Chapter 25 Summary
Brienne is irritated when Ser Hyle insists on bringing the heads of the slain Brave Companions. They rot and stink by the time they return to Maidenpool, and though Tarly is impressed by the proof that Brienne defeated three men he still insists that she return to Tarth. Brienne refuses and is surprised when Ser Hyle speaks up for her. She decides to search the riverlands for the Hound, who may be riding with Beric Dondarrion, the rumors say. Ser Hyle joins her, explaining that Lord Tarly has dismissed him for insolence and that now finding Sansa is his best chance of gaining land. They are also joined by Septon Meribald and his dog, Dog. Septon Meribald has walked the paths of the riverlands for decades. The people they meet are sometimes untouched by the war because they have neither treasure nor weapons. They know nothing of King's Landing or even Riverrun, but Brienne realizes that they know about the Seven because of Meribald's teaching. When they hear that there are three deserters nearby, Brienne and Ser Hyle prepare to defend themselves. Meribald suggests that they take care but that they also feel pity for the broken men. If he can, he will hear their confessions. He explains that they were just peasants taken to war and dreaming of adventure. Before long, their lord is dead and they are forced to rob the dead to armor themselves. When they realize that they have left their homes behind and have no way of returning to them, they desert and are soon robbing the living. Brienne realizes that Septon Meribald is telling the story of his own youth.