A Song of Ice and Fire.
A pauper knights tale
A fortuitous meeting
As we were scouring the lands for employment. A messenger notified us about the large festivities which were going to take place in Kings Landing. Presence is mandatory, absence is insulting.
We have been on the road for a couple of weeks now. Food and coin is scarce. We can’t take any contracts. There is not much time left to get in Kings Landing. But nevertheless I need to feed my men, the morale is getting lower and our bellies are like empty barrels. Even when I think about it my stomach acts up. Suddenly my thoughts are drawn back from reminiscing when I hear the sounds of battle in the distance. I order my men to prepare themselves as we ride towards the disturbance. Perhaps there is coin to be had.
As we ride forth we see a village which is under attack from what seems to be about forty-ish bandits or robbers. The men are anxious. This is their way of life. The way of the sword. I raise my hand. The sound of swords being drawn, spears being readied and lances that are being lowered sound like music to my ears. I drop my arm and unleash my dogs of war with the words: “Death before Defeat!” The same words echo from twenty mouths as we charge ahead. Hooves throw up dirt from the ground, clattering like heavy drums. In our wake we leave nothing but dust. Steel clashes upon steel, cries and shouts form the melody of war, blood colours the sand. The battle is short but fierce. The robbers are put down to the blade till the last man. There is no mercy for such rabble. In the distance there is a lone rider who escapes into the forest, who was he? A scout? The leader? I guess I’ll never know. The oddest thing is that the robbers wore House colours. Black and yellow or gold even.
We claim our prize from the fallen. The prospect of being able to buy some more supplies, food and drink makes me anxious. While I oversee the operation. The villagers come to me and thank me for coming to their aid. They ask me if we wanted to stay somewhat longer in case the bandits would return. They offer us food and drink and a place to recover. I look at my men and I can only accept. The prospect of a meal and a drink would definitely increase morale even more. I talk with the villagers while enjoying a meal offered by them. As I gulp down the last draught of my pint, I spot a new bad of armed men at the edge of the forest. About sixty strong, they wear the same colours as the previous band.
A barked command and the men prepare for another onslaught as defensive positions are taken. I tell the villagers to hide in their houses till the battle is over.
Not much later the chaos of war surrounds me once more. Clatter of metal, cries of anger and pain, bodies at my feet. The battle if fierce but we manage to hold our ground. Through the dust clouds from the fighting I see another band of warriors at the southernmost edge of the forest. They bear the same colours of the ones we are fighting. By the seven, is this where my line will end? Have I endured so much for it to end here? They will not get me so easily. I’ll sell my life dearly! I shout “Death before Defeat!” and throw myself once more into the array. Hoping to finish this band off before the next one would arrive.
You can imagine my surprise when arrows start to rain down… upon the robbers! Perhaps these men are not reinforcements? Perhaps the robbers are actually deserters? In response the robbers turn around and charge the archers who have been assailing them from a distance. A unit of what seems to be Lannister infantry move forward to catch the brunt of the charge.
I reform my unit and wheel towards the flank of the enemy. “Death before Defeat!” As hooves once more form a rhythmic staccato upon the soil. We hit their flank good and swipe them away together with the other troops. There are few survivors amongst the enemies.
I express my gratitude towards the leader of the band and proper introductions are being made. It seems I happened upon the heir of house Carwin. Ser Christopher Carwin is accompanied by whom seems to be his bastard brother ser Richard Snow and another knight named ser Elric Sandborn. I recount what had happened here. ser Christopher is annoyed that these robbers are wearing the colours of his house. He says that they’re trying to frame him. He also tells me that they’re on the road to Kings Landing. Travelling with them might be a good idea. First, there is strength in numbers and second, house Carwin is rich.
In the meantime I order my men to clean up the bodies and make sure we can eat for a few more days. Looting the dead is a necessity, it is better than to rob and murder. They are spoils of war after all and belong to the victor. After doing that, we hand all tabards with the Carwin colours to ser Christopher, so that no one can use them any more.
Ser Christopher talks to the villagers and they tell him that the local lord lives about half a day to the south. So he decides to go there and explain the situation to said lord. I ride along with them to assist them with my own observations about what had happened.
We stay overnight near the castle and ser Christopher has an audience with the lord where he clears up the misunderstanding about the robbers. He also makes use of the local Lord’s questioner which gives him a couple of answers. After the questioning the prisoners were deftly executed by hanging. The next morning we leave for Kings Landing.
The rest of the road towards Kings Landing was rather quiet. Well if you can call meeting the occasional small band of robbers quiet. But those were a mere nuisance. Bands of five to ten robbers are no match for our steel.
As we arrived, one of the heralds asked me whom I was. It seems they have forgotten already about my house. I’m not really surprised, for it would remind them of the war which they’d rather forget. Anyway I had to head over to the House Lannister camp to find accommodations. Which I did, me and my unit stayed with the other hedge knights in the rear. I don’t mind since there seems to be food and drink for my men. It is a consolidation for me. And it is a chance to find employment. Having a unit of experienced fighters with me greatly increases that chance as well.