“AAARRGH!!” Joffrey cried, from pain and surprise as the arrow connected with his sword, knocking it from his hands and throwing him off balance.
“GROWL” Brutus was there a moment later and pounced on him, stepping on his back so his face was in the mud. When he placed his jaws close to his ears and growled, you could hear a faint whimpering as well. Combined with Sansa’s now full on screaming and Nymeria’s barks it made for a cacophony of chaos.
“All of you shut the fuck up, anyone talk without my say will get hamstringed, fuck your parents!! Brutus come.” I below in my loudest voice, ringing across the ford and silencing the rest. As Brutus returned and Joffrey turned over, I could see that not only had he pissed himself, but his right hand had a broken thumb and index finger from when my arrow disarmed him. Now that the threat to his life has passed, he had started to clutch his hand, the pain returning.
“Arya, explain yourself, what happened?” I glanced the 3 of them and judging that Joffrey was obviously out and Sansa was in the middle of a mild panic attack, I deemed Arya as the best source of information.
As she explained, though she was unclear and jumbled in parts, the rough situation was explained to me. Arya and her friend, a boy called Micah, were practicing here when Joffrey and Sansa rode in, I only see Sansa’s horse still here so Joffrey’s must have been the one that ran off. Joffrey attacked Micah, cutting his face, and Arya hit him with a stick causing Joffrey to attack her. That’s about when I showed up.
‘Fucking nobles’ I think to myself, forgetting for a moment that I was technically one myself, though the lowest sort, knowing just what sort of storm this is going to cause. If they were commoners then this would likely end with being called kids being kids. I would probably have to pay for the healer, but that depends on how I felt, after all it was Joffrey’s fault, and if the parents were looking to just make a profit then I would likely break their hands as well for pissing me off. These kids are the most high born kids in Westeros. This could be called attempted murder of the Stark’s daughter, assault of the crown prince or even treason, maybe all 3 if they intend to punish all of us. The key point is that although I am a knight my status doesn’t count for squat compared with them so I'm likely to be the fall guy if the deck isn’t stacked. Blaming any of the other parties would result in either war or weakening of royal authority, something everyone wants to avoid.
I briefly consider killing Sansa’s horse to slow their return to camp and fleeing to the nearest port and out of Westeros, but quickly dismiss it. Even if I kill the horse it would take them at most half an hour to get back, then I will be declared a traitor and a pursuit is sent after us. As a 1st tier archer I could likely kill 5-8 if I have the advantage of range but they will surely send more and I would have to travel for several days through the Riverlands before even reaching the Eastern coast let alone a port that would no doubt be closed by the time I reach it. If I was alone, I could maybe hide in the woods, with me and Brutus we could outrun any trackers, lay low for a few weeks and then either become a bandit or flee when people have lowered the inspections at ports. But with Ed and Elsa here they will definitely be called accomplices, with no chance I can avoid the kings trackers for more than a week, leaving me to fight and die.
This leaves me with only one option. Stack the deck.
“Nathan, find that Micah boy and bring him to Lord Stark. Arya, you get on the horse with Sansa and return to your father straight away, tell him what happened, Ed, Elsa you 2 go with them. I will stay here with the prince and treat his wounds.” After I finished giving orders, I prepared to set the stage, rehearsing my lines and creating a back-ground.
King Robert POV
‘Bugger me, I need a drink’ I thought as I listen to the 2 sides of the room shout at each other.
I can’t help but think that this is karma. For years I've longed for another war where I can leave that blasted capital and get back to what I do best. Then the first time I leave the crownlands in years I am sitting in the middle of what is beginning to be a war between the Lannisters and Starks, my 2 greatest supporters.
It started when I went out for a ride with Ned earlier, only to be interrupted by a messenger telling of trouble with his girls. He raced back of course, and I started to get a strange feeling so I headed back as well, though much slower.I was right of course. Turns out my fucking son had caused a shitstorm with the Stark girls. I just called for myguards to mount up and to look for the brat when a horse with 2 riders was racing straight for the camp, a huge beast running beside them, the leading rider shouting, “Make way, make way for the prince!!”. Everyone cleared the way, whether out of fear of the horse, hound or prince, none was certain.
He stopped right in front of me. I recognized him, he was one of Ned’s knights, he owned an enormous hound and was someone Selmy said was a good fighter. When he dismounted and knelt on one knee before me, I could see Geoffrey behind him on the horse clutching his fingers, and was about to ask what was going on, when the knight spoke loudly and clearly, voice echoing in the surroundings.
“Your Majesty, Ser Ben Baskerville has witnessed a crime involving the royal family and the Stark household, I request a trial.” My heart fell and my stomach clenched at those words. I could see my wife turn red with anger at Geoffrey’s injury and Ned was walking over, having heard the situation from his daughters and already got that look of righteous combat in his eyes, and I could already tell it would be a shit show.
The final verdict was obvious. My son stupidly attacked a boy and the girl then hit him with a stick in an attempt to save her friend. No harm so far, until the bugger tried to kill Ned’s girl and Ser Baskerville injured his hand. If it wasn’t for the fact it was what caused this mess, I would be praising the hell out of the fact a man can knock a man’s sword from his own hand from 60 metres on horse back. Cersei was out for blood and wanted them all punished and would likely have tried to involve Ned if she could think how. But even if I wanted to punish the girl, and I don’t, I couldn’t as there are several witnesses saying my son was the idiot at fault. Realising that, she settled on Baskerville, saying that he should lose his head for trying to kill the prince. And that’s led to this stalemate.
On one hand, he injured my son, which is bad, on the other he was protecting the child of his lord which he is sworn to do. If this was the normal petty bullshit she was bringing up I would reluctantly punish the knight, with a few whips for show, and then send some gold in secret to apologize. He would be publicly shamed and never be able to attend noble functions again, but he would live. But this time is different. I’ve been in enough battles to see that that the Stark men are subconsciously getting in formation, and Ned is ready to confront me on behalf of his child’s benefactor. If I insist on punishing him then although they wouldn’t draw swords, but the tale would spread all over the North and Riverlands of how the corrupt king ignored the law to punish the noble knight. Ned would likely never forgive me.
After thinking over the current situation and wondering which pile of shit would be easier to swallow, the cause of this, Ser Baskerville, spoke.
“Your Majesty, may I offer a solution to the current problem?” He spoke clearly, and for the first time since I asked him for his rendition of events. Not seeing anyway he could make this worse, I allowed it.
“I can understand your Majesty’s predicament, torn between your love for your son and love for your friend, Lord Stark. As such I propose we let another judge this case.” I like what he’s saying but there’s no one else who could take over for the king in this case, unless... “I request trial by combat, let the god’s decide my fate.” yeah that.
The plan worked almost perfectly. I knew that if I wanted to stand against the voice of the prince, who from what I've seen is a cunt and won’t acknowledge his faults, I had to first get a backer and second make it clear that this was nothing but children playing gone wrong. The first was easy, I sent the Stark girls home first, they would tell Ned who would be obligated as my Lord to stand up for me and demand justice, especially since I just saved his daughter’s life.
The second part was trickier. First, I delayed Joffrey’s return by insisting on treating him and slowly travelled back to camp, this was to allow for word to spread and gather an audience, all despite the prince’s complaints and threats to hurry. I only sped up when I reached the camp and saw the king, rushing before him and immediately calling for a trial. Like this, while my side, the Starks, will have had time to get stories straight and prepare, the prince and queen’s side won’t. With the evidence and testimony of the Starks, Micah and my family the recounting of the events obviously showed that I was innocent. There was just one problem.
The queen is a complete bitch.
I swear even after hearing how this was all Joffrey’s fault, she still only wanted to make me and Arya scream in pain before mounting our heads on spikes. Not literally, but you can read between the lines that she wanted us punished and was willing to go to war to do it. That was unexpected. I thought the queen would be grateful that her son wasn’t either killed or killed Arya, but nooo, she only cares that her boy was hurt.
That’s when the plan fell apart and I needed to go to back-up. The queen clearly had a lot of influence and even if Ned had a falling out with the king over this it wouldn’t do me any good, as I would still be punished. Likely by death and being lucky if my family avoids the same fate. So, I called for a trial by combat, the back-up plan I thought for if anything went unexpected.
It is an ancient custom that has been around since before even the Targaryeans, where if a noble feels he or she is falsely accused then they can demand to be judged by the gods, represented by either themselves or their champion in a fight to the death. The winner is declared innocent and pardoned of all charges. The requirement is that the crime must be in doubt, if I attacked the king in front of his guards, he could declare me guilty and any request for combat would be met with dismissal. As a knight I have this right. I might prefer the bow to sword, but I am still the best swordsman in the North with my qi giving me the strength and reflexes of 3 men combined. Joffrey only has a few men he could call upon, the most dangerous would be the Hound but even then, I have full confidence in victory.
If this was the capital, I would be a bit worried as he could postpone the fight so he could recruit the most skilled fighters in the land, or try to poison me in my cell. Here however, the court is being held in a small inn while the king needs to return with all haste and wants this over and done with.
“Very well then, let’s get this over with, who will champion my son?” Robert asked, clearly happy that I offered a solution that let’s everyone stand down with no repercussions to him. Just as the Hound was about to step forward, reluctantly I might add, the fucking Kingslayer spoke.
“Your majesty, I would like the honour to represent my nephew in this trial!!” Jaime announced to the shock of the entire room.
‘Am I cursed, or is someone fucking with me?’ I thought as the second plan of the evening goes wrong, and retreat to the mental drawing board.