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Game of Thrones diary part five: staying alive in Crusader Kings 2′s Westeros

The Twins are run by Edwyn Frey. I've still technically got a hit out on him, but my co-conspirators have taken five years to do absolutely nothing. I make a mental note to set Arya on him when I'm done with his land, but it's not him I'll need to be declaring war on. Edwyn is a vassal of the Lord of the Riverlands – a title that's changed hands a few times since the Tully family rose up against Robert Baratheon during the early years of my reign. I click on Riverrun and find its new ruler is Duncan Whent, Narbert's dad.

"He dallies too long and I reinforce quickly."

The Whents are nobodies though, and I'm not messing up any important alliances by antagonising Duncan. My only problem will be the amount of time it'll take my armies to march down the continent, leaving the forces of the Riverlands fairly free to molest my southern regions.

No matter. The only important province down here is the Neck, and that's held by Meera Reed who already hates me (I cut her dad's head off a while back and she's yet to get over it). I declare my war, immediately call my troops, and gather in Meera's garden before marching south.

I don't have to go very far to meet my opposition: Duncan Whent's forces are sat in The Twins. For a time, he has more than me – some 15,000 Riverlanders versus my 10,000 from the north's south. But he dallies too long and I reinforce quickly, soon outnumbering him by 10,000 men. With Ned at the head of one front, and Benjen Stark – another tip-top fighter – at the head of the other, Duncan's forces are quickly smashed.

Out on the field, I see Duncan between the pikes and horsies of battle. At least, I'm told by way of menu that I can – CKII's battle screens aren't so hot on the majesty and noise of battle, being two sets of numbers slowly reducing each other. The menu gives me the option to leave him alone and let him escape, or go over and duff him up. I rely on Ned's superior sword-handling, and storm over to boss Whent.

"I can either jab my sword through his neck or take him prisoner"

Fair play to Dunc: he parries a number of my blows, but Ned is one of Westeros's best fighters, and after knocking him onto his armoured rump a fourth time, I'm given the choice to either jab my sword through his neck or take him prisoner. Thinking that a man clapped in irons in my dungeon will be a lot more willing to negotiate for land than a head mounted on a spike on my castle wall, I let him live and scatter his forces to a hasty retreat.

The Whents are broken, but they have a few armies dotted around the Riverlands. My men and I have been aching for a proper fight since the start of this diary, so I take them on a tour of the region's best locations, before laying siege to them and drinking all their booze. Last on my whistle-stop tour of Time Out Westeros's “top 10 places to set fire to” list is Riverrun itself.

I've been holding on to Duncan Whent all throughout my rampage. He's in chains somewhere in my retinue, held for when I've stopped killing his generals and shrinking his line of succession. I can only really demand The Twins from him – although, with his army gone, I could grab so much more – but I figure he'll say yes on the spot.