It’s the Hand’s tourney that’s the cause of all the trouble, my lords,” the Commander of the City Watch complained to the king’s council.
“The king’s tourney,” Ned corrected, wincing. “I assure you, the Hand wants no part of it.”
“Call it what you will, my lord. Knights have been arriving from all over the realm, and for every knight we get two freeriders, three craftsmen, six men-at-arms, a dozen merchants, two dozen whores, and more thieves than I dare guess. This cursed heat had half the city in a fever to start, and now with all these visitors…last night we had a drowning, a tavern riot, three knife fights, a rape, two fires, robberies beyond count, and a drunken horse race down the Street of the Sisters. The night before a woman’s head was found in the Great Sept, floating in the rainbow pool. No one seems to know how it got there or who it belongs to.”
When the Commander had taken his leave, Eddard Stark turned to the rest of the council. “The sooner this folly is done with, the better I shall like it.” As if the expense and trouble were not irksome enough, all and sundry insisted on salting Ned’s wound by calling it “the Hand’s tourney,” as if he were the cause of it. And Robert honestly seemed to think he should feel honored!
“The realm prospers from such events, my lord,” Grand Maester Pycelle said. “They bring the great the chance of glory, and the lowly a respite from their woes.”
“And put coins in many a pocket,” Littlefinger added. “Every inn in the city is full, and the whores are walking bowlegged and jingling with each step.”
Lord Renly laughed. “We’re fortunate my brother Stannis is not with us. Remember the time he proposed to outlaw brothels? The king asked him if perhaps he’d like to outlaw eating, shitting, and breathing while he was at it. If truth be told, I ofttimes wonder how Stannis ever got that ugly daughter of his. He goes to his marriage bed like a man marching to a battlefield, with a grim look in his eyes and a determination to do his duty.”
( They bring the great the chance of glory, and the lowly a respite from their woes ：the+ adj 这个结构表示名词，而且是集合名词（当做复数含义看待），如the great名门望族们，the lowly底层百姓们，the poor贫苦人民等等）
A sharp rap on the door heralded Jory Cassel. Ned closed Malleon’s tome and bid him enter. “I’ve promised the City Watch twenty of my guard until the tourney is done,” he told him. “I rely on you to make the choice. Give Alyn the command, and make certain the men understand that they are needed to stop fights, not start them.” Rising, Ned opened a cedar chest and removed a light linen undertunic. “Did you find the stableboy?”
“The watchman, my lord,” Jory said. “He vows he’ll never touch another horse.”
“What did he have to say?”
“He claims he knew Lord Arryn well. Fast friends, they were.” Jory snorted. “The Hand always gave the lads a copper on their name days, he says. Had a way with horses. Never rode his mounts too hard, and brought them carrots and apples, so they were always pleased to see him.”
“Carrots and apples,” Ned repeated. It sounded as if this boy would be even less use than the others. And he was the last of the four Littlefinger had turned up. Jory had spoken to each of them in turn. Ser Hugh had been brusque and uninformative, and arrogant as only a new-made knight can be. If the Hand wished to talk to him, he should be pleased to receive him, but he would not be questioned by a mere captain of guards…even if said captain was ten years older and a hundred times the swordsman.
（fast friends：是指good, loyal friends，好朋友，忠实的好友。原文译为一拍即合，强调的是两人对某件事物的看法想法一致，感觉并不是很符合英文原文的意思。小编觉得翻译成忠友好一些。【莫名的怀念西安门大街忠友麻辣烫
The ploughman turned up some relics of ancient times.这个农民从土里犁出了些古代遗物。）
（略）The potboy, now cordwainer, had never exchanged so much as a word with Lord Jon, but he was full of oddments of kitchen gossip: the lord had been quarreling with the king, the lord only picked at his food, the lord was sending his boy to be fostered on Dragonstone, the lord had taken a great interest in the breeding of hunting hounds, the lord had visited a master armorer to commission a new suit of plate, wrought all in pale silver with a blue jasper falcon and a mother-of-pearl moon on the breast. The king’s own brother had gone with him to help choose the design, the potboy said. No, not Lord Renly, the other one, Lord Stannis.
“Did our watchman recall anything else of note?”
“The lad swears Lord Jon was as strong as a man half his age. Often went riding with Lord Stannis, he says.”
Stannis again, Ned thought. He found that curious. Jon Arryn and he had been cordial, but never friendly. And while Robert had been riding north to Winterfell, Stannis had removed himself to Dragonstone, the Targaryen island fastness he had conquered in his brother’s name. He had given no word as to when he might return.
（ the lord only picked at his food：pick at something，英文解释为 Eat sparingly and without appetite，因为没有胃口，吃的很少。例句 He was just picking at his dinner。原文译为挑食，不大妥当。
“Where did they go on these rides?” Ned asked.
“The boy says that they visited a brothel.”
“A brothel?” Ned said. “The Lord of the Eyrie and Hand of the King visited a brothel with Stannis Baratheon?” He shook his head, incredulous, wondering what Lord Renly would make of this tidbit. Robert’s lusts were the subject of ribald drinking songs throughout the realm, but Stannis was a different sort of man; a bare year younger than the king, yet utterly unlike him, stern, humorless, unforgiving, grim in his sense of duty.
“The boy insists it’s true. The Hand took three guardsmen with him, and the boy says they were joking of it when he took their horses afterward.”
“Which brothel?” Ned asked.
“The boy did not know. The guards would.”
“A pity Lysa carried them off to the Vale,” Ned said dryly. “The gods are doing their best to vex us.Lady Lysa, Maester Colemon, Lord Stannis…everyone who might actually know the truth of what happened to Jon Arryn is a thousand leagues away.”
“Will you summon Lord Stannis back from Dragonstone?”
“Not yet,” Ned said. “Not until I have a better notion of what this is all about and where he stands.” The matter nagged at him. Why did Stannis leave? Had he played some part in Jon Arryn’s murder? Or was he afraid? Ned found it hard to imagine what could frighten Stannis Baratheon, who had once held Storm’s End through a year of siege, surviving on rats and boot leather while the Lords Tyrell and Redwyne sat outside with their hosts, banqueting in sight of his walls.
（ forthcoming：常见的意思是“即将发生的，即将到来的；临近的”。但在这里指的是willing to give information about sth 乐于提供信息。例◆ She's never very forthcoming about her plans. 她一直不很愿意说出自己的计划。）
Jory held out the doublet, and Ned slid his hands through the armholes. “Perhaps Lord Stannis will return for Robert’s tourney,” he said as Jory laced the garment up the back.
“That would be a stroke of fortune, my lord,” Jory said.
Ned buckled on a longsword. “In other words, not bloody likely.” His smile was grim.
Jory draped Ned’s cloak across his shoulders and clasped it at the throat with the Hand’s badge of office. “The armorer lives above his shop, in a large house at the top of the Street of Steel. Alyn knows the way, my lord.”
Ned nodded. “The gods help this potboy if he’s sent me off haring after shadows.” It was a slim enough staff to lean on, but the Jon Arryn that Ned Stark had known was not one to wear jeweled and silvered plate. Steel was steel; it was meant for protection, not ornament. He might have changed his views, to be sure. He would scarcely have been the first man who came to look on things differently after a few years at court…but the change was marked enough to make Ned wonder.
（The gods help this potboy if he’s sent me off haring after shadows. hare做动词，指飞快的跑，hare after shadows，直译追着影子跑，即做无用功的意思。）
The slim young serving girl took quick note of Ned’s badge and the sigil on his doublet, and the master came hurrying out, all smiles and bows. “Wine for the King’s Hand,” he told the girl, gesturing Ned to a couch. “I am Tobho Mott, my lord, please, please, put yourself at ease.” He wore a black velvet coat with hammers embroidered on the sleeves in silver thread, Around his neck was a heavy silver chain and a sapphire as large as a pigeon’s egg. “If you are in need of new arms for the Hand’s tourney, you have come to the right shop.” Ned did not bother to correct him. “My work is costly, and I make no apologies for that, my lord,” he said as he filled two matching silver goblets. “You will not find craftsmanship equal to mine anywhere in the Seven Kingdoms, I promise you. Visit every forge in King’s Landing if you like, and compare for yourself. Any village smith can hammer out a shirt of mail; my work is art.”
Ned sipped his wine and let the man go on. The Knight of Flowers bought all his armor here, Tobho boasted, and many high lords, the ones who knew fine steel, and even Lord Renly, the king’s own brother.（略）“The direwolf is the sigil of House Stark, is it not? I could fashion a direwolf helm so real that children will run from you in the street,” he vowed.
Ned smiled. “Did you make a falcon helm for Lord Arryn?”
Tobho Mott paused a long moment and set aside his wine. “The Hand did call upon me, with Lord Stannis, the king’s brother. I regret to say, they did not honor me with their patronage.”
Ned looked at the man evenly, saying nothing, waiting. He had found over the years that silence sometimes yielded more than questions. And so it was this time.
“They asked to see the boy,” the armorer said, “so I took them back to the forge.”
The master called over a tall lad about Robb’s age, his arms and chest corded with muscle. “This is Lord Stark, the new Hand of the King,” he told him as the boy looked at Ned through sullen blue eyes and pushed back sweat-soaked hair with his fingers. Thick hair, shaggy and unkempt and black as ink. The shadow of a new beard darkened his jaw. “This is Gendry. Strong for his age, and he works hard. Show the Hand that helmet you made, lad.” Almost shyly, the boy led them to his bench, and a steel helm shaped like a bull’s head, with two great curving horns.
“Gendry, when Lord Arryn came to see you, what did you talk about?”
“He asked me questions is all, m’lord.”
“What sort of questions?”
The boy shrugged. “How was I, and was I well treated, and if I liked the work, and stuff about my mother. Who she was and what she looked like and all.”
“What did you tell him?” Ned asked.
“The truth now,” Ned urged. “The streets are full of strong boys. The day you take on an apprentice without a fee will be the day the Wall comes down. Who paid for him?”
“A lord,” the master said reluctantly. “He gave no name, and wore no sigil on his coat. He paid in gold, twice the customary sum, and said he was paying once for the boy, and once for my silence.”
“He was stout, round of shoulder, not so tall as you. Brown beard, but there was a bit of red in it, I’ll swear. He wore a rich cloak, that I do remember, heavy purple velvet worked with silver threads, but the hood shadowed his face and I never did see him clear.” He hesitated a moment. “My lord, I want no trouble.”
“None of us wants trouble, but I fear these are troubled times, Master Mott,” Ned said. “You know who the boy is.”
“I am only an armorer, my lord. I know what I’m told.”
“You know who the boy is,” Ned repeated patiently. “That is not a question.”
Ned nodded. He decided that he liked Tobho Mott, master armorer. “If the day ever comes when Gendry would rather wield a sword than forge one, send him to me. He has the look of a warrior. Until then, you have my thanks, Master Mott, and my promise. Should I ever want a helm to frighten children, this will be the first place I visit.”
His guard was waiting outside with the horses. “Did you find anything, my lord?” Jacks asked as Ned mounted up.