(Situation: This short story takes place seven years after An Eye For An Eye. Here, Aemond is at a feast with his family, including half-sister and bastard nephews, and he smugly toasts to the “Three Strong Boys” to the horror of everyone around him.)
Prince Aemond Targaryan stared at his father through his solitary eye, chewed on the inside of his cheek, and shook his head. King Viserys, sitting at the head of the feast table, devoured his goose breast hungrily as if he were famished rather than on his fourth course. Aemond could not understand it. Not so long ago, the King had been feverish and near death. How had he recovered to full health so quickly?
“To your good health, Your Grace,” Ser Criston Cole, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, toasted. “It is magnificent to see you back to your old ways.”
“Did you think I wouldn’t go back to my old ways?” the King responded, wryly. “I enjoy good food and good wine too much.”
He slapped his paunch with his maimed hand, as courtesans, women, and children attending the feast raised their cups and cheered. Aemond tilted his head back and let the wine slide into his mouth. The sapphire jewel, in place of his eye, jilted and pushed against the inside of his eye socket, paining him. Aemond scowled. Seven years had passed since he had lost his eye and still the wound hurt.
The Prince looked at the King, laughing, and grinded his teeth. “I don’t understand,” he said, turning to his brother, Prince Aegon. “How is Father able to laugh and jape with his courtesans as if nothing hurts him? Do the stumps where his fingers used to be not itch him?” As my eye itches me.
“Stop brooding, Brother,” Prince Aegon whispered. “If you do not smile and feign merriment, the court will suspect that you would rather Father had succumbed to fever.”
If he had, I would be on course to getting justice for my eye. Aemond dared not say it, not even to his older brother, but he had been furious when Maester Gerardis had arrived from Dragonstone and saved the King’s life by cutting off two of his fingers. Aemond had waited seven years to get justice on Lucerys for wounding him. So long as King Viserys lived, there was no chance of justice. “Brother, I assure you,” Aemond responded. “I am thrilled that our father lives. To think what would befall the Seven Kingdoms if he were to die is almost unthinkable.”
“Almost, indeed,” Aegon said, his lips curling upwards.
Aemond smirked. It was good to know that his brother was still on the same page as him.
No Hunger For War
The King stood up and the floorboards groaned under his weight. “Pardon me for a while,” he said. “His Grace has eaten too much and must partake in the ungraceful act of relieving himself, so he can have some more food later.”
The lords and ladies laughed. “Thank you for phrasing it so gracefully, Your Grace,” Queen Alicent said, devoid of humour. “We await your return.”
King Viserys drained his flagon of ale, belched, chuckled and left the hall. Aemond scowled. His father acted like an indolent, fat fool and everyone loved him for it. How was Aemond cursed to have a father who preferred feasting and drinking to war?
Aemond had always thought that war and bloodshed was what people lived for. It was why he, and every other boy in the realm, had sword-practice every day. What was the point in spending hours in the damn mud and rain when no-one hungered for war at court?
“Aemond One-Eye we should call him,” Lucerys whispered.
Aemond snapped his head. Jacaerys, Lucerys and Joffrey sniggered about what Lucerys had said, and Aemond’s blood heated. “What did you call me?”
Two of his nephews ceased sniggering. “Nothing,” Jacaerys lied.
“We weren’t talking about you,” Lucerys said.
Liar! “If you were mocking me for having one eye,” Aemond said. “You’d do well to remember why because I haven’t forgotten.”
“Aye, because you took Vhagar,” Princess Rhaenyra put in. She stood over her sons; her belly, swollen with child, protruded to squash itself in between the backrest of her son’s chairs. “I seem to remember the King forbidding you to take that dragon, and my sons tried to uphold His Grace’s decision. Or have you forgotten that part, Brother?”
Half-brother. But instead of reminding her that they did not share all the same blood, Aemond smiled and tapped his knife against the sapphire where his eye used to be. “It was worth losing an eye to have the largest and fiercest dragon in the world under my command,” he said, as the jewel chinked. “Plus, I have proven that I can ride a dragon and fight with a sword as well as if I had two good eyes. It almost begs the question of why anyone needs two eyes when one will suffice.”
“We could beat you in a swordfight now,” Lucerys said. “We were half your height and strength back then. Not anymore, though!”
Three Strong Boys
Aemond widened his smile. Such was its width, he reckoned it was demonic. “Oh, you are right,” he said, mockingly. Subsequently, he stood up and raised his goblet. “I would like to make a toast to my nephews. They have become three strong boys. It is such joy to see how strong they have become; for they are such strong boys.”
Everyone at the feast fell silent. The air tautened, and all stared at Aemond. Just as he wanted. The sense of satisfaction warmed him more than the wine. Finally, he had been able to call out his sister’s treason, and his nephews true heritage, in a way that no-one could argue with him about or punish him for.
As he sat back down, Aemond took note that Rhaenyra was glowering at him. If her eyes would have been swords, he would have been cut to pieces already. No doubt, she would have been assisted by her three bastards in lacerating him, as they had the same look on their faces; all of which looked bore striking, if varying, resemblances the late Ser Harwin Strong.
Sowing The Seeds Of War
“Brother,” Aegon whispered. “If I didn’t know you better, I would say you were trying to sow the seeds of war.”
“Someone has to breed the animosity necessary for war,” Aemond whispered back. “This damnable court has become too used to peace. The men have gone soft in the process. I aim to change that. Otherwise, how else will we ensure that justice prevails and that no bastards ever sit on the Iron Throne when Father dies?”
Aegon nodded. “You are creating a situation of no return,” he said, matter-of-factly. “Rhaenyra will not forget this slight.”
“Good. If it makes her declare war on us faster, the better.”
PS: If you enjoyed this fanfiction short story (Three Strong Boys) and wish to read the final part of the Origins to the Dance With Dragons mini-series, please fill in the short form below: