Tower of the Hand

Book 4, Chapter 19.
Victarion arrives at Old Wyk for the kingsmoot and rejects a proposed alliance from Asha.
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Iron Victory enters Nagga's Cradle off of Old Wyk. Victarion joins Nute the Barber at the prow as the remains of the Grey King's hall come into view. He remembers how Balon stood beneath those ruins at the beginning of Greyjoy's Rebellion to be crowned by Tarle and hailed as king. Nute assures him he will be likewise hailed, but Victarion is not so sure. He did not want to claim the crown, despite many of his captains, including Red Ralf Stonehouse, Ralf Kenning, and Ralf the Limper, trying to convince him that he could not allow Euron to sit the Seastone Chair, but when Aeron called the kingsmoot, he left Ralf Kenning in charge at Moat Cailin and set sail for Old Wyk with nine-tenths of the Iron Fleet. Fickle winds and rough seas delayed his arrival, but only one ship was lost. Behind Iron Victory, the rest of the Iron Fleet sails in a ragged line, including Grief, Iron Vengeance, Hardhand, Iron Wind, Grey Ghost, Lord Quellon, Lord Vickon, and Lord Dagon. The bay is full of longships, many of which Victarion recognizes, including Lord Rodrik's Sea Song, Lord Dunstan's Thunderer, Lord Baelor's Nightflyer, Silverfin, which had been Lord Sawane's ship, and Silence. Victarion orders Grief and Iron Vengeance to take up position between Silence and the sea and for the rest of the fleet to seal off the bay before going ashore. Aeron greets him at the water's edge and blesses him with seawater. Men of many houses swarm him as he comes ashore, and that night he feasts fifty famous captains. Those in attendance include Fralegg the Strong, Alvyn Sharp, and Hotho Harlaw. Hotho offers him a bride, but he says he has no luck with wives. He has had three in total, the first died in childbirth with a stillborn daughter, the second died of a pox, and he beat the third to death. Lord Baelor also speaks to him of ending the war. His father was killed during Greyjoy's Rebellion and he was a hostage in Oldtown for eight years, becoming a worshiper of the Seven. He considers all of Victarion's brothers to be mad and wants Victarion to end the war, which he will not commit to doing. As the evening continues, Will Humble loses a wager and has to eat his boot, Lenwood Tawney fiddles while Romny Weaver sings reaving songs, and Qarl and Eldred Codd dance the finger dance until Eldred loses a finger.

Late in the evening, Asha makes an appearance. She tells Victarion that more than Greyjoys will be fighting over the throne. Dunstan Drumm plans to make a claim, and Tarle has been heard to say that Maron Volmark is the true heir. Victarion says a Greyjoy must be king, and Asha agrees, but says that Euron comes before Victarion and Asha comes before them both. Just then, a new group of people come in, including Jon Myre, Torwold, Lucas Codd, Germund Botley, Orkwood, Stonehand, Quellon Humble, the Red Oarsman, Ralf the Shepherd, Ralf of Lordsport, Qarl the Thrall, and Euron Crow's Eye. Euron spars with Aeron, causing him to leave in disgust. Asha accuses him of killing Balon, which he denies, and gets into a sparring match with his supporters until Victarion brings an end to it. Victarion tells Euron to go, and he does. Many others leave as well, and much of the merriment in the tent dies. Asha asks Victarion to walk with her outside. When they are alone, she asks why Euron left three years ago; she had been in the Stepstones stealing from Lyseni pirates at the time. Victarion does not want to talk about it. He tells Asha she will never be queen, and Asha reluctantly agrees. She has been courting captains for four days and nights and only has her own men, the Harlaws, Tristifer, and a few others to show for it. She proposes that Victarion become king with her as his Hand, a position that has never existed among the ironmen. She wants to end the war. Lady Sybelle has assured her that if they hand back Deepwood Motte, Torrhen's Square, and Moat Cailin, the Northmen will cede Sea Dragon Point and the Stony Shore. This would give the ironmen the land they need, and the two sides can make common cause against the Iron Throne if attacked. Victarion says that Sea Dragon Point and the Stony Shore are already in their possession and that with Robb dead, there are none to oppose them in conquering the whole North. Asha disagrees, but Victarion will hear no more and rejects her offer. Asha says he needs her for the Harlaws, but he counters that Hotho is already with him and that he will have the Harlaws and the throne. Asha warns him that all the captains are talking about Euron and not of either of them. She asks if Euron killed his wife, and Victarion explains that Euron had put a baby in her belly and forced Victarion to kill her. Balon exiled him, never to return as long as Balon lived. Asha leaves, saying she will put in a claim for the Seastone Chair.


Characters

Active Characters

  1. Euron Greyjoy - He is pale and handsome with raven black hair, a neat dark beard, and a patch over his left eye. His remaining eye is bright blue.
  2. Nute - He is thickset with bandy legs and long arms.

Houses

Active Houses

  1. House Humble - House Humble is descended from thralls and salt wives.

Items

  1. Silence - Silence sports a black iron maiden on its prow with one outstratched arm, a slender waist, full breasts, shapely legs, and mother of pearl eyes, but no mouth.