At the maester’s recommendation, I remained resting in my quarters until the quiet morning is rudely interrupted by an unwelcome guest. I hear the voice of treacherous Rusty board the Rambis, though he passes by my room. I strain my neck to hear what could be taking place beyond the surrounding walls, but hear only soft mumblings, until he returns to my threshold. Not wanting anything to do with Rusty’s diabolical planning, I feign sleep when he calls to me across the small room. As he steps closer, I feel sure he must be able to my heart pounding over my attempts at quiet snoring. His hot breath lands on my neck, and he whispers a veiled threat into my ears. I lay impossibly still until I am sure he has departed, realizing only then I have not taken a breath in minutes.
When I am sure he has gone, I call to Maester Thaddeus, and ask what has transpired-dread and deathly plotting follow Rusty wherever he goes. My worst fears are realized when it is revealed that Jardon drunkenly disclosed to Rusty that House Jasper returned with not one, but three dragon eggs from Valyria. Lord Theodore must hear of this at once. I ask sweet Thomas to deliver a message to Teddy, but he fears getting lost on his way across the Paps. I prepare my own horse, and Carsen insists on joining me. We bicker in front of the maester, and I express my distinct displeasure that it was he who brought this dangerous man on board, who may now expose his liege lord’s secrets to our enemies. Gesturing to the maester, I remind him that as the only current capable fighter present, it is his duty to protect the Rambis and those on board. He again insists he accompany me to the Woodhulls. The hair on my back and arms prickle at his demands and pushiness, but this message for Teddy cannot wait, and can be trusted to no one else.
A half a days ride in towards the Woodhulls, Carsen asks if we can take a break. “As I’ve already made it very clear to you, Carsen,” I respond, “I do not require an escort. You may travel at whatever pace you like.” I steel my eyes on the road ahead and move my rounsey into a bouncey trot, ignoring his request as he falls behind. It is only moments later that what feels like a hot poker rips into my flesh. Before I can truly register what is happening, I spur the horse into a gallop. Time seems to slow down, and my vision tunnels when another unimaginable pain explodes into my back. I have but an instant to look behind me from where I assume the attack is coming from. It takes the realized image of Ser Carsen-my ally, my comrade, my fellow Jasparian-carefully aiming a third arrow at me to fully understand the impossible. Ser Carsen is going to murder me in cold blood. Before I have time to look back ahead, my eyes desperate to meet the road and a horizon where I know Lord Theodore, Ser Darron and Ser Dolins await, Carsen’s final blow envelopes me in blackness.