Escort: Great Road Caravan
As winter begins to lurk upon the horizon, the large shipment of furs that the caravan carries may be of vital importance to whatever their northern destination may be.
The Merchant Princess has more than enough capable guards for her caravan, but she's sought out additional numbers to ride ahead of her convoy of wagons along the sometimes dangerous Great Road in a bid to root out trouble before it strikes her shipments.
Payment will be provided should the shipment reach its destination safely.
((OOC: Here there be combat stuff. Come along if you're interested!))
Nov. 15, 2022, 8:15 p.m.
Outside Arx - Gray Forest - Beyond Safety in the Gray Forest
Comments and Log
For most people the Gray Forest in autumn is a gorgeous sight to behold. Today is no different a day as the canopies and foliage are alive with the colors of the season. Shifting and swaying with each and every passing breeze or gust on such a chilly autumn day, the Great Road's path is truly a breathtaking one. Those familiar with the Great Road and its reputation over the years however? Know that what can be a picturesque or beautiful scenery along the established path's stones? May quickly spiral into something far more chaotic and decidedly dangerous. The superstitious would say that the clouds above carried with them ill portents, given their low-hanging and rushing movement across the sky. To the more realistic and ground, it's the threat of a cold autumn rain that quite literally hangs overhead.
There's many a reason to find oneself at the head of a merchant caravan, acting as the eyes and ears for the more valuable cargo behind. For some it is the promise of payment, for others it's the simple act of good deeds performed, for others it may be a simple case of happenstance taking different parties in similar directions, or all manner of other plausible explanations. For both Lady Poppy Stahlben and Caspian Wild, that comes in the form of a stroll down the Great Road at the head of a column of carts, porters, and other accoutrements of commerce along the Compact's cherished, or sometimes reviled, Great Road.
Behind the head of the column one can hear the songs and music being sang from a couple of the wagons, with merry voices seemingly of the belief that if one is on the road and singing? What ills could ever befall you! As though their voices would throw back any of the misfortune that had befallen some others along the great road. With voices singing their songs of merriment and no few praises to Gild for safe travels, the caravan rolls on.
The road travels east and west, while the caravan itself travels to the west. To the north is the Gray Forest. To the south is... very good, yes, the Gray Forest. To the north comes a sound. It is a horn with a high and mournful tone, as though some sort of signal broadcast to the rest of the Gray Forest. Which to some could be surprising only a few hours away from Arx itself. While the more well-traveled know that any distance beyond the safety of the various city walls spread across Arvum is to step into a dangerous world.
Poppy walks with a hop and a jump in each step, her own voice humming along to the music offered and a laugh when a joke is told. Her mercy bag swings merrily against her hip as she walks. She pauses when the horn sounds out and she stops to look over to Caspian, not much worry though, "What was that for?"
Caspian is walking along and taking turns joining in the singing and talking with poppy. If he is worried about the the fact that they are in the grey forest, it certainly doesnt show. He wasn't wearing the battle scarred armor that he donned for the war effort, instead simply wearing his usual duelists leathers. It hadn't been planned that they would be taking this walk, but here they were, with a whole company to join them! His singing however, cut off when the horn was blasted. he stopped a moment, glancing around and frowning slightly. "IF that was a hunting horn.. then the hunter is a fool. And no one uses those in the gray forest any way. Maybe another caravan signaling its approach?"
Poppy remarks, pausing her hands on her hips and her head cocked. "Wouldn't that give them away to any bandits?" Looking at their own caravan she snorts softly, "Not that we're all that stealthy."
Caspian nods his head slightly, "well.. most caravans arent going to be off the road anyhow. i've heard that some caravans so on edge, got into a fight just thinking the other were bandits. They came upon each other in the dusk, panicked.. one person let fly with an arrow.. " he shook his head "it didn't go well." he glanced around, then back down the caravan "no telling if thats what it is but.." he coughed once and nonchalantly loosed the blades at his waist.
Poppy looks to Caspian's hand and sword and remarks with clear optimism, "It's not going to go that way
Poppy looks to Caspian's hand and sword and remarks with clear optimism, "It's not going to go that way." She bounces on her toes, "Just wait and see. Probably nothing." She grins, "I heard in the saffron that monkeys can steal items and use them just like us. Maybe a monkey stole the horn?"
Caspian looks to poppy and blinks a moment, "you know.. if thats what it turns out to be.. i will buy you a WHOLE host of drinks! a monkey with a horn..HAH!" he laughed merrily, though there was a slight alertness to his eyes as he glanced around. "one day, i really do need to get better at riding horses. its something i have put off for to long!"
There is additional sound from the north, within the depths of the shadowy forest. The sound is an obvious one: the passage of multiple somethings across the undergrowth. Saplings surely stomped and sticks soundly snapped, while bristly bushes brush by. Again that high, mournful tone sounds from the horn, deep within the forest to the north of the Great Road. The caravan rolls to a stop and already those hired to protect it begin to prepare for the possibility of an attack. Spears are pointed outward, a few horses stand ready to respond, and those occupying the wagons stand as though such an act would enhance their eyesight to peer into the gloom of the woods.
That sound soon bursts onto the Great Road itself, tearing itself free of the foliage. Horses. Riders. Whether they're mere brigands, shavs, or some combination of the two is hard to tell. A dozen riders with weapons held high rush from the trees, galloping madly while they whoop and hollar at their intended targets: the wagons and their defenders.
Further along the road to the west another wagon rolls, moving east toward the merchant caravan. Supposing all of these theatrics are an attack? Perhaps that new wagon is their means of making off with their ill-gotten loot.
Meanwhile a man on horseback begins to ride at Caspian and Poppy. Hard. He rides with a spear clutched within his right hand and a shield upon his left arm. He rises up in his stirrups in anticipation of riding atop both Caspian and Lady Poppy, while his wolfish features are locked within a violent snarl etched across his tattooed face.
Poppy pulls a face, one of clear disgust. "No. Those things are just evil. They prance and make the weirdest noises and I can see their evil plans to buck me off the minute I look in their eyes." She stomps the ground once, "I will either stay on foot or mammoth. Nothing else." She laughs after and promises, "If it is a monkey I will eat my shoe too."
The noises suddenly increasing from the woods has her laughter dying in her throat. The man riding at them takes a full second before it registers on Poppy's face, and a moment of terror takes over before she calms, raises her hand at him, the mercy's symbol on her bag brought to his line of vision and shouts, "Stop!"
Caspian looks around in wild glances as he takes stock of the situation. "Ah well... i think i would have preferred the monkeys!" seeing Poppy step forward with the Mercy's bag, he blanches slightly. "Poppy! dont think they care!" he hurls himself forward, trying to get past poppy. if the man doesnr stop his charge at the sight of the Mercy's symbol, he will attempt to grab the spear and wrench the man from the saddle in what could only be described as brave idiocy.
Poppy checks command and intimidation at daunting. Poppy fails.
Caspian checks strength and athletics at daunting. Caspian is successful.
Caspian checks dexterity and dodge at hard. Caspian is successful.
Poppy's bag is held aloft and the symbol of the Mercies of Lagoma is presented, along with her command that the rider halt. Unfortunately the rider seems disinclined to adhere to her command. Whether out of disrespect or desperation could be a debate for another day and another setting. The rider continues to barrel down upon both Poppy and Caspian, having stood within his stirrups and his spear at the ready to deliver a kill blow.
That is until a wild Caspian appears and uses disarm. It is super effective! In an almost preternatural display of learned skill, raw talent, unparalleled speed, and unrivaled strength the Champion deftly snatches the spear from the hand of its wielding as it begins to fall upon its would-be victims. Even as the rider gives a startled jerk of his reins to veer his mount away, a press of his heels has the horse kicking with its back legs in a bid to crush the spear thief that is Caspian Wild. In yet another display of his truly impressive reflexes, Caspian avoids the horse's parting shot as well.
That rider, having learned some manner of lesson in quarreling with Lady Poppy Stahlben and Caspian Wild, soon begins to make for the caravan to join with his friends-in-banditry.
Meanwhile that wagon continues to roll down the road, approaching the caravan from the west. The problem for that wagon, with its driver and lone horse pulling it along? Is that the formidable presence of Lady Poppy and Caspian Wild stand in the middle of that roadway, between the approaching wagon and its caravan destination.
Around the caravan itself the unfolding fight is one that has peaks and valleys. The attacking riders attempt to rush the defenders, only for the defenders to throw back an attack. The riders back away, regroup, and try again. They are either meeting with little success or simply harassing their target in a bid to weaken them for a true push.
Poppy stares startled at Caspian, "Gods and spirits Caspian! " She takes a moment and regroups, a soft hmpf and quiet remark, "These people have no manners." She looks at the fighting around her and does the only thing she can think of. Picks up a rock off the road and throws it at the nearest looter's head. "Hey. Stop that."
Poppy checks dexterity and athletics at normal. Poppy is successful.
Caspian stands, holding the newly claimed spear and almost a bit dazed in the success himself. "i cant believe that worked!" he gave a barking laugh for a moment then looked around. The battle being met by the caravan seemed to draw his attention and he turned to help when the oncoming wagon made him stop. he narrowed his eyes, flipped the spear in his hand and then with a little bounding leap hurled the spear down the road. the point was not to hit the horse or ride, but to burry into the ground in the middle of the road just before the horse and stop its approach. fail or not, he hollered out, "Who the shite are you!?"
Caspian checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Caspian is successful.
Poppy lobs a rock into the fray surrounding the caravan. There's a solid thud as stone impacts a rider's fur-adorned head. It's hard to tell if he's been killed or simply lost consciousness, because soon enough the rider crumples from the back of his horse and to the roadway. The horse freed of its rider trots away to the side of the road and begins to forage for something to nibble upon, all while the conflict shifts and flows upon the road. The fallen rider remains unmoving for the moment.
Meanwhile Caspian's attention is drawn to the wagon rumbling and clattering its way down the Great Road. A bouncing step is taken which culminates in a leap to add force to the hurl of the spear. Unfortunately it does not stick into the road, as the spear smacks against stone and soon skitters across the roadway. The wagon rolls across the spear, shattering it beneath a wheel or two. Despite it having no great effect in preventing the wagon's passage, its driver does pull the wagon's horse to a halt. The shouted question from Caspian is only met by a jabbing finger from the driver, pointing to the wagons that make up the caravan. Clearly he's here for the cargo.
Meanwhile the fighting across the caravan continues to unfold. On the side of the riders two riders have fallen, three if one counts the one who caught a stone to the head. On the side of the caravan three have fallen. It's likely a thing of fortune that the riders seem as though they are becoming more cautious, perhaps even wary. For what had only been a dozen was now reduced by a quarter of their original number of such losses would cause all but the most zealous to question their resolve.
Poppy immediately feels bad at the sight of the fallen thief. " Oh. I hope he isn't dead." She looks to the man Caspian is dealing with, and asks instead, "We can't give you that but can we strike a deal? Something that sees the rest of your people safe and our cargo unharmed?"
Caspian glances back in time to see poppy drop the man. "Good throw!!" he laughs, pulling forth his pair of daggers and turning back toward the ongoing fighting. "Talk some sense into that one.." he nods toward the figure on the wagon. "If he is smart, he will call this off before there is nothing left of his friends but corpses." h gives a dour look to the wagon master then turns and bolts toward the fighting, looking to engage the attackers
Caspian checks dexterity and athletics at daunting. Critical Success! Caspian is spectacularly successful.
Caspian checks dexterity and small wpn at easy. Caspian is spectacularly successful.
Poppy checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Poppy fails.
The wagon's driver doesn't seem interested in advancing forward. Not yet, anyway. Unfortunately while Poppy seeks to open negotiations with the wagon driver from afar, he seems altogether uninterested in it. It's the fighting around the caravan that he truly seems most interested in as he sets to the task of simply ignoring Lady Poppy in favor of watching the unfolding events as though he's simply awaiting some manner of signal or call to approach.
Meanwhile Caspian Wild goes in search of a fight around the caravan. He certainly finds one. A rider gets too close and soon enough Caspian has - perhaps defying reality - climbed astride the back of the rider's horse, planted a blade into him a dozen or so times, and soon enough tossed the rider aside. Now Caspian has a horse. The horse's name is probably Clopsworth or something. The horse seems to think Caspian's an alright sort, too. He accepts his newfound rider with ease, with nary a glance back toward his recently deceased rider.
From the north that same high, mourning horn calls out. This time with three distinct, separate bleats. The riders around the caravan all seem to perk at the sound and a call can be heard in Crownland's shav and those familiar with the dialect seem to recognize an acknowledgment for a call to retreat.
Meanwhile the wagon and its driver stare ahead, apparently quite annoyed at having come all the way out, only to leave empty handed. He, his horse, and the wagon that his horse pulls all begin to rumble again. This time it is with the intent to turn around and begin his departure.
Poppy hmpfs at being ignored. At least she didn't a sword brandished at her, so she keeps her mouth shut when ignored. Instead, she flicks her gaze back to the fighting. Another gape as Caspian kills the bandit, her teeth worrying her lower lip. "So needless." As they start to retreat, Poppy begins to slip in between all the fallen, checking to see who is alive and who needs help.
Caspian pats the horses neck for a moment as he makes to engage the next bandit. his eyes are alight with the thrill of battle, an almost feral grin on his face. However, hearing the horns blare again, and seeing the other bandits begin to break off, he reigns in Clopsworth. breathing heavy, he looks around to make sure no stragglers are still causing problems. he fixes the wagon driver with a stare and a wicked smirk, "Dont think the people of arx are such easy prey, No matter the lies you have been told! Think next time, and choose wiser!" with that, he moves to help poppy if he can, offering Clopsworth, the finest of all steeds and truly the best boy, as a means to carry the wounded.
Poppy checks intellect and medicine at normal. Botch! Poppy fails completely.
The riders begin to break for the trees again, traveling north and off of the road in good order. It's not some chaotic retreat, but a fairly organized withdrawal. Which in turn shows some level of tactical sophistication. The wagon that had been approaching completes its turn-around and begins to head west again, leaving the caravan and its defenders unengaged.
While Caspian and Lady Poppy set themselves to the task of assisting the wounded, it's fortunate that the pair are there. Under Poppy's ministrations, it becomes glaringly obvious to her that one of the wounded could not be helped in the field. He MUST be returned to Arx for treatment and as quickly as possible. Thankfully there is Caspian with his new friend Clopsworth. There is at least the means to get the grievously wounded person back to the city as swiftly as possible. Surely they will arrive in just the nick of time to save a life. Right?
Caspian helps load up the most severely injured of the people onto clopsworth, helping lash them there with rope if needed. then he strokes the horses nose. "onward.. Show us the meaning of haste!" then clopsworth is off with the other riders leading him! the king of all horses to be sure! he grins after the horse. "im going to miss him.."
Back to list