Tower of the Hand

Book 4, Chapter 44.
Margaery is arrested by the Faith for treason and adultery. When Cersei comes to visit her, she is arrested too for the murder of the previous High Septon. Ser Harys and Grand Maester Pycelle take control of the realm and invite Ser Kevan to become Hand.
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Cersei receives a delegation of the Faith led by a Septa Moelle in the throne room. The Faith has seized Margaery, Megga, Alla, and Elinor. Lord Orton asks what they stand accused of, and the septa explains that Margaery stands accused of adultery and high treason, Megga and Elinor are accused of lewdness, fornication, and conspiracy to commit treason, and Alla is charged with witnessing these acts. All is going as Cersei has planned, but she must feign ignorance for the benefit of those assembled. She asks how this is known, and the septa reveals that Ser Osney confessed, shocking Ser Harys Grand Maester Pycelle and many of those assembled, some of which exit the room. Cersei has ordered Ser Osfryd to make sure his goldcloaks take note of who leaves. The septa also reveals that Margaery's maidenhead is not intact; she was examined by Moelle and two other septas, Aglantine and Melicent, as well as Nysterica, who has been confined to a penitent's cell. Megga and Elinor have both been examined and found not to be maidens as well. Cersei demands that her own maesters be allowed to examine the girls, and bids Pycelle to do so. Pycelle, playing his part in the plan, says there is no need for him to do so, as he has provided moon tea to Margaery many times. The throne room erupts at the news; even Moon Boy is struck speechless with shock. Cersei leads the small council out, flanked by Ser Boros, Ser Meryn and Ser Osmund. Ser Harys fears a riot when the smallfolk learn what has happened, and Aurane recommends launching the dromonds to protect the city, which Cersei agrees should be done. Ser Harys is deathly afraid that Lord Mace will assault the city to get Margaery back, but Cersei thinks he does not have the nerve. She says she will go see the High Septon and attempt to make peace with him and prepare a trial. Lord Orton says the High Septon may want to try her himself, as the Faith used to do, which Cersei is counting on since the Faith will not look kindly on adultery. Cersei next goes to Tommen, and has him sign ten blank arrest warrants before sending him off with Jocelyn. She then fills in the names herself and gives them to Osfryd to carry out. They are for Ser Tallad, Jalabhar Xho, Hamish, Hugh Clifton, Mark Mullendore, Bayard Norcross, Lambert Turnberry, Horas Redwyne, Hobber Redwyne, and Wat, the Blue Bard. She tells Osfryd not to harm them, as some may be innocent. She means to have Horas and Hobber be found not guilty to make the judgment of the others seem fairer. Osfryd reports that a small crowd, about a hundred, have gathered in front of the Great Sept demanding Margaery's release. Cersei says they should be left alone.

By the end of the next day, all ten are in custody. Tallad resisted and wounded three goldcloaks before succumbing, and Hamish collapsed when they came for him. All are sent to the dungeon save Horas and Hobber, who are given comfortable apartments. Qyburn reports that Hamish is having difficulty breathing and wants a maester, and Cersei replies that he can have one when he confesses. She decides he was too old to have taken part himself and should confess that he witnessed the others. The next day, Lady Taena accompanies her to see Margaery at the Great Sept. Cersei orders Taena to visit the cousins and try to win over Alla while she is with Margaery. They are guarded by ten men led by Ser Boros. Taena asks what happens if Margaery demands trial by battle, and Cersei tells her that the honor of a queen may only be defended by the Kingsguard. Since Loras is gravely wounded, Arys, Balon, and Jaime are elsewhere, and Osmund is brother to her accuser, that leaves only Ser Meryn and Ser Boros, neither of which are competent swordsmen. When they arrive, three Warrior's Sons led by Ser Theodan Wells meet her to escort her to the High Septon. He is praying when they arrive, and makes them wait until he is finished. Cersei asks to see Margaery and is given leave to do so. She finds Margaery in a small cell clad only in a roughspun shift. She tells Cersei that she has no visitors but a group of septas, including one named Unella, who come every hour to ask if she is ready to confess. Cersei tells her there will be a trial, and Margaery seems afraid. Cersei tells her that she may have a trial by combat with either Meryn or Boros as her champion, and Margaery realizes she has been set up and angrily tells Cersei to leave. Cersei converses with the High Septon again. She says there should be a trial conducted by the Faith. This pleases the High Septon, as the Faith has been forbidden to sit in judgment since the days of Jaehaerys I. He says there will be seven judges, three of them women, to represent the seven faces of god. He also agrees with Cersei that any trial by combat must involve the Kingsguard. Cersei says she must return to the castle with Ser Osney so the small council can question him, but the High Septon will not let her leave with him. Instead, he takes her to him. He is hanging from chains in a dark cell and has been tortured. The High Septon explains that while he came willingly, he seemed to pleased at being guilty. Under the torture, he not only admitted that he did not touch Margaery and in fact had sex with Cersei, he also admitted to killing the previous High Septon on Cersei's orders, smothering him with a pillow. Cersei turns and runs, but she is stopped by a group of septas. She is taken to a cell and held down while a Septa Scolera strips her and leaves her a roughspun shift. Cersei threatens them all, but the women are not cowed. She is left alone and soon falls asleep. She is awakened by the arrival of Septa Unella, who asks her to confess. When Cersei refuses, Unella says she will be back in an hour. She has no visitors over the next day or so save Unella with her demands for confession and Moelle, who brings her food. Finally, Qyburn arrives. He tells her that she is to be tried for murder, treason, and fornication. Osfryd is no longer in command of the goldcloaks, having been removed by royal decree and replaced by the captain of the Dragon Gate, Humfrey Waters. Ser Harys and Grand Maester Pycelle rule the realm now, and they have written to Ser Kevan inviting him to become Hand. Qyburn no longer sits on the small council, and Lord Orton has resigned his seat and fled to his seat with Taena. Lord Mace has broken the siege of Storm's End and is marching for the city, and Lord Randyll is coming from Maidenpool as well. Lord Aurane fled as soon as Cersei's predicament became known, sailing away with all the dromonds. Cersei says she is lost, but Qyburn reminds her she has a champion no man can defeat.1 Cersei laughs at this, for she has already made it so a queen may only be defended by the Kingsguard. She orders Qyburn to send a letter to Jaime urging him to come right away to save her.


Warning: Footnotes may contain spoilers from later chapters or books.
  • 1 - This must be whatever remains of Gregor.