Ruling council of Meereen
The ruling council of Meereen has recently begun overseeing Meereeneese affairs due to the absence of Queen Daenerys Targaryen. The Queen's Hand Ser Barristan Selmy is the leader of the council.
When Daenerys Targaryen first flew away on the back of Drogon, her consort and co-ruler Hizdahr zo Loraq assumed control, taking over the Great Pyramid’s audience chamber. Hizdahr quickly replaced Daenerys's simple ebon bench with two imposing thrones of gilded wood whose tall backs are carved in the shape of dragons.
Ser Barristan chooses to keep both the ebon bench and the dragon thrones out of the hall. Instead he has a large round table set up in the centre of the hall, surrounded by tall chairs. Selmy intends for the men seated at the table, the ruling council of Meereen, to sit and talk as peers.
The decision to use the round table is a shrewd one, a round table allows for equality as there is no glaringly dominant seat, it also serves as a psychological reminder that none of them are the true rulers of Meereen and they must act as a team. As Hand, Ser Barristan is the acknowledged leader of the council, but by being seated alongside them he is still showing importance he puts on the other councillors' contributions.
Ser Barristan refuses to hold court or accept petitioners until Queen Daenerys Targaryen returns.
The council members
So far, the seated members of the council consist of:
- Ser Barristan Selmy, Queen's Hand.
- Skahaz mo Kandaq, Commander of the Brazen Beasts, leader of the Shavepates.
- Marselen, Commander of the Mother's Men.
- Symon Stripeback, Commander of the Free Brothers.
- Tal Toraq, Commander of the Stalwart Shields.
- Grey Worm, Commander of the Unsullied.
- Jokin and the Widower, joint Commanders of the Stormcrows in the absent Daario Naharis.
- Rommo, representative of the Dothraki khalasar. Acts in the name of the absent bloodriders Aggo and Rakharo.
- Goghor the Giant, Belaquo Bonebreaker, Camarron of the Count, and the Spotted Cat, former guardsmen to Hizdahr zo Loraq.
- Strong Belwas, the only member, along with Grey Worm, that Barristan Selmy trusts.
A Dance with Dragons
Ser Barristan Selmy fears that Daenerys and the hope of her return is the only thing keeping the council members together. If she fails to return, the council members will be at dagger points with one another, while the city will erupt in blood and flame.
A pressing concern for the council is the safety and potential return of the hostages still held by the Yunkai'i: Daario Naharis, Hero, and Jhogo. Galazza Galare, the Green Grace, is serving as the ruling council's envoy to the Wise Masters. Few members expect the negotiations to succeed, and Skahaz doubts the loyalty of the priestess, openly suspecting that the Green Grace is conspiring with the enemy.
Ser Barristan informs the council that he has already offered ransom for the hostages - each man's weight in gold. While the Wise Masters neither want nor need the gold, their mercenaries will and are likely to support the deal, which will serve to create division in the enemy ranks.
Ser Barristan fails to inform the council that the ploy to drive a blade between the Yunkishmen and their hirelings is not actually his own. The tactic was conceived by eleven year old Missandei. Ser Barristan would never have thought of such a thing himself. He thinks to himself that in King's Landing bribes had been Littlefinger's domain, whilst Lord Varys had the task of fostering division amongst the crown's enemies. His own duties as a member of the Kingsguard had been more straightforward.
In case of a negative reply, Selmy is prepared to break King Hizdahr zo Loraq's peace, and is already making offensive plans. He suggests making the "slavers" their main targets, hoping that the enemy sellswords would abandon their employers in case of a defeat.
The council members discuss different battle strategies, and study the weak and strong points of the two armies. There are disagreements on how to best use the elite Unsullied force, the small company of archers available to Meereen, and their elephants. Tal Toraq suggests breaking through the enemy ranks and sending a force to besiege the city of Yunkai itself, currently undefended, thereby forcing the besieging forces to leave to defend their own city. Cammaron suggests seizing the ships of the river-front and using them to transport a Meereenese force round the enemy rear.
The council members are very concerned about the reaction of the dragons to an ongoing battle. Will the dragons join the fight? Selmy keeps his fears on the subject to himself. He is certain that the dragons will be drawn to the battlefield by the sounds of shouts and screams, and by the scent of blood. But he doubts that they can recognize the difference between the two rival armies, indiscriminately attacking both sides. Ser Barristan tells the council that the dragons will do what the dragons will do. and that if they do come. it may be that just the shadow of their wings will be enough to dishearten the slavers and send them fleeing. He then dismisses the council.
Grey Worm lingers and tells Ser Barristan that the unsullied will be ready when the beacon fire is lit. Grey Worm adds that when they attack the hostages will be killed. Ser Barristan tells Grey Worm that he has a notion, but tells him no more. Ser Barristan has kept another plan secret from the council members: he intends to send Ser Gerris Drinkwater and Ser Archibald Yronwood as envoys to the Tattered Prince, commander of the Windblown, to negotiate a secret pact by promising him a future war against Pentos.
By the time we leave this table, all of us must be of a single mind, with a single purpose.—Ser Barristan Selmy