Campaign of the Month: December 2020

House Jasper

Making New Friends and New Enemies

At breakfast the next morning we present our ideas about who her niece may be able to marry, and despite some barbs and prickled feelings we convince her to abide by our suggestions. As we trot away from Old Oak, I feel Lady Arwyn’s eyes staring into my back, but I pay no mind, knowing we’ve bettered both of our houses, and hope our choices will lead to curried favor with House Tyrell. Lord Theodore encourages Maester Thad to notify Olenna and Mace Tyrell of our mission’s success, in addition to writing to Lady Arwyn about the scheduled ceremony.

On our way to Lannisport, we have the pleasure of stumbling across House Crakehall, who offers us hospitality for the evening. Over dinner, Lord Crakehall shares in shame that his house’s funds have run dry after their silver mines have reached their ends. I see a glimmer in Teddy’s eyes, and after retreating to our quarters post-dinner, we devise a plan to invest in the mine. I offer 25% of the upfront investment, 50 gold dragons, but report that it’s all I can afford. I encourage him to drive a hard bargain, and initially he does so, asking for 50 gold dragons a month in perpetuity, but am disappointed when he’s driven down to only tripling our original investment. Pitiful! This is what happens when you send a lording to do a mistress of whispers’ job…

Nearing Lannisport, we’re drawn into a rowdy tavern, where someone has apparently paid for everyone’s drinks for the evening. I have an uneasy feeling in my gut, but a quick check around doesn’t give me any clues as to why. I sip slowly on my cup of wine, listening closely to the revelries around me, when I hear “Reeemusss…..we’re here for you….” taunting from outside the closed tavern door…

The Web Grows Wider

I take the opportunity to “get lost” in Highgarden, and am pleased to stumble upon two sweet handmaids chattering in the halls with some intensity. Requesting their assistance in navigating the castle. I take advantage of the time it takes to walk through the halls to get to my room to hear Ivy’s story. She shares that her father is at risk of being killed for being unable to pay debts, and he may have to escape with her family in order to keep them all alive. She is too afraid to ask the Tyrells for help for fear they might kick her out of the home for being the offspring of a ne’er do well. She is a scared, young, vulnerable girl, and meeting her is a gift from the seven.

After allowing Ivy and her friend to escort me through the halls, all the while inquiring about their lives and their roles as handmaids at Highgarden, I usher them into my room and propose two options. Out of charity, I would give Ivy 1 gold dragon and wish her well. OR, for her father’s entire debt of 5 gold dragons, she could be part of my network of whispering handmaids. She fears betraying the Tyrells, and I remove the burden by sharing that she can pass on as much or as little information as she would like, but she will receive one silver stag for each nugget of information she sends my way. I hope she realizes that a silver is worth far more than loyalty to a family that cares not about her or her family.

Ivy agrees to work for me, and for her friend’s discretion about our deal, I pay her a gold dragon as well. I leave Highgarden with lighter pockets, but a new pipeline for whispers.

Travelling up to Old Oak, we come across a familiar old trickster of a man, who I recall quickly caused us quite a headache in the past. After the four of us spread in different directions, I see the others have crossed safely, and I gallop safely across without even looking at the man. Maester Thad on the other hand chats for hours about how he feels he’s found a new friend in the man. I imagine his curiosity will get him into trouble one of these days.

Lady Arwyn of Old Oak greets us warmly outside her home upon our arrival, and invites us to dine with her and her house. I approach the evening with skepticism, as such generosity can’t exist without a request for reciprocity. Sure enough, after dinner, Lady Arwyn hangs in head in shame, and shares that her niece is carrying the bastard baby of a travelling bard, and they are now unable to find a suitor for her to marry. The house is disgraced and desperate for help to marry the young woman.

When Lady Arwyn goes to bed, House Jasper discusses the options, and we discuss suitable options for this arranged marriage, in order to forge a lasting bond with the powerful House Tyrll.

Thad is back as a new (wo)man!
Maister's gotta Maist.

As we continue our walk East towards Highgarden, a rider gallops past going quickly. We see him a bit later watering his horse and he has a package lashed to his saddle. Calaila gestures to the package and says: “You must know Dell. What’s in the package?” He states he doesn’t know. I walk over to Teddy and confess I am now very curious to know what is in the package.

I walk over and introduce myself to Marq, who is a professional courier. I ask if he also had an odd feeling from Dell when he got the package and he states he did not. I offer to deliver the package for him as we are headed that way. He states if I give him a gold dragon, I could. I try and barter but then agree to one gold dragon. Then the fool tries to shake me down for another dragon! I inform him that dragons prefer to be solo and decline. He takes his leave and mounts his horse. Just as he starts to gallop off, I change my mind. I hop on my trusty steed Gonzo and take chase after him. Unfortunately, Gonzo is better suited for plowing than for chasing after a mystery box. I slow down and make it back to my companions. They shake their heads at me. I shrug and just inform them that a “Maister’s gotta Maist.” and carry on my way!

We eventually make it to Highgarden. It’s a stunningly grand castle. As we make it up to the main gate, Teddy shouts out. Calaila asks for an audience with the Tyrell’s and they clarify who we are. The guards whisper to each other and one heads to the castle. The guard who was speaking with us states that it is tradition that we must enter the city through the bramble maze before entering. So we agree to do so.

We head into the maze of very dense shrubbery. It is unclear how large this maze is and we quickly get turned around. Thankfully they gave us a red flag to wave if we get truly lost! After a few hours, it seems like we are travelling down the same few paths. We feel further into the maze, but it doesn’t seem like we have made much progress! I inform my friends that I’ve read about the maze. I know that the paths are changed at irregular intervals but unfortunately I don’t know what the current pattern looks like. Just as the last light is leaving the sky, we head out onto a terrace! Teddy did it and finally found us a way out!

We then hear a slow clap around us. We turn around and there is an old woman, rather frail, but dressed in fine clothing. She is wearing the golden rose of House Tyrell on her dress. She says that we have done well and for a while she did not think we would make it!

She states she heard that we were here and wanted to welcome us. It is the one and only Olenna Tyrell! Calaila speaks with her for a while and we are eventually led into the castle. There, wealth is obviously on display. I believe this is the richest family I have yet to come across! We are led into the Lord’s Solar, a beautiful room. There a man rises and we are introduced to Mace Tyrell. He invites us to sit. Some small introductions are done and then Calaila explains we are there to try and make connections in case the need for collaboration arises. He prickles at this and states that he must clear the air. He states some men of House Jasper killed his dear cousin Leo in the war. His mother scoffs at this and states that he barely knew him. Mace says regardless, he was intended to bring resupply to his city.

Calaila states she has not heard about this but does question it. She asks for more details. Mace says that during the war, Leo was bringing a supply caravan when he was ambushed and killed by men of House Jasper. Calaila asks how he knows it was our house and he states all of the smallfolk that were there saw our flags and the word has spread. Calaila asks who was said to do this and Mace recounts a one eyed man, and older man and another man with a different sigil. Calaila states that the war is now over and we are all glad to be living in a time of peace. I ask what was in the supply and he states food. Calaila asks what he would like in recompense and he states he would like us to think it over. We ask to speak to the smallfolk in the morning and he states he will gather them for us at breakfast. We are then escorted to our rooms but there are guards blocking the stairwell. Calaila starts questioning the guard but that goes nowhere.

The three of us discuss, as Dolins is sitting in the corner working on a new ballad. We had been on opposite sides of the war. Mace had spoken of recompense but not of money and he was on the losing side of the war. I think about if there is anyone of marrying age to link Teddy to, but alas, there is no eligible woman.

At breakfast, Garth Tyrell, Mace’s uncle, introduces himself and brings the smallfolk with him. He is a very scared looking young man. Calaila swiftly tries to reassure him and starts questioning him. He states Sir Leo was there to protect the supplies and they were attacked. Most of the Tyrell soldiers were killed and Sir Leo rode away. A few weeks later, he came back with soldiers wearing apple sigils and they fought again. That is when Leo was killed. He apologizes for not doing a very good job. He states that it was unclear if a foreigner, who was fighting with the cats, or a cat himself killed Leo.

Teddy then jumps in and asks how they were treated while Leo was gone. He states the foreigners would sometimes get annoyed they didn’t understand them. During the time Leo was away, they were travelling East towards Dragonstone. He states that there were maybe 200 each of the foreigners and the cats. We finish questioning and head in to see Mace. On the way, Garth, his uncle who is leading us, seems to have soiled himself… I’ll have to help him with this later.

We greet Mace and we sit. Calaila starts the conversation stating Leo passed away in a time of war and we are now at peace. She states that we would like to honor his life by planting a rose garden at Castle Snownook in his name. Olenna jumps in and asks us to instead help by seeing Lady Arwyn in Old Oak. She states that she has been having a problem and needs help. We are not given any further information.

Once we all agree to see Lady Arwyn, I send off Teddy and Calaila and approach Garth about his issue. He states that he is resigned that this is his lot and I continue to offer help. After some conversation, it seems he cannot handle eating things made of the milk of animals. I suggest that he avoid this and see if this helps. He states that this is his favorite kind of food and that he is not sure he would do this. I advice to help his situation he should, and we part.

Forging Friendship after War

On our second day on the road to Hightower, we are startled by a charging horse galloping past us. It isn’t long before we pass him again, and it’s clear he’s carrying a package. Gesturing to his load, I ask “I see you met Dell!”. He gives me a quizzical look and confirms, but is surprised we were hesitant to deliver a package of unknown contents. I turn away, but Maester Thad cannot contain his curiosity, and continues to interrogate the young man, who name we learn is Marq. Teddy and I roll our eyes at his suggestion we take the package off his hands and deliver it himself, but he presses on independently. What is with this guy and this stupid package?! Having other tasks to complete on behalf of House Jasper, I nudge Teddy and suggest we keep going, that Maester Thad can catch up when he’s done with his shenanigans.

A few days later, my breath is taken away at the sight of Highgarden Castle. When Teddy hesitates at the gate, I push to the front of our group, introduce ourselves and request an audience with House Tyrell. The guards agree, but encourage us to take part in a tradition of making our way through the Bramble Maze. We agree enthusiastically, and after hours of twists and turns, we arrive triumphantly on a terrace, and are greeted by clapping. "

“I was beginning to think you wouldn’t make it,” an old but beautifully dressed woman. She introduced herself as Lady Olenna, and praises our house valuing both the leadership of women and education and culture. She introduces us to her son, Mace Tyrell, Lord of High Garden, and we share that we seek to make diplomatic introductions. Mace responds with skepticism, and accuses House Jasper of killing his “beloved” cousin Leo. Surprised at this turn of the conversation, we ask for further information after he requests recompense.

The next morning, after a hearty and fresh breakfast, we have a conversation with one of the small folk who was present at the battle where Leo fell, who confirms that in fact, Carsen and House Jasper is responsible for his death. We offer to plant a rose garden at Castle Snownook in his honor, and as a symbol for the friendship between House Tyrell and Jasper. They request that in addition to this gesture, we assist their ally and nearby banner house Lady Arwen in Old Oak on the sea road with an unnamed task. We agree, and part ways as new partners.

Thad's back!!

I’ve been waiting for a bit for my friends to arrive. I’ve been so excited to see them all, but mostly Dolins, my dear friend. I’ve gotten the three of them some little trinkets to show how much they have been missed! I wait within the citadel, continuing my studies. Finally I get notice they have arrived! I head down to meet them in the foyer. I greet them and give them their gifts. For Teddy, a fine dagger. For sneaky Calila, a vial of Greycap, though I caution her to use it wisely. And for dear Dolins, a flute to add to his musical kit!

After a quick hello, I tell my friends to wait outside for me. I head up to see Marwyn. I thank him for his time and education and ask for a book to further my education. He thinks about it for a bit, seeing as he is very protective about his books, but he agrees based on my trustworthiness with the whole, Qyburn thing… He agrees to lend me “The Elder Children” by Arch Maester Kenneth, but he states he would like it back. I promise I will send it back as soon as I am finished with it. I thank him again and he reminds me, “Open ears, open eyes, open mind”. I promise to live by this and head back to meet my friends.

We head to the Quill and Tankard for a drink! There we do some catching up, though Calila is strolling about the tavern. Dolins and Teddy fill me in that they have had some awesome adventures in Valeria! There was one casualty but otherwise, everyone looks decent, despite missing my healing abilities. Teddy confides in me that they brought back a dragon’s egg! I almost shout in excitement. I cannot wait to see it in person! Dolins also hands me a dragon’s tooth! He has told me he wanted to have it fashioned into a weapon but he isnt sure it is going to be of much use. He asks what I know about them and I let him know that there is folklore about the properties of the dragon but from what I have read, they have all been debunked. I tell him I need to write to Marwyn when we get to Snownook and check as he would know more. Dolins gives me the tooth to hold on to.

Teddy then invites a darker complexioned man to come sit with us. He states he has lived in Oldtown for many years doing oddjobs. He states his name is Dell, but his real birthname is too difficult for most to say. He chats with Dolins about his barding and offers to let him perform, but Dolins declines.

Teddy then asks if Dell knows of a woman named Terry, a missing servant from our house. Dell states he doesn’t know and that we would have a hard time finding Terry and her daughter in such a large city. Teddy states their connection to Rusty, aka The Duke, and Dell is familiar with him, though he states he has moved north to Lannisport. He is not sure what he is doing up there but he moved north about a year and a half ago.

He asks if we would do him a favor and deliver a package to Lannisport on our way. He and Teddy talk back and forth about this package but it ends up that he states he will just take it himself on his next trip. And after this, we have another round and chat more about adventures we have all had!

A year away was too long... And trying...
It's a long post... For a chatty maester

I arrive at the Citadel on a cold, windy night. As the weather was so poor, I quickly ducked into the entrance of the Citadel where I was met with an odd maester sitting at a desk in the large lobby. I introduce myself but he seemed very disinterested in chatting. He was very sucked into his large copy of “Runes and Such”, a rather odd sounding book if you asked me. I am soon shown to my quarters, near the private quarters and library of Maester Marwyn. I settle in, make sure that my animals are fed and comfortable, and dive right into my studies!

I find studying with Marwyn both intimidating and thrilling. Learning about the lore and magic of our past is what I think I have been searching for. The history of the children, as well as their own source of magic, is something I plan to gain expertise in. To be able to conjure spirits to aid in healing and knowledge throughout our group’s adventures would be such an asset. As I study, I think of times along the way already that this skill and magic would have been of great help. I dive deeper and deeper into Marwyn’s books as well as his own personal notes he has stored away.

Late one night, after about 18 hours of study, I head to the kitchen to grab some food. I eat alone at the tables, my head in my hand. I am much more tired than I thought I was. What time is it even? I haven’t noticed sunlight in a few days. I really should get outside more.

Once I am satiated, I grab some food for my animals and put that in a deep pocket. I yawn as I grab water and start to head out the door. As I do, I start thinking again, on a more recent reading of the children of the forest. I had been reading about how they are thought to possess indigo colored blood. Now why would this be? Could it be due to their diet? As they are so similar in many ways to man, I ponder on how this could have happened. And the fact they are missing a little finger. That is again such an odd difference. Maybe it is some common ancestor? I have heard thought that we all came from some early father, the children and man. Could it be that things just changed along the way? I am still pondering this when I reach my door. I open it and, oh no. This is not my door. What have I stepped into? I see a man, balding by the looks of it, bent over a table filled with, could it be? Is it a human on the table? And is the human looking at me? I see blood dripping from the table and the eyes are still blinking with the look of shock, but no recognition that I am looking back at the poor woman. What is going on? I quietly close the door behind me, careful not to latch it. I don’t know how the man did not hear me but I quietly hurry down the hall up to my actual room. I must have missed a set of stairs! I try to find Marwyn but cannot find him anywhere. He must be out for one of his nighttime walks about the city. I do find Archmaester Ebrose and have him risen from his sleep. I have had a few lessons from Ebrose recently on perfecting my healing. I quickly tell him what I saw, and he insists on rousing the other Archmaesters. I lead them all to the door and they quickly open it. I see Maester Qyburn spin around from the now dead woman. What on earth did he do to the poor lady? She is split open but looked to be young and otherwise healthy. This is no healing arts… I listen in as the Archmaesters yell and scream. I hear terms of necromancy and secrets of death.

I keep my space in the hall and continue to watch. The yelling must have attracted Marwyn on his way back from his walk because suddenly he is next to me. I explain what has happened and he shakes his head. I ask if he has known of this and he denies it. He does explain that he has had several conversations with Qyburn about death and the “residue of souls” but that he never expected him to do something like this. He turns away in disgust and heads to his room.

I keep my head down for the next few days. I am horrified by what I have seen, and I know Qyburn saw me within the group of Maesters. Eventually Ebrose comes to me to talk. He states that the Archmaesters had a conclave and that it has been decided Qyburn is to be stripped of his chain and his title of maester removed. I ask if this has already been done and he states it has. He has been banished from the city and sent to try and make an honest living elsewhere. I state that it does not seem likely he will stop. The way the room was set up, and his disregard for this young woman’s life, this cannot have been his first time. And unfortunately, I’m sure it will not be his last. Ebrose sits with me for a while longer discussing. Before he leaves, he does mention to me that I should watch out for Qyburn. He says he is a devious man who knows I am the reason he was found out. I state that although he seemed nice and a normal maester at first, I now know his true nature. I will have to keep a watch for this man. Maybe I’ll have to buy a better weapon…

Now that Quburn is gone, I continue my studies as I had been. I do make more time for walks outside and for the training of Georgie and Gary. Guliver is cute as always and keeps us three company. I continue my reading though my mind is often elsewhere. Qyburn is always in the back of my thoughts. Sooner than I am ready for, I receive a raven from my house. My friends are coming to pick me up! Thankfully it is Calaila, Teddy and Dolins. It has been far too long since I’ve heard one of Dolins’ good ballads. And I have longed to see the young lordling I once fancied. How silly I was back then. I also wonder what mischief Calaila has gotten herself into since I last saw her. She does have a penchant for trouble.
As the date grows nearer, I make sure to have my belongings ready for their arrival. I also wonder into the market to get some small trinkets for my friends. It’s been far too long since I’ve seen them. And although I am not finished with my studies, I know that I will be able to continue as we adventure.

Reunited and it feels so good!

Following an arduous journey atop my rounsey, Dolins, Teddy and I are overjoyed and overwhelmed with gratitude to see, at long last, the tower of Old Town. The city seems to glow from within, and we happily make our way towards the citadel, and open a massive door to make our way into the grand foyer. A small thin man lacks for a welcome party, but after what feels like hours, Maester Thaddeus emerges, wearing a far more impressive chain. He surprises me with a gift of greycap, which I add to my stash.

Thad leads us to the Quill and Tankard, a bustling tavern, and following Teddy and my plan of half heartedly attempting to gather intel about the whereabouts of Terry, I listen in to exceedingly dull conversations of maesters. Neither of us are committed to the plans of the Pryors, but we must convince sweet Dolins of our sense of obligation. Even still, this feeble effort is far better than Theodore’s ludicrous plan of presenting a dead homeless woman as Terry to the Pryors. I feel confident that the Pryors will have a hard time holding a grudge against the efforts of the house having travelled across the seven kingdoms to find their son’s killer, even if we return empty handed.

The murmurs of the tavern don’t turn up any leads about Terry, so without any protest, we agree to head towards Lannisport.

The humdrum of Feliston

Following Rancis’ slaying, Jardon earns himself a wide berth from all at the event, and we disperse in silent shock. Dolins, Darron and Jardon duck away and head towards what I can only assume is the tavern for a much needed drink. I walk with Teddy and discuss the matter of the Tully and Royces’ concerns about our unprotected waters, and their desire for us to build up our navy to protect the shores of the Vale and the Fingers. He seems intrigued and agrees to discuss it with his father, and I bolster his enthusiasm by presenting this as an opportunity to demonstrate his strength and leadership as the heir to House Jasper to our allies. We also discuss the debacle with Lyn Corbray and Edric, and that we left on bad terms.

I saunter down to visit with Pavel Brogan at his soup shop and in exchange for a silver stag, I receive a curried goat stew and a few bits of local intel. I chuckle when he shares that Bronn followed my advice, and visited Stephany, who bedded him. Mouth rot and rotted morals-a pair made for each other! Pavel also whispers that a young squire visiting for the tournament was under the impression that Bethlazar had put a curse on Lyn Corbray because Edric paid her too. Considering the poor outcome of the day for Lyn, I consider that perhaps there is truth to the old woman’s powers after all! I ask him if he’s heard anything about Rancis’ return to the mainland, particularly from Slim, but he reports he knows nothing. Thanking him for his offerings, I leave to bring the bucket of stew back to Castle Snownook.

Fuck Rancis
Rancis was just going to cause trouble anyways

“He yielded, and you killed him anyways”. Yeah, of course I fucking did you ingrate, who knows if that hulk of man was going turn on you during that fight, or if he was even going to do anything. Just standing there, not having to do anything, because he’s just so big. I’ve come across men like him before, and they would rather just watch the world burn…..I did the fingers a service, who knows what this hoodlum was really going to do. I don’t care if he fucking yielded, he was basically cooked anyways. Darren took care of most of that hacking anyways…..

A Dark Decision
Jardon joins the ignoble

Upon the bridge, the Trial of the Seven seems to be turning in House Woodhull’s favor. Jardon and Philip yield and remove themselves, and it isn’t long before Cortnay himself is thrown from the bridge, limbs splayed, not breathing. The gods have spoken! Cortnay is found guilt of his crimes. Though just as the crowd gathered begins to relax, thinking justice has been served to House Elesham, commotion erupts. The mystery knight charges onto the bridge and pushes Rancis down to the ground. Ser Darron shocks us all when he removes his helmet to reveal he is the mystery knight, and I hear him shouting obscenities and threats to the outlaw. What in seven hells….this will not end well for House Jasper.

Rancis jumps up and hurls himself at Darron with undeniably impressive athleticism. As Dolins and Jardon spring into action to help the old knight, I find myself irritated with his recklessness, and the opportunity it may bring for our house’s secrets to surface. I like the old man, but not enough to risk the house’s reputation and status I’ve helped to carefully craft should Rancis prevail in a fight against the very people who agreed to send him safely to Paps to wreak havoc there. Besides, the man is a stone wall!

While considering my options, Rancis erupts, and shouts “Yeild!” followed by something mumbled under his breath. The crowd is suspended in anticipation when Darron’s body relaxes and steps away, indicated he is yielding, on what I assumed is Rancis’ suggestion. But once again, fate twists in unexpected ways, and Jardon charges Rancis, hacking off his ugly head. The sound of the man’s enormous body crumpling into the cobblestone bridge is the only thing that can be heard, and everyone is stunned in silence.

“He yielded, “ James Woodhull says quietly, “He yielded and you killed him.” A dark disgust towards Jardon befalls the crowd gathered. It is only at this moment that I realize with horror that it was Rancis who was yielding, rather than giving the option to Darron. Despite this terrible stain on Jardon, the tournament and inevitably the house, I am secretly overjoyed that our secret plot with the outlaws will follow Rancis to his grave.

One final realization strikes me as the day is wrapping up, and we are all washing the grey gloom off of ourselves. James Woodhull, the man we thought we were sending Rancis and his comrades to terrorize, seemed to grieve Rancis’ death. And Rancis was fighting for the Woodhulls. What happened on Paps that united a band of outlaws and a noble house?