The king wore lambswool breeches and a quilted doublet, yet somehow he looked as stiff and uncomfortable as if he had been clad in plate and mail. His skin was
pale leather, his beard cropped so short that it might have been painted on. A fringe about his temples was all that remained of his black hair. In his hand
was a parchment with a broken seal of dark green wax.
Jon took a knee. The king frowned at him, and rattled the parchment angrily. “Rise. Tell me, who is Lyanna Mormont?”
“One of Lady Maege’s daughters, Sire. The youngest. She was named for my lord father’s sister.”
“To curry your lord father’s favor, I don’t doubt. I know how that game is played. How old is this wretched girl child?”
Jon had to think a moment. “Ten. Or near enough to make no matter. Might I know how she has offended Your Grace?”
Stannis read from the letter. “Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is STARK. A girl of ten, you
say, and she presumes to scold her lawful king.” His close-cropped beard lay like a shadow over his hollow cheeks. “See that you keep these tidings to yourself, Lord
Snow. Karhold is with me, that is all the men need know. I will not have your brothers trading tales of how this child spat on me.”
“I’m going to show you how dangerous tigers are,” hecontinued. “I want you to remember this lesson for the rest ofyour lives.”He turned to Babu and nodded.
Babu left. Mahisha’s eyesfollowed him and did not move from the door he disappearedthrough. He returned a few
seconds later carrying a goat withits legs tied. Mother gripped me from behind. Mahisha’s snarlturned into a growl deep in the throat.
Babu unlocked, opened, entered, closed and locked a cagenext to the tiger’s cage. Bars and a trapdoor separated thetwo.
Immediately Mahisha was up against the dividing bars,pawing them. To his growling he now added explosive,
arrestedwoofs. Babu placed the goat on the floor; its flanks wereheaving violently, its tongue hung from its mouth, and its eyeswere
He untied its
legs. The goat
got to its feet.