|Stannis Baratheon and Melissandre, "Game of Thrones"|
The lead character of the Gastar novellas meets King Stannis Baratheon and his trusted companions.
Shevata leaned back in her chair inside her underworld office, frowning at the demon as he delivered the message. “Stannis? Really? Send them in.”
A well built, stern-faced man in armor walked in, followed by a woman wearing a long red dress, with a gray bearded man wearing a black cloak bringing up the rear. “Your Grace.” Shevata stood, with a brief curtsy. Stannis nodded to her.
She turned to the woman in the red dress. “You’re the woman that sees the future in the fire.” The woman nodded. She handed her a scroll she removed from a desk drawer. “In hell, we see the future on paper scrolls. Have a look.” The woman read the scroll, then scowled with anger. “Take her to Zermon,” ordered Shevata, as a pair of demons gagged and dragged her away.
Shevata turned to the bearded man. “You’re a good man, I hear.” The man nodded, “I try to be.”
“Take him to the fire pits.” Another pair of demons dragged him away.
Stannis removed his sword. “Girl, I’ll cleave you in half if anything happens to them.”
Shevata smiled and sat in her chair, motioning Stannis to do the same. “Your Grace, I preferred to see you alone. Your companions are safe. Davos’s soul is of powerful strength that it can’t burn in the fire here. The priestess, well, Zermon has other plans for her when she arrives on her own. He won’t harm her now, but he will burn her one thousand times for every person she burned while serving the false god of light. Only if he is satisfied after will he burns her soul in the pit and make her his wife. It was my recommendation.”
Stannis sat across from her. “The woman has power, that’s why I need her.”
“You have power, you don’t need her.”
“So if you were in Westeros, would you fight for me?”
“After I assassinated that woman, yes. I’d be the personal guard for you or Davos.”
“It’s not that simple. Aegon conquered Westeros with dragons.”
“You have no dragons. Why do you need dragons?”
“I know, girl. Magical power is what works.”
Shevata leaned back. And if you had one hundred dragons, what would you do?”
Stannis smirked. “What game are you playing?”
“You’re the one playing the game of thrones. I’m telling you power will not get you what you want. Leaders inspire the people. It’s not all about fear. Ask around here in Hell. The demons hate Zermon. If he’s away too long, they’ll overthrow him.”
“What are you suggesting I do?”
“I’m agreeing with what you’re doing now. When you went to war, you reached for the wrong ally in the priestess. But now you’re reaching to the North. You need the Starks. They have magic. And they are loved, and you are not. If you stay with this woman, you’ll be hated, and you’ll face her fate down here.”
“You’re trying to threaten me?”
“You know better, Your Grace. You have admirable strength. Use it.”
Davos and the priestess returned to the office. “How were the tours?” Shevata smiled. Davos shrugged as if nothing happened. The woman looked away. “Cheer up, Melissandre,” Shevata smiled. “If you cast your god down, I’ll remove your sentence here. She turned to Stannis. “Your Grace, I wish you the best. But the best, I fear, isn’t in your future. We will meet again.”