“Why Rhaena? What’s wrong with Rhaenys? What’s wrong with my mother’s name?” Aenys asks, sulking.
Alyssa touches her husband’s arm, gently. “There is nothing wrong with your mother’s name. Nothing at all. It is a great name befitting a great woman. But -”
“She was the best woman who ever lived. The best!” insists the young man whose mother died when he was only three.
“She certainly was,” Alyssa agrees, about this woman she has never met, to placate her husband. “But I think perhaps it will be better to name our daughter, our firstborn, after both your mothers. To honor Queen Visenya as well as the late Queen Rhaenys. It will -”
“Visenya is only my aunt, not my mother,” Aenys interrupts.
“Your stepmother, then.”
“When Maegor has a daughter of his own, he can name her after his mother. Why should I have to do it?”
Because your stepmother is staring at our daughter as if she would like to devour her whole. Because her son, eleven though he only is, already prides himself on besting you in every form of manly arts, except the siring of children. Because we have to pretend an outward deference and a show of the greatest respect to the queen, the only queen who still lives. Because your mother is no longer alive to champion your cause, and our children’s cause. Because we have to be careful, so very careful.
She could not say these things to her husband, however. It will only distress him, confuse him, bring about his terrible headache and his gripping belly-ache, and cause him to dither and waver endlessly about the right course of action to take. Instead, Alyssa tries a different tack to convince him.
“Will it not distress your father greatly, to have another Rhaenys in the family? Even the mention of your mother’s name often causes him the greatest melancholy. He still mourns her deeply and feels the lost as if it had occurred only the day before.”
Aenys frowns, considering this.
Alyssa’s hand moves from stroking his arm to caressing his cheek. “If you were to die before me … if you were gone from my side, I would not wish for another kin to bear your name. You should be the only one. My only Aenys.”
He smiles, shyly, like a little boy offered an embrace. Whenever Alyssa is straining to be patient with him, or struggling with the wish that her husband is not so … Aenys-like, she reminds herself of this smile, of this sweet boy she tells herself she must protect like she would have protected her younger brothers, even though she and her husband are both of the same age.
“You are right,” he finally says. “Rhaena is a good name for our daughter.”