(Scenario: It is the final of the Tourney of Lannisport and it’s Jaime v Jorah. Will triumph and take Lynesse Hightower’s hand in marriage?)
Lord Jorah Mormont of Bear Island remained seated in his tent, sipping ale. Before a joust, he liked to drink a horn of the stuff. The drink usually settled his nerves and gave him the belief that he would win.
Jorah quivered. He had more nerves now than he’d had in the previous rounds. The ale did not seem to quell the nerves, and his stomach heaved at the thought of being in the final. Jorah had never been in a tourney before, let alone a final. Was it natural to have more nerves before a final? Surely, it was just another round? Only, fame and reward awaited the winner, not to mention-
“Lord Jorah,” a cold, familiar voice said.
“All Of The North Is Behind You”
The tent’s entrance flapped open. Jorah sprung up at once and his armour clanked. It was Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell. “My liege,” he said, trying to regain his composure. “For what do I owe this honour?”
“To wish you luck for the final,” he said. “All of the North is behind you. If your father had not taken the Black, no doubt he would be here to spur you on as well.”
“He always preferred hunting and killing animals to tourneys,” Jorah said. “Now, he gets to hunt and kill Wildlings. If only he waited a couple more years before going to the Wall. He could have helped us put down Lord Balon’s Rebellion.”
“Each to their own,” Lord Eddard said, with slight warmth and a smile.
Outside, the crowds roared and whistled. The noise had only ever reached such volumes during the tourney when Ser Jaime Lannister, son of Lord Tywin Lannister, the Warden of the West, had appeared. Ser Jaime was everything that a woman could want in a man: he was handsome, golden-haired, a knight, and talented with the sword. Ser Jaime should have been dwelling beside his father at Casterly Rock, as the heir. But for some reason, when he had been fifteen, Ser Jaime had forsaken the riches of the Rock and his heirdom in favour of a white cloak and a lifetime of servitude as a bodyguard to a king. What lunacy had made him do that?
“Defeat him,” Lord Eddard said, coldly.
Jorah’s back rippled as if Lord Eddard’s voice had blown an icy wind down his back. It had been nine years since Robert’s Rebellion and the Sack of King’s Landing, when Lord Eddard had marched into the throne room to find Ser Jaime seated on the Iron Throne, his sword bloody with King Aerys lying before the throne, in a pool of his own blood. Lord Eddard had clearly not forgiven Ser Jaime for stabbing the Mad King in the back, even though he had been a rebel himself. “I’ll do my best, My Lord,” Jorah said.
The Crowd’s Favourite
Jorah turned around and grabbed his bear-headed helmet. When he turned back around, Lord Eddard had vanished. Jorah shrugged and exited the tent. The summer sun warmed him. Jorah smiled and waved to the crowds as he entered the melee. He got a throaty, drunken cheer from the Northmen, but otherwise the volume was noticeable by its comparative quiet, compared to when Ser Jaime had stepped out.
Jorah should not have been surprised. Ser Jaime was a Lannister, born in that imposing Rock that overlooked Lannisport. Still, it stung that the crowds cheered more for Ser Jaime than they did for him.
Jorah glanced around the crude wooden stands. He noted the men he had beaten in the previous rounds: Lords Whent, Jason Mallister, and Yohn Royce, as well as two Frey knights, not that Jorah could remember their names. Lord Walder had so many sons and they all shared his thinning brown hair and weasel-like face that they seemed to merge into one, in Jorah’s mind at least.
Then, Jorah’s heart skipped a beat. Lynesse Hightower, daughter of Lord Leyton Hightower of Oldtown, stared at him with her perfect features: her blonde hair was loose and flowed like molten cheese; her eyes were blue and struck Jorah with the force of a bolt; and her cheekbones were chiselled as if sculptured by an artist from a stone. Lynesse had allowed Jorah her favour for the tourney. If Jorah beat Ser Jaime, he would have her hand in marriage. Jorah could not let the opportunity pass. Never again would he have the chance to marry a woman so beautiful as her again.
“Your horse and your lance, My Lord,” a squire said, handing Jorah the reins to the steed.
“Hold the lance for a moment, boy.”
Jorah looked back at Lynesse and nodded at her. Hopefully, the next time he would look at her it would be to kneel before her, for her hand in marriage.
Jaime v Jorah
“Lords & Ladies,” King Robert bellowed.
The King’s booming voice shot Jorah back to the tourney. He put on his helmet and then climbed into the saddle. The stallion grumbled at Jorah’s weight, not that he cared either way for what the beast thought.
“The final awaits!” the King continued, slurring the ‘s’ as if he were hungover or drunk, despite it only being morning. “The Queen’s brother, Ser Jaime Lannister will be against Lord Jeor Mormont of Bear Island!”
It’s Jorah! Couldn’t the royal oaf, whom Jorah had fought for during the overthrow of the Mad King and the Greyjoy Rebellion, not remember his name? Jorah knew that he and his father shared similar sounding names. But couldn’t someone have pointed out the difference to King Robert?
“The first to knock the other off his horse is the winner. Go!”
What’s The Matter With Me?
Jorah gripped the lance from the squire and the crowd roared. The noise seemed to compress around Jorah’s head like a pincer. His heart thudded and sweat beaded down his back.
Jorah flicked the reins to his horse and the beast trotted to the end of the barrier, at the opposite end to Ser Jaime. Every clap and cheer from the ground seemed to claw into Jorah’s mind. He tried to mentally push the noise away and focus on the man ahead of him. But he couldn’t, and the arm that held the lance lost its strength, as if it were suddenly made of jelly.
What’s the matter with me? Jorah had not felt like this during any of the other rounds in the tourney. Why now, just because it was the final, did he feel this way? The North and Lynesse Hightower had watched him every round. The structure of the crude stadia was the same as every other round. Why then did it feel so different today-
The Final Begins
A horn blasted.
Lance-forward, Ser Jaime charged.
Shit! Jorah tautened his grip on the lance and kicked his stallion. The horse scarpered into a sprint. Ser Jaime closed in on him from the other side of the barrier; the blunted edge of his lance enlarged by the gallop.
Jorah bellowed a war-cry; the same one he had made during the capture of Pyke. He leaned forward to give himself an extra half a yard…
But Ser Jaime dodged the lance. The men and women in the crowd hooted their approval and Ser Jaime waved to the crowd, his usual smug smirk on his face.
Jorah growled under his helm. What sort of people applauded a knight for cowardice? Were they that partial that if Jorah beat their darling oathbreaker they would cheer the loser, the Kingslayer no less, louder than for him? Jorah would have none of it!
“Again!” King Robert boomed.
Jorah spun his horse and charged. Ser Jaime ceased waving to his adoring crowd and surged forward. This time, he was behind. Jorah had the momentum. He leaned forward again, putting his weight into the speed of his horse.
He closed in on Jaime. He lowered his lance to strike his breastplate-
Jaime’s lance pushed the wind out of Jorah’s lungs. Jorah’s world spun. His body lifted from the saddle. His back tilted backwards, before thumping the ground.
The crowd cheered with delight. Jorah looked up at the sky and growled. Get up! he told himself. You are not humiliating yourself any further. Get up!
Rasping, Jorah rolled over to his side and pushed himself up. He staggered as he came to his feet.
Ser Jaime, danced across his vision, prancing around on his horse with his arms up in the air. Finally, he stopped, got down from his horse and took off his helmet. He did not have a hair out of place, let alone have it ruined by sweat.
“The winner, My Lords & Ladies,” King Robert declared. “Ser Jaime Lannister!”
“You Should Thank Me”
The crowd roared again with delight. Jaime smirked and bowed, drinking in the adulation as if it were the sweetest wine. He then turned to Jorah, wiped the smile off his face, and put out his hand. Jorah clasped it and Jaime embraced him. The people loved it and voiced their approval.
But Ser Jaime did not let go of him. “You should thank me,” he whispered, firmly. “I have saved you from a lifetime of misery from that Hightower girl.”
“What?” Jorah asked. “I don’t understand.”
Ser Jaime did not answer. Instead, he let go of his beaten opponent and faced the King and his sister, the Queen. The King stood up and cleared his throat. “I declare Ser Jaime Lannister, son of the mighty Lord Tywin of Casterly Rock, the winner of the Tourney of Lannisport!”
Again, the crowds cheered and whistled for their golden son. Jorah would rather the ground had swallowed him up. He glanced and caught sight of Lynesse, who had her eyes closed and shook her head. The disappointment she expressed in that look hit Jorah harder than Ser Jaime’s lance had done. He had been planning on crowning her as his queen of love and beauty if he had won, before taking her as his wife. Ser Jaime had shattered his plans; a man who had it all and needed no wife. It wasn’t fair.
“What Did You Mean?”
Jorah turned to look at Ser Jaime. But he was making his way out of the arena. As were the crowds. “Ser Jaime!” Jorah called. “Wait!”
Ser Jaime halted and turned around; a hint of curiosity reflected in his raised eyebrow. “Yes, My Lord?”
“What did you mean when you said that you have saved me from a lifetime of misery?”
Ser Jaime smiled smugly. “A girl like Lynesse Hightower would never take to the cold, nor the poor existence of life on Bear Island,” he said. “And you were smitten with her. To think what you would have done to make her happy? You would probably break the Iron Bank, let alone the scant Mormont treasures.”
“Come To Bear Island And Say That!”
Jorah’s blood boiled. Ser Jaime’s smugness was enough in and of itself to make him want to punch him. That what Ser Jaime was true, made Jorah want to break his neck. “Come to Bear Island and say that,” Jorah said. “I don’t think a lion has fought a bear and won.”
Ser Jaime’s smile widened. “I believe a lion defeated a bear in front of our stag king just now,” he said. “But I don’t blame you for wanting to put it out of your mind so soon. You had your eyes elsewhere.” He paused and exhaled, looking very pleased with himself. “How does it feel,” he added, “knowing that I have ruined your one and only chance of marrying a southern beauty? Think on it. Perhaps, you can even take the Black like your father or become a King’s Guard, like me? You’ll have just as much chance of marrying such beauty whichever you choose.”
Ser Jaime then disappeared out of the arena. Jorah growled and marched back to his tent. For the first time, Jorah understood why his liege lord despised Ser Jaime.
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