If he dares to meet me on the battlefield
More exposition for the ridiculously long Hetalia/ASoIaF crossover! This time with 100% more Francis!
Check out the first preview here.
There were few things in the five kingdoms that struck fear into the heart of Ser Francis Tyrell, and every last one of them involved the sweet young prince who now stood before him with a whip and a bucket of water.
“Your Grace, I swore to your lord father that I would protect and support you in all your endeavors, but I must once again express concern—“
“Oh, shut your mouth, cousin. I’ve heard your concerns a hundred times in the past three hours.”
Arthur Prince of Dragonstone walked through his hall of salt and smoke, making preparations for the most terrifying idea Francis had ever heard. Dragontaming. It had been hundreds of years since dragons had been anything but ornamental: penned and chained, they grew to be no larger than a horse, while those left free could grow to the size of a small castle. The latter were nearly impossible to control without sorcery, as Francis had repeatedly pointed out to his wayward prince. But nothing would change his mind. “Please, will you give me a better reason than ‘for the glory of House Targaryen’?” he asked, taking the bucket from Arthur’s hands. “Because bringing glory is the job of a second son, actually probably a third son, or maybe the firstborn if he doesn’t mind his brothers inheriting, or if he’s already whelped a few sons himself—”
“Francis, which part of ‘shut your mouth’ do you fail to understand? I can teach you, if you’d like.”
“A thousand pardons, Your Grace,” Francis could not keep the sarcasm from his voice, “but which part of ‘last hope of a dying line’ do you fail to understand?”
Arthur stopped abruptly and jerked Francis’ chin around to face him. He had his Lannister grandmother’s green eyes, but the rage behind them was all Targaryen. “You go too far, cousin.”
“Someone must.” Saliva filled his mouth, but Francis was far too proud to swallow it with his younger cousin’s hand near his throat.
Finally Arthur released him, looking both sheepish and aggrieved. “You know that I value your counsel, Francis. And I understand that the succession isn’t as stable as it might be.”
“Then why don’t you give up this fool’s dream, at least until you leave an heir? Your lady mother is past her childbearing years, and she the last of the unbroken line of Aegon the Conquerer. Unless you count Alfred King in the—”
“Nobody counts Alfred King in the North.” Francis suspected that if he hadn’t still been ashamed and contrite, Arthur might have slapped him. “His father was a nameless exile, no Targaryen at all. And he takes his mother’s name to prove it. Alfred Stark.” The prince spat. “Anyway, the reason I haven’t yet produced an heir is that my mother is still searching for a suitable match in the Free Cities, a woman of respectable Valyrian blood. You know it was her greatest shame to be wed to a Tyrell of Highgarden.”
“My uncle, you mean.”
“Don’t sound so offended on his behalf. He’s my father.”
Some would claim that the line was already broken, since Arthur’s father, King Alaric Tyrell, sat the Iron Throne. Though the queen was always certain to style her son “Arthur of Houses Targaryen and Tyrell,” it was widely felt that the former purity of the blood of Old Valyria was fast-fading. Once the dragon lords had wed their own sisters to keep the line pure, but recent generations had been stricken with infertility and sickliness. It was rare for a Targaryen to bear more than one child, and finding Valyrian blood abroad had proved more difficult than anticipated. Thus the line had become muddied with the blood of lesser lords, like Tyrells and Lannisters.
The prince himself looked little and less like the famed Targaryens of old, who were said to be in possession of fair skin, violet eyes, and hair so pale it seemed silver. Queen Naerys fit this description well, but her son had the sandy hair of a Tyrell and eyes of green instead of purple.
“And that, dear cousin, is the answer to your question. No one can deny that the bloodline has been compromised in recent years—and that the smallfolk have forgotten why they’re our subjects. We were once as gods to them. I don’t have silver hair, or a face that’s fair to look upon—quiet, Francis, I don’t care what you think of that—but I will have dragons. And real ones, ones that blot out the sun, ones that can burn a keep to ashes at a word. Ones that will remind my people why the Targaryens are a house to be feared…”
“Why are you so determined to strike fear into the hearts of your subjects? I fail to see how developing weapons of war will foster trust in your vassals. Or gain the love of your people.”
“You put too much stock in love.”
And you, my prince, too little. “Do you mean to go to war, Your Grace?”
They were approaching the place where Arthur kept his dragon, Meraxes. The room had been used as the great hall before a wildfyre explosion took out half the keep and left a gaping pit in the floor. It was in this pit that Meraxes was chained: cranky, loud, hot, and hungry.
The air near the great hall was sweltering, and it smelled of singed hair and burning flesh. Francis pushed sweaty curls off his forehead. I am a knight, he told himself. Knights slay dragons in all the old stories. That dragon should fear me, not the other way around. These thoughts were more shaming than they were reassuring.
“I’ll go to war if I’m forced into it, yes,” Arthur said. “The court Whisperer says that Alfred King in the North is raising the dragon that the Exile stole. And why would he do that if he didn’t intend to steal my crown? So you see”—there was a roar from behind the double doors, and Arthur flinched into Francis’ side—“you see that I haven’t a choice.”