A Clash of Kings-Chapter 25
|A Clash of Kings chapter|
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Tyrion delivers the news to Cersei that Stannis Baratheon and Renly Baratheon are confronting each other, using the opportunity to poison Cersei so she cannot interfere with his actions. The next day in court he sends Cleos Frey back to Robb Stark with the House Lannister demands for peace. Finally he hears from Alliser Thorne about the dead coming alive, and dismisses the threat. Finally he takes Grand Maester Pycelle into custordy, getting him to confess to killing Jon Arryn, among other crimes. He throws the maester into dungeon.
Tyrion passes Ser Meryn Trant as he enters Cersei’s chambers where he finds the recently knighted Ser Lancel Lannister singing to his sister.He complements both, which unnerves Lancel. Lancel asks in a demanding voice whether Cercei sent for him, and Tyrion tells him that he does not recall, but there is an important matter for her sister. She immediately thinks it is about the begging brothers that were incarcerated after claiming the gods are punishing everyone because Jaime killed the rightful king. Cersei then complains that Ser Jacelyn Bywater did nothing so she commanded Vylarr to attend to the matter; Tyrion is irritated that Vylarr dragged half a dozen scabrous prophets to the dungion without consulting him but will not fight over it. Tyrion tells the queen that what he needs to say should be said in privacy, so the queen dismisses Lancel. After he asks if the bed is the one where Robert died (she tells him if gives her sweet dreams), he tells her that Stannis Baratheon has sailed from Dragonstone, and not to King's Landing, but Storm's End to lay seige, and Renly Baratheon is riding to meet him. Tyrion, however, does not think it will end if battle since although they are very different, yet alike. They are both laughing and Cercei is so happy she even hugs him. He fills two cups with wine, adding the power to hers. As they toast, Tyrion wonders if this is the Cersei the Jaime sees, and is almost sorry of poisoning her.
In the hall there were both Lannister guardsmen and Gold Cloaks facing across from each other as Bronn and Ser Preston Greenfield flanking the throne. In attendence is lovely Sansa Stark, the coughing Lord Gyles Rosby, his cousin Tyrek Lannister who had recently married the pregnant Ermesande Hayford (he is teased with the nick name “wet nurse”). Ser Cleos Frey approaches, and Grand Maester Pycelle announces to Ser Cleos that they have not accepted the offer. Tyrion then give Ser Cleos their terms:
Robb Stark must lay down his sword, swear fealty, and return to Winterfell. He must free my brother unharmed, and place his host under Jaime’s command, to march against the rebels Renly and Stannis Baratheon. Each of Stark’s bannermen must send us a son as hostage. A daughter will suffice where there is no son. They shall be treated gently and given high places here at court, so long as their fathers commit no new treasons.
When Ser Cleos states that Robb will not agree to these terms, Tyrion continues with:
Tell him that we have raised another great host at Casterly Rock, that soon it will march on him from the west while my lord father advances from the east. Tell him that he stands alone, without hope of allies. Stannis and Renly Baratheon war against each other, and the Prince of Dorne has consented to wed his son Trystane to the Princess Myrcella. As to this of my cousins, we offer Harrion Karstark and Ser Wylis Manderly for Willem Lannister, and Lord Cerwyn and Ser Donnel Locke for your brother Tion. Tell Stark that two Lannisters are worth four northmen in any season. His father’s bones he shall have, as a gesture of Joffrey’s good faith.
This raises murmurs of delight and laughter from the audience. Ser Cleos asks about the sword Ice and his sisters. Tyrion states that he will have the sword when he makes peace and the sisters when Jaime is released. Tyrion then tells Vylarr that Ser Cleos is to also have a Lannister escort since Ser Cleos is a cousin, and that he is to take all of his guardsmen. This raises concern issue from Pycelle; Vylarr stands like he is stone. Tyrion replies that the Gold Cloaks and Kingsguard are adequate to protect the king and queen. Varys smiles knowingly, Littlefinger feigns boredom, and Pycelle is looking confused.
Tyrion attempts to close the meeting, but Ser Alliser Thorne speaks up complaining about being ignored. Tyrion feigns ignorance of him being in the city, blaming Bronn for making his friend that he walked The Wall with wait. Ser Alliser wants to speak to the king, and is told he is playing with his new crossbow (which Tyrion had just given him), so Ser Alliser will have to talk with the King’s servants.
Ser Alliser tells how they found the corpses of two long dead rangers, and brought them back to the Wall. They rose that night and killed Ser Jaremy Rykker and attempted to murder Ser Jeor Mormont. Tyrion gets assurances that the Lord Commander survived and they killed these two dead men. Ser Alliser tells them that they were dead the first time, pale and cold with black hands and feet. As proof he had a hand, but it rotted away while he waited. Tyrion thinks of the dread he felt when he was on the wall with Jon Snow. He tells Littlefinger to send Ser Alliser back with 100 spades to bury the dead when they come walking, and also tells Ser Jacelyn that Ser Alliser will have the pick of the dungeons to use the spades. Tyrion is told that the dungions were near empty since Yoren had already taken all the likely men. Tyrion tells Ser Jacelyn to arrest some more, or to spread the word that there is food at the wall. Ser Alliser is not easily dismissed, trying to warn Tyron of the danger. Ser Preston intervenes, and Ser Alliser knows better than to challenge a Kingsguard. Then Bronn marches Ser Alliser from the hall. (This is one of the few times Tyrion is this stupid outside of opening his mouth at the wrong time).
Varys compliments Tyrion on how he handled the situation. Littlefinger asks if he meant to send away all his guards, to which Tyrion responds only his sister’s guards. Tryion notes that Littlefinger is not happy with him, and Littlefinger replies that he loves him as much as ever but that Myrcella Baratheon cannot wed Robert Arryn if she weds Trystane Martell, and to leave him out of the next deception. Glancing at the knife at Littlefinger’s hip he states he is sorry, and the realm needs him.
Tyrion asks Varys to walk with him. Varys tells him that Cersei will never let him send away her guard, and Tyrion replies that Varys is going to help him accomplish this by saying it is part of the plan to free Jaime. Varys is to put the thief, the poisoner, the mummer, and the murderer in crimson cloaks to join the rest of the guard escorting Ser Cleos—four among 400 Lannister men cannot be watched closely. She will not like it and be uneasy, but Tyrion likes her uneasy.
Ser Cleos leaves that afternoon escorted by 100 Lannister guardsmen. That same afternoon Tyrion finds Timett dicing in the barracks and tells him to meet him in his solar at midnight. He feasts with the Mountain clans that night, shunning wine for once. During the feast he asks Shagga what moon it is and is told black, which they call the traitor’s moon. He tells Shagga to not get too drunk and to keep his axe sharp
Shagga uses his axe to destroy the door to Pycelle’s chambers. Tyrion has Timett pull the naked serving girl out of the bed and march/drag into the hall. Tyrion pulls the blanket off the maester, who asks why this is being done to a loyal servant. Tyrion tells him that he sent one of the letters to Doran Martell and the other to Cersei. Pycelle tries to blame Varys, but Tyrion informs him the he was the only one he entrusted the information with. Pycelle tries to claim that something happened to the letter on the way, and that he knows things about Varys that would chill his blood. Tyrion replies that his lady prefers his blood hot. Then he tries to accuse Littlefinger, to which Tyrion states that he already knows about him. Tyrion instructs Shagga to cut off his manhood and feed it to the goats. When Shagga states there are no goat, Tyrion tells him to make do. Shagga first takes most of Pycelle’s beard with his axe as Pycelle sprays everything with urine. When Tyrion asks Timett if Pycelle would tell the truth and Timett states “I can smell the stink of his fear.” Pycelle tells Tyrion that he did everything for House Lannister and he can ask Tywin; he was even responsible for convincing Aerys II Targaryen to open the gates. Tyrion, shocked, states “So the Sack of King’s Landing was your work as well?” Tyrion then asks him how many he has betrayed: Aerys, Eddard Stark, himself, King Robert, Jon Arryn, Prince Rhaegar? Pycelle pleads that Robert was a wretched king, that Renly was plotting to bring Mace Tyrell’s daughter to court and have Cersei supplanted as Queen. Tyrion asks what Lord Arryn had been plotting, and Pycelle explains that Jon Arryn knew of Cersei’s incest. Pycelle also knew that Lord Jon planned to send his wife back to the Eyrie, his son to foster on Dragonstone, and that he meant to act on his knowledge. Tyrion goes on finally get him to confess that he poisoned Jon Arryn because he knew about father of Cersei’s children thanks to Shagga’s axe making closer and closer shaves of his neck. He tells how he knew that Cersei wanted Jon dead but could not say because Varys was always listening. He sent Colemon away because he was purging Jon. Then Pycelle attempts to blame Hugh, telling Tyrion that Varys can tell him. Disgusted, Tyrion orders Pycelle thrown into one of the black cells.
When Pycelle was gone, Tyrion searches the quarters and collects a few more small jars and thinks how he wished Pycelle was the one he could have trusted; Varys and Littlefinger are no more loyal, just more subtle and thus more dangerous. Tyrion suspects his father's method might be best; send for Ilyn Payne, have all three of their heads mounted above the gates and be done with it.