It’s a morning fit for the Lord of the Seven Hells to come calling and claim his own. A thick, greasy mist coils through the streets, making of them a bizarre shadowland with buildings looming suddenly at drunken angles. Everything has an unpleasantly clammy feel to it and sounds are distorted; distant voices seem near, and near ones sound distant. A day for snarls and grumkins, then; for dark cradle-tales and songs of blood and death.
If it had been any other day, the folk of the city would have kept off the streets as much as possible. But not today—not when the Starveling is going to dance the dead man’s jig. The people of King’s Landing have a fine hate in them, and they mean to make sure he knows it. So they mill about the central square as if it were a fairground; great throngs pushing and shoving, children wandering here and there, cutpurses making full use of the mist. Vendors wander through the crowd with trays slung from their necks selling pastries of dubious provenance; mummers and jugglers keep the crowd entertained.
The din is all but maddening. At the head of the square where the gallows has been built, there is a clear space, the crowd held back by a line of city watch men in full armour. There stands Ser Conrad Arryn, the king’s steward, looking uncharacteristically grim, and a few other highborn folk besides.
Suddenly, a shiver seems to convulse the crowd. “He is coming!” the cry goes up.
Killing is hungry work, it seems. And profitable, too. But not all is commerce; there is entertainment to be had as well. Jugglers, fire-eaters, singers, dancers… all the rowdy and colorful scruff from King’s Landing is out today, and they want a piece of the action as well as the foodsellers.
A company of mummers in motley relive past executions of famous outlaws; a dwarf in green and blue and yellow is stretched slowly on a rack, screeching in false pain as a pair of busty wenches laugh and pull the wench. Another troupe consisting of two donkeys and a quartet of fat mummers, pretend to draw and quarter a fifth performer; snakey entrails made of old sausage burst grotesquely out on the pavement.
Alyce Bar Emmon enters the scene just as the cry arises. Hurrying her steps a bit, her cloak emblazoned with her House sigil floats up gently. Her guards seem to have no trouble keeping up, both Bar Emmon and Prester. With wide eyes full of excitement and fear together, she calls over her shoulder, “Come on, Andrya, else we shan’t see a thing!” After a pause, she adds with delight, “Oh look, a mummer’s show!”
Ser Anton Piper is amongst the Watch Men standing near the gallows. His eyes scan the crowd and there is a hard, cold expression on his face. He is fully armed and armoured as usual. Anton says nothing, content to await the execution about to take place.
Ser Josmyn Reyne arrives at the plaza with both his sisters in tow, not much in a hurry as he takes his time to check out the entertainment and the food stalls. Though having just eaten a big lunch at his sister’s place, he can’t even envision more food. He keeps a careful glance on their environments, making sure that nobody would even dream of getting fresh with his sisters… or try to steal a purse.
Ethos Mertyns arrives, the man still showing the healing burns and blisters along his face and scalp from the brutal Kingswood expedition a week past. All of his hair was scorched away and the knight is looking more fearsome for it. But, the Stormlander is smiling, despite the ugly visage. He has the lovely Tully, Lady Jannia on his arm as he escorts her to this long-awaited show in the plaza.
Clad darkly, as if in mourning, Ser Almer Connington leans past the King’s Steward to peer down at the mayhem. The fair-haired knight seems pale in his black finery, and black as sin it is; dark leathers, sable linen, and even the twin dancing griffins on cloak and doublet picked out in shining black thread.
He mutters something to Ser Conrad Arryn, and the grave expressions of the other nobles before the gallows barely flicker; the words, whatever they may be, are lost in the noise.
Curiouser and curiouser, that’s what Katla Greyjoy finds this all—and this ironborn, at least, is not loathe to miss an execution. So it is that she arrives, almost oblivious to the mist and damp, winter cloak tucked around her and bright eyes skimming the throng as she seeks out a space to observe.
Lucos stands at the back of the crowd, with no apparent interest in getting a close look at the proceedings. He seems to be simultaneously reading a small volume and writing notes in a small notebook. He glances up periodically to take note of those faces in the crowd that he might recognize.
Wearing dark blue and ribbons of the Tully colors in her hair, she turns to the Knight, “I shall leave you here ser, it was nice to meet you, but I am going to seek out my sister, I think she mentioned coming here this morning.” Jannia nods to the Knight as they part ways, her Septa and handmaid in tow she makes her way to the front for a closer look. Straightening her skirts and looks for her sister, half nervous, half excited for the events of the day, she giggles lightly at the dwarf on the racks.
Fiona follows along with Jos and Victoria, her grey-green eyes shifting this way and that to look over attendees, vendors, performers, everything, taking it all in while they await the actual hanging. Her cloak hood is up and spindly tendrils of blond curls sneak out at the edges adrift on damp winds, sometimes sticking to her cheek only to be dragged away with delicate fingertips and tucked back beneath the fabric. Elmer is somewhere in the crowd likely, and she watches for him as well.
Somewhere in the crowd darts a tall figure, bronze hair streaming in the air. Ser Willard Ryger walks through the masses intent on finding the front row of this show. In his hand - a dubious piece of meat skewered on a stick, which he gorges on with delight. Finally standing at the front of the crowd, he finishes his meat and throws away the stick, then crosses his arms on his chest and scans the people, taking note of anyone known. He nods towards Ser Anton Piper as he searches him out in the throng of goldcloaks.
The dwarf in motley slips out of his bonds, does a somersault, and lands on his feet with a flourish; his busty assistants bow and begin passing around a hat for donations. “And now, for our next act,” cries the dwarf, “we shall relive the beheading of the infamous outlaw and raper, Leland Lacklove!”
The wenches produce a comically-large axe made of painted wood and begin their next folly. “Donations are welcome, of course!” cries the dwarf.
Andrya Tully follows the Bar Emmon lady though her demeanour is far from one of excitement, rather more wary as she eyes all activity in the sqaure. Her septa and guards are also safely in tow as Lady Alyce and her try to find a space. Her eyes sweep the place and spot familar faces amongst the hustle-bustle though only when she spots her sister does she call out though it is probably drowned by the crowd “Jannia, over here!”
Pushing through the crowd is a small group of men, a sense of mail and swords beneath their long blue hooded bloaks. One big man -a baker at the looks of his white flour stainted apron - seems to have taken offence by the way the men claim theirselves a place among the crowd, close to the gallows. After all, some have been waiting here for almost an hour to secure a place with a good view on the upcoming hanging. A curse is shouted but one of the men moves aside his cloak, revealing an ugly looking dagger at his belt. The big baker quickly shuts his mouth and moves aside as the strangers take place. The one leading the group then removes his hood, revealing the face of ser Albyn Crane, heir to Red Lake and no friend of outlaws for sure. Standing there he remains silent, his pale blue eyes fixed on the event.
Head snapping back at the sound of her name, Jannia waves for her sister to come forward. She giggles once more at the display before her.
Seeing her companion calling out to someone, Alyce looks around. Although she does not spot Jannia, she does see the Reyne trio. Not about to shout, herself, she lifts a hand and waves a bit, hoping to catch the attention of one of the three.
Scarred and battered, Ser Luthor Rivers has taken his place next to Ser Conrad and Ser Almer. The Warden of the Kingswood is dressed in boiled leather and chain, covered over with a green fur lined cloak that does nothing to keep out the cold. His only nod to the formality of the occasion is his chain of office draped over his shoulders. He pays the mummers no mind but when the call goes out, turns in that direction without expression. “Finally,” he murmurs to himself as he does.
Arriving a touch late, the Lord of Southshield has rushed to the courtyard, his guards in tow. For the occasion he has taken up his suit of brigandine again, the armor covered with white velvet, the rivets forged and enameled to resemble red roses. Over his left sleeve, he has slid on an armlet of whalebone inlaid with red gold, a curious trinket, perhaps, but nothing he has not worn before. He has tied back his long, flaxen hair with a little piece of red ribbon, allowing him to look about the crowd without any stray strands of hair blocking his view. As one might presume of Lord Serry, he gravitates easily toward his betrothed, smiling warmly to her once he spots her within the crowd. “My Lady Katla!” He calls out as he wades through the people to draw near to the Krakenspawn.
Josmyn smiles when he sees the Dynamic Duo nearby and answers Alyce’s wave with one of his own, trying to nudge a bit closer into that direction without losing of his sisters. Or the stage where the main event will take place soon.
Again the cry goes up, this time closer—and under it, other sounds can be heard. Smallfolk screaming the foulest of curses, guardsmen bellowing, warning them back, the rattling of stones and the wet splatter of rotten vegetables on shields.
“Better if you had dribbled down the crack of your mother’s arse and never been born!”
“Want a last suck, love? It’ll only cost you your cock!”
“Hell’s hounds will feast on your guts for a thousand years, whoreson!”
And closer and closer, until finally they loom through the mist—a double row of guardsmen, shields raised against the rubbish pelting them, aimed at the man stumbling between their lines. The Starveling has come, and a sorry thing he is—a tattered wisp of flesh and bone, turned pale as a slug by his year in the black cells. But for all of that, he is snarling back at his tormentors.
At the gallows, Ser Conrad nods to Almer; his reply is accompanied by a grimace of distaste as he glances at the crowds. At the condemned man’s appearance, he turns and speaks to Anton; he seems to be instructing him to clear a path to the gallows for the approaching guardsmen.
Ethos pushes aside some smallfolk that have a reasonable vantage, ignoring the cries of complaint from a child he shoved. He crosses his arms over his chest and leans back against a low wall, watching quietly.
Close to her brother and sister, the final of the blonde trio silently absorbs the somewhat macabre scene. The unsettling atmosphere seems to resonate in Lady Victoria Reyne’s fair visage and her pale-green eyes appear cool, her rosy lips a hard line. Whether it is distaste for some for some of the cruder elements in society that have gathered or just feminine sensitivity in relation to the execution remains known only to the Lady herself.
Victoria draws her blood-red cloak closer around her slender figure at the emergence of the Starveling, her neck craned to gain a closer look at the condemned.
Hearing the curses Jannia peers up and watches the platform in front to catch a glimpse of the starveling, she sees the guards with there red splattered shields, and assumes the color is from rotten tomatoes. She watches intently for what is to come next. Silently she stares.
Anton silently nods at the instructions from the Royal Steward. With a simple hand gesture to the full companies of Goldcloaks standing by, the Watchmen immediately move forward, towards the approaching guardsmen and their charge. Their spears are used to shove back the smallfolk; anyone intent on getting too close. Anton walks with his men, ignoring any potential projectile that may indirectly strike him. He appears focused on one thing and one thing only, accomplishing his duty as laid out by Ser Conrad, clearing a path through the crowd so the Starveling may stand the gallows.
Behind the carnival, a troop of horsemen ride, splitting the crowd as it tries to close in behind the prisoners. They dress in black and gold, the Baratheon stag’s head erased and thunderbolts of the Stormbreaker emblazoned over their chests. Before them rides the giant knight himself, the Royal Harbormaster—he who brought the Starveling to justice.
His darkly bearded face is carved in a cruel sneer and his blue eyes glint darkly beneath his heavy brows in the overcast light. His dark voice booms to the man riding beside him.
“It is a fine day to see a dance,” he barks a laugh, as he sees the finery arrayed around the gallows, “I hope they’re ready for when this fucking coward shits his guts out all over them.”
The attention of the crowd is shifting; the mummers, sensing this, slowly bring their japeries to a pause. And then comes the pelting.
Perhaps taking a cue from the smallfolk closest to the prisoner and his escorts, some of the crowd begin to hurl things toward the condemned.
Apple cores, clay cups, stones, even the occasional handful of dung all arc through the air in a foul rain of filth and coarse cackling.
Fiona’s eyes widen as the jeers and cries become louder, more distinct, more.. intelligible. She stares as the thing passes by, pushing up to tip toes, though her hand finds Victoria’s arm, not just for balance, judging by the way her gloved fingers curl and remain there. Color slowly drains from her face and the contrast of her fair flesh against the darkness of her cloak hood emphasizes her uneasy demeanor and expression. Her body language is altogether uncomfortable and the louder the voices get and the more the crowd reacts, the more she huddles close to her sister.
Alyce flushes bright red at some of the vulgarities being shouted, looking around at her companions—my the group has grown—in disbelief. She huddles with the others, their respective guards more circling the group now than sticking to individual charges. However, the Prester man-at-arms watches Josmyn closely.
Katla glances around, looking at the group, her face composed, and she will motion the Lord Serry to stand with her, even as she watches about at the various and sundry, nodding, perhaps, in greeting - if she can be seen, or is noted - through the massive numbers of people, here to watch the Starveling’s death. Her own guards in Greyjoy - and one in Serry hues - stand, watching, equally as interested in the scene unfolding as, perhaps, their lady.
Ethos looks around abruptly, and grabs up a tomato from one of those angry children. “Give me that! You’ll never hit him from this distance.” Then the Stormlander looks back at where the Starveling is being brought in by all the goldcloaks. When he sees Anton approaching the criminal, the knight waits.. waits, then pitches the tomato when it looks as if the Piper knight will be closest to the captive.
The Baratheon colors, and he who bears them, draw Almer’s attention momentarily; he gives the Stormbreaker a slight inclination of the head to acknowledge his arrival. But for the most part, his hard grey eyes are riveted to the prisoner, this one who, a year ago, took his world from him, and who has not seen the light of day until this day.
The perceptive might notice, in the chaos, that Almer’s black-gloved hands are clenched tightly at his sides, trembling with the strain of it.
Josmyn watches his sisters with a little worried expression as he realizes that they are uneasy, so he leans over to smile. “The scoundrel deserves it, sisters… enjoy seeing him receive his just punishment…” Then he straightens again, shifting a bit into the other directon, closer to Alyce, to get a better view again on the Starveling.
Lord Serry draws near to Katla, smiling brightly to her. Hearing the cries of the crowd, he spares a glance toward the Starveling. Well, at least what he can see of him through the guards and mobs of people between them. It seems to matter little for Justyn, however, who soon turns his attention back to Katla, sharing a hushed conversation with her as the preparations continue.
Unaware of the others around her it as is if no one else is around except her retinue and sister. She glances to her sister briefly, then back to the gallows, she still does not move. Jannia seems intrigued and repulsed all at once.
Luthor gives Ser Sarmion the briefest of nods in greeting as he arrives then the Warden looks past the giant in black and gold to gaze upon the Starveling. The sight causes his lips to curl with disdain and he shifts restlessly, seeming to will the man on to the gallows so he can be about other business.
The trio of Reynes, pair of Tully sisters, Bar Emmon lady, their septas, maids, and guards make a nice circle within the crowd. As the men-at-arms keep cutpurses and stray rotten food away from their charges, facing outward around the nobles, Alyce glances ove rher shoulder to speak to Alndrya. “I have never seen an execution before, my lady. Have you? And you, ladies?” She tries to call out loud enough for the other women to hear her.
Ser Farin Prester enters the central plaza, slipping inside the throng of guards. He stands off to the side, content, for once, not to garner much attention to himself. He is usually busy this right about now, but his appearance indicates a certain willingness to trade business for pleasure, as it were.
Finally the Crakehall Knight finds his wife and her family. Elmer slips up next to Fiona and puts his hand gently against her back, quiet words to her ear at least settling her a bit. He looks to Victoria and smiles, his head inclining, a few more words exchanged but in the din of noise, likely only those near him hear them. He’s an imposing figure and stands tall, directing guards with but a look, remaining quiet and more solemn, perhaps, focused on the safety of his wife amidst all the commotion and ugliness. Josmyn gets a nod as well but since he’s moving toward Alyce, Elmer stays put with the Reyne girls. Well, one Reyne girl and one Crakehall, now.
Fiona smiles and then looks to Alyce, her head shaking, though she remains silent, a hand still on her sister’s arm.
With the Goldcloaks clearing a path, Anton soon reaches the guardsmen escorting the Starveling, and the man himself. His eyes narrow on the prisoner for just an instant, and Anton inclines his head in acknowledgement of those escorting the infamous bandit. He says nothing, instead, he turns around to lead them back the other way through the path to the gallows.
However, as he is turning, when his head directly faces the crowds gathered here, a flying tomato comes out of nowhere and strikes Anton fully in the face. His head snaps back from the force of the projectile and Anton blinks a couple of times to squeeze the red juice out of his eyes. He tries to look and see where the object came from, but is somewhat blinded by the fact that juices ooze down his hair and face. Anton takes a deep breath, removes one of his gauntlets, and uses his bare hands to wipe away most of the tomato stain from his face. Then he shakes his head, replaces his gauntlet and continues walking forward.
His Goldcloaks maintain some type of order amongst the crowd, ensuring the path is clear for the Starveling and his escorts to reach the gallows.
Josmyn seems to be quite pleased to be surrounded by ladies, a cheerful grin on his face, while he keeps watching proceedings around the Starveling. He nods to Elmer in greeting as well, lets his gaze drift over the crowd that surrounds them and finally back to the front.
As the seven horsemen approach the gallows, they form a line before it. The Stormbreaker glances up at Ser Almer and gives him a grim nod in greeting.
He then turns his stern gaze on the doomed prisoner and follows his progress to the rope. Shaking his head, the massive Baratheon knight entones, “This is too good a death for that shit-eating sack of puss. He should have his bowels pulled out of him slowly while the Maesters keep him alive.”
Glowering, Sarmion growls, “Who the fuck convinced me to turn him over to the Cloaks? I can’t even remember…”
While many of the mummers fall still to watch, not all follow suit. The motley dwarf, seeing an opportunity, ducks between legs and through gaps to slither his way near the iron wall of guardsmen; somehow he breaks free of their restraints, just enough to caper and dance in full view of the Starveling.
The dwarf jester issues a cacophany of mocking noises and gestures; a wolf’s howl, a chicken’s clucking and fluttering, and a honeybee’s buzzing, presumably a dig at House Beesbury of Honeyholt.
Raucous laughter, a little uneasy, perhaps, ensues from many of the smallfolk; it grows louder as Anton is struck by the projectile.
The royal steward inclines his head to the Stormbreaker as he catches sight of him above the crowd. Then—pausing first to murmur to Almer and briefly lay a hand on his shoulder—he steps aside to speak with the septon waiting there with his holy crystal.
Meanwhile, the guards are moving closer to the gallows, cursing as they hold up their shields against the barrage of projectiles. But their discipline holds and they never falter, starting to shove the crowds back further now.
Not a few of the stones and rotten vegetables hit the Starveling; splattered with dung and bleeding, he stumbles, then falls to his knees, dazed. But one of the guardsman beside him grabs him under his arm and half-hauls, half-drags him to the gallows, skinning the prisoner’s knees and shins raw in the process, making him cry out in pain as he leaves a trail of bllod.
Then, the guardsman, sheltered behind his comrade’s shields, is propelling Starion Flowers up the steps of the gallows. And as they pass, Ser Conrad steps up on the bottom step and turns to the crowds, holding up his hands, calling in a strong voice trained to carry across a battlefield:
“Peace! Peace, good people!”
Alyce notices a man dressed in crimson with a quite familiar face. She is silent, but waves toward Farin in an attempt to get the Deputy’s attention.
Gently patting her younger sister’s hand which rests on her arm, Lady Victoria offers her a reassuring smile, any words lent her sibling lost in the general chaos and raucous of the crowd.
She watches those who hurl tomatoes and other projectiles at the captive and wrinkles her nose critically. Certainly not noble behaviour.
Lending a nod of greeting to Ser Elmer, Lady Victoria also offers a wordless wave to the other ladies close to where her brother moves. As Ser Conrad calls for peace, she then turns attentively towards the gallows.
As the falcon says a quiet word to the griffin, the latter nods; Almer’s hands relent in their death-grip on thin air. He straightens, the black sigils on his knightly cloak doing their dance in the motion; he affixes icy pale eyes not on Conrad, but on the holy septon nearby.
All is still as death around the Connington knight; a shadow seems to hang there.
Anton ignores the laughter thrown his way as the Starveling finally reaches the gallows. He steps out of the way to let the other guardsman pass with the prisoner, and stands there stoically, eyes scanning the crowds once more. The Goldcloaks return to the area surrounding the gallows, their duties complete in clearing a path. Now, they are once again holding back the crowds from getting too close to the gallows.
A line of red tomato juice, slowly streaks down the side of Anton’s face. The Piper knight ignores it.
Ser Farin does indeed look up, smiling faintly at Alyce’s presense here. He makes his way over at a casual gait, his face reverting to the grim satisfaction of the scene at large. His arms crossed behind his back, he comes to rest next to Alyce, though he continues to face the gallows. “Some of the Kingswood’s best work,” he intones quietly, a hint of cynicism in his voice.
The three Reynes are standing in the middle of the throng with the Tully girls and Alyce. Their group is just being joined by Ser Farin too. Josmyn nods a greeting towards the man and scans the crowd again. Spotting his uncle’s gold cloak somewhere, he lifts an arm to get his attention and get him to join their group.
Ethos chuckles at words of the Stormbreaker, then looks down and clamps his hand on his sword at his side when a child brushes against him. His coinpurse is long since gone to thieves. He looks up again, a smirk on his face.
Alyce offers Farin a warm smile as he nears her and Josmyn shifts to give the Prester room. Her face is flushed with cold, excitement, or a mixture of the two. Eyebrow quirking at the man’s words, she replies, “Considering your position, I should think you would be glad to see justice done, ser cousin. I must admit I have never seen one of… these before.” There is more fear than anticipation in her voice. “To watch a man die…” She gives a delicate shiver beneath her cloak.
“No never I-” Andrya’s late reply to Alyce is cut short however as Ser Conrad calls for peace and her attention is drawn to the gallows. She also offers a silent greeting by way of nodding to the Reynes and Ser Farin as he joins their group.
Making his way through the crowds is, indeed, Ser Alek Reyne. The Commander of the River Gate pauses, spotting the cluster of Reynes and others. He starts wading through the crowds, moving to stand beside Josmyn, nodding silently to all in the group.
Ser Alyard Corbray slips through the crowd dressed in a dark brown leather hauberk and his sable cloak. His raven locks are untied, cascading down in waves that crash over his shoulders. The Valeknight’s left hand rest idly on the hilt of his longsword as his grey eyes scout for familiar faces. Passing the Reynes he gives Lady Victoria a flash of that wry grin and Ser Josmyn a clap on the shoulder.
His destination is Lord Justyn Serry and his betrothed. “Lord Serry.” He utters, before a passing glance is offered to the lady. “Lady Katla, you look well.” He doesn’t give her much more than that, his attention already back on the /event/ itself.
“Haven’t missed much yet, Uncle.”, Josmyn informs Alek when he catches up with the siblings, taking a step back to make room for him. “Victoria and Fiona don’t seem to enjoy it all that much though…”, he adds, casting a worried glance towards his sisters. But Fiona has Elmer for comfort now at least. “Oh, hey, Ser Alyard.”, he greets when the man joins them as well, crowding them more together.
“Good people. They say a bastard’s blood will tell, for it is tainted. They speak true for Starion Flowers. The Starveling he named himself, and broke the Iron Throne’s peace again and again and yet again. There are many here who have suffered at his hands.”
The royal steward’s manner is stern, his usually easy ways nowehere in evidence. A relative hush has descended upon the square as the smallfolk strain to hear him: “Now, he shall pay for his sins. He has been judged and found guilty. By the will of Baelor, first of his name, Starion Flowers shall hang this day, and may the Seven have pity on him and those he has made suffer! Septon, would—”
Weak and wracked with pain though it is, the Starveling’s voice can still be heard clearly. Ser Conrad stops and turns; the condemned man is hanging between two guards, head lifted, a string of drool and blood dangling from his mouth, a wild, half-mad light in his eyes as he stares straight at Almer: “I know you, griffin! I had your woman! The sweetest cunt I ever—”
Snarling, one of the guardsman clubs him in the back of his head, knocking him to his knees. A great roar rises from the crowd; most shouting curses at Starion, but a few—for such mobs are always fickle—hooting and yelling vile taunts at the Connington knight.
Blue eyes blazing furiously, Conrad Arryn is gesturing to the septon who hurries forward.
Looking away from the Starveling, and more importantly, drawn out of his quiet conversation with the Kraken’s daughter, Justyn looks around for whomever called out his name. He graces Alyard with a brilliant smile as he spots him, replying, “Well, Ser Alyard, good morning.” He nods amiably to the Valeknight, then looking back to the condemned.
Alyce seems to relax as yet another knight joins and she finds herself surrounding by them: Farin on one side, Alex on the other, and Josmyn behind her. Her relief is fleeting, however, as the horrible words of the condemned cuts through the air. Cobalt eyes shift toward the Connington man with pity; they even tear up. “The poor ser…”
Farin quirks a brow but nods to Josmyn. As peace is called for, however, he reverts to whispering as Alyce begins her tearful revelation.
Snarling, the Stormbreaker stands in his saddle reaching for his warhammer.
His voice booms over the din of the crowd, “I should have smashed your face open like a mellon you measle-pricked sack of vomit!”
Glaring at the Royal Steward, Sarmion bellows, “Forget the King’s Justice! Give him to me! I’ll finish what I should have in the woods!”
“Son of a whore,” Luthor snarls though if it’s at Conrad’s words about bastards or the Starvelings jest about raping Almer’s lady none can tell. The bastard knight’s eyes are fixed upon the gallows with his jaw set in a furious scowl.
Willard, having heard the voice of Jannia and her company a while back, has finally made his way towards the Tully group along with the people that also gathered there. He nods his hellos at the other knights and bows his courtesies to the ladies as he stands to the side of the group, watching intently at the scene. Frowning when the Starveling voices viscious words.
Josmyn frowns a bit on the ladies’ behalf when he hears the Starveling’s foul words. “They better get on with this.”, he mutters darkly to Victoria who is standing next to him, “We don’t want any lady to faint…”
Farin whispers to Alyce, “Justice? ... ... justice is ... ... Smallfolk’s? ... ... If ... for ... ... every ... ... ... ... act to ... ... more ... ... Almer. ... ... cried ... ... ... after is ... ... ... ... ... ... speak ... justice.”
Anton’s eyes narrow on the Starveling as the man speaks his words, and there is a subtle nod of satisfaction as the bastard is clubbed from behind. Then however, his gaze focuses on Ser Almer. Anton steps just a little bit closer towards the other knight and speaks in a booming voice to the Connington Knight. “Ser Almer… there is no need to stain your blade with his blood. He does not deserve that honour. Let him hang!”
Melissa watches from a distance. The judgement made, these events are held far too infrequently, and so a day is made of it. With some other court ladies, Melissa has taken up place to see, with guards surrounding them as well, pouring wine, serving fruit and watching the day. The whole area where they have taken up their own small court is a ready sight. “I am glad of this weather,” she tells one of the women, “There have been far long waits out in the heat of midsummer for these executions. But I for one am glad of the distance. More red or gold?”
“And I know you, Flowers,” Almer replies quietly; so quietly, in fact, that it is unlikely that many will hear unless they are near to the gallows. The Stormbreaker’s fury falls hard and heavy, and others call out to him as well.
The griffin takes a breath, looks gravely at out at the noisy crowd; there is sorrow in his eyes, and dark anger as some of the insults fall on him; even now, it remains hid behind a tattered veil. His voice, however, is pure ice. “And all the demons in the seven hells will soon know you, too.”
Lucos watches the proceedings, and makes a few more notes before sidling over to where Justyn, Katla, and Alyard stand together. He smiles wryly and nods by way of greeting, and continues to watch the other nobles’ reactions to the drama.
Alyce whispers to Farin, “... ... then ... ...“I would not shed a tear for that… that… pox from a horse’s stable leavings. I cry for poor Ser Almer, who had to hear such filth from the man. All the worse if the creature speaks true.”... her guardian is ... ...“You should
Ethos glances around, and now that things are quieter and people are watching, he notices the Lannister lady nearby. He abandons his hard-won viewing spot, much to the delight of the children he displaced earlier, and makes his way towards the knot of guards surrounding Melissa. “My lady, is that an open offer for the wine?” He asks, grinning.
Katla glances to Lucos, nodding politely to him, murmuring a quiet greeting, her eyes remaining fixed on the scene playing out, voice quiet in the conversation amongst the little knot of those she knows that has formed up around her. Her expression is steely, impassive, but for the movement of her lips as she speaks to one or other of the knights - or now with Lucos, the travelled scion.
If Lucos looks Alyard’s way, he will see no reaction as yet. The knight stands motionless, one hand on the hilt of his longsword, the other on his hip with a thumb tucked under his belt. Conrad Arryn receives a long hard look as he speaks, a familiar face to the knight well known at the Eyrie. Lord Serry snatches his attention. “I thought I might have missed it, have they been dragging it out?” He asks, looking briefly to Almer and then back to the Starveling.
Andrya musters up a faint smile as the Ryger knight approaches the group though her lips curl up in disgust as the Starveling man speaks “He is vile. He deserves this and worse..” she mutters darkly to no-one in paticular, a suprising amount of anger is sustained in her voice for some reason.
“He’ll have the King’s Justice, ser!” the royal steward calls back to the Stormbreaker. “And men—”
His disgusted, furious gaze sweeps over the roaring crowd, “—will remember it well! Septon?” But the septon is already stumbling back in dismay, the hem of his robes stained with blood and phlegm where the Starveling has spit on him: “My lord, he will not. He says that…” He cannot bring himself to finish it.
“Then he will die without the Seven’s mercy,” replies Ser Conrad without hesitation, implacable. At a gesture from him, the guardsmen haul the Starveling to his feet—dazed from the blow, he is still snarling like a rabid wolf, spitting defiance, glaring at the Arryn knight and Almer and the Stormbreaker and all of them—and the executioner steps forward, lifting the thick noose and dragging it down over his head, fitting it about his neck and starting to tighten it.
Melissa looks up and while some of the ladies may look displeased to see a burnt man approached, Melissa takes it in stride. “Ser Ethos, glad to see you out and about. I should have known the carnage might attract a crowd. I have not refused you before. If you wish to join me, we shall bear witness to justice.” She smiles and waves to a servant to bring forth a chair to the far side of the ladies so his burns would not be so visible to them.
Taking note of Katla’s diverted attention, Justyn looks across to Lucos, smiling to the Blackwood man as way of greeting. Looking back to Alyard, then, as he speaks to him, Lord Serry shrugs and replies, “Not too much. Took a while to get him to the gallows - crowd and all.” He smiles briefly to Alyard and then turns his attention back to the scene.
Lady Victoria Reyne notes the arrival of Ser Alyard and offers him a simple nod of recognition, a polite smile soon to follow. The mainstay of her attention is held by the scene playing out on the gallows.
Unlike her sister, the young lioness does not appear to require comfort as she remains close to her brother and uncle, her dulcet words kept low. “Any pity I may have felt for his fate has now spent. Disgusting wretch.” Cold words are not however mirrored by the Reyne’s expressive eyes fixed on the executioner.
Lucos smiles at Alyard. “They do seem to have a certain love of pageantry.” He leans close to Katla to whisper something in her ear.
“I’ll remember not to give him over to a woman the next time justice is called for!” The Stormbreaker snarls back.
Falling back in his saddle, the sudden shift causes his black courser to rear, its hoove kick at the open air as the Baratheon knight yanks the reins to bring it under control.
He sneers at the Arryn knight, “Dying without the Seven’s blessing… Oh, how horrible.”
Ethos smiles, “Thank you, my lady.” He takes the seat Melissa offers, ignoring the discomfort of her ladies. “The King’s Justice… Some men have the best duties.” The man muses, “This has been a long time coming. I don’t think the Stormbreaker’s patience will hold much longer, though.”
Farin rolls his eyes, and continues to Alyce. “... /him/. ... ... if ... Almer, ... ... You ... ...”
Anton nods once more to Almer, a strange look in his gaze as he finally glances way. Now, however, his eyes roam the crowds… not looking for those nobles and others he is familiar with. Instead, Anton’s eyes search out those folk in the crowd who earlier shouted jests or insults directed at Almer as a result of the Starveling’s words. He motions for a nearby serjeant who walks over to Anton. The Piper knight quietly whispers something to him, then his hands point out certain faces in the crowd. Anton directs a cold stare at those faces before gesturing to the serjeant, who salutes and moves off, a number of Goldcloaks following him.
Anton throws the Starveling one last look before his eyes look away.
Alyce purses her lips, thinking of what her cousin has said. “... ... ... sob ... every victim of ... ... ... ... ... still ... out ... ... ... executing ... ... rapist, ... ... Seven know ... ... of ... ... ... ...” She lifts a gloved hand to lay it on his arm—at least, where the cloak seems to be over his arm. “... ... shall ... ... and his ... ... terror ... to an ...” Her tone has turned soothing and soft. The gaze, however, is mostly focused upon the gallows and the show being put on. “Why ... they ... over ... ...”
As the Stormbreaker vents his fury, Almer looks upon his old mentor with cold and bitter regard. “Peace, Ser Sarmion,” he says sharply. “It was I who made the choice to put him in the hands of the King’s justice.” Connington glances back at the ravening outlaw, his eyes narrowing as the noose is lowered. “And with or without the blessings of the gods, he will be just as dead.”
Glancing at Lucos, Alyard Corbray flashes him that familiar wry grin. “That they do, ser?” He looks back to the condemned for a moment before glancing at Lucos once more. “Ser Alyard Corbray.”
Melissa nods as she observes the experience. She sips her wine and watches the whole proceedings, nodding, “I agree. That he’s being allowed so much time to chatter at his captors is remarkable. I am surprised there has been no one to set his teeth to the ground.” She sips her wine and says, “Some fruit? Cheese? We only brought light fare not knowing the time we would be here. Having hear this anger, and seen this fury, we should have brought meat and bread as well.” She grins and eyes the crowd, looking to see who is in attendance.
Lucos smiles again at Alyard. “Indeed! I have heard tell of your prowess. I am Lucos Blackwood. I would be happy to play host if you would care to visit me later in the Blackwood apartments.
Farin scoffs. “... ... him suffer ... ... ... my ... if ... heart ... ... crime, ... have more tears ... shed. ... ... trying to ... Alyce. ... is ... ... ... very marketable ...”
As Almer speaks, the Stormbreaker scowls. He strangles his courser’s reins with his left hand as his right still grips the warhammer, Revenge.
Finally, he bows his dark head, the fury in his blue eyes barely contained.
“So be it,” the Baratheon knight growls, “Do it, Ser Conrad!”
The royal steward ignores the Stormbreaker after a disgusted shake of his head, his attention on the Starveling. Who, as he feels the noose settle around his neck and tighten, bares his teeth in defiance, and then—
—sobs out a harsh breath, and another. He grits his teeth, but he is breathing faster now, panting, his entire body shaking as if he has marsh-fever. The guardsmen tighten their grip on him—and he throws himself against them, breaking, shrieking like the damned in the fires of the lowest hell:
“No! No, you whoresons! I—aaahk!”
For the executioner, stepping back, has kicked open the trapdoor.
Down he drops, the Starveling, terror of the Kingswood, with a high wheeze as his throat is crushed. Not for him the mercy of a broken neck, but instead the dead man’s jig at the end of the rope, the crowd’s roaring as he writhes, a terrible stink rising from his as he loses control of his bowels and his bladder and his filth soaks his breeches.
“It’s the last chance they have to talk…” Ethos comments, grinning. “And it’s good to let the crowd really see him before he dies. It will be over very quickly once it starts.” And then, quick as that, the criminal is noosed and dropped and Mertyns watches with a cold satisfaction.
Lord Serry gives an expressive sniff as the deed is done. He does not cheer, nor shout, nor give any cry, but merely mutters with disdain, “Good riddance.”
“Well met, Lucos. I will take you up on that invitation, surely.” Alyard replies, smiling before looking back as the Starveling drops. That wry grin creeps onto his lips once more.
A sucking in of the breath, sharp between pressed lips, but no - Katla does not look away, eyes dark and firm as she watches the criminal, swallowing once. Only then do her eyes skim the crowd again, and then for a few moments, settling on the Connington knight, Arryn, the Stormbreaker, and then back to the twitches of the dying man.
Alyce frowns at Farin’s response. “... ... outwit ... ...” she replies softly. Then the trapdoor is kicked open and she can watch but for a moment before turning her head away from the gruesome scene. Away from her cousin as well as she carefully brings her expression to one of practiced calm.
Around the Lannister camp, several of the ladies flinch and shun their eyes as he jigs, and even Melissa flinches at the sight slightly by the sudden jolt of death being delivered so swiftly, and she sighs, “My goodness, that never does seem to get any easier to witness.” She sips her wine till she drains the cup. “Oh! But so exhilarating. They are far and few between, gratefully, but still this has been a most entertaining morning.” She summons for more wine, for her cup.
Jannia watches as the man riles and kicks, she doesn’t gag on the smell, she just watches until he takes his last breath, when he has passed she turns away, snapping out of her intense gaze to turn to the group and speak. ” It is not for me to speak on this matter, as it is for those that were affected by this man.” She gestures to the gallows, then looks to Almer almost painfully aware what this symbolizes for him. “This is a matter of life, death will come for all of us one day, and is for the gods to choose, I am not afraid of it, more rather, intrigued. It is a good thing and sweet tasting, this retribution for Ser Almer, I hope he takes some peace in this. I think I will go see who I can find, Lords, Ladies, Sers.” She curseys and walks toward Luthor and nods to him, “ser.” and says nothing more.
Heartbeats seem hours for Almer Connington; he watches in silence as the stealer of his lady’s life, and the life of his son, rattles and wheezes and shits his way into the flames and ice of the seven oblivions. The black he wears now is apt; this, for him at least, is not a moment to rejoice, but rather to mourn the passing of the irreplaceably precious, and to claim justice in a life and land where such virtues are so niggardly.
Almer bows his head, still and quiet even as the Starveling does his dead man’s dance on the end of the rope. “It is done,” he is heard to say; the knight’s lips continue to move in a whisper, but the words cannot be heard.
Josmyn can’t resist a happy cheer when the Starveling is dispatched to meet his maker, but he also places a hand on Victoria’s shoulder briefly to give his sister a reassuring squeeze. Not that he’d expect her to faint or burst into tears. He just feels like it at the moment.
Anton has no expression on his face at the Starveling’s final moments. His eyes do not flicker towards him or any of the other knights on the gallows. Instead, he looks out at the crowds, his focus back on his duty.
She watches as the Starveling falls through the trap-door wriggling and cloying for breath, but at his final indignity Lady Victoria Reyne turns away, she has seen enough. Whether it is morbid curiosity or a sense of justice, both instincts have been duly sated. Instead she turns to speak with her sister and her husband Ser Elmer.
Lucos allows a grim expression to settle on his face, twisted into a mocking sneer by the scar that pulls his mouth into a smile, not missing any of the reactions of the other nobles.
Farin watches the man writhe, kick, and die. He stops speaking altogether, his lips simply curving into a wicked, but satisfied, half smile.
Willard nods as the Starveling does his dance and finally stiffens. His pale blue eyes scan the crowds looking at the reactions of the nobles and smallfolk alike. He listens to the chorus of voices, yells, profanities and blasphemies and closes his eyes. When they open, he looks again at the hanged man. “Someone should hang him again. Just to make sure. And because he’s earned it at least twice over” he spits in disgust.
Luthor twitches as the Starveling drops to do his dance at the end of the rope. Though that’s all the expression he shows as the man jerks about and soils himself with the noose around his neck. “May he burn in all Seven hells,” Luthor offers dully and scratches at his still healing scar.
He hears Jannia’s call from beyond the cordon of Goldcloaks and he gives her a nod in reply. Though he does not move from the spot until word is given that this exercise in justice is complete.
Ethos smirks, glancing over at Melissa. “Not very ladylike…” He says teasingly, then lifts his own goblet of wine and takes a sip. His eyes go back to watching the aftermath, particularly the attitudes of Almer and Sarmion. “If it’s so exciting, we could bring you out to the Kingswood the next time we’re flushing out bandits.”
“Good,” the Stormbreaker remarks as he watches the bandit twitch, “The hangman knows his trade.”
He regretfully puts away his warhammer. Leaning over the horn of his saddle, Sarmion watches the life slowly leak out of Flowers and pool around his kicking feet. The Baratheon seems to study the man’s death—like a man would a finely woven tapestry.
Jannia sees Luthor and gives him a nod in understanding as she studies all who were affected by this man dangling at the end of a rope, she can’t help but to look solemn as she thinks about those who lost at the mercy of this wretched human. Looking a Almer she looks sad a tad sad, knowing he must be living through his experience in his mind once more, but partially she is happy for him, as he closes this chapter in his life.
Alyce’s gaze rests upon Almer, studying him and only him in this time. Others may rejoice or gain satisfaction, but all that comes through her eyes is empathy for the knight who has suffered so by the now-dead man’s hands. She remains in place, hugging herself beneath the thick cloak, and waits for her cousin’s cue to leave.
Melissa glances over to Ethos with a smirk, “Ahh yes, how lovely that would be. I was surrounded by bandits once on the way back from Highgarden. I think this is the safest vantage point with which to see criminals. Here, with food and drink, excellent ladies to keep company, and knights to make the day’s blood that much safer.” She laughs and drinks another cup.
As the crowd starts to disperse, Josmyn stays behind while his sisters walk off with Ser Elmer. He turns instead to the other ladies nearby, the Tullys and Alyce. “My Ladies, I should go and check on preparations for the journey to Crackclaw. If any of you wish to say goodbye or wish me farewell, I’ll be at the stables.” He bows and departs.
Alyard watches the Starveling fight an impossible battle with a little smirk on his lips, looking away once he’s satisfied, smiling to Lord Serry. “I have seen him hang, that is enough for me, I shall see you on the boats tomorrow.” A sideways glance is offered to Lady Katla. “I understand you have been learning of the Seven, I hope you will kneel at the feet of the Warrior and pray for us.” He grins wryly and looks to Justyn. “Call on me if you need anything.”
The Valeknight turns and slips back into the crowd.
Katla glances at the Corbray knight, her expression implacable, and she glances to her betrothed. “Well,” she says a bit wryly, tartly, “that is that. And needs must I depart, for I have matters that need settling, and I shall have to track him,” she jerks her chin towards Alyard, “down to discuss the matter I mentioned, and that you have bidden me to speak with him of.”
Damina;s evidently taken advantage of most of the street traffic being here to finally get a chance to borrow one of her brother’s servants and go shopping. The latter has an armful of packages as the pair enter the square, looking around at the scene.
The Lord of Southshield smiles to the valiant Valeknight, giving a brisk nod. “Indeed, ser. I shall see you on the morrow.” With that, he gives Katla a quick grin, urging her on toward Alyard.
“These would be soon-to-be-dead bandits.” Ethos points out, grinning. “But it would be far more rustic than this comfort you’re enjoying now.” He stands, finishing off the wine and passing the cup off to one of the Lannister servants. “Are you going to wait here for your suitor, or would you like an escort before I leave?”
The dark-clad griffin knight turns, his cloak a shadowy swirl in the motion; Almer gives Conrad Arryn and the septon silent nods of gratitude, and another for the Stormbreaker. And wordlessly, gravely, he slips away into the crowd; onlookers part to give him room. Soon enough he is out of sight.
Taking his eyes off the dancing dead, Sarmion bows his head to his former squire. Then, with a shrug, he pulls his mount around and walks it through the plaza back towards the River.
Wordlessly, the six men-at-arms form a wedge behind him as they ride from the gallows.
Anton remains with the goldcloaks, as his duty this day lies with the Royal Steward, and helping to disperse the crowd after the execution ends. He stands there, at the base of teh gallows, awaiting further orders…
Finding himself suddenly alone in the crowd, Lord Serry gazes about and, with another expressive sniff, showing disgust for the dead man, the Lord of Southshield makes his way back toward the Red Keep.
With the business of justice done, and the nobles by the gallows taking their leave, Luthor departs as well. Passing through the onlookers on a course towards Jannia. “My lady,” he says to the Tully girl with a short nod. “Did you get a look?” he asks wryly.
Alyce watches Almer until he seems to disappear into the crowd. Farin’s voice brings her back to the moment and she nods, dutifully falling into step beside him. The walk back, however, is silent and tense on her end.
Melissa looks across the way and says to Ethos, “I believe Ser Anton is fulfilling his duty, before he fulfills my quest. If you would care to walk with me, Ser Ethos,” she gestures to the other ladies as she rises, and the servants begin clearing the little camp, “Ladies, I shall leave you to it.” Her maid and guards fall in line as well, as they depart. Melissa offers her hand to Ethos, “I’ve only had a small bite to break my fast, but shall we find more to dine upon?”