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The Great Council Part I

Posted on Thu Apr 29th, 2021 @ 4:13pm by Lord Aethan Velaryon & Lord Myles Lannister & Ser Stevron Velaryon & Lady Shireen Velaryon & Lady Lynora Lannister & Lady Daena Celtigar & Steffon Lannister & Lord Jonah Tully & Lord Samwell Tully & Lord Garth Blackwater & Ser Jevan Darry & Ser Renn Baratheon & Lady Joanna Hightower & Lord Brannis Baratheon & Lord Parmen Blackwater & Lord Yohn Arryn & Lord Alfaric Dondarrion & Lord Omer Redwyne & Lord Jorah Farman & Ser Erac Greyjoy & Ser Luthor Mullendore & Maester Othro & Lady Lileander Baratheon & Lady Helja Greyjoy & Lady Neia Greyjoy & Lady Alysanne Oakheart & Prince Nymor Martell

Mission: The Great Council
Location: The Dragonpit
Timeline: The First Day of the Great Council

The rebuilt structure of the Dragonpit, though paying close homage to the original architecture, now resembled more of an open-air amphitheater. The area only served to host the Great Councils of the Six Kingdoms, the ruins that surrounded the new area served as a reminder of the 400-year history of Kings Landing.

For many, the previous days had been full. The efforts of which led to the Great Council convened to select a new leader of the Six Kingdoms.

For the Velaryon party, the morning had been busy. Much thought had been put into appearances, near as much as went into helping the Velaryon’s come to their decisions on the matters at hand. “Today will be one of pageantry and politics, more than any other.” Shireen said as the trio walked from their wheelhouse to the Dragonpit. “We mustn’t betray anything with our faces, nor our body language. We must remain very mindful.” Her voice dripped with warning

Aethan and Stevron could do nothing but glance to one another before they met with Lord Sunderland at the pit’s entrance.

“Pleasant morning my Lords, Lady Shireen.” He said cordially with a nod. He looked dreadfully tired, as though he couldn’t possibly wait for the task of leading the Great Council to come to an end.

Joanna and Ser Luthor arrived shortly after the Velaryons. If Joanna had tired herself in preparation, it did not show. The tall woman moved with a brisk, confident step. Her high-necked smoky grey samite dress was accented with reds and oranges, giving the entire ensemble a light air only emphasized by her sky blue eyes and golden hair. She smiled gently to Lord Sunderland as she arrived.

“Lady Joanna.” The Hand smiled. “Such a vision of beauty to make the morning brighter.

"Thank you, my lord. The Realm has mourned a good man. Now we must look to the future with hope," she answered him.

“Well spoken.” Sunderland smiled. “I’d no idea you were such the diplomat.”

"One must be," Joanna said unassumingly, though her smile had a hint of pride. She made her way to her seat.

With far less of the pomp and circumstance of the occasion, in strolled the triad of the Ironborn. Theirs was an austerity tinged with menace and though they wore no visible weaponry, Helja Salt-hair, Neia Blue Cheek and Erac Sea Viper glowered with the cold content of Ironborn ready to kill upon the council. In silence they moved with deliberate action toward their space within. Their clothes were the solemn gray and black of the Iron Islands, looking almost like they'd come from the battlefield or their ships but simply sans armor. And even then, Helja and Neia had chosen iron coifs as a decorative feature.

Helja Salt-hair posed in her place on the edge of her seat, her son and daughter standing at her sides and behind, blue eyes coldly staring out like gargoyles watching their charge. Erac in particular had a menacing smile like he was surmising which of these soft-bodied land folk he'd like to see bleed the most. Neia was far more inscrutable, much like her mother, but her gaze no less soul-boring. Helja nodded with cool respect at a number of high lords.

With a similar austerity but far more respectful the Baratheons filed inside with silence- they all wore black with silver crests on either lapel or as cloak claps. Lileander wore a veil to hide her mourning, a gauze of black lace embroidered with the Baratheon stag and the Blackwater rose. Only Brannis had dared a hint of color- the decorative slashes in his sleeves were a very pale Baratheon gold. Renn wore a long-fitted coat that swung to mid-calf with a stiff banded collar. If anything it made him appear leaner and taller than he already was. He walked, eyes down in respect, in utter silence with his usual whiff of melancholy.

"Good morrow." Lord Sunderland said, as the Baratheon's approached.

Brannis brightened and extended his hand, "Ah, Lord Sunderland," he said warmly grasping the man's hand. "Good Morrow. How does your family?"

“Well, Lord Brannis. My son and nephew are already seated inside.” Sunderland smiled. “And yours?”

"Renn is meandering somewhere, I suspect," Brannis noted. "Mother is seated I believe." He bent to look at their place on the dais and found her looking still and silent.

"Best head in. We begin soon." Sunderland nodded.

Brannis agreed with a nod, crisply done, "Lord Sunderland. See you after."

The Baratheon's were followed by Lady Daena Celtigar, a single Crab Knight from her home isle, and a Maester. "Lord Sunderland." She said, moving the black veil from her face and extending a hand to the Hand.

Sunderland took it up and kissed it. "Lady Daena, my deepest condolences for your recent loss. Lord Celtigar was a formidable mind and a vocal addition to the realm."

Daena smiled. "Thank you." She looked forward. "is my Lord nephew already here?"

Sunderland nodded. "Lord Aethan is inside."

Daena and her party entered, allowing the Lannisters to follow in behind her. "Ah, Lord Sunderland." Said Lord Myles Lannister, his wife and eldest son flanked his rear. They didn't wait and converse with the Hand before proceeding into the Dragonpit.

From a short distance across the dais, Renn Baratheon dropped into his chair at his mother’s side. She, nervously, twitched her hand into his and looked on into the crowd. She gaze to the stone-like sneer of the Greyjoys. How would they vote? Renn dared a gaze toward the Velaryon place on the dais, trying to find Aethan’s face.

Turning ever so slightly, Aethan found Renn's face in the swelling crowd. He smiled and then turned back to his party.

Eyes met and then as cautiously slipped away. Renn turned attention to the affair: the swelling numbers in the Dragonpit. How was this going to go? He hoped for no war. He sensed movement behind him and a man with a scraggily pageboy cut and a rough chopped beard shifted. "Lord Alfaric," he said with an extension of his hand. The Dondarrion lord grasped it and shook it.

"Mi'Lord Baratheon," he said with a nod. Alfaric took his seat and turned attention to the same place that Renn oversaw.

Jonah Tully, dressed in another fine but simple red and blue doublet with his sigil embroidered on his chest walked into the Dragonpit. By his side his head of guard, Ser Joffrey the Green, as well as his trusted friend Ser Jevan Darry. On Jon's belt was both a dagger and his Valyrian steel sword Crossroads. He had chosen to be clean shaven for the Great Council. His hair had also been cleanly cut. For all the world he looked like the picture of a respectable riverlord.

"Lord Sunderland, have many arrived yet?" Jon asked as he approached the Hand without a King.

Quietly at Jon's side, Jevan kept a weather eye open for any trouble, well aware that this place was a nest of very real vipers. He wore two swords, one short, one long with a Darry crest carved into the hilt and his stance was relaxed while his gaze wandered.

Lord Sunderland nodded. "A fair few. The bell should toll soon for us to begin."

Jon nodded, then caught Jevan's eye. He nodded for them to head inside and find seats.

Following Tully was Yohn Arryn. A man rarely seen outside the Vale. He looked taller than most everyone there. Yohn's clothing was understated. A sky-blue doublet over forest green breeches. On his feet were black riding boots with the road dust upon them. His mood was dire, for he had no love for King's Landing, politics, or any other sort of dealings that were going on outside his Vale. But he needed to be here, to represent his lands and his people. "Lord Sunderland." Yohn said as he approached the Hand. "How long will this show take?" the Lord of the Vale said gruffly.

Lady Sharra approached with one hand in the crook of her husband's elbow. She inclined her head politely to Lord Sunderland. "Long enough that everyone can feel heard, I'm sure," she said softly. "Even those with nothing to say. Perhaps especially those."

Sunderland smiled. "Welcome Lord Arryn, Lady Arryn."

"Lord Sunderland," Lady Sharra said politely.

Elia Stone trailed behind her father and his wife. Lady Sharra at best tolerated her. She was glad her father had asked her to come with him but she largely kept silent as she searched the faces of the gathered lords and ladies.

Slightly shorter than his father, but only by an inch or so, Alaric Arryn strode behind his parents with an overt peacock-like pride and an upbeat smirk on his tanned face. He wore dark breeches with worn-in buckle bright boots and a sky-blue split sleeved tunic that flowed closely about his physique as he moved. Head held high, right hand close to the sword at his belt, the first-born son scanned for eligible females, but kept up an occasional look back to his elder half-sister to let her know she was not forgotten.

Elia smiled when her brother looked at her and her smile turned a little amused when she saw him scanning the crowd for eligible ladies. She didn't bother looking at the men, of course. Some of them were pleasing to the eye but, while her father was one of the most powerful men in Westeros, a bastard was still just a bastard as far as the genealogists were concerned, despite a handful of prominent legitimations a century ago. So, instead, she watched her family and she watched the great lords and ladies of Westeros.

Yohn grunted then looked upon his lady wife. "Maybe I should have just let you come here alone." He whispered to her as the Arryn party entered the Dragonpit proper. "You did have more patience with such foolery than I ever did."

"Oh, but then I might make you king behind your back and it'd be a great deal of trouble," Lady Sharra answered her lord husband with a teasing smile. "Besides, it is good for our children to see the capital and meet the other ruling families in the Six Kingdoms."

The dragonpit doors were drawn open again, making a path for the Martells led by Prince Nymor himself. They were dressed in Dornish finery and looked a great deal different than most in the room. They roamed, without hesitation, to the large Dornish delegation to one side of the pit and joined a sea of brown skin and earth tones. He would use this time to hold court in a certain sense, getting all of Dorne on the side of him and of Jon.

Lady Alysanne Oakheart strode in with a brisk, confident, commanding stride. The young Lord Medger trailed in her wake, although as regent her word would be binding. She strode towards Lord Sunderland where he stood waiting to greet those arriving and inclined her head respectfully. "Lord Sunderland." She was a direct woman and she thought he had enough of these to do today.

Sunderland smiled. "Lady Oakheart. Welcome." He ushered her in.

The Redwynes strode in with a jovial, comfortable air. Lord Omer grinned to Sunderland as he approached. "Lord Sunderland, I'm sure this must be an exhausting day for you," he began good naturedly.

"It is my final duty." The Hand smiled, and gestured the way in for the Redwyne's.

As the last of the arrivals took their seat Lord Sunderland, The Hand of the King, took to the open space at the center of the Dragonpit. "Good morning, and thank you all for coming." He said, his voice resonated through the open air . "We gather today from all corners of the Six Kingdoms to discuss its future."

A general murmur erupted in the crowd. After a moment, Shireen Velaryon stood. She held herself on her silver cane and waited for the murmur to subside.

Lord Sunderland looked to her. "The floor acknowledges Lady Shireen of House Velaryon."

The matriarch looked around at the face of those gathered. "One hundred years ago on this very spot, a Great Council came together from the ashes of a conquest. Together they chose change. They decided to test the waters of a new system of leadership, elective monarchy. It is of common opinion that this experiment in democratic rule has run its course, and should be considered a failure. That is why today, before we go about the business of heralding in a new leader, I think it time that we do away with this failed method and reintroduce dynastic rule to the Six Kingdoms." She remained standing and once more looked about before resuming her seat.

The chorus of voices was hardly uniform- some jeered. Some shouted at their newly found feet. But many others cheered or stayed silent. And in the many gatherings of noble houses, their retainers, their family attendants, it was hard to see through to who felt what. The Greyjoys were inscrutible- Helja looked on with a tilt of a smile. Neia was virtually a statue. Erac eyed individuals that he seemed more interested to either gut or fuck- both down with a menacing smile, a tooth pushed to his canine. Lady Hightower sat between Lady Oakheart and her Lord Fossoway, surrounded by Beesburys, Bulwers, Costaynes, Cuys, and Mullendores. She listened attentively but did not speak yet. She simply smiled and most in her small cluster followed suit. Lady Oakheart, of course, did not. That was not a sign of disapproval. Lady Oakheart rarely smiled. Lord Redwyne, on the other hand, frowned. Not so much a displeased frown as a thoughtful one. He cast a quick glance to the Lord of Highgarden.

Lord Garth of Hightower allowed a thin and bemused grin to cross his lips as Shireen attempted to effect the politics of the realm. He wondered if she would feel that it was truly time for the elective monarchy to end of her family were not a top contender to hold the throne in perpetuity. He held his criticism to himself.

The Baratheons lord stood- with a seated Dondarrion looking on along with his brother and mother. Lileander looked tense even below her veil. Renn’s line of sight of schooled attention, like a pupil watching the elder professor.

Sunderland spotted the dark hair of the Baratheon. "The floor acknowledges Lord Brannis of House Baratheon."

“Friends,” Brannis said with his charisma, his smile. He blinked and shifted, “Our ancestors were wise people. They came out of the worst wars since Aegon’s Conquest. Part of that wisdom came out of their collective trauma. Kings and Queens had failed them many times in short years. And our forefathers, our great great grandmothers, and our children starved as armies marched to war.” Baratheon said, “All this, in the shadow of a greater enemy. One told by the Maesters,” he gestured to the Hightowers, and then to the Grand Maester, “Of Oldtown. We were tired. We needed to share the load back then. And so we chose to select a new King.”

Brannis nodded with a purse of lips, “And it worked for a time. But now we see its imperfections. Something, in the magnaminous moment of that first council brought on by what they’d shared.” He wrapped on his chair arm, “We needed to continue as Westeros. But today... and in the Great Councils since... we have forgotten that magnanimous spirit. Because we did not live with what they did. Now we come to this place to find...”. He shrugged with his hands, “A man that least offends... who will stir the pot the least. And we all suffer for it. Factionalism takes us by the throat. And talk slows action when it is most needed.”

Brannis blinked, “When my father’s father was a boy, a great quake leveled the shores of my Kingdom. The world thrusted up and took our smallfolk and our nobles, indiscriminately, with water. And in the wake of that, King’s Landing was paralyzed!” Brannis voice rang in the chamber, “By factions. Should we help? Could we help?” He frowned, “A king- a true sovereign- could have acted quickly.” he gestured to the Small Council, “Informed well. But instead?” His brows rose, “Thousands starved in the delay. My Kingdom has only now recovered. And what we have learned is- choosing a weak man, one who offends the least and is granted- led to- the rudder instead of boldly sensing the need to steer. And lead.”

Brannis looked around the crowd, “We need a Sovereign who knows they have the gravity of their place. To make our lives better. To make our ties with the rest of this world better. We don’t want Essos asking, “King Who?” We want Essos nodding, sobered, that Westeros is back. We are back. As a kingdom and as a force to be reckoned with at the bargaining table.”

Lord Myles Lannister sat forward but did not stand, nor did he wait for acknowledgement. " You've said many things, Baratheon, but not a definitive agreement or opposition to the Lady Shireen's assertion." The Warden of the West looked annoyed at the indirection.

Brannis angled some to the Lannister party, “Storm’s End favors the dissolution of the elected monarchy, and seconds the motion of House Velaryon!”

"We shall open the floor for some discussion on the matter before we vote." Sunderland looked around for anyone who wanted to speak.

Joanna stood. "Democracy is a fine word," she said. "Perhaps it is to be found here and there in the world. Every man of the Night's Watch who has sworn his vows may vote in the election of a new Lord Commander. In the Conclave, Archmaesters vote, having earned the right by learning and merit. In Volantis, any freeborn may vote for Triarch, though only those of unbroken Valyrian descent may hold the office. Still, five or held in slavery for every free Volentene. Lys is not so different. The magisters elect the Archon of Tyrosh and the Prince of Pentos. The magisters of Braavos and the keyholders of the Iron Bank together may elect the Sealord of Braavos, though the process is rather complicated. Here in Westeros we, the largely hereditary lords of the Six Kingdoms, have taken to electing our king. It is a process that creates faction where none was before and binds the new king to slightly more than half of the Realm."

She gave an elegant shrug. "As we do things at present, the interests of the king are not the interests of the Realm. He must reward his supporters. He must secure the welfare of his family after his reign ends. He has, while he lives, near absolute power to do so. Once appointed, he never faces this council or any other again. A hereditary monarch has interests at one with the Realm itself. The interest of his House and his family, of his dynasty, is that the Realm be prosperous, secure, and at peace. Under such conditions are his own sons and daughters promised a bright future. His interest and his responsibility is the whole Realm and in knitting it yet more tightly together. It is not only in rewarding his friends, though any good King rewards well loyal service, but in reconciling opposing interests to the common interest of the Realm."

"This is a council of the powerful, but I think we have all heard the petitions of the common people of Westeros. They have gotten little voice from our experiment with what some have named democracy. Under the monarchy, however, they had the protection of the King's Peace and the King's Justice from one end of Westeros to the other. The petitions fishermen and innkeepers were heard alike with the petitions of Lords Paramount in the Red Keep. The interest of the king and the Realm and the people were bound as one in perpetuity. Let us return to that. Let us reintroduce hereditary succession to the crown of the Six Kingdoms." Then she sat back down.

The Velaryon section seemed pleased that the woman who would be their latest inductee was so on board with their work. Shireen clapped for Joanna as the younger woman sat.

Aethan hung on every word Joanna said. She was exceptionally well spoken. He smiled in her direction as she finished, hoping she would see.

Helja Salt-hair rose to her fully imposing height for one of her sex. "Kings are meant to be strong. Not weak and subject to the whims of old men and grasping lords. A true King rules with the power the Gods grant him. The Gods don't like weakness. If he is weak, then let his people take his head and start again. I'll follow no simpering Lord who has to ask his people to make war or keep the peace." She glared around, "Neither will any of my Kingdom." She scowled and made a gesture, and then sat down.

Lord Farman stood. "My lords and ladies, I remain unpersuaded. Lady Velaryon, Lord Baratheon, and Lady Greyjoy all speak of strength. A son does not always inherit the strength of his father. He certainly does not inherit it as a child. Yet a father still loves his son. The history of the Targaryen kings teaches us that a hereditary monarchy produces weak kings and cruel ones, inept kings and madmen. The lords and ladies gathered here are not grasping merchants and dithering politicians. This is not Pentos. We are the ones who enforce the king's justice, keep his peace, and fight for him in time of war. The men of the Night's Watch may be trusted to chose the strongest among them to command. In the old Kingsmoots of the Iron Islands, every ship's captain chose the strongest for king. Why may not the lords here be trusted to do the same?"

Lady Oakheart stood. "My lord, that is simply not what has happened. I do not wish to speak ill of the dead but the elective monarchy thus far has not produced strong kings."

"Perhaps, my lady," Lord Farman said, "but even if this vote should pass, there will be at least one more election. Lady Hightower tells us a hereditary monarch's interest is wedded to that of the Realm." There was a slight emphasis on the word wedded. "However, the king or queen who shall rule with their heirs in perpetuity must still be chosen once more by us. Every criticism made of the election process will still apply, but the results will now bind us for perpetuity. Perhaps a weak king might lose his head, but only by a return to the horror of civil war or assassination. Those were dark days."

The Lord of Highgarden stood, his rose cane in his hand, and he waited for silence before he spoke.

“Lord Blackwater.” He nodded to the elder man.

"It is, that in every age, people return to that truth which they once knew but has been lost to them. We are at the precipice of such a time. Like my fellow Lords and Ladies, I do not wish to speak ill of the dead, but someone must be honest. King Bran; King Waynn....they were weak, my Lords. They were men of thought and not of action, and so the realm has prospered only by the will of those strong enough to push our elected Kings forward. It has been our custom to pick the most inoffensive man to sit on the throne and go back home to do what we will, but such a man will not be able to hold the realm together amidst a crisis."

The old man cleared his throat and looked upon the throng, his head held high and his gloved hands clasped together around his cane.

"Let us speak frankly then, my Lords, for I have never lied to you before. I was born to rule Highgarden; the authority flows through my veins and the providence of the Seven has given me every right to what I have. I received this birthright from my father, and he in turn received it from his. All of the Reach is united, not only under my rule, but by it. And when I pass into the Stranger's hand, it is my son, Lord Parmen, who shall unite the Reach, with a birthright which comes from me. The Seven Kingdoms used to be united by the blood of its Lord and held together under his power and character, but no such blood holds us together any longer. The Six Kingdoms are united by the soft-handed leadership of men born not to rule, but to serve, and given the chance to rule after the fact. No longer, my more, my Ladies. The Six Kingdoms must return to the old ways, a time when we loved our Kings or hated our Kings, and could not regard them, as we do now, with overriding indifference."

With that, the Warden of the South lowered himself back into his seat and accepted the touch of his granddaughter, who wrapped her arms around his and placed her head on his shoulder. As he sat, the lords and ladies of the Reach were largely united in applauding their Lord Paramount. Lady Hightower, Lord Redwyne, and Lady Oakheart did so prominently.

Next stood Prince Nymor Martell, and all the Lords of Dorne cheered him loudly as the behemoth of the man crossed his strong arms over his chest and spoke with a voice like thunder.

"Dorne agrees!" he bellowed, and all the Lords around him, willing or not, cheered after him. "We did not bow, or bend or break like you others, but we joined the Seven Kingdoms willingly, to serve House Targaryen. After their line was ended, we begrudgingly served House Baratheon, and reeled with fury against the Lannister pretenders..." he said, looking over to the place where the Westerlands vassals sat, smiling at their sneers and insults. "But now there is NO house to serve in this city. There is NO legacy, NO glory, and NO legitimacy. Perhaps, even to save us the trouble of traveling so far to the Great Councils, Dorne should go its own way, since there is no one to keep us here."

The Lords of Dorne banged their fists, laughed, and made raucous cheers to their Prince. A sense of uneasiness fell upon many others as Nymor spoke. Would an elected King be strong enough to stop the Six Kingdoms from becoming Five?

Jon rose from his chair. His hand rested upon the pommel of his sword, he felt comfortable with it at his side. "My lords." Jon called, his voice loud enough to carry but not bellow as Nymor's had. "I agree with both Lady Joanna, and Lord Brannis. The Kingdoms have always flourished most when lead by a strong and good king. Yes, we've had peace in our time. But that is more due to our individual success than what has happened in the Red Keep. In my years as Lord of the Crossing I've had to fight against bandits and thieves from the North. Crannogmen and true Northerners both. And each time I called upon the King for aid, he sent apologies, not strength. Our realm has been challenged time and again, and Waynn was too scared to act upon it."

The Lord of the Twins looked at the large hall, his eyes gliding over all the faces. "A king who knows the safety of his family is tied to the realm, a king who's family is the realm would not have stood for that! An elected king has no care for the state of the realm after his death, so why should he care? An elected king is no true ruler, he is merely a castellan. A man who takes care of the estate, but has no vested interest in its prosperity. Let us be done with caretakers, and put a proper King on the throne once again."

Shireen rolled her eyes but led the Velaryon’s, and most of the Crownland houses in applauding the passionate statements of Lord Jonah. Having been mentioned, Lady Hightower inclined her head as she stood to applaud.

Lady Arryn had listened intently to all of the speeches. She had noted the reactions of the Lords of the Vale. A few notes of approval here and there but most were silent without having heard from their lord. In that, she was like them. She placed a hand lightly on her husband's arm and looked to him questioningly.

Yohn turned eyes on his wife. His brow furrowed for a moment before shaking his head. "I care little who sits the throne, as long as the Vale knows peace and prosperity." He whispered.

"As you say," she whispered back, simply watching the others. She was curious, despite herself.

Daena Celtigar stood. "My Lord father attended the council that selected King Waynn to lead the Six Kingdoms. He spoke about the candidates who were put forward. Many of your own kinsman. And one by one they were voted down in favour of a man who was least apt to lead. The third son of Lord Celan Lynderly. By most accounts he was well learned and quiet. It had seemed likely that he would join the Citadel and the Order of Maesters, but instead he was elevated to the highest office in the realm and charged with duties he was never fit to carry out." She grasped her hands in front of her. "We have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of our fathers and make changes that with resonate throughout the realm for time to come. With a return to a hereditary monarchy we can ensure strong leadership."

Lord Myles Lannister stood. "We have a responsibility to deliver a steadfast line of leaders to the realm. Hereditary succession is for the good of the realm." He paused. "One hundred years ago, it was Lord Tyrion Lannister who proposed the Elective. It was the easiest way to keep the kingdoms together at that time, following many years of war and division." The old Lion looked to his wife and son. " Today, one hundred years later, I propose this; return to hereditary monarchy, a tried and true method. And to answer the concerns raised by Lord Farman, we should empower the Small Council to intervene in the natural succession of the throne should concerns about mental state, physical disability, or any other true reason be raised."

"Thank you, my lord," Lord Farman said. "That answers my concern." With the concession offered by his own liege lord, Lord Farman no longer felt even he could vote against the proposal.

"My Lords of the Realm," Alfaric Dondarrion rose and waited for calm. "My Liege Lord," he nodded to Brannis, "I rise to ask you, humbly, to reconsider your actions. I have great reverence for your positions and your long fought lineages," he shrugged, "And my family is only part of a grander design. I stand at the borders of three lands and I wait." He paused, "What I see are people with vastly less than us. I speak of the Smallfolk, and my Bannermen. I speak of my smiths, my fletchers, my coopers. My future daughters and my future sons."

Alfaric tilted back some as if to try to speak to those behind him, "Spend a day among them all... and see what they really think of us. We are all shepherds here, some greater than others." His eyes dropped and his voice stayed constant, "Hereditary rule brought us to the brink of ruin not once but..." he shook his head, "Many, many times. And its those who work, those who pray, who suffer for it. With this council, a voice of compromise and understanding was well met. We chose wisely," he raised his brows, "Perhaps our leaders were dull, unremarkable, or quiet men. But that is the nature of peace, My Lords. Peace is quiet." Dondarrion blinked with a sadness, "Those of us sworn to you loyally, follow you loyally. In return, is it so much to ask that we gain some voice to who leads us all? A hereditary line would end this... and end the voices that have freely spoken in this council."

Lady Fletcher applauded her brother and, after a moment's indecision, her lord husband followed her lead. Lady Hightower started to rise but then she seemed to think better of it, looking thoughtful and surprisingly pensive. Lord Farman looked much the same though a young woman in his retinue, with silver gold hair and violet eyes, a Volantene by her accent, whispered to his daughter Arya louder than she, perhaps, meant to, "I wonder what the smallfolk themselves think. Has anyone asked them?" Lord Farman looked back sharply and the girl quieted.

Brannis Baratheon rose again, eyeing his Lord of the Marches with a studious eye, "My Right Hand Man, Lord Dondarrion, asks much." Brannis smiled his charming smile and gestured to him, "And he deserves more. Perhaps there is a compromise here. A hereditary King of us all, something we can rally behind and be proud of." Brannis thought for a moment, "Perhaps a... a yearly congregation. Or when called to King's Landing by the King or the Small Council, as business of the realm demands. That these men and women around us can have a voice. On matters of war or... economy. Those events that will directly affect their purses."

Lord Sunderland looked about the room. "If the discussion is through, we will call a vote on the matter." He looked to the gaggle of Maesters who were seated to his right, one of whom would act as the scribe while the others oversaw the actual voting. "Based on the recommendations of this council, we will vote on whether or not abolish the elective structure put in place by the Great Council of 305 AC, and return to hereditary rule with conditions in place to empower the Lords of the Small Council to intervene in the natural succession of the throne should concerns about an heir's mental state, physical disability, or any other true reason be raised to their attention." The Hand paused a moment. "Those in favour of this change, will rise to vote now. A reminder that only the ruling head of each house, or their assigned proxy, are permitted a vote." There were 265 houses represented in the council. A simple majority was all that was needed to pass a vote, meaning at least 133 lords needed to vote in favour of the change for it to be taken as law.

After soft nudge from Shireen, Aethan was the first to rise in favour of the changes. He stood tall and looked around at his peers.

One by one more and more ruling Lord stood with Aethan. Some of the gathered Maesters dispersed to count their previously assigned sections. Notably, the entirety of the section of Lords from the Crownlands stood. As the Lord took their stands and the Maester's counted, there were still those who opposed the motion grumbling about their fellow Lords blocking the way of progress.

The Maesters pleased with their counts, congregated to tally their sections together. They wrote their total in the official record and then passed it along to Lord Sunderland. The Lords who had taken their stands, resumed their seats.

The Hand cleared his throat and read the paper he was handed. "With 182 Lords in favour of the motion, it carries. The Council has decided to do away with the system of elective monarchy in favour of resuming hereditary rule. Concessions have been made that will empower the Small Council to intervene in natural succession when necessary. " He lowered the paper. "With this major decision settled, this Council is now charged with the election of one final King. That decision ,however, will not be easy. We must take into our account the future, past the one that is elected here. We must vote for a dynasty instead of an individual. The future of our Six Kingdoms hang in the balance." He paused. "With all of that said, we will adjourn for today and return the day after tomorrow to begin discussions on the topic of leadership."


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