A F T E R B U R N (betrayal is the one thing that brings me to my knees)
yeskhaleesi (aka Eskimo Jo)
Summary: In the fallout of the theft of her dragons, Daenerys finds another traitor in her midst. She and Doreah are forced to confront what that means, and themselves at the same time.
Pairing/Characters: Daenerys Targaryen/Doreah
Rating: R – some violence, adult situations, rape.
Warnings: Spoilers up to 2x06, but I do assume you have a vague idea what happens when Dany visits the House of the Undying. This picks up after that.
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters or Game of Thrones. No money is being made.
Notes: I’m a bit of a noob here so forgive any glaring inaccuracies. I have very little idea what happens in the books. I’m basing this on the TV series, cos… well, I’m obsessed with Roxanne Mckee, and that’s what I know.
Fanmix: here & here
Download: PDF (This is bound to be updated/replaced as I read it over and fix things. But for the time being, have my draft.) NOTE: It's come to my attention that there are some tense issues (especially in later chapters). I've tried to fix what I found here, but the PDF still contains them. Forgive me. This was my first go at writing in past tense in quite a while, actually. Damn you and your tempting ways, simple present tense!
afterburn: The period of time before a past event is assimilated; in transactional psychology, it is the effect an atypical past event continues to exert on a person’s daily schedule, activities and mental state even after it is over: to ‘those occasions when it disturbs normal patterns for an appreciable period, rather than being assimilated into them or excluded from them’.
The words were laced with ice and poison, quiet and vicious. So unlike the fire-blooded woman they had come from. There was a finality that was unfamiliar, a cold indifference betrayed only by the sheer anger behind it. It was unsettling in its unfamiliarity. The girl on her knees closed her eyes slowly and her bowed head fell even further down.
Ser Jorah glanced once more, disdain and confusion on his face, at the slave girl tethered to the post in this deserted, dark corner of Qarth. He said nothing, made no plea on her behalf because to him, it was assumed there was nothing worth saving. The princess --the Khaleesi-- turned slowly, eyes narrowed and burning with rage and motioned for the knight to pick up her beloved dragons. Their weeping screeched through the fabric covering their makeshift carriers and Daenerys winced in tandem with Doreah as Drogon’s discernible cry bounced off the stone walls around them, desperate in its urgency.
They stepped further away; Drogon cried out again. Doreah remained, bound with rough rope to the goat post. The night was cold in a desert, even within the confines of a city and Qarth, despite its superficial beauty, was no exception to the laws of nature. The falling of darkness cast deeper shadows across pathways and flickers of firelight bounced off objects as they took on traits more like dancing demons than comforting illumination. She could feel the violent cascade of a shivers down her spine, more than once.
“Khaleesi!” The plea, excruciating in its frequency, echoed high above what normally escaped from any slave’s mouth, except when beaten or raped. But there was only a momentary pause from the khaleesi, just a brief second of hesitation before her shoulders set more firmly and she continued on, as far away as possible from the traitor that had once been a trusted confidant.
“I was trying to protect them,” she whimpered as Dany rounded a corner and faded from sight.
The previous days had been terrible and terrifying at once, and considering the scope of her life from the age of nine onwards, that was a particularly depressing concept. There first had been the men: their sweaty palms, greasy foreheads and brutish touches. Not just one, three at once. Despite all her experience, she had been removed from this world for long enough to forget, and now was left raw and nauseated by the end. Her only respite had come in the form of their complete lack of interest afterwards during which she took her escape. Then came the warlock, with his disgusting blue lips and slimy fingers as he announced his even more unpalatable proposition, the one that made the sick rise up and her heart plummet. The knowledge from the other men had been valuable but she had no time to relay it in its entirety --not in front of Irri-- before Daenerys had been once again whisked off to high-ranking lords of Qarth to plead her case over ships and armies. In the end, she hadn’t really been given a choice at all by he slithering warlock. Even though she had nodded in solemn agreement, it may as well have been called kidnapping. Her only other option had been death.
Then the bloodbath had come. She refused to watch, refused to listen to the screams of her Dothraki friends as their lives drained from them. Then came her participation: the theft of her khaleesi’s own children. She remembers choking on bile as she stepped over Irri’s strangled, lifeless body to snatch the young dragons and force them into the small, flimsy cages that Pyat Pree had already constructed, far in advance of even their arrival at Qarth. The remnants of her new family lay scattered around the courtyard, slain without remorse and without a second thought. The dragons had been restless, thrashing in their pitiful cages. As she carried them off, Drogon screamed too, terrified and anguished.
Xaro had been waiting at the location she had arranged with the warlock. His eyes gleamed like glass stones, unfeeling and almost transparent. Empty. He had led her to the vault, roughly pushed her inside, unconcerned with the welfare of the little dragons she was carrying. After an order to put them on the table, he had taken her, one large hand across her mouth as she weakly struggled against him, against her own guilt. His eyes still twinkled as he came, but hollow and glassy as ever. He had not been gentle but at least he had been as uninterested as the other Qarth men in the aftermath, allowing her to quickly pull down her skirts and try to will away the searing pain. Without even a farewell, the vault slammed shut and she glanced at its sparsity. No riches. No jewels, no wealth. It was populated merely with crates of grain, spices and a small area with rotting meat and a bowl of foul-looking water. A few candles glowed, their shadows dancing across the speckled walls. She wondered if perhaps she would suffocate in this tomb.
Being a prisoner had not been what she agreed to. A slave perhaps, but not a prisoner. When the khaleesi had ordered her to please the men of Qarth in exchange for information, this was not what she had envisioned. Above ground, Xaro would be meeting her soon, telling her lies and soon she would return to her quarters to see the massacre. Would she even notice what was missing other than her dragons?
Doreah had sat awake through the night, whispering tenderly to the young dragons.
“Dracarys, dracarys,” she commanded urgently, yet as gently as possible as she placed the least rotten cubes of goat between the bars. Drogon, exhausted as he was, cooked the meat for himself and managed to get Viserion to help a little too; he was really the one taking care of his siblings. She ate none.
Without the key to the cages, she could only offer a finger to soothe them. There was nothing she could do to relieve their shivering in the cold cellar. She had sworn to protect them. Her choice had been to steal them or die, and her belief was that one their own they too would surely perish. Pyat Pree had no knowledge about them. Would they even eat for him? Would they stress themselves to an early death? The warlock would have taken them by force regardless, which would have ultimately resulted in the last of dragons, perhaps in the entire world, going extinct in these catacombs. Her thoughts and her decision had not been to save her own life, for of what worth was it? But the dragons? Daenerys? Their future was worth her sacrifice.
It had seemed so noble at the time.
The days blended together into nothing but pitiful attempts at comforting the dragons and trying not to go mad in the silence of her makeshift, solitary prison. Three days later, like he had everyday since stealing the dragons, Xaro returned, his wet grunts in her ear unable to completely over-power the crying of the dragons in their cages as they witnessed the power of greed and evil once again. She lay motionless and quiet until he rose, demanded her to rise as well and gather the dragons. She did so gingerly, feeling the hot dribble of liquid down her leg. She hoped it was not what she suspected it to be. Xaro paid her dawdling no heed, instead acting as if he had just given her a flute of refreshing wine instead of making her scream in agony. He was more interested in his real investment. A cursory glance to the plate of meat and then inside the cages assured him that they were being taken care of, as was the agreement.
“You take care of them, I take care of you,” he rumbled as he slammed the vault door behind them. “Just the way you like.” A smirk crossed his lips as if he were pleased with his own wit, stroking her breast with impunity. Her eyes lowered, as was the custom, the expectation.
The walk to the House of the Undying was unremarkable except in the overwhelming feeling of expounding dread settling deeper and deeper into her bones with every step closer. It was a confused structure, ruins making it all the more difficult to navigate as Pyat Pree and Xaro –a fist in her hair yanking her along-- lead her through doors and corridors, chambers and tunnels. Her skin crawled non-stop throughout the ordeal, only occasionally overwhelmed by the burn of torn flesh between her thighs as she moved. The dragons remained eerily quiet within the confines of the House, as if suffocated by fear. If it could incite such paralysing terror even in a dragon, she worried how the khaleesi would fare when the time came for her to rescue her dragons, and the time would come. Of that she was certain. She was handed a plate of much nicer meat, fresh lamb this time and Pyat Pree smiled his toothless, blue grin as he watched in as she fed them. This time she merely mouthed the words to urge Drogon to singe his food; her voice remained trapped within her throat.
They had not told her she would be separated from the dragons until some men came to wrestle her away, bind her wrists behind her back and drag her out of this chamber of the dragons. The dragons screamed then, sorrowfully and long.
It had not been a well-travelled section of the city they carried her to but nothing around the House of the Undying was. Down a twisting alley was a yard normally kept for goats. They unbound her wrists only to tie her to a post with thicker ropes, and a shackle and chain around her ankle for good measure. One of the men stared down on her, his blue smile gleaming forebodingly in the late afternoon sun. She opened her mouth to scream, hoping that perhaps someone would hear. But before the sound escaped there was a rough hand tugging on her hair, practically ripping it from her scalp. The man looked at it with a smirk of warning. He first attempted to gag her with his cock, snickering at the beginning as she choked helplessly on the taste as he forced himself further into her. But when she bit down, a string of obscenities erupted forth followed by heavy fist across her jaw from his companion. A dense ball of tattered sheep’s wool was stuffed in its place. The smell made her stomach turn, and was made far worse by the taste of feces on her tongue. Tears gathered in response and she squeezed her eyes closed to prevent it. A swift kick came in suddenly; she did not know which man had done it. It did not matter, but her lungs heaved with the effort of breathing and a bitter soreness radiated through her abdomen. The men laughed with their blue tongues hanging out like dogs, and left her to burn under the high sun. The tears began to fall as her jaw began to swell, she could do nothing but wait and hope. She had no doubt that Xaro would return come nightfall, drag her back to his illusory vault of riches. But that was not the rescue she yearned for. All she could smell was fire.
It was unclear how much time had passed between that moment and when Ser Jorah came charging up to the goat pen, sword raised in suspicion. Hours? Days? Her teal blue eyes had sprung tears again, not from pain or taste but rather the lack of complete distrust on his face. A rough hand ripped the wool from her mouth and she gasped for fresh air as the agony from the bruising on her face flared up again. She met his eyes. They were clouded with confusion. On the periphery seemed to be accusation as well. Any hope she had been holding onto began to dissolve with his expression, and then disappeared completely when she saw Daenerys rushing up to his side, clearly exhausted but with pure rage still pouring from her skin. Behind her were the remaining Dothraki warriors with her dragons, safe and sound. Her hand reached out to pull Ser Jorah back. It was her betrayal to face. He waved away the Dothraki and stepped over to the dragon cages, guarding them vigilantly as Doreah had failed to do.
The khaleesi said nothing as the former slave clambered onto her knees, tangled in chains and twine. She said nothing still when tears escaped Doreah’s eyes. She gazed down unflinching to the upturned, sniveling face of her handmaiden. Her posture was tense, her teeth clenched. That much was visible. Less noticeable and much more ephemeral was the flicker of despair in her lavender eyes. That was where betrayal comes in. At the eyes.
“Khaleesi,” Doreah began, a sob choking her speech and her lip cracking from the earlier hit. She tasted sour iron on her tongue. “It was not–”
“Silence. I will not hear it.”
“Please, Khaleesi, I–”
“I said silence. You stole my dragons. You endangered their lives and my life, my very future. For what purpose?” She paused but before the handmaiden could offer a reason, Daenerys continued. “I have seen your true self, Doreah, daughter of the whores of Lys. You have always wanted my dragons for yourself but I hope what wealth you were promised was worth the price of this.” Disregarding the way her voice crackled, Daenerys gestured slackly around the dusty yard. “This is all you will ever see again.”
Any cries were ignored, and her feeble attempt at stammering out a plea in between the wrack of sobs was of no use. Dany had no desire to entertain anything other than the sharp sting of broken trust. Doreah looked to Ser Jorah. Surely he would see that there was far more to the story than careless treason. She could hear Drogon wail from within his carrier. It mimicked her own cry. Her attempt was not completely in vain as he moved towards her but again, the princess put out her arm, holding his progress.
The licking flames of hatred had long extinguished themselves in the seeping cold of the desert night. It had been hours, many hours in fact, from the moment she turned her back on her only remaining handmaiden. Qarth was in upheaval and she was on the verge of securing herself a place amongst its elite. It was so undesirable now, she could not fathom how only days ago it had been her only goal. The visions from the House of the Undying haunted her each time she attempted to shut her eyes. So after staying awake, feeding and tending to her anxious and trembling children until they fell asleep in her arms, she resigned herself to sitting silently and watching the flame of her night candle slowly move through the melting wax. Nothing could keep the visions at bay yet she yearned not to see them any longer. Even just the thoughts of them were hurtful and upsetting. Relaxation itself was impossible, even in this more secure accommodation, no small part in thanks to Jorah’s insistence on increased security. The Qarth women of the house that she had asked to help her with her evening routine were clumsy and too desperate to please. She ended up sending them away before they had fully finished. Now her blonde hair remained tangled around her ears, the braids falling loosely.
She glanced at the spot on the floor where her dear Irri died a violent and lonely death. She could not even mourn properly with so much left undone, the dull stain of blood still visible even in the small amount of moonlight that filtered in through her thin curtains. Reminders everywhere of her loss; senseless loss. A horrifying loss. Her Irri, who had chosen even once freed to stay beside her. She had been one of the last reminders and defenders of Khal Drogo, the man who was still her sun and stars. The memory of her Khal, and their love was yanked further and further away with each day. The prickle of salt tears grasped at the corners of her eyes and she had to shake her head and breathe deeply to rid herself of the temptation.
– A khaleesi does not cry. A queen does not cry.
For a brief moment, she took in a sharp breath in order to call out for company, for reassurance. The name caught in her throat before she could utter a sound. Doreah. Her teeth found her tongue and clenched down until it bled. The taste of iron reminded her why her servant was not there any longer.
There was a softening however. As the sudden surge of betrayal rose and fell, the void it left behind began to fill with something else entirely. Doubt. It weakened her resolve piece by piece, picking away at the assurance that she had clung to so adamantly. The fire reignited weakly, but instead of finding its fuel in the passion of anger, it smoldered lost within the thick smog of guilt, of remorse. Her blood warmed as her hands ached to hold on to something real, something that would not be taken from her once again. Her grasp on anything but her dragons was always so fleeting, and even that --as she was learning-- was tenuous at best. The world wants what it can take; it easily takes what she cannot hold onto.
Her thoughts began to deviate, zipping through her memory to her husband, her impossibly strong Dothraki stallion, and how easily even love itself could be stolen away. How easily she tossed life away for empty promises and misdirections. Her mind would not rest any longer.
“Ser Jorah!” she called out into the quiet night. She tried again, even as she heard his heavy footfalls frantically racing up the stairs to her. Her impatience was only rivaled by her impetus.
“Khaleesi,” he acknowledged gruffly as he noted that she was already out of bed and pulling on a heavy coat. “What is it?”
She did not immediately answer his query. Instead she threw a blanket over her sleeping dragons. “Wake the guards. Tell them to come here at once. They will keep watch over my dragons until I return.” Her voice was insistent and grave. “Then you will accompany me to the House of the Undying.”
The objections were clear on his lined face but he made no attempt to voice them aloud. She would not be dissuaded; to try would be a waste of effort. Soon after, a throng of the strongest men she had at her disposal arrived. They would not be sleeping anymore that night. She offered them the fruits leftover on her table and her gratitude before rushing out of the suite, her knight close behind.
= } =
The night was bitterly cold away from the hearths and warm stone of the richer houses. Twice she tripped over beggars huddled shivering in crevices, hiding from the chill in shadows. Both times they paid her no mind and Ser Jorah had no need to even unsheathe his sword. The silence and calm of the abandoned streets felt eerie, as if even in night, Qarth should be alive and vibrant. But the House of the Undying was far from the Night Market. A wild dog leapt out in their path, a menacing growl erupting from deep within its throat. The dragon princess merely stared. She could not meet its stare in the darkness of the shadowed street but no less, she stood her ground. It eventually moved off, the growl never ceasing for as long as she could hear it.
Qarth was a labyrinth in the daylight; at night, it seemed to be a never-ending tomb. Having never been to these areas at so late an hour, her disorientation quickly set in. Even with Jorah’s assistance, what began as a determined march devolved into a tentative search. However, the closer they seemed to come, the more disjointed was the rhythm of her slowing footsteps with that of her ever-increasing heartbeat.
The ruins suddenly loomed over them as if they had just jumped out of the darkness, juxtaposed to the clean lines of all the other city buildings around them. They were made even darker by her previous visit when Drogon had scorched the building nearly to its foundation. Even in destruction, it glowed red as the embers swallowed up light gusts of breeze in the night. Ser Jorah’s hand reached for the hilt of his sword out of sheer reflex. When she made no move to enter the structure, he realised what she had actually come back for. With the distinctive features ingrained already in his mind, he guided her gently around the side of the ruins and towards her goal.
“This way, Khaleesi.”
His voice fell to a low rumble. “You have doubts.”
The young woman stopped abruptly. “What of it?” Her gaze narrowed on her advisor as if expecting rebuke for her hot-headed reactions earlier in the day. No such thing happened. He merely shook his head.
“So do I, that is all.” He stepped out ahead of her, avoiding eye contact.
The goat pen and its inhabitant may have been easily missed by any other passerby. It was eerily dark in the narrow alleys and the moonlight offered very little reprieve. The figure sat hunched against a wall, motionless, legs drawn up to her chest and arms resting over her knees. Her head was cradled in them. Forgetting herself, Daenerys rushed forward, snapping the wooden gate in her haste and fell to her knees beside the girl she had abandoned that evening.
“Doreah,” she said, her voice soft but agitated. The heartbeat that had been speeding up earlier was pounding furiously now as she placed a warm hand on her handmaiden’s arm. It was sticky, cold. The pale white of her skin offered enough contrast that even in the dim light, she could tell it was blood.
There had already been far too much unnecessary blood shed. The fire flared up inside her chest. “Jorah!”
He had been standing respectfully at the gate, having learnt long ago that when Daenerys was with her handmaids —especially Doreah— she had to be given privacy.
He sprinted forward, covering the distance in a few long steps. There was no need to tell him the situation as he glanced down at the blood-covered hands of his Khaleesi. Leaning forward with his torch, they could see the extent of the injury: jagged wounds slicing her forearm. A dog. Or a daemon. Rope burns inflamed the skin further down. A struggle had happened. He could not see her face but he assumed the bruises he had seen on her face earlier were darker now.
Leaning down, Ser Jorah ran a hand through the handmaiden’s tangled locks, as soft as one would do for a small child. His posture relaxed in defeat at another life lost.
Broken from the moment, the knight stared at Dany with an unvoiced question on his face.
“Hand me your sword,” she repeated gravely in almost a whisper. Her face reflected a dismal tenacity. It was much too heavy for her to wield effectively but this was not a battle any longer so he acquiesced, carefully placing the weapon in her hands. Working slowly, she attempted to slice through the rope binding Doreah to the post. He propped the torch up in a crevice in the stone. It would have been much faster for Jorah to do it but this appeared to be something she was intent on doing herself. There was something sadly regal about the gesture and he bowed his head and waited.
There was shuffling and a grunt and he looked up to see Daenarys with the sword alongside her head. Expecting the worst and fearing her mad with grief, he lunged forward. Sensing his actions already, she scrambled out of the way and held the sword again to her head, one loose braid hanging outside it.
“I have no right to wear such braids in my hair. I have no valour. I have had no victories. Khal Drogo deserved his bells and braids for he was a true warrior and king.” Dany’s voice trembled with the pain of her confession yet valiantly tried to withhold the tears on the edges of her eyes. “Mine are false victories!” Clumsily, she pulled down on the sword, straining her hair before it gave way, a frayed mess left over, a hint of her father’s madness sneaking out in her dishevelled appearance. With the braid having been attached to the other side, she had no more purchase to cut the other braid opposite.
“Ser Jorah,” she commanded, holding out his sword and turning her back to him. “The other one.” Without argument, he easily did as she ordered and the tied braids fell to the ground at her feet. It was a terrible sight. A princess with no pride left, no hope.
“You still have your dragons. You still have wars to win yet, a throne to rightfully reclaim,” he reminded her softly. “It is far from over.”
She shook her head, a bitter laugh escaping. “It has far from begun and already I have lost so much.” Dany’s gaze fell to Doreah, still cold and motionless against the wall. “More than I can bear.”
Jorah moved closer, sheathing his weapon and pulling her towards him. “You are a Targaryen. Mother of dragons.” Her face found warmth against his chest as his arms encircled her protectively, but hers remained at her sides, limp with defeat. “You will rise again,” he whispered forcefully in her ear.
She said nothing in response as she could not think of a thing she wanted to say that would prove him right. Instead she stifled a sob, swallowing it before it could escape and squirmed from Jorah’s warm hold. Defiance set across her face once again.
She gestured to the chain. “I want her freed.”
Shaking his head, Jorah could only tell her that a sword could not break a chain that thick. It would have to wait until morning when they could procure a key or axe. He withheld the alternative option. Desecrating the body of her last handmaiden would serve no good.
Her blonde hair swung wildly as she dismissed his objections. “No. No, I will not leave her here for the dogs!” Daenerys promptly took a seat beside Doreah’s body. “I will stay. You will return to my dragons. At first light, bring me an axe.”
“Khaleesi…” His voice held grave warning.
“Yes, I am your khaleesi and you shall do as I command.” He glanced up at the night sky, gauging how many more hours it would be until sunrise. Perhaps it would not be very long. He reached down and pulled a dagger from his belt, holding it out for her to take.
“This is truly foolish, Princess,” he said as she took the small weapon. Her look was still confident and daring. Shaking his head, knowing al too well her stubbornness, he turned from her. “I will return at dawn.”
The wooden gate snapped into pieces as he brusquely pulled it closed after him. The darkness of Qarth devoured him and Dany was finally left alone, with only the fire of the torch to ward off the night. She squinted over at her fallen handmaiden, the guilt rising fast and thick in her lungs. Her army was becoming smaller by the day, and her friends almost completely gone. She wished for Ser Jorah to make his way back to the guesthouse without incident. She could not lose her very last friend.
Her fingers reached out tentatively to push back a lock of hair that had fallen loose from Doreah’s braid. There was no twitch of recognition and Dany realised that hope was as futile as it was absurd. It was merely a child’s fantasy.
She shifted closer, ignoring the smell of blood and dust, and lay her cheek against the stony shoulder as she had so often as they relaxed in the khalasar after long days of travel. The night seemed to go on forever.
= } =
A dog came sniffing around some time later but seemed uninterested in the figures huddled against the wall. It urinated excessively on the post and left again, the rancid smell floating over them. Dany wished she could have swung the dagger at it, slit its throat, but revenge on an innocent party for the actions of another seemed too far from her mind now. Instead she sat in silence, waiting for dawn.
The voice seemed to come from elsewhere, otherworldly even. Although it was dark beyond the garden wall and she could see nothing, Daenerys looked in the direction of the House of the Undying and swallowed nervously. She had thought they had all been killed. Flashes of blue-lipped men came up before her and she gasped at how real they seemed. But then they vanished from her vision. They had been imagined.
It came again, softer than before. Weaker. The khaleesi turned quickly to her deceased handmaiden, backing up in fear of the undead. That is when she saw the tremble. It was tiny, but it was new and hope flared. She knew she had not felt that before. Without thinking, she grabbed at Doreah’s hands, shoving them away from where they nested her bowed head, regardless of the wounds. She grasped at a swollen jawline with tight hands and forced the girl to face her. Eyelids flickered only briefly but it was enough. The weak corresponding groan of pain at Dany’s grip reinforced what she had thought may only have been her imagination.
“Doreah?” She had withheld tears all night but they broke free now. A queen does not cry, but Doreah had seen her in predicaments of much more helplessness than this.
Seeming to gather strength, the brunette slowly raised her own head, forcing her eyes open. “Khaleesi?” Before Daenerys could reply, Doreah began. “I am so sorry. I tried to protect…” Her speech was stuttered and fading as if it was too much of a task.
“Later,” Dany responded, choosing to keep the topic of the dragons at the wayside for the time being. “I thought you were dead.” She let out a small laugh of relief.
She had expected a smile, or least an attempted one as Doreah so often granted her but none was forthcoming and it ate a hole in her heart at the realisation. If her doubts were indeed proven correct, then it had been she who betrayed her friend, and left her to die in the slums of Qarth, no better than a stray dog. She grappled with her large coat, spreading it wide over her companion before sliding a less than cooperative Doreah forward from the stone wall. With an agility that she had not known, Daenarys wormed in behind and cradled her friend between her legs, acting as a pillow of warmth as the fire burned in her blood. Doreah eventually lay back against her chest as the bitter cold began to trickle out and was replaced with Dany’s heat. After pulling the cloak tighter over them, small arms snaked around Doreah’s abdomen, hands finally finding something to hold onto. The shivering then began more fervently as life and strength seeped back in.
They said nothing more, Doreah dozing off again but her breathing deeper and more regularly. As her head lolled to the side against Dany’s shoulder, the princess leaned down and placed a chaste kiss to her handmaiden’s ear, delighting in the minuscule twitch in response.
Dawn came slowly, but it was a welcome sight at last. Daenerys stirred first, her body stiff from being so still all night and holding such weight. However, the weight on her was not for her to complain about. It was warm and soft again. The stench on the other hand was close to unbearable. As he had promised, Ser Jorah arrived at the first break of sunlight with a very disgruntled merchant at his side. A locksmith.
Initially disgusted at Dany’s position of cradling a corpse, he realised that in fact it was no lifeless body. Making quick work of the shackle, the locksmith retreated back to his bed and Ser Jorah quickly helped both women to their feet. Doreah was still very weak from blood loss and exhaustion so he took her up in his arms with an approving khaleesi close to his side.
END PART I.
>> PART II