Argella tried and failed to curb her son’s enthusiasm when they heard word that men approached the gates. He looked at her, his blue eyes bright with excitement.
“Is it father?”
She gave a quick nod and tried to tidy his messy hair but Davos had no patience for it.
“Will I see a dragon?”
Argella shook her head and Davos looked dismayed. She did not share his disappointment. She still remembered their quarrel and for Orys to bring one of them to her home would not have soothed her temper. Davos would not understand. For him the dragons were a novelty.
He knows not what devastation they bring.
Davos fled from her unwanted fussing, intent on being in the yard to greet his lord father. Argella watched him leave feeling a tightness in her chest. He grew so quickly. It would not be long before Aegon expected him to fight. She knew he would go willingly too and it pained her. She did not wish to be without him but her family were warriors long before the Targaryen’s fought their war. Still, she missed the time when she could hold him and ease his hurts. Even her youngest was no longer a baby now.
She waited only a moment longer before following him, holding her head high. When she reached the yard Davos was waiting impatiently. Argella stood with him. Even though he rarely saw his father, Argella knew Davos admired him greatly. He spoke of his father as a great man, a man who stood by the side of the King.
You are my little king, she wanted to tell him. You would be Storm King if not for Aegon.
She knew she must hold her tongue. If anybody were to hear her it would be deemed treason. She did not trust those in the castle not to inform on her. Orys would forgive her but Aegon might not. Even if Aegon were to overlook it, Visenya bore a grudge like no other.
She waited for Orys to enter through the gates, uncertain as to how she might greet him. She expected she knew how he might greet her. He will want to forget our quarrel. He appeared distracted when he drew close. Davos moved to his side at the first invitation, gazing out the gates clearly still hoping for a glimpse of the thankfully absent dragons. Orys fidgeted and Argella saw he now wore a false hand.
“I hope you are well my lady.”
Argella stood a little straighter. “I am well enough my lord.”
Orys gave her a wary look but she refrained from speaking of anything unpleasant. It will wait until we might speak privately. Instead they discussed household matters and Argella listened and walked with them as Davos eagerly asked questions about the city under construction and about Aegon and the dragons. He looked disappointed when Argella finally gave him instructions and sent him to the kitchens.
“You are still wroth with me,” Orys observed.
“Not as much as I might be,” she replied. “I have heard word you retain your title.”
Orys looked uncomfortable. “I have been given the power to speak with the King’s voice. It is an honour.”
“The Hand of the King,” Argella frowned. “Is he making mock? Does it amuse him to still call you Hand and have the realm laugh at his wit?”
Orys flushed and she knew she pushed him. “Guard your tongue Argella.”
“I do not say it to wound you Orys,” she said defensively. “Can you not see that it is an insult?”
She knew he was angry. She could see it even if he did not say it. Whether his anger was directed at her or Aegon she did not know.
“Aegon does not mean it as an insult. You do not know him.”
I do not wish to know him.
Nobody knew Aegon Targaryen, not truly. Orys and Visenya were his only true companions. He calls Orys his friend when everybody knows them to be brothers. If he were to treat a brother in this way it was no wonder he did not have friends.
Orys has the power to speak with the King’s voice.
The power her husband had been given did not surprise Argella. She knew Aegon rarely took command. That fell to his sisters (now only Visenya) and Orys.
“You do more to govern the realm than he does,” she said haughtily. “You are King in all but name.”
Orys tensed. “Do not let anybody hear that my lady. I am no King.”
Argella knew he referred to his bastard birth but he also meant more than that. There were words unspoken between them since that day he killed her father and took her castle. Aegon made certain to name her only the Lady of Storm’s End. Orys did not think of himself as King.
He wishes to say I am no queen.
He thought it but he was wrong. Her father raised her as a princess and Argella still retained her pride. Orys reached for her hand and Argella let him take it and press his lips to her knuckles.
“I do not wish to quarrel. I would much rather hear of you and the children.”
Argella sighed. “Davos wishes to be a warrior. He is growing to be formidable.”
Orys smiled proudly. “He will make a good squire soon.”
The thought made her stomach clench. I am going to lose him. Davos saw little enough of Orys but Davos would follow in his footsteps still. Part of her wished to forget the insult of Orys’ title, to beg him to use his new power to keep their son safe. Then she remembered their last conversation.
If Aegon asks it, nothing I say will matter.
“He is still only a boy,” she said instead.
Orys embraced her and as much as Argella detested being seen as vulnerable she accepted the affection. It had been so long. His false hand brushed clumsily against her hair.
“He will not remain a boy much longer, no matter how much you might wish it.”
Orys sounded sadder than she might have expected. He has missed so much in serving Aegon. Argella ran her hand along his back.
“It is not his youth I wish for, it is his safety. You cannot promise me that.”
He sighed. “I would if I could Argella but we do what we must.”
It was very much as she expected. The rumours carrying through the realm filled her with foreboding. War will come again. She wanted to vent her fury but Orys was not her enemy. There were threats she realised they must face together. Argella would do what she must for her children even moreso than herself.
They will have to fight.
Argella knew the day would come. As she stood in Orys’ embrace she made a promise to herself as much as to him.
I will do whatever it takes to delay that day.
Note: I wrote the majority of this before the recent reading at LonCon. I’m not certain when Orys quit being Hand so if this is wrong it is wrong.
Queen you shall be, when they tell you that your father perished with a sword in his hand and a curse on his lips, defiant to his very last breath.
Queen you shall be, when you smother your tears, entomb your grief, repel your doubt, with nothing more potent than the proud resolve to be defiant to your very last breath.
Queen you shall be, when you take up your rightful inheritance and declare yourself to be what you already are.
Queen you shall be, when you order the gates to the castle to be barred; when you command your men to keep the enemy out at all cost.
Queen you shall be, when the dragon not-queen flies into your castle atop her fiery beast, demanding submission on bended knee.
Queen you shall be, when you refuse her terms; when you proclaim the resolve of the defenders of your castle to die to the last man and last woman standing; when you declare that her husband, her brother, the dragon not-king, is welcome to be king of bones, blood and ashes.
Queen you shall be, until the hearts of your own men waver at the thought of being reduced to bones and ashes; when their courage falter at the notion of their life-blood soiling the grounds of the castle, of their flesh cooked and burned to submission.
Queen you shall be, until your own men deceive and betray you that very same night, only hours after the dragon not-queen flew away from the aborted parley.
Queen you shall be, until your own men deliver you bruised and battered, naked, chained and gagged, to the feet of the beast that slayed your father.
Queen you shall be, until the beast that slayed your father reveals himself to be a man, merely a man, less of a monster than those who betrayed you.
Mariya Martell, the Princess of Dorne, was an old woman during the War of Conquest–called "The Yellow Toad of Dorne" by Argilac Durrendon, the Storm King. When Aegon Targaryen came with his dragons, Mariya promised the might of Dorne if she would be delivered the fall of the House of Durrendon–sword and steed, bearing the sun and spear of her house–yet she refused to bend the knee. She offered only her allegiance, and no more. The Targaryens wanted absolute surrender. Rhaenys, Aegon’s sister-queen, led the invasion of Dorne. Masters of their land, the Dornishmen retaliated with petty skirmishes that plagued the Targaryen army, only to retreat, hide, and attack anew when they found the opportunity. Their enemies elusive, Rhaenys finally flew to Sunspear on her dragon Meraxes, and there demanded the princess’ surrender. She refused. Rhaenys promised to return, to destroy them with fire and blood. Unbowed, unbent, unbroken, said the princess, and since then Dorne had remained free and independent of the Iron Throne.
Orys Baratheon was the founder of House Baratheon and was the first Lord of Storm’s End. Orys was the rumored bastard half-brother of Aegon I Targaryen. He was one of Aegon’s fiercest commanders and was regarded as Aegon’s only true friend. During the War of Conquest Orys and Rhaenys Targaryen with her dragon, Meraxes, were tasked with taking Storm’s End. The Storm King, Argilac Durrendon, knew his formidable walls would not protect him from dragonfire. Argilac rode out to give open battle. Orys slew Argilac the Arrogant, the last Storm King, and married his daughter Argella. Later Orys took Argella as his wife and adopted the stag banner, honors and words of the Durrendons.
Argella heard the announcement that Orys had finally returned. She tried to compose herself, to disguise her anxiety. She still did not want to show weakness in front of the people in the castle. She stepped out to meet him and froze at the sight. He looked pale, haggard and sickly and her eyes were drawn to the stump where his sword hand once was.
“I thought they might have warned you, my lady.”
Orys sounded strained. They did warn her but seeing it was another matter. She made herself look away from it.
“I have made preparations for your return my lord,” she replied. “You must be very weary.”
The words did not do justice to what she felt at all. Orys did not seem to care though. He walked with her through the castle and to their chambers. The effort seemed to take the last of his strength and he sank onto the bed. He looked up at her.
“Are you repulsed Argella?”
She knew she took too long to answer. His mouth tightened and she moved to sit beside him on the bed.
“I am not repulsed Orys,” she said and her voice shook. “I am angry.”
His eyes closed and he put his arm down as if to balance himself. It was the wrong arm though and he cursed. Argella felt a sudden urge to comfort him but expected he might not take it well. He had a certain pride, as did she.
The Targaryen champion and look where it has taken him.
“I did not mean to cause you anger,” he finally said in a bitter sounding voice.
Argella stiffened. “It is not you I am angry with.”
It was mostly true.
She watched him struggle over the following days. He seemed to do only a little better than the baby at first, trying to relearn how to do everything with his one remaining hand. Argella remembered their first meeting and all the time following it, of his kindness to her and she returned the favour. Orys did not like to be helped. He became frustrated but it was always followed by remorse.
“I do not wish to burden you.”
“You are my husband,” she replied. “It is not a burden.”
With time he learned to use the hand remaining to him. He became stronger once more but it came with a cost. Argella saw him after the raven came with the Targaryen seal and she knew what it meant.
“No,” she said angrily.
“I must go,” he said softly. “You know I must.”
Argella knew no such thing.
“This obsession of his is madness,” she shouted. “He lost a wife, you lost a hand. How much more will he sacrifice for this?”
Orys sighed and Argella stepped forward to embrace him.
“Stay with us Orys. You have given him enough.”
She did not want days, weeks and months of an empty bed. She did not want to raise their children alone. He had fought to take her castle, he had worn down her defences and wed her and she would not lose him now. She had lost too much already on Aegon’s orders. One look told her that her plea fell on deaf ears.
“He is my king. It is my duty.”
His brother will always come first no matter what he asks.
Argella pulled away from him and gathered her dignity. He will never be my king.
“He does not deserve your loyalty,” she said scornfully.
She heard his tentative step towards her. “I will return my love.”
She pulled away from his touch, too angry and disappointed to relent. His willingness to do whatever Aegon asked reopened old wounds. He killed my father she reminded herself.
“Mayhaps I do not wish you to return,” she replied.
Orys lingered for a moment longer. “You do not mean that.”
Argella did not answer him. She knew he would leave no matter what she said now and she tried to nurture her anger. She called on her House words to sustain her. Ours is the Fury. She lived those words as it fell to her to manage Storm’s End. She took comfort in her children but in doing so her resolve weakened. They were her but they were Orys too.
Do not let the dragons take any more from me she prayed. They have already taken enough.
What Princess Argella Durrandon, the daughter of the last Sotrm King Argilac Durrandon, would wear, Marchesa After her father was slain by Orys Baratheon in a battle that would be called the Last Storm, Argella locked herself inside Storm’s End declared herself Storm Queen. However, her garrison refused to share the fate of King Argilac and revolted, delivering her to Orys naked and chained. Orys, however, removed the chains and gave her his cloak as well as food and wine.
She was later married to Orys to cement the latter’s rule over the Stormlands, and he took her family sigil of the crowned stag on gold as his own.
Baratheon Meme: Family Dynamics (3/3) ~ Argella Durrendon and Orys Baratheon
At Storm’s End, Argilac’s daughter Argella would declared herself Storm Queen and defiantly barred the gates. However, her men were not so eager to die and presented her to Orys chained and naked. Orys treated her gently. He removed the chains and gave her his cloak as well as food and wine. He would take the arms and seat words of House Durrandon for his own, and marry Argella.
Hello. Fan from Mongolia. Great job as always. We read all about this great castles & strongholds. Can you elaborate more on them? Their layout, defense Such as what Highgarden is like? Riverrun?
It’s always amazing to hear that we reach fans all over. Our Wordpress says that we’ve received 157 views from Mongolia for 2015, glad to know you’re one of them.
As for the great castles, they each have their strengths and weakpoints. The World of Ice and Fire goes into each castle in depth, but let me see what I can discuss.
Winterfell: Winterfell is built on uneven terrain unlike many other castles, and boasts an eighty-foot outer wall and a hundred-foot inner wall. Winterfell was originally built using First Men architecture, but as technology and engineering improved, the Starks expanded and rebuilt many sections of the castle. Some believe that the castle originally started as a series of ringforts which the Starks later expanded into a single entity once they started becoming true powers and started earning the tax revenue to support such a massive engineering project. Winterfell’s true claim to fame, however, is its natural hotsprings which heat the castle in the coldest winter and allow for food to be grown in glass gardens.
Riverrun: This is the smallest of the Lord Paramount castles, which makes sense given that the Tullys were never true kings. Riverrun’s defensive strategem rests in its unique location. Situated at the intersection of the Tumblestone and the Red Fork, its western moat is equipped with a complicated sluice gate, capable of flooding the moat in no time. Thus, at will, Riverrun can become an island and all-but-impervious to assault.
The Eyrie: The Eyrie is a beautiful castle made of shining white marble, and it is likely to be the most impregnable castle in Westeros. With a narrow supply route, three waycastles, and a hundred foot vertical ascent to the Eyrie, an assaulting army finds attacking the Arryn stronghold impossible. Any attack would likely be starved as necessary supplies go tumbling down the Giant’s Lance. However, this is also a weakness on the Arryn’s part, as the difficult lines prevent the Arryn’s from holding the Eyrie in winter. However, the Gates of the Moon is also a well-built keep that can be staffed during the cold winters of Westeros.
Pyke: Originally a much larger keep, the castle lost a good portion of itself when the cliffs they were on collapsed into the ocean. Pyke now exists as a series of towers connected by rope bridges. On the headland, the main keep is as well-fortified as any wealthy house can manage, and the small access points mean that the Greyjoys can mitigate numerical advantages in the event that an aggressor comes to take Pyke.
Casterly Rock: Built into a massive mountain, the Rock is a maze of tunnels and fortified structures. Sheltered by the mountain itself, it is difficult to breach or damage with siege equipment and, according to Visenya Targaryen, is likely resistant to dragonfire. This castle also has a port in a natural sea cove, and mining tunnels in the lower reaches mean that Lannister wealth is never far from hand.
Highgarden: A castle built more for aesthetics, Highgarden nevertheless has three concentric walls, each inner wall higher than the last. Between the first and second wall lies a thick briar maze that can stymie an attacking army. In the long run, however, Highgarden is not as strong a fortress as Casterly Rock or the Eyrie.
Storm’s End: The castle of the Durrendons is a most curious construction. The walls are thickest not on the western face that an army would attack, but the eastern, impregnable, sea-facing side. While this might give credence to the Godsgrief story, the layout is indeed a curious one for a skeptical mind. The walls are well-put together to resist the winds of Shipbreaker Bay, and its keep is a heavy, squat tower. Given that Stannis was able to hold it for so long, its stores are great and its walls strong.
Sunspear: Sunspear is on a peninsula, with the shadow city to its west. This offers a great deal of hiding places for the Dornish-style guerrilla warfare that the Targaryens found particularly frustrating during the First Dornish War. A winding wall, aptly named The Winding Wall, frustrates and corrals opposing armies, unless they decide to take the Threefold Gate, the defensive structure that allows for a direct path to the central keep, but this is heavily guarded.
Harrenhal: While not a Lord Paramount’s castle now, in its heyday it was a massive enterprise, with stores so large and walls so thick that no army could hope to besiege it before winter (or another king’s army as befits the Century of Blood) forced them away.
The Red Keep: A sprawling complex, the Red Keep has all you would expect a capital holding to have, with seven drum-towers, de-centralized granaries, and barracks to house the Goldcloaks. The royal family enjoys Maegor’s holdfast, a defensively positioned seat for the royal family that possesses its own moat so that even if the rest of the keep falls, the royals can hold out for a bit longer, if necessary. It also boasts an impressive array of secret passages that a knowledgeable person could make use of.
That’s a basic breakdown of the great keeps in Westeros. Hope you enjoyed it.