|An Oak Still Stands|
|Summary:||On her last legs of life, Tiaryn encounters the contingent of Flints riding south to assist.|
|Related Logs:||Thus fell Tall Oaks|
|Along the Northern Coast|
|Deep into the night along the coast of the northern Riverlands, the winds blow hard and cold. A contingent of almost 200 Flint men travel, most on foot but there are some cavalry at the head.|
|Tue Jan 03, 289|
West and north, that was the instructions. A lot more north than west, but Tia has been there, and she definitely knows the way to Flint's Finger. She starts out as fast as the mount she's ended up on will take her, adrenaline rushing through her so that she's barely aware of the pain in her back and not at all aware of the bleeding. She does make an effort to hide her trail, once she gets over the first initial scare, but she's not slowing down much at all. Not if she can have it. She just keeps riding, as fast and furious as she can. The horse is a dark brown, no white anywhere to be seen and wide, but solid. As she continues to ride over time - hours, and more hours, she ends up with some branch slashes, her hair getting caught once and pulled out of its confines to start messing about her. She doesn't think to drink, given her only two thoughts are "RUN!" and "Oh gods, my family!" For a while she thinks she might vomit, but that too passes. The mount she's on continues to run as long as he can, though he too feels the lack of water, of food, and the weather. When Tia starts to wobble, feeling faint, he whickers. The first couple times that actually brings her out of it, enough that she actually ties the reins to her hands, hoping to keep herself mounted this way. "Keep going, Honey, just … carrots, I promise." Her voice is harsh, a small whisper, and there are tearstains on her face, her head aching from the bawling she's done while riding. Eventually, she wobbles forward, her eyes starting to glaze, the heat rising as her temperature does, but too tired to even try to stay awake any more.
They procede down the coast, headed south, after a long journey across the plains to get to the southern most coast of Flints Cliffs. It's the best way to pass the swamps, where one is certain not to get lost or get turned around at all. It's a long column.. scouts upon light horses to the front, moving to check the road and the paths ahead, and then the banners of the houses of Flint. All are represented, even if one may not have given any. The large coursers walk as the close to 200 hundred strong walk; the lighter horses set to the back.
The scouts are the first to catch something that isn't right, and it's with their lighter horses that they spur ahead; single rider, running through the woods. That, in itself, is more than enough to gain attention. The pair of scouts move into the woods, the branches and brambles slowing their progress, though they push on. Suddenly, bursting into view is the little brown horse rushing headlong towards them, towards the road. Shouts rise as they try to get the rider's attention, if it is the least bit possible. "Lady!" One rider tries to interpose himself, trying to cut the little horse off, but Gethin isn't having any of it. His ears pin, sending a warning to any horse that may try to come close. "Lady!!"
It is possible to see to the south and east the glow from the blazing pyre that used to be Tall Oaks. Smoke plumes might also be seen and soon enough, a light fall of ash, such as that already coating the Lady and horse that are racing to some destination unknown. The voices sink through her stupor, scaring her. She mustn't be caught, must race. "No," she croaks, her hands moving, almost jerking the reins, as she tries to sit up, but finds her back has stiffened, and movement is becoming harder. "Flint - must get to - " The mount continues to protect his rider, though even as she tries to keep going north, she wobbles the wrong way and starts to slide off the horse to one side.
The word 'Flint' is uttered, and in that word, the scouts really do work a great deal harder to keep the horse from bolting pass. One makes a grab for the reins even as Gethin's ears pin again, and teeth strike out with a trumpet. (Little anti-social thing!) "Lady! We're Flint! Under the banner of the Young Lord, Anders Flint!" The other scout looks down the path where the lady has come, the ash making his head shake to dislodge it from his head. "Get her and bring her to the Lord.. she needs a maester."
"Probably not in her right mind.."
And the wounds are noticed, finally.. and there's something of a gasp as the scout that tries to gain the reins grabs that hold, much to the irritation of both horses now. "Now!"
Whether the Lady Camden realizes that she's with friends or not, the scouts will never really know. What they do know, however, is that the moment the exhausted horse is brought to something resembling a stop, the rider finally loses her grip on the horse, but more .. loses her grip on consciousness, thanks to blood loss, exhaustion, dehydration.. and out and out terror. The moment she hits the ground is when the scouts move.. one pushes back to the column to pass the message on.
Always having had good ears, it possibly comes as no surprise that Einar is the first to hear anything of the commotion ahead. He's not sure at first that he's actually heard anything, but then reigns in his horse and looks in askance to Anders. "Hoves, moving quickly towards us," he deduces, loosening his sword as he does so. Chances are it's a scout, but he doesn't really feel like taking the risk. Muttering a brief prayer he shoves his cloak back to limit any impedance to his sword arm and gets ready for the incoming rider.
With Einar's statement of a rider approaching, not only does the squire take to a defensive posture, but so do a couple of the cav that move forward with the words. Anders nods, giving his assent should the squire wish to ride to meet the single rider.
It is the scout, and he gives a quick report. "My lord," and the light horse is reined. "Single rider, a lady.. and she needs aid. She was looking for us, my lord, though I don't think she knew we were riding." The scout doesn't recognize Lady Tiaryn Camden, and if there is any mark of house, it's undoubtedly obscured by the blood and tears to her riding clothes.
"Einar.. take three men and the Lady Cordelya.. and assess the rider."
Einar relaxes his grip on his sword hilt as the scout gives his report. He remains silent, letting the man finish before nodding his understanding to Anders at the task set. Turning his horse through ninety degrees so he can glance more easily down the column he indicates to three of the riders closest to him and then inclines his head towards Cordelya, "My Lady." A glance to the nearest of his selected men should indicate to them to cover the Young Lords' wife as he turns to follow the scout back along the path towards this mysterious, injured rider.
Despite the wind and the chill of the ride, Corrie has been fairly comfortably, if boredly, loping around at the back several lines behind as her husband requested. Occasionally, she's spoken to her maid, but the Lady of the house has taken the chance to lose herself in thought. It takes a few moments to shake herself free of those distant dreams as Einar comes up near and summons her forward. But a moment later she gives a quick double kick to the side of Penelope and starts trotting after him. "What is going on?" She calls over the wind as they ride forward to the injured woman. There is now clear worry painted on her pale features. She knows not very many things would make her husband allow her to be drawn out — but severe injuries would be one of those things.
In the woods, a short distance in, is the reason for Cordelya's presence, and Einion's presence, of course, is required for threat assessment. The little dark horse's sides are heaving, legs bloodied from the underbrush. Dark eyes are still wild, but he stands still, ever so still while the lady holds to the reins with a grip that doesn't cease, even while unconscious. The scout that remains with the lady is off his horse, keeping an eye out for any that might come up behind; and the noise coming from the direction they're taking gives him some measure of relief— but that doesn't keep him from going for his sword, just in case. "My lord.. my lady." There, pleasantries done, "Where she's escaped from, the closest land is Tall Oaks." Which is the direction from which the glow and ash is coming from. "She's got some serious wounds that need tending. I'm hesitant to move her to our column.. that is, until you've seen to her."
Einar check's his horse's pace until Corrie can draw level, although his eyes are always dead ahead, taking in the scout that's leading them and the terrain ahead. "Not sure yet," he answers to her question, "scouts have reported an injured rider ahead. A lady, looking for us." There, now the lady knows as much as he does. He drops silent again then something off to his right catches his eyes and he calls to the scout ahead, "Prescott. That glow over to the right. What do you make of it?" He himself is thinking that it looks like fire, although a long way off, so adamn big fire at that. He'll wait for another opinion before voicing that though. Before the man can respond though they're reach the cause of the concern. He nods briefly to the scout's report and then turns to inspect the scene. The horse he doesn't recognise, the rider though… What colour he had in his cheeks drains and he's dismounted and moving to cover the ground between him and his good sister before he even realises what he's doing.
The squire recognizes Tiaryn faster than Cordelya does, but then she is his good sister and he's had far more interactions with her. All Corrie manages to see is the female figure collapsed on the ground. She curses faintly, barely letting her own dapple gray stop before she's swinging off the saddle and down to the ground, turning to grab at her one pack which she filled almost solely with herbal and bandaging supplies. And a tightly rolled blanket, sometimes used for moving injured off the field without manipulating their body too much. Corrie does her best to ignore the ash lightly snowing down upon them, just as she has since it began, and quickly lays the blanket out. "Lay her here, now. And someone bring me a bloody torch." She half commands, half requests.
Einar gives a quick nod to the nearest scout to indicate that he should find someway to provide light and the notions to the other to help him move the unconcious form onto the blanket as indicated. Said scout, lets call him Marsden, is then dispatched the short distance to tend to Gethin and see if he can find any clues in the saddlebags. Thankfully, the three cavalry he's brough with him know their job and have set up a watch around the gathering, eyes out. With all that seen to the lad turns back to Corrie and asks, swallowing hard to avoid any hint of worry in his voice, "How is she?"
Cordelya kneels on the blanket next to Tiaryn, her heart jerking in her throat as she finally sees the blooded and ashen pale face in the light. "…Tiaryn…" She breathes out, never having been best friends with the woman, but she certainly knew her. Seeing her in such a state just makes Corrie's stomach and heart lurch up. There's no time, though. Checking her skin, she quickly pinches the back of the woman's hand and watches the skin there tent with the severe dehydration. "Water… she needs water if she's to survive. Gods know how much blood she's lost." Shifting her body so her cloak slightly hides the woman's chest, she opens the woman's dress enough to get to most of the wounds. She has the things to clean them in her pack, at least, but the water is just as important. "…None of these look lethal." She mutters as she works quietly.
Water is easy enough to provide and Einer crosses back to his horse to collect his own skin from where it is slung on his saddle. He takes the liberty of liberating Cordelya's as well, tossing the first to Marsden for the tired horse and bringing the second back with him. Kneeling back down on the opposite side of the blanket he offers the skin across, although if the Lady is busy tending to something else, he'll happy attempt to get a few drops past Tia's lips himself.
Cordelya nods to Einar, realizing that Tia's his goodsister, and rather thinking the treatment of wounds comes before modesty, she lets him touch the skin to her lips. "Get her to drink if you can. Slowly. If she just gulps it all down she'll simply vomit it back up." She coaxes gently of the man, then begins to focus on cleaning out the wounds. Alcohol for cleaning. Bandages. Even though they're supposed to be moving fast, Cordelya takes her time in ensuring the patching up of the woman's body is thorough enough she can travel without taking fever on the road. Her hands do not shake, but occasionally a drop of moisture slips down her cheek and off her chin. Whether it's sweat or tears it's not fully clear. Possibly both. "Oh… oh… Lady Tia…" She breathes out as she works.
Einar shifts round slightly so he can rest Tia's head on his knee and help the water to go down. She doesn't seem to want to drink at first though, so he gently runs a finger down her windpipe to aid the process and he's soon getting dribbles down her throat at a steady, if careful pace. It takes a minute or two, but then Marsden reports nothing of interest in Gethin's saddlebags save a few minor healing supplies, causing the young Flint to nod in disapointment. "Head back to the column," he orders the scout, "take her horse with you as she's in no fit state to ride it now. Tell the Young Lord that the Lady is my Goodsister, Lady Tiaryn Flint and that we'll bring her into the column as soon as she is fit to be moved." Turning back to starting the drinking process again he then adds, as it occurs to him, "get them to prepare a cartbed or somesuch, she'll need somewhere flat to lie."
"As soon as they have the cart bed, we'll get her on it and keep moving. There may be others…." Corrie murmurs with a sad, sick hope. Chances are, there are no others, considering Tiaryn was riding alone in the most dire of circumstances and she is no longer even conscious. Cordelya finishes the bandaging on the second truly deep wound, but she shakes her head slowly. "It's not perfect. She needs sewn, not just bandages. Heat, food and water. We… we just have to keep moving. Penelope can pull her and I'll keep an eye on her." Corrie stands, moving back for her horse, "Help get her up to me, Einar. I'll hold her and we'll just move." For as strange as the Lady Flint can be some days, when things get really dire she's got that practical Reed courage and head on her shoulders.
The scout inclines his head at the orders and mounts his horse once again, taking Gethin's reins to pony him behind him. Once clear, he breaks into a trot to rejoin the column. This, of course, still leaves a couple cavalry men with the squire and lady— they are keeping an eye for anything that could possibly be moving in the woods. Once the scout returns to the main group, information is passed back.. and forth.. and the Young Lord awaits the emergence of the rest of his men and his lady wife, now that he's caught up in position. Not to break protocol, however, once the horse ridden by Lady Tia is seen to, the scouts are once again sent forward. Seems he's in agreement.. if a lone woman with such injury made it out, there are likely no other survivors. In fact, the chances are good that it was done deliberately— it's what he would have done.
What's that you say? She needs heat? Another one that's easy to solve. Taking his cloak from his shoulders he, with the aid of Prescott, the remianing scout, wraps it around the fallen form and lifts her uptowards Cordelya. Once he's sure she's secure he turns back to his own horse and mounts, makign a mental note to give the borrowed waterskin back as soon as an opportunity presents itself. safely back in the saddle he gives a final glance to the red glow in the distance and turns his horse back towards the road, nodding with approval as the cavalrymen and remaning scout form around the Ladies. "Lets keep this at a steady walk shall we," he states, squeezing Rae's flanks to indicate it's time to move off, "we don't want to be doing any more damage to those wounds."
Cordelya gently, tender as a mother with her babe, takes Tiaryn into her arms and before her on the horse. She carefully shifts one of Tia's legs up and over the saddle, so she's riding astride and a bit easier balanced, but otherwise she keeps a gentle arm around Tia's ribs, careful to hold the tree lady against her chest and avoid pulling around any of the hastily bandaged wounds. "We're ready. Let's go." She calls to Einar, letting him lead the walk up towards Anders, not rushing to get there otherwise. Corrie cradles Tia's head against her shoulder and in the soft crook of her neck, keeping her warm and protected as the duo ride together. "Connell's wife, Anders… She's been badly wounded. I don't know how she made it." Corrie calls as they get close.
The column is moving slowly, but it is moving. With the scout and the small party returning, Anders turns around in his saddle to get the added information. He looks to the Tree Lady, his gaze searching for some hint.. of recognition, perhaps, or.. just some inkling of what had truly happened, but doesn't look like he finds what he is searching for. So, instead, he turns his head forward and inclines his head. "Put her somewhere safe, Corrie. We move to Stonebridge, and south." Setting his eyes towards the glow, and the ash, he shakes his head ever so slightly, "She's secure with us, and will live with us as long as she cares to call us family."
Einar rides up alongside his cousin, although does not take back his previous positon in the column. "With your leave My Lord I'll drop back and ride alongside her. Given what it appears she's been through I don't think it'd hurt for her to wake to a familiar face." Okay, so they were never particularly close, but they do know each other well enough.
Cordelya looks over the unconscious woman's shoulder to her husband, just a touch of a pout crossing her lips as she realizes this means she STILL doesn't get to ride in the front with him. But, as ever, he's right. She's now carrying even more precious cargo that cannot risk a front side attack. She bows her head gently towards Anders, "Aye, my lord. I will keep her safe. She did not ride for nothing." And with that, Corrie gently tugs on her horse's reigns, slowing Penelope down so they can drop back to safer areas. She keeps near Einar, if he is coming, but doesn't add to conversation otherwise. All her mind and heart is for the poor woman in her arms.
Anders nods, giving his permission wordlessly, though just in case his squire needs it, he adds, "Go. Until she wakes. But be vigilant, Einar. If whomever was chasing her still walks in the woods…" does he even have to voice the rest? He doesn't think so, and lets it off at that, his attention coming back around briefly to his wife. "Pay heed," is the simple request. Now, they are officially.. encumbered. And that means extra due caution. He brings his eyes forward now, kicking his horse to a trot to be sure he's in position where everyone expects him to be.. and where he needs to be. Onward, southward.