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Game of Thrones: A Cold Wind Blows - Chapter 2b: The Rose faces the Sun


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It had been several weeks. People slowly trickled in to King's Landing for the first tournament hosted by Robert. Everywhere people talked about who would compete and who would win. As more and more entered the city grew so crowded it was starting to take time to get anywhere with a escort. Through out the city people talked about those who came. Mace Tyrell arrived with two of his sons, Willas and Loras. Great John Umber arrived from the north. Several Freys came in from the twins.

Nymeria, Morgaine, and Allyria were "enjoying" another day in court. There were many new nobles attending these days and it was easier to carry on conversations as the great hall was filled with people talking as the petitioners came in.

Galiana was up the coast fishing when she saw the war galley making its way to port. It was clear to see the ship was flying the standard of the Sun and Spear of house Martel.

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Galiana lowered her fishing spear and stared for a moment. It was of House Martel, and she sighed. She really wasn't sure what to feel. Her family was always a sore issue with her, and she had enjoyed being relatively unknown outside of the house they'd taken for lodging.

Still, it'd be her hide if she didn't report this. Turning, she hopped from one rock to another until she was back on the sand. She quickly pulled on her shoes and grabbed her string of fish and bag of clams. The cook could make something delicious from those.

~~~~,~~'~~@

"Nym!"

The shouted familiar name caused several servants to frown at the young girl as she left the kitchen, her bounty delivered. "Hey, Nym! Guess who's coming to dinner?" she bellowed all the louder at the looks, a hard smirk on her face.

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"Hey!" The head cook came out of the kitchen, waving a large wooden spoon almost like a sword. "You keep it down bastard. The highborn are in court, it is barely past lunch you should know that. If it is so important than run up to the castle and tell them. But don't you dare go and disturb the king's court."

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She did know that, but honestly hadn't cared to check the time. "Thank you for the update, pot-scrubber!" she called back to the cook, then dodged the spoon that came at her. Next time, she'd sell the fish and clams, and keep the coin for herself.

Sighing, she set off for the one place that she hated to go - the castle. It was the nexus point for the nobles, blast them.

And they'd hassle her about getting inside. They always did.

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As Galiana approached the main gates to Maegor's keep the guards gave her a once over look. As one of them looked ready to stop her another spoke up. "carefull, she is the one that is with that behemoth from before. Give her trouble and she might call down the mountain's cousin on ya."

As the guards shared a laugh the one who spoke waved her in. "You are with the Dornish delegation as i recall. Head on in."

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Nodding her thanks to them - it wasn't often she got to deal with royalty and avoided being slapped with her lineage - Galiana hurried into the castle proper. Despite her disdain for the nobility, she knew her way about the building. One needed to know how to get around the nobles and avoid them if necessary.

This time, she didn't call for her cousin; instead, she slipped toward the rooms where it was most likely she's find Nymeria. Her sharp eyes picked out her cousin in the Grand Hall, talking with the Dornish delegation. Grinning, she slipped up to her side and said, "Nym, I was fishing and saw a ship flying the Sun and Spear. I thought you might want to know." Her sly grin said that she was sure that Nym would want to know.

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Nym's thought for a moment about who it could be and her face slowly lit up, like the sun rising in the morning. She gave Galiana a thankful smile and then looked up to where Morgaine was standing. "Morgaine....I need an excuse to leave court. Set my dress on fire?"

Her tone was...mostly...teasing, but her lady-in-waiting could tell that she really did want to leave.

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Lyri gave 'Lia a wry but welcoming grin. She knew how much the tiny girl hated coming to Court, and truthfully, she couldn't fault her for it. But Allyria was here with a specific purpose, and not the one that Maester Lorian had sent her for.

She had a list, as complete and as up-to-date as she could manage, of everyone entered in the joust. The silver-haired noblewoman had come to Court to match faces to names, trying to determine if any of them might be a surprise contender for champion. So far, other than Jaime Lannister and Sir Barristan Selmy, Allyria didn't consider anyone a danger.

But then 'Lia revealed seeing the ship flying the Sun and Spear and Lyri nearly threw her list down in disgust. It wasn't that she wasn't glad that Nymeria's brother was here, far from it, despite the smoldering, seductive look in his dark eyes, like Nymeria's, but a thousand times more potent.

It was that Oberyn's prowess as a warrior and a malevolent reputation, that was more than half earned, were well known. His presence alone invalided her list - Some would refuse to fight if Oberyn entered the lists, whereas there would be others clamouring for a chance to draw his blood.

"With your brother here, Nym, I am sure incidences of great interest are about to ensue at the Great Tourney," Allyria said, chuckling low in her throat, hiding the sudden lance of grief she felt that her own brother would never be by her side again.

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Morgaine chuckled very quietly, and smirked smoothly at all three of the Dornish women standing there.

"I have no doubt Allyria is right. This should certainly make things more interesting. But I think the arrival of your noble brother is valid enough reason to excuse yourself from court, Princess - don't you? If anyone says anything, I will be certain to offer explanation for you."

Her voice dropped to a low murmur and she leaned in closer to them, so that only the three standing with her would be able to hear, and her eyes glimmered mischievously.

"That is, if good King Robert even notices your departure. I daresay he's might yet figure out a way to fall asleep in that great monstrous chair, as bored as he looks at the moment."

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The princess grinned, and as quickly, politely, and unobtrusively as possible, made her excuses to leave court. The murmur that rippled through court when she explained to the King her need to properly greet her brother was deeply satisfying to the proud Dorne woman. Doran was the Prince of Dorne and the country could not ask for a better administrator and politician to be leading them, but Oberyn was the wild heart and firy heat of the desert kingdom. He was their hero and his sister was no exception in her deep love for him.

Once free of the Red Keep, Nym broke into as much of a run as woman in full court regalia could manage, her guards trotting along beside her in bemused merriment.

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Allyria watched Nym leave with a pang of envy. Court, for the most part, was tediously dull. Her mismatched eyes glanced at Morgaine, her own lips bent in a half smile.

"I daresay, I don't right blame good King Robert his tedium. The court of the Stag King has been staggeringly dull to date. He will be lamenting these days with Oberyn spicing the proceedings."

The stunning silver-haired noblewoman dropped her gaze to her petite countrywoman. "Be that as it may. 'Lia, do you perchance have an excuse for me hiding in your quiver, that will release me from this wretched monotony?"

Allyria hid her frown behind the long lace edging the cuff of her sleeves. She saw the looks turned her way, the men eying her like a fine horse for sale. Some of those were not completely horrible. Unfortunately, there were several who were old enough to be her grandfather.

All I am valued for is my Name. My Title. My Sword. Not for Me.

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Through the streets of King's Landing people stopped what they were doing to watch the noble woman pass. Already word was sweeping through the streets of the new ship. Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper of Dorne had arrived.

As Nym reached the docks utterly breathless she saw his procession coming towards her. Oberyn was in the lead, laughing and talking with the two young women behind him. Obara and Nymeria Sand were two of the oldest of the sand snakes, Oberyn's growing clan of bastards. Many people whispered that the reason all of Oberyn's bastards were girls was because he strangled the male babes. However many others believed the reason was simply Oberyn's great love of woman he would most likely never conceive a son. Behind them came up a small regiment of Dornish guards who spoke amongst them selves about the up coming tourney.

Obara giggled and pointed to Nym standing in the street. Oberyn followed where she pointed and stopped. After a moment he nearly fell over laughing.

"What happened Nym? Is Robert preparing to invade Dorne?"

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Nym laughed and threw herself into her brother's arms, haugging him fiercly. "Ah, maybe out of boredom!"

She made the briefest attempts to return her dress and adornments to something presentably, but being a practical woman gave up after only a moment. Instead, she pulled down the askew hair combs and baubles, slipping them into the handpurse she carried with her. Still grinning from ear to ear and entirely unwilling to take offense at nearly anything her brother might tease her for, she asked, "Are you here for the tourney? I'd say I'd hope you'd come just to visit me, but I know you." There was no recrimination in her voice, just a fond knowing of her brother's proclivities.

Her expression became even more impish as she attempted to ask with a strait face, "Unless of course we're invading King's Landing? I should probably go change, though, if that's the case. This dress just doesn't go with an occupation."

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Oberyn. Galiana didn't like the noble completely; something about him bothered her. Maybe it was the way he treated her, like he always expected something from her. Still, she had a smile on her face as she watched Nym greet her brother; he was alright for a noble. He'd always had time to talk to her, though his words often left her exasperated or irritated. But he didn't treat her like trash for not being noble or being a bastard, so Galiana liked him more than she disliked. It was complicated.

But her life with the Martells had always been complicated. She'd always been allowed in the castle, and had grown up playing with the Martell children. Her mother had once been patroned by one of the nobles, and she also found the Sun and Spear palace to be a welcoming place. But it was Galiana who had been there more - learning things she could have never learned as just a textile apprentice. So she was grateful to Martells, but keenly aware that their help was generosity.

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Allyria endured the rest of court, sure that the tedium glinting in the King's eyes bespoke its imminent end. With Nymeria and Galiana gone to greet Oberyn, several of the more bold noblemen began to circle the desirous silver-tressed Lady Dayne. She fended off their advances with pointed grace, tolerating their antics while waiting for Court to end. There was someone she wished to speak to.

Messengers began surreptitiously entering, giving their patrons news, and finally King Robert had had enough, calling an end to today's session. Robert was descending the dais as soon as the proclamation was out of her mouth, and Allyria excused herself from a persistent Fossoway - she didn't recall if he was of the red or green branch - making her way to the beautiful, arrogant youth still standing at the base of the Iron Throne.

"Ser Jaime, what say you? Are you still willing to enter the lists and risk meeting the Red Viper of Dorne?"

Lady Allyria Dayne's mismatched eyes glittered like gemstones, her velvety voice full of fierce challenge. They had meet twice more in the Godswood since the first time, her temper with him still every bit as sharp as Dawn

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Jaime considered the woman for a moment. In the Godswood he was open, almost enjoyable even with his arrogance. Granted of all men he had reason to be arrogant. In court though he was almost cold. Often not speaking at all and being nothing but pure politeness when he did. Still her question drew a small smile on to his lips.

"Oberyn Martell is just a man like any other. We will face each other and either he will unhorse me or I will unhorse him. Besides like me his true strength is not in the lance. Were we to meet with swords then I would be victorious and if it were spears he would be. On the joust I am only slightly his superior."

----------------------------------

At the docks the Red Viper could only shake his head and laugh.

"No we are not invading. Doran the fool won't hear of it. Also I am not to in any way bring up that Robert still has not presented us with the head of the one who murdered our sister." Oberyn gave a derisive snort. "I wonder if he actually expected me to keep that promise. She might have married a Targaryen but she was a Martell all the same."

Suddenly the ire he showed melted away and he gave her a grin.

"Besides if we were invading you would be put on the ship and told to wait there. Bad enough the number of guards and knights we have to fight I would be afraid you would trip and plant a knife in my back."

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The Princess arched a brow at her brother, as always slightly irritated at that particular teasing. "Oh, I'm certain I'd miss, brother mine. At this point, I'd be trying." Her own grin was making a valiant attempt to undo her threat, so she rallied behind, "Besides, if you insist on being mean to me, I'll just have to cheer for someone else at the tourney. I'm thinking of sponsering a half-giant that wandered into King's Landing a bit ago. He's been quite the entertainment at the townhouse; even making friends."

Her glance at Galiana was only a slight movement of her head, but spoke volumes to the Red Viper.

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The four men circled their opponent, stripped to the waist and the day's heat causing them to perspire freely. Well, not only the day's heat. The one they faced was likewise stripped to the waist, the massive corded muscles of his hirsute torso moving under the skin as he moved in a half-crouch, trying to keep as many of the men in his field of vision as possible.

Around the combatants, the other soldiers of the Princess's household guard laid bets and urged on their fellows. It wasn't that Bannon was unpopular, but there was an overwhelming urge among the guards to see the giant brought low, just once. Once wasn't too much to ask, was it? Three men had nearly done for him two days ago, so now he was up to fighting a group of four.

The rules of the contest were simple: a circle fifteen feet across had been marked in rope on the packed earth. If a man left the circle, he was out. If he was knocked out, he was out. If he was pinned, shoulders to the floor, for a three-count he was out. It was fundamentally the same as normal bareknuckle circle rules, except more friendly. No gouging, knees to the groin, or biting was permitted. Nor was trying to do deliberate serious harm to an opponent.

The men inched closer, one then another stepping forward, trying to bait the huge man into committing himself. Bannon waited, sable eyes watchful under the thick brow, then abruptly gave a huge bellowing roar and charged. One of his opponents was a step behind the others, a weak point in the circle. The man flinched back as the giant rushed him, massive forearms raised across his chest. Bannon hit him at full charge, catapulting the poor guard out of the circle with a thump and a groan, then whirled and crouched, dropping one knee into the ground as the other three men rushed him.

They fell over him, kicking, elbowing and punching, trying to bear the behemoth back. Bannon endured the blows stoically, weathering the initial assault as though his body was a fortress under siege before reaching out and grabbing the ankles of the rightmost assailant. With another bellow he rose like a leviathan from the waves, yanking the burly man from his feet and spinning him into his fellows. One of the others went down, the other staggered backwards.

The man being wielded like a club could do little except flail aimlessly with his arms as Bannon took advantage of the break in his opponents attack to step backwards, spin, and toss him out of the circle also. Without pausing, he turned back as the man still standing charged, the other rolling to his feet. The guard attacking him tried to emulate Bannon's opening move, raising his arms in preparation for the collision. The half-giant planted his feet and braced.

The charging guard's impact elicited a double-grunt, one from each man, but Bannon did not budge more than an inch. The other man rebounded, catching his footing only to receive a thunderous left hook that spun him from his feet. Before he could finish falling, Bannon's right hand grabbed the back of his neck and propelled him out of the circle on the heels of his fellows.

The final man tackled Bannon around the legs... or rather, around one leg, trying desperately to topple the giant who, fists on hips, grinned down at him through the trimmed black beard. Spitting in disgust, the last opponent threw up his arms and stepped out of the circle with a rueful grin. The watching crowd groaned good-humoredly.

"Pay up, lads." Bannon said with a gusty laugh as he took a jack of ale from an offering hand and drank it down. He belched resoundingly. "Four in, four out. Now cough up the copper." The giant held out a shovel-sized hand, ignoring the faint pain of his split lip and bruised face and body in the warm glow of his victory as the guards gathered round, clapping him on the back and dropping their wagers into his hand.

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  • 8 months later...

In Court

As the nobles started going their own way Cersei approached Morgaine with two lesser nobles that Morgaine was only passively aware of. Both were just rumor mongers and had no real power at court or sway with the queen, they were hardly worth sparing time or attention on keeping track of. Cersei had on one of her most regal smiles as she approached.

"Lady Darry, I have been enjoying our dinners together you simply must come and keep me company during the tourney. After all I get one of the best seats for the whole event."

-----------------------------------------------------------

Meanwhile on the docks

"A half-giant you say? Well he can be as big as he likes it won't change anything with me in there." Oberyn chuckled. "I am thinking about offering my own reward of ten gold dragons to any man that can best me in the tourney. That ought to give them enough drive to make it a challenge." At that many of the guards escorting them began talking of entering them selves. At this point both Nym and Galiana noticed that the two sand snakes had seemed to disappear. They had both effortlessly melted in to the group of guards and then in to the crowd. Suddenly they seemed to appear and from either side grab a hold of Galiana's shoulders.

"Well what do we have here sister?" Obara's voice sounded as venomous as any snake's.

"I do believe it is Galiana Sand, you remember, the little waif that was sent here to attend to our dear aunt Nymeria. Still she hardly looks fit as she is to attend the Princess of Dorne. What should we do?"

"Good thing we brought good clothes with us. Lets drag her back to the estate and dress up properly for any noble girl."

Both women giggled evilly as they started dragging Galiana along with the rest. The group moved through the streets and made their way to the Dornish estates. As they entered they could hear the commotion in the training yard. Oberyn sent his men to get settled and walked around to watch the interchange between Bannon and the guards. As they all paid him Oberyn called out with a glint in his eye Nym knew all to well. Her brother could never resist a challenge.

"Tell me when your tired of playing with children Giant, and I will put you out of that circle proper."

When the guards saw who made the challenge they all went quiet and just backed away from Bannon. He wasn't sure who this man was but it was clear everyone in the area either respected or feared him, and Bannon didn't need to know a name to recognize a warrior who had fought far more battles then he had.

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Bannon grinned at the stranger, a flash of white teeth that was as much challenge as it was good humour. Unhurriedly, he slipped the coins he'd just won into his purse and walked across the circle to drop it onto his jerkin where it lay at the circle's edge. Then he turned and bowed his head to Oberyn, his dark eyes studying the man from under the heavy brow. Despite his size, there was little of the witless and oafish ogre in his expression and manner.

"I do not know you, milord. But I know my own self, and that person does not shy from a fight." he rumbled, then straightened his head and made a sweeping gesture of invitation. "If it be your wish to put me to the test, then I'll be happy to play with you awhile."

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Galiana snarled in a way that was probably even more un-ladylike than her attire. Still, she didn't fight the Sand Snakes, mostly because she knew what the outcome would not change. She walked along glumly, hating the sisters' insistence that she had to dress like a stupid girl.

As they approached the courtyard, she began to drag her heels. "Wait, please!" she called, the word burning her tongue as she turned to one Sand Snake, then the other. "I want to see this fight! Bannon is here because of me - he's my giant!" The words were the cry of a young girl, but the passion was that of an older woman. Galiana's walk on the edge of adulthood was suddenly apparent.

"I mean... I'd really like to see this, please! Then I'll go and do... whatever you want."

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The two sisters grinned at each other and talked about it for a moment. Finally coming to the conclusion that they also wanted to watch. So the three walked over to the courtyard where Oberyn was removing his shirt, along with a few weapons. Mostly they were knives and daggers but a couple of them looked awfully wicked to Bannon, and the color on some of them made it obvious they were poisoned. He stretched a moment and Bannon started to see this man may be smaller but he didn't look to be much weaker, and was probably far faster. His grin widened at the challenge this was starting to look like.

As Oberyn stepped in to the circle he examined his opponent.

"Let's make this gentlemanly sir. I would rather not have to bow out of the tournament because I let a mountain sit on my arm right before. We try to throw the other person out of the circle. No bone breaking, no weapons of any variety, and if one lifts the other fully over his head that is considered a win, sound good?"

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Nym grinned as her nieces reappeared with Galiana to sit and watch the match; she was almost certain that Oberyn would have him out of the ring in less than a minute, but the giant might surprise everyone. It'd been a while since she'd seen Oberyn actually challenged by anyone, and Bannon would earn a great deal of respect if he could hold his own with the younger Dornish Prince and lose gracefully.

She giggled a laugh at Oberyn's words, mock-whispering to her nieces, "Oh my! Doran must be rubbing off on him, he actually added 'gentlemanly' to his vocabulary. Has he been reading again? The sun would blink itself out in shock!"

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Morgaine smiled smoothly at the fair-haired monarch, turning her full attention to her. Her expression was a combination of surprise and pleasure, mixed with just a touch of concern.

"Your Grace, what a gracious invitation - I'm flattered that you find my company to your liking. I would, of course, be honored to sit with you..." She trailed off for a moment, the concern making itself slightly more evident as she seemed to consider the situation. "Of course, Princess Nymeria is quite accustomed to my presence, and I am loathe to offer her any offense, however slight or unintentional.. she has been so kind to me."

She paused for a second, brow furrowed in slight concentration, before focusing again on the queen.

"Perhaps your Majesty would be so kind as to allow me the opportunity to excuse myself from watching the ceremony with the Dornish delegation privately to the Princess before I commit to your invitation? I would send word as soon as I've spoken to her about it. I'm sure she won't mind, but I'd rather she heard it from me first.. you understand?"

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Originally Posted By: Jaime Lannister
"Oberyn Martell is just a man like any other."

Allyria tilted her head to an aloof angle. "There are no men like Oberyn Martell." After a moment, she nodded, conceding a point Jaime had not intentionally made, though he didn't believe she meant as a compliment, her mismatched flashing like gemfire. "Just as there are no men like Ser Jaime Lannister. So few men stand above the common masses, for good or ill."

Her eyes narrowed as she watched Cersei approach Morgaine before she turned back to face her twin. She stepped closer, a hand reaching out, two fingers brushing the smooth, white marble pommel of the utilitarian blade sheath at his hip. "I will be dancing in the Godswood tonight," she said in a low, fierce voice for the golden youth's ears alone.

Then she stepped back, eyes blazing, and turned smoothly, her lavender skirts flaring as she left the Court Room. If she was quick, she would have some time to practice with her blade before Maester Lorian insisted she return to the books. Truth, some days, she felt as is she were an initiate in The Citadel, chained to the damnable books.

She strode through the halls of the Red Keep, for once unaccompanied by her Guard Captain nor her fellow ladies from Dorne, and the other nobles leaving court took notice. Men flocked close, attempting to catch the eye of the last scion of Starfall, for she was a tempting prize. She brushed them cordially aside, though it was a trial, especially the old men with their sour breath and rapacious eyes. Finally, having endured enough, Allyria choose a tall, slender, red-headed young man to escort her to retrieve her horse, his dark surcoat bearing a purple lightning.

Dendrick Dondarrion stammered at his good fortune, offering his arm to the pale and fiery beauty with unpolished grace. Allyria looked up at her tongue-tied escort. He was handsome enough, she supposed, but possessed all the grace of a lame horse. Still, he was a sight better than any of the greybeards or the broad, condescending Royce who talked of nothing save mating storied Dawn to his rune-etched armor. As if his pretty plate can hold a light to Dawn. Pfft!

Dendrick Dondarrion did finish with better impression than he started. As the stable lad brough Allyria's mount around, a beautiful, glossy Sand Steed, Dendrick puts he hands around her small waist, stronger than she had credited his slender form of having, and set her smoothly in the saddle. She smoothed her skirts, divided for riding, then put her heels to her mounts flanks, tossing Dendrick a brief smile over her shoulder.

It wasn't much, but it was more than any other man had gotten and Dendrick was willing to accept what he was giving, silently cursing himself nine kinds of fool for his rough manners. But her mismatched eyes and the cascade of her silver mane had stolen his wits, as had her honoured name. He wondered what his younger brother would think of him sharing words with the last of the Daynes, who held Starfall and Dawn as a dowry. Young Beric had always been enthralled by the stories of Arthur Dayne, a man who had been a legend even while living.

Allyria urged her steed to a canter, hooves ringing across the drawbridge of the Red Keep as she raced for the manor house where the Dornish contingent was residing. After enduring the tedium of court and Ser Jaime's mocking arrogance, she wanted a blade in her hand and release of striking something.
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Cersei nodded understandingly. "You should speak with Princess Nymeria, it would not be proper of me to steal you away from her without any kind of warning. Please let me know your response soon." With that the queen swept away with the two ladies following. Morgaine could not quite hear all they were saying but she did manage to make out part of it.

"I told you she would say that, everyone knows how loyal she is to those Dhornish. Probably doesn't even...."

-------------------------------------------------------------

As Allyria made her way in to the Dhornish estates she noted quickly there seemed to be more guards here than before. They also all, old and new, were making their way to the training yard as she heard talk of the Red Viper taking on the half giant that had taken up residents here. It had not taken long for Oberyn to pick a fight with someone.

In the yard once Bannon had nodded to show his consent to the rules Oberyn patiently waited, grinning, while the guards standing around made bets. There seemed to be a great deal of confusion about who had the upper hand in this fight. Oberyn was no small man by any stretch of the imagination but Bannon still had close to a foot on him. Where the giant had muscle Oberyn was known for being quick. Bannon knew how to gauge a man and this one was very close to being as strong as him and was definitely far quicker. One major advantage Bannon had in this fight was his reach. Oberyn would have to get pretty close to try to grab Bannon and it would be well before he reached him that Bannon would have the opportunity to take control.

Finally when it sounded like most had chosen their champions Oberyn nodded to Bannon. "I hear them calling you storm. Alright Mountain Storm, show me what you can do."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bounced along between the Sand Snakes, Galiana struggled not to scowl. She hated being forced into finery. All it ever did was make her look like a pig in a dress, so why bother?

The Sand Snakes formed a half-circle behind her, the arena before. They'd let go of her but Galiana knew that if she took so much as a step in the wrong direction, they'd grab her again. She'd be lucky if they didn't poison her with a sleeping agent to get her to behave.

She'd keep her word, though. Some dark, rebellious part of her wondered what would happen if she actually looked like a girl in the dress - would Bannon treat her differently? Would he treat her... like a girl? The thought was almost unbearable.

"Get him, Bannon!" she screamed as the two men faced off.

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Sable-dark eyes studied Oberyn intently as the two men circled one another, their hands held warily ready to grasp or strike. The Prince of Dorne moved well, a lazy coiled grace to his motions that spoke to Bannon of how quick the man could be on attack or defense. The man was strong, too, from a lifetime of weapons training in armor. No easy foe, but at least in a hand-fight the odds would be better, especially with the conditions Oberyn had laid down. It came down to strength, leverage, and grappling skill as much as experience, and in that Bannon knew he stood well above the common run of men. Despite being less than two decades old the huge man seemed closer to thirty winters: there were few boys who could grow so hairy.

He smiled as he heard Galiana's screamed encouragement and moved forwards, his hands and arms moving in loose circles as he closed with his foe.

Click to reveal..

Initiative roll:

1d20=12

-1 mod for Initiative

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  • 4 weeks later...

Oberyn Martel, the Red Viper of Dhorne, considered his opponent as he circled. Slowly a change came over him. He still appeared relaxed even though several muscles tightened. His eyes narrowed slightly as they examined Bannon. The smile seemed to melt away as Oberyn focused on what was no longer a man but an opponent.

When his opponent closed in Oberyn also closed, only not directly. He moved to the side and struck with one leg, attempting to bring Bannon down on to the ground.

Click to reveal..
Initiative = 18

Trip attack = 12

Need a opposed strength check, if you meet or beat 12 you can make a trip attempt on Oberyn.

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Damn, but he's quick! Bannon thought as the Prince of Dorn struck with the speed of his serpentine namesake. Fast as he was, though, Bannon had enough time to brace himself - and when the giant-blood braced himself it took a large cart horse to shift him.

The booted foot slammed into the back of the large man's calf with unerring precision, but Oberyn ruefully reflected that he might as well have been trying to trip an oak. Oaks, though, didn't grin boyishly under their beards, then spin in place and try to trip you in turn with a foot so large, it's boot could double as a baby's cradle...

Click to reveal..

Strength check to resist Trip

1d20=15 + 5 Str + 1 Size mod = 24

Automatic counter-Trip

1d20=18 + 1 Size + 7 Unarmed = 26 to hit

Strength Check

1d20=7 +5 Str + 1 Size = 13

Dex or Str check from Oberyn to avoid the trip, Diff 13. Bannon's follow-up will be to go for a grapple, whether his opponent is down or not.

Follow up:

1d20=10 +7 = 17 to initiate grapple

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  • 1 month later...

Bannon delivered his counter accurately and most men would have buckled being struck so hard, but Oberyn Martell was most certainly not most men. Bannon felt his foot hit pure unmoving muscle on his return attempt to trip and Oberyn's eyes seemed to light up. As Bannon reached out with his arms Oberyn seemed to just slither to the side of his grasp, but only just. What surprised many of the onlookers was when Oberyn's response was to reach out and try to grapple the giant in return.

Click to reveal..

Trip defense roll: 14

Apposed strength check: 19

Grapple defense roll: 19

Grapple Attack: 34 (need defense roll)

Strength check: 24

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Nym laughed, both at her brother's temerity and at the shock of some of the staff; obviously they hadn't spent enough time around the younger Dorn brother.

She cheered alternately for one combatant or the other; her cheers for her brother were more ardent, but she also enjoyed watching Galiana's passion and couldn't help joining in for a moment or two. There was no doubt, in her mind at least, about the final outcome of the match, but it was fun to watch Bannon try.

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If the son of the Stormlands was at all surprised at how solidly his opponent shrugged off his own counter, he didn't show it. Dark eyes glinted in the youthful, bearded face as Oberyn closed in to grapple, however, leaving the attentive watchers, as well as the Prince, in no doubt as to Bannon's eagerness for the contest.

He didn't even try to fend off the grasp, or duck or weave aside, instead closing with the smaller man like a bear with a panther. The analogy was apt enough, size and strength against speed and accuracy. Both men recognised in the other something similar despite their physical differences, though: the same core of unyielding stone that would step aside for none, and fail to rise again only when their heart beat it's last.

Two sets of war- and work-hardened muscles gripped and strained against the other, Oberyn shifting his grip slightly, seeking to use his greater experience to find leverage to move this aurochs he had locked horns with. Bannon, too, strained his massive corded muscles to keep the wiry, strong lord at bay whilst seeking his own opening.

A grunt, a gasp, and a sudden shift of one massive hand and Bannon had the advantage, one massive hand dipping to grab the Prince of Dorne's leg just above the knee as the other locked firm on his bicep. With an explosive surge of power, Bannon bent his own knees further and attempted to lift the smaller man fully over his head.

Click to reveal..

Forgoing defence roll. Bannon wants to wrestle.

Opposed Grapple check:

1d20=20 +5 Str +5 Base Attack +4 Size = 34!

If I understand the rules right, as winner of the grappling check Bannon gets to pick one of the options on p247. He's trying to lift Oberyn off the ground, which probably falls under a Hold, but I'm not sure here. He's certainly strong enough to lift a fully grown man over his head, provided his grip is good.

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  • 1 month later...

As Bannon lifted Oberyn up in to the air he could feel the mans body begin to shake. Everyone in the courtyard was a bit shocked as the sound of Oberyn's laughter filled the area.

"Alright Storm! You win, I have had to tangle with grizzlies with weaker holds than you. I may be proud but I can admit when I am beat. Should have known better than to try to move a mountain."

At the declaration of defeat several guards stood there for a couple moments just staring then money quickly started exchanging hands as bets were settled.

Click to reveal..
Bannon add to your character sheet Reputation: 5 House Martel and Reputation: 2 Dorne
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Bannon grinned and set the Prince of Dorne back on his feet gently, then clasped the offered hand.

"You fared better than would I fighting on horseback, milord. Now that would be comedy, though the poor horse would not agree. The only thing I know about horses is how to shoe them." he confided with a laugh.

"Indeed. To each their strengths: a bear should not ride, and a serpent shouldn't try to wrestle a mountain." Oberyn said thoughtfully, a smile on his lips as he stared into the middle distance for a moment, then looked up at Bannon again. "My thanks for the contest, Storm."

"And you, milord." Bannon said with a respectful nod before moving to the edge of the circle near Galiana and gratefully receiving a pitcher of cold ale from one of the awestruck guards. He took a deep draught, then grinned at Gali. "How'd I do, lass?"

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Nym sat back in her chair with her chin on the floor. Bannon had beaten her brother! Oberyn! She wasn't sure if she should clap or try and have the man beheaded...but Oberyn's easy acceptance of the defeat put a smile to her lips and she stood to applaud.

"Well done, sirrah Storm! Brother, shall I sponsor him to the tourney so you may face him there again?" Her grin was just a touch vicious, but the offer and the request implied were both sincere. She leaned slightly to the side while she waited for her brother's response and whispered to Galiana, "You might want to start running; the match is over."

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Galiana straightened a little. "I gave my word," she replied in a soft whisper. "And they have held their end." It was only a dress. She could survive that. She was stronger than some mere finery.

How she wished she was strong in the way Bannon was, to beat Oberyn. Such a thing would be wonderful; she would give all her days to have that kind of ferocity, even for a moment. No one would push about Bannon and how she envied him that.

But that envy was hidden as she thrust her fists high, shouting, "Bannon!" in exhalation of his feat. Around her the Sand Snakes rolled their eyes, scowled at her or looked bemused at the scarred girl's shout. But they gave her that moment, to give 'her' giant his due. "I knew you could do it!"

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Having just dismounted from her horse, Allyria watched the match between the two different men from the sidelines, impressed despite herself. Base wrestling was hardly of interest to her. When men - and women! - have access to swords and armour for their battles and tourneys, of what use was it fighting with bare hands? Still, it was an impressive display, their mighty thews rippling and flexing as they strained and tousled.

The Lady of Starfall's mismatched eyes widened in surprise when the Giant actually defeated Oberyn. True, Bannon had obvious giant's blood - or at that of a bear - coursing though his veins, but this was the Viper of Dorn! She had believed Storm's common skills - as large as they were - would be no match for his superior training and experience, and yet... there it was. It made her hard-earned skill with the Braavosi Blade seem almost... trite.

A giant like Bannon Storm would feel it no more than a pinprick from a sewing needle.

Seeing that Nym and Oberyn were amused by the display, and hearing 'Lia's obvious exuberance, Allyria offered a muted smile as well, adding a soft clap to Nymeria's own. "Agreed, an impressive victory for you, Goodman Storm. And you are most worthy of being sponsored for the Grand Mêlée."

She glanced over her shoulder, tossing silvery-white hair from her face and tossed Nymeria and Galiana a flashing eyed grin, before turning her gaze back on the giant, lips bent playfully. "Alas, I am not sure if any wager placed upon you would ensure a return, I'm afraid. A man of your stature, you shall draw every combatant to you like a lodestone does iron filings."

Her grin briefly widened before growing petulant when she noticed Maester Lorian peering out from the manor house. "It would be worth the lost of the wager to see the attempt, however. Now, I must bid you all good day, for I see Maester Lorian looking for a wayward pupil. Goodman Bannon, Nym, 'Lia."

She nodded at each of them as she departed, pausing to give Galiana a pat on the shoulder. "I too value trousers and jerkins when doing anything useful. But there can be delight in finery as well, 'Lia." Her toned turned to gentle teasing as she plucked at Galiana's ragged clothing. "And though you may prefer dressing as a boy, there is no need for your clothing to be coarse as any street urchin's, is there?"

Giving a low chuckle, Allyria began reluctantly making her way to the manor house at Maester Lorian's insistent hand waving. She only continued, mollified by the thought that if she finished her lessons early, she would have time to prepare for another late night dance in the Godswood, with or without Ser Jaime Lannister.

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Bannon grinned at Galiana's exuberant cheer, turning and bowing floridly to her, arm out to his sides like a mummer at the end of a play. "I'm happy to have not let you down, young mistress." he smiled as he straightened up, then nodded his head respectfully to the Princess and Lady Allyria at their words.

"My thanks, Highness." he said to Nymeria as the white-haired Allyria made her departure. "As to being sponsored... Well, tis true I would like to test myself. Tis true also what the Lady said, that many would seek to down me at the earliest, either for my size or for my low birth." Dark eyes glittered like onyx as he grinned fiercely. "I don't think that's any reason to decline, though. I'd be honored, Highness."

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As night fell the house was full of activity. At the dinner table sat Nymeria and Oberyn with Morgaine and Allyria on either side. Obara and Nymeria sand sat with Galiana between them. It was bad enough that they had dressed her in finery but they did not even have the kindness to pick Dornish fashions that had been designed for the desert. Instead she was in a cumbersome dress that restricted her movements and made it near impossible to move faster then a quick walk. She could barely breathe in it they had tied it so tight. All of this only amused the sisters more. They had also spent almost two hours fussing over her hair and putting on make up and jewelery. She had been warned that if a single ring was lost or they found a tear in her clothing she would be wearing an outfit like this to the tourney. They would even find her an escort. Oberyn rarely stood on protocol and along with Bannon several of the guards were also seated at the table. Maester Lorian had tried to join the meal but at his age he barely ate anything and usually he was asleep by now so Oberyn and diplomatic convinced the man back to his room. As the food was served Oberyn looked around, settling his sights on Allyria.

"So tell me, who is going to be my greatest threats in the joust? Who should I be looking out for? Lady or not any Dayne can always take the measure of a mans fighting ability."

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