Ambrose Butterwell in a ASOIAF Adventure
Act I: Three Masks
The road back to King’s Landing is neither long, nor hard, even despite the smallness of your party as you ride down the Kingsroad back to your home. Kael Rivers’ advice still echoes in your mind, as the events of Wedding Knight play out simultaneously as you ride, unbeknownst to you. King’s Landing stretches forth in all her “glory” the stink of the huge city in the wind even miles off. The Red Keep glowers from atop the hill, and the Dragon Gate opens at your approach, leading you into the city.
Beggars, children, strangers, merchants, smiths, pot shop tenders, “alchemists,” swindlers, fathers chasing children, and nobleman are all available to meet, speak with, and victimize. Your father may want a report, though you are not sure it is necessary. Your welcome back to the capital of Westeros is yours to captain.
Ambrose decides that between the unaccustomed soreness from the ride and the strange events prior to his leaving the wedding, he could use several drinks and female companionship after such a disappointing showing.
Chataya’s is not particularly busy, as it is still relatively early in the day. The madam Chataya recognizes you quickly, and saunters up to you, her hips sashaying seductively as she approaches. You are one of the few in King’s Landing that can actually afford to have bedded her in the past, and it was worth every stag of her obscene price. Today, a more affordable wench might be a better course of action, as Chataya’s sensuality is false, motivated by her considerable ambition.
Chataya smiles at you, her broad white teeth twinkling.
Chataya: Ambrose… It has been too long? Are you here to butter one of my girls up?
Ambrose: I could lie to you and tell you I’ve come for your conversation, which I’m sure would be stellar as always, but you’ve come to the right of it.
Chataya shrugs with a gleam in her eye.
Chataya: Little other reason to frequent a whorehouse, milord.
Chataya wraps an arm around your stomach softly as she wheedles around you.
Ambrose: Oh, I don’t know about that, for a sizable fee one can have an adequate drink.
Chataya: Who is your girl today, Ambrose? You want a sunny young Reach girl? A Dornish with a dish as salty as the sea between her legs? Perhaps you’ll just get an adequate drink?
Chataya bites her lower lip expectantly, knowing the answer to her last question is no.
Ambrose: Where in the kingdoms she is from is a little worry to me today, but by the Seven, make sure she’s cosmopolitan. I’ve had enough of the rustic life for some time.
Chataya: We have cosmopolitan. Let me tell the girl, and have a sip of gold while you wait.
A serving girl produces a cup of wine while Chataya notifies your girl she has a customer. A dozen minutes later, you are ushered into the bedchambers where she is waiting. Immediately, you can see she was combing her hair most of the time. It hangs straight and dark from her well-formed shoulders, orderly and soft. Her lips are plush and rosy, her scent of her perfume inebriating. She will do nicely, as she has done before.
Even a young man, strike that, even a young lech has his limitations, and after enough drinks, you feel as though you are jousting with a rope, and the fatigue begins to set in. You may sleep here or back in your apartment, but sleep is coming harder and faster than the Ambrose of 6 hours ago.
Ambrose knows that returning to his apartments means having to deal with servants, acquaintances, and, worst of all right now, his father. For now, he’ll sleep things off at the brothel and return to his rooms at his leisure.
Time Lapse (Technically)
None in King’s Landing note Ambrose’s return to the city nor the activities of his first night save Chataya, her staff, and the pillows. No one expected him back yet anyway; a situation that changes today.
Ambrose makes his way back to his rooms in the Tower of the Hand. He does his best to avoid too much attention until he can do a full bath, break his fast, and make himself presentable.
Lord Anders Butterwell notices you from his lectern in the lobby. Again you are reminded of your father’s “open-door” policy of leadership. He nods at you, greets you, and continues about his business of hearing redress.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Morning, my son.
Ambrose: Father. I trust you’ve gotten on well enough without your most talented progeny
Lord Anders Butterwell smiles big.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Most talented, huh? Why’s your brother watching Whitewalls, then?
Lord Anders Butterwell gives you a few fake jabs and jockeys while a small crowd titter at this jape.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Only kidding, son.
Lord Anders Butterwell: How was the wedding?
Ambrose: Ah, because my dashing good looks would be wasted at home Father. Here you get to show me off to all your friends.
Ambrose grimaces slightly.
Ambrose: Not the most joyful of affairs to be honest.
The few people in the lobby laugh at your manner together, for they have heard the Hand is a man of wit, and are learning of his son as well.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Hm… It’s that way sometimes with noble weddings. I am glad I never had a daughter, that I would have to marry her to some looker like Ser Kevan Manning.
Lord Anders Butterwell: But…
Lord Anders Butterwell makes a few quick gestures toward you with his chin.
Lord Anders Butterwell: …meet any girls?
Lord Anders Butterwell: Lady Sylvie is a beauty, they say. Any luck? Lord’s Right?
Lord Anders Butterwell elbows you in the side.
Ambrose offers his father a crocked half smile.
Ambrose: Well, there were a few treasure of the seven kingdoms present, my host provided too much lively entertainment for me to make a proper impression on any of them.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Ah well. At least you aren’t married to Lynette.
Lord Anders Butterwell is referring to your brother’s wife, Lynette Penrose, married for political alliance. She is a harridan, a crooked-toothed, foul-thinking wretch 6 years his senior.
Lord Anders Butterwell: You are lucky you are the younger… You can select whomever you want to marry.
Ambrose: Father, who long does Anders have to be married before I’m allowed to find him a pretty young chambermaid to tidy his rooms?
Lord Anders Butterwell begins to answer with a grin, when the door to the Hand’s Tower slams open, and seven people walk in. It is a congregation of 6 armed guards, (including Kingsguard Terrence Toyne) flanking a young woman. She is stunningly beautiful, and obviously out of your league, not for her face but for her hair, her Targaryen birthright, which is as spun silver, though hers bears a streak of gold as well. The look on her face is one of outrage both pure and still, and she looks at your father with grave seriousness.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Lord Anders! A word with you.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Oops.
Ambrose realizes that from the minute the door burst open, his mouth has hung agape. He makes a concentrated effort to close it
Elaena Targaryen strides up to your father, the guards looking confused and chagrined by her will.
Elaena Targaryen : Alone.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Lady Elaena! Why aren’t you in Summerh-…
Elaena Targaryen : Come on, then. You have something to explain to me.
Elaena Targaryen and the guards go along with your father to his office to discuss the matter at hand.
You bathe, eat of crusts of rye and barley soup, a bed of buttered peas and a few well-cured pieces of pork. The food in the Red Keep always has the right amount of salt, you note. There is a knock on your apartment door.
Ambrose makes a hand motion to his servant to open the door
Winton Reyne comes in, his hands spread wide in a gesture of both friendship and interrogation.
Winton Reyne: Tell me about it!
Winton Reyne smiles.
Ambrose: The wedding? A lively affair. Sit, break your fast.
Winton Reyne looks at the food.
Winton Reyne: Don’t have to tell me twice, brother.
Winton Reyne asks your servant to fetch some wine, comfortably.
Winton Reyne: Lively, eh? Sorry you had to go with that jackass Ser Etan… Would that I were able to attend, but the Master of Coin has his duties…
Winton Reyne chomps on a cube of pork, grinning.
Winton Reyne: Fortunately, my good man, sometimes my duties include hosting parties.
Ambrose: You are so damned important. A wonder the realm ever had the chance to rub to coins together without you. But to be honest, you were lucky to remain here
Winton Reyne laughs at your claims of his importance.
Winton Reyne: What ever you say, Ambrose. You know better than that.
Winton Reyne: When was the last time it wasn’t a Reyne or a Lannister in my post? It’s like it’s expected of you.
Winton Reyne: At any rate… The party!
Winton Reyne: You’re not going to believe this… His Grace granted me a bonus this year… We booked a surplus, and he gave me… Let’s just call it an extravagance.
Winton Reyne: And some of the guests… Oh Ambrose… Some of the guests.
Ambrose: May all the Seven bless His Grace and all his wisdom.
Ambrose: Well, do tell. I love a who’s who.
Winton Reyne: Well, the usual bunch of leches, leeches, and clingers-on, I am sure your good buddy Ser Etan will be there, and so forth… I can hardly contain myself Ambrose, I’m just going to come right out and say it.
Winton Reyne: My consort… You’ll know her name.
Winton Reyne grins as wide as a barn door.
Winton Reyne: Rose Tyrell…
Ambrose: Well, someone is certainly tilting above his horsemanship…
Winton Reyne: She’s so… FUCKING…. beautiful.
Winton Reyne: And… Two sisters…
Ambrose: Which, I have to admit, interests me even more.
Winton Reyne: Easy pickings. And… One more thing.
Winton Reyne points directly at you.
Winton Reyne: You’re hosting it.
Ambrose gives Winton a long, blank look
Winton Reyne raises his hands.
Winton Reyne: Just tell me if you think this is a good idea.
Winton Reyne: I am not even at my own party.
Ambrose: I’m sure I’ll be gracious of course.
Winton Reyne: And I show up like a… What do you call… A mystery knight. Only not a knight, you know.
Winton Reyne: With a mask on… Big costume. And here’s the costume… I already have it made. Roses: Cloak, hat, and even the shoes have a rose on them… 4 Dragons, man, from a tailor called Emylio.
Winton Reyne: Huh?
Winton Reyne: What do you think?
Winton Reyne: So I figure for the first few hours you are there, and they all think you’re just my best friend, and all that… But, meanwhile, you get to talk to everyone, including the girls… Rub some elbows… And hopefully see your good buddy make an impression on young miss Rose.
Ambrose: Winton, I am always happy to be the center of a gala, but I do have to ask. Roses? On your entire costume? Is that not, perchance, a BIT ostentatious?
Winton Reyne: Damn it, Ambrose.
Winton Reyne shakes his head.
Winton Reyne: You know that’s what I’m worried about.
Winton Reyne: Well… At least come take a look at the costume.
Ambrose: With pleasure.
Winton Reyne does not have an apartment in the Red Keep. Rather, in the Noble District, he has purchased a villa once belonging to Lord Archay Rosby years back. The two of you go there, chatting idly. When you arrive, you notice the furniture is sparser, and the inside has been gutted to make room for the oncoming party.
Winton Reyne: Come on up, I’ll show you the outfit.
Ambrose follows closely behind Winton.
You are actually surprised, due to the stupidity of the premise, that the costume actually looks fairly presentable. The tailor is obviously a master of his trade, the roses wrought of Myrish silk excepting the one on the hat, which is a real rose, preserved in some sort of wax. You cannot be sure if she will like it, but it cannot be classified as “bad.” The mask, in particular, is quite daring, and perhaps could be a stroke that starts a trend, seeing how lavish the party will be.
Winton Reyne: So… You know.
Winton Reyne ‘s face is red.
Winton Reyne: I don’t think it’s bad… Daring, yes. Silly, yes a little.
Ambrose puts a hand on his chin, thinking. He is silent for several moments. He doesn’t move while studying the outfit.
The roses about the body are white, those about the cloak and hat are red.
Ambrose: Winton. I will say this first. It’s either brilliant or daft. I’m not entirely sure which
Ambrose: but if you can pull this off, you may be on to something remarkable
Winton Reyne: Damn it, man… That’s why I asked you! For some direction. I feel exactly the same.
Ambrose: However, you need to change the color of the roses
Winton Reyne shakes his head with concern.
Winton Reyne: Uhm….
Winton Reyne: I don’t know if that will be possible…
Winton Reyne: Change the color? Could be costly.
Ambrose: The red is fine for you, as it gives a small hint as to who is under the mask, but white won’t do.
Winton Reyne: A hint…
Winton Reyne smiles coyly.
Winton Reyne: Red… Reyne… You are brilliant, Ambrose…
Ambrose: Your Rose is a Tyrell, and they are as gold as the coin in their vaults.
Winton Reyne: Okay… I only have one question, I don’t know if you’ll know the answer. Do I take it to the dyermaker, or the tailor?
Ambrose: Winton, I’m a simple dairy farmer. I haven’t the foggiest.
Ambrose gives off a coy smile.
Winton Reyne snorts a stifled laugh.
Ambrose: I would consult the tailor most likely. He’ll have the answer. I would also suggest a true gold rose to give to the Lady when you enter.
Winton Reyne: Didn’t expect you to say I hadn’t spent enough. Ah well.
Winton Reyne: I think you’re on to something. I must needs be off to the tailor at once then, to get it finished in time. Wonder what that Braavosi highwayman is going to rip me for it.
Ambrose: You’ve spent this much all ready, best to do it to the fullest.
Emylio watches his client come back with his outfit in his hands. This does not happen much to Emylio.
Emylio is sharpening his shears when the men walk in.
Emylio: Hail, my lords… Does a man have a problem?
Winton Reyne: No! No! Not a problem at all.
Winton Reyne: Just another favor to ask.
Emylio lowers his eyes.
Emylio: The outfit… It is provocative and fresh. It is the definition of spring. It is Tyrell, and it is… Emylio.
Emylio raises one eyebrow dramatically.
Winton Reyne: Well…
Winton Reyne: My friend Ambrose here thought it might be a good gesture to have roses of gold, as well… To honor our respective crests.
Emylio visibly recoils.
Emylio: Arana shaffuris! Surely not!
Emylio points at Ambrose.
Emylio: Came up with this?
Ambrose gives the long practiced stare of a man who knows those without noble blood shouldn’t be questioning him.
Emylio catches his tongue a bit.
Emylio: A man only means…
Emylio: You are an amateur? Such a bold gesture on your own?
Emylio starts to nod.
Emylio: You know… A man has the color here… Tyrell gold, as on their crest.
Emylio: Of course there will be a price.
Winton Reyne: Tyrell gold…
Winton Reyne smiles stupidly sideways.
Emylio: But for my skill, a man believes we will trade gold for gold, eh?
Winton Reyne scoffs.
Winton Reyne: Too steep, my friend. A dragon is… too much.
Winton Reyne: It is only dye. I pay you 20 stags now, I pay you 100 stags if she likes it, I pay you another dragon if she marries me…
Winton Reyne smiles broadly at the two of you.
Winton Reyne: And if she doesn’t like it… I want my 20 stags back.
Winton Reyne lowers his eyes at the tailor.
Emylio: Master of Coin!
Emylio begins to laugh.
Emylio: A man belongs in Braavos, my lord.
Emylio holds forth his hand in agreement.
Winton Reyne holds his hand just short.
Winton Reyne: Ah, one more thing.
Winton Reyne: Get my good friend Ambrose something nice to wear.
Emylio grabs his hand to seal the agreement.
Emylio points a hand toward Ambrose.
Emylio: For this man? It would be easy. A fine jaw, and the hair is easy to complement. This, a man can do.
Ambrose: Of course I would like my house colors done. Normally this would mean green or gold as my primary color, but I was thinking of going with the white then using green as the accent and I’ll just wear gold for the gold.
Ambrose: I was thinking well tailored, snug. Possibly a half cape.
Emylio thinks this over for a while.
Emylio: Very well… Return tomorrow and I will have it prepared for you.
Ambrose: Very good.
Winton Reyne leaves without paying, as his credit is certainly good here.
Winton Reyne: Well…
Winton Reyne: I must needs go back to the Red Keep. Even King Aegon won’t tolerate two days of slacking for one day’s party.
Winton Reyne: Tomorrow is going to be good, my friend. I cannot wait.
The day passes, and the event looms. You spend the day helping arrange the villa while Winton toils with the matter of coin. His house is two stories, well-appointed and well-stocked, of masterful craftsmanship, and is situated in a favorable corner of the most expensive and high-class area in town.
The guests start arriving to greet you in your finery. Most have heard of you and greet you with warmth and expectation, rubbing their hands when they see the opulence of the villa. Though most find it bizarre the owner of the home is not present, they are satisfied by the information that he is busy at the moment with his duties, and will be in attendance later.
First among the gaudily famous to enter is Lady Mylessa Blackwood, one of Aegon’s former mistresses.
Lady Mylessa Blackwood curtsies with a practiced grace.
Lady Mylessa Blackwood: Greetings, Seven be with you.
Ambrose giving a proper bow in return
Lady Mylessa Blackwood passes with a hint of entertained superiority.
Ambrose: Lady Blackwood, you honor this party. I’m sure Winton will be thrilled to speak with you when he finishes his duties.
Ser Ivar Lannister, newly anointed, shows up in gold armor, complete with a ceremonial longsword despite his youth.
Ser Ivar Lannister bows shortly at you.
Ser Ivar Lannister: Lord Ambrose.
Ambrose: Ser Ivar, what sharps claws you display. You are every inch a lion
Ser Ivar Lannister: The lion’s claws are sharp indeed, but I would that my roar was as impressive as yours, comrade.
Ser Ivar Lannister: Nice party.
Ser Ivar Lannister wanders off, his eyes wandering the same.
The Tyrells appear, and the crowd audibly hushes.
Lord Renford Tyrell bows to everyone magnanimously, with a smile about his face. The crowd gives him due respect, but all are silently waiting for him to usher in his daughters.
Ambrose bows low to Lord Renford.
Ambrose: I am your ever humble servant, my Lord.
First of his daughters to come in, to gasps of appreciation, is the newly flowered Lady Naemi Tyrell, with a hairpiece of the myriad of the Reach’s perennials. She is flatly and undeniably gorgeous, and the youngest of the three sisters at fifteen. (Ambrose is only 17, Chris Hanson.)
Next is Lady Ellynda, who, as the oldest, usually would by rights come in last, but for her sister’s role as consort to the host. She is also beautiful, though of a more common and weathered beauty. She is accompanied by her husband, Lord Denys Seagard, the Master of Laws of the Seven Kingdoms.
Lastly arrives Rose Tyrell, also gorgeous, as Tyrell girls often are, looking quite bemused that it is not her escort greeting her at the door.
Lady Rose Tyrell primary adornment is an ornate, masklike lacing about her eyes. Something about it suggests Winton has been in correspondence about the mask theme, and she has come through for him.
Lady Rose Tyrell smiles at you graciously, and curtsies.
Lady Rose Tyrell: Greetings, Ambrose… It’s a pleasure to meet you. Lord Winton has told me much of you, and it’s good to put a face to the name.
Lady Naemi stifles a giggle at this.
Ambrose: Well, I certainly hope my face does not disappoint as yours exceeds all the descriptions mere words have been able to conjure.
Lady Naemi: Whew…
Lady Naemi fans off her face.
Lady Rose Tyrell: He spoke of your words, as well… Perhaps he’s made a fine choice for a host, methinks.
Ambrose: Winton has my jealousy this evening. Though perhaps, if your lovely sister is unaccompanied I might keep her safe from unsavory lordlings.
Lord Renford Tyrell: Her father is here to do that, young man.
Lord Renford Tyrell steps into the conversation.
Ambrose gives a deep bow to Lord Renford again.
Ambrose: Of course My Lord. Though let me know if I can be of any service to you.
Lord Renford Tyrell: Rest assured I will. Come, then.
Lord Renford Tyrell gestures for his daughters to follow as more guests arrive.
Ambrose gives a long lingering look to Naemi Tyrell to the extent that decorum allows.
Lady Naemi looks back over her shoulder, squarely at you, in a false gesture of shaking her hair. For the moment her soft face looks back at you over her shoulder, you cannot help but compare it to the look of taking a woman from behind, and your stomach rolls over, the tingle something ancient and commanding.
A woman you do not know comes striding into the door.
Woman: Greetings, my lord.
Woman curtsies and greets you, and proceeds to move into the party.
The next person to come in overpowers the crowd’s sense of audacity. It is the King’s current mistress, the gorgeous Serenei of Lys. Her long, nearly fully gray hair betrays her face, which is taut, and without lines. Her beauty is best described as mysterious and haunting, her exotic icy blue eyes somehow more impressive and less common than Targaryen purple. Her belly is huge with child, and it does nothing to dim the moonlike radiance of her glory.
Lady Serenei of Lys does not bow to you. She glares at you imperiously, and waits for you to speak.
Ambrose: Lady Serenei, you do us high honor to attend our little get together.
Lady Serenei of Lys looks confused.
Lady Serenei of Lys: I not know to understand this… I know this word honor.
Lady Serenei of Lys smiles her icy smile anyway.
Ambrose isn’t sure what to do so he just smiles at Lady Serenei and ushers her towards the party.
The rest of the guests begin to filter in. There are a few Targaryens present, cousins and Blackfyres, men and women. There is no shortage of beautiful women, nor of celebrity, grandeur, wantonness, or lust. Knights of all repute consort with powdered nobles, ladies titter in their groups or at the arms of their lordly husbands. You see the oldest of old women, a few young haughty noble boys, and one very mysterious figure indeed, the Master of Whispers, Lawton Sand.
Lawton Sand turns his dagger about in his hands, standing off from the crowd and taking the show in with a smirk.
A doddering old woman, referred to alternatingly as the Widow Dowager, or Lady Crabb, is dressed in dark black and purple finery, and dotes about several crowds, having her words with those gathered.
Ambrose makes it a point to keep an eye out for Rose or Naemi Tyrell having a free moment, but for the time being he makes polite conversation with several knights. One can never be sure when a martial talent will be useful, as the events of the last few days can attest.
Ambrose makes his way to Ser Ivar.
Ser Ivar Lannister is sitting with a group of noble ladies, with them fairly swooning all about him.
Ser Ivar Lannister raises his cup to you.
Ser Ivar Lannister: Winton Reyne… Who’d have thought he’d put on such a right good show.
Ser Ivar Lannister: Or did you really arrange all this?
Ambrose: Oh, I may have had a suggestion or two, but this idea has been the brainchild of our dear Winton.
Ser Ivar Lannister takes a drink of his wine in praise.
Ser Ivar Lannister: So when is that sluggard going to show up?
Ambrose: Only the Seven could say for sure. The King does love his coin and the Master of them gets little time to himself
Ser Ivar Lannister: Then I drink to free men, like you and I.
The girls around the table happily drink another draught along with Ser Ivar.
Ambrose: Finally a toast to something I love
Ambrose: Well, I shall leave you to your admirers Ser, though I hope you will call on me whenever you need the company of a free man for an adventure.
Ser Ivar Lannister narrows his eyes for a moment, and the Warrior looks through them.
Ser Ivar Lannister: Adventure? Are you an adventurous sort, Ambrose?
Ambrose: Of course. I trek from tavern to tavern. I scale the largest bottle so of wine and I tame southern cats until they cry sweet tears.
Ambrose gives Ser Ivar a clap on the shoulder and a wry smile
Ser Ivar Lannister laughs jovially and loudly at your jape, and the ladies follow suit. He claps his knee and shakes his head.
Ser Ivar Lannister: Well that’s all right.
Ser Ivar Lannister: Go avail your talents to the other guests, Ambrose… The next drink will be to you, I assure you.
Ambrose raises his glass to Ivar, takes a drink then wanders the party.
The party wanders into Ambrose.
The old lady stumbles into you, nearly falling down before you stop her fall. Grabbing her arm, you realize you must be delicate, as even her skin has a wan, frail look. She looks back at you with big black wet eyes, seemingly in terror or mourning. Her lips are thin, and as they work, they reveal a mouthful of long, yellowing teeth, actually a superior state of condition for her advanced age in this realm. Her clothing is fine, but dishevelled, and she bears an exotic ebony cane.
Lady Crabb: Who’s this? Let go…. Why won’t you let go of me….
Ambrose takes his hand from off the Lady
The other partygoers look uneasily at you, but you can feel their sympathy, as the lady has talked to them too.
Ambrose: My apologies. I have the misfortune of youth and wine on my side.
Lady Crabb: Oh… for youth… They say age before beauty…. Where is my beauty… Where is my Father?
Her hair is long, and done up in the southern style, but all about it, strands point out, kinked and white as bone.
Ambrose: Unfortunately I do not believe he was on the guest list
The old Lady stumbles away, shivering.
Ambrose looks to see if Lady Ellynda and Lord Denys are away from Lord Renford
Lord Denys Seagard and his Lady are standing near another couple, making civilized small talk.
Ambrose makes his way over.
Ambrose waits for an appropriate time to enter the conversation
Ambrose: Lord Denys, you must tell me your secret.
Lord Denys Seagard shakes your hand.
Lady Ellynda Tyrell already looks flattered.
Lord Denys Seagard: The only secret I could tell ye is saltwater burns your eyes.
Lord Denys Seagard smiles.
Lord Denys Seagard: As for this lovely Lady on my arm… She just seems to like me.
Lady Ellynda Tyrell smiles warmly.
Ambrose: A valuable fact for a boy from the Riverlands to be sure
Ambrose offers a warm smile.
Lord Denys Seagard: What do you make of the Widow Dowager?
Lord Denys Seagard nods toward the cracked old woman.
Ambrose: Ah, is THAT who I had the pleasure of literally bumping into?
Lady Ellynda Tyrell : I feel so bad for her… That she must endure being the subject of conversation.
Lord Denys Seagard: Yes… The Widow Crabb.
Lord Denys Seagard: She is old, alone… and sad.
Ambrose gives a small frown in Widow Crabb’s direction.
Lady Ellynda Tyrell : Denys, she is not… She is incapable. It is not her fault.
Ambrose: There in lies the greatest of fears. Take my eyes, my ears, my knees, my strong back. But Seven, leave me my mind.
Lord Denys Seagard shakes his head sadly.
Lady Ellynda Tyrell : We shouldn’t talk about such things at a party.
Lady Ellynda Tyrell : Where are your manners, boys.
Lord Denys Seagard smiles dotingly at his wife.
Ambrose: My humblest apologies Lady Ellynda. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive an unruly lad such as myself.
Lord Denys Seagard: Alright, here’s a bit of conversation you’ll endure, my love.
Lord Denys Seagard: How many mistresses can one King take, and how many hands will we need to answer this question?
Lady Ellynda Tyrell full on smacks Denys on the arm, her face turning from anger to a joking farce when people take notice.
Lady Ellynda Tyrell : I can’t believe you! You are supposed to be a leal subject!
Lady Ellynda Tyrell can’t help but start laughing at the truth of the jape, though.
Ambrose: Well, if His Grace is going to make a habit of raising men to the rank of his Hand for dishonoring their wives my father will find himself with much competition.
Ambrose: And I will have to learn how to milk the cows.
Lady Ellynda Tyrell and Lord Denys begin to slowly recall your mother, and begin to think they have been very rude.
Lord Denys Seagard: I feel rotten for saying that, Ambrose…
Ambrose raises his hands and gives a small laugh.
Ambrose: Think nothing of it.
Lord Denys Seagard: Perhaps that’s why I feel as though I can say such things around you, though… I think you are not so serious as most other King’s men.
Lord Denys Seagard: Not in an insulting way, of course, only that I feel I can speak freely about certain things with you.
Lady Ellynda Tyrell : Well, Ambrose, it was nice speaking with you, but we must go off now.
Lady Ellynda Tyrell tugs at Lord Denys’ arm impatiently.
Ambrose: My Lady, I would beg one thing of you if I may be so forward.
Lady Ellynda Tyrell regards you with an inquisitive turn of cheek.
Ambrose: I seem to have started off on the wrong foot with your father. I was wondering if you know of any topic I may broach with him to turn my current fortunes.
Lady Ellynda Tyrell holds her hand up briefly.
Lady Ellynda Tyrell : It’s a matter of what you mean by fortunes, my lord. My father has not said a bad word about you tonight, nor ever. But with regards to the… “protection” of my sister, you’d be better off talking to a wasp. If Reyne ever turns up he could have a chance at Rosy, but my father would surely be loath to be rid of both his daughters to you two dandies in one night. And what’s more—-
Lord Denys Seagard: Darling.
Lord Denys Seagard: Darling.
Lord Denys Seagard: Relax.
Lord Denys Seagard puts on a disarming smile. It is easy to see why he is Master of Laws, Head Judge and Barrister.
Lady Ellynda Tyrell : Forgive me, Ambrose… I mean no insult. I am only sure my youngest sister will be wed off either to a Northman or perhaps Lord Ivar, for the military alliance.
You might find yourself surprised by Lady Ellynda’s knowledge of the workings of political marriage. Unless you’ve heard of the Tyrells before.
Ambrose: Ah, so my feud will have to be with Winton. I’m hoping he chooses daggers. I’m rubbish with a sword.
Lord Denys Seagard: That’s not what I’ve heard.
Lord Denys Seagard leers cleverly, awaiting the clever boy to catch his jape.
Lady Ellynda Tyrell : You two… Are pigs.
Lady Ellynda Tyrell : Rut in the mud together, piggies…
Ambrose smiles broadly.
Lady Ellynda Tyrell : I am telling both of them…
Lady Ellynda Tyrell : Rut in the mud…
Lady Ellynda Tyrell wags her fingers about her face teasingly as she absconds.
Ambrose: Fogive me Lady Ellynda. I shall return your husband to you before I bring him down to my rustic level!
Lord Denys Seagard is laughing at this entire situation.
You are uncertain whether or not she is intent on telling her sisters or if she is only teasing.
Lord Denys Seagard: It was good talking to you, Ambrose. I will attend my lady wife. Good luck.
Lord Denys Seagard smiles.
Ambrose: Thank you, Lord Denys.
Servants enter through all doors in the room. They have in their hands small tin horns that sound a jaunty, foolish melody in a gesture of faux heraldry. The crowd begins to laugh.
Man in jaunty yellow fool’s motley enters, dancing sideways on one leg, a long, powdered wig curling down to his knees. He unravels a vellum that is only around 4 inches long once he unfurls it, pretends to read, and begins to orate, in an alarmingly claret and baritone voice.
Sloth-of-Gold: Greetings, Lordlings and Gentlymen! I, Sloth-of-Gold, will be your Herald!
Sloth-of-Gold turns a full rotation slowly, his wig staying in place as he turns, his face becoming hidden, then revealed again. The audience oohs.
Sloth-of-Gold: With a hearty
Sloth-of-Gold clears his throat mildly.
Sloth-of-Gold: I announce our guest of honor! A mystery knight hailing from the field of Golden Flowers, it is…
The crowd awaits.
Sloth-of-Gold: First of his Name!
The crowd laughs.
Sloth-of-Gold: Lord of all the Scandals, the Worst Men, and most certainly the GGGGROIN-AR!
They laugh even harder.
Sloth-of-Gold: In the eyes … Seven people I know!
Sloth-of-Gold: Here is….
The crowd is fairly howling with laughter when the see the object of the joke, the blonde locks and square face of Winton Reyne behind his rosy mask giving everyone clear indication as to his identity. For all this time you thought he would appear a fool, it appears he might have made you one, as in the frame of this gigantic, well-wrought farce, Winton receives uproarious applause for the gesture, and can’t help beaming with delight.
Winton Reyne: Thank you!!!
You cannot quite hear him for a while as he begins the kingly procedure of just standing there taking all the applause in for a moment.
Ambrose claps to his friend’s entrance as well.
Winton Reyne: Thank you, all my friends! It is an honor to have you all in my home, and I hope you have all had a lovely time. I have only one more show to put on before I stop this rude interruption!
The crowd whistles as they all watch him stride up to Rose Tyrell and hand her a wrought, golden rose. She holds her hand to her mouth and her eyes moisten. He pulls out one more thing, a piece of cloth-of-gold fabric he fits onto the lacing she already wears, making her appear masked as well. He takes his seat next to her, and grabs a drink as the line forms to chat with him.
The crowd reaches the next level of heightened pitch.
Winton Reyne regards you with the hugest of smiles.
Winton Reyne: Wow… What a party, huh? Thank you so much, my old friend… That was… That was like flying.
Winton Reyne: To you.
Winton Reyne raises a cup.
The party raises a cup.
Ambrose: You dashing rogue. I think you’ve just started a new trend. I’m infinitely envious.
Ambrose gives a large smile and raises his glass
Winton Reyne: You are throwing the next one, are you kidding?
Winton Reyne: I am broke!
The walls shudder with laughter at the thought of Winton Reyne broke.
Ambrose claps Winton on the shoulder.
Winton Reyne: What do we call them? Just Mask Party?
Ambrose: Fair enough, but I’ve no idea what I could possibly do to top it
Ambrose: doesn’t seem grand enough.
Ambrose: It should be a gala or a ball.
Lady Naemi: I know what you could do to top it.
A Wild Naemi appears!
Ambrose is startle for a moment before his best smile slides across his lips.
Ambrose: If you are half as clever as you are beautiful then I’ll have the event of the century.
Ambrose: What would you suggest?
Lady Naemi: Only you can know. Or it will ruin the party.
Lady Naemi beckons you lean in close as the party watches your every move.
Ambrose leans in, though he tries to be mindful that Naemi’s father is just a few feet away. Ambrose does his best to seem both intensely interested in Naemi while being respectful of her father.
The girl leans in close, and the whisper is long, though not suspiciously so.
Lady Naemi: Well, firstly, stories say you are really Longprick, so you could start by being the guest of honor. The party is in my bedchambers. One hour after our host goes to bed.
She fairly growls the last bit, and withdraws innocently.
Ambrose lets a lazy smile come to his lips and raises his glass, hoping that the movement hides the shaking of his left hand.
Lady Naemi: It will be such a delight!
Ambrose he finishes his sip and looks Naemi in the eyes.
Ambrose: A clever idea indeed. I’ll have to do just the thing.
The crowd mutters in mystery toward one another, and drop the matter.
Ambrose gives Winton a quick clap on the shoulder as he leaves the main congregation.
Ambrose sees Lawton Sand to the side and casually walks up to him
Lawton Sand regards you a bit coldly, as is his manner.
Ambrose: Lord Lawton. A pleasure.
Lawton Sand: I’m not a Lord. Nor a Ser.
Lawton Sand smacks his lips.
Ambrose: Yes, I am aware of this, BUT you are a man of note and there seems to be no other title with which to address you
Lawton Sand tinkers with his dagger.
Lawton Sand: So? Do you need aught?
Ambrose: Well I was attempting to make pleasant conversation, but I forget that your mastery is in keeping your lips together.
Lawton Sand: Wrong. Eyes open.
Lawton Sand taps the point of his dagger to his eyelid in a bizarre measure of bravura.
Lawton Sand: That’s why I am here, in case you are going to ask.
Lawton Sand: There are… events taking place right now. This place must needs be supervised. That’s all you need to know about it.
Ambrose: Lawton, I sometimes wonder if you didn’t miss your calling as a mummer. You have such a flair for the melodramatic.
Lawton Sand: How do you think one becomes master of Whispers? Mummery is only the foundation of our work.
Lawton Sand: I am a mummer, a knight, a blade, and perhaps a lover. Only sometimes I let my knife do the fucking, as warrants.
Lawton Sand winks and makes a smacking sound at you.
Lawton Sand: Let’s let me do my job, boy, and go about not having one yourself.
Ambrose takes a long, slow sip of his wine.
Ambrose: I wonder. Do they find all of you Master Whisperers in the same place? Are you all related? Is there a school for it? You all strike me as quite similar. Well, I’d tell you to have a pleasant evening, but it seems like that has never been an attainable goal for you.
The Bastard Spymaster doesn’t even approach what you say. Instead, he disarms you with a curious note.
Lawton Sand: You weren’t at the wedding, they say.
Lawton Sand: The whispers.
Lawton Sand: That is truly something. Why a man would leave a wedding so early, and not tell anyone he did so…
Lawton Sand sheathes his dagger.
Ambrose stops for a moment and looks hard at Sand.
Lawton Sand: I know not. I had feared what would happen if I let you nobles play amongst each other like they did at the wedding…
Ambrose: Well, I was never properly invited so I figured leaving would be a little consequence to anyone. I do hope they got on without me.
Lawton Sand nods slowly.
Lawton Sand: Yes… I wonder. Ah well. I am sure it is naught but a trifle.
Ambrose steps away from Sand and makes a mental note to quit having conversations with Masters of Whispers.
After Winton leaves, shaking Lord Tyrell’s hand and bidding everyone good night, there is a huge rush of partygoers that leave immediately, having only been waiting for the rightful cue for them to leave. Other start to trickle out, including the Tyrells. Finally, you feel it is safe to abscond, and by the time you reach the hall near the young Lady Tyrell’s chambers, you feel the urge to skip, despite yourself.
You come to the door you know to be to Naemi Tyrell’s apartment.
Ambrose has a piece of cake on a plate in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other. He knocks as best he can with the hand holding the bottle.
There is no answer.
Ambrose takes a moment to think about what he may be getting himself into. Perhaps this is a young girl causing mischief. Perhaps he has made an enemy of someone, though the Seven known how. Mayhaps Lawton Sand wished to put him in a compromised position to use as bribery. Ambrose thought to himself that he should go. Then he thought of Naemi’s face and felt a pang down below. He tucks the bottle under an arm and tries the door.
The door creaks.
You open the door to a scene from a nightmare a mind like yours is incapable of producing. She is there, in all her youth and beauty, nude, her hair splayed out in curly tresses underneath her. From below her hips there is more blood than you have ever seen, the bed damp to the point of pooling. Her mouth is open, her cold red lips exaggerated by her Lady’s blood. The revulsion is intense, as glaring as the injustice. You have been robbed, you feel, embarrassingly, until you realize of how much she has been robbed. Lady Naemi Tyrell lays there, her maidenhood soaked in a pool of rose-red, as dead as the gods.
Ambrose drops the plate of cake, opens the bottle of wine, drinks a good amount and immediately throws it all back up.
Lawton Sand picks you up by your hair from your retching. His dagger bites shallowly in your throat. Things are still for an instant, and the world goes black.
(END ACT I)
You awaken to the sound of a man screaming.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Let him OUT!
Lord Anders Butterwell: Right this instant!
The cold stone floors and throbbing headache indicate exactly where you are.
Lawton Sand: No. You cannot let him out.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Yes, I bloody well can. I am Hand of the King!
Lord Anders Butterwell: Let him go this instant!
Lawton Sand: A corruption of justice if ever there was one. I am telling the King.
Ambrose starts to sit up, attempting to piece together what has happened.
The jailor acquiesces to the Hand’s command, as he must. Lawton is gone. Your father goes in to get you, his hair disheveled, his eyes rheumy.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Oh… My son…
Lord Anders Butterwell: Oh… What have you done…
Lord Anders Butterwell: Let us… Quickly, we need to talk alone.
Ambrose pushes himself to his feet and follows his father out
Lord Anders Butterwell leads you out of the dungeon and toward the Tower of the King.
Your father has you alone for the time being, in his office.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Son… I am your father, and Hand of the King. I will do whatever is in my power to help you.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Do you understand me?
Ambrose nods, but remains silent
Lord Anders Butterwell places both hands on your shoulders.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Did you rape and kill that girl? Did you even touch her?
Ambrose ‘s eyes shoot up from looking at the floor and stare hard at his father.
Ambrose: If I was planning on raping her I wouldn’t have brought cake.
Ambrose: Chocolate possibly, but certainly not cake.
Lord Anders Butterwell: You… You should take the black, son… Quickly, before this boulder begins to roll downhill.
Ambrose has a hard, sarcastic, caustic tone in his voice.
Lord Anders Butterwell: I would that I NEVER had to say that to my own child… But I am fearful for you, son.
Lord Anders Butterwell: They want to kill you.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Lord Renford Tyrell is screaming for your death. The things he did when he came upon his daughter… He beat his fists into a pulp and there are… no gods left for him to pray to after what he said to them.
Lord Anders Butterwell: You are lucky Lawton got you first, sorry to say.
Ambrose: So I walked from Winton’s, got to Lady Naemi’s rooms, raped and murdered her in a span of minutes then decided to wait around to be sick. Is that the story?
Ambrose: And what exactly was our Master of Whispers DOING there?
Lord Anders Butterwell begins to weep.
Lord Anders Butterwell: There is something else, son…
Ambrose grows silent
Lord Anders Butterwell: There are reports that most of the wedding party at Helmcrest has been murdered as well, as well as evidence that you left that wedding very abruptly…
Lord Anders Butterwell: I don’t know what is going to happen…
Ambrose: Father, there was an attack the first night of my arrival by brigands and several people were killed. Then..
Ambrose hesitates for a moment.
Ambrose: Then Lord Artur was murdered the next morning on a hunt. I felt it in my best interest to remain silent as I was a guest in a very hostile house. I took good advice to leave as soon as I was able to after that.
Lord Anders Butterwell nods slowly. You begin to explain further when the door bursts open. It is the King himself, and he makes one gesture at you and your father, Aemon the Dragonknight stepping forth to escort you both into the small council’s chambers.
As you enter the chambers, you are beset by a formidable sight. Every member of the small council arrayed in meeting, at a crescent-shaped table at the head of which sits King Aegon Targaryen, Fourth of his name, Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, etc.
Lawton Sand is in attendance.
Winton Reyne is in attendace.
Lord Denys Seagard is in attendance.
Lord Anders Butterwell is in attendance.
Ser Aemon Targaryen is in attendance.
Grand Maester Granshaw is in attendance.
Lord Walys Hightower, Master of Ships, is in attendance.
Finally, the King speaks.
King Aegon IV Targaryen has a nasal, stuffy voice full of largesse and airy prose punctuated by arbitrary and sharp emotion.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: We proceed at the behest of your father, Ambrose Butterwell, who is lucky to be in a position to aid his son’s cause, where most other men would have had their cock cut from their bodies and sent into the darkest abyss.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: And you see seven people arrayed in front of you who you believe are going to decide your fate with a vote. They will vote, yes… But I am King. And if you are guilty, you will not take the black. That is all for now. I declare Grand Maester Granshaw begin the trial.
Ambrose ‘s hand is shaking and his eyes feel so damned heavy. Why? He takes a deep breath. The Butterwells are no fighters, but his mother was a Bracken, a fiery people and not easily cowed. Ambrose raises his eyes to look at his King.
Ambrose: I understand how the proceedings unfold Your Grace. I also understand my good fortune at having a father with influence in his hands and love in his heart for a son. Would I even have the option of taking the black, even after you gave a decision, I would not do so. I did not do this horrid act and the Seven willing, I’ll be able to prove that to you. If not, then I shall die. Not gladly and maybe not well, but I won’t run from it to a wall of ice to admit to being guilty of something I had no part of.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: Very nicely spoken. Now, since none of the members of the council have any cause to lie to protect their guilt, we shall permit them a turn to orate.
Grand Maester Granshaw stands.
Grand Maester Granshaw: Firstly, and this is the most important part of the whole proceedings: The girl was not raped.
King Aegon IV Targaryen looks befuddled.
Ambrose looks befuddled as well.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: What do you mean? They say her parts were a pool of blood.
Grand Maester Granshaw shakes his head.
Grand Maester Granshaw: It is simply not so. The girl was a maiden yet.
Grand Maester Granshaw raises his finger.
Grand Maester Granshaw: She was poisoned. Widow’s blood.
Lawton Sand: Bullshit.
Grand Maester Granshaw looks aghast.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: Shut your godsdamned mouth, bastard!
Lawton Sand doesn’t look afraid or abashed.
Grand Maester Granshaw: It causes blood to run out of the anus and of the mouth. It could not have been until further investigation we could assume she was not raped.
Lord Denys Seagard looks intensely deep in thought.
Winton Reyne carries a bizarre look of apology and despair on his face.
Grand Maester Granshaw: That is all, as Grand Maester, I shall say on it for now.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: Lord Denys, proceed.
Lord Denys Seagard: I know… I know the evidence we have against him is circumstantial. I understand that. But I believe the boy is guilty. We cannot be absolutely sure, if no one saw him, but the Seven saw the crime, and if we let it go unpunished we will be judged as well. I must also admit Ambrose expressed sexual interest specifically in the girl, though now that I know she was not raped I know not if that is still relevant. Still… All signs point to him, and in most cases, where there is smoke, there is fire.
Ambrose feels stone fall into his stomach at the words of Lord Denys.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: Alright. Now, for our very hasty Master of Whispers to pipe in.
Lawton Sand: He did it.
Ambrose glares at Lawton Sand
Lawton Sand: The events of the Wedding at Helmcrest are starting to come to light… It was a mummer’s play of murder, poison, deceit, and lust. And this man walked away from it. And before you say he wasn’t at the wedding, we have no exact proof when all the murders happen. There is simply no way the boy Ambrose Butterwell was only coincidentally at both of these murders.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: Lord Walys?!
Lord Walys Hightower is a man of simple and decisive action. He has been watching this trial intently. He merely makes a slashing gesture at his throat.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: Well spoken.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: Lord Winton?
Winton Reyne: He… He couldn’t have done it… He’s… He’s a good man.
Winton Reyne: He likes wine, and women, and song… And… girls like him!
Ambrose groans inwardly at Winton’s lack of poise.
Winton Reyne: Anyone who really knows him will tell you he could not have done such a horrible thing.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: And you are his best friend! Next! His father! What do you have to say, father?
Lord Anders Butterwell: I was not there. I can only repeat Lord Winton’s sentiment, and repeat it as a father….
Lord Anders Butterwell begins to weep again.
Lord Anders Butterwell: I am so sorry, son…
Ambrose tries to give his father his best cocky grin. It’s never felt so false.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: Well… I suppose I’ve heard enough!
King Aegon IV Targaryen begins to stand, clapping his hands together.
Ambrose: Your Grace!
The Dragonknight does not move, but speaks in a soft, melodious voice.
Ser Aemon Targaryen: Sit down, brother.
Ser Aemon Targaryen: I haven’t spoken.
King Aegon IV Targaryen sits back down slowly.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: Very well… You are Marshal of the Seven Kingdoms and rightful to the privy council… What do you have to say, Dragonknight?
Ambrose watches Ser Aemon Targaryen with fear and wonder.
Ser Aemon Targaryen stares at you, as he has been the entire time. You cannot help but notice his glare. It seems to project heat, like a pair of dark suns.
Ser Aemon Targaryen: He did not kill her. He has never killed anyone.
King Aegon IV Targaryen is silent for a long time.
Ambrose takes a sharp, deep breath.
Lawton Sand: What?!
Lord Denys Seagard: Your Grace…
Lord Denys Seagard: This… Is not justice.
King Aegon IV Targaryen raises his hand.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: Shut up!
King Aegon IV Targaryen: Shut up…
King Aegon IV Targaryen: Leave my chambers. All of you.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: You, and you, stay here.
King Aegon IV Targaryen points to you and your father.
Ambrose watches the Dragonknight as he exits.
Ser Aemon Targaryen does not move, as he shouldn’t. Everyone else exits.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: You are Hand of the King. It is yours to find, and deliver justice for the King. If, in one moon, you have not proven to me your son’s innocence, I am personally…
King Aegon IV Targaryen looks at Ambrose.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: I am personally going to make you drink this “widow’s blood.”
Ambrose ‘s eyes go wide, he looks from the king, to his father and finally to Ser Aemon.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: I will not ask if you understand, for a King’s words are not to be confused. Get OUT of my privy chambers this instant, the both of you.
Ser Aemon Targaryen stands a silent vigil.
As you exit, Grand Maester Granshaw pursues and finds you and your father, stopping to have a moment to speak.
Grand Maester Granshaw: The King has allowed you to go free? That shows… restraint.
Ambrose: I feel there is one person clearly to thank for that
Grand Maester Granshaw: On what conditions? Surely the word of the Dragonknight is not enough to exonerate you.
Ambrose: One month to prove my innocence
Grand Maester Granshaw has an inquisitive glare perpetually. He doesn’t seem to be accusing you, only to be a man leading a life of constant questioning.
Grand Maester Granshaw: Hm… I see…
Grand Maester Granshaw: I want to tell you something…
Grand Maester Granshaw: It is to my shame, but not as shamed as I would be if I let an innocent man die.
Grand Maester Granshaw: I do not have a silver link in this chain. I am no healer. I can confirm her maidenhood, but I know not that it was Widow’s Blood. Widow’s blood looks like blood, so when it exits it is terribly difficult to diagnose.
Grand Maester Granshaw: I know of only two or three Maesters in the world that could diagnose such an illness, in truth.
Grand Maester Granshaw: Bloody Flux, it is said, has similar symptoms, though I doubt that was so in her condition… She appeared sprightly, yes? Of the morn?
Ambrose (soft): Aye…sprightly.
Grand Maester Granshaw: Bloody Flux is a fever… It can last days, and almost always hours…
Grand Maester Granshaw: I know not… But know this, my lord. I may have spoken against you in there, but as a learned man. As a smart man… A smart man, mind you, not a learned one… I believe Aemon the Dragonknight.
Grand Maester Granshaw: I have never heard deceit come from his tongue, nor him to fail as a judge of character.
Ambrose: I thank you for that Grand Maester, but what I need is proof, not sympathy. Your vote, if it ever had any weight, is as heavy as a feather now. The King will decide and I’ll not fool myself with any other illusion
Grand Maester Granshaw: I understand, but do not dismiss me… If you need help with research, or just my opinion… Feel free to avail yourself to me. I am in a position to help you.
Ambrose: Do you know the details of the Manning wedding? I do not know what happened after I left, though I confess, dark events took place that led me to leave
Grand Maester Granshaw: It was a horror. They have not found the body of Lord Artur, though they believe him dead. Darren and Eilene gone, the small gathering of nobles turned into a cesspool of blood… There was a poisoning, and perhaps another attempted one, but whoever did that had skill with a blade.
Ambrose: Something I clearly lack.
Grand Maester Granshaw: Why did you leave, then?
Grand Maester Granshaw: This question still roars.
Ambrose hesitates for a moment, not sure of what to say, then settles on the truth
Ambrose: Lord Artur is dead. I can confirm that.
Ambrose: Murdered on a hunt by his host.
Grand Maester Granshaw begins to nod.
Grand Maester Granshaw: Why?
Ambrose: You’ve heard of the brigand attack?
Grand Maester Granshaw: No.
Grand Maester Granshaw is short as to keep you talking.
Ambrose: A large detail to be omitted.
Ambrose: The night I arrived with Ser Etan, during a feast to welcome guests, bandits attacked the castle, killing many there. I was able to save the bride with the help of Ser Etan. For that, Manning thanked me and had me invited to the hunt the next morn, rather forcefully. Early on, I spoke with Lord Harte and he seemed to warm to me, and gave me a warning about staying near him. When we found a boar later, he gave me the option of taking the boar myself or deferring to Lord Artur. Remembering his words, I declined. Lord Artur killed the boar, but was shot with a crossbow.
Grand Maester Granshaw: Perhaps… To speed the line of succession…. Go on..
Ambrose: Lord Harte explained to me that this was due to the death of his son at the hands of his enemy and under the suspicion that the bandits had been hired by Lord Artur Manning. I decided to agree with him as I had no protection about me. Upon returning, I received some very good advice that leaving would be of a benefit to me.
Grand Maester Granshaw: But everyone… Slashed to ribbons… If Young Darren Manning was the only man left, surely he could not have staved off whoever did that. His body has not been found, nor has Lord Artur’s.
Grand Maester Granshaw: And surely at his age he couldn’t have been capable of doing in for Lord Harte, never mind killing his own brother.
Grand Maester Granshaw thinks on your story.
Grand Maester Granshaw: Someone just… Told you… to leave? And you did?
Grand Maester Granshaw looks at you very skeptically.
Grand Maester Granshaw: You know that’s a very bad alibi, right?
Ambrose: I do.
Grand Maester Granshaw: Well… Who?
Ambrose: That is something I may keep to myself unless I’m able to convince him to speak or write on my behalf.
Grand Maester Granshaw: Very well… You have a month, I suppose.
Ambrose: Widow’s Blood. I take it you clearly don’t think I have the ability to make it. So, I would have had to acquire it. Is it a poison that can be made from anywhere in the seven kingdoms or do the ingredients come from a specific place?
Grand Maester Granshaw: I do not know, I am no Dornishman, and have no desire to learn of crafting the craven’s form of weaponry.
Ambrose: Aside from Lawton Sand, do you know of anyone who might have knowledge of such things?
Grand Maester Granshaw: No, and if I had such knowledge I would tell the King that he might be executed. They call Lawton the Scorpion, though… He doesn’t seem to personally like you.
Grand Maester Granshaw states the obvious.
Ambrose: I wasn’t sure if it was that or if he just had a fierce love of justice. I’m glad that’s been cleared up.
Grand Maester Granshaw: I know not what he feels. Only that it seems so. He had no choice but to apprehend you, though. That is certain.
Grand Maester Granshaw: It is a wonder you are free. The Seven smile upon you.
Ambrose: Of course. I just wish he had taken a moment to speak with me first.
Ambrose nods to the maester.
Ambrose: Grand Maester, might I have you send a raven to Riverrun.
Grand Maester Granshaw can’t help but smile.
Grand Maester Granshaw: Why?
Ambrose: I wished to send a letter to Kael Rivers. I think he may be able to track down someone for me.
Grand Maester Granshaw looks at you for a long time with his hard stare.
Grand Maester Granshaw: I see.
Grand Maester Granshaw: I want to tell you something… I am not going to look at this letter, though I could, and would. If you had said any name but his, I would have looked. Maesters; they are sometimes around for a reason that is not evident, Ambrose. You want to spit at me because I cannot stitch a wound, I can feel it in these bones. But my mind is so sharp, Ambrose Butterwell, as sharp as Blackfyre, and believe me if you can turn Kael Rivers’ keenness to your cause then you might survive the thirty-first day.
Grand Maester Granshaw: Compose the letter and return to me when you want it sent to Riverrun.
Winton Reyne is waiting for you down in the lobby of the Tower of the Hand, his face a nervous wreck.
Ambrose: Winton, on second thought, I think I hated your party.
Winton Reyne: The worst party… There could ever be. I lost Rose for sure. I dare say no one will ever wear a mask to a party again.
Winton Reyne: I can’t believe they think you did it… They… They don’t know you, Ambrose.
Ambrose gives a sad smile.
Ambrose: I’m sorry your friendship with me has ruined your chances with Rose.
Winton Reyne: No… Never say that.
Winton Reyne: The murder of her sister did that… And you had nothing to do with that.
Ambrose: I know you tend to fall a bit ass over shoulders for women, but you don’t often invent entirely new party types for them.
Winton Reyne embraces you tightly, clapping you on the back.
Ambrose sinks slightly into Winton’s hug, exhausted.
Winton Reyne: Rose Tyrell…
Winton Reyne blinks a few times.
Ambrose: I don’t take it you heard what Naemi whispered to me in my ear did you?
Winton Reyne completely, COMPLETELY forgot that happened.
Winton Reyne ‘s eyes go wide.
Winton Reyne: What, what did she say?
Ambrose sighs, a little disheartened.
Ambrose: She invited me to her rooms…A rendezvous for an hour after you left the party.
Ambrose: And if you didn’t hear it, no one else could have either. You were closer than anyone.
Ambrose: That’s why I was at her rooms.
Winton Reyne blinks for a few moments, incredulous. His gaze turns into a glare of abject fury, and he shouts to the rafters, causing all the other people in the lobby to hasten out.
Winton Reyne: They FUCKED US! They FUCKKKKED US!!!!!!
Winton Reyne: You were going to-…!!!!!
Ambrose holds up his hands
Winton Reyne: Aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!
Winton Reyne is tearing at his hair.
Ambrose: Peace Winton. Yes, I was going to be my delightful lecherous self.
Winton Reyne is shaking as he addresses you by grabbing at your sleeves.
Winton Reyne: You were going to bed a gods-damned Tyrell girl the night I make the biggest fucking stroke of genius of my life, do you understand me. They FUUUUUUCKKKED US!!!
Ambrose: Enough people had told me it would come to my ruin, but I figured they meant I’d catch The Stinging Stream…
Ambrose: Who, Winton? The Tyrells?
Winton Reyne normally pleasant coif is completely tousled.
Winton Reyne calms down for a moment.
Winton Reyne: Who? If I knew that they would be strung up by their balls.
Winton Reyne: Not the Tyrells.
Winton Reyne: The fury… The fury of that man.
Winton Reyne shakes his head in disbelief.
Ambrose: I’ve heard…
Winton Reyne: He is not even powerfully built, to look at him. He wrecked himself upon the stone of my villa.
Ambrose: Winton, I am, hopefully, on my way to clearing my name in regards to the wedding fiasco. But I need to figure out a way to prove my innocence here. It’s hard to prove that I DIDN’T do something. It’s much easier to prove someone else DID.
Winton Reyne: Who would have done it? Lawton Sand seems awfully quick to judge you.
Winton Reyne: Though… It seems to me… That if he were to have cut your throat at that moment, everyone would have thought it meet but I.
Ambrose: He was also the first to find me, and while I wasn’t exactly in my best frame of mind when I found Naemi, but it doesn’t seem I was there long before Lawton found me.
Winton Reyne nods at this…
Winton Reyne: It is… sort of his job to follow people to murder scenes, though.
Winton Reyne: And his nose is legendary.
Ambrose: Winton, we need to find someone who knows about poisons.
Winton Reyne: Poisons? Hm…
Winton Reyne: It is expressly illegal in King’s Landing to even say the word with irreverence.
Winton Reyne: Only Lawton has it at his disposal, legally.
Winton Reyne: And I tend to stay on the white side of the law as far as black markets are concerned.
Ambrose: You and I both. But I need to know more about this Widow’s Blood
Winton Reyne: Did you have any prior interaction with Lawton? Or do you think he just picked you to follow arbitrarily?
Ambrose: After speaking with Naemi, I made it a point of avoiding her and the Tyrells the rest of the night so as no one would be suspicious of our plan. The first familiar person I saw was Lawton. I attempted to have polite small talk. That didn’t go entirely well.
Winton Reyne: It’s… Ambrose…
Winton Reyne: I don’t know how to say this.
Winton Reyne: You have no reason to think the man hates you. He distrusts you, but for all the reasons he is the Scorpion, and our Master of Whispers… I think you should talk to him… He has no reason to fight the pursuit of justice, and the worst he can do is say “no.”
Ambrose: Winton…I…A time may come when I have to speak with Sand, but I feel I’ll explore my other options before I stick my hand in a scorpion hole.
Winton Reyne: Caution is a virtue if you hold a secret… I understand totally.
Winton Reyne: I hope you understand if you need ANYTHING, do not hesitate to ask me… Remember. They fucked us.
Winton Reyne gestures with a finger wag toward both you and he.
Ambrose: Keep your ear to the ground. I don’t know who we could have made such hard and fast enemies of, but clearly they took the grudge seriously.
Ambrose: And thank you, Winton.
Winton Reyne lets you on your way.
A courier boy gives you a missive at your father’s post. It reads, “Ambrose, come out to the Tyrell apartments. Lord Tyrell is weak from his wounds and his anger has calmed. He understands you may not be guilty.” It bears the signature and seal of Lord Denys Seagard, Master of Laws. A rather difficult offer to turn down, despite the doom it threatens.
Ambrose stares dumbfounded at the missive.
Ambrose goes to track down Winton.
Winton Reyne is at his villa, supervising the remainder of the cleanup.
Winton Reyne is yelling at a few of his servants, a group of orphans old enough to work, but young enough and desperate enough to put up with the treatment doled out by him.
Winton Reyne: Stop your MOANING! I don’t care how much blood you have had to clean up today, it is your duty! If my house bears the blood of the Tyrell girl after today I’m going to have you all whipped!
Winton Reyne is at his wit’s end with this FUCKING help.
Ambrose: Wait, Winton, maybe we should…I hate to suggest this…look at the room
The servants have cotton rags soaked red, carrying bucketfuls of soapy water into the house and red buckets out.
Winton Reyne: No… Of course. Go ahead.
Ambrose makes his way to the room.
Winton Reyne follows you there. The bedcushion has been replaced, the original given to the Maester for study. The body has been given back to the Tyrells. The bed has been moved though, and where it was, there is a stain of blood, wet and sudsy.
Ambrose starts to feel dizzy and braces himself on the door before taking a deep breath.
Ambrose: I’m not sure if there is anything to find here now, but I figured we should at least glance.
Ambrose: Oh, and I received this lovely invitation.
Ambrose hands the missive to Winton while he goes into the room and starts to look around.
Winton Reyne reads the letter.
Winton Reyne: No way.
Winton Reyne: Don’t go.
Winton Reyne: Are you crazy, don’t go.
Winton Reyne: Hold on…
Winton Reyne holds his head for a moment.
Winton Reyne: You can go, though… They can’t kill you… And Denys Seagard can’t blackmail you… He risks everything.
Winton Reyne: Even the Warden of the West wouldn’t dare to impinge the King’s right to pit and gallows.
Ambrose: I was hoping you might also come Winton. You are, after all, the Lord of Castamere and I can’t imagine they would do anything to me if you were with me.
Ambrose investigates as they speak.
Near the edge of the suds, you catch sight of something morbid and bizarre, and turns your stomach to gel all over again. It is a fingernail, floating, long, water-logged, and clean.
Ambrose takes a very deep breath and grabs the fingernail.
Winton Reyne: Whhaaaaa-at in the fucK IS THAT!!!?
Winton Reyne visibly cowers from it.
Winton Reyne: Oh my god…
Winton Reyne ‘s turn to vomit.
Winton Reyne: That is… I don’t know but that means something just… Take it somewhere oh gods…
Ambrose takes a long look at the nail, to see if it has anything of note to it
Winton Reyne produces a small vase for you to store it in.
Winton Reyne: Oh… Yes… I should go.
Winton Reyne: Even as a token for my affection for her.
Ambrose: I will take it to the Grand Maester. After that I’m going to see the Tyrells. Are you going to come?
Winton Reyne: I will. I said I would do anything to help.
Grand Maester Granshaw takes the vase with all curiousness, and looks in there, shocked at the contents for a moment.
Grand Maester Granshaw: You found this where she was murdered?
Ambrose: I did.
Grand Maester Granshaw considers this for a moment.
Grand Maester Granshaw: It… It can only be Lord Tyrells… He was all around the room in his rage, and his hands were wrecked. I will hold onto it if you like, and do a bit more thought and study on it…
Ambrose: It seems like a long nail for a man.
Grand Maester Granshaw: Mmm… Perhaps… but as it takes on water it will grow more in length than thickness, I should think.
Ambrose: Well, I would like it shown, for the record, that I still have all my nails.
Grand Maester Granshaw actually looks.
Grand Maester Granshaw: I see.
Grand Maester Granshaw: Ambrose…?
Grand Maester Granshaw: Are you sure the lady was in good health?
Grand Maester Granshaw: Lawton Sand has come to me with some information and… I may have misdiagnosed her.
Ambrose closes his eyes and takes a slow breath.
Ambrose: No, Grand Maester. I’d never met her before the night of the party. She seemed healthy that night but I cannot say.
Grand Maester Granshaw: Most curious…
Grand Maester Granshaw: There is an outbreak of the bloody flux in Flea Bottom and the lower districts… If we somehow gave her the flux, it puts us in quite an intractable position as a city, but… It would also exonerate you, no?
Grand Maester Granshaw: Lawton Sand has seen the bodies. All of them blood for shit. He actually looked scared to have gone near them.
Grand Maester Granshaw: And… It seems highly unlikely one would waste poison on commoners, no?
Grand Maester Granshaw: Perhaps the girl’s youth and loveliness belied her illness… Perhaps her sister was not the only girl with a mask on…
Ambrose: Unless someone was testing it, there seems to be little reason to use poison on commoners. True.
Grand Maester Granshaw: Testing it… That is actually a fair notion.
Ambrose thinks about how forward Naemi was. Maybe because she knew she was dying.
Ambrose: I hate to think of a person willing to poison people just to see if it worked.
Grand Maester Granshaw nods to that.
Grand Maester Granshaw: Well… You can either go to Lord Tyrell or investigate those bodies, but I should like to go with you if you do the latter, as it is a part of my office, though a regrettable one.
The bodies are being pulled along stretchers by men in terrifying long-nosed masks. The corpses have not been cleaned, and are piled two-by-two as the four men carry them down the streets of Flea Bottom and into the midden heap to be burned.
Ambrose holds a cloth over his mouth.
Grand Maester Granshaw makes no real precautions against the flux.
Grand Maester Granshaw: You there… Stop.
Birdmen stop momentarily, and one speaks up.
Birdman: We are under authority of the Faith and the High Septon, not you. We take these bodies to be purged by holy fire at the midden. You may follow us there and speak with His Holiness yourself.
Grand Maester Granshaw: His Holiness? The High Septon is going to risk the flux?
Birdman: Ask him yourself.
Ambrose: I have a feeling the High Septon will not be eager to help us.
When you reach the midden, a flame is already burning intensely behind the magnificent, gleaming golden figurine that is Westeros’ High Septon. His regalia is adorned with depictions of the Seven in gold, spun silver lacings, and cloth-of-gold hemming. This particular High Septon is a 67-year-old. He has no name, like his predecessors and successors, though it is said this particular one was raised from bastardy. His wizened, lined face is turgid with emotion as he is already reciting prayers for the sparse congregation gathered there.
High Septon: Here come forth the fouled bodies, infected by impurities, maladies, demons, and their ilk. We burn them in the sight of the Seven to purge this menace from our city, and that the evil spirits that rouse bad blood might depart from this world. Bring them forth, brothers…
High Septon takes note of you.
High Septon: Ah… Ambrose Butterwell.
High Septon: With the Grand Maester.
High Septon: I have heard tell of your investigation… Tell us…
Ambrose: I hope you know my name due to my devout piety, High Septon.
High Septon: I know your name for a different reason, Ambrose Butterwell. Your crime is notorious.
High Septon: What do you mean to prove?
High Septon: For all gathered here are wise enough to seek wisdom in the sight of the Seven, and the Seven know what you have done.
High Septon: Spin whatever web you will, but I know the truth, and so do the gods. You may fool the world of men, but the Stranger will judge you fairly.
The High Septon’s flock begin to mutter amongst themselves, despite the fact you have little fear of the threat of violence.
Ambrose: I must have missed you at Lord Winton’s party High Septon.
Grand Maester Granshaw: Shut up, you old shriveled cock!
Grand Maester Granshaw hushes the crowd with his audacity.
High Septon: Blasphemer! You, you-….
Ambrose gapes at the Grand Maester.
Grand Maester Granshaw: I… I… I am about royal duty, and I will inspect those bodies, as well.
High Septon shakes his head in anger, but relents to this point. He still glares at Ambrose though, murderer and raper that he is.
Ambrose: Clearly you must know my supposed crimes High Septon. Perhaps you can begin clarifying them for everyone else.
High Septon: I cannot put myself in the minds of a schemer and a sinner, my thoughts are with the Seven. There are whispers of poison, rape, and foul play in your presence of late, and evidence as well. Men of faith, the weak are fond of saying, have little need of evidence, though. They do not know that only men of faith can see the truth in the shadow in the shadow of deceit!
Ambrose: You’ll notice the strong don’t say it since they have the benefit of education.
The High Septon leers back in disgust for your impudence.
The bodies are as thus: A thick, muscular, hairy man, his arms brawny and tough despite the evident system-wracking he has received. There is a young man of around 21, his half-grown beard matted by blood. There is another man of around 30, thin but muscular, with a cloak with a sigil you do not recognize. Lastly, there is a woman, in an overlarge grey dress stained with blood, of a middling age.
Grand Maester Granshaw: That symbol… Remember it. A black horse with a black knight, golden lance, white shield… House Risley… A very minor house in the Reach.
High Septon: Begone, you blasphemers and crows… This is a time for the gods!
Grand Maester Granshaw consults you with one bit of wisdom…
Grand Maester Granshaw: It could be that the Tyrells brought the flux in, you know. Young Ser Yohn was a bannerman to Lord Renford. It might be wise not to mention that to the Lord, though.
Ambrose: I’ll be sure to omit that piece of information if it comes up.
Your best buddy will accompany you to the sprawling villa the Tyrells have in King’s Landing. As it turns out, though, he completely chickens out, saying nothing the entire time, only looking nervously about him left and right to the armed guards swarmed about.
The entire villa is somber and withdrawn to the extreme. Naemi was a great deal of the color of their joy, and life is dark. When you arrive, the Lord Tyrell is accompanied by his son-in-law, Denys, and none else. They both look at you with sallow inquisition.
Lord Renford Tyrell holds his hands up, the rage stirring in him despite himself, before he calms again.
Lord Renford Tyrell: I would have killed you if I found you, Ambrose… Yesterday.
Lord Renford Tyrell: And now… I understand that may have been an error.
Lord Renford Tyrell: Despite her death, it gives me the saddest joy I have ever felt to know she was not raped… I saw you as a lech… I know you to be a lech, in this rathole of a city, it is hard not to be.
Lord Renford Tyrell: What do you have to say… And what do you think is happening, that you would stage an investigation?
Ambrose reddens under the accusation .
Ambrose: As for what is happening, I cannot entirely say My Lord. All I can do is try and find the evidence that will prove my innocence.
Lord Renford Tyrell ‘s hands are notably bandaged up, ridiculously so, in fact. His eyes are also glazed and sunken, as though he is heavily medicated.
Lord Renford Tyrell: Have you found anything?
Ambrose: Possibly. It is early to say, My Lord.
Lord Denys Seagard: What possibly?
Lord Denys Seagard: If you have aught that might help you shouldn’t withhold it!
Lord Renford Tyrell ‘s head bobs and totters.
Ambrose: Lord Denys, Lord Renford, I would like to be open with this investigation, but the fact is someone did murder the Lady Naemi. It wasn’t me, but whoever did it has been more than happy to let me take the blame. Until I either have enough evidence to show I couldn’t have done it or that someone else did, I cannot know who I can trust and who is listening.
Lord Denys Seagard considers this.
Lord Renford Tyrell: That… That is fine.
Lord Renford Tyrell: If you can tell me…
Lord Renford Tyrell’s eyes regain a bit of their shine.
Lord Renford Tyrell: Who took my daughter from me… And the true answer is not you… There will be a reward.
Lord Renford Tyrell: But the wage of deceit is death.
Lord Renford Tyrell: His Grace has already offered me the use of Blackfyre for the task.
Ambrose: Lord Renford, if I cannot prove my innocence, my death will happen. If I can find evidence of your daughter’s murderer, that requires no reward.
Lord Renford Tyrell turns his gaze away from you, sedate.
Lord Denys Seagard looks at you as well, a look of thought about his face.
Ambrose: Lord Renford, I know you’d rather not have me question you, but I do have one thing I was wondering.
Lord Renford Tyrell looks to you with a distasteful anticipation.
Ambrose: When you…when you hurt your hands. Did you tear or lose any nails?
Lord Renford Tyrell: What? That is… that is what you want to ask?
Lord Denys Seagard: Yes… An odd question.
Lord Renford Tyrell looks at you as if he can’t believe you haven’t rescinded the question yet.
Lord Renford Tyrell: No. I did not. I have broken more than a few of my knuckles and I know my hands are useless to me perhaps forever now, but my nails are all intact.
Ambrose: You wanted to know if I had found anything yet. A nail in the room where you daughter stayed. It is not mine.
Lord Denys Seagard: Perhaps the Lady’s?
Lord Renford Tyrell shakes his head.
Lord Renford Tyrell: I looked. I looked. I kissed her every finger to feel for one with warmth. I created blasphemies for the moment that I cannot recall.
Lord Renford Tyrell: I looked for the bastard’s skin… For a fight… She was naked… There was nothing. Death just TOOK her.
Lord Denys Seagard: Easy… Lord Renford… You need to rest.
Ambrose: I am sorry to have upset you Lord Renford. You invited me here to offer me an apology and a clarification of where I stand. I didn’t come here to pry, but this was something I needed to know. I hope it leads me to the murderer and you to some peace.
Lord Denys Seagard looks down with recalled horror.
Lord Denys Seagard: We only want justice. Peace is lost to us now.
The lack of answers lead you to a night of poor sleep. When you awaken, it is early, to the sound of a rapping at your chamber door. When you open it, there stands your father, with a bit of news for you.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Son… Something has happened.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Denys Seagard has arrested Winton Reyne.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Son… I know it sounds crazy… But… He was gone for the party, and arrived masked and incognito, no matter the spectacle. Denys believes it was a gambit to consolidate the political line into his own, if he could woo Lady Rose and kill Lady Naemi.
Lord Anders Butterwell: He further implicates that he himself would have been the next victim.
Ambrose: That is a great deal of ifs.
Lord Anders Butterwell: I know Ambrose… But… Please listen to me.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Let it lie. I know he is your friend, I know you don’t think he did it. But the law implicates him. And if he is guilty, you are not, and you are alive.
Ambrose stands bolt upright and starts to prowl the room, fuming.
Ambrose: Surely you jest father. Surely you are speaking only without thinking. Surely you would not have me let a friend die, a friend willing to stand by me when few others would. Surely that is not what you suggest.
Lord Anders Butterwell heaves a deep breath in his fatty chest.
Lord Anders Butterwell: You just… You should listen to reason.
Lord Anders Butterwell: I only want you to live, my son.
Ambrose: Father, I want to live. But I won’t sacrifice Winton for that. He’s no more guilty than I am.
Lord Anders Butterwell: Remember what I taught you… it is security that is most important… Above legacy, above honor, above courage… You must be alive to exercise any of these.
Ambrose: Is that why you let that fat son of a bitch fuck my mother?!
Lord Anders Butterwell is essentially reduced to a blubbering pewl by this statement, pleading for nothing as the urge to investigate trebles inside you.
Lord Anders Butterwell: It’s.. true… What was I to do… He is my King…
Ambrose holds up his hand.
Ambrose: I am sorry Father. I beg your forgiveness. The stress of it all is getting to me
Ambrose: But I cannot let Winton die.
Lord Anders Butterwell: They will let you visit him. They think you will aim to prove his guilt…
Lord Anders Butterwell: And he might be guilty, son… Be ready for that.
Ambrose: Unless I hear it from Winton himself I won’t believe it
Lord Anders Butterwell winces, but allows you to do as you choose.
Ambrose: I have to go see Winton
Lord Anders Butterwell: Fare thee well…
Winton is in the dungeon, held under lock and key, he paces his cell as you approach, leaping to the bars when he sees you.
Winton Reyne: I knew you would come, Ambrose!
Winton Reyne: Get me OUT of here… I can’t believe this…
Winton Reyne: They… I know I have been saying this a lot… But they royally fucked us.
Ambrose: I know my friend and we’ll find this out.
Winton Reyne: Seagard’s got something to do with this… He has been very quick to point blame.
Winton Reyne: Sand, too..
Winton Reyne: I don’t… I don’t know what to think…
Ambrose: I am starting to suspect something in Lord Denys myself.
Ambrose: You know my feelings on Sand already.
Winton Reyne: I do not know… I cannot think of anything.
You try to find Lawton Sand, and it is not long after you begin searching that he finds you, as is his way.
Lawton Sand: You’re quite the snoop, it appears, eh?
Ambrose: It’s amazing what having a month-long death sentence will do for one’s motivations.
Lawton Sand: There’s tell of you all over town, agitating the High Septon, palling around with the Maester… With your incarcerated friend.
Lawton Sand: I think at this point I would that His Grace decides to take both of your heads, for your foolishness.
Ambrose: Luckily you do not think for His Grace and that, in general, foolishness is not punishable by death, though its results sometimes are
Lawton Sand: Words are wind, slicktongue. What do you want?
Lawton Sand: Because at this point it seems to me you are trying to convince me with your lips, when I caught you at the scene with something else dribbling out of your mouth.
Ambrose: Yes, you were very brave to attack a man losing his dinner.
Ambrose: I came to ask about Widow’s Blood and what you know of it.
Lawton Sand narrows his eyes at you.
Lawton Sand: I know it’s what you used, if you’re asking me that. That lady wasn’t sick two hours before she died, and she shits out her guts in anticipation for your warm sunny kisses and big cock?
Ambrose: Interesting how you’re so certain of my use of poison when it was you who told the Grand Maester it may have actually been the Bloody Flux.
Lawton Sand: Right… Well unlike you, I’ve seen her body. And unlike our Maester, I could stitch up a common knife wound.
Ambrose: I find it amusing that you seem to think me an idiot but you still give me credit for being smart enough to kill a member of one of the most powerful families in Westeros.
Lawton Sand: It doesn’t take smarts to fill a 15-year-old girl’s cup with something she doesn’t know, in order to have your way? I daresay I think you might have practiced this a few times despite your youth. It doesn’t require smarts at all, only opportunity, motive, and circumstance.
Ambrose: Funny how she wasn’t actually raped, isn’t it?
Ambrose: So what’s my motive, Lawton? What do I gain by killing a beautiful woman?
Lawton Sand: See… Thing is… I don’t think you meant to kill her.
Lawton Sand: I think your friend Winton did.
Lawton Sand: I just think he took advantage of the fact that you’re a scumbag who would spike a girl’s drink with sweetsleep.
Ambrose: Lawton, I know this must be hard for someone as socially stunted as you to understand, but people tend to enjoy my company, women especially. I know that perhaps you have to resort to drugging them to spend an evening with you, but I tend to ask nicely.
Ambrose: Or be invited.
Lawton Sand laughs despite himself.
Lawton Sand: You mean to tell you you were invited to Lady Naemi’s room that night?
Lawton Sand shakes his head in doubt.
Lawton Sand: No.
Lawton Sand: Lord Renford would flay you.
Lawton Sand: You don’t have the balls to go for it.
Lawton Sand: Even if she did.
Ambrose: You, master of whispers and you don’t even have a shadow of the truth.
Lawton Sand understands so much more quickly than you think. “…whispers.”
Lawton Sand: So… In verity, huh? That’s what she said to you?
Lawton Sand: 12 seconds… Enough time for her to whisper some coy remark and an invitation…
Lawton Sand: She really did say “Longprick…”
Lawton Sand smirks.
Lawton Sand works this out in his head quickly.
Lawton Sand: I… I don’t think you put anything in her cup.
Lawton Sand: No… She said, “It will be a delight.” After the whisper… What a little filly.
Lawton Sand looks at you with sudden admiration.
Ambrose is both a bit relieved and terribly amazed.
Lawton Sand: She wanted to bed you? She was a maiden!
Ambrose: Believe me, the paradox of the situation did cross my mind.
Lawton Sand laughs the loudest at his next thought.
Lawton Sand: You were trembling! You know how guilty you looked up on that dais next to her?!?!
Lawton Sand: By the Gods…. She… She wanted to fuck you…
Ambrose: Why do you think I came to speak with you instead of spending more time with the Tyrells.
Lawton Sand: You fool.
Lawton Sand: You are in shit so deep…
Lawton Sand: Ah…
Lawton Sand has the most bizarre look of relief and wonderment on his face.
Ambrose: You may think me daft, but I HAVE managed to grasp that
Lawton Sand: Widow’s blood…
Lawton Sand: It can take you quite fast, actually. It is like quicksilver through a vein of ore, the way it spills and burns your insides.
Lawton Sand: But… No one has any Widow’s Blood around here. I have been ward here for nearly 25 years, Master of Whispers for half that time. No one has traded poison in King’s Landing on my watch.
Lawton Sand: The alchemists might have a sample for study… But that’s all I could think of.
Lawton Sand: Now… I have some. But it is somewhere safe.
Ambrose thinks for a long moment.
Ambrose: Lawton, it seems you no longer think I did this.
Lawton Sand: No. I don’t.
Ambrose: Then I have something I need to ask you.
Lawton Sand: Motivation is out for you… I know you think with your dick, and I thought that led you to want her against her will… I never thought that wasn’t a factor.
Ambrose: I have something to show you more specifically.
Lawton Sand: Mm?
Ambrose pulls the vial of poison out of a pocket.
Ambrose: Is this widow’s blood?
Lawton Sand looks at it for a moment, and takes it from your hands.
Lawton Sand looks at it.
Lawton Sand: No.
Lawton Sand pockets the vial.
Lawton Sand: Widow’s blood is red… Near crimson.
Lawton Sand: That was something else.
Lawton Sand: Where, pray tell… In the Seven hells…
Lawton Sand: Did you meet Kael Rivers?
Ambrose: Well, I would attempt to deny it, but my guess is that won’t do me much good
Lawton Sand: No, not after handing me that.
Lawton Sand: At… At the wedding?
Lawton Sand: He was there?
Lawton Sand: Or before.
Ambrose: I don’t know if he stayed, but he was there
Lawton Sand: Okay…
Lawton Sand: Alright.
Ambrose: He is the one who advised me to leave, but he handed me that first.
Lawton Sand: He was there for the brigand attack?
Ambrose: He was.
Lawton Sand: You told the right person. I’ll keep all this quiet. I know the events in King’s Landing are not related to the events at Helmcrest, now.
Ambrose: I hope Kael will not be called in to question. I’ve asked him to affirm my story.
Lawton Sand: You did? Sent a raven?
Lawton Sand: Oh, he won’t be called into question. There is no question with Kael Rivers comes a tornado of blood. But at least he is on a leash. There is a reason for what he did.
Ambrose: I have sent a raven. I only hope he will respond. He’s a curious individual. I think he liked me, or at least approved of me. Or maybe I just entertained him for the span of a few days…
Lawton Sand shrugs.
Lawton Sand: Ambrose… Your friend Winton did this.
Ambrose: Lawton, you thought I had done this until I walked into this room.
Lawton Sand: I can see no other outcome. Who else was there, unsupervised, and has a reason to want a Tyrell girl dead. He was gone, prancing about in a mask, incognito, and reappears in time to have an alibi for the actual time of death. As well, he makes it look like a rape, which precludes him as a suspect as well. Do you understand?
Lawton Sand: You make a good appeal, but the truth is, I thought both of you were guilty. And have never suspected anyone else.
Lawton Sand: I doubt I am fully wrong.
Lawton Sand: Let me ask you something… Is there anyone at the party you haven’t questioned yet? Someone who seemed suspicious? Or would have some semblance of motive, even petty jealousy or spite?
Ambrose: Well, I have two theories.
Ambrose: Both may possibly be far fetched.
Ambrose: The first is the widow. I highly doubt she did it. She has little motive that I know of, but not a person would suspect her.
Lawton Sand: The Widow Dowager???
Lawton Sand shakes his head quickly.
Lawton Sand: She’s… Far gone… This was done with finesse to escape my gaze.
Ambrose: And you’re sure it’s no ruse?
Lawton Sand: I don’t think her mind is capable of it. She has been babbling for nearly a week now, and I don’t think she will be allowed to leave the Red Keep for fear of her life. She has been lost for years since her children died, consoling herself only with mournful sobbing and forlorn prayer. She just cracked, Ambrose. Like a far-rotten egg.
Ambrose: I trust you on that then.
Lawton Sand: If that was the less far-fetched of the two I fear we might be in for some more research. Who else do you suspect, or would like to talk to?
Ambrose: Lately, I wonder if Lord Denys has some part in all of this.
Lawton Sand takes a deep breath with his eyes closed.
Lawton Sand: I… I completely understand why you would think that.
Lawton Sand: I think I would believe that too, in your shoes. The man seems bent on conviction. But that is also his job, and this crime is most heinous, and its subject is his own sister in law.
Lawton Sand: He and his wife are one of the happiest couples in Westeros, as well.
Lawton Sand: He wouldn’t stand to gain anything lineally, he’s Lord of Seagard.
Ambrose: Yes, but if his father in law was to die of the stress and grief of losing a child and Lord Denys was the only son in law, that makes him a powerful man indeed.
Lawton Sand: It is a fair point, Ambrose. I will not dispute that. I am looking for proof against him.
Lawton Sand: By the Seven, this is a tangled knot.
Ambrose: One I wish I could simply cut through and be done with.
Lawton Sand: Sadly, Ambrose, I think you learning a lesson best served learned in your youth… A lesson your father never did. Sometimes the easiest way out is the WRONG way.
Ambrose: I will entertain, as an exercise, Winton is guilty. But even if he married Rose and killed Naemi, he would still have to get rid of Lord Renford’s heir AND dispatch with Ellynda’s son and then hope that she has no more male children and that he does have a son with Rose.
Ambrose: Winton is a master of Coin, not intrigue.
Lawton Sand: There is truth in what you say, but the Dragon rules over all creatures.
Ambrose: Even so, it requires too many variables
Lawton Sand: I allow that..
Lawton Sand: I’ll tell you what. Since Winton is jailed, I will spend my efforts trying to drum up evidence against Lord Denys. Is that what you would have me do?
Ambrose: You would do me a great service if you did, Lawton.
Ambrose: Winton is, a gentle hearted man. He has money, more than any save the Lannisters and perhaps the Tyrells themselves. He has anything money can buy. He wants to find love.
Lawton Sand: That will be fine. You need to ask around… There might be someone from that party who has something that can help.
Ambrose: I thank you Lawton. I hope, if I can manage to survive this, we will be able to have a more amiable relationship going forward.
Lawton Sand: If you can unravel this… I don’t believe I’ll buy you a drink, but I will be impressed, Ambrose. This has had me confused for a time…
Ambrose: Lawton, the ingredients for Widow’s Blood, are they common or can they only be found in certain places?
Lawton Sand: I won’t get into specifics with a novice, but the ingredients are fairly common, with one exception I won’t name. The real issue is the equipment required to render it. It is more common in Dorne, and in Braavos, due to the legality of said devices.
Lawton Sand: To find some illegal poisoncrafting gear would be a linchpin, but I am afraid widow’s blood is easily transportable, and can keep for decades if sealed.
Ambrose: Then I suppose that is not an avenue that will reveal much to me
Lawton Sand: Whoever did this… If it was not Winton… They really fucked you.
Ambrose: Believe me, I know. And if I find out who it was, they will pay
Lawton Sand: Yes… They will. But that’s not for you to dole out. Just find out who it is.
Ambrose: I will do all I can.
Ivar Lannister is training at the tourney grounds. He is athletic, nimble, and skilled, and when he sees you approach, he sheathes his sword and gives you a quiet look of veiled disgust.
Ser Ivar Lannister: Hello, Ambrose. What brings you to the field of sport?
Ser Ivar Lannister: This is a place for honored combat… And they say you are a poisoner.
Ambrose: They say also that I’m a rapist, a schemer, and a milk maid. You shouldn’t believe everything you hear, Ser Ivar.
Ser Ivar Lannister: Hear this… I don’t give a shit if you did kill the girl. There are casualties in the game of thrones. It affects me not one whit. I have sworn to protect all women, but I cannot protect a dead girl.
Ser Ivar Lannister: So why don’t we keep our distance from one another, lest I treat you like I would any other poisoner.
Ambrose: Perhaps, Ser Ivar, stories will one day start about you. If or when they do, do not expect a friendly ear.
Ambrose: Go back to your knife, boy.
Ser Ivar Lannister snorts a self-righteous laugh and makes his way back to the other men.
Serenei of Lys is, most unfortunately, at her King’s side in the throne room. In the end, this is probably of no consequence to you, as this is just about the end of your rope.
You have to wait your turn for your audience with the King, and the Queen doesn’t even looked offended by the audacity and she resignedly exits with the rest of the court, with His Grace, Ser Aemon, Serenei, and her translator, a slim smallish man with wisps of a mustache.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: You may address the Lady Serenei.
King Aegon IV Targaryen Lady Serenei of Lys is swollen with child, and frosted over with her cold, indifferent beauty. She looks at you like a queer, oddly-colored insect.
The lady refuses the indignity of speaking directly in a foreign tongue to her. She speaks to her translator, who offers you this:
Translator: You have come seeking the Lady’s audience in front of the King? Of what importance might I have in the matter of your execution?
King Aegon IV Targaryen looks entertained by this act.
Ambrose is taken aback but the supposed certain of his execution
Ambrose: I am hoping, Lady Serenei, that you can be of less importance in my execution and more value to my exoneration.
Lady Serenei speaks again.
Translator: I know not how I can help. I do not wish to help. I believe you are guilty, as they say.
Ambrose: Then if I’m guilty, you couldn’t possibly give me any help so perhaps such a magnificent woman might simply humor a man approaching death.
Translator reports again.
Translator: You still stand here, and I am still listening. This is all a Lady’s courtesy need be.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: I wonder as well… Is there a reason you still stand here?
King Aegon IV Targaryen: Or… Can stand at all…
King Aegon IV Targaryen scratches his neckbeard in faux consideration.
Ambrose: I was wondering, Your Grace, if the Lady Serenei may have seen anything suspicious on the night of the party, especially when people were leaving. I remained for near an hour after my host left, but many exited much sooner. I wondered if she may have seen anyone in the lady Naemi’s company when she left or if anyone seemed to be acting strangely.
Lady Serenei: Lady Serenei hears the report from her translator, and stares at you gravely.
Lady Serenei looks at you, not the translator, and says a short passage in Lysene you cannot catch.
Translator: My Lady says the crone was most unsettling to her sensibilities.
Lady Serenei: No!
Translator looks at Serenei, furrowing his brow.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: Serenei???
King Aegon IV Targaryen: Servant, are you twisting my lady’s words?
Translator: No! I would never! She says the crone accosted her, and made her feel vile.
Lady Serenei: No!
The King glares imperiously at the Translator, the threat palpable.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: You tell me what the fuck she is saying, wretch!
Lady Serenei: No crone… Maegi.
Lady Serenei shakes her head.
Translator: There is no… There is no word. Crone.
Lady Serenei continues shaking her head, as this man is not Lysene and cannot comprehend his own stupidity.
Lady Serenei: Maegi. Say Maegi.
Lady Serenei: I say Maegi.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: You… You are upsetting my mistress. I don’t know what the hells she is talking about.
King Aegon IV Targaryen: Go. Now.
King Aegon IV Targaryen motions you and the translator leave them be.
Lawton Sand meets you.
Lawton Sand: Bad news.
Lawton Sand: Lord Denys is airtight. He’s not framing you.
Ambrose: I’d be relieved if it didn’t make my survival less likely.
Lawton Sand nods.
Lawton Sand: I know.
Ambrose: I have two things to speak of. The first is a fingernail I found in the room Naemi was killed in.
Lawton Sand: Just the nail?
Ambrose: It’s all I found.
Lawton Sand: Male or female?
Ambrose: I don’t know. It was a bit longer, but the Grand Maester thought that may just be from the added water thinning it out.
Lawton Sand: Hm. Not exactly the best indicator, then…
Lawton Sand: I don’t see how this helps, without someone missing a fingernail in the works. What’s the other thing?
Ambrose: I went to speak with the Lady Serenei. I asked if she saw anything that night. She was speaking of the Widow Dowager and her translator called her a crone, but Serenei insisted that word wasn’t right.
Lawton Sand: Serenei, huh? what did she have to say?
Ambrose: unfortuately His Grace threw me out when the translator upset her
Ambrose: but she insisted the word should be magi, maggi. Something like that.
Lawton Sand: Hm… I know not the word. Let’s ask the Maester.
The Grand Maester looks at you with shock when you utter this word from Essos.
Grand Maester Granshaw: It means “witch.”
Grand Maester Granshaw: You don’t really believe her, do you?
Grand Maester Granshaw: You say she made Serenei “feel vile?” That’s hardly a damnation, Ambrose.
Grand Maester Granshaw: We are not letting the Widow Dowager go back to Crackclaw Point. It is too dangerous for her fragile health. She is in the grasp of the Stranger now, so near death it is only mere moons, or perhaps days away… How could one not feel vile to look upon her, in all her sadness?
Grand Maester Granshaw: If you want to see for yourself she is no witch, she is in her apartments.
Ambrose: I think I shall.
You arrive at the Widow Dowager, Myrna Crabb of Crackclaw Point’s door.
Lawton Sand: What do you think you have to find here?
Lawton Sand: On the rumor of some tarted-up foreigner pretending at queen?
Ambrose: I don’t know what I’ll find Lawton, but I’m running out of avenues and willing conversations.
Lawton Sand closes his eyes, acquiescing.
Lawton Sand: You have the right of that.
Lawton Sand: Are you knocking, or should I?
Lawton Sand: Knock loud… She’s old.
Ambrose knocks on the door
There is no answer.
Ambrose sighs. This is all too familiar. He opens the door.
The door is locked.
Lawton Sand looks at you as you struggle, and snickers gleefully to himself. He wedges his dagger at the jamb, and gives a quick rap. The lock breaks. You swing the door open, and what you see makes you vow a brief and futile oath never to open a door again.
The body of the Widow Dowager is an absolute horror. She hands from a length of rope in her chambers, her leg broken to an impossible angle. Her legs dangle, varicose veins full of dead gel. She is missing three fingernails, two on her right hand, one on her left. Her breasts have been removed by knifepoint crudely through the fabric of her dress. Most awful is her face, which has been pasted with tar so as to be black and unrecognizable. Her face is twisted in a rictus of pain and terror, frozen under the tar. Even Lawton Sand gives an audible groan at this, and is sick on the floor outside. Ambrose Butterwell holds his stomach’s contents with practiced skill.
You realize all of one moment that you know absolutely nothing.
Ambrose reaches out for the door handle and slams it shut. Turning to Lawton, Ambrose has gone white as a sheet.
Ambrose: I’m wondering how the High Septon is going to pin this on me.
Lawton Sand: What in the FUCK was that about? How???
Lawton Sand: The High Septon? He has no say in the matter.
Ambrose: Sorry, that was with the Grand Maester…
Ambrose is obviously distracted and shocked.
Lawton Sand: All he can do is talk and damn and theorize upon you… He has no role in the justice.
Lawton Sand: I think… I think you are vindicated, though… Your friend too, I should think. We must needs tell your father.
Ambrose slumps into a chair and puts his head in his hands.
Ambrose: Father, yes, of course…