Skahaz mo Kandaq
Skahaz mo Kandaq - by Sir-Heartsalot ©
|Title||Warden of the River |
House of Kandaq|
|Book(s)||A Dance with Dragons (Appears)|
He has an odious face with a beetled brow, small eyes with heavy bags beneath, and a big nose dark with blackheads His oily skin looks more yellow than amber, somewhat unusual for a Ghiscari. His face seems blunt, brutal, and angry.  Daenerys Targaryen considers his face ugly , and doubts that the man ever smiles. 
A Dance with Dragons
After Daenerys Targaryen takes Meereen, Skahaz becomes one of her councilors. Ghiscari men typically have their hair styled into fanciful shapes (horns, spikes, wings). Skahaz breaks with tradition and shaves his hair, a gesture symbolizing that he has abandoned Old Meereen to serve the New Meereen. His example is soon followed by his various kin, and then by several other Meereenese men. Daenerys herself is uncertain whether these men are motivated by fear for the new regime, by an interest in the new fashion, or by the ambition to become part of the new regime and rise in its ranks. Regardless of their actual motives, the group becomes known as the Shavepates. Skahaz is seen as their de facto leader and becomes widely known as "the Shavepate". Loyalists of the old regime, including the Sons of the Harpy, view the Shavepates as traitors and Skahaz as the vilest of traitors. 
Daenerys considers marrying a Meereenese noble to reconcile the city to her rule. Skahaz is married, but still offers to set aside his wife and to serve as a candidate husband for Daenerys. Daenerys shudders at the thought.  The initial role of Skahaz in the investigation on the Sons of the Harpy is unclear. Daenerys authorizes Reznak mo Reznak to offer gold in exchange for information on the organization. The reward is initially set at 100 honors (gold coins). 
Following the assassination of Stalwart Shield, Daenerys asks Barristan Selmy to summon both Skahaz and Reznak. As she heads from the Apex of the Great Pyramid towards the Hall, Daenerys finds both men waiting atop the marble stairs.  While Reznak compliments Daenerys on her appearance, Skahaz merely growls a greeting and gets down to business. He is here to discuss the recent series of murders. He warns that there will be more victims unless the murderers are punished. When Daenerys points out that she can not punish people whose identity remains unknown, Skahaz replies that her enemies are already known. He lists a number of old slaving families which are seen as hostile to the new regime: Houses Zhak, Hazkar, Ghazeen, Merreq, Loraq, and Pahl. He points to House Pahl as the most hostile and dangerous, since all their male members were killed in the Siege of Meereen and its immediate aftermath. In his words, this House is currently led by bitter old women with a thirst for blood. 
When Daenerys authorizes Reznak to raise the reward on the Sons of the Harpy to 1000 honors, Skahaz notes that she has yet to ask him for advise. He volunteers his opinion on the subject, that blood must pay for blood. He explains his plan. In retaliation for the murders of Daenerys' supporters, one man from each of the hostile great Houses should be executed. When the Sons kill again, the great Houses will pay with the lives of more of their members: two from each House. He is certain that after this second series of executions, there will be no more murders. The Houses not daring to risk more executions.  Reznak immediately opposes this plan. He sees it as savagery, an action destined to anger the gods. He also doubts that these Houses have anything to do with the Sons of the Harpy. He instead suggests that the Sons consist of "baseborn filth".  Daenerys thanks Skahaz for his counsel, but authorizes Reznak to proceed with her original plan. That is to increase the reward money. 
An unnamed man brings to court the broken, charred bones of his daughter Hazzea. Claiming that she was killed by Drogon.  Skahaz calls him a liar. He suggests that the man killed the little girl himself, then burned the body. Hardly the first father to dispose of an unwanted daughter. He urges Daenerys to execute the man, or at least severe his tongue. Either way would prevent his lie from spreading and destroying the new regime. Daenerys instead chooses to pay the man for his silence. 
The Sons of the Harpy manage to kill nine victims in a single night. Six fully-armed Unsullied, and three freedmen: a moneylender, a cobbler, and Rylona Rhee. The victims among the Unsullied patrolled the streets in pairs and fell victim to various traps. Late at night, Skahaz, Reznak, and Grey Worm report the incident to Daenerys. The facial expression of Skahaz and the grimness of his mouth serve as visual clues, that what she is about to hear is serious and involves the Sons. She asks him to confirm this suspicion and he silently nods.  Two of the victims (Eladon Goldenhair, and Loyal Spear) were poisoned at a wineshop. The owner of the wineshop and his daughters were arrested as suspects, though they claim to have nothing to do with the murders. Daenerys tasks Skahaz with the interrogation, instructing him to keep the prisoners in isolation from each other. He willingly accepts the mission, but asks for a clarification on whether he should he ask them "sweetly" or "sharply". In other words whether he is authorized to use torture techniques or not. Daenerys initially commands him to do so "sweetly", having doubts concerning their involvement in the murders. Details on the murder of Rylona and the lack of of other leads, jointly result in an abrupt change of her mind on the subject. Daenerys authorizes Skahaz to ask the father "sharply". 
Skahaz has his own interrogation plan. He wants to torture the daughters in full view of their father. All the while pressing the man to offer names in exchange for their survival. He is certain they will have results. Daenerys authorizes him to use whatever method will best produce results. But she insists on having names of suspects.  She also decides to end the patrols of the Unsullied, finding them ill-suited for this task. She authorizes Skahaz to create a new army of watchmen, consisting of both Shavepates and freedmen. Allowing him to decide how many recruits will be needed for the new force to be effective. Reznak protests, corcerned that the cost will be prohibitive. Daenerys decides to impose a blood tax on the great Houses of Meereen. Each House will have to pay 100 pieces of gold for every freedman slain. The decision makes Skahaz smile. 
Skahaz chooses this moment to inform Daenerys that two of these Houses are preparing to abandon their pyramids and leave the city. They are Houses Zhak and Merreq. She instruct to let them go. But to only allow them to take with them the clothes on their back. Their gold and food supplies will have to stay in the city.  Reznak again protests. He notes that there is no reason to believe that these two Houses are planning to defect to Daenerys' enemies. He suggests that they may be trying to retreat to their country estates, situated at the hills surrounding the city. Probably worried for the safety of their children. Daenerys decides to stilll keep the gold in Meereen, supposedly for safety reasons. And to also demand two child hostages from every great House in Meereen. Skahaz seems delighted with the idea of keeping hostages, and his voice indicates happiness. The idea results in the recruitment of the Cupbearers of Daenerys Targaryen. 
The following morning, Daenerys has breakfast. Thinking of a recent meeting with Quaithe, and of a warning concerning the perfumed seneschal. Skahaz and Reznak join her in the terrace garden. Daenerys is suspicious of Reznak and is tempted to have Skahaz arrest and interrogate the man. She changes her mind when she recalls the unreliable nature of prophecies.  Daenerys had a meeting with Hizdahr zo Loraq, concerning his petition to re-open the fighting pits. While Daenerys wanted them closed for good, she mentally notes that only Missandei seemingly shares her opinion on the subject. Reznak, Galazza Galare, Skahaz, and Belwas are all in favor of the petition, though each for his own reasons. Skahaz feels that the decision will increase the support of Daenerys within the wider populace. 
As instructed, Skahaz creates his new force of watchmen. Naming them the Brazen Beasts. The Beasts patrol the streets day and night, covering themselves in hoods and brass masks in the shapes of fanciful beasts. The Sons of the Harpy have by this time promised death to any traitor who chooses to side with Daenerys. Also threatening to kill the families ("kin") and associates ("kith") of the traitors. In reaction, the Beasts conceal their true faces and identities. 
Daenerys hosts a gathering in honor of a distinguished guest: Xaro Xhoan Daxos. Skahaz is one of the persons attending. During an impressive performance by a group of dancers, Skahaz manages to maintain a stern face. His eyes, however, stay focused on the dancers and dancing girls. He is as entranced as the other men present.  Xaro offers 13 galleys to Daenerys, sufficient to transport at least part of her forces to Westeros. She seriously considers the proposal. The following afternoon, Daenerys summons a council, meeting with representatives of her various supporters. Skahaz attends as the representative of the Brazen Beasts. 
Reznak is the first to protest against the idea of Daenerys leaving Meereen. He argues that she would be abandoning her faithful followers within the city. The men will certainly be executed by the Great Masters, while their wives and daughters will be raped and enslaved. He includes himself among the men who will suffer such a fate. Skahaz agrees with Reznak on what fate awaits the people left behind. He states, however, that his own family will not be captured alive. He intends to personally kill his wife and daughters, rescuing them from a fate worse than death.  Daenerys is shocked by their predictions. She invites them to follow her to Westeros. Neither man states his thoughts on the matter. 
The 13 galleys are deemed insufficient to transport them all. Grey Worm offers to have the Unsullied march overland along the shore, keeping pace with the ships. Skahaz underlines the flaws in this plan. The ships and the land forces can indeed follow parallel trails, but only until they reach Bhorash. From there they will have to part and head towards different directions. The ships will have to turn south, sailing past Tolos and the Isle of Cedars. Their continued course will lead them to sail around Valyria. Meanwhile, the land forces will have to follow a Valyrian road. Continuing on towards Mantarys.  Seeing mounting problems with the plan to leave Meereen, Daenerys eventually decides to turn down Xaro's offer. The following morning, Xaros and his ships leave Meereen. He leaves behind a messenger, assigned to present her with a bloodstained glove. Skahaz is initially confused with this message. Daenerys deciphers the meaning for him: the city of Qarth declares war on Meereen. 
The Sons of the Harpy continue to regularly claim victims, including members of the Brazen Beasts. Skahaz insists that Daenerys will have to answer by executing their hostages. A life for a life, and a child executed for every murdered Beast. Daenerys hesitates to claim innocent lives, and insists on keeping the children alive. The Queen and her commander have at least six arguments on the subject. They are increasinly frustrated with each other. Skahaz perceiving her as "a weak woman", Daenerys perceiving him as hard-hearted. One morning, the two have one of their regular arguments. He claims that the Sons are safe in their pyramids, laughing at them. He insists that hostages are essentially useless when their continued lives and safety are guaranteed. Later on the same day, Daenerys meets with Galazza Galare, the Green Grace. Galazza is already familiar with their arguments and the reason behind them. She has heard that Skahaz would like to feed the hostages to the dragons. 
Galazza once again attempts to convince Daenerys that she needs to take a Ghiscari consort, a highborn king. She considers Hizdahr to be ideal for the role. Daenerys argues that Skahaz is also noble born and could serve the same role. Galazza proclaims that there is a difference between Houses Loraq and Kandaq. She proceeds to list some notable ancestors of Hizdahr, an argument which fails to impress the young queen.  Privately, Daenerys has already concluded that Skahaz would be a disaster as a king. Partly because of his wrathful and unforgiving nature, and partly because the man is widely hated. She notes,however, that she trusts the man more than Hizdahr. She worries that marrying Hizdahr could turn Skahaz against her. 
Galazza leaves and Hizdahr himself arrives to state his case. He claims to be able to put an end to the nightly slaughter on the streets, ending the activities of the Sons of the Harpy. The offers causes Daenerys to suspect that Hizdahr is involved with the organization. She warns him that Skahaz has ways to find out the truth, implying torture. Hizdahr points out that that forced confessions are not necessarily reliable. He is certain that Skahaz will have him confessing. One day of torture will have him confessing to being a Son of the Harpy. The second day will have him confessing to being the Harpy. The third will have him confessing to personally killing Aerys II Targaryen, father of Daenerys. Then Skahaz will have him impaled for his supposed crimes. 
Daenerys and Hizdahr have an agreement. If there are no more murders for a period of 90 days and nights, the two will marry on the 91st day. She privately worries that the deal will cost her the loyalty of Skahaz and his Brazen Beasts.  Skahaz decides to have his Beasts maintain surveillance over Hizdahr. 26 days following the last murder, the Sons of the Harpy remain inactive. On this day, Skahaz requests an audience with Daenerys. He reports that Hizdahr has recently visited 11 different pyramids, seemingly having hours-long meetings with the Houses residing there. His eyes overflow with fury, when he has to admit that the murders have stopped and Hizhar has kept his promise. He insists, however, that Hizdahr is involved with the Sons. He even suggests that Hizdahr might be the Harpy, their presumed leader. 
During his investigation on the Sons of the Harpy, Skahaz became convinced that the Harpy is a physical person. A codename for a highborn overlord, a secret general orchestrating the activities of the Sons. He has so far arrested and interrogated dozens of people known or suspected of being part of the Sons. The interrogations have produced lists of names, leading to further suspects. But none of them confirm the existence of the Harpy. Daenerys suspects that there is no single person leading the Sons, since her enemies are legion. During their conversation, she states to Skahaz that there might be no Harpy. Implying that Skahaz is chasing a figment of his own imagination. 
Skahaz insists that Hizdahr is a suspect, and requests permission to interrogate him. Daenerys not only denies permission, she questions the results of previous interrogations. Pointing that there are "too many" confessions to be reliable. Shahaz calls her decision a mistake, claiming that Hizdahr is fooling her and that by marrying him, Daenerys would be placing a serpent in her bed. Daenerys insists that Hizdahr is not to be harmed, though the surveillance will continue. Skahaz states that he will obey her commands.  Skahaz proceeds on an another subject. There is a naval blockade around Meereen. Part of the enemy ships are actually from Meereen, owned by self-exiled members of the Great Masters. He produces a list of Houses involved in this blockade: Hazkar, Merreq, Quazzar, Zhak, Rhazdar, Ghazeen, Pahl, Reznak, and Loraq. Most of these captains still have family members within the city. He suggests that they should arrest these family members and use them as hostages. They could then be able to negotiate with the exiles, having them switch sides in the conflict. Daenerys dismisses the idea, pointing out an obvious flaw in his plan. They will have to send the Brazen Beasts into the pyramids, provoking open warfare within the city walls. She burns Skahaz's list right in front of him. He scowls at her. 
During the evening, Galazza and Grey Worm jointly request an audience with the queen. Daenerys decides to meet them at the Hall of the Great Pyramid. She instructs Irri to also summon Skahaz and Reznak. The Green Grace and the commander of the Unsullied bring news that the Siege of Astapor has ended with the fall of the city. They also report an incident regarding a sick man from Astapor, who came riding on a pale horse. This is the first known incident of a new epidemic, the so-called Pale Mare.  Eight days later, Brown Ben Plumm and the Second Sons return to Meereen. They bring with them three survivors of the fall of Astapor, who are able to provide details on what happened to their city. Daenerys and her advisors listen to their story and ask for certain clarifications. Skahaz asks for details on the actual day of the Sack of Astapor. The survivors report that as the city burned, the forces from Yunkai held the gates. Trying to stop the Astapori from escaping. Skahaz is curious to learn how these survivors escaped. He listens to them describe how they had pepared an escape way during the siege. 
Later, Daenerys and her advisors discuss options on how to face the Yunkish forces marching against then. Skahaz maintains a scowling facial expression. He is against the idea of leaving the city and taking the field themselves. He asks Daenerys to trust in the defenses of Meereen. Describing their walls as taller and thicker than those of Astapor, and their defenders as more valiant and determined. He scoffs at the idea of Barristan Selmy to prepare an ambush for the enemy forces. He firmly believes that the Yunkai'i have friends and informers within Meereen, so their war preparations will not remain secret for long. 
Daenerys decides to personally deliver supplies to an Astapori refugee camp. All her advisors protest the decision, including Skahaz. They fail to change her mind on the subject.  As preparations for Daenerys and Hizdahr begin, the Brazen Beasts continue their surveillance over the would-be king. Skahaz reports that Hizdahr has been receiving messages. One evening, the new couple meets for supper. Daenerys mentions the latest reports of Skahaz. Hizdahr is unconcerned. He has started correspondence with the forces of Yunkai, attempting to negotiate peace terms. Daenerys has already allowed him to do so.  Meanwhile Daario Naharis and the Stormcrows return to the city. Daenerys wants to hear Daario's report, but first instructs Barristan to summon her the rest of her captains and commanders. Skahaz among them. Daario at first offers news on the fall of Astappor, and on the march of the Yunkishment north towards Meereen. Skahaz dismisses these as old news and stale. Daario taunts him, stating that this was probably the way Skahaz's mother described the kisses of Skahaz's father. Daario then delivers more detailed information on the enemy host and the forces marching within it.  When Daario reports that Brown Ben Plumm and the Second Sons have defected to the enemy, the gathered courtiers react in various ways. Skahaz mutters darkly. 
A number of Westerosi mercenaries have recently defected from the Windblown to the Stormcrows. Daario wants to introduce them to Daenerys. Among them is "the Frog" (Quentyn Martell), a boy from Dorne who claims to have a gift for the queen. Daenerys agrees to meet these newcomers. In the actual meeting, "Gerrold" (Gerris Drinkwater) requests to speak to Daenerys with fewer eyes and ears around them. She decides to keep their meeting in the Hall of the Great Pyramid, but instructs Skahaz and his Beasts to clear the room from onlooking petitioners. Most of the Westerosi mercenaries also leave the room. Only "Gerrold", "the Frog", and "Greenguts" (Archibald Yronwood) remain behind. Revealing their identities to Daenerys and her advisors.  Daenerys laughs when she learns that "Frog" is a prince, a reaction which confuses Skahaz. She has to explain that there are tales involving frogs turning into enchanted princes.  
Skahaz is one of several advisors who stands against the idea of Daenerys marrying Quentyn. He claims that Meereen still needs a king of Ghiscari blood. Daenerys herself informs Quentyn that he has arrived too late, since she is already betrothed to another man.  The following day, the wedding of Daenerys and Hizdahr takes place. Both Skahaz and Reznak request the honor of escorting their queen to the Temple of the Graces. Missandei reports their requests to Daenerys. When the two men meet her, they both kneel before her. Skahaz has chosen to wear a pleated black skirt and a muscled breastplate. His brazen helm depicts the head of a serpent. He warns Daenerys that the crowds in the streets of Meereen will be thick as flies. She tells him that she is counting on his Brazen Beasts to keep her safe.  Barristan later recalls that this serpent-headed mask was Skahaz's favorite, because it was both imperious and frightening. 
Following the wedding, Hizdahr insists on removing Skahaz from the command of the Brazen Beasts. Skahaz is replaced with Marghaz zo Loraq, a cousin of Hizdahr. Galazza Galare explains the reasons for this decision, citing bad blood between Houses Loraq and Kandaq. Daenerys has to admit that Skahaz openly disdains Hizdahr, so there is no reason for Hizdahr to keep him in power. In a feast with representatives of the Yunkai'i, Skahaz is notably absent.   In retrospect, Barristan Selmy sees the decision as part of a conscious plan of Hizdahr to take full control of Meereen. Hizdahr would later dismiss from service other loyalists of Daenerys, including Missandei and Selmy himself. 
Following his dismissal, Skahaz is appointed as Warden of the River. A position which places him in charge of all the ferries, dredges, and irrigation ditches along the Skahazadhan. The area of his responsibility covers 50 leagues of the river (277,8 kilometers/172,6 miles). Skahaz refuses to serve and retires to the modest pyramid occupied by his family. 
The fighting pits of Meereen re-open and Daenerys herself attends the opening day. Hizdahr has prepared a box (separated seating area) for himself and his wife. He has it outfitted with food supplies: flagons of chilled wine and sweetwater, figs, dates, melons, pomegranates, pecans, peppers, and a big bowl of honeyed locusts. Hizdahr recommends the locusts to Daenerys, who instead chooses the figs and dates. Strong Belwas eats all of the locusts and soon experiences symptoms of poisoning, indicating that these were poisoned locusts.  Concurrently to the collapse of Belwas, Daenerys has a confrontation with Drogon. Which ends with the dragon flying away from the city and taking its mother with it. 
Following the disappearance of Daenerys, most of her Dothraki khalasar leave the city. They are setting out to search the Dothraki Sea for their missing queen. Grey Worm refuses to serve Hizhahr, and the rest of the Unsullied follow his lead and withdraw to their barracks. The Brazen Beasts continue to serve as usual, but their loyalty is deemed suspect. They are suspected of being still loyal to Skahaz, only pretending to serve Marghaz and Hizdahr. In search of reliable supporters, Hizdahr decides to have a number of celebrated pit fighters serve as his personal guard.  Meanwhile, Skahaz continues to secretly enter and exit the Great Pyramid at will. He uses one of his Beasts to contact Missandei, asking her to transfer a message to Selmy. He wants to have a secret meeting with the knight. Barristan understands that any contact between them could attract the suspicions and enmity. He also understands that the offer smells of deceit, whispers, and clandestine plots. Yet, he chooses to send a positive reply through Missandei.  
Skahaz and Selmy have their meeting by the stables of the Great Pyramid. The location was chosen because the stables are always quiet after sunset. Skahaz uses a cat mask, joking that cats go everywhere. He adds that cats do not attract unwanted attention. He then informs Selmy that the Brazen Beasts are still his, while Marghaz knows only what Skahaz wants him to know. He next claims to have already captured the poisoner, the man behind the poisoned locusts. The man served as the confectioner of Hizdahr. The Sons of the Harphy had abducted this man's daughter and blackmailed him, exchanging the life of Daenerys for that of the missing girl. Once the locusts failed to kill Daenerys, the remains of the daughter were returned to the poisoner. 
Skahaz next tries to explain that Hizdahr's peace, his agreement with the Yunkai'i, is a sham. It was agreed by Hizdahr and Yurkhaz zo Yunzak, taking advantage of Daenerys' desire for peace to profit themselves. The disappearance of Daenerys and the death of Yurkhaz changes everything. Leaving enemy leadership to younger, more ambitious commanders and ruthless mercenaries. Neither interested in maintaining the peace. He also informs Selmy that the fleet of Volantis is already heading towards Meereen. The peace terms never involved this city. He accuses the Harpy, Reznak, and Hizdahr of working with the enemy, and preparing to open the city gates to the Volantenes. 
Skahaz admits to having already made certain moves against Hizdahr. He has contacted several factions hostile to the new king: the Free Brothers, the Mother's Men, and the Stalwart Shields. But to make their move, they will also need the Unsullied. He wants Selmy to convince Grey Worm to join them. Together they can break the siege of Meereen, kill the slaver lords, and convince their sellswords to switch sides. He claims to already have spies within the enemy camps, keeping him informed on certain internal weaknesses of their foes. 
When Selmy has doubts acting without any input from the missing Daenerys, Skahaz points out that she could already be dead. But whether the queen is alive or dead, she would want them to protect the city and "her children" (the freedmen). The argument seems convincing enough to Selmy. Though he is reluctant to act against Hizdahr, pointing that the man is still married to the queen. Skahaz argues that Hizdahr was the man who wanted Daenerys dead, the mastermind behind the poisoned locusts. He also insists that all Hizdahr ever wanted from Daenerys was the crown and the throne. Hizdahr may have become the co-ruler of Daenerys, but would benefit from her death. Becoming the sole ruler of Meereen. 
Skahaz's arguments have the desired effect on Selmy. He tentatively agrees to join forces with Skahaz. But first dictates his own terms to his new ally. The knight wants to personally question the confectioner, alone. A request which conveys a message to Skahaz, that Selmy still distrusts him. Selmy also ask guarantees that Hizdahr will remain unharmed, unless his guilt is conclusively proven to them. A request which has Skahaz wondering, why would Selmy care so much for the Harpy's firstborn son? Skahaz finally agrees to both terms. He has,however, a term of his own. That when they have their proof that Hizdahr is guilty, then he will be allowed to kill Hizdahr with his own hands. He already has plans to pull out Hizdahr'd entrails. Selmy does not comment on this term, though he privately disagrees with Skahaz. According to Selmy's thoughts, when the time comes to execute Hizdahr, then Selmy himself will serve as the executioner. And the execution will be swift and clean, not involving torture. 
Hizdahr holds court in the Hall of the Great Pyramid. By his side stands Marghaz, current commander of the Brazen Beasts. About 40 Beasts are stationed within the room. Also present is Barristan Selmy, who wonders whether one of these masks conceals the face of Skahaz. He is already familiar with the idea of Skahaz hiding among the ranks.  Envoys of the Wise Masters arrive at court. With them is their ally Bloodbeard, commander of the Company of the Cat. The sellsword captain delivers the severed head of Groleo, one of the hostages entrusted to the Yunkai'i. The Brazen Beasts lower their spears, preparing for conflict. Yet, Hizdahr fails to provide orders to attack or arrest the envoys. Later, the Beasts pound the lower ends of their spears to the floors. They are trying to silence a crowd of Meerenese petitioners who roar, shout, curse, stamp their feet, or whistle. When Hizdahr dismisses the court, the Beasts usher the petitioners from the Hall.  Skahaz was indeed one of these 40 Beasts. He and every other one of the guards expected orders. Orders from Hizdahr to cut down Bloodbeard and his companions. He was frustrated that Hizdahr failed to properly react, calling the king an "empty tabard".  
Selmy has his own thoughts concerning the poisoned locusts, doubting Skahaz's conclusions on the subject. He questions whether the intended victim was Daenerys or Hizdahr. The death of Hizdahr could smash the fragile peace, provoking violent reactions from both the Sons of the Harpy and the Yunkishmen. The death would also allow Daenerys to marry her third husband. And a candidate for the position already resided in Meereen. A man raised in Dorne, a man consequently familiar with plots and poisons. This man is Quentyn Martell, nephew to Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper. 
One morning, Skahaz and Selmy meet and conspire in the armory of the Great Pyramid. They have been planning a coup d'état for a while. This meeting concerns the final details. The mask of Skahaz depicts a blood bat. He has already arranged for all his men to be in place this night. He chose the codeword "Groleo".  When Selmy notes that Hizdahr seemed distraught when confronted with the severed head, Skahaz dismisses it as a mummer's farce. He elaborates on what Hizdahr is actually aiming for. He notes that three of the hostages were returned unharmed, all of them related to Hizdahr. While Groleo and the remaining captives are associates of Daenerys. Hizhahr risks nothing by losing them. He also notes that the Yunkai'i demand the death of the dragons, a convenient pretext for Hizdahr who already wanted Daenerys' pets dead. He will probably hesitate long enough to allow the Wise Masters to execute two of the remaining hostages: Daario Naharis and Jhogo. Having the enemy get rid of these two for him. Then it will be the turn of the dragons to die. Hizdahr will then be waiting for the Volantene fleet to arrive. 
The two men argue about the timing of their coup. Selmy wants it to take place at the hour of the wolf, the blackest part of the night. A time when all the world is asleep, leaving few to act against them. Selmy is actually quoting Tywin Lannister on the subject, thinking of a plan designed by Tywin during the Defiance of Duskendale. Skahaz wants the coup to take place at dawn, and to have it immediately followed by a surprise attack on the Yunkai'i. This is not their first argument on this last subject. Selmy does not want their side to be the first to break the peace treaty, a dishonorable act. Skahaz fails to convince his ally, forced to agree with Selmy's plans. He warns, however, that the old man's honor works against their cause. 
Skahaz asks Selmy for information on the personal guards of Hizdahr, the former pit fighters. He is not happy to learn that Khrazz is on guard duty. He warns that Hizdahr must not escape them. Selmy is confident that he can handle Hizdahr and his guards. Skahaz is tasked with neutralizing Marghaz, who he promises to have in chains. Proving which of them actually leads the Brazen Beasts.  Selmy asks Skahaz for information on his spies among the Yunkishmen. Skahaz merely confirms their existence. He claims that Reznak has a larger number of spies in his employ. Selmy wants Skahaz to use his agents, having them free the Meereenese hostages. Skahaz complains that this is easier said than done. He also argues that none of them would actually miss the remaining hostages: "a eunuch" (Hero), "a savage" (Jhogo), and "a sellsword" (Daario). They both seem tempted to let Daario die. 
Skahaz changes the subject to executing hostages of their own, the Cupbearers. He describes them as "Children of the Harpy". Selmy reacts negatively, not thrilled with the idea of killing children. He explains to Skahaz about an incident which still haunts him, the murders of Rhaenys and Aegon Targaryen. Skahaz chuckles at the sensitivity of the stubborn old man. He argues that the sweet Cupbearers will grow to become Sons of the Harpy. The meeting ends, and Skahaz grudgingly agrees to follow the plans of Selmy. He grins, however, at the idea of completing their coup. He claims that Kandaq has long waited for this night, probably alluding to the enmity between Houses Kandaq and Loraq. 
Later, Selmy wonders how would his former brothers in the Kingsguard handle this situation. He suspects that a number of these knights would strike down Skahaz as a traitor.  At night, Skahaz and 6 Beasts wait for Selmy. He is still wearing the blood-bat mask. His men are all wearing masks depicting locusts. Skahaz reports that the men guarding the doors are under his commands. Selmy warns Skahaz to shed no blood unless it is strictly necessary. The 6 Beasts then follow Selmy, while Skahaz leaves on his own. Each of the two leading conspirators has his own tasks to accomplish.  Skahaz is supposed to arrest Reznak. Sometime later, Reznak seems to still be free. Sending a message to Hizdahr to meet him at the terrace, to see the unleashed Rhaegal and Viserion. Selmy wonders if something went awry with Skahaz and his plans. 
Following the successful coup, Skahaz is preoccupied with a series of tasks. Selmy serves as Hand of the Queen, and gives orders to close the city gates. Skahaz and the various guards have to hunt down a number of Yunkai'i and enemy sellswords who are still within the city walls. They also have to deal with hundreds of protesting Meereenese who demand the release of Hizdahr. Many of them call for the execution of Skahaz himself. The Sons of Harpy also resume their activities, performing 41 murders in three nights. All victims are freedmen or Shavepates. Skahaz also has to collect the blood tax from the pyramids.  A new ruling council of Meereen is formed and Skahaz serves as a seated member. He objects to Selmy offering seats to four associates of Hizdahr: Goghor the Giant, Belaquo Bonebreaker, Camarron of the Count, and the Spotted Cat. His objections have no effect. 
Skahaz demands the executions of Archibald Yronwood and Gerris Drinkwater. Both men were involved in the murders of four of his Brazen Beasts. Selmy keeps the Dornishmen alive, having plans to employ them as agents. 
Three days following the coup and the escape of the dragons, Quentyn Martell dies. Skahaz arrives to meet Selmy, already aware that "the fool is dead". He has chosen to wear a mask depicting a wolf's head.  Skahaz updates Selmy on the status of the city, and argues with him over the fate of the Cupbearers. He is rather disgusted with Selmy's style of leadership, stating that the Queen's hand seems to be an old woman's hand, wrinkled and feeble. Both men then head for the Hall of the Great Pyramid to join the council. 
Selmy has already send Galazza Galare to negotiate with the Yunkishmen, against the advise of Skahaz. During the council meeting, Skahaz states his certainty that Galazza will accomplish nothing. He also openly questions her loyalty to then, suggesting that she may be conspiring with the enemy. When Selmy proclaims that he is ready to serve "fire and blood" to the enemy, Skahaz stares at his ally. He questions whether Selmy is actually ready to break the peace. Selmy confirms his intentions to do so. The council proceeds to discuss war plans. 
Selmy meets Galazza in the Apex of the Great Pyramid. Suddenly Skahaz and four Brazen Beasts storm inside. Grazhar attempts to block the path of Skahaz. Skahaz forcefully removes the boy from his way. He reports that the 6 trebuchets are all active, launching projectiles at them. Galazza is already aware of it, and claims that the trebuchets are throwing corpses. 
"Bitter old women with a taste for blood. Women do not forget. Women do not forgive." 
-"We who have so faithfully served your cause will be put to the sword, our sweet wives and maiden daughters raped and enslaved." -"Not mine. I will kill them first, with mine own hand. "' 
Reznak and Skahaz, on the fate of Daenerys' supporters if she abandons Meereen.
"What good are hostages if you will not take their heads?" 
Quotes about Skahaz
"The Shavepate would be a disaster as a king. He was too quick too anger, too slow to forgive. " 
References and Notes
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 55, The Queensguard.
- A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 2, Daenerys I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 16, Daenerys III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 23, Daenerys IV.
- Forced confessions, including those obtained through torture, are considered unreliable. Because the subjects of the interrogation tend to confess to any crime, in order to escape the continued pressure and/or pain.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 30, Daenerys V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 36, Daenerys VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII.
- This is probably a reference to "the Frog Prince", a fairy tale first recorded by the Brothers Grimm. The tale has inspired several stories involving transformations from human form to that of a frog, and vice versa.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 50, Daenerys VIII.
- Page 663
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 52, Daenerys IX.
- Selmy sees similarities between Skahaz and two of his own former acquaintances, Varys and Petyr Baelish.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 59, The Discarded Knight.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 67, The Kingbreaker.
- This is probably a reference to John Balliol, a 13th-century King of Scots. He was nicknamed "Toom Tabard" (empty tabard, empty suit), to commemorate the stripping of his tabard (a type of coat) from all royal regalia when Edward Longshanks deposed him. The disparaging nickname also mocked the empty authority of his title, since Scotland was effectively under foreign control throughout his reign. The nickname has become a byword for spinelessness.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 70, The Queen's Hand.