Campaign of the Month: December 2020

House Jasper

Won't you be my neighbor?

Teddy exits safely, and we rush back to Castle Snownook right away to discuss his findings. It seems Ralph knew who Teddy was immediately, despite his disguise, but was open to discussions. Teddy reports that Ralph confirmed that the reason they have stayed in Felliston is because of the lawlessness of the lands, and shared that someone very valuable to him by the name of Rancis was in the cells of Snownook.

We explore our options, and deliberate where we hope to send the local bandits. Pooling out knowledge of our neighbors we gather that House Lynderly's heir is John and Yorrin is the Lord (who has a reputation as an older, oblivious oaf). Yorrin has a daughter named Janna, and has many nephews in his service. Their hamlet is walled in entirely, and we gather that they have a better sense of justice and law than House Jasper does.

House Pryor is ruled by reasonable and level headed Lord Derrin, Perrin's father. He rules from Castle Skymark, made out of slate on the island of Pebbles. They have no navy, as they have limited wood and resources. House ​​Coldwater is ruled by young Lord Royce from a strong, ancient castle to northwest of Snownook. It is a stop on the recruiting mission of Carsen, Jardon, Darron and the maester. House Baelish is a new house on smallest finger, and their keep is a small tower in a desolate land with a small population.

House Elesham is ruler from a tower called First Light on Paps, northeast of Vale and fingers. It is signaled by a constant fire burning. Their Lord is a young boy named Emmon, of only 10 years old, and until he comes of age is ruled by lady regent. House Woodhole-Also on Paps island. Keep is called Woodhall, spartan, defensible but not by mainland standards. No moat, no big walls. Lord is old and angry Sir Haster, a group of landed knights.

We decide that perhaps sending the local bandits to Paps would be the best course of action in attempts to both increase the law in our lands, and sabotage our rivals. I take on the task of braving the cells to meet Ralph's friend Ransis, and as I walk down the steps, his stench greets me first.

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Lord Arryn Visits Snownook
And we make Jasper look gooooooood

Several weeks have passed since our visit to Gulltown, which means only one thing: my new longsword is finally ready! The smith has been working tirelessly to make this superior blade, all it needs now is a name! It must be cat-like, fierce, swift and silent. Sharp Tooth? Shadowcat Surprise? No… those won’t do. I’ll have to keep thinking.

My father calls a meeting of the house and we learn that Lord Arryn will be visiting Castle Snownook, but we don’t know why. Whatever the reason may be, it is incumbent upon us to make sure that he has the most enjoyable visit possible. Father has planned the day to go like this:

  1. Maester Thad will host a battle of wits
  2. I will show off my fighting skills by sparring with Sir Carson
  3. An afternoon meal will be served, serenaded by Dolins the bard
  4. Jardin will tell a tale of the Vail’s history
  5. A flag capture melee
  6. An evening meal before Lord Arryn departs

Of course, Carson asks if there will be a prize for the flag capture melee. We are told there will be an award, but it will be given out after Lord Arryn has left.

Father also makes a point to say that Calaila will be Lord Arryn’s cup bear.

When Lord Arryn arrives to the castle, he is received in the great hall. Welcomes are exchanged, and the festivities start right away with Maester Thad and his battle of wits!

Darron, Dolins, and myself face off against Calaila, Carson, and Jardin. The game is rousing, but our lot is no match for a handmaid, a knight, and a one-eyed baffoon. I blame Her Darron.

For the main event, Carson and I will spar each other, making a show of our talents on the battlefield. All of my companions are well aware of the skills I lack in this discipline, and for this reason I proactively arranged to pay Carson 10 gold dragons to put on a convincing performance and to let me win. I think the spar goes well, but apparently not well enough to convince Lord Arryn that I am a skilled fighter. He gave me some backhanded remark about knowing my strengths. This wasn’t worth 10 gold dragons… I follow up with Carson after the match and we settle on 6 dragons for his efforts. Still a damn good payment for a performance!

During the meal, Dolins puts on quite a show! In a break in the performance, Jon Arryn announces that Nestor Royce will take over management of the Vail while Jon Arryn serves as the hand of the king to King Beratheon. Further, he plans to create a new position, Warden of the Fingers and Isles, which will manage houses Coldwater, Baelish, Elesham, Pryor, Jasper, and Linderly. The lord who is chosen for this position will be responsible for protecting the peace and managing this group of houses, but ultimately the houses would still remain loyal to House Arryn. He explains he is here to visit House Jasper to consider my lord father for the Wardenship!

After the meal, I heard that Jardin’s history of the Vail was quite pleasing to Lord Arryn. I nearly knocked my goblet of wine off the table while I nodded off. Sparring is quite hard work.

In the flag capture melee, I prove to be useless. Maelys destroys me in quick order, so I spend most of the match cheering my team to victory. We win the melee, and each receive 2 gold dragons! 

Jon Arryn, before departing Castle Snownook, announces that Berta Rohan will become a ward of Snownook. She will arrive at the castle sometime within the year. There are exciting times ahead for House Jasper!

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Now Perin owes Teddy a debt...

On our way over to the trial, Thad give me a large dose of milk of the poppy just in case I need to use it for something. We are escorted by a guard up to the great hall for the trial.

At this point, if I do nothing else, I can sleep easy because I went above and beyond my duties by speaking with Lord Grafton and visiting Perin in the cells.

Lord Grafton commences the trial, and a moment later James hurries into the chamber, panting. “I’m sorry I’m late, my Lord!”

James proceeds to go give a wishy-washy testimony that Perin has cheated his business out of 50 gold dragons over many years. Blah blah blah!

When Lord Grafton gives me an opportunity to speak, I thoroughly attack James’ credibility as a witness by bringing to light his attempt to offer lenience for Sir Perin, in return for my companions and I sabotaging the Falcons Nest’s gambling operation. It appears that I’m effective in sowing doubt in Lord Grafton’s mind. 

Sir Perin is given an opportunity to speak, he merely chooses to say that all of James’ statements are true. DAMNET PERIN!!!!! HELP YOURSELF!!!!

After the testimony, Lord Grafton asks for input from his maester, septon, and Maester Thad. The first two are in heavy favor of punishment for Sir Perin. Sensing the momentum shifting away from Perin, Maester Thad makes another attempt at tarnishing James’ credibility, but to no avail. He offers that House Jasper might keep Perin on their lands in perpetuity, and Lord Grafton balks at that. Finally, with my approval, Thad offers that House Jasper pay Sir Perin’s debts in exchange for his freedom. Lord Grafton agrees to these terms.

Sir Perin looks shocked, and exclaims his discomfort with the house paying his debts for him. I explain, “We are not paying the debts for you, we are paying them for House Jasper. A conviction against a knight of the house is a tarnish on the reputation of my house and my family. I am paying to keep the name Jasper in good standing.”

Did I see a tear in his eye? Perin looks like he’s going to cry out of appreciation. I dare say he better. I’ll make him earn back those dragons, one way or another.

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Chaos is a Ladder
and this girl's climbing all the way to the top...

With the maester, Jardon, Carsen and Darron heading away to recruit knights, Teddy, Dolins and I are left in the Great Hall with the Lord and Lady of House Jasper. Lord Ronnel tasked us with insuring that House Jasper becomes the Vale's warden. Perhaps more importantly, he announces my promotion to a noted house advisor, and shares that a discussion regarding my new title is coming in the near future. This announcement changes everything-perhaps I have a future here after all, at least for the time being… I am genuinely honored to be recognized by a Lord for my talents and abilities, and more than ready to cast away the title of handmaid.

For this responsibility, Lord Ronnel confirms that we have the House's full resources at at our disposal. He notes that Lord Arryn is probably looking for house respected by the others in the region, has their own affairs in order, and has the strength to aid others should they be in need

No surprise, Teddy suggests sabotaging our rival houses, and noble Dolins focuses entirely on building up our own lands and reputation wihile ignore the other contenders. I suggest that we can find compromise between each strategy, and by sending some of our challenges to the other lands, can accomplish both at once. Lord Ronnel notes that the houses most liekly to be competing with his for the position would be Lynderly, Coldwater, Pryor, and Elesham. 

We decide to start by attempting to send the criminals of our lands to our Lynderly neighbors. In Feliston, Dolins and Teddy overhear information that there seems to be a kingpin by the name of Ralph wreaking havoc on the territory. the next day, they discover that Ralph spends most of his time at a quiet, off the beaten path dive, which is especially odd because it sounds like Ralph doesn't drink. Our gang manages to sneak up on his hang out, which appears to be nothing more than a cottage, and observe individuals going in and out of a crude basement stair case. no one seemed more suited for the task of lurking inside to find out more information than our very own degenerate lordling, who has quite a history of these sneaky behaviors.

As dusk falls, the bard and I wait patiently outside, hidden behind crates and trees, and watch the heir to the house climb into this den of criminals…

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A Visit from Lord Arryn

Lord Ronnel gathered all the members of House Jasper one evening and shared with us that Lord Arryn would be paying us a visit the next day. I was appointed to be his cupbearer, and was filled with joy at the opportunity to be in such close proximity to the liege lord.

In the morning, we meet Lord Arryn out in the courtyard, and I, yes I, am introduced formally to him by our Lord Ronnel. We launch into a Battle of Wits , for which Carsen, Jardon and I are each awarded one gold dragon for our victory. After winning, I have the opportunity to serve Lord Arryn and Ronnel some wine and over hear that I am now not just serving the liege lord, but the Hand of the King of the Seven Kingdoms. This is truly my lucky day to make a good impression. 

Teddy and Carsen put on a vulgar display of deceit in a false joust. Lord Arryn sees right through this act, and calls Lordling Teddy out on his dishonesty.

While serving the head table, I overhear Lord Arryn sharing in disgust with Nestor Royce his observation of the rampant lawlessness, lack of lands and sworn knights to house Jasper. It's all I can do not to fall to me knees and wail in agreement, and beg him to take me with him to the Red Keep. Dolins sings the room a hearty tune, and then Lord Arryn announces his promotion, and that Lord Royce will take his place. Furthermore, he announced the development of a new post, a Warden of the the Fingers. The room is stunned in shock, and I am crestfallen. After hearing his negative impressions of House Jasper's state, and the blatant display of the house heir's incompetence at the joust, it is clear that House Jasper will not be chosen for this honorable position. 

Jardon performs a stellar story of the history of the Vale, and we all participate in a flag capture melee. During this event, I square off with Petyr Baelish, but am clearly out of practice with my stiletto, and he puts me out of the game quickly. This event serves as an excellent reminder that I've gotten too comfortable here, and need to up my training.

At the end of the day, I take the opportunity to bid Lord Arryn an intimate farewell, and he smiles warmly, sharing that he hopes my talents are not relegated to cupbearing for the rest of my life. "Lord Arryn, if there is ever any way I can serve you or the seven kingdoms, I hope you will keep me in mind," to which he agrees. I take his kind words as a resounding success for the day, and leave the goodbye with an extra skip in my step. Perhaps I will not be stuck in the Flea Bottom of the Vale forever after all…

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I Think Jardon Almost Died... Again...
And We Didn't Even Succeed In Our Mission

Boy he looked grim. I thought he was dead for sure when the trebuchet shot the tower of dragonstone he was fighting on. Then again, he never should have climbed that tower. I am pretty sure those Targaryen bastards were there waiting for us. Low and behold, he somehow survived. I saw Ser Darron with about 12 cross bow bolts ticking out of him charging accross the rampart with Jardon over his shoulder. What a sight that was! Very heroic. I didn't expect that one to risk his life to save one of us. 

I knew someone had to clear a path, so I went about doing what I do best; pretending I am on the other side and barking orders at scrubs. I snuck up behind the north east tower guards and ordered them to get to the front gate. They were super startled and hustled off without complaint. One deaf crossbowmen didn't listen to me (or notice me for that matter) so I snuck up on him and gave him the ole bonky-bonky and knocked him out cold. I then dressed myself as a Targaryen crossbowman and set about finding the royal chambers. 

Well I guessed the wrong tower, or perhaps didn't listen to Stannis very well. I am not 100% sure, but it didn't matter too much. I just yelled at the other troops to get moving and they got out of my way. It was a bit of a trick to keep my shield hidden what with the baby blue and all, so eventually I pretended I killed myself and took it as a trophy. The lowly crossbowmen slaying a knight and taking his shield would be something of a legend to these simpletons me thinks. 

Eventually, we made it to the royal chambers. There were not too many guards, but I imagined there would be plenty of loot. And so, while my compadres tried to finish the mission, I set about looting! What a haul; I got 10 dragons, some wooden armor, Targaryen noble garb, and a shiny new battle axe! I did hear some commotion from the others, and I tried to go help, I swear I did, but Jardon blocked the door from me. It all worked out in the end. They fought a mighty knight without me and I made out like a bandit. I didn't take so much as a scratch the entire battle, and they both were quite bloody. Luckily, we all look like heroes.

Unfortunately, as we left the castle we came back upon our comrades whom we left on the lower level to fight off the guards. Maelys looked even more speechless than usual, and Perrin was beside himself weeping. Our dear friend Ser Samwell Stone had fallen during the battle. 

 

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The puppies are now dogs!
What tricks they have learned

Once we are back in Castle Snownook, Dolins and I start training our pups! And they seem to learn so quickly! Gary and Droolius are becoming close throughout their training and it's a cute sight to see. Gary has really learned quite a bit over these few months of training and it's impressive to see! I may just have to get him a buddy to hang around with. One of his most impressive tricks is that he can carry Guliver on his back! It's a very cute sight and brings a few giggles and stares. But it frees up some weight from my pockets!

I also find an odd note in my chambers from Carsen. He has left me a jar and a vial to look at and and determine what is in it. He offers to share gold with me if I am reading his note correctly… I really should give some literacy lessons around the castle…

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It's Trial Time!

Teddy and I head off to the trial in the morning. Before we reach the keep, Teddy asks for a large dose of milk of the poppy in case he needs to poison someone. I tell him yes he can have it, as long as he gives it back. We are escorted up to the keep and into the great hall where Perin is standing in front of a large oak table. Behind the table, Lord Grafton, his maester and septon are seated. The lord welcomes us and states they are ready to start, just as James hurriedly enters the room.

Perin is stated to owe money to the city and Lord Grafton talks about how he is against people gambling above their means. James states Perin owes 50 gold dragons and that punishing him would dissuade others from doing the same thing. Lord Grafton asks Teddy for questions. He asks when the debt was started. James states before the war. Lord Grafton asks if it would not be wise to not offer such a large line of credit to someone who cannot pay? To which James states that Perin led them to believe that he could pay as he was a nobleman.

Teddy calls James out for trying to sabotage the Falcon's Nest and Lord Grafton states he finds it hard to believe that James would plot so openly. Both the Maester and Septon weigh in and believe he should be punished. I step in to ask some questions. James obviously lies to me. I eventually offer the solution of banning Perin to just our lands. This suggestion is not liked as they state that Perin could just walk away and we can't really restrict him. I then ask, after whispering with Teddy, if we can pay his debts from the house. They accept this and release him. He seems so overwhelmed with thanks for Teddy to have paid off the debts. He seems to be truly sorry and thankful.

As the group is leaving, I run up to the maester and introduce myself. I ask if he has any books on the older languages as I've grown interested. We walk to his rooms and he finds a copy of the Poems of the Freehold in both Valyrian and the Common Tongue. He offers this to me and in replacement, asks for any books I may have on birds or ravens in general, specifically on flight. I state I will look when I am back in our castle and send anything I have!

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New Companions for Castle Snownook

Terry opens her door to reveal that she is holding a stiletto. We persuade her to tell us her story, and she shares that she's known Rusty almost her entire life, after joining his band of cut purses. After some time, they developed a romantic relationship, and she and Rusty had a child together. Terry shared that Rusty has a terrible temper and is a very dangerous man, and escaped Rusty with their young son in tow, in order to rescue him from Rusty's menacing plans for him. And at that moment, a cowering boy comes out from the closet, and clutches him mother's leg.

This is quite the turn of events. Dolins and I agree to offer her the opportunity to join us at Castle Snownook. She first asks for gold to be able to cross the narrow seas, which we quickly decline, but then agrees to join us on the road north. 

As Dolins prepares a covered wagon of sorts to transport Terry in without others seeing her, I meet our old friend Tess down at the docks. "My friend, you have finally arrived! Unfortunately it is too late…" I tell her that without enough direction from Rusty's note, and without her here to guide us, we were not able to figure out what he was seeking, and though I stayed back to personally deliver this news to Tess, the rest of my party has returned north. Tess warns me that Rusty is not someone to cross, but ultimately buys my line, knowing only that we gathered limited intel about patrons of the Falcon's Nest seeking information about the Duke, but not revealing that I knew what to do with that information. We part ways, and I head north with confidence that we have escaped Rusty's villainy.

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No no, its cool. We're slave traders.

It’s still the night before the trial, and Dolins and I are going back to the castle to try and talk to Perin. We approached the castle gates and I was about to open my mouth to announce ourselves, when Dolins blurts that “we are slave traders looking to scour your cells for scum that we might buy from you”. He was very convincing. Unfortunately, the slave trade is illegal in Westeros and the guards point their weapons at us.

Dolins turns and runs immediately. It seems as though he and I have switched rolls tonight!

“My good sirs, I don’t have any idea what that drunk is talking about. I am Theodore Jasper, I am requesting an audience with my sworn sword who is awaiting trial.”

Damn, its nice to be back in the Vail where being a Jasper commands some respect!

I am escorted to the dungeons where I find Perin slumped in a cell. I can tell he’s been mulling over the days events in his head. He tells me he’s going to confess and ask for mercy from Lord Grafton. That’s the plan of a man who’s given up! 

“You could demand a trial by combat,” I tell him. The wheels are turning in his head, weighing the consequences. He eventually agrees to request trial by combat, but he doesn’t seem excited about it. I assure him that I’ll do whatever I can to make his day easier tomorrow.

That evening, back at the Winter’s Reprieve, I find Dolins being merry with Calaila and the Maester. I’m glad to see he eluded the soldiers, hope he didn’t kill anyone. In preparation for tomorrow, we all agree that Dolins shouldn’t show his face at court tomorrow after the stunt he just pulled. It is decided that Maester Thad and I will attend Sir Perin’s hearing in the morning, while Dolins and Calaila continue the search for Terry. 

Thad and I get an early start the next morning and make our way out of the tavern while the other two are still waking up. As we turn up the street towards the castle, I turn to Thad and exclaim, “Well, this should be exciting.”

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