A Clash of Kings Page 1

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Chapter One

ARYA

At Winterdropped they had called her "Arya Horseface" and also she"d believed nothing could be worse, yet that was prior to the orphan boy Lommy Greenhands had called her "Lumpyhead."

Her head felt lumpy when she touched it. When Yoren had dragged her right into that alley she"d thought he meant to kill her, however the sour old guy had just organized her tight, sawing via her mats and also tangles with his dagger. She remembered how the breeze sent out the fistfuls of dirty brown hair skittering across the paving stones, toward the sept wright here her father had passed away. "I"m taking men and also boys from the city," Yoren growled as the sharp steel scraped at her head. "Now you host still, boy." By the moment he had finished, her scalp was nopoint yet tufts and stubble.

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Afterward he told her that from tbelow to Winterdropped she"d be Arry the orphan boy. "Gate shouldn"t be tough, yet the road"s one more issue. You obtained a lengthy method to go in bad firm. I acquired thirty this time, males and also boys all bound for the Wall surface, and do not be thinking they"re like that bastard brvarious other o" yours." He shook her. "Lord Eddard gave me pick o" the dungeons, and I didn"t discover no little lordlings dvery own tright here. This lot, half o" them would turn you over to the queen quick as spit for a pardon and maybe a couple of silvers. The other half"d perform the very same, just they"d rape you initially. So you store to yourself and make your water in the woods, alone. That"ll be the hardest component, the pissing, so don"t drink no more"n you need."

Leaving King"s Landing was straightforward, just favor he"d said. The Lannister guardsmales on the gate were avoiding everyone, yet Yoren referred to as one by name and their wagons were waved with. No one spared Arya a glance. They were looking for a highborn girl, daughter of the King"s Hand also, not for a skinny boy via his hair chopped off. Arya never looked earlier. She wiburned the Rush would certainly climb and wash the whole city away, Flea Bottom and the Red Keep and also the Great Sept and also everything, and also everyone too, specifically Prince Joffrey and his mother. But she knew it wouldn"t, and also anyexactly how Sansa was still in the city and would certainly wash ameans as well. When she remembered that, Arya made a decision to wish for Winterfell rather.

Yoren was wrong about the pissing, though. That wasn"t the hardest component at all; Lommy Greenhands and also Hot Pie were the hardest part. Orphan boys. Yoren had plucked some from the roads through assures of food for their bellies and shoes for their feet. The rest he"d found in chains. "The Watch requirements good males," he told them as they collection out, "but you lot will certainly have to execute."

Yoren had taken grown guys from the dungeons as well, thieves and poachers and rapers and also the favor. The worst were the 3 he"d found in the babsence cells that need to have scared also him, because he kept them fettered hand also and also foot in the back of a wagon, and vowed they"d continue to be in irons all the way to the Wall surface. One had no nose, only the hole in his face where it had been cut off, and also the gross fat bald one with the pointed teeth and also the weeping sores on his cheeks had actually eyes favor nopoint huguy.

They took 5 wagons out of King"s Landing, laden with offers for the Wall: hides and also bolts of fabric, bars of pig iron, a cage of ravens, publications and paper and ink, a bale of sourleaf, jars of oil, and also chests of medicine and also flavors. Teams of plow horses pulled the wagons, and Yoren had actually bought 2 coursers and also a half-dozen donsecrets for the boys. Arya would have actually desired a actual equine, but the donkey was better than riding on a wagon.

The men passist her no mind, but she was not so lucky via the boys. She was 2 years younger than the youngest orphan, not to mention smaller sized and skinnier, and Lommy and Hot Pie took her silence to mean she was scared, or stupid, or deaf. "Look at that sword Lumpyhead"s got there," Lommy sassist one morning as they made their plodding way past orchards and wwarm areas. He"d been a dyer"s apprlure before he was captured stealing, and his arms were mottled green to the elbow. When he laughed he brayed choose the dontricks they were riding. "Where"s a gutter rat like Lumpyhead obtain him a sword?"

Arya chewed her lip sullenly. She might watch the ago of Yoren"s faded black cloak up ahead of the wagons, but she was identified not to go crying to him for aid.

"Maybe he"s a little squire," Hot Pie put in. His mother had been a baker before she passed away, and he"d pushed her cart via the highways all day, shouting "Hot pies! Hot pies!" "Some lordy lord"s bit squire boy, that"s it."

"He ain"t no squire, look at him. I bet that"s not even a real sword. I bet it"s simply some play sword made of tin."

Arya hated them making fun of Needle. "It"s castle-forged steel, you stupid," she snapped, turning in the saddle to glare at them, "and you much better shut your mouth."

The orphan boys hooted. "Where"d you gain a blade like that, Lumpyface?" Hot Pie wanted to recognize.

"Lumpyhead," corrected Lommy. "He prob"ly stole it."

"I did not!" she shouted. Jon Snow had actually offered her Needle. Maybe she had actually to let them contact her Lumpyhead, however she wasn"t going to let them speak to Jon a thief.

"If he stole it, we might take it off him," said Hot Pie. "It"s not his anyexactly how. I could use me a sword like that."

Lommy egged him on. "Go on, take it off him, I dare you."

Hot Pie kicked his donessential, riding closer. "Hey, Lumpyconfront, you gimme that sword." His hair was the shade of straw, his fat confront all sunburnt and also peeling. "You don"t recognize just how to use it."

Yes I execute, Arya could have actually sassist. I killed a boy, a fat boy choose you, I stabbed him in the belly and he passed away, and I"ll kill you as well if you do not let me alone. Only she did not dare. Yoren didn"t understand about the stableboy, but she was afraid of what he might execute if he discovered out. Arya was pretty certain that some of the various other men were killers as well, the 3 in the manacles for certain, however the queen wasn"t looking for them, so it wasn"t the exact same.

"Look at him," brayed Lommy Greenhands. "I bet he"s going to cry currently. You desire to cry, Lumpyhead?"

She had cried in her sleep the night prior to, dreaming of her father. Come morning, she"d woken red-eyed and also dry, and might not have actually melted another tear if her life had held on it.

"He"s going to wet his pants," Hot Pie argued.

"Leave him be," shelp the boy through the shaggy babsence hair who rode behind them. Lommy had named him the Bull, on account of this horned helm he had actually that he poliburned all the moment yet never wore. Lommy didn"t dare mock the Bull. He was older, and huge for his age, through a wide chest and also strong-looking arms.

"You better offer Hot Pie the sword, Arry," Lommy said. "Hot Pie desires it negative. He kicked a boy to fatality. He"ll do the very same to you, I bet."

"I knocked him down and also I kicked him in the balls, and I maintained kicking him tbelow till he was dead," Hot Pie boasted. "I kicked him all to pieces. His balls were broke open and bloody and his c**k turned black. You much better gimme the sword."

Arya slid her exercise sword from her belt. "You can have this one," she told Hot Pie, not wanting to fight.

"That"s just some stick." He rode nearer and tried to reach over for Needle"s hilt.

Arya made the stick whistle as she lassist the timber throughout his donkey"s hindquarters. The animal hawed and bucked, dumping Hot Pie on the ground. She vaulted off her very own donvital and poked him in the gut as he tried to gain up and also he sat ago down via a grunt. Then she whacked him across the face and also his nose made a crack choose a branch breaking. Blood dribbled from his nostrils. When Hot Pie began to wail, Arya whirled toward Lommy Greenhands, who was sitting on his doncrucial openmouthed. "You want some sword too?" she yelled, yet he didn"t. He elevated dyed green hands in front of his confront and squealed at her to acquire ameans.

The Bull shouted, "Behind you," and Arya spun. Hot Pie was on his knees, his fist closing roughly a big jagged rock. She let him throw it, ducking her head as it sailed previous. Then she flew at him. He elevated a hand and also she hit it, and then his cheek, and also then his knee. He ordered for her, and she danced aside and bounced the lumber off the back of his head. He fell dvery own and also obtained up and also stumbled after her, his red challenge all smeared with dirt and blood. Arya slid into a water dancer"s stance and waited. When he came close sufficient, she lunged, right between his legs, so tough that if her wood sword had actually had actually a suggest it would have actually come out in between his butt cheeks.

By the moment Yoren pulled her off him, Hot Pie was sprawled out on the ground through his breeches brvery own and smelly, crying as Arya whapped him over and over and over. "Enough," the babsence brvarious other roared, prying the stick sword from her fingers, "you desire to kill the fool?" When Lommy and also some others began to squeal, the old male turned on them too. "Shut your mouths, or I"ll be shutting them for you. Any more o" this, I"ll tie you lot behind the wagons and drag you to the Wall." He spat. "And that goes twice for you, Arry. You come through me, boy. Now."

They were all looking at her, even the three chained and manacled in the back of the wagon. The fat one snapped his pointy teeth together and hissed, yet Arya ignored him.

The old guy dragged her well off the road right into a tangle of trees, cursing and also muttering all the while. "If I had a thimble o" sense, I would"ve left you in King"s Landing. You hear me, boy?" He constantly snarled that word, putting a bite in it so she would certainly be specific to hear. "Unlace your breeches and also pull "em down. Go on, there"s no one below to watch. Do it."

Sullenly, Arya did as he shelp. "Over tbelow, versus the oak. Yes, prefer that." She wrapped her arms roughly the trunk and pressed her challenge to the unstable lumber. "You scream currently. You scream loud."

I will not, Arya assumed stubbornly, but as soon as Yoren lhelp the lumber versus the back of her bare thighs, the shriek burst out of her anyway. "Think that hurt?" he said. "Try this one." The stick came whistling. Arya shrieked aget, clutching the tree to store from falling. "One more." She organized on tight, chewing her lip, flinching as soon as she heard it coming. The stroke made her jump and also howl. I won"t cry, she believed, I won"t execute that. I"m a Stark of Winterfell, our sigil is the direwolf, direwolves do not cry. She might feel a thin trickle of blood running down her left leg. Her thighs and also cheeks were ablaze with pain. "Might be I gained your attention currently," Yoren sassist. "Next time you take that stick to one of your brothers, you"ll acquire twice what you provide, you hear me? Now cover yourself."

They"re not my brothers, Arya thought as she bent to yank up her breeches, yet she kbrand-new better than to say so. Her hands fumbled via her belt and also laces.

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Yoren was looking at her. "You hurt?"

Calm as still water, she told herself, the way Syrio Forel had actually taught her. "Some."

He spat. "That pie boy"s hurting worse. It wasn"t him as eliminated your father, girl, nor that thieving Lommy neither. Hitting them will not lug him back."

"I understand," Arya muttered sullenly.

"Here"s somepoint you don"t recognize. It wasn"t expected to happen choose it did. I was collection to leave, wagons bought and loaded, and a guy comes via a boy for me, and a purse of coin, and a message, never mind who it"s from. Lord Eddard"s to take the babsence, he states to me, wait, he"ll be going via you. Why d"you think I was there? Only something went queer."

"Joffrey," Arya breathed. "Someone need to kill him!"

"Someone will, yet it won"t be me, nor you neither." Yoren tossed back her stick sword. "Got sourleaf back at the wagons," he said as they made their method back to the road. "You"ll chew some, it"ll assist via the sting."