Blood of Dragons: Logs

Blood of Dragons is the only author-approved MUSH based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Play the Game of Thrones and become a part of the history of the Seven Kingdoms:

Want to learn more first? Start with the FAQ. Or check out the web forums.

Read our Privacy Policy.

Connect With Us
Recent Entries
Archives

View All

Calendar
July 2014
M
T
W
T
F
S
S
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
Sites of Interest
A Villain Defeated!
IC Date: Day 16 of Month 9, 161 AC. (about 12pm)
RL Date: May 27, 2010.
Participants: Bors Breakhelm (played by Sarmion), Ser Burton Crakehall, Pate (played by Almer), Starion Flowers called the Starveling (played by Luthor), Sandor (played by Reyna), Gormon (played by Sarmion), Ser Stevyn Locke called Winterfast, Ser Luthor Rivers, Ser Farin Prester, Ser Almer Connington, Ser Raynard Locke, Ser Sarmion Baratheon called the Stormbreaker.
Locations: Kingswood

Summary: The ransom exchange is ambushed and counter-ambushed by the Starveling. A battle ensues in which the knights from King's Landing emerge victorious. The Starveling flees to his hideout in the woods, pursued by the knights. There, Almer finds the bodies of his wife and child. After giving him a severe beating, Ser Almer spares the Starveling's life.

The King’s Road stretches south, cutting between the enormous boles of the ancient trees that make the Kingswood. Here is where the Starveling has chosen to meet Ser Almer to exchange his hostages for an enormous ransom. Here is where the Connington knight and those who have joined him has decided to ambush the bastard outlaw and bring his reign of terror to an end.

All through the night, the knights have laid in wait, moving in under cover of darkness and keeping their horses silent in the eeriely quiet wood. The sun rose with a chill wind blowing up the road. The hours passed.

Midday arrived. The hour appointed for the exchange. The Starveling appears with a handful of mounted men.

Dappled in sickly green-gold sunlight, Ser Almer urges his tall blood bay to the middle of the road. Beside him are a pair of horsemen in the griffin livery of House Connington; they each lead pack mules bearing wooden chests bound to their backs. Ser Almer reins up, silent, only the jingling of harness and creak of leather breaking the heavy silence.

Lean, with a face scarred by pox, Starion Flowers, best known as the Starveling, scans the road, amidst his men. The bandit, is dressed in black chain, and a black half-helm. While around his shoulders sits a heavy woolen cloak of red and black. Once belonging to one of Almer’s men before the ambush. One of the bandit’s hands, grip the reins of his horse, a Sandsteed that Almer should be very familiar with, while the other holds a length of sandsilk, which he rubs between his fingers. “Keep your eyes open,” he urges his men. “And for fuck sake, do what you’re told.”

Seeing Almer arrive, the Starveling nods to his men and urges them forward. “Ser!” he calls in greeting, as they approach, reigning in a goodly distance apart from Almer. “Well met. I bring a token from your lovely wife,” he says holding up the sandsilk. “Did you bring the gold I asked for?”

“Aye,” grunts one of Starion’s men, an ill-favored lout with a purple-red wen on one cheek that pushes his eye up into a permanent squint. Sandor is a man of few words, owing greatly to the protrusion of his offset teeth from his mouth, his jaw canted ever so slightly off-center, as if from a badly-healed break. His horse is little prettier than he is, being a piebald thing with too many ribs and not enough leg that stumps along with more will than grace. But the man carries a wicked sword, the edge honed to gleaming where the blade is stuck through his belt. He watches Almer coming and wipes a line of drool from his chin.

The Starveling’s men—indeed. They glare at the bastard giving them orders. Especially a massively fat one carrying a mace. His jowls jiggle under his kettle helm as he retorts, “Bugger yourself for a lark, Flowers. I’m done taking orders from the likes of you.”

His beady eyes narrow as he watches Connington approach.

Raynard sits astride his horse, waiting for the signal to attack. Two years of waiting and hunting the bastard Starveling down had all come to this. He gently pats his horse on the neck to keep her calm and quiet. The air was heavy with anticipation. Today was do or die, there was no retreat. the Starveling was in their grasp. His sword hand flexes, eager to draw the bastard sword on his hip.

Squirting a thick red stream of sourleaf juice from cracked lips, Bloody Pate laughs at the fat fellow’s crude jape. “Shut up, you tub of suet,” Pate grunts with a leer. “We’ll all be done taking orders when we got this dumb bastard’s gold.”

Coldly, Almer eyes the Starveling and his broken men; he half-turns his restive courser, and the big horse stamps the ground angrily. “That is not the agreement, Flowers,” says the knight in an icy tone. “Produce my wife and son. Immediately.”

“Won’t,” puts in Sandor to Pate and the fat man, swiping another line of dribble from his chin. He works his mouth for a moment, then finally shapes another word. “Loyal.” Or something very akin to it.

Amidst the trees, Luthor sits stoically astride his old brute of a warhorse, chosen today to carry him in his full harness. His armor, almost fresh from the forge is blackened steel, muffled with strips of cloth for the night’s travel. Beside him are his squire, Barion, in a chain hauberk, and his healer Watty in a plain brown robe. He glances back to Barion first. “Stay close when the signal comes,” he urges the boy. Then to the healer. “Hide up here until the thing’s done, we’ll likely have need of you.”

That said, Luthor turns his eyes forward retreaves a token from within his armor and kisses it before tucking it away, and loosening his sword in its scabbard, then settles in to wait.

With his usual cool reserve, Stevyn Locke waits, speaking to no one but watching each man who made the Kingswood their home; as though calculating while he waits. And wait he does, stone like and expressionless.

Feverish eyes meet Almer’s cold ones, bright with glee. “Now, now, ser, mustn’t be hasty, let’s make sure you’ve got the fucking gold, you promised, before we’re seeing one hair of your sweet wife and babe,” the Starveling says reveling in this moment of triumph. “Less you don’t want ‘em, in which case, we’ll be about our business, and my loyal lad Sandor here, shall have a new plaything.”

Burton Crakehall sweeps his eyes over the approaching brigands . There is a grimace of disgust on his face. He is sitting atop the high saddle of his black charger, clad in chainmail, accompanied by several armed men in Crakehall colors, one of them Tymon the Brigand. Burton touches the hilt of his sword, and frowns, looking at the Starveling “How dare you to speak with a nobleman in such way, scum! Have you forgotten your place?”

“We’ll all have her to play with, you mean.” The fat man chortles, stroking the haft of his mace suggestively.

His beady eyes watch Almer. He licks his lips.

Spitting red again, Bloody Pate leans on his poleaxe and grins toothily. “Gold, gold, gold… no sweeter word was ever sung or said.” He eyes the pack mules hungrily.

Sandor laughs, a sort of low, stupid giggle as he leers toward Connington. “Purdy,” he says around the weird laughter. Then he hiccups and subsides, looking quite happy with the way things are.

He looks then at the fat man and glowers. “Mine!” he says quite firmly.

Raising a cautionary hand at Burton’s angry outburst, Almer keeps and holds the Starveling’s eye. He is silent for a long moment. Then he motions to one of the men at arms. “Show him.” The man scowls, dismounts, and unlocks one of the chests; there is indeed a gleam of gold inside.

“Now. Produce the lady,” Almer says darkly. “If you do not, then by the gods, I’ll see your head on a pike.”

Farin Prester waits among the trees and his compatriots, stone faced and stoic. His armor was not new, in contrast to the garbs he wore dailey; it still bore the scratches from his second excursion into Dorne. Nothing debilitating of course, or he’d have had it repaired, but today it felt right to wear it. The reins of his warhorse are in his hands already, waiting for the signal, giving an air of both patience and impatience at

The younger of the two Lockes grimaces with disgust. It was this brief moment that made him glad he’d left his bow behind. Had it been in his grip when that remark was made he wouldn’t have hesitated to loose a shaft into the brigand. And that could’ve ruined so many things for them. There were just so many ways his honor made life difficult.

“What did I say about being hasty,” drawls the Starveling, he nods to Sandor. “Make sure it’s gold all the way down,” he with a look to the chest. It would be too much to ask for the man to count it. “Your sweetling and babe, will be out if, and only if, there is no tricks.”

The fat man rolls his eyes at Sandor’s declaration. His jowls shiver as he blows a raspberry derisively, “You’ll just kill us all anyway, you treacherous cunt. We know your like. Nearly died in Dorne for the likes of you.”

Slapping his mace against the rim of his shield, he declares, “Not anymore. Not for you fucks!”

“Shut up, you fat sack of shit,” Pate growls at his quarrelsome companion. “If you queer this deal with your blubbering, I swear on your mother’s tits that I’ll have you flayed and boiled for a Flea Bottom stew.”

Sandor, for a moment, looks mutinous. But he slides obediently down from his stumpy horse and tosses the reins to one of the other men. With boot knife in hand, he passes through Connington’s men to the chest.

He starts with the first chest, plunging one hand into the contents and rifling around until he comes up with a handful from the very bottom. He holds up his fist toward Starion, then drops the gold back into the chest, indicates another still locked with a jerk of his knife, and grunts for it to be opened.

Watching Sandor in disgust, it seems the Griffin’s patience has run out. “Enough of this mummer’s farce,” Almer says. He rises in his stirrups, and in a flash of silvered steel, his sword sweeps out. “TAKE THEM!” he cries, even as the men-at-arms likewise draw their blades.

At Almer’s signal a horn rings out behind him on the road! Another winds behind the Starveling!

Down the road rides the Stormbreaker, the road is cut off to the south. The Starveling is trapped!

Gormon, the fat man cringes at the horns. Looking behind him he sees the approaching knights. In abject terror he nearly shrieks, “Fuck! It’s the Stormbreaker!”

The Breakhelm glances casually over his shoulder and says, “We’ll see. He’ll die like any other knight I’ve killed.” He grips his spear and turns his horse to face the threat.

Spluttering red juice and obscenities, Pate snatches his poleaxe and screams in anger. The grizzled outlaw seems unsure what to do as the trap is sprung, so he just stands and yowls in fury, for the moment.

Raynard breaks cover and charges forward screaming as his blade clears its scabbard. He lets his horse have her head, the reins loose in his shield hand guiding the beast more with his legs than his hands. The bastard sword is raised high over his head as he clears the trees, ready to strike at the nearest target as he cuts his way to Starion.

Sandor is caught right there in the middle of everything foe, and he looks up. A dark stain spreads across the crotch of his filthy breeches and he makes a blubbering sound at the sight of the Stormbreaker. But he is still alive and draws the nastily-honed blade while scuttling toward the edge of the party.

Stevyn utters a sound that may be a sigh, but in the sudden noise of the ambush, it no doubt goes unheard. He draws his blade and kicks his mount into motion, moving toward battle with a little less of the vim and vigour of his kinsman.

“Kill them all!” -the heir to Crakehall charges at Sandor, raking his sharp spurs against the flanks of his horse and drawing his sword from the scabbard. His teeth are clenched and the only eye is glittering behind the silvered visor of the famous tusked helm. With a growl he slashes at the rogue, trying to cut off his head.

Burton attacks Sandor with his sword…
...and strikes him with a shattering blow!

As the Kingswood officer charges their little band, the Breakhelm urges his mount into a canter. Lowering his spear like a lance, he aims it at Raynard’s chest.

Then, as the knights approach a new sound emerges from the wood. The blood-curdling shriek of hundreds of men’s throats as they emit a wordless ululating battlecry of terror and bloodlust.

A storm of clothyard arrows follows, slamming into the left flank of the Kingswood knights!

Bors Breakhelm attacks Raynard with his spear…
...and sees his blow go wild!

Farin kicks his horse into a charge, glancing sidelong at his compatriots only long enough to give them a confident grin that screams “It’s about damn time,” even if he doesn’t. Although it might be best served to find the leader and cut him down right away, this was hardly Farin’s fight…best to leave that to the men who hunger for it, and just find the nearest man to cut down, which the lordling knight sets out to do with a furious roar, and a morningstar to give it some weight.

When Burton catches him, Sandor has his back to the Crakehall and is trying to win free of the knights. He manages this only because he is knocked sprawling, a gobbet of drool flying from his mouth with his breath.

He scrambles to his feet and turns on Burton, his sword coming out. With a snarl he returns the attack, trying to knock Burton from his horse so they will be on even footing.

Sandor attacks Burton with his mass weapon…
...with no result as the two warriors battle!

The northern knight laughs as he knocks the weak attack aside with his shield, and brings his blade down on the bandit as he rides by. He leans into the blow, causing his horse to wheel around to defend from the next attack should it come.

Raynard attacks Bors Breakhelm with his sword…
...and strikes him with a hard blow!

Nearly shitting himself, the fat man wheels his mount to try and escape the melee. Only Farin Prester is suddenly in his way!

“You pissant, little fucking tosspot! Get out of my way or die!” Gormon throws his mace at the lordling and draws his longsword and charges Farin.

The Stormbreaker, reacting to the Starveling’s counter-ambush wheels his column into the woods to chase off the bowmen.

Gormon attacks Farin with his sword…
...and strikes him with a powerful blow!

“For fuck’s sake,” the Starveling curses as the trap is sprung. He tries to wheel his horse around, but his men have boxed him in. Seeing no other choice, he whips his blade free of his scabbard, and kicks his horse towards Almer. “Die you fucking whoreson!” he snarls his blade whistling towards Almer’s head.

Starion attacks Almer with his sword…
...and has his blow intercepted by Almer’s shield.

“Ere, you! You rot-gutted bastard!” Choking through his rage, Bloody Pate hammer his heels into his nag’s flanks, pounding toward the group of knights coming from the south. He flails wildly with his poleaxe, making a mockery of the joust and laughing like a maniac as he attacks.

Pate attacks Stevyn with his polearm…
...and strikes him with a shattering blow!

Stevyn rocks in his saddle, smashed on the chest by the polearm. He rights himself as his horse wheels around, dancing. He grunts and takes a mighty swing at Pate, intent, it would seem at taking off the fellow’s head before getting another crack across the brain pan.

Stevyn attacks Pate with his sword…
...with no result as the two warriors battle!

Sawing the reins around, Almer slams aside the Starveling’s cut with his shield. He does not return the insult, but merely answers with a practiced, steady slash aimed at the outlaw leader’s torso.

Almer attacks Starion with his sword…
...and strikes him with a shattering blow!

Luthor paused at the treeline, scans the battle with dark hawklike eyes, trying to find a place his blade can do the most good. He finds it in his cousin’s struggle with the fat mace-weilder. He gestures for Barion to stay amidst the trees, and kicks his horse into a gallop, closing on his cousin’s foe from behind. After all, honor is wasted on the bandits. The sound of steel bruising the air the only warning Luthor bladed arcs downwards for the fat man’s head.

Luthor attacks Gormon with his sword…
...and strikes him with a hard blow!

Sandor staggers back with blood coming from his shoulder, and this time he forbears to attack; instead he half-staggers, half-runs back to his horse.

There is a screech of steel on steel, and Almer parries Starion’s thrust easily. He rides past the outlaw, then turns his horse again and aims the point of his blade toward a gap in the Starveling’s defenses…

Almer attacks Starion with his sword…
...with no result as the two warriors battle!

Stevyn’s thigh is smacked sharply with the polearm - rendering nothng more than a bruise, but nonetheless a painful one. His horse wheels again, used to this action. Stevyn’s voice comes coolly from ‘neath his helm, “You will die today, thief.”

Stevyn attacks Pate with his sword…
...and strikes him with a powerful blow!

“Ah, a challenge,” the Breakhelm says dryly Raynard’s blow slips through his guard. He closes with Raynard’s mount and stabs over his shield with his spear, looking to get through the other’s guard and stab for the lighter armor at his throat.

Gormon, suddenly facing two knights, shrieks, “I’m not dying for this shit! Fuck this!” He wildly swings his sword at Luthor trying to cut his way free of the two knights he faces.

The sounds of battle are everywhere. Suddenly, a group of men on foot break from the woods and begin fleeing down the road to the south. A knight breaks from the woods and rides after them.

Bors Breakhelm attacks Raynard with his spear…
...and merely strikes a glancing blow!

Gormon attacks Luthor with his sword…
...and strikes him with a shattering blow!

The rusty steel pot on Pate’s head rings like a belfry at Locke’s blow; the broken man buckles in the saddle, but weathers the attack. “You son of a bitch,” he snarls, “I’ll have your balls for that one!” He thrusts his poleaxe under Stevyn’s guard, hoping to catch the northerner in the guts with its stained point.

Pate attacks Stevyn with his polearm…
...and strikes him with a shattering blow!

Stevyn is driven from the saddle!

As Almer rides past Starion makes a break for it, only to be cut off by that cur Sandor retreating across his path. He wheels about and only the stranger’s own luck allows him bring up his sword in time to force aside Almer’s sword. “Fuck,” he curses, swinging a vicious backhand at the Griffon knight.

Starion attacks Almer with his sword…
...and strikes him with a shattering blow!

“Wrong again, you stinking sack of dung! You’re damn well /going/ to die for this!” Farin yelps, watching his target get a good hit on his cousin. He brings his morningstar about again, swinging to cause some /pain/.

Farin attacks Gormon with his mass weapon…
...and strikes him with a swift blow!

Raynard easily deflected the blow and shook his head. “You aren’t worth my time fuck. I’ve got more important matters to deal with. You’ll die after The Starveling’s downed.” That said, he wheels his horse, turning to charge the Starveling.

Raynard attacks Starion with his sword…
...with no result as the two warriors battle!

In the wild chaos of the melee, Raynard and Starion are carried apart from one another.

“No, you wont!” Burton roars and brandishing his blade chases the brigand. His mount neighs and beats the ground with the hoof, suddenly deciding to show disobedience, but the future Lord Crakehall once again spurs it into motion. Catching up with Sandor, he once again lowers his blade aiming at his adversary’s head.

A second too late to stop Gormon’s wild attack, Luthor cringes in pain as the blade lands and opens a fresh wound in Luthor’s side. Biting back a curse, Luthor swings two handed in a broad arch aimed at Gormon’s torso, as his cousin’s mace glances against the man’s armor.

Luthor attacks Gormon with his sword…
...and strikes him with a powerful blow!

The Starveling lands a stinging strike, biting through leather and steel and rocking Almer back; he grimaces in pain but his anger drives him on. He aims a whirling counter cut at Starion’s shoulder, seeking to pierce the armor there.

Stevyn is driven from his saddle, tumbling arse over the back end of his horse. He rolls and gets awkwardly to his feet, retrieving his sword and shaking his head. His mount remains, well trained not to desert his master. One foot in the stirrup, then up. And turning to find his opponent.

Almer attacks Starion with his sword…
...and strikes him with a shattering blow!
Starion is rocked back in the saddle by Almer’s blow, but manages to keep his seat!

Burton may try, but Starion rages through and Sandor is saved by a stumble to one side. So he is able to clamber back onto his stumpy horse after regaining his feet and wheel around to take a swing at Burton while he passes, sword aimed to cross his back.

Sandor attacks Burton with his mass weapon…
...and sees his blow go wild!

Raynard leaves the Breakhelm in his flanks to chase after glory against the Starveling. Breakhelm, always one to exploit the weaknesses of others, rides him down, chopping down with his spear on Raynard’s unprotected back.

Struck twice, Fat Gormon shrieks, “No! No! No!” He goes after the stronger of his foes, bearing down on Luthor with both sword and steed.
Death screams can be heard in the woods, where the Stormbreaker faces an unknown number of archers. There are few, if any, arrows being fired on the knights fighting the Starveling and his men on the road.

Bors Breakhelm attacks Raynard with his spear…
...and merely strikes a glancing blow!

Gormon attacks Luthor with his sword…
...with no result as the two warriors battle!

Raynard growls as he feels the bandit’s spear glance off his pauldron. Wheeling his horse about he strikes down at the Breakhelm, angered not only at being swept away from his target, but as well for being stuck with such a weak appointment.

Raynard attacks Bors Breakhelm with his sword…
...and strikes him with a powerful blow!

“Ha ha ha!” cackles Pate, seeing Stevyn upended. “Ha ha ha! And now, I’m going to cut your throat!” As the outlaw stoops to move in for the kill, however, the press of battle surges his way. Pate’s spear-arm is jostled, and he nearly loses the weapon as he struggles to control his nag. In a moment, the flurry of battle carries him off toward the clouds of arrows, amidst cursing.

“Fuck,” the Starveling curses as Almer opens up his shoulder, only a by grabbing hold of his horses neck does the Starveling stay mounted. Low to his horse already, Starion, ducks down and kicks his horse hard, to make good an escape into the woods, but not before swinging one last time at Almer with a vindictive snarl.

Starion attacks Almer with his sword…
...with no result as the two warriors battle!

Farin laughs, watching his cousin take a good slice out of the fat man. “Carving the roast, Coz?” he calls out, doing his best to ignore his own cut. “This meat needs a little,” he takes a swing “/tenderizing/ first though, don’t you think?”

Farin attacks Gormon with his mass weapon…
...and strikes him with a swift blow!

As Sandor, now mounted, attacks the heir to Crakehall he manages to block the brigand’s first blow with his heavy shield and then prepares to return it. He raises in his saddle and thrusts ferociously at his opponent, his sword cutting through the air in many quick motions. “Yield and I will spare you!” bellows Burton while assailing Sandor.

Burton attacks Sandor with his sword…
...and strikes him with a swift blow!

Sandor is driven from the saddle!

Stevyn’s sharp eyes skim the melee, seeking the prey that had thus unseated and humiliated him. With his blade in hand, he gives it an experimental flick of the wrist, before kicking his mount into motion.
“I’m not finished yet, worm,” he growls at Pate, before swinging a hard blow at the torso of the other man.

Stevyn attacks Pate with his sword…
...and strikes him with a powerful blow!

Pate is rocked back in the saddle by Stevyn’s blow, but manages to keep his seat!

“Lucky,” Breakhelm remarks as Raynard’s sword finds him. He swings his spear across his body while turning his mount, putting force behind his blow seeking to catch Raynard high on the chest.

Trapped between the two knights, Gormon shrieks and launches himself at Farin in a furious rage, swinging his sword like a madman.

Bors Breakhelm attacks Raynard with his spear…
...and strikes him with a powerful blow!

Gormon attacks Farin with his sword…
...and strikes him with a powerful blow!

Farin is driven from the saddle!

Luthor’s ready for the fat man this time, their blades kiss in a ring of steel, as Luthor turns the man’s blow aside with a rising parry, before gripping his sword two-handed again to bring it back down on the fat man’s neck.

Luthor attacks Gormon with his sword…
...and merely strikes a glancing blow!

“No you don’t,” says Almer bitterly, slashing aside the Starveling’s attack. Before the outlaw can extricate himself from the melee, the Griffin knight spurs to pursue; he brings his blade down in a hard, heavy strike at the man’s neck as the fight rages all around them.

Almer attacks Starion with his sword…
...and strikes him with a swift blow!

Starion is driven from the saddle!

Sandor hits the ground hard, not yet properly seated on the horse to stay aboard. He lands hard, then lies there for a moment wheezing. “Won’t,” he manages to spit toward Burton.

“You again?” Pate finds himself face to face with Stevyn once more, and staggers as the knight’s strike draws blood. He spurs his nag onward, lowering his poleaxe in a couched position to aim at the man’s torso.

Pate attacks Stevyn with his polearm…
...and strikes him with a powerful blow!

Raynard grimaces as the spear slam hard into his breastplate, and gliding along before slicing the underside of his shield arm, allowing a thin trickle of blood to flow. “A lucky strike whoreson.” He brings his sword around for another vicious blow intent on driving his foe from the saddle.

Raynard attacks Bors Breakhelm with his sword…
...and merely strikes a glancing blow!

The Starveling topples from his stolen steed, and crashes into the strew leaves and underbrush at its feet. The Dornish horse carries on a few feet before it stops, the Starveling rises, quickly, panic in his feverish eyes now. He swings a wild blow at Ser Almer’s steed before he runs hard, for his horse, all but throwing himself on its back. He kicks it hard. “Fuck,” he curses. “Run you fucking Dornish nag!” he kicks it again and bursts off into the trees.

Farin meets the earth and hugs her warmly, before pushing up to meet the oncoming threat. He’ll feel that later, to be sure, but right now there was too much going on to be worried about the fact that he had to reorient himself. Fortunately for him, Luthor had his back as he rehorses. Hopefully. Right?

The blow crunches Stevyn’s shoulder armour, buckling it slightly. He grunts and rotates his arm painfully.

“It will be the last thing you see,” he snarls, his cool exterior fracturing as he swings his weapon again at his opponent.

Stevyn attacks Pate with his sword…
...and strikes him with a powerful blow!

Pate is driven from the saddle!

“After him!” Almer spins his horse, pointing at the fleeing Starveling. And, waiting for no one, Connington spurs after Starion in reckless pursuit; he does not wait to see if anyone rides at his back.

In a clatter of rusty armor and tangled reins, Bloody Pate is upended by Stevyn’s attack; he goes down in a cloud of mud and blood. “You bastard!” he cries, his voice muffled by a mouthful of muck. As the battle flows over him, he struggles for his poleaxe in the mire.

“Die, then!” Burton roars triumphantly. He advances on the brigand and bending down attempts to pierce his neck with his blade, in order to pin the bandit to the ground. He does it rather clumsily, though-it seems that he wants Sandor to stand up and fight more, not willing to end the battle now.

Burton attacks Sandor with his sword…
...and has his blow intercepted by Sandor’s shield.

Scores of unarmed men flee from the woods suddenly. Each handful of them being followed by a mounted knight cutting them down as they run before them. The Stormbreaker appears, a tower of black armor upon a monstrous horse. He holds a warhammer dripping with blood and brain matter.

His black antlered greathelm, enameled with a demonic stag’s face in gold upon the front, turns to watch the Starveling flee south down the road.

The monstrous black destrier follows the faster sandsteed as it swiftly puts the Starveling’s pursuers behind it.

The road goes on for miles before the Starveling cuts into the wood dodging trees. A wide, rockstrewn space opens, rolling into at wide slope that forms an escarpment. There, tents can be seen to have been erected, surrounded by palisades. Bowmen set ready and fire arrows at those following the Starveling. Already, several knights lie in the field, thrown from the saddle by the force of the barbs.

Stevyn defends himself against another attacker whilst Pate wallows in the mud scrambling for his weapon. Else he would have taken the opportunity to finish him off. Stevyn’s gaze casts to where the Connington knight is in pursuit, and he looks as though he might follow - but for the menace of Pate still at his back…

It is Bors turn to laugh now. His is a bitter bark as the Starveling flees. Swinging his spear down, he remarks, “This battle may be lost, but I have not!”

Gormon’s face turns white as his fellow bandits turn tail and run, “It’s not over for me! I’m taking one of you with me!” He shrieks and turns on Luthor and swings his sword with a strength born of desparation!

Gormon attacks Luthor with his sword…
...and strikes him with a shattering blow!

Luthor is driven from the saddle!

Bors Breakhelm attacks Raynard with his spear…
...and strikes him with a swift blow!

“The fuck you are!” Farin roars, finding his saddle again and descending on Gormon with a familial fury

Farin attacks Gormon with his mass weapon…
...and strikes him with a powerful blow!

Gormon is rocked back in the saddle by Farin’s blow, but manages to keep his seat!

It may be a poor shield that monosyllabic Sandor carries, but it does what it’s meant to. “Honor,” he snarls at Burton, then spits on the ground and catches the bridle of his stumpy—but well-trained—horse and hauls himself back into the saddle. Once there, he roars low in his throat and turns his blade on Burton.

Sandor attacks Burton with his mass weapon…
...and sees his blow go wild!

Raynard catches the blow on his shield, and sees Starion coming towards him out of the corner of his eye. “You’re luck’s running out of time bandit.” With a passing blow he starts riding hard for the Starveling again.

Raynard attacks Bors Breakhelm with his sword…
...and sees his blow go wild!

Luthor crashes to the ground, blood streaming from a second wound in his side. The bastard knight gets unsteadly to his feet. Leaping backwards as a stray horse runs past. Cursing with pain he grabs his sword, and pulls himself back onto his horse. He wheels the ugly brute about, ire raised, blade ready to take the head off the fat fuck bandit who put him to the ground.

Gripping his saddle in abject terror, the fat bandit manages to keep his saddle. “Eeee!” he screams, “I’ll not die at the hands of one of you little lordling shits!” He charges Farin standing in the saddle to put his massive weight behind the blow as he brings down his sword.

Elsewhere, a smirk takes Breakhelm’s lips as Raynard turns his flanks to him again. Riding after him, he swings his spear for the Kingswood Officer’s back.

Gormon attacks Farin with his sword…
...and strikes him with a powerful blow!

Bors Breakhelm attacks Raynard with his spear…
...and strikes him with a swift blow!

Raynard is driven from the saddle!

Through the dark trees, the dancing griffins on the fluttering Connington banner try to keep pace with their master; Almer, outpacing his comrades with frantic speed, tears over hillocks and through thickets with the desperation of one possessed. For at the end of this bitter road lay all his hopes and dreams; his lady, his son, and both at the mercy of the madman he pursues.

Almer’s blood bay pounds onward, and even as horse and rider burst into the clear, a cloud of arrows rattle in the limbs and brambles all around. It is a trap.

Pate sees the Starveling go tearing off through the woods, even as he struggles to his feet. “Fuck this,” he barks, spitting mud and blood. Clambering onto his horse, the outlaw sneers at Stevyn, then turns his mount and pounds its flanks with his heels… he runs.

Finding the cowering sack of suet that is Gormon, Luthor gives a snarl, as he drives his horse into Gormon’s rising in the stirrups to deliver a what he hopes will be the final blow in this struggle.

Luthor attacks Gormon with his sword…
...and strikes him with a hard blow!

Gormon is driven from the saddle!

“Yes, honor! Robbers have none! ” Burton yells and rushes at Sandor, protecting himself with a shield and at the same time turning his horse sharply, trying to attack the brigand from the left. His sword comes crushing down swiftly.

Burton attacks Sandor with his sword…
...and strikes him with a hard blow!

Raynard rolled forward out of the saddle as the surprisingly strong blow came from the bandit at his back. He grunted as he rolled along the ground slightly dazed, he stood up and whistled for his mare. The beast was well trained and came straight for him through the chaos. Back on his mount, and slightly bruised, he rode on again.

Sandor coughs, and there is bloody foam on his lips. “No… honor… you…” he says—a right oration for this man of the crooked face. He wipes the blood from his lips and swings his sword with the last of his strength.

Sandor attacks Burton with his mass weapon…
...and sees his blow go wild!

Panting in triumph as he reins in his horse to gloat over Farin, Gormon’s fat, sweating face flushes. He points his bloody sword at the unhorsed knight and says, “Serves you right, you pig fucking bastard! Keeping me repressed! Now I’m going to go eat a—urk!” His speech is suddenly cut off.

The bandit’s sword falls from his pudgy, nerveless fingers and he slumps in the saddle bonelessly. The horse wanders down the road directionless.

Stevyn turns his head to see Pate run and looks undecided. Pursue bigger game, or ensure the smaller is brought to justice. A pause…then he wheels his mount and pursues Pate. With the flat of his blade, no death dealing here…he swings at the back of Pate’s head as he flees, his horse easily keeping pace with Pate’s nag.

Stevyn attacks Pate with his sword…
...and strikes him with a powerful blow!

Keeping ahead of pursuit the Starveling, kicks his horse furiously and drives hard for palisades, low against his horse’s back so to avoid the arrows. As he reaches the safety of his camp, he halts panting, before shouting. “They’re coming lads! Kill them! Kill them!” waving his sword in the direction of his pursuers.

Just behind Almer, the Stormbreaker rides up. Seeing the wide space and the archers at the end of it, he turns his mount through the wood to circle around to the side and ride along the slope of the banking hill.

Before he rides from Almer’s side, Sarmion shouts, “Outflank them, use the hill as cover!” Clothyard arrows fall about the trees as he heads his monstrous destrier through the wood to the west and south.

Chasing after Raynard, Bors Breakhelm unleashes another strike, tasting blood!

Bors Breakhelm attacks Raynard with his spear…
...with no result as the two warriors battle!

In the wild chaos of the melee, Bors Breakhelm and Raynard are carried apart from one another.


“Give up! Once again, I offer you mercy!” Burton Crakehall says in a booming voice. There is no anger in his gaze now, he is completely calm. He waits for a response and then shrugs “You have chosen your fate ” and with force, slashes at Sandor.

Burton attacks Sandor with his sword…
...and merely strikes a glancing blow!

Pate staggers in the saddle as Stevyn’s blow takes him on the back of the helmet; his muddy steed, already exhausted, stumbles as its rider’s weight shifts. Outlaw and nag go down in a crush, once more; this time Pate cannot rise. He is pinned beneath the horse, and the animal’s foreleg is shattered. Pate’s cursing mixes with the horse’s cries of pain, and a steady stream of oaths rises toward Stevyn.
You take Gormon.

Farin blinks for a moment, confused as to how the fat man seemed to have thought him dead meat. ‘Twas only a minor blow, was all. He glances to Luthor and nods. “THAT’S how you do it, Coz. On to the next one then?” he asks, wheeling about to find a fresh target, oblivious to the fighting that was not directly in front of him.

Raynard separated from his foe Raynard was free to pursue bigger game as he drove his mount hard after Starion in the chaos. He was not going to lose him today, not after two years of hunting the bastard down.

With only that light blow, Sandor can strike back against Burton. He says nothing as he wheels his mount, but he gives Burton a gruesome, bloody smile when he raises his sword. “Ssuck… my… cock!” he manages, and lets the sword fall!

Sandor attacks Burton with his mass weapon…
...with no result as the two warriors battle!

Luthor cooly guides his horse over Gormon’s corpse, as his eyes flick about for a new foe. Or failing that, for sign of where the others might have gone. “Well fought, coz,” he answers idly, to Farin.

Nodding curtly, Almer spurs north and east, keeping the ground between himself and the archers in the outlaw camp. A pair of them, confused by the pincer movement, gaze dumbly at the Stormbreaker on the one hand, and the Connington on the other. One of them goes to the ground in a heap as Almer canters by and cuts the man down.

“How rude!” Burton shakes his head and accusingly looks at the bloodstained villain. Then he flashes a smile and raises his sword high in the air, “It is time to die,” and with a sweeping blow, he makes another attempt to decapitate Sandor.

Burton attacks Sandor with his sword…
...and strikes him with a hard blow!

Raynard flees and Breakhelm laughs, “Run away little knight. I’ll have your head later.”

He turns to face the North where Farin and Luthor are. Seeing an opening on the younger Prester knight, he charges, “I’ll have your head, boy!” Down the spear comes bearing the force of rider and horseflesh.

Bors Breakhelm attacks Farin with his spear…
...and strikes him with a hard blow!

Again Sandor coughs blood and wheels his mount to make another pass. He will try—again—to land a blow on the man who has struck at him twice from behind and once on the ground, to land an honorable blow before he dies.

Sandor attacks Burton with his mass weapon…
...with no result as the two warriors battle!

Stevyn pauses his mount at the side of the fallen Pate, “Unlucky, thief, you get to face the King’s Justice in King’s Landing, just like your faithless leader.” He smiles humourlessly, “And the people can see for themselves what becomes of you.” One for the king’s gallows, no doubt. Or maybe a beheading…

Seeing his cousin is once again under attack, Luthor wheels and strikes out with his blade at the spearman.

Luthor attacks Bors Breakhelm with his sword…
...and has his blow intercepted by Bors Breakhelm’s shield.

Farin curses, reeling from the blow. “You damned filth just don’t know when to quit!” the lordling knight coughs out, still trying to fill his lungs good and proper, before wheeling about and taking a swing at said filth.

Farin attacks Bors Breakhelm with his mass weapon…
...and strikes him with a hard blow!

Bors Breakhelm is rocked back in the saddle by Farin’s blow, but manages to keep his seat!

The light of defiance goes out of Pate’s squinty eyes; now there is genuine fear. “Please, ser,” he wheedles to Stevyn. “I was forced into this life. It weren’t my choice, I swear. Get me out from under this damn nag, and I promise I’ll reform… Go to the Wall, whatever you say…”

Entering the palisades by riding over the escarpment the Stormbreaker tramples one archer with his horse. Guiding the beast through the tents, an arrow rattles off the antlers of his helm, which only brings the archer his undivided attention. Almost casually, the Baratheon in his black armor rides over to the man who fumbles while trying to notch another arrow. The ichor-coated hammer falls, crushing the man’s head.

Turning to the camp then, the Stormbreaker shouts, “Come out, Starveling! You’re caught! I will give you Mercy and spare you my Vengeance!” Thus uttering the name of his sword and warhammer, respectively.

“I will pray for your soul, sinner” Burtons facial expression is now grim and concentrated. His lips are twitching -it seems that he is praying or something. “You are brave“ he says in a surprised tone “I didn’t expect that“ and with these words, he once again assails Sandor.

Burton attacks Sandor with his sword…
...and strikes him with a shattering blow!

Sandor is driven from the saddle!

Raynard brings his horse to a halt beside Sarmion. His eyes were narrowed his blade bare as he waited there as well for the starveling.

Secreted among the tents, clinging to his horse, the Starveling slides away his sword for and takes up his bow. Then kicking, his mount forward, he bursts out of hiding, drawing arrow back and letting fly. “Here’s my mercy, Windbreaker!” he shouts as the clothyard arrow flies.

It is a miracle! Burton’s sword opens one side of Sandor’s throat, but it also straightens his jaw for him and he smiles almost beatifically as he rolls to the side. “It is release you give me,” he says in a surprisingly smooth voice with a drawling accent. “For that I both thank and forgive you.” Then, with a gurgle and a gush of blood from his broken lips, Sandor the Bandit dies.

Driving bowmen before him, Almer likewise vaults his frothy charger over the barrier… just in time to see Starion emerge from his hiding place. He spurs hard, riding down one of the archers. “You! You bastard! Where are my wife and son?!”

Intercepting Luthor’s sword with his shield. Unbalanced, he is nearly driven from his horse by Farin.

“Finally, you cowards show your true colors!” Bors barks a bitter laugh and pulls himself back into the saddle. He thrusts with his spear at the Prester Knight, shouting, “I will skewer you, little calf!”

Bors Breakhelm attacks Farin with his spear…
...with no result as the two warriors battle!

In the wild chaos of the melee, Bors Breakhelm and Farin are carried apart from one another.

“Aye, that you will do,” Stevyn points to an approaching man at arms, “Bind him and take him to the cells of the Keep. I shall deal with him and any other survivors at my pleasure. Destroy the horse, tis no good now with that limb.” And he turns his mount toward the direction of distant battle, thoughts of the captured Pate already out of his mind.

Luthor pulls his sword free of Bors’ shield, and as he strikes at Farin, Luthor strikes at him in return.

Luthor attacks Bors Breakhelm with his sword…
...with no result as the two warriors battle!

Bringing up his oak and iron shield before him, the Stormbreaker intercepts the arrow. It pierces through the wood, the barb piercing the eye of the Baratheon stag painted upon its surface.

Snarling, the massive Stormbreaker shouts, “Almer! Search the camp for them. The Starveling is mine!” He kicks the black destrier into a charge and the earth explodes underneath its steelshod hooves.

Up the hammer called Vengeance comes and down it falls as the Warden of the Kingswood reaches the bastard outlaw.

Sarmion attacks Starion with his mass weapon…
...and strikes him with a shattering blow!

“Not before I open your skull!” Farin retorts, dodging the spear thrust, and pressing forward to attack, his morningstar swinging.

Farin attacks Bors Breakhelm with his mass weapon…
...with no result as the two warriors battle!

In the wild chaos of the melee, Farin and Bors Breakhelm are carried apart from one another.

“The poor bastard ...” Burton mutters. He wipes his sword with the brigand’s cloak and then kicks his destrier into motion, deciding to join the attack on Bors. He swings his sword wildly, as he charges, and tries to land a blow, as he reaches the rogue.

Burton attacks Bors Breakhelm with his sword…
...and strikes him with a shattering blow!

Bors Breakhelm is driven from the saddle!

Even as the remainder of the Starveling’s archers begin to break, Almer swings down from the saddle and begins striding toward the tents. A broken man in broken mail lunges at him with an axe; he reels away and falls to his knees, his throat a bright red smile from the Griffin’s blade. Almer tears aside a tent flap, finding the interior bare; another, and another, and another. All empty.

The Starveling swings his bow out defensively as the big knight surges in with Vengeance. The bow cracks like a twig against Sarmion’s plate and the hammer finds its mark and the bandit reels, as his black helm is dented in. Cursing, he draws his blade. “Fucking didn’t catch me last time Windbreaker, won’t do it this time,” he snarls though there is uncertainty in those mad eyes as he swings at the Stormbreaker.

Starion attacks Sarmion with his sword…
...and strikes him with a powerful blow!

Raynard is close behind Sarmion, and cuts around behind the starveling to prevent his escape. “You aren’t getting all the glory on this Stormbreaker!”

A dance of death precipitates between Breakhelm and the two knights as blow after blow is intercepted or goes astray. Their horses carry him to the other side of the road where Burton stands over the bandit he’s dispatched. Suddenly, the Crakehall lashes out and sweeps Bors from his saddle. Clinging to it desperately, juggling spear and shield, he’s dragged a few yards before losing his grip and sliding to a halt in the dirt.

Breakhelm pushes to his feet and snarls at the three knights opposing him, “This is not over! I will have my revenge!” His deadly promise hangs in the cold air as Bors runs into the woods, a threat to the future.

Nothing else to be done, with the bandit fled, Luthor nods to his cousin and Ser Burton. “Come on,” he urges, kicking his horse in the direction the other had gone.

“And take your thrice-damned true colors with you, bandit filth!” Farin calls out as Bors retreats, before swinging about to follow Luthor. Everyone seemed to want /his/ blood, but Luthor was calling the shots today. Best to follow.

“There will be no escape this time, Flowers,” the Stormbreaker promises, the bandit’s blow ringing off his pauldron as it cuts over the top of his shield, “You are at an end.”

The Baratheon wheels his black destrier closer to the Starveling. His warhammer rises like the crest of a wave on the autumnal sea.

Down comes Vengeance with the power of the Stormbreaker’s arm behind it.

Sarmion attacks Starion with his mass weapon…
...and strikes him with a hard blow!

Starion is rocked back in the saddle by Sarmion’s blow, but manages to keep his seat!

The Starveling reels as the hammer, crashes down like a storm driven wave upon his wounded shoulder. There is the crack of bone and a sharp curse as the bandit wheels away, desperate for space from the giant Baratheon knight. With a scream of desperation and rage, the Starveling rises in his stirrups and swings his blade, a mad attempt to remove the Stormbreaker’s head.

Starion attacks Sarmion with his sword…
...with no result as the two warriors battle!

Raynard sees the bandit rock in his saddle, and follows Sarmion’s blow with a heavy two handed swing from his own sword. The Starveling was going to fall today, “The end is near Starveling!”

Raynard attacks Starion with his sword…
...and strikes him with a powerful blow!

Starion is driven from the saddle!

Stevyn is riding swiftly toward the combat and sees the Starveling driven from the saddle. He slows a little and draws his mount to a pause near the Stormbreaker.

“A few of his men escaped. One is captured, the others dead,” Stevyn tightens his grasp upon his blade, “Any sign of Connington’s wife?”

It is in a battered and ill smelling tent that Almer at last finds what he’s looking for. The waft of death rolls out as the flap is turned aside, and there on the earth floor, are his wife and child. The child, a tiny shriveled, thing, already half-turned grey, flies buzzing about its eyes and mouth, a dark festering wound, gapes like a twisted maw, on the child’s side. Beside, him, sits Kiera, her hands bound to the tent pole, her gown ripped, exposing indecent amounts of flesh. Across her throat is a second, bloody smile, while all down the torn front of her gown a red-brown stain, buzzes with flies.

“Ser Egon! Luthor!” Burton nods to his relative and to his friend, as he rides near them, “Killed any vermin today?” he laughs and tosses his sword into the air, before catching it quickly with his right hand. His cloak flutters in the wind and the helmet with its silvered tusks and strange-looking visor, glitters victoriously.

Stepping from the saddle, the Stormbreaker turns his massive antlered helm to look at the Justicar, “They’re of no concern.” The black beast stands still as his rider approaches the Starveling.

Pointing the spike of his warhammer at the outlaw, he declares, “Do not move. Do not move or I will kill you where you stand.”

“Egon? Ser, you have me confused for my father. Nay, good brother, all my kills escaped me, sadly,” Farin replies to Burton. He looks forlorn at his own answer for a moment, before he begins to feel the effects of his blows, the adrenaline receding quickly. “But perhaps that is…all for the best. Better we finish this quickly and…get back soon.”

Darkness descends upon Almer Connington as the shadows of the tent engulf him. His blade, sticky with the blood of Starion Flowers’ men, clatters to the ground. He drops to one knee beside the crumpled form of his love, his storm-grey eyes brimming with tears. No words come. He reaches to touch Keira’s cheek; he fumbles with his dagger, cutting her bindings, cradling her body in his arms. He is silent.

The northerner dismounted and stood next to his commander, sword pointed at the bandit leader. “Two years of hunting since I enlisted, and at last we have our prey. What do you think we should do with him?”

Stunned by the Ser Raynard’s attack, the Starveling lays bleeding and shaking on the ground. Still, he manages to scrape some last measure of defiance, and spits against the Stormbreakers boot. “Go fuck yourself,” he curses in vain. “The whole fucking lot of you can fuck yourselves, the bitch is dead.”

The Winterfast dismounts, a slighter figure as he moves to stand near the fallen criminal. He gazes down at the diminished foe with his customary calm. His purple lined cloak snaps in the wind as he glances up at Raynard, a faint flicker of something odd in his expression for a moment.

“He faces justice now, Ser,” the King’s Justicar replies flatly, “for what he has done this day and all those before it.” And at what the Starveling says, he raises a hand to his brow and rubs there as though tired.

“You stupid fool.”

Luthor nods. “One, but Farin did most of it,” Luthor replies to Burton’s question as the three of them arrive at what’s left of the Starveling’s encampment. Like his cousin, he’s beginning to feel the effects of his wounds, and regrets not fetching Watty from the wood first. Though, as they ride deeper into the camp, the bastard knight’s eyes widen. “They’ve got him,” he says, nodding to the prone form of the Starveling laying before the Stormbreaker. “Seven help him, if we don’t find the woman and child as well.”

“Leave that to me,” the Stormbreaker answers Raynard. The fearsome visage on the helm is still directed at the Starveling before him, the spike of his warhammer held menacingly close to the outlaw’s face.

Casually, as Starion spits his words at his captors, the Stormbreaker steps forward and kicks him in the face. Dropping his warhammer, for his shield is pinned to his arm by the arrow it caught, Sarmion yanks the Starveling to his feet by the neck with one arm.

“His fate I leave to Almer,” the Baratheon pronounces direly.

Draping his wife and son in his bloodstained cloak, Almer places a tender kiss on Keira’s brow. And then he turns, and rises, and there is something like madness in the furious mask of his countenace. He plucks up his sword from the ground and covers the distance between himself and the cowering form of the Starveling in a few long-legged strides.

The Stormbreaker’s proclamation, even his old mentor’s looming presence, seem not to cross into Connington’s consideration. His gloved fist rises, and blindingly, cracks full across Starion’s face. And again. And again.

“As if cowards like he Starveling have enough honor to keep them alive,” Farin grunts, doing his best to stay asaddle as the trio approaches.

Raynard removes his helm so that the bandit can see the grave look on his face. “Best be glad you were caught here, and not in the north scum, or you’d lose your head here.” He stands there as Almer approaches, and almost smiles as the knight begins to pummel the man. “though I suppose this works.”

The Starveling, already badly wounded all but faints at the new blow across, his face, but manages to dredge up enough blood and spittle, to spit both into Reynard’s face. Though the bastard bandit, pales, as he sees Almer approach, however through swollen and blood stained lips, he manages a smile. “Found her then?” he asks, even as Raynard begins to strike him further.

“Yes, of course you are Farin, not Egon. These damned battles always make me talk nonsense,“ Burton chuckles merrily and puts his heavy palm on his goodbrother’s shoulder, “Though I COULD make such mistake, haven’t seen you for quite a period of time…” He dismounts and removing his helm, advances the Starveling “Cut his throat, Almer” he advises with a grin “Or will we save him for royal executioners?”

The Stormbreaker just holds the Starveling by the neck while Almer lashes out at the murderer. Sarmion’s massive armored arm is like a pillory against which the bandit is clamped by his gauntleted hand.
Blow after blow rains down on the bandit, the Stormbreaker’s arm returning the Starveling to his feet after each strike.

The Starveling makes a valiant effort to defend himself against Almer’s blows, but, with one arm useless and held firmly by the Stormbreaker, he is quickly rendered defenseless, sagging after each blow.

Stevyn stands silent, for the moment, as Connington vents his anger about the increasingly mashed face of the Starveling. At Raynard speaks, Stevyn’s eyes narrow, “There are worse things than losing your head, kinsman.”

He darts a glance toward Burton, and his eyes narrow. He steps closer to the Connington knight.

“There is naught you can do for her anymore, Ser Almer,” he speaks quietly, “But there are many who prefer his death on a wider stage. I will stand back and let you kill him here and now - but if you see its worth, I will see him brought before the city that he troubled for so long and let them seek their vengeance also.”

A stride his Luthor watches Almer viciously pound the Starveling. The bastard knight’s expression is grim but he does he look away. “I suppose that answers about the lady and child,” he says to no one in particular.

His pale features speckled with the Starveling’s blood, Almer contines to pound the Starveling’s face; teeth, nose, cheekbones, none are spared the savage beating. A thin sheen of sweat breaks out on Connington’s brow. He halts as the outlaw goes limp in Sarmion’s grip.

Almer steps back, the knuckles of his black gloves glistening with blood, his breath coming in ragged gasps. He looks at Stevyn, and then to the Stormbreaker. “Killing him now would be mercy,” he rasps. “I want him to suffer as he has made my lady and my son suffer. As he has made others suffer.” Almer grips Sarmion by the forearm. “Swear to me, that if you take this… thing… back to King’s Landing, he will suffer before he dies.” He looks at Stevyn again. “Can you swear it, justicar?”

Raynard steps back and stands by his cousin. “True cousin, there are worse things.”

“Aye,” comes Farin’s response, replying to the same empty air that Luthor had made his commnt to. He gives a start, as though he has more to say, but winces and stays back. Whether it is the situation or the wounds that still his tongue, who can say?

“What?” it seems that only now Burton has understood what happened to Keira. His grin disappears, turning into a grimace of fury. He rushes at Starion but then masters himself and looks at Stevyn, “It this case, a simple execution clearly is not enough…”

As Almer draws off his attack, the Stormbreaker does not let the Starveling go. Still holding him at arms-length, the Baratheon’s deep voice pronounces from the monstrous image on his greathelm, “Death is too good for this festering shit sack. I would keep him in the darkest hole I could find and only keep him alive while I pounded his limbs into gristle, then let the dogs feed on him.”

Shaking the Flowers’ limp body, he adds, “And even then I wouldn’t kill him.”

As an afterthought, the monstrous helm turns to regard Almer and pronounces, “I swear it.”

“He will know the impact of his actions before he faces the Stranger, Ser, that I promise you. He will know the pain he has wrought, and he will scream for death,” Stevyn replies, “My heart is in sorrow for your loss, Ser. Go now, and let us deal with this foulness.” He rests a hand upon Almer’s shoulder, before turning to Burton.

“Silence, Ser. I beg of you. Tis no longer your fight, though I thank you for your presence here.”

Another man comes from the outer fray, all black armor and snarling black snake helm. The lean Iron Serpent sheathes his blade and comes to stand beside Almer; a moment passes and then he touches Almer on the shoulder with a gauntleted fist. “In the blackest of black cells,” he assures his good-cousin.

The Stormbreaker’s helm turns its attention on Burton and he says, “This is Almer’s choice. Almer’s alone. Any man who interferes will answer to me.”

His gauntlet still keeps his vice-like grip upon the unconscious Starveling’s neck.

Nodding slowly, Almer seems to take reassurance, if no comfort, in the oath of the Stormbreaker and in the words of Locke and the Iron Serpent. He turns to the group of knights who stand near. “My brothers. I thank you.” This last effort is all he can manage; Almer turns quickly, on his heel, to hide the pain on his face, and he strides back toward the tent where his grief sleeps.

“Where is your preference for him to be kept, Stormbreaker?” Stevyn queries of Sarmion, “The dungeons of the Red Keep are a sweet nightmare but mayhap you have a more…” his expression is bland, “...fitting environ in mind?”

“I declare this fetid boil to be my prisoner until such time that Ser Almer makes a decision as to its fate,” the Stormbreaker says, shaking the Starveling’s body violently. Finally, he drops the man to the ground and puts a boot on his neck.

He reaches up and removes his helm, holding it under his arm and looking on his prisoner with cold, dark eyes. Answering Stevyn, he says, “There’s a ruined keep in the middle of the wood where his screams will scare away the deer. I have a Maester who can keep this rat turd alive long enough for Almer to grieve… I suppose.” He prods the Starveling’s head with the toe of his boot.

Seeing the blood that comes away on it, he scowls and kicks the man in the ribs.

There is a faint hacking sound from the bandit as the boot is pressed to his neck. His eyes flicker open for the briefest of instants, his hand reaching out vainly for Sarmion’s boot.

“Ser Sarmion, Ser Stevyn… Shouldn’t the King make the final decision?” Burton now frowns considering something. He leans against one of the trees and takes a wineskin from his bodyguard, Tymon the Brigand. Taking a gulp, he continues, “Maybe, His Grace will have other plans for such a notorious breaker of his laws.”

Stevyn is silent for a long moment. His eyes going from Stormbreaker, to prisoner, to the encampment. Then he speaks, his expression distant.

“Nay Ser. For all that I would wish it so, that is not what must befall this man. I forgot myself in my enmity. He must face the justice of the king, tis why I am here, and for all his foul deeds - he is a citizen of Westeros for all his has forsaken its laws.”

The kick to the ribs seems to have restored some life to the, Starveling, and he tries to roll onto his side, but manages only a pathetic writhing before he lays back, trying to form words through broken teeth and swollen lips. “Take me to the king,” he rasps, “Mercy.” Then once more he hacks and coughs, making a vile choking sound on his phlegm and blood.

Looking at the Crakehall with a hooded gaze, the Stormbreaker says, “The King is gentle in his mercy.”

As the Starveling stirs, Sarmion regards his feeble signs of life curiously. Quietly he draws his dagger and gestures at him, “Good, he’s still alive. If I had my way, I’d cut off his hands, his feet and cut out his tongue.” He asks the Starveling, “Would you like that? You’d like that wouldn’t you.”

Ignoring Stevyn as the bastard pleas. Sarmion smiles and sheaths his dagger to draw his sword, “It’s Mercy he wants. Mercy he shall get.” He puts the point of the sword into the ground near Starion’s face and lets the light reflect upon it into his eyes. The Stormbreaker adds, “This is Mercy. It’s what I call the sword my late wife gave to me before outlaws killed her and the son she carried in her womb.”

“Stormbreaker,” Stevyn utters the name, a sharp edge to it, “The Kingswood is yours to control, but this foul thing has cowered here long enough. The King may be gentle in his mercy but it is -his- justice we must seek, not exact our own for all we might wish it. We have Connington’s pleas to add to all the others that will speak against him. He will not escape death easily and it will be hard coming. There are those who have earnt that right to see it, not only those present.”

Starion squirms in the dirt again, as he tries to roll away from the sword. He turns his head from the baleful light reflected off the blade. His eyes turn to those who stand around him looking about for some hope of mercy, other than the sword.

Not knowing what debate still goes on by the Starveling’s battered body, Luthor urges his horse forward, bowing in the saddle to the various commanders as one whole. His eyes turn to Sarmion. “Forgive me, ser, but the rest of the Starveling’s lot, what of them?”

“Very well,” Sarmion says, his lips curling in a disappointed grimace. He takes up his sword and sheathes it, adding, “I have sworn.”

Finally, he looks around for some of the Kingswood company still able-bodied enough to carry out orders. Pointing at two, he shouts, “Build a litter or something so we can carry this thing back to King’s Landing without killing it.”

Looking at Luthor and the smallfolk bandits captured in the battle, he says with a shrug, “Rope them all together then let them keep up with the horses. They’re fit for the Wall if they’re lucky or the rope if they’re not. I will escort the Starveling to make sure he lives. We will have to travel slowly.”

“I shall accompany you, Ser,” Stevyn replies flatly, as though this gave him little joy, moving toward his mount, “There must be a litter also to bring back Ser Almer’s wife and child. He should not do it alone.” And for now, his duty was done.

Ser Luthor nods, and without further word, turns and goes to see it done, grabbing what men he needs in the process.

Comments