Even the truest knight cannot protect a king against himself, Ned said. "Robert loved to hunt boar. I have seen him take a thousand of them." He would stand his ground without flinching, his legs braced, the great spear in his hands, and as often as not he would curse the boar as it charged, and wait until the last possible second, until it was almost on him, before he killed it with a single sure and savage thrust. "No one could know this one would be his death."
You are kind to say so, Lord Eddard.
The king himself said as much. He blamed the wine.
The white-haired knight gave a weary nod. "His Grace was reeling in his saddle by the time we flushed the boar from his lair, yet he commanded us all to stand aside."
I wonder, Sir Barristan, asked Varys, so quietly, "who gave the king this wine?"
Ned had not heard the eunuch approach, but when he looked around, there he stood. He wore a black velvet robe that brushed the floor, and his face was freshly powdered.
The wine was from the king's own skin, Sir Barristan said.
Only one skin? Hunting is such thirsty work.
I did not keep count. More than one, for a certainty. His squire would fetch him a fresh skin whenever he required it.
Such a dutiful boy, said Varys, "to make certain His Grace did not lack for refreshment."