A Clash of Kings-Chapter 31
|A Clash of Kings chapter|
|Page||344 UK HC (Other versions)|
|Chapter chronology (All)|
Catelyn and her men wait for the brother kings to meet outside the walls of Storm's End. When Stannis arrives, he promises justice for Lord Eddard, though he claims Ned was no friend of his. Stannis also reveals the insult he felt when Robert named Eddard Hand instead of himself, and that he has no quarrel with Renly should his brother concede his claim and lend him his army. Soon Renly arrives for the parley, but it is all Catelyn can do to keep the two polite. She tries to reason with them that they have a common foe, and need to unite. Stannis will not hear of it, however; he names himself the true heir to the Iron Throne, and names Renly and Robb traitors. When Catelyn retorts that Robert has two sons, and they are the rightful heirs, Renly laughs, realising she has not seen the letters Stannis had circulated about Cersei’s incest. Catelyn is shocked, but not surprised. Renly states that if the letter were true, Stannis would have the rightful claim, and suggests that he would even bend the knee to him. But Stannis has no proof, as Jon Arryn died before he could bring the matter before King Robert. Stannis told Jon his suspicions instead of Robert, because he felt his brother would be more inclined to believe the Lord of the Eyrie, his old friend and mentor.
Renly then offers his brother a peach, but that only enrages Stannis further. Renly even offers him Storm’s End, but Stannis demands that it is not Renly’s to give, it is his by right. When Renly mentions his marriage to the maid Margaery, Stannis sneers that she is like to remain a maid in Renly’s bed, to which Renly retorts with the story about Stannis being cuckolded by his fool; furious, Stannis draws his sword, nearly starting a skirmish. Reining in his anger, Stannis tells Renly he has until sunrise to see the error of his ways and yield, otherwise he will be shown no mercy. Renly remains confident of victory, given his army outnumbers Stannis's, but the red priestess accompanying Stannis delivers an ominous warning before she and her master depart.
The parley comes to an end, with war imminent at dawn should neither side relent and bend the knee. Later, in Renly’s war council, several suggest to leave Stannis to besiege Storm's End, but most agree that war is unavoidable. When Catelyn asks for leave to return to Riverrun, Renly denies her, wishing her to watch the battle and bring word back to Robb of what happens to rebels. His men then bicker for the right to lead the van, Lord Randyll Tarly claiming he had been leading Mace Tyrell’s van since before most of the young knights were born, but Renly grants the right to Ser Loras. Catelyn asks to go to the local temple of the Seven to pray, and Renly grants her wish, commanding Ser Robar Royce to escort her. She questions the young son of Lord Yohn, and Robar explains that he is far from the Vale because he must earn his reputation somewhere, since his older brother is the heir to their ancestral seat.