Though some doubted that King Baelor—so pious and peace-loving—would be a patron of chivalry in its more warlike manifestations, when word came that there would be a royal tourney, it seemed that that would not be the case. Certainly, no melee was planned, but the jousts were always the center of any tournaments. The promised prize was rich, gold for the winner and the knight to come in second. Of course, only knights were permitted in this tourney…
Which led to the swift growth of a particular rumor: that the tournament was taking place so that the king might find some men worthy of the white cloak of the Kingsguard, for there are three places left empty after the disaster in Dorne which took the Young Dragon’s life. The rumor caught fire, and knights who normally would not have travelled to King’s Landing for a tourney now made that effort, swelling the number of participations to over 100 men. Famous knights were among them, knights from all over the Seven Kingdoms. The tourney began to be called the White Tourney, so sure did people become of the rumors.
So when the day dawned for the tourney, thousands turned out from the city, and much of the court as well. The king and queen were there, the princes and princesses, the remaining knights of the Kingsguard, and more. The knights made a brave showing, and many were the lances broken. Famed men fell to knights of less repute, men such as Ser Argos Waxley, and other contests between champions proved worth the watching. Early on, several knights excelled: Ser Galfrid Velaryon, kinsman to the Master of Ships, Ser Kendros Longaxe of Goodbrook, the young Lannister scion Ser Mathin, and even a hedge knight, Ser Sorin of Sevenstreams. But Ser Mathin would fall to Ser Kenric Darry, and for unknown reasons Ser Kendros soon withdrew.
Darry would also account for the captain of guards for Casterly Rock, Ser Elmer Crakehall, in a hard-fought battle that lasted nine passes and saw over a dozen lances cracked and splintered. Darry would face Ser Galfrid Velaryon to determine one of the last two positions, but Velaryon had proved almost unstoppable. He had been unhorsed by Ser Humfrey Westerling… but he had unhorsed Westerling as well, and the two fought on foot, where Velaryon’s skill with a sword proved the better. So, too, with his skill with the lance when he defeated Ser Kenric. As to the other place…
Ser Sorin of Sevenstreams proved to be charmed. Bold Daryl Tarly fell to him, and then a shock came as he and Ser Luthor Rivers, the Warden of the Kingswood, unhorsed one another and thought afoot. The hedge knight took struggled on against a wound, refusing to yield and was much battered when his chance came and he was able to knock Ser Luthor from his feet and make him yield, despite the fact that his shield-arm was crippled from a blow. The smallfolk in the crowd roared in his name, loving that one of their own—a man of no account, a farmer’s son it’s said—had won such a victory, and would challenge Ser Galfrid in the final tilt. A maester attended his wounds, and Ser Luthor ask Ser Willard Ryger and Ser Brynden Tully to ask Ser Sorin to carry the token that he himself wore in honor of the late heir of Storm’s End, Ser Tancred Baratheon, but the hedge knight had other ideas.
And so it transpired that Ser Sorin yielded the field to Galfrid, indicating that his shield-arm was useless. Ser Galfrid had ridden and fought brilliantly, and no one could doubt he was the rightful champion of the day. The king rewarded him the prize of a 1000 gold dragons… and then Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, did him the honor of declaring him a fitting member for the White Swords, offering him a place which Ser Galfrid accepted to great acclaim.
So ended the White Tourney. Ser Sorin of Seven Streams received a rich prize as well, 500 golden dragons, and the esteem and admiration of the commons. And more besides, for it’s said that squires and knights in service to various lords and captains in King’s Landing have been offering him places in households, or commissions as officers in a wardenry, while he himself is being feted in taverns and inns in the city where common men hang on his every word as to his great success. And from the court? There are whispers—speculations, no more, surely—that the king himself was greatly impressed by Ser Sorin’s humble appearance and undoubted courage, and that a second knight may soon be joining the sworn brotherhood….