“Someone is coming.”
“Friends,” said Gendry, unconcerned.
“What sort of friends?” Brienne moved to the door of the smithy to peer out through the rain. He shrugged.
“You’ll meet them soon enough.”
I may not want to meet them, Brienne thought, as the first riders came splashing through the puddles into the yard. Beneath the patter of the rain and Dog’s barking, she could hear the faint clink of swords and mail from beneath their ragged cloaks. She counted them as they came. Two, four, six, seven. Some of them were wounded, judging from the way they rode. The last man was massive and hulking, as big as two of the others. His horse was blown and bloody, staggering beneath his weight. All the riders had their hoods up against the lashing rain, save him alone. His face was broad and hairless, maggot white, his round cheeks covered with weeping sores.
Brienne sucked in her breath and drew Oathkeeper. Too many, she thought, with a start of fear, they are too many. “Gendry,” she said in a low voice, “you’ll want a sword, and armor. These are not your friends. They’re no one’s friends.”
“What are you talking about?”
The boy came and stood beside her, his hammer in his hand. Lightning cracked to the south as the riders swung down off their horses. For half a heartbeat darkness turned to day. An axe gleamed silvery blue, light shimmered off mail and plate, and beneath the dark hood of the lead rider Brienne glimpsed an iron snout and rows of steel teeth, snarling. Gendry saw it too.
“Not him. His helm.”
Brienne tried to keep the fear from her voice, but her mouth was dry as dust. She had a pretty good notion who wore the Hound’s helm. The children, she thought. The door to the inn banged open. Willow stepped out into the rain, a crossbow in her hands. The girl was shouting at the riders, but a clap of thunder rolled across the yard, drowning out her words. As it faded, Brienne heard the man in the Hound’s helm say, “Loose a quarrel at me and I’ll shove that crossbow up your cunt and fuck you with it. Then I’ll pop your fucking eyes out and make you eat them.” The fury in the man’s voice drove Willow back a step, trembling.
Seven, Brienne thought again, despairing. She had no chance against seven, she knew. No chance, and no choice. She stepped out into the rain, Oathkeeper in hand.
“Leave her be. If you want to rape someone, try me.”
Excerpt from A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11