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Castle Gaffney Castle Gaffney was easily the largest and most heavily invested structure in the kingdom of Wyke. Residing on the outskirts of the capital of Hull, it was a symbol of both the presence and status of the royal family. The grounds were well guarded, easily sporting one hundred guards over its several acres. The winter had been relatively mild, a good sign for the following spring. It had been several days since King Oswald had appeared for meals, let alone the royal court. He had made few appearances over the winter, choosing instead to resign himself to his room. Questioning the servants had proved fruitless, they would only say that he was currently resting. Even Queen Eowa was reluctant to divulge much to her children, saying that their father was tackling a minor cold. Rumours began spreading among the nobles, possibly suggesting that Oswald was going to kick the bucket in the near future. At last, during the second week of spring, Owen and Cassandra, along with their loyal retainer, Lionel, were summoned to the King’s quarters, with little warning beforehand. As the trio entered the door, it was clear things were not as they should be. Oswald lay propped up in his bed, appearing rather worse for wear. His beard, usually trim and proper, had become unkempt and scraggly – and far whiter than it seemed before the winter. His eyes lacked their usual stoic gaze, the pair seeing their father vulnerable for the first time. With two servants at his side, he beckoned his visitors forward. “Owen, Cassandra, my children.” He called out weakly. “Forgive my secrecy, but I did not want to distract you from your courtly duties. I must face the cruelty of time, I am no longer a young man, and I am growing weaker and frailer with each year.” Oswald stopped to cough, the old man leaning forwards and barking harshly. The servants at Oswald’s sides approached him, but he raised a hand, denying their attempts. “I did not bring you hear to lament my poor health. I do not feel like departing from this world just yet, I must see you both grow and become adults. Instead, Owen, I have a task that you must perform for me. There have been tales from the western coast… Baron Gewaint Dettard has been making expeditions to Magonsaete… spending more time there than in Wyke of recent. I need you to speak to him, Owen. I would do so myself, but I am unable to leave the castle. Lionel, you shall accompany him. Bring some of the knights with you, I fear that there may be some treachery afoot.” Owen, Cassandra and Lionel are free to post! The House of Herman Whilst not quite as impressive as the royal palace, the status of the Herman family was enough to maintain a relatively luxurious abode. Duke Herman, as head of the royal guard was often absent from his home, attending to his duties. In a striking parallel to the Gaffneys, the Herman children had been summoned by their father, to his personal study. Duke Herman was a solid fellow, standing six feet tall and sporting a moustache of a true gentleman. Still in good health, despite having past his prime, he stood proud, awaiting his children. “Adeltrudis, Graham, thank you for coming.” He announced, offering the pair two chairs to sit on. “You know I have your best interests at heart, despite how it may seem to one of you at times. As you both know, you are the future of our duchy, it will be in your hands when I pass away. There will be a time that you will have families of your own to manage. Graham, your children will go on to continue our line. Adeltrudis… you may not succeed me directly, but you will still represent our family. We may have our disagreements, but I think I have found someone suitable for you. He is a noble from Toulouse, and has ties that will strengthen our family’s reputation. He should be arriving shortly, he is of good stock and quite the character.” Adele and Graham are free to post!