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Yohn Royce didn't even bother holding his sword or arm up in victory. As soon as the last opponent lay on the ground of the melee field, Lord Royce dropped to a knee in front of the king.
I held my hand out, with a smug look on my face towards Brandon. He shot me a look, but dug into his pocket and fished out some coins before dropping them into my hand. I stuck my hand inside my coin purse, and deposited the money into my inventory sneakily.
Gold Dragons: 9,600
Silver Stag: 0
Copper Penny: 0
My grin got even devious, if it was possible.
"Another tourney won for ole Yohn." Brynden said with a grin as he looked upon the scene.
It was a miraculous thing actually. Yohn was no spring chicken, and yet he seemed to avoid every strike he could and tanked the ones he couldn't. I couldn't help but latch on to the runes carved into the armor that covered his frame. I tried my best to memorize them, but I knew that it wouldn't stick.
"Why do you think that is?" Lyanna asked, turning around in the stands to face us. Her, Eddard, Brandon, and Howland all sat directly beneath us.
"Some say it is the armor." Brandon answered. Yet when he said it, he was looking at Brynden for confirmation. It was more of a question than a statement.
"I couldn't tell you." Brynden answered quickly. "But I have seen him move a foot to the side randomly, only for an arrow to pierce the location he was just in. I don't know if it was the runes or just pure luck." The Blackfish said while staring at the runes on Yohn's breastplate. "Either way, it's magic to me."
The party I was sitting with laughed at the joke, but I carefully looked to see Howlands reaction. What I saw was comforting. He wasn't laughing, but instead was looking at the others as if they were buffoons. I made it a point to confront him about greensight soon. I tried not to think about what I would do if I was wrong and he had no clue about it.
I stood up, feeling restless after watching all the violence going on beneath me.
"Where are you going?" Brynden asked once he saw me moving.
"All that fighting got my blood pumping. I think I'll see if Red is up for another thrashing." I said with a wink as I moved away.
In reality, I was headed towards the gardens, where the weirwood called. I really wanted to see who the Knight of the Laughing Tree was.
It had taken me four days. Four fucking days to find out who the Knight of the Laughing Tree was. The worst part was that the fans were right, once again.
I flew beside the knight as she fled through the maze of tents outside of Harrenhal's walls. My arms were crossed as I tracked her. I constantly looked behind us to track our pursuers, and sure enough, everytime Lyanna turned a corner, her pursuer Rhaegar Targaryen caught a glimpse of her and continued after her.
Arthur was nowhere to be found, although he had kept up for a while. He had ran into a group of knights a ways back and been held up. The other men that started with Rhaegar were nowhere to be found.
Soon, Lyanna began shedding armor. First it was the shield, then the greaves, then the helmet. It took her a while to get the breastplate off. It was like bread crumbs for Rhaegar. Lyanna couldn't have known he was still hot on her trail, as she had been running for a while now and would have lost most pursuers.
Eventually she tucked herself behind a part of the castle walls and pried the breastplate off of her, followed by her greaves. Once her last bit of armor fell, Rhaegar turned the corner.
When they made eye contact, I had seen all that I needed to. The two soon to be lovers both spoke at the same time as I flew away. The sound of them recognizing each other was one of familiarity. I did not miss the absence of titles and ranks. It made me even angrier.
"Funny meeting you here." I called out.
Howland nearly jumped out of his skin and turned around quickly. The crannogman recognized me quickly, and calmed himself though.
"Hello Petyr." He said awkwardly. Howland wasn't much of a talker, you see.
"Come to visit the weirwood?" I asked innocently.
It wasn't an odd question. He was of the north, and they took to the Old Gods. It was tradition to pray at the weirwood, as it was to marry at them. But I was asking a deeper question. 'Were you here to do something more, perhaps?'
"Yes. It helps me think." Howland answered confidently, as if he had practiced the answer in the mirror.
Playing hard to get, are you? I thought. Fuck it.
"I dreamt of meeting you here tonight." I told him, so low it was almost a whisper.
"So did I."
That nearly floored me, and it took every ounce of willpower not to let it show on my face. Oh how the turn tables, my friend.
"I can never see past this point." I said, trying my best to keep the act going.
"Some get to choose what they see, others do not." Howland retorted.
All of a sudden our conversation turned from my confrontation of Howland, to his mentoring of me? I had to take control of the conversation soon.
"Can you?" I asked, playing the young padawan.
"No." Howland answered quickly. It was obvious that he was being honest with me.
"I can." I said, partially contradicting myself from earlier. "But not when." I elaborated. That was actually true.
Greenseeing Lvl 10.
Present: Range of 100 miles.
I had leveled the skill up a lot over the past few days, but it was still slow going. I mean, if the progress of the skill continued, at level 100, I would only be able to see 1000 miles. Yet, I still couldn't see in the past or future.
"I cannot help you. No one can." Howland told me. He immediately walked past me to the tree, without even bothering to look back at me. It was an obvious dismissal.
I would get no help from Howland. Nor would he help me build an army of greenseers apparently. That was a bummer, and the end to one of my master plans of leading an army of magicians against the White Walkers.
Or is it? Just because he cannot help me, does not mean it won't happen. Just might take a while.
I made sure to study the face of Elia.
She looked so happy as the crowd roared and cheered and cried for their Prince. What a wondrous performance he had displayed unhorsing opponent after opponent. I took no joy in knowing what was about to happen.
She stared at her husband, and the father of her children as he clutched the crown of blue winter roses in his hand and took them from Arthur.
Did the Sword of the Morning know what was about to happen?
Elia had eyes for literally nothing else besides the Prince.
I knew their marriage had mostly been one out of duty to their families. There was not a lot of love to be had between the two of them. But when put in circumstances as they were, you had to make due with what you had. Perhaps they were on their way to a healthy and happy marriage. It had worked for Ned and Catelyn after all…
The look in Elia's eyes as Rhaegar rode up to her, made me think that she was already in love with the Prince.
That spawned a thought. Was it Rhaegar all along, who wouldn't allow their marriage bloom into love? Did he think she was unworthy because of her overall health? Did he despise her because the best choice for him was Cersei Lannister?
The entire realm knew it. And yet, his father had snubbed Tywin and married him to Elia. Did he resent her for the actions of his father? And things outside of her control?
Rhaegar rode past Elia.
Her face turned to confusion immediately, as she watched him ride away. Pure euphoria and then confusion.
The crowd quieted. You could not imagine the silence. Over a thousand people all cheering for their Prince, only to be quieted in a single moment.
Rhaegar reached Lyanna, three rows in front of me.
Elia's face betrayed her. Pure euphoria, confusion, and then devastation.
My heart hurt for her, although I knew it was coming. I didn't even know the woman, but I knew she deserved better. A better man, a better husband, a better father, a better body. But fate was not so kind.
Soon enough, Elia schooled her face. The hurt and betrayal turned into anger, a smoldering rage. I looked away from her, to see how the Prince was feeling about the moment.
Rhaegar had eyes for only one person in the stands. Did he even realize what he was doing?
Lyanna accepted the crown of blue winter roses with a smile so large, it was obvious she didn't know the implications of what was happening. That was the look of a woman who was getting everything she wanted.
I didn't have to be a Greenseer to know what had happened between the two of them the day before. Lyanna had been glowing all day, and overly happy with the world.
So naive. You really do think it is as easy as eloping with the Prince don't you?
You have no idea how many lives you just ruined, how many people will die in the rebellion to come, High and lowborn.
The anger that I knew was filling Elia somehow made its way into my chest. It smoldered, as I imagined Elia did.
The worst part about it?
Lyanna couldn't care less. She was in paradise.
The show and books hadn't really done Lyanna and Rhaegar justice. Most people claimed that Rhaegar had kidnapped Lyanna…
That was bullshit.
If one were to pay attention, as I had the rest of the tournament, they would see how utterly in love the two of them were. Perhaps it was more prudent to say 'in lust', because they had been fucking like rabbits.
It was not obvious to anyone but me, as they were smart and did it during the day, when they both had alibi's. I never stayed around to watch them complete the act, but I didn't need to.
Fleeting glances, made in each other's direction, made it seem like a fairy tail.
Perhaps I wasn't the only one to notice. The people of this world were much more promiscuous. Maybe they accepted that the prince would take liberties with women. Maybe they didn't care.
All I knew was that they had never faced the wrath of Robert. Neither had I, but I would not want to put myself on the receiving end of it, that's for sure.
The tournament, which was supposedly the greatest ever held, turned sour for me. The next few days flew by, and it felt like I was watching the realm fall apart at the seams before my very eyes.
Rhaegar had called the Lord's of the kingdom together to plot against his father.
Instead, he doomed his family to ruin.
"You'll have to come to Storms End when Jon releases me!" Robert said as he sat on the back of a particularly strong horse. "I won't be able to attend Brandon's wedding."
"I will, of course." I said with a smile. "We'll share a flagon of wine and piss into a storm!" I joked.
We'll be seeing each other sooner than you know.
Robert laughed as he rode off to join the rest of his party. Him and the rest of the Starks were together, to allow Ned some more time with family on the road, and Robert more time to woo Lyanna. He would be unsuccessful.
"Are you ready?" Brynden asked as he rode up beside me.
"Yes, I've been meaning to ask you something." I said as he got close.
"What is it?" The Blackfish asked as our horses began walking.
Ser Brynden, Red, and I were riding with a party of knights. We were separate from Hoster and his group, as Brynden had his own party of men loyal to him. Arguably men that were more experienced and loyal.
"I was hoping to visit the Fingers…" I said a little tentatively.
I knew that Brynden wouldn't let me. It would be stupid, of course. Why the fuck would he ride at least two months out of the way for me, a squire?
"Worried about your coin, eh?" The Blackfish asked as he chuckled.
He was talking about the excuse I had given him about the 10,000 gold dragons I received from the archery contest. I told him that I had hired a couple of mercenaries in the dead of night to carry the money to Baelish Keep, where it would stay in safe keeping until I returned to rule over the lands.
At the time, it was a convenient excuse to get everyone off of my back of where the money could go.
Now I saw it as an opportunity to get away from Riverrun and buy time until the wedding of Brandon and Catelyn sometimes next year. This would also coincide with when Rhaegar would 'kidnap' Lyanna as she traveled with her brother.
Well, I would much rather be trying to earn knighthood on the road, while also visiting the land that I technically lorded over, than be stuck in Riverrun under the watchful gaze of Hoster Tully.
"I admit that it was a ridiculously stupid thing to do." I said sheepishly, acting the part perfectly.
"Best you forget about that money Petyr. It's as good as spent already. Those men took off with it in the night, and you'll never see it again." Brynden said with a disappointed look on his face. Apparently, my excuse was not only believable, but made the man question my ability to manage my money.
"I would hate not to confirm my genius, or my idiocy." I said with a shrug.
Brynden and I fell into silence then, and I was once again left to my thoughts on the saddle of Gimli.
"It would piss Hoster off, wouldn't it?"
That broke me out of my thoughts, and I looked to Brynden in partial confusion. There was no way that he was actually considering going to Baelish Keep.
"It would." I said with a grin. "Who would make sure Riverrun didn't burn to the ground?" I asked, antagonizing him.
"He would have to!" Brynden said as he barked out a laugh. "That's the best part!"
We laughed together, as our third party member threw his two cents in. "I've never been to the Vale. It's sure to be an adventure." Ben said from his place beside me.
"I haven't had a proper adventure in a while…" The Blackfish claimed as we continued to ride in the opposite direction of the Vale.
In a fit of brilliance, I asked the perfect question to a man like the Blackfish. A man that is renowned for his military skill. A man that values independence more than most things in his life. A man that fought on the stepstones and personally witnessed Barristan Selmy's duel with Maelys Blackfyre. A man of action.
"When was the last time you drew your sword?"
Skill Level Up!
Manipulation Lvl 53!
It took every ounce of strength I had to deflect the massive weapon from my head. Why had I thought it would be a good idea to challenge the soon to be legendary warrior to a spar? And as soon as our party caught back up to theirs and Jon Arryn's.
Truly, I was not the brightest crayon in the box.
"That could have killed me!" I accused as I lashed out with a kick. It landed on the midsection of my opponent, but did not knock him down. And I had kicked him fucking hard.
Bigger they are, the harder they fall, my ass cheeks.
"Stop running then little man! Hahahah!" Robert yelled as he swung his warhammer at me again.
As there was no 'blunting' a warhammer, considering blunt force trauma was the whole point of such a weapon, he was given a crude version with a wooden handle and a rock head. It was surprisingly well balanced, but nothing like the real warhammer attached to his saddle.
It was lighter than the real thing, but weight was not an issue to a man like Robert.
I stepped back, completely ignoring Robert's jab about running from him. That was exactly what I was doing and I refused to stop, actually.
I lashed out with a cut towards his right shoulder. Robert twirled the hammer, and the long handle snapped up to deflect my blow. He allowed his wrist to continue with the movement and sent another strike with the business end.
I switched up my tactic, and deflected it before closing the distance quickly. My sword rose and smacked him on the throat before he could react. He was used to chasing me the entire time, and hadn't expected me to suddenly charge him and execute a move so quickly and efficiently.
Unluckily for me, it would only work one time.
Robert dropped his warhammer and his hands went to his throat like I had actually cut it open and wasn't using a wooden, blunted, training sword. Then I realized that I must have struck him pretty hard because he coughed a few times. I stepped back to him, to make sure that he was ok.
All of a sudden, his hammer was back in his hands and it was impacting my ribs.
I felt two ribs break immediately, and I was the one to drop my weapon and fall to a knee.
"Ah!" I couldn't help but cry out as it happened. Immediately, I began taking short breaths, as pain lanced up and down my side. Not willing to look weak, I began grinding my teeth, and forced out a low grunt as the initial pain began to fade.
That was when my anger sparked.
"Ahaahahaha, got you, you son of a whore!" Robert bellowed as if he had just won some major triumph.
He looked to the thirty or so onlookers of knights, only to find them not laughing and staring at him like he had just robbed them blind. He got confused at their looks, wondering why they weren't laughing.
They were too busy worrying about me and my ribs, as they should have been. The spark of anger in my chest blossomed into a fire, as he made his joke. It wasn't because I was offended at my mother, no it was because he had the audacity to pull such a cowardly stunt and then joke about it when he broke my ribs.
I couldn't help it, Robert was facing away from me, and I wanted retribution. I forced myself onto my feet, and began to ignore the pain as much as I could.
I took one step, balled a fist, and connected it right on the back of his head.
Once again the sound rang out through the clearing, but I knew it wasn't anything major. The skull was much more durable than the ribs. It was the sound of bone hitting bone, not bone giving way and breaking.
Robert fell to the ground with a grunt.
But I didn't let him get up. This would not be a fight. This was going to be an ass-whooping for pulling some stupid shit like he did and breaking my ribs.
I fell on top of him and swung again, and again, and again, and again. The fucking monster wouldn't fucking go to sleep. His head just kept jerking back, and dazing him, but not actually knocking him out. I refused to stop until he was unconscious.
I would not be allowed to.
Arms grabbed my own, and yanked me off of the man who would one day become usurper causing even more pain to shoot down my side. I almost turned to the man who did it and began wailing on him. Until I noticed Robert still laying there on the ground.
His face was bloody, his nose was crooked, and everything was about to start swelling up. I hadn't even realized that I was doing that much damage.
Even with all that, Robert stood up on solid legs, completely alert and with rage on his face. He moved towards me, to enact his own retribution. I was completely game and tried to get out of my captors arms.
Ten knights stood in front of me, almost without warning, facing Robert with the intent to harm.
"Get out of my damned way!" Robert bellowed.
"You're lucky I made them stop you fucking oaf." It was the Blackfish that spoke this time. He had his sword in his hand and was within killing distance of Robert.
"He attacked me!" Robert said while pointing at me.
"You did the most cowardly thing I had ever seen someone do in a spar. You broke his fucking ribs you godsbedamned fool! It's a wonder he's still standing after that blow!" Brynden retorted, almost equally as loud as Robert, as impressive of a feat that was.
"A little tap like that wouldn't break any…"
It suddenly became hard to breathe, even more so than before. That's when I finally saw the exclamation mark at the corner of my vision. If I would have been able to see and read it, I would have seen the INTERNAL BLEEDING, CORRECT IMMEDIATELY! Prompt that appeared.
As it was however, some liquid was coming out of my throat. I coughed it up without even thinking about it, causing it to be even harder to breath.
+10% to skill training.
+10% to growth.
+5% to health.
Fuck! Consume! Consume! Consume! Consume!…
My breathing finally eased a bit, but I could still feel the blood flowing.
"Shit, he's fucking choking!"
Then, without warning, my airways got constricted again. I coughed blood again.
"Out of my way!"
I looked up, for anyone to help me. Everyone had backed away from me, everyone but Ben. I realized in that moment that I was on my back, and not in the arms of the knights anymore.
Ben's face quickly moved to the side as another appeared in my vision. Robert Baratheon looked down on me, with obvious shock and panic on his face.
"No no, you bloody fool you can't die!" Robert said as he dropped to a knee in front of me.
I felt like I was dying. I was going to fucking die. I was going to die!
Fuck that. What would help, what gives me boosts to healing? What could I…
"Weirwood!" I half yelled, half choked out. Blood splattered Robert's face, and my vision got foggy.
"What did he say!?" Robert asked.
"Take me to a fucking weirwood! Now!" I responded. Somehow I got the words out without coughing up any more blood.
My vision faded again, and I did my best to wheeze in air through the blood flowing out of my throat. Randomly I felt myself float in the air, and my vision faded even further.
"Out of the way!"
Was I bouncing?
"Where is a fucking weirwood tree!?"
Consume! Consume! Consume!
I woke up as my head jerked to the side.
"Stay awake! We're here at the weirwood!" Robert's voice said as my feet touched the earth beneath me and he stood me up.
I instinctively reached a hand out to catch myself from falling on the weirwood tree that appeared in front of me. At the same time, I blood practically poured out of my mouth splattering the tree in front of me.
Three sharp pains touched the ribs that Robert had hit me in.
"What in the seven hells?!" Robert asked, as if the Warrior himself had just descended onto the plains of Westeros.
I looked down to my stomach, where the three pains had emanated from and a new feeling was emerging. It was the feeling of something moving inside of me. Sticking out of my ribs were three different bone-white branches, coming out of the trunk of the weirwood tree in front of me.
Pain, unadulterated pain. The type that makes you lose the strength to stand. I would have fallen, if the weirwood in front of me had allowed it. It kept me up, with the strength of the three branches embedded in my skin.
My vision faded to black for a moment, as another movement shifted something inside of me. It felt like someone was ripping my soul out of my skin.
"Ahhh!" I couldn't help it. Blood splattered once again as I cried out.
I took the deepest breath of my entire life, as it felt like something in my ribs was set back into the perfect place. I literally felt my bones leave my lungs and fall back into their natural position, as I assumed that was what caused me to be hemorrhaging blood.
Something impacted my back, and I turned to it, clawing my arms up as I tried to catch myself from falling and further damaging my ribs. Anything, to never feel what I had just felt even again.
"I gotcha Petyr. I got ya!" Robert's voice said right behind my head as he lifted me up.
Air couldn't enter my healed lungs fast enough, and that caused me to go into another coughing fit. I was overjoyed to see that blood wasn't following the air I was spitting up.
I leaned on Robert for what had to be another ten minutes, just trying to breathe normal again.
Eventually, I got my breathing and my heartbeat down to where it needed to be. Not completely normal, but not a damn near heart attack either.
"Petyr, what just happened?" Robert whispered.
I pried myself off of him, and stood on shaky legs in front of him. It took me a while to push past the panic that still resided in my head to answer him. Eventually, I reached a conclusion.
"You hit me with that fucking warhammer, broke all of my ribs and collapsed my lung almost killing me." I answered before taking a breath. "And then you brought me to a weirwood, where I was healed and brought back from the brink of death. I think that about sums it up."
At that moment, knights came pouring into the clearing with their swords drawn as if they were coming to bring back a murderer. I had a feeling that was exactly what they were thinking of doing with Robert.
"Stop Robe…. Petyr are you alright?" It was Brynden, along with his company of knights.
I held a hand up to him. "Just fine." I said comically. "Sorry about that coughing fit I had, I'm not sure what came over me."
"How the hell are you alive?"
End of Chapter!
Whoa! What the hell just happened?
That came out of nowhere right? Robert doesn't even know his own strength. And what will he say about what he saw?
What do you guys think his reaction will be?
Let's talk about it in the reviews!