Sansa was horrified.
“These are women, unarmed, and gently born.”
“Their birth protects them,” Cersei admitted,
“though not as much as you’d think.
Each one’s worth a good ransom, but after the madness of battle, soldiers often seem to want flesh more than coin.
Even so, a golden shield is better than none.
Out in the streets, the women won’t be treated near as tenderly.
Nor will our servants.
Pretty things like that serving wench of Lady Tanda’s could be in for a lively night,
but don’t imagine the old and the infirm and the ugly will be spared.
Enough drink will make blind washerwomen and reeking pig girls seem as comely as you, sweetling.”
“Try not to sound so like a mouse, Sansa.
You’re a woman now, remember?
And betrothed to my firstborn.”
The queen sipped at her wine.
“Were it anyone else outside the gates, I might hope to beguile him.
But this is Stannis Baratheon.
I’d have a better chance of seducing his horse.”
She noticed the look on Sansa’s face, and laughed.
“Have I shocked you, my lady?”
She leaned close.
“You little fool. Tears are not a woman’s only weapon.
You’ve got another one between your legs, and you’d best learn to use it.
You’ll find men use their swords freely enough.
Both kinds of swords.”
Sansa was spared the need to reply when two Kettleblacks reentered the hall.
Ser Osmund and his brothers had become great favorites about the castle;
they were always ready with a smile and a jest, and got on with grooms and huntsmen as well as they did with knights and squires.
With the serving wenches they got on best of all, it was gossiped.
Of late Ser Osmund had taken Sandor Clegane’s place by Joffrey’s side,
and Sansa had heard the women at the washing well saying he was as strong as the Hound, only younger and faster.
If that was so, she wondered why she had never once heard of these Kettleblacks before Ser Osmund was named to the Kingsguard.
Osney was all smiles as he knelt beside the queen.
“The hulks have gone up, Y’Grace.
The whole Blackwater’s awash with wildfire.
A hundred ships burning, maybe more.”
“And my son?”
“He’s at the Mud Gate with the Hand and the Kingsguard, Y’Grace.