View Full Version : GRRM suggests starting with short stories

05-04-2009, 07:01 AM
This short, but you hvae to start somewhere and whet the appetitie for more.

Balist sat down at the table and poured himself a goblet of golden wine, from the Glades, he surmised, lost in thought over the plethora of crack-potted old men that seemed to have plagued the city over the last few months. They had been turning up every fifth day, never speaking, always from varying directions, no rhyme or reason in their appearance other than all wearing what appeared to be home-spun grey weave as their only source of similarity. Only outward appearing similarity Balist reminded himself.

“Perhaps I should drink this flagon whole?” wondered Balist aloud. Staring deeply into the goblet, quietly tracing with his eyes the intricate carving of the crystal, showing nothing of importance to most but to the discerning eye, the royal arms of House Atacama. Lost to us, so they said, those scum of the East. Trust us, they said, and we will deliver what you ask. Ours is the debt and we will deliver what was promised.

The debt. Was it truly what it was meant to be? If it ever was. If it was a debt. Or a long lost secret that had been morphed and twisted into something other than it truly was. Balist’s reverie was broken by a sharp rap at the door. Opening just enough to allow a head to be poked around the edge, Balist waved the guard to speak.

“Excuse me, Lord Chancellor, another pilgrim has arrived at the temple.”

“Another? For goodness sake!” thundered Balist. “The last one was yesterday. Is this some kind of joke being played by those jokers of Jarakan? If so, I’ll have their so-called Domo Majorum here to face the music, he’ll wish it was music he was facing!”

“Captain Farouq thinks this one is different, Lord,” deferentially replied the guard, moving slightly inside the chamber to more politely convey the message. “The Captain dispatched me to advise you straight away to ensure that you knew immediately, Lord Chancellor.”
Casting a discerning eye over the guard, a seasoned veteran of the Moor Wars, a sergeant even, Balist identified, taking into account the embroidery surrounding the patches of rank on the arm of the jerkin he could see. Not one to speak fairy tales this one, but he had to ask.

"What’s different?” Balist asked enquiringly. He stood as he spoke, to show courtesy to a Moor survivor whose efforts demanded respect, even this long since that horrendous but victorious battle.

“Lord Chancellor, this pilgrim is glowing!”

The only sound was the resounding smack of flesh on wood as Balist collapsed back into his chair, his own body a dead weight against the slightly built silver wicker design which groaned and strained against the sudden impact. Oh no, thought Balist, everything I’ve done has been in vain, we are doomed. Doomed. Reaching for the flagon, Balist beckoned the sergeant come over and sit down. Cautiously the sergeant walked over and took the proffered chair.

“Drink up. Drink up, Kilad bin Moor,” whimpered Balist passing the flagon and a fresh goblet to the sergeant.

Bowing his head in respect at the honorific acknowledged by the Lord Chancellor, the guard replied with reticence, “I’m still on duty Lord Chancellor, I can’t drink wine until sixth hour tomorrow. General Morizon would have my hide.”

“Your hide is safe. General Morizon is of no concern to you now. Do you have family sergeant? What is your name?”

“My name is Orsis, Lord. And no, I have no family. They all died in the plague. Only I survived and I don’t know why I did. Everyone in my street died but for some reason the plague didn’t touch me.”

“Drink up, Sergeant Orsis. Drink your fill and then drink more, for there is no tomorrow. The Harbinger of Death has arrived. There is no tomorrow for us. You won’t survive this plague, none of us will.”