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12 August 2012 @ 11:50 am
The Tourney  
Title: The Tourney
Date posted: 08-12-12
Fandom: BSG
Word count: 2827
Disclaimer: These characters definitely don't belong to me, but instead RDM. Neither does the Game of Thrones universe, which belongs to GRRM.
Characters: Natalie, Gavriel, Tigh and Ellen, and brief appearances by Sam, Lee, Helo, Kara and Cavil.
Notes: The lovely hearts_blood requested "Natalie/Gavriel, in a medieval or fantasy setting, with Gav as a poor knight and Nat as a lady of noble birth" forever ago in this AU meme. Medieval/Fantasy setting immediately translated to 'Game of Thrones' so I had waaaay too much fun making that all work out, and then it turned into kind of a beast of a fic. Special thanks to miabicicletta, who encouraged me greatly.



Lady Natalie Tigh of Firstfound had never particularly appreciated tourneys. The boasting of knights grew tedious, the clashing of lances and armor cacophonous, and the shrieks of injured horses made her ill. But her lady mother had insisted that a tourney be given in Natalie’s honor, and Lord Saul Tigh had never seen reason to deny her.

“Your lord father must needs find you a husband,” Lady Ellen had said as one of her ladies in waiting dressed her hair. The audience at the tourney were to include the highest houses, and Lady Ellen was never one to let an occasion pass where House Tigh might exert its power. Their sigil was a falcon for a reason. “The finest knights in the kingdom will joust for your hand, sweetling. When I was a maid...” Her lady mother trailed off, as she so often did, so that the hidden meaning might hang heavily in the air. Lady Ellen had prayed to every god that would listen for a husband from a strong house, and in their wisdom, they had delivered.

Natalie had said nothing and let ladies arrange her hair and lace her into the sky blue gown that had been made for the occasion. Her elder brother John had never needed to go through such paces, but his position as the heir of Firstfound was secure. It was Natalie who needed a lord husband.

The tourney, which had been open to knights of lower houses and bannermen, had started the day before, and there had been the normal upsets. Ser Brendan Costanza had been upset by Ser Karl Agathon in an early match. Ser Agathon had bested several knights without sullying the pale grey of his tunic before coming against Ser Leland Adama, where he had laid down his sword rather than joust with him. “I could not raise my blade against my brother,” the knight had said to jeers. Personally Natalie thought it was honorable of him not to fight the man he had grown up with in the far-off halls of Valkyrie under Lord Novacek’s care. Ser Leland, called the Young Bull after his house’s sigil, had already bested the hedge knight Alastair Thorne, who had scowled and thrown his lance to the ground.

Seated on the dais next to her lord father, Natalie had a perfect view of the jousting, though she willed her mind to ignore the bloodshed. Already three knights had been wounded and one killed. The day was nearly over, and soon her champion would prance before the spectators on his destrier and name one of the ladies the Queen of Love and Beauty, the title she held currently as the daughter of the lord hosting the tourney. “Daughter,” Lord Saul said, leaning in to catch her ear, “There aren’t just little lordlings fighting for you.”

“Oh?” Natalie asked, scanning the field before her. She recognized all the banners. “Who do you mean, Father?”

Lord Saul motioned to the right of the field at a man whose armor was dented but sturdy, and whose horse was a mere rounsey. He was fair, and tall, and he stubbornly kept his back to her the whole time. “A hedge knight, to be sure,” Lord Saul said, “He squired for Ser Jurgen.”

“But he is not sworn to House Cain?” Ser Jurgen Belzen was a landed knight whose house had long been loyal to its liege lord. It was unusual that a knight who had been his squire would have refused to swear fealty to his lord’s lord.

“He felt the winged horse was too violent a sigil to serve under.”

Natalie couldn’t quite tell how her father judged this knight’s actions, as he abhorred disloyalty but was no great admirer of House Cain. “And what do you think, Father?”

Lord Saul quirked his mouth. “I think you had best hope that Ser Leland does not win the day. He’ll make Lady Kara the Queen of Love and Beauty and she’ll beat him with her crown.”

The idea of her cousin beating a knight over the head with roses made Natalie giggle. Kara was the only daughter of her mother’s brother, Lord Daniel Thrace. Kara would have prefered to joust herself rather than watch. “He hopes to make her his bride.”

“He’ll have a fine time with her,” Lord Saul grumbled good-naturedly. “He might have made you his bride, Natalie.”

“It was your wish, and Lord William’s, more than mine or his,” Natalie reminded him. Their fathers had been pages and squires for Lord Nagala in their youth and were as close as brothers of blood.“What is his name, this hedge knight?”

“Ser Gavriel Atasare.”

“And who will he joust?”

“Ser Leland. Ser Karl and Samuel are next--”

“-- And the champions will do battle, and then the champion there will fight my brother.” Natalie had no desire to watch that. Her brother was not known for his sportsmanship.

With a long, lingering look towards Lady Kara, Ser Leland mounted his destrier and lowered his helm. On the far side of the field, Ser Gavriel mounted. Natalie leaned forward in her seat despite herself.

The first pass failed to anything more than startle the horses. The second rattled armor, but nothing more. And the third pass unseated Ser Leland so spectacularly that every spectator gasped.

Natalie gripped her father’s arm. “Do you think he’s hurt? I don’t see blood--”

Lord Saul’s mouth was a thin line. “Hush,” he said irritably, trying to shake off her hand. For a tense moment Ser Leland lay completely still as his squires flittered around him. A maester was just crossing to him when slowly, painfully, Ser Leland sat up.

In the fray, no one had noticed that the victor had dismounted and crossed to Ser Leland to kneel beside him. “What is he doing?” Natalie asked. Competitors never spoke on the field. After a moment, Ser Leland allowed Ser Gavriel to help him to his feet and off the field.

“The hedge knight is unusual,” Lord Tigh said with a grudging respect.

“Careful, Father,” Natalie said, her voice light, “Someone might take your words as approval.”

As expected, Ser Samuel Anders of Andheld defeated Ser Karl, and their match was honorable and straightforward. “Your brother will not like to meet Ser Samuel in battle,” Lord Saul said darkly. It reflected poorly on their house when its heir behaved pettily.

“It’s not certain he will,” Natalie reminded him, “Ser Samuel and Ser Gavriel must joust first.”

Natalie did not have big hopes for the unknown knight. Ser Samuel was a valiant jouster, and had won several tourneys in the years since he had been knighted. The only son of an old house, Ser Samuel was definitely someone Lord Saul would like his daughter to wed. “Ser Samuel will win the day,” Lord Saul said confidently, with no thought for his own son, “And he’ll have the sense to name you his queen.”

Ser Samuel, resplendent in his green tunic, lasted one pass more than Ser Leland before he too was unhorsed without bloodshed. Next to Natalie, Lord Saul’s blood boiled.

“I’ll not have the day won by a hedge knight in my own house!” he bellowed, waving over an unlucky squire. “You, boy, get me my son. We must have words--”

“Father, please,” Natalie said, stilling his angry words. “My brother will of course be on the field already. A meeting right now would serve only to rattle his confidence, would it not?”

Lord Saul glared at her for a second, but relented. “You are quite often wise, Natalie,” he said to her as he turned back to watch Ser Samuel stride off the field, leading his horse. “You will govern a fine house one day. I am to make sure of that, or your lady mother will have my head.”

“My hand is not the prize of the day,” Natalie reminded him sensibly, “Even should Ser Gavriel win.”

When her brother entered the field a great cry rose from the stands, the work of their all smallfolk, who dared not ignore their heir. John’s helm gleamed in the day’s light, their sigil embroidered in silver thread on the sky blue of his doublet. From this distance Natalie could be charitable and said that her brother looked dashing, as one could not see the far too cunning cut of his eyes. He mounted his destrier, Centurion, and rode forth.

“He will bring honor to our house,” Lord Saul said, though Natalie suspected that it was not meant for her ears but as a reminder to the seven gods. Her lord father’s relationship with his heir was an uneasy one, as Lord Saul had always felt that his lady wife had spoilt him after the loss of their first son, who had been named for Lady Ellen’s brother. Lord Saul had hoped for an heir who would be good and just and noble, and instead there was angry, bitter John, who had been given everything. Natalie felt tenderly for her father and took his hand.

Her brother lasted on his horse for a single, dismal pass before being unseated, and Lord Saul slumped in his seat. “Sound the horns for the champions,” he said to his castellan. “He won’t speak if we’ve called for the champion--”

But John did not wait. He drew his sword as he stood next to Centurion. “You dare unseat a lord?” He called, removing his helm and throwing it to the ground. John was known for his tempers. “Come and face your better!”

“Father,” Natalie said urgently. Though John did not yet possess Vigilante, the ancestral greatsword made of Valyrian steel that belonged to the lord of Firstfound, his sword had been made by the smiths of Firstfound, and a poor hedge knight’s blade would be no match for it, “Call for the champion. We’ve no need for the heraldry.”

“We must wait,” Lord Saul answered, though he was sitting up straight to watch his son, eyes narrowed.

The hedge knight had dismounted and was approaching John. Natalie could see the fretful motions of her brother’s sword, the itch he had to strike the man who had embarrassed him. “He’ll kill him,” Natalie said to Lord Saul, clutching his arm. “That will bring greater dishonor than not waiting for horns.”

“We will wait,” Lord Saul said, and Ser Gavriel stopped in front of her brother.

“You dare face me without removing your helm?” John exclaimed in a rage, and he raised his sword so that light arced off.

Natalie knew what his tone meant, and could see the scene unfolding before her eyes. Her brother would lose control once more, and another man would be unfairly caught in its whirlwind. She had never been exceptionally close to her brother, but she had never gone against him before. “Champion!” she exclaimed, leaping to her feet. “I demand an audience with my champion.”

Every eye at the tourney turned to her. Even John turned to face her, his face contorted with rage. He wouldn’t dare strike the hedge knight now. “It is my right,” she continued bravely, though she felt cold all over with nerves, “Ser Gavriel Atasare, come forward.”

Her brother’s face warned her of repercussions to come, but Ser Gavriel took his rounsey by the reins and approached the dais.

“Milady,” he said, bowing awkwardly, and it was only after that he remembered his manners and removed his helm. When his face was revealed, Natalie was struck more by the kindness in his eyes than the beauty of his features.

“Ser Knight,” Natalie said, inclining her head, “It is customary for the victor of the tourney to dedicate his victory to the woman he deems worthy of the title ‘Queen of Love and Beauty.’

Ser Gavriel looked her straight in the eye. “Yes, milady.”

A page approached the knight with the wreath of red and white roses on a small velvet pillow. “If it pleases you, Ser Gavriel, you may name your queen.”

Out of the corner of her eye Natalie could just see her brother and Centurion leaving the field, but she didn’t look away from the knight, who stood so tall and sure before her. He was a deserving victor, she thought.

“I can see but one maid worthy of the name, milady,” Ser Gavriel said, and he swung himself up onto his horse in as smooth a movement as his armor would allow. Once seated, he took the crown from the page carefully, and rode his rounsey forward. “Lords and ladies, it pleases me to name the Lady Natalie the Queen of Love and Beauty this day.”

~*~

“Just because he won the day does not mean he has earned your company for the entire feast,” Lady Ellen murmured to her daughter.

“That is precisely what it means, Mother,” Natalie replied softly. Her champion sat at the far end of the table, but she intended to dance with him tonight, and more than once. “I am his queen for the evening.”

Natalie,” her lady mother said sharply, “You’re not to say that again.”

Natalie sighed. “Mother, please.”

“‘Mother, please,’” Lady Ellen echoed, “What would happen if Ser Samuel were to ask for your hand this night, only to see you dancing with a hedge knight?”

“Is Ser Samuel going to ask for my hand?” Natalie asked sensibly, “For he’s made no move to speak with Father.”

“And if his intentions were known, you would behave decently?”

Natalie sighed. “Mother, Ser Samuel and I were playmates as babes. If he intended to ask for my hand, I would know.”

“You should take this more seriously,” Lady Ellen hissed. “If something were to happen to your father, Gods forbid--”

The meaning hung heavily in Natalie’s throat. If she wasn’t married when John inherited, he would arrange a marriage for her, and one that suited only him. Natalie had never heard her lady mother speak against her own son, but there was fear in her eyes. Her father was an old man now. They had to think of the future when John was the lord of Firstfound.

Before Natalie could reply, there was a gentle voice saying, “I beg your pardons, miladies,” and she saw that Ser Gavriel had left his seat to stand before her.

Her mother winced at his failure to say “my ladies” as a lord would, but Natalie only said, “You’re the champion of the tourney, good ser, you have no need to ask our pardons.”

Despite his boldness on the field, Ser Gavriel had an undercurrent of nervousness about him. An evening amongst lords and ladies in the great hall of Firstfound was clearly not what he was accustomed to. Natalie smiled sweetly at him.

As if bolstered by her smile, Ser Gavriel said, “I believe, milady, that it is customary for the champion and the queen of the tourney to start the first dance of the evening.”

“That is how the custom goes,” Natalie answered lightly, her fingers brushing lightly against the roses in the thick wreath upon her head, “But if you see a maid more to your liking...”

“No,” Ser Gavriel said too quickly, and Natalie found herself charmed, “What I mean is, milady, that I request the first dance.”

Lady Ellen was not impressed by his awkward request, but Natalie inclined her head. “I am honored, Ser Knight.”

Natalie took note of the activities that started once she took Ser Gavriel’s hand. Her cousin Kara immediately stopped discussing the tourney with Ser Karl. Lady Laura Adama made her way to Lady Ellen’s side, no doubt to commiserate in horror over Natalie’s bold action. Her lord father stopped speaking with Lord William to watch warily. Her brother scowled and pushed the serving maid who had been perched on his knee away.

“It seems we are quite the spectacle, milady,” Ser Gavriel murmured when they stood in the center of the hall. He put a hand on her waist.

“So it appears, ser,” Natalie replied, “But as your queen I command that you take no note of them.”

Ser Gavriel’s smile reached his eyes as he laughed in surprise. A lady was not to be so bold. “I beg your pardon, my queen. I have forgotten myself. It is my sworn duty to do your bidding.”

“Indeed,” Natalie said, looking up at him through her eyelashes. It was rare that a man was taller than her, and she relished it. “And I command you to pay no attention to those watching.”

“And what should I pay attention to, your grace?” Ser Gavriel’s voice was low and warm and Natalie could feel it radiating throughout her body, and he squeezed the hand he held lightly.

“Me, Ser Knight,” Natalie answered as the music started. “You should see only me.”

“By your command,” came his reverent reply, and they began their dance.
 
 
 
Psychotic Writing Muses: Six - Wants in Two's pants.hearts_blood on August 12th, 2012 04:04 pm (UTC)
OH. MY. GOD. HOW DO I EVEN?!

This is everything I could have ever DREAMED OF and so much more! Eee! Flaily. Flailllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!

All the men jousting for Natalie's favor. Sam being Natalie's childhood playmate. Kara bashing Lee over the head with a crown of roses, omg. And my sweet Gavriel! Helping Lee off the ground like the perfect soul that he is! And John being the utter prick that he is! YES. *happily imagines Gav beating the crap out of John in front of thousands of witnesses*

Gav being all awkward and shy in front of Ellen! Natalie being much too bold in front of her mother!

JOHN RIDING A HORSE NAMED CENTURION.

GAV AND NATALIE AND BY YOUR COMMAND.

Thank you thank you thank you!!!!! ♥♥♥♥♥
Une Frakkante Cylonne: Natalie- with Leoben- lostinapapercupsunshine_queen on August 12th, 2012 04:17 pm (UTC)
Ahhhh I am so happy you enjoyed this! I had so much fun writing this EVEN IF IT TOOK ME AN ETERNITY I AM SO SORRY, but thank you so much for the prompt!

(Actually, the 'by your command' came about SECONDS BEFORE I POSTED IT because I was like, wait, wait, I can make this better. And I think it did!)
Psychotic Writing Muses: Leoben - Thoughtful Leoben is thoughtfulhearts_blood on August 12th, 2012 04:27 pm (UTC)
As I have yet to stop flailing because of it, YES I THINK IT MADE IT BETTER. :D:D:D
Une Frakkante Cylonne: BSG- family of alkies- anno_superstarsunshine_queen on August 12th, 2012 04:34 pm (UTC)
:D :D :D Really, so delighted that you enjoyed this. I know you don't watch/haven't read GoT so if you have any questions or whatever just, you know. Holler.
Psychotic Writing Muses: Caprica-Gaius - walk the fieldshearts_blood on August 12th, 2012 04:59 pm (UTC)
It's definitely on my list of things to watch! ...Of course now I'm not going to be able to.watch it without wondering where the heck Lady Natalie and See Gavriel are.... ;)
Une Frakkante Cylonne: Cersei- fierce- tea_and_bananassunshine_queen on August 12th, 2012 05:53 pm (UTC)
LOL, that will be rough. Take comfort in the fact that the Lannisters are the Cylons of Westeros.
Psychotic Writing Muses: BSG - Toaster!hearts_blood on August 12th, 2012 05:55 pm (UTC)
Oooh... that'll be a good way of looking at it. ;)
the moon accepts your ridiculous proposal: catelyn veilmiabicicletta on August 14th, 2012 03:20 am (UTC)
This makes my night! I loved your line about Kara, and the way you imagine the characters in this world is just spot on. I love it! Never ever stop writing, boo. You are so breathtakingly talented and know how to make a phrase that is so perfectly crafted that I think Yes, yes that is precisely the way that is meant to be said with every line you render.

Gorgeous. <3 <3 <3
Une Frakkante Cylonne: GoT- Sansa Cersei Crown- lurid_personasunshine_queen on August 14th, 2012 03:33 am (UTC)
Oh bitsy, I deserve maybe a quarter of your praise! You are so sweet and I'm glad you enjoyed this. (Relatedly, YOUR ICON. <3)