You were the queen’s man,” said Reznak mo Reznak. “The king desires his own men about him when he holds court.”
I am the queen’s man still. Today, tomorrow, always, until my last breath, or hers. Barristan Selmy refused to believe that Daenerys Targaryen was dead.
Perhaps that was why he was being put aside. One by one, Hizdahr removes us all. Strong Belwas lingered at the door of death in the temple, under the care of the Blue Graces… though Selmy half suspected they were finishing the job those honeyed locusts had begun. Skahaz Shavepate had been stripped of his command. The Unsullied had withdrawn to their barracks. Jhogo, Daario Naharis, Admiral Groleo, and Hero of the Unsullied remained hostages of the Yunkai’i. Aggo and Rakharo and the rest of the queen’s khalasar had been dispatched across the river to search for their lost queen. Even Missandei had been replaced; the king did not think it fit to use a child as his herald, and a onetime Naathi slave at that. And now me.
There was a time when he might have taken this dismissal as a blot upon his honor. But that was in Westeros. In the viper’s pit that was Meereen, honor seemed as silly as a fool’s motley. And this mistrust was mutual. Hizdahr zo Loraq might be his queen’s consort, but he would never be his king. “If His Grace wishes for me to remove myself from court…”
“His Radiance,” the seneschal corrected. “No, no, no, you misunderstand me. His Worship is to receive a delegation from the Yunkai’i, to discuss the withdrawal of their armies. They may ask for… ah… recompense for those who lost their lives to the dragon’s wroth. A delicate situation. The king feels it will be better if they see a Meereenese king upon the throne, protected by Meereenese warriors. Surely you can understand that, ser.”
I understand more than you know.
“Might I know which men His Grace has chosen to protect him?”
Reznak mo Reznak smiled his slimy smile. “Fearsome fighters, who love His Worship well. Goghor the Giant. Khrazz. The Spotted Cat. Belaquo Bonebreaker. Heroes all.”
Pit fighters all. Ser Barristan was unsurprised. Hizdahr zo Loraq sat uneasily on his new throne. It had been a thousand years since Meereen last had a king, and there were some even amongst the old blood who thought they might have made a better choice than him. Outside the city sat the Yunkai’i with their sellswords and their allies; inside were the Sons of the Harpy.
And the king’s protectors grew fewer every day. Hizdahr’s blunder with Grey Worm had cost him the Unsullied. When His Grace had tried to put them under the command of a cousin, as he had the Brazen Beasts, Grey Worm had informed the king that they were free men who took commands only from their mother. As for the Brazen Beasts, half were freed-men and the rest shavepates, whose true loyalty might still be to Skahaz mo Kandaq. The pit fighters were King Hizdahr’s only reliable support, against a sea of enemies.
“May they defend His Grace against all threats.” Ser Barristan’s tone gave no hint of his true feelings; he had learned to hide such back in King’s Landing years ago.
“His Magnificence,” Reznak mo Reznak stressed. “Your other duties shall remain unchanged, ser. Should this peace fail, His Radiance would still wish for you to command his forces against the enemies of our city.”
He has that much sense, at least.