|Ashwoods and Fensters and Bears Oh My|
|Summary:||At the location of the barricade where the Ashwoods have set up, there is the sudden appearance of a bear.|
|Related Logs:||Plague stuff in the Flints area.|
|The road, though mainly north and south curve and turns about large trees to find the easiest path through the terrain. The trees here are more dense than in the Riverlands and to the west the dark line of a thick forest makes up the horizon. There is a road that eventually parts to the West heading into the great wood to former Tall Oaks. This town is somewhere hidden within the large stand of trees.|
|Sunday, December 23, 289|
The sun is on its last leg of descent, still fully above the horizon but in an hour or two, it will touch down and begin disappearing as it sets. It is another typical day at the checkpoint that has been set up between Highfield proper and the Flint encampment that is farther west and north, deeper into the woods. The six Ashwood armsmen that are currently assigned to the checkpoint itself are present, two resting while actively looking out for anyone approaching, armed with crossbows and spears. There are also two extra men on duty here today too, not regular armsmen but of noble blood, Lord Daryl and Ser Erik. The latter is clad in hardened, studded leather armor that cuts quite a dashing figure without being overburdening or over-geared.
As is the former, the leather armor typical for simple 'Sit and wait' orders like this one. The Ashwood seems a bit tired but is doing his best not to show it, emerald hues noting the fading light in the sky. "Got to see Master Peddler eat shit the other night while working one of our extra night shifts," Daryl muses quietly to Erik, chuckling, "I swear, some people just aren't meant to wear armor. You should've seen him try to walk up the stairs. Then down he went." Another louder laugh as the Deputy makes idle talk, for they're likely very bored.
Contrarily unarmed, young Fenster lady is riding out to where she has been told she could find a certain Sheriff and Deputy. Near the barricade that has been erected keeping the Flints sequestered in their own area, hopefully to contain the sickness. If you ask enough people in town, they'll talk, supposedly, and that's just what Bella has done. Accompanying her is a guard, Talbot and a handmaid, Serah. As they ride, Bella mentally checks off items she brought with her in her bag she takes everywhere with her. A simple cloak bearing Fenster colors is worn over her blue and silver dress. Hearing voices, she directs her horse towards them.
Whether Sheriff Jast is equally tired and worn out like his noble compatriot, the veteran does not show it as he appears to be slowly pacing the fortifications where the other man are just standing guard and keeping an eye on the roads. With hands laced behind his back, Erik manages a smirk at Daryl's words, "Some learn it the easy way, like he did. Others learn it the hard way, with either a belly stuck in their bellies or a sword slicing through their throat." And those you prey on in battle.
The checkpoint does not only keep the Flints quarantined on their side and in their clearing, it also keeps folks who may either carelessly or not knowing about the sickness wander in. Though most of his attention is directed on the Flint side, to watch for activity, from time to time Erik does look back towards the road that would lead to either Highfield or south. Seeing riders, the Sheriff's brows furrow into a frown and his pacing comes to a stop. "We have company." He warns Daryl and the other armsmen, though when the new arrivals begin their approach, Erik recognizes the three, "Fuck. What is she doing here. I told her not to come."
Daryl chuckles a bit at the conversation, eyes training to the Flint side until he too hears the riders approaching from -their- side. He turns, hand resting on the hilt of his sword until the Sheriff says he knows them. A smirk immediately finds its way to his lips, "Nagging lady friend?" He queries, though does move to stand at a position showing the riders the barricade was the end of the line.
Never has Bella been one to pay attention to orders or requests that she could get past, so.. here she is! As she approaches, the hooves of her horse clop along the road, kicking up little tufts of dust. Her expression is more than likely hidden beneath the hood of the cloak as she finally closes the distance to the barrier. Only once she has stopped does Bella lift both hands to lower her hood, her eyes resting immediately on the Sheriff. "Ser Erik." A ghost of a smile forms, perhaps she could read hjs unhappiness from there, though there is nothing tentative about the return look she gives. "My lord." Giving Daryl a brief look before returning her look to Erik, an eyebrow arched in an almost challengng expression.
"No, she was the one that helped healed my wounds after we met those Ironborn bandits, the Lady Arabella Fenster. Though I recently warned her about the sickness out here at Highfield and… advised her not to visit until we have vanquished it." Erik says and his expression shows that he is not pleased that his warning was not heeded, in fact the opposite had occurred. Instead of reaching for weapons, the Jast Knight also moves into position next to Daryl standing on the main path after motioning for the other men to return to their duty of being watchful.
The look of displeasure is curbed for the time being as Erik puts on a more diplomatic expression for the arriving visitors, though his expression is still rather stern, without a trace of a smile present. "Lady Arabella." Is the official greeting and a respectful bow of his head offered, though curt. That is followed by more words of greeting, "Welcome to Highfield, My Lady. It appears that there is a courier that I will need to dismiss for not successfully delivering a message."
Of course the lack of warmth in his expression gives the lady pause, though after a brief internal debate, Bella plods ahead with her plan. "If you dismiss him for not doing his job, it would be wrongful.. I got your message, Ser Erik." As she confesses to receiving the letter, a warmth steals into her eyes and it softens the challenging expression she was hoping for. "I came to assist." Simple and to the point.
Daryl offers a small smile and dip of his head to Arabella, increasingly amused by Erik's words. He looks up and queries, "What brings you out here, m'lady? It's almost nightfall." Another peering of the sky as it begins to paint the canvas above them in brilliant orange and pinks. As Arabella responds to the sheriff, Daryl chuckles, now satisfied she isn't trying to bull them over on the way to the Flint camp, he moves to scale a ramp on the barricade, muttering words to Erik on the way. A look west…Still clear.
Erik most likely expected that answer as he knows that the courier he had sent and paid was very good at his job, and he wasn't serious about firing the man, at least not demanding an explanation of Arabella gave a surprising answer. The quiet words that his Deputy whispers to him causes the Sheriff to smirk though his eyes remain focused on the young Fenster Lady. "I see…" Is all he says for the moment, apparently letting that response linger for a moment, as if that is what he will only say. "You are certainly most kind hearted in your endeavor, Lady Arabella." It appears that the feminine species are certainly more eager to help when there is trouble, especially one that does not include fighting men but fighting sickness. "However, we must respectfully decline your assistance for the time being. No one is being allowed past this point without permission so I must also respectfully ask you to turn around, My Lady. If you will just give me a moment though, I will briefly speak with my Deputy and gather my kit, and I can then escort you back." Now whether it is back to the border of Ashwood and Terrick lands or back to Highfield is yet to be seen.
Respectfully decline? Though not surprised, Bella does sigh in what could be interpreted as resignation. "As you surely know, the roads are unsafe to travel at night for a lady, and the hour is approaching just that, I will make camp here for the night, " Even as she speaks she is moving to dismount, clearly not taking his refusal to heart.
"Something out there," Daryl mentions to Erik suddenly, peering over the barricade and swatting the backside of one of the guardsmens helmet's before pointing at a figure a ways off, not on the path itself but a little into the foilage. The sun, now lowered under horizon some, doesn't provide enough light to illuminate the large figure. A look to Erik and then to the men who train their crossbows at the ready. As Daryl doesn't have such a weapon, he looks at Arabella, brow raised, "Camp here at the barricade?" He asks, almost incredulously.
When Arabella declares her intentions of remaining here at the checkpoint, Erik's frown returns though his immediate response is put on hold for the moment as his Deputy signals an approaching figure, from the 'sick side'. "Deputy, make sure the men are ready and if whoever is approaching nears, issue a warning. If the warning is not heeded, fire a warning shot and a second warning." The rest is left unspoken but it is obvious what strike three would be. The Jast Knight lets his eyes remain on Daryl for a brief moment to make sure his orders are acknowledged before looking back to the visiting Fenster Lady, "My Lady Arabella, you cannot camp here." Because that would be unsafe and also most inappropriate for the a young woman of her stature. However, she does have a point that it is too late to be riding back to the Roost and he certainly won't let her ride to Stonebridge, "I will personally escort you and ensure your safety to Highfield where I will make sure you have a comfortable room to stay in."
"Only if I have to, my lord. I am good at what I do.. As are you both, which is why you were assigned here, I would suppose?" Offering the two a smile before settling back to talk with Erik. "My brother, Young Lord Alric is not far behind,he will escort me back. I would not wish to separate you from your duties. Though when the time comes and you need healers to cross to the other side, please allow me to be one of them." As there is another approaching, Bella dismounts, standing behind her horse as her guard does the same, though puts himself between her and the possible danger.
"You got it, Sheriff." Daryl replies, standing on the rampart elevating him above the barricade. He sets a hand to his sword and elevates his voice, "Do not approach the barricade! This area is under containment in order to stop spread of illness! I repeat, do -not- approach the barricade!"
Down the way, the large figure freezes a moment, but then just keeps trodding closer to them. Daryl pauses only a moment, trying to spot the figure, now cloaked in darkness. Near impossible. "Fire a warning shot," he addresses to the man to his left. A hiss of the crossbow as a bolt is fired through the gaining darkness past the approaching figure.
Erik levels a look towards Arabella that shows that what he said earlier about her not staying here will not be countermanded, "I understand perfectly well how well your skill at healing is, My Lady. But the decision remains the same." For now, no further explanation is given as to why but there is a slight nod when her brother is mentioned, that bit of fact carefully noted. Her request to join healers in the future goes unanswered though as the Jast Knight hears an update and order that was being issued by his Deputy. It appears that his presence may be needed on the fortifications. "My Lady, please wait here until this… situation is dealed with." With that, Erik turns and moves to join Daryl at his side, his eyes looking out to the figure in the distance to perhaps try to make out just who is ignoring the warnings.
Bella is a healer not a fighter, she is fully aware of her strengths and weaknesses. At the first sign of trouble, she acknowledges their words with a brief nod, remaining hidden away from the possible threat, though she is uncomfortable with the possibility of more than a warning shot being loosed, she says nothing, not wanting to interrupt their jobs.
Daryl squints his eyes, as if that would help, before looking to Erik, "Can you see them?" As if he wasn't looking at the same dark wilderness he was. As the bolt can be visibly heard clunking into a tree, splitting bark and sending bits flying, a terribly loud roar can be heard, carrying past the trees and sending birds to flock to the skies. Sounds like a bear. Daryl looks back towards Arabella then to see her safely back, before looking at the presumed beast, which now rises on two hind legs, looking positive monstrous. "Well. It uh…Really wants to get past here." A look to the men on the wall, all at the ready now. The crunching of twigs and brush can be heard as the beast thunders down onto its four legs and starts hauling ass towards them, though not directly, still in the woods. It likely can't discern where that bolt came from and now its in a fit of panic and confusion. "Well fuck me sideways," Daryl mutters.
The warning shot was a brilliant one, at least in Erik's opinion as it makes it appear even more threatening with the explosion of the tree stalk. However, the answer is ont one that the Sheriff expected but when heard, it explains everything. "Fuck." He then looks to Daryl, then the other men. "Deputy, coordinate the men and their shots if the bear gets any closer, make sure they fire only when accuracy is assured. If it takes more than one volley to take that beast down, I will distract it and give you guys more time for another volley." The decision is made and orders given quickly, the tone used showing that he expects it to be followed without hesitation. And without speaking of yet another volley if the second misses, one expects that Erik knows the chances of his survival if the second volley also fails. The Jast Knight quickly moves to grab his elongated spear and begins to descend the fortification so he can walk through the main portal, ready to intercept the bear if it chooses to veer towards them.
<Commence arrival of bear/attack with Daryl running after with Erik not far behind> (Lost log?)
The jaw of the beast opens wide again, and again a deafening and violent roar shaking the senses. The unpinned and dazed horse which had been getting terrorized by the bear earlier realizes its predicament, shooting off at a gallop out of the forest…Moving for the barricade.
Daryl raises his brows some as he hears Bella's voice, eyes widening even in the melee. He shoots a quick look Erik, "Tell me thats not your lady friend." Of course, the Ashwood doesn't turn to look back as he hears the voice by chance, his sword slicing into the bear oncemore, but the creature is just ignoring its wounds. It turns the Deputy's way and moves to bite its jaws down on the man with a growl.
The bite is a grazing one but the bear is also powerful as it pushes the Jast Knight over as well, knocking the wind out of the knight for a moment. Luckily, despite being stunned, the bear has changed tarets again and Erik is back on his feet, spear in hand once more. "Deputy, focus on the bear. It's coming at you!" Right now, he doesn't care what shouts are going on from afar, because the guards were ordered to stay at the checkpoint and they would follow orders better than his Deputy has for now. With the bear turning away to engage Daryl, Erik charges at the bear's back with his spear.
The men at the barricades have finally got their wits about them, and they rush in the forest, a couple restraining Arabella before she can get far. "M'lady! It is too dangerous!" The others remain at the barricade."
The bear charges the Ashwood, who skillfully raises his shield, giving the bear a face full of metal and sidesteps, swinging its sword along the beast's leg. However, it seems like the beast has had enough, because as it passes Daryl, it just keeps trucking into the forested area, away from the two. Daryl breathes hard, shaking his head in disbelief. He just takes a moment to recover.
Unexpectedly Bella is again physically restrained from helping and she cries out in frustration, "If you will not help them then someone has to!" Stamping her foot angrily now, aiming for one of the guards feet. "Please.. do not let them die.." The plea falls on deaf ears. The shouts of the sheriff and deputy are almost her undoing, all sorts of images going through her mind of them being mauled.. bitten.. eaten? Did bears eat people? Huffing mad now Bella pushes away from the guard who detained her, blue eyes icy now. "Their blood is on your hands." Exhaling in frustration, she marches back towards her horse, pondering if she could outrun them while on her horse…
As the bear finally decides to turn and flee, apparently not successful in killing the two smaller humans, Erik watches as the creature disappear into the wounds before he hunches forward, adrenaline slowly fading, replaced with pain. His breathing a bit harder now, he hunches forward for a moment before turning his attention to his Deputy, "Lord Deputy. Please explain to me what the /fuck/ made you run out here. I /ordered/ you to stay at the checkpoint with the men. I purposely did that so we wouldn't be /here/ doing what we just did." Once again, the Jast Knight is displeased, anger visible and the only thing keeping him from truly going off is that he has taken wounds again, the one on his arm a rather serious one. When people do not listen to Erik, it apparently vexes him greatly.
Daryl takes in deep breaths of air, leaning against a tree trunk as he hears Erik speak to him. His reaction would likely be more defensive and loud too if he wasn't in similar condition. "The parameters changed, Sheriff. You said ready a volley…" A few breaths, "The bear got out of range." He coughs a couple times, observing his somewhat bloodied arm too, before his gaze fixates on Erik, "I heard the men yell, and…I took off. Had we not gotten here, think of what could've happened." He straightens, "And you may be my superior when it comes to rank," He speaks softly, this part, to ensure only they hear, "But if you think I was gonna stand by and let you take that thing on your own, then you Ser, are as foolish as I." Despite the tension and anger, Daryl just shakes his head, laughing softly. "By the seven…" Almost as if he can't believe what just happened. The bear roars in the distance, and Daryl immediately straightens…Its far off, though.
Covering her tracks back to the horse is a slow going process, each step away from aiding the two pure torture. As such, her usual graceful movements are somewhat jerky, looking back towards the offending guards every few steps with an angry expression. Giving an exaggerated sigh once she is face to face with Talbot again, he takes her upper arm and escorts her none too gently to her horse. Though she winces, Bella makes no protest, of course Talbot was angry. She had hurt him after all. Once at the horse, she refuses to climb into the saddle, her position clear. She was going nowhere.
"You do not seem to understand, Deputy. You ran out here without thinking, without a plan, without hearing if I had a plan or not." Erik says, still obviously angry, "And I do not believe you truly understand the scope of danger we were in. At all. There is a reason we have crossbowmen. And you would be a fool think that I would go in there alone. We return to the checkpoint now and I want you to think on your mistakes, as this is no laughing matter." With that, the Jast Knight turns and starts walking back to the checkpoint that is a bit away, simmering in his foul mood and his wounds are not making it any easier.
"Oh i'll think on it, I swear." Daryl's tone seems genuine with that statement, muttering under his breath, "…Been doing a lot of that lately." He sheathes his sword, his shoulders slumping some as he sighs softly. He had gotten his Sheriff and partner in crime hurt with his hasty actions, and there is a small bit of regret in his eyes for a moment. He steps quicker to get to Erik's side then, keeping in pace with him. "It won't happen again. Sheriff." His face is rather neutral then, but he does peer back to make sure the damn thing wasn't coming back to finish the job.
With bag still in hand, Bella turns back to face the woods where the two had disappeared. The shouts of the men had stopped, yet she heard the roar of the bear. With alarm in her voice, she pushes at Talbot again, "They're hurt, I know it!" Talbot catches her in a hold to deny movement, murmuring to the lady. He was taking no chances on getting kicked again.
Erik is usually patient with other nobles, even if he was angry on the inside, but apparently the combination of Arabella's surprise arrival and then this is pushing at the young knight's limit. Having expected to rest and relaxation upon returning to Highfield, things did not turn out as expected and his patience is wearing thin in general. As they approach the fortifications, Erik glances back to Daryl and nods his head, as if willing to take the man on his word and will no longer speak of it again. He then calls out, "The bear is gone, but there are injuries to tend to so get the kit!" There is a pause before Erik yells out again, "And I want those two patrolmen front and center!" He then continues on the final steps that will bring himself and Daryl to the checkpoint and through it back to the Highfield side and where the men are stationed.
Daryl nods then, looking away from the Jast with a silent sense of knowing. No more talk about it. Daryl takes his shield and uses the strap to hang it around his back as he examines his clawed arm. Probably looks worse than it is. He offers very quietly and casually, "Thank the seven it didn't touch my new bracers." But should the Jast look, the Deputy has his mean face on, staring down the two that separate from the rest and approach. It helps give the Sheriff more intimidation, after all. But the Deputy is just back a little, and off to the right, standing straight as he eyes the two.
Talbot still isn't letting go, despite the struggles of the young lady. Keeping her from harming herself as well as him is top priority. When she hears the words about someone being hurt, ifrom the voice of the Jast knight, Bella just slumps in the guards arms. Erik was alive. Was the Ashwood noble, as well? "Please Talbot, he is calling for help, allow me to go."
While waiting for the kit to be brought, Erik first turns his ire to the two common born armsmen, his eyes first focusing on the patrolman that had stayed on his horse and then to the one that had somehow dismounted himself. "You will tend to the steed that your rode back and then walk it back to Highfield. You will wait for me at the barracks at the Tanglewood Keep and you best pray that the horse will live." Though his tone is even and calm now, one can tell that the words the Jast Knight has chosen is quite serious and this will not end well for that man.
Daryl remains quiet for the majority of Erik's rebuking of the man, who nods his head solemnly at the Sheriff. The Ashwood simply stares down the man who had dismounted, before his attention shifts to Arabella. The kit is brought to Erik then, while the downtrodden guard acknowledges the order, "Yes, Ser."
Only when Bella ceases the fight does her guard release her and with bag in hand she stoically approaches the barricade once more, standing there, not chancing to dare to step around it. Her ire is apparent in the stiffness of her shoulders, the ramrod straight posture, the grim set to her chin as she clenches her mouth closed so she does not say something she will regret.
As no excuse or complaint is voiced by the man who Erik had dressed down, the Jast Knight nods his head and says to two men he had called forward, "Dismissed." Tonight, the checkpoint guards will be down a man but in the day, a fresh replacement will be sent. He finally eyes the kit and then glances at Daryl, "Lord Daryl, since we are luckily enough to have Lady Arabella visiting us here, we should ask if she would dress our wounds." Better than having the men with only some field training care for the wounds.
Daryl begins to unlatch his bracers, nodding his agreement and moving to approach Arabella. "Would you kindly, M'lady? Though if you would see to Ser Jast first.." He removes one bracer, then the other, but his wound is still up someways on his arm.
The men relax and step off then, while the ones on the barricade seem to want to look extra vigilant with the young knight standing there.
As the two noblemen come into view, both walking by their own power, that stiffness just sort of… deflates and barrier be damned, guards go to hell, Bella is waiting no longer. With a defiant look at those guarding she takes a purposeful step around, followed by another. Blood… was that blood? As the Ashwood breaks the silence first, her eyes move over his wounds with a practiced eye before quickly looking over Erik's. Taking a deep breath, the first hint that she is unhappy is the reproach in her eyes as she looks between them. "I will.. yes." Oh but expect to hear about it! "Of all the foolish, impulsive…" Stopping herself right there, she bites her lip, opening her case… Once anger dissipated what was left? So much relief she wanted to hug Erik at the same time she knocked his head against the deputy's. "Let me look…"
Approaching the young Fenster Lady with his Deputy, Erik nods his head at her approach and would not be stubborn against her demands, as healing is her realm where she would take charge. The leather armor is torn at the arm where the serious gash of the bear's first attempt at biting is located, so when she asks to see the wound, the young knight would use his free and unwounded left hand to start unfastening his leather armor. Whatever she chooses to do, poke, see, or tend to would be accepted in silence and without complaint.
Daryl steps past Arabella then as he moves to see the condition of the horse that was assaulted. Strangely enough, he isn't as fazed as he used to be moments ago, perhaps reflecting on his decisions earlier. The horse which is being tended to seems spooked, but not terribly injured. The Ashwood seems content, starting to remove his armor as he looks at the two.
Bella does poke at the wound, using her sterile instrument to remove bits if debris from the wound. Rinsing it with a comcoction that would burn, she whispers soft, encouraging words to the knight. "I see my coming here was perhaps a bad idea. Especialy againat your wishes. If you could find it in yourself to forgive me, I will.. return to either Highfield or Terrick's Roost tomorrow." With a gentle touch, she begins wrapping the bandage around the wound now that it was cleaned.