Whispers of the Blood — House Of the Dragon fanfiction

Between Rhaenyra Targaryen and Ser Criston Cole as romantic.

Chapter One: The Knight's Oath and the Dragon's Heart

The dusk had settled over King's Landing like a thick, velvet cloak, muffling the sounds of the city as if acquiescing to the need for secrecy. It was during these twilight hours that Ser Criston Cole found solitude in the training yards, his only companions being the whisper of steel and the ghostly echoes of his own footfalls.

Each swing of his sword cut through the silence, a silent prayer to the Warrior for strength, to the Maiden for mercy, and to the Stranger for the foresight to navigate the treacherous days that lay ahead. The Red Keep loomed above him, its ancient stones holding secrets no less deadly than the ones that gripped his own heart.

Princess Rhaenyra, heir to the Iron Throne and spectacle of every noble's eye, had long captivated Ser Criston's thoughts. There was a fierceness in her that resonated with his own unyielding nature—a shared passion for life's battles, though their warfare waged in different arenas. He grappled with the tension between honor and desire, the weight of his duty to the crown wrestling with the burgeoning need to protect her not as a royal charge, but as a woman he dared to love.

As the night deepened, the princess herself defied the prudence expected of her station by descending the serpentine steps to the yards. The sapphire hues of her gown gleamed beneath the moon's gaze, complementing the indigo of the approaching night. Her silver-gold hair cascaded like liquid starlight, framing her visage—an unwavering testament to her Valyrian ancestry. She approached Ser Criston, her guard deliberately distant at her behest, allowing them a semblance of privacy.

"You fight shadows with such fervor one might think them a worthy adversary," she quipped, her lilting voice betraying the gravity of her presence.

Lowering his sword with a quiet reverberation of metal, Ser Criston offered a rare, guarded smile. "Perhaps, Your Grace, but better to be prepared for shadows than be taken by them."

Rhaenyra's gaze bore into his, carrying a weight that caused his pulse to quicken. The cryptic dance of court politics held no secrets for her; she was acutely aware her every move was observed and judged, each decision a portrait of a future queen.

Yet beneath the scrutiny, a spark ignited between them, delicate as a candle's flame yet holding the promise of a wildfire. This moment, stolen from the pedantic rituals of court life, was a dangerous indulgence for both. There Rhaenyra stood, not as the untouchable princess but as a woman crossing the bounds of propriety, risking reputation for the whisper of something true.

"I would have your counsel, Ser Criston," she began, her voice dropping to ensure that even the crenellated walls that encased them couldn't partake in their secrets. "The realm whispers of war on the wind, and my father's court grows tense with the ambitions of lesser men."

Criston's stance softened, the sword's point resting upon the stony ground. "And what of your heart, Princess? Does it, too, prepare for the siege it might soon face?" he asked, his inquiry threaded with a double meaning.

Rhaenyra's eyes did not waver. "My heart," she confessed, "fears not the spears of open enemies, but the poison of hidden ones. And it laments the solitude of its station."

For a suspended heartbeat, there was an unspoken kinship, a unity that transcended their roles. They were no longer princess and knight; they were Rhaenyra and Criston, souls unshackled by duty—a dangerous reality should it ever come to light.

And indeed, unbeknownst to the pair, a shadow lingered just beyond the glow of the torches, one set of eyes among many that hungered for the currency of secrets. What transpired in the dimming light of the yard would not remain shrouded by night. Like the flight of dragons, it was destined to soar above, a harbinger of fire and blood yet to be unleashed.

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