The Inner Circle has just been told of the death of Archmaester Smithwist. His servant, Maester Brahm had discovered that the elder Maester had died in his sleep. The news comes the morning after Smithwist told Mallador that he believed the Redrill Maester was innocent of all charges, and that someone was using him as a pawn to try and expose Smithwist. He had also told Mallador that there was to be no trial. But he had also told him that no one else had known this, not even Guthor Grimm, who was set to arrive tomorrow. This leaves Mallador without a clear ally. Uncertainty looms once again.
Meanwhile, the party is also perturbed because of a vivid dream that Alyn had the night before. In the dream Lord Osfred turned to stone and his caretaker Maester Orchid did nothing to help. This coupled with the lack of news regarding the true condition of Lord Osfred has the Inner Circle worried.
After failing miserably trying to bed the Quill and Tankard barkeep Emma, Perwyn Frey is eager to see his younger brother Willamen Frey, who is an Acolyte of the Citadel. Emma told him that he’d likely be in to the bar in the afternoon. Alex is looking a little tired after spending the night in a bed with Emma. Though she is into her fortieth year, her prowess with a man is that of a woman in her twentieth.
Maester Brahm tells the Inner Circle that the meeting between the Grimm’s and the Inner Circle is still to take place and that Brahm will be the arbitrator in the matter. He is aware of Archmeaster Smithwist’s theory that Mallador was being used as some sort of pawn and is to present this information to the Grimm’s. The meeting is to take place away in the remote part of the Citadel campus – the vacant Novice barracks.
Before Brahm departs for a meeting to elect a new Archmaester, he tells the Inner Circle to be present at the Quill & Tankard in the evening as Guthor Grimm is set to arrive at that time. He will send a City Watch guard to escort them across campus as soon as he arrives.
After he departs the Inner Circle all agree that Brahm is not to be trusted. They believe that Brahm is up to no good and will have to be on guard. They also agree that a raven must be sent to Castle Ondrew to inquire about Lord Osfred’s condition. They have not heard from Septon Stoddard (steward of Castle Ondrew) since their departure. Sfter arranging a raven, the Inner Circle decides to split up each doing different things.
Mallador decides to spend his time in the library, researching remedies for Lord Osfred’s Greyscale condition. He succeeds in finding some ancient methods of using reduced fish skin oils and boiled vinegar.
Alyn, Alex, and Osric decide to scope out the Novice barracks looking for anything out of sorts like traps, soldiers, etc. They also interview some Novices about Maester Brahm. Other than hearing a rumor that Smithwist and Brahm were homosexual lovers, nothing else of note is discovered.
Perwyn stays back at the Quill and Tankard and awaits his brother, Willamen. In the early afternoon he arrives and immediately hits on Emma. Perwyn watches this from across the pub and snickers at his brother’s failure. Emma then points Willamen over to Perwyn. The two embrace in a brotherly hug and begin to drink cider and reminisce. Willamen Frey, is a talented young Acolyte who has almost completed his Maesters chain. He’s taken an interest in Warfare, citing his love for the tales of glory in battle and is working hard for the last link. He very much enjoys being a Maester and feels he is honoring his family by forging a chain.
Perwyn and Willamen begin to converse about current events. First they speak about the death of Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King. Willamen heard rumors that Lord Arryn had been poisoned but noted that it was more likely he had caught the flux and died. Jon Arryn had a reputation of being a sickly man. Willamen explains that there is speculation that Eddard Stark of Winterfell was to be named Hand of the King, though he felt that someone different would be named. Someone to help lower tensions in the realm. Perhaps someone who stayed loyal to the Targaryen crown in Robert’s Rebellion.
Perwyn asks Willamen about Maester Brahm. Willamen admits that Brahm is sly and that there is rumor of him using his good looks and flirtatious nature to propel himself up the ranks to become Archmaester Smithwist’s steward. But Willamen tells Perwyn that Brahm is not a homosexual, as he’s heard of a story that Brahm recently smacked around a prostitute who tried to steal from him after having relations. Perwyn tells his brother of their situation and that they don’t entirely trust that Brahm is working for them. Willamen tells Perwyn that he sees Brahm down by the docks talking with some sketchy people – likely those in the black trade. Willamen relents that not everyone down by the docks is shady, as Willamen himself is a regular of the docks to play Cyvasse. Shortly, Willamen leaves to attend to his studies.
As night time settles in and the party is reunited and waiting for word of Guthor Grimm’s arrival, Maester Mallador reveals his Greyscale discovery to the group. They all give the surly Measter a pat on the back for a job well done. They get to talking and all agree that Brahm is not to be trusted and that it would be beneficial to catch Guthor Grimm at the docks and personally inform him of the news before Brahm can. They decide to inform Emma that they are going down to the docks. They pay a servant to come get them if the City Watch escort arrives.
They suit up and head down to the docks to find that they were too late. The Grimm ship had already arrived, and Guthor was escorted by some members of the City Watch. As this happens, the Quill & Tankard servant runs down and tells them that their escort had arrived and was waiting back at the Inn. They hurry back to find a lone City Watchman looking annoyed.
The Inner Circle is escorted across campus to the Novice dormitory. They enter a candlelit room where Guthor Grimm and his two sons sit at a table across from Maester Brahm. Members of the City Watch wait along the walls. They are soon asked to exit the room. Introductions take place. Guthor Grimm looks to be perturbed; his thoughts elsewhere. Evidently, he has learned of Smithwist’s death. Guthor then asks his sons to leave. Perplexed, Gerarth Grimm wonders aloud why he they are being excused from the meeting. Members of the City Watch are called to escort the heir to House Grimm and his hulking brother out of the room. They do not go quietly.
The meeting goes as well as it could. Brahm mediates the meeting and presents the “Pawn Theory” of the late Archmaester. Guthor presents the apparent “incriminating” parchment. Mallador recognizes one name from the parchment – Tobias Rivers. He recollects this name as one of the accusers during the last “Triangle Scheme” fiasco. But has never met Tobias Rivers. The parchment is passed around to the other members of the Inner Circle. Perwyn recognizes the name as well. Tobias Rivers is the bastard son to Lord Ambrose Kytely. House Kytely is a Banner House to House Frey. Perwyn only recognizes the name and knows the House, but nothing else. Still, it’s a start.
The meeting soon comes to and end with Guthor, Maester Brahm, and the Inner Circle agreeing to meet in the morning to do some investigations. Brahm exits with members of the City Watch. The lone City Watchman who escorted them there led the way back across campus.
Crossing a bridge, some heavy fog rolled in. The Honeywine raged below. The City Watchman leads the way over the bridge and disappears in the fog. After hearing a few stomps, the Watchman stumbled back and holds his neck. Blood is seeping through his fingers as he gasps for air. He neck has been cut. He dies as he chokes on his own blood.
An ambush commences on the Inner Circle. Mallador retreats off the bridge and hides behind the bridge. After a tough fight, the Inner Circle is able to kill the assassins. They inform the City Watch of the attack and show the Bravoosi blades as evidence. They also find that one of the assassins was using poison-tipped daggers. Luckily, no one was hit with one.
Worried for the Grimm’s, they head to the Inn where they are staying and find that they are all safe. The Inner Circle informs the Grimm’s of the attempt on their lives and to be cautious. The party returns to the Inner Circle, weary of the fight.
The next morning Willamen enters the Inn and informs Perwyn that Maester Brahm had been found dead that morning, his body hung from the docks and stabbed with a Bravoosi blade. At the same time a message arrives with the wax seal of House Redrill.
The message is from Septon Stoddard. It says that King Robert intends to make Lord Osfred “Hand of the King.” The problem is that Septon Stoddard has been banned from seeing Lord Osfred by Maester Orchid. He is unable to give Lord Osfred the news and doesn’t trust Maester Orchid.