A dance with dragons 24 ( a song of ice and fire 5)


Galazza Galare arrived at the Great Pyramid attended by a dozen White Graces, girls of noble birth who were still too young to have served their year in the temple’s pleasure gardens. They made for a pretty portrait, the proud old woman all in green surrounded by the little girls robed and veiled in white, armored in their innocence.

The queen welcomed them warmly, then summoned Missandei to see that the girls were fed and entertained whilst she shared a private supper with the Green Grace.

Her cooks had prepared them a magnificent meal of honeyed lamb, fragrant with crushed mint and served with the small green figs she liked so much. Two of Dany’s favorite hostages served the food and kept the cups filled – a doe-eyed little girl called Qezza and a skinny boy named Grazhar. They were brother and sister, and cousins of the Green Grace, who greeted them with kisses when she swept in, and asked them if they had been good.

“They are very sweet, the both of them,” Dany assured her. “Qezza sings for me sometimes. She has a lovely voice. And Ser Barristan has been instructing Grazhar and the other boys in the ways of western chivalry.”

“They are of my blood,” the Green Grace said, as Qezza filled her cup with a dark red wine. “It is good to know they have pleased Your Radiance. I hope I may do likewise.” The old woman’s hair was white and her skin was parchment thin, but the years had not dimmed her eyes. They were as green as her robes; sad eyes, full of wisdom. “If you will forgive my saying so, Your Radiance looks… weary. Are you sleeping?”

It was all Dany could do not to laugh. “Not well. Last night three Qartheen galleys sailed up the Skahazadhan under the cover of darkness. The Mother’s Men loosed flights of fire arrows at their sails and flung pots of burning pitch onto their decks, but the galleys slipped by quickly

and suffered no lasting harm. The Qartheen mean to close the river to us, as they have closed the bay. And they are no longer alone. Three galleys from New Ghis have joined them, and a carrack out of Tolos.” The Tolosi had replied to her request for an alliance by proclaiming her a whore and demanding that she return Meereen to its Great Masters. Even that was preferable to the answer of Mantarys, which came by way of caravan in a cedar chest. Inside she had found the heads of her three envoys, pickled. “Perhaps your gods can help us. Ask them to send a gale and sweep the galleys from the bay.”

“I shall pray and make sacrifice. Mayhaps the gods of Ghis will hear me.” Galazza Galare sipped her wine, but her eyes did not leave Dany. “Storms rage within the walls as well as without. More freedmen died last night, or so I have been told.”

“Three.” Saying it left a bitter taste in her mouth. “The cowards broke in on some weavers, freedwomen who had done no harm to anyone. All they did was make beautiful things. I have a tapestry they gave me hanging over my bed. The Sons of the Harpy broke their loom and raped them before slitting their throats.”

“This we have heard. And yet Your Radiance has found the courage to answer butchery with mercy. You have not harmed any of the noble children you hold as hostage.”

“Not as yet, no.” Dany had grown fond of her young charges. Some were shy and some were bold, some sweet and some sullen, but all were innocent. “If I kill my cupbearers, who will pour my wine and serve my supper?” she said, trying to make light of it.

The priestess did not smile.

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A dance with dragons 24 ( a song of ice and fire 5)