|Bitch Be Crazy|
|Summary:||In which there is an escape attempt.|
|Date:||02 June 2012|
|Related Logs:||A Wonderful Day for a Picnic and Those Damned Peasant Tyrants|
|It is less of a cave than a hovel of earth that has collapsed into the ground, large enough for the group of women to cower together and stretch their legs a little. The taller women will have to stoop to move around beneath the packed earthen ceiling. In the back a trickle of water drips from a bed of rock, turning the earth around it into gloppy mud, but providing something to drink. The bandits are ever on patrol at the mouth of the cave, quick to strike if the ladies get too lippy, loud, or simply because they feel like it.|
|June 2, 289|
Like most of her captured companions, Cherise shifted uncomfortably, unable to settle in any sort of comfortable position if though her handmaiden, Darra, had sacrificed her lap and shoulders. "For fucks sake, will they not feed us?!" She's one not used to being denied a meal whenever hungry.
Saffron Banefort has been nearly statuesque after she returned to the cave. She has found a place against the cave wall that allows her the most even view of its entrance, watching how each guard moves, how they change watch. She has stopped getting her feet wet and muddy, and even massaged dirt into them to help dry them out and create traction with her soles. With the most recent guard change, and the current man settling in for the twilight shift, she takes a deep breath, settling her nerves. "So…" She says in a soft conversation. "I need a favor." She looks around the ladies who are currently awake, her pale eyes wide and alert.
"Saffron," Anais says quietly from where she rests her chin on her knees. "There's not a whole lot to trade for favors here." She does look up, though, and something in her cousin's eyes seems to make her wary. "Saffron…" she says again, almost warning.
Tia stirs where she is, over by Corrie. She is awake, and listening. Hungry, a little cold, tired, trying to keep Corrie warm, it's not how she'd like to spend her time, truthfully. Sigh. Though at Saffron's words, Tia shifts a bit, coming a little more alert.
Sofya lifts her head from false sleep, her back settled ram-rod straight against the wall, looking towards Saffon. Her blindfold has been knotted into a loop, making a loose cord between her fingers.
Currently, Roslyn has squeezed her way to the back to drink as much water as possible, her fingers cupping around the trickling stream and forcing it down in hopes that it will stop the rumbling of her stomach and the beginning pangs of hunger. She, also, is unused to going unfed, unlike the Terricks here. "Drink more," she suggests to Cherise where the other woman speaks up.
Rosanna has mostly been curled up against the wall, arms hugging about her legs. She looks over at Saffron with a flash of irritation. A FAVOR. REALLY.
Dania has been quiet this entire time and has even managed to doze some more. Her blue eyes are open and move from Anais to, to Cherise then to Saffron. She is one who is used to missing meals. She has not complained and the only time she has really spoke out was to try and get her things so she could treat Muir and some little bit of food for Corrie. She shifts her head and pops a few joints and sighs in relief. "It depends on what it is and if it will get us either beaten or killed. Neither are very appealing."
The coughs have grown more frequent Muirenn's breath rattles with each inhale and exhale. Her skin is beginning to flush with the trace of a fever. Opening her eyes as she senses movement she makes a soft moan and stretches out her arms and legs stiffly before curling back up against the dirt wall. Licking dry lips she asks, "What sort of favor Saffron? If I can give it I will"
"Don't," Saffron says sternly to her cousin. "Lets be honest here… they want ten dragons for each of us. The Terricks sold your dowery for five dragons. Do you honestly think that Jerold has thirty or more hanging around? The menfolk have no idea where we are, and we don't know how desperate these men are. I saw the camp, I know how to get to the woods. I just need a distraction, and then I run for it." Then she looks over at Dania, and then to Muirenn. "I just need something that will draw the guard into the cave… he comes in, I run out. Its simple." Or so she hopes…
Cherise turns to Roslyn, shamelessly padding on her hands and knees for the back of their muddy hovel to have her fill of more questionable water. Mimicking the others she creates a cup with her hand to drink from as Saffron lays forth a little plan. After a few messy swallows she turns her eyes to Saffron with blonde eyebrows raised, "And what of the rest of us? What if you are captured?"
"They'll beat you if they catch you," Rosanna says in a flat, raw voice. "They'll beat us if they don't."
"You do realize that this could get those of us who are not nobles killed or raped." Dania says in a pragmatic and non-optimistic way which is unusual for her. "I understand the need and I have been going over a few different scenario's myself. If you are caught they will beat you and possibly will kill you. The only thing you have going for you is that you are worth more to them alive than dead."
"Thank you ever so much for bringing that up, Saf," Anais murmurs at the reminder of her dowry, pressing her fingers to her brow. "You know how many men /were/ out there, in this clearing. But that's not all of the men who took us. Do you know where they are? What they're doing? How they're armed? Which way to go to reach anyone other than more bandits?" She draws a deep breath. "Or worse," she says after Rosanna. "They might move us. They might decide it isn't worth the ransom."
"At the least," Sofya echoes dryly, lifting her chin towards Dania with a sharp nod. "If not both." Raped, then murdered. Frowing down at her hands, she twists the tie and winds it around her hands to form a cat's cradle.
With so many people voicing dissent, there has to be someone willing to consider the idea. That someone is Roslyn, her lips suddenly dry again as she says, "But if she makes it—. We are just as likely to die doing nothing."
"There is enough passive aggressive tension in this cave to justify some of you finally letting some of it turn active," Saffron says in a simple, soft note. "I'm sure they should expect a cat fight at some point." Then the Banefort shrugs her shoulders. "We are all worth ten dragons each." She glances toward Anais, and then to the rest. Its Roslyn that is given a sudden smile, quick and genuine, before she looks at the others. "I know in your hearts of hearts, none of you want to die… but our lives are not certain." Saffron holds up a hand. "If you don't want to risk it, that's fine… cry out in shock and surprise when I run for the entrance. I will shoulder the blame."
Rosanna hesitates a moment, then asks in a quiet voice, "Wasn't in ten dragons for all of us?"
Tia looks down at Corrie as she thinks about this, not at all happy doing nothing but not willing to risk Corrie. She watches quietly, not adding to the arguments for or against at first, but she does say, "We're all in danger, whether we do nothing or not. Might as well make a try, if you think you can. It's what got me out of Tall Oaks, you know."
"Oh no. We are much less likely to die if we cooperate," Anais replies to Roslyn with absolute certainty. "Saffron." She reaches for her cousin's shoulder. "This is not a game. You need to know what you're doing before you try to run. Which way you're going, even. And you need to think about the consequences. For all of us. I'm serious about the possibility of them moving us, or feeling more desperate if you get away. And desperate men do stupid things."
Still drinking the lady Charlton is trying to gain her full of water before crawling back to her own claimed personal hell space. "Ten tens.. tens of Dragons, it matters not. While some of us are worth more it is unpractical to believe a ransom would be paid given some certain standings of our companions." It's the starvation talking, really. "If the Banefort wishes to risk her neck and other body parts for this silly plan, then by all means let her." Should it work she'll certainly send the girl's parents a gift from their daughter's sacrifice, wholly assuming she'll not make it. Once seated again, knees tucked into her chest her eyes look over the other women. "I agree with Tia." Not forgetting such a risk the woman had survived.
"It will be my head and the head of your septa's and handmaidens." Dania looks down at her hands and frowns. "I agree with Lady Terrick, they will move us and those that are not nobles will most likely die. You have one woman who is very sick and another with child. They are within your own ranks. I know I have no say in what you choose. But I will have my opinion heard. I dislike being idle, but I also know what you all are worth. I would start panicking the closer you get to Monday."
Despite her support, Roslyn does not seem in any hurry to actually volunteer to make a distraction, her lips twitching briefly in a smile to Saffron. "If they move us, they will make more tracks. Maybe someone will see us being moved," she points out to Anais. "And if they do not pay, what will they do with us then? Even if we cooperated."
"My cousin and brother will ensure that *ALL* of us are rescued or ransomed. That is final." Muirenn states. "The rest of you may not have faith in your men, but I have in mine. I am not willing to risk the lives of our maids so soon. Should it be this time tomorrow, perhaps we can revisit such a plan Saffron." The ill Mallister turns and regards the Banefort maiden, "Martyn and Kamron will not fail us. Ser Trystan will not fail. Ser Keelin will not fail. Lord Justin will not fail. Huntsman Kain will not fail. Lord Jacsen will not fail." And that, is the end of it. "I do have something to say quite publically while I can still" She stops for a fit of coughing, "still can talk." Her gaze turns to Lady Roslyn…Lady Roslyn…I wish to offer you an apology." Yes, a Mallister apologizing.
"I know, Annie," Saffron says as she looks at her cousin. Whichever way she does intend to go, she doesn't say it. Maybe because its the best for those here not to know more details than that. She glances over toward Tiaryn and then to Cherise, and she feels almost steeled to the idea. She starts to stand, brushing her hands together and giving her legs a bit of a stretch. She's thankful now that Punbah and Timmen do not mind being dragged along to the open areas about the Roost so she can, well, run around like a six year old again. It clears her head, she says. Her gaze glances down toward Muirenn. "There is no guarantee that they will do the same thing today, tomorrow, Muirenn. They are random, disorganized. Our guard as settled in. Now is the time to go."
"Jacsen will show up shortly after the Stranger does," Anais observes to Muirenn's words in a dry tone. "Though I imagine others will get here a bit before that." At least she's keeping the captivity bitchiness aimed at people who aren't here? "Saffron, you have to be smart about this. Wait until later. And hour or two before dawn. They'll all be asleep, you'll have some lead time, and it will get light sooner, so there's less chance of getting lost in the woods." She grimaces, looking around the cave. "And if we time it right, we can shift around enough so they don't realize you're gone. I doubt they're keeping close track of each of us while we're shoved in here."
"First of all you are making a fatal mistake you are underestimating them." Dania speaks up. "Yes I might be a healer but my brothers are not and we actually talk and like each other. They are more organized than you think. This place, and they have alluded the guards and the hunters for this long."
Roslyn seems surprised at that public apology, distracted from the conversation at hand about the other lady risking her life. Just for a moment where she asks, "What for, Lady Muirenn?" But then she catches Anais's words, her gaze sketching to Saffron before she moves to catch her hand. Maybe her hand-imprint is still there. She squeezes briefly, and then lets go.
The feverish woman rubs her face and then beams, "And Ser Grumpsalot….he won't fail us either…Ser Hardwicke." Her thoughts tumble around, "It isn't like they are going to get more organized Saffron. This is as organized as it gets." Turning to Roslyn, she continues "I would curtsy but I would bang my head and it already hurts. You said I sang like a harpy and I took the greatest of offense for…well…" Her bare shoulders lift in a shrug, "Well because harpies are not well thought of. My brother recently informed me that such beings are in myth to sing very well and it was a compliment. I apologize for any rude things I may have said." Not the most well worded apology perhaps, but she is not at her best and she does seem quite sincere.
Cherise had no doubt that her husband will come and felt no need to vocally remind herself. She does look to Saffron, "What sort of a distraction will you need Lady Saffron?" The girl is asked as she's quite serious and too impatient for this plan to be implemented.
Saffron looks over toward Cherise, and she inclines her head. "Something that will draw the guard inside. My thought… and please, bear with me… is that he should come in to break up a fight. As I said, there must be one of you would would take some joy in letting out some aggression."
Quite serious still Cherise asks Saffron, "When shall this commence?"
Saffron has finished giving her limbs a good stretch, and she looks over to Cherise. "Now would be appreciated, Lady Cherise."
"Oh, yes. There are—stories of them luring men to their deaths," Roslyn replies, a hint of a crease in her brow before she gets distracted again by the talk in the hole. She glances from Saffron to Cherise, and then scoots a bit further away from the Charlton lady.
Dania moves rather quickly to be near Muirenn and her Septa. She is there to protect if she can. She looks to Lady Anais and just shakes her head.
"Saffron, /don't/," Anais hisses, reaching out to try to grab her cousin's arm and pull her back down. "Please, don't. I need you here. I need- Don't do this, all right?"
"Of course." She tells the woman, rising onto her knees. "Do we have any messages for Lady Saffron to carry, if she should be successful?"
Lucienne has kept mostly to herself for the last few hours, grown tired of conversation. Tucked against a wall with her legs crossed and her head tilted back, she starts to listen again as Saffron announces her plan. She frowns, deeply.
Rosanna side-eyes Cherise and Saffron. It is some srs side-eye.
"Tell them to come as fast as they can?" Tia says, not above that little addition. She stirs a bit, watching, but one hand is resting gently on Corrie's shoulder.
Wiping her eyes, Muirenn gives an achy stretch and says "Saffron, I do not agree with this. A wiser course is to wait…what is one person running away going to accomplish? I mean the men already know we are here!"
Roslyn colors a bit, but then she's moving closer to Saffron to whisper in her ear. It is a very private message, ok.
"The men do not know where we are." Cherise tells Muirenn.
"There's nothing you can say, Annie, so you best just let this one go," Saffron says to her cousin, gently prying her hands away. "I have nothing—" And then she quiets as she leans her ear to Roslyn to accept the whisper. She keeps her expression neutral as to not hint to what the woman has said, and she looks to Roslyn with a small nod. She looks to Cherise, and she gives her an incline of her chin to let her know she's ready.
Blame the fever, coughing and doubling over the Mallister girl ponders and then nods. Sitting down she tries to catch her breath. "Yes…you are right"
Scowling down at her hands, Sofya grabs at the two crosses made at the tie and slips that pattern into a new form. Her brow furrows more deeply at Saffron's nod to Cherise. Well. Fuck.
"Just- Just /wait/. Does anyone have anything that can be used as a weapon?" Anais asks of the gathered women. "A hair stick, even. A corset stay?"
Lucienne dips her chin, looking beside her to see what Sofya is up to. Her brows knit as the ladies continue to refine Saffron's plan, and she wonders in a completely unrelated whisper, "Do you think you could re-braid my hair, without a brush?"
It's a peasant's game, a childrens' one, where increasingly intricate patterns are formed by twisting a cord between one's hands. Two 'x's mark where it can be caught and overturned to form something new. At Lucienne's request, Sofya simply ducks her hand in a nod and slips her hands free of the bit of cloth. "Of course, Lady Lucienne," she says softly. The big of cloth is looped around her wrist for later. Shifting closer to the Terrick lady, she sweeps Lucienne's dark hair over one shoulder and begins carefully finger-combing it up from the bottom.
The Banefort draws her hair up as one last preparation, knotting it at the base of her skull in hopes of keeping most of it out of her face. This leaves shortish bangs framing her brow. She gives Anais a small smile and then she wriggles her toes a bit with a touch of anxiousness.
"My fan maybe?" The Mallister girl looks around and hands over her fan. The feathers are bedraggled but they are fastened onto pieces of wood with bits of metal. "It's all I have left."
Tia takes a moment, or two. "I have a hairthing, if it will help, but it's probably more trouble than good," she suggests. She moves her hands to her head, working through her mop of thick curls to find the dang thing. It's buried in there by now, and actually, getting it out will help her head feel better. She has to work for a few moments, before she pulls whatever it is out, and simply hands it over to Saffron. It probably isn't very good of a weapon, but it's a hair stick at the least, plain and simple. And now Tia has to figure out how to get her own hair back into something resembling proper. Which is troublesome at the best of times.
Lucienne smiles as Sofya agrees to do her hair, but it doesn't last long. As the other girl starts to fingercomb, Luci scowls again and mutters, "This is madness. She's going to get us all beaten, or worse." She folds her hands in her lap, and holds still.
Tia nods to Saffron, then moves back to sit by Corrie, starting to work on her hair, struggling to get the knots out of the long hair that is far too curly for its own good. Sigh. Well, at least she knows what she'll be doing for the rest of the night.
Roslyn watches Saffron, Anais, Cherise—and, that is about it. She stays scootched away from the last of that list, not willing to get slapped to provide a distraction, but keenly interested. She even murmurs prayers to the Seven under her breath, all for you, Saffron.
There is a little light tugging as Sofya works her way into the initial knots in Lucienne's hair, touch very gentle. "Yes, she might," she murmurs softly, slowly straightening out the Terrick Lady's locks. "They won't touch you for that at worse, my Lady. You're worth to much to them, especially if they know who you are and they're local-like."
Well then, Cherise' look may imply. "We best see this through then." Her eyes narrow down on the Nayland woman's movement, "lady Roslyn, if you would be so kind to land the first strike?" The other side of her face obviously as she points to it with her hand. "Then we may tussle on the ground, screaming and what not till the bandits arrive?"
Sighing, Muirenn murmers to Dania "You and Septa can sit near the back behind me…and…be still." It appears that this is going to go down no matter her thoughts on the subject. Her body shakes as she begins to cough again and gestures towards the back of the hovel.
"No I will sit infront, I do not want harm to come to you if the guard comes in her like I think they are going to be coming in here like." Dania says softly to Muirenn. "Please Lady I am not a delicate flower."
Rosanna glares at Cherise from her little spot against the damp wall of the cave. "This is idiotic," she spits.
"Perhaps we should move a bit further away from their madness," suggests Lucienne, sounding a little worried. Her hair slips through Sofya's fingers as she twists her head to look over her shoulder. "If it looks like we didn't have any part in it…"
"The more bandits that enter this hole to break up the fighting the greater chance lady Saffron has to escaping. If only two of us are tussling about that's two out of how many to settle us? There will be more out there." Cherise exhales, "Had anyone a better idea besides sitting in wait and starving?"
"There is no where to go," Sofya cautions in a soft whisper, glancing towards the mud hole at the end of their dirt cave with a frown. "Do you think our captors will care? We just do not want to be caught in their sights when she is returned." It's a pragamatic estiment of sorts. Blinking, she looks up at Cherise rather flatly — she is not going to be hitting a noble woman. She likes living, thanks.
"Thanks for the attempt, Lady Cherise, but…" Fuck this. Suddenly, the Banefort is moving with spry limbs. She might not have the stamina of a long-distance runner, but she's definitely got an initial burst of speed. She has been studying much of the cave's floors at the start, and she paces over its surface with strange familiarity. As she comes to the cave entrance, she gives a doe leap over the transition of stone to dirt and quite literally hits the ground at a run, curving to head to where she had seen a clear break for the woods.
"We are not going to /starve/ in three days," Anais rolls her eyes at Cherise. And she, at least, is distracted when Saffron runs, strangling back a cry to her cousin.
"We have water we will be fine." Dania says then she shakes her head. The words die on her lips as the girl makes a run for it.
"Of course there is somewhere to go," Tia replies with a glance over at Sofya. "Though it is a bit of a challenge to figure out which way to travel in, I admit." Not insurmountable though, her tone says. Her breath catches as Saffron just makes a run for it, without any distraction by the others. Oh gods, may they lend speed to her feet and strength to her will. She doesn't pray to those seven, but she does pray.
Lucienne sends a quick look about the cramped cave at Sofya's reply, her shoulders drooping dejectedly. Fine! She turns her head back around, loose curls sliding back over her shoulder in a re-messed tangle. Sorry.
The guard currently on duty is a scruffy young fellow making a valiant attempt at growing a mustache like the bandit leader's. It isn't going very well, so his current efforts to try to twirl the edges like Rodrygo does are difficult, and attention-consuming. He is not, therefore, paying overly-close attention to the cave. Surely they won't bother trying anything with him right the—"What the fuck?" He looks after the blur that is Saffron, and back at the cave and back at the blur, and shouts, "ONE OF 'EM'S MAKING A RUN FOR IT! COME QUICK!" to the other bandits.
"No you are…" Coughing interrupts her and she just gives up. This is rediculous, and she just cannot do this…any of it…all of it anymore. Muirenn watches Saffron run for the opening. "Oh dearest Seven" she utters as a wordless prayer. Curling up against her Septa she whispers hoarsely, "I am so tired Dania."
"Begging your apologies my lady, but for some us the only end to that is that we end up with our faces down in the dirt," Sofya answers, lifting her chin to meet Tiaryn's eye. If she has heard the other lady's grand tales of escape, they haven't connected to the fair Northern noble woman. After a moment she dips her head back down, smoothing her fingers through the end of Lucienne's hair again and flinching as shouting rises from outside the cave. It has begun.
As Saffron makes her break, Anais moves to a spot where she can watch the clearing outside. If Saffron's going to get walloped, she's at least going to get a good head count and weapons inventory out of it.
Dania turns attention now fully on Muirenn. Gently she strokes the teen's hair away from her face as she checks her temperature. "Just rest, we will work on keeping that fever down. If they need us to move I will carry you. Just rest, you will be okay. We will be here when you wake."
THAT was certainly not part of the plan. Cherise's eyes widen as Saffron takes off for the cave's exit without a distraction or something to take the men's attention elsewhere. She'd yell out her name though that would be worse. Pray, pray very very hard.
Rosanna startles when Saffron actually really does make a break for it. She shrinks back, watching the cave entrance with a sort of dread.
"Aye," Tia says to Sofya softly. "it might. And so too might doing nothing and just staying here. We really don't know, do we?" That's all she's got, since she would rather be the one trying to escape than not. Her voice is even except for the worry for Saffron. Tia is behaving, all for Corrie's sake, no matter what she'd rather do. She keeps doggedly fussing with her hair, but it's surely cooperating even less than Lucienne's.
The moment her feet start tearing up the ground beneath them, Saffron wishes she had ran about more without shoes on. For now, the rush of adrenaline dulls the pain that undoubtably is tearing through the nerves of her feet. She has used her best judgement of direction and put herself on that path, hoping it will take her to a road. She doesn't even look behind her as she continues to run.
Lucienne just shuts her eyes as Saffron 'escapes', probably making a mental count down from ten.
"I can move" Muirenn says as she watches the cave opening and adds flatly, "My cousin Kamron is going to kill me for letting her do that." Not that anyone likely could actually stop Saffron from doing anything shy of Morla. Looking around, she adds absently "I have decided that I hate caves Dania…I do not wish to visit any once we are rescued."
"That makes two of us sweet Lady." Dania moves to get her hand wet with the water and she places it on her forehead, elbows and the back of her knee. "For now let us hope she makes it. I will not leave you or Lady Cordelya. But I think the next picnic that is held I will stay home and gather seaweed from the ocean."
Bandits run from across the clearing at that shout, but Saffron gets further than most in the cave would probably have expected, all the way to the edge of the clearing. It's there when, unfortunately, a bandit steps out from behind a tree, sticks out an arm, and straight-up clotheslines her.
Anais flinches when Saffron goes down, but forces herself to keep watching. The dark, slender girl who serves as her handmaid starts to creep toward the mouth, only to be caught at the wrist. "Don't even, Nina," Anais murmurs. "Help me count."
"What happened?" Cherise asks Anais anxiously.
Seven Hells! her brain cries out, a bit too late for her body to react as Saffron slams full speed into the arm. There is a straggled cry choked against the man's arm. It stops her upper body's forward momentum, but her feet are still running. It could have almost been comical if it was a rehearsed interaction — her feet kick forward right out from under her and she slams into the ground with a solid thud. She wheezes for breath as the wind has been knocked out of her lungs.
"She made it to the edge before they came out of the woodwork," Anais answers Cherise, quickly counting bandits and the visible weaponry. And just where in the woods they're coming from.
So Lucienne's count gets all the way down to one, and then Anais announces the result of Saffron's… stroke of genius. She sighs, her head tilting a little with the gesture. Again, sorry Sofya.
Tia closes her eyes as she hears the bad news, her fingers stopping their work in her hair. She takes a breath and then continues quietly to work on her own hair, untangling it, as much as she can.
Lucienne just waits, her shoulders tensing a little as Sofya continues to comb fingers through her hair. She worries her hands together in her lap.
The hair stick, so inexpertly launched, hits the bandit in the chest. "What the— son of a bitch," he grumbles, and takes a couple steps and reaches out with long arms to grab Saffron and haul her back once again. "Quit that!" he scowls, sending the other bandits back to their posts now that he's got the prisoner in hand once again. He marches her back to the cave, this time not letting go of the back of Saffron's shift, the neck of her pulled tight across her throat.
Cherise doesn't leave her spot, daring not to run out herself given that Saffron has been caught.
Well, Saffron definitely didn't get far that time. She is at least putting up quite a fight, kicking out her feet with a sudden scream as he grabs her. Then that crimson panic starts to fade from her vision, and her fingers start to claw at her shift collar to loosen it as it starts to choke out her breath. Damnit! Damnit, damnit! If she had only gotten to the woods…
The struggle does slightly rouse the half sleeping, half passed out flint woman in the corner. Corrie stirs from where she was slumped against Tia's side, drowsy eyes fluttering open, hand reaching for her husband to wake from this night mare… And he's not there. She grabs Tia instead, and the nightmare is real. She doesn't scream or cry out, though Tia can feel the abrupt difference in the long, thin body that was curled up at her side loosely. Corrie's gone suddenly tense, pressing a bit tighter against Tia as she tries to figure out what the hell is going on.
Shivering slightly, Muirenn just continues to cough. Finally gasping she catches her breath and lays limp against her Septa. Closing her eyes she mumbles something about sleep.
That catches Tia's attention, that change in Corrie and the hand reachin out. She lets go her hair in a heartbeat, instead reaching to give Corrie a hug. "It's okay, I'm here, Corrie. Remember to breathe. It's going to be alright, but we have to stay calm." Her words are soft and soothing, as she hugs her heart-sister, concern on her face. Corrie will feel the tension in Tia as well, though that's not exactly new since this all started. They're all going to need pampering once this is done.
The bandit drags Saffron, if he has to, easily avoiding the kicking, and the clawing not doing much good, really. "Cut that out," he chides, dropping her in the mud a yard or two from the cave entrance. "Right," he says, hefting his grip on the big wooden cudgel he holds in his other hand, and talking loud enough for those in the cave to hear, "You," he shoves Saffron with his toe, "You are going to regret that, missy." He sniffs, and clears his throat, and says again, "Right! You," he points the cudgel at Saffron, "Are gonna lose your shift for that. And you're going to pick one of your friends to come out and lose hers too. Otherwise, you all will. Got that?" He looks pretty pleased with himself for coming up with this.
With Muirenn back alseep. Dania settles herself down beside the teen and the Septa. She then casts a glance at Corrie as she once again goes through her ritual of sitting in this room. "Are you okay Lady Cordelya?" She asks in a gentla voice. She gaze goes to Anais and to the entrace waiting for Saffron to to appear.
Cordelya's brows knit a bit as Tia mentions her hair being free now. Just another issue, especially if it's bothering her. She tsks softly, though the task at hand is oddly reassuring as it's a simple, homey problem to solve instead of the impending horrors in front of them. She tenderly reaches up, fingertips very, very softly grasping for Tia's hair to see if she can start gently unknotting it with her own hands…"Let me see…" She whispers to her good cousin. And then the sound of Dania's voice comes, familiar after last week, and she gives a weak smile in the woman's direction, even if it probably cannot be scene. "Aye, mistress… fine. Tired. Cold… but I truly cannot complain, all things considered."
Defeated, Saffron Banefort ceases to struggle. Her delicate lady feet are torn and bleeding and she can suddenly feel the ache. There are bruises already forming where she had slammed into the guard's arm and she notices a slight hitch in her steps now that the adrenaline has started to fade. It must be true, ladies /do/ bruise easily; she will hate that fact later. For now, she has hit the ground again, this time in cool mud. She almost relishes in the feel, but it is a shortlived grace as the bandit's words touch her ears. She turns her head to look up at him sharply, staring first into the head of the cudgel and then beyond it into the face of the man. Her jaw juts out a bit in defiance, but she knows it is useless. She slowly pulls herself onto her knees. Buying herself some time, she indignantly begins to pull her shift over her head. Hey, look! She's got a bruised butt and everyone can see it! "Anais," she says in a broken voice, apparently the scream all she could manage at a full pitch.
Lucienne clenches her teeth, straining to hear what's going on outside the cave from her spot relatively close to the back of it. "What's going on," she asks the room at large, peering curiously toward the girls closer to the entrance.
Anais' eyes go wide, and the color drains from her face when her cousin calls her out. She can absorb a lot of shock. Really, she can. Reavers, bandits. This…The words she mutters under her breath are not at all fit for the company of ladies, and her hands shake, but she slowly pushes herself up to walk to the mouth of the cave. Because the only thing worse than taking her shift off at this point would be having it /taken/ off. The color rushes back, though it centers in her cheeks. "There could not possibly be enough iterations of I told you so for this," she mutters to her cousin as she strips out of her shift with as much control as she can manage.
Rosanna's eyes widen at the bandit's demands, and she watches Saffron with close, wary eyes that say, 'Don't you fucking dare.' In eye language. She exhales slowly as the Banefort chooses her cousin.
Tia manages a bit of a smile, but she doesn't move her head as Corrie starts working on the recalcitrant tresses. "Thank you," is all she says. She keeps watching the front of the cave, though she keeps her hands out of Corrie's way, for the moment just concentrating on the Banefort cousins. "Oh, gods," she murmurs. "The guards have as ill a sense of humour as the gods, I think." Not very reverent, that.
"Good," the bandit grins as Saffron and her chosen fellow victim comply. He takes the the shifts, balling the fine linen up in a hand. "Now," he says, gesturing with that club once again, "You two," he indicates Saffron and Anais, "Get to pick somebody else to come and get hit. Or else you all do."
"Better than being beaten to death or her having to choose someone to die." Dania says gently as she tucks her arms aginst her. She sighs and stands as she looks at the other woman, just waiting. She is not a delicate flower by any means of the imagination.
Rosanna draws that breath right back in with this latest addition from the bandit. OMG NOT THE FACE.
Lucienne looks over toward Rosanna at her sharply drawn breath, eyes widening. Without thinking, she hunches over to make herself appear smaller.
It seems the punishment will not end with just a couple of undergarments being revoked. Cherise looks to the others where most were just as quiet as she.
Saffron is not in denial. Anais is going to probably kill her if they get out of this. Of course, this is only if Mistress Morla doesn't beat her to it. Saffron protectively embraces herself, arms strategically placed across her breasts and body hunched a bit in hopes of disguising the other bits. She is glaring like a dragon up at the bandit. She glances over toward Anais in apology before she inhales through her nose, considering without looking away from her cousin. "Nina," she says, speaking of Anais's handmaiden. She will go as far as she can to keep this as far from the other Ladies as she can.
Silently, Corrie continues the gentle unstranding of Tia's hair, trying to get those few knots out. It's a quite focused job, pulling all her attention away from the misery in the middle of the room. Hopefully they will forget she's there. The bandits, at least. She doesn't hum or speak a word, she just goes over all those wild blonde curls. It's restful enough that she might sink into a light half sleep against Tia's arm when she's done again…
The bandit takes one look at Nina and shakes his head, "No you don't," he says, "Back in with you, girl," he says, looking back to Saffron and Anais, "A lady," he says, "One of your own."
Tia can hear it all, and she simply gets to her feet. Sorry, Corrie. She makes her way to the edge of the dang cave, blinking at the light. "I will take the punishment," she says simply.
Cordelya whimpers slightly, feeling Tia get up and away. But she doesn't dare risk her child, so she doesn't protest. She just curls in on herself, hugging arms around her torso, curled up against the wall as she tries to become a shadow instead.
"Did I mention I told you so?" Anais mutters to Saffron with a dark look when the next request comes. She glances back to the cave, and the handmaid near the entrance nods slightly to her before stepping out of the cave as well. She's been quiet, as she always is, but anyone keeps up with Anais every hour of every day must be made of sterner stuff, right? Stern enough to stay near the mouth of the cave, at least, after the dismissal. For her part, Anais keeps one arm across her chest as she scrubs a hand over her face with another glance toward the cave. She has her mouth open, the beginning of a name on her lips…and then Tiaryn steps forward. NOW YOU'LL NEVER KNOW.
"Really, they will shatter." Comes Dania's response at this point. The tall woman is hunched over she moves towards the entrace of the cave. "Are you certain your head bandit will like the Ladies being runined before he gains the money."
At the sound of Tiaryn's voice, Saffron looks over to her from her spot, still knelt in the mud. Her pale eyes widen a bit as the Flint woman steps up, and she looks as if she is about to object, shaking her head. Her voice is still hoarse as the bruises around her windpipe darken. She glances over toward Anais, and there is guilt in her eyes. "You did, I remember."
"Oho, a volunteer?" the bandit laughs as Tiaryn steps up and offers herself. And then as Dania heads up towards the entrance and speaks, he says, "And it looks like we have a second! Come on out here, girl, join your friends."
Luci remains hunched over at the back of the cave, trying to blend into the wall. If she hadn't damned-well asked Sofya to braid her hair, she might even have had a maid in front of her.
"They had nothing to do with this," Saffron finally objects up at the bandit. "They should not bear… the punishment." She swallows, and it causes her eyes to close briefly at the pain. Then she looks back up at him. "I plead with you… bestow your punishment on me!" Her head has apparently cleared and realization of her deeds have come into sharp detail.
Tia stands there, letting her eyes adjust and then taking a swift look around before her attention is on the bandit with the cudgel. She is expecting this will hurt, but better that she take the pain than one of those youngsters in there who might actually shatter as Dania has said. She doesn't say anything further, just stands there, watching the bandit's face.
"I have a wager for you." Dania says to the man as she sizes him. Stepping out of the cave is a blessing. She pulls herself to her full height and she stretches, joints pop a she sighs with relief. "If you are interested that is."
Dania looks to Tia and then looks at the man.
"Saffron, shut /up/ already," Anais hisses to the other woman, her hand tightening on her own arm as she tries to keep a balance between productive anger and the sort of anger that leads to foolshness.
Cherise curses under her breath after witnessing Tia head towards the cave's mouth. She does survey those within in search of those with the longest shifts.
The bandit lifts one heavy hand it cracks the back of it across Saffron's cheek. "There," he says, before turning back to the others. "A wager?" he snorts at Dania, "Oh, and what's that?"
The bandit apparently gets tired of waiting for Dania to speak up (he's not a very patient fellow) and steps up to Tiaryn next, smacking her across the face in a similar backhanded manner. "Back in with you, then," he says, giving her a little shove back to the cave. Anais and Saffron don't get similar instructions.
"Unarmed combat, if you lose you leave us be an none will escape the rest of this night. If I lose you can be the bloody snot out of me but the lady is left alone." Dania says softly.
Tia is still taken by surprise as bandito number 4 or is it 5? moves in to backhand her across the face. It snaps her head back and brings tears to her eyes, as well as a big red mark on her cheek. Her hand smove to her face, as she can't help the gesture, and then she gets sent in, without anything further. Well, that'll at least not be so bad this time. She doesn't argue, or stay to watch. She's done her good deed for the day in volunteering, so she simply turns and goes back into the cave, back to Corrie and settles down in total silence.
Saffron winces at the tightening of Anais's hand, but she does not look toward her as she keeps her eyes on the bandit. She is perhaps about to explain more about how its her fault, but it is silenced by the solid crack of fist to cheek. She tumbles back into the mud with a sqeelch. She didn't realize how much everything hurts. At the sound of the slap to Tiaryn's cheek, she flinches. As she pulls up to her knees again, she keeps her gaze averted now.
The bandit then hears Dania's offer, as he is dismissing Tiaryn, and laughs, another of those great, booming belly laughs. "Unarmed combat?" He laughs some more, "With you?" More laughing. "Get back in the cave, girl," ahahahahahahahaha. "Alright, then," he turns back to Saffron and Anais, "So who're you going to pick to get hit, then, hmm? That's right, volunteers don't count."
Dismissed Dania shrugs her shoulders and heads back into the cave. No sense in causing more damage than has already been done this night. She moves to go and quietly sit back at her place with the Muirenn and her Septa.
Cherise's eyes had narrowed, lessoning so once Tiaryn was making her way back and she has enough compassion to use the cleanest part of her chemise to dry the tears from Tia's eyes. "Shhh."
Rosanna swallows sharply and tries to look — very small. And not hittable.
Anais is having trouble with the rage/panic barrier at the moment. That, or her system is just straight out of adrenaline at this point. "I suppose Saffron wouldn't count, either," she sighs. Finally, she looks to the cave, then back to the bandit. "Cherise."
"Cherise," Saffron agrees guilty. Maybe its because the woman had been so willing to help her, or maybe she is still desperately trying not to choose one of the women who would have no part in this. She wraps her arms tighter around her torso as she continues to look down at the mud.
"CHERISE!" The bandit calls, laughing, "Your friends want you to come join them, girl!"
Her name having been called by the bandit had instantly pulled her attentions away from consoling Tia. Very well. She survived a bow to the face, an unpretty thing and this, she had no idea what to expect. Hesitant to leave, Cherise eventually does so. Ducking under the cave's low ceiling to reach the mouth and join her nude peers. It felt good to stand upright, fully. She'll try not to look too relieved.
Lucienne visibly relaxes, though her expression remains solemn.
The bandit wastes no time, though Cherise's already-bruised face makes him chuckle. "Not very popular, ain't ya?" he asks, before winding up and smacking her into the mud. "Alright!" he says brightly, "Back into the cave with the lot of ya. Go on."
Anais crouches down to help Cherise up when the bandit dismisses them, offering a hand to Saffron as well. Which doesn't do much for covering her front, but hey. Sometimes you have to cling to whatever humanity you have left.
The Banefort does not look up as she hears Cherise approach. Her entire body flinches as she hears another sound of hand to cheek. Saffron has resolved herself not to cry, not out here, not in the mud. She has taken all the steps necessary to do this, though she finds herself fearful of what will come next. She will feel better once she can hide in the cave, somewhere in the back, far from prying eyes. As they are released, she scrambles up to her feet, though she does require Annie's help. She glances to Cherise, and then starts to limp her way back into the cave.
The relief was short lived, only to be knocked back down to the ground by the bandit's hand. Cherise does accept Anais' aid with the other hand covering her mouth where it stung the most. Back to the cave, their hopefully temporary home away from home.