You were born of fire. In the heat of your realms biggest war to date, the War of the Seven, the gods bellowed your chest with flames in the southern heat. Your grandfather, well known for his madness, could not keep your wail from the world. And there is no doubt, he tried. Aerys II, the Mad King, blew his pyres across your lands, the lands your blood had conquered, and might have blown out the wick of your life if it were not for that very same blood. The histories of the great libraries try to paint him well, but with accuracy all the same, his story gives justice to your father's actions. Your father ascended early to the throne, with a wife clutching her children, and another girl in his arms soon to wed.
Jon swaddled you, he wrapped you in his cloak and dashed from the Red Keep after planting seeds of deceit to distract your grandfather. Your first months are not of the Capitol you will call your home as an adult, and it is not the ancestral home of Dragonstone either. It is Griffin's Roost. It is warm, and cherished, and there is a sense you get when you step there that suggests that maybe, one day, you will remember the hall that carried your first laugh and your months of cries. If Jon is ever asked of it, he seems to think of it fondly, a time for my first taste of fatherhood, he said to you once. You have wondered how it ever made him desire his own, as he paints you as an unruly babe. One that was loud, unsettled as if knowing it was not home, and commanding even before the ability to speak was developed.
You did not sleep in your proper crib until months later. Until your mother had been rooted from her hiding spot, and your sister laid slain with her, but you won't know the mare of this event until later in your life. As an infant, you will not miss her as you have a mother, with bright eyes and dark features of the North. And as a toddler, you will not think to ask your father of the little statue on Dragontstone erected for Rhaenys because you will be preoccupied by other siblings.
As a child, you were happy. You were boisterous, charming, and so full of joy your father didn't seem to understand how to contain it. After all, you had two little wolves to play with before you were even a year old. The twins were there to pick and be picked, and with one of them looking every bit the silver-feature of your own, you never thought to ask if they shared the same womb as you. Matarys, as different as he was, shared your father's laugh, the same familiar grin cooed you to his side at any beck. And within a few years, your playmates would expand to those outside of your younger brothers. Your hands would wrap around that of a sister, Visenya, among the children of your father's men.
You would never truly want for anything, your father has seen to that for all your years, well sheltered with a kingdom at your call and a thousand people looking over you. You even see the first sights of magic in your life early, as a dragon egg was placed in your bedchamber at four. It was dark thing, that intimidated and excited you all at once, your little body a mess of nerves as your father bestowed it. He gave his speech of its importance, dragons, the first the world will have seen in a very long time. You can still remember as an adult the heat the little rock emitted against your palm, half your height at the time. It was molten, swirls of your house colors, the colors you knew to be proud of and to favor.
The heat grew every day, you felt comforted by it most of the time, however no one else seemed to feel it. So when you did complain, your caregiver thought you might be sick. It would have been the first fever to claim your body, something they were seemingly anticipating even though you had never seen your father sick. Others, sure. There were always people in the infirmary when you trampled through it, dared by your friends and imagination to outrun the spirits, the disease, the mortal world. You didn't feel ill though, off maybe, but not ill. So, with the great fuss, you kept the heat to yourself. If the room was not warm to anyone else, surely it was fine. It was the dreams you couldn't keep a secret. They had started small, motions of colors similar to ones you had dreamt your whole tiny life, but they had feelings attached that you didn't understand, sometimes sounds. They began before you mentioned the warmth to anyone. The first one brought you awake with a jolt only nights after your egg found its royal place in your chambers. You didn't scream, you just remained there. Wondering. Your caregiver came to you in the morning, to find your usually peaceful eyes open and wide. And it continued, on and off for some weeks later.
Growing more intensely every night you dreamt, so much so, there was a small draft of potion they tried every few days to give you some rest. When your egg hatched, you had seen his face before he even emerged. You had seen the dark, liquid gold eyes ringed with black with slivers of pupils. They had almost reminded you of a cat, with a prowess that suggested mischief and power. You had seen the scales, darker than the red of your name. You had seen the wings, and in your dreams they grew larger and mightier. They circled around you whispering his name and... and there he was, the egg smoking as you woke screaming at the suddenness. Your father barely made it in time to see the birth of your dragon, starting the tradition of nearly missing, or entirely missing, your life's greatest moments. As you age, you'll grow to forgiven him of this, but it will strain your relationship as a boy.
At five, that was when you heard a comment from your grandmother on the likeness of your demeanor to your sister as she mused on your stepping of her toes. You assumed as the words hit your ears that she meant one of your two younger ones, of which Rhaenna had barely been born. But, even as a newly made babe, she was all you were allegedly not with a happy gurgle. Most seemed taken with both so thoroughly there was no doubting the compliment in it, it was the small gesture of her companion that made your brow pop in question of a misstep. You were in Dragonstone, where your father and guardians tried often to bring you to connect to your roots and even at such a tender age, they had begun your lessons. It was a bleak island to you even then, hard in its lines and missing the faces and halls you had become so familiar with. It was that night, as you passed the statue you always had, that you suddenly wondered who the girl could have been to forever be so enshrined. Who, you had asked to the Maester as he passed, trying his best to gather you for your lesson in letters. This was the first mark on your heart, even as gentle as his voice carried the abridged version of the sister you were deprived of. It was more than your little mind could wrap around, you cried. You had no concept of the permanence of death, of what it meant to lose someone or something. You cried because it sounded sad, you cried without even knowing fully why you should. He did his best to comfort you, but in the ended it was into the arms of Lyanna you went, with her motherly hold tight until you tired.
It was not as if your father had ever meant to keep that part of your life a secret from you, it was the pain. So recent was the pain of the loss and the grief he faced at the wonder of what he could have done that he hadn't forced it. When you had been shown the statue before, you were told it was Rhaenys Targaryen, a brave little warrior. Perhaps, he had whispered it to you in infancy, but the mention of her being your sister had been left off as you toddled around. He set you down the next day, breaking your little image of the world with a quiet tale of the loss he had lived at the greeting of your call to life. A wife and daughter he lost, and you asked who they were. Rhaegar did his best, his somber strength guiding you to understand the sister you were so alike to, and the Princess of Dorne that bore you both. It was brief, but enough of a tale at the time. And when you asked if you would ever meet her, them, your father just knelt with a promise of one day, one day they all would, and he prayed it would not be soon.
You curiously inspected your siblings that day, trying to notice the difference. They were so... like you, how could they only be half of your blood? You didn't really understand it, or what that might mean for you even, it just felt like someone had told you your favorite flower was a pesky weed. You might have smothered your siblings that day, each of them, with extra attention and affection. And that was that, that might have been the only day you ever wondered if they were not entirely of you. For they were, even at that young age, you thought that even half-blood was enough for you to love them fully. Your brothers, your sisters, you shared to much to risk viewing them differently due to the loss you had that you can't even remember. Your family would be flowers, your parents the garden you grew in, and their men and women the tenders.
You might not have understood the war of your birth, but there were parts of it you had unsheathed now. And it was that that stoked a desire in you to learn. It became easier to coax you from the fun your siblings promised to the works of the Maester and mentors your father had chosen for you. You were quick, once you put your mind to the task of trying at least. You excelled easily, and found history to be what you were most enthused to study. Each lesson left another question, and fathoming the world to be so much older than you made you feel awesomely small. And yet, it promised you could be big. Aegon the VI. You would be a ruler, not that you understood much of that as a child beyond being allowed to boss people around for the rest of your life.
As you age beside them, you forget at times that there is any difference. It is easy, the bond you share only intensified by the hatch of other dragons. Those of your aunt and uncle, as well as one of your brothers and sisters. You each had an egg, a promise of the flames to fan the history of Aegon I, the first Targaryen King, the man and his descendants you were named for. The more you learned of him, the more you think you want to be like him. You pull pieces of all the Aegons before you, trying to find the forge for your own name. Hopeful that the other side of their greatness never falls upon you, you fight it. And you do have to fight it, you've had to from a young age, tempted by emotionsy. You do not allow yourself to be lazy, you seek conversation and work to develop your tongue, you would thrive on the realm and tend to its needs whenever possible, you do not let the fire within you vanish.
Your studies would be different from your siblings, groomed for a throne you had sat upon with your father's knees to protect you from its points. You are raised beside them, but often taken away from them. The few years between you along with the procession of your birth enough to change your life from theirs. You would one day occupy the same seat as your father, and though you think your siblings capable of filling it too, you hope it doesn't come to that.
It is under the arms of Jon Connington, Arthur Dayne, and Barristan Selmy that you truly take flight, though there are many that have a hand in flapping your proverbial wings. They will become your uncles in time, two men that you could scarcely imagine a childhood or future without. Arthur is the first one to put a blade in your hand, before your father even agrees for your training to begin. It is time, he argued to his King, a training sword already in hand less than a year after your dragon crawled from its ossified shell. It is a fond memory for you, in padding tied to your chest and legs so dense you are still surprised you had the ability to move at all. And the sword was still to large for your small frame, let alone the helmet you were insisted to wear. It ended up on the ground within five minutes, a thrash of your hand as if your game was being compromised. Arthur would train you personally, and your brothers with even Visenya in tow. With no children of his own, he seemed to consider you the son he never possessed, and your siblings the nieces and nephews he never had time to know.
Before the age of ten, you would be a decent warrior, with potential for more if you could learn to control the anger that occasionally plagues you. Your father began considering your path, where you might squire, with Arthur and Barristan giving input to where you might meet two unblooded brothers of your own while developing your growing skills. It seems to be what he wants most for you, for you to be able to surround yourself with people so due for the trust he can give his own companions. It is no surprise then that at twelve, your father decided you would squire under Arthur Dayne, at the side of Jon's young son Devan, for what better a match?
And you continue to excel intellectually as well, you will have read more than you ever should by the time death claims you. Jon, a just and guiding hand to suggest you know as much as possible. Even, even on what your father might wish otherwise. He is always your confidant, he is always a man you know you can turn to without hesitation. His loyalty is more than you think you deserve, which is one thing you and your father apparently share in attitude. Still, when you look at him as you learn more of the history of your world, he will continue to awe you. As an adult even, you will never forget his devotion, you will be aware of it until your last day. And if his Gods are true, well into the embrace of the Stranger.
Jon teaches you the world. His free time as a youth spent learning of ancestors, of his home and yours, before he went to squire with your father. By eleven, you have read, you have been taught, and you know you have been spared by your maesters about the brutality of the War of the Seven, the rebellion of the Blackfyres, and the plague. Among the pages of history books, you find what happened to Elia Martell and your full-blooded sister. You lament, withdrawing for days. You are interested that you and your siblings all have different reactions to these lessons. Visenya wants justice, Valarr desires vengeance, Matarys craves a new light for the future... You, you don't know what you want. But you want to know them, so you pull every volume containing your mother's name from the library, and you ask Jon. The more you learn, of her, of everything really, the more your eyes begin to reflect your father. How would you ever make a difference in the world if these great men before you could not even save a woman so renown for her compassion or a babe so pure? And what did that say of the Gods that allowed it to pass? The life they had given you, so golden in the eyes of your youth, began to tarnish.
Soon, when you thought of your fond memories, you wondered what lurked behind them. You see the turmoil and grief in the times of your birth, and hidden hard times in the veil of your caretakers throughout your young life, the destiny the gods carved harsh on your stone. You try not to let it diminish your grin, but it can't be helped. The melancholy that followed your father as a youth began to follow you then, though not as severe. You began to feel the weight of the impending crown. You understand that every person that looked over you as a child was made to do so due to the time of your birth. You wondered if your father faced civil rebellion after your grandfather, if there were any threats at court you had missed. There is a part of you that develops some sense of paranoia, dissecting every interaction you could recall. You disappear further into your studies, separating you from your siblings however unmeant that was. And you fly more.
On the back of Aemithor, you still feel small. But you feel the power from the beat of his wings, from the smooth edge of his scales, from the mind you know you're connected to. And there are no guards. It's hard for a mortal man to keep up with a leviathan. So, when you can, you take to mounting your beast and racing off, often it is in bad spirits. You find a serenity there, especially when the other dragonriders do not come after you. Once, you had all of them on your tail, before Summerhall's restoration was complete and you had jolted off to see it. It wasn't a long flight, several hours as the crow - er, dragon, flies. You just wished you had been born before, so you could see it in its smolder and complete ruin. Even though the sight of the disheveled reconstruction was anything but orderly, you... just wanted to see the grief your father was born into. It felt like a symbol of something you shared. You had stayed there, circling the fallen spires, worried that your own children would share it too. And it will not be the first time you have this thought, you will circle many places upon his back in your life, questioning the plans of the gods.
Your path continued turned in circles, searching to finding a cure for the swirl of flames inside your heart, through books, lessons, and battle. You take to tactics, you thrive in the ring, and you appease your mentors. Your first tourney, your first true fight, the one in which you know your father and his men had no interference with your competition. No one letting you win because you were a prince, and no one going easy on you out of fear of consequences, no one fussing over you for your mishaps. And you won. It was not a gracious event, a mixed melee, and you barely found your footing, but you discovered the love of a spear. It fit your growing height, at thirteen you were quickly approaching the promise of your father's height, and the lean frame you possessed. And as you thrust, parried, and let it strike, you finally understood what Arthur meant when he said to let your weapon be an extension of your arm. You'd been using the wrong blade. A longsword was heavy, the spear you plucked from the ground in the melee allowed you to be lithe. Fair enough to say your Uncle Oberyn beamed, clasping you on the shoulder, in the great heat of Sunspear. He introduced you to your half-cousins, his bastard daughters, that day. And as you look at the ones present, you try to find the resemblance of Rhaenys in their features. It is hard to find, but you think there is a spark of it. And it is that spark that draws you closer to your southern uncle, as you rarely saw him or felt a need to before. There was information there, about your lost kin, and you wanted it.
Your prowess in battle and war tactics continued to improve, a new-found confidence from the claim of your spear. Even Barristan and Arthur noted how much it suited you, as if they felt wrong to have never mentioned it before. You train it vigorously, and continue to work with the longsword of your peers too. Soon, you begin to receive honest praise for your efforts, and start a collection of tourney titles of your own.
At times you were prone to dramatics, especially in your younger years. They still plague you now, but less so openly. You're able to hold your emotions in more stably, showing the brunt of them to only a select few. Your sister, Visenya, among them however that would develop later in your life than sooner. As a younger man, you always fought with showing your siblings that nature of yours. Even more so when Aelix started to show his own tempers, this is where you curbed it. After a certain age, it dawned on you that you would be compared to your grandfather more than your siblings, as the one due to rule. You would be under the scrutiny of others in a manner they might never know, and you had to make the nobles respect you, the commoners love you, and keep all from doubting your abilities. It became easier the less you saw them, the connection to your core. The more your nose was in a book, the less you felt reactive to the world and the woes that plagued your strong mind and soft heart. You see that part of yourself in him, Aelix, and have always tried to give him what you felt like you didn't have, someone to share it with, whenever you can. You will be free of many things, but never your burdens. And never your family, which you care about deeply despite your distance. You know you will shoulder much of what they will go through, and though the years will put distance between you and them, you will always try to uniquely help each of them. Your weights will be heavy, but you have all the tools and hands to find a way to carry them.
With time you learn how to be pragmatic, how to handle the diplomats of the realm, and begin sitting in on council meetings as more than just a set of ears just shy of fifteen. The game of thrones your mentors warn you of begins to make more sense with each passing day. And over next several years, you will begin to create your own plans, calculating your next move and whittling your own pawns. Your tone will ring in independence, in self-reliance, in honesty and justice. Your tongue will be deliberate, and you will never miss a word without purpose, most of what you will do will be done with intent. You will free yourself of timidity of those around you, and you will show them the tenacity behind your mild manner.
On your sixteenth name day, your father graced you with quite the surprise. His gift to you was many things, your sister among them. In his solar he told you of his plan for you to wed her, with Visenya standing at your side. You questioned it immediately. Openly, with respect but without hesitation. There had been great upset at the tradition in the past, who was to say there wouldn't be again? Your head had spun, and for several weeks, you felt awkward in the presence of your sister. And she just kept finding a way to be in your area too. While you came to terms with the arrangement and resolved to make the best of it with time, she just decided to close the distance between your lives entirely. Your younger sister began to break her fast with you, she drank wine with you, she sparred with you, she read with you, she raced with you, she rode with you. She might as well have chained her hand to yours. It was often overwhelming for you. But you saw it. You saw what your father did in her potential as an effective queen, and the more you admired her abilities the more you relaxed. If nothing else, the pressure eased because you knew she was a good match, and trusted that in time the lines for brother and sister, husband and wife, would define themselves. You were the one that suggested flying together, as a specific time the two of you could share without distractions. A promise to mount your dragons and fly alone together, and to spend time. You liked spending time with Visenya, she was patient yet strong and fierce. You thought it would improve your image if commoners saw your winged beasts frolicking the skies together, and you were not wrong, over time it helped tremendously. As did your devotion to tending to her in and out of public, you wanted to do right by her and focused as much of your energy as you could muster into it as often as possible. That was not to say you were perfect at this new task undertaken in courting her, but you did try.
You only truly did a poor job once. In the halls of your Lannisters, under the tourney banners of your father's men, you celebrated and drank to joys of the lords and ladies of Westeros. You had always indulged in speaking with others your age at these events, paving the way for fine relationships as everyone came into their own in the future. And with enough wine and flattery you found yourself abed with someone very much not your betrothed. You hadn't a habit of passionate engagements, and it was soon after the announcement of your father's plans for your co-ruler. There was much about Coraly Velaryon that had brought the first greeting from your lips, that had enticed you and ended with her in your room. You were not smooth, but you were gentle, and when you were done... well, you were done. For what else could it be? You knew you had to see your union to your sister to acceptance, and while perhaps one day you could dare to take a second-wife, or a paramour, it would not be soon. She left after a few words exchanged, and you haven't seen much of her since. She has a rather special talent for avoiding you.
It was a long engagement, one where you saw many changes within your realm.
You will see your grandmother dead, lords assassinated, and the life of your siblings threatened. You will mourn each loss of your countrymen as if they were your family, after all, some of them are.
You will see your siblings married first. Valarr, Matarys, and Rhaenna all whisked away to their new seats. And despite the Red Keep being emptied, you still felt the presence of their missing beings through your relationship with Visenya. When the gods took your siblings from your grasp, awarding them with a hopeful future, she grounded you against yourself. For a brief time, you felt lost. Your family, the soul of your devotion, uprooted from your side. She let you lean on her, she centered your judgement, and she eased the process of accepting that life would take you all even further from each other in time. She was also quick to ride without whenever your heartsick begged the view of their faces.
You will see your mother missing, you will see her dead after a time. For all her fire, Visenya could not melt the snow of the North fast enough to find her. She had raced to the back of her dragon, your hand a clenched fist as you stayed to support your father and hold the kingdom together. Weeks, weeks went by before the news came and she returned, your youngest sister carrying the remains by the power of her new husband's fleet. You questioned again the destiny your gods had given you, were you to lose all that you love? Another mother lost to the gears of war. And there would be war, you knew it like a heavy weight in your chest. There would be a war, even if you had to start it, you would not let her death go unanswered. The council entrusted the preparations of the impending winter, the one you had waited your whole life to see, primarily to Jon. Your father was strong, but the loss of his she-wolf wretched his reality from him. He spent a large amount of time in his chambers, he tended to what he could from there, but you tried to ease the wound by assuming as much responsibility as you could muster. And delegating it to his most trusted men when you could not.
You were almost twenty when you wed. The realm still bled the blood of your mother, the fire that burned her remains ablaze for days. You kept it going, throwing wood and ordering Aemithor to lit it when it dimmed. You didn't want it to be a quick thing, you wanted the fire hot, you wanted it to linger, you wanted it to be known and remembered. And as a show, you made sure your wedding that followed so soon in suit was the same. The grandeur was beyond words, your orders to pull the coffers and spare no expense met for the union of the long awaited heirs. You knew, the whole family knew, that even though it was the last thing you wanted to do in that moment, you must. You had to show the crown was unbroken, that the throne would be filled, and that the death of your fair mother would not wreck the lot of you. As much of a lie as that was, the ceremony and celebration were all they needed to be. If even for a moment, in the arms of the one that had become your truest companion, you forgot the woes. Visenya was the saving grace to your grief, the strength that solidified you. You hate that she makes you feel so, that you are reliant on her in a way, but you hope she continues to be this anchor in the times to come.
You go to war. The first war of your young life. With you and your source of strength separated from each other. Visenya ventured to the Stormlands, as did many that you know, and claimed the battle along the rocky crags of its shoreline. And you, you flew with all the fury and might of your doomed heart to Volantis. You left before the official order was given from your father and his men, as they gathered forces for your efforts and made promises of an alliance with the Free Cities that would see your father wed anew. You left.
You were supposed to be an example of diplomacy, and you put your swirl of emotions aside to try and make your father and your realm proud. And yet, when you arrived at Triarchs, you knew that your war would be made. You were met with great force. An arrow pierced your shoulder, straight through the smallest gap that existed, where the cap plates met your chest. It exited through the other side, fetching protruding from your front as if a flag of their achievement. And, as if you and your beast truly shared body and soul, he was struck as well. You both fell, his wing beat lost to the stun of the wound. Aemithor almost recovered, his large frame close enough to the ground that when you lost your grip you survived the descend. Go, you had yelled, begging him not to take another harpoon in your rescue. You knew you would not die, they would need you, the crowned prince of Westeros. They would never survive your death, surely they were aware. At least, you hoped, even in your embarrassment and bruised ego, Go.
You met them with masked honor, a formality to hide the growing anger in you. One you would release by torching the streets when your uncle Viserys comes to your aid. As he helped you escape, you were brutal in your exit. A stolen spear into the underside of a helm, a taken longsword to cut through the middle, a dagger to slit the neck... You made quite the show of your frustration, but nothing will compare to the blaze you set upon the city. You hoisted yourself to the back of your dragon and burned every corner. And you knew that there was a new pain and a new plight awoken within you.
You had Aemithor's mouth emitting flames until Viserys knocked against you and your giant beast with his own. You had done enough, you knew it, but you wanted to fire to smoke the sky as dark as night all around Volantis. You breathed a plume of inferno over the cities you passed on your return, both in signalling the betrayal you had bared and a promising threat of what it cost your enemies.
In time, when your wounds have been treated and your ego mended, you cross the Narrow Sea again. Your sister-wife was at your side, providing you all the strength she so often did, and you took it. You took it and you reared the head of your dragon above the city. It caught, devouring all that stood in its path. Your younger brothers, the twins that greeted life so shortly after you, injured and lifeblood thinning. You pressed the city harder, the back of your dragon abandoned to the turn of a spear in your hand. You knew he was nearby, his screech raging through the air and his wings beating so ferociously the dirt and dust of Tyrosh threatened to create their own storms. The dark side of your anger had freed itself, seeing no cause for pause. This city was holding a man who had harmed your realm, cursed your reign, and harmed your family. Tyrion Lannister, and he was going to find the justice of the Gods worked through your will to be a terrible one. Your father's new wife placed him in shackles, in your guiding hands for his journey to his rightful place, the dungeons of the Iron Throne.
Back behind the walls of the Red Keep, you are restless. The war with the Stepstones, Tyrion Lannister's sentence, the impending winter that reaches your hands in obscure letters, the loss of your companions, and the whisper of life growing inside your sister-wife... The fate of the realm rests partially in your widespread palms, making the circlet you bare heavier than ever. You are told to be joyous of the coming child, but you lament for he will be born in sorrow as you were and your father before you. The somber aura of your father, especially his youth, is commented to be akin through the lines that your faces often draws. Only, you act an illusion to hide the dark, seething anger you possess towards those that have wrong you, your family, and your people. It pushes those closest to you away, as if they might disapprove of your hurt. Your determination to find the justice your realm deserves, the vengeance you desire, and the peace your people need. You will do what you must to herald a new era, one where your son will know in his life the peace your tenderest memories had promised you.