Primer extracto de Winds of Winter de George R. Martin
ge o rge rrm art in.co m http://geo rgerrmartin.co m/if-sample.htmlGRRM - Wild Cards Sample T hey struck out north by northwest, across drylands and parched plains and pale sands towardGhost Hill, the stronghold of House Toland, where the ship that would take them across the Sea ofDorne awaited them. "Send a raven whenever you have news," Prince Doran told her, "but report onlywhat you know to be true. We are lost in f og here, besieged by rumors, f alsehoods, and travelers tales.I dare not act until I know f or a certainty what is happening."War is happening, though Arianne,and this time Dorne will not be spared. "Doom and death are coming," Ellaria Sand had warned them, bef ore she took her own leave f romPrince Doran. "It is time f or my little snakes to scatter, the better to survive the carnage." Ellaria wasreturning to her f athers seat at Hellholt. With her went her daughter Loreza, who had just turned seven.Dorea remained at the Water Gardens, one child amongst a hundred. Obella was to be dispatched toSunspear, to serve as a cupbearer to the wif e of the castellan, Manf rey Martell.And Elia Sand, oldest of the f our girls that Prince Oberyn had f athered on Ellaria, would cross the Sea ofDorne with Arianne. "As a lady, not a lance," her mother said f irmly, but like all the Sand Snakes, Elia hadher own mind.T hey crossed the sands in two long days and the better part of two nights, stopping thrice to changetheir horses. It was a lonely time f or Arianne, surrounded by so many strangers. Elia was her cousin, buthalf a child, and Daemon Sand... things had never been the same between her and the Bastard ofGodsgrace af ter her f ather ref used his of f er f or her hand.He was a boy then, and bastard born, no f it consort f or a princess of Dorne, he should have knownbetter. And it was my f athers will, not mine. T he rest of her companions she hardly knew at all.Arianne missed her f riends. Drey and Garin and her sweet Spotted Slyva had been a part of her sinceshe was little, trusted conf idants who had shared her dreams and secrets, cheered her when she wassad, helped her f ace her f ears. One of them had betrayed her, but she missed them all the same. It wasmy own f ault. Arianne had made them part of her plot to steal of f with Myrcella Baratheon and crown herqueen, an act of rebellion meant to f orce her f athers hand, but someones loose tongue had undoneher. T he clumsy conspiracy had accomplished nothing, except to cost poor Myrcella part of her f ace, andSer Arys Oakheart his lif e.Arianne missed Ser Arys too, more than she ever would have thought. He loved me madly, she toldherself , yet I was never more than f ond of him. I made use of him in mybed and in my plot, took his love and took his honor, gave him nothing but my body. In the end he couldnot live with what wed done. Why else would her white knight have charged right into Areo Hotahs longaxe, to die the way he did?I was a f oolish willf ul girl, playing at the game of thrones like a drunkard rolling dice.T he cost of her f olly had been dear. Drey had been sent across the world to Norvos, Garin exiled toTyrosh f or two years, her sweet silly smiling Slyva married of f to Eldon Estermont, a man old enough tobe her grandsire. Ser Arys had paid with his lif es blood, Myrcella with an ear.Only Ser Gerold Dayne had escaped unscathed. Darkstar. If Myrcellas horse had not shied at the lastinstant, his longsword would have opened her f rom chest to waist instead just taking of f her ear. Daynewas her most grievous sin, the one that Arianne most regretted. With one stroke of his sword, he hadchanged her botched plot into something f oul and bloody. If the gods were good, by now Obara Sand
had treed him in his mountain f astness and put an end to him.She said as much to Daemon Sand that f irst night, as they made camp. "Be caref ul what you pray f or,princess," he replied. "Darkstar could put an end to Lady Obara just as easily.""She has Areo Hotah with her." Prince Dorans captain of guards had dispatched Ser Arys Oakheart witha single blow, though the Kingsguard were supposed to be the f inest knights in all the realm. "No mancan stand against Hotah.""Is that what Darkstar is? A man?" Ser Daemon grimaced. "A man would not have done what he did toPrincess Myrcella. Ser Gerold is more a viper than your uncle ever was. Prince Oberyn could see that hewas poison, he said so more than once. Its just a pity that he never got around to killing him."Poison, thought Arianne. Yes. Pretty poison, though. T hat was how hed f ooled her. Gerold Dayne washard and cruel, but so f air to look upon that the princess had not believed half the tales shed heard ofhim. Pretty boys had ever been her weakness, particularly the ones who were dark and dangerous aswell.T hat was bef ore, when I was just a girl, she told herself .I am a woman now, my f athers daughter. I have learned that lesson. Come break of day, they were of f again. Elia Sand led the way, her black braid f lying behind her asshe raced across the dry, cracked plains and up into the hills. T he girl was mad f or horses, which mightbe why she of ten smelled like one, to the despair of her mother. Sometimes Arianne f elt sorry f orEllaria. Four girls, and every one of them her f athers daughter.T he rest of the party kept a more sedate pace. T he princess f ound herself riding beside Ser Daemon,remembering other rides when they were younger, rides that of ten ended in embraces. When she f oundherself stealing glances at him, tall and gallant in the saddle, Arianne reminded herself that she was heirto Dorne, and him no more than her shield. "Tell me what you know of this Jon Connington," shecommanded."Hes dead," said Daemon Sand. "He died in the Disputed Lands. Of drink, Ive heard it said.""So a dead drunk leads this army?""Perhaps this Jon Connington is a son of that one. Or just some clever sellsword who has taken on adead mans name.""Or he never died at all." Could Connington have been pretending to be dead f or all these years? T hatwould require patience worthy of her f ather. T he thought made Arianne uneasy. Treating with a man thatsubtle could be perilous. "What was he like bef ore he... bef ore he died?""I was a boy at Godsgrace when he was sent into exile. I never knew the man.""T hen tell me what youve heard of him f rom others.""As my princess commands. Connington was Lord of Grif f ins Roost when Grif f ins Roost was still alordship worth the having. Prince Rhaegars squire, or one of them. Later Prince Rhaegars f riend andcompanion. T he Mad King named him Hand during Roberts Rebellion, but he was def eated at StoneySept in the Battle of the Bells, and Robert slipped away. King Aerys was wroth, and sent Connington intoexile. T here he died.""Or not." Prince Doran had told her all of that. T here must be more. "T hose are just the things he did. Iknow all that. What sort of man was he? Honest and honorable, venal and grasping, proud?""Proud, f or a certainty. Even arrogant. A f aithf ul f riend to Rhaegar, but prickly with others. Robert washis liege, but Ive heard it said that Connington chaf ed at serving such a lord. Even then, Robert wasknown to be f ond of wine and whores.""No whores f or Lord Jon, then?""I could not say. Some men keep their whoring secret.""Did he have a wif e? A paramour?"Ser Daemon shrugged. "Not that I have ever heard."T hat was troubling too. Ser Arys Oakheart had broken his vows f or her, but it did not sound as if JonConnington could be similarly swayed.Can I match such a man with words alone?
T he princess lapsed into silence, all the while pondering what she would f ind at journeys end. T hatnight when they made camp, she crept into the tent she shared with Jayne Ladybright and Elia Sand andslipped the bit of parchment out of her sleeve to read the words again. To Prince Doran of House Martell,You will remember me, I pray. I knew your sister well,and was a leal servant of your good-brother. I grievef or them as you do. I did not die, no more than didyour sisters son. To save his lif e we kept him hidden,but the time f or hiding is done. A dragon has returnedto Westeros to claim his birthright and seek vengeancef or his f ather, and f or the princess Elia, his mother.In her name I turn to Dorne. Do not f orsake us.Jon ConningtonLord of Grif f ins RoostHand of the True King Arianne read the letter thrice, then rolled it up and tucked it back into her sleeve. A dragon hasreturned to Westeros, but not the dragon my f ather was expecting. Nowhere in the words was there amention of Daenerys Stormborn... nor of Prince Quentyn, her brother, who had been sent to seek thedragon queen. T he princess remembered how her f ather had pressed the onyx cyvasse piece into herpalm, his voice hoarse and low as he conf essed his plan.A long and perilous voyage, with an uncertain welcome at its end, he had said.He has gone to bring us back our hearts desire. Vengeance. Justice. Fire and blood. Fire and blood was what Jon Connington (if indeed it was him) was of f ering as well. Or was it? "Hecomes with sellswords, but no dragons," Prince Doran had told her, the night the raven came. "T heGolden Company is the best and largest of the f ree companies, but ten thousand mercenaries cannothope to win the Seven Kingdoms. Elias son... I would weep f or joy if some part of my sister hadsurvived, but what proof do we have that this is Aegon?" His voice broke when he said that. "Where arethe dragons?" he asked. "Where is Daenerys?" and Arianne knew that he was really saying, "Where is myson?"In the Boneway and the Princes Pass, two Dornish hosts had massed, and there they sat, sharpeningtheir spears, polishing their armor, dicing, drinking, quarreling, their numbers dwindling by the day, waiting,waiting, waiting f or the Prince of Dorne to loose them on the enemies of House Martell.Waiting f or the dragons. For f ire and blood. For me. One word f rom Arianne and those armies would march... so long as that word was dragon. If insteadthe word she sent was war, Lord Yronwood and Lord Fowler and their armies would remain in place. T hePrince of Dorne was nothing if not subtle; here war meant wait.At mid-morning on the third day Ghost Hill loomed up bef ore them, its chalk-white walls shining againstthe deep blue of the Sea of Dorne. From the square towers at the castles corners f lew the banners ofHouse Toland; a green dragon biting its own tail, upon a golden f ield. T he sun-and-spear of HouseMartell streamed atop the great central keep, gold and red and orange, def iant.Ravens had f lown ahead to warn Lady Toland of their coming, so the castle gates were open, andNymellas eldest daughter rode f orth with her steward to meet them near the bottom of the hill. Tall andf ierce, with a blaze of bright red hair tumbling about her shoulders, Valena Toland greeted Arianne with ashout of , "Come at last, have you? How slow are those horses?""Swif t enough to outrun yours to the castle gates.""We will see about that." Valena wheeled her big red around and put her heels into him, and the race wason, through the dusty lanes of the village at the bottom of the hill, as chickens and villagers alikescrambled out of their path. Arianne was three horse lengths behind by the time she got her mare up toa gallop, but had closed to one half way up the slope. T he two of them were side-by-side as they
a gallop, but had closed to one half way up the slope. T he two of them were side-by-side as theythundered towards the gatehouse, but f ive yards f rom the gates Elia Sand came f lying f rom the cloud ofdust behind them to rush past both of them on her black f illy."Are you half horse, child?" Valena asked, laughing, in the yard. "Princess, did you bring a stable girl?""Im Elia," the girl announced. "Lady Lance."Whoever hung that name on her has much to answer f or. Like as not it had been Prince Oberyn, though, and the Red Viper had never answered to anyone buthimself ."T he girl jouster," Valena said. "Yes, Ive heard of you. Since you were the f irst to the yard, youve wonthe honor of watering and bridling the horses.""And af ter that f ind the bath house," said Princess Arianne. Elia was chalk and dust f rom heels to hair.T hat night Arianne and her knights supped with Lady Nymella and her daughters in the great hall of thecastle. Teora, the younger girl, had the same red hair as her sister, but elsewise could not have beenmore dif f erent. Short, plump, and so shy she might have passed f or a mute, she displayed more interestin the spiced beef and honeyed duck than in the comely young knights at the table, and seemed contentto let her lady mother and her sister speak f or House Toland."We have heard the same tales here that you have heard at Sunspear," Lady Nymella told them as herserving man poured the wine. "Sellswords landing on Cape Wrath, castles under siege or being taken,crops seized or burned. Where these men come f rom and who they are, no one is certain.""Pirates and adventurers, we heard at f irst," said Valena. "T hen it was supposed to be the GoldenCompany. Now its said to be Jon Connington, the Mad Kings Hand, come back f rom the grave toreclaim his birthright. Whoever it is, Grif f ins Roost has f allen to them. Rain House, Crows Nest,Mistwood, even Greenstone on its island. All taken."Ariannes thoughts went at once to her sweet Spotted Slyva. "Who would want Greenstone? Was therea battle?""Not as we have heard, but all the tales are garbled.""Tarth has f allen too, some f isherf olk will tell you," said Valena. "T hese sellswords now hold most ofCape Wrath and half the Stepstones. We hear talk of elephants in the rainwood.""Elephants?" Arianne did not know what to think of that. "Are you certain? Not dragons?""Elephants," Lady Nymella said f irmly."And krakens of f the Broken Arm, pulling under crippled galleys," said Valena. "T he blood draws them tothe surf ace, our maester claims. T here are bodies in the water. A f ew have washed up on our shores.And thats not half of it. A new pirate king has set up on Torturers Deep. T he Lord of the Waters, hestyles himself . T his one has real warships, three-deckers, monstrous large. You were wise not to comeby sea. Since the Redwyne f leet passed through the Stepstones, those waters are crawling with strangesails, all the way north to the Straights of Tarth and Shipbreakers Bay. Myrmen, Volantenes, Lyseni, evenreavers f rom the Iron Islands. Some have entered the Sea of Dorne to land men on the south shore ofCape Wrath. We f ound a good f ast ship f or you, as your f ather commanded, but even so... be caref ul."It is true, then. Arianne wanted to ask af ter her brother, but her f ather had urged her to watch everyword. If these ships had not brought Quentyn home again with his dragon queen, best not to mentionhim. Only her f ather and a f ew of his most trusted men knew about her brothers mission to SlaversBay. Lady Toland and her daughters were not amongst them. If it were Quentyn, he would have broughtDaenerys back to Dorne, surely. Why would he risk a landing on Cape Wrath, amongst thestormlords?"Is Dorne at risk?" Lady Nymella asked. "I conf ess, each time I see a strange sail my heart leaps to mythroat. What if these ships turn south? T he best part of the Toland strength is with Lord Yronwood inthe Boneway. Who will def end Ghost Hill if these strangers land upon our shores? Should I call my menhome?""Your men are needed where they are, my lady," Daemon Sand assured her. Arianne was quick to nod.Any other counsel could well lead to Lord Yronwoods host unravelling like an old tapestry as each manrushed home to def end his own lands against supposed enemies who might or might not ever come."Once we know beyond a doubt whether these be f riends or f oes, my f ather will know what to do," theprincess said.It was then that pasty, pudgy Teora raised her eyes f rom the creamcakes on her plate. "It is dragons.""Dragons?" said her mother. "Teora, dont be mad."
"Im not. T heyre coming.""How could you possibly know that?" her sister asked, with a note of scorn in her voice. "One of yourlittle dreams?"Teora gave a tiny nod, chin trembling. "T hey were dancing. In my dream. And everywhere the dragonsdanced the people died.""Seven save us." Lady Nymella gave an exasperated sigh."If you did not eat so many creamcakes you would not have such dreams. Rich f oods are not f or girlsyour age, when your humors are so unbalanced. Maester Toman says -- ""I hate Maester Toman," Teora said. T hen she bolted f rom the table, leaving her lady mother to makeapologies f or her."Be gentle with her, my lady," Arianne said. "I remember when I was her age. My f ather despaired of me,Im sure.""I can attest to that." Ser Daemon took a sip of wine and said, "House Toland has a dragon on itsbanners.""A dragon eating its own tail, aye," Valena said. "From the days of Aegons Conquest. He did notconquer here. Elsewhere he burned his f oes, him and his sisters, but here we melted away bef ore them,leaving only stone and sand f or them to burn. And round and round the dragons went, snapping at theirtails f or want of any other f ood, till they were tied in knots.""Our f orebears played their part in that," Lady Nymella said proudly. "Bold deeds were done, and bravemen died. All of it was written down by the maesters who served us. We have books, if my princesswould like to know more.""Some other time, perhaps," said Arianne.As Ghost Hill slept that night, the princess donned a hooded cloak against the chill and and walked thecastle battlements to clear her thoughts. Daemon Sand f ound her leaning on a parapet and gazing outto sea, where the moon was dancing on the water. "Princess," he said. "You ought to be abed.""I could say the same of you." Arianne turned to gaze upon his f ace. A good f ace, she decided.T he boy I knew has become a handsome man. His eyes were as blue as a desert sky, his hair the light brown of the sands they had just crossed. Aclose-cropped beard f ollowed the thin of a strong jaw, but could not quite hide the dimples when hesmiled. I always loved his smile. T he Bastard of Godsgrace was one of Dornes f inest swords as well, as might be expected f romone who had been Prince Oberyns squire and had received his knighthood f rom the Red Viper himself .Some said that he had been her uncles lover too, though seldom to his f ace. Arianne did not know thetruth of that. He had been her lover, though. At f ourteen she had given him her maidenhead. Daemonhad not been much older, so their couplings had been as clumsy as they were ardent. Still, it had beensweet.Arianne gave him her most seductive smile. "We might share a bed together."Ser Daemons f ace was stone. "Have you f orgotten, princess? I am bastard born." He took her hand inhis. "If I am unworthy of this hand, how can I be worthy of your cunt?"She snatched her hand away. "You deserve a slap f or that.""My f ace is yours. Do what you will.""What I will you will not, it seems. So be it. Talk with me instead. Could this truly be Prince Aegon?""Gregor Clegane ripped Aegon out of Elias arms and smashed his head against a wall," Ser Daemonsaid. "If Lord Conningtons prince has a crushed skull, I will believe that Aegon Targaryen has returnedf rom the grave. Elsewise, no. T his is some f eigned boy, no more. A sellswords ploy to win support."My f ather f ears the same. "If not, though... if this truly is Jon Connington, if the boy is Rhaegars son... ""Are you hoping that he is, or that hes not?""I... it would give great joy to my f ather if Elias son were still alive. He loved his sister well.""It was you I asked about, not your f ather."So it was. "I was seven when Elia died. T hey say I held her daughter Rhaenys once, when I was tooyoung to remember. Aegon will be a stranger to me, whether true or f alse." T he princess paused. "Welooked f or Rhaegars sister, not his son." Her f ather had conf ided in Ser Daemon when he chose him ashis daughters shield; with him at least she could speak f reely. "I would sooner it were Quentyn whodreturned."
"Or so you say," said Daemon Sand. "Good night, princess." He bowed to her, and lef t her standingthere.What did he mean by that? Arianne watched him walk away.What sort of sister would I be, if I did not want my brother back? It was true, she had resented Quentyn f or all those years that she had thought their f ather meant toname him as his heir in place of her, but that had turned out to be just a misunderstanding. She was theheir to Dorne, she had her f athers word on that. Quentyn would have his dragon queen, Daenerys.In Sunspear hung a portrait of the Princess Daenerys who had come to Dorne to marry one of Ariannesf orebears. In her younger days Arianne had spent hours gazing at it, back when she was just a pudgyf lat-chested girl on the cusp of maidenhood who prayed every night f or the gods to make her pretty.A hundred years ago, Daenerys Targaryen came to Dorne to make a peace. Now another comes to makea war, and my brother will be her king and consort. King Quentyn. Why did that sound so silly?Almost as silly as Quentyn riding on a dragon. Her brother was an earnest boy, well-behaved and dutif ul,but dull. And plain, so plain. T he gods had given Arianne the beauty she had prayed f or, but Quentynmust have prayed f or something else. His head was overlarge and sort of square, his hair the color ofdried mud. His shoulders slumped as well, and he was too thick about the middle. He looks too much likeFather."I love my brother," said Arianne, though only the moon could hear her. T hough if truth be told, shescarcely knew him. Quentyn had been f ostered by Lord Anders of House Yronwood, the Bloodroyal, theson of Lord Ormond Yronwood and grandson of Lord Edgar. In his youth her uncle Oberyn had f ought aduel with Edgar, had given him a wound that mortif ied and killed him. Af terward men called him the RedViper, and spoke of poison on his blade. T he Yronwoods were an ancient house, proud and powerf ul.Bef ore the coming of the Rhoynar they had been kings over half of Dorne, with domains that dwarf edthose of House Martell. Blood f eud and rebellion would surely have f ollowed Lord Edgars death, hadnot her f ather acted at once. T he Red Viper went to Oldtown, thence across to the narrow sea to Lys,though none dared call it exile. And in due time, Quentyn was given to Lord Anders to f oster as a sign oftrust. T hat helped to heal the breach between Sunspear and the Yronwoods, but it had opened newones between Quentyn and the Sand Snakes... and Arianne had always been closer to her cousins thanto her distant brother."We are still the same blood, though," she whispered. "Of course I want my brother home. I do." T hewind of f the sea was raising gooseprickles all up and down her arms. Arianne pulled her cloak aboutherself , and went of f to seek her bed.T heir ship was called the Peregrine. T hey sailed upon the morning tide. T he gods were good to them,the sea calm. Even with good winds, the crossing took a day and a night. Jayne Ladybright grewgreensick and spent most of the voyage spewing, which Elia Sand seemed to f ind hilarious. "Someoneneeds to spank that child," Joss Hood was heard to say... but Elia was amongst those who heard him sayit."I am almost a woman grown, ser," she responded haughtily. "Ill let you spank me, though... but f irst youllneed to tilt with me, and knock me of f my horse.""We are on a ship, and without horses," Joss replied."And ladies do not joust," insisted Ser Garibald Shells, a f ar more serious and proper young man than hiscompanion."I do. Im Lady Lance."Arianne had heard enough. "You may be a lance, but you are no lady. Go below and stay there till wereach land."Elsewise the crossing was uneventf ul. At dusk they spied a galley in the distance, her oars rising andf alling against the evening stars, but she was moving away f rom them, and soon dwindled and wasgone. Arianne played a game of cyvasse with Ser Daemon, and another one with Garibald Shells, andsomehow managed to lose both. Ser Garibald was kind enough to say that she played a gallant game,but Daemon mocked her. "You have other pieces beside the dragon, princess. Try moving themsometime."