Nine - Ventures into Flea Bottom.

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"Laenora..."

"Princess?"

"Niece wake up!"

Laenora Velaryon shot up from the warmth of her bed like a white Walker from it's frosty grave. Her eyes were hardly accustomed to the dim light of her new chambers, and so with the same blindness her Uncle Aemond possessed, she reached for her grandfathers stolen dagger at her bed side. She knew from the second her eyes opened that something was amiss.

It was rare she ever was awoken in the night, not unless Joffrey had had a nightmare and crawled into bed with her, so it was a strange occurrence to be woken at the hour of the wolf, especially so by her eldest uncle Aegon.

The Prince crouched before her, concealed in a grey cloak and what looked to be peasants clothing; and yet Laenora still did not relax at the sight of him. Her fingers found the blade in the dark.

"What do you want?" She hissed

"Come with me." He whispered, his hand upon her knee. "You must come quickly and quietly-"

"But why?"

"And without question... Now if you'll put your blade down, I won't cause you any harm."

"Perhaps I should get Aemond-"

"And what will he do for you that I cannot?"

Laenora froze, a world of possibilities threatened to spill from her lips, despite Aemond's reluctance to defend her, but still she kept them sealed tightly shut and instead followed Aegon's hand.

She swallowed not just her pride but her honesty too that night.

The dark haired girl threw her cloak upon her shoulders and allowed the future usurper to guide her through the hidden passages of the red keep, the same ones her mother had taken with her own uncle so many years before. Laenora hardly even sensed herself being watched beneath the light of Aegon's candle.

"Where is it you're taking me?" She pondered, poking the man in the ribs.

"Think of this as your final night of freedom my princess. It is my duty to provide you with such."

"Your duty?"

"Live a little, Laenora." He told her though a crooked smile. The same one he'd flashed Aemond when he lead him to a whore house at the age of fourteen.

Laenora had never once ventured into the streets of Flea Bottom, she'd heard stories of it from her step father, but she'd never imagined it to be nearly quite as down trodden and somewhat forgotten as it truly was. The streets were arife with both peasants and the filth that they couldn't afford to rid themselves of, small children sat at every corner, begging on behalf of their family either for sympathy or due to their parents ill health. Cattle roamed freely and elderly gentles sold bread made with sawdust and other sleight handed items. It broke the princess's heart at the sight.

"What is it?" Aegon asked, his blue eyes concealed beneath the hood of his cloak.

Lae wished she could do something to change it all. To return with a large pouch of gold and give out as much as possible, she wished she could persuade the crown for change, to push them, but deep down she knew none of it was a possibility, not until she took the crown herself.

And so she said, "Nothing."

And faded into the noise once more.

As they descended deeper into the winding streets Laenora couldn't help but notice how dark it became, the streets feeling the loss of light and laying forgotten under the red keep's shadow. The shops and stalls of vendors too became darker, rotting fruits and baked goods exchanged for ale houses and the houses of pleasure. The girl prayed to herself that she wouldn't experience the latter.

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