We had departed Heart’s Home as three and arrived in Gulltown as seven. We had sought out knights and in their stead found a tramp and a wildling. I had longed for the women, song, and beds of Gulltown, but last night found myself again in a tent – again listening to Jardon’s snoring.
However today the Father smiled on me. For today, we found a true knight for House Jasper, obtained a tavern, and made a useful ally as well. The gods are good.
Let me start from this morning. Ser Cedric offered to watch the wildling while we entered the city. That was fine by me! I don’t much trust the old man so I considered this a test. Maybe both would be gone by nightfall. If they stole my leaky tent too, that would be three of my problems solved! Without Ulf, the gatekeepers gave us no trouble
The inside of Gulltown sure was a sight for sore eyes. I don’t find it to be an impressive city (I’ve been to Oldtown, you see. Down there they have neighborhoods the size of Gulltown. Hell! They have brothels the size of Gulltown! Ho Ho!) Still – it is the largest in the Vale, and if you want news from abroad, a cup of Arbor gold, or a decent suit of mail – this town is your best bet. Compared to Snownook, it might as well be Braavos.
After a profitable visit to the docks we found ourselves within the battlements of House Grafton. And what a place to be on this day! With walls made of stone (rather than our shoddy palisades), and more men-at-arms training than our house could ever hope to field, I felt briefly like I was back home in Uplands.
I could’ve stayed, you know. Any house would accept an honorable knight. However… Ronnel took me in and I owe him a debt for that. Besides, what foolishness would Jardon get up to in my absence? No. I have unfinished business in the Fingers. We are recruiting fighting men. Could we become a regional power? Perhaps! Better us than the Lynderlys! I’ll see to that!!
It is in the stable that we met Ser Yoren the Yellow. What a vision to behold after weeks spent with plough horse riders and winking bowmen! A young man, golden of hair and of cloak, he was the embodiment of a warrior! Yoren was impressed by my deeds in the battle of the Trident and eager to join our ranks. Negotiations ensued. Smartly, he declined our sparring propositions (what does a warrior have to gain but accidental injury?) and only agreed after Carson promised a yearly grand tournament.
Tournaments are a requirement for any decent house, I say! How could a lord expect to attract respectable knights without one? A few hundred gold dragons as the purse, and we could spread the Jasper name far and wide! The deal was done and the ring was given. This called for a drink!
As Ser Yoren of House Jasper was packing his things, we made our way to the Winter’s Reprieve. I was hoping to rest and enjoy some ale and song, but there was a fuss with the owner – that ass Jamie – about the Falcon’s Nest.
Last time we were in town I was… in my cups… but recall we had promised to burn down the Falcon’s Nest. Apparently we agreed to burn it down again tonight. Now I’m not a man who believes in fate or fables – I’ll leave that to fools and septons – but the gods had twice brought us here and twice asked us to do this thing. Could it mean something? We agreed. Besides, what harm could it cause?
Later, standing in front of Jardon’s lit candle with guards yelling for our surrender and Ser Carson dashing away, the harm was apparent. These guards think we’re criminals! Just for burning a building! Jardon and I could go to prison! I…well… I… I’d… I’d be damned if Carson gets away from this and we don't!
Jardon thought quickly (must learn how to do that) and made up a story that we were looking to buy this building and merely using the candle to look inside. Amazingly, the damned fools accepted the lies and offered it to us for ten dragons. We told Lord Grafton and his men that we accepted the offer. I must admit, prospect of coin and wine upon each return made this seem a wise investment indeed.
Jardon declared the tavern would be named “Buffoons Three” after something from homeland. His village? His family? It wasn’t entirely clear what he meant, but it’s an amusing name and I was in high spirits. Moreover, if it pleases those Ironborn, it very well may please the seamen from Essos as well. I accepted it happily and began to ponder our future prosperity. This called for a drink! Ho Ho!
One last thing: I shouldn’t even be mentioning this – but last night it became apparent that Jamie of the Winter’s Reprieve is involved in the black markets. He is willing to purchase certain illegal goods and even claims to have work for us should we need the money. Smuggling or theft or some such unsavory activities. A knight of my distinction would never keep company with such a person of course, but a man couldn't be blamed for pondering how such a relationship could be beneficial.