Chapter 2: Friends and Allies
"Who judges best of a man, his enemies of himself?"
Poor Richard's Almanac
By Benjamin Franklin
3rd Person Pov
2 Moons Later- Pentos
Jon was resting after a long day of training. He had fought against the Sand Snakes, Oberyn, and Ailia herself. Ailia was not lying when she had said she was an accomplished warrior. She was ferocious in a fight and had a style that was a mix of Volantian fencing and the Braavosi Water Dance. It was a combination to be feared, as the woman would seemingly disappear behind furiously fast slashes and thrusts that left you in complete defense until you tried to strike and she would knock you off balance and kill you quickly.
It was no wonder the Golden Company was angry at her father's friends and followers for letting her go, and betrothing her to a Targaryen.
However that was mostly because of the Commander wanting to marry her to himself.
Her father's men were supposed to have been killed but Jon would not let that happen because of an old warrior's greed. He had personally snuck into camp under the cover of darkness and freed the men. They had fled Meereen that night as everything had been packed beforehand, and they had not wanted any more trouble than they already had.
Ailia had recalled her teachers to her and they had smuggled the men to Summerhall. The two had also agreed to travel with them. Their names were Garaedar Raentalor, a Volantian tiger, and Syrio Forel, the First Sword of Braavos. Jon really liked the two as they were intelligent and wise men, and both were living to a relatively old age for warriors. Syrio had taken to teaching Jon and Ailia how to wield two swords but it was slow going.
However, a messenger arrived with a seal of the King. Jon seemed interested by his father's letter but opened it to find that it was actually Jon Connington who had written it.
Your brother, Prince Aegon Targaryen 6th of his Name is going to marry Lady Margery Tyrell in 5 moons time. I expect that you will be there along with anyone you believe should come along. I hope this news reaches you at a good time.
Hand of the King, and Lord of Griffins Roost"
Jon was surprised that Aegon was getting married so young. He was only 10-and-6 and Margery was even younger and about his age. Usually royal weddings would happen in a few years down the road. It was unusual that his brother was getting married now unless something terrible had happened. However, Varys would have most likely told him had something bad happened. The two had shared a good relationship ever since he was young. Jon had seen Varys shaving his silver hair and had come to the conclusion that Varys was of the female Blackfyre line. Many had called Jon a Blackfyre when he was younger and he considered Varys to be a cousin. Of course he would not admit that.
However, Jon knew that most likely the Lannister's were running out of gold and they would need another family's wealth to be bound to the dragons. Jon smiled at the thought that Ailia could claim the lands of her family which was also rich with gold and untouched by anyone yet. The small folk would delay the mining believing it to be cursed because of the massacre that took place on that ground.
Ailia was behind him and read the letter.
"So we're going to King's Landing." Jon was startled but relaxed hearing her voice. He was actually quite surprised that she had snuck up on him. However, Jon at this point was going through all sorts of changes, so it was excusable. When he had first met Ailia she was taller than him by a good hand. Now Jon was taller than her by a hand.
"Yes, I'm guessing that Lannister gold can only stretch so much now that the mines are running out. They will soon try to claim the gold in your lands."
"I see… I am not prepared for court."
"I know we'll go to Lord Velaryon's first. It'll get you ready to the pit without the vipers as the Velaryon's are cousins and trusted bannermen of my family."
"I should get a new wardrobe. I have far too many trousers for the men of court to be comfortable." She said with a smirk.
"That is true, but I believe some trousers would be good. We need to make sure that you are not someone to be cowed to their will like all of the other women they know."
"I'll get clothing similar to that of here and Dorne. I'll go an order that right away."
"Alright," he gave her a peck on the cheek. "Make sure you get Obara something, if only for the wedding day. I know her she would wear dirt-stained training gear if she could."
Ailia laughs and wraps him in a half hug before walking away hips swaying. When Oberyn sits with him Jon is playing his harp. He usually only did it to think.
Jon and the harp had a complicated history as originally his father did not want him near it. He had gotten the teacher for Aegon after all. However Aegon had been terrible at it, and had abandoned it haphazardly in a room. Jon had found it and tried to play it like his father had only to be discovered by the teacher. He had told Jon that he was a natural and had taken him under his wing. Rhaegar had been furious for 'taking the teacher away from Aegon' and he told Jon that 'you are greedy and ungrateful'. That was the day Jon learned his father cared for nothing more than a prophecy he had heard his grandmother arguing with him about.
"You like her." Oberyn says choosing to not press Jon as to why he's playing the harp again.
"Yes, she's beautiful, powerful, and interesting which I have to say is a heady combination." Jon replies unashamedly barely plucking at the harp strings now.
"You don't deny it. Do you love her?"
"Too soon to tell uncle, but I definitely believe that any marriage we have will be a good one."
"As good as your uncle Ned Stark's?" Oberyn pushes his young student.
"I hope so uncle. I hope so." Jon says wistfully stopping his playing of the harp.
2 Moons Later- Driftmark
Maehalor Velaryon was definitely a descendant of Old Valyria. He was tall, lean, had unearthly beauty that all Valyrians possessed, and you could clearly see the purple in his eyes that were becoming cloudy and silver due to cataracts. He was an older man about in his six-and-tens, and had lost his two elder sons in the War of the Ninepenny Kings. He was left only with Monterys, his heir, and a bastard Aurane; even his siblings had died or left him. However, he had not given himself into grief and Jon had to admire that strength in him.
"Prince Jaehaerys, what brings you to my court?"
"I wish to reacquaint myself with the politics of the day, and get my betrothed ready for the viper pits of King's Landing without getting her destroyed."
"Betrothed? I have not heard of your father betrothing you to anyone."
"My father would most likely want me to become a Maester or a man of the Night's Watch. He does not want me reproducing, but I will not give my crown up to that brat Joffrey. I betrothed myself to her."
"What is her name my prince?"
"My name is Ailia Reyne, great niece of the Red Lion, and heiress to the Reyne and Raqagon families."
"May I see you my lady? My old eyes are failing me at the moment."
"You may," she replies before calmly walking towards the man. Jon followed behind her quietly. Once they got close enough the old man's failing eyes widened, and he whispered.
Rhaenella Velaryon had been Maehalor's younger half-sister from his father's second marriage, whom had disappeared years ago. She was considered as a bride for Aerys when Rhaella started to have problems carrying children. Some say that she could see his madness just like Daenys could see the Doom, and had fled with a secret lover to Essos.
"Why are you calling her by name of your sister?"
"Because she has her eyes. Rhaenella had married into the Raqagon family to get away from Aerys, and had birthed a few sons, which squandered the family wealth, but she would always rave about her daughter Elēni-"
"That's my mother's name."
"What happened to your mother and grandmother?"
"My grandmother died due to my uncles beating her to death. They had taken a substance that was known to cause hallucinations and they killed their parents. My mother married Darion Reyne and died along with my younger brother and father when I was about 5 due to an outbreak of Pale Mare." The old man cries and hugs them both.
"I'm just glad there is still one thing of my sister left in this world." He wrapped them both in a surprisingly strong hug for his age. However he turned to Jon and said. "Jaehaerys Targaryen if you hurt my great niece in any way I do not care if you are a prince or not. I will destroy you."
"Lord Maehalor, he has been nothing but kind to me, and would not dream of hurting a woman outside of a friendly spar."
"Spar? You are a warrior aren't you?"
"I am, and I will be so until I die." The old man barks out a laugh before saying.
"Prince Jaehaerys you will always have my thanks for bringing the last of my family home."
"Call me Jon, I do not like the name Jaehaerys anyway. To many bad memories associated with it."
"Jon, thank you."
3 Moons Later: Driftmark
"It has been good to have you my prince. Please take care of my cousin." Monterys tells them.
"Monterys how many times have I told you call me Jon. There is no need to be so formal with me."
"Aurane is the one who doesn't have to be formal, I have to as a lord." Jon rolls his eyes while Aurane just grins at Jon.
Aurane Waters was a rather happy person, but one who like Jon was socially awkward around people and always expected that they wanted something from him. He was only about 3 or 4 years older than Jon. He had royal blue eyes and silver hair. He wore dark blue and grey. He also seemed very at home on a boat.
"We'll be fine come on you two." Ailia commanded them and the two men followed her on to the boat. They waved as they pulled away from shore and headed towards King's Landing.
The trip was half a day and they arrived not long after it became dark. They had horses with them and they mounted. There was little fanfare to their arrival, but still many small folk gaped as the Bane of Westeros returned with such a large party. It was not large in the actual sense it was just large for him personally.
When they arrived in the Red Keep the guards barely recognized him, and they stared at Ailia interestedly along with Aurane.
"Who are these with you?" The Captain of the guard asks staring at Ailia.
"Ah, this is Oberyn Martell and his four of his daughters the Sand Snakes, you remember Gendry, there is also Aurane Waters who is here as representative for his father Lord Maehalor Velaryon and this is his second cousin Lady Ailia."
"I see the servants will direct you to your rooms."
"Thank you, captain."
They make their way into the Keep and servants begin unloading their things. A few others show them to their rooms. The Sand Snakes and Ailia are taken to the Maidenvault, while Jon and his male companions are show to Maegor's Holdfast. There they are to await the wedding the two days from now in the afternoon.
Next Day: The Red Keep
The next morn after Jon had woken. He was greeted by two familiar and friendly faces. They were large Northmen and had solemn faces and grim demeanors to most but they were smiling at their sister's son.
"Uncle Ned, Uncle Ben, it's great to see you." He enveloped them in hugs. Benjen gives him a look and asks.
"So what is this I hear about you having a beautiful lady amongst your party?"
"That is Lady Ailia Reyne, my betrothed."
"Reyne? I thought they were dead."
"That's what everyone thought, but the Red Lion's sister Valery escaped with her infant son which was Ailia's father Darion. She is also the great niece of Lord Maehalor Velaryon."
"Really the Sea Monster of Driftmark is here?" Benjen asked interested.
"No, his health took a turn for the worst and his son Monterys had to stay and take over as Lord of Driftmark. He sent his bastard Aurane with us."
"How do you know that she is his niece though?" Ned asks seemingly confused.
"She has the same eyes as his sister, and Rhaenella only had one daughter named Elēni Raqagon, and that was her mother's name."
"I see, we were thinking of breaking our fasts in our chambers. Bring her with you."
"I will uncle. I will see you in an hour."
The two leave and Jon dresses casually before setting off to find Ailia. She is wandering around the Maidenvault. She is wearing a dress similar to the one he met her in complete with trousers, and boots that most maidens would not be caught dead in. He offers his arm and asks a servant where the Stark family's chambers are. They direct the two towards them and they are greeted by Jon's entire extended family save for Robb. His uncle told him Robb was back at Winterfell managing the North.
"Everyone meet my betrothed Lady Ailia. Ailia meet my uncles Eddard and Benjen."
"It's nice to meet you my lady. You are rather beautiful."
"It's very nice to meet you my lady."
"My cousins Sansa, Arya, Bran, and Rickon, I have one more but he is in Winterfell, and he's the eldest, his name is Robb."
"It's nice to meet you Lady Ailia." Sansa and Bran chorus in perfect manners.
"It's nice to meet you, can you really use a sword?"
"Arya-" Catelyn admonishes.
"I can actually. I have my two teachers with me as well."
"And last but certainly not least the woman who keeps things running smoothly, my dear aunt Lady Catelyn."
"It's nice to meet you Lady Ailia. Is it alright if I ask where you are from?"
"I grew in Essos as a member of the Golden Company-"
"You were a member of the Golden Company?!" Arya asks excitedly and Jon can see Bran's interest is peaked as well.
"Yes, I was, but I had to leave to protect myself from the throngs of men lusting after my name."
"Oh," Ned then says.
"Alright let's sit down everyone! We need to break our fast." Catelyn says. "I'm sure both of them are hungry."
"Bran before you sit can you get the gift." Bran nods excitedly.
"Gift uncle, I don't believe I should trouble you for a gift-" Jon stopped when he heard scrabbling on the floors.
There following behind Bran was an albino wolf that was absolutely too large to be a normal wolf. There was only one thing it could be and that's a direwolf. It made no sound as it approached the prince's outstretched hand. It sniffed him and bumped his head into the prince's hand.
"We know that technically you are not a Stark but we found 6 direwolf pups, and we knew that you should have one because you are family."
"I… don't know what to say."
"I believe their expecting a thank you." Benjen laughed loudly.
"I like her," she gives him a raised eyebrow in return. "But isn't she a little old for you?"
"Aren't you a little bit old for me?" Benjen is left shocked and Jon laughs with his uncle joining in. Soon Sansa is giggling behind her hand, and Arya and Bran are laughing, while Rickon giggles not knowing why.
The direwolf saddles up to Jon, and rubs his head into the boy's thigh. When all of the other direwolves run in and play with their littermate the albino made no sound. Jon then decided to name it when he said.
"Ghost," the direwolf lolled its tongue out at its new master. He seemed to like the name.
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