Jon Arryn sighed heavily as he sat in his office located at the Tower of the Hand with frustration over the entire situation in front of him. The plan had come to fruition after years upon year, generations upon generations of Lord Arryns before him plotted to take down the dragons. Ever since his great ancestor had bent the knee in order to save the Vale from inevitable and total annihilation from the dragons if the fighting at the time continued. The Arryns who followed that moment had felt their pride had been wounded beyond repair and the sting had festered with each knew generation that came after.
Only for their chance to finally come at last and the Falcon took down the dragons with Jon Arryn being the architect that brought it about in the end. It should have been a time for joy, a sense of bliss, or at least a sense of satisfaction knowing his House was able to get its revenge on the dragon.
Only for things to get out of control one way or another.
First, Robert had turned from unruly man child to King of the unruly man children with his ways getting more out of control with each passing year. The man was using every excuse possible to call for expensive tourneys and feasts without care to the costs while the low born suffered beneath the Crown within the city. Unfortunately, this wasn't the worse part of his current situation, but really the start of everything leading up to it. The second problem Jon Arryn had was the Small Council and the fact none of them were helping him save the Crown from itself.
And Robert was once again to blame on that given he was the one who appointed those on it..
The Small Council had consisted of Robert's rigid brother Stannis, who was the Master of Ships and was in charge of the Royal Navy. A serious man who felt cheated out of being the Lord of the Stormlands while Robert was ruling as King. Instead, the man was made the Lord of Dragonstone. An insult made by the King to punish Stannis for his failure to capture the two remaining Targaryen children despite the fact a massive storm had been the cause of the failure. An act of the Gods some said, but the King felt Stannis should have been able to get them Gods or not.
The Master of Laws was Robert's youngest brother Renly, who tried to make himself out to be a people person and loved by everyone in the city. Jon suspected he was doing it to gain the support of the people should his brother die and try to Crown himself King if, not Regent should the opportunity present itself. Renly was the polar opposite of Stannis in terms of personality and Jon knew he was more likeable to Stannis in terms of support from the people.
The Master of Coin was not Robert's fault, but might as well be in terms of allowing the Crown to bleed so much coin. Petyr Baelish was from the Vale located at place called the Fingers and was fostered to Holster Tully to make something of himself. Which he did. Finally, after proving his worth with numbers, Jon had decided to bring him here as part of the Small Council to help manage the Crowns finances as the Master of Coin. At first, Petyr was able to keep the Crown's finances in the black from his advice on issues. But that had changed within the next few years and the Greyjoy Rebellion following soon after that. Petyr did what he could to get things out of the red, but Robert's spending on tourneys, feasts, wine, and whores had created a slowly growing debt. One which Petyr had to counter by taking loans out from the Iron Bank and Tywin Lannister of all people.
And now the Crown was well over three million gold dragons in debt with the debt still growing by the day with no real means to stopping it in sight. In a few more years, his Master of Coin told him it could possibly be twice as much!
Which brought Jon Arryn to his most dangerous problem in the form of Lord Varys, the Spider, and Master of Whispers currently handling the Crown's spy network. Ironically, Varys was the only one doing his job well, which was why Jon was so cautious of him. The Spider had been around when the Mad King's madness had been at its peak, had been there when the dragon fell, yet was alive despite everything. One did not serve the Mad King and come out of it unscathed, yet this man did. No one truly escaped the Mad King or his wrath, yet this man did. Even the King's Justice had suffered the Mad King's wrath and lost his tongue.
And yet the Spider had remained through it all despite the risks involved. A man like that was very dangerous in Jon Arryn's mind. The only reason Varys had stayed on the Small Council was due to his spy network being vast and covering the Seven Kingdoms to just about every place in the known world. How the Spider maintained it, Jon did not know, but if the Spider were killed or fled, they would lose so much more in the process.
Something Jon suspected Varys knew and thus feeling secure in his current position as the Crown's Master of Whispers. At the same time, he was also sure the Spider had plans in place to escape should even a hint or sign of his position as Master of Whispers was compromised.
But the issue at hand was not members of the Small Council, but Robert rather himself with his continued funding of his vices. The man had increased his time focusing only on drinking, hunting, and whoring while ignoring all the issues the Crown was suffering from in all aspects to keep it going. Jon's plan when helping his Foster son take the Iron Throne was to be the power behind it and Robert himself. He expected his Foster son to be more receptive to giving into his "advise" on things. Sadly, it was not the case, and Robert was being his usual stubborn pigheaded self he was in his youth.
As Hand of the King, Jon could act on things in Robert's name when the man was not around due to his position, but it had become problematic as time went by. Robert was suppose to handle some daily duties as were his responsibilities as a King. Despite the man's vice, it was is required for him to do those necessary things in order to help the people in the city. But Robert had been lacking in all of his duties to keep up with his personal vices and left everything to Jon. Such a move only added to his already difficult work load in running the Seven Kingdoms on top of it.
Which thus brought about the painful truth Jon Arryn didn't want to believe. Or rather, he had been trying to prevent following the end of the Greyjoy Rebellion.
Slowly, the Seven Kingdoms were falling apart and Robert's rule was showing signs of being in jeopardy if something wasn't done fast. The people had been behind the Stag when the Greyjoy Rebellion occurred and rightfully so with their reaver, raping, raiding, and pillaging ways. It had made people become loyal to the Stag due to Robert leading the charge once more and punish the Iron Born for their violent ways.
But within the years following, the King's "support" among the smallfolk had once again been reduced to an all time low. The King had done little to nothing to help them in their time of need. Jon himself was increasingly drowning in work to help them or make it seem like he was to further make the people believe the King was through him.
It was easier to take the Iron Throne over keeping it intact.
"Lord Hand, the Small Council is waiting for you," said Hugh of the Vale, who was Jon Arryn's squire.
"Thank you Hugh. I have much to do an not enough time to do it," remarked Jon before getting up from his chair and exited the room.