orys baratheon

8

the world of ice and fire + argella durrandon and orys baratheon

For a few days it was feared that Storm’s End might suffer the same fate as Harrenhal, for Argilac’s daughter Argella barred her gates at the approach of Orys Baratheon and the Targaryen host, and declared herself the Storm Queen. Rather than bend the knee, the defenders of Storm’s End would die to the last man, she promised when Queen Rhaenys flew Meraxes into the castle to parley. “You may take my castle, but you will win only bones and blood and ashes,” she announced… but the soldiers of the garrison proved less eager to die. That night they raised a peace banner, threw open the castle gate, and delivered Lady Argella gagged, chained, and naked to the camp of Orys Baratheon.

It is said that Baratheon unchained her with his own hands, wrapped his cloak around her, poured her wine, and spoke to her gently, telling her of her father’s courage and the manner of his death. And afterward, to honour the fallen king, he took the arms and words of the Durrandon for his own. The crowned stag became his sigil, Storm’s End became his seat, and Lady Argella his wife. They would go on to have several children, each inheriting the black hair of their parents and the famous deep blue eyes of the Durrandon.

3

The Storm Queen

At the approach of Orys Baratheon and the Targaryen host, Argella barred the gates of Storm’s End and declared herself Storm Queen. She announced that the defenders of Storm’s End would die to the last man. However, her garrison refused to share the fate of Harrenhal and revolted, raising a peace banner and delivering Argella to Orys’s camp, gagged, chained, and naked. Orys removed the chains with his own hands, wrapped his cloak around her, and gave her food and wine. He spoke to her gently, telling her of her father Argilac’s courage in death.

Aegon rewarded Orys Baratheon with Storm’s End, the rule of the Stormlands, and Argella. Orys Baratheon adopted the sigil and words of House Durrandon as his own.

[Jenna Coleman as Argella ; Russel Crow as Orys]

She is a small thing, in truth. Smaller than he had anticipated. Argilac had been broad of shoulder, and even in his age there were cords of muscle on his chest and arms. But Argella…Argella is small. Smaller than Rhaenys, who is smaller than Visenya who is smaller than Aegon who is smaller than he is. Orys is the largest, and Argella the smallest.

She drowns in chains, heavy black iron that is not so dark as her hair and not so light as her eyes. Her eyes are a deep blue, deeper than his, deep like the sea. There is a black bruise along her jaw, and a yellowing one along her eye, and he sees dry white and red on the skin beneath her wrists, a paler red than the red of her lips–chapped, cracked, bleeding–and the red of her nipples.

How can one so small have so much color? It is a vague thought, a sad one as she glares at him and he feels the words Ours is the Fury in her gaze. What sort of fury does she bottle within her? What rage would he know for the rest of his days?

Visenya is angry often. She is harsh and stern and argumentative. He knows it grates Aegon. Aegon finds solace in Rhaenys’ gentleness, peace in her laughter. He would know no such peace, no such laughter. That much was the promise of Argella Durrandon’s gaze.

“When you meet her, don’t remind her that you slew her father. She won’t take kindly to that,” Rhaenys had said as they had ridden through the rain.

“Better or worse than reminding Visenya I can best her with lance?” he had japed in response,and Rhaenys had laughed. Rhaenys always laughs, and how infectious her laughter is. Perhaps if she laughs now, it would catch and Argella’s face would soften.

No–no, it would grow harder. She is proud. Proud and brought low by her own men, humiliated and presented naked and in bonds and…

His cloak is stained with mud. His cloak is heavy with rainwater, cold and smells of mildew and sweat. It may even–and his stomach lurches at the thought–be stained with the blood of her own father. But he unclasps it all the same and approaches her slowly. He sweeps it around her shoulders, and he sees the skin of her arms erupt in goose bumps before they disappear and she is enveloped by him. Her eyes widen in surprise, and she exhales a quick “Oh,” and for a moment, he sees the anger vanish.

He takes the keys that Massey had given him and unbinds her wrists, then sinks to his knees, determinedly looking only at her legs, and unbinds her ankles.

“You can take my castle, but you will win only bones and blood and ashes.”

“That’s all she said?”

“All,” Rhaenys says, and Orys sighs, running his hand over his jaw.  There are dark circles under his eyes–he hasn’t slept well since the battle–and she is quite sure that cut on his face will scar.  

“There isn’t time for a seige,” he murmurs, clearly thinking.  “Aegon needs…” his voice trails away, but Rhaenys understands.  In the weeks that she and Orys have been campaigning together, words sometimes have fallen away.  Perhaps it is to be expected.  She doesn’t need words with Aegon, but this is different.  Orys is not her brother.  It is a thought that has hung in her mind more than once.  If he were not so loyal to Aegon, no doubt he’d have wanted to bed me, she muses.  He may still, though he’ll deny himself to the grave.  

Not for the first time, she wonders what he would have made of Argella Durrandon if they had been wed.  Or, more curious to her, what she would have made of him.  The woman was as forceful as the gales in which her father had died.

“I suppose there’s no trickery that will can bring is within the castle’s gates?  A seaside entrance?” he asks.

“I can search for one tomorrow on Meraxes, but I dare not get too close to the castle’s walls.”

“Why tomorrow and not today?”

“Because I am tired, as are you,” Rhaenys answers evenly.  “Because I’m your queen and I will it.”

Orys considers, then shrugs and turns away.  “Storm’s End,” he murmurs.  “And here I thought it would be mine when I defeated Argilac Durrandon.”

“Aegon will give it to you, I don’t doubt.  He wanted you to have it before all this began.”  Orys lets out an amused snort.

“I suppose there’s something to be said for claiming it, but I’d rather hoped not to have to fight.  Least of all when it could have been a sweeter transition to my power.”  Did he still nurse dreams of marrying her?  Ever since Aegon had first mentioned it to him, he’d liked the idea, though he’d never met Argella Durrandon, and knew little and less about her.  Visenya would call Orys a romantic, but surely not even romantics could treasure such hopes through a war such as this.

“You wanted it presented on a silver platter?” Rhaenys laughs.

How she regrets the laughter as the sun sets and a guard comes to find her and Orys as they pour over maps together.

“My lord, your grace,” the boy–he is just a boy–pants.  “Lord Massey is here.  And others.  They’ve brought…” his voice trails away and Rhaenys feels a chill on her neck that has little to do with the sea breeze.  She looks to the castle and sees that the Durrandon crowned stag does not flutter in the wind above the gates.

What have they done to her?

What they had done to her makes Rhaenys ill.  There are yellow bruises on her belly and arms and a purple one on her cheek, and if that were the worst of it, she’d have been quite content.  The chains seem so huge on Argella Durrandon’s wrists and ankles, and there is a gag of some sort stuffed between her lips–swollen and split.  Bone and ashes and blood.  

She fought them at least.

The men are laughing, and some are even cheering as she and Orys approach, but Orys silences them with a raised hand, his eyes determinedly on Argella’s face and not her nakedness.  Argella’s gaze is not on Orys, though.

Her eyes–clear and blue like the sky after a storm–are locked with Rhaenys’, and there is fury there, and pain, and Rhaenys pities her, except that the moment she feels her face soften with pity, an indignant pride swells in those blue eyes, and Rhaenys feels her lips quirk almost approvingly.

There are ways to break a woman like Argella Durrandon, to defeat her, to lay her low.  But this…this is not one of them, and even as Lord Massey bends his knee to Orys and declares the Stormlands for Aegon, and even as Orys sweeps his own cloak from his shoulders and wraps them around Argella’s to cover her from the eyes of the men around them–Rhaenys sees that this…this did not break her.  

And she finds herself glad of that.

@arielno requested a ficlet of Orys x Argella and their firstborn and I finally got it written sorry I took so long I’m such a fail

*

Orys’ seed quickens in her womb and he is pleased. Argella is not. He sees it as a victory, Aegon sees it as a victory. As she swells with child the dragon thinks Storms End will be secure under Targaryen rule, with Baratheon lords loyal to him. A son for Orys, a son who will bend the knee dutifully. Argella cannot bear the thought, cannot bear Orys’ pride when he looks at her now.

If it isn’t the precious son you want will you still be so proud?

It is a bitter thought. Argella had no brothers, none who survived to manhood at least. She was her father’s heir, the Durrandon heir. The Durrandon line was to continue through her. Her consort should have taken her name, her sons and daughters should be Durrandons, not Baratheons. They should be kings and queens, like their grandfather and their ancestors and their mother who was queen, ever so briefly.

Orys reaches for her, boldly, with light in his eyes and Argella pulls away. It hurts him, and it bothers her that he is hurt, and it bothers her that it bothers her.

“The duty was not burdensome to you before,” he says.

The memory makes her flush, a mix of anger and shame.

“The duty,” she throws the words at him. Her hands go to her swollen belly. “I have done my duty.”

He does not rage at her. Instead his shoulders drop and he looks at her stomach and he sighs.

“Very well then,” he says stiffly. “I will not trouble you my lady.”

If only he had raged at her. His courtesy makes her feel absurdly guilty. Argella should not feel guilty and yet she does. Orys keeps his word, he is stubborn like that and her bed is lonely. She refuses to go to him, refuses to give in and Orys won’t give in either and so it goes on and on. The babe kicks and Argella’s heart swells and she weeps because she cannot want this, to bear the children of her father’s killer. Her father must curse her, he must but this is all Argella has.

They took our castle father, they took our name but this child will still have our blood.

Argella cannot hate the life inside her, even if she hates those who imposed it on her. She is afraid, and angry in her fear as her time draws near. They will want the child, she sees it when Orys and Aegon are together but the child is hers. She screams in her birthing bed, curses them, Orys and Aegon and his sisters and she sees the faces on those who attend her but Argella does not care. The pain is almost too much to bear and if she is to die she will die defiant.

She does not die.

They put her son in her arms. He has a tuft of black hair but that does not surprise Argella. Orys has black hair. It is coarser than hers, she remembers from when she touched him, before she rejected him, before he shunned her bed with hurt in his eyes. The babe is so small, and she touches the dark strands and they are fine, so fine like silk. He cries and she holds onto him as the door opens.

It is Orys.

He gives her a wary look but he approaches, his gaze fixed on their child. Argella will not let him take the babe, not with Aegon soon to be there, but he does not make an attempt. He stops beside the bed and leans in, touching her son with a look resembling awe. His smile has returned, and his pride and Argella scowls.

“Our son,” he almost whispers.

My son, Argella thinks but she does not say it.

“He looks like you,” Orys proclaims.

Argella eyes him suspiciously but he is not looking at her. He is still smiling, still proud. The babe has gone quiet and Orys talks gently, about Durrandons, and about courage and honour as he touches the tiny fingers and the tiny nose and Argella wants to scold him but Orys has tears in his eyes.

“He can’t hear you,” she says.

“He can,” Orys says evenly.

She looks at the babe and sees Orys is right. His eyes are blue, like hers. She knows that people will tell her they might change to Orys’ black, babies’ eyes do that but she is certain they won’t. The Durrandon blood is strong in him. It is a moment of triumph. Her bitterness fades, for that moment at least. Orys’ hand brushes against hers as they both fuss over the infant. Argella does not pull away from his touch, not now.

“He has my look,” Argella says, testing him because even if Orys has already said it she wants to see his reaction, his true reaction to what will be a continual reminder that the Durrandon’s were not truly defeated.

Orys only nods, hesitating before brushing his lips against her brow. Argella closes her eyes, accepting the affection because it has been so long.

“I shall hope he has your courage,” he says. “He will need it for when you are wroth.”

Argella studies him, trying to decide whether she is bothered by the remark and decides that she is not. Her son is like her, and her husband is happy. He is odd like that, to be accepting of her victory but then again he had been odd from the moment she met him with his disgust at those who betrayed her and delivered her to him naked and in chains,

“I won’t be wroth with him,” she says.

I shall save that for Aegon and his sisters.

various characters at 3stages in their life - Argella Durrandon Baratheon

aged 13, meeting an envoy of the Targaryen Lords living on Dragonstone for the first time 

aged 24, crowing herself Queen after her father Argilac the Arrogant dies in battle against the Targaryen Conquerers

aged 58, after the death of her husband Orys Baratheon 

Happy birthday @madaboutasoiaf <3

*****

“And which King Durran was that?”

“The Fourth … no, wait, the Fifth.“

“Are you certain?”

“I … yes.” No, he was not. Not certain at all. All the Durrans. The never-ending Durrans. Not to mention the Arlans.    

“You are mistaken. King Durran the Third was the one who tried to invade Dorne and was rebuffed by Princess Nymeria. ”

Orys groaned. “Must I know and remember all this?”

“If you are content to appear to the people of the Stormlands as their ignorant lord, then no, my lord, you do not have to concern yourself with it at all.”

“Would it not suit your purpose for me to appear that way, my lady? As the unworthy, ignorant fool who usurped your birthright?”

“It does not suit my purpose for my people to be ruled by an unworthy, ignorant fool. And it certainly does not suit my purpose to be married to an unworthy, ignorant fool, or for this child growing in my belly to be fathered by one,” came her barbed reply. “Perhaps it is better if Maester Caedwald –“

“No! Your maester despises me.”

“And you are convinced that I do not?”

“Even if you do, you are much too honest to lead me astray in our lessons.” He added, after a pause, “Promise me something, my lady.”

“And what is that, my lord?”

“When our child is born, if it is a boy, promise me that he will not be named Durran,” Orys said fervently.

Argella laughed. The sound took Orys by surprise. “It was the same vow I made when I was three-and-ten and being quizzed by Maester Caedwald about all the Durrans,” she said. “No, my lord, our son will not be named Durran, I can promise you that.”  

10

Pre ASOIAF Ladies 1/?

Argella Durrandon

“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.”

For a few days it was feared that Storm’s End might suffer the same fate as Harrenhal, for Argilac’s daughter Argella barred her gates at the approach of Orys Baratheon and the Targaryen host, and declared herself the Storm Queen. Rather than bend the knee, the defenders of Storm’s End would die to the last man, she promised when Queen Rhaenys flew Meraxes into the castle to parley. “You may take my castle, but you will win only bones and blood and ashes,” she announced… but the soldiers of the garrison proved less eager to die. That night they raised a peace banner, threw open the castle gate, and delivered Lady Argella gagged, chained, and naked to the camp of Orys Baratheon.

It is said that Baratheon unchained her with his own hands, wrapped his cloak around her, poured her wine, and spoke to her gently, telling her of her father’s courage and the manner of his death. And afterward, to honour the fallen king, he took the arms and words of the Durrandon for his own. The crowned stag became his sigil, Storm’s End became his seat, and Lady Argella his wife. They would go on to have several children, each inheriting the black hair of their parents and the famous deep blue eyes of the Durrandon.\


I really should not have done this! I have to open tomorrow and I have a cold, but Argella called to me!! 

“What does he want?” she asked, after Orys had spent half the day cloistered in his solar with Aegon.

“What makes you think he wants anything?”

“Of course he wants something. He always does. Is there another war he wants you to fight for him? Somewhere else he wants to send you?”

So you could lose another limb? And worse, lose your faith in yourself?

“He wants me to accompany him to Tarth, the only part of the stormlands he has yet to visit.”

“What else?” There was something else, she could tell from the catch in his voice. It was something he knew she would mislike, she was certain of it.

“He spoke of Davos,” Orys finally said.

“Our Davos?” Their elder son, currently sparring in the courtyard with the master-at-arms, while his brother Raymont and Prince Aenys stood watching. Raymont looked eager, if somewhat envious that his older brother was now old enough to be allowed to spar with a grown man, but Prince Aenys only looked terrified, shielding his eyes with both hands when things got too heated.

No, Argella thought. No. You cannot have him. Not our son.

“A squire,” Orys was saying. “The right age.” Argella heard nothing else.

“You must refuse him. You must!”

“Must I?” There was a curious tone to his voice that would have given her pause at any other time, but the thought of her son serving the dragon king drove out all other considerations from her mind.

“What about the plan to send Davos to squire for one of the marcher lords? We have discussed that.”

“Nothing has been settled as yet. I have not made any promises that if broken, would cause offense to any lord.”  

“Davos is your heir. He must squire for a lord from the stormlands, to know his own people, his own land. What good will it do for him to waste his time in Dragonstone and King’s Landing?”

“Aegon spends most of the year on his progress, travelling the realm. It will be good for Davos to know the rest of the realm, to have the chance to see the Seven Kingdoms in its entirety.”

All this talk one king and one realm maddened her. “Our son will not be king of the Seven Kingdoms. He will not be king of the rest of the realm. What good will it do for him, to be travelling the realm with Aegon? He will not even be king of the stormlands!”

“Too bad his father is only a bastard-born upjumped lord, not a king with thousands of years of history supporting him. Is that what stuck in your craw, my lady, your children being fathered by one so unworthy? Who had you envisioned as the father to your children?The King of the Reach? The King in the North? Did you share the sentiment your lord father conveyed in his contemptuous reply to Aegon’s offer of myself for your husband, back then?”

The unfairness of the accusation stung her. This had nothing to do with that at all. She lashed out, furiously. “Davos would not need a king as his father if he had the storm queen as his mother.”

“Too bad his mother lost her crown, and could not keep the loyalty of her own men.”

She laughed, bitterly. “And there it is. Finally. The thing you have always wanted to throw in my face.”

“I did not mean those words,” he said, aghast. “Argella –” he reached out for her, but quickly pulled back, as if stung, when he saw her recoiling from his touch.

“You meant it. I know you did. You’ve always thought it, I suspected that all along. Where would she be, if not for my gallantry, my chivalry, my kindness? The great Lord Orys, so kind, so generous, so -”

“Don’t,” he said. “We have said too much in anger. Things that are not true, that are only meant to hurt.”

“You are wrong. Things said in anger could be the truest of all, when all pretenses of courtesies and good manners have been stripped bare.” She drove on. “You would send our son to serve Aegon? When you know how I feel about him, how much I loathe him?”

“Davos would be serving Aegon when he is Lord of Storm’s End. He owes the king his leal service, like I do.”

“Is that what your king fears? That if you die before I do, I would try to influence our son to deny Aegon his loyalty?

“He has no thought of that. He is not the scheming villain you take him to be.”

Argella scoffed. “He is as cuddly as a dragon, your king.”

“I know of another truth you will not admit. That it is not Aegon you truly despise and resent. Aegon was not the one who slew your father, who took your castle, your land.”

“Don’t you think I know that? I have to live with you, wake up next to you –“

“Suffer my seeds to grow in your womb.”

“Yes! Yes, that too.”

He nodded, as if this was something he had suspected all along. His voice was barely audible when he asked, “So it was all pretend, make-believe? Those moments when I thought you truly enjoyed it, going to bed with me? Your moans, your cries of pleasure, they were all lies? When I thought you might have had some joy in our union.”

“That was lust, mere lust. I am a woman with needs. And you are comely enough, my lord, and skillful enough to do your duty in that regard.”

She had hated it, at first, that he was gentle with her. She had hated herself even more for responding to his caress, to his touch. Why do you refuse to be the heartless monster I had thought you to be, so I could hate you in peace?

“Lust?”

“Why, do you think a woman is not capable of lust? Only a man? Do you think your show of chivalry would cause me to be so grateful that I would grow to love you?”

He flushed. “It was not for show. It was never for show.”

“Do you think I would fall on my knees, proclaiming my undying love for you? Is that the just reward you expected? It is not enough that I have given you sons, that I have been your faithful wife, that I have kept your castle and protected your land for you while you serve your king, this castle that used to be mine, this land that should have been mine. No, you want me to love you too. How do you think it makes me feel, to be under such an obligation to the man who killed my father and stole my inheritance?”

“There is no such obligation. I have never asked it of you.”

“No, not with words, never with words. But with everything else. Your eyes, your expectant gaze, your touch. You are greedy, my lord. You do not mean to be, I know you well enough to know that, at least, but you are greedy nonetheless, when it comes to our marriage.”  

“There is no such obligation,” he repeated. “If I have somehow made you feel that there is, then forgive me for the mistake, my lady. But consider yourself released from it.”

(x)

this living hand (orys/argella)

this living hand, now warm and capable; of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold; and in the icy silence of the tomb; so haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights; that thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood; so in my veins red life might stream again; and thou be conscience-calmed – see here it is – I hold it towards you 

(John Keats)

(AO3 Mirror)

They shaved his beard, his fierce black beard, grown long and unkempt after three years of captivity that felt more like thirty. It was this, the sight of his clean-shaven face that shocked her. She knew about his missing hand, of course. Aegon had written to Argella about the hand, in an earnest missive that made no allusion to those other hands, the ones chopped off by her father and returned to Dragonstone in a box carved with prancing stags.

These are the only hands your bastard shall have of me, Argilac Durrandon had written to Aegon, back then.

Take her hand, brother, Aegon had whispered, on Orys’ wedding day. My brother shall have the hand of Argilac’s daughter in marriage, and much more besides.

“Do you suppose your lady wife will honor me with a token of her gratitude, were I to return to her your sword hand in a box?” Lord Wyl had taunted him, back in Dorne. “After all, yours was the hand that slew her father, the hand that stole her lands and her birthright. The Lady Argella might think it sweet, sweet revenge to have that rotting hand in her keeping.”

I am not my father, Argella had said, recoiling, back then, when Orys had offered her his sword hand, in a reckless act that was both a test and a prayer.

Would she still be recoiling now? Or would she see it as his just reward?

Her eyes were still fixed on his beardless face. He felt exposed – was exposed – under the glare of her intent scrutiny.

“Lord Wyl should not have done it,” she finally said.

Done what? Shaved his beard? Kept Orys captive in his dungeon for three years? Took his sword hand? She was merciless in her relentless ambiguity. Tell me! he wanted to shout, was shouting in his mind. Tell me true, my lady. Are you glad he took my sword hand? Are you disappointed that I survive to return to your home? To you?

“You’ll grow it back,” she said.

“You’re mad,” he said, incredulous. “Hands don’t grow back. You’re mad. Mad!”

But it was him who was laughing like a madman. “My lord,” she said. “Orys,” she called out. “Husband,” she even said, which was not a greeting she had often offered to him. But he couldn’t stop. He couldn’t stop laughing, not even after the tears came.

She raised her hand from her side, and for a moment, he thought she was going to slap him. He would have welcomed that. He would have welcomed the pain. Better pain than numbness, better pain than this fog enveloping him, drowning him.

Instead, her hand found a different target. He recoiled at the cool touch of her palm on his stump. She persisted, fingers tracing the scars and knotted flesh, until his laughter finally ceased. “I meant the beard,” she said, fingers still gently stroking. “You’ll grow your beard again, and it will be as fierce as it was before.”

“What use would that be? What use would a fierce beard be to a man such as me?” He had been Aegon’s champion, his sworn sword, long before he was anything else. “What use is a sworn sword without his sword hand?”

“Are you only that? Not a lord, not a husband, not a father, only his sworn sword? Is he the only one who matters?”

He would be missed as Aegon’s sworn sword. He would not be missed as a lord, as a husband, perhaps not even as a father.  

“You have a duty, my lord,” Argella continued.

“A duty?”

“A duty to survive.”

“My duty to myself. Yes, I know. Aegon said something similar.”

She shook her head, fiercely. “No, your duty to me. You owe it to me. You owe me.”

He held out his stump towards her. “Is this not payment enough? Does this not serve as sufficient coins for my debt?”

“No. You took a life, my life, my life as it would have been. You owe me a life in return. Yours.”

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.

2

argella durrandon & orys baratheon  
Orys, along with many of his bannermen and knights, was captured by a Lord known as Wyl of Wyl. Orys and his men were later ransomed, for each man’s weight in gold, but once the ransom was paid the men were freed only after having their sword hands chopped off so they would not be able to use them again against Dorne.

Ours is the Fury

It was a celebration of red and black that hung in the halls of Storm’s End, a feast to honor Aegon the Conqueror and his sister-wives. The air was thick with Targaryens, the smell of dragon smoke and victory. Three-headed dragon sigils had taken the place of the stags, as if the creatures had been devoured completely. Orys Baratheon was at her side as always, heating up the blood of the defeated Storm Queen into an internal tempest. He was smiling, laughing with Queen Rhaenys, and they were so close. If Argella had the courage, she could stab one of them. But the Targaryen king was ever watchful.

“When shall we expect a wedding?” Aegon asked Orys. It was the first time Argella had ever seen the man blush. “If I recall, you were quite taken with her when you saw her portrait. What’s been the delay?”

Orys’ shook his head, “It seemed too cruel. Her father-”

“Enough time has passed my friend, you have been very considerate. But it would serve you better to take her claim soon,” said Aegon. 

There was never enough wine for situations like these, but Argella tried her best to down as much as she could. Tears were already swimming in her eyes, her throat was catching. She turned a thunderous gaze towards her sovereign. “Your highness, I am unwell. Do forgive my departure,” she said and stormed out, almost knocking her chair over. The last that she saw of that glittering scene was Orys’ concerned face.

It was dark, cold, and blue as she raced almost sightlessly up the steps to the castle tower.  She climbed onto the large window and looked out at the night, the icy moon peered from the clouds above, and the heaving sea swirled below. The waves’ roars echoed serenely through her, as it had always did. When she was a child there had been no loss. Her father was there, the kingdom was there. Now Argella was merely a guest in her own home, forced to spend day after day with the man who had taken everything. It would have been easier if Orys treated her roughly, if he’d been cruel. She could hate him as much as she wanted and she’d try to kill him at every opportunity. There’d be nothing to live for, and she wouldn’t have to be so tormented by the kindness in his eyes.

She could end it all now if she wanted, finally alone with the ocean. The wind tugged at her gown, just one step into the air-

“Stop!”

He had followed her. Argella turned to look, Orys had been running, eyes wide with panic.

“Don’t come any closer,” she said. He obeyed, hands raised and empty.

“It wouldn’t be so bad if we were married,” he said soothingly. “You’d still remain here, with everything you could possibly need. Nothing else will be taken from you again, Argella. You will be honored all your life with a family to comfort you.” 

Argella felt her hands loosen on the window frame, so she forced a laugh. “Those are the cunning words of a captor. Have you not shamed me twice over with your chivalry? You know what has been done to me. How can you, as a man, say such things?”

The sadness that came over Orys tasted bitter in Argella’s tongue. It wasn’t fair that he too could show such cloudy-eyed grief. “As a man, I would love you if you’d let me.”

It really was too much, Argella turned away to hide her tears. Those soft words were as sharp as a blade into her longing. She poised to jump when Orys’ arms hooked around her waist and dragged her backwards. Argella stumbled, held fast in his arms.

“Please,” she felt him beg, his face buried in her hair, “My brave, brave, Storm Queen, I would love you. I’ll treat you well, I’ll adopt your sigil. Ours is the Fury. Please.”

Argella tore herself away and looked at him. He was so beautiful in the dark. He was everything. She threw herself at Orys, meeting his startled lips with her hungry mouth. They kissed hard and deeply. She held him close, his arms slid around her waist. At long last, they came up for air and he wiped the tears off her cheeks. It was the second time their faces had been so near each other’s. The first had been when Orys threw his cloak around her naked body. He’d knelt before her trembling form and called her brave. He’d been so gentle. 

Orys kissed Argella again, so tenderly she could cry. Their breaths were filled with wine, the warm fragrance of its spices ran down both their throats. The kisses that followed pattered upon her lips as softly as rain. His thumb moved across her cheek, and Argella imagined that it left a streak of blood. She pushed Orys away.

“You killed my father. You stole my freedom. I cannot shame the House of Durrendon by marrying his killer. A bastard no less.”

“You can and you will,” came a voice from the entrance. “Had Argilac not dishonored one of the best men in Westeros, he would still be alive. This marriage was inevitable.” Aegon the Conquerer held his torch up at the couple. “It’s hardly good manners to abandon your guests, brother.”

“I was worried about her,” Orys said.

“That is your right. But if this so-called Storm Queen is as strong and noble as you have claimed, she will do what is best, and marry you without a fuss.” Aegon walked towards Argella. “Do not presume that your honor is any greater for being highborn. Orys is the finest man you will ever know, and if you dare insult this dragon for the means of his birth, I will have your tongue.”

“Aegon-”

“You don’t frighten me,” Argella said. “I will not be compelled into marriage, your highness. When I choose to wed Orys, it will be because I want him.”

The king glanced at this commander. “Do you want him?”

Argella looked down. “Yes.” It was barely audible, but it was enough to satisfy. Aegon nodded and moved to depart.

“I trust both of you will come down?” he said.

“Soon,” Orys replied. The firelight vanished down the stairs. With the light went the warmth they had felt in each other’s arms. The night felt darker, and both felt lonelier. The sound of the waves filled the tower.

Orys had not heard Argella’s reply, and his expression made her heart ache. “If I could, I’d bring your father back,” he said. “If it would make you smile.” He received no answer from the Storm Queen, so he took her hand and led her to the stairs. The moon watched them go, Argella looked back. The pure whiteness of it seemed an omen of hope. In the end she knew she really had no choice but marry to the bastard dragon. 

When he squeezed her hand, it squeezed her breath, making her blood quicken along. When they reached the foot of the stairs she squeezed his hand back. When those indigo eyes turned her way, she smiled. It was a small one, a half smile, all that she could give. “I’m sorry,” she said.

“Don’t be. It seems baseborn men have no place anywhere.” Orys was startled to find himself embraced, and was reluctant to allow himself hope by reciprocating. She smelled of wind and lightning, he of smoke and wine. He gave up his resistance, intoxicated. They stood together, half in light and shadows as the sky beyond began to rumble.