The Path of Honour: An Interactive Story



  • May take a while for us to figure out this new linear comments system. In the meantime, to make everything simple perhaps everyone could mention the person they're replying to so everyone knows what's going on. Cheers guys.

  • Voting is closed!

    Tobor will [Not Forgive him]

    Not too surprised with this vote, I predicted that most people would want to not forgive Bradon, but also decide that Tobor was not dark enough to kill an old friend. The next part should be done in the next few days, where we see Tobor and Bradon try to work out the identity of the hooded man!

  • Cold Steel and High Stakes
    Part 3

    Bradon coughed, Beast's grip grew tighter. Tobor looked between the two men.

    “Beast, put him down.” Tobor said. The Beast looked at him quizzically. “Arghurys, are you sure? This man betrayed you.” He said. Tobor nodded, “I don’t forgive him, but put him down.” Bradon was set roughly on the ground, he coughed and rubbed his neck. “Thank you, Tobor. I deserve less.” He said bitterly. Tobor nodded curtly, he was still furious at Bradon.

    “So, you said there would be a message tonight?” Tobor asked. Bradon looked at Tobor sullenly, not deigning to answer. Tobor looked at him warningly, “Bradon, I can make Beast here continue crushing your throat if you want. Answer my question, will there be a message tonight?” Bradon nodded, unsure. “I think so. He usually responds the same day. Always when I’m asleep.” He said. Tobor let himself smile slightly, “Not this time, this time you’ll be awake.” He said. Bradon nodded weakly, red marks covered his neck in the shape of the Beast’s fingers. “What will we do?” Bradon asked.

    Tobor folded his arms in thought. “Well, if this hooded man is leaving messages, he actually has to be here. Where does he leave his messages?” He asked. Bradon pointed to the small barred window that was the same as Tobor’s cell. “He drops it through the window.” He said. It was a narrow slit longer across than it was high. Just narrow enough so that a slave couldn’t climb out. But wide enough for an arm to reach through. “Right, so when he drops the note through, he’ll have to put his arm through. That’s when he’ll be grabbed. Pull him up to the bar and smash him against it. Then we question him until we find out who he is and why he wants me dead.” Tobor planned. Bradon frowned, “But won’t he be armed? When he is grabbed he’ll defend himself.”

    Tobor nodded, “Possibly, but that’s why you’ll be the one grabbing him.” He said. Bradon looked angry, “Is that all I am now? An expendable piece in your game?” He demanded. The Beast took a menacing step towards Bradon. Tobor held a hand out in front of the pit fighter. “You don’t get to debate your role in this. It’s not up for discussion, and anyway it would be suspicious if you weren’t in your cell, or if it was me. Regardless, if I was the one to seize him, he would likely kill me. Reznar wants me to die in the pit; the hooded man undoubtedly has no such reservations. You’re in league with him at the moment, he may not kill his piece in the game.” Tobor explained.

    Bradon grumbled but agreed. Tobor continued, “There’s a guard outside who we made help us get in here, I’ll send the Beast to get the keys, some rope and his cudgel from him, so we can lock and unlock the cell as we please.” Bradon looked confused. “If we have the keys why don’t we just run to the exit and try to escape?” He asked. The Beast answered, “No little man, each section of the cell complex is locked using different keys. This one key would get us as far as the serving quarters but then we’d need a different key. If we got that far, we’d have to get through the cleaning quarters and then we’d need to guess the codeword that the guards use to get in and out of the slave complex. The word changes every day.

    “If we guessed the codeword, we would be out of the slave complex, but in the heart of the zo Merreq pyramid. The entrance to the heart of the pyramid leads into the guard’s quarters. There we have no hope at escape. The Master has twenty times the amount of men in his personal guard than down here.” The Beast said. Bradon sighed, “How do you know all of that?” He asked. “Many and many more slaves have tried to escape. They make it so far, then they are caught and returned. After a severe beating and lashing, they tell their story of how far they made it. No slave has ever made it past the guard’s quarters.” The Beast replied.

    Bradon nodded, “So no escape then.” Tobor agreed. “Anyway, once the guard has been dealt with, Beast will go with the guard back to his own quarters.” He said. The Beast growled, “No, Arghurys, I stay with you. For the fight.” Tobor shook his head, “The guard will tell someone what is happening unless you deal with him. Just let him take you back to your quarters and threaten him to stay quiet. Once there, pretend to sleep until he goes, then return here and make sure no other guards come down our corridor.” He ordered.

    The Beast nodded, “I will. Does he need to die?” He asked. “Only if absolutely necessary, if you think he will still talk after you threaten him then kill him and put his body by the cell of a pit fighter you don’t like.” Tobor said. The Beast laughed, “I like this plan. I’ll go now?” Tobor nodded and the Beast lumbered off to talk to Dakloz. Tobor hoped that the guard complied and stayed quiet for his own sake.

    Tobor and Bradon looked at each other. “Once we have the key and cudgel, we will put the plan into action. You stay in here, I wait outside with the key. Once you grab the hooded man, I’ll rush in and use the cudgel if I have to. Then we question him. Any questions?” Tobor asked. “What will you do when you find out?” Bradon inquired. Tobor looked away, towards the window. “I don’t know.” He said.

    The Beast returned a few minutes later with the key, rope and cudgel. He wished Tobor luck and left, to take Dakloz. Tobor left the cell, leaving it open behind him, Bradon lay down, to feign sleep. Tobor sat against the wall outside Bradon’s cell and thought about what was to come. Hours passed and no hooded man came, Tobor poked his head around the corner every so often to check. No note and Bradon was still lay there. Tobor checked that he was still awake and Bradon whispered back that he was. Tobor returned to his seated position.
    Tobor’s eyelids felt heavy, they drooped and fluttered open and shut. Tobor drifted off to sleep. Like before, shadows fought with one another. They danced and flipped gracefully over one another. Their swords of smoke crashed and hammered together, striking with skill and strength. A dragon and stag battled aside a river, antler on tooth, bursts of flames singing the river bank. Around them, wolves stormed the hills, trout darted in the river. The stag struck a fatal blow to the dragon, who burst into flame and red stone, littering the river with gems.

    A great beast with horns chased the wolf to a tower. The wolf stuck down a bat with it’s huge paw and swallowed the sun before turning on the beast. With fangs of ice it tore the beast’s throat. The beast lay dying on a field of wheat. The wolf climbed the tower. Promise me, promise me, promise me.

    Tobor woke with a start, sweaty and panting. What was that dream and what did it mean? That was the second time he’d had one like that. Tobor breathed slowly to calm himself. It meant nothing. He told himself. Tobor looked around the corner again and saw Bradon in his bed. Then he glanced at the window. There was a dark figure in between the bars!

    Tobor leapt to his feet, “Bradon!” He shouted as he crashed through the door. Bradon sprang up and launched himself to the window, slipping his arms through the bars and grabbing the hooded man. Tobor sprinted towards them. Bradon dragged him towards the bars, but the hooded man produced a long dagger and slashed at Bradon. The sailor let go, the dagger cut at the bars, throwing sparks and the hooded man fell backwards. Tobor joined them and jumped up to the window, he reached through the window and just managed to grab the hooded man’s wrist.

    Tobor slammed the wrist against the wall, spilling the dagger onto the cobbled street. Tobor then hauled hard at the stranger, dragging their hands through the bars. Tobor grabbed the rope and told Bradon to tie a knot around the hooded man’s hands. Once it was done, Tobor sighed and gave a little cheer. “We’ve done it Bradon!” He celebrated. The hooded man struggled against his bonds.

    Bradon didn’t share his enthusiasm. “Ok Tobor, we’ve done it but this doesn’t help until we find out who this is and why they’re trying to kill you.” He said, lowering Tobor’s happy tone. The boy narrowed his eyes, “Why you’re trying to kill me, you mean?” He said, pointing between the stranger and Bradon.

    Before Bradon could retort, the hooded man spoke. “Urm, sorry to take the wind out of your sails, but I’m not killing anybody.” He said. Tobor was taken aback by how high his voice was. “I thought you said the hooded man was Westerosi? This guy has a Meereenese accent, it’s obvious.” Tobor whispered to Bradon. The sailor shrugged, “I thought he was, and I remembered him having a deeper voice.”

    The hooded man let out an exacerbated sigh, “You two dolts know I can hear you?” He flicked his hood back of his head revealing his, or her, face. Tobor raised his eyebrows in surprise. “The hooded man… is a hooded girl?” He said, confused. The girl rolled her eyes, “No, obviously I’m a man.” She mocked. Tobor looked at Bradon, who shrugged. “It’s not him.” He said simply.
    Tobor looked at the girl, she was slim, had a petite and wiry but strong seeming build. A thin face with a sharp chin, piercing light brown eyes and dark hair that began black and melted into red as it fell down to just before her shoulders. “Who are you?” Tobor asked. The girl met his gaze. “The hooded man, clearly.” She said, completely seriously. Tobor frowned, “Stop playing games girl, I’m in no mood for jokes.” He said angrily.

    “Lighten up darling.” The girl said. “You’re a pretty good joke yourself.” She laughed. Tobor took hold of the ropes binding her hands and pulled, bringing her face pressed up to the bars. “Listen, girl, right now, you’re an accomplice, helping a man who’s trying to kill me. Do you know that?” Tobor snarled. The girl didn’t bat an eye but Tobor saw something in her eye, “I didn’t know.” She said calmly. “How didn’t you know?” Tobor demanded. “He never told me, I’m the last person who would want to kill a slave, believe me. I thought he was helping you escape or something.” She said.

    Tobor scoffed, “You never asked?” He glared. The girl kept eye contact, “I am simply carrying out the job my employer has given me to the best of my ability. You can’t kill a raven for the contents of it’s scroll. I’m just the raven.” She said. “What’s the job?” Tobor demanded. The girl laughed, “Isn’t it obvious?” She asked, pointing to her left with her head. Tobor followed the gaze and saw a note, rolled up and sealed. “Why are you helping him?” He asked.

    The girl shrugged, as best she could, “I want to get out of this stinking shitpile of a city. I want to get out of this shitpile they call Slaver’s Bay. I want to go anywhere else.” She spoke with real venom in her voice, “But for that, I need gold. Your hooded man is paying me a lot of gold to act raven.”

    Tobor stroked his chin, “What would it take for you to help me?” He asked. The girl sniggered, “Have you got more gold than old hoody?” She asked jovially. Tobor stuttered, “Well, I don’t know how much he…” The girl interrupted, “Have you got any gold?” She asked, Tobor shook his head. “Well then that’d be a no to the first question as well. Can you, or your quiet friend here, get me out of Slaver’s Bay?” Again, Tobor shook his head. “Can you, or your quiet friend, get me out of Meereen?” She asked, Tobor shook his head one last time.

    “So, it seems you have nothing to offer me, except a bit of a laugh at how shit your situation is. Sorry, slave boy but I can’t help.” She said. “Now can you get these ropes off, so I can continue with my lovely night?” The girl asked. “No.” Tobor replied.

    “Doing it this way then. Very well. You won’t starve me out, or torture me into helping you. I can tell what sort of person you are, you wouldn’t do that. As to whether I’d help you; every time I make a decision I ask myself, ‘will this help me get further out of this shit city?’ If the answer is a no, then I don’t do it. Shall I give you an example? Excellent.

    “A strange man is offering me a fuck load of gold to deliver a couple of messages. Does a fuck load of gold help me get out of this shit city? Why yes it does. Hmm, now a slave boy is asking me to stop taking the fuck load of gold and help him. Does no more gold help me get out of this shit city? Why no it doesn’t. Do you see what I’m working with here?” She asked with a grin on her face that Tobor would like nothing more than to wipe it off.

    Tobor swallowed his anger and took a breath. “Listen, please. What’s your name?” He asked. The girl howled, “Wait, shit! I know you! I thought you looked familiar.” Tobor looked confused. “Don’t you remember? You’re that clumsy git that knocked into me ages ago, on auction day? Wait, were you sold that day? Oho did the guards beat the shit out of you for escaping?” She asked excitedly. Before Tobor could answer she continued. “My name’s Minera, Mina for short. You’re welcome for me helping you by the way, cutting your bindings and all.” Mina said, taking a huge breath. Tobor intervened. “Yes, thank you for that, you were a huge help. My name’s Tobor, a man’s trying to kill me, I don’t know why and you’re the only link I have to him.” He said desperately.

    Mina narrowed her eyes, “How do you know he’s trying to kill you?” She asked. Tobor held in his annoyance, “Because that man tried to kill me after he was manipulated by the hooded man.” Tobor said, pointing to Bradon. Mina looked at Bradon, “You keep interesting company. Have you met him?” She asked the sailor.

    Bradon stepped forwards. “I met him, he told me what to do once, then started leaving messages. You’ve been carrying the conversation between me and him.” Mina looked suspiciously at the sailor. “If what you’re saying is true, then you tried to kill him and he’s fine with it?” Tobor glanced angrily at Bradon. “I am not fine with it.” He growled. “Ooh tension, I like it.” Mina grinned. “Wait, how do I know what you’re saying is even true?” Mina asked.

    Tobor pointed to Bradon, “He sent a message that you picked up this morning. It said ‘Tobor survived the pit, what should I do?’ or something to that effect. The response you hold there should give you the answer to your question.” He said. Tobor snatched up the scroll and tore it open, a quill fell out. Unfurling the scroll, he held it up to the light of the moon. It read:

    ‘You have failed, Bradon. You would do well to end your life, it would be easier that way. With less pain.’

    “Very sinister.” Mina observed. Bradon had gone pale. Tobor went to Mina and picked up her dagger, slicing through her bindings he handed her the blade. “There, now we’re even. Will you help me? You don’t need to worry about gold, I need you to deliver more messages so you’ll get your gold. I swear to you, when I get out of this shit cell, I will help you leave Slaver’s Bay, on my honour as a Hightower.” He promised.

    Mina rubbed her wrists, deep in thought. “Ok, Tobor. You have a deal. I scratch your back, you scratch mine. I like it. Just don’t be a twat or I will rip your balls off and feed them to an Unsullied. I’m sure he’d love a pair.” She promised. “Right, what do you want me to do?”

    Tobor grabbed the quill that came in the scroll and started writing. But what to put? He could say that it was Tobor and he knew what the stranger was doing, or he could pretend to be Bradon and say everything’s under control. Keep the game up, so to speak.

    [Call the Hooded man out] [Pretend to be Bradon]

    Tobor continued writing. When done he passed the note to Mina, who rolled it up and tucked it in her cloak. “That’s not all Mina. I want you to follow the man. See what he does, try and see his face if you can. But most of all, stay out of sight. Don’t let him see you, he’s a dangerous man.” He instructed. Mina winked, “Tobor, that is what I do best. See you two slave boys later.”

    Mina sprinted from the window, leaving Tobor and Bradon to watch her melt away into the darkness like a shadow. She ran down the cobbled streets, into alleyways to the spot the hooded man had told her to leave the messages. As she ran, she thought about the man and the boy in the cell, were they telling the truth. Mina supposed she couldn’t know, she’d just have to find out.

    Should she or shouldn’t she trust them? That was the burning question. Trust is so hard to hand out in Meereen. Trusting the wrong person was like stepping on a snake thinking it was a log, you get bitten. Tobor seemed honest enough. Too honest truth be told, Mina thought. That could get him killed one day. That or honour, Tobor was too honourable. Mina had seen it as soon as the boy swore on his family name. If Mina had learned anything growing up in Meereen it’s that honour gets you no further than a cold, lifeless body.

    She shook such thoughts from her mind and focussed on what to do next. The hooded man had told her to meet him by the brothel near the zo Loraq pyramid, but hadn’t said when. The hooded man had never told her a time, he’d just instructed her to return when she could. Mina knew she should go now, he was clearly a dangerous man. But she needed to tell her brother what was going on. Thus far, Mina had been keeping her brother in the dark about what she was doing for gold. She’d known he would disapprove. Her brother, Grezan, disapproved of everything she did ever since… No. Mina would not let herself think about that.

    Mina decided to see Grezan and talk to him now, but she didn’t know how Grezan would react when he found out Mina had been helping a Westerosi kill a slave. Mina had been hoping against hope that the hooded man was trying to help the man she’d been leaving letters for, as any loss for Reznar zo Merreq was worth gold to Mina.

    Mina had been hoping that by the time Grezan found out about what she’d been doing, she would have enough gold to leave Slaver’s Bay forever. Sail to Lys, or Myr but she knew that she needed to tell her brother. For all his anger and flaws, her brother was a good man, and he would know what to do. All Mina needed was to get through to him, persuade him it’s a good idea.

    Mina reached her and Grezan’s small home. It was nothing more than a stack of bricks and wood, a couple of rooms and a stove. But it was home. Mina had lived there ever since she could remember and this is what her memories of life comprised of. When she was a small girl, her mother died from a serious illness that her father told her came from the clothes she’d been washing from Sothoryos. Her mother was a washer woman. The only memory she had of her mother was a dark eyed woman bending over her cot as an infant, and her long, dark hair tickling Mina’s cheeks.

    Mina opened the door softly, she removed her dark cloak and hung it over a small chair. Lighting a candle, she placed her long, plain dagger on the table and produced a cloth which she ran gently up and down the silver blade. This soothing act calmed Mina, her brother was out, most likely drinking and whoring. He would come back drunk, and angry. Mina would have to stay calm.

    She spat on the blade and continued polishing her father’s old blade. She held it up to the candlelight and could see the yellow flame dancing down the metal, casting off light. Placing the dagger down, Mina walked to the stove and spooned herself some stew she had made earlier that night. She’d hunted the rats herself while Grezan slept off the drinking of the previous night. Tonight was a special occasion, having meat. Usually it was bread and cheese.

    A thud at the door caught Mina’s attention as she was eating, she placed the bowl down and quick as a cat, she leapt across the room to take her dagger in her hand. Mina stood beside the door, ready. The door burst open and in came stumbling a tall bulky figure. Mina sighed, “Brother.” She said. Grezan looked at his sister, “Minera.” He said.

    Grezan walked towards the chair, he was stable enough. “Good, you’re being wary. Keep that dagger with you always.” Grezan grunted. Mina smiled, at least he wasn’t drunk. Perhaps more whoring than drinking on this particular night. Grezan stretched out, grinning. Mina looked at his outstretched hands, his knuckles were red, covered in blood. Grezan noted her stare, “Not mine, sister, don’t worry.” He said. Mina sighed, “Not what I’m worried about, I assume they started it, not you?” She said. Grezan chuckled, “No I started this one, some bastard wanted what was mine. I told her no, she’s mine. He disagreed, so I beat him and then took his one as well.”

    Mina looked away, she was always uncomfortable with her brother’s tales from the brothels. “Listen, Grezan, I have something to tell you.” She said anxiously. Her brother glanced at her, an edge in his gaze. “I-I’ve been doing some work.” She said cautiously. Grezan raised an eyebrow, “Work?” He asked.

    Mina took a breath, “I was delivering some messages for gold. A lot of gold, that we need.” She paused, waiting to see how her brother would react. “And why were you doing this at night? Fuck’s sake Minera, you’d be dead in a day if I wasn’t here to sort you out. Tell me who the messages were to.” He ordered angrily. Mina placed her dagger down on the table, “It was to a slave in the service of Reznar zo Merreq.” She said.

    “Fucking Reznar! That dumb cunt. What were the messages? Tell me Minera. Tell me the messages were something like organising a rebellion? Fucking hell Minera, speak!” Grezan snarled. Mina had known her brother would hate hearing Reznar’s name, but she was scared now. “Grezan please calm down, I didn’t know what was in the messages. I assumed it was helping the slave. It was a lot of gold!” She said quickly.

    “What do you mean, didn’t know what was in the messages?” Grezan asked angrily. “I found out tonight, the slave who it was sent to set a trap for me and caught me.” She confessed. Grezan looked disappointed, “Minera, you should be more careful, you’re lucky this time, but… wait, why did they set a trap? If the messages were help then they wouldn’t set a trap. Minera?”

    “I’m sorry Grezan, I truly am. I didn’t know.” Mina said, feeling cornered, she was going to have to tell him.” Grezan looked at her warningly, “Minera…” he said. “The messages were instructions to kill another slave, the man hiring me wants a slave dead.” Mina said. Grezan’s brown eyes flashed with anger, “You’re helping a man kill a slave?” He asked, icy cold. Mina shook her head, “I didn’t know! I wouldn’t do it knowingly. I’m going to help the slave, and his friend. I’m going to do everything I can for them. I can’t leave them. Not after Tavor.”

    “Don’t say his name! Not after what you’re doing now.” Grezan commanded, pointing angrily at Mina. “He gave too much for you to do this.” He said. Mina went to retort, but kept her mouth shut. Grezan scoffed, “Nothing to say?” Mina glared at him.

    Grezan sighed, rubbing his eyes with his bruised hands. “Oh Mina, what are you doing? Reznar is the sickest, most depraved man I know of. How could you be so stupid to get involved with him, after last time?” He asked. Mina looked down, ashamed. “I should have found out earlier. I know that. But it is a lot of gold, we can use it. To leave Meereen, leave Slaver’s bay. You and me.” She suggested, hopeful.

    Grezan shook his head, “Meereen is home. We can’t go anywhere else.” He said. Mina went to her brother and held his red hands, “We could go to Lys, or Myr. The sailors say they’re beautiful places. We could have a life there. We can.” Grezan shook his head again, “You misunderstand. It’s not that it’s not possible, we can’t. Mother died here, Father died here, Tavor…” His voice choked. “We stay.” He said firmly, letting go of Mina’s hands.

    Mina recoiled from him, keeping her face locked in a scowl, while inside she wanted to burst into tears. “Grezan.” She whispered. “I don’t want to stay here.” Grezan frowned, “I am your older brother Minera. We stay.” He repeated. Mina shook her head disgusted and turned around, grabbed her dagger and her cloak, flinging it around her shoulders. She wrenched open the door. “Where are you going?” Grezan demanded.

    [Tell him about the Hooded Man] [Ignore him and Leave]

  • [Pretend to be Bradon]
    [Tell him about the Hooded Man] I think the siblings needs some bonding time.

    Other PoV perspective was pretty cool to read, good idea with that one.

  • edited October 2017

    [Call the Hooded man out] It's clear that he's done with Bradon, he'd need something special to come now. Tobor challenging him to reveal himself just might do that. No more games.

    [Ignore him and Leave] Grezan seems the type to think that things are always going to go his way and no one else gets a say. Seems best to just leave so he doesn't try to stop her.

    Grezan has given me a really bad first impression. His story of what happened at the brothel doesn't paint him in the best light and he's really controlling. I don't like like controlling people. Not to mention that Mina seemed scared, clearly not a healthy relationship.

    I really like Mina! I knew she'd be back and she doesn't disappoint. I love her attitude!

  • [Call the Hooded man out] [Ignore him and Leave]

  • edited October 2017

    [Pretend to be Bradon]
    [Tell him about the Hooded Man]

    I'm not sure if revealing Tobor knows about him is the best strategy. Pretending to be Bradon might buy them some more time in order to figure out a strategy to capture him.

    I think the brother should know just how dangerous the hooded man is. This might cause him to change his mind.

  • [Call the hooded man out]
    [Tell him about the hooded man]

    Cold Steel and High Stakes Part 3 Bradon coughed, Beast's grip grew tighter. Tobor looked between the two men. “Beast, put him down.”

  • Ah, Mina :) As I expected, this was a wonderful part. Not only did you wrote her perfectly in Tobor's part, but her own PoV was a welcome addition that was equally great. I absolutely loved this, surely cannot wait to read more about her and this business with the Hooded Man. Speaking of, I have the feeling he might have a particular connection to Tobor, but whom might it be? An old rival maybe, someone with enough hatred to travel all the way to Meereen to take his revenge for something happening in their past? Or maybe an ally who has a very screwed up definition of the term "help"?

    [Call the Hooded man out]

    I pretty much think this is the way to go. Bradon won't have many chances to please the Hooded Man and at most, I guess he could bore him. However, Tobor directly revealing himself, it is as Agent said, this could actually be something to catch this mysterious man off guard, cause him to either reveal himself or maybe at least to make a mistake. It will be something I doubt he sees coming and as such, it is probably the best move Tobor can make in his desperate situation.

    [Ignore him and Leave]

    Well, Grezan surely is something. I can't see him ever approving of Mina's choice here and at worst, he could try to stop her. In the long run, I guess this could put her at risk as well, but also him. I don't pick this choice because I want the siblings to quarrel, but because I don't think there is anything she can say right now to please him, unless she'd remain at home.

    Cold Steel and High Stakes Part 3 Bradon coughed, Beast's grip grew tighter. Tobor looked between the two men. “Beast, put him down.”

  • [Pretend to be Bradon]
    [Ignore him and Leave]

    Cold Steel and High Stakes Part 3 Bradon coughed, Beast's grip grew tighter. Tobor looked between the two men. “Beast, put him down.”

  • Voting is closed!

    Tobor will [Call the Hooded man out] and Mina will [Ignore him and Leave]

    First vote with two POV parts and this is the closest vote so far. Both choices had 1 vote in it showing it's a tough one. Personally I would have voted to pretend to be Bradon and to tell Grezan about the hooded man but I'm happy it's this way round, makes for some interesting story telling!

    I hope to get the next part out in the next few days, where we follow Mina meeting the hooded man. Can't wait!

  • where we follow Mina meeting the hooded man.

    Wait! So we're going to see the Hooded man's reaction to the message from Tobor? The message that basically says "Oi, mate, it's Tobor. I know you want me dead so come at me!" ARGH! I'm excited now. :blush:

    Voting is closed! Tobor will [Call the Hooded man out] and Mina will [Ignore him and Leave] First vote with two POV parts and this is

  • I think I might write the message as "Oi mate, it's Tobor. I know you want me dead so come at me!" And just leave it as that :D

    AgentZ46 posted: »

    where we follow Mina meeting the hooded man. Wait! So we're going to see the Hooded man's reaction to the message from Tobor? The me

  • Cold Steel and High Stakes
    Part 4

    Mina said nothing and plunged out into the warm night, leaving her brother alone and calling her name. She headed in the direction of the zo Merreq pyramid, to go to the brothel that the hooded man had told her to meet at. The location changed each time they sent a message, sometimes an alehouse or inn, this time a whorehouse. The warm night was accompanied by a pale crescent moon, iridescent in the dark sky. The narrow, cobbled streets, lined with huts and houses, passed under Mina’s feet in a blur as she ran. She was avoiding the main street to keep out of sight.

    Passing the pyramid, she looked up at the stone monster staring down at her. She gritted her teeth in anger. How she hated that place, and Reznar. The head of the Merreq pyramid. Those cold stones held the last breath of Tavor, Mina thought. Her big brother, all alone in there. How could she have let that happen?

    She wiped a tear from her eye and continued down the street to the brothel where a man stood. He had a long beard dyed blue and purple in Tyroshi fasion, sharp eyes and a bald, shining head. “You the message carrier?” He grunted. Mina nodded. “Inside, with me.” The man said. His accent betrayed that he was from Westeros.

    Mina knew it wasn’t the hooded man, he’d always been careful in her presence to cover his features. Always a new man on the door of the meeting place to take her in. The man walked her inside, with a hand gripping her shoulder. The inside of the brothel was bright and fragrant, candles burning provided the light and smells. Women sat with men, laughing and joking with them. One woman led a younger man, red in the face and grinning, up the stairs as his friends roared in laughter.

    “One of mine.” The bearded man said to the man counting gold at a table, who nodded and pointed to a room in the back. Mina tensed, alarmed. The man patted her shoulder, “No need to worry, it’s just to avoid suspicion.” He explained. Mina was still alert, she loosened her dagger from her belt.

    Opening the door, the bearded man escorted Mina through and closed the door behind him. Where the last room was bright, this was dark; the only light came from the window where silver moonlight streamed in. The room was small, the only furnishings was a large table, and at the side of the room, a bed. Sat at the table, facing away from Mina was who she assumed was the hooded man. He was talking with another man. A large black cloak flowed down his back and crumpled on the floor. “-Baratheon is dead, killed by one of his kingsguard or so the rumours say. A woman.” He said. “One less king in the War of the Five Kings.” Mina fingered the hilt of her dagger.

    The bearded man cleared his throat and the hooded man spoke, “Make sure she has no blades or weapons.” He said. He was clearly a Westerosi, as Mina had observed previously. Mina drew her dagger, holding the blade and offered the hilt to the bearded man who accepted it. “It’s done.” He grunted. The hooded man thanked him. “You have a message for me, little bird?” He asked Mina. She drew the scroll that Tobor had written on. The hooded man remained facing away from Mina.

    “Was there anything… untoward this time?” The hooded man asked. Mina’s heart leapt. What should she say? Mina cursed herself for not reading the message beforehand, she’d been preoccupied with what Grezan would say, and then with what he’d actually said; that she didn’t think about what was in the message. If Tobor had written something that showed he knew about the hooded man, then the hooded man would know Mina would see who had written it. Yet if Tobor had written something to keep the pretence of the sailor being in the hooded man’s service then nothing would appear wrong. So, what should she say? That everything was normal or something was wrong?

    “I grow impatient of your silence.” The hooded man warned. Mina apologised, “I didn’t see anything unexpected, although if there was anything unforeseen I’m not sure how I would realise. I do not know what you expect and what you do not.” She said, her voice betraying none of the worry she felt. The hooded man laughed, “Clever girl. Clever answer.”

    The bearded man took the message to the hooded man’s outstretched hand. As Mina’s heart beat fast, the message was unfurled. Mina could hear only her heart’s dull thud in the silence that followed. The hooded man’s fist slammed down onto the table with a crack. Mina jumped and was grabbed by the bearded man, “What is it?” He asked.

    As an answer, the hooded man grabbed the edge of the table and flipped it, spraying parchment and ink flying. The bearded man picked the note up and read it, he looked back at Mina with anger in his eyes. “He knows. He knows why.” He said. The hooded man grabbed him by the shirt, “I know!” He shouted, “I read the message you fool! This changes nothing, we continue as before. Whether he knows or not, we have a job to do.”

    Mina expected more rage and readied herself. None came. The hooded man stood, breathing heavily, his shoulders rising and falling as he controlled himself. “Girl.” He said, extraordinarily steadily. “You said nothing untoward, correct? Explain the message.” He ordered. The bearded man handed the message to Mina, the hooded man still facing away. Mina held the note in her hand, and read.

    I know what you’re doing. I know why you’re doing it.
    Stop now or face the wrath of House Hightower. I
    shouldn’t be surprised you use others to do your
    work, any man to hide their face is a spineless
    coward. Whether you have less honour or courage
    is the great mystery. Leave now.
    Tobor Hightower.

    Mina held back a grin. What a bold bluff, she thought. Tobor knew as well as her why the hooded man was trying to kill him, but by the harpy was that boy brave. Mina glanced at the bearded man, who nodded. “I don’t know what this message means. I delivered the message as usual to the slave, this time there were two of them in the cell. I assumed it was just a new slave. Then while the slave was writing the message I sat outside and waited. I didn’t see anything untoward. The only difference from previous times was the new slave.” She said, hoping the hooded man would believe her.

    The hooded man paused, mulling her answer over. “Very well, she doesn’t know anything. Kill her and dump her body in the Skahazadan.” He said. Mina gasped, wide-eyed. “No, I-I’m the messenger. I don’t know anything.” She protested. “My apologies, dear, you know too much I’m afraid.” The hooded man explained. The bearded man advanced towards her, with her dagger in his hand. “A cruel irony to kill a girl with her own dagger.” Mina said boldly.

    The hooded man sighed, “No, not here you fool. Take her to a narrow, dark street somewhere. Nobody will ask questions about her, most likely an orphan.” Mina’s eyes narrowed, “Fuck you.” She said. The hooded man ignored her and set about righting the table and clearing up the ink. Mina was marched out by the bearded man. The man counting gold at the table winked at the bearded man. “How was it?” He croaked. The bearded man flipped him a couple of gold coins. Mina almost gagged.

    Outside the brothel, Mina turned to face the bearded man, “Listen, I can pay…” She was interrupted by a hard slap. “I don’t care, when he tells me to do something. I do it.” Mina looked up from the floor, holding her burning cheek. The bearded man had her dagger sheathed at his belt. He dragged her across the street and entered a small alleyway that ran far until it hit a dead end, halfway down the alley was an opening that lead onto a street. He shoved her against the wall. “I am sorry about this.” He reassured her, reaching down to his belt.

    Mina reached faster, grabbing his hand. “I’m sure we don’t need to rush this.” She said softly. “Is there an arrangement we can come to?” She said seductively. The bearded man stopped, and glanced down from Mina’s eyes. He stuttered, “I-I don’t think…” Mina held his other hand, “Don’t think.” She instructed and kissed him. Mina had never been comfortable with boys or men, but had been getting their attention all her life. She was excellent at avoiding their advances, but also knew exactly what they wanted. As she kissed the bearded man, she was disgusted by him, by what he was doing with his hands.

    Mina felt an immense anger at him, almost gritting her teeth but she restrained herself. She just needed a few more seconds. Slowly, Mina, slipped her hands down the sides of his stomach. Mina slipped one hand passed his belt down to his thigh, and sickened by his excitement, with her other hand she loosened her dagger from his belt. By the time the bearded man knew what had happened, there was a foot of steel deep in his stomach.

    The man stumbled back, words formed silently on his lips, a bemused expression on his face. He grasped at the wound on his belly, Mina was still holding the dagger. Blood ran sticky through his fingers. Confused at how she felt, Mina dropped the dagger. It fell with a clatter on the stone ground. The man slid to the floor, sharp eyes locked on Mina’s. A bubble of blood burst in the man’s mouth and he tried to speak. A gurgling sound was all that was heard.

    Mina leant against the wall, staring between the bloodied dagger and the man who stared at her. Blood trickled down his legs and onto the cobbles. Mina retched and emptied her stomach in the street. The man made a wheezing sound then was consumed by coughing, blood flew and flecked the street and Mina. The girl spat bile onto the floor and wiped her mouth. “Y-you never k-killed…” The man managed to force out.

    Mina picked up her dagger and gingerly wiped the blood off on her cloak. She shuddered and looked at the man. Blood tangled in his beard, dripping onto his chest. He was holding his red, glistening stomach desperately, as if to hold the blood in. “K-kill me.” He muttered, weakly. “P-please.” Mina looked down at her dagger.

    Tobor paced the cell impatiently, striding back and forth and chewing his lip. Mina had been gone for hours and the night was getting lighter. Morning would soon be here and with it, guards. After Mina left, Tobor had gone to see the Beast who was waiting at the end of the corridor and told him that he wasn’t needed there any longer.

    “All is well, we didn’t catch the man trying to kill me but we caught his messenger and I sent him a message.” Tobor said to him. The Beast laughed, “You have done well Arghurys. I wish you luck in killing this man.” He said. Tobor clapped him on the back, “My thanks. Go now, and tell no-one.” The Beast nodded and left Tobor.

    “Tobor, stop pacing. You’re making me nervous.” Bradon said grumpily. Tobor rounded on the sailor, “My apologies.” He spat. “But I don’t really care. You don’t order me.” Tobor resumed pacing. “I didn’t order you Tobor, just watch your tone.” Bradon responded, to which Tobor laughed, “Watch my tone? Really? Fuck you Bradon. You try to kill me and then lecture me on my tone.”

    Bradon stood up and grabbed Tobor. “You little shit. I-I did what I had to do. You have no right to judge me.” He stuttered. Tobor laughed bitterly, “Of course I do! You tried to kill me and when I had the opportunity to do the same to you, I let you live.” He said. Bradon shook his head frantically, “You can’t judge me. Not after this.” He showed Tobor his stumps.

    The boy shoved Bradon away, “Next time you use that to excuse your actions. I cut off your hand. My life is not worth less than your fingers, you fool.” Tobor hissed. Bradon scoffed and stepped back from Tobor. “Get the fuck out of my cell.” Bradon said quietly. Tobor stood stubbornly, “I’m staying until Mina returns.” Bradon pushed Tobor hard and the boy slammed back into the wall behind him, his head colliding with the stone.

    “Bradon.” Tobor said with a warning tone. “Stop this now.” The sailor laughed manically, “No Tobor, you’re the reason everything is going to shit. Enslaved, beaten, whipped, mutilated and soon to be killed because of you. You read the message. He’ll kill me.” Bradon said anxiously. Tobor looked at his former friend, “Don’t put this at my door. You chose to try to kill me, but you couldn’t even manage that. I don’t want you to die Bradon, but this is no fault of mine.”

    Bradon swung at Tobor, hitting only air as the boy ducked easily under the blow. Tobor shook his head and raised his fists. “Don’t do this Bradon. You won’t win.” The sailor punched hard at Tobor, striking the stone wall as Tobor stepped to the side. Bradon howled and cradled his hand. Tobor planted a foot firmly in Bradon’s stomach and the sailor stumbled back, tripping. Bradon fell and clattered into the bed, groaning in pain and clutching his hand.

    Tobor shook his head, disgusted. “Send Mina to my cell, tell her to scout the edges of the buildings until she sees my window, I’ll put a boot by the bars. I’m done with you Bradon.” He said, as he turned away and walked to the door of the cell. Tobor locked the door behind him and flicked the key to Bradon. It fell on the stone floor with a clink. Bradon looked up with red eyes, he was crying. The sailor held out his hand to Tobor, the stumps of his fingers clutching at the air.

    Tobor walked away from the cell door, down the passageway. From behind him he could hear curses being flung at him. Curses from a broken man.

    Tobor lurched from his sleep as a sharp clanging at the bars sounded around his room. He shot up and glared at the cell door, searching for the source of the sound. There was nobody there. “Over here.” Came a voice. Tobor wheeled around to face the noise and saw a familiar face at the window. Mina was crouched down, peering in. “I found your boot.” She joked, waving it at Tobor.

    Tobor walked to the window, the dawn had almost broken, the sun’s light reached weakly over the tops of buildings like a child. “What did you find?” Tobor asked wearily. Mina shrugged, “Nothing really. I couldn’t follow him. I handed the message, he talked about Westeros and then read the message. He didn’t like it and tried to have me killed.” She said nonchalantly. Tobor rubbed his chin, “Shit I’m sorry Mina, I didn’t know he’d do that. I should have just pretended to be Bradon. Are you alright?” he asked.

    Mina nodded, her eyes blank. Tobor wondered what was going on in her head, that girl gave nothing away. “I am sorry.” Tobor repeated. Mina shrugged again, “Doesn’t matter now. I suppose you owe me a fuck load of gold now. I don’t think the hooded man will be open to paying me now, unless you want to go and ask him for me?” Tobor rubbed his face with his hands and groaned. “Well it’s been a shit night for both of us.”

    Mina chuckled, “Can’t say you’re wrong.” She tapped her dagger on the bars of the window absent-mindedly. Tobor looked up at her, “I don’t suppose you’d carry on helping me then?” He asked. Mina raised an eyebrow, “How could I help you now? I can’t exactly deliver a message for you.”

    “You’re my only ally now, well you and another but he can’t help me. You’re on the outside and that’s the only advantage I have over the hooded man at the moment. He doesn’t know I have a friend outside.” Tobor said hopefully. Mina sniggered, “Hold on there, I think friend is quite a strong term for what we are.”

    “Regardless, you can still help. I assume you can still follow the hooded man without being seen?” Tobor said. Mina nodded, “In my line of work I wouldn’t be alive still if I couldn’t follow without being seen.” She said. Tobor smiled, “Perfect. If you could follow the hooded man then I will reward you, someday. I haven’t forgotten my oath. I will help you out of Slaver’s bay.” He reminded her.

    “I haven’t forgotten.” Mina replied bluntly. “How is this even going to help you? Before, you said see what he does. How will that help you? Unless he just announces to someone the reason why he’s trying to kill you, then I won’t be able to find out anything of value. What else do you want me to do, describe his face to you?” She asked sarcastically. “Yes.” Tobor replied.

    Mina looked confused, “What? I-I was being sar…” She began before Tobor interrupted, “I know. But nonetheless that is what I want. I didn’t want to say before in front of Bradon. I do not and will not trust him. I want you to look at his face and tell me what you see. I think I may know who it is. That is why I wrote what I wrote in the letter.” He said. Mina looked thoughtful, “Who is it?” She asked. “You don’t know them.” Tobor said.

    Mina rolled her eyes, “Yes I know I don’t. He is a Westerosi and I don’t know any except you. But if I know their name then I might hear something, or use it to my advantage.” She explained. Tobor nodded. “A fair point.” He admitted. “The trouble is. I don’t know their name.”

    Mina sighed, “Then how do I know if the hooded man is who you think it is?” She asked. Tobor looked away with a steely look in his eye. “He has a mark on his face. It reaches down from his eyebrow, over his eye and down to his cheek and over his lips. It’s from a red-hot poker that I plunged onto his face.”

    Mina looked at Tobor with a look that he couldn’t quite place, was it intrigue or fear? “I-I will follow him for you.” Mina said. “And I will look at his face.” Tobor thanked her. “Be careful Mina.” He warned. Mina winked and threw him the boot, turning and running away into the early morning, Tobor caught the boot and grinned.

    The door rattled behind him and Tobor turned, still holding the boot. He raised his eyebrows in surprise at the figure who stood before him. “Hello Tobor.” Said Tazhyn zo Merreq.

  • edited October 2017

    Well that brings Cold Steel and High Stakes to a close. Next up is Crucial Fights and Tested Faith which will be the longest chapter to date, which will be 6-8 parts potentially depending on choices. I will be unable to write much in the next week or two so the next part may take a little longer, but we will have a longer flashback in that one which shows Tobor's time in King's Landing as a squire. Cheers Guys!

  • Oh man, I got so worried for Mina. Still enjoying calling the Hooded man out like that! :D

    Tazhyn's back! Can't wait to see how she feels about Tobor now.

    Cold Steel and High Stakes Part 4 Mina said nothing and plunged out into the warm night, leaving her brother alone and calling her name

  • I'm curious about this hooded man. If he is who Tobar thinks, than Tobar's actions that scarred his face is a legitament reason why he would want to kill him. Now, I'm curious about the circumstances that led to Tobar scarring this man. I also wonder, how this man could possibly know that Tobar was captured by pirates and sold into slavery, in Meereen.

    Cold Steel and High Stakes Part 4 Mina said nothing and plunged out into the warm night, leaving her brother alone and calling her name

  • Oooh, Mina's part has been exciting! Holy damn, that was a close call, but I am so proud of her =) Now I am only afraid that this could have serious consequences if the Hooded Man finds her. She killed his henchman now, meaning she's more than just a nuisance. That being said, if there has been any doubt about the Hooded Man's intentions or morality, it's gone now, after he ordered her death just for the sake of silencing a witness. No matter how I look at the situation, that is an act of evil and I am certainly afraid now that she is going to follow him again. Seems like the danger is far from over for anyone.

    But it seems the Hooded Man is indeed a very personal enemy for Tobor. However, it's clear that Tobor had a far greater influence on his life than the other way 'round, given how Tobor doesn't even remember his name. I can't wait to find out the story behind these two, seems like good flashback material. All in all, this was truly a great chapter, my favourite to date :)

    Cold Steel and High Stakes Part 4 Mina said nothing and plunged out into the warm night, leaving her brother alone and calling her name

  • She knows how to handle herself for sure! Who knows what the hooded man could do if he found her again, he isn't a man you want to anger. But her and Tobor are in the same boat now! Mina is brave to continue following him after what happened. But she'll be much more wary this time.

    Well it's not that Tobor doesn't remember this man's name, he doesn't know his name and never did. So he hasn't just forgotten this man, he knows exactly who it is but not his name. I'm looking forward to writing the flashback, it's an interesting story to tell but it may take longer than usual to write

    Oooh, Mina's part has been exciting! Holy damn, that was a close call, but I am so proud of her Now I am only afraid that this could have s

  • You may have to wait a bit longer, the next part may be entirely flashback!

    AgentZ46 posted: »

    Oh man, I got so worried for Mina. Still enjoying calling the Hooded man out like that! Tazhyn's back! Can't wait to see how she feels about Tobor now.

  • edited October 2017

    All is to be revealed ;)

  • Crucial Fights and Tested Faith
    Part I

    The glowing morning sun beamed warmly down on the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms, glinting from the towers and parapets and splashing onto the great city that covered the shore of the Blackwater Rush. King’s Landing hummed vibrantly with the noise and bustle of thousands of traders, merchants, common-folk and every sort of man making their way in the city.

    Markets were in full flow, goods exchanged for goods, coins or services; fish, cloths, fabrics, weapons. Alleys and clustered streets wound their way around the hill where Aegon had built his first fort and where he would later return to build his city after conquering Westeros.

    Above everything, looking down on the sprawled-out city from up high, was the Red Keep. It was aptly named red, due to the blood spilt by those who built it. Commanded to be built by Aegon and completed by his son Maegor the Cruel. Once it was completed, Maegor had taken the heads of each worker who had contributed to the construction, taking all the secrets to their many hundreds of graves.

    It was the morning of King Joffrey I Baratheon’s first court session of his reign and many were on edge. His father, Robert, had just passed and Ned Stark had been arrested, awaiting punishment. Tobor Hightower walked the yards and gardens of the Red Keep. Ser Barristan had told the boy that he would not be required at the court. That honour would go to Dryden Moore, a nephew or cousin of Ser Mandon Moore.

    Tobor strolled amidst flowers and elegantly carved hedges and bushes, skilfully wrought into shapes of stags and lions. Tobor thought bitter thoughts about Dryden fucking Moore, being able to stand at court for a new King! It was only because he was related to one of the current Kingsguards, Tobor told himself. Dryden fell victim to Tobor’s blade every time without fail on the training ground. Even Osford could beat him, and Osford was about as good with a sword as one-armed Lom: the beggar on the Street of Flour in Flea Bottom.

    Tobor grinned to himself, thoughts of Dryden in the dust improved his temperament. Continuing down the garden path, Tobor greeted familiar faces as they walked by. A noble here, a lady there, even the court minstrel. Reaching the end of the gardens Tobor resigned himself to trudge back to his quarters, unable to think of anything to do other than sleep or train. Grand though King’s Landing was, it’s remarkably dull, Tobor grumbled.

    As he turned in the direction of the main square, something caught Tobor’s eye. A great wizened oak tree, with vines crawling over and around it’s ancient reaching limbs. It was the heart tree of the godswood in King’s Landing and Tobor often saw the Stark girl, Sansa, praying there. Tobor knew every major city in Westeros had their own godswood, and each godswood had a heart tree. In the North godswoods’ heart trees were weirwood but South, most weirwood heart trees had been destroyed. As a result, other trees were used.

    Looking at the heart tree, a chill clawed at Tobor’s stomach. He was not a follower of the old gods, Tobor was of the Faith like his father before him. And nonetheless he still felt something in himself as he stared at the faceless heart tree. Tobor walked closer and flinched as the noise seemed to recede as he neared the tree. The bustle of the city grew faint but the song of birds and murmur of crickets grew clearer.

    Tobor reached out a hand hesitantly, stretching out towards the brown, hard bark of the oak. His breath quickened. His fingers brushed the oak and a face flashed on the oak, a long melancholy face with gaping eyes crying red. Tobor let go as if burned. Staring at the tree he rubbed his fingers.

    “Tobor Hightower!” A voice called. Tobor wheeled around and grinned at the sight of Corlys Velaryon. “Cor, how are you?” Tobor asked. The young squire from Driftmark was taller than Tobor with a well built and toned figure. Striking silver hair fell just above his eyes, cut short at the back. A young face, heavy jawline and dark violet eyes attracted attention from every serving girl in the Red Keep. Corlys looked like a Targaryen of old, and they loved that. Tobor found it hard to hide his jealousy sometimes but Corlys was gracious about it.

    “I’m grand today my friend. Very grand indeed. And yourself?” Corlys said brightly. Tobor shrugged, “Not as grand as you it seems. Yet again, we are left out of duties for Ser Barristan.” He lamented. Corlys punched him gently on the shoulder, “Oh would you stop your moaning, we get our fair share of tasks. Ser Barristan is very good at sharing them out to his eight, eight, squires.” Corlys said, emphasising the number to Tobor.

    “Yes, yes I know. I wasn’t saying it was Ser Barristan’s fault. He’s been very kind to me. To us. It just doesn’t make sense to have eight squires for one knight. Granted he’s a very skilled knight.” Tobor said. Corlys scoffed, “He’s more than skilled. He could slaughter a dozen men with his left hand while taking a piss with his eyes closed.”

    Tobor chucked, “As I was saying, look at Dryden. He’s shit and gets duty at the first court of the new king. How is that fair? Osford, though a good friend, cannot handle a sword. Brent can’t remember how to act in court or how to treat the nobles and ladies. Norbert is just slow in the head, Willis is good with a sword but he’s no knight and Yiton doesn’t know one end of the lance from the other.” He moaned. Corlys shrugged, “What’s your point?” He asked.

    Tobor threw up his arms in exacerbation. “I don’t know! Ser Barristan should give the honourable duties to his best squires. Not Dryden.” Corlys raised an eyebrow, “To you?” Tobor rolled his eyes, “Yes, maybe. To us, to you predominantly. To the ones who can actually fight and court and joust.” Corlys laughed, “You can’t joust.” He joked.

    Tobor gasped in mock anger, “Apologise, I can joust.” He commanded. Corlys giggled, “Then why do you get knocked into the dirt every time we tilt?” He asked. Tobor shook his head disparagingly, “Not every time. Anyway, why are you here? Or is it just to mock me?”

    Corlys straightened up. “Right you are Ser. My apologies.” He said brusquely, as if teasing Tobor. As a response Tobor showed Corlys his middle finger. “Well Tobor, after your unrelenting moaning about Ser Barristan giving you no duties, I bring you a message that Ser Barristan wants to give you some duties.” Corlys said.

    “Really? Great, let’s go. What does he need us to do?” Tobor asked, relieved that finally, he would have something to do. “I’m not sure, he just said I needed to find you and Os then bring you to him for briefing.” Corlys told him. Tobor grinned and began walking towards the exit of the gardens ecstatic with joy. Corlys ran to catch up.

    The two boys walked past the Tower of the Hand and the library together, engrossed in chatting amiably about girls and life and battle. The Tower of the Hand towered above them.

    They were so absorbed by their words the two boys missed the Sept with it’s crystal windows high on the walls, and it’s statues of each of the Seven looking out over the Keep. The boys missed the Maidenvault where Baelor the Blessed confined his sisters when he came to the throne to prevent any lustrous thoughts. The boys missed the armoury where they’d collected blades, chainmail and shields from for the many years they’d lived there.

    Tobor had seen all of these buildings so many times before, he stopped noticing they were there. He’d now lived in King’s landing under two Kings and two Hands, soon to be a third Hand when King Joffrey named his on this day. By all accounts it would be his grandfather, the astute and ruthless Tywin Lannister, although some guess that the new Hand would be a wide variety of people, from the spider to his mother.

    When Tobor first came to King’s Landing he’d been squire to a knight in the Gold Cloaks by the name of Ser Jayson Hill, a good man. Ser Jayson was a bastard of a bannerman of House Lannister in the Westerlands and was a high-ranking knight in the City Watch, but most importantly, Tobor’s mentor. When the time came, he was amicable about Tobor squiring for Ser Barristan, eager for his young squire to learn as much as possible. Ser Jayson still visited and the two of them trained together when duties permitted.

    The squires for Knights in the Kingsguard slept and lived in the Barracks of the Gold Cloaks along with squires for the City Watchmen, so Tobor and Corlys were heading there to find Osford. Making their way into the quarters, Tobor and Corlys discovered Os asleep in his bed, snoring away.

    Tobor put a finger to his lips and grinned to Corlys, who nodded. Tobor picked up a cup of water next to Os’ bed and knelt down next to his friend. Containing his laughter, Tobor slowly and carefully upended the cup over Os and into his open mouth. Osford spluttered awake, spitting water all over his chest and legs. “What in Seven hells… Tobor, you cock!” He coughed.

    Tobor and Corlys howled in laughter as Osford jumped up angrily to grab a cloth. “Sorry Os, I-I just couldn’t resist.” Tobor laughed. Osford glared at them with dark eyes and grumbled as he wiped away the water. “You cunts had better have a good reason for waking me.” Water dripped down Osford’s bushy eyebrows, hooked nose and narrow cheeks. He wiped the cloth over his bare chest, even at seventeen his chest and back were covered in black hair.

    “Yes, we do.” Corlys reassured him. “Ser Barristan wants us at the throne room now to tell us our duties before the court session starts. Os’ dark eyes lit up, “What are we waiting for?” He asked. “You!” Tobor and Corlys said in unison. Osford grinned.

    Reaching the outer yard where the throne room was, Corlys stopped and turned towards his two friends, he clapped his hands together. “Right. All we want is to just get there and get our orders then leave. The King will be there along with his lady mother the Queen Regent and of course the Kingsguard. Do not say anything to embarrass yourself.” He said, as if briefing them himself. Corlys always did like to lead.

    Tobor nodded, he had met the Queen before. She wasn’t someone to get on the wrong side of. Joffrey was just a boy, Tobor had always found him petulant and ill-tempered. But he knew his courtesies and would stick by them.

    The boys continued walking and could see in front of them, a small procession making ready to enter the throne room. Ser Barristan was at the front, impressive in his white plate armour, Ser Arys Oakheart was beside the Queen Regent, her beauty shining, and Ser Boros Blount stood by the King himself. They were accompanied by a handful of gold-cloaked city watchmen and Lannister house guards.

    Ser Barristan waved them over, beckoning them to hurry. Queen Cersei watched Tobor, Corlys and Osford with a sly look. The white knight’s plate reflected the morning sun, at his side he wore a sword in a resplendent scabbard. “Thank you for being quick, Corlys. The court session is supposed to commence now, but truthfully these things take hours to get in order, I suppose we’ll finally be needed to enter in a few hours. Regardless…” Ser Barristan said, “I have need of you all.”

    Tobor and Osford exchanged a look. Corlys spoke, “Of course, Ser. What is it that needs to be done?” He asked.

    “Since King Robert died, may he find peace, there have been increasing rumours of our good King Joffrey’s illegitimacy, no doubt due to Ned Stark’s accusations. I believe there is a greater risk, now than ever, of riots and general… shall we say… misbehaviour of the public. The gold cloaks are becoming more and more worried and tense. I would like you three to shadow one gold cloak each. You’ll all be in the same patrol. Any questions?”

    Tobor tried to keep his disappointment from colouring his face but Ser Barristan noticed. The old knight put a hand on Tobor’s shoulder. “I know this isn’t what you want as a squire to the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, but this is what squires must do. They especially have to do the menial, boring tasks. This teaches you humility and honour. They learn, they train, not necessarily just from the knight they squire to, you must learn from all men, great or small. One day, you will be a knight and understand the importance of it. But Tobor, most importantly. Train with honour, fight with honour, live with honour. Understand?”

    Tobor nodded, “I understand that if you tell me to do something, Ser, there must be an importance to it, or else you wouldn’t ask it of me. I must find the importance of this myself.” He said. Ser Barristan nodded. “Good lad, now run along. They’re waiting by the Iron Gate for you.”

    With that, Ser Barristan re-joined the procession. Queen Cersei glanced at Tobor and her emerald green eyes prickled Tobor’s skin. Tobor turned to his friends and sighed, “Well, let’s go find our Gold Cloaks.” Os and Corlys nodded. They walked away from the throne room and left the Red Keep.

    The boys made it to the Iron Gate after a short walk through the city, Tobor stopped at a bakery on the way and dropped a couple of silver stags in exchange for meat pies, piping hot. They ate them on the way. Upon reaching the Iron Gate, Tobor smiled as he recognised a familiar face. “Ser Jayson!” He exclaimed. Ser Jayson Hill turned around. His previous knight smiled warmly at his old squire.

    Ser Jayson was an average sized man, very muscular and large chested. His face told a story of many years and fights with a crooked broken nose. Crow’s feet peered out from the corners of his eyes and wrinkles covered his forehead. Greying, black hair was pulled back tightly into a ponytail and on his pockmarked cheeks and jaw was a well-trimmed beard that showed more grey than black. A warm, weathered face.

    “Tobor, it’s good to see you. I suppose you’re the three squires we were told would be joining us.” He said kindly. Tobor confirmed and introduced Osford and Corlys. “We’ve been told we’re to join you for patrols, looking out for riots and any who would say King Joffrey’s claim is illegitimate, is that correct?” Tobor asked.

    Jayson nodded, “Aye, we’re here to keep order and order we shall keep. Corlys was it? You’ll be with Griff here and Oswald, sorry Osford, you’ll be with Smiffy. Alright? We’ve a few spare swords and mail for you. Obviously, no full suits or cloaks would fit you, except you Osford. You’re near as tall as me!” He laughed heartily. Smiffy and Griff nodded their introductions.

    Osford shrugged, “I’ll wear what my fellow squires wear. We are equal after all.” He said simply. Jayson nodded, “I can respect that. Here, I’ll fetch some blades and mail.” He stepped inside the building behind him, one of the many barracks the Gold Cloaks had around the city. He emerged seconds later with a pile of interlinked chain links and three swords held in simple leather sheaths.

    Tobor removed his blue tunic and slipped the chain mail over his white cotton thin shirt, then replaced his tunic over the mail. Osford and Corlys had placed their mail over their tunics. Jayson smiled at Tobor, “Good lad, we don’t want people to know we wear mail. Let’s say you aren’t wearing armour and a man is attacking you with a knife. If he sees you have mail on, he will attack your head and face, he knows a knife won’t penetrate the iron links. But if you hide that mail, he will attack your well protected chest. Though this is only when we aren’t wearing armour. Well remembered Tobor.” He praised.

    Tobor grinned and Corlys rolled his eyes. Osford began swapping the mail and tunic around and Cor joined him. Tobor picked up one of the swords and drew it from it’s sheath, it sang as it was unveiled. The sun mirrored from the beautiful steel as Tobor felt the weight in his hands. He ran a thumb down the middle of the blade and then across the edge so as not to be cut, it was sharp and ready. He tied the sheath about his waist and replaced the sword.

    When Osford and Corlys were ready too, the party of six left the barracks and made for Flea Bottom. As Jayson explained, the patrol took them through Flea Bottom to begin, up Rhaenys’ Hill to the Dragonpit, down past the Alchemist’s Guildhall, up to Visenya’s Hill and the Great Sept of Baelor, down the Street of Steel with all the smiths to the fish market, then follow Muddy Way back to the main square and back through Flea Bottom to finish. “Flea Bottom needs two patrols, the shit hole.” Griff remarked.

    They journeyed through Flea Bottom, the slum of King’s Landing. The first pass through Flea Bottom took place without incident, to the surprise of the three Gold Cloaks. At the Great Sept of Baelor, Griff found a man painting something on the walls behind a tavern in what Tobor hoped was pig’s blood, and not something else. It turned out to be writing; “King Bastard, First of his Na-”

    Jayson dragged the poor man from behind the tavern and called over two other Gold Cloaks on their way back from their patrol, telling them to take him back with them and make sure they know that the man committed treason. “First arrest of the morning.” Griff exclaimed, sniffing the air ironically. “I smell more.”

    They broke up a few fights on the street of steel, smiths arguing over who made what. They caught a small boy stealing some salted haddock at the fish market and warned him not to steal again or he’d lose a finger. The boy ran off sticking his tongue out at them. Jayson sighed, “It’s a tough life in King’s Landing for them, can’t afford to live here, can’t afford to get out of here. He’ll be caught again in a week, month, year or five. And he’ll lose more than a finger.

    Upon reaching Flea Bottom once more, the group of six were eager to finish the patrol. Weary legs and tired eyes came from the hours they’d been walking. They entered Flea Bottom and almost immediately, a woman came running up to them, breathless. She wore a simple dress and was covered in dirt. She grabbed Smiffy’s arm and he shoved her off. Tobor frowned.

    “Please, you have to come quickly. My boy. They- they’re killing my boy.” She cried, in floods of tears. Ser Jayson took her by the hand and comforted her. “Of course, my dear, we’ll help. Show us where your boy is. Come on now.” He said. The woman thanked him and blessed him, then took off running. “Come with me!” She shouted.

    The woman took them deep into Flea Bottom, this way and that, down narrow alleys and short passageways. Past beggars and thieves, inns and taverns. Tobor noticed the dirty looks from those he passed. Finally, the woman stopped by a large building and ushered them closer. “Just through here.” She whispered, tears had etched paths through her dirty face.

    Jayson looked at his men, “Careful, we don’t know what we’ll find. Blades up.” He said. The others nodded and drew their blades. The woman opened the door for them. The building was one storey, looked old and decrepit. It was a makeshift, cobbled together pile of timber and brick with a large oaken door bolted shut from the outside which Tobor frowned at. Bolted from the outside? He wondered. “Stay outside, my dear, we will go in and find your boy. He’s in there?” Jayson asked. The woman nodded, “Yes, they took him, the men.” She wailed. Jayson asked what his name and she looked blankly at him for a moment. “D-Duncan.” She stuttered.

    Jayson touched her cheek. “No need to fear.” He promised her. She smiled weakly and Jayson walked through the door. Tobor followed Jayson, Griff, Smiffy, Corlys and Osford through the door, which remained open behind them. It was dark inside, the only light coming from behind them, the brightness behind them cast through the room in a beam. Tobor could see the dust floating against the daylight.

    The wooden floor was covered in dust and rags of clothing. Tobor could just make out through the gloom, rotting benches and tables that were falling apart to the sides of the room. Hefty pillars grew up from the floor and strained against the roof, which sagged in the middle, heavy with time. This building hadn’t been used in a long time.

    Tobor’s brow was sweaty, he gripped hard on the leather grip of his sword. His hands were slippery with sweat and nerves. He was scared. He’d never killed a man before; would he have to now? The five others were in an arrowhead formation, signalled by Jayson at the front, flanked by Os and Corlys to his left and right, then to their outside were Smiffy and Griff. Tobor brought up the rear behind them all. All blades were naked and bare in the gloomy building.

    The sound of the door slamming made each of them jump in fear and surprise as they turned their attention to the entrance they came through. Now completely dark, they fumbled back to the door and heard the unmistakeable sound of a bar being drawn across the heavy door, and a bolt shutting. Tobor cursed, he’d known that was suspicious! He should have said something.

    Smiffy banged on the door, “Oi you bitch! Let us out of here!” He yelled angrily. A voice came back as a response, “You are needed for a greater purpose. Your deaths will not be in vain.” Smiffy was about to retort when the room was burst into light. The six covered their eyes at the sudden brightness. Torches had been lit all at the back of the room. Tobor could now see that the room was huge. Tobor could also see who lit the torches.

    A line of fifteen or so men stood, dressed in green and gold and armed with an assortment of weapons. They slowly advanced forwards. Jayson readied his men. “Smiffy. Griff. Get in front with me. Boys, get behind us.” He said, voice calm and soft as the motionless ocean. Os, Corlys and Tobor all stood behind the three Gold Cloaks with blades quivering in their hands in fear.

    The green and gold men met the City Watchmen in a crash of steel and bodies. Tobor stood behind Griff and watched the blade swing rhythmically from the right to left back to right. All Tobor could hear was his own breath heavy and shaky. Tobor muttered a prayer to the Mother for mercy and the Warrior for strength. His hands were soaked in sweat and he felt cold. Every time Griff’s blade came into Tobor’s sight it had more blood on it, red mess flying from the cold silver steel. Griff took some hits but all to his armour plates.

    Tobor glanced to his right, he could see Os there holding his sword looking uncomfortable with what he held in his hands. Corlys looked as if the sword was an extension of his hand as he fought a man who had come around the side to fight the boy. Corlys effortlessly dodged a few blows the man tried to strike and Corlys disarmed the man, his short sword flying and hitting a wall. Corlys followed up with a strike to the man’s neck, and he fell to the ground clutching his throat. Blood fell like a waterfall down his chest and the man fell forwards, landing at Corlys’ feet.

    A shout from Os drew his attention and Tobor looked at him. The Kettleblack boy was pointing behind Tobor. Sluggishly Tobor turned around to see a man with a blacksmith’s hammer swinging at him. Bemused, Tobor laughed a little as the iron came towards him. I was too slow. Silver flashed in front of him.

    With a thud, the hammer hit the floor. Tobor looked at the man, confused. The man staggered back screaming and clutching his wrist. His wrist. His right arm was spraying blood all over the floor and himself. Tobor looked back to the hammer, a hand still gripped it. Griff stood next to Tobor, and winked. Tobor nodded and smiled.

    With a shout, Griff grabbed at his neck and wheeled around to face away from Tobor. He looked drunk. Then Tobor saw the hilt of the dagger that was in his neck. Griff tugged the dagger from his throat, making a wet sucking sound, blood coughed from the wound and Griff fell to his knees. Blood poured down his armour, staining the silver, red. Griff fell forwards and lay still. A man ran to his corpse and cut the gold cloak from his back, holding it aloft like a trophy.

    Ser Jayson grimaced as he saw Griff’s body and cut through the last man in front of him. He turned to Smiffy and helped finish off the few in front of him. There was a small pile of bodies in front of Corlys. The one with the gold cloak looked at the remaining City Watchmen and, realising defeat, turned tail and ran. Smiffy and Jayson urgently asked the boys numerous times whether they were alright.

    Tobor sheathed his sword and walked to Griff and with some effort, turned the man over. His glassy eyes stared at the old roof above him, seeing nothing. Tobor closed Griff’s eyes. “It’s alright son. He died bravely, serving this city.” Jayson said, putting a hand on Tobor’s shoulder and wincing. Tobor nodded.

    After finding the other exit on the far side of the room, the five discovered in an alley that Smiffy said he knew. Griff’s body was laid in the middle of the alley after having been taken out by Smiffy and Osford. “Corlys what is your House?” Jayson asked. Corlys shrugged, “Velaryon, why does that matter?” He asked. Ser Jayson drew his sword and Tobor furrowed his brow, confused.

    “Kneel, Corlys Velaryon. For your acts of valour in combat.” Ser Jayson said. Corlys grinned and then forced a straight face and knelt. Tobor wanted to gasp but kept himself from doing so. This was a big moment for Corlys, Tobor was proud, if not slightly jealous.

    “Corlys Velaryon. Do you swear before the eyes of gods and men to defend those who cannot defend themselves, to protect all women and children, to obey your captains, your liege lord, and your King, to fight bravely when needed and do such other tasks as are laid upon you, however hard or humble or dangerous they may be?” Ser Jayson asked.

    Corlys nodded, “Yes Ser, I swear it.” He said boldly, looking like a Targaryen prince. Ser Jayson placed his sword on Corlys’ right shoulder. “In the name of the Warrior I charge you to be brave.” He moved the sword to Corlys’ left shoulder. “In the name of the Father I charge you to be just.” He moved the sword back to the right. “In the name of the Mother I charge you to defend the young and innocent.” Back to the left. “In the name of the Maid I charge you to protect all women.”

    Ser Jayson smiled, “Then, Ser Corlys Velaryon, rise a sworn Knight.” He said. Jayson removed the sword from Corlys’ shoulder with a noticeable wince that Tobor saw. Corlys stood with a smile wider than the Trident and thanked Jayson. Smiffy clapped Corlys, Ser Corlys, on the back in a congratulatory manner and Osford hugged him. Corlys turned to Tobor and the two boys grinned at each other.

    “Knew you’d be knighted first.” Tobor joked. Corlys chuckled, there was a tear in his eye. Tobor knew how much this meant to him. “I am the better squire.” Corlys joked back. Tobor laughed and they hugged. There was a clanging sound behind Tobor and the two boys jumped apart.

    Jayson had fallen down and was struggling to get back to his feet. “Hold on Jayson, what’s the matter?” Tobor asked, rushing to his old mentor. Jayson waved him off, “I’m- I’m fine, Tobor.” He muttered, white as a sheet. Tobor spotted what was wrong with a start of horror. Below his left arm, just under the armpit, Tobor could see between the armour plate that the tunic there was stained dark. Stained with blood.

    “Jayson you’re wounded!” Tobor said loudly. The knight shook his head, “I-I’m alright. Really, just let me back up and we’ll go.” He protested. Smiffy was by his side now, “No old friend, just stay sat down and we’ll have a look and see how bad it is. Then we’ll bandage you up and get you back on duty.” He suggested. Jayson thought about it, clearly having to work hard to make his mind up. He nodded lethargically.

    Smiffy took Jayson’s cloak off and placed it aside, and then began removing Jayson’s breastplate and other armour so it was more comfortable. As the last piece of armour came away, Jayson groaned. “What’s wrong, what is it?” They asked. Jayson pointed to just left of his breast, under his armpit around the same level as his nipple. Where the blood was coming from.

    Tobor pulled his tunic up over the wound slowly and bit his lip as he saw the injury. Some manner of blade had torn into Jayson’s side, where the armour didn’t cover if one held their arm up. The wound was small, but bleeding profusely. “It might have hit his heart.” Osford said worriedly. Corlys scoffed, “No he’d be dead now.” He said disdainfully. Smiffy shrugged panickily, “I don’t know. I’m not a fucking healer.” He hissed.

    Tobor removed his tunic and folded it up, pressing it on the wound. Jayson groaned in pain. “I think he’s lost too much blood.” Tobor said anxiously. “We need to get him to the infirmary.” Osford said firmly. Smiffy nodded, “Osford, with me. We need to find some sort of wagon to take Griff’s body and Jayson with us. Now.”

    As the two of them ran off down the alley and out of sight, Tobor held the tunic onto Jayson. Corlys paced nervously. Jayson coughed and winced at the action. “Don’t move Jayson. You’ll be fine.” Tobor said. A bit of blood dribbled down into Jayson’s well-groomed beard; the black and grey was joined by red.

    “Fuck that Tobor, I know I’m dying. I can feel it in my bones.” Jayson said. Tobor shook his head, as if his denial could beat the Stranger himself. “Yes, son. I’m dying, but don’t fear, I’m happy. I’ve lived a good life on this evil earth. That’s all that anyone can hope for these days. You are the greatest thing I’ve made on this evil earth. Never had a son. You’re a good lad, Tobor. I had hoped to knight you myself one day, but I suppose I’ll leave that to Ser Barristan. You aren’t ready yet, but you will be. You’re a good, good lad.” He burst into a fit of coughing and blood dribbled down his cheek.

    Tobor felt a warm tear fall down his own cheek. In the most recent years this man had been more of a father than Edric had been. Edric treated him below Kallum, Mace and even Edwin for some reason Tobor did not know, perhaps his inferior leadership and jousting and fighting. Tobor had never been bad, but never as good. Now this man would die. “Thank you.” Tobor whispered. Jayson gripped his arm tight. “You’re a good lad, Tobor.” He continued gripping Tobor’s arm.

    When Smiffy and Osford came running back to the alley, towing a hand-cart behind them. They found Corlys with his arm around Tobor, and Tobor knelt at the side of Ser Jayson Hill. Ser Jayson no longer gripped Tobor’s arm.

    A sad procession trudged into the Red Keep. Smiffy had taken the cart with Griff and Jayson’s corpses to the gravediggers who would bury them in the afternoon. Tobor was leading Corlys and Osford to their quarters in the Gold Cloaks barracks. Walking along, Tobor had his eyes pointed down, staring at the ground.

    As they came through the entrance, someone else was walking out. It was Ser Barristan! Although for some reason he wasn’t wearing his white Kingsguard cloak, or his armour, nor a sword. “Ser Barristan? What are you doing?” Tobor asked. The old knight smiled, his age reflected in his eyes. “I’m sorry you three. I truly am. You have all been wonderful squires, I hope you make wonderful knights. Be brave and honourable, I must go.” With that the old knight ran through the gates and exited the Red Keep.

    Tobor, Corlys and Os all looked at each other. “What?” Os asked. “Where’s he going?” Corlys said, bemused. Tobor remained silent and pointed to the doors of the throne room, where Lord Janos Slynt, the infamous butcher lord that was in charge of the Gold Cloaks, had just waddled out from. He was accompanied by several Gold Cloaks.

    Upon spotting the three squires, or two squires and a knight, Janos ran towards them. “You there! Boys!” He spat. “Did you see Ser Barristan Selmy come through here?” He demanded. Os and Corlys went to answer but Tobor spoke quickly before they could, “No, we didn’t see him.” He said. Corlys nudged him in the side as if to say ‘what are you doing?’ but Tobor continued. “Why? Has he done something wrong, my lord?” He asked innocently.

    Slynt narrowed his beady eyes, “How didn’t you see him? He just left the throne room a moment ago. He would have gone through the gatehouse down to the city!” He barked. Tobor shrugged, “We just came from the middle bailey, you know where the Barracks are?” He asked, knowing full well that Slynt knew. Janos swore, “Of course I know where the barracks are, boy! Do you know who I am? I’m in charge of the Gold Cloaks. You pesky fucking squires, always thinking you own the keep. Twats. Go back to the barracks and tell them that Barristan Selmy is wanted for treason. Then get back out there and search for him. Understand?”

    Tobor nodded, “Oh yes, of course my lord.” He said, tongue in cheek. Slynt took his guards out of the gate house down to the city, leaving the boys on their own. Corlys turned on Tobor, “What the fuck was that? Why didn’t you tell him we saw Ser Barristan?” He demanded. Tobor rolled his eyes, “Because he’s wanted for treason.”

    Corlys looked incredulous, “And that’s not more of an incentive?” He asked. Tobor shrugged, “I like Ser Barristan. Janos Slynt is an evil cunt. I didn’t want to help him.” He said. Osford laughed, “I agree with Tobor, I won’t turn against the old knight for Janos fucking Slynt.” Corlys sighed, “So what do we do? Go to the barracks and tell the Gold Cloaks there that Barristan is wanted for treason or not?” He asked.

    Osford shrugged, “Well there is no way in Seven hells I’m helping look for him.” The two other boys added their immediate agreement. Corlys looked at Tobor, “Listen, it’s your call Tobor. I’ll admit, I don’t know what to do.”

    [Tell them about Selmy] [Say Nothing to the Gold Cloaks]

  • [Tell them about Selmy]

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part I The glowing morning sun beamed warmly down on the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms, glinting fr

  • [Say Nothing to the Gold Cloaks] I think that fits tobor more

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part I The glowing morning sun beamed warmly down on the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms, glinting fr

  • [Say Nothing to the Gold Cloaks]

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part I The glowing morning sun beamed warmly down on the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms, glinting fr

  • [Tell them about Selmy]

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part I The glowing morning sun beamed warmly down on the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms, glinting fr

  • [Say Nothing to the Gold Cloaks]

    Took me a few days to make up my mind here, but in the end, I believe that this is the better option. I mean, this is Barry the Bold we're talking about, the prime badass (and one person I really hope Tobor will encounter in Meereen as the story progresses) and probably one of my favourite secondary characters in the entire AOIAF series. The Gold Cloaks meanwhile are cunts and Janos Slynt is the chief cunt. Even if we know that Barristan is eventually going to escape King's Landing, I don't want to make this any harder for him, especially as he might realize that Tobor told them. That could cause problems if they will meet again in Meeren. And well, at the end of this, telling them only means more Gold Cloaks Barristan has to cut through, meaning even if they are a bunch of jerks, not telling them will ultimately save their lives as well. Not sure if that is necessarily a good thing, but it'll also help Barristan, so I will pick this :)

    This was also a fantastic part and I feel like it was also one of the longest so far, maybe even the longest. I really loved the interaction between Tobor and the others, as well as the action. A wonderful flashback part that made me super hyped for the things to come. I wonder if he will reencounter some of the people here if they survive the flashbacks that are undoubtedly still to come.

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part I The glowing morning sun beamed warmly down on the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms, glinting fr

  • Barristan is an awesome character, one of my favourites I hate how he was killed off in the show when he wasn't in the books! that was the longest so far coming in at ~6000 words. Longest previously was ~4000.

    Unfortunately I can't reveal who we will meet again, if indeed we will meet the again, or if they will survive. Guess we'll wait and see ;)

    [Say Nothing to the Gold Cloaks] Took me a few days to make up my mind here, but in the end, I believe that this is the better option. I

  • WOW! I absolutely loved this part, the flashback scenes and character interactions were amazing! Well done Bittersteel! You can tell you really enjoyed writing this by how well it flowed and fit together, as well as the various little jibes Corlys and Tobor gave to each other throughout the writing. My favorite part thus far to be honest!!

    Ahem. Anyway.

    [Say Nothing to the Gold Cloaks] I think this is just the decision that makes the most sense when I consider what Tobor would really do in this situation. I can't see him selling out his mentor that easily to men who he probably even considers corrupt.

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part I The glowing morning sun beamed warmly down on the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms, glinting fr

  • edited November 2017

    Thanks so much for the praise, in all honesty I wasn't sure how this large chunk of flashback would be received. Whether the change of pace would be a nice touch or not. Glad to hear it was! I definitely enjoyed writing it.

    Just something to note, Tobor doesn't think the Gold Cloaks are corrupt. I personally as a reader don't think the Gold Cloaks are that corrupt, to the best of my knowledge I think they just do their jobs. Janos Slynt for sure is a dick, but he's no more corrupt than other people who take bribes, which is a lot of people in GoT. All Tobor thinks is that Janos is a Nobhead which is why I agree, Tobor probably wouldn't want to sell his mentor out to them.

    Chaosjester posted: »

    WOW! I absolutely loved this part, the flashback scenes and character interactions were amazing! Well done Bittersteel! You can tell you rea

  • Ah, when I meant that I meant the Captains and the overall leader he just had a run-in with! So yea, 100% agree he would just not talk to them.

    Thanks so much for the praise, in all honesty I wasn't sure how this large chunk of flashback would be received. Whether the change of pace

  • Voting is closed!

    Tobor will [Say Nothing to the Gold Cloaks]
    So Tobor decided that his duty to Selmy was greater than to his captain. Tough choice but in my opinion the right one.

    Next part will be out in a few days and finish off this flashback, leading onto talking with Tazhyn.

  • edited November 2017

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith
    Part II

    Tobor shook his head, “I won’t make Ser Barristan’s life any more difficult. We won’t tell any Gold Cloaks that he’s being searched for. It’s a matter of honour.” He said firmly. Corlys rolled his eyes, “Isn’t your honour sworn to the King?” He asked. Tobor looked at him, “It is. The choice between honour to your King and honour to a friend is as hard a choice as can be. It is no light decision but when the King is represented by Janos Slynt, I would make that choice in a heartbeat.” He said.

    Corlys nodded, “Then I respect that. However, my duty is to the King. I’m afraid I must fulfil my duty. Would you stand in my way?” He asked. Tobor stared at his friend, not believing what he was saying. “You said it was my call!” Tobor said accusingly. Corlys’ eyes looked sad, “I wanted to see what you’d say.” He admitted. Tobor scoffed, “Well that was honourable.” His voice dripping with sarcasm. “Listen Tobor. I don’t want you to think I’m betraying you, Os or Ser Barristan. I swore an oath to the King to serve him, I won’t be an oath breaker.” Corlys said.

    “What about your oath as a knight? ‘In the name of the Father I charge you to be just.’ What did that mean to you?” Tobor demanded. Corlys’ eyes flashed in anger, “And what about ‘obey your captains, your liege lord, and your King’” Corlys retorted. “In any case, what if we don’t tell anyone and it comes back to bite us? We could be executed for treason.” He continued.

    Tobor threw up his arms, “Who cares? You’re doing what’s easy and calling it honour.” He said. Corlys shook his head angrily, “I’m doing my duty. To the letter. Will you stand in my way?” He asked. Tobor bit his lip, then raised his fists. “My duty is to Ser Barristan, the man who enabled you to be Ser Corlys.” Tobor spat the word ‘Ser’ out. Corlys looked taken aback momentarily then raised his fists too.

    Osford sighed and stood between them, “Tobor, Corlys. Look at yourselves. You’re friends, act like it.” He said firmly. Corlys turned and went to walk to the barracks, he turned and looked Tobor in the eye. “I’m sorry Tobor.” He said. Tobor watched Corlys walk away in silence. “You’ll let this happen Os?” Tobor asked when Corlys had disappeared. Osford shrugged, “You can’t force someone to agree with you. It’s like trying to make a Lannister realise there’s more to life than gold.” He said.

    “You think Ser Barristan is guilty?” Tobor asked. Osford shook his head, “No I don’t. Although I doubt we will ever find out, the story will paint him as a traitor no matter what the truth is.” The Kettleblack said. Tobor sighed, and Osford patted his shoulder, “I’m sure he’ll be fine Tobor.” He reassured Tobor, who nodded. “We’d better get to the barracks.” He said. Osford nodded his agreement and the two boys walked through the Red Keep towards the barracks.

    Entering the building, Tobor looked around the barracks he’d lived in over the last few years. The complex opened into a common room filled with benches and tables, where two Gold Cloaks sat talking and laughing. The day was cold for King’s Landing so the generally empty hearths were ablaze and roaring with orange flame. Embers crackling and leaping from the fireplaces gently fell to the stone floor.

    Osford offered to take Tobor’s sword back to the weapons room and the Hightower boy thanked him, handing over the blade. As Os went to replace the weapons, Tobor went through a door which led to the men’s quarters. A shout came after Tobor from one of the Gold Cloaks in the common room. “Hightower, get ready to go on patrol soon. We’ve had orders and we need a third man!” Tobor sighed, that must mean Corlys had told them about Selmy.

    Signalling he had heard them, Tobor continued through the doorway. A long corridor stretched far down ahead of Tobor, while doors either side headed into rooms with a handful of beds in. Tobor walked down the corridor and turned off into his allocated room, shutting the door behind him.

    Eight beds were in this room, four on either side of the room, one for each squire to Ser Barristan. Tobor’s was far left in the corner. A great fireplace was at the side of the room, cold and empty, but set ready by the many servants in the Red Keep to be lit. Tobor felt cold and fetched a flint and steel to light the tinder that was in the centre of the wooden pile. He struck it a few times until the flame caught. The heat quickly filled the room as the flames lapped up at the kindling and then logs in the hearth. A crackling sound echoed around the quarters.

    Tobor absent-mindedly prodded at the burning pile with an iron poker as he recollected the events of the day; the patrol, the ambush, Ser Barristan and then, of course, Ser Jayson. The death of Tobor’s mentor weighed heavy on him, how he’d just stood there as the three city watchmen fought, and Corlys too. Would it have been different if Tobor had fought? He supposed he’d never know.

    Standing up, Tobor left the poker in the fire and walked to his bed, pulled out a tunic from under his bed. He dropped it on his mattress and slipped the chain mail from over his head. Tobor placed the mail on the bed then hesitated, looking at both the tunic and mail. He’d be going out on patrol soon, with some gold cloaks to look for Ser Barristan, there was no avoiding that. Soon enough, a captain would enter and tell Tobor to join them and he couldn’t ignore the direct order. Tobor had only disobeyed Janos Slynt because he’d left immediately after giving the order. The captain would not be so easy to avoid.

    Tobor shrugged and put the mail back over his white cotton shirt, then put the red tunic over the chain mail. The metal made a clink as it settled over Tobor’s torso. The boy stretched out his arms and yawned, wondering what to do in the minutes before he would have to go and search for the knight wanted for treason, the knight who taught him much of what he knew. Tobor sighed and took out a pig-skin bag from beneath his bed that held all his belongings in King’s Landing.

    In the bag was; a black tunic embroidered with a silver tower: the sigil of House Hightower, a grey wool cloak, a wooden pendant on a cord that Kallum had carved for him into the shape of a tower, a whetstone and finally a small but sharp knife that Tobor had received from his father for his fourteenth name-day.

    Tobor pulled out the knife and looked it over, watching the firelight glint from the silver, castle-forged steel. He ran his thumb across the blade, feeling the sharpness. It felt mildly dull so Tobor removed the whetstone from the bag and set to work sharpening the blade. The blade itself was the length of Tobor’s finger and twice the width, the boy sat at his bed running the whetstone up and down the knife. The monotonous sound of the stone scraping metal dulled Tobor’s senses as it sharpened the blade. Tobor found his eyes hazing over as he gazed into the fire, seeing the crackles and the embers leaping around.

    The stone slid easily over the steel, soothing Tobor as a log tumbled in the fireplace when the fire consumed more and more. The fire painted a story in Tobor’s mind, of dragons and stags, of towers and wolves. Tobor let his imagination run wild, and told himself he could see two men fighting. As Tobor ran the stone over the knife, one man buried his sword in the other and turned, climbing up the burning logs.

    A sharp knock at the door catapulted Tobor’s mind back into reality, and the boy started as he gripped onto his knife. Shaking his head and chuckling, Tobor dropped the knife and whetstone on his bed and stood up, walked over to the doorway and pulled open the heavy oak door. Standing there was a man dressed in the common clothes of a servant, simple breeches and tunic. He had a clean-shaven face and close cropped black hair that looked like it had only just grown back. Dark brown eyes that looked as cold as the Wall itself stared at Tobor, while a smile covered his face, holding all the warmth in Dorne, all the warmth his eyes lacked.

    “Tobor Hightower? I have a message for you. A letter came just this morning.” The man said with a southern, Westerosi accent. Tobor nodded, “Thank you, I’ll go to the rookery later on this day and collect it.” He said. The man shook his head, “I have it here for you.” He said bluntly. Tobor frowned, not many people in King’s Landing had letters hand-delivered, Lords, nobles and royals perhaps, but not the squire of a knight. “Is something wrong?” The man asked. “No, I’m just not sure why it’s being delivered to me. No matter, you have my thanks.”

    Tobor held out his hand for the letter. The man fumbled inside his tunic pocket and produced a scroll of parchment on it. “I was told it was urgent.” The man said by way of explanation. Tobor’s heart pounded, could it be news of his father? He wondered. Edric had recently had a hunting accident and was being treated by the Maester at Oldtown. Tobor had received a letter explaining the incident and that Edric was hurt but would be alright. Perhaps his condition had worsened!

    The man held out the letter for Tobor to take, but the parchment slipped between their two outstretched hands. The man looked at Tobor, “My mistake, I am so sorry.” He said, cold eyes glinting. Tobor bent down to reach for the message. Straightening up, Tobor began to thank the man again when he was interrupted by a blow to the stomach. The man had punched him! Tobor thought, but then looked down and saw that he was wrong.

    The man had placed one arm around Tobor’s shoulder, drawing the boy closer to him, while the other hand held a dagger, which was thrust into Tobor’s stomach. The dagger’s point had only penetrated Tobor’s tunic and the boy wondered why the steel wasn’t buried in his gut, until he remembered the chain mail he had kept on!

    The man swore and swiped at Tobor’s throat with the knife, Tobor clumsily stumbled back, ducking under the arm holding his shoulder. The man advanced on him, and Tobor picked up a chair, waving it at his attacker, as threateningly as he could. The man put his dagger in his belt and settled into an attacking stance. Tobor swung the chair with all his might, but the man simply stepped out of the way. Tobor swung again, across his body and one of the legs caught the man on his temple. Snarling, the man wheeled away at the impact, he put a hand over his head and growled at Tobor.

    Tobor jabbed the wooden chair at the attacker but he took hold of one of the legs and ripped it from Tobor’s grasp. Tobor stumbled forwards, closer to the attacker who smashed the chair into the boy. Tobor grunted as the wood collided into his ribs, partially protected by the mail. As Tobor staggered backwards, the man threw the chair at him and Tobor covered his head as the wooden object flew towards him. The impact of the chair knocked Tobor from his feet and he hit the stone floor, gasping in pain.

    Lying on the floor, Tobor spotted underneath the beds to his side, his pig-skin bag. With a start, Tobor remembered his knife! The man advanced on the prone squire, drawing his dagger as he did so, Tobor pushed himself to his feet and jumped across the beds, landing on his own one. The man laughed and walked towards Tobor. As he reached the boy, the man lunged forwards with the cold steel of his dagger.

    Tobor reached out with one hand, and grabbed the wrist of the arm that held the dagger. He guided the hand away from Tobor’s throat and towards the right of his torso, trying to make the dagger hit his bed. The point of the dagger hit the chain mail that covered just below his right collar bone. The links of chain that were hit, snapped and broke apart from the powerful blow they were hit with, the point of the dagger slipped between the broken chains and dug into Tobor’s shoulder. It wasn’t deep but it burnt like the fire beside them.

    Tobor hissed in pain and lunged back at the man with his knife that he’d managed to pick up. The man grew wide eyed and put a hand in front of his chest. Tobor shut his eyes and heard a yelp of pain. When he opened his eyes, Tobor saw the man swearing in pain and staring at his hand, which had Tobor’s knife buried into his palm, the blade extended from the back of his hands. The man’s own dagger sat at the foot of Tobor’s bed, the point glistened with Tobor’s blood. Fury shone in his eyes as he grasped the hilt of the dagger and drew it from his hand, the blade making a sickening sound as blood splattered onto the floor like some red waterfall.

    Tobor leapt forward to grab the dagger, but the man grabbed onto Tobor, and pulled him back. Tobor tripped over the man’s leg and fell onto his back with a thud. Groaning, Tobor looked up at the man who looked back down at the boy with his cold eyes and knelt on Tobor’s chest, crushing the breath out of him. Tobor struggled weakly, aiming punches at the man but each one doing less damage than the last.

    The man raised Tobor’s knife, ready to bury it in Tobor’s neck. Tobor writhed on the ground trying to free himself but to no avail. Just as Tobor began to think all was lost, from the corner of his eye he saw a figure and a blur of movement. The man lurched backwards with a large clatter sounding, a tangle of limbs and wood. Corlys had rushed into the room and, with a chair, hit the man hard in the face. Corlys dragged Tobor to his feet, “Are you alright?” He said worriedly.

    “I’m fine, Corlys. Thank you.” Tobor said, wincing in pain as he moved his shoulder. Blood had blossomed into a small patch around the wound, blending with his red tunic. The man struggled to his feet, spitting out a mouthful of blood and teeth, which clattered on the floor like die being thrown. Where was Osford? Tobor thought, hoping that he was alright.

    The man advanced once more, holding a chair leg like a club, the end of it splintered into hundreds of tiny points. He swung at Tobor who jumped back out of the way, again he attacked, swiping the hefty wood at Tobor’s head. The boy ducked beneath it, leaving the improvised weapon to sail above his head. Behind the man, Corlys grabbed the leg as it cleared Tobor’s head, he held on and pulled. The man snarled and pushed with the leg, letting go and sending Corlys lurching back, where he hit the wall and fell, dazed, sitting down.

    The man leapt at Tobor and the boy was too slow, the man wrapping his hands around Tobor’s throat. Tobor coughed and spluttered, hitting weakly at the wrists of the man. The attacker was grinning, his warm smile from before had twisted into something evil. Tobor took hold of the man’s wrists and raked his nails deep into his skin. The man hissed in pain and loosened his grip for a moment, but then snarled and tightened, leaving Tobor to choke for air.

    Taking a step forward, the man pushed Tobor backwards, where the boy tripped over something behind him. Tobor felt himself fall backwards, the ceiling of the room flipped over as Tobor’s head went back. The boy was aware of a sharp pain in his skull as he thought he could feel something hit the back of his head. There were white spots dancing in front of his eyes and it felt as though his head was full of clouds. Tobor moved his hand back to feel his head and noticed that his knuckles collided with a step of some sort, he put his hand on the back of his head and could feel a large welt and bruise on his skull.

    Tobor coughed again, as the man gripped hard. Then Tobor frowned, he could feel heat on his hand. He glanced upwards, along the floor and could see above him, a fireplace, with orange flames licking at the stone of the hearth. Tobor smiled, at least as he died he would see the beacon that was lit atop the High Tower. We light the way. He thought to himself.

    Then all of a sudden, a hand lifted from his throat and Tobor gasped, just enough of the sweet fresh air poured down his throat and into his chest, lifting him. Corlys was latched onto the man, who was still knelt down on Tobor’s stomach with one hand around his throat. Tobor reached backwards, towards the fireplace, where he knew the poker was placed in the fire.

    The man drove an elbow hard into Corlys’ chest and he winced in pain and fell backwards. As the man turned his attention back to Tobor, he placed his other hand around the boy’s throat. Tobor was still reaching for the poker and felt his fingers touch the metal grating around the fireplace. It was hot from the fire and burnt the tips of Tobor’s fingers, the boy winced in pain but continued, desperate to find the poker, his only chance.

    With a moment of triumph, Tobor’s fingers brushed the handle of the poker and Tobor’s heart lurched. He stretched out his fingers with all his being, and grasped onto the iron handle. Tobor went to swing the poker at the man’s face, a hard blow. The poker struck the left side of the man’s face and the poker, having been left in the fire for a small while, was glowing red with heat. The red-hot metal sparked as it smashed into the cheek of the man, who howled in pain at the scorching poker. The man rolled off Tobor and lay on the floor clutching his cheek, Tobor stood up to hit the man again.

    In a burst of anger Tobor brought the poker down onto the man’s face again, but he caught it before, holding it inches from his cheek. Tobor lifted his leg and brought it down hard stamping down on the poker, the metal touched the forehead of the man, above his left eye and was pressed down hard by Tobor’s foot.

    Tobor couldn’t tell which was louder, or which was more haunting, of the two sounds emitted: the agonising scream of the man and the hiss of the steam coming from the burning flesh. A smell of burnt meat whispered around the room, horrifying Tobor. The man’s scream became quieter until it was barely audible, and Tobor stepped back, holding the poker.

    Tobor looked down at the man’s face, the first hit had seared away at the man’s cheek, leaving an angry red burn trailing from his cheek bone down over the corner of his lip and ending on his chin. Black ash or maybe the man’s charred skin, Tobor wasn’t sure which, was all around the blistered, red weeping skin. The second hit had caught him at the forehead, burning through the man’s eyebrow and up to his hairline, where it had scorched the hair away from his skull.

    Seeing what he had done, Tobor dropped the poker where it fell with a clang. He stepped back and looked at Corlys, who was staring at Tobor. “Is-Is he dead?” Corlys asked. Tobor shook his head, “I can see his chest moving, he’s breathing.” Corlys walked to the man and peered at him, to see if he was still conscious. In a flash, the man’s hand shot up and grabbed Corlys. He struggled to his feet and pushed Corlys towards Tobor. The two boys collided and fell to the ground.

    Tobor yelled in pain as his knee was smashed into the stone ground, Corlys rolled off from Tobor and the boys looked up to see the man rush out of the open door. Tobor pushed himself to his feet and ran, half limping, after him. Through the common room, which was empty, Tobor could see no sign of the attacker. He burst through the door which led into the courtyard and cursed and swore when he couldn’t see anybody.

    Corlys came running through the door to join him. “Fuck! He got away?” Corlys said exasperatedly. Tobor nodded, balancing his weight onto one leg. “Come on, he would have to go through the gatehouse to leave the red keep.” Tobor said grimly.

    Tobor and Corlys made their way over to the gatehouse where some guards were making ready to leave their posts, their gold cloaks fluttering in the breeze. Tobor limped over and asked them if they’d seen anyone come through. One of the guards scratched his head, “Aye some bugger passed through not long ago now, you’ve just missed him.” One guard said broadly. Tobor swore. “No need for that language lad.” The other guard chuckled.

    “What did he look like? Did he have a burn on his face?” Corlys demanded. The guard looked thoughtful, “Well we didn’t actually see his face. This bugger were wearing a hood, a big blue hood that covered his face.” He explained. Tobor stared at the guard, “And you didn’t think that looked suspicious?” He said incredulously. The guard looked taken aback, “Well see here, young lad. Lot’s o’ folk come in and out, in and out, all day long. We see all sorts o’ people here. Nobles, Lords, knights and servants. We just thought it were one o’ those.”

    Corlys motioned to a small sack that hung around one of the guard’s waists. “What’s that then?” He asked. The guard moved his cloak to cover it. “Nothin’.” He said quickly. Corlys sighed, “He bribed you, didn’t he?” The guard shook his head, “You’d best be taking that accusation back now.” He said warningly. Corlys raised an eyebrow. “Don’t you mean, ‘best be taking that back now, Ser.’?” He asked.

    “What?” The guard asked, perplexed. Corlys drew himself up to his full height, equalling the guard. “I am a knight, raised to knighthood by Ser Barristan the Bold himself, and you’ll call me Ser when you address me. Now, he bribed you. Didn’t he?” He said curtly.

    The guard glanced at his friend, “Yes he did. I tried to stop him, but he held a knife to my throat and told me not to call for help, then he gave me the gold and told me to let him through. Me and Orson here were just getting ready to go to the barracks and tell everyone there that an intruder was trying to leave the city. I thought maybe it were Ser Barristan trying to escape.” He stopped and then remembered what Corlys was. “Ser.” He added quickly.

    The other guard, Orson, nodded eagerly to back up his friend’s story. Tobor sighed, “That wasn’t Ser Barristan. That man attacked me in my quarters and I fought him off, he fled and I was chasing him.” He explained. The guard let out a deep breath, “Well that’s pretty shit. There’s no way you’ll catch him now, he’ll disappear into Flea Bottom and never be found, or flee the city.” He said. Tobor swore again.

    The guard looked awkward and fiddled with his hands, “So, erm, Ser. Will you be telling anyone I took a bribe? I know they say everyone does it but you won’t tell them, will you?” He asked timidly. Corlys looked at Tobor, who shook his head. “No, I won’t. You just make sure nothing like this happens again.” Corlys said kindly. The guard grinned, “O’ course Ser. I will do!”

    Tobor and Corlys left the two soldiers to finish their duty, when out of earshot and eyesight. Tobor looked to Corlys. “Are you alright?” He asked. Corlys scoffed, “Am I alright? Are you, Tobor? You’ve been beaten, strangled and stabbed.” He responded. Tobor chuckled, “Yes I’m great. I just don’t have any idea why he attacked me. Was it for gold? For hate? Why?” He said. Corlys shrugged, “I can’t answer that. We just need to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We need to act fast. I say we report it, make sure you carry a sword with you at all times and find out who this attacker was and why he was doing it.”

    Tobor ran a hand through his hair. “No, Corlys, I don’t think so.” He said tiredly. Corlys frowned, “What do you mean?” He asked, confused. Tobor sighed, “King’s Landing is no longer a place for me. The King died, Ser Jayson died and now Ser Barristan is wanted for treason. Where is my place? I have decided to go home, back to Oldtown. I’m sure my father will have something for me.” He said.

    Corlys looked sad, “When will you go?” He asked. “You won’t argue with me?” Tobor joked gently. Corlys chuckled, “No, I can tell your mind is set in stone. You’re the worst person to argue with Tobor.” The two boys laughed. “I will leave today, it won’t take long to pack my things.” Tobor said.

    Corlys shook his head, “You’re not going that soon, Hightower. I need to beat your arse into the dirt one more time when we duel.” He laughed. “In any case, you’ll need to say farewell to Osford. He was out on patrol when the attacker came.” Tobor nodded, “I’ll say farewell but I want to get out of this damn city today.”

    Corlys rolled his eyes, “You’re a stubborn prick.” He chided. Tobor flipped his middle finger at the Velaryon boy. Corlys laughed, “Come on Tobor, just stay three more days. That’ll give you time to make your peace with Dryden Moore.”

    Tobor rubbed his eyes in mock frustration. “You just don’t bloody stop, do you?” He said. Corlys made a clicking sound with his tongue. “You know you want to stay.” He said. Tobor stopped to think, this city was a dangerous place. If anything had taught him that, it was this one day, with all that had happened in it. But it held many of his friends, perhaps his greatest friends in the world. Should he stay? “Corlys.” He said. Corlys nodded, “Yeah?”

    “Why were you coming to the room, when you did. When the attacker was there?” Tobor asked. Corlys grinned cheekily, “I was coming to tell you that I had decided not to tell those Gold Cloaks about Ser Barristan being there. When I got into the barracks, the Gold Cloaks in the common room asked me what was going on with the shouts, I told them I didn’t know, and it was something to do with the court.

    Then I went to the weapons room and put my sword back, Osford came in and we chatted for a short while, then we both went through the common room, heading to the room, when the Gold Cloaks there told us they needed one of us for patrol. Osford said he would and that I should go and tell you about Ser Barristan. So, I did. Had I decided to tell them about Ser Barristan, perhaps it would be a rather different story and you may not be stood here.” Corlys said.

    Tobor nodded, “Perhaps I would be lifeless by the fireplace.” He said sombrely. Corlys clapped his hands, “But, that is not what happened and all is well in the world. Now, have you decided to stay yet?” He asked, smiling.

    [Stay for a few more days] [Leave King’s Landing Immediately]

    “I’ve made my choice.” Tobor said.

    “Hello Tobor.” Said Tazhyn zo Merreq. She was wearing a pale blue dress which looped over one shoulder and left her midriff bare, which Tobor did not fail to notice. The cut she had from the whip was on her cheek, it was only a small one, but it had been deep and would scar. Her dark brown hair was coiled up in a braid that hung over her left shoulder, a copper ring at the end of the braid fell just at her bare stomach. “Tobor?” She said.

    Tobor started, she had said something to him. “Y-Yes sorry Tazhyn. I didn’t hear you.” Tazhyn raised an eyebrow, “I asked if you were alright?” Tobor shrugged, “Apart from the hand, eye, chest and stomach wounds, I am perfect.” He said dryly. Tazhyn smiled softly. “I saw your fight.” She said quietly.

    Tobor’s heart threatened to burst from his chest, what did Tazhyn think? Was she angry at him or worried for him? Perhaps both. Tobor’s heart raced as he remembered the fight against Ātsio hen Gryves, the beheading, and everything afterwards. He remembered the look in Tazhyn’s eyes as Tobor had thrown the head towards the Master’s box. Tobor almost laughed when he realised how much he cared what this girl thought of him.

    “I don’t know what you want me to say, Tazhyn. I was trying to show your father that no matter what he did to me, I would not submit to him.” Tobor said, hoping Tazhyn would take it well. “You should submit, then you would not face so much pain, not only for yourself but for Miro too.” Tazhyn said, her expression unreadable.

    “I can’t do that. Not now. Not to him.” Tobor said firmly. Tazhyn did not take that well. “Well then I hope you are happy with causing pain to Miro! Each time you defy my father, someone else gets hurt.” She said angrily.

    “So, you want me to bow down to him? Kiss his mighty sandals?” Tobor snorted. Tazhyn looked at him warningly, “Don’t mock me Tobor, I know that you don’t want to submit. And I’m not saying you need to be his greatest friend, but do not defy him. If he tells you to do something, do it. Perhaps there is still time to reconcile this before it gets you or Miro killed. I-I do not want that.” Tazhyn said.

    “Tazhyn I can’t. Your father wants me dead, you know it’s true. That is why I have so many pit fights, I’m just surprised he hasn’t sent someone to kill me in my cell yet.” He said bitterly. Tazhyn looked annoyed, “Tobor, all my father wants of you is silver and gold. I do not believe he wants you dead. Not for a moment.” She said decisively. Tobor stared at her, considering whether to tell her about the hooded man. He chose his next words carefully, “I think you do know that your father wants me dead. Just think about the pit fight I had yesterday.”

    Tazhyn laughed, interrupting him. “Yes, let us talk about how you brutally murdered someone and dishonoured and mutilated their corpse by beheading it and throwing a severed head to me. Not exactly honourable like your knights in your stories.” Tobor sighed, so that was how she felt. “That’s not what I wanted to talk about. I needed to show your father I wasn’t scared, and especially so, because he sent me into the fight with a blunt…”

    Tazhyn interrupted again, “Would your Ser Serwyn of the Mirror Shield and your Dragonknight be proud of you if they’d seen you? Were you chivalrous?” She asked cuttingly. Tobor took a deep breath to remain calm. “I regret it Tazhyn, I had lost a lot of blood, I was bleeding all in the sand. I couldn’t think straight because of the heat and blood loss.” He explained.
    “So, you’re giving me excuses now, Tobor? Would you do the same if you were there now?” She demanded. Tobor lost his patience. “Yes!” He shouted, Tazhyn looked taken aback. “I would. Only because your father sent me in, to die, with a practice sword. That sword I was given was as dull as a slab of wood. I would have died, if I was even a slight bit less fortunate. I needed to show your father, that even though he wanted me dead. I would not stop fighting.” He said, breathing heavily.

    Tazhyn looked shocked, she was breathing heavily too. “I-I don’t believe you.” She whispered, not even convincing herself. “Yes, you do.” Tobor replied. “You know it’s true. Think back to the fight, when I was able to hold the blade with no cuts, when the blade hit my shoulder with no cuts, when I slashed Ātsio and it didn’t pierce his skin.”

    Tazhyn shook her head, “It can’t be true, Tobor, it can’t be. Please tell me it’s not true.” She begged, whispering. Tobor put a hand on her shoulder.

    “Tazhyn, your father is a monster. I’m sorry but it is true. He ordered the whipping of Miro without a second thought, simply to get to me. Thirty lashes it was, you felt the force of one, perhaps not even one, on your arm and face. Imagine that pain, thirty-fold greater. That is what your father would have made Miro endure. After you were gone, he beat me. Beat me against the wall, he kicked me when I was down and I’m sure he would have killed me. Now, he has set me up to die. I’ve discovered that he is plotting with another Westerosi to kill me. And yet, you’d still protect him?” Tobor asked.

    “I-I don’t know what to say.” Tazhyn said, her brown eyes gazing up at Tobor. “All this time, I just believed my father was a tough man trying to make gold. But for him to try to kill you? I’d never thought he could go that far.” She admitted, her voice shaking. “Tobor… My father… I love him but-but he is a murderer.” Tazhyn’s big brown eyes filled with tears at the admission, they rolled down her cheeks and fell to her chest and the floor.

    Tobor stood awkwardly, unsure what to say. Before he could say anything, Tazhyn buried her face in Tobor’s chest and tears fell on his stomach. Tobor winced at the pain in his wound but ignored it and wrapped his arms around Tazhyn, hugging her tight. The two of them stood for what seemed, to Tobor, like hours before Tazhyn lifted her head, red eyed and thanked Tobor.

    Tobor removed his arms and Tazhyn sat on his bed, “Tobor, my father… Reznar told me what would happen to you next. He is planning a huge fight for you. One that I do not know if you can survive.” Tobor sat beside her, “I’ve made it this far, yes?” He said encouragingly. Tazhyn shook her head, “Nothing like this. He’s heard you saying things like, ‘By the Seven’ and ‘Seven Hells’, so he has decided to make a Faith of the Seven themed fight. There will be seven fighters, one for each of the gods. He’s going to, as he put it, ‘test your faith’. Seven fights, Tobor.” She said anxiously.

    Tobor took a deep breath, he had to show Tazhyn he wasn’t afraid. “I can do it.” He said firmly. “I’m going to do it. I made myself a promise I would return to Westeros and see the Wall. I will not die until I have done just that.” Tazhyn smiled weakly and wiped her nose, she sniffed. “I’m glad you’re confident but you must be careful. I-I don’t want… well just don’t get killed.” She said.

    Tobor nodded, “I won’t. When is he planning it?” He asked. Tazhyn shrugged, “I don’t know, probably a few days. He won’t do it when you’re healing. At least I don’t think he will. In the meantime, I will not be able to visit again. My father is away visiting the zo Loraq Pyramid for the day but he will be back and I cannot come anymore. I wanted to come and wish you good fortune, and I hope that I will see you once more, after you win the fight.” Tazhyn said.

    Tobor thanked her, and Tazhyn leant over kissing Tobor on the cheek, her lips lightly brushing his skin. Tazhyn stood up, slightly red and walked to the doorway, she produced a key and opened the door, as she pulled the door she turned to face Tobor, smiling. “Fight well, little hero.” She said softly.

    Tobor stood up. He quite probably wouldn’t see Tazhyn again, this girl who had been messing with his mind for the last months. She was about to leave. Tobor looked her in her brown eyes.

    [Kiss her on the Cheek] [Let her go]

  • [Kiss her on the Cheek]

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part II Tobor shook his head, “I won’t make Ser Barristan’s life any more difficult. We won’t tell any G

  • I just wanted to say that, you forgot to vote on the other choice.

    [Kiss her on the Cheek]

  • [Leave King’s Landing Immediately]

    If I were him, and some maniac attacked me, I would probably want to get out of the city as soon as possible.

    [Kiss her on the Cheek]

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part II Tobor shook his head, “I won’t make Ser Barristan’s life any more difficult. We won’t tell any G

  • [Leave King’s Landing Immediately][Kiss her on the Cheek]

  • [Leave King’s Landing Immediately]

    Oh man, it seems this guy really has unfinished business with Tobor. We now have confirmation that Tobor at least did not know him before this attack, but we know he is a southern Westerosi now and that gave me a new theory. Maybe he has less of a grudge against Tobor and more one against the entirety of House Hightower? I mean, what could one squire do to earn this guys hatred in such a way? Seems more likely that he was screwed over by some Hightower and now considers Tobor the target that is the least guarded. That does sound like a likely possibility, that he's out to kill Hightower's in general, but that Tobor's act of disfiguring him caused him to become the primary Hightower target. Only the guy himself can answer this, given that Tobor has absolutely no idea whom he is or why he is out to kill him.

    [Kiss her on the Cheek]

    Dare I say, I ship it? I'm actually not sure if I ship it, but hells, why not? Tazhyn won me over, so I approve of this. Only thing I am not sure about is how she will react. I was already very much afraid when she ranted at him earlier, even if she brought up a couple of understandable points. I like these two, but given how we previously messed up on accident, I am a bit concerned she could consider this as too brazen. At the same time, I am even more concerned this could end up a missed chance, so I prefer if Tobor at least tries his luck.

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part II Tobor shook his head, “I won’t make Ser Barristan’s life any more difficult. We won’t tell any G

  • Thanks but I want to think first then I will vote.I need more time and the second choice is to easy to vote.U know why :)

    I just wanted to say that, you forgot to vote on the other choice.

  • [Immediately leave the king's fucking landing]
    There is no point staying here and Tobor is a target.Bye Bye king's landing

    Crucial Fights and Tested Faith Part II Tobor shook his head, “I won’t make Ser Barristan’s life any more difficult. We won’t tell any G

Sign in to comment in this discussion.