(Scenario: Lord Rogar returns to Storm’s End to find those who have fled King Maegor. Ser Borys is worried, but Lord Rogar asks him: “Are you afraid of a dragon, Brother?”)
Lord Rogar Baratheon of Storm’s End raced into his fort and yanked on the reins, coming to a sudden halt. He then turned to Ser Borys. “Meet me before dinner in my chambers,” he told his brother. “We must consider our next move.”
“Aye,” he said, and got down from his horse.
The portcullis closed with a slam and Ser Borys helped to put up the barricades. Lord Rogar exhaled and let his shoulders drop. For the first time since the Battle of the Gods Eye, he was no longer on the run. For the first time in weeks, he could relax. He was home, safe behind his walls. Or at least he was safe as he could be, now that he was a rebel to King Maegor.
“Lord Rogar,” a woman said.
Rogar’s heart ceased. No, it couldn’t be her. Her presence spelt danger.
Still, Rogar could not help but turn his head to the source of the voice. His eyes bulged at the sight. Lowering her hood to reveal locks of glistening silver, with a touch of butter, was the widow of King Aenys Targaeryan, the First of His Name.
“Tell Me It’s Not True”
“Tell me it’s not true,” Alyssa Velaryon, the Dowager Queen, said. “Tell me that my son did not die at the Gods Eye.”
Rogar’s heart plummeted inside him. What in the seven hells was he meant to say? The whole damn realm knew that King Aegon had been defeated by Maegor. That’s why King Aegon, the Second of His Name, was being mocked as Aegon the Uncrowned by the peoples of Westeros, since his uncle had stolen the crown from him before his coronation.
Rogar got down from his horse and approached Alyssa. “I do not want to lie to you, Your Grace,” he said. “But what you have heard is true. I saw it with my own eyes.”
The Dowager Queen’s purple eyes went veiny and red, before watering. Rogar’s guts twisted as a tear rolled down each of her cheeks. His heart told him to give her his broad, muscled shoulder, so she could nuzzle in it. But his head told him that it would be inappropriate and treasonous, since Alyssa had stood against Maegor.
“Where Are Your Children?”
Plus, Rogar would not be able to look at himself in the mirror if he let her weep on him. For all his strength and prowess as a warrior, he had fled the Battle of the Gods Eye before King Aegon had drawn his last breath. There was no way the boy king could have survived a blow like the one Maegor had given him, and every other lord, knight and soldier who had fought for Aegon had already deserted.
It had been better to run. There had been no point carrying on fighting only to be burnt to a crisp by Balerion the Black Dread; slain like Lords Tarbeck, Farman and Vance; or captured, to be the prisoner of a vindictive, vengeful man. Or so Rogar had told himself as he had run for his life, back to Storm’s End.
Still, Rogar wanted to do something, to be of help. He remembered then that Aegon the Uncrowned, had not been Queen Alyssa’s only child. “Where are your other children?” he asked. “Are they safe?”
The Dowager Queen’s watering eyes glimmered, as if they had turned to glass, and she nodded. “Visaerys, Jaehaerys and Alysanne are safe,” she said. “Rhaena is still in King’s Landing. She refused to leave Rhaella and Aerea in the capital, and now I fear that Maegor will take Rhaena for a wife, to legitimise his usurpation-”
“Shh! It’s best not to speak of that word if we wish to keep our heads, and those of your children.”
“It Is No Burden, Your Grace”
Lord Rogar clenched his fist. The hero in him wanted to march to the Red Keep and save Princess Rhaena and her children, all of whom he had known since they had been born. But he couldn’t. Rogar had lost and now he was powerless to save them from Maegor. “Princes Visaerys and Jaehaerys, and Princess Alysanne,” he said. “Where are they?”
“They are here,” Queen Alyssa said. “I hope you don’t mind. You were Aegon’s most loyal follower. You are the only person I would trust this burden with.”
Seven Hells! If Maegor found out that he was providing sanctuary to rival claimants, Rogar might as well have surrendered to the usurper at the Gods Eye.
Yet, he could not reveal his thoughts to the Dowager Queen either. Rogar Baratheon was the Lord of Storm’s End. He had been willing to suffer the consequences when he had supported King Aegon II. This was an extension of that support, and if meant a painful death at Maegor’s hands then so be it. “It is no burden, Your Grace,” he said. “It is an honour. You and your children may stay here for as long as you wish.”
Queen Alyssa breathed a sigh of relief. “We are in your debt, My Lord,” she said. “This will never be forgotten.”
Nor will it by Maegor.
King Maegor I (the Cruel) sitting on the Iron Throne, as depicted in Fire & Blood by Doug Wheatley.
But again he did not utter his thoughts. Instead, Rogar turned to make his way into the fort.
“Are You Afraid Of A Dragon, Brother?”
Ser Borys stepped in his way. “Seven Hells! What were you thinking? Maegor will come with Balerion and kill us all if he finds out-”
“Are you afraid of a dragon, Brother?” Rogar interjected, feigning boldness. “The Black Dread scares me no more than he scared the Dornish. I will have crossbows built to make Maegor think twice before bringing the Black Dread close to Storm’s End.”
“Have you lost your mind!? Crossbows or not, Balerion will turn Storm’s End into a second Harrenhall!”
“Let him try.” Rogar snorted a chuckle to pretend as if he did not share the same fear. “Grandfather showed us the inner sanctuaries of the castle,” he continued. “They will give us sufficient safety from dragon fire. Of that I can promise. And when the fires have cooled, and just when Maegor believes that Storm’s End is his, I will rise from the ashes to challenge him to single combat. I cannot wait to see the look on his face! Indeed, I could think of nothing more glorious than slaying that tyrant with my own axe.”
Gods Be Good, I Must Be Right
Ser Borys paused and gave his brother a dark narrowing of the eyes. “I will stay by your side only because you are my brother. To keep Queen Alyssa and her children here, to hold out against Maegor… it’s all madness. You had best be right.”
Gods be good, I have to be right. Our House will end if I am not.
But again Rogar kept his mouth shut and his thoughts to himself. Instead, he watched as his brother entered the keep and told himself over and again that Storm’s End would not fall on his watch; that neither his family nor the remainder of Queen Alyssa’s would die on his watch.
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