A Clash of Kings-Chapter 10
|A Clash of Kings chapter|
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Davos watches the burning of the seven gods as commanded by Melisandre with foreboding. During the burning, Stannis Baratheon enters the fire and brings out the sword Lightbringer. Afterwards Davos meets with the pirate Salladhor Saan who gives him news about the war. That night Stannis calls for Davos to attend him. Stannis has the message read that he plans to send out to the Seven Kingdoms announcing that Cersei’s sons are not the sons of Robert Baratheon, and thus Stannis is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Davos tells Stannis that he has no more proof than a year ago and thinks including a reference to R'hllor is a bad idea.
Davos watches are burning the statues of the gods of the Faith of the Seven as a sacrifice to R'hllor with foreboding, even though he was never been devout. His sons Allard and Dale are beside him, are bothered. However, he owes Stannis for his position at the cost of a few finger joints. The other lords still shun him and his sons for his low birth: Davos of Flea Bottom, the Onion Knight. However, his grandsons would joust with theirs. If Stannis should lose, Davos would lose everything.
Septon Barre could only curse at the destruction by the queen’s men while Ser Hubard Rambton and his three sons had tried to protect the Sept at Dragonstone, where Aegon the Conqueror knelt to pray the night before he sailed. Lord Guncer Sunglass was imprisoned when he refused to sever Stannis and joins the septon and Ser Hubard’s two surviving sons in a cell.
There were hundreds more watching the gods they had prayed to all their lives burn as Melisandre walks around the fire praying in many tongues: “R’hllor, come to us in our darkness. Lord of Light, we offer you these false gods, these seven who are one, and him the enemy. Take them and cast your light upon us, for the night is dark and full of terrors.” Queen Selyse echoes the words, while Stannis watches impassively, his jaw set. Davos also sees Lord Duram Bar Emmon, Lord Ardrian Celtigar, and Lord Monford Velaryon, Lord of the Tides with the blood of ancient Valyria, watching. They will never confide in him.
Davos thinks how Maester Cressen would have stopped this, and there are rumors that the Lord of Light has struck him down, but Davos knows the truth giving poison wine to the Red Woman, and then drinking from the same cup. Davos does not think he has any chance to kill the Red Woman if a maester failed.
Milisandre announces “In ancient books of Asshai it is written that there will come a day after a long summer when the stars bleed and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world. In this dread hour a warrior shall draw from the fire a burning sword. And that sword shall be Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again, and the darkness shall flee before him. Azor Ahai, beloved of R’hllor! The Warrior of Light, the Son of Fire! Come forth, your sword awaits you! Come forth and take it into your hand!” Stannis strides forward like a soldier into battle. Davos’s son and Stannis’s squire Devan pulls a padded leather glove over Stannis’s hand, while the other squire, Bryen Farring puts a leather cape on Stannis. Stannis plunges into the fire with a leather cape before him and draws a near-molten sword from the conflagration. Queen Selyse calls “A sword of fire!” and her men, including her uncle, Ser Axell Florent, take up the call. Milisandre calls the sword Lightbringer and Stannis Azor Ahai come again. The cherry-red sword is burning his glove so Stannis plunges the tip into the dirt and peels off the glove. Milisandre then sings a song in the tongue of Asshai. When the song was done, an impatient Stannis takes his queen into Dragonstone, leaving the host sword where it stood. Devon and Byren Farring roll the blackened sword in the leather cloak.
As they join the crowd making its way to the shore to the ships, Allard notes that Devon’s doublet had a fiery heart and not a crowned stag, and Allard reiterates that it is bad to burn the seven. Asking when his son became so devout, Davos warns him that if he is not careful he will never be a knight.
In the extremely crowded port, Davos takes leave of his sons and enters an inn where he finds the Lyseni pirate Salladhor Saan eating grapes. The Lyseni pirate tells him that the red priests in Lys are always burning things in the name of R’hllor; it bores him and hopefully will soon bore Stannis. The he tells how one of his trading ships visited King's Landing, and how it is said the children go hungry. Also tells how Tywin Lannister has sent Tyrion Lannister to King’s Landing, and he chased off the lout that was commander of the Gold Cloaks and replaced him with a knight with an iron hand. The city has strong walls, but there are only the Gold Cloaks, who are few and green, to defend them. He then adds that quick strike can take the city, and then could dress the imp as a fool, and Salladhor would like to bed Cersei. Then Davos tells him that he is being paid will, which Salladhor responds is just paper, not gold. Davos states there is the gold in the city treasury, and that Stannis is the most honorable man in the Seven Kingdoms. Salladhor continues with Renly Baratheon, stating he has left Highgarden with his host and queen marching towards King’s Landing. That Renly has taken his bride surprises Davos.
Next he tells Davos that the sword is not Lightbringer, and asks how a burnt sword will serve Stannis. He now tells Davos the legend of the forging of Lightbringer, how Azor Ahai labored long hours to forge a sword, but it kept failing with tempered. For the third sword he labored 100 days and nights and then, with great regret, tempered the sword intohis wife’s heart; it was her blood, soul, courage and strength that created the sword. Saan tells Davos to be thankful the sword Stannis raised was not real, for "too much light can hurt the eyes, and fire burns."
Finally Salladhor asks when Stannis with sail, to which Davos responds soon if the gods will. Next he asks Davos who his god is and Davos answers “King Stannis is my god. He made me and blessed me with his trust.” As he leaves, Salladhor states that soon they will eat in King’s Landing.
Davos linger in the inn and thinks of the flaming sword of Thoros of Myr, and then of his wife, Marya, considering the price of a magic sword was more than he was willing to pay. After finishing his drink, he leaves to return to his ship Black Betha.
After dark, Devan arrives there with a command from Stannis to attend him. This makes Davos uneasy, believing that they should show patience since they are too few to assault King’s Landing. At Storm Drum, Ser Axell Florent, who had been castellan of Dragonstone for the ten years Stannis was in King’s Landing, greats him heartily, telling him how he thought he saw golden dancers in the flame before a king, thinking he may be seeing the future in theflames.
When he arrives, Stannis has Maester Pylos read a letter, since Davos cannot read, which was as follows:
All men know me for the trueborn son of Steffon Baratheon, Lord of Storm’s End, by his lady wife Cassana of House Estermont. I declare upon the honor of my House that my beloved brother Robert, our late king, left no trueborn issue of his body, the boy Joffrey, the boy Tommen, and the girl Myrcella being abominations born of incest between Cersei Lannister and her brother Jaime the Kingslayer. By right of birth and blood, I do this day lay claim to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. Let all true men declare their loyalty. Done in the Light of the Lord, under the sign and seal of Stannis of House Baratheon, the First of His Name, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, and Lord of the Seven Kingdoms.
After it was read, Stannis makes a few changes, including adding “Sir” to Jaime since he is a knight, and removing “beloved brother” since it was a lie. Then he states there are 117 ravens, and he will use them all over the kingdom. Stannis states that he expects most of these letters to be thrown into the fire, so Davos he is going to sail to Gulltown, the Fingers, the Three Sisters, and White Harbor, while his son Dale will sail Wrath to Cape Wrath, the Broken Arm, Dorne and Arbor. Along the way they will post this declaration. Davos’s other son will cross the Narrow Sea. Davos recommends that they be read since few can read, and Stannis agrees to send knights to the declaration. Because of a look from Davos, Stannis sends Pylos out to start copying.
Once alone, Davos states how he is not comfortable seeing Pylos without thinking of Cressen.Stannis states that he did not want to see Cressen dead, but that he was giving bad council. Then Davos asks about what his lords thought of the letter, and is told that all but Lord Monford Velaryon, who stated steel would decide the matter, which Stannis knew. Stannis now asks his opinion since he is the only one that will tell him true, and not just empty courtesies as he can get from his lords. Davos tells Stannis that he still has no more proof than a year ago. Stannis notes that Robert’s bastard son Edric Storm is obviously Robert’s son, yet his supposed true sons look nothing like him. However, Edric is Storm's End. Then Davos suggests changing the part about the Lord of Light since people do not like the words. He recommends a reference to gods that is less specific. Stannis asks Davos if he has become devout, and he replies that he knows the seven and they have provided, but not know this new god and his people will not love him for taking away their gods. Stannis then tells how he stopped believing in gods when his parents were killed in the storm. He has taken up with the Red Woman because of her power; there are four kings now, and the other three have more power.
Stannis now tells the story about how he had nursed a wounded goshawk back to health that he named Proudwing. Proudwing was a timid bird, which his brother Robert named Weakwing. Robert’s falcon Thunderclap never missed a strike. Ser Harbert told Stannis he was making himself a fool Proudwing, and Stannis states he was right. Now Stannis believes that it is time to try a red hawk since the seven have provided him nothing.