Friday, July 10, 2020

Online Research Paper Writing Help

Online Research Paper Writing HelpWriting online research papers is a really challenging task. There are so many aspects that you have to be careful while doing the job. The project that you are going to perform in your article will be based on facts and figures. You are not supposed to make some political statements or anything that is incorrect.The best way to get rid of all these issues is to consult some research papers. Just by doing research, you will get a clear picture of what is needed for your paper. However, there are some facts that cannot be explained by the research papers.There are some websites that provide you online research papers. These websites will help you to focus and research the information that you need. It will give you some proper help while doing the job.One more advantage that comes with online research papers is that you can see all the work you have done so far. This will help you focus on the details that you need to focus.If you are sure about the t opic that you are going to write in your research papers, then it is better to hire the help of a professional. This is because this professional will provide you with some knowledge about the subject and they will also be aware of the researches that you have performed. A professional will help you create a good and unique paper that you want to publish.The first thing that you have to do when you are about to write online research papers is to write down some keywords that you want to include in your article. Some people use the keywords for different purposes. For example, you can use them for the purpose of SEO, CPA and also the advertising purpose.There are so many tips available in the Internet and you can find out those tips from the research papers. These papers are there to help you in creating a good and unique paper.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Boiling Point Elevation Definition and Process

Boiling point elevation occurs when the boiling point of a solution becomes higher than the boiling point of a pure solvent. The temperature at which the solvent boils is increased by adding any non-volatile solute. A common example of boiling point elevation can be observed by adding salt to water. The boiling point of the water is increased (although in this case, not enough to affect the cooking rate of food). Boiling point elevation, like freezing point depression, is a colligative property of matter. This means it depends on the number of particles present in a solution and not on the type of particles or their mass. In other words, increasing the concentration of the particles increases the temperature at which the solution boils. How Boiling Point Elevation Works In a nutshell, boiling point increases because most of the solute particles remain in the liquid phase rather than enter the gas phase. In order for a liquid to boil, its vapor pressure needs to exceed ambient pressure, which is harder to achieve once you add a nonvolatile component. If you like, you could think of adding a solute as diluting the solvent. It doesnt matter whether the solute is an electrolyte or not. For example, boiling point elevation of water occurs whether you add salt (an electrolyte) or sugar (not an electrolyte). Boiling Point Elevation Equation The amount of boiling point elevation can be calculated using the Clausius-Clapeyron equation and Raoults law. For an ideal dilute solution: Boiling Pointtotal Boiling Pointsolvent ΔTb where ΔTb molality * Kb * i with Kb ebullioscopic constant (0.52Â °C kg/mol for water) and i Vant Hoff factor The equation is also commonly written as: ΔT Kbm The boiling point elevation constant depends on the solvent. For example, here are constants for some common solvents: Solvent Normal Boiling Point, oC Kb, oC m-1 water 100.0 0.512 benzene 80.1 2.53 chloroform 61.3 3.63 acetic acid 118.1 3.07 nitrobenzene 210.9 5.24

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Mental Health Is A Sense Of Wellness - 1775 Words

Mental health is a sense of wellness that an individual has; it is influenced by multiple factors such as support system, personal cultural beliefs, family, and biological influences. Being mentally healthy gives us the ability to grow cognitively, communicate, contribute to society, work productively, and cope with stress (Halter, 2014). When we are unable to cope with stressful events in life, it prevents us from having a meaningful learning experience. Anxiety is a universal emotion that exists in everyone; it is highly individualized and no two people experience them exactly the same. Anxiety can be brought on by something simple such as remembering if you locked the door before you left the house in the morning, or speaking in front of a large group of people. A mentally healthy adult is able to cope with anxiety because they have learned from their past experiences and have grown from them. We progressively grow cognitively as we age and we learn from stressful experiences thro ughout life, but what about young children? Children develop at their own pace and may lack the cognitive ability to understand why they feel a certain way. Due to their young age, they do not have a large collection of life experiences to help them get through stressful situations. The purpose of this paper is to explore how young children diagnosed with an anxiety disorder respond to Cognitive Behavioral Therapies compared to Metacognitive Therapy. After conducting research about youngShow MoreRelatedRecommending Intervention Activities That Promote Resilience And Wellness984 Words   |  4 PagesRecommend Intervention Activities That Promote Resilience and Wellness Cultural context and communities provide challenges and areas of strength related to wellness and resilience. 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[Though, some community activists wouldRead MoreDepression Is The Worlds Most Common Mental Illness1698 Words   |  7 Pagesworld’s most common mental illness that has affected an estimated 16 million adults alone in the United States in the past year. Depression is an illness that affects and targets your mind, body and spirit. However, this condition can be short lived depending on the individual and circumstances. Studies have been proven more than 235,000 people which amounts to 9% has met the criteria for clinical depression, also 3% were diagnosed with major depression in the past year. This mental illness affects bothRead MoreDepression Is The Worlds Most Common Mental Illness1455 Words   |  6 Pagesworld’s most common mental illness that has affected an estimated 16 million adults alone in the United States in the past year. Depression is an illness that affects and targets your mind, body and spirit. However, this condition can be shor t lived depending on the individual and circumstances. Studies have been proven more than 235,000 people which amounts to 9% has met the criteria for clinical depression, also 3% were diagnosed with major depression in the past year. This mental illness affects bothRead MoreCause And Effect Of A Gunshot Wound Be Treated With Affirmations And Prayer771 Words   |  4 Pagestreatable condition; and that is just not the case. There are many physical factors that detrimentally affect our health: disease, infection, genetics, diet, injury, exhaustion, accidents, poison, warfare, pollution, heredity, birth defects, and more. All of these can be considered the cause of an unhealthy condition; but none of them are an illness. A bullet is bad for one’s health, but no one is suggesting that a gunshot wound is an illness or a disease. [Though, some community activists wouldRead MoreDepression Is The Worlds Most Common Mental Illness1276 Words   |  6 Pagesworld’s most common mental illness that has affected an estimated 16 million adults alone in the United States in the past year. Depression is an illness that affects and targets your mind, body and spirit. However, this condition can be short lived depending on the individual and circumstances. Studies have been proven more than 235,000 people which amounts to 9% has met the criteria for clinical depression, also 3% were diagnosed with major depression in the past year. This mental illness affects bothRead MoreDeveloping Your Professional Identity Is Good For Any Profession1099 Words   |  5 Pagesthere profession they can answer any questions they have about that profession. In this paper the author will discuss the difference between two of the specializations of the counseling discipline. Then this paper will discuss how to use the terms wellness, resilience, and prevention in a counseling discipline. In this paper the author will discuss how the licensure plays a role in being a counselor. This paper will also discuss the issues of, how certain associations can help ones professional identityRead MoreArticle Report On Mindfulness And Wellness Essay1026 Words   |  5 PagesMindfulness Wellness By Awnish Todi | Submitted On March 01, 2016 Recommend Article Article Comments Print Article Share this article on Facebook Share this article on Twitter Share this article on Google+ 1 Share this article on Linkedin Share this article on StumbleUpon Share this article on Delicious Share this article on Digg Share this article on Reddit Share this article on Pinterest Expert Author Awnish Todi You re probably wondering what mindfulness and wellness, could possiblyRead MoreMental Wellness And Older Adults806 Words   |  4 PagesConsider the issues that surround mental wellness in older adults? What stressors contribute to their mental health? What about protective factors? There are many issues surrounding mental wellness in older adults. For instance, as Qui (2010) reports, some of these adults have a difficult time leaving the house, which can take a toll on them, as this population tends to have more mental and physical issues (p. 2423). Additionally, Zanjani (2012) notes that mental health issues are often erroneously thoughtRead MoreInsurance Coverage For Mental Disorders1679 Words   |  7 Pages Insurance coverage for mental disorders Jyoti.Waddigeri MHS: Mental Health and Society Professor- Dr. Mirjana Zivkovic United States University, San- Diego. Date- 03/27/2016 Insurance coverage for mental disorders INTRODUCTION In the mid twenty first century, 80 percent of persons with maladjustment had some type of open or private medical insurance coverage. This level of scope mirrored the extension of advantages for mental health care inside of private insurance

Culture of the organization and Change management †Free Samples

Question: Discuss about the Culture of the organization and Change management. Answer: Literature review The concept of the organizational culture is one of the hotly debated topics in organization science. The researchers, managers and public often use the term organization culture, even though there is no clear interpretation universally. All the organization has culture, but some are stronger than others(Deshpande Webster Jr, 1989). Culture is the total sum of the knowledge, beliefs, customs and the attitudes to which people expose themselves in their social condition. Individuals can acquire values; learn a language and habits of the thoughts and behaviors(Carmeli Sheaffer, 2009). Every day in our life we are facing the idea of the change. Changes always affect the workers in the organization and therefore it is important to manage it carefully to avoid the resistance to change or failure of the modification. Change in the management can take in radical form, gradually or rapidly. According to the Lewin's model; the refreezing stage is a good definition of the change (Burnes, 2005). In the 21st century, there is no need to refreeze because competition will overtake the organization. (Zeffane, 1996) suggests that change management is how the change affects the organization, and the processes are the same irrespective of whether there is reassigning of the work practices in one area or the re-specification of the management and whole organization structure Organization is dynamic entities and therefore changes all the time due to the development of their outputs and operation in the case of the effectiveness and efficiency. Management of the change is one of the most discussed topics in the management field(Patterson, Wa rr, West, 2004). Hence, it is crucial to understand why individuals resist change to support that part which cannot cope with the modification through coaching and motivate and handling the problems that arise as a result of the change. As William Shakespeare thought Thing must change or cease (Day, 1994). Management of change is about detailed planning, inspirational leadership and comprehensive implementation. Culture of the organization or group is a collection of beliefs and assumption about the world, nature of the space and time, human relationships and life. The beliefs are cultured responses to the problems of the survival in the external environment(Prajogo McDermott, 2005). The core of the existence of the organization is the fundamental external problems. The primary objectives are based on these strategies and mission to conform to the mentioned purpose. Culture establishes and reinforces order, membership criteria, conditions, communication patterns, priorities, punishment and nature of power and reward, management practices and decision-making processes. Numerous models describe the relationship between the variables and phenomena of organization culture (Khazanchi, Lewis, Boyer, 2007). The system approach emphasizes on the interdependencies between various elements and sub-system in an organization and also offers a holistic approach. The organization system models show the relationship between organization sub-system; technology, psycho-sociology, management, structure and goal(Khazanchi, Lewis, Boyer, 2007). The primary determinant in the workplace depends on the complex interaction between groups and individuals which take place at different levels within the firm, between other body and external environment. Complex environment represents the patterns of the interaction between roles, peoples, and the external technology in business. The dimensions of the culture encompass the following; mission and vision; it determines personnels understanding of the values, vision and purposes of the company and it can transform into team goals and objectives (Spender, 1996). External environment determines the extent of focus on internal customers, external and employees perception of the effectiveness of community surrounding (Spender, 1996). Another dimension is the leaderships which concentrate on particular sections that strengthen leadership. Interpersonal relationship focuses on the relationship between personnel, managers and management of conflict. Management process focuses on the method in which management takes place including formulation of the goals, controls and innovation process, goal development and communication (Prajogo McDermott, 2005). Finally, the organization image focuses on the how the outside perceives the organization. As earlier mentioned, five concepts of the organization culture include; job challenge, communication, trust, innovation and social cohesiveness (Prajogo McDermott, 2005). Job challenge concept refers to the complexity and diversity of the work. Communication principles focus on the effectiveness of communication between employees, top management and between employees(Spender, 1996). Trust exists between the managers and their staff or in-between employees who enable open-minded environment and free discussion. Social cohesion is the relationship among members of the organization which further features as a sense of solidarity and cooperation (Ford, 1999). Finally, innovation concept is the supportive environment for new ideas, problem-solving and creativity. In managing change, consideration of areas such as activities, behaviors and structure is vital. Leadership affects culture more than management(Ford, 1999). For the employee to acceptance, employees need to understand the requirement for the new positions and organization implications regarding the relationships and behaviors and new activities which can result in their needs satisfaction. Successive change comes through the participative approach of the management even though it originates from the senior level of the control(Day, 1994). To cope with change and ensure acceptance and motivation, managers should listen to employee concerns accordingly and provide them with advice, assist and support. (Burnes, 2005) Suggest managing change model that relates to the managerial strategies to counter the resistance to the change. They suggest that contingency approach should adapt to every change in management; the leaders should select the best way of responding to an individual situation. Selection for appropriate management style and strategy for change is crucial for each type of resistance. Basically, six approaches have been put forward as a method of controlling resistance to change; education and communication, participation, negotiation and agreement, facilitation and support, and coercion (Burnes, 2005). Firstly, The McKinsey 7S model comprises of S component and changing of any s it will have an impact on the other elements. This element includes; staff, skills, systems, style, shared values, strategy and structure. The McKinsey 7s model provides an efficient model for analyzing an organization and its operation that determines if the organization is weak to adjust to any changes(Burnes, 2005). Additionally, the model assists in avoiding sources that contribute to resistance to change. Secondly, Lewin three step model of change consists of the steps; unfreezing, changing and refreezing (Burnes, 2005). The unfreezing stage, there is the creation of the motivation for the change in the workforce. At this point, the employee should get enough reasons, and good communication is essential before the implementation step. Hence, to avoid the resistance to change, management should encourage and discuss, and explain the reasons for the change. Change level is where there is an identification of the new behavior, procedure and encouragement of employee to adopt new norms (Patterson, Warr, West, 2004). Managers should implement change successfully, monitors and assess the feeling of workers. Refreezing is the final stage and leader should reinforce, and stabilize the new culture to avoid employee to go back to the old habit (Burnes, 2005). Incentives regarding the rewards are crucial for motivating employees for adapting to the new culture. Hence, the whole process is achie vable through communication, leadership, training and education. Different researchers explain the concept of the change communication in a very differing way. Change communication is the propagation of information that concentrates on the training, knowledge, ideas, facts and directives of action concerning the change(Armenakis Bedeian, 1999). (Todnem By, 2005), argues that communication is informing the desired changes as well as giving the reasons for them. Effective communication helps the leaders to get the individuals in the accomplishing certain task and therefore assist in implementing change successfully. (Todnem By, 2005), proposes that if employees do not participate in the change process, they will feel that there is no value to their opinions and suggestions. Study shows that the participations raise the level of the commitment among workers and decrease the levels of the resistances towards a particular change(Mintzberg Westley, 1992). Participation offers specific benefits to workers to reduce the degree of the resistance of the employees. Conclusion Clearly, in the present days, change is inevitable, and it is vital in the current competition for a business to survive in its operation. Taking the company at the right time and step will save the firm from getting out the business. Change should reflect the organizations goals in a sense that the organization members can understand, implement and its goals accordingly. For the resistance reduction, there is no universal way, but likely approaches suggest in various management literature. Moreover, participative management is one of the better ways to reduce resistance. Additionally, the participative approach is useful in improving the change process. An analysis of the organization culture and on how to overcome resistance to change shows that change will always affect all the organization globally. Therefore, it is safe not to be reactive but proactive. For the organization change to occur efficiently, then innovation is very crucial. It is also essential to manage change carefully and successfully and avoid change resistance since change always affects people in an organization. Structure, people and technology are factors that determine the organizational effectiveness(Todnem By, 2005). Structural are more of policies, control and procedures of the organization. People factors are leadership skills, attitudes and characteristics of the human resources. Lastly, technology factors are any types of the process that helps members in the performance of their jobs. References Armenakis, A., Bedeian, A. (1999). Armenakis, A. A., Organizational change: A review of theory and research in the 1990s. Journal of management, 25(3), 293-315. Burnes, B. (2005). Complexity theories and organizational change. International Journal of Management Reviews, 7(2), 73-90. Carmeli, A., Sheaffer, Z. (2009). How leadership characteristics affect organizational decline and downsizing. Journal of Business Ethics, 86(3), 363-378. Day, G. ( 1994). The capabilities of market-driven organizations. the Journal of Marketing, 37-52. Deshpande, R., Webster Jr, F. (1989). Organizational culture and marketing: defining the research agenda. The journal of marketing, 3-15. Ford, J. (1999). Organizational change as shifting conversations. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 12(6), 480-500. Khazanchi, S., Lewis, M., Boyer, K. (2007). Innovation-supportive culture: The impact of organizational values on process innovation. Journal of operations management, 25(4), 871-884. Mintzberg, H., Westley, F. (1992). Cycles of organizational change. Strategic management journal, 13(S2), 39-59. Patterson, M., Warr, P., West, M. (2004). Organizational climate and company productivity: The role of employee affect and employee level. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 77(2), Patterson, M., Warr, P., West, M. (2004). Organizational climate and company productivity: The rol 193-216. Prajogo, D., McDermott, C. (2005). The relationship between total quality management practices and organizational culture. International Journal of Operations Production Management, 25(11), 1101-1122. Spender, J. (1996). Organizational knowledge, learning and memory: three concepts in search of a theory. Spender, J. C. (1996). Organizational knowledge, learning and me Journal of organizational change management, 9(1), 63-78. Todnem By, R. (2005). Organisational change management: A critical review. Journal of change management, 5(4), 369-380. Zeffane, R. (1996). Dynamics of strategic change: critical issues in fostering positive organizational change. Leadership Organization Development Journal, 17(7), 36-43.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Impressions of Emirati Youths on ISIS

Introduction Research background The ISIS crisis is in its fourth year despite several efforts by the international community for reconciliation. It is necessary to establish the impression of the Emirati youths on the ISIS, since they are indirectly affected by the current military activities of the group in Syria and Iraq (Al-Jenabi, 2008, p. 15).Advertising We will write a custom proposal sample on The Impressions of Emirati Youths on ISIS specifically for you for only $16.05 $11/page Learn More Therefore, this research proposal will attempt to establish the impressions of the Emirati youths on Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Research question and objectives For this research proposal, the primary question is; What are the impressions of the Emirati youths on Islamic State in Iraq and Syria? The objectives of this research are; To establish the perceptions of the Emirati youths on the ISIS group To make recommendations and suggestions on ho w to view and deal with ISIS Importance of studying the topic Understanding geo-political, social, and economic impressions held by the Emirati youths towards ISIS are important, especially when establishing the contribution of the group on the current Middle East conflict. Through sociological imagination, it is easy to understand behavior change and identify forces: positive or negative, that facilitate the angle of inclination among the Emirati youths towards the ISIS. Methodology Nature of the method This research will be conducted using research survey study approach. Data, which will be collected through one-on-one interviews and questionnaires, will be scrutinized in detail. Through open-ended and closed-ended structure, each question asked will be comprehensive to ensure that respondents have opportunity to give deep answers that provide an insight into research problem solution. Instances of divergent or convergent opinions by one or more respondents will be marked appropr iately (George Bennet, 2005, p. 29).Advertising Looking for proposal on education? Let's see if we can help you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More Strengths and weaknesses Questionnaire Based on the survey method, a self constructed five-item structured questionnaire will become imperative. The questionnaire will be prepared to use 5- point Likert scale (Miller, Mauthner, Birch, Jessop, 2012, p. 42). The Saudi youths will express a broad range of opinions in the focus groups on the key issues in the discussion. Strengths Questionnaire provides anonymity to the user and thus gives more honest responses. Information can be gathered from a large number of people. Since the questions are uniform and if the conditions under which they are answered are controlled, then the information gathered is standardized (Miller et al. 2012, p. 43). Weaknesses It is not possible to explain to the respondents any point that they may misinterpret in a question. Giving a pilot test to a few respondents could partially solve this. It is possible for a respondent to be dishonest in case they do not feel comfortable (De-Rada, 2005, p. 66). To minimize any of the on the above weakness, the questionnaire design will use a simple language that is understood by both parties. The time for completion will be reasonable and designed to identify the target population so as to yield useful data for the research analysis and interpretation (Groves, Fowler, Coper, Lepkowski, Singer, Tourangeau, 2009, p. 45). Interviews Adopting semi-structured, open-ended and closed-ended questions interview, data collection through a one-on-one interview is critical considering the scope of the research topic. Strengths The choice of one-on-one interview is based on the rationale of gaining insight on the feelings, opinion, and experiences. Moreover, the semi structured interviews are given room for further probe depending. The researcher is in a position to seek further clarificati on on specific ideas and responses given within the interview time. From responses gathered, one-on-one interview makes it easy to scribe clear responses that answer the questions asked (De-Rada, 2005, p. 68). Weaknesses The interview is tedious and time consuming. Interview findings may be biased if the interviewer and the interviewee do not read from the same page. The interview is expensive when the sample space is large (De-Rada, 2005, p. 69). Since the researcher is expected to accord the research project professional seriousness, the willing respondents are likely to reliable, credible, and informed responses to questions asked. Appropriateness of using the method for study The mixture of questionnaire and direct interview will present a number of pre-specified competencies and best practices based on the research topic. The researcher chose the qualitative because the scope of the research is focused, subjective, dynamic, and discovery oriented. Moreover, this approach will c reate room for further analysis using different and divergent tools for checking the degree of error and assumption limits (Groves et al. 2009, p. 57).Advertising We will write a custom proposal sample on The Impressions of Emirati Youths on ISIS specifically for you for only $16.05 $11/page Learn More Data collection and stages of research This research will target 100 Emirati youths (within the age group of 20-30 years) to establish the common perception towards ISIS. The sampling criterion that will be used in the initial sampling plan represents the true picture of the activities on the ground. The collected quantitative data will be coded and passed through appropriate analysis tool. In the process, cross tabulation will be used to compare and contrast the impressions held by the Emirati youths. In order to quantify the relationship between the independent and dependent variable, analysis will be essential besides figures, charts, and tabular repre sentation of correlation analysis (De-Rada, 2005, p. 65). Validity, reliability, and generalization of results This sample chosen for the survey presents a clear, scientific, and verifiable criterion for systematic analysis. Reflectively, this will permit comparative research especially when qualitative design is adopted to give room for testing accuracy and degree of biasness (Groves et al. 2009, p. 39). The interviews will be conducted by the researcher because of common characteristics of culture, age, and country (George Bennet, 2005, p. 33). The researcher will send the questionnaires to the targeted participants and schedule direct interview with those who are flexible and can afford a fifteen minutes break to answer the interview questions. Ethical considerations During the data collection phase of this study, the researcher will strive to uphold ethics appertaining to scientific research. This will be pursued through inclusion of an informed consent form in the interview an d questionnaire, which the units being studied will be required to read understand and consent to before the study commences. The researcher will ensure confidentiality of the subjects by insisting on their anonymity, where each subject will be identified using a unique code as opposed to use of names (Blaxter, Hughes, Malcolm, 2005, p. 44). Conclusion The study will be carried out via research survey since the scope of the research is focused. Through qualitative research, the research will be in a position to carry out correlation analysis of the impressions held by the Emirati youths. The study would be more comprehensive if the impressions were directed towards a single variable.Advertising Looking for proposal on education? Let's see if we can help you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More References Al-Jenabi, B. (2008). Use of social media in the United Arabs Emirates: An initial study. Global Media Journal, 1(2), 3-27. Blaxter, L., Hughes, C., Malcolm, T. (2005). How to research, Berkshire, UK: Open University Press. De-Rada, V. (2005). Influences of questionnaire design on response to mail surveys. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 8(1), 61-78. George, A., Bennet, A. (2005). Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences: How to Do Case Studies. Massachusetts, Ma: MIT Press. Groves, M., Fowler, J., Coper, P., Lepkowski, M., Singer, E., Tourangeau, R. (2009). Survey Methodology. New York, NY: John Wiley Sons. Miller, T., Mauthner, M., Birch, M., Jessop, J. (2012). Ethics in qualitative research. London, UK: SAGE Publications Limited. This proposal on The Impressions of Emirati Youths on ISIS was written and submitted by user Thunderball to help you with your own studies. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly. You can donate your paper here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Prehistoric Life During the Neogene Period

Prehistoric Life During the Neogene Period During the course of the Neogene period, life on earth adapted to new ecological niches opened up by global coolingand some mammals, birds, and reptiles evolved to truly impressive sizes in the process. The Neogene is the second period of the Cenozoic Era (65 million years ago to the present), preceded by the Paleogene period (65-23 million years ago) and succeeded by the Quaternary period-and is itself comprised of the Miocene (23-5 million years ago) and Pliocene (5-2.6 million years ago) epochs. Climate and Geography Like the preceding Paleogene, the Neogene period witnessed a trend toward global cooling, especially at higher latitudes (it was immediately after the end of the Neogene, during the Pleistocene epoch, that the earth underwent a series of ice ages interspersed with warmer interglacials). Geographically, the Neogene was important for the land bridges that opened up between various continents: it was during the late Neogene that North and South America became connected by the Central American Isthmus, Africa was in direct contact with southern Europe via the dry Mediterranean Sea basin, and eastern Eurasia and western North America were joined by the Siberian land bridge. Elsewhere, the slow impact of the Indian subcontinent with the underbelly of Asia produced the Himalayan mountains. Terrestrial Life During the Neogene Period Mammals. Global climate trends, combined with the spread of newly evolved grasses, made the Neogene period the golden age of open prairies and savannahs. These extensive grasslands spurred the evolution of even- and odd-toed ungulates, including prehistoric horses and camels (which originated in North America), as well as deer, pigs, and rhinoceroses. During the later Neogene, the interconnections between Eurasia, Africa, and North and South America set the stage for a confusing network of species interchanges, resulting (for example) in the near extinction of South Americas Australia-like marsupial megafauna. From a human perspective, the most important development of the Neogene period was the continuing evolution of apes and hominids. During the Miocene epoch, a huge number of hominid species inhabited Africa and Eurasia; during the ensuing Pliocene, most of these hominids (among them the direct ancestors of modern humans) were clustered in Africa. It was immediately after the Neogene period, during the Pleistocene epoch, that the first human beings (genus Homo) appeared on the planet. Birds. While birds never quite matched the size of their distant mammalian cousins, some of the flying and flightless species of the Neogene period were truly enormous (for example, the airborne Argentavis and Osteodontornis both exceeded 50 pounds.) The end of the Neogene marked the extinction of most of the flightless, predatory terror birds of South America and Australia, the last dregs being wiped out in the ensuing Pleistocene. Otherwise, bird evolution continued apace, with most modern orders well- represented by the close of the Neogene. Reptiles. A large chunk of the Neogene period was dominated by gigantic crocodiles, which still never quite managed to match the size of their Cretaceous forebears. This 20-million-year span also witnessed the continuing evolution of prehistoric snakes and (especially) prehistoric turtles, the latter group of which began to reach truly impressive proportions by the start of the Pleistocene epoch. Marine Life Although prehistoric whales had started to evolve in the preceding Paleogene period, they didnt become exclusively marine creatures until the Neogene, which also witnessed the continuing evolution of the first pinnipeds (the mammalian family that includes seals and walruses) as well as prehistoric dolphins, to which whales are closely related. Prehistoric sharks maintained their status at the top of the marine food chain; Megalodon, for example, had already appeared at the end of the Paleogene and continued its dominance throughout the Neogene as well. Plant Life There were two major trends in plant life during the Neogene period. First, plunging global temperatures spurred the rise of massive deciduous forests, which replaced jungles and rainforests in high northern and southern latitudes. Second, the worldwide spread of grasses went hand-in-hand with the evolution of mammalian herbivores, culminating in todays familiar horses, cows, sheep, deer, and other grazing and ruminant animals.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

A Game of Thrones Chapter Sixtyeight

There was a door ahead of her, tiny with distance, but even from afar, she saw that it was painted red. She walked faster, and her bare feet left bloody footprints on the stone. â€Å"You don’t want to wake the dragon, do you?† She saw sunlight on the Dothraki sea, the living plain, rich with the smells of earth and death. Wind stirred the grasses, and they rippled like water. Drogo held her in strong arms, and his hand stroked her sex and opened her and woke that sweet wetness that was his alone, and the stars smiled down on them, stars in a daylight sky. â€Å"Home,† she whispered as he entered her and filled her with his seed, but suddenly the stars were gone, and across the blue sky swept the great wings, and the world took flame. † . . . don’t want to wake the dragon, do you?† Ser Jorah’s face was drawn and sorrowful. â€Å"Rhaegar was the last dragon,† he told her. He warmed translucent hands over a glowing brazier where stone eggs smouldered red as coals. One moment he was there and the next he was fading, his flesh colorless, less substantial than the wind. â€Å"The last dragon,† he whispered, thin as a wisp, and was gone. She felt the dark behind her, and the red door seemed farther away than ever. † . . . don’t want to wake the dragon, do you?† Viserys stood before her, screaming. â€Å"The dragon does not beg, slut. You do not command the dragon. I am the dragon, and I will be crowned.† The molten gold trickled down his face like wax, burning deep channels in his flesh. â€Å"I am the dragon and I will be crowned!† he shrieked, and his fingers snapped like snakes, biting at her nipples, pinching, twisting, even as his eyes burst and ran like jelly down seared and blackened cheeks. † . . . don’t want to wake the dragon . . . â€Å" The red door was so far ahead of her, and she could feel the icy breath behind, sweeping up on her. If it caught her she would die a death that was more than death, howling forever alone in the darkness. She began to run. † . . . don’t want to wake the dragon . . . â€Å" She could feel the heat inside her, a terrible burning in her womb. Her son was tall and proud, with Drogo’s copper skin and her own silver-gold hair, violet eyes shaped like almonds. And he smiled for her and began to lift his hand toward hers, but when he opened his mouth the fire poured out. She saw his heart burning through his chest, and in an instant he was gone, consumed like a moth by a candle, turned to ash. She wept for her child, the promise of a sweet mouth on her breast, but her tears turned to steam as they touched her skin. † . . . want to wake the dragon . . . â€Å" Ghosts lined the hallway, dressed in the faded raiment of kings. In their hands were swords of pale fire. They had hair of silver and hair of gold and hair of platinum white, and their eyes were opal and amethyst, tourmaline and jade. â€Å"Faster,† they cried, â€Å"faster, faster.† She raced, her feet melting the stone wherever they touched. â€Å"Faster!† the ghosts cried as one, and she screamed and threw herself forward. A great knife of pain ripped down her back, and she felt her skin tear open and smelled the stench of burning blood and saw the shadow of wings. And Daenerys Targaryen flew. † . . . wake the dragon . . . â€Å" The door loomed before her, the red door, so close, so close, the hall was a blur around her, the cold receding behind. And now the stone was gone and she flew across the Dothraki sea, high and higher, the green rippling beneath, and all that lived and breathed fled in terror from the shadow of her wings. She could smell home, she could see it, there, just beyond that door, green fields and great stone houses and arms to keep her warm, there. She threw open the door. † . . . the dragon . . . â€Å" And saw her brother Rhaegar, mounted on a stallion as black as his armor. Fire glimmered red through the narrow eye slit of his helm. â€Å"The last dragon,† Ser Jorah’s voice whispered faintly. â€Å"The last, the last.† Dany lifted his polished black visor. The face within was her own. After that, for a long time, there was only the pain, the fire within her, and the whisperings of stars. She woke to the taste of ashes. â€Å"No,† she moaned, â€Å"no, please.† â€Å"Khaleesi?† Jhiqui hovered over her, a frightened doe. The tent was drenched in shadow, still and close. Flakes of ash drifted upward from a brazier, and Dany followed them with her eyes through the smoke hole above. Flying, she thought. I had wings, I was flying. But it was only a dream. â€Å"Help me,† she whispered, struggling to rise. â€Å"Bring me . . . † Her voice was raw as a wound, and she could not think what she wanted. Why did she hurt so much? It was as if her body had been torn to pieces and remade from the scraps. â€Å"I want . . . â€Å" â€Å"Yes, Khaleesi.† Quick as that Jhiqui was gone, bolting from the tent, shouting. Dany needed . . . something . . . someone . . . what? It was important, she knew. It was the only thing in the world that mattered. She rolled onto her side and got an elbow under her, fighting the blanket tangled about her legs. It was so hard to move. The world swam dizzily. I have to . . . They found her on the carpet, crawling toward her dragon eggs. Ser Jorah Mormont lifted her in his arms and carried her back to her sleeping silks, while she struggled feebly against him. Over his shoulder she saw her three handmaids, Jhogo with his little wisp of mustache, and the flat broad face of Mirri Maz Duur. â€Å"I must,† she tried to tell them, â€Å"I have to . . . â€Å" † . . . sleep, Princess,† Ser Jorah said. â€Å"No,† Dany said. â€Å"Please. Please.† â€Å"Yes.† He covered her with silk, though she was burning. â€Å"Sleep and grow strong again, Khaleesi. Come back to us.† And then Mirri Maz Duur was there, the maegi, tipping a cup against her lips. She tasted sour milk, and something else, something thick and bitter. Warm liquid ran down her chin. Somehow she swallowed. The tent grew dimmer, and sleep took her again. This time she did not dream. She floated, serene and at peace, on a black sea that knew no shore. After a time—a night, a day, a year, she could not say—she woke again. The tent was dark, its silken walls flapping like wings when the wind gusted outside. This time Dany did not attempt to rise. â€Å"Irri,† she called, â€Å"Jhiqui. Doreah.† They were there at once. â€Å"My throat is dry,† she said, â€Å"so dry,† and they brought her water. It was warm and flat, yet Dany drank it eagerly, and sent Jhiqui for more. Irri dampened a soft cloth and stroked her brow. â€Å"I have been sick,† Dany said. The Dothraki girl nodded. â€Å"How long?† The cloth was soothing, but Irri seemed so sad, it frightened her. â€Å"Long,† she whispered. When Jhiqui returned with more water, Mirri Maz Duur came with her, eyes heavy from sleep. â€Å"Drink,† she said, lifting Dany’s head to the cup once more, but this time it was only wine. Sweet, sweet wine. Dany drank, and lay back, listening to the soft sound of her own br eathing. She could feel the heaviness in her limbs, as sleep crept in to fill her up once more. â€Å"Bring me . . . † she murmured, her voice slurred and drowsy. â€Å"Bring . . . I want to hold . . . â€Å" â€Å"Yes?† the maegi asked. â€Å"What is it you wish, Khaleesi?† â€Å"Bring me . . . egg . . . dragon’s egg . . . please . . . † Her lashes turned to lead, and she was too weary to hold them up. When she woke the third time, a shaft of golden sunlight was pouring through the smoke hole of the tent, and her arms were wrapped around a dragon’s egg. It was the pale one, its scales the color of butter cream, veined with whorls of gold and bronze, and Dany could feel the heat of it. Beneath her bedsilks, a fine sheen of perspiration covered her bare skin. Dragondew, she thought. Her fingers trailed lightly across the surface of the shell, tracing the wisps of gold, and deep in the stone she felt something twist and stretch in response. It did not frighten her. All her fear was gone, burned away. Dany touched her brow. Under the film of sweat, her skin was cool to the touch, her fever gone. She made herself sit. There was a moment of dizziness, and the deep ache between her thighs. Yet she felt strong. Her maids came running at the sound of her voice. â€Å"Water,† she told them, â€Å"a flagon of water, cold as you can find it. And fruit, I think. Dates.† â€Å"As you say, Khaleesi.† â€Å"I want Ser Jorah,† she said, standing. Jhiqui brought a sandsilk robe and draped it over her shoulders. â€Å"And a warm bath, and Mirri Maz Duur, and . . . † Memory came back to her all at once, and she faltered. â€Å"Khal Drogo,† she forced herself to say, watching their faces with dread. â€Å"Is hemdash?† â€Å"The khal lives,† Irri answered quietly . . . yet Dany saw a darkness in her eyes when she said the words, and no sooner had she spoken than she rushed away to fetch water. She turned to Doreah. â€Å"Tell me.† â€Å"I . . . I shall bring Ser Jorah,† the Lysene girl said, bowing her head and fleeing the tent. Jhiqui would have run as well, but Dany caught her by the wrist and held her captive. â€Å"What is it? I must know. Drogo . . . and my child.† Why had she not remembered the child until now? â€Å"My son . . . Rhaego . . . where is he? I want him.† Her handmaid lowered her eyes. â€Å"The boy . . . he did not live, Khaleesi.† Her voice was a frightened whisper. Dany released her wrist. My son is dead, she thought as Jhiqui left the tent. She had known somehow. She had known since she woke the first time to Jhiqui’s tears. No, she had known before she woke. Her dream came back to her, sudden and vivid, and she remembered the tall man with the copper skin and long silver-gold braid, bursting into flame. She should weep, she knew, yet her eyes were dry as ash. She had wept in her dream, and the tears had turned to steam on her cheeks. All the grief has been burned out of me, she told herself. She felt sad, and yet . . . she could feel Rhaego receding from her, as if he had never been. Ser Jorah and Mirri Maz Duur entered a few moments later, and found Dany standing over the other dragon’s eggs, the two still in their chest. It seemed to her that they felt as hot as the one she had slept with, which was passing strange. â€Å"Ser Jorah, come here,† she said. She took his hand and placed it on the black egg with the scarlet swirls. â€Å"What do you feel?† â€Å"Shell, hard as rock.† The knight was wary. â€Å"Scales.† â€Å"Heat?† â€Å"No. Cold stone.† He took his hand away. â€Å"Princess, are you well? Should you be up, weak as you are?† â€Å"Weak? I am strong, Jorah.† To please him, she reclined on a pile of cushions. â€Å"Tell me how my child died.† â€Å"He never lived, my princess. The women say . . . † He faltered, and Dany saw how the flesh hung loose on him, and the way he limped when he moved. â€Å"Tell me. Tell me what the women say.† He turned his face away. His eyes were haunted. â€Å"They say the child was . . . â€Å" She waited, but Ser Jorah could not say it. His face grew dark with shame. He looked half a corpse himself. â€Å"Monstrous,† Mirri Maz Duur finished for him. The knight was a powerful man, yet Dany understood in that moment that the maegi was stronger, and crueler, and infinitely more dangerous. â€Å"Twisted. I drew him forth myself. He was scaled like a lizard, blind, with the stub of a tail and small leather wings like the wings of a bat. When I touched him, the flesh sloughed off the bone, and inside he was full of graveworms and the stink of corruption. He had been dead for years.† Darkness, Dany thought. The terrible darkness sweeping up behind to devour her. If she looked back she was lost. â€Å"My son was alive and strong when Ser Jorah carried me into this tent,† she said. â€Å"I could feel him kicking, fighting to be born.† â€Å"That may be as it may be,† answered Mirri Maz Duur, â€Å"yet the creature that came forth from your womb was as I said. Death was in that tent, Khaleesi.† â€Å"Only shadows,† Ser Jorah husked, but Dany could hear the doubt in his voice. â€Å"I saw, maegi. I saw you, alone, dancing with the shadows. â€Å" â€Å"The grave casts long shadows, Iron Lord,† Mirri said. â€Å"Long and dark, and in the end no light can hold them back.† Ser Jorah had killed her son, Dany knew. He had done what he did for love and loyalty, yet he had carried her into a place no living man should go and fed her baby to the darkness. He knew it too; the grey face, the hollow eyes, the limp. â€Å"The shadows have touched you too, Ser Jorah,† she told him. The knight made no reply. Dany turned to the godswife. â€Å"You warned me that only death could pay for life. I thought you meant the horse.† â€Å"No,† Mirri Maz Duur said. â€Å"That was a lie you told yourself. You knew the price.† Had she? Had she? If I look back I am lost. â€Å"The price was paid,† Dany said. â€Å"The horse, my child, Quaro and Qotho, Haggo and Cohollo. The price was paid and paid and paid.† She rose from her cushions. â€Å"Where is Khal Drogo? Show him to me, godswife, maegi, bloodmage, whatever you are. Show me Khal Drogo. Show me what I bought with my son’s life.† â€Å"As you command, Khaleesi,† the old woman said. â€Å"Come, I will take you to him.† Dany was weaker than she knew. Ser Jorah slipped an arm around her and helped her stand. â€Å"Time enough for this later, my princess,† he said quietly. â€Å"I would see him now, Ser Jorah.† After the dimness of the tent, the world outside was blinding bright. The sun burned like molten gold, and the land was seared and empty. Her handmaids waited with fruit and wine and water, and Jhogo moved close to help Ser Jorah support her. Aggo and Rakharo stood behind. The glare of sun on sand made it hard to see more, until Dany raised her hand to shade her eyes. She saw the ashes of a fire, a few score horses milling listlessly and searching for a bite of grass, a scattering of tents and bedrolls. A small crowd of children had gathered to watch her, and beyond she glimpsed women going about their work, and withered old men staring at the flat blue sky with tired eyes, swatting feebly at bloodflies. A count might show a hundred people, no more. Where the other forty thousand had made their camp, only the wind and dust lived now. â€Å"Drogo’s khalasar is gone,† she said. â€Å"A khal who cannot ride is no khal,† said Jhogo. â€Å"The Dothraki follow only the strong,† Ser Jorah said. â€Å"I am sorry, my princess. There was no way to hold them. Ko Pono left first, naming himself Khal Pono, and many followed him. Jhaqo was not long to do the same. The rest slipped away night by night, in large bands and small. There are a dozen new khalasars on the Dothraki sea, where once there was only Drogo’s.† â€Å"The old remain,† said Aggo. â€Å"The frightened, the weak, and the sick. And we who swore. We remain.† â€Å"They took Khal Drogo’s herds, Khaleesi,† Rakharo said. â€Å"We were too few to stop them. It is the right of the strong to take from the weak. They took many slaves as well, the khal’s and yours, yet they left some few.† â€Å"Eroeh?† asked Dany, remembering the frightened child she had saved outside the city of the Lamb Men. â€Å"Mago seized her, who is Khal Jhaqo’s bloodrider now,† said Jhogo. â€Å"He mounted her high and low and gave her to his khal, and Jhaqo gave her to his other bloodriders. They were six. When they were done with her, they cut her throat.† â€Å"It was her fate, Khaleesi,† said Aggo. If I look back I am lost. â€Å"It was a cruel fate,† Dany said, â€Å"yet not so cruel as Mago’s will be. I promise you that, by the old gods and the new, by the lamb god and the horse god and every god that lives. I swear it by the Mother of Mountains and the Womb of the World. Before I am done with them, Mago and Ko Jhaqo will plead for the mercy they showed Eroeh.† The Dothraki exchanged uncertain glances. â€Å"Khaleesi, † the handmaid Irri explained, as if to a child, â€Å"Jhaqo is a khal now, with twenty thousand riders at his back.† She lifted her head. â€Å"And I am Daenerys Stormhorn, Daenerys of House Targaryen, of the blood of Aegon the Conqueror and Maegor the Cruel and old Valyria before them. I am the dragon’s daughter, and I swear to you, these men will die screaming. Now bring me to Khal Drogo.† He was lying on the bare red earth, staring up at the sun. A dozen bloodflies had settled on his body, though he did not seem to feel them. Dany brushed them away and knelt beside him. His eyes were wide open but did not see, and she knew at once that he was blind. When she whispered his name, he did not seem to hear. The wound on his breast was as healed as it would ever be, the scar that covered it grey and red and hideous. â€Å"Why is he out here alone, in the sun?† she asked them. â€Å"He seems to like the warmth, Princess,† Ser Jorah said. â€Å"His eyes follow the sun, though he does not see it. He can walk after a fashion. He will go where you lead him, but no farther. He will eat if you put food in his mouth, drink if you dribble water on his lips.† Dany kissed her sun-and-stars gently on the brow, and stood to face Mirri Maz Duur. â€Å"Your spells are costly, maegi.† â€Å"He lives,† said Mirri Maz Duur. â€Å"You asked for life. You paid for life.† â€Å"This is not life, for one who was as Drogo was. His life was laughter, and meat roasting over a firepit, and a horse between his legs. His life was an arakh in his hand and his bells ringing in his hair as he rode to meet an enemy. His life was his bloodriders, and me, and the son I was to give him.† Mirri Maz Duur made no reply. â€Å"When will he be as he was?† Dany demanded. â€Å"When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,† said Mirri Maz Duur. â€Å"When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child. Then he will return, and not before.† Dany gestured at Ser Jorah and the others. â€Å"Leave us. I would speak with this maegi alone.† Mormont and the Dothraki withdrew. â€Å"You knew,† Dany said when they were gone. She ached, inside and out, but her fury gave her strength. â€Å"You knew what I was buying, and you knew the price, and yet you let me pay it.† â€Å"It was wrong of them to burn my temple,† the heavy, flat-nosed woman said placidly. â€Å"That angered the Great Shepherd.† â€Å"This was no god’s work,† Dany said coldly. If I look back I am lost. â€Å"You cheated me. You murdered my child within me.† â€Å"The stallion who mounts the world will burn no cities now. His khalasar shall trample no nations into dust.† â€Å"I spoke for you,† she said, anguished. â€Å"I saved you.† â€Å"Saved me?† The Lhazareen woman spat. â€Å"Three riders had taken me, not as a man takes a woman but from behind, as a dog takes a bitch. The fourth was in me when you rode past. How then did you save me? I saw my god’s house burn, where I had healed good men beyond counting. My home they burned as well, and in the street I saw piles of heads. I saw the head of a baker who made my bread. I saw the head of a boy I had saved from deadeye fever, only three moons past. I heard children crying as the riders drove them off with their whips. Tell me again what you saved.† â€Å"Your life.† Mirri Maz Duur laughed cruelly. â€Å"Look to your khal and see what life is worth, when all the rest is gone.† Dany called out for the men of her khas and bid them take Mirri Maz Duur and bind her hand and foot, but the maegi smiled at her as they carried her off, as if they shared a secret. A word, and Dany could have her head off . . . yet then what would she have? A head? If life was worthless, what was death? They led Khal Drogo back to her tent, and Dany commanded them to fill a tub, and this time there was no blood in the water. She bathed him herself, washing the dirt and the dust from his arms and chest, cleaning his face with a soft cloth, soaping his long black hair and combing the knots and tangles from it till it shone again as she remembered. It was well past dark before she was done, and Dany was exhausted. She stopped for drink and food, but it was all she could do to nibble at a fig and keep down a mouthful of water. Sleep would have been a release, but she had slept enough . . . too long, in truth. She owed this night to Drogo, for all the nights that had been, and yet might be. The memory of their first ride was with her when she led him out into the darkness, for the Dothraki believed that all things of importance in a man’s life must be done beneath the open sky. She told herself that there were powers stronger than hatred, and spells older and truer than any the maegi had learned in Asshai. The night was black and moonless, but overhead a million stars burned bright. She took that for an omen. No soft blanket of grass welcomed them here, only the hard dusty ground, bare and strewn with stones. No trees stirred in the wind, and there was no stream to soothe her fears with the gentle music of water. Dany told herself that the stars would be enough. â€Å"Remember, Drogo,† she whispered. â€Å"Remember our first ride together, the day we wed. Remember the night we made Rhaego, with the khalasar all around us and your eyes on my face. Remember how cool and clean the water was in the Womb of the World. Remember, my sun-and-stars. Remember, and come back to me.† The birth had left her too raw and torn to take him inside of her, as she would have wanted, but Doreah had taught her other ways. Dany used her hands, her mouth, her breasts. She raked him with her nails and covered him with kisses and whispered and prayed and told him stories, and by the end she had bathed him with her tears. Yet Drogo did not feel, or speak, or rise. And when the bleak dawn broke over an empty horizon, Dany knew that he was truly lost to her. â€Å"When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,† she said sadly. â€Å"When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When my womb quickens again, and I bear a living child. Then you will return, my sun-and-stars, and not before.† Never, the darkness cried, never never never. Inside the tent Dany found a cushion, soft silk stuffed with feathers. She clutched it to her breasts as she walked back out to Drogo, to her sun-and-stars. If I look back I am lost. It hurt even to walk, and she wanted to sleep, to sleep and not to dream. She knelt, kissed Drogo on the lips, and pressed the cushion down across his face. A Game of Thrones Chapter Sixtyeight There was a door ahead of her, tiny with distance, but even from afar, she saw that it was painted red. She walked faster, and her bare feet left bloody footprints on the stone. â€Å"You don’t want to wake the dragon, do you?† She saw sunlight on the Dothraki sea, the living plain, rich with the smells of earth and death. Wind stirred the grasses, and they rippled like water. Drogo held her in strong arms, and his hand stroked her sex and opened her and woke that sweet wetness that was his alone, and the stars smiled down on them, stars in a daylight sky. â€Å"Home,† she whispered as he entered her and filled her with his seed, but suddenly the stars were gone, and across the blue sky swept the great wings, and the world took flame. † . . . don’t want to wake the dragon, do you?† Ser Jorah’s face was drawn and sorrowful. â€Å"Rhaegar was the last dragon,† he told her. He warmed translucent hands over a glowing brazier where stone eggs smouldered red as coals. One moment he was there and the next he was fading, his flesh colorless, less substantial than the wind. â€Å"The last dragon,† he whispered, thin as a wisp, and was gone. She felt the dark behind her, and the red door seemed farther away than ever. † . . . don’t want to wake the dragon, do you?† Viserys stood before her, screaming. â€Å"The dragon does not beg, slut. You do not command the dragon. I am the dragon, and I will be crowned.† The molten gold trickled down his face like wax, burning deep channels in his flesh. â€Å"I am the dragon and I will be crowned!† he shrieked, and his fingers snapped like snakes, biting at her nipples, pinching, twisting, even as his eyes burst and ran like jelly down seared and blackened cheeks. † . . . don’t want to wake the dragon . . . â€Å" The red door was so far ahead of her, and she could feel the icy breath behind, sweeping up on her. If it caught her she would die a death that was more than death, howling forever alone in the darkness. She began to run. † . . . don’t want to wake the dragon . . . â€Å" She could feel the heat inside her, a terrible burning in her womb. Her son was tall and proud, with Drogo’s copper skin and her own silver-gold hair, violet eyes shaped like almonds. And he smiled for her and began to lift his hand toward hers, but when he opened his mouth the fire poured out. She saw his heart burning through his chest, and in an instant he was gone, consumed like a moth by a candle, turned to ash. She wept for her child, the promise of a sweet mouth on her breast, but her tears turned to steam as they touched her skin. † . . . want to wake the dragon . . . â€Å" Ghosts lined the hallway, dressed in the faded raiment of kings. In their hands were swords of pale fire. They had hair of silver and hair of gold and hair of platinum white, and their eyes were opal and amethyst, tourmaline and jade. â€Å"Faster,† they cried, â€Å"faster, faster.† She raced, her feet melting the stone wherever they touched. â€Å"Faster!† the ghosts cried as one, and she screamed and threw herself forward. A great knife of pain ripped down her back, and she felt her skin tear open and smelled the stench of burning blood and saw the shadow of wings. And Daenerys Targaryen flew. † . . . wake the dragon . . . â€Å" The door loomed before her, the red door, so close, so close, the hall was a blur around her, the cold receding behind. And now the stone was gone and she flew across the Dothraki sea, high and higher, the green rippling beneath, and all that lived and breathed fled in terror from the shadow of her wings. She could smell home, she could see it, there, just beyond that door, green fields and great stone houses and arms to keep her warm, there. She threw open the door. † . . . the dragon . . . â€Å" And saw her brother Rhaegar, mounted on a stallion as black as his armor. Fire glimmered red through the narrow eye slit of his helm. â€Å"The last dragon,† Ser Jorah’s voice whispered faintly. â€Å"The last, the last.† Dany lifted his polished black visor. The face within was her own. After that, for a long time, there was only the pain, the fire within her, and the whisperings of stars. She woke to the taste of ashes. â€Å"No,† she moaned, â€Å"no, please.† â€Å"Khaleesi?† Jhiqui hovered over her, a frightened doe. The tent was drenched in shadow, still and close. Flakes of ash drifted upward from a brazier, and Dany followed them with her eyes through the smoke hole above. Flying, she thought. I had wings, I was flying. But it was only a dream. â€Å"Help me,† she whispered, struggling to rise. â€Å"Bring me . . . † Her voice was raw as a wound, and she could not think what she wanted. Why did she hurt so much? It was as if her body had been torn to pieces and remade from the scraps. â€Å"I want . . . â€Å" â€Å"Yes, Khaleesi.† Quick as that Jhiqui was gone, bolting from the tent, shouting. Dany needed . . . something . . . someone . . . what? It was important, she knew. It was the only thing in the world that mattered. She rolled onto her side and got an elbow under her, fighting the blanket tangled about her legs. It was so hard to move. The world swam dizzily. I have to . . . They found her on the carpet, crawling toward her dragon eggs. Ser Jorah Mormont lifted her in his arms and carried her back to her sleeping silks, while she struggled feebly against him. Over his shoulder she saw her three handmaids, Jhogo with his little wisp of mustache, and the flat broad face of Mirri Maz Duur. â€Å"I must,† she tried to tell them, â€Å"I have to . . . â€Å" † . . . sleep, Princess,† Ser Jorah said. â€Å"No,† Dany said. â€Å"Please. Please.† â€Å"Yes.† He covered her with silk, though she was burning. â€Å"Sleep and grow strong again, Khaleesi. Come back to us.† And then Mirri Maz Duur was there, the maegi, tipping a cup against her lips. She tasted sour milk, and something else, something thick and bitter. Warm liquid ran down her chin. Somehow she swallowed. The tent grew dimmer, and sleep took her again. This time she did not dream. She floated, serene and at peace, on a black sea that knew no shore. After a time—a night, a day, a year, she could not say—she woke again. The tent was dark, its silken walls flapping like wings when the wind gusted outside. This time Dany did not attempt to rise. â€Å"Irri,† she called, â€Å"Jhiqui. Doreah.† They were there at once. â€Å"My throat is dry,† she said, â€Å"so dry,† and they brought her water. It was warm and flat, yet Dany drank it eagerly, and sent Jhiqui for more. Irri dampened a soft cloth and stroked her brow. â€Å"I have been sick,† Dany said. The Dothraki girl nodded. â€Å"How long?† The cloth was soothing, but Irri seemed so sad, it frightened her. â€Å"Long,† she whispered. When Jhiqui returned with more water, Mirri Maz Duur came with her, eyes heavy from sleep. â€Å"Drink,† she said, lifting Dany’s head to the cup once more, but this time it was only wine. Sweet, sweet wine. Dany drank, and lay back, listening to the soft sound of her own br eathing. She could feel the heaviness in her limbs, as sleep crept in to fill her up once more. â€Å"Bring me . . . † she murmured, her voice slurred and drowsy. â€Å"Bring . . . I want to hold . . . â€Å" â€Å"Yes?† the maegi asked. â€Å"What is it you wish, Khaleesi?† â€Å"Bring me . . . egg . . . dragon’s egg . . . please . . . † Her lashes turned to lead, and she was too weary to hold them up. When she woke the third time, a shaft of golden sunlight was pouring through the smoke hole of the tent, and her arms were wrapped around a dragon’s egg. It was the pale one, its scales the color of butter cream, veined with whorls of gold and bronze, and Dany could feel the heat of it. Beneath her bedsilks, a fine sheen of perspiration covered her bare skin. Dragondew, she thought. Her fingers trailed lightly across the surface of the shell, tracing the wisps of gold, and deep in the stone she felt something twist and stretch in response. It did not frighten her. All her fear was gone, burned away. Dany touched her brow. Under the film of sweat, her skin was cool to the touch, her fever gone. She made herself sit. There was a moment of dizziness, and the deep ache between her thighs. Yet she felt strong. Her maids came running at the sound of her voice. â€Å"Water,† she told them, â€Å"a flagon of water, cold as you can find it. And fruit, I think. Dates.† â€Å"As you say, Khaleesi.† â€Å"I want Ser Jorah,† she said, standing. Jhiqui brought a sandsilk robe and draped it over her shoulders. â€Å"And a warm bath, and Mirri Maz Duur, and . . . † Memory came back to her all at once, and she faltered. â€Å"Khal Drogo,† she forced herself to say, watching their faces with dread. â€Å"Is hemdash?† â€Å"The khal lives,† Irri answered quietly . . . yet Dany saw a darkness in her eyes when she said the words, and no sooner had she spoken than she rushed away to fetch water. She turned to Doreah. â€Å"Tell me.† â€Å"I . . . I shall bring Ser Jorah,† the Lysene girl said, bowing her head and fleeing the tent. Jhiqui would have run as well, but Dany caught her by the wrist and held her captive. â€Å"What is it? I must know. Drogo . . . and my child.† Why had she not remembered the child until now? â€Å"My son . . . Rhaego . . . where is he? I want him.† Her handmaid lowered her eyes. â€Å"The boy . . . he did not live, Khaleesi.† Her voice was a frightened whisper. Dany released her wrist. My son is dead, she thought as Jhiqui left the tent. She had known somehow. She had known since she woke the first time to Jhiqui’s tears. No, she had known before she woke. Her dream came back to her, sudden and vivid, and she remembered the tall man with the copper skin and long silver-gold braid, bursting into flame. She should weep, she knew, yet her eyes were dry as ash. She had wept in her dream, and the tears had turned to steam on her cheeks. All the grief has been burned out of me, she told herself. She felt sad, and yet . . . she could feel Rhaego receding from her, as if he had never been. Ser Jorah and Mirri Maz Duur entered a few moments later, and found Dany standing over the other dragon’s eggs, the two still in their chest. It seemed to her that they felt as hot as the one she had slept with, which was passing strange. â€Å"Ser Jorah, come here,† she said. She took his hand and placed it on the black egg with the scarlet swirls. â€Å"What do you feel?† â€Å"Shell, hard as rock.† The knight was wary. â€Å"Scales.† â€Å"Heat?† â€Å"No. Cold stone.† He took his hand away. â€Å"Princess, are you well? Should you be up, weak as you are?† â€Å"Weak? I am strong, Jorah.† To please him, she reclined on a pile of cushions. â€Å"Tell me how my child died.† â€Å"He never lived, my princess. The women say . . . † He faltered, and Dany saw how the flesh hung loose on him, and the way he limped when he moved. â€Å"Tell me. Tell me what the women say.† He turned his face away. His eyes were haunted. â€Å"They say the child was . . . â€Å" She waited, but Ser Jorah could not say it. His face grew dark with shame. He looked half a corpse himself. â€Å"Monstrous,† Mirri Maz Duur finished for him. The knight was a powerful man, yet Dany understood in that moment that the maegi was stronger, and crueler, and infinitely more dangerous. â€Å"Twisted. I drew him forth myself. He was scaled like a lizard, blind, with the stub of a tail and small leather wings like the wings of a bat. When I touched him, the flesh sloughed off the bone, and inside he was full of graveworms and the stink of corruption. He had been dead for years.† Darkness, Dany thought. The terrible darkness sweeping up behind to devour her. If she looked back she was lost. â€Å"My son was alive and strong when Ser Jorah carried me into this tent,† she said. â€Å"I could feel him kicking, fighting to be born.† â€Å"That may be as it may be,† answered Mirri Maz Duur, â€Å"yet the creature that came forth from your womb was as I said. Death was in that tent, Khaleesi.† â€Å"Only shadows,† Ser Jorah husked, but Dany could hear the doubt in his voice. â€Å"I saw, maegi. I saw you, alone, dancing with the shadows. â€Å" â€Å"The grave casts long shadows, Iron Lord,† Mirri said. â€Å"Long and dark, and in the end no light can hold them back.† Ser Jorah had killed her son, Dany knew. He had done what he did for love and loyalty, yet he had carried her into a place no living man should go and fed her baby to the darkness. He knew it too; the grey face, the hollow eyes, the limp. â€Å"The shadows have touched you too, Ser Jorah,† she told him. The knight made no reply. Dany turned to the godswife. â€Å"You warned me that only death could pay for life. I thought you meant the horse.† â€Å"No,† Mirri Maz Duur said. â€Å"That was a lie you told yourself. You knew the price.† Had she? Had she? If I look back I am lost. â€Å"The price was paid,† Dany said. â€Å"The horse, my child, Quaro and Qotho, Haggo and Cohollo. The price was paid and paid and paid.† She rose from her cushions. â€Å"Where is Khal Drogo? Show him to me, godswife, maegi, bloodmage, whatever you are. Show me Khal Drogo. Show me what I bought with my son’s life.† â€Å"As you command, Khaleesi,† the old woman said. â€Å"Come, I will take you to him.† Dany was weaker than she knew. Ser Jorah slipped an arm around her and helped her stand. â€Å"Time enough for this later, my princess,† he said quietly. â€Å"I would see him now, Ser Jorah.† After the dimness of the tent, the world outside was blinding bright. The sun burned like molten gold, and the land was seared and empty. Her handmaids waited with fruit and wine and water, and Jhogo moved close to help Ser Jorah support her. Aggo and Rakharo stood behind. The glare of sun on sand made it hard to see more, until Dany raised her hand to shade her eyes. She saw the ashes of a fire, a few score horses milling listlessly and searching for a bite of grass, a scattering of tents and bedrolls. A small crowd of children had gathered to watch her, and beyond she glimpsed women going about their work, and withered old men staring at the flat blue sky with tired eyes, swatting feebly at bloodflies. A count might show a hundred people, no more. Where the other forty thousand had made their camp, only the wind and dust lived now. â€Å"Drogo’s khalasar is gone,† she said. â€Å"A khal who cannot ride is no khal,† said Jhogo. â€Å"The Dothraki follow only the strong,† Ser Jorah said. â€Å"I am sorry, my princess. There was no way to hold them. Ko Pono left first, naming himself Khal Pono, and many followed him. Jhaqo was not long to do the same. The rest slipped away night by night, in large bands and small. There are a dozen new khalasars on the Dothraki sea, where once there was only Drogo’s.† â€Å"The old remain,† said Aggo. â€Å"The frightened, the weak, and the sick. And we who swore. We remain.† â€Å"They took Khal Drogo’s herds, Khaleesi,† Rakharo said. â€Å"We were too few to stop them. It is the right of the strong to take from the weak. They took many slaves as well, the khal’s and yours, yet they left some few.† â€Å"Eroeh?† asked Dany, remembering the frightened child she had saved outside the city of the Lamb Men. â€Å"Mago seized her, who is Khal Jhaqo’s bloodrider now,† said Jhogo. â€Å"He mounted her high and low and gave her to his khal, and Jhaqo gave her to his other bloodriders. They were six. When they were done with her, they cut her throat.† â€Å"It was her fate, Khaleesi,† said Aggo. If I look back I am lost. â€Å"It was a cruel fate,† Dany said, â€Å"yet not so cruel as Mago’s will be. I promise you that, by the old gods and the new, by the lamb god and the horse god and every god that lives. I swear it by the Mother of Mountains and the Womb of the World. Before I am done with them, Mago and Ko Jhaqo will plead for the mercy they showed Eroeh.† The Dothraki exchanged uncertain glances. â€Å"Khaleesi, † the handmaid Irri explained, as if to a child, â€Å"Jhaqo is a khal now, with twenty thousand riders at his back.† She lifted her head. â€Å"And I am Daenerys Stormhorn, Daenerys of House Targaryen, of the blood of Aegon the Conqueror and Maegor the Cruel and old Valyria before them. I am the dragon’s daughter, and I swear to you, these men will die screaming. Now bring me to Khal Drogo.† He was lying on the bare red earth, staring up at the sun. A dozen bloodflies had settled on his body, though he did not seem to feel them. Dany brushed them away and knelt beside him. His eyes were wide open but did not see, and she knew at once that he was blind. When she whispered his name, he did not seem to hear. The wound on his breast was as healed as it would ever be, the scar that covered it grey and red and hideous. â€Å"Why is he out here alone, in the sun?† she asked them. â€Å"He seems to like the warmth, Princess,† Ser Jorah said. â€Å"His eyes follow the sun, though he does not see it. He can walk after a fashion. He will go where you lead him, but no farther. He will eat if you put food in his mouth, drink if you dribble water on his lips.† Dany kissed her sun-and-stars gently on the brow, and stood to face Mirri Maz Duur. â€Å"Your spells are costly, maegi.† â€Å"He lives,† said Mirri Maz Duur. â€Å"You asked for life. You paid for life.† â€Å"This is not life, for one who was as Drogo was. His life was laughter, and meat roasting over a firepit, and a horse between his legs. His life was an arakh in his hand and his bells ringing in his hair as he rode to meet an enemy. His life was his bloodriders, and me, and the son I was to give him.† Mirri Maz Duur made no reply. â€Å"When will he be as he was?† Dany demanded. â€Å"When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,† said Mirri Maz Duur. â€Å"When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child. Then he will return, and not before.† Dany gestured at Ser Jorah and the others. â€Å"Leave us. I would speak with this maegi alone.† Mormont and the Dothraki withdrew. â€Å"You knew,† Dany said when they were gone. She ached, inside and out, but her fury gave her strength. â€Å"You knew what I was buying, and you knew the price, and yet you let me pay it.† â€Å"It was wrong of them to burn my temple,† the heavy, flat-nosed woman said placidly. â€Å"That angered the Great Shepherd.† â€Å"This was no god’s work,† Dany said coldly. If I look back I am lost. â€Å"You cheated me. You murdered my child within me.† â€Å"The stallion who mounts the world will burn no cities now. His khalasar shall trample no nations into dust.† â€Å"I spoke for you,† she said, anguished. â€Å"I saved you.† â€Å"Saved me?† The Lhazareen woman spat. â€Å"Three riders had taken me, not as a man takes a woman but from behind, as a dog takes a bitch. The fourth was in me when you rode past. How then did you save me? I saw my god’s house burn, where I had healed good men beyond counting. My home they burned as well, and in the street I saw piles of heads. I saw the head of a baker who made my bread. I saw the head of a boy I had saved from deadeye fever, only three moons past. I heard children crying as the riders drove them off with their whips. Tell me again what you saved.† â€Å"Your life.† Mirri Maz Duur laughed cruelly. â€Å"Look to your khal and see what life is worth, when all the rest is gone.† Dany called out for the men of her khas and bid them take Mirri Maz Duur and bind her hand and foot, but the maegi smiled at her as they carried her off, as if they shared a secret. A word, and Dany could have her head off . . . yet then what would she have? A head? If life was worthless, what was death? They led Khal Drogo back to her tent, and Dany commanded them to fill a tub, and this time there was no blood in the water. She bathed him herself, washing the dirt and the dust from his arms and chest, cleaning his face with a soft cloth, soaping his long black hair and combing the knots and tangles from it till it shone again as she remembered. It was well past dark before she was done, and Dany was exhausted. She stopped for drink and food, but it was all she could do to nibble at a fig and keep down a mouthful of water. Sleep would have been a release, but she had slept enough . . . too long, in truth. She owed this night to Drogo, for all the nights that had been, and yet might be. The memory of their first ride was with her when she led him out into the darkness, for the Dothraki believed that all things of importance in a man’s life must be done beneath the open sky. She told herself that there were powers stronger than hatred, and spells older and truer than any the maegi had learned in Asshai. The night was black and moonless, but overhead a million stars burned bright. She took that for an omen. No soft blanket of grass welcomed them here, only the hard dusty ground, bare and strewn with stones. No trees stirred in the wind, and there was no stream to soothe her fears with the gentle music of water. Dany told herself that the stars would be enough. â€Å"Remember, Drogo,† she whispered. â€Å"Remember our first ride together, the day we wed. Remember the night we made Rhaego, with the khalasar all around us and your eyes on my face. Remember how cool and clean the water was in the Womb of the World. Remember, my sun-and-stars. Remember, and come back to me.† The birth had left her too raw and torn to take him inside of her, as she would have wanted, but Doreah had taught her other ways. Dany used her hands, her mouth, her breasts. She raked him with her nails and covered him with kisses and whispered and prayed and told him stories, and by the end she had bathed him with her tears. Yet Drogo did not feel, or speak, or rise. And when the bleak dawn broke over an empty horizon, Dany knew that he was truly lost to her. â€Å"When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,† she said sadly. â€Å"When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When my womb quickens again, and I bear a living child. Then you will return, my sun-and-stars, and not before.† Never, the darkness cried, never never never. Inside the tent Dany found a cushion, soft silk stuffed with feathers. She clutched it to her breasts as she walked back out to Drogo, to her sun-and-stars. If I look back I am lost. It hurt even to walk, and she wanted to sleep, to sleep and not to dream. She knelt, kissed Drogo on the lips, and pressed the cushion down across his face.