A Clash of Kings-Chapter 10
From A Wiki of Ice and Fire
|A Clash of Kings chapter|
|Page||108 UK HC (Other versions)|
|Chapter chronology (All)|
Davos watches the burning of the seven gods, as commanded by Melisandre, with foreboding. During the burning, Stannis Baratheon enters the fire and takes the sword Lightbringer. Afterwards Davos meets with the pirate Salladhor Saan who brings news about the war. That night, Stannis calls for Davos to attend him. He plans to send out a message to the Seven Kingdoms announcing that Cersei’s sons are not Robert Baratheon's, and thus Stannis is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Davos tells Stannis that he has no more proof than a year ago and thinks referencng R'hllor is a bad idea.
Davos watches as the statues of the gods of the Faith of the Seven are burned as a sacrifice to R'hllor with foreboding, even though he has never been devout. His sons Allard and Dale beside him are bothered. However, he owes Stannis for his position at the cost of a few finger joints. The other lords still shun him and his sons for his low birth: Davos of Flea Bottom, the Onion Knight. However, his grandsons will joust with theirs one day, unless Stannis loses.
Septon Barre only cursed at the destruction by the queen’s men while Ser Hubard Rambton and his sons tried to protect the Sept at Dragonstone, where Aegon the Conqueror knelt to pray the night before he sailed. Lord Guncer Sunglass has refused to serve Stannis and was imprisoned along with the septon and Ser Hubard’s two surviving sons.
There are hundreds more watching the gods they have prayed to all their lives burn as Melisandre walks around the fire praying in many tongues, calling on R'hllor to accept their sacrifice of the false gods and the enemy, and cast light upon them, ending the prayer with the sacred words "for the night is dark and full of terrors.” Queen Selyse echoes the words, while Stannis watches impassively. Davos also sees Lord Duram Bar Emmon, Lord Ardrian Celtigar, and Lord Monford Velaryon, Lord of the Tides with the blood of ancient Valyria, watching, but they will never confide in him.
Davos thinks that Maester Cressen would have stopped this. There are rumors that the Lord of Light struck him down, but Davos knows he gave poison wine to the Red Woman, and then drank from the same cup. Davos doubts he has any chance to kill Melisandre if a maester failed.
Melisandre recounts the prophecy of "a day after a long summer when the stars bleed and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world. In this dread hour a warrior shall draw from the fire a burning sword. And that sword shall be Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again, and the darkness shall flee before him." She calls for Azor Ahai to come forth and claim the sword. Stannis comes forward, and Davos’ son and Stannis’ squire Devan pulls a padded leather glove over Stannis’s hand, while the other squire, Bryen Farring, puts a leather cape on Stannis. Stannis plunges into the fire, holding the leather cape before him and draws a near-molten sword from the statue of the Mother. Queen Selyse calls “A sword of fire!” and her men, including her uncle, Ser Axell Florent, join in. Melisandre calls the sword Lightbringer and Stannis Azor Ahai come again. The cherry-red sword is burning his glove, so Stannis plunges the tip into the dirt and peels off the glove. Melisandre then sings a song in the Asshai language. Afterwards, an impatient Stannis takes his queen into Dragonstone, leaving the host sword where it stands. Devan and Byren Farring roll the blackened sword in the leather cloak.
As they join the crowd making its way to the ships, Allard notes that Devan’s doublet shows a fiery heart, not a crowned stag, and Allard reiterates that it is bad to burn the seven. Asking when his son became so devout, Davos warns him to be careful, or he will never be a knight.
In the extremely crowded port, Davos takes leave of his sons and enters an inn where he finds the Lyseni pirate Salladhor Saan eating grapes. Saan explains that the red priests in Lys are always burning things in the name of R’hllor; it bores him and hopefully will soon bore Stannis. Then he tells him one of his trading ships visited King's Landing, and that it is said the children go hungry. He also informs Davos that Tywin Lannister has sent Tyrion Lannister to King’s Landing, and Tyrion has chased off the lout that was commander of the Gold Cloaks to replace him with a knight with an iron hand. The city's walls are strong, but defended only by the Gold Cloaks, who are few and green. He adds that a quick strike can take the city, and then the imp could be dressed as a fool, and Salladhor would like to bed Cersei. Davos assures him he will be paid, but Salladhor responds he wants gold, not paper. Davos states there is gold in the city treasury, and that Stannis is the most honorable man in the Seven Kingdoms. Salladhor tells him that Renly Baratheon has left Highgarden with his host and queen marching towards King’s Landing. That Renly has taken his bride surprises Davos.
Next, Saan tells Davos the sword is not Lightbringer, and asks how a burnt sword will serve Stannis. He recounts the legend of the Lightbringer's forging, how Azor Ahai labored long hours to forge a sword, but it kept breaking when tempered. For the third sword he labored 100 days and nights and then, with great regret, tempered the sword in his wife’s heart; it was her blood, soul, courage and strength that created the sword. Saan tells Davos to be thankful the sword Stannis raised was not real, for "too much light can hurt the eyes, and fire burns."
Salladhor asks when Stannis will sail, to which Davos responds soon if the gods will. Next, he asks Davos who his god is and Davos says it is King Stannis, who made him and blessed him with trust. As he leaves, Salladhor states that soon they will eat in King’s Landing. Davos lingers in the inn and thinks of the flaming sword of Thoros of Myr, and then of his wife, Marya, considering the price of a magic sword was more than he is willing to pay. After finishing his drink, he leaves to return to his ship Black Betha.
After dark, Devan arrives there with a command from Stannis to attend him. This makes Davos uneasy, believing that they should show patience since they are too few to assault King’s Landing. At Storm Drum, Ser Axell Florent, who was castellan of Dragonstone for the ten years Stannis spent in King’s Landing, greets him heartily, revealing he thought he saw golden dancers in the flame before the king, which he considers a vision of the future.
When Devan arrives, Stannis has Maester Pylos read a letter, since Davos cannot read, which says as follows:
|“||All men know me for the trueborn son of Steffon Baratheon, Lord of Storm’s End, by his lady wife Cassana of House Estermont. I declare upon the honor of my House that my beloved brother Robert, our late king, left no trueborn issue of his body, the boy Joffrey, the boy Tommen, and the girl Myrcella being abominations born of incest between Cersei Lannister and her brother Jaime the Kingslayer. By right of birth and blood, I do this day lay claim to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. Let all true men declare their loyalty. Done in the Light of the Lord, under the sign and seal of Stannis of House Baratheon, the First of His Name, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, and Lord of the Seven Kingdoms.||”|
Stannis makes a few changes, including adding “Ser” to Jaime since he is a knight, and removing “beloved brother”, as it is a lie. Then he states there are 117 ravens, and he will use them all over the kingdom. Stannis notes that he expects most of these letters to be thrown into the fire, so Davos is to sail to Gulltown, the Fingers, the Three Sisters, and White Harbor, while his son Dale will sail Wraith to Cape Wrath, the Broken Arm, Dorne and Arbor. Along the way they will post this declaration. Davos’ other son will cross the Narrow Sea. Davos recommends that they be read since few can read, and Stannis agrees to send knights for the declaration. Because of a look from Davos, Stannis sends Pylos out to start copying.
Once alone, Davos explains Pylos always reminds him of Cressen. Stannis responds he did not want Cressen dead, but he was giving bad council. Then, Davos asks what his lords thought of the letter, and is told that all but Lord Monford Velaryon, who stated steel would decide the matter, approved. Stannis asks Davos' opinion since he is the only one who will answer truthfully. Davos points out that he still has no more proof than a year ago. Stannis notes that Robert’s bastard son Edric Storm is clearly Robert’s son, yet his supposed true sons look nothing like him. However, Edric is at Storm's End. Davos suggests removing the reference to the Lord of Light since people do not like the words. He recommends a less specific reference to gods. Stannis asks Davos if he has become devout, and he replies that he knows the seven and they have provided, but he does not know this new god and Stannis' people will not love him for taking away their gods. Stannis explains he stopped believing in gods when his parents were killed in the storm. He has taken up with the Red Woman because of her power; there are four kings now, and the other three have more power.
Stannis now tells the story of how he nursed a wounded goshawk back to health and named it Proudwing. Proudwing was a timid bird, which his brother Robert named Weakwing. Robert’s falcon Thunderclap never missed a strike. Ser Harbert told Stannis he was making a fool of himself, and Stannis thinks he was right. Now Stannis believes that it is time to try a red hawk since the seven have provided him nothing.