Vignette #1 - Defining Moments | Vignette #2 - On the Way to King's Landing | Vignette #3 - Welcome to King's Landing | Vignette #4 - Robert's Return | Vignette #5 - Fickle Fortunes | Vignette #6 - A Fly in the Ointment | Vignette 7 - Decisions, Decisions, Decisions | Vignette 8 - Season Finale | Epilogue - For the Rest of My Days...

Vignette #1 - Defining Moments

The characters from Tales from King's Landing reveal a moment from their past that helped forge them into the people they are today.
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Vignette #2 - On the Way to King's Landing

King Robert Baratheon has ridden to Winterfell to ask Eddard Stark to return to King's Landing with him and accept the appointment to be the Hand of the King. In the meantime, four noble houses from around Westeros--House Eisengold of the Westerlands, House Fenshaw of the North, House Rhyferth of the Stormlands, and House Sekhmet of Dorne--each have found reason to travel to King's Landing, arriving before the King. The characters reflect on what the journey means for them and what they encounter on their way to the capital city...

Vignette #3 - Welcome to King's Landing

Robert Baratheon's cavalcade rumbles toward the capital city, those inside the city walls grow restless awaiting the return of their king and his royal retinue. The members of House Rhyferth work with their allies in House Sekhmet to restore an heirloom shield to its former glory to present as a gift to their distant relation Ser Barristan Selmy upon his return, but things do not go according to plan; a gang of thieves descend upon a member of House Fenshaw in an attempt to relieve him of his priceless blade; and House Eisengold begin putting into motion plans to strengthen their house's reputation and resolve problems relating to the matter of succession.
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Vignette #4 - Robert's Return

King Robert Baratheon returns to King's Landing amid turmoil. Bandits attacked the emissaries of the king, going as far as killing some of his men. Emboldened, and in surprisingly strong numbers, packs of roaming bandits now accost and murder merchants on all the roads leading out of the capital. House Eisengold learns that a meeting with King Robert won't happen for over a month, and Jorrel Eisengold sends his servant Feyana to make contact with the notorious Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish to see if there's any way to move them up in line. Meanwhile, Zyre and Nkosa ride out with members of House Peckledon to scout and rout the bandit brigades and play a major role in routing the enemy, only for Lord Derron Peckledon to claim all the glory for his house and his house alone. Despite this annoyance, Jorrel and Tugg work the local aristocratic scene to build alliances, and Jorrel soon becomes fast friends with Grenn Westford of House Westford. Jorrel also commands the House Eisengold warship Mordrake out to Blackwater Bay to eliminate the pirating threat connected with the rash of banditry.

Edgar Fyste of House Fenshaw sends his personal spy Nera out to scout the outskirts of King's Landing for traces of bandit work, then contracts with a group of mercenaries from The Den to follow her and make sure she is safe. Nera finds no trace of bandit activity and, when she encounters the mercenaries on the road, gets the distinct impression that they would rather rob her than help her, but luckily she has nothing of worth on her and they leave her be. Edgar decides to go back on his verbal contract and pay half what he promised, an insult that the mercenaries vow to avenge. Theodan's attempt to join House Blackwood in their ride to hunt down bandits is rudely rebuffed, and he and Emond wind up joining a group of eager young men claiming to be descendants of House Frost, though it's more likely they're all belong to House Snow... Regardless, the group rides down a group of bandits with Emond performing heroically and Theodan suffering another embarrassment, being dragged from his horse by the scruffy fighters before his allies dispatched them. They were too clinical in their killing however, and the only information Theodan gets from a dying man is that they called themselves Ghosts of the Forest, and had been busy painting oak trees with merchant's blood in a mockery of the weirwood trees of the Old Gods. Dispirited, Theodan returns to King's Landing to find that Tychys has been training the heirs of House Fenshaw in swordplay, but the Braavosi blade declines to mention that the heir Raynard proved to be a nightmare student: willful, disobedient, and insubordinate.

A raven from Tempest Hold brought grim news to Darius, heir to House Rhyferth, that his father Lord Channer's long illness had taken a turn for the worse and his life now hung by a thread. Eager to strengthen his house's position before his father's death, Darius arranges a meeting with Ser Barristan Selmy through Ser Barrish Hunt, but is told it must wait until the bandit problem is resolved. As he sees other noble houses doing, Darius sets out to combine forces to fight the bandit threat and agrees to join House Condon, only for Ser Condon to rescind his offer of allegiance when he sees Ser Ulfric Uller and Pymon Bakmeyas of House Sekhmet would be with them, claiming "I won't ride with Dornishmen." When Ulfric begins to say his honor had been challenged, Condon grasps him by the tunic and a brawl nearly breaks out in the Red Keep before the men can be separated. Both Ashter Varner and Aiana Bayle go to scout a nearby area for bandits in hopes of finding a small group the combined forces of House Rhyferth and Sekhmet might handle themselves. They find traces of bandit activity, but unfortunately a large group of bandits spot them and pursue them back to King's Landing. Ser Condon laughs at them and spreads words of their cowardice. Brenum Fentus delves into the business opportunities of King's Landing, first requesting a meeting with Jemma Rosewood, the rogue from the Den threatening Edgar Fyste's life, then makes two separate business transactions: a minor one involving a commoner selling his fish cakes, and a much more substantial sum on Stonemason's Stout, a popular beer that requires a type of wheat from House Rhyferth's estates. He invests heavily knowing this is a sure bet and can give House Rhyferth more substantial financial footing.

Jaxson Slatefire travels the length of the Street of Steel in a quest to find an apprenticeship in one of the blacksmith shops, accompanied by Ulfric and Artemis Rane of House Rhyferth. Jaxson is not given much attention, but at one stop a blacksmith gets very excited looking at the two strapping warriors and invites them to participate in an illegal underground pit fighting tournament at the The Nine Arms of Hell. Artemis wavers but Ulfric convinces him to take a chance, and they agree to return in a few days' time to fight. Jaxson is annoyed that they've garnered more attention that he has, yet at the next shop---the finest one yet---he is given an opportunity to show his considerable skills, but nerves get the better of him and he fails the trial. As Artemis and Ulfric talk about their plans for the fighting pit, Jaxson stews over his botched chance.

Kearen Sekhmet awakes to surprising news: through happy chance, a specific type of fish roe found in abundance in Sanctuary Lake has become incredibly popular in both Braavos and Old Town, causing the price to spike and doubling the amount in House Sekhmet's coffers practically overnight. His usually stern father Lord Kradok encourages Kearen to pursue business ventures he thinks would be most lucrative in King's Landing, but issues a warning: don't screw this up. Laerra Waynwood, always eager to expand her knowledge, begins exploring the herbal shops and apothecaries looking for rare ingredients for her concoctions. She meets Elric Magnus of the Crescent Cauldron and he unwittingly offers to sell her a massive amount of violet hornet for well under the market value. Laerra declines to come clean on its worth, but refuses his unexpected offer of dropping the price even lower, as he has become distracted by Laerra's companion, the lovely Faelash Arqueth. Though Faelash does not encourage his attentions, he continues his charm offensive, asking them all to sit on his veranda and enjoy a refreshing drink. Laerra enjoys her conversation with Elric and finds him quite knowledgeable, and he is quite content to chat away sitting alongside Faelash. The only downside of the pleasant afternoon is that Faelash suffers a bite on her arm from an odd, and quite large, insect. Laerra and Elric provide a balm, but the bite continues to irritate her long into the night.

Crotchety hermit Pymon Bakeymas has, against all odds, made a friend in King's Landing---Josian Sloane of the shop Fish and Ships. Josian has heard of House Sekhmet's wonderful financial fortune, and begs Pymon to put in a good word for him with Kearen. Pymon, uncomfortable with concepts of "friendship" and "favors," reluctantly agrees.
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Vignette #5 - Fickle Fortunes

Artemis Rane and Ser Ulfric Uller return to the blacksmith's shop for their date with a pit fighting tournament, accompanied by Jaxson Slatefire, Ashter Varner, and Pymon Bakmeyas who have come to support them, bet on them, and coach them, respectively. A wiry, chatty young man named Croll Norrey escorts them to the Nine Arms of Hell, explaining to Jaxson along the way how the "yield tournament" features brackets of fighters in single elimination combat, with each fighter taking home winnings from each win. The men arrive to a sparsely attended underground ring, and Artemis and Ulfric retreat to the preparation area, where they must strip to their smallclothes and grease themselves up. Ashter recognizes many men as Gold Cloaks who are stationed near House Rhyferth's living quarters but says nothing of it. The brackets are announced and a sense of dread falls upon the group as the first contestant introduced is none other than "the Mountain" Gregor Clegane, one of the largest and most fierce fighters in the known world. His opponent is a bastard waif who appears to be drunk. The official starts the fight and Clegane shoulder charges the man into the turf. He then strikes him in the face and, even as the official asks the man if he yields, Clegane smashes his head into the stone wall repeatedly, crushing his skull and killing him instantly. The Gold Cloaks go wild, and Croll begins apologizing profusely to Jaxson, stating that it's terrible luck as Clegane almost never comes to the fights, but now they're committed; they must honor their bets and the men must fight, or they will all be arrested on charges of participating in illegal fighting rings.

mountain5f-1-web.jpgIn his bout, Artemis trades blows with a hedge knight from the Westerlands named Rydan Botley and eventually overcomes him after a good contest. Ulfric is paired against an old man in his match and defeats him without breaking a sweat. The fourth pairing is also a mismatch and is decided quickly. In the second round, Artemis faces Clegane head on and manages to deliver a few shots before being clipped once on the top of the head, and even the partial blow sends him reeling. Rather than yielding, Artemis fights on, a decision he would soon regret as Clegane caught him flush with an uppercut, sending one of Artemis's teeth into the upper deck and knocking him out on his feet. In his battle lust, Clegane stomps on Artemis's unconscious head, shattering his jaw and breaking his nose as his companions looked on in horror. In the next match, Ulfric takes down the hedge knight Rodner Hill after a brief sparring, setting up the final match with the Mountain. Ulfric manages to land a number of blows to Clegane's midsection, but it was as useful as punching a tree, and the giant's elbow to the temple dazes him. He too refuses to yield, but the fight was short lived as Clegane finishes him with a flying knee. Fortunately, Clegane was content to leave his helpless opponent be as he basked in the cheers of the Gold Cloaks. Croll explains that all their bets would go to Clegane and they'd best take their ruined friend and leave quickly. On the long walk back to House Rhyferth, Pymon berates and insults Croll for being an idiot, and the man weeps and agrees, begging their forgiveness.

After Artemis's near fatal run-in with Clegane, the bad news for House Rhyferth continues to pour in. The portion of the King's Landing along the waterfront is now teeming with a biting foreign insect that causes sickness in varying degrees, but serious enough to be fatal in small children and the elderly. The insects are attracted to the brewing ingredients of Stonemason's Stout and were found in the vats, meaning vast quantities of the drink had to be destroyed and the demand went to nil, and as a result it strikes a crippling blow to House Rhyferth's finances. Brenum Fentus is not consoled by the fact that the fish cakes are still selling well, but plans on contacting Feyana Deirei of House Eisengold who knows a few things about bugs.

Brenum and Aiana Bayle meet with Jemma Rosewood who, dressed in sheer fine silks, looked like a noble lady and not an assassin. Her charming demeanor changed once she discovered Aiana was an informant. She became very threatening to Aiana, even as she alternated being pleasant with Brenum. After revealing that she knew far more about Brenum's business than he knew about hers, she concluded that she still might able to make use of him. She reveals her plan to ruin Edgar Fyst, ruining House Fenshaw, and when that gets dull, she will murder him. After a quick slight-of-hand trick that results in her holding a knife to Aiana's throat, she departs with a silvery laugh, leaving the two in stunned silence. Meanwhile, Darius makes some headway in his political ambitions; he again runs into Ser Barrish who apologies for the behavior of House Condon and says that many houses have long and bad histories with Dorne. He also informs Darius that the bandit problem is relatively controlled and Ser Barristan Selmy will sit with him in two days time. Darius makes arrangements for House Rhyferth to ride out as part of the bandit mop up operation.

Faelash wakes in the middle of the night, her arm swollen and stiff from the bite she suffered earlier in the day. She's feverish, dizzy, and vomits all over her bed sheets. Both Laerra and Kearen have grave concerns about her health. Through Laerra's intense research and, with the help of Elric who visits Faelash multiple times a day, begins to isolate a possible cure for the sickness that is spreading throughout King's Landing. During this episode, Kearen receives another urgent letter from his father and opens it with a sense of dread, but the first line is, "By the time this letter reaches you, House Sekhmet will be the third richest house in Dorne..." It turns out his father Kradok used his riches gained from clarion flathead roe to make a very timely investment in pomegranate wine, which has likewise exploded in popularity. In the span of a few weeks, House Sekhmet has gone from being a middling house to among the richest in all of Westeros. From her sickbed, Faelash suggests that Kearen use his wealth to produce vast quantities of the antidote once Laerra discovers it, which will put their house in good stead with the king and make a fortune on top of it. Laerra's reputation grows among the apothecaries and herbalists of King's Landing through her questioning and research, and she is now in a position of fielding their questions as only Elric stands as a peer in knowledge of herb lore. Outside the The Burning Pillar she is approached by a cloaked man who claims he has a way to drive out the biting insects and produces what looks like honeycombs that, when shaken, emit a fine yellow dust. He asks Laerra to try them by planting them throughout the city as well as her home. She hesitantly agrees to meet him in a few days, but instead of spreading them around King's Landing, she puts them all in a small cluster of buildings off Muddy Way.

House Fenshaw woke to the sound of young Lord Raynard screaming and crying. Theodan arrives to find the decapitated head of Raynard's guard in the boy's lap, Xs cut through his eyes and a note in his mouth reading "Fyste lied and thus I died." Emond begins threatening Edgar, questioning about what he'd done when their squabbling is interrupted by Rannel screaming---they find a flayed guard on her bed and Emond sees a shadow disappear out the window. This corpse also has a note reading "Fyste's gall caused Fenshaw's fall." Tychys helps round up the children and ushers them into a safe room and the house doubles the guard. Theodan, Emond, and Edgar argue late into the night. At dawn, Edgar slips off to tell Nera Dragen about the repercussions of his error, and she sets off into the King's Landing underworld to discover Jemma Rosewood's plot to destroy Fyste and take down House Fenshaw with him. Later that morning, a concerned Eddark Starks pays House Fenshaw a visit. He believes the bandits calling themselves "The Ghosts of the North" might somehow be connected to the intimidation of House Fenshaw. He also notices that Tychys Nahaar is Braavosi, and asks him if he would be willing to train his daughter Arya in the art of water dancing.

A knight from the Westerlands tells Jorrel Eisengold that "the legend of the Mordrake only grows," and he soon discovers that the House Eisengold warship obliterated a pirate ship out in Blackwater Bay, earning the house some renown. Feyana speaks to an old beggar who says their mutual friend will do them a favor to grant them audience with the king if they can do something about the stinging insect problem, namely finding out where they came from, discovering a way to get rid of them, and seeing who might be profiting from their unexpected arrival. Feyana learns from the servant Peoter the ingredients required to make his poison that killed the bugs. Nksoa, Tugg, and Zyre go to the docks to investigate whether any foreign ships had recently arrived, but they find out little of worth and Zyre received a bug bite right in the middle of his forehead. Jorrel visits the Burning Pillar and the Crescent Cauldron to research the origins of the bugs, and finds that they have been written about in sailor lore from the Free Cities. At the Cauldron, he finds Elric Magnus working with an old acquaintance of Jorrel's, Laerra Waynwood, on a cure for those afflicted by the fever following the bug bite.

Vignette #6 - A Fly in the Ointment whydididothis.gif

Laerra has cracked the code of the stinging insect venom, much to Elric's delight and Faelash's relief, as the swelling and nausea diminish soon after drinking the healing potion. While Elric prepares to scale up the operation of both the antidote and poison, the two Dornish women head back to House Sekhmet, only to run smack into trouble. Laerra had been duped into spreading more of the insects deeper into the city, and it is her misfortune that four men have been on the lookout for her. Laerra and Faelash narrowly escape capture running through the streets, hightailing it back to the Crescent Cauldron and bolting the door behind them. A concerned Elric tries to reason with the captors, but the trio must determine a plan of escape before one of their assailants returns with a pry bar to force open the door.

Kearen Sekhmet knows nothing of these events because, shockingly, he's been invited to join none other than King Robert Baratheon for dinner. Kearen arrives to little fanfare and is seated with a dozen other high ranking nobles at the king's table in the Red Keep. King Robert is too drunk to make good conversation, heckling Kearen about not bringing a woman, but is soon back his cups. Queen Cersei is much more coy, commenting on House Sekhmet's improbable rise and that money means power, power means jealousy, and jealousy means danger. Master of Coin Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish is even more ominous, saying it was quite a coincidence that Sehkmet's rise coincided with a plague of insects that now a Dornish woman claims she can cure. Kearen says he knows nothing of this, and Littlefinger repeats that it is a remarkable coincidence.

Littlefinger is back at work the next day, summoning Lord Jorrel Eisengold to his brothel around the corner from House Eisengold's dwelling. Nkosa and Zyre accompany him and feel uncomfortable and out of place in the establishment. Once they meet, Jorrel is quick to tell Littlefinger all he has discovered about the insects and their connection to the Free Cities. Littlefinger suggests that rebellion may be afoot, rumors of a Targaryen princess marrying a Dothraki warlord have come to him from across the sea; this coincides with bandit raids and a stinging insect infestation that has crippled trade in King's Landing, all while a Dornish lord has gained incredible wealth. He asks Jorrel for his assistance, requesting that the Mordrake patrol Blackwater Bay and waylay any Dornish ships attempting to leave the city; he also asks for help in watching the gates to the southern roads that lead to Dorne, claiming that the king's men cannot be seen as harassing citizens of one of the Seven Kingdoms. Jorrel talks Littlefinger into giving him more time to decide, but he says he must choose quickly as time is of the essence. Littlefinger asks after the inventor of the poison that kills the bugs, and Jorrel tells him that it was Peoter, a worker in their house. Feyana hears in the kitchens later the next morning that poor Peoter had gotten in a pub fight and had his head kicked in. Meanwhile, Tugg worked relationships with other Westerlands houses to discover suspicious behaviors at the docks, including a drop off in ships arriving from the Free Cities.

Brenum Fentus is surprised to find Jemma Rosewood behind a stall purportedly selling silver spoons, but asks him to have a private conversation. She says she has become aware of the rocky financial situation House Rhyferth finds itself in, and says that Brenum should be looking to his own future as Rhyferth is not long for this world. She asks him to offload valuables, cook the books, make large purchases that the Den can seize before delivery---in short to do anything in his power as advisor to bankrupt the house and siphon the money to the thieves' guild. Grudgingly he agrees and she says she will visit him again in five days. Rosewood's plans have been followed by one Beran Dreimen of a rival criminal band known as the Tufted Titmice, who approach Aiana Bayle with an offer of their own: find out what Rosewood and Fentus are up to, and there might be a place in their ranks for Aiana as well.

Tychus Nahaar is busy training Arya Stark in the ways of water dancing and finds her to be a committed, if not particularly gifted, student. Coming back through the halls of the Red Keep, he notices Tugg pretending to be the heir to House Eisengold as he chats up other nobles from the Westerlands. When he sees Tychys, who knows his true identity coming, he makes a polite excuse to break off and leaves the area. Tychys introduces himself to dispel any questions about Tugg's behavior.

Nera Dragen investigates the goings on in the King's Landing underworld and discovers that The Den is the strongest guild in town, followed by the Tufted Titmice who are striving for greater control in the city. Edgar Fyste begins scheming of a new plan to use this information to his advantage. Ned Stark visits House Fenshaw to give them an errand: capture of one of the bandits claiming to be "Ghosts of the North" and bring him back for questioning. Theodan and Emond ride out with members of their cavalry and a pair of Stark men to track down bandits. They find a group that's 20 strong, but dispatch them with relative ease thanks to the stellar work of the horsemen. They capture three bandits alive and bring them back for questioning, where they admit they were paid by someone they guessed was from the Free Cities to pose as these "Ghosts" to disrupt trade to King's Landing. When Ned is finished with them, he calls forth young Lord Raynard to execute them by his hand, as is the northern way. After a brief and emotional consultation with his advisors, they convince the young lord to instead have the bandits take the black and join the Night's Watch, a decision Stark consents to, although not very enthusiastically.

In House Rhyferth, Artemis Rane is still struggling to come to his senses a week after his brutal fight with the Mountain. His jaw is shattered, he's lost hearing in one ear, and fears that his double vision may be permanent, but this corrects itself within a few days. Crotchety Pymon can't stand seeing the man loaf about and insists that he, Ser Ulfric, and Jaxson Slatefire begin an intense training regimen to hone their fighting skills. Surprisingly, Artemis feels himself improving, and it helps both Jaxson and Ulfric get their blood pumping. Pymon's plan is to find sparring partners for them, but before they can leave, they are intercepted by the blacksmith's assistant Croll who brought them to the fights. Artemis promptly wallops him on the head for his part in the fight fiasco, a blow Croll accepts with apologies. He says his master wishes to express his sympathies and offers Jaxson a place at his forge as a way of apologizing to them. Jaxson leaves the fighters and goes to the blacksmith shop where he successfully completes the tasks the blacksmith puts before him, neither distinguishing himself nor failing. He is offered a full time apprenticeship on meager pay. At the same time, Pymon leads the men to the tourney grounds outside the city walls to find sparring partners. After a light spar with Artemis when the men prove each other's equal, Ulfric asks a knight in training if he wished to join in combat. The knight takes exception to the question, insulting Ulfric and telling him to begone. Instead Ulfric throws a bunch and soon everyone is piling on. Artemis sucker punches another knight in training who turns and clocks him with an uppercut, exploding Artemis's head in pain with his broken jaw. Pymon obliterates two of the three knights with his superior fighting skills, leaving Ulfric to trade blows and eventually best the last knight. Pymon leads the fighters home, hoping they'd learned a lesson.

Lord Darius Rhyferth gained his long-awaited audience with Ser Barristan Selmy and finds him to be formal and aloof. When Darius asks for help, Selmy responds that respect and honor and dignity must be won, not bartered for. He challenges Darius to live up to his family name by leading men into clearing out the last of the bandits in the southern roads heading toward the Stormlands, who are calling themselves "the Stranger's Sons." Given Artemis's injury, it's up to Darius and Ashter Varner to lead a small contingent of men against the bandits. The men hunt with no success for a day and the men grow restless; Ashter spots a few lower class highwaymen and dispatches them both, but they clearly aren't the organized bandits they're looking for. On their last day of scouting before they must return to the city empty handed, they discover a small band of well-equipped bandits. With Darius in the lead, they route the group and take a prisoner. Darius is relieved that he did not fail this test.

Vignette 7 - Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Jorrel Eisengold leads his personal guard to Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish's brothel for a meeting when he is intercepted by Ser Merlon Crakehall of House Crakehall, a house second only to the Lannisters in the Westerlands. By decree of King Robert Baratheon, Ser Merlon says he has been sent to recruit House Eisengold to help him escort members of House Sekhmet to the Red Keepto answer for their crimes against the crown, including suspicions of being complicit with the biting insect infestation and the random assault of anointed knights during routine training at the tourney grounds. Jorrel is uneasy about the situation but, given the standing of House Crakehall in the Westerlands and of course the will of the king, he reroutes to the White Dunes, the abode of the members of House Sekhmet. Jaxson Slatefire sees them marching past the blacksmith shop where he found a position as an apprentice, but decides that he would rather take another risk than running to warn his friends; he instead sees an opportunity, with the other workers distracted, to squirrel away select parts of excellent quality in order to forge a weapon that will gain him renown as a master of metalworking.

Tugg has been enjoying his forays into politics as he masquerades as the heir to House Eisengold, but gets more than he bargains with when Varys, "the spider" and Master of Whisperers, approaches. He welcomes the young heir and congratulates him on his house's rising fortunes, but asks a favor: his father, Lord Jorrel, has been sent to receive a special guest they will be hosting, and Tugg (still posing as the heir) could help him greatly by approaching this Dornish lord and putting in a word that if he were to sacrifice the witch-woman, who is not a member of House Sekhmet, then an agreement could be easily reached to clear the house's name. Tugg agrees to this meeting, and Varys dismisses him but holds up his servant, Feyana. He compliments her both her involvement and discretion in the affairs of House Eisengold, and then asks a curious question: had she ever heard of the myna? He explains that it is a small bird that can speak in an almost human voice, but of course has no memory of what it speaks. A very useful bird, he says, and suggests---strongly---that were House Eisengold to make a more permanent residence in King's Landing, that Feyana might view herself as a little bird such as that. Feyana says she will consider this, then joins Tugg for afternoon tea.

Some days earlier Elric, Faelash, and Laerra made a harrowing escape from the Crescent Cauldron, which Elric fears will be ruined by their pursuers. In the night, Faelash sneaks into his room to comfort him, and the trio explain to Lord Kearen how it all went so wrong. Zyre uses his falcon Benu to scout out the area and determines the royal house. Kearen is surprised to be summoned to his balcony by a pompous Ser Merlon, demanding he produce the criminals of House Sekhmet to face justice. Without waiting for a reply, he sends the combined forces of House Crakehall and Eisengold into the White Dunes to ferret out the offenders while Kearen descends and tries to make peace. Nkosa faces down Ser Ulfric, who chooses to lay his weapon down than fight the giantess. While this prevents bloodshed, Merlon laughs and says even the women of House Eisengold are more mighty than the knights of House Sekhmet. Pymon plays the part of a helpless old man to try and get past the guards outside his residence, but when they try to redirect him, he launches into an attack, disabling two of the three guards, the last of whom blurts out an alarm and tears off Pymon's sleeve. Laerra attempts to escape through the sewers and nearly escapes, but is headed off by guards and led back to Kearen, Jorrel, and Merlon. Faelash prepares to take a more direct route and confront the soldiers herself, when Elric intercedes; he explains that his mother is from Fair Isle near Nemisport in the Westerlands, from a house well-known to the Lannisters, Crakehall, and Eisengolds. He shocks her by proposing marriage---if she agrees to wed him, he can say she is his betrothed and will fall under his protection, and no one from the Westerlands will dare harm them. Faelash is very hesitant, but gives him her word that she will be his bride. Merlon proves him correct by showing Elric respect, and though he blusters quite a bit, Kearen's persuasive skills make him relent and he confesses quietly to Jorrel and Elric that they only need to escort them to the Red Keep unharmed. Commoners pelt the Dornish with rotten fruit, but that is the worst they suffer.

At the keep they are ushered into a small and sparsely decorated, but relatively comfortable, chamber to await what comes next. Kearen and Ser Ulric are allowed into another more posh room more fitting a royal guest. Tugg slips into the room unannounced and politely passes word to Kearen that if he were to allow Laerra to take the blame for the civil unrest caused by the insect infestation, the crown would be pleased to absolve House Sekhmet of any guilt that may stain their reputation. Kearen says he doesn't think he can do that, but Tugg asks him to heed his words.

Darius Rhyferth receives conflicting messages from home: one directing him to finish his business in King's Landing, and the other telling him to return home immediately. As he ponders what to do, Brenum Fentus comes with a plan: he has heard of the troubles of House Sekhmet and thinks House Rhyferth should give them aid in exchange for funds. Darius remarks that they're selling off valuables to make ends meet as it is and he will have to give this consideration. Artemis Rane, furious at not being invited to the meeting with his hero Barristan Selmy, plans to flee King's Landing but not before dealing a blow to Darius. After failing to find any valuables in the house to hock for cash, and after a heated exchange with Darius where he is given permission to quit his duty, he convinces Ashter to defect with him. The pair convince the entire house guard to quit their posts and join them. Darius meets them in the courtyard and convinces a few shamed guards to resume their service, but Artemis and Ashter leave with the rest. Artemis communicates to Ashter that he wants Darius's Valyrian steel sword to sell for spending money.

600_434128565.jpegMeanwhile, Brenum tells Aiana to investigate House Eisengold to better understand their involvement in the situation with House Sekhmet. Aiana ignores this directive and instead spies on House Fenshaw, the target of the notorious criminal guild the Den. Shocked at the lax security---the estate is well equipped for a frontal assault but is vulnerable to more stealthy attacks--she approaches her contact Nera Dragen and passes on that information. Nera has also noticed that the normal chatter about the Den's activities has gone entirely silent, which can only mean something big is about to happen. The Fenshaws double the guard, but Jory Cassel of House Stark comes to claim the guards lent to the house, stating that they are needed for other royal duties. Theodan and Edgar scramble to reassign the guards as night falls, with Tychus guarding the Fenshaw heirs Raynard and Ranel in their room in the center of the building, with Emond patrolling the rest of the second floor.

With the entire house on high alert, everyone notices one guard, an unassuming man named Trentan Stanner who had served the house without distinction, looks decidedly nervous. Theodan questions him and Trentan plays coy, but he breaks under the intense examination of Edgar. He breaks into tears crying, "They made me do it!" At this moment, Tychus notices the overwhelming smell of oil in the air and he collects the heirs to him. Distracted by Fyste's examination of the guard, the others don't realize their peril until they hear an enormous whoosh as the first floor explodes into flames. Theodan finds the stairs to the first level engulfed in fire and begins directing people to the third floor balcony. Chaos erupts. Emond attempts to break the second story window but only succeeds in cracking it; Tychus follows suit and manages to bash out a larger portion before Theodan ushers them both up to the third floor where they can attempt to leap into the trees in the courtyard. Edgar orders his men to smash the rest of the window so they may escape. Emond reaches the balcony first and puts Raynard, the heir, on his shoulders but the boy falls off. When Emond turns to help him, he hears someone shout, "Nice shot!" followed by laughter. The boy is dead, an arrow sticking in his head. Nera grabs Ranel's hand and as they leap from the balcony an arrow whizzes past their ears, another head shot aimed for the girl.

Tychys and Theodan find the body of the boy, and Emond points out archers on the rooftops of the buildings surrounding the courtyard. They figures laugh at them and melt into the night, calling out "You're welcome, Edgar!" The trio collect the body and climb into the trees and join the others in the courtyard, Ranel sobbing uncontrollably as the house burns, her brother's body lying at her feet, dead.

Vignette 8 - Season Finale

Rising from the Ashes - House Fenshaw
The members of House Fenshaw stand stunned as their dwelling burns, the heir Raynard Fenshaw dead from an assassin's arrow. Emond threatens Edgar's life, but their argument is interrupted by Theodan who begins mobilizing them to rescue anyone trapped inside the burning building. They toil with little success through dawn, only to learn of the inferno's terrible consequences: three quarters of House Fenshaw perished in the flames, including Ahrora Nahaar, sister to Tychys. Eddard Stark arrives in the mid-morning haze to show respect to the ruined house and to offer to foster the last living heir, Ranel, at Winterfell for such a time that she may either marry, perhaps in an arrangement with House Karstark, or claim rule of House Fenshaw for herself. The remaining servants and retainers are whisked away along with Rannel to board a ship to the North.

Emond resumes threatening Edgar's life, but Theodan instead questions whether Nera will help them track down members of the Den to get their revenge. She discovers that members of the Den are boasting loudly over their victory over House Fenshaw and learns that a captain of the Den named Rohar Applebearer will be carousing with his crew at the restaurant Exotic Tastes. Edgar and Nera wait outside while a disguised Theodan, Emond, and Tychys slip instead. Drunk and singing songs about burning houses, Rohar leads the festivities inside. Theodan closes the distance between them and draws his blade but is tackled before he can land a killing blow. The thieves are not fighters and attempt to flee, but both Emond and Theodan manage to cut down several before they escape; Tychys is dealt several light wounds in the exchange. Theodan drapes a banner of House Fenshaw over the bodies, a sign that this single act has not sated their taste for vengeance.

[Draw curtain.]

Be You Men of Honor? - House Rhyferth
Brenum Fentus pleads with Darius for funds so he may help with the pending trial of House Sekhmet to get in their good graces, and convince them to extend a loan to House Rhyferth. Darius, annoyed at his badgering, gives him a single gold dragon and says no more. Knowing that a single dragon will not appease his potential partner Jemma Rosewood, he resolves on betraying Darius and goes to the Red Keep to spread falsehoods about House Rhyferth's involvement with the stinging insect plague. Aiana Bayle has been tracking Brenum on orders from the Titmice and hears all he says. He sees her spying on him and, after a brief confrontation, decides to go into hiding until the trial. Aiana reports back to Darius, who is pleased to learn of Brenum's treachery before it bears any poisoned fruit. Aiana reports back to Beran of the Titmice, who applauds her efforts and says that they stand on the cusp of war between the Titmice and the Den for control of King's Landing's underworld. He slices his palm and asks Aiana to make a blood pact with him and join up with the Titmice. After only a moment's hesitation, Aiana cuts her hand and becomes a sworn member.

Meanwhile, Artemis's depression at his situation drives him to drink to excess as Ashter watches over him, The pair are retrieved by a dozen men of the City Watch and marched not back to the Red Keep, but to Raist's Respite. From the courtyard, a guard calls to Darius to join them. but he asks who desires his audience. At that moment, riding through the gate with white hair flowing like a hero out of ancient stories, comes Ser Barristan Selmy in his shining armor. He removes his helm and begins a long tirade at the dishonor and shame of betraying one's house, stating that Channer Rhyferth ran his household with neither honor nor distinction, yet charged his son with rebuilding the house's foundation with pebbles. Rather than retreating back to the Stormlands, he invites Lord Darius to remain in King's Landing and assume a position as a captain of the City Watch, where he shall rise or fall on his own merit. He looks in disgust at Ashter and Artemis and says that Darius's first act of lordship will begin with his dealing with these two: he may allow them to beg forgiveness and reswear allegiance to House Rhyferth before the Seven and the audience below the open sky; he may dismiss them from his service and let them scrape out the life of brigands, may they die penniless in some gutter in Flea Bottom; or he may declare them treasonous and order them to join the Night's Watch.

Darius gives them their choice. In tears, Artemis kneels and bows his head to his lord, who is welcomed back to the house in good graces. Proud Ashter refuses the offer, and Darius immediately orders him to be taken away and given to the Night's Watch. In the coming long months of travel north, Ashter attempts to escape but his escorts catch him, beat him mercilessly, and he spends the rest of the long journey in chains, thinking about his future at the Wall.

[Draw curtain.]

Weighed in the Balance and Found Wanting - House Sekhmet
Escaped from the White Dunes, Pymon sneaks through the back alleyways steadily heading toward the Mud Gate. After running into a number of guards and easily evading them in the the labyrinth of alleys, he finally makes it to Fish and Ships where he is taken in by his old friend Josian. Pymon is given a change of clothes and fish heads to eat while Josian arranges his escape by boat. As it turns out there are ships in Blackwater Bay searching for fleeing Dornish, so Pymon must conceal himself in a crate. The plan is going fine until they are boarded, and one dishonest sailor suggests that they may have a Dornishman aboard. A clash ensues and Pymon is captured by none other than Lucian Pyke, captain of the Mordrake of House Eisengold. Charmed by Pymon's crotchety demeanor, Lucian entertains him with stories and a meal as they head back to the Red Keep.

Varys approaches Kearen Sekhmet in his chambers, along with Faelash, Elric, and Ser Ulfric and explains to them all that Littlefinger, as Master of Coin, is not at all interested in proving the Dornish guilty of their crimes but rather merely wishes to assign blame. Varys says they can expect a farce of a trial as Littlefinger sees this as an opportunity to extort the newly wealthy House Sekhmet for an outrageous sum in exchange for keeping the family name out of the mud. He says that the brawls members of House Sekhmet began will cost a small fortune in fines, but that the treasonous act of contributing to the hisser plague will require a sacrifice of flesh--that Laerra will need to take the fall and spend time in a prison at the Red Keep. Varys assures them it will only be for a few short years and she will be treated well. The trio visit Laerra in her holding cell that, while small and sparse, isn't terrible. Kearen tells her that they have no choice but surrender her to the crown for imprisonment. Laerra is contemptuous of both Kearen and Faelash, telling them it's quite easy for them to assure her safety when they're not the ones in bondage.

While this is happening, Jaxson Slatefire has saved up his purloined pieces of choice materials and sets about forging a short sword of stunning quality. He recognizes the sheer brilliance of his own work, and smuggles the blade away from his shop and presents it to the owner of a higher end locale. The owner Simon Chaffton too is in awe, and says that they will go to the king's court tomorrow to present as a gift to his highness in exchange for greater renown for the shop and for Jaxson.

The day of the Dornish trial arrives and, unexpectedly, the courtroom is practically empty. After a long and lengthy preamble, in which House Eisengold is given credit for the cure and destruction of the hisser plague, the charges against House Sekhmet are read. Kearen accepts responsibility and agrees to pay the hefty fines for the brawls. Laerra professes her innocence but Kearen doesn't speak on her behalf and a drunken Robert Baratheon belches out her sentence: four years in prison. At this moment, Lucian and Pymon arrive talking and laughing, until they sheepishly realize they've just entered a somber courtroom. The rest of House Sekhmet is banished from King's Landing for one year as punishment, a fact that one knight in the stands finds particularly funny. He meets Ulfric's eyes, and Ulfric realizes it is his nemesis, Kevan Donniger of the Reach, who cut down his friend at the Battle of the Trident. He bolts to confront the man, who charges down to meet him. A melee breaks out in which Ulfric lands a number of clean shots on the knight's face, breaking his teeth and nose. Nkosa charges in and flings aside House Sekhmet guards while Kearen pleads for order.

With the fracas died down, Faelash watches as House Sekhmet are escorted to the docks to be shipped back to Dorne immediately. Elric suggests that they could stay in King's Landing, visit his home in the Westerlands, or sail back to her native Braavos. Faelash, who secretly has no intention of marrying him, suggests they travel to the Westerlands and begins mulling over her options.

Finally, Simon Chaffton, the owner of the armory, sees an opportunity in the chaos to skip in line. He asks Jaxson for the weapon and solemnly offers it to Robert Baratheon as a token of his thanks and a demonstration of his craftsmanship, taking all the credit for its forging. King Robert is unimpressed even by this fine weapon, and jams it in the Iron Throne, just one of many more anonymous blades. Jaxsons says nothing until they reach the courtroom antechamber, and then in retribution he punches the owner in the back of the head mid-sentence, instantly knocking him unconscious and storms off.

[Draw curtain]

The Lion of the Sea - House Eisengold
At the trial's conclusion, Kevan Lannister calls Jorrel and the rest of House Eisengold into a private meeting chamber. He explains that House Eisengold has proven to be an impeccable servant to the crown and to the Westerlands, a fact not overlooked by Lord Tywin, who wishes to reward the house for their part to play in the events of the past few months. He grants Jorrel the formal title "Lion of the Sea" and charges him with policing the waterways between Lannisport and King's Landing. The position requires regular travel but Jorrel's job will be mostly one of accounting and management from the ports of his choice, with his administrative desk residing at King's Landing. He also offers Tugg, who he believes to be the Eisengold heir, a position as Jaime Lannister's squire for a period of a few years. Finally, he grants a landed knighthood either to Zyre or Nkosa, provided the one Jorrel selects will be installed at the Crag and charged with the rebuilding of the dilapidated castle and the construction of a port. Jorrel graciously accepts these appointments and directs Nkosa to stay in King's Landing to look after Tugg, along with Feyana, who accepts Varys's proposition of becoming of one of his informants.

In the coming weeks, Jorrel finds his position to be much to his satisfaction, and likewise Tugg and Nkosa quickly warm to living in the capital on a permanent basis, starstruck by the nobles they enjoy rubbing shoulders with. Zyre travels to the Crag and claims his land, is a bit daunted by the sheer amount of work that will need to be done, but resolves to do it to the best of his ability. Feana learns within the first twenty four hours that the life of one of Varys's "little birds" is perilous, with the messengers winding up dead or going missing with alarming regularity. She has little choice but to stay in order to remain near Tugg, but sees her future as one filled with complex intrigues and plenty of life-threatening danger, wondering how long it will be that Tugg can continue his ruse as an impostor.

[Draw curtain]

Epilogue - For the Rest of My Days...