(GM Note: Due to several false starts, extenuating circumstances (including the GM’s house burning down during the Great Black Forest Wildfire of 2013), and the sudden and prolonged absence of several group members, the following adventure log may seem disjointed and error prone. This will be rectified and retconned as necessary later to provide a more coherent timeline and story as our group returns to normal.)
Setting off toward the grand tournament, our party consisted of two guards, a septa, a sellsword gifted by House Trey, and the heir to House Miller. After a full day and a half of riding, the party sought refuge at a Keep along the way. Being of somewhat lackluster standing, the heir found no rooms to be available in the keep proper, and was forced to retire to the town’s tavern. To help pay for accommodations, the sellsword offered the tavern owner his bardic skills. Due to either luck or skill, the sellsword started a heroic performance, captivating the entire audience, and causing such a scene that the Lady of the Keep herself came out to watch the performance. Once the performance ended, the Lady immediately called upon her husband, Lord of House Placeholder, to give their best guest rooms to the party, in exchange for private performances by the sellsword.
After several full nights rest and days of feasting, the party awoke to find the heir still sleeping off the effect of the feast the night before, and set out to manage the necessary affairs before he awoke. Two letters had arrived by raven, one by hand, which were collected by the septa. The first letter was from Lord Miller, cryptically telling his son to be cautious, and mentioning troop movement on House Miller’s borders. The second was an anonymous note, simply stating “Watch the fork.”. The final hand delivered note was a request from the Lady of the Keep for a private performance from the sellsword set for that night after the going away feast. The heir was included in the invitation. The party locked the door to the heir’s room, and bolted it from the inside, having one of their members leave via the window to ensure the safety of the heir while they were out.
That morning, the party was approached by a messenger from the Captain of the Guard, asking for assistance and levying the guards of the heir to join one of several units leaving midday, clearing the roads of bandits before the Lords and Ladies left to continue their journey to the tournament. The party agreed, and while out on patrol encountered a somewhat large group of bandits, which they defeated after a prolonged combat that was ended by a unfortunate incident involving a runaway wagon and the remaining group of bandits in it’s path. Several of the bandits exhibited odd behavior, and later the party discovered the bandits had a cache of good quality weapons and armor, much better than that they had been wearing.
Upon the groups return to the Keep, the party sent a guard back into the heir’s room to unlock the door. Once inside, he discovered a cowled figure with a large crossbow. The figure (later identified as the vermin catcher of the Keep), told the guard he was there guarding the heir, as anything that happened to him while under guest right of the Keep would reflect poorly on the House hosting them. Most importantly, he informed the party that the door had been locked but unbarred when he had arrived, and the party discovered that the heir was under the effects of Sweet Sleep. The cowled figure left, and the party was left in the room with the heir.
While the party was arguing about what to do about the situation and possible assassins, the heir woke up. Quickly dressed and prepared, the party went to the feast while it was in progress. While being served, the party noticed their server was a knight who had escorted the Lord of the Keep on that day’s hunt, the knight was of a house who was rival to House Miller, and that he was serving using a heavy wrought iron fork, which further investigation revealed a tiny emblem designating the fork belonged to House Miller. When the knight reached the end of the table he collapsed, apparently due to a heart attack.
Heavily shaken from the proceeding events, the heir and the sellsword went to the Lady’s parlor for the performance. Once there, the Lady expressed anger at the death of the knight during the feast, but complimented House Miller on the removal of a rival house’s entry into the tournament. She spoke of machinations occurring around House Miller, but promised the party they were not the final target of them. She then brokered a deal with the party. In exchange for support and protection of her son who would be participating in the tournament, she would grant favorable council to her husband when it came to their house’s support of House Miller. She then granted them protection on the road by joining her son’s entourage as he made his way to the tourney.
With this, the party set off once again…