A Land of Sorrow

Bloody Bandits
Aaron Deddings

As we interrogated the resident maester, we decided he’d make a useful addition to our retinue. But something seems off about him. He did however prove his use by suggesting where we could find Anten even if it was after making us swear to do him no harm.

Finding Anten was a sight to behold. Gone was the terrifying giant that made you pause, replaced by a matted mess of muscle and bloody armor. It seemed duegans men had gotten to him before us. I agreed to allow him to be taken to a healer only so that he could be used as a bargaining chip with his brother.

After returning to the castle and unloading Anten I was startled to learn Duegan had set his men to looting the hokd fast. Priceless pieces of art and silverware taken for the Bandits Treasury. To think I previously offered such a man amnesty of his crimes.

It was after my brief argument with Duegan that I learned Anten had died of his injuries ruining my plan to bargain with him. We would strike at ironbay more directly.

En route to attack ironbay duegans undisciplined lot began light campfires which would have given away our position. Taking executive leadership commander Burell chided the men only to be openly ignored and then jeered at. This lack of respect would not do. I ordered the men to back down only to have my person assaulted by the firebrand and his accomplice. Duegan managed to reign his men in after I had wounded the one of my assailants.

It seemed our already shakey alliance was already tearing at the seams.

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BriarWhite becomes DeddingsWhite

February 9th, 2016 session
The gate is open, and our small formation works to keep it that way. Francesco, now on the ground with the rest of the rabble, attempts to stall the counter attack by targeting the enemy commanders. The enemy seeks to do the same and targets Burell.

Deddings is now the only voice compelling our crumbling formation to hold the gate instead of escaping through it. Then, reinforcements! More of a mob than an army, our forces swarm through the open gate to clash with the rallied forces and war dogs of Briarwhite. Entan, though recovering from a bad case of food poisoning, joins the battle as well.

Deddings pushes forward with the bulk of our army, cornering Entan and his forces in the main keep. Burell, too wounded to push his way through the main door, finds another way into the lower levels of the keep. There he finds our men who were captured by Entan near Lambswald, including Casper Foolsbane.

Between our main forces pushing through the entrance and our now armed men coming up from the lower levels, it seemed as if the day was ours. However, Entan was not as cornered as we had believed. Francesco, acting upon a hunch, gathers some men and attacks Entan’s escape envoy who had made it outside of the keep.

Francesco, joined by a half conscious Burell, continues to pursue Entan who is already being lowered down the other side of the wall. A well placed arrow ensures the rest of his descent is a bumpy one. All the same, Burell and Francesco are unable to overcome the two elite guards alone, and Entan makes good on his escape.

The casualties list is long and puts a damper on the post battle celebration, as does the death of Casper Foolsbane, who at last succumbed to his injuries. Deddings finds the throne a good fit for him. Francesco considers returning to Ramsford to see if he can pick up any new intel. Burell seems inextricably drawn back to Old Stones, but whether it’s instinct or a feverish dream that’s seized hold of him is best left to the maester to determine.

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The meat, the meet, the Boat, no moat, the gait and the gate.
I might have a concussion
I remember two men charging me, then a was slammed to the ground. My spear was sticking out of one of them. I know I am on my back but my brain keeps telling me I am falling to the the left., and my vision keeps spinning to the left. How did I get here? It seems like Cordingbloom sailed us to the battle, could that be right we sailed up to a castle wall? I saw him shooting at someone, he ignored a man running up to engage him just to get the shot off. Was he yelling “the dog”? Oh christ on a stick! (or other religiously correct for this land, but patently offensive explative), could the hound be here?

Deadings, he was around here, He got the Gate crossbar off! with the help of large men…men who work for the Bandit king. Are we working with the bandit King, that doesn’t seem right either. Seems like I remember Deadings running past me in heavy armor, faster than a man should be able. He is bleeding now, perhapse he re-opened his wounds? Dogs…, seemed like maybe there was a woman who was tied up to force a butcher to feed poisen to dogs. Now I am getting an image of Cordingbloom turning into a ghost woman and throwing books at children,yelling “bring back the law”. can’t trust the memories. I remember Deadings telling me he had to jump out a window because the shadows came alive and were chasing him. The Bandit king was smiling but his fists were clenched with impatience, he has been waiting long for this,… this whatever it is. Why was I sitting alone in a bar? good pickles, good samwiches. I don’t know why but it seems like I was searching for a priest.
The spinning is slowing. The situation for us all seems dire at the least. I have to snap out of it. “I have my shield, I have my spear, I am invunerable.”

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Scouting the enemy
Aaron Deddings

We set off on our scouting mission of Briarwhite after interrogating our two free rider prisoners. I looked at Burell in a different light, after one of our prisoners insulted his status, he took it into his hands to take the man’s leg. Our other prisoner gave up all the information we needed after that.

As we arrived in Briarwhite we split our time looking for ways to undermine the Ebon men in Briarwhite. Burell ventured right into Briarwhites castle as a traveling mason, Francesco decided to stake out the bars for anyone willing to give up information on EBons garrison while I donned my septon disguise and examined the town’s outskirts looking for any advantage. By the seaside I noticed a cliff which could be climbed by anyone capable of sailing into the bay undetected. I considered this idea further as I returned to the town. That’s when I had an idea.

Returning to our host’s abode francesco and I exchanged what we learned and what we would attempt. Francesco had learned of a man who could be swayed to act on our behalf for the right price but I wanted to take action firmly in my own hands. So I told francesco my plan, Aarten dogs are large beasts he;s trained since they were pups, but what was he feeding them ? Perhaps if I could access that supply of meat, I could take out a potent threat to the moral of the peasants being trained.

As the next morning broke the night, we set out on our perspective plans . I ventured down to the market looking for any sign of a preferred butcher who could possibly be Aarten’s supplier. What I found was a unsuspecting middle aged man who regularly supplied Aarten’s servants with his finest cuts. My next stop was to a herbalist to buy some very potent poison to give the meat my own special zing. Meanwhile Francesco informed me that he had met with the traitor guard but shied away from employing due to his obvious cowardice. It was then that I told him how I planned on recruiting our portly butcher into our plan. Kidnapping…

I followed the butcher to his home in my septon disguise looking to find a suitable target. What I found was a humble aging women who was possibly too kind for her own good. As I returned to our host , francesco and I decided to act on the morrow. Waiting for the butcher to go off to the market, we struck. WE tricked the woman into drinking a mild sedative which put her unconscious. A neighbor’s child happened to discover us after the act so we gave him his own dose and dragged his unconscious body into a field. Francesco took the woman to a abandones part of the town while i waited for the butcher to return to give him my demands.

The butcher returned to find me waiting instead of his wife. After I told him what i wanted and reminded him of what he was missing, he readily agreed to our plan. When i was knighted I never imagined myself acting like some petty criminal but I’ve grown desperate to strike any blow possible at Ebonfall. Seven help me…

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Lost Battle & Meeting Duegan the Red
January 19th, 2016 session

The battle on the road between Briarwhite and Lambswold was a loss, though not a complete one. Entan Kale led his mastiffs and well armored calvary against us. We lost two of our oarsmen with many more wounded. However, we took two of his host captive. Entan called for retreat when he saw our peasant horde rounding the corner behind us, and Burell made the call not to pursue. The peasants were upset, but it was the right decision.

An agent of Duegan the Red met with us that night. He convinced us to meet with Duegan in the “cursed” woods of High Heart. We moved camp from Lambswold to the hills north of High Heart, and buried our chest of dragons near there: The location only being shared between myself (Francesco), Aaron Deddings and Commander Burell.

Duegan, quite the eccentric fellow, proposed a partnership to take down Ebonfall. With no terms discussed, we agreed on the plan to joint attack Briarwhite. If Briarwhite proves too defensible to take, we will leave the bulk of our least trained forces outside the walls so our army appears to still be sieging. Then, the rest of our forces would march south to attack Iron Bay.

We briefly returned to camp to see what supplies were needed and how the training was coming along. Afterwards, from Duegan we purchased 15 spears, 15 axes, 30 shields, and 20 hunting bows. My companions managed to talk down Duegan’s marked up prices, and we bought the other supplies (food, bedrolls, lanterns) from Lambswold.

Now, we are ready. Now, we ride for war.

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Adventures in Lambswold

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Recruits in Ramsford & Meeting Lord Vypen
Ah, Ramsford. I remember it well...

My child spies reported a mustached guard inquiring about me around town. After meeting with Marilla at the extravagant bath house, I was told I’d be given a “test trial.” Meanwhile, Casper the Foolsbane hears from a priestess at the temple that Ebon once came through Ramsford putting anyone in the town that had worked with the bandit queen Talia to the blade.

To the south, Commander Burell continued driving the caravan to Old Stones. He sends Aden, our best scout, to Ramsford to check up on us and look around for the Mire Knight’s horse. Burell and the caravan reaches Greyhedge, a primarily stone town with lots of masons left over from the construction projects by the Mallister nephew. Many of these people (if not all) now work for Ebon. Ignoring the rumors of a witch, Burell leaves Greyhedge and sets up camp at Old Stones. Flute music greets them, and Burell has a lovely conversation with ‘the witch,’ a youngish eccentric woman named Hazel.

Aaron Deddings arrives by ferry to the well barricaded Eatermead docks. After giving the guards searching them a tongue lashing, Aron meets with Governor Inmain, who explains all of these measures were based on their trouble with Ebon’s men who invaded across the river. Ebon was winning the war, but without explanation they stopped invading. It is also learned that the Kales, a lowborn family and master of arms for the Vypens, deserted during this conflict. Deddings continues his journey to speak with the Vypens in Lydcove.

Casper the Foolsbane, hearing from Aden, finds a horse loosely matching the condition of the Mire Knight’s in the stables. He leaves a message of warning for the Mire Knight with the septon. I pick up a few things to accomplish whatever Marilla’s mystery job might entail, then I meet up with Casper Foolsbane. We share our knowledge, then split up once more. Foolsbane goes on to recruit and arm all the embittered young men of Ramsford: dock boys, cobbler sons, any who will say ‘yes’ for a gold dragon.
“I beg you: please do not ask my son to fight.”
“Let me be honest with you: I am absolutely going to ask your son to fight.”

With this group of armed recruits, Foolsbane marches them South through the evening to meet up with the camp at Old Stones. Once there, Foolsbane learns that Commander Burell had broken off earlier to pursue a man in blue riding west from Greyhedge.

Burell follows this man to where he made camp for the night on the road. He fails to get the jump on the blue man, who escapes and backtracks to Greyhedge. But Burell, not one to be out maneuvered, corners his quarry and brings him down by lance.

Meanwhile, in Lydcove, Aaron Deddings meets with Lord Vypen and his son. The son begins an unwarranted provoking of Deddings. Swords are drawn and it comes to blows, ending only when Deddings follows a parry with a swift punch to the son’s nose. Lord Vypen then explains it was a test, as the last person they met with had no spine. The lord explains that during their war with Ebon, House Blackwood sent aid, but they were unwilling to cross the Blue Fork. Aaron’s group must be the aid requested of House Mallister. He also shares that Ebon is fighting near Fairmarket, having tried to bend them for the past year. Through some convincing, Lord Vypen agrees to militarily support our cause once we’ve rounded up more men and “taken the situation in hand.”

The next morning, Aaron returns by ferry to Ramsford. On a nearby rooftop, Smiley ‘the assassin’ nudges a masked and shirtless Lenny Rivers. Lenny takes careful aim with his longbow and shoots Deddings once through the stomach and again through the chest. He also shoots the accompanying guard, but not before taking an arrow himself. Using a rope to repel down, Lenny outruns Smiley, revealing his true identity to a still standing Deddings and telling him to play dead. Deddings reluctantly goes along with it, taking the mimed stab and performing an admirable death scene. For good measure, Lenny fishhooks some milk of the poppy into his mouth and spills pig blood across his neck. Lenny is then chased away by Aaron’s squire, who momentarily sees Francesco’s face before losing him in a panicked crowd.

Back in Old Stones, Draven is appointed to train the new recruits. Commander Burell rejoins the camp, and he and Casper the Foolsbane make plans for their next target.

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Aaron Deddings
Leaving Nutten

The night progressed slower than planned as we delegated what to do with the Ebonfall men we’d captured, Some wanted to hang the men like the traitorous bastards they were but the local septon convinced us otherwise. The entire town was under the yoke of Ebon, making such a bold statement against him too soon could have ended this expedition earlier than we’d have liked. The men weren’t even truly the problems but simply symptoms of the local rebel that was Ebon. It’s the Lord’s duty to protect and guide the the people who live on his lands lest their simple minds drive them back to their more basic urges and it would seem Lord Mallister hasn’t been paying attention to these duties.

Our second batch of prisoners turned out to be closer related than we could have ever expected, mother and sons in fact. Seeing that we would be on our expedition for many years to come i decided it would be in our best interest to have our own ship or at least full control of someone who did have their own ship, which is where the smuggler women Karya came in. I offered her a deal she couldn’t resist, I would take one of her sons as a squire and in return she would provide us with the use of her ship and anything else we demanded. In truth I have no intention of knighting the boy , I simply wanted to keep leverage over her, Leverage that only became more precious when I learned she was also the Mayor’s wife and we now possessed his son as well.

As the sun rose up over our camp we realized just how long we’d been deliberating and decided to put our plans into motion. One such plan including actually sending a scout out to assess just how strongly Ebon had entrenched himself in these lands, the other included the release of all our prisoners with some well placed warnings. As we began to break camp Nuttens sleazy mayor approached us with a few of his town guards as if to intimidate us. We let him know his wife would be returned and that I would be keeping his son. He didn’t have much to say after that.

As we set out about the road to RamsFord we encountered none other than the Knight of the Mire. Ser Casper challenged him to single combat and taunted to man into charging him. Ser Casper instead drove his ass into the bog and foolishly the Mire Knight followed. Ser Casper’s plan of entrapping the knight in terrain where he couldn’t maneuver seemed sound until the his lance tore through Ser Casper’s side. Ser Casper lashed back bravely but the fight was not going in his favor and so the rest of us took action. Commander Burrell Charged into the bog to assist Ser Casper as I organized our forces to strike at the knight while the young Courtingbloom loosed his own arrows into the knight. Seeing the tide change the Mire Knight abandoned his attacks on Ser Casper and fled deeper into the bog severely wounded by our arrows.

With the excitement over our forces returned to the road where we encountered a simple cabbage merchant and his daughter. After setting up camp for the night we broke bread and drank wine with the man who was all too knowledgeable about the region we’d be entering. It would seem Ebon isn’t the only threat about as we discussed bandit queens and marauder kings who also plundered the lands. We also learned an interesting truth about ebon, he used to serve lord Mallister.I can’t yet decide whether or not this further points to Lord Mallisters incompetence or the lands unruliness.

In the middle of night I was awoken to shouts within the camp and rushed to see what it was about. The Mire Knight tore through our camp setting tents and a wagon ablaze. When challenged to fight us on fair terms he simply ran off into the night strangely energetically for a man who was supposed to be deeply wounded. The fires were put out but we were all still on alert until we reached Ramsford. There we decided it would be best for our party to be proactive instead of reactive, to do this we would need more information and strong local allies to call to our aid. So it was decided that I would cross the lake to Estermead and treat with the noble lord there, Commander Burrell and ser Casper would continue on to Oldstones and the young Courtingbloom would entrench himself within ramsford to learn of any local secrets or rogue movements.

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The story begins
We know what we are doing- (in a general sort of wayish)
It is a time of peace. Which is to say it is only not a time of declared open warfare. Robert Baratheon is King and has just begun to settle in as a Ruler rather than router. A diverse group of four is summoned to Seagard to meet with its house head Jason Mallister. Also present was his son Patrek Mallister and Edan Ashford (who had married Althea Mallister.) It was explained that we were to reclaim “oldstones” south of Hags mire. which, depending on who was asked, fell somewhere between abandoned keep to ruins. The area was also described as somewhat fraught with brigands and lawlessness. A nephew was despatched earlier on this task but appeared to have failed miserably, and (after exchanged glances) was proclaimed to have been sent to kings landing. A symbol of our authority was asked for and there was an ackward moment as it lay there claimed by no one. the young Francesco began to raise from his seat slowed slightly by it being the secondmost fluffy chair in the room, when sir Deddings lurched forward quickly as if nudged from behind to grab the ring. Deddings went to talk to the captain Neal Leonard (of the Wooden Wench) wilst Burell went to inspect the troops. Francesco and Ser casper went information gathering at the local pub. Deddings talked to Jason Mallister about provisions and it was revealed that wagons and a steward (Aren Stally) and staff would all be comming on the morrow. Breakfast came and mysterious loud scraping/dragging noises could be heard from the kitchen area. The sea travel was uneventful save the bickering of the nobles about whos grandfathers deeds made them more worthy to sleep in the cabin, and what color the vomit from the sea sick ser Casper might be. What happened next was Nuttin. (you knew a pun was comming get over it) After a booming proclamation that both Francesco and the Rule of Law had come to Nuttin. A talk with the gruff, salty mayor Robert Garrys revealed problems with smugglers and a gang calling themselves Ebbenfall, led by a man named Ebon possibly based in a city to the south. Deddings, after abtaining a lock for our funds chest. seemed to have been followed, he slipped into a nearby sept and then slipped into some slightly too tight friars robes and absconded back to the wagons, which had been freshly unloaded from the boat. A camp was set up just outside of town. Ser Casper and Deddings found the town constable Colren to be a hopeless drunkard. After some information about the mayor paying protection money in a fortnight to the Ebbenfall from the ever-present fishmongers and francescos captured child-spy revealed to us that local Ebbenfall members were now at the Nuttin tavern. A small debate about how to proceed and what did we really know about the tavern insued. As It turned out, It was not a tavern populated by peaceful townfolk but rather a more wretched hive of scum and villainy you may never find. After a small Dust up it was found to have five local members of the Ebbenfall, and the captain of a smuggling boat with two of her “boys”. A ranger was sent to bring a cart to round them all up and bring them to our camp. Ser Casper the quick and the agile put forth that they should be publicly hung on the morrow. Francesco could be heard saying that it didn’t seem particularly heroic. And That is the beginning of the story.
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