In the morning, the party woke up and headed downstairs where Marta Taverner had lain out a spread fit for the emissaries of the king. Honey and apples, blood pudding garnished with green tea leaves, poached quail and ham, grapes, and whipped herb butter with black bread and nuts. As the group feasted upon the succulent meal, they noticed a new patron enter the inn, Vigilus, a dealer of fine items from Miranport. Vigilus could often be heard around the marketplace boasting that he could find rare goods for cheap, leading the locals to believe that he is not exactly an upstanding citizen.
“M’lords” he said, nodding his head in respect as he approached the table. “Good morrow” replied Elliot quietly. Ser Kai greeted him as well, while Elliot offered him to take a seat. “What brings you here?” Elliot asked, slightly suspicious at his inauspicious arrival. “I heard this inn serves a nice dark ale,” Vigilus replied, “And I figured I may as well stop in on my way to King Robert’s tournament. Obviously I won’t be there to compete, but I can do good business down in King’s Landing selling wares, and I certainly wouldn’t want to miss out on that.” Ser Kai nodded and offered to share the road along with the destination.
“Oh Marta, how far out from King’s Landing are we?” asked Gilligan between bites of quail. “Oh, ‘bout a day’s ride from here. Ya’re goin’ to arrive around nightfall I’d ‘spect, if you leave soon." Hamish smiled slightly, hoping that the city would help give him the protection he desperately needed. He had only eaten a few grapes and guzzled several horns of water to combat his splitting hangover. As the party left, Gilligan thanked Marta for her hospitality on behalf of the party and King Robert Baratheon.
Once outside, the party mounted up for the ride to King’s Landing. Beatrice and Hamish sat in the back of the wagon, while Elliot takes the rear to watch over them. The majority of the group, sans Septa Demissus, Gilligan and Hamish, donned mail or padded armor in anticipation of possible ambush.
Soon after their departure, they met an odd peddler who introduced himself as Rogg Thanders. He looked much like Kriss Kringle in that he was portly, bearded and carried a large bulging rucksack slung over his back. He offered gold to help escort him on our travels, but Ser Harvey eyeballed him suspiciously. Finding nothing wrong with him, he asked to check his sack. After a quick chuckle from the immature nature of the proposition, he checked the large rucksack and found nothing but junk. Ser Harvey left him be, but Beatrice also had feelings of uncertainty about the stranger. The party sent him up front so they could keep an eye on him.
As they continued, the party was grateful that the weather was nice and sunny, and that many of the puddles made from the storm the night before were now drying up, allowing the road to remain easily traversable. More rumors could be heard from the passersby as they continued their journey:
“I ‘eard a small group o’ knights come tru these parts headin’ to King’s lookin’ fer valiant souls fer th’ Wall. Bloody crows in th’ Nights Watch, they’re no good they is.”
“I heard a force of Miridans done invaded the Dannett lands. Seems that Adham Dannett held them back, but they still burned every village under the Dannett rule, they did. Savage Miridans I tell you, and that son, Ser Kai, pah, some Ser he is. He’s the one done lead the charge he is.”
After several leagues the party rounded a bend, where several unexpected events occurred. From nowhere, an arrow whirred through the air, striking Hamish through the eye, killing him instantly. At the same moment, nearly everyone heard rustling in the bushes before a dry of “For the Fifteen! House Dannett!” cut through the air. Two people charged from the left on foot and caught Elliot by surprise as he and Ser Kai stared at Hamish in cold horror. One of the sellswords, Michael Kraft, attacked Elliot, delivering a solid blow to his mail, but still glancing off his armor. Before Elliot had the time to react, Ser Harvey struck and injured Michael, as another arrow whizzed by, striking a tree. Meanwhile, Beatrice threw two knives, maiming Michael by lopping off his ear, as well as cutting the other, Thomas Hen. Michael fell to the ground, clutching where his ear once was and screamed in agony. Lyanna drew her sword and struck Thomas before he screamed “They killed Michael!” as Gilligan peered into the woods in the direction the arrows had come from. He spied nothing as Thomas screamed “Loose the arrows!” Septa Demissus ran, trident in hand, as Vigilus tossed a knife of his own, catching Thomas in the throat. Clutching his throat, Thomas tried to speak but only gurgled blood as his eyes rolled back and he slumped to the ground. Damn, thought Elliot as he watched the battle end before him, Not even a single chance to strike.
Rogg Thanders cursed the party as a poison while they moved to where the arrows had come from, finding nothing but a few footprints leading deeper into the woods. Lyanna pointed out that the arrows were not shot from the ground, but from the trees, but had no useful information to give. The group returned to the maimed sellsword, still clutching his bleeding skull.
“Who hired you!?” demanded Ser Kai, intimidating him. “’Twas, L-Lord Dannett! I got a-a-a bounty from him, see here!” Thomas pulled out a parchment claiming bounty on the Miridans. It also claimed that a troop of ten archers would be there in the woods as support, which was obviously false. Septa Demissus took a look at the parchment and discovered quickly that it was a clear forgery, without a true seal of House Dannett, written hastily a few hours prior.
“Describe the man who hired you,” Ser Kai told him, still imposingly.” Thomas looked at him and shook his head. “We wasn’t hired, we was doin’ it for the innocents, the fifteen, as we’d said. And the man, Alfric Dannett, he was t-t-tall, gaunt, tan and-and i-i-imposing.” Gilligan scoffed at him, “Heh, that is not Afric Dannett. You were tricked by Clayton Arkay, otherwise known as the Fox Knight, the one who perpetrated the entire massacre that we Miridans had no part in, and framed us for it.” Thomas continueed to clutch his head and offered to be a witness in their defense.
The party accepted Thomas Hen’s offer and took all of the evidence from the scene, as well as the three Gold Dragons from the body of Michael Kraft. As that occurred, Septa Demissus approached Ser Harvey Karp and told him in confidence that she believes she has the Third Eye, and that she has been plagued with nightmares for the past several nights. “You can believe me or not, it matters little, but I have been plagued with these nightmares and I would like your input on interpretation. Unfortunately, Ser Harvey had no idea what the dreams meant, but thanked her for trusting him with the information.
The party continued down the road, and at some point along the way, Rogg Thanders, previously heading the group and allegedly being watched closely, disappeared. “Did any of you find it strange that Rogg was wearing gloves, but he was fingerless?” Elliot asked as the group began to murmer about Rogg’s sudden and mysterious disappearance. The group stared at him blankly as they approached the Lion Gate leading to King’s Landing. “He had no fingers. The fingers in his gloves were limp and unsupported, almost like all he had were nu…”
“Halt!” Elliot broke off as they heard the voice of a Gold Cloak stop them outside the Lion Gate. There were three of them, with one clearly in charge. Ser Harvey recognized him as Topper Simonen, and informed the party that during the war he was clearly on the take, looting bodies and breaking laws as though they didn’t apply. “Karp,” Simonen growled when he spotted him within the group. “You lot look suspicious, I’ll need you to step to the side so we can search your persons and your wagon.
Gilligan stepped up and threatened him, trying to discover why they were trying to search the party. “We know about your shady practices, and will report your actions to all the other Nobel Houses I can assure you, but that doesn’t matter as long as we go un-harassed, so tell us why you wanted to search us.” Topper Simonen fidgeted, “Ah, uh, no need for that, just giving you a bit of a hard time is all. Adham Dannett paid me to do so, told me you’d be coming. He was traveling with their master-o-arms and his three sons, their younger maester and that merchant fellow, Ruban Piper. Now then, let me escort you to where you’ll be staying.”
Topper Simonen told the other two to guard the gate in his absence and escorted the party through the Lion Gate and to their accommodations without further incident.