A Feast for Crows-Chapter 43

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Cersei X
A Feast for Crows chapter
POV Cersei Lannister
Place King's Landing
Page 642 UK HC (Other versions)
Chapter chronology (All)
Cersei IX
Brienne VIII  ← Cersei X →  Jaime VII

A Dance with Dragons
Cersei I


Margaery Tyrell imprisoned, confronts Cersei. Art by Cabepfir©

Accompanied by six newly reinstated Warrior's Sons, Septa Moelle brings word to the court that Queen Margaery and her cousins have been imprisoned at the Great Sept of Baelor for adultery and high treason. The Septa reveals that Margaery's maidenhead is not intact. Grand Maester Pycelle also reluctantly discloses to the Septa that Margaery has had him mix moon tea on many occasions. Leaving the throne room confident that Margaery was finished, Cersei agrees with Aurane Waters' request to launch his new dromonds, in case Lord Mace Tyrell decides to march on King's Landing to save his daughter. Lord Orton Merryweather remarks that the High Septon may want to try Margaery himself, as the Faith used to do. Cersei hopes he is right.

Cersei has Tommen sign some blank warrants, which she then affixes names to. Summoning Ser Osfryd, she orders him to arrest Ser Tallad, the Blue Bard, Hugh Clifton, Mark Mullendore, as well as the Redwyne twins whom she wants to be found innocent of the charges of bedding Margaery. The next morning, Cersei and Taena are carried by litter to the Great Sept. On the way, Lady Merryweather inquires, "What if Margaery demands that her innocence be determined by battle?" Cersei smiles, and replies that she must be championed by a knight of the Kingsguard, but since Ser Osmund is brother to one of her accusers, that leaves only Ser Meryn Trant and Ser Boros Blount. Cersei states that the former will not be feeling well when the time comes. Within the Sept, the High Septon grants Cersei permission to visit her good-daughter, while Taena goes to speak with Margaery's cousins. Margaery is beside herself, stripped of her clothes and dignity, while she is asked once an hour to confess her fornication. Cersei tells her that she has rounded up all those that Ser Osney named, lying that they will reveal her innocence. When Cersei says that a sworn brother of the Kingsguard will fight for her should it come to a trial by combat, Margaery demands that her own brother, Ser Garlan the Gallant, be summoned to fight in place of the grievously injured Ser Loras. Cersei would never allow this to happen; and Margaery, well aware of Cersei's intentions, tells her to leave, calling her a vile, scheming, evil bitch.

Cersei is then escorted deep beneath Visenya's Hill to speak with the High Septon. He tells her that seven will sit in judgment of Margaery and her cousins, as the Faith did in yore, before King Jaehaerys I Targaryen stripped them of this power. When Cersei asks to have Ser Osney released into her custody, the priest flatly denies her. Chained to the ceiling of his cell, Osney has been brutally whipped. Infuriated, Cersei tells the High Septon that Osney came of his own free will. The holy man responds, "I have heard many men confess, but seldom have I heard a man so pleased to be so guilty... The more diligently we applied the scourge, the more Ser Osney's offenses seemed to change. He would now have us believe that he never touched Margaery Tyrell." When asked now if he had carnal knowledge of the queen, Osney points at Cersei, saying, "Aye. That one there." Furthermore, he confesses that Cersei ordered him to kill the old High Septon. Upon hearing this, Cersei bolts from the cell, racing headlong through the Great Sept. Fearing what may happen should the Faith question Taena Merryweather, she is soon overtaken by a group of septas, who strip her and confine her to a grim cell.

Her screams going unheard, Cersei begins to shiver from the cold. Every time she begins to fall asleep, she is jostled awake and asked if she will confess her sins. After two days of this torture, Qyburn enters her cell. She begs him to take her home, but the de-chained maester tells her it will not be allowed and she will be tried for murder, treason, and fornication. He reveals that Margaery will be tried by the same court, and that he delivered the Blue Bard to the High Septon, but despite the Faith's torture, "he is still singing the same sweet song we taught him". Qyburn then informs her of the rapid changes made since her fall: the realm is now being governed by Ser Harys Swyft and Pycelle; they removed Ser Osfryd as Commander of the gold cloaks and Qyburn from the small council (though he still works for them thanks to his control of Varys' whisperers); Lord Orton and Taena have fled to Longtable, while Ser Kevan has been sent for to take over the Regency. Perhaps worst of all, Aurane Waters unshipped his oars and sailed the fleet, possibly to join Lord Stannis; while Lord Mace Tyrell and Lord Randyll Tarly are marching on King's Landing.

Despite Qyburn's words that his unbeatable "champion" is ready, Cersei knows that only a Kingsguard can defend her in a trial by combat. She has Qyburn pen her final plea to her brother: "Come at once. Help me. Save me. I need you as I have never needed you before. I love you, I love you, I love you. Come at once."

References and Notes