Campaign of the Month: December 2020

House Jasper

I've got 99 problems...
.... but a hearth ain't one

Bronn had made it to Harrenhal before we did. He brought the news of Orville's death along with Orville's murderer. Lord Whent had rewarded Bronn with some gold in exchange for Maggie's head on a pike. That's fine by me. Justice was served and Bronn had mentioned in the inn that he needed money. Bronn departed and we were left to settle into the massive castle. Lord Whent was mourning alone and not taking audience with any one quite yet. I too know the loss of a son and shall not pressure him to meet with us if he is not ready. We ate in a grand room presented to us as "The hall of a hundred hearths". Being an eternal skeptic, I only counted 35 hearths. BAH, still impressive, just don't make it out to be something it's not. Oh well, you know how nobles like to over-represent the size of their "castles". We ate a hearty meal and I went off to practice my logic by playing a game of cyvasse against anyone I could find. I happened to bump into House Whent's Maester, Tothmire. He was worried I wanted to play for money but I told him I simply wanted to challenge my whits against a wise mind. While we playing, Tothmire mentioned how Lord Whent was worried about his brother serving in the King's Guard and his fate if a war were to break out. I revealed some of my distrust of the spiritual world to him and to Thad listening in the background. My friend pressed me to reveal more, but I said that is a sad story for another time.

About a month had passed living comfortably as guests in Harronhal and finally Lord Whent called to meet us….

Let me live, Lady!
maybe if I just tell you everyone I know is dead, you'll leave me alone....

After a month at Herronhall, Lord Walter finally shared that he's ready to discuss the politics of the times. As I'm tending to Lady Alys, she unexpectedly asked me about my past. After fumbling about for a moment, and tried to convince her that my lowly past carries little interest to a wise and beautiful lady as herself. Her warmth surprised me, and pressed further about my born family, to which I lied (to the best of my knowledge-who knows what's happened to those fools), and responded that my family is dead.  Lady Alys empathized with my story, stated that her family was murdered by the Mad King Targaryan. Alys believes that she too would've been murdered had she not been hidden away so well in the Fingers, and that he must've forgotten about her. 

Our group has been sent to the Stony Sept, and after many days, we've landed in the Salt Pans, and stumbled across a gravely injured Robert.

Well hello there Guliver

As we walked through the gates, we saw Bronn across the way. How did he beat us here?? He stated he brought Lord Wheynt the news of his son and was rewarded. He pointed to Maggie's head on a pike… I suppose that was her reward… Bronn then heads in to get his horse ready to leave. 

At this time, a measter walks out of the front hall. He introduces himself as Maester Tothmire. He seems to be an odd sort of man, but very friendly. He states the lord is very depressed and will not see anyone. He does invite us to stay in the bottom 3 floors of the castle, the top floors are falling apart apparently. He brings us to the hall of 100 hearths, although Dolins notices that there are just 35.  How astute my friend is! That makes me question the names of all of these rooms…

We eat a quick meal, and I head out to walk towards the stable. I see Bronn finally leaving and he states that our paths will cross again soon… Not sure what that means! But on I go into the stable. I rustle around a bit and find the most beautiful kitten!! With this I feel a slight burning of destiny…. But ah well. This maester had too much destiny.

I bring my little kitten into the hall to show my friends! Calaila and Teddy scoff at me. There will be no cute kitten time for those two assholes! Dolins of course understands right away and loves on the adorable orange striped kitten. I will name him Guliver! And he is just the cleverest, cutest little kitten. He sleeps in my robe pockets while I head on off to the library to work on these runes! Before I left the hall, Teddy handed me a wax seal he had found with a dragon on it. I slip this into a pocket and bring it with me.

The first day of research, I don't find much on the runes. I do realize that I know this wax seal. It is most likely from house Heddle, which I remember were a house of knights but they lost most of their wealth and now are mostly inn-keeps. While I am studying, Dolins comes in, gives Guliver some pets, then plays a game with the maester. I overhear him talking about how he thinks he is cursed and hates anything mystical. The Maester also states that Lord Whent is worried about his brother who is in the King's Guard and feels torn between the two sides forming.

On my second day of research, I figure out the runes! It states: By the grace of the gods this shield will protect the bronze kings from the night and from the children until the end of time. I know that the bronze kings are house Royce who were minor kings of the first men, back when House Jasper started. But the rest, I am unsure. I ask Maester TOthmire and he states taht the night stands for the winter and the undead. He does state that I should talk to Maniyn the Mage at the Citadel if I get a chance as he may help me discover if this shield has any special powers beyond being generally badass.

We later see Lord Wheynt after some time and he states he is very conflicted about the war brewing as he is sworn to the Tullys and our side, but his brother is on the otherside and he could not battle against him.

My Poor Deston
Iron for Iron, Blood for Blood

My poor, poor boy. My sweet Deston. No words can express the anguish of losing your first born. Who could be so cruel as to kill a child? I never should have left or stayed away for such foolish things. Greed is the folly of all men, even me…

Rhaella said it appeared to be the work of mountain clansmen, and that they left tracks to be followed. I care not for the foolish rebellion brewing around me, but I must have revenge. I now have a task more important than current events. Lord Jasper, blind as he is, could at least could see this and gave me leave to do what was needed.

I will kill the clansmen to the last for what they have done. It is lucky I now have a private army at my disposal, for I plan to lay waste to any town or village of clansmen I find. My moto, and that of my house has been made; Iron for Iron, Blood for Blood.

Samwell thinks he knows better than me.....
...perhaps I'll show him what it's like to have one eye...

After now-Ser Carsen's great devilish and persuasive tactics, luckily we didn't have to send our guerilla fighters into battle. I was itching for the fight to exercise my command hand hand but luckily we did not have have engage in such an interaction with the mercenaries. I am still not really sure why Ser Darren found it necessary to knight Carsen, or if it was deserved, but perhaps it will help House Jasper, which is struggling at best.

Especially with having to be gone so much, and being ordered to leave the garrison in the hands of Samwell has apparently only added to this struggle. Before leaving to help Carsen on his act of vengeance, Lord Ronnal let me know that Samwell has been trying to take command of the troops from underneath my nose, and trying to pit the troops against me. This won't go unpunished. For now I will let him think he is still in charge and has the upper hand, and then at the first sign of his disrespect, I'll show him who the boss really is. Fucking old bastard…….

Anyways, on to the task at hand. These fucking mountainmen. Annoying as all hell and no reciprocity what so ever. A child, A FUCKING CHILD! We'll show them. I may have had disdain for Carsen in the past, but that will have to take a backseat considering his current situation. I will fight to the death to help him avenge his son. 

I will never be royyyyyal.....
It don't run in my blood :(

We arrived at Herronhall to find that our plan was foiled by Bronn, who had the opportunity to deliver the news of Orville before us. A nervous and pitiful Maester Tothmure passed along that Lord Whent was refusing to be disturbed after learning of his son's passing, but invited us to eat. I followed Lady Alys into the overwhelming and rich dining hall, and wondered if I should start strategizing ways to flip houses.

After eating together, I stopped in the kitchen and looked for direction about preparing a room for Lady Alys. Jane pointed me towards the guest room, and as I made the bed, that batshit Brynda pokes her head in to remind me of her crazy rambling. Oh great, thanks Brynda, I'll keep my eye open for some glass.

After dinner I caught up with Jane, and we walked together towards her room. She shared that the families that take up in Herronhall seem to be doomed, and noted that she herself has experienced strange happening, but stays because she thinks no one could pay as well as Lord Whent the Wealthy. Is that so, Jane? Tell me more! She assured me that she does not think the house needs further help. 

I hope to further explore my financial opportunities here, and perhaps move up in a seemingly equally conflicted and struggling house. In the meantime, I will try to curry favor with those in House Whent.

Nothing up my sleeves...
... except a good distraction

I was able to convince to Bronn to tell me what he knew about Orville’s murder. I finally believed him when he said he and Masha had spent the night together so it could not have been him. I even tossed a silver his way for his honesty. It can’t hurt to bolster my reputation by flashing a little bit of coin around. I can easily earn some money back with one of my captivating performances. Which I then proceeded to do! Teddy needed a distraction to sneak upstairs to search for more clues and I had a little tune pop into my head about Orville’s unfortunate passing. No matter how many times I asked Orville if he was ok… alas he was not. My performance continued for a while to the crowds delight. I did notice Maggie head towards the stairs. Not wanting her to potentially stumbled upon a sneaking Teddy, I quickly thought to pull her onstage as a volunteer for some magic tricks. Even though I knew that she had drawn the 3 of Clubs, I went through every card in the deck before revealing hers to try to slow her down. She did not seem too impressed. It would take something more to hold her attention. I performed some slight of hand and produced a coin behind her ear. I told her to use the coin and bring a round drinks from the kitchen. That should distract her for a while. I continued my performance into the night until my old bones needed their beauty sleep. We awoke to a calm uneventful morning and departed to meet our Lady Alys. It was good to see her again. We arrived at Herronhall and while still impressive, it seemed in a worse state of repair than my last visit many years ago. A familiar person was waiting in the courtyard upon our arrival, but I just couldn't make out exactly who it is….

A lonley, cat-less journey...
You all haven't been in a barn in winter... I'll tell you what.

I heard the soldiers chatting about how Lord Whent treats them well and is easy to work for. Maggie is walking about, doing her work and speaking to Masha about chores while walking in and out of the kitchen. My crew has scattered, Calaila to the kitchen, Teddy snuck away somewhere. My best friend Dolins is singing a lovely though sad ballad about Orville's death and fecal stains. It's an interesting turn of tune for the normally positive and clean singing bard, but it is well received by the crowd. I realize that I should go look to see if there is greycap on the grounds. I quickly ask Dolins in between songs if he has gloves I can borrow but he does not. I spend the next FOUR HOURS painstakingly searching. I can't go back empty handed! So I steal some similarly colored bark off a tree and head back.

I find Teddy and ask him to step into the romantic stables with me. He skips on in behind me. Maybe he is starting to see how attractive my smarts are? I cannot dwell upon this painful thought. I try to convince Teddy to frame Maggie with me with the fake bark but then realize we also have access to the actual poisoned sourleaf as well! Just then, nosey Calaila bursts in and ruins the plan! I thought I had locked the door behind us… Ah well. 

Calaila ruins our plans and is as usual, her paranoid, buzzkill self… wah wah wah. So we decide that we will stay the night and then leave in the morning. Before going to bed, I look around the stables for a stray kitten to take with me. I have been feeling lonely of late and think that Dolins and I would like to have a fun pet to bring along on our adventures. Alas, I see none. Who ever heard of a barn in winter with no cats? No one. That's who.

In the morning I look once more for a feline companion. Then we take off. We find Lady Elyse soon and walk with her to Harrenhall. The castle is impressive and gets more impressive as we get closer. We enter the gates after Teddy stumbles introducing us. We walk into the courtyard and see someone across the way that looks familiar… Also, I should remember to search in their library about the runes on the heavy shield I am carrying. I have been curious for a while as to their meaning. I bet they also have cats here at this castle…

let's bounce
we gotta get outta here!

I was sitting in the corner of the tavern, scratching my head when I noticed Dolins attempting to convince Bronn to spill the beans on last night's murder. Bronn relented and shared that he and Masha were together last night and claimed innocence for both of them. I continued scanning the room and overheard the Whent soldiers discussing their gratitude towards Lord Whent, Maggie going in and out of the kitchen and speaking about the tavern with Masha. I decided to join Masha in the kitchen, and convinced her to tell me that she thought Orville's murderer was Maggie, and reaffirmed her innocence. Masha reminded me that it was quite possible that Maggie poisoned Orville with greycap. 

That evening, I discussed our options with Maester Thad and Lordling Teddy. Thad was in the midst of suggesting we frame Maggie, which I found to be quite unnecessary considering her own friends accused her of murder. We decided that we would quietly slip out the next morning, and tell the Whent's that we felt no one could be trusted with the terrible news of Orville's murder, and had to get to them as soon as we could.

We caught up with Lady Alys on our travels toward Herronhall, and I tended to her needs and fed her and Teddy until we arrived at the enormous and overwhelming castle.

A real who done it
... seriously... who did it?

Maester Thad revealed that Orville had been poisoned. So I guess he did not enjoy my performance with too much drink. Apparently someone had slipped some Greycap into his sourleaf. Based on Orville’s interactions the night before, I would say that several people would have motive to see him dead. Our group wasn’t sure if it were a good idea to stay and try to figure out who the murderer is. I feel strongly that the Whents would want to know who killed their son. This Bard is no detective, but I will do my best to piece the clues together and figure this out. I don’t have any good mystery stories to tell at my performances.

After talking with Masha for a little while, Thad and  I decide to head downstairs and snoop about. My old feet land tread quietly on the stairs and floor as I sneak into the kitchen. I heard the Maester make a noise as I close the door behind me. I don’t find anything out of the ordinary for a tavern’s kitchen. Next I checked a bedroom door nearby the kitchen. It was locked. Normally I do not condone unlawful acts such as this, but it is to try to solve a murder. My deft hands made quick work of picking the lock and I slipped inside. After searching the room (including a trap door), I left all the belongings as they were, re-locked the door, and made my way out the side door to the stables. Teddy and Maelys exit the tavern carrying the body of Orville and bring into the stable. I knew the right thing to do was to give Orville a proper burial. So the three of us spent a good part of the day digging the grave and honoring his body. I know the searing pain of loss and hope this helps bring peace to the Whent family.

When we return to the inn, and I went back to trying to solve the mystery. I question Bronn about the murder. He says that he doesn’t know who the murderer is, but somehow I feel that he is hiding something…

All of our heads are spinning. We just can’t seem to find the one clue that will blow this case wide open. We’ll just have to keep searching.