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Brynden Tully

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1 Brynden Tully on Sat Oct 18, 2014 4:42 am



Full Name:
Ser Brynden Tully

Brynden Blackfish
Ser Brynden the Blackfish




Relationship Status:


Personal Creed:
“My first rule of war, is never give the enemy his wish”

Allegiance to House:
House Tully of Riverrun
(House Arryn of the Vale)

Outrider (knight with archery skills)

Brynden Tully became Ser Brynden Tully after impressing Lord Darry of the Plowman’s Keep during his squire years. Ever a skilled swordsman he’d bested House Darry’s master-at-arms in the first week of his arrival who’d underestimated the teen’s ferocious strength and improvised strategies. When brigands were targeting wealthy merchants along the Trident, Brynden with a company of six Darry bannermen were sent out to deal with the threat. Outnumbered and traveling too obviously Brynden steered the soldiers upon a different path, using a stealthy approach rather than the bolstering knight’s ways. Feathering the marauders with arrows under the guise of nightfall and sneaking in amidst the chaos to take captive their leader was the crowning accomplishment that made Lord Darry knight his young squire for heroic services in defense of the Riverlands…

Earning his renown as a knight during the War of the Ninepenny Kings, Ser Brynden Tully was one of many heroes born upon that battlefield, having fought alongside legends like Ser Barristan the Bold. That fame earned him a king’s welcome back in Riverrun along with a blushing bride picked by his brother to strengthen their stance in the Riverlands. Brynden refused her hand, an event that marked the beginning of countless arguments that spiraled out of hand. In the end the bond between the brothers soured to such a point that Brynden severed all ties and accepted his niece’s offer to serve under her husband’s command in the Eyrie of the Vale. Lord Jon Arryn respected Brynden as a man and as a knight, so when Jon became Hand of the King, he assigned Ser Brynden the most prestigious post in the Vale as Knight of the Gate…

After his niece Lady Catelyn Tully arrived at the Bloody Gate with Tyrion Lannister as her prisoner, the Blackfish realized the dangerous path his family was on. With the trial by combat not ending as anticipated and Lady Lysa refusing to offer her support to the Stark cause, Ser Brynden Tully resigned from his post at the Bloody Gate to accompany Catelyn back North. There he became Rob Stark’s most trusted advisor, commander of his vanguard and the man responsible for numerous victories in the War of Five Kings. Even after the betrayal at the Red Wedding, Brynden Tully would fly the Stark banner proudly on the highest tower of Riverrun while Ryman Frey parades Edmure to the gallows each day. Even when Jaime Lannister comes to parley about Riverrun’s surrender, the Blackfish refuses all offers, swimming under the Water Gate to evade capture and lead the resistance against the false king on the Iron Throne as the Stark King’s Warden of the Southern Marshes…

Brynden is a resolute and stubborn man, two traits that made him such an excellent knight and commander yet such a poor brother at the same time. For years he fought valiantly, bringing honor and glory to his House yet war changes a man. At Riverrun he’d always been the person folks come to with their problems, a person they could confide in and in return would be given respectful but honest council. Few people ever had to see him loose his temper, that ‘privilege’ having been reserved to his brother Hoster Tully and the boy Petyr Baelish fostered at Riverrun. Perhaps the only person to have seen through that friendly mask, Brynden ever remained suspicious of Petyr, especially after that conversation with Lady Lysa regarding her mystery lover. The Blackfish ever was a direct person, speaking his mind regardless of the partner of that conversation and facing issues head on. This prevented him from adapting to the hypocrisy of politics, the fake smiles and false courtesies frustrating him intensely. And thus that the identity he embraced, the silent soldier offering council whenever ask yet ever remaining true to his unbendable moral compass…

Physical Description:
For a man his age, Ser Brynden Tully still presents himself as an impressive figure for age did little to diminish his warrior physique. Tall and lean like a man honing his body through years of rigorous training Brynden displays all the characteristic muscle definitions of a skilled warrior with arms and legs corded with sinew and muscle. Broad shoulders used to bear the load of heavy plate armor set him apart from his brother and his brother’s son who’re all better proportioned than the Blackfish. Time did leave its marks for his features are weathered and lined, his auburn hair – the family trait – has turned grey and his voice turned hoarse and smoky. What’s most iconic of the Blackfish is his unfortunate choice of wardrobe for it’s been decades since last the man was spotted without his armor donned on. Last time anyone spotted Brynden casually dressed was at his knighting ceremony back in his foster days at the Plowman’s Keep of House Darry. Since that day the plain leather gambeson atop a shirt of mail and black enameled protective gear has become part of his attire…
(see armor section for detailed description)

Powers and Abilities:
While most know Brynden Tully as a superior warrior skilled with the sword, few are aware his true talent lies in archery. Sure the Blackfish can stand his ground against numerous attackers at once, wielding a sword as if it were an extension of his arm whilst battering his enemies with heavy blows of his shield. He can ride into battle, keeping a horse under control while hacking himself a path through the opponent’s ranks. He can fight upon the wobbling deck of a ship, getting tossed back and forth on the tide whilst fending off raiders yet all that seems child’s play compared to his gift with bow and arrow. Capable of picking an armor-clad rider off from one hundred yards away, the Blackfish can shoot the wings of a fly blindfolded. He could put an arrow through the visor of a great helmet from horseback, kill a man hiding behind castle parapets and even hit a large enough mark from almost three hundred yards away…

While the name Blackfish was his own mock version of being the black sheep in the Tully household, Brynden does live up to the reputation of that leaping trout on his family banner. He can swim like a fish, capable of keeping his head above the water even in the strongest currents the Riverlands have to offer. As a boy he’d climb the walls near the Water Gate and dive down with a big splash just to see how deep the waters of that small anchor point were. Other times he’d submerge himself in the river to see how long he could hold his breath, something he could do twice as long as the average man it appeared. What surprised most was the Blackfish ability to swim against the rapids in the Tumblestone while still wearing his full set of armor. Most would get dragged to the riverbed in a matter of seconds, pulled down by the weight of steel plate and yet Brynden could easily swim lap back and forth between the banks a couple of times before even feeling the icy grip of fatigue…

Despite his age, Brynden remains one of the finest swords in the Riverlands easily besting his nephew Edmure Tully and skilled fighters like Tytos Blackwood, Jason Mallister and the Vance brothers. Even his brother in his prime would think twice before crossing swords with his estranged brother, so would most of the Men of the North he fought beside during Robert’s Rebellion…

One good thing that came from all those battles fought, is the experience he acquired over the years. This made him into the capable commander he is today, an expert in fighting a losing battle against an enemy counting at least twice as many men. Understanding the merits of guerrilla warfare, the Blackfish is one of the few knights in the Riverlands not afraid to fight dirty using cunning and sabotage to weaken a superior adversary…

Stubbornness is thorn in his side and yet the most irrefutable personality trait of the Blackfish. In the past his unwillingness to compromise resulted in a hiatus in the Tully household, breaking apart the strong bond between two brothers. One petty argument got so out of hand, that the ancestral words of their House were forgotten in that moment of clashing egos. Only with the end of their House in sight did past grudges get buried…

Brynden Tully is a man of actions, not words and while he’s the listening ear in the family, he holds no love for the dirty affairs of political scheming. Folks often forget he came from an earlier generation where disputes were settled on the battlefield rather than in court yet such old-world believes still have a place in his heart. To defy a king when his reign is flawed, that’s how the Blackfish chooses to live his life rather than bending the knee and scheming behind the curtains…

Weapons of Choice:

Unlike most knights, Ser Brynden Tully cares little about the glitz and glamour of his title. When he dons on his armor, he does so to ride into battle and not for the prestige of galloping around on tournament grounds to brawl with edgeless swords or joust with blunted lances. The same attitude shows in his choice in weapons and armor for the sword he wears into battle is as simple as it comes. A plain longsword, well balanced and versatile without any needless decorations sits in his sheath The narrow blade of this cut and thrust style sword is still and able cutter, with long reach, and very light and agile, able to be used single handed or with an aft hand for support. The grip is kept somber, just a poplar core with worn leather wrap to ensure a firm yet light hold…

Armor of Choice:
When Brynden serves as Knight of the Gate, a suit of plate armor fitting his new station was given to him although it seldom left the rack. Finding the heavy steel too encumbering to move in, the Blackfish remained dressed in those worn old threads that made him become the living embodiment of his nickname. A black leather gambeson forms the top layer of his raiment, patches of leather sewn to the metal scales of the hauberk underneath resembling fish scales. Beneath the padded gambeson there’s a lighter mail shirt hidden underneath a black tabard. In a sense Brynden Tully looks like a man who’s taken the black but most recognizable is the obsidian clasp that holds up his cloak, an ebony pin shaped like the leaping trout of House Tully of Riverrun. Rather than wearing a breastplate that hinders his movements, Brynden favors the lighter variety of protective gear only opting for leather and mail defenses.

Background History:

Five years after the birth of Hoster Tully, heir to Riverrun, the family welcomed their second son and named the boy after one of their ancestors. Brynden Tully, the day of his birth was filled with grand festivities and even a tournament was held in honor of the latest member of House Tully but the baby cared little for the attention. Even in the years that followed, growing up Brynden was never the social type, preferring his solace over the company of others. The only thing he truly cared about were the knight’s tales the maester would tell him about, heroic fables of brave warriors fighting loosing battles and laying down their lives for a cause. Every day when his older brother studied the political relations and houses of the Riverlands with the Maester, Brynden would hang out by the Water Gate where his father’s guards would train. When he turned five, the boy gathered his courage and picked up a wooden practice sword and demanded his training into knighthood started early. Two years ahead of his time, Brynden was practicing in the quad, beating young squires twice his size and age with ease for the master-at-arms called Brynden a natural swordsman. When the young lad turned ten, his father held a banquet for all lords and knights of the Riverlands in an attempt to find the appropriate man to have Brynden as his squire. Lord Walder Frey was the most eager candidate but Lord Raymun Darry made the most convincing case. And thus a new chapter in his life commenced with a satchel full of cloths and his first steel sword strung to his belt…

In the Plowman’s Keep Brynden Tully was embraced like a son by Lord Darry and granted all the privileges as one of his own blood. Offered a chamber in the main keep, Brynden kindly refused and opted for humbler quarters in the attic of the barracks. There he would rise at the break of dawn each day to assist the guards in their daily routine. Oiling mail shirts, sharpening swords and polishing shields became part of his morning routine but in the meantime the boy eagerly spied on the swordsman exercises held in the courtyard of the keep. The Master-at-Arms seemed to favor the left handside in his attacks, putting too much weight on his lead foot with each reverse swing. For five days, the time Lord Darry insisted Brynden used to get adjusted to his new whereabouts, the boy would sit on the barrack’s roof and observe how the men fought. Then at the week’s end when Lord Darry wanted to test Brynden’s skills, the impossible occurred….

The courtyard was cleared from all distractions, carts hauled off to give the young squire space to move as Brynden was to face the Master-at-Arms of House Darry in a duel to test his swordsmanship. Blunted swords were distributed and for the first time the squire gripped an actual sword suddenly becoming very aware of the weight and the stress that weight would exert on his feeble body. Swinging wooden swords at dummies was one thing, but fighting an actual man was a completely different matter yet the boy was excited. Lifting the sword and bowing before the man charged with the military aspect of his knightly education, he embraced this event as a necessary evil. The first blow send a jolt through his arms, so powerful he nearly dropped the blade at that moment but Brynden persevered. Quick and sidestepping to the left, the boy used what he’d observed against the master-at-arms. Each time he made the man strike forward, looking for the window that came when the knight stepped upon a loose cobblestone of the quad. Swift like a fish in the water, Brynden lashed out to the man’s knee, knocking the superior warrior off balance just long enough for the blunt tip of the sword to be set at his throat. All in the Plowman’s Keep roared in applause at Brynden’s victory for it marked the beginning of a hero’s tale…

For the next five years Brynden studied and struggled with the political intrigues of the Riverlands while excelling in all martial disciplines. A fairly talented jouster, the squire could ride for days without pause. A skilled swordsman Brynden could stand his ground against three guards without breaking a sweat but most astonishing of all was his talent with a bow. A stable hand would ride out with a bag of apples and circle the Plowman’s Keep throwing up those blushing pieces of fruit. Each of the apples was feathered by three arrows before dropping to the ground, that’s how quickly Brynden could draw the bow and hit his mark. Then when he turned sixteen, Lord Darry presented him with his first official assignment, rooting out some brigands preying on merchants. With six bannermen Brynden rode out and discovered the marauder problem was far bigger than seven swords could deal with. Still a task remained a task and he had no intention of returning a failure. In the cover of night, their horses abandoned along the road, Brynden send four of the swordsmen to the riverbank to lay an ambush for the brigands. The other two accompanied him into the camp, sneaking in the shadows and when arrows rained down, they took the leader of these outlaws captive amidst the chaos of the surprise attack. Victorious they returned to Plowman’s Keep and rewarded for his valor, Brynden received his knighthood from Lord Darry…

Once a knight Brynden’s life became filled with assignments and orders, first for his Lord father and later for his brother who took the reins over in the Riverlands after their father fell to the fever. Now the brother to the Lord of Riverrun, Brynden was tasked with leading the Tully vanguard, playing a crucial role in its many victories including his heroic part played in the War of the Ninepenny Kings. Having led the Tully campaign in that legendary battle, made Brynden Tully a hero whose name became the subject of songs and ballads song throughout the Seven Kingdoms. Returning home, his brother greeted him with a feast worthy of a king; banners flew from every tower of Riverrun, trumpets greeting him with a cheerful tune as folks celebrates his heroic deeds with drink and dance. As the pinnacle of those celebrations his brother awaited in the Great Hall accompanied by the fair lady Bethany Redwyne to whom a marriage had been promised to Ser Brynden Tully. Brynden refused and not kindly for the festivities came to an abrupt end when the shouting match between brothers could be heard past those reinforced doors of the Great Hall. That was but the first of numerous arguments the brothers would have, each of them leading up to the inevitable…

In the days before Robert’s Rebellion the verbal fights grew more spiteful between Hoster and Brynden Tully and the arguments ended with personal accusations and harsh words that could never been unspoken. It was upon the eve of Robert’s Rebellion when the sibling feud escalated as Hoster Tully called his brother “the black goat of the Tully herd” to which Brynden pointed out the obvious err in his reasoning. That day was the day the brothers parted ways for leaving Riverrun to fight the Mad King was the Blackfish, Ser Brynden Tully with the House sigil altered with an obsidian black fish instead of its white brother. Even after Robert Baratheon claimed the Iron Throne from the Targaryen tyranny, the bad blood between the brothers remained. Brynden hadn’t given up on his family though and when opportunity presented itself, Brynden volunteered to serve as his niece Lady Lysa’s sworn sword, accompanying her to the Vale where she was to wed Lord Jon Arryn. Life in the mountainous regions of the Vale demanded an immense adjustment for the knight of the Riverlands but over the years Brynden grew comfortable in his new position. His years of loyal service were eventually rewarded by the Lord of the Vale who bestowed upon him the highest honor known in his realm: Knight of the Gate. Now Brynden stands watch atop the Bloody Gate challenging all seeking passage with the ancient words “Who would pass the Bloody Gate?”

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