CindySnow, on 01 May 2012 - 07:15 AM, said:
He also was right there when Mel killed Maester Cressen. Yes, Cressen and Penrose may have been like family to him but they were not his family by blood. Stannis would kill Renly in battle but I do not think he would consent to kill him the way Mel did. Therefore, I feel Mel kept the whole truth regarding Renly's death from Stannis.
As for Stannis obtaining an army, he sent Massey over to the Free Cities to obtain sellswords. Yes, he does not know The Golden Company is in Westeros, but he will find out when Aegon takes Storms End back with them. Massey will come back with an army for Stannis, maybe The Second Sons? Maybe some Faceless Men? Who knows, there is still so much more to come!
Completely speculative, but here's when I read this from the Theon sample chapter:
"Your place is where I say it is. I have five hundred swords as good as you, or better, but you have a pleasing manner and a glib tongue, and those will be of more use to me at Braavos then here. The Iron Bank has opened its coffers to me. You will collect their coin and hire ships and sellswords. A company of good repute, if you can find one. The Golden Company would be my first choice, if they are not already under contract. Seek for them in the Disputed Lands, if need be. But first hire as many swords as you can find in Braavos, and send them to me by way of Eastwatch. Archers as well, we need more bows."
Ser Justin's hair had fallen down across one eye. He pushed it back and said, "The captains of the free companies will join a lord more readily than a mere knight, Your Grace. I hold neither lands nor title, why should they sell their swords to me?"
"Go to them with both fists full of golden dragons," the king said, in an acid tone. "That should prove persuasive. Twenty thousand men should suffice. Do not return with fewer.
I take note that Massey and Stannis make a good comedy team. Stannis is the straight man, and he never gets what he wants. Massey is scheming with every sentence, but doesn't seem to be an inherently dishonorable guy. He has fought and endured plenty of hardships with Stannis. He will do the honorable thing and not just run off with the gold. Stannis being a hard ass and saying not to come back with less makes it almost a given that Massey will come back with less. Faceless Men are expensive... maybe instead of "some", he comes back with one: Arya Stark.
Of course Stannis will still bitch and moan, and certainly not give Massey his lordship because he didn't fulfill the exact terms of the deal, but he could and certainly would make good use of a FM. In short, comedy will ensue.
And, maybe I'm missing something, but so far I don't see any other plot device in motion to get her back to Westeros.