|Among the Stone Ships|
|Summary:||In the mists on Harlaw, Flints and Riverlanders try to figure out whether they're under attack. (Spoiler: they're not, and loltrocities ensue)|
|Date:||20 February 289|
|Related Logs:||Other Harlaw Isle logs.|
|Lichyard - Harlaw Isle|
|There are lots of stones in the outline of ships, but not as many as there were before.|
|20 Feb 289|
(Please note: this is not the real set. I came in after it, and this is an OOC description I was supplied, which I'm including for now. If anyone has the real set, please replace it.)
Here's the skinny - two camps, about a half mile from eachother. One is the camp where everyone from he Cape is located, or at least those we've found. The other is the Flint camp. Naylands are out for a march and just stopped at the Flint camp for a chat. Everyone else is in camp. There's some splashing and talking that we just heard from inland.
Martyn chuckles as he listens to Quellyan's little outburst. Shaking his head a bit, he glances around once more, before moving in the direction of the man. "Trouble?" he asks.
"Ser Bruce." Anders greets the man crisply, returning a nod of respect. Rather than sheathing his sword, however, he merely stakes it in the ground by his foot, keeping one gauntleted hand atop the hilt. "It does my eyes good to see you." Those same eyes, though, note the lack of accompaniment beyond the Captain. "What news? Do you and your men fare well?" Despite their smaller number, the Flints seem to have weathered the journey to Harlaw relatively unscathed.. which is more than can be said of some, sadly. Raking his free hand through his wind-tousled hair, Anders regards Bruce consideringly, taking in the sombre expression but pressing no further. Pleasantries done, no doubt further explanation will be forthcoming.
There's a shake of his head before Quellyan Charlton is pulling at his gauntlet a bit tighter, if it could be on any more securely. "Nothing more than my fat young squire being late as usual. He has the uncanny ability to hide when I need him to not be hiding." A faint grin there, before he's sighing. "It appears, even during war he can be late." So, no trouble persay, but this is indeed a queer place to be.
"I got Lord Einar with the forward pickets, Lord. I could have him take some scouts forward.." Fenrir trails off as Bruce approaches and Anders enters into conversation with him. The look he gives the Nayland soldier is friendly enough, though there is a gravity to his features. "Good to see you, Ser Bruce," greets Fenrir equably, not attempting to step on his Lord's toes as the other man asks much-needed questions. He's listening to the answers, but the man's attention is divided, gaze constantly drifting toward the inland mists.
Half glimpsed through the mists is a moving shape, stepping soundlessly between the jagged maws that are the stone ships of the Ironborn lich yard. The silence ends when the figure still, and the keen of ear will hear another trickle of water falling upon dirt and stone, beneath the droning cant of heathen words. "Bless him with salt, bless him with stone, bless him with steel. What is dead may never die, but rises again. Harder, and stronger."
"In some words, yes, in some, no. The men I landed with are alright. Outside your gate; we were going for a march, and since I needed to come here I brought them with, m'lord. But we haven't found Ser Rygar or the men of the Stonebridge levy, yet. They were not on our ship. Nor have we found men other than from the Cape of Eagles." It's then that Ser Bruce relaxes a bit - only a bit, and nods. "Good to see you all as well. But more urgently - we are already scattered to the wind, and this visibility makes communication between camps troublesome. We need to consolidate into one camp. When my men arrived at the Cape camp yesterday, we moved it inland slightly and had it expanded significantly to accomodate new arrivals. There's space for you. And then, we need to move inland. Keep men here to establish a supply depot and get on with this. This is not a good position. Oh, this is our Halfsepton, Marsen Streem." He belatedly introduces the robed, armoured man next to him.
"Ser Bruce.. if I could interrupt.." Fenrir's gaze on the mists is narrowed, and he reaches to lower his pot-helmet down atop his head. "I think that moving right now would be a mistake. In fact, I think something's about to happen." He nods toward the mists, licking his lower lip absently. "It sounds like their priests are getting their men ready for an attack. Here. Now." He glances toward Anders, drawing a breath before speaking further. "With permission, Lord, I want to send a runner out to the forward pickets, see whether Lord Einar's lads have a better idea of what's going on." He turns to Bruce and Marsden, inclining his head calmly to the second man. "Halfsepton. Ser, I don't mean to teach you how to suck eggs, but if your lads want to form on our left.." He shrugs a bit to the Nayland captain.
Keelin is standing not too far from Martyn and Quellyan, looking after horses and the like. He's currently oblivious to what the forward pickets might be seeing or hearing, but not having a problem hearing the soft spoken words of Quell and Martyn.
Martyn nods a bit, "And he's always nearby when you don't need him to?" he asks, absently reaching adjusting one part of his armor. "It could be a rather bad habit if it continues when we face the enemy…" he offers, at the mention of Quellyan's squire.
A grin lights on Quellyan's face. "Precisely." the knight adds. "Specially, when I am talking to a beautiful woman, and looking to find a way to seal.." and then he shakes his head before he's raising a hand. "I shan't finish." a grin before he's nodding. A little seriousness creeping in. "It is indeed about to be a very bad habit, if it continues here. Can't bloody well have that happen..Though he could be walking the horse." a frown. "Which should have been done by now.
"Thank you for the introduction, Captain." The slight man offers before he is looking up towards Anders. "My Lord." a bowing of his head before he is glancing from Anders over towards Fenrir for the moment, as if trying to gauge the Northmen while the conversation continues. There's a glance given back though off to the mists for a moment. Something on the wind? No- he can't feel it. Still there's a faint lean on his spear, before he's chuckling. "Oh, I don't think you're teaching us. Ser.." but the rest is lost as he now looks out to the mists. "You don't say.." not that he doubts the Northman, but more or less he's trying to see beyond to the pickets.
If Einar had been still and silent before, he's even more so now. Something seems to be out there, not far, close even. Leaning to his left and whispering to the man next to him he says quickly. "Get back to camp. Contact ahead. Unknown numbers." As the man departs the squire double checks his weapons. Loaded. Drawn. All he needs to do now is actually spot a target. Still, he's sure of what he;s heard so it can only be a matter of time.
Well, that's not what you want to hear. A darker frown shadows Anders features as he listens gravely to the report from the Nayland Captain, nodding slowly to convey understanding as the man concludes, then another in absent greeting toward Marsden. What interest do Northerners have in Septons? Still, it's always nice to be nice. "Agreed, Ser Bruce. Our strength lies in numbers for = …" Trailing off abruptly, perhaps catching motion on the periphery of his vision a splitsecond before Fenrir interjects, the heir is already taking up his sword and hefting his shield forward from its lie across his back. "Granted." The single word is uttered in a low baritone toward the Master-at-Arms. At their backs, the readied soldiers have noted the shift in demeanor of their superiors and are paying heed, no doubt to accept any orders they may be given, soft-spoken or not. Everything is, suddenly, quiet. Unsettlingly so. Waving Bruce and his men forward, the Young Lord is striding toward the front line as stealthily as full plate allows. Which isn't very.
Pariston is ready with his bow as he hear something. But he hear Einar as the man whispers to him. A nod in reply before securing the bow and putting the arrow away. Swiftly making his way back towards camp. Soon spotting Anders. "M'lord contact ahead, numbers unknown." He tells Anders, and whoever might be there as well. Eyes and hears still trying to understand the situation around the.
"Aye." Bruce answers, to both Fenrir and Anders. He's not usually the type that tends towards verbosity, and he doesn't this time - there's something to do. He turns around and begins to jog towards his own men, only a hundred yards or so back. Once he comes up to the Nayland men, he skids to a stop. "Serjeant Turner, fall into the rear of the formation with five Guards. We're moving out into the Flint campsite, right now. Amos - " He turns to his squire, "signal the advance, at the double." And so, instead of slowly marching into their spot behind the waist high wall, the Hag's Mire militia and Nayland Guards jog to it.
"Halfsepton…" Markus turns over the title given the man, and offers him a once over with his cool eyes. At the greater talk between Anders, Bruce, and Fenrir, he keeps quiet, letting them discuss amongst themselves what they think might be done. He's dressed, ready, and waiting for what orders might come, well within reach of the Flint Lord.
The 'contact ahead' is gradually revealed to be a single figure. As Anders strides toward the field of stone ships, he, Pariston, and others can spy a man's figure, cloaked in grey robes. A cudgel of gnarled and smoothed driftwood held in one hand, while the other tilts a bucket to empty a measure of dark water over the center of one ship-grave, half of whose stones have been pried loose to form the Flint barricade. Long, colorless hair and beard are interwoven with strands of reeking seaweed, as the drowned man recites, "Bless him with salt, bless him with stone, bless him with steel. What is dead may never die, but rises again. Harder, and stronger."
Fenrir is turning to give a sharp order to one of his younger armsmen when Pariston approaches the the gathering around the Lord to issue his report. Fenrir allows himself a brief, satisfied smile at the young man's report, then reaches to clasp Pariston's shoulder briefly, his features a mask of serenity. "Good work. Go back to Lord Einar, tell him that he is not - this is important - not - to get fixed into a fight. He's to draw back here slowly as the Ironborn advance. Go."
He listens with satisfaction as Bruce heeds his advice, then turns to smile tautly toward Anders and raise his axe, following after him. His eyes are fixed on the strange figure that emerges from the mists, a frown creasing his brow. "Shoot him, Einar," he murmurs softly under his breath. "Kill him." Whatever concern the single man raises, a shrouded tension fixes around the master-at-arm's features.
Martyn nods a bit, "Probably a good idea," he replies to the part about not finishing the words. "Someone around here could react in a bad way, after all." He also nods at the walking the horse part. "He should, yes," he offers, but otherwise keeps quiet for now.
"It is but a title.."Streem replies before he is looking towards Markus. However there's no more need for words on that bit of unimportance is there. Septon or half, he is armed and armored, and in undyed browns. Make of it what you will.
When Bruce gives the order, the Halfseption follows quite easily. Still as the Nayland milita moves in to fill up the Shield wall, Marsden is quick to find his place amongst the men. His spear gripped tighter, as he carefully brings about his shield. There's a look to what little cover they have, and a grim nod at nothing in particular. "Alright boys.." hissed along. "Listen lads…Those heathens have been praying for a chance at us.." Quiet again, as it seems silence is being stressed. "Warrior has your hands.. Do as we've drilled and we'll go home to be fat and old..Fat an old." another whisper down the line..And Marsden checks his footing.
With Pariston off to take the message, Einar turns his attention back to the mists headed, listening carefully to try and work out exactly where to point his bow. It takes only a moment or two though until the figure appears though. Taking a deep, steading breath, the young quire takes aim with his crossbow, possibly slightly longer than actually required, but he wants to be sure of the shot, and it's not as if the man is rushing to attack. Once he;s sure though he pulls the trigger, letting the bolt speed on it's way. He holds stock still for one moment so as not to affect the flight, then quickly starts to work on reloading, doing hi sbest to keep half an eye ahead as he does so, incase more should appear.
"Aye." Quell agrees, before he is looking back to the other knight. "Are you coming riding with us this night? I do not who all is going out with me, beyond a few of the other houses sworn and some of my House's men." idle chit chat to take up the time, while he waits for a horse. His bloody gorget for a horse.
"Easy now," Keelin says to his horse as he gets to the destrier, keeping the horse settled down nicely. He glances over towards Martyn and Quellyan and then moves to check the horse's readiness, making sure his squire has done his work properly. Ready at a moment's notice, that's current status. "If Ser Martyn allows, or wishes company," he puts in. "Though I'm somewhat concerned for their legs - the horses that is - not being able to see the ground and all."
Pariston is quick to take note of what Fenrir tells him. He nods and then he is on his way again. He seeing the figure approaching, but continues on his task. Staying low as he moves. The bow getting pull to a ready state. Soon reaching Einar. He looks to Einar and to the figure that is approaching. "M'lord, orders from master Fenrir. IF the Ironborn engages, we are to draw back and not get fixed in a fight." An arrow drawn from his quiver, but not firing.
Pulling his helm down to cover his features, the motion smooth and practiced, Anders offers his Master-at-Arms a sidelong glance; the similar expression masked aside from his hard eyes now, emphasised by a single nod. A brief look strays toward Ser Bruce and the approaching numbers as they convene within the spears of the Flint ground. Hurry up and wait, isn't that always the way? But at least a view of what they await would be grand.. The tension that emanates from Fenrir is shared by one and all, and the Young Lord is no exception. But his breathing is steady, clouding to mingle with the blinding fog that assails them, and his grip upon the hilt of his sword is true. One way or another, it all starts here and now.
Quellyan nods towards Keelin. "Oh, I wouldn't take them overland in this shit terrain." Quellyan starts, "If we were going on foot. Aye, but not on horse back. Stick to the coastline, better for them to run there, and less chance we'd hit these little barrows." The Charlton knight looks to Keelin's destrier and then back to Martyn with a faint shrug. And soon enough a chubby squire shows up along with destrier in tow. "Oh look who comes hither.."
"Militia - advanceeeeeee pike." Ser Bruce is out in front of the formation, a few yards behind the wall, as he gives the order. Amos translates it to flag signal, but the men don't need to be told twice; they lift their pikes off of their shoulders and put them into the advance position, ready to be swung forward if needed. "Guards - on me! Ready crossbows." Bruce turns about and grabs his own. Foot in the stirrup of the weapon, he hooks his crow's foot and readies it, putting a bolt in. "Halfsepton, you're with us in front."
As the movement in the camp increases, Kell looks up from his sharpening and slowly puts the whetstone away as well as sheathing his sword. His own horse is tethered nearby, ready to be mounted at a moment's notice so the knight moves to the courser to gently pat it before looking over the saddle and equipment, making sure that everything is secured and ready to go when the call to fight is made. For now though, nothing seems out of the ordinary, atleast in the camp with the Eagles.
Martyn considers Quellyan's words for a few moments, nodding a bit slowly. "Sounds like a good idea," he replies, after a few moments of consideration. Unable to hold back a bit of a grin as he sees that squire show up. "See, he's still there, at least," he offers, a bit lightly.
"Of course I am.." Marsden replies, with a grin before he is moving to fall in with Ser Bruce. there's a knock of his spear to his shield as he takes up his position. There's a shift as he looks on, to give Bruce, a nod. "Oh Warrior. You of strong arm and courage." the halfsepton begins. "Hear our humble prayer. Light our metal and bring it's edge to the skinning kind. Grant us our vengeance on these heathen bastards. Let drag the squid back from the seas which they so love and have them die dry upon the beaches. Let our quarrels stick to their bones and our spears to their throats.." And his spear is raised, and poised for a moment. "Grant us, your followers bloody victory." And with that he looks back towards Bruce. "Let it be…" If that won't stir the southerners a little-who knows what will..beyond turning a drowned priest into a porcupine. After a beat there's a grin half cast towards the Captain. "Anything else?"
The figure cloaked in salt stained robes and grey mist is struck by the flint man's crossbow bolt, and thrown bodily from his feet, the bucket falling to the stony ground with a clatter of spilled seawater. For a long moment there is silence, before with a pained grunt and scrape of fingers on stone, the drowned man climbs back to his feet, leaning heavily on his driftwood walking stick. The bolt stands out from one shoulder, with a spreading stain of blood visible even from the distance. A few ragged breaths precede his uneven shout. "Defilers! Godless wretches of storm and stone! You would desecrate even our very graves? Every curse of storm and shade be upon you! May you never again return to your homes in peace, and may your blood be spilled even by those you had held dear to heart!"
Fenrir stands just behind the front line, watching the priest alertly - and watching the mists behind him. He's like a dog on a chain, practically leaning forward, every muscle in the man's body tensed. Softly, aside to Anders, he remarks "Whatever he's doing here, I don't reckon it's just to pray, Lord. Better to start the dance on our terms." He can only hope Einar, ahead with the pickets, is sharing the same thought. Fenrir rests his axe atop his shoulder, still staring intently into the mist as the man is hit and begins his shouting. "Good lad," he murmurs quietly. "Now let's see what comes of it."
Loose. Reload. Aim again. Einar has drilled the sequence often enough that it's almost entirely instinct by now. His heart may be pounding in his chest and the adrenaline may be making free in his system, but his weapon is reloaded and he's once again targetting the Ironman infront of him. Trusting that the oppressive mists are disguising his own position he takes a few moments again to be sure of his aim. ABout enough time infact for the priest to get out his proclaimation. He then pulls the trigger again. If only the man will stay down this time.
"Indeed he is. Lewys. You bastard, I wanted the horse several minutes ago..However, you brought it late enough for me to wonder if you were losing your virginity to it. Thank the seven you weren't. Be a good lad, and hold the reigns.." Quellyan commands, before he's moving to gather himself up in his saddle., and then motioning for his helmet, nearby. "Hurry Lewys, as in actually run, so I can get the bloody thing on." Quellyan chuckles, before he's looking back towards Keelin and Martyn. "He really is a good lad.." said finally. "But, by gods if my knight wasn't worse to me, than I to him."
Markus shakes his head at something, his hand straying towards the hilt of his weapon out of reflex, long ingrained in each fibre of his being. His fingers flex a few times, curling into a fist and relaxing again, quiet preparation for what might come.
After his crossbow is loaded, his shield placed in front of him and his men ready, Ser Bruce looks over to the Northmen in charge - Anders and Fenrir. He calls, "M'lord - if you've a runner or someone quick, I'd suggest you send out the alert to the Cape's camp. Half a mile away, where I came from. They need to know." His serious demure is checked for a moment by Marsden's prayers; they seem to usually make Ser Bruce smile and hearten both him and the lads. He does grin. "Aye, Halfsepton - make sure that the men are quiet in the ranks. We're not barbarian Ironmen - we don't speak until we're about to make contact, and then only to call out our quarter or our liege." The quarter he's referring to is the colour that each fifty man group of pike has, two of which are here today. Once he's done speaking, he returns to watch the front, and the open left flank; one might never know where they come from.
Only the quality of Anders' tone in reply betrays his speaking through gritted teeth and clenched jaw. "..he dares call us defilers, after what they have done?" Shaking his head curtly, the Young Lord keeps his eyes fixed unseeingly out ahead, listening to the outrage in the wounded man's tone. Self-righteous men are the most dangerous, aren't they? "I care not what he's doing, only that he is silenced. And quickly. We are not yet mustered to defend against a full attack." A timely interjection from Bruce, then; though the Northerner doesn't look back, not wishing to distract his attention, such as it is. With a firm nod of assent, the Lord directs his low tone toward a younger squire standing off to his other flank who has undoubtedly heard the suggestion from the Captain. "Go on, lad." Wiry of build, the youth has likely seen much use as a runner, still gangly in the latter years of adolescence. With naught more than a nod of understanding, he's off through the spears and into the mists, the sand kicked up in the wake of his heels.
Standing ready, but with attention on anything else but the priest. Since it doesn't seem like he'll be the one they should worry about, especially with Einar currently firing at him. Pariston just let his attention go to the mist. Still calm and collected even in this situation, or at least he looks the part. Arrow lying on the bow, but not having it pulled back or raised to fire. He isn't sure if the priest is a threat at all, but if he is it is most likely as a decoy.
Keelin glances at Martyn, and then he shrugs a bit. His own squire quietly stands, with his helm and gauntlets, so Keelin untethers his horse and mounts up, accepting the remaining pieces of his armour from the lad quietly before he sends him off to make sure he's ready when they return. "I'm game if you are," he says. "Not sure we should stray too far from camp, but it might not hurt to at least get back in the saddle and see just what we might find."
Fenrir watches the young squire kick off into the mists, then smiles briefly to Bruce and Anders, nodding his approval. "I agree, Lord, Ser. If there -is- a full attack coming, your mates from the Cape'll be a perfect relief. We'll catch them between a hammer and anvil." His tone is more confident than he might feel, given that the two camps have no idea what sort of force is closing in on them. He listens to the Ironborn priest roar his curses impassively, watching for the next bolt to come flying out of the mist. "He didn't want war on his ground, they oughtn't have invaded us."
A faint chuckle leaves Marsden. "Don't worry I will save my slavering yells and screams for when they're here." though the retort is said a bit dryly, before he's nodding and looking back to the assembled formation. "Steel yourselves, my sons. Steel yourselves. Do not shout, for fear is a curse of a soldier, and fear is a curse of the heathen. Listen to how the heathen shouts. They do so, for they follow a false god. They follow a dead man..And we know what is true. We follow…Now hold, and when you do strike..Call out the name of our dear Liege..your Quarter..Cry out for glory, but not for fear.. Let the animals scream and howl. We will rally." And with that the Halfsepton falls silent, and breathes out.
Martyn chuckles. "That's how it goes," he remarks to Quellyan's words. "Ser Mychal was far worse than I've ever been. But then again, it's how we learn, right?" Nodding at the others, before he looks around, nodding as he sees his own squire, and moves to mount up as well. "Sounds like a plan," he offers at Keelin's words.
Ser Jarod Rivers is knocking around the camp in which the Cape men have planted themselves. He was having a no-doubt thrilling conversation with a Terrick levy about the progress of a sanitation trench. But, as he sees other men in the camp stirring to mount, he excuses himself from that and approaches them. Martyn and his Mallister cohorts, specifically. "What's doing, Ser? Any sign of…anything?"
Even as the bolt leaft the bow, Einar wasn't happy with the shot. It was off target and just felt plain wrong. Still though, it seems to have been effective enough, even if it was just a wing-shot. As the Priest goes down again the Flint once more reloads his bow before whispering back to Pariston "Give Lord Anders my compliments, but I don't see any others. Does he want us to advance and investigate that one?" Poor Vis, being reduced to glorified messenger boy, but still battlefield communications are vital.
Einar's second bolt hits the priest slightly off center, smashing through the hand that had held up the cudgle upon which the wounded man so heavily leaned. A pained grunt and rustle as the man tumbles again to the ground. Though he does not rise again, as the drowned man's blood seeps out into the thin soil among the stone ships, he calls back at his killers, "Steel for steel; blood for blood. Cursed be the line of Andals, traitors and desecrators.." for all the venom of his words, the man's voice is flagging as he bleeds out, unseen. "May you all die unmourned…" further mumblings fade from earshot.
"Can always count on you, Halfsepton." Bruce offers Marsden a wink, though the mirth that may have been on his face is gone now. He's deadly serious. His helmed head turns to the Northmen. "Master Fenrir." Ser Bruce calls, before thinking better of yelling across the whole formation. He picks up his shield and crossbow, propping the latter on his shoulder, and jogs over. Once he's stopped, he says to the man in a low tone, "I don't like being cooped up behind this wall. It restricts our mobility and our ability to defend ourselves. It's no real impediment in an actual fight. We should advance, with your scouts screening the front and watching our flanks and rear."
Markus remains near his lord and the men about him, waiting upon a decision as to the course of action the Flint men shall take. As prepared as he needs to be, armed and armored, it is simply a matter of the direction the Young Lord decides upon.
"We need to get our scouts out," murmurs Fenrir thoughtfully aside to Anders. "With permission, Lord, I'd say let's have Lord Einar expand his net." Fenrir is still watching the mists, his eyes narrowed. "I agree with Ser Bruce. Let's get out there and see what's happening, Lord. If they ain't going to advance, we ought to." He nods aside to Bruce with a lopsided smile, practically quivering with the eagerness to finally be doing -something-. Despite the fact that it was his decision to dig in, in the first place.
Pariston stands ready, but listens to the orders. Having no complaints about being a messenger, other than fearing for the lives of those at the front. But he is soon off again. Heading to Fenrir and Anders. "No sign of enemies. Lord Einar wonder if we shall stay or start advancing?" Looking mostly to Fenrir but also glancing to Anders.
Absolutely, he wants advance. Anders likes information, and knowing movements and what may lie before them is something that really should be known. His voice carries, even if he's not deliberately making it louder. "Aye, we expand and move forward when we have the next defensible spot. Send them forward and we'll bring up." Taking a deep breath, he looks back behind him, checking his men and their positions. "We need to get out of here.." particularly after the death of the priest. "Forward with the scouts."
There comes a runner, finally, a half-mile to the rest of the army with the news. The first contact has been made, and there is, as of yet, no known alarm.. and a Drowned God priest now lies dead.
There's a nod over towards Ser Bruce for a moment. "Well, I always count on you Ser Bruce." Marsden quips back. "So there is that. " With the call to mover forward there's a sigh given from the chaplain of the Nayland levies. "Thank the seven. My legs would have gone stiff as a corpse's cock if we waited any longer.." There's a chuckle as the septon seems to relax. "Though I wonder why they haven't come howling out of the mists at us like a pack of damned dogs."
"I'm sorry, what?" Rowan Nayland pushes to his feet, staring at the runner who's just gasped out his message to the camp at the Cape. "What the fuck do you mean a priest is dead?"
"As you say, Lord. Vis, tell Lord Einar we're moving forward and to have his scouts advance to screen us." Fenrir's tone is crisp and professional, and he raises it slightly to call toward the other section leaders of the Flint levy. "Right, lads. Over the barricade, and we're advancing in good order. Keep your men tight." Without further ado, he brings his axe forward in a signal to advance, and himself hops and over the barricade, advancing toward the mist with his axe resting once again across his shoulder.
Bruce darts back to his own men, now, huffing a little bit at the quick jaunts back and forth. He'll be alright, though. "Well, Halfsepton, here we're going. Amos; signal the advance. Militia - shouuuldeeeeerrrrr pike! By the center, quickkkkkk march!" As he speaks, so his squire signals, and so the men go. "Guards, keep on me!" He shoulders his shield, strapping it loosely to his back and hops over the low barrier, looking back only for a moment.
Pariston nods at to the commands of Anders, and Fenrir, quickly moving back to Einar at the front. Making sure to stay low and try to stay quiet. A nod offered if Einar is looking. "We're told to advance, have scouts to advance to screen the rest." Keeping his voice to a rather low, but still clear to Einar. Eyes keep looking to the front as he again stands ready.
Keelin glances over at Jarod as he approaches. "Ser Jarod, nice to see you - " though he quiets as the runner comes in, listening to what's said. His gaze goes to the squire with the surprised question, his own gaze a little bit bemused. "Sounds like we have a direction, after all. We were going to ride along the shore to see if there's anything to be found. But seems we've found at least one Ironborn." Huh. Keelin looks over to Quellyan and Martyn now, curious to see what they choose to do now.
The ground is broken, but relatively even. Visibility can be kept for several dozen strides in all directions, as the men pick their way over the edge of the field already torn up for stones, and into the region of stone ships which the Flint picks and shovels had not reached. The body of the drowned man remains where it lay, beside a driftwood walking stick, and a rough wooden bucket, smelling of saltwater. A waterskin is also carried across the torso of the unwashed dead man.
The Charlton knight chuckles for a moment, before he's hitching in his saddle. "It's the nature of the beast. You have to be harsher to gorw them right. lest you get a poncey knight who isn't worth his vows.." And then to interrupt the lively discussion going on there's a turn of his head over to the runner and then to the way he came from. "They killed a priest?" And with that the knight who was bitching about his mount is coming back down, with a shout of 'Lewys!' The fat squire hurries for the reigns as the Chartlon knight hits the turf, and begins a stomp over towards the runner. "Ser Bruce didn't strike me as the type to murder the clergy.." Quellyan quips along.
Martyn nods to Jarod as he approaches, and is about to answer when he sees and hears the runner, studying the man rather carefully. "What?" he begins, before he pauses for a few moments, "Where?" Looking around at the others nearby, "Would seem like we've found something, at least," he offers, after a few moments of pause.
The youngest Lord Nayland looks around and grabs a waterskin, thrusting it into the hands of the messenger and compelling the man to sit with a firm hand on his shoulder. "Catch you breath. Drink. And tell me again what happened."
With the order to move forwards, Einar raises his crossbow to his shoulder and slowly rises. Orders are passed to the rest of the pickets and he slowly moves the outerline forwards, expanding the ring of control. He himself picks his way towards where the Priest went down. Step by step until he's close enough to stand over the man. Crossbow pointed directly at his chest he gives the man a quick kick in the ribs, checking if he;s actually down or just faining.
"Steady, lad. We've no notion of what happened out there," Jarod says to Rowan, tone firm. Though there's no small touch of confusion in his green eyes. He looks from the messenger, awaiting his tale, to the Mallister men. He nods to Keelin and Martyn. "They've not called for reinforcements yet from this fellow's words, but with your permission I'll muster the camp. See that we're prepared to defend it if the squids come upon us, and lend aid to our fellows if we're called up."
For all Kell knows, nothing is amiss until the runner from the Flint Camp arrives and the Hedge Knight's reaction would've been the same as Rowan's though he remains silent for now. Leading his own horse towards the gathering of men and the runner who is divulging information, he does frown. "If the man was a scout, shooting him down was proper but a man of their Gods? Not a good omen…" Kell doesn't have full understanding of religion in general and even less of the Drowned Gods, but he knows that killing their holymen is not a good way to start the invasion. For all he knows, ghosts may rise from the graves, riding Fire Whales.
It's a controlled move forward for the army, what with the pikes that the Naylands have, archers, and for some it may seem painfully slow, but it is in their defense they do so. Anders isn't about to overextend the army in the name of speed without relative safety. "We advance with the scouts," is followed with "Quiet in the ranks," in case anyone really felt the need to bellow.
The runner, in Flint grey, is panting, catching his breath. "We're in a graveyard, and a priest was there.. and rather than have him give alarm, he was cut down. He died before any word could possibly be sent to the Ironborn about their position. Now, we move with scouts forward."
Fenrir advances at the head of his men, scowling about him as he moves through the deserted graveyard. The cloying mists cast eerie shadows, but Fenrir is watching for other sorts of movement. He casts a glance back toward his Lord, shrugging briefly, before stolidly turning back to the inland and continuing his advance. Under his breath, he murmurs "Why ain't they hitting us yet?" The waiting seems to make him more nervous than a solid attack would - what if he has miscalculated some crucial point?
Huff and puff goes the Septon as he moves with the rest of the Nayland guards, and particularly, Bruce. There's a grimace from the man, as he carefully is picking his way through the strange turf. Ay there is a hackle that is raised given that they haven't been killed or attacked yet, but he's not focused on that. Instead Marsden is keeping tabs on Ser Bruce slight in front of him. "This is bloody work." Cursed work probably as well.
"I'd say go for it," Keelin agrees with Jarod, though it's not his call to make in the end, so he glances over to the Nobles to let them say what makes more sense. Action at last? He's all for it. "They may need help, after all."
It's treacherous going, at least for Markus Ilgrave, whom needs carefully pick his steps as he goes along with the rest. One moment he is there with Anders and the rest, glancing down to make sure he does not trip or tweak his ankle in some unfortunate manner, and the next moment he is looking up, finding himself a few paces behind. "Damnit," he mutters beneath his breath, and tries to catch up.
Quellyan looks towards Jarod and then back to Keelin. "They murdered a priest.." Which is still not really enough to cause some alarm from Quellyan. In fact he's sure both sides have probably and will probably continue to murder priests for some time. "Well, at least there was a purpose..Though if we go it's on bloody foot." the Blackrood states. "Don't risk your horse in this mess." Nothing like killing your beast because you hit a hole, or a grave.
Rowan looks to Jarod, then back to the runner. The boy's mouth works for a moment before he can find his voice. "Rather — rather than have him give word? He was alone? So — instead of capturing him, he was just… cut down." He takes a breath. "Who gave the order?" he asks the runner, flatly.
Einar flicks his bow instantly to his right as he hears something off in that direction, well infront of the lines though, and when, after a moment, the faintest trace of birdsong can be heard he drops the weapon to a more relaxed position. Kneeling on one knee next to the downed man who failed to react to the kick he gives a brief visual once over and concludes that he's dead, before standing again and moving forward with the rest of the outerline. One of the many following behind can do a more detailed search of the body if they wise, but for now, it's enough that he isn't a threat.
Martyn listens carefully to what the runner says, nodding a bit as he listens, both to the messenger's words and Jarod's. "Do it," he says, after a few moments of pause.
"Either they're not here, or they've got something waiting for us that I'd rather not blunder into," Anders murmurs in return, his eyes moving around the unhallowed hallowed ground. "Just keep an eye, and we'll keep each other's backs." His voice rises, though it's not really too far above that whisper, "Ser Longbough.. all clear?" Of course he'd hear otherwise, but to hear a normal, if quiet, sound off is comforting.
Bruce's ears are perked, and unusually sensitive for him. His skin is crawling and his hands gripping the crossbow tightly, normally sleepy looking blue eyes now widened, scanning the area back and forth, with an occassional glance to the ground. It must be the stones themselves that disturb him, rather than people. He looks over to Anders and Fenrir. "Nobody here. Not at all. We can push past the graveyard completely. Beyond that, I don't know, but I'm sure there isn't anyone here. We should keep advancing."
Turning back to Anders briefly as they advance, Fenrir nods deeply in response to Bruce's advice. "We got to keep moving forward, Lord Anders. We stop now, they'll just move in on us. They're making a mistake, giving us all this land." He turns his helmeted head back to the mists, eyes narrowing faintly. "At least, I hope they are." Stolidly, he continues pressing on.
The runner takes a deep breath and responds, "Lord Einar Flint took the shot." Asked a question, the answer is received. "Is there a message back?"
Pariston moves along with Einar, the bow always put to be ready. Listening as he moves forwards. Staying a few steps behind Einar. His breathing low and calm. There doesn't seem to be anyone around, besides them, but he does not want to take risks. Keeping that high alert up. "M'lord?" He says to Einar, wanting any further task. If needed.
Oh, right. Mounted for a ride along the coast, but he plan is changing. Keelin takes a moment to dismount, moving back to tie up the horse. "We need to leave a group to watch the boats and supplies," he says. And the horses of course. If they're ever going to be of use. "Unless we are the guard contingent back here, of course." That's a little wry, since they've not got much information at all.
"Cut. Down…" Jarod just repeats the messenger's words. "A priest. In a graveyard." His knuckles tighten white. Deep breath, and he just concentrates on the other knights. Martyn especially, Seagard lord that he is. "I shall ask our men to prepare to defend and guard this area. Send a runner back if our allies need us to bleed for this folly. We'll stand prepared to fight until we've word back from you, and then I'd suggest we double the watch tonight. There may be retribution for this. Fuck knows I'd want the blood of men who did it." Presumably that's not the message.
High overhead, lost to the mists, a gull croaks and keens as the men of Westeros pick their steps between the haunted stones. The burial ground becomes abandoned by all others when a sparrow takes flight off of one of the prow-stones. Footpaths wind among the stone circles, worn by long years of ritual use.
"I'd almost say we should move camp, but we can't leave the fucking beach head if we need supplies. Specially, if we don't know where they are." And then Quellyan's quiet for a moment before he is looking over to Rowan Nayland. "Why didn't they just capture the lone priest? At least we could have asked for fucking directions then." But the Charlton knight is throwing up his hand. "Whatever is decided, we'll abide." Or at least, Quellyan will. And with that he's looking back to Jarod. "Blind leading the blind-or something." Ah, there's Quell's frustration. He may need a drink soon.
"Then let us push beyond. Get out of here." Anders at least will take a deep breath when out of the graveyard, and hoping that they leave the mist behind them. The death of the priest does weigh upon him, but in a decision within a second, who could say that alarm wouldn't be raised, should he be taken? How could one keep the man silent? There was no choice, truly, as far as the Young Lord is concerned, and move on. War. Is. Hell.
"Keep your sections, lads," Fenrir calls back to the Flints as they continue to push toward the borders of the massive graveyard. He inhales slowly, breathing lightly beneath his armor; sweat mingles with mist on his forehead, bullet-shaped helmet beading with moisture in the clammy cool. If he even considers the death of the priest, it is far in the back of his mind. He has other concerns - like why screaming hordes have not yet descended on him. "Aye, Lord," he answers Anders. "Only concern I got is whether our scouts'll have time enough to warn us before we walk into an ambush. But Lord Einar knows his job, sure enough."
"Squire Einar didn't go and shoot anything on his own," Rowan presumes. "His Ser's at fault, most likely. Then the boy." He shakes his head in quick disgust. "Tell them we're on alert if we're needed," he says to the runner. Really just parroting his Ser, there.
As the information about terrain in the area is passed on by the runner and word is now spread that horses will not be used for the near future, Kell heeds the advise and leads his steed back to where his own tent is situated so it can be securely tied down, not wanting it to wander away or flee in case an attack happens. Fighting on foot isn't anything new to the Hedge Knight as they had done so when they fought house to house at Seagard.
"Aye, m'lord." Bruce doesn't need to continue to issue orders to the Mire militia; they know what they're supposed to do, and they're following the standard, in any case, one quarter behind the other. Their Captain keeps on the lookout and other than that, there's not much else he can do. He moves at a pace as fast as the men can go without breaking formation or, breaking an ankle.
Martyn takes a few deep breaths now. "Defending this area makes sense," he says, one arm going up to his shoulder a bit absently. "But if the rest of them advance, and all of us stay back, we may risk losing contact with them…" He looks between the others nearby now. "So, logically, we should do both. Any idea about how to accomplish that?" Looking a bit concerned now.
There's a look back behind him for a moment, before Marsden is looking at Bruce, a faint shrug passed to the man as he picks his way closer to the Captain, as his spear is used more or less as a walking stick, to help him navigate the rough terrain. "I wouldn't wish this ground on any man. Fuck." the Chaplain utters as he manages to just barely not roll his ankle.
Anders takes stock again, the graveyard giving him the creeps. Looking about, he does a quick headcount before his brows furrow, "Markus.. where is.. Ser Markus..?" He continues his pace forward, but turns a little more fully about to check.. "Fen? Find him."
The Flint forward line is still picking its way forward, so far though, there's nothing to actually stop them or cause them to pause. Still, it's a slow and careful advance, not wanting to come upon any sudden surprise in the mist. Einar, with Pariston nearby, is keeping his own place in the line, eyes scanning the ground and then the mist alternatively. Nothing. Either thats a very good sign, or a veyr bad one. Turning to Vis again he whispers once more, "Did Lord Anders indicate how far he wished us to procede?"
It's still not the easiest going for Markus, though gratefully there is no enemy rushing down on them just yet to make him pay for the slower pace. Another glance is spared at the Flint contingent which seems to just move on without him, as his foot sinks deep in the muck. "Gods damnit," he mutters to himself, dragging his boot out of the mud, foot still attached, and moving forward again.
"Half go and Half stay. That or we keep sending runners." Quellyan offers beyond his usual belligerence, and sometimes wine soaked wit. He's quiet as he's looking back to Jarod Rivers, before he's grinning faintly to Rowan Nayland. "Might as well establish a point or a line..Tell the runner to have them halt somewhere, so we can reasonably catch up, and not stretch ourselves thin." A pause "Though I hate splitting forces more than we already are due to those bloody ships."
Pariston has not been a leader or any of that sort so he will not speak of strategy, and wheter killing the priest was right or not. His own feelings would probably say don't shoot, or something, and perhaps that's why he ain't leading people. Though he might have tried capturing him. Eyes do drop to the priest, but only for a split second to see the state the dead man is in.
To Einar's question he shakes. "Not as I know. Move to set up a defense I would believe." He isn't all to sure. If he was told he must have let it slip by, or not have understood what they meant.
"Lord?.. Right. Of course, Lord Anders." Fenrir turns and pushes his way straight back through the lines, after only a moment's hesitation. He seems agitated as he moves away from the action and into the mist, but Anders is right - this is no place for one man to wander alone, not when the shadows still seem to conceal undisclosed foes. "Ser Markus!" He hates shouting, but it may be the only way to find the other man in the mist as he backtraces the Flint column. "Ser Markus! Oi, you around?"
"M'lord - let's take a pause at the end of this yard to redress ranks and see what our scouts have to say." Suggests Bruce, looking over to the Flint ranks to their right. They're nearing the end of the line here, in any case.
Einar nods silently to Pariston as the man answers and then scans forward into the mists again. "Tell Lord Anders that there is a slight change of ground here. Less hummockly and rocky, slightly undulating but no major features. Nothing so far beyond. We can continue to advance but we risk becoming too spreadout and lost."
"The moment we break through, we move back around and head back to the shore to meet with the others," Anders nods, almost echoing the sentiments. "Send a runner to the scouts to head back out and skirt the graveyard." The Flint isn't the least bit interested in seeing what's beyond. "I don't think there will be a need to pause. We'll speed up movement, and get moving." He smiles, the stress playing, "I have faith in your pikes, Ser Longbough."
"Aye, we're on the beachhead to receive supplies. Not to mention those bits of the army that're still scattered from the landing. Can't move yet, though if our commanders want a new position in the days to come I'll march happy," Jarod says to Quellyan. "The Terrick men'll stay put here until we're given order to move. This is a good, defensible position, and I figure we can hold it if worse comes than a lone priest." He shakes his head. Rowan earns a slight smirk, though the expression is feigned. He's not really smiley at the moment.
"I'm here," Markus mutters, trying not to raise his voice overmuch given just where the men all find themselves, his steps still taken careful though he does try to redouble his efforts at catching up when he makes out the owner of the voice calling out to him. "Can't damn well see enough to step without breaking my foot," he declares, by way of an explanation before the man can think to ask him for one.
Bruce doesn't look happy, or angry for that matter at Anders's decision. "Aye, m'lord." He's made the decision and that's that. "Guards - we're going to fall to the rearguard when the formation turns." Silent nods accompany the gesture, but they keep on pushing for now.
"Here, follow along behind me. Just step where I step. We got to get back to the lines." Fenrir nods to the men up ahead, already vanishing again into the mists. "I ain't sure what's going on - the Ironborn seem to be giving us the graveyard, but I hope Ser Bruce and Lord Anders got the sense to not push much past it. We'd be too isolated." No way of knowing, of course, that the two leaders have already reached the same conclusion. Leading the way, Fenrir picks his way back toward the Flint lines, moving slow enough for Markus to easily be able to keep up.
"Aye, thanks," Markus says, practical minded enough to not begrudge the assistance from Fenrir, whom seems to have a much easier time of picking his way through the mists. Still, the knight is a touch slower than his usual step, watching to follow after each that the Northman takes.
Pariston nods to Einar and quickly set off back towards Anders. Soon reaching the group. "New messages." He offers before stopping close to Anders and the others. "The ground changes a bit up ahead, less humockly and rocky." Just repeating what was told to him. "Shall we continue to advance? Though lord Einar does warn that we might get to spread out, and lost."
"Staying seems like the best option," Martyn agrees, looking around rather carefully. "Hopefully the priest was out here alone. And hopefully, the rest of the army will be able to find us here…" A lot of hope there. He sighs a bit, as he looks back to the others again.
"No, we swing around and head towards the beach in an attempt to find the others. Just as long as we're free from the graveyard, we move around," is repeated for Master Vis. Anders wants to get out and move quickly now for the safety of the beach. Too far inland for his taste. "We're fine.. just get us out and to the shore."
Pariston is starting to breathe heavier, with all this running, but luckily he is at least used to these kinds of things. Though he prefer the woods. He considers something, but ust shakes his head. Then he's off back towards Einar. Once he reaches, his bow is ready. "We are to make our way to the beach. To try and find the others. Get away from the graveyard." He tells him. Trying to catch his breath, but he keeps voice low and head as well. Still trying to be as alert as ever.
"M'lord - might I suggest we retrieve the body of the priest when we swing back? Not do well to let him rot. We throw him in the ocean, as he would have wanted." Bruce ventures, him and the Guards having stopped now to let the two Quarters of pike past. His eyes, attentive as ever, are locked on Anders.
"Did they do that for those in Tall Oaks, Ser Longbough, when they burned the Godswood and make the weirwood a battering ram? Did they do that for the Septons they killed in the Roost? You tell me.. and if you think it's deserved, you do it." Anders has had to harden himself with the idea that women and children would probably die in this battle, and it's not something that sits well for him. "I'll not fault you for the action, either way. Neither will I command it, or deny it."
"It's not whether it's right, m'lord. It's whether any offer of amnesty will be seen as done by a bunch of defilers, and completely ignored. Aye, I will, for I'm no fool." Bruce answers, his eybrows knitting inward. "Serjeant Oliver." He addresses one of the militia Serjeants as the man passes; "Take some men and collect the Ironman's body on the way back." That said and done, Bruce shakes his head.
"They'll kill you last, then," Anders responds with a grim expression. "For what honour you've given them." And it's towards the beach-head.. the scouts breaking the treeline first before the rest of one part of the scattered army follows. Slow going, for certain, and one that has strained some nerves. Food, a fire, and something to drink, however, will do well for those nerves.