Campaign of the Month: December 2020

House Jasper

Watch before the Wedding

Upon arrival at the perimeter of the Snakewood forest, accompanied by Ser Dolins for protection, I warg into a raven and swoop into the Lynderly walls. I settle on the arch of the gate house, and observe a wide array of sigils, including the blue and white bird of House Arryn, black and green snakes of House Lynderly, and many others. Noticeably absent is the purple sigil of the Protectors. A man who looks to be of some importance is giving orders at the gate and I listen closely to the comings and goings, and the man’s grumpy grumbles…“my cousin doesn’t want to let the Eleshams near the Coldwaters …”, “…no, Jon Arryn isn’t here, the Arryn men came down with Royce!”, “Ser Hunter has just arrived…”. Piles of rubble are still scattered within the walls from the Storming of Snakewood, though the Lynderly keep still stands. I see no signs of aggression or war, nor signs of friendship, and flit towards the Keep.
Standing watch for some time, I keep a close eye on the door for anyone entering or exiting that looks to be of important status. As the sun crosses the sky, I watch two men, one in bronze armor, the other bearing a purple and white crescent moon sigil, leave the keep and decide to follow them and listen to their conversation.“…do you think we brought enough men?” , “…of course. The Lynderly army was decimated just months ago and the Jaspers couldn’t have more than 500 men…between your soldiers, the Arryns, the Tollets and the Hunters I’m confident we’ll be able to keep the peace…”, “…you’re not worried about the Coldwaters? The wife is a Lynderly, you know…” “…Not a chance, it’s a wedding. The gods would frown on anyone who committed such an atrocity…”, “…as you say, Cousin…”
Feeling more relaxed about the commitment of the attendees to keeping the peace, I soar through Snakewood, and see disassembled catapaults before returning the Dolins in the woods, where I share my observations.
Back at Snownook, Maester Thad responds to my reports with confidence that one of the two men I followed was Nestor Royce. I swell with pride to be able to put House Jasper’s minds at ease as they depart for the wedding, and feel my cheeks grow warm when noble Ser Dolins praises my service to the house.

The entire house arrives safely at Snakewood, and disperse to prepare for the wedding…

Jon Lynderly had a Great Fall

A very injured Lord Jon Lynderly departs from the Great Hall, and as the discussions between House Jasper and Lord Grafton continue my eyes settle on poor, kind, courageous Ser Dolins. He risked everything to defend the honor of this great house against this rotten man, and his bravery shall not be for naught. Inspired by his bold action, I slip out of the room and head towards the stables.

I successfully make my way into a horse stall without notice and busy myself tending to the horse inside. An hour later, the Lynderly men enter and prepare their mounts for departure. It isn’t long before their voices hush and mumbles of “…my lord…” can be heard from my work spot. I grab a horse pick and the horse’s back leg, facing the wall but listening closely. The men ride past, and when they approach the stable exit, I warg into Jon Lynderly’s horse, and rear back violently, slamming his head into the stone arch. The moment I hear the terrible crack, I return to my own form, and continue to busy myself with cleaning out the hoof in my lap. Moans and groans trickle out from the lord, and his men rush to him. “My lord!” “My lord!” “I’ve never seen his horse do that before!” I overhear. The smell of blood wafts through the stables, so I keep my head down, working on typical stable duties for just your typical stable hand until the men leave, and I can quietly leave.

Lord Theodore, Ser Dolins, Maester Thad and I gather at the Winter’s Reprieve as evening settles in. They express their grievances and regrets about the day, lamenting about the large sum of money that will be owed to House Lynderly. I stare into my stein of ale and say softly “Maybe House Jasper won’t have to pay it after all…I heard a rumor that Lord Jon Lynderly was thrown from his horse as he was departing the Grafton grounds and may be gravely injured.” The other look at me skeptically and question me about this “rumor” a bit before returning to their conversation about financial concerns. “Lord Teddy-may I suggest you return to House Grafton tomorrow to ‘send a letter’? Perhaps the Lord of the House will divulge some more information about the events of today and their consequences. We need not plan for our deal with House Lynderly if Jon is dead and he has no heir.” He ponders this with a small smile, mulling over the possibility of a dead Jon Lynderly, and agrees to gather more information.

Sadly, Lord Teddy shares at breakfast the next morning that Jon Lynderly survived the fall and secured a wheelhouse to return to Snakewood at once. Silently disappointed at this news, we board ‘The Jardon’ home to Castle Snakewood.

The room where it happened
did not have me in it...

Carsen and I decide to spend the day at the Winter’s Reprieve bar. I consider trying to buy the establishment from Jamie, I think it would be a great addition to the Buffoon’s family, Buffoons IV! Carsen suggests naming it Winter’s Reprieve II.

As we’re considering the best name for our potential establishment, Gregoriy comes in an tells us the Maester is meeting with Lords Lynderly and Grafton…. Seven Hells! Carsen and I have the most at stake in this! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised based on that group. They go looking for a bird and find the most important audience of the month…

When we arrive, we find Ser Dolins preparing for a trial by combat against Jon Lynderly. What in the name of the Father has happened??? Carsen and I only had one ale!

As the combat begins, the least I can do is heckle Jon Lynderly. After all, we’re soon to be related and I know how much he loves that. They seem to be evenly matched. Just as I’m about to remind Jon how bad he is at defending castles, Lord Grafton suggest I hold my tongue, lest I be tagged as ignoble. I concede. I certainly don’t want to be remembered in the same vein as Jardon Pyke, the one eyed, legless ignoble.

For some reason Summer is looking out the window franticly. She’s an odd duck.

Before I know it, Dolins is on the ground and Maester Thad is rushing over to give aid. Jon Lynderly is obviously jacked up on the high of victory. In a very intimidating voice he asks me when the wedding will be. I didn’t know I got to choose! I assume he has to stay in this castle until the wedding so I’ll pick as late as I can. December!

Hmm. Apparently he can leave the castle now… Well I suppose December 2nd is fine.

Soured Diplomacy

The next morning, Gregoriy and Carsen join the rest of us to break fast at the Winter’s Reprieve, and I urge the Maester to make a plan to find a raven to send a message to the Bloody Gate as quickly as possible. I fear that Ser Bryndon Tully may be in terrible danger if he is muscled into hosting the Protectors and Bronn!

Upon our arrival to the Grafton’s keep, two guards insist on escorting us to Lord Grafton and his guest, Jon Lynderly. Lord Grafton, a jolly man who seems to be missing the seriousness of the meeting, greets us heartily and welcomes House Jasper. After a quick introduction, he can’t hide his surprise at my presence, but the kind maester boosts my confidence by sharing about the value I add to the house and the potential they see in me. I’m heartened and take my place along the wall to observe diplomacy unfold.

Unfortunately, there are no lessons in politics today, as talks with Jon Lynderly quickly dissolve. The maester agrees to the terms with little debate, and Jon insists there be additional reparations for the attack, and insults house Jasper and Dolins. Dolins responds by demanding trial by combat! If only wise Lord Theodore were here…

Gregoriy runs to get Ser Carsen and Lord Teddy, and by the time they arrive Jon is already in his armor and is squaring up against Ser Dolins. The combat is excruciating, and August, sensing my fear, growls and barks wildly at our brave but perhaps foolish knight’s opponent. Desperate to find a distraction to assist Dolins, I search the skies outside for a bird to warg into, but my view is empty. A grueling few swings later, and Jon stands victorious. His smug cruelty surrounds every word that follows the fight, and my disdain for this unworthy Lord grows.

I am crushed to see Ser Dolins defeated and in so much pain, but not so much so that I forget out original mission which brought us to House Grafton. Before we leave, Maester Thad writes to Ser Bryndon Tully with grave warnings about his soon arriving guests. I leave

Ser Darron's Journal 20

Drinking song overheard at the tavern:

Oh… I’ve been to Sunspear, been to Pyke / The wine was weak. I took a hike
In King’s Landing the taverns were dead / I asked Rob why? I lost my head
East to Braavos, South to Myr / But they couldn’t brew a hearty beer
Oh where is there a bar for me?
Down in Gulltown at Buffoon’s III!

So grab your swords and grab your forks / Tap the casks and pop the corks
Fill the flagons, drink ‘em dry / Poke a Shett man in the eye
The women fierce, the ale strong / The bards will sing a thousand songs
Ho Ho I’ve found the bar for me
Down in Gulltown it’s Buffoon’s III!

The Protectors and the Freys

With a nod of the head from Gregoriy I skinchange into a crow I spy flying above us. It’s nearly effortless, and I loop in the air in excitement. I can’t believe I’ve never thought of this before! I follow the man to a building with no windows, and quickly land on his heel while he knocks. When the door opens I hop in behind him as quietly as I can…

Inside, I see we’re in a barren storeroom with just a table and a few chairs. Another man sits at the table holding a white and purple sigil, and forth in dark clothes and a dark cloak, who both greet the man I was following naming him Leo. “Glad you’re here, we’re just waiting for the lord now…” The lord?! That seems like a conversation I’ll want to be present for so I try so hide behind some barrels, but the big man grabs me quickly, puts his hands around my neck and snap-as fast as I can I change back into myself. I try to catch my breath, and Gregoriy eyes me with concern as I try to reign in my panic. In between gasps for air I explain what happened and say we have to find out which lord is meeting with these thugs.

Gregory and I hide in a side alley, and he spies a man walking in with a sigil of two blue towers on a grey field. I recall this sigil from my time in Snakewood, and share that this is House Frey, who had been working with the Lynderlys. “These must be bad people, yes?” Gregoriy asks. I nod and warg into August to get closer and listen into the door of the building with no windows.

I hear two voices, one is gruff and gravely and the other is quite nasal. There seems to be third talking but I can’t quite hear him. The gruff man says “…that’s a mighty interesting offer…what do you think Sam?”, and the other responds “…we don’t have a better opportunity before us….wait quite a long time…would patience be amply rewarded?…”, “…that DOES make things interesting…that tips the scales…where do you have in mind?”, “…I think we could do that…will be a couple days before we depart…I’ll have Bronn see you through the pass.” As soon as I hear the squeaks of chairs moving, I scurry back to our hiding place, and urge Gregoriy to get moving so I can explain the alarming information I picked up.

We discuss at Winter’s Reprieve that night, and Maester Thad and Ser Dolins indicate that the “pass” the men may be referring to could be the Bloody Gate, on the way to the Riverlands, in the care of Ser Bryndon Tully. “If the Tully’s are an ally of House Jasper,we should send him a raven and let him know to be prepared and on alert for an arrival from Bronn, the Protectors and House Frey!” They agree, and the Maester calms my nerves by assuring me that he will prepare a letter and find a raven on the morrow.

Hope from above?

Lady Alys and Lord Ronnel return from King’s Landing with bad news. The Hand of the King is most unhappy with the Sack of Snakewood, and the punishment will include a marriage alliance. Lord Theodore will take Jana Lynderly’s hand, and Carsen’s son, Zane, will be sent to Snakewood to squire for Jon Lynderly, who will resume control of the castle. The room erupts in fury, and Carsen, Ser Darron and Teddy protest to these terms. I cannot hide my confusion, and ask earnestly “If the goal was peace between the Lynderlys and the Jaspers, why is everyone so upset?” The only support I get is from Ser Dolins, who I’m coming to understand as an extremely kind knight, nearly the polar opposite of the Lordling. He agrees that we should agree to the terms and move forward, but the rest of the house protests despite our puzzlement.

I am overjoyed to be invited to tend to the horses on the journey to Gulltown, where the terms of the agreement will be negotiated between the two houses. Upon our arrival, Gregoriy agrees to accompany me into to town for us both to explore this new city. He peppers me with questions about my warging abilities, and suggests I consider trying on the skins of other animals besides August. I shrug, not being able to imagine why I would want to do something like this, to which the gods quickly respond…

While meandering the streets of Gulltown, I spy the same hedge knight carrying a shield with the sigil of a white fist on a purple field that August saw in Snakewood. He barks at a city knight, who is clearly spooked by his presence and walks quickly away from the gruff man towards us. “Say,” I ask, “who is that?” He shifts around a bit and explains he’s a “protector”, part of a group that pops up from time to time. Gregoriy and I look at one another and agree we should should follow him. As he dips into a side alley, it becomes clear he picks up on our trailing him, and even when I send August off to spy, he hustles the pup away.

“Do you think he recognized August?” Gregoriy asks me. I shake my head-“I’m not sure about that but I think he’s hiding something!” Not a moments frustration goes by before I consider Gregoriy’s previous suggestion, and look to the skies…

Mountain Run In

After gathering a fair amount of tarragon, Ser Darron spots a hidden person in the brush, and halts our group. He indicates they quickly ran away, but it’s clear they’re a mountain clansman and we may have stumbled into some trouble. :You there! Halt!" he shouts but to no avail. Gregoriy, on the other hand, yells forcefully, and as if by magic, the clansman stops and turns around. I am frozen in terror-I’m not prepared for a fight! Are we about to be ambushed?!

Fortunately a surprisingly civil conversation takes place, but mysteriously, before the man runs back into the woods, he whispers something in Gregoriys ear. He reports to the group that he was offering his services as a guide, but instincts tell me perhaps there was more to their short exchange. When we depart, Lord Theodore muses about exterminating the mountain folk from the lands.

Our New Family, the Actinisteads! Darbragh for all!
Or Jaspers? not sure....

In Norvoshi……

Lord Teddy Actinistead was most gracious to our predicament being here without a way back, we shall celebrate with Norvoshi Dabragh! A declicacy in Norvos and a soup meant for a feast in celebration in honor of the graciousness of Norvshi God’s Name. We are most excited to serve our hosts in whatever capacity is needed, hopefully to further honor the Joyful Few.

It is with this wonderful news that we must set out for the mountains. It feels like home almost immediately. I look to Yuri, who feels it as well. Kiril is also at home, he seems to know why his compatriots stayed here for so long.

This must be another point like the caves of the Darkwash River, another point to draw upon for communication with Norvshi God’s Name. It must be, especially with the young one, Summer. There must be something in these hills feeding her ability to do this. Yuri had mentioned he had seen this before, in his cousin, but it was into crows, and birds of the like (although he was unable to find the correct words, I am still indebted to my teacher for showing me not only the miracles of the darkwash river , but for teaching me the language of the westerosi). A truly unique ability to be in control of a such a protective animal, an asset to this group to be sure. She may come in handy later for her ability to coax animals……

All that aside though, I think we will fit in well here, even with our expedition to find Tara……targorn……taragony……..ach…….Norvoshi word for Taragon, I see Yuri continuing to make friends, not just with Summer, but with Darrone as well. I see Yuri put a hand on Darrone in friendship as they pick herbs together. What a beautiful moment! All Praise Norvoshi God’s Name!!!!

From Strangers to Friends

The next morning, I visit the Order of the Darkwash River’s encampment outside Castle Snownook, seeking to smooth over any bad feelings from the council meeting. Gregoriy and Yuri.agree to speak with me, though the latter presents as less than enthusiastic. Fortunately, I quickly have the opportunity to demonstrate my support and understanding for their search for magic by warging quickly in and out of August, and wish them a warm welcome to the Fingers. They look a bit dumbfounded for a moment, but then pepper me and each other with questions. Both seem assured that there’s no bad blood between us, and I feel happy to make friends with these strange foreigners.

With an open afternoon ahead of me, and seeking to avoid my father and chores at the stables, I warg again into August and trot down into town. All this talk of magic reminds me of the town witch, and I go to spy on Bethlazar. I’m disappointed to see she’s merely making soup, Next time, I’ll catch her concocting her hexes…

Sulking at the boring results of my trip to town, I’m pleasantly surprised to see Ser Darron approaching me. He invites me on an expedition-an adventure!-with the Narvoshi, to gather some special ingredients for a town merchant. I don’t really understand why such a task would be prioritized with all that’s going on, but not wanting to mess up the chance to travel with the group, I choose not to question him, and quickly pack my things.