The Dirge of Caragore

Robb's PoV #1
The plight of the farmer's daughter

Robb’s day began with him alone in his quarters, modest in size with a window an excellent view of the small hamlet of Gorehall. He could see the smithy down below, its bellows pumping its black smoke into the air, the stables next to it, where he could see his Rounsey eating away at some hay, with the Stablemaster Bran toiling away mucking up the filth.

There was a knock at his door and Robb made his way to answer, one of the house pages was responsible for the knock, a green boy no older than nine awaited him on the other side of the door.

“Beggin’ yer pardon milord…but Lord Caragore requests your presence in the main hall immediately” he said.

“Very well, I will make my way there immediately” he said before reaching back into the room to grab his sword belt and tie it on, lastly grabbing his shield and strapping it to his back before walking out of the room and making his way into the hall.

Sitting in his lordly seat, the Lord of Gorehall, Eorlanas Caragore sat. The hall itself was large and empty, enough for a man to hear the echo of his own steps against the walls. Robb’s eyes met the Lord and he bowed out of respect. It was then that he only realized that there was another person in the room. Kasheen Burnwillow, the Master of Arms at Gorehall and niece to the Lord himself. To Robb, he thought of the “Lady” Kasheen as an enigma. She was no lady in the context that many would know. She was born of the crannogmen, a frog eater and very dangerous fighter. Robb had a bad experience with one of her kind on the road before, the damn nets and poison they are so fond off nearly cost him his life. He was already distrustful of Kasheen, but was no fool to recognize a skilled fighter. In the short while that they had known each other, Robb knew that neither of them would get along fairly well. For the most part Robb did his best to avoid her.

“You summoned me my lord?”

Eorlanas merely hushed him with a wave of his hand before explaining that there were others to arrive. And soon they did, Robb turned to see the doors to the hall open once more and watched those who entered. He knew them all well and could name them just as well.

Edwyn Hill, the Lord Caragore’s bastard son and his closest friend.

Walter Caragore, the Lord Caragore’s 2nd legitimate son. Robb had minor engagements with him in the past, but he could tell that the boy was not a warrior, he was a thinker and a talented one at that. He knew he had to be careful around this particular one. Words can be as sharp as steel in this boy’s case.

Erryk Caragore, the Lord Caragor’s eldest son and heir apparent. Robb liked him, he was a good man and a decent fighter, whom he particularly enjoyed facing off against in the sparring yard many times. Although he was not as close as Edwyn was.

And finally Ser Gerold Hill Master of the Hunt and Kennelmaster of Gorehall. Robb could tell not to mess with this guy, he was a real dangerous individual, as sharp with a bow as he was with his wit, this was a man who had seen the world, leaping into its maw and survived the passage out into the ass end of the world. And he trained his dogs to be vicious little bastards as well. Robb held a touch of admiration and fear for this man.

With all men in the hall Robb nodded at Edwyn as they all turned to look at Eoralas.
He later explained that Tywin Lannister (a man whose name was considered black as muck in this hall) had given Lord Caragore the advice that he should remarry the lady of the Banefort. Robb of course did not know much about those at the Banefort other than the lady was recently widowed. Eorlanas agreed to the arrangement and sent out his two natural born sons, as well as the Lady Kasheen to ride out to the Banefort to meet the Lady.

For Edwyn and the rest of us, he had a different idea altogether. Turns out that one of those in the care of Gorehall, a farmer and his family had been attacked earlier in the day, with the daughter surviving and making it all the way here to inform us so. Lord Caragore then charged us with the mission to weed out these brigands and bring them to justice. Which made sense considering that it would be in poor taste to send Edwyn to meet with the lady of the Banefort, taking into account his notoriety with the women in the Westerlands. No doubt the Lord hoped that these bandits might do away with this stain on his family name. And without further delay, myself, Edwyn and Ser Gerold made our way down to the tavern were the girl Lanna awaited us.

The Inn was quiet, so she was easy to spot. Lanna was quite a comely looking girl, for a commoner at any rate. She was no courtly lady or Myrish courtesan but she had a sense of loveliness in her eyes, her face was plain and her hair was dirty. Still he knew it would take a lot more than that to ward off the Black Chimera’s advances. As they sat down, Robb introduced himself and asked the girl for any information that could be useful. Lanna then recounted the events of the morning, informing them roughly around the number of men that could have been there and how she narrowly escaped being killed…or worse considering.

He then promised her that they would do their very best to bring these men to justice and that she should remain at the Inn until their return just to make sure that it was safe. Ser Gerold, being the kindly man that he was, gave her a silver stag so she could at least eat and rest comfortably at the Inn in our absence.

Afterwards we readied our horses and made our way to the farmstead. All was quiet, there was some obvious signs of carnage and there was a body laying out in the front yard. Because of the blood, we never thought to check if he was still alive. They simply moved quickly in order to get an upper hand on the bandits and get an idea of their odds.

As they neared the farmhouse, Edwyn and Robb took up positions at the front entrance, while Ser Gerold scouted the perimeter of the house to make sure that there was nowhere for the bandits to retreat to.

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK Edywn bashed his gauntlet clad hand against the doorframe, only for there to be no answer.

Robb and Edwyn readied their weapons and knocked a second time, when there was no answer still, Ser Gerold smashed in the window and readied his bow, aiming them at the two men inside. “Freeze you bloody bastards!” Robb heard him growl.

Edwyn then kicked in the door, causing the brittle wood to splinter and fall from its hinges as he and Robb made their way inside.

“Halt! in the name of Lord Eoralas Caragore of Gorehall, we command you to surrender. Come quietly and our lord may allow you to take the black for your crimes” Robb said, as he tightened the grip of his bastard sword. Being on the road for three years, he knew these type of men, they were never the type to just give in easily.

“The Black is too good for the likes of these savages. Have at you!” Edwyn growled as he saw the signs of one of the men was about to attack and lunged at the man with his Braavosi blade, a nimble weapon that while not as thick as a westerosi longsword, was just as deadly, if not more in the correct hands, and Edwyn was more than capable with his blade.

“Wait, no!” Robb called out

His strike ran true, and the bandit was finished off by an arrow from Ser Gerold, leaving only just one bandit left. Robb took charge of this one while the other two were distracted. He barely put up much of a fight as Robb sank his bastard sword deep into the man’s chest, making him gargle and choke on his own blood as he fell over and died almost instantly. A regretful decision as he could have been used for questioning to find any signs of Lanna’s brother.

“Good work Edwyn, Gerold…although if I may as bold to say, perhaps we acted a bit too hastily. We should have interrogated these men further or perhaps apprehended them so they could face the King’s Justice rather than our own” Robb said.

“I was not about to take any chances with these two, better to put a mangy dog down before it bites you” Gerold said wisely.

Robb turned as he heard a loud series of barking coming from outside. “Speaking of which, what the fuck is your mutt barking about Gerold”

“Don’t insult my dog you pissant!”

The dog was standing over the body of the man they had seen earlier, and while Gerold began to loot the corpses of the bandits, a dagger and some other miscellaneous equipment, from around the house including some silver stags. Edwyn and Robb went outside to investigate the cause behind the dog’s insistent barking.

They ultimately came to realize that the man they had at first thought to have been dead, was alive if not badly wounded.

“Quick, strap him to my horse, we will take him back to the Maester. At least some good came out of this” Edwyn said before they finally readied the wounded man onto a horse and saddled up and began their quick ride back to Gorehall.

To the Crag and the Fair
Kasheen's POV 1

After another night at the Banefort, the travelers from House Caragore left down the road towards the Crag, to find Eleana and enter the tournament being held there. Kasheen was excited at the prospect of entering a competition, as it had been far too long since the last time she had been able to enter such a tournament.

The joust didn’t hold much interest for her, she found them rather dull and boring with a bunch of useless prancing about, but the melee! That was something to be a part of. Sizing up your opponents, watching for their next move, and waiting for your moment to strike. A glorious dance of sweat, leather, and steel.

The road to the Crag was uneventful, though Addam’s excitement at the thought of the fighting to come was almost physically tangible. Kasheen worried about that boy sometimes, she wished Uncle Crazy-beard would set him straight, but she knew that such discipline from her uncle was about as likely as a lizard-lion letting you rub its belly. Maybe she should have a talk with the boy.

Upon reaching the lands of the Crag, it appeared their path would take them through a poorer region of the Crag lands. The buildings were falling apart or looked to be hastily constructed – honestly, Kasheen couldn’t tell the difference. As they rode the street, the travelers began drawing the attention of the residents of these sad living accommodations. While Kasheen was not one to care much for the finer living of much of the nobleborn of the Seven Kingdoms, not anyone from the Neck would ever be caught living in such a state as these people here. Feeling bad for these unfortunate souls, Kasheen smiled and waved at those coming out of their hovels to watch them ride by.

Kasheen’s smile soon turned to a worried scowl as the crowd grew in size and restlessness. They people began pressing in close making it difficult to move, and cries for money and food rose up. She quickly began searching the streets for a way out this mob. Many of her companions had already drawn blades, which she was not sure was helping the situation. The crowd began to grab at them as they picked up the pace.

Kasheen heard a cry from one of the guards and suddenly the air was filled with rotting vegetables [I’m saying rotting here, because if they are starving why are they throwing good food?]. One of the guards was being pulled from his horse. Fortunately a clear narrow alleyway caught her eye.

“This way! Sven grab him and let’s get out of here!” she called out as she turned to one of her scouts. He turned his horse and moved in to attempt to rescue the besieged guardsman.

“I can’t get through to him!” he called back.

Kasheen cursed under her breath and turned to ride back through the increasing violent press of people. “Go on ahead, get out of here! I’ll be right after you.” Kasheen couldn’t even manage to get close enough, much less reach out and grab the fallen man. Just as she was preparing to dismount to push her way through, many of the folk around them suddenly broke away and cries of “coin!” could be heard in the crowd as many pushed against each other to try to acquire some of the thrown coin. She did not see who threw it but silently thanked them as the guard was able to slip back to his horse. She turned and rode for the alleyway and left the growing riot behind, riding as fast she could down these streets following the others.

Around the castle of the Crag, festival grounds had been set up, banners flew in the air, and while the castle was not in much better shape than the shanties they had just passed through, it was a stark difference. Kasheen wondered how the lord of the Crag could hold such festivities when so many of his people were mired in squalor.

Adding more here soon. Taking a break.

Bastardknight, POV #1

Blood sprinkled as Gerold removed the arrow from the bandits throat. That one single arrow most certainly was worth much more than some damn desserter. Back in Essos Bloodbeard would geld him and than sell him to the wickedest, most twistted Ghiscari slaver – the kind of scum Westeros does not see. The man does not know it but he got off easy.

Ah the goold old times, when all you had to do was fight, and if you won – 15 bed slaves would tend to your every need. and Volantene wine would flow in streams_he thought as he tied the twitchy wounded old man to the horse.

“Quit moving old man, you got one scratch, stop acting like you are dieing.” he yelled as he and Robb Stonecrow started riding back to Gorehall.

Robb was a fine lad, a sellsword himself he could definitely relate – even tough he had that gloomy tone to him. It was half a day as they rode, and finally the walls of Gorehall appeared. As Robb carried the wounded old fart to the maester Gerold entered the Great Hall unnerved with his eyes rolling with displeasure. Eorlanas was a lunatic, everybody knew that, no one dared to say it out loud. Bloodbeard was a lunatic too, but at least that lunacy led the Company of the Cat to battle often, and there they could share the spoils of war. Eorlanas on the other side just sat in his big stone chair and looked at people with those eerie eyes of his, as if he is to cut everyones head in an instant.

“My Lord” the kennelmaster with the longest, most courteous of bows, “It is my utmost pleasure to inform you the desserters have been dealt with – they are dead unfortunately however, there was no other way”

Eorlanas gave a thin, evil smirk “Men who plunder on my lands deserve nothing but death, Bastard knight”

Gerold felt sickened as he called him a bastard, many men lost their ability to speak anything at all after they lost a tongue after calling him that, but, a Lords a Lord.

“In that case it is my honor to inform you that justice has been served my Lord.”

Eorlanas proceeded to tell him of the tourney in the Crag where archers, jousters and fighters will meet to compare skills – we are to go there and bring honor on House Caragore.
With yet another bow, Gerold left and met Rob in the hallway – "Way ahead of you, the horses are ready, I heard everything "- the sellsword said. Picking up some salted fish and water from the kitchens, two men sat in their horses and rode like the wind.

“Well well, even this a marvelous palace” Gerold said sarcastically upon seeing the rundown castle of the Crag. “Come now, let us go to the inn”.

The sellsword did not want to imminently drown himself in ale as Gerold did, and that caused quite a commotion. After hours and hours of arguing however, they did end up in the nearest inn.

There, knights, squires, pages and servants gathered. The famed Westerosi charade best visible during a toruney.

Paying no mind to these things, which he loathed, he continued to gather gold. Gather gold, and proceed with the scheme.

Addam the Squire POV#1
Addam hears about the tourney, goes to sleep, finds candleholders.

The Announcement

The squire’s heart jumped when he heard the word “tourney”. “We must go there now!!” he said, completely oblivious to the fact that the tourney was not on that same day, or that it was in another location. He was told to calm himself, but all he could think about was duels between knights, swords clashing together, lances exploding on impact, men getting thrown from their horses and himself riding his dearest courser Epona in armor worthy of a true knight. Perhaps winning the favor a beautiful young noble girl or piercing a lance through someone’s eyesocket. His somewhat unhealthy obsession with knighthood often made him think of such things, and a real tourney was something Addam had wanted to see for a long time. He pitied the worthless opponents who now had to face his allies of House Caragore.

Later that night, Addam woke suddenly from his sleep. He was dreaming of fields burning all around him, he was a boy again, standing alone in the middle of a circle of flames. The dream ended when the flames finally closed in and consumed him. A sudden compulsion to go rumaging around the fort fell over him, he had to find something to steal or he would tear this place apart. He took a quick sip of a flask he always carried around in his pouch and left the stables to get some loot. Addam sneaked around for some time growing more and more uncomfortable, feeling the pressure increasing to find anything to hold and take the edge off. Finally he returned with some stags that may or may not have been worth something and two magnificent brass candleholders. He spent the rest of the night polishing his two new possessions, content, his mind still filled with images of farms burning and knights dying horrible deaths on the tourney grounds. He wanted blood.

Next: Halfwit the Horse and The Crag

forever loyal, Addam the Squire

Addam the Squire POV#2
Halfwit the horse, peasant mob on the road, sweetsleep in the Tavern and thievery.

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

Robb's PoV #2
The Day Before The Tourney part 1

With Ser Gerold in tow and the wounded father fastened safely to his saddle. Robb, Edwyn and Gerold rode back to Gorehall with great haste. They knew the condition of the man was bad, so they did not wish to delay his recovery any longer than was necessary.

Once they rode up the spiralling path leading to the main gates, a sentry spotted the inverted Black Chimera sigil of Edwyn, recognizing him as the Bastard of Caragore, the sentry called out for the main gates to be opened, allowing the men to pass on through without incident.

As they halted before the steps leading to the great hall and seat of House Caragore, Robb called over a local stableboy and told him to get ahold of Bran, the stablemaster. Once the boy ran off, Edwyn calmly made his way up the steps with his hand resting on the hilt of his braavosi blade.

Later Gerold and Robb made their way inside, with the wounded man in tow, of course Gerold seemed more concerned with reporting into Lord Eorlanas than helping Robb carry the man up the steep steps to the Maester’s quarters on the far side of the castle.

Once the old man was safely in the hands of the Maester, Robb returned to the great hall, overhearing Gerold and Eorlanas talking about what seemed to be a Tournament in the Crag. No doubt he meant for House Caragore to be represented and Robb of course could not let the opportunity pass him by. There was always a chance…a small one…but a chance that in the lists. He might find the sigil he had been looking for, for three gruelling years of search.

Later that same day Robb and Ser Gerold rode out from Gorehall and made their way towards the Crag where they rode through the night well into the early hours of the morning, only ever stopping to either feed and water themselves and their horses, or to answer the call of nature.

It was not until the early morning after that Robb and Gerold arrived at the Crag. As they calmly rode into the small town. According to Ser Gerold, the noble in charge of the Crag was Ned Westerling. What his house lacked in many respects, they made up for in how they were one of the oldest houses in the Westerlands, if not Westeros in general.

Upon entering the town and watching the people readying the Crag for the festivities that were set to follow over the course of the next few days, Robb could see that despite the poverty of the people, they seemed to be in high spirits. A tourney no matter how small, was a great way for people to attract commerce and trade.

Robb called over a nearby paige to take his horse as well as Gerold’s to be stabled, the boy seemed more than thankful for the meager silver stag he was given for the task.

“Alright then, time for some grub, what do you think Gerold?”

“We should try the Inn, food and drink in the same spot is more efficient than wandering to two different stalls” he said as he made his way inside. “I guess you make a good point” Robb said before joining him.

The Inn was small and nearly empty despite for a few locals sitting at the odd tables here and there. As Gerold and Robb found themselves a table, they ordered up two large mugs of ale and mead as they sat at their table and waited. Robb and Gerold engaged in mutual conversation, although it was brief. Ever since he took up the role of Sell sword, Robb might have lost a bit of his skill when it came to the art of conversation, even after spending three years at Gorehall many of the men with whom he called “friends” or “comrades” seemed like perfect strangers to him.

An hour or two passed before Walter, Kasheen, Erryk and the others finally arrived at the Inn where Ser Gerold greeted them with high merriment and Robb raised his mug of ale (still his first).

“Hail brothers, we were hoping to find you here” Ser Gerold spoke out proudly.

“Ser Gerold? Ser Robb? What a surprise to find you both here” Erryk replied as he and his party made their way to the table. As he did Robb noticed that the barman and a young girl, possibly his daughter made work to serve them as quickly and as efficiently as they could. Perhaps Erryk preceeded himself?

“We came from Gorehall after our mission at the behest of your father. He told us of this tournament and asked us to win in honor of House Caragore” Robb stated.

“Yes, we heard a similar tale from the Lord of the Banefort. I must say he seemed rather hesitant to help us, we did not really learn of this tournament until we pressed him on the matter”

“Highly suspsect? what manner of man is this Lord?”

“The Craven Kind” Cregan called out as Robb noticed him eyeing up the girl as she began to ask them what she would like to drink. Once the orders were made, she turned and yelped as she felt as strong masculine hand grasp her tight little arse. Of course when she saw that it was Cregane, she did nothing to show offense and walked away as briskly as she could.

“Craven lord…well I hope his daughter is worth all this bloody trouble” Gerold said.

“She wasn’t there, although a little birdie told us that she might be at this tournament. It will be up to us to see if we cannot find her and “impress” her…All for the benefit of my father of course"

“Your father went toe to toe with the Sword in the Morning. I doubt us courting some spoilt Westerland brat is going to amount to much” Robb said as he finished his ale and stood up.

“Anyway…” he said as he grabbed his sword and shield.

“I took the liberty of getting some spare rooms, just in case you lot decided to drop by. There’s supposed to be a feast at the Westerling’s hall this evening. Perhaps you will find your princess there” he said before moving away from the table and heading upstairs.

“Will you not be joining us then Lord Stonecrow?” Walter called out with a smug looking grin.

“A sellsword has no place at a Lordlings tables. I will be at the fairgrounds this evening if you need me. Unless you’re about to get cold steel rammed up your arse don’t bother me” he said before making his way upstairs finally and entering his room to catch up on missed sleep from the night’s ride.

Walter Caragore PoV #1
News of a tourney, Banefort

- Brother, perhaps before departing for the Crag we should speak with the Lord? – Walter turned to Erryk as they were making their way towards the stables.
- Yes…that would be best, we can’t waste anymore time here.
-That we can both agree on, no doubt.

The Banefort wasn’t what Walter had assumed it would be, he imagined a mighty fortress, manned by steal plated warriors, ready for battle. In truth the fort has definitely seen better days, nothing special and quite disappointing in fact…as for the men ? Peasants, the lot of them. Nothing even coming close to the military might and wealth of Caragore.

‘’And we are supposed to ally with these people? What do we gain? Nothing. If anything they gain everything here. Perhaps that is the sole goal of Tywin Lannister in meddling in our affairs…to bind us to House Banefort…teach us another lesson in humility…but perhaps there is something bigger at play here…either way …this might not end well.’’ – These were the type of thoughts haunting Walter Caragore during his stay at the banefort, something about this whole affair has put him in a state of uneasiness and slight paranoia.
As they entered the Lords great hall he was sitting on his throne, with some grim looking fellow, possibly his advisor. In contrast to their last visit Lord Banefort didn’t seem pleased to see them at all, he was sweaty and nervous…constantly exchanging glances with his minion.
- My Lord – Walter gave him a short bow – we have heard word of a tourney, taking place in the Crag, not long from now.
- Ooooh Have you now ? – the fat lord replied with a condescending tone upon him.
- Oh YES. Indeed, very much so. – Walter was unphased, he smiled in return, giving a quick glance to his brother, who remained silent for the moment – It is most curious that we heard the news from a man in your tavern and not from you when we last spoke in the morning.
- I…I…wou-…I – the man started stuttering when called out on his lies, his lack of information – would you like to compete for me ? – he finally blurted out.
- Say no more my lord, we plan to take part in this tourney and we will be leaving your hospitality as soon as we can.
- You are more than welcome to any resources our humble town can offer…by all means….no rush to get out of my town. – Lord Banefort was visibly relieved to hear about their departure…Walter found that most curious…the old man’s attitude has changed dramatically since yesterday…this fueled Walters paranoia even further.
- How generous of you, my lord.
Erryk was silent throughout this exchange… listening in, letting his younger brother speak. This is one of Erryks finer traits that Walter quite liked about him. He was a calm and composed man, careful with his words. When he spoke his tone was calm and steady.
- We thank you my lord, but we will be no more of a burden for you today – he waited for the Lords nod and started making his way outside, Walter followed shortly after, slamming the doors behind him.

They headed almost immediately to the tavern, to meet up with the rest…before long they were all sitting at the table, discussing what just commenced. They finished the drinks, visited the local quartermaster to gather supplies so generously offered to them and not much time has passed until they were on their way to the Crag.

Erryk POV #1

He could still see her pale lifeless body every time he closed his eyes. Still looking as beautiful as she did before her life was so quickly taken from her. He failed. He was tasked with finding her and returning her to his father for marriage. He had failed. She was found lying dead in the Caragore’s very own tent. The poor, sweet, and beautiful Lady Eleana Banefort was dead and Erryk still saw her when he closed his eyes. His biggest failure still taunting him.
He shook his head quickly as if to shake all of the memories of the Lady Eleana out of his head at once. Suddenly, Erryk was back. He recalled where he was and what he was doing. He was riding back to the Gorehall with his two loyal guardsmen Marwyn and Gawen. He had roughly 100 hungry and starving peasants on their way to his home. They will be expecting food and shelter and his father will be expecting answers.
Erryk was sent to the Banefort to retrieve his father’s soon to be wife. He is now returning with 100 hungry peasants and the news of her death. Lord Eorlanas was not the same man as Erryk. He will not see what Erryk sees in these peasants. Where Erryk sees potential and benefit, Eorlanas will see burden and weakness. Eorlanas will want answers for why Erryk brought them back.
When Erryk convinced the peasants to join them he did not think of his father. He was the last thing in his mind. He knew he had to do something. These people were struggling to survive. They had no food, shelter, or purpose. Erryk knew he could give them that. House Caragore had the funds to provide food for them and shelter them until they can begin providing for themselves. They will not be a burden on House Caragore. They will work and fight for the House. There are many capable young men in this group. They can fight and work for the house and in return they will be given a chance to live an honest life.
Eorlanas will not see that nor will he care. He does not see the potential in people Erryk sees. It will be pointless trying to convince him to see it the way Erryk does. Eorlanas is as stubborn as he is cold. He will not see what Erryk sees but Erryk does not need him to see their potential. He just needs him to trust in his first son and heir. Trust that he has a plan for them. Trust that Erryk knows what he is doing. That too, may be an impossible task.
It was in this moment that Erryk’s ears perked up as he heard his Uncle’s name. He looked up and heard Marwyn and Gawen discussing the events of the tourney. Cregan had indeed showed the power of House Caragore. Though Erryk was not present at the Melee’s finale he did see Cregan’s impressive showing on the previous day. He had heard from many people at the tourney of the dull finish. To Erryk it sounded quite riveting. Cregan had tried to best Lady Kasheen in the melee. Any other man and Cregan would have won the tourney in seconds. Kasheen was no man though and hitting her was like hitting a mosquito with a crossbow. Near impossible.
“I did not get the chance to attend the second day of the melee” Erryk exclaimed to the two guardsmen, “but I hear Lady Kasheen was very impressive.”
“That she was m’Lord.” Gawen responded suddenly realizing that Erryk was paying attention, “Lord Cregan was especially impressive against that Shrieking Knight character.”
“That he was Gawen,” Erryk agreed, “Cregan showed impressive power.”
The last thing Erryk remembered hearing before his mind wondered off again was talk of the Archery competition. Another competition Erryk was unable to attend due to his duty. He was the heir to the Gorehall and it was his duty to do his father’s will. Even if he didn’t always agree with it. He didn’t trust this demand by Tywin Lannister. His father had two sons and no need for a wife. His line would continue after his death. Why would Tywin Lannister want Lord Eorlanas to wed again? Erryk was not the only one to be suspicious of this. Caragore’s were not fond of Lannisters and were often skeptical of their motives. His brother Walter also distrusted this proposal.
His brother Walter. Erryks head quickly was filled with anger and shame as he was reminded of their most recent exchange. Erryk had tasked him with going to the Banefort with the Lady Eleana’s body to help explain our role in her death. The Banefort will assume we were responsible. After meeting her cold uncle it was even clearer of what they would think. This is why Erryk wanted Walter to go with him. He would not have gone alone. He would have taken guards and any other house members he needed. Walter was good with his words, something Erryk was not. Erryk would have gone to the Banefort but he trusted Walter more than he trusted himself with this mission. Walter did not see it the same way.
Walter refused to go. Walter told Erryk that he would not go as he felt that it was a suicide mission.
He was probably right. I should not have asked him to go. I should have listened to him and just told him he was right.
Erryks stubborn pride would not allow this though. Erryk hated the feeling of his brother refusing him. He hated the way he felt seeing his little brother stand up and tell him no.
I’m the older brother. I’m the heir. I should be the one who knows what’s best. He should listen to me and do as I say not because it’s right but because I’m the elder brother!
Erryk only partially believed this. He felt shamed. Not only because Walter shamed him and made him look a fool but also because he knew that Walter was right. Walter would have died had he gone to the Banefort. Erryk tried to send him to his death and yet he did not see it at the time.
What kind of Lord will I be? I couldn’t even see that I was sending my brother to die. A Lord needs to always make the right choice. A Lord does not send his brother to die.
Maybe Walter would make a better Lord. This was a thought Erryk had often. Walter was right more often than he was wrong. He was wise and charismatic. Despite his physical weakness, people listened to him. He was convincing. He was persuasive. Erryk was not this. Erryk could fight. He could fight well. He was not the type to spend his day reading like Walter could. He would spend his day training with his sword or speaking with troops. Erryk could win a war but could he lead a house?
Erryk looked up for a moment and saw a site that took his mind off all of his previous worries. He looked out over the field and there he saw marching a force of 200 men marching straight toward him. Panic overtook Erryk as he scanned the field to see who this force was. It wasn’t long before Erryk noticed his own house colors and the banner of House Caragore. Relief flushed over him.
Erryk quickly road up to the host and noticed the men’s looks as they realized who he was. He saw signs of shock and confusion. He rode through the men until he found his Uncle Ser Rodrick Caragore.
“Uncle,” Erryk addressed him, “What brings you and such a large host out this far?”
“Simply stretching our legs nephew.” Rodrick replied.
Erryks previous days made him skeptical and confused. His head was not entirely with him when he spoke with Rodrik and he was still confused as to why a large host would be this far. He did not recognize the jest in his Uncle’s voice.
“You took so many men to stretch out your legs?” Erryk asked suspiciously.
“Ha!” Rodrick laughed, “You asked for reinforcements. We are your reinforcements.”
“I see,” Erryk said realizing his Uncle’s initial remarks, “I appreciate the help. However, we have since quelled the rebellion and are returning with the peasants now.”
Rodrick appeared confused by the news of the peasants. Erryk explained to him briefly of his thoughts behind recruiting the peasants. Rodrick asked about the tourney and Erryk told him of the outcomes. He explained how the Caragore house had won nearly all of the events they competed in. All but the Joust. Another shame for Erryk.
“Some other, more sensitive issues that I’d like to speak with my father about” Erryk ended his story.
“Speaking of sensitive issues there is something I need to tell you about.” Rodrick solemnly replied.
“And what would that be uncle?” Erryk cautiously responded.
“There has been a marriage at the Gorehall.” Said Rodrick
“Who’s marriage?” Erryk said though he already knew the answer.
“Your father’s.” Rodrick answered.
Erryk felt his blood begin to boil. This was all some elaborate plan by his father. He had spent the better part of a week talking highly of his father. Trying to convince people to trust him and follow him and marry him. People were hurt, attacked, arrested, and even died. All so that Eorlanas could get married behind his back? What was his plan? What was he up to? Who did he marry?
“Who did my father marry?” Erryk asked, fearful of the answer.
“We best find your brother and Cregan. They’ll want to hear of this as well.” Rodrick said avoiding the question.
“I don’t understand. Who would he have married while he sent us off to find his bride?” Erryk persisted.
“I think Eorlanas had this planned. He married a Lannister”
The name shook in Erryks head like a loose pebble. A Lannister? A fucking Lannister?! What is he thinking? What is he doing? What is he up to? Erryk’s blood began to boil even more than it had before. He was furious. His father sent him on a fool’s errand with no intention of marrying Lady Eleana and now she was dead. His father would have answers. He needed answers. Erryk demanded answers.
“Cregan isn’t going to like this.” Erryk said remembering his father’s hate for the Lannisters.
“Cregan nothing, I damn near killed a man myself.” Rodrick replied “If they are marching with peasants they may need an escort.”
“I agree.” Erryk responded “There are more pressing things to go over with Walter and Cregan. We should go join with them.”
“You heard him men!” Rodrick shouted to his soldiers “We continue north!”
The soldiers fell into rank as they began marching north.

Robb's PoV
The Day before the Tourney Pt Two

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.

Erryk POV #2

Erryk POV #2
He woke up later than normal this morning. He knew he did not have anything he was required to do. His father, Eorlanas, was meeting with Keven Lannister and this gave Erryk nothing he was needed for today. He was unsure as to what he would do today but he knew he needed to get out. He was not enjoying his time in Lannisport and he needed to take his mind off the things that had transpired the night previous. So far, in Lannisport he had been told his friend, Robb Stonecrow, was sneaking around behind his back, he had been attacked in the streets, lead a hunt for the man responsible, saw the death of that man, and was come onto by his new mother. This trip could not end soon enough. He needed to find Stonecrow. Stonecrow would help him keep his mind off the strange behavior of the Lady Nymeria the night before. Maybe he could get some information about what Stonecrow had been doing behind his back while on this trip.
Erryk got dressed, grabbed his sword, and walked out of his bed chambers. Stonecrow ended up being much harder to find than Erryk had anticipated. He asked the men if they had seen him and it seemed that nobody had. Finally, Erryk was able to track Stonecrow’s whereabouts to the docks. The docs. Dammit Stonecrow what are you doing down there? Would you be drinking this early? Whoring may haps? Erryk was not sure as to why Stonecrow was at the docks but he was skeptical on whether he should go down or not. He had his sword and there were few men who would pose a threat to him but the docks were not a safe place for a Lord to go alone and he had left his armor in his room. No matter. I am sure many people have heard of how quickly we cut down the thugs that attacked us yesterday. Nobody would dare attack me unless they want a quick death.
Erryk arrived at the docks and noticed some commotion. There were guards all over and it appeared that something had happened the night previous. He found that the tavern he was looking for was the center of the activity.
“What happened here?” Erryk asked the guard upon entering the building.
“There was a murder last night.” The guard responded.
A murder? Erryk thought to himself, It had better not be Stonecrow. Erryk approached the bar keep to see if he had seen his lipless friend. Since his father’s punishment, Stonecrow would not have gone unnoticed.
“Yes I recall seeing a fella like that. He had a room upstairs.” The Barkeep responded while pointing in the direction of the room. Erryk handed him a few coins and went upstairs.
He approached the room and noticed no guards stationed near it. This set his mind at ease a bit as he knew there would be guards protecting the scene of the murder had it been Stonecrow. However, his mind did not stay at ease as he noticed the door to the room was open. It seemed strange that Stonecrow would leave the door open if he were sitting inside. It also seemed strange that they would keep the door open after he had left. Erryk approached the door with his hand on the hilt of his blade.
“Stonecrow?” He softly said into the room, hoping to hear his friend’s voice respond. There was no response. Erryk walked into the room. It appeared to be empty and nobody seemed to be there. If Stonecrow as here he had been gone for some time now.
It was at this moment that Erryk heard the door slam shut behind him. He turned quickly around and felt a large and strong fist meet with his face. Erryk fell back and ripped his sword out of its scabbard making a satisfying hiss as it slide out. Before him, Erryk saw a huge man he did not recognize, wearing heavy armor but no weapon in hand. “Who are you?” Erryk shouted at the man. “Talmont!” The man shouted back as he charged for another attack. Erryk met him with his blade stabbing it between his armor plates in his shoulder. This armor would not be easy to penetrate so Erryk would need to be fast and plan his strikes well. The man doubled back in pain from the strike and snarled at Erryk.
“I did not come here for you but you’ll do nicely in luring the bog witch to me little lordling.” Talmont declared.
“I will be no bait!” Erryk responded as he pressed the attack.
Erryk stabbed his sword toward Talmont’s leg and pierced between the armor once more. That must have wounded him and it will at least slow him down if there is any need for escape. He does not seem to be phased by my attacks. I may need to think of a new approach. As Erryk planned his next attack, Talmont charged Erryk and delivered another mighty blow to the face, nearly knocking Erryk off of his feet. Erryk could feel the blood coming out of his nose. Something was definitely broken as he could hardly breathe. Another blow like that and I may not make it out of here alive.
Erryk recalled seeing a window on the opposite side of the door when he entered. We are on the second floor. If I can make it out that window and survive the landing, he would not be able to follow me. I would have time to escape. Erryk had not time to think more on this and he ran back and turned toward the window. He dove out the window, glass flying as he landed in a bush below. Erryk did not bother to look back as he attempted to escape.
He had not gotten far before he heard the familiar voice of Talmont yelling out in pursuit.
“Somebody stop that man! He is the murderer!” He heard Talmont shout as the people stopped and began to peruse Erryk. He had not time to think so Erryk began to run. He did not like the feeling of running away from an accusation like this. It made him seem like a murderer. He could stop and turn to them and explain the situation but this would give Talmont the time he needed to catch up. As Erryk ran, he noticed more and more people beginning to join in the pursuit. Before Erryk could plan an escape, he realized he was being surrounded. These people actually believed this man! Why wouldn’t they? I ran away at the first accusation. I need to get back to my camp and to my men.
Erryk turned as he noticed the mob now had him fully surrounded. He stopped and pulled out his sword, pointing it to defend himself and hoping it would not come to this. These people are just trying to help. They do not know that this man is trying to frame me. I must restrain from harming them best I can. It was this moment that the crowd split and out walked Talmont. Erryk shifted to defend himself from the lumbering man who now held a mace in his hands.
“This man murdered another. I will take him into custody.” Talmont yelled.
“You will take me nowhere monster! I killed nobody! This man attacked me without provocation!” Erryk replied.
The crowd began to murmur as Talmont charged at Erryk. Erryk shifted and swung his blade hoping to catch the monster off-guard. His sword stabbed into the armor and bounced off. Erryk looked to the sword as it missed its mark and felt the pain in the back of his head as everything around him went black.


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