On the coastal and hilly banks of the Westerlands sits Miridan Hall, home of Noble House Miridan. Lord Gitus and his two sons, Ser Kai, first trueborn son and heir to Miridan Hall, and Gilligan, second trueborn son, reside here. Living amongst them are the Hedge Knight Ser Harvey Carp, who acts as their Master-At-Arms, Septa DeMissus, knowledgeable in many subjects, Maester Veers, though near deaf a very skilled maester, and their ward Elliot, from House Iilar.
As Harvey transitioned the day’s training into combat, he first pit Ser Kai, a knight of one-and-twenty and heir to the House, against his little brother Gilligan, who is seven-and-ten and holds no title nor claim. Septa DeMissus and Elliot Iilar stood to the side, Elliot prepared to take on the victor. The day was beautiful, and the Summer sun shined upon the training grounds as Lord Gitus appeared upon one of the battlements to watch his sons engage in combat training.
Wooden training swords at the ready, Ser Kai initiated the first strike, swinging his long sword with enough force to briefly knock Gilligan out. Mortified at his own actions, Ser Kai reached out a hand and helped his dazed brother back up to his feet. Gilligan screamed that he quits and tossed his training sword at Ser Harvey’s feet before limping off the training grounds and into the Great Hall in a huff.
As Gilligan limped off the grounds, Ser Harvey approached Ser Kai with a stern look on his face. Chastising him for helping up his brother and calling it an act of weakness, Ser Harvey picked up another training long sword and demanded Ser Kai face him in combat. In what he felt was a noble act of defiance in defense of his actions, Ser Kai stood his ground to take the blow as Ser Harvey struck, delivering a blow that knocked Ser Kai out cold, a reflection of what he’d done to his brother.
Enraged by Ser Kai’s continued weakness, Ser Harvey called Elliot to take on Ser Kai. Full of vigor and ready, Elliot waited impatiently for Ser Kai to rise and prepare himself. Just as the two were ready to fight, the mutterings of ravens by the stooped and decrepit Maester Veers, whose presence had gone unnoticed, caught all of their attention.
They followed the old maester into the Great Hall, Gilligan already there gorging on honeyed bread and spiced ale. Lord Gitus sat upon his high seat on the dias when the maester approached him, an outstretched arm grasping a letter bearing the unbroken seal of the Iron Throne. Taking the letter from him gingerly, Lord Gitus broke the seal and read the contents aloud.
King Robert Baratheon had ravens sent to all the Noble Houses across Westeros, extending an invitation to a tournament to be held in King’s Landing two weeks from the day. Murmurs of excitement spread through those gathered in the Great Hall. Lord Gitus announced that he would send them all down to King’s Landing to attend the King’s tournament, save for himself and Maester Veers, as a Miridan needs must always remain at Hall Miridan whilst the lands remain so lawless. Elliot’s eyes brightened at the thought of competing in the tournament, before the harsh realization that the tournament was for knights only hit him like a full force strike from Ser Harvey. Elliot was still Ser Harvey’s mere squire. Meanwhile, Ser Kai Miridan boasted as only a young knight could that he would emerge as champion, bringing glory to House Miridan, while Ser Harvey Carp spoke of the Golden Dragons he would acquire as he rose through the ranks in the tournament. Elliot narrowed his eyes in annoyance at the talk, but an idea struck him all the same. It was at that moment that he resolved to compete in the tournament as well, restrictions be damned.
That night, Lord Gitus had a great feast prepared to celebrate. The main course consisted of roast beef, spit turned all day, marinated in spices, and crusted with salt; roasted root vegetables including potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and turnips; onions baked in gravy and wheels of pale and sharp cheese. Dark ale and mead flowed freely. Honeyed bread with freshly churned butter and a large plate of fruit were also among the spread. Elliot smiled as he buttered a piece of bread and reached for a pomegranate from a passing fruit plate. Thinking of the juicy seeds and scarcely noticing what he was doing, he cut up the fruit and prepared to spread seeds upon the bread. He dropped it in an instant, spying the contents as rotten and maggot-infested. Cursing, he handed the fruit to Septa DeMissus, who found nothing unnatural about its spoilage. Elliot called to the table if anyone had their own spoiled pomegranate, but when Ser Kai grabbed one for himself and cut it open, it showed no signs of rot. Elliot cursed it for an ill omen but returned to the feasting. As everyone excused themselves from the table, Gilligan whisked a bottle of wine up to his chambers to drink himself into a stupor.
During the night, Speta DeMissus had a terrible nightmare. A woman with dark hair bid her drink from a silver chalice. She did as the woman bid her and began to writhe in pain, dropping the chalice and spilling the wine, which formed a pool of blood. She heard a woman crying out in pain as faceless men raped her. Suddenly, Septa DeMissues awoke with a start and tried to recall her strange dream. She felt everything was hazy yet familiar, and recalled that the dark haired woman was of noble birth, but could identify neither the faceless men nor the woman they raped. The septa kept the dream to herself, and returned to her bed to sleep.
The next morning Lord Gitus saw them off as they headed into the town of Miranport. A small town, but a port town of trade, they all headed to the markets of Miranport to prepare themselves for the journey ahead, their sights set on Casterly Rock before hitting the Gold Road to King’s Landing.