A complete, independently-envisioned Season 8 for Game of Thrones, written with love by Alice Shipwise
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PART 4 of 6

May 10, 2019

Tyrion pursues the diplomatic approach.

We return to the meeting chamber where Dany had callously lied to poor Euron. This time, it is occupied by TYRION LANNISTER and HARRY STRICKLAND, the commander of the Golden Company. Harry is accompanied by a few of his LIEUTENANTS, including MARQ MANDRAKE, who had fretted to him about Dany's dragons back in 802.
Harry is scowling at something Tyrion has just suggested.
The Golden Company never breaks a contract.
Yes, that is your reputation.
We have already accepted Cersei's gold, loaded provisions onto her ships...
Mm, about that. Those are our ships now.
Harry is confused.
You haven't heard? Yes, the Iron Fleet has undergone a bit of a coup. Euron Greyjoy is dead, with our help, and his niece Yara has taken the Salt Throne for herself. She's a friend of ours, you see.

Tyrion pours himself a goblet of wine.
At minimum, your contract now faces a substantial logistical challenge. Do you intend to swim to Westeros?
Harry is silent.
Of course, if you insist on honoring your contract, there's no need to leave Volantis. You were hired to fight us, and here we are. Very convenient, wouldn't you agree?
He sips his wine, savoring the vintage luxuriantly.
Today, we drink, sharing my excellent wine under the peace banner of diplomacy. Tomorrow, if you so crave, we would be happy to indulge you in battle. You have 20,000 men. We have a dragon.
Marq had been skeptical of this Cersei contract from the beginning. He is giving Harry a hard stare: please don't be stupid about this, bro.
Cersei's war is over, and lost. By any reasonable interpretation, that releases you from your contract. Nobody expects mercenaries to fight on once their client is defeated.
Has Cersei surrendered?
If she hasn't, it is a mere pending formality. Her own brother has joined our cause, her bannermen have abandoned her. She has no army left, no allies. Only you.
Cersei's last remaining military officers look at each other, silently conferring amongst themselves.
Finally, Harry turns his gaze back on Tyrion. He sizes him up with his eyes.

The commander of the Golden Company reaches over the table, picks up the decanter, and pours himself a generous drink of Tyrion's excellent wine.
Alright then.
He leans back in his chair, goblet in hand.
Let's talk.
The docks bustle with activity as the Golden Company load themselves onto Yara's ships. Horses are led up the gangplanks. SOLDIERS pile into rowboats. Barrels, crates, and bales of hay swing by on cranes.
Ext. Volantis - seaside balcony - concurrent
Dany and Tyrion watch the load-up from a plaza balcony overlooking the docks. A small force of YARA'S IRONBORN stand guard for them nearby.
How many men?
20,000 or so, if you include the laborers and stewards.
Dany is pleased.
This worked out rather well.
Yes, my brilliant diplomacy swayed them from Cersei's cause.
Dany smiles, humoring him.
One of Yara's Ironborn approaches them.
Queen Daenerys. This woman says she knows you.
He steps aside to reveal MELISANDRE, being escorted along by two more Ironborn.

Dany is surprised to see her, though not unpleasantly so. She nods to the Ironborn, and they retreat, allowing them their space. Melisandre bows her head deferentially.
Your grace.
This is an unexpected reunion.
For you, perhaps.
Well. We don't all have your gift for prophecy.
Once, Melisandre would have been pleased by this bit of flattery. Now it only makes her sad. She gives Dany a strange look, a look that almost resembles pity. Or guilt.
Dany picks up on it. She's puzzled, but then again Melisandre has always been puzzling. She mentally shrugs it off.
What can I do for you?
The first time we met, I urged you to summon Jon Snow. I trust that you do not regret following my advice.
Rather an understatement. Dany smiles affirmingly.
You sail for Westeros soon. There you will wage one final war for the dawn.
The dawn that was prophesied?
Yes. In prophecies old, and new.
Dany picks up on the significant emphasis.
You've seen a vision in the flames?
Melisandre holds Dany's gaze with an uncanny intensity.

Bring me back with you when you sail, your grace.
Dany hesitates. Tyrion chimes in.
Forgive me: to what end?
There are things I have seen that you need to hear. All three of you.
Dany and Tyrion look at each other, disquieted.
Speaking of visions: Bran stands in the abandoned wildling village, watching his uncle die in the past.
If we didn't know better, we might think Benjen is already dead. He lays motionless, curled up on his side with his frozen hands clutched to the wound in his belly. His eyes are closed, his face frostbitten and discolored and cadaverous, looking much as he did when he rescued Bran and Meera in Season 6.
Nearby, the bucket that Jafer Flowers had dropped still lays on the ground amid its frozen puddle. Jafer's blood is likewise puddled on the ground.
Jafer himself is notably absent. Only Benjen remains.
Bran is watching Benjen so intently that he doesn't notice LEAF emerging warily from the trees behind him, silent as a cat. Not until the Child of the Forest passes within inches of him. Bran jumps back from her, startled.
Leaf turns her head and looks at him -- directly at Bran. Bran stares back, confused and disconcerted. Can she see him?
She turns her gaze back upon Benjen and creeps cautiously toward him, her hand hovering ready over the hilt of her dagger.
She reaches out and touches his arm, his face. Benjen's eyes flutter open. Leaf relaxes when she sees that they have not turned wight-blue.
Benjen is hypothermic and disoriented, and it takes him a while to focus on her. He blinks. He's never seen a Child of the Forest before. But until recently, he'd also never seen a wight, or a White Walker, or his dead friends rising as monsters. Leaf is relatively unalarming in comparison. That, and he is too close to death to have much energy for alarm.

Leaf gently lifts Benjen's cold hands away from his wound. It is an ugly sight, and obviously mortal. Around the wound, his belly is frozen hard, unyielding to her touch.
Benjen struggles to speak. He is so cold and weak that at first he can only manage incoherent stutters.
Don't let me turn.
Leaf looks up and fixes him with her uncanny stare.
Wordlessly, she pulls out a shard of dragonglass, sharper than a razor. Fear flares in Benjen's eyes. He doesn't want to die.
He closes his eyes, his lips moving in silent prayer. Leaf creeps closer with the dragonglass and cups her free hand under Benjen's head, making him look at her.
Defend the living.
Benjen stares at her, confused.
Leaf positions the tip of the shard directly over Benjen's heart. It's reminiscent of when she had done the same thing in another of Bran's visions -- when she had created the Night King.
She pushes the dragonglass in, slowly, as Benjen screams.

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