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Discussions of the Future

Posted on Mon Jun 14th, 2021 @ 2:53pm by King Aethan Velaryon & Lady Joanna Hightower

Mission: The Great Council
Location: Seasmoke Hold
Timeline: The Day after the Great Council Day One

Aethan waited for his visitors to leave, and his Grandmother as well. The discussion seemed to have been productive to say the least. Still, Lord Velaryon wanted to speak privately to his intended.

As the servants closed the doors to the hall on the last departure, Aethan stood and moved to Joanna's side. "What do you think my dear?" He asked, ever thankful for Joanna's sharp mind and her thoughtful opinions.

"I think your prospects look promising," she said softly as she moved to stand nearer to her intended. "I've also spoken to Lord Garth. He will not break his word to Lord Tully but, if we can make it to a second ballot, I believe we have his support. I've promised him my cousin Alixander for his grandaughter."

Aethan laughed noting her movement.. "I offered my brother, Aenar, for Lady Celyse." He shook his head. "At least we know Lord Garth is keeping his options open."

"Connections throughout the kingdoms are promising but, despite his speech at the Council, Lord Garth knows that the Reach is held together by bonds of blood and kinship, especially those between Highgarden and Oldtown." She sighed. "I don't think he was well pleased with your answer to Lady Rykker. In truth..." She hesitated and looked at him a long moment. Then she walked over to the fireplace and rested her hand on the mantle, looking down. She did not finish her thought.

"Neither were you." He finished her statement. "I keep thinking about it, and I wouldn't go to war over a silly chair. God's be good, the council will make the right decision and then this can be put to rest."

"I think it is assured if we can make it to a second ballot," she said. "Do we know of any minor candidates? On the first ballot, you can count on all, or nearly all, of the Stormlands, the Westerlands, the Crownlands, the Iron Islands, and perhaps a fourth of the Reach. Dorne, the Riverlands, and most of the Reach will be Lord Tully's. What do we know of the Lords of the Vale?" she asked.

"I haven't heard of anything from the Vale. They seem hard to pin down for a meeting, unless that's only with me." He mused. He wasn't sure how the Vale was leaning, or whether they had their own candidate to offer.

"I wonder what Lord Arryn's been saying to his bannermen privately," she asked, stepping towards her beloved once more and reaching for his hand. "He only gets one vote in his own right. If he's remained largely neutral, the Vale might be a free-for-all. Perhaps some among them want the crown once more?"

Aethan pursed his lips. "The Arryns have strong ties with the North as well, as do the Tully's. I must admit that connection may be telling." He felt as though he was weaving conspiracies.

"Perhaps, but the Martells seem to be driving their bid for power more than the Starks." She took his hand. "Would you have my advice?"

He gripped her hand. “I treasure your wisdom my dear." Aethan said with a warm smile to his intended.

"You are already ahead by the numbers. You should be confident and act confident. I've said how I felt about the statement today but I think you'd look weak taking it back too strongly or too soon. Simply don't press the matter further. Fierce and passionate but not reckless. Lord Blackwater is bound on the first ballot but will back you on the second. Lord Arryn is the true undecided, and I think genuinely, but his very neutrality leaves the Vale more open. Where the Lord Paramount is silent, lesser lords are freer to speak their minds. I think the real question is what to do about the Martells. Lord Blackwater seems to think you have cause for concern and he has been working with them," she said.

"I have heard through the grapevine that the Martells are making plans to have Dorne secede from the safe embrace of the Six Kingdoms. " Aethan shook his head. "I don't think they understand what they'd be losing, and I do not believe they are prepared to strike out on their own." He paused. "Perhaps just over a hundred years ago they would have been able to, but since then they've nearly collapsed and have become much more dependant on the comforts the other Kingdoms offer to them."

"And your promises to the Iron Islands? Do those hold?" Joanna sounded worried at this news, her brow furrowing a little.

Lord Aethan had to think a brief moment. His uncle had dealt with the Iron Born. “My uncle Stevron made some broad promises that he had no authority to make. I can understand their feeling neglected under King Waynn’s rule, but their secession from the Kingdoms isn’t a solution for their discontent and certainly not one I will approve of. Nor is granting them an island in Blackwater Bay.”

"Then at least you won't look like a hypocrite denying the Martells as well," she frowned. "Still...better to try to bring them with you rather than make a fight of it, especially if we're expecting trouble with both."

He nodded at this. "I met with Lord Jonah last night." Aethan admitted. "It would seem his intended is Princess Ashara of Dorne. Make of that what you will, at least it firmly shows where Dorne's allegiances lay."

"It does," Joanna noted, "but you will not only be king of those who support your claim in Council."

Aethan nodded again. "It is difficult to continue to see the grand scheme when focus turns to specifics. I admire your ability to steer me. If I weren't in need of Lord Garth's support and that of his banners, I would name you as my Hand." He was sincere in this assertion.

"I doubt your lords would much care for that!" she said in surprise.

Aethan shook his head. “Who cares what they would think?” He asked rhetorically. “If Lord Garth must be my Right hand then you shall be my left.”

"You should care a little. You won't get anything else accomplished if you spend your whole reign putting down rebellions." she joked. Then she kissed him.

Aethan blushed at he kiss. “I expect our reign to be the most celebrated since Jaehaerys I, and hopefully as long or longer." He declared this with a certain passion. "I want us to marry before the coronation, so that we may be crowned together."

"That makes me Queen Alysanne," she grinned. "I have read a lot about her."

Aethan’s smile warmed. “You’ll be better.” He took her hand. “And soon you’ll be in the books they study at the Citadel.”

"She asked about the Citadel too, you know?" she mentioned.

Aethan raised a pale brow. “She did?”

"She said there was no reason they shouldn't admit women," Joanna added.

"I have to agree. If a woman has a passion for knowledge, like you, she should be allowed to study. Especially now that you'll be Queen, who shouldn't you be permitted that knowledge? And why must the Citadel feel they can lock it away from those with a desire to learn?"

"I don't want to press it with them," she said. "They have their own rules. It is, however, interesting history."

He placed his hand on her shoulder. "You are too understanding." His faced warmed into a smile. "I'm supposed to meet Ser Renn Baratheon and Ser Brandon Redwyne soon. You're welcome to stay here if you want, to rummage through the library."

"Ser Brandon Redwyne?" she asked, somewhat surprised.

Aethan nodded. "Ser Brandon and I have shared a friendship since we were children." He said. "I visited the Arbor around my sixth name day. It would've been around the time you and I were first introduced."

"Perhaps he has some sway with his father?" she suggested. "Lord Redwyne seems...hesitant to support your claim." She shrugged. "Perhaps it doesn't matter. He'll likely come around with Lord Blackwater on a second ballot. Most will simply vote with their liege."

Aethan nodded. “It is unfortunate, but a reality nonetheless. Most houses will vote with their liege. Let us hope we have swayed enough of them.” He stood and placed his lips gently on her forehead. “Thank you for your wise and unparalleled council.”

She leaned forward to make it easier for him. "Have a good time with your friends."

Aethan smiled and departed, leaving Joanna to herself.


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