Campaign of the Month: December 2020

House Jasper

In the Belly of the Snakebeast

From the kennels, I run to what turns out to be the barracks at Snakewood. As my paws softly pad to the entrance, I hear a knight admonishing a soldier- “I don’t care whose idea it was to put the fish underneath my mattress, SOMEBODY’S gonna pay!” I peak my muzzle around the corner of the hall, and see what I count to be approximately a couple hundred straw beds for Snakewood soldiers. I back up and see that around the corner is the armory, guarded by two soldiers with spears. I consider trying to sneak past them to see what House Lynderly has in terms of weapons, but decide to keep getting a lay of the land by entering farther into the grounds, making a mental note that the armory may house information that could be useful to return to later. There are far more weapons and dangerous foes out in the real world than there were back home…

It isn’t long before I find myself in the castle marketplace, where I overhear noble ladies chatting softly about a Royce man. They speak in hushed secretive tones, and I think it may be useful to follow them, but they quickly are ushered into the castle keep through another door heavily guarded. I can’t return from my first mission for House Jasper with no valuable information…so it’s time to get creative.

Ser Darron’s Journal 18

Ser Dollins’s gift of such a fine lance has warmed this knight’s cold heart. I liked him from the first time I heard his skill on that stringed contrivance you know. A proper tune from the bard could make a man forget his cares for a good while and put the ladies in a state too.
I’ve since learned he’s quick with a blade and bold as a bear when put to it. A righteous man if I’ve ever seen one and I rather like slaying foes aside such a fellow.
Sure he’s a little old to have gotten the shoulder taps but hell, if I’m being honest, I’m no spring chicken myself. I suppose there’s something to be said for a little experience though. The years give more than they take, so to say.
These whippersnappers make a good show of things but when steel comes out, give me a seasoned man, I say. Two against one before it’s a fair fight, if you’re talking a veteran who’s kept up on his training.
In fact, men like Ser Dollins, Ser Cedric, Barristan the Bold, and myself have a kind of mettle they don’t make anymore. If pressed, the four of us side by side could keep a small army of young swordsmen at bay.
All the better because it’s good odds that we need to protect the little lord before we see the outside of Heart’s Home. Thaddeus has proposed to surgery upon Lyn Corbray. I’m not sure what that is exactly, but the Maester speaks with little confidence in himself. In any case, a blade is to be used so it’s my guess (not that I’d tell Thad) it’s my guess that Lyn is going to die.
I hope he doesn’t – for our sake – but at least there’ll be one less cunt in the world.

From Maester to Surgeon??
That was unforeseen!

Teddy, Dolins, Darron and I head to the House Corbrey! We are planning to try and convince the Corbrey faction to join us against the Linderly house. We arrive and are escorted to the main hall to wait for Lord Lionel. As we are waiting, Darron asks Teddy if he thinks this throne is more comfortable than the House Jasper throne. He then darts up and sits on it! As he is sitting, the door opens so he jumps up. It was just a servant girl dropping off drinks and food. So he sits back down as soon as she leaves.

Lord Lionel, Lucas and Maester Wilbur enter and Teddy leads off to see if they will join us. It seems serendipitous that they also are angry at the Linderlys. It is odd timing… We hear that the Linderly clan set upon his uncle and brother while they were hunting. His brother has been greatly wounded and doesn’t seem to be healing the way he should. Maester Wilbur entreats for my help and of course I agree. We head off to see the poor man.

We enter a beautiful room where I see the man sleeping. Wilbur states he sleeps for almost the whole day and is awake for just an hour. I start to examine him which takes a good while. I find that one of his kidneys appears to be split open, that is where the uncontrolled bleeding is from. I tell Wilbur about this new procedure called “Surgery”. It is where you try and remove some damaged organ in last resort to save someone’s life. Luckily for this man, he has what appears to be another functioning kidney and I have read about this being done to just one kidney in the past. Wilbur asks if the archmaester knows of this and I let him know I had discussions on this very topic when I was just in the citadel. I tell Wilbur that I think this is the only option we have.

Lord Lionel arrives in the room and tells me that his uncle disappeared a few days ago and he is afraid he has ridden off to Snakewood. Wilbur lets him know of the plan for surgery and he says that he would do anything to try and save him and to start. This will be interesting… Hopefully my reading will do me well!

Back to playing the game

After a quick stop at Castle Snownook, our party prepares to set off for a pair of short missions. The Maester, Ser Darron, and Ser Dolins will join me to treat with House Corbray and rally their forces in opposition to the Lynderlys. Carsen and Jardon will make a stealthy landing near Snakewood and try to learn what House Lynderly is up to.

As I am prepare to leave the castle, Summer knocks on my door and asks for a word. She reveals to me that she can turn into her dog, she calls it warging. This claim seems outlandish, I’m skeptical. She can turn into her dog, but her dog doesn’t turn into her? This doesn’t make any sense. I ask if she can show me right now. The life leaves her body and her dog, August, becomes immediately animated. I ask the dog to go into Jardon’s room and bring me of his eyes or legs. The dog leaves the room and Summer’s body is left standing there in a very creepy state. I look at her cautiously. Is she really out? I give her a light kick in the shin to test. No response… interesting. A few minutes later, the dog returns with Jardon’s spare leg! Amazing! I take the leg from the dog’s mouth and use it to stoke the fire in my room. Summer wakes up and seems pleased with herself. She asks if she can join the spy party and I agree to let her.

When my party arrives at Hearts Home, we are greeted and escorted to the Hall where we are left to wait for Lord Lyonel Corbray. After we’re alone, Darron asks me if Lord Corbray’s throne looks more comfortable than Lord Jaspers. I suggest he try it out and compare, since he admitted to sitting in my father’s throne. He quickly sits and stands, nearly being caught as a servant walks in carrying some ale and bread for us. An hour or so passes before 3 men come to the chamber; Lord Lyonel Corbray, Lucas Corbray, and Wilbur their Maester.

I propose to Lord Lyonel the Corbrays bring their forces to Snownook so together we can settle our similar feuds with the Lynderlys. Their Maester thinks we’re up to no good here, implying that this is quite timely considering their current predicament. I argue “Nay! I merely propose this based on two facts: the Lynderlys are very unlikable, and Lyn Corbray himself admitted his dislike of the Lynderlys to me months ago at our tournament at Snownook.” Nailed it.

When asked, Darron and I explain the Lynderlys aggression against House Jasper. I ask of their recent troubles with the Lynderlys and Lyonel explains his brother, Lyn, and bastard uncle, Arturo, were ambushed by Lynderlys while hunting. Lyn is gravely injured and Arturo has not been seen for days, potentially captured by the Lynderlys while attempting to retaliate.

Lyn Corbray is heap of goat shit. I hope he lingers in pain and dies a slow death. He deserves it after disrespecting me at our tournament and whipping Edric, our stable master (and Summer’s father, now that I think about it).

Ser Darron announces, “Our Maester just returned from the citadel with new knowledge of healing, perhaps he can be of assistance.”

Seven Hells!

The Mystery Deepens

I continue my investigation by interrogating Carsen. He claims Rusty came aboard with an offer for House Jasper. He confirmed that Jardon disclosed we have more dragon eggs than most people are aware of. This made Calaila upset, and Caliala had a special visit from Rusty where he whispered something to her. He claims Calaila had to rush away. He joined her to offer protection for her journey, but then he left her and turned around after being repeatedly insulted by Caliala. He claims to not have seen Caliala after that interaction.

Carson continues to tell me about how he, Darron, and Jardon posed as Lynderly soldiers to cause a ruckus in Corbray lands. He stops to reconsider the information he’s about to disclose. I try to pull it out of him. Carsen says he was pledged to the house of faceless men and he could borrow people’s faces. This is what he did with the Lynderlys.

Its true! He has a face thing! He also seems to have the means, motive, and opportunity to have committed this crime…

When I pressed Carsen on the other details of that night, he effortlessly deflects every accusation I throw at him. It could have been ANY faceless man who did this, of course it wasn’t me. What about the disparity between the Maester’s sighting of Calaila and Thomas not seeing her? Thomas is an unreliable child. Caliala died from wounds of an archer. Carsen, you’re a faceless man who’s an excellent archer, that’s quite a coincidence isn’t it? Everyone is good at archery, it could have been anyone…

After our conversation, I go down to Carsen’s cabin and dump all his belongings on to the floor. All he has is a bunch of weapons and a full wardrobe for every possible occasion, but no faces.

I got back to my room, my head brimming with new information. Thomas knocks on the door with news that a party is on the docks, including Lady Elesham, Sir Argyle, their Septon, and Rusty.

Politics are the last thing on my mind right now, and I have no idea what’s happening on this island with the Woodhulls and Eleshams. Carsen seems to know what’s going on. Although I’m suspicious, I need someone who knows what’s happening. If only Caliala were here…

Dolins also joins us on the docks. He’s barely left my side since Caliala’s death.

Lady Elesham tells me that the alliance between Houses Elesham and Jasper has never been stronger, and they commit to sending an army to Snownook in a weeks time.

We set sail and return to Castle Snownook and fill in the Lord and Lady about our trip. Ronnel says he’s been feeling frail, so he is entrusting me to handle the ongoing issue with the Lynderdys.

After the meeting with the group, Lady Elise pulls me aside for a private conversation. I reveal my suspicions about Carson, and she agrees with the sentiment. She advises not to trust Carsen, but also not to act unless I am absolutely sure of his guilt. Lady Elise also tells me Raella hasn’t returned yet after being gone for a week, she should have been back by now. My mother reminds me that dealing with House Lynderly and finding Calaila’s assassin are the top priorities for our house.

What the heck is going on?

In the hall of first light with Lady Elesham, Carsen dismisses himself from the room. I acknowledge Lady Elesham’s renewed alliance and Darron and I leave to look for Dolins.

After a quick stop at the Rambis, me, Darron, Thomas, and Summer set off to look for Dolins. Originally it was going to me Me, Darron, and Summer, but the Maester tried to convince Summer to stay and help take care of Jardon. As the bickering rose, I raised my voice and ordered Jardon and Summer to come with us. Jardon, being an ass, insists on going shopping with the Maester for a new leg. Exasperated, I tell Thomas to saddle his horse and come with us. If the Maester and Jardon are going shopping, there’s no reason for him to guard the ship!

We find Dolins, and on our way back to the Rambis we encounter Ser Argyle. It’s strange that he’s out this late.

Upon our return, I get to interrogate the Maester once more about the night of Caliala’s death. He confirmed from the autopsy that Calaila was shot with an arrow or crossbow in the back, and her face was intentionally removed, but the reason is unknown.

The Maester recalls Carson and Calaila left the ship together. Caliala was angry at Carsen for bringing Rusty onto the Rambis and not stopping a conversation with Jardon that revealed House Jasper has 3 dragon eggs, instead of 1 which I’ve been telling people. Caliala left to find me to let me know immediately. Carsen insisted on escorting her, but she didn’t want his company. While on the trail they had some falling out. The Maester recalls Carson returning to the ship alone, and Caliala returning a short while later for a brief visit.

I also interrogated Thomas. He says the last time he saw Caliala was when she and Carsen left the ship together, and he swears his life on it! He recalls Carsen returning, but never saw Calaila again.

I need to talk with Darron and Dolins, something isn’t right here.

As I’m getting ready for bed, Summer knocks on my door with some interesting information. She tells me that on their nightly rounds, they smelled burning human flesh and heard Rusty’s voice discussing with a woman about a person being burned. She made it sound like Rusty is leading this nefarious effort. Very curious.

I meet with Dolins and Darron and discuss all the clues to this point. We decide that we must interrogate Carsen. I also fill them in on what Summer told me the night before.

A Worthy Stablehand

With rumors of a spy mission to House Lynderly swirling around Castle Snownook, I decide it is high time I share my gift with Lord Theodore in hopes it will be my ticket out of the stables and away from my wretched father. I find the lordling in his office- nervously wringing my hands, I explain my ability to warg into August. His eyes grow wide, then his eyebrows narrow as he asks for a demonstration. I leave my human form and my senses awake in August, looking up at Teddy. He smiles devilishly, and asks that if I really want to prove my ability, I shall retrieve Captain Jardon’s spare wooden leg. I bound out the door, across the training yard, and up the stairs to Captain Jardon’s quarters. After some finagling, I open his door take the wooden peg leg in my jaws and trot back to the young lord. He reacts with delight, holding the leg in his hand and eyeing it with near insane glee. As he tosses it into the flames behind him, I regain my human form, and request the honor of joining the mission of House Jasper, which he graciously grants me. Leaving his office I give August a little pat on his soft blonde head, and we set out for our first great adventure.

I make every effort to contain my enthusiasm on the ride to Jasport, but it isn’t long before a gruff Captain Jardon asks my purpose for attending the trip. “What help could a stable hand bring on a mission like this among experienced warriors?” I look to Theodore momentarily for assistance, but with a puff of my chest and a new found confidence, decide to take the question into my own hands. Within the span of a second, my eyes roll white and reawaken in August, and I playfully snap at the Captain and tug at his ankle. Before he can draw his weapon at the pup, I leave August’s form, and smile and shrug at Jardon. He looks at me bewildered, stating he’s heard of warging wildlings in stories but didn’t think they were real. “I’m no wildling, but I do hope to use this gift from the gods for the good of House Jasper.” He expresses a surprised sense of satisfaction, and agrees that in fact we may be of use to the mission after all.

Carsen, Jardon and I arrive at Snakewood, and hatch a plan to get through the gate then split up to get the lay of the land within the walls. The others change into merchant’s garb and hide their belongings with my body in a thick wood, and we hatch a plan to meet back here at sunset if we don’t reconvene before the end of the day. As August, I get through the gates without difficulty. My first stop happens to be the kennels and I’m greeted by a snarling hound. I assume a nonthreatening stance and the dog opposite me relaxes before a man I can only imagine is the kennel master calls to him. Not wanting to end up on a Lynderly cage for the night I sprint away, farther into the Snakewood walls.

Deep in a maester's thoughts

I’ve finally got the bleeding to stop. It took quite a bit of bandaging and took a good long while but now it just hurts. The throbbing will hopefully stop sometime. Once I rebandage things up, I go and take care of Jardon. Then I head up to the top deck to get a bit of sunshine. Once up there, I see Carsen being questioned by Teddy. The new Sir Dolins (so proud to call my dear friend that) is standing nearby. I’m sure he is protecting over Teddy. I walk over to join in the conversation.

It sounds like Teddy thinks Calaila was killed by Carsen. I am really quite confused by this. I have told Teddy several times about why I believe Rusty is the murderer. The timeline for Carsen just doesn’t fit! Calaila was not kind to Carsen before they left, he insisted on going with her as she was hurt, then he came back upset as she had been nasty to him. I don’t find this suspicious at all. Calaila could be very biting with her words. Then, after Carsen had been back for a while, Calaila did show up nervous about the visit with Rusty earlier and stated that Rusty had threatened her and she collected her things and told me she would see me later. Who knows what happened to her during those hours without Carsen. She could have been approached by Rusty again. The whole thing seems very suspicious. Rusty is sketchy to begin with and Calaila has always had a mysterious past. It all reminds me of a few times she has gotten in trouble in our travels. She runs away quickly with no plan for what to do next. The poor girl must have gotten caught up in something again.

But back to Carsen. What on earth would be his motive? I don’t hear Teddy mention anything. I do hear Teddy say he is a faceless man, which surprises me. I zone out a bit and start thinking through what I know of the faceless men. They try to make the deaths look like an accident, which this was an obvious killing. It is also normally best practice if the victim doesn’t notice the killer coming, which Calaila obviously noticed as it took several shots to fell her. And there is still the lack of motive. That is really catching me up. Calaila and Carsen seemed to get along normally, minus Calaila’s mean streaks. I just don’t see it.

I also don’t understand why Teddy isn’t listening to me. He keeps talking about Thomas’ recollection. Does he not see that the boy is but a child? He hardly notices anything! He is a good enough boy, and by the gods, he seems to try so hard, but he is young and distractible. And here I am, a full grown cross-dressing maester, and I’m being completely ignored. It’s starting to get really frustrating. At least Dolins seems to understand my logic. Thank goodness I have him.

After this frustrating conversation is over, I head into town to the same shop as before. I am in search for a prosthetic glove for my poor hand. I don’t want this wound to be so noticeable. Unfortunately, the shop owner doesn’t have anything like that. I head back to the ship and start reading on the deck. Then I hear the Elishams arrive! I look down and see Septon Hugo and RUSTY?? Again?? This man.

I hurry over to Teddy who is with Carsen and Dolins and warn them all that I think Rusty is responsible for Calaila and I ask them to be careful. I also hope that this will spur Teddy on to talk to the man. Maybe question him a bit. Me and my bandaged hand will stay on deck. Sparring with words has never been my strength regardless. A maester knows her place.
I head back to Jardon and point out the foolish septon who came to administer his last rights. He sure isn’t looking perfect, what with the missing eye and now the missing leg, but he is not dead! How his poor new bride will react, I am not sure…

I see them chatting on the dock and it looks like nothing is said to Rusty before they head back! What the heck Teddy! I am not sure what to do with him. We quickly head out after this, back to home, leaving Calaila’s ashes and sad last memories on the beach.

Back at Snownook, we are all called for an audience. We are welcomed home and Lady Elyse asks how we all are and questions Calaila’s death. She is upset that we had left without finding who murdered her. I need to talk to her. She instead, asks to speak to Teddy about it and when I ask to join, Teddy says no. I’ll have to find a private audience with her.

Bad Trust
Mistakes Were Made

It would seem that our young lordling is even less discreet than Ser Darron. I cannot tell if he is more obtuse than our good hedge knight or if he is angered with grief and acting recklessly. Regardless, my ability to disguise and investigate for the house will continually have less utility if everyone I share my secret with cannot keep quiet. This is a troubling turn of events. I regret sharing any of my past with my companions, even if it did help our cause. I came to this backwater to leave my old life behind, but between my actions and the lack of discretion in my companions, I fear that my past may come back to haunt me…

Boredom at the Beach
Longest game of Pick up Stix

It seemed like a good trade initially; I help the maester for 48 hours and in return He vouches for me. But 2 days of collecting driftwood later I am not so sure it was worth it.Everyone else is solving a murder and I am walking the beach picking up sticks. Thad hasn’t said a word to me since we started either, it is super boring. At least we managed to build a massive pyre, who would put that much work into a funeral service for someone they murdered? NO ONE!

The mind numbing work gave me time to think as well. We have the Paps behind us stronger than ever. Our mission here was beyond a success. Rusty scared Calaila bad enough for her to run out injured and all of the remains of the evidence are in HIS room. Perhaps I will suggest a closer look at Rusty. He is very valuable to have as a contact, but someone needs to take the fall, why not him?