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Stoney Sept was the biggest town Arya had seen since King’s Landing, and Harwin said her father had won a famous battle here.  “The Mad King’s men had been hunting Robert, trying to catch him before he could rejoin your father,” he told her as they rode toward the gate. “He was wounded, being tended by some friends, when Lord Connington the Hand took the town with a mighty force and started searching house by house. Before they could find him, though, Lord Eddard and your grandfather came down on the town and stormed the walls. Lord Connington fought back fierce. They battled in the streets and alleys, even on the rooftops, and all the septons rang their bells so the smallfolk would know to lock their doors. Robert came out of hiding to join the fight when the bells began to ring. He slew six men that day, they say. One was Myles Mooton, a famous knight who’d been Prince Rhaegar’s squire. He would have slain the Hand too, but the battle never brought them together. Connington wounded your grandfather Tully sore, though, and killed Ser Denys Arryn, the darling of the Vale. But when he saw the day was lost, he flew off as fast as the griffins on his shield. The Battle of the Bells, they called it after. Robert always said your father won it, not him.”  More recent battles had been fought here as well, Arya thought from the look of the place. The town gates were made of raw new wood; outside the walls a pile of charred planks remained to tell what had happened to the old ones.  Stoney Sept was closed up tight, but when the captain of the gate saw who they were, he opened a sally port for them. “How you fixed for food?” Tom asked as they entered.  “Not so bad as we were. The Huntsman brought in a flock o’ sheep, and there’s been some trading across the Blackwater. The harvest wasn’t burned south o’ the river. Course, there’s plenty want to take what we got. Wolves one day, Mummers the next. Them that’s not looking for food are looking for plunder, or women to rape, and them that’s not out for gold or wenches are looking for the bloody Kingslayer. Talk is, he slipped right through Lord Edmure’s fingers.”  “Lord Edmure?” Lem frowned. “Is Lord Hoster dead, then?”  “Dead or dying. Think Lannister might be making for the Blackwater? It’s the quickest way to King’s Landing, the Huntsman swears.” The captain did not wait for an answer. “He took his dogs out for a sniff round. If Ser Jaime’s hereabouts, they’ll find him. I’ve seen them dogs rip bears apart. Think they’ll like the taste of lion blood?”  “A chewed-up corpse’s no good to no one,” said Lem. “The Huntsman bloody well knows that, too.”  “When the westermen came through they raped the Huntsman’s wife and sister, put his crops to the torch, ate half his sheep, and killed the other half for spite. Killed six dogs too, and threw the carcasses down his well. A chewed-up corpse would be plenty good enough for him, I’d say. Me as well.”  “He’d best not,” said Lem. “That’s all I got to say. He’d best not, and you’re a bloody fool.”  Arya rode between Harwin and Anguy as the outlaws moved down the streets where her father once had fought. She could see the sept on its hill, and below it a stout strong holdfast of grey stone that looked much too small for such a big town. But every third house they passed was a blackened shell, and she saw no people. “Are all the townsfolk dead?”  “Only shy.” Anguy pointed out two bowmen on a roof, and some boys with sooty faces crouched in the rubble of an alehouse. Farther on, a baker threw open a shuttered window and shouted down to Lem. The sound of his voice brought more people out of hiding, and Stoney Sept slowly seemed to come to life around them.  In the market square at the town’s heart stood a fountain in the shape of a leaping trout, spouting water into a shallow pool. Women were filling pails and flagons there. A few feet away, a dozen iron cages hung from creaking wooden posts. Crow cages, Arya knew. The crows were mostly outside the cages, splashing in the water or perched atop the bars; inside were men. Lem reined up scowling. “What’s this, now?”  “Justice,” answered a woman at the fountain.  “What, did you run short o’ hempen rope?”  “Was this done at Ser Wilbert’s decree?” asked Tom.  A man laughed bitterly. “The lions killed Ser Wilbert a year ago. His sons are all off with the Young Wolf, getting fat in the west. You think they give a damn for the likes of us? It was the Mad Huntsman caught these wolves.”  Wolves. Arya went cold. Robb’s men, and my father’s. She felt drawn toward the cages. The bars allowed so little room that prisoners could neither sit nor turn; they stood naked, exposed to sun and wind and rain. The first three cages held dead men. Carrion crows had eaten out their eyes, yet the empty sockets seemed to follow her. The fourth man in the row stirred as she passed. Around his mouth his ragged beard was thick with blood and flies. They exploded when he spoke, buzzing around his head. “Water.” The word was a croak. “Please... water,..”  The man in the next cage opened his eyes at the sound. “Here,” he said. “Here, me.” An old man, he was; his beard was grey and his scalp was bald and mottled brown with age.  There was another dead man beyond the old one, a big red-bearded man with a rotting grey bandage covering his left ear and part of his temple. But the worst thing was between his legs, where nothing remained but a crusted brown hole crawling with maggots. Farther down was a fat man. The crow cage was so cruelly narrow it was hard to see how they’d ever gotten him inside. The iron dug painfully into his belly, squeezing bulges out between the bars. Long days baking in the sun had burned him a painful red from head to heel. When he shifted his weight, his cage creaked and swayed, and Arya could see pale white stripes where the bars had shielded his flesh from the sun.  “Whose men were you?” she asked them.  At the sound of her voice, the fat man opened his eyes. The skin around them was so red they looked like boiled eggs floating in a dish of blood. “Water... a drink...”  “Whose?” she said again.  “Pay them no mind, boy,” the townsman told her. “They’re none o’ your concern. Ride on by.”  “What did they do?” she asked him.  “They put eight people to the sword at Tumbler’s Falls,” he said. “They wanted the Kingslayer, but he wasn’t there so they did some rape and murder.” He jerked a thumb toward the corpse with maggots where his manhood ought to be. “That one there did the raping. Now move along.”  “A swallow,” the fat one called down. “Ha’ mercy, boy, a swallow.” The old one slid an arm up to grasp the bars. The motion made his cage swing violently. “Water,” gasped the one with the flies in his beard.  She looked at their filthy hair and scraggly beards and reddened eyes, at their dry, cracked, bleeding lips. Wolves, she thought again. Like me. Was this her pack? How could they be Robb’s men? She wanted to hit them. She wanted to hurt them. She wanted to cry. They all seemed to be looking at her, the living and the dead alike. The old man had squeezed three fingers out between the bars. “Water,” he said, “water.”  Arya swung down from her horse. They can’t hurt me, they’re dying. She took her cup from her bedroll and went to the fountain. “What do you think you’re doing, boy?” the townsman snapped. “They’re no concern o’ yours.” She raised the cup to the fish’s mouth. The water splashed across her fingers and down her sleeve, but Arya did not move until the cup was brimming over. When she turned back toward the cages, the townsman moved to stop her. “You get away from them, boy -  “She’s a girl,” said Harwin. “Leave her be.”  “Aye,” said Lem. “Lord Beric don’t hold with caging men to die of thirst. Why don’t you hang them decent?”  “There was nothing decent ‘bout them things they did at Tumbler’s Falls,” the townsman growled right back at him.  The bars were too narrow to pass a cup through, but Harwin and Gendry offered her a leg up. She planted a foot in Harwin’s cupped hands, vaulted onto Gendry’s shoulders, and grabbed the bars on top of the cage. The fat man turned his face up and pressed his cheek to the iron, and Arya poured the water over him. He sucked at it eagerly and let it run down over his head and cheeks and hands, and then he licked the dampness off the bars. He would have licked Arya’s fingers if she hadn’t snatched them back. By the time she served the other two the same, a crowd had gathered to watch her. “The Mad Huntsman will hear of this,” a man threatened. “He won’t like it. No, he won’t.”  “He’ll like this even less, then.” Anguy strung his longbow, slid an arrow from his quiver, nocked, drew, loosed. The fat man shuddered as the shaft drove up between his chins, but the cage would not let him fall. Two more arrows ended the other two northmen. The only sound in the market square was the splash of falling water and the buzzing of flies.  Valar morghulis, Arya thought.  On the east side of the market square stood a modest inn with whitewashed walls and broken windows. Half its roof had burnt off recently, but the hole had been patched over. Above the door hung a wooden shingle painted as a peach, with a big bite taken out of it. They dismounted at the stables sitting catty-comer, and Greenbeard bellowed for grooms.  The buxom red-haired innkeep howled with pleasure at the sight of them, then promptly set to tweaking them. “Greenbeard, is it? Or Greybeard? Mother take mercy, when did you get so old? Lem, is that you? Still wearing the same ratty cloak, are you? I know why you never wash it, I do. You’re afraid all the piss will wash out and we’ll see you’re really a knight o’ the Kingsguard! And Tom o’ Sevens, you randy old goat! You come to see that son o’ yours? Well, you’re too late, he’s off riding with that bloody Huntsman. And don’t tell me he’s not yours!”  “He hasn’t got my voice,” Tom protested weakly.  “He’s got your nose, though. Aye, and t’other parts as well, to hear the girls talk.” She spied Gendry then, and pinched him on the check. “Look at this fine young ox. Wait till Alyce sees those arms. Oh, and he blushes like a maid, too. Well, Alyce will fix that for you, boy, see if she don’t.”  Arya had never seen Gendry turn so red. “Tansy, you leave the Bull alone, he’s a good lad,” said Tom Sevenstrings. “All we need from y............
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