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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

EmpireofOne

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OOC: Hello everyone my name is Steven. Since I could lift a pencil with my left hand, I wanted to pursue writing. I've written several AARS for the Total War games, but those were mediocre considering I had written them during my freshman year of highscool. I love A Song of Ice and Fire, and I've been contemplating writing an AAR for the mod for some time now. I spent three hours on my first draft, before I accidentally exited the tab without saving by moving my mouse a little too close to the X and the nice forum thought not to bother me about destroying all my work. So without further ado, here's my second attempt to write it! (Really angry by the way, I worked for a long time on this, expect this draft to be half assed because I lost all my work and I'm sad.) Without further ado, here's my AAR!


The mouth of the Wendwater was cool. Steffan Lamlynn rested his feet in the cold waters, he could feel each individual drop between his toes. The hot fiery sun laid siege to the world and beat down​
anything that was audacious enough to defy its warm gaze. The water was Steffan's safe haven in the heat. Standing nearby him was the Captain of the Guard, Timmeth Storm, a bastard that proved himself in the lists. He was an average man, not too tall, not too short. His hair was like an army that had declared mutiny, a mess, compared to his lord with his disciplined strands that rested on his head like a helmet. The leather jerkin and chainmail provided the perfect cauldron for him to burn, all that was missing was the cackling of a witch. His sweat rolled by his emerald eyes. He used the emeralds on his face to sweep the area of anything that dared move against his lord. The tall trees and darkness behind them were good spots to hide a sword or two, he swore to himself that the trees spoke, or maybe it was the heat. He kept his hand on the leather hilt of his steel, ready to draw in a split second should the time call for the beast underneath the sheath. Timmeth was uneasy, he wished to bring more guards on this hunting trip, but Lord Lamlynn refused. Timmeth and his small band of guards formed a circle around Lord Lamlynn, the gaps between each man were practically as big as the Trident.


"Timmeth," said Steffan, "will you join me in the water? You seem to be burning underneath all that armour."​
"I'm sorry m'lord, I must stand watch."​
"Timmeth, what am I sitting on?"​
Timmeth hesitated before answering, "A large stone m'lord?"​
"A stone it is indeed, just a stone. Not the Iron Throne. Do I look like Aerys Targaryen to you?"​
"King or not, I am sworn to protect you."​
"I am in no danger, people will not know my name, they will not remember it. I am but a petty lord in the Stormlands. Rich blood does not flow through my veins, nor does it flow through my father's, or​
his father's. Nobody besides the Lords of the Stormlands and Lord Robert Baratheon could point out Bronzegate on a map. I'm just a commoner that befriended his lord before he passed away, I never asked to be in this position. You tell me honour and your vows are important, everyone should have fun in their lives Timmeth my friend, you're not a knight yet."
"And neither are you m'lord," joked Timmeth.​



The two men laughed. Timmeth agreed to join his lord in the cold water. He was taking off his boots when he heard the sounds of footsteps and heavy breathing, followed by the sounds of metal. Timmeth​
quickly drew his sword and stood between Steffan and the sounds. Other guards rushed to their lord and formed an encirclement around Steffan. Everyone was relieved to see that there was no threat, the opposite in fact. The source of the commotion was Maester Dermot. His head was as smooth as silk and shone like a thousand stars. The large robes that the Maesters all seemed to like wrapped around him and slowed him to almost a halt with every step he took. His neck was surrounded by links of various metals, the clangor of the links spoke the language of war, indeed they were made of iron and steel, metals very familiar in the tongues of combat. The Maester leaned forward and kept his hands on his knees to keep his balance, he tried to catch his breath. Steffan walked over to help the stout man stay standing.


"Thank you my lord," said Dermot as he caught his breath between every word.​
"What is it Maester Dermot? Has Lord Frey responded to my request to marry his bastard?" joked Steffan.​
"It's... It's Lord Rhaegar my lord. He has kidnapped Lyanna Stark!"​
"Gods, is this true?" asked Timmeth.​
"The smallfolk speak only of these rumours, it may be the truth."​
"Lord Stark will not like this," said Steffan.​
"Brandon Stark has already been arrested by the King for challenging Rhaegar outside the walls of King's Landing. Lord Rickard Stark is heading there to answer for his son's treason."​
"Already? Why have I not been made aware of this?"​
"The ravens were slow my lord. We must head back to Bronzegate immediately," urged Dermot.​
"Lord Stark and his son won't last long if the rumours of King Aerys being mad are true. Timmeth! Send a man ahead and assemble the council."​



Steffan quickly returned back to his seat at Bronzegate. The holdfast was not as impressive as the Red Keep, Storm's End, or even the ruins of Harrenhal, but it provided him with a base to work with as​
Lord of the Wendwater. Steffan in his eagerness to prove himself a capable lord, arrived early in the council chamber. He sat patiently in his seat, waiting for the councillors to arrive. His feet tapped against the hard stone floor of the chamber. He tapped his fingers on the hard wood table to the tune of a bard's song that stuck in his head. The orchestra of Lord Lamlynn played a wondrous tune without the sophisticated tools of the simple bard. The door opened, Castellan Meryn peeked his head in and saw his lord sitting at the head of the table. He took a spot next to his lord. Meryn was a tall man, not tall enough to tilt his head to pass a door, but tall enough that men of higher positions looked up at him. His face seemed to be in an indefinite state of anger and disappointment. His lips never curved downward to produce a smile, nor did it tilt upward to produce a frown.


"It sounded urgent my lord, what is going on?" he asked.​
"I will save what I have to say for the council."​



The door opened again, the councillors started to pour in. The Master of Laws, Brus Buckler took small meek steps to his seat next to Steffan opposite to Meryn. Following him was the Master at Arms, Lord​
Bryce of Amberly, he sat next to Meryn and rested his hands on the table, the muscular arms underneath his robes desperate to escape. The Master of Coin, a woman by the name of Elanna sat next to Brus. Her lack of manhood was compensated by the fact that men feared her control over the silver stags in Bronzegate, she would starve and impoverish the entire county if it meant asserting her authority. The Master of Whispers, Dale of Bucklerforge silently made his way to the seat, living up to his nickname "Quiet Walker" which was given to him by the locals to mock him for his silent steps and pale complexion. Maester Dermot was the last to enter and took the last vacant seat next to Elanna, his links announcing every single step he made. Steffan sat up straight, hoping to look good in front of his council.


"Good, we are gathered. I have some news from King's Landing. Rhaegar Targaryen has kidnapped Lyanna Stark and Brandon Stark is imprisoned by King Aerys," Steffan announced.​
Dale broke through the loud murmurs of the council, "Please forgive me my lord for not bringing this to your attention, the ravens are slow and I put our agents towards pursuing the lead on your father."​
"Do not worry yourself Dale, if I was a Lord Paramount, I'd be worried. But I am not."​
"What is Lord Rickard's response?" asked Brus.​
"He is heading to King's Landing as we speak," answered Maester Dermot.​
"A disaster in the making," said Bryce, "the Mad King's going to kill them both, Rickard still has his son Eddard to succeed him, he should turn back."​
"If I was a father, I'd do everything to protect my children," said Steffan.​
"You'll be a father soon, I received a raven from the Twins, Lord Frey has agreed to marriage between you and his bastard daughter Mellara Rivers. He is also sending a handsome dowry." reported Brus.​
"No surprise there, Lord Walder's going to amass quite the fortune forcing Rickard's bannermen to pay his toll," scoffed Elanna.​
"Lyanna Stark is betrothed to Lord Robert, he will most likely call the banners to take her back from the hands of Rhaegar," said Dale.​
"Which is why we must be ready to support Lord Robert should he call the banners. Lord Bryce, I need you to prepare my vassals for the inevitable conflict," commanded Steffan.​
"Very good my lord, I will have Maester Dermot prepare his ravens with instructions for the lords."​
"That concludes everything that I have for you, if there is anything that needs my attention, please speak now."​
"My lord, I propose I head to Storm's End and help curry favour with Lord Robert. If he does go to war, he might be more generous towards your house upon his victory," suggested Brus.​
"An excellent initiative Brus, you shall leave in the next morning. Also look into befriending Renly and Stannis Baratheon, Robert could fall to the Dragon's blade," said Steffan.​



Brus nodded. The council chamber was silent. Everyone looked at each other waiting for anyone to say something, they all spoke only silence. Steffan concluded the meeting and wished his councillors well.​
The six councillors left the chamber to conduct their business. Lord Lamlynn remained in his seat proud, he believed he made a great impression to his council. He felt like a real lord in command of talented and prominent individuals and relished every moment of the council meeting. At supper, Steffan stuffed his face with foods he couldn't even dream of. Many that were present at the dinner noticed the slob sitting at the very end, but tolerated it, they knew that this lord was as smart as he was gluttonous. After the supper, Steffan headed back to his room followed by Timmeth. He opened the door to his chamber while rubbing his belly with the other hand. Steffan nodded at Timmeth one last time before walking in and closing the door. Steffan dropped himself on the large bed with sheets of fine silk. The cold silk gave him bumps on his arms, they did not bother him as the lord drifted off to sleep.


The next week, Mellara Rivers arrived at Bronzegate. Steffan had anxiously awaited her arrival. He was disappointed that letters he received from Lord Frey claiming she was as beautiful as Cersei Lannister​
were false. But nevertheless, he still wanted to meet her. The lady's wagon was followed by a small unit of guards and Freys who were well armed, Steffan noticed the dull blades they were carrying, clearly the bandits attacked in full force. Accompanying the lady were several large sacks of silver and gold, the handsome dowry was indeed a Jaime Lannister of dowries. The guards helped Mellara off the wagon and she stepped forward to Steffan.She was beautiful, but Steffan expected a woman with long golden hair and lions embroidered on her robes, but that was his fault for trusting a Frey.


"My name is Mellara Rivers, bastard of Walder Frey," introduced Mellara.​
Steffan took hold of her hand kissed it gently. "I am Lord Steffan Lamlynn of Wendwater. You introduced yourself as a bastard like you were proud of it."​
"I must come to terms with what I am, a bastard, a bastard woman in fact. I will not let my title as a bastard hinder me."​
"Such pride is commendable my lady."​
"It is not pride my lord, I just think very realistic," said Mellara, while winking at Steffan.​



Steffan had barely known the woman and he was already truly impressed with her. Septon Lorys was finishing his preparations of the wedding. Steffan did not pay for an extravagant wedding, but it still​
was a lovely affair with lively entertainment and dancing. The councillors and vassals were all enjoying the Dornish Red imported from Dorne. The children and sisters danced on the floor, their moves displayed their innocence and grace. Steffan and Mellara were engaging in a very heated debate about dragons when Septon Lorys came over and told them that it was time to for the vows. The two followed him to the altar at the front of the hall and stood prominently in front of everyone witnessing the events of the day. The room was silent and Septon Lorys smiled at the two.


"In the sight of the Seven, I hereby seal these two souls, binding them as one for eternity. Look upon one another and say the words," Septon Lorys said.​
"Father. Smith. Warrior. Mother. Maiden. Crone. Stranger. I am his/hers, and she/he is mine, from this day, until the end of my days," Steffan and Mellara said in unison to each other.​



The two finally sealed their marriage in front of the large crowd with a kiss. The two kept their faces to one another for some time and kept the momentum of their passion moving. The crowd roared a​
thunderous cheer and the sound of claps and the clangor of cups filled the hall. The feasting ended, and the bedding ceremony had begun. The men picked up Mellara and carried her out the hall and to the chambers, ripping off each piece of her clothing along the way. The women dragged Steffan to his bedchamber, he did not struggle. When the women arrived with Lord Lamlynn, they found Mellara lying on his bed naked, and waiting for her husband to join her. The women giggled and left Steffan and Mellara alone. The two, following Westerosi custom, finally consummated their marriage.




OOC: I hope you guys enjoyed the first instalment of my AAR, feedback is greatly appreciated and encouraged!
 
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DeamonBlackfyre

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This really looks pretty sweet and sorry about your first draft
 

EmpireofOne

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Chapter 1: The Battle of Felwood

"My lord! My lord!" yelled Maester Dermot as he rushed into the courtyard.​
"What is it Dermot?" asked Steffan.​
"Rickard Stark and Brandon Stark are dead! Lord Robert has called the banners, he intends to take Lyanna back, and the Iron Throne!"​
"The throne itself? Bold, can we succeed?"​
"The Starks, Tullys, and Arryns have declared for him. The Dornish and Reachmen ride to Aerys' aid."​
"What of the Lion of Casterly Rock?"​
"The lion slumbers while his prey mingle about, he will most definitely ride to the side of whichever provides the most benefit."​
"Just like a Lannister to look for the most profitable route. Find me Lord Bryce."​
The Maester bowed. "Yes my lord."​


Steffan was ready for this war, he had been preparing for a month now. Lord Baratheon was pleased to hear that Steffan's army of 1,800 was ready to march to his side at Felwood. Before leaving the​
camps outside Bronzegate, he called a war council of his trusted generals and councillors accompanying him. The war tent had a large table with a map of the Stormlands planted on a large table. With him were Lord Bryce, his Master at Arms, Timmeth, Lord Barristan Hasty, and Lord Cortnay of Bucklerforge. Barristan was an old man, nowhere near as graceful as the Kingsguard who shared his named, his lack of speed was made up for his experience in warfare and veteran status in the Wendwater armies. Lord Cortnay was new blood, he was a young man that was eager to prove himself in battle like his Lord Steffan. Lord Bryce stood silent, he knew his lord was smart, but he waited for lord to prove it to his two vassals.


"Robert Baratheon has already won a battle at Oakenfield. A large host of over 7,000 with Lord Robert himself is currently camped at Felwood, we will march there to meet him," said Steffan.​
"There is fighting in the south, let us go there!" said Lord Cortnay.​
"Robert called the banners, he's in the north, we go north," said Lord Barristan.​
"Lord Barristan is right, they say an army lead by Rhaegar Targaryen is heading south towards Lord Robert, we must be there to assist," interjected Lord Bryce.​
"The Lord of Felwood has declared for King Aerys. My lord, if you attack Felwood and take it, you can connect your lands and also provide yourself a stronger base for taxes and troops," advised Lord​
Barristan.
"Very wise Lord Barristan," said Steffan, "we shall take Felwood for ourselves and also assist Lord Baratheon in the coming battle."​
"Very good my lord, it shall be done, let us move out," said Lord Cortnay.​



The army of the Wendwater marched from Bronzegate to Felwood, the next county over. The banners of House Lamlynn were welcomed with open arms in the Baratheon camp. The winds were strong, the​
flapping of the stag banners, smithies working with metal, and soldiers marching and talking were all the sounds familiar to Lord Barristan. The soldiers of Lord Lamlynn settled themselves at the outer perimeter of the camp, many Baratheons offering to help the Lamlynns set up their tents. Lord Lamlynn and his entourage entered the tent of Robert Baratheon and his retinue. The Young Stag sat upon a makeshift throne at the very end of the tent, to his right was his brother, Stannis Baratheon. Lord Lamlynn noticed Brus sitting with several Baratheon courtiers and nodded at his lord. The Young Stag stood up and offered his arms to his vassal, Steffan took the offer and embraced his lord.


"Lord Baratheon, I am truly sorry for what the Dragon has done to you. I swear to you as a loyal vassal, that I shall stand by you until you reunite with your wife and watch King's Landing burn," said​
Steffan.
"Ha!" laughed Robert. "Your Master of Laws has told me much about your personality and intellect, it is good to see that he dares not lie to his new king."​
"Are the reports true? Is the Dragon marching south?"​
"They are," interrupted Stannis.​
"We have about 10,000 men now, Selwyn Tarth is marching North with another 4,000," said Robert.​
"The Dragon commands 7,000 and is receiving another 10,000, we'd be fools to fight them in open battle," said Stannis.​
"Bah, the Dragon can hide behind as many men as he wants we will use the Wendwater to block their crossing. Lord Lamlynn, where would they cross?" asked Robert.​
"They would most likely cross a small ford nearby a small village north of Felwood, we can stop their crossing there and hope our defences hold."​
"Excellent, I won't forget your loyalty and council."​
"I hope you would not forget either," joked Steffan.​



All the men in the tent laughed, even Stannis cracked a smile. Robert marched his troops to the small crossing near Felwood that Steffan had mentioned. Lord Selwyn Tarth was still a few days away, the​
Baratheon forces would have to hold until then. The rumours of the Dragon marching south made them uneasy, they were fighting the blood of Aegon the Conqueror. Lord Barristan reminded the men that the Baratheons had Targaryen blood in them as well, and the men cheered up. The crossing was just as Steffan had described it. Along the edges of the river were shallows that went to the men's knees, while the centre of the river was deep and up to a man's elbows. Steffan was given command of the Baratheon left flank, a measly force of 2,000 men. Lord Robert and Stannis took the centre where the majority of Baratheon forces were, a force of 7,000. The right flank was commanded by Lord Barristan who commanded the smallest unit of 1,800 men.


The beating of Targaryen drums was heard in the distance. Robert's face was covered with the helmet of horned antlers he was wearing, nobody knew if fear or excitement hid under the helm. The dark​
banners of House Targaryen started to emerge from the forest in the distance. The army of soldiers under the banners were numerous, thousands of men marched in formation against Robert's army. All the generals rode to the centre to receive Robert's orders and listen to his speech. The generals and soldiers behind Robert eagerly awaited for the inspiring words from their king.


"Men! Do you see the Dragon? I do not. It seems he would rather fight from the rear of his army instead of fight me face to face. The dragons are long gone, the only ones I can see are the dragons on​
their banners! A shame it is, for a dragon is what they need to win the day! The time of the Targaryens ends with this battle, a new age of kings has come, and I shall lead us through it! Fight with me loyal men, they may have more reinforcements, but so do we. Fight hard and hold, so that we can give Selwyn Tarth the last of the glory. Will you fight with me now? Whether you carry the banner of the Tarths, Swanns, Wyldes, and even the Lamlynns, today we are all Baratheons!"


The soldiers gave out a great cheer in agreement with their king's words, Steffan cheered especially loud hoping his lord would hear it. Robert commanded his generals back to their flanks and prepared for​
the coming battle. The archers took positions against the river and waited for the Targaryens to enter their range. The fighting had not even begun and the sweat was already rolling. Timmeth, Lord Cortnay, and Lord Bryce stood by their lord. Steffan was shivering in the heat, this was his first battle. He never thought Robert would entrust him with an entire flank, his commands could mean the difference between victory or the Targaryens surrounding Robert and ending the war. Steffan ordered his archers forward, the men took their positions and watched the enemy across the river closely. His men could see plenty of movement behind the formations of the Targaryen troops. Lord Bryce warned that the Targaryens were preparing their assault. The sounds of drums and horns filled the air and the Targaryen troops moved forward. Steffan ordered his men to draw their arrows and aim for the enemy. When he noticed Robert's archers beginning to fire, he ordered them to shoot as well, the battle had begun.


The Targaryen troops picked up the pace, they rushed forward with great speed and were upon the river. The Targaryen cavalry held back, waiting for their infantry to clear a way across the Wendwater to​
make use of the flat ground of the other side. Arrows flew across the river, many of Steffan's men took a few arrows, but the Targaryens took twice as much. The Targaryen soldiers were almost on the other side of the shallows when Robert ordered the centre to charge in and prevent the wet feet of the Targaryens to step foot on land. Steffan followed his example and ordered his men into the river and stop the Targaryens. Steffan was confident he was winning the engagement when he noticed the enemy's right flank seemed to be pushing him back, he noticed that the enemy had focused their assault on the Baratheon left. Steffan entered a state of panic, he was going to lose the battle if he did not get reinforcements. He sent Lord Cortnay to Robert's side to request reinforcements. Fearing his men would break, Steffan rushed into the fray followed by Timmeth and his guards. The men were inspired to see their general in the fighting, but they still could not hold back the torment of the Targaryens, it seemed hopeless if reinforcements did not arrive. Steffan parried a swing from an enemy soldier and countered the move, the man laid lifeless in the water. Timmeth and his guards kept many enemies away from Steffan, and the few that made it through were personally dealt with by Steffan himself.The Baratheons were still being pushed back, hope was failing among the soldiers. Steffan heard roars and screaming from behind his army, was he being flanked? He saw the banners and recognized the bright banners of House Caron. Lord Bryne sent his troops into the fray and the extra soldiers kept the Targaryens at bay. Night was falling, both sides continued the fighting, knowing that neither side would allow the other to cross during the night. Both sides alternated troops, to keep the waves of fresh troops coming.


The Targaryens received more reinforcements from the Crownlands. The Numbers were equal and the Targaryens continued their hard push across the river. Steffan was desperate for more reinforcements,​
he was angry Lord Caron split his troops on all fronts. Reports spread that Robert Baratheon had slain the enemy commander of the centre in single combat, the troops lasted longer, but the Targaryens continued to charge their line. The enemy hammer on the left flank forced Steffan's soldiers back on the dry land, they did their best to keep them at bay. Knowing his men would be slaughtered by the Targaryens if he stayed, he reluctantly ordered the retreat.


Steffan oversaw the retreat of the left flank and pulled them back to Robert's line to reform. Robert's men held back the Targaryens attempting to flank. Reports from the right flank claimed that Lord​
Barristan had forced the Targaryen left to retreat back across the Wendwater. Lord Barristan sent his troops across the river to smash the Targaryens in their flank and rear. Robert was fearing the enemies on his flank, he was about to personally lead men to push back the flank, but Lord Selwyn Tarth arrived and sent his forces to reinforce every flank. He took over command of the left flank and Steffan accompanied him in the push.


Despite the reinforcements from Lord Tarth, the enemy still had an advantage in numbers against the Baratheon left. Steffan and Lord Tarth fought side by side and tried to hold the river crossing yet again.​
The Targaryens continued to push their advantage and momentum over the Baratheon left and put their feet upon dry land again. In the heat of battle, Lord Tarth told Steffan he was planning on pulling back his troops. Steffan protested and claimed Robert would send his troops to help after finishing off the centre. He kept fighting on until he realized how many Targaryen troops still remained on their flank. Steffan and Lord Tarth rode their horses away from the fighting on the left, followed by any soldier lucky enough to make it out.


Lord Tarth was caught by Benjicot of Lakeshore, a vassal of Lord Lewyn of Goodbrook. Steffan stayed with Lord Tarth and his guards as they watched their lord fight the man in single combat. The two​
walked circles, both waited for the other to strike. Benjicot made the first swing and Lord Tarth parried the strike. He made a quick counter-attack, but Benjicot merely stood out of the way. Lord Tarth turned around with his sword out, Benjicot jumped back, barely avoiding the tip of Lord Tarth's steel. Lord Tarth recovered from his swing and made a series of strikes against Benjicot which he blocked quickly. Lord Tarth continued his relentless assault, hoping the younger man would show an opening in his desperate defence. Lord Tarth began to tire, Benjicot saw his chance and lunged at Lord Tarth, he barely brushed aside the blade with his and walked another circle with his opponent. Steffan watched uneasy, the men were still fighting and retreating around them and the bulk of the enemy was gaining on them. Benjicot made an overhead swing with both of his hands on the handle. Lord Tarth prepared his block, both hands on the handle like his opponent with the blade almost perfectly perpendicular to the opposing steel. The force of Benjicot's strike forced down Lord Tarth's sword, Benjicot's sword broke through and cut into Lord Tarth's face. Lord Tarth screamed in great agony for a few seconds before the blade silenced him and forced his sword out of his hands. Steffan fled the duel and returned back to Robert's line for the second time, he still could not believed the events he had witnessed.


The lines shifted, instead of both sides occupying opposite sides of the river, both sides were now perpendicular to the river and Robert and Lord Barristan advanced their forces on the remaining Targaryens.​
The sounds of the Targaryen horns could be heard, the enemy turned back and fled the battlefield, the battle was won. The casaulties were great, the river ran red. Out of the 1,800 men that fought under the Lamlynn banner, only 750 men remained. Steffan walked along the battlefield and looked through the dead, he recognized many of the dead Lamlynn soldiers as old friends during his days as a commoner. He did not want to return to Bronzegate, he would return with barely half his men. He went back to the scene of the duel between Selwyn Tarth and Banjicot of Lakeshore, he spotted the corpse of Lord Tarth and carried his immobile body back to the camp. The battle of the Felwood was the largest and most decisive battle fought so far, half of the banners of the Crownlands were now in Baratheon hands. Steffan returned the body of Lord Tarth to his bannermen, they let out a great cry that made the Lion's roar a mere hiss. He stayed with the Tarth bannermen and told them of their lord's noble death. Steffan handed Lord Tarth's sword to a Tarth courtier when a messenger told him that Robert Baratheon was gathering the lords. He made his way to the tent, followed by Timmeth. Steffan told Timmeth to wait outside, he opened the flap to the tent. Robert sat on his makeshift throne while the lords sat on chairs around a table with a long map of Westeros placed upon it.


"Damn it all!" yelled Robert. "They said the Dragon would be here! Lord Lamlynn, you were entrusted to hold a flank and failed, Lord Tarth died cleaning your mess."​
"I am sorry my lord, I am responsible for the deaths of many nobles and their bannermen," apologized Steffan.​
"Brother," said Stannis, "were you aware that Lord Lamlynn took the blunt of the Targaryen assault? Were you not aware that he managed to hold for an entire week against these odds?"​
"I suppose, would anyone else speak for Lord Lamlynn?"​
"The man can handle himself in a fight, for a lord that was once a poor commoner, you can really handle the sword," said Lord Caron.​
"Aye," said Lord Barristan. "I've fought and read many campaigns, it does not matter if you win all the battles, it matters only that you win war."​
"Exactly brother, Lord Lamlynn may have failed to hold his ground, but the battle was still won. Lord Tarth would've said the same," argued Stannis.​
"My vassals speak well of you Lord Lamlynn, I guess I can allow you to remain in a command for some time," said Robert.​
"Thank you my lord, I will do everything to honour your decision."​
"I name you Master of the Horse, and I place you in charge of the siege of Felwood, Lucas Fell is yours if you're successful," commanded Robert.​



Steffan knelt before his lord and thanked him profusely for the titles and honour. He took one of the many vacant seats in the tent. The council revealed that Lord Hoster Tully was already besieging King's​
Landing while Lord Eddard Stark arrived in Harrenhal, Jon Arryn was busy dealing with vassals that declared for Aerys. Another major concern were the Tyrells and Martells, who were fast approaching Storm's End, their host of over 35,000 penetrated the Dornish march and made a straight path towards Robert's seat. Robert ordered Stannis to take a few men and organize the defence of Storm's End. Steffan remained at the Baratheon camp, Robert and his remaining troops were marching north to assist Lord Hoster Tully. The camp looked like a barren wasteland without all the bright yellow tents and banners of the Baratheons. Stannis was preparing to leave the empty camp when Steffan caught him by the arm.


"Lord Stannis, why did you speak favourably of me?" he asked.​
"You seem competent, I need people like that. Robert's a fighter, and like any fighter, they die. If he dies before the Stark girl grants him a child, the crown, or at least the Stormlands will go to me. I​
need the lords to be favourable of me if the crown ever finds my head," answered Stannis.
"Thank you Lord Stannis, I owe a debt of gratitude for saving me from the Stag's wrath."​
"I shall hold you to that. Good luck in your siege of Felwood, Lord Lamlynn."​



Stannis rode off followed by his small entourage of cavalrymen. Steffan could feel the twists in his belly, he spoke with a man who did not have to do anything and still be considered higher than most​
people. He took Stannis' words to heart, knowing that Stannis craved the Iron Throne as much as his brother. The encounter with Lord Stannis made him believe that Stannis Baratheon saw him as an ally, someone he could trust with his plans and schemes, someone who could help him play the game. And when he repeated the words final words of Lord Stannis in his head, he ordered his army to march on Felwood and siege the castle. House Lamlynn was no longer an unknown house, it was now a player in the game. For in the game of thrones, you either win or you die.

OOC: I was not expecting the majority of the Targaryens to be on my flank, I was biting my nails throughout the battle, hoping the AAR wound't end there. And formatting the indenting is the biggest struggle ever.
 
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Henry v. Keiper

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Nice start! Following!

And it would have been an awkward end indeed. But...well...you could have said your AAR survived more than one post! (Which a lot do not).
 

EmpireofOne

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OOC: I think I'm gonna indent only the dialogue now. If they change it so the preview actually is the same width as the forum post, I can format the indenting so much more easier.

Chapter 2: The Usurper

Baratheon and Lamlynn banners surrounded Felwood. Robert had entrusted the siege of Felwood to Steffan, for several months, Steffan waited. The siege killed many of the smallfolk and soldiers hiding within the stone walls. Bodies were being thrown over the walls daily, the sight was grim, but Steffan had to remember that this was war. The sounds of people crying and yelling inside the castle reminded him of his days as a commoner, all the days he did not eat, all the days he did not sleep. Lord Lucas Fell resisted the siege and attempted to hold, hoping that the massive Tyrell and Martell army marching on Storm's End would turn their sights on the enemy besieging their ally. The gates to the castle of Felwood opened, the portcullis slowly rising so that Lord Lucas Fell could exit the castle. He stood in front of Lord Lamlynn, ready to receive him. Lord Fell bent his knee and surrendered to Steffan.


"I surrender, please lord, have mercy," begged Lord Fell.​
"Rise," said Steffan, "I will allow you your title and family, but you are now my vassal."​
"Your mercy is legendary lor- my lord."​
A messenger rushed to Steffan. "Raven from Bronzegate! Congratulations my lord, you're a father!"​


Timmeth, Lord Bryce, Lord Cartnay, and Lord Barristan were all there to celebrate the news. They all patted Steffan's shoulders until they were numb and let out a merry laugh. They were so happy and excited, they even invited Lord Lucas to join in, who was awkwardly watching the men celebrate, unsure whether or not to join in. The letter did not say whether the child was a boy or a girl, Mellara wrote that she wanted it to be a surprise for him when he came home from the campaign. With the siege over, Steffan ordered everyone inside the castle to be given food, the smallfolk had resorted to eating horses and sometimes each other. Lord Lucas still had a store of actual food, Steffan reprimanded him for that. Lord Lucas was sent back inside his castle, and Steffan marched his troops, along with any Lord Lucas could spare south to assist Stannis Baratheon against the Tyrell and Martell armies that ravaged the Stormlands. Another messenger arrived.


"Lord Lamlynn, raven from Logrus Town. Lord Robert has engaged the Martell army heading north, they seemed to be heading for King's Landing. "​
"The Dornish outnumber us, what of the Reachmen?"​
"Still heading to Storm's End m'lord, Lord Hoster Tully and Eddard Stark are already moving to reinforce Lord Robert."​
"Excellent," said Lord Bryce, "the combined armies of the Baratheons, Tullys, and Starks could crush anything, without their dragons, the Targaryens cannot turn this into another Field of Fire."​
"What of the Lion?" asked Steffan.​
"The Lion does not move, still perched upon its rock," answered the messenger.​
"What is he playing at? He knows that riding to Robert's side could guarantee the war and give Robert a reason to reward him. He could also still win this war for King Aerys if he combines his troops with the Tyrells​
and Martell remnants."
"Or he could be saving his troops to remain in a powerful position, the Lannisters do not need rewards, you know as they say, 'Lord Tywin shits gold,'" said Lord Cartnay​
"If he is planning on using his troops, gods help Robert Baratheon, let us hope King's Landing does not become another Castamere," said Steffan.​


The decisive victory at Logrus Town destroyed the entire Martell army, Prince Doran had managed to flee the scene of the battle before his army was wiped out. The massive Baratheon army headed south and crushed the Tyrell army under Mace Tyrell, killing him in the process. The war was won. King Aerys surrendered to Robert Baratheon, the proud red dragons of the Targaryens were now replaced with the bright stags of the Baratheons. Steffan heard the bards sing of the Crowned Stag, the one who defeated the Dragons. All across the Stormlands, the smallfolk celebrated the victory. Many smallfolk along the path to Bronzegate expressed their joy to Lord Lamlynn of the victory, Steffan took pride that he had a part in the victory. King Aerys was blinded right in front of Robert and the Targaryens were exiled to Braavos, to live the rest of their lives in shame, or plot to return to the throne. Rumours spread of a girl born during a storm the day before the Targaryen defeat, her name was Daenerys Stormborn Targaryen.


Robert announced who he had selected to be Lord Paramount of the Stormlands, to everyone's surprise, he chose his extremely younger brother Renly. Lord Stannis was named the Prince of Dragonstone, Steffan did not agree with Robert's decision. However, as Lord Lamlynn was passing through the boundaries of Felwood and Bronzegate, he received a raven from King's Landing, he was named Regent of Lord Renly Baratheon.


Steffan thought of himself as a mere spectator in the great game of thrones, but this, this changed everything. With power over the young boy, he could potentially be a powerful player in the game, and shine the brightest out of all the lords. Years ago, he was a mere commoner, he now was the de facto ruler of the Stormlands, for a while. Steffan eagerly marched home, hoping that his wife would join him in the celebrations and give him the chance to meet his child. He was gone for many months, he wondered how much Bronzegate had changed in his absence. He quickly remembered how many men were behind him, half of the banners were gone, half the men under them were gone as well. Lord Bryce turned around and took his troops back to his holding at Amberly. Lord Barristan took his remaining troops ahead to his holdfast and Lord Cortnay too. The walls of Bronzegate were almost unrecognisable to him, he had spent so long staring at the walls of Felwood and the columns of Targaryens to remember his own holdfast. The portcullis opened with great speed, expressing its excitement for the return of its lord. The courtyard was a mass of smallfolk and guardsmen, all cheering for their lord. Steffan smiled and waved at his people. Many mothers, sisters, and wives noticed the men in their lives were still not inside the castle, Steffan noticed this too. He looked away, hoping not to catch eyes with the many grieving widows of Bronzegate. After looking away, he remembered Mellara's letter, he dismounted his horse and ran to the keep, a small kick in every step. He saw Maester Dermot standing outside a door, staring into it. Steffan approached the Maester.


"What are you looking at Maester? That room was empty when I left," said Steffan.​
"Things have changed around here my lord, this room is now a nursery," said Maester Dermot, with a smile on his face.​


Steffan quietly opened the door. He took small silent steps like his Master of Whispers Dale. A wet nurse was feeding a baby. He did not even have to stare to know that the baby in her arms, was his daughter. The wet nurse looked up and noticed her lord. She smiled and walked over to Steffan and handed the baby to him. The child was so light, yet the emotions that followed weighed Steffan to the ground. The sight of his child brought a tear to his eyes, she had her mother's eyes while carrying her father's lips. The wet nurse suddenly frowned, she told Steffan to give her back the child and head back to his room. Steffan was reluctant, but handed back the child and went back to his room. He saw his wife, Lady Mellara lying on the bed surrounded by several nurses. She was coughing and had a head as red as the blood Steffan had spilled at the battle of Felwood.


"Mellara!" yelled Steffan as he ran to her side.​
"Stay back, you will die."​
"Nonsense! You'll live."​
"Did you see her?" said Mellara before letting out another giant cough.​
"I saw her, she's beautiful."​
"Thank the gods Robert won his throne before I die."​
"Do not say such words, you will live. You will live."​
"Don't tell me what to do Lord Lamlynn."​


Steffan stayed by her bed. The nurses tried their best to keep her temperature cool, but her head was warm, as warm as the sun. He recounted his experiences in the war to her, Mellara conjured as much strength as she could to listen to his stories with great interest. She was proud of her husband, he had proved himself a true lord these past few months.


"You never told me her name," said Steffan.​
Mellara's strength was failing, she could barely move her lips, but still spoke one final word, "Steffanie."​



Satisfied with telling her love what the name of their child was, she finally let go. Steffan held onto her hand. He knew she was giving up, but he thought he could convince her not to by holding on tightly. Mellara's hands slowly relaxed themselves, she was dead. Steffan buried his head in her shoulders and let out tears that put the Trident to shame, tears that spilled into giant rivers along the bed and floor.


The morale of the holdfast dropped tremendously during the weeks that followed Lady Mellara's death. Lord Lamlynn silently sat on his seat in the courtroom and leaned on his left hand which rested on the armrest. Any commoner that dared speak to their lord were met with harsh words and the grip of several guards. Several lords expressed their sorrows to Lord Lamlynn, even Stannis Baratheon sent him a letter. Timmeth stood by him, as a sworn sword of Lord Lamlynn, he too felt his lord's sadness. Maester Dermot carried a letter in his hands, another letter of false words intended to cheer him up perhaps?


"My lord, your duties as Regent shall begin soon. You must prepare to move to Storm's End where Lord Renly resides."​
"See to it Maester."​
"One more thing my lord, it would seem that you have been made Master of Laws for the Stormlands."​
"Lord Renly would find a better candidate in the stones in his walls."​
"You were recommended by several lords, his brother Stannis being one of them."​
"Fine, I shall be the Regent and Master of Laws for the Stormlands, pack my things. Timmeth, gather the household guard, it'll be a long march to Storm's End," commanded Steffan.​
 

EmpireofOne

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This really looks pretty sweet and sorry about your first draft
Thanks for the feedback. My new countermeasure for this is to keep the paradox forum tab on the far right to make sure I don't have a reason to my mouse cursor too far to the right.

i'll follow this. its a good read so far :)
Thanks for following the AAR, I was hoping it was a good read.

Nice start! Following!

And it would have been an awkward end indeed. But...well...you could have said your AAR survived more than one post! (Which a lot do not).
Hopefully the momentum of this nice start remains. I took a look at a bunch of other AARs today and noticed yours, it's also a mighty fine read.
 

EmpireofOne

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Things are looking really bad right now, my save games might've been corrupted. It's odd, the ones I create now run fine and can be reloaded and still run good, but the ones made before today all crash a few days after hitting unpause. I'm looking into fixing them, but to no avail. If things are desperate, I'll recreate my character to be identical as the one I made, and attempt to guide the game to how it was exactly in chapter 2. That does mean I'm gonna have to kill Mellara if she doesn't get ill, and my children might be born earlier or later than they were. Some others might have to die so that Steffan can become regent, I don't care about Master of Laws so if I don't get the job, I'll just pretend something happened.
 

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Okay, after several attempts at getting the world to be as similar to chapter 2 as possible, (You'd be surprised how many times Robert got himself killed or died of illness) I've gotten a world that satisfies what I'm looking for. There are some divergences from the original save, they are:

- Steffan Lamlynn gained the brave trait and held his ground at the battle of Felwood.
- Lord Bryce was killed at the battle of Felwood.
- Lord Selwyn Tarth survived the battle, but died of illness a month later.
- Robert Baratheon manages to capture Rhaegar Targaryen at the battle of Felwood, he executes him shortly after winning the Iron Throne.
- The Targaryens flee to Lys instead of Braavos, also Aerys was not blinded by Robert.
- The Reach is still independent of the Iron Throne, Willas Tyrell rules the entirety of The Reach.
- Steffanie Lamlynn was born with a lisp instead of a blank character like in the original save.

The council is also completely different, mainly from early deaths or bad randomized stats, although Meryn and Maester Dermot are still around.

Castellan: Ser Meryn
Master of Laws: (Spoiler, so I won't name the new person in charge.)
Master at Arms: Lord Alaric of Amberly
Master of Coin: Alysanne
Master of Whispers: Ser Ethos of Bucklerforge
Maester: Maester Dermot
Septon: Galladon
 
Last edited:

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OOC: This will be the first instalment of the new alternate universe. Hopefully things start picking up past the beginning, as it's going to be very awkward writing things that didn't happen before the save game corruption.

Chapter 3: An Amateur of the Game

Storm's End, the ancestral home of the Durrandons. The great outer walls that protected the Storm King Durran and his wife Elenei from the wrath of the gods of the sea were now in Steffan's sights. House Lamlynn had less history than a single stone on the wall, even the dust upon the stones were more significant than Lord Steffan. The lord of all the Stormlands sat on the throne inside its walls, but Steffan doubted that the young Renly Baratheon understood the importance of such a seat. He was still upset over the loss of his wife, Steffan kept his head down the entire journey from Bronzegate. Before becoming a noble lord, all Steffan wanted was to get married, have children, and tend to his farm. The gods took away something he wanted so much, his only consolation was that they spared his daughter Steffanie. Timmeth refrained from riding by his lord's side, understanding how delicate the situation was. The nurses that followed took good care of Steffanie. Steffan looked back occasionally, expecting the cruel gods who stole his wife to come back for a second helping to satisfy their infinite hunger.

The gates opened for Steffan and his party. Waiting in the open gateway was the Maester of the Stormlands, Maester Kyle. The Maester scratched his hands. The man approached Lord Lamlynn.


"Lord Lamlynn, I am honoured to be the first to welcome you to Storm's End. Come, as regent and Master of Laws of our realm, you have many duties awaiting you."​
"I thank you for the welcome Maester. I would like to settle in immediately before attending to any courtly affairs."​
"Ah yes, I will have some servants bring you and your entourage to their quarters. Storm's End shall be a fine home for you and your daughter."​
"Thank you, how is Lord Renly?"​
"Eager to meet a new face. It would be best not to keep the young lord waiting."​


The fortress was much more impressive than Bronzegate by tenfold. Steffan did not blink, hoping to savour every portion of the feast for his eyes. The Maester lead Steffan to his room. The room was much bigger than his quarters in Bronzegate, the bed was bigger, the door was bigger, and even the candles were bigger than the ones at Bronzegate. Two servants brought in his luggage, he ordered the two to unpack and sort all his belongings as he left the room. Timmeth and several household guards caught up with their lord and followed him to the courtroom. The courtroom was massive, great columns held the tall ceiling from collapsing on the inhabitants, while the wide area gave everyone inside plenty of space to call their own. At the end of the courtroom was Lord Renly, a boy of six sitting upon a throne that was touched by the great Baratheons all the way back to Orys Baratheon. The young boy could not sit still. Every second he spent on the throne was one of spontaneous movement, the Maester urged the young boy to stop moving. Steffan caught the boy's eyes, he suddenly stopped moving.


"You're new. Who are you?" asked the young lord.​
"My name is Lord Steffan Lamlynn. I have been designated as your regent and Master of Laws at the recommendation of several lords, your brother Stannis being one of them," introduced Steffan.​
"I don't know what those are. What do they mean Maester?"​
"Lord Lamlynn will rule the Stormlands alongside you until you come of age, he will also handle matters require diplomacy my lord," answered the Maester.​
"Oh. Will you do a good job Lord Steffan Lamlynn?"​
"I will try my best to ensure the well-being of the Stormlands, until your sixteenth nameday of course."​
"I like you already, go meet everyone, they talk funny like you."​


Steffan bowed before his lord and fell back with the other lords and courtiers. The Maester addressed any of the court audiences while Renly played with his fingers. There were two other high lords present at the court,Renly's Castellan, Lord Casper Wylde. His Master-at-Arms was Lord Lester Morrigan. Casper was a man several years Steffan's senior. He seemed unimpressed with the young upstart, Steffan could tell this man did not recommend him. Lester was the polar opposite, he looked like he wanted to meet Steffan, he was the first to extend his hand.


"Lord Lamlynn, good to see you here. You might not recognize me, but I was there at the Felwood where Robert captured the Dragon," said Lester.​
"I think I remember your banners being on the right. Well, it's good to see a familiar face in this court."​
"Don't mind Lord Casper, he's angry about a commoner like you being elevated to such a high position. I was one of the lords who recommended you."​
"I thank you for the recommendation Lord Lester, I hope we can work together to elevate our standing in the realm."​
"As do I," said Lester with a smile on his face.​


Several months passed. Steffan attempted to hold himself together as every single duty in the realm tried to tear him apart. He could not perform his duties to his fullest ability like he promised, he still mourned the death of Mellara. Steffanie spoke her first words, but Steffan was too busy ruling in Renly's name to hear the words. When Steffanie finally used her legs to stand, Steffan was too busy ruling in Renly's name. He ruled loyally and faithfully, but that did not matter to his critics. Steffan received a raven from Bronzegate, Lord Walder Frey took the liberty of sending another cart with gold and one of his daughters, a lady by the name of Tyta Frey. Steffan asked Lord Renly permission to leave for a week for the wedding, he quickly made the trip back after Lord Renly agreed.


She was nothing compared to Mellara. She was stubborn and refused to be wrong. Tyta's only redeeming quality was her honesty, but Steffan wished she would spend the rest of her life lying to him with the things she said to him. Her harsh truths included several insults toward his common blood and daughter who spoke with a lisp. Steffan made an excuse to move the wedding to the next day, it had barely been a day and he wanted to return to Storm's End. He left the night he consummated his marriage, quickly followed by Timmeth, a large number of household guardsmen, and the nurses who took care of Steffanie.

Lord Renly and the council welcomed back Lord Lamlynn. He continued his duty for another month when a raven from Bronzegate arrived for him, Tyta was pregnant. At first he smiled, could the witch give him the son he wanted? As he continued down the lines of writing, he realized that she was indeed pregnant, with another man's child. To make things even more disastrous, the father was Maester Dermot.


Steffan vowed to exact his vengeance upon the Maester personally, but he was still in Storm's End. Tyta was a whore, it reminded Steffan how much he loved Mellara. He spent many sleepless nights mourning her as he did before. Another month passed, his rule as regent was heavily ridiculed by a few members of the council, Lord Casper was the head of the critics. Lord Lester attempted to defend his friend in the council, but to no avail. The council was called by Maester Kyle who attempted to settle the dispute once and for all. The councillors took their seats in the chamber, on one side sat Lord Lamlynn and his supporters, on the other was Lord Casper and those who agreed that Lord Lamlynn was unfit to rule as regent. Lord Renly and Maester Kyle sat at the head of the table and waited for both sides to quiet down.


"Lord Lamlynn, you have been called here to convince me and Lord Renly that you are fit to rule as regent," said the Maester.​
"My lord Renly, forgive me. There have been many things happening in my court that have interfered with my duties as regent. I have resolved many of the issues and can rule to my fullest ability," said Steffan.​
"I'm not convinced. Lord Lamlynn had many opportunities to prove himself that did not require him to leave the spot he stood on, nor required plenty of thought," argued Lord Casper.​
"The man has many things on his mind. He's still mourning his wife Lord Casper, the man has many troubles on his mind," said Lord Lester.​
"Which is exactly why Lord Lamlynn is incapable as regent," said Lord Casper.​
"My lord Renly, what is your decision?" asked Maester Kyle.​
"I don't know Maester. You said you want to do what's good for the land, you choose," answered Renly.​
"Lord Renly, I do believe Lord Casper's arguments are indeed true. We shall have a new regent. Lord Casper has ruled long and has proven himself under your brother Robert, I recommend him."​
"It is done, can I go play now?" said Renly.​


Steffan left the council room angry. He was betrayed by his lord. Lord Casper immediately took his duties as regent. Steffan did not do anything to fight Lord Renly's decision, he knew he did not need the trouble. Lord Lester caught up with Steffan after the meeting.


"Lord Lamlynn, I'm sorry," said Lord Lester.​
"We did our best, I was not the best choice for regent. I'm a commoner with barely any experience to work with."​
"Lord Casper was right, if you want to advance in this world, you have to get past your emotions. Your emotions are necessary, but there are times where it must be restrained, this was one of them."​
"Lord Lester, you're a good friend. I am glad that you're in the council. I don't know how long I'd last without your help."​
"It's not a problem," said Lord Lester, "just remember what I just said."​


Lord Lester walked off. Steffan had learned so much in that council meeting. He was so confident he could play the game, but he was checked in every turn by a superior opponent, Lord Casper. Steffan was an amateur of the game. He took the words of Lord Lester to heart, "Your emotions are necessary, but there are times where it must be restrained," he muttered to himself. He repeated the words like a chant. Steffan returned to his room, he contemplated on his next move. He wanted Lord Casper dead, but he could not just kill him, especially after what had happened. Steffan laid in his bed. With every inch of his power, he prayed to the seven for the encouraging words of his love Mellara, but the gods laughed in his face. The night was falling, the silence reminded him of his wedding night with Mellara. He did not need words or sounds to express his love for her, she knew he loved her and he knew it too. He turned over on his bed, and slowly drifted to sleep, while many tears rolled down his cheek.



OOC: The screenshot of Steffan being replaced as regent is supposed to say Lord Casper Wylde, but it said Steffan Lamlynn.
 

Henry v. Keiper

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Things don't seem to be going very well for our protagonist at this point...or at the very least, he seems to be having a very rough time of it.
 

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Chapter 4: The Tournament of Gallowsgrey

A year had passed since Lord Lamlynn was relieved of his duties as the regent of Renly Baratheon. Despite the harsh betrayal of his lord, he still served as Master of Laws faithfully, many lords thought positively of Renly after a visit from Steffan. He kept thinking about his new wife Tyta Frey and Maester Dermot, he betrayed his duty to Bronzegate and yet the gods did not punish him. He was tempted to spit in the face of Septon Steffon for what the seven had done to him, but he did not want the gods to have satisfaction. The Lords of the council were divided, many were bitter at Lord Casper seizing the regency, while others supported Lord Casper in this endeavour. Lord Lester had become a close friend of Steffan, he was a blessing in the middle of a field of vexes. During an annual court audience, an attendant handed all that were present a piece of parchment with the seal of Lord Casper. Steffan ripped the seal and unfolded the folded parchment.


"Does he dare insult me by seizing my position as regent and invite me to his celebrations?" asked Steffan angrily.​
"It's a formality Lord Lamlynn, Lord Casper knows he would lose face to exclude a member of the council from his invitations. Do not worry, he is probably praying to the seven that you rip yours to pieces," said Lord Lester.​
"No, I will go. I want to see the look on his face when I am crowned champion of his tourney."​
"Good luck, you're not a knight Lord Lamlynn. You'd be lucky to beat the first Ser pitted against you."​
"I hope the Warrior shall bless me in the upcoming jousts."​


The many lords that accepted the invitation began packing for their trip to Gallowsgrey for the tournament, even Lord Renly was attending the tourney. The court was already spreading rumours of the commoner in the tournament, Steffan ignored the rumours and continued packing. He prayed to the Warrior under every breath, and after every robe he packed. He wanted to win the tournament for his first step of vengeance against Lord Casper, he wanted to eat his food, mingle with his acquaintances, defeat his knights, and steal the purse and glory that Lord Casper had spent months to prepare. He started to wrinkle his robes as his grip tightened, he imagined Lord Casper's head in his hands and pretended he was strong enough to squeeze the life out of him. But he saved his anger, the Warrior may approve, but the other six may take his daughter as the price of such crimes. Timmeth entered the room and saw his lord packing.


"M'lord, is it wise to fight in the tourney?"​
"Do you remember that hunting trip before Maester Dermot told us of Rhaegar Targaryen's treachery?"​
"Yes I do m'lord."​
"We joked about neither of us being knights, maybe I can become one by performing well in the tourney."​
"There are many skilled knights in the realm, you'd be lucky to survive the first round."​
"Everyone is saying the same, I will prove them wrong."​


All the lords attending followed Lord Renly in one giant royal caravan. The trip to Gallowsgrey took a week. Lord Casper welcomed the royal procession with a great smile on his face. His smile suddenly disappeared when he and Steffan locked eyes. He tried his best to look good in front of his lord and council members, but the sight of Lord Lamlynn had ruined the entire tournament for him. Steffan was taken to the competitor tents where many knights and their squires were preparing for the joust. Timmeth offered to help his lord due to the lack of a squire and helped him with the armour that was loaned to him. The armour was of a lower quality, it did not shine and looked like it was worn during the time of Aegon the Conqueror and was never touched again. Steffan believed that Lord Casper was behind this, trying to ensure the competition was as difficult for him as possible. The knights took notice of Steffan, he was a commoner that had no right to call himself Ser.


"Funny looking squire you have there, I didn't know they had beards," joked Ser Awen.​
Ser Lothar grabbed Steffan by his robe, Timmeth reached for his sword but the knight spoke before Timmeth could draw, "Look here peasant, you may be a lord, but you're no knight. You're not winning this tournament."​


The knight let go of Steffan's robe and called his squire to fix his armour. Steffan's heart was beating, the knight had frightened him and he had second thoughts about the tournament.


"Timmeth, you fought in the lists. Do you have any advice?"​
"Stick em' with the pointy end m'lord."​
"Anything else?"​
"Don't let them stick you with the pointy end."​


The two men laughed and Timmeth helped Steffan into his armour. The next thing they did was head to the stable where the stable boy handed him the reins to a fine horse. Steffan had his doubts if the horse was any good, knowing the tournament was under the control of Lord Casper. The first round of the tournament was between Steffan and Ser Awen. Steffan wanted to bring him down after the jokes he made back at the competitor's tents. Steffan dozed off as Lord Casper gave out a long speech about welcoming everyone to the festivities. Once he could no longer hear the vague sound of Lord Casper's voice, Steffan readied his lance. Ser Awen lowered his visor, Steffan imagined that Lord Casper was under the helm and gripped the rein tightly. With the sound of the horn, both men urged their steeds forward and slowly closed the distance. Both men lowered their lances, and Steffan aimed for the middle of Ser Awen's breatplate. Both sides held their breath as the two rushed at each other, both sides met, and one of the men fell off their horse and the crowd cheered.


Victory!

Ser Awen stumbled back to his feet. He threw off his helm and stomped off. The crowd cheered for Steffan, the victor of the joust. Lord Renly clapped and cheered loudly for Steffan, the excitement of jousting brought great energy to the young lord. Lord Lester was off to the side, he gave a slight nod and smile to Steffan. The next joust was announced. The two knights were Ser Clifford Swann and Ser Goodwin Trant. Steffan watched as the two experienced knights charged at each other with great fury, the horses rushing. The lances were lowered, and the two lance's met at the centre of the list. Ser Clifford's lance found a small gap in Ser Goodwin's plate, the knight fell the ground and started coughing up blood. The entire crowd gasped and many looked away. Renly's eyes were covered and Lord Casper silently stared at the dead Goodwin Trant.


Steffan's next opponent was a man by the name of Ben, like Steffan, he was not a knight. Ben looked nervous, he was shaking and Steffan pitied him. Timmeth warned him that it might have been a ruse considering he had to previously beat another competitor to make it here. Both men lowered their visors and charged. Ben lowered his lance early, and slowly aimed it at Steffan. Steffan quickly lowered his lance to attempt the same. The two men met at the centre like every joust and the crowd let out a great cheer.


Victory!

The third round was between Steffan and Ser Lothar, the knight who threatened Steffan earlier. He wanted to see the man humiliated in front of everyone, he wanted to show that this man had no right to call himself a knight, especially after his threat back at the tents. The two men charged and Steffan made one quick prayer to the Warrior for victory. His rage and fury urged his steed to quicken its pace. Steffan met Ser Lothar past the centre of the list to everyone's shock and sent his lance forward.


Victory!

The next round was announced. Steffan froze at the name of his opponent, Sir Lester Morrigan, his friend. Lord Lester looked across the list and gave an uneasy look. Steffan did not want to face his friend, but he did not want to lose either. Steffan mounted his horse, and mentally prepared himself for the joust. Timmeth handed him a lance and the two awaited the sound of the horn. The horn blew. Both men took the reins and forced their horse forward. Steffan hesitated lowering his lance, but the sight of Lord Lester lowering the lance forced him to follow. The two friends met at the centre of the list. One of the lances shattered as it made contact with the other, Steffan was unhappy with what happened.


Victory!

He made a choice, he chose to win. He quickly rushed over to Lord Lester after stopping his mount and checked if his friend was fine. Lord Lester raised his visor and saw Steffan looking down at him as he laid on the floor. Lord Lester laughed and took Steffan's hand. The man patted Steffan on the shoulder and told him how exciting it was. Lord Lester walked off with his squire. By defeating his friend, Steffan was in the finals. The crowd chanted Steffan's name, he caused an uproar in the stands. Many were now betting on the commoner and expecting big things from Steffan. Lord Renly looked on cheerfully, clapping his hands until they turned red. Steffan waved at the crowd, causing a massive cheer to erupt. The preparations for the final round were being made. Lord Casper changed the rules, extending the list further allowing for more speed from both riders. The excitement was great. Steffan's final opponent was Ser Balon Swann, a relative to Ser Clifford Swann who had killed a man earlier in the tournament. He was nervous, if he could beat this man, he would be champion. But this man was able to beat someone who killed a man in one bout.

Both men readied their horses. Steffan made one last prayer to the Warrior. The crowd cheered loudly, both names were chanted by the spectators. Steffan closed his eyes. Hearing only the muffled sounds of cheering under his helm. The vague sound of the horns awoke him from his meditation and he took the reins. His horse launched itself from its position and charged toward the other. Steffan was breathing heavily. He lowered his lance, he wanted to hit Ser Balon and show Lord Casper he was no mere commoner. He imagined Lord Casper's face under the helm again, hoping his rage would win the day. The men lowered their lances. Before reaching the centre, Steffan extended his arm with a great thrust, hoping to get a preemptive strike on Ser Balon. His extension caught Ser Balon by surprise, he tried to react accordingly.


Draw!

Steffan held onto the reins tightly. He was able to maintain his balance and stay on the horse. The crowd roared excitingly at the bout, it was much more intense than the round bout jousts the entire tournament.


Timmeth ran over and handed Steffan another lance, Ser Balon's squire did the same. Lord Renly cheered for Steffan, the familiar face in his court. The horn blew again, the two charged once more. The horses advanced quickly, breaking the distance between the two men very quickly. Ser Balon tried the same tactic Steffan used, Steffan tried to dodge the incoming lunge.


Defeat!

Steffan woke up. Timmeth and several attendants pulled him up. The first sound Steffan could hear was the crowd cheering Ser Balon's name. He could see the disappointment in the eyes of those who supported him. For a few short hours, Steffan Lamlynn was a legend. Lord Casper let out a smug grin, he seemed relieved that the upstart did not win the tourney. But there were still many who demanded Steffan be recognized for his performance. He received a small purse of twenty five gold dragons for his position as the runner up. People were still not satisfied with the small purse, they demanded Steffan be knighted on the spot. The local septon was quickly rushed to the lists so that Steffan could be knighted. The septon gently touched Steffan's shoulder with the blade and alternated between each, saying the traditional words of the knighting ceremony in the eyes of the seven.


From that point on, Steffan was Ser Steffan Lamlynn of The Wendwater. He was no longer just a commoner, he was a knight. The knights and lords were all invited to a feast at the holdfast of Lord Casper. The lords feasted and laughed, but Steffan could only watch Lord Casper. He was gripping his cup tightly, Steffan anticipated for the cup to suddenly burst, but it stayed strong. Steffan grinned at the thought of Lord Casper's anger, he took another sip of his Dronish Red. Lord Lester stopped the feast, he proposed a toast to Ser Steffan, the table cheered in agreement. The feasting continued into the night and celebrations followed the next day. The festivities ended the next day and Renly's royal procession headed north for Storm's End. Steffan rode back happy. He came a commoner, but returned a knight. He loathed what kind of ways Tyta could spin his great situation into a clever and powerful insult. But for now, he was happy.
 

Henry v. Keiper

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"Timmeth, you fought in the lists. Do you have any advice?"
"Stick em' with the pointy end m'lord."
"Anything else?"
"Don't let them stick you with the pointy end."
Epic.

Happy to see him perform well in the tourney. My CK2 characters rarely seem to win them or get past their first bout, but we all get lucky once in a while.