Tower of the Hand

Book 4, Chapter 26.
Brienne returns to Maidenpool and then sets out for Saltpans with Podrick, Hyle, and Meribald to track down Sandor Clegane.
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Ser Hyle insists they take the heads of Shagwell, Pyg, and Timeon with them as he, Brienne, and Podrick make their way back to Maidenpool. They present the heads to Lord Randyll upon their return. Lord Randyll wants to send her back to Tarth, but she is adamant about continuing her search for Sansa. She mentions that she may be with Sandor, and Randyll complains that he has hanged dozen of outlaws but has not been able to find their leaders, Sandor, Beric, Thoros, and a new leader, the woman called Stoneheart. Brienne asks for hospitality for the night, but Lord Randyll refuses and leaves. Ser Hyle tells Brienne to meet him at the Stinking Goose on the morrow. His cousin, Alyn, was one of those charged to look for Sandor, and Hyle will pick his brain for her. Brienne tries to find an inn for the night, but they are all full. Podrick suggests looking for a pallet on a ship, so they head to the docks. The Titan's Daughter is just casting off its lines, while the master of Gulltown Girl mistakes Brienne for a whore. At Seastrider, Brienne stops to buy an orange for Podrick. The ship is making for Gulltown next, and Brienne is tempted to seek passage, but decides that she must check out Sandor first. They finally find a berth on the storm-damaged Lady of Myr, where Brienne has a restless night dreaming of Dick, the men she killed, and other figures from her past. The next day, they head to the Goose, where Hyle meets them as promised. He says that Sandor was last seen heading west along the Trident after the raid on Saltpans.1 Hyle thinks he is probably still trapped in that general area. He also says that Beric is also looking for him and means to hang him for the raid of Saltpans. There is also a new band on the loose led by Lady Stoneheart. She is supposedly Beric's lover and was brought back to life by him with the kiss of fire after she was hanged by the Freys. Brienne decides that she will go to Saltpans to attempt to pick up Sandor's trail. Hyle says a traveling septon named Meribald is leaving on the morrow and will be stopping at Salptans, and he suggests they go with him. Brienne does not want Hyle around at first, but relents when she learns he has left Randyll's service and means to find Sansa for the reward. The next day, they head out northwest with Meribald, his dog, and a donkey laden with food for the poor. He takes them along the shore of the Bay of Crabs along a narrow road that often disappears in the reeds and tidal pools of the shoreline. They pass isolated houses built on stilts above the dunes. At one point, they come across three women who give them some clams in exchange for oranges. The next day, they see their first village. The people there warn them that there are three broken men skulking about in the area. Podrick asks what a broken man is, and Meribald explains that they are men that were marched off to war and broke in battle. They live from day to day and almost become subhuman in their quest for survival. Brienne asks when Meribald was marched off to war, and he talks of how he went to the Stepstones at Podrick's age to fight in the War of the Ninepenny Kings. His brothers went as well. William and Robin were both killed by fever, while Owen died from a mace blow and his friend Jon Pox was hanged for rape.


Active Characters

  1. Meribald - He is six feet tall with a seamed, windburnt face, a shock of thick grey hair, and wrinkles at the corners of his eyes. He is illiterate, but has memorized large passages of The Seven Pointed Star so he may minister to the faithful. He has been ministering to the faithful for almost forty years.


  1. The Faith - Technically, devotees of the Faith worship one god with seven aspects, though since such an abstract concept can be hard for common folk to understand, the Faith often speaks in terms of seven separate gods. The lowest rung of the Faith is occupied by the begging brothers, who live a life of poverty and beg for what they need to survive. The next rung of the hierarchy is the travelling septon, who does not have his own sept but travels to remote villages that do not have their own septon to conduct holy services, perform marriages, and fogive sins.


Warning: Footnotes may contain spoilers from later chapters or books.