The Iron Throne: Essos
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Lumine
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« on: January 01, 2017, 09:40:33 PM »

Essos:



Overview:

Often a factor on Westerosi politics, Essos is a playground of intrigue and deception, and the home of countless exiles aiming to return to their homeland. While Khal Drogo expands and unites the Khalassars under the influence of his new Khaleesi Daenerys Targaryen, exiled prince (and proclaimed King) Viserys Targaryen returns to the Free Cities after a grueling experience with the Dothraki, determined to finally push his claim after Robert's death. Can House Targaryen and the exiles survive Essos to return home?

Currently held by: Currently divided in several City-States and Kingdoms.
Direct Players: Viserys Targaryen.
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Lumine
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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2017, 10:05:51 PM »

Jorah



“I need a large army”, the stripling snarled, his thin lips curling as his lank silver locks cut across his overheated glance. Across the tent, noisome with tension and horse, the northen exile, tall, burly and shaggier than the bear on his surcoat, remained unmoved in word or action. His hands, weathered but unwearied, spoke for him, at a rest that was not idle on his sword-hilt.

“You swore that sword of yours to me,” the prince objected now, his voice skidding up in baulked petulance. Such appeals were scarce judged to appeal to Ser Jorah Mormont, once a lord in his own right, now a slaver and a hireling accursed to all decent society. But the pale youth’s next dart was to strike the surer.

“It was Stark who cost you your island,” young Viserys murmured as he resigned himself to a cautious step back, away from the three dragon eggs amid their warm watch-lights. “Stark who cost my father his throne. If I prevail, Stark loses everything. It could be yours yet, Mormont.”

For the first time in his brief and unsatisfactory relations with his notional king, Jorah found himself tempted to pause and think over the boy’s words. The offer was distant, even, from a certain limited angle, impossible. Its acceptance would mean abandoning all that his father and sister had taught Jorah to conceive of honour…yet was that not already lost to him already?

Then the prince’s bright hair, the main attribute he shared with his sister, so dissimilar in temperament, sheened over his eyes again, and Ser Jorah recalled his duty to the khaleesi. “Perhaps,” he grunted. “And yet here I stand.”

“Do you?” This voice was new, low and silken, and seemed incongruous in the fraught circumstances, so that it took Jorah a moment or two to remember the Lysene pleasure slave; he could not quite yet place her name. Her hand was light upon his shoulder; he found himself provoked at last to act and his knife in an instant rested at her throat, but she showed no hesitation or disquiet, her smile still a flickering tease which unleashed restless consequences irrepressibly upon him. The callow prince grinning opposite let nothing pass without comment.

“She’d be yours too, Mormont, it goes without saying, till we crossed the Narrow Sea. Then you could take a bride more fitted to pin down the North withal. We might even travel by Lys and reclaim your old mate on the way. Doreah here has heard word of her.”

“Well beyond my city there gleams word of the Lady Lynesse,” the slave-girl acceded with an undeniably graceful nod, for all the blade’s closeness. “Not even our fair menfolk think to hold her pride for long. But for a king’s right hand…”

Jorah’s experience and strength lay in his stirrups and sword-arm, but now he had to think fast. Deep within himself he knew that his service to the khaleesi was no indifferent leal duty, but encompassed an impossible desire, a desire that would lead him into variance with the greatest of the horse-lords in the heart of their power…and cost him the affection of Daenerys, the protection of the Dothraki, and undoubtedly his own skin.

Whereas if he joined the runaways…he might still reliably report to Lord Varys on the last male Targaryen, by far the greater quarry. With his aid and the Dothraki at feast, they could easily slip away, and Viserys was not wrong, at least, about the value of the dragon eggs. Daenerys would surely be lost forever to him…but if he questioned this girl, he might yet find Lynesse. He would redeem or revenge himself…and stamp his quality upon those damned stiff Starks of Winterfell.

***

The ride was dry and harsh, and girl and prince alike scarce aided it with their whining, but Jorah had not lasted amid the Disputed Lands for nothing. With several over curious or confident horse-lords left hacked down and buried in the wake of their shifting sands, when they happened on the road to Lys.

The prince, or king, grew leaner and soberer-tempered after near a moon’s turn of hard riding; he had even finished his first man when a few Tyroshi bandits underestimated their quarry. All three fugitives thought the time well chosen for a celebratory slug of their defunct foes’ pear-brandy.

On a sudden Jorah felt a thud that reminded him of a brawl with a screamer gone badly wrong; he shuddered, and knew no more. When he awoke, there was no sign of the last Targaryen, the fork-tongued silver whore, or the three dragon eggs; he was chained among men cowed and branded, and his haltering queries elicited only after many beatings the news that he was headed for the manse of his new master, the most noble merchant prince, Tregar Ormollen.
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DKrol
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2017, 12:19:57 AM »

Drogo I


The hot sun gleamed off of the stallions of the Horse Gate as the great Khalasar passed beneath the hundred-foot high statues. 40,000 strong, the Khalasar of Khal Drogo was one of the largest and most fearsome in all of Essos. After spending a moons turn in Vaes Dathrak, the great city of the Dothraki Sea, Drogo was eager to lead his Khalasar back into the open planes and wild grasses.

Drogo and his Khaleesi led the great horde out of the Horse Gate, with his bloodriders close behind. As the Mother of Mountains began to shrink behind them, the Khal kicked his stallion into a full gallop. The warm wind whipped his long braid behind him, its bells jingling like the voices of small children at play. After a few minutes of this free riding, he remembered the Khaleesi, fat and pregnant, and worried he had left her behind. Wheeling his stallion around, he looked frantically through the throng of riders for her - her silver hair, her purple eyes, her silver mare. For a moment he was panicked. All his eyes saw was the dark hair and copper skin of the Dothraki. Then a laugh, sweet as honeyed wine, grabbed his attention, swinging his head back around. Sitting astride her fine silver horse a hundred yards ahead, Daenerys looked back at her husband, dust billowing around her, as she laughed, the wind pulling at her silk dress and her fine hair.

Drogo was taken aback by her beauty. He had not intended to love her when Illyrio proposed the idea. A Khal must has a Khaleesi to have a Khalakka and establish a legitimate line for his Khalasar for the day when he could no longer ride. But from their first night, when they first consummated their marriage, he had loved her. She provided a comfort and a calmness that he had never felt before in his nearly 30 years. Now she was with child, with his child, with his Khalakka.

When the Usurper's assassin was found in Vaes Dothrak, his love for her burned brighter and hotter than before. She was his and he would protect her from the man who killed her family and banished her from her home. He would lead his great Khalasar all the way West over the Narrow Sea and place his son upon the fabled Iron Throne. Drogo had never thought of the far away land of the Seven Kingdoms before he married Daenerys, and even then he had written off as a distant dream from a small girl longing for home. Now he had a reason to break the customs of the Dothraki and cross the open sea - Robert Baratheon has put a price on the head of the Khaleesi and his son.

Drogo realized he had been stopped for several minutes. He glanced around, his riders had halted behind him. None understood why they had stopped, but the snarls from the Khal's bloodriders kept any dissenters silent. He shook his head, knocking off the fog that had enveloped him, and kicked his horse into a gallop once more, bursting ahead towards the Khaleesi. As his stallion pulled even with her mare he stopped and addressed his Khalasar.

"While in Vaes Dothrak, in the shadow of the Mother of Mountains, on the shores of the Womb of the World, under the eyes of Dosh Khaleen, our Khalasar came under attack!" His words were repeated by his Ko and their lieutenants to ensure that all 40,000 members could hear, creating a hushed anxiety across the throng of men, women, horses, slaves, and children. "A man across the Narrow Sea, the Usurper, sent an assassin into our most sacred site and tried to kill the Khaleesi and my Khalakka." Angry shouts burst out throughout the Khalasar at this, taking the Kos several moments to regain order. Drogo waited, soaking in their anger. Surely, with this passion, they would support him in his quest to return his wife to her home. "That kind of action cannot stand! We will ride to the Seven Kingdoms, we will find the Usurper, we will end his false rule, and the Khaleesi and the Khalakka will sit on their rightful throne!" A roar of approval surged among the horde, a massive approval for Drogo's plan. Excellent, he thought. I have my Khalasar. Now comes the hard part.

Khal Drogo gave a shout of approval, wheeled his stallion to the west, and kicked it into a full gallop, Daenerys and her mare right beside him. A small band of riders were coming towards them, a billowing pillow of dust behind them. They were the scouts that Drogo had sent ahead, to find another Khalasar for them to assault, defeat, and absorb. For the battle that Drogo had promised, he would need to command the largest Khalasar to ever ride.

And he would do it for the one he called Moon of My Life.
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DKrol
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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2017, 10:25:40 AM »

Drogo II


Soon, Khal Drogo thought, Soon we'll be ready to ride. After the brutal sacking of Sarnor at the hands of his Khalasar, Drogo has allowed a woven-grass hut village to be constructed for the Khaleesi after two days of riding. For hours she complained of pains between her legs, pains in her breasts, pains all over. Her handmaids explained that these are the signs of a well developed child, but Drogo only grew irritated. The Dothraki were made to ride the open plains, not plot along at the pace of a burdened-down woman.

But he had consented to halting the Khalasar, now more than 42,000 strong, until the pregnancy was over, as the handmaids assured him it would be soon. Stopping for a few days was a small price to pay for the Stallion that Rides the World, they had told him. By the end of the week the fiercest warrior to ever ravage the earth would be born and the Khalasar would ride. Ride all the way to the Free Cities. Across the Narrow Sea. To the fabled Seven Kingdoms. With each passing day, Khal Drogo thought the journey was becoming longer and more difficult than he had originally realized it would be. But the Khaleesi had been wronged by the Kingslayer and the Usurper and for that they would pay, no matter how far the ride.

But is my Khalasar enough. Every night since he had promised to sit the Stallion who Rides the World on the chair of his grandfather Drogo had asked himself the same question - is my Khalasar enough? The knights of the Seven Kingdoms were renowned for their fine armor and their castle-forged blades. The Dothraki could defeat any army in an open field, with their swift stallions and double-curved bows, but could they take a castle? According to the Khaleesi, every lord and knight in the Seven Kingdoms has a castle with 50-foot stone walls and iron gates. When Aegon had done his conquering, he had dragons. Unfortunately for the Khalasar, the only dragons left were the Khaleesi and Khal Rhae Mhar.

Lucky, we will not be alone when we reach the Seven Kingdoms Drogo told himself. When the loyal lords - the ones who fought with the Khaleesi's father at the Trident, the ones who sew dragon banners in the dark of night in hopes of the Targaryen return - see the mightiest Dothraki Khalasar holding the black-and-red three-headed dragon high, they'll take up arms for their rightful king. The Khaleesi had spent hours training the Khal of the many houses of the Seven Kingdoms and their allegiances, as Khal Rhae Mhar had taught her. House Darry in the Riverlands, House Redwyne in the Reach, House Grandison in the Stormlands, and all of Dorne with House Nymeros Martell. And, if everything went according to plan, the loyal Houses would not be the only knights to raise their swords with the Khalasar, Khal Drogo mused to himself as he looked out over the swarming sea of his Khalasar.

The Khal's musing was interrupted by a great scream. A commotion broke out from the Khaleesi's tent, with the Khaleesi's bloodriders, who had been standing guard outside, rushing in with their weapons drawn. Drogo stood, panic breaking across his face. He grabbed his arakh, ready to destroy whomever had hurt the Khalessi.

And then a weak, wobbly wail emitted from the tent.
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Garlan Gunter
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2017, 08:43:09 AM »
« Edited: January 13, 2017, 08:47:55 AM by Garlan Gunter »

DOREAH



The nights were long now, dark and chill and full of strange noises. Night had always been her domain, but the nights she wove were full of colour, the ordered harmonies of music, plucked string and sung melody, the beating of dancing, the thuds upon soft and scented beds. Now these gathering nights as they veered towards the Demon Road - surely not heedlessly named, the Lysene girl thought, gulping down more tears - were filled not just with terrors, but rivals. Viserys had, Doreah realised with an increasing lurch of sickly instability, never come to her bed with much more than amusement. She offered him diversion and some usefulness, but she lacked what his new friends promised, for which he had so long yearned: power.

"It will be the death of me, Your Grace," she moaned from the covers again. "Death amid deserts and demons; I had hoped to serve you better. If you must give ear to...them...at least send me to do your business and pleasure in Volantis."

The smile did not leave her employer and occasional, somewhat lacklustre by now lover, but his tone was bored and more than that, disdainful, even veering at the edge of the anger she dreaded by now so. "Business and pleasure! I know well what you would have in mind for those. No, you are a thing of value yet, and you will stay with me, with my other things of value." Since surrendering the first egg to the Qohoriks to obtain the security of his enslaved bodyguard, Viserys, the girl knew, had become almost jagged with possessiveness over the remaining pair, even as he insisted on dragging them all to the perils of the East to ratchet up their price.

She had thought about doing to him as he had done to Drogo, of course. A single egg would be enough to afford her comfort and freedom in Lys, or even further afield from home; she felt unsure of her connections there. Though it had been her scheme to sell the Westerosi knight to his woman's keeper, somehow her heart besought her that the notion would lead to little good yet, for her, lordly Tregar, or perchance even the Beggar King.

But, as so often, her thoughts of disloyalty and escape were now scattered by fear, as the dreadful twain, the priest and the mage, entered the tent without thought for ceremony. Viserys did not seem to mind. Where not so recently he had insisted on being addressed by as many titles as occurred to him as consistently as possible, he now seemed wilder, looser, heedless, bold and improvising moment by moment. Sometimes Doreah wondered if the Red Priest was chanting him into the true Targaryen madness which, hitherto, she had felt only as petulance and desperation. Or even whether the Qohorik sorcerer was slipping something into his drink.

"Three days," this latter now said, a goodly looking man, youthful with a gleaming complexion, but old, old dark eyes that made the pleasure-slave shudder. She wondered again if Mantarys had been Tantalus' maddened conception, or, worse, the Beggar King's own. "Three days and you will stand before Mantarys. I see it in your eyes, Your Grace. You are ready for the monsters, and they for you."

"How well can the monsters fight?" the would-be king enquired abruptly, and the mage smiled.

"Your Grace, they are greatly feared over all these lands. Could such fears be idle?"

Now it was the priest Illyrgue's turn to intone, his voice as quavering as his hands were palsied. "I see a great Red Temple. I see the last dragon hailed by lesser beasts. My fires flicker over armed men rising up beside him."

"Have any of these men two heads?" Viserys quipped, his curiosity apparently dispassionate, but Doreah, her heart cast into further gloom, could sense his genuine interest. She sighed, and it was enough to let his irritation rise truly.

"Girl, you are fit to hear the councils among feathers, not fires. The eunuch commander said something of new ravens. Go and see to them."

It was one of the unexpected aspects of the girl's new life that she found herself nightly arranging the correspondence of a king, even a beggarly one. By the time she plucked up her spirits to approach Red Fist, she was in haler spirits. The ravens were her only hope, and sometimes she found the same kind of reassurance in their black, beady, meretricious eyes that she knew the king sought as he stared at his eggs. We are whores all, she would whisper inwardly to the messenger birds, one of Viserys's earliest purchases in Qohor, you of the air, I of the earth, Viserys of the flames.

When Doreah returned to the king's tent her step was light, and she fought hard against the tactlessness of a grin. Viserys was a swift reader, she would grant him that, and she watched his torn confusion grow.

"You said it was my fate to deal with the monsters," he queried the mage and the priest, his fury beginning to swerve aside from the girl at last. "Yet this missive..."

"The beasts who will follow you," the priest answered with a sudden confidence that made his shaking tone wax low and loom out in an echo, "are on the banners of the Westerosi Lords. This the fires tell me."

Returning to lay attar among the crimson linen of the bed, Doreah smiled, and knew the demons should not take her just yet.
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Lumine
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2017, 10:42:52 AM »

DAENERYS:


It had been a difficult birth.

She’d been told as much by her remaining handmaidens, but it was something to be experienced before being able to fully describe it. Many thoughts crossed Dany’s mind through the hours, many of them devoted to the mother she had never known. Queen Rhaella, as Viserys always referred to her. Did you suffer the same as me, mother? Or more? She wondered how hard it would have been for her mother to give birth knowing her eldest son and her grandsons had been killed by the Usurper, with his troops ready to land on the island. It took away some of her pain to know she was in a much better position, her Sun and Stars close to her – while not in the tent – and the Dothraki awaiting the birth of his heir. Only Viserys and Ser Jorah were absent, and their betrayal still cut deeply into the young girl’s mind. He was my King… he only had to ask me for the eggs… and Ser Jorah…

-Are you okay, Khaleesi? – Irri asked –

Dany left her thoughts behind, willing to look ahead. She was reclined on the tent, her baby held on her arms as the handmaidens looked with a satisfied expression. While a difficult day and night, her baby had been born strong and healthy, a true Dothraki… and a true Targaryen, judging by the black hair and his violent eyes. Her son could one day be heir to both cultures, a man grown to unite the might of the Valyrian dragonlords and the Dothraki horselords. The idea made her proud, and happy. It did not take long for the Bloodriders to honor her and the birth, before Khal Drogo entered the tent to celebrate and embrace her. She was truly happy, wife and mother and a Khaleesi on her own right, and the love and pride she saw on Drogo’s eyes encouraged her even more. It was hard to move with the Khalassar to such far-away places, but it was worth it.

She had to rest for a few days until her health recovered, and soon she was healthy enough for the feast. The Dothraki spared nothing of the animals leaving besides the tents of the Khalassar as prodigious amounts of meat were served, all laughing, drinking… and fighting, for no less than three Dothraki honoured Dany’s baby by dying in combat. If Ser Jorah was around, she thought, it would have probably described it as a successful event on Dothraki eyes. She pushed ahead the thoughts of her brother and the knight, hoping to focus on her own happiness much as their actions still hurt. The Khalassar continued to grow judging for all the new riders on the main tent, and the new Ko’s Drogo had around him to gather their council. She knew well how many Dothraki could not conceive the idea of crossing the Narrow Sea via ships, how much convincing and displays of strength it would take for all those riders to attempt that their fathers and grandfathers would have never dreamed of doing.

-Khaleesi. – One of the Ko’s stood up, raising his cup of wine – There is a question amongst the Ko’s. How will the son of the Khal and the Khaleesi be known as? –

Dany looked at Drogo, and he nodded his head approvingly. She’d come up with a name a few days ago, one which Drogo had approved and one she’d felt proud of coming up. Despite the pain she stood up, and to the look of the Ko’s and the Bloodriders she raised her child and announced:

-This is Rhaego, son of Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen. And as the Dosh Khaleen proclaimed at Vaes Dothrak, he is the stallion who mounts the world.-

The men cheered wildly, raising their cups to drink as their noise grew, and Drogo stood up as well to promise that his son would sit the iron chair his grandfather had sat upon. As the Dothraki drank, danced and celebrated the coming of Rhaego and their dreams of future glory and riches, a few riders entered the tent with news from Volantis. It appeared the campaign was about to resume. Drogo looked at her with an odd look on his face:

-Khaleesi. – He said – It appears we’re headed in the direction of the Khal Rhae Mhar.-
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Garlan Gunter
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« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2017, 01:10:38 PM »
« Edited: January 14, 2017, 01:36:24 PM by Garlan Gunter »

PROCLAMATION TO THE CHIEFTAIN OF THE HORSELORDS



I stand ready for you before the gates of the greatest city of Essos. If you would parley, it is well. If you would fight, it is the same to me. All the world knows what the Three Thousand of Qohor did to barbarians just like yours, and my Unsullied are marshalled by the wrath of the last true dragon.

Sworn in Fire and Blood,

Viserys Targaryen, the Third of His Name
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DKrol
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2017, 12:47:08 PM »

Drogo III


Khal Drogo sat next to the woven-grass bed of the Khalakka, the babe sleeping peacefully. Rhaego, Drogo thought Such a strange name. Certainly not a Dothraki name, but the Khaleesi was determined to honor her brother. The child had Drogo's dark hair, already sprouting a healthy crop, and the Targaryen eyes, a violent and mysterious purple. The child had cried little during his birth, one large wail to alert the world to his arrival, and laughed more, the joyous tinkle breaking through air whenever he saw the twinkling of the bells in his father's hair. Little does the boy know the meaning of these bells, of this long hair, Drogo thought as he ran his hand over his sleeping son's hair, But he soon shall.

His bloodrider Haggo burst into the babe's tent. "Blood of my blood." Haggo gave a curt bow, his eyes showing an urgency that bore no time for formalities.

"Blood of my blood." Drogo took one more look at his son, envisioning him mounting a great stallion and leading the largest Khalasar from the mountains of Dorne to the Land of Always Winter, before standing and leading Haggo out of the tent. "Your eyes tell me this is not conversation for the ears of such a young babe, even if he is the Stallion that Rides the World."

"Yes, blood of my blood. A scout has returned from the edges of the Volantene holdings with important news. Khal Rhae Mhar has offered to you a parley at the gates of Volantis."

"Parleys are for the annointed knights of the Seven Kingdoms." Khal Drogo snickered at the idea of such a great Khal, with a mighty army, sitting at a table with the petulant Khal Rhae Mhar, who had disrespected the Dothraki traditions and dishonored the values of Vaes Dothrak. I'd be more likely to stab him myself than sit through his parley. "Khal Rhae Mhar is a weak man, unskilled in combat and untested in battle. I spit on his Westerosi customs."

"As you say, blood of my blood." Haggo was always the definition of polite, despite being a savage warrior and a fiercely loyal bloodrider.

"Ride with me." Drogo led his bloodrider to the patch where his red stallion had been grazing, mounting the massive horse in a swift motion. Haggo took another horse that had been grazing nearby. Drogo kicked his stallion hard, sending it into a full gallop across the Dothraki camp, kicking up dust and sending his followers running out of the path. Haggo rode his horse hard to keep up with the Khal. The two rode up the heart of the camp and then broke to the west, where a tributary of the Rhoyne, the Volaena, flowed South. Drogo stopped at its banks, allowing his horse to take a drink from the cool, clean water.

"Did you see the comet make its way across the Khalasar in the Sky?" Drogo asked Haggo, looking out across the Voleana. It was a large river, not as large as the Rhoyne and no where close to the width of the Narrow Sea, but it would be the first water the Khalasar would have to cross to put Rhaego on the Iron Throne.

"Yes, blood of my blood. It was wondrous."

"The Khaleesi told me that the red comet heralds the coming of the dragon." Drogo had laughed when Danaerys had first told him her theory, but it had grown on him after spending time with Rhaego. "There was a great fire at one of the castles of the Targaryens when her brother, the warrior Rhaegar, was born. The great fire for the Khalakka came from the sky, from the Khalasar of the Great Stallion."

"He is truly the Stallion who Rides the World, blood of my blood."

"Speak frankly with me, blood of my blood." Khal Drogo was surrounded by loyal voices, but he often needed honest voices more dearly. "Will our Khalasar be victorious at Volantis?" Haggo did not reply immediately. Drogo looked at him and saw he was torn between his loyalty to the Khal and his command to speak frankly. "I told you to speak freely."

"Blood of my blood, I do not know. Khal Rhae Mhar has 3,000 of the eunuch Unsullied with him, with whatever forces the Volantene have mustered. 3,000 of the Unsullied defeated a great Khalasar in Qohor in the Century of Blood but even the Great Khalasar of Khal Temmo was small compared to yours, blood of my blood. He had only 25,000 warriors. Yours numbers more than double that figure and are surely fiercer and with a great cause, for all members of the Khalasar revere the Khalakka and want to see him placed on the iron chair of the Seven Kingdoms."

"What of the Volantene?"

"The Volantene are the unknown factor, blood of my blood. If they welcome Khal Rhae Mhar, I am worried for our fate. Even the mightiest horse cannot climb a wall like a monkey. If the Volantene turn their swords on Khal Rhae Mhar, we are nearly assured victory, for there is no chance of 3,000 Unsullied defeating both the forces of Volantis and our mighty Khalasar, blood of my blood."

Drogo did not respond. He took one last look across the Volaena, wheeled his horse around, and rode hard back to the camp. He had to devise a great strategy to defeat Khal Rhae Mhar, making the Khaleesi and the Khalakka the undisputed heirs to the Iron Throne, destroy the Volantene, giving the Khalasar the slaves needed for the Tyroshi fleet, and protect enough Dothraki lives to give Rhaego the army he needs to sit the chair of his grandfather.

For the Stallion that Rides the World it would be done.
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Garlan Gunter
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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2017, 06:56:57 AM »

THE BLOOD MAGE



Tantalus of Qohor, Initiate of the Sixth Circle of the Unforbidding, was not a man inclined to feel disconcerted; even as he cast a pall of timidity about all who looked on his wanly handsome face and his blackly glittering glances. But here, in the Red Temple of Volantis - the Temple of the Lord of Light, as Illyrgue and his pompous ilk, the Red Priests, seemed to prefer to call it - the Qohorik sorcerer felt his stomach turn in an way that was alarmingly hard to remember having experienced before. The vast edifice, with its flame-tabooed warrior slaves and its votive maniacs teeming in every alcove, stank of belief, and Tantalus in his own way was a foe to such things - a man, instead, of enquiry.

The aged and mumbling Illyrgue was not, and clearly never had been, such a man. The Lysene chit, Doreah - whom Tantalus would have bedded long ere since had he cared to, but whom it amused him to surprise by resisting - had the flickering, feline intelligence common enough in her profession, but, he perceived, little true boldness or substance of spirits.

But as to the 'King' they served for a time...well, that was another matter. Viserys's long line were reputed for brilliance and for madness, but in truth, the mage saw neither in the callow young Targaryen. The youth possessed only an instinctive low cunning born of hard years, and the sort of occasional, intoxicated courage that, Tantalus well understood, was natural companion to an engrained cowardice. And yet, somehow, he found himself at times wondering whether by some haphazard process, these doubtful qualities might yet prove to be enough.

The Targaryen boy at least knew his own mind, and now and then his decisions and his tongue could impress. If the rumour that had turned them back from the demon road ran aright, Viserys's allurements had met certain crucial listeners in the Sunset Lands with success. It remained to be seen if such luck would hold now, as the Beggar King consorted with the Triarchs of Volantis.

"You are in the house of the Lord, mage," Illyrgue was stuttering out his reprimand. "At least pretend to pay him his due respects...or rest assured, he will take them."

"The night is dark," the pale pleasure slave was obediently murmuring. Her nights would have been dimmed rather than dark, Tantalus thought amusedly, and terrors would have seemed far away indeed; even now her bought courtesies overcame her, as she struggled to please the old priest and his fellows.

"And have you paid him his due respects?" cut in another voice, high and wheedling, which seemed to take Illyrgue thoroughly off balance. "I have heard you hint that the Targaryen boy is none other than Azor Ahai reborn. By what authority? Not mine. Not yet." The speaker was old too, old and bald and all but faceless from his tattoos, but the other priests seemed to treat him with exaggerated respect. Tantalus, for his part, shrugged in impatience, and hefted back a cup of wine.

"Most High Benerro, the proof is yet..." Illyrgue was beginning to whine, when Viserys Targaryen returned at the Temple's threshold. He wore the armour of a Volantene noble of the Old Blood, and a smile of more thorough confidence than the blood mage had ever seen before.

"Tantalus, my old friend. Have these pious prattlers been boring you? I think you deserve a kingly reward."

They would have been more delightful words had their patron had more to bestow, but Tantalus bowed gracefully. "The time has passed as interestingly as ever in such parts, Your Grace. What gift were you considering?"

"Oh, the girl," Viserys explained amiably. "A king's leavings. I want you to take her."

"Most kindly expressed, Your Grace, and I...gratefully accept, though I do not see that it can be a matter of much moment," Tantalus murmured in rising caution, even confusion. The Lysene looked as if she was struggling with passion and horror in the same moment, laying down the cup of wine she had been finishing.

The king was muttering with the old Red Priest, then his superior; their eyes widened and Illyrgue gulped, but there were nods and the priests all about began to fall quiet and expectant. At that moment the whole Temple was lit up in magnificent crimson as the comet without coursed its way beside the darkened glass.

"You misunderstand me," the young king gently reproached, as he stepped nimbly towards the casket where the eggs were kept, guarded by six of the mightiest among the Unsullied. "You must take her now, before all of us. I would have you linked by blood and seed, if the ritual is to be performed intact."

The wine, Tantalus thought unsteadily, as he and the girl moved upon each other with limbs on longer their own, and the Unsullied drew trenchant steel, while some among the slaves of the Fiery Hand drew back a ragged red curtain to reveal a pyre...
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DKrol
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« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2017, 08:27:26 PM »

Drogo IV


"The Archon is a greedy, greedy man, blood of my blood." Cohollo growled, the oldest of the Khal's bloodriders and the most likely to speak freely.

Khal Drogo and his bloodriders were surging towards Myr, the free city on the heel of Essos, the mighty Khalasar riding behind them. Cohollo and Qotho rode to their Khal's left, Haggo to his right, all shouting to be heard of the sounds of the Khalasar - horses, warriors, carts, dogs, and slaves.

"Greedy, but a worthy man of alliance." Drogo hollered back. "We lost many great men at the walls of Volantis and the Archon has offered to replenish our numbers and more." We will need every man, every horse, every sword, every bow, every prayer, Drogo thought To sit Rhaego on the Iron Throne.

Drogo had spent many, many hours thinking about the promise he had made the Khaleesi, to return herself and the Khalakka to the throne of the Seven Kingdoms. How foolish I had been to make such a grandiose promise. The Dothraki horselords were men of practicality, grandiosity in Essos was left to the fat Magisters of Pentos. The Dothraki have no ships and have no experience laying siege to the great keeps of Westeros. But, Drogo thought, The Fiery Stallion has looked favorably upon our mission so far. The Red Comet, their success attacking Volantis, their victories over many smaller Khalasars, the deal with Archon Moreo Selheris, all signs, for Drogo at least, of some divine blessing on their campaign.

As Khal Drogo and the bloodriders crested a small hill, they reigned their stallions to a halt. Drogo wheeled his mount around to face his Khalasar. Fewer than before Volantis, but stronger and more loyal than any Khalasar before, he thought as a hush fell over the hoard beneath him. "Dothraki! Soon we will ride on King's Landing and crush the Usurper, who tried to kill our Khaleesi!" He saw her silver hair glinting in the sun within the mass of flesh. He had ordered her to begin riding in the midst of the host, with the Khalakka, to give them the most protection.

"But first we have one final quest here in the East. Some of you will ride with Ko Jhaqo into the Disputed Lands and drive out the Myrish and Lysene occupiers of what is Tyroshi land. The rest will ride with me on Myr." Anytime a Khal had to divide his Khalasar it made him uneasy, but it had to be done. Ko Jhaqo had proven himself a competent lieutenant during the sacking of Valysar and Drogo trusted him once more to lead the expeditionary force into the Undisputed Lands. "We will meet once more once the fields of Myr have been salted and the buildings razed! For the Stallion Who Rides the World!"

"For the Stallion Who Rides the World!" The Khalasar shouted in one voice as Drogo raised his fist into the air. He turned his horse around and kicked it into a hard gallop.

First Volantis, now Myr, then the Undisputed Lands, and soon the Iron Throne.
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Garlan Gunter
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« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2017, 06:39:53 PM »

BENERRO



Alike in their advanced age, and their astonishment, Benerro and his Qohorik subordinate among the priests of R'hllor, Illyrgue, now increasingly found themselves at odds with two factions among their flock - the hot-blooded young men, and the slaves.

"The foreigner is false," one of the most devout among the Tiger Cloak captains was urging, "ever more filling to fawn on his own kind, the most decadent among the Old Blood, than he is to risk himself in battle. What are these new-birthed monsters but the fruits of his cowardice and treachery? While his slaves and the city's bled outside its gates, he burnt two of his last followers rather than sully his hands with blood and steel."

"He used you to gain what he desired, the dragons of his House," a more thoughtful and generous worshipper from the merchant's quarter muttered, sounding almost admiring. "But even now the Targaryen boy waits not on the High Priest of the Red Temple, but on our faith's sworn foe, the Triarch Malaquo Maegyr. They say the dragon's son seeks a tigress for a bride. We shall hear no more of him."

"Do they? Shall we not?" Benerro had granted some of the Temple's myriad keys to his distinguished guest, and he was more amused than impressed to see Viserys's facility for a grand entrance exploiting them. The priests followed the youth's proud, harmonious cold voice to where he stood by an inner alcove, Unsullied attending him, delicate young Volantene noblemen with their courtesans mingling like parakeets every few paces, and two dragons perched on the sunset prince's wrists like hawks.

"Welcome back to us, most honourable Lord Viserys," Benerro quavered with a well-acquired evenness of tone, quite ignoring Illyrgue's nervous correction to "Your Grace."

"Back among you," the Targaryen agreed, "with my progeny, your youngest two faithful of the Lord of Light." Benerro grinned; the Westerosi never could pronounce the Lord's true name; that evasive title had been a fine notion of that supple and talented, if worldly and superficial linguist, Thoros of Myr.

"Aeryxes," the boy continued blithely, "Rhaellar." The High Priest was not surprised the would-be King had named his new pets, and greatest assets, for his sire and mother, but he thought it scarcely a prudent sign of the prince's willingness to win over the Mad King's many foes. Still, he felt a return of that involuntary awe, even gratitude, as he watched the young beasts whorl and steam, white and gold and green and bronze.

"I am back among you indeed," Viserus announced, in a few long strides the better to be seen between his creatures, "whence, if my will holds, I never intend to depart."

The words surprised many, though they were evidently carefully planned and prepared, for the Volantene Old Blood youths exhibited no signs of shock and much of smug intimacy.

"You would remain in Volantis," the Tiger Cloak captain challenged in mingled alarm and confusion, "when your kingdom appears to cry out for you?"

"No," Viserys riposted with careless but decisive emphasis. "I will take you all with you, sons of the Red God, as many as are bold enough to fight in the best of causes. We will burn night-fires all over the realm that is my birth-right."

So much, Benerro could not quite keep himself from thinking in bitter satisfaction, for all his decades of training in indifference to the basely personal, for the mighty Triarch Malaquo Maegyr. This dragon takes the stripes not of tigers but flames to adorn his crown.

"All hail the sacred name of R'hllor," he intoned in turn, drawing upon the imagery that lent to his quivering voice a new and lingering resonance, "and Viserys his servant, King of Westeros!"

Viserys evidently did not much relish being described as a servant - Benerro was despite himself pleased he had not said slave, as was more proper and accurate - but the cheering and chanting that followed the declaration appeared to put the King, apparently a Beggar no longer, back in quite excellent spirits.

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