Jaime x Brienne Appreciation Week
Day 4: One Scene
Jaime’s dream from A Storm of Swords
Naked and alone he stood, surrounded by enemies, with stone walls all around him pressing close. The Rock, he knew. He could feel the immense weight of it above his head. He was home. He was home and whole.
He held his right hand up and flexed his fingers to feel the strength in them. It felt as good as sex. As good as swordplay. Four fingers and a thumb. He had dreamed that he was maimed, but it wasn’t so. Relief made him dizzy.My hand, my good hand. Nothing could hurt him so long as he was whole.
Around him stood a dozen tall dark figures in cowled robes that hid their faces. In their hands were spears. “Who are you?” he demanded of them. “What business do you have in Casterly Rock?”
They gave no answer, only prodded him with the points of their spears. He had no choice but to descend. Down a twisting passageway he went, narrow steps carved from the living rock, down and down. I must go up, he told himself. Up, not down. Why am I going down? Below the earth his doom awaited, he knew with the certainty of dream; something dark and terrible lurked there, something that wanted him. Jaime tried to halt, but their spears prodded him on. If only I had my sword, nothing could harm me.
The steps ended abruptly on echoing darkness. Jaime had the sense of vast space before him. He jerked to a halt, teetering on the edge of nothingness. A spearpoint jabbed at the small of the back, shoving him into the abyss. He shouted, but the fall was short. He landed on his hands and knees, upon soft sand and shallow water. There were watery caverns deep below Casterly Rock, but this one was strange to him. “What place is this?”
“Your place.” The voice echoed; it was a hundred voices, a thousand, the voices of all the Lannisters since Lann the Clever, who’d lived at the dawn of days. But most of all it was his father’s voice, and beside Lord Tywin stood his sister, pale and beautiful, a torch burning in her hand. Joffrey was there as well, the son they’d made together, and behind them a dozen more dark shapes with golden hair.
“Sister, why has Father brought us here?”
“Us? This is your place, Brother. This is your darkness.” Her torch was the only light in the cavern. Her torch was the only light in the world. She turned to go.
“Stay with me,” Jaime pleaded. “Don’t leave me here alone.” But they were leaving. “Don’t leave me in the dark!” Something terrible lived down here. “Give me a sword, at least.”
“I gave you a sword,” Lord Tywin said.
It was at his feet. Jaime groped under the water until his hand closed upon the hilt. Nothing can hurt me so long as I have a sword. As he raised the sword a finger of pale flame flickered at the point and crept up along the edge, stopping a hand’s breath from the hilt. The fire took on the color of the steel itself so it burned with a silvery-blue light, and the gloom pulled back. Crouching, listening, Jaime moved in a circle, ready for anything that might come out of the darkness. The water flowed into his boots, ankle deep and bitterly cold. Beware the water, he told himself.There may be creatures living in it, hidden deeps…
From behind came a great splash. Jaime whirled toward the sound… but the faint light revealed only Brienne of Tarth, her hands bound in heavy chains. “I swore to keep you safe,” the wench said stubbornly. “I swore an oath.” Naked, she raised her hands to Jaime. “Ser. Please. If you would be so good.”
The steel links parted like silk. “A sword,” Brienne begged, and there it was, scabbard, belt, and all. She buckled it around her thick waist. The light was so dim that Jaime could scarcely see her, though they stood a scant few feet apart. In this light she could almost be a beauty, he thought. In this light she could almost be a knight. Brienne’s sword took flame as well, burning silvery blue. The darkness retreated a little more.
“The flames will burn so long as you live,” he heard Cersei call. “When they die, so must you.”
“Sister!” he shouted. “Stay with me. Stay!” There was no reply but the soft sound of retreating footsteps.
Brienne moved her longsword back and forth, watching the silvery flames shift and shimmer. Beneath her feet, a reflection of the burning blade shone on the surface of the flat black water. She was as tall and strong as he remembered, yet it seemed to Jaime that she had more of a woman’s shape now.
“Do they keep a bear down here?” Brienne was moving, slow and wary, sword to hand; step, turn, and listen. Each step made a little splash. “A cave lion? Direwolves? Some bear? Tell me, Jaime. What lives here? What lives in the darkness?”
“Doom.” No bear, he knew. No lion. “Only doom.”
In the cool silvery-blue light of the swords, the big wench looked pale and fierce. “I mislike this place.”
“I’m not fond of it myself.” Their blades made a little island of light, but all around them stretched a sea of darkness, unending. “My feet are wet.”
“We could go back the way they brought us. If you climbed on my shoulders you’d have no trouble reaching that tunnel mouth.”
Then I could follow Cersei. He could feel himself growing hard at the thought, and turned away so Brienne would not see.
“Listen.” She put a hand on his shoulder, and he trembled at the sudden touch. She’s warm. “Something comes.” Brienne lifted her sword to point off to his left. “There,”
He peered into the gloom until he saw it too. Something was moving through the darkness, he could not quite make it out…
“A man on a horse. No, two. Two riders, side by side.”
“Down here, beneath the Rock?” It made no sense. Yet there came two riders on pale horses, men and mounts both armored. The destriers emerged from the blackness at a slow walk. They make no sound, Jaime realized. No splashing, no clink of mail nor clop of hoof. He remembered Eddard Stark, riding the length of Aerys’s throne room wrapped in silence. Only his eyes had spoken; a lord’s eyes, cold and grey and full of judgment.
“Is it you, Stark?” Jaime called. “Come ahead. I never feared you living, I do not fear you dead.”
Brienne touched his arm. “There are more.”
He saw them too. They were armored all in snow, it seemed to him, and ribbons of mist swirled back from their shoulders. The visors of their helms were closed, but Jaime Lannister did not need to look upon their faces to know them.
Five had been his brothers. Oswell Whent and Jon Darry. Lewyn Martell, a prince of Dorne. The White Bull, Gerold Hightower. Ser Arthur Dayne, Sword of the Morning. And beside them, crowned in mist and grief with his long hair streaming behind him, rode Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone and rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
“You don’t frighten me,” he called, turning as they split to either side of him. He did not know which way to face. “I will fight you one by one or all together. But who is there for the wench to duel? She gets cross when you leave her out.”
“I swore an oath to keep him safe,” she said to Rhaegar’s shade. “I swore a holy oath.”
“We all swore oaths,” said Ser Arthur Dayne, so sadly.
The shades dismounted from their ghostly horses. When they drew their longswords, it made not a sound. “He was going to burn the city,” Jaime said. “To leave Robert only ashes.”
“He was your king,” said Darry.
“You swore to keep him safe,” said Whent.
“And the children, them as well,” said Prince Lewyn.
Prince Rhaegar burned with a cold light, now white, now red, now dark. “I left my wife and children in your hands.”
“I never thought he’d hurt them.” Jaime’s sword was burning less brightly now. “I was with the king…”
“Killing the king,” said Ser Arthur.
“Cutting his throat,” said Prince Lewyn.
“The king you had sworn to die for,” said the White Bull.
The fires that ran along the blade were guttering out, and Jaime remembered what Cersei had said. No. Terror closed a hand about his throat. Then his sword went dark, and only Brienne’s burned, as the ghosts came rushing in.
“No,” he said, “no, no, no. Nooooooooo!”
JAIME VI, A Storm of Swords