Chronicle of House Moorshead

Wedding Knight 04
The wedding occurs with only a few deaths.

Dear Ser Merik,

Velae Valaera is Helping me to spell. this

The Wedding was today. Lady Sha I wore the a dress. Caron Bowman won the Archer contest. Captain Arry placed 3 and Rhys 4 I reached round 4 of 7.

I I there I it Very I I had bad Green Dreams. I got Very sick but Mea MAESTER Sagan gave me medicine

I met Lord Darry your friend He was Very nice. his son paint a Waterfall shield. I saw lady Win We WHENT I am sad for her. M Lord Heatherdale was there also

There was a fine Melee as Nic came back he is the True born son of Lord Nolan with Lady Bracken. There was a Trail of the 7. Rhys wished to Knight me to fight for him but I said No. He Knighted Cicero!! Rhys fight Very well but Nic Lord Nicolas was stronger He wed Lady Iris instead of Rhys.

After there was a Feast Ser Symond thot think thogu SAID Vaelera’s direwolf insulted House Stark but I said we li serve the Tullys and still eat Fish and he smiled. A man named Tobbet said Get me a Drink. He did not like being called Tubby

The food was Very good I saved some for You. You can come Home now

Yo
JONAH

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Wedding Knight 03
The mysterious deaths continue, and the Dannetts are pulled into the misfortune.

Septa Alanna,

I did my best to keep Lady Sharra and Septon Vickon from sending you to the Piper trial, but in the end Rhys is lord and we all must obey. I can only hope the ten guards he sent with you are enough to keep you safe. I write to you from Castle Helmcrest. The circumstances to how I came to be here instead of attending your son’s wedding will be explained below. There is more urgent news that must be addressed first.

It pains my heavy heart to deliver this news to an already-grieving mother, but it’s a duty that must be done. Brianna has passed away as well. I’m so sorry. Her governess told us she claimed to have killed Moontea and several animals. We were unable to find any animal remains or confirm her hand in the death of the orphan boy, but we kept Bree’s room under guard to be safe. Shortly after, Lady Iris’s sister, the young Eilene, was found stabbed to death. Bree’s body lay beneath her window, holding the bloody knife. It looks as if Bree snuck through a secret passageway to Eilene’s room, killed her, and then lept to her death.

Rhys was able to keep Iris from calling off the wedding and returning home, since his sister died in the incident as well. Castle Blackhorn has become a sullen place of swallowed grief. Alas, Bree’s was not the only death since your absence.

HopToad the Fool made a poorly timed joke about Kellin’s death, which was immediately answered by Rhys sending Bahosek the Headsman to execute him. Rhys later explained to me in confidence that Cheese had told him something when they were alone. Cheese claimed there was a third betrayer in the house. Rhys and Uncus investigated secretly, since he thought the third traitor could’ve been any of us. I’m not sure of the evidence, but they decided that it was the fool since he had murdered the lords he previously worked for. This was all news to me. I’m shocked to find I know so very little about the vassals in my own house. Perhaps we should spend more time getting to know them before any new surprises pop up.

The fool was quickly replaced by a bulging-eyed man name Cicero. Uncus seems better company in comparison than this madman. Rhys took immediate distrust to the man, and Cicero responded by vanishing and sneaking around the castle until he gave himself up voluntarily. Whilst double-chained in the dungeon, Rhys interrogated him and discovered Cicero is from a house in the Vale made up of assassins. The best in Westeros, apparently. Rhys released and hired him. Let it never be claimed that Blackhorn is a dull place.

One of the house guard, Portho, fell from the parapets last night and died. This marks a dozen deaths in the past month, and the guards are getting superstitious. Some say it’s “the Ghost of Blackhorn.” The man had a confrontation with Jonah in Rhys’s Hall the day before.

Lady Mooton came forward to provide scant answers to the deaths of Ser Archer and Ser Floyd. The story about her sister was made up; Floyd was her business partner. She was unwilling to provide more information, claiming she would be killed if she did so. We’ve ordered her under guard, which is apparently just what she wanted to stay safe from whatever is after her.

Iris poisoned Jonah with Sweetsleep, and attempted to have her taken to Helmcrest after the death of Eilene. We were able to stop the plot before Jonah was taken very far. I’ve volunteered to stay at Dannett’s seat in my squire’s place until Blackhorn can be proven safe once more. I did this to ensure the success of the wedding, and keep the peace between our houses. I trust it won’t be very long.

Several other minor things you should be kept abreast of: We’re following up on a lead on Kellin’s murderers through Hedge-Maester Hamdan, and we should hear back from Oldtown soon. Due to the suspicions of Ser Hallister, Valaera has been placed under watch by Maester Sagan. The Queen’s protection that you made a deal for has been lifted in response to the death of her cousin Archer, and Bella Lannister has been expelled from Blackhorn. Iris has been sick since she got here; it’s suspected she’s been poisoned. Lord Tully has called his banners, fearing the force Tywin is raising to our south after his son was kidnapped. Rhys has raised an infantry force to answer — after the wedding we may be going to war. Valena Lugus has been hired as Chief Gaoler and will be watched by Uncus until she can be trusted. Our Animal Husbandry has been sabotaged, though I’m sure we’re able to stop it before it gets any worse. In his downtime, Master Veedle has taken the opportunity to reinforce the structures in Turney. His efforts give a defensive bonus to the hamlet if it’s attacked during war. With the death of Kellin, I’ve been named as Rhys’s heir until Iris bears his child.

Enclosed you’ll find a present from Jonah, which she bought at the capital last year. It’s a necklace to replace the seven-pointed star pendant that was broke the night Kellin was murdered. Jonah’s necklace has symbols of all the seven gods on it. I’m sure it is of little solace, but the girl is trying.

-Ser Merik Moorshead, Knight of the Ram and second son of Lord Jon the Ram.
10-28-298 AC

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Wedding Knight 02
Someone makes the first move, at the expense of House Moorshead

10-18-298, AC:
Septa Alanna escaped a failed kidnapping by assailants who tried to take her north. Unfortunately she had to leave behind Alyce, her handservant. The Bastard of Blackhorn was dispatched with several guards to recover the poor woman and look for traces of “Yurt”. Whoever told the kidnappers that Alanna would be traveling at that spot on the Kingsroad at that time remains undiscovered, as is to where exactly they were taking her.

Ser Merik ended the final pocket of bandits in the Moorslands. He knew the last outlaws would fight as desperate cornered animals, so he chose not to bring along his squire. Jonah fears that it was because of her gender. Merik proved victorious, and for the first time since Jon the Ram crime rates of the Moorslands have been raised to those typically seen throughout the rest of Westeros. The only thing remaining in the way of claiming the Moorslands as completely safe are the hill tribes in the Misty Mountains and bandits in the Whispering Woods.

On a hunt with their liege lord, Rhys fell from his horse, just as his father had not two years ago. But unlike his father, the young lord got back on the horse. Unfortunately Rhys had chosen to take the alchemist woman with him on the ride. The foreigner proved dually foreign to horses, and she was quickly separated from the group and beset by a pack of wolves lead by a large direwolf. But when Valaera finally rejoined the group, she carried their charred carcasses. The Woolcloaks of Blackhorn now affectionately call her “Dire-Slayer”.

The house hired their first spymaster, a lowborn hunchback named Uncus. Unaware that her son had already investigated the incident, Alanna asked Uncus to find out who set fire to the smithy the previous month. Uncus uncovered that it was an accident caused by iron ore, but the group remained unconvinced because he was unable to produce tangible evidence. When asked to look into the disappearance of Blackhorn’s rat-catcher, Uncus immediately filled them in on the weaselly man known only as Cheese who had been employed by another house, yet unnamed. It was not until Uncus captured Blood and Cheese while they were fleeing the Moorslands that Uncus was finally trusted. Unfortunately the duo left Alanna dying, Lady Sharra maimed, and Kellin slain along with two guards and a bedmaid.

Those were not the only lives snuffed out. Ser Archer was found dead after he was sent to shadow Ser Floyd and “The Lady”. House Moorshead suspects his widow of the murder, and is keeping her under guard. It was later discovered that Ser Floyd was also killed the same night Archer died. The Blanetree knights suspect Alanna or Jonah of murdering Ser Floyd in revenge for Ser Archer’s death. A large bribe kept them from telling Edmure Tully of their suspicions, at least until the House can find evidence of their innocence.


This week:
Iris Dannett is becoming known around the Riverlands as ‘Gatehouse Iris’ due to her sordid history. She was first engaged to a wealthy merchant named Piper, raped by bandits, sold into prostitution, engaged to Orten, and finally engaged to Rhys. Drunken woolcloaks are overheard to claim, “She opens her portcullis for any highborn passing by!”

The Alchemist Valaera gives lessons that greatly improve Jonah’s literacy, and Valaera allows her to write with her left hand. Maester Sagan notices and supports the effort. He elucidates, “There’s no incorrect method to learn, only alternatives to conventional doctrine.”

With the consent of Lord Moorshead, Valaera and Veedle begin construction of a small underground alchemy lab with proper safety features, like a collapsible ceiling filled with sand capable of quickly dousing fires. The stonemason’s uncanny mastery sees its completion in record time, and he makes double-sure there are no important structures directly above the lab. The lab quickly pays for itself after the Valyrian woman sells a few fresh flasks of wildfire (at a discounted price, just to spite those old lechers back at the Guild).

After discussing it with his council, Lord Rhys decides to mount the heads of Blood and Cheese on spikes atop the walls of Blackhorn. The moorsmen dub him with the moniker “Ironrod” due to his draconian rule. Alanna watches day by day as crows peck out the eyes and the flesh sloughs off the skulls of the vile assassins.

Lord Rhys speaks at Kellin’s funeral, “My younger brother may not have made a good lord, but he never had the chance to prove otherwise. Nevertheless he didn’t deserve what happened to him. We’ve allowed our petty differences to weaken our house, leaving us vulnerable. From now on we will unite in our common goal: vengeance for my innocent brother. Together we will be strong and declare in one voice, ‘We will not be silently picked off without a fight! We will not go gently into that good night!’ Drink hearty, rams of black, and fill your bellies. For soon we carve open theirs!”

A second funeral follows Kellin’s, this one for Ser Archer. Ser Hallister speaks at Archer’s funeral. The nostalgic words are rare for the surly old master at arms. “Most of the moorsmen knew Ser Archer Lannister of Lannisport to be a trustworthy huntsman and exceptional bowman. He always kept the kitchen stocked with fresh game. But to a few of us he was something more. Ser Archer was knighted by the late Lord Nolan after saving his life in Robert’s Rebellion. He was denounced by his family and the church for wedding the bastard Iva Hill. This touched the heart of Lord Nolan, and he provided a place at Blackhorn for the couple. Archer married for love over position, and Nolan cherished him for it. For the few of us who truly knew him, he will be missed greatly.”

Lord Tullison sends a raven declining the wedding invitation, but he wishes happy nuptials and apologizes for not attending. He fears the tension between his house and the Estrens, who are neighbors to Blackhorn, would harm the air of civility expected at such an event.

Another declined invitation arrives. Lady Orlanna Mallister thanks you, but her lord husband and their son are going to compete in the Tourney of the Hand instead. Orlanna gives her deepest sympathies for the loss of Kellin. Arannett was looking forward to meeting him.

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Wedding Knight 01
An ordinary day at Castle Blackhorn.

Esteemed Septa Alanna,

I hope this letter finds you well. Are the Dannetts proving to be good hosts to you and mother? I had to send a messenger because this letter was so long Hedge-Maester Hamden couldn’t fit it on the leg of a raven. Ser Tygor volunteered to deliver it. I was a bit cross with him earlier, perhaps he is trying to get in my good graces. I trust he won’t cause any trouble over there.

Lord Rhys has agreed that once your business is concluded in the Dannett lands you should travel to Seagard in order to cushion some bad news for the Mallisters: your son has decided to marry Iris Dannett. Though the Mallisters are more a powerful house, we don’t need to make formal alliances with people we trust. During the discussion Rhys seemed to think there should be a third option, but spoke no names.

When you reach the Mallisters perhaps you could suggest a marriage between Kellin and Aranette instead? I haven’t asked what Kellin thinks of the idea yet but I’m sure he’ll follow his older brother’s commands.

Rhys has done a proper job of planning the wedding, which will be a small humble ceremony. It will occur shortly, as soon as we get the Keep in order. I wanted to suggest a jousting tournament for the wedding, but kept my silence. It’s not my place to organize my lord’s affairs. Do you think we should invite the Mallisters to the wedding, or would that be insulting? It would provide Lord Jason and Lady Orlanna an opportunity to meet Kellin, and him their daughter.

Your son’s judicial rulings have grown stern. The smallfolk may dislike him, but I have no doubt that they will fear his firm hand. As long as he continues to heed council it probably won’t become a concern.

A fire broke out in the smithy, and the farrier perished. Apparently a ferric melt started the blaze. Some of the men are saying this is an omen of ill things to come.

Alysa, your handmaiden, was accused of adultery by Septon Vickon. Archer the huntsman and his wife Iva apparently invited her to their bed. Perhaps this is not an appropriate topic to write about.

My squire’s dreams have returned. She foresaw the arrival of a Valyrian woman from the Alchemist’s Guild. Valaera of Volantis, as she’s called, offered her services to brew wildfire for the house’s armaments. Rhys agreed to hire her provided she prove her claims. He didn’t ask why she left King’s Landing or Volantis, though. Perhaps he didn’t think it relevant. Our Master-at-Arms remains openly suspicious of her. Jonah has asked for her help in understanding the dreams.

Oh, and I’ve won the armsyard competition (if such trivial things are important). Your sons performed adequately enough. Kellin didn’t cry this time. We were all surprised when Jonah cleared through the other squires and defeated Lord Rhys, which was a bit embarrassing for him. She was only stopped when matched against Ser Artemis. I suspect one day soon we’ll see her best him.

I know you don’t like to speak of him, but I think Nic truly has a place at Blackhorn. He is doing well with the horses and dogs. When he recommended building a new and better kennel for the hounds, I knew he had the house’s betterment at heart.

The stonemason that Rhys commissioned, a Master Veedle, has arrived and began restoration of the castle walls. The following notes are difficult to explain. Your son has felt it necessary to use my winnings from last year’s tournament to fund a quarry. It will be built on the Lugusland we gained from last year’s trial. The stone will be put towards the reconstruction of the castle’s defenses.

Hamden’s curious curatives have finally proven to be too much for Rhys to handle. Your son broke down and sent the funds to Oldtown and agreed to their probationary terms for a proper maester.

The remainder of the gold was put towards rebuilding a new and better smithy. You may think it a prudent measure, since the sheep husbandry we’ve historically relied upon will surely decline during the coming winter. But for first time since Blackhorn was built, the houses coffers are now completely empty. I fear any unexpected expenses that the future may bring.

Since then, our investments have proven to be considerable boons to the house. By the time you return, which I hope will be soon, our resources should be significantly increased.

-Ser Merik Moorshead, Knight of the Ram and second son of Lord Jon the Ram.

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After the Peril
Between the events of Peril at King's Landing and the Wedding Knight

King’s Landing after the Tournament
A fortnight after the Tournament of Prince Joffrey’s 12th Nameday, the Hand of the King (Jon Arryn) fell ill. A few days later he died of an apparent stomach illness. Stannis Baratheon left his seat on the small council and is hold up in Dragonstone.

Receiving Rudolphus’ Remains
After Rudolphus’s head sat on a spike at the Red Keep for an appropriate amount of time, his remains were sent back to Castle Blackhorn. Lord Rhys ordered a heartfelt mourning ceremony of the ex-Maester, who died serving the family and following his mother’s commands. Rudolphus had only come to Blackhorn recently, but had taught Rhys much on how to be a Lord, heraldry, and the workings of the realm. After the death of his father, the maester had grown to become a sort of father figure to him. Rhys laments that no one even went to visit Rudolphus in his cell before he was executed; he died alone and abandoned.
Rhys takes the remains to the sept in Castle Blackhorn. The ceremony is lead by the highest ranking male member of the clergy at Blackhorn, Septon Vickon, and hymns are sung.
Septon Vickon is an elderly man in his 60’s who served Lord Nolan since Jon the Ram’s passing. Vickon is a strict and dogmatic man who holds many secrets of House Moorshead, some known only to him.

The Ward and the Liason
Young Liam Lugus, a boy of barely 10 years, is sent to Castle Blackhorn. The Tullys ordered a ward sent to Blackhorn to assure peace between the Luguses and the Moorsheads.
Liam arrives at Blackhorn in tears, already missing home and begging to see his parents again. After a few months he begins to lighten a little. He loves animals and spends as much time around the kennel and stables as possible. Running over the hills and through herds of sheep is a novel thing to the boy who was raised in a small house overcrowded with a large family. The players can form their own views on this character and whether or not they trust him, but he comes off as genuinely empathetic and sensible.
Not long after Alana’s visit to the Queen where she exchanged the location of a fleeing pregnant woman for the queen’s favor, a liaison to Cersei was sent to Castle Blackhorn. Lady Bella Lannister is a younger daughter of House Lannister of Lannisport. She’s a third daughter of a cousin of the Lord of Lannisport, so she holds little actual power of her family name. Also note that the Lannisters of Lannisport is a separate, cadet branch house of the actual Lannisters of Casterly Rock. So any prejudice players may hold against the Lannister family shouldn’t apply to her, but I can’t stop anyone from prejudging her.
She’s a quiet guest, preferring to listen rather than speak. She claims she’s at the castle to help Lord Moorshead as an advisor on behalf of the Queen, but some in the holdfast have implied she is nothing but the Queen’s spy, as she has yet to aid in any major way. On the other hand, she hasn’t been asked for any major aid.
Lady Bella spends her time innocently flirting with the knights of the house, but mostly she acts as an ordinary lady: poetry, singing, embroidery, etc. …a wholly unremarkable woman. Moontea, an orphan boy who menaces the keep, is quite taken with her. Several house guards have caught him sneaking around her window at night.

The Hedge Maester
Lord Rhys did his best at managing the new Wealth gained this past year, but he suspects that much of it slipped through his fingers because the house is without a steward. The position was formerly occupied by Maester Rudolphus. With the death of the house’s steward, the workings of the house’s resources and finances threaten to spin out of control.
A noble house needs a maester, but getting a replacement from Oldtown is a convoluted issue, and expensive. Septa doesn’t entirely trust the Citadel herself after the events in the capital, but relents that a noble house needs a maester nonetheless. The Citadel is inquisitive about the manner in which House Moorshead lost their previous maester, specifically how involved they were in his alleged sorcery and treason. It’s understandable that they don’t want to lose another fully trained maester due to repeating circumstances.
In the meantime, the house employs a Hedge Maester named Hamden to temporarily replace Rudolphus. Years ago he had been assigned by the Citadel to a minor house which quickly collapsed after his arrival. His bad experience with that house made him decide not to return to Oldtown for reassignment. Maester Hamden set out for his new life on the road, healing whoever had coin enough to pay (and sometimes even if they couldn’t pay). When he stopped by Blackhorn, Rhys was able to convince him to stay until a replacement was arranged.
Hamden is not an exceptional maester by any definition, but he’s a bit warmer than the late Rudolphus and he is usually more of a help than a hindrance. He sometimes pretends to know more than he really does, and is known to speak of legend and myth as if they were truths.

Quest for the Blackfyre Sword
After Rudolphus’ remains were interred and the new maester settled in, house Moorshead quested for the Valyrian-steel sword Blackfyre using a copy of the map recovered from a brigand tent at the Crossroads Inn. However, when they reached the site marked on the map they found it recently raided by an unknown party. Likely whoever stole the duplicate map made by Maester Rudolphus during the tournament made it there before House Moorshead. Dejected, the Moorsheads returned to Blackhorn empty-handed.

Knights & Squires
Kellin has been Ser Artemis’ page for many months now, but has made little progress in the arms-yard. Kellin tries hard, but at this point Ser Artemis seems to have little patience left for his charge. Kellin has improved slightly since Jonah started tutoring him in secret.
Ser Merik travels with Squire Jonah across the Seven Kingdoms, spending the last months of summer as a tourney knight. They send most of his winnings back to Castle Blackhorn. Jonah continues to learn how to joust and fence along the way.
During their travels, many scoff at having a girl for a squire. Ser Merik respectfully suffers it in silence from nobles, but teaches sharp lessons to commoners who don’t show his squire the proper respect.
Ser Merik’s nickname has stuck. Try as he might to not kill his jousting opponents, tourneys are still risky events and some die. Not in extraordinarily high numbers, but for masses of smallfolk expecting the Knight of the Ram to have a dark reputation, a few deaths now and then are still enough to keep the audience chanting “Stranger!” whenever Merik’s opponent falls to the ground.
Ser Tygor Wyl follows loyally, but spends much of his time flirting with passers-by. His traveling companions have noticed he pursues both men and women, though he is discreet about his preferences. On Jonah’s approval he leaves for weeks at a time on business of his own. On one visit to Dorne he picked up a squire for himself, a pale blonde-haired, violet-eyed girl about Jonah’s age named Desiera Dayne. She prefers to be called ‘Dez’. She displays only a fraction of Jonah’s exuberance, and prefers to fight in skirts. Having a second girl-squire on the road takes some of the disparagement off Jonah for a while, but often leaves Merik gritting his teeth.

Ser Merik
Though he is not a big fan of tournaments, he has taken up the tourney circuit to earn money and raise House Moorshead’s profile with mixed results.
Ser Barristan Selmy has kept in contact with him via raven, sharing stories about all the run-ins he’s had with Moorsheads in the past. He and Jon the Ram were knighted together at Blackhaven as teenagers. They fought together in the Stepstones during the War of the Ninepenny Kings. He unfortunately fought against Nolan at the Trident in Robert’s Rebellion. Though they nearly killed each other, both viewed it as a respectful stalemate afterwards.
Though he admired ‘Jonah the Brave’ before, since her true gender was revealed Ser Barristan has made it clear he respectfully disapproves. Ser Merik cannot bear to tell his squire this.
In his most recent letter, Ser Barristan asked politely if Merik is content to live as a vassal for his nephew or if he has aspirations to start his own family with his own keep.

Jonah
Jonah had her work cut out for her when she returned to the castle’s arms-yard a girl. However, through a combination of pluck, grit, and determination she’s won over most of the fighters. Some of them even brag to the soldiers of other houses, “our house is so great that even the women wish to fight for it!” Of course there are some men, such as Ser Artemis, that remain offended by her presence, but few of them dare to openly question the judgment of Ser Merik, who after all is really Lord Merik of House Moorshead.
Jonah spends her days at Castle Blackhorn training constantly for combat. For many months she studied with Syrio Forel, whom the house hired to train her as a water dancer. Sryio returned to King’s Landing, now she is instructed by Ser Merik and the Master-at-Arms. She has participated in a few skirmishes with raiders and the like, but always under Ser Merik’s watchful eye.
Jonah’s Green Dreams have grown erratic. Sometimes they’ll disappear for months, making her think she’s lost the Sight. Recently the dreams have become a waking vision. Once it occurred when meeting someone new. But mostly she dreams of the young Heatherdale bride who was flayed by Malcolm Bolton. She wakes some mornings filled with guilt, but leaps into each new day with lust for adventure.
Ser Merik recently discovered she couldn’t read and sent her to Castle Blackhorn’s governess Myrcette for instruction. She hated the lessons and made little progress until Ser Merik threatened to suspend her training until she learned her letters. Now she’s a model student.

The Lord
Lord Rhys seldom spends time in Castle Blackhorn. At the request of his grandmother he travels from one Riverlord’s house to another in hopes of forming alliances. Lady Sharra, Jon the Ram’s elderly widow, fears trouble looms on the horizon. Both for the house and the Seven Kingdoms. After the troubling times in the capital and the resulting negative impact on the house’s reputation, Sharra worries they will be left out in the cold this winter.
Sometimes Rhys fairs well, but mostly he finds his house’s reputation has been tainted by scandals from the Tourney of Prince Joffrey’s 12th Nameday. He more often ends up on damage control to quell the gossip forming about his family. In his gut he feels something menacing on the horizon, and fears he may have to call on the aid of few friends he’s making sooner than he’d like.
The peril at King’s Landing was an eye opening experience for the young lord; there are so many selfish schemers in the world. Lord Hoster Tully is too sickly and sends his inept son to rule in his place. No banner houses are sworn to Blackhorn. It all makes him realize his house could be easily snuffed out, should it face a threat any more competent than a Lugus (which is a pretty low bar).
He hasn’t been so lucky as to get anyone to swear an oath of fealty yet, but he’s brought a few houses to friendly terms: houses Tullison of the Riverlands and house Chyttering of the Crownlands. Most accommodating and sympathetic was House Darry, who were already old friends. The least was House Estren of the Westerlands, just upstream of the Tumblestone river to Dannett holdfast. Lord Estren didn’t greet Rhys with barred steel (the sign that guests are not welcome and won’t be offered the Guest Right), but he may as well have.
Lord Walder Frey was a fickle host, friendly only when Rhys is willing to discuss taking one or more of Frey’s grandchildren as a bride for himself or his brother, or a Frey child to foster at Blackhorn.
Some minor lordly things Rhys has done in the past year: promoted the KennelMaster Nic Rivers to Master-of-Horse (the house has very few dogs), and oversaw the defense of Castle Blackhorn during a small attack of mountain men.
The influx of thousands of golden dragons filling Blackhorn’s coffers brought the focused attention of the Mountain clans. Once the clans found out that Adham Dannett died and they would no longer receive his support for their raids on the Moorlands, they made a last-ditch effort to raid Blackhorn and the nearby hamlet. The mountain men were easily defeated.
During the attack however, it was discovered that the foundation of the castle walls was made up of a weak, crumbling stone called gypsum. Jon the Ram generally made good choices for castle construction, but his money wasn’t infinite. The shoddy construction of the walls might have been a consciously-chosen stopgap measure until he could afford something better. Unfortunately (and perhaps shortsightedly) he didn’t plan on dying in a duel in 277 AC, so the secret died with him until now.
To fix this, Rhys searches for a master stonemason during his travels. Now that the house’s wealth has increased he can finally afford to hire one. Immediately before the game begins, he finds one in the Vale, named Master Veedle, who came recommended by Lady Hersy (head of House Hersy of the Vale). Veedle will arrive at Blackhorn when the first session starts.
Housing all that gold earned from the Tournament and trials makes Rhys nervous. Though other houses may see it as a paltry sum, Blackhorn has never housed this much gold. Rhys knows vaults are not immune to thieves. He is thinking of either investing it into local holdings or sending it to the Iron Bank of Braavos to earn interest. Perhaps when he returns to Castle Blackhorn the advice from his mother and uncle can help him decide. While they’re at it they can help him to decide who to take for his bride: Iris Dannett or “that horse-faced Mallister girl.”

The Septa
Every day Septa Alana makes her own rounds around the Moorlands to oversee progress of the house’s holdings. The young children, Bree and Kellin, herd behind her wherever she goes, accompanied with her handmaiden Alyce and the guardsmen Heward and Desmond. Shepherding the land also serves to escape from Septon Vickon’s disapproving lectures. She received a mighty earful on her return from the capital last year.
“Don’t you understand what septhood entails? You have responsibilities that have gone ignored since Lord Nolan’s passing, but the time of mourning is over now. Your charge is to tutor Bree on the gentle arts and turn her into a noblewoman, not to go gallivanting off with crossbows and provoking duels! Is this the way to teach your daughter how to be a noblewoman? You left all three of your children in order to go to the capital! You’re responsible for keeping a constant vigil on the young Lady until she is wed. Without a chaperone Bree could’ve wandered into danger. And this new squire is a girl?! The shame…”
And on it went for several weeks. To appease the elderly septon, Alana hired a governess, Myrcette, to look after Bree and teach her how to be a lady in Alana’s absences. That leaves Alana available to look after the house while Rhys travels.
As Rhys’ wedding draws closer, she contemplates finding a suitor for Bree to strengthen her household. Things are looking up, but the house has little to offer as a dowry, so finding a house worthy of a formal alliance but who also won’t expect a large dowry proves challenging.
Immediately following the trials in the capital last year, Lord Frey heard of Alana’s indelible search for potential marriage matches. Since then she’s been unable to stem the flow of ravens from the Twins proposing suitors for all three of her children.
As a second son, Kellin’s options are limited. For now he could be sent to be fostered by a childless lord in order to build an allegiance. Kellin just came to the appropriate age to become a fosterling. Similarly, he could be married off to forge an alliance. His bookish nature would make him a good Maester. Less favorable options are to become a Septon or take the Black. If no plans for him are made he could grow to be a drain on house resources for the whole of his adult life. But in the meantime, Kellin serves as heir until Rhys’ future bride bears a son.
Old Shar, her mother-in-law, takes Alana with her when she departs Blackhorn on a rare trip. Since Rhys has had such poor luck in forging alliances with noble houses, Sharra hopes to fix the relationship between the house and the neighboring Dannetts after the horrible kerfuffle at King’s Landing. Shar expects to teach her “uppity” daughter-in-law a thing or two about “proper diplomacy” through the experience, and how not to “rely on a man with a sword to fix problems”. They’ve always bickered – Sharra despises Alana’s haughtiness and Alana finds her quite bothersome in return. Jon and Nolan simply found it entertaining while they were alive.

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