We Can Heal Together



Now it seems that the war has finally ended. The castle of Pyke has fallen, and Balon Greyjoy himself is behind lock and key and awaiting his fate. No doubt it will be a grand ceremony when said fate is doled out, but first Robert had to discuss matters with his brother.

They were both alone in the Sea Tower, facing each other across a map of the Iron Isles. Wooden pegs representing the Royal Army covered the islands, clearly representing Robert's successful victory against the Reavers. Now it was a matter of handling the peace.

"Stannis, we have won it. Songs shall be sung of what we did here; we both have reason to be proud."

Cold as ever, Stannis simply shrugged. "I did my duty, nothing more. I just hope to see my wife and son again."

Robert clapped his hands in agreement, "As do I. But first there is a matter of dealing with the rebels."

Stannis did not hesitate to give his answer. "They must be punished. Balon Greyjoy's war cost the lives of countless men and women; he is no different than a common pirate, and his head should be mounted on a tower all the same."

My brother Stannis has always been firmly devoted to the law. When he knighted Ser Davos, he also cut the man's fingers off as punishment for a lifetime of smuggling. Though it is better to be too just than to let your men do whatever they please.

"Is this your opinion on the matter?"

"It is the law, opinion does not enter into it. But if it did, then it would not be my opinion alone. Randyll Tarly also wants Balon sent to the headsman, and Tywin Lannisters even wants to go so far as to exterminate the entirety of House Greyjoy as a warning to the others."

Why am I not surprised; the Lannisters have always been cruel. Rumors abound about The Mountain committing heinous acts during the war, and I would have taken his head if all the witnesses weren't too craven to come forward and launch an accusation. He even tried to murder my Good-Sister Elia. But sooner or later he'll slip up and give me a reason to take his head.

Robert shook such thoughts aside; now he had to focus on the task at hand and explain his plans for the Iron Islands. They would hinge on Stannis Baratheon's cooperation, but only a fool would bet against Robert's brother doing his duty.

"Stannis, the IronBorn are a dagger at our backs; I do not mean to give them time to sharpen it. I intend to banish Balon and his brothers from the realm. The Night's Watch is seven-eights made up of thieves and cutthroats, so I do not want to risk Balon and his Brothers gaiming supporters for an attempt to retake his Driftwood Crown. I can not execute them either, as I mean to mare an Andal Lord Paramount of the Iron Isles and the wound will be deep enough without added salt."

Stannis seemed to agree with this plan.

"Whoever you install, you should make sure he can handle the position."

Robert let a smile spread over his face. "I know exactly who I want to install. He's a stubborn man with a strong sense of justice, so I know he will do his duty no matter what. He is a stalwart man, so I can trust him with this power. And he's tough as nails, so I have no doubt that he can handle the IronBorn."

Stannis nodded approvingly. "These are all good qualities, but who exactly is this man?"

Robert now flashed a large smile that showed off his teeth. "You."

This caught Stannis by surprise. He opened his mouth to say something, but was actually at a loss for words. Stannis's eyes were even widened.

I'd better explain, before he assumes it to be an act of spite.

"Stannis, you have been with me since the beginning. You fought alongside me in two wars, and have never dishonored yourself either on or off the battlefield. I know you; you are just, loyal, brave, determined to the point of stubbornness, and you have always been there for me."

Robert placed his hand on Stannis's shoulder. "There is not a man in the seven kingdoms I would trust more with this title. You are my brother, and even if I have been distant I want you to know I still love you. I couldn't have done it without you."

Finally Stannis got a word out, though his hands were shaking. "You ... you really mean that?"

To demonstrate this, Robert walked around the table and pulled his brother in for a hug. Robert could feel Stannis shuttering and even ... crying? No, he couldn't be; the only time Robert could remember Stannis shedding a single tear was when Mother and Father died. I fact, that's the last time Robert Baratheon could recall his brother Stannis showing any emotion.

Too bad Lyanna is not here to see the fruition of her work; ever since she met Stannis, that She-Wolf has been trying to reconcile him and I. She would drag Stannis along on many of my large hunting trips, and whenever I had stress over a matter of State she would tell me to ask Stannis for advice. Lyanna even convinced Stannis to foster Mya Stone, the bastard I fathered before Lyanna and I were betrothed. I have a brother again, and the person most responsible for this is not here to see the results.

At this moment, Robert and Stannis were both thankful that they had each other.

In the Throne room of Castle Pike, all the races King Robert ruled over were gathered around to see the King's Justice. Oberyn Martell and Ellaria Sand, who have spent most of the last week celebrating the war's end by enjoying the nubile gratitude of the recently liberated Salt Wives, seems to have taken a break to watch the sentencing with the other Dornish Noblemen who fought in the war. Eddard Stark and his Northern Lords were there too, clad in their chainmail and their furs. And then there were the Knights; the room was crowded with chivalric warriors from The Westerlands, The Stormlands, The Crownlands, The Reach, and even a few Northern Knights from White Harbour. All these men stood ready to see the Iron King face his punishment.

The guards brought Balon Greyjoy in to the room, chained and without a crown on his head. Even so, Balon was stubborn as always.

"You may take my head," he told the king, "but you cannot name me traitor. No Greyjoy ever swore an oath to a Baratheon."

Under different circumstances, I might have offered you a hand and forgiven these offences.

"Maybe not, but there are many worse crimes I can hold to your name. Pirate, rapist, pillager, thief, ... murderer."

Possibly suspecting an appointment with a headsman, Balon stood stubborn.

"What you call crimes, my people call The Old Ways. These are the traditions of The IronBorn, and have been for time immemorial. The strong take from the weak, that is the natural order of things."

From the audience, there were shouts as people called for punishments. "Rip his head off!" shouted a Manderly Knight, "Flay the evil bastard!" demanded a Lannisport Lannister, "Give him a taste of his own mead and drown the traitor!" yelled a knight from one of the Shield Isles.

Robert gave his answer. "You're ways are what you call them: Old, Outdated, Primitive, and Savage. The King of the Iron Throne raised his voice as he proclaimed his sentence, "As punishment for his crimes, I hereby declare that Balon Greyjoy and all members of House Greyjoy shall be stripped of all lands, titles, properties, and birthrights. Balon's remaining children, Theon and Asha Greyjoy, shall be fostered with my Bannermen; the rest of House Greyjoy is banished from the realm and forbidden from ever returning on penalty of death. Now, remove this traitor from my sight!"

With that, the guards dragged a spirit-broken Balon Greyjoy out of the hall. They made him wait by the door on their own accord, so he would have to watch the parceling out of his lands.

Time to reward my stalwart bannermen.

"Lord Stannis Baratheon, please step forward."

Stannis walked up to where Robert was standing and knelt in front of him.

"Stannis, in recognition of all that you have contributed to the war effort, I hereby grant you the castle of Pyke and declare you Lord Paremount of the Iron Isles. These titles and honors shall pass to your children, and your children's children, until the end of time. You shall also be intrusted with the ward Asha Greyjoy; you shall have the responsibility of seeing to her education and arranging a marriage for her when she comes of age."

Stannis got up and shakes Robert's hand. "Your Grace, I thank you for this honor."

With that, he left and returned to his place as the other aristocrats entered the room.

"Lord Paramount Eddard Stark, please step forward."

Eddard walked up to his King, smiled when he saw Robert's face again, and got down on one knee.

"Eddard, in recognition of all that you have contributed to the war effort, I hereby grant you one third of the war spoils taken by the Crown to do with as you shall be also entrusted with the ward Theon Greyjoy; you shall have the responsibility of seeing to his education and arranging a marriage for him when he comes of age."

"Your Grace, you have my thanks and my undying loyalty."

With that, he left and returned to his place while the nobility cheered him on.

"Sandor Clegane, please step forward."

Sandor Clegane had gained distinction in the war, most notably by slaying Maron Greyjoy during the final assault on Castle Pyke. He stepped forward.

"Sandor, in recognition of your valor on the battlefield-"

"If you mean to knight me, I'll just save you the breath. Thanks but no thanks."

While another King would have been insulted by such rudity, Robert was always a good humored man and he had Sandor as a sworn sword for years.

Robert chuckled, "No no, you have made your feelings on that clear many times before. I mean only to offer you a choice between an Iron Island Lordship or a Valyrian Steel Sword."

"I'll take the sword; I'm sick of these damn islands anyway."

"Very well, in honor of your valor on the battlefield, I hereby grant you the sword Red Rain which was taken from Lord Drumm after his capture in battle. You, your children, and your children's children shall enjoy ownership of this sword until the end of time."

A guard presented Sandor with the sword, and he held it in his hands. After a few practice swings to test the air, he pulled out his old sword and dropped it on the ground: it was good steel, but not nearly as good as Valyrian Steel.

This was the pattern the rest of the day took: Robert called forth Lords and Kinghts who preformed acts of distinction or otherwise helped the war effort, and gave them rewards proportional or generously disproportionate to their actions. To some were awarded war spoils, to some were returned family heirlooms Reavers had stolen generations ago, to some were granted landed titles or honorary titles. By the end of it, all of House Greyjoy's lands were distributed amongest Robert's Supporters.

Ours is the fury. The Greyjoys had to learn my House Words the hard way.

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