The Forbidden Dragon (Aemond Targaryan)

(Scenario: This is the start of the origins of The Dance With Dragons series. Aemond Targaryn is looking for a dragon to ride and his father, King Viserys I, warns him against taking the forbidden dragon.)

The ship lurched, jerking Aemond. The young Targaryan lost his footing, fell to the floor and banged his head on the deck, as the ship left the port. Aemond’s head thumped and he growled. What was going to be a horrible visit to Driftmark had already got off to a bad start.

Two Princely Brothers

Aegon, his older brother, laughed. “It is just as well you don’t have a dragon,” he said. “If you can’t keep your balance on a ship, how do you think you’ll manage on the back of a dragon?”

“Shut up!” Aemond shouted. He got back up onto his feet and rubbed his throbbing head. “And one day I will ride a dragon, with a saddle to sit in, and a chain to keep me place. As you do, idiot!”

“I do not!”

“Do too!”

“Take that back or I’ll draw my sword and-”

“Stop arguing, you two,” their mother, Queen Alicent, cut in. “I will not have you two argue in front of the Valeryon boys. Not after they have just lost their father.”

You mean the Strong boys. It was a known secret that Aemond’s half-sister, Princess Rhaenyra, had not had her sons with her late husband, Laenor Velaryon. Princes Jacaerys, Lucerys and Joffrey lacked the white-blond hair and purple eyes of their mother’s late husband. Rather, all three of them had inherited the brown hair, brown eyes and pug nose of their mother’s sworn shield, Ser Harwyn Strong. It was obvious that he was their father, that they were his bastards. But because the princes were King Viserys’ grandsons, no-one dared utter a word of the matter and treated them as if they were Valeryons and heirs to the Iron Throne.

Shame On You

“I won’t need to argue with Aemond on Driftmark,” Aegon said. “Not when I can argue and fight with Jacaerys and Lucerys-”

“Shame on you!” their mother continued. “They are your nephews. You must be kinder to them and support them in their grief. This is not the time to-”

“Oh, Mother, don’t give us the virtuous speech,” Aemond interrupted. “It’s not like you have any love for them, or Princess Rhaenyra either.”

Queen Alicent stiffened. “Don’t you bring Princess Rhaenyra into this,” she said. “My feud with her has nothing to do with you! Besides, it is her inability to accept that her father married again that is the cause of her enmity to me.”

“And that you had sons,” Aegon added.

He stood up straighter and broadened out his shoulders as he said it, as if he had an implicit message for his change of stance: that he, as a male, would sit on the Iron Throne after King Viserys died and not Princess Rhaenyra, even though the King had decreed that Rhaenyra was his heiress.

Daeron Targaryn

“Aye,” Queen Alicent said. Her lips curled upwards at the corners. “There is that too, I suppose.” But then she shook her head and scowled, to hide her conceit. “But that has nothing to do with it! I have only ever been courteous towards the Princess. She has no reason to shun me or to speak to me in the manner she does. And you two have no reason to use her feud against me as a means to hate her boys. It is enough already! At Dragonstone, I expect you both to behave yourselves. Even if you two never like your Valeryon nephews, I will not have you taint Daeron’s mind towards them.”

Aemond grunted. His head always pounded after a scolding from his mother; now, with a headache already, his head relentlessly punched him.

The wind gusted, slapping salt-tinged air into his face. Aemond turned away and noticed Daeron, his four-year-old brother, at the bow of the ship. Aemond walked over to him. “Are you enjoying your first experience on a ship, Daer-”

A roar sounded above them. Aemond looked up to see Tessarion flying before them. Daeron giggled as his small dragon swooped down and bit into a dolphin after it leapt out of the waters.

It’s Not Fair

King Viserys who warns Aemond against going near the forbidden dragon.
The jovial and fat King Viserys I, before warning his young son about the perils of going near a certain dragon.

Aemond did not laugh, though. Rather, he pursed his lips and looked away. It irked him that dragons had hatched for Aegon and Daeron, but not for him as yet. It wasn’t fair.

“Cheer up, Aemond,” a familiar voice said.

Boots clomped on the deck and Aemond turned around to see his fat, kingly father approach. “What do you want?” Aemond said.

King Viserys smiled. “After Driftmark,” he said. “I have proposed that we sail for Dragonstone. Do you know why I have made this proposal?”

“No, and I don’t care.”

That made the King chuckle. “I think you will,” he said. “Dragonstone is where the dragon eggs and other young hatchlings reside. I wish to give you another chance at getting a dragon for yourself. If you are bold enough to try and claim one, that is.”

The Forbidden Dragon

Aemond tensed. His head thumped him again. Only, this time the thump came with an idea. Maybe the reason no egg had hatched for him was because he was not meant for them. There was an older, larger and fiercer dragon on Driftmark that had recently become riderless… “You question my boldness, Father,” Aemond said. “I’ll show you how bold I am.”

His father studied him with care and then frowned. “If you are planning to take Vhagar,” he said, as if reading his mind. “I expressly forbid you from doing so. In fact, I expressly forbid you from going near that dragon. She is too dangerous. Her breath is so hot, it can melt a knight’s armour and cook him inside.”

Aemond scrunched up his face and folded his arms. Too dangerous? What did his father know of danger? The King did nothing but drink, feast and sleep. Aemond would show him that nothing was too dangerous. Not even Vhagar; that the heat of her breath was just a rumour made up by those who shat themselves when they saw her.

*

The Dragon And The Brat

The stench assaulted his nostrils. Aemond wrinkled his nose as he continued, quietly, around the cavernous corner. He smiled as he came to the open cave. Vhagar was there, sleeping peacefully on her stomach, despite being chained to the wall. Now, all Aemond had to do was tiptoe toward her, making as little noise as possible, climb onto her back and-

“You shouldn’t be here.”

Aemond’s heart ceased. He spun round to find his three-year old nephew, Prince Joffrey, behind him. “Go back to bed!” Aemon whispered sternly. “You have no business here.”

“I couldn’t sleep. I was going to my mother’s bed, but saw you sneaking out of your chambers and-”

“You should have stayed in your bed, like a big boy,” Aemond interrupted, walking up in front of him, to intimidate the little brat. “Now, go to your bed or to your mother. I don’t care. Just go away and pretend you never saw me here.”

How Do You Know That?

Joffrey blinked at him, blandly; his large brown eyes seemingly vacant to his uncle’s words. “The King said you are not allowed to go near Vhagar,” he said, in a quiet voice.

How do you know that? Neither Joffrey nor his brothers, nor his mother had been present when King Viserys had said that. Gods, word travelled fast on Driftmark. “That’s not true,” Aemond lied. “The King has said no such thing. No go back to bed!”

Aemond turned his back on Joffrey and tip-toed forward. Vhagar did not stir as he approached her. That was a good sign. By this point, the young dragons he had tried to claim had hissed at him, even if they had been asleep…

“Stop! Stop!” Joffrey wailed. “You are not allowed. Vhagar’ll burn you-”

Aemond turned around and slapped the boy across the face. The slap rang around the cavern. “I told you to shut up!” Aemond hissed. “Now, I’ll make you!”

He slapped the little brat again and shoved him with all his might, sending Joffrey into the stinking pile of dragon droppings. The droppings engulfed him.

Vhagar

Vhagar, when she had been ridden by Visenya during the Conquest, turning a ship into a flame.

Then, a low growl rumbled. Aemond’s stomach lowered itself inside him as he turned around to face Vhagar. If she was going to devour him, he would do it as a hero: facing his end, boldly.

The dragon looked down at Aemond, glaring at him. But she showed no sign of anger or desire to burn him. Rather, her large cat-like eyes glinted with dare.

Aemond smiled widely. Confidently, he marched up to the dragon and climbed on to her back, and saddled himself. Vhagar bellowed a roar and sprung into the air, breaking her chains.

Up and up and up they went. Aemond’s heart quickened as the wind rushed past him; as his hair whipped across his face; and as his eyes watered. At last, Aemond Targaryan had found his dragon.

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