Warnings: Sexual situations, technically dubcon due to a language barrier and the youthful innocence of the reader proxy (she’s 16 – which is the legal age of consent where I live – and a virgin). Also, a brief reference to slavery (which is NOT okay in reality). Dark isn’t a complete asshole here; it’s more of a “clashing cultures” kind of thing, this time around. And a war-based culture rarely breeds a man known for his gentle ways.
Based on an anonymous request on tumblr: “AU where Dark is a king and the reader is his queen (married off possibly), and the reader is carrying his first heir.”
Because this is a Fantasy/Royalty AU, I decided to saddle Mark and Dark with alternate – but fitting – names. Mark is now Marcus (the original Latin form of his name) and Dark is now Duncan (a Scottish name meaning “dark warrior,” and best known from Shakespeare’s play MacBeth). But in spite of these real-world names, this is straight-up fantasy.
And if you happen to feel some Khal Drogo/Daenerys Targaryen vibes from the Dark/Reader pairing this time around, that’s no accident. I was devastated when Drogo was killed off and his and Dany’s son was stillborn, at the end of the first season of Game of Thrones… and I haven’t watched the show since. You broke my heart, GRRM; you’re still an awesome writer, but I’ll never forgive you.
So, yeah… this fic is a thing that I made. Drogo/Dany vibes (and my above rant) aside, I’ve actually done my best to add something a little unique for this AU. I’ll shut up now, so you can enjoy!
You could hear your brother Marcus’ normally-pleasant baritone voice bellowing with all the ferocity of a wild boar in the Grand Hall. “Absolutely not! I forbid it!”
You winced and hesitated before the massive doors to the Hall. You knew that whoever had displeased him was bound to receive an earful. Marcus was a loving, just king to his subjects… but he was also temperamental on occasions where he believed some great injustice had occurred. Usually, it was in matters of gamesmanship and was thus not to be taken as seriously, as those familiar with his ways knew he was a showman at heart and it was all simply in good fun. But, at the moment, he was genuinely raging… not over a cheating player in a game of chance, but in some dire matter of state.
That could not bode well for anyone. The situation had to be unpleasant indeed to provoke such a reaction as, beyond the gaming tables, he was usually quite even-keeled and diplomatic in attending to the concerns of his kingdom, and often proved jovial and approachable to the lowliest commoner. It was no wonder his subjects so loved him.
But perhaps not at the moment. You felt a surge of pity for the servant on the receiving end of his tirade.
“But Your Majesty…” his advisor began, pleading.
“I will not have my only sister wed to that arrogant barbarian!” he roared. “How dare he! And how dare he challenge my right to my holdings!”
You swallowed hard. Oh Gods, no. He was referring to Lord Duncan, wasn’t he?
You crept closer to the doors, and quickly realized the conversation was so clear because they were slightly ajar.
“Your Majesty,” the advisor put in. “I mean no disrespect to Your Grace, but… Duncan is threatening to attack. If your sister is wed to him and produces an heir, there will be an accord.” You could practically hear the advisor’s knees knocking together. “I know that your sister is greatly treasured by Your Grace, but… for the good of the kingdom, for your people, I beg of you…”
Marcus’ voice became soft and pained. “I know that. I want my people to have peace… but at the expense of my sister’s happiness? She is a young woman of spirit and compassion. She would be broken by him, as if she were a wild stallion brought to heel.” He became so quiet, you almost didn’t catch what he said next. “She would not be the girl I knew and have protected all my life. She would be a shadow of herself.”
“The needs of the many outweigh that of the few, Your Highness.”
There was a long, heavy silence.
“Perhaps we should speak of this with her, and let her decide,” Marcus finally announced. “It is her fate to be decided, after all.”
“A fair judgment, Your Majesty,” the advisor replied. “I’ll send a servant to fetch her.”
There was muted speech that you couldn’t decipher, and the sound of a servant scampering for the doors. You stepped back as the doors opened wide, ashamed of yourself for eavesdropping.
“Your Majesty?” the servant’s voice quavered a little as he addressed the King. “The princess is already here.”
Marcus looked at you, his expression one of pity. At the moment, you wanted to hate that look on his face… but you knew he meant well and genuinely felt for you. For a moment, he seemed very much like the lanky teenage boy who was always shielding you from certain troubles that you had been far too young to understand. The shadow of that boy was still there, in the open honesty of his noble face and the lean limbs that were taut as a bowstring.
But you weren’t that little girl anymore, that needed his protection. You were nearing your sixteenth year, already possessed the comely frame of a woman of childbearing age, and were likely to be married off in due time, as it was, to produce issue for a husband. Such was the life of a woman in the kingdom, even one of royal standing. Your brother, as powerful as he was, could not change the traditions of a thousand years.
You curtsied before him, and addressed him as common courtesies demanded. “You wished to speak with me, my King?”
His voice was gentle. “How much did you hear, sister?”
“I heard that we would be risking war, if I do not marry Lord Duncan.”
The advisor beamed as he turned to you. “Her Excellency has the right of it. Beautifully simplified.”
Marcus cleared his throat now, but in disapproval for his advisor’s over-effusive praise of you. “If you would kindly remove your lips from my sister’s rump…” he added with a scowl.
The advisor flushed. “My apologies, Your Majesty. I only wished to express approval.”
You glared at Marcus. King or not, he was still family, and you were the only person who could legitimately call him out when he was out of line. “You are in a foul mood, brother.”
Marcus sighed and scrubbed a hand over his face, his weariness causing him to look far older than his score and eight years. “I am sorry. But you understand my feelings on this, don’t you? I wish only for your happiness, and for the prosperity of the kingdom. It seems now that I cannot have both.”
“I will do what must be done,” you reply. “The needs of the many outweigh that of the few. I will wed Lord Duncan for the good of our kingdom.”
Marcus nodded. “Then it shall be done. I shall send a message to Lord Duncan. Preparations will begin for the wedding.”
Negotiations between King Marcus and Lord Duncan were not swift, taking months throughout the spring and summer through messengers running back and forth from the castle to Duncan’s encampment. During this time, your sixteenth birthday passed with the fanfare expected for the princess’ birthday. By the laws of the land, you were a woman now… and that knowledge left a knot in your stomach. If Lord Duncan agreed to marry you, you would have to begin bearing his issue as soon as possible.
Lord Duncan finally agreed to the terms; you and your handsomely-sized dowry in exchange for leaving your brother’s kingdom in peace. It meant that you would not see your brother face to face again. A wedding celebration was held, commemorating this union between powers.
In the privacy of the royal chambers, Marcus embraced you in farewell. “Write often to me, sister,” he told you as the two of you held one another and wept. “I ask not as your king but as your brother. I wish to remain in contact with you, and should any harm come to you…”
“My pen will always be at the ready,” you replied. “I will let you know of things in my new life with Lord Duncan.”
“He is not to harm a hair on your head. For this, I would go to war.”
“I will miss you, my darling brother.”
“And I you, my loving sister.”
Lord Duncan was taller than you expected, and younger than you’d imagined. You were also surprised that he was quite handsome. His deep-set dark eyes were as black as night, and seemed to gaze into your soul. You shivered under his intent, probing glance. The furs of a wolf was draped over his broad shoulders to ward off the coming winter cold, but he wore it with as much dignity as if it were the most perfect ermine-trimmed robe.
His voice was also unexpectedly deep, but you didn’t understand the language he spoke. The language of his people was a rough, barbaric tongue but, upon his lips, it sounded… seductive.
Perhaps it was better this way, not having a common language. There would be no manipulations, no lies, no deceit of any kind. There would only be actions to speak for you both. Eitan was there to translate, yes, but he would not be accompanying you during more private moments with Duncan.
Nonetheless, you looked to your wedding night with dread.
Another celebration was held in Duncan’s encampment which, Eitan explained, was his people’s version of a wedding ceremony. There was dancing and drinking and, as nubile young women gyrated to the beat of the tribal drums, Duncan sat on his throne and watched it all. There was a glint in his eyes, and you shifted in your seat beside him, made uncomfortable by the suggestive dances of the women. It wasn’t long before you bolted for Duncan’s tent, your face and skin flushed with consternation and… yes, arousal.
You heard Duncan murmuring behind you to Eitan; he sounded almost… concerned? But that could not be. Why would the barbarian king consider your welfare? He’d gotten what he’d wanted, after all. You were Duncan’s prize, a tribute extorted from your brother to preserve the welfare of his kingdom.
A slave girl attended to you in Duncan’s tent. She bathed you with sweet-smelling oils and, after draping a beautifully soft robe over your body, began to brush your hair. Despite this kindness, you found yourself weeping for the home you had lost. Your spot on his sleeping mat was well-cushioned and surprisingly comfortable, but it couldn’t replace the home you left behind.
There was the whisper of the tent curtains parting, and Duncan was standing there. He spoke in a low tone to the slave girl which, though gentle, nonetheless held the tenor of command. The slave girl bowed to him and left the tent, and you suddenly found yourself wanting to run after her. You didn’t want to be alone with him!
His dark eyes bored into you, and he approached you confidently. You could feel the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end, as if you were about to be struck by lightning. He loomed over you only momentarily as he removed his furs, before dropping to his knees before you. He reached for you, his large hands running through your hair. You trembled, and your own hands went against his shoulders, pushing slightly but ineffectively.
He made a series of quiet, hushing sounds as he tenderly stroked your face, the rough and calloused pads of his long fingers tracing a path along your jawline. Then, bracing his hand behind your head so you could not pull away, his lips met yours. The contact between your skin was cooler than you’d expected, and the tremor in your body increased as his hands began to roam along your body.
You grasped at his shoulders now, not to pull him away but to bring him closer. You couldn’t explain the feeling inside… of warmth, and of the bodily tremor arrowing to your groin. Your hands slid down to cling to his biceps, the cool flesh warming slightly under your inexperienced touch. He had lit a fire inside of you, and you wanted it to rage till it burned you away.
The world tilted as he pushed you back onto the soft pillows. He laid kisses all over your face and throat, his mouth briefly clamping down over your shoulder. You tried to relax, knowing it would be easier that way. You had been warned by the ladies of the court, growing up, that the first time was not as pleasant as it would be in future intimacies.
You felt the tension in your body slowly unwind, like a thread slowly pulled from a tapestry, and you sunk into the feeling. You held onto him, all your reason evaporating in his strong embrace.
It didn’t take long to discover you were pregnant.
You had shared your nights with Duncan from the beginning of your marriage. Through the ensuing months, you slowly began to grasp bits and pieces of his people’s language, and he would simplify his speech when the two of you were alone so you could keep up.
You learned that there was a word he repeated over and over when in bed with you. When you asked, he – with unusual reluctance – did not translate for you, saying that you would not understand. When you went to Eitan and asked for its meaning, the interpreter’s blush was a high colour and, to stem your shock at his reaction, quickly replied that unseemly language among this more barbarous culture wasn’t unusual. It was in fact, something of a compliment to your more feminine skills.
You were a quick study in every sense, and learned enough about your husband to successfully seduce him. You surprised him by taking control over your lovemaking, pushing him back onto the pillows and laying your body over his. The harsh, guttural moans he uttered that night were music to your ears.
He worshipped your ever-changing body with his hands and lips, almost excessively proud that you were giving him the offspring he needed to secure his rule. He declared that his firstborn son would be a strong and effective ruler once his own time had passed, and the world would know it soon enough.
Your favourite moments though, were when the two of you could quietly stare up at the stars together, as he pointed out the constellations as his people knew them, while the light of a lover’s moon beamed down upon you.
You kept your promise to your brother faithfully, writing regular screeds on the goings-on of the encampment (though you did not tell him of your private moments with Duncan, as some things aren’t meant for a brother to know). Duncan had gifted you with a beautiful horse to ride beside him, as the nomadic people searched for a warmer clime to wait out the winter snows. There was no “thank you” in Duncan’s language, so you expressed your gratitude with your body later that night.
Your son was born, the infant’s loud angry shriek at the ignominy of the birthing process causing a rare smile on your lover’s stern face.
When your lord held his son for the first time you knew, The world will soon be ours.