Campaign of the Month: December 2020

House Jasper

The Women in Pink

After confirming room at the knight’s paddock is available for the Jasper mounts, I head back to the docks and begin unloading horses when I notice two figures obscured behind crates and debris on the docks. Their both looking away, but notably out of place with their fine pink dresses on. I can see they are two older women with grey hair one with short hair and the other with long hair.
Tugged by my curiosity about these dockside oddities, I approach them gently and ask if they’re okay, but they assure me all is well and their coolness makes it unbearable to stick around. As I walk away I can’t shake how strange the sight was, so return to the ship to lock myself away before warging into August and returning to the scene.
I sniff around the debris and overhear their soft chatter, “it’s just a mutt…”, “…the girl meant to harm….”, “…I know, it just makes me uncomfortable…”. They eventually settle into a peaceful silence and take each others hands while looking out over the water.
It ‘s hard to tell if the scene is romantic so in an effor tto get closer, I grab a bit of broken dock in my mouth and bring it to them to drop at their feet. “Oh goodness, now it wants to play,” one says, “now shoo! Shoo!” I ignore her command and drop into a play bow with an excited waggy to try to get them to pay attention to me, but it is to no avail. “Just ignore it,” the other says, "it’ll go away if we pay it no mind." I settle down a few feet away for some time and can’t pick up on their energy, so eventually return to bring the horses to the paddock.

How do you solve a problem like Ser Bruce?

With Ser Bruce in the dungeons, the council gathers to discuss his fate. Lord Theodore recalls that House Belmore is in good standing with House Arryn, following perhaps only house Royce and a few others. We all agree that keeping or killing Ser Bruce is an almost certain bid for war, however, sending him may also have dire consequences. The rest of the small council ruminated on Lady Alys’ warning about their two kills for our nine, along with taking their horses and imprisoning their son, and how that would look to other houses. I reminded the others that it’s important to control the narrative beyond the numbers, that Ser Bruce and his hunting party were systematically hunting down humans and brutally mutilating them, that this kind of cruel insanity going unchecked poses a risk to all in the Fingers. After much deliberation, we agree we will let Ser Bruce go, and send a message by Rhaella to Snakewood’s maester to send to the citadel by raven with a request for new maester. While discussing how to develop more good will with our neighbors after realizing how few friends we have to call on in times of war, we receive an invitation from Lord Daryl of House Pryor, inviting House Jasper to a tournament in celebration of their appointment to Marshall of the Fingers.

Starting a fight with a killer

A few days after leaving Strong Song, we encounter a group of 10 people. It’s a hunting party from House Belmore, Sir Bruce is the leader. I look over to Wilhelm, he gives me a subtle nod that this is the man he saw in his tavern. We make pleasantries with the group for a few minutes. We ask them what they hunt, and Sir Bruce is a bit cagey, only saying they hunt exotic game. He has no regard for land boundaries set by civilized Lordships, claiming he merely “follows the hunt wherever it takes him”. I see he has a battle axe and a purple cloak, exactly the same as the vision I saw in Bethlezar’s eyeball soup! This must be our culprit!

After a few moments with the hunting party at the trail intersection, a line rider begins to approach from the east. Its Ser Darron! What great timing! I feel there’s a skirmish looming and his sword carries great weight! Shortly after, it appears the Dolins tries to pull Darron aside and it makes Ser Bruce uneasy.

As Ser Bruce indicates he’s moving on, Clink pulls out his morning star and clashes it against his shield, accusing Ser Bruce of hunting on Jasper lands and demanding payment. I like Clink, perhaps he’s too blunt, but I appreciate his enthusiasm. Then out of nowhere… AUGUST JUMPS OFF A CLIFF AND LANDS A SURPRISE ATTACK ON SER BRUCE!!! AMAZING!!! We must get in there to help August! I pull my sword and do what I do best… distract my opponents.

Tracking the Lavender Cloak, Pt III

I stick around long enough to learn that “Sir” is Ser Bruce, a man with red hair that dons a faded purple cloak every time he complains of a draft. This has to be the man I’m looking for, so I remain, watching and waiting, until an opportunity to get closer arrives. Until then, I can’t help but notice two things. One, that Slim remains in one chair just out of sight for the remainder of our time at the lodge. He occasionally speaks and others bring him food and water to drink, and change his chamber pot, but he does not leave the chair. Two, the lodge is littered with weapons, spears, bows, and most importantly, an axe always within reach of Ser Bruce.

Two days after I arrive, early in the morning, some commotion raises my hackles. Several men in the party saddle their horses, and Ser Bruce walks out into the cold and crisp morning air, shouting at the rest of his group that they are to mount up, as they have a long day riding east ahead of them. Castle Snownook and Jasper lands are east…I can’t let him hunt down another innocent person.

I follow the party from not far behind as their shaggy horses carefully pick their way down the mountain path until we reach an intersection. I’m not sure if the gods have blessed or cursed me when I see the House Jasper party reaching the intersection at the same time. The two groups speak for a few minutes, and there is palpable tension in the air. I creep closer, perched on higher ground, and get close enough to notice subtle but knowing glances among all of House Jasper’s riders. Ser Bruce confirms he’s going hunting but refuses to divulge what exactly he’s hunting for, which tips Clink over the edge. He explodes, shouting, “we know who you are!” Ser Bruce is visibly confused, opening the door for me to descend from above.

I pounce from the stony ledge and sink my teeth into Ser Bruce’s neck, shaking him back and forth, spraying my fur with blood. The shock and horror is clear in his eyes and he screams “rabid dog!” as he pulls his battle axe to swing at me. It hits, but I’m surged with adrenaline and leap at him again, this time, mostly getting a mouthful of fur. I am relieved to see House Jasper charge towards us from twenty yards away as Teddy yells “I bet you eat your victim’s heads too!” raising his long sword above his head. As an arrow from Ser Darron whizzes past us, I fully realize the damage Ser Bruce has imparted on me with only a moment to decide whether to run or continue to fight….

Tracking the Lavender Cloak, Pt II

After realizing one of the voices is Slim, I lean in towards the building a bit harder only to hear a few quick footsteps towards the front door. I bolt out front to see a middle aged man toss some more dinner scraps out to the two guard dogs. Seeing an opportunity, I crawl towards the man while the other dogs are distracted and do my very best to win him over. He leans over with a smile, and happily offers up some belly rubs, giving me the opportunity to get a good look at him. The man has light brown hair and freckles, and is dressed in furs and tailored garments and fine leather boots. I make note that he is also carrying a dagger on his hip.
After a few minutes, the man stretches his back and goes to walk back inside. I do my best to convince him that I am, in fact, an indoor dog and not one of these mangy mutts, but with a laugh, he says aloud that “Sir wouldn’t like it if I let you in,” squeezing through the door leaving me out in the cold. Hm…Sir. Who is Sir?
I carry on trying to listen to the goings on of the lodge, deducing there are probably at least a half dozen people milling about, including one pacing in a lofted area above. Between the conversation with Slim I overheard and the yet-to-be-seen man in charge, I decide it’s most important to stick around and continue to observe.

Tracking the Lavender Cloak

Feeling a bit shoved aside by these newcomers, Clink and Clank, and not wanting my contributions and value to the house to be overshadowed, I hastily make the decision to pursue the lavender cloaked red haired killer myself, in hopes of ending his reign of terror before the house’s newest additions have the chance. I tuck myself away and warg into August to set out in pursuit of the murderer.

After two weeks of tracking, I catch a whiff of something new…other dogs. This strikes me as odd, so I slow my pace and hunker down to observe over a cliff. I spy two dogs lounging outside kennels of a hunting lodge. Occasionally, a bundled up man or woman will come out to check on the horses. A lavender banner flaps in the bitterly cold wind. After a few hours of limited activity, I slink closer to the building to get closer to the windows.

The backside window peeks into a store room, so needing to get closer I tiptoe towards the next window. The guard dogs are good at their jobs, and come ripping around the corner, snarling and sprinting towards me. I crouch with a low wagging tail, and taking an appeasing stance. They soften and sniff and circle before moving on moments before a woman’s voice rings out into the cold air, banging pots together and calling for meal time. As quickly as the guard dogs arrive, they depart, and I follow on their heels.

The bundled woman stands out front with scraps that make me drool. I flop onto my back and wiggle around in the snow in an attempt to warm her to sharing with me, or even let me inside with no success. She kicks snow and tells me to get lost, and I slink back around the windows where I started, happy that the guard dogs are distracted.

Through the first window, I see a firepit straight ahead and move onto the the second window, where I see a man standing a talking to another. In the third and fouth windows I peek through into a kitchen, so circle back to the second window to get a closer look at the man, who is speaking animatedly to another just out of view. In hopes of hearing more if their conversation I crouch below the window sill and grow very still to listen intently. “What do you mean it’s not her?” the freckled man shouts. “I don’t know what to tell you, its not her,” the man out of view responded, stumbling over his words and exasperating the freckled man. “I can’t believe it’s come to this!” My ears prick up at a third voice, who says calmly, “just be patient, I’m sure that our new friend here will be able to get us exactly who we’re looking for”.

I recognize this stumbling, bumbling nervous voice-it’s clearly Slim. What is Slim doing out in the Mountains of the Moon? Who are they looking for? Is the freckled man the killer? I hunker down closer to the building to try and gather more information.

Coming up in the world and refining myself
Clink goes maesterly
All without the constant threat of death. Not a bad way to spend some time. Farewell for now. Carsen

Now that I am an Honorable Knight of house Jasper it is time I, Clink, take on some scholarly pursuits. I also wish to document my rise as the finest knight of the 7 kingdoms. It was just my luck that as I passed a farm, I came across a wretched farmer who had a book he no longer needed. The fool didn’t know what he had in his possession, even though he all but said these pages are done in Valyrian Guiding. This book is exquisite, and it only cost me 2 dragons. I almost feel bad for the old man, but as they say a book for a farmer is like nipples on a breastplate. I will do far better with this than he ever would, and worst case I can always sell it for a tidy profit!

HA! That's what you get
Really, What were you hoping to accomplish...?

Ha! Serves him right! What in the world did the lordling think he was accomplishing coming after me? Me?! His only banner man, and a known servant of the vale. Best case he has no bannerman and looks like a fool, and worst case he has a very unfriendly banner man and looks like a fool. How would house Jasper be better off without me?! Good luck next time they want to steal something, sneak around, or take a long shot (Hehe, puns). I guess they’ll try asking nicely now. Good luck with that! Jon Arryn is truly a just and observant lord. If any more trouble stirs up, I think I’ll pay him a visit myself. With all I’ve done for the realm he would surely take me on as a bannerman and protect us Thornes for all we’ve done for the Vale. I mean really, what did our lord hope to accomplish?!

I digress…Hmm… What’s next? Well journal, I am not sure, but I think things will be a lot less eventful for me in the coming months. I guess that means I won’t be writing in you much. Time for some much-needed rest, a rebuilding of my mine, and the finishing of my castle. All without the constant threat of death. Not a bad way to spend some time. Farewell for now. Carsen

A Visit with a Witch

The next day, Teddy, Ser Dolins and I head to the witches hut. We arrive at Bethlazar’s, and when I announce our arrival she pops her head over her grassy roof, and welcomes us in. I explain the events of the day before while Teddy reveals the eyes we found on the body, laying them on the table. She pokes the eyes, taps her fingers on her side for a moment, and looks to the cauldron…“that WAS lunch…but now, a new purpose!”. After tossing the contents of the cauldron, she rushes around the room gathering bits and bobs to add the the kettle, until she looks at Teddy and asks for a gift. He pats around his pockets with surprise, until he reveals a single copper to hand to the woman. I mumble under my breath, “kind of a crappy gift…” while she throws it into the cauldron with the eyes. “Now we wait,” she says with a smile.

After some time, the cauldron returns to a boil, and Bethlazar pours herself a mug of the mixture and takes a long drink. “Jasper knight!” she exclaims. The three of us look at one another in befuddlement. “She saw one,” the witch tries to explain. She?? “The eyes belong to a female?” Dolins asks, and gets a cackle in reply. “Do you know who the eyes belong to?” I ask. Bethlazar responds, “I do not,” and states again she saw a Jasper knight, who was old. We stew in our confusion further until Teddy proposes Dolins taking a drink to see if he can recognize the person Bethlazar is speaking of. To all our surprise, he agrees, and Bethlazar cackles. She tosses the contents of her cup onto the ground, and thrusts a cup into Dolins hands. Despite his skepticism, he takes a long drink, but says he sees nothing. Teddy looks to me next. “If it’s okay with Bethlazar…” I responded. She cackles again, and hands me a fresh cup of the brew. I toss it back, and nearly gag at the awful taste of rotten blueberries and feet that have been stuck in riding boots for too long without a wash. All for naught-I also see nothing.

When we’ve exhausted our questions about the eyes, I ask Bethlazar about “the singers” the clansmen and the old man in the cave describe. She confirms she’s heard of them, and that they come from the west. The witch declares that they hunt on full moons, the alst being 4-5 days ago, and indicates that she does not think they are a threat to House Jasper.

Before we leave, desperate for more information about Bethlazar’s vision, Lord Theodore asks for the chance to drink the contents of the cauldron himself.

Eventually Lord Theodore agrees to try it himself. He clearly has a reaction which lasts a few seconds, until he returns and asks Bethlazar about what he saw. “You said you saw an old JAsper knight? I saw a young shirtless man with painted skin!” Her eyes grow wide and she starts hustling us out the door. “Time for a nap!”

When we reach the road, Teddy shares that as he was walking out her door, Bethlazar scolded him with a sly smile about the “gift” he gave her. I knew a copper was too low a price for the talents of Bethlazar, but am relieved to get a more accurate vision. He shares that in the vision, the murdered party was killed by a battle axe, and notes that this is a castle forged weapon wielded by a man who looks to be a wild clansman.

An Eerie Adventure

Several weeks after the deal was made with the treacherous Carsen, the dust seems to settle and the tension in the house becomes a new normal. Cedric gathers Lord Theordore and the small council, myself included, and insists we come to see something he found.
We all hike deep into the woods to the coast, to see a man laying what would be face down on a rock but…without a head. He’s wearing the furs and cloaks of the mountain clansmen and the rock is absolutely covered in blood. The cut on his neck is clean,but has clearly been festering a couple days. Teddy pokes around the man with his sword until he pulls out a paid of piercing blue eyeballs while Ser Darron announces that the weapon used for an attack like this must’ve been castle forged or even Valyrian steel.
We make a quick attempt at tracking the attacker’s footsteps, but neither Clank, nor Gregoriy, nor August make much headway. Theodore looks to me, and after a moment of panic remembering the brutal way my raven companion was killed, I look to the skies for a new feathered friend to warg into. Fortunately, I find a seagull and with only a little difficulty, am able to inhabit it quickly.
I spy a couple miles to the west a group of mountain clansmen, 10 of them, lumbering through the valley. A few are struggling to keep up and they’re travelling light. Some even seen to be leaning on each other for support. I return to the group to see a dumbfounded Clink and Clank confused as to the events of the past few moments, and I smile, embarrassed, promising to fill them in later once we’ve made a plan.
Darron proposes we parley with the clansmen, as we’re better prepared than they and may gather some information, much to the apparent disappointment of Clink and Clank who are ready to fight.
When the clansmen arrive, the look defeated and ragged, and share that a group they call “the singers” have killed some of their fellow party members. For the lives of us, we cannot figure out who they’re referring to, even when they share that they howl like wolves during attacks. I suggest we bring the oddities of the day to Bethlazar, the town witch, to she if she’s ever heard of such a thing when we return and all are in agreement.
At Darron’s suggestion, we carry on a bit further west, and after an hour we notice a cave mouth that we venture into while Cedric stays back with the horses. With luck on our side, Darron is quick enough to notice a trip wire at the mouth of the cave we each carefully step over, deeper and deeper into the cave we venture, through crevasses and over cliffs, until we find a strange man, covered in mud, balled up in the fetal position. When he’s approached, he repeats “don’t…don’t…don’t…” over and over again in the most eerie way possible. He stutters and stammers about “riders from the west” and “can’t escape”. Thoroughly creeped out, I suggest we help him out of the cave and to safety. My heart is warmed to see Clink offer a steadying hand to the man and we head out.