Continuing east along the Goldroad, the party continues to hop from inn to inn en route to the Tournament of the Hand in King’s Landing. As they travel, they find themselves met with growing hostility from innkeepers and travelers on the road. Some clever maneuvering by Enthin reveals that rumors have been going about that the Lorings murdered smallfolk of the Danits. Pressing for more information, Enthin uncovers that the rumors have been spread by men wearing the sigil of House Archay. Words almost come to blows on the Goldroad more than once.
Arriving at the third inn of their journey, with the temperament of the folk they meet on the road growing ever colder, the party happens upon a sellsword integral to the defamation of House Loring. Enthin’s “silver tongue” not only uncovers the source of the plot – the infamous “Fox Knight” – but also sways the sellsword to spread the truth of what he had done, to clear House Loring’s good name.
The next morning, the sellsword is found with his throat slit and pockets empty in his room at the inn. Dejected, the party continues on, just a day’s journey from King’s Landing. They are newly joined by Rog, a traveling merchant who has taken a liking to the alleged criminals.
By midday the party finds themselves in another ambush – not the work of career bandits, though; rather, they are ambushed by smallfolk from the Danit lands. After an arrow flies out of the woods, striking Reginald ineffectually in the chest, Dorian fells two men before they can even raise their swords, and Enthin’s words send the last man fleeing for his life into the woods. The dying affirm the story that the Loring brothers have heard along their travels – that men in their colors attacked the smallfolk; that the Lorings were denounced as murderers. Then, finally, the first Danit men to be slain by the Lorings expire.
The party reaches King’s Landing in the evening, though they find themselves unduly harrassed by gold cloaks at the gate. After a lengthy inspection, they are waved through and left to scramble to find beds before nightfall. Parting ways with Rog, the Lorings find a room at an inn along the River Road.
Within, the room is alive with flowing ale and busty tavern wenches and much excitement for the tournament starting but a few days hence. While the Danit pomegranate is nowhere to be seen in the room, the group does find countrymen in the Lugas trio. Enthin finds an immediate friend in Orton, while Reginald finds a kindred spirit in the boisterous, drunken Natan. Dorian joins in and soon the table is full of drink and merriment and trashtalk, Braavosi and Dornishmen alike joining in the mirth. Ser Joras, a respected knight of King’s Landing and friend of the late Mikel Loring, seeks out the boys and tells them tales of their father.
Talk soon turns from fond memories and boastful taunts to the trouble that has plagued the Lorings of late – the rumors of murder propagated by the maligned Fox Knight. Ser Joras states he knows the location of the fugitive from the King’s justice and, full of drink and confidence, Reginald and Dorian, along with their newfound friends the Lugases, Ser Gennedy and his squire Brian Telson, and Ser Joras decide that there will be a foxhunt on the morrow.
Meanwhile, Enthin avails himself to the whorehouse next door, and beds the prettiest (and priciest) slattern he can find.
The next morning, the group makes their way to the tourney fields to formally enter their name in the lists. The boasting and taunting of the night before continues, and by the end of it a number of the men are signed up for the grand melee and joust, including Reginald. Dorian is among a short but fiercely talented list for the archery tournament, and Enthin decides he is content to watch the events.
Ser Joras then leads the party into the woods just outside King’s Landing. A fruitless search yields only a boar, and the party returns to the inn with the night’s dinner but no fox. Not long after, however, Ser Joras bursts into the inn with a challenge from the Fox Knight – a duel at midnight that very night, before the Presentation of Arms the next day.
The group of knights and squires make their way to the edge of the tourney grounds, and wait for the Fox Knight to face Ser Joras, hidden in the shadows. After a very long wait, he appears, and he and Ser Joras begin their duel immediately. The aging Ser Joras is felled in short order with mortal wounds, and at this time the group emerges from the shadows, to rush to Ser Joras’ aid and slay the Fox Knight. Quickly, the Targaryen loyalist and fallen hero of House Archay finds himself impaled on Reginald’s greatsword, as Ser Joras is just barely stabilized by Dorian. The Fox Knight’s arms and shield are taken, and his corpse left impaled upon a tree branch as the party rushes to the sept with the dying Ser Joras.
Ser Joras clings to life, however, when the Lorings visit him the next morning. Then it is time for the Presentation of Arms. Reginald and Dorian trot onto the field amidst a mix of applause and whispers, with shouts of “Murderers!” clear in the crowd. The procession makes its way to the Red Keep for the evening’s banquet.
At the banquet, Reginald spies the pomegranate sigil of House Danit on the breast of Ser Addam Danit, and Enthin attempts to treat with him as Reginald and Dorian see to their fellow countrymen. Enthin’s words only stir the ire of Ser Addam, however, who rises to his feet and shouts his rage at the atrocities committed by the Lorings. Enthin presents the signet ring of House Archay, arms, and shield of the Fox Knight to King Robert. The bickering continues back and forth as those who believe the rumors argue hearsay with friends of House Loring, until King Robert shouts for silence.
Frustrated, drunk, and hungry, King Robert calls for a simple resolution to the matter. Reginald and Ser Addam will meet on the tourney field at the top of the lists for tomorrow’s joust.
The next day, the party wakes to find a box placed outside the door to their inn. Within the box is a dragonbone dagger with a secret compartment, inside which is a vial of clear, odorless liquid. Enthin identifies the substance as Tears of Lys, a most dreadful poison. Reginald offers Enthin to keep the dagger, but dispose of the poison immediately. Upon visiting Ser Joras in the Sept of Baelor, Enthin hides the vial under a bench and proceeds to the tourney grounds for the joust.
Ser Addam and Reginald, as promised, are the first joust of the day. The two charge at each other, and it appears that Ser Addam will score a telling blow until he rocks unsteadily in his seat and loses his focus. Reginald takes advantage of the opportunity and strikes him cleanly, and Ser Addam eventually loses his seat at the end of the pass. He’s escorted off the field to the medical tent, while King Robert announces the matter of the rumors resolved.
The rest of the day is spent watching the joust, as is the next day, with visits to the sept punctuating the cycle of food, drink, sleep, and joust. Shortly after his defeat, word of Ser Addam’s death begins to circulate in the crowd. Reginald faces Natan Orton, trading lance for lance until eventually Natan loses his reins. Furious, he storms off the tourney grounds. The next day, Reginald is unhorsed by Jory Cassell of Winterfell, while Dorian has a magnificent showing on the first day of the archery tournament.
Dorian duplicates the feat the next day, and soon the competition has been reduced to Ser Dorian, Jalabar Xho, Ser Balon Swann, and an archer named Anguy. The four fire their arrows in a near identical performance, with but a hair’s breadth separating the competitors. Ultimately, Anguy is named champion, with Ser Dorian just barely behind him.
Ser Loras Tyrell wins the joust, and then it is time for the grand melee. Reginald enters, along with Ser Natan, Bryan Telson the squire, Ser Gennedy, and Thoros the Red Priest of Myr, with his flaming sword. The melee begins. Ser Gennedy is, surprisingly, defeated handily by his squire Bryan. Ser Langley Woods, betrothed to Orton and Natan’s sister the Black Widow, charges at Reginald, but a single swing from Reginald’s greatsword sends the knight spinning off in a crumpled heap. Thoros is a terrible sight to behold with his flaming sword, and Ser Natan and Bryan both carve paths through the many hedge knights.
Reginald goes toe to toe with Ser Natan, felling him in one stroke as well. Clearing through more hedge knights, he faces Thoros. Once again, a single massive swing of the greatsword dismisses the Red Priest of Myr from the melee. The last two fighters standing are Bryan Telson and Reginald, and the young squire cannot stand up to the lord’s immense strength. Reginald is the victor of the grand melee.
The evening concludes with the closing feast. Knights flock to Dorian and Reginald, praising their skill and performance. Dozens of knights seek out training with Ser Dorian, and the night is full of merriment and food and drinking. The Lugases are surprisingly cold, however, and will not face the Lorings. Enthin attempts to figure out what is going on, when Orton explodes in rage, calling Reginald a murderer and stating that Ser Langley Woods has died. The whore Enthin had laid with a few nights prior appears, calling herself Lydda Danit, and calling the Lorings murderers. She claims Enthin holds a poisoned dagger, and that House Loring has slain Ser Addam Danit, Ser Langley Woods, and the smallfolk of the Danit lands.
Ser Barriston Selmy examines Enthin’s dagger, and, finding no poison in the secret compartment, King Robert dismisses Orton and Lydda from his court. They leave arm in arm. Natan stands, looking to challenge Reginald for his honor, but remembers what transpired in the grand melee and thinks better of it. The Lugases leave, and the hall returns to their feast.
The party sets out from the inn the next day for home. Ser Joras remains unconscious in the sept. Bryan Telson is seen ransoming a stunning Valyrian longsword from Ser Gennedy, and reveals himself to be of a fallen house of Dorne, Ser Gennedy having slain a family member and taking their heirloom sword for his own. Impressed by his skill in the melee and fond of the young man, Reginald invites him to return with the brothers to their home, a guest of House Loring. He accepts, and the four set out west along the Goldroad, along with a detachment of gold cloaks to guard their 20,000 golden dragon prize.