Halfwit the horse and The Crag
The next morning Addam the Squire was tending to the horses, focusing on talking to and calming down Halfwit, the destrier belonging to his master Lord Cregan Caragore. Halfwit was a strange horse, not really unfriendly to anyone but really hated his master Lord Cregan who did not share Addam’s connection with animals.
The companions of House Caragore arrived just when Addam had taken a small sip of the unlabeled flask in his pouch. Addam was totally focused on preparing Halfwit, remembering what Brandon, Master of Horse had been teaching him for years back at Gorehall. After Halfwit told him he was okay and Addam patted him gently, even though he was not excited to see Lord Cregan approaching him, Halfwit let him climb up on the saddle with little problems, Addam himself just adjusted the stirrups on his horse Epona, asked her if she was ready to ride, and mounted her with ease. He had been given Epona as a gift by Brandon about 5 years ago and they had been inseparable ever since. They left the Banefort and Addam thought about the two brass candleholders in his backpack. They had multiple uses he thought, bludgeoning someone to death could be just as good as decoration for his small quarters in Gorehall.
Later that afternoon, the company was riding on the road to The Crag, where the tourney was happening. Addam was thinking a lot about the tourney and what he would do if he became a knight and could compete, having visions of close combat battles with Lord Cregan cutting down opponents with ease, as Addam was fond of talking about. His master could slay fifty men as if it were one. He had seen it before, or so he said. He grew a little anxious and took a sip of his flask, gazing at the beautiful butterflies buzzing around his head and flowers on the open road.
The road they had to take to The Crag was going right through what might be Addam’s least favorite part of travelling. Peasant settlements. Addam did not only hate the peasant in himself, but all other smallfolk reminded of him of his cruel brother and father who routinely abused Addam as a child before he got taken in as a page by Cregan Caragore that one fateful night when he wast 10 years old.
After riding through the settlement area for a while, beggars started pouring out of the crude shanties everywhere around them. Addam clutched the hilt of his longsword. He wished to see them all burning in glorious fire, melting away as if they had never existed in the first place. The peasants started pleading with the company, begging for coin or food. They were telling pathetic sob stories about how meager and meaningless their little lives were. When things got heated the house guards moved in position to protect the sons of Lord Eorlanas, while Addam looked nervously around him. He tried to control his impulses because slaughtering peasants would most likely be bad for his ultimate goal of becoming an anointed knight some day. Not one person of the company was paying any attention to them and Addam liked that, the best course of action would be to burn the village and ride them all down, but House Caragore were certainly not bandits he thought, trying to hold his focus in the situation without drifting off with visions of murder and blood. The only person in the company who didn’t seem fased by the crowd was the Lady Kasheen, who smiled at the low-life peasant rabble and waved at them. The beggars ignored it completely.
They kept screaming louder and louder about their starving and other pathetic stories and starting grabbing at the company. They started riding a little faster to ride through the crowd when suddenly one of the house guards got hit in the head with a round red vegetable Addam had seen before somewhere, then everything went crazy. The mob turned angry and started bombarding the company with vegetables. Some beggars started trying to drag a house guard down from his horse. To protect Lord Cregan from the dangers of thrown vegetables, Adddam drew his Longsword and put himself between his master and the crowd of aggressive starving people. Addam thought that his attitude towards them was justified now and proven yet again by the mob showing that the smallfolk were just as bad as carrion plague rats crawling over corpses to feast on the flesh of those who protected them. They were surrounded.
The house guard attacked by the mob earlier had been dragged of his horse, but Addam didn’t take notice at that at all and focused on keeping Epona still, keeping his sword drawn and staying close to Lord Cregan. The honorable heir Lord Erryk threw out some silver to confuse the peasants.
The Lady Kasheen spotted a narrow alleyway that one could ride single file through and directed the company to escape that way. Addam patted Epona and told her. “You know what to do.” in Horse language. The sound of the riot faded out behind them while they rode at expert speed through the alleys of the shanty town.
Arriving at the Crag, Addam looked around in awe at the tourney grounds, specifically the jousting ring which looked magnificent to him. There was also a pit for a melee competition and he again thought about his master Lord Cregan’s skills with a blade doing something like decapitating five opponents with one sweep of his sword. Addam had seen it before many times he thought. He took a sip of his little flask and tried to calm himself down. None of the competitors around in the area seemed to have any skill that could rival his companions of House Caragore.
Addam followed the Lady Kasheen and Lord Cregan to sign up for the melee competition where a thin man gave them information on how much coin they would be able to win. To Addam it could’ve been anything from 4 gold dragons to 40 as he was off in his own world. He stayed silent looking around nervously having visions of what battles he would see in the tourney. Especially hoping he would see somebody die an honorable yet terrible death, this was surely going to be one of the happiest moments in his service for House Caragore and Cregan. When they were finished Cregan suggested what he always did, to go to the Tavern. Addam followed along thinking it would be best to keep it to one goblet of wine this day, to prepare for the tourney in the days ahead.
Later, at the Tavern in The Crag, Addam was sitting at the table with the rest of the company when Ser Gerold ordered wine for everyone. He was watching the other people in the room, especially focused on the shifty guards by the entrance not far from where he was sitting. Ser Gerold then walked up to the guards with a bottle of wine, said something Addam didn’t hear, and gave the wine to the guards. They looked pleased with the gift and accepted with no hesitation. This made Addam angry as he thought it was unbecoming to drink on duty like that, after all, he never did. He had a small drink of wine from his goblet now served at the table.
The others sitting at the table were going on and on about some lady person they were trying to find. Addam didn’t even know who that was he realized, and he started feeling slightly woozy, thinking it was an even better idea to not drink so much that evening if a smidge of wine affected him this much. He reassured himself that it was something a knight would do. They said something about a feast, but Addam knew he was not noble enough to be invited, and took a sip of the small flask from his pouch to settle his nerves.
Ser Gerold asked if anybody wanted more drinks, Addam didn’t respond to that as he was almost done with his goblet of wine. Gerold said “Addam, come with me to the bar and help me carry them.” Addam stood up and said “I will follow Ser Gerold, I’ve already had my one goblet of wine before the big day.”
They all laughed at that, especially Cregan who had been refilling Addam’s goblet since they
arrived at the tavern earlier. This was a common thing because every time Addam told everybody he wasn’t going to drink for his honorable duty or other reasons, Cregan made sure to trick him into getting drunk anyway.
While at the bar, Ser Gerold leaned close to Addam and whispered something in his ear: “Do you have that sweetsleep on you?”. Still satisfied with himself with drinking only one goblet of wine, he replied in a slightly drunken state saying that he did and it was in his pouch. Ser Gerold asked to borrow it, saying he needed to use it for their nightly activities. Just the mention of that made Addam tingle on the inside, he winked at Gerold and gave him his pinch of sweetsleep. He took the wine just served by the innkeep and returned to the table. Not much later, the guards fell asleep and Ser Gerold walked over to check on them to see if they were okay, he reassured the room they just had too much wine, slipped something in his pocket and sat back down with a big smile on his face.
Just before everybody were leaving to go the bed and whatnot, Addam jumps up and gives the group an extremely long drunken monologue about how they all will win in their endeavours in the tourney due to the high honor of House Caragore and that he owes his life to all of them for saving him and being valiant protectors of the innocent. He tells some stories about Cregan and him hunting bandits in the forest and Addam calling for beasts to aid in battle while Cregan chops down enemies like butter. He assured them he had seen it happen with his own eyes. The company didn’t really pay attention as they had heard Addam’s stories about honor and Cregan many times before.
Later, while the others are at the feast, Ser Gerold shows Addam what he lifted from the guards they poisoned. It was a ring of keys, so they searched the grounds for a door and a keyhole it might fit. The area was mostly deserted due to most of the guards being down at the festival. They came across a door to a smithy and Ser Gerold nodded towards Addam. He nods back and takes out his craftsman’s tool set from his backpack. Gerold throws the keys he stole to Addam and says Markus the dog and he will keep guard while Addam tries his to tinker with the lock. The key doesn’t fit, so Addam picks the lock instead with his toolset and the door unlocks.
On the inside of the smithy, Gerold immediately gives Addam a look and turns to close the door behind them. Addam looks a bit frozen trying to look around the room they’ve just entered. Gerold searches the room and finds some swords of standard quality while Addam takes a short sip of his little flask. Gerold tells Addam to fill his backpack with the weapons. He agrees without question, and stuffs the pack with the loot while Gerold tells him to look around for some gold, because he himself did not find any. Addam says: “I’m not good at looking around, for things, I tinker, when I look around in the shadows I don’t see anything.” Either way, he always followed Gerold’s lead on their thieving adventures and looks around anyway. It brought up memories of the night 10 months ago when Gerold had caught Addam in Gorehall stealing and then proposed an equal partnership and split the loot.
They go upstairs to an unlocked door, Gerold opens it and sends Markus the dog in first in to sniff around. Addam likes Markus and sometimes out on adventures he liked to lure rabbits to the camp so the loyal dog could have his favorite food. Inside the room of the second story. There was not much to steal in there either, and Gerold looked dissappointed. Addam however, spotted a wooden plate and couldn’t stop staring at it. He imagined if he got about thirty of them he could make a full armor set to use in combat, maybe with a bucket for a helmet or something. He could call himself the Wooden Squire. Not a bad name, he thought. He walks over to it, grabs the plate and slides it under his tunic, grinning to himself with a wide smile.
Gerold looks at Addam shaking his head a little and says “We will sell that and split money
equally after…” But there was no way he was selling that wooden plate he thought to himself. He just says “Agreed.” “Tomorrow.” Gerold said.“Tomorrow it is.” said Addam, but couldn’t think about anything other then the treasure he had just put under his tunic.
They leave the smithy and Gerold turns to Addam and says: “We’re gonna try and find which door this key fits into, but let’s go to the festival now.” Addam takes a look at the key, thinking it could fit through several doors, maybe even to Maester’s stores or a treasury. “That might fit something” he replied. Gerold says they should go back as to not attract suspicion, Addam nods and follows thinking it was a great day in the service of the noble House Caragore. Particularly excited by the wooden plate project growing in his mind.
forever loyal, Addam the Squire