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Daenerys tries to bribe the Pureborn, the high civic council of Qarth, to help her invade Westeros, but they refuse. She asks Xaros to supply her with ships, but he tells her to give up her foolish dream and pleads with her to marry him. A sorceress tells Daenerys that she and her dragons are bringing magic back into the world and that Daenerys should go to Asshai to find what she seeks. Jorah urges her to leave the city and tells her that if she hopes to take back the Iron Throne, she needs to find a way to win over some of the lords of Westeros.
Tyrion sees off Myrcella, who is to be taken to Braavos for her safety before being brought to the Martells in Dorne. As they return to the castle, a crowd taunts Tyrion, Cersei, Joffrey, Sansa, and other members of the royal court. Joffrey sends the Hound to pacify the crowd, but the taunts quickly turn to violence, and chaos erupts. Under attack, the party fights its way back to the castle but not all make it. Tyrion berates Joffrey for inciting the violence and orders the Kingsguard to go back out in the city to find Sansa. As fire breaks out and spreads through the city, the Hound rides in carrying Sansa. That night they learn that the the mobs killed the High Septon and gang raped Lady Tanda’s daughter. Jacelyn Bywater warns Tyrion that the people have started resenting and hating the Lannisters, Tyrion most of all. Bronn mentions to Tyrion how much better things would be if Tommen were king rather than Joffrey, but Tyrion angrily refuses to think about that possibility.
Davos attends a parley between Stannis and Ser Cortnay Penrose, who still holds out inside Storm’s End. Stannis demands that Cortnay surrender and turn over Edric Storm, Robert’s bastard. Cortnay accuses Stannis’s council of being turncoats, refuses Stannis’s demands, and proposes the standoff be settled by single combat instead. Stannis dismisses Cortnay’s offer and the parley ends. Davos tells Stannis that many of the men who now follow him are not trustworthy, as they were Renly’s men only days before, a point Stannis appears to concede. Stannis tells Davos that he was having a nightmare when Renly was killed, and that he mourns his brother’s death. Davos advises Stannis to leave Storm’s End and attack King’s Landing, but Stannis refuses, saying it would make him look weak.
Stannis tells Davos that Melisandre has foreseen that Cortnay's death, but Davos disputes her ability to see the future, saying the events she foresaw only occurred because Stannis acted on her predictions. Stannis orders Davos to sneak Melisandre into Storm’s End that night. Davos does as he is told, but as he ferries Melisandre to the castle he accuses her of treachery and the murder of Cressen and Renly. She tells Davos that she is good because she serves the Lord of Light. Davos sails them into a cave under the castle. Melisandre takes off her red cloak, and Davos sees that she is pregnant. Melisandre squats and gives birth to a shadow, a figure that Davos, horrified, recognizes. The shadow quickly disappears into the castle.
Qhorin Halfhand, a revered commander of the Night’s Watch who serves in the garrison at the Shadow Tower, arrives at the Fist with his forces. Qhorin tells the Old Bear that he has learned that Mance Rayder has a vast army gathering in the Frostfangs. Qhorin says that Mance seeks some sort of sorcery or secret in the mountains, a magic power that will allow the wildlings to pass through or under the Wall and invade the Seven Kingdoms. Qhorrin chooses Jon to accompany him on a scouting mission into the mountains.
Cersei sends Tommen, her youngest son, out of the city for protection, but Tyrion sends Jacelyn and his men to intercept the party and hold Tommen at Rosby castle. Tyrion goes to the brothel, which has a secret entrance he uses to visit Shae, but he does not take his usual precautions to make sure he is not seen. At Shae’s, Varys comes to Tyrion and tells him that Cortnay Penrose is dead and Stannis has taken Storm’s End, which means Stannis can now march on King’s Landing. To protect Shae, Tyrion and Varys decide to bring her into the castle to serve as handmaiden to Lady Tanda's daughter. Varys tells Tyrion that he suspects Cortnay was killed by magic, though Tyrion is skeptical.
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