A Clash of Kings-Chapter 7
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Robb Stark wants Catelyn to depart and is unwilling to take her advice on not sending Theon Greyjoy to treat with his father Balon Greyjoy. She tells Robb that she will stay with her father, Hoster Tully, for his last days. When she goes to her father’s chambers, she finds Brynden Tully in his room, her father being asleep. Brynden tells the news that the scouts have brought in. They formulate an idea of allying with King Renly Baratheon to bring Tywin Lannister’s host out of Harrenhal.
Robb Stark is wearing his newly forged crown, the original crown had been lost three centuries past, yielded to Aegon the Conqueror by Torrhen Stark. This one was forged to match the description of the lost crown, made only of bronze and iron. It now sits uncomfortably on Robb’s head.
The arrival of the captive Ser Cleos Frey is announced by the captain of the Tully captain of the guard Ser Robin Ryger. Theon Greyjoy orders the captive to kneel before Robb. Ser Cleos is the son of Lady Genna, sister to Lord Tywin Lannister, and Ser Emmon Frey, the second son of Lord Walder Frey. His looks are all Frey, and Catelyn notes he is nothing like Jaime Lannister. [[Grey Wind], who has just approached to sniff him and is as big as any elkhound, seems to make him nervous. He had fought for the Lannisters and been taken prisoner at the Battle of the Whispering Wood. Robb, after telling him to rise, is told that he is going to take an offer of peace to Cersei Lannister, and return with the answer; he will still be a prisoner. He will have an escort of 30 men under a peace banner. He pledges his honor as a knight that he will return; Catelyn tells him that those present have all witnessed his vow. Robb now asks his squire Olyvar Frey, who had previously handed him his sword, to hand him the paper and exchanges his sword for it. He then reads the terms:
First, the queen must release my sisters and provide them with transport by sea from King’s Landing to White Harbor. It is to be understood that Sansa’s betrothal to Joffrey Baratheon is at an end. When I receive word from my castellan that my sisters have returned unharmed to Winterfell, I will release the queen’s cousins, the squire Willem Lannister and your brother Tion Frey, and give them safe escort to Casterly Rock or wheresoever she desires them delivered.
Secondly, my lord father’s bones will be returned to us, so he may rest beside his brother and sister in the crypts beneath Winterfell, as he would have wished. The remains of the men of his household guard who died in his service at King’s Landing must also be returned.
Third, my father’s greatsword Ice will be delivered to my hand, here at Riverrun.
Fourth, the queen will command her father Lord Tywin to release those knights and lords bannermen of mine that he took captive in the battle on the Green Fork of the Trident. Once he does so, I shall release my own captives taken in the Whispering Wood and the Battle of the Camps, save Jaime Lannister alone, who will remain my hostage for his father’s good behavior.
Lastly, King Joffrey and the Queen Regent must renounce all claims to dominion over the north. Henceforth we are no part of their realm, but a free and independent kingdom, as of old. Our domain shall include all the Stark lands north of the Neck, and in addition the lands watered by the River Trident and its vassal streams, bounded by the Golden Tooth to the west and the Mountains of the Moon in the east.
After a great cheer, Robb states that he will be given a copy of a map, Maester Vyman, Joffrey will have no claims of the people of the north, including freeing them from fealty oaths. Lord Tywin must withdraw and all pillaging will cease, and ten lords will be provided as hostages for the peace. When Ser Cleos agrees, Robb tells Ser Robin Ryger that he is to ride at first light, and then dismisses the assembly.
Catelyn follows the crowd out with Edmure Tully. In the hall she tells her son he did well, and he asks if she saw the look on Lord Rickard Karstark, and Edmure states that others also feel as he does. The Lannisters steal, pillage and kill. They should march on Harrenhal. Robb states they do not have the strength. This is in part due, at Edmure’s insistence, to releasing the Riverrun lords to defend their lands: first Ser [[Marq Piper and Lord Karyl Vance, then Lord Jonos Bracken and now Lord Jason Mallister. Edmure states that you cannot expect the lords to sit while their lands are ravaged, but it would be bad if Lord Karstark left. Robb states he will promise to talk the Lord Karstark—he had lost two sons. Catelyn complains about the terms, stating Cersei will trade the girls for two cousins, what she will want is Jaime. Robb tells her that he would not be allowed to trade him for the girls even if he wanted to; he would trade for Eddard Stark. This angers Catelyn, telling Robb that he is king, and then states that safe return of the girls is worth the crown. Edmure tells Catelyn “Cat, don’t. The boy has the right of this.” The term “boy” angers Robb.
Robb asks Catelyn to go to “the Twins” to help select a wife and to be further from the fighting, but she says he is old enough to choose for himself. Then he asks her to go leave with Theon when he leaves to treat with his father, and return to Winterfell to be there for Bran and Rickon—Catelyn sees that Robb is telling her that he would prefer that she is not here. After saying she will stay with her father for his remaining time, she tries to convince Robb to send someone else. He thinks that Theon would be perfect being Balon’s sun, and he had fought with them. Catelyn suggests Jason Mallister, Tytos Blackwood. Stevron Frey; anyone but Theon. When Robb is still uncooperative, Catelyn tells him that he would have the longships sooner if he has Theon. She also attempts to warn him that Balon is not to be trusted, having worn a crown, and may still want to. Robb tells her that he will let Balon have a crown if he wants, and that the matter is closed, and walks away.
Catelyn goes to visit her father in his bed chamber, where she finds him sleeping, and his brother. Brynden states that had come here after returning and hearing the Robb was holding court; he needs to talk to him privately about the scouting reports. He then tells her that the maester says her father is growing weaker every day.
When Catelyn asks about the scouting and her uncle asks her outside to avoid waking her father. He tells her that the men call the Red Comet the Red Messenger, but wonders what the message is. Catelyn states “The Greatjon told Robb that the old gods have unfurled a red flag of vengeance for Ned. Edmure thinks it’s an omen of victory for Riverrun; he sees a fish with a long tail, in the Tully colors, red against blue.” However crimson is the Lannister color. Brynden states “That thing’s not crimson, nor Tully red, the mud red of the river. That’s blood up there, child, smeared across the sky.’’ Catelyn asks whose blood.
Brynden then tells her that the fighting is spreading: Marq Piper and Karyl Vance have won some small victories and Beric Dondarrion with the red priest have been very successful in raiding. Ser Burton Crakehall boasted he had killed Ser Beric and then failed to escape from a trap set by Ser Beric. However, the Tully bannermen have been defeated piecemeal, many at the brutal hands of Gregor Clegane, who is not even interested in ransom; he killed everyone at Darry Castle, including its lord, the child Lyman Darry. Brynden talks about how Gregor’s head would make a fine gift to the people, but Catelyn could only think of Eddard’s head on a spike in the Red Keep, saying the Gregor is only Tywin’s catspaw; Catelyn believes that Joffrey is the true danger. Brynden then talks about the other forces raiding the Riverlands, including forces under Ser Amory Lorch and Vargo Hoat commander of the Brave Companions. Meanwhile Tywin is safe in Harrenhal. Catelyn notes Edmure will rage when he hears the news, and Robb, who is restless, will want to attack vast fortress of Harrenhal. This is what Tywin wants. Brynden states that you never want to give the enemy what he wants. Aegon the Conqueror had shown that Harrenhal’s walls were no defense against dragons. Next Brynden tells that another Lannister host under Ser Stafford Lannister is being gathered in Casterly Rock, sellswords, freeriders, and green boys from the stews of Lannisport. They have some time since they must be drilled and armed. The two agree that something must be done soon, and then Catelyn suggests that King Renly Baratheon’s could force Lord Tywin to leave Harrenhal. They agree he will want something, and Catelyn states homage.