F O U R T Y - F I V E

F O U R T Y - F I V E

Against your morning skin
─── 。゚☆: *. .* :☆゚. ───

Daella enjoyed her time at the Eyrie, watching from the bridges to the yard below together with Lady Jessamyn whenever her Lady Aunt was occupied with the tasks thrust upon her as Defender of the Vale. Despite the weeks flying by, Daella was looking forward to Aemond returning from Storm's End, hopefully successful in securing the Stormlands. Lord Boremund, who had ruled before Lord Borros, had been a firm supporter of Rhaenyra and though a son did not have to be like his father, Daella couldn't help but fear for Aemond's safety. She also knew that an alliance was not always secured in a matter of days and that Lord Borros would likely spend some weeks hunting and sparring with the King, but now that a moon had turned again she would like to lay her eyes upon the face of her husband once more. 

"How are you feeling today, my Queen?" Lady Jessamyn asked as she walked the tower bridge to Daella. She inclined her head towards the younger girl, before resting her forearms on top of the balustrade and looking down at the yard as well. "Are you still experiencing morning sickness?"

Absentmindedly, Daella's hand wandered to her stomach, the smallest of bumps already showing, and she shrugged slightly. "The Maester gives me a potion every morning and night," she said. "He says it will keep both me and the child strong and it should help with all sorts of symptoms, such as my sickness, but Maesters say a lot of things all of the time."

Lady Jessamyn chuckled and turned to look at the younger girl standing next to her. "When was the night of the wedding, Your Grace?"

"Almost three moons ago already," Daella said, smiling softly. 

"Then it should not be long before your morning sickness will pass," Lady Jessamyn replied. 

Daella hummed softly in reply, hoping that the woman was speaking the truth. Thus far, the secret of her carrying child had remained between her, Lady Jeyne, Lady Jessamyn and the Maester of the Eyrie and the two women seemed more delighted by it than Daella herself. It wasn't that Daella wasn't happy at the prospect of being with a child of her and Aemond, but right next to her excitement there was an ever-present feeling of dread and fright. Rhaenyra would be busy waging war against Daella and the crown, rather than helping her daughter through this new chapter in her life, and Daella did not know to who else she could turn. After all, the only mother figure in her life was Lady Jeyne, but staying at the Eyrie for the remainder of her pregnancy was not an option. 

Heaving a big sigh, Daella turned to look at Lady Jessamyn. "I fear that now is not a good time for a child to be born," she said softly. "The realm is trembling at the prospect of the war and I have no one to guide me through this experience."

"You will have a whole army of midwives and ladies-in-waiting upon your arrival back at Kingslanding," Lady Jessamyn said, offering the younger girl a small squeeze in her hand. "These are especially the times that the realm is in need of good and positive news and besides, it is the Gods who decide when the time is ripe. Not even your three dragons could fight fate, Your Grace."

Daella looked up at the three mighty beasts, chasing each other around the castle. At first, she had feared that the Cannibal would fit in ill with Vermithor and Silverwing, who had spent most of their lives coiling together, but it appeared that as Daella bounded with the black-scaled monster, so did her other two dragons. At the sound of a mighty roar like thunder splitting the sky, her three dragons stopped circling each other and seemed to fixate all of their attention on something Daella could not yet see. 

Frowning, she clenched down onto the balustrade of the bridge and looked up at the sky expectantly. As soon as the clouds broke apart and Vhagar appeared through them, a squeal of delight escaped Daella's mouth. "Aemond," she said blissfully, already gathering her skirts. She made haste to walk in the direction of the nearest tower, rushing down the many steps and opening the door that would lead to the yard. 

Vhagar was already standing in the middle of it, almost too big to fit, and her husband was walking down the old girl's wing. Daella smiled at the sight of him, cursing her mind for remembering him so faulty when she had only been away from him for four weeks. He looked as handsome as ever, a cocky smirk gracing his face and his single eye sparkling with joy. As soon as his gaze fell upon her, his smirk changed into a genuine smile and trying to compose herself, Daella walked in his direction. 

"Lord Husband," she said as soon as he was within hearing distance. "I have missed you."

"As I have missed you, my Lady Wife," Aemond returned. He pressed an urgent kiss against her temple and Daella clenched the fabric of his tunic in her hands, resisting the urge to pull him close and bury her face in his neck. He pulled away and she did the same, looking up at him with a blinding smile. "I see that your mission was successful."

"I pray that yours was too," Daella returned, a loving expression on her face. 

Aemond smirked, his finger trailing the line of her jaw, before dropping his hand again. "I shall tell you all about it," he said, before returning his attention to the people in front of him. Daella went to stand next to him, watching as her Lady Aunt and loyal companion bowed once more. "Lady Arryn, Lady Jessamyn, it is a pleasure to see you."

"The pleasure is ours, my King," Lady Jeyne said, urging with her hand in the direction of the Great Hall. "Please be so welcome as to join my solar for a private conversation while the servants prepare a feast in honour of your company."

Aemond smiled politely and offering Daella his arm, the two of them made their way to Lady Jeyne's solar. Once there, the latter excused herself with the justification of overseeing the kitchens, but that she would join in on the conversation later. Daella offered her aunt a grateful look as she closed the door behind her, but she was soon distracted by the feeling of two strong hands pulling her into a lap by her hips. Chuckling softly, she wrapped her arms around Aemond's neck and twirled his hair around her fingers as he pressed a line of chaste kisses over the length of her jaw. 

"I thought Lord Borros Baratheon would never let me go," Aemond whispered softly, his voice muffled by her skin. "Just as we had hunted and feasted upon a boar he insisted we should gather another hunting party to do it all over again. I was, of course, in no position to refuse."

"It sounds like you have had a really troublesome time at Storm's End," Daella said, a soft gasp escaping her mouth as she felt Aemond's teeth grazing the skin of her neck ever so lightly. Afraid that she would not be able to control herself soon, she grabbed hold of Aemond's face and pulled him away from her neck, staring into his eye deeply. "Tell me about it."

Aemond wrapped arms around her, his folded hands coming to rest at her hip, and he looked down at her with an amused smile. "From the beginning, it became quite obvious that Lord Borros did not share the same view of Rhaenyra as his father, but that did not make him an easy Lord to treat with," Aemond said, shrugging ever so slightly. His eye was flickering all over Daella's face, taking in the little details he had so dearly missed in his absence. "In fact, we were still talking of offers and proposals when your brother Lucerys arrived on Arrax with a letter from Rhaenyra. He sealed the deal, really, for your mother thought she could summon Lord Baratheon like one whistles a dog, and the Lord of Storm's End was having none of it. It was quite amusing to watch."

"Lucerys was at Storm's End?" Daella asked. She leaned back in worry and frowned, regarding Aemond carefully. "Please tell me that you did not do anything stupid or regrettable, if not for his sake, then for yours."

"I took what was rightfully mine to take," Aemond said, clenching the muscles of his jaw as those words left his lips. "An eye for an eye."

"Aemond," Daella said threateningly, hoping that her husband was joking. She pulled her arms back and slipped from his lap, placing her hands on her hips as she stared down at him. Her heart was beating erratically in her chest and a cold sweat broke out all over her skin. "You did not take my brother's eye."

Aemond leaned back in the chair, his legs spread and his elbows resting on the armrests. He was regarding his wife in an unbothered fashion, lazy even. "When Lord Borros dismissed him from the castle, to return to his mother like a defeated puppy, I followed him outside to the yard," he said, his fingers tapping gently on the wood of the table. "He said he had come as a messenger, not as a warrior, but that he would not be afraid to fight me. A fight it would be then, and a short one too, as he-"

"Spare me the details, husband," Daella said, holding up her hand and feeling the colour disappear from her cheeks. "What did you do?"

"I disarmed him and stuck my dagger in his eye, just as he did to me years ago," Aemond said curtly. "He should be back at Dragonstone by now, despite the storm. I did not even cut him deeply, just enough that his eye is rendered useless from now on."

"Seven Hells," Daella muttered, placing her hands in her hair as she turned her back to Aemond. She could feel the cold fear squeezing around her heart and with a wave of nausea crashing over her, Daella twirled around to point a finger at her husband. "If they did not have cause to hate us before, then they certainly do now. Worse, you have given them a rightful cause too."

Aemond grabbed Daella's pointed finger and tugged at it unexpectedly, causing Daella to stumble in his direction. He placed his hands on her hips, pulling her closer still and despite his advances, she managed to keep the angry frown on her face as she looked down at him.

"It was Lucerys who drew his sword first, there are many who will testify so," Aemond said. 

"It does not matter what people will testify," Daella countered, crossing her arms in front of her chest. 

Aemond's thumbs traced the outline of her hipbones. "I will not have it said that I am a weak King."

"Only a foolish one, then," Daella countered, her voice cold. "I wonder what the Hand and your mother will have to say about this action."

Aemond stared up at her, a pensive expression on his face. "Tell me you would not have done the same," he said at last, his voice void of any taunting. For a moment, Daella continued to stare down at him in chastisement, but then she let out a sigh of defeat and rolled her eyes. Slowly, but surely she had begun to learn that Aemond's childhood had been far from what she had expected it to be, filled with cruel japes and insults that still held a place in his heart. He pulled her into his lap sideways again and she allowed him to do so, folding her hands together in her lap. "Do not be angry with me, my love," he only said, placing a soft kiss on her temple.