Following the acquisition of our new mercenary unit, we found ourselves with very little living space in the barracks. As such Lord Ranin thought it prudent to have a new, short term barracks built, and as we had paid them well we convinced the mercenaries to be our labour for this. While maintaining my duties as Garrison Captain I oversaw this construction. This new barracks will be little more than a shaft, however its an extra cost that the House can barely afford thanks to Lord Walda's continuous spending.
Today Lady Walda has announced that House Stav will hold a Masquerade Ball. For no other reason other than to have it from what I can figure. Why Lord Ranin continues to stand for her complete and utter lack of monetary value and I can't help but feel that her constant attempts to run House Stav into the ground now far outweigh the alliance with House Frey that her marriage to Uncle Ranin bought. Now that I have been linked to the incident involving the dead soldiers and the Red Priest I dare not attempt to gain the support of anyone else from the House against her, but either way, something must clearly be done about her. Tomorrow we ride to House Mason to shop for the Ball, it will give me an opportunity to think things through, as well as pick up my new armour that I ordered from the Mason blacksmith a few weeks ago.
Before we set off to House Mason today, Ser Freydor -with the consent of Lord Ranin- took Stevil on as his squire, I'm surprised Lady Walda has agreed to this, but after watching the Freydor training him today before we left, he clearly has more patience with the boy and the time that has been freed up from training him allows me to concentrate on saving Stav from our good Lady of the House. Soon after their training session ended Lord Ranin, Lady Walda, Brother Darmin, Ser Freydor, Kyrilu and myself set off for House Mason, the 12 hour journey gave me time to formulate a plan to deal with the Lady. I could not think of anyway of removing her without her death, certainly not without causing a serious incident with House Frey. Making her death seem a tragic accident will allow House Stav to come through without losing honour. While Lord Ranin is honour-bound to love and protect his wife, I do not believe he will long mourn her passing if I am successful. I plan on using my Seven-given gift with animals to control a wild animal while at camp and attach her while she sleeps. I feel confident I can sneak by the guards with most predatory animals, however, after the deed is done the animal will most likely be killed. A pity, but a needed sacrifice. Because of this I cannot use Hantu, while Lady Walda must be eliminated, I will not lose Hantu in the process. I
made an attempt at taking control of a boar tonight when we camped once everyone except Kyrilu and Ser Freydor else had gone to sleep, however, the animal was stubborn and resisted my attemps, throwing me out of its mind. When I returned to my own body I head the beast squeal not too far from the camp. Kyrilu used the opportunity to hunt, quickly tracking and slaying the beast, further adding to the failure of my first attempt, once I am rested I could have tried to take control of the boar again, something that won't be possible now.
The following day we arrived at House Mason, Walda immediately dragged Ranin off to an expensive costume shop, leaving myself, Darmin, Kyrilu, Freydor and Stevil to explore the marketplace ourselves. I visited the blacksmith, pickign up my ordered armour and selling my old set. As usual the merchant refused to give an agreeable price, claiming the armour was badly damaged, I managed to beat the swindler up to 300 silver stags before relenting. The cutpurse will probably give the damn thing a rub down and sell it on for almost double that too.
We left House Mason around midday and made better pace than I would have thought considering some of the things Lady Walda bought. Despite this pace we had to camp in the wilderness again and I once again used the opportunity to try to sense an animal to use for my assassination. As luck would have it I found a shadowcat hunting in the lowland, a rare but not unheard of sight. I easily overcame its resistances, being used to slipping into the skin of Hantu. I took a few seconds to orientate myself, which gave the fox the cat was hunting a chance to escape. Not that I cared, I now had the means to hunt much more important prey.
In this form I was able to easily sneak by the guards and didn't even hear any indication that Hantu sleeping in my tent had heard me. I confidently prowled into the tent of Lady Walda and Lord Ranin and prepared to attack, knowing that I if the first attack failed to kill her outright, Lord Ranin and the guards outside would quickly overwhelm me.
I leapt at the Frey-woman, sinking both teeth and claws into her. Finding vital areas to attack, I knew I'd caused some grievous wounds, but not fatal ones. She awoke faster than I expected and let out an ear splitting scream of pain and fear, at this I renewed my attack, knowing Ranin and the guards would soon be upon my shadowcat puppet I lashed out again. causing more howls of pain but not the deathly silence I;d hoped for, after this Kyrilu and Hantu burst into the tent, at the same time that Ranin struck home with his bed-axe (who sleeps with an axe??). Before I could make a last desperate lunge at my target, Kyrilu sunk an arrow into my flank shortly before Hantu sunk his claws into my back, tearing me from the cat's body, I awoke in cold sweat and pain as if my body was being butchered to the sounds of battle outside my tent. I stumbled out to find Ser Freydor also emerging from his tent, as well as Ranin dumping the body of my recent host on the floor, before returning to his tent to tend to his wife. While Walda had been badly wounded she somehow survived the encounter and I cannot help but think I might have been successful were it not for my own snowcat.
As no one in the group suspects me for being a skinchanger I avoided suspicion and my only hopes were that Walda would succumb to her wounds. No one got any sleep for the rest of the night and in the morning we continued our journey home, carrying Walda in the cart. When we reached House Stav again, our Maester took over care over her while the rest of us tried to continue with our daily business, as well as prepare for the Ball which was due in just over a weeks time. During this time I continued to oversee the construction of the makeshift barracks, while hoping for word of Walda's death, knowing there was little else I could do now we were back at House Stav.
*This week was a long session and the second half of the night's thrilling events will follow in a day or two, no more possessed shadowcat maulings though I'm afraid