Meanwhile, Edmure Tully's rebellion seems to have energised the populace into tantrum-throwing. Scores of tiny provinces rebel, not only against their local lord, but against Robert in particular. I watch from the peaceful North as the miniature province of Brownhollow tries to take Robert's armies down singlehandedly, before being effectively wiped from Westeros's map, its lordship given to one of Robert's own children as punishment. The Lannisters, in particular, are suffering from ornery locals. Familial head Tywin died a year back of “extreme stress” and the lordship went to Tyrion, who's a shrewd and cunning manipulator but also “ugly” and mistrusted by a good number of the people he has to deal with daily. Rebellions spring up regularly, turning Westeros's West into a constant battleground.
Things are more peaceful in the North. I while away my time watching the affairs of the southron lords and accepting my spymaster Roose Bolton's requests to go and watch executions. The guy is totally mad for them, and has asked me at least three times if he can stand in the front row as some poor bread thief gets hanged. He's probably not the kind of guy I want near my kids, but fortunately I've got him further south, sowing seeds of malcontent in and around the Twins. Two Freys down, about a million to go.
Edmure might've been a hot-headed whelp, but it seems his insurrection has galvanised some of the bigger political players down south. Mace Tyrell—Lord of the Reach, one of Westeros's biggest regions—suddenly decides to usurp Robert's authority altogether and declare himself king. This conflict will be more difficult to resolve than the Tully tussle: the Tyrell family is stacked with impressive individuals, from duplicitous Margaery to super-knight Loras. Even Mace himself ain't too bad in a fight, even if he is overly proud of it.
Fortunately I have no direct ties with the Tyrells, so there's no dilemma about supporting Robert when he comes asking for my armies. I knock on the doors of 40,000 men and rustle up an army in no time. I decide to mass north of the Twins again, but this time I move my forces in small clumps so I don't have to wait for the northernmost men to finish the week-long trek south. This time I'm not going to be left out of the fighting, especially when CK2's rulers take note of how effectively you've helped them, and will sometimes issue territory as a reward.
I'm moving my first force across the Twins when I get another notifier. Mace Tyrell has been captured, and the war's off. For the Old Gods' sake Robert, do you want to leave some for the rest of us? I wearily wave off my troops and trudge back to Winterfell.
I'm expecting Robert to snick Mace's head off, but he lets the usurper rot in jail. While dungeon-bound, Mace takes the chance to create a new faction: it's called 'Mace Tyrell for the Reach'. That's wishful thinking, Mace, but bless you for trying.
Robert must've found it cute, too, because he inexplicably lets Mace go—and gives him a pat on the bum and seats him back in his previous position, as Lord of the Reach. Good move, Robert. Surely this grasping opportunist with vast armies at his disposal won't try anything rebellious again. I'm starting to understand how Robert has earned himself the suffix 'the Rash' from his few years in charge of Westeros.
I'm nervy about the situation, and my men, who've been north and south of the Twins like pike-armed yo-yos, are spoiling for a real fight. My 'raise levy' trigger finger is itching, and it doesn't take a month to find the source. Mace once more declares himself king and marches on King's Landing, this time with half of the Riverlands in tow. Time to finally get Ned's sword mucky.