A Hilly Disturbance (Cloudsteel - 1)
(This is the first in a PRP intended for members of Blackram. Slots are reserved for them, but I will take interest from other individuals that would feasibly be invited along. Up to 6 in total. @mail to be waitlisted.)
May 29, 2020, 7 p.m.
Outside Arx - Oathlands near The Cloudspine - Stoneburner Hills
Comments and Log
OOC: This is a test. Does this work for ST pose color for everyone?
It's about a day's ride north and west of the Cloudspine proper, but a quiet one at least. For most of the trip, it was familiar roads and small villages or farms. The quarries are well-traveled, well-known, and well-protected. They provide stone and metals to much of Arvum, after all. However, the newly broken ground is in a portion of the Cloudspine that is less traveled and even the road is newly hewn. Freshly packed dirt has the fresh scent of clean soil from spring rains and while there's still a chill in the air from the mountains, everything feels clean with new growth.
The group is met by an older man with weathered skin and calloused hands, dressed in worn leathers that have seen better days. The dirt caked under his nails is as much a part of him as anything else. Gaston would recognize him as one of the quarry foremen: a man his father had hired a good decade or so before. A solid, dependable sort of man. However, today he looks anxious as he waits next to a draft horse on the main road, above a path that's been rutted by the passage of carts.
When it was made known that an Abandoned tribe was causing trouble for the miners at one of the newer mines and help was needed, Gaston treated this incident as one of the more important issues for House Blackram. So a call was made to the rest of the available family that they will need to leave Arx for a short period of time and return home to help resolve this matter.
When Gaston sees the familiar old foreman, there is at least a light sigh of relief that the man was still alive so things haven't gotten to a point where they are too late. Riding up to the miner with the others, the tall Blackram dismounts from his horse and approaches, "We received your request for assistance and are here. Tell us, what is the latest update on the troubles and that tribe?"
Amund travels, sometimes, to fulfill his duty as a knight of the Telmarch. Given recent trouble afoot near the Cloudspine, it stands to reason he'd be on the occasional solitary patrol around these environs. So it is that he's here, to help.
Scout Rowenova tags along with the Blackram family, doing so whilst riding atop her grey mare of short stature (who is kitted out in a bitless bridle with split reins and a light saddle along with buffering blankets underneath that). She takes up rear patrol, making sure that no one or no thing rides up from behind whence they came. Meanwhile, Sir Floppington the soulful hound is here, dutifully heeling right beside her.
Estelle has ridden somewhat near the middle of the group, keeping at an easy trot given she's not the most adept of riders. She favors the foreman with a warm smile after dismounting in a bid to reassure the weathered man after Gaston's greeting. "Hello!" She looks him over with her usual once over to try and ascertain what sort of state their guide is in and if there's any treatment he might require.
Emlyn is fine with traveling again so soon after being called 'home'. He gallops alongside Rowenova and Sir Floppington, preferring to hang somewhere neat the back due to the nature of his weapon; the bow, if there is danger, will best be plucked from there. As they stop and Gaston approaches the miner, he stays on his horse but listens to the conversation with interest.
Cahal has always been a terrible horseman, but somehow, in the months since his betrothal he's actually learned enough to look comfortable up there on his big boned mare. At first he just pulls his horse to a halt and leans to catch up the reins of Gaston's abandoned mount but after spending a few minutes with his head slightly cocked he decides to hop down from the saddle, toss both sets of reins to Emlyn, and then go on over to stand near Gaston. Theres no need to talk over the ex-marquis so he doesn't, instead just giving the foreman a reassuring smile and waiting to see whats said.
Cerys is family, and of course when she heard there were troubles, she volunteered to ride out and offer a hand. Downplaying her social status on the trip, she's not wearing anything special to showcase who or what she is, just another knight along for the ride. She ranges back and forth on her horse from front to back and up to the front again, just generally making sure nobody requires assistance or has any issues. Sitting her horse with ease of familiarity, the young woman keeps up a constant watch on the trip out. Once they reach the foreman, she sidles to a halt and glances around at the group before letting that pale, alaricite-hued gaze rest on the man.
Rowenova sits back in the saddle as she lightly draws the reins back, and the good horse slows down to a full stop. After, she glances over toward Emlyn, doing so with a soft smile before looking back to Gaston and the miner. Meanwhile, Sir Floppington moves ahead with a twitchy nose to pick out the miner scents he can but without touching anyone. He only approaches about a meter away from the older miner and does so with soft swishes of doggie tail.
The foreman -- Abbe -- waits until Gaston approaches and sketches the rough, awkward sort of bow of the commonfolk. "M'lord," he says, looking briefly past to the gathering behind the tall Blackram. He clears his throat, pulling off a hat that's seen better days. "Thank you for coming. Can't say I expected to see you yourself-" or any of the direct family by the way he's looking toward Cahal, Estelle, and Emlyn as well. "Well, y'see... they call themselves the Golden Foot. Can't say I've seen 'em 'round these parts before, but they say the land is theirs. Won't budge. They've sabotaged some of our work and caused a cave-in couple weeks back that killed some of my men. The crews, they aren't fighters, so I won't send 'em in there if there's a risk of that."
There is a respectful nod from Gaston in return to Abbe's attempt as a formal greeting, one that is not minded by the tall Blackram at all. "These lands and more so, the people that live and work on the lands are important to me and my family. Trouble, especially if it involves Abandoned tribes, are not taken lightly, Abbe." Then he lapses to silence so he can listen to what the old miner has to say and when the loss of life is mentioned, Gaston's brows furrow rather deeply, a brief moment of anger passing through his expressions before he forces it away. "You made the right decision, Abbe, pulling them back. How many men were lost in the cave-in?"
Listening, Amund studies their surroundings, for hint of anything amiss.
Estelle listens attentively to Abbe, her brow furrowing and lips twisting into a grimace at the mention of the fatal cave-in. "Our deepest condolences for your losses, and that of the families of your men. They have returned to the Queen of Endings's embrace, and by her hand they shall return." She says a soft prayer for their souls' peaceful passage. She nods in agreement with Gaston's words, "You choose wisely not to risk any more before this is straightened out."
Perhaps more saddlesore than he'd like to admit, Emlyn hops off the back of his horse and moves to stand behind Gaston. The talk of shavs makes him tilt his head and he considers briefly the implications, staying quiet for the time being.
"I'm sure we can take this off your hands." Cahal looks to Gaston and then the others when he says that and then back again, his hand idly resting on the head of his axe. "Talk to them. See whats what."
Rowenova still remains mounted up, but her grey mare of short stature is so adorably short that it barely matters it seems like. At least this way, the wolfy scout is at least as tall as the Blackram family.
Their surroundings are calm, quiet for the time being. Just the Stoneburner Hills in spring. A bit chilly, a bit damp, but beyond them just the sounds of nature: some birds, the wind through the trees and grass. If something is out there watching, it's being awful still.
"Lost four men that day," Abbe says with a bob of his head. "We've got insurances, right. Their families are taken care of-" he nods to Estelle, grateful for her words. When Cahal approaches, he puts his hat back on and points up the rutted path. It's not an easy 'road' and is likely just the beginnings of what was planned to become the road to the new mine. "Up that way you'll find the mine. Don't know if any of 'em are lurking about. I think their camp is up in the hills just north and east of the mine site."
Estelle follows Abbe's pointing finger with a nod and a deeper intake of breath to steel herself for whatever they might find. Eyeing the proto-road a bit dubiously, she glances back to the rest of the party (especially the more skilled riders) before deciding whether or not to mount her riding horse once more.
Reaching out, Gaston puts a hand on Abbe's shoulder for a brief moment and is quick with reassurances, "Their families will be seen to, Abbe, put that concern out of your mind. They worked hard for my family, that we will not forget." As the site of the mine is pointed to and then additional information about where the Abandoned camp may be, the tall Blackram nods his head, "As my cousin said, we will handle this now. Go back to your men and tell them to return home for now. We will send word once this has been resolved."
With that, Gaston turns and walks back to the group that traveled with him, "My temper is telling me that we should ride out now and when we get there, draw our steel and cut them all down." There is a pause before he sighs and continues, "But that is most likely not the most prudent course. Should we take a look at the mine first, see if there are any troublemakers in the area we can... question? Or meet with these mongrels."
"That depends. Are you in the mood for an unfair fight, if we head out to their camp?" Amund asks of Gaston, glancing briefly to the sheathed sword at his side. Too good to be used on that kind of Abandoned. Instead, he reaches for his war scythe.
Cahal's eyes follow the rutted path he's just indicated. He starts walking back to his mare at the same time Gaston does, nodding at the ex-marquis' words. "We might as well take the opportunity. Even if its just so people can see us helping. We should walk from the mine anyway I reckon" He walks back to his own mare and moves easily back into the saddle. "That way we'll be less threatening" He grins at his brother. "and between talking to the miners and walking on up there, there will be plenty of time for some scouts to go get a picture of what we're dealing with." He chuckles at Amund's words. "We probably should try talking first."
Estelle nods in agreement with Cahal, "Getting a better picture of everything at play here will only help! Perhaps it was only a small number of them that was behind the cave-in and other sabotage, or even a third party looking to stir up conflict. The more we know, the more we'll be able to speak with them about as well, making it less likely that we may be taken in by false tales."
"Less threatening? Please, I'm the visage of less threat." Emlyn smiles to Cahal. "Aye aye, I suppose that we should be doing some scouting... it seems the most sensible call, after all."
Looking towards Abbe, then over to Gaston, up the trail, then back to Gaston. Lifting a shrug, she offers, "I'm just here to help keep things orderly and step in if they start going against south. I'll defer to the general consensus." She glances to Rowenova with a nod, "If you're looking at scouting, then best to ask the scout. I can look around just fine, but I'm no good at being quiet about it."
Cerys claims ^
Hearing Amund's response, Gaston shakes his head with another reluctant sigh, "To be honest, with a calmer mind, I rather not have a fight at all. If we kill some of them, it will only result in lasting animosity between them and us, in the end our people will suffer if they decide on retribution. If we can somehow come to an agreement with them, that would be preferable." As for Cahal's suggestion about walking from the mine, the slightly taller cousin can't help but grin for a moment as he isn't fond of riding either. When Estelle paints another picture, one that Gaston didn't even consider, he nods his head with more clarity, "For now let us head to the mines together and see if we can find some clues or evidence of what transpired there."
Emlyn checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 3 lower.
Gaston checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 25 higher.
Cahal checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 8 lower.
Estelle checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 8 higher.
Amund checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 5 lower.
Cerys checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 12 higher.
It's not a long ride up the trail. Maybe thirty minutes at most. It'll be less once it's a proper road, too. With the recent rains (and snow melt) plus the wagon wheel ruts, it's a bit slow-going for the horses and the less-experienced riders. The mine set is clear; Abbe had cleared his men out already, after all. Most of them at home or a more remote site with the man heading to let them know that the Blackrams were going to sort things out.
Tools have been left behind and while the mine entrance is there and looks about as one might expect, a quick glance inside will show the remnants of the cave-in mentioned; an early branch of the shaft crumbled and debris tumbling almost to the entrance itself. There's tents and even a single wooden building that likely serves as a barracks. At night, the location could be eery this empty, but during the day it just looks like an empty worksite.
Rowenova checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 27 higher.
As the group rides up to the mines with Gaston in the lead, something seems to attract the Blackram's attention but he doesn't start or spur his horse into a gallop, especially in the poorer road conditions due to the rain. He's not a good rider and doesn't want to break his neck falling. Gaston does try to remain calm, only turning his head back and asking the group behind him in a low voice, "Anyone see that? In the hills beyond the mines? Pass the question along."
Cahal is looking in entirely the wrong direction when Gaston's question reaches him. He resists the urge to swivel his head towards the hills. "Not me."
Estelle approaches the vacant work site a bit warily, making her way over towards the mine entrance proper to give it a once-over. She looks up at Gaston's question before shaking her head. Matching his volume, she gestures towards the wood supporting the passage underground. "Someone has cut into this frame- it looks like it could collapse frighteningly easily... Needs to be fixed before anyone tries venturing further in."
As the question gets passed down the line, Emlyn shakes his head. "I see... a mine?" He asks uncertainly, shaking his head to Gaston. "I guess it's the rain." He does sound disappointed he can't see what Gaston sees.
After what Gaston says and a curious scan, Rowenova lifts up a pointing finger, "If you look close there is a disguised blind like those hunters often use. Looks like a random bush but really is for hiding behind."
Cerys has no issues with the road or the ride, sitting her horse like she's damn near born to the saddle. As they approach, her gaze is drawn towards the destruction at the mine and the area around it. Shaking her head to the question, Cerys is likewise drawn towards the work site, looking here and there and murmuring, "Some of these chests have been broken into.. recently. Do we know what was kept in them?"
When Rowenova helps confirms what he thought he saw, Gaston says as he dismounts and motions for the rest to do the same, "Let's wait on checking on the stuff that's here, I believe we may have an uninvited visitor watching us." He says in the same low tone, "Let's get our horses tethered and secured. Then I would like Scout Rowenova and those who can help her to quietly head up into the hills, see if you can track that person down." He's letting those who feel they are confident in their ability to move silently help their scout friend. "Give a call if you need help and we'll come running." The directions provided with the same low tone after the others gather around as they dismount.
Cahal asks, "Why do we care if they are watching us? This close to 'their claim' it would be strange if they weren't. Its just one or two right?" He looks to Rowenova. "Not a dozen?"
Estelle keeps her voice low, trying to keep her body language from changing too much upon the discovery of the hunting blind. "I can stay here to poke around then." She dismounts, and starts searching through the camp for other signs of sabotage or traps. The Mercy notes to Cahal quietly, "If they were so dedicated to claiming this land for their own, leaving it disused like this seems a bit strange... Though I suppose maybe they just didn't want to share it."
"This seems ... usual." The knight remarks as they arrive to the environs of the mine, thoughtful. "Might as well go--" but Gaston announces there's someone tailing them so his only immediate response is to skip on sneaking around.
"Not a scout," Amund draws his scythe, resting it against his shoulder. The rubicund gleams that orange-red color typical to the metal while he waits, on alert now that some odd movement was pointed out.
Amund gets Dawnlight, a shortened war scythe from a pair of deep sable black leather scabbards.
Amund wields Dawnlight, a shortened war scythe.
Hopping down from her grey mare of short stature, Rowenova looks to Cahal then quietly says, "Not sure. Could be deeper than it seems to be." She swings her gaze to Gaston as if trying to defer the part about whey they care his way. Then, she tries to find a spot where she can tie the horse with there being a few trees to help cover her. Then, carefully dons diamondplate coverage from articulated gauntlets and climbing footwear, too. Now, she is all ready to go with a little extra for not only the climbing work but the punchy/kicky kind, too. Sir Floppington seems a bit adamant about following along, as well.
There' a pause from Emlyn and he considers Cahal. "We care if they're watching us because there could be more and they may be well hidden. More well hidden than you or I can see, right?" He asks, as he starts following Rowenova. "Scout Rowenova has keener senses than we do at this moment."
Shaking her head, Cerys instead moves to draw a waterskin from her horse's saddle, taking a few swallows and offering it around as she mutters, "I already called 'not it' on the sneaking. I'm no use there."
"I want to catch whoever it is that is watching and ask a few questions." Gaston says to Cahal, "Right now, they know more about us than we know about them. I plan on changing that before we go have that nice chat with them. This land is ours and no one is claiming it for themselves." Then with what Emlyn says, Gaston adds, "If you guys see more, fall back and let us know, we'll come up with a different plan."
Rowenova checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 15, rolling 32 higher.
Rowenova checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 20, rolling 42 higher.
Rowenova GM Roll checked dexterity(5) + stealth(3) at difficulty 20, rolling 21 higher.
Emlyn checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 20, rolling 6 higher.
Rowenova checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 47 higher.
Emlyn checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 2 lower.
"Alright." Cahal says "You're in charge. Just remember it means we started with an act of aggression." he reaches into a saddle bag and lifts his scaled helm out. "I'll come with."
Cahal checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 20, rolling 4 higher.
Cahal checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 36 higher.
Emlyn checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 18 higher.
After what Emlyn says, Rowenova softly smiles his way. She might not be sure about whether or not she has keener senses but she does not really argue, either, simply basking in the kind assessment. She heads up with him and Cahal and Sir Floppington as they carefully maneuver their way toward the blind.
While the larger part of the group waits at the mining camp, Emlyn, Cahal, and Rowenova strike off up the hillside to investigate things. It's not long before they disappear from sight to those below; falling into the underbrush towards the blind.
It is structured much like a hunting blind. Branches and vines interwoven to look like a bush from below, but thin enough that someone waiting behind can use it to observe. There's plenty of footprints there showing frequent -- and recent -- use. Most head further into the hills... in a north and eastern direction. Not too far off from where Abbe had said the tribe likely resided.
"What do you make of it?" Emlyn asks Rowenova and Cahal both. "Clever weaving of vines and branches, we've seen a few things like this..." He murmurs, but he doesn't reach out to touch the stand. He takes stock of the footprints and follows where they lead with his eyes, furrowing his brow. "Shall we call back down to the others and tell them we've found a path?"
Cahal's stealth might be a little out of practice but he manages to move without crushing to many twigs and pebbles underfoot as he automatically settles into the position experience tells him will be most useful for supporting Rowenova in this effort. The movements of his head suggest he's alert now in a way that just wasnt the case earlier. He freezes as something in the direction of the blind draws his attention, crouching further down and staring over there until convinced that whatever he saw wont be repeated. "Pst." he says, just loud enough to carry to the others and then jerks his jaw towards a point a short distance off. He doesn't actually say it but his body language is writing a clear message. Theres something over there.
Estelle glances up from where she was checking out a tent at Cahal's bid for attention. She tries to casually move over closer to her cousin and then follow his gaze out of the corner of her eye. "...What is it?" wonders the woman quietly.
As they inspect the blind, Rowenova looks to Sir Floppington to see if there might be any feedback from him before nodding back to Cahal then telling Emlyn very quietly. "Motion." Then, she curiously looks to them both, "Onward, or?" Letting the nobles of these lands decide if they try to tail the activity.
Gaston tosses his cousin a smile before he leaves and shakes his head, "Just catching some trespassers on our lands." It shows that the taller Blackram's intention is to start the future conversation where they have the upperhand, at least from his point of view.
As the others move off, Gaston stays with those that are still at the mine, making sure that the horses are tied off and secured. Then he's looking towards the wooden frame of the mine entrance that Estelle mentioned earlier, "So they intend on more cave-ins. We have to remember to have the miners check on all the reinforcements when they get back."
Sir Floppington gives Rowenova a look and then a soft swish of a wag before curiously sniffing toward the indicated movement.
"Might be a straightforward raid. Maybe the place is sacred to them." Amund suggests as they wait, still keeping an eye on the mineshaft.
Cahal whispers "Gaston wants to talk with their scout. I can go back and show the rest this path. You press on? See whats further up and catch them if you can?"
Emlyn checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 30, rolling 6 higher.
Emlyn checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 46 higher. Emlyn rolled a critical!
Rowenova checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 30, rolling 67 higher. Rowenova rolled a critical!
Rowenova GM Roll checked dexterity(5) + stealth(3) at difficulty 30, rolling 18 higher.
Rowenova checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 31 higher.
After leaning slightly toward Cahal, Rowenova nods before she moves forth, creeping amongst the shadows with Emlyn and Sir Floppington, both, working tandemly with them to see what they can beyond the blind and shadow the motion which was spotted a bit ago.
Emlyn bids his brother farewell back down the hills before he follows Rowenova and Sir Floppington, keeping an even, steady foot. He's taking his time and watching, listening.
As Emlyn and Rowenova make their way further up the hill, they practically disappear into the foliage thanks to the wolf scout's skills in such terrain. She's able to guide them into the right places in the trees and bushes to stay out of sight. In turn, Emlyn is able to point out the motion they saw earlier: a shav, moving quickly a number of yards ahead of them. He's a young man in his early twenties with dark skin and long hair, a bow strapped to his back. He seems more focused on moving -- perhaps to the tribe or the rest of a scouting group -- ahead than looking back at the moment. Clearly he hasn't heard or noticed the two (plus doggo) trailing him.
Cahal turns away from Rowenova and Emlyn and starts heading back to the main group. When near he straightens to his full height, waits to see that he's been noticed, and then walks back into the group. "We found a path leading further up the mountain and saw some traces of movement." he explains. "Emlyn and Rowenova have gone on ahead. I thought you might want to follow."
Looking at the knight who has been a valued ally to Teagan and the Blackrams, Gaston inclines his head at that possibility as well, "That is true... though if that was the case, I would have hoped that they would send word to us to discuss the issue first. Instead of just killing off our people like that. A dark mark is already made in their book." Then Cahal is back with them and Gaston says, "Sounds good, let's all go together in case Emlyn and Rowenova need our help. Or we may have someone to talk to by the time we catch up."
Rowenova checked dexterity + brawl at difficulty 30, rolling 148 higher. Rowenova rolled a critical!
Estelle nods once after listening to Cahal and then Gaston, making her way over to join them and wherever they head to next after once last searching glance across the camp.
"As you wish." Amund remarks to Gaston, ready to move upon his signal. He nods to Cahal, a sign of respect for the man's good work as he moves along with the group.
Flickering a smile, Cerys pushes off the chest she'd been lounging against and nods, "Lets hustle then, from what I understand, there's no moss growing on the Scout. We don't want to have to run to catch up."
As Rowenova makes her way after the shav with Emlyn and Sir Floppington, the wolfy scout momentarily motions to one elbow and seems to arc it a bit in an apparent gesture about what she is about to do. Then, she darts out from the shadows right behind the unsuspecting man and actually slings that arm right around his neck to clothesline him in the sleeper hold with her opposing hand simultaneously clamping over his mouth as she drags him off the intended path and into the shadows to her team. Body snatching if there ever was any.
Cahal chuckles at Cerys' words. "Everytime I've worked with her she's been like that, aye. Come on then." He glances at his horse again, clicks his fingers to indicate his own hound should follow this time, and then starts up the way he just came. "I'll show you the way up." he looks to Gaston as he moves. "They hadn't found anyone when I left. Just the suggestion someone was close."
Emlyn barely has time to blink before Rowenova is executing a plan that both frightens and excites him. He puts his hand over his mouth to cover up a 'Whoop!' when Row puts the shav in the sleeperhold and blinks as she drags him back, "How did you do that? I wish you'd been around to teach me that with all my older brothers back when I was a child. ...Let's search him, I suppose," He says, reaching out to start patting the shav down for anything of interest.
"Not surprised, I am guessing they were waiting to see how we would response." Gaston says as he follows Cahal back up to where they found where the scout was hiding.
Within the shadow cast by her wolfy headdress among other things, there is a half grin from Rowenova to Emlyn. She almost snickers but somehow represses doing so and lowly notes as she chokes out the poor shav until he goes limp and completely unconscious. She eases up to not completely kill him at the right time and just holds him there for Emlyn's pat down, even spinning him when the time comes for the other side to be checked out, too. "I did not really know how when I was younger. I have been training in recent years. After you loot him, we will have to figure how to not drop him on his nog on the way back down."
Up close, the shav looks healthy enough. He's not wanting for food or anything. Any dirt and the like on his person is what one can expect from days in the field, as it were. He does have the usual scars from someone who has been in battles with man and beast alike. He wears piecemeal leather armor and skins -- mostly wolf -- with feathers and clay beads woven in his hair. He has a well-made wooden bow and a quiver of arrows, as well as a fairly nice knife. Other than that, there's little of note on his person. It also seems the takedown did not, indeed, stir any suspicion from elsewhere: the surrounding area is quiet.
Cahal leads the team up to where he last saw Rowenova and Emlyn, gestures for the others to hold, heads up the path a way to see what he can find, and then goes back for the rest. And thats repeated until either Rowenova or Emlyn decide to grab his attention and he can bring both groups together.
Sir Floppington meanders his way back the way from which they originally came, maybe running across those who are coming up to find them, wagging up to Cahal and looking fine. He tries to help with congregating groups together, indeed.
Emlyn pockets the shav's knife and adds his arrows to his own quiver, shaking his head. "Alas." He slowly stands from his crouching position and waves the rest of the group over, looking at Rowenova. "It's suspiciously quiet now. I don't like this... and if we drop him on his nog, I doubt anyone will miss him. Well, except for his lot," Emlyn says, glancing into the distance beyond the makeshift stand.
When Gaston, after following Cahal and then Sir Floppington, finds where Emlyn and Rowenova have knocked the scout out, he lets out a quiet whistle at their catch. "Nicely done you two." He says quietly before he adds, "He's not dead, right?" He asks more as a joke than anything else. "If he was heading this way, it probably means that their camp is further ahead like Abbe said. Let's bring him back down to the mines. We can get a better idea of who we are facing and how many once he wakes up."
Estelle eyes the captive with some curiosity once it is clear that he is mostly uninjured. "Perhaps, though is there somewhere we can take him that we know they aren't keeping a watch on?"
Rowenova momentarily sets the unconscious shav on the ground below before bringing around her Messenger Bag which does not have Halfshav folios inside but actually has other gear. She pulls out a coiled rope before slinging back said Messenger Bag by its shoulder straps once more. "Not dead. Just asleep." says she to Gaston before nodding solemnly to Emlyn then Estelle's idea, too.
Rowenova gets Sinew Lasso with Grappling Hook and Sliding Clips from
Gaston checked strength at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.
"Good idea, Estelle. Scout Rowenova, Emlyn, find us a clear, safe path away from here and their potential camp so we can wake this shav up." Gaston says as he goes to take the unconscious body from the scouts before turning to Cahal, "Grab his gear, don't want us to be blamed for being bad hosts and losing his possessions." With that, he puts the dead weight over one shoulder and begins moving after the scouts.
With having to carry the shav, it's a bit slow-going. Luckily, he is neither dropped nor does he wake up, though he is beginning to stir by the time the group decides to stop and set him down. It's at that time that he does wake up and begins shouting. Or trying to shout, at least. Smart move on the gagging thing. He'll glare with dark eyes at his captors, fighting at the bindings to try to get free.
After helping to see out Gaston's wishes, Rowenova is here where they have finally decided to carry out the interrogation process. She moves aside her direwolf cloak and hip thrusts to show off her alchemy belt, "Lemme know."
Said belt when not covered up has a whole bunch of little vials all over along with a few flasks, too.
Helping clear a path to an area where they can better interrogate their new friend is fine with Emlyn. He's eager to do so, being careful not to get snared in any traps, nor draw attention to himself or the others. When the shav comes to, he smiles at the man. "Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey." It's clearly the most intimidating thing that someone in a position of power has ever said, especially when smiling.
Estelle keeps to the side for now, looking quite content to let those who know what they're doing proceed. Though she does have a mild admonition, "Remember, they'll likely be more inclined to talk with us if he doesn't have terrible tales to share..."
Cahal checks that Emlyn's got all the shav's gear and picks up anything that might have been left over before following the group. He crouches near enough to the shav that conversation would be possible and sets down anything he's gathered out of the mans reach but within his line of sight. He looks to Estelle and smiles, then smirks at Emlyn, and then turns his eyes to the tied up man. "Do you understand us?"
Once the group gets to the area the scouts picked out, Gaston does gently set down their guest showing his restraint at someone who may have had a hand at killing some of his people. For now, he leaves the ropes tied on their captive as well as the gag as he nods to Estelle, "That is true." A pause as he smirks at Emlyn's welcome before looking back to the Mercy again, "But... he did kill four of our people in cold blood." There is no whispering now and with that accusation, Gaston looks back to the prisoner again. If the shav doesn't answer his cousin, maybe the implication of guilt in Arvani will.
The young man thinks through his options and finally stops flailing, though he does glare. He glares a lot. He twists his wrists in the binds, testing them, but at least isn't fighting at them as hard now. When Cahal asks if he understands them, he does give a slow, wary nod, looking from Cahal to Gaston. Gaston gets narrowed eyes.
"I hope the interrogation goes smoothly. I think we're missing our window to get rid of the raider camp. Tell us where your people are, Shav, and you might yet face a court rather than death." Amund offers, pointing the scythe towards the captured raider.
Cerys checked intellect + linguistics at difficulty 20, rolling 16 lower.
Cahal continues to ask questions. "Are you thirsty?" he starts with, waiting for a response before asking another. "Can we trust you not to shout if we remove your gag?" next he asks "Are you from the Golden Foot?" and finally. "Did you kill our miners?"
After hearing what Emlyn says, Rowenova snort laughs but she backs up and mostly lets the Blackram family do their thing. She slow pets Sir Floppington along those floppy ears and just tells him how much of a Good Boy he is.
Cahal checked perception + empathy at difficulty 20, rolling 33 higher.
Shaking his head at Amund, Gaston says, "They may not be simple raiders. I am giving them one chance to explain why they have chosen to trespass on our lands and why they killed my people." The words obviously chosen with care since the prisoner is obviously listening. Any questions that the taller Blackram wanted to ask directly is held in check for now as Cahal starts.
Emlyn eyeballs Cahal and tries to hide a grin. He mutters under his breath, "I remember getting interrogated in the same fashion a few times like that some years ago," he says, but he looks at the shav. He slides back down to kneel as his brother interrogates the Shav. Emlyn is really in prime headbutting position in case the Shav should feel... aggressive but tied up.
Estelle does seem about to reply to Gaston, but after flitting a glance between him and their prisoner, bites her tongue and remains a spectator.
There's a slow nod for the query as to whether or not he's thirsty. And another about whether or not the gag can be removed. Is he from Golden Foot? Yes, the shav lad nods. Did he kill the miners? He starts to say something past the gag, but it's difficult to talk so he just shrugs.
Cahal removes the lad's gag and provides him with some of the water from his own waterskin. There. See how friendly the Blackram is. "Did you kill our miners?" he asks again.
Since Cahal seems to be gaining traction with the prisoner, Gaston doesn't step in and try to intimidate the Shav. Instead, he actually takes a couple of steps back so that he doesn't draw the prisoner's attention and just watches on with his arms folded.
Amund nods to Gaston, accepting that he wants to be more thorough investigating this.
Amund checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 20 lower.
Aaaaaaaand that's when the kid spits at the feet of the obvious nobles (are obvious). "We just set the trap. They killed themselves." That's one way of looking at it, that's for certain. "We claimed these lands. They're ours now." There's a certain prideful set to his shoulders, to his chin.
Amund checked composure at difficulty 20, rolling 12 lower.
Rowenova points out, "My folly: we did not cover our tracks. We may be trailed. Lord Emlyn, how about we team up again and..." Much more quietly, "go set up an ambush just in case?"
Amund checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.
He's been spat at. Emlyn doesn't look terribly offender. Instead he 'tsks' at the shav. "Manners. Well, I don't feel bad about keeping your knife then!" He stands up and looks at Rowenova, nodding to her. "Let's do that. I would hate to have any trouble from people with a mindset such as his," Emlyn says, motioning to the captured shav
That's it. Amund regards the bound shav and as he speaks, there is an expression in the knight's face: contempt. He wields the weapon, but doesn't point the edge at the shav. Instead, he cleaves the flat down upon the shav's shoulders and torso, in a series of fast, brutal strokes, meant to crush several of the shoulder and arm bones of the raider. At the end, he stomps his boot onto the Shav's forehead and draws himself away, just short of killing him. "Fuck you, and fuck your entire tribe. They're dead now, thanks to you."
Rowenova checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.
The spit by the shav has Gaston scowling but once he senses Amund moving, he has a feeling what the knight is trying to do. Immediately, the Blackram draws his own blade and moves to intercept but is too late as he had moved away. With his right hand holding the Bite of Cloudspine, Gaston reaches out with his left and grabs Amund to roughly pull him backwards and turn him around. It is obvious that the House Sword is displeased, not only displeased but infuriated. "Sir Amund! What are you doing! If you are coming with us, I would expect you to have the courtesy and respect to wait for MY commands when you are on my lands!" This is the real anger boiling out of Gaston, not the false mask that he was wearing for the Shav prisoner.
Deja Vu to Malvici Dinner. Rowenova springs backward during Amund's attacks, going wide eyed for a few moments there. Though, Rowenova soon frowns. "Welp." Blood spurts, of course it does, but not a drop marrs her beautiful furs, and if the blood rivulet extends further, she backs away from the flowing stream.
Estelle muffles a yelp at the sudden striking of the prisoner, quickly moving to try and assess what damage has been done by the flat of Amund's weapon and wat might be done to assist. Her forehead knits with reflexive concern.
Emlyn checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.
"Let me tell you about courtesy," Amund says, cutting short, to Gaston, using his off-hand to brush the other man's away. "Courtesy you give to an honorable individual. I merely showed the worm a lesson in respect. He's alive. I bet you can get more answers out of him, now." His fury runs cold, like a Northern chill. His eyes have that hard cast to them.
Likewise, Emlyn moves out of the way to dodge any blood. He does look rather stunned when Amund unleases a whole lot of fucks on the shav and starts effectively making the man... less coherent and more painful for the foreseeable future. His jaw hangs open and he looks over at Gaston, then back to Amund. He looks over to Rowenova and just shakes his head.
Estelle checked perception + medicine at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.
Cahal gives Amund a dirty look, and Gaston a more grateful one, before pulling the shav back into a sitting position. That action has to hurt the man although Cahal wasn't trying to do so. He eyes the man a moment, checking that he's still conscious enough to speak to and then tells him. He's careful not to obstruct any healing efforts as well. "The men you killed were not warriors." this is said in a mild reasonable tone completely in contrast to what just happened. "But we are." he glances briefly to Rowenova and then back to the shav, calmly telling him. "Our claim is stronger than yours and the strongest wins, isnt that how it goes? Victory to the strongest and an eye for an eye in revenge? What then do you think we will do to your non combatants now you've chosen to make this war dirty? My kin aren't exactly subtle in their revenge, but, perhaps, if you answer all of our questions, we can be talked into mercy."
Cahal is overheard praising Amund: Remind me not to get him angry
Cahal is overheard praising Gaston.
Sir Floppington puts one paw over his eyes before dropping it to pad away to hopefully encourage the prior plan to at least scout oncoming hostiles. Then, Rowenova peels away from the group after Sir Floppington to go do what it is that they were intending to do before. Though, she gets out her bow this time possibly assuming there might be more than one sent back to find them. And, a new arrow is pulled out from her back quiver before it is well nocked.
Rowenova checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 20, rolling 25 higher.
Rowenova GM Roll checked dexterity(5) + stealth(3) at difficulty 20, rolling 46 higher. Rowenova GM Roll rolled a critical!
Emlyn checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 20, rolling 22 higher.
"Here, can you please hold him in place?" Estelle asks of Cahal, as he already brought the shav up to sitting. "If I can get his shoulder set back properly, should be able to focus on answering the questions more clearly." She kneels down beside the two men, unsurprisingly unconcerned with blood or the upcoming force the subsequent medicine will require.
Rowenova checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 31 higher.
Not avoiding the knight's hard gaze, Gaston holds it with his own and says, "My cousin was getting answers just fine if you couldn't tell. Worm he may be but you are a /knight/! You are supposed to have composure at all times, lest the enemy bait you into a disadvantage. I had also planned to use him as a bargaining chip and now you cheapen his value." Finally, the tall Blackram turns away with a sigh and shakes his head, gritting his teeth to keep himself from cursing as it is very infectious. "Estelle, Cahal. How is he? Can he tell us how many are in their camp and what we will be facing?" He is no longer playing around with his words, obviously agitated by what has just transpired.
Pulling himself away from the riveting amount of... things going on with the shav prisoner, he follows Rowenova and Sir Flop toward the path that they start on. He readies his bow as well, taking in a deep breath as he keeps his eyes tracking the environment around them.
Emlyn checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 6 higher.
To his credit, the shav is sullen in his pain. Oh, he cried out during (which might not be the best for them keeping hidden from others), but in the wake of it, he's just breathing heavily. Well, until Estelle sets his shoulder. He'll shout at that... and at her, even if she's just trying to help. He does keep an eye on Amund, but also stares at the others, dark eyes finally settling on Cahal. "Golden Foot takes what's theirs," he says finally. "You can have it when we're done."
Meanwhile, Team Scout is on the move again. They're able to disappear down the trail, hiding in the spring growth; led by Sir Floppington to a good place to sit and wait, watching down the hillside. It's a good thing, too, because by not covering their trail... there's a trio of shavs following it, spotted first by Rowenova and shortly after by Emlyn.
"Oaths of knighthood mean nothing if you don't get the job done." Amund spits out, his posture straight and his gaze still hard as his gaze swivels over to the man. He turns to regard the departing group. The scythe in his hands is given an appraisal. It is sheathed in favor of the golden-hilted sword at his side.
Estelle is unmoved by the swearing, which likely only has volume to carry intent rather than any semantics. She's heard worse before however, and it isn't about to dissuade her from her calling. With a hard push, the bone is wrenched back into place before she turns to Gaston. "He'll live, but going to need quite a bit of rest before doing much else for awhile." The Mercy gestures towards the shouting and then glaring captive, her own tone rather dry. "Oh, he is quite capable of speaking still."
Cahal sighs and moves back to his full height. "Hang him."
Rowenova GM Roll checked dexterity(5) + brawl(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 14 higher.
After they set up Team Scout out there, Rowenova kept her bow ready and then suddenly spotted the oncoming individuals. After a quick whisper to Emlyn, Rowenova nods back then brings up said bow. She draws back the strung arrow, glances sideways at Emlyn, and then ultimately times her own shot with his, letting fly her the crimson shaft with black arrows in Halfshav colors.
Quickly now, it zips forth, at a precise aim.
Emlyn is quick to give Rowenova 'the nod'. He pulls his bow back and shoots at the same time as Rowenova, letting a wooden arrow from the shav's own quiver sail past and strike a different shav right in the back. The shav falls to the ground with a loud, breathy gasp and ceases moving. Emlyn keeps stalking down the path, lining up his shots.
Sir Floppington springs out from the wooded shadows and leaps up before then knocking down the third shav of the tracking bunch who have come this way, grabbing ahold of his arm and not letting go!
Estelle gives Cahal a stern look, her voice low but tense. "I am not sure this is the time for rash action- we do have a whole group of them to deal with still." She looks towards Gaston deferentially while continuing, "But it is nor is it my judgement to render."
At Cahal's words, Gaston snaps his gaze back to his cousin and studies the other man with a hard gaze. There is silence at first from the Lord of Blackram that was taking the lead of this team but soon that is broken. "Cahal, take the others. Find our scouts and let's find the camp. I would like them to see if there are sentries and if possible, how many are in the camp." A pause before he says, "I will have decided by the time I rejoin you all if we strike them down or talk with their leader." Then he's moving towards their prisoner and as he moves by Estelle, he puts a hand on her shoulder and says quietly, "I'm sorry, Estelle."
"Time for you to judge your quarry, my Lord." Amund gestures towards the bound Shav, offering a bow of his head towards the Marquis. "As for a whole group, I suggest we storm them while we have time."
Two of the approaching party of shavs fall quickly to arrows. The third is grabbed by Sir Floppington, dragged down by his arm. He begins shouting and Cerys can make it out where they are. <<Get off me you fucking mongrel!>> The man is shouting in Oathlands shav and since he isn't gagged, well, it's clear as day. Hopefully it's the only scouting party in the area.
Estelle reaches up with a hand to rest atop Gaston's as she dips her head. "It is your decision to make, Cousin. You know that more heavily than I." She gives him a little squeeze before lowering her hand back to her side and taking a couple steps back.
"Too late. They've found Rowenova and Emlyn... that's the regional shav dialect being shouted out there," Cerys looks in the direction of the shouting. Shaking her head, she murmurs, "I'll stay with Estelle and the prisoner. Make sure she stays safe and he stays put. You might want to go help."
"No, Cerys, take Estelle and help our scouts." Gaston says as the disturbance of incoming shavs catches his ears. "Keep her safe, the prisoner will not be your concern or anyone's." With that, he reaches down and grabs the prisoner that is tied up and starts dragging him away.
Cahal tells Estelle. "I know its not ideal Estelle but we can't really drag him around with us and he's not going to talk, not today, not now." He really doesn't look upset that the hanging never happened. His expression one of grim necessity. Gaston's words result in him simply nodding before heading off in the direction that the scouts took with as much stealth as he can manage.
The first arrow that Rowenova shot off zips forth into its intended target, ultimately killing them without much to do, but there is quite a bit of todo about Sir Floppington with the remaining shav. She pulls out a new arrow which she puts in its place in her bow and starts to line up a shot on the man who struggles in the jaws of the dog.
Gaston wields The Bite of Cloudspine, an alaricite greatsword.
Cahal wields Cloudspite, a rubicund waraxe.
"I am not the one that you all should be apologizing to," Estelle exhales out quietly as she moves to stand beside Cerys wherever she may end up going. At the sounds of battle reaching their ears, the Voice of Mercy starts scanning the surroundings to keep an eye out for any other possible attackers around them.
Rowenova checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 30, rolling 15 higher.
Amund wields Sandstalker, a golden diamondplate long sword with glass coated blade.
After lining up the shot, Rowenova lets the arrow fire from her bow before it plunges deeply into his head from the side, and then he no longer puts up a worrisome fight for Sir Flop who lets go. Quickly now, she starts to move the bodies off the path into the underbrush so they are not seen out in the open. Mayhaps, they can use this spot again for the next ambush if people come here? Though, she quietly mentions her silly idea to Emyln and lets him decide.
After dragging the shav out of sight of the others, Gaston sets him back down on his knees, a clear sign of what is to come next for the unfortunate soul. It's up to Abandoned prisoner to decide whether he wants to stay on his knees, fall over, or attempt to rise. But soon the tall Blackram has the Bite of Cloudspine in both hands, "As the Sword of House Blackram, you have been judged as guilty for your crimes for trespass and killing four innocent citizens of our land. Your punishment is death. I will allow you to speak what prayers you need and it will be the end."
Emlyn helps Rowenova move the bodies off, furrowing his brows. He's never had to do it before - but it makes sense. Once they've got a small corpse hideout going, he looks at Rowenova. He shrugs his shoulders, "Good a burial as any for this lot, it would seem." He starts heading back toward the others with /imminent/ thread out of the way.
Rowenova quickly loots what might look good off the dead Abandoned before then trotting away from the dead bodies to follow along after Emlyn. "I never had a body buddy before. I agree, though." Sir Floppington follows along, too.
It's once that sword comes out that the shav realizes just what shit he's in. His eyes widen and he opens his mouth. Then he thinks better of it and closes it. Maybe he'd been about to plead for his life. But after a moment since he sees death coming, he opts for a different route. He knows, so what he says next is: "These lands will be ours, Blackram be damned. Golden Foot has always prevailed." And if he says any prayers, they're not out loud. But in the end, he does show some cowardice; looking away rather than staring Gaston in the eye for his final seconds.
Over in the 'corpse hideout,' the scouts seemed armed and armored much as the prisoner had been. There's gear to pick up, too, as they'd had bows drawn and ready to descend upon the group... except Rowenova and Emlyn (and Sir Floppington, of course) got to them first. For the time being, there doesn't appear to be anyone else.
"It will be up to the Gods to see which House will be favored but know that any who raises a weapon against me, my people, and my allies will face a death as swift as I am about to grant you. May you feel the Queen's embrace with warmth and gentleness, Shav." Those are Gaston's final words to the prisoner as he slips on his helmet and then reverses the two-handed greatsword in his grip. Instead of a decapitation, the tip of the incredibly sharp alaricite blade enters between the shav's collar and straight down at a slight angle, cutting right through the heart. Then the blade is pulled back out as the now corpse slumps over. With a sad frown, Gaston kneels down to close the dead's eyes before sheathing the Bite of Cloudspine and moves to rejoin the others.
Back to list