The Greatjon had drunk another of Lord Walder’s brood under the table, Petyr Pimple this time. The lad has a third his capacity, what did he expect? Lord Umber wiped his mouth, stood, and began to sing. “A bear there was, a bear, a BEAR! All black and brown and covered with hair!” His voice was not at all bad, though somewhat thick from drink. Unfortunately the fiddlers and drummers and flutists up above were playing “Flowers of Spring,” which suited the words of “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” as well as snails might suit a bowl of porridge. Even poor Jinglebell covered his ears at the cacophony.
Roose Bolton murmured some words too soft to hear and went off in search of a privy. The cramped hall was in a constant uproar of guests and servants coming and going. A second feast, for knights and lords of somewhat lesser rank, was roaring along in the other castle, she knew. Lord Walder had exiled his baseborn children and their offspring to that side of the river, so that Robb’s northmen had taken to referring to it as “the bastard feast.” Some guests were no doubt stealing off to see if the bastards were having a better time than they were. Some might even be venturing as far as the camps. The Freys had provided wagons of wine, ale and mead, so the common soldiers could drink to the wedding of Riverrun and the Twins.
Robb sat down in Bolton’s vacant place. “A few more hours and this farce is done, Mother,” he said in a low voice, as the Greatjon sang of the maid with honey in her hair. “Black Walder’s been mild as a lamb for once. And Uncle Edmure seems well content in his bride.” He leaned across her. “Ser Ryman?”
Ser Ryman Frey blinked and said, “Sire. Yes?”
“I’d hoped to ask Olyvar to squire for me when we march north,” said Robb, “but I do not see him here. Would he be at the other feast?”
“Olyvar?” Ser Ryman shook his head. “No. Not Olyvar. Gone . . . gone from the castles. Duty.”
“I see.” Robb’s tone suggested otherwise. When Ser Ryman offered nothing more, the king got to his feet again. “Would you care for a dance, Mother?”
“Thank you, but no.” A dance was the last thing she needed, the way her head was throbbing. “No doubt one of Lord Walder’s daughters would be pleased to partner you.”
“Oh, no doubt.” His smile was resigned.
The musicians were playing “Iron Lances” by then, while the Greatjon sang “The Lusty Lad.” Someone should acquaint them with each other, it might improve the harmony. Catelyn turned back to Ser Ryman. “I had heard that one of your cousins was a singer.”
“Alesander. Symond’s son. Alyx is his sister.” He raised a cup toward where she danced with Robin Flint.
“Will Alesander be playing for us tonight?”
Ser Ryman squinted at her. “Not him. He’s away.” He wiped sweat from his brow and lurched to his feet. “Pardons, my lady. Pardons.” Catelyn watched him stagger toward the door.
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