Red Keep, King's Landing, The Crownlands
The Small Council was gathered for the emergency meeting called by the Hand of the King after receiving the raven from Winterfell, even Renly was present. They were all here, waiting for the King to show up because Jon Arryn was adamant in having the King present. They waited nearly half an hour before King Robert showed up with the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard Ser Barristan Selmy.
"Why did you call me Jon? It better be important." Robert roared.
"Sit down, your Grace. I received dire news from Winterfell this morning." Jon Arryn answered.
The mention of Winterfell had everyone around the table interested. Except for Pycelle who seemed fearful.
"Winterfell? What do the Starks want again?" Renly asked.
"I received a letter from Aryan Stark explaining to me that pirates for the Three Sisters had attacked Ramsgate and that he and the northerners will retaliate." Jon Arryn said quietly, "At the moment we are speaking, the Northeners are certainly slaughtering the sistermen."
Everyone in the small council was dumbfounded. They couldn't understand how the sistermen had the guts to land and attack the Northern Realms. And the retaliation from the North will make the relation between the North and the Vale tense. Especially knowing their bloody history in regards of these islands.
"Knowing 'The Bloody Wolf' as we do, we will soon learn that the Three Sisters were raped again. His actions against the Ironborn and in the shadow against Myr are proof of that." Stannis responded grimly.
Robert stood up from his seat and walked out of the room.
"Where are you going, Robert?" Jon demanded.
"Hunting." Robert responded without turning back.
"Robert, you need to be more and deal with this. The Starks have attacked and invaded a territory in the dominion of the Vale." Jon said angrily.
"You deal with it. You are the Hand and Lord Paramount of the Vale." Robert said before leaving the room.
"Varys, Peter, do you have any news concerning this?" Jon demanded.
Baelish shook his head while keeping the same smirk while Varys answered, "My Lord Hand, my little birds have trouble flying in the cold of Winter. I have very few news of the North these days."
Jon Arryn nodded grimly before dismissing everyone from the meeting.
It wasn't until a few days later when a ship arrived with the news of the northern attack on the Three Sisters and the complete extermination of the four ruling houses in front of all the shocked nobles in the throne room that Jon Arryn stood from the throne and spoke while looking at the court, "Grandmaester Pycelle, send a raven to Winterfell. Inform Aryan Stark that he has been summoned to court to answer for his actions against the Three Sisters. He will arrive within a moon or be branded an enemy to the crown and a traitor to the realm."
Silence, shock and fear were the only reactions to Jon Arryn's words, except for two individuals. While everyone could see the mocking smirk in Littlefinger's face, everyone missed the mirth in the eyes of the spider.
Winterfell, the Northern Realms
"So what are you gonna do with Baelish?" asked Gabriella. They interrogated Donald Sunderland and he sang like a bird about Baelish's deeds and promises.
"Nothing, for now." Aryan responded.
Marwyn raised an eyebrow in disbelief but Gabi was still smiling and asked her husband, "Is he more useful to us alive?"
Aryan smiled and answered, "It's not that he is more useful alive it's the fact that he plans to control the Vale and force a conflict between us and the Great Houses of the South while keeping the Vale out of the conflict. Our attack against the Three Sisters comes at a good time because it will have me summoned in King's Landing while there I could deal with two of our problems. Firstly, I can purchase the dragonglass mine in Dragonstone from Stannis in exchange from a cure for his daughter. Dragonstone sits on a mountain of dragonglass, we could arm each and every man and woman in the North with fifty greatsword of the size of Ice and still only scratch the surface of it. And, secondly, I will plant in the feeble mind of Lysa Arryn the idea of marrying her son with Stannis' daughter. With the betrothal secured and with Stannis starting to suspect the royal children, it will force the Vale into war with the Lannister and knowing the upstart power-hungry trout in Riverrun, he will want his blood on the throne."
Marwyn smiled and said, "So, a war between Joffrey and Stannis?"
It was Gabriella who answered, "Not only these two. Our spies reported that all those times Renly went for tourneys in the Reach, he was conspiring with the Tyrells to broker a marriage with Margaery after Robert's death and crown himself King, and knowing Robert's lifestyle, his death might be sooner than expected. So it's gonna be a three-way war."
"I don't want us in the middle of this Dance of the Stags. I have no interest in the South and the only way I see us getting drag in this conflict is with my uncle being named Hand in the event of Jon Arryn passing away. I already closed all doors for marriages alliances." Aryan said while thinking of an idea to keep his uncle in the North. It was Gabriella who provided the idea.
"You wanted to send someone to Ib to recruit whale hunters. How about sending Lord Eddard the moment our spies send us news of Jon Arryn's death?"
"It is a good idea, my love. I will tell Jaqen to have one of our warg to constantly monitor Jon Arryn." Aryan answered with a smile.
They continued to talk for a few minutes before being interrupted by an acolyte saying that he received two ravens. One from Skaagos and one from King's Landing. He opened the one from Skaagos first and exploded from laughter. Apparently, Gerrick Kingsblood sailed to Skaagos with two thousands wildlings and slayed the Head of House Magnar before being slaughtered by the Northern Army. The five namesday Freya Magnar is the last survivor of her house. He smiled knowing that Rickon will be the new Lord of Skaagos and that the rebellious Lord was killed. He explained it his wife and his maester who also shared his smile.
The second raven from King's Landing is less joyous. He read it, then passed it to his two companions who narrowed their eyes after reading it.
"Tell Harwyn to bring five hundred riders, I will go to the capital in the morrow." Aryan said to Marwyn before leaving the room.
It has been ten days since her husband march South to answer the Hand's summon. It was also ten days since she started to carry Truth, the sword her father gifted her at her wedding, at her waist. She was in the husband's office and summoned Marwyn.
"My Lady, you summoned me?"
"Yes, maester, sit. Do you wish to drink anything?"
"No but thank you my lady."
She nodded before pouring herself a glass of water. She started to ask about the completion of all the keeps in the North using the valyrian's architecture. Marwyn told her that they will finally finish in three moons.
"Maester, do you know who the last Warden of the North who was summoned to court was ?" Gabriella asked while looking at the maester.
Marwyn nodded grimly, "Yes, Rickard Stark."
"What happened to my husband's family was horrible, but the Targaryens paid for it, Winter came for them." she said with her blue eyes shining.
Marwyn nodded and sat silently before she allowed him to go back to his duties. He stood up and walked to the door but before opening it he heard her call his name, he turned back and asked, "Yes, my Lady?"
"Call the banners."
Surprised, Marwyn asked, "All of them, my Lady? Even the Free Folk?"
Gabriella nodded, "They all swear on their knees at our wedding. They took the oath of the First Men, didn't they?"
"They did, my Lady." Marwyn answered
She smiled, "Good, summon them all, from Skaagos to the Neck. Every single one worthy of the Northern Realms."
Marwyn smiled and nodded. A few hours later, dozens of ravens were seen in Winterfell flying to every corner of the North.
It has been a fortnight since the attempted kidnapping and today was finally the day she could thank her two saviors. Alamis told her about House Rykker, they were Lord of Duskendale and fought by her brother's side at the Trident. She and Viserys were escorted in the hall and saw the two of them with Illyrio, they looked like each other but one of them was older than the other, the moment they saw them they went on their knees and called, "Your Graces."
Viserys smiled and told them to rise, "Thank you for saving my sister. When I take back my throne I will remember my friends."
"It is our wish to see the dragons at their rightful place and the realm in order" responded the youngest of the two.
Viserys smiled proudly and said, "Soon, I shall bring Fire and Blood to the Usurper and his dogs. Now how about presenting yourself to your King and telling him your story."
The older one stepped forward and started to talk, "Your grace, my name is Jaremy Rykker, brother to the Lord of Duskendale, Balman Rykker, and this is his son Rayford Waters."
Viserys snarled with disgust, "A bastard. If you serve me well I will legitimize you when I sit on my throne bastard."
Rayford frowned and wanted to say something but a look from his uncle quieted him down. Jaremy continued, "I fought beside your brother at the Trident and continued even to fight for House Targaryen when King's Landing was sacked. Tywin send all of us loyalists at the wall. We swore our oaths to the Seven and started to shield the realms of men. The loyalists who came to the wall were less than twenty but I'm the only one still alive. The Bloody Wolf started to hunt down and kill every loyalist at the wall for fighting against his family at the Trident. So, when I got news that my mother was really sick and that I was allowed to go say goodbye, to my shame I was joyful to find an escape to the claws of the wolf. After, telling my tale to my brother, he put me on a ship to Braavos with his son in the hope to find and serve our true king and to escape Aryan Stark's wrath."
Viserys was red with wroth and screamed, "Damn those usurper dogs, how dare they hurt loyal vassal of the crown ? When I take back my kingdom, I will destroy the Starks and **** their women before their eyes before killing them."
The uncle and nephew duo were looking everywhere making sure nobody heard Viserys with fear in their eyes. Even Illyrio and Alamis were sweating and were making sure that they were alone. Viserys wouldn't see that but Daenerys saw all their reaction and was wondering how dangerous the Starks and their Lord truly were.
King's Landing, The Crownlands
After three sennights, Aryan and his retinue finally arrived in the capital, Wyman Manderly and Roger Ryswell joined him at White Harbor, they were leaded to the Throne Room in the Red Keep. The Throne Room was full and every member of the small council was there except the spider. Aryan wanted to see the spider to understand his allegiances and motivations but it looks like he should wait for another time. He saw the King on the throne and started to walk to him and take a knee and said, "Your Grace."
"Rise, Lord Stark. You need to explain your actions." Robert said with narrowed eyes.
"Of course, Your Grace." Aryan answered with a smile before greeting the Queen, the Hand and the rest of the council. "You know Your Grace, after the rebellion, the Lords of the North swore that they will never let a slight pass no matter what, we punished the ironborn for thinking they could raid our coast and we also punished Myr when they tried to attack us, but do you know why after all these years of constant raiding of our ships by the pirates of the Sisters we never took arms and only send ravens to the Hand of the King ?"
Robert shook his head and Aryan continued, "Because of my uncle's relationship with the Hand. He didn't want to sour the relations between the Vale and the North. So we sent ravens for years without receiving any response but we didn't take any action even when Lord Manderly ships were getting more and more attacked, we took no actions until they landed on our lands. The Sistermen always say that they have not forgotten the **** of The Three Sisters but apparently they did otherwise they would've not constantly attack us. But the North remembers and now so shall they." Aryan finished with a feral look on his eyes.
Jon Arryn had the decency to look ashamed while every nobles in the throme room started to whisper. Robert howled, "Silence!" and everyone shut up. He then looked to Aryan "Continue."
"The North Remembers every slight that we took from House Targaryen, your Grace. The witch Visenya took the Three Sisters who belonged to us and give them to the Arryns. Erase another slight from House Targaryen, after allowing us to built a fleet, allowing us to rebuilt the Moat, allowing us a standing army and giving us back the New Gift, I implore you, Your Grace, give back the Three Sisters to the dominion of the North." Aryan implored to the shock of everyone in the room.
The few Lords of the Vale present as well as Jon Arryn yelled at him, "HOW DARE YOU?"
"Your Grace, this is hubris, the Sunderland and their three vassals bent the knee to the Arryns thousands of years ago, the Sisters belongs to them and the Vale." Jon Arryn nearly screamed.
"What a stupid argument. If the Mountain Clans of the Vale came and bend the knee to me and swear their oaths to the Starks, does it mean that the Vale will belong to me?" Aryan asked with a smirk seeing the red face and dumbstruck expression of the Lord of the Vale. Meanwhile the Valemen and the Northeners were glaring at each and their hands were on their weapons.
"Enough!" yelled Robert. He looked at Aryan, "You will relinquish control of the Sisters, all your troops will leave within a moon." Seeing Aryan nodding, he turned to Jon Arryn, "And you will take control of them, if I hear a single word of pirating again, I will put these shitholes in the wolves hand." Jon Arryn also nodded.
In the evening, Aryan met Stannis and told him about his proposition. Stannis was being sceptical, after all he invited every learned man in the world to cure his daughter and heal her scars, he told Aryan that if he healed his daughter, he will give all the dragonglass in Dragonstone as it didn't have any value that he knew of.
In the middle of the night, he went to Lysa Arryn's head and planted all his idea about the union of Robyn and Shireen. He also made sure that she will support Stannis in the war.
The next day he said his goodbye to the King and decided to sail south, to Dorne. It was finally time to meet his son. He couldn't help but smile at the idea of meeting him that he didn't notice Wyman Manderly and Roger Ryswell arrive behind him, "Are you sure you don't want us to come with you, my Lord?" asked Wyman.
"Your place is in the North my lords, don't worry about me, I will still have two hundred riders" Aryan reassured them.
"Are you sure about giving the Sisters, my Lord?" asked the Ryswell heir.
Aryan smiled, "Don't worry, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon they will return to their rightful owner."
"I'm glad we are leaving the South I must admit, I don't why but I feel a war coming in the future here." Roger said.
"Foes and false friend are all around us south of the Neck, Lord Ryswell. For three hundred years we had to be considered equals to the cats of the west who ruled their lands for less than five centuries, to the former thrall who couldn't even bring all his bannermen under his banner once in three centuries, to the pigeon who after six thousand years still doesn't have control of all his lands, to the grasping stewards who filled their bellies while we were starving and enduring the bite of winter, to the dear who is just the bastard of the flying lizards, to the squids scums who are nothing more than glorified pirates. Lannister, Tully, Arryn, Tyrell, Baratheon, Greyjoy, who are they to us ? We are the Blood of the First Men, we defeated the Night King and his army eight millennia ago and will do it again while the Andals will continue their petty squabble over an ugly chair. Soon we shall be free once again. The North Remembers, Roger, Wyman, the North Remembers and the mummer's farce is almost done."