The Path of Honour: An Interactive Story



  • Crucial Fights and Tested Faith
    Part VI

    Tobor gulped as the knife pierced his skin and drew a bead of blood. He spoke calmly, despite the heavy drumming his heart was pounding out. “I am Arghurys. Perhaps you’ve heard of me. I am trying to escape this place.”

    The knife drew slightly away from Tobor’s throat, the cold steel replaced by warm pain. Sibas slowly drew Tobor’s arakh from his belt. In an instant, Tobor felt himself roughly span around to face his assailant and hurriedly shoved backwards against the wall behind him. Tobor could see a few men and boys stood behind Sibas.

    The owner of the knife looked a little older than Tobor and stood half a foot taller with messy, red hair, looking like a home to a couple of birds. Tangled strands hung over his wild, angry green eyes which pierced Tobor more than any knife could, glaring out at him. He had a crooked nose and his nostrils flared as he breathed, which indicated caution and nerves.

    He wore dark brown breeches reaching down to his sandals, and a light brown coloured sleeveless, leather vest. The vest had been left unfastened, revealing a toned, muscular chest and stomach with tanned light brown skin. His torso was criss-crossed with fading scars. Tobor knew this meant he was likely a pit fighter, and his skin colour pointed towards a mixture of races, possibly Westerosi.

    Sibas the Restless laughed, a hollow, gruff laugh. “Who the fuck is Arghurys? ‘Perhaps you’ve heard of me’?” He mocked. “You’re one arrogant fuck. You call yourself Hunter, or did your mother name you that to make you feel better?” Sibas said, and laughed again.

    One of the men behind Sibas chuckled. He held Tobor’s arakh, “I bet he caught a rabbit once and decided he was fit to bear a name such as that.” He provoked. Tobor didn’t respond. A boy next to the man piped up. “No, Plaiszo. Sibas, he’s that one what killed Ātsio hen Gryves. I heard people talking about him I did.” He said in a high-pitched voice.

    Sibas sighed. “Shut your stinking hole, Jyro.” He growled. Sibas tightened his hold on Tobor’s throat and held the knife up next to the boy’s stomach. Miro took a step forward and Sibas made a noise making it clear that Miro should stop. “Ah, ah.” Sibas grinned, turning back to Tobor. “Wouldn’t want our hunter to end up with one too many holes in him. Now, you said you were escaping? The boys and I like the sound of that.”

    Tobor nodded, and tried to act as casual as one could with a knife pressed to their stomach. “The place is a mess. Guards running everywhere. If there’s ever a time to escape it’s now.” He said.

    Sibas pondered this for a moment. “How do you plan to get out of this place?” He asked. Tobor’s mind was blank for a moment, how would they get out? Until ten minutes ago, he was fighting for his life in a fighting pit. Then they were fighting guards, then running.

    Giving Tobor no time to respond, Sibas whistled in mock admiration. “Well when you put it like that, how could this plan fail?” He said sarcastically. Tobor squirmed, thinking of a way to escape, “It’s a work in progress.” He said weakly. Miro jumped to his rescue, “I am a slave here and…”

    Sibas rolled his eyes, “No shit, dirt-for-brains. We all are.” He interrupted. Miro looked taken aback, but continued. “I take fighters from pit to shower. I am working near shower many years.” He stuttered. “One time there is a fight in the showers and one bangs other one’s head on the wall many time. Some loose, old, weak stone begins to crack and they bring, I forget the word, fixers to come and…”

    Sibas interrupts again, “Builders. You mean builders.” Miro nodded uncertainly, “Yes, builders. They fix the wall, but first they take it down. I can see this one day and I can see the water has channel to walk down. This channel is big, big for small person to crawl down. The channel leads to Skahazadan river.”

    Sibas looked interested, “So we go to the shower, knock down this wall and then crawl to the river. But you said it was rebuilt? How do we know we can get through there?” Miro shrugged, “I know not. But perhaps there is weak stone.”

    Tobor chimed in, “There is a grate near the bottom of the wall.” He said. “It lets the water run out of the room, if we can get that grate out then I’m sure we can make a hole big enough to climb down.”

    Sibas made a hmm sounds, and screwed up his face. The man who’d mocked Tobor before spoke, “Sibas this is a bad idea. We cannot trust these strangers.” Sibas nodded, “I know. I’m debating killing them now and going to this shower.”

    Tobor’s heart leapt, he thought frantically for a reason to keep them alive. “I-I have contacts on the outside.” He blurted. Sibas paused, “And why does that help us?” Again, Miro jumped to Tobor’s defence. “Part of river, goes inside city and under the walls. If this channel in shower, takes inside the city then we are no good and we get caught again.”

    Tobor took this and ran with it. “My contacts can help us out of the city, in case we need them.” It was only half a lie, Tobor knew Mina may have an idea how to smuggle them out, and Tazhyn was the daughter of one of the richest men in Meereen. Perhaps neither of them could help, but Tobor needed a reason to be left alive, and this would do for now.

    Sibas raised an eyebrow, “And who may these contacts be?” He asked. Tobor shrugged, “If I tell you, what’s to stop you killing me and finding them?” He replied. Sibas grinned and laughed, “Fair enough, I won’t blame you there.” He took his hand away from Tobor and slipped the knife into his belt.

    Holding out a hand, he smiled a wild smile. “Like I said, I’m Sibas. Sibas zo Rei. And you’re Arghurys, the self-proclaimed Ātsio-killer.” Tobor tentatively reached out a hand to shake Sibas’ when the other boy yanked him close. Sibas whispered in Tobor’s ear. “I still don’t fucking trust you.” He then stepped back and grinned again. “But let’s work together for now!” He said loudly.

    Tobor smiled lightly, he didn’t trust Sibas either but his exuberant and flamboyant personality intrigued him. He was clearly a bit of a lunatic, and Tobor would have to be careful. Miro and the girl, slowly shuffled forward closer to Tobor.

    Sibas noticed and smiled, “And who is the lovely lady?” He asked cockily. Tobor answered, “We met her during our escape, she doesn’t speak the common tongue. It’s all been such a rush that I never found out her name.”

    Sibas nodded and turned to the girl.

    “What’s your name?” Tobor and Sibas said at the same time in Low Valyrian. The girl blinked as the two boys looked at each other. “I do apologise, how rude of me.” Sibas gushed, almost sarcastically. Tobor narrowed his eyes slightly, unsure if Sibas was taking the piss. “That’s alright... “ He began suspiciously before the girl answered.

    “My name is Shiko.” She said quietly, looking at the ground. Sibas swept himself into a low swooping bow, “I feel blessed to have you at my side.” He said sweetly. Shiko stared at the ground.

    “Not one for words then.” Sibas shrugged. Tobor glanced at the red-haired boy, “How come you’re out of your cell?” He asked. Noticing for the first time that Sibas and his “boys” stood outside a cell with it’s door unlocked and open.

    Sibas stepped to his right and motioned behind him. There was a guard slumped down, sat peacefully but for his head being tilted back, exposing a deep gash in his throat that opened like a red smile. Blood had poured down the front of his tunic.

    “I said to the poor bugger, ‘Guard, guard, help me there’s an escapee in my cell!’ I’d heard them shouting about slaves escaping. The bastard came right over and Plaiszo here grabbed him, while I gave him a new place to breath from. Then we grabbed his keys and unlocked our cell. Then you lot came along.” Sibas explained.

    The one he had called Plaiszo muttered under his breath, after a sharp look from Sibas he cleared his throat. He was holding Tobor’s arakh. “I was just saying we ought to stick to our other plan. I hate small places. This tunnel thing sounds like shit.” He moaned.

    Sibas laughed, but Tobor could tell he was irritated. “Our other plan was shit. We can’t fight through that many, plus we don’t even know if we have the right keys to get all the way out.”

    Plaiszo protested. “We should try. I ain’t going down no hole in the bloody ground. We could try the key.” He suggested weakly. Tobor shook his head. “That won’t work, each one of the quarters has a different key needed to get between them. To get from here to the guard barracks you need to go through the serving, cleaning and fighting quarters. You only have a key for getting out of your cell.”

    Sibas pointed at Tobor. “Nail.” He held out his hand. “Head.” He said, bringing his other hand down in a hitting motion and struck his first hand. “Either come with us into a tunnel, or explain to Reznar why you’re in an open cell that has a guard outside with a slit throat.”

    Plaiszo groaned and agreed uneasily. Sibas clapped his hands together. “Right! So you’re Arghurys, this is Shiko and you are?” He asked, pointing to Miro. The Naathi boy told him his name.

    Sibas nodded, “This is Plaiszo, this is Jyro.” Pointing to the one with Tobor’s arakh, and the young boy who spoke earlier respectively. He continued, “That’s Kelvin and that ugly horse is Caoki.” Sibas pointed at a slim boy the same age as Tobor, and the one he’d called ugly scowled, holding up his middle finger to Sibas. He was a Dothraki with his hair braided down to the small of his back. Caoki looked to be twenty years of age, with a braided beard.

    Tobor nodded his greeting to the four others and turned to Sibas. “Can I have my arakh back?” He asked. Sibas wagged a finger in Tobor’s face. “Now, now, we can’t have that until we can trust each other.” He said patronisingly. Tobor frowned, “You have your knife, how can I trust you?”

    Sibas shrugged uncaringly, “Don’t.” He said and turned away. “Miro, lead us to this shower. We must move quick for there are to be guards everywhere here.” He commanded.

    The group of eight moved through the pyramid, back the way Tobor, Shiko and Miro had come. Mercifully the gods had seen fit not to let any guards cross their path, but Tobor was on edge, each corner they turned he searched the vicinity for any possible weapon he could use, were any guards to appear.

    When they reached the shower room, all let out a small sigh of relief. Sibas clapped Miro on the back. “Well done, Naathi. We have made it.” He announced. Tobor walked to where the grate was. He knelt down and inspected it.

    The grate was around as wide as Tobor’s shoulder-width, with a part that extended half a foot upwards with the wall, and a part that extended a foot along the floor at right angle to the other part. Tobor ran a finger along the edge of the grate, feeling for any weakness. There were none.

    Swearing, Tobor turned to the others. “This is going to take a hell of a shove to budge. Get me one of the torches from outside.” Sibas sent Plaiszo to get one. “What are you going to do?” He asked, as Plaiszo returned with a lit torch.

    Tobor took the torch and shoved it into a bucket of water that would have been used to clean a fighter, extinguishing the flame with a hiss and a curling, whiff of steam. “In Westeros, my Maester taught me about levers how a hand drawn cart filled with barrels and barrels of wine can be lifted by a single man with a long enough handle. The longer the lever, the less strength you need.” As he explained, he slotted the torch’s handle into one of the holes in the grate.

    “So, if I push on this torch handle.” He continued, as he held onto the top of the torch which was still hot from the flame. “I should, be able to dislodge the grate.” Tobor said, wincing from the heat that burned his hand.

    Tobor put all his weight into the torch handle, the metal straining as Tobor pushed down. The grate didn’t budge. Sibas scoffed. Tobor screwed up his face in effort, and silently told Sibas to piss off, in his mind.

    Turning the torch, so it now faced sideways, Tobor pushed across the face of the grate. He grunted with the effort, realising how stupid he must look. With a final heave and accompanying curse, Tobor heard a scraping sound. He looked at the grate, and the edge had shifted slightly.

    Grinning, Tobor shoved again. Slowly but surely, the scarping continued. Tobor felt the grate go before he could react. With a clang, and a clatter the grate leapt out of the wall and Tobor tumbled to the stone floor, smashing his knee on the ground.

    Jyro whooped in celebration and Sibas planted a palm into the boy’s chest, knocking him back. “Shut the fuck up, fool. You want the guards to hear us?” He snarled. Jyro stumbled to apologise. Tobor waved a hand, “If they heard that, then they definitely heard the grate. We have to hurry.”

    Everyone gathered around the hole in the wall. Sibas said what they were all thinking. “Only Jyro is small enough to fit in there.”

    Tobor hated hearing it, but knew it was right. He stroked his chin and thought furiously. The hole was wide enough, but just wasn’t lengthy enough to fit a man down. “Then we make it bigger.” He muttered.

    Plaiszo agreed. “Much bigger.” He added. The Dothraki Caoki shrugged, “How?” He asked. Sibas picked up the torch, “Only one way.” He grinned. Sibas raised the torch high and brought it down hard, the metal missed Tobor’s fingers by inches. “Watch out darling.” Sibas winked.

    Tobor retracted his hand and crawled back, swearing. Sibas swung the torch again and again. Tobor glanced behind him worriedly, this was sure to bring guards. “A couple of you, go and keep watch, don’t stand in the passage though.” He ordered as the noise continued.

    Miro and Kelvin leapt to their feet and peeked out into the passage. Tobor looked back to the hole. The torch was having little to no effect on the stone, there was a slight mark where each hit collided with it but nothing to make the hole bigger.

    Sibas was sweating and red faced, grunting a little more each time. Each hit became a little weaker. “Keep going.” Tobor urged. Sibas huffed, “I’m… Trying.” He panted. After a dozen more hits, Sibas threw the torch down, swearing. “Fuck that, it’s not budging.”

    Tobor ran a hand through his long, dirty hair. It fell over his eyes again down to his nose. Tobor studied the hole. Sibas marched over to the bucket and kicked it, spilling the contents over the floor. The water trickled down the sloping floor and ran down the channel towards the hole.

    As the tendrils of water washed over the edge of the hole, down into the blackness below, Tobor look in fascination as the mortar that held the bricks together was washed away. Just a tiny bit, but nonetheless, a small part of it was gone.

    An idea leapt into Tobor’s mind. He poked at the mortar, it was hard, but felt brittle. Tobor ran a fingernail across it, and more of the mortar scraped away like little sand grains. “Hand me the torch.” He said firmly. Sibas scoffed, “It won’t work, you saw me try to do it.” He said dismissively.

    Tobor shook his head, “I have a different idea.” Sibas kicked the torch towards him, and Tobor picked it up. Holding the end of the torch to the mortar, he scraped the metal point back and forth over the mortar with some force. The mortar broke off in little chunks.

    Once it was mostly gone, Tobor started hitting it gently. Chipping away bigger chunks of mortar like a chisel. Tobor gave the stone a push. It wobbled like a tooth, ready to come free. Tobor’s heart began pounding. He moved to the other side of the stone and began again. Once the mortar was free, he hit the stone hard.

    The stone moved. It came away from it’s mortar and teetered for a second before tipping and plunging over the abyss down the hole. A great splash echoed up, ringing off the walls. Sibas grabbed Tobor’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze. “Let’s thank your fucking Maester!” He exclaimed.

    “Guards!” Came a shout from Miro. “They see us!”

    Tobor swore, “Get down there!” He screamed. Sibas lowered his legs into the hole and grinned at Tobor, “Don’t need to tell me twice.” He dropped into the hole and Tobor heard another splash. “I’m ok!” The voice echoed. “It’s higher than I thought, shallower as well. Be careful when you jump.”

    Tobor didn’t hear this, as he had stood up and ran to the doorway. “Get inside, we can fight easier by letting them through the door one by one.” He barked. Miro and Kelvin nodded and brought their heads back in.

    “They are at the end of the corridor, they saw us and pointed. I reckon they think we’re just a couple of slaves who work in here.” Kelvin explained. Miro nodded, “I see them before, they know I work here.” He agreed.

    Tobor nodded, “Good, they won’t be expecting any trouble. Miro, take Shiko and go down the tunnel, I don’t want you fighting. You four, which of you can fight?” Tobor said hurriedly, he reckoned they had half a minute before the guards came in. Miro walked to the hole and lowered his legs in, he looked frightened.

    Jyro looked at the ground, Caoki nodded, Kelvin shook his head and Plaiszo raised his hand. “Ok, you two go down and us three will hold them off as long as we can.” Tobor said, beckoning Plaiszo and Caoki to stay with him. “How many were there?” He asked Kelvin. Four or five, came the answer.

    Tobor turned to Miro, “Go!” He said firmly. Miro grimaced and dropped, Tobor heard a yelp and a splash. Shiko followed. Tobor hoped they were alright. Caoki had grabbed a mop, snapping off the mop end, leaving him with a sharp, splinter headed make-shift spear. Tobor held out his hand to Plaiszo, “My arakh.” He said expectantly. The large man shook his head, “Sibas said we can’t trust you.” He muttered.

    Tobor stared incredulously. “You think I’d what, take it and kill you all, leaving myself to fight the guards myself? Are you fucking stupid?” He snarled. Plaiszo looked uncomfortable, “I do what Sibas says.” He explained, as if that answered Tobor’s concerns. Behind them, Jyro and Kelvin dropped down the hole.

    As Tobor made to respond, the first guard burst through the doorway. Instinctively Tobor brought the torch he was holding in a quick jab, hitting the guard in the throat. He doubled over clutching his neck, choking and red-faced. Tobor smashed the back of the guard’s head with the torch with a hollow thunk.

    The guard hit the ground, but was quickly replaced by two more. Tobor parried a sword slash with the handle of the torch but was forced to step back by the ferocity of the second attack. The guard set forth an onslaught of blows, which Tobor struggled to keep up with due to the heavy torch.

    In front, Caoki had thrust the wooden mop handle through the next guard’s eye, the poor guard dropped his own spear and grasped onto the object protruding from his face, screaming. Caoki grinned and pushed forwards, the guard stumbled backwards, still screaming, until his back hit the wall, his head stopped and the wood slammed into the inside of the back of his skull. The body went limp and hit the floor as Caoki removed the spear.

    Tobor was still busy with his opponent. The torch had been knocked from his hand, and he was grappling with the sword the guard held. The two of them had hands on it and were each trying to turn the blade towards the other. Pants and grunts came from each of them, as they wrestled for control.

    After the two guards had come through another one had made his way in, eyes locked on Plaiszo. The big man held Tobor’s arakh in trembling hands. “S-Stop there.” He ordered weakly. The guard advanced with his spear outstretched.

    Tobor looked up from the sword into his adversary’s eyes, he was still intent on the blade. Tobor quickly and savagely flung his head forward, his skull colliding with the bridge of the guard’s nose which Tobor felt crack under his forehead. Blood spurted out down Tobor’s chest and the guard almost let go of the sword.

    Dazed, the guard stumbled back slightly. Tobor cursed, let go you damned fool, he thought to himself. But to no avail.

    Plaiszo pointed the arakh at the advancing guard, quivering. As the guard drew his spear back to strike, something burst out of his throat. The guard made a glugging sound and dropped his spear. He grasped at the thing coming out of his neck. It was the bloodstained point of a spear. Caoki yanked the spear he’d taken from the first guard back, it slid out of the guard with a splutter.

    Tobor shoved forward and the guard took a step back. Tobor spotted his opening; the guard’s right foot was stretched along the floor to Tobor. The boy raised his foot and stamped it down, hard, on the angled shin of the guard. Tobor’s foot carried on downwards as the shin bone snapped with a crack.

    The guard screamed out and fell, letting go of the sword and clutching at his limp leg as his shin bone protruded, splintered and bloody. Tobor held the sword downwards and stabbed. The scream stopped.

    The three slaves stared at each other silently, two of them covered in blood. One trembling, holding an arakh.

    Tobor pointed to the hole. “Let’s go. That noise will have alerted half the pyramid.” He said. The other two nodded. Caoki called down, “We’re coming now, I’m dropping a spear, watch out.” He dangled the spear into the hole and dropped it, a moment later he followed.

    Tobor turned to Plaiszo. “Now will you give me my arakh?” He asked sourly. The large man held it out, Tobor swapped it for the sword. Tobor looked around the room and saw the blood that covered the floor. With the tilt in the floor, most of it had drained towards the hole and was slowly dropping into it. Tobor could hear a faint plop, plop, plop.

    Some of the blood had seeped out the open door, however. Tobor ushered Plaiszo towards the hole. “We have to go now.” He said firmly. Plaiszo looked frozen, eyes misted over. “Hello.” Tobor said, snapping his fingers. “Us. Let’s go. Now.”

    Right on cue, Tobor heard a shout in Low Valyrian. “You see the blood?” A voice came from outside. Tobor swore. “Fucking go now!” He screamed. Plaiszo shook his head, “I-I hate small places. W-we can fight them again.” He said hopefully, yet scared.

    Tobor swore again, “No we can’t, we barely won last time and you did nothing. Get down that hole or I’m leaving you.” He said firmly. Plaiszo nodded and ambled to the edge of the hole, he sat on his arse and dangled his feet over the side. “I can’t do this.” He whispered.

    Tobor frantically glanced between the hole and the door, waiting for, and dreading, the moment when the guards would burst through. “Get down the hole.” He hissed. “I am not dying for you.” He snarled.

    For a moment, Plaiszo looked set to jump, he pushed up and hung over the edge for a heartbeat. Tobor almost smiled. Then Plaiszo yelped and scrambled back as he stared at the door.

    In what felt like a year, Tobor turned his gaze to the doorway. A shout had gone up of “Dead guards. There they are!” and in jumped a trio of guards. One rushed to Tobor and he parried the guard, getting knocked of balance but keeping his footing. Tobor scrambled to maintain his stance and managed to land a wild blow that raked along the guard’s stomach.

    Tobor was lucky and the guard fell to his knees. Tobor swore as he saw behind the guard, four more had come through the door. Tobor turned on his tail and leapt the couple of steps towards the hole. Plaiszo was rooted to the floor, in shock.

    He was still sat by the hole with his legs hanging in, and as Tobor jumped into the hole, his bare back scraped down the stone wall and Plaiszo’s foot smacked Tobor’s chin as the boy fell. The blow to his chin whipped his head back and set him rotating in the air, Tobor hit the ground in a horizontal position. He smashed through the foot-deep water and felt an impact on his back. It was the brick that Tobor scraped the mortar from and sent falling down.

    Tobor was submerged, and screamed in pain letting out a trail of angry bubbles, the pain in his back had winded him though and he immediately drew a breath in. Water filled his mouth and coursed down the back of his throat. He choked, panicking and feeling close to drowning. He felt a pair of hands haul him up. Coughing and retching up dirty water, Tobor doubled over.

    Up in the shower room, Plaiszo stared at the slowly advancing guards. He grasped his sword, and threw it halfway across the room. “I’m unarmed.” He begged. “Don’t hurt me.”

    As he saw the evil glint in the guards’ eyes he realised they wouldn’t stop. He turned back to the hole and pushed himself forwards, sending his large body careening down into the darkness.

    Tobor felt a strong pair of hands drag him back. The two of them tripped and fell into the water as a huge object crashed into the space in front of them. Tobor looked backwards, up at the person who dragged him. The green eyes of Sibas looked forwards, shocked. “Plaiszo?” He muttered.

    Tobor looked forwards, he felt dizzy. He could make out the figure of Plaiszo, face down in the water. Tobor wondered why he wasn’t getting up. Tobor blinked. The reason became clearer. The hilt of a sword rose menacingly from the small of the large man’s back. Plaiszo’s blood leaked into the water, reddening it.

    Sibas swore. “Fuck.” He shouted. “Fuck.” He said again. Tobor struggled to his feet. “He wouldn’t jump.” He said slowly. “I told him, but he wouldn’t.”

    “Fuck.” Sibas repeated.

    Tobor looked up into the light that dimly shone above them, he could see the silhouettes of men in it. “The guards will follow us down here soon enough. We have to move.” Tobor said.

    Sibas nodded. “Go now, mourn later.” He agreed. Sibas’ red hair was plastered to his skull, hanging over his eyes, which had lost a little of their spark. Tobor ran a hand through his own hair, laying it sleek back over his head and out of his eyes.

    With a jolt, Tobor remembered his arakh. As the others slowly began to trundle along the path, Tobor fell to his hands and knees and felt around underwater for his trusty weapon. Tobor found a few coins, a lot of rocks but no blade. Getting frustrated he hastened his search, as he neared the corpse in front of him, he felt a sharp pain. There it was. The arakh had been fallen upon by Plaiszo. Tobor felt again, more carefully this time, and followed the blade along, to the handle.

    Looking up once more, Tobor noticed that the silhouettes had gone. Tobor had expected them to follow, perhaps they were getting a ladder?

    Standing up, with arakh in hand, Tobor felt a little better. Although his back was in agony from hitting the rock above and the brick below. It surged in a rich, frenzied pain which sapped Tobor’s spirit. Turning around, he waded through the water, feeling along the cold walls of the tunnel. It was slightly lower than head height and Tobor hunched down to enable himself to walk.

    Reaching the others, Tobor spoke out. “Is everyone alright?” His voice bounced around, reflecting from the water and the walls. As the noise of water sloshing around with every step sounded, a chorus of yesses rang out. “Shiko, what about you?” Tobor asked in Low Valyrian. “I’m fine. But Miro twisted his ankle when he jumped.” She replied.

    Miro’s voice came fast, “I am fine though, Tobor. I can walk.” He said brightly. Tobor smiled, “Good to hear.” He replied. Sibas spoke out, “Delightful though this is, Arghurys, you haven’t explained how Plaiszo was killed.”

    Tobor grimaced, he didn’t want to do this now, but Sibas deserved an explanation. “Caoki and I were fighting by his side. We killed the first five guards, well I say we, but it was Caoki and I. I don’t mean to speak ill of the dead, but he did nothing. He stood there, frightened. Caoki saved him.”

    Sibas sounded irate. “I find that hard to believe. Plaiszo spoke often of his feats in battle, he was not one to cower. Watch your tongue, Hunter, before you name my friends craven.” He said icily, spitting the word ‘Hunter’ like rotten food.

    Caoki came to Tobor’s aid. “What the Westerosi says is true. I saved Plaiszo.” He said bluntly.

    Tobor said nothing and the troupe continued walking for a moment. Sibas fell silent, then spoke, “Then I apologise.” He said curtly. Tobor opened his mouth to accept it, but closed it again, that wasn’t what Sibas wanted to hear. “Sibas, Plaiszo seemed a good man.” Tobor lied. “I wish I’d known him better.”

    Sibas thanked him but left the conversation there.

    Tobor’s eyes were adjusting to the dark and gloomy tunnel and he could just about make out the figure of Sibas in front of him. Tobor was thinking of something to say to the boy ahead but was interrupted by a sudden halt.

    Tobor called out, “what’s wrong?” He asked. Jyro, who was leading, answered. “The tunnel stops.” He said, sounding defeated. Tobor swore. It bounced of the walls, swearing back at him.

    Tobor told the others to make way, he was coming to the front, and marched forward through the water. It grew deeper as he got further, up to knee height now. Wading forward, Tobor gasped as the cold water got higher and higher up to his waist. Tobor reached Jyro and Shiko at the front.

    Tobor could feel why Jyro had said the tunnel stopped. The ceiling, while it had grown higher further back, was now at chest height, meaning Tobor had to duck his head as far as it could go, leaving it inches from the water. Tobor held out his hands in front of him and felt the ceiling. It arched down in a curve, almost vertically down. With his foot, underwater, he felt forward and touched the wall.

    At around knee height, the wall stopped going vertical and felt like it resumed horizontally. Tobor could feel a gap about three feet wide, enough to get through. The issue was, it was completely submerged.

    Sibas called out, “So what do we do? Is this the end of the tunnel? It doesn’t make sense, where does the water go?” He asked curiously. Tobor nodded, then realised nobody could see him. “There’s a gap.” He admitted. Sibas chuckled, “Jyro, you fool, how come you didn’t find it?” He joked.

    Tobor grimaced again, “Well, because it’s about knee height, and completely underwater.”

    The words triggered a silence. Everyone let what that meant sink in.

    “So, do we carry on. Or go back?” Kelvin asked nervously. Miro replied, “We can’t go back. Guards that way, and we have no way of climb out.” He said softly. “Carry on then.” Said Caoki bluntly.

    They fell silent again, knowing what would have to be done. None of them wanting to say it. Sibas broke this silence. “I’ll do it.” He said with fake cheerfulness. “Always loved swimming.” Tobor contradicted him without thinking, “No, I’ll do it. This was my plan.” As soon as he’d said it, Tobor wanted to kick himself. Why had he volunteered?

    Sibas sounded relived, as well he should, “My thanks, Arghurys. Listen, I have an idea.” He said. “We have no idea how long this underwater passage is, could be a foot, could be a hundred. If we all take of our shirts, then we can strip them into knots and tie them all together. That way, you go first and hold the rope. Once you get to the end, try and find something to tie it to, if not then hold it and give it one hard pull. If, on the way, you feel like it’s too far, then tug twice and we will all drag you back.”

    Tobor smiled weakly, it was a plan at least. “Sounds good.” It didn’t. Sibas continued, “Once we go through, people on either end can hold onto the rope tight, and whoever goes through can drag themselves along with the rope so it will be easy.”

    With no time to waste, they set to work making a rope. Tobor collected everyone’s shirts, when he reached Shiko in the line, he went red in the face and told her she could keep it. Tobor was glad the tunnel was dark. When he had collected the seven or eight shirts and jackets, Tobor cut the fabric into long strips. He took three strips and plaited them together, for strength. This meant the rope would be a third as long, but three times as strong.

    Gathering the two score plaits, they set to work binding them together. Working in the dark was tough, and every so often a plait would float off down the tunnel with the flow of water. What felt like hours later, the rope was done. It was easily seventy-five feet, they’d worked efficiently with each shirt, getting ten or more strips from each one, but it still felt far too flimsy for Tobor’s liking. He just hoped it would be enough.

    Tobor decided to tie the rope around his chest, so he would have two arms to swim with and in case he fell unconscious in which case he wouldn’t be able to hold on. “If you don’t feel any tug on the rope at all, do a gentle tug, then if I pull to respond then I’m still conscious, if you feel nothing then pull me back.” Tobor told the others.

    “Good luck.” Came the response from them. Sibas clapped a hand on Tobor’s shoulder and Miro squeezed his arm. Shiko gave Tobor a hug and a small kiss on the cheek. Tobor smiled, embarrassed.

    Tobor took three huge breaths to prepare himself and knelt down. The water reached his chin, it’s chill took his breath away so he breathed again deeply. He wasn’t ready, but it was now or never.

    Plunging his head down into the water, Tobor felt for the gap. He heard the tapping his hands made eerily clear. Finding the gap, Tobor kicked forward and reached through, holding on and pulling himself into the black.

    Tobor felt the passage widen out, but still submerged. He felt along the roof of the tunnel and was mildly pleased to find a rough surface, or as he thought; handholds. Tobor reached ahead and grabbed the ceiling, he found a hold and dragged himself forward kicking as he went. Tobor span in midair, so he faced the roof. It would be easier to drag himself along.

    Tobor reached and dragged, reached and dragged, reached and dragged, kicking all the while. Every so often he would kick the stone by accident and wince, one time it hurt so much that he let out a bubble of precious air and cursed himself. He knew it would have been easier with the boots off, but he needed them for after.

    Tobor felt the beginnings of feeling short of air and felt a bubble of panic in his chest, he focussed on his hands though. Drag and reach. Drag and reach. He told himself. We light the way.

    The water felt like it was warmer now, almost pleasant. It felt like it was embracing him, talking to him. The lack of distinct noise was chilling. All Tobor could hear was a slight tap when he grabbed the stone in front of him and then a high ringing in his ear. He wondered if he was drowning.

    Tobor could feel his chest tightening up now, stabs of fear raced through his lungs. Tobor needed to breath, he needed air. How much further could it be? Tobor panicked, what if it never ended? Was this how he finished his final moments in this life? Alone, in a cold dark tunnel?

    Tobor let out a stream of bubbles as he screamed for help, he thrashed underwater grasping at anything, at everything. He felt like he was going to cry, then he wanted to laugh, because how can one cry when underwater. He smiled, there was one to ask Maester Rueben.

    With that thought, Tobor gritted his teeth. He was going to get home, he told his blurred mind. He was going to see the Wall. He screamed in his mind. Tobor kicked off from the ground and forward, his head bumped the ceiling but he couldn’t feel any less dizzy. His chest was exploding in pain and his fingers reached out forwards…

    And broke into the open air. Tobor dragged himself out of the water and gasped so violently that he burst into racking coughs. Tobor coughed for minutes and then put his hands up to the roof in gratitude to the gods. He was alive. The coughing turned into laughter. He was alive. Tobor whooped and shouted hoarsely.

    Tobor’s chest was still aching so he stopped shouting and took a huge breath in, the dusty, gloomy air of the tunnel tasted fresher than any spring day in Oldtown and Tobor savoured it. Then, his head clear, he remembered to give the rope a hard tug to let the others know he was ok. There was a short tug to let him know they had got his message.

    Tobor looked and felt around for something to tie the rope to, but there was nothing. So, he put one leg behind the other and braced himself, ready for the person to come along.

    After about two minutes of the rope being tight, Tobor saw a head break the surface. Long hair was straightened down onto the face of Shiko. Tobor pulled her up and she thanked him, gasping for air. “Are you alright?” He asked. Shiko nodded, breathing heavily, “I don’t know how you did that without the rope.” She said. Tobor replied that neither did he.

    The rope went tight again, Shiko held on too. Ten minutes later and Kelvin, Caoki and Sibas had joined them, all panting. Miro and Jyro were the last two to join them. Tobor had untied the rope and was taking a rest as the three other boys held the rope.

    Tobor stood with Shiko, “Where are you from?” He asked, “Why were you in the pit?”. Shiko looked uncomfortable for a moment, from what Tobor could see in the dim tunnel. “I am from Yunkai, but my family were all killed by slavers except my little brother, we were sold around from highest bidder to highest bidder and ended up with Reznar zo Merreq. I was… used by his guards when they were bored.” She said, her voice choking slightly. “One time, I had enough, so when the guard tried to… to… when I was in the barracks I grabbed a fork he was using to eat his food and I stabbed him in the eye. Then I kicked him in his groin and ran. I made it halfway across the room when I was grabbed.

    “They didn’t beat me, or whip me, which I thought was worse because I knew something even more terrible would come. And it did, Reznar held my little brother in front of me. And he- and he ordered his guard to cut my brother’s throat with the guard’s table knife. Then he put me in the pit.” Shiko said, not allowing herself to cry and gaining a steely tone in her voice.

    Tobor felt a burning rage for Reznar and wished to the gods that man would die a painful death. He couldn’t believe Tazhyn was his daughter, how could a father and daughter be so different? Tobor put an arm around Shiko who squeezed Tobor’s hand. “Thank you.” She whispered.

    Tobor didn’t know what to say.

    Tobor heard a splash and a shout, “Arghurys you’d better come here.” Sibas said. Tobor stood up and walked over. He asked what was wrong. Tobor gasped when he saw the end of the rope and Miro holding onto it. The rope was half as long as it had been before.

    “It snapped off part way through.” Miro explained, short of breath. “I worried, but kept on swimming. I got to the end and I had grabbed the rope. This is not good.”

    Tobor and Sibas swore. “Shit, Jyro is still on the other side.” Sibas moaned. Tobor rubbed his face in his hands. “He’ll have to come across. Once he feels slack, he’ll tug and think that Miro is unconscious. So, he’ll pull until the rope comes back.” Tobor was thinking out loud. “When he sees the end, he’ll assume the rope has snapped…”

    Sibas interrupted, finishing Tobor’s thought. “Or that Miro is dead.” Everyone digested the thought, and did not envy Jyro’s task. Tobor sighed, “It’s possible, I managed it. Hopefully when he gets halfway he will realise that the rope is there, and give it a tug, when that happens we can pull.”

    Sibas looked worried, “Now what?” He asked. Miro looked at the rope, trailing into the water and the darkness. “Now, we wait.”

    Sibas had been standing at the entrance to where the rope was for nearing five minutes, staring intently at the blackness willing the rope to move. To no avail. The rope stayed as still as the rock around it.

    Tobor stepped up to Sibas when it hit ten minutes, “Sibas.” He said softly. “I think you need to consider the possibility he won’t make it.”

    Sibas bristled, “Don’t fucking say it.” He said angrily, but there was an undertone of resignation which indicated he understood what Tobor was saying. Kelvin stepped up as well, “Sibas, I hate to say it but Tobor is right, Jyro wouldn’t want us to wait around and die for him.”

    Sibas scoffed angrily, “I won’t leave him.” He stated. Tobor nodded, “If that’s what you want.” Kelvin and Tobor both stepped back. Kelvin whispered to Tobor, “What do we do if he won’t come?”

    Tobor shrugged, “There isn’t much we can do.” He said sadly, “We could try and make him, but I don’t think that will work. Or we leave him and hope he comes.”

    Sibas gave a yelp, “I felt a pull!” He shouted. “Come, help me!” He yelled. Tobor ran to him and grabbed hold. He could feel it too, there was a tugging on the rope. “Pull it in, now!” Tobor shouted. Kelvin grabbed hold too and the three of them pulled. It was slow work, but the rope came, inch by inch.

    Sibas was panting heavily, and muttering under his breath. Come on. Come on. Tobor focussed on putting one hand over the other, his arms were burning with pain but he pushed on.

    Then suddenly, the rope was finished. The end of the rope burst out of the water like a serpent and landed back with a sodden thud. The three boys stared at the rope end like a death sentence. Jyro wasn’t holding on.

    Sibas screamed a wordless curse. Tobor blinked. He turned around to see Sibas run to the tunnel and dive in, Tobor stepped forward “No!” He shouted. It was too late, Sibas was gone. Kelvin swore.

    Tobor gazed into the water, willing it to ripple with the heads of Jyro and Sibas. For what felt like hours, the water was as smooth as glass. Tobor was sure they were dead, then up came floating a body. Tobor couldn’t see who it was, but the shirtless back was shredded. Scrapes and cuts covered it, it looked like he had been flayed. Tobor gasped at the shock of such an injury.

    Then came a burst of water and a mane of red hair was shaken back and forth like a dog. Sibas gasped, and dragged Jyro out of the water. Tobor helped and they put him on his front. “What happened?” Tobor gasped again. Sibas coughed, “When we pulled him I think he was being dragged along the roof, it shredded his back and he had to let go. I found him not twenty feet from here.”

    Tobor checked Jyro’s breathing, it was shallow but there. “He’s unconscious, but breathing. You know how we can wake him up?” Tobor asked. Sibas shook his head, “I never lived near water. I can barely swim.” Tobor frowned, “Why did you volunteer to go first?” Sibas shrugged. “Do any of you know how to wake a drowned person?” He yelled, changing the subject.

    Miro strode forward, he was from the isle of Naath and played in the water each day of his life before the slavers came. He knelt down by Jyro and rolled him to his back, he then entwined his fingers and began pushing down on his chest rhythmically. Sibas went to stop him, but Tobor held out an arm. “No, don’t. I’ve heard of the Ironborn doing this when they baptise someone to the Drowned God, I thought it was a myth but if a Naathi knows it too…”

    Sibas stepped back. After a couple of dozen pumps, Jyro coughed and spluttered and sat up, water dribbling from his mouth. He looked around confused and then winced in pain, “My back…” He moaned.

    The three boys got Jyro to his feet as he breathed sharply from the pain. “It’s ok, Jyro. You’re fine.” Kelvin said. Sibas supported him forwards. “We need to go, now. By now the whole barracks of guards will be after us.” Tobor said.

    The tunnel remained head height from then on out. The only problem was jutting-out rocks from the floor occasionally. The group trudged on, weary from what had only been half an hour, but had the impact of a year on them.

    In the distance, Tobor could hear rushing water. “The Skahazadan!” He yelled. “I can hear it!” This lifted the mood, and everyone doubled their pace, even Jyro who was walking by himself now.

    As they neared the rushing water, Tobor began to feel suspicious, there was no more light appearing and although it could be around the corner, he felt it in his gut that the Skahazadan wasn’t just around the corner.

    “We’re almost out.” Miro said hopefully. As they reached a corner in the path that took them in a long turn, Tobor’s gut clenched. Each of them waited with baited breath to see what would greet them.

    A collective groan went around the group when they saw the water drop over the edge of the tunnel and into an even larger tunnel that rushed by them. This one was huge, carrying twenty times the amount of water at five times the speed. The sides of it were oddly round and smooth, it looked almost man-made. Tobor smelt something awful and screwed up his nose. “Sewage.” He said.

    Thousands of gallons of raw sewage flowed post the group as they stared into where they had to go next. The water was a murky brown colour and a few of them gagged as they smelt it. “Hold your noses everyone!” Sibas laughed.

    There was about a five-foot drop into the channel of shit, but as Tobor peered over the edge he smiled when he saw a narrow passage that they could walk on. “There’s a pathway for us to walk on.” He said relieved, “Lower me down.”

    Caoki gave him a hand down, Tobor landed soundly on the path and moved back up the path so there was more room for the next person. Once all seven were down, they began shuffling downhill, towards the, hopefully, exit.

    They took care not to fall, it was slippery and treacherous, one wrong foot would send you headfirst into Meereen’s shit. From behind them, Tobor could hear a shout. His head snapped upriver and the sight made his heart leap. A group of fifteen guards were shuffling towards them, far away but they were making faster progress than Tobor could with Jyro in front.

    “We have a problem, there’s a ton of guards.” Tobor said. Kelvin looked worried, “Everyone keep calm.” He said soothingly. Caoki scoffed, “Fuck calm, we need to move.” With that, the Dothraki said a few quick words in his native tongue and took a deep breath. Holding his nose pinched shut he dived into the stream. Tobor watched, aghast, as the rapid moving water carried him down towards the distant light.

    “Fuck that.” Sibas said. “I am not doing that.” He laughed.

    His laughter was cut short when on the opposite side from them, a small door opened. It must be to provide maintenance for the sewer, Tobor thought. Then out from it, walked a dozen guards armed with spears. “Shit.” Tobor said.

    One of them took aim and threw, it fell just short of them and was carried away by the water. Another was aiming right for Shiko and as Tobor shouted watch out, Miro grabbed her and pulled her away from the spear, right into the water. The two of their heads bobbed up and down as the water sloshed and raced downhill.

    Sibas was leading, almost jogging down the path, Jyro followed further behind limping, his breathing raspy. Then Kelvin walked even slower than Jyro, taking his time forgetting an army was chasing them. Tobor willed him to hurry up. Tobor could see the end of the passage, light gleamed bright.

    Tobor glanced behind, the guards on their side of the river had reached where they had started, covering thrice the distance Tobor had covered in the same time. Tobor looked back across just in time to see a spear glide towards him. He ducked and the spear clattered off the rock.

    Tobor grabbed it just in time before it fell into the water. He looked across and looked upstream, he decided to throw it upstream, since there was more room to swing his arm. He took aim and threw. The spear missed by a few feet, but in trying to dodge it, one of the guards fell into the water. He screamed and gargled the foul water, Tobor drew his arakh and as the man passed him, Tobor laid his skull open with a quick slash. The man floated face down in the water.

    Sibas had reached the end of the path and was preparing Jyro to jump. The poor boy’s back was so raw that he couldn’t risk jumping directly into the water. He would have to go out past it. Tobor looked upstream and chuckled to himself when he saw one of the guards lose his footing and fall in. The chuckle was lost when a spear clattered off the rock just to the right of his groin.

    Tobor saw Jyro disappear over the edge of the tunnel. He hoped he’d be alright. The guards on his side of the river were closing in, the closest one had a grimace on his face that was almost frightening. Tobor looked back down, “Kelvin, you need to hurry up, they’re almost here.”

    Kelvin looked scared and for a moment Tobor thought he would freeze. “Kelvin.” He said warningly. The boy carried on after looking at Tobor. “Keep on going.” He whispered to himself.

    Tobor held his arakh in a fighting stance, facing the guard that had caught up with them. He lunged with his spear and Tobor dodged, putting his back flat against the wall. Another jab with the spear almost got him, but Tobor parried, pushing the spear aside. Tobor then span round, grabbing the spear and yanking at away from the man. As he stumbled forwards towards Tobor, the boy slashed across with the arakh, cutting his throat. With a gurgle, the man fell in the water.

    The next man was caught off guard by a lunge from Tobor with the spear and he tried to dodge sideways but misplaced his foot and crashed into the river. Tobor watched him float past.

    The third man was further behind, giving Tobor a respite. He glanced down to Kelvin who had gotten further and then onto Sibas. Tobor jumped as he saw the guard who’d fallen in, take his spear and hold it out towards Sibas’ stomach.

    Tobor yelled, “Sibas! Look out!” But it was too late, Sibas turned and tried to shrink away from the spear head, he managed to bring his leg up in front of the attack but the steel cut through his breeches and sliced into skin. Sibas shouted in pain and stumbled backwards, almost toppling into the water.

    Tobor looked around him. Upriver, there were only a few guards left, across there were still a dozen. Sibas managed to keep his balance and limped back, waiting for Kelvin. The guards across river had used all their spears, now holding swords and cudgels. They were making their way down where Tobor could see the two paths became closer together where the river narrowed.

    Sibas would be in reach of the guards when they got to him. Tobor needed to get there. “Kelvin, if we don’t get to the end now, Sibas will die, I’ll die and you’ll die!” He shouted. As he finished his sentence, Kelvin turned around to face him. He was holding a spear in his hand, the head of which was covered in blood. His blood.

    Tobor made an ‘oh’ shape with his mouth, unsure of what to say. Kelvin smiled weakly. “Let’s go kill some fuckers.” He said. Kelvin’s stomach was bleeding profusely, dropping beads onto the pathway. “Too fucking right,” Tobor agreed.

    With nothing to lose, Kelvin picked up the pace. He was stumbling though and Tobor thought he would lose it every few steps. Sibas looked upstream and gasped when he saw Kelvin holding the bloody spear. “Kelvin!” He shouted. “Fuck. No.”

    Kelvin waved a hand to bat Sibas’ concern away. “There’s no time for that. You have to get out of here. Your mother.” He rasped. He turned to Tobor, “Here, go in front of me. You need to go too. Help Sibas.”

    Tobor carefully made his way around Kelvin, who took up guard at the back. They were all finally at the end. “Sibas, let’s go.” Tobor said. Sibas looked angry, then sad. “No, I can’t leave him.” He said.

    Tobor groaned, “Listen, Sibas I understand but he’s sacrificing himself to let us live. We have to go.” Kelvin nodded and voiced his agreement. The guards on their path had caught up. Kelvin lazily blocked a spear lunge and countered with one of his own. The guard dodged it.

    On the other side, a guard prepared to jump across to face Sibas and Tobor. The channel was around seven feet across, and the guard made it most of the way but Tobor sliced down with his arakh, cutting into the flesh of the guard’s cheek. He lost his balance and fell. Tobor almost lost his, but Sibas grabbed him.

    “Sibas you have to jump.” Tobor ordered. Kelvin took a spear hit to the shoulder and yelped in pain. Tobor looked over the edge of the tunnel and gasped when he saw how high they were. The end of the tunnel looked over an eighty-foot drop.

    Tobor stared open mouthed at the gargantuan fall of shit. Down below he could see the Skahazadan. Kelvin moaned again at receiving a wound. A slash to his arm. Two more guards jumped across, Sibas kicked one of them into the river, wincing at his bad leg and the other grappled with Tobor, dropping his sword. Threatening to drag Tobor in, the boy hacked into the guard’s wrist, severing hand from arm. The guard fell in.

    Tobor glanced to his right and saw Kelvin receive his final blow, the spear entered his stomach and slid through until it was hovering near Tobor’s face. Kelvin coughed and grabbed hold of the guard stabbing him. Laughing in his face, Kelvin choked out a few words, “Fuck. You.” And fell. He dragged the guard in with him.

    Tobor looked at Sibas. “Go. Now.” He screamed. Sibas stared at him.

    [Continue Fighting and Wait for Sibas to Jump] [Tackle Sibas Over the Edge]

  • Well. That was a longer part than I thought it would end up being. At nearly 10 thousand words that is definitely the longest part so far. I intended to let Tobor have a choice of whether to tell Sibas about how there was a way out through the barracks, like Beast had told him. But in the end, I just thought. Tobor has a choice between risking it all, and finding a bunch of keys, guessing codewords etc, or he could go to a shower and knock a couple stones out. It was such an easy choice, I didn't think it was worth having a vote on.

    But here we are, I hope this explains why its been a while since the last instalment, this part was very difficult for me to get right. I had so many ideas of how to escape, and how to introduce Sibas, and how to make the part emotional and have a reason for being written except for "Get Tobor out of the pyramid". I hope I achieved that :D

    Just a little point that shows the choices have meaning, were you guys to vote to save Bradon a couple time's ago, he would have been unable to save Jyro and that poor lil guy would have suffocated after not receiving the help from Miro. If anyone's interested in other alternate situations based on choices let me know, and I'll explain what they affected up to now, excluding spoilers of course!

    Still looking for a few submitted characters if anyone is up for it! Cheers everyone!

  • [Tackle Sibas Over the Edge] I know doing this could risk Tobor and Sibas being seriously hurt but I worry that waiting will cause a repeat of what happened to Palazio. That being Tobor being unwilling to die for a stranger and going off on his own.

    Well poor Sibas isn't having a great time. This part is so damn long! XD
    It was really good though. :)

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part VI Tobor gulped as the knife pierced his skin and drew a bead of blood. He spoke calmly, despite t

  • I think thats the best and coolesr option [Tackle Sibas Over the Edge]

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part VI Tobor gulped as the knife pierced his skin and drew a bead of blood. He spoke calmly, despite t

  • Well what du you still need?

    Well. That was a longer part than I thought it would end up being. At nearly 10 thousand words that is definitely the longest part so far. I

  • -Sellsword soldiers
    -Sellsword Captain
    -Westerosi Knights
    -Westerosi Common-folk
    -The family of the head of a house (I already have the Lord, so I'll need his wife, children, brothers etc.)
    -An Ironborn Captain and a couple high ranking soldiers for him/her

    Any of those would be awesome!

    Nolonius posted: »

    Well what du you still need?

  • [Tackle Sibas Over the Edge]
    Well, that was a very long yet enjoyable part. Poor Sibas is losing all his friends and comrades.I guess they really don't have time to wait. Hopefully, they can land safely. Also, Agent made a good point in not wanting a similar situation to Palazio to happen again.

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part VI Tobor gulped as the knife pierced his skin and drew a bead of blood. He spoke calmly, despite t

  • [Tackle Sibas Over the Edge]

    Alright, I never expected this part to be my favourite in this chapter, especially considering how massive and amazing the parts in this chapter already have been, but I gotta say, Tobor's escape was one of the best parts in the story so far :) Helps that these last parts have all been super long as well. Of course, in terms of story it can be narrowed down to Tobor meets some new people and gets the hell out of there, but the stuff inbetween was just so well written, that was wonderful. You captured the intense feeling of this escape, the relationship between Sibas and his people and their interactions were spot on, I definitely was on the edge this entire time. As for Sibas, well, I kinda start to like him. He seems a bit bonkers still, but in a more positive way, I suppose he is alright.

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part VI Tobor gulped as the knife pierced his skin and drew a bead of blood. He spoke calmly, despite t

  • [Tackle Sibas Over the edge]

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part VI Tobor gulped as the knife pierced his skin and drew a bead of blood. He spoke calmly, despite t

  • [Tackle Sibas Over the edge]

    This was a really well written part Bitter! Not to try and copycat from Liquid but you really pulled me in and it felt like a bestseller with how I couldn't stop reading, and getting more and more excited. Props to you sir!

  • Wow, thanks for the feedback and kind words it means a lot. I’m really glad this part was as good as I’d hoped it would be while writing. For a while as I was writing, it started to feel a bit less game of thrones, and a bit more, I don’t know, spy novel or something which I really loved writing. The escape was a ton of fun to write and to explore this new Sibas character was great.

    The way you feel about Sibas is similar to how Tobor is thinking. He sees that Sibas is a bit hot-headed and clearly very overbearing and confident but he also sees him as a possible ally. Tobor does not trust Sibas and the feeling is mutual. We’ll explore this relationship a lot more over the coming parts.

    [Tackle Sibas Over the Edge] Alright, I never expected this part to be my favourite in this chapter, especially considering how massive a

  • Thank you very much, just to repeat what I’ve said to Liquid, it does mean a lot to me. Part of what I love about doing this is the writing the story itself, which is very gratifying, but also for it to be received well is brilliant. I’m really glad you guys are all enjoying it.

    Chaosjester posted: »

    [Tackle Sibas Over the edge] This was a really well written part Bitter! Not to try and copycat from Liquid but you really pulled me in a

  • Tackle Sibas Over the edge]

    Took me 3 days to read it, lol. Good job.

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part VI Tobor gulped as the knife pierced his skin and drew a bead of blood. He spoke calmly, despite t

  • Yeah, I agree, that whole scene isn't exactly something you see in Thrones all that often. It felt different and that made it so refreshing, not the sort I would have expected and as a result a very pleasant surprise. I think such explorations of themes and genres not quite common within the Thrones setting can be great occasionally, as we've seen here :)

    And well, I could actually see them getting into quite some tense moments. After all, Sibas could very well end up blaming the death of two of his friends on Tobor, for they probably would have still been alive if they wouldn't have gone along with his escape plan. Though I think Sibas is an alright guy once he gets to know Tobor and his friends a bit better, I definitely consider him a possible ally.

    Wow, thanks for the feedback and kind words it means a lot. I’m really glad this part was as good as I’d hoped it would be while writing. Fo

  • Voting is closed!

    Tobor will [Tackle Sibas Over the Edge]

    Looks like Tobor and Sibas are in for a fall. Can’t say I’m overly surprised with this choice, it felt like the right thing to do since Sibas seems to have frozen slightly given the death of his friend.

    The next part will carry our group down the Skahazadan and we see how they try to escape Meereen. I’ve got a couple of tough choices planned that I hope will leave you unsure of which to choose ;) I hope to get the part to you in a few days.

  • edited March 2018

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith
    Part VII

    Tobor placed his arakh into his belt and propelled himself off the floor with a powerful surge from his legs, galloping towards the redheaded boy. The wind was knocked from Sibas’ lungs as Tobor collided with his ribcage, exiting his mouth with a woosh.

    As Sibas stumbled backwards and tripped, Tobor could see over the other boy’s flailing arms. The Hightower boy’s heart leapt as he looked down at the fall before them. The two of them teetered and then tipped over the edge of the tunnel, into the empty space before them.

    Tobor felt like his stomach had been left back up on the ledge. He was falling through the air and could feel the wind violently tugging and ripping through his hair. Sibas’ mouth was wide open in a scream of fear, but the sound of the air coursing around them overpowered it. Tobor jammed his eyes shut and waited for them to hit the water.

    Sibas’ back hit first. Travelling at such a speed the water acted almost solidly, a loud slap echoed across the surface of the Skahazadan. Once more, the air was knocked from Sibas and the boy was submerged, already gasping for air. Tobor was still holding onto Sibas and when they hit the water, he crumpled into the body of the other boy. Tobor let out a shout of pain, which was promptly muffled by the muddy waters and transformed to a stream of bubbles.

    Letting go of Sibas, Tobor scrambled around trying to work out which way was up. He kicked blindly, disorientated beyond belief. His foot cracked into something hard and another torrent of bubbles billowed away from Tobor.

    Tobor opened his eyes and could vaguely make out where the bubbles were. They were floating away to his left, Tobor pushed with his hands to re-orientate himself to face the bubbles. He then kicked off powerfully and thrashed his legs back and forth, his lungs burning. Just as the strain in his chest felt too much, Tobor felt his head break the surface and the warm wind of the Meereenese day breathed on him.

    The Skahazadan was not, for the most part, a fast-flowing river. It ambled it’s way through the city of Meereen and out to the sea. It was however, a dirty river. It was used for the majority of Meereen’s sewage. Those who could afford it, had water from mountain springs brought to them by cart, or private wells. Those who couldn’t afford that waited in line for public wells and those who could afford nothing drank from the Skahazadan itself.

    Gasping heavily, Tobor frantically looked around for any sign of people. He couldn’t see Sibas, or Miro or anyone else for that matter. He stretched his neck round and peered up at where they’d come from. Tobor felt belittled by the great cliff that glared down at him, just about making out the small hole up above that they’d come down from. The tiny figurines of guards were waving their spears around, but Tobor couldn’t hear them.

    At the base of the cliff just behind where the water fell, Tobor could see the broken bodies of several guards who had fallen. One of them had left a trail of blood where he had tried to drag himself forwards with two broken legs. Tobor winced when he saw the bone in his thigh pointing out of the flesh in his leg. The guard wasn't moving anymore.

    Tobor heard a splash and whipped his head around. A sopping mass of dark red hair was shaking droplets of water everywhere. “Sibas!” Tobor shouted. “Over here.” While keeping his head above the water.

    Sibas coughed and spluttered, waving his arms around as thought attempting to climb a ladder. With a start, Tobor remembered Sibas couldn’t swim. Tobor cut through the water with a powerful stroke and reached Sibas.

    “Sibas listen to me, you need to calm down and just kicked your legs.” Tobor instructed, shouting over the splashing Sibas was making. The other boy paid no heed and reached out for Tobor. “Help.” He begged. Tobor started to say something but was grabbed by Sibas.

    Sibas was only trying to keep himself afloat, but a drowning man has no allies. Tobor was forced underwater with an iron grip from Sibas. A gargling sound was emitted from Tobor’s mouth as he swallowed a mouthful of water. Tobor thrashed around, trying to free himself but Sibas pushed down harder trying to pull himself out of the water.

    Tobor reached up to his shoulders and grabbed the wrists of Sibas. Squeezing hard did nothing, so Tobor dug his nails into Sibas’ forearm. Tobor felt the grip leave his shoulders and kicked up. Sucking in a huge breath Tobor kicked back from Sibas.

    Sibas looked scared. He was pale and panicky, flailing for life itself. Holding back this time, Tobor screamed at Sibas, “Listen to me! You need to calm down and just kick.” Sibas heard this time. He continued splashing around but gradually slowed the tempo of his kicks. His head bobbed underwater and emerged again. “I can’t.” He spluttered.

    Tobor nodded, “You can. Just kicked your legs as hard as you can and don’t wave your arms. Use them to balance.” He said calmly. Sibas screwed up his face in concentration and he, somewhat shakily, managed to stay afloat.

    “Good.” Tobor said. “Now just relax. Keep doing what you’re doing.”

    Sibas didn’t answer, he was concentrating. The flow of the river had carried them far from where they started and Tobor hoped they were fast enough. If the alarm was raised fast enough that slaves were escaping, the entire waterway would be locked down and patrolled. They would be caught and likely killed.

    Minutes passed by like days as they were floated down the Skahazadan. It was a hot day and Tobor could feel the scalding sun beat down on him. Tobor kept a watchful eye out at the banks of the river, tens of feet above their heads, for guards or others.

    Tobor peered down the river and saw something odd. “What’s that?” He asked. Sibas glanced and frowned. “It’s a person.” He said excitedly. Tobor agreed. There was a black mass that rose above the water in the distance. It was floating at the side of the bank, it looked like it was caught on something.

    Tobor began swimming downriver towards the person. Swift strokes brought him closer to his target in seconds. Tobor swore when his knee banged into something. He looked down and saw the riverbed, he was in shallow water. Tobor stood up and looked to the person. His eyes widened, it was Jyro.

    Jyro was sprawled on his stomach over something, barely keeping his head out of the water. His shredded back pointed towards the blue sky, his skin red and angry. The sharp stone in the tunnel had ripped open all along the poor boy, leaving the wounds to weep blood.

    Tobor was shocked to realise that Jyro was keeping himself afloat using Kelvin’s corpse. The boy was clinging on the top of his friend but looked so weak Tobor didn’t think he would last much longer.

    “Jyro, can you hear me?” Tobor asked tentatively. The boy stirred at the sound of Tobor’s voice. Tobor waded towards him. “Sibas, come here the water is shallow! Jyro is here.” Tobor yelled. The noise echoed from the high walls around them, Tobor kicked himself for being loud.

    Tobor didn’t know what to do with Jyro, he was severely injured and with how dirty the water was, unlikely to live much longer. He couldn’t bring himself to say that to Sibas, who was wading over to join Tobor.

    “Jyro my friend.” Sibas said, when Jyro just moaned as a response he turned to Tobor. “Fuck, is he alright?” Tobor looked away from Sibas at Jyro. “I don’t know. I’ve never seen injuries this bad. I don’t know if we can move him.”

    “What other choice do we have?” Sibas asked. Tobor shrugged, “It’s either move him, leave him or go and get a healer from the city.” Sibas scowled, “Well we aren’t leaving him, and a healer from the city is too risky. We move him. He is strong, he will make it.” He sounded like he was convincing himself more than Tobor.

    “Do you want to carry him with us or keep him floating?” Tobor asked. The two boys both knew that Kelvin’s corpse was there but neither one wanted to be the first to mention it. “We will carry him between us.” Sibas answered stiffly.

    Tobor nodded and carefully slipped Jyro’s arm around his shoulder, Sibas did the same. Tobor was uncomfortable with how close his face was to Kelvin’s body. Sibas counted to three and Jyro was lifted up so he was limply hanging from between them.

    The boys waded along the side of the river, sticking to where it was shallow so they could walk. Tobor saw Sibas glance back at Kelvin’s body but his expression was hard. They trudged through the mud and sand of the riverside in silence, neither willing to speak. Jyro breathed raspy breaths and groaned softly.

    Along the way a few other guard's bodies had been caught up with weeds at the riverbank, Tobor ignored them. As they rounded another corner, Tobor spotted a wall around forty feet away. It was the edge of Meereen. Tobor let himself smile slightly, they were almost there.

    The river would flow out of the city and join the vast sea, leaving them to find the harbour and sneak aboard a boat. Tobor would find passage to Westeros and find his family at Oldtown. He could almost hear Kallum and Edwin laugh when he told them he’d escaped Slaver’s Bay by swimming in shit. Perhaps Mace and even his Father would be impressed when they heard about the pit fighting.

    As the cliffs around them melted away and the riverbank was now a wall just higher than head height, Tobor and Sibas crouched down in the waist deep water and pulled Jyro along. Tobor could see a small arch at the end of the river where the wall parted to let the water flow through. Tobor’s heart was pounding at the prospect of escape. Of being free from Reznar zo Merreq.

    As they drew closer, Tobor could make out the shapes of people inside the arch. “Look.” He said. “It’s the rest of them.”

    Sibas smiled wearily. “Let’s hope they are all alright.” Tobor nodded his agreement. When the three of them got to the end of the river Tobor’s heart sank. He could see Miro, Shiko and Caoki all crouched inside the arch which extended back to provide a small tunnel to hide in. Past the three others, the arch extended further and light shone through. The light of the ocean air ahead of them.

    However, the light of the ocean travelled through a set of sturdy iron bars that crisscrossed from the top of the arch down to the surface of the water. Miro’s expression was grim. “The bars go to the bottom of the water.” He said. “I checked many times.”

    Tobor swore and asked Caoki to help hold Jyro. He walked forwards and submerged his head underwater. The water was around chest depth and it didn’t take long for Tobor to run his hands over the entirety of the below water grate. Tobor surfaced and pushed his long straggly hair out of his eyes.

    “What do we do?” Miro asked. Tobor thought hard. “Firstly, is everyone alright?” They all nodded their answers save for Shiko, Tobor repeated the question in Low Valyrian and she answered that she was.

    “For Shiko’s benefit, does everyone speak Low Valyrian?” Tobor asked. Sibas and Miro nodded, Caoki said he knew a little. Tobor continued in Low Valyrian. “Jyro is very hurt. He may not survive. We need to get out of Meereen quickly, and we need some medical supplies. What I think we should do is get out of the river now, take Jyro with us because we can’t afford to split up now. We will find a cart and donkey in the city somewhere, perhaps near the market.

    “We will need to take the cart from whoever owns it and most of us will go in the back with whatever items are in it. Shiko and Miro, you two look the most Meereenese, you will go in the front and steer. If anyone asks, you are brother and sister who brought goods to trade in the Meereenese market, you are taking your traded goods home.

    “Once we have the cart, I will go and find medical supplies and bring them back. Then we can leave through the front gates of Meereen and get away.” Tobor finished. Sibas nodded, “I like this plan, just one thing; you said you had contacts in Meereen earlier, might they help?”

    Tobor’s stomach twisted when he remembered about his “contacts”. He’d forgotten about them. When Tobor answered he kept his voice cool and calm. “They are who I’m getting the medical supplies from.” He lied. Tobor had planned to get the medical supplies from the temple of the Blue Graces, but upon saying this he realised he may be able to find Mina and ask her for help.

    “Very well.” Sibas said. “Let’s go. If no-one has issues with the plan.” Miro nodded encouragingly and began to walk out of the arch. Sibas held a hand out. “Wait, I’ll check if anyone’s there. The guards must have got the warning out now that we’re escaping down the river.”

    Sibas peered round the top edge of the archway. There was a walkway along the wall above them that the guards could use to pass over the river. To the side of the arch there was the wall that had been built to funnel the Skahazadan out of Meereen. This wall was taller than Tobor.

    Sibas waved to signal everything was clear. Tobor waded around him and made his way to the wall at their side. Reaching up, Tobor could just touch the top of the wall. “Give me a leg up.” He said to Sibas.

    Sibas interlocked his fingers under the water and Tobor stepped in the stirrup he’d made with his hands. Lifting Tobor up, Sibas strained as Tobor clambered up over side of the wall. Caoki was holding Jyro, slung over his shoulder.

    “Get me up next.” Caoki said in his gruff voice. “I will go up and help pull Jyro up.” Sibas groaned at the prospect of letting the huge Dothraki step on his fingers but agreed. Shiko and Miro held Jyro as Caoki was pushed up by Sibas. Tobor grabbed the Dothraki’s forearm and yanked, pulling the heavy man up and over the side of the wall.

    Jyro was pulled up by Caoki and Tobor, one arm each. They carefully placed him belly down so as not to hurt his back. They then helped Miro and Shiko up, one after another and then came Sibas.

    Caoki hauled Jyro onto his shoulder and the six of them set off, keeping to the narrow streets so they were less likely to run into guards. Although, Tobor noticed a distinct lack of them.

    “Where are all the guards?” Tobor wondered aloud. Miro answered, “The Master owns many guards in his pyramid, but not in the city. His guards are not allowed to carry weapons in the city.” He said. Tobor frowned, “So where are the city guards?” He asked thoughtfully.

    “Most likely, they are just patrolling as normal.” Sibas said. “I assume that Reznar is talking with whoever controls the city guard and asking them to give out orders for our capture.” As if triggered by their conversation, in the distance Tobor heard the clanging of bells, ringing out over the rooftops of Meereen.

    “I reckon that’s for us.” Tobor said grimly. The tolling of the bell instilled a sense of panic in the group and they continued faster than before. There were a few close scrapes with guards. Miro walked around a corner, saw some guards and recoiled back, ashen-faced. They couldn’t move fast so they had to just stand, quiet and hope the guards hadn’t seen Miro.

    After a few minutes, they peered around the corner again proceeded when the way was clear. From then on, they took to checking around corners first. Tobor noticed a lot of children were laid down on the rooves of buildings, looking down at them. He frowned but shrugged it off as nothing.

    Later on, Tobor was checking a corner and saw some guards heading towards them. Realising that the narrow street had no other exits and that the guards were heading right for them, Tobor ushered the others back the way they had come.

    Upon reaching the end of the street, Tobor looked up and down the path that the street had joined. Left was back towards the river, so he led them right. Dread gripped him that the guards could appear at any moment and spot them so he urged the group to move faster.

    The path they were on was much larger than the small alleyways that they’d previously been sticking to, so Tobor was certain that more guards would be here soon. They drew odd looks from people walking down the path.

    Tobor breathed a sigh of relief as he spotted a smaller passageway that drew away from the main path. “There.” He pointed. The group followed this path, anxiously checking each turn and looking behind for any sign of guards.

    As the rounded another corner, Shiko was leading. She stepped around the corner and stepped out into the small square that the path led into. Miro took her arm and pulled her gently back, “We must be careful.” He reminded.

    Tobor looked out into the square. It wasn’t huge, there was a small fountain in the centre with a coin-filled pool. The water trickled slowly out. Around the outside were a number of alleyways that took you deeper into Meereen. Tobor’s face broke into a grin when he spotted something sticking out of one of the alleys.

    “See there?” He pointed. “Just around the corner of the third alley from the left, there’s the back wheel of some sort of cart.” They all followed his gaze. Poking out from the alley was the edge of a wheel, the spokes glinting in the sunlight.

    “Let’s go get it.” Caoki grinned. Sibas led the way, carefully sidling out of the shadows. The others followed. Tobor reached the cart and bit his lip, it was bittersweet. The cart looked in working order but it was a handcart, there was no way they could all fit on. Perhaps two or three on the back then one holding but there were six of them.

    “What do we do?” Miro asked. Sibas picked up the cart and pulled it along, “I reckon I can carry it with a couple people in it.” He said. Tobor shook his head, “There’s no way we can walk out of Meereen like this. Four damp, shirtless suspicious looking people with a cart.”

    Sibas said nothing but his expression showed his agreement. Tobor continued, the only way this could work is if someone took Jyro out by himself. Then we joined him later outside the city.” Nobody relished the prospect of splitting up, but they realised Tobor was right.

    “I can carry the cart.” Caoki offered. Sibas looked put out that he wouldn’t be the one to carry his friend but agreed that Caoki was stronger. “Why don’t Miro and Shiko join Jyro on the cart, if we found something to cover them then it would be fine.” Sibas suggested.

    Tobor shook his head, “If we had a donkey or horse drawn cart with a roof and closed off walls it would be fine, they’re less suspicious and less likely to be searched. But since whatever we find to cover them will be some sort of sheet, it’ll be more obvious it’s a person in there. I don’t want to risk more people than we have to. Miro and Shiko will stay. We find something to cover Jyro and then Caoki will take him to the gate.”

    Caoki nodded and put Jyro down on the cart, lying face down. Tobor rolled Jyro onto his side, so that when they put something over him, it wouldn’t touch his back. “We need to find a sheet, or something else that could cover Jyro.” Sibas said. “We should all go now and try to find something.” Tobor nodded, “Go into the square and each go down a different passage.” He suggested.

    After a few short minutes each of them returned. Miro had found no sheet but he had taken a number of shirts that had been set out to dry in the sun, Caoki had stayed with Jyro, Shiko had been with Miro, Sibas had found a large bedsheet that he said ‘had been hanging up to dry outside some rich fuck’s house’ and Tobor had yanked a pair of light curtains from a window.

    Tobor draped the curtains over Jyro’s steadily breathing body, the curtains were white but something looked wrong about it. Tobor shook his head and as Miro handed out the shirts he’d taken to all of them, Sibas placed the sheet over Jyro. The material sagged over the boy, Caoki had placed some stones in the cart to make some more shapes when the sheet was placed over, so as to make it look less like a person.

    “It’ll do, I suppose.” Sibas said. Tobor agreed and pulled a white tunic over his head. As he did, Tobor heard a door burst open to the side of him. Tobor fumbled with the fabric as he heard a grunt, it sounded like Miro.

    As Tobor managed to get the shirt over his head and around his neck, he saw what was happening, three men had come out of the house opposite the cart and they looked angry. One had punched Miro in the stomach and had his foot pressed on the Naathi boy’s head.

    One of the men snarled, advancing on Tobor and bunching his fists. Unable to take the arakh from his belt, Tobor answered by charging at the man, they tumbled down to the ground, in front of the doorway. The man was clearly surprised by a smaller boy taking him down but Tobor’s time in the pits had made him stronger. Tobor drove a heavy fist into the man’s neck and he choked, unable to breath. Tobor rolled off him as the man clutched his throat.

    Caoki had one of the men in a chokehold and the one who had punched Miro was rolling on the floor with Sibas. “Caoki!” Tobor shouted, “Take Jyro and go! Meet us outside the city!”

    Caoki dropped the man, who spluttered on his knees, and the Dothraki grabbed the cart, lifting it and beginning to pull it down the alley. The man fighting Sibas shouted after the cart, but Caoki disappeared around the corner and Sibas took advantage from the lapse in concentration, kneeing the man in the groin.

    Tobor stood up, ready to fight but the door in front of him swung open once more. A man stood before him, he had brown skin with a broad, weathered face. Dark almond shaped eyes above a broken nose glared at Tobor. His grey-white hair and salt and pepper beard gave away his age but the force of the kick that sent Tobor to fall heavily on the cobbled street showed he was still fit. Tobor dropped the arakh. The man laughed as he looked at Tobor.

    Tobor tried to get up but stopped when he saw the crossbow pointed directly at his crotch. “Move and you won’t be making any pretty girls excited anytime soon.” He threatened. “Make your friends stop.” He continued.

    Tobor called over to Sibas who was busy kicking the man on the floor. “Sibas, come here.” Tobor instructed. When Sibas saw the crossbow, he gave the man on the floor one last kick and stopped. “You’ve only got one bolt, old man. You can’t shoot both of us.” Sibas said smugly.

    The man smiled, “Perhaps, but they can.” He gestured up to the rooftop, when Tobor looked up he saw several men on top of the buildings holding crossbows pointed down at them. Tobor swore. “Look.” He said. “We’re sorry for stealing your cart, but just let me explain.”

    “Indeed.” The man agreed, laughing a little. “If you would be so kind as to tell me what you were doing and what you’ve done with our cart. I’ve not got all day and my finger is itchy.” He said with a laugh. The three men had all stood up now and rounded up Sibas, Miro and Shiko to them.

    Tobor struggled to think up a lie, they couldn’t admit they were slaves as that would likely get them handed back to Reznar. “My friend was hurt, I needed to get help.” He said simply. The man raised an eyebrow. “Didn’t you have your own cart?” Tobor shook his head.

    “Why didn’t you take him to the Graces?” He asked. Tobor stuttered, “Um, we were-“ Sibas interrupted him, “We were taking him to the Graces.” With a pointed look at Tobor. The man smiled, “I see, where are your clothes?” He asked.

    Silence met this question. The man’s smile grew, “And where are you all from?” He asked. Tobor tried to think up a convincing answer. “We are servants from the zo Loraz pyramid.” He said weakly. The man frowned, “You’re a long way from there, and you’re heading the wrong way if you were from the zo Loraz pyramid to the Graces. How did you friend get hurt?”

    Sibas took the lead, “He was hit by a cart on the main street, our master had sent us to fetch his weekly shipment from the docks.” The man laughed again, “Has you master suffered from a bang on the head? His shipment’s come in every new moon and each seventh day after. That was two days ago.”

    Sibas looked defeated, caught out on his lie. The man couldn’t hold it together, he burst out laughing still keeping the crossbow trained on Tobor’s manhood. “It’s alright, you can stop squirming now, I know you’re the escaped slaves everyone’s muttering about.” He said gleefully.

    Tobor’s mouth opened slightly, confused as to what in the seven hells was happening. The man continued. “How are you doing, Arghurys and Sibas the Restless?” He asked.

    “How do you know us?” Sibas asked dumbly. The man rolled his eyes, “From the brothels. No, you fuckwit, I’ve seen you both fight.” The man lowered his crossbow and offered Tobor a hand up.

    Begrudgingly, Tobor accepted it. The man that Sibas had kicked grumbled, “You didn’t tell us these two were pit fighters.” He moaned, clutching his stomach. The man chuckled, “Wouldn’t have done much, would it Tygren? You’re weak as a rat anyway.”

    The man named Tygren swore under his breath implying the other man should do something to his mother. “And the gods rest her soul.” The old man agreed. “Now, I believe we should all get off this street before some guards get here and wonder why four escaped slaves are on my doorstep. Armond grab that arakh.”

    He beckoned them inside and Tobor led them in. The building was one room on the bottom floor and a rickety staircase climbed into the clay ceiling. The room was lit by a bunch of candles in the corner. There was a table with several chairs but a distinct lack of furnishing. The old man turned to one of the men, “Go after that cart and see if you can get them to come back.”

    Shiko stood, “I can go too, so they trust us.” She said in Low Valyrian. The old man nodded and Shiko left with the man.

    The old man took a seat at the table and waved a hand to indicate they should sit. Tobor, Sibas and Miro all sat down. “I’m sure you’re probably wondering who I am. My name is Ben Plumm. I am a captain in the Second Son’s, we are a sellsword company perhaps you’ve heard of us.”

    Tobor nodded, “The Maester’s told me about you. They said you’d run from more battles than you won.” He said this in an attempt to see if the old man would be riled by such an accusation, but Ben just chuckled. “There are old sellswords, and there are bold sellswords. But there are no old, bold sellswords.” He answered. “We run when we must. I could tell you were Westerosi. I have a bit of Westeros in me too. A drop of Targaryen blood, a member of House Plumm married a dragon princess while Aegon was king.”

    Sibas scoffed, “That’s all very interesting but all we want is to escape. I’ve had fucking enough of being a slave I need to escape and find my… Nevermind. I need to leave.” He said simply. Tobor frowned at the hesitation but ignored it, “Yes, we need to find a way out of the city.”

    “That, we can do.” Ben said. “The thing is. We come to Meereen, Yunkai and Astapor every few moons to see what recruits we can get. There’s those in auctions we can buy, we set them free at the price of a contract with us. We take them out of the city and back to the company.

    “I’ve seen you two fighting. You are mean warriors. I was at the pit just now when you threw a spear into the box of Masters. That takes balls.” Ben was saying. Sibas laughed, “You threw a spear at the Masters? Arghurys you bloody animal!”

    Ben smiled, “I did enjoy that, I watched you, Sibas, when you refused to kill that man. I believe it was your first fight? You had a bo-staff and knocked him clean out. The guards came and tried to make you kill him on threat of punishment. It took a strong spirit to refuse.” He admired. Sibas grinned. “That was my favourite beating.” He joked.

    “Tobor, I watched you leave the pit today and when I heard whispers of a blonde and redhaired pit fighters escaping I knew it was you. I’ve had my little friends stationed around the city watching for you. They told us you were heading this way and we moved to this safehouse. We have a few in the city. There are perhaps twenty of us in the city, our spies told us you were coming to this area and all of us are spread around that square just outside.”

    Tobor frowned, “So the children on the rooves were you?” Ben nodded. Tobor continued, “But what was with the cart outside?” He asked. Ben laughed, “I don’t know who’s that was. Our plan was to ambush you when you got further down the alley. When I saw you had stopped I was interested to see what you were doing. When I opened the door that was the signal for the ambush and the men on the roof took aim. That door behind us leads out to the next path over.

    “You then assumed the cart was ours and I just wanted to make you squirm. You are not a very proficient liar.” Ben noted, Tobor went red and shrugged. Ben smiled, “So, regardless of that, we can help you out of the city. If you agree to come with us we will put you all in the line of slaves we usually take with us and no guard will bat an eyelid. What do you say?” Ben asked.

    “You’re asking us to join the Second Son’s?” Sibas asked. Ben nodded, “Young men like you. You’ll get great honour in the company.” Tobor looked doubtful, sellswords were not renowned for their honour. “Ben, I thank you for the offer, but I can’t. I’m trying to go home, I want to escape and see my family. Being in a sellsword company, that’s one danger to another.”

    Ben nodded, “I won’t pretend you’ll have no danger, but it’s one endless danger, to one with a contract.” He explained. Tobor shook his head, “I’m sorry. My answer is no.” Ben bit his lip. Before he could answer Miro piped up. “What will happen to me and Shiko? I am no fighter and she is not too.”

    Ben nodded, “You can get work with an armourer, or washing or serving the commanders if you so wish.” He said. Sibas tapped his fingers on the table, “What about Caoki and Jyro?” He asked.

    “I assume they are the two in the cart? We can find them outside the city and the Dothraki can fight. However, the boy won’t make the journey. The Second Son’s are in the Disputed Lands at the moment, fighting between Myr and Lys. My suggestion is, leave the boy here, with the Blue Graces. He will be given back to slavery but will survive. I can use my contacts to make sure he isn’t given back to the zo Merreq family. He will go to a better Master.” Ben suggested.

    Tobor looked at Sibas. The other boy looked lost. “I-I don’t know.” He admitted. Ben nodded, “There is time.” He said. “Arghurys, is there no way you will join us?”

    Tobor shook his head. “I am sorry. I need to return to Westeros.” Ben looked sheepish at this answer. “It is I who is sorry, I am afraid that I must advise you to rethink your answer.” He said quietly.

    Tobor looked at him quizzically, “What do you mean?” He asked. Ben rubbed his beard, “My commander, well one of them, is Mero the Titan. Have you heard of him? He is… for lack of a better word, a bastard. A bloody good fighter and a strategical genius but a bastard nonetheless. The thing is, the Second Son’s have been given a bad name under him, he is not a good man, and as a result we have a shortage of men.

    “With a shortage of men, comes a shortage of fights and a shortage of gold. So, if you can’t help us with a shortage of men or fights. Then my orders are you have to help with a shortage of gold.” Ben let this sink in. Tobor grew angry when he realised what Ben was saying.

    “I did not leave one form of slavery to be sold into another one!” He spat angrily. Ben looked genuinely apologetic, “These are the orders I’ve been given.” He said. “Either they join or are sold. Were I to let someone go, I would face consequences for it.”

    Tobor could feel the anger burning inside of him, he had been so close to escape and now it looked like years before he could be home. “How long will the contract be?” Tobor asked. Ben screwed up his face, “That all depends on the three commanders, if it’s a good day you might get a year, if not then maybe three. I don’t know.” He admitted. “Will you accept, or am I going to find a place to sell you? I hate how that sounds too lad, but I’m just doing what’s asked of me. I will take you far from here to sell you, perhaps Astapor or some small town where you won’t be made to fight.”

    Tobor felt trapped, he didn’t know what to say. Tobor knew he needed to make the choice that would get him home quickest. He could take a risk and reject Ben, get sold into slavery again and try and escape. But Tobor wasn’t confident he could manage it again. He could try and bargain with Ben, persuade him to let Tobor go, or even just a reduced contract, but he didn't know if that would offend Ben and make it worse. Or he could accept, live with the contract for years and then go home.

    “I need an answer lad.” Ben said softly.

    [Accept Ben's deal] [Risk and Try to Bargain] [Reject Ben's Deal]

  • [Risk and Try to Bargain]

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part VII Tobor placed his arakh into his belt and propelled himself off the floor with a powerful surge

  • [Risk and Try to Bargain]

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part VII Tobor placed his arakh into his belt and propelled himself off the floor with a powerful surge

  • [Accept Ben's deal]

    Brown Ben Plumm! Now that is a nice surprise =) One of my favourite novel characters who have been left out of the show, so I am more than overjoyed to see him here. Actually, I didn't see this coming at all, his description rang no bells, all the way up until you mentioned his name. Since I have this strange fondness for Ben, I consider it one of the nicest surprises in the story so far XD But even without him, this part was great, I really like how this escape is going along. Of course, with Jyro's condition, their true escape has to be delayed for a bit, that is unfortunate. However, it might give Tobor the chance to catch up with Mina and maybe even Tazhyn. Mina might actually be out to look for him once word of what happened in the arena becomes known on the streets, if she isn't too busy keeping a very low profile due to her own involvement in Tobor's business. Tazhyn meanwhile, I am pretty certain her father's patience is worn out and that doesn't spell good for her. In a way, both might have reason to leave with Tobor, should he leave Slaver's Bay behind for good, if he manages to find them in the current chaos. For now, I think he has no choice but to accept Ben's deal. While his loyalties are never set in stone, at this particular point of the story, I believe he is still loyal to Daenerys and this could be an interesting development for Tobor, given that Barristan Selmy is also serving Dany. So, yeah, I would like to accept this deal and I don't want to risk and bargain, even if Ben strikes me as someone who, at worst, would simply be amused by this attempt, unless the bargain becomes downright insulting.

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part VII Tobor placed his arakh into his belt and propelled himself off the floor with a powerful surge

  • [Reject Ben's Deal] Your deal sucks!

    I really liked this part! And I was really starting to miss this story. :)

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part VII Tobor placed his arakh into his belt and propelled himself off the floor with a powerful surge

  • I know! I too love Ben in the books, thought he’s a brilliant character. I wanted to bring him into the story for sure. Now technically since I’m basing this story predominantly from the show, he wouldn’t be there. For example, in the books Mero the Titan runs the second sons with Ben as a captain and Daario Nahaaris runs the Stormcrows with two other captains. But in the show, Daario runs the second sons with two captains, one of them being Mero. So I’m kind of just adding in Ben, I mean it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Ben is in the show version of the second sons as a captain. I’m taking a bit of liberty with the canon version but I’m not breaking it!

    Ahh with his description I thought for sure that the salt and pepper beard would give it away, that’s the part of Ben’s description that has always stuck in my mind!

    Yes the escape was never going to be plain sailing, this is Thrones! You’ve got it in one, Tobor will be trying to take this opportunity to see Mina and/or Tazhyn in the next part. The next part is actually going to be quite a short one.

    Well just remember that around this time in the story, Dany is probably near Qaarth and the house of the undying. She’s already had her dragons being born, as in one of the arena fights the red comet that “ripped open the sky” was visible in the sky. And that occurred at the end of the first season/book. So Dany isn’t near the Second sons in her story yet, she’s still got Qaarth, Astapor then Yunkai.

    [Accept Ben's deal] Brown Ben Plumm! Now that is a nice surprise One of my favourite novel characters who have been left out of the show

  • Haha! I love the stubbornness, I can just imagine Tobor sitting there cross armed and telling Ben where to stick his deal! Thank you, that’s good to hear :)

    AgentZ46 posted: »

    [Reject Ben's Deal] Your deal sucks! I really liked this part! And I was really starting to miss this story.

  • Defiance all the way! :D

    Haha! I love the stubbornness, I can just imagine Tobor sitting there cross armed and telling Ben where to stick his deal! Thank you, that’s good to hear

  • [Accept Ben's Deal]

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part VII Tobor placed his arakh into his belt and propelled himself off the floor with a powerful surge

  • I know! I too love Ben in the books, thought he’s a brilliant character. I wanted to bring him into the story for sure. Now technically since I’m basing this story predominantly from the show, he wouldn’t be there. For example, in the books Mero the Titan runs the second sons with Ben as a captain and Daario Nahaaris runs the Stormcrows with two other captains. But in the show, Daario runs the second sons with two captains, one of them being Mero. So I’m kind of just adding in Ben, I mean it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Ben is in the show version of the second sons as a captain. I’m taking a bit of liberty with the canon version but I’m not breaking it!

    Not even the mention of Mero gave it away to me, I really am bad at picking up hints :D I always missed him in the show, but I also assumed that the characters who are never shown are not just erased from existence, but simply not shown, means I can support that theory of Ben being a captain of the Second Sons in both versions. I definitely like that change :)

    Ahh with his description I thought for sure that the salt and pepper beard would give it away, that’s the part of Ben’s description that has always stuck in my mind!

    Well, here's the thing, I only ever read the books in German and while the translation is decent, it obviously lacks some of the nuance of Martin's writing, making some stuff that is pretty memorable in the original version much less noticeable. In fact, I don't remember any special description for Ben in the translation. There's also the issue that I don't translate the words in my head when reading english, means the phrase about the salt and pepper beard sounds completely new to me, whereas the german translation might have rung a bell.

    Yes the escape was never going to be plain sailing, this is Thrones! You’ve got it in one, Tobor will be trying to take this opportunity to see Mina and/or Tazhyn in the next part. The next part is actually going to be quite a short one.

    Ah, I suppose it might be a matter of whom he'll check up on first, probably a choice. If that happens, no doubt I'll pick Mina, for expected reasons :D But even on a pragmatic level, she might be a smarter choice, as she can potentially even help with locating Tazhyn (whom I presume is currently heavily guarded in the very place Tobor just escaped from). I just realized, if Tobor makes it his goal to find Tazhyn and potentially even to offer her to leave Slaver's Bay with him, then that could easily end up more difficult than freeing himself. Considering the amount of effort Reznar put into preventing a mere slave from escaping, I can only imagine how much more he'll do to keep his daughter from running away.

    Well just remember that around this time in the story, Dany is probably near Qaarth and the house of the undying. She’s already had her dragons being born, as in one of the arena fights the red comet that “ripped open the sky” was visible in the sky. And that occurred at the end of the first season/book. So Dany isn’t near the Second sons in her story yet, she’s still got Qaarth, Astapor then Yunkai.

    I... completely zoned out there. You are right, I was just so caught in the moment and happy to see Ben that I automatically assumed he is working for Daenerys, forgetting that he only joined her after the whole business with Yunkai. Means she hasn't even met Barristan yet, but with the connection between him and Tobor, I fully expect a meeting between all three some point in the future.

    I know! I too love Ben in the books, thought he’s a brilliant character. I wanted to bring him into the story for sure. Now technically sinc

  • He said he needed good fightersbadly and tobor is already a beast so [Risk and Try to Bargain]

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part VII Tobor placed his arakh into his belt and propelled himself off the floor with a powerful surge

  • Voting is Closed!

    Tobor will [Risk and Try to Bargain]

    Not majorly surprised regarding this choice, Tobor doesn’t seem like the kinda guy to just accept a deal he doesn’t like, but he’s not reckless enough to just reject it when the consequences are back to slavery.

    Next part will come out fairly soon, as it’s a pretty small one. We’ll see how Ben reacts to Tobor trying to bargain!

  • Isn't it a tie between risk and accept? Or did you already resolve the tie with a coin toss or something?

    Voting is Closed! Tobor will [Risk and Try to Bargain] Not majorly surprised regarding this choice, Tobor doesn’t seem like the kinda

  • There is one more vote for risk and bargain than accept.

    AgentZ46 posted: »

    Isn't it a tie between risk and accept? Or did you already resolve the tie with a coin toss or something?

  • My mistake! Nolonius' vote wasn't in bold so I missed it.

    There is one more vote for risk and bargain than accept.

  • You made me panic for a moment! Not a problem, I double checked again I got 3 risk and bargain, 2 for accept and 1 for reject.

    AgentZ46 posted: »

    My mistake! Nolonius' vote wasn't in bold so I missed it.

  • I'm so sorry! XD

    You made me panic for a moment! Not a problem, I double checked again I got 3 risk and bargain, 2 for accept and 1 for reject.

  • Crucial Fights and Tested Faith
    Part VIII

    Tobor’s expression steeled over, “My one aim is to get home, Ben. That’s what I want. Each decision I make is to get closer to home. To that end, I can’t rationalise spending three years in the Second Son’s. You have to understand, that if I were free I could be with my family in less time than the moon turning.”

    Ben sighed, “So that’s a no then?” He asked sadly, clearly not revelling in having to sell a free man back into slavery. Tobor shook his head, “Not necessarily. So long as you won’t just let me go?” He waited a few short seconds to see Ben’s response. The old man’s expression told Tobor all he needed to know and the boy continued.

    “Very well, can you at least guarantee me a short contract? Half a year perhaps?” Tobor proffered. Ben chuckled. “I don’t know, lad. You could be a swordsman the likes of Arthur Dayne and that strength couldn’t get me to try’n get you with us for only half a year. I could be pushed to suggest my captains to offer you a two-year contract if you’re a half decent fighter.”

    Tobor gave a wry smile, “A year?” Came his offer. Ben scratched his beard,” We have men aged sixty years with us longer than that. Including the ones that die.”

    Tobor bit his lip; two years was still two years too long. “I can fight, and I can lead.” Tobor said. “Surely your captains want leaders?” He asked. Ben grinned, “You looking to take their place?”

    “Not a chance, but I can still take two score men and fulfil whatever task has been given me. Just ask my friends here who led us out of that hole.” Tobor said boldly, ignoring the dagger glare that Sibas was giving him.

    Ben mulled this over. “I’ll tell you what. If you’re the swordsman and leader you claim to be, I will try to get you a contract for a year. But if you aren’t, then you get three. That fair?” He bargained. Tobor pondered this, a year seemed about as generous an offer as he could get. “I don’t know…” Tobor began. Ben spoke over him, “And I’ll let your non-fighting friends go, the Naathi and the girl. They can get a ship, come with us, what-so-ever they desire. They’re free.”

    Tobor smiled, “That seems fair.” Ben clapped his hands together, “Excellent. There are a few missions round these parts that will be a perfect test for you. I’ll give you, say, ten men? And you take them and do these missions. If I like what you’ve done, then I’ll get you that one-year contract.”

    Tobor held out his hand to seal the deal. Ben grasped it and the two of them shook firmly. Ben pushed his chair back and stood, “Now, let’s see about us getting you your men for the mission.”

    Tobor stood as well, confused. “Get me men?” He asked. Ben nodded, “The auctions are still going, we are getting our recruits. You’re our first lot.” He explained. “Once your Dothraki and the girl get back with your wounded friend, I’ll explain to them about what’s going to happen. We can sort out what the girl and the Naathi want to do.”

    Miro piped up, “If I do not have to be joining the company, I would return to Naath.” He said. Ben grabbed him by the shoulder and squeezed kindly, “Then a ship to Naath it will be.” He beamed.

    Sibas remained quiet, still sat at the table. Ben walked towards the door, flicking his hand to summon a couple of his men. “I’m going to the auction, see how many we’ve got so far, and see if we can’t get some more! Tygren, Armond you two stay here with them. Faahiro come with me.” He said. The dark-skinned man named Faahiro left with Ben, while Tygren and Armond turned to face Tobor, Sibas and Miro.

    Tygren introduced himself in a low voice, “Welcome to the Second Son’s, call me Ty. I have a big pair of daggers and a big pair of balls.” He grinned, with a foreign accent. Tygren was tall and strong, he had a fairly slim and lean build but heavy shoulders. His scruffy, short and dark blonde hair was a mess atop his head. He had a chunk missing from the bridge of his nose and dark brown eyes. Around his waist was a belt holding two daggers, they were big indeed. The blades were as long as Tobor’s forearm, each with vicious sharp edges.

    Armond was shorter than Tygren, but much stockier. He had fair skin and light blonde hair that spiked up like the head of a mace. His eyes were a rich green and looked the group up and down as he drawled a greeting in an accent that made Tobor think of the Westerlands. He had sharp cheekbones and a soft jawline, Tobor was sure he’d broken many women’s hearts with that face. The hilt of a sword poked over his left shoulder. The pommel and handguard were golden, glinting in the candlelight.

    Sibas, Tobor and Miro all said their names and shook hands. Tygren had an iron grip and laughed as he made Miro wince. “I’m sure you three are all thirsty?” Armond said. Sibas nodded, “Bloody thirsty.” He confirmed.

    Armond strode to the candles in the corner and picked up some skins of water from on top of the cabinet. Throwing them to the boys, he told them that the life of a sellsword wasn’t that bad. “You get good food, good steel and good women.” He laughed.
    Tygren laughed and agreed. “Sometimes all at once.” He chuckled, pulling up his shirt to show them a nasty scar that snaked it’s way up his side. “Never go to a brothel in Astapor.” He warned.

    Armond scoffed, “A whore is no good woman.” He protested. “I have no need of brothels, with a handsome face like mine I can find a good woman from those that follow our camp.” He boasted, half joking. Tygren nodded and smiled slyly, “But the part you never tell of that story is that afterwards… you still have to pay them!” He roared in laughter.

    Tobor grinned, this sort of joking felt like being with Kallum again. The memory of his brother made his smile fade into a ghost. Armond clapped Tygren over the back of the head mockingly, “I’m going to check on the boys on the roof. See if they want anything.” He said.

    Armond plodded upstairs and the sound of his footsteps receded up into the ceiling. Tygren took a gulp of the water Sibas had been sipping at and slumped down into a chair, flopping his feet up onto the table in a state of relaxation. Sighing and drinking again, Tygren looked to the boys. “I’d sit down if I were you.” He said. “It could be a while before Ben gets back.”

    Tobor, Miro and Sibas sat down. “Tell me, where on the map is that accent from?” Sibas asked. Tygren pointed in the air to an imaginary map and drew out the shape of Essos. “I’m from Lys, there.” He said. “A lot of faiths, a lot of slaves, a lot of pain.” He said, almost bitterly.

    Tobor remembered his teachings, “The blood of the Dragonlords runs deep in Lys, you don’t have the hair or eyes of Old Valyria.” He noted. Tygren ran a hand through his dark blond hair, “My mother was as you describe, beautiful silver hair and lilac eyes. My father was a Westerosi sailor, he had dark coarse hair and brown eyes, like mine.”

    “Why did you leave?” Sibas asked. Tygren’s eyes flashed with annoyance, “Not a story for today.” He said firmly and stood up. He walked to the stairs and began climbing them. When Tobor couldn’t hear his footsteps, he rounded on Sibas, “That was tactless.” He said irritably.

    Sibas angered, “Me tactless?” He said astounded, “What about you rejecting the deal of the only man who could get us out of Meereen?”

    Tobor laughed hollowly, “I didn’t reject anything, I bargained for a better deal. I am not staying in this pit for another three years. And it worked.” Sibas was flustered, “That’s not the point, what if it hadn’t? What if Ben had gotten angry and decided to sell us all, or keep us all without an ending contract?”

    Tobor looked down, he hadn’t thought of that. But he wasn’t prepared to let Sibas think he was right. “I did what I had to do.” He said firmly. Sibas scowled, “You don’t get it. My friends died to get us here. Plaiszo died. Kelvin died. Jyro is on the edge of death. You were prepared to risk that, just so you could get a one-year contract rather than maybe getting a three year.” He growled.

    Miro quietly butted in, “Tobor has let me and Shiko leave. Without him I will be a soldier, and she the plaything for men.” Sibas nodded, “Admittedly yes, that is some good. But my point is, it was a worthless risk. It payed off, but it might not have.”

    It was Tobor’s turn to scowl, “If I hadn’t taken a risk in the arena, I’d be dead. If I hadn’t taken a risk in the cell’s, I’d be getting beaten to death right now. The man that takes no risks, get’s no luck.” He said stiffly.

    “And the man who takes too many is in the ground!” Sibas retorted. Tobor stood up quickly, knocking his chair back. The wood clattered to the floor. Sibas did the same. The two boys stood facing each other, breathing heavily in each other’s faces. Tobor stood shorter than Sibas and his heart was beating hard, but the Hightower boy was ready.

    Miro stood up and held his hands out, attempting to calm frayed tempers. “Tobor did lead us out of the pyramid, but Sibas is also right. We must weigh all choices and decide the best path.” He said tentatively.

    Sibas smiled dangerously, “Tobor led us nowhere, he didn’t get me out of my cell, he didn’t get me into the tunnel, he didn’t get me out of the tunnel and he won’t get me out of this city. He says he can lead.” Sibas spat. “That’s what I think of his ‘leadership’. Reckless fuck”. He taunted.

    “Is that what your issue is? Me telling Ben I can lead?” Tobor asked incredulously. Sibas threw his arms up, “I took my friends from my cell, Miro took us to the tunnel and then we took ourselves to here. You didn’t fucking lead. You just rode on the back of our success by taking a stupid, fucking risk to benefit just you.”

    “All I do, I do to get to my family. If I have to take risks, I will. If I have to lead, I will. But don’t expect me to praise you and kiss your feet each time I get you out of the next mess.” Tobor snarled.

    “You Westerosi are supposed to be noble, and brave. But you aren’t helping anyone. Just yourself.” Sibas accused. Before Tobor could respond, Miro stepped in-between them. “Enough!” He shouted. “You are both children. We are together in this.”

    Sibas backed away from the Naathi, “You tell him that.” He said sourly. Miro scowled, Tobor had never seen him this angry. “I tell you both that!” He said firmly. Sibas held his hands up, “I’m not the one with shit for honour.” He said as he walked away towards the stairs.

    Tobor slammed a fist onto the table and almost swore due to the pain that shot up his arm. He turned his back on Miro so he wouldn’t see the rage. Who did Sibas think he was? Tobor had taken risks to survive and to escape, without it he would still be in the pyramid. But was it selfish to try and bargain for himself alone? Tobor had been under the impression that Ben was a good man and wouldn’t have gotten angry over bargaining.

    Tobor groaned, how had his situation gotten more complicated when previously he was the slave of an evil man who wanted him dead? The sound of footsteps behind him prompted Tobor to whirl around, expecting another argument with Sibas.

    The footsteps belonged to Armond, who was coming down the stairs. Tobor relaxed and tried to act normal, with the two chairs still scattered on the floor. Armond smiled, “I saw the Sibas boy storm past me with a face like a slapped arse. Not to mention the dust falling from the roof from your shouting.”

    Tobor smiled sheepishly. “We had a small disagreement.” He said by way of explanation. Armond chuckled, “If that was a small disagreement I’d hate to see you two argue.” Tobor wasn’t sure what to say. The young man continued, “Listen, you two will be brothers soon enough. As you will with me. You’ll have to put aside your misgivings when you join us.”

    Tobor was reminded eerily of what Gethrys had said to him on the Stag’s Fury about joining the Night’s Watch. Armond smiled wistfully. “When I joined the Second Son’s, there was a man I hated. I was a young pup then, Armond of House Dester. See, my father was a soldier in the grand army of House Reyne.”

    “The Reynes of Castamere?” Tobor asked. Armond nodded, “The very same. He fought in the Reyne-Tarbeck revolt, and he died in the revolt. Tywin Lannister killed him. Though not by his own hand. My father was killed by a knight of House Marbrand, who had joined the march onto Tarbeck Hall.” He said.

    “My mother and uncle are of House Marbrand.” Tobor said, thinking of Aldin and his mother. Armond grimaced, “Had you told me that ten years ago, perhaps I would have killed you. I bore a severe grudge against any bannerman or vassal of House Lannister for fifteen years. It was why I was exiled from Westeros and I came here. Some twat from House Farman thought it would be funny to re-enact my father’s death during a performance of the Rains of Castamere. Naturally, I showed him what his insides looked like.

    “I left Westeros, for I would have surely been sent to the Wall, and I’d always wanted to go somewhere warmer. Dorne sounded nice, but Essos would be safer for me. So, I came to Myr, got caught up in fight for the disputed lands and joined the highest paying company.” Armond said.

    “The Second Sons.” Tobor said. “The Second Sons.” Armond agreed. “There was a soldier from House Prester in my squad when I joined. When I found out, I wanted to kill the bastard. Now, I wish there was someone like myself, who’d told me to leave that behind.”

    “What happened?” Tobor asked. Armond rubbed his chin, “I challenged him to single combat, when the captains caught wind of it, they had me lashed. Still have the scars.” Tobor winced, he knew how much lashing hurt. “What about the man?” He asked.

    “He was just a solider born in a different house than I. We only hated each other because of where we were born and who we were born to. He was my most steadfast comrade, until he died.” Armond told him.

    “I suppose that’s true.” Tobor admitted. “The war of noble’s draws in the common folk, like a great storm. It’s just who’s born on the wrong side of the border.”

    Armond nodded, “It’s not like that here. War is different. But it’s still war. That’s why you need friends. Go to yours. Apologise. It may save your life one day.” He suggested.

    Tobor nodded to him, but he wasn’t just thinking of Sibas. Tobor needed to see Mina and get her out of Meereen to fulfil his oath. He needed to see Tazhyn and make sure she was alright after the chaos of the previous day, she had helped him endlessly after all. Tobor knew, however, that he did need to apologise to Sibas, regardless of who was right.

    “I will. Perhaps later. How long do you think it may be before we must go?” Tobor asked. Armond shrugged, “The day is long. Ben will be a while yet before returning with his men. Why?”

    “I have people I owe debts to.” Tobor said, looking at Miro who was sitting in the corner watching the door. Armond sighed, “Don’t tell me you’re asking if you can leave.” He said wearily. Tobor looked confused, “Yes, I think I am.”

    Armond waved a hand. “You shouldn’t have asked, just bloody leave. Now I have to say ‘No’ and that you have to stay.” He said. Tobor grinned, “And what if I leave now?” He asked cheekily. Armond shrugged, “Well I suppose you just overpowered me.”

    Tobor turned to Miro, “Miro, can you come with me? I’m afraid I don’t know the way to where we’re going.” The Naathi boy looked guilty but shook his head. “I am sorry Tobor, but I must wait for Shiko. When she returns, I must be here.” Tobor raised his eyebrows, “I see.” He said. Miro clearly felt strongly about this girl, so Tobor didn’t press him about it.

    When Tobor turned to look at Armond, the man shook his head. “Not happening boy. I’m not taking you where you need to go. If I get caught with an escaped slave I’ll be killed. Not on my list of desires.”

    Tobor felt desperate, he needed to go. “I thought you’d understand, as a Westerosi I mean. One of them, I swore an oath to that I’d help them leave. I swore it on my honour. And the other, saved my life several times that I know of, probably more that I don’t. They were my only friends when I had none. I owe them that much.” He begged.

    Armond groaned, put his hands on the back of his head and rolled his eyes up to the ceiling. “You little bastard, very well. Where are we going?” He asked. Tobor smiled, “Thank you. One of them lives in the zo Merreq Pyramid and the other, I think she mentioned something about the south side of the city in the poor district, near Daznak’s Pit.”

    Armond looked hesitant, which Tobor spotted. “What is it?” He asked nervously. Armond shrugged, “It’s just that, I don’t know if you have any idea of the geography of Meereen but the Merreq Pyramid is a few hours away from Daznak’s pit. Especially at the speed we’ll be going, as criminals who don’t want to be seen.

    “I don’t think we’ll have the time to get from here, to one, to the other and back before we need to leave. And regardless, I don’t want to take the risk. I like my head firmly planted on my shoulders.” Armond explained.

    Tobor almost swore. “I can only go to one?” He asked. Armond nodded, “I’m sorry, if you knew the city I’d let you go on your own. But I can’t risk you getting lost or taken back. Mero would have my balls fed to me.”

    Tobor ignored this, he was thinking too hard. Tazhyn had saved his life many times, Mina had put her own life at risk to help him. Tobor owed Tazhyn a lot but had sworn an oath to Mina to help her out of Meereen. But then again, Mina could take care of herself, and Tobor could always come back to Meereen as another oath he had sworn was to kill Reznar. That bastard deserved it. Tobor was then reminded that the last thing Tazhyn had seen of him was throwing a spear towards her father with the intent to kill. Tobor kicked himself as he realised that Tazhyn deserved an explanation and an apology, there was also the way Tobor felt about her which he wasn’t quite sure of himself.

    Tobor needed to see them both, to explain to both of them why he was leaving. There was no right choice.

    “So, where are we going?” Armond asked.

    [Mina] [Tazhyn]

  • [Tazhyn] Man that's not fair! I could go either way but I'll have to pick Tazhyn. I love their relationship.

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part VIII Tobor’s expression steeled over, “My one aim is to get home, Ben. That’s what I want. Each dec

  • edited April 2018


    Absolutely no surprise about my decision here, eh? I expected this choice, but oh man, I hoped it would not come up on the day where I have only my phone to write this :D

    So yeah, Mina, for plenty reasons. First of all, the personal. I do like her and while I don't dislike Tazhyn, Mina remains my clear favourite. If this is the last we see of her until Tobor returns to Meereen (no doubt he will eventually), I would hate to miss that chance. She always had his back, she arguably took the greatest risks out of his allies and she deserves this personal goodbye.

    Second, I must admit I am concerned. With Tazhyn, we at least know she is alive and well. Mina however, we cannot be certain and although I heavily suspect her to be in no particular danger either, I don't want to be left guessing until Tobor returns, which I suspect will take many chapters. She risked her life against Tobor's enemies and she deserves that he checks up on her, at least for her wellbeing. She also deserves to know that he is not abandoning her, but that he simply has a duty that will keep him away for some time.

    Third, pragmatism. Mina simply is the objectively easier choice. Tazhyn is heavily guarded by her father's men, probably more than ever before. If we go to her place, there is no guarantee we are even going to be able to speak to her. At worst, this means wasting our chance to speak to either, because Tobor definitely cannot just walk up to Tazhyn and have a talk to her. In fact, it might be more likely he just gets caught, because every single of Reznar's guards is likely out to find him. Top of that, Reznar might even outright expect Tobor to approach Tazhyn, given their relationship, so he might walk into a trap. However, I might just be looking for more reasons here, because I really want to have an update to how Mina is faring and this seems like our last chance in a long while, but she might have better chances to send a message to Tazhyn. Checking up on Tazhyn on this day, in person, that is a recipe for disaster. But Mina has the advantage, she can wait. Tobor can easily catch up to her, make sure she's alright, then she can wait until the situation has calmed down and use her contacts in the pyramid to deliver a message to Tazhyn. In short, checking up on Tazhyn might leave us with an update on neither, checking up on Mina might be the best of both. Top of that, I think I said it before, but I really, really want to know how Mina is doing at the time =)

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part VIII Tobor’s expression steeled over, “My one aim is to get home, Ben. That’s what I want. Each dec

  • Personally I feel that the choice is presented in a way to make sure we readers know that there is no wrong choice. I think it's simply meant to be a 'who do you like more?' or who would you rather see. Even Tobor says that Mina can take care of herself and he seems pretty confident that she'll be fine. And I think Tobor can manage toget in contact with Tazhyn. I'm not trying to change your mind! I just think this is one of those choices where it comes down to personal preference rather than pragmatism or what's more beneficial.

    [Mina] Absolutely no surprise about my decision here, eh? I expected this choice, but oh man, I hoped it would not come up on the day whe

  • This is where I am not so certain. The thing is, Tazhyn is the daughter of Tobor's enemy and likely heavily guarded. As such, it sounds logical to me that contacting her will be the harder task. By contacting her, we'd also leave Mina guessing about Tobir's fate for months and that doesn't seem fair to her. However, if we reach out to Mina, it seems likely to me that she can somehow slip a message to Tazhyn, therefore giving both the certainty that he is alive abd intends to return one day.

    And well, I obviously am arguing on a personal level as well, not just from a pragmatic standpoint. Even if she wouldn't be my character, I would pick Mina because I absolutely love her and want her to appear again before the story leaves Meereen for likely several chapters. The thing is, Tobor might not be too worried for her well-being, but I am. She took a pretty severe risk for him and I want to check up if she truly can manage. With Tazhyn, no matter what, we know she is doing great, but with Mina I see this as anything but confirmed and I'd hate missing out on the option of checking up on her.

    AgentZ46 posted: »

    Personally I feel that the choice is presented in a way to make sure we readers know that there is no wrong choice. I think it's simply mean

  • [Mina] OATH

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part VIII Tobor’s expression steeled over, “My one aim is to get home, Ben. That’s what I want. Each dec

  • [Mina]
    This might be as good a time as any to update her on his situation. Maybe, she would want to leave Meereen now. Also, she might have more info on the mystery villain that wants to kill Tobor. Also, Liquid makes a good point of Tazhyn being heavily guarded and hard to get into contact with. Plus, we are not sure of her current feelings toward Tobor after he tried to kill her father.

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part VIII Tobor’s expression steeled over, “My one aim is to get home, Ben. That’s what I want. Each dec

  • [Mina]

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part VIII Tobor’s expression steeled over, “My one aim is to get home, Ben. That’s what I want. Each dec

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