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A ways back from the giant engines of war that continue to hurl stones at Godsgrace’s walls, Ser Luthor Rivers converses with a maester about the progress of their barrage and the machines that they use. One hole has already been opened in the wall breaking a poorly patched span that the king had deliberately left weakened in case the Allyrions should rebel.
It has proved a useful strategy, and now the machines aim to knock more holes in the walls to make things easier before the order to storm the city is given.
“It’s all a matter of counter-weights you see,” explains the maester to the bastard knight. “See, watch how this one goes,” he says nodding to a trebuchet that is about to set loose it’s stone.
Luthor watches as the stone is thrown as though by a giant and slams hard into the worn stone of Godsgrace’s walls, causing some rubble to fall away. He nods. “Impressive, how heavy a stone can one of these. . .” he begins but is cut short by a new arrival approaching them and he stops mid-sentence to see who it is.
Alek yawns, stretching slightly as he walks along the walls, needing to get his legs stretched. He notices a knight and a maester, walking towards them in pure coinidence.
Spotting Alek Reyne, Luthor smiles and makes his excuses to the learned maester. “Sorry, I need a word with that man, but thank you for your time Maester may I call on you later to continue?” With the maester’s nod the knight makes his way to where Alek walks, looking thoroughly bored. “Ser, you look like a man who could use some company,” he says. “And perchance some wine?” he says holding out a skin.
Alek smirks at Luthor’s comment. “Ah, ser. It seems as though you know me too well!” He takes the wineskin, taking a few gulps, handing the skin back. “No-one can fight properly sober!”“
Luthor inclines his head with a smile. “Well I remembered our talk on the march and that we both had a taste for drink,” he says and then glances away to the walls, as another rock hits the walls with a resounding crash. “And as to fighting and drinking, I think we will soon need to break open the casks then, as it looks like it won’t be too long before we are to storm the city. A week at the most.”
Alek nods at Luthor. “Indeed, ser! Won’t be long before we all go home victorious or are burned in wooden boxes.”
Luthor takes a sip from the flask and smiles as he wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. “Well I’m hoping for the former myself. Though it does leave us with the question of what we will do in the peace that follows?”
Alek shrugs. “Well…It depends…I’ll be spending alot of time with my family at the Landing. Maybe return to Castamere for a bit.”
Handing back the wine, Luthor nods. “Well the king will need good men, even in peace, perhaps there is a place for you at court if that appeals to you. That’s certainly where peace will find me, even should I reconcile with the others of my house. But then Acorn Hall is not Castamere, I’ve heard good things, my grandmother spoke well of it, she comes from your neighbors the Tarbecks.”
Alek nods. “Aye. The Tarbecks. Don’t know the family personally, but…” He shrugs. “Heard it’s an honourable family.” He takes a swig of the wine, passing it back.
“From the way grandmother spoke of them they’re second only to the royal house, but then I suspect she exagerated somewhat,” he says with a smile. “Though in all seriousness, you should consider coming to court when you’ve finished visiting your home. I understand you’re soon to be cousins to the Crakehalls and Ser Burton in particular seems to value your company, having a future lord as kin certainly can’t hurt your prospects,” Luthor says watching Alek’s reaction closely.
Alek looks thoughtful for a second, before a devious smirk comes across his face. Its deviousness is hidden quickly by the veteren Knight of Castamere. “Joining the court might be an ideal move, yes…” He mumbles. “That is.” His voice returns to normal. “If you put in a good word for me, Ser Luthor.”
Only Luthor’s eyes give any sign he’s seen the smirk, that and the briefest of nods in Ser Alek’s direction before he replies. “I could certainly do that. So can Ser Burton,” he glances around to see that there are no ears close by then continues. “Ser Burton and I have made an agreement to help one another succeed at court as well as promote our deeds here in Dorne, we would like you to be a part of that Ser Alek.”
Alek rubs his slightly unshaven chin. “Hm. Seems like an interesting proposal, ser.” He smiles, clasping Luthor’s shoulder. “Consider me in, my friend! Might make for some interesting ventures in the future.”
Luthor smiles. “I’m certain it will,” the Rivers knight agrees. “As for now Burton and I have mostly been focusing on two vital first steps, the first is to use the forces under our command to defend one another in battle, and create opportunities for glory, so long as it doesn’t, of course, lose us the battle. The second thing we do is work to ensure that word of our best deeds reach the King’s ears. That way we can better survive the war, and do so with good names which will help in peace time.”
“Hey, sers!”- Burton Crakehall walks towards the conversing knights, smiling pleasantly. He is followed by a tall Dornishman armed with a lance-a strange sight in a Westerosi camp. Tymon, a guardsman in Vaith, then a brigand and deserter-and now-one of Ser Burton’s men. “My cousin-to be Alek Reyne and my friend, Ser Luthor. A fine company indeed! Can I join you?”
Alek bows slightly. “Of course, my lord of Crakehall!” He states jovially. He seems to be in a very good mood. He turns to Luthor. “I have but few men under my command, ser, but I pledge them to your cause.”
Luthor smiles as one-eyed giant of Crakehall joins them. “Good day Ser Burton!” he greets warmly before turning to Alek. “My thanks, I have few enough men as it is as well, but each man helps,” he says before turning back to Burton. “Ser Alek has agreed to join us,” he says with significance.
“Our cause? Ah!”-Ser Burton grins boyishly and offers Ser Alek his richly decorated flask, that has a form of a boars head “Care for a drink, Alek?” As Luthor tells him about the Reyne knight’s decision to become their ally, the heir to Crakehall nods gladly “So Ser Luthor have already told you about our plans? It is good-it means I don’t have to explain much. As I have told Luthor during our first meeting, I plan to rise high, and I will take those, who will assist me, with me. I am an honest man and a true knight-Luthor could tell you I always keep my promises-and together we could do much… So, you are ready to join our little company?”
Alek smirks. “As long as we rise high. I have…ambitions that require high position, ser.” He takes the drink from Ser Burton. “Besides, ser. We’re soon-to-be family! I support most of my family!” He takes a drink, handing the flask back to Burton.
Luthor nods in Alek’s direction when he mentioning supporting only most of his family. “I understand the feeling,” he says wryly then back to the matter at hand. “Then it seems we are of a mind. Was there anything we’ve forgotten Burton?” he asks.
“We will do the best we can to reach our goals”-Burton assures Alek, now offering the flask to the Rivers knight-before that taking a hearty swig from it himself, though ” I am glad you are with us now, Alek. We must do everything to win glory during the campaign-or ....persuade the others that we did. Right toasts, right words whispered into right ears at the right moment….This is often the key to success…The true game will begin after the war, but the foundation must be laid down during the campaign… I think we have mostly told Ser Alek everything that is important, Luthor…”
The wine is strong and good, and Luthor makes an exception to his rule about only drinking a little when talking business and takes a healthy swallow from the boar’s head. “Seems that we have,” he agrees wiping away the excess his hand before he hands Burton back the flask. “Then in that case, we may want to turn our minds to the King’s nameday, it’s in a few days time and it is important we are seen to mark it well for his Grace.”
Alek smirks. “I have no doubt my skills will come in handy.” Alek chuckles. He calls his squire over. “Lad, go fetch three aleskins from the store.” Alek’s squire, Albin, nods. “Yessir!” The young man says, running off. “I wworry about that kid…” He mumbles. “Too exciteable.”
“I thought about luring Elmer into our little scheme . But he is too much loyal to the Lannisters-or,should I say,Jonn Lannister,and that fox ,if he finds out,could be a nuisance…”-when Luthor makes the suggestion about the namesday, Burton nods “What do you propose, sers? Any ideas?”
Alek frowns slightly. “Lord Loren…I suppose I will have to hide this from him, eh?” Alek asks his peers.
Luthor nods. “You know your cousin best, if you say he’s right for our alliance, he is right, but if you have doubts then perhaps you might talk to him and see where he stands. As for the King, I admit, short of presenting him with Prince Rhodry’s head, I’m afraid gifts are out, but I did manage to keep some of what we took from the village, a feast might not be out of the question, hosted by the three of us,” Luthor suggests. “As to Lord Loren, I’d say its best this is kept secret from him for now.”
“Lord Loren? Who is talking about him? And Jonn Lannister is not our enemy. Not at all…But I still don’t know, if we can trust him… And he is a cunning man, and you shouldn’t tell a cunning man too much,if you are not sure he is your friend..We will see..”-Burton replies, and, considering something, rubs his chin and takes a thoughtful gulp from the flask “And cunning members or the great Houses shouldn’t be trusted even more than just cunning men… Do you have some special connection to Lord Loren, Alek? And, yes, Luthor, we should certainly talk to Elmer, but be careful about that-he is one of my closest relatives and I sincerely love him-and I believe, he returns me the feeling-but Lannisters are Lannisters… You are probably right, telling Alek that he should keep it secret from Lord Loren as well…Anyway, a feast is a good idea “
Alek scratches his head. “Lord Loren is my friend… But, you’re right.” He smiles at the idea of a feast. “Count me in on that, ser!”
Luthor inclines his head. “That I do not know Ser Elmer well is all I meant ser. I hope I did not give offense?” he says to Ser Burton. “As to clever men of greater houses, agreed, we should be careful of them, and members of the greater houses in general until we’re stronger positioned at court. As to the feast, if you can trust me to handle the preparations I’ll see what food can be scrounged and take care of it.”
“I have nothing against Lord Loren-it is his son I am mostly suspicious about…but never mind!”- says the heir to Crakehall with a dismissive wave of a palm. He shakes the container, to see ,if there is any wine left, and reassured that there is still plenty, smiles to Luthor “You didn’t offend me one little bit, Ser Luthor. Your suggestion is good-as always. Both suggestions, I should say-about Elmer and about the feast… Of course, it would have been great,if you organised the whole thing. And I would pay for it-everything will be at my expense.”
Albin runs back, three aleskins in his hand, offering them to Alek. Alek takes the skins, dismissing the squire. “Sers…” He says, handing out two of the skins. “An offering from House Reyne. Some of our finest ale.” He smirks..
Luthor smiles at the boy as he takes the aleskin and nods his thanks. “And you are?” he asks the youth warmly.
Burton takes the skin from Alek, thanking him with a nod and a smile, and with delight, takes a big gulp of ale. Then his gaze stops on Albin “A son to Lord Nestor Sarsfield, isn’t he…Squires…Squires from mighty families…That is the thing we should get after the war, Ser Luthor… And matrimonies are very useful, as well…I have unmarried sisters and Ser Alec-daughters…Such things help to achieve glorious goals as much as battle glory and other merits… “
Albin smiles lightly. “I’m Albin Sarsfield, ser!” He pipes up before running off. Alek smiles. “A good eye, ser!” He claps Burton on the shoulder as he correctly guessed Albin’s lineage.
Laughing Luthor nods to Ser Alek. “I see what you mean about him being excitable,” he remarks kindly. “Still time enough for him to grow out of it. As to your suggestion though Burton I had thought along those lines as well in regards to squires, both for ourselves, and seeing our sons, er well yours for now, squired to good families,” then he stops thinking for a moment. “Actually hasn’t the king and Ser Aemon both knighted their squires?” he asks.
“A nice lad. Hope you treat him right..”-Burton watches Albin run away, and laughs heartily, not forgetting ,from time to time , to swallow a moderate portion of ale- “It is hard to believe, but when I was a youth, I was a little like him….Certainly, it would have been fine, if my son Garen became the new squire to the King…He is a very clever lad for his age…But he is only nine. Maybe, as a page, first?”
Alek smiles lightly. “My son should be becoming a knight very soon…Perhaps I should have him with a high-ranked house for the remainder…” Alek muses.
Luthor laughs trying to imagine Ser Burton Crakehall as a squire, let alone an excitable one, then more seriously nods. “Nine, yes, then a page would be a good place to start. I can see what I can do for about him getting into the King’s household when the war’s done,” then nods to Ser Alek. “It can’t hurt. And to be certain we will find a good place for him when he’s a knight as well.”
“Who is going to knight him? If he you don’t have anybody in mind, I could do the deed; as a sign of our friendship. And then we could start looking for a nice place for him, as our good Ser Luthor has said”-Burton suggests, and then looks at Luthor ” My son Garen is only nine ,but I think we can betroth him to somebody his age ...and of good standing. There were many such cases, and I dont understand, why we can’t follow those examples…And, of course, if you like ,Luthor, we can try to get you a worthy wife…There will be many opportunities after the war-if we work together, as good companions should “
“We -should- do all these things we’ve spoken of. After all, if we don’t, then someone else surely will and we’ll be so much the lesser for it,” Luthor offers with a smile, then nodding with earnest appreciation to Ser Burton adds. “As for a wife for me, I’d be honoured for your help there,” he takes in Alek as well. “Both of you. It would be difficult otherwise I think to secure a worthy match for myself.”
“Luthor ,I personally will do everything I can”-Burton assures Luthor, touching the shoulder of the Rivers knight with his gigantic palm-“You have brains.You have merits. And there is blood of Tarbecks and Smallwoods in your veins..By gods,we could even get you legitimised,if you want-if,for a example,some impoverished Smallwood knight adopts you-and we could try to organise that…You will get the right to call yourself by your fathers name and use the colors and crest of the House. Clever people always find ways.”
Luthor is stunned. “Legitimized,” he mouths. Then a thoughtful expression crosses his face. “You know I hadn’t thought of that,” he chuckles and looks up gratefully up at Burton grinning. “We shall have to see to that after the war, my friend, that and a marriage,” he says almost as pleased as he was when he was made a knight of the King’s household. “You’re a good friend Ser Burton, my thanks.”
There is no more to say beyond that, other than what is needed to find a place to sit. Then seated the new allies toast their future successes and drink in quiet brotherhood while the shadows of the camp deepen around them.
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