Campaign of the Month: December 2020

House Jasper

Paranoia, Paranoia
...everybody's comin' to get me.

Upon tying up our loose ends with House Corbray, we followed the instructions of Lord Ronnel and set our sights on Herronhal, heeding warning from Lord Royce to be wary of bandits along the road. I suggested that we agree upon a false backstory in case we come upon enemies of the Vale, and our group discussed that if anyone we did not trust asked, we would respond that we were traders who were seeking sell goods along the Kingsroad, but were robbed and have nothing to offer. 

Once we were out of the Bloody Gate, we came across an overturned cart blocking the road, and their men drew their swords and demanded food. Mid-sentence, an arrow sliced through the throats of one of their men. Without thinking twice I spurred my palfrey, with Teddy and Dolins close behind. I noticed the two slowed and turned around to approach Thad. I slowed to a trot and kept an eye over my shoulder, but carried on away from the man emerging from the forest to talk to Maester Thad. 

Eventually the group, including the young man who I learned was name "Orville", caught up to me as we approached the Crossroads Inn. My travel companions did not seem as suspicious of the archer, but I did not trust this man, and wanted to steer as clear form him as possible. Wanting to avoid crowds, I offered to tie up our horses in the stables while the others secured arrangements for the night. After taking my time in the stables, I slunk into the Inn, scanned the room and didn't notice any familiar faces, so I relaxed a bit and headed up to shared a room with Maelys and Teddy. 

In the morning, on our way down to breakfast, Teddy casuallly mentioned he had snuck around in the night, found "Orville" covered in vomit and feces. Maelys immediately jumped out of our room, kicked open Orville's door, and found him dead. 

Stupid stupid Maester

We arrived and met lord Lucian. We were handed some bread but as we were in an unknown house, I checked mine for signs of poison. Calaila and the rest had dove into eating theirs but after inspection, I decided it looked safe and I ate mine as well. We then were set to split up and convince different factions of the house to our side of the battle. I was assigned to the Maester, as made sense. Nestor told me that the maester was new and other than that he didn't know much of him.

I met Maester Wilbur in his room where he was eating… Though honestly, he could have skipped a meal or two. I speak with spite based on what happened next. I attempted to sway him to our cause but alas, this maester was stubborn! He refused and instead tried to turn me to towards house Targarian and peace. Although the thought of peace is a pleasant thought, I know my lord and fellow friends would not go for this. After many attempts, I gave up and left rather frustrated.

Talk is cheap...
... unless you have a silver tongue

We walked into Castle Corbray, strung out from the road. We could feel the eyes upon us, as we’re shaking out the cold. It really doesn’t bother me, because I just feel old. We were greeted by Lord Corbray himself. He offered bread and water to our party, and with some hesitation, we ate and drank. Lord Corbray announced that his house’s actions regarding the rebellion and the march on Gulltown would be decided by himself and six other influential members of the house. Being a bard, I feel like I could talk to just about anyone (except for a Septon). So I let the rest of my party decide who they would like to speak with. I ended up making the acquaintance of young Lyonel Corbray, the eldest son of Lord Lucian and heir to house Corbray. I asked him to play me in a game of cyvasse while we talked but he seemed very insistent on preparing to march on Gulltown. Hmmm, he might prove tougher to convince than I thought. I needed to take a moment to read the heir before me. After sizing up Lyonel, it seemed much easier to talk to him. I was able to appeal to his young ego and charm him into being more receptive to what I have to say. After that, it was pretty easy to get him to cast his vote in favor of having House Corbray join House Jasper and the rest of our allies in the rebellion. When Lords Lucian and Royce returned to our group to announce the news, their words sounded garbled to my old ears and I wasn't able to understand. I had to receive the results carried by an electronic raven. Lord Royce was to step down as steward of the vale and House Corbray would remain neutral in exchange for 400 gold dragons. I'll have to put on quite a few more performances to restore that much gold to our coffers!

Fuck Tha Corbrays
Handmaidenz Wit Attitude

We arrived at Heart's Home and were served bread and salt. I saw that Nestor Royce ate, so I did too, and he and Lord Lucian Corbray spoke tensely as we finished our meal. Upon his return, we learned that we would have the opportunity to convince the household to join House Arryn in the rebellion. 

I spoke to the young Lucas, and attempted to gain his friendship and respect by laying on the compliments about his wisdom and with my warm smile. Though, as I grew more and more frustrated, and Lucas attempted to manipulate me, my temper took over and I laid my dagger on the table, and reminded him that my people are not afraid of lawlessness. Lucas seemed deeply preoccupied by the prospect of payment, despite clearly knowing that House Jasper has limited funds. In a moment of desperation, out of fear for Lady Alys, and understanding the power of coin, I recalled our party's duty and priorities, and spoke on behalf of my house that we would pay the Corbrays 400 (2 wealth points) for their vote of neutrality. At that moment, Lucas sprang from his seat and joined the coalition.

I fear for the consequences of my actions with Lucas, and yet, remain impressed by his cunning and persistence. I wonder how long I will remain safe in House Jasper.

They can have my fiddle....
... when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers

Our party, now quite large, departed from Gulltown with haste. I personally enjoy traveling with our new companions. I listen to their stories of travel and battle. To fill them in on our happenings, I perform an encore of one song I had performed at the tavern in Gulltown. We were to make for House Corbray in Hearts Home via the Mountains of the Moon. While we travel, we ask Lord Royce for advice on how to best get the Corbrays to not invade Gulltown, but instead perhaps persuade them to join the rebellion. Nester says he is skilled in verbal and political combat but says he is not much for hand to hand combat. Something tells me he is just being modest. As we were traversing a snowy path up in the Mountains of the Moon, we were prevented from traveling any further by an aggressive looking group of people. Calaila tried to talk our way past, but things quickly turned violent. The group spurred their horses into a gallop toward us. Calaila ran a button hook back to the main group and turned to face up the valley. In a brash move that bordered on reckless, Sir Darron charged ahead towards the leader of the fighters. What followed was utter chaos. Each of us had to battle at least one mountain clansman. Carson, the farmer, put on his armor before making any other moves. Lord Royce and the Master-at-arms slain some of out attackers each. I stuck close to Maelys who still seemed concerned with our left flank. My friend, my Maester friend, even swung his hard earned chain as a weapon at one of my attackers. I still feel bad he lost his money. Alas, no time to think of that now… we are in combat. As I stabbed the nearest clansmen to me, a pack of wolves appeared through the snowstorm! Now feeling more confident around animals after our encounter with the shadow cat, I thought I would attempt to tame this beast rather than slay it. I gave the wolf some food and it did not make any further moves against me but it also did not make any moves to join me. I threw a knife at a clansman attacking Calaila but it only stuck in his armor. I made one more attempt to calm the wolf, but to avail. In the flurry of the snow and the battle my mind went blank. In feint flashes almost like a dream, I had visions of Carson negotiating an agreement with Yara and the remaining clansmen. I heard whispers of our party seeking refuge in some ruins and crossing paths with a rambling old woman speaking of cats and birds. When I came back to my senses, I was in the castle of House Corbray. While I had been in this trance, I did think of a new song to sing!

Whatcha gunna do? Sept-a-fool!
2 fast, 2 furious

A challenge laid before us. Convince the ranking house members to desist their cause of fighting at Gulltown. Old man Royce even said that we could do one better and convince them to join us. My task seemed simple enough; bring ol’one-eye Jardon to the sept and convince the septa to speak on our behalf. The cyclops was next to useless, but I swung her to our side. I went for the ole double or nothing while Jardon tried his luck in the yard, but the septa thrashed me with her words. I hope the other guys had some luck.

Ser Darron's Journal II

Fuck the mountains. Fuck the snow. Fuck the mountain people. 

I write this from a cozy shithole fort that is pleasantly down off of the mountains, out of the snow, and far far away from the mountain people. It is comfortingly back in the familiar drizzle of the lower Vale. Ho ho!

Our party – those of house Jasper – has temporarily grown to nine and thank the Seven for that!  After meeting up in Gulltown we made for Heart's Home, but were ambushed by a hoard of wildmen  in the fucking mountains. Those fifteen or more clansman would have seen us in if not distracted by our sheer number. 

I personally engaged their leader and her warhammer-wielding champion while a blizzard raged.  The others cleaned up the less heavily armed ones. It was a taxing battle due to the conditions. One in which I sustained two grievous wounds. 

Even our Maester and young prince needed take up arms! The prince with his sword, the Maester with the very chain off his neck! It was only by the bold and brilliant persuasion of the farmer that we were able to escape over the pass without loss of life. I promised him that I'd help him with his fence when this is all over and I'm starting to really consider it!

What I really want when this is all over is get a tankard of Ale and some entertainment. The bard says he's written Westeros's next great ballad, but he's too licked to play. Don't blame him. He's good, but we're all probably too licked to listen. Now that I think about it I'd rather some whores than some music anyway. Ho ho ho!

Before I get some rest I ought to mention the witch who shares our campsite tonight. Said some things about three ravens jointing with the falcon and the black cat. Also that we must find the glass and use it, must open the tomb, and that the path to the tomb begins with the children. Seems like this place really will drive a person mad!

Maester Fail

We met up with our companions at the dock and the Bard thankfully resang our glory song! We then were discussing with Lord Royce. He re-told the story to our companions of House Corbray and discussed the Lord and sons of the house. Lord Corbray he stated was shrews and unremarkable. Lionel, the eldest, was well suited to his position in life, unlike his brother below him, Lynn. He is brash, impatient and should be avoided. Lucas is the youngest and although he is just 14, he is wise beyond his years and sounds like an excellent person. Maybe we will be able to gather information from him in future? He seems the best to be met with.

He also stated some of the houses that stood with us are the Runestone, Aaron, Belmore, Coldwater, Eagan, Riverlands, and a few others that I missed as he was muttering very quickly and I was distracted by my lost money. It is weighing heavy on my heart. All the activities I could have done… All the poisons that could have been bought… But alas. Lord Royce also stated that the Corbrays had a few hundred men on their side.

We carried on our way, not flying any house banners. We arranged ourselves just so, and carried on. I situated myself near my dear friend Dolins towards the back of the pack as everyone else had just bought new armor or weapons as they saw fit in town. We were heading up a snowy gully (A snow nook?) when ahead of us appeared 10 clanspeople! Calaila immediately ran ahead asking to speak to their one woman. I could not hear what she said but it must have backfired as they sprinted towards us! I notice Teddy is still hurt… Hopefully no more harm comes to him!

I backed up at the back of the pack as I have no weapons except my dagger. I see packs fighting and several clansmen go down. I see Darron has taken some strong hits. A clansman then heads towards our wonderful bard! Oh no! I quickly and deftly take off my maester chain and run towards the clansman, swinging my chain above my head. I attempt to smack them in the head with it, but alas. I miss. It's the thought that counts right?

 All of a sudden, wolves appear! Although they seem angry, my bff Dolins and I attempt to tame one. I have hatched the plan a few weeks ago that as I have no weapons or fighting skills to speak of, I would like to have an animal to assist me in that realm. All of the sudden, the clansmen drop their weapons. Someone must have convinced them to let us pass!

We carry on our way, a bit worse for wear, and come upon some ruins of the house Shell. We walk inside and see a woman sitting by a fire. We pester her for a long while and she tells us tales of what she sees. She tells us we need to enter the tomb but won't be able to for some time. Carson threatens the poor woman by stating he will hold her over the fire if she isn't more transparent with us. He then backs down. This guy is odd. After hearing more of her tales of the future, we decide we need to rest and heal up. I fall asleep, dreaming of the dog that Dolins and I almost tamed… I would have named him Friendly, as I saw a friendly glint in his eye behind the snarl. Maybe one day we will cross paths again and he will come be my furry, stinky companion… A girl can dream….

Journey to Heart's Home
I'm cold and everything hurts.

We had a few hours to gather supplies before heading towards Hearts Home, and Lord Royce shared that the Rebellion has in fact begun, though he had hope that we could reach a diplomatic negotiation with the Corbrays. We travelled without risen banners on horse back through a trail system, and discussed which houses are loyal to our cause (Runestone, Royce, Jasper, Arryn, Bellmore, Coldwater, Eegen, Hunter, Harding) and which houses are seem to be Royalists (Shet, Upcliff, Corbrays). The journey to the mountains was to take 4 days. 

As we rode into a deep valley, we stumbled into 10 clansmen blocking our path. The one woman in the group asked us to drop our weapons, and I invited her to a discussion between the two groups. My attempt to reason with the one woman of the group was met to no avail-she rode back to her fellow clansmen, and after a moment of discussion amongst the group, her comrades raised their weapons and began  charging towards us. This helpless handmaid found herself alone in the middle of what was soon to be a battlefield with savage. I muttered some colorful words under my breath and drew my stiletto and new shield. As I circled around towards my group, I saw Lord Royce cut down one of the clansmen, and looked back to see two clansmen next to me. Teddy headed towards me as I attempted to stab the riders around me, nicking one, and missing the other. Teddy's long sword swung at another rider, and missed. I stabbed the first clansman, and circled around on my horse to find myself face to face with a maul, which came crashing down onto me. I was surrounded by a pure chaos unlike any I had experienced in many years. Exasperated and terrified, I galloped away, and as I saw our enemies drop their weapons, I made a quick escape with the rest of House Jasper following close behind.

We entered the Shellfort for shelter the night before we arrived at Heart's Home, and spoke to Brenda, who had a vision of three ravens meeting with a falcon and a black cat. Jardon wondered aloud if this could represent the Corbray families, the Arryns and the Jaspers. She spoke in an infuriating cryptic manner, and it was all I could do not to stomp away in frustration. I was grateful for Thad's patience, who presented the old woman with the shield, confirming that the writing  was old runes but she couldn't read it. Brenda continued rambling about glass and the tomb and children…and I couldn't help but slink away so the group wouldn't see my impatience. 

There I am, up on the stage
There I go, playing the star again. There I go, turn the page

The Maester had helped me recover fully from my wounds. His skill in medicine is changing my opinion of anything to do with healing. I still hate and fear Septons, but I would know consider this Maester to be a friend. Our group had been not having any success tracking down the Roderick's contact. Perhaps the trail had been lost. Tired, we came to an Inn in Gulltown that seemed like it would be a good place to stop and rest for an evening. I bargained with the inn keeper for our party's room and board in exchange for a performance from a famous traveling fighting bard. My companions agreed to split up and try to find out any information they could. So I set my belongings on stage and began to tune my instruments. I watched Calaila flirt with a drunkard and coax him into stabbing his own finger. I watched the Maester stand up startled from the table at which he had been seated. Something seemed wrong, he was looking around frantically. I'll have to ask him later what was wrong. I couldn't focus on that now, I was about to perform. In the words of bard Seger… "Out there in the spotlight you're a million miles away. Every ounce of energy you try to give away. As the sweat pours out your body like the music that you play." I fired up my fiddle and played what is known in the bard trade as a parody song about out battle in the cave with the bandits. The crowd seemed both intoxicated by ale as well as by my tune. I even earned some silver stags in my fiddle case. The money is not that important to me at this later stage in my life. The fact that these people would speak highly of old bard Dolins, means the world to me. In between songs, I noticed Teddy bump into a patron and spill his drink. They appeared to exchange words angrily. I could see the man's hand reaching for his sword and deftly palmed a throwing knife in my hand, ready to fling in an instant. But before either the patron or I could act, Teddy made a hasty retreat out the door to the street. I rushed out the door behind the young heir. Maelys was waiting on one side of the door and I positioned myself on the other. Before the man know what happened, Maely's sword freed the man's head from his neck sending the head back inside the tavern. As I re-entered the tavern, none of the other patrons seemed bothered by the lifeless head on the floor and I returned to finish my performance. Thaddeus beckoned for our group to join him on the stairs. So I flourished my cape, bowed, and packed up my instruments. I followed our group into the room of a man that turned out to be Lord Royce. It appeared urgent to go to the docks and meet some friends that would be arriving. When their boat arrived, I watched Jardon (less one eye), Darron (a knight that I had given some funds to long ago to help get equipped), and Carsen Disembark. What type of adventure would our now large group of travelers encounter? Battles? Wars of words? I am not sure, but I imagine that being around such a group could surely lead to my name being told of in story and in song. I will stay with my companions and follow my honor to House Jasper!