She woke, for the first time in what seemed like an age she could see without the constant haze and light headedness. Turning she almost fell from her bed as an apparition stood in front of her, could it be, surely not, she mused. In front of her, she could have sworn, stood her maid, but surely her eyes still deceived her as she wore a large sword strapped to her back, as they wore in the days of old. The maid spoke “I’ll fetch the Maester now that you are awake and draw you a nice warm bath”. The voice still sounded like her maid and the face fits, but what is happening here. She shook her head and rose from the bed, climbing into her freshly drawn bath, the waters instantly refreshing her and taking away the grime of a week spent in dream sleep. As she bathed the flap of the pavilion opened and in strode her Maester, “My Lady wishes to speak to me”.
She turned with a start and in her most authoritive voice said to the Maester, “Tell me everything, leave out no detail, I want to know what has been happening here.” The Maester told her all and with the telling the morning wore on and she knew at once that she dared not become ill again……………..
The breakfast meeting went well, Lady Blackfish thought, though the memories of the first few hours of her morning still lingered fresh in the front of her mind. At least the tactical decisions taken by her knights seemed to be sound, though that could have been down to Ser Robert also having been ill the past week. She couldn’t help noticing Sally’s looks at Ser Ethan, however, she must have a word with that girl.
It was decided that they were to head for the holdfast of Grassy Vale and the seat of House Meadows, a minor house of the Reach. The journey was long and arduous travelling the old road by the Blue Byrn, but finally they reached Grassy Vale. In front of her she saw a small castle set by the banks of the Blue Byrn, the banner atop the castle revealing a border of flowers of many colours and varieties on a background of green, the arms of House Meadows. A small group of riders could be spotted leaving the castle gate and riding towards her.
Selecting Ser Robert, Ser Ethan, Lord Wyl, Ser Roland Storm, Ser Humphrey Wagstaff, Ser John Wylde and Donnal Hardy to ride forward with her banners, to greet the riders, they set forth toward them. Meeting halfway the lead rider of the opposing group stops her horse, her companions following suit.“Lady Blackfish, I presume, your visit is not entirely unexpected, as my Maester says a number of your ravens, bearing messages, have taken roost in his tower. Welcome to Grassy Vale, I am Lady Lysa Meadows, may I present my husband Olymer Tyrell and my master at arms Ser Randolph Meadows. If it pleases you I can offer you and your captains bread and salt as well as accommodations in the castle, your men however will have to camp outside. I will have Ser Randolph ensure that they are well fed and watered.”
So she offers us hospitality does she, mused Lady Blackfish, then I must in turn be courteous, but also wary, for I do not know the woman well. “Lady Meadows, your hospitality is indeed kind and I thank you, may the old gods look over you and your kin. May I present Ser Robert Hogg, knight of my baggage train, Ser Ethan Seahawke, Ser Roland Storm, Ser Humphrey Wagstaff, Ser John Wylde, Donnal Hardy, my master at arms and Lord Wyl of Dorne.”
On seeing Lord Wyl, Lady Meadows turns, smiles and says “Lord Wyl, it has been too long, you must visit more often. Your visit is also not a surprise, two of your banner lords arrived yesterday.” With that she turns and leads the entourage into her holdfast……………………………
Lady Blackfish sits in her chambers attempting to unravel the web of deceit that seems to be wrapping itself around her, can she no longer trust anyone, is no one safe. The questionings and the punishments begin……………….
The feast held in her honour was a moderate affair, compared to the sumptuous banquets upon which she dined in Kings Landing, the entertainment somewhat lacking, but little was she to know that the evening’s entertainment had only just begun……..
She awoke to her maid shaking her, for once she was relieved to see that the foolish girl had not got that hideous sword strapped to her back, perhaps she had listened. The door burst open and in stormed Olthar and Gerrard, swords in hand, rushing to protect her. It was only now that she could hear the muffled sound of sword upon sword from the room next door, but that was Ser Roberts room. Shouting at Olthar and Gerrard to find out what was going on, they ignored her doing what they thought was best, putting themselves between her and any possible assailants. Taking matters into her own hands she reached for her sword, the lightness of its blade initially startling her, the memories of ancient kings momentarily flooding through her mind. Shaking off the mental assault she moves swiftly to the door, forcing her guards to follow her, as she heads to the noise of sword upon sword.
At the door to Ser Roberts chamber, two whores, frightened and startled were clinging each other in a state of shock, barging past them she opened the door, to a dreadful scene. Ser Robert, obviously the worse for drink, was trying to hold off a merciless flurry of blows from his cohort Victor Mallory. What has that drunken sot been up to now she initially wondered, but then she saw it, this was no play fight for Ser Robert was grievously injured, left arm missing from above the elbow.
The rest is now a blur, though she remembers the outcome, Ser Robert dead, felled by a number of hideous wounds. Victor Mallory also dead at her own hands, and Ser Roberts brave squire, Neil, heavily wounded………………..
That was last night, this morning she finds herself standing in the courtyard of her hosts castle, whip in hand, for today she must mete out justice and she must do it herself, for it is the way of the old gods. In front of her strapped to a cartwheel, one of her servants, Bowen his name, and justice she must give him, for he is guilty of deceit……………………
Before she lifts the whip for the first strike, she looks over her shoulder towards the castles, small and rarely used weir wood. There she sees the casket holding her mother’s brave knight Ser Robert, whom she must soon send to his ancestors. Stood at the head of the casket in full battle armour stands a knight, sword drawn, point to the ground, hands around the hilt. Only a long black cloak serves to keep him warm, the symbol of a diving Seahawke emblazoned on his back. She knows he will stand there unmoving, without sleep, without food, nor water, for he stands vigil until the day that Ser Robert departs, it is the way of the old gods……………………