ASOIAF: Golden

Discussion in 'Finished Timelines and Scenarios' started by joelee77, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. joelee77 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2014
    Original posts in the Miscellaneous ASOIAF Thread, here, here, and here


    Inspired by Lorgar’s Cregan's brilliant prompt and QueenErisJane’s development in the Ruler Thread.


    Stannis


    It is the color of sin, he thinks. Or what the septons would prate about and call sin. He ignores them and their empty words. Duty might have stopped him, once. It might have made him obey and follow Robert. Until Delena.

    He could have loved Delena Florent, he thinks, or whatever others talk about and call love. He had felt something different towards her, those first euphoric days. That was before finding Robert and her in bed, the morning of the wedding. Then there was nothing to do but go ahead with the marriage, lest he become the laughing-stock of Westeros. Robert had taken everything from him – Storm’s End, Delena, his pride. Now Delena sits alone on Dragonstone, while Stannis finds every excuse to remain in King’s Landing. He feels nothing towards Delena now.

    This, however, is not love. This is passion, a burning fury, a blinding hatred that unites them. A hatred of Robert that proved deeper than any duty. But yet he cannot help but think that he enjoys this, being tangled in his paramour’s limbs and golden hair. Robert had shamed him; why should he not shame Robert? It seems so just.

    “Cersei,” he whispers hoarsely.


    Cersei

    It was to protect them both, she tells Jaime; best let Robert have a child, lest he come suspicious. But she cannot help feeling a flush of pride as she studies Joffrey’s black hair and blue eyes. Robert will laugh and call him a true Baratheon. But the boar will never bear a legitimate child; all those who spring from her wombs will be from the brother Robert hates so much. It is hard for Cersei not to laugh aloud at her victory, though nobody can know it but Stannis and herself. It is revenge; it is safe; it is so perfect.

    She will never tell Jaime as they lay and whisper together, but there is pleasure in it too. The hard jaw, the broad shoulders, the balding forehead, the iron will. Stannis is not the golden prince she once dreamed about, but he reminds her of another hard man.

    And Joffrey will grow up to be like both of his forebears, she thinks as she watches him greedily nurse. He will take what is his, and never let go or apologize. She will make sure of it.

    Let Robert love the boy; he will be loving his own destruction.


    Stannis

    The court begins to whisper of a King’s Party and a Lord’s Party. The King’s Party is Robert’s cronies, the scum of the earth whom Stannis would sweep away if he could. The Lord’s Party is those who stand with him, against Robert’s prodigious spending, against the corruption that oozes through the court, against the licentiousness that Robert represents.

    “Robert had another bastard,” Stannis tells the assembled lords and ladies, “the child of some tavern slut.” Perhaps it would be more theatrical – he scoffs at the thought – for them to be meeting in the hidden crypts below the Red Keep, but the hostility between the King and the Lord of Dragonstone is open now, and it is fitting for them to be meeting in the open as well, proud and defiant.

    Gyles Rosby coughs. “How does our gracious queen take the news?”

    “She retired to her new private sept to pray and reflect before the gods,” Tanda Stokeworth informs them. Tanda does not know that Stannis had gone there as well; the sept had been well-designed. A smile threatens him at the irony. Can the Seven threaten me, any more than they saved my parents? Stannis wonders. What power do they have?

    “Perhaps the Faith could be brought to censure him?” Rosby suggests.

    “Our High Septon partakes of the same fleshly desires as King Robert,” scoffs Anya Waynwood. “The Faith will never be on our side while he lives.”

    “The Seven Above surely frown on King Robert and the High Septon for their unfaithfulness,” Guncer Sunglass intones piously.

    Stannis wants to scoff at Lord Sunglass, but then a glimmer of an idea from the others’ words strikes him. Cersei will better know what to make of the idea. Yes, he will find a reason to visit that sept again soon.


    Cersei

    She fumes. Rolland Storm should have been perfect. A fierce warrior, who loudly pronounced his allegiance to the Faith and his disgust with its corruption.

    But the knight had rejected her. He had agreed with her at the beginning: the High Septon was a disgrace to the Faith, and a replacement would be desirable. But when her fingers had begun to dance up his leg, Rolland had shrunk away and then stormed out the room, as if his honor and faith were threatened. Cersei scoffs. There is no such thing as a truly honorable or faithful man.

    Perhaps one day she would again test how steadfast the bastard really is. But she has more pressing concerns.

    Richard Horpe is more understandable. “You denied me a spot on the Kingsguard,” he says with hate and lust in his eyes.

    “I had something more in mind for you,” she tells him as she slips off her gown.

    Stannis had been right; Ser Richard’s desires were simple. Yet Stannis was also wrong. Horpe had been so easily bought, Cersei thinks, as she reclines in a couch with a glass of Arbor gold and waits for the bells of the Great Sept to toll.


    Stannis

    The fat High Septon was dead. A new High Septon, of a more suitable temperament, had been selected. Lannister gold, Stannis thinks half-sourly, as he fingers another type of Lannister gold.

    The new High Septon thundered against the licentiousness of the court, against Robert. It had given Stannis something like pleasure to see the expression on Robert’s face, the first time the court attended the Great Sept after the conclave. Robert had stormed out, and now the tide was turning. Where people had once feted and drank to Robert, they now began to whisper of his faults. The faults were there all along, Stannis scoffs; people were just too blind to see anything wrong. Just as blind as they still were to the truth about himself and Cersei.

    “This is your chance,” Cersei whispers. “Be allied with the Faith. They already love me for my generosity to the Sept, but I cannot associate with you in public. Say some words, and let the people think of you when they discover their faith again.”

    “What is a man, when he must say what he will never believe?”

    “What are you, indeed?” Cersei laughs slightly as she pulls him into a kiss, and he is lost. “You have no idea what has been unleashed. The new High Septon has septons and septas going out into the countryside and cities and rallying the people in their faith. Embrace this, and they will embrace us.”

    Perhaps there is power in the Seven after all.


    Cersei

    She hides her repugnance at these representatives of the Faith. Wrinkled septons and septas, dressed in brown robes; some are barefoot, and one has brought a huge shaggy dog with him. But they can be useful to her.

    They speak of the corrupt being cast out from the septries, of septons now visiting towns that had been in the darkness for lifetimes, of people rediscovering their faith. They speak of the decades of wealth accumulated by the Faith being redistributed, augmented by Lannister gold, and of how in the villages, the smallfolk bless Good Queen Cersei.

    “But there are many who would prefer the old ways of darkness,” one warns. “There are those who assault us, and not just common cutthroats and bandits.”

    Perfect. “Would it be helpful for you to have your own protectors, serving only the Faith and not subject to the avarice of sellswords or whims of lords?”

    They blink and whisper. “That would indeed be a great boon, but you speak of the Faith Militant,” one of the septons finally says, the one with the dog. “The Faith Militant was disbanded, centuries ago.”

    “By a royal decree, and a royal decree can be revoked. King Robert will not grant such a favor to the Faith, though.” She pauses and lets them think about this. “I shall talk with Lord Stannis. Perhaps he can prevail on his brother to heed you, or at least work from his own resources to protect you.”

    The representatives of the faith look at each other. “Your grace,” one of the King’s Landing septons finally says, “we have heard…rumors…that Lord Stannis no longer keeps the Gods.”

    “Lies spread by his enemies,” she ensures them. She will have to remind Stannis to be seen at the Great Sept. “Look at his life, as austere and pleasing to the Gods as can be, unlike the hedonism of…so much of the court.” Cersei demurely crosses her hands in her lap and lets them fill in the names of Robert and his friends, like that convenient foreign red priest. And they do.

    We’ll have our army.


    Stannis

    Bonifer Hasty and Theoden Wells wish blessings upon his head as they depart. Stannis holds back a scoff; it is their men he needs, not their blessings. The Holy Thousand, they call themselves, though there are far more than a thousand now.

    Throughout most of the Seven Kingdoms, knights flock to join them. They are not sworn to the Faith or to any lord – Robert has enough intelligence to not allow that – but their swords and armors are blessed by the High Septon, and these come from the forges of Dragonstone, paid for with Lannister gold. The knights ride with septons and septas throughout Westeros, and rid the people of bandits and criminals. But their headquarters are in King’s Landing, and a hundred of them are in the capital at any time.

    Jon Arryn watches all this in horror. But the Hand can do nothing; half his household has joined the Holy Thousand, and many of his devout bannermen are among its patrons. What can he do, after all? The Holy Thousand are volunteers, beloved by the people, and no law restricts them.

    The Master of Laws is a nonentity, and his goldcloaks are controlled by Cersei anyway. Stannis detests the commander, but he grinds his teeth and accepts Janos Slynt. Bonifer wants to have the Holy Thousand take over the duties of the goldcloaks, but that will have to wait. Slynt’s day will come. Justice, Stannis thinks; it will come to all the realm, and the Holy Thousand will be its instrument.

    Robert has less power every day, and does not realize it; he goes on drinking and whoring with his friends, not realizing that the brother he always despised has become more powerful than him. Will you ever open your eyes, Robert, and see what was always there?


    Cersei

    Robert stares angrily at her. “You and my brother both, always nagging me about allowing the bloody Faith to arm itself,” he snarls. “You should be suited for each other.” At that moment, something black and ugly crosses his eyes. He has just begun to suspect something, Cersei realizes.

    She no longer cares. “Stannis is far more of a man than you ever will be,” she snaps back.

    Robert’s meaty palm connects with her face. She recoils, then turns back to face him. “And you are no man to strike me so.” Her husband stares for a moment, then storms out. You will never touch me again, Robert.

    Robert will have gone to a brothel, as if to reassure himself of his manhood. “I want him humiliated,” she tells Richard Horpe. “I want his body found naked with two whores.” And then I will piss over you, Robert, like you drunkenly poured your seed over me. “One will be a jealous lover, with a knife placed in her hand. Then good Sers Meryn and Boros will break in, too late to save the king, and in their righteous fury kill the whores.”

    The scarred knight scrunches his face. “It’s one thing to kill an old man. It’s another thing to kill a king. I’ll need some…greater recompense.”

    She wants to throw her wine in Horpe’s face. Perhaps it would improve his looks. She is his queen. But Horpe is dangerous, and useful. “Master-of-Arms for the Red Keep?” Aron Santagar is one of those whom Stannis has marked; as a foreigner and a boon companion of Robert’s, he is doubly doomed.

    Horpe shakes his head. “I want Castle Rosby,” he insists. “Gyles Rosby is old, and has no heirs.”

    The coughing lord has his uses; he is one of Stannis’ closest allies, after all. But she will be rid of Robert, and she needs Richard. Rosby is worth it. “Done.”

    As she waits for the news, Cersei imagines stabbing Robert herself. The farce will finally be over, this sham of a marriage. She does not know whether to laugh or cry.


    Stannis

    He stares out the window. The bells have stopped tolling for Robert; men run about in the streets, but they are Stokeworth and Rosby men and the Holy Thousand and their own redcloaks and Dragonstone bannermen. For all the loyalty that Robert supposedly inspired, in the end he is humiliated and abandoned. It is as they have always planned, yet he feels…is it guilt?

    “Whatever else he was, Robert was my brother.” He lifts his hands and stares down at them. “My hands are clean,” Stannis whispers. They are sticky, but there is no blood.

    “He always shamed you,” Cersei reminds him. “He brought his death down on himself.” Her hands slide down his sides. “But at last we can be together.”

    “My wife still lives.”

    “For now.” He pretends not to hear, and only focuses on Cersei’s body. Stannis wonders if this will endure. It is a union born of hate; would it survive, when there was nothing more to hate, or would it turn on itself?

    There is a knock on the heavy wooden door, and they reluctantly pull away from each other. It is Rolland Storm who is there when they have gathered themselves and open the door. “Thoros of Myr and Jalabhar Xho have been arrested as you ordered, my lord.” Rolland steadfastly looks past Cersei, past them both.

    “Lord Varys and Ser Aron Santagar are taken as well,” Richard Horpe reports as he comes up behind Rolland and salutes. All of Robert’s cronies, those who might resist the next step, have been taken. No doubt some charges can be found against each of them. They deserve it, Stannis tells himself; they have all taken part in beggaring the realm. “The Holy Thousand have gathered in front of the Hand’s Tower, and Lord Arryn remains cowed. Ser Vardis Egan of his household guard is with us.”

    “Then let us go meet the rabble outside,” Cersei says, gathering up her skirts. “Let me do the talking.”

    A group is crowded up against the door of the Queen’s apartments. Gyles Rosby and Tanda Stokeworth are at their head, along with some of the leading citizens of King’s Landing and officers of the Holy Thousand. “The Queen is within in prayer with Lord Stannis, seeking guidance and comfort from the Seven in this terrible time,” Ser Mandon and Ser Preston keep repeating as they hold them back, until Stannis and Cersei appear and the shouting falls to a murmur.

    It is all a mummer’s farce. They speak of how Robert left no will, and how the Hand is no longer the Hand since he served a dead king, and how leadership is needed in this troubled time. Joffrey is but a boy, and while he will doubtless become a better king than his father, guiding hands are needed. They acclaim Cersei as Regent and Defender of the Faith, and himself as Protector of the Realm, until Joffrey be of age. And Cersei protests so sweetly, till she submits to the will of the assembled council and accepts the burden, and he must follow suit. And then lest there be any doubt, it must be done again, on a larger scale.

    Ser Barristan and Ser Jaime join them at the Red Keep’s gate with Joffrey, the Lord Commander looking thoroughly confused beneath his helm at all that has happened, the new king stomping in his boots as heavily as a four-year old could.

    It is towards Baelor that they direct their steps. There, the crowd presses up against the steps of the Great Sept, atop which a great platform has been hastily built. It is a swirling mass of humanity, the colors of the Holy Thousand prominent among them. And as he advances to the front of the platform, with Cersei and little Joffrey beside him and the High Septon behind, the new banner of the realm is unfurled from the top of the Great Sept. It is the rainbow of the Faith, trimmed with red and with a white disk in the center, with a black stag at the center of the disk. A dozen more of these appear throughout the crowd as the people raise arms in salute and shout their names. “King Joffrey!” they cry euphorically. “Stannis! Cersei! Stannis! Cersei!”

    This should not be happening for the second son of Steffon Baratheon, the crowds lustily cheering his name. But it is happening, and he enjoys this, Stannis realizes as he stands and listens. He had never been able to inspire loyalty like Robert, yet here was power. Cersei has always known and been working towards this, he reflects, and that is why they are standing here on the steps of the Great Sept of Baelor with the people chanting their names. Not Robert, not Tywin, but them. Cersei and Stannis.

    This will last.


    >>>
    The last scene is inspired by this scene from Ian McKellen's reinterpretation of Richard III. Just in case you thought they're supposed to be heroes.

    Because Stannis isn't a hero. He does heroic things, but it's the thin line between hero and villain for him that makes him so complex, and here he's had that final push onto the wrong side of the line.

    As for Cersei, I hope that I was able to write her as a character with motivations of her own; it's the first time I've written her.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
    Zaffre, Hateme18, Korean and 27 others like this.
  2. joelee77 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2014
    Jon Arryn

    Darkness does not suit him.

    A falcon soars and flies above other creatures. A weasel slinks warily through the dark. Yet now he is the weasel, as if an honorable thing must be hidden from the prying eyes of humanity.

    But nothing is as it should be anymore. “I did not rebel for this to happen,” he says to himself, remembering Robert’s lifeless body and the crowd at Baelor. There is no place left for him in this new order. On the morn, he will depart for the Eyrie. Will he ever be able to return?

    A moment of doubt strikes him. “Will you abandon me too?” he whispers to the men behind him. So many already have left him – half of his household guard and most of his bannermen – swept up in the fervor of this reformed faith, this new court.

    Andrew Tollett says nothing but nods. “I will be faithful,” Lyn Corbray whispers. Jon takes some small comfort in this.

    Lord Renly is in his quarters, staring out the window at the fires rising from the Street of Silk. The blanket that he once loved to trail behind him like a regal robe now wraps him tightly. “What will I do now, Lord Jon?” he whispers, trying to bluster and yet failing. He looks so like Robert at twelve, or maybe younger – the years all blend together now – but Robert he is not.

    “Your brother hates you.” Renly nods, a flash of anger in his eyes. “But we will protect you. Ser Andrew, with some of our loyal men, will take you across the sea. You will be safe there.” I will not let you harm this boy, Stannis, any more than I let the Mad King take Robert and Ned. “And someday, we shall bring you back.”


    Stannis

    The court is being swept clean, as it should have been long before.

    “Off with their heads!” little Joffrey cries, but their guilt has already been determined, by himself and a tribunal of the Faith. The Spider and Thoros of Myr and Janos Slynt and a dozen others meet the block, for corruption and serving of foreign powers and offences against the Seven.

    Others, such as his brother’s old squire, receive the mercy of the Wall. “I would have served you well,” Justin Massey cries as he is dragged off by the Faith Militant. The Faith Militant has been reestablished, with the Holy Thousand as its leadership. They bear the kite shields that have not been seen for almost three centuries, and carry the banner that was unveiled at the Great Sept. Everywhere south of the Neck, they become a familiar sight.

    Delena dies of a sudden chill, and he is wed to Cersei. The High Septon quotes from the “Seven Pointed Star,” speaking of how it is a meet and holy thing to comfort his brother’s widow. He mocks these words when they are finally alone again. There has always been satisfaction in this, whether they were widowed or not.

    Yet there is something missing – some of the passion and thrill of their earlier couplings. “At last,” Cersei whispers as she grasps his shoulders, but he finds no pleasure in this. What more is there now?

    And then word comes that the Iron Islands have rebelled.


    Cersei

    Balon Greyjoy tried to bend the knee when defeated. Stannis likes to say the only thing that the treacherous rebel bent was his neck, under a sword.

    Tywin would have been proud of Stannis, Cersei thinks. The Faith Militant at the vanguard, the Iron Islands have been sown with salt, and its priests and leaders have been sent to meet their Drowned God. It is a pity that Stannis will not allow songs in celebration; the Rains of Castamere would seem but a shower beside it. People whisper of the Sowing of the Iron Islands and of the Holy and Austere Court with fear, and that is what she and Stannis want. Fear will keep those who have not been swayed by the Faith loyal. Look at what I have caused, Father.

    A daughter whom they name Shireen is born soon after the Rebellion is over, and then a son, Tommen. They are strong children, as they must, though Shireen reads more than is good for her and Tommen stares sullenly at certain foods before eating them. They are precious to her. Shireen will be more beautiful than any other woman, just like her mother. As Tommen rides about on Shireen’s shoulders, waving a wooden sword, Cersei reflects that he will be the knight she never could be. And as Stannis grows more distant, she looks at them for a reminder of him, too.

    It is Joffrey who is the strongest, though, and she watches with pride as he grows.


    Stannis

    As he watches Joffrey from afar, Stannis wonders if he is looking at a reflection in a mirror, however distorted. The boy is willful and has an inflexible sense of justice; he takes every offense against the realm and its laws as an offense against himself. But Joffrey takes far too much pleasure in justice. Executions are his favorite entertainment, and he tries to accompany the goldcloaks when they make arrests. Cersei forbids this, but Stannis later hears disturbing stories about thieves and pimps being shot in the dark by a little boy with a crossbow.

    It is not his or Joffrey’s doing, though, when Gyles Rosby runs afoul of bandits, and Richard Horpe is appointed the new lord of Rosby.

    “Gyles Rosby was old and useless,” Cersei says, laughing when he asks if she was responsible for this murder. “Horpe will be just as loyal a lord of Rosby.”

    He stares at her. “Horpe is a killer, not a lord. And Gyles Rosby had his uses.” The man had been essential, in fact, in influencing the other nobles of the Crownlands to support them and the Faith. He and Cersei quarrel, and Stannis begins to wonder how equal this partnership really has been.


    Cersei

    Lord Tywin rides through the Lion Gate for the first time in years. Cersei has made sure to have the fruits of her labors in full display. Long ranks of the Faith Militant flank the streets in their rainbow cloaks; the lion proudly flies alongside the stag above the Red Keep, and as many of the nobles of the Crownlands as possible are gathered with the High Septon to greet Lord Tywin.

    Her father seems not to pay them any attention as rides rigidly towards her and the children, looking straight ahead. But she is sure that Tywin notices; he always does, though the lion does not heed lesser creatures. He bows curtly towards Joffrey, then turns towards her. At last, Cersei thinks.

    But he does not bow to her, only nods curtly. “Leave us,” he tells the others.
    She starts to speak when they are in an empty room and have taken seats, but Lord Tywin cuts her off. “I did not come to congratulate you. You can expect none of that from me. I am here to warn you, because you are my daughter.”

    That cuts deep. “What is there to be afraid of? The people fear us. Have you not heard people talk of the Sowing of the Iron Islands?”

    Lord Tywin harrumphs. “You think it another Castamere. Yes, I have heard that phrase. People say it in the same sentence as the Faith Militant. But Lannister and Baratheon? A family’s legacy lasts forever. I built our reputation so that a hundred years from now, people will always think of Castamere and fear us. But you chose to rely on the Faith. And when they turn against you, or the people turn against them or stop fearing them, you will have nothing.”

    She grips the handles of her chair so hard that she feels blood. “For years I endured that boar Robert to build this,” she exclaims hoarsely. “The Faith loves me, and will be loyal. Can you not see all that I did for House Lannister, father, or are you blind to what your children can do?”

    “Do not speak to me of House Lannister. Everything you did was for your selfish desires. I shall return home tomorrow,” Lord Tywin curtly finishes. “I hope that I shall not have to return to bury you.”

    When she is alone, Cersei throws her wine at the wall, and cries.


    Stannis

    The news comes when he is visiting Storm’s End for the first time in years. King Joffrey is dead, killed on some foolish attempt to enforce the law; the criminals fought back and stabbed him. Barristan Selmy and Bonifer Hasty are dead as well; Cersei had sent the latter with a dozen gold cloaks to arrest Selmy for failing to protect the king, but not one man had left Selmy’s room alive.

    When he returns, Stannis finds Cersei alone in the throne room, hunched over Joffrey’s body. He stands behind her, not knowing what to say.

    “He wanted to be just like you,” his wife says. Cersei rises to face him, and Stannis starts. He has seen this anger in her, but never so directed towards him. “You were his father.”

    “Be quiet, woman.” They have always been discreet, heedful of watchful eyes and ears. But that only inflames Cersei.

    “You were his father!” she cries. “He wanted to be like you, and you never acted like a father towards him!”

    “You told me to stay away from him so nobody would suspect us,” he hisses, but she will not stop.

    “He was your firstborn. Joffrey wanted to be like you. He was like you. And yet you never acknowledged this or tried to teach him. So he kept trying and trying, waiting for you to acknowledge him, till he died. His death is on your hands.” Cersei stops and turns to stare at the lion banner on the wall. “Leave me.”

    I never really knew her, Stannis thinks as he walks away. Has Cersei really been a stranger all these years? Have they both been really alone all this time?

    Back in his chambers, he recalls with horror which Kingsguard had been guarding the door of the throne room.


    Jaime

    “Jaime, I did it for us,” Cersei protests, but he is done listening. She has lied so many times already, and this will be the last time.

    Cersei shudders one last time, and then is still. Jaime takes a last look at Cersei’s lifeless eyes, and her lips that had been made for kissing. But they had never really been his. Jaime does not know what to feel, emptiness or relief or the slowly growing horror. His hands release themselves from around her throat. What has he done? “Cersei!” he whispers, but she is gone.

    There is a pounding on the door. “Open up in the name of King Stannis!” he hears voices shouting, and then a crash as the door is broken down and Stannis and goldcloaks pour in.

    I killed the wrong king, Jaime thinks manically, glancing towards the empty throne, as the crossbow bolts strike home.


    Davos

    “I must go,” he tells Marya. He does not take his sons with him, however much they insist. If he is caught, it will be on his head alone; they will not suffer for his foolishness. As he sets the sails on his old smuggling ship, Davos takes a last look at the stout keep, and the forests of the Rainwood. I owe at least this to Lord – no, King now – Stannis, and my sons will have a better life because of my onions. Dale would own the land and captain the Black Betha and watch over his brothers, and perhaps Devan would be able to squire for Lord Lester Morrigen. His neighbor is a good man; he will forgive the father’s faults.

    When he arrives in King’s Landing, it is not the city he once knew. Stannis has never called him back to the capital, and Davos has been content to stay in the Rainwood with his family. Now the streets are cleaner and quieter than when he was a smuggler from Flea Bottom, but the joy is gone from peoples’ hearts; there is fear instead.

    In a way, it is his fault, Davos knows; if he had not taken those onions to Lord Stannis, Stannis would have died, and none of this would have happened. But it is too late to dwell on that. Hundreds of others also lived because of his onions, and he might save yet more lives. It was time to be a smuggler again. I climbed too high, Davos thinks, and now I have come home.

    The Faith Militant has control of the city now, and are making full use of the powers that had been given to them after Robert’s death but rarely used while Queen Cersei and Bonifer Hasty lived. People whisper that King Stannis is sulking in the Red Keep, and the Faith Militant no longer answers to him. There is no end to those running, and it is these whom he seeks out. The first time, it is a merchant who had been selling statues of the flaming heart of R’hllor; the next time, it is a drunken knight nearly caught visiting a secret brothel. “Thank you, thank you,” Dontos Hollard cannot stop saying, hugging Davos’ legs as the fugitive staggers ashore in Braavos, safe at last.

    The third time, the Faith Militant comes for Davos.
     
  3. joelee77 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2014
    Stannis

    He is surrounded by fools and traitors.

    The Faith Militant tried to arrest Lyn Corbray in the Vale, claiming that he had attacked pilgrims at a sept. Corbray had slain their seven knights and escaped. When ordered to help arrest the rogue knight, Jon Arryn instead fled, joined Renly in Essos, and declared him king. Renly. He tries not to spit the name. First he took Storm’s End from me, and now he tries to take the crown.

    When Renly and Lord Arryn land in Oldtown, the Tyrells immediately join them. Always treacherous, Stannis thinks; the Tyrells should have been destroyed after the Rebellion. Now they march north, traitors streaming to join them. Some even fight in the name of good King Joffrey, claiming that Stannis had him killed so he could be king. The Oakhearts and Fossoways stay faithful, and are crushed by their neighbors.

    The North refuses to aid him. Ned Stark is marching north instead, against the King Beyond the Wall and his chief lieutenant, some blond-haired deserter from the Night’s Watch. Stannis does not expect anything different from Robert’s beloved Ned. The North has been shut off from the rest of the Seven Kingdoms since Robert’s death. Even in death, Robert plagues him.

    Prince Doran and Dorne do nothing.

    Anya Waynwood is now Lady Paramount of the Vale, but there is civil war in the Vale – Waynwood and Hunter and Templeton and Belmore against Arryn and Royce and Redfort and Grafton, Corbray fighting Corbray. Little help can come from there.

    Hoster Tully claims sickness and sends Lord Blackwood in his stead with an army. But as he looks out over that force, Stannis knows that it is but a fraction of the Riverlands’ strength.

    He wanted Richard Horpe to command the levies of the Stormlands, but the new lord of Rosby has been murdered by one of Gyles Rosby’s old retainers. Barristan Selmy and Jaime Lannister and Bonifer Hasty are dead. Davos is gone as well because of his foolishness; his loyal men, all lost forever. This cuts deep, however he tries to hide it.

    But he must march against Renly, before all of the Seven Kingdoms are lost. Tywin is with him, and the Faith Militant; though both lack their earlier enthusiasm, they have no alternative. He laughs bitterly at the irony; the Lannisters and the Faith are the only ones he can count on not to betray him.

    There is one last thing to do. He directs his steps towards his children’s sitting room, where Shireen is reading to Tommen. Stannis pauses in the doorway; they are almost strangers, he realizes as they jump up and embrace him; he has not noticed how much Shireen has grown, or even what Tommen has named the puppy he holds in his arms.

    “I must go, to fight…your uncle Renly,” he tells them.

    “Why does Uncle Renly want to hurt you?” Tommen asks.

    “Mother always said that family was the most important thing of all,” Shireen adds gravely.

    Because he hates me and wants to take my crown, Stannis starts to say, before stopping. The words indict himself. He had not held the knife that killed Robert, he reminds himself, or the poison that killed Delena. Neither had he wanted to kill Renly before he fled, though Renly will now bring his death upon himself. It was all Cersei, not me, a voice growls.

    But he has lied like this so many times already. He has lied to himself, and to the world, and now the lies are crashing down around the emptiness that his life has become. Stannis looks at the gentle faces turned up at him. What is one lie more when one’s life is made of lies?

    “I could have killed him when he was a child,” he finally admits, “when he was not older than you. And I, too, killed my older brother.”

    His children say nothing. They know about Robert already, he realizes suddenly. “Mother said that all men were monsters, but you saved her from the worst of all,” Shireen says at last.

    “We love you still,” Tommen adds.

    Aye, there are monsters, and the greatest one is in front of you. There are so many things Stannis wants to say to these children he does not deserve, but he cannot find the words. “What will you do if I don’t come back?” he finally asks.

    “You will come back,” Tommen says stubbornly. He holds the puppy out. “I’ll send Ser Fetch with you.”

    Shireen stands up straight, her arms wrapped tightly around Tommen. “Our duty.”

    Stannis sinks against a wall when he leaves. Shireen and Tommen are far more pure than their parents ever were or will be; unlike him, they have not abandoned their ideals, and mayhaps never will. Perhaps he has sinned after all.

    He straightens when Rolland Storm approaches. The knight has been serving as High Steward for the Stormlands for the past few years. Yet Rolland only grudgingly tolerates the Faith Militant, and Stannis realizes that he barely knows the Stormlords or what is happening in the Stormlands that he coveted for so long. He had wanted to replace Rolland for the battle with Richard Horpe, but now there is no better option.

    “I fear you will betray me,” Stannis says aloud.

    Rolland Storm looks him in the eye. “I have never been, and never will be, false.”

    ~~~~~

    The two armies meet at Boswyrth Field in the northern part of the Reach. The numbers are evenly matched, but the rebels recoil from the impact as the Faith Militant and Crownlanders in the center and Lannisters on the right flank crash into their lines. The chivalry of the Reach is untested, and Renly is as green as the Tyrell banners. “Now!” Stannis shouts to an aide, and the signals are raised. Now is the time; while the rebels are engaged, his left flank will take them from the hills on that side and crush them between two forces.

    But Lord Blackwood and his Riverlanders do not advance. There is fighting within their ranks instead, as the Riverlanders turn their swords on each other. Rolland Storm and the Stormlands host do advance, but it against his flank. Stannis watches in horror. They are the men of his Stormlands, the ones who should have been most loyal to him, and they betray him. I starved to hold Storm’s End, and this is how you repay me. The Stormlords have been true, in a way; they never abandoned Renly.

    It is his army that is caught in a trap now. He can see the striding huntsman as Lord Tarly rallies the Reachmen, and the rebels advance on all sides. Stannis sees the black and gold Baratheon stag in the center of the rebel lines. It should be my banner, he thinks, before remembering that he had abandoned that too. It is Renly’s now. Renly will be there, seeking glory on the field. This battle can yet be won.

    But then he looks around, and all around his men are fleeing. The Kingsguard is all dead or fled, except the Lord Commander. “You must flee!” Mandon Moore is shouting to him. “Live and fight another day!” The knight tries to stop some of the fleeing men. “A horse! A horse! A horse for the king!” But then an arrow strikes Moore in the back, and Stannis is alone.

    He is alone. It is as it always has been, even when locked in Cersei’s embraces. It is fitting, and just.

    Once he would have called it his duty to fight on. But he had abandoned his duty, as he had abandoned and betrayed everything else, and now it is he who is abandoned. But he does not regret a thing. However much others might call it fate or gods settling his fate, it was his decisions that brought him here and left him alone. There is no turning back. If there were gods, perhaps they would be more merciful to the children and Cersei than to him.

    There is nothing else left to do but to bring this saga to an end. Sword drawn, Stannis marches forwards towards the advancing rebels.


    Renly

    The walls of Red Keep rise in front of them. The people of King’s Landing are out in force, draping wreathes on the brows of the victors and shouting his name. “Renly! Renly!” they cry euphorically. Somebody presses a sweetcake into his hand.

    “Nothing like a sharp victory to cleanse the palette!” he declares, as the merry companions around him chuckle.

    “I’m sure there will be quite a feast laid out for you,” his Master of Coin says. The slight Valeman with the mocking smile has done wonders in supplying his army with coin and entertainments. He will be well rewarded, of course, as all Renly’s friends will be. Lyn Corbray has already been named commander of his Kingsguard for cutting down the tyrant.

    “I wonder how they were able to find a feast so quickly. I hear Stannis and the Faith outlawed feasting,” Renly jokes, and his companions laugh at his wit. Ruling will be a fine thing, he reflects.

    One of his men rides up, a Tyrell cousin of some sort. “I’ve done as you ordered,” he reports. “The prin…Stannis’ two children have been arrested and locked in a tower. They’re stubborn little brats, I must say.” The Tyrell rubs his shin wryly. “Apparently they refused to flee the city, and the girl tried to crown the boy as king.”

    “Stubborn as their father, for all the good that it did him. You did well, and shall be rewarded.” He leans closer to the Tyrell. “I have to confess, I don’t remember your name?”

    “My name’s James Tyrell, and your most obedient servant.”

    “Are you indeed my loyal man, Ser James?”

    “Prove me, your grace. I just meant to ask what we should do next with the two children…”

    “Why, kill them, of course.”

    The crown will fit me far better than it ever did Stannis, Renly thinks as he laughs and rides through the cheering crowds into the Red Keep.

    ~~~~~

    Hardest five words I’ve ever had to write, there at the end. But this scenario was never going to end rosily.

    Ser James Tyrrel (double r, single l, but close enough) is commonly accused of having been the one directly responsible for murdering the Princes in the Tower for Richard III. I’ll admit (if you didn’t catch all the Richard III references) that this was heavily inspired by Ian McKellen’s interpretation of Richard III, and especially the ending, where Richmond (the future Henry VII) turns towards the camera after killing Richard and smiles, as Richard would do, implying that he will be a worse tyrant than Richard.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016
  4. Hero-King Marth Not-So Kingly King

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2015
    Location:
    Cheve
    Oh God, this is short but this seems to be worst than the current situation in canon. Great work man!~
     
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  5. luis3007 History amateur Donor

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Location:
    South America
    Holy crap!!! Excellent short story, and it show how hubris can haunt you even when everything seems to be going your way.

    On one hand Westeros would end up better since the civil war was short and less destructive than the war of the five kings in OTL. But Renly is supremely unsuited to rule and LF has managed to get into an even more powerful position to advance himself. The North will have to re-engage with the rest of the realm if only to ask for aid against the undead and Dany with her dragons will still come to burn them all XD