Continued from Episode 3.
The bastards Jorah had been speaking of e were all local warlords. Most had taken to calling themselves the “Bloody Masters”, a brutal echo of the Great, Good and Wise Masters who had once ruled Meereen, Astapor and Yunkai respectively. Appropriately named, they were a bloodthirsty and capricious lot, capable of astonishing cruelties and even worse depravities. Some of them were former soldiers, some the scions of fallen Meereense clans—Rhezeen, Reznak, Lorrq and the like – others still were just murderers with a willingness to torture and kill and the charisma to compel others to follow.
No Mercy in Meereen
Episode 4 | (by David Reeder)
They were well aware of the power that comes from controlling the food supply.
Because of this, the handwringers and other NGOs in the city were forced to hire mercenary companies for security. Jorah’s men were one such, just one of many PMCs in Meereen and another generation in a line of exiles, dispossessed soldiers, and hired killers dating back to the days of the Golden Company. The Stormbreakers were in Meereen, as were the Stormcrows, RMR (almost exclusively comprised of former Princess Shireen’s Light Infantry troopers), the Free Rhoynish Rifles, even a good of House Stokeworth’s most infamous export. Jorah had better soldiers — far better soldiers — than most others, however, and were widely regarded as the most trustworthy of the lot.
Because of this, his pay was greater than it had ever been in the service of the realm, though not in the coin of the soul. He and his men guarded the well-intentioned but futile and unappreciated efforts of a host of Lhazarene Merciful Men, NGOs and other handwringing do-goods who sought to feed the city-state’s hungry thousands. They were good at it.
People starved everywhere in Meereen, except where they didn’t.
Ser Jorah Stone was on Essos by choice, not exile or infamy as some would believe, but he was heartily tired of sun and salt, the sweating misery of Slaver’s Bay and most of all the people. Every year he thought he’d get used to it, mayhap in just one more year. He’d lived there, loved there, fought there, fucked there, killed there, but it would never be home. Not in one more year, nor ten, nor fifty.
He shook his head suddenly, breaking the reverie.
The portcullis began to rise, creeping slowly upward in fits and starts until fully raised. Both Zorse and Garron, staged to rumble out into the city, revved their engines and began to creep forward.
Gawr Weg leaned over, capturing Jorah in his shadow.
“Ride now, Gawr Weg?” the giant rumbled, peering down at Jorah. His shaggy eyebrows were the size of a strong man’s arm. One of his teeth was missing and his voice was so deep it vibrated the ceramic plate in the front of Jorah’s armor. Though the Garron ACAV’s armored roof topped Jorah’s head by at least a hand, it barely reached Gawr Weg’s waist.
Gawr Weg Dun Mawr Dun was a creature of the Frozen Shore of Westeros, but he had, with the indulgent complicity of his comrades, long since ‘gone native’ and begun dressing Meereenese style. He wore hideous, blousy pants of a dozen different colors, calf high sandals and a painted vest. At least a dozen steel and ceramic plates were sewn into the vest, front and back, like lammelar armor of old. Each one was steel and would stop a rifle round, each one as large by itself as the ones the other mercenaries wore singly in their battle rattle. He did not appear to notice the weight. Its buttons were jade and gold wire, each bigger than Jorah’s fist, all carved into the distinctive shape of a bolt carrier group face. He wore long strands of concertina wire coiled around his huge wrists wrapped over thick leather bracelets.
“Gawr Weg ride now,” agreed Jorah in a curiously gentle tone. He jerked a thumb over his shoulder at the Zorse. The gesture earned him a smile as wide as a shovel.
The giant could lift more, and faster, than any five of Jorah’s soldiers could together. He was likewise useful when it came to keeping the thronging, frantic Meereenese cowed so they could distribute the Lhazarene humanitarian rations and measured sacks of rice. The locals could not be trusted to distribute humanitarian rations or medical supplies. If they were allowed to transport it or dole it out, the vast majority was invariably stolen and sold back to their own people for profit, or traded sisters, daughters and young sons or brothers.
The giant grinned happily and stood upright. He loved to ride, not a little because he knew riding almost always meant a fight. He was strong and loyal and fearless, was Gawr Weg, with fists the size of anvils, but an almost childlike humor left many with an impression of wits that moved slow as a millwheel. He was a damned lot of trouble when he managed to get his hands on local liquor, but Jorah’s men
Too big to ride inside either vehicle, the giant must perforce ride atop.
As the giant swung on massive leg atop the Zorse atop the turret, Stone slipped down in the Garron commander’s hole, jacked in his headset. The ballistic glass by the driver was spiderwebbed with cracks. Its opposite number was worse. It had nearly been shot away.
Vehicles, men, gear…all worn and reliable in equal measure.
Jorah grimaced and waved at Sallt. The seven-ton’s driver nodded popped the brake release.
“Move out,” he muttered gruffly, barely loud enough to be heard, but the Thorne heard him and obeyed.
The Zorse stepped off first, big and brutal and fearsome, modified as best they could for city use. Despite its recently scoured armor, the absence of its chain gun made it look aged and somehow diminished, though Stone’s motor-T lads kept it running flawlessly. The Garron lurched into motion right after, smaller and lighter and piled high with provisions stacked on its back, the 7-tonne between.
Moments later they were crawling through the arch, the tracks clattering through a fetid, barely flowing sludge of waste and sewage that flowed like a moat between their timeworn brick compound and the rest of the city.
To Be Continued In Part 5, available first to our Patreon supporters.
Check out the Tactical Tyrion collection. It includes Clegane the Assaulter.