The Prince With One Eye (Gravity Falls/Game of Thrones).

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The Prince With One Eye (Gravity Falls/Game of Thrones).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-12-08 03:30am

Okay, this is probably the weirdest crossover I've ever done. It started as a series of one-shots that ended up developing a loose plot over on alternatehistory.com, and I figure I might as well re-post it here, so I'll be putting it up a chapter at a time over the next few days. One day I'll get all of my scattered fics posted together on the same site, I swear. :wink:

I don't own Gravity Falls or Game of Thrones, etc... (If I had the latter, you can damn well believe certain things would have happened very differently).

Chapter One.

Cersei Lannister, Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, screamed as yet another contraction sent a surge of agony through her body. Her fingers clenched the sheets beneath her, soaked with her sweat, and it was only the layer of fabric which kept her nails from gouging cuts in her hands. She gasped as the pain receded slightly, trying to focus on the face of the Maester leaning over her, his hands between her legs.

"Try to breath deeply, Your Grace. Just one more push should do it..." She wanted to curse the old fool and his endless insipid droning, to order his head stricken from his shoulders, but instead she grit her teeth and pushed once more.

Anything to make this torment end.

And then she could hear crying, and she opened her eyes and saw the little squalling infant in the Maester's arms. She lay back in the bed, too tired to do anything more or even think.

***

Some time later, they brought the child to her. She felt a deep unease at its approach, and almost hesitated to turn her eyes upon it. What if it is Robert's child? She had been so sure, so sure that it was Jaime's, but what if... but when she turned her eyes on it, and saw its face, and the whisps of light hair on its head, she knew. This child was Jaime's, and her's.

Cersei did not love often, or easily. She had loved her mother, she thought, and what she shared with her twin was more than love. When Jaime was inside her, she felt... whole. Complete, like two parts of the same person joined together once more. She respected her father, but she despised her dwarfish younger brother, and the brutal, drunken, lecherous oaf whom she was cursed to call husband. For the rest, they were merely tools or obstacles or rivals to remove. Rich or poor, high or lowborn, whatever their titles or their deeds, they were lesser. They were not Lannisters. But looking at the child that they placed gently in her arms, she knew that she loved it, that she would always love it, this child that was a part of her, a product of her and Jaime's forbidden union.

"Joffrey", she whispered, gently stroking the baby's head.

The baby blinked, and opened its eyes. She had expected Jaime's eyes. Her eyes. She had feared Robert's.

Instead, twin golden slits, like a cat's eyes, gazed back at her, somehow far too knowing for any child.

For a moment, her heart contracted in terror and horror. And then the feeling passed. This was her child, her's and Jaime's, and whatever he was, she would love him to the ends of the world.

***

Thousands of miles away, in a chamber in a temple deep in Essos, a woman in red knelt before a fire. As she gazed into the flames, visions danced and swirled within them. The endless snow-swept North. Wild men and women huddled 'round their fires. Her breath caught as spectral white figures moved between dark trees. The Others. Is it truly come so soon? Cold blue eyes gazed back at her from the fire, and for a moment she was certain that the creature could see her in turn. The Lord of Light will protect me, as he will send Azor Ahai to protect the world. She leaned forward, gazing deeper into the flames, desperate for a glimpse, just a glimpse, of the Prince who was Promised, the man who would save them all from the coming darkness...

A flash of light. The flames leapt higher, dancing wildly, and the images became strange, distorted, wild, phantasmal, impossible things. Yet these were the visions her Lord sent her, and the fires would not lie. A swirling circle of light. Glowing symbols carved in metal. A town of strange houses, wires hanging from polls like branchless trees running between them, over roads of a strange black substance smoother than dirt or cobblestones, surrounded by towering forests. Two children, boy and girl, dressed in the strangest clothes that she had ever seen, the boy with a white cap emblazoned with a blue symbol, the girl in a thick shirt of shockingly bright pink wool with a star in the middle, the star trailing a tail- a shooting star. An old man in black with a red cap on his head, another, face alike to his, in a long coat, pointing some sort of metal tube which spat blue lightning. A giant blue man of metal that towered over the trees, its eyes glowing with a harsh orange light. A high, mad laugh that rose and rose and rose, and again and again, repeated, the same shape- a yellow triangle sprouting black arms and legs, a strange sort of tall cap upon its pointed head. An eye opened in the center of the triangle, and the shape, no the creature rushed toward her, cackling gleefully, and she was screaming, and the fires were blazing, and the laugh rose and rose until it seemed to fill the whole world...

When the acolyte rushed into the chamber, he found her lying on her back, starring at the ceiling, her eyes wide. For a moment he was certain that the priestess was dead, but then he saw her that her chest still rose and fell with shaky breaths. He knelt quickly beside her.

"Lady Melisandra, what happened?"

The words from her mouth were only gibberish, fast and garbled.

"Are you well", he asked, his alarm growing once more. "Shall I fetch a healer?"

She sat up suddenly, eyes still too wide, and this time her words were discernable, if scarcely more understandable.

"When Gravity Falls and Earth becomes sky, fear the beast with just one eye!"





So yeah. Basically, this guy:

Image

Is reborn as this guy:

Image
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.

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Re: The Prince With One Eye (Gravity Falls/Game of Thrones).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-12-09 07:28am

Chapter 2.


Jon Arryn, Hand of the King and Lord Paramount of the Vale, sighed heavily and wiped a weary hand across his brow. It came away slick with sweat- the hot, moist air of King's Landing in summer clung to him like a filthy film, and he longed for the cool, fresh air of the Eerie, for the halls of his ancestral home and the familiar faces of his youth. But here he was, stuck in King's Landing has he had been almost without reprieve for the last nine years, with only a few of his household and of course his lady wife, for all the good that her increasingly volatile presence in Court did him, keeping the Seven Bloody Kingdoms limping along in a somewhat orderly state while the man he had raised as a son drank and whored his way toward an early grave... he shook his head. He would not think such black thoughts of his King, not even in his own mind. His service, he told himself, was an honour, a great honour, and a duty he was proud to perform. But lately, something had changed. Before, King's Landing had merely been unpleasant, a stinking, swelter cesspit of corruption and backstabbing with little regard for duty, honour, the Gods or the Realm. But now... he shivered. Something had changed.

He looked up at the gathering of men sitting around the table. Two great lords, brothers of the King, though as different in nature as the rocks and sky, and one still only a boy. The small, soft figure of the Spider, sitting placidly a little further down the table, his eyes always watching. Lord Baelish sitting at his right- his wife had given him good advice, for once, when she pleaded with him to appoint the Gulltown Lord Master of Coin. Baelish had only been here a few months, but already the money was coming in as if by magic. The boy had a sharp wit and was eager to please, despite his rather disreputable youth. At the far end of the table sat the hunched figure of Grandmaester Pycelle, his doddering demeanor hiding a still-agile mind. The men who rule the Realm in Roberts' stead, Seven help us all. Every face looked haggard, and their eyes at moments would dart from side to side, as though searching the shadows for invisible eyes. Eyes of yellow light... he shook his head, pushing the memory of the dreams away.

"You were saying, Lord Stannis?"

The Master of Ships sat ramrod straight, a sour expression on his face, as always.

"Construction and repairs for the fleet are proceeding at an acceptable pace", he reported. Considering Lord Stannis's usual standards, that meant that they were probably proceeding very well.

"Lord Renly?"

The boy who Robert had made Master of Laws tried for a cocky grin. Instead it looked strained and shaky.

"The Commander ensures me that the Goldcloaks have the city well in order." He looked around, as if trying to think of something else to say, and then trailed off. Jon swore that he could hear the boy's older brother grinding his teeth.

"And what of the symbols that have appeared across the city", the Master of Ships finally grated. An stifling silence settled over the room. No one met anyone's eye. No one wanted to talk about the symbols.

"The triangles", Stannis repeated. "Have your 'little birds' found the source of this... this cult?" The last question was directed at the Master of Whispers. The fat little eunuch glanced at the Master of Ships. His voice was as calm as always, and Jon felt some grudging respect for the man, but he thought he saw a tension beneath the facade.

"My little birds bring me many things. There are rumours from the docks, rumours from Fleabottom, even from the manses of the lords."

"Yet you have found nothing that the King, or my fool brother, can act upon", Stannis growled.

"Surely we attach too much importance to this... cult", Lord Baelish said. Of all the gathering, he alone appeared strangely untroubled by the recent events.

Varys spread his hands in apology or helplessness.

"Such inquiries take time. Even my birds cannot work miracles."

"Then perhaps it is time that we find someone who can."

"I have spoken to the High Septon", Jon said tiredly. "He had little to say, but he assured me that the Gods shall protect us from this... this foolishness."

Silence fell once more, except for the sound of Stannis grinding his teeth. There didn't seem to be much more to say, and after a few desultory formalities, the meeting of the Small Council dispersed. Exiting the chamber, Jon turned his steps towards the tower of the Hand, his boots clacking against the well-polished stone. He paused as he noticed something in the corner of his vision, on the wall of the passage. He turned his head slowly, unwillingly, a weight of dread in the pit of his stomach.

There, on the wall, was a little figure etched in black charcol- a triangle, with crude arms and legs, and a strange, tall cap upon its pointed crown. And in the center, almost filling the triangle, was a single eye.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.

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Re: The Prince With One Eye (Gravity Falls/Game of Thrones).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-12-09 07:29am

Chapter Three.

This one's a bit of a flash back to the early years of "Joffrey"'s life in King's Landing.


Robert Baratheon seldom paid much heed to dreams. They haunted him sure enough, visions of the Mad Prince as Robert stove his chest in at the Trident, of other men and boys he had killed. Those ones, he almost enjoyed. Worse, far worse, were the dreams of her, a spectral presence forever haunting him, pleading for him to save her, forever just out of reach. Those were mornings when he lay in bed, starring at the canopy overhead, wishing for death to claim him. Many nights, it took ten cups of strong wine to get him into bed and let him drift off. Whenever he found his thoughts wandering into the shadows of the past, he was quick to drown them in strong wine or a pretty girl. Better to forget. Better to forget.

But lately, his dreams had been different. No mad princes or lost loves, no half-forgotten battles or blood in the Trident.

He climbed an endless stairway of grey stone. Fragments crunched beneath his feet. He did not look down, but out of the corner of his eye, he could see that the stairway was made from crumbling human skulls, piled one atop another. Up he climbed, up and up, into the swirling grey clouds overhead. The stairs wound this way and that around him. Sometimes, he could have sworn, they folded in on themselves or ran upside down.

"AaaaahahaHaHaHAHAHAhahaHa!"

The high-pitched laughter echoed hauntingly in the mist around him. A great slit opened in the clouds above him, widening into a great yellow cat-like eye. The king of the Seven Kingdoms shrank back as the eye loomed large above him.

"Hiya Bobby!" Its voice was high-pitched and cheerful, but there was something... empty about it, a jeering irreverent contempt for everything outside itself.

"Wh-Who are you", Robert stammered.

The eye shrunk as it swooped in closer to him, and the landscape around them shifted, so that they were standing in the middle of an empty plain. A black triangle materialized around it, framing it- then solidified into a pyramid of glowing yellow light, complete with... tiny black arms and legs? And what in the Seven Hells was on its head?

"Name's Bill Cipher, but you can call me Sonny!"

"Sunny?" Confusion for a moment lightened the dread weight in the pit of his stomach.

"Come on, you going to tell me you haven't figured it out? But then, I guess you're not the brightest King in the Kingdom, eh?"

"Show some respect, demon", Robert growled, surprised to find his war hammer suddenly in his hand. But then, this was a dream. Wasn't it? "Or I'll teach you some manners myself!"

"Woah, big talk for a fat old drunk who can't even please his wife! Then again, I guess its not your fault. I mean, how could any woman measure up to poor, lost Lyanna?" The mists shifted, parted, and there she stood, the spectral figure that forever haunted his dreams, eyes pleading, reaching out to him to save her...

"No..." Rage replaced fear, and he rounded on the demon. "Begone, and take that specter with you. Haunt my dreams no more!"

"I could go... But wouldn't you rather see her again?"

A cold dread, a terrible hope, clutched at Robert's soul.

"What are you-"

"I could bring her back. She could be your's. All you have to do is shake my hand."

For the longest moment of his life, Robert was tempted. So terribly tempted. He could see her, standing there, so close, almost real. He could almost imagine that if he reached out, he could touch her. Hold her. Smell her. The triangle demon floated in front of him, hand outstretched eagerly toward him.

He extended his hand. The demon drifted closer. Closer...

With a roar, he swung his hammer, driving it with all the force he possessed into the creature's single eye with a satisfying crash. The demon howled, its eye bursting with a sick splat as it tumbled head over heals in air. The fierce satisfaction Robert felt quickly vanished, however, as the demon righted itself, blinked, and the grusome hole of its missing eye was instantly healed.

"Guess not", the demon said. "I've got to hand it to you, you're tougher than you look. Maybe there's still some spine beneath all that fat. Give me a call if you change your mind."

"Begone", he groaned again. "Leave me in peace."

"As you wish, Your Grace! Just remember, I'll be watching you." The triangle demon rose into the sky, which crackled with lightning around its darkening form. "I'LL BE WATCHING YOU!"

And then, with a "pop", it was gone, leaving Robert standing alone in the mists. Then those too dissolved, and with a gasp Robert awoke in his bed. The air felt hot and humid as ever, and he threw off the stifling blanket, rolling away from the nameless wench he had taken to his bed last night. He sat for a long time, starring at the wall, as the grey light of dawn slowly filtered into the room.

Did it tell the truth? Could it have brought her back to me? He shook his head. If there was one thing Robert knew, it was that some wounds could not be healed. There was no escape from this hell. Not even in dreams.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.

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Re: The Prince With One Eye (Gravity Falls/Game of Thrones).

Post by CrazedGamma1721 » 2020-02-18 01:01am

This Is Very Good I Want To See More.

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Re: The Prince With One Eye (Gravity Falls/Game of Thrones).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-02-26 01:36am

Thanks!

Bill's tough to write. So much of his personality, I feel, is in the animation style, and especially Alex Hirsch's voice. I hope I do him some justice.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.

User avatar
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Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: The Prince With One Eye (Gravity Falls/Game of Thrones).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-03-01 03:53am

Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell, gazed at the parchment unrolled in his hands, trying to decipher the meaning of the words, quickly penned in a barely-legible scrawl. It was unlike him to think ill willing of a friend, or a King, but from any other man, he would have called them the ramblings of a drunkard, or possibly a mad man.

Coming Winter fell.

Have to see her. See you. Get them out this Godsdamned city before it makes me mad.

Triangle. Seven help us Eyes everywhere.

Robbert


"Ned?" He turned to meet the worried gaze of his lady wife. "What does the King's letter say?" Without a word he passed her the scroll, still lost in his own thoughts. He heard a sharp breath from Caetlyn as she read the letter and turned to see her looking at him wide-eyed.

"He's coming here? And with not even a word of when we should expect him."

He sighed.

"Even at its fastest, the Royal procession would take months to reach Winterfell. We shall have plenty of time to prepare a suitable welcome. But that is not what concerns me."

Cat nodded.

"His words... they sound..." She did not finish the thought, nor did she need to.

Is it that chair that drives men mad, Ned wondered. He dismissed the thought, ashamed of it. Robert had his faults, but he was no Aerys. Even his strange letter sounded less like the madness of the old Targaryen and more like...

Terror. A man terrified out of his wits. But what in the Seven Kingdoms could frighten a man like Robert Baratheon so?

"We will know more when Robert arrives", Ned said finally. "Until then, there is little sense worrying about what we cannot help."

Cat snorted softly.

"For you, perhaps. For me, I must begin the preparations so we can give our guest a fitting welcome."

Ned nodded, thoughts already turning to his last meeting with Robert. They had met in the final battles of the Ironborn Rebellion, when Robert stormed the Greyjoys' stronghold on Pyke, and for a time, he had almost been the Robert Ned and fought alongside in the Rebellion, the rift that had grown between them since the murder of the Targaryen children almost healed over. But then Ned had returned to the North, and Robert to the South, and he had heard scarcely a word since from his brother in all but blood.

What will Roberts' visit bring? A sense of undefinable foreboding descended over Ned.

Only time would tell.

***

Three weeks later...

Ned sighed as he put down the report on Winterfell's grain supplies and turned his attention to the more welcome prospect of a letter from Benjen regarding the latest status of the Night Watch. His frown deepened as he saw the report on the ever-shrinking size of the Watch, and the character, or lackthereof, of the new recruits. Not that Benjen was so blunt, but Ned knew how to read between the lines of his brothers' words.

He looked up as booted feet pounded down the hallway outside. A hasty rapping came at the door of his solar.

"Enter."

The door opened, and a Winterfell guardsman appeared in the doorway, out of breath and sweaty. Either the guards' training was slipping, and he knew that was unlikely, or the man had likely run all the way from the courtyard.

"Yes?"

"M...M'Lud", the man wheezed, then tried to straighten and stand to attention. "Its... the King!"

"The King?" Cold dread clutched at him. Had they received a message from Robert? But what could possibly be urgent enough to warrant this?

"The King... M'Lord... he's here!"

For a moment Ned's mind went blank.

"Here?"

"In the courtyard... M'Lord. He rode up on a half-dead horse with two of the Kingsguard, then collapsed!"
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.

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Re: The Prince With One Eye (Gravity Falls/Game of Thrones).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-03-08 04:08am

Ned sat gazing into the dying fire, the events of the last day replaying endlessly in his mind.

He raced down the stairs and through the Great Hall, ignoring Cat's shouted question as she turned to follow him. Across the yard to the open gates, where a crowd had already gathered, alarmed murmurs filling the air, the press barely held back by the shafts of Stark guards' spears. He pushed his way through, and found Maester Luwin already kneeling over the body of a large man, dressed in thick fur robes that were once fine but now were tattered and mud-splattered. Ned knelt opposite the old Maester, and his breath caught as he saw the fallen man's face. It was Robert, sure enough, but so changed that for a moment Ned had scarcely recognized him. His skin was flabby, as though he had gained and then quickly lost a great deal of girth, his cheeks hollow and sunk, his skin clammy and pale, his breathing harsh and uneven. He was unconscious, and the Maester's face was grim as he checked the King's pulse.

Ned rose and turned to the two men in white cloaks and armour, standing nearby. One he recognized as Ser Barristan Selmy, the last surviving member of King Aerys' Kingsguard and reputed to be the greatest living knight in the Seven Kingdoms. The other, he knew not.

"What happened", he asked, his voice raw and harsh. "What brings the King here in this state?"

Barristan stepped forward to answer, his expression both weary-he was older than Robert, though evidently in better physical condition-and shame-faced.

"His Grace left King's Landing on the wings of the raven he sent you, Lord Stark. We urged him to wait for the rest of the royal train, but he road like a man possessed. He barely stopped to eat or sleep the whole way here, and we had to push our horses to the limit to keep up with him. When his horse could go no further, he went on on foot. I've never seen the like. When we asked him why he could not wait, he said only that he had to see you. To see... her." Ned knew the her could only be the grave of his sister, Lyanna.

They had borne Robert into Winterfell, giving him a room half-way between the Maester's and Ned's own. Ned had scarcely left the room since, waiting and hoping that Robert would wake before the end.

Before the end... Maester Luwin had said that Robert's heart was failing, that he likely would not live out the night. Despite everything, a part of Ned had been looking forward to seeing his brother-in-arms again after all these years. To have it end like this, so suddenly and unexpectedly... truly, fate could be cruel. It was a lesson that Ned had learned young. He had not forgotten it, and now he tasted its bitterness again.

What brought you to this pass, old friend?

"Lyanna..."

The croaking whisper made him sit up, leaning closer to his dying friend.

"Get the Maester", he called quickly, and the servant at the door nodded and dashed away. Ned leaned forward until his face was only inches from Robert's. Slowly, the King's eyes fluttered open. His dark eyes were wild and starring, but they calmed slightly as they fell on Ned's face. A sad smile creased the King's face.

"Ned... By the Gods, is it you?"

"I'm here, your grace", Ned said softly.

"Bah", Robert grumbled weakly. "None of that formality with me Ned. No time for it." He chuckled, and it turned into a wheezing cough that finally subsided into rattling breaths. For a long time he was silent. Then...

"I meant to ride with you. To hunt and drink and feast and whore, like in the old days, before the Mad King... before that damned prince. Before I was fool enough to sit on that cursed chair, chained to a wife who hates me and a child who..." he trailed off, shuddering, his eyes wide and wild with fear once more. Ned glanced to the door, hoping to hear the sound of the Maester coming, though he doubted there was anything even Maester Luwin could do. But a still-strong hand suddenly seized his arm, pulling him closer.

"Ned, listen to me. You must... stop him. Only trust... you. The prince... not right. Going mad. See things... but his eyes, Ned. Good Gods, his eyes. Worse than Aerys. Worse than Rhaegar. Even worse than me, Gods help the realm." He shuddered again, falling into another bout of wracking coughs, though weaker than before. His eyes rolled back, and for a moment, Eddard Stark was sure his friend was gone. But then Robert opened his eyes, fixing him with a look that seemed to see into his soul.

"He's not what he seems, Ned. The Prince. Joffrey. He musn't sit on the throne, Ned. Swear to me, whatever happens, you won't let him be the King. Worse than Aerys. Worse than..." He coughed once more, his words trailing off into incoherent rambling.

"Joffrey... Lyanna... nightmares... demons... Not what he seems! ... triangles... triangle... the Eyes!" He suddenly gasped, then fell back on the bed, his body going still.

By the time Maester Luwin arrived, followed closely by the two Kingsguard, they found Ned kneeling by the king's bed, tears running freely down his cheeks, his dead king's hand still clasped in his.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.

User avatar
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Re: The Prince With One Eye (Gravity Falls/Game of Thrones).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-03-08 06:46am

The night was dark and the wind from the North cold as a small sailing craft slipped quietly into the harbour of King's Landing. As sailors made the ropes fast to hold her alongside the dock, a ramp was lowered and a regal figure in a flowing red dress descended from the deck, her fair, pale features and long red hair all but concealed in a dark hood and long sleeves. She slipped her way through the thinning crowds along the docks as she made her way deeper into the maze of narrow allies and crude shacks that constituted Flea Bottom. It was surprisingly quiet for a major port, even at night, but she could feel the undercurrent of silent fear in the air, a presence as palpable as the odor.

For the night is dark and full of terrors.

The stench of sweat and shit was thick in the air, and dead vermin floated in raw sewage in the gutters on either side. Thrice, she had to step over or around a body lying in the street, but she wove her way through the narrow alleys, somehow untouched by the decay around her. She paused now and then to glance at a symbol etched crudely on a wall- always the same symbol. A little triangle in charcoal black or bloody red, a single large eye in the center, with little arms and legs and a strange hat upon its head. The signs became more frequent as she moved further into the city. She noted as she did that she never passed a single member of the city watch, the Gold Cloaks. Finally, after perhaps two hours, she found herself outside a two-story tavern. The tavern appeared to be nearly-deserted, with only a single reddish light glowing in an upper corner window. She approached cautiously, but she was only half-way to the building when a door opened and a face darted quickly out before it withdrew, a hand beckoning her in.

The Lord of Light will protect me. It is by his will that I am here.

She crossed the distance quickly and slipped inside. The tavern was surprisingly well-kept and clean inside, but the comfortable atmosphere was somewhat marred by the presence of several large men who, though not visibly armed, carried themselves like experienced fighters. The last man, however, standing by the stairs behind the bar counter, did not have the look of a fighter. He was thin, with dark hair a neat moustache and an ever-present smirk beneath eyes that seemed to gleam with mischief and a sense of his own superiority. She took an instant disliking to him.

"Ah, Lady Melisandre", he said, and she felt herself reaching for the power of her God, the power of fire at the sound of her name from this stranger's lips. "What a pleasure it is to see you at last, in the... flesh." He ran his eyes openly up and down her tall, lean figure, openly appreciating her appearance. As odious as she might have found the man, that at least put her on familiar footing. Lust was one of the most easily-manipulated emotions, and she knew well how to use the allure that she possessed to its maximum effect.

"You have the advantage of me, I am afraid", she said, stepping forward and lowering her hood, revealing her long red tresses, striking blue eyes and the hint of a smile. "I am Melisandre, Priestess of R'hllor. But I do not know your name."

The man extended a hand, and she took it.

"My name is Lord Baelish", he said. "But you may call me Petyr. Our master told me to expect your arrival. Come. We have much to discuss."

She followed him up the stairs to a little back room. On the inside of the door was painted the figure of a triangle with one eye.

***

Gravity Falls, Oregon. April 1st, 2019.

Stan Pines groaned as he swung out of bed and stiffly sat up, joints creaking as he stretched.

When did I get this old, he thought. 'Spose it happens to all of us, sooner or later. Just never pictured it happening to me.

He stumped his way downstairs and made breakfast, while je thought about what the April Fools' trick he was planning to play on Ford this year. It might be childish, he thought, for men approaching seventy to play those sorts of games- Ford had certainly said so often enough. But damn it, they had a lot of lost time to make up for. Besides, Poindexter could use some lightening up. The Mystery Shack was still closed- Soos and Melody were still asleep, and it would be another two months and change before Dipper and Mabel arrived for their annual summer visit. The thought of his great niece and nephew brought a smile to his face. They were both growing up into fine young people, and he hoped that they would learn from his and Ford's mistakes.

Nothin' else matters if you don't have family.

He munched on a piece of toast as he made his way down the long flight of stairs behind the vending machine, down to his brother's lab. He could hear the whir and beeping of various devices as the automatic door slid open- Ford must have been up all night again, he thought worriedly. His brother might be in better shape than him-even if he'd never admit it out loud-but he shouldn't push himself so hard. Every time Stan tried to bring the subject up, though, Ford just shrugged it off, a strange, sad look in his eyes.

"Hey bro, you still stuck down in this musty old lab?"

There was no reply. Frowning, he moved deeper into the complex. He could hear muttering now, Ford's voice, talking quickly to himself under his breath. His frown became a scowl. Was Ford really so fixated on his damn experiments that he couldn't even wish his brother good morning?

"Hey Ford", he said loudly, rounding the corner. Ford sat hunched over a computer monitor, his fingers flying on the keyboard.

"Can't be right, can't be, must be missing something..."

Stan was starting to get worried now. He stumped over to Ford and placed a hand on his shoulder. The other man jumped in his seat, spun 'round, and socked Stan in the shoulder. A moment later, his eyes widened in surprised, recognition, and regret.

"Stanley! I thought you were-" he cut off sharply.

"OW! Damn it Ford, what was that for? Hey, what do you mean you thought I was someone? Thought I was who?"

Ford looked away, avoiding his eyes.

"Its not important", he said. "I'm just tired."

"Damn it Ford, I've known you since before we could talk. You think I can't tell when you're hiding something?"

Ford sighed, turning back to the computer screen.

"Its... I don't know. I picked up some readings a few days ago, coming over the trans-dimensional sensor- you remember, the one I built two summers back?"

"Of course I remember", Stanley said. "Fiddleford wouldn't speak to you for three weeks. Said you were a gosh-darn fool, plus a whole bunch of other crazy hill-billy swear words, and that you ought to leave well enough alone."

"Maybe I should have", Ford said. He looked, Stan suddenly thought, very old and tired. "But something would let me let this one rest. And these readings I picked up..." He glanced at the screen again, watching the read-out intently. Stan didn't know much about this sciencey mumbo-jumbo, but he'd picked a few things up over the years. "I didn't want to say anything, not until I was sure. But..." He paused as the computer beeped twice, and a new reading appeared on the screen.

"Analysis complete. Have a wonderful day", the computer's voice said. Stan grinned. Ford had been persuaded to let Mabel provide the voice and personality for the computer on her visit last summer. But Ford did not smile. His gaze was fixed on the read-out, his face a pale mask.

"Ford? What is it?" When there was no answer, he shook his brother's shoulder roughly. "C'mon Ford, you're worryin' me."

Ford turned to face him, his eyes wide and haunted.

"Its him, Stanley. Its Bill. He's back."

For a moment Stan just starred.

"If this is some kind of joke, Ford, then its not funny. Bill nearly wiped out everyone in this town. He nearly destroyed the whole damn world, remember?"

"Of course I remember", Ford shot back. "Do you think I would joke about this? But the readings don't lie. I've checked them again and again, and I'm certain- there's only one creature I've ever encountered with that quantum signature." His shoulders slumped. "Its Bill. He's back."

"So how come the world doesn't look like its on drugs again?"

Ford shrugged.

"This is a trans-dimensional sensor, Stanley. I can't scan the entire multiverse from this room- that would be impossible without a computer with infinity capacity, the intelligence and memory of... well, of a god. But I can pick up strong readings from neighboring dimensions. My guess is that wherever Bill is, he's not in our universe, at least not yet."

"Well that's good isn't it", Stan asked, wondering exactly when his life had gone wrong that discussing alternate universes was now a regular part of his day to day routine. "Leave him there. Let him rot. He's their problem, whoever they are."

"Its not that simple Stanley", Ford said, his tone frustrated. "Wherever he is, he's growing in strength, or he's getting closer. That's why I'm picking him up more clearly now. If he regains his full power, he could be a threat to any number of universes- ours' included."

Stanley sighed, whatever happiness he'd felt that morning draining away to be replaced with weary resignation.

"You're going after him, aren't you?" It wasn't really a question.

"I'm sorry Stan. I don't have a choice."

"Yeah, well." He sighed. He knew by now that it would be pointless to argue. "Just as long as you know I'm coming with you."

"You don't have to do that Stanley", his twin said. "This is my fight."

"The hell it is. Now shut and stop wasting time. I've got a lotta packing to do."

Ford gave him a tired smile, and Stan turned and stomped back up the long flight of stairs from the lab.

Be too stiff and creaky to come down here soon. Men his age were supposed to be takin' it easy, hanging out with the grand-kids (or the great nieces and nephews), goin' fishing. Instead, he was about to fight the most dangerous creature in the known multi-verse. Again.

I just hope we make it back in time to meet Mabel and Dipper, he thought. But in his heart, he knew that he wasn't up to doing this again. This time, they wouldn't be coming back.
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Re: The Prince With One Eye (Gravity Falls/Game of Thrones).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-03-11 02:09am

Soft, padded feet made little pitter-patters down the dark, silent corridor. This particular hallway had lain unused, so far as he could ascertain, for centuries, but like so many of the Red Keep's secrets, he had uncovered it as well. He did not imagine that he had discovered all of the ancient castle's secrets, no- he doubted very much that any being could claim that. But he knew more than most. This tunnel, he was fairly certain, was known only to him and to a few of his agents- the most clever, loyal, and trusted of his spies.

Varys paused, heart beating faster at a faint sound in the black. His bloated body shuddered from the exertion of the long, rapid walk through the corridors, the little coded scroll clutched in his sweaty hand. All his plots, his hopes, his carefully-laid plans were nearly in ruins, but that didn't matter now. All that mattered was to stop what was coming before it was too late, to bring the demon into the light. He had hoped, he had thought, that he had more time, but now, with news of Robert's death... He had been a fool. Plotting and scheming against a foe who seemed to see every move before he made it. And perhaps he did. For who could keep secrets from a foe who could enter your very thoughts?

Baelish was part of it, he knew. And control of Baelish meant control of the Goldcloaks, and thus, the city. The Queen was either oblivious or loyal to the cult as well, and that meant so were the Kingslayer and the rest of the Kingsguard, and as much of the mob as could be bought by Lannister gold. Lord Tywin might have brought his foolish children into line, but he was far away in Casterly Rock, though Varys doubted even Tywin could stop the madness now, and the ravens were carefully controlled to ensure no untoward message reached the old lion's ears, or those of the other great lords. The Faith were ready to rise against the upstart cult, but the old High Septon was a dithering fool. In some of the more zealous septons he had placed some hopes, and to them were some of the scrolls he now bore addressed, but he could not be certain they would act, yet. The Targaryen children might yet come to something, but that plan was not yet ready to come to fruition, though he had pushed Illyrio and the Dornish to accelerate the timeline. Of the Council, only Renly and Stannis, and Jon Arryn, had some understanding of what was happening in the city now, and Renly's loyalties were uncertain. Stannis might be trusted, but he had fewer than a hundred loyal men in the city, and he'd tarried too long already. Varys had, himself, but as soon as these last messages were smuggled out, he would be gone as well. The pieces would be in motion, for better or for worse, and no more could be accomplished by his remaining in King's Landing. The Mad King had not driven him from this city, nor had the Sack, but the demon had torn his web to tatters, and forced him to rebuild elsewhere. He only prayed, in the unlikely event that there were any gods to hear, that it was not too late- for how could one keep secrets from a demon that could see into one's very mind, one's dreams, tormenting him with memories he had long thought buried, of a boy and a sorcerer and the night that a piece of himself had been taken from him forever...

Another noise made him freeze, heart hammering in his mouth. Something was moving, the blackness resolving into forms which stepped into the flickering light of his torch. A child, face small and pale with bright, eager eyes that were somehow too intense. His heart fell, cold despair clutching at him.

"Oh. Oh no. Not my little birds."

More shapes emerged from the black- men in gold cloaks with triangles painted on their face, the symbol of the one-eyed beast. They stood, faces expressionless and eyes black in the flickering torchlight, cudgels in their hands and swords at their sides and soft, silent shoes on their feet, not boots, better to mask their approach.

"Well." He managed a small smile. "Well done."

He let fall the scrolls, and the torch with them, plunging the tunnel into black. There were shouts and running feet. He scrabbled frantically for the vile in his pocket, pulling off the stopper. They might have bested him, but they would not take him. He raised it to his lips, but before he could drink, strong hands seized his arms, wrenching them behind his back, and the vile fell to shatter on the floor as well. Varys thrashed helplessly, desperately, in the guards' hands, remembering another time that the demons had come for him.

A fresh torch blazed to life, revealing the circle of armoured men surrounding him, save for the two who gripped his arms. Then the ranks parted, and another figure stepped through the encircling guards. This one was taller, slender, with a small dark moustache and eyes that fairly gleamed with eager malice and delight over a smug smile.

Even through his fear, Varys had never loathed Petyr Baelish more.

"Come to gloat, have you Baelish?"

Baelish's smiled widened.

"Now now Varys", he mocked. "We two have been rivals for some time, and you musn't begrudge me my triumph. We've danced around each other for years, spinning our little webs, but all good things must come to an end. And for you, my dear Varys, the end is now."

Despite his terror, Varys found he could still muster some defiance. If he was to die, he would at least keep his dignity before this preening peacock of a man. He stood as straight as he could in his captors' grip, and gave Lord Baelish a contemptuous look.

"You're a fool, Petyr. This demon will not give you power. In the end, it will consume you, flesh and soul. You'll get worse than the scar the Stark boy gave you, before its finished."

Petyr's face twitched as the shot hit home, but only for a moment. Then he smiled again.

"Bill is a creature of his word. He values intelligence, and cunning, and he rewards those who serve him well. As he will punish those who betray him." He turned to the guards. "Take him."

There was a motion, a thud, a sharp pain, and then Varys knew nothing more. Lord Baelish turned to the watching guards.

"You two, take him to the black cells, and put a watch on him. Never let him out of sight, not even for a moment, and give him no food or water save by my command. The rest of you, alert our brethren to secure the Royal chambers, and the Tower of the Hand. And make sure you deal with Lords Stannis and Renly." He smiled to himself, as the guards split off to perform their assigned tasks. This night would make him the second most powerful man in the Seven Kingdoms, second only to the King himself- and once Bill had freed himself of his mortal prison, he would have no need for a mere throne. The Iron Throne itself he had promised to Lord Baelish... and with it the hand of any woman in the realm whom he desired.

The Starks stole what was mine once. This time it is they who shall suffer the price.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

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Re: The Prince With One Eye (Gravity Falls/Game of Thrones).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-03-11 02:23am

Ned sighed as he read the latest report from Howland.

The prince-no, King, now-was coming. Joffrey's caravan had already reached the Neck, and it would not be much longer before he reached the gates of Winterfell. And the Lord of Winterfell still had no idea what he was going to do.

It should have been simple. Joffrey was his king, the first-born son of the man Ned had fought and bled to put on the Iron Throne. He had no desire to bring another war upon the North, to have to leave his family and march South once more, to see more women and children raped and butchered, more friends die. Suspicion was already on his house, for it was here that Robert had breathed his last. Joffrey would demand assurances of his loyalty. It should have been simple. But Ned had learned long ago that duty, like life, was seldom simple.

Robert's last words came back to him, echoing in his mind as they had almost without respite since he had knelt beside his dying friend those few short weeks before.

"He's not what he seems, Ned. The Prince. Joffrey. He mustn't sit on the throne, Ned. Swear to me, whatever happens, you won't let him be the King. Worse than Aerys. Worse than Aerys..."

Worse than Aerys. Those words still filled Ned with a cold dread, a sickness coiling in his gut and poisoning his thoughts with dark shadows that kept him awake each night. Robert had suffered more from the mad King than most. Robert had hated Aerys, hated all Targaryens, enough to condone even the slaughter of innocent children to rid the realm of their house. What could possibly have happened to make Robert say that his own son would make a worse king than Aerys?

How bad could Joffrey possibly be?

He had received scattered reports from the South in the weeks since Roberts' death, and though the picture they gave him was incomplete, it was grim enough. Chaos and confusion, rumours of a strange new cult-some called it the Cult of the One Eye, others the Breatheren of Bill, others still the Cipers, and a dozen other names besides-with ties to the royal family. Renly and Stannis declared traitors for plotting against the new King, suspected in the murder of Robert Baratheon. Most troubling of all, he had received no word at all from Jon Arryn, Hand of the King and the man who had been a second father to him and Robert. He had written Arryn first after Robert's death, as much out of respect for the bond they had shared than for his official duty, but he had received no answer in all the weeks since. Ned knew Jon Arryn, and he knew that he would not have remained silent had he been free to speak. Reports disagreed on whether he and Robert's brothers were alive or dead, captive or free, though Lord Hoster Tully had sent word that the Stormlands had called its banners- he gave little detail, but rumour had it that Stannis had managed to fight his way out of the city when Joffrey's men had come for him. Now Lord Tully was demanding an answer as to where the North stood, and Ned knew well enough what the aging, but still canny lord of the Riverlands was thinking. In a war, the Riverlands would once more be caught in the middle, with Lannisters on one side and Baratheons on the other. They could not win a war without Northern support. Lord Tully, too, was waiting on his answer before he called his banners, to swear to Stannis or to Joffrey. Caetlyn had said nothing, but he knew that fear for her father, for her brother and her sister in the Vale, weighed upon her as much as it did upon him.

"Swear to me, whatever happens, you won't let him be King."

He hadn't sworn. That thought, too, still haunted him. Robert, his brother in all but blood, had begged him in his final moments to swear, but he had not. He had been frozen as though ice, too confused, to overcome with feeling to think clearly, and now... he honestly wasn't sure whether he was relieved that he had not. Had he sworn to Robert, his choice would have been clear. The cost would have been high, perhaps too much to bare, but at least these days of indecision and doubt would be past. He had lived long years with the price of one vow to a dying loved one, seen the hurt and the anger in his Cat's eyes, every time they fell on the bastard boy he had chosen to raise as a son.

Promise me, Ned...

He shook his head. Conflicting duties, however painful, were nothing new to him, and the final decision was his. Nor could it be put off much longer. Either he would bend the knee to Joffrey, or...

Or begin a war that could destroy his family. But with each new message, Ned increasingly feared that he had no choice- the war had already begun, and he would either find himself on one side, or the other.

But which side? He would meet with Joffrey, he knew, and he would let him leave Winterfell in peace, once guest-right was given. Whether he would do more would depend on the results of that meeting.

***

Jon parried the stroke from Robb's wooden training sword, turning his best friend's stroke before replying with one of his own. Robb retreated, but Jon hesitated, allowing Robb a moment to recover. The heir to House Stark counter-attacked, forcing Jon back with a flurry of blows. He managed to block them all, but before he could recover, he stumbled over a loose stone, and landed on his back with a heavy thud.

"You alright Jon?" Robb was immediately standing over him, sword down and hand extended. Jon took it grudgingly, and Robb pulled him to his feet.

"Well enough", he replied. "Well-fought." He tried not to show his disappointment. He was better than that, he knew, but he hadn't been sleeping well lately. The dreams...

"You too", Robb replied with a grin, and Jon shook his dark thoughts aside.

"Man, I wish I brought a camera. Can you imagine the money we'd make with this footage?"

Jon turned, and so did Robb, their eyes traveling to a pair of men standing near the edge of the training yard. They were dressed most strangely, in long dark coats of wool and heavy boots which, at a closer glance, appeared to be made of some odd, unnatural material. Even more strange were the translucent contraptions of metal and glass over their eyes- Jon had never seen their like before. Their hair was grey, and they looked much alike- twins, Jon realized as he looked closer. And yet even at a glance they could scarcely have been more different. The one on the left slouched, leaning on a walking stick, and watching the fighting in the training yard with frank interest, and clearly, Jon thought, enjoying the spectacle. The other stood tall and straight, studying everything with a critical eye. But one thing he was somehow certain of, something about the way the two men stood, the way they carried themselves, was that neither was to be taken lightly.

"Really Stan", the one on the right said. "We don't have time to worry about your latest get-rich-quick-scheme. We're on a mission!"

"Relax, Poindexter", the other (Stan? Was that short for Stannis?) said. "I'm just havin' some fun. You've gotta admit, this is pretty wild. I mean, we're actually in Westeros! 'Sides, science is all very well, but even you need money to fund your research."

Of course you're in Westeros, Jon thought, wondering what was so strange about that. These men must be foreigners, travelers from far Essos, perhaps. It would explain their odd words and strange garments, though Jon could have sworn he'd read that far Essossi were darker-hued.

"Money's not a problem", the taller twin said. It was then that Stan seemed to notice that Jon was watching them.

"Hey, kid- what's your name?" Jon started as he realized that the strange man was talking to him.

"Me?" The old man nodded. "My name is Jon."

"Jon-wait, Jon Snow?" The old man's eyes widened in obvious excitement.

"Um... yes?"

"Heh. Can you believe that", Stan asked his twin, the man named Poindexter. "Me, talkin' to Jon freakin' Snow!" He chuckled. "Boy, if Wendy could see us now!"

"Careful Stan", the other man said sharply, but Stan just shrugged it off.

"Eh, quit worrying and live a little. After all, every day might be your last." Jon didn't notice the far-away look the other man got in his eyes as Stan spoke. Sad, and a little guilty, but also determined. But that wasn't the main thing on his mind right now.

"Wait, how do you know who I am?"

The man, Stan, looked suddenly wary, and shot a quick, guilty glance at his brother, which immediately put Jon on guard.

"Um, no reason", he said, a little bit too quickly. "I mean, you're Jon Snow. Son of Ned Stark. 'Course I've heard of you."

"Of course he has", Robb said genially beside him. "Come on Jon, we've got to get cleaned up before dinner."

Jon turned reluctantly and followed Robb, pausing once to look back at the two men. Poindexter was busy examining the walls, but Stan was still watching him, his expression sad and somehow... knowing. It made him feel uneasy, and he paused to ask the Master-at-Arms.

"Excuse me, but who are those men?"

"Oh, them? A couple of merchants who arrived last night. They say they're all the way from Essos." Well, that answered that. "Mind, they're not like any Essosi I've ever seen." The old warrior looked suddenly suspicious. "Why, were they bothering you?"

"What? No." Jon quickly shook his head. The other man looked skeptical, but said nothing. "We were just talking. They seemed odd, so I wanted to ask..." He hurried off, not wanting to get the two strangers in trouble. But something about them made him feel uneasy.

For some reason, it made him think of the dreams, and the triangle with one eye that flattered him and promised him secrets, if only he would shake its hand.

A day is coming when everything will change. Sooner than you think, Lord Snow.



(Note: Wendy being a GoT fan/Stark fan is based on some scenes in "Gravity Falls" where she's shown wearing what appears to be a House Stark shirt. So my headcanon is that she talked to Stan about it/made him watch it at some point. Stan also had to listen to her rant at length after the Red Wedding episode. :) )
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.

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Re: The Prince With One Eye (Gravity Falls/Game of Thrones).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-03-11 02:32am

And here's the last of my old drafts, so future updates will probably be a bit less frequent, since I'll be writing chapters from scratch, not just doing a quick proof-read/edit/repost of stuff I'd already written.



Ned Stark stood stiffly in the courtyard at Winterfell, as the gates swung open and the horns sounded, announcing the arrival of King Joffrey Baratheon, First of his name. His family stood arrayed behind him, Caetlyn and the children and then Jon, standing inconspicuously near the far end of the line. Flanking him were the two Kingsguard who had accompanied him-like guards, Ned thought grimly with a sense of foreboding-and a little behind and to the right stood Maester Luwhin- the only other witnesses to the death of King Robert Baratheon. Around them stood servants and guards, indeed nearly everyone in Winterfell or the village and farms nearby who didn't have something else they had to be doing. Ned's eyes however were fixed on the head of the column, and the young man-no, the boy-leading it.

Young he was, though Ned had known that of course. But he would not have recognized him as Robert's son, if not for the reports that his agents to the South had sent ahead. He was blond and fair, looking more like a young Jaime Lannister than a young Robert. He smiled widely as he caught sight of Ned, almost as though he recognized a man he had never met, but there was something about that smile that set Ned's hairs on end. Something... unnatural. The boy vaulted easily off his horse, striding forward to meet Ned and his family with not a care in the world, his demeanor far less serious than Ned would have expected-or hoped-to see in a young boy who had just lost his father and inherited the weight of the realm on his shoulders, all in the space of the last two months. He was followed by a company of mounted knights in armour, their faces grim and their eyes wary, and among them he saw the five remaining white cloaks of the Kingsguard, as well as the hideously scarred visage of a man who must be Sandor Clegane, the Hound. The men remained mounted, their horses stamping nervously, as their King dismounted, all save one- a man whom Ned recognized all too well, and the sight of him filled Ned with a vague disgust. Jaime Lannister. The Kingslayer. He moved up to stand a little behind the boy king, and Ned tensed as he saw the hand on the pommel of his sword. But Ned's eyes were drawn to Joffrey as the young king spoke, and his breath caught as he saw two yellow eyes with cat-like slits. He could hear the murmurs behind him, and knew that he was not the only one who had seen them. When Joffrey spoke, the voice was high-pitched, almost a squeak, again nothing like Robert's, but there was a quality to it that Ned did not like.

"Well well well well well well well, what do we have here? Ned Stark, the Wolf of Winterfell. You're so stalwart and broody, look at him isn't he broody?"

Jaime Lannister did not appear amused by the jest, but he quirked an awkward half-smile.

"Very dour, Your Grace."

Ned heard the angry murmurs of the Northmen behind him, displeased at the boy-king's slight to their lord's honour. Rumours of the chaos in the South had filtered North, and they had spread among the smallfolk, despite his best efforts to hush them. The mood was not friendly toward the new King in Winterfell. Older men remembered Robert's Rebellion, and whispered of a new mad King...

"Your Grace." Ned bowed low. "Welcome to Winterfell. Allow me to offer you my condolences for the death of your Lord Father-"

"I'm sure dear old Bobbie's in a better place. I tried to help him you know, pleaded with him, but you know how stubborn he could be." Ned starred, shocked at the disrespect to the previous king, and from his own son at that. "Oh, don't look so mopey, Wolf's Head. Pretty soon you'll understand that it was all for the-"

A motion in the corner of his vision made him turn, and his eyes widened as he saw someone forcing his way through the crowd. No, two someones- the "merchants from Essos" who had arrived a few days earlier.

I had them barred from the castle today. How- and then Joffrey was turning, and his eyes widened as he saw the men.

"Sixer?"

Ned looked between the two men and the King, baffled by the boy's strange response. But Jaime was moving, drawing his sword and shoving Joffrey behind him, and Ned reached for Ice's hilt on instinct as the Kingsguards to either side of him stepped forward, mirroring the motion. His eyes, however, were on the nearer of the old men, the one named Ford, as he stood, one hand in his coat pocket, starring at Joffrey with a look that was unmistakably one of pure hate. Joffrey mustered a grin, though Ned thought it looked nervous, his eyes darting quickly from one man to the other.

"You've come a long way, Pineses. I'm almost impressed. Now, if you'll just be reasonable there's no need for this to get-" the taller of the two men cut him off.

"No more of your games Bill. This ends NOW!"

And then he swung his arm, and something small and black flew threw the air. It landed well short of the King, rolling across the ground to come to a stop near Jaime Lannister's feet, and Ned saw that it was a small sphere of black metal lying gleaming on the muddy ground. As Ned watched, it began to hum, and he saw a little green light flickering upon it. Magic. Lannister shoved the King back, sending him stumbling and falling in the mud- then the black orb flashed, a pulse of greenish light that expanded outward, not like ordinary light but like a fixed translucent shell. Lannister sprang back, but an instant too slow, and the shell of green light brushed his foot. He looked down, eyes widening- then he screamed as he was instantly sucked into the greenish light. It pulsed once, then retracted, leaving only the little black ball.

For a moment, everyone simply starred. Then the courtyard exploded.

Screams. Confusion. People running, panicking, knocking each other down and trampling each other. Horses reared and screamed, as guards fought to restore order. Joffrey was shouting, eyes raging, and Ned simply stood, rooted to the spot in horror, as his world fell apart around him.

Was this what it was like in the Red Keep, he wondered, when Aerys had Rickard and Brandon- The giant figure of the Hound leaped forward, putting his body between Joffrey and the sorcerer, as the old man pulled out a shining tube of metal and pointed it at the boy. It flashed green fire, bolt after bolt slamming into the Hound's armoured chest, sending him reeling back and stumbling to the ground. The Queen was screaming, screaming for Joffrey, for Jaime, trying to scramble off her horse and run toward them while her son's knights held her back. But now Ned had drawn his sword, and he stepped forward, Ice flashing as it swept down. The old man, Ford, had advanced as he cast his spells, so that he now had his back almost to Ned. He never saw it coming.

"Look out!" Ford heard the cry and started to turn, which was why he caught Ice's hilt across his jaw rather than its blade through his neck. He went down like a sack of meal, nose and jaw shattered, bloody teeth falling loosely in the mud. Ned turned to his brother, who was starring in horror. Then his face twisted in rage.

"You hurt him! I'll kill you!"

Stan swept his coat back, pulling out a long wooden club. Its shape was different from any that Ned had seen before: an arms' length almost, polished, smooth, narrow at the grip and wider at the head, but its purpose was clear- this was a weapon. Crude, but while southern knights who'd never fought outside the yard or the tourney might scoff at peasants with their sticks, Ned knew better. He'd known knights who had died from a club to the head or a well-placed wooden spear during the Rebellion, and Stan handled the weapon like one familiar with the infliction of violence, handle gripped tightly and feet spread slightly for balance. He swung, hard and fast, slipping under Ned's guard and aiming for his left kneecap. Ned twisted, catching the blow on his thigh, and even through the heavy leather he wore it sent a jolt of pain up his leg. He swung Ice and the old man ducked the blow, then with no room or time to swing, jabbed the end of the club at Ned's midsection. He blocked the blow, barely, and shoved hard, causing the old man to stumble back. Stan raised his club again to swing, but this time Ned was ready. Ice's edge met the wooden shaft, the Valyrian steel slicing through the wood as easily as a knife through bread. Stan stepped back, starring at the meager stump of his weapon in his hand. Ned advanced, Ice point-forward before him. Stan quickly dropped the remnants of the club, raising his hands over his head.

"We surrender!"

Just for an instant, Ned hesitated. This man was a traitor, consorted with sorcerers and a party to murder. Death would be merciful, considering what the Lannisters would likely have done to him. But he was unarmed, and while Ned would not hesitate to slay a man in battle, he did not like to slaughter an unarmed man. His thoughts went back to the last man he had executed- more boy than man, really, no older than Jon. That was what decided it. Stan and Ford were already dead men- to take them prisoner was merely a delayed death.

The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword himself.

Before he could swing, though, the decision was taken out of his hands, as one of the guards brought the shaft of his spear down upon Stan's back. The old man fell heavily, face-first in the mud, and did not rise. Ned slowly lowered his sword, starring around at the utter chaos. His family, he saw, were safe, gathered near the back of the courtyard and surrounded by a ring of Winterfell guards, though Robb and Jon looked like they were trying to push their way through to join the fight. He shook his head. Boys yearned for their first taste of battle, until they got it. The Kingsguard were gathered around Joffrey, and Maester Luwhin was arguing with them as they tried to block him from approaching the motionless Hound. Queen Cersei, meanwhile, had fought her way through to Joffrey and had her arms wrapped tightly around her son, rambling disjointedly to an uncomfortable-looking Joffrey as she starred at the spot where Jaime had vanished. The little black orb sat their, blinking, and Ned felt a cold shiver run through him. He spotted Roderick Cassel, and quickly limped over to him, his leg still pulsing painfully with every step.

"Get ten men and guard that", he snapped, jerking his head toward the orb. "Let no one touch save by my command. Or the King's", he added reluctantly a moment later. Roderick gave his assent, looking more shaken than Ned had ever seen him, and quickly began organizing his men, directing servants to take the wounded inside and secure the courtyard. Ned gazed at the chaos and carnage for a moment, as the guards lifted the still body of a young woman- she couldn't have been twenty, though her face was smeared with blood-and bore her inside, a small child following close behind, calling to her and clutching her lifeless hand. He turned back to the two who had wrought this carnage, and for a moment he was almost glad that he had not slain the man Stanley quickly. Joffrey's eyes too were on the fallen men, and beneath the twin slits of his yellow eyes, Ned saw that he was smiling.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.

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