Tension hung as thick as the smoke that had covered the air minutes ago. A light wind was beginning to blow the stench of burnt flesh in our direction as if to emphasize the silent threat.
“You will not kneel.” Daenerys’ voice came chipped like ice. It was not a question.
I pushed my hair behind my ear as I placed a hand on Viserion’s side. He lay beside his bigger kin, both their flaming eyes fixed on the battalion of Lannister men surrounded by the Dothraki.
“I already have a queen,” the old man, said his weathered face at once impassive and defiant.
Tyrion shifted slightly and his voice rang clear as he spoke in mild admonishment of Lord Tarly’s apparent folly, “My sister… She wasn’t your queen until recently though, when she murdered your rightful queen and destroyed House Tyrell for all time. It would appear that your allegiances are somewhat flexible.”
“There are no easy choices in war,” Lord Tarly said, a small humorless smile playing at the corner of his lips. “Say what you will about your sister, but she was born in Westeros. She’s lived here all her life. You on the other hand murdered your own father” – his smile turned into a sneer of defiance as his gaze moved to me and my sister – “and chose to support foreign invaders, ones with no ties to this land, and an army of savages behind them.”
“You will not trade your honor for your life,” Daenerys said in that cold tone that had grown to mean nothing good. “I respect that.” She nodded at the Dothraki and a couple of them moved.
“Sister!” I descended from the rock where I stood toward her. “Perhaps he should take the Black…whatever else he is, he’s a true soldier. He –”
“You cannot send me to the wall,” Tarly cut in. “You’re not my queen.”
I frowned in frustration. The man was as stubborn as a he-goat. I found a small part of me admiring his fortitude.
Daenerys raised an eyebrow at me, as though to make her point on the necessity of what she must do, as the Dothraki started forward to grab Lord Tarly.
“You will have to kill me too.” A tall glorious-looking youth started forward.
“Shut your mouth and step back!” Lord Tarly barked. For the first time, his face betrayed emotion.
“And you are?” Daenerys studied the youth as I was doing. He was tall and heavily muscled, with the kind of voice that spurned deep lust in me.
“Dickon Tarly, son of Randall Tarly.”
Tyrion stepped forward hastily, his voice earnest. “You are the last hope of your house. This war has already wiped one great house from the world. Don’t let it happen again. Bend the knee.”
My heartbeat accelerated as we waited. I hoped against all hope that he would agree.
“I will not.”
I cussed silently under my breath.
“Sister, nothing scrubs bold notions out of a man’s head like a few days in a cell –” I began.
She turned her cold blue eyes to me, eyes so similar to mine, though so different in that moment. They held the iciness of the Great Grass Sea in them.
“I meant what I said. We didn’t come here to put men in chains. If that becomes an option, many would take it. I gave them a choice. They made it.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Surely she was bluffing. Surely she only meant for the Tarlys to give in to fear, and if they didn’t, she would halt their execution. But even as I thought this, I could see no way out. Halting the execution would show weakness. How did my sister intend to get out of this?
Dickon and his father were led to face the two great dragons who hulked just behind us.
She intended to burn them, I thought with mounting despair. I heard Tyrion protest but his words were not clear; I was too focused on the young Tarly, so strong, so full of hope. Wildly I wondered if he had anyone he had hoped to return to…a lover maybe.
“Lord Randall Tarly, Dickon Tarly,” Daenerys’ voice rang out clearly, much like the high-pitched, almost musical keening of the beasts we rode. She had turned to face the two condemned men. “I, Daenerys of House Targaryen, first of my name, breaker of chains and mother of dragons, sentence you to die.”
Randall clasped his son’s hand. Inexplicably, I wished I was the one comforting the young man. If he felt any fear, not for a second did he betray it.
I moved close to Daenerys. What was she doing?
She continued to face the condemned men. Silence gripped the massive field.
Then she spoke quietly, but the command rang like a deadly whip.
I shut my eyes, feeling the heat of the flames scorch my eyelids, as once again, agonized screams filled the air. The screams were all I heard of the ill-fated men. By the time I opened my eyes, there was nothing but two smoldering piles of bones and armour left where they’d been standing.
Written by Kainene