Session 1 – 9/30/12
Start off in the woods, Jeonan’s bear, Snowball leads him away from the group as they on their way to a local holdfast to oversee the transfer of prisoners. Desmond keeps pace with him as Layna lags behind and catches up to them. Snowball discovers a cadaver among a fresh layer of snow. Stripped from head to toe, covered in scars both old and a new, missing three toes, both ears and a little finger off his left hand. Frostbite (or the cold) did not kill him, but he was strangled to death from the front with two hands.
His only possession as an old battered a nicked longsword from years of use and abuse. The sword itself was crafted by Donal Noye, a man who served under Robert in the rebellion and is now a member of the night’s watch. Whoever killed this man may not have been the one to loot the body for whoever looted the body did not need the blade. The party wraps the sword and body and takes it with them.
The pary makes their way to the holdfast. They meet up with Arnell Snow,a man appointed by Ian, former Lord of Wolf’s Watch, to oversee the law in this region. He gives a brief description of the four criminals and the crimes they are accused of and the situation with the two deserters found outside of a heart tree several miles away from the holdfast. They in turn tell them of the man they found in the woods and the condition he was in when they found him.
Arnell Snow tells the party that upwards of forty people have been killed over the last year in the same way. He thought it peculiar, but there is no connection between the victims. A thought for another day. He then tells the party that the owner of the holdfast, Edwyn has been expecting them for sometime.
The party meets up with Edwyn and they feast and drink an expensive vintage of Arbor Red with him. Edwyn does not waste time getting to the point and asks Lady Cazaleta for more men to harvest the fields and defend the lands he owns. Something that he requested of Ian Cazaleta, who in turn promised but never delivered on it. They have been under attack off and on for sometime by the surrounding Hill Clan Burley, who has a history of stealing food in the last couple of years before Winter.
During the conversation, they are interrupted by one of Edwyn’s men bursting in with a few wounded. One near bleeds to death from a gash running down the length of his leg and will need to be brought to Wolf’s Watch for more medical attention, the rest suffered minor wounds and were bandaged quickly and easily.
They say they were attacked whilst fishing about an hour out from here. The wounded man was approached by the Hill Clan as they tried to barter food from them. After his refusal, they attacked. Six of Edwyn’s men were killed, but they killed all ten of the attacking Hill Clan.
Glenn decides to investigate the area that they were attacked while the rest of the party decides to deal with the prisoners they came for.
Glenn Spends the better part of an hour going to where the battle took place. A couple of weapons lay across the ground as well as two corpses, Edwyn’s men. The description of the attack does not line up with what he found here. There are not sixteen bodies but just two. He follows the trail through the forest and notes that they did emerge from the Hills. He decides to head back to the holdfast before darkness falls.
Jeonan and Layna They proceed to deal with the prisoners. Alyn, a repeat rapist from a nearby village is sentenced with castration but takes the wall instead. Selwyn, a thief and an arsonist who stole from a merchant and burned his house down is tricked into being executed thinking that his hand was just going to be cut off instead. Tya, a woman who killed both her husband and the one he was cheating on her was charged with execution. She pleads to take the wall, but since the Night’s Watch does not take women, she asks for a trial by battle instead so that she has a chance at life.
Gerald, a cold, crippled man who crippled his brother over a family relic (hardly worthy of calling it that) specifically requests that he be executed. He does not say much and the party asks him for his reasonings so that he can maybe get a lesser punishment. When they refuse execution, he asks to take the Wall instead and they could do nothing more.
Desmond Heads into the stables to confront the Night’s Watch deserters. One large and beefy, a commoner most like, wears faded black furs – an old recruit. The other one is dressed in much finer furs and speaks eloquently, perhaps a noble that joined the Night’s Watch.
Desmond asks him why they deserted and they speak of Whitewalkers and dead things in the woods. Everyone intereprets this as crazy talk and that perhaps these two went mad in the cold and killed their brothers.
A warhorn is heard in the distance. One of their own, they are being attacked.
Scene 3 – Battle
They are attacked by the Hill Clan just as night falls. Five footman near the village as the fight starts and six archers along the tree line.
The party is able to fight and kill every last one of the clansmen, but they lost four of their household guard in the process. Layna Cazaleta and Arnell Snow suffers grievous wounds.
No civilian casualties and no food was stolen.
Session 2 – 10/7/12
Recovering from the battle, Maester Jeonan attends to the wounded including Lady Cazaleta, Arnell Snow and one of Edwyn’s men that was wounded in a previous fight. Realizing that if they were not here then the holdfast would’ve been obliterated in the fight, Arnell Snow suggests that they take everyone in the holdfast back to Wolf’s Watch for protection until they can properly secure the place.
While Jeonan attends to the wounds, Layna rounds up everyone with Arnell while Glenn patrols the area and Desmond gives the man they found buried underneath the snow a proper burial after showing him to the deserters who did not recognize him.
Facing a time constraint with the wounded, they decide to split into two groups and head back tonight instead of waiting for morning. The first group will go ahead with the wounded and the horses trying to get to Wolf’s Watch as fast as they can and meet up with some guards that were sent out to help them. The second group will carry what supplies they can and include the rest of the holdfast, the non-combatants and the prisoners/deserters.
Scene 5 – Battle
The first group gets attacked in the middle of a forest on both sides seemingly by the same clan that attacked the holdfast. They were able to kill everyone last one of the attackers although losing three guards in the process.
The second group was ambushed from above by archers and within the first few seconds of combat they had lost one of the villagers. After a couple of rounds being held down, Arnell gets the idea to climb the tree and leap across to the cliff edge to get at the enemies.
Tya, one of the prisoners had been previously equipped with a sword by Ser Glenn Redmist and unofficially declared this her trial by battle. If she’s innocent, she’s free of everything accused of her. Hiding from the archers behind a tree, she’s convinced by the deserters and prisoners to let them out as they will aid in the fight as well.She lets Gerald free, but Glenn stops her there and asks Gerald to watch the rest of prisoners while freeing the deserters for the combat.
By the end of the combat, a couple of guards left alive take out half of the combatants and the short deserter, armed with a longbow, takes out the other three with precision. By the end, 1 guard, 1 villager and Tya, the prisoner were killed. Ser Glenn climbs the ridge and stabilizes Arnell.
Session 3 – 10/14/12
Scene 5 Cont’d – Battle
When the fight was thought to be over and Glenn finishes administering first aid to Arnell Snow, he hears one of his guards get killed from below. Stefan, the deserter whose name they learn during the battle is blinded by rage and starts swinging a pilfered hammer at his captors. His brother, Cadwyn tries to calm him down and failing to do so he joins the fight in trying to take his brother down. Desmond Stark arrives there in time before casualties rack too high. Stefan is taken down with severe wounds but is not dead.
Session 4 – 10/28/12
It’s daybreak by the time everyone is back at Wolf’s Watch and sleep away most of the day with some much needed rest. Before they rest, they briefly discussed planning a war on Clan Burley and to figure the details out later.
While they rest, Glenn has a series of visions in his dreams. Not all of his visions have come true, for sometimes they predict possible futures or perhaps because he was not able to decipher its meaning.
He dreams of a small mountain with a golden key at it’s center and as darkness approaches from outside the mountain cracks begin to form inside the key until it finally shatters. He also sees a finely crafted steel sword next to four horseshoes of similar quality splattered across a golden background, lined with green. All of which is folded neatly inside a newly made fine black wool coat. His final vision is of a man on his horse with two trailing behind on food with a look of disappointment on his face. Strapped on his back is a Valyrian Steel long sword identified as ice clean of blood.
While Glenn seeks to decipher his dreams, Layna’s first business of the morning is to execute the prisoner she had sentenced to die the day before. Of the four prisoners, one is bound for the wall, one was a casualty of an ambush, another killed himself in his cell the night before and the last one is intended to die by her hand. As he is dragged to the headsman’s block he pleads for his life, claims he was tricked and asks for anything else such as a trial by battle or being sent to the wall. Having already taken his previous sentence, Layna has no obligation to abide but allows him a trial by battle against her Master-at-Arms Desmond Stark. Offered a shield, he takes up battle and Desmond gives him the first swing, a glancing blow off of his armor and in one swing takes off his head to end it painlessly.
On his way back to the dungeons after the execution, Desmond is beckoned over to the deserters cell who wish to converse with him. Cadwyn, seemingly sincere, thanks Desmond Stark for considering giving them a pardon. He wishes Desmond should know who they are intending to pardon giving him a brief history of how they ended up on the wall.
He says they are both bastards of the same Father, but of different mothers. Stefan, the big guy, is ten years senior of the other and was raised in the household and thrown out for unruly behavior before he was even born. Cadwyn grew up in their father’s household until he was of age and giving him that luxury his father cut him off after that. He quickly became a knight but was poor and all of the skills a knight was expected to be good at he was terrible and better at other things such as archery and larceny. He became a bandit for several years committing heinous crimes and was eventually convicted of poaching and was given the option of going to the wall.
Having never met his brother before, he came across him when they were both in the Night’s Watch. Stefan had killed a man early in his youth and had already been on the wall for several years. Cadwyn ended up in his ranging groups and was the only person that could calm his fury for Stefan’s strength and rage were both a beloved weapon of the Night’s Watch and one of its greater fears. Cadwyn was also the only person that treated Stefan with any kindness.
One night on a ranging, Cadwyn saw strange shapes in the dark and glowing blue eyes that burnt like fire. Stefan was running from that direction and it was the first time he ever saw him run and so Cadwyn ran with him. Eventually they got south of the wall, ended up captured and here they are. Cadwyn requests a final drink and Desmond seeks to speak with Stefan but he is not ready to talk. He decides to come back later.
Meanwhile, Jeonan is researching about Clan Burley in the library tower at Wolf’s Watch. He learns numerous facts and bits of history of Clan Burley who descended from House Flint. (See Clan Burley)
The most interesting are that Burley is a title held by the strongest in the clan and not a true last name. The current Burley, Donnell is the most civilized of the Burley’s and has taken steps such as opting for a Maester, intending to employ a form of currency to trade with local lords and built the first permanent structure in Burley history. In turn, attacks have become infrequent and he has expanded the land the least in Burley history.
Scene 7 – To War
After everyone is done attending to their respective duties, they meet up in the library tower was Jeonan has summoned them and they plan for war against Clan Burley. Erik Condon, the house steward joins them to talk logistics, while the rest plan strategy, the amount of men to muster and the means to equip them. Jeonan discusses the overall plan of attack on their rumored settlement in the North.
In the middle of the discussion, Jeonan begins to hear his bear making noise outside and growling at something or someone. Upon exiting the library tower, they see a body at the base of the staircase. With a couple of empty wine bottles at his side, they assume he’s drunk until Jeonan finds his body temperature his dropped dramatically and he’s bleeding through his bandages. After taking him somewhere warm, Jeonan discovers a new wound side-by-side with the old one intended to mask his death as a drunken sleep in the cold. Arnell eventually dies of his wounds.
A commotion of guards near the dungeons scream that the deserters have escaped an unknown amount of time ago. Dead guards lead up all the way to the North Gate and they also discover that Edwyn had been stabbed while he slept in his private room at the Great Keep.
Jeonan tracks the trail of the deserters with his bear and follows their path throughout the castle and out the North Gate. The path diverges near the edge of the forest and the hills and they decide not to go any further. Leading them back to the castles they eventually follow the scent to the godswood where they find a black woolen coat in the pool around the heart tree throwing off the scent. For the moment, they have eluded them but they will not give up the search.
With appropriate timing, a raven lands at the Maester’s Tower bearing a message
HEAD OF HOUSE CAZALETA
“I’m sure you aware that every previous Lord of Wolf’s Watch since several hundred years has accepted the deal and ended the bloodshed with the least amount of innocent deaths. My demands are simple. I require enough food, fur and wine for twelve-hundred men another two thousand women and children. This need not be one shipment and I prefer it would rather be delivered frequently over the following years preceding Winter. I also require that each shipment be delivered by the Head of House Cazaleta personally with no more than one guard accompanying. By delivering the first shipment you agree to the terms and if nothing is delivered within a fortnight then my men and I will be forced to take what is needed so that we may survive through the Winter.” Transcribed by Maester Jeffory with Donnell Burley’s words.
A hidden second page discovered by Glenn reveals an addition to that message. In a crude hand written much too large for the page and with far too much ink it reads:
“I HAVE IAN CAZALETA. If you fail to deliver on the deal, warn Ned Stark or be foolish enough to attack us, I will kill him. I’ll be watching you — LUM BURLEY”
Session 5 – 11/4/12
After reading the letter and discussing how to approach things. Glenn is approached by the two guards he had asked to keep a look out for anything odd. They return with some information regarding the former Edwyn’s men and seeing some new faces in the crowd.
Desmond, along with Maester Jeonan pick out and question a few of Edwyn’s men. One of which was scared to talk in front of any of the other refugees and confessed that he had saw Edwyn talking with Clan Burley a few days prior to them arriving at the holdfast. He also had said that Edwyn normally had plenty of men to defend the holdfast, but he had sent them away for whatever reason that day. As for the new faces in the crowd, he says that they’ve been with them for a few months now but he doesn’t recognize the dialect and they don’t know much about farming. In fear of his life, he asks for protection and they make him disappear until everything is over.
As part of an interrogation technique, Maester Jeonan bloodies his tools in the kitchens and tells an elaborate story to the other two villagers detailing how the previous man lied to them and was fed to his bear to help make a point and to ensure they will tell the truth. Intimidated by this technique, they insist that they had nothing to do with Arnell’s death and that they’ve been with Edwyn some time. Their dialect is different because they are from a remote part of the North called the rills. They also do not know much about farming since they are fishermen. Thanking them for their help, Desmond and Maester Jeonan allow them to return to the rest of the villagers.
After the interrogations, they prepare for Ned Stark’s arrival to the castle. Jory arrives at the head of the column and makes sure everything is safe for the Lord Stark when he arrives. He makes small talk with everybody and introduces himself to those he does not know. He asks about the deserters and learns that they have escape. He insists they tell Ned Stark this himself.
After Ned arrives they tell him what they told Jory and he requests how they can help. Unable to warn him in fear of Ian Cazaleta getting killed, they spin a few false stories until Maester Jeonan passes a hidden message along to Ned Stark warning him that they have captured their Lord, they are under close watch, they need more men and some help rooting out the “rats”. In turn, Ned agrees to send them more men to help bolster the castle as well as providing a detailed map of Winterfell in hopes they can root said rats out. He still says he wants to help, but the players insist against it. Ned also disagrees with asking about House Ironsmith because they have no proof they are involved.
In addition, Ned Stark introduces everyone to Ser Artos Ryswell of the rills. An honorable knight from an honorable house, Ned requests that Lady Cazaleta find him a place in her household. As heir to the rills, he needs more combat experience if he expects his people to respect him as a leader. After a a long day’s ride that morning and the day before, they head to the hall for food and drink to relax. Ned Stark sends Jory along with Maester Jeonan to help pen the letters to Winterfell requesting the men and the map.
While penning the letter, Jeonan, for the first time, sees through the eyes of his bear. Sitting still under a fresh layer of snow at the edge of the forest, the bear listens in on a brief conversation between who is assumed to be Lum of House Burley and Stefan the “deserter” that escaped their castle the night before.
Lum punches square across Stefan’s jaw in a display of dominance as Stefan does not flinch nor fight back. Lum screams at him, telling him he’s tired of his mistakes and cleaning up after him. He says that he made a deal with his brother and not him. He also notes that when he tried to cover Stefan’s tracks he found out that he had already been followed all the way up here.
After a time, Lum notices Snowball hiding not twenty feet away. Inching closer, the bear finally attacks in defense. Lum gets a hit in on Snowball, but Stefan misses. Snowball thrashes them aside and flings Stefan into Lum, sending them both crashing to the ground. The bear attemps to hold his ground until he becomes too wounded. Being faster than both the opponents on foot, Snowball eventually makes a run back to Wolf’s Watch fairly wounded.
As is her duty, Layna attends court that day. However, the line is short and she should be able to move through them pretty quickly. The first one, an owner of a nearby farm, requests aid in the form of men, supplies and food to replenish what was stolen by the nearby hill clans. Chelsea accepts his requests and decides to send half of Edwyn’s men to his farm.
The next person, a knight with the largest single chunk of land on her property offers to accept half again as many farms under his control. He also requests that his tax rate be cut in half, that he be able to dispense justice on her lands and be given a spot on her council to offer advice on how to lead these lands. She accepts his demands and gives him a trial run on her council to see how he does.
Lastly, a representative of the Iron Bank of Braavos introduces himself. He goes on to detail a fifteen year history of timely payments to the bank to which Layna has no recollection of. He offers sympathies to the recent loss of Lord Cazaleta but insists they must come to some agreement on payment. Layna says she needs council on the matter and request that they come to an agreement at a later time.
Session 6 – 11/18/12
As a week passes by and they prepare for war, they take the time to look for the spy in their castle. Eventually, they find him crouched above the Maester’s Turret overseeing the courtyard. Layna fails to sneak up on him and he initiates the attack, injuring her in the process. Desmond and Jeonan follow close behind along with several of the household guard. After hopping from wall to stables and back to the wall, Cadwyn takes several injuries and concedes the fight allowing himself to be captured.
They keep him in a private cell guarded by Biggs and Wedge and Jeonan’s bear, Snowball. During the night, Jeonan happens upon the private cell and notices that its empty and Desmond is standing inside. He confesses that he let Cadwyn escape the castle several minutes ago after striking a deal with him. Most of the terms of the deal are unknown but Desmond is sure that by allowing him to escape he’s insured that Ian will come back to alive. Although the rest of the group may not agree with him, especially since Cadwyn had lied to him before and he acted on his own without the consult of the group, that is what happened and they will now whether they made the right decision or not.
Session 7 – 11/25/12
Scene 12 – To War
A week later they rendezvous with Clan Burley to drop off supplies with Cazaleta’s party planning a sneak attack to steal back the Lord and as a display of power so that they realize who the boss is. They meet up with Grigg, a Donnell supporter who now works for Lum Burley, though he may not agree with everything he has to do. Grigg escorts them to the encampment and inspects the wagons before they enter. Although he noticed a hollow false bottom, he ignores it and tells them that he works for Cadwyn in the common tongue so that his people can not understand him.
They arrive in the encampment which is not such a different place as their own as they have their own lives they go on about and aren’t just planning attacks, ambushes and all out war on House Cazaleta. They realize that Lum is the real threat here and if they can knock them into submission with as little deaths as possible then they can promote Grigg to leader of the Burley’s and hope for a more civilized house to arise from the ashes.
They meet up with Lum who does his best to dress up as a noble and show courtesy inviting the Lady inside offering a small meal to eat. Once they’ve eaten, they were under the laws of hospitality that say that it is an abomination to harm the person who has offered you bread and salt under his roof and vice versa. Layna grudgingly accepts and demands to see Ian as well who Lum shows dangling off the roof of his tower ready to plummet to his death at a moments notice.
After Lum threatens to hold onto Ian until all the deliveries have been made and is about to command his soldiers to kill Desmond Stark, burn the wagons and let Layna walk home in shame is when Layna launches their sneak attack. Ser Glenn Redwall and Maester Jeonan emerge from the false bottom of one of the wagons along with half a dozen other guards and the battle begins.
After Lum suffers a few early wounds he retreats back into his castle, presumably to recapture Ian from Stefan who Cadwyn got to submit after making a deal with him. Layna and Desmond give chase to Lum up to the top of his tower. When they arrive at the top they see Stefan reeling Ian back up to the roof to safety while Lum launches an aggressive attack on him. Cadwyn who also happens to be on the roof looses an arrow at Lum, knocking him off balance giving Desmond Stark enough time to impale Lum through the chest as he’s turning around and kick him off the fifth story of his own tower. Whether the wound or the fall killed him is unknown but irrelevant.
In the aftermath of the fight, what’s left of Lum’s supporters gather arms to fight off the intruders. The players cut off half of the army from reaching them by blowing up their only bridge. They then make a run for it North to meet up with the massive army they’ve brought in and to bring the Lord to safety. With the help of Grigg and his supporters, House Cazaleta wins the battle with barely a casualty on their side and less than two hundred deaths on the Burley side.
After the major battle, they meet back up with Grigg and promote him to Burley after accepting a series of demands to insure that he will be the leader they want and that Burley are banner man to House Cazaleta. They split up some of the spoils of war and give them half of the weapons they acquired from House Ironsmith. They also divvy up the wealth that came from discovering a diamond mine on their lands.
They also find a mysterious First Men pendant in Lum’s chambers which they return back to House Burley after discovering what it can do. It allows for crops and fruit trees to grow quicker, yield more fruit or bounty and allow them to survive the harsh weather of the North.
Upon returning to the castle, they find that it has been taken over by a small amount of Lum’s men with the original intention of taking it over with Cadwyn’s help while Lum killed the rest of the party at his encampment. Grigg, being the new Burley, talks them down easily and no one was killed on either side during that confrontation.
They also come to find out that Lord Ian Cazaleta has been comatose for an unknown amount of time. It is still a victory as he is not dead, the castle hasn’t been ransacked and House Burley has been saved without killing the majority of their people.
All in all, things could have gone worse. Everyone is learning of the responsibilites of being in power and the difficult decisions they must make. Some things still remain to be seen such as for how long and why did Ian Cazaleta fall into a coma (or disappeared/get captured in the first place)? Why did House Ironsmith target House Cazaleta?