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Morning Preparations

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Godwyn escorted his cousin to Corryn's camp. "Volf," he explained to her. "We want to go ahead and have him start guarding you, if that is well with Ser Corryn."

Syndra smiled resignedly and nodded, unused to being on the receiving end of someone's protectiveness.

Once he dropped Syndra off at Corryn's camp, Godwyn headed for the Hall, and breakast, with the hope that Anders and/or Godfrey were there. But he knew there would be food there, and the rumbling in his stomach told him that was the important thing.

The early meal was being served in the Great Hall - a hearty breakfast so that those who would fight this day might prepare properly. Ser Anders was eating a thick slab of beef; Ser Godfrey had chosen the same.

But also present were Ser Herys and Eryk, the costume of the former suggesting he intended to be armoured later in the day.

"Godwyn," said Godfrey, speaking quietly so they should not be overheard, when Godwyn came to greet him, "do you still wish to tilt against me, to decide who shall have the honour of facing our prisoner?"

Godwyn hesitated for a moment, glancing over at the Boltons then back to his uncle. "I wish it," he said. "But I've also come to learn over these past few days that I need to consider carefully whether what I wish is what is best for Holdfast. Uncle, tell me truthfully, what do you think?"

"I think," said Godfrey, "that you are now man enough to make your own decision, and I shall respect it."

There was a strange look in his face as he spoke - strange for Godwyn to see, that is - for Syndra had seen the expression many times. But it was very rare for someone to look at Godwyn with paternal pride.

Godwyn sighed and looked down at his feet, then back up at his uncle. "It's probably not a good idea for us to tilt," he said with resignation. "First of all, it might look like we're not taking the case seriously, making it more sport than a judgement for the Gods. Then, there's always the possibility of an injury in a tilt, and right now, with everything going on, we can't afford for either of us to be injured to no purpose. And, not the least, it would be foolish to let him get a look at our tilting styles before the combat, never give away any advantage for no reason." That last sounded like a quote, and he darted a glance at Ser Anders as he said it.

"I'll ask one last time if you'll let me have the honour of fighting him," Godwyn asked his uncle. "But I'll abide by your decision of which of us is better suited to the task."

"All that you say is true," said Godfrey. "And I think it best that I fight. But I'll be happy to witness your prowess in the tournament. Perhaps you can ride against Eryk Bolton." The last was said with a slight smile - but then he watched as Kenrith entered the Hall and made his way straight to where Jonas was eating.

Godwyn chuckled at the idea of riding at Eryk with a lance.

"How does the boy shape?" he asked Godwyn quietly.

Godwyn glanced down the table towards Jonas. "He's young yet," he answered. "And that woman doesn't like me to be around him." He snorted. "Thinks I'm going to drop him down a well, probably." His face grew thougthful and he was silent for a moment. "He's a likely lad, though. He should have training. He should probably be forstered out, that would be best for him, but I doubt his mother will allow it."

Godfrey nodded. "We'll have to find a way to persuade her," he said.

He watched Jonas leaving with Kenrith, and then turned back to Godwyn.

"We need to discuss how the day will be managed," he said. "Has Kenrith said anything to you of his intentions?"

"Aye," he answered. "First, the maesters wanted to examine his arm. Then, he planned to join the hunt for Wilders in the wood." Godwyn frowned. "Will both Ser Anders and Kenrith be gone again? I mislike it."

"As do I," agreed Ser Godfrey. "Especially as I have been commanded by Syndra to ask you to squire for me. It will ease her mind ... but I fear it leaves us vulnerable."

Godwn nodded, and shot what he considered to be a quick and subtle glare at Ser Herys before looking back to his uncle. "I'll tell the guards to be especially alert today. Things could turn ugly very easily."

Ser Godfrey nodded his agreement. "Now," he said, "we'd better go and play the role of hosts to our guests, before Lady Hardy comes and chides."

He nodded towards Ser Herys and his son, who was now seated beside his father, eating some bacon. As though he heard Ser Godfrey, he looked up, and straight at Godwyn, his expression hard to read, even for one who had been patiently trained by Sewell to read men's expression to gauge battle-readiness.

Godwyn smiled and waved. "Right, then," he said to his uncle. "Let's go play."

Ser Anders nodded at them without speaking as they took their seats.

Ser Herys leant forward and asked, "and what time can we expect this ... trial of strength to commence?"

"When we've broken our fast, we'll begin to arm," said Ser Godfrey curtly.

"And when you do," said Ser Herys, "I beg you will accept the services of my son. He will, after all, be your son soon enough."

Godwyn choked on the ale he was drinking, coughing and spluttering. By the time he recovered he had mastered his anger, and he said nothing.

"Godwyn will be acting as my squire," said Ser Godfrey. But, if you wish, Eryk might assist him."

Ser Herys smiled. "Most certainly," he said smoothly.

Eryk shot a swift look at his father - and then returned his attention to his plate.

Godwyn ate silently, stabbing his breakfast with his knife and sawing at it savagely, thinking to himself, ~Sausage Bolton. Egg Bolton. Cheese Bolton. Buttered Bread Bolton....~

Before long he was smiling once more.

Breakfast finished, Ser Godfrey rose to his feet. "I must start to prepare," he said. "Godwyn, if you would join me ... Master Eryk ... perhaps you could come when you are suitably attired."

"Oh ... yes ... " Eryk rose hurriedly, flushing at a venomous look from his father.

"We'll be in the Armoury," said Ser Godfrey.

Ser Anders rose to accompany them out.

As soon as they had left the Hall, Ser Godfrey said to Godwyn, "Would you find Kenrith? We should be united over this."

"Aye, Uncle," Godwyn answered, and left at a quick walk. He asked among the guards, and was told that Ser Kenrith and the boy had headed in the direction of Lord Hardy's room.

His forehead crinkled in thought, Godwyn followed them.

As he knocked on the door, he heard the sound of voices within, and then a groaning, rattling sound.

Godwyn frowned and stood uncertainly in the corridor outside his father's door. He shifted from foot to foot, raised his hand tentatively to knock once more, then dropped it to his side.

But the door was opened anyway - by the elderly maid who hhad heard his first knock.

Page last modified on October 05, 2006, at 08:41 PM