It has been some time since I last wrote in my journal, since I have been travelling on yet another adventure of the last week or so, and yet again I have collected a grievous wound for my troubles. It appears as though it is my curse to always attract the worst attention of bandits and other miscreants! However, it could also be, as Ser Arryn is quick to point out, that my shield work needs more practice, which might make me a tempting target, at least when fighting together with such great warriors as Ser Richard Draken, Braedon and the Fellhand.
Our adventure this time took us across the Bywater Pond in response to increased bandit activity on the eastern shore. Here we discovered that our Reeve, Edmure, had betrayed his oath and joined forces with the notorious bandit leader Blackbow in Durian’s forest. The villagers on the eastern shore gave us a cold reception, having been plagued by these bandits without our knowledge for several months. We set out together with the Bywater’s Own, with Fellhand and Hill leading a small scouting force further north in order to intercept the bandits fleeing back towards the forest. When we found them, the villagers there were naturally frustrated with us at first, but thankfully they agreed to help as soon as they found out we were there to get rid of the bandits, and not to collect taxes.
We soon found out that the problem was larger than first anticipated, however, as the scouting band was ambushed, and me, Braedon, Ser Draken, Maester Thorben and young Daeron had to hold out in the abandoned watchtower in Eastwatch. Thank the Seven for Braedon and Draken’s swords, as through their help we managed to hold out long enough for the rest of the Bywater’s Own to catch up to us. When we also caught up with the survivors of out scouting band, we realised that we were in more trouble than first imagined, and that in order to bring the bandits to justice we needed help.
Thus, we set out for Fellgrove in order to seek help with my future father in-law. Here we saw that the bandits had struck Elenion lands as well, and that ser Eren Elenion was leading a large contigent of men. I had not talked to ser Eren since the disastrous events at the end of the Tournament of the Brothers, but when I were able to talk to him in private, we manage to reach an understanding. I also tried to make him put in a good word about me to his sister, the lady Lillian, though I fear that it will take much more in order to repair this burgeoning relationship. Still, it could not possibly hurt, could it?
With the aid of the Elenion soldiers, we were finally ready to strike forth towards Durian’s Forest, though the idea of marching straight into their territory without much in the way of scouts did not sit well with any of the sers, and it was when we were planning our assault that we were suddenly approached by an old adversary. It was none other than Dugan the Red, the very same bandit that led the ambush that cost young squire Roger Moss his life. Yet he still came under a peaceful banner, and I was interested in hearing what he had to say. His smaller band had been ousted from power by the Blackbow and our treacherous Reeve, and thus he offered to lead us straight to them through the night, catching them completely by surprise. In return, he wished for amnesty for him and his men, a request I granted as my father’s representative. I decided that the reward of catching all the other bandits flatfooted was worth a small band escaping justice. In this matter I think my father would have chosen the same, and I hope I made him proud.
The battle against the bandits was short and bloody, and it was there that I got my latest wound, as a bandit managed to catch up to me before I could shoot him or any of my bodyguards could intercept him. Managed to dispatch him, thankfully, but not without before he had cut down poor Robar of Southtoft. Seeing a good man lose his life in such a fashion just because he was trying to save my life was a truly humbling experience. It just shows that these so-called adventures that we have embarked upon recently are nothing like the stories I read growing up. Another reminder was the swift judgement we gave the surviving bandits. Their cries for mercy as our soldiers strung them up on the trees will probably haunt my dreams for weeks. This is something that Elaena can never understand, and yet I cannot seem to break her illusions. Let her have her stories of noble night and horrible villains, and I will keep my nightmares to myself.