Two Wars Two Babies (10 - Final)
“When you were up on The Wall, could you have ever dreamed of a day like this?”
Jon shook his head, his long locks still dripping from a fresh wash. “Of course not.”
Dany laughed lightly, avoiding the spray. “I did.” She considered her husband. “Well, somewhat.”
“Somewhat.” Jon lifted an eyebrow at the remark.
“Did I think I would marry the King in the North? Or give birth in Winterfell?” She repositioned herself so that Jon sat in front of her on the bed, and she knelt behind him. She kissed a bare shoulder. “Life brought wonderful surprises.”
“We could have stayed in Winterfell,” Jon attempted to turn around, but Dany yanked on his hair. “Ow!”
“Don’t move. I’m fixing it.” With deft movements, she plaited tiny braids pulling some of the hair away from his face, but allowing most of the curls hang free. “Don’t worry. You’re still a wolf,” she said, referring to his hair. “And anyway, we’ll return to Winterfell plenty. But it’s important that our presence is felt here, especially with so many changes.”
Ever the strategist, Jon thought.
An Unsullied opened the door, ushering in a nursemaid with a baby on her hip.
“Hello, Romi,” Dany acknowledged the woman as she took the small child. Then she gushed, “Hello, my boy!”
The little boy with silver blond curls grinned at his mother. He showed his new bottom two teeth in an otherwise toothless grin. Dany buried her nose in his hair. “He smells lovely, Romi!”
The woman curtseyed. “Yes your Grace, all fresh and ready for his first name day.”
Dany smiled at Jon, who had just finished dressing. “Yes, yes. Me too,” he said.
The rebuild of the castle had taken a full year. But it was an opportunity to make it in a new image. The destruction caused by the dragon in the capture of Circei had rendered it unlivable. So when the builders requested designs from the Queen, she described what she wanted. It was still large and lush, but the rooms were much warmer and much more intimate. Most windows peered into courtyards filled with gardens, many containing lemon trees. And, the castle had a great big, red door.
The Iron Throne remained, though there was much debate about it. In the end, Dany decided that to her, it had been a focal point, even when she was thousands of miles away. It was a reminder of the past, and a warning of what could be, if power was wielded ruthlessly. So, she kept it.
Other beautiful thrones sat around it, diminishing its severity. Jon sat in one, as did Tyrion or Davos or Missandei. Sometimes little Aedon did - as he did today. He climbed, gnawed on the armrests while teething, and curled up in a ball at the lowest slope of a seat, only to climb up again. Jon typically found it a welcome distraction from political affairs.
On this day, tables had been set throughout the hall so that guests could enjoy food and entertainment while the traditional presentations of gifts went on. It was considerate of the Queen; in the past, namedays had been an endurance test for the court. But today felt like a real celebration. Music and food filled the space. Friends and allies approached the royal family offering pledges, trinkets, oaths to the tiny boy.
Davos came forward with a wooden box. “I’ve worked on these since that day you first told me,” he said gruffly to Jon. He opened the box before Aedon, and inside was a large collection of wooden toys: wolves and dragons of various sizes, painted in bright colors. The baby reached a tiny fist, and Jon picked out a white wolf for the boy.
“Look there! It’s Ghost!” He said.
Aedon promptly put the toy in his mouth.
Davos chuckled heartily. “As it should be.”
“Thank you, friend. Truly,” Jon said.
Sansa approached eventually, bringing with her an enormous tapestry. Clegane and Romi offered to help unfold it, so that everyone could admire the gift.
“It’s our family trees,” Sansa explained, though the explanation wasn’t really necessary. Names and branches, wound, intertwined, and occasionally broken: Starks, Targaryens, Snow. The work was fine, and the story of the lives unfolded in achingly beautiful artistry.
“Amazing, Sansa. Really, it is,” Jon said.
Sansa narrowed her eyes mischievously. “And, I can always visit from the north to add to it, should the need arise.”
Jon narrowed his eyes back at her. “Sit down, Sansa.” They both laughed.
“Me next!” shouted Arya. She and Gendry made their way to the thrones. Dany gave Jon a meaningful look and he gave one in return.
“The most important item Aedon will ever own,” Arya said. Gendry pulled out a two-handed double-edged longsword.
“Gods, that is huge, Arya! Are you giving that thing to a baby?” Jon laughed.
Arya shrugged. “Much better than a dumb old curtain, or whatever.”
Gendry interrupted, sensing Sansa’s rage. “Obviously, it’s for the future. But I swear, it’s the finest thing I’ve made.” He leaned in to the king and lowered his tone, “lets take it and test it later, yeah?”
Jon gave an imperceptible nod of agreement. Gendry continued, “in the meantime, I also made this.”
From his pocket, he pulled a thick wooden dagger, begging for teething gums. Aedon obliged.
Sam pushed Bran forward in his wheeled-chair, as the last to present a gift. Bran started, “Your Grace, it was two Wars I saw for you, you recall.”
Dany replied, “yes. I shall never forget those wars. One of the dead, and one of the living.”
Bran continued, barely registering Dany’s response. “Two babies, also I saw.”
“Aedon, here, and the monstrosity Qyburn had made for Cirsei.”
Sam interjected. “Well see, that’s what I thought, too, your Grace. But here’s the thing. It wasn’t a baby at all, was it?”
Dany shuddered to remember. “Well, no.”
Sam went on. “So, I was visiting the Prince’s Palace up at Winterfell last month, just pacing it now that your dragon has a keep down here. And, well, I found this.”
On Bran’s lap sat a heavy cloak, and when he unwrapped it, he revealed a shimmering black dragon’s egg.
“Funny thing about dragons. I’ve never read about how to check if they’re girls. I think this is that other baby.”
Dany’s eyes went wide, and her throat tightened. “Thank you. Oh, thank you so much for this.”
She picked up her son, who dropped his little dagger. They made their way down the steps, and Dany took the egg from Bran. Jon followed behind, a heat spreading through his chest at the sight.
“This is your dragon, Aedon. And you are a dragon,” Dany whispered to the boy. He reached his little arms around the egg, and laid soft cheek against its scaly warmth.
The gifts done, the family opened the red door to greet the masses. All of the city seemed to have gathered to wish the beloved child a blessed nameday. Dany raised a hand so that she could speak, while Jon held the child so that he could be seen.
“We have endured so much and yet today is a day of so much joy. In Aedon, we find the best of our shared history and the hope for the future of Westeros. Thank you for celebrating his nameday with us.
And now, a gift for you: I once said that I would break the wheel. That I am the freer of slaves and that no one should be crushed under an inherited passage of power. It is why representatives of all birthright sit on my council. But most of all, it is in that spirit that I rename this city People’s Landing.”
A roar so mighty rose up that Jon instinctively covered Aedon’s ears. Dany reached for his hand though, and they stood there, together. The little royal family took in the crowd before them, their new home, their new life. Dany noticed that the lemon trees in front of the castle had tiny white flowers on them.
Spring had come.