Jaehaera Targaryen is the daughter of King Viserys III Targaryen and his late wife, Ashara Martell. Born in the year 343 AC, she spent most of her life as the sole child of her father until the birth of her half-brother Aenys Targaryen in the year 364. She is married to her uncle, Daeron Targaryen, with whom she has four children: Aenar, Vaella, Maelor, and Rhaena.
Viserys and his wife, like most couples, were ecstatic when they became aware of her pregnancy. They bade the Realm pray for them, and for the beautiful son that would come of their union, bearing strong Valyrian features and a staggering intellect and unmatched strength. The prayers *they* offered grew more urgent in tone as the end of the pregnancy drew nearer, and as the health of Ashara continued to deteriorate. The bed she took to that day was as much a source of life as it was of death; as her life ended, another came into the world, silent as a mouse.
It was not the proud son they had hoped for, and the frailty of form meant strength was out of the question. A girl, tan of skin and dark of hair, purple eyes the only sign of her father’s blood, was what remained. A final insult from the Gods callous enough to strip away his wife.
That girl was named Jaehaera. It was the first part of the dying wish of her mother.
She was fortunate enough to be born into power. Wetmaids nursed her to strength, while Maesters fought back the sickliness that plagued her. After a few months, there was a collective sigh of relief: Jaehaera would live.
The little Dornish-looking girl was both beloved and loathed, all at once. Even in her earliest memories, she can’t discern whether Viserys cared for her as a father should. She was the last remnant of his first wife, yes…
But she was a girl. A girl whose only feature of his laid in her eyes. For a man obsessed with his “legacy,” that was insufficient. He would flit into her life for a few months, sitting her upon his knee and regaling her with tales of Targaryens come before (men, all of them, Rhaenys and Visenya conveniently forgotten), telling her how much he loved her, then disappear once again. The Realm called him, he said, just as it would call upon her someday. She had a duty to fulfill to her House and to the Realm both.
That “duty” was revealed to her when she was five. The day is burned into her memory. Her father swept into the room, a grimace on his face. Some claim that it was the orders of Aemon that coaxed the words from him (to spite Baelon, no doubt), but the why never mattered as much as the content. Settled upon his knee, a place thought safe, he told her that duty had finally called her. When she was older, she would be married to her uncle, Daeron.
It was the only time she made the mistake of hitting her father. The frail fist, beating against his gut through screams railing against a fate that she could not change, did nothing but earn his ire. He screamed at her, loud enough that she was certain the entirety of Dragonstone could hear his words. He told her to learn her place.
She never spoke out against him again. Only a few weeks later, Viserys was sailing for King’s Landing to lead the host set to march against his uncle, Baelon. As his ship sailed away, she was placed on one of her own, Ser Beric Tarth of the Kingsguard her only company, whisking her away to Sunspear.
The second part of her mother’s wish: she would spend part of her childhood in Dorne.
It had been generations since a Targaryen had stayed in the Water Gardens: not since Daenerys, who the Gardens had been made for. Jaehaera’s arrival was met with celebration--a feast, a small “tourney,” new clothing more appropriate for the Dornish heat… Never before had she felt so appreciated. Wanted. To them, she wasn’t the sore reminder of what could have been. She was family, as much their blood as that of the King.
Jaenaera holds fond memories of her years spent at the Water Gardens, playing with noble children and smallfolk alike. Stripped bare, playing in those pools and running across terraces of pale marble and blooming flowers, they were all the same. They were all human. That basic understanding of the value of human life, be it noble or not, developed into the Benevolence she became known for later in her life.
She also became familiar with the Maester of Sunspear, Maester Harrold. He was always peeved by the constant bumps and scrapes she accumulated, but he used the time they spent together as best he could, teaching her of the history of the world the both of them lived in.
Dark wings bear dark words, and those that arrived in the middle of 352 AC were no different. They spoke of a King perished--a Grandfather gone. Honestly, Jaehaera didn’t much care, even though Ser Beric mourned. She had never really known the man, but she still wore the black required of her.
When childish innocence gave way to to the mischief of a teenager, Jaehaera was moved from the Water Gardens to the halls of Sunspear, where she served as a lady-in-waiting to the Princess Annara Martell. Despite the difference in age, the two were thick as thieves. They were absolute terrors. It was her who taught Jaehaera of Nymeria, of Rhaenys, of Visenya. Strong women, all of them, a figure independent of the men they had been attached to.
As much as she might love those stories, she knew they were not her life. She didn’t have a dragon, or a fleet of hundreds of thousands behind her. She was just Jaehaera. She had a duty to fulfill... and a betrothed, always lurking in the back of her mind.
Attempts to keep him there proved futile, as every year was another step towards their impending marriage. On her fifteenth nameday, the vellum on which the annual letter from her father was written was a little *too* officious. Her heart sank before she even laid eyes upon the first word. She was to return to King’s Landing.
She was to wed her uncle.
Boarding her ship, almost ten years older than the last time she has set foot upon it, was gut-wrenching. Dorne was more a home to her than Dragonstone had ever been. She felt the kiss of her mother in that of the sun, she told Annara--a kiss she had never felt.
Yet, the world was never a sentimental place. The next time she set foot on land would be in King’s Landing, indigo eyes of her uncle dissecting the woman she had grown into with mechanical precision…
Catching his glance was the first time she knew fear.
Two days are burned into her memory. The second is her wedding. She remembers every second of the affair in vivid detail: the way he wrapped the cloak, all but identical to the one she had worn before, about his shoulders, the way the men in attendance had ripped it off of her mere minutes later as they carried her up the stairs of Maegor’s Holdfast to the chambers they were to share together, the way that gaze of his took on an altogether different bent when they were alone…
It comes back when she closes her eyes, much as she might wish otherwise.
The free-spirited girl who had sailed north from Dorne died quickly. Daeron never chained her like an Essosi slave, never caned her like he might a foolish serving boy, but he did hit her. Not frequently, but enough, when he felt his control slipping. More often than not, the threat of hands around her throat or being pushed to the ground was enough to kill whatever thought had fluttered into her mind. She became a prisoner not of any dungeon, but of her own mind, a far worse fate.
Married Life Edit
Only a year or so after their wedding, she gave birth to their first child, Aenar. She loathed the child, every inch of his Gods-forsaken body. Every time she looked upon Aenar, she saw him. The silver hair that topped his head wasn’t hers. Her ladies-in-waiting gushed about how beautiful a child he was, and his caretakers swore that he was a wonderful babe, but all she felt for the thing was contempt.
His screaming one night drove her from her chambers and to the southern wall of the Red Keep, somewhere between the Rookery and White Sword Tower. Clothed in nothing more than her nightgown, she sat upon the parapets for hours, feet dangling over the cliffs and the crashing waves below. Many times, she edged her seat closer to the edge, and every time, she pulled herself back.
She attributes Grand Maester Harrold with saving her life that night. He emerged from his quarters beneath the Rookery to find her, the bright young girl he had taught in Sunspear dead and gone. They spoke until soft tendrils of sunlight crept over the horizon.
Daeron beat her that night, convinced that she had spent the night in the bed of another, that he was losing control, but she took the blows and the words and the hate in silence. The Jaehaera that had come down from the parapets was different. Still silent, still obedient, but wholly dedicated to the child she had once despised, as though she thought maybe, just maybe, her presence could save his mind from the monster that was his father.
She counted herself fortunate that his new duties as Hand of the King distracted him in the following years: it left her alone with Aenar, and with her thoughts. It was the closest she came to having freedom again.
The War of the Seven Banners Edit
That’s why it couldn’t last. When her father announced that there would be war in Essos, Daeron was left as Regent. Those moons weren’t that bad--if he had been busy as Hand, he was even more so as Regent--but when the letter arrived from Viserys, calling him to the front, he remembered the wife he had been ignoring. He shared her bed that night, much as she hated the feeling of his breath upon her skin. Soap never washed off that filth.
Vaella and Maelor were born the following year. They were not subject to quite the same loathing as Aenar had been.
War or no, life was the same for her. Wake up. Care for the children. Make sure Aenar hadn’t put an eye out with the sword someone had given him. She hardly noticed when people began to trickle back from overseas, bearing scars and stories and news.
The news. When her father returned, it was with a heavy heart that he called her to his chambers. He had changed since the last time she had seen him, his face older, his body more muscular… and on his arm, some Myrish tart, ten or so years younger than her. Daeron’s ship had been lost, he told her. Her husband was dead.
Though she donned the black of a mourning wife, it was not sadness she felt. No, she felt something else. Some queer mix of fear and relief. She had lived a life under his thumb for so long--been trapped in the cage he had erected in her mind for so many years--that she wasn’t sure if she knew how to live outside of it anymore.
That’s when Ser Daven Lannett entered her life. Little more than a sworn sword of her father, the knight had earned some renown commanding her father’s men in The War of the Seven Banners.
It was slow going, but he kept her from falling. He built her up from the burned-out remnants Daeron had left behind. With him by her side, she learned to be herself again. Not just a mother, dedicated to the care of children she had never much wanted, not a wife to a husband who saw her as but another one of his pawns, but herself. Jaehaera. It had been a long time since she’d done that.
The pair fell in love. The recent widow and the relative nobody weren’t exactly the most acceptable pairing, so Jaehaera learned to mask her comings and goings. Never before had she been so thankful for her dark hair and skin: they were much easier to hide than the silver of her relatives. Dark cloaks, mummer’s paint, and silent footfalls became a staple of her existence, leaving her rather covert. Their dalliance was not entirely without incident: she never told him, but she was pregnant for a while. Grand Maester Harrold came through again. She wasn’t ready to have another child, let alone a bastard.
With Daeron gone, all of the informers he had collected were in need of someone to lead them. Bills didn’t pay themselves. Jaehaera, with her newly discovered resolve, filled that void. She became known for her skill at Espionage.
Daeron's Return Edit
When Daeron returned unexpectedly, he discovered his agents gone, and the gate to his “prison” thrown open. The wife he had so carefully held under his thumb, so expertly controlled, had made use of his absence to throw off the chains he had put upon her.
The next few months were ugly, but ended in an agreement. Both knew the other would not be leaving, nor relinquishing their power, any time soon, so they agreed to put aside the differences they had and do the best they could to not just co-exist, but thrive. So far, it seems to have been successful.
Her relationship with Ser Daven “ended” not long after the return of her husband, but not of her own desires… and not of his, if the number of times they’ve seen each other since it “ended” means anything.
A few years later, she had another child, Rhaena, with her tan skin and dark hair. Jaehaera is convinced the child is Daven’s, but has never spoken a word of her parentage to anyone. She was sent to the Water Gardens at age six, as her mother once was.
With her father in poor health, Jaehaera returned to King’s Landing from Sunspear, where she spent the last year. She is uncertain what the future holds, but she does know one thing.
She will come out on top.