An Oncomming Storm
Few if any groups in the Cockleswent valley is as famous or a storied as The Griffons, the sworn knights in the service of Lord Bywater, and rightly so for their origin stretches back nearly three hundred years. The group has its origins in the band of Aeron Bywater, “The Griffon Knight”, together with whom he rid the Cocklesvale of the hated lord Malcolm Bywater and conquered the land in the name of the Targaryens. Many storied legends are told of the eighteen men whom followed Aeron and their names are remembered in countless tales throughout the Cocklesvale, the most famous of which recounts their deeds upon the Fields of Fire and the subsequent Battle of Whitebridge Crossing. Amongst the best remembered are Aurion, “The White Griffon”, first captain of the Griffons and the older brother of Aeron who died at Whitebridge. Another is “Young” Robar Preston, bearer of the Griffon banner and second captain of the Griffons. Benjen Wynd, known as the “Wolf of the Cockleswood”, was another prominent member, a Northman who led Aeron’s scouts and slew the terrible “Butcher of Bywater” in single combat.
Since those lofty days of legends the Griffons have changed and adapted, yet proven time and time again why theirs is a banner to be feared. The Faithful knew them as the “Beasts of Valyria” during the Faith Rebellion. During the Dance of Dragons the Griffons fought in both Battles of Tumblestone for the blacks, charging headlong against the fury of the dragon Vermithor during the second battle yet faltering not. It was the Griffons which singlehandedly won the Battle of Ashcomb as they broke the lines of the Lower Lords and allowed Maelys to kill the Pretender in single combat. From the Conquest of Dorne only a three Griffons returned to the Cocklesvale, having fought for the entire length of the war. They broke the Siege of Castle Preston and it was also the men of the Griffons who bought the Bywater family time to flee during the Blackfyre Siege of Waterdeep. They reaped a terrible vengeance at the Battle of the Redgrass Fields slaying all four sons of Lord Redvers and countering the charge of the Rebels with one of their own.
Even within living memory the Griffons have carved quite a reputation for themselves, especially during the Battle of Ashford. The lords of the Cocklesvale had responded quickly to the muster and assembled at Ashford, prepared to aid in its defence. When reinforced by the vanguard of the main Reacher host however they, on the command of Lord Randyll Tarly, formed one of two forces together with the knights sworn to Ashford. Circling to the west around the centre Stormlander host, mainly made up of infantry, the Griffons made up the very tip of the wedge which smashed into the flank of the already engaged Stormlanders. Lead by no less than five Bywaters the charge of the Griffons that day is legend both in the Cockleswent valley and at Ashford. Durran Elenion was plucked from his horse by an arrow from the “Valar Morghulis” and his son was forever marred by a Bywater blade. A knight of Tarth fell to their blades, as did the twins of house Penrose, and as the rebels fled the banner of the Griffons led the pursuit. Through the battle they saw but two casualties but that changed at the bloody walls of Queensburry which claimed more than half of the original knights. The War of the Usurper left the Griffons a shadow of their former selves, their numbers dwindled and their lord stripped of land, and yet still their proud tradition persevere. Despite their losses the black and gold is still remembered by their enemies and who knows what glories can still be won by the Knights of the Griffon.
Gear, tactics and composition:
The Griffons are not what they once were and this has seen significant changes to both their equipment and their tactics. The Griffons are supplied horses by house Bywater but by tradition they are expected to provide their own armour and weapons for war, though much of this is also produced at Castle Waterdeep. A knight of the Griffons is expected to wear a full suit of armour and ride to war upon a barded courser bred for war, armed with a shield and lance. Though once composed only of sworn knights the current incarnation of the Griffons also include several young men in training, whose armour an equipment is far cheaper and is usually made up of chainmail and a spear. No matter their equipment however all members of the Griffons wear garments of black and gold but are permitted to carry their own coat of arms on their shields should they possess one. Griffons also feature heavily in the armour design of many senior members, especially the winged helmet traditionally worn by the Captain of the Griffons.
Traditionally the Griffons has numbered eighteen knighted men though they currently only number nine sers amongst their ranks, supported by in total seven men-at-arms and squires. The lack of a sufficient number of solid fighters means the Griffons are not the true heavy cavalry they once served as but rather fall into the range of medium cavalry.
Ser Sandor Hunt, aged 26, Captain of the Griffons.
Ser Aryn Beesburry, aged 40, Standardman to the Griffons, “Wry”
Ser Marth Moss, age 43, one of the few surviving veterans from the Griffons who loyally followed in his father’s footsteps. The Moss family has a long history as knights serving house Bywater and lives in Bywater. Currently his one remaining son aspires to become a knight. A stout man, bald with small beady eyes and a permanent stubble, of no particular skill. The Hornblower. Boar Rampant, brown on yellow, with two silver flowers.
Recent History/Achievements: Fought at the Rushside, horse killed near the end of the battle.
Ser Torr “Fellhand” Hensworth, aged 38, is another veteran of the Griffons whose family’s lands were confiscated during the war. A tall, thin man with a grim, gaunt face, a prominent moustache and half long greying brown hair. He is hard to squires and soldiers alike, humourless and never ever smiles except for in schadenfreude. But seems to love his whores. Blue with yellow Chausse-Ploye and a red hen’s head.
Recent History/Achievements: Did not fight at Rushside.
Ser Branden Wells, aged 33 is little more than an up-jumped peasant knighted for slaying Aldham Dannett, spearing him in single combat. Tuffs of his brown hair has fallen off, which makes him look rather unheroic, and he has taken to eating too much. Still strong as a bull however. Jovial and a quite uncourt.
Recent History/Achievements: His horse shot from under him during the charge at Rushside. Leg broke and he did not participate further.
Ser Jonathan “Greenfork” Medows, aged 32 a long time hedge knight who swore fealty to house Bywater during the fighting in the Cocklesvale. Particularly skilled in bloody melee but no sluch with a lance. Muscular and broad, with his dirty blond hair in a ponytail.
Recent History/Achievements: Greenfork got unhorsed towards the end of the battle and led a counter-charge of Cowden men.
Ser Richard Draken, aged 23 cousin twice removed from main line through his father. His father still serves the Cowden family, but Richard set off on his own and swore fealty to the Bywaters shortly after the war. Tall, red haired and handsome with a prominent hawkish nose. Serious and a little naïve.
Recent History/Achievements: Horse shot from under him during the charge and fought on foot from there. He killed near ten men from the Warhens and did not surrender. Found bruised and sword broken.
Ser Terrance Beesburry, aged 16, is a fierce young lad who squired for Torr Hensworth and strives endlessly to follow in his father’s footsteps. Nothing ever came easy for him, but through endless hard work he has become a passable knight. Lanky like his father, brown haired and with a hard determined jaw.
Recent History/Achievements: Following the charge of the Griffons at Rushside he fought after having delivered his lances. Collecting no less than four Goldleafs. Knighted for his deeds at Rushside.
Ser Petre Brewer, aged 19, is a young man who is freshly recruited to the Griffons and was knighted after the Rushside. Cousin to the Brewer twins. His nose is twice broken (by Torr) and his right eye is a little small, but his brown hair and broad smile somewhat makes up for that. Diligent, hardworking and wishes to become a true knight.
Recent History/Achievements: He cut down the bannerman of the Warhens and captured their standard, carrying the trophy through the rest of the battle.
Man-at-Arms Rodrick Rambton, aged 21, fled home many years ago to wander as a hedge knight (though he has not been knighted). Swore for house Bywater shortly after the wars, being recruited into the Griffons. With fair blue eyes and the start of a fine red beard he would look striking if his armour was better. Easy going, but with some skill.
Recent History/Achievements: He followed Sandor through the entire battle of Rushside, holding formation and fought well.
Man-at-Arms Darryn Flyn, aged 20, is a new recruit out of Ingrow he was picked because of his skill with animals. While perhaps not the making of a knight he makes a decent outrider and can control his horse in a charge. Darryn is a little on the rounder side, but strong, with a mop of black hair and brown eyes. Quiet and more of a follower than a leader.
Recent History/Achievements: Darryn was speared in the shoulder during the battle of Rushside but cut down his attacker. He safely made it to the Cowden lines.
Squire Ardan Hastwyck, age 16, is Sandor’s squire and nephew through his wife. A small awkward boy with a far to feminine face, pretty curled brown hair and not enough strength to lift a lance Ardan never quite found his home at castle Waterdeep. He is usually of a sour mood, withdrawn and something of a loner.
Recent History/Achievements: Did not fight at Rushside.
The Victorious Dead
Ser Mark Rosewater, little was known of him.
Death: Shot from his horse at Rushside.
Man-at-Arms Loren Sherbend, aged 18, is another reluctantly introduced recruit from Sherben. His hair is short and black, eyes dark green, and he has a constant twitch to his right hand. Not the quickest man, but strong and diligent.
Death: Took a crossbow to the guts during the charge at Rushside. Died in the early morning of the following day.
Squire Roger Moss, aged 15, squires for Aryn Beesburry and much like his father and father before him is a stout if blunt young warrior. He has talent, something Aryn has helped nursing, and will perhaps become a great knight. Dark brown hair, a broad heavy face and a similar build. Temperamental and impetuous, very much striving to live up to his families traditions, but kind and jovial as well.
Death: Died on the road from the Septry of the Shattered Rock with an arrow clean through his throat. He died shielding Maester Thorben.
Veteran Cavalry – Power 10 – Discipline 0
(Mail) Armour Rating 5 – Armour Penalty -3 – Bulk 2
Defence 5 – Health 6 – Fighting Damage: (Charge +3) 7 (Spear +1) 5
Agility 4, Animal Handling 4 (Ride 1B), Fighting 3 (Spear 1B, Longblade 1B)
CD: 5 HP: 6