A Game of Thrones

Session Four
The Game Begins

This session begins a few days after their meeting with Littlefinger. They awake to find Lord Eddard Stark has arrived and the King is expected shortly. After meeting with catelyn and the group he sends Catelyn and Ser Rodrik back to Winterfell to call their Bannermen to them. He then asks the group to get to the bottom of all this intrigue. 1- Who killed Lord Jon Arryn and why? 2- Why was Bran targeted and by whom? 3- Who’s dagger is the valyrian blade?

Marten is very interested in the last one, as it’s the same blade that murdered his mother. The group quickly learns they have no thrill in playing the “Game of Thrones”.

They learn several facts through questioning. 1- Lord Jon Arryn was healthy and then quickly wasted away and died. 2- Poison is possible, the Tears of Lys is a possible poison that has those effects. 3- Poison is a weapon of cowards, women, and eunuchs. 4- Lord Varys is a eunuch from the Free City of Lys. 5- Lord Arryn’s squire is still in King’s Landing somewhere. 6- Lord Arryn was reading from a book on the Lineages of the Great Houses of Westeros. Ser Walter is now in possession of the book. 7- Lord Arryn and Lord Stannis Baratheon (the king’s brother) rode alot together. Two of the places they went to was a blacksmith Tobho Mott, and a brothel. Eddard scoffs at that idea saying neither would ever go to the brothel. The group travels to each and learns that they indeed went to both locations, but only to see the blacksmith’s apprentice and a small child born to a whore. Both are unmistakably King Robert’s bastards.

The entire time in King’s Landing they feel like someone is following them. Every time they notice someone, they lose him to the crowd.

During this time, the King announces a Grand Tourney in honor of Eddard Stark – the Hand of the King. The group shows interest, and Eddard graciously sponsors them in whichever of the activities they wish to participate in.

The grand feast begins the night before the tourney. Haydon is drinking once again, when Chimaera starts to sing for the hall. The song turns bawdy and he goes down the line of the kingsguard making fun of them one at a time. The king roars with laughter at each and every verse of his song. Most of the Kingsguard show good humor and are gracious, until Chimaera comes to Ser Preston Greenfield and a verse about sheep. To which Ser Preston looks abit peeved, but then out of nowhere Heydon starts baying like a sheep really loudly – to the kings great amusement, and Ser Preston’s red face. Before too long a good number of people join in on the baying, and Ser Preston storms out.

During this time, Ser Walter and Lord Varys have a discussion. Alot is said, but very little information actually is learned from Lord Varys.

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Session Three
To King's Landing

The group and a handful of guards leave for White Harbor with Catelyn Stark and Ser Rodrik Cassel. The group is just an hour or two away from the Boar’s Head Tavern when arrows fly out of the tree line from ahead. Several Stark guards fall as a wildling raiding party appears. The group charges to the defense of Lady Catelyn and rushes off after the wildlings. Chimaera jumps a small ravine to run down a wilding, and after doing that finds himself surrounded. Marten lets his shadowcat loose and together they take down a wildling. Heydon also runs down a wildling and kills another and Ser Walter deals with one himself. All in all the group dispatches six wildlings rather quickly, and only Chimaera is wounded.

The rest of the journey goes uneventful and they find themselves in King’s Landing harbor looking up at the Red Keep and the largest city they have ever seen. After finding an inn, the group prepares to turn in for the night. Catelyn sends Ser Rodrik away on a quest, and asks Ser Walter to stay in her room until Ser Rodrik comes back. This draws remarks from the group as they know of Ser Walter and his “activities” with Lady Magmar.

Catelyn sleeps in the bed as Ser Walter waits patiently for Ser Rodrik to return when there’s a loud banging on the door. Loud enough for the rest of the group to hear. At this point Chimaera is still wounded and Heydon is quite drunk. “Open in the name of the King” the guard shouts, which causes alarm in everyone. Ser Walter opens the door with his hand on his sword ready for action. There’s a bored looking group of guards out in the hall. At this time, the rest of the group is approaching from down the hall ready for a fight. They were sent to fetch Lady Catelyn – how anyone knows she’s here is a mystery to the group. Tensions are high as the group is preparing to take out the guards when Catelyn appears dressed and diffuses the tension.

They follow the guards for abit and come to the Red Keep and to a room with a short man waiting for them. Lord Petyr Baelish – Littlefinger. After a conversation they find out the dagger was his, but he lost it to Tyrion Lannister at Prince Joffrey’s Name Day Tourney when Ser Jaime was unhorsed by Ser Loras Tyrell. They meet Lord Varys, and are warned not to trust anyone.

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Session Three
The Blood of Innocence

It’s been a few days since the injury to Bran, and he has not awoke from his coma. During this time it is announced that Lord Eddard has been named “The Hand of the King” and will be going south to King’s Landing with King Robert. Eddard has agreed to take Lyanna as a ward, and as a possible match with Bran should he awake. He is also planning on taking Lyanna south to King’s Landing with Sansa and Arya so they may grow to be sisters. He has asked Ser Walter is the group would be willing to stay on at Winterfell for a short time to help out after he leaves, to which Ser Walter accepted.

Several days after the King’s departure for King’s Landing, the wolves start howling again. This alerts the group immediately and they run out into the courtyard as a fire is discovered burning in the library. The group rushed to help, but Marten notices something – a shadow entering into the tower where young Bran is sleeping in. Curious he follows with Heydon. As they reach Bran’s room they see a man with a dagger fighting with Catelyn Stark, to Marten this dagger is very familiar. It is the same one used to kill his mother. He flies into a rage and kills the man without thinking.

The next day Catelyn Stark calls the group to her and reveals what she knows. Her sister Lyssa Arryn, widow to Jon Arryn the old Hand of the King, believes that the Lannisters murdered Jon. She also believes Bran did not fall and was pushed, that he may have stumbled across something. This is the real reason Eddard went south, so he could investigate. She has decided to travel by boat to reach King’s Landing before or at the same time as Lord Eddard, and wishes the group to come along.

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Session Two
When Wolves Howl

After resting for a day and a half. waiting on the arrival of the forces they sent to White Harbor, and young Lady Lyanna, the group heads to the north and Winterfell.

Now too far before reaching Winterfell, they catch a glimpse of a young boy following them off the road in the woods. They call to him to reveals himself, and he comes running out breathlessly, a second later a rather large canine follows him out and stops – glaring at the group. Marten notices the size of the paws and realizes it is still a pup, a dire wolf pup. After a short conversation, they realize they’ve been talking to the son of their liege lord, young Bran Stark. He runs off playing with his wolf.

At Winterfell, Ser Walter presents himself to Lord Eddard Stark, who invites them to dine with him in the Hall. A small feast is prepared to honor the group as allies to House Stark, and Eddard contemplates the proposal of Lord Roland’s daughter to Bran.

The next morning, the group awakes to a rather large commotion outside, the King has arrived with his wheelhouse. They catch their first glimpses of the royal household and all the many retainers following them. Marten realizes that alot of the strange images he’s been seeing in dreams correspond to banners in the King’s party. A large feast is held that night for the King. During the feast Marten takes a “doggie” bag out to feed his shadowcat, he is unhappily penned for safety. He runs into Tyrion Lannister, and they have a brief conversation about shadowcats (replaces Tyrion’s encounter with Jon Snow from the novel). Heydon continues with his drinking and Ser Walter notices that Chimaera is speaking to Kevan Lannister about something.

The next day as the King and Lord Eddard are out hunting, the wolves suddenly start to act nervous, and erupt into a sinister sounding howling. Nothing calms them down, and this has a eerie effect on the smallfolk and guards. After a time, Ser Rodrik is found and he announces to the group young Bran is missing. The group splits up to try and find him. Chimaera finds the boy laying broken at the bottom of a tower, but strangely decides to do nothing and wait to see what happens. Before too long, the rest of the group finds him. He appears to have fallen and is unconscious.

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Session Two
The Boar's Head

Along the way, they find evidence that the bandits have started to break apart, as tracks break off several times and head to off to the north, away from the westward heading they originally took.

One night, several days out from Ram’s gate, they are startled in the middle of the night, by what sounds to be someone in the woods, not far from them. Marten, who has an animal companion – a Shadowcat – takes point. They find a young woman staggering through the woods, and she collapses and dies, as they rush to her. Likely one of the women taken from Ram’s Gate. Further investigation finds no trace of the bandits, or not enough of one to bother.

Deciding it would be best to continue to the meeting point, the group buries the young woman, and leaves. This whole time, they had been using the scouts to their advantage by having them scout ahead, and leap frog one another, so that there was always a scout ahead of them.

Upon reaching the meeting point, they find a small tavern not too far up the road – the Boar’s Head. When they reach the stables they notice a horse with some Bolton colors on it, and it sends up alarms to the group. They decide to casually walk into the tavern and scout it without drawing any attention to themselves.

In the tavern are several patrons spread out in the common room, and a table full of half-drunk braggarts. Chimaera proceeded to seduce the bar maid, and in doing so got her quite drunk. He and Heydon decide to do some scouting upstairs to the rooms. Heydon at this point is in a bad mood as he thinks he was gouged on the price of a room. He waits outside of the room taken by the leader of the group, as Chimaera and the bar maid enter the room, her drunk and him acting like it and trying to find someplace for an “encounter” of their own.

This pisses off the owner of the room (and leader of the bandits) and he starts to pick up a weapon from the floor. Heydon uses the moment of distraction to charge in and try a Knockout maneuver. He succeeds on his die roll and ko’s the man, who just happens to not be alone in his room. A woman sits up screaming in the bed and tries to cover herself. After a short interrogation, it’s revealed that they were just a small band of bandits who stole some Bolton colors. The leader (who is still unconscious) is Jassen Pyke (Pyke meaning a bastard born in the Iron Islands) and the woman is his right hand “man”. Old enmities die hard, and Heydon recognizing the last name kills her on the spot with Chimaera doing the same to Jassen. Chimaera puts the bar-maid to sleep in his room, while Heydon searches Jassen’s room and finds a shield with the Greyjoy emblem on it. He tosses it out the window and goes back downstairs.

The group meets up and decides to take Jassen’s men down as well. Hayden grabs the shield he threw outside, and they walk back in. He confronts the group, who are quite drunk at this point. They start to draw weapons, and attack. Marten lets his arrows loose, Heydon and Ser Walter charge in, and the battle is over before it even started.

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Session One
Dark Wings

Heydon is called before Lord Roland, who tells him of the raven from Widow’s Watch. He explains to Haydon that he is sending him with a small number of soldiers to see if they can be of assistance to the Flint’s. Widow’s Watch is where Lady Elinora is from. As a side note, he believes Ser Walter Langley to be a good person to command such a group.

Heydon rounds up Marten Jaeger, Master of the Hunt and Horse, and Ser Walter Langley. Another fellow that goes by the name Chimaera decides to join in as well. Not much is known of Chimaera, but his singing is welcome in the cold Skagos nights, as is his more “bawdy” jokes.

Roland reveals to the group another mission to partake in, they are to deliver young Lady Lyanna (7) to Winterfell either as a ward or as a possible marriage to young Bran Stark. They are to head there from Widow’s Watch.

After preparations, the group is ready to depart via a small sailing ship to Widow’s Watch. Along the journey, Lyanna develops a friendship to the mysterious Chimaera.

Upon arrival at Widow’s Watch, the group takes the Lady Lyanna to meet her grandparents – the Flint’s of Widow’s Watch. They hear that Ramsgate, to the west, had also been hit by bandits. These bandits appear to be wearing the Bolton colors.

At Ram’s Gate, they hear the same, Bolton colors, but this time the bandits kidnapped several town women. Ser Walter and Heydon decide the best idea would be to send the rest of their forces to White Harbor with the Lady Lyanna, and to take several scouts with them and find these bandits. They will then meet where the White Knife river meets the King’s Road.

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Prologue

The first half of this session was basically just the prologue from the novels. I pre-generated the pc’s, and added a character since I have four players, and the book only has three in this chapter. 1- Ser Waymar Royce- a young noble and leader of this ranging. 2- Gared- a veteran of more then a 100 ranges. 3- Will- a tracker and one of the best archers on the wall. 4- Tom- a rookie on his first ranging.

Will was scouting ahead and tracked a group of wildlings to a small village. At the village he discovered multiple dead bodies laying in the snow. Waiting for the others, he huddled in his furs to keep warm. Shortly there-after, Ser Waymar and the others arrived. The village was eerily silent as they scouted it. After coming out of one of the buildings, they noticed the dead bodies were missing, a cause of some alarm to the group. By this time the sun had set behind the trees to the west, and the temperature was falling fast.

As the group tried to figure out just what was happening, Will notices some dark shapes moving out of the tree-line from the south. At the same time, their horses start having a fit, and are trying to get away from the tree they’re tied up to. Gared runs over to them to try and calm them down. The others take up defensive positions in the village.

The Other was on Ser Waymar astonishingly quick, the Wights fanned out to take the rest of the group. The group started out the battle well, and came close to cutting down two of the Wights. However, the Death Grip ability of the Wights came into play. Basically whenever a human-based Wight takes damage in excess of it’s Health, it removes half the damage, takes a -1D penalty on all die rolls, but it may take two attacks each round. Ser Waymar was quickly surrounded, and was the first to fall. As he fell, he commanded the group to retreat, which the rest of the group heeded. Gared had lost two of the horses to their panic, another died fell to the Wights. The last thing he saw was Ser Waymar Royce’s glowing blue eyes emotionless look as he was run through.

Now to the start of the campaign

“Dark wings bring dark words.” Isn’t that what Winterfell’s Maester used to say when ravens arrived there? Maester Arlin will be here shortly with the ravens message. Who would send one here?

Lord Roland Magmar shivered against the cold evening wind. He felt the warmth of the arms enclose around his waist. “Winter is indeed coming my love, why don’t you come back to bed?”

“I wish I could m’lady, but I must see what news arrives with the raven.” Oh how I wish I could just stay in the warm bed with her. How lucky I was to win her heart and the ties with the Flints of Widow’s Watch.

The knock on the door brought Roland out of his thoughts. “Come in Maester.”

“My Lord, a raven from Widow’s Watch …” Roland could see the flush in his cheeks as he realized the state of undress Lady Elinora was in. “My apologies Lady.”

“Nonsense Arlin, you’ve been my Maester since I was a child.” Roland couldn’t help but watch as his lady wife walked to the bed and slip into her robe.

“Alright Arlin, what’s the news?”

“It’s Widow’s Watch my Lord, it’s … it’s been attacked.” Roland could hear the blood pounding in his ears so loudly he almost didn’t hear the gasp coming behind him from Elinora.

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Marten Jaeger
Written by his player - Eric

I was born to Llysa Jaeger; she owned a tavern on the end of town. She told me that my father had died when I was young. I don’t remember him, nothing about him. But I do remember the multitude of lovers she’s had. She had never had a shortage of men to share her bed, mostly men who came on the ships and took rooms in her tavern. After a time I grew numb to it. Mother never treated me different and she only bedded them after I slept. She thought I never knew; I did. I would wander the forest the nights she took lovers.

It was on one of these nights I heard a struggle in the common area as I returned from my wanderings. As I entered from the rear a scream rang out and was suddenly silent. She was alone on the floor, naked and bleeding from a gaping wound in her neck.

“Valyrian dagger…..bone hilt” was all she whispered as she died. The entrance to the common room door lay wide open. I sprang to the doorway, but to no avail. No one could be seen nor heard.

I was but 21 when the battle at Pike took place, and at that time was under command of the Heir Rickard Magmar. During the assault many brave men died, Nobles and smallfolk alike. I was there when Lord Rickard was slain. I saw the blow that spilled him upon the rocks, and I sat there as the battle raged around me and cradled my Lord until he died. It wasn’t until the early morning of the next day that Lord Magmar had found us. I was still in holding Lord Rickard and weeping openly now. I helped Lord Magmar load Rickard onto a cart and only then did I collapse with exaustion.

Since then, I was taken under employ of Lord Magmar for the kindness I had shown to Lord Rickard. Lord Magmar believes that it was my duty to do so, but Lord Rickard was more than my Lord, he was my friend. He had befriended me years before. He was kind and just. I should have died that day….....

Marten is Loyal to House Magmar. He had a secret friendship with Rickard and was smallfolk when he was befriended. He was only a servant but Rickard treated him with respect and in doing do Marten gave his unwavering Loyaties to House Magmar. No one knows of this friendship, in public Marten was treated as a servant and understood that that was the role.

Since the night his mother was murdered, Marten has been plagued by nightmares. However as of late, these dreams have started taking on a life of their own …

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Ser Walter Langley
Written by his player - Jesse

I see her everytime I enter House Magmar. Her beauty still shines even to this day. I let myself fall into a vivid dream of the life we could of had together. Eli, I whisper, how I love thee. We lock eys from across the room. A man can be the greatest king, the mightest warrior, or the richest merchant prince, even her husband, but never would she look at them with those eyes of jade as she looks at me, her true love. Eli hides her gaze as the Lord of the house enters.

Roland you bastard, my thoughts cry out in jealousy. You may have taken her in body but not in mind and soul. Eli loves me still, her eyes tell me that. Lord Magmar speaks, but I dream of better days. Back then we were young and strong of heart. When we bled, we bled nobility. Those were good days. We were inseperable back then, Roland and I. We both won our knighthood during Robert’s rebellion against the Mad King. Roland married early and started a family. I had not yet found my true love. I was there to celebrate the birth of his only son, Rickard. I was there for him during the death of his first wife, Lyianna. When all hope had left him, I propped him up and gave him hope. There wasnt a fight we dare not win , on the battlefield or in the tavern halls. I had his back and he had mine. Brothers in arms till the end. Then we both saw her and that all changed.

The tournament games had arrived to the island and every noble house across the land fielded there best. We both had made our way through the jousting tournament. Besting our way through countless opponents until we eventually met each other face to face on the field. As the squires were leading the horses to the line, I looked up and saw her. Never in my life had I seen true radiance. A beautiful face among the faceless crowd. I lost my breath as all time seemed to stop. “My lord,” I heard my squire speak. “Thy horse is ready, good luck.” I waved him off as I tried to swallow the lump in my throat. My concentration had been broken. I steadied my horse and waited for the trumpet to sound as I scanned the field. Roland too had notice her, but he was much more brash about it. He pointed to her with his lance and called for a good luck kiss. She gave him a wave as the trumpets sounded. Deep inside me something erupted, no longer did I see a friend but an arch rival. The prize would be mine.

I yelled the command for the horse to charge. Raising my shield to defend, I steadied the lance and prepared to thrust as roland charged closer and closer. Our lances met and deflected off each others shield as we pass by one another. I reached the end of the line first and pulled back on the reins with a loud “whoa,” to turn around. I raised my visor and looked onto the crowd. We locked eyes. They say true love does not exist, but here in this place I had found it. She did too. She let go of her silk handkerchief onto the tournament field. I jumped off my horse and rushed to pick it up, but Roland had the same idea. We bounced off each others armor. I scolded him to back off as he yelled “I saw her first.” I felt a tug on my shoulder, “Ser.” My squire awoke me from my dream.

“Walter.” Lord Magmar spoke. “What is the current situation with the bandits?” I gathered my thoughts befor I spoke. “Forgive me my Lord, my thoughts were elsewhere,” I replied. Lord Magmar, countered with a smug look, “they been doing that a lot lately.” The room ruptured in laughther. I went on with my report.

We ended up fighting for the handkerchief on the ground. It took seven men to break us apart. The judges kicked us out of the jousting tourney. Our fathers were not pleased. Roland barked in disgust. I at least had her handkerchief. Silky smooth to the touch and smelled of summer roses. I waited for her after the games. Introducing myself, as Ser Walter Langley, eldest son of Brynn Langley. I handed back her handkerchief and asked for her name. She said her name was Lady Elinora Flint, but I could call her Eli. I would be the only man ever to call her by that name. Though our affairs were held in total secret, we had planned to announce our love, but it was not to be. War had come again.

Word had come down that all the loyal banners were gathering for a war against Lord Balon Greyjoy’s rebellion. For a time, Roland and I put aside our differences and fought alongside together as one. The final battle was to take place at Pyke. An old fortress castle. Lord Baratheon was able to breach the wall under the old south tower. Roland and I rushed in behind Lord Eddard Stark. We took arrow fire up from the tower. Several of the men were felled. Lord Stark ordered an attack on the tower thru its breached foundation. It was a bloody fight on the stone stair ways all the way to the top. Lord Stark was nearly cut down when Maron Greyjoy appeared behind a door. Lucky for him, Roland was right behind him and caught Maron by surprise. He ran his long sword straight thru. The tower started to lean, the damage from the breach was too much. Lord Stark, gave the order to fall back. I saw Maron crawling towards his weapon. I let him be and ran back out. The old south tower collapsed, taking all those within it to their deaths. Eventually the battle was over, Lord Greyjoy had surrendered.

I did not know at the time , but during the celebrations at Lannisport, for his act of saving the life of Lord Stark, Stark offered Roland whatever he wished. He spoke only one word, Elinora.

I threw the first punch when he told me he was to wed Elinora. “Bastard”, I cried, as my fist felt the pain of contact with his thick jaw. Friends since childhood and brothers in arms, this man right here was like a brother to me and yet at this very moment he was my most hated enemy. We both knew for a long time this moment would come someday. The fight was on for the greatest prize of ours lives, Elinora’s love.

Roland countered with a punch to my gut as he yelled, “Walter, it is done, by order of Lord Stark!!” “No!!”, I yelled. It was a solid blow as I flew across the dining table. Food and drink splashed everywhere as servants ran from the room. Roland approached and grabbed me as I laid Stunned. I reached over with my right arm for the ham bone lying on a plate and swung it across his face. A loud “smack”, echoed in the dining room, as Roland fell back against the stone wall. With a quick jump to my feet, I leaped at him from the table, coming down with a perfectly placed elbow….but he moved just in time. My face ate stone as I felt a tooth chipped. A hard kick to the body followed but I took it in stride. “She loves me!!, I cried as I staggerd to my feet. Roland smirked and was about to say something when I fired with my one two in quick succession. They hit true as his body spunned around like a rag doll but he caught himself on one of the dining room chairs.

“Walter, you may love her, but she is mine now!, get over it!”, Roland yelled as the wooden chair flew at me with blinding speed. I dodge with a quick step to the right towards the wall and I came back strong with a right hook to Roland’s face. In anger Roland drew his sword. I parried his swing and we cursed each other as we locked swords. By now, several other guards and knights had entered the room. Roland yelled at them to, “stay out of it!!” I pushed forward with a lunge towards him, but it was easily countered. “Face the truth, Walter. House Magmar is stronger. A marriage to a Flint will be better served by a Magmar than a Langley”, scolded Roland. No matter how much it hurt, Roland spoke the truth. House Magmar had more resources and more men. A marriage to a Flint was a better pairing, politcally and tactically. But it did not matter, I had true love on my side.

‘Enough!!”, yelled Roland’s father. The men breaking us apart. “All those battles fought, and this is the one that tears your friendship apart, for a woman! I’m an old man. One day soon, Roland will take over this house. Same for you Walter. When your father and I are gone, these banners will fall to the both of you to lead. Walter, listen to me. Roland won Elinora’s hand by right of deed. Can you truely deny him this right? And you, roland my eldest son. You knew the path this choice would lead for your friendship, and yet you made it.”, the elder Magmar spoke with a stern voice.

“Walter, this is the reality of your world. You dont have to like it, and I know you will never forgive him. But for the sake of your family honor, and the continued strength of this alliance, will you stand by my son?”, pleaded Roland’s father. I saw Elinora, enter the dining room. I looked over at her for consule and she nodded back to me, knowing I had no choice but to sacrifice our love.

“For love and honor”, I said as I looked over to Roland. “You god damn right”, he replied.

Will Walter win his lady-love, for we all know being a noble in Westeros comes with many dangers ….

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Chimaera
Written by his player - Sherm

The man flashed his dazzling smile to the crowd, brushing his spiked blond hair back out of the way of his blue eyes. The women, entranced, smiled back. The men, bedeviled, simultaneously sneered openly in contempt, and stood mesmerized in awe and jealousy. His fingers strummed the lute. Music poured forth effortlessly, long years of training and repetition making the difficult easy. Those long fingers, more feminine than masculine stroked songs of ice and fire from the dark wood of the aged instrument. His music was an extension of his will, and his will was strong. It circled the room, bewitching all who heard the sweet tones. But behind the smile and his delicate voice the man raged. He’d been sent to this island as a gift. A trade between not so friendly powers. A pawn in a game of thrones. Though he’d been amongst these islanders for years – he would never be one of them. He would never allow that to happen.

“Chimaera, they call you?” Bellowed a behemoth of a man. Lord Blount by name. “You appear more of a sparrow or perhaps a morning dove. With hands and voice like a woman!”

Behind the massive figure of Lord Blount, whose girth was so large as to force the serving girls to change their path and circle him as if he were some beached leviathan, there were snickers and outright roars of laughter from the crowd. All male. Some of the women smiled demurely, but most shot eyes of fire at their drunken, foolish male companions.

“Enough of the womanly songs, tell us a ribald joke!” said ser Blount, swallowing seeming gallons of ale in great gulps from his tankard. Foam rose around the edges of his mouth and was trapped in his thick beard. Heavy droplets fell, staining his tunic. His bald head sweaty in the rooms torch lit twilight. The lord had long passed drunk.

Chimaera stopped playing. For a moment there was silence in the hall. “A joke ser Blount? You like to laugh? I would think that after all these years of having the ladies laugh when you dropped your pants, laughter would be the last thing you’d like to hear.”

The room exploded in laughter. Men guffawed into their drinks, and the ladies smiled. Lord Blount didn’t see the humor in the situation. His eyes narrowed and his round face clouded red. Thick, ringed fingers grasped the pommel of his sword. The lord’s men, seeing he was not taking the bard’s jab lightly, put down their own cups and their hands sought their own swords. The moment froze, all was quiet as if a storm approached. A storm of swords.

“I apologize good ser. I meant no offense. I was simply saying that if a woman saw a man’s manhood the tremendous size yours obviously is, they could do naught but squeak out a terrified laugh to cover their fear! Come, let us drink and tell ribald tales of the fires of manhood and that deep well we all seek to quench our lusts!”

The storm abated. Fizzled before it could begin.

With that, the bard picked up a tankard from a near table and swigged deeply before jumping upon the very same table and beginning to tell the tale of The Maiden and the Unicorn. He smiled his big smile and his blue eyes flashed. Hands freed themselves from the entanglement of swords and laughter and frivolity once again filled the room. Next came The Clash of Kings and the audience howled to hear of the one-balled king. But, as he played and sang, behind the smile and the jokes, Chimaera raged. They think me the simpleton and jester. The dung heap for all their discarded wit. One day they will all know. They will feel my teeth sink into their throats and tear their worthless lives from them. I will sow woe and ruin in my wake and then they will know that the blood of lions runs in my veins.

This is a very interesting character, one that will be in the middle of events both great and terrible …

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