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The Dothraki named the comet shierak qiya, the Bleeding Star. The old men muttered that it omened ill, but Daenerys Targaryen had seen it first on the night she had burned Khal Drogo, the night her dragons had awakened. It is the herald of my coming, she told herself as she gazed up into the night sky with wonder in her heart. The gods have sent it to show me the way.
Yet when she put the thought into words, her handmaid Doreah quailed. “That way lies the red lands, Khaleesi. A grim place and terrible, the riders say.”
“The way the comet points is the way we must go,” Dany insisted… though in truth, it was the only way open to her.
She dare not turn north onto the vast ocean of grass they called the Dothraki sea. The first khalasar they met would swallow up her ragged band, slaying the warriors and slaving the rest. The lands of the Lamb Men south of the river were likewise closed to them. They were too few to defend themselves even against that unwarlike folk, and the Lhazareen had small reason to love them. She might have struck downriver for the ports at Meereen and Yunkai and Astapor, but Rakharo warned her that Pono’s khalasar had ridden that way, driving thousands of captives before them to sell in the flesh marts that festered like open sores on the shores of Slaver’s Bay. “Why should I fear Pono?” Dany objected. “He was Drogo’s ko, and always spoke me gently.”
“Ko Pono spoke you gently,” Ser Jorah Mormont said. “Khal Pono will kill you. He was the first to abandon Drogo. Ten thousand warriors went with him. You have a hundred.”
No, Dany thought. I have four. The rest are women, old sick men, and boys whose hair has never been braided. “I have the dragons,” she pointed out.
“Hatchlings,” Ser Jorah said. “One swipe from an arakh would put an end to them, though Pono is more like to seize them for himself. Your dragon eggs were more precious than rubies. A living dragon is beyond price. In all the world, there are only three. Every man who sees them will want them, my queen.”
“They are mine,” she said fiercely. They had been born from her faith and her need, given life by the deaths of her husband and unborn son and the maegi Mirri Maz Duur. Dany had walked into the flames as they came forth, and they had drunk milk from her swollen breasts. “No man will take them from me while I live.”
“You will not live long should you meet Khal Pono. Nor Khal Jhaqo, nor any of the others. You must go where they do not.”
Dany had named him the first of her Queensguard… and when Mormont’s gruff counsel and the omens agreed, her course was clear. She called her people together and mounted her silver mare. Her hair had burned away in Drogo’s pyre, so her handmaids garbed her in the skin of the hrakkar Drogo had slain, the white lion of the Dothraki sea. Its fearsome head made a hood to cover her naked scalp, its pelt a cloak that flowed across her shoulders and down her back. The cream-colored dragon sunk sharp black claws into the lion’s mane and coiled its tail around her arm, while Ser Jorah took his accustomed place by her side.
“We follow the comet,” Dany told her khalasar. Once it was said, no word was raised against it. They had been Drogo’s people, but they were hers now. The Unburnt, they called her, and Mother of Dragons. Her word was their law.
They rode by night, and by day took refuge from the sun beneath their tents. Soon enough Dany learned the truth of Doreah’s words. This was no kindly country. They left a trail of dead and dying horses behind them as they went, for Pono, Jhaqo, and the others had seized the best of Drogo’s herds, leaving to Dany the old and the scrawny, the sickly and the lame, the broken animals and the ill-tempered. It was the same with the people. They are not strong, she told herself, so I must be their strength. I must show no fear, no weakness, no doubt. However frightened my heart, when they look upon my face they must see only Drogo’s queen. She felt older than her fourteen years. If ever she had truly been a girl, that time was done.
Three days into the march, the first man died. A toothless oldster with cloudy blue eyes, he fell exhausted from his saddle and could not rise again. An hour later he was done. Blood flies swarmed about his corpse and carried his ill luck to the living. “His time was past,” her handmaid Irri declared. “No man should live longer than his teeth.” The others agreed. Dany bid them kill the weakest of their dying horses, so the dead man might go mounted into the night lands.
Two nights later, it was an infant girl who perished. Her mother’s anguished wailing lasted all day, but there was nothing to be done. The child had been too young to ride, poor thing. Not for her the endless black grasses of the night lands; she must be born again.
There was little forage in the red waste, and less water. It was a sere and desolate land of low hills and barren windswept plains. The rivers they crossed were dry as dead men’s bones. Their mounts subsisted on the tough brown devilgrass that grew in clumps at the base of rocks and dead trees. Dany sent outriders ranging ahead of the column, but they found neither wells nor springs, only bitter pools, shallow and stagnant, shrinking in the hot sun. The deeper they rode into the waste, the smaller the pools became, while the distance between them grew. If there were gods in this trackless wilderness of stone and sand and red clay, they were hard dry gods, deaf to prayers for rain.
Wine gave out first, and soon thereafter the clotted mare’s milk the horselords loved better than mead. Then their stores of flatbread and dried meat were exhausted as well. Their hunters found no game, and only the flesh of their dead horses filled their bellies. Death followed death. Weak children, wrinkled old women, the sick and the stupid and the heedless, the cruel land claimed them all. Doreah grew gaunt and hollow-eyed, and her soft golden hair turned brittle as straw.
Dany hungered and thirsted with the rest of them. The milk in her breasts dried up, her nipples cracked and bled, and the flesh fell away from her day by day until she was lean and hard as a stick, yet it was her dragons she feared for. Her father had been slain before she was born, and her splendid brother Rhaegar as well. Her mother had died bringing her into the world while the storm screamed outside. Gentle Ser Willem Darry, who must have loved her after a fashion, had been taken by a wasting sickness when she was very young. Her brother Viserys, Khal Drogo who was her sun-and-stars, even her unborn son, the gods had claimed them all. They will not have my dragons, Dany vowed. They will not.
The dragons were no larger than the scrawny cats she had once seen skulking along the walls of Magister Illyrio’s estate in Pentos… until they unfolded their wings. Their span was three times their length, each wing a delicate fan of translucent skin, gorgeously colored, stretched taut between long thin bones. When you looked hard, you could see that most of their body was neck, tail, and wing. Such little things, she thought as she fed them by hand. Or rather, tried to feed them, for the dragons would not eat. They would hiss and spit at each bloody morsel of horsemeat, steam rising from their nostrils, yet they would not take the food… until Dany recalled something Viserys had told her when they were children.
Only dragons and men eat cooked meat, he had said.
When she had her handmaids char the horsemeat black, the dragons ripped at it eagerly, their heads striking like snakes. So long as the meat was seared, they gulped down several times their own weight every day, and at last began to grow larger and stronger. Dany marveled at the smoothness of their scales, and the heat that poured off them, so palpable that on cold nights their whole bodies seemed to steam.
Each evenfall as the khalasar set out, she would choose a dragon to ride upon her shoulder. Irri and Jhiqui carried the others in a cage of woven wood slung between their mounts, and rode close behind her, so Dany was never out of their sight. It was the only way to keep them quiescent.
“Aegon’s dragons were named for the gods of Old Valyria,” she told her bloodriders one morning after a long night’s journey. “Visenya’s dragon was Vhagar, Rhaenys had Meraxes, and Aegon rode Balerion, the Black Dread. It was said that Vhagar’s breath was so hot that it could melt a knight’s armor and cook the man inside, that Meraxes swallowed horses whole, and Balerion… his fire was as black as his scales, his wings so vast that whole towns were swallowed up in their shadow when he passed overhead.”
The Dothraki looked at her hatchlings uneasily. The largest of her three was shiny black, his scales slashed with streaks of vivid scarlet to match his wings and horns. “Khaleesi,” Aggo murmured, “there sits Balerion, come again.”
“It may be as you say, blood of my blood,” Dany replied gravely, “but he shall have a new name for this new life. I would name them all for those the gods have taken. The green one shall be Rhaegal, for my valiant brother who died on the green banks of the Trident. The cream-and-gold I call Viserion. Viserys was cruel and weak and frightened, yet he was my brother still. His dragon will do what he could not.”
“And the black beast?” asked Ser Jorah Mormont.
“The black,” she said, “is Drogon.”
Yet even as her dragons prospered, her khalasar withered and died. Around them the land turned ever more desolate. Even devilgrass grew scant; horses dropped in their tracks, leaving so few that some of her people must trudge along on foot. Doreah took a fever and grew worse with every league they crossed. Her lips and hands broke with blood blisters, her hair came out in clumps, and one evenfall she lacked the strength to mount her horse. Jhogo said they must leave her or bind her to her saddle, but Dany remembered a night on the Dothraki sea, when the Lysene girl had taught her secrets so that Drogo might love her more. She gave Doreah water from her own skin, cooled her brow with a damp cloth, and held her hand until she died, shivering. Only then would she permit the khalasar to press on.
They saw no sign of other travelers. The Dothraki began to mutter fearfully that the comet had led them to some hell. Dany went to Ser Jorah one morning as they made camp amidst a jumble of black wind-scoured stones. “Are we lost?” she asked him. “Does this waste have no end to it?”
“It has an end,” he answered wearily. “I have seen the maps the traders draw, my queen. Few caravans come this way, that is so, yet there are great kingdoms to the east, and cities full of wonders. Yi Ti, Qarth, Asshai by the Shadow…”
“Will we live to see them?”
“I will not lie to you. The way is harder than I dared think.” The knight’s face was grey and exhausted. The wound he had taken to his hip the night he fought Khal Drogo’s bloodriders had never fully healed; she could see how he grimaced when he mounted his horse, and he seemed to slump in his saddle as they rode. “Perhaps we are doomed if we press on… but I know for a certainty that we are doomed if we turn back.”
Dany kissed him lightly on the cheek. It heartened her to see him smile. I must be strong for him as well, she thought grimly. A knight he may be, but I am the blood of the dragon.
The next pool they found was scalding hot and stinking of brimstone, but their skins were almost empty. The Dothraki cooled the water in jars and pots and drank it tepid. The taste was no less foul, but water was water, and all of them thirsted. Dany looked at the horizon with despair. They had lost a third of their number, and still the waste stretched before them, bleak and red and endless. The comet mocks my hopes, she thought, lifting her eyes to where it scored the sky. Have I crossed half the world and seen the birth of dragons only to die with them in this hard hot desert? She would not believe it.
The next day, dawn broke as they were crossing a cracked and fissured plain of hard red earth. Dany was about to command them to make camp when her outriders came racing back at a gallop. “A city, Khaleesi,” they cried. “A city pale as the moon and lovely as a maid. An hour’s ride, no more.”
“Show me,” she said.
When the city appeared before her, its walls and towers shimmering white behind a veil of heat, it looked so beautiful that Dany was certain it must be a mirage. “Do you know what place this might be?” she asked Ser Jorah.
The exile knight gave a weary shake of the head. “No, my queen. I have never traveled this far east.”
The distant white walls promised rest and safety, a chance to heal and grow strong, and Dany wanted nothing so much as to rush toward them. Instead she turned to her bloodriders. “Blood of my blood, go ahead of us and learn the name of this city, and what manner of welcome we should expect.”
“Ai, Khaleesi,” said Aggo.
Her riders were not long in returning. Rakharo swung down from his saddle. From his medallion belt hung the great curving arakh that Dany had bestowed on him when she named him bloodrider. “This city is dead, Khaleesi. Nameless and godless we found it, the gates broken, only wind and flies moving through the streets.”
Jhiqui shuddered. “When the gods are gone, the evil ghosts feast by night. Such places are best shunned. It is known.”
“It is known,” Irri agreed.
“Not to me.” Dany put her heels into her horse and showed them the way, trotting beneath the shattered arch of an ancient gate and down a silent street. Ser Jorah and her bloodriders followed, and then, more slowly, the rest of the Dothraki.
How long the city had been deserted she could not know, but the white walls, so beautiful from afar, were cracked and crumbling when seen up close. Inside was a maze of narrow crooked alleys. The buildings pressed close, their facades blank, chalky, windowless. Everything was white, as if the people who lived here had known nothing of color. They rode past heaps of sun-washed rubble where houses had fallen in, and elsewhere saw the faded scars of fire. At a place where six alleys came together, Dany passed an empty marble plinth. Dothraki had visited this place before, it would seem. Perhaps even now the missing statue stood among the other stolen gods in Vaes Dothrak. She might have ridden past it a hundred times, never knowing. On her shoulder, Viserion hissed.
They made camp before the remnants of a gutted palace, on a windswept plaza where devilgrass grew between the paving stones. Dany sent out men to search the ruins. Some went reluctantly, yet they went… and one scarred old man returned a brief time later, hopping and grinning, his hands overflowing with figs. They were small, withered things, yet her people grabbed for them greedily, jostling and pushing at each other, stuffing the fruit into their cheeks and chewing blissfully.
Other searchers returned with tales of other fruit trees, hidden behind closed doors in secret gardens. Aggo showed her a courtyard overgrown with twisting vines and tiny green grapes, and Jhogo discovered a well where the water was pure and cold. Yet they found bones too, the skulls of the unburied dead, bleached and broken. “Ghosts,” Irri muttered. “Terrible ghosts. We must not stay here, Khaleesi, this is their place.”
“I fear no ghosts. Dragons are more powerful than ghosts.” And figs are more important. “Go with Jhiqui and find me some clean sand for a bath, and trouble me no more with silly talk.”
In the coolness of her tent, Dany blackened horsemeat over a brazier and reflected on her choices. There was food and water here to sustain them, and enough grass for the horses to regain their strength. How pleasant it would be to wake every day in the same place, to linger among shady gardens, eat figs, and drink cool water, as much as she might desire.
When Irri and Jhiqui returned with pots of white sand, Dany stripped and let them scrub her clean. “Your hair is coming back, Khaleesi,” Jhiqui said as she scraped sand off her back. Dany ran a hand over the top of her head, feeling the new growth. Dothraki men wore their hair in long oiled braids, and cut them only when defeated. Perhaps I should do the same, she thought, to remind them that Drogo’s strength lives within me now. Khal Drogo had died with his hair uncut, a boast few men could make.
Across the tent, Rhaegal unfolded green wings to flap and flutter a half foot before thumping to the carpet. When he landed, his tail lashed back and forth in fury, and he raised his head and screamed. If I had wings, I would want to fly too, Dany thought. The Targaryens of old had ridden upon dragonback when they went to war. She tried to imagine what it would feel like, to straddle a dragon’s neck and soar high into the air. It would be like standing on a mountaintop, only better. The whole world would be spread out below. If I flew high enough, I could even see the Seven Kingdoms, and reach up and touch the comet.
Irri broke her reverie to tell her that Ser Jorah Mormont was outside, awaiting her pleasure. “Send him in,” Dany commanded, sand-scrubbed skin tingling. She wrapped herself in the lionskin. The hrakkar had been much bigger than Dany, so the pelt covered everything that wanted covering.
“I’ve brought you a peach,” Ser Jorah said, kneeling. It was so small she could almost hide it in her palm, and overripe too, but when she took the first bite, the flesh was so sweet she almost cried. She ate it slowly, savoring every mouthful, while Ser Jorah told her of the tree it had been plucked from, in a garden near the western wall.
“Fruit and water and shade,” Dany said, her cheeks sticky with peach juice. “The gods were good to bring us to this place.”
“We should rest here until we are stronger,” the knight urged. “The red lands are not kind to the weak.”
“My handmaids say there are ghosts here.”
“There are ghosts everywhere,” Ser Jorah said softly. “We carry them with us wherever we go.”
Yes, she thought. Viserys, Khal Drogo, my son Rhaego, they are with me always. “Tell me the name of your ghost, Jorah. You know all of mine.”
His face grew very still. “Her name was Lynesse.”
“My second wife.”
It pains him to speak of her, Dany saw, but she wanted to know the truth. “Is that all you would say of her?” The lion pelt slid off one shoulder and she tugged it back into place. “Was she beautiful?”
“Very beautiful.” Ser Jorah lifted his eyes from her shoulder to her face. “The first time I beheld her, I thought she was a goddess come to earth, the Maid herself made flesh. Her birth was far above my own. She was the youngest daughter of Lord Leyton Hightower of Oldtown. The White Bull who commanded your father’s Kingsguard was her great-uncle. The Hightowers are an ancient family, very rich and very proud.”
“And loyal,” Dany said. “I remember, Viserys said the Hightowers were among those who stayed true to my father.”
“That’s so,” he admitted.
“Did your fathers make the match?”
“No,” he said. “Our marriage… that makes a long tale and a dull one, Your Grace. I would not trouble you with it.”
“I have nowhere to go,” she said. “Please.”
“As my queen commands.” Ser Jorah frowned. “My home… you must understand that to understand the rest. Bear Island is beautiful, but remote. Imagine old gnarled oaks and tall pines, flowering thornbushes, grey stones bearded with moss, little creeks running icy down steep hillsides. The hall of the Mormonts is built of huge logs and surrounded by an earthen palisade. Aside from a few crofters, my people live along the coasts and fish the seas. The island lies far to the north, and our winters are more terrible than you can imagine, Khaleesi.
“Still, the island suited me well enough, and I never lacked for women. I had my share of fishwives and crofter’s daughters, before and after I was wed. I married young, to a bride of my father’s choosing, a Glover of Deepwood Motte. Ten years we were wed, or near enough as makes no matter. She was a plain-faced woman, but not unkind. I suppose I came to love her after a fashion, though our relations were dutiful rather than passionate. Three times she miscarried while trying to give me an heir. The last time she never recovered. She died not long after.”
Dany put her hand on his and gave his fingers a squeeze. “I am sorry for you, truly.”
Ser Jorah nodded. “By then my father had taken the black, so I was Lord of Bear Island in my own right. I had no lack of marriage offers, but before I could reach a decision Lord Balon Greyjoy rose in rebellion against the Usurper, and Ned Stark called his banners to help his friend Robert. The final battle was on Pyke. When Robert’s stonethrowers opened a breach in King Balon’s wall, a priest from Myr was the first man through, but I was not far behind. For that I won my knighthood.
“To celebrate his victory, Robert ordained that a tourney should be held outside Lannisport. It was there I saw Lynesse, a maid half my age. She had come up from Oldtown with her father to see her brothers joust. I could not take my eyes off her. In a fit of madness, I begged her favor to wear in the tourney, never dreaming she would grant my request, yet she did.”
“I fight as well as any man, Khaleesi, but I have never been a tourney knight. Yet with Lynesse’s favor knotted round my arm, I was a different man. I won joust after joust. Lord Jason Mallister fell before me, and Bronze Yohn Royce. Ser Ryman Frey, his brother Ser Hosteen, Lord Whent, Strongboar, even Ser Boros Blount of the Kingsguard, I unhorsed them all. In the last match, I broke nine lances against Jaime Lannister to no result, and King Robert gave me the champion’s laurel. I crowned Lynesse queen of love and beauty, and that very night went to her father and asked for her hand. I was drunk, as much on glory as on wine. By rights I should have gotten a contemptuous refusal, but Lord Leyton accepted my offer. We were married there in Lannisport, and for a fortnight I was the happiest man in the wide world.”
“Only a fortnight?” asked Dany. Even I was given more happiness than that, with Drogo who was my sun-and-stars.
“A fortnight was how long it took us to sail from Lannisport back to Bear Island. My home was a great disappointment to Lynesse. It was too cold, too damp, too far away, my castle no more than a wooden longhall. We had no masques, no mummer shows, no balls or fairs. Seasons might pass without a singer ever coming to play for us, and there’s not a goldsmith on the island. Even meals became a trial. My cook knew little beyond his roasts and stews, and Lynesse soon lost her taste for fish and venison.”
“I lived for her smiles, so I sent all the way to Oldtown for a new cook, and brought a harper from Lannisport. Goldsmiths, jewelers, dressmakers, whatever she wanted I found for her, but it was never enough. Bear Island is rich in bears and trees, and poor in aught else. I built a fine ship for her and we sailed to Lannisport and Oldtown for festivals and fairs, and once even to Braavos, where I borrowed heavily from the moneylenders. It was as a tourney champion that I had won her hand and heart, so I entered other tourneys for her sake, but the magic was gone. I never distinguished myself again, and each defeat meant the loss of another charger and another suit of jousting armor, which must needs be ransomed or replaced. The cost could not be borne. Finally I insisted we return home, but there matters soon grew even worse than before. I could no longer pay the cook and the harper, and Lynesse grew wild when I spoke of pawning her jewels.
“The rest… I did things it shames me to speak of. For gold. So Lynesse might keep her jewels, her harper, and her cook. In the end it cost me all. When I heard that Eddard Stark was coming to Bear Island, I was so lost to honor that rather than stay and face his judgment, I took her with me into exile. Nothing mattered but our love, I told myself. We fled to Lys, where I sold my ship for gold to keep us.”
His voice was thick with grief, and Dany was reluctant to press him any further, yet she had to know how it ended. “Did she die there?” she asked him gently.
“Only to me,” he said. “In half a year my gold was gone, and I was obliged to take service as a sellsword. While I was fighting Braavosi on the Rhoyne, Lynesse moved into the manse of a merchant prince named Tregar Ormollen. They say she is his chief concubine now, and even his wife goes in fear of her.”
Dany was horrified. “Do you hate her?”
“Almost as much as I love her,” Ser Jorah answered. “Pray excuse me, my queen. I find I am very tired.”
She gave him leave to go, but as he was lifting the flap of her tent, she could not stop herself calling after him with one last question. “What did she look like, your Lady Lynesse?”
Ser Jorah smiled sadly. “Why, she looked a bit like you, Daenerys.” He bowed low. “Sleep well, my queen.”
Dany shivered, and pulled the lionskin tight about her. She looked like me. It explained much that she had not truly understood. He wants me, she realized. He loves me as he loved her, not as a knight loves his queen but as a man loves a woman. She tried to imagine herself in Ser Jorah’s arms, kissing him, pleasuring him, letting him enter her. It was no good. When she closed her eyes, his face kept changing into Drogo’s.
Khal Drogo had been her sun-and-stars, her first, and perhaps he must be her last. The maegi Mirri Maz Duur had sworn she should never bear a living child, and what man would want a barren wife? And what man could hope to rival Drogo, who had died with his hair uncut and rode now through the night lands, the stars his khalasar?
She had heard the longing in Ser Jorah’s voice when he spoke of his Bear Island. He can never have me, but one day I can give him back his home and honor. That much I can do for him.
No ghosts troubled her sleep that night. She dreamed of Drogo and the first ride they had taken together on the night they were wed. In the dream it was not horses they rode, but dragons.
The next morn, she summoned her bloodriders. “Blood of my blood,” she told the three of them, “I have need of you. Each of you is to choose three horses, the hardiest and healthiest that remain to us. Load as much water and food as your mounts can bear, and ride forth for me. Aggo shall strike southwest, Rakharo due south. Jhogo, you are to follow shierak qiya on southeast.”
“What shall we seek, Khaleesi?” asked Jhogo.
“Whatever there is,” Dany answered. “Seek for other cities, living and dead. Seek for caravans and people. Seek for rivers and lakes and the great salt sea. Find how far this waste extends before us, and what lies on the other side. When I leave this place, I do not mean to strike out blind again. I will know where I am bound, and how best to get there.”
And so they went, the bells in their hair ringing softly, while Dany settled down with her small band of survivors in the place they named Vaes Tolorro, the city of bones. Day followed night followed day. Women harvested fruit from the gardens of the dead. Men groomed their mounts and mended saddles, stirrups, and shoes. Children wandered the twisty alleys and found old bronze coins and bits of purple glass and stone flagons with handles carved like snakes. One woman was stung by a red scorpion, but hers was the only death. The horses began to put on some flesh. Dany tended Ser Jorah’s wound herself, and it began to heal.
Rakharo was the first to return. Due south the red waste stretched on and on, he reported, until it ended on a bleak shore beside the poison water. Between here and there lay only swirling sand, wind-scoured rocks, and plants bristly with sharp thorns. He had passed the bones of a dragon, he swore, so immense that he had ridden his horse through its great black jaws. Other than that, he had seen nothing.
Dany gave him charge of a dozen of her strongest men, and set them to pulling up the plaza to get to the earth beneath. If devilgrass could grow between the paving stones, other grasses would grow when the stones were gone. They had wells enough, no lack of water. Given seed, they could make the plaza bloom.
Aggo was back next. The southwest was barren and burnt, he swore. He had found the ruins of two more cities, smaller than Vaes Tolorro but otherwise the same. One was warded by a ring of skulls mounted on rusted iron spears, so he dared not enter, but he had explored the second for as long as he could. He showed Dany an iron bracelet he had found, set with a uncut fire opal the size of her thumb. There were scrolls as well, but they were dry and crumbling and Aggo had left them where they lay.
Dany thanked him and told him to see to the repair of the gates. If enemies had crossed the waste to destroy these cities in ancient days, they might well come again. “If so, we must be ready,” she declared.
Jhogo was gone so long that Dany feared him lost, but finally when they had all but ceased to look for him, he came riding up from the southeast. One of the guards that Aggo had posted saw him first and gave a shout, and Dany rushed to the walls to see for herself. It was true. Jhogo came, yet not alone. Behind him rode three queerly garbed strangers atop ugly humped creatures that dwarfed any horse.
They drew rein before the city gates, and looked up to see Dany on the wall above them. “Blood of my blood,” Jhogo called, “I have been to the great city Qarth, and returned with three who would look on you with their own eyes.”
Dany stared down at the strangers. “Here I stand. Look, if that is your pleasure… but first tell me your names.”
The pale man with the blue lips replied in guttural Dothraki, “I am Pyat Pree, the great warlock.”
The bald man with the jewels in his nose answered in the Valyrian of the Free Cities, “I am Xaro Xhoan Daxos of the Thirteen, a merchant prince of Qarth.”
The woman in the lacquered wooden mask said in the Common Tongue of the Seven Kingdoms, “I am Quaithe of the Shadow. We come seeking dragons.”
“Seek no more,” Daenerys Targaryen told them. “You have found them.”