ASOIAF/GOT Shields Will Be Broken, A Realm Will Be Forged (ASOIAF Joffrey SI-OC)

Informational

Lightifer

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Informational
Sources: This game was based off a playthrough of Crusader Kings 2: A Game of Thrones Mod. The link to the playlist is:
The most important episode in the series is Episode 3: The Dictators Handbook. It summarizes Joffrey’s mindset very well. Please watch that one- and if it isn’t too much trouble, please subscribe.

Alternative Sites to find this story: These are all the sites where I’ve posted this story. My stories tend to be dark and political. Whether my story stays up or not depends on the mods- and I can’t do anything about that. What is acceptable on Spacebattles might not be on AlternateHistory and vice-versa. The way I get around it is to post my stories to multiple sites.

Shields Will Be Broken, A Realm Will Be Forged Chapter 1: Informational, an a song of ice and fire fanfic | FanFiction

Shields Will Be Broken, A Realm Will Be Forged

https://forums.sufficientvelocity.com/threads/shields-will-be-broken-a-realm-will-be-forged-asoiaf-joffrey-si-oc.70330/

https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/shields-will-be-broken-a-real-will-be-forged-asoiaf-joffrey-si-oc.493459/


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Chapter One

Lightifer

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Chapter One

Darren walked through the streets of King’s Landing at a meandering pace. His nostrils filled with the smell of excrement and garbage, rotting under the morning sun. It wasn’t the smell that irritated him though; he considered that to be normal. It was the noise. It was that song.

The bards had been playing it more and more frequently lately and Darren couldn’t say he enjoyed it. It was clear some did, however. A crowd had formed, chanting the chorus with the bard.

My daddy was a miner
And I'm a miner's son
And I'll stick with the king
'Til every battle's won


It was from the Westerlands, or so Darren had heard. Royalist sentiments ran deep there. The king was the grandson of their lord, after all.

Things were more divided in the capital. It wasn’t too long ago that the Royalists had been rebelling themselves. It hadn’t been so long ago that the Lannister’s had sacked King’s Landing.

Darren was too young to remember it- he had been four at the time. Not everyone was so young, however. Some had very clear memories of the event. Of the rapes, of the killings, and of the horrid flames. Now, the same army that once sacked the city was charged with defending it. For many, this brought forth a jumbled mix of emotions.

Perhaps that was why the bards insisted on playing the song so often.

Turning, Darren tried to catch a glimpse of the bard- trying to see if he had blonde hair. Trying to see if he was from the Westerlands. Darren couldn’t see anything- the crowd was too thick.

For a moment, he considered turning around and going back in, but then he decided not to. It wouldn’t be worth the effort. It was as likely as not that the bard didn’t have any grand plan and was just doing it for the coin. The song was catchy. Irritating, but catchy.

Besides, Darren was already running late. As an apprentice blacksmith, his hours weren’t his own. He learned what his master ordered when he ordered it.

Master Preytan Garner was a predictable man, however. The best time to work the forge was at night and early morning, when it was cooler. Consequently, Preytan routinely gave Darren a break slightly after noon so that he could rest and get lunch, before coming back for his evening shift.

Today, that didn’t happen. The King had placed a few hundred rush orders for assortments of pikes, crossbows, arrows, and armor. Every blacksmith on the street of steel was working overtime, day, and night, to meet the demand. Preytan, and by extension Darren, was no exception.

He’d had to toil for nearly an extra hour before Preytan let up on him. Now, he was sweaty and tired. Even worse, he had arranged to meet a few friends at the pub and was running drastically late. Darren hoped they hadn’t left already.

Seeing the bar in front of him, Darren sped up slightly. As much as he could in the narrow, packed streets of the capital. Normally, it would be impossible to make any sort of headway, but Darren was a blacksmith and had the bulk to show for it. He also wasn’t too shy to shunt people to the side. He muttered ‘sorry’ and ‘excuse me’ as he weaseled his way past before slipping into the bar.

The interior reeked of piss and spilled ale. Two smells that Darren was very used to. Most places he ate at smelled like that.

Darren looked around for his friends, eyes straining slightly in the relatively dark interior. There were only three windows letting light into the front of the bar. The rest of the pub was left in a stale gloom, just as his friends preferred. It was why they always sat at the back. He spotted them easily enough; Adrien and Ormund. It was Adrien’s fault- his golden hair drew the eye.

Darren sauntered over and- before anyone could ask why he was late- offered Adrien a cocky grin. “How ya doin’ bastard?” Darren then proceeded to plop himself down into a vacant seat. He raised one of his feet on the table and pushed, tilting himself back, before raising an eyebrow at Adrien as though to say ‘Yeah, I called you a bastard. What are you going to do about it?’

Adrien offered him a tight smile. Not offended but more tired. Better than how he had reacted when he first got here. “There is more than one thing to joke about, you know?”

“Our humblest apologies your lordship,” Ormund chimed in from his position slumped against the wall. In his hands were a nearly full mug of ale. Ormund wasn’t a heavy drinker at the best of times but he didn’t like not having a drink around. Mostly because the other men would mock him for it.

As a workaround, he kept a mug of ale at hand during mealtimes. He would drink some of it, but the rest he would get rid of in creative ways. Darren had caught him in the act once or twice but didn’t bring it up. The last time he had taunted Ormund, he had burst into tears- something Darren still felt guilty about. No fun to tease someone like that. Adrien was much better. No tears, just anger.

Still, this time Adrien decided to spoil the fun. Instead of coming at him with fists, he came at Darren with words. “At least I know my mother, can you say the same?”

“I’m pretty sure half the city knows your mother, kid. As for me, I got to know her very well last night.” Ormund burst into laughter while Darren let a triumphant grin stretch across his face. Adrien raised his mug and dipped his head to concede the round to him, before knocking back a drink.

When the laughter died down, Ormund looked at Adrien curiously. “Why are you taking this so well mate? Normally you’d be coming at Darren with fists by now.”

“Just-” Adrien trailed off. His eyes drifted to the side before refocusing. “Just tired, I suppose. I have had a lot on my mind recently.”

“Like what?” Ormund asked. Darren thought about cutting in with a joke but by the time he thought of one, Adrien was already replying. “Have you been paying attention to the war?”

“Course we have.” Meanwhile, Darren let out a hearty “Nope.”

Ormund looked incredulous. “Whatcha mean ‘nope?’ We live in the capital- all the armies are heading here. If the capital is gonna be sacked ‘gain, don’t ya think ya ought to know?’

“And do what?” Darren asked. “Clean out my ass so the raper can have a better time fucking me? Way I see it, there ain’t nothing we can do. Capital stands, it stands. Capital falls, it falls. Worrying about it ain’t gonna change nothing.”

“We can leave,” Ormund countered. “If we get enough warning, I mean. The guards will let us out, right? Less mouths to feed and everything.”

“And go where?” Darren countered. “All my stuff is here. My house, my forge, my job. I leave, I’ll have to leave those behind. I don’t have much money. Life ain’t kind to a homeless peasant wandering the countryside.”

The banter was familiar. Easy to slip into. Before Ormund and Darren could really get into it, Adrien cut in. “I’m joining the army.” A pregnant pause ensued. After a moment, Adrien continued lamely. “Just- just thought you should know.”

Darren and Ormund looked at him for a moment in varying degrees of surprise. “Aren’t the Lannister’s losing every fight in the Riverlands?” Ormunds voice was careful, deliberate, as he asked the question. He was trying to wrap his mind around what Adrien was thinking.

Grudgingly, Adrien nodded. Darren wasn’t nearly as considerate as Ormund. “If you want to kill yourself, I’m willin’ to help. No need to join the army to do it mate.”

“Are you happy?”

The non-sequitur threw them for a loop. While Ormund tried to connect the question to the conversation that they had been having, Darren plowed on through. “And you think joinin’ the army is gonna make you happy? Hate to break it ya’ mate, but the war ain’t a tourney. You’re going to have a lot less fun charging at another man with a pointy stick when there ain’t a pretty maiden there to swoon over you.”

“What wonderful insight, Lord Darren.” The condescension was thick, coating every syllable that Adrien uttered. “It’s not like I grew up in a castle surrounded by the knights sworn to my father, the Lord of Sow’s Horn. It’s not like I ever asked them what war was like- you know, men who fought in a war. As opposed to you, who is merely echoing what he heard in the mouths of drunks and cravens.”

Darren opened his mouth to retaliate, but Ormund physically stopped him from speaking. He brought his left palm up to Darren’s mouth just as Darren started to speak, muffling the words, and drawing the attention of both his compatriots. Darren shoved his hand off and glared, confused.

Warningly, Ormund shook his head. “Adrien’s in a bad mood. Don’t rile him up.” And then seeing that Darren was getting increasingly irritated, Ormund turned to Adrien. A way to signal the conversation was over- to signal control where he had none. A way to run away from a man twice his size and built like a bull without running away. “Why do you think joining the army is going to make you happy?”

Adrien opened his mouth and closed it again. He repeated the cycle once more. Ormund waited patiently and Darren not so patiently. Darren looked back and forth between them, trying to read the mood. Should he say something?

Before he could decide, Adrien found somewhere to start. “My father, the Lord of Sow’s Horn, had no sons besides me for the longest time. Daughter either, come to think of it. He had me when he was a young man- back when he was six-and-ten. Before his riding accident. It left him with trouble,” Adrien searched for a delicate way to conclude his sentence. He settled on “copulating.”

For all his trouble, he ought not to have bothered. Darren burst out laughing anyway. “You mean the Lord of Sow’s Horn can’t get his ‘horn’ to work?” Both Adrien and Ormund glared at him to no avail. Darren laughed right on.

When he trailed off thirty-seconds later, Adrien asked through gritted teeth, “Are you done?”

“Can’t get his horn to work,” Darren chuckled before waving to Adrien to carry on. Adrien didn’t look happy but didn’t walk away. Nor was he in the mood to give the long-winded version of events anymore. “I’m a bastard, but because my father had trouble siring proper heirs, he defaulted to me. It was either that or letting his house go extinct.

“He had me trained since I was four to fight with sword and spear. He had me knighted at age ten-and-seven when I won my first tourney. He gave me a fine set of armor to celebrate after it- armor fit for the heir to a rich Lord. I was supposed to be his heir. And then he got married to that wanton cunt, sired his insipid little brat, and exiled me here.”

“I wouldn’t say that being sent to the capital is the same thing as being exiled to the Red Wastes.”

Adrien let out a bitter laugh. “I live in a hole in the ground. I used to live in a castle and now I live in a hole in the ground. I used to eat fine meals prepared in the kitchens, now I’m fairly certain that I’ve just eaten a murder victim,” Adrien gestured angrily to the bowl of brown before them.

“You’re exaggerating,” Darren said, rolling his eyes. “You’re da’ sent you here with plenty o’ money. You live in one of the nicer inns and eat plenty o’ good food.”

“Because my brother might not live. Many infants don’t make it- and if the gods are kind, then he’ll be one of them.”

Ormund looked appalled. “You can’t mean that. He’s a baby. It wasn’t his fault that he was born to your father.”

“Fault or no, that baby is stealing my inheritance. He might die yet, but if he doesn’t- tell me, have you heard of the Blackfyre rebellions?” Without waiting for either of them to respond, he continued, “The Blackfyre rebellions were started by the favored son of Aegon the Unworthy- Daemon Blackfyre. Daemon was Aegon’s favored son- favored far over his other son, Daeron the Good. Daemon got everything that he needed to legitimize his claim, including the Valyrian sword Blackfyre, the sword of the Conqueror himself. When he rebelled, half the realm answered his call and all the realm bled. The moral of the tale, when read to trueborn sons, is simple. Never trust your bastard siblings for they might try to steal your inheritance.”

Adrien took a deep swing of his ale. “I will never see my home again. I am my father’s eldest son and an anointed knight. My claim is too great and too legitimate for anyone to risk. As soon as my brother reaches five name days, my family will cut me off and leave me here to die far from them.”

“He might still die. He is two now. A lot can happen in three years.” The words felt odd to say. Ormund never imagined that there would be a day where he would be comforting a friend by wishing for the death of his baby brother.

Adrien didn’t reply at first, instead he watched the ripples on the amber liquid in his cups. Then softly, so softly that it strained the ear to hear, he whispered, “It is already too late.”

Darren and Ormund looked at one another, silently asking who should speak. Darren leaned away to make it clear that it shouldn’t be him- he felt bad for his friend of two years, but he wasn’t good at this touchy-feely crap. If he spoke, he’d try to lighten the mood. In this scenario, it would just make the situation worse.

Ormund expected as much and decided to write off Darren for the rest of this conversation- at least until the sensitive bits were over. He turned back to Adrien and said, “It’s never too late.” A meaningless platitude, but it was all he could offer unless Adrien gave him more to work with.

Adrien complied with the prying. Silently, he shook his head. “It is too late. Did I ever tell you about Talla?”

Ormund tried to think back, cycling through conversations, looking for that name. It was Darren that answered though. “You didn’t. I’d remember if you mentioned a pretty lass.”

“She was,” Adrien replied. “Pretty, I mean. Her full name is Talla Byrch. She’s the sister to Lord Devan of Byrch Hall.” Another swing. “You know, I remember this one time- I think we were twelve then- that someone tried to pick on a servant in front of her. It was a boy, three years older than her. I think it was the son of some landed knight or another. Either way, she walked right up to him and smacked him so hard his cheeks positively glowed red. He got angry at her- I don’t think he knew that she was a noble lady- and was going to hit her back and so I intervened. It made me feel like a knight, defending a lady’s honor.

“We talked after that and struck up a friendship. We grew older and friendship turned to love. This was back when I still had an inheritance- one befitting a lady. Byrch Hall and Sow’s Hall are right next to each other. It would have been a good alliance. We were to get married.”

Ormund put the pieces together. “She got married.” It wasn’t a question.

Adrien nodded anyway. He still hadn’t looked up from his drink. “To Florian Buckwell, Heir to The Antlers.” He swished his ale around his cup, watching it move. “I suppose it’s a good alliance. Florian’s father, Morgan, has two-thousand soldiers but is right on the border to the Riverlands- right next to Maidenpool and Darry. The thousand extra soldiers from Byrch Hall might save a lot of lives.”

“But you’re not happy.” This wasn’t a question either.

Once more, Adrien replied anyway. “But I’m not happy. You know, I’ve spent the last two years trying to pretend it wasn’t real. That I wasn’t losing my inheritance. I kept telling myself that my brother would die any day now and I’d be allowed to go home. I told myself everything would be like I left it, with the cracked step leading to the kitchen and stubborn old Lothar in the training yard.

“I’m starting to realize that even if I do return, nothing will be the same. The world has continued without me, whether I like it or not. There is nothing left for me there. And that’s if I get to go back. More likely than not, my brother will live and enjoy my inheritance by right of coming out of the right cunt.”

The notes carried a tone of finality to them, one that Ormund couldn’t argue with. Instead, he changed tracts. “How does this lead to you joining the army?”

“I’m not getting Sow’s Horn, I’m not getting the accompanying lands, and I’m not getting Talla,” Adrien replied, his voice shifting slightly, going from bleak depression to a bleak sort of resolve. “But I am determined to get a castle, some lands, and a beautiful wife. Luckily, I happen to be a knight and the King desperately needs those. I hear Stark killed all the others under his employ.”

“Yeah,” Ormund agreed. “Stark killed all the others. Do you want to go against those odds?”

Adrien finally looked up. The blue eyes were rimmed with red- how had they missed it before? When he spoke both Darren and Ormund could pick up the resolve in his voice. “That will make it even more impressive when I cut Stark’s head off and present it to King Joffrey. He’ll have to reward my services. He has to.”

No one spoke for a few seconds and then Darren, in the softest voice he used in years, spoke. “Mate, the girl ain’t worth it. You say you want a reward, but this sounds like glorified suicide to me. Stay here. You’re a good man with good skills. You can find a humble living and get married to a nice girl right here. I know a few- I’d be happy to introduce you.”

“And leave my children- the family I want to start- with what? Just take a walk down the street and look around. Starving, emancipated children everywhere. They’re like skeletons with a thin film of skin stretched over them. Walking corpses with no futures.

“I bring them into the world and tell them what? That they are peasants and not lords because their father was a craven? That my sword remained sheathed because I was too afraid to fight- to risk my life to defend them and their birthright? Can such a report be glorious in the eyes of Gods and men?

“No. All who live must die, but I won’t do so with a whimper. If the stranger is going to take me, it will be with a sword in my hand. It will be as I try to claw my way back to the glory and honor that I have lost. And I want you to come with me.”

“Come again?” Ormund asked, his eyebrows raised. “We’re trying to talk you out of going to war. What makes you think we want to go?”

“Aye, if you stay here you may live. Assuming the city isn’t sacked of course- if it is, then you’ll be dead regardless. Difference is, instead of a glorious death on the battlefield, you’ll die a craven’s death. But let’s assume you live- live till your eighty. You will die eventually. Think hard on what you are going to leave behind.”

Ormund look at him for a moment. And then he spoke, his voice noticeably colder. "Not all of us have the luxury of being able to chase wild dreams. I already have a family. A mother and two sisters who need to be fed and clothed. I can't feed them if I get myself killed gallivanting in the Riverlands."
 
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