A complete, independently-envisioned Season 8 for Game of Thrones, written with love by Alice Shipwise
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PART 3 of 7

January 13, 2019

Cersei defends her position.

Ext. Sept of baelor ruins - WIDE AERIAL - day
Speaking of Cersei: from above, a wide view of the Great Sept's ruins. The fire that leveled it has long since burned down and gone cold, the bodies and debris long since removed, but destruction of such magnitude is not easily cleaned up.
At the epicenter, it's just ash and black rubble. Moving outward, the rubble gradually transitions to half-destroyed buildings, collapsed but for a few walls, and then to mostly-intact buildings, though their facades remained darkened by soot stains, resistant to even the most determined scrubbing.
Ext. Sept of baelor ruins - STREET level - day
Panning through half-ruined streets, we see little memorial shrines interspersed among the rubble. Miniature mounds of stacked stone fragments, accompanied by candles, flowers, humble little personal mementos and offerings. One mound features a handmade prayer wheel, propped up against the stones -- a seven-spoked wheel fashioned out of wood and woven reed, with an intricately carved wooden figurine at each point, lovingly painted. Tiny monuments to nameless dead commoners that we don't know.
As we linger over these shrines, we see various messages and drawings scrawled upon half-collapsed walls, written in charcoal, in chalk, in green paint, authored by a dozen different hands: The gods send vengeance. Fire sown, fire reaped. Justice comes. Here and there, a seven-pointed star, paint dripping down in rivulets, bright green against the soot.
ext. GRAFFITI wall - day
In one street, a small group of COMMONERS add their contributions to the graffiti, spread out along the wall. They're mostly teenage boys, with bitter, angry eyes.
One of the boys (GERREN) is working on a fresh seven-pointed star, slapping the paint onto the blackened bricks in long, dripping strokes. The arms of the star are rough-edged and wavy, as though made of flame. Gerren looks about 12 or 13 years old, though it's hard to tell if he's young or just underfed.

Up the street, one of the other kids cries a warning. Gerren looks up, and gets bowled over as a CLUMSY BOY accidentally bumps into him, knocking over his paint pot in the process.
Watch yourself!
Gold cloaks! Get out of here!
Gerren picks himself up, as the other kids run past and the tromp of marching feet becomes audible. He looks down in dismay at the paint that has splattered onto his clothes in his fall, then flees after his companions, disappearing up a narrow alley just as a troop of soldiers rounds the corner.
It's a mixed group of City Watch GOLD CLOAKS and red-garbed LANNISTER SOLDIERS. They halt in the street.
LORD LEO LEFFORD steps up and inspects the fresh graffiti, paint still oozing slowly down the brick. He's about Tywin's age, stern and sour, armored like a Lannister general. His bearing makes clear that he's in charge of this group.
He does not look surprised or angry to see the graffiti, or to indeed feel any strong emotions about it whatsoever.
(to his men)
Alright then. This neighborhood as well.
Ext. Sept district tavern - day
A quiet, dimly lit tavern hosts a few afternoon CUSTOMERS. They sit at trestle tables, drinking ale and slurping soup.
Tavern customer #1
Never dreamed I'd see one in the flesh. Thought I'd piss myself for sure.
Well, she can't be worse than Cersei.
With a sudden bang, the door bursts open. Light pours in from the street along with a group of Lannister soldiers. The customers look up, startled. A SERVING GIRL screams.

The soldiers round everyone up and herd them out the door. Clay cups fall and smash in the chaos. Room doors are kicked in as the soldiers search the building, making sure they don't miss anyone.
Ext. Sept district square - day
A crowd of confused citizens stands huddled in the square, surrounded on all sides by gold cloaks and soldiers, who keep them under armed guard. All around, shouting and smashing can be heard throughout the neighborhood, as more people are pulled from homes and shops, and herded into the square.
Gerren bursts into his home, jump-scaring his father: DENNIS. Dennis is an artisan woodcarver, and their home doubles as his workshop, full of half-finished pieces, wood shavings, and little paint pots with brushes sticking out.
Gerren shuts the door behind himself and bars it, breathless and fumbling.
What is this, what's wrong?
I'm sorry! I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
Where have you been?
Dennis goes to Gerren and sees the smudges of green paint on the boy's clothes and arms.
Seven save us, you fool child. Change out of these clothes, quickly. Quickly!
Gerren strips out of his incriminating clothing, as Dennis hurriedly fetches a washbasin. He fills it with water from a jug, then leaves it on the table as he crosses over to the fireplace. He sets to work coaxing the lukewarm coals back to life, poking and blowing urgently.
Gerren has changed into clean clothes and is scrubbing his hands and arms in the washbasin. Dennis gathers up the stained clothing from the floor and throws them into the coals. He jabs at the cloth with a poker, cursing under his breath as it reluctantly begins to smolder.

A loud crash rattles the whole building. Another crash, and the door busts clean off its hinges. A pair of Lannister soldiers shoulder their way into the small workshop.
Dennis and Gerren stare up at them, caught. Dennis slowly straightens from where he'd been bent over the fireplace, holding his hands in a gesture of surrender. He comes slowly forward, reflexively positioning himself between his boy and the soldiers.
CERSEI LANNISTER stands on the painted map, gazing down at King's Landing at her feet. THE MOUNTAIN stands a respectful distance away, her ever-present shadow.
Lord Lefford enters and stands at attention at the edge of the room.
You summoned, your grace?
Lord Lefford. Please, come join me.
Lefford walks up to stand beside her, both of them looming over King's Landing.
How is it going?
Lefford speaks in the lifeless tone of a man giving a mandatory status update.
The malcontents were most densely concentrated in the district where the Sept of Baelor once stood. We've captured several dozen agitators and established a secure perimeter around the most troubled neighborhoods. Nobody shall leave until we've identified your grace's slanderers to your grace's satisfaction. The known traitors have been given over to your lord Hand.

Cersei picks up on something in his tone -- distaste, perhaps even disapproval.
Are you displeased about something, my lord?
Lefford takes his time answering. He eyes her coolly.
You must forgive me, your grace.
Why must I forgive you? Have you wronged me?
When you called your banners, you said our swords were needed to stand against the Mad King's daughter. To fight back her foreign savages and slave soldiers.
So I did.
My men are among the finest soldiers to hail from the Westerlands. I did not imagine I was bringing them here to lead them against gutter rats and street urchins.
You brought them here to defend the queen's peace. That is your solemn duty, my lord, whether that peace be threatened by foreign usurpers, or by traitors within our own city.
Lefford deadpans at her without comment.
However, I agree that you deserve a more exalted assignment. You are the Lord of Golden Tooth, after all -- the highest of my bannermen.
She gives him a magnanimous smile.
Lord Lefford, I would name you Master of War. You shall serve as my highest-ranking general and command all the royal forces in my name. I can think of no man better suited for this honor.

A beat. Lefford hasn't reacted or changed his expression at all during this pronouncement. It throws Cersei for a bit of a loop, though she conceals it well.
Has your brother fallen from favor, your grace?
Cersei's smile takes on a somewhat frozen quality.
Ser Jaime is away on a sensitive diplomatic mission.
He did not confer with me before departing. He did not confer with any of us.
There was no time for that, I'm afraid. I assured him I would pass along his apologies, and work with you directly concerning our ongoing campaigns.
The last time I spoke with Ser Jaime, he insisted we must march north immediately. To deal with an army of dead men.
It's unclear from Lefford's manner what he personally makes of this otherworldly threat.
Ah yes, these dead men. I assure you, my lord, you need not be troubled by them, for the time being.
Your brother seemed to believe otherwise. He said he saw one with his own eyes.

Indeed, he saw one of these creatures, as did I. For all we know, it was the only one of its kind. The enemies of the realm would have us believe otherwise, of course, but it serves their interest to sow fear among us.
But if they're right?
The Hand of the Queen is devising a solution for that eventuality. In the meantime, I suggest you focus your attention on the living.
Cersei turns away from King's Landing on the map floor and walks a few steps southwest: the Reach.
Now. The Tarlys supported us in the Reach, before the Mad King's daughter saw fit to burn them alive. Now that they're gone, we need to assert our position there. Some of these lords chose to follow the traitor Olenna Tyrell. Once peace has been re-established in King's Landing, I'd like for you to ride out and bring these lords to heel.
Lefford is silent, eyes flitting over the map as Cersei speaks. Now she walks from the Reach to the Westerlands.
Afterward, you'll want to head west, to gather our remaining forces from the Westerlands. And of course, you'll want to lay claim to your new lands and castle.
Lefford frowns, unsure what she's talking about. She gives him a significant smile and looks down at the castle that she's standing over: Casterly Rock.
Your grace... Casterly Rock is your family home.

The Red Keep is my family home now. Serve me well and Casterly Rock belongs to you. To be held by your sons and grandsons, until the end of time.
You're blessed with a large family, I understand. One of your sons can rule as lord of the Rock, commanding the harbor and the city of Lannisport.
She walks from Casterly Rock east to the Golden Tooth, a painted castle guarding the only pass through the mountains that comprise the eastern border of the Westerlands.
And another can rule the Golden Tooth and command the mountain pass, as you have, and your father before you.
She turns, overlooking the whole of the Westerlands from her vantage point over the Golden Tooth.
And between your two seats would lie the entirety of the Westerlands. Which is only fitting, for our new Warden of the West.
Lefford lifts his eyes from the map up to Cersei's face, to confirm he'd understood her correctly. Cersei smiles at him, with an air of generous benevolence. He absorbs this information in silence a moment.
You are truly gracious, my queen. I shall confer with my family at once. These honors are all so unexpected... I must ponder whether I am worthy of these exalted titles that you offer.
He turns his back on her and begins walking away. Cersei's surprise and affront flares in her eyes. She had not meant for this to be a mere offer, and she had not dismissed him from her presence.
Before Cersei can get her claws out, Lefford pauses, as though suddenly remembering his manners. He gives a half turn toward her and dips his head.

Your grace.
Cersei is not pleased with how this conversation is ending, but she has little leverage to force the support that she needs from this man. He takes her silence for assent, and walks away, leaving Cersei to stare at his back in frustration.

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