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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Young Lion

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Well,in a clash of kings she don't has to so the whole stuff,she can just go to pentos and attack
 

hoi2geek

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I bet it's Tywin trying to reassert Lannister control (something Cersei treid, but ultimately failed to do)

3. Winner will get to make a major decision regarding the future of the AAR.

If I win, I'll probably make it so that Robb decides to take the Iron Throne for himself.

There must ALWAYS be a Stark, in both Winterfell AND King's Landing.
 

WingedLion14

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Well, so far, nobody's gotten it right (at this rate, if nobody does, I'll just hand it to the closest). And I didn't notice that a dragon was in that shot until you guys pointed it out, but I'll leave it in for now.

An update regarding Dany - she is currently still stuck in that war with the Yunkai.....even where I've played up to, which is well ahead of where we are. Unless the Yunkai beat her, I doubt she'll live long enough to come over.

And at the moment, yes, there's a Stark in King's Landing - technically speaking, Bran is Lord of King's Landing :cool:
 

hoi2geek

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And at the moment, yes, there's a Stark in King's Landing - technically speaking, Bran is Lord of King's Landing :cool:

But I want a Stark King of the Seven Kingdoms
 

oxfordroyale

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The Ironborn? Using the Invasion CB they have?
 

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Part X: Bran

The din of clashing metal filled the breezy early-autumn air. Down below in the courtyard, Ser Rodrik and Meera Reed drilled the young men of Winterfell, although calling them “men” would not exactly be appropriate. Due to the war, many were scarcely older than twelve, too small to carry a longsword, and just as many girls, if not more.

A few years ago, Bran would have given anything to be down with them. By the gods, he still would give most anything. But now, at least, he had grown accustomed to his station; he may not be a knight, but he was a lord. And he could not walk, but he could fly.

Still, being a lord was not nearly as exciting as being a knight, because a knight did not have to sit through tedious council meetings and hold court on a daily basis. As he thought about it, actually, Bran reckoned that he needed to return to continue holding court; the break for the midday meal began to draw to a close, so far as he could tell. Back to the daily tedium, he thought.

“Yes, it is boring, but nothing is more necessary.” Jojen snuck up on him, as always; he seemed to be everywhere at once. “Without lords and kings, the whole kingdom would descend into chaos and darkness.”

Bran snorted. “Oh, dear, what would we do if Brandon Stark did not make the stableboy pay the cobbler for his shoes? I would much rather be out in the field, alongside my brother, with a sword in my hand and the wind at my back, riding on a great battlehorse – ”

“Yes, yes, and saving a damsel in distress and all that. Surely you are not so naïve to believe that the world is like the songs and the stories?”

“Of course not. I just wish sometimes we could get happy endings for once.”

“We do, and we have. The North is free, the Lannisters not only have been defeated but have been turned to our side, your mother is returning home along the kingsroad, and Robb has himself a most beautiful queen, should what we have heard is even half true.”

Bran could not argue with that – especially not the last part. According to travelers along the kingsroad, Queen Roslin was second to none in beauty, the most beautiful woman seen north of the Neck since….well, that depended upon who you asked; some would say his sister Sansa, but others would say that since she was not yet old enough to be wed, she could not be considered, and so those say some fair lady from long ago. “But what about me? Where is my happy ending? I have been here in Robb’s place since my brother went off to war years ago. I was just a boy, and now I am almost a man grown.”

got307-7.jpg

“Your brother has named you Lord of King’s Landing, a position you shall assume once the war against Stannis has reached its conclusion. You have served in your brother’s name better than anybody – with very few available for advice, as many nobles are in the south with Robb. And yet your people love you; just look how many answered your call to arms to engage Stannis’s army that landed near Torrhen’s Square; every last one of them had been rejected by your brother’s army, and yet they all stood to fight – for you. And when this is all over, we shall finally journey north, and find the three-eyed crow.”

Bran looked at Jojen. “Maybe you’re right. Let us get back to court; they must be waiting for us.” He turned to Hodor. “Hodor, take me to court.” Just then a trumpet blasted.

“That is not good news,” Jojen said. And Bran was worried.



Bran-Stark-bran-stark-29628165-1024-576.jpg

They had to keep the Tyrell messenger waiting, and clearly he was not happy about it. By the time Bran was finally horsed and ready to receive the visitor, he was pacing the halls on his horse and screaming to nobody in particular. And then would he did arrive, the first thing he did was complain.

“The second son? And a cripple no less? I demand to speak to King Robb, and none besides!”

Bran sighed; this was not going to be easy. “As would I, my lord. But the last I have heard from my brother was that he and Kevan Lannister had retaken King’s Landing, but that Stannis had escaped with a portion of his army intact through Blackwater Bay. That was almost a fortnight ago; since then, silence. As I have since he had first moved south against Joffrey, I speak with his voice.”

“If you speak with his voice then you better see with his eyes and hear with his ears, then. You have done Lord Tyrell a great offense, and he demands recompense.”

To his left, Meera shrugged; she had as good a guess as he did. “My lord, I do not know of what offense you speak of such great magnitude that would necessitate your great journey from Highgarden to my gates at Winterfell, but if it is in my power, then by all means, you shall have it.”

“Good. Good.” The Tyrell messenger smiled. “Your brother Robb murdered the fair Queen Margaery in cold blood when he took King’s Landing. He will take just payment, blood for blood – the heads of Lady Arya and Queen Roslin. He WILL take it – by force if necessary.”

Bran shook his head. “I’m afraid I will not, no, can not, do that, my lord.”

“Then you leave us no choice.” The Tyrell drew a dagger and leaped onto Bran’s horse. Quick as a flash, Meera dropped her shoulder and rammed him, knocking the assailant aside. Together, she and Ser Rodrik disarmed him and bound him.

“What should we do with him, Bran?” Meera asked.

Bran thought about it for a moment, but the decision was easy. “Take off his head and send him back to Highgarden. We must tell Lord Tyrell not to wake the wolves.” He started to lead his horse away, but then turned around. “And send a raven to my brother in King’s Landing; somebody ought to tell him he’s at war. Again.”





So…contest winner. Well, officially speaking, nobody won – the war declared was by Mace Tyrell using the Blood Feud CB (understandable that nobody got it). Since I needed a winner to make the decision, I went with EtzelHoveri by nature of the fact that Dorne is closest to the Reach and that Dany is still alive. I messaged him last week (sorry for the delay in updates btw, life was just very busy lately and I haven’t had time to write) asking him to tell me what character (choices – Joffrey, Stannis, Renly, Balon; ACOK bookmark) to play after Robb and any goals for the rest of the campaign as Robb. And he chose:

New character:
Renly

Goal:
Take the Vale

In case you’re all interested, Dany is currently still fooling around with the Yunkai; neither are any closer to winning the war than when they began, and I’m talking about a few years ahead in the game, when Robb is 27 (he’s currently 21-ish in the story).

I’d like to thank you all for entering the contest and for following along in the AAR. In fact, as a token of my appreciation, here’s an amusing screenshot from the AAR:



Yes, Theon Pyke, born Theon Greyjoy, successfully declared a bastard. Still a nicer fate than Ramsay.
 

WingedLion14

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Part XI: Arya

As usual, the day proved uneventful as the small group stopped to make camp. The kingsroad was empty, or so near to as to be insignificant, due to the war and the oncoming winter; indeed, all they saw that day the only person they had seen was a drunk and lunatic shepherd who thought his cats were goats.

Not that the empty roads were a bad thing, not for this group of travelers, Arya thought. Not when you have the sister of the King of the North and her betrothed, the Prince Trystane of Dorne, on their way to their wedding in Winterfell. And especially not when the Queen of the North, who had waited in Riverrun when she had heard of her sister-in-law’s journey northward, was their travel companion, and whom the maesters believed to be with child. Silence meant no questions, no beggars seeking alms, no tone-deaf bards playing what they called music – and most importantly, no armies led by Stannis.


They sat around the fire for a while before Trystane finally broke the silence. “The last few days of travel we have been around too many others, so I dared not ask, but now that we are alone, I must know – what is happening in the war? In Dorne, we had not heard any news since the Tyrells marched against the Stark armies.” Finally somebody had asked that question.

Olyvar Frey, the Queen’s brother, who had been sent by Robb to ensure his Queen’s safe return to Winterfell, answered. “Last I had heard the King had defeated Lord Tyrell’s army at Cider Hall and was marching on Highgarden; of course, that was half a moon ago, when we were at Riverrun, so much may have changed in that time.”

“What about Stannis?” Roslin asked.

Olyvar shrugged. “Nobody has seen or heard from him since his defeat at King’s Landing; many believe he may have retreated to Dragonstone to recover his strength before striking again. In any case, that is of none of our concern.” He paused. “What was that?”

Arya was not quite sure, but she had heard something. “It sounded like something in the bush, perhaps a lot of somethings.” Not too worried but preferring to be cautious, the Olyvar and Trystane drew their swords and went to investigate, leaving her alone with the Queen.

“So if all goes well, this time next year you shall be a married woman,” Roslin remarked. “I am curious, one lady to another, how do you feel about your betrothed. I know,” she added with a small giggle, “that you are not a docile young woman.”

The young Stark girl laughed. “You can say that again.” But then she got serious. “Truthfully, I do not know what to expect. At this point, I do not see any alternative; I am to be wed.”

“Remember your blessings, child. Unlike many, you have met your betrothed well before your wedding day, and when the time comes, you will have known him for almost three years. Your mother did not lay eyes on your father until their wedding day, and my only glimpse of your brother before mine was when he led his army across the Twins, intent on rescuing your father.” She took hold of Arya’s hand. “And do not shut yourself out only because you did not make the choice; there were no two happier couples than your parents and your King’s.”

Arya smiled. “Thank you. He is not a bad person, honestly.” Smirking, she added, “Although he is still sore because I am easily the better swordfighter than he is.”

That brought a long and hearty laugh from the Queen. “May I see your blade?” Arya pulled Needle from her pack and handed it to her. “It is unlike any blade I had ever seen…how did you get it?”

arya-stark.jpg

“My brother Jon had it made for me, before he left for the Wall.”

“Jon Snow? I have heard much from the Wall lately, although none of it has made any sense.” She thought for a moment. “They have been gone a long time, have they not?”

Just then the two men burst through the bushes, yelling. “To horse, to horse, Stannis’s bannermen are following us!” Within minutes they were back on the road, racing north; Arya and Trystane each on their steeds, Olyvar and Roslin sharing the horse that had been pulling the wagon.

A few minutes’ walk from their campsite had been one of Stannis’s outriders’ camps; after stumbling upon it, the two had sat for some time, to learn what was going on. Mostly they learned what the soldiers’ wives looked like, or more commonly, the most recent girl they had been with, although they were forewarned that the groups’ scouts had discovered what appeared to be a group of travelers, easily overwhelmed by force, and with two women that the soldiers could use for company.

Most importantly, however, they learned that Stannis’s army had quickly and quietly overrun the Riverlands and forced the Tully family on the run.

They rode for hours as fast as they could, but Arya knew it was hopeless; the Twins, the closest castle, was easily a day away, if not two, and their horses were already tiring. It was only a matter of time before they were overrun.

It happened six hours into the night. Ahead of them, half-a-dozen horses emerged from the brush, blocking their path, while more closed in on the flanks and those in direct pursuit closed in. They were surrounded. Arya drew Needle from its sheath, and heard that her companions had drawn weapons as well. It was now or never.

Arya had been in fights before. Even fights, one opponent on one opponent, she could handle easily; Syrio had trained her well, she found out, and with enough practice over the years, her unorthodox style of “waterdancing” gave her the upper hand in many of her fights; oftentimes, she was simply too difficult a target to hit, making use of her speed and agility to wear an opponent down. Two- or three-on-one, she could handle with much difficulty – in truth, it was just more of the same, with less of a room for error. But there were two things she had never been in – a pitched battle, or an overwhelmingly outnumbered fight, and it was the latter instance she found herself in.

Steel. All Arya saw was cold hard steel – stabbing, slashing, blocking, parrying…and killing. She killed many men that night, as so did her companions. But, for the first time in her life, she was the prey; she was the one worn down, and exhausted, and on her last legs. She was the one constantly on the defensive, blocking attacks, working not to win, but to stay alive.

She lost track of time – nothing existed but her sword and her enemies. But she was weakening. Every stroke, every parry, every dodge – each one was more sluggish, less forceful, less precise than the last. The steel in her hand turned to lead; her feet became stone.

Arya blocked one man’s sword; next, turning to dodge an incoming spear, she felt a sharp pain in her back, starting from her left shoulder and quickly dashing towards her right shoulder. She dropped Needle, shrieking in pain. Then, a sharp pain took her in the back of the head.

The next thing she knew, Arya was on the ground, looking up at the stars. Everything was cloudy – her vision, her hearing, her memory. Where was she? What was going on?

She turned her head to the side, wincing; pain shot through her body with every motion. She lay in a pool of blood, and fighting raged around her. She could not tell who was fighting who, who was winning, or even what side every fighter was on.

Then she heard a trumpet blast and darkness enveloped her.



Gameplay notice – Stannis’s war for King’s Landing was won; he then declared on an independent Riverlands, who lost; then, I declared back on Stannis to reclaim the Riverlands. In the story, I’m considering this one giant war, considering they all happened with literally zero delay.
 

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Noooo! Not Arya.:( And what abour Roslin??
 

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Sorry for the delays in updates guys - I'll try to be faster, but I've just been busy

Noooo! Not Arya.:( And what abour Roslin??

Just breathe - and then read. Carefully.

Stannis is a dick

In this universe, yes. In the real ASOIAF and GoT universes, he's just more irritating
 

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Part XII: Jon

When he saw the castle great castle walls in the distance, Jon could not suppress a smile. It had been several years since he had last seen Winterfell, and it was here he would begin his latest assignment; since the death of the old recruiter Yoren, Jon had been assigned to take his place, at least for a time. A small price to pay, Jon thought, for a chance to journey throughout the Seven Kingdoms, and most importantly, to attend the wedding of his sister Arya.

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A horn blasted to announce his arrival, and he was met at the gate by a young girl, about his age, with a bow and spear strapped to her back. She bowed slightly.

“Greetings, Jon Snow; I am Meera of House Reed, Commander of the Guard and Advisor to the Lord of King’s Landing; Winterfell has been eager for your return. Lord Brandon will join us shortly.”

Jon nodded. “Thank you, my lady. I am honored to be here.” Then he laughed. “Good. Now that we have finished all the formal pleasantries, may I come in?”

Lady Reed smiled. “Of course, my lord.”

“I am no lord.” She giggled; half-heartedly, though, as if something was bothering her.

“As you say, Jon.” As they walked through the gates, she said. “I am surprised that you were able to attend. Did you not originally say that the Watch was choosing its new Lord Commander, and that because of that, you were unable to attend the wedding?”

“Aye. Although by accepting the duty of recruiter temporarily and having my friend Sam cast my vote for me, I was able to clear my schedule enough to attend. And,” he added with a smile, “I am sure that Allister Thorne and Janos Slynt were more extremely happy to be rid of me.”

Before Meera could ask him to elaborate, a horse turned the corner and approached them, flanked by a guard of seven, with Hodor – good old Hodor – standing directly to the right of the lead horse. “Welcome home, brother.” He looked stiff and formal, very solemn…no, not solemn. Troubled.

Jon dismounted his horse and bowed. “Thank you, Your Grace. I have been eagerly awaiting this day for many months, ever since I received the royal invitation.”

Bran nodded grimly. “I know, Jon. Which is why I regret that we must receive you today in such times of despair.”

Jon looked at Bran with a blank stare. “Despair? When I left the Wall barely a moon ago to journey here to Winterfell, I had received word that Robb had captured Lord Tyrell in battle and subdued the armies of the Reach, that the Queen was with child, and that we were to celebrate Arya’s wedding to a Dornish prince. I do not know of anything to despair about.”

Bran sighed. “As you said, a moon’s turn has passed since then. Stannis’s army overran everything south of the Twins while Arya and her betrothed were passing through the Riverlands. We have not heard from her, and I fear that she may be dead.”



After delivering the news, Bran insisted they go inside and escape the brisk autumn air, and discuss the matter over dinner.

Dead. There was no way his sister was dead, not Arya. He did not believe; he could not believe it.

After he was settled in the room provided to him – his old room, surely not a coincidence – Jon went to the godswood; he wanted a place to sit and think. To his surprise, it was not empty.

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When he saw Meera, he turned to leave, but she saw him. “Come and sit.” So he stayed and sat next to her, on a log just beside the pool of water.

“I know this is not the homecoming you expected. Aye, I know how close the two of you were.” Jon said nothing, merely staring into the depths of the pool. “She still carried the sword, you know. The one you gave her. Needle.”

Jon nodded. “She never was like her sister Sansa, always wanting to train with a sword than learn to be a ‘proper lady’ like most highborn girls.” He laughed softly. “She was a better shot with a bow than all her brothers.”

Meera laughed again. Jon looked at her as she gazed into the pool. She had a pretty face – pretty enough, at least – but what was really striking were her eyes. Aesthetically, there was nothing all that unique about them. No, they were nothing special, but they contained a certain toughness, a certain wildness, a certain strength, unmatched not only among most women, but amongst many men as well. In a way, she reminded him of Ygritte – strong-willed, tough, and most importantly, willing to do whatever was necessary.

And then Jon knew what must be done.



Later that night, after dinner, Jon announced his plan.

“Why is everybody sitting here feeling sorry for yourselves? Aye, she may be dead, but we do not know – she may still live.”

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“Jon, I know how strongly you feel about this,” Maester Luwin said, “but surely she is dead, as is her betrothed. Lord Walder’s men searched the area for days, and found only Queen Roslin, barely clinging to life, covered in blood, and is still too weak to leave the Twins – and she did not fight in the battle. Give up your false hope; she is gone.”

Angrily, Jon rose from his seat. “Truly, she may be dead, but we are not. If she is dead, she must be avenged.”

“King Robb can take care of that with his armies, Jon,” Luwin interrupted.

“Aye. And if she still lives, in Stannis’s custody, Stannis will not let her live if he looks to be defeated. If Arya still breathes, and is to be saved, only a small raid can do it.”

“But you are a brother of the Night’s Watch and cannot interfere,” Bran pointed out.

Jon nodded. “Yes, I may not interfere – but as a recruiter, I may journey to their camp, and ask for recruits. And I can provide counsel, if such instances require. And I will…especially if the Night’s Watch are granted the smallfolk prisoners of Stannis’s army.”

The room hung in tense silence, before Meera stood. “If Your Grace permits, I will lead this expedition.”

Bran nodded his assent. “We must keep the mission small in size. Jon will accompany. Meera will lead…take Ramsay Snow, Ser Payne…and myself, Hodor, and Summer.”

The room erupted in protest, but Bran raised his hand to silence them. “For the moment, I am the Lord of Winterfell, and I speak and act in my brother’s stead. Arya is my blood; I will accompany the expedition; I may not be the most help in a fight, but I have learned to shoot a bow, and Summer will be of the highest value.” Nobody dared to argue.

“Speaking of Summer,” Jojen added, “Jon, where is Ghost?”

“He left me yesterday to hunt, and should join us on the morrow.”

Meera smiled. “Perfect; two direwolves are better than one.”

“Then it is settled,” Bran announced solemnly. “Be prepared to leave at dusk tomorrow.”

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Part XIII: The Maester of Highgarden

On a normal day, Maester Asclepius would rise before dawn, break his fast, and attend to the ill and wounded of the castle, before meeting with Lord of Highgarden after Lord Tyrell’s morning meal, where they would discuss the matters of greatest importance to his liege lord. Afterwards, he would attend to the education of the children of the castle, and wait for the arrival of any messages via raven.

Today was not a normal day; yesterday was not a normal day; tomorrow would not be a normal day. Since the Young Wolf had defeated the armies of the Reach and captured Highgarden two moons prior, nothing had stayed the same. While the northern king had no desires to seize land in the area – or so he claimed – he had been slow to act: Stark king’s armies still occupied the castle, and Lord Tyrell and his family still sat in their own dungeon. And King Robb seemed to have no intention of moving, even though King Stannis had marched on the Riverlands, part of Stark’s own kingdom.


Worst of all, for the young king, was the news Asclepius had just received from Winterfell and from the Twins. No matter his own personal feelings for Stark, he was still young, barely more than a boy, and Asclepius could not feeling anything but pity.

He found the King leaning over the railing, looking out over the autumnal gardens in the dim dawn light. He was not alone; Roose Bolton, who had a reputation as famous as Aerys Targaryen – and in many ways, just as bad – was with him.

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Robb Stark heard his approach and, without turning, said, “I hope, Asclepius, that you have sufficient reason to interrupt our important meeting.” The King must have known that the maester would be the only one to be both awake and busy while the sun was beginning to rise early.

“Two ravens arrived, one from Winterfell and one from the Twins, Your Grace. They have to do with Stannis Baratheon’s attack on the Riverlands.”

Stark brushed him aside. “We have already received word of the situation from the lords under attack themselves; that is old news, and no reason to bother me, Maester Asclepius, so if you have nothing else to offer I suggest that you – ”

“Your Grace, there is more.” The maester swallowed; this was the hard part. “Your wife Roslin, and your sister Arya; they were attacked by members of Stannis’s army. Roslin is safe and sound in the Twins, King Stark, but your sister Arya…there has been no sign of her; she is feared dead.” King Robb clenched the bannister tightly. “I am so sorry, Your Grace; the Reach grieves with you.”

The King continued to gaze over the countryside, but Asclepius could tell that the young man was visibly shaken; his whole body tensed, his grip on the balcony strengthened. The maester turned to leave, but Robb Stark began to speak.

“Dead. I want him dead. Dead.” He turned around suddenly; his eyes blazed in anger, but there was still an intelligence there, a wisdom beyond his years; the Young Wolf was still fully in control of himself. “For far too long King Stannis has moved against my family. He threatened my family, burned my brother’s capital, and waged constant war against the North. But now – now he has gone too far. A surprise attack on the Trident, that is one thing, but tracking down members of the royal family, my family, not for ransom, but for murder….that is too much. I want him to die.” He turned to Bolton. “Make it so.”

Lord Bolton nodded, but then gestured towards Asclepius. “Lord Tyrell is a bannerman of King Stannis; do you think it was wise to say this in front of the lord’s own maester?” He liked at the maester as most men would look at a well-cooked steak, or a well-formed woman. Asclepius shuddered at the thought of what the infamous Roose Bolton would fantasize doing with him, and he knew he must act quickly.

“Excuse me, my lord, Your Grace, but I am in the service of the Lord of Highgarden; at the moment, as you control the castle, that means I am in your service. And it would not be amiss for me to inform you that many of King Stannis’s bannermen and many in his court do not think highly of him, or of his Red priestess. It would not take all that much encouragement to gain their support in such a…mischievous scheme.”

Roose Bolton nodded. “Well then, I will get to work.” With that, he departed. Robb Stark remained, however.

“Was there any other news from the North that I should know about?” he asked hesitantly.

The maester nodded. “First, some happy news – your wife Roslin is with child.”

For the first time in days, Robb Stark smiled, but it was short lived. “What else?”

“Your brother Bran is leading a small force – a half dozen, if that many – south to scout Stannis’s camp. They hold out hope that Arya may still be alive. They left three days ago, and will likely reach their destination in just over a fortnight, depending on the weather.”

Robb Stark nodded grimly. “Very well. Please find the Greatjon and tell him that to ready the troops. We will march north at first light tomorrow.”

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