Tis Always the Season II
Dec. 24, 2017, 3 p.m.
Outside Arx - Eastern Approach - Path Outside the Walls
Comments and Log
From up the road a young girl, perhaps no more than fifteen, comes running. Her face is tear-streaked and there is a bloody gash upon her elbow. As soon as she sees someone, she comes to a halt, panting, bent over with her hands on her knees. "H-help!" She shouts, sounding both desperate and terribly frightened. "I need help! We've been attacked!" Straightening, she throws her arms in the air and gesticulates wildly. "There are people hurt, and everything's been stolen! Please, someone help! Call the Iron Guard!"
Ian is here for... reasons. Reasons possibly pertaining to some kid with a lisp showing up at the Grimhall Longhouse babbling in song about the Wells Fargo wagon and all of the awesome stuff on it (possibly even something very special, just for him!). He leans on his cane and fixes the girl with his level, detached gaze. "Where did this happen?"
Alexis is out and about as well - making her way up from the beaches. Her chain jingles as she hurries back over. "I'm not much of a medic, but I'll help as I can. Lord Ian. Miss." She offers a small bow. "If you'll have me."
Alarie's out getting some fresh air - shop assistant's orders - and while Ian and Alexis may be stopping to inquire, Alarie's not doing any of that. The seamstress is already off, heading in the direction that the girl's indicated with the pink leather jacket flapping a little at the collar.
It is not uncommon for the Palace Seraph to make rounds of the shrines and the homes of her parishioners. The fennec fox at Ailith's side yips to direct her attention. The sight of the young girl has her flicking the latch of one of her leather pouches while she crosses the way to approach. "We're here to help. You're safe now. This is Dame Alexis," she informs the girl while carefully examining the elbow and looking for the best place to start healing. "Over there is Lord Ian and I am Seraph Ailith. Who attacked you?"
"About half a league," the youth anxiously replies. "To the east of here." She points down the road. Given the distance, it is no wonder the girl is sweating and out of breath, even in the cool weather of autumn. "Where the road is shaded by trees to either side, they were lying in wait!" She seems to only just notice that Ian is in possession of a cane, and there is a sudden dubious expression as she appears ready to ask something before Alexis makes her approach.
Perhaps not surprisingly, she misses that Alarie is already on her way there. Perhaps assuming that the seamstress is minding her own business. She only speaks again when Ailith addresses her, and even then it is to blurt, "Bandits! You have to hurry! My brother's been hurt real bad, and others too!" Fat tears begin to tumble down her cheeks, as if the enormity of what had happened was just crashing down upon her anew.
Alexis lets out a little grunt. "Well. I'll hurry ahead then?" She suggests to the trio, glancing in the direction Alarie disappeared. "And you can join as soon as you can, yes?" She suggests. "Maybe you can get a horse at the gates or something," She adds.
Ian sighs. He pulls a bottle of rum out of the satchel that he wears across his chest and takes a drink. Right out of the bottle. "Alright. We're going to need horses. Let's see what we can do." If he can talk someone into letting the whole group "borrow" a hired carriage, even better.
Ailith gently brushes aside those fat tears using the back of her hand while carefully examining the rest of the young girl. "You're very brave to run this far to seek help. We'll get to them, don't you worry." Certainty affixes her gaze, the Seraph not once glancing aside to verify her comment for she moves to quickly bandage the girl -- not the best given the time constraints. "There. We can't have you passing out on our rescue mission. How many bandits did you see?" Her tone calm in the hopes to give the girl time to catch her breath. "Gods be praised, fortune is upon us. Dame Alexis here," she motions the girl to look at Alexis, "is known for striking down bandits and protecting the lands. And I've heard Lord Ian is a good liege and likely gathering people to help."
Alarie's jogging, eschewing chatting. Tiny people don't have long legs though but she'll get a head start at least to check out the situation. Fast as two legs can take her.
Alarie checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 35, rolling 29 lower.
Alexis checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 35, rolling 11 higher.
Ian checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 30, rolling 15 lower.
Ailith checked command + propaganda at difficulty 20, rolling 26 higher.
The girl appears quite grateful for Ailith's attention, even if it is obvious that she is only too anxious to return to her family and friends. She ceases to cry, at least, though she still sniffles as she puts on a brave face, nodding to Ailith. A few passers-by upon the road, those men and women who are most certainly not willing to involve themselves in what the local Iron Guard can surely take care of are at least not so heartless as to completely ignore Ian or Ailith as they try to catch their attention. (Though some most assuredly are).
The man Ian hails in a carriage looks at him quite sceptically, however, and in the end denies the borrowing of his carriage. "Her ladyship won't have it," he says to the Kennex regrettably. However, shortly thereafter a pair of young men who Ailith manages to catch the attention of nod eagerly as she skillfully spins her words, and they dismount from their horses and wish the trio safety and swift travel in the name of Gild. They are good, healthy beasts, the horses they are graciously allowed to borrow - just remember to return them to the stables at the Traders Tavern, please and thank you! The girl, Atlera, could easily be born upon the back of whichever steed Ailith chooses for herself.
Meanwhile, Alarie, who bravely chose to press on without wasting time begins to realize that determination and distance do not often agree. It is incredibly difficult to keep a hard pace without growing winded, and maybe even experience a stitch in the side or a cramp in the legs. Dame Alexis, on the other hand, is like many Oathland knights, which is to say she probably sleeps in her armor and finds this a pleasant jaunt in the countryside as opposed to torture unnecessarily inflicted upon a good and decent person by the gods.
If the pair on horseback are able, they may be able to overtake the pair on foot. They may possibly even be able to offer a free ride to at least one of them.
Ian checked command + ride at difficulty 10, rolling 5 higher.
Ailith checked command + ride at difficulty 10, rolling 1 higher.
Ian is a sailor. You know what sailors are generally terrible at? Riding horses. Horses don't like being on boats. Ian doesn't like being on horses. He hangs on, mostly trusting his horse to know how to follow Ailith's horse, all the way to their destination, and by the time they get there, his face is white, and drawn with pain. He'll pick Alarie up on the way, if he can. On his way there, he also fishes his gloves with their tall cuffs out of his satchel and puts them on. And possibly also drinks from that bottle of rum, depending on how long of a ride it is.
Ian gets Brothers' Hands from Aged Satchel.
Ian gets Brothers' Arms from Aged Satchel.
Alexis gives a nod of greeting to the winded Alarie, keeping pace with her. "You heard the girl as well?" She asks, politely. Without even having the decency of breathing hard. Giving a little wave and a smile as she sees Alarith, Atlera, and Ian on the way.
Ailith recites a prayer to honor the young men in praise of their generosity and of Gild. "When all seems at loss, Faith finds a way. There's always hope, Atlera." She carefully assists the young girl to her seat, then with a silent prayer to Petrichor, mounts behind while carrying the fennec fox. She murmurs to the creature who yips once in agreement. "Alright. Just a little nudge and this horse will head the way we seek. Lord Ian, careful with the rum. It would be a travesty if it spilled." She warmly says and then encourages the horse to pick up speed.
When they near Alexis and Alarie, the Seraph waves. "Climb aboard, Dame Alexis. I think you'll have an easier time directing the horse than I. I had to rely on Dame Marra." The fox. Yes, the fox. "Atlera, how much farther?"
"Never was much good at horses, and I wouldn't want the poor beast to have to carry three and me in full armour, Seraph Ailith," Alexis offers, politely. Giving the horse a gentle pat on the side.
Horse, oh gods there's a horse. Sewing is not a very athletic sport, stabby yes, athletic no and when Ian's offerin the just over five foot woman a lift up, there's a nod and she takes his hand to scramble on the back
Alexis checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 46 higher.
"Not far," Atlera answers Ailith. "Five minutes at best, at this pace." Luckily, as Dame Alexis notes, the other riders are not clad in heavy armor, and at least three of them are fairly light females! The horses can carry them swift and sure straight to the scene of the ambush. Alexis, meanwhile, continues to prove that training and dedication can push the human body to truly heroic levels when the need is called for.
The group arrives at roughly the same time, and what they see before them is a group of wagons, some of which are tipped over, their horses dead and their goods scattered and destroyed. Wounded have been sequestered from the healthy; some propped against an overturned wagon, while yet others are laid out. There are moans of pain, and the tang of blood is still faintly in the air, for those with keen noises.
"Ah, thank the gods," a burly man can be heard to say as he steps forward with a limp. Blood streaks his face from a cut upon his scalp. "I assume the Iron Guard is on its way, then? We were ambushed by a band of brigands. They stole what they could and attempted to destroy that which they couldn't--" He chokes up, then, coughs to clear his throat, and when he speaks again, it is in a hoarse voice. "Some folks are dead. M'boy's real badly hurt."
By now, Alexis -does- have the decency to be breathing a little harder. "How many, and where did they go? Seraph Ailith here will help tend to the wounded. If there's anyone trapped or such..." She wrinkles her nose at the people laid out. "I'm Dame Alexis Wyrmfang, Sword of Blancbier and Paragon of the Gold Order. I'll do what I can to help, goodman." She looks to Ailith and Ian and Alarie. "And if you can give descriptions, that'll be helpful too."
Ian looks over the scene of devastation. He's unmistakably in pain, too much pain even for him to hide, but his eyes are serene. So serene that it's eerie. Nobody should be able to look at this kind of destruction and suffering and look so profoundly okay with everything that's happening. "Can you handle this?" He asks Alarie. And then, to the man: "Is there anyone in your party who's an experienced rider?"
Ailith carefully aids Atlera down from the horse, murmuring into the girl's ear instructions on basic wound cleaning while handing her a clean cloth and a vial of holy water. The hope being giving the girl a job will keep her focused and it can help quickly tend to each of the injured. Meanwhile, Dame Marra leaps off the saddle and the fox begins to sniff the air then yips to listen to responses. "Good thinking, Dame Marra," Ailith remarks to the fox as she hurries over to the most seriously injured.
"The Iron Guard and Knights of Solace were notified. Your daughter is very brave to come find us." To one knee, the Seraph begins to attend to the boy's worst injuries first then makes her way to the rest -- repeating the tried and true healing methods taught to her by Mother Mercy herself, Princess Sophie, and Guildmaster Eirene.
Ailith checked intellect + medicine at difficulty 20, rolling 14 higher.
"the rubicund sure as fuck ain't on my hip to cut thread." Alarie snaps out to ian even as she's sliding down when they arrive. "Hope someone called the fucking guard." She's a pleasure obviously. "Who care Alexis about your pedigree." Someone did notify the guard, thank the gods and she's moving onve again but heading for the treeline to look for anyone who might be lurking
Ian checked wits + medicine at difficulty 25, rolling 12 lower.
Ian doesn't so much as dismount from his horse as execute a controlled fall, so that's got to be super inspiring. His idea of medicine mostly involves stopping bleeding in situations where it looks like it could be life threatening, and he doesn't have a light touch. Maybe he keeps someone from bleeding to death. Maybe not. But he definitely doesn't make anyone feel better.
A description of the bandits is given, but it is about what one typically expects: scruffy, dirty, underfed and mean looking bastards. They outnumbered the caravanners by enough to get the best of its hired guards. The man, who introduces himself as Rathjen, father of Atlera and Atlan, further explains their errand.
"We were to deliver these goods to leaders of the Faith in Arx, to be distributed amongst needy families." He sighs, looking genuinely pained at the loss of the goods...not to mention the injuries and loss of life. "The bastards didn't even run off with gold or gems. It's blankets an' foodstuffs, some medicines an' toys for the little ones." His arm flings out to encompass those bundles that had been hacked or stomped. "When they realized some bags were full of oats, they just started to tear them open out of spite." He spits, then gestures elsewhere. "We did kill some few. They're over there.
Ian, who attempts to help Ailith tend to the wounded, basically ends up in the way and has absolutely no bedside manner, leaving a few almost more uncomfortable than when he approached them, but he does not kill anyone. The Seraph, thankfully, makes up for the Kennex lord's shortcomings. In fact, we'll just blame it on all the pain he himself is in.
Ian, eventually shooed away by Ailith, which is probably (definitely) the sensible thing to do, goes over to have a look at the dead bandits.
"Alright." Alexis considers. "I'd like to go after the bandits, and wouldn't say no to a hand." She concludes, after looking over the dead. "Shall we wait for Seraph Ailith to finish her works, or brave on ahead, mistress Alarie, Lord Ian?" Alexis inquires politely. Politely ignoring Alarie's chastisement.
Ailith hears the wail of a man and mid-bandaging ceases her works to interrupt Ian. She murmurs kindly and shows him, "Oh dear, Lord Ian. Here, let me assist you. It may be easier to focus on cleaning their wounds than bandaging. That would be a tremendous help for me. I do appreciate your efforts." She bows her head respectfully and quickly adjusts the bandage made to a more comfortable position for the injured man. "Atlera, I see you've finished cleaning those wounds. Could you reach to my back pouch for another roll of bandages? I'm going to have to be quick with these dressings. Some will need the Mercies and Physicians to stitch up but no one is going to pass out on the way back to Arx." In that statement, she hopes to have answered Alexis -- nearly done with triage.
"Those are just as valuable as godl and other things" She points out to the waylaid merchants r whatever they may be" As Alarie watches the treeline. She sews but not flesh and she knows better than to try. "Might be even more valuable since you don't need to find a fence to try and sell it for coin."
There are about a dozen or so dead bandits. Truly, the fight between them and caravanners must have been closer to a pitched battle than aught else. Nor are the bandits as ill-equipped as Rathjen may have made them seem. He was derogatory of them, and insisted it was numbers on their side, as well as the element of surprise that saw them win through, but a careful inspection of the enemy dead reveals several in leather and steel armor of such quality that some poorer nobles are incapable of purchasing.
As for numbers...?
It was a group of, easily, thirty or more. Rathjen helpfully points out he did hear calls of 'split up,' as they fled the scene.
Ian uses his cane to roll one of the corpses over. "If these are bandits, I may need to consider a change in career."
"Something isn't adding up," Alexis agrees, looking over to Rathjen. "You didn't see any sigils or anything, did you?"
"No, Dame Wyrmfang," Rathjen answers respectfully, but still with a shrug of his shoulders.
Ailith finishes tending to the last of the injured and encourages Atlera with some final words and prayers, especially with the Guard and Solace on the way to bring them safely to Arx. It's a while before the Seraph joins the others, catching the tail end of Rathjen's story. She crouches before one of the corpses, using the blunt end of her pencil to lift garments and armor to examine for any signs of Abyssal corruptions. Her brow furrows in listening to Ian and Alexis before she peers over at Alarie inquisitively.
"They're lying. They are the bandits likely." Alarie points out. "use your brains." Her hand on her dagger and lookin at the survivors. "Becasue what fucking bandits wear armor of that kind, but guards of a caravan do."
Ian takes another drink from his bottle of rum. Between that and the slightly seedy, beat up leather armor, he looks more like a bandit than the corpses on the ground. He raises his eyebrows to Alarie. "It seems like the kid would have mentioned that," he points out to her. "Unless she's a bandit too?" He looks over at the fifteen year old girl skeptically.
"Well. If the guards and Solace are on the way, we'll see if we can track down one of the groups and get some answers." Alexis decides. Furrowing her brow at Alarie. Then gestures back at the trail. "Stay safe," She tells Rathjen. "I'll not demand anyone come with me, but I'd appreciate the help."
"W-what?" Rathjen stammers, looking to Alarie with a truly boggled, even hurt expression. "I am unsure what sort of crime goes on in the capital, miss, but we're honest, decent folk and we work for an honest and decent man!" When Ian casts his piercing gaze Atlera's way, Rathjen hugs her close to him, growling out, "None of that, now," beginning to truly take umbrage. "By all means, inspect the rest of our retinue. You'll see the guards here all bear the same crest! They are a right proper outfit, they have all their papers and everything!" Because red tape and bureaucracy exists everywhere. No guards will protest an inspection, either.
Ian looks back at his horse and sighs. If he notices the umbrage that Rathjen and company are beginning to show between Alarie's accusations and his deadpan sense of humor (which is probably inappropriate now, anyway), he doesn't let on. "Alright. I'll go with you. We'll see what we can find." He takes another swig of rum before going to mount the horse again.
"She's from Thrax," Alexis offers, apologetically to Rathjen, about Alarie, before she continues moving. That's explanation enough, surely.
Alarie checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 28 higher.
As Alarie decides to take Rathjen up on his offer, she performs a most thorough investigation of the group. The second of the guardsmen, the captain currently unconscious, actually even provides the paperwork that was referenced. They check out. And unless they are incredibly good actors and were able to disguise themselves in record time, as well as falsify or hide what would have otherwise been some extremely tell tale clues, the group is honest as the day is long. Just extremely unfortunate. The entire affair takes, roughly, fifteen minutes.
Alexis does not particularly wait for Alarie to finish her check, but she's not moving with particular speed either - more occupied with making sure they don't walk into an ambush and ensuring they stay on the right rout.
Ailith remarks, "These people are healthier than the typical bandits. I can understand why such a conclusion could be made." The Seraph stands to her feet and regards Rathjen solemnly as Alarie does her searching and questioning. She remains behind in good Faith for the time being. "The Guard and Knights would be as thorough with their investigation for the eyes of the Sentinel are ever watchful. So I would not begrudge any for being cautious. It is very horrific and I am glad you've survived. Gods be with You. I'll be joining them ahead to root out the rest of this party." Her eyes pass over the corpses once more. "Please leave them here. The Knights will see to them." She calls over for the horse, picking up the fennec fox, and motioning over to Alarie. "Feel free to join me. We'll easily catch up."
It's possible to ride a horse for a good portion of the path, however, eventually the trees will become too choked for a steed to reliably pick its path.
"With all fucking respect Seraph, criminals are criminals and they try anything and everything. I put nothing past nobody" There's no apology forthcoming for not believing them but when things look Kosher, Alarie's striding away toward that path to catch up with the others.
Ian will ride as long as he can, because he too is going to have to pick his way really slowly on the uneven ground once he has to dismount. He makes sure to tie the reins to something so the horse doesn't wander away before continuing to follow Alexis. Hopefully she's keeping alert for an ambush or something, because he has to keep all of his attention on the ground and his own footsteps.
Ian checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 2 lower.
Alexis checked wits + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 22 higher.
Alarie checked perception + investigation at difficulty 25, rolling 4 lower.
"I know another who shares a similar outlook. A friend," she says to Alarie. When the trial begins to tighten and the use of the horses becomes a hindrance, Ailith slides off the saddle and leaves the fennec fox behind. A few words and the fox yips, oddly able to direct the horse back to camp. "Looks from here, we go on foot. Dame Alexis, did you find the trial?"
"This way. Welcome." Alexis offers, with a small nod to Alarith and Alarie. Stepping over to Ian, to murmur quietly to him.
Little escapes the keen eyes of Dame Alexis. Not only does she note that there are many trails, she picks up on a very key aspect: a particular trail doubles back...quite possibly to the coast.
"They split up around here. Going that way, that way, that way, and that way. But this trail is the interesting one - see how it loops? It'll turn towards the coast, back towards town, if I'm right." Alexis speculates.
"Diversion?" Ailith inquires aloud, carefully following behind on foot.
Ian shakes his head to Alexis, and doesn't bother whispering his reply to what she asks him. "Keep an eye on the trees. I'm alright. It's more important that we don't walk into an ambush." He's definitely struggling, but not more than he's used to; that's clear from his calm demeanor.
"Not sure. But these were more than bandits. They didn't do it for the money, near as I can tell. Maybe they're defectors of some sort. Maybe they report to someone with deep pockets. Maybe they had a big payout once and it didn't work out. That's why I want to find them." She considers. "Shall we trail the group towards the coast and see what we find?"
Following the trail that doubles back is easy enough. This smaller group slinks around the initial site of the ambush, and begins a descent to the coast. It's obvious they were confident. However, though the path is clear? It is obvious that it is unknown to the local Iron Guard or the Knights of Solace...purely because what they come upon is a hidden cove, and all the signs point to covert activity. Covert, and illegal activity, to be precise.
"Hmh. Interesting. I'm of the opinion we can march right in and see what this is about, but that may not be the most intelligent of choices, so I'm willing to hear options. I'm not particularly stealthy in chain and plate, though." Or out of it, for that matter. Alexis grimaces slightly as she looks to the group.
Ailith gestures to her armor, neither is she in the garb of white and gold -- clearly of the Faith. "Going in blind hasn't been the wisest of choices, but it hasn't stopped any of the Knights from seeking justice." She glances to the group considering only one is a Knight.
"You don't go in. You watch and you call for the guard." Alarie points out to the trio. "And you direct them here. It's a smugglers spot. It's a pretty sweet one at that actually." She looks impressed. Like maybe she's also a little sad she didn't know about it.
"...Not the most glamorous haul we've ever taken in," a voice echoes up. Rough, but rich in amusement. "We'll make a killing."
"Alright. You can go and tell the guard, mistress Alarie. You're swift and not burdened down with armour." She rises. "I'm going to have words with them."
Ian lets himself fall a bit behind the group, and so comes up after everyone has stopped to think things over, just in time to hear the voices up ahead. He lets his gaze sweep over what he can see of the cove, the entrance, the sea beyond. When Alexis moves to go in, he takes a moment to make a little mental calculation, then decides to follow her. "I'll go with you."
Ailith rubs the base of her thumb against her forehead as her lips silently move with her head slightly bowed. With a sigh, she lowers her hand to the hilt of her blade and nods quietly at Alarie before glancing toward where Alexis and Ian stride ahead towards. "Unfailing determination." Typical of the Oathlanders. The Seraph moves to take up the rear.
"Oh go sit in a stick and rotate it Wyrmfang. See if I fucking care." But she's turning. "I'll go guide the guard and be the sane person in this group." As she turns and starts to head back toward the horses.
"Easier to move," says another voice. "When's the ship supposed to arrive, again?" There's a sound that might be like a slap and then a grumped, "Fuck, owe!"
"You deserved it, fuckin' idiot." The first voice mime's 'when's the ship coming' in a higher pitch, clearly making fun of the second.
Ailith checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 20, rolling 1 lower.
Ian checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 20, rolling 10 lower.
Alexis checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 30, rolling 1 lower.
The conversation continues on, with the bandits beginning to talk about what they plan to do with the coin they are sure to soon receive. Some want to spend it on drugs, while others want new arms and armor. Still another voice says this is her last run for certain, and she's going to settle down with her man and lead a life that's straight and narrow. The trio that begin their approach are hardly quiet, yet this does not seem to matter, as none of the bandits must be able to hear over their own banter.
Alarie, meanwhile, manages to return to the site of the ambush. The carvanners look a little displeased to see her rather than say, Ailith or Alexis, but it's not all of them, and it's not really serious enough to warrant concern. It's not long before the first Knights of Solace arrive...but that's not considering the length of time it took her to return, and the subsequent wait she had. Especially when Alarie clearly remembers that the group was advancing /as/ she left.
"Citizens," a square-jawed and painfully handsome man in shining armor addresses the group in a most perfect tenor. The knights with him look equally heroic. One might even imagine his white-white teeth glint in the light of the sun. "We were informed of the disturbance, if someone would be so kind as so further brief myself and my fellow knights..." His rich, brown eyes fall upon Alarie.
Ailith checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 26 higher.
Ian checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 21 higher.
Alexis checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 11 lower.
"Caravan with goods for the faith to dispense have been waylaid by assholes. Little girl came running, group came out. They've tracked them to a cove, smugglers likley, it's a prime spot really. I can lead you back." Alarie offers, jerking a thumb where she came out, the shortcut as opposed to dragging them all around.
Ian straightens up a little bit with a sigh. He shifts his grip on his cane almost like he's holding a sword in a sheathe that he's about to draw. Because he is. And he is. There's a click as he turns the pommel of his "cane". "Draw yours sword, Dame Alexis. Here we go."
Ailith inches a step back to peer over her shoulder, studying what may be lurking to the rear, while her hand settles upon her sword's hilt. No words from her, only extreme caution utilized.
Cambria GM Roll checked dexterity(5) + brawl(5) at difficulty 15, rolling 30 higher.
Alexis checked dexterity + brawl at difficulty 25, rolling 5 higher.
It is too late, despite the warning given by Ian. As Alexis leads the way, as any brave knight ought, a lasso comes whistling through the air. It loops skilfully about her middle, pinning her arms to her sides before she has a chance to do much of anything. Though she is by no means a weakling, being so caught off guard and so firmly bound prevents her from breaking free. There's a dark laugh, and the Oathlands knight is tugged /violently/ forwards. The intent is clear: to pull her off her feet.
Back at the scene of the crime, the Knight of Solace listens to Alarie as she relates the tale with a heavy frown. "Those criminal scum are bold indeed to strike this close to Arx. Bold. In. Deed. Very well then, if you wish, you may lead us on, or we shall follow the path as you have described. But your work here is done, and nothing more is expected of you." He scans the group, then waves to the medics assembled within his team. "See these good people back to the capital. The Mercies shall have a busy afternoon." And, with or without Alarie, off will go the knight in command!
Alexis checked strength + athletics at difficulty 40, rolling 4 higher.
Cambria GM Roll checked strength(5) + brawl(5) at difficulty 15, rolling 56 higher.
Ailith checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 9 lower.
Cambria GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + archery(5) at difficulty 25, rolling 21 higher.
'Fuck if I'm going. Careful, the armored one can be a bit fucking fiesty. She might swing at you." And with that, Alarie's making her way off.
Ian checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 9 higher.
Cambria GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + archery(4) at difficulty 25, rolling 10 higher.
Alexis is, unfortunately, pulled to her feet. And the very moment the heavily armored knight goes down, there is the whisk of arrows as they fly through the air. One /just barely/ scores along the leather of Ian's right, upper arm, while another pins Ailith left shoulder.
All of the terrible horse riding, falling off rather than dismounting, the slow walking and having to catch himself on trees to keep himself from falling might have set Ian up as helpless, but the moment he whips the cane sword free of what's not just a heavy cane, the image he projects is very, very different. He draws the sword in a smooth arc while at the same time taking a single, slow step that puts him out of the way of the arrow fired in his direction from behind by an archer he should not have known was there, so that it does nothing but skitter across his armor. He carries the momentum through, slicing towards the rope that has lassoed Alexis. The perfect efficiency of his movements are beautiful the way that things that are stripped down, clean and cold are beautiful.
Ailith pivots to plant herself against the nearest cover and pauses briefly to judge the depth of the arrow. Satisfied to leave it as is, she whispers over to Ian. "How good are you a--" And there he went to carry through the very thing she wondered about. She remains at the rear, the protector of everyone's six.
Ian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 20, rolling 31 higher.
Jessamine, the innocuous shop girl leaves, following Alarie.
Though it is clear someone is attempting to drag Alexis down the last few feet of the path to them - likely to stab the knight to death like a pinned turtle, Ian is the quicker. He slices cleanly through the rope binding her, much to the disgusted, "SHIT," not far below them.
Alexis checked strength + athletics at difficulty 25, rolling 40 higher.
Cambria GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + archery(5) at difficulty 25, rolling 60 higher.
Cambria GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + archery(4) at difficulty 25, rolling 12 higher.
Ian checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 25, rolling 19 higher.
Ailith checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 25, rolling 11 higher.
Alexis lets out a little roar as she is cut free, spreading her arms to to toss the rope over her head, drawing the dragon's daughter with the characteristic metallic note of alaricite. The ringing sound followed by another bellow - not very impressive - as Alexis clasps the greatsword like a spear and charges forward.
This time, an arrow punctures Ian's leather armor, and the skin beneath. A quick tug could dislodge, suggesting it did not pierce too deeply, though there is enough blood to leave someone less familiar with combat feeling a bit faint. A second arrow grazes Ailith, whipping through her hair. It is a close call, but she manages to escape harm. As the group finally reaches the flat ground in which the bandits could be found, there are a total of five; two archers, a man with a heavy axe, and two more bearing long swords. Immediately the man with the axe and a man and woman surround Alexis, clearly unwilling to take any chances against someone so well armed and armored. The archers intend to hold Ailith and Ian off while their comrades take on the knight, though they each have daggers at their hips, should the two of them get in close enough to engage.
Ian lets out a soft grunt as the arrow punches through his armor and glances off his rib. He doesn't go to pull it out right away because both of his hands are occupied, one holding the sword, and the other part of the cane, which he's using as a crude parrying dagger, in the other. He closes on the people who have fallen on Alexis, and will try to, as he fights, put their bodies between him and the archers, using the bandits' bandit buddies as crude human shields.
Alexis checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 55, rolling 5 lower.
Cambria GM Roll checked dexterity(5) + huge_wpn(5) at difficulty 55, rolling 6 higher.
"You can still give in," Alexis warns the woman, with a sweep that was aimed at the axe-wielding man's knees, but becomes more of a warning shot (totally on purpose!). "You said you were going to settle on the straight and narrow? Take your punishment and you can. If you surrender, I'll speak well of you to the guard."
Cambria GM Roll checked dexterity(5) + medium_wpn(4) at difficulty 65, rolling 8 lower.
Cambria GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + medium_wpn(3) at difficulty 65, rolling 9 lower.
Ailith positions herself to defensively battle to give the Dame and Ian time to respond and defeat the greater threats.
Cambria GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + archery(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 48 higher.
Though Alexis is surrounded, the only one that manages even a glancing blow against her sturdy steel armor is the man wielding the axe. The other two are not quite as capable, with the man being turned around by Ian and calling out, "DON'T SHOOT, DIPSHIT," as an arrow goes comically wide. The female, however, appears to hold back, perhaps even due to what Alexis has to say. The second archer is more on point, however, taking aim at Ailith and firing calmly.
Alexis checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 55, rolling 14 lower.
Cambria GM Roll checked dexterity(5) + huge_wpn(5) at difficulty 55, rolling 10 higher.
Ailith checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 20, rolling 9 higher.
Ailith is, unfortunately, hit again by another arrow. This one bites deep, and is definitely painful.
Alexis grunts as she takes the blow, sweeping away the axe and trying for another strike, finding her sword deflected. "Your choice, goodwoman. I can't force you, but in your heart you know what the right thing to do is." She raises her sword again. Alexis always was better at outlasting her opponents than beating them outright.
Cambria GM Roll checked dexterity(5) + huge_wpn(5) at difficulty 55, rolling 39 higher.
Ian, on the other hand, has nothing to say. There's tension on his face from the pain, but he's dead calm, and the serenity in his eyes, coupled with the fact that he is honestly trying to kill these people, is eerie.
Cambria GM Roll checked dexterity(5) + medium_wpn(4) at difficulty 65, rolling 31 lower.
Cambria GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + medium_wpn(3) at difficulty 65, rolling 15 lower.
Cambria GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + archery(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 14 higher.
Alexis checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 55, rolling 5 lower.
Cambria GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + archery(5) at difficulty 30, rolling 59 higher.
Alexis checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 55, rolling 4 higher.
Alexis checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 55, rolling 10 lower.
Alexis checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 55, rolling 0 higher.
Ian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 33 higher.
Ailith checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 1 lower.
The battle grows hot. It's plain that who they face are seasoned fighters, not merely thugs that pick on the weak and helpless. Dame Alexis finds a challenge in her own opponent, who just dances out of her way, remarkably, because his armor assuredly would not hold up against alaricite. The other two are much more inept, unable to land any blows against their enemies, while at the same time receiving stinging licks from both Ailith and Ian. The archers fair better, wounding the Seraph and Kennex lord.
In fact, the Seraph will likely need some serious tending to, when all is said and done...if all is said and done, the odds in the moment being so well matched.
However, before any one can truly begin contemplating death or victory, in sweeps...The Knights of Solace. A whole band of them, looking perfectly heroic (duh), and making the whole thing look only too easy. They, in effect, steal the show.
Alexis lowers her blade, a little stepping back and taking a breather, looking to the woman. "Last chance to surrender.
Ian's skill with a blade does a lot to make up for the fact that he can't do the footwork anymore. He seems to know what people are going to do before they do, and controls them with the precise placement of his cuts, the angle at which he parries. He doesn't leave off the battle until the Knights of Solace have things well in hand, at which point he withdraws and, leaning against a tree, finally pulls out that first arrow, swearing under his breath as he does so.
Ailith defends her position and the others in a manner befitting of her training. Each arrow and cut drains at her endurance, but the Seraph continues to fight onward as though hearing ever Grandmaster and Lord Commander ordering her not to buckle. It's great timing on part of the Knights of Solace to arrive for her breath thins and her body appears to be a living pincushion of arrows. When one knight approaches to offer an arm and Ailith can see safely is guaranteed, she falters and accepts their care.
All of the bandits, actually, throw down their weapons and plead for mercy. In pure anticlimatic fashion, things are concluded swiftly, and professionally. The lead knight approaches the trio and, saluting them, thanks them with a polite sincerity. "The three of you were truly brave to advance alone, but next time, please, I caution you to await reinforcements." He casts his brown-eyed gaze towards Ailith. "Seraph, please allow me the honor of escorting you back to the capital personally, to see that you are delivered into the tender care of the Mercies." To the others, they are offered an escort with the rest of the knights. It might be anticlimatic, true, but it may also be a relief. No one else died this die.
Alexis takes her moment to explain that there are other groups, suggest interrogation, and also figure out what the deal is.
"Thank you, good Sir," Ailith bows her head. "Your arrival was well timed to lend us aid. Now if you will forgive me but I will abide by a lesson from one of my teachers -- listen to the medic." She closes her eyes and lets the combat medics do the triage, knowing it won't be long until brought to the House of Solace.
The knight nods with stoic solemnity as he listens to Dame Alexis. "We will surely take care of those who remains," he assures the group.
Ian pulls out the one arrow that glanced off his ribs. There's another one that embedded itself deeper into his arm, and he has to snap the shaft with the goal of finding someone to cut it out later. He retrieves his satchel bag, and takes the bottle of rum out of it. There's not much left in the bottle, but he finishes it off. He'll go back to Arx with the others, although bound for Grimhall's place rather than House of Solace.
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