Campaign of the Month: December 2020

House Jasper

I will never be royyyyyal.....
It don't run in my blood :(

We arrived at Herronhall to find that our plan was foiled by Bronn, who had the opportunity to deliver the news of Orville before us. A nervous and pitiful Maester Tothmure passed along that Lord Whent was refusing to be disturbed after learning of his son's passing, but invited us to eat. I followed Lady Alys into the overwhelming and rich dining hall, and wondered if I should start strategizing ways to flip houses.

After eating together, I stopped in the kitchen and looked for direction about preparing a room for Lady Alys. Jane pointed me towards the guest room, and as I made the bed, that batshit Brynda pokes her head in to remind me of her crazy rambling. Oh great, thanks Brynda, I'll keep my eye open for some glass.

After dinner I caught up with Jane, and we walked together towards her room. She shared that the families that take up in Herronhall seem to be doomed, and noted that she herself has experienced strange happening, but stays because she thinks no one could pay as well as Lord Whent the Wealthy. Is that so, Jane? Tell me more! She assured me that she does not think the house needs further help. 

I hope to further explore my financial opportunities here, and perhaps move up in a seemingly equally conflicted and struggling house. In the meantime, I will try to curry favor with those in House Whent.

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Nothing up my sleeves...
... except a good distraction

I was able to convince to Bronn to tell me what he knew about Orville’s murder. I finally believed him when he said he and Masha had spent the night together so it could not have been him. I even tossed a silver his way for his honesty. It can’t hurt to bolster my reputation by flashing a little bit of coin around. I can easily earn some money back with one of my captivating performances. Which I then proceeded to do! Teddy needed a distraction to sneak upstairs to search for more clues and I had a little tune pop into my head about Orville’s unfortunate passing. No matter how many times I asked Orville if he was ok… alas he was not. My performance continued for a while to the crowds delight. I did notice Maggie head towards the stairs. Not wanting her to potentially stumbled upon a sneaking Teddy, I quickly thought to pull her onstage as a volunteer for some magic tricks. Even though I knew that she had drawn the 3 of Clubs, I went through every card in the deck before revealing hers to try to slow her down. She did not seem too impressed. It would take something more to hold her attention. I performed some slight of hand and produced a coin behind her ear. I told her to use the coin and bring a round drinks from the kitchen. That should distract her for a while. I continued my performance into the night until my old bones needed their beauty sleep. We awoke to a calm uneventful morning and departed to meet our Lady Alys. It was good to see her again. We arrived at Herronhall and while still impressive, it seemed in a worse state of repair than my last visit many years ago. A familiar person was waiting in the courtyard upon our arrival, but I just couldn't make out exactly who it is….

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A lonley, cat-less journey...
You all haven't been in a barn in winter... I'll tell you what.

I heard the soldiers chatting about how Lord Whent treats them well and is easy to work for. Maggie is walking about, doing her work and speaking to Masha about chores while walking in and out of the kitchen. My crew has scattered, Calaila to the kitchen, Teddy snuck away somewhere. My best friend Dolins is singing a lovely though sad ballad about Orville's death and fecal stains. It's an interesting turn of tune for the normally positive and clean singing bard, but it is well received by the crowd. I realize that I should go look to see if there is greycap on the grounds. I quickly ask Dolins in between songs if he has gloves I can borrow but he does not. I spend the next FOUR HOURS painstakingly searching. I can't go back empty handed! So I steal some similarly colored bark off a tree and head back.

I find Teddy and ask him to step into the romantic stables with me. He skips on in behind me. Maybe he is starting to see how attractive my smarts are? I cannot dwell upon this painful thought. I try to convince Teddy to frame Maggie with me with the fake bark but then realize we also have access to the actual poisoned sourleaf as well! Just then, nosey Calaila bursts in and ruins the plan! I thought I had locked the door behind us… Ah well. 

Calaila ruins our plans and is as usual, her paranoid, buzzkill self… wah wah wah. So we decide that we will stay the night and then leave in the morning. Before going to bed, I look around the stables for a stray kitten to take with me. I have been feeling lonely of late and think that Dolins and I would like to have a fun pet to bring along on our adventures. Alas, I see none. Who ever heard of a barn in winter with no cats? No one. That's who.

In the morning I look once more for a feline companion. Then we take off. We find Lady Elyse soon and walk with her to Harrenhall. The castle is impressive and gets more impressive as we get closer. We enter the gates after Teddy stumbles introducing us. We walk into the courtyard and see someone across the way that looks familiar… Also, I should remember to search in their library about the runes on the heavy shield I am carrying. I have been curious for a while as to their meaning. I bet they also have cats here at this castle…

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let's bounce
we gotta get outta here!

I was sitting in the corner of the tavern, scratching my head when I noticed Dolins attempting to convince Bronn to spill the beans on last night's murder. Bronn relented and shared that he and Masha were together last night and claimed innocence for both of them. I continued scanning the room and overheard the Whent soldiers discussing their gratitude towards Lord Whent, Maggie going in and out of the kitchen and speaking about the tavern with Masha. I decided to join Masha in the kitchen, and convinced her to tell me that she thought Orville's murderer was Maggie, and reaffirmed her innocence. Masha reminded me that it was quite possible that Maggie poisoned Orville with greycap. 

That evening, I discussed our options with Maester Thad and Lordling Teddy. Thad was in the midst of suggesting we frame Maggie, which I found to be quite unnecessary considering her own friends accused her of murder. We decided that we would quietly slip out the next morning, and tell the Whent's that we felt no one could be trusted with the terrible news of Orville's murder, and had to get to them as soon as we could.

We caught up with Lady Alys on our travels toward Herronhall, and I tended to her needs and fed her and Teddy until we arrived at the enormous and overwhelming castle.

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A real who done it
... seriously... who did it?

Maester Thad revealed that Orville had been poisoned. So I guess he did not enjoy my performance with too much drink. Apparently someone had slipped some Greycap into his sourleaf. Based on Orville’s interactions the night before, I would say that several people would have motive to see him dead. Our group wasn’t sure if it were a good idea to stay and try to figure out who the murderer is. I feel strongly that the Whents would want to know who killed their son. This Bard is no detective, but I will do my best to piece the clues together and figure this out. I don’t have any good mystery stories to tell at my performances.

After talking with Masha for a little while, Thad and  I decide to head downstairs and snoop about. My old feet land tread quietly on the stairs and floor as I sneak into the kitchen. I heard the Maester make a noise as I close the door behind me. I don’t find anything out of the ordinary for a tavern’s kitchen. Next I checked a bedroom door nearby the kitchen. It was locked. Normally I do not condone unlawful acts such as this, but it is to try to solve a murder. My deft hands made quick work of picking the lock and I slipped inside. After searching the room (including a trap door), I left all the belongings as they were, re-locked the door, and made my way out the side door to the stables. Teddy and Maelys exit the tavern carrying the body of Orville and bring into the stable. I knew the right thing to do was to give Orville a proper burial. So the three of us spent a good part of the day digging the grave and honoring his body. I know the searing pain of loss and hope this helps bring peace to the Whent family.

When we return to the inn, and I went back to trying to solve the mystery. I question Bronn about the murder. He says that he doesn’t know who the murderer is, but somehow I feel that he is hiding something…

All of our heads are spinning. We just can’t seem to find the one clue that will blow this case wide open. We’ll just have to keep searching.

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Oh What a Knight!
Accolading and Knighting Me!

Keeping watch is boring work. The mercenaries were pretty much just camping with very little going on. The monotony was finally broken when I heard a crunch behind me, and who did I see? Ser Darron! He said his classic "Ho-Ho" and asked how I had been. I then filled him in on the situation; Mercenaries here, about 200 or so, mustached, halberds. No movement, but they seemed well trained for the most part. 

We conferred briefly on the situation at hand. What do we do with this military force in our lands acting on behalf of a defeated foe? Well, we decided the best course of action would be to negotiate with them. As we discussed options it became clear that I should take the lead on negotiations, but how to get them to take me seriously? Well, Old Darron offered to Knight me in order to give me a better station to speak from. I couldn't say no to that! So now I am a mutha fuckin'knight bitches! Watch out world, everything is coming up Carsen! Can't wait to tell my family. Olira is going to be so proud, and old man Jasper is going to have to hire me into the house now. My family is going to be all set after this! Now to swagger on into that camp in my sexy northern garb and throw my new title around as I save the day. Ho-ho!

 

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Yuck yuck yuck

Ewwwwwww! Orville is very obviously dead. A classic case of gray cap poisoning. I look around the room and see no food or drink but do see his sourleaf… And some strange gray dust within the leaves which must be the culprit. I recall that Orville had ordered his food and sourleaf with Masha and Maggie had brought the sourleaf to him. So those two are worth questioning…

At this point Teddy sneaks downstairs. A bit later, Masha comes up with him and states it looks like food poisoning but this takes time to set in so it can't have been from her food. A likely story coming from a potential murderess. Dolins and I then decide to sneak down. Dolins makes it to the kitchen but I trip on the stairs and cause a clatter. Maggie sees me. She doesn't look pregnant which was one suspicion of mine. She states that Orville is not well liked by anyone. She also says that she helps around the inn and lives upstairs. She confirms that Orville's last name is Whent. She seems to withhold from me and I retreat to another area of the room and speak to some soldiers at a table. They state they work for Lord Whent but didn't seem to know much of anything. They did state that the Whent's have 4 sons and one daughter but they had no more information on Orville.

All of a sudden a man in orange appeared at a table behind me! How did that happen?? Anyways… I go to talk to this man, who's name is Tom. He states that he is a tanner and that it is too cold up north for him and he is traveling south. He asks me to pay for his room but I say no. He states he has no family and is unsure of his age. He also states that he has heard some fun trivia about Harrenhall and how it is the largest castle built. He also states offhand that he heard Raeghar is trying to be king and that Ned has been taken prisoner. He seems a bit scattered and not all that helpful, but he was good to talk to!

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Interviews with an Innkeeper

With "Orville" dead in his own vomit, Thad immediately went to investigating, and identified that he had been poisoned with Greycap! My paranoia was well founded to know that our hosts are murders…

Our group conferred about what to do next. I reminded them that we still don't know that "Orville" even is who he says he is, and that our intended destination is his so called family, and that we may be wisest to butt out, but it appeared that my comrades were having none of it, and wanted to investigate. Always the heroes…

Teddy snuck downstairs, and returned with Mosha, who denied her involvement in any foul play and confirmed her understanding that the man was named Orville Whent. While Teddy and Maelys removed the body, and Thad and Dolins snuck downstairs, I spoke with Mosha. She shared that she didn't have any definitive proof about Orville's identity, and agreed that he may have been killed by Greycap, which apparently grows with abundance. She expressed amiability towards me, and I expressed thanks to her for sharing her knowledge with me by cleaning up the, ahem, bodily fluids.

I also spoke with Maggie, another staff member of the Inn, who admitted to having an affair with Orville just prior to her starting employment at the Inn one year ago. He had promised to marry her, but didn't follow through. She moved away from the Wain's because of the discrimination she faced because of her bastard name.

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Two performances!
... to die for.

During my negotiations with Lyonel, I had humble (ok, maybe not so humble) bragged about my performances. Before leaving House Corbray, Lyonel insisted that I sing a song for his father. So I obliged them with a quick ditty about a house in Westeros, they call it House Jasper. They seemed to enjoy my performance and even tipped me some coin. Not having a one of its own… the residents of the castle were lacking the song and laughter that follows in the presence of a skilled Bard.

The Maester came to us and let us know that word had arrived to meet our Lady Alys on the road to Harrenhall. Lord Royce parted ways with our group and left us with some words of caution. I, for one, will miss traveling with him. He is a skilled fighter and diplomat. I know it pained him to resign his post as steward of the Vale. Good fortunes to him for the future.

As we traveled, Calaila suggested we come up with a backstory for who we all are and why we are headed to Harrenall. While I always enjoy some good acting, I'm not sure I want to hide my name. I guess I'll go along with what the groups think is best. Good thing I had my alter ego Bolins, ready to go. In the distance, we saw some wagons blocking the road and people standing there menacingly. We just kept riding at them while trying to figure out to do. They stopped us demanding food to let us pass. As they drew their swords to attack us, arrows struck down a couple of the bandits with lethal efficiency and the remaining ones fled. Calaila and Teddy took off down the road on their horses. I took a glance at the maester and saw he was still under the protection of Maelys. I decided to ride after the young Heir and handmaiden to protect them. The figure that emerged glad in black approached Thad and Maelys and did not appear hostile. I rode back to meet Orville, . He invited us to travel with him to the next town and spend the night. It was growing dark and it seemed like another opportunity to perform and gain some notoriety, even if it would be for Bolins. We entered the Crossroads Inn. I had been there once before, years ago. Orville has a dispute with a patron of the inn and the Inn keeper did not seem happy with Orville either. I asked what I could do to smooth things over and she said that he had an outstanding tab. I quickly agreed to pay it in exchange for him clearing the road for us earlier. I quickly brought out my heaviest of metal guitars and performed a new tune about our battle in the mountain. After my performance, which did not learn a lot of money, I went upstairs to sleep for the night. My friend Thad and I shared a room. I awoke well rested in the morning and went downstairs for some breakfast. We heard a crash upstairs and quickly went to go see what had happened. Maelys had kicked open Orville's door to reveal him laying motionless in a pile of his own vomit and excrement. Either he hard partied a bit to hard last night or some foul play is involved. What happened?!?

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Left alone to meet friendly Orville
Maester gone solo

I got mail!! A raven arrived for me stating that Gulltown has been retaken and that we need to meet Lady Alys on the road to Harrenhall to meet with Lord Whent. I gather our group and let them know. I know that the lord of Harrenhall is wealthy, older and has a big family and I think I remember that a few years ago he held a big tournament of some kind. Before we leave, Calaila sneaks off to tend to something. We finally all get ready out front of the house and see Nestor Royce. He lets us know that the allegiance of the lands is uncertain and to be careful. He states that we should be careful with what we share with people and that as far as he knows, Lord Whent is not a diplomat and not as important to the war as others.

And we set off! Calaila is quite nervous and she insists we come up with a back story for our group to tell people along the way. We pass the bloody gate into contested lands. All of a sudden we see 5 soldiers blocking our path! We start talking while approaching and try to figure out what to do. We scatter off the path then the guards draw their weapons and say they want our food! All of a sudden one of the men is shot in the neck! Another then is shot in the chest! The rest scatter quickly. Then Calaila, Dolins and Teddy take off on horseback! I stay behind looking for whoever shot the soldiers. They obviously didn't mean us harm, or else we would already be dead! I see a shadowy figure approach from the thick woods. I greet him and thank him. He states his name is Orville Whent and that he roams his lands keeping the roads safe. I notice he is carrying an average bow and knife. Dolins and Teddy finally come back while skittish Calaila stays at a distance. Orville states we should head to the crossroads inn where there will be people who can vouch for who he is. And we all know Dolins needs to practice his new set… A fresh audience would do well.

We arrive at the inn and Calaila hides in the stables. The rest of us go inside where Orville suddenly gets into a fight with a young man and tells him he isn't welcome. We hear his name is Bronn who argues he hasn't ever done anything wrong. They continue to bicker then Bronn disappears. Dolins is playing his set throughout this time. He is trying out a new style of music. I am not sure this Maester likes this angry sounding bard… He must have had a bad ride in. Dolins also has agreed to pay off the debt that Orville has at this inn! What a fool! I could have bought so much poison with that money… I'll have to talk to him later.

We split into two rooms and Teddy hastily shacks up with Calaila and Maelys. Maybe my feelings towards him are unwanted? If only he could know the truth in my heart… Alas. Dolins and I get to hang out more! We chat away and then fall asleep. 

In the morning, Dolins and I rise at the same time, give eachother our best friends high five, then head down to eat. Suddenly we hear a door crash and running about upstairs. We hurry back up and see Maelys has broken down Orvilles door. A horrid rancid smell emits from the room and we can see he is dead… I'll take a closer look soon… Once I clear the smell from my nose…

 

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