Courtesy Jim Stanes
Please note: All characters, locations and events are copyright George RR Martin and the events that take place during this game can and will deviate from series canon.
The Story So Far: It is Year 296 since Aegon’s Landing. Word of the lost swords of high Westrosi houses by up-and-coming House Luxon has crossed the Narrow Sea…
He looked up from the meal in front of him to the bearer of the news. Under the stylish, wide-brimmed hat providing shadows for half of his face, there were not many in Pentos who would easily recognize the traveler. Most would be distracted by the flamboyant, multi-colored feather tucked into the hat’s bright violet band. Still, Viserys could not shake a feeling of doubt. Were they being watched? Who else knew of this, of them?
“You saw this thing?”
“With my own eyes.” The voice of the traveler was low, subtle, all but lost in the tavern’s ruckus. “The blades of the Baratheons were laid at the feet of the king himself.”
“The king sitting on my throne.” Scowling, Viserys snatched up a goblet of wine and drained it. “I can’t wait to see the look on his fat face when I split him open.”
“In time, in time.” The traveler spoke calmly, unruffled by the notion of waking the dragon. That didn’t sit well. He should fear the dragon. All men should fear the dragon. “What was interesting to me, however, was not only what this man of the north carried, but what he did not.”
“The blades of my family. Where are they?”
“I suspect they are locked away in Moat Cailin. Little birds tell me the new maester has taken residence in a tower built atop a vault. That would be the most likely place.”
Viserys took a bite of stew, trying to think. The spices in the Pentoshi food distracted him, equal parts curiosity and revulsion interfering with his ability to strategize.
“My ancestors would storm the castle with their armies to take back what is theirs. I have no army. Aemon would have flown over the walls with his dragons. I have no dragons.”
“Astute, my prince.”
“I wasn’t asking for your opinion.” He waved his goblet in the air until it was refilled. “I need inspiration, not sycophancy.”
The eyes of the man in the hat gazed at Viserys. He reminded the Targaryen prince of a spider, hiding in the shadows, scuttling to and fro from King’s Landing to the Free Cities. “Not all wars are won with armies and dragons. Some are won with deception and stealth, before they even begin.”
Viserys considered this. What glory would he win stealing into a castle like a thief? He wasn’t stealing anything, he was reclaiming it. But what price would he pay to get those weapons? There were blades of Valyrian steel among them, perhaps even the sword of Aemon the Dragonknight, or that of his elder brother Rhaegar. He envisioned himself riding towards the Red Keep, a loyal army at his back, the smokey steel in hand and raised high as he returned to the place he truly belonged…
“How do we begin?”
“Well, for one thing, we cannot have you and your sister staying in places where you could be stumbled upon. It is no small miracle that you have remained relatively undiscovered until now. Fortunately for you, I have just the place for you to stay while plans are made. A trusted friend.”
“Inasmuch as I trust anyone.” Viserys finished his wine and laid some coins on the table. He moved to stand, then paused. “Wait. You said a man from the North came to deliver the fat king’s swords. But when you first told me of this, you spoke of two men.”
“Indeed I did.”
“The other was not from the North?”
“No. He is not, but as our time is somewhat short before I am missed, I think that is a tale I shall have to tell another time.”
Viserys narrowed his eyes. “You’re hiding something from me, eunuch.”
“I hide things from all men, my prince. It is how I stay alive.”
“That, too, is no small miracle.”
The traveler only smiled. He stood, gesturing for Viserys to lead the way. As it should be. I’ve been here long enough to know this city like the back of my hand. They wound their way through the streets until they came to the merchant ship owner’s pavilion. The traveler tipped his hat down slightly.
“I will wait here.”
“Is the place we’re going better than this?”
“Slightly larger, and infinitely more hospitable, I suspect.”
Viserys grunted. He walked through the gate and found his host sitting by one of the windows that faced the harbor. Half of the man’s hair, both on his head and in his forked beard, was painted blue, the other half green. A girl from a pillowhouse knelt at his feet and was massaging his ankles while he enjoyed a pipe.
“Ah! My guest returns. Did you have an enjoyable lunch?”
“I did, but I’m afraid I must depart. My sister and I thank you for your hospitality.” He dropped a few coins on the table and walked back towards the guest rooms.
“I find it unfortunate that you still will not consider my offer.” The merchant was standing. “Your sister would be well taken care of and greatly desired. Is that not what all women want?”
Viserys looked over his shoulder, first at the man then at the girl who remained on the floor, barely clothed in the silk gown that fell from her shoulders. Shaking his head, the prince walked into the guest bedroom he shared with his sister. If anyone is going to whore out Daenerys, it’s going to be me, not that old pirate, and not for any pittance of gold, but for my crown.
“Daenerys. It’s time to wake up.”
She murmured as she rolled over on the bed. Viserys crossed to it, reached around her and took hold of her breast, pinching her nipple until her eyes opened.
“We have to leave. Now. If you delay, you will wake the dragon.”
Nodding as she looked at him, Daenerys quickly found her clothes and packed up her few meager belongings. Viserys was already packed. The message had made it clear that they would not linger here long, and so had prepared himself before dawn. They walked out to find the merchant with an old blade in his hand.
“I think I’ll be keeping your sister. She’s worth far more than you are, boy.”
Viserys was armed only with a dagger. But the merchant was in his cups, despite the hour, a fact evident in the empty glass bottles near his chair and the stink on his breath. The young king gestured for his sister to stay behind him as he drew his short blade.
“I’m sure you’d like a virgin to sell to whomever you got that whore on the floor from, but my sister stays with me. And we’re leaving.”
The old pirate scowled, slamming the pommel of his blade on the table, causing bottles to fly. “Wretch! I keep you under my roof for months, feed you and clothe you in keeping with this station you claim, and this is how I’m repaid?”
“No. That gold on the table is how you are repaid. More will come if you let us pass. You will have the thanks of a king.”
“I’d rather have the girl. And your head!”
He roared and charged towards Viserys. The prince ducked to one side, still between his opponent and his sister but out of direct harm. The merchant slammed into the corner where his main room met the hall back to the bedrooms. Viserys smiled.
“Has age slowed your pirate reflexes, old man?”
“I’ll show you how pirates fight!” The merchant reoriented himself with Viserys and charged again. Another sidestep put the man squarely into one of his cabinets. In spite of the deadly nature of the situation, Viserys laughed.
“You should stop now while you still have a house to live in!”
The pirate’s reply was wordless, a restored grip on his sword and yet another charge. This time, when Viserys stepped aside, the man went through the large open doors and across his pavilion. It was easily seen on the streets when he launched into space and landed face down on the inside of his low garden wall. His dogs trotted over to see what had happened, and when he lifted his face, the passers-by laughed, as he now wore one of those dog’s droppings in his beard.
Viserys, sheathing his dagger, took hold of Daenerys’ hand and walked out the door to where the traveler waited. Beside him was an extremely obese Pentoshi gentleman who bowed as they emerged.
“Your Grace. My lady. I’m quite pleased to finally meet you both.”
The pirate staggered towards them, but at the sight of the large man he stopped short.
“Ah. Numeris.” There was something in the fat man’s gaze that reminded Viserys of himself. Of waking the dragon. “I do hope your altercation with this young man will not keep you from seeing my shipment safely to Lys. I’d hate for you to lose your contract.”
“Um. Yes.” The merchant took a step back. “I will see to it personally.” He ran back into his house. Both the fat man and the traveler laughed.
“Spineless as always,” the traveler observed, then tipped his hat to the Targaryen siblings. “I must take my leave, my friends, but let me introduce you to Illyrio Mopatis, Magister of Pentos.”
“And your humble host, Your Grace.” He bowed to Viserys again, and kissed Daenerys’ hand. “My lady.”
“At last, some manners!” Viserys bowed in return. “We are in your debt, Magister. I look forward to seeing your home.”