Notes: the ser Androw in this act is not the same as in last act
Act 2: 8008
I had the dream again, the one where I’m lying in my bed, waiting for something to happen, and then it happens. A cloaked man shows up, crawling through my chamber door, and I can’t scream, I’m numbed. My wife is right there but she can’t hear me, my mouth makes no sound. The hooded man crawls closer, to my bed side, shadows covering his face and a sweet smell is coming from his clothes. I want to look away, but I just can’t.
‘’I didn’t mean to wake you Humfrey.’’ The man said, playing with his knife.
‘’I didn’t mean to wake you.’’
‘’I DIDN’T MEAN TO WAKE YOU’’
With a shock I wake up screaming, almost giving my wife Myranda a heart attack.
‘’WHAT, WHAT IS IT HUMFREY.’’
Myranda embraced my shivering body as I tried to convince myself that I was actually awake. My hands where shaking as I grabbed her back.
‘’Just- just a bad dream, the one with the cloaked man again. It’s ok.’’
‘’You don’t look ok.’’ Myranda said.
‘’That’s temporarily.’’ I said, as I broke free from Myranda’s embrace. I sat at the end of the bed and thought about the reason behind this bad dream. It was more than likely the heritage of my stillborn son. I remember being there and seeing it happen. He came out and looked so peaceful, and beautiful. But I immediately felt that something was wrong. Something wasn’t right when a newborn baby doesn’t cry. And I found out pretty quickly why. How could I feel so defeated due to losing someone I never even knew?
Life is mysterious in that way, and the gods surely had their plans with him.
And they surely had their plans with me, a true knight, knighted by Gallen himself. And quite possibly better than Gallen, although I wouldn’t say that in his presence. I stood up and dressed myself while Myranda watched me, which was strangely comforting.
‘’I will return this same day Myranda, consider staying faithful to me in that period.’’
Myranda laughed, ‘’I thought you knew me.’’
I smiled ‘’I do.’’
I walked excited into the courtyard, where the horses where already being prepared for the journey ahead, albeit a small one, the destination was Leygood Keep, the lordship right next to Smithyton. I walked right up to Honor and gave him a hug. The horse had been very reliable these past years. Carrying me wherever I had to go, and never losing its strength albeit its age. I was pretty sure he had become blinded this past year though, he didn’t seem to recognize me until I talked to it, even when I was standing right in front of it. And talking to a horse looks pretty silly, lets be honest, so I didn’t really like this new development.
‘’There we have our little fool!’’ Gallen came riding towards me seated upon his scarred and shivering horse, followed by our hulking diplomat, Ser Quenton.
‘’Your noble liege, Lord Moryn Rowan is waiting on us Humfrey, you’re not being a good vassal delaying like this.’’ A smirk played upon his lips while Quenton gave a puzzled look.
‘’I doubt Moryn cares that much about me being late. Besides I’m not late.’’
Gallen laughed. ‘’Well, ok, I could have sworn you where.’’
I climbed atop of Honor and followed Gallen and Quenton along the grassy path uphill, waiting on top was Moryn’s party. I greeted them like it should be done, and how my mother teached me. A bald man laughed.
‘’You did change a lot since the last time I saw you Humfrey, this goes for Lord Amelryc Kidwell as well of course. Have you been introduced before?’’ I shook my head.
‘’Well he is right here, be sure to greet each other, it’s important for my vassals to know each other, and get along, wouldn’t you agree?’’
I nodded and a slender built man, about my age, stepped forward, and gave me a hand.
‘’Welcome Lord Shermer, my name is Amelryc Kidwell, very pleased to meet you, from what I heard about you from Ser Corbray we have a lot in common.’’
I already knew he was going to say something like that, but most people present here have a lot in common if you think about it, how many fathers died in that field after all, 10 years ago? Too many to count.
I gave Amelryc a long hard look, and my guts told me that his personality went deeper than he was showing us. He reminded me of a lizard-lion, lying dead silent in the water and pretending to be a tree trunk. But that was ok, I had my own guard up as well.
‘’I’m certain we do, pleased to meet you Lord Kidwell.’’
‘’Shall we go gentlemen?’’ Gallen said.
‘’But of course Ser Gallen.’’ proclaimed Moryn with a warm smile.
‘’Let’s go people, lets see what the new generation of the reach have to offer us.’’
Gallen gave me that smirking look again, knowing full well what was about to happen. He loved seeing me stressed out for some reason. Losing my cool. He then gave Lame Cow a loud slap on its side and went over the hill, to the west. Our party quickly followed him.
Riding towards Leygood Keep I rode next to Lord Moryn and got into a conversation with him about Gallen, apparently it was Moryn who had invited Gallen to the reach when his father, lord Corbray passed away, Gallen accepted to get away from the brother he despised and before he knew it he was in smithyton, teaching the one and only Lord Humfrey.
‘’What do you know about Lame Cow?’’
Moryn raised his eyebrows amused. ‘’Excuse me?’’
‘’His horse, it’s covered in scars, do you know what happened, was it really due to a battle or..?’’
‘’Ah so it’s called Lame Cow, isn’t it?’’ Moryn Chuckled.
‘’You think he did it, don’t you?’’ he said, while he made cutting motions with his right hand.
‘’Do you really think that way about your mentor?’’
I looked down embarrassed. ‘’I-I just thought that maybe there was more to the story.’’
Moryn kept his eyes on the road and frowned. ‘’There is, but it’s not what you think, Gallen can be a bit… eccentric but he does love that ugly horse.’’
I nodded and quickly changed the subject. We arrived shortly after in Leylood Keep and our group split up, most of our group going to the seats at the ringside, while I had to ride into the dungeon upon Honor since I was a contestant. The dungeon was moist, dimly lit, and just generally poor kept, with water somehow leaking from the ceiling even though it hasn’t rained in days. The idea was that I would finally test myself today, and really fight to see how good I was when it came to combat, if I wanted my plan to work then I would have to distinguish myself here today, prove to everyone and myself that I was truly a man, and a force to be reckoned with.
I noticed that at the end of the dungeon there stood a few mounted knights close to a door, no doubt my opponents and presumably veterans of many wars, and incredible, and they could probably fly as well, and spit fire. I slowly rode towards them, trying to look confident. I would say that it worked though. Maybe.
The fattest knight spoke first.
‘’Welcome stranger, also here for gold and glory? What might your name be?’’
‘’That would be Lord Humfrey Shermer, of Smithyton.’’
‘’Ah, a real lord huh? Is this your first tournament?’’
‘’How can you tell?’’
‘’Most of us ride directly towards the arena’s door instead of waiting near the entrance.’’
The man laughed. ‘’My name is the noble Leyton Inchfield, pleased to meet you.’’
Suddenly the arena door opened up and a man made a signal towards me and another knight. I didn’t really understand it, but the push Leyton gave me in my back gave me reason to think I might have to fight already.
‘’Good luck, Lord Humfrey Shermer, of Smithyton.’’ Leyton shouted from the dungeon as I rode into the sunlight, which almost blinded me. A short man then walked towards me and my fellow knight and started shouting our names.
‘’SER ANDROW, OF THE REACH.’’
‘’AND THE YOUNG HUMFREY SHERMER, OF SMITHYTON.’’
The crowd applauded as me and Androw shook hands.
‘’MAY THE BEST KNIGHT WIN.’’
I expected a lot from this fight, but the truth is, I took him out with just one attack, visibly surprising him and the crowd, since this Ser Androw was apparently no small deal. The small man jumped to Ser Androws aid and helped him up.
‘’THE WINNER IS, THE YOUNG LORD SHERMER!’’
The crowd cheered me on, and it felt great, I didn’t realize I was this good, maybe Gallen and me really where miles ahead of the other knights like he said. Or maybe just me, I haven’t seen Gallen fight since I was a kid. After the applause ended me and Ser Androw where directed to the side of the ring, where we could see the other knights clash. We dismounted, sat down, and saw the other knights fight.
‘’That was some clean fighting you showed there, impressive.’’
‘’Thank you, this is my first tournament, so that means a lot to me.’’
Ser Androw Nodded.
‘’Have you heard the news from Kingslanding? A messenger just arrived before our tournament started.’’
‘’Did the grandmaester die again?’’ I said laughing.
Androw shook his head wildly.
‘’No, no no. Aegon Targaryen died.’’
I could not believe what I heard, Aegon was in the prime of his life, and I remember him riding that colossal dragon above Smithyton the day my father died. He seemed invincible, especially after he forged the iron throne. Possibly using my fathers sword.
‘’Really? How did it happen?’’
‘’They say a man in white, possibly from the kingsguard, murdered him, right when Aegon dismounted Balerion after a visit to Rosby. The man was masked and ran through the crowd of nobles that had gathered there, with Balerion chasing him. Then, to save the crowd Lord Paramount Loren who was actually armed, unlike the rest, supposedly tried keeping the dragon at bay, nobly dying in the process.’’
I was stunned. This meant that the Westerlands and the Iron Throne both got a new ruler.
‘’And now Aemon…’’
‘’Yes, Aemon would be our new king.’’ Androws face took a grim expression.
‘’You heard the rumors as well I see?’’
‘’I have my reasons to believe them.’’
‘’LORD HUMFREY SHERMER OF SMITHYTON AND SER STEFFON GRAVES, PLEASE COME FORWARD.’’
I rushed to the center after mounting Honor, and shook Steffon’s hand soon after.
‘’May the best knight make it to the final.’’ Ser Steffon whispered as the crowd applauded.
I rode to the side of the ring and ready-ed myself for the charge, with Honor breathing heavily, since my old pall had no condition in his old age, and seemed burned up after the fight with Ser Androw. I wondered how I was supposed to fight in the finals if I even made it. The screaming of the crowd overshadowed my thoughts when Ser Steffon charged upon me. In panic I let Honor charge, but it went wrong, and the horse ran in a very strange pace. I got hit on my shield, with a sickening blow, that made me feel like my organs where trying to crawl out of my belly though my mouth. I got launched back into the saddle and almost fell off, but in panic I managed to grab the horse at the neck, keeping me in place. Honor staggered slowly onto the other side of the Arena where I had to stop right before hitting the wall that surrounded our ring. The crowds screams filling my ears. With one voice overpowering all. ‘’HUMFREY, YOU HAVE TO HIT IT.’’ I looked up and saw Gallen shouting and pointing in the wild crowd. ‘’HIT YOUR DAMN HORSE, YOU WANT THIS RIGHT??’’ I nodded absently.
‘’IF YOU WANT SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO TAKE IT, IT WON’T JUST FALL UPON YOUR LAP, YOU CAN’T ALWAYS BE NICE WHEN YOU’RE STRIVING FOR YOUR GOALS.’’ Then something followed with the word casualties, and the rest was indistinguishable. I saw Ser Steffon charge, and dumb I turned my horse, and made it charge. Again it had that strange pace. I looked at the horses weathered head, and thought for a second that seemed to be endless, with Gallens words circling though my head.
I gave Honor the hardest stab I could muster with the blunt end of my lance.
It cried out with the most agonising sound that I could think off, it was like a piece of his souls was shattered off and trying to escape his body by force. But it ran though, faster than it ever did, it’s old legs charging up to Ser Steffon and his much younger horse. And my foe slowed his charge down cautiously when he saw what was happening. I quickly lowered my lance for what could possibly be the most powerful stab in Westeros, knocking off Ser steffon and making him fly away from me like he had wings. With a loud smack he fell. But he immediately stood again, to show he was ok.
The crowd cheered louder than ever before and I almost felt like singing, despite Honor making all kinds of noises a horse shouldn’t make. But I didn’t care, this was my moment, the Reach would see what I was capable off, surely my father would be proud.
‘’THE WINNER IS, LORD SHERMER OF SMITHYTON!’’
I bowed and was about to go ringside, but the small man stopped me right in my tracks.
‘’AND NOW FOR OUR FINAL, LORD SHERMER OF SMITHYTON WILL BE FACING THE ONE AND ONLY LEYTON INCHFIELD!’’
The crowd erupted into a loud booing as Leyton galloped my way, laughing loudly.
‘’Well well, if it isn’t our lord of Smithyton. Glad to see you made it this far. Also excuse me for causing this noise, let’s say I have my past in Leygood keep.’’
I laughed and extended my arm. ‘’I figured something like that, may the best man win.’’
He shook my hand enthusiastically and laughed. ‘’I hope not!’’
On our way home I looked at the shiny medal glittering in the sinking sun, the red light shining with passion over the metal. My most prized possession, gold.
I need more.