42 Farewell

"You are... Ser Barristan?" Daenerys questioned.

"Ser Barristan Selmy, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard." Barristan announced, lowering his head as he kneeled. "I have served your-"

"You have served usurpers." Daenerys interrupted, raising an eyebrow. "If you truly are who you say you are, then why should I not have you executed?"

"I am not your enemy, princess. Nor is His Grace..."

"Princess?" Daenerys stood up from her decorated throne. "I am the rightful Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. The King you serve is no more than the bastard child of a usurper. What right does he have over me?"

"He fought for the right, as did his father," Ser Barristan replied solemnly. "Once King Robert fell, His Grace defeated the Lannisters without losing a single man through his skill alone. He invaded and crushed the Ironborn before they could muster a rebellion. I have no doubt that by now, the entire Realm has acknowledged him..."

"Is your King not just a boy?"

"Aye... just a boy of two-and-ten, yet he is an archer like no other, a mighty warrior, a brilliant strategist-"

"..." Daenerys suddenly laughed. "You expect me to believe this, Ser Barristan? What else is this boy King of yours, a great merchant? A blacksmith? A magician... a skilled administrator?"

"I only speak what I believe and have seen with mine own eyes." Ser Barristan replied, shaking his head. 

"..." Daenerys sat down, resting her head on her hand. "Why did he send you all the way here, rather than keeping you at his side?"

"His Grace and the small council had some disagreements regarding what should be done about you. While the small council voted to have you killed, His Grace was the sole party who disagreed—defiantly so. That is why he sent me here, as a representative of his truest intentions."

"Those being?"

"He wishes to bring you home."

"... Home?" Daenerys scoffed, looking around. "I rule over Meereen; I have an army of over ten thousand Unsullied and three dragons that grow with every passing day. Where was this kindness before?"

"It is as you say... Edric was born a bastard. There was nothing that he could have done before."

"Does he expect me to leave behind everything I've built and pray this is not some trap?" Daenerys chuckled. "Will he step down and give me the Iron Throne?"

"Not to my knowledge..."

"Then your long journey here was for nought, Ser Barristan," Daenerys said coldly. "I will return home when I am ready... and when I do, it will be with my army, a large fleet and three grown dragons. I will take what is mine by right and conquer the Seven Kingdoms, as Aegon did before."

"... Should you decline, His Grace strictly commanded me to serve you faithfully," Barristan added, looking up at her. 

"Serve me?" Daenerys blinked, almost confusedly. "First, he sends you here to bring me home, next... he wants you to serve me. What can a single old man like you do? How can I even trust the Kingsguard of my enemy?"

"My King is not like his father... nor yours." Ser Barristan got off his knees, his expression showing an aged determination. "He is noble, honourable, brave and would never stoop so low as to assassinate a girl. He was so against the notion that he sent me, the Lord Commander of his own Kingsguard, to protect and serve you."

"..." Daenerys found herself being strangely moved by his speech, turning to Jorah. "What do you think of this knight?"

"He has served the Kingsguard for a great many years... a good, honourable and honest man who is as dutiful as anyone can claim to be." Jorah Mormont replied, taking a deep breath. "However, he is not a man you could trust... his loyalty is to the Kingsguard first, above all else. If his King wished you dead, he would follow his oath."

"Hm..." Daenerys turned back to Barristan. "I have no need of your protection nor a usurper's goodwill. However... you might have some use. I am rather curious about your bastard King."

She raised her hand, and the Unsullied in the room stepped forward to action. Barristan drew Redrain in response, its crimson red blade gleaming as if the blood of a hundred men was engraved into it. 

"You said you would serve me, did you not?" Daenerys smiled slightly. "I order you to drop your sword."

Barristan contemplated telling the truth about Jorah being a spy. He then thought of his orders and what Edric would think if he returned empty-handed after so long a time...

He dropped Redrain, and it clattered onto the ground.

"I will do as you ask."

"... Put him in a cell."

Daenerys continued her court session for the rest of the day. When she retired to her bedchamber and went to sleep, she encountered a dream. However, it was hardly a dream—more of a nightmare. There were clouded black skies and only darkness across an endless ocean, safe for a looming purple moon. A dense fog covered the world, so thick that she couldn't even see her outstretched hand.

She walked across the waters, where each step turned into skeletons of men. As she continued, lightning struck in the distance, and the image of a colossal iron throne flashed at that moment. She walked in its direction until the fog dispersed at the throne's steps.

A towering figure stood at the very top, warhammer in hand and a crown in the other. His full armour was as dark as the sky that loomed over him, a cloak of gold waving at his back. His stag horns stood out most of all, gleaming under the enchanting purple moon. 

He began to descend, each step causing the ocean to shake.

'... Usurper?'

Daenerys fell to the ground, looking up at the mighty figure that approached.

Once he was halfway across, he carelessly tossed the crown at the feet of Daenerys... a crown that would split into nine and spread far apart while he casually rested his Warhammer on his right shoulder. He continued onwards to the purple moon, walking past her - his golden cloak turning to one of mostly black with a golden stag at its centre. A falcon followed in his wake, and each step into the trail of corpses led to a grander image...

A mountain of gold, an army, an endless fleet, treasures as far as the eye could see... 

A crown.

A crown far grander than the one he had left behind at her feet.

As he continued forward, all of it faded to mist, and Daenerys woke.

When she looked out of the balcony, she had witnessed a storm like no other. Raging waves that were so strong that half the anchored ships at port nearly drowned. They grew so high that even the piers were whipped by its waves. The wind was heavy as ever, cold air smashing against her body while rain poured down heavy as ice.

She found it hard to breathe, returning to her bedchamber as the sound of thunder boomed in the distance.

Daenerys couldn't sleep for most of the night, not until the storm had subsided.

The following morrow, she came to visit Ser Barristan in his cell. Barristan was a tough old thing, sitting unfazed. His eyes rose when Daenerys approached with a torch.


"You will address me by my title if you hope to serve, Ser Barristan."

"Princess." Ser Barristan remained stubborn, shaking his head. "I would do you no harm, I swear it. You are the younger sister of Rhaegar Targaryen, a prince I respected and admired. I knew him since he was a boy, trained him, fought beside him and was at his side for many years."

"... Yet you served the man who slew him?" Daenerys raised an eyebrow as curiosity took her. "If you were so close… why?"

"Robert… was a good knight. Chivalrous, brave… he spared my life and many others. I thought that he was a worthy king to serve."

"So you abandoned Viserys in his exile?"

"... Even as a child, your brother Viserys oft seemed to be his father's son." Ser Barristan explained, lowering his head slightly. "... In ways that Rhaegar never did."

"What do you mean by that?" Daenerys raised an eyebrow.

"Aerys… was touched by a deep madness, princess. He took pleasure in burning others with wildfire, solely for his entertainment. He would… harm your mother when they joined at night. She would cry out, but he would continue until he was… satisfied. He did not just force himself on her... he did things I would dare not speak of."


This revelation unsettled Daenerys, who had only heard about her father from Viserys. He would always speak highly of their father without fail, denouncing all the traitors who had betrayed him in the rebellion. 

"... What of the King you serve now? Tell me everything you know from the very beginning."

Daenerys decided to change the uncomfortable subject, recalling her dream. It was the true reason she had gone to meet Ser Barristan. Out of anyone, he would know him best. His strengths, weaknesses, character...

"Everything..." Ser Barristan slowly nodded. "He was conceived on Dragonstone as Edric Storm, the acknowledged bastard son between Robert Baratheon and Delena Florent..."


Before Storm's End, Edric Storm stopped at Tarth. Lord Selwyn welcomed him with open arms, recounting the first time he had entered the halls of Evenfall. Brienne had been there too, who Edric caught up with. Once he was done settling down, he went outside of the castle with her.

Though some of the Kingsguard protested against him going as a duo, he ordered them to remain.

"This island is as beautiful as I remember," Edric mused, his eyes observing a lake in the distance. "If I were not King, it would be a fine paradise to live in."

"You can live wherever you wish, Your Grace," Brienne remarked. "All of the lands of the Seven Kingdoms belong to you."

"The Iron Throne is where every King belongs. That is where the power of the Realm resides." Edric countered, shaking his head. 'Or rather, it's where everyone believes it resides.'

"... Well, for a time, you could," Brienne replied.

"How well did you know Alysanne?" Edric asked, glancing at her. 

"We were friends... why do you ask, Your Grace?"

"When I left this island for the first time, Alysanne told me she would show me the most beautiful lake in the world..." Edric remarked, looking up at the distant sky. "She never had the opportunity to show me. Would you... happen to know where it is?"

"She would go there often..." Brienne nodded, stepping ahead. "I will lead you to it, Your Grace."

"Thank you." Edric smiled slightly.

She led him to a most enchanting sight indeed, a rather small hidden cave that had a waterfall streaming down at its end into a lake. The cave's entrance left a beautiful ray of light, shining down onto the lake below. Its shimmering blue water was beyond alluring.

It was as if god himself had crafted a small paradise for whoever was fortunate enough to find it.

Edric took a deep breath, absorbing the sight. He had stood almost completely still.

"Indeed... it's beautiful." Edric smiled, nodding. "Brienne, would you return to Evenfall?"


"I wish to be alone for a time."

"As you wish, Your Grace."

As Brienne marched away, Edric stepped down right beside the lake. He sat down, dipping his hand into the water. It was as soft and warm as a lover's embrace. He closed his eyes and tried to imagine her. 

"I was never the best jouster, but..." he spoke, his blue eyes reflecting the lake. "I would've carried that banner you made for me and your favour along with it, all the way to victory. No matter what obstacles stood between me and that result, I would've overcome them all. Despite my wounds, despite the greater skill others might possess... I would have won for you."

"Wouldn't that be so perfect?" He chuckled, looking up at the waterfall with a joyous smile. "I would name you the Queen of Love and Beauty before all of the Realm... and... at last, confess the feelings I had been shying away from. We'd get married, and I'd live out my days as Ser Edric Storm. I'd gather a band of noble companions, travel the Known World on numerous adventures and together, we'd find a beautiful home to settle down into."

"A... more simple life. What could've been..."

"The young man who just wanted to be loved, who wanted meaning and happiness in his life... Arthur Astley. He died with you in that very storm, Alysanne."

Raiden Shogun floated to the side, her purple eyes shaking slightly. They were like two lakes with occasional drops of sorrow falling upon them. As for Edric, his smile remained - even though his eyes burned with fire.

"Though... what's the good in speaking to the dead? You can't hear me in the end, can you?" Edric sighed, shaking his head. "You'll never hear me again... nor I you. I had come here to make myself feel better, to move on. That's what you wanted from me when you wrote that letter, yet I've failed expeditiously."

He took out the letter she had written, alongside his tailored banner and the single-antlered helmet he'd used in the Hand's Tourney. He put them all together by the bank of the lake on a large rock.

"In the end... I loved the idea of what could have been more so than what we truly were. I was an indecisive idiot; I didn't see what was right before me until you left my side. Ultimately, I'll never know what we could've been." Edric smiled bitterly, placing his head against the helmet. "At least... you are in a better place now. A place befitting a kind, sweet and loving lady like you. Wherever that place is... I'll never be able to join you."

He wanted to cry, yet he found himself unable to.

Edric's eyes shook slightly, and his lips trembled momentarily. He stepped away from his makeshift burial, composing himself. He recalled their shared fascination with the Age of Heroes, a time when legendary figures like no other roamed the world. Some were no more than stories, yet these stories had inspired them.

"... This is farewell, my sweet Alysanne."

Edric turned away, and his golden cloak fluttered. When his eyes firmed once more, the will in his heart had only grown. He found a new ambition, one that wasn't merely survival, freedom or the pursuit of love. It was something far greater...

The simple man had been buried, and the dragon that would shake the Known World had been born.

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