Who: Daenerys What: A bit of introspection. Where: The Great Grass Sea, Essos, ASOIAF Door When: Shortly after this Warnings/Rating: Nope, none. Some of it might not make sense unless you've read through ADwD.
A horse, when whipped, immediately veered to the side that was not being whipped as their first inclination was to flee. A dragon when whipped, immediately turned towards the whip, as their first instinct was to attack.
She had not been whipped, but the shadow crack of it had caught her attention. The temptation to go to King's Landing was great. Worsened, perhaps, by the state she had left Meereen in. Emerging from the cave she shared with Drogon, Dany's mind flitted between the two choices. She had no army, it had been left behind in Meereen and she needed ships, any ships, to bring them home with her. She had her dragons yes, Viserion had joined her half a day past and was currently making another cave on the hillside his home, but to risk them? They were not full grown yet and though Drogon was large enough for her to ride and Viserion nearly so, they were not yet big enough. The last she had seen Rhaegal, he had been the smallest of her three, but that had been in Meereen, and she hadn't seen him since.
Ducking out of the cave that was Drogon's, she looked up and to the left, where Viserion was making his own den. Pale gold flame, entwined with red and oranges, leapt out of the crevice. She wondered what he had caught, or if he was simply scoring the walls as his brother had done. Stepping out further, she gradually made her way through the stones and the thorny brush, to the small stream that she'd seen the day past.
It was not much and she dared not call it home. Home was Meereen, with her husband and her lover, Ser Barristan and Grey Worm, Missandei and her handmaidens. Except it wasn't, because Hizdahr had tried to poison her, she was sure of that now, and wanted her children dead. She could not forget the lust in his eyes as he called for Drogon's death. The rest of her people would follow her and she could leave Hizdahr to his city of pyramids, where dog was a delicacy, grace was earned through whoring, and men bowed before Harpy's but could not tolerate dragons.
To go forward, I must go back.
Forward was home, Westeros, King's Landing and the stories that her brother had raised her on. Forward was an Iron Throne, forged by Balerion the Black Dread for her ancestor, Aegon the Conqueror. Forward was delivered on a silver platter by a shadow and there was her struggle.
Who was the Shadow? The man had not given his name and men who delivered gifts without giving their names were not worthy of her trust. Could she trust him over Ned Stark, who advised her to know her allies before crossing the Narrow Sea? He at least gave his name and hid nothing from her. Ser Barristan had thought highly of the man; Ser Jorah had hated him. He had been one of the Usurper's dogs, but been kind to her. As had his son, though she hadn't missed the inclusion of his own beliefs. They betrayed what he wanted.
Yet, even with him there was an honesty that couldn't be matched by a shadow. One that differed from the one passing overhead and she glanced up to see Drogon return to his Dragonstone. She had no other name for it, but if this was where he chose to make his home for now, that was what she would call it.
It could never be a home to her though. Making her way down to the little stream that ran by the hill, she drank the water slowly. It wouldn't have been a bad life here -- there was water and this morning she'd caught a fish in this same stream. She could have lived off whatever Drogon and Viserion brought back, eating her fill of meat that was charred in some places and raw in others. It would have been a simple life, an easy one, flying during the day on Drogon's back, eating when she was hungry, sleeping when she was tired. There would be no floppy ears to don, no court to hold, no Son's of the Harpy killing off her men. There would be nothing but grass and sky.
It was no fit end for her.
She looked up again to spot Drogon watching her. To some, his red eyes were malevolent, a testament to his nature as a monster. To her they only looked curious, perhaps intent, as if there was some message that he wanted her to have. Turning from him, she ventured further into the grass. Palms flat and fingers outstretched at her sides, she felt it tickling her palms.
To go forward, I must go back.
The grass seemed to whisper to her. Her brother had been counseled to have patience, to wait, and he would receive his crown and his throne. In Vaes Dothrak, he had finally been crowned, his impatience, the years of being the Beggar King had finally taken their toll on him. If he had lived, she knew he would have gone. He would have marched to Sunspear as soon as the proposal was known to him, army or not, and he would have died all the same.
Daenerys could not afford that. Patience must keep her or she would find herself in the same fate as her brother. "Patience," she whispered to the wind, the word tasting foul on her tongue through she knew the truth of it.