Brienne plodded across the muddy field in her borrowed armour; an unfamiliar blade on her hip. She’d considered taking her own blade, the sword she had purchased on the streets of King’s Landing many moons before, but knew Ser Jaime would recognise it in an instant. He’d clashed with it often enough; had felt the point against his throat or the soft of his belly. So Brienne had left it behind, and came onto the tourney field as the blue knight.
Other knights gathered; swinging swords and morning stars and shields painted with sigils Brienne recognised from her lessons with Septa Roelle. Amongst them stood Ser Jaime Lannister; the golden lion a familiar face in Ashemark. He nodded at her as she approached, her visor down.
“Have we met before?” Ser Jaime asked, green eyes taking in her ill-fitting armour and solid blue shield. “I know most who fight in these parts.”
“No,” Brienne said, adopting a gruff tone to hide her clipped vowels. “Nah, I usually fight in the Stormlands.”
Ser Jaime grinned. “A Stormlands lad. The home of our good king.”
At that point, a passing merchant spat at Ser Jaime’s feet. Even in the Westerlands, the shadow of Casterly Rock and Tywin Lannister looming over it, people still knew him as the Kingslayer. Ser Jaime took it with the good grace she knew so well, and simply shrugged. A few more challengers joined the field for the melee; several eyeing a member of the Kingsguard and the mystery knight he stood beside.
One of them seemed to recognise Ser Jaime. The man approached them, clapping Jaime upon the shoulder. “My Lord. It’s good to see you. I thought you would be in King’s Landing guarding our good King.”
“Princess Brienne is travelling through the kingdoms, visiting all the noble houses. A coming of age procession.” Of sorts. She’d come of age two years before but they were at war then, and nothing more than a Lord’s daughter besides. “I am tasked with her protection, but not today.”
No, two of the Hand’s personal guards had been tasked to protect her whilst Ser Jaime fought in the tourney. Tywin Lannister’s money could buy many things, but not competency. Brienne only had to claim her monthly blood had arrived before the men closed the door and stood at the far end of the hall. It hadn’t taken much for Brienne to sneak out and take her place at the tourney.
“I hear she’s quite something, the Princess. As large as an aurochs, but not quite as pretty.”
The man laughed, as did two close enough to hear. Ser Jaime did not. He grabbed the man by the scruff of his collar and pulled him close. “You insult our Princess again, and I will cut out your tongue. Clear.”
Ser Jaime pushed him into the dirt before storming away. Brienne watched him; stomach churning. No one had ever defended her before. No one.