The rum went down easy, a slow burn that slivered down a throat now accustomed to stale water. A pleasant dizziness blossomed in its wake as a biting breeze of the nearby window brushed across the bare chest of cracked skin. The apprehension that had previously settled as a result of the possibility of being caught was swiftly supervened by the bubbling dread of pain. The boy, pale and sheened with a nervous sweat in the dull lit cell, was breathing heavily as his tools gleamed where they hovered over scales.
It had been a mistake to ask the boy of his experience – or lack thereof – as a gloved hand traced a particularly complex-looking tome but the honesty had not gone unappreciated. The reasoning of this action was still obscure to the once-Lord, there had been dialogue exchanged that revealed the maester-in-training knew his father. To what extent, Jorah could not discern but he saw himself as a disgrace to the family – he had often questioned whether he deserved the title of Mormont. So, why had Samwell Tarly, sworn brother of the Night's Watch and formerly loyal to the very father he shamed, decided to aid him in the dark of the night?
The thick leather he had been instructed to bite kept these questions sealed away. But the first attempt to practically flay him alive was seemingly lacking in caution; the tongs had pierced raw skin and pain had expanded from where metal met flesh, it danced along the diseased skin and a strangled groan had escaped his bared teeth before he could even comprehend the noise.
Samwell had hushed him, the stench of rum permeated their surroundings as he pleaded for silence while Jorah could only pant heavy. Trying to gain back his composure, he nodded slightly to the boy and the tools returned to their original position, lingering above skin in a cruel teasing manner.
Just as the scalpel was repositioned, the once-knight cursed the Old Gods that his possible saviour had not brought copious amounts of milk of the poppy he could down in one draught. The thought that the Citadel of all places would have such a menial remedy was expelled from his hazy mind when the cold sharp stab of metal entered his skin. There was an obnoxious squelch alongside the stinging agony that began to crawl across his body as vile yellow liquid seeped from the punctured scale. It trickled and slid between scales while the infected man involuntarily divulged a whimper.
After another hiss from Sam, leather creaked and Jorah was sure his teeth would leave indents where he bit down so hard to avoid screaming as though he was already one of the Stone Men. Pain spread across his skin and, while seemingly impossible, managed to increase in intensity as skin was hacked and peel from his body. Pain skittered across his jaw where it was straining to keep closed – he had been reduced to producing bestial growls, groans and grunts.
Looking down at his own flesh to see oozing yellow puss and open skin had only served to amplify the pain. Eyes brimming with tears that remained adamant to fall met those of the younger man; his were filled with sympathy that was quickly replaced with a spark of abrupt determination before he furiously carved at the scales. Jorah's eyes closed at the rapid friction of the scalpel and he missed the way Samwell's brow furrowed and he bore his teeth.
The nauseating noise was almost lost in the midst of heaving as the first chunk of ruined flesh was torn from his body. Jorah was sure he would go mad from pain alone. But a voice amongst the wheezing told him this was his penance. This was the only way he could receive his redemption for his deceit. For how he betrayed Daenerys.
And that was how he suffered through the prolonged night and into the early hours of morn, with one word circling through his mind, like a dragon in the sky.