Tower of the Hand

Book 4, Chapter 37.
Cersei learns that Dragonstone has fallen and Loras is seriously injured. She comes up with a plan to get rid of Margaery.
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Cersei has an audience with Aurane, freshly arrived on the evening tide on Sweet Cersei. He reports that Dragonstone has fallen. Cersei is pleased and releases Lord Paxter to return to the Arbor. The ironmen have been raiding up and down the Mander and overwhelmed the dozen or so ships Lord Paxter left at the Arbor. They have even made moves towards Oldtown. The battle at Dragonstone was a bloodbath, however, with a thousand dead, most of them on the Lannister side. Ser Loras is seriously wounded and expected to die. Cersei has Dorcas bring refreshments as Aurane tells her the whole tale. Cersei, pleased with this turn of events, goes to tell Margaery herself. Margaery is with her cousins, Alla, Megga, and Elinor, when Cersei arrives. She tells how Lord Paxter had been digging a tunnel under the walls, but Loras found the progress too slow and insisted on a frontal assault after the castellan, Rolland Storm, refused to settle the matter in single combat. Loras was the first through the breach, taking a quarrel through the thigh, another through the shoulder, and a mace blow that broke several ribs. Finally, as Loras led the assault on the inner wall, he was doused with boiling oil. Margaery, grief stricken, throws Cersei out.

That night, as Jocelyn lays beside her in bed in place of Taena, who did not come as usual, Cersei thinks of how pleased her father would be by what she has accomplished. Taena comes the next morning, telling Cersei that she was up all night with Margaery and her ladies talking about Loras. Margaery remains convinced that he will not die and she plans to send her own maester to tend to him. Ser Osmund enters to report that four have come claiming to have information about Tyrion, one of them with a head. The man with the head is Tyroshi, but when he opens the box bearing the head, Cersei sees right away that it is a fake. Furious, she orders Ser Meryn to take him to Qyburn. The other three informers have no good information either. With the audiences over, Cersei goes to court accompanied by Taena. Jalabhar Xho is the first to petition, asking as he always does for men to regain the Red Flower Vale. Cersei denies him and says maybe next year they can help, just as Robert always did. Lord Hallyne comes next, asking leave to hatch any dragon eggs found on Dragonstone. Cersei puts him off, as every attempt to hatch such eggs has ended in death, disaster, or disgrace. Next a group of merchants come forward, complaining that the Iron Bank is demanding repayment of all outstanding loans and refusing to issue new ones. Cersei is fed up with the bank and thinks she must start her own, but for now, all she can do is tell the merchants to pay up. Next a delegation from the Faith attends, Septon Raynard escorted by six members of the Warrior's Sons, including Lancel. Qyburn has reported that over a hundred knights have already joined the reconstituted Warrior's Sons. Although most of them are former household knights and hedge knights, Lancel is not the only man of higher station to pledge himself to the Faith. Cersei is angry, as she had summoned the High Septon himself, but Raynard says he is busy. Cersei summoned him because he and his followers are preaching against the brothels, and the owners have complained. Cersei orders the High Septon to halt this practice at once. Pycelle comes next, in place of Lord Gyles, who is too ill to leave his bed. Pycelle reports that Gyles is coughing up bits of lung now, and it will not be long before he dies. Cersei says that he has never died from his cough before, and she thinks someone is trying to kill him.

When court finally ends, Cersei has dinner with Tommen. She tells him to be thankful he is still a boy and does not have to attend court, for it is tedious work. Tommen says that Margaery believes he should attend court, but Cersei will not hear of it. She threatens to remove Margaery's tongue, and Tommen gets angry, reminds her that he is the king, and forbids it. Cersei summons Ser Boros from out in the hall and orders him to take Tommen to whip Pate. If Tommen refuses, Qyburn is to remove Pate's tongue. The night is dark, and Cersei finds herself thinking of Margaery, Loras, and the black cells. She had resolved not to give Falyse another thought, but cannot help it. Word has come from Castle Stokeworth that Lady Tanda is dead. Lollys is now the lady of the castle with Bronn as her lord. When she goes to sleep, Cersei dreams of the night she visited Maggy the Frog. Jeyne Farman and Melara Hetherspoon are there with her as they search the tourney grounds for the crone's tent. Maggy is sleeping when they enter, but Cersei wakes her up. As Maggy opens her eyes, Jeyne flees the tent. Maggy repeatedly tells them to leave, but Cersei refuses, and she finally agrees to tell their fortunes. Cersei asked if she would marry the prince, Rhaegar, and Maggy had replied she would marry the king. She also says that Cersei will be queen until another comes along, younger and more beautiful to cast her down and that she would have three children while her husband had sixteen. Her three children will wear golden crowns and golden shrouds, and once they are all dead, the valonqar will choke the life out of her. Cersei decides it is all lies and tries to lead Melara from the tent. However, Melara insists on asking if she will marry Jaime, who does not even know she is alive, and Maggy says her death is in the tent. Cersei throws some potion into Maggy's eyes, and the girls leave. That dream fades, and she dreams Tyrion is strangling her before waking with a start. Cersei wakes Dorcas and tells her to fetch Pycelle at once. She orders him to make her a potion that will let her sleep without dreaming. As he leaves, she asks if the future can be foretold. He says the Citadel has some old books that suggest it can be, but he says that even if it could, it should not be done. The next morning, Cersei has breakfast with a much subdued Tommen and then confers with Qyburn. She asks if Falyse is still alive and could be produced to challenge Bronn, but Qyburn informs the queen that while Falyse does live, she can no longer even feed herself. She next asks him if the future can be foretold, and tells her of the dream. Maggy foretold Melara's death, and then she drowned in a well. She also knew of Robert's bastards. Qyburn says that bloodmagic is powerful, but the prophecies need not come true. Cersei decides she must eliminate Margaery. Poison will raise too many questions, and none of her lovers are like to confess to bedding her, which would allow Cersei to execute her for treason. The next day, she approaches Osmund and asks him how good a sword Osney is and whether he could defeat Ser Boros. Osmund says that would be no problem. Cersei plans to have Osney confess to bedding Margaery.


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  1. Pycelle - He is eighty-four. He was forty-two when he was named Grand Maester. He was raised at such a young age after three older Grand Maesters died in less than two years.