Prologue Summary

Pate, Mollander, and Roone watch as Alleras the Sphinx shoots arrows at thrown apples. Mollander and Roone would like to see the dragons that they have heard about, while Pate dreams of Rosey. Rosey's mother has offered to sell her maidenhead for a gold dragon, and though Pate has been saving, he does not yet have enough. She is all that he wants in the world, and Pate fantasizes about taking her across the Narrow Sea, away from Oldtown. When he had first come to the Citadel, Pate had been thrilled to help Archmaester Walgrave with the ravens, but it soon turned to doing domestic chores for the old man. He thinks about the alchemist who will return this night with the offer to turn iron to gold. Unlike the others, Pate has yet to forgea single link of a maester's chain. Alleras already has three in less than a year of study. Alleras shoots his last arrow and sits down to tell the other students what he suspects about the dragon stories. He thinks Daenerys Stormborn is the young queen they have heard about. Lazy Leo, an arrogant lord's son, arrives and tells the others that Marwyn the Mage, an eccentric archmaester, agrees with Alleras. Eventually, Pate is left alone and he finally finds the alchemist. He trades the man an archmaester's key in exchange for a gold dragon. The alchemist reveals his face, which is average but for a hooked nose and a scar on his right cheek. Pate begins to walk away, thinking of Rosy, when he falls to the cobbles.