"So, you finally figured it out hmmm?" The voice, the mannerisms, the elegant, serpentine posture, the streaks of black in otherwise long blond hair. It wasn't her son, it couldn't have been her son. she refused to believe it was her son
! Oh they all thought he was a magnificent lion, gifted with a stags strength and an eagles wisdom. The eldest, the heir, much to her endless rage as both her father and her royal husband categorically refused her entreaties, dismissed her pleas and outright laughed at her threats and refused to disinherit the boy.
She'd gone as far as implying his bastardry, calling him Joffrey Waters one night when he needled her into reacting. Foolish, she realized. He'd wanted her to react this way, baited her into the slight and when Robert struck her, well. Jaime tried to mediate that dispute but was told to wait outside, the anger present on the faces of both men and when it seemed like they would finally duel.
No, she knew it.
Long before that moment, long before Pycelle's tears of Lys found their way into Robert Baratheon's wine, long before her attempt to have Sandor Clegane turn on the new king. No, she knew her son was not her son when Robert returned from the Greyjoy rebellion and Joffrey, instead of asking if his "father" brought him a present instead flashed a grim smile and said "I wish I could have been there when the towers came down father!"
There were other things of course, how his reactions were that of a well behaved child, to perfectly that of a well behaved child and even when he got up to a little mischief the timing was always..perfect. Her Joff was a little jewel, the perfect, ideal baby but, but this one? His eyes gradually turned blue and everyone dismissed her as delusional, everyone swore they'd always been blue with greenish flecks. NOT SO! Not, so, this was not a child but something that knew how to expertly mimic a child. Other things gave it away of course, its eyes, it had indescribably ancient eyes, cruel eyes, aloof eyes, but how they burned! Those eyes were a horror, how they frightened her so.
"I've always known" she whispered, hating herself for how meek she sounded, lions didn't whisper, lions roared. "Lions don't read, boy's don't play at building castles one moment and play at swords the next. Boy's don't know how to answer every question nor give the perfect excuses when acting out, especially
when they get just the right amount wrong"
It laughed, it was a youthful laugh, rich with life and vigor, or at least it sounded like that to anyone but Cersei who heard something else, something timeless, something abominable below it. "You know? That may be the most imbecilic thing I've heard in a long time. I do mean that, you are not your brother or your father, neither of you twins are"
"Don't you dare compare my father to the Imp!"
A sigh escaped its lips followed by "Typical, permit me to explain it better. Neither you nor your twin brother are clever enough to devise some stratagem to interrupt my plans, to think you believed Sandor Clegane and the gold cloaks would be amenable to committing treason on your say so. You're simply stupid, worse you fancy yourself brilliant. i think that's what I find the most insulting about all of this. Being...saddled with you as this body's wretched custodian"
Her eyes widened, he admitted it! He admitted it, relief filled her heart I'm not mad, I'm not mad, father, Jaime, I'm not mad! can't you see?!
The relief was soon replaced with grief and she did her best to choke back a sob as she turned to gaze at the...thing...in her son's body. "You will never succeed!"
"Do you even know what it is that I am trying to succeed at?" it asked incredulously, lifting a golden chalice to drink some wine, it was eleven years old and yet conducted itself as a man grown. "Destroy my family, steal my power from me? Ruin my dynasty? kill my children?"
"But I rather like Tommen" It remarked somewhat shocked at the implication, it was odd too for she detected no falsehood in it's tones and she'd grown skilled at deciphering its lies. "And I do mean that, Myceralla as well, they remind me of a pair of heroes I knew once. Both of which vexed me terribly in another life..in another world, another time".
She looked at it...Him..agape in confusion "What?" she hadn't expected the brutal honesty.
It turned, revealing itself to her for the first time, her handsome boy was gone, not even his skin remained. What stood before her was something that had stolen his flesh then by cruel sorcery made it into something else, something not its own yet a part of it.
Gods, he was old, she could see it, handsome, beautiful, sublime, terrifying, what stood before her was art given flesh, sound made solid, the winds of a whisper, the echoes of a chorus, an unknowable, terrible idea that had been conceived in the deepest recesses of a void beyond time, it was energy, it was entropy, it was fire, it was ice. It was wrath, it was charity, it was ingenuity and innovation, invention and ignorance, stagnation and brilliance and an eagerness, a hunger that she couldn't even begin to father and it seemed to her that the whole of the Red-Keep, nay the entire city might burst attempting to contain even a sliver of its trueself. She was horrified, she could feel her sanity slip as she beheld ages, eons upon eons, upon eons of life and thought before time, before earth, before air and fire and ice, and entire ages of war and strife, of the rising and the falling of civilizations, of cruel laughter and wanton destruction, of temples and fire. Of a terrible storm and a fear so all consuming she felt her stomach twist and her heart pound itself against her chest so hard she thought it might tear itself out from her breast.
She saw a fire, a small creature, a ring and an agony she could not fathom, a deep, penetrating loss and a defiant howl before the end.
Then, she saw a light so beautiful it left her with tears and the voice of a disappointed grandfather offering a solution in the vain hope that...through attempting things this..entity's way that it perhaps may learn.
"Game of Thrones? you stupid woman
...Who do you think you are dealing with?! Idiot female,
I was there when those games were invented!
What are you? hmm?! the conceit! That you!
A mere invalid would presume play them against one who was there when the first act of treachery occurred? Who brought down an island of holy men whose virtue spanned a planet?! I who stood in the courts of the gods and with his old master helped sway beings beyond your comprehension to turn against their own light? I who was taken in chains before a Divine king only to turn him against the source of his divine right? To the ruin of all! I who made war upon the immortals!" it chuckled and she was vaguely aware of a hand about her throat.
It smiled a cruel smile "The same thing Aenar Targaryen was, an exile escaping a doom. Or Aegon the conqueror if you prefer, for like him, I'm keenly aware of how precious second chances are..and how a third chance shall always be a final one" It was the last thing Cersei Baratheon of House Lannister heard.
Before the creature in the skin of her eleven year old son pulled her head clean off her body, the sudden jerk was done with enough precision that most of her spine "slid" out of what used to be her neck along with the head and it was quickly tossed out the window where it would fall down into one of the darker corners of the vast palace and fall into legend. Officially Cersei Lannister will have taken her own life, a botched hanging that decapitated her, in a desperate, last bid to avoid justice.
"You're grinding your teeth again"
"Was that necessary?" the man who came in asked, he was balding prematurely, his neatly groomed chin whiskers giving him the airs of a court minister in Umbar. He came in just in time to see the...toss.
"No" Joffrey conceded, try as he might, he found he couldn't lie to Stannis, the man who reminded him so much of grim Mandos. -Eru and Manwe sent me here that I might learn how to bring order from chaos the right way, I'll not squander it but I'll not let them win either! Not easily any way-
Stannis was his concession to keep himself humble, to remind him not to repeat the same mistakes here.
"Has Lord Stark been notified"
Again with the teeth grinding and "Joffrey" chuckled. "Truly, he'll to be my regent for the next year and then he'll become the First Marshal but you shall be my hand"
"Honorable Ned Stark will never agree to become master of an army of the realm"
"Oh I think he will, you know how convincing I can be" he smiled, he liked this human, which was odd because he would have hated this one in the other life...Hated him for he reminded "Joffrey' too much of friends he'd lost when he followed his need for order, when he fallowed Melkor and perhaps because like Stannis..."Joffrey" believed that things were supposed to be a certain way and that deviation from that was to a degree profane.
"And stop that lord uncle..you can lecture me on kinslaying on the ride North"
"It's not Kinslaying when it's justice" Stannis remarked "but there are ways"
"Joffrey" nodded. "You're right, but I must play the political game for a little bit longer"
"For this you choose Eddard Stark"
"I do, what better way to lure out the old lion and the snakes in Dorne and beyond?"
As The "young" King departed Stannis turned "You have used the word Mairon to refer to me before..what does it mean?"
"It's Ashai'i" he lied "It means the enlightened one"
"pretentious" Stannis muttered dismissively an air of derision in his tone as well.
"Not so! You've a keen sense of duty, are adaptive, learn fast and are a relentless leader in war or in the small council. But above all else, you understand the sublime truth. That in order for a realm to harmonious, it must first be just
and for it to be just"
"It must be ordered
" Stannis put in.
The "boy" smiled. oh the things we will do together you and I, my friend.
Sum'n like that.