The End of an Age

Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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The Fall of Bybridge and the Rise of the Drowned God
A city loses a king while a cult gains power

“Put an arrow in the ground next to her horse.”

The archer did as I commanded as I called out a challenge to the rider with a band of slave soldiers behind her. Much to my relief, the rider was none other than Faux, and as I quickly realized, she was fleeing from the battle at the city gates. I met up with Robert who was only a few yards behind her with his own group of soldiers. Faux insisted that we needed to leave with all haste. An army was coming. A strong army. We all mounted up and fled the city as quickly as we could. Men fell at our sides as archers picked them off from the walls. Bybridge had fallen.

Luckily, we all made it down to the docks, where Faux and Robert told me that a ship awaited us. The captain looked at our group and asked where the rest were. He had been expecting 500 slaves with us. I can’t imagine what Faux and Robert have been up to these past weeks that I have been unconscious that they have arranged all this. I might have expected as much from Robert, though. Regardless, we boarded the ship and set underway for Storm’s Eye. Robert and I intended to continue our mission to pledge Northgarde’s neutrality to the southern kingdoms or whatever they call themselves now.

The journey progressed without incident for six weeks. We had just come out of a storm when we saw a small raft with several men floating on the water. We were leagues from any type of land and these men all appeared to be haggard, draped in rags with what looked like seaweed in their hair. We instructed the captain to maneuver the ship towards them so we might rescue them. When we hailed them, at first they did not respond. When we continued to yell, finally they looked up and seemed to notice us for the first time. We cast down a rope to them to haul them on board but they hesitated. Not until one of them had soaked the rope with seawater saying something about blessing it did they begin to climb.

Once on board, conditions only grew stranger. The men insisted that they were killed and saved by a giant monster, one they referred to as “the drowned god”. They had a small statue with them carved out of jade in the likeness of the monster or god or being or whatever they wanted to call it. Davos was able to confirm for us that he has read something about immensely powerful beings in ages past that slept beneath the ocean. I don’t really believe much of what they men said. They claimed to have been unconscious for 10 days at sea and spent another 10 days drinking seawater. Anyone living near a coast knows that to drink seawater instead of fresh water is an invitation for death. These men were clearly delirious and crazed by their time at sea.

That night, though, something strange happened to us. A storm swept upon us seemingly out of nowhere. The clouds moved quicker than I thought possible and a raging storm overtook us. We all sought shelter below decks and eventually tried to sleep through the storm. When we woke the next day, the waters were calm but the coast was strange. An unknown city was visible in the distance. According to the captain who judged by the stars (at my insistence), overnight we had traveled what should have taken us three months. I cannot make any sense of this, only that perhaps the crazed men we found put us under some sleeping spell. It would not surprise me that they practiced magics.

After consulting with Ser Daniel, we made for shore to resupply at the city and find out where we were. Upon entering the harbor, we learned that this was in fact Storm’s Eye. We were immediately taken prisoner inside the city and made to wait for an audience with the King. Two days later we were summoned to speak. I rejoined with Robert and Faux in the throne room where Stannis Baratheon “greeted” us. Truly, I have never seen a man so stoic as he is. The surprises did not end there. After a short conversation, we learned that Pavel was here and that Stannis supported Pavel’s claim to the throne. Not only had Pavel won over Stannis and the swords sworn to Storm’s Eye, but we met a new face. Sendu Kan, a prince of Gul’Dan had joined Pavel in his quest for the throne.

I made a decision then. Sendu Kan was a knight. I had been away from the knight who squired me for many years at this point and I knew that Leafton was never going to be a true knight like I wanted to be. Sendu Kan offered to take me as his squire and speed up my ascension among the knighthood. I accepted, thinking that I did not have much of a choice at this point. So now I serve the North on this diplomatic mission but also I serve the Kingdom in the search for a united rule. I serve the people by hoping to bring peace and end the constant struggles.

Pavel made us an offer. We are to travel to Justicar, continuing on our diplomatic mission. We are to make an offer of peace and lull them into a false sense of security, assuring them of their safety. We are to do all this knowing that, traveling 2 weeks behind us, Pavel’s army of Storm’s Eye soldiers and Gul’Danese soldiers will be waiting to storm the city. Pavel will sweep down and wipe our the opposite, clearing his way to the throne. This underhanded business does not sit well with me, but while standing in Stanni’s throne room, surrounded by guards, it becomes hard to say no. We accepted Pavel’s proposition.

That night, Robert found a passage into Pavel’s own quarters. Canis, Robert’s wolf, was able to sniff out a secret compartment in one of Pavel’s chests. Inside we found a vial of what appeared to be poison, wrapped with a favor from the Queen of Summerbrook. It was not clear at that moment, but eventually it dawned upon us the gravity of the situation we had just stumbled into. Earlier in her travels, Faux has assisted the Queen in investigating the death of her husband, eventually accusing the Prince of murdering the King. The Prince was killed during a trial by combat and deemed guilty. The poison used to kill the King was determined to be Black Lotus poison, an incredibly rare but incredibly deadly poison. To find some of the same poison in Pavel’s possession with the Queen’s favor wrapped around it seemed suspicious, indeed. Ser Daniel had a few words to say about the situation, commenting that the only force he knew of that was powerful enough to make someone carry out such an act was love. Pavel and the Queen in love… I cannot begin to fathom what this means for our future.

The last events to transpire in Storm’s Eye were perhaps the most unsettling. As we met in Stannis’ throne room one last time to discuss travel plans with Pavel, suddenly, a man burst through the door. He was dressed in the same fashion as the men we had pulled from the ocean a few days ago. His clothing was rags and there was seaweed sewn into his hair. The man would only say one thing over and over, something about death and dying and all that. As we left the hall, trying to make our way out, more and more of Stannis’ servants emptied into the hallway, all wearing rags with seaweed in their hair. Robert tried to make his way through the hall but by then there were dozens of them, all grabbing at him and trying to pull him down. I saw him try to resist, but a rage took him and he began to lash out. I tried to calm him, but when I saw them begin to attack, I took hold of my sword and tried to make my way to him.

STOP!” A shout from the end of the hall made everyone freeze. Stannis’ voice boomed down the stone walls and brought the chaos to a halt. We told him what was going on, but he seemed less interested in that and more interested in getting us out of his castle. His guards, what few of them remained unchanged, escorted us to our ship and we set out underway, all the while with the disciples of the drowned god staring down at us, telling us that “He is coming. He will destroy the capital city. He is coming.”

I do not know who “he” is or what “he” intends to do, but I know that we must continue. We must carry forth with this plan of Pavel’s. Maybe we can establish some peace afterwards. Maybe with a unified kingdom and one ruler, the realm will see an end to this combat. We can hope.

May the five grant us strength on this journey.

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Davo's Journal Entry 15
A Ruined City and the Destruction of an Age

This will be a long entry. I find it hard to wrap my head around our latest discovery. This is something that can start a new age if unleashed, that affects so many lives beyond just mine… I know it’s selfish, thinking of myself in this situation, but everything I’ve done and everything I’ve worked for since I was a child has come crashing down around my head with the reading of just a few pages of just one book… But, I overreach. It is my place to serve, and I must see to the duty laid before me. The chronicling of this must be continued. I left off last time on the road from Storms eye.

I was pleased to see the Squire Eddard and our fierce Robert (Lord Robert? Lord? It’s hard to think that he has any royal blood in him, but Stannis conceded as much, as I spoke of before… He doesn’t seem to have taken it to mind, though. Perhaps that is for the best.) keeping themselves sharp, sparing with their knight and men respectively. Eddard almost bested the Prince, but for a few cunning moves that ended the match when the Prince needed it most. Robert seemed to take a while to learn what I’d been trying to explain to him about the training of unsullied. They are removed of the ability to feel pain through sorceries and potions that I am not knowledgeable of, and I am very happy to be ignorant of how to make a man lame in such a way. To rob them of pain is to rob them of pleasure.

It was not a terribly long journey to Manticor, where we met up with the fabled leader of our Red Stripe, Tyrion. He seemed in bad shape, though his actions and holding denied it. His face had a great festering wound, given to him by some barbarian of the north. If he had let me, I might have been able to tend it, but I admit that it looked out of my meager healing limits. With time, though, perhaps… Anyway. I digress again. Our leader restocked us, and saw us on our way to Justicar, the ruined city. We found very quickly that the road beyond Manticor, no longer under the protection of Stannis’ watchful and dutiful eye, was much more perilous. We took losses when attacked by follows to the seven, mostly to Roberts group. I did not, myself, see much of the battle, as I prefer to keep to the wagons and train. Not for fear, of course, the gods watch… They… No. I simply do not fear. I am just best used there to care for those hurt on the road, and to keep a watchful eye on the stores of rations. Those traveling with us, and even some of our own troops can sometimes become greedy and try to take more than their share.

These large battles, though, the aftermath makes it easy to guess what happened. So many men struck down by arrows, most unsullied, in the same spot.. They were ambushed, and swiftly. I am told Eddard led the charge along with Faux that put the attacks to running, in a grand show of valor and intelligence. He did not let himself get swept away with passion and lust for revenge on his attackers, and could very well have been the reason that we took their fort at all. They captured a few of the fighters, mostly farmers and simple men, who were able to tell us the layout of the land, where we could find the fort and what settlements surrounded it. With that knowledge, Robert and Eddard hammered out a plan that worked beautifully. It was simple, and showed to me what character the two had, and what they could be when working together. Robert is bold, willing to take large risk for greater reward. He isn’t without cunning, but he has the ability to allow himself to become too brash. Eddard has a cool head, is able to think quickly and intelligently in heated situations. He is very calculated and noble in his actions. When the two join, a certain steel is forged. They counter the weak points of the other, and compliment the strengths. Faux was unusually quiet during the meeting… I fear sometimes that perhaps she is feeling over her head. Next to such powerful personalities, it is easy to feel that way, and without our friend Uriel to lend her his voice, she seems to let the two men choose the path. While they seem fully capable, Faux has shown me that she has had the mettle to handle hard situations, better than most. I will need to speak with her, mayhap I can give her the confidence to add to these discussions and thus help forge something even greater…

I will do that. Together, and with timely aid from Uriel and Ser Daniel, the fort was taken peaceably, and we were escorted to Justicar by one of her own generals. There, the High Septon Urden met us, and lead us in the climb up the great temple pyramid. At the top, while I was praying, the events that led to ever … changed everything, began. I will need to re-write this sometime soon, for my words now cannot muster the proper reverence, the proper…vastness to convey what happened. With a single blow, Uriel’s champion Jorah Mormont slew High Septon Urden right there, right before the eyes of the Seven. I… Still find myself… Ser Daniel took the corpse and tossed it down the stairs, to fall for as long as it could.. Amidst the carnage, Robert began searching for something, and with the aid of Uriel and Eddard, discovered an apparently not so secret passage that led deep into the temple. That was when we should have known better to delve. But, delve we did, descending into the temple. After hours of downward spiraling, and not enough questioning of Robert, we came to a tomb within the pyramid. We passed statues of hundreds of gods, the Seven among them, all despoiled and desecrated. In the tomb we found a great rock coffin, which inside rested a skeleton of which I could not comprehend. The body was squat, so short, and yet to massively wide. It was as if someone had taken Uriel and mashed him, taken his wide frame and made it moreso, while shortening him equally. It clutched a book and a hammer, both of which Robert eagerly ripped free from it’s clutches. I know my eyes deceived me, but I almost swear the skull’s grin mocked us as we did. Robert offered the book to me to read, and… (The scribbling here is impossible to translate into legible words.)

I find the words hard to come by. The seven… Never existed. They were created to mock the masses, to mock those that follow gods by a spiteful, angry man centuries dead. I know not who offers me the powers I call upon, but I do know that my life has been a lie until that moment. I had followed willingly a lie, and though it is nothing against me to have been tricked, it nonetheless hurts me to discover it. There, on the steps attempting to flee a sound of which we did not know the origin, our order nearly was rent asunder. Robert had been holding back so much information, and had seemed to ready to come to blows over the book. He and Uriel I was certain almost came to blows, whilst I am also certain that he was mere moments away from putting me down as well, so long as I denied him the book. I don’t know what to think of this. He seemed honest in his reasons for wanting to be the one holding onto the book, but to have allowed us to get so far without explaining himself, or how he found the information. That is a difficult medicine to swallow. Eddard holds it now, while we all attempt to fathom what has happened since that moment. We walked out of the pyramid almost in a daze. At least, I felt that way, so numb that even the sight of the great Kracken sigil did not draw from me much surprise or concern. It appears that two from Faux’s and Uriel’s past survived, Mistress Asha and Master Gendry.

Justicar is now controlled by the Isles, allied with Northguard and the Red Stripe. Uriel seems to have lost his mind, I have lost the gods I knew, and even Robert seems to be retreating farther and farther from us that I don’t even know if he can be trusted in the least. We are shattered, but not yet destroyed. With Stannis’s blessing, we follow another direction from our worrisome Lord Robert Baratheon and his hidden reasons, and make our way for the Isles in the East, the apparent birthplace of the Stranger…

Help us, Gods that truly be. There must be.

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A siege within a siege...

It’s funny the sort of people you run into at bars. You have the sleepy drunk, who passes out into his drink (then his friends decide to stick his hand in water to see if he pisses his pants…. he did). You have the romantic drunk, who tries to kiss everyone in sight (my for a lady you have a very scratchy beard) and then proceeds to get punched in the face (Hubert didn’t liked to be called a lady). And finally you have the angry drunk. Annnnd, bingo. Found my man.

Robert wasn’t hard to find. Find a bar with the Seven. Two key words, if my leads are correct about Robert, he is known to oppose the Seven (like any good man of the North) and he is fond of bars (like any good man of the North). Oh that guard is getting quite angry at his pompous friend there…. and… ooo…. not good… that was not a good idea there, pompous friend…… perhaps, I shall wait…. if my leads are correct about Robert, he’ll smooth things over. And if not, he’ll try and smooth things over and then return for a drink ………….my leads are never wrong.

“Sit, Piper. Your prey will always come to you.” Bless the Five, why did Dad have to be right? Alright, Piper, breathe. Your leads are never wrong.

Northmen are funny creatures. Their homeland holds their hand where ever they may travel. The respect northmen have for the North is like no other. Even though some may have grown up in Northgard and Valley Town or clear out in Springdale and Deepshore, Northmen are from the North. And protecting it is ingrained in their hearts. Westros is hurting, and thus so is the North. We must heal her. But first we must rid her of the evil trying to take her over: The Seven.

Robert was a good choice. A Northman who loves the North and hates the Seven. I can trust him.

So… Bybridge is under siege by the very people who hold it? This does not make sense. Those men I saw out in the woods wore Rainbow cloaks. Robert and I need to check that out.

Piper you’re an idiot. Any good hunter would know an ambush was likely. And Robert is no mouse. Strong as an ox, and just as big. And there lies your problem. He’s as big as an ox. Idiot… idiot…idiot. And if he dies, it’s your head. Not only did you kill an ambassador of Leafton’s, you just killed the only hope of ever proving Dad wrong. You better shoot like hell.

Robert is freakishly strong. My leads are never wrong. This is good. This is very good! And the Seven is not attacking the Seven as we thought. It seems these rich men are funding this outside group…. however, to assault such a big camp by ourselves would be suicide. Let us return and regroup.

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A Weight Upon Their Shoulders

He stalked, slowly, outside the extravagant tavern. At the moment, the hulking man was less bear, and more puma, his leather armor with the thick patches of well placed fur giving him an animalistic look. It was easy to recognize the boy that had left the northern Valleytown, but it was just as easy to recognize all that was different about the man. His eyes were harder, the same as his body, the long few years spent away from his home filled with strife and intrigue. Strife, the strong man knew well, though he’d never known it for such periods of time without laughter to beak it up. Intrigue, though… That was entirely foreign to him, and it’s learning had taken a toll on his heart and soul.

Take the last month or so for example. What northman could suffer such political and moral questions? To destroy the foundations of a popular religion, alone, was a terrible question, but to do so as an act of war? To weaken a populace? That was not the way he knew. Strength of arms, face to fave open confrontation, those were the ways of the north, and the learning of others did not go smoothly. But, that was the question he faced as his companions argued and the politicians schemed.

All he knew is that a politician should not be making the decision that came with that book. A schemer was the worst person to have such power, and though he knew deep down that the weight of something like that ancient tome and the knowledge that lay within could crush a mans soul, how could he strive for anything else? He would gladly trade himself to do the right thing. He only could hope that he was equal to the task. And so, he and his companions hit the road, the enormity of it all heavy on their minds. To his right was Ned, his best friend. He would die for that man in a heartbeat, and it pained him to see the man so conflicted… And it pained him more to feel the strain that had come to their relationship. Ned was honorable. He was the one born to make these decisions, but Robert was… Selfish? His homeland came first, while Ned’s allegiance was to all people, regardless of geography. To the left was Piper. She was yet an unknown. Robert couldn’t help but trust her, though. Her whirlwind nature, swinging from calm, flirtatious with an easy laugh, to deadly, cold, and.. If he wasnt wrong, terribly affected by a past that she could not yet put behind her. That nature drew him in, something he could very easily empathize with. She proved herself several times in combat thus far, allowing him to become more and more comfortable with the beauty, to the point of implicitly trusting her to hail arrows on enemies he was currently engaged in close quarters with.

Their travels did not go smoothly, especially for Piper. Robert and Ned were used to forced march speeds, the double time travel, and he suspected that the archer was not, judging by the wear she had experienced. They ran into highwaymen, hired by the men they pursued, but proved the better, and after only a short delay found themselves back on the road with a captive mercenary and an idea of where to expect the others.

And there they were. Inside the tavern, Piper worked her magic, while Robert, that agitated bear, stalked outside, wanting nothing more than a more physical enemy to grapple with than these wisps, these ideas, these intrigues that he was faced so often with..

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Where Are Your Gods?

A burning stag, a silver dire wolf, a crow as dark as night and a boy urchin. The most unlikely of heroes. Truly nothing more than common place at first glance. But it seems the weight of the world is indeed resting on their shoulders.

After the complete an udder disbelief of Robert’s death and miraculous fiery rebirth, Piper, Ned and Robert began the long trek back to their homeland: The North. Nothing felt safe and secure anymore. The United Trade Organization held rule in the entire lands. Even the 3 travelers felt at unease with each other. Piper got her Northern Warders back but at what price? Now Eddard analyzed her every move while Robert still had disappoint on his face. But the dream kept them alive. The dream that stole a month of their lives away. The merchant directed the priest to collect 8 baskets of wheat while the mockingbird fetched 5 baskets of mud and 2 baskets of sand. The priest and mockingbird obeyed, each collecting their goods. The wheat bent at the priest. The merchant mixed the mud and sand and ordered the mockingbird to peck out the priest’s throat. As the mockingbird peck, the priest said nothing as blood ran down his throat. The mockingbird flew back to the merchant, only to be crushed in his hands. The silver dire wolf, burning stag and crow as dark as night travelled through the swamps north, only to find a boy urchin raising a dead king in the snow. The dead king mounted the stag, with crow, wolf and urchin in tow, and travelled south in which he slaughtered the merchant_ this dream was not coincidence. This dream meant something and Eddard, Robert and Piper would find out.

Along the road, they fell in line again with Pavel, a friend but ever foe. Pavel had used every single member of the party, but yet, every single member of the party had Pavel to thank for some advancement in their lives. He may be a ruined king, but even ruined kings have connections. Much to the party’s disagreement and disapproval, the trio allowed Pavel to accompany them to Westwarf to find passage on a ship north. It would be the fastest way to figuring out their dream, but it would bear a heavy cost. They would have to be slaves on a ship to slide under the Merchant’s eyesight. No one liked the idea but saw no better options.

Pavel was true to his word. He found passage to the Sandbar Isles as slaves but in reality, they were just cargo. The journey was long. Robert, Eddard and Pavel seemed unaffected by the constant motion, but Piper could never grow into her sea legs.

After a few months at sea, the party found themselves on the Sandbar Isles, a pirate’s haven. Upon disembarking, a street urchin, no more than 15, introduced himself to the group. He was immediately distrusted by Pavel and Eddard, which made him that much more intriguing to Robert and Piper. For being a boy of 15 and dressed rather shabbily, he talked as if he ran the Islands. His confidence, or arrogance, preceded him and the group soon realized he may be their golden ticket to the North. After hours of planning, the boy, Gavin as he introduced himself, seemed to have everything in order. The group had a ship of their own, men to steer her (where the heck did Archer come from???), a paperless (and thereby traceless) way out, but all was not quite set. The ship needed cargo other than men, and they needed to find cargo that would appeal the port town of Deepshore. Eddard spoke up saying the North was in desperate need of wood as the Fairy Forest was sacred and would never be used as lumbar. Gavin knew of a shipment arriving that night that would be a perfect cover-up for the group’s escape.

A few minutes pasted midnight the pirate ship docked. Her crew, tired after their journey left the ship minimally guarded. However, the drawbridge was up thus making the boat inaccessible. Gavin stared at the ship, after realizing swimming to it was not a good solution, trying to find a weakness. He asked for some rope, which Robert provided. Strangely he studied the ship, while adjusting the orientation of the rope then asked for both Robert and Ned to hold it and prepare. After Robert and Gavin discussed what would happen, Gavin instructed Piper to cut the rope. All of a sudden the rope became extremely heavy, causing Robert and Eddard to exert a great amount of strength in order to steady it. Gavin was extremely focused and couldn’t even tell the group what to do next. Piper’s crow like eyes spotted that the drawbridge was wavering and noticed that the rope holding it, had miraculously been cut. She had seen magic like this before in the old bandit hideout when Ambrose melted the escape hole shut with the fireplace flickering light. She instructed Ned and Robert to slowly lower the rope, which in turn lowered the drawbridge efficiently and more important, quietly. After dispatching a few of the watchmen, the adventurers made their way to the cargo hold; however, transporting the hold was a stitch in the plan they didn’t quite iron out. After a few attempts to get the wood out quietly, Gavin decided to rip a hole in the hold to get the wood out into the water using the same magic he used with the rope. The plan made sense in theory, but Gavin underestimated where the hold laid within the ship. Instead of being above water, the hold was below. The hold began filling up with water very quickly. As the group frantically tried to seal the hole, Gavin decided to make the hole bigger to sink the ship and gain the cargo. After Piper and Eddard almost drowned, with Robert and Gavin saving them, the wood arose to the shore. After a night that seemed to go awry, something finally went right. Eddard convinced the misplaced pirates to sell the loose cargo to the party and to become part of the crew. The team rested and set sail to Deepshore in the morning.

“Where are your papers?” the weasel like lord asked. As Gavin tried to explain that there were never papers given from Westwarf (a lie to try and cover up where the group actually set sail from), the lord called for reinforcements. Much to the lord’s surprise the reinforcements were none other than the Northern Warder’s 1st private and Ned’s former employer and master, Tieron. A battle ensued. For Eddard’s bravery, Tieron knighted him. For Piper’s mockery, Tieron acknowledged her as leader of the Northern Warders. After a weeklong respite in Deepshore the group left to find Admiral Leafton Adarondac in the Fairy Forest.

Upon reaching the shack, the group found nothing but a note from presumably Leafton saying “Through the swamps.” The group then travelled to the Cresset Moon Monastery only to become more confused as to where their destinies lead them. A woman with a hand as cold as ice explained that the only person ever to go North was a dwarf, a person the height of Gavin and the stature of Robert. However, she warned that the man that went north was not the man he was as he travelled south again. In fact, as he travelled south, she explained that the Seven and the Five were created. They did not exist before this man. After becoming completely dumbfounded by this fact, the group travelled to the end of the monastery. As Gavin approached the northern wall of the monastery, the face of a lizard like creature appeared and split the wall into a doorway leading into the uncharted marshes.

After what seemed like months, the starving and tired team approached a ruined castle. One of the castle walls held three paintings, one of an angelic being who was being praised by people, the next of the angelic being crumpled with the people holding fire and lighting, and finally the angelic being and people living side by side peacefully with a man holding a sword to the air. Upon further investigation of the ruins, a small room was discovered that held the golden emblem, which was emblazoned in the group’s dream, on a wall. It looked like the Northern Warders’ symbol, but with a lizard-like head (a dragon’s head to be exact) instead of a fleur-de-lis. Piper then discovered a very old and moldy card with the emblem that Leafton used to leave around. As the group turned to leave, a group of strange men surrounded them with spears. Their skin was almost green in color and they were covered in moss. They spoke in a strange tongue, but one approached who spoke common as Eddard explained that the group was not there to harm them. They pointed at Piper’s tabard as they exclaimed that she bore the symbol of the South man. The group accompanied the moss men to their ever-moving city, armed with more questions than answers as they delved further into destiny.

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Following the Footsteps of Heroes
Davos Cressen's Collected Works

The passage north was neither safe, cheap, or straightfoward, but it had come to be the expected way with those that I followed. Years later, I had to marvel at how those intrepid folk had managed such a trek back in those troubled times. The UTO had just taken control back then, and their rigorous upkeep of documents and attention to detail would have made it near impossible to make such movements as those, but it seems they were creative, as always. Taking a passage by sea, through lawless islands and into the north was impressive, but even moreso was the journey farther, into lands untouched by us southron folk. I had heard rumors of a place called the Crescent Moon Monastery, but as with most rumors and lore, I’d expected it to be more metaphor than truth in a literal way. And again, I was made to look the fool. How they had managed to make it here, bereft of help, of true knowledge of the place, boggles the mind. The people there were very much of kindred spirits to me, which aided my passage through. They understood duty, and what things must be done. History must be kept.

I traveled farther north, with probably much more care than they’d managed if I knew the ways of the indomitable Robert, the passionate Piper, and the stalwart Eddard. They would have plowed through whatever came between them and their goal, while eagerly exploring every relic of the past that they managed to come upon. It was my luck to run into one that traveled with them earlier on in my adventures, a mercenary by the name of Archer. He’d, by chance of luck, been along with them for this trip, and it was truly something, the tale he told. He spoke of ruined castles, of bits of a great man’s past helping lead them on their way, and the fateful run in with the indigenous peoples that lived here. Cragomen. They were… honestly, they were a pleasure to interact with. As before with the keepers of the Monastery, they understood duty like few others. Our two duties did not meet well, of course, but the conversations I had with their leader were long and fruitful, and I spent many days in their hospitality as they tested me through words and actions. I was able to offered them many of my salves and poultices, and taught them how to make many, while they offered me knowledge of their own in equal measure. They told me of the meeting between their leader, and my friends (I do hope that I may still call them that. It has been so long, and so much has happened, but perhaps some bonds never sever). It was a tense moment, the pair of wills meeting. Robert, apparently, headstrong as always, bulled through with the day with aid from Piper, explain in no uncertain terms that they required passage through. That they’d had visions of things that had not yet come to pass that needed to, and to make it happen, they must needs go north. Perhaps the Cragomen could see that Robert was not the sort to be turned down from this without simply forcing his way through. That Piper would simply slip past. That Eddard would have doggedly never given up. They could never have hoped to contain the three without violence. Or perhaps they felt that fate had a hand here. Archer spoke of them admitting to the strange circumstances, the vision and symbols of the trio giving the small people pause, and eventually winning out the day.

From there, information is scarce. Archer would not budge on some things, like what had happened northern of those borders. Through travel, and north did I go after finally getting the grudging agreement of those indigenous folk, I was able to see much of it with my own eyes. I have spent much of my time thinking on what I can offer to the world on this. The threats from the Cragomen give me little pause, my health does not matter so much to me as to forget my path. But, some things are best kept secret, though. I will not speak of it. I shall instead touch upon the fact that those three, and their companions, were tested each. Their uneasy alliance, troubled by all that had come to pass, was once more forged to steel there, as many are when danger is all around and trust is required highest among all things. They fought, bravely. They were the heroes we needed them to be, even though such things are always so unfair to ask of anyone. But they stood and took that on for all of us. They lifted themselves to the occasion, and in the end, took the world into their capable hands.

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Sleepless Night
"Robert's wandering mind."

Robert sighed, as he looked over the softly breathing form of Piper as she beside him. It wasn’t easy, sleeping like this… Mostly because he was huge, and the beds offered to the normal Jarl soldiers weren’t up to snuff. He’d had to commandeer another, and shove them together. With a couple blankets in the middle to hide the spot where they met, he had himself something more appropriate for sharing with another living creature. She was frowning. She always frowned as she slept, and that worried him. There wasn’t much he could do while she was sleeping, or while she was awake to help with whatever troubled her. He simply wasn’t the type to look towards to help with the deeper set emotional issues… He had his own that he didn’t even know how to approach. Perhaps someday. His response to the situation for the moment was to simply shift himself into a more uncomfortable position, to make hers moreso.
His mind wandered to the past few days, and what they’d meant to him. They’d been almost too rough. He could barely look Ned in the eyes, knowing their friendship was finding frays. Was he a coward? An idiot? How could he stick so stubbornly to the laws of this land, to his “code,” when it kept him at such a disadvantage? Those men, the ones that had tricked them into meeting in that clearing, that had killed those soldiers, that had captured Piper and held her hostage… They’d gotten away with it, cleanly. They had the breastplate, which meant the enemies to the very wellbeing of the world had an item of untold power. It had all been so clumsy, and yet it should have gone off without a hitch.
After “joining” the Icelanders, it had been their job to bring a shipment of drugs to a sweet eater that was feeding them information. They were doing such a good job, keeping an eye on the agents, making the drop and figuring out that it was the new Speaker who was betraying the Jarl. They’d even gotten a message to the Jarl about it all. And that was when it had started to go bad. The speaker saw him, and wanted his egg, the egg that would hatch and produce a manticor… Robert wanted nothing more than to raise one to fight beside him. Ever since he’d started slipping from his own skin, into Canis, he’d had an affinity to wild beasts. They mirrored him in so many ways, and it was comfortable. They didn’t argue so much, they did what had to be done. He was never going to give up that egg, whether or not their were soldiers following him. Of course, they didn’t last long when those men appeared, slitting their throats and giving him the cryptic “We have something you care about.” Telling him to meet them in the woods, with the chest plate. Fast forward, and you’ll find the standoff that went so badly. No one was hurt, but the breastplate was gone. Robert had chased them, had scoured their trail to no avail, his chest filled with anger. He’d never been good at losing, and that was what this was. They’d lost against such meager enemies that it burned, deeply inside the man, making him irritable and rash.
Robert shook his head, and bit back a small groan. His new position made him rest on his lashed back in a way that made it ache… He’d taken more than most men could, without crying out, without looking anywhere but the Jarl’s eyes. Throughout the halls, he’d heard himself called “Bloodless,” from the fact that he’d barely bled from the striping he’d taken. To his credit, the Jarl had never looked away from the burning glare of the barbarous man, instead offering his own that nearly made Robert himself look away. The man was a rock, unforgiving and unmoving, and it made Robert just bristle… Because he could see much to respect in the man. The Jarl hadn’t held himself above punishment. He’d taken his own lashes for holding them illegally days before. He’d even listened when Robert had first told the tale of what had passed since their last meeting, giving the Sweet Eating Speaker his due. In fact, after doling out the deserved punishments for breaking the laws of his land, he’d rewarded them all greatly for their help. Robert now could legally own his beast once it hatched, Gavin was named new Speaker, Ned was a Thane with a new, powerful sword, and Piper was invited to use the keeps alchemical equipment to further her learning. Robert wanted so badly to hate the man, but he found himself slowly, bit by stubborn bit, giving in to respect. If a man like that, strong and fiercely protective of his people, could so strongly believe in the laws of his land, did it not lend credence to it’s importance? Was Ned right?

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Sleepless Night.
"You're crazy. Just like your father."

Gavin watched his companions depart his library, stared at the door for another minute or two, then heaved a sigh and shed a single tear.

What have I gotten myself into,” he thinks to himself. Slowly, wearily, he moves to his desk. “Right. My desk. My library. I’m the Speaker now. Because clearly, on top of everything else, I can handle this.” Absent mindedly he opens a random book on the desk, thumbs through a few pages, staring at nothing, seeing nothing, feeling…..nothing? “Wrong you idiot. You’re feeling things. A lot of things. Sort them out. I’ve been through worse…right? No….I’ve been through a lot. Can’t say I much fear death anymore, seeing as how I’ve been to that brink and I’ve seen that darkness. Came back oh so smart though didn’t you? Learned the science of matter, learned the names of elements, excelled with all this intelligence……and lost your entire family” More tears begin to force their way from his eyes. They drop onto the pages of the book, the old dry pages quickly absorbing the moisture. “Alright Gavin, pull yourself together. Let’s recount what your life is. So, you’re the speaker. You speak for a Jarl, whom you know little about, but is clearly a stickler for the laws. Awesome…because you get along so well with the law.” Eyes glazed over, he remembers a time that seems now as if it happened in another life. His dirty, scoundrel life on the island. And then his focus comes back. “And Ned, Thane of this region now, is to watch over me. Even better. A person who you have travelled with, yet still know so little about, who has this code…this extremely righteous sense of honor, is to watch over me as Speaker.” He closes the book, fist pressed hard on the cover, knuckles whitening. He grasps the book and throws it across the room. “Because anger is exactly what I need right now isn’t it?” He takes a deep breath, stands, walks over and picks up the book and replaces it in an empty spot on a shelf. “Done with your tantrum now? Because you need to stop acting childish. And speaking of tantrums…Robert. He is difficult. I can’t tell yet, is his attitude just derived from pure…disgust?….with everyone and everything, or is he just, by barbaric nature, full of such an intense rage that his only outlet is either physical combat, or his combative attitude towards everyone. And Piper, she is a mysterious one. Of all the companions I know nothing of, she I know the least. What is her edge? What is her game? Does she even have one? Is she playing us for fools? Is she on our side? She is an enigma to me, that is for sure.” Gavin begins to pace the library, no set motion or path. Just wandering. “So much to think of….it is going to be a sleepless night for sure. Now, your father….this Stranger….and of course….the dragon.” At the thought of the dragon Gavin stops pacing. “No, I can’t go see him yet. I have to sort through this. Focus Gavin, Focus…..Your father. Where are you? Uriah….Dad…I thought you were dead. Why didn’t you check on me? Why didn’t you come back for us? WHAT. HAPPENED. TO. YOU.” Fists clenched, crying, Gavin falls to his knees. “what happened to you…..who is the stranger….and what is happening to me?” Silence. Just silent sobbing. He appears as nothing more than a lost child. Gavin Guile, the child prodigy, brought to his knees by this life. Slowly, quietly, he rises to his feet, walks to his desk, and pours himself a cold cup of tea. Of course its cold, he has been pacing and lost in his own mind for hours. “A mind is a terrible thing……I don’t have time for this. Grow up, kid. You have major responsibilities, so act like you can handle this.” He opens the blinds, the first rays of dawn stinging his eyes, he takes a sip of his tea, bitterly cold. “Well, time to get your shit, and your things together. You’ve got people who need to become friends, no, family.” Gavin proceeds to gather some essential books, a few specific ones for Robert, drains his cup of tea, and goes to greet the day with his newest companion and guardian, Lionel.

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The Night that Lacked Sleep
“The eyes of a raven will always be better than yours, and when you fail, the raven will poke them out until you either bleed to death or learn to see.”

Piper wanted to be able to see. She was trained to see, to perceive, to discern. But not recently. Her eyes failed her. Her wits failed her. And as she laid in the darkness, even her dreams failed her.

The scene played over and over in her mind. She was bold and reckless. Some of Robert’s traits were rubbing off on her. Perhaps they were always there, but he just brought them out more. Not necessarily a bad trait to have when you are faced with battle and told that the fate of the world was on your shoulders. But still… she should have waited to send Quark to distract the idiots. And they were just that: cowardly idiots. And yet her overconfidence blinded her vision. She knew Robert and Ned were far away. She knew she and Gavin could not take on the three men, no matter how small their intellect may have been. Maybe she put too much faith in Gavin. Gavin was talented; there was no doubt, but still just a kid. And as she found out, she too was just a kid. Just a stupid, little, brash child that would not listen to reason. Just a “low base, idiotic spawn.” The venom Tierion spit at her that night still festered in her mind.

She shifted in her sleep. He kicked her in the back. She made more room.

The archer knocked the arrow at Quark. Piper’s heart stopped. No matter how much she hated Quark because he reminded her of Tierion every day, Quark saved her so many times. No matter how annoying his constant demand for corn became, Quark was there for her as she trudged through the North alone after Tierion left her. She missed the North so much. To not even acknowledge its existence was the hardest part. No one knew how gorgeous the snows were. How beautiful the valleys were. How fucking stubborn the people were.

She shifted in her sleep. He kicked her in the back. She made more room.

She has done so much to these friends: it was amazing they even still tolerated her existence. Within that tolerance, Piper came to realize how weak she was. Ned with his never failing honor and loyalty. For some reason, he still talked to her. For all the injustices she did in front of his eyes, he still found room somewhere in his heart to forgive her. No doubt his honor sometimes was his weakness, but he was the reason she stood alive today. When the oaf held the sword to her neck, it was Ned’s honor and courage that saved her. Why he even still tolerated her, she will never understand. Now the book and the breastplate were gone because of her. Just a “low base, idiotic spawn.”

She shifted in her sleep. He kicked her in the back. She made more room.

Robert. Without him, she wouldn’t be with them, or even alive. His honor and loyalty to her was just as fierce as Ned’s was to the realm. Perhaps that is why Ned and Robert were best friends. No matter how many times they fought with each other, no matter how many times one became frustrated with the other, they both held honor and loyalty high, but in different regards. Robert was more like her. Willing to take the risks to get what was needed. She saw the fury in his eyes as she kneeled there helpless. She saw the madness that overtook him as he chased after the idiots. Not only did she lose the breastplate, she thought she lost him as he galloped away, Canis nipping at the horse’s heels. Her heart broke, as it did when he fell the day she stole the book. “And that is why, Piper, you will be the best Northern Warder, perhaps even greater than me, when you decide to pull your head from your ass.”

And Gavin… she was still so unsure about the boy. She saw so much of herself in Gavin it was frightening. “That’s right you stay silent, child. Speak when you’re spoken to. Words are sharper and much deadlier than swords in the right situations. In this situation, your words brought the sword. You are the stupidest child I have ever known. Must be that fool of a father of yours.” And now he was the Speaker. The voice of the Jarl. Such a weight for such a child. And yet in a way they were all children, and she was no exception. And yet, she held nothing but confidence in Gavin. Contempt at first, as he turn and ran as the men surrounded her. ‘He’s leaving me to die,’ she thought as he fled. But it was Gavin’s fast thinking, and even faster feet, that saved her in the end. Just a “low base, idiotic spawn.”

“You think the men will follow you just because you say you are the leader of the Northern Warders? I’VE been fighting alongside of them! You’re still just that stupid little girl I left crying. You’re still a failure.” I never cried. Not once did I cry. A true woman of the North would never cry. But yet there she was, in her dreams, huddle in the corner crying as Tierion stood over her, shoving venom down her throat. But she was a failure. The Jarl made Tierion’s words sting even further. Gavin was given the honor of being the Jarl’s new Speaker. Ned became the Jarl’s Thane and protector of his realm. Robert, the “Bloodless,” the brash and the bold, given back his prized manticor egg in order to raise it. And Piper? Ned ASKED what should be her gift. The Jarl ASKED what she wanted from him. The Jarl did not give her anything at first because she earned nothing. She was ashamed upon Ned’s request. She was embarrassed. She asked for nothing because she did nothing. Yes, she successfully trailed the idiots after the drug drop off, which in turned lead to the former Speaker’s demise. But what did she do in reality? She stole a priceless book for money, for a group she so desparately wanted to create and then promptly abandoned to come to this forsaken place, off of the only true friends she ever had. She got herself caught. Her head was not worth the price of that breastplate. Gavin had every right to leave her…Ned should have killed her a long time ago… and Robert should have let her die… She caused them nothing but trouble. Just a “low base, idiotic spawn.”

She shifted in her sleep. He kicked her in the back. She made more room as she left.

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