Campaign of the Month: December 2020

House Jasper

The Value of a Life

Theodore makes the wise decision to alert Lady Alys of the compiled clues concerning Ser Carsen, but upon our return, Carsen has already let himself into the Lord’s private quarters. “Teddy!” he shouts over the closing of the door behind us. The lordling yelps in surprise, and August lowers into a crouching position and growls at the intruder.

The landed knight announces that he’s heard of the accusation from Darron’s ward, Wyne. He brazenly declares this matter as settled, but regardless, offers blood money. Alarmed, I step in, asking why a man would offer money for a heinous crime he insists he had nothing to do with. He responded with a demeaning disparagement of my own lack of funds, and assures me that this is what people with “a lot of money do, they use it to make their problems go away”. When I see Lord Theodore consider such a proposition, I kneel down to August, and ask him to go retrieve Lady Alyse. Carsen assures Teddy that he has plenty of it, and reports that “after his tin mine was shut down, he began panning for gold”. My head snaps up- “I’m sorry, Ser Carsen, did you say you began panning for gold after the tin mine workers were conscripted for the Sept?” He affirms this is what he said, and I note his dishonesty. This whole disaster started because Olira shared Carsen had been in the mountains for some time upon my delivery of the news of the tin mine workers. If he is untruthful about this timeline, what else is he capable of lying about?

Surely stepping out of line, I ask him again why he willing to pay so much for a crime he did not commit, to which he responds that he lacks trust in the court of justice and worries he will be convicted unfairly. “Do you not trust that the Beacon of Light, that Lord Ronnel himself appointed, will see what obvious evidence of your innocence you’ve clearly and carefully laid out before us today?” He ignores my sarcasm and incredulity, and asks where Lord Ronnel is. I scoff-“How can a banner house be so oblivious to such important goings on of its liege lord?” When Carsen realizes that Ronnel will not be available to consider his still unexplained reasoning for his exoneration, he leaves in a huff.

I hear a bolstering growl again from outside the lordling’s solar, and step into the hallway to see my dearest companion was successful in his mission. He’s returned with Lady Alys, who’s hushed his grumblings at the knight. Flustered, Carsen expresses his dissatisfaction of having to defend himself to the Beacon of Light for “the death of a commoner”, and I’m struck by his blatant disregard of another’s life.

While he goes upstairs to the maester’s rookery, I gather with Lady Alyse and Teddy again, and she admonishes him for him upsetting Lord Jasper’s only banner house, which reminds me that Ser Darron must have disregarded Teddy’s specific order to keep this conversation discreet. Before she departs, I butt in, unable to keep my mouth shut any longer. “My lady, while I understand the value of allies, I hope you can see the value in gaining a better understanding of what happened that day. If House Thorne murdered a trusted advisor of House Jasper, what kind of allies are they? What other betrayals to the Jasper family are they capable of?” She asks if I am Edric’s daughter, and knowing that I’ve really stepped in in this time, I hang my head in shame and softly say “yes”. The lady is benevolent, and agrees that understanding is a worthwhile pursuit, but I can’t help but notice that she speaks of understanding Carsen’s motives for the crime, rather than his level of involvement. No one seems to be arguing for is innocence, not even Carsen.

That evening, as August and I watch the sun set from the stables, I consider what I’ve witnessed in the last day here at House Jasper, and shudder, not from the chill in the air, but of all its meaning. If a member of the noble House Jasper’s own council can be murdered in cold blood by the house’s own knight, who is sworn to uphold honor and protect women and children, and no one ever pays for or even acknowledges the crime, what does that mean for me? I am but a humble servant to the house, would any one care if I were killed, let alone by one of my own comrades? Have I been naive about the wisdom and commitment to protection a noble house can offer to its servants? To see the way Theodore and Carsen spoke about the value of another human’s life in terms of a few dragons, I wonder what price House Jasper would pay for my blood, if any at all. I bury my face in August’s warm fur, and pray the sage Beacon of Light returns soon to offer council.

The next morning, seeking fresh air and solitude, August and I go for a walk. As we pass by town, we cross paths with Slim. From out of nowhere, the drunk throws his hands in the air at the sight of us, shouts gibberish, and run away. More confused than ever, August and I exchange looks, and return to Castle Snownook, knowing no peace could be found here either today.

This Again?
Where's Ronnie?

Man I should be better at starting fires. I live in the fucking woods. Oh well. Either way, chaos is being sewn. The lannisters sending raiders to our treasury, trying to burn it down and locking up random people? That will surely keep people busy while I try and get word to Ronnel to come back to Snownook. He is a just Lord that can be reasoned with, I fear the lordling is not nearly so capable and may not be the most judicious in present matters. With disctraction #1 running, it is time to get word to Ronnel. Then, more chaos to keep people busy until he returns. It is time for some things to go missing from the castle.

A Found Face

The scent of Carsen’s saddle bags continues to gnaw at me for several days after the tourney. The smell was so distinctive and so out of place, I’m haunted by why or how a man panning for gold could be focused on such task when he’s got human flesh in his possession. I devise a plan, and set out towards the tavern.

Hiding a unremarkable horse in the woods by Slim’s tent, I meander under the cover of dusk to the town pub that Slim frequents and watch him descends into a drunken stupor until he’s kicked out by another patron. I follow him back to his accommodations, and settle into some nearby shrubbery before pushing my warging abilities farther than I’ve ever dreamed of. My eyes awaken to a blurred and slightly swollen view, and lifting my suddenly very heavy limbs, I know the first mission of my evening was successful; I am in Slim’s body.

I throw myself over the horse’s saddle and ride into the night towards Carsen’s encampment. It takes a few slow hours, but I’m grateful for the sobering effects of the cool night air and time. A ways a way from his tent, I tie my horse up and creep towards his still saddled stot, overhearing the landed knight’s heavy snoring from his tent. Carefully, making effort to steady my hands and breath, I rifle through the bag in question until my fingers find a material unlike anything else in the pack. I recoil-the feeling of paper thin leather is so unnatural and…wrong. But thinking of House Jasper, and my duty to notify Lord Theodore of secrets being kept from him, I reach back in and pull out…a face? This makes no sense, but I do not have time to spare, so shove it in Slim’s disgusting pants and disappear back into the night before Carsen can wake.

In the morning light, I look at the face more closely. It’s old but not rotting, flesh but not bloodied, lifelike but absolutely nonsensical. How can such a thing exist in this state let alone in Ser Carsen’s possession? I request an audience with Teddy who graciously welcomes me and August into his solar and we review the face together, both confused and both alarmed.

Teddy recalls Ser Darron previously mentioning a “face thing” around the untimely death of Calaila, and calls him in. Ser Darron comes to Carsen’s defense suspiciously quickly, before even a formal accusation can be made, and even brings up the traitor Shaymus’ name, ready to label them both as innocent despite an overwhelming amount of evidence and a completed trial by combat, respectively. While Teddy and I review the strange set of circumstances (a cut out face in Carsen’s bag, Darron’s confession of having witnessed Carsen use the faces of the dead to transform completely into other people, Calaila having been found with her face sliced off, Calaila having been seen leaving with Carsen against her wishes and in an argument shortly before returning only to quickly and quietly be witnessed before her body was found), and agree that this is a matter better suited for the Beacon of Light, Gregoriy and the Council of Justice. Ser Darron returns from gathering a bite from the kitchen, and Teddy makes it clearly know that his discretion is expected in matters as sensitive as this.

Snownook Hosts a Tourney, Pt 1

In my raven form, I come across Ser Carsen hunched over a stream on the side of the mountain. He looked as though he were packed with a few days provisions, and had been out for some time. Perched on a nearby tree, I observe the knight shake around a large flat round object for hours on end, and it’s not until I get closer that I realize he’s panning for gold. The fellow has a family at home, and a castle under construction, and he’s focused on flakes of gold! How pitiful. He doesn’t seem to get anything during the time I’ve watched him as evidenced by his repeated cursing, so in trying to understand his unwavering commitment to such a fruitless task, I check out his saddle bags to see if he was being motivated by previous success. I don’t find gold, but I do find a most unusual smell…what is distinctly human flesh. I try my best to dig around and open his saddle bags with no luck, and not wanting to push my luck with Carsen’s distraction level, I give up and return to Castle Snownook.

I deliver the news of Olira’s response to the message about their builders, and the unusual nature of Carsen’s behavior and contents of his bags, with Teddy, who seems utterly unconcerned. But the smell from his saddle sacks was so unusual that it gnaws at me for the rest of the day.

In celebration of Ser Jamie Lannister’s stay at Castle Snownook hosts a tournament with handsome prizes. The first event is a trick riding race, that I enter with a bit of confidence. At the starting line is Rhaella, Eustice Hunter, and Ser Darron among others. Together we raced through obstacles including jumping over a fence, through the shallows of the sea, and up the gate house ramp. The whole way I trail Ser Darron by bit a bit and never quite catch him, and I watch with a hint of envy as he’s awarded 50 gold dragons for his victory.

The next even is a knife throwing competition, that I join in fueled by the festivity of the day. Wyne, Eustice Hunter, Marianne Malcome, and Ser Dolins himself also compete, and while I enter with abysmal expectations for being competitive, I’m delighted to just make it to the second round. As the events wraps, the crowd turns its attention towards the joust…

A Bud of Curiosity

After Ser Lannister and his party depart, Lady Alys sends me with a message to House Carsen. It’s a lovely afternoon, so I’m happy to have the chance to go for a long ride with Kusa and August, and we meander down the gentle hills under the sun. After about an hour, we arrive, and I can’t help but notice the magnificent progress the builders have made at his home. They’ve still got a long way to go, but I think about how exciting it must feel to watch something be made from nothing each day.

Olira greets me warmly outside their stead, and shares that Carsen isn’t home, but agrees to take the message and share it with her husband when he returns. The message is not a particularly good one, the builders are being conscripted to work on the sept, and her disappointment is palpable. Olira asks a few questions that I do not have the answers for, but I encourage her to send Carsen to meet with the Jaspers when he gets back. On that note, I ask earnestly, “By the way, where is Carsen?”. She shares without hesitation that he’s been leaving to go to the mountains recently, and when she asks what he’s doing up there he responds that she wouldn’t understand. How mysterious!! I thank her for her time and agreement to deliver the message to Ser Carsen, and express my hope that we see them at Snownook soon.

Pulled by my curiosity, once well out of sight of the Thorne residence, I pull our little party far off the path and behind some foliage, and warg into my helpful raven friend to head to the mountains and seek out Carsen’s whereabouts.

Unexpected Visitors

After the bardic college opening, out riding one day, I see about a mile in front of August, Kusa and I a column of soldiers headed directly east towards Castle Snownook. I squint, trying to make out the details of the party but without much luck, I warg into the raven that trails us and get a closer look. About 100 soldiers trail behind a couple supply carriages and blonde twins, carrying sigil of a golden lion on a blood red field. I race back to the Jasper party as fast as I can and notify them of the approaching group.

After a few minutes of discussion, I recognize the stature of our guests, House Lannister, and offer to get the kitchen working on an impressive meal to greet them with. When I hear the gates open, I take it upon myself to carry in a tray of goblets of the house’s finest wine, and offer it to a dusty Ser Jamie after being verbally assaulted by an over eager Darron praising his prowess.

While the nobles meet, I tend to the Lannister horses, and have the opportunity to work on Ser Jamie’s impressive steed. From behind, my work is interrupted by a quiet woman’s voice, “You have a way with him”. I turn around and upon rising from a curtsy, I see a familiar face, Olive the Septa. We make some small talk, though much to my annoyance, every sentence of hers is peppered with references to her gods. Thinking of Ser Dolins’ skepticism of the Seven, I avoid the subject, and happily hand her the bag of feed for the mules she requested.

Oh Mirage - a poem by Darron

Her beauty eclipses the southern sun
Her grace exceeds the Vale’s heights
When the stars emerge – as the night comes
Her eyes, they shine at least as bright

Oh Fortune! You have made us one!
Do I have the warrior or crone to thank?
It feels that any-thing now can be done.
From six feet up upon her flank

Fur and plate and hoof and lance
She’s flies just like a northern gale
Our enemies all poop their pants
Victory…. comes without fail

I’ll always share the spoils, of course
Oh Mirage, my loyal horse

Recited at the Opening of the Bardic College in April of 288 AC

Raven to Mia Elesham

Could not find the girl in Jasport. Will look again with more information, can you describe her appearance?

Hands and Fingers
A poem by Teddy

A Hand

He asked for a hand
But it was only a finger
That I could offer the stranger

A hand

To quest for further land
To expand to the hand
That someday we will lend

A Finger

For now, to linger
Will have to do

From Poetry Book of Gregoriy
for the opening of the bardic college!

A Set of House Jasper Limericks……by a Norvosi

There once was a lord from the vale
House Jasper, from which he doth hail
The sight from his eyes
Use to be exorcised
Until recently, he has no use for braille.

There lived a son of our most gracious lord
The leader of our great and powerful horde
Not the most observant
But with coin fervent
To the point of leaving no deal unexplored (Norvosi Unledanket)

There once was a Knight from the vale
From House Jasper he doth hail
Once from the Reach
He is such a peach
Especially with his Tankard of Ale (Norvosi Grak)

In House Jasper, lives a quiet and helpful Stablehand
Who has experienced much more than she had planned
Animals are her kin
Almost as if they were her twin
She is a pivotal part of our band (rafeep)

And finally, our generous host for the night
Good with song and is hard to best in a fight
Always has a song
Wielding Victorinox all day long
We all know the great bard-knight (norvosi tonamin)

And I am a priest from Norvos
Your most tall and omnipotent host
I always put up a fight
But try as I might
I can’t speak WESTEROS!