A Most Uneventful Escort Trip
July 12, 2020, 5 p.m.
Outside Arx - Brighthold - Wilderness - South of Brighthold
Comments and Log
It's nearing nightfall when the group that set out from Brighthold earlier in the day, makes for camp. It's been a long day. A very long day. The Knights of Solace are escorting a caravan owned by a merchant named Jarad Trante. In addition to the wagons full of various goods, the horses pulling them and several guards (who look mostly useful), there's also the merchant's son, Nathan, who is with them. He's an extremely annoying young man and spends much of the trip talking about how much money his family makes. He does this despite his father telling him to stop. Multiple times. Did we mention the horses? There's someone with the group meant to help out with that. Colton Pyne (of a mild disposition) is there to make sure all the animals are in good health.
But wait! There's one more person! Wyllan Hornwood is an older priest assigned to one of the smaller villages around Brighthold. This trip included swinging around to 'collect' him after he said some rather //colorful// remarks to the Seraph of Brighthold. They'll be dropping him off with someone in Arx to have a 'talking to' in person.
So far he's spent his day acting SO SURPRISED by everything Nathan says. Nathan doesn't notice he's being sarcastic.
The colorful kaliedescope of interactions and personalities would begin to wear on anyone and Emily looks like she might very well be ready to gag the poor boy if not for the sarcasm being issued forth by the Wyllan. Entertainment even in tired worn out form. Glancing up at the sky and the greys that begin to edge in around the colorful summer landscape she clears her throat. "We are going to want to make camp soon," she remarks. "I can see about finding us a spot," she offers the others. The Deepwood ranger shifting forward as she seems ready to find some blessed silence from their current company.
Emily checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 22 higher.
Jeffeth checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 18 higher.
Bree is in great spirits as they make for camp, having spent just the right amount of time on horseback for the day to keep her loving this life. A little bit longer, and she might regret the aches in her legs! When Emily speaks of finding a spot, she nods, "Please do! I imagine when we get settled, Nathan will regale us with more stories about his family." She smiles brightly, twisting in the seat of her horse to wave to the 'annoying' one, whom she actually finds kind of amusing. Well, more Wyllan's reactions to him. "When we make camp, we can set the food to cook, set up guard schedules, and settle in for the night. Then we'll be safely in Arx in no time!" This is said for Jarad Trante, the one who asked for their escort. When Emily goes off, Bree decides to dismount, taking the reins of her horse to lead off the path.
The merchant's son, Nathan, is exactly the kind of charge that gets under Bhandn's skin, although he's making demonstrable efforts to keep it from showing. He largely succeeds, but every time the son opens his gob, there's a visible tension in Bhandn's jaw that advertises loud and clear he's restraining himself from speaking. Emily's comment about finding a place to make camp gets a small nod from him, but no words just yet. Not trusting himself to speak, he resorts to gestures, pointing at himself and where the tents are stowed away, making eye contact as he does so. He'll deal with those, after a place is found.
The sound of gargantuan hooves trodding against the ground set the perfect rhythym for the song ringing out above. The massive black draft horse patiently lumbers along the path a good distance behind the wagon and its assorted figures. While Jeffeth isn't going to ever tell a child to stop talking, he also knows that protecting a wagon can be done from a significant distance away. And so Jeffeth on his steed friend ride out about a hundred feet behind the wagon, the Grandmaster clearly enjoying being back on the road. His song is loud and.. sounds pretty good today! He must be hydrating. The big man sings a traveling song many knights of the road know, whether he is by himself at the rear or with whoever has decided to join him, Jeffeth takes up the rear. Cheerily.
Those of a 'mild disposition' tend to attract Icelyn like a fly to honey, especially in a tense atmosphere like this. Preferring to avoid the priest's sarcasm and Nathan's oblivious prattle, she has fallen back to ride with Colton and the wagons, occasionally even farther back to Jeffeth, and has therefore managed to spend the day in relative quiet, just as she prefers. But as the conversation drifts back to her, she finally speaks and joins in. "Have we someone who can cook? It can't be me. I burn things." Then she turns round to wave at Jeffeth, mouthing: 'we're making camp!' under his song. It's not like she wants him to stop. Just to, you know, be aware.
Big thumbsup from Grandmaster J.
Bree checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 12 lower.
As the song carries to the front of the caravan, Bree tries to join in - she fumbles the words, and her exuberance doesn't make up for the fact that she cannot sing. Thankfully it is a short interlude that does nothing to deter her from the bright airiness being on the road brings.
Emily's scouting instincts are admirable and she's able to find a nice spot of forest for them to draw the wagons into, circle them and set up for the night. The land is flattish, which should make for good sleeping. And the area around appears otherwise undisturbed. Nathan continues to chatter away about his family's GREAT and EXPANSIVE wealth, which likely seems embellished. He's working very hard to grow a beard too, but it's coming in patchy and rather underdeveloped looking. Since Bhandn is silently putting up with his existence, he trots his horse right next to him and proceeds to chatter away. Father Wyllan is sitting on his own steed some paces back, silently laughing and nearly doubled over. Meanwhile Colton seems happy enough to have Icelyn nearby, unlike some of the other people in this party. He's looking at you, Nathan. Wyllan. Jared Trante thanks the knights for the efficiency in finding some place to rest for the night.
Bhandn checked composure at difficulty 10, rolling 6 higher.
Emily disappears, she's quick and sticks near the road so that she might actually be able to find them the flat spot that gives them some advatnage. She returns to report where they need to be and then helps with the preparations. The bow strapped once more to her back as she shuffles through the supplies and pulls out what is needed to cook. "Err I can try to cook....but you will be getting simple fare," she remarks, a chuckle leaving her lips as she glances to the others. She is quick to help dig a fire pit at center and then gather what is needed before it gets too dark for them to see in able to find fuel. Nathan is thusly looked to in an effort to quiet him. "Nathan, help find firewood." Focus boy. Focus on something other than chatting. She mutters softly to those near her. "Does he not get tired? Won't his jaw fall off?"
Emily checked intellect + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 5 higher.
Bree checked intellect + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 20 higher.
Bree catches sight of Bhandn, uncharacteristically quiet, and she arches her brows at him as if to ask, 'What? What's wrong?' She doesn't vocalize the question, instead moving to find a place to tie off the horses for the evening and to help in the making of camp. "I'll set to fire some things that should be mostly edible by the time I'm finished," Bree offers to Icelyn and Emily, and as soon as firewood is gathered and brought back, she'll get to preparing whatever might feed the troops, and the caravan. "So, Jarad Trante of Brighthold, I don't think I asked why you're heading to Arx," she begins to make cheerful conversation when the elder Trante nears. "The Knights of Solace are of course, glad to be of service. Do you plan to make a home there?" All of this spoken while she amazingly prepares something that is edible from their rations.
Icelyn slides out of the saddle as the camp area is found. She nods to Emily and Bree as they set up a cooking plan and, with Nathan conscripted - hopefully - into finding firewood, turns to Colton. "Will you need help grooming the horses?" That's literally what he's around for, but Icelyn almost always goes for the low chores first.
But Nathan's attempts fall on mostly deaf ears. Bhandn's patience might be tested, but the prattling son isn't breaking through just yet. He'll endure the talk in silence, dismount in silence, roll his eyes at Bree's look at him, and make his way away from Nathan to go get the tents to pitch them. There's a moment's consideration for his horse, of course, as well as the greatsword strapped to the saddle that he rarely goes without, but soon enough he's got one cloth bundle on his armored shoulder and is clanking his way over to start getting camp set up in full.
There's a pleasing little whistle that sounds out from the very back. All the Knights who have some experience under their belts will recognize this call from the Grandmaster. He's going to ride a perimeter around their campsite rather than falling in just yet. Additionally it gives him some more time to enjoy the quiet and riding. His song dies down as Jeffeth begins to lead Friend in a rather wide circle around where Emily has made their camp, eyes flitting about to take in the area of where they are camping before he'll fall in with the rest.
Jeffeth checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 19 higher.
"Me???" Nathan looks incredulous that someone would request he go find some firewood. In his nasally voice with his nose turned in the air, "I'm supposed to find firewood?" He spins around looking for his father. Jared has already gone off to check with the drivers on each of the wagons and seems like he doesn't care at all if anyone cajoles his son into finding wood on the ground. Wyllan takes this opportunity to stroll along, picking up a stout branch from the ground and offering it Nathan. With lots of unnecessary emphasis, "This is a nice a hard wood. I'm sure you've never seen anything like this before--" Nathan looks at the older priest and starts taking in a deep breath. That's an 'I'm going to start talking breath' breath.
Jared comes by in time to smack his son in the arm and keeping walking in Bree's direction. "We're transporting goods. Usually we don't go overland, I own a few ships. But you know." He makes a whirling motion with his arms. He's either depicting a tornado or the whirlpool. "Hopefully business can back to normal eventually."
Avoiding all of that is Colton, he looks sidelong over to Icelyn and nods his head. "Sure. Why not. You're good company." He's definitely not looking at anyone specific when this is going down. "I need to get them all fed and watered," and he nods his head in that direction.
Leaving Bree to tend the food, Emily ventures back out in the growing dark to make sure they have enoughy fuel for the evening and at least to get them through the cooking of the food. Simple or not. The ranger is more than glad to get more familiar with the grounds around their camp as she glances back to see Wyllan do his part to usher Nathan along. She actually coughs at the jest made upon the young man's behalf and thusly leaves the the Deepwood rather amused at the entire spectacle. A shake of her head follows as the dark black braid waves down her back and she returns with an arm full of kindling and logs to set down beside Bree and the fire. "Going to need a bit more so going back out." She offers this to the Lieutenant so she has some better idea where the lady will be.
Bhandn checked composure at difficulty 10, rolling 8 higher.
While Jeffeth is out on his leisurely ride, he hops off Friend for a moment, perhaps to have a quick constitutional. Back on his horse in just a few moments the Grandmaster rides back, shoulders bouncing rhythymically with each lurching step of the massive horse as if he is still internally singing the song that had him in such good spirits. Once he arrives, smiling broadly at his fellow campers he goes to tend to Friend briefly before grunting over to Icelyn. "I'll take help if you're offering." Though he motions with his head for her to approach as he's doing so. After sharing some brief conversation with Icelyn, the big man heads over to Bree with a broad smile. Eyes on Emily, he pipes up. "Heyy, where do you think you're going?" The Grandmaster calls out, still wearing a broad smile. "Get back over here and help with the cooking, miss." Jeffeth rumbles in a somehow oddly commanding yet warm tone at the same time. Smiling broadly but for some reason, he really means it. Leaning over with Bree, Jeffeth murmurs quietly on how he can help with the cookin'.
Icelyn's eyes stray towards Nathan, Emily and Bree when the young man protests his job; she frowns, clearly concerned that somebody is going to escalate things. Naturally Wyllan does so and she tries to catch the eye of either Bree or Emily, raising a brow in a 'do you need extra hands?' look. But she nods to Colton in the meantime. "It'll go more quickly with two, then. I'll help for as long as I can." She cuts her gaze back over to Nathan, though, indicating that she is suspicious that she may be needed.
Still, for the moment Bree's cheerful charm seems to be keeping things going all right. So she helps get the horses strung together and led out towards a nearby stream to drink their fill. It's not far enough from the camp that any tumult would be missed, fortunately, but even so, she glances back every now and again.
Jeffeth's whistle is heard, acknowledged and trusted without Bree having to keep tabs on him. She'll await his report when he returns from his checking. For now, she'll chat cheerfully with Jarad. "Ah, right," She responds to the twirly finger, mimicking it with her own. "Well, glad we can be here with you," she smiles wide. "Your son seems to take great pride in the family business," she tells him without any sense of judgement to her tone. Looking out around the camp then, she scans for those of her party to make certain all are present, and all are taking up whatever task they need take up. "How do you like this road travel in comparison to ship life?" she asks as she moves to retrieve something that looks suspiciously like a bottle of whiskey from the saddle of her horse, crossing paths with Emily as the woman returns with firewood and then heads out for more, "While you're out there, keep an eye on the road? Let us know if we have any other travelers moving by!" But then Jeffeth is there making orders, and the Knight LIeutenant laughs. "Listen to him before you listen to me!" A little nudge to Jeffeth's side, "Anything amiss out there?"
Bree checked charm + empathy at difficulty 30, rolling 3 higher.
As they pass by, Icelyn waves Colton ahead. "Just a moment if you would, I want to speak with Sir Bhandn ..." she falls back for a few moments to murmur with him, and, true to herself, picks up a tent-stake to pound into place while she does it. Not having work makes her hands itch.
Whatever Jeffeth murmurs to Bree is met with a momentary parting of lips, then a tilt of her head to look up to him. "You can't cook," she accuses him with a small laugh. "Emily, get back here!" she calls out to the other woman, moving away from Jarad, Jeffeth, and the fire to intercept Emily as she moves off for round two of fire collecting. A trot has her catching up, a quiet word murmured.
Those with sharp eyes and/or ears would notice that Bhandn's attempt to keep to himself is failing. He heard that comment of the priest toward the entitled son, and there's a sound that could be clearing his throat, or could be swallowing laughter at what the priest just implied there. All of this is done with a perfectly straight face, while pitching tents and going about general campsite duties. He's also a much less tense person, now that he's not having to endure Nathan's incessant talking and someone else has to put up with it. Icelyn's approach has him giving her a brief glance, but he'll turn an ear for what it is she has to say to him. There's a nod for it, but no words. His attention span, however, won't be fully on the tent-pitching, though; his grey eyes stray to the wagon ring and the forest beyond now.
Bhandn checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 19 higher.
Icelyn checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 3 higher.
Emily checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 20 higher.
Emily hesitates when Jeffeth calls to her to stay and she looks to Breee. Uhhhh. She starts to head back out when Bree calls to her and slows as she just starts to break the edge of the weagons. The ranger nods to Bree, offering a smile before glancing back out at the dusky dark woods. "Very well, I can come help cook. Be warned I like to burn things becuase they taste better with a little extra char," she says. Her gaze continues to flit to the edge of the wagons before sharp blues settle on Jeffeth, giving him a nod. "As you wish, Grandmaster. I did not know you were so eager for burnt food," she teases. But there is a knowing look shared before she settles in but never quite looks at the flames, her gaze narrowing some to shield from the light.
Jeffeth checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 0 higher.
Bree checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 2 higher.
"Nothing worth lookin' at." The big man rumbles with a broad smile. "If you end up going out there though, watch your step." Jeffeth rumbles with a quiet laugh as he meanders away from the cook, allowing Bree and Emily to take over things. His hammer is taken off from where it is stowed on his back and placed against a tree as he stretches out those massive muscles.
Friend is slowly tended to, the saddlebags taken off where Jeffeth removes the shining armor that has been stowed away and begins to clean it/slowly put it on. Casually.
As Wyllan opens his mouth to torment Nathan some more, he feels like someone is watching him. He turns slowly and notices Icelyn over there. The older priest gives her a smile, which frankly-- it's obvious why he needs to go back to Arx for a talking to. He's a pain in the ass. He does stop for the moment, reaching into his jacket and pulling out a slim case of rolled tobacco. He steps over to the fire and lights one, harmlessly smoking for now. Nathan is insulted anyway, does /not/ pick up any firewood and marches off somewhere to smoke. Colton continues to take care of the horses, looking at Icelyn and shaking his head. "Bad enough having Nathan with us," he murmurs to her. It seems she's moving along to speak to Bhandn, so he merely nods and keeps taking care of the horses. Jared is just happy no one is shouting. He watches his son stomp away and sighs, turning to Bree. "He's something else. Not really, I'd prefer the ships. But we can't make silver if we don't move our goods--" and he keeps talking and talking because Bree is so nice.
With the word being quietly spread through the group, the knights are able to put themselves on higher alert. Icelyn, Bree and Jeffeth all pick up on the sound of something rustling beyond the perimeter of the camp. It's the sort of thing that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. But they can't spot anything from where they are.
Bhandn and Emily fair better, each spotting something moving along the perimeter. And the sly, slinky movements of several someone's being careful as they creep to the horses and the spot where the caravans few guards resting. It's growing rather dark by now.
Emily checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 15, rolling 25 higher.
Bree checked composure at difficulty 10, rolling 5 higher.
Emily leans over to Bree as she notes several figures and whispers something to her. Just quiet conversation while making dinner as Emily stands and moves towards a wagon to keep her out of sight of those she noted. Dropping quickly she crawls beneath the wagon so she can get into position not far from them and behind. Her bow pulled free she nocks and arrow and lets her gaze adjust to the door as she moves along, slowly, carefully making her way towards the horses so she has a clear sight and shot of them without being immediately seen. She sticks to the deeper shadows and the trees that might well afford her some cover if things go wrong. She need not get close as she readies her bow.
There's a casual movement of Bree's hand to the hilt of her sword, just resting it there because why not. She's returned to listen to Jarad talking, nodding and smiling to what he says. Occasionally she'll look off to the perimeter, or to one of her order, to see how they are progressing with the hint of danger that she feels moving in. But she smiles, managing to maintain her very calm cheerful exterior to make certain there's no panic with those who are not used to such threats. "Grandmaster," she calls to the man who has found a place by the tree, hammer clearly visible. "If you need me to lay off the cooking because you prefer it charred, just give the whistle." Emily seems to slip off after murmuring something to the Butterfly Knight, and Bree nods. Her gaze darts to the horses, but then back to Jarad she looks, "I had someone cook very charred chicken for me once. It was torture." And then an idea strikes, so she asks, "Do you fight at all? Does your son?" She's just totally interested in their lives. No other reason for asking.
Icelyn checked composure at difficulty 10, rolling 17 higher.
The big man slowly fastens the breastplate, one hand resting on the horn of the alaricite bullshead as he slowly looks over his shoulder. There's a glance to Emily, following her eyes. There's a little nod before he reaches out, casually gripping the pommel of his hammer before turning to face Colton and the horses with a smile as if he were about to start a friendly chat. Instead, "Alright knights. Engage." Jeffeth calls out through the camp, swinging his hammer up onto his shoulder. The Bull's head is plunked onto his heead as he starts marching across the camp. "Circle up, protect the horses while flush them out." The call is loud enough to tell any on the outside of the camp that those on the inside are aware of them, though it is also loud enough to get caravan guards off their asses.
Jeffeth rushes towards where the noise was heard, though he does not charge into an attack. It's more of a feint to draw those out from where they hide rather than outright attack. "Ice, get us some light, please."
Icelyn's shoulders are tense as she turns a half-circle, letting her gaze skate across the camp and its surroundings. She doesn't /see/ anything, but she can /feel/ something out there. But she keeps her calm, lifting her head and taking a deep breath of the falling night air as if simply enjoying the cooling breeze. Her eyes are the only giveaway: They scan the clearing over and over, tracking the guards making their camp, the horses, the merchants, counting them all up like a shepherd taking stock of her flock. "Stay close," she murmurs to Colton, before taking her leave. She looks apologetic even now about not being able to finish helping him with the horses.
But she moves fast, trotting across the campsite to the fire ring. She snatches up several of the larger sticks to use as makeshift torches, lighting them from the fire and passing them first to her fellow knights, then to the merchants.
"Keep these high," she tells the non-combattants. "We need the light. Don't run out of the circle. If an enemy does come too close, set them on fire." No compassion for the enemy combattant, here. Just ... well. Ice.
Bhandn checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 0 higher.
Those slinky movements caught his eye, enough for him to give a soft whistle of a sound to try and get someone's attention without giving up the fact that whoever is out there has been spotted. Bhandn does keep watch on those movements, one hand hovering on Vigil's hilt in an attempt to make it seem a casual gesture. There's a breath given out, but his own helmet is settled in place in very short order at the Grandmaster's order. He keeps a watch on the outer vestiges for more of those movements, while trying not to lose the one he originally saw.
Jarad doesn't appear to care about the food (or his son? Or if people are arguing? What does he care about? What are his MOTIVATIONS?). When Bree asks him if he knows how to fight, he grimaces. "No, I'm sorry. I'm really more of a number cruncher. Ha! Nathan couldn't fight to save his life," he tells her. That last comes in a whispered aside. As if he suspects his progeny might hear him. Almost as if he's reminded, "Where did that boy get off to?"
Wyllan starts laughing and slapping his leg as he smokes. Whatever, man. Then Jeffeth announces that the knights should engage, Wyllan throws his smoke on the ground and crushes it out with his heel. "Ah, fuck. I'm too old for this shit," he mutters and accepts the torch handed to him by Icelyn. "Thanks," he says dryly.
Jarad doesn't get it. "What's going on?!"
Colton and the caravan's token guards at least seem to have their stuff together enough to figure out what's going on. They start hauling the horses back into the ring under Jeffeth's order. Meanwhile, Emily is able to get under the wagon without being noticed and pick a position of her choice.
When Jeffeth makes like he's going to rush toward the noise, something happens. Pew, pew, pew. Several arrows are shot down from the tree and land by his feet.
Icelyn checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 17 higher.
Emily checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 30, rolling 24 higher.
Emily checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 30, rolling 33 higher.
Icelyn checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 25, rolling 61 higher.
Bree checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 19 higher.
Emily checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 25, rolling 44 higher.
Bhandn checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 8 higher.
Bree checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 25, rolling 81 higher. Bree rolled a critical!
Bhandn checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 25, rolling 21 higher.
Jeffeth checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 25, rolling 31 higher.
Jeffeth checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 14 higher.
Jeffeth checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 64 higher.
Jeffeth's call has Bree drawing Celestia from its sheath slowly, and she extends her other hand to Jarad, arresting him in place (or hoping to), because he admitted that fighting is not his thing at all. "Stay here, near the fire. You'll be fine," she assures him, and then turns to join her fellow knights on even higher alert. "Don't let the food burn too much!" she calls to Jarad over her shoulder in her departure, her chipper tone suggesting the threat of whatever is out there might have increased her mood all the more. There's a moment when she looks as if she might try to find Nathan to shove him toward his father, but she hears the sound of the arrows and turns in time to see them land at Jeffeth's feet. That alters her path, and she's charging forward to protect him (not that he needs it), Celestia at the ready. Besides, Icelyn has taken that charge.
Emily and Bree (who already posed whoops, I'm slow) are good to pose the fate of their targets. That's 3 attackers down with 3 left on the ground. JEFFETH KNOWS WHAT TO POSE, I think. Bhandn and Icelyn, I'm going to page you.
Emily is set into her position when she hears the twang of other bow strings and that is when she lets her own loose right into those figures near the horses. As the first sails to find its target, another is drawn and freed to aim and take advantage of what little light is left thrown by the fire outwards from the center to center on her next target.
She's quick though, keeping low as she moves positions and tries to find another spot nearby to take up a position. The two go down, lne still twitching a little and the other currently unmoving.
Although Bree did not notice the number of those creeping in the darkness, she manages to single out one as she rushes past the Grandmaster to come to blows with the woman. There's an impressive spin, a ducking low, and a parry of her sword to avoid even a single whisper of a blow from the enemy, and then the alaricite blade finds purchase in the shadow-walker's side, a slice that will send the woman to the ground. The glint in Bree's blue eyes is intensely on fire as she looks to see Emily's arrows land thwack thwack.
The big man looks down at the pew pew pew arrows that land at his feet. His gaze rises up to the trees. "In the trees." The big man grunts, with no small amount of disdain. "Trees." He repeats as a growl, before marching towards one of the trees in question. The massive grandmaster marching towards the tree as if he were about to just fight the tree.
His hammer is.. thrown down on the ground. And moments later Jeffeth is propelling himself up into the branches, scaling the tree at worrying trees.
When you're an archer in a tree, escaping from someone who is pursuing you in your very own tree is not a protocol often rehearsed. An arrow is loosed that plinks off the alaricite of the large man as he rapidly ascends the tree.
A few moments later the archer can be sailing out of the tree and to the hard earth below, head first. "Let it be known." Comes his booming voice from his now lofty position. "You attack Godsworn priests of the Faith of the Pantheon, and those in their care. Those who retreat this very moment will not be pursued. Those who remain... We pray you lead a better life when you return from the wheel."
With one last glance around the circle to make sure it's secure, and maybe an eyeroll at the sarcastic priest under cover of darkness, Icelyn takes off towards the edge o the clearing. One hand draws her bow from across her back and she pauses to string it with a strong, deft movement. The other grabs an arrow from her quiver. But she doesn't aim for any of the attackers. Her eyes are on the ground, peering through scattered leaves and trampled dirt for the trail of an idiot who wandered off to have a smoke.
"Don't forget the merchants!" she calls to the other knights as she trots by, as if they would be so caught up in battle that they might forget why they were actually fighting. "Hold your guard!" to the caravan guards. But she takes off into the woods on Nathan's trail without a glance back.
Icelyn will not be alone in her pursuit of the idiot who wandered off. Bhandn closes the distance quickly, and he has good steel drawn for this. "I'm behind you," is all he has to say to the woman who is intently searching for a trail, breathing a bit more anxiously on account of exactly what it is they're pursuing... and why. While his expression remains concealed behind his helmet, his eyes are that of an angry man.
Bhandn watches Ice's back the entire time, grey eyes restlessly searching out for either a hint of Nathan's location, or a possible attacker in the gloom. He doesn't speak beyond those three words, trying to move carefully so as to give off little noise, yet the faint rattles of rubicund betray his intentions utterly.
Emily and Bree are fighting with the six attackers that are trying to get into the camp, they've successfully taken down three of them. Meanwhile, Jeffeth is up //in the tree now too//. Since the archer wasn't planning on taking this dive, he's pretty dazed and just lays there, conked out. Probably dying or dead! From another tree they can hear someone going, "Oh, what the fuck? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. WALTER? WALTER!" Walter is probably the guy on the ground. Pew, pew, pew. Not-Walter releases a few more arrows out of sheer terror.
Jarad isn't watching the food, guys. He's screaming. Wyllan is looking like he might want to start smoking again. He stoops down and adds more wood to the fire and squints at Not-Walter up in the trees. "You guys really fucked up, huh? Grandmaster sounds pretty serious! You should stop shooting" he calls up to him. The horses are panicking but Colton and the guards are keeping them /mostly/ under wraps.
After Icelyn and Bhandn take off down the path, once they're gone, the sound filters through the trees very faintly: "You can't do thiiiiiiiis!"
Bhandn checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 34 higher.
Bree checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 5 higher.
Icelyn checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 100 higher. Icelyn rolled a critical!
Emily checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 25, rolling 40 higher.
Emily checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 30, rolling 30 higher.
Bree checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 23 higher.
Jeffeth checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 177 higher. Jeffeth rolled a critical!
Jeffeth checked strength + brawl at difficulty 30, rolling 56 higher.
Emily keeps moving, trying to stay out of range of those trying to find her in the dark night air. She is death from the shadows and her next shot finds its mark of the last one near the horses. Jeffeth yelling from the trees is something that will be brought up later when there is time to and she is not busy trying to determine if she has need to dodge anyone else. She begins that slow approach towards those fallen to be sure they remain that way.
Her gaze narrows and she stays low and quiet. She would do no good yelling or threatening and possibly will not need to now that she is seeing little to no movement any longer.
Bree's chin shoots up as she sees a man go FLYING from the tree, and then she spies Jeffeth up there, mostly because his words reverberate through the campsite. There's no way the weight of them is not felt. But until those lurking in the darkness call for a retreat, Bree will not relent. She rushes toward one coming her way, her movements slightly slower as she escapes the strike of a mace only by the fraction of an inch. She exhales a loud breath in a shouted, "Ha!" has her barreling into her target, sending him to his back, and then Celestia 'finishes' the job. Her goal is not to kill, but to incapacitate to the point where he is no longer a threat. She goes for the arm, a resounding slice as she stands over the man, accompanied by a, "I would stay down if I were you." All of this is of course spoken with an almost disconcerting smile as she lifts the sword away, blood dripping from the blade.
Walter had a rough go. With his announcement given, Jeffeth apparently is going to continue to fight. As Bree and Emily engage, suddenly a bright gleaming figure appears in the SKY, descending rapidly. Unfortunately there are no elephants flying, but there for sure is a bull.
Sailing out of the sky, Jeffeth lands on one of the remaining three opponents engaging with Bree and Emily, the man collapsing immediately under the sheer amount of weight and moment coming down on him. With his knee buried in the man's back, (probably broke his spine or other important things oops) Jeffeth's hand goes to the man's hair, pulls up then drives his skull back down into the ground with a destructive amount of force. A little blood squirts up on the alaricite gauntlet as the large knight stands up and slowly looks to Bree and Emily dispatching their foes. There is a small nod as Jeffeth strides over to Walter writhing there. He's going to die so... One foot from the bull comes up and comes back down to deliver a sickening crunch of 'finishing' the job.
Jeffeth looks up to the tree where the last archer remains and points up with one gauntlet, beckoning him. "Come down, now. If you don't fire upon us, you will be spared. If you do..." He looks back down to the dead or dying in the wake of the Solace knights. Then back up to Walter's friend, Henry.
Whatever is going on back there at the camp, it's REALLY loud. Also someone keeps shouting the name 'WALTER'? Since none of their companions are named Walter, it probably means that things are going super smoothly! They can also make out Jeffeth shouting and people getting generally beaten down. Bhandn is able to pick up the track of Nathan struggling down the path right up until the point that it breaks away into a tangle of underbrush. It's really admirable that he was able to keep sight on it that long. Normally, in the dark and with torches, it would be IMPOSSIBLE to go further than where they are now.
But not if you're Icelyn, apparently. She has laser sharp eyes tonight and she notices a thread from Nathan's jacket up ahead, reflecting in the moonlight. And from there, she manages to spot EACH disturbance through the trees and undergrowth no matter how careful the attackers were. This probably would have taken them all of tomorrow to sort out. She leads them all the way through to a mostly abandoned road a significant distance from camp. And from there, she picks up what looks like several sets of hoof prints.
And on the ground? Blood.
Emily's last target is taken out, along with Bree's. And then of course, there's JEFFETH, sailing from the sky. No explanations needed.
Not-Walter continues to scream and by now, he's so frightened that he straight up drops his bow down onto the ground. "I SURRENDER!" he screams. And sobs.
Jarad is also screaming, except it now involves the phrase: "WHERE IS NATHAN!"
Wyllan is smoking again and staring up at Not-Walter. "It's not looking good for you," he comments.
Colton and the guards have kept the horses safe and underwraps, though the sound of people SCREAMING is an issue.
Bhandn and Icelyn? Gone. Where did they go?
Distant from the tumult of battle, Icelyn looks back and up at Bhandn as he follows her with a nod, the tense muscles of her jaw relaxing slightly. She leads them on through the woods slowly - too slowly - tense and obviously frustrated with the slow pace. And when they reach the road, with no riders in sight, she lowers her head and curses.
"We'll have to track them on horseback." She turns around to Bhandn. "Somehow. We can't let them have him." Doesn't matter what for. There's a light in Icelyn's eye that rarely kindles there, cold rage.
The massive man looks over his shoulder when Henry surrenders. "Go after the others. I'll stay with them." Jeffeth calls out to Bree and Emily. The big man rolls his shoulders as he glances over to Colton then to Wyllan. Finally Jeffeth looks back up to Walter's dear friend in the tree. "Are you going to climb down or do you want me to come up there and get you?"
"I know," is what Bhandn has to say. There was a heavy exhale for the blood, but he doesn't comment on the obvious things, let alone the pace. He keeps his mouth shut for the most part, following the Lady Acheron through the woods while keeping watch for others following /them/ through the woods.
Bree looks as if she might charge the tree when she hears the cry of WHERE IS NATHAN! from the man she was befriending only moments before she had to stab people with her sword. She's already several steps in that direction when Jeffeth orders her to follow. There's a moment's conflict of obey, or let her heart rule, and obedience wins out the day. She glares up the tree, and then turns to rush after Icelyn and Bhandn, wherever they went! Bree is no tracker, so she might end up wandering the woods for hours. When she passes Jeffeth she tells him, "Maybe he knows where they took him." An upnod to the tree, and then she's gone, tramping back to camp, and then probably relying on Emily for direction of where to go.
Bree checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 1 lower.
Emily checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 15 higher.
"Good suggestion," Emily remarks as she makes her way back into the circle of the wagons, having retrieved her arrows. "There are three down outside the circle," she reports to Jeffeth before her head turns and she narrows her gaze as she makes a quick study of the forking tracks outside the circle of wagons. "I suppose we ...hmmm this way seems to be correct." It seems that way and she would be right as she takes up the lead, bow still in hand. "No telling if there will be more on the way.." she keeps her voice pitched low as she listens for any alert from Bree should they be approached from the darkness of the wood. She has to stop and be certain of the way but further from the camp it becomes more clear as to what direction was taken.
Not-Walter, who's name does turn out to be Henry after all, looks like he'd rather vomit than get anywhere /near/ Jeffeth. But really doesn't want Jeffeth to climb up the tree after he saw what happened to Walter. He'll slowly climb down and peacefully submit to being arrested and hopefully not instantly executed, but he's not going to hold his breath. Or actually, yes, he will. Emily and Bree leave the group to catch up with Bhandn and Icelyn. They follow the same path down through the woods and are able to spot where the other two cut through. Bhandn isn't exactly a small man and it's not like he was being stealthy. There's evidence! They're able to track them down to make an informational exchange.
Bree is HORRIBLE at tracking. Did she mention that? And so as she follows behind Emily, she ends up just yelling out, "ICELYN! BHANDN! NATHAN!"
As Bree and Emily appear through the trees, they find Icelyn pacing restlessly at the edge of the road. As soon as she hears her name she turns round. "Bree!" is called back into the forest, because Icelyn still has bow in hand and if anyone is brought down on their necks by her yelling, they're due for an arrow in the eye. "He's gone. They fled on horseback. We can't waste any more time here." Yes, they just made camp. The horses are tired. The people are tired. She doesn't care.
Bree checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 5 higher.
Bree checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 30, rolling 23 higher.
Icelyn's report means Bhandn has nothing to offer. He just nods along with her words with that helm and the night concealing his expression and the irritation that can be found within. Vigil still remains drawn in his hand, though, as if he expected an attack even with there now being the four in search of Nathan, up from two.
When Icelyn speaks those words, Bree turns in a flash and starts racing back to camp - and to the horses. Celestia is sheathed and in one fluid movement she's lifting herself into the shadow, pulling her horse away from the post, and turning to charge off into the night. They have quite the lead on the knights, but Bree leans forward to encourage her steed on as fast as she may. She's following the path Icelyn indicated, unwilling to let someone be lost in her charge. If anyone else is with her, great! "Hyuh!" she encourages the beast onward.
Emily checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 30, rolling 10 higher.
Icelyn checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 30, rolling 10 lower.
Bhandn checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 30, rolling 7 lower.
The run back to camp is taken, by Icelyn at least, at full speed. She slides back into the clearing, unstringing her bow as she goes. "They have Nathan," she calls out to Jeffeth as she hares past to her horse, trying to resaddle the beast with fingers fumbling with haste. "If we wait, we'll lose him. I cannot let us lose him." He, better than most, probably knows why.
But her own speed causes her problems. When she tries to mount up, the saddle slips sideways, improperly tightened, and the beast whinnies with surprise and dances. She sprawls onto the ground with the saddle half under her. Very knightly.
The chase is on! It's unclear from the road just how many horses the kidnappers have. Though the answer is something like 'several!'. Their horses are retrieved as swiftly as possibly and the group takes off without incident (mostly, poor Icelyn), rushing down the nearly abandoned road to try and catch up. As they pass through one of the silent stretches, there's that sound again. Twang. Pew. Arrows hit the dirt in front of their horses. Emily and Bree navigate without incident. But it gives Bhandn and Icelyn some trouble. Their horses spook and slow down, no longer galloping after the others. Oops?
Bree's recent horseback riding lessons with the Not-Bread Baron seem to be paying off, as she commands great control of the horse beneath her. She picks up speed and (hopefully) begins to gain on the several horses ahead of her. She hears the beat of hooves behind her, bolstered by the knowledge that her companions are with her, and she says a silent prayer to Gild for the safety of Nathan, the man who perhaps no one likes. The thwang of the arrows have her squinting ahead against the wind. They must be close.
Bree checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 54 higher.
Emily checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 30, rolling 7 higher.
Bhandn checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 30, rolling 3 higher.
Icelyn checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 30, rolling 16 lower.
Bree manages to take the lead but Emily is stickign behind even if at a slight distance. She glances back to check the others. Bhandn starting to catch up but Icelyn is having troubles. She falls back just a bit to make sure they do not lose people even as she tries to keep Bree in sight. "Careful Lieutenant, we are not far behind but they could be waiting anywhere off the trail." She admits with some wariness. Her other hand rests on Heartwood at her side.
The Not-Bread Baron would surely be proud of Bree's accomplishment's tonight if he were here. Emily is keeping pace, Bhandn breaks his horse out of being spooked but Icelyn's is still giving her trouble. And there is more twanging. MORE ARROWS.
On the other hand, Bhandn is one of those who ends up faltering from trying to maintain control of his horse. He manages not to fall off when the animal rears on account of arrows thpping into the ground before him. A cuss or two escapes his mouth, some of the most emotional statements he's made that day, but no other speech passes his lips. He focuses most on maintaining his saddle and control of his mount, especially with more arrows flying from the trees.
Icelyn checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 25, rolling 30 higher.
Emily checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 40, rolling 22 higher.
Icelyn's horse, too, begins to stamp and then rear as the arrows continue to strike the ground around them. Icelyn lays herself flat against her horse's neck and tries to rein it in, alternately swearing and trying to calm the beast with pleasant voiced words of encouragement. Finally it devolves into "Go, you stupid creature, just go!" in a tone not out of place on a battlefield.
This obviously doesn't do anybody any good. But she does, at least, wave with one hand at Emily. "Keep going. Don't worry about me. I'll catch up when I can."
As more arrows fly, Bree ducks closer to the mane of her horse. She spares a glance behind to check on her companions, and seeing each still seated, she turns back to her target. Emily's advice is heeded with the darting of her eyes along the road, but she is singular in mission - recover Nathan. "Come on," she encourages the horse, the weight of the armored knight atop it surely not an easy passanger. "You've got this. I can almost hear them..." These words of encouragement, she hopes, push her forward. Behind her she hears another thwang of arrows, but she's been fairly untouchable so far.
Bree checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 30, rolling 19 higher.
ARROWS?! Emily ducks her head and the wave from Icelyn is given a nod as she pulls Absolution from her back and readies the bow. Her legs grip her horse tightly as thighs tense and she wraps the reins around her pommel. "Follow her," she says to her horse as she wills the gelding to follow Bree as she draws and arrow to knock the short bow. She sees movements and breathes out waitign for when the horse dips to let loose an arrow at one of those shooting at them. Her answering twang sounds out in the night amidst the sound of hooves and conversation.
Icelyn's horse really just doesn't want to be a pin cushion. And who can blame them? Thankfully that fear is eased off when the person that's trying to do so ends up with an arrows in them. There's an odd gurgling noise from somewhere in the woods and then the attacks stop again. Up ahead, they can catch sight of the fleeing horses as they plunge downhill and careen straight into an abandoned old fort. It's made completely out of a mish-mash of big stone blocks and moldering wooden posts. It's clearly been turned into some kind of outpost for criminals. As they get inside, they frantically close the gates behind them.
This is probably fine.
From inside: "I HAVE SIIILLVERRRRR!!!!!"
Yeah, definitely going to be fine.
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