Mountain - Part 4 - Godswood

She wept as she’d never wept before, and time passed. Mist rolled in and it grew cooler. She curled up against the Heart Tree and laid her head on one of its huge white roots. She slept and woke and wept and prayed. She asked the Old Gods to keep her family, her remaining people, her homeland safe. I need to know what to do…Will the Lord of Harrenhal turn us out if Father refuses him? Will he turn on us? He is a brutal man who shows no mercy to those who anger him…

Just then she heard a sound, a light step on the mossy ground. She raised her head and froze. Just steps away was a fawn, a little doe, just days old. She paused, then moved toward Melicent on spindly legs. She was delicate, yet clumsy in her movements, picking up each foot carefully, as though walking was a task she had not yet mastered. Melicent remained where she was, afraid to move and startle the fawn. In a moment they were face to face. The fawn lowered her head and nuzzled Melicent’s hair. The girl held her breath. Then, delicately, as though she was trying not to startle the girl, the fawn leaned in and licked the tears running down her cheeks.
“So you are the sign I prayed for, little love?” she breathed. she reached out her hand and lightly touched the little doe’s muzzle. The fawn rubbed her head into Melicent’s hand. “Thank you my darling, I know what I must do.” she whispered. Somehow it all seemed clear to her, suddenly. And with that, the fawn nuzzled her hair again, turned and walked slowly, silently back into the dark of the Godswood.
Sighing deeply, she straightened up. It was still dark, but there was a soft light forming in the east. The mist still hung in the air and the shadows had deepened.  She had no idea how long she’d been there, but she felt stiff and sore. She stood slowly and stretched. As she gazed into the wood after the fawn, she felt resigned to what she must do. She wiped away her remaining tears with her sleeve and slowly turned back toward the path that would lead her back to the garden where Arry would be waiting to lead her back to bed.

As she completed the turn she gasped and took a quick step back. Standing in the entrance to the clearing was a huge hulking shape, surrounded by mist and shadow. Nella was wrong, giants do exist. She stood there, frozen for what seemed like an eternity, then Gregor Clegane, the Lord of Harrenhal stepped into the clearing.

They called him “The Mountain That Rides” and she could easily see why. He was the biggest man she’d ever seen. He stood more than seven and a half feet tall. He wore no armour, but his shoulders were massive. He must have weighed over thirty stone, but she could tell that he was solid muscle. It was said that he was not only the biggest, but also the strongest man in the seven kingdoms, perhaps in all the world. His hair and beard were dark and closely cropped, and his eyes were dark and fierce.

“Come closer girl” he growled, and without being aware of how she did it, Melicent found herself moving toward him. “You were weeping. Are you unwell?” He frowned.

“No…no my Lord.” She met his gaze, as bravely as she could. How long has he been there? Did he see the little doe? Why didn’t I hear him? 

He looked her up and down and she could feel herself beginning to tremble. “Which one are you?” he demanded.

She lowered her head. “Melicent Karstark, my Lord.” She raised her eyes to meet his. The right side of his mouth curled up slightly into what could have possibly been the beginning of a smile. On him, it frightened her.

“Lady Melicent…” he said and laughed. “Little Melicent, I remember you…but you're a woman grown now.” He walked around her slowly, drinking her in with his eyes. Her trembling increased as he looked over every inch of her. It was true, she was no longer a girl. In the past two years she had blossomed, she had a woman’s figure now, all soft curves. Her waist was small, her chest full and lovely, rounded hips, perfectly suited for bearing children. Her Septa said she was too well developed for her age, that she was likely to attract the wrong sort of men. This is the sort she was warning against.

He stopped behind her and moved in close. “Like a ripe fruit, ready to be picked.” he growled.  Lord Gregor laughed coldly and put his huge hand on her right shoulder. She stiffened as he pressed against her back and slid his hand around her throat. Using his thumb he tilted her head to the left to expose her neck. He leaned in close, so that she could feel his breath on her neck. She closed her eyes…He could kill me now. But he didn’t he hovered there for a moment, then he inhaled deeply, as if he could breathe her in. He sniffs me like the dog they say he is. The Mad Dog. She shuddered and he laughed again. He hovered there for a moment, then straightened, letting his hand slide slowly back to her shoulder and down her arm.

She took a deep ragged breath and turned to face him. They were standing so close that she could smell him. He smelled of wine…sweat…and leather. He cupped her chin in his hand and tilted her head back. She looked up, eyes wide and studied his face. He towered over her, almost three feet above her. She had never felt so small. His face was scarred and rough, his mouth turned down at the corners. Still trembling, she looked into his eyes, really looked. For a moment, his expression faltered. For a split second, she saw something flash in his eyes. As fast as it appeared it was gone. What was that? Uncertainty? Confusion? Humanity? She wasn’t sure, but there was something more to him, something else behind the terrifying facade. I must do this. To save my family. My home. My people…

“My Lord…” she whispered. “I hope you will be pleased with me... I will make you a good wife.”

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