It is known that an unknown event occurred in the past between Lord Gitus Miridan and Lord Alfric of House Dannett, which further soured their relationship. Everyone knows that it happened, but no one knows what it was, making it a topic of much speculation.
It also is known that Tywin Lannister is still displeased with House Farman of Faircastle on the Fair Isle. Long ago, Lord Farman grew vicious and Lord Tywin sent him a bard. Upon his arrival at Faircastle, the bard played The Rains of Castamere for Lord Farman at Lord Tywin’s request. The subtle threat and stoic reminder of Lord Tywin’s power quelled Lord Farman’s ambitions, but it seems that Lord Tywin would rather be rid of House Farman altogether than bother keeping an eye on them. Currently a secret bidding war for Faircastle and the Fair Isle is underway between House Miridan and House Dannett, and the animosity between both Houses continues to run extremely high.
As the party readied themselves to leave the bloody campsite, it appeared that Gilligan left them behind, to seek the solace of the inn ahead. The party grumbled about his craven behavior as they set off down the road. No more than a league out, the party heard the furious sounds of a horse at full gallop coming from behind them. Elliot flexed his sword hand and grasped the hilt of his bastard sword while Lyanna readied her bow and Ser Kai watched attentively as the horse and rider came into view. As the distance closed between the party and lone rider, his face became clear. “Why look, it’s Ser Drunk,” spat Lyanna Hobbs as Ser Harvey Carp slowed his courser and trotted over to them.
After their trip to Miranport’s martketplace, Ser Carp had wandered off to the Salty Moustache to hear the latest news. Unfortunately, the loosest lips could not speak, and those that could spoke only of King Robert’s Tournament. In the meantime, Ser Carp drank himself into a stupor. In no condition to join the others, he remained in Miranport far longer than he had planned, but as he was recovering, he finally heard news to make his waking hangover worthwhile. Aghast at the gossip spreading through Miranport like wildfire, Ser Carp took off down the road towards Dag’s Inn at a gallop, in hopes of finding his party before they arrived.
The party lowered their guard and put away their weapons as Ser Carp halted his courser next to them. The grim scowl on his face told them much and more before he spoke to give them the terrible news. Dark looks, dark words, thought Elliot, half-hoping that he simply meant to tell them off for leaving him behind. That was not the case.
“The talk of the land is that of a massacre in the Dannett farmlands. Many and more near-helpless farmers were slain, their corpses now feeding many a crow and raven,” announced Ser Carp. “What has this to do with us?” asked Ser Kai, his steady voice masking his revulsion at the thought of such mindless slaughter. “Much more than any of us would like, I fear. Word has spread that a shield bearing the crest of House Miridan was found amongst the fallen, directly implicating House Miridan in this grizzly slaughter.” Ser Kai wrung his gloved hands and muttered curses before speaking to the news. “This is nothing but lies, a frame-up by the Dannett shitheads to besmirch our name and curry favor for themselves. No Miridan would commit to such senseless violence, even upon the scumlands of House Dannett.” Ser Carp gave him a stony stare. “Words are wind Ser Kai, where is your proof? The Dannetts already have our sigil, the Miridan sigil, at the massacre site. They already have their proof, so what would we have in return to show as proof of our innocence?” Ser Kai grasped for words, “B-but my Lord Father would never-” Ser Carp slashed a gloved hand through the air, cutting Ser Kai off before he could continue and leaving him standing, mouth agape. “There’s naught we can do standing here,” snapped Ser Carp, looking at the party, noting the absence of Gilligan. It dawned on Ser Kai at the same time. "Gilligan,” he whispered.
“Gilligan went on ahead to Dag’s Inn, we must let him know of this news," Ser Kai mused. Ser Carp nodded his approval before Ser Kai rounded on Elliot. "You! Lose that accursed Baratheon sword before you find us drowning in waters over our heads! Our House is already accused of Dannett massacre, the last thing we need is to fall victim to rumors of slaying the King’s brother’s men as well.” Elliot grimaced slightly and reached behind him to grab the sword from his back. As he grasped the hilt, he hesitated, sending Ser Kai into a panic. “Elliot, as a knight I outrank you, and I order you to be rid of that sword! Toss it aside. Now.”
Defiant as ever, Elliot bristled at the demand, seething with rage. “You have the audacity to pull rank on me!?” spat Elliot, glowering at Ser Kai and letting go of the hilt, “You know how much I despise such actions!” Ser Kai furrowed his brow but nodded his agreement, studying Elliot’s movements to make sure he could not take him unawares. “I understand Elliot, I hate it when rank is pulled as well, but we can’t be seen with that sword.” Elliot softened a little and nodded. “I know, but I hesitated to think a moment. We may want to hide it, lest we lose something that may be of use in the future.” At that, Ser Harvey Carp gave his approval. “Indeed, were we to hide the sword the trouble it could cause would be put aside, and we would have a possible weapon of intrigue were the opportunity to arise.” Elliot and Ser Kai both nodded their agreement and Elliot removed the blood-dried sword. They called over Lyanna to hide the sword in a place distinct enough for her to remember, but indistinguishable and unmarked to keep others from stumbling upon it. Lyanna buried the sword one league north of Dag’s Inn along the River Road in a place that only she would be able to identify. Once it was buried they moved on, counting their blessings that no travelers had spotted them during their quarrel over the damnable sword.
As the party approached Dag’s Inn at a walking pace, they heard a strange muttering from the side of the road. “Mutta mutta, mutta; me, me, me; nubs, nubs, nubs.” They listened as they continued, curious. A moment later, they heard more. “Yum, yum, yum; comes in threes; nubs, nubs, nubs; Miridan.” They stopped dead in their tracks at the sound of their House, and Lyanna and Ser Kai dismounted to check out the strange ramblings. “Once again I’ll stay here to protect the others,” muttered Elliot, mirroring his statement from the campsite.
Barely off the road, Lyanna and Ser Kai came upon an anciently old crone. Her skirt was hiked up above her waist as she diddled her shriveled nether regions with fingers shortened to mere nubs. Her eyes looked wild and she wore filthy rags and bloodied bandages. She stopped at their approach. Ser Kai, the gallant knight that he was, inquired as to her condition. “Are you ok?” The old crone stared at him with blind eyes and replied, “Comes in threes; nubs, nubs, nubs; me, you, Miridan.”
She continued to ramble incessantly and Ser Kai and Lyanna decided to return to the party. Travelers were now appearing on the road, and the old crone followed the two of them to the road. “Song; nubs, nubs, nubs!” Ser Kai took this to mean she wanted a song as Elliot inquired as to who knew the words to The Rains of Castamere. The old crone sang instead, an unintelligible noise, and afterwards Elliot smiled wanly, tossing her a Silver Stag from one of the bags collected from the corpses of the slain sellswords. She rubbed it against her gums and continued to ramble.
Septa Demissus approached to diagnose her condition, finding her state to have been a long degenerating one over many years of abuse. None of her wounds appeared fresh, but all old as of years. The party left her in the road and she vanished quickly back into the woods. They muttered of the strangeness of her as they rode, dubbing her the name “Nubbs” and debating her true purpose.
Elliot, the youngest and most naive in the group, thought Nubbs to be merely an ugly old crone simply batshit crazy and out of her mind, Ser Kai fleetingly pondered if she had wished for a ménage a trios before tossing aside the thought in disgust, whilst Ser Carp figured her to be a spy, one sent by an unknown enemy. They put aside their thoughts as they approached Dag’s Inn. Ser Kai, Lyanna and Septa Demissus entered the inn together, Ser Kai eager to inquire about his brother, Gilligan. Elliot and Ser Harvey Carp remained outside, watchful.
Everyone knew they were of House Miridan thanks to the prominent sigil on Ser Kai’s clothing. His pride would not be their friend here, it seemed, as everyone in the inn appeared suspicious of them instead of greeting them with open arms. Ser Kai immediately noticed his brother Gilligan, blackout drunk in a heap on the common room floor, and approached. He appeared unhurt, and when Ser Kai grabbed him to prop him up, Gilligan sputtered unintelligibles that reminded Ser Kai of the old crone, Nubbs. Gilligan passed out again, leaning on Ser Kai’s shoulder when Elliot and Ser Carp entered the inn and joined them. As they all gathered, Meg Moleskin, the wife of the establishment’s owner Dag, approached them and gruffly asked what they would like, a presumption not typically made to those of such high status. This bodes unwell, thought Septa Demissus as they paid for their room and board for the night, along with the stables and feed for their horses, and the six of them made to check out their rooms.