external image pycelle.jpg
Character: Maester Gawen

House: House Stahlhardt

Kingdom: Westerlands

Prompt: After the Tourney
Meeting Pycelle

Sleep was a comfort I was not fully allowed last night. After only a couple hours of rest in the one of the softest feather beds I had ever been allowed to grace I was rudely shaken from sleep by one of House Stahlhardts guards. Myself and the rest of House Stahlhardt were awoken early this morning and summoned down to the Red Keep. After the Dornish attack on the Lannisters in the procession after the Tournament of the Hand the entire capital had whipped themselves into a frenzy. The smell of burnt wood and fire still lingered on the air of the city. And with House Stahlhardt having such close ties to the Lannisters I could only suspect that the House was summoned to help recount events and to enlist help in tracking down those responsible.

As we approached the gates of the castle the giant crimson structure loomed over us throwing its shadow across the ground and enveloping us in its darkness. We were seen into the main hall by two guards and then left to find our own way. It seemed much of the city had been summoned as well and crowds of people were all running here and there trying to do their jobs and please their lords. King Robert sat upon his throne looking displeased at the actual work that had to be done after the unfortunate events of the previous night. His new hand Eddard Stark had a scowl on his face as he talked to person after person about any and all manner of problems. And many and more of the small council were about as well as many higher ranking lords from all over Westeros.

As the Stahlhardts and I made our way through the crowds we were spotted and summoned by Kevin Lannister. As he talked with Richter II and Liam about their plans for the day, which indeed involved going out in the city and hunting Dornish for questioning, I decided to blend into the crowd and fade away. Soon enough I was lost in the masses as Richter II, Runa, and Darion all left the keep to head out into the city to complete their mission. Liam, however, made his way to the Hand himself where he questioned Lord Eddard about the Dornish family that helped Liam in the past. As I listened in on a bit of their conversation I couldn’t help but think these are dark times for a house under Lannister banners to be friends with a house under Martell banners.

I continued to make my way around the hall, unnoticed and unbothered, attempting to listen to conversations and gain any new knowledge. Knowledge on the events concerning the Dornish, about the death of the previous hand, about the death of Ser Hugh, or anything. Unfortunately, nothing was said among the people that I had not already known. As I kept making my rounds I noticed Grand Maester Pycelle upon the dais, dozing off as he is known to do. While many of the common people think him just an old man anyone with a half educated brain would be able to tell it was all an act he had. I decided to speak to Pycelle and see if he could shed any light on the dark questions that seemed to plague my mind.

“Grand Maester Pycelle, I was wondering if you had a few moments to spare for another maester.” I asked as I approached him.

He slowly lifted his head, pretending to come out of his sleep, “Wha… Oh! Maester Gawen, the child of the Citadel. Yes, yes, I can make time for another maester. Now what is on your mind?”

I put my hands in sleeves as I studied Pycelle. While his answers may not help me, the way in which he answered could still prove useful. “All of this,” I said as I swept a quick hand across the sea of faces that stood in the hall, “Is all of this necessary? Rounding up Dornish, questioning them. What is the end game for this?”

“The end game?” he questioned me. “No, my dear boy, this is all just for show. A political farce if you will to attempt to keep all parties happy. Give it a couple more days and I am sure it would all blow over.”

“I see.” A useless answer. But what was truly scary was I couldn’t sense anything else. I couldn’t sense if he was telling the truth, or lying, or anything. Was something wrong with me?

“Was there anything else?” He asked politely snapping me back to reality.

“In fact there was. I am currently doing research on different illnesses and fevers to become a better healer and I know you had treated the late Lord and Hand Jon Arryn. Did you find anything peculiar about his sickness? Any ways to diagnose or treat the ailment that may come in handy later?”

“Jon Arryn… Yes, I did treat him but I am sorry there was nothing extraordinary about the case. A strong man was simply killed by a stronger fever.”

“I see.” Another useless answer.

We continued to talk for a number of minutes. I inquired about Pycelle’s work and health as he inquired about mine. I asked if he had any need of my assistance to which he politely said no, but was happy to know I would be in the city a little while longer just in case my services were needed. And the whole time I could read nothing off of him, sense nothing on his face, his body language, nothing at all. It was troubling to say the least. When had I become so rusty?

After the talk I continued to hang around the hall. I made my way around the outside of the crowd and faded into the shadows in a back corner. My eyes darted back and forth scanning the room for details about individuals. Had my mind become that soft? Am I becoming too old? These questions burned my brain as a brand burns cattle. Had I slipped up while talking to Pycelle? Would I be able to tell if I had? And all these thoughts flooded into my skull as water rushes into a punctured hull. As I stood in that corner staring out into the hall, a hall that once welcomed me and now seemed to shun me, a familiar notion came crawling back to me. I may end up dead in this city for wanting nothing more than to help it and the realm as a whole.