orys baratheon

8

The favor that Aegon the Conqueror showered upon Orys Baratheon made many credit the rumors that he was Aegon’s bastard half brother. Though never proved, that tale is widely believed to this very day. Others suggest that Orys rose so high because of his prowess at arms and his fierce loyalty to House Targaryen. Even before the Conquest, he served as Aegon’s champion and sworn shield, and his defeat of King Argilac only added further luster to his name. When King Aegon granted Storm’s End to House Baratheon in perpetuity, and named Orys Lord Paramount of the Stormlands and the Hand of the King, none dared suggest that he was unworthy of these honors.

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]

2

||Orys/Argella drabble series||

Her farewell was blunt and uncompromising. “Do not die in Dorne, my lord. I will curse you never to find any rest or peace in death if you do.”

“I did not think you would care whether I live or die, my lady.”

“It is not about caring.”

“Of course. How silly of me.”

“Your life,” Argella said, “is not yours to forfeit.”

“Whose is it, then?”

“Mine.”

“Yours? Why is it yours?”  

“It is mine because you owe me a life, my lord, in payment for the one you took.”

“Your father’s life?”

My life. You owe me my life. My life as it should have been. As it would have been, had you not killed my father and stolen my birthright.”

“If I am dead, you  –“

“If you are dead, your dragon king would quickly move to install another man in your place to bring me to heel. He would not suffer our little boy having me as Regent to rule the stormlands until Davos comes of age, for he could not trust my loyalty.”

“Is he right not to trust it?”

“That is hardly the point.”

“What is the point?”

“Your duty to me. Your debt to me. Your blood debt; not just my father’s blood, but my blood as well, for I died too, the day the Durrandon fell. The woman that I was, and the woman that I could have become, she perished in the rain and the storm and the mud. If your blood is to be spilled unto death, I am the only one with the right to spill it, at the time and manner of my choosing. You have done me much wrong, my lord, in the name of your precious king. Do not compound it by dying in his service, by dying while trying to help him conquer more lands.”

“Or by dying before I have paid my debt to you in full.”

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.

Argella watched as Orys proudly gave the orders.

“My son will have a splendid name day,” he proclaimed.

My son, Argella thought to herself. Davos had her look. He was hers. Aegon might have given Storm’s End to Orys in perpetuity, but it was Argella’s son who would rule one day.

The Storm Lord.

Nobody called Orys a Storm lord even if they did call him lord. It did not appear to bother him. He knows this castle is not truly his, no matter Aegon’s decree. Argella did not let him forget it, even if it seemed to wound him more from her tongue than from others.

Davos toddled towards her on unsteady little legs.

“Mama.”

Argella bent to pick him up. He did not have many words yet. It was odd how that word, just one little word could lessen her fury, if only briefly. She looked into the baby’s little face, his big blue eyes.

“Argella.”

Her anger returned as she looked up at her lord husband.

“You invited him.”

Orys did not look chastened. Instead he appeared more obstinate.

“Aegon is my king.”

It would always be like this. Every time her traitorous heart weakened, every time she felt some fondness towards Orys, her husband, her father’s killer, he did something to remind her of her losses. He did something to remind her that she was a spoil of war.

“He is not my king,” Argella hissed.

His expression darkened and she saw him glance about the hall. If anybody heard her they gave no sign of it.

“These words are treason,” he said in a low voice. “You may not fear death but think of Davos.”

For one horrifying heartbeat she thought he meant it as a threat. She cradled the boy close to her and saw Orys’ eyes widen. He touched her arm, gently, and Argella pulled away.

“Loyalty is rewarded,” he said quietly.

Argella stilled, turning it over in her mind. Rebellion ends in death. Orys was right, Argella did not fear her own death but the safety of Davos was an entirely more important matter.

“Aegon would not harm your son,” she said bitterly.

“Aegon will not be king forever,” Orys replied. “He will have a son of his own and it is best that our sons grow to be friends.”

“Very well,” Argella gritted her teeth. “I shall be certain not to voice my opinions of kingship while Aegon is here.”

She would still think them. They would be written on her heart until the day she died no matter how many times she submitted to Orys’ embraces, no matter how many times she felt fondness stirring toward her husband. Having that man, that usurper, in her castle was an affront and her husband would see that even if she must curtsey and smile falsely and allow her son to befriend her foe.

“Aegon has declined the invitation,” Orys said.

Argella could hear his disappointment.

“He insults you, my lord,” she said, bristling. “Is he too busy fighting wars even now?”

Orys shook his head, appearing bewildered.

“I thought his refusal would please you.”

Davos began to fuss and Argella shifted him to her other hip.

“Aye, I did not want him here,” she said. “But you are the Hand of the King. What use is it to be his right hand if he still cannot show you the courtesy of honouring the name day of your heir?”

Orys smiled and moved closer. Argella endured his kiss to her temple.

“I never know whether you love me or hate me, my love.”

Both, she thought to herself. She doesn’t answer him, she cannot. If she said it he will be hurt and there are times where she does not want to see that wounded look. It reminds her of weakness, of failings, her own as well as his.

“We will have a glorious day without him,” she told Davos instead.

Her husband must have thought so too, even if he would never say it. He sighed but the moment he stepped away Argella heard him making bigger plans, giving orders to invite more guests.

“You will be a great lord,” she whispered to Davos. “You will have a wonderful name day. Your father and I will make sure of it.”

Happy Birthday, Jo <3 <3 <3

“My lady.”

“My lord.”

“I need a cloak.”

“A cloak, my lord? Are you asking for the return of the one you oh-so-gallantly draped over my naked, shivering body, the day my men presented me to you in chains?”

“No! You may keep that one, if you wish, or -”

“Keep it, as a constant reminder of your kindness and your gallantry?”

“Or throw it away. Or burn it, if you wish. It is yours now, to do to your liking. I need a cloak in Durrand … in Baratheon colors. To serve as the bride’s cloak at our wedding.”

“Am I not to be cloaked with Targaryen colors, on that auspicious day?”

“You are not marrying a Targaryen, my lady. The Durrandon’s sigil and colors will be the Baratheon’s sigil and colors, as I have told you. There is still a war raging in the realm, and I must be by my king’s side to fight it. There is no time to have a new bride’s cloak made. Hence -”

“Hence you wish to appropriate a Durrandon bride’s cloak instead.”

“I wish to borrow one.”

“Well, this one was the Durrandon bride’s cloak once draped over the shoulders of my lady mother, and my lady grandmother before that. My lord father had hoped that a son of his would, in time, draped his own bride with this same cloak, but alas, the gods saw fit to take all my brothers in their cradles. If my brothers had lived, perhaps you would not be able to make so free with a Durrandon cloak now. Or Durrandon lands.”

“We had the stronger force. Even a son of Argilac Durrandon would have been defeated. I’m certain your courage matched the courage that any brother of yours would have shown, my lady.”

“Oh, it was not my courage that was ever in question, my lord. I had courage enough to match any man. It was the courage of men that was lacking; craven, cowardly men who believed a woman could never hold a castle and a kingdom the way a man could, and thus decided to betray their rightful queen. You should pray to the gods that your sons live to adulthood, my lord, or the reign of House Baratheon in the stormlands may not be as long-lived as you hope.”

@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.

Argella Durrandon, another woman suffering for a man’s story

I’ve finally gotten around to actually reading A World of Ice and Fire instead of relying on wiki entries for research purposes, and the discrepancy in how men and women are treated by the text during Aegon’s conquest knocked the wind out of my sails, most shockingly was the awful treatment Queen Argella Durrandon received and how glaringly different her forced surrender to the Targaryens is from the rest of the kings.

Argella Durrandon, Argilac the Arrogant’s daughter and heir, styled herself the Storm Queen following her father’s death at the hands of Orys Baratheon during Aegon’s conquest. Originally refusing to yield, Argella bars her gates and tells Rhaenys Targaryen that she may take the castle but she’d only get blood and bone and ashes. But her men - fearing the fate of Harrenhal - open the gates to Storm’s End and deliver Argella, chained, gagged and naked, to Orys Baratheon’s camp.

Of all the kings who bent the knee to the Targaryens, literally no one else suffers from similar treatment in their surrender. No one suffers this level of humiliation or that level of pointed forcefulness and violation. The implications of what Argella suffered at the hands of her own men, the inexplicable and unnecessary physical and sexual violence against her person, the silencing of her voice, the violation of her personhood is treated so casually and carelessly by the text that I literally felt sick reading about it. Argella’s submission is forced and enforced thrice over. Not only is she forced into political submission by her men but she also literally has both her voice and her governance over her own body taken away from her. She is personally humiliated in a way that no one else suffers throughout the conquest. Her helplessness is hammered into her psyche, she suffers from both physical and sexual abuse in her forced surrender, and it’s mentioned in such a casual way that goes on to shift the focus to Orys Baratheon.

We hear no more about Argella herself after that. What we hear of is how Orys reacts to her being delivered to him naked and gagged, how he covers her and is gentle to her, how he speaks of her father’s bravery on the battlefield and ends up taking her to wife, adopting her house’s sigil and words for his own to honor her father’s bravery.

The way this whole story is handled is so carelessly misogynistic with so many ugly implications. Argella’s single defining act is one of defiance that promptly gets punished by the unprecedented and singular act of gendered abuse in the whole conquest. Her abuse isn’t even about her but about defining the character of Orys. Her abuse happens for Orys. Her voice gets taken away from her and we hear nothing out of her again. Her house, sigil, words and property are transferred to Orys. Argella Durrandon suffers and gets silenced and disappears in the text to outline the character of Orys Baratheon.

And while all that happens, Rhaenys Targaryen, the only other woman involved in the taking of Storm’s End and the one whose presence with her dragon prompts Argella’s men to surrender in the first place, mysteriously vanishes into thin air.

And I have to ask why GRRM chose to tell the story that way. Everything that happened in the story could still have happened without abuse being used as a plot device. Argella could have easily gotten imprisoned in her castle till Orys arrived to accept her surrender. He could have been decent and respectful in treating her as befits her station and speaking about her father’s bravery. He could have still taken her for a wife and adopted her house words and sigil. Such a scenario loses the ugly implication of how everything that belonged to Argella, including her voice and body autonomy, got taken away from her by men. Such a scenario allows her to keep her personhood and her voice and to keep her only defining act in the text.

So why does one of five women involved in the conquest have to be stripped of her voice and autonomy and dignity to prop up a man? Why does she have to suffer a fate so vastly different from everyone else? Why does she have to suffer in that way and lose everything that defines her for Orys Baratheon’s characterization?

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.

“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)

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.”