House Slagathor - Song of Ice and Fire

SESSION 34 (4/8/18)
Episode 13: Epilogue

The aftermath of the tournament at Harrenhal brings chaos for much of Westeros. The Vale is perhaps the hardest hit— with Lord Arryn dead and his line no more, someone new must be appointed Lord of the Vale. The Mad King doesn’t know who in the Vale to trust, and so refuses to appoint anyone local. Instead, he appoints a warden from King’s Landing to rule. No one in the Vale is happy with this choice, both on principle and because of the man himself, Lord Wilhelm, whose only goal is to enrich himself.

The Vale goes through a period of “occupation” by this southern transplant. Wilhelm beats or kills those who don’t pay him enough tribute and picks off the weakest families, wiping out some entirely so he can seize their lands and assets. One of these victims is House Redfort, which disappears as one of the Great Houses of the Vale. Lord Wilhelm is eventually murdered— by Rebekka, no less, who spends months infiltrating the Eyrie and planning her move so it goes off without a hitch.

Prince Rhaegar is in a tricky position, as he can’t reveal too much of what he knows about what happened behind the scenes at Harrenhal without risking his own safety, and so he can’t operate directly. Instead, he works covertly to try and form a new Conclave to hold the vote which will make him king, hopefully with Lannister and Vale support this time around. The Starks and Tullys are on edge due to the very public deaths of the Arryns; they know they’re in trouble and the hammer could fall on them at any moment. The Mad King doesn’t want to risk gathering everyone in one place like that again. He may not know about the Conclave that was planned, but he’s highly suspicious. He held the tournament at Harrenhal to show his authority, but it all backfired on him and he ended up burning a major lord alive in the sight of many of the highest nobles in the land.

A year or so after Harrenhal, the prince holds a tournament in Dorne as a pretext for his conclave vote, using it to bring all seven great lords together again. This time, the lords follow his lead and finally vote for Rhaegar to take his father’s place as king (only the Greyjoys abstain, not even sending anyone to the tournament). When he learns of this, the Mad King holes up in King’s Landing and, as in canon, Jamie ends up killing him. Rhaegar is conflicted by this; he understands the situation, but he’s loyal to his family and didn’t want his father murdered. In the end, he chooses to send Jamie to the Wall. However, Jamie’s caravan mysteriously disappears on the way to the Wall. The Lannisters are unhappy that Jamie was to be sent to the Wall in the first place, and the prince is unhappy knowing the Lannisters are probably the ones who acted to free their son from his obligation, as Jamie is never seen again.

King Rhaegar fills the power vacuum left in the Vale by appointing the Slagathors to replace House Redfort as one of the Seven Great Houses of the Vale. The current seven great houses are: Royce, Grafton, Corbray, Waynwood, Lynderly, Waxley, and Slagathor. The Bloodhands don’t make a fuss over this, as they realized at Harrenhal that they aren’t ready to become a great house, and they respect the house they elected to lead the Raven Five those scant few months ago. With those seven positions filled, a vote is held to decide which house will become the new Lord of the Vale. House Slagathor still has a good relationship with the Graftons, who are unaware that the Slagathors spoke with the prince or that the Harrenhal vote was going to be called off anyway. In light of our warm relationship, blood ties, and clear Grafton ambitions, House Slagathor supports House Grafton’s winning bid to become Lord of the Vale. The Royces grumble about this development (they had perhaps the greatest claim on the title, after all), but they don’t seem inclined to do anything about it.

The Graftons had been paying off Gabool’s pirates for the year or two leading up to Harrenhal in order to use them as a secondary navy if they were needed. They continue to pay for another year or two after the tournament before putting an end to it, deciding they no longer need the pirates. Around the same time, there’s trouble brewing with the Greyjoys. Rhaegar sends Richard Lonmouth to the Wall as punishment for using his name in vain (i.e. forging the royal signature on the deal with the Greyjoys). This is necessary to show why King Rhaegar can’t honor the deal “he” signed with the Greyjoys and doesn’t give away Tully land to them, but unfortunately, it isn’t enough. Lord Quellon Greyjoy dies mysteriously shortly afterwards, and the Ironborn break into open rebellion.

The Greyjoys recruit the Essosi pirates to swell their navy and use the two forces in a pincer attack against Westeros. While the pirates of Essos attack cities along the east coast, the Ironborn ravage the west. Many cities on both sides are damaged or destroyed, especially Seagard, the one the Greyjoys were supposed to be granted. The Greyjoy rebellion ends more or less as it did in canon, only earlier, so Theon isn’t born yet and it’s his sister Yara who is sent as a ward to the Starks instead. The attacks by the Essosi pirates are ended only with Pirate King Gabool’s death (see below).

King Rhaegar implements his changes gradually in the years to come. It takes the better part of a decade for Westeros to recover from the twofold pirate assault, but eventually the new king’s policies lead to increased trade and better infrastructure. He grants more rights to peasants and works hard to reduce hostilities between lords. Notably for the Slagathors, he grants the people more freedom of religion, including the right to worship the Lord of Light, whose followers build a temple in King’s Landing itself. There are rumors that Rhaegar is aware of the Lightbringer prophecy and might be influenced by it, though the full extend of his belief is unknown.

In the immediate aftermath after Harrenhal, we ask the Graftons where they found the bodies they recovered. Leo and Avlon take some men out to that spot to investigate and look for any trace of their sister. Avlon, the skilled hunter, notices the traces of a boat being built and pushed into the water, and it’s only a day or two after *Ysabel*’s disappearance before her brothers are rowing out to the Isle of Faces to find her.

Unbeknownst to anyone but Ysabel and her three companions, time seems to pass more quickly on the Isle of Faces than in the rest of the world. The old gods of the island grant visions to their guests. Robert Baratheon receives a vision telling him to marry Ysabel, which suits him fine, as he is fully infatuated with the strong-willed woman who brought him here. They are married in the presence of the weyrwood. Ysabel experiences a much more intricate series of visions. The old gods feel that men have become arrogant and have forsaken the ways of the woods, cutting and burning trees as they please. The trees want their territory spread anew, the weyrwoods replanted. They predict that Ysabel and Robert will have a child called Percival the Planter who will plant trees that grow so tall that no malicious forces can penetrate them. These trees are to become the Guardians of the South and will not burn. Ysabel also learns that Nina is a part of all this; in fact, her visions have been coming from the old gods all along, not the Seven. Ysabel emerges from the experience a changed woman, not nearly as focused on worldly things like money as she once was.

Jayne claims to have had no visions, but this is a lie. In actuality, she is given a vision saying she will one day have a child here in Westeros who will go on to do great things. Sam does not, in fact, have any visions of his own, which he probably doesn’t mind.

When Leo and Avlon reach the Isle of Faces a day or two after Harrenhal, they find Ysabel and the other three fully recovered from their wounds as though much more time had passed. Ysabel explains to her family that there was a prophecy and that her future child is a part of it. The Slagathors accompany Ysabel and Robert to the Stormlands to have their official (i.e. standard in a sept) wedding. Robert writes to the Mad King to explain what happened— that is, that he is alive, but that the Arryns did attempt to murder him.

Ysabel and Robert have an overall good relationship and a happy life. Robert has a few affairs here and there, but Ysabel doesn’t care. They have four trueborn children, Percival among them. Upon his birth, the first tree is planted in the Stormlands, and the second in the Teeth. Ysabel takes over many of the operations of the Baratheon household, such as their public relations and treasury. Stannis has great respect for Ysabel for her competence, but Renly never likes her. Stannis’ daughter Shireen, unfortunately, still catches greyscale, but Ysabel calls for Maester Meera, who is able to contain the disfigurement to Shireen’s arm within a few weeks rather than letting it spread to her face or the rest of her body.

Marcus Felix, heir of House Slagathor, marries Lady Ladybright, thus giving up his right to House Slagathor to become one of the Seven Great Lords of Dorne. He becomes close friends to many Dornish leaders and has a hand in helping to orchestrate Prince Rhaegar’s Conclave. Though he doesn’t get to see his father or siblings very often, he enjoys the warm weather and good life in Dorne. He has several children and enjoys a happy life.

Lord Arthur goes on to have another handful of bastards in his time, but he never remarries. Two of his bastards are *Jayne*’s, who had harbored a secret affection for Arthur for some time. He’s satisfied with letting his numerous highly competent children take over so he can enjoy his life. As such, Leo becomes heir of House Slagathor and one day its lord. His most pressing order of business after Harrenhal is dealing with the Redwood curse, which could kill not only Sonya and any future children they might have, but also Lord Aaron Redwood’s wife Jessica Bloodhand and her unborn children. Ysabel mentions that Nina is part of the prophecy she heard and they should consult with her. Nina eventually has an epiphany and declares that the only way to cancel the curse while maintaining their current faith is to make someone of the Lord of Light’s faith cancel it for them.

Leo and Sonya promptly sail to Essos to find someone who can help them. They begin in Braavos, since it’s the closest city, but they find no help there. Sailing down to the Free Cities, they cross Gabool’s territory and have lots of heroic pirate-themed adventures involving Leo defending himself and his wife. Finally they find a group of red priests unaffiliated with the central church. The priests agree to remove the curse, but in return they ask that Leo send them five people, any people, to be converted to their faith and trained as priests. It doesn’t have to be right away, but they advise against waiting too long. Leo and Sonya decide it’s best not to wait, so they buy five slaves at a local market and give them to the priests, which they hope will give the slaves a better life than they would have had otherwise.

The Lord of Light followers perform a ritual involving taking blood from both Leo and Sonya. Upon its completion, they declare that the curse is broken not only for this couple, but for the whole family. There is no way to verify this but to test it. Thankfully, when Leo and Aaron eventually conceive children, both their wives and their children survive. The months of effort and hardship are worth it; the curse is broken. When Leo becomes Lord Slagathor one day, he and his descendants will have nothing to fear. Leo and Sonya have two trueborn children, and Leo never has any bastards, for he is loyal to his wife (and doesn’t wish to antagonize her either). Sam, traumatized by his experiences on the Isle of Faces, vows never to leave Leo’s side again.

The Redfort lands are taken over by the Slagathors, who use their new influence and prestige to form their first bannerhouse, the Karslags. Their House words are “These trees don’t burn” (Ysabel’s suggestion). Clifford, as next in line, becomes the first head of House Karslag, which is named the new fifth member of the Raven Five. He moves to a smaller keep inland— along with his wife and child. For Clifford is already a father, and the mother of his child is a mountain woman he calls Lady Sifh, the leader of the Moon Sisters clan. Shortly before the campaign began, Clifford had been away on a hunt for a month or two. During that time, he and Lady Sifh were caught hiding in the same place during a storm, one thing led to another, and the baby was conceived.

As the new Lord Karslag, Clifford seizes his opportunity to marry Lady Sifh. The public story is that Sifh was a civilized commoner who was kidnapped by mountain men, which saves some face for the family (marrying a commoner, while unusual, is far better socially than marrying someone of mountain man blood). Leo repeats this public lie to Sonya, fearing his wife’s wrath, but she eventually finds out and it becomes an ongoing sore point with her. She does not hold it against Leo that he took in the refugee mountain men during the campaign, since Leo killed those who wouldn’t bend the knee to him. Most if not all of these mountain man refugees move to Clifford’s castle after his marriage to Lady Sifh.

Avlon follows his dream to try and forge better relations with the mountain men, often using Clifford’s castle as a base of operations. He and Reynar work closely together and eventually become a couple. Reynar’s shadowcat grows up and becomes an essential part of their team.

A month or two after the events at Harrenhal, Alundra sends a raven to the Slagathors saying that Rhaegar is suspicious of her and the deal has to be on hold for a while. After a couple of years, though, with things calming down and the prince busy consolidating his power, Alundra finally honors the agreement and names Rebekka and Idwell Lord and Lady Reed (of a branch family of Reeds, but definitely still nobility). It’s likely that Rhaegar suspects the real reason why Rebekka was granted this honor, but he leaves her be in case he needs her services again someday.

Rebekka and Idwell Reed’s House soon becomes known as the one you don’t fuck with. Alundra keeps Rebekka’s family supplied and paid off to train more assassins and spies so she can use them and lend them out as needed. Rebekka builds her own spy network and even trades information with Varys at times (as well as engaging in the occasional assassination job). Rebekka and Idwell eventually have six children (two sets of twins) delivered by Maester Meera.

Corinne goes with Rebekka to live in her new castle. Rebekka names her sister as a legitimate Reed and personally trains her in stealth and spy work (in addition to Corinne’s personal training as a bard). Though Rebekka does not train Corinne for assassinations, Idwell quietly trains her himself, along with his own cadre of assassins.

When the Greyjoys and Essosi pirates mount their attack, Rebekka and Leo are among those involved in the coastal skirmishes to protect the Vale. In a naval battle where the Bloodhands are also present, the Slagathors manage to sink the enemy ships, including one with a skill pirate captain at the helm. Rebekka notices that the enemy captain is strangely familiar to her and captures him for questioning. The pirate captain is stubborn and extremely loyal to Gabool, so Rebekka takes him back to the Teeth.

Over the next few weeks, Rebekka doesn’t make much progress with her prisoner until Meera finally tells her what Arthur told her about there being another bastard one or two years older than Rebekka. The two bastards had the same mother, but Arthur believed the older child to be dead. Rebekka confronts Arthur directly. He explains that he knew there would be trouble if he tried to keep the baby boy, so he made arrangements to send him to Henry Reed to be raised as HIS bastard instead. But then he had gotten a letter a few months later from Henry saying the baby was dead, and Arthur had believed him. Only now does the shocked Arthur learn that his baby was actually kidnapped by Gabool to be raised as HIS son, both to replace the son of his that Arthur had killed and as a “fuck you” to Arthur. The Graftons were actually aware of the boy because they were dealing with the pirates for several years, and Gabool straight-up told them because he knew Randall hated our family as much as he did.

Rebekka puzzles over how to convince her long-lost brother, Glenn, to turn on Gabool and join her side. While wandering the castle, she finds her mother’s old room for the first time and discovers a treasure trove of diaries and drawings of her babies. The journals also explain the whole, true story about Lady Slagathor murdering people and Maddy feeling like she had to do something about it. Rebekka is furious with Arthur and Meera for months afterwards for not telling her the truth in the first place, but this information is enough to convince Glenn to turn coat and side with the Slagathors, his real family.

Glenn now pitches in and helps the Slagathors plan a counterattack against Gabool, using his intimate knowledge of his “adopted father” against him. The fight is rough at first, but they eventually see that Glenn was telling the truth and showing them an opening right into the heart of Gabool’s forces. Arthur has an epic one-on-one duel against Gabool and just barely wins, killing the pirate king at last. With Gabool dead, the pirate forces split and run, leaving the Slagathors and other Westerosi forces with plenty of loot to show for their trouble.

Glenn sticks around the Teeth for a year or so to get to know the family, but he eventually grows tired of the sedentary life. He goes with Rebekka for a while when she gets her new castle and title, then leaves to explore the rest of Westeros on his own. He becomes a hedge knight and comes back to visit his sister now and then. Later, Rebekka finally confides in Marcus Felix and tells him the truth about their mothers.

The maesters spend the months after Harrenhal dealing with the chaos of brewing war and working through the bureaucracy necessary to establish the maesters in Essos as decided during the tournament. They require more maesters to train new people and oversee the budding program, and Meera seems a natural choice based on her performance at Harrenhal and overseeing the SWORD program. She is summoned to the Citadel to run the program, but once there she immediately argues in favor of building at outpost at the Teeth to train the maesters destined for work in Essos. It’s much closer geographically to Essos (and Braavos in particular, which is the most favorable place for the program to start). The Slagathors are now a great house of the Vale and in a good position to support such an endeavor, and it would make a good base of operations. The maesters agree to this, and after a few months Meera returns to the Vale to head the new training center. There’s plenty of room at the Teeth to host the maesters during their transitions, and the rest of the old towers are restored to house them.

Meera is as attached as always to the Teeth and all its inhabitants. She treats all the children as her own, from the oldest to the youngest. And speaking of children, she gradually develops a close relationship with an Essosi associate she’s been dealing with to help her find places for maesters to work in Essos. As maesters are not allowed to have romantic relationships or children, she keeps her pregnancies hidden and conceals her children (eventually three in all) among Lord Arthur’s many bastards.

Shortly after Harrenhal, events come to a head with Maester Gerrick, Meera’s missing mentor. He is the last surviving Reyne (of Castamere), left alive only because Tywin didn’t know at first that one of the family had gone to the Citadel. The seneschal, who we know to be in the pocket of the Lannisters, ends up expelling Gerrick from Oldtown because he knows Tywin wants the last Reyne dead. Gerrick attempts to flee to Essos, but he’s captured shortly after Harrenhal by the Waynwoods, where Maester Tywinna (herself of Lannister stock, if you couldn’t guess) presides.

Corinne tips Meera off about Gerrick being held captive by the Waynwoods, so Meera pays the family a visit under some pretext. Tywinna tells Meera a fabricated story she clearly doesn’t believe about Gerrick being arrested for helping the Lord of Light fanatics. Though Tywinna is conflicted, she feels she has to capture Gerrick for Tywin because she’s still a Lannister at heart. Meera convinces her friend that she can let Gerrick flee to Essos where he’ll be well out of the way. As extra insurance, she has one of Rebekka’s people break Gerrick out of the cells and sneak him to safety while they’re talking. Tywinna is annoyed because she suspects Meera helped Gerrick escape somehow, but since she and Meera are good friends and Meera had already convinced her it was for the best anyway, Tywinna lets it go.

Meera’s sister Alarys eventually becomes head of the newly built, long-promised sept at the Teeth. Their brother accepts the invitation to work for the Coldwaters for a time, but he eventually returns to the Teeth as well, deciding to stay with his family after all.

Marla Stone follows in Meera’s footsteps and becomes a maester.* Little Lilly* becomes a great scholar studying all the animals she can. She travels far and wide, writing books about animals and her travels, and even discovers a new species of lizard-lions called “crocodiles”. She visits Rebekka years later and gives her a handbook she wrote on how to train gators, which Rebekka puts to good use.

Rupert eventually winds up in Essos a few years after Harrenhal. He’s very confident in his abilities, but, as the youngest (legitimate) Slagathor son, he knows he doesn’t have many opportunities coming his way. He wants to build a name for himself somewhere else and maybe return someday. We hear rumors that he’d leading a mercenary group in Essos, and he starts sending the family periodic updates. That’s not all he sends, either— we sometimes receive ships full of free goodies from Essos to show his enduring love and loyalty to the family.

Gareth Stone heads to Essos with Rupert. Tiberius the Tall goes to Dorne with Marcus Felix for a few years but doesn’t like it there, so he eventually joins Rupert’s company as well.

Geena and Jayne handle matters of coin for the Teeth for years. Geena often travels back and forth between the Teeth and Gulltown, enjoying her independence too much to settle down. It’s always rumored that she’s seeing someone or other, but nothing ever lasts long. In fact, the family starts hearing rumors of men mysteriously dying or disappearing around her in a series of tragic “accidents”. Meera, who knows the truth about Geena’s mother, eventually confronts the girl. Rather than explain or defend herself, Geena flees to Essos and her family never sees or hears from her again.

The Graftons generally have a very favorable view of the Slagathors from Harrenhal on. Lord Marq Grafton becomes Lord of the Vale and eventually becomes Master of Coin to the king, like he always wanted. Marq’s son Gerald rules the Vale from Gulltown, which eventually becomes the de facto capitol of the Vale. He disliked us at first but grows to a more neutral view of us over the years. Viktor never marries; he simply rules the Eyrie for the family in order to maintain it. Randall never likes us and never forgives Arthur for his sister’s death. For the rest of his life, he only sees the Slagathor kids as reminders of his lost sister. Jeremy dies a few years after Harrenhal, and his wife Kinara returns home to Braavos, never to return. -Kale trains with Viktor and becomes a knight. Little Allison hasn’t married yet, but rumors say her love is in Essos and will one day return to her (i.e. Rupert).

The Teeth and Gulltown continue to grow in a sort of symbiotic relationship. While Gulltown is a cultural capitol, the Teeth is an industrial port, its enormous castle towering over everything. The Teeth is all fixed up for use by maesters and others coming through, and the town around the Teeth gradually grows larger and larger. The East-West highway is continually improved and expanded, and eventually a North-south highway is built too, as the Graftons want the roads and increased trade just as much as the Slagathors do. Clifford, Avlon, and Reynar keep the roads safe from mountain men and bandits (the Graftons are used to just bribing people to leave them alone). Some mountain men open legitimate businesses along the roads to cater to travelers and make some extra coin.

Crabbe and Goyle learn to read, as they promised, but they use their newfound knowledge to experiment with fire and explosives and wind up killing themselves.

The Backteeth Boys go on a very successful tour of Westeros with 98 Decrees.

Nina marries into House Upcliff as we arranged before Harrenhal. Unlike most families probably would, the Upcliffs encourage her visions. Nina sometimes warns Meera or her siblings about things they should be wary of or investigating based on these visions. She continues to think her visions come from the Seven and Ysabel never sees fit to correct her; her sister thinks Nina’s faith in the Seven is too strong to shake it now and risk interrupting the visions altogether. The quiet girl has several children and a happy life. She becomes known as a famous yet reclusive painter, and her work crops up here and there and sells for a lot of money each time.

One day, Nina sends out a series of paintings, five in all. Each shows Percival walking with a group of people but highlights a different person. One is sent to Ysabel and focuses on Percival as the leader. One is focused on a child Nina knows to be Leo’s, so it goes to him. One painting is mailed to Meera, which confuses Nina, who senses the painting is for the maester but isn’t aware of Meera’s secret children hidden among the many Slagathor bastards. One painting depicts Rebekka’s child, but Nina refuses to send it because she will never trust Rebekka. And the fifth painting, with lighting focused on a different child, is sent off to parts unknown…

THE END…………………………?

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SESSION 33 (4/8/18)
Episode 12: The Tragedy of Harrenhal

Day 6 Action 2

As Prince Rhaegar is leaving our tent, Lord Arthur offers him our services with winning over the Lannisters and doing any other tasks he needs doing (essentially volunteering Rebekka).

Leo’s opponents in the melee finals will be the Shadowcats, a group composed of North and Vale fighters led by Jorah Mormont. Rebekka decides to help her brother try and win his fight by poisoning his opponents to weaken them. She disguises herself as a servant to try sneaking into the Northern camp, where security has been tighter since the assassination. A guard questions her reason for being there and she says she’s there to help prep for the day’s events. One is skeptical of her claim of being a Bolton servant, but the other just tells his buddy to let her go; the Boltons are not a family even Stark servants feel like messing with.

Rebekka finds Jorah talking someone new into joining his team because the Corbrays aren’t available anymore. Intrigued, Rebekka wonders what happened to the Corbrays. She goes to a servant named Jennifer who’s busy prepping food and wine for the melee team. The servant asks if she brought the pepper, so Rebekka obligingly pours in the poison she brought with her and Jennifer doesn’t notice the difference. Jennifer mentions that the Corbrays have been ordered to perform some duty or other by the Arryns which is why they can’t fight in the finals. Her task complete, Rebekka takes her leave and informs the rest of the family about the Corbrays’ mysterious absence.

Leo arrives at the melee tent to find Marcus Felix looking mighty pleased with himself. Rebekka lurks there in disguise just for fun. MF boasts about taking a “stroll” with Lady Ladybright. Rebekka teases him and takes a sip of his wine, and he finally recognizes her. When Rebekka mentions the Corbrays stepping out, MF points out that Lord Arryn and Lord Egan had to step out of our team and have been replaced by some random losers. Leo and Rebekka explain briefly about the prince visiting our tent this morning and speculate about whether this is a result of the prince making a move, or the Arryns, or both…

The crowd’s reaction upon seeing the two team lineups is less than enthusiastic. Both teams are lacking some of their best fighters (Elbert, Egan, and Jaspar Redfort from our team; the Corbrays from the other team). On the plus side, with Elbert missing, Leo is voted the new team leader to finish the melee. Leo and Jorah enter carrying the banners of their respective teams and greet each other respectfully. A lot of Jorah’s team aren’t looking too well; some of the newer members are even throwing up, ostensibly from nerves.

Jorah and Leo naturally move in to face each other for the final battle. Leo takes the upper hand at the start despite his wounds. The crowd is mainly focused on the team leaders, since the rest of the fighters, between the replacements and the sick folks, aren’t putting on much of a show. Marcus Felix is putting up a decent fight against a Karstark. The Jorah/Leo fight is a close one, with neither making much headway against the other for a few blows, but Leo gradually chips away at Jorah’s strength. Wounds and injuries pile up on both sides. It’s long, intense fight, with the two of them among the last two standing. Jorah finally takes the upper hand— he congratulates Leo on his combat abilities, but ends the fight knocking Leo out with the hilt of his sword. Rebekka cries out in dismay from the stands. As Jorah turns to the crowd to bask in his apparent victory, Marcus Felix, flail in hand, knocks out the Karstark behind him.

Jorah and MF turn to face each other. They jump into the fight next, the last two standing, but MF is soon able to disarm his opponent. Jorah yields, and MF points at Lady Ladybright, who is cheering him on heartily. The rest of the Dorne watchers are thoroughly impressed and seem like they understand more why Ladybright has taken a shine to this young Vale warrior. Our team is victorious, earning 5 Glory for House Slagathor.

Elsewhere, the archery competition is underway. Avlon is facing off against Jason Mallister of Seagard. Jason wins the first round, but the second one simulates a hunt and Avlon wins it handily. The third round narrowly goes to Jason, but then the judges suddenly notice that Jason hit the wrong target in the tricky second round, granting Avlon the victory. As the winner of the archery tournament, Avlon wins his house 5 Glory, just like his big brothers.

Far from the roar of the crowd, Ysabel continues riding south with Robert. They follow the shore past the Isle of Faces and look for good hunting targets while Ysabel tries to keep him occupied and alive. Seeing how wounded Robert still is, Ysabel tells him stories of fishing at the Teeth and convinces him they should go fishing instead. Their servants get to work straightaway crafting fishing rods and a boat. Robert isn’t a great fisherman, but Ysabel teams up with the servants to make Robert think he’s doing a great job, even getting a servant to lurk underwater and put the biggest fish he can find on Robert’s hook.

Elsewhere, two teams of horsemen are galloping away from Harrenhal. One includes Elbert Arryn and Lord Egan; the other includes Viktor Grafton and the Corbrays. Both parties of twenty or so men are riding south. Geena spots them riding south and wonders if she ought to tell her father.

It’s time for the big maester conclave. No place at Harrenhal has room enough indoors for all the maesters, so they’re meeting outside in an amphitheater, far enough from the rest of the activities to get some privacy. The maesters are sitting in two camps. The meeting starts with dealing with lists of administrative issues, from textbooks to leeches. Finally it comes down to the big debate for dealing with the Lord of Light issue. Esteva recommended that Meera speak for Solution Three, and Maester Luwin of House Darry was selected to argue for Solution One. There will be a debate, followed by a silent vote.

Meera starts with her opening arguments. Luwin sees that she has the advantage from the start, but he refutes her arguments calmly and logically as best he can. Meera details how her side’s plan is good not just for dealing with this short-term problem, but also for strengthening the future of our order, learning new things along the way. Luwin’s argument is mainly that now is not the right time to do this, considering how everyone can tell Westeros is headed for a time of chaos. Meera cracks a little joke about the pace of bureaucracy but goes on to explain that we can’t just be reactive in responding to threats; we need to take the fight to them, as it were. Luwin is concerned that we’re being too aggressive and we need to wait for the Essosi to ask for us. Meera argues that we can always use contacts from merchants and traders to open relations with Essosi nobles on a small scale and work our way up so it doesn’t come across as too large and aggressive an operation. Luwin is affronted by the idea of using merchants and calls them unreliable and untrustworthy. He’s clearly getting frustrated and gives the impression that people on the coast are untrustworthy in general. Meera lets him talk himself into silence and then, with a somewhat chiding teacher tone, explains how increased relations between Essos and Westeros can only be a good thing and is the only way we’re going to win the PR battle in the long run.

Luwin finally concedes. The vote is won in Meera’s favor. It will take months of planning and paperwork, but the maesters will end up reaching out to Essosi nobles to open talks, starting with nobles in Braavos 0(which is slave-free and suits our culture better). Luwin and Meera chat after the vote and both have a lot of respect for each other. Meera is the hero of the hour to many of the maesters and is offered drinks at the after-party. Targon congratulates her jovially and says we could let the festivities go on all night if things weren’t so busy. There’s no opportunity to speak to him privately about the latest developments, but based on his friendly air she guesses he doesn’t yet know everything that’s happened. Meera earns 3 Glory for House Slagathor.

Day 6, Action 3

Rebekka, dressed in the garb of a Targaryen servant (which the prince had sent to her earlier), goes to meet with the prince and fills him in on the news about the Arryn and Grafton parties riding south. The prince says that while he’s in talks with Kevan Lannister, he wants Rebekka to look around the Lannister camp and find out what Kevan really likes. Rhaegar intends to use this to give Kevan something he likes to help with negotiations. As for the report about the hunting parties, the prince is troubled and isn’t sure what the best course of action is. He hasn’t told the Graftons yet that he knows everything. His best guess is that the Graftons are riding to try and make sure Robert doesn’t come back, perhaps in response to learning that the Arryn party went out. It could result in the Arryn and Grafton parties clashing. The prince could send a party of his own after them, but he doesn’t see how they could catch up.

The Lannister camp is made up of a maze-like network of tents connected to each other so no one ever has to go outside if they don’t want to. The whole thing is opulent and luxurious. Rebekka blends in with the other servants and goes looking for Kevan’s tent to find out more about him. Rather than having the largest, central tent, Kevan’s quarters are located in a more out-of-the-way location in camp. His room doesn’t contain lots of material things like gold or finery; what he has the most of is maps, particularly maps of Essos. The room is far less fancy than you would expect of most nobles (it’s not as nice as Arthur’s room, for example). She takes a shot at unlocking a chest she finds under his bed while she’s there, but it’s a very complex lock. When she finds that she’s accidentally jammed the mechanism, she decides it’s time to just leave. No guards spot her as she makes her way back to the prince and fills her in on what she saw. The gift idea goes down well, as the prince tells her after the fact, and he thanks her for her help and invites her up to Harrenhal to eat with the royal family’s servants.

Maester Meera, Avlon, Marcus Felix, and Leo are all invited to dine in Harrenhal itself that evening. Unfortunately, Leo is still unconscious and won’t be waking up until tomorrow. This dinner is a smaller affair than the first night, reserved mainly for upper nobles and tournament winners, including the artists and mummers who won their respective competitions. The king and queen are there; the prince is not. The Vale, North and Riverlands are significantly underrepresented. Meera spends much of the evening covertly observing the king. He has signs of stress and aging, but more than that, the rumors of his paranoia are clearly true. He’s watching everyone all the time and trying to figure out what’s happening around him, and it’s hard to watch him for more than a few seconds before his eyes are sliding towards Meera’s. She spots his spymaster, Varys, sidle up to the king at one point. He’s very good; he’s gone practically as soon as he appears, and most people don’t notice him.

Rebekka is there per the prince’s instructions. Avlon is looking distinctly out of place at the fancy party, so Rebekka and Meera both try to discreetly support him. Marcus Felix is looking very fancy tonight; he probably got some help from Geena, which works out well, since Lady Ladybright is looking just as fabulous. Lord Arthur is there are well, since most of his family has been invited, and even Geena somehow gets in. Nina stays home to tend to Leo’s wounds.

Ysabel and Robert eat their fish and continue on along the lake to enjoy the light of the full moon. As they’re settling in for the night, one of Robert’s servants rides up to report that there seems to be a group of riders heading this way, riding hard. Ysabel is concerned and suggests they break camp and keep moving. She applies a healing salve to Robert to ease his discomfort.

Ysabel quickly forms a plan for dealing with this pursuit. She sends some guards to meet the hunting party (or whoever they are) and has other servants work hurriedly on completing the boat they’ve been building. She thinks taking the boat out into the lake (the God’s Eye) and hiding out on the Isle of Faces for a while might be the best solution for keeping Robert safe and out of the way until Harrenhal is done. The guards obey her wishes. With the boat complete, Ysabel takes Jayne and Sam with her and Robert, and they begin rowing out into the lake.

As the boat makes headway into the lake, the riders reach the shore and Elbert Arryn calls out to them. Elbert shouts that he needs Robert to come back because his life is in danger. Ysabel indignantly protests this. When Elbert sees that Robert isn’t inclined to turn around, the Arryns sort out the remaining servants by Slagathor and Baratheon men, then execute the Slagathor guards one by one (about half a dozen in all). Ysabel decides it’s best to keep Robert focused on the rowing and doesn’t point out the guards being murdered behind them. She keeps applying salve and massaging Robert so he can continue to row. The Baratheon guards are not harmed. Some Arryn guards strip out of their armor and try to swim after the boat, but it’s just too far. Some take out bows to fire, taking an enormous risk of hitting a great lord.

Elbert keeps shouting that Robert is in danger from the assassin with him, but Ysabel keeps Robert focused on his rowing to get them away as fast as possible, and Robert isn’t listening. Ysabel uses her dark cloak to help shield her and the others from sight in the darkness. The first volley of arrows rains down on the little boat. Jayne is wounded by one arrow, while Sam is peppered (like Boromir). But everyone keeps pushing on. As the archers prep their second volley, a strange mist suddenly pours out over the lake, shielding the boat’s occupants from sight, and the boat is suddenly at the mysterious island. Sam pulls out his arrows and helps Jayne tend to hers, and then the men drag the boat up out of the water. All four have survived, and Robert in fact seems to have an unusual amount of energy now despite his persistent wounds. In fact, all of their wounds and injuries seem better than they should be.

Robert appears strangely excited to explore the island, almost as though he’s being compelled. Jayne and Sam seem normal, and Jayne whispers to Ysabel about rumors of gods interfering in the affairs of mortals. Sam doesn’t sense anything, but Ysabel comments that it almost feels like the island wants them here. Jayne confesses that she made a prayer for their safety as they fled, and she wonders if her prayer was answered…

They walk into the trees and find that they were planted in a pattern, maybe a spiral or concentric circles, but it’s hard to see exactly through the thickening mist. The four cling to each other so as not to lose their way and make their way towards the center. In the very center of the island, they find an enormous tree, an old, old weyrwood, and they could swear they hear it welcoming them…

Day 7, Action 1

Leo wakes up the next morning to find Nina and Sonya worried but proud of him. Everyone is expected to go to the joust, the main event, because the king will attend. Sonya insists on having Leo wear his plate armor to the joust for protection; he also takes a dagger and his shield to display the Slagathor coat of arms. Rebekka considers wearing her Targaryen outfit but ultimately decides just to wear nice servant clothes instead. Food and drink is all free today, and people are generally in good spirits.

The prince faces off against Bronze Yohn Royce first and unseats him in the first round. He faces Brandon Stark next and unseats him just as easily. Those of us who are aware of the background plotting suspect that most of the prince’s opponents are throwing their matches on purpose and letting the prince win. Marcus Felix sneaks off towards the Dornish tents to see his Ladybright and he asks Rebekka to find out the lady’s favorite stone if she can. Rebekka questions if it’s wise to step away from the joust right now, but MF points out that the Dornish tents are close to the joust area and he won’t be far away if he’s needed.

There are murmurings in the crowd that some of the missing nobles are arriving late. Rebekka flashes her consortium symbol to a servant and learns that Lord Grafton has returned to camp with Lord Arryn’s heir in chains. What’s more, both parties left with about twenty people, but the Graftons are returning with ten and the Arryns with only a few. There’s no word on what happened to Robert Baratheon or anyone else who might have been with him. Rebekka fills MF in on this and takes him and his lady back to the joust to tell the rest of the family what she’s heard. The consortium-affiliated servants are gradually trickling towards the exits in case things are about to go south. We wonder if we need to arm ourselves. Meera hopes that the lack of mention of bodies means that Ysabel and Robert are all right; as nobles, their bodies would surely have been brought back.

Viktor Grafton arrives and announces to everyone at the joust that Elbert Arryn appears to have killed Robert Baratheon. He reveals a cart full of bodies of dead Baratheon and Slagathor servants. Elbert and Lord Egan are alive, but severely wounded and not being tended to. Other nobles who went along are also dead on the cart, including Jaspar Redfort and both Corbrays. Viktor tells the story Elbert told him about Ysabel and Robert disappearing on a boat, a story he clearly doesn’t believe. He assumes Elbert had Robert and Ysabel killed and their bodies dumped in the lake before the Graftons arrived. Elbert, panicking, tries to deny everything, but it’s not looking good for him.

The king calls Jon Arryn down to the field to answer for his nephew. Jon says this must be a misunderstanding, but it’s an internal Vale matter that he can deal with. The king silences him and pronounces his judgment— he declares the Arryns guilty of spilling royal blood (as Robert is/was a distant relative). Once Viktor and his men step out of the circle, the king has his men surrounded the Arryns and their conspirators, calls his royal alchemist… and sets them all aflame, the living and the dead. Maester Meera shields the younger Slagathor children from the sight, but she can’t block the screams from all of their ears. The crowd watches in shocked silence. Only once the murderers are reduced to piles of ash does the king speak again. He declares the tournament over and orders everyone to go home to their keeps. Thus does the tournament of Harrenhal end, the Arryn line extinguished.

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SESSION 32 (4/4/18)
Episode 12: The Tragedy of Harrenhal

Day 6 Action 1

Some distance from Harrenhal, Ysabel is busy keeping Robert Baratheon entertained and keeping him moving away from the tourney. She leads him deep into the woods to the south under the pretext of letting him show off his hunting abilities. Robert is becoming quite enamored with her. He still has significant injuries, but he’s pushing himself to impress her, so the wounds may not be healing quite as they should. She does her best to baby him and keep his injuries clean, which is all she can do on her own.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Slagathors have a surprise prince visit to deal with. Marcus Felix and Ysabel are both missing, but the rest of the family is present per Lord Arthur’s request, including Rebekka (standing in the corner like a servant). While we’re waiting for the prince to arrive, Avlon asks why the prince would be coming to see us. Meera deflects by saying it could be lots of things. Geena hopes he’s come to propose.

The tent flap dramatically opens and the prince enters, dressed in dark clothes (a disguise). At this distance, he’s clearly handsome, fit, well-trained, and everything royalty should be. The prince greets us cordially, and after a moment of surprise, Lord Arthur returns the greeting and introduces everyone but Rebekka and the other servant present. Avlon sighs sadly, and when the prince asks him why, Avlon stammers that he’s missing his archery competition. Learning that the boy is a finalist, Rhaegar sends a servant to delay the competition until the afternoon.

The prince asks if we know what he’s been doing. Meera says vaguely that we’ve heard he was moving about in disguise. Rhaegar explains he’s been investigating the murder of Howland Reed. He’s aware of our history and how we separated from the Reeds. He comments that the murderer was a very strange woman and he believes she had help. They found the crest of House Frey there. Based on Lyanna’s testimony, she was with Howland because she was protecting him from Doge Frey and a couple of others, who were trying to impress Alundra Reed. The prince has been investigating and believes Lord Walder Frey knows nothing about what happened, so Doge Frey is the most likely culprit as an accomplice.

At that, the prince has a servant open a box to reveal the severed head of Doge Frey, mauled by various animals. Meera identifies the head and explains what happened with him in Gulltown way back when. The prince then speaks of Alundra Reed, who, since the second day, has been careful to make her actions known at all times, like a cover story. Alundra told the prince he should look at her cousin Perry Reed (the current lord of the branch family that took over the old Slagathor castle). However, the prince happened to know that Perry Reed’s family is currently quarantined due to an outbreak of Greenscale.

The prince has heard that Alundra has been visiting the Vale a lot recently and asks if Alundra visited us. Arthur truthfully says no. But then the prince asks about correspondence. Arthur says briefly that she sent a letter but never visited. The prince finds Alundra suspicious and wonders if we’re connected. He then turns to questioning Leo about the death of his rival, Mandon Moore. Leo steadfastly says he didn’t kill him. The prince asks who killed him; Leo repeats the rumors that a whore did it. The prince asks for his opinion; Leo says it’s not his place to say.

Next, the prince comments on Ysabel’s absence. He’s aware that she’s away with Robert Baratheon and has been speaking with many lords. Geena bats her eyes at the prince and says the Slagathor women are very popular. The prince politely acknowledges her. Leo volunteers information about the pirate he killed when he was ambushed at the Greyjoy camp and says it was a great opportunity to kill a dangerous pirate. We bring up the SWORD program and the prince is greatly interested until one of his men reminds him why he’s here (Meera promises to write up the details for him later).

Rhaegar finally sits down to level with us. He’s heard a lot of good things about us, but he’s also “interested” in the sudden power plays we’ve been making lately. He knows we’re involved in the effort to put him on the throne tomorrow. He offers us a deal: if we agree to tell him everything we know about what’s been happening at Harrenhal, he will do all he can to protect our family. He suspects we’re being set up as fall guys for someone else and we’ve bitten off more than we can chew.

Meera leans forward at the table and carefully explains everything we know about the succession situation – the Arryn plot, the Grafton role, the Greyjoy demands, and so on. It becomes increasingly clear that the prince knew very little about what was going on or that there was even any opposition to his succession, and just as clear that he’s furious about it, though he contains himself well. The Graftons have kept him mostly in the dark about the issues surrounding the vote, and he wasn’t even aware of the Greyjoy demands. If the Greyjoys have been offered something in writing confirming the transfer of Seagard, it wasn’t written in the prince’s hand. Leo goes on to explain how he witnessed Mandon Moore’s murder at the hand of Lord Egan (and at the order of the Arryns), and Maester Meera prompts Rebekka to step forward and speak about the trap Doge Frey tried to set for her and Idwell in the bear pit (though framing it as a Frey grudge since Gulltown and not mentioning anything about the connection to Leona Frey and Howland Reed’s murder).

The younger Slagathors listen to all of this in stunned silence. Avlon is clearly trying his best to understand everything we’ve been up to. Geena is mostly still starstruck by the prince and probably isn’t taking much else in. Nina, for her part, seems disgruntled.

The prince presses us to see if there’s anything else we’re not telling him, but we’re steadfast on that point. He asks about our family’s ambitions and our recent actions in the Vale. Meera insists that virtually everything we’ve been doing has been for safety and defense, such as the anti-pirate coalition and the efforts to repel the Lord of Light fanatics. She’s not impressed when he brushes off the Lord of Light issue as a minor problem.

The prince is worried about how the vote might go, even if he is elected king. His greatest fear is triggering a civil war. Learning that the Arryns, Starks, and Tullys are all against him puts him in a difficult position. If he honors the agreement with the Greyjoys and gives them some Tully land, the Tullys could revolt. If he takes some Arryn land to give to the Tullys to pacify them, the Arryns might revolt in turn. This vote could destabilize all of Westeros. So what to do? Cancel the vote for now? Or somehow convince the king to step down without having one?

Even with his disguise, it’s almost guaranteed people will soon know the prince came to visit us. We will need the protection he promised us in exchange for our information. His idea for that is to have us pledge ourselves directly to the Targaryens so our lands count as Crownlands instead of Vale; thus any attack against us would be considered an attack on the royal family. Alternatively, he could have us up and move to the Crownlands directly.

The prince weighs every option carefully. He knows he can’t punish the Arryns or, really, anyone, without his father knowing and reacting (or overreacting). However, he will take any opportunity that arises to replace the lords of the Vale, North, and Riverlands. The prince thinks he knows who forged his signature on the deal with the Greyjoys but doesn’t tell us who he suspects.

We’re left with a handful of options for moving forward. We could delay the vote to anther time and wait for a better opportunity while enjoying the prince’s protection. We could talk to the king and try to get him to step down peacefully (an option we’re well aware could go terribly wrong and get any messenger killed). We could try to force the king to step down, which could go very badly and would be considered illegal. Or we could still try to have the vote as planned— keep Robert away, convince the Lannisters using Jamie as a bargaining chip, threaten or arrest the Arryns and Tullys and Starks…

The prince is spooked by what’s been happening and would rather not hold the vote tomorrow. The rest of us debate the pros and cons, risks and rewards for a good long time. In the end, though no one is happy to throw in the towel, the majority decide that the risks are too great and both we and Westeros would be better served by waiting for a better moment. The prince readily agrees with our decision (and is probably greatly relived not to have to argue over it). We recommend that he continue the efforts we started to try and win over the other lords in preparation for the next vote, particularly the Lannisters— he can try to convince Kevan and have him pass on the message to Tywin.

The prince recommends we act normal for now and finish up our other activities at the tournament. He may need our help in the evening, such as with convincing the Lannisters, but he’ll let us know if and when that need arises. Otherwise, we just need to keep our heads down for the rest of today and tomorrow, play nice, and try not to draw too much attention to ourselves…

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SESSION 31 (3/28/18)
Episode 12: The Tragedy of Harrenhal

Day 5, Action 3

In order to placate the Arryns, Meera goes to the Greyjoy camp to put on a show of working to recruit the Ironborn. She opts to go alone. Some Ironborn guards are rude to her, but eventually they take her to the Damphair. He presses her for information on what Ysabel and Lord Greyjoy discussed last night. Meera convinces him that it’s not her place to say, but invites him to pass on a message to his father that the deal is on track to proceed smoothly; if his father then decides it’s time to tell him, he will. The Damphair is satisfied with this, and they spend the remainder of the evening speaking about the Drowned God. He wishes for Meera to relay a suggestion to Lord Arthur to allow a priest of the Drowned God to take up residence at the Teeth. In other news, Erik the intern has been fired and re-hired as the piss-boy.

Leo helps Avlon train for tomorrow’s archery finals. As they train, a servant lets Leo know that two men named Crabbe and Goyle wish to speak with him. Leo goes to meet with them in his tent along with Tiberius the Tall. They carry no weapons or armor today. It turns out they’re here for a sort of job interview; their previous employer is dead, and they’re at a loss. Since he can’t think of a reason to turn them down, Leo says they can work for him on the condition that they join the SWORD program to learn to read and write. The goons pull out some booze they took from Mandon Moore’s tent and the four men get to drinking. Avlon joins them after a while and starts drinking too, though thankfully Leo is able to keep him from getting too drunk. And then Sam joins in, and even Lord Arthur eventually. Marcus Felix does NOT show up; word is he’s still out wooing Lady Ladybright of Dorne.

With Nina’s lovely painting in tow, Ysabel decides to try and see Robert Baratheon. She takes Jayne and a few other servants with her, a small contingent. She is approached by a contingent led by Lord and Lady Swann, who questions who she is and why she’s here. She lets her servants do her introduction. The lord scoffs, and the lady sneers that she must be yet another woman come to “comfort Lord Baratheon in his time of need”. Ysabel is polite and says we’re all hoping for his recovery. Lady Swann says interruptions by country bumpkins do nothing to help him recover.

Seeing there’s no other way past, Ysabel engages Lady Swann in the catty social combat the higher lady seems to crave, which draws a crowd. Swann shows off jewelry and clothing she got in King’s Landing. Ysabel counters by saying how our house spends its wealth on bettering its people and navy rather than on such frivolities, which earns her some applause from the crowd. Swann boasts of her family’s high status in the Stormlands and belittles the little-known Slagathor family’s place in history. Ysabel knocks Swann for considering her house higher than the lords they serve, the Baratheons, and adds that the Slagathors are making their own history rather than relying on the deeds of their ancestors. According to Swann, the entire point of being noble is having lineage that raises you above the rabble, otherwise you might as well be common Essosi barbarians. Ysabel speaks of our accomplishments, such as the number of Slagathors competing in the various finals tomorrow. As Lady Swann caves into silence, Ysabel graciously has Jayne give her opponent a cup of coffee to show what the Essosi can do. Swann is quite impressed by the coffee and asks about Ysabel’s supplier, at which point Jayne takes over. The crowd applauds Ysabel and Lord Swann discreetly passes her a prize from his Cracker Jack box (a little lead horse toy).

Elsewhere, Rebekka is on her way to the secret meeting the note requested. The directions lead her to a tent city populated by Harrenhal’s displaced servants (temporarily expelled due to the size of the king’s retinue). Idwell goes with her discreetly as backup. In the alley where Rebekka was told to meet, she finds an older woman, crouched down and rocking in place, dirty and peasant-looking, leaning against a barrel. Rebekka stays cautiously near the mouth of the alley and asks if she wrote the letter. The old woman says her master did, and he ordered her to take her somewhere else to meet him. Reluctantly, Rebekka follows the strange woman.

They pass through the tent city until they approach the walls of Harrenhal itself. A few whispers get them through the back gate. The old woman leads her through the passages of the castle, Rebekka being sure to keep her guide in front of her. They descend past cages full of animals like deer and boar until they reach an outdoor, circular room— the famous Harrenhal bear pit.

A dozen bear puns later, Rebekka spots two men waiting there overlooking the pit, one holding something, one sitting with his legs dangling over the pit. She recognizes the sitting one as Doge Frey. Doge accuses her of finally following through on the assassination attempt she started back in Gulltown; his sister has turned up dead, and he’s sure Rebekka is to blame. Despite her protests of ignorance, he intends to pit her against the fiercest bear money can buy and watch her die.

Ysabel proceeds towards Robert’s room and meets Maester Cressen. They speak favorably of Meera (Cressen finds her to be wise) and Ysabel explains why she’s here. She says Nina painted something to offer Robert some comfort during his recovery. Cressen has heard of Nina’s skill and allows Ysabel to enter to present the gift in person. Robert sends away everyone else when he sees Ysabel. She presents the painting, which he appreciates, he chats about hunting. Ysabel keeps him talking about the good times and flatters him as much as she can until he’s in a great mood.

Ysabel mentions Leo, who Robert has hung out with before, and says how boring this tourney is for people like them when they could just go home to go hunting and have fun again. Robert sighs that he’d love to go home, but he has to wait until he’s well enough to ride his own horse; he refuses to ride in a cart. Failing that, she tries to talk him into putting someone else in charge of the boring bureaucratic stuff so he can just have fun. He starts putting the moves on her, and she actually reciprocates. She suggests he put the Lonmouths in charge of handling business in his absence and he readily agrees. They agree to sneak out in secret and leave Harrenhal altogether, probably until after the tournament is over. Ysabel will take Jayne and Sam with her on their little excursion. She’ll be showing Robert a good time and keeping him well away until the danger has passed… if she can.

As the bear roars in the darkness of the opposite doorway from where Rebekka entered, Idwell runs in and fires at Doge. The Frey takes a bad hit and tumbles down into the pit. Rebekka also shoots Doge, which kills him dead. While the old lady panics and tries ineffectually to climb the walls of the pit, Doge’s pissed-off servant shoots at Rebekka with a bow of his own.

The bear that finally emerges from the darkness is huge, well-fed, and clearly bred for blood and battle. It identifies the weakest target – the old lady – and immediately and viciously rips her to pieces. Idwell kills the servant, who then falls onto the growing pile of bodies. Rebekka fires her poisoned arrow into the bear’s heart. It strikes true, but it’s not enough to fell the bear immediately. Rebekka and Idwell flee back down the passage with the bear in hot pursuit, the caged animals cowering and whimpering in terror. Idwell hangs behind to distract the bear so his fiancee has a better chance of escape. Rebekka fires again, and finally Idwell, with the dagger Rebekka had made just for him, stabs the bear in the heart near the arrow wound. The bear goes down, leaving the pair of humans wounded but alive. (It’s a Kodiak moment.) They release all the animals from the cages to add to the confusion before fleeing back to the Slagathor camp to celebrate.

That night, Maester Meera has three patients to patch up.

Day 6 Action 1

Marcus Felix and Ysabel are both missing the next morning. A servant brings a message to Lord Arthur, who says we’ve been ordered to stay in our tent this morning… by order of the prince.

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SESSION 30 (3/21/18)
Episode 12: The Tragedy of Harrenhal

Day 4, Action 3

In the Greyjoy campgrounds, far from the lights of the party, Leo is preparing to do battle against Rengool, nephew of Gabool. Rebekka is hidden deep in the shadows and doesn’t think she’s been spotted yet. Her bow is aimed and ready. Rengool, with a grin of pointed teeth and a necklace of human teeth around his neck, charges Leo at once. Leo deflects and slashes his sword across the pirate’s chest. Rengool’s next blow hurts Leo badly, but the latter returns that and more. The Ironborn cheer with bloodlust.

Rebekka notices that one of Rengool’s buddies is looking concerned at how things are going. He’s stealthily pulling a dagger and positioning himself to intervene. She turns her aim on him and waits for him to make a move. The two combatants carry on with the hacking and slashing until the goon makes his move while Leo’s back is turned. Rebekka fires. With one arrow to the head, the goon drops dead. The pirates look around, but most seem to just shrug it off and no one heads in her direction. She switches her aim to Rengool just in case, but her brother looks to have the upper hand now. Leo keeps hacking away at the weakening pirate, who can’t seem to penetrate Leo’s defenses anymore.

Finally, Leo deflects Rengool’s final attack, brings his sword up from below, and drives it straight up through the pirate’s chin. The Ironborn all whoop and cheer, apparently happy with bloodshed of any kind, even that of a supposed ally. Euron congratulates Leo on his win and tosses him a pouch of 15 gold, which he calls chump change compared to what he’s taken from the Summer Isles. Euron also points out Rebekka’s hiding spot and invites her to join them, which she does, though still disguised. Euron comments that he feels like he’s seen her somewhere before, but Rebekka is sure she hasn’t met him. He’s much impressed by both of their skills and says he sees why Gabool hates our family so much; he promises that next time he sees Gabool he’ll extend Leo’s invitation to fight in person. Euron then “invites” Leo and Rebekka to join him at a different party, one that’s rather more lively than the one hosted by his father.

The Slagathor guards report the outcome to Ysabel and Meera at the main party. Ysabel dances with Harris Harlaw for the rest of the night. Geena dances with lots of Ironborn but ends the party rather disappointed; the Ironborn apparently aren’t her type. Maester Meera keeps talking with the Damphair and they end the night on good terms. She gives him some herbs, including the ones she’d offered his brother for his breathing, and he gives her a seashell “to hear the voice of the Drowned God”.

Leo and Rebekka return home in a very bad way very late that night. Meera is able to patch Leo up pretty well, though he’ll be a bit weakened for the next day, and he and Rebekka both end up very hung over.

Day 5, Action 1

The next morning, Elbert Arryn stops by and asks Ysabel for a progress update on the Greyjoy situation. She says Lord Greyjoy is a tough nut to crack, but she thinks she’s making progress. Ysabel claims the Greyjoys have been vague in their demands so far. Elbert grasps her shoulder and says he needs to know by tomorrow morning whether or not they can count on the Greyjoy vote. Ysabel confuses him with talk of the “Greyjoy legacy” and tries to mislead him on what the Ironborn actually want. Elbert says she’s authorized to offer them a hefty sum of gold and the title of Master of Ships. He hopes Ysabel and her family are up to this challenge, especially if she hopes to work in King’s Landing someday, maybe assisting the Master of Coin… Elbert walks out, and Ysabel thinks he believed her.

Maester Targon approaches Meera around the same time. He heard from Lord Tarth about our meeting with the Greyjoys. Meera fills him in completely on the demands. It’s possible they would accept more opportunities for reaving rather than land, but not likely. Meera convinces Targon that the best way forward is to convince the prince to grant the Greyjoys the land they seek; this would serve both as reward to the Greyjoys and a punishment for the Tullys, who are actively involved in the plot against his ascension. Targon indicates it might be necessary sometime soon to take Lord Greyjoy’s sons out of the picture if they’re all interested in continuing these violent and lawless Greyjoy traditions, and maybe install a more Westeros-friendly family, like the Harlaws. But for now, Meera pushes him to get the prince to provide a written commitment to the Greyjoys to grant them the land and secure their vote. Targon is still onboard with Meera’s plan to tell the prince everything if we haven’t resolved everything by the night of the 6th day.

Leo spars with Marcus Felix to make sure his brother is ready for the melee today. MF mocks his brother good-naturedly for being so hung over and drinking like Clifford would.

Rebekka does her own investigating that morning to gather information. Word on the street is that the prince is personally investigating the murder of Howland Reed and has gone so far as to disguise himself. He may be cooperating with Lyanna and the other Starks to accomplish this. Robert Baratheon’s bannermen are all unnerved by their lord’s condition and don’t believe Robert can attend the closing ceremonies, so they’re all trying to win his favor to go in his stead; ideally we want the Lonmouths to win that.

In other news, Howland Reed’s parents are not coming here, but his body has already been sent north. There are vague rumors about Lysa and Catelyn Tully’s potential marriages but nothing is known for certain. And speaking of “nothing”, that’s exactly what the Lannisters have been up to. As for things directly related to our plotting, people throughout the tournament are still shocked by the king’s condition. Many hadn’t realized how bad it was, and there are murmurs from those hoping the prince could take over ASAP, esp the Lonmouths and Tarths. Among the Stormlands, Houses Swann and Estermont are clearly pro-Arryn plan. House Dondarrion is leaning towards the Arryn plan, House Wylde favors the Grafton plan, and House Penrose probably knows of the plans and is trying very hard to stay neutral.

Day 5, Action 2

Leo finds himself facing Harris Harlaw in the melee that day when the Ironborn team faces his. It’s a tough fight in which both men give it their all, but Leo comes out on top in the end. Harris helps him up and says he would make a worthy brother-in-law if Ysabel would do him the honor someday. Marcus Felix helps the (now severely injured) Leo back to his tent to rest. He hears that the team he’ll be facing tomorrow in the finals is the Shadowcats, which is made up of an unlikely coalition of North and Vale knights led by Jorah Mormont.

Rebekka decides to have a little fun today and help out the Backteeth boys with their big battle of the bands. They’ll be facing off against 98 decrees. She goes around talking up her house band to increase their hype and reputation ahead of time until there’s a near-riot when the band shows up. They perform many songs, including “I want it East-West Highway”, and win the contest handily.

Ysabel wants to find a way to talk to Robert Baratheon. She decides to use Nina for that purpose- she’ll ask Nina to paint something to give Robert as a gift. Nina is feeling worried about today because her opponent will be Corvena of House Codd (from the North). She feels there’s something wrong with Corvena. Her opponent paints with a fervor similar to Nina’s visions, but just… wrong. Nina has asked Tiberius the Tall to come too. When they arrive for the competition, it’s immediately obvious to those in the know that Corvena is wearing modified Lord of Light robes. With some effort, Ysabel convinces Nina to paint something filled with hope, inspiration, and other positive emotions rather than the terror and flames on Corvena’s canvas. Nina crafts a painting of a snowy dawn that wins the competition. Many nobles are interested in buying both paintings, but Nina gives hers to Ysabel as promised.

Meera spends some time networking and gathering information to prepare for the maester conclave that will take place on Day 6; there is still a big vote to take, after all. She learns that Maester Walys of House Stark has recommended that Maester Luwin of House Darry spearhead the debate on behalf of those who support Option 1. Luwin was chosen because he’s persuasive, humble, and, most importantly, has more time on his hands than any of the more important maesters on his side.

Next time: Day 5, Action 3

BONUS- Sample of the Backteeth Boys repertoire:
-Quit Playin’ Games (With My HEARTH)
-Show me the meaning of being thorny (RE: House Tyrell)
-Harbor FishWife (instead of Larger Than Life)
-You Are My Dragon Fire
-As Long as You Loath Me…
-Show Me the Meaning of Being Lordly
-I want it East-West Highway
-Shining Seven-pointed Star
-I’ll never make you Scry
-Shape of My Shield

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SESSION 29 (3/14/18)
Episode 12: The Tragedy of Harrenhal

Day 4, Action 3

Meera notices the Aeron Greyjoy, the Damphair, giving her the evil eye, and she approaches to get it over with. She asks what he takes issue with, and he says he disdains people like her who pursue earthly knowledge while ignoring what the gods have to offer. She says she would never presume to assert there were no gods. He says she’s too cowardly to even try to find out what she doesn’t know. Meera mentions how the maesters are currently discussing expanding into Essos and how she welcomes learning from both the Essosi and the Damphair himself. He says this maester expansion is nothing but a trap to stop the Ironborn from being able to continue their reaving ways, their traditions.

The maester assures him she has no intention of interfering with Ironborn traditions. In fact, part of why the maesters are seeking to expand is in reaction to the Scarlet Shepherds interfering with us. Realizing that the Damphair would be more amenable to her words if she offers him something, she mentions how the violence of the followers of the Red God might need to be dealt with in kind, though maesters themselves are, naturally, nonviolent. He asks if the Shepherds have treasure-filled temples like other religions and Meera says that’s likely. Intrigued, Aeron concedes the debate and says he has much to think about, as this meshes with rumors he’s heard, and he doesn’t seem hostile towards her anymore. Meera leads him away from his father so Ysabel won’t be overheard when she speaks with the lord.

Ysabel looks for a way to approach Lord Quellon Greyjoy and determines the best way might be to go through Balon, the eldest son. Harris Harlaw doesn’t like Balon because Balon married Harris’ aunt and treats her very badly. Balon seems to be a very unpleasant person in general and would definitely be out reaving if not for his father’s will. Ysabel invites Harris to dance to try and attract some attention and dances so well that even Geena is impressed with her performance. She’s agile enough to avoid Cassie’s many attempts to cut in and/or sabotage. Eventually she catches Lord Greyjoy’s eye and maneuvers her way towards him as though by accident.

Quellon is the only Ironborn sitting down and he wears armor, making himself look a cut above the rest. He gestures for Ysabel and Harris to enter his inner circle area. She feels lords Manderly and Tarth both watching her (i.e. one representative of each secret plan) and notices Balon looking concerned by her approach as well. Ysabel apologizes modestly and respectfully for the intrusion, but Quellon has stools brought for them and insists she sit down. He comments on the rise of her family’s name and influence.

Lord Greyjoy asks about the rumors of our anti-pirate coalition. Ysabel confirms it and how the pirates from Essos have cost us much. Quellon acts disinterested in everything, but she can see from his eyes how interested he is. Balon is clearly listening in. Ysabel subtly brings up the idea of the Greyjoys reconciling with the rest of Westeros. Lord Greyjoy mentions that he’s heard rumors this week, and Ysabel tries to convince him to speak with her in private.

Balon breaks in and pointedly offers Ysabel and Lord Greyjoy wine. Ysabel easily recognizes the smell of a poison Meera once warned her about. She feigns ignorance and asks Harris’ opinion on the wine; he doesn’t recognize the smell. Quellon asks Balon to go find his brothers, and he reluctantly obeys. Now only Ysabel, Quellon, Harris, and the guards are present.

Ysabel talks about how our families can help each other. She speaks of how Maester Meera brought her back from the brink of death. She compares the Damphair, who Quellon calls the prophet of the family, to Meera’s sister, who is a septa. Quellon speaks a bit of his son’s prophecies, and Ysabel brings it around to mentioning the Lord of Light’s followers and their crimes. The lord says the Shepherds have always been a minor concern to the Iron Islanders, but no one in his islands worships them. Ysabel mentions how they’ve been infiltrating the Vale and might spread further, and how it would benefit both our families to eliminate them. And it would be easier to do so if the Greyjoys had more influence in Westeros.

Quellon is skeptical that the current king and his citizens would allow the Ironborn to acquire more influence; take the remote placement of the Ironborn tents here, for instance. Any actions taken by the Ironborn to reconcile have not been reciprocated thus far. Ysabel steers him towards talking about his opinion regarding the king. He finds him disappointing. Prince Rhaegar is certainly healthier both physically and mentally.

Elsewhere, Meera and the Damphair are talking. Balon strides over and grabs his brother roughly, demanding that he return to the main tent with him. Meera notices Balon’s mild breathing ailment and offers him a pouch of herbs she’s found helpful for that condition in the past. Balon knocks the pouch from her hands and scoffs at the idea of a woman having anything to offer him. Before Balon can drag his brother off, Meera offers the pouch to Damphair instead and explains what it is. Intrigued, Damphair opts to stay and talk with Meera and tells Balon to go find Euron first. Balon storms off and Meera and Aeron continue their now-pleasant conversation.

Ysabel says our position as a minor house allows us to hear many things, rumors, and people know we’re trustworthy. She starts talking over how amazing the prince is and how he could be much better for the Greyjoys than the king has been. She implies that the Greyjoys shouldn’t be content with their current situation and level of influence. Quellon is interested, but wonders what guarantee he would have that anything would change. He has many ships at his disposal, but not so many people to risk. Ysabel suggests how advantageous it would be to have the prince’s sympathetic ear and the benefits he might offer. She explains how we formed a coalition because the Essosi pirates and Shepherds had banded together against us, and how we have to put a stop to the threat before it spreads through Westeros like a jellyfish sting.

Quellon acknowledges the threat, but says it would be too risky for the Ironborn to risk themselves to stop it while leaving themselves open to attack. He’s heard rumors of something big going down at Harrenhal, but he still hasn’t seen any benefit in it for him to participate. Ysabel makes it increasingly clear that something will be happening at Harrenhal, at which point Lord Greyjoy motions her forward and whispers to her with a very interested look. He asks quietly if his family could gain the power of House Hoare (the house that once ruled both the Iron Islands and the Riverlands). Ysabel says we can’t make that offer ourselves, since we’re a minor house, but she honestly believes the prince might reward them handsomely for their aid.

At this point, Lord Greyjoy whispers that he will only support us if we get the person we’re representing to sign a promise, in writing, to give some of the Riverlands to the Greyjoys. At minimum, he demands the Peninsula of the Cape of the Eagles (including Seagard). Without that written agreement, he will support whoever we oppose instead.

Outside, Rebekka finds a good vantage point to observe Leo’s fight and readies her bow to interfere as needed…

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SESSION 28 (3/7/18)
Episode 12: The Tragedy of Harrenhal

Day 4, Action 3

Quellon Greyjoy is the current lord of his House. He has three sons here at Harrenhal: Balon, Euron, and Aeron.

Ysabel still intends to go to dinner with the Greyjoys despite the threats against her life. Leo opts to go with her for protection along with Ser Tiberius the Tall and a contingent of his best guards. Meera opts to go along as well to help impress Quellon with her maester skills, and Rebekka decides to come with us as backup in case things go south. Jayne will come along as a servant/spy, and Geena still wants to come.

Elbert Arryn joins us in the Slagathor tent before the Greyjoy party to make sure Leo and Marcus Felix will be prepared for the melee. He’s also pleased to hear that we’re having dinner with the Greyjoys tonight and says he’ll expect an update on the situation tomorrow morning.

Rebekka will go to the party dressed as a normal servant. Geena dresses in Ironborn style (that is, rather skimpier than she would in the Vale). Meera tactfully convinces Geena to wear something more suited to a high society party in Gulltown rather than pandering to the Vale’s style, reasoning that Lord Greyjoy is interested in learning more about wider Westerosi culture.

We leave for the party aiming to arrive fashionably late for the Greyjoy party, as one does. The Ironborn tents stand some distance apart from the rest of the camps, across a bridge. A group of men approaches our party right after we cross the river, headed by Euron Greyjoy and some of his buddies. The Ironborn number about the same as us. Rebekka sneaks away as they approach, and Leo and his soldiers take point. Euron banters a bit, acting drunk, then invites the women to head to the party while he has a little chat with Leo. Euron finds the idea of his father’s party as dull as the “harmless fun” of Harrenhal itself— no screaming or pillaging at all. Leo taunts Euron for being too weak and cowardly to even fight in the tournament melee.

It soon becomes clear that Euron has no intention of letting Leo pass without a brawl. After a murmured discussion, the women and servants continue to the party while Leo and the soldiers stay behind. Rebekka stays hidden in the shadows to back up her brother. We pass plenty of Greyjoy soldiers who can clearly see what Euron is doing; none move to stop us, nor do they try to interfere with Euron’s “fun”.

The party is open-air with an exotic feel. There aren’t a lot of women here; the Ironborn seem to have left most of their womenfolk at home. Most of the women are Westerosi nobles or scantily-clad servants. The musicians play “I am Ironborn” and there are acrobats. And of course, plenty of drinking (Ysabel only pretends to drink). Meera carries around a glass of wine but doesn’t drink, to the intense confusion of the Ironborn servants.

Quellon Greyjoy sits on a handsome chair at the back. He’s on the older side, with the look of a powerful man past his prime. Balon and Aeron stand nearby. Aeron, who is very religious, is dressed in a way most Westerosi would find repulsive— he worships the Drowned God. There are other Westerosi lords and ladies present, including Lord Selwyn Tarth (pro-prince) and Lord Wyman Manderly (North, pro-Baratheon).

Harris Harlaw greets Ysabel warmly. She reciprocates and then brings up Euron. Harris says he doesn’t know where Euron is, but it’s probably best he’s not at the party since he’s a great sailor and warrior but a rather nasty person. Ysabel talks up her brother Leo’s skills as a fighter. Harris compliments Leo’s melee performance and mentions his team, the Iron Yankees, have the same win record. Ysabel brings up Aeron’s unusual appearance and asks about Ironborn culture and religion, and Harris explains. He gradually positions himself between Ysabel and Meera to try and subtly indicate that he wants to talk privately with Ysabel.

Meera takes the hint and excuses herself. She notices some minor houses taking notice of her as a minor celebrity; they don’t know much about maesters. The Harlaws, Blacktides, Lord Farwind, and Aeron the Damphair all seem interested in particular, though Aeron looks deeply suspicious of her. She suspects Aeron might approach her himself soon enough.

By the bridge, Euron tells Leo he has nothing in particular against him, but he has some of Gabool’s men here to settle a score. He waves forward a tattooed man named Rangool who wants to take Leo’s head. Euron’s intent is to have their men stay out of it while Leo and Rangool fight one-on-one. For the sake of sparing his men, Leo accepts the terms. When Leo says he’ll bet 5 gold dragons on his victory, Euron just laughs and throws down 10.

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SESSION 27 (2/28/18)
Episode 12: The Tragedy of Harrenhal

Day 4 Action 1 (Meera and Rebekka)

Rebekka decides to do a more thorough investigation of what happened last night (and what people think happened). She easily disguises herself as a servant and sneaks into the Stark camp. She’s able to get quite close and confirms that the Starks are being very cautious and sticking to their own camp. The atmosphere is very grave. She notices that House Stark seems to have summoned all of their minor lords for a meeting. Only THE lord of each house is summoned. They’re being told an assassination attempt was made on Lyanna and that the assassin was killed in the attempt, as was young Howland Reed (who is being portrayed as a hero who sacrificed himself for Lyanna). The lords are being told to keep on their guard. There is no word of a second assassin being involved. The Starks are telling their lords that the assassin could not be identified because it was too disfigured. Rebekka remembers that the assassin she killed in Gulltown had no face at all when she looked at his body. She’s able to sneak out of the Stark camp without being noticed.

Meera does some research on the remaining maesters who support Solution 2. Pycelle is a tricky, wily old man; rumors are that the Lannisters have him in their purse. As for Gorman, the other leader of Solution 2, he considers himself a model of a good maester. He’s an expert in the uses and history of metals. He also specializes in management, allocating resources, and ensuring the safety of the maesters.

Day 4, Action 2

Ysabel sends Jayne ahead to the Greyjoy camp on the pretense of acquiring some of their traditional recipes. Geena approaches Ysabel in the meantime and complains that the Tully party she attended was too boring. Hoster Tully is boring and the music was slow, apparently, like none of the “cool” things from the past 200 years never happened. Everyone was talking about Robert Baratheon’s embarrassment until Hoster Tully forcibly silenced them. Ysabel invites Geena to attend the Greyjoy party with her tonight.

Jayne returns and reports to Ysabel that everyone will be there tonight, from her ally Harris Harlaw to Lord Greyjoy himself, but some of the more piratey families (like Houses Merlyn and Farwynd, houses that like Euron) have noticed Ysabel’s increasing influence among the Ironborn and might intend to try to ruin her entrance tonight. It could be anything from physically beating her guards and keeping her from entering camp to even kidnapping or worse. Ysabel now regrets letting Geena be anywhere near all this and tells her guards to keep a special eye on her sister.

Leo takes a day off from the melee and goes to spend some quality time with his wife, Sonya. Her family has been enjoying the festivities, and she invites him to see a mummer play with her. They watch the Old Man Rivers compete with the Targaryen company. It’s clear from the subject matter that the Targaryen mummers support the prince— and what’s more, the comic relief character for their show now looks very much like Robert Baratheon, and the crowd is eating it up. Sonya snuggles up with her husband and has a good time.

Jaspar Redfort (who also watched Mandon Moore die) sidles up to Leo at the play and asks her to fetch them some food. Leo takes offense to his wife being treated like a servant and instead takes Jaspar for a walk. Jaspar is clearly disturbed by Egan murdering Moore and is shocked to hear Leo’s theory that it was a test of loyalty for them both. Jaspar argues that the Arryns are acting as irrational and bloodthirsty as the king, so what’s even the point of this whole plot? Leo looks around nervously and sees people are watching them now, though no one seems to have heard exactly what he’s saying. Leo tries to calm him. More quietly, Jaspar mutters that this whole thing is messed up. Leo says they need to wait it out and reassess once things calm down. Leo knows that the Redforts are probably the weakest of the great houses in the Vale and might be the ones we replaced if we moved up. But on the plus side, Jaspar is now disposed to listen to what Leo says. He’s discontent with the Arryns but isn’t likely to act on his own.

Leo returns to the play with fancy, pricey hot dogs for him and his wife, including jalapenos. She is very impressed.

Meera seeks out Maester Gormon. She manages to be the first to speak with him after his afternoon nap. Security has been greatly increased in the maester area after all the thefts and assassinations. Gormon is a portly middle-aged man who looks somewhat like Mace Tyrell (and is in fact rumored to be a Tyrell). Meera’s research allows her to take the initiative against the higher-ranked maester, who sits on the High Conclave.

She begins by establishing that they both agree Solution 1 would be ineffective; we can’t sit back and do nothing. But Meera argues that Solution 2 doesn’t really do much more than that either. We maesters can already call upon the guards of the House we serve. All it does it create separate groups of guards for the lords and maesters, guards who might be at odds with each other and fail to communicate threats or trust each other.

Gormon counters with a proposal to amend Solution 2 so that those who fail to become full maesters would be the ones sent into the soldier training program. This would be a clever way to gain more resources, for these people could then be used as assistants as well as extra security. Meera likes this idea and says so, but points out that it would be best to implement it as just one part of expanding our greater influence. She argues that the only thing that can really be done is to change the situation ourselves. The fanatics are coming to Westeros to spread their influence and undermine their enemy – us. We have to do the same to them in Essos. Make the lords and people of Essos our allies and collaborators. Show the Essosi who we are and what we can do for them so they will understand what we stand for, that we are not their enemy at all. Once we are accepted as teachers and healers, keepers of knowledge, wise arbiters, in Essos as we are in Westeros, the Shepherds will no longer find fanatics to recruit to their cause.

Gormon says the lords of Westeros would be hard to convince; they don’t want to pay more than they already are, and they won’t want their resources flowing to Essos. He says Meera is presuming a lot by expecting the lords of Essos to be willing to pay for maesters. Gormon doesn’t think the lords of Essos are smart enough to realize what an opportunity it would be to have maesters at their disposal. Meera counters that the lords would be paying more than they do now either way. The proposed plan for Solution 2 states that the personal guards each maester receives would be dependent on the rank and ability to pay of the lords they serve. That means smaller Houses of the type the fanatics have been targeting would be essentially just as vulnerable as they are right now. The Shepherds murdered Maesters Till of House Redwood and Maester Johnson of House Hunter, and very nearly murdered Meera herself – and as someone who was there, Meera is certain that simply having one or two extra guards with her would not have saved her. If the money is to be spent anyway, why not invest it in something that will benefit us more in the long term?

The argument about good investments finally sways Gormon, and he agrees to shift to Solution 3, though he laments the extra work this will make for him. Meera points out that good maesters like them never shy away from doing the hard work that others can’t manage. Gormon admits he actually became a maester to get away from his aunt Olenna, who was never satisfied; even becoming one of the highest-ranked maesters in Westeros was less work than living under her thumb. They have a few drinks together after their talk and Meera lends a sympathetic ear while he recounts all the times his aunt belittled him before he escaped her.

With Gormon converted, the Solution 2 faction falls apart. The only other leader of the faction was Maester Pycelle, and he was neither charismatic nor overly interested in the outcome. That leaves the factions for Solutions 1 and 3 more or less even, and they will likely stay so until the final vote on Day 6 (which will be held during the 1st or 2nd action that day).

That day, House Frey packs up their tents and leave without word or warning. Rumors are that the Tullys either ordered them to leave or insulted them, but no one really knows. Since the Freys are leaving the tourney entirely, Rebekka decides to trust what the Starks said about killing the assassin (who Rebekka knows to have been Leona Frey) and leave those matters be. Instead, she sneaks into the Baratheon camp to hear what’s happening with Robert. Maester Cressen has been spending all his time on Robert’s recovery and everything has been kept as quiet as possible so Stannis and the lords of the Stormlands don’t hear what happened. Robert’s friends like the Arryns and Ned Stark have been visiting him. Lyanna has not been to see him at all. It seems Robert has been the one emphasizing that Stannis not find out, presumably out of embarrassment. He might also be afraid that this humiliation would be cause for other lords to challenge him. It sounds like Robert is still being kept in the dark about the Big Plot. He can’t defend himself or wield a weapon, but he can still show up for a vote (albeit in a very sorry state).

Upon her return to the Slagathor camp, a servant gives Rebekka a note from “a servant of no house” who came by earlier. It’s addressed to Rebekka and says “I know what you did. If you don’t want me to talk, meet me [behind these tents] tonight or tomorrow night. Signed, X”. The meetup location is in the poorer part of the tent city where only servants and lesser people stay. It’s an area that probably won’t be terribly crowded at that time. Rebekka resolves to tell Idwell about this and probably bring him along as backup.

Avlon faces off against Manly Stokeworth in the archery competition. He wins easily and will advance to the archery finals on Day 6.

Next time: Day 4, Action 3

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SESSION 26 (2/4/18)
Episode 12: The Tragedy of Harrenhal

There’s a fierce debate among the Slagathors about how to proceed with the Bloodhand issue. When resolution is difficult, Ysabel and Meera argue the question with each other directly. Meera wins and the choice is made that we will not use the Wildfire. We also decide to tell the Bloodhands straight that we’re not going to use it rather than lie to them about our intentions.

The Slagathors get together for lunch to catch up on what’s happened. Arthur tells us about the Bloodhands plots and how he thinks he’s convinced them not to use wildfire. Meera and Ysabel aren’t so sure about that, so Ysabel heads over to the Bloodhand tent to have a word with Tolbert. She marches into his tent dramatically. Finding the Bloodhands chatting over a card game, she sweeps their cards to the floor, stabs her stiletto into the table, and demands an explanation for what Arthur told us. She’s furious about them offing the Crowmores, an ally and Raven Five member. She invokes her title and reminds them the Slagathors are the leaders of the Raven Five. Using a mixture of intimidation and shame, she cows the Bloodhands into obedience.

Leo is invited to dinner with Elbert Arryn. It’s a victory party celebrating their continued success in the melee; they only need one more win to reach the semifinals. But when Leo arrives, he finds only Elbert, Vardys Egan, and Jaspar Redfort waiting for him. Elbert makes it clear all four of them are in on “it” and asks if any of them told Mandon Moore about their plans for Robert Baratheon. Everyone says no. Elbert says Moore must be working for a different group, then, because no one would beat up a major lord like that just because they’re angry. Leo questions that assertion, but Elbert insists that they need to corner Moore and his lackeys to question them. They can always find a substitute for the melee…

Leo decides to try and convince Elbert not to go after Moore this way; maybe just have someone spy on him instead. Elbert appreciates Leo’s reputation for honor and how we’ve been trying to do our part for the plan, but he’s sure Moore is deliberately trying to ruin everything. He tries to intimidate Leo into obedience. Leo insists Moore is just a hothead, not a plotter, and reminds him of his fight with Moore at the Eyrie when he defended a lady’s honor. Leo thinks a direct confrontation with Moore will backfire and diplomacy would be more advisable. When Elbert keeps insisting, clearly feeling the strain of his uncle’s expectations, Leo concedes and says he’ll do as ordered. Elbert acts friendly enough, but Leo can’t help but remember the rumors Ysabel told him about Elbert drowning his wife in a pool…

Leo and the other two (minus Elbert) go looking for Moore and soon find him in a brothel tent. Egan pays a servant to keep quiet when they enter. As hoped, Moore is naked and undefended. Redfort and Egan already have their weapons drawn when they enter, though Leo does not. They ask him why he beat Robert the way he did and Egan starts roughing him up. Moore boasts he was just showing he’s the best and cusses them out up and down over the questioning; he obviously has no idea about any plans.

Leo tells the other two Moore is clearly just acting out of spite and offers to buy Moore a new whore. Redfort isn’t sure what to do now. Egan laughs and raises his dagger to stab Moore in the neck. Leo realizes this is a test of his own loyalty and reluctantly does nothing. Egan kills Moore and says they’ll blame it on a whore; they get the whore tent shut down as retaliation for murdering a lord. Leo is able to play it cool so Egan and the Arryns think he’s firmly one of them and don’t suspect him of anything. Leo and the others then loot Moore’s body for some gold dragons. Redfort takes Moore’s sword.

Tonight is the night for Rebekka— the assassination. She disguises herself as an unremarkable man, common and generic in every way. She brings her arrows, including the one dipped in deadly poison. Having already scoped out the area ahead of time, she knows where to find the high ground to lie in wait for her quarry. It’s an out-of-the-way section of camp where latrines get dumped, so it’s fairly quiet and deserted.

Eventually, she sees a small man, a teenager not much older than Avlon, walking fast and trying to ignore the three men following him with wooden sticks. Though around the same age as him, they’re much bigger and look like they might be apprentice knights. She recognizes one as Doge Frey and the other as someone from House Blount (a small house from the Crownlands). These are the three Alundra Reed has coerced into beating up Howland Reed to impress her. Doge mockingly (and mistakenly) calls him a “frog” and the three start viciously beating him. While they’re beating him into the filth, Leanna Stark bursts out of nowhere and starts beating the three squires with a practice sword until they flee. This leaves Leanna, the near-unconscious Howland Reed, and one of Leanna’s servants at the scene.

Suddenly, Rebekka notices someone else lurking nearby as well, watching the scene like her. No one but Rebekka has noticed this person, and no one has seen Rebekka either. Strangely, she’s sure it’s Leona Frey’s body, but not her face. It looks like an ambush of some kind is imminent. Rebekka remembers the assassin she found in the Freys’ room was wearing some sort of strange mask.

Thinking fast, Rebekka decides to go with her original mission and shoot Howland Reed first. The arrow strikes true, nicking Lyanna on the way under her arm and going through Howland’s neck, killing him instantly. At the same time, Leona stands with a grin, aims at Lyanna Stark… and slips and falls in the mud. The shot goes very wide, the arrow lost somewhere in the muck, and Leona Frey rolls down the hill towards Lyanna and her servant. Rebekka ducks back into her hiding spot and, miraculously, is not spotted. Lyanna shouts “You!” Leona sneers that she doesn’t like bows anyway and draws her sword. The servant releases a bird into the air. Rebekka seizes her chance and flees, unseen, while the sound of clashing swords rings behind her.

Ysabel has secured a dinner invitation with the Goodbrothers, courtesy of the Harlaw (especially her friend Harris, the heir). If things go well, it might give her an in with the Greyjoys. The Goodbrothers are known as good-natured party people who love music and fun times. They are the sponsors for the Iron Islands band “The Dead C’s”. Ysabel invites the Backteeth Boys to come with her to try and impress the music-lovers and even helps them write a new song of friendship between the Slagathors and Iron Islanders— “The Kraken and the Gator”, a song about a kraken helping a gator learn about the sea.

Lords Harlaw and Goodbrother are at the dinner party, along with their various relatives, Cassie Egan (who considers Ysabel a rival for Harris’ affection), and some minor lords and ladies. Partway through the Backteeth Boys’ song of friendship, the Dead C’s join in to show their approval, and everyone enjoys the performance. Lord Goodbrother is quite impressed and says the Slagathors clearly have much to offer the Iron Islands; he congratulates Harris Harlaw for befriending her. He promises to talk to Lord Greyjoy about her and her ideas. At Ysabel’s insistence, he agrees to try and set up meeting between Ysabel and Lord Greyjoy himself for tomorrow night. She ends the night tipsy but still in control of herself.

Ysabel and Cassie leave dinner at the same time. Cassie accusingly points out how much time Ysabel has been spending with Harris. Ysabel says she’ll be dining with Lord Greyjoy tomorrow night, so Cassie will get Harris all to herself at last. Euron is walking by as Ysabel leaves the camp and he stops, watching her. She pretends not to notice him, or she tries to, but his stare makes her steps falter. Euron grins at her slight show of fear and says he’ll see her tomorrow…

Meera takes Qyburn up on his invitation to check out this supposed Lord of Light prisoner he has in his tent. He’s waiting for her outside and ushers her in through the curtains hiding the small lab at the back of his tent. A naked, unconscious man is strapped to a wooden table. He bears tattoos identifying him as a Scarlet Shepherd, one of the LoL cultists we’ve been fighting. The side tables are covered in herbs, oils, poisons, and tools.

Qyburn says they both know these cultists have powers the Citadel can’t explain, so it’s time we investigated for ourselves. This person was caught by House Cod on his way to try sneaking into Winterfell. It would have been impossible to sneak him into the Citadel itself, so this is the next best thing. Qyburn only got his hands on this man because he happened to be on raven duty the day the message from the Cods came in, asking what to do. Reports say this man killed two soldiers with spears of fire. Since the man’s delivery here, Qyburn has been tending to his wounds to make sure he’s in the best possible condition.

Meera examines the man herself. It looks like Qyburn is keeping him out with Sweetsleep. The man is thin, malnourished. He yelled and cursed when he first arrived, hence the sedation. Qyburn trusts House Cod to keep quiet on the matter. The cultist’s name is apparently Mors. Qyburn has found nothing unique or magical in the clothes, tools, or necklaces the cultists bear, so whatever power they have must be inside them. Maybe in their tattoos? Qyburn has documented the tattoos and gives Meera a copy of them. He says Maesters Helena and Bran have both also shown interest and been given a copy.

Meera describes the procedure she had to do to save the Slagathor archer’s life after he was attacked at Hearttree. Qyburn takes eager and intense notes on everything she says. After some discussion, she agrees to help him examine the cultist to see what they can learn. Qyburn will do the vivisection while Meera does all she can to keep the man alive. As maesters do, he begins by measuring and noting down everything. The only abnormality he notes so far is that the man’s heart seems more worn out than it should be for a man his age— like whatever he’s been doing has been draining him.

Qyburn closes up the man’s chest before moving on to his head, but it’s clear the cultist is fading. As Meera reapplies the Sweetsleep, the man wakes just enough to bite down on the rag. It immediately bursts into flame. Meera drops the burning rag in a bucket of water before it can set the tent on fire, but the distraction hampers her work. Even so, she’s able to keep the man alive while Qyburn opens up his skull to inspect the brain. From Qyburn’s practiced motions and a disappointed comment he makes about the brain being “no different from any other living brain I’ve looked at”, he has clearly been performing procedures maesters generally forbid.

As Qyburn is coming to the conclusion that the magic is more likely to be in the tattoos or, somehow, all in the mind, the man wakes up again. Qyburn kills him with a single well-placed stab to the brain, but not before the cultist manages to bite down on Meera’s index finger. She can tell at once that he’s infected her with the same affliction that led to the Slagathor archer’s arm being amputated and almost cost him his life. Time is of the essence. Meera gets to work straightaway trying to treat it and stop its spread, using knowledge gained from her efforts in saving the archer’s life. Qyburn helps her out in any way he can (probably just to expand his own knowledge, but it helps nonetheless). After several hours of frenetic work, Meera is able to remove the affliction, leaving her with a bite-shaped scar on her finger but still retaining all of her limbs. She is now confident that she could cure this “curse” in others if she could treat them within 48-72 hours after infection.

At Meera’s instigation, she and Qyburn dissect bits of the cultist’s tattooed skin to continue their research. She identifies the ingredients that make up the black and red ink. They wouldn’t come cheap; she knows they’re ingredients found in very different areas throughout Essos, from the mountains to the coasts, and would be difficult to procure due to distance between the scattered sources. Even so, none of these ingredients are inherently “magical” as far as Meera can tell (e.g. no dragon’s blood, etc.). She shares all of her findings with Qyburn to promote their research relationship and encourage him to share any further discoveries he makes on the subject with her. He allows her to keep sample of the tattooed skin rolled up in a small vial.

Before they part, Meera brings up the subject of all we can still learn from Essos and wonders why he hasn’t committed to voting with her. Qyburn says he does want to see the maester order expanded to Essos, but he also wants the guards proposed in Solution 2. Meera points out that he needs to vote for Solution 3 if he wants to expand to Essos; he can always just hire his own guards for extra protection or assistance. Qyburn sees the logic in this and says he’ll cast his vote with her for Solution 3.

All sorts of rumors are swirling by the next morning. Everyone has heard that Mandon Moore was murdered by a whore; the woman in question and the person in charge of the brothel are to be executed, and the rest of the whores expelled from Harrenhal. Less certain is what happened to Howland Reed, who is said to have been killed by an assassin. There are conflicting rumors as to whether or not his assassin was caught or got away. It’s known that Lyanna Stark was there and fended off the assassin without sustaining any major injuries, but any further information is being kept as a tightly-held secret by the Starks.

Ysabel checks up on Nina’s progress with her art for the competition. The young artist has been keeping mainly to herself, as usual. Ysabel offers to help her, since she’s mainly been watching rather than participating in anything. Nina notes that the quality of the art seems to matter less than matching what the judges want to see, so Ysabel could help her by finding out what the judges want.

The art competition takes place on an open air stage next to a building where the completed artwork is put up for sale. Frida of House Whent is Nina’s first opponent (House Whent is the house overseeing Harrenhal at the moment). Frida’s style is bright and cheerful to contrast with House Whent’s usual gloom. The stated theme is elk (a small scandal, considering the rumors about Robert Baratheon’s current state). Ysabel notices the judges are all from the Riverlands, and she knows they prefer a simpler style, which she lets Nina know. Both artists perform very well and in fact it would have been a tie had the judges not given the Slagathors an extra point for the Whents showing such bad taste in choosing this theme in the first place. The Slagathors give the painting to the Whents as a gift, earning them the right to speak with the Lord of House Whent later if they so choose.

Marcus Felix approaches Leo as he preps for his morning sparring and tells him he’s been asked by Elbert Arryn to join the team melee (since they’re now short a member). MF is less than thrilled about this, especially since he had a date with Lady Ladybright (the head of one of the seven great Houses of Dorne) at sunset and now he can’t make it. Leo talks him out of trying to use Rebekka as a stand-in, then leaves him deep in thought while Leo goes to find Avlon.

Leo finds Avlon staring at the Isle of Faces, a strange, uninhabited island visible from the camp. Leo asks Avlon why he’s not doing the archery competition today (heard a rumor from their father). Avlon is pondering what someone from the Night’s Watch told him yesterday— that he might be a good addition for them. The watchman told him his archery, stealth, and endurance skills would serve the Watch well. Leo tries to tell him he could do ranger-type stuff at home as well, maybe working with Rebekka as well. Avlon says he’s heard Rebekka is just kept around to kill people for their father, and he’s not sure he wants to do that. Avlon says he might stick around if Arthur let him go off on his own for months at a time like Clifford does and if he didn’t have to get married until he wants to.

They talk about Leo’s decision to take the mountain man refugees into the castle. Avlon is worried that Sonya will be really angry when she finds out, but he respects Leo for doing it despite the risks. Being friends with Raynar has shown him that the way people in the Vale treat the mountain men isn’t right, and he’d like to change that. He and Leo brainstorm and Avlon comes to the conclusion that he could form his own version of the Night’s Watch in the Vale (the Bay Watch?) to change their relations with the mountain men for the better. He could also take a trip to the Wall just to see how the Night’s Watch operates before he makes a final decision. Newly energized, Avlon grabs his bow and races off to join in the archery competition after all.

Next time: Rebekka and Meera do Day 4, Action 1; Leo and Ysabel do Day 4, Action 2

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SESSION 25 (1/21/18)
Episode 12: The Tragedy of Harrenhal

It’s time for the melee! Leo, Elbert Arryn, Mandon Moore, Yohn Royce, Jaspar Redfort, Vardis Egan, and Shawn Templeton form the Arryn team, The Falconmen. They must face off against the Royal Targaryen Company in one of the first melees of the day. The Tully team has already lost their match and all but the Blackfish are injured (the latter just looks pissed at his weak team). Leo’s opponent is Richard Lonmouth, the former squire to the prince. Mandon Moore laughs derisively at seeing Leo take on someone so out of his league.

Leo starts things with a nice blow, breaking one of the wings off Lonmouth’s dragon helm. Lonmouth retaliates, but the blow is weaker than expected due to surprise. Leo follows up with a shield bash to Lonmouth’s face. The shaken Lonmouth can’t even get through Leo’s defenses this time. Leo bashes Lonmouth on the top of the head with the hilt of his sword. Lonmouth says Leo’s not bad for someone from a “bastard line” and drives the point of his shield into Leo’s arm to wound him. But Lonmouth has already sustained several wounds himself. With another clever use of his shield, Leo finishes Lonmouth with a jab right to the chest. Lonmouth goes down coughing blood, but he’ll live. Mandon Moore actually nods at Leo before finishing off his opponent (John Connington). And the Falconmen are victorious!

After the fight, Leo helps the on-call maester remove Lonmouth’s damaged armor. Lonmouth compliments him and they shake hands. When no one is in earshot, Lonmouth comments he’s glad Leo is on “our side” and says he looks forward to working with him this week. (reward: +1B for one future non-tournament fight)

Rebekka disguises herself as a simple servant and joins those collecting spent arrows after a round of the archery tourney, aiming to collect some Frey arrows to frame them for the impending murder. She notices Idwell, her fiancee, collecting arrows as well, but he doesn’t seem to notice her. She also spots someone vaguely familiar… she thinks it might be Leona Frey, one of those she ran into with Idwell in Gulltown and who was almost assassinated. She’s disguised extremely well and looks to be collecting arrows as well. And Avlon is here competing in the same field as Leona; she may be collecting his arrows. In fact, Rebekka realizes Leona is deliberately collecting Slagathor, Redwood, and other Vale house arrows. She tries to follow Leona once she’s got some Frey arrows for her plans, but Leona gets away. Rebekka reports this to Lord Arthur, who will spread the information to our allies. As for Avlon, he handily wins his archery duel against Lord Hornwood (+1B to a future non-tourney combat).

Ysabel decides to keep working the Greyjoys. She made a very good impression with Harris Harlaw at the dance and wants to use him as her way in. She finds him watching the mummer’s competition. The Old Man Rivers (very religious and traditional) vs. Christie’s Many Oh-so-many Mysteries (a murder mystery, one of Harris’ favorites). He greets Ysabel warmly when she arrives and invites her to watch with him. They both agree the religious one was boring. The murder mystery involves a group of lords traveling together, one of them being murdered, and the other lords trying to frame each other for it until they finally discover the real murderer was hiding in the basement of the inn they stayed at all along. Harris is very impressed when Ysabel is able to guess the true murderer and he isn’t, so he invites her to join him with some friends afterwards.

Ysabel realizes that Cassie Egan, who she met at the Eyrie, is also vying for Harris’ attention. His father, Lord Harlaw, eventually joins them. Ysabel, knowing Lord Harlaw is a purveyor of fine coffee, has Jayne bring the whole group some nice coffee that’s just to his taste. He’s quite impressed as she explains it’s a rare blend from the island of Timonia; he hasn’t been there in quite a while and feels quite nostalgic about it. He hasn’t been there in a while since the Ironborn raids gave them a bad reputation. Harris brings up how they Ironborn should change their rep and join Westeros in many ways, like getting maesters. After some chatting and some good coffee, Ysabel is quite well-liked by everyone in House Harlaw.

Maester Meera is required to go to the maester conclave that afternoon. She sits with her friends and allies while each side makes a speech supporting their position. She knows from Rebekka’s findings that Senescial Ryam has been paid off by the Lannisters to support the “do nothing” plan. After the speeches, Meera tries to convince her friend Tarwyn first (Solution 1) and easily wins him over to 3 after promising to play chess with him some evening this week. She also wins over Helliwag (2>3), though he does bring up the question of how to decide who gets a maester in Essos since they don’t have the same system of nobility. Meera says she believes anyone who can support a maester should get one, regardless of their status; everyone needs healing and teaching.

Ysabel gets Harris to invite her in to the castle that evening, much to Cassie’s jealousy. Robert Baratheon is enjoying drink and female company and is easy enough to approach. Ysabel tries to take his attention by dancing with Harris and then swapping partners to Robert. They chat about the tourney and Robert mocks his brother Stannis, who isn’t even here. Robert boasts he’ll win the joust and reap many sweet rewards. Ysabel tries to find out his hobbies and then asks his opinion on the king. Robert openly and recklessly mocks the king, who is in the same room, and says the king got into trouble because he couldn’t defend himself (unlike Rhaegar, who is one of Robert’s great rivals). Robert agrees that Rhaegar would make a better king than his father and Ysabel convinces him he should become better friends with him. Their talk is interrupted when Cassie “accidentally” spills red wine all down Ysabel’s dress. Robert offers to escort her to his room in the castle to help her clean up.

In the room, Robert starts taking Ysabel’s dress off her for cleaning. His intentions are clear. But just as Ysabel is trying to figure out how to get out of this – hoping to get him drunk enough he doesn’t remember what they actually did – some of Robert’s stormlands buddies burst in and drag him off to see something at the party. Ysabel gets a new dress from a servant and returns to the party.

Leo pals around with Lonmouth, who is doing a bar crawl around the camp (tent crawl?). Some of Lonmouth’s teammates are disgruntled about drinking with the guy who beat them, but Lonmouth convinces them Leo’s all right. They chat about this and that and become buds that night. Leo comes to realize that Lonmouth is quite intelligent, so Leo brings up the SWORD program. Lonmouth finds it fascinating and is quite impressed. Leo offers to introduce him to Ysabel so they can talk about trade routes and such. Lonmouth speaks highly of the prince and says Mandon Moore and Leo might both be kingsguard material someday. Richard Lonmouth (the “knight of skull and kisses”), a minor noble from House Horpe, and Selwyn Tarth become quite friendly with Leo by night’s end.

After Lonmouth leaves, Mandon Moore and his cronies burst in, quite drunk. Moore boasts about taking down two guys in that fight and how he’s the one carrying this team. Leo just agrees with him to pacify the drunk knight, and Moore eventually gets bored and swaggers out. Trystan Bloodhand then approaches Leo and asks how he can help. Leo tells him to just follow his lead, not wanting to speak of the plans in public. Trystan assures him the Bloodhands have our back and hints that they also have something in the works to increase the status of the Raven Five and the anti-pirate coalition.

Rebekka talks it over with Meera and decides to tell Idwell of the plot to kill Howland Reed. Over fried fish in Idwell’s tent, when no one is listening, she quietly fills him in. He’s confused at first, but that turns to shock when she explains the reward. Rebekka breathes a huge sigh of relief when he readily agrees to the plan. Rebekka informs Idwell that she saw Leona Reed stealing Vale arrows today. Idwell turns out to have been collecting Frey arrows just like Rebekka, though he also has a collection of other house arrows as well, keeping his options open.

Idwell also mentions he has a task to do for his father during the tourney and Rebekka talks him into telling her about the “surprise”. Idwell shows her a vial of potent poison (cost several dozen gold dragons in Gulltown) and says he’s been tasked with killing someone who has been detrimental to both their houses— Viktor Grafton. Rebekka says that’s not a good idea. Idwell points out the coalition was formed to counter the Graftons as much as the pirates. Choosing her words carefully, Rebekka says the Slagathors are actually working with the Graftons right now. She wrings her hands and says their fathers need to talk immediately.

Meera goes to find Maester Bran of House Tarth. She easily convinces him to change his vote for the conclave (2>3), as well as some other maesters listening nearby. He invites her to his tent to give her some wine for Lord Slagathor. After he’s sent the servants away, he pours her some to taste. She gets right to the point and asks about Robert Baratheon. Robert has spent most of his time in the Vale rather than the Stormlands and isn’t close to either of his brothers. Robert might leave if he heard Stannis was dead or dying, but he’d only believe that if Maester Cressen said so. Cressen is renowned for being honorable and loyalty. Bran suggests making sure Robert doesn’t make it to the last rounds of the joust and leaves early so he doesn’t attend or even know about the great conclave. It would be nearly impossible to poison him in such a way that the dozens of maesters here couldn’t cure it. Finally, they decide the best way would be to get Robert severely physically injured, potentially in a drunken brawl. Bran and Meera will brainstorm who to use for this brawl, and that needs to be instigated ASAP. Bran gives Meera a bottle of wine to take back for Lord Arthur and she gently rebuffs Bran’s advances.

Leo starts the third day with another training session with Tiberius the Tall to prepare for the melee (gains doubled defense for first round again). Marcus Felix compliments Leo on yesterday’s performance and encourages him for today. MF is also on the lookout for a girl and has his eyes on a certain one but won’t say which. Tiberius informs them that their brother Avlon did well in archery yesterday.

Rebekka attends the meeting between Lord Arthur and Lord Tolbert Bloodhand (Idwell is also there). Arthur explains part of the situation to the incredulous Tolbert, saying only that it’s advantageous to ally with the Graftons right now. When pressed as to who the real opponent is, Arthur explains in full— how we and the Graftons are backing the prince. Tolbert considers this and decides this plan could help our families. Tolbert hints that he has a new secret plan, but he eventually spills the beans when Arthur and Rebekka and even Idwell press him to tell.

Tolbert mentions how no one has seen the Crowmores in a while. He mentions how the Crowmores had a secret prison under their castle where they performed experiments. They’d been working on creating wildfyre of their own. Around a month ago, the Crowmores both died on the road (Rebekka looks at Idwell; he looks away). They left their castle to the Bloodhands in their will; they had not yet had time to adopt a child. The Bloodhands brought some wildfyre here in Grafton-marked barrels. Tolbert’s new plan is to modify his tools, murder Elbert Arryn, and frame Jon Arryn for taking revenge and murdering other lords with wildfyre in retaliation. This would lead to unpredictable casualties, but if the plot led to the deaths of some of the other major houses of the Vale, if could also mean big status promotions for the Raven Four. ((DECISION ON HOLD; MUST HAVE AN ANSWER BY THE 28TH))

Ysabel asks Elbert Arryn about getting an audience with Lyanna Stark. Elbert is confused as to why she would make such a request, so Ysabel makes something up about wanting to give her advice about marriage, woman to woman. Elbert agrees to get her an invitation to a “ladies only” get-together Lyanna is having this evening (Action 3).

Meera decides she needs to convince Maester Esteva to join her side without further delay. She meets her leaving House Waynwood’s tent; apparently Esteva has been trying to convince Tywinna to vote for Option 2 instead of 3. Esteva believes security is key at the moment due to the troubled times. Meera counters that focusing on our own security would change the nature of the maesters; rather than close our light in a steel lantern, we need to spread it to other lands. Esteva says the LoL people will force us to adapt who we are, so we might as well change ourselves first. Meera says adapting by giving in to fear is still doing what the cultists want; we need to spread our word instead, on our own terms. Esteva gives in and goes so far as to return to Tywinna’s tent to say she changed her mind.

Leo’s team goes in for their second bout of melee. His team is now against the Warriors of Light, all Stormlands houses. Mandon Moore will be fighting Robert Baratheon himself. Leo squares off against Selwyn Tarth, who he was drinking with last night with Lonmouth. Leo has some fans in the crowd this time, though Robert is still getting the most attention. The first exchange goes firmly in Leo’s favor, then he takes some damage in the second. In the third, Leo defeats Selwyn Tarth in time to see Mandon Moore defeat Robert Baratheon in combat. Robert is treating all this as a warm-up for the joust. He brings his warhammer down on Moore’s hand at one point, probably breaking it. The enraged Moore throws dirt in Robert’s eyes, elbows him in the crotch, spits in his eye, and whacks Robert in the head with Robert’s own warhammer that was dropped during the crotch hit. The Baratheon stag helmet breaks into pieces. With Robert on the ground, Moore spits on his again, slams the hammer down on Robert’s sword arm, drops the hammer on him, and crows his victory. The crowd looks on in shock, but none so much as Elbert Arryn, who stares in utter horror.

Ysabel is watching the melee today ((OOC: Katya burned a destiny point to make Mandon Moore defeat Robert in a vicious and humiliating way). In the crowd, she speaks with Balor Blacktyde of the Iron Islands, who asks her opinion of his people. (Jaspar Redfort, down in the melee, congratulates Leo on his sister schmoozing with the Greyjoys as requested.) Ysabel speaks of her preconceptions and how her views have changed. Balor mentions how the Drowned God speaks to him, unlike the Seven, but the Iron Islanders have learned much from the others in Westeros. He says he supports the current lord, who wants a rapprochement with Westeros.

She mentions to Balor how we’ve been forming an anti-pirate coalition in the wake of numerous pirate attacks, one of which severely threatened her life. He’s impressed when she shows him her life-threatening scar and the efforts we’ve made with the coalition and says it would be good to have her speak of this with Lord Greyjoy. As they’re discussing how to go about that, Lord Euron Greyjoy comes over and mocks Balor for his clothes and company. He dismisses Ysabel after handing her a paper with directions to his tent, but when she mentions her name he mentions drinking with Gabool a year or two ago and how nothing enrages Gabool as much as mentioning the name Slagathor. Ysabel takes a flask from Euron and chugs it, to Balor’s alarm (and Leo’s, who sees from the field). She very quickly becomes tipsy but manages to stay on her feet. As she staggers from the stadium, she runs into Cassie and Harris. Cassie mocks her for being drunk so early in the day. Ysabel responds by belching in her face. Harris just finds this all very funny, to Cassie’s increasing annoyance. Leo quickly catches up with Ysabel and escorts her back to the tent for medical attention. Meanwhile, the Order of the Stick, the Grey Company, and the Prickly Pears also lose their bouts today.

Rebekka spends the afternoon scoping out potential locations where tonight’s assassination of Howland Reed could take place. (+1b to hide and +1b to flee during Howland Reed murder attempt)

Meera goes looking for Maester Cressen (House Baratheon) to try and change his vote. She finds him in the main maester tent, where he and other maesters are updating maps of Westeros. Meera points out they need to add the new Bloodhand/Crowmore road in the Vale. Eventually Cressen says he’s getting lunch and Meera goes with him. He comes from a minor noble family in the Grainlands (Tyrells) and is familiar with the coast and rain. He’s still sad about the deaths of his lord and lady (Robert’s parents) and hopes Robert is having a good time with the tournament and not defeating his opponents too soundly.

Meera asks why he supports Option 1. He doesn’t think we need to make long-term changes like 2 or 3. We don’t have to rush. Meera counters with what she’s seen and experienced herself. He’s sympathetic, but still doesn’t believe the crisis is such that we should change who we are yet. Meera brings up how spreading our influence would help not only with this, but also with preventing future issues and increasing knowledge. Cressen is worried about what such change might mean for us— how it might change us in unforeseen ways. Meera says change is inevitable and we as maesters shouldn’t fear it. While she and Cressen have a good talk and gain respect for each other, neither can convince the other to change their mind.

Avlon duels Robin Frey in the archery tournament. It’s a close call, but Avlon wins a second round. The Frey breaks his bow in frustration and storms away. A member of the Night’s Watch approaches Avlon and commends him on his skills…

NEXT TIME: Day 3, Action 3

The original Bloodhand plan is as follows (from Michael):

The Bloodhands would have assassinated Viktor Grafton with a rare poison acquired via shady merchants after Episode 1, making the deal for the poison during Episode 1 (this is what Tolbert’s wife has been up to, acquiring the poison). With Viktor dead, the Graftons would have been enraged, and likely blamed many people. However, most of the people they would blamed would have alibis, since they didn’t actually do it (i.e. the Slagathors). This happens on Day 3. During Day 4 thru 6, the Bloodhands would read the situation, spread rumors, and allow the Graftons to identify who they think was the culprit. For this test example, let’s say they think it was the Freys who were responsible. Between Day 6 and 7, at night, the wildfire acquired from the Crowmores would have the emblem of the Graftons put on it and be used against whomever the Graftons disliked the most. This would cause such a scandal that the Graftons would have to be replaced/executed for their crime (the King is currently known, after all, for executing a lot of people and probably would not like this event ruined by anyone). With the Slgathors leading the Coalition, they would be the natural choice to replace the Graftons as lords of Gulltown, not only because of growing influence, but because of blood (due to Arthur’s marriage.).

The new, changed, proposed plan is mostly the same above, expect replace the Graftons with the Arryns, and being more flexible with whom the wildfire impacts. The family being inflicted with Wildfire does not matter. What does matter is that everyone “knows” who did it.

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