Robb's neck reddened at the rebuke.
"Tell me what you mean, Mother," he said meekly.
"The Freys have held the crossing for six hundred years, and for six hundred years they have never failed to exact their toll."
"What toll? What does he want?"
She smiled. "That is what we must discover."
"And what if I do not choose to pay this toll?"
"Then you had best retreat back to Moat Cailin, deploy to meet Lord Tywin in battle... or grow wings.
I see no other choices."
Catelyn put her heels to her horse and rode off, leaving her son to ponder her words.
It would not do to make him feel as if his mother were usurping his place.
Did you teach him wisdom as well as valor, Ned?
she wondered. Did you teach him how to kneel?
The graveyards of the Seven Kingdoms were full of brave men who had never learned that lesson.
It was near midday when their vanguard came in sight of the Twins, where the Lords of the Crossing had their seat.
The Green Fork ran swift and deep here, but the Freys had spanned it many centuries past and grown rich off the coin men paid them to cross.
Their bridge was a massive arch of smooth grey rock, wide enough for two wagons to pass abreast;
the Water Tower rose from the center of the span, commanding both road and river with its arrow slits, murder holes, and portcullises.