Campaign of the Month: December 2020

House Jasper

A Dark Decision
Jardon joins the ignoble

Upon the bridge, the Trial of the Seven seems to be turning in House Woodhull’s favor. Jardon and Philip yield and remove themselves, and it isn’t long before Cortnay himself is thrown from the bridge, limbs splayed, not breathing. The gods have spoken! Cortnay is found guilt of his crimes. Though just as the crowd gathered begins to relax, thinking justice has been served to House Elesham, commotion erupts. The mystery knight charges onto the bridge and pushes Rancis down to the ground. Ser Darron shocks us all when he removes his helmet to reveal he is the mystery knight, and I hear him shouting obscenities and threats to the outlaw. What in seven hells….this will not end well for House Jasper.

Rancis jumps up and hurls himself at Darron with undeniably impressive athleticism. As Dolins and Jardon spring into action to help the old knight, I find myself irritated with his recklessness, and the opportunity it may bring for our house’s secrets to surface. I like the old man, but not enough to risk the house’s reputation and status I’ve helped to carefully craft should Rancis prevail in a fight against the very people who agreed to send him safely to Paps to wreak havoc there. Besides, the man is a stone wall!

While considering my options, Rancis erupts, and shouts “Yeild!” followed by something mumbled under his breath. The crowd is suspended in anticipation when Darron’s body relaxes and steps away, indicated he is yielding, on what I assumed is Rancis’ suggestion. But once again, fate twists in unexpected ways, and Jardon charges Rancis, hacking off his ugly head. The sound of the man’s enormous body crumpling into the cobblestone bridge is the only thing that can be heard, and everyone is stunned in silence.

“He yielded, “ James Woodhull says quietly, “He yielded and you killed him.” A dark disgust towards Jardon befalls the crowd gathered. It is only at this moment that I realize with horror that it was Rancis who was yielding, rather than giving the option to Darron. Despite this terrible stain on Jardon, the tournament and inevitably the house, I am secretly overjoyed that our secret plot with the outlaws will follow Rancis to his grave.

One final realization strikes me as the day is wrapping up, and we are all washing the grey gloom off of ourselves. James Woodhull, the man we thought we were sending Rancis and his comrades to terrorize, seemed to grieve Rancis’ death. And Rancis was fighting for the Woodhulls. What happened on Paps that united a band of outlaws and a noble house?

Tournament at Castle Snownook

Back at the boat, Teddy and I reprimand the foolish Jardon for not fully thinking through the Buffoon’s plan, and scurry away from the increasingly repulsive Gulltown in time for the Jasper Tournament.

Back at Castle Snownook, House Royce, Corbray, Tully, Borrell, Woodhull, and Baelish assemble over a few days. On the morning of the tourney, I stumble across a very flustered Edric and Ser Lyn Corbray having words in the stables. In his typical gruff manner, Edric shouts about Lyn’s unreasonable expectations about the conditions for his horse, such as the size of the stall. “Edric, I’ve have the pleasure and honor of meeting Ser Corbray, and can’t imagine that a man as intelligent as he would suggest something as absurd as building a larger stall for his horse!” Lyn spits in disgust “Of course that’s not what I’m suggesting.” “You see, Edric? Clearly a misunderstanding!” I say to the stable master as I guide the knight away from the tense interaction.

“You mustn’t take Edric gruffness personally Ser Corbray. He’s like that with everyone, it’s far more a reflection of him than you. How can I assure a more comfortable stay for you and your horse for your remaining time at Castle Snownook?” I assure the still angry knight. “I’m past the issues with the stables” he responds, “but where I’m from, when the help speaks to guests in this way, they are punished.”

I am incredulous! Rarely do I empathize with the ever-sour Edric, but as Lyn seemed unable to articulate what his expectations were, I see why his feathers may have gotten a bit ruffled. And a grumpy stable hand does not seem worthy of the Seven Kingdom’s weight of justice…“Ser, I remain I bit confused, what is it exactly that you were asking of Edric?”

“Nevermind the horse! That man needs to be punished!”

“You mentioned space, but also agreed that building larger stalls was an unreasonable request. In that vein, I wonder if Edric was as confused as I am, and that may have led to him getting flustered? If I knew what you were asking for, I may be able to provide some help…” Edric cuts me off. “Forget the horse, that man needs to be taken care of,” and walks away.

Taken aback by this bizarre encounter, I return to Edric, closing the stable doors behind me. “What in seven hells happened?” Edric babbles about not having enough time to discuss this matter. “EDRIC! Listen to me! As a former handmaid myself, I’m genuinely understand the frustrations of having to tend to the absurd needs of those in higher stations, and I’m trying to have your back here, but I can’t do that if I don’t understand what happened!” Red faced, he shares Lyn’s seemingly ridiculous requests-different food, different tack storage, different grooming-and pushes me out so he can get back to work.

Roaming around the grounds in search of Lyonel Corbray, I have the fortune of bumping into Ser Tully and Ser Royce in deep conversation. What luck, running into the patriarchs of two powerful houses! “I’m terribly sorry to interrupt, but I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to make your stays more comfortable while you’re here at Castle Snownook?” I say sweetly.

“Lord Ronnel has ensured we’re most comfortable…perhaps a little TOO comfortable…” They share their concerns about our limited defenses on the shorelines of the Vale and the Fingers, and I offer to bend the ear of not only Lord Ronnel but also his son about bulking up our navy. After all, I share, Teddy has had his eyes on new warships for quite some time. I thank them for their wisdom and trust around such sensitive matters, and carry on towards the center of the action, hoping I’ve earned the warm thoughts of these two powerful nobles.

On the edge of the melee field, as Jardon, Maelys and Dolins fight valiantly, I ignore a whiny Thomas (hasn’t he been eaten up by a wyvern yet? Gods!), and circle around to Bronn and Leo, who I recognize from our most recent adventure at the Winter’s Reprieve. Bronn recognizes me as one who’s reward he snagged out from under us at Lord Whent’s court. I encourage him to pay me back for the information should he find himself a winner today, and when he expresses reluctance, I encourage him to pay Stefany a visit in lieu of a brothel. He deserves that shrill bag of mouth rot! In an ominous message, Leo encourages me to keep an open mind about the “protectors”, of which I know nothing about, and exhausted by this hedge knight and sell sword, I go in search of bigger fish to fry.

Close to Blows

As we approach the doorway of the Winter Reprieve, the noises of a booming tavern tumble out. Teddy buys me an ale, and flips Jamie an owed gold dragon for information regarding the Coldwater dagger from the last time we were in Gulltown. We chat of safer streets, improved business, and…Terry. With the nudge of a few more gold dragons from Teddy, Jamie shares that Terry came through here not too long ago, and is likely looking for her son in Old Town and Lannisport, common destinations for the Duke. With ales in hand, I perch myself at a quiet bench in the corner, and listen in on the chattering of the locals.

When we get up to leave Teddy pats his pockets and realizes in horror that his purse has been cut. He jumps up to speak with Jamie, and I head to the door to prevent anyone from leaving. A few moments later, a distressed looking woman heads towards the stairs. I yell to Dolins across the busy bar and motion towards her, and he skips after her. I follow and poke Teddy in the side on my way towards the staircase, and as I squeeze around this woman, I reach into her pockets to grab Teddy’s coin purse. At this point, the woman draws her dagger and points it towards me.

We face off, weapons drawn at the top of the stairway, and as commotion grows in the dining room, I order the woman to return the coin purse, if only for her own good. She hesitates but eventually relents, and tosses the purse to me with a mumble. With a nod of the head, I motion to her to head upstairs, and I hide the coins and put away my stiletto before returning to the main room.

A few men standing with Teddy ask if we got it back, but not wanting them to know how much money I have on me, I offer a vague answer and walk quickly towards the door.

When Teddy finally emerges, I urge him to head towards the Rambis right away, as many armed (and potentially greedy) men could be close behind. He agrees, and on our brisk walk in the cold evening’s air, I think about how heavily the lordling has been leaning on me lately to clean up his careless messes.

Busy First Week Back on Dry Land

As always, Calaila delivers the goods. She proposes our cover story is that Ser Perin overheard Calaila and Terry talking about Danny’s situation on the way back from Gulltown, and he thought he could return the boy to Rusty himself and receive a reward to pay off his debts. What a great plan! Totally arrowproof!

In an audience with my parents we proposed this theory. At first they seemed skeptical, but I think they believed the story we told them. They told us that we have a couple more days to find more info before we head to the seat of house Pryor to deliver Ser Parin’s body. We must also invite them to the tournament that House Jasper will be hosting in two months’ time. A delicate task that only I have the skills to execute efficiently!

Packing the Rambis back up, we sail and land at Castle Skymark flying the House Jasper colors and carrying the body of Ser Perin. We are “greeted” by 10-12 Pryor household guards. I use the term loosely. They immediately boarded our ship without asking and take Perin’s body back to the castle. There was no invitation for our party, I asked the Sargent for an audience with Lord Pryor and his response amounted to “not my problem”.

We followed the house guard to the Castle Skymark, where we are met by Lord Darryl Pryor and two older women, who we eventually learn are Gilda Pryor (sister to lord) and Lady Elaina (wife of Darryl).

We offer our condolences to their family, and Dolins and Calaila make a convincing display of charm and sympathy in the moment to increase their disposition toward us. Still, they do not plan to attend the tournament we are hosting. They proceed to ask about the killer, I suggest that we discuss the circumstances of Perin’s death in a more private setting. I dismiss Jardon and Dolins, and motion for Calaila to join. Lord Pryor dismisses his guards while the ladies remain. We disclose that Perin’s death was the result of his debts and gambling. They seem to buy it, but are upset that we did not have the assassin to turn over. I assured them that finding Perin’s assassin was House Jasper’s highest priority. Lord Pryor exclaimed “The next time I hear from House Jasper better be a raven to tell me you’ve captured the assassin, or it better be you bringing the assassin to me in person!” On that note, we promptly left the isle of Pebble.

The next stop for the Rambis was Gulltown and after much hype from Jardon, we eagerly anticipate a trip to Buffoon’s III (formerly the Falcon’s Nest) for an ale. I suggest spending the night at the Winter’s Reprieve, which unleashes a ridiculous story from our one eyed friend. Apparently he tried to burn the place down last time he was in Gulltown. He and Carson dumped oil on the outside of the building and Jardon was supposed to shoot it with a flaming arrow, but he was distracted by insulting a strangers wife. Can’t say I’m surprised. Then he reveals the source of his dislike for Ser Perin. It was a really long, dumb story, but I was able to ascertain that Perin’s “intense affection” for Samuel, the senior knight of House Jasper, was the only real reason for his dislike. I also learned that Jardon and Samuel are nasty rivals.

Oh, how the conversation flows with this oaf.

When we reach Buffoon’s, its boarded up. Jardon is far more upset than he should be about a bar being closed. Why don’t we just find another bar? He storms off with a purpose, grumbling things about Robert and the harbor master. In his haste, he catches his foot on a cobblestone and almost eats shit in the middle of the road. My heart leaps with anticipation! Alas, he catches himself and denies me the pleasure of witnessing his buffoonery.

Jardon, Darron, and Dolins knock on a random door and bicker with the person inside before entering. This doesn’t seem like something I should get involved with, so Calaila and I choose to remain in the street.

A moment later the sounds of a man screaming and shouts for the city guard flow from the building they just entered. Excellent idea to stay outside! Another moment passes and things seem to calm down, and the three of them emerge once again from the building.

Jardon starts telling a story about House Shett attacking Buffoon’s III and its bartender. He says I need to demand response from them for their injustice to House Jasper.

I’m sorry… what?

Jardon goes on to explain how he, Darron, and Carsen purchased the bar as a revenue generating asset for House Jasper. He probably should have told the Steward of the house (a.k.a. ME!) about additional revenue streams. Although, judging by the situation, perhaps I don’t want to know about this.

I tell Jardon to figure out why the bar was attacked before we make any rash moves. As he storms off, I offer to Calaila, “Can I buy you an ale at the Winter’s Reprieve?”

The Lordling went to Valyria and all he got was...
The ingredients for a large omelet

In the final hours of our expedition, as the shores of Westeros come into view, it dawns on me that I did not record any details of the journey. Probably best that way, I wouldn’t want the nature of our mission to be accidentally uncovered.

Father and Mother welcomed us home to Snownook with a private dinner for the crew, where we recounted the more exciting moments of the trip and drank a pint for our fallen friend, Tito. And the night would not be complete without an eye jape at Jardin’s expense. Never gets old!

Regarding our treasure, the three dragon eggs, it was decided to keep the eggs safe in the castle and keep them a secret for the time being. I’m going to keep my ears open for a potential buyer, someone who might spend top dollar for such a rare prize!

As the meal winds down, my father breaks the news that Ser Perin was murdered on the first night of his return to Snownook from a long errand. My stomach sinks at this news.

I am nearly certain Perin is dead because of my secret assignment for him. I sent him away to parlay with Rusty; to return Rusty’s son, Danny, to him in exchange for a cash reward. I tricked the boy’s mother, Terry, to allow him to travel with Perin. When Perin returned to the castle without the boy, Terry was certainly enraged and murdered Perin on the spot.

As soon as we leave the hall, Calaila and I question the stable master for any clues about Perin’s errand. After receiving no useful information, I pull Calaila aside and give her all the details of my plot. She isn’t be impressed, but I know she’ll help me cover this up.

I have to say I’ve grown quite fond of Calaila and her uncanny ability to get me out of trouble.

The rest of our group must not know about this. Dolins is too noble to hear this information, and the rest of the fighters… well let’s just say House Jasper is better off without them knowing.

Weaving Webs

After gathering some information, and having time to allow the ingredients of the scandal to stew, I pull Lord Teddy aside with a plan. I propose we tell the following story:

During one of our trips to Gulltown, with the purpose of accompanying Perrin to go pay off some of his many, many debts, we came across a woman and her young son. The woman, Terry, shared she was escaping from a man named Rusty, who I knew of from my former life in the south as a con man, greedy, cruel and dripping in riches from his scams. It was well known that Rusty had a ransom out for the return of his son. While we took Terry and her son back to Snownook to shelter them from Rusty, perhaps Perrin saw our departure to Valyria as an opportunity to collect on this ransom to pay off his debts by returning the boy to Rusty. And perhaps upon Perrin’s return without his squire, Terry murdered him in his chamber one night while pretending to change his linens then left in the night.

Teddy presented this story to the Lord and Lady the next day, and while Alys seemed to buy the story right away, Ronnell expressed some doubt, and requested we continue to look into the matter.

At the end of the meeting, Dolins unfolded the ancient banner of House Lannister, and asked aloud what we should do with it. Seeing an opportunity to build my network of spies, I speak in favor of returning the banner to Casterly Rock as a act of good faith and diplomacy.

The next night, knowing of Lord Ronnel’s sweet tooth, I manufacture the opportunity have an audience with him and Chance, and try to convince him further of the story Teddy told. He is agreeable, but clearly not convinced, and urges me consider how to make this explanation of Perrin’s death as thoughtful as possible, as Lord Pryor will not be happy. I thank him for his advice, and he shares joyous news, that House Jasper will host a small tournament in two months, in June. He asks me to pass on the invitation to Lord Pryor when we bring Ser Perrin’s remains and the story of his murder to the Pryor’s.

I check in briefly with Rhaella, who hands me a folded note, but I do not have to time to read it before heading out to the Isle of Pebbles.

When we arrive to the island, the Rambis is met at the dock by a sergeant and a few military men, there to collect Perrin’s body. House Pryor is nowhere to be seen, and no invitation to the castle is extended. Regardless, Teddy urges us on, and in the audience of House Pryor, we gush about the bravery and pleasant memories of their son. They push us for more details, and Teddy and I give one another a side eye, and request a more…private audience. Jardon, Darron and Dolins step out, as do his guards, and Teddy tiptoes around the tale of Perrin’s passing.He reveals that Perrin had a gambling problem, and that this may have contributed to his demise, but doesn’t reveal the detail about Terry being his murderer, or that Perrin took the boy to Rusty. I admire the lordling’s dance of diplomacy, and his sensitive presentation of such a challenging story, and think for a moment about what a good team he and I make. Lord Pryor asks no further questions, and doesn’t show signs of doubt about our preliminary details, but demands that we apprehend his son’s murderer and bring them back to the Isle of Pebbles alive for justice. We agree quickly, then head back to an especially salty Jardon and the ship.

Jardon sails us to Gulltown, and on the voyage Jardons admits an eye opening tale about his last time in town. In an effort to help pay off Perrin’s debts, they agreed, for one reason or another, to burn down the winter’s reprieve on behalf of the Falcon’s Nest?! His explanation is winding and confounding, and I am left shaking my head at the choices made by some of my fellow house mates. Jardon has many skills, but wisdom is clearly not one of them.

Our first day in Gulltown only gets more bizarre, as the Falcon’s Nest, which Jardon describes as “his”, then storms into the building of the harbor master. Teddy and I stay outside, and hear commotion and chaos from within. The harbor master runs to the street moments later yelling for guards, and Jardon then comes out, arms waving wildly, ranting about House Schett. Good god, what in seven hells is going on here?!

A Bleak Return

On our way back to the Rambis, we see a crowd gathered at the bow of our ship with raised voices, and Denys, Thomas and Darron with weapons in hand, keeping the angry men off the plank.

“What’s going on?” I shout to Denys.

“No idea!” he responds, as he kicks away a boat intruder.

I put my head down and try to squeeze through the men, arms full of goods from the market, and as I arrive at the gang plank, I outstretch my arm to Denys. “A hand sir?” Following a forceful bash to the nose the what appears to be the gang’s leader. Denys whips me around to the skinny plank, and Teddy and I tumble aboard. Jardon mysteriously climbs aboard the bow, but Dolins is nowhere to be seen. It is then that I hear music playing from beyond the bow.

Safely on board, I realize that someone must’ve handed over a valyrian coin when we paid our harbor dues, and these gatherers are hoping to collect on additional riches. Denys smashes the man in the head again, and backs up the plank until he’s in the ship, and I whip the gang plank away from the dock so no one can follow him.

When I arrive at the bow, Dolins is being pulled up and is sopping wet. some of our food got damaged from the water it got dragged through, but fortunately, we had purchased more than we needed, and left Volantis with an extra weeks worth of food for our journey home.

To my shock, amazement and joy, we arrive at castle Snownook only two weeks later, and after six months away, I am overcome with pride to kneel before Lord Ronnel and Lady Alys, with a safe Lord Teddy by our side.

After a lavish celebratory dinner, Teddy recounts the tale of our voyage, leaving out the assistance he received from his travelling companions. When it comes to the presentation of the dragon eggs, Teddy valiantly snaps his fingers…and nothing happens. Our brilliant lordling gave no orders to move them from their hiding place, so I rise from the table and offer to gather them from the Rambis. Outside the castle, I hop on my horse and gallop towards the docks in the dark to collect our treasures. Upon my return, we debate about what to do with the eggs, and decide to keep them in the vault until we can consult with the maester.

Lord Ronnel promptly dampens the mood by announcing the murder of Ser Perrin. The murderer remains unknown, but the house’s patriarch shares glumly that he was stabbed in the back within the walls of the castle following his return from a months long journey to far away lands for an unknown errand. He was found in his chambers in a pool of his own blood.

Alys shares that she believes Ser Perrin was travelling with a boy, perhaps a young squire, on this mysterious errand, and I volunteer to talk to the stable attendants to see if they know anything about the boy, and to my surprise, Teddy offers to accompany me. A grumbly Edrich insists he knows nothing, and brushes us off, but as we’re leaving, Teddy pulls me aside to share that he thinks he knows what happened.

The last time we were in Gulltown, pursuing a mission to return a “treasure” to Rusty, we found his son and ex companion, Terry. Dolins and I agreed to protect the two of them from the boy’s dangerous and temperamental father by finding a place for them to work in Castle Snownook, but without our knowledge, Teddy doublecrossed our plan and charged Perrin with returning the boy to Rusty for the cash reward he had offered. I stand before the lordling dumbfounded with his cruelty, and the insanity of his plan. Despite my bleak past, even I am horrified at the idea of tearing a young boy form the arms of his mother. "I will have to chew on this my lord, " I respond as I compose myself from the shock.

The next day, I trot around the kitchens and come across the head servant Gretta. Gretta shares that they are in the process of adjusting to being understaffed. When I inquire as to what she is referring it, the kindly woman confirms my suspicions – that Terry was there for only a few months after we introduced her to the staff, and then left quietly around the time of Ser Perrin’s murder. Whether she had something to do with his death, or merely left because of the house leadership’s betrayal of her trust, Terry is gone and we have no idea to where.

Jardon's current disposition......
No Words only a drawing in the Journal

Dude, where's my ship?

Bruised and battered, we devise a plan to manage our food and many wounds and injuries. Brave Darron, Teddy and the bard head due east towards the boat to pick up more food, and the rest of the party stays put to recover and avoid further injury. It crosses my mind for a moment that they may leave with the boat without us, but decide that is only the ghosts of my past whispering.

The first night alone, a terrible storm rolls through the city, and I toss and turn throughout the day and night worrying about the rest of our party and our fate. Our warm beds at Snownook loom large in my head and I miss the safe comfort of the castle terribly. After week, I feel certain that death is knocking at my door as my wounds fester, and as I change the crude dressings in attempt to improve their healing process, I pass out from the pain on the cold dirt floor.

When Dolins and Darron return to our makeshift camp, I am convinced they are a hallucination. It isn't until I smell the fresh food and the medical supplies they've brought that I am convinced they are real. They get to work right away and after a couple weeks of dedicated healing time, I feel stronger than ever. 

With two weeks of food remaining, we turn towards the Rambis, and it isn't long before we find a colllapsed tower we decide to check out. Through a hidden hatch we find a few skeletons, and while the rest of my companions find valuable goods, I'm blessed with a single copper penny. It's like I can hear the gods laughing from here.

The rest of our trip back to the ship  was largely uneventful, and we managed to avoid danger until boarding the Rambis. There we find another danger-our food stores are nearly empty and we have only 20 days left of supplies. Getting to Volantis in time to restock will be a challenge, but Jardon steps up to captaining with a new found sense of confidence, and by some sort of miracle, gets us to Volantis in time! 

We take the time to hide the eggs well under a plank in the ship, and pay the harbor master the harbor fees. While most of our party agrees that heading back to Castle Snownook is the priority, Jardon and Darron express a desire to spend the night ashore, leaving the precious cargo aboard vulnerable. Teddy and I insist we head back to Westeros right away, and Darron gives in, but Jardon digs in his heels. "But the brothels! Volantis has some of the best brothels in the world!" he whines. "Just one drink!" Teddy grows increasingly angry, and pulls rank, strong arming Jardon into heading back to Snownook right away. We quickly gather supplies at the market, but on our way back to the harbor see a commotion in our path…


Is this the end?

After the second serpent has been slayed, I turn around to see Dolins, Denys and Teddy are once again battered and burnt from the sneak attack. Jardon is urged to take the lead in the next leg, and we step into a large room with three doors. The south door leads only to an empty hallway, but the north door  leads to a large lavish room with a massive stone block in the middle. Darron and Teddy peer over it, and as if by divine intervention,  Darron unsheaths the sword he found and inserts it into the stone block, causing the door I'm standing next to to raise! "Incredible! How did you know how to do that?!" I exclaim. Darron shrugs, and we walk over to see he has uncovered the final staircase towards the roost.

As we near the top of a long staircase, I hear something, something large, breathing. I freeze and tug on Darron's cloak. "There's something up there!" I whisper in a panic. Jardon turns back around, with wide eyes and makes a motion indicating theres a huge snake around the corner. As he pulls out his axe, we see licks of orange flame appear behind his back from around the wall.

I cautiously move forward, and see Jardon and Denys run into the room. Moments later, an enormous roar erupts from where they ran to, and fire lights up the whole staircase. I sneak around the corner and run over to stand behind a column. As I take a moment to catch my breath, to prepare for attacking this unbelievable monster, I feel a snake slither up my leg and at once, coil tight around me, sucking the air out of my lungs. I struggle to get free, but to no avail. The snake chomps down on my shoulder and I yelp out in pain, trying desperately to get free. Please, old gods, new gods, fire gods, whatever gods, don't let me die here in this strange land, alone in this corner. I hack away at it again and again, but it keeps holding on tighter. It reels back, and aims right at my throat, tearing into my scar from where Olivia had attacked me. As I feel the last bit of life escaping from me, the snake miraculously loosens its grip, wailing as it shrivels away. I look around the column and am GOBSMACKED to see that my rescuer was none other than our handsome, brave lordling. A bloody long axe in hand, Teddy struck the final blow to my attacker, and I have never been so grateful. Get this man a crown!

As I take a moment to get my breath back, I see a triumphant Teddy trot off to slay another snake. Inspired by his courage, I follow and raise my stiletto only to see that all the other snakes were dying at the hands of my house members. I can hardly believe it, but we have the eggs in hand and are the only ones left standing in the roost.