I've been pretty lazy with my writing lately, due to work commitments, stress and a general lack of inspiration, but I'm trying to make a comeback here. This is probably not very funny at all, but it's a nice change of pace and I did my best, so be nice, okay?
The Dothraki Sea was oddly peaceful that night, the air as cool and still as it ever got. The camp had been set up for the night, and the usual sounds of revelry and chatter created a soothing background murmur, broken by the occasional shout and the steady, constant chirping of crickets in the long, swaying grass.
Ser Jorah Mormont could not enjoy the peace, however. Unease twisted in his gut, and his pace was rapid and purposeful as he headed towards Daenerys' tent. Irri had told him very little, only that the Khaleesi had urgent need of him, and that he had better hurry. What misfortune could have befallen her, that would require his urgent attention so late in the evening?
Such was his distress that he completely forgot to request permission to enter, instead shouldering straight through the tent flap without so much as a polite greeting.
Not that it mattered. Daenerys was nowhere to be seen.
Now that was unusual. She needed him, and yet she wasn't in her tent to receive him.
"Khaleesi?" he called, still feeling troubled, and now utterly confused on top of it. What was happening here?
"Here, ser." He turned, coming face to face with nothing but a heaping pile of cushions. Then, slowly, fearfully, Daenerys peeked out over the top, only the top of her head and her striking eyes visible to him. This action alone was enough to confuse him even more than he'd previously thought possible, but he remembered his courtesies this time.
"I heard you had need of me, princess," he said as evenly as he could manage. She nodded quickly, wide-eyed. "How may I serve you?" She took a moment to peer intently around the room, shuddering. She ducked beneath the cushion pile again, this time extending a hand to point shakily at something on the mat behind him.
"Please," she said in a desperate tone, "remove that…that creature from my tent at once." He turned, following the direction in which she was pointing. All he could see was a small brownish-black object, slightly rounded in shape, and not really large enough to be perceived as a threat. Curious, but no longer nervous, Jorah walked up to the thing and gave it a gentle nudge with the toe of his boot.
It uncurled. All eight legs of it.
He yelped (and would later swear that that sound – which had carried halfway across the camp – had not been him at all, and was instead the cry of some animal roaming the plains) and took a hasty step backwards, eyes fixed upon the eight-legged monstrosity with pure horror. Now, during his time as a knight, and indeed, as an exile, he had set eyes upon many unpleasant and downright terrible things. But every man had his breaking point, and here was his, sprawled out upon the woven mat, glaring up at him with an air of true malevolence.
He turned away from it, shuddering. Daenerys had once more partially emerged from her embroidered stronghold, and was staring up at him with a combination of hopelessness, pity and frustration.
"You too, Ser Jorah?" she whispered. He nodded, almost ashamed of himself.
"Spiders are not a common sight in the North, Khaleesi." She nodded her understanding.
"So you can't… get rid of it?" she begged, eyes huge, brows drawn together in a heart-rending expression. Oh, that face. How could he deny her this? How could he, her sworn protection, refuse to pick up a harmless spider at her behest? What kind of knight would do that? He took a deep, steadying breath.
"Very well," he said grimly. He turned and knelt before the foul creature, preparing himself to scoop it up and bolt from the tent. Steady, steady now… He reached out his hands. But the spider, it seemed, had other ideas. It scuttled towards him in a frenzied death-or-glory charge, and every ounce of nerve he had managed to gather fled from him in a heartbeat. He leapt backwards, this time managing not to cry out, and curled up beside Daenerys and her pile of cushions, getting as far away from the spider as possible. Wordlessly, she passed him a spare cushion, and he clutched it in front of him like a shield.
"Forgive me, Khaleesi," Jorah gasped, trying to regulate his breathing. "I have failed you." Daenerys bit her lip.
"What will we do now? We're trapped!" He nodded darkly. It seemed hopeless. Running to fetch further help would once again put him within touching distance of that… thing, and would make him look an utter fool in the process. And Daenerys was less capable of movement than he was, flinching every time the spider so much as raised a leg in their direction. There had to be something he could do to save her from this, to save them both from this.
"Wait…" he muttered, suddenly hit with a bolt of inspiration. This could be the most idiotic, potentially-suicidal plan he had ever formulated, but on the other hand… it could also be the thing to put an end to all of this grief. "Khaleesi, pass me your sandal."
"My… Excuse me, ser?" She looked baffled, and rightly so, but he could think of nothing else to do. This might be their last hope.
"Your sandal, princess, and hurry. This is a matter of urgency." This time, thankfully, she did as she was asked, slipping the sandal off of her foot and passing it to him.
"You mean to kill it? Truly?"
"Can you think of a better idea?"
"…No." He weighed the shoe in his hand. It was light – one of his own boots would have made a far better weapon, but unlacing it would take time, and they could ill afford to wait. The sandal would suffice, if thrown hard enough. There would be consequences, yes, such as having to remove spider innards from both the mat and the sandal, but by this point he was past caring. He drew himself up, focusing hard upon the spider, still indolently sprawled there, as if daring him to make a move. He could almost hear it taunting him.
Come on, old man. Show me what you can do.
As you wish, monster. Biting his lip and winging a silent prayer to the old Gods, he hurled the riding sandal with all of his strength. It sailed through the incense-scented air, and hit the rug with an audible, satisfying slap.
Several inches away from his chosen target.
Silence reigned for a few painful seconds. Nothing was heard but their breathing.
Daenerys was the first to unfreeze. "You missed?!" she exploded, turning to him with fury in her beautiful eyes. He recoiled despite himself. "You missed! How in seven hells did you miss?!" He had no answer for her. For the second time in less than fifteen minutes, he had failed his queen. The shame of it…! How would he be able to show his face in the khalasar again, knowing that he had failed to complete the maddeningly simple task of removing a spider from her tent. Daenerys would never look him in the eye again. And once the news circulated throughout the rest of the group, he would never, ever be able to live it down. Jorah briefly entertained the notion of simply throwing himself upon his sword, but that seemed a little extreme, even for this situation.
"So… that's it, then." Daenerys sounded tearful now, further adding to his misery. "We're done for."
"I'm afraid so," he replied, sighing.
"You did all you could," she reassured him, as if reading his thoughts. "I am grateful for your efforts." He lowered his head, humbled, and drew a little closer to her as they both began to come to terms with the fact that they were likely to be stuck there, at the mercy of the eight-legged demon, for the rest of their natural lives.
Unbeknownst to the both of them, Irri stood at the entrance to the tent, listening intently to everything, one hand pressed tightly to her mouth to stifle any giggles. She had known the nature of the Andal's mission all along, but she had not expected him to react in such a way. Knights were supposed to be fearless, were they not? But even Jorah, bold knight, seasoned fighter, was rendered utterly helpless when faced with something as harmless as a spider.
It had been funny at first. But eventually Irri was forced to concede that this nonsense had gone on for long enough. Somebody had to rescue them. Sighing, she slipped into the tent.
Jorah surfaced from the depths of his arachnid-induced despair just in time to catch sight of Irri walking towards them. The look she gave to Daenerys was sympathetic enough, she even went as far as to lay a sisterly hand against her shoulder, nodding reassuringly while the khaleesi smiled her thanks. But the look that the handmaid spared for him dripped with contempt. Muttering to herself in fluid, exasperated Dothraki, Irri knelt, gathered the spider in her hands and tossed it indifferently through the open tent-flap. With a snort of derision, she slipped out without another word. Suddenly panicking, Jorah lunged after her, just managing to catch her by the arm.
"Tell nobody," he warned in a voice laced with ice. Irri just smirked, wriggled out of his grip, and sauntered away. He knew what that smirk meant. Perhaps it would be a good idea to keep his head down for a couple of days, or else flee altogether, in a vain attempt to keep some of his honour and dignity intact. News spread rapidly in the khalasar, after all.
Well, there goes Ser Jorah's impeccable reputation! Like I said, the humour in this might have been questionable (or missing entirely) but I enjoyed writing this and I feel it makes a nice change from the serious, downright miserable stuff I tend to write. Feedback would be great, positive or otherwise :D
Also, a little note to ObeliskX, if you're reading this: I am working on your request as we speak. I'm making real progress this time, so keep your eyes open, 'kay?