'You'll need this son.' said Cannis shoving a huge wooden...thing into his hands. He didn't know what else to call it apart from a barrel with a handle, it held so much of the rich golden mead he was almost sure he'd be drunk from the first thing. White Isle mead was renowned for being the strongest in the world and having grown up on fine vintage wines from Gold Isle he wasn't sure if he'd be any decent state to listen to the council if he had too much. In under an hour the entire Wolf Hall had been filled to the brim with people until it was standing room only, Cannis sat in his obsidian throne beside his wife, who Tywin had learned was called Lyella, a high born lady from the Garden Isle. Before the civilians poured into the hall Tywin was introduced to the rulers of the five other cities on White Isle, they greeted him coldly, just as Cannis and Elia had warned him but it was a start. Through the first few minutes he had discovered the High Lords generals, Garrick the huge man with the beard who had knocked him out at Mammoth Keep, the Fang's master-of-arms Ser Cromwell Ironhand and lastly Rickard Thunderson.
'This is an outrage!' bellowed a huge mammoth rider flinging his arms in Tywin's general direction, sitting on the steps of the dais at Cannis and Lyella's feet beside Elia. 'You invoke ancient laws to allow this monstrosity to call this place home!'
'But laws none the less!' said Cannis harsh enough to make his point.
'We allowed you to raise the Red Wolf only because she was a babe when she came here but he is one and twenty! All his life he has lived with the king under his control...I don't trust him! He's a spy I'm sure of it!' shouted back the rider.
'Should I speak?' whispered Tywin to his new friend.
'Nope.' she said taking a long hard draft from her ale.
'You saw him upon the dais in the square...many people were swung by his words.' said the lord of Heaven Fall Lord Mearford.
'I don't give a silver shit if those dolts were swung by his act! This is war! He should be taken into custody and ransomed back to the king! That much gold could pay for the entire campaign!' shouted another man further back.
'Aye!' people shouted raising their massive wooden cups.
'He won't pay,' he said soft enough so only Elia could hear, but a man had been looking at him.
'What was 'dat boy?' he slurred. The hall fell quiet as every set of eyes turned to Tywin.
'I said he won't pay! Baelor Barristan doesn't ransom, bargain, barter or trade anything...he takes.' he said loudly. 'By all means hole me up back down in the cells beneath this citadel with Gartell and the rats, but it would mean death to you all.'
'He threatens us in our own city!' cried a drunk maiden near the back.
'I simply speak the truth! He will see my kidnapping as theft, nothing more; he will want to reclaim his stolen property. The entire force of the Royal Army would converge on White Isle, attacking the outer more vulnerable cities first before they block trade and shipping routes...you could fight, and die. Or hide behind the walls of the Fang, and die, just slower.' the hall grew quiet.
'The boy speaks the truth,' said the Lord of Moonrock a very young man with dark hair and light blue eyes.
'My daughter speaksh of mermaidsh an' I indulge 'er in 'er fantashies too!' shouted a drunken soldier his speech ridiculously slurred. 'Hish Phoenix Knightedness...ish forgetting about the Ishe Gate!'
'The Ice Gate is as strong as it ever was and the barbarians haven't left the Veil in months!' said Garrick.
'And do not joke about those creatures boy! I've lost many a good man to those beasts.' hissed Rickard with his star steel axe slung across his back. The drunkard stumbled back to his chair with a disjointed look on his face, his lips muttering blurred obscenities under his breath.
'I cannot easily show you my trust,' spoke Tywin boldly. The council fell to a steady silence as he spoke for the first time since the doors were opened. 'There is only one thing I can do...rescue my sister Alaina from Dragon Fort, keep her as your hostage in one of the Lord's castles, do not tell me her location, if I betray you have my only family member in your custody. Do with her what you will.'
'Tywin...' whispered Elia.
'See! The beast would ransom his own family!' a woman shouted. The council hall cheered loudly with angry faces, shouting even louder than they had before.
'There is nothing I can do that will make you trust me!' he bellowed. His voice bouncing around the stone hall silencing everyone. 'You are blinded by your own prejudice! I am here. A juxtaposition in flesh and bone, fire of the Dragon and ice from the north flow through my veins! I want nothing more than to defeat Baelor Barristan and crown a new king, but you are seeing enemies where there are none.' Turning to the crowd a face gleamed against the cold backdrop of the wall. A face Tywin had only seen once or maybe even twice in passing...but one he knew. Pretending to sigh he sat down beside Elia. His hand reaching to the dirk at her hip. She looked at him as his hand crawled up her leg, her eyes filled with puzzlement, maybe even fear. 'Or maybe there are enemies hiding in the dark.' Spinning in his seat in one fluid effortless motion Tywin drew Elia's dagger from its sheath and threw it at the spy. The steel glinted magnificently as it spun blade over handle through the air.
Tywin was already on his feet when the screams started, the blade digging deep into his shoulder. Blood beginning to pour from the wound like a crimson waterfall. Before most people even realised what was happening he was stood in front of the spy. His hand around the antler handle twisting the blade around slowly. 'Hello Ulrich.' Several yells shattered the silence as men in dark robes shrugged them from their backs revealing the gleaming silver armour with the red and black banding of knights of the royal army. Tearing the dagger from Ulrich's shoulder Tywin kneed him in the groin, dropping him to the floor. 'PROTECT THE LORDS!' Tywin bellowed as the first knight lunged at him with his hand-and-a-half sword. Dodging the attack he grabbed the straight bar of the swords hand guard, stabbing at the knights neck with the dirk. Ariel's scream rung in his ears. Amid the chaos she had run to the feet of one of the knights. She crawled away from him on her back. The knight smiled sickly. Axe lifting into the air.
Sprinting through the mass of bodies Tywin grabbed her by the back of her dress, pulling her away from the axe blade just as it hit the ground sending huge sparks glittering through the air. Picking her up he backed away from the growling knight, his dirk couldn’t stand against his axe. A hammer appeared from nowhere. Smashing into the man’s skull with a sickening crunch, the knight fell, convulsing horribly, a white foam bubbling around his mouth. Garrick looked at him as he held the bloodied hammer, then nodded before running off to rejoin the fight. 'Ariel whatever happens don't look.' he whispered to her as he bent over to pick up the dead man’s axe, she buried her tiny face into his shoulder wrapping her arms around his neck. He couldn't see anyone specific through the mass of charging bodies that were heading for the doors, but others like Elia and Rickard ran through the crowd. Looking for the royal knights.