The atmosphere outside the Westerling’s great hall was one of revelry and enjoyment. Music echoed across the fair grounds as peasants, squires, adventurers and gorgeous maidens engaged in the merry making. Waves of food were passed around as pig, ox and rabbit roasted over large, building fires, their juices dripping down with a detectable sizzling sound.
Robb had spent the better half of an hour exploring the fair grounds, just aimlessly making his way through the crowd as he eyed everyone near and far. Occasionally he’d find that someone would hand him a drink and out of politeness he would take it, but not drink. Instead he’d simply place it on a vacant table and continue his search.
Further towards the tourney grounds, one could see a row of tents being erected. Each one had the fluttering banners of knights and noble houses. Many of the sigils were local to the Westerlings, already he could see the Chimera of Caragore against the field of Green and Black. The Lion of Lannister was no where to be seen as far as he could see, in fact many of the sigils were of those he himself did not really recognise.
It was still too dark to make out all of them, so he quickly gave up and returned to the edge of the fairground close to the Westerling hall. On his way back, Robb noticed many curious sights to behold. Travelling fools and murmurs from across the Narrow Sea had apparently come to this corner of Westeros. He spotted two Dwarfs doing tumbles and another walking on his hands. A dark skinned man possibly from the vicinity of Qarth who was dressed in pants of orange and violent, stood shirtless, balancing what appeared to be the tip of a longsword off of his nose as he arched himself backwards.
It was enough to earn applause and shocked gasps when the man pivoted and in one clean drop, the vanished down the man’s throat, vanishing from sight. Even Robb himself was left speechless as the man slowly gripped the handle and pulled the blade out of his mouth, no signs of blood or injury, that was truly worthy of applause.
Beside one of the vendors, a brew cart selling the finest of wines and ales, were rows of benches were people were playing games. Nothing fancy like Cyvasse mind you, but games like chance and dice. And one particular group that caught Robb’s eye, were those who were playing the dangers Dagger Game, or “Finger Fillet” as it was called in some parts. Where men would place a hand flat on the table and try to rhythmically stab the gaps between there fingers. It was a riveting game, but not without injury. Trying his luck, Robb decided to approach the tables.
As he sat down, he immediately heard behind him in a familiar voice, the sound of Cregane slamming down coin and boasting that no man could beat him in a game of Drink. Many of the others laughed jokingly at his boast and decided to take him up on his offer. It was here that Robb noticed that the others had come from the hall and who should sit before him, but none other than Clint the Reaver, a man of the Iron Islands with salt n pepper hair, which stood out due to the amount of sea salt he was no doubt exposed to. The Iron Born were said to have been born among salt and rock of the isles they inhabit.
Robb watched the Ironborn sit down and saw him place down five silver stags on the table. Before taking out a shiny looking dagger from beneath his bracer. “Care for a go?” he said, as he brought the point down on the table. Robb merely looked back at the shifty iron islander having already won the previous go with another man, Robb was feeling like he was on a roll. “I’m up for it if you are” he replied before matching the Reaver by placing down five silver stags of his own.
By then Robb could already feel the crowd gathering around him, many of them had looks of worry because they knew that at some point during this deadly dance of knives, there was going to be blood. There was no questioning that, all that mattered was who was going to do the most of the bleeding. By then there was already a small group of younger lords already gathering to place bets on who would emerge victorious. Apparently the Reaver had a certain presence about him or confidence with the way he held his blade that drew many of the young lords to bet on the Ironborn. Robb wouldn’t have minded so much, until he heard young Walter placing a bet of fifty silver stags on him. “Great” Robb thought, now there was even more pressure not to fuck up.
Slowly placing his left hand on the table and spreading his digits as far as he could. Robb would then take a hold of his dagger, all the while staring rather intensely into the eyes of the Ironborn. From there the two would twist the tips of their daggers into the wood work, before chanting. “1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4” over and over again before they before starting to dance the blade in between their fingers. They both did this at a leisurely pace at first, before getting faster and faster as time went on. Eventually they both managed to nick their fingers roughly around the same time, so no point could truly be given to either of them. Robb lets out a bit a sharp hiss as he cuts the outside of his pinky, while it wasn’t a deep cut, it was enough to make him bring the digit to his lips. “Seven hells” he cursed beneath his breath.
When he placed his hand back down, he heard behind him that Walter was going to bet another fifty stags on Stonecrow, bringing the pot up to around two hundred silver stags. The game was on. Again the two entered into the deadly duel of dagger dancing between their fingers chanting “1,2,3,4” getting faster and faster. The Reaver was so quick and slick with his daggers however, it was almost like a blurr and Robb could barely keep up. The inside of his thumb got a cut and Robb did his best to not let anyone see his reaction.
With a sly grin Clint reached over to grab his winnings only to have Robb grasp his wrist firmly. With a determined look, he stared into the Ironborn’s eyes. “Best two out of three?” he asked, and the Reaver obliged. “Alright, i’ll take more of your money” he grinned before leaning back and readying his knife. Robb turned to look at Walter but it was very clear that the young man was cutting his losses, looking not too impressed by Robb’s performance in the last go. Robb didn’t blame him, it was the smart choice. While he didn’t want to admit it the bloody Ironborn was too quick with that dagger to beat. But then again that’s where pride comes in, Robb was not about to give up to some salt lick reaver from the Iron islands.
He put his hand back on the table and grabbed his knife, before looking into Clint’s eyes as they both began to chant again. “1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4” again and again and again this time lasting longer and more intensely than the previous two rounds. That was when Robb caught a glimpse of something that distracted him, a radiant maiden with porcelain like skin and long brown hair that cascaded down her shoulders with the loveliest of smiles and the softest eyes.
She was probably the most beautiful woman he’d ever set eyes upon. Sadly the distraction earned him another cut on the finger, the round belonged to the reaver who raised his above his head in triumph letting out a hoot resembling that of a warcry. Flashing a set of rotting teeth he raked in his coins and got up. “Pleasure doing business with you” he exclaimed while Robb surrendered the table against the next person wanting to have a piece of the Ironborn. Robb merely held up his left hand, seeing his thumb becoming sticky with red. As the pain throbbed in his hand he went over and found a bucket of water near Walter who stood arms folded, smirking somewhat as Robb soaked his hand in the cold water.
“Salt water drinking, sister fucking piece of-…Grr” Robb grumbled as he soaked his hand, the water slowly turning red. “Well at least my uncle is fairing better than you” as Walter looked over, seeing Cregan throw back another pint of ale, half of which drips down through his beard as he quaffs it like a man.
“I think i’ll go bandage up my hand” he said as he pulled out his hand from the water and wandered off back in the direction of the tavern, having had quite enough of the festivities for tonight. Tomorrow would be the day of the tourney, he had to go get his rest.