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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

siempie78

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Wolves






The realm will soon be plunged into war. Armies gather, kings shout and courtiers plot. In the midst of the madness and intrigue, there is one family that would have justice, one king that would act out of kindness and honour. But in these times, valour alone might be far too little to achieve success, let alone greatness...

For is the stuff of legends made of achievement, or luck?



a narrative brought to you by siempie78. (Most) Digital paintings used were created by Mathia Arkoniel. Be forewarned: as ever, this AAR might die. Then again, it might not. Comments, as ever, are and would be most appreciated.


 
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siempie78

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Prologue

Part I: News



The horses were terrified.

No mean feat. In the North, they were bread for longevity: to endure both threats and long treks through snow and mud. But there was an obscene amount of tension lurking in the air, causing a feeling of pressure not unlike the feeling before a storm, when the air was still hot and clammy, awaiting the terrible winds to come.

Luckily for the men riding these horses, however, they were in no rush, and as such, they could soothe them, stroke the sides of their head and gently prod them into motion. They were a varied bunch: the only things uniform about them were that they were soldiers, and very dirty ones at that. Their leader was an old man, his eyes peeking about in a suspiciously calm way as he surveyed the surrounding trees of the forest.

“Hosten!” He hissed, “Where is Hosten?!”

“Next to you, old man!” Came the answer, straight from a very angry face set in a very botched helmet, “What the fuck are you going on about?!”

The leader turned and said: “Nerves, I’m sorry. It… ah, it happens. You’re late.”

Hosten shrugged.

“Well, the kind of shit you send me to do doesn’t exactly have a strict timetable, does it?”

Most would describe Hosten as a curious kind of man, although they would not say it to his face, which was perpetually disfigured by an annoyed snarl. If any of his compatriots were to give an opinion on him, it would be: “Bastard gets the job done,” and leave it at that.

The old man, however, was not easily scared off.

“They do not. Now, did you get me any results?”

Hosten nodded.

“Yes, my lord. The big boy is out there right now, and he’s got a couple of thousand men with him. Nothing that can’t be handled.”

“Just a raiding party, then?”

“Just a raiding party.”

The leader considered his words. Hosten was capable… and his judgement was to be trusted. But what came next was the hard part, and he never looked forward to it. An entire army would have to be poked into motion like the lumbering beast that it was and then maneuvered around its target without scaring it off. Pulling off such a movement required more than a little skill, luckily, the leader was well-known for his… martial endeavours.

“Brynden?” Hosten muttered.

“Mmmh?”

“We’re going to hang that Clegane bastard, right?” We’re going to string the huge bastard up, cut open his fucking belly and piss in it?”

Brynden turned his neck, aching a little at the stiffness of it, and said: “It’s gonna be tough. Gregor Clegane is a slippery fish, if a big one. I’m not sure we can get our hands on him.”

Hosten laughed, a full, barking sound, then gave Brynden a hearty slap on the back.

“Takes a fish to catch a fish!”

Brynden Tully grinned, and answered: “A blackfish among wolves?”

“A blackfish among wolves!”


*


His mouth felt as if ash had been trickled into it, yet he only trembled a little as he was admitted into the big tent, Brynden walking in front of him. A thousand battles could not have prepared him for this moment, and only once had he felt so tiny, so powerless…

The king, ever the strategist, stood bent over his maps, his still-boyish frame cloaked in a fur coat that seemed much too big for him. He turned at the sound of their footsteps, already stretching out his arms in what should have been a warm embrace. Instead, they froze mid-air as he noticed the consternation on Brynden’s face, the sweat on his forehead. They dropped completely as Brynden said: “Your Grace… it’s about Sansa. Sansa and Arya.”

Yes, only once had Hosten felt so tiny and powerless. And that was when he had seen the news of Eddard Stark's death delivered to his eldest son. It was as if history repeated itself.

Robb Stark stared at his uncle, most of the colour draining from his face as he did so. He whispered: “How…?”

Hosten could hear Brynden grind his teeth together as he blurted out the report.

“We found Gregor Clegane, killed off his raiders, interrogated a few. Renly is dead. Stannis has taken his forces and heads north, for King’s Landing. The Tyrells turned to the Lannisters as a result. Sansa… Sansa was no longer needed. Arya is missing.”

The muscles in Robb’s face gave way completely as he collapsed into sobbing, any cramped expressions of authority and pride dissolving. He let his body fell back, his hands clutching the rough wood of the chair behind him.

The strategizing chair, where the king never actually sits in, Hosten mused, his mind oddly dull, unable to move beyond the shock on Robb's face.

“Oh gods,” Robb whimpered, “She was only thirteen… she was so happy to go south, uncle!”

So tightly did he now clutch the wood, that his fingers started turning white.

“She just wanted to be with princes, and princesses and to see the dances and the nobles…”

One moment Brynden’s hands were just hanging down, completely limp, the next they were clutched around Robb’s shoulders.

“We will kill them, your majesty. We’ll root out all the fucking Lannisters and chop their miserable fucking heads off, then dance on their fucking graves!”

The boy fell into his uncle’s arms and wept.

“Kill them all!” He murmured, “Kill them all!”


*


When things went scary, she could always go to mother. She knew that. But lately, mother’s reassuring hugs and soothing murmurs had began to sound a little… hollow.

And it wasn’t that Myrcella was full of fear, she just… she just didn’t understand anymore. Myrcella had liked Sansa, she’d always been nice, if never anything but sad… mother had kept her from the executions, but the other children talked, hushed yet excited, and they had told her about what had happened, to the Lord Stark and to his daughter.

Joffrey seemed happy. But he was the only one. Mother was confused now, confused and scared, but Myrcella didn’t know why and uncle Tyrion was just so angry all the time and it didn’t make any sense! Sometimes, she just wanted to go to mother and cry in her arms, but then she would hear her voice trembling again…

She spent a lot of time with Tommen and his cat, lately. They were the only sweet things left in the palace, it seemed to her, but that was probably just because he'd been even more sheltered then she was. But right now, she didn't feel like she could stand him being all... naive, for hours upon hours upon hours...

And so she sat in her favourite spot of the palace, staring at by-passers with a blank expression on her face, alone for a while, hoping Joffrey wouldn't pass by.

Dodging the king had become a bit of a ‘honed skill’ for her. When uncle had advised her to always stay far, far away from her brother, she’d said: “But I’m not scared of Joffrey!”

He’d smiled a nice smile, odd on his ugly face, and answered: “Myrcella, you’re a sweet girl. Your brother does not like sweet things all that much, I’m afraid. He’ll prick you, annoy you, attack you… ah, best to trust me. Do not go near him. It will only add badly for you one day.”

And she had trusted him. Uncle could be grumpy, but he was always nice and Joffrey wasn’t. But now... now he was off somewhere, and she was all alone...

And it had all been true, the things he'd said. Myrcella knew very well she was beautiful: it was the reason so many people fawned over her, the reason why Joffrey liked to come up to her sometimes, flanked by his hulking protectors, and taunt her. He'd pull her hair and hiss in her ears things like: "You're becoming quite the beauty, sister... in a few years, perhaps, I'll visit your chambers?"

She never understood, and when she told mother, she’d cried. One week ago, she'd told uncle Tyrion. He'd answered: "Far away, remember?"

A few days later, she was told she was to leave for Dorne. It never went to pass, though: there was no clear reason to send her away, according to Joffrey. The armies of the Reach, the Westerlands and the Crownlands were in the south, and they were going to destroy the traitor Stannis Baratheon's armies. She'd then asked him what would happen if Robb Stark came south. Joffrey had slapped her, and said: "Then I will cut open the traitor's belly and shove his sister's head into it!"

No, Joffrey didn't scare her yet... but he came closer to it every day.


*


“They are all dead, your Grace.”

Robb gave her a firm nod, and said: “Good. Then we can finally go south.”

Maege Mormont had been in charge of clearing the Riverlands of raiding parties: some eight thousand Reachmen had landed in Ironman’s bay, intent on cutting the supply lines coming from the north and destroying them had been up to her.

The Tyrells had been idiots to send so little men. The northmen were furious, determined, and led by the best military minds in Westeros. They had been wiped out, and it had not been very hard.

"Your Grace, if I may…”

“Yes?”

Maege scraped her throat and said: “What they did to your sister… it’s an atrocity. The Lannisters deserve to pay for what they did to her, that much is the truth. I’m not much for fancy sayings, but ‘tis true. The North Remembers.”

Robb smiled, but he seemed sad even so.

“They do deserve to pay. The North remembers, and so do I.”

He bent over his table and tapped the maps. It was rumoured that he almost never left his tent anymore, always planning, always brooding. He said: “Tywin has sent most of his troops south. He must think Jaime must now be dead and that I’m too weak and scared to attack, that Stannis is the bigger danger to Joffrey, because I’m just a boy.”

Maege nodded.

“I suppose that might be the truth of it. Once Tywin trashes Stannis, what is to stop him from coming up north and ending it all, the bastard must think.”

“And that’s what doesn’t make any sense!”

Standing straighter, Robb smiled again, now a lot more triumphant, and continued: “That would mean he left both the Crown and the Westerlands completely without defense. The Crownlands are small: he could send troops up north fast enough to stop any attack of mine upon King’s Landing, but Casterly Rock? He wouldn’t leave it undefended, he’s too proud for that…”

Maege scanned his eyes for any signs of wishful thinking, but found none.

“You’re convinced, then?” She asked.

Robb nodded.

“Yes. Tywin will have an army in the west, and he will have Reachmen coming up there to strengthen them, and quickly. That means King’s Landing can’t be defended if we destroy the southern troops.”

Robb had grown, she’d noticed. Although still a boy, the death of a sister and a father had quickly killed what was left of his childhood, buried it, and left the hot fires of wrath in their place. Maege grinned.

“You’re a good lad, Robb. Betting on Tywin splitting ‘is armies is a gamble, but not one that you’ll be expected to make. Show ‘em your courage, and we’ll show ‘em your wrath by sticking a few feet of steel in those lion skulls ‘a theirs.”
 
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Shady Ed

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Your Grace, not Your majesty. Other than that it is looking good.
 
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siempie78

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Prologue

Part II: The Battle of Apt



"Uncle!”

Tyrion raised a hand when he saw her and waddled over to her. He face was still as disfigured as ever, but she didn’t care. His beard was a little ruffled and he reeked of spirits as he hugged her, but his grip was firm, and that was what she needed right now.

“You look a bit troubled, girl,” he said.

A bit troubled?

“I feel like weeping!” Myrcella said, “They say the northmen are coming, thousands of them, and nobody knows what to do! Uncle?”

“Yes?”

“Are all the men in this place idiots?”

Tyrion laughed at the statement and let her go. He tapped her on the nose.

“All except me, dear. That’s why your grandfather is going to come back here and protect us: he’s scared all the idiots make a complete mess of things. You know, I think you’re growing up rather quickly, soon you’ll be twice my size!”

She smiled back at him, and said: “Then you could go piggy-back riding on my neck instead of the other way around, and then you would see the world like everyone else does!”

For one, short moment, Tyrion seemed to be a little absent, his big eyes unfocused.

“What is it, uncle?” Myrcella asked.

“Well, for one, that sort of behaviour is completely improper for any princess…” he grinned, “Two, I was just, ah… wondering. Why some people turn out one way, and others turn out quite another.”

He shook his head, and left.


*


A sword, coming right for his face. Hosten screamed and plunged his own steel up, blocking the weapon meant to cut open his face and break his bones. His arms shook as the force of the weapon rampaged through his body, but he held firm.

“FUCKING NORTHERN FUCKER!” His enemy screamed, pulling back his sword for another blow, but Hosten lunged forward, and bashed his skull in. He saw the man’s eys grow dim and stupid as he fell, his tongue dropping from his mouth.

“And that’s that!” He growled, and spat on the soldier’s face.

Fuck, I need a drink!

He looked up, panting like a madman. In the skies, there were no clouds to obscure a scouring sun, and on the fields where they fought, there was no wind to bring peace to his sweating skin. Hosten hated the southern Crownlands, he was decided on that.

Where’s the fucking wine?!

He turned, and stumbled back up the hills he’d been charging down from a few dozen minutes earlier, exhaustion causing his breath to be unsteady and his legs to tremble. He took off his helmet and held it besides him as the men he commanded passed him by like a torrential river.

“Lord Hosten!”

A thick boy bumped into him. He was small of frame and pimply of face.

“The Lannisters, sir! Their right flank is collapsing! Lord Brynden has sent word down the ranks that the cavalry is to charge!”

“Then it’s time for you to get the fuck out, lad!’ Hosten shouted back, “May the gods watch over you! Get back up that hill!”

Yes, Hosten hated the fucking Crownlands. But it was as good a place to die as any other. And so, he threw himself back into the battle, conquering his fear only by hoping on smashing some heads in.

*

“GO GET ‘EM, BOYS!” Maege screamed as the horses hit home. Red-and-gold disappeared under a barrage of horses as half of the North’s cavalry bashed into the Lannister battle-line. Thick lines of blood shot up into the air as rampaging Northmen hacked down whomever they could lay eyes on.

Some fool, to her left. She cut him down and relished in it. Some idiot, to her right. He dodged her slashing sword, only to be crushed by the rider on her right, the hooves of his horse crushing his ribs as it stampeded on.

Bloodlust curdled up in her veins and crept into her head, blurring her vision. Rage, full and blinding, swept her up in the battle as the Lannister’s centre collapsed and their lines parted like wheat before a righteous scythe. The agony of men dying was joined by the screams of those that now fled. The ones that had not died in the battle, could die in the rout. They would leave this place whimpering like dogs and pissing themselves

The thought excited her.

The great Lannister lion was ripped to tinier and tinier shreds, but some men held out, keeping order, continuing the fight. Mighty horns blared, a last attempt at rallying the men, the commanders finally pissing their pants at the terror that had come south for them.

A final horn, shrill and terrible, the thundering of hooves on the other side. The shrill sounds of horses as they were driven on by the knights on their backs, battle cries: “HEAR US ROAR”

Knights, hundreds of them, a big shining earthquake approaching fast, the final reserves, the last charge.

“Fuckin’ golden-boys!” Maege grunted.

There was a reckoning at hand. The fancy idiots wouldn’t stand against northern steel… it was just that no one had told them yet. She turned her horse towards the oncoming knights, starting to ignore the fleeing footmen as she beckoned for her men to follow.


*


“BASTARDS!” Hosten screamed, “BASTARDS!”

The insult wasn’t directed at the enemy; but at his own side. The passing horses had been so close he’d had to jump for the ground, therefore unwillingly stuffing his face with grass and dirt. He’d gotten up, but his teeth hurt and his ears rang.

Hosten retrieved his sword and shuffled forward, one foot at a time. He passed a whining Tyrell footman clutching a bleeding stump. He hacked him down and moved on.

What was important now, was moving on. He’d not killed enough, there was still blood to be shed and enemies to kill. He was a lord. He had purpose: and he wasn’t about to forsake it. Glory for the Trent family meant privilege for those close to him, and really, that was most he cared about: a drink, a fight, his sons and his daughter. He might be getting old… but he wasn’t too old for a good fight, yet.

But what was left for him on this field? Running men, charging horses… perhaps, for now, his part was played out.

“No…” He growled, “Never!”

And he moved on. Perhaps he could still pick off a few stragglers.


*


The knights crashed and there was fury.

A lance, coming right for her shoulder. She slipped to the side, sword raised, and felt the air whoosh past as it missed her.

Maege chopped its wielder off his horse as she thundered past. He fell, she moved on. Some fat man with a battle-axe slashed at her: she took the blow with her shield, felt her arm vibrate, saw chips of wood fly, she let loose and was gone again. The wind cooling her face, she was still cooking with excitement, although, finally, some fear of all the gold surrounding her began to set in. Was she losing momentum?

This question was going to be the last one for a while: too late, she noticed the Lannister man approaching. Too late, he noticed he could not move to the side.

They collided.

In the clash, the horses whinnied and collapsed in a tangled mess, the flesh of their bulk dropping for the ground even when their bones broke and lungs and livers were punctured. As they fell, they raised their heads to the sky and screamed like any other man, their bulging black eyes suddenly blood-shot.

Not that Maege noticed. She was too busy trying not to die. She extended her arms as she fell to the ground, pulling back her legs and turning to her shoulders. Unelegantly, yet, efficiently, she broke her fall by rolling sideways and used the speed that gained her to get back on her feet.

She quickly looked around: she was at the back of a melee unfolding all around her, desperate Lannisters slashing at her fur-and-metal cloaked men and vice versa. To her left, the knight that had rode onto her horse was getting up. He groaned.

“And who might you be, old woman?” He said.

He sounded incredulous.

“Maege Mormont,” she said, “ And who the hell are you?”

He smiled. He was a big man, covered head to toe in polished armour. Thick layers of gold hair flowed down his face, and at their bottom a thick beard set on thick lips

“I am Daven Lannister.”

Now it was Maege’s turn to smile. She bent down, and picked up her sword, dropped in her fall.

“Tywin’s nephew? This is gonna be a good scrap, boy.”

He narrowed his eyes.

“Really, bear woman? Then let’s see it.”

He retrieved his own weapon, a greatsword big like a small tree and took a step forward, and raised it. The corners of Maege’s lips remained firmly curled upwards.

“Yeah. Let’s see it.”

Braving her aching muscles, she lunged forward, Daven twisting his body to the right with a crooked grin on his face. His huge arms slashed at her cheek in his movement, but her blade was already up, blocking the the strike.

He raised the greatsword again, his mane-like hair reflecting so much sunlight it was nearly blinding, his eyes full of concentration. His sword slashed own, it was blocked once more. The vibration of it sent both of them reeling.

He wasn’t very smooth, Maege noticed, as she kept her sword locked and started pushing, his movements were rigid, practised. This was no natural.

Problem was, she was no natural either. But she was strong, and gritting her teeth, she managed to push him back, grinding step by grinding step.

“Fuck!” Daven hissed, and broke their swords’ contact, falling back, ‘You are a fucking she bear!”

The smile was gone now. He seemed unsteady, a bit loose on his feet, now that he realized that he might not win this one quite as easily as expected.

“Not thinking of runnin’, are we?” Maege yelled, and hacked at his head. His eyes grew big as her sword came in, he tried to block but his arms failed him and his metal was knocked down. As it fell, Maege took her chance, turning her sword sideways and striking for his neck with all might, her blade ramming into his helmet, finding flesh, arteries. As his throat was ripped open, Daven tried to scream, but there was no more air available to do so.

He fell.

Maege shook her head ruefully as she ripped her sword free and the life flowed out of Daven Lannister, son of Stafford Lannister, nephew to Tywin Lannister.

“You were right, lad. This wasn’t any good scrap at all.”
 
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Dr Pearceson

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Interesting story shaping up here, can't wait to see where it goes
 

Maximus_96

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Murder some Lannister bastards, for the North remembers!
 

Asantahene

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This is great though would be good to see some pics...that is if this is being played from a game as you haven't said...
 

siempie78

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This is great though would be good to see some pics...that is if this is being played from a game as you haven't said...
I would post pics, but the computer on which they are has really bad internet right now :). I guess I can be proud that you couldn't tell it's gameplay, got the immersion right!

I try to allude to gameplay through statements. For example, Daven and Maege both have the ''trained fighter' traits (both no 'naturals'), but Maege has the strong trait, that's why she could push him away!

And welcome, I'm glad you're reading along!

Murder some Lannister bastards, for the North remembers!
Gettin' me some lion furs for winter!

Interesting story shaping up here, can't wait to see where it goes
Thanks! I hope to keep it interesting ;)

Excellent narritive!
Thank you!
 

Asantahene

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Yes I am loving it and you're right: superb immersion-not enough pure narrative AARs in here IMHO-bravo!
 

siempie78

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Prologue

Part III: The Siege



“What, then…” Uncle started, “No, wait, nevermind.”

Myrcella looked down at him, focused on his face some more and asked: “What would you like to ask, uncle?”

“It’s about you. I wondered… what is it, that you want? Nobody in the palace ever seems to bother asking you about anything, and yet, you do not seem all that impressed by our ‘mighty’ palace any more… if I knew any better, I would say that you are getting bored.”

She smiled, a little amazed that someone actually showed some interest, and said: “Well… I’ve always wanted to see Dorne…”

“Dorne?! You would really want to go to that snake pit?! I know I meant to send you there, I mean, it is the safest place for you, but…”

Even though he tried to sound incredulous, it seemed a little fake. Through the cracks of his being ‘upset’ he looked proud. Proud, and sad, for some reason.

“I would like to see the cities,’ Myrcella, ‘they say it’s always too hot in Dorne, but I’m not so sure, how can you know until you have been there? In the west, shouldn’t there be nobles with white hair and spear-dances and all those beautiful orange cloaks? And, the Dornish… they’re all so… brown. They’re so odd!”

Tyrion once again seemed absent, a little weary, as he heard her talk. When the words’d stopped flowing from her mouth, he said: “You now, your mother would never let me, but how do you say we go there anyhow? Right now? Just you, me, and your little brother? Joffrey would not scare you anymore!”

“A visit? I’d like that!”

‘Good.’

He hesitated, biting his lips. There something off about him, in the way his shoulders hung down a bit more than usual, in the way he looked away when she looked about him. He looked… defeated.

“Something has happened,” Tyrion said, “Something has happened. You musn’t tell your mother I told you this, she’d kill me.”

She was puzzled, and said: “Oh?”

Tyrion said: “I told you everything was going to be alright. That, it would seem, turned out to be a lie. Robb Stark has butchered your grandfather’s forces at Apt, and he’s coming north now, finishing off the remainders. Thirty thousand men… scattered and killed in days.”

“Dead?” Whispered Myrcella, pity the first thing she felt, followed up by a crushing sense of disillusionment. Shouldn’t it be the good ones that won the wars? How could a traitor come out on top, how could it be that the seven were favouring a heathen? The tears did not come, yet, because fear would still be absent for a few precious seconds.

“That, or deserted. It doesn’t matter, Myrcella. Listen, listen very carefully. The Stark boy knows your grandfather will go west and raise a newer army. We underestimated him once, we won’t do it again. He will besiege this city, and we won’t be in time to stop him. King’s Landing will fall, and while I would like to laugh at the look on Joffrey’s face when it does, I would be too busy getting my head choppped off to do so.”

By now, every single word started to feel like the blow of a hammer to her stomach. Tyrion continued: “Stark has turned out not to be an idiot, and now it seems we are. He knows the nobles will try to flee the city now, he knows-”

DOONG, DOONG, DOONG, DOONG

Tyrion’s face turned to ash.

“It’s too late,” He mumbled, “The bells are ringing. He’s already here.”

*

“Do ye’ have to be such a fucking idiot about it?!” Hosten snarled at his king as the boy slipped again.

“Gods, Hosten!” Robb panted, “Do you have to be such an ass about it?”

In way of answering, Hosten broke through his block and whacked him on the head. The training sword’d been made of dull wood, but the hit still knocked Robb flat on his back with a surprised yelp. Hosten shouted in victory, and as the usual onlookers cheered, as ever, on his victory, he said: “Yea’, I have to be. Yer Grace, you’re not a good fighter, and yet ye’ rush into danger at the first whiff of it. If anything, you need a bodyguard, someone to step in for you ‘n save your life if you get in danger!”

Although in pain and laying on his back, Robb smiled and mumbled: “And… you would pick yourself?”

He winced. Hosten said: “If ye’ would get less reckless, yea’, I would.”

But the king shook his head as he got up.

“If, by some fault of mine, I were to get into danger, that would be my responsibility. It is bad enough that I ask you to fight for the north, but you certainly don’t have to die for me. You are nearly an old man already, but I’d see you get a little older still.”

Hosten almost threw his hands into the air to beg the gods for leniency, but in the end just said: “Damn you, Your Grace! You’re an idiot!”

Robb shook his head.

“I am not. When we storm into the city tomorrow, when we put Joffrey’s head on a chopping block… I will find out who ordered the death of my sister and I’ll kill him myself!”

Hosten nodded thoughfully as he considered the words and picked up his king’s training sword. As they walked out of the dueling range, he asked: “What do you intend to do about the Lannisters? Ye’ still want to kill ‘em all?”

The king seemed to grit his teeth at the statement, but he answered: “I spoke in a rage when you and uncle brought me the news of her death. If I am honest, I am just not sure. I remember Joffrey’s little brother and sister, Myrcella and Tommen. They were, and maybe still are, sweet children. I can’t hurt children.”

Hosten shrugged.

“It might be better to let someone than yourself handle ‘em when we get into the city, then. Doesn’t do you good to let claimants to a throne live if they will have a blood feud with ye.”

Robb turned on him and grabbed his shoulder. In his eyes, the embers of rage had blared up with new intensity.

“I hate the Lannisters for killing my sister, because they would kill an innocent child! And you would have me do the same thing?! Where is the honor in that?”

Hosten scowled and said: “Shut up, boy! We all know what’ll happen to their mother, and their father, and their status! Tommen and Myrcella Waters will be known as bastards, their parents executed by you, and all in the realm will mock ‘em as the spawn of sister-fuckin’ that they are! It would be a mercy to kill the little shits, and you-”

Robb shook his head.

“No, my friend. No.”

And he made his leave.

Hosten stared at his friend as he left. In a way, Hosten had become a privileged man, since the king had asked him to train with him, a month ago, when the army’d arrived at King’s Landing. Now, in the midst of all the plucky tents, as he felt powerless to stop the man he’d grown so close to from ruining himself, he realized once again how much he cared for the little shit.

In the midst of all the more sensible, older men, trying to drag him down to their level of petty intriguing and boring sensibility, the Young Wolf was a bastion of honour and kindness. A noble raped a peasant girl? He’d be executed. A thief stole a loaf of bread out of hunger? Instead of hacking off his fingers, he’d have to spend a month working for the army, and be paid in food. It enraged most, yet it amused Hosten.

With him, the king’d shared his insecurities, his fears, his hopes, his dreams. And now that they were so far south, and Hosten’s family had been so far away for two years… he had to admit a rather large part of him viewed the chivalrous idiot as his own son.

Yet it was always a bit awkward when your ‘own son’ could very well get you all killed.


*


When the North finally assaulted King’s Landing, the city was already in its death throes. No one had bothered to prepare for a siege, since no one had even bothered to prepare for the possibility that the royal armies might be defeated. Joffrey’s mad rantings had become more than notorious: they were infamous. Seeing traitors in every corner of the city, men had been executed for random offences that didn’t actually seem harmful. When Petyr Baelish disappeared, rumored to have fled to his estates in the Vale, Joffrey had the Goldcloaks raid his brothels and massacre both seasoned whores and perfumed boys alike, no one had been very surprised. Just scared.

The people of the city had begun to starve, and the moans of the dying were sometimes so strong that they carried over into the Red Keep. Some, if not most of the starved, were actually relieved the fury of the northmen was about to descend on to them: even if they didn’t know that Robb Stark was actually a kind man, who’d ordered food to be sent into the city when taken and sacking to be restricted to the noble’s quarters, they thought that a sharp sword would at least put them out of their misery soon. In months, their will to survive had been eroded into a vague shadow still whimpering in the corners of their mind, soon to be stamped out by it’s dark twin: misery.

These tidings had reached Myrcella’s ears through the tongue of her uncle, who seemed to leap at every opportunity to keep her and her brother close. In the palace, desperation ruled. Everyone tried to hide it, but it was to be seen in their pale faces, their empty eyes, if only you could see. And Myrcella could see.

“Am I going to die, mother?” She’d asked her. There had been no answer, but there had been a shifty look to the cupboards next to mother’s bed. She’d investigated when she was gone and found a small bottle, filled with a liquid, colour-less like water. When she’d told uncle, he’d said: “Your mother has already been rather petty, Myrcella. Because she enjoys her little plays of power, she thinks everyone else does. She thinks Stark is out for revenge and she won’t have it. She’ll kill you before that happens. What you found is poison.”

What to do when you found out your mother wanted to kill you? Tyrion had moved her and Tommen do different chambers, gotten into desperate shouting matches with mother while they stood next to them, crying, but he was Hand of the king and he won out in the end. But no one could protect you from Joffrey.

“Sister!” He hissed when he came into her room, “Sister!”

He was drunk, he stank of wine. She had been laying in bed when he burst through the door, stumbling a little. His voice was tinged with the same fear as everyone else, but his face was distorted by anger.

“SISTER!”

She came out of bed, trying not to tremble, curtsying deeply. In the end, though, as Joffrey grabbed her by her shoulders and pushed her back on the bed, she still kept her chin up and kept their eyes locked.

“Stop that!” Joffrey whined.

He hit her with the flat of his hand, and though his soft hands and weak arms barely left a mark, it was enough for one of his guards to step forward and mutter: “Your Grace…”

Vaguely, through her tears, Myrcella noticed how miserable he sounded. But if he had truly been honorable, he would have helped her, wouldn’t he?

“STOP LOOKING AT ME!” Joffrey screamed, finally starting to tear at her nightgown, ripping it to shreds in his haste. He fumbled around with his pants, completely letting go of her, but she knew she couldn't run, that she would be stopped, and then everything would be worse, so much worse...
 

siempie78

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I'd like to have your opinion, as I'm not sure as to what my readers are okay with. If I'm candid with you all, I think it would be a little hypocritical for a Song of Ice and Fire reader to declare that he/she is unable to cope with reading about rape, and I'm also opposed to not writing out what characters might do in messed up situations.

Indeed, Game of Thrones is, in the end, all about messed up shit. I might not like it, but it's what happens in-universe, and what just happened in Myrcella's room is now dependent on what the readers feel like they can stomach. Your opinion would be very much appreciated :), as I don't want to scare anyone off.
 

Maximus_96

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Oh look, I hate Joffrey even more than normal. I am thoroughly enjoying this one and I don't tend to like pure narrative AARs. Did the ironborn invade the north?
 

siempie78

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Oh look, I hate Joffrey even more than normal. I am thoroughly enjoying this one and I don't tend to like pure narrative AARs. Did the ironborn invade the north?
That's the weird thing... they did nothing. I thought the updated mod might have added a third option, but no. I guess he bugged? He's just derping around and reaving right now...

Which is a shame. Fighting the Ironborn is always cool gameplay!

Thanks for the compliment!