All trademarked items in this fanfiction is owned by their respective copyright holders (A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio by Ark Performance, etc). The ones owned by me are future OCs, plot, and author's thoughts. This fanfiction is made solely for entertainment purposes and not intended for any material gain.
An Arpeggio of Ice on Fire
"This is really quite impressive for a wooden construction…" Yamato marveled as Tyrion lead her through the tribune reserved for the Lannisters. The arena has been erected not far from the jousting lane that would be used for the finals in the afternoon. "And then this whole tribune get disassembled after the tourney concluded?"
"Yes," Tyrion replied. "Reusable parts gets saved for the next tourney, but there would indeed be parts that are simply too worn out or simply unsafe to reuse."
"You'd thought with the frequency of the tourneys the kingdom would erect a more permanent activity complex," Hamakaze said, rubbing her chin.
"Perhaps it was deemed not worth the expenditure… though that particular thought is understandable," Tyrion said as they approach the designated seating. "Does Old Nihon had a similar tradition, my lady?"
"If my memory of the archives serves, contests of martial prowess in Old Nihon are usually much less overt than this," Hamakaze said. "A nobleman would put up notices of a contest of arms, and a handful of masters and come-what-mays will attend the event. Usually it would be done in the yard of the mansion belonging to the noble who held the event, with limited audience. It is essentially a series of duels."
"Nonetheless, there are records of great structures used for sporting events in Nanban… I mean, lands foreign of Old Nihon. The Ippo-doromo of Heirenika was particularly well-documented," Yamato said as they arrived in the box seating. Tywin is already seated there. "Ah, good morning my Lord of Lannister."
"Good morning to you as well, my Lady of Kirino," Tywin said. "Tyrion, how bade my investment for this contest?"
"It has been taken care of, sire," Tyrion replied to the question. "Twenty dragons has been invested on Ser Clegane, and ten each had been invested on Prince Oberyn and Sers Soddart, Selmy, Piper, and Fossoway. The rest are reserved for jousting."
"Interesting picks," Tywin commented. "We'll see how this will turn out."
"Begin!" the king commanded, and the melee starts.
The black-armored Swordheart quickly retreated from the main brawl in the middle of the arena, circling around on her foot as to gauge the situation. Her curved naginata was held alert, in case some of the fighting spill out towards her. The thickest of the fight seemed to revolve around The Mountain, where he seemed determined to mow down as many knights as he can.
Her quiet respite was broken when a hedge knight charged at her atop his steed. Musing for a moment that the condition couldn't be any more unfair, the lithe warrior quickly evaded the charge while hooking the knight with the curve of her Naginata. The rider quickly finds himself on the ground, and after two blows to his sword hand, yielded.
"Ho, a spear-user?" a lilting voice questioned, his tone full of amused curiosity. "And definitely not a style I have encountered before."
"The Viper of Dorne…?" Swordheart grumbled.
"My name precedes me, I see?" the amused Viper replied. "I'd love to test my skill against yours, Lannister sworn-sword… but a spear in close quarters bring more woe than joy. Truce until there's enough space?"
"Accepted," Swordheart affirmed. "Guard my back as I guard yours?"
"It shall be done," the Dornish man said.
"The Viper! I will be famous if I can beat you!" a knight with a green shield bellowed as he charged the Viper's position. The Viper's visor-less helm betrayed his amused smile as he readied his spear, but the westerman knight's quick trip to the charging knight's ankle made it more amused still. A few jabs of his to divest the helm, and the Reacher knight yielded with a gash on his cheekbone.
"A curious weapon," the Viper remarked as he sent a knight with blue shield tumbling. "I have to ask where you procure it, Ser."
"An Essosi merchant sold me a faulty saber for a pittance," Swordheart replied succinctly as she divested the shield from another freshly-tripped knight, prompting him to jump back up while retreating a step. A quick twirl brought the end-weight of her naginata to his jaw, knocking him out. "Thought it would do well atop a stick, and turns out better with a counterweight."
"Oh, such an original thought," the Viper said. "I can sense that this is a start of a beautiful friendship, my friend."
"They'd say less chatting, more beating," Swordheart replied, parrying the advance of a hedge knight.
"Look at my girl go," Yamato remarked happily. She sat on a seat of honor, beside the patriarch of House Lannister who looks to the arena with mild interest. "Making friends and taking names! I can't be much prouder!"
"She is attracting quite a lot of attention," Tywin replied. "A keen sense in choosing allies, too. Between her and Oberyn Martell, their personal skill can overpower most of the participants… much less combined like that. I'd say only The Mountain and The Old Ser stood any chance to defeat the both of them now."
"I wonder if Dorne would like an alliance by marriage…" Yamato wondered.
"The Martells hate us Lannisters on principle, allies included. Prince Oberyn is a maverick, but I'm sure even he wouldn't cross his older brother," Tywin said. "I doubt your prospects with them is better than, say, The North."
"But beside The Westerlands, they are the only people whose heirs has reasonable age differences to our women," Yamato reasoned.
"There are also the Tyrells of The Reach," Tywin countered. "If you are willing to overlook the lack of… normality on my son, surely Willas Tyrell's lack of one good foot will not deter you."
"You have a point there," Yamato conceded.
It felt like an eternity in the melee arena. People come and go, trying their luck against the many other combatants of the arena. Some walk away with victory, half walk away with varying injuries too great, and another half yielded for fear of their lives. The mounted combatants, little in numbers they are, has been the first few to go. Most has fell to the two lancers currently remaining in the arena.
As fate has seemed to decree, only four were left in the arena. The two lances of Swordheart and The Viper of Dorne stands tall, guarding each other's backs with ease befitting of the best sell-swords across the sea. The white enameled plate of Ser Barristan Selmy gleamed bright to the afternoon sun, its wearer standing tall despite his advanced age. The final contestant, Gregor Clegane, readies his greatsword and shield.
"If I may, Lannister sworn-sword, I shall take the big one," Oberyn growled, eyeing the giant with a gleeful smirk.
"I don't mind," Swordheart replied simply, before bolting to the direction of the Kingsguard. The white-armored swordsman is evidently ready, as he brought his kite shield to bear against her pouncing chop. Steel rang as the two clashed, Barristan holding the advantage of defense while Swordheart held the reach.
The stalemate then was broken by a man's body flying across the distance between them. Evidently, the difference in mass was still too much to overcome for The Viper's finesse and skill. The Dornish man groaned as he tried to get up, coughing. Thus, when the Mountain's sword came crashing down, he had no time to put up the defense.
"Gaaaah!" a shout sounded as Swordheart's polearm crashed to the Mountain's arm, altering the trajectory of the blow just enough for The Viper to barely dodge to safety.
"YOU!" Gregor Clegane roared as his potentially-devastating charge gets averted.
"Yes, me," grunted the knight in black, jumping back to safety.
"YOU DIE!" Gregor roared.
"Much say, such eloquent, wow," the smaller knight taunted, her polearm at the ready as the knight talked casually to Barristan. "Apologies, Ser Kingsguard! It appears that my comrade's enemy has taken me as his!"
The old knight's answer were drowned by The Mountain's roar as he charged the black knight, greatsword swinging wildly. Swordheart darted around just outside his reach, trying to deliver a blow through holes in his defense. The Viper tried to get up, but he leaned heavily in his spear as the kingsguard knight approached.
"Prince Oberyn, you are greatly injured," Barristan said. "Please yield and get your wounds treated."
"That is my sister's murderer," Oberyn snarled, his feet unsteady. "I will not stop until he lay dead on my feet!"
"I'm afraid I have to persuade you the hard way, then," Barristan said as he smashed his plate gauntlet to Oberyn's jaw. The Dornish man went out like a snuffed candle.
"Ooh, that's going to ache in the morning," Hamakaze commented.
"Another bet down the drain," Tyrion replied, sighing.
"I'm sure whoever wins this would pay handsomely indeed," Yamato said. "I don't think a black horse like our cousin could command good odds, especially against as renowned a knight as Ser Clegane."
"Aye, but with such odds the payout is bound to be better," Tyrion replied. "Last I checked, the payout for our Soddart would be one against forty. Worse than Caine Banefort in fact, and he is of little renown outside of the Westerlands."
"I'm sure you'll be reaping your profits either way," Hamakaze giggled.
"I wasn't sure until yesterday, really," Tyrion said. "I was placing my father's bets in several contestants, but wasn't quite sure whether to put it on… Soddart as well. Until he threw Sandor with a thrust, at least."
"I am probably the opposite here, my lord," Hamakaze said, momentarily drawing a tense breath at Swordheart's narrow escape from Gregor's overhead chop. "We are filled with confidence up until I see Gregor Clegane. Lady Yamato ordered a lesser bet to be placed on him, in fact."
"It's good to cover your bases. Elementary lesson in investment, really," Tyrion commented. "How about the jousts? Did you threw in some bets too?"
"Only on Ser Oakheart and Ser Gerion," Hamakaze said, sighing as Swordheart made another narrow dodge.
"Ghh-!" Swordheart grunted as she let her backwards leap take away the momentum of The Mountain's blow, reducing the damage she felt through her armor and padding.
"Are you alright, boy?" Barristan said, having taken care of Oberyn's evacuation from the field.
"Jolly good," Swordheart replied succinctly. The Mountain did not pursue the exchange, apparently quite winded himself.
"I'll try to buy you some time," Barristan said, stepping up in front of Swordheart. "Think long and good about fighting him."
"Much appreciated good Ser," Swordheart replied, taking her time to recover as Barristan traded blows with Gregor. The clash between the two stoked the crowd to feverish heights, a legendary knight against a renowned warrior.
"Uuurgh… ghraaaaaaa!" Gregor suddenly roared, seemingly finding a second wind some twenty blows into his duel with Barristan. The Old Ser tried staying his ground, but a mighty blow he couldn't effectively parry hit his left leg and broke the stability of his stance.
"Agh!" Barristan grunted as he was thrown to the ground by a follow-up blow. Now at the mercy of the towering brute, he defiantly raised his shield to guard against a coming overhead chop.
The strong blow never came, as in that moment Swordheart rejoined the fray with a shoulder-tackle that caused Gregor to flinch. The big man was angered further and tried to cleave the black-armored knight, but Swordheart has darted out of the way of his greatsword. The crowd went wild.
"By The Seven…" Barristan grunted as he tried to stand. The battle between that plucky black knight and the Mountain of The West was still raging not four spear-length from Barristan, barely audible over the fevered din of the spectators. He tried to use his shield as a leverage to stand, to slow progress.
"DIIIIIEEEE!" Gregor roared. The black spearman in front of him just refused to die! Gregor's eyes were tinged red, and his heart was trying to hammer out of his eardrums; His armor felt like it was seconds from catching fire. The black spearman stood tall still. He desperately looked around, looking for an advantage. Thus Gregor saw Barristan, the old man halfway to being upright.
The mountainous man let out a beastly roar and charged… the old knight.
"MATTEEEEEE!" Swordheart screamed, helpless to see as Barristan was bowled over by Gregor's charge. The old man's body came flying, only stopping as he hit a few medics who scrambled to catch him. They collapse into a tumbled heap, not moving for a split-second Swordheart was looking.
"MONGREL!" Swordheart shouted, her tone thick with anger as she shifted her stance. Her hand shifted in her stance, entering a familiar stance for people watching the Red Bracket's preliminary fight. "FACE ME YOU COWARD!"
Gregor was momentarily stunned. Something he could not logically attribute washed around him, centered on his sole remaining opponent. Something pricks at his senses. Perhaps fear? Yet fear should have had no hold of him. The black spearman stood, less than twenty paces away.
A beat of calm reigned. Then, the smaller Westerlander champion charged. There were a single, brief note of tortured metal, and the crowd saw Gregor Clegane staggering back. He was shrieking, trying to get his shield off of his arm. His sword lay forgotten, tossed in the struggle to get the shield off. It got to a point where the giant was rolling on the ground, broken shaft of the black knight's spear lying nearby.
The audience's confusion vanished after they saw it. Swordheart's glaive-blade has joined Gregor's arm, armor, and shield like a demented nail. Its blade had pierced through his many layers of protection, for even when blunt the metal retains enough of a piercing point. The moment of silence erupted into an exultant cheer.
It was not flawless, but it was a clear victory.
The 'mattteeee' Swordheart screamed is meant to be the Japanese matte, which means 'wait'.
Yamato sounding like she's bullshitting Tyrion? She is and since the Westerosi doesn't have any third-party reference of them they can't really confirm Yama's truthfulness.
How Yahagi speared through? Sushi Space Shamanic Shintoism. And quantum physics probably.
I decided to post this early since much of it is about 75% done... since all the way back when I was writing Swordheart vs Jaime. Adding the chapter finale and rounding off the rough edges went quickly.
Well there you have it, the season one climax episode! I have about 3 more chapters from this 'Book', and after that... well, we'll see. 300 follows is the strongest readership I have so far, so hey, might as well continue into Book II right? I have (admittedly pretty rough) outlines for events of a great unmasking, a civil war, Drogo's invasion (can't leave that tantalizing thread I left back then hanging can we), all the way to War of Dawn v.2 and even a few inkblots on JonCon's alleged Aegon. So yeah, there will be a continuation. Leave your opinion of this in the review section if you want!
Also, that headpats-reon/ko-fi/donation box thing should be up before the next chapter.