As is now traditional, I drew hasty pictures as we went along. This year I went for charcoal.
This year we decided that we'd probably invaded Skagos enough. On our last attack, we'd found a map of Esteros (not sure if it's really called that, but the other continent to the East of Westeros in the Ice and Fire saga). Lys was ringed. It sounded Southern and exotic (particularly to my character, Jared Snow, who had never previously left his native Northern sod).
I and Jacob, the other old family retainer in the party, became increasingly suspicious of Turnpyke, a hanger-on who had only recently joined the household and seemed altogether too keen. The Skagosians kept recognising him (but only at a distance, and not in situations where one could really investigate further), and his story about being a sad orphan reared under the stairs by an abusive aunt seemed altogether very thin. Sadly, my proposal that we drop him over the side and let him swim until he decided to confess was vetoed.
We'd just spent weeks drinking Skagosian mead (ew), fighting hordes of hairy pirates and socialising with legions of Brian Blesseds, so Lys sounded pretty good.
One particular man at arms had a whale of a time and made many new friends.
In Lys we were following up the trail of people captured in Westeros and traded to Lys as slaves. We didn't find any, but we did at least find some evidence of what was going on. Some of the party visted the slave markets of Lys - I drew them but I don't seem to have photographed the drawing so I'll try and remember to add that later.
In the slave market we found a very talented gentleman (though sadly afflicted with bad teeth) who had found himself traded into slavery from the Summer Isles. We needed a translator, so we bought him.
He proved to be enormously multifunctional : philosopher, linguist and general expert. Our leader, my incompetent-but-annoyingly-legitimate relation, Edmun Darnell (not Blackadder, no, honest) decided to keep him. But being a good member of Westerosi nobility, slave owning wasn't quite the thing for Edmun, so (after this had been pointed out to him loudly a few times) Edmun freed Ariston. He waited till we got back to the far north of Westeros though. Given a choice of starving on a frozen northern shore and joining the Darnell household as a tame philosopher, he gracefully agreed to join the Darnells and bring Civilisation to the area.
We went to Eastwatch to find out where all the money and weapons that were being paid for the Westerosi slaves had got to. I think the Wall isn't really tall enough in this, also it should probably stick out more into the sea and possibly have siege weapons on the top.
We sneaked North of the wall, trying to find the truth of rumours of Wildlings massing up there. This didn't go well. We left the clumsier and more jingly members of the party behind us, but the place was simply crawling with Wildlings who kept tripping over us in the most enfuriating way. Two members of the Night's Watch died horribly, despite my and Turnpyke's attempts to save them. I'll say this for Turnpyke, he may be foreign and a bit dodgy, but he does try hard. Unlike the Knight's watch commander who was ostensibly in charge, who was much less competent than he thought he was.
Sneaking on foot proved painful and unsuccessful, so we decided to sneak by boat instead. Jared decided to take a war dog with him, in case we met more aggressive Wildlings. I felt that Wildlings would be significantly deterred by Gelert.
We caught a Wildling and intimidated him. He told us a strange and confused story about the Wildling leader Coldaxe wanting to take an axe from the tomb of Grim, an ancient Wildling leader (and founder of that well known town, Grimup, in the North...) It was all a bit woolly, but what it came down to was that there was a mound nearby with something that the Wildlings wanted in it. Obviously, to certain members of the group, this meant there was an urgent need for them to go in there and get it first. My character rolled his eyes quite a bit at this point.
Grim's barrow was boding and portenteous (and bore a considerable resemblance to Wayland's Smithy...) It scared my mastiff, who ran away. My character reckoned that a place that gave a 160 pound mastiff (and me) the willies was a place I didnt' fancy going inside of, so I went to keep an eye on the boat. The other three idiots went in.
After a certain amount of bumping about and encounters with animated skeletons, the inevitable happened and terrifying undead blue glowing oojamaflips came out of the woodwork and tried to eat them. But they did find the mystic Dragonglass Axe (and a spare not-as-cool obsidian axe, presumably for killing undead oojamaflips on weekdays)
On the way out, this sort of thing happened a lot. They killed an Other and a bunch of wights. Or so they claim. My character didnt' actually see them, so who knows. However, they did apparently drop the Axe a great number of times, which does sound *entirely* probable.
Fortunately, the scary Other, wights etc, pursuing them, only came out as far as the entrance and didnt' follow us to the boat. So we got away with it.
They were all quite wounded, so obviously they all insisted on high-tailing it off to Castle Black with barely a pause to ask Maester Aemon what he made of it all. Unsurprisingly when they all burst in covered in wounds and babbling about mythical axes and snarks and things everyone thought they'd gone potty and they were swiftly given a good dose of sleeping potion. While they were all asleep, my character sent a raven back to House Darnell, feeling that someone should keep the real boss informed about what was going on.
What will happen next year? Who knows? I'm pretty sure that someone is going to drop the magic obsidian axe on their toe at some point and the whole thing will be documented in somewhat blotchy drawings, and with a number of misplaced apostrophes. Yes, I know it goes in front of the "t". My fingers just don't want to put it there. Mostly.