Eddard told her. You

goodwoman, Lord Eddard told her. You say they flew no banners. What of the armor they wore? Did any of you note ornaments or decorations, devices on shield or helm?The brewer, Joss, shook his head. It grieves me, mlord, but no, the armor they showed us was plain, only . . . the one who led them, he was armored like the rest, but there was no identify him all the same. It was the size of him, mlord. Those as say the giants are all dead never saw this one, I swear. Big as an ox he was, and a voice like stone breaking.The Mountain Ser Marq said loudly. Can any man doubt it? This was Gregor Cleganes work.Ned heard muttering from beneath the windows and the far end of the hall. Even in the galley, nervous whispers were exchanged. High lords and smallfolk alik e knew what it could mean if Ser Marq was proved right. Ser Gregor Clegane stood bannerman to Lord Tywin Lannister.He studied the shake faces of the villagers. Small wonder they had been so fearful they had thought they were being dragged here to name Lord Tywin a red-handed butcher onwards a king who was his son by marriage. He wondered if the knights had given them a choice.Grand Maester Pycelle rose ponderously from the council table, his chain of office clinking. Ser Marq, with respect, you cannot know that this outlaw was Ser Gregor. There are many large men in the realm.As large as the Mountain That Rides? Ser Karyl said. I have never met one.Nor has any man here, Ser Raymun added hotly. Even his brother is a pup beside him. My lords, open your eyes. Do you need to bring down his seal on the corpses? It was Gregor.Why should Ser Gregor turn brigand? Pycelle asked. By the grace of his liege lord, he holds a stout keep and lands of his own. The man is an anointed knight. A e rroneous knight Ser Marq said. Lord Tywins mad dog.My lord Hand, Pycelle stated in a stiff voice, I urge you to remind this good knight that Lord Tywin Lannister is the male parent of our own gracious queen.Thank you, Grand Maester Pycelle, Ned said. I fear we might have forgotten that if you had not pointed it out.From his vantage point atop the throne, he could see men slipping out the door at the far end of the hall. Hares going to ground, he supposed . . . or rats off to nibble the queens cheese. He caught a glimpse of Septa Mordane in the gallery, with his daughter Sansa beside her. Ned felt a flash of anger this was no place for a girl. But the septa could not have known that at presents court would be anything but the usual tedious stage business of hearing petitions, settling disputes between rival holdfasts, and adjudicating the placement of boundary stones.At the council table below, Petyr Baelish lost enkindle in his quill and leaned forward. Ser Marq, Ser Karyl, Ser Raymunperhaps I might ask you a question? These holdfasts were under your protection. Where were you when all this slaughtering and

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