sandorswallow, on 15 April 2012 - 12:10 PM, said:
Apologies is this has been posted, although I did just spend an hour searching for it without success.
Anyway, here are my thoughts.
We know Littlefinger is one of the major players in the series, and while I was reading another thread (about Euron giving his Dragon Egg to the Faceless Men in payment for their assassination of Balon Greyjoy) I wondered about why the Faceless Men might need a dragon egg, not to mention their efforts to acquire the last Book of Dragons in Oldtown (see AFFC).Are they researching ways of killing dragons? Surely they would only do that if contracted to do so.
Then I wondered, who might have enough money to pay the Faceless Men to kill dragons and why. Which brings me to Littlefinger.
Littlefinger certainly must have a huge stash of money by now - all those multiplying Golden Dragons can't have been just for the Iron Throne's benefit, or Littlefinger is far less shrewd than we imagine him to be. What with all this wealth, his connections to Braavos and the Iron bank plus the dream foreshadowing of the Stone Giant, it looks like he is being set up as the ultimate non-Tagaryen player.
The thing with the Faceless Men, though, is that they require a sacrifice, not just (or is it instead of?) large sums of money. Maybe Sansa is the sacrifice that he intends to put up as payment for this contract? The daughter of the love of his life. What he intends to get out of this I can only speculate about... but being seen as the slayer of a dragon invasion would surely be more of a sure-fire way to get on the iron Throne than by arranging marriages. So Sansa is integral to his plans after all, just not in the way we all expect.
Uh no. The faceless men would kill any dragon on principle.
“The Lysene pirate? Some say he has returned to his old haunts, this is so. And Lord Redwyne’s war fleet creeps through the Broken Arm as well.
On its way home, no doubt. But these men and their ships are well-known to us. No, these other sails … from farther east, perhaps … one hears queer talk of dragons.”
“Would that we had one here. A dragon might warm things up a bit.”
“My lord jests. You will forgive me if I do not laugh. We Braavosi are descended from those who fled Valyria and the wroth of its dragonlords. We do not jape of dragons.”
No, I suppose not. “My apologies, Lord Tycho.”
“Child,” he said, “come sit with me. I have a tale to tell you.”
“What kind of tale?” she asked, wary.
“The tale of our beginnings. If you would be one of us, you had best know who we are and how we came to be. Men may whisper of the Faceless Men of Braavos, but we are older than the Secret City. Before the Titan rose, before the Unmasking of Uthero, before the Founding, we were. We have flowered in Braavos amongst these northern fogs, but we first took root in Valyria, amongst the wretched slaves who toiled in the deep mines beneath the Fourteen Flames that lit the Freehold’s nights of old. Most mines are dank and chilly places, cut from cold dead stone, but the Fourteen Flames were living mountains with veins of molten rock and hearts of
fire. So the mines of old Valyria were always hot, and they grew hotter as the shafts were driven deeper, ever deeper. The slaves toiled in an oven. The rocks around them were too hot to touch. The air stank of brimstone and would sear their lungs as they breathed it. The soles of their feet would burn and blister, even through the thickest sandals. Sometimes, when they broke through a wall in search of gold, they would find steam instead, or boiling water, or molten rock. Certain shafts were cut so low that the slaves could not stand upright, but had to crawl or bend. And there were wyrms in that red darkness too.”
“Earthworms?” she asked, frowning.
“Firewyrms. Some say they are akin to dragons, for wyrms breathe fire too. Instead of soaring through the sky, they bore through stone and soil. If the old tales can be believed, there were wyrms amongst the Fourteen Flames even before the dragons came. The young ones are no larger than that skinny arm of yours, but they can grow to monstrous size and have no love for men.”
“Did they kill the slaves?”
“Burnt and blackened corpses were oft found in shafts where the rocks were cracked or full of holes. Yet still the mines drove deeper. Slaves perished by the score, but their masters did not care. Red gold and yellow gold and silver were reckoned to be more precious than the lives of slaves, for slaves were cheap in the old Freehold. During war, the Valyrians took them by the thousands. In times of peace they bred them, though only the worst were sent down to die in the red darkness.”
“Didn’t the slaves rise up and fight?”
“Some did,” he said. “Revolts were common in the mines, but few accomplished much. The dragonlords of the old Freehold were strong in sorcery, and lesser men defied them at their peril. The first Faceless Man was one who did.”
“Who was he?” Arya blurted, before she stopped to think.
“No one,” he answered. “Some say he was a slave himself. Others insist he was a freeholder’s son, born of noble stock. Some will even tell you he was an overseer who took pity on his charges. The truth is, no one knows. Whoever he was, he moved amongst the slaves and would hear them at their prayers. Men of a hundred different nations labored in the mines, and each prayed to his own god in his own tongue, yet all were praying for the same thing. It was release they asked for, an end to pain. A small thing, and simple. Yet their gods made no answer, and their suffering went on. Are their gods all deaf? he wondered... until a realization came upon him, one night in the red darkness.
“All gods have their instruments, men and women who serve them and help to work their will on earth. The slaves were not crying out to a hundred different gods, as it seemed, but to one god with a hundred different faces... and he was that god’s instrument. That very night he chose the most wretched of the slaves, the one who had prayed most earnestly for release, and freed him from his bondage. The first gift had been given.”
Arya drew back from him. “He killed the slave?” That did not sound right. “He should have killed the killed the masters!”
“He would bring the gift to them as well... but that is a tale for another day, one best shared with no one.” He cocked his head. “And who are you, child?”
Edited by Lord Littlefinger's Lash, 15 April 2012 - 02:28 PM.