Arya grew hesitant. “Where?”
“Far and away, across the narrow sea.”
“I can’t. I have to go home. To Winterfell.”
“Then we must part,” he said, “for I have duties too.”
He lifted her hand and pressed a small coin into her palm. “Here.”
“What is it?”
“A coin of great value.”
Arya bit it.
It was so hard it could only be iron.
“Is it worth enough to buy a horse?”
“It is not meant for the buying of horses.”
“Then what good is it?”
“As well ask what good is life, what good is death?
If the day comes when you would find me again, give that coin to any man from Braavos, and say these words to him—valar morghulis.”
“Valar morghulis,” Arya repeated.
It wasn’t hard. Her fingers closed tight over the coin.
Across the yard, she could hear men dying.
“Please don’t go, Jaqen.”
“Jaqen is as dead as Arry,” he said sadly,
“and I have promises to keep.
Valar morghulis, Arya Stark. Say it again.”
“Valar morghulis,” she said once more,
and the stranger in Jaqen’s clothes bowed to her and stalked off through the darkness, cloak swirling.
She was alone with the dead men.
They deserved to die, Arya told herself, remembering all those Ser Amory Lorch had killed at the holdfast by the lake.
The cellars under Kingspyre were empty when she returned to her bed of straw.
She whispered her names to her pillow, and when she was done she added,
“Valar morghulis,” in a small soft voice, wondering what it meant.
Come dawn, Pinkeye and the others were back, all but one boy who’d been killed in the fighting for no reason that anyone could say.
Pinkeye went up alone to see how matters stood by light of day, complaining all the while that his old bones could not abide steps.
When he returned, he told them that Harrenhal had been taken.
“Them Bloody Mummers killed some of Ser Amory’s lot in their beds, and the rest at table after they were good and drunk.
The new lord will be here before the day’s out, with his whole host.