House Slagathor - Song of Ice and Fire

SESSION 17 (4/8/17)

Episode 9: Pirate’s Teeth

As Rebekka is stuck dragging everyone’s luggage down the hall, she sees Jenny, the Arryn servant who tried to steal from the Slagathors. She’s half-assedly sweeping the floors. The girl quietly tells her their servant network has people in Gulltown too and shows her a little scrap of leather with a yellow fly stamped on it. Rebekka recognizes the emblem of the Consortium, the popular underground information network. Jenny gives it to her and tells her to show it at the fifth port building near the Crone’s Scones.

A servant informs Ysabel that Lord Arryn wishes to see her before she leaves. They meet one-on-one. Lord Arryn says he was quite impressed with her performance in the debate against the Graftons. Ysabel modestly answers that she was only doing her duty for her family and showing her loyalty. The lord comments that Lord Arthur must have great faith in her to entrust her with this duty. He recommends that Ysabel go to Harrenhal with Lord Arthur (along with anyone else Arthur wants to bring). Lord Arryn suspects he’ll need someone like her there. There are many rumors spreading, some of which might prove advantageous to the Vale if exploited correctly. He believes Ysabel has earned the right to start gaining his trust. If she continues to be of service to him, her family could greatly benefit. Lord Arryn recommends our family arrive a day or two earlier than requested. She assures him that he can count on her assistance and her loyalty.

Leo is waiting by the elevator to head down to ground level when Robert Baratheon strolls over with Ned Stark. Robert is as overly friendly as always and gives Leo a big hug, then throws an arm around Ned and says Ned had something to say to Leo. Ned tells Leo he was surprised at how Leo jumped to defend Lady Hunter’s honor. Leo said it just seemed like the natural thing to do. Ned says Leo did the right thing and offers him his hand to shake. They all say they look forward to meeting again at Harrenhal. Leo says it will be an honor to spar with Ned; the Stark reciprocates.

Maester Meera talks with Lord Hunter, Maester Targon, and Maester Esteva (see recaps).

A little earlier, in the hours after the debate with the Graftons, Ysabel has a servant request a meeting with Viktor. They meet in the gardens. Viktor gives her a bow. She asks for his understanding regarding the disagreement over Shett lands. Viktor says he wasn’t involved in the dealings, but he’s sure she did what she felt she must. He doesn’t seem to hold any grudge against her. Viktor says they’re all family, and Ysabel agrees. But he doesn’t know how to change their tense relationship. Lord Marq takes most of his advice from Randall and Maester Targon, neither of which care for the Slagathors. Ysabel hopes Meera’s discussions with Targon will help bridge that gap.

Viktor believes the Slagathors would need to make some proactive move to prove themselves to get Marq’s attention, and he has an idea. But he is reluctant to tell her. She impresses on him how hard it might be for them to discuss things in private like this. Viktor quietly mentions the rumors that Marq has been traveling away from Gulltown and spending coin somewhere. He says the Graftons have a plan; if things come to fruition, things at Harrenhal should be quite interesting. All of the great houses will be there, being watched closely by the king and the prince. Viktor thinks he might be able to convince Marq to make use of the Slagathors at Harrenhal, and their service might thaw relations between the families. Any available resource might be needed. Viktor claims not to know much more about the details. He says men like him only become useful when things get “interesting”.

Leo seeks out Lord Lynderly to talk about the anti-pirate coalition that’s being built, but the lord is quite dismissive of the threat of pirates or mountain men. As for the Lord of Light issue, his maester, Esteva, is the head of the Vale, so he feels the matter is already well in hand. Leo tells him the Slagathors are there if the Lynderlys ever need help. Lord Lynderly thanks him in a way that makes it clear he doesn’t ever intend to call on us.

The Bloodhands and the young Royce break off from the party to head back to their respective homes. It takes the Slagathor party 1-2 weeks to return to the Teeth. We stop at the Black Squirrel along the way; it’s traditional that the Slagathors stop there the night before they get home.

Avlon rides out to meet us with Rupert and 20-30 soldiers. The boy takes his responsibility very seriously and treats everyone with deference, trying to imitate Lord Arthur. Rupert makes fun of Avlon and sulks when he gets told off. The younger boy has a little trouble controlling his horse. Avlon starts to open up when Leo asks about his hunting. He hasn’t seen anything but animals on his patrols and things have been peaceful. Lord Arthur has been busy with work and sending messages as well as training the archers for combat. Clifford is still with the Redwoods. The peasants are planting in the fields and morale is high.

Lord Arthur greets the party warmly. Avlon joins the other four for the debriefing. We tell him everything, though Leo leaves out his near-tryst with Lady Hunter and Meera doesn’t mention Lord Hunter’s stolen sword (since she was asked to keep it quiet). Ysabel emphasizes that there are Graftons who want our families to reconcile and that both the Graftons and the Arryns hope for our assistance at Harrenhal. Rebekka doesn’t mention the Consortium information network.

Arthur explains that he sent many letters to try and expand our anti-pirate coalition. Many houses are supportive of our efforts but are reluctant to join, wary of being tricked. House Starskin has already agreed to join. House Coldwater is considering it. He suspects many houses will join if something happens, but we would have to do something to sweeten the deal if we expect them to join preemptively. Lord Arthur is quite pleased we secured an invitation to Harrenhal; only major and moderate houses get invitations, so this says good things about our status. Of the Raven Five, only House Bloodhand has also secured an invitation.

Clifford is doing a scouting mission with House Redwood and will likely join us for the attack on the mountain men. Marcus Felix informs us that Lord Marq has returned to Gulltown and Marcus has secured a meeting with him. Ysabel says Marcus Felix should listen for any plans the Graftons might have, especially pertaining to Harrenhal, and take note of Marq’s disposition. Geena reports that Marq was meeting with the Sealord in Braavos. Officially it was to request a new loan for the port. Gerold is away on a trading mission to the south, possibly to King’s Landing (it wasn’t to Wickendon). Kale (age 14) has been practicing his combat skills but Geena finds him unattractive. Lord Coldwater writes that relations between the king and the prince worsen by the day. The hand, Merryweather, has been trying to smooth things out between them.

Lord Arthur asks Leo and Ysabel to stay behind (he will speak with Meera right after). He’s concerned Avlon isn’t much of a leader of men and won’t ever make a good garrison commander. He says he feels Rupert (12 years old) is now old enough to start being treated like an adult. He asks Leo to start training Rupert in combat. He also wants Ysabel to start training Rupert as though he were to succeed her as Master of Coin. Though Rupert won’t admit it to Maester Meera, the boy clearly loves to read as has been known to sneak books from Arthur’s own library. Arthur would rather the Master of Coin be a Slagathor if possible. As for the Waynwood proposal, they will discuss that later.

The lord meets with Meera and Rebekka next. Meera fills Arthur in on what she’s learned about Alundra Reed during her travels, with Rebekka’s house. Lady Alundra is third in line to take over the Reed household. Howland Reed, the heir, is not considered very worthy; he’s sickly and has a poor reputation. Arthur and Alundra have been communicating since last fall. As Alundra has no maester (and doesn’t want her message read by the Reeds), her letters arrive by courier. Arthur met with her in the fall (almost a year ago). He found her very charming and beautiful, almost too good to be true. Meera points out that no one has said a word against Alundra, but we can’t discount Lord Royce’s poor opinion of her. Arthur thinks Alundra is ambitious and wants to increase her power. Rebekka says it would buck tradition to pass over Howland Reed. Arthur says something might always happen to Howland. Alundra has offered something intriguing in exchange for our help: letting part of our house split to form a new bannerman house to the Reeds.

It would be a dangerous game to play, but also a rare opportunity. We could redeem the Slagathor name and form a whole new house led by one or more of the Slagathor children. Arthur suspects Alundra is planning something for Harrenhal. Meera asks if Arthur thinks Alundra is trustworthy. He’s not sure. She’s charming, charismatic, persuasive… She seems very capable. But we don’t know if it’s just an act. Rebekka says it doesn’t matter if it’s an act or sincere as long as we get what we want from her. Meera is worried that the risk is too great to take if we can’t be sure she’s trustworthy. Lord Arthur decides it’s worth meeting with Alundra at Harrenhal to at least hear her out. He says Rebekka might be needed to help investigate her.

_Alundra Reed

Gulltown: Meera asks around to see if any Reeds have been through Gulltown. Henry Reed is typically seen once every few seasons; he’s the merchant of the family. The other Reeds generally stick to their swamps. But he brought along another Reed last summer, Alundra, who recently came to power in her branch family. It seemed he was showing her the ropes of what he does, though she was quite commanding and charismatic herself. She is a cousin to the main line, as is Henry. The latter doesn’t have a great reputation; he’s generally gruff and unfriendly. They say he’s friendlier towards the Royces than the Graftons. But Alundra was very friendly to everyone when she visited. She helped load and unload goods herself; attended some theater shows; gave money to the poor; and left a very good impression with the people. No one knows exactly what she discussed with the Graftons.

Runestone: The maester also spends some time asking around about the Reed family. About a year ago, Alundra and Henry Reed visited for a few days. As in Gulltown, she made a favorable impression with most of the civilians and soldiers of Runestone. She was very open, friendly, pleasant, and attractive. But something happened on her last day there in a private conversation between the Reeds and Lord Royce. It caused a chill in their relationship, but people aren’t sure what was said. The Runestone maester opines that the Reeds were there to try and win allies for some reason. Meera makes a good impression with the Runestone maester and they part on agreeable terms.

Eyrie: From talking with some of the servants, you find that Lady Alundra Reed visited House Corbray at Heart’s Home in the previous spring, accompanied by Henry Reed, a man known as the only Reed to have left his homeland, the swamps. It just so happened that House Lynderly was also there during this visit. Not much trade was commenced, and the Reeds only stayed for a couple of days. During the short visit, Alundra was kind to the servants and men at the castle, not making them do anything tedious, and even helped an older woman carry some laundry. She was dressed in sailor clothes when they first arrived, but changed into traditional clothes inside the castle. She made a favorable impression to the attendants of the castle. Your source of information does not know though why Allundra and Henry Reed visited; it was first visit by Henry in over two decades._

Leo seeks out his second-in-command, Sam. He finds him in his (Leo’s) office since he’s been filling in for him. Sam has been studying reading and arithmetic. Sam is thrilled to hear that Leo picked up scarves at the Eyrie and Gulltown and chooses the Gulltown scarf since it’s more fashionable. He says his girlfriend Margaret will love it. Sam reports that nothing has happened so far this spring and proudly shows a copy of a letter he wrote himself to the Crowmores. It’s very poorly written, but legible. The Crowmores report Bonebreaker activity near their castle.

Sam asks where Leo will live once he’s married. Leo isn’t sure yet, but he’ll at least be here a while to train Rupert, maybe Avlon as well. Sam says he’s willing to move with Leo if his lord chooses to go.

Sam then reports that nine of the mountain men we picked up have had to be imprisoned because they won’t convert to the Seven. The rest seem to be acting in good faith but mostly keep to themselves and won’t integrate. He recommends the nine holdouts be executed. Leo agrees. He’ll work with Meera to try and integrate the rest. The nine will be executed tonight, quietly. Leo decides to take Avlon to watch.

Ysabel inspects the construction of the new market, down by the port. It’s coming along well so far. Work has been going on for about two months and should be complete by the time we return from Harrenhal. Jayne approaches Ysabel with a worried look. A ship called “Miss Jasmine” arrived from Essos this morning. One of our “fishermen” (i.e. those brought here by Xanduul) identified it as a pirate ship belonging to the El Viento family. The ship is currently docked here and the crew of 25 are acting like regular traders so far. The captain, Nys-Sandra, has requested a meeting with the port leader. Ysabel orders that Lord Arthur be informed and that the ship be inspected and disarmed. She suspects either revenge or a scouting mission and worries for her family’s safety. Leo and some of his garrison men are brought down to the port and filled in. Jayne says no one has been aggressive so far; in fact, the captain insisted that the ship be inspected.

The Slagathors meet with the captain on the deck. She’s quite welcoming and says the reputation of the Slagathors precedes them; in fact, she says they might be better known in Essos than in Westeros. She offers a sample of green tea. Leo says they’ll try some later, but he wants her to come speak with them at the port office first. He sends a man to fetch Meera as well. The captain mentions there are bows and other weapons in the hold, but only for self-defense.

Meera is currently going through her messages. Esteva says Locke and Dustin are the houses whose maesters were killed in the North. Both are on the east coast. Maester George of House Manderly was attacked but survived. Tywinna informs her that she’s heard Maester Gerrick might be hiding somewhere in the Vale. Oldtown believes he’s involved with the attacks. Meera knows her mentor never had a Valyrian link or any interest in Lord of Light matters. He was never ambitious and in fact turned down the chance to become an Archmaester. He’s also not vengeful. It seems most likely that he’s being set up as a scapegoat. A guard fetches Meera as she’s reading her messages and takes her down to the office.

Rebekka heads to her room and finds that it’s been trashed. Nothing seems to be missing, but some items are broken. It looks more like vandalism than a search. The tougher items took several attempts to break, so the culprit probably isn’t too strong. There’s a poorly written note on the bed that says “Go to your boyfriend and leave”. It might be a child’s writing. She suspects Rupert at first, but then remembers he has nice handwriting. In fact, she suspects it might be someone younger… Gareth Stone. He’s 8 or 9 years old and keeps to himself, though he tends to follow Rupert around and obey his orders like a lackey. Rebekka goes searching for him.

Gareth is currently carrying a basket of warm bread to Rupert’s room. Rebekka sneaks up behind him and knocks it out of his hands, then smiles brightly at him. He nervously gets to picking up the bread while she questions him about her room. She says her room is trashed. He comments that House Bloodhand’s servants are good at cleaning up. Rebekka stomps on the piece of bread he’s about to pick up and demands an explanation. She says she’s still part of the family. The boy says she’s not welcome here. But he deflates and backs away, frightened. She swears to make his life (and Rupert’s) a living hell if they ever touch her stuff again. Gareth mutters that Rupert wasn’t involved, besides telling him how to pick the lock. He also tells her to stay away from Corinne, because Rebekka’s mom’s ghost killed Corinne’s mom and has killed two more people in the last month. Gareth shouts that he hates her and runs away.

Ysabel, Leo, and Meera sit down to discuss the pirates. Meera does all the tests she can think of and determines there’s nothing wrong with the tea. Sam sends Nys-Sandra in. She immediately has a cup of it herself to further prove it’s safe. She says green tea is a new product they’re trying to market and they’re headed for Wickendon next. The captain says she understands our suspicions after what happened over the winter and admits straight-out that she’s a representative of the El Viento family. She’s taken aback when we don’t show surprise.

Nys-Sandra explains there’s a rivalry between the El Viento family and Gabool. Unofficially, the Sealord pays all of the major pirate groups tribute payments so they don’t attack. This year, they’ve noticed the payment to Gabool is much greater than ever before. They’ve also heard our family is forming an anti-pirate coalition and wish to join. They could change their title from “pirate” to “privateer” if it’s to their advantage. The Slagathors killed Gabool’s son, a feat that impressed the El Viento queen.

Leo asks why the El Viento family hasn’t joined Gabool, if the latter has been recruiting and buying out other groups. She explains that Gabool’s wife died of grief when their son was killed by Lord Arthur. The El Viento queen offered to marry Gabool, but he rudely slapped her in the face. Now the El Viento family has an eternal grudge against Gabool.

Nys-Sandra asks why we think Gabool has been accumulating more money. Leo says we suspect revenge for his son’s death, but it could also have something to do with the Grafton wedding. The captain agrees; the marriage is suspicious and too convenient. As for what the Graftons get out of this… who knows? Leo wonders if the marriage is a bribe to protect Gulltown from attack. Nys-Sandra is concerned that the pirate king has been accumulating all this wealth and power but hasn’t used it yet. Queen Umil El Viento was the one who told her all this to pass along.

Leo asks where Gabool is based. She offers to point it out on a map right now. A servant fetches a map and Nys-Sandra marks an island off the coast of Essos, maybe 3 weeks southeast of here, perhaps a month with a large fleet. She admits Gabool’s fleet is larger than the El Viento fleet and on par with or larger than the Grafton fleet. The captain isn’t asking for an alliance to be forged today; she just wants us to consider it for when the time comes. Gabool’s forces have been largely sticking to Essos lately, perhaps so they could be summoned at any time.

Meera asks bluntly how Nys-Sandra feels about the Lord of Light. The captain is puzzled by the question and says there are followers among her people and Gabool’s, though she herself is not one; it’s a popular religion in Essos (except in Braavos). She does note that the port town Gabool took over for headquarters has a red temple. She seems surprised to hear that Lord of Light followers have been committing murders in Westeros and says she’ll ask her queen to investigate. When she mentions there are followers among her crew, Meera asks to speak with them. Leo tells her she has to make sure there aren’t any in her crew next time she visits.

Nys-Sandra proposes we verbally agree to a non-aggression pact for now and perhaps we can forge something in writing next time they visit. Warren of the Pale Winds will be the captain who comes with her next time. Leo and Nys-Sandra cut their palms and shake hands to agree to a temporary truce.

Meanwhile, Rebekka jumps into investigating these murders. She learns one victim was a maid in the castle, a farm girl in her 20s who joined a few years ago. Her name was Wilda. She was found at daybreak, having fallen from the castle walls. The other victim was a man named Daniel. He belonged to the navy and was spotted drinking in the castle bar the night before. He was also found at daybreak, dead at the bottom of an interior staircase on the side of the castle nearest the town. He was in his 30s. They died on different nights. The servants all blame it on Mad Maddie’s ghost, but those who don’t believe in ghosts say they were just accidents. No investigation was conducted.

As far as Rebekka can tell, the two victims didn’t know each other. She asks Wilda’s friends if anything odd happened in the week before. The only thing they note is that Wilda liked to gamble at the bar a bit. She seemed very pleased with her luck lately. Rebekka heads over to The Grouchy Gator to ask around. The guys in the corner invite her to join them and Bill buys her some grog. His friend Silent Ed nods at them. Rebekka asks about Daniel and Wilda. Bill says the two belonged to a group of about ten people; he claims he steers clear of the group because he won so much money off them they wouldn’t invite him back. Wilda had great luck, but Daniel’s was terrible. Those two never had anything, but Tarrus the smith had eyes for Wilda. Bill heard that neither victim had money on them when they were found. The group hasn’t met again since the murders.

About 6 of Nys-Sandra’s crew are Lord of Light followers. We meet with the oldest first, a woman named Nys-Lyla. Meera asks about curses first. The woman believes in them implicitly as punishments doled out by the Lord of Light, though she’s never seen one. Their casting would involve fire, and their removal requires the victim accept the lord’s judgment and convert. She says someone who can read could learn more from the books in the temples. Meera asks if anyone on the ship has seen a curse. Nys-Lyla says no one would speak of it even if they had. She says they go to weekly gatherings to listen to the red priests and receive food. There are some red priests in Wickendon who used to be Essosi traders, though there is no temple.

Meera asks about sects. Nys-Lyla says no, in concept. But in practice, each great temple has their own methods. The head temple is in Asshai, very far east of here. Meera asks about sects that condone murder. The old woman claims not to know any. She says the Lord of Light doesn’t seek to rule, only to spread his faith, so they don’t generally kill those who don’t believe and they don’t take control of cities. Ysabel asks if she knows of any missions in Westeros and she says no. This woman is not wearing the two-beaded necklace we saw on the others, but she has a bracelet and necklace in a different style.

We question the other five in turn. One says he heard from a friend that he accidentally saw a ritual. A priest had captured a thief. They tied him to some logs and burned him alive… and the priest began to look younger. Another says curses can be broken by having the priest who cast it cancel it (their death does not cancel it). Another says they’ve heard of a Brotherhood of Scarlet Shepherds who are known to be very aggressive converters. They were established to start converting “difficult” areas. Unlike other groups, the Shepherds are spread through every temple. Whether they also have their own temple is unknown. They don’t have a peaceful reputation and people are afraid to ask questions.

We buy a few barrels of green tea from Nys-Sandra.

With the market underway, we now have enough wealth and fame to have a permanent house band at the Teeth. It’s a mainly brass band with flutes, trumpets, and a lute, and it’s called The Backteeth boys.

Crops are currently being planted. The farmers plant sunflowers, corn, wheat, tomatoes, carrots, spinach, potatoes, basil and other herbs.

Jayne informs us that many Essosi ports have public artwork on display. We ask Nina to paint some murals in the new market. In addition, we ask her to teach the children in town to paint and invite her most promising students to paint murals as well. An artist named Henri Mateeth helps out as well, and together they found an art gallery as well.

Rebekka goes to see Tarrus to ask about his dead friends. Though he answers her questions, Rebekka gets the feeling his answers are rehearsed, like he was expecting this. He claims an older member named Thomas has been acting strangely. He also says the person he’s closest to is Lana, a baker. She can’t get any more out of him despite his odd behavior and just tells him she suspects the deaths weren’t accidents.

Leo takes Rupert and Avlon down to the dungeons to witness the executions. Rupert doesn’t understand what they’re doing, but Avlon does. Avlon says the executions aren’t necessary and tries to talk Leo out of it. When Rupert figures things out, he mocks Avlon for being a wimp and says the executions will be fun. Leo tries to impress upon both of them that this is a necessary duty. Avlon doesn’t think it’s right or fair to kill these people; he argues mountain men are still people. Leo asks how Avlon would solve the problem. The boy suggests keeping them locked up indefinitely, giving them more time to convert. He snaps at Leo that he can do what he wants as “garrison commander” and he’d rather join the Wall than become one himself. As Avlon walks away, Rupert cheerfully asks when the executions are going to happen.

Leo addresses the nine mountain men and gives them one last chance to convert and bend the knee. One gives in, but the other eight stand firm. One spits on Leo and says he won’t renounce his gods. The second is similarly defiant. But all eight remain steadfast as Leo executes them one by one. Rupert asks to try killing one of them but Leo refuses. Afterwards, Leo asks why Rupert wanted to. The boy says it’s something he’s never done before and he wants to know how to do “lord” stuff. Leo mentions being concerned about Avlon. Rupert says his brother has been spending lots of time with Reynar, and letting an outsider like that act like they’re part of the house is a bad idea. Rupert compares it to Mad Maddie, who thought she was special and killed Lady Slagathor for it. Leo points out even insiders can betray, like what happened at Heartree. And Reynar has earned his trust after saving both Avlon and Nina. The mountain man has done more for the family than most guards have in years. Leo tries to impress upon Rupert that it’s best to use diplomacy, but you have to be ready to use the sword when necessary. Rupert listens intently and thanks him for explaining it. Reaching Avlon will be a different matter.

Leo speaks with the one who agreed to bend the knee and feels certain the man is sincere (he’d rather live, imagine that).

Leo goes to see Meera next. He finds her working in her office with Little Lily sleeping on the couch, tired out by a long night of pestering the maester. Leo explains what just happened. He’s worried Avlon won’t be willing to uphold the law himself and kill people when necessary. Meera asks why execute them rather than release. Leo is concerned they would have gone out and hurt someone. Meera asks why he let any mountain men join our household if he thought they were all harmful. Leo says maybe because they were fleeing the Lord of Light and they compromised with us. And they’re not warriors.

The mountain men will surely find out what happened, so Leo and Meera decide to go speak with them tonight. She’ll speak with Avlon afterwards, alone.

Ysabel checks in with Lord Arthur and learns he’s fine with the non-aggression pact (since Westeros doesn’t recognize blood pacts, but Essos does). She then goes to see Nina. Her younger sister is working intently and clearly incredibly prolific in her work. She’s been getting requests from all sides. Most of the paintings are very nice and typical, but a few are odd. One has people burning on a beach— the beach closest to the Teeth. Others depict murders. One victim is a man with a maester chain. Only one painting shows a scene of war. It shows the commander being killed by another man.

Nina can’t really explain the paintings, but she says she had a vision of fire coming across the seas. Painting seemed like her “salvation”. She doesn’t quite remember painting the beach scene. In her dreams, which she had over three days, she saw an evil fire approaching the castle. The fire seemed “confused”, like it didn’t know whether or not to attack the castle. She prayed to the Seven and the Maiden told her to keep painting, so she did. The only dream she’s had since then was her trapped in a forest, searching for Geena, but this one just felt like a regular dream.

Ysabel asks to buy the beach painting, but Nina says it’s free; she knows Ysabel buys her art supplies. Ysabel has the painting framed and hung in her room (planning to report this to the rest of the family). It seems like talking with Ysabel has snapped Nina out of her almost trance-like state; perhaps it would be best to make Nina go out more often and not isolate herself.

Leo and Meera go to see the mountain men in their wing of the castle. The elders meet us: Narsa, Dayla, and Queltor. Leo apologizes for the late hour and informs them of the executions. Queltor starts to respond in anger but Narsa quiets him. She says he laid down his terms and gave them a chance. They accept his offer to let them deal with the bodies. Narsa says she’ll inform the others in the morning, and we shouldn’t expect to see the mountain men tomorrow while they process this. Leo promises the guards and staff will give them space. Narsa asks for only the heads; the rest of the body doesn’t matter.

Meera asks how things have been otherwise. Narsa says it’s been a tough adjustment; her people aren’t used to living in the confines of a castle. Meera suggests integrating the mountain men with farming or hunting groups. Narsa agrees with this but warns some people are getting frustrated. Meera asks what Narsa would have us do. Dayla says they would rather live outside, if we would allow it. Leo says we can’t do that, but they’re welcome to take the outdoor work. Meera offers to hold class out in the courtyard once a week so the children can get some fresh air and Narsa appreciates that. Leo explains the importance of staying within the walls during these dangerous times. Meera asks Narsa to speak with her if she ever has any concerns for her people.

Rebekka tracks down Leo (after he’s dealt with the mountain man issues) and fills him in on the strange deaths that happened within a few days of each other. Leo is skeptical of her murder claim but eventually plays along. The wall the maid fell from is not a place where a maid should have been, but the soldier died in a staircase servants and soldiers used.

Leo and Rebekka go knocking on Lana’s door and ask about Wilda and Daniel. Lana claims Wilda won a lot of money from Thomas shortly before she died, and Thomas takes losses hard. Lana says she loved Wilda like a sister but never cared for Daniel. Daniel was good friends with Tarrus. Wilda was the first to die. It seems like Lana is telling the truth.

They try tracking down Thomas next. They find his room, but there’s no answer to their knock. When Rebekka picks the lock, she finds Thomas dead, hanging from a rope. Rebekka is morbidly pleased to see that she was right about there being something fishy going on. There are definite signs of a struggle, though someone tried to make it look like suicide. There’s a note on the dresser confessing to the two murders and asking for forgiveness. Leo happens to know that Thomas never joined the SWORD program and couldn’t read or write. Rebekka sadly concludes that Tarrus is probably the guilty party. She and Leo have both known him a long time and gotten significant pieces made by him, like Leo’s wedding ring for Sonya and Rebekka’s dagger for Idwell.

The two finally fetch Meera to fill her in. Corinne overhears and invites herself to the investigation. Meera takes the “suicide note” and requests handwriting samples from all the suspects. Tarrus and Bill were not in SWORD but Silent Ed is. Leo asks Sam to get the writing samples from the soldiers while he and Rebekka talk to Tarrus. Meera will take a look at the body.

Leo questions Tarrus, who isn’t thrilled to hear that the lord is now involved in the investigation. The smith seems shocked to hear of Thomas’ murder. Under questioning, Tarrus confesses he found money on Daniel’s body and used it to buy Lana some nice clothes. He didn’t report finding the body first because he didn’t want to return the money. He was low on funds because he had to pay off some debts and wanted to use it to impress his lady.

Meera determines Thomas was definitely murdered. His killer was bigger and stronger than him and snapped his back over the wooden chest. She compares the writing samples Sam brings her and determines that Billy is the likely culprit. Leo sends orders for Billy and Silent Ed to report to him for instructions at his office. After twenty minutes, only Silent Ed shows up. He indicates he hasn’t seen Billy since he went to bed.

Leo does a search of the castle and learns from a guard at the gate that Billy left the castle on horseback, headed for the Black Squirrel Inn. He, Rebekka, and Meera take their horses in pursuit. Billy’s tracks are erratic; he’s not used to riding, being a navy guy. We soon spot him in the distance and close in. He yells for us to stay away. Meera and Rebekka take shots with their bows while Leo rides hard to get to melee distance. Ysabel comes up riding hard with Corinne sharing her saddle; the bastard woke Ysabel and filled her in on condition that Corinne get to come along.

The shots are enough to knock Billy from his horse, dead. He has 15 silver stags on him. We take the body back to the Teeth and consider the case closed. But it’s clear the garrison soldiers are not doing their job properly if these murders almost went unnoticed. (HOUSE ROLL= -3 LAW)

Rebekka talks to Corinne about what she wants to do. The girl wants to do what Rebekka does, but she has other ideas as well. Corinne shows off the trick she just learned: pretending to find a coin behind Rebekka’s ear (a coin she took from Rupert). Rebekka advises her to study herbology with Maester Meera so she can learn about medicine and poisons.

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frenchsnake

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