Tower of the Hand

Book 4, Chapter 16.
The Blackbird carries Sam, Gilly, Dareon and Maester Aemon towards Braavos. Sam learns that Jon made Gilly leave her son behind and take Mance's son with her instead.
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The Blackbird, captained by a man nicknamed Old Tattersalt, leaves Eastwatch with Sam, Gilly, Maester Aemon, and Dareon. Gilly seems sad and listless, and Sam's attempts to cheer her up fail. The first ten days of the trip are relatively calm, as Blackbird was never far from land. Gilly stays below deck with the baby, who is sick, while Dareon sings for the oarsmen as they row. Maester Aemon spends most of his time on deck gazing at the shore with blind eyes and thinking of the past. He describes how he first came to the wall on the Golden Dragon when he was thirty-five and had been a maester for sixteen years. Aegon V emptied the dungeons so that he would not have to say his vows alone. One of his companions was Bloodraven, who later became Lord Commander of the Watch. As the voyage continues, Sam thinks that it is not as bad as his last sea voyage, taken to the Arbor when he was ten. He had been seasick then too, and mocked by Lord Paxter's two sons, Horas and Hobber. When he returned home, he learned that he had been supposed to stay and become Lord Paxter's cupbearer while Horas came to Horn Hill. If he had performed well, he would have been betrothed to Paxter's daughter. Several days later, the ship nears Skagos. Dareon joins Sam at the rail to talk. They speak of Gilly and the baby. The baby cries constantly except when he is feeding, at which point Gilly begins crying. Gilly's eyes are red all the time now. Sam thinks she is just afraid of the sea. The next day, they are beset by storms. Sam tries to get Maester Aemon to come below, but he likes the feel of the rain on his face. Sam tries to get him to come below later, but he has fallen asleep. When he awakes, he thinks Sam is Aegon V. Sam carries him below and Gilly helps him try to warm the maester. The storms are a constant companion around Skagos, and as they leave sight of land the storms get worse. The crew begins to mutter that Gilly is bad luck and she is the cause; Sam begins guarding her to make sure nothing happens. He also gets Dareon to sing a lullaby for the baby once, but when Gilly starts crying, he stalks off angrily. Sam asks Aemon if he can give her anything for her fear, and the maester tells him that she cries not of fear, but grief. It is obvious to him that she left her son at the Wall and that she now carries Mance's son with her. Jon obviously used threats and other persuasion to get her to switch the babies so that Mance's son would not burn in Melisandre's fires.


Active Characters

  1. Dareon - He has fair hair and hazel eyes.


  1. Skagosi - The Skagosi, or stoneborn as they call themselves, are thought of as savages by the rest of Westeros and referred to derisively as Skaggs. They live in caves and mountain fastnesses and ride great shaggy unicorns to war. Thet are supposedly cannibals as well that eat the hearts and livers of those they slay in battle. They waged a rebellion a hundred years ago that took years to quell.


  1. Arbor Queen - The Arbor Queen is a large galleas powered by three great burgundy sails and banks of oars.


  1. Skane - Skane has been unpopulated since ancient times when the Skagosi raided the island, slaughtered, and supposedly ate, the men, and carried off the women.