Tower of the Hand

Book 5, Chapter 3.
Daenerys holds court in Meereen and learns that one of her dragons has killed and eaten a child.
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Daenerys sits on her throne waiting as a dead man is carried up the steps. Ser Barristan tells her that she need not examine the body, but Daenerys replies that the man died for her, so she must. Irri and Jhiqui add that it is bad luck to touch the dead, and Daenerys reflects that they are only girls despite being of an age with her. Grey Worm finally appears at the top of the steps with four of his Unsullied carrying the corpse of Stalwart Shield, a tall and fair blue-eyed Unsullied that has been stabbed more times than Daenerys can count. A harpy drawn in blood was found at the scene, making the murder the work of the Sons of the Harpy, who kill Daenerys's men by night. Daenerys wonders why he was patrolling the streets without a partner as she had decreed, and Grey Worm explains he was off duty and visiting a brothel, for even eunuchs sometimes desire to lie beside a woman and be held. The Sons of the Harpy have killed several freedmen, either cutting them down in the streets or breaking into their homes, but this is the first time they have dared kill an Unsullied.

Daenerys orders Grey Worm to track down the killer, and the eunuch departs. Ser Barristan opines that Unsullied will make poor investigators as they are made for obedience rather than inquiry, but Daenerys has no one else. Ser Barristan is training some sons of slaves as knights in the Westerosi fashion, but they will not be ready for years yet, while the Dothraki fight from horseback and would be useless in the narrow streets of Meereen. Daenerys's hold on the city is tenuous, while in the surrounding countryside thousands of slaves continue to work on vast estates growing wheat and olives, tending sheep and goats, and mining salt and copper. While the city has ample stores, they are beginning to dwindle, and the cost of food is rising. Daenerys has dispatched her bloodriders, Aggo, Jhogo, and Rakharo, to subdue the hinterlands, while Brown Ben Plumm has taken his Second Sons south to guard against any incursions from Yunkai. Meanwhile, Daario Naharis and the Stormcrows have been dispatched through the Khyzai Pass to Lhazar to negotiate with the Lhazareen to reopen the overland trade routes to supply grain to the city.

Daenerys tells Ser Barristan to summon Reznak mo Reznak and Skahaz mo Kandaq while she dresses to hold court and meet petitioners. She steps out on to the terrace of her rooms at the top of the eight hundred foot Great Pyramid and gazes out over the city while thinking of the Sons of the Harpy. Viserion senses her mood and looks at her, but Drogon and Rhaegal are already out hunting. The dragons have been growing restless of late, and Daenerys has had little time to attend to them. Rhaegal snapped at Irri recently, while Viserion had set Reznak's tokar ablaze the last time he had called on her. As Viserion takes off and flies away, Daenerys realizes that her dragons are growing quickly and will soon be large enough to bear her weight.

When Viserion is lost to sight, Daenerys returns to her chambers and lets Irri and Jhiqui help her don a tokar. Daenerys detests the traditional Ghiscari garment and almost refused to wear it, but the Green Grace, Galazza Galare, warned her that she would be seen only as a foreign conqueror if she appeared in the fashions of another land. Daenerys knows she must win over the Meereenese, but they do not love her and resist her at every turn. For example, when she ordered them to free their slaves, they complied, but then hired them back at such low wages that they were still beholden to their masters. The old, infirm, and crippled slaves as well as those to young to be of use were turned out into the streets, which are becoming clogged with beggars, thieves, and whores.

Reznak and Skahaz greet Daenerys as she leaves her chambers. Reznak serves as her seneschal, while Skahaz has shaved his head as a symbol of repudiating the old ways and accepting the new. All of Skahaz's family have followed his example, as have several other nobles, and they are now called shavepates. Skahaz himself is known as the Shavepate for beginning the fashion. The Shavepate counsels Daenerys to exact harsh retribution for the death of Stalwart Shield to prevent more killings and reminds her that she has no lack of enemies among the Meerenese great houses such as Zhak, Hazkar, Ghazeen, Merreq, and Loraq. The house of Pahl hates her most of all, however, as Belwas slew Oznak zo Pahl beneath the gates of the city, Oznak's father, the commander of the city watch, was killed defending the gates during Daenerys's assault, and three of Oznak's uncles were among the slavers she staked out in the plaza before the Great Pyramid in retribution for the slaves similarly disposed of on her line of march to the city. Daenerys has offered one hundred honors for information on the Sons of the Harpy and now orders the reward raised to one thousand, but Skahaz believes this will not be enough and counsels her to take one man from each of the slaver families and kill him and then kill two from each house the next time there is a murder. Reznak, on the other hand, urges restraint, and Daenerys wonders how much she can truly trust him, thinking back to the treasons foretold by the Undying of Qarth.

Missandei announces Daenerys as she takes her seat to hold court. She begins by receiving the envoy from Astapor, Ghael, as is tradition. Ghael presents her a pair of slippers from King Cleon as a gift and then entreats her to forge an alliance with Astapor to defeat Yunkai. Daenerys turns the alliance down and tells Ghael to see to his own people instead, who are starving. Next, Hizdahr zo Loraq comes forward. One of the richest men in Meereen, Hizdahr is also well connected, having visited Volantis, Lys, and Qarth, having kin in Tolos and Elyria, and wielding some influence in New Ghis. When Daenerys closed the fighting pits, Hizdahr bought up most of them as their value plummeted. Since then, he has come before Daenerys five previous times to ask her to reopen the pits, arguing that doing so will bring trade to the city, show that she respects local customs, and help pacify the people's thirst for blood. Hizdahr asks again, and Reznek points out that the city traditionally takes one-tenth of the profits after expenses as a tax, but Daenerys's answer is still no.

Next, Grazdan zo Galare, cousin to the Green Grace, comes forward asking for a portion of the earnings from a weaver shop opened by former slaves of his, but Daenerys turns him down and orders him to gift them a new loom for forgetting the name of the slave that instructed them in the art in the first place. A boy asking for vengeance against two household slaves that rose against his family on the night the city fell and killed his father and elder brother is also turned down because Daenerys has declared a blanket amnesty for acts committed during the sack of the city. The boy tries to rush Daenerys, but trips and is grabbed by Belwas. Daenerys lets him go since he is only a boy.

Daenerys holds court until late in the afternoon until the only remaining petitioners are twenty-three men who have come seeking compensation for animals killed and eaten by her dragons. Some of the men are probably lying, but Daenerys orders them all compensated while issuing a decree that from now on all claimants will have to present themselves at the Temple of the Graces and swear an oath before the gods to receive compensation. Reznak announces the decision, and the petitioners leave save for a single man who hangs back and looks lost. Daenerys asks if he has business with the court, and the man, clearly distraught, comes forward and dumps a sack of blackened bones on the floor. With horror, Daenerys realizes they are the bones of a child.