Shepherd

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FaithStar.png
The Shepherd
Poor Fellows.png
Alias The Shepherd
The Dead Shepherd
Allegiance Faith of the Seven
Poor Fellows (unconfirmed)
Book(s) The World of Ice & Fire (mentioned)
The Princess and the Queen (mentioned)

The Shepherd was a crazed prophet and begging brother who lived in King's Landing during the Dance of the Dragons.[1] He was a follower of the Faith.

Appearance and Character

He was one-handed, religious and insane.[1]

History

It was the fear of dragons, and of their presence, that gave birth to the Shepherd. His name has been lost to history. Some suppose he was a poor beggar, others that he might have been one of the Poor Fellows who, though outlawed and disbanded, still stubbornly haunted the realm. Whoever he was, he began to preach in the Cobbler's Square, saying that the dragons were demons, the spawn of godless Valyria, and the doom of men. Scores listened—then hundreds, then thousands. Fear begat anger, and anger begat a thirst for blood. And when the Shepherd announced that the city would be saved only when the city was cleansed of dragons, people listened.[2]

The Dance of the Dragons

During the riots in King's Landing the Shepherd began to rant against dragons, not just the dragons that were coming to attack the city but all dragons everywhere. The half-crazed crowd listened to him preach and after he was done ten thousand throats cried "Kill them! Kill them!", and much of the mob headed for the Dragonpit, where three of the blacks' dragons and one of the greens' dragons dwelled.[1]

A tale oft repeated in King's Landing names the Shepherd himself as the slayer of the dragon Syrax, Queen Rhaenyra's mount. According to the tale, the Shepherd stood alone against the dragon, calling upon the Seven for succor, until the Warrior himself manifested, thirty feet tall and bearing a black blade made of smoke that turned to steel as he swung it, beheading the dragon. Even Septon Eustace repeats the tale in his account.[3]

After the Storming of the Dragonpit and Rhaenyra's flight, the Shepherd and his mob ruled much of the city from the ruins of the Dragonpit. This period was dubbed "the Moon of the Three Kings" by Maesters even though the Shepherd never claimed kingship, styling himself a simple son of the Seven. He would continue to preach every night, now among the heads of the five slain dragons, set up on posts by his followers. With the dragons dead and the destruction of the city no longer imminent, he turned his wroth towards the highborn and the wealthy, preaching hell for lords, knights and rich men and commanding his followers to cast off silks, satins and shoes and walk barefoot, wearing roughspun robes. Thousands obeyed, but thousands more turned away, and the crowds grew smaller with each passing night. Other factions of rioters seized control of other parts of the city, particularly Trystane Truefyre at the Red Keep itself on Aegon's Hill and Gaemon Palehair on Visenya's Hill. [3]

When the vanguard of Borros Baratheon's army was seen across the Blackwater Rush, the Shepherd ordered his flock to rush the river to keep Lord Borros from coming ashore. But of the hundreds that remained as his followers only few obeyed. Later, forewarned by the fate of Gaemon Palehair, he called upon his "barefoot army" to assemble around the Dragonpit to defend the Hill of Rhaenys "with blood and iron". Less than three hundred answered his call and many of them fled when the assault began. Borros led his knights up the hill from the west while Ser Perkin the Flea, who had betrayed his squire Trystane Truefyre for a pardon, and his gutter knights climbed the southern slope from Flea Bottom. After the attackers crashed through the prophet's defenders, they found the Shepherd amongst the rotting dragon heads, surrounded by a ring of torches, preaching doom and devastation. After spying Borros on his warhorse, the Shepherd pointed his stump at him and cursed him. "We shall meet in hell before this year is done". He was then taken alive, carried to the Red Keep bound in chains and put in a dungeon alongside the other two false "kings" to await the return of Aegon II and his judgment.[4]

When he as brought before King Aegon, the Shepherd refused to reptn his crimes or admit to treason, but thrust his stump at the king and repeated the same curse he had pronounced on Lord Borros. Aegon then ordered the Shepherd's tongue torn out with hot pincers and condemned him and his followers to death by fire.[4]

On the last day of the year, two hundred forty one of the Shepherd's "barefoot lambs" were covered with pitch and chained to poles on both sides of Hill Street, which ran from Cobbler's Square to the Dragonpit. While the city's septs rang their bells to signal the end of the year and the start of a new one, Aegon II proceeded along the street in his litter, while his knights rode on both sides, setting the captive lambs on fire to light his way. At the end of the road, atop Visenya's Hill, the Shepherd was chained amongst the heads of the five dragons. He was set aflame by King Aegon himself, who rose from his cushions with the support of two of his Kingsguard. Everafter, Hill Street became known as Shepherd's Way.[4]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Princess and the Queen.
  2. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon II.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Overthrown.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Short, Sad Reign of Aegon II.