Campaign of the Month: July 2014
Winter is Coming
Rupert Robard Roderick Royce of Runestone (born 270 After Landing) was a Lord of Runestone, leader of House Royce, Lord Paramount of the Vale, and Warden of the East. He was married to Madyson Tyrell of Highgarden. He witnessed the fatal duel between Vardis Egen and Bronn in the Eyrie and he played pivotal roles in the defense of King’s Landing during Lord Bonifer’s attack on the Dornish invasion during the reign of Cersei Lannister, the Second Battle of Blackwater, in the Siege of Godsgrace and the Razing of Plankytown during the Reaving of Dorne, and was an observer of Boros Baratheon’s rise to Kingship and subsequent murder by Daeron Lockewood. He held the respect of his peers and was considered by those who knew him to be a bastion of loyalty to his family, the Vale, and the Westerosi Crown.
Lord Royce possessed dark hair, blue eyes, and an expertly maintained mustache. His face was also lined with laugh lines; however, after his wife’s death, expressions of joy were rarely seen upon his face.
He was a decent warrior, having been a knight before obtaining Lordship. However, his true strengths were his social and micromanaging skills, and his ability to politick. Lord Royce was an expert dancer as well.
Rupert’s early upbringing was not particularly unique. He was taught by a Maester, like many noble children, and had a nurturing family. He did, unlike most noble children, possess a speech impediment that made it difficult for him to pronounce the letter “r.” As Rupert grew, his parents forced him to attend social gatherings and to speak with his peers, in hopes that his impediment would go away if he had constant exposure to proper speech. This did not have the effect Rupert’s parents hoped for, in that his impediment did not vanish. However, it did give Rupert his love of social affairs and fostered his gregarious outlook on life.
Royce was squired to a prominent Templeton knight from age 13 to 20. Rupert’s squireship was not particularly unique for the Vale, containing lessons about utilizing and maintaining weapons, armor, and steeds, as well as lessons that encompassed the more social aspects of a knight’s life, such as jousting, melees, and socializing at tourneys. When Royce was 16, his sword (right) arm was broken by a hill tribesman during a raid. During his convalescence, Royce trained with his other arm, becoming proficient with it in the blade. However, lack of practice in the years that followed caused his ambidextrous knowledge of the sword to atrophy, as he went back to primarily favoring his sword arm.
After being knighted, Ser Rupert stayed for the most part in the Vale, serving his father and House Royce with honor. He did, however, visit the court of Lord Tywin Lannister, participating with honor in a tourney at Lannisport. He was unhorsed, however, towards the middle. At the age of 25, he won a tourney held at Ninestars and declared Caryss Templeton to be the queen of love and beauty, thereby informing all present of his intentions toward her. Indeed, in the months that followed, Ser Rupert faithfully courted Lady Templeton, and would marry her. They would be together through the War of the 5 Kings, Daenerys Targaryen‘s conquest, Cersei Lannister’s rise to power, and Erik Bonifer‘s slaughter of Vale lords who refused to recognize his reign. Tragically, Caryss could not produce Rupert an heir, with her first two attempts ending in miscarriages, and her third nearly killing her. Rupert ignored the subtle suggestions by members of his family that he put Caryss aside and re-marry. Both Ser Rupert and Caryss traveled south with Lord Hardyng’s host to King’s Landing, but stayed back when the host departed back to the Vale. It was in King’s Landing that Ser Rupert and Caryss would discover that Caryss was pregnant once again.
During the Battle of Blackwater II, Ser Royce fought alongside Horace Allard and eventually came into his service. He accompanied Allard during his invasion of Dorne and bid his wife a heartfelt goodbye, promising Caryss that he would see her again. During the Reaving of Dorne, as the invasion would later be called, Ser Royce took part in the razing of Plankytown, playing a minor role, the siege of Godsgrace, where he slew Ser Allyrion in open combat and seized the castle, and the capitulation of Sunspear, where he was one of the knights who accompanied Lord Allard when he took Martell hostages. Unfortunately, he was abandoned by Allard in Sunspear after being attacked by a few Martell soldiers during Allard’s evacuation of the city. This was a rather serendipitous turn of events, for Lord Allard murdered all of the men present with him who took part in the razing of Plankytown for some reason of his own.
Trapped in Dorne, Ser Royce made his way back north. His journey was arduous, for Dorne was not a friendly place for outsiders right after the Reaving, let alone a Vale knight who had been an active participant. After several months, Ser Royce managed to reach King’s Landing, fearing for his wife’s safety. In his travels, he had heard about Allard‘s killing of his soldiers, his accusation of treason by the new Lord Hand, Daeron Lockewood, and his subsequent execution. Once there, Rupert tracked down some of his acquaintances in the court, trying to find out what had happened to his wife. Eventually, he learned that Allard had sent Caryss off to Harrenhal, telling her that Rupert had perished in Dorne. Royce traveled quickly to Harrenhal, but was too late. After interrogating a few of the late Allard’s guards, he found out that Caryss, after attempting to flee Harrenhal and escapeAllard‘s custody, had been pushed off of the Wailing Tower. Allard had even ordered her remains to be dumped in the Gods Eye, not wanting any evidence of his murder to remain. Distraught, Ser Royce traveled back to King’s Landing and then made his way back to the Vale and Runestone. Meanwhile, the tragic tale of Ser Royce and Caryss Templeton would spread throughout the Realm: a tale of romance and loss, trust and betrayal. After more than a year of mourning, Ser Rupert ended his isolation from the rest of his family and became Lord Royce, a position he had not been healthy enough to take, grieving as he was.
A New King
Lord Royce traveled down to King’s Landing to attend King Daeron‘s coronation and pledge him his support. He also sought to gain support in the capital for House Royce to become the House Paramount of the Vale and for his ascension to Warden of the East, which had become vacant following King Daeron’s ascension to Kingship. After spending a great deal of time politicking, speaking out in defense of Frederik Hightower before Queen Della Lockewood, and witnessing the destruction of the Red Temple, he was granted Wardenship of the East and the title of Lord Paramount of the Vale by King Daeron. He left King’s Landing immediately. However, despite his new title, Lord Royce did not move into the Eyrie, stating that the Eyrie belonged to the Arryns, who were the rightful rulers of the Vale. He instead led the Vale from Runestone, all the while searching for a possible Arryn heir. Additionally, it was at Runestone that the child of Lady Madyson and Lord Royce was born, a daughter whom Lord Royce cherished deeply.
The Magic Cabal
Lord Royce held a deep distrust of magic; in this he mirrored King Daeron. A great deal of his distrust of magic stemmed from his faith. He viewed the foreign magics as being evils belonging to the devil. He was distraught after hearing about Daeron‘s death, and incredibly suspicious after finding out that the Queen and her child had perished in a fire that had consumed Maegor’s Holdfast, especially when a gang of pyromancers belonging to Elysia Dayne had entered the keep just moments before. Lord Royce’s suspicions steadily grew in the days and weeks following the murder of the royal family, as can be evidenced by letters he wrote to Lord Willas Tyrell of Highgarden, Lord Clarton Coldwater (his loyal vassal and friend), Lord Frederick Hightower, and Lord Maekar Stonebreaker. He suspected a cabal of mages of being responsible for Daeron’s murder and believed them plotting to take the throne. He additionally suspected Illyria Valerius’ involvement in the murder of the Royal Family. After hearing about the Martell plan to claim the Iron Throne and then the plan by Derryk Baratheon, Lord Royce found himself torn. Lord Royce would find himself making decisions that he did not believe he had to make. He would move into the Eyrie, establishing it as his capital, and promise his support to Derryk Baratheon, after hearing that he was a son of Robert Baratheon, and next in line to the Iron Throne.