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The fourth day of jousting saw a field of more than forty knights take part, thanks to the novel rules that could lead to ignominious defeats or epic victories. It was decreed by the Master of the Games, Ser William the royal steward, that champions would be chosen by lot to initially defend four pavilions. However, challengers could only challenge the knight defending the first pavilion. If they defeated him, they could take his place, or hazard challenging the defender of the next pavilion, and so on. A great knight, or at least a confident one, might hope to achieve the relative security of the fourth pavilion and keep themselves safe from all but the most dangerous opponents, while one less sure of himself might settle for the second pavilion, or perhaps even the first if they could hope only to win a few ransoms before inevitably suffering defeat. Once all challengers were vanquished, the final four champions would contest against one another to determine the victor.
The knights who initially held the four pavilions were Ser Jace Rollingford, the Knight of the Fountains, Ser Derrick Marbrand, the Silver Lion Ser Hector Hill, and Bloody Ben Blackwood, the Lord of Raventree Hall. Ser Jace held off three knights, including a hard-fought match with Ser Albert Hill, son of the famed Silver Lion, before Ser Harwin Marbrand unhorsed him in their third tilt. Ser Harwin chose to joust against his youngest sibling, Ser Derrick, instead of taking the Knight of the Fountains place, and defeated him as well. Coming up against Ser Hector, however, there were three passes with no result when on the fourth the Marbrand knight’s horse stumbled in the final moment and Ser Hector’s lance took him full on the helm. Driven from the saddle, blood pouring from a broken nose and knocked full unconscious, Ser Harwin was carried away and eventually revived with a maester’s assistance.
The contest proceeded, with Ser Jace defeating two more challengers before being defeated by an unheralded hedge knight, who chanced contesting against Ser Derrick, and defeated him in turn before choosing to hold the second pavilion. Again Ser Jace was challenged, this time by a Ser Victor Reyne, who fell to the Knight of the Fountains. On it went, until at last Balian Blackwood managed to defeat the defenders of the first three pavilions, and chose to hold it besides his brother Lord Benjicot. The next joust saw Ser Jace defeat Ser Osbert and Ser Halbert of the Kingsguard in turn, when Ser Creon Waynwood defeated him and choose to take on the hedge knight who had so far held the second pavilion. Ser Creon defeated him after a hard-fought contest, and chose to take his place.
So it went throughout the day, with Balian Blackwood keeping two challengers knights from taking his place or that of his brother, until Aleyn Foxglove entered the lists. The homely but well-loved White Sword defeated Ser Jace as if he were merely riding at rings, and did the same to Ser Creon, before defeating Ser Balian in the third tilt. He pressed on from there, however, finally giving Bloody Ben Blackwood his first contest. The famous soldier performed well, holding off Florent for four passes before being unhorsed in the fifth. The contests continued, with Ser Jace finally being replaced after no less than his twentieth-fifth joust whereat the Jousting Lord defeated him and promptly chose to defend the first pavilion against the remaining challengers. Four knights thirty and forty years his younger were vanquished in turn, when at last his streaks of victory were broken by Ser Aberyn Crane, who seemed to doubt his chances against Ser Creon and held the first pavilion in turn. He succeeded to defeat Ser Durance Darklyn and Ser Ermen Frey before Foxglove’s nephew Ser Dalton defeated him and then went on to challenge and defeat Ser Creon Waynwood in a remarkable upset after six punishing courses where he refused to be unhorsed. With Ser Creon defeated, Ser Dalton opted to hold the second pavilion, leaving Balian Blackwood unchallenged.
With only eight challengers left, Ser Aberyn was put to the challenge and was bested by Ser Noel Upcliff, a knight growing old but still notably fierce and tenacious. No less than eight lances were broken between them before Crane fell. Ser Noel opted to hold the first pavilion, and weathered four more young knights before he was at last overthrown by Ser Benedict Rogers, son of Arson the Bastard. Ser Benedict weighed his chances, and tried his luck against Ser Dalton, defeating him in turn and took his place. Ser Eben Bolling then tried Standfast, only to find him true to his name and unwilling to vacate the pavilion. This left the final challenger, one of the Twins of the Crossing, to meet Ser Noel. Ser Walder, the heir to the Twins, defeated Ser Noel in his fourth pass.
At last the four pavilions were held unchallenged: Ser Walder Frey, Ser Benedict Rogers, Balian Blackwood, and Ser Aleyn Florent prepared to face one another. Foxglove faced Ser Walder and dominated him for three passes, before Ser Walder managed to catch him hard on the chest and force him from the saddle with a great clamour of amazement at the feat. Balian Blackwood had an easier time against Ser Benedict, but that stormlands knight did not make it easy. In the end, the contest came down to one between two riverlords, and Balian Blackwood proved to be in fine form as he unhorsed Ser Walder in the second pass. Taking the prize of a thousand gold dragons and a place in the grand final, he placed the crown of queen of love and beauty on the lap of his lady wife, Dalonne Locke.
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