298 AL. King's Landing.
Apollos had been back in King's Landing for a week, and was incredibly busy getting things ready for his plan. The death of Robert Baratheon. But that wasn't all Apollos had done. He finally finished absorbing Baelish's holdings and taking over his spy network, and it had already proven useful to his plans.
Robert was drunkenly climbing down the stairs of the brothel now... Apollos quickly used his telekinesis to trip him, causing him to fall down the stairs hard. Apollos telekinetically broke his c**k too, while making sure that he suffered enough injuries to cause him to die a slow painful death. His mission done, he teleported back to his home in King's Landing and waited while he kept a telepathic watch on things. Apollos also began the manipulation that would make him the greatest Lannister.
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It had been hours since Robert was fatally injured, and Apollos had already enacted his plan. Apollos, Myrcella, Tommen, Ned, and Renly were all waiting outside Roberts chamber, waiting for more information. Barristan Selmy and Maester Pycelle were already inside, where Pycelle was trying to save his life. He would fail, of course, he wasn't Qyburn, and only he could Robert's life. Ah. Pycelle was coming out now.
"I am unable to prevent his death," Pycelle said sadly. "He wishes to speak with you all before dying." He said, before letting us all inside. Tommen and Myrcella went to sit beside him.
"I should have spent more time with you, shown you how to be a man." Robert said regretfully. "I was never meant to be a father. Go on. You don't want to see this." Robert said, dismissing his son who quickly left the room, tears falling down his face. "I wish that I had been a better father to you to, Myrcella. I am glad that your a good person despite your having Cersei and I for parents, and your uncles will be looking after you and Tommen from now on." Robert dismissed her too.
"I'm sorry that I wasn't a better brother to you Renly." Robert said, before sighing. "I got drunk, fell down some stairs and broke my c**k, I'm pretty sure the gods are punishing me for my failings." Renly chuckled. Privately, Apollos admitted that he was close to discovering the truth there. "I have wronged you too, Ned. I forced you to become Hand of the King and leave your family and I will be making amends for that with my last act as king. Ser Selmy, is the rest of the council waiting outside as ordered?"
"Yes, Your Grace," He replied.
"Let them in," Robert ordered and the door was quickly opened and Varys was let inside. Stannis was still refusing Robert's summons, even the ones marked urgent. "Stannis still isn't here, but I won't wait. I have wrongly forced Lord Eddard Stark to become my Hand of the King. As such, I now proclaim Lord Apollos Lannister, Lord Regent and Protector of the Realm and Hand of the King, so that he may ensure my childrens continued rule. I have already had the documents signed and have had multiple copies sent through out the Six Kingdoms." Apollos telepathically forced Ned to be silent.
"I will look after our family, Robert, and I am honored to be chosen." Apollos replied.
"Just get another kingdom conquered! I became king of the Seven Kingdoms and I'm dying King of six!" Robert said angrily.
"I will. I see no reason for the Stepstones to be such a nuisance any longer." Apollos replied, to Robert's approval.
"Good! Now give me something for the pain and let me die!" Robert said to Pycelle.
Apollos left Robert's chambers quite pleased with himself. He was probably the only person who ever had, Apollos mused. Even now, Renly was plotting treason and about to try getting Ned on his side. When they finished, Apollos would begin the next phase of his plan: setting Stannis and Renly against each other and having Baratheon supporters begin to reveal themselves. It involved revealing his niece and nephew's status, but Apollos had calculated the risks and had devised a great plan to counter that.
When Renly had finished trying to get Ned to commit treason, Apollos met him at his chambers.
"It's time, Ned. You can write that letter to Stannis now." Apollos informed him. Ned nodded and went to do so. "Just remember to say that your daughters are being held hostage and that you cannot aid him in any way until that changes."
"I will. I don't like it, but I'm only doing this for Jon and so that he won't be killed for being a Targaryen." Ned said, quite unhappily.
"I know. Truthfully, I'm still doing this for my children by Rhaella, my grandchild, and to a lesser extent to protect Rhaegar's children." Apollos said, playing Ned. Truthfully, the Targaryen's would return to power either way, but this way House Lannister would benefit far more.
When Ned finished writing the letter, he handed it to Tomard and gave him very specific orders on how to deliver it. Apollos just wished that he could gloat to Robert about how he murdered him and subverted his best friend to the Targaryen cause and tell him how he was never truly loyal to him. The most painful thing for him would be that Lyanna left him willingly and bore Rhaegar's child willingly. Alas, that was too risky and could destroy his plans. At least Apollos could summon his spirit later to gloat, but that would be petty. He still might do it anyway though.
"So what will you do now?" Ned asked.
"I'll appoint Tyrion as my replacement as Master of Coin and find a replacement for the traitor Renly. How would you feel about becoming Master of Laws? I think your northern honor would make you a truly great one." Apollos said, knowing that Ned would refuse it.
"I'll return to the North. I've had my fill of southern politics, Apollos. And I know that you will protect my daughters and will most likely do so far better than I can. All I ask is that you keep me informed about Jon and let the North stay out of this pointless war." Ned said.
"I will do that; protect your daughter, keep you informed, and recognize the North as a neutral party. I might have to sneak into Winterfell to inform you, but I can promise you that." Ned nodded in acceptance, he wasn't thrilled about him sneaking into his castle, but it was a small price to pay. "I'll leave you to your thoughts, I guess." Apollos said, before leaving the Tower of the Hand, and his future office space.
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Apollos' plans all went well... Tyrion accepted the job offer and he and Apollos began rapidly purging the City Watch of corruption by sharing the Master of Laws duties. Janos Slynt and every other corrupt member of it were executed and the City Watches training was improved and recruitment was increased to replace those executed. Fleeing from battle was labeled treason and dereliction of duty was punished with exile or taking the black. Former soldiers or those with actual training were now given preference in recruitment.
Stannis recieved the letter from Ned, but Apollos telepathically forced one of his servants to destroy it, before he could have copies sent to the Seven Kingdoms. Now he merely had his own accusations and no evidence to support it. Renly had already went to Highgarden to ally with the Tyrells, but Apollos had a plan to deal with both parties if necessary. He had already issued an Order of Attainder for both, and had cost Stannis and Renly a lot of soldiers and resources.
Most of Stannis' fleet had surrendered and he abandoned Dragonstone, somehow accidentally forgetting his daughter. It was almost like a telepath made him forget. Apollos wasn't completely without mercy, he did cure Shireen of her Greyscale. Dragonstone was quickly improved and placed under new management until a Targaryen could claim it... In several years. It was being grown into a major trading power already.
Renly had his sexual preferences made public and lost almost all of his support, but was still clinging onto power without the Stormlands behind him. They were placed under control of a Lannister loyalist until a Targaryen or Lannister could take control. Should the Targaryen's pass, he would marry Shireen to William or Hadrian and give it to them. The Tyrell's were forced to continue shipping food to King's Landing; at reduced costs or have Loras Tyrell be condemned and persecuted by the Faith, and then be attainded and conquered by the other Kingdoms. Apollos made sure to tell them that they were never even players in The Game of Thrones.
Apollos had major difficulty picking a new Master of Ships, but had William and Percival taking the Stepstones, Tyrosh and then sacking Lys. They were co-leading a force of Dornishmen and Lannister soldiers with Oberyn Martell, and the islands would be colonized by both peoples and have a mixture of them for nobles with the Great House being a union between both peoples. Secretly, Apollos wished that William was older and could take the Master of Ships position, but was still keeping a constant lookout for viable candidates.
The legal reforms for the Six Kingdoms were winning a lot of support and greatly increasing public approval of Tommen's rule. The now paid off debts to The Faith and Iron Bank have won Tommen and House Lannister approval from those in the know. The conquering force for the Stepstones, Tyrosh, and Lys would be dividing the loot between both Great Houses, which would be theirs... The Six Kingdoms still had debts to pay off and House Lannister had already benefitted greatly. The chosen ruling family of the Kingdom of the Stepstones would be a Dornish husband and Westerlands wife, this would expand the powers of both further and give them a common ally.
Apollos' biggest concern was that he was securing Westeros before the Targaryens could take control. He still had the Baratheons, Tyrell's, and White Walkers to deal with, but that was all too easy, he could merely teleport the wights and White Walkers into the suns core and then annex the newly cleared territory.
There was a knock on Apollos' door.
"Enter!" He called out and Varys and Tyrion calmly entered.
"The Stepstones were just reported as being taken with barely any casualties," Tyrion informed me. "William, Percival, and Prince Oberyn all agreed on a great strategy that prevented the escape of pirates and ensured the capture of all of their valuables. They have the loot being sent to Lannisport and Sunspear now, under heavy guard. They have requested aid in taking Tyrosh and sacking Lys."
"I'll send Hadrian with reinforcements. I need Alexander managing the Westerlands, Riverlands, and Vale." Apollos replied. "How goes the other mission objective?" Apollos asked, before beginning to write his letter to Hadrian.
"The worshippers of R'hllor, the temples, and religious relics are all being destroyed. The task-force is doing very well and perfectly feigning their desire to protect innocents from an evil and human sacrificing bunch of fire worshippers." Varys replied in amusement.
"They aren't faking," Apollos replied. "I want that religion purged from existence or at least kept out of Westeros and any of it's conquered territory, and I played on their fear and hatred to achieve that. We can't risk people being burned alive for not worshipping someone elses diety. It's morally wrong and we risk loss of useful servants, knowledge, and resources."
"You are playing this war quite well, Lord Apollos. You ended the threat of the Riverlands and Vale quickly and efficiently, and delayed the reveal of your niece and nephews parentage until you could more easily defend them. You predicted Stannis, Renly, and Lord Stark's actions and made sure that the two brothers were greatly weakened through precise political maneuvers and public actions. Most impressively, you killed Robert and no-one knows that you did it. My spies couldn't tell me anything, but it seems obvious to Lord Tyrion and I." Varys said in observation. Apollos scanned his mind and learned that both wanted answers, Varys suspected magic or the ability to see the future.
"Have a seat, you two," Apollos said, before sighing. "You both want answers and will get them. Before I was born, I lived under another name and life. I was and am so damn powerful! I even survived the end of my home universe, uninjured, floating in the void left behind in mourning and humiliation. I was born the son of a god of sea, earthquakes, horses, hurricanes, oceans, destruction, draughts, floods, and storms. Once I became twelve, I discovered that and spent the next nine years fighting enemies that no-one in Westeros could even imagine, but I still had another secret that made me much more powerful."
Here Apollos paused to mess with them, enjoying how enraptured they were with the story.
"Well?" Tyrion asked impatiently.
"I was among a small minority of humanity that possessed the potential for more than mere human abilities. Mine was the ability to absorb power, energy, knowledge, skill, and experience. It enabled me to slay hundreds of evil dieties and eventually become one through my own hard work. It also allowed me to take such abilities from other, evil humans, and I did. I lived for tens of thousands of years, fighting evil, outliving gods, my family and children and I only grew in power. I terminated my previous existence in the void and was somehow reborn here in Westeros with all my powers intact." The last part was a lie, but Apollos was almost entirely truthful.
"Among those powers is seeing the future, time manipulation, and mind reading. I do have immense magical power and knowledge, but I have never used it for evil. I always was and I still am a firm believer in that power corrupts and I have constantly kept myself in check." Apollos finished, placating Varys, though Varys would be watching Apollos more closely. Tyrion was merely in awe of his brothers god status. "Was there anything else?"
"Not unless you could personally aid the conquest." Tyrion replied.
"I could single-handedly sack Lys, and do so very easily, but it might raise questions about how I would basically be in two places at once. Added to that, I promised the loot split between House Lannister and House Martell." Tyrion looked disappointed. "I am considering the complete eradication of slavery, but it's impractical at this time. Don't worry, Tyrion, you might get to see me fight at my full potential eventually."
"We could have a little fun with Stannis Baratheon and his pet Red Priestess." Apollos suggested with a smile, catching the interest of Tyrion and Varys. "This Melisandre is about to try burning statues of the Seven... I think it would be very funny if the fire rebounded on Stannis' men and the statues stood and proclaimed him an abomination and a demon worshipper and then have those statues attack them."
"Wouldn't that make the Faith of the Seven more confident and aggressive?" Tyrion pointed out.
"Yes... And I can't impersonate the Old Gods, because they are actually real and have truly immense power. I was quite surprised that they didn't oppose the Andal's actions, but their actual powers weren't effected, merely their observational capabilities and they are still nigh-omniscient within their domains. I have been avoiding conflict with them and have been secretly planting and regrowing Weirwood trees, and planting alot of Ironwood trees." Apollos said.
"Should you be doing that?" Varys asked in concern.
"They were willing to give up their power, and most with power keep seeking more. They are a far better alternative to the Seven, who don't exist, or that demon R'hllor. The actions taken against his religion should weaken him some, but I hope to annihilate his entire religion and then destroy him." Apollos said, to the surprise of Varys and Tyrion. "Yes, I can destroy him. I've killed demons of much greater power before and I killed all of the Hell Lords of my home universe."
"I will be protecting the Godswoods from those who would burn them. I hope to establish an acceptance for all religions, with the exception of those intolerant ones who sacrifice non-believers and innocents." Apollos said, to their approval.
"Ah! I forgot!" Tyrion said suddenly. "You also need to attaint all of the vassals of Stannis and Renly who haven't defected: Houses Florent, Seaworth, Caron, Musgood, Peasebury, Fossoway, Connington, Errol, Estermont, Grandison, Tarth, Trant, Wylde, Dondarrion, Selmy, and Swann." Apollos began writing up the order of Attainder and an offer to House Tarly.
"Alright. We'll offer Brightwater Keep and House Florent's holdings to House Tarly, if they bend the knee, and I will make sure to suggest they might become Lord Paramount of the Reach, Warden of the South, and possibly add Highgarden to their holdings; if the Tyrells don't fall into line. We will basically be buying loyalty from them, with the understanding that if they ever betray the Iron Throne, they will lose what they gained and then some, and I will be applying this to every noble house of the Reach and Stormlands. Some of the wealth of those families will be disappearing into the Treasury, of course, but not a lot." Apollos said, planning. Privately, he was just trying to divide the Reach and start a power grab through the betrayal of Renly and the Tyrell's. There were a lot of strong bonds, but Randyll was likely to betray for power. Apollos added the holdings of House Florent and everything between those and House Tarly's holdings as an offer to sweeten the deal.
"Are you still going to award the Dornish Marches to Dorne and purge the Stormland Houses occupying them?" Varys asked.
"Yes, I will spare the children, of course, but allies and their loyalty is to be rewarded. Dorne might get a little less than intended, if the Tarly's defect, but will still get almost all of it." Apollos replied. "Now, I hate to be rude, but I need to send off the letter to Hadrian and my offer to Randyll Tarly."
"That's fine, I understand." Varys said politely.
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The mass order of attainder did quite a lot of damage! The Dornish March issue, where purges would have to be carried out of Stormlands loyalists in the Dornish March were now unnecessary, and now they agreed to swear fealty to House Martell and the Iron Throne in exchange for pardons. House Oakheart refused the offer of a pardon in exchange for the Shield Islands. Apollos had Lady Arwyn Oakheart arrested, and her titles were transferred to her eldest son who was far more agreeable. The Shield Islands, who's lords supported the Tyrell's, were given to him. This gave the Lannister-Royal fleet a way into their territory for eventual war.
Randyll Tarly refused Apollos' offer and he and his son Dickon were assassinated, inside Renly's camp. Apollos also took their Valyrian steel sword as a trophy and then placed their heads right beside the sleeping forms of Renly Baratheon and Mace Tyrell with matching short notes asking: Do you feel safe in your camp? Apollos retrieved Samwell Tarly from the Night's Watch, freeing him from his oaths, and was forced to retrieve Gilly from Craster's Keep to get him to consent to become Lord of Horn Hill. Apollos did get the Valyrian steel sword out of it and still awarded Sam the holdings previously promised to his father. Apollos telepathically forced the Tarly soldiers to march back to Horn Hill and gave the command to be loyal to him.
Several Tyrell loyalists were forced to bend the knee, but the damage was more severe on Stannis' side. He only had House Seaworth and House Florent backing him now and several thousand men and crew for several dozen ships. Apollos had dealt severe damage to the biggest threat on the board, and the Tyrells were beginning to greatly fear him. Still, all Stannis had to do was kill Renly and absorb his supporters into his army, which should be happening very soon. Apollos had already taken precautions, years ago, to ward against such magic and protect his people and property from magical threats, and he had a lot of treasure to protect.
The Stepstones were now firmly under the control of the Iron Throne and Tyrosh had been quickly conquered and sacked. House Lannister would possibly double it's wealth with the sacking of Lys and the royal treasury would still benefit greatly from the betrothal of Myrcella and Trystane and some of that would be used to pay off a portion of the debt to House Lannister. Privately, Apollos found Trystane Martell unworthy of Myrcella; even considering that she was born of incest, and wished that Oberyn had a worthwhile son to betroth her too.
Apollos was suddenly disturbed from his thoughts by an upsurge in dark magic.
"Ah. The Shadow was just born." Apollos said, before drafting a letter to the supporters of Renly Baratheon; an offer for pardons in exchange for them bending the knee and paying some fines. Apollos made sure to point out that Stannis had his own brother murdered, which made him a Kinslayer, and a traitor, liar, rebel, and oathbreaker. Apollos fully intended to make this public and expose Melisandre's actions taken on Stannis' behalf, and if the High Septon were to verbally condemn the actions of Stannis, that would be all the better.
Now Apollos just had a battle to prepare himself and King's Landing for. Fortunately, he had planned ahead, even accounting for the soldiers and ships taking the Stepstones. He would be taking other precautions though, it wasn't worth the risk to not take them.
Apollos called a meeting of the Small Council and had Tommen and Ser Barristan informed that it was urgent and that it was essential that they be present.
Everyone was there within the hour.
"What was so urgent that I was actually summoned?" Ser Barristan asked in amusement.
"Stannis Baratheon is moving to attack King's Landing," Apollos replied, wiping the smiles from everyone's faces. "Last I heard, he had fifteen thousand men and was hiring sellswords... the Golden Company, all ten thousand of them." That caused some major concern, they were the best of them. "I intend to pit my Lionguard against them. They were trained to be the best fighting force ever assembled and it is time to test that."
"I presume you are already mentally forming battle plans." Tyrion stated.
"Yes. I have suspected that this would happen and have soldiers marching here now and I intend to offer the Tyrell's leniency and a reduced fine if they fight against Stannis now. I also hope to bind House Tyrell through marriage to this Lannister-Baratheon alliance and hopefully curb their desire for power somewhat." Apollos said.
"With Hadrian and William, I presume?" Tommen asked. "I refuse to break the betrothal to Sansa. So I hope you were not considering that."
"I wasn't going to, that would anger House Stark. But yes, Hadrian, William, or myself. Though my big c**k would probably kill Margaery Tyrell when she lost her maidenhead." Apollos said, causing most to laugh. "Anyway, unless Ser Barristan disagree's, I suggest the Kingsguard remain near Tommen and Lady Sansa."
"I will be fighting uncle," Tommen said sternly. "Not on the frontlines; I'm just not ready for that, but I will be fighting."
"Then you will have the entire Kingsguard with you and a few hundred men will protect the Red Keep. We can't take the chance of you losing your life." Tommen nodded in agreement. "We will deploy the Royal Navy elsewhere for my plan, bombarding the enemy fleet from the air. The Navy will deploy behind our enemies to prevent escape and our armies will attack them from the front and the behind and kill them to the last man."
"Are you sure that's wise, Lord Apollos?" Ser Barristan asked.
"Yes. We need to secure a stable and long lasting victory and purge his most loyal, those who stuck with him until the end. They are the true believers in him and what he stands for: treason, lies, and false promises. For us to leave them alive would risk future uprisings and we would be purging this religion he's tried forcing others to convert to. A religion that burns people alive and justifies such atrocities with their religions mere existence." Apollos said, winning the support of most of those in attendance.
"I intend to hang his noble supporters and Stannis himself and having already attainted them, I feel it quite fitting." Apollos added. No one objected, so Apollos continued. "Most of House Lannister's fleet and military should be returning soon and I will have them standing by as a precaution; in case the Tyrell's do betray us. I don't think they will, but better safe than sorry, and that way we can easily destroy them."
"Why give them the chance?" Varys asked. Most seemed to agree with his sentiment.
"So they can prove themselves threats or allies once and for all. I will be trying to bind them to Houses Lannister and Baratheon, or other trustworthy allies. The Tyrell's, specifically Lady Olenna, want to grow their families power and the families legacy. Lady Olenna is a lot like my father and is one of two people that he considered an equal and had genuine respect for. As such, I advise caution in dealing with her. She is the real political power behind House Tyrell, with her granddaughter Margaery being groomed to be such." Apollos said, trying to ensure his will was carried out.
"I agree with my uncle and trust his judgement." Tommen said, ending any argument before it could start, which Apollos considered wise. "I am worried for his well being, however. Fighting on the front lines of battle against the likes of the Golden Company is incredibly dangerous."
"Your Grace, you have nothing to be concerned about. He's the greatest warrior of Westeros." Ser Barristan informed a skeptical Tommen. "He easily defeated Ser Arthur Dayne, Ser Gerold Hightower, and myself, and fought his way out of the camp of Prince Rhaegar's army. Not many people know that, but it is true." Tommen still looked skeptical. "I guess I will be telling that story..."
Apollos was meeting with his friend Rhaegar, who had finally returned to fight Robert. Sadly, Apollos couldn't aid him, due to his fathers orders and he wasn't ready to kill Tywin.
"I would take your fathers positions and give them to you, Apollos, were it within my power. I wish you could aid me, the war would be easily won with your magic and fighting skills if you did. All I ask is that you protect my family to the best of your abilities." Rhaegar said sadly.
"Which I will do, I will try aiding you in secret and try convincing my father to support. I'm sorry Rhaegar, but you aren't the only person who is considered a source of hope for the future, and I have my own children and family to think about."
"I am sorry too, my friend," Rhaegar said, as a messenger entered his tent. "Yes?" Rhaegar asked politely.
"Your father has ordered Apollos Lannister be taken as a hostage," the messenger informed everyone. The Kingsguard quickly drew their swords, causing Apollos to sigh in annoyance.
"Before we get to the fun, you all have a chance to get to safety." Apollos said calmly, supremely confident in his ability to defeat everyone there; including Rhaegar and the Kingsguard.
Ser Gerold responded by attacking, closely followed by the other Kingsguard. He quickly had his sword cut through by Apollos' strength and superior weaponry, Apollos casually deflected Ser Barristan's strike and kicked him in the face; knocking him through the tents side and moving behind Ser Gerold and knocking him unconscious and then quickly disarming Ser Arthur Dayne and rendering him unconscious. Apollos defeated them in seconds. And none stood a chance. Rhaegar drew his sword, while truly saddened to do so and knowing that he had no chance against Apollos. Apollos was on a god-like level and could actually be the conquering army.
"I'm sorry, Apollos," Rhaegar said with a sigh. Rhaegar's biggest mistake? He was freshly unarmored. Apollos punched him in the solar plexus and then headslapped him face first into the dirt and into unconsciousness.
"So am I, Rhaegar," Apollos said, before neutralizing everyone else in the blink of an eye and exiting the tent.
"Your Grace," Ser Barristan began, enjoying Tommen's shocked expression. "He has no need for protection. He has more skill than the entire Kingsguard, past and certainly the present. After that, Rhaegar seemed to know that he was going to lose and sent my sworn brothers to guard Lyanna Stark. Had your uncle been at the Battle of the Trident, Robert Baratheon would have died there."