A Clash of Kings-Chapter 24
|A Clash of Kings chapter
|Lordsport and Pyke
|277 UK HC (Other versions)
|Chapter chronology (All)
Theon Greyjoy meets an ironborn woman calling herself Esgred while admiring his new longship. Immediately taken by her, Theon responds to her flirtations, eventually offering her a ride to his father's castle. They continue to flirt on route to Pyke, but upon their arrival, Theon discovers that Esgred is actually his older sister, Asha. At the feast held by Lord Balon Greyjoy that evening, Asha sits in the seat to Balon's right, a place of high honor. Theon and Asha later join their father and two uncles, Victarion and Aeron, in Balon's solar, where Balon reveals his plans. Theon is furious to discover that he has been given the least important mission.
Theon Greyjoy is at the docks at Lordsport, admiring his new longship. He is approached by a striking ironborn woman calling herself Esgred. Theon is taken by her and immediately begins to flirt. Although she responds to Theon's flirtations, Esgred informs him that she is married and pregnant. Theon is not bothered by this, telling her that he cannot father a bastard on her if she is pregnant and attempting to sway her by informing her he is a prince. When he asks whether he should name his ship after her, Esgred tells him that he should, as she has she build his ship. She informs him she is the daughter of Ambrode and the wife of Sigrin, the shipwright. When Theon claims she is wasted on Sigrin, she in turn claims that, according to Sigrin, the ship is wasted on Theon. She asks what Theon thinks of his new ship, but when Theon calls the ship a "fair maiden", Esgred states she is a sea bitch. Theon declares Sea Bitch to be the name of his new ship, which will be blessed by his uncle Aeron, a priest of the Drowned God, the next day.
They flirt some more, but Esgred continues to refuse to sleep with him. She does accept Theon's invitation to a feast held by Lord Balon Greyjoy at Pyke that evening. Together, they walk through Lordsport, crowded with the men of the newly arrived Lord Gorold Goodbrother of Great Wyk, to the inn to find Theon's horse and squire. Theon is glad to notice that the people grow quiet as they pass and acknowledge them with bows, considering it a sign of respect to him. On their way to the inn, Esgred inquires whether Theon has already assembled a crew. When Esgred calls out to several men she is familiar with, Theon comes to realize that he has been away from Pyke for a long time and that any friends he once had are now strangers to him. He tells Esgred that his uncle Victarion has loaned him his steersman, Rymolf Stormdrunk. As they pass the Myraham, which has not yet been allowed to leave by Lord Balon, the captain's daughter on board calls out to Theon, who admits to Esgred that he has slept with her.
At the inn Theon finds his squire, Wex Pyke, whom he orders to saddle his warhorse Smiler, which he had purchased from Lord Sawane Botley. Esgred is impressed by Theon's horse and rides double with Theon to Pyke, sitting in front of him. During the ride, he frequently attempts to fondle her breasts, but she removes his hands each time. When she asks Lord Balon will welcome her, Theon tells her that he himself had hardly been welcomed. Esgred questions Theon’s status as heir as he has brothers, uncles, and his sister. He tells her that his brothers are dead and that he’ll find a husband for his sister Asha. His uncles, however, are a sore point. Although his own claim is stronger, it is not unheard of on the Iron Islands for an uncle to dispose of a weak nephew. Theon claims Aeron only cares for the Drowned God, Victarion is tireless and dutiful, and Euron is most likely dead, having been gone from the islands for two years. Esgred admits that Euron may be dead and that if he is alive he would be half a stranger, which would make it unlikely that the ironborn would seat him on the Seastone Chair. Theon is bothered by the thought, as his absence of ten years has made him more of a stranger than Euron. Regardless, he is determined to prove himself worthy.
During the remainder of the journey they speak of the feast, Theon's mother, who resides at Harlaw, and Esgred's pregnancy. She eventually asks about Robb Stark and his war against the Lannisters, and Theon tells her about the battles they have fought. As they arrive at Pyke, however, Theon discovers to his horror that Esgred is actually Asha when the stableboy addresses her by her name. Asha reveals she arrived with Lord Goodbrother the night before and had stayed a night at the inn. As Theon gapes at her, she tells him that kept silent about her identity because she wanted to see who he was first. Asha leaves and Theon takes his anger out on Wex, who is smirking at him. Theon retreats to his chambers, angry, thinking how Asha made a fool of him and how he has no place at Pyke because of her. When he hears the distant music he dresses for Balon's feast, deciding to wear only plain clothes while cursing the fact that he has no ornaments "bought with iron".
At the hall Lord Balon is feasting near four hundred lords and captains. All the houses of the Iron Islands are present[N 1] except for House Stonehouse and House Drumm, who have yet to arrive. At the dais, Balon comments that Theon is late. Theon sits down next to Asha, who is siting at Balon's right in a place of high honor. When Theon hisses to her that she is in his seat, she replies that his place is at Winterfell and asks where his pretty clothes are. When Theon asks if every word she told him was a lie, she says not. Calling out to one of the dancers, Rolfe, Asha catches a flying axe and splits Theon’s trencher with it, telling him the axe is her husband. She then pulls a dirk from between her breasts and tells him it is her suckling babe. Theon realizes the entire hall is laughing at him. As Asha sits back down, she tells him he should learn about the isles and the people on them, asking him why they should die for Theon if he does not know them. Theon insists he is their prince, but Asha counters that the ironborn do not follow the laws of the green lands, but rather make their own.
Finally Lord Balon rises, telling them to join him in his solar when they are finished. After arguing with Asha, Theon leaves and crosses the rope bridge to the Sea Tower, where he finds his father and two uncles, Victarion and Aeron, in the damp, drafty solar. On seeing him, Balon tells him it is time he heard his plans, refusing to hear any of Theon's suggestions. He tells Theon that he will command eight ships to harrying of the Stony Shore, accompanied by Aeron and Dagmer. Theon feels slapped, feeling the work is beneath him and that the inclusion of Aeron and Dagmer indicates that Balon does not trust him. As Asha slips in, Balon tells them that she will take thirty ships with picked men to take Deepwood Motte. Victarion is to make the main thrust at Moat Cailin, sailing up the Saltspear and the Fever River. Once they hold Moat Cailin Robb Stark will not be able to return north. Theon tries to tell Balon that the lords hold the castles, but again Balon shuts him up, saying the lords have gone south with Robb. Winterfell may hold out for a year, but the rest shall be theirs.
Theon leaves the solar, but on the rope bridge a sudden gust of wind causes him to stumble to his knees. Asha is suddenly there and helps him back up, guiding him across the rest of the bridge. She comments he cannot hold his wine either. Theon tells her he liked her better as Esgred, and she tells him she liked him better when he was nine.
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