[Editorial Note: I know, I know, I said I wouldn’t pull a George and then I went and pulled a George. Sorry. Not going to throw out any excuses. Just sorry. Part 10 will still come out tomorrow. ALSO, there is just too much plot for all of it to fit into ten parts, so I’m adding two more. I’m pretty sure twelve will be enough. But then I also said this would come yesterday, didn’t I? On to the story.]
Lord Wyman was waiting just inside the gates of New Castle when Davos and Lady Sansa and the rest of them arrived, his considerable heft drooping over his sword belt. Watching a squire get the merman into his mail must’ve been something. “I’ve seen to quarters for you all, my lady. The Imp and Lady Olenna are already in theirs.”
“Good,” Lady Sansa said. A Manderly knight stepped forward to help her off her horse. “I can get down on my own, my lord. Thank you. Lord Wyman, I would have you join us when we sup with Lady Olenna and Lord Tyrion in private this night.” She got down, and the rest of the Stark party followed the lady wolf’s lead.
“No feast, my lady?” Lord Wyman asked.
“As you wish.”
Everyone followed Lord Wyman inside to the Merman’s Court. As great halls went, it was one of the more impressive, at least to Davos. Everything was sea-themed and reminded Davos of his time as a smuggler. It felt like years since Davos had been this close to the ocean. The salt in the air warmed his lungs, and its briny tinge on his tongue teased out a smile.
A sailor never stops loving the sea.
Lady Arya asked, “How long have the Targaryens been here?”
Lord Wyman said. “I recalled the Imp’s appetites for reading and the pleasures of the flesh when he came with King Robert to visit your father, but he’s been rather quiet, kept to himself this time.”
Davos had never met the man, but he knew Lord Tyrion by reputation and a quiet man who kept to himself was not what he was known for.
Lady Arya said to her sister, “Doesn’t sound like him.”
“Not at all.”
“Perhaps he has changed,” Lord Wyman offered. “How many years has it been since you’ve seen the Imp, Lady Sansa.”
“Not enough,” Lady Arya answered for her. “Brienne and I would have a look around, Lord Manderly.”
“To what end,” Lady Sansa asked. “Do you think they mean to assassinate us?”
“Not all of us,” Lady Arya said.
A thumb is useless with no hand. A hand is useless with no thumb.
Without Sansa, Jon could not control the smallfolk. Without Jon, Sansa could never garner enough trust and respect from the Stark bannerman to call on their armies. It might well be worth it to the Dragon Queen to sacrifice
Lord Tyrion and Lady Olenna
just so she could split Jon and Sansa up, draw one out to kill, then watch the other struggle to put up a defense as she ravaged the North.
Davos expected Lady Sansa to blanch, but the girl–nay, the woman–looked to her sister and said, “See to it.” The courageous way Jon would’ve.
Two girls entered the hall as Lady Arya left. One was perhaps eighteen, and brown of hair, the other was a girl of thirteen, with hair the same
deep, lurid green
as that of the merman on the Manderly sigil. They stepped up to the Lady Wolf, smiled and curtsied.
“You remember my granddaughters Wynafryd and Wylla, Lady Sansa.”
“Of course. It’s good to see you, both. Seven blessings.”
Wylla Manderly said, “Seven blessings, Your Grace.”
“It’s my lady,” Wynafryd said. “She’s not a queen.”
“Why not? She rules same as her brother.”
* * *
“Sansa,” Lord Tyrion said. His smile was so wide it looked to split open his face. “It’s good to see you.” He took Lady Sansa’s hand and kissed it, before sitting down.
“Yes, girl,” Lady Olenna grabbed her and hugged her. “You’ve done well for yourself. Margaery would be proud.”
These were not the Imp and the Queen of Thorns Davos had heard so much about. Where were those people? The four of them sat down to sup alongside Lord Manderly in an otherwise empty Merman’s court. Earlier, Ladies Sansa and Wynafryd had advised Lord Manderly to dine before supper. Davos hadn’t understood why they had said that until the first course came out.
Lady Olenna told the Lord of White Harbor, “the way you slurp and smack as you eat that eel could murder the appetite of a thousand starving cannibals.”
If it had been Davos she were talking to, he’d have wanted to crawl into a hole and die after a comment like that, but Lord Manderly simply laughed.
After the second course, the business of the evening finally came up. Lord Tyrion said, “Let us not mince words. If it comes to war, Sansa, we will crush you. You know that. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be here. But that can be avoided if Jon bends a knee.”
Lady Sansa said, “My grandfather and my uncle acquiesced to a Targaryen once. And my father lost his life to another southron king.”
“Queen Daenerys is not Robert or her father,” Tyrion said. “She’s a good person, Sansa, as good as you and Jon.”
“What alternative do you have, girl? Hmm?” Lady Olenna said. “Would you throw away so soon all of that you and your brother have won back for your family over history and foolish pride?”
Lady Sansa said, “One cannot know where to go if one does not remember where they have been, Lady Olenna.”
The Queen of Thorns smiled. Lady Sansa was holding her own
amid all this posturing by these two masters of the art. In fact, she was doing more than that. She was thriving.
Dew For fertility, female reproductive health, eyesight, and beauty Condenses each night from mist onto leaves, grass, etc. Commonly used in beauty spells, and is said to be more powerful at dawn on Beltane
Pond or Lake Water For peace, relaxation, and self-reflection Use for meditation to achieve inner peace and tranquility
Creek Water For purification, harmony, and cleansing Good for cleansing certain crystals if not contaminated with chemicals
River Water For cleansing, moving forward, protection Placing an item in running water will remove magical charges
Sea Water For health, magical power, and manifestation of goals Good for cleansing and purification spells
Spring Water Traditional “pure water” For growth, cleansing, and prosperity Some hot springs have high sulfur content, which is good for banishing spells
Well Water For healing, wishes, and intuition Also Depends on the mineral content of the water For example, if copper is present, it will do well in love spells
Swamp Water For banishing and binding When stored in a sealed jar, it can be used to attract negativity to a designated area and away from another
Rain Water For energy, protection, and cleansing Use for revitalizing and growth spells
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