Campaign of the Month: December 2020

House Jasper

How did our motley crew survive this??

We are lead somberly to the square for our trial which we had heard was coming for some time. As we walk up, I see a platform on which we are to be tried and to the side of that, a noose is hanging from a tree. Lord Paxter must be out for blood…  I also notice on the opposite side of the crowd that has gathered, our three friends! Jardon, Darron and Carsen! What the gods are they doing here?

Lord Paxter starts by reading to us our charges. Teddy has been charged with murder and treason against the realm. Dolins is charged with assaulting a guard. And I am charged with treason against the realm. Very quickly, Dolins states that he would like trial by combat. My heart sinks at this. I am very worried for my dear friend!

Then it is my turn. I choose a "normal" trial, as does Teddy. Lord Redwyne starts with me. He calls Desmond against me first. He recalls that Meatball states that we were there to turn the house against them. I refute this, stating that it was not us, but Meatball who attempted to join our houses. Lord Paxter seems to warm to this idea a bit… Then comes Otto, aka Meatball. He recalls the true facts, though I refute this again, stating that this was not the way it went. Then Ballabar. He again, states the facts. But to him, I refute what he has said stating that this was just idle thoughts of my own. As a Maester, I state I often like thinking these mind games, and this is all that it was. Ballabar seems to throw daggers with his eyes at me… But after this, Lord Redwyne ponders for a bit, then declares I am innocent as I was just following my house orders!!! Huzzah! I step down and Gulliver celebrates with me by leaping to my shoulder and to safety! We hurry off together to join our brave knights.

Then comes the trial by combat… But there is a twist! Dolins has a solution for Lord Redwyne. He states that he would like to combat Meatball! Poor fool won't know what hit him! The lord accepts and Meatball scurries off to find a sword as Dolins performs a jailhouse ballad for everyone. Then the battle starts. Meatball charges at Dolins, and Dolins braces… Then Dolins quickly stabs Meatball in his sword arm! Ouch! He then states that he does not want to continue hurting the poor man, but if he will yield, he will let him off. He immediately yields. Well that went very well!

Now for Teddy… He refutes the testimony against him but from my side of the large crowd, it is hard to hear all the details. But I do hear that he is found guilty of the treason and that our house must pay a ransom of 400 dragons. Then for the murder… He states that Linus stole from him and suddenly, Lord Redwyne seems to sour on his own guard! He accuses him guilty and he is swiftly hung! What a plot twist!!! Well, this all turned out relatively well. Not how I envisioned it while sitting in my small cell!

Let It Be
For though we may be parted...

As Lord Paxter has returned, it seems that the castle is buzzing with activity and brown nosing, which I willfully participate in. I've been considering poisoning the guards after days of watching them closely, but fear that it is too risky. I don't know where the Maester is, and the guards are heavily armored with halbards and mail. Besides, even if I DID get them out, where would we go? With all of the talk of a trial going on lately, it would be very easy to throw a dishwasher in front of the gods as well. I don't need that noise!

After rushing through our morning chores, the servants of the kitchen head down the hill towards a platform…and a noose. Behind me, I notice Maester Thad being led towards the trial, and Carsen, Jardon and Darron in the crowd. 

As Teddy, Dolins and Maester Thaddeus were read their charges, I found myself picking through the crowd to see if there was a higher station I could pursue should my house be executed. Lord Paxter appears old and foolish, and now that he has returned, maybe he's looking to spend a little money on a persuasive young handmaid. Or, I could use the money I saved not buying poison on a trip back to the mainland, and find a silly Lady of a house to whisper deceptions into her head. It wasn't until I heard the jeers of my surrounding, smelly peasants that I was brought back to reality. That House Jasper would live on, and I would have to continue navigating through the waters of my foolish companions. I might as well start calling them meatballs.

The gang goes to sea....
Homeboy can't Halberd

1st day of the voyage - 

Even though House Jasper is my home, there is something to be said to that feeling when you set foot on a ship again. Such an "at ease" and familiar feeling, feels so natural. Captain Asten related as I spoke to him above on deck as we set sail towards the Arbor. He related at not quite feeling "stable" when on land, his acknowledged that his place is at sea. An interesting concept that I seem to relate to. 

Although as I start to write this, my "zen state of mind" was rudely interrupted by nearly having my good eye poked out by the genius with his new Halberd. Why the fuck would you attempt to practice your polearm skill in the close quarters of a fucking crew quarters? I thought Ser Carsen had some semblance of wits about him, but apparently not. Asten quickly had him go above deck. 

Alright, back to my day dreaming. Perhaps after this rebellion is over I shall get a ship of my own, or build one. Aye, that would be the life, let the sea take me wherever it may. Perhaps I shall see the world. I have heard of such sights in Essos from Viktor, gargantuan statues in Braavos, the beautiful city of Norvos. I wonder what the Summer Isles are like?

Alright, distracted once again. He doesn't let up. He is now on the deck of the ship looking like a stooge with his Halbred. He can't even wield the thing with his with his skinny little arms and flimsey wrists. I would try to help him and maybe give him a bit of training (as it might be in my best interest to work for such a swindler as him when his castle is finally built), but I can't bring myself to do so at the moment. Half because I almost lost my eye, half because it is mildly entertaining. And by mildly, I mean this is fucking hilarious. 

4th day of the voyage -

I was awoken in the middle of the night this morning by a loud thunk, and then the sound of  metal clanking. Then loud yelling. Then Carsen running into the cabin. "Carsen, what happened up there?", "Oh nothing, the first mate thought he saw a squid, just go back to Sleep Jardon". 


6th day of the voyage -

Oh my god, the sight of Ser Carsen in full armor wielding this Halberd. Like a Farmer trying to be a knight, he looks like a farmer trying to till a field with a hoe. He should stick to the bow, and his sneakery, which he is apprently still skilled at because at some point during my boat daydreaming he ended up sneaking towards the bow of the ship.

“All ye deck hands, look to me for the image of a proud knight!” he proclaimed as he jumped to the deck railing, swaying unsteadily. “Behold, grace and power!” and he attempts to jump into the air, and stumbles onto the deck of the ship, not only cutting off the sails but also sinking his halberd into the first mates shoulder. I stifle my laughter at this blunder for the pure sake of Captain Asten's anger at the whole situation. “MY SAILS! MY CREWWHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUYOU CALL YOURSELF A KNIGHT?! HAVE YOU EVEN USED THAT THING BEFORE?!”

At this point I headed down to the crews quarters to get my crossbow and Ser Darren. Someone is going to have to get him out of this mess before he gets thrown over board. I come back up with my crossbow and take the Halberd from Carsen. He doesn't need to be carrying this thing around. Perhaps I'll give it back to him when I need a good laugh. 


The Bardshank Redemption
Get busy livin', or get busy dyin'

Teddy and I were stripped of our weapons, armor, and all of our possessions except for basic clothes, and tossed into the cells inside the caves. We are badly wounded after our very failed plan. I am so badly hurt it would be near impossible to have attempted to hide anything from the guards. They seemed to be quite angry with Teddy for his earlier escape. The only reason he is alive is his nobility. That seems to be the first time his title has actually come in handy. It appears though our captives have some mercy though and they say we are to be healed. You can imagine my surprise as Maester Thaddeus entered our cells to do the healing. My friend kindly offered to heal me first, but I am old and Teddy is the future of House Jasper so I insisted that he receive healing first. We passed the next couple weeks being tended to by Thad, making small talk with the guards, and trying to think of some way to get out of here. I feel as healthy as these old bones have felt, but my friend says there is more healing to be done. Who am I to argue, he would know best. Some more weeks go by and another surprise walks in… Calaila. I wonder what happened to her when our plan went awry. It took awhile, but whatever she did worked, because now she was bringing food for the guards and for Teddy and I. These might not be ideal circumstances but I am very happy that the gangs all here. We’ll find a way out of this prison, off of this island, and back to helping House Jasper and the rebellion. Maybe Calaila can bake us a cake for Teddy’s birthday and inside of it would be a lock-pick or a dagger?

Carsen at Sea
Halberds and Hardtimes

Fucking Jardon is such a buzzkill. What right does he have to take my Halberd away? A boring voyage seemed like the perfect time to learn how to use my pole-arm, and the swaying ship the perfect place to master balance whilst using it. Ser Darron tells me that I was given fair warning, but how was I to get better if I didn’t practice?

I know when I started things looked a little wild, but I was getting better! In the first few days I went from nearly taking out Jardon’s other eye during a practice jab (Warning number 1) to masterfully holding my halberd forward off the bow of the boat. The Human Figurehead look was quite dashing and it gave me the muscle control to hold the mighty weapon steady. Plus, Captain Asten told me that was the only place I was allowed to have my halberd on the deck of his ship after the almost blinding Jardon…

A few days later, after a long night navigating through The Broken Arm, Captain Asten was asleep in his cabin. Surely, he would approve of me resuming my active halberd studies were he awake (I had after all mastered holding the weapon). I launched into a Kata that I saw Viktor and Tito practicing back during the march through The Reach. I spun and swung my gleaming halberd masterfully. I used one hand, then two, and then back to one again. Two forward jabs and then a wide swing around behind me and THUNK… The halberd sank into the reel cutting the lines to our Anchor. “SSLSSSHHH” the Anchor reel squealed as the rope un-spooled and the heavy iron weight sank out of sight into the Summer Sea. I yanked the halberd out of the real and slowly brought it up to my shoulder holding it as a farmer holds a pitch fork. “That might be bad” I said quietly. “YOU FOOL!” shouted the ship’s first mate Paxtan. “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?! We will not be able to moor the ship for the rest of the voyage!” to which I responded cleverly with “Uh… Uh…” before darting below deck with my weapon before Asten could be summoned.

The next few days I took meals in my room and worked on my writing. It was quite embarrassing to write a letter to our Ladyship in my broken scrawl. Alas, this was futile and boring to boot. I mostly drew pictures of what I wanted my castle to look like. I drafted a number of impressive motifs that would do a lord like me proud. My favorite had an epic statue of me on top of a spire holding my Halberd like a mighty hero, made of gold of course! Asten came to berate me a few times, but I refused to open the door. He mostly yelled about me being incompetent and dangerous and how I owed him a new Anchor. He said if I ever brought my halberd on deck again it would wind up at the bottom of the sea. (warning number 2) I simply would reply “I don’t speak Westerosi” in Braavosi. He didn't buy it.  I also took the time to carve “Carsen was here” in the cabin wall with my Stiletto. It helped my writing and let the world know of my presence!

Finally, it was time to resume my practicing. This time, I wanted to have the full experience and the look of a knight. So, I put on my Scale, strapped my shield to my back to show off my crest, and went above deck with my weapon. I snuck to the forecastle of the ship without anyone noticing I was there. It was then I loudly proclaimed “All ye deck hands, look to me for the image of a proud knight!” I gave my Halberd a mighty swing, jumping onto the deck railing. I then looked down on the main deck yelling “Behold, grace and power!” bringing my weapon up over my head. All eyes on the ship turned to me adoringly. I prepared for a mighty jump-swing to the lower deck when the wave hit. It is really hard to balance in scale while standing on a railing on a moving ship! What was to be a majestic jump turned into a topple. I tried to catch my balance on the ship’s lines with my Halberd, but unfortunately the thing is sharp and simply cut through them, sending sails into the wind.

I landed on poor Paxtan, and did a real number on him. I guess a full-grown man in mail falling on you from 10 feet up will do that. He broke his arm and cracked a few ribs. (he also was very scraped up and splintered from the deck.) My swinging antic also badly wounded one of the deck hands. I managed to catch him in the meaty part of his shoulder with the blade of the halberd as I came down, rendering his arm useless until it could heal. Asten practically exploded at me. “MY SAILS! MY CREW! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? YOU CALL YOURSELF A KNIGHT?! HAVE YOU EVEN USED THAT THING BEFORE?!” to which I replied “Well… not realy. That is why I am practicing. I can’t be pulling this on a battlefield you see!”

Asten seethed for a moment and then charged me. “That thing is going into the sea! You’re going into the sea!” Funny thing about being in full war armor; unarmed sailors don’t scare you. He punched me a few times, but I couldn't really feel it, so I chuckled and said, “is that all you got?!” To which he responded with a reckless punch that managed to take my breath away, even through the armor. Unfortunately for him, he punched metal armor as hard as he could bare handed and broke some bones in his hand. “YEEEOWWWWWW!” he screamed and jumped away from me. I looked around slowly not sure what to do next when Jardon appeared from below deck with his cross bow. It was loaded, and he pointed it right at me. “Carsen, drop the halberd” he said calmly. I could see Darron and young Thomas behind him, both looking concerned. I opened my mouth to speak and he cut me off “None of your fast talk Carsen, drop it now.” And so, I dropped my halberd on the deck and rose my hands slowly. He walked over, took the weapon and told me “You can have this back when you’ve proven yourself responsible enough to wield it.” Darron and Thomas shook their heads slowly at me, then turned and followed him back below, leaving me unarmed with a very angry captain and crew…

An hour of fast talking and negotiating later I had soothed the crew and returned to my cabin. I was a hair away from being thrown overboard in my armor, which would have been a death sentence. Asten followed me closely, he didn't expect me to hold onto my end of the bargain. I retrieved my coin purse from my bags and counted out 105 Silver Stags, a whole half dragon, to replace his Anchor, the sails, and as reparations for his men and his hand (even though that was his fault). I put the coins in a new purse and dropped it his good hand glumly, for it was the entirety of my “bard money.” He looked down at the purse frowning, and sighed, “I still don’t understand how you talked us out of throwing you overboard.” To which I replied, “Silver helps, but I’m surprised too.” And after a long pause “I’m sorry Asten, I know that probably isn’t enough. I truly do value my life, you did me a favor in sparing it. Consider this, I Carson Thorne do additionally owe you one favor. Speak it now, or later should our paths cross again, I will make good on this promise.”  

History is Made
Darron gets a Squire

What a surprise it was to find Lady Alyse on the road. Her and Maelys had urgent matters for the house to address and of course they would turn to their finest; The Knights and the Warlord. Our tasks were simple, dispatch our caravan and board a ship to destinations unknown. Dispatching the caravan required access to a ship, and a ship & captain who were willing to take the risks.

M’lady made the diplomatic situation at the port sound dire, but it was no match for Ser Darron’s wits. He entered negotiations with the Steward Lady Tilda and swung her 2 in arguments. We simply would find a captain in town and load the ship from the beach; Keeping her hands clean of the situation.

From there we made great haste, as our ship was to leave at the tides change and made our way forward into town. We made our way to the drinking establishment favored by the sea faring folk; The Captain’s Cabin. It was there that we found our old friend Davos. He gave us some shipping wisdom on what could and couldn't survive a voyage and took the rest of the cargo as payment. We drank to good fortune and sprung into action.

We needed to carry a message on to the army of our deal with Davos so we could make our ship. So I hollered at a young boy walking through the bar, “How would you like to make a Silver Stag?!” The stutter-y lad seemed confused at first, but was eager enough to make some coin. He also was regaled of an old knightly story by “Ser” Jardon while i scrawled a note to our lady. 

Alas, in our great haste to carry out our order we forgot to ask what the name of the ship we needed to take was. So we spent a fair bit of time walking the docks looking for a boat hired to take 3 men on a voyage. It was on this fateful leg of our adventure that history was made. The young messenger lad tried to cut Jardon’s purse! That little urgent had some real nerve! We had already paid him a peasants fortune to run a simple errand, but that wasn’t enough. Jardon made a grab for the lad, but he ran from us. I pulled my bow and yelled for him to stop, but he kept running. Jardon fired a cross bow bolt not a foot in front of him, which brought him to a trembling stop.

The boy very slowly came back to us with his head hung. Clearly feeling awful for what he had done, and worse for being caught. While he had done wrong, it was extremely troubling to me that my comrades would pretend they were going to cut off the boy’s hands. He was starving, abandoned, and simply wanted shelter from the storm of a world we live in. He wanted to be a squire. He would even be a squire to Ser Darron! (Talk about falling on hard times.) Thank the gods my fellows ended the pretense they were going to maim the poor boy, and it was then the real debate began. Would he become a squire? Jardon and I turned together at Darron and urged him to consider. He could use the help, and we could use someone to know where he is passed out. He nodded slowly seeing the logic of the situation and acquiesced. Thomas would be his squire.

Our party, now of 4, boarded our ship and headed for destiny.

Books and cats are all I need

Whelp, we have royally messed this up. Balabar gleefully lets me know that Teddy and Dolins have been locked in the dungeon after a botched attempt at… something? Hopefully to free me? And where Calaila is, no one knows. Balabar told me he was too busy to attend to our group so I am thankfully allowed to tend to my friends once a day. I am not allowed my maester kit but the dolt of a guard has not searched me, so I still have my dagger… What use it could be, I am not sure.

So I tend to my friends over two weeks and at that point, I falsely state that they need more time to heal. Which buys us a bit more time but that doesn't really help. We have no idea what to do. This really doesn't look great for us…

But while time passes, I work on training Guliver with some scraps from my meals as well as reading the book that I got from that old maester's quarters in Stoney Sept. It's called Strange Stone, and a strange tale it is! This Maester Theron must have been dipping into his own maester kit as he believes that there is a race of half human, half sea creatures and that this race created the Seastone Chair (which of course is the throne of the Iron Islands) and the fortress on Battle Isle. These part sea creatures, called the Deep Ones, are believed to be the source of the stories of merlings as well as possibly the source of the Ironborn's Drowned God. 

This really is a strange book. It seems to me that the only evidence Maester Theron has to link the throne and the ruin is the stone that both are made out of. I read through this book several times and although intriguing, I am not sure there is much merit to the tale. Speaking of tails, Guliver does not enjoy being cooped up. He really needs to get out there and stretch his legs. As do I Gulliver, as do I.

A Rose Gets the Thorne
This Knight Gets War Aw-whoa-awwwwwnnnnn!!!

It is lucky that House Jasper has a banner house for I continue to win us glory on the battle field. Dare I say I bring more value to this house than the lordling himself?! I do! And I shall ask for some payment as such…

The caravan I boldly captured was slow moving and the terrain rather open. As such, it was inconceivable for me to have prevented the less-craven-than-I-thought Tyrell from finding us with his new army. I delegated the parlay to my right hand war man Jardon. He tried to reason with the coward, but not terms could be met. This is when the Tyrell fools should have run away… But how could they know what was to come?

As adeptly as the previous battle I shouted out orders. Marshalling the troops and getting things positioned "just so." Knowing my skills best match that of the guerrillas I chose to embed myself in their unit; insuring effectiveness. I relinquished command of the army to Jardon as any skilled delegator would. Obviously if our army's makeup was different I could have led the forces, but today was a day for victory, not vanity. Ser Darron and Viktor joined the Joyful Few for similar reasons. 

With that, the battle commenced. The foolish Tyrell sent 3 units of cavalry at us. It could have been a disaster if not for our disciplined units brave stands. The onslaught was fierce, and much blood was shed. It was through this bloody fog of war we saw an opening. "Tyrell is undefended!" I cried. With that, the Joyful Few pounced! Charging the craven and mercilessly slaughtering him with their halberds. His army then broke, and we took them all prisoners.

It was tempting to slaughter them to the last. We can't keep fighting battles when we have supplies to deliver, but I also am a king hearted man. Instead we took all of their horses and goods and sold them on the open market, and sent them home on foot. This not only helped our cause, but also our house, and spared these men. They should take too long on foot to find any more soldiers to obstruct us. 

Hopefully today will lead to a new title for me. "Ser Carsen the Caring", "Ser Carsen the Battlesworn", "Ser Carsen the Economic"? Only time will tell, but I do say as my legend grows, I shan't let my ego. For I am far too grounded to let such fame go to my head!

Some wins for the home team show those fools, this bastard is not to be triffled with

Two battles won against the Tyrells, good ridden to those farmers with pitchforks. They surely couldn’t stand up to Iron-Bo…..I mean Jasper Steal.

Despite my gloating, I was hoping we would be able to get supplies to Storms end, it will surely help us aide in the overthrow of the Targaryens. 

Hah! Ser Carsen seems to think my successes on the battlefield are a result of his tactics, his command skill. Hah! Perhaps he should have been on the battlefield and not nursing his wounds while tending to a bunch of prisoners.

Although it is possibly in my best interest to let him think it is his glory to be had. Perhaps it might get me another shot at taking back my master at arms position front Samwell. Or perhaps another opportunity may present itself….

Either way, what Ser Carsen and that old drunk Darren say are of no consequence to me, I know where I stand. 

Don't give me that do goody good bullshit.

As morning breaks in the Inn, I step downstairs to a quiet tavern, and catch the attention of the innkeeper. "No, I haven't seen your friends, all I know is they've paid for their room until midday, and that's what matters to me…" These morons can't manage anything! This is what happens when you put a dangerous mission in the hands of our idiot lordling. I had tried to remind the bard the risks of this uphill battle…always the hero, that one.

I asked the innkeeper about what he knows of the Redwyne family. His pupils practically turned into gold dragons when he told me about the family's wealth, and  I decided this would be a good place to find work while I wait for House Jasper. That way, if I come across my travel companions, I can play my job as a way of getting closer to where I thought they may be.

I approach the castle gates, and appeal to the guards saying I'm looking for work. They denied me for a handmaid position, but did say I could work as a dishwasher in the kitchen. I'm escorted through the lavish castle halls to the cook, who is very clearly and simply, a madman. Waving his ladle and pointing in a guards face! This should be interesting. The cook admits he needs a dishwasher (as the last one quit after a week, running away in tears-seven hells!) He offers to pay me a penny a day, and it's all I can do not to laugh in his face. I warmly explain that I must make a living wage in order to afford living on this island, and we agree upon 50 pennies-almost a silver a day. Between that and my meager savings, I can make this work until I figure out a next plan.

Over the course of a month, I settle into castle life, sometimes staying overnight in the kitchen as means to save money, I'm able to pick up on rumors among the town and castle, most notably that Teddy was captured, not once, but twice, the first time with the maester, the second, pulling the poor bard into his mess. I'm grateful for my decision not to get weighed down by the foolishness of our lordling, and often remind myself how better off the seven kingdoms would be if lordship was based on merit rather than bloodlines.

After blending into the routine of House Redwyne, I begin taking leftovers from the house feasts to the guards in the prisons, confirming the location of Teddy and Dolins. Now that they know I'm here, for the sake of my head should they live, I must take action…but I will do so in my own time. The guards begin to anticipate my delivery, and build trust with me. When I hear that Lord Paxter has returned to the island, and a trial is scheduled, I decide now is the time to poison my special deliveries…