Hello, all. Unfortunately, due to some things like players moving away and the like, I am having to wrap up my chronicle earlier than intended. In the interest of laying bare of what was going on behind the scenes, I've decided to include a run-down of the plotting of House Balinger, the defeated but not destroyed enemies of House Wisent.
Keep in mind that this was their in-character plan, rather than what was necessarily going to happen in the game. At any point, the PCs could have messed up parts of this plan, intentionally or otherwise. Still, here is what they'd planned:
The Balinger Plot
Nearly fifty years ago, during the rule of Lord Krovan Wisent, the long-running feud between House Wisent and House Balinger finally came to a close with the destruction of House Balinger's forces. Lord Talfyr Balinger was permitted to take the black, but Lady Adia, his wife and Randyll, his newborn heir were never found. Even Lady Adia's birth family, House Fayral - Ryswell bannermen - had no idea what had happened to her.
In truth, Adia fled to House Fayral's keep along the coast, and from there took sanctuary with a girlhood friend, Richelle, now married to Lord Radulf Farwynd, of Lonely Island. Her son Randyll grew to manhood there, learning the reaving arts from Lord Radulf and eventually marrying his second daughter Asta. He was raised with his mother constantly whispering in his ear, telling him of his legacy and the ill-deeds done to him by House Wisent.
For many years, Randyll Balinger was content with his lot. An able ship captain, he soon was made second of the Farwynd fleet based out of Lonely Island. He raised several children with his beloved Asta, who were also raised on stories of the Wolfswood that was rightfully theirs and the perfidy of House Wisent. Everything changed, however, with his mother's death from old age. On her deathbed, she demanded that he secure his birthright once more, or she would curse him from beyond the grave.
Though Asta is fearful, Lord Randyll, pauper lord, is now putting a plan into action. The Wisent scandal with House Dustin has provided him with the opportunity he needs. He has put his four children into play as his operatives:
• Talfyr Balinger, aka Morys, his oldest son (25). Captain of the Night Beacon, Talfyr has taken his crew, along with some other ironmen, and established a base for themselves in a set of old First Men ruins in the heart of the Wolfswood.
• Jocasta Balinger, aka Jocasta Ryswell, his oldest daughter (23). Jocasta has been placed as a cousin of the family in House Ryswell. She is charming and strong-willed, and quickly maneuvering to ingratiate herself with the heir of House Wisent, in hopes of securing a marriage proposal from him. Failing that, she will attempt to secure a marriage with Ser Danyk Blackhorn.
• Raunlyr Balinger, aka Raun Snow, his second son (22). Captain of the Blood Wave, Raunlyr works with his brother, appearing as the Knight of the Wolfswood at the Tournament.
• Saria Balinger, aka Jonelle Branley, his second daughter (18). Saria is posing as the daughter of a knight by the name of Jonelle Branley in Barrowton. She finds a way to get herself accepted as a lady of the court at Torrhen's Square, after ostensibly betraying Serise Dustin's trust.
The goals of the Balingers are fairly simple: to shame and ultimately destroy House Wisent, while remaining hidden at their work. They wish to foment war between Houses Wisent and other Houses, particularly Dustin and Tallhart (if it can be managed).
• Talfyr begins by increasing bandit activity against Wisent and Blackhorn lands.
• Raun attempts to make an impression as the Knight of the Wolfswood, a hedge knight, hoping to find a way into their service. At the Tournament, however, he kills the Braavosi man, and kidnaps the Midnight Diamond.
• Jocasta runs a harder game, seeking to impress the heir Ayrant sufficiently to secure a marriage proposal from him.
• Saria, posing as the orphaned daughter of a dead Dustin knight, seeks to get herself taken in by House Wisent as a lady-in-waiting for Kaila, and from there married into the House as well. She is also working at making inroads at ingratiating herself with their new maester, in hopes of coming to control their lines of communication at some point.
With everyone in place, they all go into motion.
• With the defeat of his bandit plans, Talfyr comes to dwell in Barrowton, desiring to swear his sword to House Dustin, posing as a member of House Farwynd. He offers to help them establish a powerful fleet of ships for the river they are on, and possibly more. Once there, he seduces Serise Dustin and the two become lovers.
• Jocasta remains with House Ryswell.
• Jonelle remains a lady-in-waiting to Kaila. She uses her placement among House Wisent to keep her siblings informed.
• Raun remains in the service of House Wisent; failing this, he seeks out service with House Tallhart. He continues to keep the Midnight Diamond imprisoned in an old Balinger dungeons, with some of his men to guard her.
• The Houses travel to the Highgarden Tourney. Once there, Talfyr kills Ser Obart Myrrow by by Braavosi blade, blaming the death on Ayrant.
• The Houses return from the Highgarden Tourney. Jocasta claims to have been raped by Ayrant and goes into hiding in the midst of Houses Dustin and Ryswell. Furious, they appeal to House Stark for justice, claiming that they will go to war with Wisenwood if they do not get their justice. House Stark sends an inquiry. There is a convenient fire where she is held, however, and many die; everyone assumes that she is among the corpses. The inquiry leads to a Trial by Combat.
• Jocasta flees to the old Balinger hold where she undergoes deprivations, so that she appears to have been being held there.
Now, with Houses Ryswell and Dustin champing at the bit to go to war with House Wisent, they touch flame to the oil.
* Talfyr is betrothed to Serise.
* Talfyr becomes a strong ally of Valdan Dustin, and arranges for the rape and murder of Kaila. Serise finds out, however, and flees just ahead of being murdered by Talfyr herself, disappearing. House Dustin immediately suspects that Serise was taken by House Wisent, and goes to war.
• In truth, though, Serise shows up weeks later at Wisenwood, begging them for help. She admits to Ayrant that she still loves him.
• In response to her arrival, Jonelle sends a raven to House Dustin, claiming that agents of House Wisent have kidnapped and imprisoned Serise.
• Jocasta leaves the Balinger dungeons and finds her way to Torrhen's Square. She comes to House Tallhart, claiming Serise Dustin was holding her prisoner, and that Valdan Dustin saw to the capture of Kaila, having her raped by his men before killing her. She begins to heal and recuperate in Maester Telben's tower.
• Jocasta sends a message by rider to House Ryswell, claiming that this message was smuggled out by a compassionate guardsman. She claims to be being held by House Tallhart on behalf of House Wisent. She also sends a message by rider to Jonelle, telling her that the time is now.
• Jonelle sneaks up late one evening and poisons the ravens.
Now, with House Ryswell and House Dustin infuriated with House Wisent, and House Tallhart willing to go to war with House Dustin, war breaks out.
• In the meantime, Talfyr insists that House Dustin let him lead his troops up to rescue Serise. He also convinces Lady Barbery Dustin to contact her father (Lord Ryswell) for help. In doing so, they find that House Ryswell is up in arms against House Tallhart, and plans are begun for war. Troops are loaded into Ryswell and Dustin ships, and sent up the Rillwater that leads to the lake of Torrhen's Square. They make quick time up the river. Valdan and Talfyr disembark outside the gates of Torrhen's Square to deploy their men to Wisenwood.
• When this happens, Jocasta poisons Maester Telben, his manservant and his ravens as well. She then gives herself a dose of the poison, so that it will seem that someone poisoned much of the tower's food.
• In the meantime, Valdan and Talfyr's armies march on Wisenwood.
Developer, Song of Ice & Fire
Green Ronin Publishing
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