THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGONS| The Legacy of Verena Vengerberg - Rhaenyra_2020 - A Song of Ice and Fire (2024)

Chapter Text

The evening of the dragons

(Chapter 2)

The night had descended upon the empire, shrouding the land in deep darkness. But that night was different, it was special because it was marked by the presence of a totally red moon, which seemed to be stained with blood.

That night, in the streets of the empire, from the humblest huts to the imposing castles of the dragon lords, torches were lit one after another, casting flickering lights onto the streets. The inhabitants, whether lords, commoners, or slaves, emerged from their dwellings to join in the nocturnal celebration.

In the temples dedicated to the gods, both in the heart of the city and on the outskirts of the Vengerberg fortress, people gathered to pray and offer offerings to the statues representing their deities. The priests and priestesses, clad in ceremonial robes, led the rituals, invoking protection and also the favor of the gods on this special night.

Others congregated in the city squares to share drinks and food in grand feasts, celebrating the occasion, some dancing and drinking until they collapsed, others dancing, praying, and even indulging in other activities.

That night was a celebration because it was their night... the night when the gods descended and walked among humans.

All the corridors of the fortress echoed with the sound of hurried footsteps of servants and guards, while the flames of the torches flickered on the dark stone walls. In every room, the servants hurried to ensure that everything was in place, from the furniture to the decorations; everything was almost ready for that night.

In her own chambers, Verena was finishing getting ready for the occasion. While her sisters helped her dress, she occasionally paused to contemplate the flickering lights of the city spreading beyond the windows of her room. The city of Valyria stretched before her, shining with the light of torches and stars.

"Verena, are you paying attention?" one of her sisters asked with a playful smile.

Verena turned to her sister, but her attention was focused on her reflection in the mirror in front of her. She took a moment to admire her attire, which consisted of a simple but beautiful white dress adorned with golden details and pearls that shimmered in the candlelight. A veil covered her dark hair, while a subtle gold tiara rested on her head.

"Yes, sorry," Verena responded, turning her attention back to her sisters, who looked at her disapprovingly.

"You can't daydream all night," another sister scolded as she finished adjusting the tiara.

When she was ready, her older sisters began to withdraw, wishing her luck for the night. In the end, her chambers were almost empty, and Verena was left only with another young woman dressed similarly to her, but with platinum blonde hair cascading in soft waves over her shoulders. Her name was Elara.

Both young women sat on the terrace of their room, sharing a glass of wine as they discussed what might happen. For that special night for them was more than a celebration; it was a ritual in which a god was called to the great fortress, and a woman would be offered to him to lie with her in exchange for something... they asked for power and protection for themselves and also the blessing to conceive a child of divine blood.

"Who do you think will be chosen tonight?" Verena asked, a mix of curiosity and nervousness in her voice.

"Who knows," Elara shrugged before smiling. "Maybe it will be you this time, Verena. That would be exciting, don't you think?"

"I'm not sure if I'm ready for something like that," Verena admitted.

"Oh, come on, Verena. Don't be such a prude," she said with a mischievous smile. "You have the beauty and grace of a goddess. I wouldn't be surprised at all if you were the lucky one tonight."

"Elara," Verena admonished, blushing and feeling more nervous than before.

"Verena, just think about all the pleasure you could feel in that moment," said the blonde, taking another sip of wine. "Everything you could feel in the arms of a god."

The two girls looked at each other knowingly before bursting into laughter. They continued discussing for a while longer, also speculating on what the gods would be like in person. When the sound of the bell began to resonate through the corridors, they announced that it was time to head to the temple.

Quickly, they finished their glasses of wine and ran through the corridors laughing, following the sound of the bell towards the great temple.

As they entered, it was decorated with numerous candles casting a flickering light on the stone walls and sacred altars. The light of the red moon filtered through the tall stained-glass windows, tinting the atmosphere with a crimson glow that made it look even more surreal.

Verena and Elara took their designated places alongside the other girls, all dressed in similar attire that identified them as members of the Vengerberg family. They remained silent, all seeming to have a palpable mix of excitement and nervousness in the air as they awaited the start of the ritual.

Then, the doors of the temple swung open, revealing a group of women dressed in elegant tunics and golden ornaments. All the girls present bowed respectfully as the women advanced down the central aisle until they stood at the feet of the goddess statue.

There, the oldest woman of the group ordered with a gesture for all to look up. The girls obeyed instantly, fixing their eyes on the figures standing before them.

"My daughters," began the elderly woman, "tonight we gather here to honor our gods and offer them our devotion and gratitude. On this sacred night, one of you, my daughters, will be chosen as the offering for our god, and all here present must remember that this will be an act of sacrifice and blessing that will ensure the continuity of our lineage and the protection of our empire."

After those words, the ritual began; each one had to take a torch and position herself around the statue of the goddess, all with their hearts pounding in their chests. It was when the music began to fill the temple with its hypnotic melodies, enveloping each one in its own spell as they began to move with gentle movements to its beat.

At first, the melodies conveyed serenity, which was transmitted with the soft and delicate movement of their bodies, but as the moments passed, the music and rhythm began increasing gradually, and they began to be carried away by the emotion of the moment, their movements became more energetic and fluid, while the torches' fire cast flashes of light and shadow on them.

The ritual was an exciting and liberating experience for some who danced with closed eyes, surrendering completely to the music and the heat of the flames surrounding them. They could feel the energy of the temple pulsing around them, enveloping them in a sense of ecstasy.

The moment seemed to be eternal as they danced, each one lost in a hypnotic trance that took them beyond reality. But that was when everything stopped; the sound of a thud on the floor startled them all, making them stop abruptly and open their eyes wide, some confused, marked, and heated.

The music stopped abruptly, leaving a tense silence in the air as they all looked towards the center of the temple. There, at the feet of the goddess statue, a figure knelt in reverence, her torch shining brightly and its flame intact.

She was the chosen one.

The night enveloped Vengerberg fortress in a cloak of mystery and anticipation as guests began to arrive for the banquet following the ritual. In one of the large outdoor courtyards of the fortress, the supreme leaders of House Vengerberg, accompanied by other sisters, including Verena, awaited the arrival of the visitors.

The silence of the night was interrupted by powerful roars echoing in the sky. The sisters' eyes turned towards the starry sky, which was soon covered by the gigantic shadows of winged creatures. Dragons, flying freely and wildly around the fortress, their powerful roars capturing all the attention of those present.

The sisters smiled at the spectacle, always pleased to witness the perfect creations of the gods. The dragons soon landed on the ground with force, raising waves of wind in their wake, but the women remained unmoved. The elderly leaders began to advance fearlessly towards the beasts, approaching them almost to the point of touching them.

From the dragons descended a group of people, men and women, who then approached with regal and imposing demeanor towards the witches. Among them, a man of imposing aura stood out: tall and muscular, with hair as black as night and a thick, well-groomed beard. His eyes, a deep red like blood, shone with a savagery similar to that of a dragon.

The man wore a rich black tunic, with golden details and an emblem on his chest depicting a dragon clutching a heart in its claws. He advanced determinedly towards the leaders until he stood face to face with them, then he slightly inclined his head as a sign of respect before kneeling before them. One of the elderly women offered him the palm of her hand, which he kissed reverently before resting his forehead on it, murmuring in Valyrian.

"May the grace of the gods endure as does the blood," the man murmured with a deep voice.

In Valyria, blood was considered a symbol of power, lineage, and divine connection. It was believed that the gods had blessed certain bloodlines with magical abilities and elevated status. Therefore, this reflected the prayer, the desire for divine grace to endure and flow through the generations.

The supreme leader nodded with a slight smile on her face at the man's gesture, while he rose from his reverence. With a serene and authoritative voice, the leader welcomed him.

"It is an honor for us to receive you and your family in our sacred home, Lord Dragon Vlerian Drakonhar, leader of House Drakonhart," said the supreme leader, making a slight bow, followed by the other sisters who imitated her gesture.

"It is a great honor for my house to be present tonight, and I want to extend my congratulations in advance for this night. Let us hope that the gods bless us with another divine son before the end of the evening," the Lord Dragon declared.

"May the gods hear you, my lord," the supreme leader declared, sharing that wish.

Immediately afterward, she invited the Lord Dragon to enter the grand hall. But before they departed, she ordered the younger ones to attend to the other members of House Drakonhart, reminding them to treat them with the same hospitality and courtesy that was offered to their leader. With obedient gestures, the girls nodded and set out to fulfill their leader's command, leaving the supreme leader and the Lord Dragon to continue their way to the grand hall.

The girls of House Vengerberg began to gather with the members of House Drakonhart, engaging in friendly conversations and guiding them kindly towards the grand hall. Among them, Verena approached one of the dragons of House Drakonhart with curiosity.

The dragon was large, with greenish-blue scales that shimmered in the torchlight and bright black eyes that seemed to observe everything with attention. Despite its imposing presence, the calm dragon allowed her to approach and began to gently stroke its rough skin.

Suddenly, a familiar voice called out to her from behind. Verena turned and found herself facing a beautiful girl with curly black hair, eyes that burned with the same intensity as the dragon's, and wearing an elegant black dress with the Drakonhart emblem emblazoned on her chest in gold.

Lydra Drakonhart.

"Verena," she greeted with a warm smile, approaching her side and embracing her. "It's good to see you again."

"The same goes for you, Lydra. How have you been?" Verena asked once they parted.

"We're good, thank you. It seems Faethoril missed you too; it's been a long time," the girl reminded her, tenderly stroking the dragon.

He emitted a soft growl of satisfaction at the contact of his rider, as if he agreed with her words. Both girls smiled at that and then Lydra ordered her dragon to take flight, watching with her friend as he spread his gigantic wings and soared into the sky, flying freely.

"Your celebrations always manage to leave me speechless," Lydra said once they arrived in the grand hall.

And no wonder her words, the grand hall was all decorated with elegance and opulence. The walls were lined with dark velvet fabrics, decorated with golden embroideries that gleamed in the light of the numerous candles hanging from solid gold candelabras. The polished marble floors shone with impeccable luster, reflecting the light of the torches and creating a dazzling effect throughout the hall.

The tables were set with exquisite black and gold silk tablecloths, adorned with crystal candelabras and gleaming silver plates. Centerpieces crafted with exotic flowers and fruits added a wonderful fragrance to the atmosphere.

The vaulted ceiling was decorated with hand-painted frescoes depicting scenes from Valyrian mythology, showing the ancient gods and dragons in all their splendor. Music resonated in the hall, filling the air with lively and enveloping melodies.

And the guests, dressed in their finest attire, chatted and laughed as they enjoyed the food and wine served with care by the servants.

Verena smiled at her friend's comment and guided her towards one of the grand seats, where they both sat and began to chat while enjoying glasses of wine and the festive atmosphere that surrounded them.

However, the music suddenly stopped when a man stood by the entrance doors and loudly announced the arrival of House Malfoy. Thus, a group of men and women with a cold and confident appearance entered the hall, standing out among the crowd with their platinum blonde hair, silver and cold eyes, and clothing in green and silver tones.

Among them, a man stood out, Arquein Malfoy, leader of House Malfoy and one of the three most powerful dragon lords of Valyria. The newcomers were greeted with applause and bows from the other lords present in the hall. Verena watched as they advanced to stand in front of the supremes and Lord Drakonhart.

The three major houses were gathered. Arquein Malfoy elegantly approached the supreme leaders of House Vengerberg and the leader of House Drakonhart, greeting them with a bow to both.

"My lord, it is an honor to have you among us tonight; we welcome you to our fortress," said one of the supremes.

Arquein nodded with gratitude, thanking the words of the supreme leader. Concluding her welcome speech, the supreme leader officially started the celebration with a few words of encouragement and congratulations, beginning the night of celebration among the powerful families of Valyria.

THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGONS| The Legacy of Verena Vengerberg - Rhaenyra_2020 - A Song of Ice and Fire (2024)


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