and pain. He dreamed of flowers and sun and love. He dreamed of dark waters and open skies and distant lands. He dreamed of dragons, and lions, and fire and ice. Rock and earth.

When he awoke there were many men standing around his bed and Arianne gasped. Sherman’s stupid voice came from the corner, “You should kill the Captain, uh, he’s the only foundation they have. Uh, kill him and you’ll break their spirit. But, uh, we should whip him first too. Jance Morgan is a cruel evil man and, uh, you should punish him Lord Ser Storm”

A lamp lit in the hands of the tall man in charge. The face looking back at Jance through the small flame and thunder outside was bald and beardless, but no less carried the features of Lord Natan, Lord Toten, and Lady Lena among sharp divots and rough patches, “No,” the man said, “I am Lord Natan Lanncaster’s son, even if he was ashamed to admit it, and I have as much honor as he or my half brother. Jance Morgan is a good loyal man. He and Lady Arianne will both have rooms befitting those of high birth. You on the other hand my snake in Maester’s chain will sit in Rockfall’s deepest darkest corner. You may have given me my birthright when you gave me Rockfall, but no man should be rewarded for betraying those he swore to serve, you little worm pretending at manhood.” Rossel Storm was most certainly of Lanncaster stock despite what else could be said of him.

As Maester Sherman was drug off screaming and weeping Arianne grabbed Jance’s hand and looked deeply into his eyes with tears in her own, “You are a good man Jance Moragan and I’m quite taken with you. I will dream of the day I see you next.” When she was taken away from him and his world began crashing down around him Jance Morgan’s heart none the less swelled for his Dornish love, and knew that no matter how long he waited captured, he had at least saved the crowned prince and princess from Stannis’ grip. None could deny his honor or his loyalty, even in this greatest of defeats.

View
A Knight of Honor 2
Queensguard

“Who is with the Queen?” the Lord Commander asked of his Queensguard.

“Willem Raynes my Lord. He is a fine warrior and the Queen assured me she had much to discuss with her Captain of the Dragons,” the Maid of Tarth answered.

Robrik did not know how he felt about Brienne. She was one of the finest swords he had ever encountered, likely only outclassed by himself and the King, but she was a woman. A knighted woman now, but a woman. She would have to be twice as true and three times as skilled as any of her white brothers to earn half the glory and honor they would. Robrik would have to make sure her brothers always treated her with the respect she was due, lest others follow in their example and take away what authority the Queen had given the homely maid.

“I feel sorry for the man. My dear sister may have flashed her dragon wings recently, but she is all Dornish venom inside,” came the Darkstar’s chuckling response. Since the meeting had started he had caressed the hilt of Dawn nonstop.

Robrik misliked Ser Gerold. He was a fine blade and loyal to the Queen, even more so now that he had been given the honor and weapon previously held by Ser Arthur Dayne, the man who had saved the Queen’s life so long ago by whisking her into safety. However, Robrik was already hearing rumors of the man breaking his vow of celibacy with the castle serving women, and Dayne had never gotten on well with the King. He was one to be watched carefully.

“The King has assured me the Queen only wishes to and talk with one of the most skilled soldiers and battlefield commanders in her host. Treat the man with respect Ser Gerold, you are a fierce knight, but Raynes is a shadow covered in death,” Dayne only scoffed, but he said no more. Robrik held a hefty respect for all the Dragons, but Willem Raynes could sneak up on the Stranger himself, “and with the King?” the graying knight continued.

“Uh. . .his Grace told me that Shatterstone would be a sufficient guard,” Ser Loras said with a slight quiver in his voice.

Robrik couldn’t help but chuckle at Toten’s rebuke to the Kngiht of Flowers. It was more than true that the boy needed little protection from anything that breathed. Robrik realized Loras was starring at him and quickly looked through the papers he had in front of him. Robrik had given the boy a wide berth since the night he had. . .since the unpleasantness, and he continued to do so despite the boy’s attempts at conversation over the past month or so. Loras was a grand knight and a loyal heart, but. . .well, Robrik hadn’t told anyone yet of that night, whether through fear of embarrassment, or for the boy’s own safety Robrik didn’t know. Both for sure, but the Lord Commander did not know which reason held stronger.

“The King will be fine. No one in the Seven Kingdoms, Essos, or the Seven Hells could beat the King in a fair fight. Or an unfair one for that matter,” said the ugly but honorable Ser Lance Swyft.

Lance was a simple man who knew little else but duty. Robrik liked and trusted him immensely. Lance had confided that he had been the first to call the Queen ‘Little Star’ and that he loved her as a sister. Robrik believed if the man truly loved the Queen as a sister then he likely took after the Kingslayer and Targaryens as far as choices in women go, but Lance had too much honor to even think of such an act in reality, and so Robrik left his beliefs unsaid.

“Fine. Then let us to business then,” the Lord Commander spoke.

They were his white brothers and sister. He their Lord Commander. Two spaces remained open, and Robrik would judge those two when they came, but for now he had a handle on the Queensguard. They weren’t perfect, and most were there mainly because of their skill with a blade and as reward for service given, but Robrik knew each and every one was prepared to truly give their lives for the Royal family. Unlike Robert, Toten and Gabby had picked their Queensguard for their loyalty first, and their other qualities second.

Sometimes Robrik was amazed to find himself in a white cloak. Him, a silly knight from the north. Yet here he was, Lord Commander to the King he had helped raise from boyhood into the finest man Robrik had ever, or would ever, know and a Targaryen Queen, who he owed all his loyalty to. Robrik had come close to killing the Queen’s father himself. Robrik’s cousin had died trying to reclaim her mother. robrik had fought in a war to cast her Grandfather from power. Now he sat a loyal supporter of her and House Targaryen. The Seven play the strangest of games with their people. Robrik and Septon Argyle were but two living proofs of this.

After the meeting, when the others had left, Robrik sat at the round table the Queen had found for them to use until the White Tower could be taken in King’s Landing. Once there Robrik would have a lot of writing to do. The Kingslayer, Selmey, and the rest of Robert’s Kingsguard would need attention on their pages if Stannis’ Kingsguard was lax in their duty to the white cloak. Robrik truly hoped he would not have to write of the dishonor Ser Arys Oakheart had found himself.

Plus, the fates of Stannis’ Kingsguard, and of course Gabby’s true Queensguard, would all need pages written. He would have to write a page for himself as well. There were a few good tournaments to mention, one being naught a week ago. The Trident would come up of course. Robrik would write of his failure to Natan , a lie could not stain the White Book. The battle with the Knights of the Rock would be there for certain. Perhaps others of his deeds as well. His and the Queen’s adventure in the Vale perhaps. No matter what Robrik wrote of himself he would make sure that what his replacement would write of him would be worthy of a Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Even if it was simply, “He died with honor.”

As he prepared to leave to find the King his thoughts lingered on Madge who was coming to Casterly Rock even now. She would be upset, but she would understand. She had understood her whole life. Perhaps she would get a mention on his page as well. The woman he loved, but set aside for honor.

She would have to be in it he realized. How could the history of his deeds be complete without the most important thing in his life being mentioned.

View
Lanncaster Log 8

Toten paced around the top of the tallest tower of Casterly Rock, the setting sun washing over the land and bathing it in red and orange. The wind whistled softly and far below Toten could hear the sea washing against the base of the rock. He put his hands on the parapet and looked down upon the city below, wondering just where his life had led him.

Toten’s world had been turned over, everything he knew askew. He had fought his way across Westeros, led armies, slain monsters, and unseated a lion. But all had been done as a mere lord of Rockfall. And with a few simple words, Doran Martell had turned Gabby into a queen, a dragon queen, and Toten had become a king and his deeds meant far different things. Already ravens were flying in carrying word of lords marching towards the Rock to bend the knee to Toten and Gabby.

Toten closed his eyes and sighed. He craved guidance. His father had always given him wise counsel and after his death, Gabby had largely filled that role. Toten looked down to the small bound journal in his hand. He had meant to finish the last portion some days ago but the siege of Lannisport and Casterly Rock had seen the journal set aside. Wanting nothing more than to hear his father’s voice again, Toten opened the journal.

Natan Lanncaster’s Journal

My son is a man grown. Gone is the boy who came back from Pyke injured and afraid. I believe he’s grown past Robrik as a swordsman by now, though there will never be a better example of knighthood. And Lena has turned into a beautiful young woman. Strong in ways her mother never was. I’ve watched them grow and change behind the walls of my home. But beyond, I’ve seen Westeros change as well. I don’t often leave the castle anymore, but when I have ventured north to King’s Landing, I’ve been struck at things that I’ve seen. By news that reaches my ears.

A decade ago I rode into battle with friends at my side. Ned. Robert. I never thirsted for the battle as Robert did, but he had my loyalty all along.

Sometimes of late I wonder if my loyalty had been misplaced.

Robert was a glorious fighter, like no other, easy to follow. But now…now he has squandered much of what we gained, left behind so many of the promises we three made around late night tent fires.

Robert will always be my friend, though I do not know if I should have made him my king. Not as a look into the faces of my children who have given me much to be proud of.

But we must needs sleep in the beds we have made, and I will not go against my word.

I can hear Robrik and Toten in the yard. Perhaps I’ll watch them for a time. Remember the joys of youth, and the feeling of breathing free…

Natan Lanncaster’s Journal

I’ve made my son a match to be wed. It’s time. Past time most likely. Perhaps I wanted to shelter them longer than necessary. Lena must needs have a match soon as well. But Toten has become a good man and I think a wife will serve him well.

I was surprised when Doran Martell sent me a raven inquiring about Toten as a match for a Gabriella Dayne. Since that first raven we have had much correspondence. Ending in the betrothal. The Dayne’s are a fair house, with honor. I am sure some will talk of marrying in to old supporters of the Targaryen’s, but I stick by my decision. I think a little of the old ways might do him some good anyways.

Martell surprised me in his letters. He asked many questions about Toten. What kind of man he was, how he would treat a wife. I told him that Toten was just as honorable and dutiful as I am and that seemed to be enough for the prince of Dorne.

As for the young Dayne girl, she’ll be fiery enough I’m sure. Most of the Dornish are, particularly those who spend a bit of time with the Martells, to say nothing of the Red Viper himself. Doran says that she has the old look. Something different than what is usually seen in these parts.

Now I just have a wedding to attend to. Plans to make. Perhaps Lena will take charge of it. And to tell Toten of course. He and Lons have just returned from King’s Landing. We shall see how he takes it. The Dornish are already on their way up the Boneway and will be here in a fortnight. I only hope I made a proper match and that this Gabriella Dayne will make a good wife for my son…

Natan Lanncaster’s Journal

The day is finally here. The day my son is wed. I understand he has made quite the impression on the Dayne girl as well. It’s good to see him so taken with something besides Shatterstone.

The girl has made an impression on me as well. Just the sight of her reminds me of Rhaegar, though I only met him a few times. There is something about her though. A fire that will temper Toten, guide him straight.

I’m afraid in the short time she has been here, I’ve come to adore the young girl. The Targaryen’s couldn’t be all bad if they had supporters like Gabriella’s ilk with them. I’ve also been enjoying the company of Oberyn. An unusual man to be sure, but he is straight with his thoughts and there is something to be said for that. It has been fun to share stories with him.

All the preparations have been made for the feast tonight after the ceremony. Oberyn says he’s been saving a good story for the feast. And there is always the bedding. I’m too old for such things, but I’m sure others will have the fun.

Regardless, it will be a night to remember for some time. It almost makes me feel young again, ready to take on the world. But those are now the days for my son. I do not know if I will be able to tell him, but Toten has made me prouder than I ever thought it was possible to feel.

As for his wife, I hope he loves her and trusts her. She is a good girl. And I know that she will not lead him astray. That fire in her will keep her true for him.

Today, I am now the proud father of three…

Toten read the last line in his father’s journal, wanting there to be more but finding nothing further. The day he died, Toten thought, remembering. He closed his eyes and saw his father sitting in his chambers, scratching away at the journal while the wedding was prepared, rising and closing the book where it stayed until Toten found it.

Toten reread the last few lines. “He knew,” Toten said quietly to himself. “He knew that Gabby was a good woman. That we would care for each other. And that is all that matters. Queen or not.” He sighed. “I just wish I knew if it was the right path.”

He flipped through the last few pages of the journal, blank after the last entry until he was looking at the back cover. Toten ran his hand over it, feeling the roughness of the leather against his palm. His thumb caught a loose edge in the middle of the cover, a small corner folded over. Toten ran his thumb over it again, bringing more up. Gently, he took it in his hand and peeled up a flap of the leather about three inches square.

A three headed dragon stared back at him, red on black smoke curling from each mouth. Small at the bottom in Natan’s hand was written the words: “Fire & Blood.”

Toten looked at it for some time before folding the flap back down and closing the journal. He looked toward the setting sun, the Lord of Rockfall and reclaimer of the Rock. And turned back, the King of Westeros.

View
Lovely Lena 2
Lannister Knights

Ser Jaime didn’t say anything at first and Lena thought perhaps he had simply not heard her, “Ser Jaime, I said my brother has killed your father. I am sorry.”

“Why would you be sorry Tyrell, the man blinded you,” the golden knight answered from the darkness in front of her.

“I’m not sorry he is dead, I am sorry you have lost a father,” she said with all honesty. Ser Jaime was a cocky man, he was cruel at times, and he hated her and everyone she loved. However, Ser Jaime was a good man at his core, even if he and the realm failed to see it.

She remembered the night he told her of Aerys’ death. She remembered saying very little as he talked of that night in the Throne Room. In his voice she heard regret and sorrow, but also anger that he should be reviled for what ultimately was an act of heroism. Ser Jaime had broken his vows, no doubt, but he had saved close to 500,000 people from burning alive by doing so. Some part of Ser Jaime killed the Mad King to help his father, but Lena truly believed he was mostly motivated by stopping a monster and saving life. The world would yet be a darker place had Ser Jaime not whetted his blade on King’s blood.

“I’m sure you are Tyrell. Well it doesn’t matter. Father was doomed once he lost at Highgarden. . .when I lost here I mean. He. . .” Ser Jaime took a minute and Lena wondered greatly what expression he wore, “What does it matter, he is dead and it is done. You have all won and now you can kneel to Stannis and live happily ever after.”

Lena was surprised at his reaction. When she had told him of his sister’s death he had wept openly and even taken her had for a time in comfort before remembering that his sister’s death was pleasant news to Houses Tyrell and Lanncaster. Just the same her heart had gone out to him, and that was the day she had started believing that Ser Jaime was more than the monster he was made out as. Yet when hearing of his father’s death he had done little more than pause a few times. Lena had wept for days in private when her father had passed, not so for the Lannister son it would seem.

“That isn’t all, there has been other news. It seems that my brother’s wife is more than the Martells have wanted us or her to believe.” Lena told him of secrets made long ago and of Princes and their northern brides and the saga that was coming to Highgarden by raven from Mace Tyrell and her brother’s own hand. She could hardly believe it herself, but before long the tale of Gabby’s birth was told and she was revealed as the rightful Queen of the seven kingdoms to the Kingslayer.

Ser Jaime sat in silence for some time before bursting into laughter. He went on for some time before Lena was able to ask him about his sudden mirth. “It’s just too funny,” the golden knight chuckled, “The woman kills my brother and now she gets to be a Queen. Heh, those Martells sure know how to play long ball.”

“You hate her.” Lena said. It wasn’t a question.

“She killed my brother! Her husband killed my father!”

“After your father blinded me and nearly took Gabby’s children and her life from her,” Lena snapped back, unafraid of his raised voice. Lena Tyrell had grow up around men like Natan Lanncaster and Robrik Cassel, men yelling was like a lullaby for her. “Then you tried to kill my brother and started a war. Then my brother marches against you and takes your hand and eventually your father’s life. Now I suppose you or your descendents will some day rise to slay my brother or his heirs. Where does it end Ser Jaime? When does the killing stop?”

“This is Westeros Tyrell. The killing never stops,” he said as he wore a cocky grin, or so she assumed.

“You can stop it Ser Jaime. You can break the cycle. Toten and Gabby hate you and you hate them, but if you put down your arms you could end a feud that has been raging for a thousand years.”

“And why should I?” he asked gritting his teeth.

“Because it would be the knightly thing to do,” she let the words hang there for a bit, “Whatever you decide, Willas and I, along with half the court at Highgarden, are going to Casterly Rock to pay homage to the King and Queen, and you good Ser are coming with.”

“WHAT!? You plan to parade me around my own home in chains!?”

“I plan to clean you up and have you act as my personal consultant. I feel my brother is going to have great use for me in the near future in corralling the Westerlands, and who knows the Westerlands better than its old Liege Lord’s son?”

“Why should I help you all claim what is mine by birth? Why should I help you at all? Why shouldn’t I strangle you in your sleep at the first opportunity!?” he yelled rising to his feet. Shepard at Lena’s side growled at him with teeth barred.

“He’s a good reason Ser Jaime, but mainly because it is in your best interests to help us. It gets you out of this cell and doing something with your life, even if it is helping your ‘enemies’. Toten and Gabby may be King and Queen, but I am Lena Tyrell of House Lanncaster and I will not be cast down by anyone. You will be under guard, but you will have something like freedom, and you will be helping us against the man that killed your sister.” This made him pause, made him think.

He hates us, but he hates him more. I can only hope that all his hate will fall upon the Baratheon King some day.

“All I have to do is give you counsel? Advice?”

“Yes, Ser Jaime. That is all. You may even get to sit in on some small council meetings. You could even get away with an insult or two at the King and Queen with me around,” she said with a smile.

“What’s the catch?”

“The catch is that some day perhaps you will find that we are not monsters, and that you agree with us, despite all the bad blood.”

“I doubt that," he scoffed, "but I will come with you. I will advise you, and I will help you kill that son of a whore on the Iron Throne,” Ser Jaime said with boiling hate.

“Then we will get along swimmingly,” an hour later she had convinced Willas of this course of action and was preparing for the short journey north.

View
A Knight of Honor 1
Squires

Robrik walked back and forth in front of the three boys. Like them he wore padded leather gauntlets, grieves, and armor. Each of the boys carried a wooden sword filled with lead and a training shield outlined in steel. Both sword and shield weighed easily twice that of real weapons, so as to build the muscles of the boys swinging and holding them.

First in line was the little lord, nearly three and ten with near silver hair and dark blue eyes. Edric was Lady Gabriella’s cousin and a nephew to the late Ser Arthur Dayne. The boy held his shield out only six inches and rested his sword on his shoulder.

“Push that shield out at arms length boy! Put that sword tip straight in the air! If you can’t hold toys in the air for a few hours you’ve no right to swing weapons at men!” Robrik shouted in his best Natan voice. The old man had always been good at getting people to listen to him. Lord Dayne set himself straight quickly. The boy had much weight on his shoulders, many expected him to become the next Sword of the Morning and receive the Valyrian greatsword Dawn, an honor given on merit, not heredity, among House Dayne.

Don’t try and grow up too fast boy, or you’ll fall into an early grave like so many untested knights.

Next in line was the oldest at four and ten, the street urchin from Flea Bottom. The boy had a quick tongue and an easy smile, but Robrik knew not if he had it in him for knighthood. The boy, Tommen Tommen, held his shield at his hip and leaned on his sword as if it were a cane. He was chuckling silently at Lord Dayne’s scolding.

As Robrik walked by he kicked the sword out from under the boy and sent him tumbling to the ground. “It’s a sword not a cane boy. I think you’ve been hanging out with Lons too much. He may be the Melee Maester, but I train knights here. Get up! get up! get up!” The boy quickly stood to his feet and matched Edric’s pose, the color draining from his face. “Tommen Tommen is it? Well, we already have a Tommen around here, so perhaps you will be TT now, as to avoid confusion. Sound good?” the knight asked smoothly.

“Yes Ser!” the boy yelled out. He had a head full of stories and foolishness, but he was eager and willing.

He may just make it yet.

Last was the youngest at eight. His hair shined gold and his eyes gleamed green. The bastard son of the incestuous Jaime and Cersei Lannister, Tommen Baratheon. Or perhaps Lannister? Or even Hill? It did not matter for now. The boy held his sword and shield at good distances and in good form. Robrik just glared at him. The boy held hate and determination in equal measure within himself.

Will I train this boy just to have to slay him when he comes for my Lord or Lady in a decade? I must not think of this. I must do my duty.

The three were to act as Lord Toten’s personal squires, and as such it fell to Robrik to train them, and perhaps knight them some day if they be found worthy. It was a tall order, but he had made fine men out of a fiery lordling and his silly friend with Toten and Jance, so these three would not be impossible.

“Who was or is the greatest knight to live in resent memory? Lord Edric?” Robrik asked turning to the boy.

“Ser Arthur Dayne, my uncle,” the boy replied with no hesitation.

“Why?”

“Because he was one of the finest swordsmen who ever lived.”

“Ah. How about you TT? Who is the greatest knight to live in recent memory?” The knight turned to the young street urchin.

“You Ser Robrik,” the boy said with a wide grin.

“Flattery will only get you more push-ups. Ten. Now!” After the short exercise was done Robrik asked again, “For true now, what knight is the greatest?”

“Well, probably Ser Barristan Selmy,” the boy said slightly out of breath.

“Why?”

“Because he kicks so much ass and is a stone cold bad ass yeah yeah yeah.”

“Ah. Finally to young Tommen. Same question my boy.” The knight turned to the last of the three.

“My uncle Jaimie, because he is the finest blade to ever live.” The boy’s eyes burned with defiance.

“Except Lord Toten perhaps?” The boy’s fire died with the knight’s words. “All three of you have chosen different knights, but you have all chosen the same reason, they are good with a blade.” The knight paced for a bit before turning back to the boys. “Ser Gregor Clegane was a fine blade. A fine lance too. So large he could overpower nearly any man alive with his brute strength. This man dashed Rhaegar Targaryen’s son’s head across a stone wall and then raped Elia of Dorne while her child’s blood was still on his hands. When he was done forcing himself into her he broke the princess’s neck and left her on the floor in a heap. I doubt he wiped his cum off her dress before he left.” Robrik stood in silence after the harsh words. None of the three boys looked very proud. None looked very eager anymore. All were wearing the shame of Gregor having a Ser before his name.

“This monster was killed by one of the finest swordsmen I have ever met. A man who chooses mercy and honor whenever he can, even if it is detrimental to himself. Yet Lord Toten has no Ser in front of his name. Ser Gregor Clegane did before his death. One of these men was anointed in the light of the seven, the other was not. One of these men has killed children and raped women, the other has not. In fact the other has kept safe the child of his enemies, never once using him to gain power over them. Even now this man lets the child serve as his squire to regain his family’s honor.” Tommen said nothing and his face remained of stone.

“I want you three to think long and hard about what it means to be a knight. Whether it means simply being a skilled blade, or if perhaps it is something more.” Robrik walked away to leave the boys to their thoughts, holding their swords and shields at arms length for the next three hours.

View
Captain Maester Lons PhD MD

“I know you, Maester Lons. I don’t remember from where, but I’m onto you.” Jorah’s accusing words rang in his head as he urgently rushed on board the moored ship. “The Khaleesi’s been taken! (We need Liam Neeson!)” The Maester quickly got to his feet with all the grace of a much older man. He hobbled across the uneven deck as fast as he could while Ser Jorah continued to yell at him about his speed.
“Lons, we need to move faster!”
“Come on Lons! You need to move.”
In a moment of anger, Lons snapped back. “I have a crippled hip Jorah, what more do you want from me?”
“We need to save the Khaleesi!” Jorah yelled as he ran ahead of the group. Something more than pure duty seemed to push him, all sense of strategy had seem to have gone from the man. He was astounded to see the three blood riders on the ground, breathing shallowly. Rakharo muttered to himself “Blood Magic…No, No Blood magic” Lons quickly set to work to save the three warriors. If anything they’d be able to provide a more complete picture of what had happened. As the Maester looked over his body, he noticed a small pinprick, indicative of poison. ‘Tyene…’ he thought worriedly. She’d been out with the Khaleesi before they were taken, though it made little sense as to why she would poison them. Where would she go, after all? The answer came as the Maester took stock of their symptoms. It was indicative of poisons used by indigneous tribes, something the northern widlings might use. He quickly set to work, sucking out poison, mixing antidotes and other salves for the three men. They had fought bravely and deserved as much. Besides, it was his duty to the true queen, even if Jorah didn’t think so. After the Maester had done all he could, he pointed out a set of tracks moving off into the jungle. The forboding terrain posed a great challenge to all of them, especially to the Maester. “There.” Lons said, pointing to the barely existent trail. Jorah was already halfway up the hill. “A man’s duty is never done. Even if it takes you to the ends of the earth, there are still those who need your service,” He thought of his chain, waiting in Marwyn’s office for his triumphant return. He noted the silver chain around his neck. “Love and Duty aren’t as separate as one would think.” he thought as they plunged into the harsh jungle, hoping to save Dany and Omarra from the local tribe. Jorah was leading the charge, not even bothering to hack through the vegetation but simply bulldozing it. “She’s this way!” he yelled out. Duty motivated Jorah for sure, but there was something else. Maybe Lons and the old knight weren’t so different after all. Lons hobbled through the mud and root filled jungle after him, chasing more than just duty.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.