Game of Crowns
Song of Fire and Ice
We resume our tale as the night drew in, dark and shroud like, a blanket of stars with no moon arched above the merry quartet of players. Eves the steward was stood at God’s gate in King’s Landing. Closely followed was the group of nobles and their entourage: Henry, Earl of Richmœnd, Tabatha the huntress and brother Brendon, Baron of Richmœnd with numerous retainers in tow.
At God’s gate, the guards shook us down, rooted through all our personal affects, and took quite some time about it. Undeterred, the four heroes boldly strode on towards a tavern, the Green Tree Inn. Alas, the four of us (and NPC’s) trudged in the company of two gold-cloak guardsmen, one of whom revealed that the man Simion had crossed the guardsmen’s palms with silver, to have them delay our group. Heaven only knows why.
The gold-cloaks (named Michæl and Hallad) were surprisingly jovial, yet the banter soon stopped as some new information was forthcoming. Troubling rumours were circulating, Adam Dannet intends to present a shield bearing the badge of Richmœnd publicly, whilst here, some time soon. He is staying in his tent at the tournament grounds, just outside King’s gate.
The Green Tree was packed, and the heroes entered – about the time of the witching hour – Michæl and Hallad departed for the tournament grounds, with the lion’s share of our retinue.
Brendon: We wish to rent three rooms bar-keep. How much for three room please?
Bar-keep: Six goldragons.
All four: What?!
Brendon: That’s extortion!
Bar-keep: Well, all available rooms in the whole city are fully booked up. Take it or leave it.
Brendon: Excuse us while we mull this over.
After some deliberation, Bredon returned to the bar, knocked the price down to nine silver stags.
More gossip circulated about the tavern, we heard whispers of tensions rising to fever-pitch betwixt the Royal houses Richmœnd and Dannet. Then two men came in asking for volunteers. It was the nefarious Night Watch seeking help manning the walls in this busy tourney-time. There were no takers (seeing as how most of their ranks are made up of criminals).
As soon as the Night Watch had left, a fair-maiden arrived. Baron Brendon ordered some wine, of which a long bottle cost an entire goldragon! (11,760 pennies) Eves footed the bill, and the five sampled the finest wine from Aquitaine. Bredon toasted, “To new friends.” (At which we all toasted “To new friends!”)
Learning by enquiry: history was made. It transpired that the newcomer pretty wench was named Lieder, and divulged information regarding House Dannet. Lieder’s voice was almost musical, “Their Royal household seems lacking in resources. In short, they are on the make, so it would appear. ’Tis widely rumoured that their House has been steadily in decline, financially, for quite some time.”
As her enchanting looks and melodic sounding voice continued to reveal more of their rival House’s history, all present listened intently, “Banditry plagues their roads, and although they are nowhere near as well off as House Richmœnd, they are an older House, with an illustrious and chequered history of tradition.” Just then, she brushed Baron Brendon’s foot underneath the table. Two men, strangers to our company, but previously acquainted with Lieder seemingly, interrupted the conversation. One of them approached with drunken wink, saying, “Hello darlin’, d’ya fancy a drink?” As he placed a hand on her shoulder, Lieder slowly peeled it off, excusing his behaviour, as unperturbed and graceful as a Princess. As the two men left, Lieder explained that the man who appeared so fond of her was none other than the Earl Orton of Lugus, second-son of his Household, in his mid-twenties, and, had he not been so inebriated, he normally possessed a snake-like charm about him. House Lugus (again, one of the Royal Households of Lancaster – albeit a minor one) bore the emblem of a silver chalice: enchased with emeralds, on a black background. Lieder excused herself and went to sit with them, but not before revealing their motto, “Drink, Live, Last.” (Endure) The trio were evidently in high-spirits at the Lugus table, laughing, drinking and joking.
Hal took the opportunity to retire upstairs, insisting the sole witness for the prospective trial be kept close by. Two guards were posted as sentry outside the door.
Meanwhile, the other three heroes, downstairs in the Green Tree tavern were told another tale, that of a femme fatale the nefarious Marietta Lugus. Known as ‘the Black Widow’, Orton’s sister, married at the age of seventeen. Her husband died of a contagion fever shortly afterwards. Marietta re-married once she was twenty-one, again, her newly wed husband died in mysterious circumstances soon after having tied the knot.
A man approached them, Eves noticed the stranger sported an outlander accent, that of the Bravosii. Our steward was widely travelled, and had discerned the newcomer’s dialect, as having travelled those lands before, across the narrow sea.
Following the departure of the Bravosii stranger, Lieder returned to the table. More wine was ordered (this time not such a dear beverage – the less costly and almost as enjoyable summer-isle fruit wine). It transpired that she was the ex-consort of Orton Lugus.
All seemed well, until Eves acted above his station, causing a short and sharp rebuke from Baron Brendon. The steward soon learned his place in the pecking order of our noble House, and not to question his superiors.
Lieder confessed to being a ‘Lady of the Night’, an earth-maiden. She told Brendon of the address where she worked, on Steel Street, in a brothel called, “The Jade Garden”.
Eves met an old man in the corner of the bar. Tabatha went outside to comb the city streets for clues at night, just off Steel Street. No new information was forthcoming, but the huntress did notice a flash of movement from the corner of her eye. Returning to the tavern, she snuck into Brendon’s room. Everyone fell asleep, as safe and sound as could be expected, in such a climate of fear and suspicion.
The next morning, as the sun rose high in the sky, Baron Brendon went incognito. Changing into attire of a common man, he wolfed down his breakfast, and headed straight for the tournament grounds.
Tabatha noticed that on her little excursion last night, some colleague (another thief) had stolen her coin-pouch unbeknownst to her! Having lost a considerable sum, she still honourably paid her dues to the house, donating four goldragons to the Richmœnd treasury. (Which she had stolen from the dead witness Hamish Florēs, shortly after he ‘bought the farm’ with an arrow in his gullet). Seeing as how the treasurer was away (Brendon), the huntress gave it to her liege for safe-keeping (Hal). Again, the upstart steward Eves tried to wrest the coins from his noble lord.
Prince Henry was having none of such nonsense, “Now look here steward, you may have proclaimed yourself arch-chancellor and be speaking in a condescending tone to a man whose blood is of the Royal line of nobility, but you will stop taking that tone with me, nor any of my family. Brother Brendon told you last night, and I am telling you now. You had best thank your lucky stars that I am more lenient than my brother, had you been so insubordinate to he, you may well have ended up on the sharp end of a point. Know your place. We are a team, and work together. Let that be an end to it.”
Brother Bredon, Baronet of our Household had some palaver with some people, trying to investigate the whereabouts of the mysterious ‘Fox Knight’ and the other perpetrator who is against our noble cause. His enquiry met with scant success. Soon finding himself within the close-proximity of the Dannet pavilion, the adroit Baronet ‘accidentally’ slipped up on one of the tents posts. While on the deck he discreetly listened to the goings on inside. Nothing of value was ascertained. His second attempted eavesdropping was by feigning to do up his boot-lace, whilst lifting up the pavilion tent. Again, nothing useful to report.
Whilst strolling along Rivers Row, en route returning unto the Green Tree tavern, a young boy approached him, wide eyed with his tongue lolling about his mouth. Brendon felt uneasy with this lad staring so intently at him. The boy approached him, telling him that he was Brendon’s son. Disbelieving at first, the boy presented Brendon with a letter, showing proof of his lineage. Brendon enquired as to the validity of the document, and the hand who wrote it. Before long it was assured that Neil Rivers (as the wag was known) was in-fact the fruit of Brendon’s over-active loins.
Racked with guilt, and taking immediate action, Brendon sought gainful employ for the boy. Striking a deal with a baker – Gianna – Brendon paid for the boys lodging, and apprenticeship as a bakers boy. The noble brother had secured his sons future, given him hope, somewhere warm to stay, and a skill, a trade at which to be prepared for the cruel world. Shortly after saying his goodbyes, Brendon re-entered the Green Tree Inn. “Whiskey.” He downed it. “Another; and leave the bottle.”
Eves the steward was hot on the trail, also investigating these rumours. He found a lead and followed it up. Not much came of it, if anything at all.
Tabatha the huntress went to buy a dress for the feast night on the morrow. Finding herself at the Thimble and Thread tailors on Silk Street, she had herself fitted at the dress shop, and looked every part a lady.
As this was happening, Eves suddenly found someone useful to talk to. He discovered some information from a handmaiden of Lord Arras ‘the spider’, a suspect in our investigation. The astute steward also managed to get in touch with one of his working boys, before bounding back to the tavern, to tell the others.
Our motley group was reunited at last. Brendon spoke of his dire day (still hitting the bottle of fire-water, which was now half-empty, or half-full depending on which way one perceives such things). Alas, Bredon had been ‘rumbled’ that day, to make matters worse. His face betrayed him, as being a noble of quite some standing.
A gift was left by Hal’s room for him. T’was a letter, an oily rag and a dagger. No-one knows who left it, as the note was unsigned, but upon further inspection, the dagger seemed to be of some value. The blade – razor sharp – and the handle was delicately carved from dragons bone.
More banter ensued at the tavern. Eves target was lost, the old agēd and venerable steward could not catch him shadowing, he told his companions. It did however transpire that Orton had some connection to the Jade Garden, our group suspected him of being a mediæval ‘pimp’. The man Orton was certainly more than he appeared to be, at the very least. Our group then decided to seek audience with King Robert himself.
It took us a good half an hour to get to Red Keep, which was teeming with activity at the gate. Brendon was told that the King has no time for commoners today, as the tournament was merely days away, and His Majesty had many preparations to make for the feast falling on the morrow. “I am no commoner!”, exclaimed Brendon. The red-cloaked guard at the gate did not believe him (for Brendon had forgotten to change out of his peasant garb). Hal took over the talking, patched things up, and erected his Victorian style changing room from the saddlebags of Chevalier his palfrey. The red-cloak sentry returned telling our group that His Majesty will speak with them on the morrow, at the Royal banquet.
Returning to their temporary base – the Green Tree tavern – some more information came to light. Seemingly House Florēs were due to be in attendance tomorrow. Not only that, but Eves managed to discover some information about their prospective opponents at the tourney. A competitor known simply as ‘the Mountain’ was seven feet tall, clad in near-impenetrable armour, and excelled in both the hand-to-hand events, and the jousting.
Meanwhile young Hal met an old man at the Green Tree Inn. He introduced himself as Sir Joris. A thief-catcher who rooted out banditry wherever he found it, and brought the unscrupulous robbers to justice. Sir Joris also valued the dragonbone dagger.
Brendon decided to investigate the Jade Garden. He had little trouble finding the house of ill-repute, which, as it turned out, was a classy joint off of Silk Street. Brendon was successful in his investigation of an earth-maiden, filling his boots and quite literally pumping her for information. The hooker in question was none other than Iris Dannet, sister of Adam, who’d been sold off by her impoverished family, to a merchant known as Ruben Piper. Baron Brendon proposed to buy her, after the two had danced to a music only the soul can hear. Sweat soaked in rapture. Iris exclaimed, “You just want to buy me so you can have me for yourself, that I am to be traded between owners, like any common commodity!” Brendon retorted, “You have me all wrong m’lady. I wish to buy you your freedom so you can do as you wish. You will be able to choose where you go or who you are with.” “Oh thank you Baron Richmœnd.” “Brendon, please.” “How can I ever repay you.” (One can imagine how, and, what happened next…)
Eves sussed out more about the competition at the tournament. Tabatha discovered the rumour about the shield uncovered to be true, the impending smear-campaign against our noble house was to be done tomorrow, at the King’s banquet. Tabatha also noticed a scrap of paper, proudly protruding from Eve’s pocket. It simply read, “Chatas, sundown.” in a lady’s handwriting. More information about the Arras ‘the spider’ was unearthed.
The old Sir Knight Joris smoked his pipe, drank ale after ale in the company of Hal and their witness. Earl Henry had grown fond of the man, warmed to his old-ways, and the fellows enjoyed their banter. As they talked at length, it was discerned that Sir Joris was afeared by the ‘Fox Knight’. Seemingly the Fox Knight had lost at Prince Rægar’s tournament, fighting against Sir Joris in disgrace some time ago. He fled. The loss had sent the Fox Knight ‘a bit doo-lally’ in the head. Ever since then the Fox Knight had stooped to the level of banditry, believing what he did to he noble. His misguidedness had addled his wits, and the Fox Knight longed to settle an old score with the old man. It was time… to go Fox hunting.
Here endeth the session.