A Clash of Kings-Chapter 31
|A Clash of Kings chapter|
|Place||Outside the walls of Storm's End|
|Page||344 UK HC (Other versions)|
|Chapter chronology (All)|
Catelyn meets with Stannis Baratheon and Renly Baratheon in hopes of bringing the brothers to reason. She fails and learns that Stannis had sent a letter claiming that neither Joffery nor Tommen were not Robert Baratheon’s sons. Even though there is no proof, she remembers that Lysa claimed that Cersie killed her husband. Catelyn asks Renly’s leave but is not given it—he wants her to see him victorious in the morning.
Hallis Mollen announces to Catelyn that they are the first arrive at an area where the trees had been cut down by Stannis Baratheon’s foragers to build siege equipment. Ser Wendel Manderly tells Catelyn that this is not their fight and Catelyn replies that she was sent her by Robb Stark and for the good of the realm it must be done, but forging a peace between the brothers will not be easy; she would prefer to be with her dying father Hoster Tully in Riverrun or back in Winterfell. In the distance she can see Storm's End and Stannis’s army looking small and insignificant under its walls.
Catelyn thinks about the history of Storm’s End and of the love between the first Storm King, Durran, and Elenei, the daughter of sea god and goddess of the wind. After the wedding, Elenei had yielded her maidenhood and immortality. Her parents had unleashed storm and wind to destroy Durran’s hold, killing all but Durran and his wife, who had protected him within her arms. It was seventh castle he built that managed to withstand the storms. It is said that this castle was built with the help of the Children of the Forest or a child that became known as Brandon the Builder.
Stannis is the first to arrive with a Red Priestess as his standard bearer; Catelyn knew that Renly would be last. Stannis expresses his surprise to fine her here, and gives his condolences for her husband Eddard Stark, who was no friend of his. Stannis is not grateful for Eddard’s part in breaking the seige, saying it was on Robert Baratheon’s command. Stannis holds it against Eddard that he took the position of Hand of the King, which he did not even want. Stannis tells her that she will have justice and she tells him Renly promised the same, and she would prefer her daughters back. Stannis promises that her daughters will be found when he takes King's Landing. Catelyn thinks his tone implies dead or alive, and tells him that King’s Landing is closer to Dragonstone, but he is at Storm’s End. He replies that he needs the power of the southron lords to take King’s Landing, and so he must take them from his brother, who owes him loyalty and obedience as his elder and rightful king. Stannis then asks if Robb has thrown his lot in with Renly, and is told he is King of the North by the will of the lords and people, and only hold his hand out in friendship. Stannis states
Kings have no friends, only subjects and enemies.
At this point Renly’s party arrives with Brienne of Tarth with his banner. Renly asks about Stannis’s sigil and the priestess replies it is the fiery heart of the Lord of Light. Renly says it is as well since with them having the same banner, the battle would be confused. Catelyn states that there hopefully will be no battle, and Stannis states that the Iron Throne is his by rights, and those the deny this are his foes. Catelyn tells them that this is folly with the Kingslayer’s host reforming at the Golden Tooth, another Lannister host gathering at Casterly Rock, and Tywin Lannister at Harrenhal with 20,000, and the Lannisters holding King's Landing. Renly immediately demands that Stannis bend his knee to him, and Stannis absolutely refuses, stating he is eldest and denouncing Renly as a usurper. Renly tells Stannis that the Targaryens called Robert a usurper and he bore up under the shame. Catelyn tries to convince them to be reasonable, only to be rebuked by Stannis, who asserts that he is the rightful king; Stannis also adds that he considers her son no less a traitor than Renly, and promises to deal with Robb in due time. Catelyn asks how he is the rightful king, given that Robert had two sons, at which Renly laughs, stating that she had not seen Stannis’ letter. Stannis tells Catelyn that Joffrey and his siblings are not of Robert’s seed.
Catelyn asks why he kept this knowledge to himself, and is told that he approached Jon Arryn since he figured that Robert would be more willing to listen to Jon, who he loved. Renly points out that Jon is dead, and Stannis states that his death was not by happenstance, that Cersei poisoned him. Catelyn immediately, putting the pieces together, states that her sister Lysa accused the queen of killing her husband. Renly tells Stannis that he may have the greater right but he has the bigger army.
Renly reaches under his cloak, and Stannis immediately goes for his sword, but Renly only brings out a peach, and offers one to Stannis. Stannis retorts he did not come there to eat fruit, and Renly replies a man should never refuse a peach because life is short and the Starks say “Winter is Coming.” Stannis thinks this is a threat but Renly states it was not, and he tells Stannis he never liked him, but he is of his blood, and if it is Storm’s End he wants, he will give it to him. Stannis refuses saying it is his and Renly states he refuses a peach, a castle and did not come to his wedding. To this Stannis points out that he married a woman that he was scheming to make her one of Robert’s whore. Renly corrects this, saying he was going to make Margaery Tyrell his queen, but Robert was killed by a boar, and so he got Margaery. He tells how he plans to have a son with her within a year, and then asks Stannis how many sons he has, and then continues by telling him that if he had a wife that looked like his, he would send his fool to service her as well. Infuriated, Stannis draws his blade which shines strangely, but Brienne moves between them. Stannis tells Renly that he will not kill Renly with Lightbringer, and will give him till dawn to pledge to him. In return Stannis will grant him Storm’s End, a seat on the council, and name him his hear until he has a son. Renly laughs, pointing out that he has the strength in banners: House Rowan, House Tarly, House Caron, House Tarth, House Penrose, House Fossoway, House Cuy, House Mullendore, House Estermont, House Selmy, House Hightower, House Oakheart, House Crane, House Caswell, House Blackbar, House Morrigen, House Beesbury, House Shermer, House Dunn, House Footly and his wife’s House Florent. What is present is only the vanguard, with100,000 foot are still to arrive. After exchanging taunts, Stannis gallops away, the Red Priestess staying long enough to say before also leaving
Look to your own sins, Lord Renly.
Catelyn tells Renly that his brother is lawful heir if Joffrey is Jaime’s son. Renly replies this is true only while he lives, and asks if Catelyn would agree that it is a fool’s law since he would be a better king that either Robert or Stannis. He will be a great king:
strong yet generous, clever, just, diligent, loyal to my friends and terrible to my enemies, yet capable of forgiveness, patient-
Renly laughs and states
You must allow a king some flaws, my lady.
Catelyn feels very tired, she had failed, and her son would have to face the Lannisters alone while the brothers fought. She thinks how much Renly is like his brother Robert, but Robert had Eddard to temper him. Eddard would have prevailed on Robert to bring the whole force to besiege Stannis, the besieger, instead of forging ahead with only the horse and no fodder. Now he must come to battle soon or starve. Catelyn accomplices Renly back to his pavilion, sending Hal Mollen to tend to the horses.
Once inside Renly states his brother has not changed, and since he will not take his gifts, maybe he should fight. Lord Mathis Rowan points out that the castle well provisioned and has a strong garrison under Ser Cortnay Penrose; they can let Stannis have a profitless siege. Renly, however, is concerned that men will say he fears Stannis. Lord Randyll Tarly thinks they cannot leave him unblooded since he may grow stronger than Renly, and the others seem to agree. Renly states that they will fight. At this, Catelyn sees no point in not returning to Riverrun, so asks to leave, but is told she cannot, she must watch.
Renly then give command of the center to Lord Mathis Rowan, the left to Bryce Caron, and the reserve to Lord Eldon Estermont, while Renly takes the right. Lord Mathis Rowan asks who will have the van, and Ser Jon Fossoway first asks the honor, but Ser Guyard the Green states that is should be one of the seven. Randyll Tarly states he lead Mace Tyrell’s van. After a clamor fills the pavilion, Renly gives the honor to Ser Loras Tyrell. Ser Loras accepts and asks for a one of his knights to ride beside him:
Let the stag and rose go to battle side by side.
Renly gives Brienne this honor. She wants to fight by his side and is told that there are four of the Rainbow Guard that will fight beside him. She accepts the duty, but requests that she arm him for battle. Renly accepts. Catelyn can hear someone snigger. Renly then asks them to leave him.
Before she leaves, Catelyn asks to visit a sept she saw in a village, and Renly tells Ser Ser Robar Royce to provide an escort, but to return by dawn. Catelyn tells him he should also pray, not for victory but for wisdom. Renly tells Ser Loras to remain with him to help him pray (George R. R. Martin has confirmed that Renly and Loras have a relationship).
Ser Robar Royce is a member of the Rainbow guard and Catelyn knows him slightly, that he is known for his skill in the tourney. He son of Yohn Royce, bannerman to House Arryn. She asks her about this and says his father owes fealty as does his heir, but he is a second son. He is tired of tourneys and looking for glory. She arrives at her camp to find Shadd preparing the meal, Hal Mollen dicing with three of his men, and Lucas Blackwood sharpening his dagger. Lucas asks if they fight or flee, and she says pray.