The House Tallystan travelling party left King’s Landing the afternoon after the trial by combat, intent on leaving the events of the last week behind them. They were accompanied by Tygor Wyl, who’d agreed to escort Iris Dannett back to her homeland, with the intent of asking Lord Alfric Dannett for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
Along the Kingsroad, Iris approached the two Tallystan nobles with a request. She was heading to her home bearing a letter from the King’s Hand, an official document clearing House Tallystan from any guilt in the murder of Adham Dannett. She proposed that the document be used as a means of pushing for peace between the houses, ending the decades old feud between Lord Alfric and Lord Cedric. Archibald agreed, and the group made for Castle Helmcrest.
The Dannett lands were in a horrible state, with many small hamlets and farms left completely abandoned. Castle Helmcrest itself looked to be on the verge of collapse, with the exterior walls reduced to rubble in multiple places. As soon as the party arrived near the castle, they were detained by House Dannett troops. Thanks to some swift talking on the part of Archibald, they avoided too much trouble, leaving their troops outside the gates and heading into the castle.
Inside, the castle was in a similar state of disrepair. The group didn’t have long to take in the scenery, though, as Alfric Dannett soon appeared, enquiring as to why there were murderers at his door. His daughter presented him with the letter from Jon Arryn, but it wasn’t enough to convince Alfric to make peace with House Tallystan. It took some serious persuasion on the part of Archibald to convince Lord Alfric, but eventually the two came to an agreement. House Tallystan would lend their talented workers to the repair of Dannett’s holdings and the tending of their land, in exchange for a cut of profits.
This raised another issue, however. House Dannett’s finances were in utter shambles, and Alfric frankly wasn’t certain he could afford to pay House Tallystan their due, even if he wanted to. The reparations payed to him by House Lugus would be a start, but not enough. Alfric needed to marry his daughter to someone affluent, but thanks to her history of fleeing betrothal and the fact that she was no longer a maiden, attracting a suitor would be impossible.
Spurred on by Archibald, Tygor Wyl stepped forward, offering to marry Iris, joining House Wyl and House Dannett. Alfric was sceptical of this arrangement. While he didn’t doubt the honour of House Wyl, honour cannot patch mortar or till fields. Thankfully, Archibald stepped in again, embellishing the benefits of a partnership with House Wyl significantly. Happily, Alfric accepted.
Finally, there was one more issue to resolve; the venue. Castle Helmcrest was in a horrible state of repair, hardly fit for a wedding. Confident in his success, Archibald suggested that the wedding be hosted at House Tallystan’s own home, Hammerstone. This was met with silent frustration from Fendrel, and the promise of more trouble down the line, as Lord Cedric would not be receptive to the idea of opening his gates to the public.
Alfric wasn’t quite willing to marry his daughter off to a man of poor character. He’d tried to make that mistake in the past, and it did not end well. In high spirits after the successful negotiation, Lord Alfric suggested that he, Fendrel and Tygor go on a hunt. What better way to get to know a man? With Roland leading the way as a tracker, the party headed out into the woods.
It wasn’t long before the party found a quarry. Or, more accurately, it found them. But instead of a boar or a deer, the hunting party were met with a marauding band of Stone Crows. Thanks to Roland’s keen senses, the ambush was foiled, allowing the hunting party to press their advantage and eliminate the hill tribesman without more than a few scratches and scrapes. Seeking out the corpse of their leader, Roland stabbed an arrow into each eye; a calling card to make his handiwork known to the tribesmen, should they find their dead clansman.
The implications of hill tribes marauding in the lowlands are surely significant; they rarely venture out of their mountain home, and House Dannett’s lands were beyond the border of the Vale of Arryn, crossing into Riverland territory. With this troubling omen on their minds, the party headed back to Helmcrest to dress their wounds and head for home.