I Know How to Play: A Game of Thrones Fan-Fiction Story

I KNOW HOW TO PLAY: A GAME OF THRONES FAN-FICTION STORY

By Avellina Balestri (alias Rosaria Marie)

Word Count: 1145

Rating: PG-13 for violence and disturbing imagery

Summary: Cersei Lannister contemplates her role in the Game of Thrones.

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They say that war is not a woman’s game. But I know how to play, yes, I can play, play you all, play you to death. I will play on my unfurled ships, and curled lips. I will dance with the dragons, and my mark will be marked upon the great map that opens like a scroll, scribbled scarlet. My eyes have long since grown accustomed to the red flame that has burned me, burned me hollow. And I turned the fire from red to green.

   Oh, you will dance to your death, for all you have taken from me…all you robbed from me, all of you, every last one of you. You treated me like an animal at market, to buy or to sell, as best it suited you, and to make me your pawn across the board. You say I have no heart; but you broke it! You say I have no soul; but you sold it! Thieves and murderers, all!

   For war is not a woman’s game, it is not for us to swing the swords, not for us to fight in any other way but wit and wile, and they call us she-wolves and huntress cats. You are heroes, all of you, with blood running up to your eyes, and your eyes deaf to the screams tearing from innocent lungs. You did this; you made me. Oh, oh…you made me…you un-made me…you broke me…you burned me…do you not know what you have done?

    So you hate me. I am not what you meant me to be, you who bent me over into an iron spike, in the smith shop of your politics. Yes, hate me, hate me, until you love me, until you bow down with your faces to the mud, until you cast down your gods and goddesses, too long deaf to my pleading, and worship me! Hate me or love me or worship me, but know I am forever before you, and the lioness licks at her prey. I will pleasure you to death.

    War is a hero, yet I take the blame. I am your monster, my head held high, my hair a tangle of snakes. Will you come to strike me down? You, with your fine, pure blades? Will you come to defile me again? Oh, am I worth so little, until I become terrible? Am I viewed as a dumb animal, trained to bite the bit and bear the lash and mate and rut and breed according to your fancy, until I become a creature from your nightmares? Is that the only way I shall ever be free?

    For shame, for shame, you want me to smile and sing! For shame, oh, for shame! What think you of me? That you might craft me in your image, and then shrink back from the mirror’s glow? Am I the fairest, the fiercest, the most laudable, the most despicable? Will you determine it for me? But I know what I shall be; for love burns. Ice will be the lover in my bosom.

   Love, what have you done to me? Torn me apart, made me weak! I will be weak no more, but strong, strong as my sire, who cares not for the cry of the deer. I will survive, do you hear me, I will survive and endure, and I will beat you all, beat you, checkmate you, and weave my thorns in twisted crowns around you! I have found my chair, and who shall make me stand?

     I will drink my wine of cruelty; it is all I have ever tasted. I am bathed in it, imbued in it, and all I see runs dark purple, dark black. I have dealt with the dreams, the ones that harass, but I have stared them down. They dare not defy me. I will eat them all up if they try it. I will be proud. I will be bold. I will smile, and you all shall die at the sight of it. Oh, would I not love to blind you all, and cause you to grope in your self-made darkness! You put it in me, you must live with it, my darkness, your darkness, darkness all around!

     Smoke and fire, fire and smoke. I am surrounded by it, and I inhale it. I will remain upon my chair. I will remain here until the ceiling comes down upon me. I feel no fear. I feel nothing. I have lost every honest thing I ever had. I am stripped of every dignity, stripped of clothes and pride and love, and I have survived. I am raped and ravaged and dirty and defiled and I am broken and bruised and bloodied and I survived!

    A lioness, a Lannister!

    You shaved my mane, you slew my cubs!

    Her highness the survivor!

    You killed me, killed me long ago…though I have won, I have died…

    Gods, I have survived, outlived every good, cast it down, shattered it! I have led with my claws, led with my teeth, I have stripped meat from bones, and stained my fair face red! Dead eyes, dead men…they deserved it, for all their gory honor! Oh, they’ll never see me weak, they’ll never see me cry. I wear my armor tightly clasped, I laugh at the fools until it rasps, and unto this iron hell I grasp, and gasp…and gasp…

     I cannot breathe, I cannot breathe…the mirror is breaking…

    Joffrey…

    The…

    Tommen…

    Mirror…

    Myrcella…

    Is…

   Jaime…

   Breaking…

    Love…

    I scream. And my body is on fire. And there are tears on my cheeks before the flesh melts away, and my eyes are bathed in salt before they drop out of the sockets.

   And are the ghosts hovering over me all those whose lives I have taken, all to keep the icy glass unbroken? Are they here to watch my twitching fingers turn to bones, and the veins in my hands become conduits of flame? They are here to watch me burn away in my chair…to cast the ashes into the underworld…is it not the prize I have earned?

    My armor is molten hot, melting down my shoulders, and it enters my mouth, burns out my beautiful tongue of sweetest deceptions and constricts my wine-washed throat. My lips slit open and the spittle dries. I twist, I turn. I vomit as my stomach burns away. I am a survivor no more. Just a woman, playing a woman’s game. And I am dying.

    Mother, help me, mother…

    I can’t see…

    Mother, hold me…

    I’m crying…

   Hold me…

    Pick up the bones…

   Hold me, hold me, hold me…

   Touch me, kiss me…

    Hold me…

    Keep holding me…

    When I’m dead…

    I’m dying, Mother…

    I’m done playing, Mother…

   Pray for me, sing to me…

   Oh, hold me…

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