external image 791ce85782bbf7bd5507ea6ec61b47f5.jpg“Actions speak louder than words”, the phrase burned deep into Darius’ mind. Although he had always meant well through interactions, he had yet to succeed in his actions. The time for that change was now and Darius was certainly ready for it. He was not about to let a man like Ser Barristan the Bold down, nor his people. His actions today could turn the tides of his misfortune, and prove his value to not only House Rhyferth, but Westeros as well.

The sky was beginning to turn a slight shade of pink with the setting sun, the last of its light slowly running out. If he was to make anything of himself it had to be soon, the day was nearing its end. Darius felt himself slowly getting frustrated, his brow furrowed with determination and hardened his visage. He was running out of leads, and the first two men they killed on the Kingsroad left the patrol nothing to go off of.

Darius and his patrol continued south towards the Stormlands; when they came to a crossing, he decided to head west. He hoped that his gut was pointing him in the right direction. He reckoned that the two soldiers from House Selmy were losing both their patience and their faith in him. It was important that this excursion be meaningful. He was tasked with capturing one of the members of the Sons of the Stranger, and he wasn’t turning back until they caught one.

No sooner had the thought of urgency left Darius’ mind than he spotted four rather shady looking men farther down the road. He pulled back on the tough leathery reigns to stop his courser from approaching. After signalling the remaining members of the patrol to halt, he moved alongside Ashter’s horse in order to convey his command.

Darius whispered to the head scout, “I want you to move ahead and get a better look at those four men down the road; they could be Sons of the Stranger. Signal back to me if they seem of ill intent and I’ll lead a charge.”

Ashter nodded his head in understanding and dismounted from his horse. The dark haired scout stealthily moved into position behind the band of men. He then raised an index finger and quietly pointed towards the group of rugged, leather-clad men.

That was the signal Darius had waited for, it was time for action. His heart began to pump harder than before. He took a deep breath, pulled Stormrend out of its scabbard, and pointed it forward with his utmost determination. He then drove the heels of his leather boots into the sides of his smoky gray steed. The horse took off toward the bandits without a moment’s hesitation, its hooves digging deep into the earthen road.

Ashter began facing off with two of the bandits as Darius and his men got closer to the fray. He headed towards the two bandits that Ashter wasn’t currently engaging with. When he was finally in striking distance, he raised Stormrend high above himself and brought it down toward the tallest of the two fighters. The Valyrian Steel sword cut through the air and missed the red haired combatant by a few inches as he crouched in anticipation of the swing. Darius continued to ride his horse forward and past the fighters. He prepared for a dismount as soon as he was within a safe distance from the bandits. He quickly got off of his horse and grabbed his shield; the crest still without wear. He gripped Stormrend tightly with his right hand and his shield with his left. He leaned slightly forward with his left shoulder, the shield held before him, and began to approach the melee a second time.

By now one of the two Selmy men had taken out a bandit, blood pouring from a wound at its neck. Darius moved towards the red haired bandit. He concentrated on where to make his attack. A hardy slash at the back of the bandit’s knee would be enough to bring him down. As Darius got closer, the bandit made a leap forward with his sword. The young Rhyferth put up his shield, blocking the incoming hit from connecting with his clavicle. Darius’s feet dug into the ground as he took in the force of the strike. He made a quick jump back and to the left, lowered his shield, and swung low with his sword. Stormrend made connection with the side of the brawny bandit’s leg, forcing him to let out a painful grunt. The infuriated combatant made a hard swing with his worn longsword. It clashed against Stormrend with a loud clank. Darius pushed his large shield into the bandit, staggering him back. The fighter made one final charge, his blade held forward guided by his might. Darius moved to the side as he charged past.

Darius’ mind was a blur from the adrenaline. He knew this was his opportunity to incapacitate and capture the bandit. He pressed forward and made a clean swing at the back of the bandit’s leg. Stormrend cut through the layers of cloth and padding, leaving a growing crimson stain. His red haired opponent soon fell to his knees. The Selmy swordsmen grabbed ahold of the defeated bandit. Darius glanced toward Ashter’s direction and noticed the head scout’s two opponents had been well taken care of, their bodies strewn across the ground.

Now was the time for answers. Darius sheathed his sword, composed himself, and turned to the remaining bandit. “Are you one of the Sons of the Stranger?” he asked sharply.

The man grimaced in pain, “Maybe, and if I was what would come of it?”

Darius became tense, he wasn’t in the mood for questions or games. The sun was nearly gone on the horizon, a red crescent was all that remained, and who knew what they might come across on the trek back to King’s Landing. “You will be thoroughly questioned by the Kingsguard, and I assume any hesitation will be met with an undesirable form of torture. So, do you choose to cooperate?”

“Like I even have a choice... Noble scum,” the bandit replied bitterly as he spat at Darius feet with contempt.

“Looks like you’ve made your choice.” Darius replied as he gestured at the two Selmy men. They hoisted the bandit up and bound his hands. They sat him on the back of one of their horses.

Darius, Ashter, and the other members of the patrol saddled up and began to ride back to King’s Landing. He began to cool down as the evening air washed over him; his heart settled back into its normal rhythm. Darius smiled to himself, today was a success. He accomplished more than he thought he could, it was the first step in proving his worth. Being a man of his word was one thing, but a man of action… Now that truly yielded results.