From Port Steadwater to Castle Toyne
House Steadwater (Westley, Ser Clancy, and Ser Oisin) had tracked the Childslayer to the river that bisects their lands, losing his trail. However, they had discovered his appearance was that of a severely burned, green-eyed man, wielding an extremely sharp sword, with fingers missing from his left hand, and a limp.
With nothing further to be done on the banks of the river, the party turned for home where the Lord Steadwater lay in his deathbed. Traveling along the far banks of the river, they came upon two solitary figures bedecked in outlandish fashion and clothing ill-suited for a Stormlands spring. They wore feathered cloaks and vests barely fit to cover their torsos. They were the massive Summer Islander, Abu Afif, and his half-Dornish son, Afif. After some concern that Afif’s green-eyes marked him as the Childslayer, it was discovered his hands were fully-numbered and soft as a woman’s (by the gods!); his effeminate manner also precluded him from being a monster of the caliber now stalking Steadwater’s smallfolk.
Abu begged audience with the Lord Steadwater, hearing rumor of his links to the Summer Islands. However, with the death of Bart and his cohort being judged guilty of poisoning, those links had since been severed, but rumor travels slowly in the lands where sex is a way of worship. They were also 3 leagues north and on the wrong side of the river from Castle Steadwater. Westley welcomed them to his lord father’s lands, regardless of these woes, but his was not a joyous homecoming. Lord Steadwater was found even closer to death than before his heir departed to investigate the rumors of the Childslayer and was delirious; he proclaimed his love for his late foreign wife, while Westley’s mother sat her vigil next to him. Westley has since taken over the duties of managing the house, while his father lies dying.
However, the shadow of Childslayer loomed over all and the fear was the monster would turn his sights on Steadwater town. So a watch was set but nothing occurred in the night. Rumor surfaced the next day as Ser Clancy’s men reported a cloaked swordsman had been seen in the port tavern. Abu went to gather more information, but his outlandish looks garnered him little good will from the parochial patrons of the townsfolk giving custom there. Ser Oisin and Westley followed and discovered that the hooded swordsman was the Childslayer and the word was spread to the town-criers to look out for this figure and give notice of his passage. Hopefully, this would keep him out of the townlands and keep the smallfolk children safe. Since the Childslayer was seen to move Eastward towards the Dannet lands, Whestley worried for the safety of his betrothed and dispatched men to escort her to Danien-and-Rimchurch where she could arrange for the Septon there to preside over their wedding and be out of harm’s way.
Having provided for the security of his betrothed and his smallfolk, Westley determined it was time to look Westward to the Toynelands. Lord Steadwater forbade him from armed conquest, declaring that the Toyne Knight had been a good friend to him during Robert’s Rebellion. So, a messenger was sent to give word of Steadwater’s arrival, but soon returned with tales of a starving populace and an empty castle.
House Steadwater marched on Toyne; 200 hundred men, comprised of raiders and archers. There the hungry Toyne smallfolk watched them ravenously, eying the heir’s and his knights’ mounts hungrily. In the end a thousand or more surrounded them as they came upon the Toyne castle’s gates to find them barred and unmanned. Abu climbed over them – his strength allowing him to easily scale the rough mortared walls – and opened the gates to Steadwater’s army. They were then quickly secured against the starving peasants.
Inside the gates, several bodies were found lined within the inner ward, no mark of station upon them. The castle was investigated and stairs leading down, deep into the cliff-face upon which the castle was founded, were discovered. Of the ten men who ventured into the deep darkness, nine returned; either lost or fallen to some evil fate.
The dungeon now waits for the heir and his heroes to brave its darkness.