Campaign of the Month: December 2020

House Jasper

Mistress of Whispers...or chopped liver?

The scouting group returns to the Rambis with a battered Thomas and horrifying winged lizard in tow. "NO. No, no, no. Absolutely not. No," I yell to the gang plank. Darron, still tossing bits of food to the creature is shockingly dumbfounded at my suggestion that he not bring this monster on board. Even when it comes out that it was this species which inflicted the devastating wounds on Thomas, Darron digs his heels in, suggesting it could perhaps be a valuable dragon (despite there not being any burns in sight, nor even an ounce of fire breathing). I take in a deep breath, in an attempt to quell my rage, and barely hold in calling  Ser Darron a royal imbecile. Tito speaks up at last, confirming the creature is a wivern, a Essosi pest, and would be a danger with no value. It is only then that the crew sees with any sense. Do they listen to Lord Ronnel's trusted advisor? No, of course not. They trust a sell sword who barely speaks the common tongue. I see the type of respect I can expect here.

When House Jasper is safely back on board, it becomes clear that poor sweet Thomas is quite ill from his wivern wounds. With Tito still recovering, and our captain Jardon below deck suffering from ugly food poisoning, we agree that for now it would be best to remain anchored and heal.

While Darron is healing Thomas' wounds, and I am tending to the sweet boy's comfort, I connect with Darron about the events of the day before, and our dispute over the wivern. He admits he seeks gold and glory, and hoped the wivern was his key. The poor knight was so desperate he put his logic aside to dream of getting closer to his ambitions. I commiserate about the roadblocks of the path to wealth, and he assures me he bears no hard feelings towards me following our disagreement. I admire his goals, but wonder what (or who?) else he would put aside to get to them. We part on good terms, and look to a shiny horizon together.

After a few more days at sea, we come across a magnificent road, seeming to stop right at the sea. It is unlike anything we've seen on our journey, and clear to the crew that we're closer to our destination. It is agreed upon that Thomas, following his demonstration of what a liability he can be, shall stay aboard the Rambis, and signal to us should trouble arise. I make an effort to keep Teddy on board as well, but no one seems to be having it. Darron thinks the Lordling should be present in case we need him to negotiate with the Valyrians. I consider that the Valyrians are probably all dead, and Teddy is a terrible negotiator, but decide not to push my luck with the knight, as I may wear out his patience with my disagreements.

I do, however, speak up and suggest we devise a strategy for our mission, but that, too, falls on deaf ears. How have I led these men astray to deserve such distrust and disregard?! Before hitting land, we take stock of our food and see that we've gone through 33 of the 120 days of goods we have in our stores. We sharpen our blades, pack a few weeks worth of supplies, and set out on the road, Jardon and Dolins leading the way, Teddy and I following close behind, and Tito, Denys and Darron heading up the rear. 

I'm on a boat
Take a good hard look at the motherfucking boat

After a quiet morning in my cabin, I am startled by the sound of laughter on deck. I join Ser Denys and Tito there, and Ser Denys launches into a dramatic tale about how he became a knight. He reported that he began as the younger of two smith apprentices, and the older was more talented but cruel. One day, Ser Denys responded to his cruelty with violence, and when the house Master at Arms found him beating the living hell out of his fellow apprentice, he invited Denys to train as a knight. Before his training began, as punishment for his temper, he was branded with the tip of his broad sword. Tito showed off a scar on his leg, and snickered his way through a story about jumping out of a window after getting caught with his pants literally around his ankles. I am reduced into a fit of giggles myself from his story of such a chaotic affair, and after some prodding, I reluctantly share a scar of my own, which I have spent much time and effort covering up. Ser Denys' eyes grow wide and Tito looks on with increasing respect as I share the tale of Olivia nearly decapitating me. "She was never going to stop pursuing me, and I can't always count on the axe missing my neck, so I was glad to end things with Olivia in Gulltown," I explained to them solemnly.

Ser Denys suggests we return to Gulltown to make sure Olivia is gone for good. I'm very grateful to hear his empathy rather than disgust at my hideous scar, and Tito launches into another tale about the time a brother worker nearly bit off his tongue. We roar with laughter on the deck of the Rambis, and swap stories of love lost and the pain of of our mistakes. I notice a sense of closeness with these new members of House Jasper, and am grateful for this feeling I haven't experienced in some time. It isn't too long before a battered crew returns with a nearly dead Thomas and a horrifying winged creature attempting to climb aboard the ship.

The Rambis Carries On
Does any one know where the love of God goes When the waves turn the minutes to hours?

The scouting crew returns without dragon eggs, but with a very injured Tito. I make a feeble attempt at suggesting the lizard lion they encountered is a bad omen for our journey, but my concerns are waved off by the crew, and they prepare to search for dragon eggs elsewhere as we are clearly not in Valyria. Before sunset, we begin traveling south. 

I wake to the sound of rocks scraping on the hull of our ship. I arrive on the deck to arrogant Teddy boasting about his sailing skills, and they rejoice in the opportunity to explore the shore after clumsily passing around the pair of far eyes. My mates appear to be glass-half-full kind of people. I decide to stay on board with Tito to keep an eye out on the horizon, but it is not long until they come back with an injured Denys. It seems that we are dropping like flies!

On our third trip ashore, I insist that, in consideration of the future of House Jasper, Lord and heir Theodore stay on board of the Rambis while the others scout out the seemingly deserted city in front of us. With what appears to be a hint of relief in his voice, Teddy agrees and thanks me for my wisdom. I only hope we have a crew to sail the lording and me back to Westeros when all of this is over.

Ser Darron’s Journal XII

When I heard our very own ironborn was going to play captain and own the ship I almost wished to be back on the Broke Blade headed for the slave bay. A career of slavery would be long however, and I figure our present journey guarantees glory or death within the year. So I decided to accept these affairs based on their limited length. Surely though, of the seven hells, at least one must be a lifetime of taking orders from Jardon! Ho Ho!

To my surprise however, he’s been less maddening than usual; even friendly. In fact, he agreed that I should be the first mate (which is a seaman’s term for co-captain). It truly makes a man question what kind of land we’re in.

Who's driving this thing anyway?

Despite my best efforts, here we stand on the deck of the Rambis, with Captain Jardon at the helm. As it is now only House Jasper aboard, and I am without others to spy on or scheme with, I find myself suddenly out of my depths and lost on how to best spend my time. I spend most of my days at sea twiddling my thumbs quietly, and doing my best to hold my tongue as Darron and Jardon flip the map upside down and rightside up again. I wonder optimistically if we may be accidentally heading back to Westeros after all, at the hands of these two. At one point, Sweet Thomas narrowly saves us from a grisly run in with the craggy shoreline, and it takes me half a day to catch my breath after the fright the event gave me. Stranded in Essos…I can hardly imagine a worse way to go.

After two weeks, the Captain and first Mate seem convinced we've found our destination and suggest we go ashore. I urge a scouting party to go ahead first, heeding Lord Ronnel's request to keep his heir safe. Tito and Darron eagerly agree to go ashore, for which I thank them for their courage, though when Dolins pipes up that he'll join their party, I can't help but stare off, blinking silently into the distance. My anger towards the bard and his aggressive attack on my position and value to the house in front of its nobility still runs deep, and I can't say I would be terribly disappointed if the duplicitous scout did not make it back.

The Rambis creaks throughout the night as we wait for the search party to return, and I am sick with longing for the safety of Snownook. The whole reason I came to House Jasper was to avoid this constant worry and fear for my life. How ever did I end up back in this cycle, and more importantly, how can I get out of it?

Ser Darron’s Journal XI

Calalia the schemer…

Calalia the two-faced…

Calalia the deceitful, dishonest, treacherous, self-serving social climber…

…or, at least that’s what I thought before we became acquainted with each other on the Broke Blade. Turns out that she’s a proper sensible lass who loves a good game of King’s Goblet!!

Beers and Commandeers

Upon our return to the ship, I find Darron at the bow, happily breathing in the sea air with arms outstretched. We discuss his sense of adventure, but also that ultimately that the journey hasn't brought much more than boredom so far. I propose a drinking game with House Jasper to pass the time, and casually mention that I've heard whispers of the crew bring unhappy with boat conditions and pay. I note that this is typical chatter of kitchen hands and hand maids, and that I hope to confirm it is also typical talk on a ship. He waves me off, and expresses utter apathy, for which I am grateful, and we gather the others for a night of debauchery.

All members of House Jasper happily join in on a game of King's Goblet, and as the night goes on, they all get quite drunk, passing out and stumbling around. I pretend to drink, holding the tankard to my mouth, but only taking tiny sips. After Dolins goes to bed, and poor Thomas falls apart completely, I excuse myself to the deck 'for fresh air'  and rush to find Mark Farman and Bolose. Disappointingly, they share that they've already tried to speak with the Captain (and are therefore unable to take advantage of my skills in persuasion), and were unsuccessful in their efforts. They plan on executing their plans tonight, as the captain is already asleep. I confirm that the members of House Jasper will be safe in the mutiny, and scurry back to the bunk house, where the remainders of the house have drunkenly clambered into bed.

I can hardly sleep that night, anticipating the news that we will be heading home, however the morning brings a very different fate. While Farman and Bolose were able to successfully murder the captain, they are headed for Slavers Bay instead of Westeros. Jardon gets heated about getting his gold dragons back, and I practically can't believe my ears. So much so that it isn't until I've convinced the Jasparians the come up with a strategy in the bunkhouse that I fully comprehend that the mutineers are not following our plan of heading west. I convince Jardon and Darron to stay behind when I go confront Farman, but I begrudgingly accept Teddy's "help" and am therefore only able to bargain for a return to Volantis, rather than my true desires of Westeros.

Farman and his crew drop us off at the docks of Volantis with all of our supplies, and returning 50 GD to sweet Jardon. I shake my co-conspirator's hand, and wish Farman, Bolose and the crew safe passages. He gives me a wink, and we share a silent gratitude for the part we each played in taking us all a step farther away from Valyria. While he sails safely for Slaver's Bay, my heart sinks into the Summer Sea, knowing that my fate remains pointed towards the south.

A Brewing Mutiny

Dolins, Teddy, Jardon, an exceptionally quiet Darron and I set sail for Valyria with our captain and his first mate, who warn us of pirates and other dangers on the sea between Westeros and Volantis. Teddy suggests a surprisingly good idea of disguising us all in ash to look as though we have greyscale, and the ship hoists a grey sail to indicate the boat is afflicted.

Passing the Stone Steps, the captain's prediction comes to fruition, and a pirate ship approaches quickly. Despite the pirate's threats, I welcome him aboard, hissing, and invite him to come see our greyscale for himself, up close and personal. "Perhaps we can be neighbors in our new home!" I taunt, and the ship sails away without bloodshed.

Following my successful deception, and demonstrating my leadership in maintaining the safety of the crew, I take some time to listen into the boats whisperings. A young man name Plank confesses to me through resentful grumbles that he and the others feel we are on a death mission, and points me towards the First Mate and the Quartermaster.  Mate Mark Farman Quartermaster Bolose are found speaking in low tones, and reluctantly share that if it comes to choosing between their lives and their captain's orders to dock on Valyria, they're far more committed to their own beating hearts. I gladly commiserate, and agree to use my powers of persuasion to work with the crew to turn the boat around.

When we dock in Volantis, the Jasper men make their way into town to stock up on further supplies, and I tell them that I'm pursuing my duties as Mistress of Whispers, and will be listening for whispers in Essos and amongst the crew. Not a lie…but not the whole truth, which is that I'm following one very specific and dangerous whisper from the crew in particular. Bolose, Farman, Plank, and about a dozen other men congregate in the shadows of the city to discuss the plan. They agree to try words first, but are committed to violence if our persuasion is unsuccessful. I convince the men that, no matter what happens, it would be in their best interest to ensure the safety of the Jasper party, for if Teddy is hurt, the sailors will spend the rest of their sorry lives looking over their shoulders for the revenge of a powerful Westerosi lord. All agree, and we return to the ship with hopes of bringing it home.

To No Avail.

During my time in King's Landing, I take advantage of the city's rich wealth of goods, and collect some silks, scents, a lock picking kit, and some other goods. When the opportunity arises, I take the chance to make my case to Lord Ronnel, and urge him to reconsider his support for his son's ambitious but reckless mission for the sake of the future of House Jasper. He hears my concerns, and agrees to consider them.

Over the next few days, I join Teddy and Dolins in the library, them looking at maps of Essos, and me digging for dirt on the other noble houses of Westeros. Eventually, Lord Ronnel calls us to his table, and admits that he is struggling with his thoughts about the journey. Teddy gushes about his excitement for the riches the journey could bring, and Dolins expresses his shared enthusiasm for the prospect, both of them openly and naively ignoring the potential risks. Frustrated, I remind them that while the payoff would be enormous, none of it matters if we don't make it back, as no one has since The Doom. It is then that Dolins implies it is my duty to follow Teddy's orders, no matter the content, and that my advice opposes my loyalty to the Jaspers. I am incensed. "My dear bard, you surprise me. I resent your implication that it my best practice as an advisor to this noble house to follow blindly. I am concerned to hear that this is clearly how you believe you can best serve House Jasper." Dolins' eyes narrow, and I can practically see his blood boil under his skin.

The young lordling continues to dream aloud about the riches and status having a dragon's egg would bring to the house when the bard can no longer hold in his frustration. Dolins', out of character, insults my maturity and the value of my counsel, and suggests that my opposition may result in the removal of my promotion and new title. In horror, I turn to Lord Ronnel; "My lord-do you see what this mission is doing to the members of our house? Before we've even left the docks? Clearly our kind bard has been driven mad by greed and ambition, and I will hear no more of this disrespect!" Feeling my voice choking up and frustration overcoming me, I spin around, throw my hands in the air, and push through the door into the hallway. 

My pleas ultimately fall on deaf ears, and Teddy once again receives his father's blessing, though Lord Ronnel calls me back to express his gratitude for my voice of reason, and asks that I continue to speak up for the sake of the Lordling's safe return. I agree, and will make it my mission to ensure the continuation of House Jasper no matter what we find across the Narrow Seas-my ascent is dependent on it. 

We make arrangements for transport and I quietly resign myself from financially supporting this suicide mission. I'm probably going to lose my life-I'm not going to lose all my cash too! All the while, I hold onto Dolins' words and disrespect, and wonder if I will be able to continue to trust this goody-two-shoes I once held in high, though annoyed, regard.

Bold Ideas from Bold Lordlings

Days after the nuptials of Robert Baratheon and Cersei Lannister, I find myself in a tavern in the company of the our house's warriors, as well as the bard and lordling. We swap stories over ale, the celebratory spirit still in the air. Dolins ends our storytelling with a tale of rumors of dragon eggs in Old Valyria, which causes the ears of my mates to perk up. Teddy, in particular, pursues this topic heavily, and suggests we leave for the abandoned city to get an egg for ourselves. I protest this proposal, noting that no one who's traveled there has returned, including a Lannister lad, and that the civilization there was overtaken by The Doom. No one in my party seems to register or care about my concerns, and they carry on their mad idea with visions of gold dragons dancing in their eyes.

When I grow sick of listening to their arrogant brainstorming, I leave and find Ser Denys enjoying an ale himself in another room. He tells me of his difficulties in the melee, but otherwise seems jolly and content to be in King's Landing. When I ask him about what he knows about Joanna Coldwater, originally from House Lynderly, he grows flustered and flushed, and tried to tell me he barely knows her. After some cajoling, my suspicions are confirmed; he confesses that he broke his knightly vows, he and Joanna shared intimate relations. I think him for his honesty, and put this whisper in my back pocket for a rainy day.