Path of the Dragon
|Path of the Dragon|
Path of the Dragon in Asimov's December 2000 Cover art by Bob Eggleton
|Author||George R. R. Martin|
|Series||A Song of Ice and Fire|
|Media Type||novella in published in Asimov's Science Fiction, December 2000|
Path of the Dragon is a Novella published in the December 2000 issue of the magazine Asimov's Science Fiction, based on the Daenerys chapters from A Storm of Swords. It is reprinted in The Sword & Sorcery Anthology, edited by David G. Hartwell and Jacob Weisman, published by Tachyon Publications, San Francisco, (2012).
Returning to Pentos by sea, Daenerys Targaryen learns from Ser Jorah Mormont that large slave armies can be bought in the cities of Slaver's Bay: Meereen, Astapor and Yunkai. To Arstan Whitebeard's disgust - slavery has been illegal in the Seven Kingdoms for millennia - Daenerys buys the services of the Unsullied, the feared warrior-eunuchs of Astapor. When the slave lords of Astapor try to take one of Daenerys' dragons as payment, Daenerys has them burned alive. The Unsullied agree to serve her, whilst Daenerys has the slaves of Astapor set free. She leads a strong force north to Yunkai which forces the lords of the city to release their slaves into Daenerys' service. However, the lords of Meereen choose to antagonise Daenerys by killing 163 of their slaves and leaving each corpses staked at every mile along the road to the city. Daenerys besieges the city to no avail.
Daenerys discovers two traitors in her camp: Ser Jorah Mormont and Arstan Whitebeard. However, the nature of their treachery is very different. Mormont was selling information about her to Robert Baratheon up until they reached Qarth. Arstan Whitebeard is actually an alias of Ser Barristan Selmy, late of King Aerys and Robert's Kingsguard. Barristan wanted to right the ancient wrong of accepting Robert as his king by finding the true Targaryen heir to Westeros, but wanted to make sure the taint of madness had not affected her as her father. Daenerys offers both men the chance to make amends: by sneaking into Meereen through its sewers and opening the gates. They succeed and Meereen falls to Daenerys' armies. She forgives Barristan Selmy and makes him Lord Commander of her Queensguard. However, she finds she still cannot trust Mormont and has him banished from her presence. Learning that Astapor has fallen under the control of a brutal dictator who moved to fill the power vacuum she left behind, Daenerys decides she cannot allow that to happen to Meereen and resolves to stay, and rule, and learn to be the queen that Westeros needs her to be.