The Great Hall rang with the clamour of many voices and King Daeron was pleased. As pipers played and singers sang, he looked out over the sea of faces and smiled. Blond Haired Lannisters engaged Salty Dornishmen, while rugged Northmen from beyond the Neck exchanged pleasantries with Tyrells of the reach. For the first time since The Conqueror had landed on the shores of Westeros the seven Kingdoms were one and it was he, Daeron, the Second of his name who had achieved it. Not through conquest as his namesake, the Young Dragon had attempted but through marriage. Some of his blood had derided him for breaking the decades long Targaryen tradition of marrying brother to sister but he had known that an alliance by royal marriage was the only way to bring Dorne into his domain and truly unite the seven kingdoms. He smiled at his Dornish wife, Myriah who had supported him for so many years, borne him many sons, and worked as hard as he had to integrate Dorne into the Seven Kingdoms and shared her warm smile.
"We have done well, have we not?"
She took his hand.
"Of course we have. When my brother first told me of your proposal I thought that one of you must be mad."
He squeezed her hand and laughed, turning to look to his right where Prince Maron Martell sat in his place of honour, Daeron's sister by his side. Prince Maron returned Daeron's grin with a rueful smile of his own.
"It was only a matter of time before Dorne could no long lead an independent existence. Better that it be done through peaceful means than through bloodshed. Besides, none can say that we have not raised a fine family!"
He gestured down the high table to where the scions of House Targyen and House Martell were laughing and boasting among themselves. Once more Daeron smiled. He had brought peace and prosperity to the Seven Kingdoms, his
Kingdoms and had raised a family that any father would be proud to call his own. Winter was years away and the Granaries were overflowing. Such wealth and bounty allowed him to be generous. Outside the Red Keep he knew that the commoners were enjoying revelries as indulgent by their standards as those that were taking place in the great hall were to the nobility of Westeros. The Captain of his Guard had told him that whole pigs and sheep were being roasted in the streets of Kings Landing and whole troupes of Mummers were performing. Great pavilions were being erected outside the walls of the city and the lists were being constructed. Soon a great tournament would be held and nights and nobles from all across the realm would compete against one another for both prizes and honours, all in honour of Daeron's Grandson, Prince Valarr. The boy would be 15 on the morrow and Daeron had insisted that the first of the Grandchildren to reach manhood would be given a celebration worthy of his position as a Prince of the Realm.
Daeron rose to his feet and held out his arms.
The clamour lurched as conversation was interrupted and musicians ceased mid note.
"My Lords of Westeros!
A huge cheer rose from thr throats of a half a thousand agin Lords, Lordlings, Ladies, Knights and attendants.
"Daeron!" The cry came back
"King Daeron! Daeron the Good! Prince Valarr!"
A rhythmic thump grew in the hall as Lord Lyonel Baratheon lead the Lords in slamming tankards of ale down on the table over and over again.
"King Daeron! Prince Valarr! House Targaryen!"
Daeron smiled, contented in the love of his lords and held up his arms again for silence. Slowly the chanting died.
"My Lords! We truly live in a time that has been blessed by the Seven! Our enemies are vanquished, Blackfyre and Bittersteel slain, their armies driven from our lands by the efforts of my son Baelor and my Brother Brynden. They will trouble us no longer! Now we can return to a time of peace, raise our children and teach them the lessons we have paid for in blood!"
Another raucous cheer rose from the assembled throng. The defeat of the blackfyre pretenders was still fresh in the minds of the populace, many having lost sons, brothers and friends to the rebels. Daeron spied his bastard brother, that men called the Bloodraven lurking in the shadows at the back of the hall, glowing from the one eye that had survived his confrontation with Bittersteel. As Hand his rightful place was at the high table by Daerons right hand, but his brother had never been one for festivities.
"We are here to celebrate the coming of age of Prince Valarr!"
He flung out his hand to gesture to the boy and yet another cheer rose, this time from his relations who dragged him to his feet and present him for the approval of the court. The boy, no, the man, Daeron corrected himself, seemed someone worse for the effects of wine but he rose to occasion quickly, thanking the assembled Lords for their kind words and their gifts. As Prince Valarr returned to his seat, Daeron continued.
"These blessed time will not last. As our friend Lord Stark will surely remind us, winter is coming. We must prepare and make sure that we do not grow fat and complacent in these rich times. Keep your swords sharpened and your skills honed! Teach your Children the arts of war and of peace so that they may defend what is theirs! Treat with your smallfolk so that love but still respect you! May your houses last a thousand years more!"
As he returned to his chair, and enormous roar overtook the hall as Lords took to their feet toasting and shouting cheering. As the normal hubbub of conversation returned and the Pipers started to play again Daeron poured himself another glass of wine to the horror of his servants and took a large gulp. If Baelor ruled, and Valarr ruled after him, then House Targaryen would endure ten thousand years. He was satisfied.