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Sort of a step down, from King's Landing to Dun Fort. Still. The age difference should make this... interesting. And if all goes well, Rhaekar might have a dragon at his disposal.
schemes... Targaryen schemes, the best of all
Rhaekar may get a dragon-riding wife and Rhaena will get a... friendly military school graduate?
Oh they could get on like a house on fire ... in so many senses of that phrase.

I would not wish to cross her.
Sort of a step down, from King's Landing to Dun Fort. Still. The age difference should make this... interesting. And if all goes well, Rhaekar might have a dragon at his disposal.

Only awkward thing about medieval era AARs is sometimes relationships with large age differences, or age differences that would not be so legal in most parts of the western world, come cropping up.

schemes... Targaryen schemes, the best of all

Those Targaryens and their schemes, shoo' I tell you h'wut...

Rhaekar may get a dragon-riding wife and Rhaena will get a... friendly military school graduate?

Isn't that how a lot of marriages work out? :D

Oh they could get on like a house on fire ... in so many senses of that phrase.

I would not wish to cross her.

Rhaena ends up being an interesting part of the game narrative, even if not directly because of her. I won't give anything away, but she has importance later on.
As always, loving your writing sir. Though Nerevarine will probably always be my most favorite thing you have written, this is still a fantastic AAR.
As always, loving your writing sir. Though Nerevarine will probably always be my most favorite thing you have written, this is still a fantastic AAR.

I'd almost forgotten about that (even though it's in my signature). What did you like about that best?
There are a couple of things. Firstly, nostalgia, there are a few games/worlds that will always be close to my heart such as Morrowind, Legends of Dragoon, FF7, Wheel of Time, Suikoden, etc, because this AAR is focusing on one of those things I enjoy it. Two, your writing style/voice, it just got me trapped in the story. I could 'see' everything happening and not just reading about it, I felt. I also loved how you combined screenshots from Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind along with CK2s mod. It was a smart addition to me. When I saw the floating rock above Vivec I couldn't help but chuckle and find myself more entranced by the tale.

Sad to see it not finished. I also don't believe you ever said who the Nerevarine was, did you?
Sad to see it not finished. I also don't believe you ever said who the Nerevarine was, did you?

Spoiler alert: Nethyn's bodyguard was going to be the Nerevarine.
That is what I thought, but wasn't sure if you were going to make a bit of a twist. I always love twists like that.
That is what I thought, but wasn't sure if you were going to make a bit of a twist. I always love twists like that.

I dropped hints early on, with him meeting some of the prophetic requirements of the Nerevarine. There were going to be more as the story progressed.

Any way, time to post the next update.

Chapter 3

She watched the standards of the various houses of Westeros flap in the breeze blowing in from Blackwater Bay. The fluttering sound they made altogether echoed the sound of the waves in the distance. There were so many standards, and yet she recognized nearly all of them from her training in her youth, as well as from her studies. There was the golden centaur of House Caswell. There was the golden tree of House Rowan. There was the red knight of House Boggs. There was the white bear paw House Brune, and countless others. The largest standards of all bore the red Targaryen dragon quartered with moon-and-falcon of House Arryn and the seahorse of House Velaryon – the personal sigil of Rhaenyra Targaryen and her branch.

A small hint of jealousy came over Annara. She used to have such a standard that accompanied her family: House Darklyn, the former lords of Duskendale. That had been long ago, before her father’s betrayal, and before they had been removed from power, and the newly instated House Valzyren put in their place. She knew she had to count herself lucky that she hadn’t been placed on a chopping block along with many others, as usually happened when a noble house angered the wrong people too deeply. Rhaekar, her new master, had even been kind enough to position as his spymaster, a task for which she was reasonably capable. He would even give her special tasks to do – such as follow the army of Rhaenyra Targaryen.


As she made her way through the camp, Annara found that the soldiers paid her no mind. Neither did she pay them any mind, and for her part, she was happy about the arrangement. Rarely was she even one to talk during the council sessions, and had to often be pressed by Rhaekar to speak up. She had overheard Rhaekar being told to find a new spymaster, to which he replied, “I could not ask for a better spymaster than one who knows to keep her mouth shut.” When Annara glanced towards a group of tents and saw some of the soldiers harassing and accosting the camp followers, she thanked the Seven that she was less then a wholesome view for men. All the same, she also thought bitterly about the women, whom she hoped would be violated many, many times before the war was over. It was the gentlest punishment the Seven could exact upon wretched whores, she thought.

She arrived at the command tent. Several men of various ages were gathered around a table. Hunched over it, wearing bright silver armor, was a tall man with bulging muscles that barely seemed resistant to the idea of being constrained in the metal suit. Beside him stood a woman with curly dark hair and a tanning complexion, who was likewise decked in armor that covered, if not hid, her feminine form. She immediately recognized the man as Hugh, of the House of Hammer, and his warrior mistress known simply as Nettles. Well, “warrior mistress” was a phrase whispered only in the quietest of tents in the camps – she was by all means his legal wife. Annara was taken aback by just how young she appeared – the girl could not have passed her sixteenth name day.


Hugh lifted up his hand, balled it into a fist, then brought the metal-gloved fingers down upon the table. It made a boom sound, nearly knocking over a goblet nearby. “We attack in a few days.”

An older man nearby with a gray beard pursed his lips. “Tomorrow? So soon?” Annara knew the man to be Thaddeus Rowan. “The North has barely mustered her forces.”

“Aegon has most of his forces here, in Dragonstone.” Hugh pointed his finger to a spot on the map. “He wishes to end this war as soon as possible. Let us show him we will take the war to him.”

“I for one agree with the Hammer,” Daemon Targaryen said. “Aegon has made the foolish mistake of spreading his forces out too wide. King’s Landing will be guarded by a minimum force. We have enough men here to take it within a few days’ time.”

“20,000 men, to be exact!” Hugh declared. “Much more than those fools in armor that lie drunk in the taverns and brothels of King’s Landing. But if we dilly-dally too long here, the Three Daughters will be upon us.”

Hubard Brune chuckled at that. “The only time I would never want three women coming upon me.”

The other officers gave collective chuckles. Nettles and Annara didn’t join in.

“In either case, we will not sit here too long. Aegon hopes we will stay here in Stokeworth, or head away to relieve Dragonstone. We shall do neither. We shall show him that even behind the walls of King’s Landing, he is not safe.”

A footman approached, bearing a small slip of paper. He approached Hugh Hammer and bowed low. Hugh took it from the man, unfolded it, and read it quietly.

“What does it say?” Daemon asked.

Hugh crumpled it up between his palm and fingers, then tossed it onto the grass behind me. “There was a battle in Griffin’s Roost.”

The lords and knights exchanged glances. It was Daemon who spoke first. “What happened?”

“That accursed Aemond One-Eye swooped in with his dragon. Prince Lucerys flew to meet him, but was captured. His dragon was killed.” Hugh pressed his lips together and shook his head. “Pah.” With a sudden motion, he lifted up his fist and slammed it against the table.


“Captured?” Daemon asked. He curled his lips into a sneer. “I take it the battle is lost, then.”

“Yes, leaving Aemond free.” As Hugh’s lower lip curled over his upper one, his large face began to turn red. His fingers wrapped around the parchment, crushing it under the iron glove. “Stupid boy! He has just made the situation all the more serious. If we hesitate any longer, we give Aemond a chance to return to King’s Landing, or give the Three Daughters a chance to sail their fleets to Westerosi soil. No, the decision is final.” He opened his other hand and slammed it palm-first onto the table. “We attack King’s Landing and throw that usurper in the black cells!”

“The fate of Aegon will be decided by my wife, the queen,” Daemon remarked. Each word was said with a certain level of distinction, as if he wanted to make certain none was misheard.

Hugh glanced his eyes towards the Targaryen. His eye twitched. Nettles seemed to take notice of it, and planted a hand on his arm. Immediately, Hugh’s eye settled. He turned his face back to the map. “Yes, it will be decided by the queen.”

Daemon smiled at that. His eyebrows rose suddenly, and then he turned his eyes toward the entrance of the tent. He at once laid them on Annara. “Ah, Lord Rhaekar’s dignitary, the good Lady Darklyn, is here.”

Everyone in the tent turned to look at her. At once, she became very self-aware of the fact she existed. She forced a smile, but could only think in her mind, I hope to see you hang for this, dragonspawn.

Hugh lifted his gaze and caught sight of the spymaster. He smirked. “Hello, Lady Darklyn. I heard news that your lordship was going to join us today. Is he late?”

“You know, my lord,” Annara replied in a soft voice.

“You move faster than him, it would seem,” Daemon remarked. He grinned even wider. “A truly amazing feat.”

Annara frowned at that. It was an obvious jibe at her weight. It had to be that. It was only confirmed when some of the other lords joined together in a chuckle, which, though not boisterous, pierced her heart all the same. She felt her hands ball into fists, but then she relaxed herself. It stung at her pride, to have her faults pointed out in front of so many fellow highborn people, like this. However, she hoped to repay it in kind, all in good time. How this was to occur, she wasn’t certain yet – but she was intent on seeing it happen.

“Yes, indeed,” Annara replied. It was the only thing she could think to say. “I believe he should be arriving soon.”

“With three thousand of his own host,” Hugh Hammer said. “Scouts reported he was nearing the camp shortly before our meeting.”

Annara curtsied. “Then I bid you all a farewell.”

The spymaster turned and began to step away. After she had gone some distance, she heard another collective chuckle from inside the tent, and could only imagine something else had been said at her expense. Power hungry fools, she thought. They will someday wish that Lord Rhaekar had chosen to behead me and my brother, instead of letting us serve.

She did not have to travel far before she saw a large force coming from the north. The closer she reached the edge of camp, the more recognizable the details of this army became. At once, she recognized the crimson banners with the white unicorns, and the checkered banners of the region of Duskendale. It was all too easy for Annara to recognize: House Darklyn still bore the same checkered pattern on their family crest, even if only on the right two-thirds. When she reached the edge of camp, she recognized the simple uniforms of the soldiers. Most of all, she recognized the onyx-colored armor worn by her own lord, Rhaekar Valzyren.

He was flanked by a standard-bearer holding aloft the white unicorn above the lord’s head on one side, and her own kinsman, Ser Jon Darklyn, on the other. He was her uncle, though only eleven years older than her. In addition to Annara becoming spymaster, Lord Rhaekar had seen fit to make Jon Darklyn his sworn swordsman. Annara knew from contacts within the Dun Fort that, just as with her appointment, many opposed Ser Jon being assigned so close to Lord Rhaekar for his safety, but the Valyrian had ignored most of these protests.


Rhaekar’s violet eyes took notice of her, and his lips curled into a grin. “Well, well. Is this the best mummer in all of the six kingdoms, or is this my spymaster I see before me?” He turned his horse away from his army and rode towards her, followed by the standard-bearer and Ser Jon. The army continued on behind him, the commanders leading them along the edge of the tent. Rhaekar turned the horse again when he was only a few feet. His hand rested on his lap, and his long, silver hair fluttered in a sudden gust. “I hope we find you well.”

A voice from the bottom of her heart told her to tell him how “King” Daemon had treated her. She suppressed it at once. She was not a little girl anymore, to run and tell her mother, with tears in her eyes, that the other girls had called her a little piggy. She was an adult, and a spymaster. She had far worse things to worry about. “I have been fine, my lord.”

“I trust their lordships have treated you well?”

Does he somehow know what might have happened? she thought. She felt a sardonic smile spread over her lips. “Fair, though not always politely, my lord.”

“They do not appreciate you as well as I do.” Rhaekar dismounted, his dark armor clanking noisily as he landed on the ground. He took the bridle and handed it to Ser Jon, who took it and rode away towards the army. Rhaekar took off his gloves and used one of his now bare fingers to scratch the side of his nose. “Tell me, is there anything I should know before I enter the camp?”

Annara felt some of the tension building in her heart dispel at once with the change of subject. “Yes. They intend to attack King’s Landing within a week.”

Rhaekar raised both eyebrows. “Ha! Do they? We arrived just in time then, did we not?” He lifted up one of his gloves and lightly patted Annara on the shoulder; a quiet motion for her to walk towards the camp alongside him. “What of the war?”

“Aemond One-Eye met a Velaryon host at Griffin’s Roost. He defeated them, and captured Lucerys.”

“Unfortunate, though not unfitting.” Rhaekar held up a finger and tapped his cheek, just under his right eye. “It was Lucerys who robbed Aemond of his eye. I suppose that was not uncalled for altogether – Aemond did insult him and his brothers. Ah, well.” Rhaekar shook his head. “How often something as simple as war complicates family tensions. Is Lucerys dead?”

“No, captured.”

“All the better for Aemond, least he be considered a kinslayer. Anything else I should know?”

“Daemon Targaryen and Hugh Hammer seem to be at tension with one another.”

“Oh bother. I could have seen that coming long ago. It would not surprise me if they come to blows before they duel Aegon. Lord Flea Bottom on one hand, and Lord Hammer on the other.”

Annara felt a soft giggle arise in her throat. “Otherwise, there is simply nervousness in the ranks regarding the upcoming battle.”

“Standard fair, you will find. There is always great fear before any invasion.” He paused a moment, then asked, “Have you seen my betrothed?”

“She is here, in the camps, with her sister. She is Lord Daemon’s ward.” Annara turned to look at Rhaekar. She attempted to read his face, but, to her dismay, she could not. She found it was often difficult to read his face – whether that was from a lack of skill on her part, or a strange part of his personality, she wasn’t sure. “Do you wish to see her?”

“No.” He added not another word on the matter. He tilted his head away from his spymaster, then smiled. “I think my tent may be near completion. See me again, if you have any news. Farewell, Annara.”

With that, he was gone. He moved towards the edge of camp, his cloak flowing behind him as he briskly marched away. Annara paused to watch him leave. I don’t understand him, came a thought in her head. But who can understand dragons?
Hugh Hammer has moved up in the world compared to canon, it seems.

So what's left of the Darklyns? Annara, her brother and her uncle?
She has more than a little hate within her.
a dragonrider always can move up in the world, provided he has some wits with him
Hugh Hammer has moved up in the world compared to canon, it seems.

So what's left of the Darklyns? Annara, her brother and her uncle?

RE: Hugh Hammer - There'll be a lot of canon wreckage here as far as what happened to characters in the original Westerosi history. I was sort of making reference to that in the dialogue between Rhaekar and Annara: in the original canon, Aemond One-Eye did indeed kill Lucerys, and from that was known as a kinslayer; here in the AAR, Aemond merely defeats and wounds Lucerys, and hence avoids the kinslayer title.

RE: House Darklyn - There are actually quite a few Darklyns around Duskendale. Annara has some siblings, an uncle, and I think an aunt. The Darklyns will be much more relevant later on in the story.

She has more than a little hate within her.

Juuuuuuuust a little bit. :D Some might say I'm exaggerating her "Ruthless" trait, but hey...

a dragonrider always can move up in the world, provided he has some wits with him

And the dragon thing helps, too.
Never really liked dragonseeds since nearly all of them proved to be traitorous bastards, but I find myself liking your writing of Hugh Hammer. Also interested to see how you will explain a fourth High Valyrian house (Targaryens, Celtigars, Valeryons and now the Valzyrens) rising up because all other 'proper' Valyrians died in the Doom.
Wait wait wait -- Is the Nettles that Hugh Hammer has taken for a wife the same as the Nettles who tamed Sheepstealer in canon? If so, no wonder Daemon seems to hold a grudge (among other possible reasons...)
Never really liked dragonseeds since nearly all of them proved to be traitorous bastards, but I find myself liking your writing of Hugh Hammer. Also interested to see how you will explain a fourth High Valyrian house (Targaryens, Celtigars, Valeryons and now the Valzyrens) rising up because all other 'proper' Valyrians died in the Doom.

RE: Hugh Hammer - I'll take that as a compliment, considering I wasn't all that satisfied with the way I wrote him, and see his scene almost like a brief cameo in this chapter. :D

RE: High Valyrian Houses - I ask pardon to my readers if I don't always explain canonical incidents or contradictions in the game in a satisfactory manner. Obviously part of any AAR is gameplay and trying to work within the flow of said gameplay. Sometimes things slip through, or things do not always happen as smoothly as you can imagine. However, as I said regarding the Darklyns, more and more of the backstory of certain people will be explained over time. I'm trying to avoid as much info-dumping as possible.

Wait wait wait -- Is the Nettles that Hugh Hammer has taken for a wife the same as the Nettles who tamed Sheepstealer in canon? If so, no wonder Daemon seems to hold a grudge (among other possible reasons...)

Yes, that is the same Nettles. In the mod she's the legit wife of Hugh Hammer.

Chapter 4

There were many, many perks to being a septon – one of which was everything was already written down for you. One didn’t have to memorize the words when some old fool with too many free hours in the day had already jotted down every tittle needed for this service or that. Whether it was The Seven-Pointed Star or The Book of Holy Prayer, it was all there on parchment for you to recite during liturgy, or use at a funeral. Andrian was most happy about that, and he had managed to know exactly where everything was. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to put forth the effort into memorizing the words himself – it was simply that he wasn’t sure how else to apply it outside of how the book told him.


It was helpful even now, as he was blessing the levies of Duskendale in a special ceremony in Lord Rhaekar’s tent. At a long table Andrian had set up on the far side of the tent, seven candles had been prepared. Behind the candles, folded open into a neat row, was a wooden septych depicting each of the Seven Who are One. With a heavy book in one hand, Andrian held up a crystal in the other, and at once the lights of the candles refracted inside the shard. The seven colors created by it danced about the inside of the tent, casting glows over the individuals inside. There was Andrian himself, Lord Rhaekar behind the septon, Ser Jon Darklyn at his lord’s side, several of Rhaekar’s commanders and lesser officers scattered about the tent, and in the far back, the spymaster herself, Annara Darklyn. All of them, save for Andrian, were on their knees.

“O Father, bring justice and peace to this land,” Andrian prayed. “O Mother, comfort the wives and mothers of those who pray for us even now. O Warrior, steel the hearts of our soldiers. O Maiden, bring peace to those who long to see their loves again. O Smith, ready our weapons, and strengthen our armor. O Crone, give wisdom to our lords. O Stranger, stay thy hand.”

A murmured response came from the gathered crowd. Behind him, Andrian could hear the participants stand up and leave, one by one. He smiled and slammed the book shut. A job well done, if I do say so myself, he thought.

“That should make them happy enough,” came Rhaekar’s voice. Andrian turned and saw the lord brushing dirt off of his knees. Ser Jon was the only other person in the tent, and was standing off to the side. “I must commend you for your ability to pray.”

“Not I, but the Seven,” Andrian said. He’d heard a spiritual father in his training say it once. It sounded holy enough.

“Yes, yes, the Seven,” Rhaekar said. He walked across the tent to another small table, just beside his bed. A book rested there, beside a single candle. It lit up the book’s title, written in a tongue that Andrian did not recognize. Rhaekar picked the book up and looked it over a moment before sitting himself on the bed. Andrian heard the creek of the wood. “So long as my men and commanders believe the Seven are on their side, they will fight all the more willingly.”

Andrian smirked at that. The lord had never struck him as the religious type, even if he was hardly a hedonist. He turned to the candles, and blew them each out. Then he took the septych and began to fold it up, bit by bit, from the Stranger inward.

“Tell me, Andrian,” Rhaekar began, as his eyes glanced over the cover of his book, “what does that amulet around your neck mean?”

Andrian lifted up one of his hands from the folded septych and placed it absentmindedly on the metal necklace. It was in the shape of an artistic heart, with on side larger than the other. In the details of the craft, one side appeared as a woman, and the other being as a small child. “It is a symbol of the order of my devotion, my lord. Each septon focuses on one of the Seven.”

“Oh, I see. Which devotion is yours?”

“To the Mother.”

Rhaekar looked up with a smile. “And why did you pick the Mother?”

Andrian turned his eyes. Now it was his turn to smile. “Do you want the answer the High Septon would want to hear, or the honest answer?”

“The honest answer, of course.”

“Because, well, have you ever seen the way motherhood fleshes out a woman’s body?”

Rhaekar chuckled at that. He opened up the book he had in his hand, turning to a page marked by a silken thread. “If we are ever required to take the Starry Sept, I promise not to tell the High Septon.”

“Very good, my lord.” Andrian turned back to the table. He picked up the septych and placed it into a pocket in his sleeve. “The attack is tomorrow?”

“Yes. That is the plan.”

Andrian picked up the candelabra. One of the candles tilted, but he pushed it back in place. “What book are you reading?”

“An old book in the Valyrian tongue. It details the war with the Old Ghiscari Empire. Best to whet my mind with thoughts of war before I lead men in battle.”


“I see.” Andrian wasn’t actually all that interested, but he was eager to get his mind off of religious things for a while. He had been at it for a good portion of the day: walking around the camp, letting the light of the sun dance about the tents and soldiers, saying prayers and making sure all Seven (or at least Six) of the One God were pleased...not to mention the past hour he had spent at this little blessing service alone. “A good read?”

“Yes. I had forgotten about this. The Valyrian Freehold and the Empire went to war a total of five times. Can you believe it? In the very last one, my people poured salt all over the land to keep it from ever being used again.”

Andrian gave a whistle.

“Brutal, yes,” Rhaekar said. Still wearing a full set of clothes, he turned his body and laid out on the bed. He bent up a leg and rested the spine of his book against his thigh. “Remember, though, they had already gone to war five times. People grow sick of war, and will do anything to obtain peace.” Rhaekar scratched the side of his nose as he turned a page. “We always admire the more kinder, gentler nobles, but let me ask you this: how many of them ever blossomed during the toughest of times? No, during the hardest moments in the history books, you always find men and women arising to do what must be done at that moment. After that comes the peace, and the blessed, holy rulers you hear about. As much as one may wish to deny it, sometimes it requires a bit of brutality to make certain it never happens again.”

Andrian frowned. He bowed his head low. “It is getting late, and I should retire. Good night, my lord.”

The septon left the tent, after which Ser Jon closed the flap. Andrian glanced his eyes up to the sky. He instantly saw three of the seven wanderers, and was certain the other four were hidden behind the dark blue clouds floating above them. He stood there quietly, hearing the din of various conversations, musical instruments, and raucous laughter scattered throughout the camp. He pondered for a brief moment if he would lose his way to his own tent as he had the night before. Well, no matter. He could use a walk anyway.

As he began his walk, he thought back to the conversation he’d held with Lord Rhaekar. He had indeed taken up the Mother, on account of how much he enjoyed the full-figured nature of mothers and older women. He’d expected to meet many lonely mothers or wives who needed the attention of a man. A warm shoulder to cry on. A loving hand to caress their back, and a tender voice to shush them and say, Everything will be alright. Then, perhaps, if the Seven were merciful to him for his disposition, something might happen between him and said woman, in perfectly consensual conditions within the privacy of the sept. Of course, that had been the naive hope of his, many, many name days ago. What he found, when he was sent to Duskendale, was that his devotion ended up with him counseling mothers who had lost their children due to childbirth or sickness. Some, with their faces smeared with tears, had even brought the freshly dead infants before him. Some had called him to their homes, for sick or dying children. Some had asked him tough questions on the Seven and their permitting of suffering. How he hated those questions. How he hated all those awkward situations.

Curse them, he thought. Curse them...because the Seven know full well I would not abandon them.

He’d served each one of those mothers. He’d prayed for their children, living or dead. One or two children had been made well somehow, which earned his sept some extra coin in thanks. Word was soon spreading around about the Sept of Duskendale, who would come at your beck and call, in any hour of the night, to console you for the grief of a miscarriage, or to pray over your young boy who was sweating up a storm in bed. Having barely reached thirty name days, he already had septons much older than him writing for spiritual advice.

Bother it all! Andrian cursed. They think of me as the second coming of the Conqueror’s High Septon, and I never wanted that!

“My dear septon.”

Andrian stopped. He turned towards the sound of his voice. Annara stepped out from behind a tent.

“My dear spymaster,” Andrian replied.

Annara smiled and walked over to him. “I was wondering if you would be so kind as to fill me in on what has happened in Duskendale, while I was gone.”

“You are the queen of spies, and you come to me?

Annara waved a hand. “I have been much too occupied listening to the whores and agents about an army tens of thousands strong to worry about what is going on at home. What has happened since I left?”

“Nothing of importance,” Andrian said. This his eyes twinkled. “Oh yes, well, our dear Lord Rhaekar upset the court.”

Annara’s beady eyes narrowed. “In what manner?”

Andrian smiled. “Well, he removed Lord Aurane Buckwell as his treasurer.”

Annara’s lips parted. “He what? For what cause?”

“A Valyrian woman came to his notice. Maegelle of Pallars is what she goes by. She had made something of a name for herself in Duskendale, offering mercantile advice to the merchants in the ports and around the markets. Word came to the Dun Fort, Lord Rhaekar called for her to meet him, and apparently he was so impressed with her knowledge that he hired her.”

“And how did Lord Aurane take it?”

“Not very well, as you can imagine. He has tried to ease the blow by making a peaceful show to Lord Rhaekar, but as you might imagine, his pride is still stung.”

Annara sighed and turned her face away. “The other lords will not appreciate that. It will take quite a while before they accept such an insult.”


“Indeed, but I am certain you will keep us all safe, if there be any treason afoot.”

Annara momentarily glanced at the septon, smirking at the compliment, but then turned her face away again. “It will only make things harder. When I return to Duskendale, I may have much work to do.”

“You may be returning sooner rather than later. They attack tomorrow.”

Annara sighed again. “That much, I also knew.”

“I should retire to my tent,” Andrian said. He turned away from the spymaster. “Though I shall not be in armor tomorrow, if the battle fails, I will most likely be hung for not praying enough.”