Tower of the Hand

Book 5, Chapter 9.
Tyrion arrives in Ghoyan Drohe and joins Griff's expedition to meet Daenerys in Volantis.
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Tyrion wakes to find himself alone in Illyrio's litter and hears voices. Outside, Illyrio is talking to two men named Haldon, also called the Halfmaester, and Ser Rolly Duckfield, who goes by Duck. They transfer supplies from Illyrio's baggage train to their pack horses. As they work, Illyrio asks after a boy, reports in a sad voice that he has brought a bag of the boy's favorite sweets, and suggests that perhaps he could accompany them to Ghoyan Drohe for a farewell feast before he returns home. Haldon replies that Griff means to leave as soon as they return, for the Dothraki are on the move. Outriders for Khal Motho, an old man with a fading khalasar, have been spotted north of Dagger Lake, while Khal Zekko, who demands tribute from Qohor every three to four years, has been spotted riding through the Forest of Qohor. Rumor has both khalasar's fleeing from Khal Pono, now considered the real martial threat among the Dothraki. Pono himself is said to be at the headwaters of the Selhoru with a khalasar of thirty thousand.

Illyrio introduces Tyrion to the new arrivals as Yollo, which Tyrion laments will never do since it sounds like the name of a monkey and is a Pentoshi name when Tyrion himself is obviously not from the city. He claims Yollo as a nickname and gives his actual name as Hugor Hill. Haldon tests Tyrion by asking him questions taken from Westerosi history. First, he asks how Ser Serwyn of the Mirrorshield defeated the dragon Urrax. Tyrion replies it was by advancing behind his shield so that Urrax only saw his own reflection until Serwyn was close enough to stab him in the eye. Next, Haldon asks who tried that same ploy in the Dance of the Dragons against Vhagar, to which Tyrion replies it was Ser Byron Swann, who was roasted alive for his trouble, but that the dragon was not Vhagar, but Syrax. Grand Maester Munkun wrote in his The Dance of the Dragons, A True Telling that the dragon in question was Vhagar, but Ser Byron's squire wrote a letter to his daughter after the encounter claiming it was Syrax. This makes more sense, as Vhagar was ridden by Aegon II's brother Aemond, and Swann was a knight of the Stormlands, which declared for Aegon. Syrax was ridden by Rhaenyra. Soon after, the loading is complete and Illyrio bids them farewell, looking disappointed that he will miss the boy's wedding. He promises to rejoin them all in Westeros.

As the party rides on, Haldon and Duck try to scare Tyrion by discussing some of the pirates that prowl Dagger Lake such as Urho the Unwashed and Korra the Hag, whose ship, Hag's Teeth is crewed by beautiful young maids who geld every man they capture. When this gets no response, they mention the Shrouded Lord, a legendary figure that supposedly spreads greyscale fever. Next, Duck tells his own life story. His father had been an armorer at Bitterbridge, and his own skill at swordplay earned him the offer of a place in Lord Caswell's garrison. He wanted a knighthood, however, and resented that Lorent Caswell, the lord's weak son, became a page, squire, and knight merely through his birth. No one was allowed to say a word against Lorent because he was the lord's only son among four daughters. On his sixteenth birthday, Duck's father crafted him a fine sword, which Lorent took for his own. Duck confronted him, and when Lorent stated that Duck's hands were meant for a hammer and not a sword, he fetched a hammer and broke both of Lorent's arms and several of his ribs. Duck then fled across the sea and joined the Golden Company. After serving as a smith's apprenctice for a few years, he became Ser Harry Strickland's squire until Griff needed someone to train his son in arms. Ser Harry sent Duck, who Griff knighted a year later. He took the surname Duckfield because he was knighted in a field and happened to look up and see a group of ducks.

They make camp briefly in at a ruined manse at nightfall. Tyrion asks what is in the chests Illyrio gave them and learns that there is armor as well as court clothes for the whole party for meeting Daenerys as well as gifts to present her. After a meal, they continue riding through the night along the Valyrian road. Tyrion comments that Lomas Longstrider was correct in naming the roads a wonder. He was a scribe that travelled the world and wrote two books called Wonders and Wonders Made by Man describing seven natural wonders and nine wonders created by men. Tyrion's uncle Gerion gifted him the books when he was a boy, and he used to dream of seeing them for himself. When he asked leave ten days before his sixteenth birthday to tour the Free Cities as his uncles had at that age, however, Tywin refused to let him because of the way his marriage and consorting with whores shamed House Lannister. Tyrion said he would go anyway since he would be an adult when he turned sixteen, but Tywin countered that he would have to pay his own way and would never be allowed to return. Instead, Tywin placed him in charge of the drains and cisterns within Casterly Rock.

After two more days of riding, the group reaches Ghoyan Drohe on the Little Rhoyne. It had been a small, but beautiful city one thousand years ago before Valyria destroyed it with their dragons. Only a few people live there now among the ruins. They are hailed by a lanky youth with dark hair about fifteen or sixteen years old standing on the roof of a single-masted poleboat called the Shy Maid. The rest of the crew soon appears as well, an older Rhoynish couple,1 a handsome septa with brown hair,2 and Griff, the leader of the group. Griff is not happy to see a dwarf, but Haldon presents a letter from Illyrio explaining why he is there. Griff has Tyrion brought to his cabin and reads the letter, which reveals Tyrion's identity and that he slew Lord Tywin. Griff is not pleased to have a confessed kinslayer and betrayer on his boat and wonders why a Lannister would support the Targaryen cause. Tyrion replies it is for hate of his sister and that he has knowledge of both Westeros and of dragons that will be useful to Daenerys. Griff reluctantly agrees to take him as far as Volantis. If he proves obedient he can stay and serve. If not, he will be put off at the city and left to his own devices.


Characters


Footnotes

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