Campaign of the Month: December 2020

House Jasper

The Protectors and the Freys

With a nod of the head from Gregoriy I skinchange into a crow I spy flying above us. It’s nearly effortless, and I loop in the air in excitement. I can’t believe I’ve never thought of this before! I follow the man to a building with no windows, and quickly land on his heel while he knocks. When the door opens I hop in behind him as quietly as I can…

Inside, I see we’re in a barren storeroom with just a table and a few chairs. Another man sits at the table holding a white and purple sigil, and forth in dark clothes and a dark cloak, who both greet the man I was following naming him Leo. “Glad you’re here, we’re just waiting for the lord now…” The lord?! That seems like a conversation I’ll want to be present for so I try so hide behind some barrels, but the big man grabs me quickly, puts his hands around my neck and snap-as fast as I can I change back into myself. I try to catch my breath, and Gregoriy eyes me with concern as I try to reign in my panic. In between gasps for air I explain what happened and say we have to find out which lord is meeting with these thugs.

Gregory and I hide in a side alley, and he spies a man walking in with a sigil of two blue towers on a grey field. I recall this sigil from my time in Snakewood, and share that this is House Frey, who had been working with the Lynderlys. “These must be bad people, yes?” Gregoriy asks. I nod and warg into August to get closer and listen into the door of the building with no windows.

I hear two voices, one is gruff and gravely and the other is quite nasal. There seems to be third talking but I can’t quite hear him. The gruff man says “…that’s a mighty interesting offer…what do you think Sam?”, and the other responds “…we don’t have a better opportunity before us….wait quite a long time…would patience be amply rewarded?…”, “…that DOES make things interesting…that tips the scales…where do you have in mind?”, “…I think we could do that…will be a couple days before we depart…I’ll have Bronn see you through the pass.” As soon as I hear the squeaks of chairs moving, I scurry back to our hiding place, and urge Gregoriy to get moving so I can explain the alarming information I picked up.

We discuss at Winter’s Reprieve that night, and Maester Thad and Ser Dolins indicate that the “pass” the men may be referring to could be the Bloody Gate, on the way to the Riverlands, in the care of Ser Bryndon Tully. “If the Tully’s are an ally of House Jasper,we should send him a raven and let him know to be prepared and on alert for an arrival from Bronn, the Protectors and House Frey!” They agree, and the Maester calms my nerves by assuring me that he will prepare a letter and find a raven on the morrow.

Hope from above?

Lady Alys and Lord Ronnel return from King’s Landing with bad news. The Hand of the King is most unhappy with the Sack of Snakewood, and the punishment will include a marriage alliance. Lord Theodore will take Jana Lynderly’s hand, and Carsen’s son, Zane, will be sent to Snakewood to squire for Jon Lynderly, who will resume control of the castle. The room erupts in fury, and Carsen, Ser Darron and Teddy protest to these terms. I cannot hide my confusion, and ask earnestly “If the goal was peace between the Lynderlys and the Jaspers, why is everyone so upset?” The only support I get is from Ser Dolins, who I’m coming to understand as an extremely kind knight, nearly the polar opposite of the Lordling. He agrees that we should agree to the terms and move forward, but the rest of the house protests despite our puzzlement.

I am overjoyed to be invited to tend to the horses on the journey to Gulltown, where the terms of the agreement will be negotiated between the two houses. Upon our arrival, Gregoriy agrees to accompany me into to town for us both to explore this new city. He peppers me with questions about my warging abilities, and suggests I consider trying on the skins of other animals besides August. I shrug, not being able to imagine why I would want to do something like this, to which the gods quickly respond…

While meandering the streets of Gulltown, I spy the same hedge knight carrying a shield with the sigil of a white fist on a purple field that August saw in Snakewood. He barks at a city knight, who is clearly spooked by his presence and walks quickly away from the gruff man towards us. “Say,” I ask, “who is that?” He shifts around a bit and explains he’s a “protector”, part of a group that pops up from time to time. Gregoriy and I look at one another and agree we should should follow him. As he dips into a side alley, it becomes clear he picks up on our trailing him, and even when I send August off to spy, he hustles the pup away.

“Do you think he recognized August?” Gregoriy asks me. I shake my head-“I’m not sure about that but I think he’s hiding something!” Not a moments frustration goes by before I consider Gregoriy’s previous suggestion, and look to the skies…

Mountain Run In

After gathering a fair amount of tarragon, Ser Darron spots a hidden person in the brush, and halts our group. He indicates they quickly ran away, but it’s clear they’re a mountain clansman and we may have stumbled into some trouble. :You there! Halt!" he shouts but to no avail. Gregoriy, on the other hand, yells forcefully, and as if by magic, the clansman stops and turns around. I am frozen in terror-I’m not prepared for a fight! Are we about to be ambushed?!

Fortunately a surprisingly civil conversation takes place, but mysteriously, before the man runs back into the woods, he whispers something in Gregoriys ear. He reports to the group that he was offering his services as a guide, but instincts tell me perhaps there was more to their short exchange. When we depart, Lord Theodore muses about exterminating the mountain folk from the lands.

Our New Family, the Actinisteads! Darbragh for all!
Or Jaspers? not sure....

In Norvoshi……

Lord Teddy Actinistead was most gracious to our predicament being here without a way back, we shall celebrate with Norvoshi Dabragh! A declicacy in Norvos and a soup meant for a feast in celebration in honor of the graciousness of Norvshi God’s Name. We are most excited to serve our hosts in whatever capacity is needed, hopefully to further honor the Joyful Few.

It is with this wonderful news that we must set out for the mountains. It feels like home almost immediately. I look to Yuri, who feels it as well. Kiril is also at home, he seems to know why his compatriots stayed here for so long.

This must be another point like the caves of the Darkwash River, another point to draw upon for communication with Norvshi God’s Name. It must be, especially with the young one, Summer. There must be something in these hills feeding her ability to do this. Yuri had mentioned he had seen this before, in his cousin, but it was into crows, and birds of the like (although he was unable to find the correct words, I am still indebted to my teacher for showing me not only the miracles of the darkwash river , but for teaching me the language of the westerosi). A truly unique ability to be in control of a such a protective animal, an asset to this group to be sure. She may come in handy later for her ability to coax animals……

All that aside though, I think we will fit in well here, even with our expedition to find Tara……targorn……taragony……..ach…….Norvoshi word for Taragon, I see Yuri continuing to make friends, not just with Summer, but with Darrone as well. I see Yuri put a hand on Darrone in friendship as they pick herbs together. What a beautiful moment! All Praise Norvoshi God’s Name!!!!

From Strangers to Friends

The next morning, I visit the Order of the Darkwash River’s encampment outside Castle Snownook, seeking to smooth over any bad feelings from the council meeting. Gregoriy and Yuri.agree to speak with me, though the latter presents as less than enthusiastic. Fortunately, I quickly have the opportunity to demonstrate my support and understanding for their search for magic by warging quickly in and out of August, and wish them a warm welcome to the Fingers. They look a bit dumbfounded for a moment, but then pepper me and each other with questions. Both seem assured that there’s no bad blood between us, and I feel happy to make friends with these strange foreigners.

With an open afternoon ahead of me, and seeking to avoid my father and chores at the stables, I warg again into August and trot down into town. All this talk of magic reminds me of the town witch, and I go to spy on Bethlazar. I’m disappointed to see she’s merely making soup, Next time, I’ll catch her concocting her hexes…

Sulking at the boring results of my trip to town, I’m pleasantly surprised to see Ser Darron approaching me. He invites me on an expedition-an adventure!-with the Narvoshi, to gather some special ingredients for a town merchant. I don’t really understand why such a task would be prioritized with all that’s going on, but not wanting to mess up the chance to travel with the group, I choose not to question him, and quickly pack my things.

My Brother.....The Joyful Few....dead....
What Next?

In Norvoshi…..

It is with great sadness that I must lament my Brother Viktor’s passing. I am quite certain that they acted in the greatest of valor in the name of our god, This part is indiscernibly written, it is in a version of Norvoshi that a scholar could possibly derive its voice and meaning, but to even most Norvoshi they are not able to make out. One who has skill in reading Norvoshi or Old Valyrian might have some skill in knowing what the name of the Norvoshi god is, but other than that, not so much

The one they call Darone and the one they call Carsyn have assured me of this, and I believe them to be sincere, although I will have to confer with Norvoshi God Name later to see if they are true of heart.

Yuri is skeptical, but he always is, especially of the young one. Yuri is far displaced from the cynicism of the young, he does not understand a younger adolescent’s need for attention. She is rather intriguing from my point of view, there is something more to her…..

Although we have lost such great Norvoshi Warriors, and potential converts, at the hand of this Westorosi lord, or “lord actininistead” (which I suppose is the name of the leader speaking to me today), there is something intriguing about these people. Maybe not to join our group, but maybe to aide us in our endeavor. Perhaps it is why Viktor and Tito decided to stick around so long. I am not sure on how to place it, but perhaps Norvoshi God’s Name will reveal his secrets to me on why we are here. Perhaps it is these mountains that surround us that remind me of the Norvoshi Hills……

For now, we will rest, and hopefully get Vesna to speak better in their language. I am forever in debt to Vesna, but her common tongue is less than diplomatic despite her insistence to speak for me……..Norvoshi God’s Name help her.

Goodbye Jardon, Hello Order of the Darkwash River

After helping the infiltration brigade impregnate the walls of Snakewood, the city fell quickly. Out of ashes and chaos, House Jasper was quickly the clear victor, with Yoren and Ben dead, Thom captured, and only Jon and Jana Lynderly missing, with the assumption they may have escaped. As the aftermath and fires cooled, we all notice that House Corbray never arrived to the fight as promised, and to add insult to injury, Captain Jardon did not make it out alive. I spend the day helping the Maester gather wood for the funeral pyre, and a small funeral takes place in his honor with a somber song from the bard and spirited sharing of memories and tales of his bravery.

We arrive safely back at House Jasper without issue, and I can feel a sense of increased respect from my traveling partners, having had proven my worth among this group of talented warriors and noble battle strategists! I enthusiastically join my first council meeting as my father’s proxy, and relish in the opportunity to learn about the political wheelings and dealings of the House. However, I’m disappointed to merely witness a petty spat from Jardon’s surviving family seeking to override his last will and testament. Council meetings like this continue, boring and arbitrary for weeks, until one day…

A group of ten fearsome foreigners land on our steps and seek audience with the council. They ask for several names that I do not recognize, and Darron and Carsen nervously shared of their untimely deaths. They introduce themselves as the Order of the Darkwash River, from Norvos who worship the Norvosi God, exiled because of their belief in magic. I prod a bit further about their reason for being exiled, and get only cryptic answers about prophets and mysteries. When I whisper to Lord Theodore, one of the intimidating men looks at me scornfully. In dismay, I try to recover my gaffe and what was clearly taken as a slight, and emphasize that I, too, have seen things other would not believe. Teddy invites the Order to stay on the grounds, and the man I assume is their leader, Gregoriy, accepts his offer. August and I trade a look-who are these bizarre aliens who have landed at Castle Snownook?

That night, I warg into August and trot around their encampment. Unfortunately, they speak in a tongue I don’t understand, but I smell the delicious scent of their dinner wafting through the air, and see their clear trusting camaraderie between one another. If it’s proof of magic they’re after, I can certainly offer some Westerosi evidence for their quest.

Last Will and Testament of Jardon Pyke
If I die here...

To House Jasper, I give the Rambis. It served us well in Valyria, may it serve you well in future missions. For the sake of your gods, as they are not my own, please don’t give it to my brothers, they will misuse a vessel of its caliber. May it serve you and the growing navy well.

To the guard, my axes, if they are recoverable from Snakewood, both are high quality weapons, a Battle Axe and a Longaxe.

Hopefully you are able to provide proper care to my Jeyne, but if you are not, eh… harm done, she has never liked it in the fingers and complains a bit too much to my liking.

To the worthy of all you scavengers (said in jest, but seriously you are all a bunch of fuckin scavengers), the spoils of past victories. Hidden on the “Impaler”, exists a kraken that took far much more than my legs. The key to true happiness in this dark world. Perhaps we should have gauged out the eyes of the the other squid and then I wouldn’t have lost my other leg.

Hopefully my crossbow will serve House Jasper well in another’s hand….

Preparing for War

We gather in the tent at the encampment to strategize for the impending infiltration into Snakewood, and hopefully battle. It is agreed that I, as a human, will stay in the command tent with the maester, but spend most of my time warging as August, who will first serve as a lookout for the climbing crew (Darron, Dolins, Teddy, Denys, Maelys and Ella). While discussing the results of our initial spy mission, I share the numbers of soldiers I found in the main and auxiliary barracks, and the sigil I saw. The maester insists this is not a sigil of a recognized house, and must indicate the presence of sell swords. The crew seems quiet, pensive, and I can feel my nervous chatter spilling out of me. There has never been a more important time to provie myself to House Jasper, and our lives depend on it. We agree on some basic communication signals (1 bark for yes, two barks for no), and perhaps most critically, discuss that a howl mean there’s danger nearby.
When midnight strikes, we reach the southernmost wall and I begin patrolling the stretch of wall as they climb. The moment all arrive at the top, I warg back into my human form to notify the encampment of their success, then immediately return to August to prepare for the attack.

Changing Fortunes

Still in August’s form, I sprint to the surrounding forest cover outside and stalk the perimeter until I see Carsen sneaking around the edge of the walls of the keep. He appears as though he’s narrowly escaped death and his face is pale as a ghost. I am relieved when we gather, August, Carsen and I, at the site of my human body, but note Jardon’s marked absence. “I saw his corpse being taken away,” Carsen responds and we take a moment to mourn before pillaging his possessions (Carsen reaps the rewards of the dead man’ saddle bags, and I quietly claim the destrier Moon Wake as my own).

Our relief at the site of our boat at the rendezvous quickly washes away into the sea when Lyanna reports there’s a devastating leak in the vessel. Thinking fast, knowing that our lives are very much at stake, I offer my waterskin to patch the hole, and we sail safely back to the rest of House Jasper.

Upon our return Carsen shares the news of Jardon’s death with solemnity, and it doesn’t take Darron long to suggest that his retrieved possesions be returned to his widow. With a quick glance, Carsen shares that the Captain mustv’e been carrying his money with his when he was captured and killed, and I nod in agreement. Carsen also reports that Jardon lost a devastating bet to me, which is how I came into possession of the magnificent war horse prior to his passing. I wonder what the other stable hands, and of course my father, will think when they see me atop this unmatched beauty. It feels a worthy gift to fall into the lap of a brave servant of House Jasper!

Keeping up my efforts, though trying not to appear too eager, I offer to organize and lead the small number of mounted knights and supply wagons to the impending battle, and am delighted when my service is accepted. I hope Lord Theodore will see my contributions as valuable, and view me as a worthy addition to the house.