24 Chapter 24: The Blacks and the Greens - 111 AC

At the outskirts of the city of King's Landing, perched upon a regal platform adjacent to the bustling tourney grounds, King Viserys found himself enthroned. His countenance was adorned with a wide, joyous smile as he applauded the valiant knights engaging in fierce combat, their lances and shields clashing in a mesmerizing display of skill. By his side, two prominent women, each wielding significant influence in his life, graced his presence - Queen Alicent Hightower and Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. Despite the king's apparent obliviousness, an unmistakable undercurrent of division was taking shape within his court. Princess Rhaenyra, attired in a striking black and red gown, commanded a loyal following situated among the spectators adjacent to the king's elevated dais. Conversely, Queen Alicent, bedecked in green attire, was accompanied by her own loyal supporters.

Unbeknownst to the king, a subtle yet palpable conflict unfolded upon the hallowed grounds of the tournament. Ser Criston Cole, proudly displaying Princess Rhaenyra's favor, relentlessly dismantled each of the queen's champions with remarkable prowess astride his steed and morningstar. Standing tall before the king, his figure cast an imposing shadow.

Suddenly, an ear-piercing roar resounded through the expanse of the tourney grounds. Every noble and lady in attendance instinctively redirected their gaze skyward, their visages reflecting a potent blend of curiosity and trepidation. As their eyes beheld the azure firmament, a crimson wyrm danced through the air, gracefully circling the vicinity. This aerial spectacle elicited awe and reverence, as the dragon executed elegant maneuvers, circling the area two or three times before descending with breathtaking force. The gust of wind accompanying its descent swept away the feeble wooden structures that once sheltered the lords and ladies from the scorching sun. Upon its impact with the soft earth, the ground quaked, reminiscent of a meteor hurtling from above.

With a bow of its massive form, the dragon Caraxes allowed its rider to dismount gracefully. Prince Daemon Targaryen, resplendent in gleaming steel plate armor and adorned with a golden cloak and crown, now stood before the king. The dragon's sinuous tail encircled him, as if a tangible testament to his presence.

Beholding the scene that unfolded before him, the king rose from his wooden throne, along with the two women on his sides. Leaning against the ornate railing, a deepening frown etched upon his countenance, he surveyed the surroundings, his gaze filled with growing contemplation.

"Brother," Daemon greeted in a courteous manner, his words resonating through the air, instantly silencing the bustling grounds. An abrupt stillness fell upon the scene, where not a soul dared to utter a word, not even the cries of infants or the neighs of restless horses. Every sound, no matter how slight, hung in the air, as if amplified for all to hear.

Viserys's eyes narrowed, growing sharper as he fixed them upon Daemon. "What are you doing here?"

"I have come to pay my respects..." replied the Rogue Prince, his features forever calm and inscrutable, shrouding his true intentions.

"Respect?" Viserys chuckled, the bitter irony lacing his voice. With measured steps, the king moved around the raised platform, heading towards the descending stairs that led below. As he set foot on the ground, he slowly approached his own brother, disregarding the formidable dragon that encircled him. Now at eye level, the king cast his gaze upon Daemon, starting from his feet and gradually working his way up, his eyes lingering upon the crown adorning his sibling's head.

"You bear a crown," Viserys remarked, his words dripping with a mixture of curiosity and disdain. "And you proclaim yourself a king."

"After I claimed the head of the Crabfeeder, they called me the King of the Stepstones and the Narrow Sea," Daemon disclosed, his voice lowered, yet carrying to the ears of every lord and lady present. A collective gasp escaped their lips, particularly from those who were unaware of this news, a minority within the gathering.

Viserys acknowledged this information with a nonchalant hum, already privy to it, though his displeasure remained evident. Daemon, avoiding direct eye contact with the king, averted his gaze towards the ground, as if reluctant to meet his brother's penetrating stare. "But I know there is only one true king, your grace." Daemon confessed, his voice tinged with humility. Gradually, he descended to one knee, his resplendent golden cloak cascading upon the soiled earth. With reverence, he removed his crown and presented it to the man standing before him. "This crown, along with the Stepstones, are rightfully yours."

With a slight surprise, Viserys turned his gaze towards the platform, where Lord Lyonel Strong, his Hand, stood silently, offering no guidance or reaction. Consequently, the king redirected his attention back to his brother. A fleeting smile briefly graced his face before fading away. "Well, and where are your allies?" the king inquired, his accusatory tone mellowing.

"Lord Corlys sailed home; to Driftmark." Daemon continued, his voice steady. "Ser Clement sails for King's Landing."

"I see," Viserys nodded, finding some satisfaction in the response. "And who currently holds the Stepstones?"

"The Tides. The Crabs." Daemon replied, leaving room for interpretation among the lords who heard his words. Whether this was a literal or metaphorical reference remained subject to debate. "Rest assured, your grace, the Whores of Essos shall never encroach upon your newly acquired land again. We have taken measures to ensure that."

The king hummed thoughtfully as he approached his still kneeling brother, taking the crown from Daemon's hand and examining it closely, his fingers tracing the intricate material crafted from unknown bones. "Keep it," Viserys declared, returning the crown to Daemon's palm. With a pat on his brother's shoulder, he spoke, "As a keepsake." Viserys's gesture prompted Daemon to rise, and in front of the entire assembly of lords and ladies, the two brothers embraced. The sight stirred the spectators, who erupted in cheers and resounding applause, their minds filled with admiration. The brothers exchanged gentle smiles, patting each other's backs in a display of brotherhood.

"Welcome back," Viserys whispered. "Brother."


A fortnight had passed since Daemon's entrance, and now Clement found himself standing within the walls of the Red Keep. He had just arrived at this place, and positioned by an open window, he gazed out upon the sprawling King's Landing, his eyes tracing the boundaries of the city's fortifications. Beside him, his father reclined in a chair, a goblet of wine in hand. Bartimos had chosen to prolong his stay in the capital, invited by the king's ceaseless indulgence in lavish feasts and tournaments. Though the tourneys had concluded a week prior, upon learning of his son's voyage to King's Landing, Bartimos had opted to remain, hoping to return home alongside Clement once his own affairs with the king were concluded.

"You've grown, your face definitely looks like it has seen prettier sights." remarked Bartimos, his gaze fixed upon his son with a serene demeanor. "How old are you now? Twenty?"

"One and twenty." Clement replied, a gentle smile playing upon his lips. "And you, father, appear burdened by the weight of time."

Bartimos scoffed dismissively. "Indeed, age has shown me little kindness."

"Surely the fault lies with your inclination for wine and excessive indulgence," Clement gently chided, shaking his head in disapproval. "How fares Uncle?"

"He remains at home, attending to Arthor," Bartimos disclosed. "The lad has reached the age of six, readying himself for the ways of the blade."

"Does he aspire to be a knight?" Clement inquired, his curiosity piqued.

Bartimos clarified, "No, he yearns to wield a sword with skill and courage in the days to come, whether upon the open sea or upon solid ground. Titles hold little meaning for him, at least for now."

"And does he ever inquire about his mother?" Clement pressed further.

A chuckle escaped Bartimos' lips. "We have deftly avoided that particular subject."

"So, you know her identity," Clement raised an intrigued eyebrow. "Yet, you never saw fit to share this knowledge with me."

"While you were entrenched in war, locked in conflict with the very city that houses her," Bartimos elucidated, "it would have been disastrous to send a disrupted raven bearing such sensitive news."

"That is true." Clement hummed. "So? Who is she?"

"Who do you think?" Bartimos scoffed, a hint of derision lacing his tone.

A sigh escaped Clement's lips. "So it is her. You believe that, given Uncle's nature, he would seek a companion of more...innocent character."

"Maybe he's just into that." Bartimos said. "Besides, she's the one who runs the whorehouse, not the whore itself."

"A pillow house, father." Clement corrected.

"What difference does the term make?" Bartimos shrugged nonchalantly.

"It is evident that you bear some discontent regarding this matter," Clement observed astutely.

"He did wed a lady tarnished by dishonor," Bartimos stated. "Should me and you meet our demise, he shall be regent. And a regent with such a wife will undoubtedly be subjected to scorn and disdain."

"You speak as though my demise is predestined," Clement chuckled, shaking his head in amusement.

"With all the deeds you have committed, news of your demise would hardly catch me by surprise," Bartimos scoffed with a tinge of disdain.

"Perhaps you are correct," Clement laughed. "Moreover, from the whispers I have overheard, it seems that she wields great influence and power within those circles."

"Acquired through the manipulation of carnal desires and veiled threats," Bartimos pointed out. "But, let us not forget that we are of different generations, and our perspectives may vary. I am more inclined towards traditional values, adhering closely to the ways of our predecessors, while you, dear son, possess ambition and occasionally exhibit a touch of madness."

"I suppose so." Clement hummed. "Speaking of madness. I used it."

Bartimos raised an intrigued eyebrow, curiosity lighting up his eyes. "Used what?"

Clement's reply was succinct, yet laden with an air of mystery. "The horn," he uttered, his words hanging in the air like an enigmatic spell.

In an instant, silence descended upon the room, heavy with an unspoken understanding. Bartimos fixed his gaze upon Clement, his expectant expression betraying his yearning for further revelation.

"And did a kraken appear, as the tales of sailors proclaim?" Bartimos probed, his voice teeming with fascination, eager to uncover the truth.

"Lost a good ten ships from it." Clement nodded. "I understand why it was put inside a vault and never used."

"Nevertheless, we have unraveled its purpose," he asserted, his voice resolute. "Let it be passed down through the generations, entrusted to your heirs and their heirs, ensuring that Claw Isle shall boast a secret guardian."

Clement's brow furrowed, curiosity tinged with a hint of concern. "You appear remarkably composed in the face of this revelation," he observed, his words wrapped in skepticism.

A glimmer of thoughtfulness danced in Bartimos' eyes as he responded. "Within our vault, I have beheld peculiar artifacts. A skull belonging to a creature resembling a distorted fish, a tablet hewn from an oily, obsidian-like stone. I dare not touch it, lest I invite a curse upon myself," he confessed, his voice carrying the weight of caution. "But enough of these dark musings. How do your sons fare?"

A smile played upon Clement's lips. "Why do you think I'm here?"

"To make a fool of yourself." Bartimos scoffed. "I'm asking about their well-being."

Clement's response flowed forth, an assurance tinged with paternal affection. "They thrive and grow, their spirits as resolute as the waves that crash upon our shores. In but a month or two, Laena and them shall sail to Claw Isle," he revealed, his words imbued with certainty. "Worry not, for soon enough, you shall see them."

"I see," Bartimos murmured thoughtfully, his mind filled with a multitude of unspoken thoughts. "Well..."

Interrupting their exchange, a resounding knock resonated through the chamber, heralding the arrival of an awaited visitor. At Clement's command, the door swung open, revealing a vigilant guard adorned with the Targaryen sigil.

"Milords, the king summons you to his presence," the guard announced, his voice carrying the weight of duty.

Clement and Bartimos exchanged a knowing glance, their eyes conveying silent communication. "Both of us?" Clement sought confirmation from the guard, his voice tinged with a mixture of surprise and uncertainty.

With a nod, the guard affirmed their suspicions, wordlessly confirming their joint audience. "Indeed, milord," he replied.

"Very well, then. Guide us." Clement declared, his tone authoritative.


As Clement and Bartimos made their way through the winding corridors of the Red Keep, under the watchful guidance of the guard, Clement couldn't help but notice a series of intriguing sights. Amongst the courtiers bustling about, their attire stood out the most. While a multitude of colors adorned their garments, it was evident that black and green dominated the scene. Curiously, those donning these particular hues refrained from engaging in conversation with one another, as if a subtle division was beginning to take root in the heart of the capital. Clement feels like he had found himself wittingly entangled in the genesis of this growing rift.

The group proceeded down the corridor, akin to a certain prophet of Clement's former world who parted the sea, with Clement and Bartimos representing the prophet and the courtiers symbolizing the vast expanse of water. Many onlookers paused to observe them, scrutinizing their attire and demeanor, yet no one extended a greeting to either Clement or Bartimos.

Eventually, they reached the entrance of the throne room, where two Kingsguard knights stood as sentinels, flanking the closed double doors. The soldier guiding Clement and Bartimos turned to them, prompting the colossal doors to swing open, unveiling the pathway into the grand chamber.

"Lord Bartimos of House Celtigar. Lord of Claw Isle, and Master of the Grey Gallows." declared one of the Kingsguard. "And his son and heir, Ser Clement Celtigar."

Upon hearing their introduction, Clement and Bartimos exchanged knowing glances, arching their eyebrows in silent acknowledgement. It seemed a title had been bestowed upon them, even before the king had officially affirmed their claim to the outpost. Nevertheless, undeterred, they ventured further into the depths of the throne room, the heavy door closing behind them to prevent the courtiers from intruding or overhearing their private discourse. Before them, Clement beheld the king already seated upon the imposing Iron Throne, encircled by the members of the small council, while the youthful Princess Rhaenyra and Queen Alicent lingered on opposite ends of the assembly, as if mere attendants to the group.

Standing near the majestic throne, the father and son duo humbly inclined their bodies, paying profound respects to the king. "Your grace," their voices resonated in unison, a harmonious melody of deference and loyalty.

A warm smile graced the king's countenance as he welcomed them. "Be welcome," he uttered with regal benevolence. "I trust the voyage was calm?"

"Indeed, your grace," Clement responded. "Fortune smiled upon me, as my vessel remained untouched by the tempestuous storms that beset the seas."

Viserys nodded contemplatively. "That is indeed a stroke of good fortune. Now, my brother Daemon has regaled me with tales of the events unfolding in the Stepstones. However, I yearn to hear a more intricate account from you, particularly regarding your negotiations with Dorne. Considering your presence here and the conspicuous absence of any Dornish incursion, I dare say your endeavors have borne fruit."

"The task you entrusted me with has met with some measure of success," Clement acknowledged with a tinge of caution. "Yet, I must clarify that this negotiation does not signify a significant stride towards unification between Dorne and the crown, your grace. It merely ensures that Dorne refrains from launching an assault on your newfound territory."

Viserys hummed thoughtfully. "I see. While I fervently hope for a different outcome, the current circumstances are of little consequence. You have already achieved commendable feats, goodser."

Once again, Clement lowered himself in a humble bow, expressing profound gratitude for the king's gracious and benevolent words. "I am deeply thankful for your kind sentiments, your grace," he spoke with utmost respect. "My actions, although seemingly insignificant, were merely a trifling matter, one that any man of reasonable capability could have undertaken."

"Nonsense." Viserys swiftly dismissed Clement's attempt at false modesty with a wave of his hand, his gaze piercing through the thin veil. "Your contributions to the realm are of great significance, a feat that shall be celebrated for generations to come."

"Please, your grace, it is nothing more than a simple deal," Clement replied. "I proposed that Dorne could partake in trade at the Grey Gallows, exempt from any tax or dues, and in addition, I offered the services of my highly skilled shipwrights to them, with a substantial reduction in price."

"Trade without taxation and a reduction in shipbuilding costs?" Viserys inquired, his curiosity piqued. "Pray tell, how substantial is this price reduction?"

"Fifty percent, your grace," Clement promptly responded.

Viserys couldn't conceal his astonishment. "That is... A considerable sacrifice, ser. You have willingly foregone a significant portion of your profits for the betterment of the crown..."

"Once again, Your Grace, I must emphasize the insignificance of our efforts," Clement spoke with an air of humility, although one might argue it was excessive. "At the end of the day, in due time, those ships shall serve as vessels of trade, bestowing upon us ever-increasing profits in the days that lie ahead."

"Your perspicacity regarding the future is truly remarkable," Viserys lauded, his admiration unwavering. "However, I cannot help but feel compelled to reward such a momentous sacrifice made by your noble house."

"As descendants of Old Valyria, it is imperative that we stand united," Clement asserted, his voice resonating with unwavering conviction. "Regardless of whatever tempest may descend upon us."

"Lord Bartimos, I cannot emphasize enough the fortitude bestowed upon you to possess an heir as capable as Ser Clement by your side," Viserys remarked, a smile gracing his lips as he gazed down upon them from the formidable Iron Throne.

"Receiving praise from Your Grace is an honor that I shall forever cherish," Bartimos replied, his body bowing deeply in deference.

Suddenly, Lord Beesbury, who had been silently listening all this while, found his voice. "Forgive my audacity, Your Grace, but perhaps..."

"Lord Beesbury, I shall entrust you with the weighty task of negotiating the tax rates for the newly acquired territory, as well as overseeing all requisite formalities," Viserys interjected. "But for now, as king, it behooves me to reward your sacrifice, does it not? Tell me, Lord Bartimos, Ser Clement, what is it that you desire from me? If the capability eludes me, then I shall grant it."

"Your Grace?" Bartimos stammered, taken aback by the unexpected question.

"Your boundless benevolence is truly remarkable, Your Grace," Clement expressed, his smile widening. "Perhaps that I would ask that the Grey Gallows shall be—"

"Exempt from port taxes?" Viserys interrupted him with a poised air. "That is only natural, ser, the crown would cover for your loss due to the negotiation. The crown would not demand taxes from the Stepstones for ten years, and that is not part of your request. So tell me, what do you desire from me?"

Upon hearing this, even Lord Strong found his voice. "Your grace, perchance..."

Viserys halted Lord Strong's words from progressing further, asserting his authority. "We shall listen to House Celtigar's request first, Lyonel, and subsequently assess the feasibility of granting their entreaty."

Bartimos swiftly turned towards his son, whose countenance exuded unwavering composure. The profound understanding shared between them was evident in their expressions, and the middle-aged man soon let out a sigh, as if embracing the weight of his role.

"Your grace, though our bloodline may be less prominent than yours, we trace our lineage back to Old Valyria. My blood intertwines with yours through Princess Rhaenys's daughter, who is the wife of my son, Laena. Their sons, Aemon and Gaemon, further solidify our connection," Bartimos spoke with a noble's eloquence. "Perhaps this request ventures into audacity, your grace, but as kin and pillars of our once magnificent culture, might my grandsons be bestowed the same privilege as the scions of House Velaryon? Could they be granted dragon eggs?"

Viserys raised an eyebrow, but his countenance betrayed no surprise. "Dragon eggs? Lord Bartimos, you must realize that dragons symbolize the Targaryen dynasty's dominion over the seven kingdoms. To give them away is no trifling matter for our family."

"I understand that completely, your grace," Lord Bartimos responded. "However—"

"Such words border on treason, Lord Bartimos," interjected the Master of Laws, Jasper Wylde, abruptly. "Ser Clement did not marry a Targaryen but a Velaryon. To claim that you and the king share the same bloodline is an—"

"Enough, Lord Wylde," Viserys spoke sternly, his tone suggesting an aversion to conflict. He then turned back to the Celtigars, his weak smile returning. "Forgive me, Lord Bartimos, but I must confess a certain bias against them. Your grandsons are already nearing their third name day, as I have been informed. They are the same age as my daughter, Helaena. The time for bonding with a dragon egg has long since passed. Even if we were to grant you an egg, there is no guarantee that your sons would easily establish a bond with it. I have no desire for untamed dragons to roam uncontrollably across Crackclaw Point."

Bartimos cast a glance at Clement, who appeared undeterred. "I see."

"You may not be aware of this, your grace. I have yet to inform even my own father," Ser Clement spoke up. "But... my wife is expecting our third child."

Both Bartimos and the king were taken aback. "Truly?" the king uttered. "That is indeed joyful news, Ser Clement. Congratulations. Twins and another child in such rapid succession..."

Viserys's expression momentarily darkened as he reminisced about his late wife, but he quickly regained his composure. "Well, I cannot make a hasty decision. I must ponder this matter further, so forgive me for not being able to provide an answer to your request at this moment, Lord Bartimos, Ser Clement."

"Your grace, your mere consideration of our audacious request is already a great boon to us," Bartimos said. "We comprehend that this is an arduous and perilous plea for you to entertain, and we shall not attempt to further convince you into compliance."

Viserys emitted a thoughtful hum. "In the meantime, you may consult with Lord Beesbury and Lord Wylde to discuss the requisite protocols and taxation rates pertaining to various matters."

Once again, Ser Clement and Bartimos bowed, signaling the end of the audience.

"We express our gratitude for your benevolence, your grace," Clement expressed. He turned to the queen, who had remained silent throughout, her countenance inscrutable, and offered her a bow as well. Finally, he directed his attention to the princess, who had been observing him intently.

"Princess," he addressed her, earning a noncommittal nod in response.

Finally, the Celtigars departed from the throne room, with the Master of Laws and Master of Coins soon joining them.


As Lord Jasper and Lord Beesbury stepped into the council room, adorned with opulent tapestries and filled with the assembly of councilmen, their countenances were etched with a deep-seated displeasure, particularly Lord Beesbury, whose furrowed brow betrayed his discontent.

"It is done, Your Grace," proclaimed Lord Wylde, his voice resounding through the room. "Lord Bartimos has affixed his signature to the document concerning the ownership of the Grey Gallows. The news shall be swiftly dispatched to Oldtown and the other lords."

"That is indeed commendable, Lord Wylde," acknowledged Viserys, his regal gaze sweeping across the council. "And what of Lord Beesbury?"

"Your Grace," implored Beesbury with an air of urgency, "I beseech you to reconsider your pledge regarding the exemption of taxes for the Grey Gallows. While we have engaged in negotiations concerning the taxation of Claw Isle, whereby they shall compensate us through a portion of the warehouse fees, the matter of the Grey Gallows should not be readily exempted."

"And what precisely troubles you, Lord Beesbury?" inquired Viserys with genuine curiosity.

"They intend to waive taxes for the merchants entirely, Your Grace. It is utter madness," retorted Beesbury. "No port or docking fees shall be levied, and no tolls shall be imposed upon those traversing the region. By granting them tax exemption, we have inadvertently provided them with a motive. However, once the promise expires, what shall become of our revenues from the Stepstones? Nothing."

"Surely they do not intend to persist with their free-tax policies beyond the exemption, Lord Beesbury," replied Viserys, a faint smile gracing his lips. "Allow them to cultivate those lands, for transforming a former pirate's stronghold into a prosperous domain is no small feat, especially when dealing with desolate islands."

However, Lord Beesbury ardently disagreed. "But, Your Grace, if we were to collect tolls from ships traversing the Stepstones, our coffers would undoubtedly—"

"And do you wish for the crown to incur the wrath of Braavos? Of Pentos? Of the Triarchy once more?" interjected Tyland. "You witnessed what transpired with the Crabfeeder. I concur with Ser Clement's approach, at least for the time being. Yes, the Stepstones offer a lucrative source of taxation, but it remains a politically delicate location. By refraining from tolls, we can avert tensions with the free cities, still retain control over the Narrow Sea, and if Ser Clement's endeavor with the Grey Gallows triumphs, we shall reap manifold benefits from there."

"If only they do not perpetuate their policy of tax exemption within their ports," Beesbury scoffed disdainfully.

"Rest assured, Lord Beesbury, there are still other tariffs and import taxes to be levied," Tyland reassured him, his voice resolute. "Furthermore, you can engage in further negotiations to tax their services."

Beesbury sighed, conceding defeat. "Very well, then."

"Enough talk of taxes. Your Grace, what shall be done with their entreaty?" inquired Lord Wylde. "Surely you do not intend to grant them such a privilege?"

"At the end of the day, they share the blood of my cousin," Viserys responded with a tinge of melancholy. "Even if we withhold the gift of a dragon's egg, they still possess the potential to tame the unclaimed dragons, and we shall be powerless to prevent it."

"With all due respect, Your Grace, bestowing an egg upon the Celtigars would defy decades-old traditions," interjected Mellos. "No scion outside the Targaryen lineage has ever received such an honor."

Lyonel interjected, his voice cutting through the air, breaking the silence. "Laenor and Laena are not of Targaryen blood, Maester."

Mellos countered with confidence, his words laced with certainty. "Their mother, Princess Rhaenys, remains a true Targaryen. Yet, in this instance, the father hails from House Celtigar, while the mother belongs to House Velaryon. The involvement of a Targaryen is absent."

Viserys, ever the discerning ruler, spoke up, his tone thoughtful and measured. "You may be correct, Mellos. However, let us not overlook the fact that they are still of a Valyrian lineage, and my house's blood still runs on their veins, are they not? My house has often intermarried with the Velaryons, but rarely, if ever, with the Celtigars. This could be an opportunity to deepen our bond as fellow Valyrian houses."

Lord Wylde, his voice tinged with concern, voiced his dissent. "Your grace, we could pursue other methods to strengthen our ties. Granting them a dragon's egg is...excessive."

Lyonel, quick to defend his viewpoint, replied, countering Lord Wylde's apprehension. "The Celtigars are rapidly amassing power, my lord. Before long, they will rival, if not surpass, the wealth of the Velaryons. Their fleet dominates the Narrow Sea, and they control the crucial gateway between the north and the Blackwater Bay, not to mention the Stepstones."

Lord Wylde, his worry palpable, continued to voice his apprehension. "That is precisely what troubles me, Lord Hand. With their swift rise to power, who knows what ambitions they might harbor if granted dragons? Will they set their sights on the Iron Throne? Will rebellion ensue?"

Viserys, a hint of displeasure etching his face, responded to the grave accusation. "Lord Wylde, such a weighty accusation you make. House Celtigar has been unwaveringly loyal to my family since the days of Aegon the Conqueror."

"Ser Clement is a man of great ambition, your grace, not like other Celtigars who are content with sitting on Claw Isle." Lord Wylde argued.

Viserys, contemplating the varying opinions, voiced his own stance, seeking to appease the growing concerns. "Then perhaps it is all the more reason to grant them this gift, is it not? For far too long, the Celtigars have faithfully served the crown without receiving any rewards. Perhaps it is time to bestow upon them one, to further solidify their loyalty."

Lyonel, the Hand of the King, proposed an alternative course of action, his words laden with sagacity. "Your grace, if I may suggest an alternate path? If you fear rebellion once the Celtigars possess dragons, it might be prudent to formally unite your houses. Should the third child be a girl, she could wed Prince Aegon or Prince Aemond. Alternatively, if it is a boy, one of the twins could marry Princess Helaena."

A hush fell upon the room, arguments seemingly evaporating in the air. Although Princess Helaena's betrothal to Aegon was widely presumed, it was not an absolute requirement.

Breaking the silence, Viserys calmly addressed the assembled nobles. "They are but children, Lyonel," he stated, his voice carrying a tone of both caution and consideration.

Lyonel nodded, acknowledging the king's words. "Indeed, your grace. It would be an early betrothal, a strategic move to unify the three houses of Valyrian heritage and fortify the crown's position around Blackwater Bay."

Viserys pondered deeply, his mind traversing the possibilities. "I shall deliberate upon this matter. For now, let us adjourn this session."

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