Ghaston Grey, Juvenile Detention Centre, Dorne – January 2011
"Happy Birthday, Targaryen." The guard tells her, giving her back the few things she had when she was first arrested two years ago. "You've been emancipated."
Daenerys doesn't answer. She keeps walking, until she's finally standing outside the door of the juvenile centre. The door closes behind her.
She squints against the bright sun, finally noticing the car parked just outside the prison walls, and a man leaning over it, seemingly waiting for her.
Daenerys takes a few steps towards him. The man is very short, with golden blond hair and mismatched eyes, one green and one black. "Who are you?"
"Tyrion Lannister. But don't hold it against me," Tyrion jokes. "I was a friend of your father. You're just as beautiful as he described."
Dany scoffs, "My father hasn't seen me in ten years. How does he know how I look?"
Tyrion frowns, his face contorting in sadness. "I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this but…he passed away. About six weeks ago." He then gestures to the box sitting on the hood of his car. "He wanted you to have this."
Daenerys glares. "Whatever it is, I don't want it."
"Oh no, trust me. You definitely do."
"My father was a murderer and a liar. So, why would I want anything that belonged to him?"
"Because that's just what they wanted you to believe. That's what they wanted the whole world to believe. Forget everything you think you know, Daenerys. Your father was protecting you."
"Open the box and you'll find out." Daenerys takes the box from Tyrion's hands but doesn't open it, not yet.
"Your father was the first person to believe in me when no one else did, not even my father. Not that that means much, my father has always thought I was a mistake, a disappointment. Anyway…Rhaegar invested in my company when no one else would. This key," He retrieves a key from his pocket before giving it to her, "opens a lockbox in Meereen. Now that you're 18, you're officially 49% owner of my company. Since my company's net worth is over 30 billion dollars, you're a very rich woman now. Board meetings are every other Wednesday, but…you don't have to show up. I never do."
That night, in the privacy of a motel room, Daenerys opens the box. Its top is engraved with the crest of House Targaryen, the three-headed dragon.
After rummaging for a bit through the pile of documents, photos and journals, Daenerys retrieves a letter.
'Dear Daenerys,' it says,
'If you're reading this, then two things have come to pass. The first is that I'm finally able to provide you with the life you were unjustly denied. And the second is that, unfortunately, I won't be able to share it with you.
I know that uncle Aemon took good care of you for as long as he could. I hope you were happy with him those few years you spent together, at least.
I tried to stop them from leaving you with my brother, but I couldn't. Who would listen to a terrorist after all? I wanted to kill him with my bare hands when I heard what he did to you.
I just want you to know that I don't blame you for what happened, nor should you feel guilty about it. You did what you had to do. You were only defending yourself.
I'm proud of you and I love you, no matter what. Remember that.
I hope these journals provide you with the answers to the questions you must have had for all these years.
I'm not the man they say I am and I did not do the things they say I did.
All I ask is that you promise to do the one thing that's been so hard for me to do…Forgive.
With all my love,
But that was a promise I couldn't keep. I know that my father didn't leave me his box for that purpose, but I turned it into a road map for revenge that led me to the people who destroyed our lives. One by one the guilty will pay.
I don't want innocent people to get hurt, but sometimes it's inevitable. Nothing ever goes exactly as you expect, and mistakes are life and death; collateral damage is inescapable.
Dragonstone Island – May 2017
Daenerys is just finishing unpacking her last things and settling down into her new home. Missandei arrives with a bottle of expensive Dornish red, entering from the glass door of the dining room, the one overlooking the back porch and the beach below.
Doreah smiles at her, always happy to see her friend. "Missandei. It's so good to see you."
"You too." The two women embrace warmly, not having seen each other in more than three months now.
"So, what do you think?"
Missandei looks around her, a glint in her eyes. "I say it's perfect."
Doreah shrugs. "Nearly. It almost looks like it was then. Luckily the Arryns didn't change much."
"Make it too much like it was 17 years ago and the game could be over too soon."
"Don't worry. Only Lyanna Stark would know what it looked like inside. And Lyanna Stark is dead."
Missandei nods. "We should toast to your new house, or rather…to getting back the house that rightfully belongs to you. I bought a bottle of Dornish red. I thought it appropriate."
Doreah grins. "Yes, very appropriate."
The two of them go to sit on the sofa in front of the fireplace. They open the bottle Missandei brought and Doreah pours them both a glass. They clink their glasses together before sipping in silence for a few moments.
"So…? How are things proceeding?" Doreah finally asks.
"Very well, I'll say. Catelyn Stark hired me to organize her Memorial Day party, and if it all goes well, I will work for her all summer. She's a difficult woman to please, cold and proud. She adores her children and dotes on them, though she has a soft spot for her nephew, Jon Snow, as well. Though Jon is Ned Stark's favourite; he prefers Jon to his own son Robb. I'm slowly but surely gaining Mrs Stark's trust, though it hasn't been exactly easy."
Doreah smiles, satisfied. "Good. And what about the rest of the family, what can you tell me about them?"
"Ned Stark spends all his time in King's Landing so I've barely seen him these past few weeks. Sansa Stark is a spoiled brat who thinks everyone should bow down to her just because she's a Stark. Robb Stark is a playboy who loves to party and spend Daddy's money. Arya is rebellious and stubborn, a bit of a tomboy, but I like her. She's smart and doesn't look down on people who aren't as rich as her. She's also Jon's favourite cousin."
"And Jon Snow?" Doreah asks, her voice deceptively casual.
Missandei grins. "Jon Snow is a gentleman. He's kind and honest, though a little broody. And smart. Ned Stark, is, I think, grooming him to take over the company instead of Robb. I don't know how Jon feels about it but he's dutiful and has a knack for business."
"And how does Robb Stark feel about this?"
"I think he's envious of his cousin, but he would never say so, either to his father or to Jon. They're close, as close as brothers. Or at least they were, once. Now, I'm not so sure."
"Why is that?"
"I think something happened last summer, but I don't know what. I can find out for you though."
Doreah shakes her head. "No, don't worry. I will find out on my own. Don't expose yourself too much. Keep your head down."
"Of course." Missandei answers. "Are you planning on going to Mrs Stark's party?"
"Obviously. How much are the thickets?"
"10.000 dollars per person."
"It's supposed to be a charity auction or something." Missandei explains. "Mrs Stark's going to auction a painting from House Stark's private collection and the proceeds and the money gained from the sale of the thickets will be donated to charity."
"Isn't she such a good Samaritan?" Doreah wonders sarcastically.
"Oh yes, a real pillar of the community."
"Well, I suppose I'll need a dress then." Doreah says. "Would you like to go shopping with me later?"
"I wish. But I have too much to do to spend an evening shopping. And I already bought the dress for the occasion anyway. Not that I can afford the same dresses as you."
"You know it's just a charade, right? All of it? The dresses, the jewelry, the house, the car, the household staff. I need to play the part of the rich heiress or Ned and Catelyn Stark would never accept me into their inner circle."
"I know, Dany. And it's thanks to you than I am where I am now. I don't have billions in my bank account but I still earn more than I ever thought I would five years ago. I will always be grateful to you for that."
"It's not thanks to me. It's thanks to you. I just helped you a little. But it's you who made your event planning agency into the successful business it is today. You don't need to thank me. But I'm grateful for your loyalty nonetheless."
"I would do anything for you, you know that, right?"
"I know. That's why I trust you, with my life and with my name."
Missandei nods and finishes her glass of red wine. "I should go now, before Catelyn Stark sends out a search party."
"Thank you for doing this." Doreah says, getting up from the sofa soon after Missandei.
"It's not like I'm not getting something out of this as well. Catelyn is paying me 50'000 dollars to organize this event. And the summer's just beginning."
"Good. I'm glad." Doreah says, showing Missandei out before leaning against the porch rail and staring at the ocean.
Catelyn Stark, standing on her bedroom's balcony, observes the new owner of the house that once belonged to her sister Lysa and her husband. For a moment the sight of silver hair brings her back in time.
She shakes her head. Both Rhaegar and Daenerys Targaryen are dead, have been dead for years in fact. And while the silver hair isn't exactly a common trait in Westeros, there are still a few of Valyrian descendants left, the Velaryon family for example, and there were even more in Essos, especially in Lys.
Catelyn descends to the first floor and walks to the living room where her husband is talking on the phone and still busy with work.
"Looks like the new owner of the house next door is settling in." Catelyn comments casually.
Ned ends the phone call and looks at her. "Lucky girl, scoring that property. The real estate agent told me she's young, 25 at the most, basically the same age as Robb and Jon."
"Beautiful too, even from this distance."
"I guess that makes her doubly lucky." Ned says with a shrug. He doesn't seem to be very interested in the conversation.
"I don't believe in luck." Catelyn says in a cold tone.
"Do you believe in money then? From what I was told, she barely blinked when she heard the price. She's either careless with her money, or she isn't concerned with the price because such an expenditure would barely make a dent in her bank account. I bet on the latter."
"And why is that?" Catelyn asks, a little irritated. It is an irrational displeasure, born from the fact that she doesn't like the idea of someone else living in the house where her sister had spent the summer for the last fifteen years.
"Because her name is Doreah Martell."
"And?" Catelyn asks, not understanding.
"And I looked her up. Curiosity, I suppose. I just wanted to know who our new neighbour was."
"What did you find out?"
"Her mother was a Rogare." At Catelyn's slight widening of her eyes, Ned nodded. "Yes, that Rogare. The second biggest bank in the world after the Iron Bank. And you know who her father was? Doran Martell."
"So? I've never heard of Doran Martell."
"No, and you wouldn't. But I bet you heard of Oberyn Martell."
"Of Martell Motors? Of course, I've heard of him."
"That's her uncle. Doran was Oberyn's brother."
Ned nods. "Yes, the poor dear lost her parents in a car accident when she was little. She went from foster home to foster home after that. She must have come into her inheritance once she reached legal age."
Catelyn nods. When Ned's phone rings again, she asks her husband, "I thought you were taking the weekend off."
Ned turns his phone off, closes the laptop in front of him and takes off his spectacles. "There. I'm off." He gets up from the chair before kissing her soundly on the mouth.
"Ew, gross. Get a room, guys!" A voice from behind them distracts them from their effusions.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Arya. I didn't see you sneaking in." Ned says with a pretend-stern voice.
"I didn't see you sneaking out last night, either, Arya." Catelyn says with arms folded in front of her chest.
"I went over to Mycah's. I told you last night, before you went to bed."
"No, you didn't."
Arya rolls her eyes. "Mom, you're too young and too pretty to be this senile."
Catelyn smiles in amusement and watches Arya walk off. Her daughter has always some smart remark on the tip of her tongue.
"Remind me to buy her a cat bell." Catelyn says drily.
"Aw, let her have a little fun." Ned says, waving a hand in dismissal. "She got straight A's this year."
"No one's accusing her of being stupid."
Jon looks sternly at his dog, a great white husky with red eyes. "Ghost. The whole point of fetch is to bring the stick back when I throw it. I really gotta explain this again?"
Ghost whines a little, then barks and without warning, starts running. "Come here, Ghost!"
Ghost ignores him. Jon throws the stick but Ghost ignores that too. "Pick up the stick, come on Ghost!" Ghost keeps running. "Where are you going? Come back here."
Jon follows him, wondering what has gotten into him. When he reaches him, Ghost is sitting in front of the most beautiful woman Jon has ever seen. Ghost has his paw raised, seemingly waiting for the woman to take it. He barely notices her beauty at first though, too caught up in a memory that explodes in his mind all of a sudden. A memory of a little girl with silver hair and violet eyes. Dany.
An eight-year-old Jon is running on the beach with Ghost, who, at the time, is just a pup.
"Come here, Ghost!" A little girl says. "I found a stick for you." Dany shows the stick to Ghost who bites on it.
Jon frees the stick from Ghost's teeth before throwing it into the water. "Fetch it, Ghost. Come on! Show Dany how it's done."
"Nice throw." Dany says with a smile. Jon feels himself blush at the compliment.
"Thanks." He passes a hand through his curls, bashful. Dany flusters him all the time, and Jon doesn't understand why. Still, he likes it. And he likes spending time with her. She's his best friend.
"What are you doing Ghost?" Jon asks when he notices Ghost jumping the beautiful stranger. The silver-haired stranger laughs and hugs the dog to her. She pets him, not looking scared in the least.
"Ghost! Get down! What has gotten into you?" Jon asks his dog, bewildered. Then he turns towards the woman. "I'm so sorry. I have no idea what's the matter with him. He's not normally this friendly. He's kind of an old grump actually." He kneels on the ground to pet him together with the woman.
"It's okay. I don't mind." The woman smiles at her.
Jon notices mud on the woman's dress and almost groans aloud. "He got mud on your dress. I'm so sorry."
The woman waves a hand, uncaring. "Oh, that's not big deal."
"I could pay for the drycleaner. You know, to make it up to you?" Jon asks, his words coming out flirtier than he intends, though he can't say he minds.
"Oh no, it's fine. I got it. Thanks though."
"At least, let me buy you a coffee?"
The woman laughs. "Is that your usual strategy? Sending your dog towards your target so you get to introduce yourself?"
"No, no, I swear. Ghost has never behaved like this before."
"Okay, I believe you. Rain check on the coffee, though. I have another engagement today."
"Oh sure. I'm busy tonight too anyway. I'm Jon, by the way, Jon Snow."
The woman smiles at him and shakes his hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Jon Snow. I'm Doreah Martell."
Jon smiles at her, feeling flustered in a way he hadn't felt since he was eight years old. "Well then. See you around Doreah."