The door to my room was flung open and I jumped. I turned to see Jaime standing in the doorway. "You could have just knocked."
He closed the door behind him and walked towards me. "You are not safe here anymore. You must leave at once."
"I cannot just leave, there's nowhere for me to go."
"The Tyrells know who you are, if the trial doesn't go their way they will toss the blame on you. My sister believes Tyrion and Sansa murdered Joffrey, but if she knew the Queen in the North was at court she'd have your head too."
"Margaery would never turn me in."
"Maybe she wouldn't, but can you say the same for Olenna?" He asked. "Look at you, they have their claws in you, or should I say their thorns."
"What would you have me do, Jaime? Go North? Sail across the Narrow Sea? Neither of those options will get me what I want."
He shook his head. "I have a better idea. Come with me." He pulled me from my room and down the hall. He led me to another chamber and knocked. When the door didn't open right away he knocked again, impatiently.
Oberyn Martell opened the door shirtless. "You are interrupting, Ser."
"This is the girl I want you to meet," Jaime told him.
"We've met," Oberyn and I said at the same time.
"It is good to see you again," Oberyn added, smiling at me.
"You met Desmera Redwyne, but I would like you to meet Amina Stark."
I could see Ellaria on the bed behind Oberyn. She leaned up on her elbows and took a look at me. "Let them in, my love." Oberyn stepped aside and Jaime lightly pushed me into the room. "This is the Queen in the North?" Ellaria asked.
I nodded. "Yes, I suppose I did a nice job posing as a southern girl."
"While I will admit that is interesting," Oberyn said. "I do not see why that was so pressing."
"Amina has a plethora of disguises," Jaime said. "Like an onion, peel back one layer and another is revealed. Shall we reveal the next layer?" He asked me. I raised my eyebrow, unsure where he was going with this.
"Turns out I'm not just Queen in the North." Jaime nodded for me to continue. "I am also heir to the Seven Kingdoms. My name is Amina Targaryen."
"But the last Targaryens are across the Narrow Sea."
"My sister is there, she's working on gathering an army to conquer Westeros. But I was not with her when she and my brother were smuggled to Essos; I was here with my father. It was here that Ned Stark found me and took me in. For years I have been forced to hide my identity but in a few days another bastard boy will take the throne and all but one of the Seven Kings is dead or defeated. Now is the time for me to reveal myself."
"And the Martells have always supported the Targaryens," Jaime added. "You must take Amina from Kings Landing as quickly as possible."
Ellaria and Oberyn shared a look. After a tense moment, Oberyn turned back to us and nodded. "You have my protection, Princess."
Confidence had kicked in as soon as I realized what Jaime was planning, but my relief at the Prince's acceptance was still great. I hugged him and he hugged me back. "You have no idea how amazing it feels to tell someone the truth."
"Ellaria and I knew we liked you from the moment you sat at our table."
"I'm sure you all will have things to discuss and arrangements to make," Jaime said. "I will leave you alone."
"Wait," I called. "Why are you helping me?"
He hesitated. "I swore an oath to Catelyn I would bring her girls home, Arya and Sansa are gone. You are all that is left and the North is not your home, Kings Landing is."
For the first time in a month I was able to get a good night's rest. When I opened my eyes I was standing on a balcony over looking a city. There was a gasp and I turned around to see my sister. "Amina!" Daenerys jumped up from her seat and sprinted towards me. "My gods, I thought you had died."
"I've been trying to reach you but I haven't slept well since Robb was killed."
"Jorah received word of his death. I am so sorry, I know what it's like to lose a husband."
I looked back over the balcony. "Where are we?"
"Meereen. I've taken the city."
"Do they have ships? Will you be able to travel to Westeros soon?" I asked hopeful.
"They do, but Jorah doesn't believe I can carry enough men to conquer Westeros."
"And you no longer have my men for reinforcements. How soon do you think you'll have the manpower and ships?"
She hesitated. "You know how to lead, I do not. I cannot expect to be accepted by the people of Westeros as I am now. I need experience before I can rule Seven Kingdoms."
"What are you saying?"
"I cannot leave Meereen until I know I will be a fit queen. I must control the cities of Slavers' Bay and I don't know how much time that will take."
"Daenerys, I can't wait for you anymore. I have to do something!"
"Something like what?"
"Like making alliances, and building an army, and formulating a plan. Things are being set into motion here, things I can't stop. I will try to help you, but I cannot promise that there will be a space for you on the Iron Throne when you arrive."
"Are you saying you would take the throne without me?"
"I am the first born daughter of Aerys Targaryen. It's my birthright."
The following morning I went to see Ellaria and Oberyn. Despite my short chat with Daenerys I arrived in a cheerful mood, but as soon as I set eyes on Ellaria my happiness evaporated. "Is it Sansa?" I asked.
She shook her head. "No, no, there's been no word of her."
"Oberyn has agreed to be one of the three judges in the trial." I tried to wrap my head around her dire expression. As surprising as this news was, it wasn't awful. "That means we cannot leave yet."
"Alright," I said, still not understanding.
"Which means, you are in danger for at least a fortnight."
"Oh." I nodded. "I'm sure it's alright, I've been here for a few weeks already. I trust the Tyrells more than Jaime does."
"More than I do," Oberyn said. I hadn't noticed him sitting on the balcony and his voice startled me.
Ellaria rolled her eyes. "My love, you do not trust anyone."
"Untrue, I trust our friend Amina."
"And if she says she trusts the Tyrells then I suppose we should listen to her," Ellaria added.
"I trust her, but I did not say I trusted her uninformed instinct. I am not convinced that family had nothing to do with Joffery's death. If this trial is not resolved quickly, she could be used as the scapegoat." He sounded very much like Jaime at that moment.
Ellaria shook her head. "I suppose you are going to tell me that we ought to lock Amina in this very room until the trial is over, for her own wellbeing. Since everyone is clearly out to get her."
"Oh no, I believe our Amina can take care of herself," he said. "You do not become queen by relying solely on the protection of others. Surely she can survive a few more weeks at court."
In less than a week the trial had begun. As I filed into one of the stands, filled with many of the same faces I'd seen at the wedding. As Jaime led his younger brother into the room, he found me in the stands and glared at me. I turned towards my neighbor to my right, ignoring him. "Isn't this all so interesting, I've never been to a trial before. Have you?"
The woman shook her head. "It's a shame this is for such a grave crime. But that makes it all the more interesting!" She whispered the last bit. I nodded conspiratorially.
Part of me did pity Tyrion I had no doubt that he was innocent, and I hated that Sansa had been pulled down with him. However, unlike his brother, I had no particular reason to want Tyrion alive either. So I just hoped for the trial to be resolved quickly and painlessly.
He was taken to the podium and chained to it. Tommen rose and so did the audience. I had missed his coronation, at Oberyn's request. Putting myself in front of that many people to take the customary bow was dangerous. Not to mention I wasn't interested in curtsying for a king I did not recognize.
Tommen gave his opening words, and then gave the trial to his grandfather, Oberyn, and Margery's father. He left the throne room, and the judges ascended the stairs. "Tyrion of the House Lannister," Tywin began. "You stand accused by the Queen Regent of regicide. Did you kill King Joffrey?"
Tyrion shook his head. "No."
"Did your wife, the Lady Sansa, kill Joffrey?"
"Not to my knowledge."
"Then how would you say he died?"
"Choked on his pigeon pie," Tyrion said with a shrug.
"So you would blame the bakers?" Tywin asked.
"Or the pigeons, just leave me out of it."
I couldn't help but laugh. I quickly buried by face in my hands to control myself, I noticed the woman next to me was doing the same. "Is it appropriate to slip out of a trial?" I whispered.
As we sat through testimony after testimony the trial grew less amusing. It was clear they were stacking the evidence against him. Maybe Tyrion had not killed Joffrey, but it was clear he was not the boy's biggest fan. Then there was the Grand Maester who confirmed that Tyrion had taken possession of his poisons, one of which had been used to kill the king. His proof was a necklace that I'd seen Sansa wearing at the wedding; the beads had been filed with poison.
The Master of Whisperers took the witness podium next. "I too have heard Lord Tyrion threaten our late King. During a small council meeting Tyrion said "Perhaps you should speak more softly to me then, monsters are dangerous, and just now kings are dropping like flies."
"During a small council meeting?" Mace asked.
"Yes, right after we received word of Robb Stark's death. He did not seem particularly thrilled, perhaps his married to Sansa Stark made him more sympathetic to the Northern cause." There were gasps of shock throughout the audience, I shuttered.
"We will adjourn for now," Tywin said rising. "Toll the bells in an hours time."
I was one of the first people out of the hall. I weaved through the halls of the Red Keep hoping to avoid anyone who might stop to talk. I pushed through the doors to my chambers. Margery was on my heels.
"I've barely seen you in days, Mina. What is going on with you?"
"Nothing, this is just all too much for me. I should not have come here. I need to leave, Kings Landing is not safe for me."
"It never was. I tried to warn you!"
"I know, but my sister is Gods know where. I am trapped in this castle until the Martells are free and can take me away. I am a caged bird, Margery."
"Prince Oberyn is taking you to Dorne?" She asked surprised.
"Yes, he believes that is the safest place for me. Thank you for sitting us together at your wedding, it worked in my favor."
"Does he know who you are?"
"Yes, he does, and he has agreed to help me," I explained.
"In exchange for what? Do you know what you are giving up for safety?" She questioned.
"No, Margery, I don't. But I trust him."
"You trusted Jaime Lannister too, I am not sure your judgment is sound!"
"I trusted your family too! Look at me. Your grandmother has turned me into you. Do you think that is a coincidence? Have you asked your grandmother if she had any part in Joffrey's death? Because I believe she did. I believe, should the trial go wrong, she will have you spirited away and I will be left here unsuspecting until there is a knock on my door and I am arrested for being you. Then what? They look a little closer and realize I am the Queen in the North? I am a dead woman, Margery. I do not have much time left."
"You are being paranoid, Amina! My grandmother would never hurt you she genuinely likes you. I am your friend!"
"I'm sorry, Margery. But I do not think we can be friends. Not when we both want the same thing."
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