Brienne frowned yet again at the back of Ser Bronn of the Blackwater as he urged his horse ahead of her own once more.
“How much longer?” She asked as her own horse jibbed slightly, the long tailed bay swishing his tail viciously as he passed them by.
“Not long now,” Bronn smiled briefly at her, his face otherwise tight. Tense.
“Tell me again, Ser Bronn, exactly why I am riding away to the north when I need to be in the south.”
“Ser Jaime Lannister has given me a job to do,” Bronn replied, “and if I say I’ll do a job, I do it.”
“Did he pay you well?” Brienne urged her horse into adopting a slightly faster pace in order to keep up.
“Yes, he did,” Bronn’s tone suggested the subject of payment was a closed one, “ and I promised him I would do as he bade me.”
Brienne huffed, a brief snort of frustration, casting an annoyed look at her closed mouth companion.
How long was this going to take? She lifted a leather clad hand to palm her face, rubbing her temples wearily as the horse broke into a tired trot once more in an effort to keep up with Bronn’s mount.
Jaime Lannister, face grim. A meeting in the dead of night, deep within the vaults of Daenerys Targaryen's island fortress. Jaime pale, bruised, defiant, angry.
There simply because they had wanted him to see the dead creature that walked, that fought like a demon until put out of its misery by a terminal blast of fiery dragon’s breath.
There had been a huge argument. Daenerys was still wary about condemning the Head of House Lannister to death but she had made no secret of the fact that if she could, she would….
Don’t make me go Jaime…
He’d made her leave. She'd pleaded, she'd tried to explain that she was there not only as a representative of Tarth, but for Sansa also.
Jaime had told her to go with Bronn, immediately. He told her that if she wanted to protect Sansa Stark, if she wanted to remain true to her oaths to both Catelyn Stark and himself, she would go with Ser Bronn straight away.
He told her he was scared.. for her, for Sansa, for all of them.
So she went, reasoning that she could always give Ser Bronn of The Blackwater the slip, and double back if need be.
“Exactly how long is not long now?” She asked him irritably.
“So impatient Lady Brienne,” Bronn tutted as he surged ahead of her slightly, “and not quite as placid as I was led to believe.”
Brienne twisted her face into her best scowl and reined in her horse so that her mount sidled to an eventual halt, “enough, Ser Bronn.”
“Enough?” Bronn raised his eyebrows, “ You don’t want to see Lord Jaime’s gift to you?”
“A gift?” Brienne could barely contain her disgust, “I fear for the man’s life and he sends me on a wild chase north for a gift?”
“Well, maybe it is a gift for Maiden’s day?”
Brienne pulled herself into an indignant column of righteous anger, “I do not waste my time with such foolish nonsense,” she hissed, “and I have no idea when the Maiden’s day is.”
“Then think of it as a Maiden day’s gift,” Bronn’s weathered face broke into a rare grin. “ For next Maiden’s day. It’s the kind of gift only a cunt like him would give a maid.” With that he rode on.
A gift? Why would he….
She was forced to urge her horse into a trot once more as Ser Bronn disappeared around the next corner of the track.
When she had managed to catch him up, Brienne regarded Bronn with exasperation, even as she held onto Oathkeeper’s hilt for dear life.
“I already have a sword,” she told him.
“I have eyes,” Bronn replied, “It’s not a f- … it’s not a sword. Lord Jaime's gift to you is not another sword, Milady.”
“I have a horse.”
Bronn cast her a look that spoke volumes as he rounded the final bend and then reined in his horse, waiting for Brienne to come to a halt also.
“It’s not a horse either,” he told her evenly, “ Behold your gift.”
Brienne frowned at him before she looked down into the valley below, then she looked back at Bronn, before almost falling from her horse as she turned back and realised what he actually meant her to see.
Easily four thousand men, and more, were camped below. The sight of red tents with their banners unfurled, golden lions caught mid roar, fluttering horizontal in the snow flecked wind, welcomed them.
Jaime’s army, the Lannister Army, spread out before her to almost as far as the eye could see.
“An army, Lady Brienne.” Bronn cracked a grim smile, “His gift to you is an army, to take north. To fight those undead damned bastards in his name.”
“But...” Brienne turned to the sellsword to ask, “why? Why would he-”
“Well I would have thought it pretty f- pretty obvious, Milady.”
“Stupid... stupid bloody -”
Bronn’s horse reared back as Brienne suddenly wheeled her horse about on his haunches and powered off down the path they had just travelled.
“What are you doing?” he called out.
“I need more men,” she called back.
“But you’ve got at least four thousand men here,” he shouted at her, pointing at the valley.
“It’s not enough,” she shouted back, “I need at least one more.”