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Title: Iron and steel
Fandom: Game of Thrones
Characters: Tyrion, Bronn
Author: m_findlow
Rating: PG
Length: 1,000 words
Content notes: none
Author notes: Written for Challenge 31 - Intellectual property at fandomweekly
Summary: Not all wars are won with swords
Disclaimer: I don't own them.

The Street of Steel rang with the sound of hammer and anvil. Every last armourer and smith had taken up the charge of the Kings's Hand, though it was not for glory or pride in the work undertaken, but for the promised wealth such a commission would bring. As in all things, it was coin, and not King or Queen that ruled the hearts and minds of the many.

The sound of metal clashing on metal filled the length and breadth of the street, a cacophony of clinking that reminded Tyrion of the first time he'd ever heard the sound of coins being dropped from a purse, clattering onto the table. It was the music of wealth. He'd never known what it was to have want of coin, since being a Lannister had always assured him wealth, but he still enjoyed the sound of it.

Yes, the sound of the street was like coin falling, and falling it was, the street raining down with golden dragons every hour of the day as more and more iron was forged, growing fat and rich from its labours. It was a glorious sound.

Lord Baelish would have preferred for Tyrion to uncover a way to melt iron into gold rather than they other way around, yet their Master of Coin seemed to have some of his own skill in forging gold from nothing. Perhaps he had a Bravvosi alchemist hidden away, manufacturing the enormous amount of coin that kept a kingdom afloat, though much had originally come from Lannister pockets.

Lengths of the enormous chain lined one side of the street, each link twice the size of a man's head. Long rows of links marched up and down its length and Tyrion tried to do the math in his head, ajudging there to be almost enough to stretch the surface of the Blackwater. More still would be needed for it to hang loose beneath the waters, unseen. He tapped one of the large links with his boot, feeling it heavy and solid. It wasn't elegant work, yet seeing its impressive length gave it an elegance of a different sort - one of a conquering weapon.

'Gold cloaks are complaining that they can't commission new armour,' Bronn said, wandering along the street beside him.

'Well, they'll just have to make do with what they've got. I don't hear the coopers complaining for a lack of iron to bind their barrels,' he replied. 'Stannis won't care if their breastplates are pretty or plain, he'll cut them down just the same. Besides, if this works, the gold cloaks shall have naught to do. Cersei's haste to appoint so many new cloaks was foolish.'

He looked up at Bronn who started disinterestedly at the smoking forges, clouds of steam and smoke issuing from their windows, filling the street with rippling waves of heat, and the bellows endlessly puffing, like a dragon out of breath. 'You don't think this shall work?'

'I'd rather trust to a steel sword in my hand, if it's all the same to you.'

Tyrion scoffed. 'If kingdoms were won with swords, them my brother Jaime would rule all of the Seven Kingdoms and everything East of the Shivering Sea.'

Bronn just shrugged.

'You'll have to explain to me again why we'd want to use a chain to block Stannis' fleet inside the Blackwater. If you'd said we were keeping them out, I could understand.'

Tyrion smiled. 'Which is why I am the Hand of the King, and you are a sellsword, dear Bronn.'

Bronn stood and turned to him, resting his hand on the pommel of his sword. 'If this is such a brilliant idea, why has no one else ever thought of it?'

'I of the select few have the foresight to do what their enemy least expects.'

In fact, he reveled in it. Nothing pleased him more than to wound and undercut by doing the unexpected. Sometimes being a dwarf had its advantages. No one feared a dwarf or thought them capable of anything, always underestimated. Yet here he stood, Hand of the King, pulling the strings of the Seven Kingdoms with the ease that a child would play with a doll.

'Stannis is arrogant and lacking in creativity. He will bring his fleet up the Blackwater where the lead vessels will be destroyed by wildfire. The burning ruin will float back downstream setting light to his remaining fleet, but only if we hem them in. The genius of the plan is that Stannis will be his own undoing. He loves iron and steel, so that is what we shall give him.'

They watched as two young apprentices slowly hauled another length of chain out through the doors. Their muscles strained with the weight of it, adding it to the growing pile lining the street. It would take many wagons and destriers to haul it to the river's edge, and several more ferries to sail it to the other side, affixing it to the stone walls of the Mud Gate.

'All this with an iron chain,' Bronn mused.

'This chain will deal us victory, and leave Stannis' army a drowned ruin. All of Cersei's new gold cloaks will look the fool standing there idly.' So much the better, he thought.

'And all of the Seven Kingdoms will hail the man who saved the realm from Stannis the usurper. "Tyrion Ironchain, Tyrion Chainmaker, Tyrion Boatbreaker", they'll cry.'

Tyrion look at him and saw the small smirk playing across his face.

'Are you subtly mocking me, Bronn?'

'I very much doubt it, my Lord,' he replied, still smirking. 'I am but a lowly sellsword. I would not know how to be subtle.'

'Indeed,' Tyrion replied, knowing that Bronn knew how to play the game better than most.

Tyrion Ironchain, greatest Hand in the history of the Seven Kingdoms. He quite liked the sound of that.


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