The Children Of Ice And Fire

VVSIGNOFTHECROSS

Chapter 004

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Lord Borros Reyne

Sometimes he’s amazed by just how cold winter in the north truly is, having grown up in the Westerlands even when winter hit, it was still reasonably warm and the snows did not fall as deep. Even though he has lived in the north for thirteen years now he is still surprised sometimes by just how different the place is from the rest of Westeros. He had been wed to a northerner, Erena Glover for eleven of those thirteen years, and whilst his wife was a good lady and a good wife in that she had borne him four children during that time period, Borros did not truly feel any connection with her. He had only know how to fight and anger and passion were his two main things in life, he cared for his children, without a doubt he cared for them, but he could not understand his wife and her ways, nor did he truly want to try. So long as she did not cheat on him he was happy for her to do whatever she wanted.

The northerners themselves had finally warmed up to him, at first they head viewed him as some sort of spy sent north by the Targaryens to give away the weaknesses of the north, and that he was only kept alive because Daeron Stark was mad enough to keep him alive. What they believed was mostly true, he was no spy, but that he still lived to breathe was because of Daeron Stark’s fierce presence in the north and the fact that he had legitimised Borros as a Reyne had shown the northerners that he was trusted by the king. The new king, Daemon Stark had told him two years after he had arrived after the Lannister bitch had died that, “You need to wed a northerner and soon, or I will not be held accountable for what my people do to you.” Even then Daemon Stark had been a scary man, Borros had heard rumours about the king, that he made sacrifices to the old gods and that he burned septons and septas and ordered the sacking of septs.

That he was given lands and a castle on Long Lake, the site where Willam Stark had been slain showed the northmen just how much respect the winter dragon had held for him and for his grandfather, when he had been given the castle it had been Daemon Stark once more who had given it to him leaving him with the words. “Rule well, we northerners are not idiots like the southerners you left behind Reyne. Treat them wrong and they will remember and make you lives to rue it.” And so Borros had taken control over Long Lake castle and its lands, and had done his best to be a good lord and to make sure his vassals liked him and that he cared for them. So far he would have liked to thing that he had done a good job. Certainly the nobles sworn to him had had no reason to complain, and when the wildling raiders had come calling he had beaten them back and killed their leaders.

When news had come on ravens wings of the destruction of his cousin and his family, Borros had been torn between rage and unending grief. The Lannisters had been growing weaker by the decade their little succession crisis had completely derailed what power they had held, and Tytos Lannister was by all accounts a weakling and a coward, giving too much and not expecting enough. Borros’ cousin the red lion Lord Malcolm Reyne had rebelled alongside Elyn Tarbeck and together they had gotten enough of the minor houses to cause troubles with the Lannisters. Yet that lion cub, Tywin Lannister and his brothers had marched and beaten back Borros’ cousin and then taken Castamere and completely destroyed it, the roof it was said had been brought down around Borros’; cousin and grandmother as the rest of the family was hung or executed before them. A song had been made of the death of his house, Borros had heard, though he had not heard the song, he knew it was called the Rains of Castamere and that Tywin Lannister the brat who had brought the death and destruction to his house used it as a sign of Lannister Strength. Once he had come out of his grief and sorrow, Borros had sworn before the old gods and the new that he would exact a blood vengeance on the Lannisters, he would make them rue the day that they had thought to end his family, even if it took him his own life to do it he would do it, and at the end of the day, House Lannister would be no more.

Of course that was a problem, as King Daemon was noticeably anti south and was rumoured never to discuss the south in council meetings, and seemed to barely contain his rage at his wife’s consistent contact with the south. He knew that he would never get the justice and the revenge that he so desired so long as King Daemon remained king, but of course none would think to remove the king from his seat of power, for King Daemon was fiercely loved by all and sundry and was so feared in the north it was said that mad man Edwyle Stark had lived in fear of him as well. And so Borros had come to court, hoping to seek an audience with the Queen instead to make her lean more towards him, due to her own sympathetic leanings for what she thought was her birthright.

The northern court was not as frivolous as the southern court Borros had heard his cousin describe. Where in the south, the lords and ladies wore elaborate clothes, in the north they wore practical gear, and most of the lords bore steel, and of course all seemed to live in awe of the king as he was seated on his throne, passing judgement on the cases that came before him. The queen sat next to him on a smaller throne, looking like something out of a song, they both did with their valyrian looks, though Borros had heard rumours that not all was well between them. The royal couple had five children, two girls Princesses Daenaera and Delena who were four and three respectively and three sons, Aemon, Barthogan and Cregan who were two and one years old. It seemed that the King merely used the queen as a brood mare and did nothing to share her confidences or bring her into his. Perhaps he could use that to his advantage.

Eventually court came to an end, and Theo Norrey of the Winter’s Guard found him and led him to the king’s solar, where both the king and the queen were sat waiting in silence for him. He bowed before them both before sitting down, and once he was sat, the King spoke. “So my lord, you have asked for a audience with myself and the queen. And I have granted it, now say what you wish to say and say it quickly.”

Borros swallowed and then said. “Your Graces, as you know my family was brutally murdered by the Lannisters four years ago, and as such there has been no justice for them. I wish with your approval to set sail and to bring my family to justice and to avenge the wrongs done to them and to mine own family by the Lannisters.”

The king spoke then. “And pray tell me Lord Borros, what injustice have the Lannisters inflicted upon your own family. House Reyne of Long Lake?”

Borros swallowed and then said. “They desecrated my ancestral home, they took what was not theirs to take and they did not give my family just cause for their actions. As the remaining Reyne, it is my sworn duty to avenge my family Your Grace”

“Sworn duty you say?” The king asks. “Pray tell, do you think you are still in the south Lord Borros? You have asked once before for justice, and I have told you what you ask for is not justice it is revenge. You are a lord of the north now, you are sworn to me, do not make me question your loyalty.”

Borros bristles then. “My loyalty needs not be questioned Your Grace. I will always a call to arms from Winterfell, and I will serve you in whatever capacity you need me to. But all I ask is for this one small boon. Grant me leave to bring House Lannister to justice and you shall never regret me doing so.”

The king gives him a cold look then and asks him. “Why, do you plan on starting another war? Do you think the child who plays with my own children will be used to bring the north into another southern war? No, he shall not and you shall not head south to bring destruction to any house, let alone the Lannisters. Do you lack any shred of common sense Reyne? I send you south, you try and destroy the Lannisters, you won’t just be attacking the Lannisters, you’ll be attacking the throne. And I will not have another war knocking on my people’[s door when we have worked so hard to bring peace to this realm. My answer remains the same no, you stay where you are, and if you try anything funny, I will kill you myself for the traitor you will be.”

Borros knows that perhaps he should keep his mouth shut and accept the way out given to him by the king, but he cannot help himself. “So what? You’ll just let the people who murdered my family off the hook, and not give them the justice they deserve? You’ll let the family who were allies with your family for generations, just die without any justice? You’ll let the people who were responsible for your father’s death get away with it all? Why because you’re too scared to fight another war. You’re grandfather would not have been afraid, he would have welcomed it.”

He knows he’s crossed the line when the king stands up then, his face taut as a bowstring, his direwolf Mars snarling. “My grandfather waged war and the kingdom bled, I will not have my people bleed over some shithole of land in the south, no matter who it belonged to. You are a loyal bannerman, so I shall let what you said slide for now. But you might wish to leave now. The both of you leave, or I will have you thrown out.”

Borros stands up and bows, and leads the Queen out of the room. When the door slams shut behind them, the queen stands on her tiptoes and whispers in his ear. “My husband might not realise what an opportunity we have here my lord, but I do. You can rest assured that I am already working on getting our rightful places in the world restored to us. Patience is all that we need now for the plans to fully succeed. We must make sure we have all of our cards and that we are so powerful nothing but a fluke of the gods will be able to stop us. So be patient my lion, and soon enough you shall have your justice. We both shall.”


Lord Tywin Lannister

Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, Warden of the West, Shield of Lannisport and Hand of the king stared out at the scene below him, King’s Landing was awake and bustling even at this early hour, even in winter the place buzzed with activity, the shouts of merchants on the harbour and vendors selling wears. This was what he was born to do, rule the Rock and play the game of thrones, and plays it well. He was the second most powerful man in the kingdom, and he knew that he practically ran the kingdom anyway, Aerys for all that he was a smart and charming man was incredibly lazy when it came down to the actual nitty gritty of running the kingdom, preferring to leave the finer details of the kingdom to Tywin. Therefore, Tywin did think that perhaps he was right in thinking that much of the peace that they had had since the peace treaty had been signed was down more to his behind the scenes work than any of Aerys postulating.

Of course the gods had seen fit to bring him a sharp reminder that he was a human just like all else. His father and his weaknesses had been an embarrassing thing to grow up to as a child. Tytos Lannister had been a weak and feeble man, who had been born to please and not to rule, the man gave away gold as if it was water and never thought to ask for the gold back, he gave away other things that could have been used as leverage over their bannermen and never thought to call them back in. At court, Tywin had grown up hearing about cowed and bent lions, and all the laughter that had followed his father’s name and actions had culminated in the death of Tywin’s mother and the accepting of the whore that his father had been bedding as the mistress of the Rock.

The whore had thought to impose herself on Tywin and his family, ordering them about as if they were nothing more than servants, and she had treated the people who had helped his mother run the rock for nearly twenty years like they were nothing more than filth. Tywin had protested about her presence in the Rock to his father and had been brushed aside, and told that his father loved the woman and that she could do no wrong in his eyes. The whore had been stealing from the Rock, pocketing jewels and other finery and either wearing them herself or selling them in the streets of Lannisport for more gold and jewellery which his fool of a father paid for, not realising that he was being conned out his own money. The whore had tried to do something similar to him when his father had died and his body was still lying in the sept, she had sneaked into his chambers, when Joanna had been out with Genna and her children, and had tried to get into his pants, he had taken her by the arm and led her from the castle where he had ordered the guards to strip her naked, tie her with a chain and then had her flogged for her insolence, after that he had sent her to walk through the streets of Lannisport naked telling everyone what she was.

She had never returned to Lannisport after that. That was just one of the things, Tywin had done to reinstate the fear that people had of the Lannister name. The first part had been dealing with those foolish Reynes and Tarbecks who had thought to challenge the might of the Rock. Malcolm Reyne and Elyn Tarbeck had joined together in alliance and with them had gone several lesser houses, Vikary, Sarsfield, Greenfield, Clifton, Yew and Algood. All those houses were extinct now, their members slain in battle or when their castles were stormed and their gold and resources taken and their members put to the sword. Tywin had left no man, woman of child alive, he did not want anyone coming for revenge. It was a shame that Borros Reyne had fled north before the peace, Tywin would have liked to have made sure that there were no lose ends, no matter sooner or later Reyne would make a mistake or a slip up and Tywin would end his family just as he had the Red Lion’s.

The only good things to come from his father’s weakness he supposed was that he ahd been allowed to marry the love of his life, Joanna Lannister, his first cousin. They had grown up together at court, two lions amongst dragons and had learnt to depend on one another and they had used that to their advantage on many occasions. Joanna was the cunning behind many of the plots Tywin had engineered, and she fulfilled everything he could want in a wife, she was smart, cunning and dutiful though not as boringly so as those other hens that his father had tried to get him to consider. They had been betrothed for many years before they had finally wed, on the thirtieth day of the fourth month of the 265th year after Aegon’s Landing they had wed, and their twins Jaime and Cersei had been born on the fifth day of the first month of the 266th year after Aegon’s Landing, a year ago three moons ago. Tywin had been there for the births and for the celebrations and he had never felt prouder, he was a father now, and his dynasty was secure. He would raise his son to be the finest knight and lord of the rock since Loren Lannister himself, and his daughter would one day be Queen over the south, and he would be grandfather to the future king. A dynasty would be built on that foundation that would rule for thousands of years. That is if Aerys had any sense in that head of his.

Snapping out of his reverie Tywin nodded at Ser Gwayne Gaunt and Ser Barristan Selmy of the Kingsguard who were stationed at the door, he entered the small council chamber and saw that the other members of the council were all present. Master of Ships Lord Maegon Velaryon an old man past his prime, master of coin Lord Walder Frey another old man coming to the end of his prime, master of Whispers Lord Horras Bolton soon to have a death wish upon him, master of laws Lord Jon Arryn a good man a good ally to have, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard Ser Gerold Hightower a good man and honourable and finally Grand Maester Pycelle a toady. The king was once more absent. Tywin bid the men sit and once he was seated spoke. “Is his grace ill Maester Pycelle?”

“His Grace is down with a fever my lord hand. He asked that council continue as usual without his presence.” Pycelle said.

Tywin nodded and said. “Very well then, what is the order of business for today then my lords, what has happened since we last met?”

Walder Frey speaks then his voice waspish. “There has been word from Harrenhal Lord Whent has asked for another loan from the crown, he claims that his crops and other sources of income are not doing enough to fuel his coffers.”

“What does Lord Whent intend to use this loan he asks the crown for? His lands are some of the most fertile pieces of land in the riverlands and perhaps in the whole of the southern kingdom. What more could he want?” Tywin asks sharply.

Walder Frey laughs then. “Damned if I know my lord. The man plays his cards close to his chest and speaks not a word of what he wants to do nor what he wishes to do with the money he makes from the lands he has, though he says that with the money the crown gives him he will make something the king will not regret.”

“Tell him the crown will need a detailed plan of what he wants before we shall give him a loan. I will not have the king played for a fool by an ambitious lord. Now what more is there for us to discuss?” Tywin states.

Lord Maegon speaks then. “There has been some commotion down on the docks as of late my lord hand. It appears that the sailors from our own shores are running into conflict with the sailors coming from Volantis. This is becoming quite a common occurrence and my men are not happy with it, they wish to know what to do.”

Tywin sighs and says. “What sort of conflicts do your men report having with the men from Volantis my lord, and who are the ones starting the conflicts?”

Lord Maegon swallows and says. “There have been several arguments which have gotten physical between Westerosi sailors and Volanteene sailors, as well as arguments over various mundane things that the Volanteene have taken offense from. But more often than not it is the Volanteene sailors that cause the problems.”

“Well tell your men to think before they speak, the Volanteene are our guests here for the time being and they are being led by the king’s own cousin Prince Jaehaeron, we cannot afford for relations to sour. And speak with Prince Jaehaeron and have this issue resolved before the king returns to council.” Tywin says. “Now what more is there to discuss?”

Lord Horras Bolton spoke then his voice barely louder than a whisper. “There has been news from my sources in Essos, it appears the Three Daughters have gone to war with one another once more and the Golden Company has stirred from Volantis and is moving to join in on the fighting and take home some of the spoils. Whether or not this fighting will spill into trade remains to be seen, but I have asked for an ear to be kept to the ground nonetheless. There has also been word from Dorne, it appears Nymeria Allyrion, has been sewing Sun and Spear banners in secret.”

“What do you mean by that Lord Horras? I was never very good with riddles.” Lord Maegon asks.

“What I mean my lord, is that the Martell cause is not yet dead and buried in Dorne. There are those who still wish for the Martells to return, those who have grown tired of the Yronwoods and their posturing about change, and those who wish to see Gyles Stark fall and die. The Allyrions, the Santagars even Gyles Stark’s own goodfather plots for the Martells return.” Lord Horras replies.

“So is this a sign then that there could be support for another invasion attempt then?” Lord Jon asks. “For if it is then the king will want to know as will the Martells.”

Tywin speaks then the voice of caution. “We must test the waters first my lords. Horras I want you to have your men in Dorne test the waters, see what the mood amongst these lords is, and see whether certain allies of the Yronwoods can be turned against them. If so then we speak with the king not beforehand.”

“And if it proves that there is enough support for the Martells my lord hand, what then?” Lord Horras asks.

Tywin looks at the man and says ominously. “Then we shall go to war and we shall take back Dorne.”

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