Sansa Stark Sansa Stark POV chapters

AngelGirl1992 posted on Aug 19, 2011 at 01:12PM
A Game of Thrones page 166 -

Eddard Stark had left before dawn, Septa
Mordane informed Sansa as they broke their fast. “The king
sent for him. Another hunt, I do believe. There are still wild
aurochs in these lands, I am told.”
“I’ve never seen an aurochs,” Sansa said, feeding a piece
of bacon to Lady under the table. The direwolf took it from
her hand, as delicate as a queen.
Septa Mordane sniffed in disapproval. “A noble lady does
not feed dogs at her table,” she said, breaking off another
piece of comb and letting the honey drip down onto her
bread.
“She’s not a dog, she’s a direwolf,” Sansa pointed out as
Lady licked her fingers with a rough tongue. “Anyway,
Father said we could keep them with us if we want.”
The septa was not appeased. “You’re a good girl, Sansa,
but I do vow, when it comes to that creature you’re as willful
as your sister Arya.” She scowled. “And where is Arya this
morning?”
“She wasn’t hungry,” Sansa said, knowing full well that her
sister had probably stolen down to the kitchen hours ago
and wheedled a breakfast out of some cook’s boy.
“Do remind her to dress nicely today. The grey velvet,
perhaps. We are all invited to ride with the queen and
Princess Myrcella in the royal wheelhouse, and we must
look our best.” Sansa already looked her best. She had
brushed out her long auburn hair until it shone, and picked
her nicest blue silks. She had been looking forward to
today for more than a week. It was a great honor to ride
with the queen, and besides, Prince Joffrey might be there.
Her betrothed. Just thinking it made her feel a strange
fluttering inside, even though they were not to marry for
years and years. Sansa did not really know Joffrey yet, but
she was already in love with him. He was all she ever
dreamt her prince should be, tall and handsome and strong,
with hair like gold. She treasured every chance to spend
time with him, few as they were. The only thing that scared
her about today was Arya. Arya had a way of ruining
everything. You never knew what she would do. “I’ll tell her,”
Sansa said uncertainly, “but she’ll dress the way she always
does.” She hoped it wouldn’t be too embarrassing. “May I
be excused?”
“You may.” Septa Mordane helped herself to more bread
and honey, and Sansa slid from the bench. Lady followed at
her heels as she ran from the inn’s common room.
Outside, she stood for a moment amidst the shouts and
curses and the creak of wooden wheels as the men broke
down the tents and pavilions and loaded the wagons for
another day’s march. The inn was a sprawling three-story
structure of pale stone, the biggest that Sansa had ever
seen, but even so, it had accommodations for less than a
third of the king’s party, which had swollen to more than four
hundred with the addition of her father’s household and the
freeriders who had joined them on the road.
She found Arya on the banks of the Trident, trying to hold
Nymeria still while she brushed dried mud from her fur. The
direwolf was not enjoying the process. Arya was wearing
the same riding leathers she had worn yesterday and the
day before.
“You better put on something pretty,” Sansa told her.
“Septa Mordane said so. We’re traveling in the queen’s
wheelhouse with Princess Myrcella today.”
“I’m not,” Arya said, trying to brush a tangle out of
Nymeria’s matted grey fur. “Mycah and I are going to ride
upstream and look for rubies at the ford.”
“Rubies,” Sansa said, lost. “What rubies?”
Arya gave her a look like she was so stupid. “Rhaegar’s
rubies. This is where King Robert killed him and won the
crown.”
Sansa regarded her scrawny little sister in disbelief. “You
can’t look for rubies, the princess is expecting us. The
queen invited us both.”
“I don’t care,” Arya said. “The wheelhouse doesn’t even
have windows, you can’t see a thing.”
“What could you want to see?” Sansa said, annoyed. She
had been thrilled by the invitation, and her stupid sister was
going to ruin everything, just as she’d feared. “It’s all just
fields and farms and holdfasts.”
“It is not,” Arya said stubbornly. “If you came with us
sometimes, you’d see.”
“I hate riding,” Sansa said fervently. “All it does is get you
soiled and dusty and sore.”
Arya shrugged. “Hold still,” she snapped at Nymeria, “I’m
not hurting you.” Then to Sansa she said, “When we were
crossing the Neck, I counted thirty-six flowers I never saw
before, and Mycah showed me a lizard-lion.”
Sansa shuddered. They had been twelve days crossing
the Neck, rumbling down a crooked causeway through an
endless black bog, and she had hated every moment of it.
The air had been damp and clammy, the causeway so
narrow they could not even make proper camp at night, they
had to stop right on the kingsroad. Dense thickets of
halfdrowned trees pressed close around them, branches
dripping with curtains of pale fungus. Huge flowers
bloomed in the mud and floated on pools of stagnant water,
but if you were stupid enough to leave the causeway to
pluck them, there were quicksands waiting to suck you
down, and snakes watching from the trees, and lizard-lions
floating half-submerged in the water, like black logs with
eyes and teeth.
None of which stopped Arya, of course. One day she
came back grinning her horsey grin, her hair all tangled and
her clothes covered in mud, clutching a raggedy bunch of
purple and green flowers for Father. Sansa kept hoping he
would tell Arya to behave herself and act like the highborn
lady she was supposed to be, but he never did, he only
hugged her and thanked her for the flowers. That just made
her worse.
Then it turned out the purple flowers were called poison
kisses, and Arya got a rash on her arms. Sansa would have
thought that might have taught her a lesson, but Arya
laughed about it, and the next day she rubbed mud all over
her arms like some ignorant bog woman just because her
friend Mycah told her it would stop the itching. She had
bruises on her arms and shoulders too, dark purple welts
and faded green-and-yellow splotches, Sansa had seen
them when her sister undressed for sleep. How she had
gotten those only the seven gods knew.
Arya was still going on, brushing out Nymeria’s tangles
and chattering about things she’d seen on the trek south.
“Last week we found this haunted watchtower, and the day
before we chased a herd of wild horses. You should have
seen them run when they caught a scent of Nymeria.” The
wolf wriggled in her grasp and Arya scolded her. “Stop that,
I have to do the other side, you’re all muddy.”
“You’re not supposed to leave the column,” Sansa
reminded her. “Father said so.”
Arya shrugged. “I didn’t go far. Anyway, Nymeria was with
me the whole time. I don’t always go off, either. Sometimes
it’s fun just to ride along with the wagons and talk to
people.”
Sansa knew all about the sorts of people Arya liked to
talk to: squires and grooms and serving girls, old men and
naked children, rough-spoken freeriders of uncertain birth.
Arya would make friends with anybody. This Mycah was the
worst; a butcher’s boy, thirteen and wild, he slept in the
meat wagon and smelled of the slaughtering block. Just the
sight of him was enough to make Sansa feel sick, but Arya
seemed to prefer his company to hers.
Sansa was running out of patience now. “You have to
come with me,” she told her sister firmly. “You can’t refuse
the queen. Septa Mordane will expect you.”
Arya ignored her. She gave a hard yank with the brush.
Nymeria growled and spun away, affronted. “Come back
here!”
“There’s going to be lemon cakes and tea,” Sansa went
on, all adult and reasonable. Lady brushed against her leg.
Sansa scratched her ears the way she liked, and Lady sat
beside her on her haunches, watching Arya chase Nymeria.
“Why would you want to ride a smelly old horse and get all
sore and sweaty when you could recline on feather pillows
and eat cakes with the queen?”
“I don’t like the queen,” Arya said casually. Sansa sucked
in her breath, shocked that even Arya would say such a
thing, but her sister prattled on, heedless. “She won’t even
let me bring Nymeria.” She thrust the brush under her belt
and stalked her wolf. Nymeria watched her approach warily.
“A royal wheelhouse is no place for a wolf,” Sansa said.
“And Princess Myrcella is afraid of them, you know that.”
“Myrcella is a little baby.” Arya grabbed Nymeria around
her neck, but the moment she pulled out the brush again the
direwolf wriggled free and bounded off. Frustrated, Arya
threw down the brush. “Bad wolf!” she shouted.
Sansa couldn’t help but smile a little. The kennelmaster
once told her that an animal takes after its master. She
gave Lady a quick little hug. Lady licked her cheek. Sansa
giggled. Arya heard and whirled around, glaring. “I don’t
care what you say, I’m going out riding.” Her long horsey
face got the stubborn look that meant she was going to do
something willful. ”Gods be true, Arya, sometimes you act
like such a child,” Sansa said. “I’ll go by myself then. It will
be ever so much nicer that way. Lady and I will eat all the
lemon cakes and just have the best time without you.”
She turned to walk off, but Arya shouted after her, “They
won’t let you bring Lady either.” She was gone before
Sansa could think of a reply, chasing Nymeria along the
river.
Alone and humiliated, Sansa took the long way back to
the inn, where she knew Septa Mordane would be waiting.
Lady padded quietly by her side. She was almost in tears.
All she wanted was for things to be nice and pretty, the way
they were in the songs. Why couldn’t Arya be sweet and
delicate and kind, like Princess Myrcella? She would have
liked a sister like that.
Sansa could never understand how two sisters, born only
two years apart, could be so different. It would have been
easier if Arya had been a bastard, like their half brother
Jon. She even looked like Jon, with the long face and
brown hair of the Starks, and nothing of their lady mother in
her face or her coloring. And Jon’s mother had been
common, or so people whispered. Once, when she was
littler, Sansa had even asked Mother if perhaps there
hadn’t been some mistake. Perhaps the grumkins had
stolen her real sister. But Mother had only laughed and said
no, Arya was her daughter and Sansa’s trueborn sister,
blood of their blood. Sansa could not think why Mother
would want to lie about it, so she supposed it had to be
true.
As she neared the center of camp, her distress was
quickly forgotten. A crowd had gathered around the
queen’s wheelhouse. Sansa heard excited voices buzzing
like a hive of bees. The doors had been thrown open, she
saw, and the queen stood at the top of the wooden steps,
smiling down at someone. She heard her saying, “The
council does us great honor, my good lords.”
“What’s happening?” she asked a squire she knew.
“The council sent riders from King’s Landing to escort us
the rest of the way,” he told her. “An honor guard for the
king.”
Anxious to see, Sansa let Lady clear a path through the
crowd. People moved aside hastily for the direwolf. When
she got closer, she saw two knights kneeling before the
queen, in armor so fine and gorgeous that it made her
blink.
One knight wore an intricate suit of white enameled
scales, brilliant as a field of new-fallen snow, with silver
chasings and clasps that glittered in the sun. When he
removed his helm, Sansa saw that he was an old man with
hair as pale as his armor, yet he seemed strong and
graceful for all that. From his shoulders hung the pure white
cloak of the Kingsguard.
His companion was a man near twenty whose armor was
steel plate of a deep forest-green. He was the handsomest
man Sansa had ever set eyes upon; tall and powerfully
made, with jet-black hair that fell to his shoulders and
framed a clean-shaven face, and laughing green eyes to
match his armor. Cradled under one arm was an antlered
helm, its magnificent rack shimmering in gold.
At first Sansa did not notice the third stranger. He did not
kneel with the others. He stood to one side, beside their
horses, a gaunt grim man who watched the proceedings in
silence. His face was pockmarked and beardless, with
deepset eyes and hollow cheeks. Though he was not an old
man, only a few wisps of hair remained to him, sprouting
above his ears, but those he had grown long as a woman’s.
His armor was iron-grey chainmail over layers of boiled
leather, plain and unadorned, and it spoke of age and hard
use. Above his right shoulder the stained leather hilt of the
blade strapped to his back was visible; a two-handed
greatsword, too long to be worn at his side.
“The king is gone hunting, but I know he will be pleased to
see you when he returns,” the queen was saying to the two
knights who knelt before her, but Sansa could not take her
eyes off the third man. He seemed to feel the weight of her
gaze. Slowly he turned his head. Lady growled. A terror as
overwhelming as anything Sansa Stark had ever felt filled
her suddenly. She stepped backward and bumped into
someone.
Strong hands grasped her by the shoulders, and for a
moment Sansa thought it was her father, but when she
turned, it was the burned face of Sandor Clegane looking
down at her, his mouth twisted in a terrible mockery of a
smile. “You are shaking, girl,” he said, his voice rasping.
“Do I frighten you so much?”
He did, and had since she had first laid eyes on the ruin
that fire had made of his face, though it seemed to her now
that he was not half so terrifying as the other. Still, Sansa
wrenched away from him, and the Hound laughed, and
Lady moved between them, rumbling a warning. Sansa
dropped to her knees to wrap her arms around the wolf.
They were all gathered around gaping, she could feel their
eyes on her, and here and there she heard muttered
comments and titters of laughter.
“A wolf,” a man said, and someone else said, “Seven
hells, that’s a direwolf,” and the first man said, “What’s it
doing in camp?” and the Hound’s rasping voice replied,
“The Starks use them for wet nurses,” and Sansa realized
that the two stranger knights were looking down on her and
Lady, swords in their hands, and then she was frightened
again, and ashamed. Tears filled her eyes.
She heard the queen say, “Joffrey, go to her.”
And her prince was there.
“Leave her alone,” Joffrey said. He stood over her,
beautiful in blue wool and black leather, his golden curls
shining in the sun like a crown. He gave her his hand, drew
her to her feet. “What is it, sweet lady? Why are you afraid?
No one will hurt you. Put away your swords, all of you. The
wolf is her little pet, that’s all.” He looked at Sandor
Clegane. “And you, dog, away with you, you’re scaring my
betrothed.”
The Hound, ever faithful, bowed and slid away quietly
through the press. Sansa struggled to steady herself. She
felt like such a fool. She was a Stark of Winterfell, a noble
lady, and someday she would be a queen. “It was not him,
my sweet prince,” she tried to explain. “It was the other
one.”
The two stranger knights exchanged a look. “Payne?”
chuckled the young man in the green armor.
The older man in white spoke to Sansa gently. “Ofttimes
Ser Ilyn frightens me as well, sweet lady. He has a
fearsome aspect.”
“As well he should.” The queen had descended from the
wheelhouse. The spectators parted to make way for her. “If
the wicked do not fear the King’s Justice, you have put the
wrong man in the office.”
Sansa finally found her words. “Then surely you have
chosen the right one, Your Grace,” she said, and a gale of
laughter erupted all around her.
“Well spoken, child,” said the old man in white. “As befits
the daughter of Eddard Stark. I am honored to know you,
however irregular the manner of our meeting. I am Ser
Barristan Selmy, of the Kingsguard.” He bowed.
Sansa knew the name, and now the courtesies that Septa
Mordane had taught her over the years came back to her.
“The Lord Commander of the Kingsguard,” she said, “and
councilor to Robert our king and to Aerys Targaryen before
him. The honor is mine, good knight. Even in the far north,
the singers praise the deeds of Barristan the Bold.”
The green knight laughed again. “Barristan the Old, you
mean. Don’t flatter him too sweetly, child, he thinks
overmuch of himself already.” He smiled at her. “Now, wolf
girl, if you can put a name to me as well, then I must
concede that you are truly our Hand’s daughter.”
Joffrey stiffened beside her. “Have a care how you
address my betrothed!”
”I can answer,” Sansa said quickly, to quell her prince’s
anger. She smiled at the green knight. “Your helmet bears
golden antlers, my lord. The stag is the sigil of the royal
House. King Robert has two brothers. By your extreme
youth, you can only be Renly Baratheon, Lord of Storm’s
End and councilor to the king, and so I name you.”
Ser Barristan chuckled. “By his extreme youth, he can
only be a prancing jackanapes, and so I name him.”
There was general laughter, led by Lord Renly himself.
The tension of a few moments ago was gone, and Sansa
was beginning to feel comfortable . . . until Ser Ilyn Payne
shouldered two men aside, and stood before her,
unsmiling. He did not say a word. Lady bared her teeth and
began to growl, a low rumble full of menace, but this time
Sansa silenced the wolf with a gentle hand to the head. “I
am sorry if I offended you, Ser Ilyn,” she said.
She waited for an answer, but none came. As the
headsman looked at her, his pale colorless eyes seemed
to strip the clothes away from her, and then the skin, leaving
her soul naked before him. Still silent, he turned and walked
away.
Sansa did not understand. She looked at her prince. “Did
I say something wrong, Your Grace? Why will he not speak
to me?”
“Ser Ilyn has not been feeling talkative these past fourteen
years,” Lord Renly commented with a sly smile.
Joffrey gave his uncle a look of pure loathing, then took
Sansa’s hands in his own. “Aerys Targaryen had his tongue
ripped out with hot pincers.”
“He speaks most eloquently with his sword, however,” the
queen said, “and his devotion to our realm is
unquestioned.” Then she smiled graciously and said,
“Sansa, the good councilors and I must speak together until
the king returns with your father. I fear we shall have to
postpone your day with Myrcella. Please give your sweet
sister my apologies. Joffrey, perhaps you would be so kind
as to entertain our guest today.”
“It would be my pleasure, Mother,” Joffrey said very
formally. He took her by the arm and led her away from the
wheelhouse, and Sansa’s spirits took flight. A whole day
with her prince! She gazed at Joffrey worshipfully. He was
so gallant, she thought. The way he had rescued her from
Ser Ilyn and the Hound, why, it was almost like the songs,
like the time Serwyn of the Mirror Shield saved the
Princess Daeryssa from the giants, or Prince Aemon the
Dragonknight championing Queen Naerys’s honor against
evil Ser Morgil’s slanders.
The touch of Joffrey’s hand on her sleeve made her heart
beat faster. “What would you like to do?”
”Be with you, Sansa thought, but she said, “Whatever
you’d like to do, my prince.”
Joffrey reflected a moment. “We could go riding.”
“Oh, I love riding,” Sansa said.
Joffrey glanced back at Lady, who was following at their
heels. “Your wolf is liable to frighten the horses, and my dog
seems to frighten you. Let us leave them both behind and
set off on our own, what do you say?”
Sansa hesitated. “If you like,” she said uncertainly. “I
suppose I could tie Lady up.” She did not quite understand,
though. “I didn’t know you had a dog . . .”
Joffrey laughed. “He’s my mother’s dog, in truth. She has
set him to guard me, and so he does.”
“You mean the Hound,” she said. She wanted to hit
herself for being so slow. Her prince would never love her if
she seemed stupid. “Is it safe to leave him behind?”
Prince Joffrey looked annoyed that she would even ask.
“Have no fear, lady. I am almost a man grown, and I don’t
fight with wood like your brothers. All I need is this.” He
drew his sword and showed it to her; a longsword adroitly
shrunken to suit a boy of twelve, gleaming blue steel,
castle-forged and double-edged, with a leather grip and a
lion’s-head pommel in gold. Sansa exclaimed over it
admiringly, and Joffrey looked pleased. “I call it Lion’s
Tooth,” he said.
And so they left her direwolf and his bodyguard behind
them, while they ranged east along the north bank of the
Trident with no company save Lion’s Tooth.
It was a glorious day, a magical day. The air was warm
and heavy with the scent of flowers, and the woods here
had a gentle beauty that Sansa had never seen in the north.
Prince Joffrey’s mount was a blood bay courser, swift as
the wind, and he rode it with reckless abandon, so fast that
Sansa was hard-pressed to keep up on her mare. It was a
day for adventures. They explored the caves by the
riverbank, and tracked a shadowcat to its lair, and when
they grew hungry, Joffrey found a holdfast by its smoke and
told them to fetch food and wine for their prince and his
lady. They dined on trout fresh from the river, and Sansa
drank more wine than she had ever drunk before. “My father
only lets us have one cup, and only at feasts,” she
confessed to her prince.
“My betrothed can drink as much as she wants,” Joffrey
said, refilling her cup.
They went more slowly after they had eaten. Joffrey sang
for her as they rode, his voice high and sweet and pure.
Sansa was a little dizzy from the wine. “Shouldn’t we be
starting back?” she asked.
“Soon,” Joffrey said. “The battleground is right up ahead,
where the river bends. That was where my father killed
Rhaegar Targaryen, you know. He smashed in his chest,
crunch, right through the armor.” Joffrey swung an imaginary
warhammer to show her how it was done. “Then my uncle
Jaime killed old Aerys, and my father was king. What’s that
sound?”
Sansa heard it too, floating through the woods, a kind of
wooden clattering, snack snack snack. “I don’t know,” she
said. It made her nervous, though. “Joffrey, let’s go back.”
“I want to see what it is.” Joffrey turned his horse in the
direction of the sounds, and Sansa had no choice but to
follow. The noises grew louder and more distinct, the clack
of wood on wood, and as they grew closer they heard
heavy breathing as well, and now and then a grunt.
“Someone’s there,” Sansa said anxiously. She found
herself thinking of Lady, wishing the direwolf was with her.
“You’re safe with me.” Joffrey drew his Lion’s Tooth from
its sheath. The sound of steel on leather made her tremble.
“This way,” he said, riding through a stand of trees.
Beyond, in a clearing overlooking the river, they came
upon a boy and a girl playing at knights. Their swords were
wooden sticks, broom handles from the look of them, and
they were rushing across the grass, swinging at each other
lustily. The boy was years older, a head taller, and much
stronger, and he was pressing the attack. The girl, a
scrawny thing in soiled leathers, was dodging and
managing to get her stick in the way of most of the boy’s
blows, but not all. When she tried to lunge at him, he caught
her stick with his own, swept it aside, and slid his wood
down hard on her fingers. She cried out and lost her
weapon.
Prince Joffrey laughed. The boy looked around, wideeyed
and startled, and dropped his stick in the grass. The
girl glared at them, sucking on her knuckles to take the
sting out, and Sansa was horrified. ‘Arya?” she called out
incredulously.
“Go away,” Arya shouted back at them, angry tears in her
eyes. “What are you doing here? Leave us alone.”
Joffrey glanced from Arya to Sansa and back again.
“Your sister?” She nodded, blushing. Joffrey examined the
boy, an ungainly lad with a coarse, freckled face and thick
red hair. “And who are you, boy?” he asked in a
commanding tone that took no notice of the fact that the
other was a year his senior.
“Mycah,” the boy muttered. He recognized the prince and
averted his eyes. “M’lord.”
“He’s the butcher’s boy,” Sansa said.
“He’s my friend,” Arya said sharply. “You leave him alone.”
“A butcher’s boy who wants to be a knight, is it?” Joffrey
swung down from his mount, sword in hand. “Pick up your
sword, butcher’s boy,” he said, his eyes bright with
amusement. “Let us see how good you are.”
Mycah stood there, frozen with fear.
Joffrey walked toward him. “Go on, pick it up. Or do you
only fight little girls?”
“She ast me to, m’lord,” Mycah said. “She ast me to.”
Sansa had only to glance at Arya and see the flush on her
sister’s face to know the boy was telling the truth, but Joffrey
was in no mood to listen. The wine had made him wild. “Are
you going to pick up your sword?”
Mycah shook his head. “It’s only a stick, m’lord. It’s not no
sword, it’s only a stick.”
“And you’re only a butcher’s boy, and no knight.” Joffrey
lifted Lion’s Tooth and laid its point on Mycah’s cheek
below the eye, as the butcher’s boy stood trembling. “That
was my lady’s sister you were hitting, do you know that?” A
bright bud of blood blossomed where his sword pressed
into Mycah’s flesh, and a slow red line trickled down the
boy’s cheek.
“Stop it!” Arya screamed. She grabbed up her fallen stick.
Sansa was afraid. “Arya, you stay out of this.”
“I won’t hurt him . . . much,” Prince Joffrey told Arya, never
taking his eyes off the butcher’s boy.
Arya went for him.
Sansa slid off her mare, but she was too slow. Arya
swung with both hands. There was a loud crack as the
wood split against the back of the prince’s head, and then
everything happened at once before Sansa’s horrified
eyes. Joffrey staggered and whirled around, roaring curses.
Mycah ran for the trees as fast as his legs would take him.
Arya swung at the prince again, but this time Joffrey caught
the blow on Lion’s Tooth and sent her broken stick flying
from her hands. The back of his head was all bloody and
his eyes were on fire. Sansa was shrieking, “No, no, stop it,
stop it, both of you, you’re spoiling it,” but no one was
listening. Arya scooped up a rock and hurled it at Joffrey’s
head. She hit his horse instead, and the blood bay reared
and went galloping off after Mycah. “Stop it, don’t, stop it!”
Sansa screamed. Joffrey slashed at Arya with his sword,
screaming obscenities, terrible words, filthy words. Arya
darted back, frightened now, but Joffrey followed, hounding
her toward the woods, backing her up against a tree.
Sansa didn’t know what to do. She watched helplessly,
almost blind from her tears.
Then a grey blur flashed past her, and suddenly Nymeria
was there, leaping, jaws closing around Joffrey’s sword
arm. The steel fell from his fingers as the wolf knocked him
off his feet, and they rolled in the grass, the wolf snarling
and ripping at him, the prince shrieking in pain. “Get it off,”
he screamed. “Get it off!”
Arya’s voice cracked like a whip. “Nymeria!”
The direwolf let go of Joffrey and moved to Arya’s side.
The prince lay in the grass, whimpering, cradling his
mangled arm. His shirt was soaked in blood. Arya said,
“She didn’t hurt you . . . much.” She picked up Lion’s Tooth
where it had fallen, and stood over him, holding the sword
with both hands.
Joffrey made a scared whimpery sound as he looked up
at her. “No,” he said, “don’t hurt me. I’ll tell my mother.”
“You leave him alone!” Sansa screamed at her sister.
Arya whirled and heaved the sword into the air, putting
her whole body into the throw. The blue steel flashed in the
sun as the sword spun out over the river. It hit the water and
vanished with a splash. Joffrey moaned. Arya ran off to her
horse, Nymeria loping at her heels.
After they had gone, Sansa went to Prince Joffrey. His
eyes were closed in pain, his breath ragged. Sansa knelt
beside him. “Joffrey,” she sobbed. “Oh, look what they did,
look what they did. My poor prince. Don’t be afraid. I’ll ride
to the holdfast and bring help for you.” Tenderly she
reached out and brushed back his soft blond hair.
His eyes snapped open and looked at her, and there was nothing but loathing there, nothing but the vilest contempt.
“Then go,” he spit at her. “And don’t touch me.”

Sansa Stark 9 Antworten

Click here to write a response...
Vor mehr als einem Jahr AngelGirl1992 said…
A Game of Thrones page 560


Sansa
“He wouldn’t send Ser Loras,” Sansa told Jeyne
Poole that night as they shared a cold supper by lamplight.
“I think it was because of his leg.”
Lord Eddard had taken his supper in his bedchamber
with Alyn, Harwin, and Vayon Poole, the better to rest his
broken leg, and Septa Mordane had complained of sore
feet after standing in the gallery all day. Arya was supposed
to join them, but she was late coming back from her
dancing lesson.
“His leg?” Jeyne said uncertainly. She was a pretty, darkhaired
girl of Sansa’s own age. “Did Ser Loras hurt his
leg?”
“Not his leg,” Sansa said, nibbling delicately at a chicken
leg. “Father’s leg, silly. It hurts him ever so much, it makes
him cross. Otherwise I’m certain he would have sent Ser
Loras.”
Her father’s decision still bewildered her. When the
Knight of Flowers had spoken up, she’d been sure she was
about to see one of Old Nan’s stories come to life. Ser
Gregor was the monster and Ser Loras the true hero who
would slay him. He even looked a true hero, so slim and
beautiful, with golden roses around his slender waist and
his rich brown hair tumbling down into his eyes. And then
Father had refused him! It had upset her more than she
could tell. She had said as much to Septa Mordane as they
descended the stairs from the gallery, but the septa had
only told her it was not her place to question her lord
father’s decisions.
That was when Lord Baelish had said, “Oh, I don’t know,
Septa. Some of her lord father’s decisions could do with a
bit of questioning. The young lady is as wise as she is
lovely.” He made a sweeping bow to Sansa, so deep she
was not quite sure if she was being complimented or
mocked.
Septa Mordane had been very upset to realize that Lord
Baelish had overheard them. “The girl was just talking, my
lord,” she’d said. “Foolish chatter. She meant nothing by the
comment.”
Lord Baelish stroked his little pointed beard and said,
“Nothing? Tell me, child, why would you have sent Ser
Loras?”
Sansa had no choice but to explain about heroes and
monsters. The king’s councilor smiled. “Well, those are not
the reasons I’d have given, but . . .” He had touched her
cheek, his thumb lightly tracing the line of a cheekbone.
“Life is not a song, sweetling. You may learn that one day to
your sorrow.”
Sansa did not feel like telling all that to Jeyne, however; it
made her uneasy just to think back on it.
“Ser Ilyn’s the King’s Justice, not Ser Loras,” Jeyne said.
“Lord Eddard should have sent him.”
Sansa shuddered. Every time she looked at Ser Ilyn
Payne, she shivered. He made her feel as though
something dead were slithering over her naked skin. “Ser
Ilyn’s almost like a second monster. I’m glad Father didn’t
pick him.”
“Lord Beric is as much a hero as Ser Loras. He’s ever so
brave and gallant.”
“I suppose,” Sansa said doubtfully. Beric Dondarrion was
handsome enough, but he was awfully old, almost twentytwo;
the Knight of Flowers would have been much better. Of
course, Jeyne had been in love with Lord Beric ever since
she had first glimpsed him in the lists. Sansa thought she
was being silly; Jeyne was only a steward’s daughter, after
all, and no matter how much she mooned after him, Lord
Beric would never look at someone so far beneath him,
even if she hadn’t been half his age.
It would have been unkind to say so, however, so Sansa
took a sip of milk and changed the subject. “I had a dream
that Joffrey would be the one to take the white hart,” she
said. It had been more of a wish, actually, but it sounded
better to call it a dream. Everyone knew that dreams were
prophetic. White harts were supposed to be very rare and
magical, and in her heart she knew her gallant prince was
worthier than his drunken father. “A dream? Truly? Did
Prince Joffrey just go up to it and touch it with his bare hand
and do it no harm?”
“No,” Sansa said. “He shot it with a golden arrow and
brought it back for me.” In the songs, the knights never
killed magical beasts, they just went up to them and
touched them and did them no harm, but she knew Joffrey
liked hunting, especially the killing part. Only animals,
though. Sansa was certain her prince had no part in
murdering Jory and those other poor men; that had been
his wicked uncle, the Kingslayer. She knew her father was
still angry about that, but it wasn’t fair to blame Joff. That
would be like blaming her for something that Arya had
done.
“I saw your sister this afternoon,” Jeyne blurted out, as if
she’d been reading Sansa’s thoughts. “She was walking
through the stables on her hands. Why would she do a thing
like that?”
“I’m sure I don’t know why Arya does anything.” Sansa
hated stables, smelly places full of manure and flies. Even
when she went riding, she liked the boy to saddle the horse
and bring it to her in the yard. “Do you want to hear about
the court or not?”
“I do,” Jeyne said.
“There-was a black brother,” Sansa said, “begging men
for the Wall, only he was kind of old and smelly.” She hadn’t
liked that at all. She had always imagined the Night’s
Watch to be men like Uncle Benjen. In the songs, they were
called the black knights of the Wall. But this man had been
crookbacked and hideous, and he looked as though he
might have lice. If this was what the Night’s Watch was truly
like, she felt sorry for her bastard half brother, Jon. “Father
asked if there were any knights in the hall who would do
honor to their houses by taking the black, but no one came
forward, so he gave this Yoren his pick of the king’s
dungeons and sent him on his way. And later these two
brothers came before him, freeriders from the Dornish
Marches, and pledged their swords to the service of the
king. Father accepted their oaths . . .”
Jeyne yawned. “Are there any lemon cakes?”
Sansa did not like being interrupted, but she had to
admit, lemon cakes sounded more interesting than most of
what had gone on in the throne room. “Let’s see,” she said.
The kitchen yielded no lemon cakes, but they did find half
of a cold strawberry pie, and that was almost as good. They
ate it on the tower steps, giggling and gossiping and
sharing secrets, and Sansa went to bed that night feeling
almost as wicked as Arya.
The next morning she woke before first light and crept
sleepily to her window to watch Lord Beric form up his men.
They rode out as dawn was breaking over the city, with
three banners going before them; the crowned stag of the
king flew from the high staff, the direwolf of Stark and Lord
Beric’s own forked lightning standard from shorter poles. It
was all so exciting, a song come to life; the clatter of
swords, the flicker of torchlight, banners dancing in the
wind, horses snorting and whinnying, the golden glow of
sunrise slanting through the bars of the portcullis as it
jerked upward. The Winterfell men looked especially fine in
their silvery mail and long grey cloaks.
Alyn carried the Stark banner. When she saw him rein in
beside Lord Beric to exchange words, it made Sansa feel
ever so proud. Alyn was handsomer than Jory had been; he
was going to be a knight one day.
The Tower of the Hand seemed so empty after they left
that Sansa was even pleased to see Arya when she went
down to break her fast. “Where is everyone?” her sister
wanted to know as she ripped the skin from a blood
orange. “Did Father send them to hunt down Jaime
Lannister?”
Sansa sighed. “They rode with Lord Beric, to behead Ser
Gregor Clegane.” She turned to Septa Mordane, who was
eating porridge with a wooden spoon. “Septa, will Lord
Beric spike Ser Gregor’s head on his own gate or bring it
back here for the king?” She and Jeyne Poole had been
arguing over that last night.
The septa was horror-struck. “A lady does not discuss
such things over her porridge. Where are your courtesies,
Sansa? I swear, of late you’ve been near as bad as your
sister.”
“What did Gregor do?” Arya asked.
“He burned down a holdfast and murdered a lot of people,
women and children too.”
Arya screwed up her face in a scowl. “Jaime Lannister
murdered Jory and Heward and Wyl, and the Hound
murdered Mycah. Somebody should have beheaded them.”
“It’s not the same,” Sansa said. “The Hound is Joffrey’s
sworn shield. Your butcher’s boy attacked the prince.”
“Liar,” Arya said. Her hand clenched the blood orange so
hard that red juice oozed between her fingers.
“Go ahead, call me all the names you want,” Sansa said
airily. “You won’t dare when I’m married to Joffrey. You’ll
have to bow to me and call me Your Grace.” She shrieked
as Arya flung the orange across the table. It caught her in
the middle of the forehead with a wet squish and plopped
down into her lap.
“You have juice on your face, Your Grace,” Arya said.
It was running down her nose and stinging her eyes.
Sansa wiped it away with a napkin. When she saw what the
fruit in her lap had done to her beautiful ivory silk dress, she
shrieked again. “You’re horrible,” she screamed at her
sister. “They should have killed you instead of Lady!”
Septa Mordane came lurching to her feet. “Your lord
father will hear of this! Go to your chambers, at once. At
once!”
“Me too?” Tears welled in Sansa’s eyes. “That’s not fair.”
“The matter is not subject to discussion. Go!”
Sansa stalked away with her head up. She was to be a
queen, and queens did not cry. At least not where people
could see. When she reached her bedchamber, she barred
the door and took off her dress. The blood orange had left a
blotchy red stain on the silk. “I hate her!” she screamed.
She balled up the dress and flung it into the cold hearth, on
top of the ashes of last night’s fire. When she saw that the
stain had bled through onto her underskirt, she began to
sob despite herself. She ripped off the rest of her clothes
wildly, threw herself into bed, and cried herself back to
sleep.
It was midday when Septa Mordane knocked upon her
door. “Sansa. Your lord father will see you now.”
Sansa sat up. “Lady,” she whispered. For a moment it
was as if the direwolf was there in the room, looking at her
with those golden eyes, sad and knowing. She had been
dreaming, she realized. Lady was with her, and they were
running together, and . . . and . . . trying to remember was
like trying to catch the rain with her fingers. The dream
faded, and Lady was dead again.
“Sansa.” The rap came again, sharply. “Do you hear me?”
“Yes, Septa,” she called out. “Might I have a moment to
dress, please?” Her eyes were red from crying, but she did
her best to make herself beautiful.
Lord Eddard was bent over a huge leather-bound book
when Septa Mordane marched her into the solar, his
plaster-wrapped leg stiff beneath the table. “Come here,
Sansa,” he said, not unkindly, when the septa had gone for
her sister. “Sit beside me.” He closed the book.
Septa Mordane returned with Arya squirming in her
grasp. Sansa had put on a lovely pale green damask gown
and a look of remorse, but her sister was still wearing the
ratty leathers and roughspun she’d worn at breakfast. “Here
is the other one,” the septa announced.
“My thanks, Septa Mordane. I would talk to my daughters
alone, if you would be so kind.” The septa bowed and left.
“Arya started it,” Sansa said quickly, anxious to have the
first word. “She called me a liar and threw an orange at me
and spoiled my dress, the ivory silk, the one Queen Cersei
gave me when I was betrothed to Prince Joffrey. She hates
that I’m going to marry the prince. She tries to spoil
everything, Father, she can’t stand for anything to be
beautiful or nice or splendid.”
“Enough, Sansa.” Lord Eddard’s voice was sharp with
impatience.
Arya raised her eyes. “I’m sorry, Father. I was wrong and I
beg my sweet sister’s forgiveness.”
Sansa was so startled that for a moment she was
speechless. Finally she found her voice. “What about my
dress?”
“Maybe . . . I could wash it,” Arya said doubtfully.
“Washing won’t do any good,” Sansa said. “Not if you
scrubbed all day and all night. The silk is ruined.”
“Then I’ll . . . make you a new one,” Arya said.
Sansa threw back her head in disdain. “You? You couldn’t
sew a dress fit to clean the pigsties.”
Their father sighed. “I did not call you here to talk of
dresses. I’m sending you both back to Winterfell.”
For the second time Sansa found herself too stunned for
words. She felt her eyes grow moist again.
“You can’t,” Arya said.
“Please, Father,” Sansa managed at last. “Please don’t.”
Eddard Stark favored his daughters with a tired smile. “At
last we’ve found something you agree on.”
“I didn’t do anything wrong,” Sansa pleaded with him. “I
don’t want to go back.” She loved King’s Landing; the
pagaentry of the court, the high lords and ladies in their
velvets and silks and gemstones, the great city with all its
people. The tournament had been the most magical time of
her whole life, and there was so much she had not seen yet,
harvest feasts and masked balls and mummer shows. She
could not bear the thought of losing it all. “Send Arya away,
she started it, Father, I swear it. I’ll be good, you’ll see, just
let me stay and I promise to be as fine and noble and
courteous as the queen.”
Father’s mouth twitched strangely. “Sansa, I’m not
sending you away for fighting, though the gods know I’m
sick of you two squabbling. I want you back in Winterfell for
your own safety. Three of my men were cut down like dogs
not a league from where we sit, and what does Robert do?
He goes hunting.”
Arya was chewing at her lip in that disgusting way she
had. “Can we take Syrio back with us?”
“Who cares about your stupid dancing master?” Sansa
flared. “Father, I only just now remembered, I can’t go away,
I’m to marry Prince Joffrey.” She tried to smile bravely for
him. “I love him, Father, I truly truly do, I love him as much as
Queen Naerys loved Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, as
much as Jonquil loved Ser Florian. I want to be his queen
and have his babies.”
“Sweet one,” her father said gently, “listen to me. When
you’re old enough, I will make you a match with a high lord
who’s worthy of you, someone brave and gentle and strong.
This match with Joffrey was a terrible mistake. That boy is
no Prince Aemon, you must believe me.”
“He is!” Sansa insisted. “I don’t want someone brave and
gentle, I want him. We’ll be ever so happy, just like in the
songs, you’ll see. I’ll give him a son with golden hair, and
one day he’ll be the king of all the realm, the greatest king
that ever was, as brave as the wolf and as proud as the
lion.”
Arya made a face. “Not if Joffrey’s his father,” she said.
“He’s a liar and a craven and anyhow he’s a stag, not a
lion.”
Sansa felt tears in her eyes. “He is not! He’s not the least
bit like that old drunken king,” she screamed at her sister,
forgetting herself in her grief.
Father looked at her strangely. “Gods,” he swore softly,
“out of the mouth of babes . . .” He shouted for Septa
Mordane. To the girls he said, “I am looking for a fast
trading galley to take you home. These days, the sea is
safer than the kingsroad. You will sail as soon as I can find
a proper ship, with Septa Mordane and a complement of
guards . . . and yes, with Syrio Forel, if he agrees to enter
my service. But say nothing of this. It’s better if no one
knows of our plans. We’ll talk again tomorrow.”
Sansa cried as Septa Mordane marched them down the
steps. They were going to take it all away; the tournaments
and the court and her prince, everything, they were going to
send her back to the bleak grey walls of Winterfell and lock
her up forever. Her life was over before it had begun.
“Stop that weeping, child,” Septa Mordane said sternly. “I
am certain your lord father knows what is best for you.”
“It won’t be so bad, Sansa,” Arya said. “We’re going to
sail on a galley. It will be an adventure, and then we’ll be
with Bran and Robb again, and Old Nan and Hodor and the
rest.” She touched her on the arm.
“Hodor!” Sansa yelled. “You ought to marry Hodor, you’re
just like him, stupid and hairy and ugly!” She wrenched
away from her sister’s hand, stormed into her bedchamber,
and barred the door behind her.
Vor mehr als einem Jahr AngelGirl1992 said…
A Game of Thrones page 644

They came for Sansa on the third day.
She chose a simple dress of dark grey wool, plainly cut
but richly embroidered around the collar and sleeves. Her
fingers felt thick and clumsy as she struggled with the silver
fastenings without the benefit of servants. Jeyne Poole had
been confined with her, but Jeyne was useless. Her face
was puffy from all her crying, and she could not seem to
stop sobbing about her father.
“I’m certain your father is well,” Sansa told her when she
had finally gotten the dress buttoned right. “I’ll ask the queen
to let you see him.” She thought that kindness might lift
Jeyne’s spirits, but the other girl just looked at her with red,
swollen eyes and began to cry all the harder. She was such
a child.
Sansa had wept too, the first day. Even within the stout
walls of Maegor’s Holdfast, with her door closed and
barred, it was hard not to be terrified when the killing
began. She had grown up to the sound of steel in the yard,
and scarcely a day of her life had passed without hearing
the clash of sword on sword, yet somehow knowing that the
fighting was real made all the difference in the world. She
heard it as she had never heard it before, and there were
other sounds as well, grunts of pain, angry curses, shouts
for help, and the moans of wounded and dying men. In the
songs, the knights never screamed nor begged for mercy.
So she wept, pleading through her door for them to tell her
what was happening, calling for her father, for Septa
Mordane, for the king, for her gallant prince. If the men
guarding her heard her pleas, they gave no answer. The
only time the door opened was late that night, when they
thrust Jeyne Poole inside, bruised and shaking. “They’re
killing everyone,” the steward’s daughter had shrieked at
her. She went on and on. The Hound had broken down her
door with a warhammer, she said. There were bodies on
the stair of the Tower of the Hand, and the steps were slick
with blood. Sansa dried her own tears as she struggled to
comfort her friend. They went to sleep in the same bed,
cradled in each other’s arms like sisters.
The second day was even worse. The room where Sansa
had been confined was at the top of the highest tower of
Maegor’s Holdfast. From its window, she could see that the
heavy iron portcullis in the gatehouse was down, and the
drawbridge drawn up over the deep dry moat that
separated the keep-within-a-keep from the larger castle
that surrounded it. Lannister guardsmen prowled the walls
with spears and crossbows to hand. The fighting was over,
and the silence of the grave had settled over the Red Keep.
The only sounds were Jeyne Poole’s endless whimpers
and sobs.
They were fed—hard cheese and fresh-baked bread and
milk to break their fast, roast chicken and greens at
midday, and a late supper of beef and barley stew—but the
servants who brought the meals would not answer Sansa’s
questions. That evening, some women brought her clothes
from the Tower of the Hand, and some of Jeyne’s things as
well, but they seemed nearly as frightened as Jeyne, and
when she tried to talk to them, they fled from her as if she
had the grey plague. The guards outside the door still
refused to let them leave the room.
“Please, I need to speak to the queen again,” Sansa told
them, as she told everyone she saw that day. “She’ll want to
talk to me, I know she will. Tell her I want to see her, please.
If not the queen, then Prince Joffrey, if you’d be so kind.
We’re to marry when we’re older.”
At sunset on the second day, a great bell began to ring.
Its voice was deep and sonorous, and the long slow
clanging filled Sansa with a sense of dread. The ringing
went on and on, and after a while they heard other bells
answering from the Great Sept of Baelor on Visenya’s Hill.
The sound rumbled across the city like thunder, warning of
the storm to come.
“What is it?” Jeyne asked, covering her ears. “Why are
they ringing the bells?”
“The king is dead.” Sansa could not say how she knew it,
yet she did. The slow, endless clanging filled their room, as
mournful as a dirge. Had some enemy stormed the castle
and murdered King Robert? Was that the meaning of the
fighting they had heard?
She went to sleep wondering, restless, and fearful. Was
her beautiful Joffrey the king now? Or had they killed him
too? She was afraid for him, and for her father. If only they
would tell her what was happening . . .
That night Sansa dreamt of Joffrey on the throne, with
herself seated beside him in a gown of woven gold. She
had a crown on her head, and everyone she had ever
known came before her, to bend the knee and say their
courtesies.
The next morning, the morning of the third day, Ser Boros
Blount of the Kingsguard came to escort her to the queen.
Ser Boros was an ugly man with a broad chest and short,
bandy legs. His nose was flat, his cheeks baggy with jowls,
his hair grey and brittle. Today he wore white velvet, and his
snowy cloak was fastened with a lion brooch. The beast
had the soft sheen of gold, and his eyes were tiny rubies.
“You look very handsome and splendid this morning, Ser
Boros,” Sansa told him. A lady remembered her
courtesies, and she was resolved to be a lady no matter
what.
“And you, my lady,” Ser Boros said in a flat voice. “Her
Grace awaits. Come with me.”
There were guards outside her door, Lannister men-atarms
in crimson cloaks and lion-crested helms. Sansa
made herself smile at them pleasantly and bid them a good
morning as she passed. It was the first time she had been
allowed outside the chamber since Ser Arys Oakheart had
led her there two mornings past. “To keep you safe, my
sweet one,” Queen Cersei had told her. “Joffrey would
never forgive me if anything happened to his precious.”
Sansa had expected that Ser Boros would escort her to
the royal apartments, but instead he led her out of Maegor’s
Holdfast. The bridge was down again. Some workmen
were lowering a man on ropes into the depths of the dry
moat. When Sansa peered down, she saw a body impaled
on the huge iron spikes below. She averted her eyes
quickly, afraid to ask, afraid to look too long, afraid he
might be someone she knew.
They found Queen Cersei in the council chambers,
seated at the head of a long table littered with papers,
candles, and blocks of sealing wax. The room was as
splendid as any that Sansa had ever seen. She stared in
awe at the carved wooden screen and the twin sphinxes
that sat beside the door.
“Your Grace,” Ser Boros said when they were ushered
inside by another of the Kingsguard, Ser Mandon of the
curiously dead face, “I’ve brought the girl.”
Sansa had hoped Joffrey might be with her. Her prince
was not there, but three of the king’s councilors were. Lord
Petyr Baelish sat on the queen’s left hand, Grand Maester
Pycelle at the end of the table, while Lord Varys hovered
over them, smelling flowery. All of them were clad in black,
she realized with a feeling of dread. Mourning clothes . . .
The queen wore a high-collared black silk gown, with a
hundred dark red rubies sewn into her bodice, covering her
from neck to bosom. They were cut in the shape of
teardrops, as if the queen were weeping blood. Cersei
smiled to see her, and Sansa thought it was the sweetest
and saddest smile she had ever seen. “Sansa, my sweet
child,” she said, “I know you’ve been asking for me. I’m
sorry that I could not send for you sooner. Matters have
been very unsettled, and I have not had a moment. I trust my
people have been taking good care of you?”
“Everyone has been very sweet and pleasant, Your
Grace, thank you ever so much for asking,” Sansa said
politely. “Only, well, no one will talk to us or tell us what’s
happened . . .”
“Us?” Cersei seemed puzzled.
“We put the steward’s girl in with her,” Ser Boros said.
“We did not know what else to do with her.”
The queen frowned. “Next time, you will ask,” she said,
her voice sharp. “The gods only know what sort of tales
she’s been filling Sansa’s head with.”
“Jeyne’s scared,” Sansa said. “She won’t stop crying. I
promised her I’d ask if she could see her father.”
Old Grand Maester Pycelle lowered his eyes.
“Her father is well, isn’t he?” Sansa said anxiously. She
knew there had been fighting, but surely no one would harm
a steward. Vayon Poole did not even wear a sword.
Queen Cersei looked at each of the councilors in turn. “I
won’t have Sansa fretting needlessly. What shall we do with
this little friend of hers, my lords?”
Lord Petyr leaned forward. “I’ll find a place for her.”
“Not in the city,” said the queen.
“Do you take me for a fool?”
The queen ignored that. “Ser Boros, escort this girl to
Lord Petyr’s apartments and instruct his people to keep her
there until he comes for her. Tell her that Littlefinger will be
taking her to see her father, that ought to calm her down. I
want her gone before Sansa returns to her chamber.”
“As you command, Your Grace,” Ser Boros said. He
bowed deeply, spun on his heel, and took his leave, his
long white cloak stirring the air behind him.
Sansa was confused. “I don’t understand,” she said.
“Where is Jeyne’s father? Why can’t Ser Boros take her to
him instead of Lord Petyr having to do it?” She had
promised herself she would be a lady, gentle as the queen
and as strong as her mother, the Lady Catelyn, but all of a
sudden she was scared again. For a second she thought
she might cry. “Where are you sending her? She hasn’t
done anything wrong, she’s a good girl.”
“She’s upset you,” the queen said gently. “We can’t be
having that. Not another word, now. Lord Baelish will see
that Jeyne’s well taken care of, I promise you.” She patted
the chair beside her. “Sit down, Sansa. I want to talk to
you.”
Sansa seated herself beside the queen. Cersei smiled
again, but that did not make her feel any less anxious.
Varys was wringing his soft hands together, Grand Maester
Pycelle kept his sleepy eyes on the papers in front of him,
but she could feel Littlefinger staring. Something about the
way the small man looked at her made Sansa feel as
though she had no clothes on. Goose bumps pimpled her
skin.
“Sweet Sansa,” Queen Cersei said, laying a soft hand on
her wrist. “Such a beautiful child. I do hope you know how
much Joffrey and I love you.”
“You do?” Sansa said, breathless. Littlefinger was
forgotten. Her prince loved her. Nothing else mattered.
The queen smiled. “I think of you almost as my own
daughter. And I know the love you bear for Joffrey.” She
gave a weary shake of her head. “I am afraid we have
some grave news about your lord father. You must be
brave, child.”
Her quiet words gave Sansa a chill. “What is it?”
“Your father is a traitor, dear,” Lord Varys said.
Grand Maester Pycelle lifted his ancient head. “With my
own ears, I heard Lord Eddard swear to our beloved King
Robert that he would protect the young princes as if they
were his own sons. And yet the moment the king was dead,
he called the small council together to steal Prince Joffrey’s
rightful throne.”
“No,” Sansa blurted. “He wouldn’t do that. He wouldn’t!”
The queen picked up a letter. The paper was torn and stiff
with dried blood, but the broken seal was her father’s, the
direwolf stamped in pale wax. “We found this on the captain
of your household guard, Sansa. It is a letter to my late
husband’s brother Stannis, inviting him to take the crown.”
“Please, Your Grace, there’s been a mistake.” Sudden
panic made her dizzy and faint. “Please, send for my father,
he’ll tell you, he would never write such a letter, the king was
his friend.”
“Robert thought so,” said the queen. “This betrayal would
have broken his heart. The gods are kind, that he did not
live to see it.” She sighed. “Sansa, sweetling, you must see
what a dreadful position this has left us in. You are innocent
of any wrong, we all know that, and yet you are the daughter
of a traitor. How can I allow you to marry my son?”
“But I love him,” Sansa wailed, confused and frightened.
What did they mean to do to her? What had they done to
her father? It was not supposed to happen this way. She
had to wed Joffrey, they were betrothed, he was promised
to her, she had even dreamed about it. It wasn’t fair to take
him away from her on account of whatever her father might
have done.
“How well I know that, child,” Cersei said, her voice so
kind and sweet. “Why else should you have come to me
and told me of your father’s plan to send you away from us,
if not for love?”
“It was for love,” Sansa said in a rush. “Father wouldn’t
even give me leave to say farewell.” She was the good girl,
the obedient girl, but she had felt as wicked as Arya that
morning, sneaking away from Septa Mordane, defying her
lord father. She had never done anything so willful before,
and she would never have done it then if she hadn’t loved
Joffrey as much as she did. “He was going to take me back
to Winterfell and marry me to some hedge knight, even
though it was Joff I wanted. I told him, but he wouldn’t listen.”
The king had been her last hope. The king could command
Father to let her stay in King’s Landing and marry Prince
Joffrey, Sansa knew he could, but the king had always
frightened her. He was loud and rough-voiced and drunk as
often as not, and he would probably have just sent her back
to Lord Eddard, if they even let her see him. So she went to
the queen instead, and poured out her heart, and Cersei
had listened and thanked her sweetly . . . only then Ser Arys
had escorted her to the high room in Maegor’s Holdfast
and posted guards, and a few hours later, the fighting had
begun outside. “Please,” she finished, “you have to let me
marry Joffrey, I’ll be ever so good a wife to him, you’ll see.
I’ll be a queen just like you, I promise.”
Queen Cersei looked to the others. “My lords of the
council, what do you say to her plea?”
“The poor child,” murmured Varys. “A love so true and
innocent, Your Grace, it would be cruel to deny it . . . and
yet, what can we do? Her father stands condemned.” His
soft hands washed each other in a gesture of helpless
distress.
“A child born of traitor’s seed will find that betrayal comes
naturally to her,” said Grand Maester Pycelle. “She is a
sweet thing now, but in ten years, who can say what
treasons she may hatch?”
“No,” Sansa said, horrified. “I’m not, I’d never . . . I
wouldn’t betray Joffrey, I love him, I swear it, I do.”
“Oh, so poignant,” said Varys. “And yet, it is truly said that
blood runs truer than oaths.”
“She reminds me of the mother, not the father,” Lord Petyr
Baelish said quietly. “Look at her. The hair, the eyes. She is
the very image of Cat at the same age.”
The queen looked at her, troubled, and yet Sansa could
see kindness in her clear green eyes. “Child,” she said, “if I
could truly believe that you were not like your father, why
nothing should please me more than to see you wed to my
Joffrey. I know he loves you with all his heart.” She sighed.
“And yet, I fear that Lord Varys and the Grand Maester have
the right of it. The blood will tell. I have only to remember
how your sister set her wolf on my son.”
“I’m not like Arya,” Sansa blurted. “She has the traitor’s
blood, not me. I’m good, ask Septa Mordane, she’ll tell you,
I only want to be Joffrey’s loyal and loving wife.”
She felt the weight of Cersei’s eyes as the queen studied
her face. “I believe you mean it, child.” She turned to face
the others. “My lords, it seems to me that if the rest of her
kin were to remain loyal in this terrible time, that would go a
long way toward laying our fears to rest.”
Grand Maester Pycelle stroked his huge soft beard, his
wide brow furrowed in thought. “Lord Eddard has three
sons.”
“Mere boys,” Lord Petyr said with a shrug. “I should be
more concerned with Lady Catelyn and the Tullys.”
The queen took Sansa’s hand in both of hers. “Child, do
you know your letters?”
Sansa nodded nervously. She could read and write better
than any of her brothers, although she was hopeless at
sums.
“I am pleased to hear that. Perhaps there is hope for you
and Joffrey still . . .”
“What do you want me to do?”
“You must write your lady mother, and your brother, the
eldest . . . what is his name?”
“Robb,” Sansa said.
“The word of your lord father’s treason will no doubt reach
them soon. Better that it should come from you. You must
tell them how Lord Eddard betrayed his king.”
Sansa wanted Joffrey desperately, but she did not think
she had the courage to do as the queen was asking. “But
he never . . . I don’t . . . Your Grace, I wouldn’t know what to
say . . .”
The queen patted her hand. “We will tell you what to write,
child. The important thing is that you urge Lady Catelyn and
your brother to keep the king’s peace.”
“It will go hard for them if they don’t,” said Grand Maester
Pycelle. “By the love you bear them, you must urge them to
walk the path of wisdom.”
“Your lady mother will no doubt fear for you dreadfully,” the
queen said. “You must tell her that you are well and in our
care, that we are treating you gently and seeing to your
every want. Bid them to come to King’s Landing and
pledge their fealty to Joffrey when he takes his throne. If
they do that . . . why, then we shall know that there is no taint
in your blood, and when you come into the flower of your
womanhood, you shall wed the king in the Great Sept of
Baelor, before the eyes of gods and men.”
. . . wed the king . . . The words made her breath come
faster, yet still Sansa hesitated. “Perhaps . . . if I might see
my father, talk to him about . . .”
“Treason?” Lord Varys hinted.
“You disappoint me, Sansa,” the queen said, with eyes
gone hard as stones. “We’ve told you of your father’s
crimes. If you are truly as loyal as you say, why should you
want to see him?”
“I . . . I only meant Sansa felt her eyes grow wet. “He’s not
. . . please, he hasn’t been . . . hurt, or . . . or . . .
“Lord Eddard has not been harmed,” the queen said. But
. . . what’s to become of him?”
“That is a matter for the king to decide,” Grand Maester
Pycelle announced ponderously.
The king! Sansa blinked back her tears. Joffrey was the
king now, she thought. Her gallant prince would never hurt
her father, no matter what he might have done. If she went
to him and pleaded for mercy, she was certain he’d listen.
He had to listen, he loved her, even the queen said so. Joff
would need to punish Father, the lords would expect it, but
perhaps he could send him back to Winterfell, or exile him
to one of the Free Cities across the narrow sea. It would
only have to be for a few years. By then she and Joffrey
would be married. Once she was queen, she could
persuade Joff to bring Father back and grant him a pardon.
Only . . . if Mother or Robb did anything treasonous, called
the banners or refused to swear fealty or anything, it would
all go wrong. Her Joffrey was good and kind, she knew it in
her heart, but a king had to be stern with rebels. She had to
make them understand, she had to!
“I’ll . . . I’ll write the letters,” Sansa told them.
With a smile as warm as the sunrise, Cersei Lannister
leaned close and kissed her gently on the cheek. “I knew
you would. Joffrey will be so proud when I tell him what
courage and good sense you’ve shown here today.”
In the end, she wrote four letters. To her mother, the Lady
Catelyn Stark, and to her brothers at Winterfell, and to her
aunt and her grandfather as well, Lady Lysa Arryn of the
Eyrie, and Lord Hoster Tully of Riverrun. By the time she
had done, her fingers were cramped and stiff and stained
with ink. Varys had her father’s seal. She warmed the pale
white beeswax over a candle, poured it carefully, and
watched as the eunuch stamped each letter with the
direwolf of House Stark.
Jeyne Poole and all her things were gone when Ser
Mandon Moore returned Sansa to the high tower of
Maegor’s Holdfast. No more weeping, she thought
gratefully. Yet somehow it seemed colder with Jeyne gone,
even after she’d built a fire. She pulled a chair close to the
hearth, took down one of her favorite books, and lost
herself in the stories of Florian and Jonquil, of Lady Shella
and the Rainbow Knight, of valiant Prince Aemon and his
doomed love for his brother’s queen.
It was not until later that night, as she was drifting off to
sleep, that Sansa realized she had forgotten to ask about
her sister.
Vor mehr als einem Jahr AngelGirl1992 said…
A Game of Thrones page 734

The walls of the throne room had been stripped
bare, the hunting tapestries that King Robert loved taken
down and stacked in the corner in an untidy heap.
Ser Mandon Moore went to take his place under the
throne beside two of his fellows of the Kingsguard. Sansa
hovered by the door, for once unguarded. The queen had
given her freedom of the castle as a reward for being good,
yet even so, she was escorted everywhere she went.
“Honor guards for my daughter-to-be,” the queen called
them, but they did not make Sansa feel honored.
“Freedom, of the castle” meant that she could go
wherever she chose within the Red Keep so long as she
promised not to go beyond the walls, a promise Sansa had
been more than willing to give. She couldn’t have gone
beyond the walls anyway. The gates were watched day and
night by Janos Slynt’s gold cloaks, and Lannister house
guards were always about as well. Besides, even if she
could leave the castle, where would she go? It was enough
that she could walk in the yard, pick flowers in Myrcella’s
garden, and visit the sept to pray for her father. Sometimes
she prayed in the godswood as well, since the Starks kept
the old gods.
This was the first court session of Joffrey’s reign, so
Sansa looked about nervously. A line of Lannister house
guards stood beneath the western windows, a line of goldcloaked
City Watchmen beneath the east. Of smallfolk and
commoners, she saw no sign, but under the gallery a
cluster of lords great and small milled restlessly. There
were no more than twenty, where a hundred had been
accustomed to wait upon King Robert.
Sansa slipped in among them, murmuring greetings as
she worked her way toward the front. She recognized
black-skinned Jalabhar Xho, gloomy Ser Aron Santagar,
the Redwyne twins Horror and Slobber . . . only none of
them seemed to recognize her. Or if they did, they shied
away as if she had the grey plague. Sickly Lord Gyles
covered his face at her approach and feigned a fit of
coughing, and when funny drunken Ser Dontos started to
hail her, Ser Balon Swann whispered in his ear and he
turned away.
And so many others were missing. Where had the rest of
them gone? Sansa wondered. Vainly, she searched for
friendly faces. Not one of them would meet her eyes. It was
as if she had become a ghost, dead before her time.
Grand Maester Pycelle was seated alone at the council
table, seemingly asleep, his hands clasped together atop
his beard. She saw Lord Varys hurry into the hall, his feet
making no sound. A moment later Lord Baelish entered
through the tall doors in the rear, smiling. He chatted
amiably with Ser Balon and Ser Dontos as he made his
way to the front. Butterflies fluttered nervously in Sansa’s
stomach. I shouldn’t be afraid, she told herself. I have
nothing to be afraid of, it will all come out well, Joff loves me
and the queen does too, she said so.
A herald’s voice rang out. “All hail His Grace, Joffrey of
the Houses Baratheon and Lannister, the First of his Name,
King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, and
Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. All hail his lady mother,
Cersei of House Lannister, Queen Regent, Light of the
West, and Protector of the Realm.”
Ser Barristan Selmy, resplendent in white plate, led them
in. Ser Arys Oakheart escorted the queen, while Ser Boros
Blount walked beside Joffrey, so six of the Kingsguard
were now in the hall, all the White Swords save Jaime
Lannister alone. Her prince—no, her king now!—took the
steps of the Iron Throne two at a time, while his mother was
seated with the council. Joff wore plush black velvets
slashed with crimson, a shimmering cloth-of-gold cape with
a high collar, and on his head a golden crown crusted with
rubies and black diamonds.
When Joffrey turned to look out over the hall, his eye
caught Sansa’s. He smiled, seated himself, and spoke. “It
is a king’s duty to punish the disloyal and reward those who
are true. Grand Maester Pycelle, I command you to read my
decrees.” Pycelle pushed himself to his feet. He was clad in
a magnificent robe of thick red velvet, with an ermine collar
and shiny gold fastenings. From a drooping sleeve, heavy
with gilded scrollwork, he drew a parchment, unrolled it, and
began to read a long list of names, commanding each in
the name of king and council to present themselves and
swear their fealty to Joffrey. Failing that, they would be
adjudged traitors, their lands and titles forfeit to the throne.
The names he read made Sansa hold her breath. Lord
Stannis Baratheon, his lady wife, his daughter. Lord Renly
Baratheon. Both Lord Royces and their sons. Ser Loras
Tyrell. Lord Mace Tyrell, his brothers, uncles, sons. The red
priest, Thoros of Myr. Lord Beric Dondarrion. Lady Lysa
Arryn and her son, the little Lord Robert. Lord Hoster Tully,
his brother Ser Brynden, his son Ser Edmure. Lord Jason
Mallister. Lord Bryce Caron of the Marches. Lord Tytos
Blackwood. Lord Walder Frey and his heir Ser Stevron.
Lord Karyl Vance. Lord Jonos Bracken. Lady Sheila
Whent. Doran Martell, Prince of Dorne, and all his sons. So
many, she thought as Pycelle read on and on, it will take a
whole flock of ravens to send out these commands.
And at the end, near last, came the names Sansa had
been dreading. Lady Catelyn Stark. Robb Stark. Brandon
Stark, Rickon Stark, Arya Stark. Sansa stifled a gasp.
Arya. They wanted Arya to present herself and swear an
oath . . . it must mean her sister had fled on the galley, she
must be safe at Winterfell by now . . .
Grand Maester Pycelle rolled up the list, tucked it up his
left sleeve, and pulled another parchment from his right. He
cleared his throat and resumed. “In the place of the traitor
Eddard Stark, it is the wish of His Grace that Tywin
Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock and Warden of the West,
take up the office of Hand of the King, to speak with his
voice, lead his armies against his enemies, and carry out
his royal will. So the king has decreed. The small council
consents.
“In the place of the traitor Stannis Baratheon, it is the wish
of His Grace that his lady mother, the Queen Regent Cersei
Lannister, who has ever been his staunchest support, be
seated upon his small council, that she may help him rule
wisely and with justice. So the king has decreed. The small
council consents.”
Sansa heard a soft murmuring from the lords around her,
but it was quickly stilled. Pycelle continued.
“It is also the wish of His Grace that his loyal servant,
Janos Slynt, Commander of the City Watch of King’s
Landing, be at once raised to the rank of lord and granted
the ancient seat of Harrenhal with all its attendant lands and
incomes, and that his sons and grandsons shall hold these
honors after him until the end of time. It is moreover his
command that Lord Slynt be seated immediately upon his
small council, to assist in the governance of the realm. So
the king has decreed. The small council consents.”
Sansa glimpsed motion from the corner of her eye as
Janos Slynt made his entrance. This time the muttering was
louder and angrier. Proud lords whose houses went back
thousands of years made way reluctantly for the balding,
frog-faced commoner as he marched past. Golden scales
had been sewn onto the black velvet of his doublet and
rang together softly with each step. His cloak was checked
black-and-gold satin. Two ugly boys who must have been
his sons went before him, struggling with the weight of a
heavy metal shield as tall as they were. For his sigil he had
taken a bloody spear, gold on a night-black field. The sight
of it raised goose prickles up and down Sansa’s arms.
As Lord Slynt took his place, Grand Maester Pycelle
resumed. “Lastly, in these times of treason and turmoil, with
our beloved Robert so lately dead, it is the view of the
council that the life and safety of King Joffrey is of
paramount importance. He looked to the queen.
Cersei stood. “Ser Barristan Selmy, stand forth.”
Ser Barristan had been standing at the foot of the Iron
Throne, as still as any statue, but now he went to one knee
and bowed his head. “Your Grace, I am yours to command.”
“Rise, Ser Barristan,” Cersei Lannister said. “You may
remove your helm.”
“My lady?” Standing, the old knight took off his high white
helm, though he did not seem to understand why.
“You have served the realm long and faithfully, good ser,
and every man and woman in the Seven Kingdoms owes
you thanks. Yet now I fear your service is at an end. It is the
wish of king and council that you lay down your heavy
burden.”
“My . . . burden? I fear I . . . I do not . . .”
The new-made lord, Janos Slynt, spoke up, his voice
heavy and blunt. “Her Grace is trying to tell you that you are
relieved as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.”
The tall, white-haired knight seemed to shrink as he stood
there, scarcely breathing. “Your Grace,” he said at last. “The
Kingsguard is a Sworn Brotherhood. Our vows are taken
for life. Only death may relieve the Lord Commander of his
sacred trust.”
“Whose death, Ser Barristan?” The queen’s voice was
soft as silk, but her words carried the whole length of the
hall. “Yours, or your king’s?”
“You let my father die,” Joffrey said accusingly from atop
the Iron Throne. “You’re too old to protect anybody.”
Sansa watched as the knight peered up at his new king.
She had never seen him look his years before, yet now he
did. “Your Grace,” he said. “I was chosen for the White
Swords in my twenty-third year. It was all I had ever
dreamed, from the moment I first took sword in hand. I gave
up all claim to my ancestral keep. The girl I was to wed
married my cousin in my place, I had no need of land or
sons, my life would be lived for the realm. Ser Gerold
Hightower himself heard my vows . . . to ward the king with
all my strength . . . to give my blood for his . . . I fought
beside the White Bull and Prince Lewyn of Dorne . . .
beside Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. Before
I served your father, I helped shield King Aerys, and his
father Jaehaerys before him . . . three kings . . .”
“And all of them dead,” Littlefinger pointed out.
“Your time is done,” Cersei Lannister announced. “Joffrey
requires men around him who are young and strong. The
council has determined that Ser Jaime Lannister will take
your place as the Lord Commander of Sworn Brothers of
the White Swords.”
“The Kingslayer,” Ser Barristan said, his voice hard with
contempt. “The false knight who profaned his blade with the
blood of the king he had sworn to defend.”
“Have a care for your words, ser,” the queen warned. “You
are speaking of our beloved brother, your king’s own
blood.”
Lord Varys spoke, gentler than the others. “We are not
unmindful of your service, good ser. Lord Tywin Lannister
has generously agreed to grant you a handsome tract of
land north of Lannisport, beside the sea, with gold and men
sufficient to build you a stout keep, and servants to see to
your every need.”
Ser Barristan looked up sharply. “A hall to die in, and men
to bury me. I thank you, my lords . . . but I spit upon your
pity.” He reached up and undid the clasps that held his
cloak in place, and the heavy white garment slithered from
his shoulders to fall in a heap on the floor. His helmet
dropped with a clang. “I am a knight,” he told them. He
opened the silver fastenings of his breastplate and let that
fall as well. “I shall die a knight.”
“A naked knight, it would seem,” quipped Littlefinger.
They all laughed then, Joffrey on his throne, and the lords
standing attendance, Janos Slynt and Queen Cersei and
Sandor Clegane and even the other men of the
Kingsguard, the five who had been his brothers until a
moment ago. Surely that must have hurt the most, Sansa
thought. Her heart went out to the gallant old man as he
stood shamed and red-faced, too angry to speak. Finally
he drew his sword.
Sansa heard someone gasp. Ser Boros and Ser Meryn
moved forward to confront him, but Ser Barristan froze
them in place with a look that dripped contempt. “Have no
fear, sers, your king is safe . . . no thanks to you. Even now,
I could cut through the five of you as easy as a dagger cuts
cheese. If you would serve under the Kingslayer, not a one
of you is fit to wear the white.” He flung his sword at the foot
of the Iron Throne. “Here, boy. Melt it down and add it to the
others, if you like. It will do you more good than the swords
in the hands of these five. Perhaps Lord Stannis will chance
to sit on it when he takes your throne.”
He took the long way out, his steps ringing loud against
the floor and echoing off the bare stone walls. Lords and
ladies parted to let him pass. Not until the pages had
closed the great oak-and-bronze doors behind him did
Sansa hear sounds again: soft voices, uneasy stirrings, the
shuffle of papers from the council table. “He called me boy,”
Joffrey said peevishly, sounding younger than his years.
“He talked about my uncle Stannis too.”
“Idle talk,” said Varys the eunuch. “Without meaning.”
“He could be making plots with my uncles. I want him
seized and questioned.” No one moved. Joffrey raised his
voice. “I said, I want him seized!”
Janos Slynt rose from the council table. “My gold cloaks
will see to it, Your Grace.”
“Good,” said King Joffrey. Lord Janos strode from the
hall, his ugly sons double-stepping to keep up as they
lugged the great metal shield with the arms of House Slynt.
“Your Grace,” Littlefinger reminded the king. “If we might
resume, the seven are now six. We find ourselves in need
of a new sword for your Kingsguard.”
Joffrey smiled. “Tell them, Mother.”
“The king and council have determined that no man in the
Seven Kingdoms is more fit to guard and protect His Grace
than his sworn shield, Sandor Clegane.”
“How do you like that, dog?” King Joffrey asked.
The Hound’s scarred face was hard to read. He took a
long moment to consider. “Why not? I have no lands nor
wife to forsake, and who’d care if I did?” The burned side of
his mouth twisted. “But I warn you, I’ll say no knight’s vows.”
“The Sworn Brothers of the Kingsguard have always been
knights,” Ser Boros said firmly.
”Until now,” the Hound said in his deep rasp, and Ser
Boros fell silent.
When the king’s herald moved forward, Sansa realized
the moment was almost at hand. She smoothed down the
cloth of her skirt nervously. She was dressed in mourning,
as a sign of respect for the dead king, but she had taken
special care to make herself beautiful. Her gown was the
ivory silk that the queen had given her, the one Arya had
ruined, but she’d had them dye it black and you couldn’t
see the stain at all. She had fretted over her jewelry for
hours and finally decided upon the elegant simplicity of a
plain silver chain.
The herald’s voice boomed out. “If any man in this hall has
other matters to set before His Grace, let him speak now or
go forth and hold his silence.”
Sansa quailed. Now, she told herself, I must do it now.
Gods give me courage. She took one step, then another.
Lords and knights stepped aside silently to let her pass,
and she felt the weight of their eyes on her. I must be as
strong as my lady mother. “Your Grace,” she called out in a
soft, tremulous voice.
The height of the Iron Throne gave Joffrey a better
vantage point than anyone else in the hall. He was the first
to see her. “Come forward, my lady,” he called out, smiling.
His smile emboldened her, made her feel beautiful and
strong. He does love me, he does. Sansa lifted her head
and walked toward him, not too slow and not too fast. She
must not let them see how nervous she was.
“The Lady Sansa, of House Stark,” the herald cried.
She stopped under the throne, at the spot where Ser
Barristan’s white cloak lay puddled on the floor beside his
helm and breastplate. “Do you have some business for king
and council, Sansa?” the queen asked from the council
table.
“I do.” She knelt on the cloak, so as not to spoil her gown,
and looked up at her prince on his fearsome black throne.
“As it please Your Grace, I ask mercy for my father, Lord
Eddard Stark, who was the Hand of the King.” She had
practiced the words a hundred times.
The queen sighed. “Sansa, you disappoint me. What did I
tell you about traitor’s blood?”
“Your father has committed grave and terrible crimes, my
lady,” Grand Maester Pycelle intoned.
“Ah, poor sad thing,” sighed Varys. “She is only a babe,
my lords, she does not know what she asks.”
Sansa had eyes only for Joffrey. He must listen to me, he
must, she thought. The king shifted on his seat, “Let her
speak,” he commanded. “I want to hear what she says.”
“Thank you, Your Grace.” Sansa smiled, a shy secret
smile, just for him. He was listening. She knew he would.
“Treason is a noxious weed,” Pycelle declared solemnly.
“It must be torn up, root and stem and seed, lest new
traitors sprout from every roadside.”
“Do you deny your father’s crime?” Lord Baelish asked.
“No, my lords.” Sansa knew better than that. “I know he
must be punished. All I ask is mercy. I know my lord father
must regret what he did. He was King Robert’s friend and
he loved him, you all know he loved him. He never wanted
to be Hand until the king asked him. They must have lied to
him. Lord Renly or Lord Stannis or . . . or somebody, they
must have lied, otherwise . . .”
King Joffrey leaned forward, hands grasping the arms of
the throne. Broken sword points fanned out between his
fingers. “He said I wasn’t the king. Why did he say that?”
“His leg was broken,” Sansa replied eagerly. “It hurt ever
so much, Maester Pycelle was giving him milk of the poppy,
and they say that milk of the poppy fills your head with
clouds. Otherwise he would never have said it.”
Varys said, “A child’s-faith . . . such sweet innocence . . .
and yet, they say wisdom oft comes from the mouths of
babes.”
“Treason is treason,” Pycelle replied at once.
Joffrey rocked restlessly on the throne. “Mother?”
Cersei Lannister considered Sansa thoughtfully. “If Lord
Eddard were to confess his crime,” she said at last, “we
would know he had repented his folly.”
Joffrey pushed himself to his feet. Please, Sansa thought,
please, please, be the king I know you are, good and kind
and noble, please. “Do you have any more to say?” he
asked her.
“Only . . . that as you love me, you do me this kindness,
my prince,” Sansa said.
King Joffrey looked her up and down. “Your sweet words
have moved me,” he said gallantly, nodding, as if to say all
would be well. “I shall do as you ask . . . but first your father
has to confess. He has to confess and say that I’m the king,
or there will be no mercy for him.”
“He will,” Sansa said, heart soaring. “Oh, I know he will.

Vor mehr als einem Jahr AngelGirl1992 said…
A Game of Thrones Page 881

In the tower room at the heart of Maegor’s
Holdfast, Sansa gave herself to the darkness.
She drew the curtains around her bed, slept, woke
weeping, and slept again. When she could not sleep she
lay under her blankets shivering with grief. Servants came
and went, bringing meals, but the sight of food was more
than she could bear. The dishes piled up on the table
beneath her window, untouched and spoiling, until the
servants took them away again.
Sometimes her sleep was leaden and dreamless, and
she woke from it more tired than when she had closed her
eyes. Yet those were the best times, for when she
dreamed, she dreamed of Father. Waking or sleeping, she
saw him, saw the gold cloaks fling him down, saw Ser Ilyn
striding forward, unsheathing Ice from the scabbard on his
back, saw the moment . . . the moment when . . . she had
wanted to look away, she had wanted to, her legs had gone
out from under her and she had fallen to her knees, yet
somehow she could not turn her head, and all the people
were screaming and shouting, and her prince had smiled at
her, he’d smiled and she’d felt safe, but only for a
heartbeat, until he said those words, and her father’s legs . .
. that was what she remembered, his legs, the way they’d
jerked when Ser Ilyn . . . when the sword . . .
Perhaps I will die too, she told herself, and the thought did
not seem so terrible to her. If she flung herself from the
window, she could put an end to her suffering, and in the
years to come the singers would write songs of her grief.
Her body would lie on the stones below, broken and
innocent, shaming all those who had betrayed her. Sansa
went so far as to cross the bedchamber and throw open the
shutters . . . but then her courage left her, and she ran back
to her bed, sobbing.
The serving girls tried to talk to her when they brought her
meals, but she never answered them. Once Grand Maester
Pycelle came with a box of flasks and bottles, to ask if she
was ill. He felt her brow, made her undress, and touched
her all over while her bedmaid held her down. When he left
he gave her a potion of honeywater and herbs and told her
to drink a swallow every night. She drank it all right then and
went back to sleep.
She dreamt of footsteps on the tower stair, an ominous
scraping of leather on stone as a man climbed slowly
toward her bedchamber, step by step. All she could do was
huddle behind her door and listen, trembling, as he came
closer and closer. It was Ser Ilyn Payne, she knew, coming
for her with Ice in his hand, coming to take her head. There
was no place to run, no place to hide, no way to bar the
door. Finally the footsteps stopped and she knew he was
just outside, standing there silent with his dead eyes and
his long pocked face. That was when she realized she was
naked. She crouched down, trying to cover herself with her
hands, as her door began to swing open, creaking, the
point of the greatsword poking through . . .
She woke murmuring, “Please, please, I’ll be good, I’ll be
good, please don’t,” but there was no one to hear.
When they finally came for her in truth, Sansa never heard
their footsteps. It was Joffrey who opened her door, not Ser
Ilyn but the boy who had been her prince. She was in bed,
curled up tight, her curtains drawn, and she could not have
said if it was noon or midnight. The first thing she heard
was the slam of the door. Then her bed hangings were
yanked back, and she threw up a hand against the sudden
light and saw them standing over her.
“You will attend me in court this afternoon,” Joffrey said.
“See that you bathe and dress as befits my betrothed.”
Sandor Clegane stood at his shoulder in a plain brown
doublet and green mantle, his burned face hideous in the
morning light. Behind them were two knights of the
Kingsguard in long white satin cloaks.
Sansa drew her blanket up to her chin to cover herself.
“No,” she whimpered, “please . . . leave me be.”
“If you won’t rise and dress yourself, my Hound will do it
for you,” Joffrey said.
“I beg of you, my prince . . .”
“I’m king now. Dog, get her out of bed.”
Sandor Clegane scooped her up around the waist and
lifted her off the featherbed as she struggled feebly. Her
blanket fell to the floor. Underneath she had only a thin bed
gown to cover her nakedness. “Do as you’re bid, child,”
Clegane said. “Dress.” He pushed her toward her
wardrobe, almost gently.
Sansa backed away from them. “I did as the queen
asked, I wrote the letters, I wrote what she told me. You
promised you’d be merciful. Please, let me go home. I
won’t do any treason, I’ll be good, I swear it, I don’t have
traitor’s blood, I don’t. I only want to go home.”
Remembering her courtesies, she lowered her head. “As it
please you,” she finished weakly.
“It does not please me,” Joffrey said. “Mother says I’m still
to marry you, so you’ll stay here, and you’ll obey.”
“I don’t want to marry you,” Sansa wailed. “You chopped
off my father’s head!”
“He was a traitor. I never promised to spare him, only that
I’d be merciful, and I was. If he hadn’t been your father, I
would have had him torn or flayed, but I gave him a clean
death.”
Sansa stared at him, seeing him for the first time. He was
wearing a padded crimson doublet patterned with lions and
a cloth-of-gold cape with a high collar that framed his face.
She wondered how she could ever have thought him
handsome. His lips were as soft and red as the worms you
found after a rain, and his eyes were vain and cruel. “I hate
you,” she whispered.
King Joffrey’s face hardened. “My mother tells me that it
isn’t fitting that a king should strike his wife. Ser Meryn.”
The knight was on her before she could think, yanking
back her hand as she tried to shield her face and
backhanding her across the ear with a gloved fist. Sansa
did not remember failing, yet the next she knew she was
sprawled on one knee amongst the rushes. Her head was
ringing. Ser Meryn Trant stood over her, with blood on the
knuckles of his white silk glove.
“Will you obey now, or shall I have him chastise you
again?”
Sansa’s ear felt numb. She touched it, and her fingertips
came away wet and red. “I . . . as . . . as you command, my
lord.”
“Your Grace,” Joffrey corrected her. “I shall look for you in
court.” He turned and left.
Ser Meryn and Ser Arys followed him out, but Sandor
Clegane lingered long enough to yank her roughly to her
feet. “Save yourself some pain, girl, and give him what he
wants.”
“What . . . what does he want? Please, tell me.”
“He wants you to smile and smell sweet and be his lady
love,” the Hound rasped. “He wants to hear you recite all
your pretty little words the way the septa taught you. He
wants you to love him . . . and fear him.”
After he was gone, Sansa sank back onto the rushes,
staring at the wall until two of her bedmaids crept timidly
into the chamber. “I will need hot water for my bath, please,”
she told them, “and perfume, and some powder to hide this
bruise.” The right side of her face was swollen and
beginning to ache, but she knew Joffrey would want her to
be beautiful.
The hot water made her think of Winterfell, and she took
strength from that. She had not washed since the day her
father died, and she was startled at how filthy the water
became. Her maids sluiced the blood off her face,
scrubbed the dirt from her back, washed her hair and
brushed it out until it sprang back in thick auburn curls.
Sansa did not speak to them, except to give them
commands; they were Lannister servants, not her own, and
she did not trust them. When the time came to dress, she
chose the green silk gown that she had worn to the tourney.
She recalled how gallant Joff had been to her that night at
the feast. Perhaps it would make him remember as well,
and treat her more gently.
She drank a glass of buttermilk and nibbled at some
sweet biscuits as she waited, to settle her stomach. It was
midday when Ser Meryn returned. He had donned his white
armor; a shirt of enameled scales chased with gold, a tall
helm with a golden sunburst crest, greaves and gorget and
gauntlet and boots of gleaming plate, a heavy wool cloak
clasped with a golden lion. His visor had been removed
from his helm, to better show his dour face; pouchy bags
under his eyes, a wide sour mouth, rusty hair spotted with
grey. “My lady,” he said, bowing, as if he had not beaten her
bloody only three hours past. “His Grace has instructed me
to escort you to the throne room.”
“Did he instruct you to hit me if I refused to come?”
“Are you refusing to come, my lady?” The look he gave
her was without expression. He did not so much as glance
at the bruise he had left her.
He did not hate her, Sansa realized; neither did he love
her. He felt nothing for her at all. She was only a . . . a thing
to him. “No,” she said, rising. She wanted to rage, to hurt
him as he’d hurt her, to warn him that when she was queen
she would have him exiled if he ever dared strike her again
. . . but she remembered what the Hound had told her, so all
she said was, “I shall do whatever His Grace commands.”
“As I do,” he replied.
“Yes . . . but you are no true knight, Ser Meryn.”
Sandor Clegane would have laughed at that, Sansa
knew. Other men might have cursed her, warned her to
keep silent, even begged for her forgiveness. Ser Meryn
Trant did none of these. Ser Meryn Trant simply did not
care.
The balcony was deserted save for Sansa. She stood
with her head bowed, fighting to hold back her tears, while
below Joffrey sat on his Iron Throne and dispensed what it
pleased him to call justice. Nine cases out of ten seemed to
bore him; those he allowed his council to handle, squirming
restlessly while Lord Baelish, Grand Maester Pycelle, or
Queen Cersei resolved the matter. When he did choose to
make a ruling, though, not even his queen mother could
sway him.
A thief was brought before him and he had Ser Ilyn chop
his hand off, right there in court. Two knights came to him
with a dispute about some land, and he decreed that they
should duel for it on the morrow. “To the death,” he added.
A woman fell to her knees to plead for the head of a man
executed as a traitor. She had loved him, she said, and she
wanted to see him decently buried. “If you loved a traitor,
you must be a traitor too,” Joffrey said. Two gold cloaks
dragged her off to the dungeons.
Frog-faced Lord Slynt sat at the end of the council table
wearing a black velvet doublet and a shiny cloth-of-gold
cape, nodding with approval every time the king
pronounced a sentence. Sansa stared hard at his ugly face,
remembering how he had thrown down her father for Ser
Ilyn to behead, wishing she could hurt him, wishing that
some hero would throw him down and cut off his head. But
a voice inside her whispered, There are no heroes, and
she remembered what Lord Petyr had said to her, here in
this very hall. “Life is not a song, sweetling,” he’d told her.
“You may learn that one day to your sorrow.” In life, the
monsters win, she told herself, and now it was the Hound’s
voice she heard, a cold rasp, metal on stone. “Save
yourself some pain, girl, and give him what he wants.”
The last case was a plump tavern singer, accused of
making a song that ridiculed the late King Robert. Joff
commanded them to fetch his woodharp and ordered him
to perform the song for the court. The singer wept and
swore he would never sing that song again, but the king
insisted. It was sort of a funny song, all about Robert
fighting with a pig. The pig was the boar who’d killed him,
Sansa knew, but in some verses it almost sounded as if he
were singing about the queen. When the song was done,
Joffrey announced that he’d decided to be merciful. The
singer could keep either his fingers or his tongue. He would
have a day to make his choice. Janos Slynt nodded.
That was the final business of the afternoon, Sansa saw
with relief, but her ordeal was not yet done. When the
herald’s voice dismissed the court, she fled the balcony,
only to find Joffrey waiting for her at the base of the curving
stairs. The Hound was with him, and Ser Meryn as well. The
young king examined her critically, top to bottom. “You look
much better than you did.”
“Thank you, Your Grace,” Sansa said. Hollow words, but
they made him nod and smile.
“Walk with me,” Joffrey commanded, offering her his arm.
She had no choice but to take it. The touch of his hand
would have thrilled her once; now it made her flesh crawl.
“My name day will be here soon,” Joffrey said as they
slipped out the rear of the throne room. “There will be a
great feast, and gifts. What are you going to give me?”
“I . . . I had not thought, my lord.”
“Your Grace,” he said sharply. “You truly are a stupid girl,
aren’t you? My mother says so.”
“She does?” After all that had happened, his words
should have lost their power to hurt her, yet somehow they
had not. The queen had always been so kind to her.
“Oh, yes. She worries about our children, whether they’ll
be stupid like you, but I told her not to trouble herself.” The
king gestured, and Ser Meryn opened a door for them.
“Thank you, Your Grace,” she murmured. The Hound was
right, she thought, I am only a little bird, repeating the words
they taught me. The sun had fallen below the western wall,
and the stones of the Red Keep glowed dark as blood.
“I’ll get you with child as soon as you’re able,” Joffrey said
as he escorted her across the practice yard. “If the first one
is stupid, I’ll chop off your head and find a smarter wife.
When do you think you’ll be able to have children?”
Sansa could not look at him, he shamed her so. “Septa
Mordane says most . . . most highborn girls have their
flowering at twelve or thirteen.”
Joffrey nodded. “This way.” He led her into the gatehouse,
to the base of the steps that led up to the battlements.
Sansa jerked back away from him, trembling. Suddenly
she knew where they were going. “No,” she said, her voice
a frightened gasp. “Please, no, don’t make me, I beg you . .
.”
Joffrey pressed his lips together. “I want to show you what
happens to traitors.”
Sansa shook her head wildly. “I won’t. I won’t.”
“I can have Ser Meryn drag you up,” he said. “You won’t
like that. You had better do what I say.” Joffrey reached for
her, and Sansa cringed away from him, backing into the
Hound.
“Do it, girl,” Sandor Clegane told her, pushing her back
toward the king. His mouth twitched on the burned side of
his face and Sansa could almost hear the rest of it. He’ll
have you up there no matter what, so give him what he
wants.
She forced herself to take King Joffrey’s hand. The climb
was something out of a nightmare; every step was a
struggle, as if she were pulling her feet out of ankle-deep
mud, and there were more steps than she would have
believed, a thousand thousand steps, and horror waiting on
the ramparts.
From the high battlements of the gatehouse, the whole
world spread out below them. Sansa could see the Great
Sept of Baelor on Visenya’s hill, where her father had died.
At the other end of the Street of the Sisters stood the fireblackened
ruins of the Dragonpit. To the west, the swollen
red sun was half-hidden behind the Gate of the Gods. The
salt sea was at her back, and to the south was the fish
market and the docks and the swirling torrent of the
Blackwater Rush. And to the north . . .
She turned that way, and saw only the city, streets and
alleys and hills and bottoms and more streets and more
alleys and the stone of distant walls. Yet she knew that
beyond them was open country, farms and fields and
forests, and beyond that, north and north and north again,
stood Winterfell.
“What are you looking at?” Joffrey said. “This is what I
wanted you to see, right here.”
A thick stone parapet protected the outer edge of the
rampart, reaching as high as Sansa’s chin, with
crenellations cut into it every five feet for archers. The
heads were mounted between the crenels, along the top of
the wall, impaled on iron spikes so they faced out over the
city. Sansa had noted them the moment she’d stepped out
onto the wallwalk, but the river and the bustling streets and
the setting sun were ever so much prettier. He can make
me look at the heads, she told herself, but he can’t make
me see them.
“This one is your father,” he said. “This one here. Dog,
turn it around so she can see him.”
Sandor Clegane took the head by the hair and turned it.
The severed head had been dipped in tar to preserve it
longer. Sansa looked at it calmly, not seeing it at all. It did
not really look like Lord Eddard, she thought; it did not even
look real. “How long do I have to look?”
Joffrey seemed disappointed. “Do you want to see the
rest?” There was a long row of them.
“If it please Your Grace.”
Joffrey marched her down the wallwalk, past a dozen
more heads and two empty spikes. “I’m saving those for my
uncle Stannis and my uncle Renly,” he explained. The other
heads had been dead and mounted much longer than her
father. Despite the tar, most were long past being
recognizable. The king pointed to one and said, “That’s
your septa there,” but Sansa could not even have told that it
was a woman. The jaw had rotted off her face, and birds
had eaten one ear and most of a cheek.
Sansa had wondered what had happened to Septa
Mordane, although she supposed she had known all along.
“Why did you kill her?” she asked. “She was godsworn . . .”
“She was a traitor.” Joffrey looked pouty; somehow she
was upsetting him. “You haven’t said what you mean to give
me for my name day. Maybe I should give you something
instead, would you like that?”
“If it please you, my lord,” Sansa said.
When he smiled, she knew he was mocking her. “Your
brother is a traitor too, you know.” He turned Septa
Mordane’s head back around. “I remember your brother
from Winterfell. My dog called him the lord of the wooden
sword. Didn’t you, dog?”
“Did I?” the Hound replied. “I don’t recall.”
Joffrey gave a petulant shrug. “Your brother defeated my
uncle Jaime. My mother says it was treachery and deceit.
She wept when she heard. Women are all weak, even her,
though she pretends she isn’t. She says we need to stay in
King’s Landing in case my other uncles attack, but I don’t
care. After my name day feast, I’m going to raise a host
and kill your brother myself. That’s what I’ll give you, Lady
Sansa. Your brother’s head.”
A kind of madness took over her then, and she heard
herself say, “Maybe my brother will give me your head.”
Joffrey scowled. “You must never mock me like that. A
true wife does not mock her lord. Ser Meryn, teach her.”
This time the knight grasped her beneath the jaw and held
her head still as he struck her. He hit her twice, left to right,
and harder, right to left. Her lip split and blood ran down her
chin, to mingle with the salt of her tears.
“You shouldn’t be crying all the time,” Joffrey told her.
“You’re more pretty when you smile and laugh.”
Sansa made herself smile, afraid that he would have Ser
Meryn hit her again if she did not, but it was no good, the
king still shook his head. “Wipe off the blood, you’re all
messy.”
The outer parapet came up to her chin, but along the inner
edge of the walk was nothing, nothing but a long plunge to
the bailey seventy or eighty feet below. All it would take was
a shove, she told herself. He was standing right there, right
there, smirking at her with those fat wormlips. You could do
it, she told herself. You could. Do it right now. It wouldn’t
even matter if she went over with him. It wouldn’t matter at
all.
“Here, girl.” Sandor Clegane knelt before her, between
her and Joffrey. With a delicacy surprising in such a big
man, he dabbed at the blood welling from her broken lip.
The moment was gone. Sansa lowered her eyes. “Thank
you,” she said when he was done. She was a good girl, and
always remembered her courtesies.
Vor mehr als einem Jahr AngelGirl1992 said…
Clash of KIngs page 21

SANSA

The morning of King Joffrey’s name day dawned bright and windy, with the long tail of
the great comet visible through the high scuttling clouds. Sansa was watching it from her
tower window when Ser Arys Oakheart arrived to escort her down to the tourney grounds.
“What do you think it means?” she asked him.
“Glory to your betrothed,” Ser Arys answered at once. “See how it flames across the sky
today on His Grace’s name day, as if the gods themselves had raised a banner in his honor.
The smallfolk have named it King Joffrey’s Comet.”
Doubtless that was what they told Joffrey; Sansa was not so sure. “I’ve heard servants
calling it the Dragon’s Tail.”
“King Joffrey sits where Aegon the Dragon once sat, in the castle built by his son,” Ser
Arys said. “He is the dragon’s heir—and crimson is the color of House Lannister, another
sign. This comet is sent to herald Joffrey’s ascent to the throne, I have no doubt. It means that
he will triumph over his enemies.”
Is it true? she wondered. Would the gods be so cruel? Her mother was one of Joffrey’s
enemies now, her brother Robb another. Her father had died by the king’s command. Must
Robb and her lady mother die next? The comet was red, but Joffrey was Baratheon as much
as Lannister, and their sigil was a black stag on a golden field. Shouldn’t the gods have sent
Joff a golden comet?
Sansa closed the shutters and turned sharply away from the window. “You look very
lovely today, my lady,” Ser Arys said.
“Thank you, ser.” Knowing that Joffrey would require her to attend the tourney in his
honor, Sansa had taken special care with her face and clothes. She wore a gown of pale purple
silk and a moonstone hair net that had been a gift from Joffrey. The gown had long sleeves to
hide the bruises on her arms. Those were Joffrey’s gifts as well. When they told him that
Robb had been proclaimed King in the North, his rage had been a fearsome thing, and he had
sent Ser Boros to beat her.
“Shall we go?” Ser Arys offered his arm and she let him lead her from her chamber. If
she must have one of the Kingsguard dogging her steps, Sansa preferred that it be him. Ser
Boros was short-tempered, Ser Meryn cold, and Ser Mandon’s strange dead eyes made her
uneasy, while Ser Preston treated her like a lackwit child. Arys Oakheart was courteous, and
would talk to her cordially. Once he even objected when Joffrey commanded him to hit her.
He did hit her in the end, but not hard as Ser Meryn or Ser Boros might have, and at least he
had argued. The others obeyed without question . . . except for the Hound, but Joff never
asked the Hound to punish her. He used the other five for that.
Ser Arys had light-brown hair and a face that was not unpleasant to look upon. Today he
made quite the dashing figure, with his white silk cloak fastened at the shoulder by a golden
leaf, and a spreading oak tree worked upon the breast of his tunic in shining gold thread.
“Who do you think will win the day’s honors?” Sansa asked as they descended the steps arm
in arm.
“I will,” Ser Arys answered, smiling. “Yet I fear the triumph will have no savor. This
will be a small field, and poor. No more than two score will enter the lists, including squires
and freeriders. There is small honor in unhorsing green boys.”
The last tourney had been different, Sansa reflected. King Robert had staged it in her
father’s honor. High lords and fabled champions had come from all over the realm to
compete, and the whole city had turned out to watch. She remembered the splendor of it: the
field of pavilions along the river with a knight’s shield hung before each door, the long rows
of silken pennants waving in the wind, the gleam of sunlight on bright steel and gilded spurs.
The days had rung to the sounds of trumpets and pounding hooves, and the nights had been
full of feasts and song. Those had been the most magical days of her life, but they seemed a
memory from another age now. Robert Baratheon was dead, and her father as well, beheaded
for a traitor on the steps of the Great Sept of Baelor. Now there were three kings in the land,
and war raged beyond the Trident while the city filled with desperate men. Small wonder that
they had to hold Joff’s tournament behind the thick stone walls of the Red Keep.
“Will the queen attend, do you think?” Sansa always felt safer when Cersei was there to
restrain her son.
“I fear not, my lady. The council is meeting, some urgent business.” Ser Arys dropped
his voice. “Lord Tywin has gone to ground at Harrenhal instead of bringing his army to the
city as the queen commanded. Her Grace is furious.” He fell silent as a column of Lannister
guardsmen marched past, in crimson cloaks and lion-crested helms. Ser Arys was fond of
gossip, but only when he was certain that no one was listening.
The carpenters had erected a gallery and lists in the outer bailey. It was a poor thing
indeed, and the meager throng that had gathered to watch filled but half the seats. Most of the
spectators were guardsmen in the gold cloaks of the City Watch or the crimson of House
Lannister; of lords and ladies there were but a paltry few, the handful that remained at court.
Grey-faced Lord Gyles Rosby was coughing into a square of pink silk. Lady Tanda was
bracketed by her daughters, placid dull Lollys and acid-tongued Falyse. Ebon-skinned
Jalabhar Xho was an exile who had no other refuge, Lady Ermesande a babe seated on her
wet nurse’s lap. The talk was she would soon be wed to one of the queen’s cousins, so the
Lannisters might claim her lands.
The king was shaded beneath a crimson canopy, one leg thrown negligently over the
carved wooden arm of his chair. Princess Myrcella and Prince Tommen sat behind him. In the
back of the royal box, Sandor Clegane stood at guard, his hands resting on his swordbelt. The
white cloak of the Kingsguard was draped over his broad shoulders and fastened with a
jeweled brooch, the snowy cloth looking somehow unnatural against his brown rough-spun
tunic and studded leather jerkin. “Lady Sansa,” the Hound announced curtly when he saw her.
His voice was as rough as the sound of a saw on wood. The burn scars on his face and throat
made one side of his mouth twitch when he spoke.
Princess Myrcella nodded a shy greeting at the sound of Sansa’s name, but plump little
Prince Tommen jumped up eagerly. “Sansa, did you hear? I’m to ride in the tourney today.
Mother said I could.” Tommen was all of eight. He reminded her of her own little brother,
Bran. They were of an age. Bran was back at Winterfell, a cripple, yet safe.
Sansa would have given anything to be with him. “I fear for the life of your foeman,” she
told Tommen solemnly.
“His foeman will be stuffed with straw,” Joff said as he rose. The king was clad in a
gilded breastplate with a roaring lion engraved upon its chest, as if he expected the war to
engulf them at any moment. He was thirteen today, and tall for his age, with the green eyes
and golden hair of the Lannisters.
“Your Grace,” she said, dipping in a curtsy.
Ser Arys bowed. “Pray pardon me, Your Grace. I must equip myself for the lists.”
Joffrey waved a curt dismissal while he studied Sansa from head to heels. “I’m pleased
you wore my stones.”
So the king had decided to play the gallant today. Sansa was relieved. “I thank you for
them . . . and for your tender words. I pray you a lucky name day, Your Grace.”
“Sit,” Joff commanded, gesturing her to the empty seat beside his own. “Have you heard?
The Beggar King is dead.”
“Who?” For a moment Sansa was afraid he meant Robb.
“Viserys. The last son of Mad King Aerys. He’s been going about the Free Cities since
before I was born, calling himself a king. Well, Mother says the Dothraki finally crowned
him. With molten gold.” He laughed. “That’s funny, don’t you think? The dragon was their
sigil. It’s almost as good as if some wolf killed your traitor brother. Maybe I’ll feed him to
wolves after I’ve caught him. Did I tell you, I intend to challenge him to single combat?”
“I should like to see that, Your Grace.” More than you know. Sansa kept her tone cool
and polite, yet even so Joffrey’s eyes narrowed as he tried to decide whether she was mocking
him. “Will you enter the lists today?” she asked quickly.
The king frowned. “My lady mother said it was not fitting, since the tourney is in my
honor. Otherwise I would have been champion. Isn’t that so, dog?”
The Hound’s mouth twitched. “Against this lot? Why not?”
He had been the champion in her father’s tourney, Sansa remembered. “Will you joust
today, my lord?” she asked him.
Clegane’s voice was thick with contempt. “Wouldn’t be worth the bother of arming
myself. This is a tournament of gnats.”
The king laughed. “My dog has a fierce bark. Perhaps I should command him to fight the
day’s champion. To the death.” Joffrey was fond of making men fight to the death.
“You’d be one knight the poorer.” The Hound had never taken a knight’s vows. His
brother was a knight, and he hated his brother.
A blare of trumpets sounded. The king settled back in his seat and took Sansa’s hand.
Once that would have set her heart to pounding, but that was before he had answered her plea
for mercy by presenting her with her father’s head. His touch filled her with revulsion now,
but she knew better than to show it. She made herself sit very still.
“Ser Meryn Trant of the Kingsguard,” a herald called.
Ser Meryn entered from the west side of the yard, clad in gleaming white plate chased
with gold and mounted on a milk-white charger with a flowing grey mane. His cloak streamed
behind him like a field of snow. He carried a twelve-foot lance.
“Ser Hobber of House Redwyne, of the Arbor,” the herald sang. Ser Hobber trotted in
from the east, riding a black stallion caparisoned in burgundy and blue. His lance was striped
in the same colors, and his shield bore the grape cluster sigil of his House. The Redwyne
twins were the queen’s unwilling guests, even as Sansa was. She wondered whose notion it
had been for them to ride in Joffrey’s tourney. Not their own, she thought.
At a signal from the master of revels, the combatants couched their lances and put their
spurs to their mounts. There were shouts from the watching guardsmen and the lords and
ladies in the gallery. The knights came together in the center of the yard with a great shock of
wood and steel. The white lance and the striped one exploded in splinters within a second of
each other. Hobber Redwyne reeled at the impact, yet somehow managed to keep his seat.
Wheeling their horses about at the far end of the lists, the knights tossed down their broken
lances and accepted replacements from the squires. Ser Horas Redwyne, Ser Hobber’s twin,
shouted encouragement to his brother.
But on their second pass Ser Meryn swung the point of his lance to strike Ser Hobber in
the chest, driving him from the saddle to crash resoundingly to the earth. Ser Horas cursed
and ran out to help his battered brother from the field.
“Poorly ridden,” declared King Joffrey.
“Ser Balon Swann, of Stonehelm in the Red Watch,” came the herald’s cry. Wide white
wings ornamented Ser Balon’s greathelm, and black and white swans fought on his shield.
“Morros of House Slynt, heir to Lord Janos of Harrenhal.”
“Look at that up-jumped oaf,” Joff hooted, loud enough for half the yard to hear. Morros,
a mere squire and a new-made squire at that, was having difficulty managing lance and shield.
The lance was a knight’s weapon, Sansa knew, the Slynts lowborn. Lord Janos had been no
more than commander of the City Watch before Joffrey had raised him to Harrenhal and the
council.
I hope he falls and shames himself, she thought bitterly. I hope Ser Balon kills him. When
Joffrey proclaimed her father’s death, it had been Janos Slynt who seized Lord Eddard’s
severed head by the hair and raised it on high for king and crowd to behold, while Sansa wept
and screamed.
Morros wore a checkered black-and-gold cloak over black armor inlaid with golden
scrollwork. On his shield was the bloody spear his father had chosen as the sigil of their newmade
house. But he did not seem to know what to do with the shield as he urged his horse
forward, and Ser Balon’s point struck the blazon square. Morros dropped his lance, fought for
balance, and lost. One foot caught in a stirrup as he fell, and the runaway charger dragged the
youth to the end of the lists, head bouncing against the ground. Joff hooted derision. Sansa
was appalled, wondering if the gods had heard her vengeful prayer. But when they
disentangled Morros Slynt from his horse, they found him bloodied but alive. “Tommen, we
picked the wrong foe for you,” the king told his brother. “The straw knight jousts better than
that one.”
Next came Ser Horas Redwyne’s turn. He fared better than his twin, vanquishing an
elderly knight whose mount was bedecked with silver griffins against a striped blue-and-white
field. Splendid as he looked, the old man made a poor contest of it. Joffrey curled his lip.
“This is a feeble show.”
“I warned you,” said the Hound. “Gnats.”
The king was growing bored. It made Sansa anxious. She lowered her eyes and resolved
to keep quiet, no matter what. When Joffrey Baratheon’s mood darkened, any chance word
might set off one of his rages.
“Lothor Brune, freerider in the service of Lord Baelish,” cried the herald. “Ser Dontos
the Red, of House Hollard.”
The freerider, a small man in dented plate without device, duly appeared at the west end
of the yard, but of his opponent there was no sign. Finally a chestnut stallion trotted into view
in a swirl of crimson and scarlet silks, but Ser Dontos was not on it. The knight appeared a
moment later, cursing and staggering, clad in breastplate and plumed helm and nothing else.
His legs were pale and skinny, and his manhood flopped about obscenely as he chased after
his horse. The watchers roared and shouted insults. Catching his horse by the bridle, Ser
Dontos tried to mount, but the animal would not stand still and the knight was so drunk that
his bare foot kept missing the stirrup.
By then the crowd was howling with laughter . . . all but the king. Joffrey had a look in
his eyes that Sansa remembered well, the same look he’d had at the Great Sept of Baelor the
day he pronounced death on Lord Eddard Stark. Finally Ser Dontos the Red gave it up for a
bad job, sat down in the dirt, and removed his plumed helm. “I lose,” he shouted. “Fetch me
some wine.”
The king stood. “A cask from the cellars! I’ll see him drowned in it.”
Sansa heard herself gasp. “No, you can’t.”
Joffrey turned his head. “What did you say?”
Sansa could not believe she had spoken. Was she mad? To tell him no in front of half the
court? She hadn’t meant to say anything, only . . . Ser Dontos was drunk and silly and useless,
but he meant no harm.
“Did you say I can’t? Did you?”
“Please,” Sansa said, “I only meant . . . it would be ill-luck, Your Grace . . . to, to kill a
man on your name day.”
“You’re lying,” Joffrey said. “I ought to drown you with him, if you care for him so
much.”
“I don’t care for him, Your Grace.” The words tumbled out desperately. “Drown him or
have his head off, only . . . kill him on the morrow, if you like, but please . . . not today, not
on your name day. I couldn’t bear for you to have ill-luck . . . terrible luck, even for kings, the
singers all say so . . .”
Joffrey scowled. He knew she was lying, she could see it. He would make her bleed for
this.
“The girl speaks truly,” the Hound rasped. “What a man sows on his name day, he reaps
throughout the year.” His voice was flat, as if he did not care a whit whether the king believed
him or no. Could it be true? Sansa had not known. It was just something she’d said, desperate
to avoid punishment.
Unhappy, Joffrey shifted in his seat and flicked his fingers at Ser Dontos. “Take him
away. I’ll have him killed on the morrow, the fool.”
“He is,” Sansa said. “A fool. You’re so clever, to see it. He’s better fitted to be a fool
than a knight, isn’t he? You ought to dress him in motley and make him clown for you. He
doesn’t deserve the mercy of a quick death.”
The king studied her a moment. “Perhaps you’re not so stupid as Mother says.” He raised
his voice. “Did you hear my lady, Dontos? From this day on, you’re my new fool. You can
sleep with Moon Boy and dress in motley.”
Ser Dontos, sobered by his near brush with death, crawled to his knees. “Thank you,
Your Grace. And you, my lady. Thank you.”
As a brace of Lannister guardsmen led him off, the master of revels approached the box.
“Your Grace,” he said, “shall I summon a new challenger for Brune, or proceed with the next
tilt?”
“Neither. These are gnats, not knights. I’d have them all put to death, only it’s my name
day. The tourney is done. Get them all out of my sight.”
The master of revels bowed, but Prince Tommen was not so obedient. “I’m supposed to
ride against the straw man.”
“Not today.”
“But I want to ride!”
“I don’t care what you want.”
“Mother said I could ride.”
“She said,” Princess Myrcella agreed.
“Mother said,” mocked the king. “Don’t be childish.”
“We’re children,” Myrcella declared haughtily. “We’re supposed to be childish.”
The Hound laughed. “She has you there.”
Joffrey was beaten. “Very well. Even my brother couldn’t tilt any worse than these
others. Master, bring out the quintain, Tommen wants to be a gnat.”
Tommen gave a shout of joy and ran off to be readied, his chubby little legs pumping
hard. “Luck,” Sansa called to him.
They set up the quintain at the far end of the lists while the prince’s pony was being
saddled. Tommen’s opponent was a child-sized leather warrior stuffed with straw and
mounted on a pivot, with a shield in one hand and a padded mace in the other. Someone had
fastened a pair of antlers to the knight’s head. Joffrey’s father King Robert had worn antlers
on his helm, Sansa remembered . . . but so did his uncle Lord Renly, Robert’s brother, who
had turned traitor and crowned himself king.
A pair of squires buckled the prince into his ornate silver-and-crimson armor. A tall
plume of red feathers sprouted from the crest of his helm, and the lion of Lannister and
crowned stag of Baratheon frolicked together on his shield. The squires helped him mount,
and Ser Aron Santagar, the Red Keep’s master-at-arms, stepped forward and handed Tommen
a blunted silver longsword with a leaf-shaped blade, crafted to fit an eight-year-old hand.
Tommen raised the blade high. “Casterly Rock!” he shouted in a high boyish voice as he
put his heels into his pony and started across the hard-packed dirt at the quintain. Lady Tanda
and Lord Gyles started a ragged cheer, and Sansa added her voice to theirs. The king brooded
in silence.
Tommen got his pony up to a brisk trot, waved his sword vigorously, and struck the
knight’s shield a solid blow as he went by. The quintain spun, the padded mace flying around
to give the prince a mighty whack in the back of his head. Tommen spilled from the saddle,
his new armor rattling like a bag of old pots as he hit the ground. His sword went flying, his
pony cantered away across the bailey, and a great gale of derision went up. King Joffrey
laughed longest and loudest of all.
“Oh,” Princess Myrcella cried. She scrambled out of the box and ran to her little brother.
Sansa found herself possessed of a queer giddy courage. “You should go with her,” she
told the king. “Your brother might be hurt.”
Joffrey shrugged. “What if he is?”
“You should help him up and tell him how well he rode.” Sansa could not seem to stop
herself.
“He got knocked off his horse and fell in the dirt,” the king pointed out. “That’s not
riding well.”
“Look,” the Hound interrupted. “The boy has courage. He’s going to try again.”
They were helping Prince Tommen mount his pony. If only Tommen were the elder
instead of Joffrey, Sansa thought. I wouldn’t mind marrying Tommen.
The sounds from the gatehouse took them by surprise. Chains rattled as the portcullis
was drawn upward, and the great gates opened to the creak of iron hinges. “Who told them to
open the gate?” Joff demanded. With the troubles in the city, the gates of the Red Keep had
been closed for days.
A column of riders emerged from beneath the portcullis with a clink of steel and a clatter
of hooves. Clegane stepped close to the king, one hand on the hilt of his longsword. The
visitors were dinted and haggard and dusty, yet the standard they carried was the lion of
Lannister, golden on its crimson field. A few wore the red cloaks and mail of Lannister menat-
arms, but more were freeriders and sellswords, armored in oddments and bristling with
sharp steel . . . and there were others, monstrous savages out of one of Old Nan’s tales, the
scary ones Bran used to love. They were clad in shabby skins and boiled leather, with long
hair and fierce beards. Some wore bloodstained bandages over their brows or wrapped around
their hands, and others were missing eyes, ears, and fingers.
In their midst, riding on a tall red horse in a strange high saddle that cradled him back
and front, was the queen’s dwarf brother Tyrion Lannister, the one they called the Imp. He
had let his beard grow to cover his pushed-in face, until it was a bristly tangle of yellow and
black hair, coarse as wire. Down his back flowed a shadowskin cloak, black fur striped with
white. He held the reins in his left hand and carried his right arm in a white silk sling, but
otherwise looked as grotesque as Sansa remembered from when he had visited Winterfell.
With his bulging brow and mismatched eyes, he was still the ugliest man she had ever
chanced to look upon.
Yet Tommen put his spurs into his pony and galloped headlong across the yard, shouting
with glee. One of the savages, a huge shambling man so hairy that his face was all but lost
beneath his whiskers, scooped the boy out of his saddle, armor and all, and deposited him on
the ground beside his uncle. Tommen’s breathless laughter echoed off the walls as Tyrion
clapped him on the backplate, and Sansa was startled to see that the two were of a height.
Myrcella came running after her brother, and the dwarf picked her up by the waist and spun
her in a circle, squealing.
When he lowered her back to the ground, the little man kissed her lightly on the brow
and came waddling across the yard toward Joffrey. Two of his men followed close behind
him; a black-haired black-eyed sellsword who moved like a stalking cat, and a gaunt youth
with an empty socket where one eye should have been. Tommen and Myrcella trailed after
them.
The dwarf went to one knee before the king. “Your Grace.”
“You,” Joffrey said.
“Me,” the Imp agreed, “although a more courteous greeting might be in order, for an
uncle and an elder.”
“They said you were dead,” the Hound said.
The little man gave the big one a look. One of his eyes was green, one was black, and
both were cool. “I was speaking to the king, not to his cur.”
“I’m glad you’re not dead,” said Princess Myrcella.
“We share that view, sweet child.” Tyrion turned to Sansa. “My lady, I am sorry for your
losses. Truly, the gods are cruel.”
Sansa could not think of a word to say to him. How could he be sorry for her losses? Was
he mocking her? It wasn’t the gods who’d been cruel, it was Joffrey.
“I am sorry for your loss as well, Joffrey,” the dwarf said.
“What loss?”
“Your royal father? A large fierce man with a black beard; you’ll recall him if you try.
He was king before you.”
“Oh, him. Yes, it was very sad, a boar killed him.”
“Is that what ‘they’ say, Your Grace?”
Joffrey frowned. Sansa felt that she ought to say something. What was it that Septa
Mordane used to tell her? A lady’s armor is courtesy, that was it. She donned her armor and
said, “I’m sorry my lady mother took you captive, my lord.”
“A great many people are sorry for that,” Tyrion replied, “and before I am done, some
may be a deal sorrier . . . yet I thank you for the sentiment. Joffrey, where might I find your
mother?”
“She’s with my council,” the king answered. “Your brother Jaime keeps losing battles.”
He gave Sansa an angry look, as if it were her fault. “He’s been taken by the Starks and we’ve
lost Riverrun and now her stupid brother is calling himself a king.”
The dwarf smiled crookedly. “All sorts of people are calling themselves kings these
days.”
Joff did not know what to make of that, though he looked suspicious and out of sorts.
“Yes. Well. I am pleased you’re not dead, Uncle. Did you bring me a gift for my name day?”
“I did. My wits.”
“I’d sooner have Robb Stark’s head,” Joff said with a sly glance at Sansa. “Tommen,
Myrcella, come.”
Sandor Clegane lingered behind a moment. “I’d guard that tongue of yours, little man,”
he warned, before he strode off after his liege.
Sansa was left with the dwarf and his monsters. She tried to think of what else she might
say. “You hurt your arm,” she managed at last.
“One of your northmen hit me with a morningstar during the battle on the Green Fork. I
escaped him by falling off my horse.” His grin turned into something softer as he studied her
face. “Is it grief for your lord father that makes you so sad?”
“My father was a traitor,” Sansa said at once. “And my brother and lady mother are
traitors as well.” That reflex she had learned quickly. “I am loyal to my beloved Joffrey.”
“No doubt. As loyal as a deer surrounded by wolves.”
“Lions,” she whispered, without thinking. She glanced about nervously, but there was no
one close enough to hear.
Lannister reached out and took her hand, and gave it a squeeze. “I am only a little lion,
child, and I vow, I shall not savage you.” Bowing, he said “But now you must excuse me. I
have urgent business with queen and council.”
Sansa watched him walk off, his body swaying heavily from side to side with every step,
like something from a grotesquerie. He speaks more gently than Joffrey, she thought, but the
queen spoke to me gently too. He’s still a Lannister, her brother and Joff’s uncle, and no
friend. Once she had loved Prince Joffrey with all her heart, and admired and trusted his
mother, the queen. They had repaid that love and trust with her father’s head. Sansa would
never make that mistake again.
Vor mehr als einem Jahr AngelGirl1992 said…
SANSA
Come to the godswood tonight, if you want to go home.
The words were the same on the hundredth reading as they’d been on the first, when Sansa had discovered the folded sheet of parchment beneath her pillow. She did not know how it had gotten there or who had sent it. The note was unsigned, unsealed, and the hand unfamiliar. She crushed the parchment to her chest and whispered the words to herself. “Come to the godswood tonight, if you want to go home,” she breathed, ever so faintly.
What could it mean? Should she take it to the queen to prove that she was being good? Nervously, she rubbed her stomach. The angry purple bruise Ser Meryn had given her had faded to an ugly yellow, but still hurt. His fist had been mailed when he hit her. It was her own fault. She must learn to hide her feelings better, so as not to anger Joffrey. When she heard that the imp had sent Lord Slynt to the Wall, she had forgotten herself and said, “I hope the Others get him.” The king had not been pleased.
Come to the godswood tonight, if you want to go home.
Sansa had prayed so hard. Could this be her answer at last, a true knight sent to save her? Perhaps it was one of the Redwyne twins, or bold Ser Balon Swann... or even Beric Dondarrion, the young lord her friend Jeyne Poole had loved, with his red-gold hair and the spray of stars on his black cloak.
Come to the godswood tonight, if you want to go home.
What if it was some cruel jape of Joffrey’s, like the day he had taken her up to the battlements to show her Father’s head? Or perhaps it was some subtle snare to prove she was not loyal. If she went to the godswood, would she find Ser Ilyn Payne waiting for her, sitting silent under the heart tree with Ice in his hand, his pale eyes watching to see if she’d come?
Come to the godswood tonight, if you want to go home.
When the door opened, she hurriedly stuffed the note under her sheet and sat on it. It was her bedmaid, the mousy one with the limp brown hair. “What do you want?” Sansa demanded.
“Will milady be wanting a bath tonight?”
“A fire, I think... I feel a chill.” She was shivering, though the day had been hot.
“As you wish.”
Sansa watched the girl suspiciously. Had she seen the note? Had she put it under the pillow? It did not seem likely; she seemed a stupid girl, not one you’d want delivering secret notes, but Sansa did not know her. The queen had her servants changed every fortnight, to make certain none of them befriended her.
When a fire was blazing in the hearth, Sansa thanked the maid curtly and ordered her out. The girl was quick to obey, as ever, but Sansa decided there was something sly about her eyes. Doubtless, she was scurrying off to report to the queen, or maybe Varys. All her maids spied on her, she was certain.
Once alone, she thrust the note in the flames, watching the parchment curl and blacken. Come to the godswood tonight, if you want to go home. She drifted to her window. Below, she could
see a short knight in moon-pale armor and a heavy white cloak pacing the drawbridge. From his height, it could only be Ser Preston Greenfield. The queen had given her freedom of the castle, but even so, he would want to know where she was going if she tried to leave Maegor’s Holdfast at this time of night. What was she to tell him? Suddenly she was glad she had burned the note.
She unlaced her gown and crawled into her bed, but she did not sleep. Was he still there? she wondered. How long will he wait? It was so cruel, to send her a note and tell her nothing. The thoughts went round and round in her head.
If only she had someone to tell her what to do. She missed Septa Mordane, and even more Jeyne Poole, her truest friend. The septa had lost her head with the rest, for the crime of serving House Stark. Sansa did not know what had happened to Jeyne, who had disappeared from her rooms afterward, never to be mentioned again. She tried not to think of them too often, yet sometimes the memories came unbidden, and then it was hard to hold back the tears. Once in a while, Sansa even missed her sister. By now Arya was safe back in Winterfell, dancing and sewing, playing with Bran and baby Rickon, even riding through the winter town if she liked. Sansa was allowed to go riding too, but only in the bailey, and it got boring going round in a circle all day.
She was wide awake when she heard the shouting. Distant at first, then growing louder. Many voices yelling together. She could not make out the words. And there were horses as well, and pounding feet, shouts of command. She crept to her window and saw men running on the walls, carrying spears and torches. Go back to your bed, Sansa told herself, this is nothing that concerns you, just some new trouble out in the city. The talk at the wells had all been of troubles in the city of late. People were crowding in, running from the war, and many had no way to live save by robbing and killing each other. Go to bed.
But when she looked, the white knight was gone, the bridge across the dry moat down but undefended.
Sansa turned away without thinking and ran to her wardrobe. oh, what am I doing? she asked herself as she dressed. This is madness. She could see the lights of many torches on the curtain walls. Had Stannis and Renly come at last to kill Joffrey and claim their brother’s throne? If so, the guards would raise the drawbridge, cutting off Maegor’s Holdfast from the outer castle. Sansa threw a plain grey cloak over her shoulders and picked up the knife she used to cut her meat. If it is some trap, better that I die than let them hurt me more, she told herself. She hid the blade under her cloak.
A column of red-cloaked swordsmen ran past as she slipped out into the night. She waited until they were well past before she darted across the undefended drawbridge. In the yard, men were buckling on swordbelts and cinching the saddles of their horses. She glimpsed Ser Preston near the stables with three others of the Kingsguard, white cloaks bright as the moon as they helped Joffrey into his armor. Her breath caught in her throat when she saw the king. Thankfully, he did not see her. He was shouting for his sword and crossbow.
The noise receded as she moved deeper into the castle, never daring to look back for fear that Joffrey might be watching... or worse, following. The serpentine steps twisted ahead, striped by
bars of flickering light from the narrow windows above. Sansa was panting by the time she reached the top. She ran down a shadowy colonnade and pressed herself against a wall to catch her breath. When something brushed against her leg, she almost jumped out of her skin, but it was only a cat, a ragged black tom with a chewed-off ear. The creature spit at her and leapt away.
By the time she reached the godswood, the noises had faded to a faint rattle of steel and a distant shouting. Sansa pulled her cloak tighter. The air was rich with the smells of earth and leaf. Lady would have liked this place, she thought. There was something wild about a godswood; even here, in the heart of the castle at the heart of the city, you could feel the old gods watching with a thousand unseen eyes.
Sansa had favored her mother’s gods over her father’s. She loved the statues, the pictures in leaded glass, the fragrance of burning incense, the septons with their robes and crystals, the magical play of the rainbows over altars inlaid with mother-of-pearl and onyx and lapis lazuli. Yet she could not deny that the godswood had a certain power too. Especially by night. Help me, she prayed, send me a friend, a true knight to champion me...
She moved from tree to tree, feeling the roughness of the bark beneath her fingers. Leaves brushed at her cheeks. Had she come too late? He would not have left so soon, would he? Or had he even been here? Dare she risk calling out? It seemed so hushed and still here...
“I feared you would not come, child.”
Sansa whirled. A man stepped out of the shadows, heavyset, thick of neck, shambling. He wore a dark grey robe with the cowl pulled forward, but when a thin sliver of moonlight touched his cheek, she knew him at once by the blotchy skin and web of broken veins beneath. “Ser Dontos,” she breathed, heartbroken. “Was it you?”
“Yes, my lady.” When he moved closer, she could smell the sour stench of wine on his breath. “Me.” He reached out a hand.
Sansa shrank back. “Don’t!” She slid her hand under her cloak, to her hidden knife. “What... what do you want with me?”
“Only to help you,” Dontos said, “as you helped me.”
“You’re drunk, aren’t you?”
“Only one cup of wine, to help my courage. If they catch me now, they’ll strip the skin off my back.”
And what will they do to me? Sansa found herself thinking of Lady again. She could smell out falsehood, she could, but she was dead, Father had killed her, on account of Arya. She drew the knife and held it before her with both hands.
“Are you going to stab me?” Dontos asked.
“I will,” she said. “Tell me who sent you.”
“No one, sweet lady. I swear it on my honor as a knight.”
“A knight?” Joffrey had decreed that he was to be a knight no longer, only a fool, lower even than Moon Boy. “I prayed to the gods for a knight to come save me,” she said. “I prayed and prayed. Why would they send me a drunken old fool?”
“I deserve that, though... I know it’s queer, but... all those years I was a knight, I was truly a fool, and now that I am a fool I think... I think I may find it in me to be a knight again, sweet lady.
And all because of you... your grace, your courage. You saved me, not only from Joffrey, but from myself.” His voice dropped. “The singers say there was another fool once who was the greatest knight of all.”
“Florian,” Sansa whispered. A shiver went through her.
“Sweet lady, I would be your Florian,” Dontos said humbly, falling to his knees before her.
Slowly, Sansa lowered the knife. Her head seemed terribly light, as if she were floating. This is madness, to trust myself to this drunkard, but if I turn away will the chance ever come again? “How... how would you do it? Get me away?”
Ser Dontos raised his face to her. “Taking you from the castle, that will be the hardest. Once you’re out, there are ships that would take you home. I’d need to find the coin and make the arrangements, that’s all.”
“Could we go now?” she asked, hardly daring to hope.
“This very night? No, my lady, I fear not. First I must find a sure way to get you from the castle when the hour is ripe. It will not be easy, nor quick. They watch me as well.” He licked his lips nervously. “Will you put away your blade?”
Sansa slipped the knife beneath her cloak. “Rise, ser.”
“Thank you, sweet lady.” Ser Dontos lurched clumsily to his feet, and brushed earth and leaves from his knees. “Your lord father was as true a man as the realm has ever known, but I stood by and let them slay him. I said nothing, did nothing... and yet, when Joffrey would have slain me, you spoke up. Lady, I have never been a hero, no Ryam Redwyne or Barristan the Bold. I’ve won no tourneys, no renown in war... but I was a knight once, and you have helped me remember what that meant. My life is a poor thing, but it is yours.” Ser Dontos placed a hand on the gnarled bole of the heart tree. He was shaking, she saw. “I vow, with your father’s gods as witness, that I shall send you home.”
He swore. A solemn oath, before the gods. “Then... I will put myself in your hands, ser. But how will I know, when it is time to go? Will you send me another note?”
Ser Dontos glanced about anxiously. “The risk is too great. You must come here, to the godswood. As often as you can. This is the safest place. The only safe place. Nowhere else. Not in your chambers nor mine nor on the steps nor in the yard, even if it seems we are alone. The stones have ears in the Red Keep, and only here may we talk freely.”
“Only here,” Sansa said. “I’ll remember.”
“And if I should seem cruel or mocking or indifferent when men are watching, forgive me, child. I have a role to play, and you must do the same. One misstep and our heads will adorn the walls as did your father’s.”
She nodded. “I understand.”
“You will need to be brave and strong... and patient, patient above all.”
“I will be,” she promised, “but... please... make it as soon as you can. I’m afraid...”
“So am I,” Ser Dontos said, smiling wanly. “And now you must go, before you are missed.”
“You will not come with me?”
“Better if we are never seen together.”
Nodding, Sansa took a step... then spun back, nervous, and softly laid a kiss on his cheek, her eyes closed. “My Florian,” she whispered. “The gods heard my prayer.”
She flew along the river walk, past the small kitchen, and through the pig yard, her hurried footsteps lost beneath the squealing of the hogs in their pens. Home, she thought, home, he is going to take me home, he’ll keep me safe, my Florian. The songs about Florian and Jonquil were her very favorites. Florian was homely too, though not so old.
She was racing headlong down the serpentine steps when a man lurched out of a hidden doorway. Sansa caromed into him and lost her balance. Iron fingers caught her by the wrist before she could fall, and a deep voice rasped at her. “It’s a long roll down the serpentine, little bird. Want to kill us both?” His laughter was rough as a saw on stone. “Maybe you do.”
The Hound. “No, my lord, pardons, I’d never.” Sansa averted her eyes but it was too late, he’d seen her face. “Please, you’re hurting me.” She tried to wriggle free.
“And what’s Joff’s little bird doing flying down the serpentine in the black of night?” When she did not answer, he shook her. “Where were you? “
“The g-g-godswood, my lord,” she said, not daring to lie. “Praying... praying for my father, and... for the king, praying that he’d not be hurt.”
“Think I’m so drunk that I’d believe that?” He let go his grip on her arm, swaying slightly as he stood, stripes of light and darkness falling across his terrible burnt face. “You look almost a woman... face, teats, and you’re taller too, almost... ah, you’re still a stupid little bird, aren’t you? Singing all the songs they taught you... sing me a song, why don’t you? Go on. Sing to me. Some song about knights and fair maids. You like knights, don’t you?”
He was scaring her. “T-true knights, my lord.”
“True knights,” he mocked. “And I’m no lord, no more than I’m a knight. Do I need to beat that into you?” Clegane reeled and almost fell. “Gods,” he swore, “too much wine. Do you like wine, little bird? Rue wine? A flagon of sour red, dark as blood, all a man needs. Or a woman.”
He laughed, shook his head. “Drunk as a dog, damn me. You come now. Back to your cage, little bird. I’ll take you there. Keep you safe for the king.” The Hound gave her a push, oddly gentle, and followed her down the steps. By the time they reached the bottom, he had lapsed back into a brooding silence, as if he had forgotten she was there.
When they reached Maegor’s Holdfast, she was alarmed to see that it was Ser Boros Blount who now held the bridge. His high white helm turned stiffly at the sound of their footsteps. Sansa flinched away from his gaze. Ser Boros was the worst of the Kingsguard, an ugly man with a foul temper, all scowls and jowls.
“That one is nothing to fear, girl.” The Hound laid a heavy hand on her shoulder. “Paint stripes on a toad, he does not become a tiger.”
Ser Boros lifted his visor. “Ser, where-”
“Fuck your ser, Boros. You’re the knight, not me. I’m the king’s dog, remember? “
“The king was looking for his dog earlier.”
“The dog was drinking. It was your night to shield him, ser. You and my other brothers.”
Ser Boros turned to Sansa. “How is it you are not in your chambers at this hour, lady?”
“I went to the godswood to pray for the safety of the king.” The lie sounded better this time, almost true.
“You expect her to sleep with all the noise?” Clegane said. “What was the trouble? “
“Fools at the gate,” Ser Boros admitted. “Some loose tongues spread tales of the preparations for Tyrek’s wedding feast, and these wretches got it in their heads they should be feasted too. His Grace led a sortie and sent them scurrying.”
“A brave boy,” Clegane said, mouth twitching.
Let us see how brave he is when he faces my brother, Sansa thought. The Hound escorted her across the drawbridge. As they were winding their way up the steps, she said, “Why do you let people call you a dog? You won’t let anyone call you a knight.”
“I like dogs better than knights. My father’s father was kennelmaster at the Rock. One autumn year, Lord Tytos came between a lioness and her prey. The lioness didn’t give a shit that she was Lannister’s own sigil. Bitch tore into my lord’s horse and would have done for my lord too, but my grandfather came up with the hounds. Three of his dogs died running her off. My grandfather lost a leg, so Lannister paid him for it with lands and a towerhouse, and took his son to squire. The three dogs on our banner are the three that died, in the yellow of autumn grass. A hound will die for you, but never lie to you. And he’ll look you straight in the face.” He cupped her under the jaw, raising her chin, his fingers pinching her painfully. “And that’s more than little birds can do, isn’t it? I never got my song.”
“I... I know a song about Florian and Jonquil.”
“Florian and Jonquil? A fool and his cunt. Spare me. But one day I’ll have a song from you, whether you will it or no.”
“I will sing it for you gladly.”
Sandor Clegane snorted. “Pretty thing, and such a bad liar. A dog can smell a lie, you know. Look around you, and take a good whiff. They’re all liars here... and every one better than you.”
Vor mehr als einem Jahr AngelGirl1992 said…
“The longer you keep him waiting, the worse it will go for you,” Sandor Clegane warned her.
Sansa tried to hurry, but her fingers fumbled at buttons and knots. The Hound was always rough-tongued, but something in the way he had looked at her filled her with dread. Had Joffrey found out about her meetings with Ser Dontos? Please no, she thought as she brushed out her hair. Ser Dontos was her only hope. I have to look pretty, Joff likes me to look pretty, he’s always liked me in this gown, this color. She smoothed the cloth down. The fabric was tight across her chest.
When she emerged, Sansa walked on the Hound’s left, away from the burned side of his face. “Tell me what I’ve done.”
“Not you. Your kingly brother.”
“Robb’s a traitor.” Sansa knew the words by rote. “I had no part in whatever he did.” Gods be good, don’t let it be the Kingslayer. If Robb had harmed Jaime Larmister, it would mean her life. She thought of Ser Ilyn, and how those terrible pale eyes staring pitilessly out of that gaunt pockmarked face.
The Hound snorted. “They trained you well, little bird.” He conducted her to the lower bailey, where a crowd had gathered around the archery butts. Men moved aside to let them through. She could hear Lord Gyles coughing. Loitering stablehands eyed her insolently, but Ser Horas Redwyne averted his gaze as she passed, and his brother Hobber pretended not to see her. A yellow cat was dying on the ground, mewling piteously, a crossbow quarrel through its ribs. Sansa stepped around it, feeling ill.
Ser Dontos approached on his broomstick horse; since he’d been too drunk to mount his destrier at the tourney, the king had decreed that henceforth he must always go horsed. “Be brave,” he whispered, squeezing her arm.
Joffrey stood in the center of the throng, winding an ornate crossbow. Ser Boros and Ser Meryn were with him. The sight of them was enough to tie her insides in knots.
“Your Grace.” She fell to her knees.
“Kneeling won’t save you now,” the king said. “Stand up. You’re here to answer for your brother’s latest treasons.”
“Your Grace, whatever my traitor brother has done, I had no part. You know that, I beg you, please-”
“Get her up!”
The Hound pulled her to her feet, not ungently.
“Ser Lancel,” Joff said, “tell her of this outrage.”
Sansa had always thought Lancel Lannister comely and well spoken, but there was neither pity nor kindness in the look he gave her. “Using some vile sorcery, your brother fell upon Ser Stafford Lannister with an army of wargs, not three days ride from Lannisport. Thousands of
good men were butchered as they slept, without the chance to lift sword. After the slaughter, the northmen feasted on the flesh of the slain.”
Horror coiled cold hands around Sansa’s throat.
“You have nothing to say?” asked Joffrey.
“Your Grace, the poor child is shocked witless,” murmured Ser Dontos.
“Silence, fool.” Joffrey lifted his crossbow and pointed it at her face. “You Starks are as unnatural as those wolves of yours. I’ve not forgotten how your monster savaged me.”
“That was Arya’s wolf,” she said. “Lady never hurt you, but you killed her anyway.”
“No, your father did,” Joff said, “but I killed your father. I wish I’d done it myself. I killed a man last night who was bigger than your father. They came to the gate shouting my name and calling for bread like I was some baker, but I taught them better. I shot the loudest one right through the throat.”
“And he died?” With the ugly iron head of the quarrel staring her in the face, it was hard to think what else to say.
“Of course he died, he had my quarrel in his throat. There was a woman throwing rocks, I got her as well, but only in the arm.” Frowning, he lowered the crossbow. “I’d shoot you too, but if I do Mother says they’d kill my uncle Jaime. Instead you’ll just be punished and we’ll send word to your brother about what will happen to you if he doesn’t yield. Dog, hit her.”
“Let me beat her!” Ser Dontos shoved forward, tin armor clattering. He was armed with a “morningstar” whose head was a melon. My Florian. She could have kissed him, blotchy skin and broken veins and all. He trotted his broomstick around her, shouting “Traitor, traitor” and whacking her over the head with the melon. Sansa covered herself with her hands, staggering every time the fruit pounded her, her hair sticky by the second blow. People were laughing. The melon flew to pieces. Laugh, Joffrey, she prayed as the juice ran down her face and the front of her blue silk gown. Laugh and be satisfied.
Joffrey did not so much as snigger. “Boros. Meryn.”
Ser Meryn Trant seized Dontos by the arm and flung him brusquely away. The red-faced fool went sprawling, broomstick, melon, and all. Ser Boros seized Sansa.
“Leave her face,” Joffrey commanded. “I like her pretty.”
Boros slammed a fist into Sansa’s belly, driving the air out of her. When she doubled over, the knight grabbed her hair and drew his sword, and for one hideous instant she was certain he meant to open her throat. As he laid the flat of the blade across her thighs, she thought her legs might break from the force of the blow. Sansa screamed. Tears welled in her eyes. It will be over soon. She soon lost count of the blows.
“Enough,” she heard the Hound rasp.
“No it isn’t,” the king replied. “Boros, make her naked.”
Boros shoved a meaty hand down the front of Sansa’s bodice and gave a hard yank. The silk came tearing away, baring her to the waist. Sansa covered her breasts with her hands. She could hear sniggers, far off and cruel. “Beat her bloody,” Joffrey said, “we’ll see how her brother fancies-”
“What is the meaning of this?”
The Imp’s voice cracked like a whip, and suddenly Sansa was free. She stumbled to her knees, arms crossed over her chest, her breath ragged. “Is this your notion of chivalry, Ser Boros?” Tyrion Lannister demanded angrily. His pet sellsword stood with him, and one of his wildlings, the one with the burned eye. “What sort of knight beats helpless maids?”
“The sort who serves his king, Imp.” Ser Boros raised his sword, and Ser Meryn stepped up beside him, his blade scraping clear of its scabbard.
“Careful with those,” warned the dwarf’s sellsword. “You don’t want to get blood all over those pretty white cloaks.”
“Someone give the girl something to cover herself with,” the Imp said.
Sandor Clegane unfastened his cloak and tossed it at her. Sansa clutched it against her chest, fists bunched hard in the white wool. The coarse weave was scratchy against her skin, but no velvet had ever felt so fine.
“This girl’s to be your queen,” the Imp told Joffrey. “Have you no regard for her honor?”
“I’m punishing her.”
“For what crime? She did not fight her brother’s battle.”
“She has the blood of a wolf.”
“And you have the wits of a goose.”
“You can’t talk to me that way. The king can do as he likes.”
“Aerys Targaryen did as he liked. Has your mother ever told you what happened to him?”
Ser Boros Blount harrumphed. “No man threatens His Grace in the presence of the Kingsguard.”
Tyrion Lannister raised an eyebrow. “I am not threatening the king, ser, I am educating my nephew. Bronn, Timett, the next time Ser Boros opens his mouth, kill him.” The dwarf smiled. “Now that was a threat, ser. See the difference?”
Ser Boros turned a dark shade of red. “The queen will hear of this!”
“No doubt she will. And why wait? Joffrey, shall we send for your mother? “
The king flushed.
“Nothing to say, Your Grace?” his uncle went on. “Good. Learn to use your ears more and your mouth less, or your reign will be shorter than I am. Wanton brutality is no way to win your people’s love... or your queen’s.”
“Fear is better than love, Mother says.” Joffrey pointed at Sansa. “She fears me.”
The Imp sighed. “Yes, I see. A pity Stannis and Renly aren’t twelve year-old girls as well. Bronn, Timett, bring her.”
Sansa moved as if in a dream. She thought the Imp’s men would take her back to her bedchamber in Maegor’s Holdfast, but instead they conducted her to the Tower of the Hand. She had not set foot inside that place since the day her father fell from grace, and it made her feel faint to climb those steps again.
Some serving girls took charge of her, mouthing meaningless comforts to stop her shaking. One stripped off the ruins of her gown and smallclothes, and another bathed her and washed the
sticky juice from her face and her hair. As they scrubbed her down with soap and sluiced warm water over her head, all she could see were the faces from the bailey. Knights are sworn to defend the weak, protect women, and fight for the right, but none of them did a thing. Only Ser Dontos had tried to help, and he was no longer a knight, no more than the Imp was, nor the Hound... the Hound hated knights... I hate them too, Sansa thought. They are no true knights, not one of them.
After she was clean, plump ginger-headed Maester Frenken came to see her. He bid her lie facedown on the mattress while he spread a salve across the angry red welts that covered the backs of her legs. Afterward he mixed her a draught of dreamwine, with some honey so it might go down easier. “Sleep a bit, child. When you wake, all this will seem a bad dream.”
No it won’t, you stupid man, Sansa thought, but she drank the drearnwine anyway, and slept.
It was dark when she woke again, not quite knowing where she was, the room both strange and strangely familiar. As she rose, a stab of pain went through her legs and brought it all back. Tears filled her eyes. Someone had laid out a robe for her beside the bed. Sansa slipped it on and opened the door. Outside stood a hard-faced woman with leathery brown skin, three necklaces looped about her scrawny neck. One was gold and one was silver and one was made of human ears. “Where does she think she’s going?” the woman asked, leaning on a tall spear.
“The godswood.- She had to find Ser Dontos, beg him to take her home now before it was too late.
“The halfman said you’re not to leave,” the woman said. “Pray here, the gods will hear.”
Meekly, Sansa dropped her eyes and retreated back inside. She realized suddenly why this place seemed so familiar. They’ve put me in Arya’s old bedchamber, from when Father was the Hand of the King. All her things are gone and the furnishings have been moved around, but it’s the same...
A short time later, a serving girl brought a platter of cheese and bread and olives, with a flagon of cold water. “Take it away,” Sansa commanded, but the girl left the food on a table. She was thirsty, she realized. Every step sent knives through her thighs, but she made herself cross the room. She drank two cups of water, and was nibbling on an olive when the knock came.
Anxiously, she turned toward the door, smoothed down the folds of her robe. “Yes?”
The door opened, and Tyrion Lannister stepped inside. “My lady. I trust I am not disturbing you?”
“Am I your prisoner?”
“My guest.” He was wearing his chain of office, a necklace of linked golden hands. “I thought we might talk.”
“As my lord commands.” Sansa found it hard not to stare; his face was so ugly it held a queer fascination for her.
“The food and garments are to your satisfaction?” he asked. “If there is anything else you need, you have only to ask.”
“You are most kind. And this morning... it was very good of you to help me.”
“You have a right to know why Joffrey was so wroth. Six nights gone, your brother fell upon my uncle Stafford, encamped with his host at a village called Oxcross not three days ride from Casterly Rock. Your northerners won a crushing victory. We received word only this morning.”
Robb will kill you all, she thought, exulting. “It’s... terrible, my lord. My brother is a vile traitor.”
The dwarf smiled wanly. “Well, he’s no fawn, he’s made that clear enough.”
“Ser Lancel said Robb led an army of wargs.”
The Imp gave a disdainful bark of laughter. “Ser Lancel’s a wineskin warrior who wouldn’t know a warg from a wart. Your brother had his direwolf with him, but I suspect that’s as far as it went. The northmen crept into my uncle’s camp and cut his horse lines, and Lord Stark sent his wolf among them. Even war-trained destriers went mad. Knights were trampled to death in their pavilions, and the rabble woke in terror and fled, casting aside their weapons to run the faster. Ser Stafford was slain as he chased after a horse. Lord Rickard Karstark drove a lance through his chest. Ser Rubert Brax is also dead, along with Ser Lymond Vikary, Lord Crakehall, and Lord Jast. Half a hundred more have been taken captive, including Jast’s sons and my nephew Martyn Lannister. Those who survived are spreading wild tales and swearing that the old gods of the north march with your brother.”
“Then... there was no sorcery?”
Lannister snorted. “Sorcery is the sauce fools spoon over failure to hide the flavor of their own incompetence. My mutton-headed uncle had not even troubled to post sentries, it would seem. His host was raw-apprentice boys, miners, fieldhands, fisherfolk, the sweepings of Lannisport. The only mystery is how your brother reached him. Our forces still hold the stronghold at the Golden Tooth, and they swear he did not pass.” The dwarf gave an irritated shrug. “Well, Robb Stark is my father’s bane. Joffrey is mine. Tell me, what do you feel for my kingly nephew?”
“I love him with all my heart,” Sansa said at once.
“Truly?” He did not sound convinced. “Even now?”
“My love for His Grace is greater than it has ever been.”
The Imp laughed aloud. “Well, someone has taught you to lie well. You may be grateful for that one day, child. You are a child still, are you not? Or have you flowered?”
Sansa blushed. It was a rude question, but the shame of being stripped before half the castle made it seem like nothing. “No, my lord.”
“That’s all to the good. If it gives you any solace, I do not intend that you ever wed Joffrey. No marriage will reconcile Stark and Lannister after all that has happened, I fear. More’s the pity. The match was one of King Robert’s better notions, if Joffrey hadn’t mucked it up.”
She knew she ought to say something, but the words caught in her throat.
“You grow very quiet,” Tyrion Lannister observed. “Is this what you want? An end to your betrothal?”
“I...” Sansa did not know what to say. Is it a trick? Will he punish me if I tell the truth? She stared at the dwarf’s brutal bulging brow, the hard black eye and the shrewd green one, the crooked teeth and wiry beard. “I only want to be loyal.”
“Loyal,” the dwarf mused, “and far from any Lannisters. I can scarce blame you for that. When I was your age, I wanted the same thing.” He smiled. “They tell me you visit the godswood every day. What do you pray for, Sansa?”
I pray for Robb’s victory and Joffrey’s death... and for home. For Winterfell. “I pray for an end to the fighting.”
“We’ll have that soon enough. There will be another battle, between your brother Robb and my lord father, and that will settle the issue.”
Robb will beat him, Sansa thought. He beat your uncle and your brother Jaime, he’ll beat your father too.
It was as if her face were an open book, so easily did the dwarf read her hopes. “Do not take Oxcross too much to heart, my lady,” he told her, not unkindly. “A battle is not a war, and my lord father is assuredly not my uncle Stafford. The next time you visit the godswood, pray that your brother has the wisdom to bend the knee. Once the north returns to the king’s peace, I mean to send you home.” He hopped down off the window seat and said, “You may sleep here tonight. I’ll give you some of my own men as a guard, some Stone Crows perhaps-”
“No,” Sansa blurted out, aghast. If she was locked in the Tower of the Hand, guarded by the dwarf’s men, how would Ser Dontos ever spirit her away to freedom?
“Would you prefer Black Ears? I’ll give you Chella if a woman would make you more at ease.”
“Please, no, my lord, the wildlings frighten me.”
He grinned. “Me as well. But more to the point, they frighten Joffrey and that nest of sly vipers and lickspittle dogs he calls a Kingsguard. With Chella or Timett by your side, no one would dare offer you harm.”
“I would sooner return to my own bed.” A lie came to her suddenly, but it seemed so right that she blurted it out at once. “This tower was where my father’s men were slain. Their ghosts would give me terrible dreams, and I would see their blood wherever I looked.”
Tyrion Lannister studied her face. “I am no stranger to nightmares, Sansa. Perhaps you are wiser than I knew. Permit me at least to escort you safely back to your own chambers.”
Vor mehr als einem Jahr AngelGirl1992 said…
“The longer you keep him waiting, the worse it will go for you,” Sandor Clegane warned her.
Sansa tried to hurry, but her fingers fumbled at buttons and knots. The Hound was always rough-tongued, but something in the way he had looked at her filled her with dread. Had Joffrey found out about her meetings with Ser Dontos? Please no, she thought as she brushed out her hair. Ser Dontos was her only hope. I have to look pretty, Joff likes me to look pretty, he’s always liked me in this gown, this color. She smoothed the cloth down. The fabric was tight across her chest.
When she emerged, Sansa walked on the Hound’s left, away from the burned side of his face. “Tell me what I’ve done.”
“Not you. Your kingly brother.”
“Robb’s a traitor.” Sansa knew the words by rote. “I had no part in whatever he did.” Gods be good, don’t let it be the Kingslayer. If Robb had harmed Jaime Larmister, it would mean her life. She thought of Ser Ilyn, and how those terrible pale eyes staring pitilessly out of that gaunt pockmarked face.
The Hound snorted. “They trained you well, little bird.” He conducted her to the lower bailey, where a crowd had gathered around the archery butts. Men moved aside to let them through. She could hear Lord Gyles coughing. Loitering stablehands eyed her insolently, but Ser Horas Redwyne averted his gaze as she passed, and his brother Hobber pretended not to see her. A yellow cat was dying on the ground, mewling piteously, a crossbow quarrel through its ribs. Sansa stepped around it, feeling ill.
Ser Dontos approached on his broomstick horse; since he’d been too drunk to mount his destrier at the tourney, the king had decreed that henceforth he must always go horsed. “Be brave,” he whispered, squeezing her arm.
Joffrey stood in the center of the throng, winding an ornate crossbow. Ser Boros and Ser Meryn were with him. The sight of them was enough to tie her insides in knots.
“Your Grace.” She fell to her knees.
“Kneeling won’t save you now,” the king said. “Stand up. You’re here to answer for your brother’s latest treasons.”
“Your Grace, whatever my traitor brother has done, I had no part. You know that, I beg you, please-”
“Get her up!”
The Hound pulled her to her feet, not ungently.
“Ser Lancel,” Joff said, “tell her of this outrage.”
Sansa had always thought Lancel Lannister comely and well spoken, but there was neither pity nor kindness in the look he gave her. “Using some vile sorcery, your brother fell upon Ser Stafford Lannister with an army of wargs, not three days ride from Lannisport. Thousands of
good men were butchered as they slept, without the chance to lift sword. After the slaughter, the northmen feasted on the flesh of the slain.”
Horror coiled cold hands around Sansa’s throat.
“You have nothing to say?” asked Joffrey.
“Your Grace, the poor child is shocked witless,” murmured Ser Dontos.
“Silence, fool.” Joffrey lifted his crossbow and pointed it at her face. “You Starks are as unnatural as those wolves of yours. I’ve not forgotten how your monster savaged me.”
“That was Arya’s wolf,” she said. “Lady never hurt you, but you killed her anyway.”
“No, your father did,” Joff said, “but I killed your father. I wish I’d done it myself. I killed a man last night who was bigger than your father. They came to the gate shouting my name and calling for bread like I was some baker, but I taught them better. I shot the loudest one right through the throat.”
“And he died?” With the ugly iron head of the quarrel staring her in the face, it was hard to think what else to say.
“Of course he died, he had my quarrel in his throat. There was a woman throwing rocks, I got her as well, but only in the arm.” Frowning, he lowered the crossbow. “I’d shoot you too, but if I do Mother says they’d kill my uncle Jaime. Instead you’ll just be punished and we’ll send word to your brother about what will happen to you if he doesn’t yield. Dog, hit her.”
“Let me beat her!” Ser Dontos shoved forward, tin armor clattering. He was armed with a “morningstar” whose head was a melon. My Florian. She could have kissed him, blotchy skin and broken veins and all. He trotted his broomstick around her, shouting “Traitor, traitor” and whacking her over the head with the melon. Sansa covered herself with her hands, staggering every time the fruit pounded her, her hair sticky by the second blow. People were laughing. The melon flew to pieces. Laugh, Joffrey, she prayed as the juice ran down her face and the front of her blue silk gown. Laugh and be satisfied.
Joffrey did not so much as snigger. “Boros. Meryn.”
Ser Meryn Trant seized Dontos by the arm and flung him brusquely away. The red-faced fool went sprawling, broomstick, melon, and all. Ser Boros seized Sansa.
“Leave her face,” Joffrey commanded. “I like her pretty.”
Boros slammed a fist into Sansa’s belly, driving the air out of her. When she doubled over, the knight grabbed her hair and drew his sword, and for one hideous instant she was certain he meant to open her throat. As he laid the flat of the blade across her thighs, she thought her legs might break from the force of the blow. Sansa screamed. Tears welled in her eyes. It will be over soon. She soon lost count of the blows.
“Enough,” she heard the Hound rasp.
“No it isn’t,” the king replied. “Boros, make her naked.”
Boros shoved a meaty hand down the front of Sansa’s bodice and gave a hard yank. The silk came tearing away, baring her to the waist. Sansa covered her breasts with her hands. She could hear sniggers, far off and cruel. “Beat her bloody,” Joffrey said, “we’ll see how her brother fancies-”
“What is the meaning of this?”
The Imp’s voice cracked like a whip, and suddenly Sansa was free. She stumbled to her knees, arms crossed over her chest, her breath ragged. “Is this your notion of chivalry, Ser Boros?” Tyrion Lannister demanded angrily. His pet sellsword stood with him, and one of his wildlings, the one with the burned eye. “What sort of knight beats helpless maids?”
“The sort who serves his king, Imp.” Ser Boros raised his sword, and Ser Meryn stepped up beside him, his blade scraping clear of its scabbard.
“Careful with those,” warned the dwarf’s sellsword. “You don’t want to get blood all over those pretty white cloaks.”
“Someone give the girl something to cover herself with,” the Imp said.
Sandor Clegane unfastened his cloak and tossed it at her. Sansa clutched it against her chest, fists bunched hard in the white wool. The coarse weave was scratchy against her skin, but no velvet had ever felt so fine.
“This girl’s to be your queen,” the Imp told Joffrey. “Have you no regard for her honor?”
“I’m punishing her.”
“For what crime? She did not fight her brother’s battle.”
“She has the blood of a wolf.”
“And you have the wits of a goose.”
“You can’t talk to me that way. The king can do as he likes.”
“Aerys Targaryen did as he liked. Has your mother ever told you what happened to him?”
Ser Boros Blount harrumphed. “No man threatens His Grace in the presence of the Kingsguard.”
Tyrion Lannister raised an eyebrow. “I am not threatening the king, ser, I am educating my nephew. Bronn, Timett, the next time Ser Boros opens his mouth, kill him.” The dwarf smiled. “Now that was a threat, ser. See the difference?”
Ser Boros turned a dark shade of red. “The queen will hear of this!”
“No doubt she will. And why wait? Joffrey, shall we send for your mother? “
The king flushed.
“Nothing to say, Your Grace?” his uncle went on. “Good. Learn to use your ears more and your mouth less, or your reign will be shorter than I am. Wanton brutality is no way to win your people’s love... or your queen’s.”
“Fear is better than love, Mother says.” Joffrey pointed at Sansa. “She fears me.”
The Imp sighed. “Yes, I see. A pity Stannis and Renly aren’t twelve year-old girls as well. Bronn, Timett, bring her.”
Sansa moved as if in a dream. She thought the Imp’s men would take her back to her bedchamber in Maegor’s Holdfast, but instead they conducted her to the Tower of the Hand. She had not set foot inside that place since the day her father fell from grace, and it made her feel faint to climb those steps again.
Some serving girls took charge of her, mouthing meaningless comforts to stop her shaking. One stripped off the ruins of her gown and smallclothes, and another bathed her and washed the
sticky juice from her face and her hair. As they scrubbed her down with soap and sluiced warm water over her head, all she could see were the faces from the bailey. Knights are sworn to defend the weak, protect women, and fight for the right, but none of them did a thing. Only Ser Dontos had tried to help, and he was no longer a knight, no more than the Imp was, nor the Hound... the Hound hated knights... I hate them too, Sansa thought. They are no true knights, not one of them.
After she was clean, plump ginger-headed Maester Frenken came to see her. He bid her lie facedown on the mattress while he spread a salve across the angry red welts that covered the backs of her legs. Afterward he mixed her a draught of dreamwine, with some honey so it might go down easier. “Sleep a bit, child. When you wake, all this will seem a bad dream.”
No it won’t, you stupid man, Sansa thought, but she drank the drearnwine anyway, and slept.
It was dark when she woke again, not quite knowing where she was, the room both strange and strangely familiar. As she rose, a stab of pain went through her legs and brought it all back. Tears filled her eyes. Someone had laid out a robe for her beside the bed. Sansa slipped it on and opened the door. Outside stood a hard-faced woman with leathery brown skin, three necklaces looped about her scrawny neck. One was gold and one was silver and one was made of human ears. “Where does she think she’s going?” the woman asked, leaning on a tall spear.
“The godswood.- She had to find Ser Dontos, beg him to take her home now before it was too late.
“The halfman said you’re not to leave,” the woman said. “Pray here, the gods will hear.”
Meekly, Sansa dropped her eyes and retreated back inside. She realized suddenly why this place seemed so familiar. They’ve put me in Arya’s old bedchamber, from when Father was the Hand of the King. All her things are gone and the furnishings have been moved around, but it’s the same...
A short time later, a serving girl brought a platter of cheese and bread and olives, with a flagon of cold water. “Take it away,” Sansa commanded, but the girl left the food on a table. She was thirsty, she realized. Every step sent knives through her thighs, but she made herself cross the room. She drank two cups of water, and was nibbling on an olive when the knock came.
Anxiously, she turned toward the door, smoothed down the folds of her robe. “Yes?”
The door opened, and Tyrion Lannister stepped inside. “My lady. I trust I am not disturbing you?”
“Am I your prisoner?”
“My guest.” He was wearing his chain of office, a necklace of linked golden hands. “I thought we might talk.”
“As my lord commands.” Sansa found it hard not to stare; his face was so ugly it held a queer fascination for her.
“The food and garments are to your satisfaction?” he asked. “If there is anything else you need, you have only to ask.”
“You are most kind. And this morning... it was very good of you to help me.”
“You have a right to know why Joffrey was so wroth. Six nights gone, your brother fell upon my uncle Stafford, encamped with his host at a village called Oxcross not three days ride from Casterly Rock. Your northerners won a crushing victory. We received word only this morning.”
Robb will kill you all, she thought, exulting. “It’s... terrible, my lord. My brother is a vile traitor.”
The dwarf smiled wanly. “Well, he’s no fawn, he’s made that clear enough.”
“Ser Lancel said Robb led an army of wargs.”
The Imp gave a disdainful bark of laughter. “Ser Lancel’s a wineskin warrior who wouldn’t know a warg from a wart. Your brother had his direwolf with him, but I suspect that’s as far as it went. The northmen crept into my uncle’s camp and cut his horse lines, and Lord Stark sent his wolf among them. Even war-trained destriers went mad. Knights were trampled to death in their pavilions, and the rabble woke in terror and fled, casting aside their weapons to run the faster. Ser Stafford was slain as he chased after a horse. Lord Rickard Karstark drove a lance through his chest. Ser Rubert Brax is also dead, along with Ser Lymond Vikary, Lord Crakehall, and Lord Jast. Half a hundred more have been taken captive, including Jast’s sons and my nephew Martyn Lannister. Those who survived are spreading wild tales and swearing that the old gods of the north march with your brother.”
“Then... there was no sorcery?”
Lannister snorted. “Sorcery is the sauce fools spoon over failure to hide the flavor of their own incompetence. My mutton-headed uncle had not even troubled to post sentries, it would seem. His host was raw-apprentice boys, miners, fieldhands, fisherfolk, the sweepings of Lannisport. The only mystery is how your brother reached him. Our forces still hold the stronghold at the Golden Tooth, and they swear he did not pass.” The dwarf gave an irritated shrug. “Well, Robb Stark is my father’s bane. Joffrey is mine. Tell me, what do you feel for my kingly nephew?”
“I love him with all my heart,” Sansa said at once.
“Truly?” He did not sound convinced. “Even now?”
“My love for His Grace is greater than it has ever been.”
The Imp laughed aloud. “Well, someone has taught you to lie well. You may be grateful for that one day, child. You are a child still, are you not? Or have you flowered?”
Sansa blushed. It was a rude question, but the shame of being stripped before half the castle made it seem like nothing. “No, my lord.”
“That’s all to the good. If it gives you any solace, I do not intend that you ever wed Joffrey. No marriage will reconcile Stark and Lannister after all that has happened, I fear. More’s the pity. The match was one of King Robert’s better notions, if Joffrey hadn’t mucked it up.”
She knew she ought to say something, but the words caught in her throat.
“You grow very quiet,” Tyrion Lannister observed. “Is this what you want? An end to your betrothal?”
“I...” Sansa did not know what to say. Is it a trick? Will he punish me if I tell the truth? She stared at the dwarf’s brutal bulging brow, the hard black eye and the shrewd green one, the crooked teeth and wiry beard. “I only want to be loyal.”
“Loyal,” the dwarf mused, “and far from any Lannisters. I can scarce blame you for that. When I was your age, I wanted the same thing.” He smiled. “They tell me you visit the godswood every day. What do you pray for, Sansa?”
I pray for Robb’s victory and Joffrey’s death... and for home. For Winterfell. “I pray for an end to the fighting.”
“We’ll have that soon enough. There will be another battle, between your brother Robb and my lord father, and that will settle the issue.”
Robb will beat him, Sansa thought. He beat your uncle and your brother Jaime, he’ll beat your father too.
It was as if her face were an open book, so easily did the dwarf read her hopes. “Do not take Oxcross too much to heart, my lady,” he told her, not unkindly. “A battle is not a war, and my lord father is assuredly not my uncle Stafford. The next time you visit the godswood, pray that your brother has the wisdom to bend the knee. Once the north returns to the king’s peace, I mean to send you home.” He hopped down off the window seat and said, “You may sleep here tonight. I’ll give you some of my own men as a guard, some Stone Crows perhaps-”
“No,” Sansa blurted out, aghast. If she was locked in the Tower of the Hand, guarded by the dwarf’s men, how would Ser Dontos ever spirit her away to freedom?
“Would you prefer Black Ears? I’ll give you Chella if a woman would make you more at ease.”
“Please, no, my lord, the wildlings frighten me.”
He grinned. “Me as well. But more to the point, they frighten Joffrey and that nest of sly vipers and lickspittle dogs he calls a Kingsguard. With Chella or Timett by your side, no one would dare offer you harm.”
“I would sooner return to my own bed.” A lie came to her suddenly, but it seemed so right that she blurted it out at once. “This tower was where my father’s men were slain. Their ghosts would give me terrible dreams, and I would see their blood wherever I looked.”
Tyrion Lannister studied her face. “I am no stranger to nightmares, Sansa. Perhaps you are wiser than I knew. Permit me at least to escort you safely back to your own chambers.”
Vor mehr als einem Jahr AngelGirl1992 said…
They had been singing in the sept all morning, since the first report of enemy sails had reached the castle. The sound of their voices mingled with the whicker of horses, the clank of steel, and the groaning hinges of the great bronze gates to make a strange and fearful music. In the sept they sing for the Mother’s mercy but on the walls it’s the Warrior they pray to, and all in silence. She remembered how Septa Mordane used to tell them that the Warrior and the Mother were only two faces of the same great god. But if there is only one, whose prayers will be heard?
Ser Meryn Trant held the blood bay for Joffrey to mount. Boy and horse alike wore gilded mail and enameled crimson plate, with matching golden lions on their heads. The pale sunlight flashed off the golds and reds every time Joff moved. Bright, shining, and empty, Sansa thought.
The imp was mounted on a red stallion, armored more plainly than the king in battle gear that made him look like a little boy dressed up in his father’s clothes. But there was nothing childish about the battle-axe slung below his shield. Ser Mandon Moore rode at his side, white steel icy bright. When Tyrion saw her he turned his horse her way. “Lady Sansa,” he called from the saddle, “surely my sister has asked you to join the other highborn ladies in Maegor’s?”
“She has, my lord, but King Joffrey sent for me to see him off. I mean to visit the sept as well, to pray.”
“I won’t ask for whom.” His mouth twisted oddly; if that was a smile, off with shouts and cheers. When the last was gone, a sudden stillness settled over the yard, like the hush before a storm.
Through the quiet, the singing pulled at her. Sansa turned toward the sept. Two stableboys followed, and one of the guards whose watch was ended. Others fell in behind them.
Sansa had never seen the sept so crowded, nor so brightly lit; great shafts of rainbow-colored sunlight slanted down through the crystals in the high windows, and candles burned on every side, their little flames twinkling like stars. The Mother’s altar and the Warrior’s swam in light, but Smith and Crone and Maid and Father had their worshipers as well, and there were even a few flames dancing below the Stranger’s halfhuman face... for what was Stannis Baratheon, if not the Stranger come to judge them? Sansa visited each of the Seven in turn, lighting a candle at each altar, and then found herself a place on the benches between a wizened old washer woman and a boy no older than Rickon, dressed in the fine linen tunic of a knight’s son. The old woman’s hand was bony and hard with callus, the boy’s small and soft, but it was good to have someone to hold on to. The air was hot and heavy, smelling of incense and sweat, crystal-kissed and candle-bright; it made her dizzy to breathe it.
She knew the hymn; her mother had taught it to her once, a long time ago in Winterfell. She joined her voice to theirs.
Gentle Mother, font of mercy, save our sons from war, we pray, stay the swords and stay the arrows, let them know a better day. Gentle Mother, strength of women, help our daughters through this fray, soothe the wrath and tame the fury, teach us all a kinder way.
Across the city, thousands had jammed into the Great Sept of Baelor on Visenya’s Hill, and they would be singing too, their voices swelling out over the city, across the river, and up into the sky. Surely the gods must hear us, she thought.
Sansa knew most of the hymns, and followed along on those she did not know as best she could. She sang along with grizzled old serving men and anxious young wives, with serving girls and soldiers, cooks and falconers, knights and knaves, squires and spit boys and nursing mothers. She sang with those inside the castle walls and those without, sang with all the city. She sang for mercy, for the living and the dead alike, for Bran and Rickon and Robb, for her sister Arya and her bastard brother Jon Snow, away off on the Wall. She sang for her mother and her father, for her grandfather Lord Hoster and her uncle Edmure Tully, for her friend Jeyne Poole, for old drunken King Robert, for Septa Mordane and Ser Dontos and Jory Cassel and Maester Luwin, for all the brave knights and soldiers who would die today, and for the children and the wives who would mourn them, and finally, toward the end, she even sang for Tyrion the Imp and for the Hound. He is no true knight but he saved me all the same, she told the Mother. Save him if you can, and gentle the rage inside him.
But when the septon climbed on high and called upon the gods to protect and defend their true and noble king, Sansa got to her feet. The aisles were jammed with people. She had to shoulder through while the septon called upon the Smith to lend strength to Joffrey’s sword and shield, the Warrior to give him courage, the Father to defend him in his need. Let his sword break and his shield shatter, Sansa thought coldly as she shoved out through the doors, let his courage fail him and every man desert him.
A few guards paced along on the gatehouse battlements, but otherwise the castle seemed empty. Sansa stopped and listened. Away off, she could hear the sounds of battle. The singing almost drowned them out, but the sounds were there if you had the ears to hear: the deep moan of warhorns, the creak and thud of catapults flinging stones, the splashes and splinterings, the crackle of burning pitch and thrum of scorpions loosing their yard-long iron-headed shafts... and beneath it all, the cries of dying men.
It was another sort of song, a terrible song. Sansa pulled the hood of her cloak up over her ears, and hurried toward Maegor’s Holdfast, the castle-within-a-castle where the queen had promised they would all be safe. At the foot of the drawbridge, she came upon Lady Tanda and her two daughters. Falyse had arrived yesterday from Castle Stokeworth with a small troop of soldiers. She was trying to coax her sister onto the bridge, but Lollys clung to her maid, sobbing, “I don’t want to, I don’t want to, I don’t want to.”
“The battle is begun,” Lady Tanda said in a brittle voice.
“I don’t want to, I don’t want to.”
There was no way Sansa could avoid them. She greeted them courteously. “May I be of help?”
Lady Tanda flushed with shame. “No, my lady, but we thank you kindly. You must forgive my daughter, she has not been well.”
“I don’t want to.” Lollys clutched at her maid, a slender, pretty girl with short dark hair who looked as though she wanted nothing so much as to shove her mistress into the dry moat, onto those iron spikes. “Please, please, I don’t want to.”
Sansa spoke to her gently. “We’ll all be thrice protected inside, and there’s to be food and drink and song as well.”
Lollys gaped at her, mouth open. She had dull brown eyes that always seemed to be wet with tears. “I don’t want to.”
“You have to,” her sister Falyse said sharply, “and that is the end of it. Shae, help me.” They each took an elbow, and together half dragged and half carried Lollys across the bridge. Sansa followed with their mother. “She’s been sick,” Lady Tanda said. If a babe can be termed a sickness, Sansa thought. It was common gossip that Lollys was with child.
The two guards at the door wore the lion-crested helms and crimson cloaks of House Lannister, but Sansa knew they were only dressed-up sellswords. Another sat at the foot of the stair-a real guard would have been standing, not sitting on a step with his halberd across his kneesbut he rose when he saw them and opened the door to usher them inside.
The Queen’s Ballroom was not a tenth the size of the castle’s Great Hall, only half as big as the Small Hall in the Tower of the Hand, but it could still seat a hundred, and it made up in grace what it lacked in space. Beaten silver mirrors backed every wall sconce, so the torches burned twice as bright; the walls were paneled in richly carved wood, and sweet-smelling rushes covered the floors. From the gallery above drifted down the merry strains of pipes and fiddle. A line of arched windows ran along the south wall, but they had been closed off with heavy draperies. Thick velvet hangings admitted no thread of light, and would muffle the sound of prayer and war alike. It makes no matter, Sansa thought. The war is with us.
Almost every highborn woman in the city sat at the long trestle tables, along with a handful of old men and young boys. The women were wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters. Their men had gone out to fight Lord Stannis. Many would not return. The air was heavy with the knowledge. As Joffrey’s betrothed, Sansa had the seat of honor on the queen’s right hand. She was climbing the dais when she saw the man standing in the shadows by the back wall. He wore a long hauberk of oiled black mail, and held his sword before him: her father’s greatsword, Ice, near as tall as he was. Its point rested on the floor, and his hard bony fingers curled around the crossguard on either side of the grip. Sansa’s breath caught in her throat. Ser Ilyn Payne seemed to sense her stare. He turned his gaunt, pox-ravaged face toward her.
“What is he doing here?” she asked Osfryd Kettleblack. He captained the queen’s new red cloak guard.
Osfryd grinned. “Her Grace expects she’ll have need of him before the night’s done. “
Ser Ilyn was the King’s justice. There was only one service he might be needed for. Whose head does she want?
“All rise for Her Grace, Cersei of House Lannister, Queen Regent and Protector of the Realm,” the royal steward cried.
Cersei’s gown was snowy linen, white as the cloaks of the Kingsguard. Her long dagged sleeves showed a lining of gold satin. Masses of bright yellow hair tumbled to her bare shoulders in thick curls. Around her slender neck hung a rope of diamonds and emeralds. The white made her look strangely innocent, almost maidenly, but there were points of color on her cheeks.
“Be seated,” the queen said when she had taken her place on the dais, “and be welcome.” Osfryd Kettleblack held her chair; a page performed the same service for Sansa. “You look pale, Sansa,” Cersei observed. “Is your red flower still blooming?”
“I’ Yes.”
“How apt. The men will bleed out there, and you in here.” The queen signaled for the first course to be served.
“Why is Ser Ilyn here?” Sansa blurted out.
The queen glanced at the mute headsman. “To deal with treason, and to defend us if need be. He was a knight before he was a headsman.” She pointed her spoon toward the end of the hall, where the tall wooden doors had been closed and barred. “When the axes smash down those doors, you may be glad of him.”
I would be gladder if it were the Hound, Sansa thought. Harsh as he was, she did not believe Sandor Clegane would let any harm come to her. “Won’t your guards protect us?”
“And who will protect us from my guards?” The queen gave Osfryd a sideways look. “Loyal sellswords are rare as virgin whores. If the battle is lost my guards will trip on those crimson cloaks in their haste to rip them off. They’ll steal what they can and flee, along with the serving men, washer women, and stableboys, all out to save their own worthless hides. Do you have any notion what happens when a city is sacked, Sansa? No, you wouldn’t, would you? All you know of life you learned from singers, and there’s such a dearth of good sacking songs.”
“True knights would never harm women and children.” The words rang hollow in her ears even as she said them.
“True knights.” The queen seemed to find that wonderfully amusing. “No doubt you’re right. So why don’t you just eat your broth like a good girl and wait for Symeon Star-Eyes and Prince Aemon the Dragonknight to come rescue you, sweetling. I’m sure it won’t be very long now.”