Stannis reading the Conquest of Dorne for the first time
Err this somehow turned into Stannis and Robert taking their lesson with Maester Cressen, but Conquest of Dorne is still there. Hope it’s okay :D
“The arms of House Martell,” Robert read, “display the sun and the spear, the Dor … Dor ..”
“-the Dornishman’s,” Maester Cressen interjected.
-“the Dornisman … the Dornishman’s two favorite weapons,” Robert paused, taking a breath.
-“but of the two,” he continued, “the sun is the more deadly.” Robert paused again, fidgeting and looking out the window towards the courtyard, where the men-at-arms and Lord Steffon’s household knights were training with their swords and their lances.
“Well, go on then, read the rest of the page,” Stannis said, impatient. Robert had insisted on being the first one to read out loud during every lesson, not because he had any particular love for books and reading, but because as he was constantly reminding Stannis,“I’m the oldest!” and therefore he should come first in everything.
Robert closed the book in front of him with a thud. In a sweet, charming voice he asked, “May I be excused, please, Maester? Before he left for King’s Landing, Father told Donal Noye to forge a new sword for me. A real sword, not a wooden one. I think I see Ser Gawen holding my sword now.”
“How do you know that is your new sword?” Stannis asked, suspicious. “It could be any old sword Ser Gawen is holding.”
“You’re just jealous because you still have to practice with a wooden sword,” Robert’s sweetness quickly turned into venom, angry that his words were being challenged by his little brother.
“Boys, please, you must not quarrel. Remember your lord father’s instructions before he left,” Maester Cressen said with consternation. Cressen was a wise and learned maester, but discipline had never been his strong suit, and quarrelling boys more often than not left him feeling helpless and disconcerted. Lady Cassana would have been able to stop Robert and Stannis arguing merely with the raising of her eyebrow and the narrowing of her eyes, but alas, Cressen did not share that talent.
Robert turned to Cressen, the smile back on his face. “Please, Maester, may I be excused? Father will be ever so happy if I can show him how good I am with a real sword. But I have to practice constantly to be good at something, that’s what you told us.”
“Well, now …” Cressen hesitated. “Only if you promise to read the rest of the chapter in your own time before our next lesson, Robert.”
“Oh thank you, Maester. Thank you so much,” Robert said effusively, bestowing a hug on Cressen. “I promise I will,” he declared as he was walking out the door. Almost in an instant, he was gone, lured away from books and lessons by the sight of men with arms.
Cressen turned around to see Stannis regarding him with something approaching disappointment. “He won’t do it, you know. Robert will not read the rest of the chapter like he promised you.” You should have known better, was the unspoken rebuke from the serious, solemn boy sitting in front of Cressen.
Feeling disconcerted once again, Cressen cleared his throat and said, “Will you read the rest of the chapter out loud, Stannis?”
“Can I ask you a question first, Maester?”
“Of course, of course.”
“What did the Young Dragon mean when he said the sun is a more deadly weapon than the spear? The Dornishmen cannot take the sun and wield it in their hand as a weapon to kill someone, like they could with a spear.”
Cressen did not laugh at the question, the way some might have done. He knew Stannis well enough to know that the boy meant the question entirely sincerely and earnestly. “King Daeron did not mean it in quite such a literal way. The sun is not a weapon a Dornishman can wield in his hand, that is true; but the extreme heat has been known to kill many enemies before they could draw the blood of even one Dornishman.”
“The sun is the Dornishmen’s natural weapon then, not a man-made one. The same way the storm would hurt our enemies, if they try to take Storm’s End.”
Cressen nodded, smiling with approval at the boy’s quick understanding. Of course, the ferocious storms frequently assailing Shipbreaker Bay could hurt friends as well as foes, but Cressen did not think it the right time yet to alarm Stannis about that. He was still only a boy, no matter how strangely un-childlike he might seem at times.
“What about the goat track, Maester?” Stannis piped up with another question.
“The goat track?” Cressen searched his recollection. They had not reached that part in the book as yet, if he was not mistaken. Stannis must have been reading ahead, impatient with the rate they were going during his shared lessons with Robert.
“Did the Young Dragon really win the war because he used goat tracks to get to Dorne? And no one else thought of that before? How clever of him.”
“It is not as simple as that,” Cressen replied, and went on to explain about ships and naval battles and the role played by Oakenfist.
“So the Young Dragon lied in his book?” Stannis asked, looking shocked. And very disappointed.
“Not lied … exactly. He was trying to make things simpler, less complicated. It is an elegantly-written book, very concise and –“
Stannis interrupted. “Why should it matter that it’s a well-written book if the writer is not telling the truth, Maester? He lied to make it seem like he was the only reason they won, like the victory was only because of his doing, and no one else’s.”
“Well, perhaps King Daeron did somewhat exaggerate his own role,” Cressen conceded, “but it was still a glorious deed, for someone so young to accomplish.”
“I should have known,” Stannis grumbled. “He sounds like Robert. When he’s writing about this great thing or that great thing he did, the Young Dragon sounds just like Robert boasting about every little thing he does.”