Back at the boat, Teddy and I reprimand the foolish Jardon for not fully thinking through the Buffoon’s plan, and scurry away from the increasingly repulsive Gulltown in time for the Jasper Tournament.
Back at Castle Snownook, House Royce, Corbray, Tully, Borrell, Woodhull, and Baelish assemble over a few days. On the morning of the tourney, I stumble across a very flustered Edric and Ser Lyn Corbray having words in the stables. In his typical gruff manner, Edric shouts about Lyn’s unreasonable expectations about the conditions for his horse, such as the size of the stall. “Edric, I’ve have the pleasure and honor of meeting Ser Corbray, and can’t imagine that a man as intelligent as he would suggest something as absurd as building a larger stall for his horse!” Lyn spits in disgust “Of course that’s not what I’m suggesting.” “You see, Edric? Clearly a misunderstanding!” I say to the stable master as I guide the knight away from the tense interaction.
“You mustn’t take Edric gruffness personally Ser Corbray. He’s like that with everyone, it’s far more a reflection of him than you. How can I assure a more comfortable stay for you and your horse for your remaining time at Castle Snownook?” I assure the still angry knight. “I’m past the issues with the stables” he responds, “but where I’m from, when the help speaks to guests in this way, they are punished.”
I am incredulous! Rarely do I empathize with the ever-sour Edric, but as Lyn seemed unable to articulate what his expectations were, I see why his feathers may have gotten a bit ruffled. And a grumpy stable hand does not seem worthy of the Seven Kingdom’s weight of justice…“Ser, I remain I bit confused, what is it exactly that you were asking of Edric?”
“Nevermind the horse! That man needs to be punished!”
“You mentioned space, but also agreed that building larger stalls was an unreasonable request. In that vein, I wonder if Edric was as confused as I am, and that may have led to him getting flustered? If I knew what you were asking for, I may be able to provide some help…” Edric cuts me off. “Forget the horse, that man needs to be taken care of,” and walks away.
Taken aback by this bizarre encounter, I return to Edric, closing the stable doors behind me. “What in seven hells happened?” Edric babbles about not having enough time to discuss this matter. “EDRIC! Listen to me! As a former handmaid myself, I’m genuinely understand the frustrations of having to tend to the absurd needs of those in higher stations, and I’m trying to have your back here, but I can’t do that if I don’t understand what happened!” Red faced, he shares Lyn’s seemingly ridiculous requests-different food, different tack storage, different grooming-and pushes me out so he can get back to work.
Roaming around the grounds in search of Lyonel Corbray, I have the fortune of bumping into Ser Tully and Ser Royce in deep conversation. What luck, running into the patriarchs of two powerful houses! “I’m terribly sorry to interrupt, but I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to make your stays more comfortable while you’re here at Castle Snownook?” I say sweetly.
“Lord Ronnel has ensured we’re most comfortable…perhaps a little TOO comfortable…” They share their concerns about our limited defenses on the shorelines of the Vale and the Fingers, and I offer to bend the ear of not only Lord Ronnel but also his son about bulking up our navy. After all, I share, Teddy has had his eyes on new warships for quite some time. I thank them for their wisdom and trust around such sensitive matters, and carry on towards the center of the action, hoping I’ve earned the warm thoughts of these two powerful nobles.
On the edge of the melee field, as Jardon, Maelys and Dolins fight valiantly, I ignore a whiny Thomas (hasn’t he been eaten up by a wyvern yet? Gods!), and circle around to Bronn and Leo, who I recognize from our most recent adventure at the Winter’s Reprieve. Bronn recognizes me as one who’s reward he snagged out from under us at Lord Whent’s court. I encourage him to pay me back for the information should he find himself a winner today, and when he expresses reluctance, I encourage him to pay Stefany a visit in lieu of a brothel. He deserves that shrill bag of mouth rot! In an ominous message, Leo encourages me to keep an open mind about the “protectors”, of which I know nothing about, and exhausted by this hedge knight and sell sword, I go in search of bigger fish to fry.