Campaign of the Month: December 2020

House Jasper

Convince the enemy to stop being our enemy
In our head, it was a great plan

Aside from the gaping hole in Calaila’s neck, everything seemed to return to normal after our meeting with the Lord Corbray. My Lady mother was away in meetings while the rest of us enjoyed the lingering celebrations from the previous night’s wedding.

Our festive banter was interrupted when Lord Royce approached out tent area. He announced that Lord Arryn was meeting with my Lady mother and requested the presence of our group. The maester, handmaid, and bard composed themselves quickly to prepare for such an honorable summon. When we enter the Lord’s chambers, he and I exchange pleasantries and our group is complimented for our service to the rebellion in recent weeks. We have been asked to provide input on and execute an important espionage mission! We are to secure the secret support of a house in the Reach to provide the rebellion with information and political leverage. Lord Arryn takes a moment to make clear that it is mine and the maester’s opinion that he seeks. The efforts of the bard and the handmaid have been invaluable to the greater cause, but their uneducated minds are not suitable for making such important decisions. #ArrynBurn

We are told that Robert would return a house’s loyalty with titles, land, or gold. And further, the rebellion would do its best to prevent harm to their armies in the field of warfare. That being said, the choice of which house to turn belongs to the maester and I. Lord Arryn presents our options:

  1. House Footly of Tumbleton – A minor house that is easy to get to, but has little value to provide
  2. House Fossoway of Cider Hall – Valuable ally, but could be challenging to gain an audience
  3. House Caswel of Bitterbridge – Another minor house that is nearby, but has little value to our cause
  4. House Tyrell of HighGarden – Would be a valuable ally, but unlikely to happen
  5. House Tarly of Horn Hill – Very loyal to the crown, no likely to turn
  6. House Hightower of Old Town – Their loyalty to the king is all but secure
  7. House Redwine of the Arbor – Their navy holds a blockade against Robert’s brother, Stannis, at Storm’s End. They would be a powerful ally in to the rebellion

Initially, I proposed we start trying to turn one of the minor houses and then pursue a more valuable house afterwards. The maester counters with a compelling argument for trying to turn the Redwines of the Arbor. With the challenge of providing high value to the rebellion, we set course for the Arbor! Lord Arryn provided gold for us to charter a vessel, so we set off due west to Lannisport and set sail from there.

Our vessel arrives in Ryansport a few weeks later, and we are greeted by the harbor master. We tell him that we are here to discuss the position of house Jasper in the rebellion, and he points us to the castle, the seat of house Redwine. On the way to the castle, Dolin’s is drawn to a tavern where he might perform and win the hearts and coin of Ryansport. Calaila joins him, and we agree to meet back at the tavern around dusk, if we are able…

The maester and I are allowed into the castle, and it is a damn nice place! Seeing how the Redwine’s have nice things, maester Thad suggests we play the money card in trying to sway them. We don’t wait long in the receiving hall before the rotund Lord Redwine comes into the room. His appearance seems fitting for the Lord of a house with such wealth, and he comes across as very kind and welcoming, offering us bread and salt. He is surprisingly receptive to our proposal, and we ultimately agree that his house will provide information to the rebellion, and in return, I promise that King Robert will capture the city of Old Town and give it to the Redwines.

BOOM! A door slams open and a man who appears to be of the noble house yells, “MEATBALL! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” The man we have negotiated with jumps off his chair and rolls around laughing. It soon becomes clear that we just negotiated a spy agreement with the house fool…

The man at the door asks who we are and I introduce us. Meatball butts in and exclaims gleefully, “They promised to capture Old Town for us in return for secrets!”

“That’s ridiculous. Is this true?” asks the man, who is the son of Lord Redwine. I try to present our offer in less blunt terms, but he has none of it. He loudly touts the loyalty of his house and other nonsense, then commands his guard to throw us in the dungeon!

The tavern may have to wait for us…

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Where does Olivia keep her army?
In her sleevy!!!!

I am woken by the voices of my servants nearby, and I lay quietly and listen. It would be really nice to continue sleeping, but alas, it sounds like a commotion that I should appear for. I approach the group and hear Calaila exclaiming in a struggling voice that House Jasper could be in danger. Woah! She has a mighty hole in her neck!

"No, no, no" I interject, "If someone was going after our house, they wouldn't attack a lowly handmaid."

"This could a warning!" Calaila continues.

I guess I have to say it out loud…"That would be a stupid warning, you are not important. Someone like me is important!"

It seems to me that Calaila may be hiding something about this attack on her life. After some discussion, our group enters our Lady's tent and Calaila reluctantly tells us her tale employing vagueness and omitting details whenever possible. She paints a laughable picture! She claims her attacker is a one-armed bandit that is impersonating a septa! 

Carson's self serving, yet sharp memory recalls seeing such a character during a visit to House Corbray. Perhaps this story could be true?

In the same morning, I approach the Corbray's camp and request an audience with Lord Corbray for my Lady Mother. Lord Corbray accepts, and we soon return with our party to their camp. As expected, the Corbrays do not believe the accusations presented by my mother. Oh, but wait. What is this? The accused one-arm Septa named Olivia cannot be found?? She has fled from House Corbray in the night??? SHE MUST BE GUILTY!!! WE WERE RIGHT!!!

I do applaud the Corbrays for entertaining us, and I hope the imposter did not do them harm. If not for House Jasper, that imposter would have continued to serve their family and raise their children. I do hope Lord Corbray rememers how we helped him on this day. 

And on this day, I do not envy Calaila. She will need to watch her back for the foreseeable future.  

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Revenge is a dish best served....
....one armed

Torn between trying to follow the shadowy figure running off from Calaila’s tent and the need to find out exactly what is going on. I burst in to her tent and immediately can tell she is hurt. My skill in healing is about as good as a one armed Septa would be at juggling, so I call for Maester Thad. I was about to call for any guard or soldier around to help secure the area In hopes of catching the attacker before they could slip out of the camp. Strangely Calaila, pleaded with me not to alert them. How very strange!?!? I certainly don’t agree with her, but abide by her wishes. Thaddeus came into the tent and began to administer aide. The Maester, Teddy, and agreed to search for the attacker but not to alert the guards. The newly knighted Ser Carsen agreed to help but only for a price. Apparently noble titles do not mean noble hearts. I pay him some of my earnings from my performances. The darkness had masked any sign of the attacker or which way they might have gone. Returning empty handed and discouraged, I learned that Calaila’s attacker is a Septa! Have the gods not tortured me enough?!?! First my wife and child, now my friends? If I can find this Septa, I will have some revenge. Teddy and Ser Darron went to talk to the Corbrays about the fact that this attacker was from their house. Without their noticing I snuck along behind them and hid in the shadows waiting for my chance to attack. Unfortunately, that opportunity never came as the Corbrays discovered the one armed Septa had packed her things and left. The gods have eluded me all these years and they appear to continue to do so… for now. When I find her, maybe then I can get some answers, or at least some vengeance.

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Tracking for Dragons
A not so subtle guide on swindling bards

Hello old friend! 

It has been too long since I wrote in you. I believe it is time for me to leave behind another nugget of wisdom for whomever may find this journal when I leave this world to feast with the seven. For, at that point I shall not need my bag of swindling tricks. I will be boasting of my knightly title and my impending castle to the mother and the maiden, if ya catch my drift!

Alright future reader. Get your mind out of the gutter and into the game. I am going to teach you how to "Track a Dragon." First, find yourself a city slicker who is trying to track someone in the woods.

Second, offer to help them, but for a very steep price. I recommend at least a dragon, but as many as 10 for a minor lord. (Don't pull this on a major lord, for they may kill you.) The reason for the high price is two fold; It implies you are talented in the art of tracking, and it makes you richer! MAKE SURE THE DEAL IS FOR YOUR HELP! (Not success) Can't stress that enough before we move on…

Third, let them haggle you down a bit. They will think they are getting a good deal, and you suck at tracking. (plus it's a ton of money for practically no work!)  While you mutter about being borderline robbed, you reluctantly move in to preform the "art" of tracking. 

Fourth, and mostly importantly, do your best! Try and track whatever it is. We both know we suck at tracking, but why not give it a go? Heck, you might even successfully track the thing and earn that coin. It gives a good impression if you look like you are trying hard. They won't be quite so bitter about handing over money to you when you fail!

Finally, collect your coins and be on your merry way! Don't let them weasel their way out of it either. A deal is a deal! You helped, so you get paid. 

And that, sweet journal, is how you "Track a Dragon." 

I almost feel a little bad for the bard though… He's a nice guy. Tried to be a hero and save Calaila. He must have spent hours trying to track the attacker. Maybe next time we cross paths I'll buy him a tankard of ale and a go with the whores. That should make things right. Plus, Ser Darron could use a friend his own age…

This seems like a good place to stop for now. So much has been happening to us lately. It is a crazy time. I will have to get more of this written down before too long incase this rebellion fails. By the old gods, I almost died once already and it wasn't even to proper soldiers! It is a dangerous time.

 

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Helplessly hoping ...
her household hovers nearby

As my attacker flees the scene, I barely make out Dolins poking his head into my tent. "Get the maester!" He looks at me with horror and steps outside to call for the maester…and for guards. With what little breath I have, I plead with him in desperation not to call guards. I don't need an full royal investigation blowing my cover. The maester begins to  treat my wounds, but both he and Dolins eye me suspiciously when I explain that the efforts of the guards would be wasted on a lowly handmaid. Teddy arrives and I begin to panic-this is far more attention than I have ever wanted. "We live in contested times in dangerous lands, it could've been anyone!"

Dolins, Maester Thad and Teddy agree that it is in the best interest of the house that they search for my attacker. Carsen, on the other hand, offers to aid the search for a price. Despite my searing pain, I do my best to remember not to find loyalty in this bannerman. I am transferred gingerly to Lady Alys's tent where Maelys can stand watch.

After the slowest sunrise I have ever witnessed, I am near delirious in my pain, exhaustion and terror. When Lady Alys, Teddy, Carsen and Thad begin interrogating me, I fold helplessly and shamefully, and share that I believe my attacker may have been someone from my past-a one armed septa named Olivia. Carsen perks up at this information, and surprises us all when he states that he met Olivia, and that she serves House Corbray. Our gracious Lady requests a meeting with Lord Corbray to find justice and return safety to the land. I struggle to read her reaction to the news I deliver; that before House Jasper, I led a complicated life that has brought chaos to her presence.

In our meeting with the Corbray's, they jump immediately to Olivia's defense-that she was intelligent, pious and loyal, and I must be seeking attention with such outlandish accusations. I hesitantly ask but one more favor of my Lady-that she vouch for my years of discretion and silent service. She does, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude that she has not lost all faith in me, yet. I reassert that all I want is for my house to be safe from any follow up plans Olivia may have as Lyn goes to seek Olivia for her response.

He returns…alone. "She's packed her things and seems to have disappeared". I do not know what this news will mean for me. How long will I have to look over my shoulder, knowing that my nemesis seeks the ultimate revenge? Will my house abandon me to the streets if they see that I bring threats of danger to their doorstep? I must heal, and then end this, once and for all.

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House Jasper's Future is so Bright...
I'll need something to cover my eyes

It is the wedding of 4 important people in our land! My Liege Lord Jon Arryn to Lysa Tully of River Run, and Eddard Stark to Catelyn Tully. A double wedding! Unfortunately, I didn't get to hear any of it because I was at the way back of the room with all the other members of lowly houses. 

The feast provided more interesting developments for House Jasper. A man named Baelish introduced himself to me. He is the lord of his young house, which is located on the Fingers. Not far from Castle Snownook! He proposed that House Jasper host his son, Petyr Baelish, as a steward. I told him I would consult with my Lord father on this matter.

Later on, Lord Royce pulled me aside to give me an interesting perspective. House Jasper has developed a strong reputation with our recent contributions to the rebellion. There is a chance we could be in a position to benefit if the rebellion is successful, but also cautioned that we must tread with care, particularly with our fellow houses of the vale. These houses may be prickly, but they all have deep connections with one another and angering one could mean angering them all. 

Our future is so bright, I have to wear a big hat to cover my eyes!

At the end of the night, I make my way to the tent. I have been cheap and I do not have my own tent, so I have to share with my mother. Where's Calaila?  She will need to remind me to purchase a tent next time we enter a town! I guess I'll find her in the morning.

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Party bard in the house tonight
Everybody just gonna have a good time

Damn my old age! I haven’t needed to take so many naps since I was a toddler. I can’t believe that I fell asleep and missed the battle. I could have helped. Maybe I could have spared brave, loyal Maelys some injury. Perhaps even friendly Shaymus could have been saved. I’ll have to make sure I’m better rested so as to not to miss any other encounters. Alas, I can not dwell on the past and what can not be changed. I’ve done enough of that already in my life. I’d better focus all my energy on the upcoming double wedding! Events as grand as this are rare and growing more so during these troubling times. Surely attendees will be talking about this for generations. What a great opportunity to have them say how they’ve never had more fun than while reveling to the music and stories of the great bard Dolins. My friend Thad asked if I would go with him around the encampment. Any other time I would have loved to walk with him and his cute cat, but I could not pass up performing for such a crowd. On my way to the stage, I passed a man that seemed to not be enjoying himself as much as the other guests. Not wanting anyone to have a bad time, I invited him to bring his drink and enjoy some of my music. My songs were hits! The people seem to like these parodies of other bard’s songs. Maybe someday a young bard will make a parody of one of my songs. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. How wonderful it is to see my music bringing people together… From the stage I watched Ser Darron, Jardon, Ser Carsen, and John Lynderly playing a game together and drinking…. drinking a lot! Boy, Darron can really put away some ale! I also saw Calaila speaking with a young woman with only one arm. I guess I won’t take offense if I don’t get a round of applause from whoever she is talking to. After taking my bows, I collected my earnIngs. It was my most lucrative performance yet. I split part of the gold with the Maester who helped me write one of the songs. Pleased with the success of the evening, I retired to my tent and fell asleep. A feint noise roused me from my slumber and quickly gathered my weapons and shield to see what dared wake me from dreaming of my wife and son. It seems to come from where Calaila had pitched her tent. A shadowy figure, was running off suspiciously…!?!?

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I AINT BROKE NO MORE!
Thanks to by BFF Dolins!

We have been traveling for months when we finally arrive at River Run for the double wedding! Twice the wedded bliss, twice the drama, am I right? I am chilling with my main man Dolins while he scopes out a good performance area. I sit and listen to his excellent songs. We meet a man who is the uncle of one of the brides and seems to be quite angry. But we pay him no mind! Dolins is so kind he splits his earnings with me and even sings a beautiful song about Guliver!

After his performance, I am approached by some men stating they need help. They are of the Bracken and Blackwood houses and they state their cousins got into a fight. I walk over to help them and they are both hurt. I tend to the more injured Blackwood first which really angers the Bracken group. They state that this is a slight and even more reason our house will end. Just then, some Tully guards come over and disperse the angry men. The Blackwood men state that the fight was caused by general Bracken aggression when the Blackwood bumped into the Bracken man. I get away with helping one person and I am none the worse! It was a close call… I did not want to be pulled into that male drama!

The rest of the day ends rather peacefully, for me at least. There are many men drinking much more than they should. Probably trying to show how strong and manly they are while emptying their stomachs on the ground… Guliver, Dolins and I will stay to our good clean fun. As the night approaches, I am invited to stay in our Lady's fancy pavilion tent! I am exhausted and ready for a good night's sleep.

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Ser Darron's Journal IV

Seven hells

The sun is burning my eyes. My tent… it's… not here?

My hand…. blood?? There was a fight!?

My trousers? What is… fuck. Darron what have you done?

I was terribly looking forward to these festivities. I must've enjoyed them? I remember music and ale and… that Lynderly cunt? Is that who I fought??

May the stranger heal this headache. I don't suppose the other six would have me in this state.

I need to get cleaned up before Jardon sees this. I'll never hear the end of it.

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Hello darkness, my old friend
A vision softly creeping left its stabs while I was sleeping

Outside the Riverrun Castle, I've made myself quite busy blending into the festivities of the Stark and Arryn wedding by tidying up, giving myself an opportunity to listen into conversations and observe the attendees. It is at this moment that I see my old running partner, Olivia, dressed as a septa. She is despicable, dressing up as a religious woman to pillage the pockets of party-goers… a sense of dread consumes me, as the reality of my past now has the opportunity to catch up to my present. I quickly scan the area and duck into a kitchen tent, doing my best to blend in and avoid her gaze. The thought that House Jasper could find out my identity grips me with fear, and I must do all I can to avoid this fate. 

Olivia starts heading towards to castle, and my curiosity gets the best of me as to where she could be heading. I attempt to follow behind her, but the skills of my past life have not kept up with me, and I give myself away quickly. We exchange quick words and well wishes, both claiming we've changed our ways. I trust her statement as much as there is truth in mine. As she turns to face me head on, I can see that she's lost an arm, and I fear it may be the result of our time together, but she denies this, that her maiming was from a terrible equestrian accident. I must find out more about this. We bid each other farewell, and I keep an eye over my shoulder as we turn our backs to one another. House Jasper heads to our cluster of tents and retires for the evening as the party carries on.

In the early morning hours, before the sun has begun to rise, I am awoken by a shearing pain, and instinctively grab my stiletto, and stab into the dark at my attacker, piercing the air. Still half asleep, an axe slams down next to me again, scraping me and adding to my injuries. In desperation, I thrust into the night again, this time, hitting my attacker. All my instincts tell me…this is Olivia, and she has come for her revenge. Steps arrive at my tent's door, and my attacker sprints away into the  black.

 

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