|In the Courtyard of Four Eagles|
|Summary:||Perrin's party arrives in Terrick's Roost. Information of the search are given and plans are made. The story of the Child of the Woods is explained.|
|Related Logs:||Missing children saga|
|Courtyard at Four Eagles Keep|
|The Courtyard of Four Eagles Tower is floored with a fine grey stone that match the color and tone of the interior structure of the castle's yard. Plants have been potted and placed around the entrances to add some color, the greenery accompanied by several trellises of flowers that climb the support columns. The most prominent structure in the area is the set of large slab steps that lead up to the great oak doors of the Great Hall. Several hallways and accesses lead off into different sections of Four Eagles which makes this the hub of noble activity when court is not being held.|
|Friday, Dec 07, 289|
The search party for Lady Ceinlys' daughter makes their way to Four Eagles tower. Long days in the saddle show on most. In the lead is Ser Perrin along side Ser Martyn. Behind them comes the normal retinue and three knights wearing House Haigh liver. The hooves of the horses they ride changes tone as they move from the road to the stones of the keep.
Perrin is leaning forward, his gauntlet covered arm rests on the fore of the saddle, looking about. "First time I've been here Ser Martyn," he notes and looks over to him. "Wish it could be under better circumstances."
Ever since they reached the town, Martyn's expression's been one of melancholy, as if trying to hold back certain kind of memories. Stirring a little as he hears Perrin's words, he offers the man a bit of a nod and a half-smile. "Then welcome, Ser Perrin. And make sure to come back under better circumstances at some other point." Looking around, he nods to a few of the people present, offering them a bit of a smile.
Trailing behind them is Freya Caul in her leather armour with the Haigh coat of arms on it. She has her hood down and her hair glistens in the sunlight. "This is home for me Sers or was," she says with a sad smile. "But the time before last when I was here I was in chains and rags." Coughing, "I hope this trip brings us better fortune…" She nudges her horse 'Paul' along behind them.
Sitting up straight, one must present one's self as proper, Perrin nods "It would be nice to," he says to Martyn about coming back under better circumstances. "According to Alric's message we are to meet with the Sheriff. They have given us permission to search upon their lands but we must do it under their watch and share all information that we may come across." He hasn't forgotten what has brought him here. The search for his niece runs foremost in his mind. He turns slightly and nods to Freya. "Well things are a bit different this time, I would say." His eyes flit here and there, perhaps still searching, or maybe just taking in the looks of those gathered as well as the Keep as a whole.
"I remember," Martyn offers to Freya, shrugging a little bit. "This used to be a bit of a home for me for a while as well," he offers, a bit quietly. Turning to look back to Perrin again, offering him a bit of a smile and a nod. "We will find her," he offers a bit quietly to the other man. Otherwise going silent for a few moments, looking quite lost in thought now.
Freya nods and smiles wanly, "I hope we find your niece," she says to Lord Perrin - dusting off her leather armor that makes her a little formless. Though she is mounted atop her brown horse 'Paul' it's easy to tell that the former Thief is small. She preens her spungold hair casually messing it up rather than tidying it.
Perrin gives single nod to Martyn "Yes, we shall, I thank you for the words though. You have stuck with me all these days, for that I find myself in your debt. Perhaps once this is over you would honor me by spending some time at Broadmoor as my special guest?" Again he turns to look at Freya "There is no doubt that we /will/ find her, Mistress Caul," he says with a touch of ire in his tone. He has promised his sister that such will be done.
Bringing his horse to a halt he gathers the reins in one hand "So, since you both have been here before, any suggestions on where to find this Sheriff?" Perrin asks the pair of them, not really looking at them as he continues searching the courtyard.
A bit of a smile now, as Martyn hears that. "It would be my pleasure, Ser Perrin. I've only visited Broadmoor very briefly, when travelling with Lord Alric, but I found it a beautiful place." Not to mention some of the people there, of course. A brief pause again, before he smiles. "Just as long as I manage to be in Heronhurst in a week. It's my sister's wedding, and she'd probably hunt me down if I wasn't there for it…" A brief pause about the question of the Sheriff. "He should be around here somewhere, I believe. Either him or his deputy."
Freya nods at Ser Perrin's determined assertion - and for once does not smile at the Lord but wears a grim frown on her face. She knew what it was like to lose family and her jaded heart found it hard to hold onto hope or faith in a positive outcome. She remains silent for the moment and resolves as is plain from her expression that she is focused entirely on the task at hand.
"Stay as long as you wish, Ser. Come when ever you wish. For your steadfast in our search you have proven what a friend you are. Broadmoor shall always welcome you." Perrin stays seriously before a bit of a smile creeps upon him "Besides, the scenery is very nice this time of year. Perhaps I should have someone show you about." He pauses as if thinking but the grin spreads a bit more as he looks to Martyn "Maybe my cousin would be available to show you Broadmoor. You know her I believe. Lady Katrin?" Knowing the answer he turns back to once more look around "Remind me, the Sheriff's name is Ser Justin is it not? And his Deputy. Hmm, that would be Master Mortimer Trevelyan?" Perrin ask Freya before glancing to Martyn.
The sounds of hooves can be heard again outside the walls of the keep and from how it is growing louder, one can surmise that the riders are getting closer. Then the riders appear and the one in the lead is in gleaming brigadine armor. Oiled and cleaned chain mail with a polished breastplate worn over it. The livery that the knight wears is that of House Ashwood and he appears to be leading some armsmen through the porticullis. It appears that one of the search teams is returning from their hunt though through their lack of children, their search was unsuccessful.
Freya nods, "Ser Justin Terrick I helped him with the bandit problem here when I was indentured. We are 'familiar' with eachother. And Master Mortimer Trevelyan is the Deputy - we know eachother from Mosedal a village which is near here. I haven't Seen Ser Justin in a while." A little bit of useful information. "But I ran into Ser Justin often at the stables - he hired a small office in town - and I think he was sleeping outside of the Keep somewhere when I left the Roost. A tent if Lord Lothar Terrick was telling me aright."
Pausing for a few moments as he hears Perrin, Martyn bows his head a litle bit at the first part. "Thank you," he offers, before he hears the part about the Haigh's cousin. Studying the man for a few moments, as if to make sure he speaks truthfully, he offers a bit of a smile in return. "I know Lady Katrin, yes. If she would like to show me around, that would be wonderful." Going silent again as he listens, before he offers a nod at Freya's words, "It was quite a lot of people here back then, I believe."
It seems that whatever bit of Terrick lands Mortimer has been searching has been subjected to rain today, a fair amount of it apparently as it's a tired, cold and soaked Deputy Sheriff who makes his way through the portcullis shortly after the Ashwood party. There really is nothing he wants more right now then to go home, eat, dry off and restore his faith in humanity by spending time with his family, but no, there's a whole pack of nobles to deal with first apparently. Pausing a moment while still in the shadow of the gatehouse he takes a quick glance around the courtyard before heading for the rather conspicuous gathering.
As Perrin was about to assure Martyn of his words the sounds of horses comes. He turns fully in the saddle, a hand back to steady himself as he watches the men get closer. "Ashwoods,' he says softly recognizing the livery. There is no malice in the word, just a simple statement of fact it would seem. And behind, another comes in behind them. His eyes narrow "By the looks of him, I would say that is the Deputy. He looks as I felt for the past few days. Only days and days can give a man that look." An observation, tossed out there for any one, notably himself it would seem.
A glance to Martyn "I sure hope he has heard of Alric's words that we are welcome. I want no trouble with the Terricks. Must keep our eye on the objective." Of course Perrin's objective is his niece first.
Erik is a noble but he is not with the group that is already gathered nor is he with the Deputy Sheriff at the moment. The Ashwood noble appears to be the only noble knight of his party though, as the other men look to be men on loan for the time being as he is assisting in the search for the young Lady Hafwen Erenford. And of course the other common children though they are not this knight's top priority. "Joseph! Take care of the horses." Erik calls out with a commanding tone to the youth that was riding with him, most likely his squire, as the knight dismounts quickly from his destrier. The Ashwood colored riding cloak sweeps around him as his feet touches the ground, eyes moving to the nobles Perrin and Martyn, then to the Deputy who entered the courtyard not long after his own entrance.
Looking around at the Ashwood party, Martyn studies them for a few moments, before his gaze moves to Mortimer. "That's him, yes," he confirms, turning to offer the man a bit of a smile. "Master Trevelyan," he greets the Deputy, raising his voice a little bit now.
Freya looks back to the Ashwood party, "The Lord Sherrif of Highfield - Ser Erik Jast," she clarifies with a polite nod in Erik Jasts direction - though whether he recognises the blonde outside of the gown he saw her in the last time they met (given she is wearing formless leather armor and weaponry). "And that is Master Trevelyan the Deputy Sheriff indeed my lord," Freya nods in the direction of Mortimer. "This is Ser Perrin of Broadmoor Master Trevelyan…" she says by way of introduction.
Mortimer hasn't heard Alric's words no, but he's heard Ozric's which, should they happen to differ, he'd be taking anyway. Recognising a whole two of those gathered he opts for the safe option with regards to greetings, "m'Lords, Sers, Mistress Caul," with a single nod given to all and sundry. The mounted patrol is given a glance before he says anything else, inviting Erik to join the crowd gathered so that he only has to say what he needs to once. It's a slightly warely look though as he's starting to get the impression that the instructions he's been given might not be warmly received by all. Or Erik specifically perhaps. Martyn's greeting is answered with a brief nod and the introduction from Freya earns Perrin his very own "m'Lord." Resting his hands on his belt and trying to look like less of a drowned rat than he feels he then offers, "I'll ask you excuse me if I'm brief tonight Gentlemen, Mistress, but it's been a long day."
Since he is here for business and duty, Erik removes his gauntlets and tucks them into his belt before giving Joseph a glance, making sure his squire is leading the horses away to the stables. Then he approaches the nobles and the Deputy Sheriff of the Roost, the young knight also does not recognize Freya since she is not the way she was the last time he met her, and he doesn't remember commoners that much. Nodding to the group, Erik remains silent as his eyes settle on Mortimer, waiting to see what the man has to say.
His eyes go back to the Ashwoods and he watches the man, another noble no doubt, dismount. Tiredly as well as stiffly so does Perrin. One finger at a time he removes his gauntlets when are handed off to his own squire. Looking up to his men "Rest the horses, get something hot to eat, we shall see what we are allowed to do and what we are not. I do not want to waste time trying to find you, so be nearby," Perrin tells them in his soft voice.
"He looks worse than I feel, this Master Trevelyan," Perrin says to Martyn "Well, shall we see what has been going on? Judging by the looks I see I am guessing that there is no new news to be had." His own armor, mail and brigadine are not what they used to be. Days that led to night and early risings have taken their toll on men, equipment and beasts alike.
As Freya makes the introductions Perrin bows his head to each "It is well met and I most grateful for your hospitality as well as your diligence in your search for the missing children. I only wish that better circumstances would have brought us to meet." Perrin holds up a hand to Mortimer and shakes his head "I think under the circumstances that brief is better. When was the last time you slept, Master Trevelyan? I would not have you drop dead from exhaustion upon my arrival."
Martyn nods a little at Perrin's words, before he offers a momentary nod in greeting to Erik as well. Keeping silent now to listen to Mortimer's words, nodding a little bit. Like the Haigh knight's armor, Martyn's looks a little worse than usual, for the same reason.
From the entrance hall emerges three figures. One is the tall, cinnamon-haired Mallister woman married to Ser Kamron, the other two are her faithful, but ever-so-contrasting guards. Punbah, the short and squat one, is the closest to the Lady's side, speaking to her in hushed urgency as they step out into the courtyard; the othertall and wiry Timmenappears to be dragging his feet as they emerge. Saffron glances out across the courtyard as she draws her shawl around her shoulders. Rumors speak truth as that baby bump is becoming a rather impressive sight for a woman only four months wed. If not for Martyn being amongst the group, she might have bypassed them entirely. Punbah stalks after her grumpily as she approaches the group.
Freya nods smiling slightly at Ser Erik as he gets closer, "You do not recognise me from the Roost on the Green the other day my Lord? I was wearing a gown. I am Freya Caul - this is Ser Perrin Haigh and Ser Martyn." Saffron had come across Freya in Heronhurst a while back, "And Lady Saffron - a pleasure indeed to see you," Freya did not know whether the lady remembered her. "Ser's this is Lady Saffron Mallister."
You have given out the following cookies this week:
"Thank you m'Lord" Mortimer replies quickly to Perrin. "A full night?" he then queries with regards to the question about sleep, "about three weeks now, but if twenty years a soldier taught me anything it was how to grab the hours when you can. "
Pleasantries over he turns back to the group at large. "Forgive me don't know your own progresses, but here is how things stand on Terrick lands." Theres then a brief pause, but only really long enough for him to breathe. "We have one child missing, an eight year old girl called Inna. No sign of her has been seen for the three weeks although we know she was lured into the woods by a woman lamenting for her lost children. She was tracked to a small homstead a few hours walk from here, it's been abandoned since the Ironborn burnt it but for a while it looks like they were using it a place to rest." Another pause, another breath and a quick glance to the cobbles then up once more. "There was found a body, a girl of around fourteen who we later found to have been missing from Groves' lands for about a month before." Not perhaps the greatest of news, but there is a hint of a silver lining, "she was fresh;y dead m'Lords, meaning they'd had her for that month before she was harmed."
He breaks off briefly there are he spots movement out of the corner of his eye and turns to see Saffron's approach. Turning back to the group he accellerates his tale a little, hoping to get as much finished with as possible before a Lady is added, especially a pregnant one at that. "Was then the woman mentioned before appeared, along with four wolves. We tried conversation but couldn;t get any information from her. Pursuit was made when she tried to leave but the wolves interveened at that point and she made her escape." Unconciously he rolls his right shoulder a little at that point before finishing, "one of the wolves was blooded badly but I'm afraid they made their escape too and we've been hunting for further signs ever since." The and only then does he turn towards Saffron oand offer a polite bow, "good evening Lady Mallister."
"Ah right, Mistress Caul." Erik says as recollection finds him and he remembers the girl in a rather elegant dress, certainly a fine item for a commoner. When the introductions are made to Martyn and Perrin, the Jast Knight bows his head towards them. "Sers." He then falls silent once more as Mortimer begins to speak about the current status of the Roost and the kidnappings. As the reports of commoners are given, Erik's brows furrow as he had expected an update on Lady Hafwen to come first. "Sheriff, what about Lady Hafwen Erenford. Her safety is paramount to all else right now. We have tried tracking the lady from where she disappeared and the tracks lead to somewhere between the Terrick lands and Ashwood lands."
Perrin listens, intently, to the words from Mortimer. There is only a brief flutter of his eye lashes when he mentions the finding the dead girl. "She has been returned to her home, I hope? Any signs of what may have done her in?" Questions asked before he hears Freya and then spots the arriving Lady. "My Lady," he greets with as much of a bow as his armor would allow.
Turning back to Mortimer "As you may be aware, my niece was taken while at Heronhurst. That is what has brought me here. Ser Martyn," who gets a nod from Perrin "has been with me night and day since she was, I fear now, taken. The maids had spotted a lady giving Hafwen a flower. The next morning she was missing and her Septa was found dead. At first I feared that she had wondered off. That was before I heard tales from the small folks. Tales I had not put much stock in." He looks grim "Till now."
"Wolves, woman. A boy was found in Heronhust that claimed a beast was with her as well when his kin was taken which only adds further to the tales. Not to mention that's another child taken as well. We found traces of trails, they would up and disappear on us then only to be picked up again leading us into circles. At last we came to believe that whom ever it was had crossed the Rill and so we found ourselves at your door."
Perrin says nothing about his missing niece when Erik brings her up. But anyone that was watching saw the hurt all the same. He nods along with the tracks that lead this way. Then once more to Mortimer "I shall not keep you longer than needed. I do not wish to search that which has already been done. So if you could have a map sent to me outlining what has and what needs to be, I would be much appreciative." He looks skywards and seems to curse the night, as if the daylight hours were to short for him already. "I plan to be out before first light. Maybe one of your men could see to this?"
Saffron Mallister does not seem at all deterred from her approach — and Mortimer's glance even seems to steel her to invading the conversation at hand. She overhears bits and pieces as she comes up beside Martyn, and she offers the gathering an easy, lightly-dimpled smile. "My Lords, Sers, Master Deputy, Mistress," she says easily before she tilts her head toward Lord Erik has he speaks, and one brow arches slightly. She takes a few moments to gather up herself, one hand balanced neatly on the upper curve of her swollen belly. "Lord Jast," the Mallister lady interjects, "the lives of all daughters and sons are paramount, especially in the eyes of their mothers and fathers." Her smile gains a slight brittleness before she listens to Perrin's story of these things, and her brow furrows lightly. "Forgive my bluntness, my Lords, but I would not be surprised if another body does not wait to be found in these woods."
Martyn frowns a little as he listens now, nodding a bit quietly to what's being said. He doesn't add anything or anything like it, just listens carefully for the details. As he sees Saffron make her approach, he turns to her, offering her a bit of a smile, and a nod for her guards. Nodding a little bit as he hears the lady's words. "It seems to me now that all the disappearances seem to be connected. So I suspect when," no ifs now. "When we find one, we find a number of them, at least." A brief pause before he looks over at Erik. "Think those wolves can be taken down like those boars, Ser?" he asks, after a few moments of pause. Then looking back to Saffron for a few moments.
Not seeing Saffron's approach, Erik turns his gaze on the new arrival and the words that he doesn't obviously agree with. However, seeing that she is a Lady of Mallister colors, and not wishing to cause a scene here, the Jast Knight merely inclines his head, "Of course, My Lady." Then his attention shifts to Martyn and he smirks at the other man when boars are mentioned, rumors preceding the Ashwood sworn. "Easier, Ser. Boars are far stronger and more dangerous than a wolf. The only risk is if you are outnumbered and surrounded. I get the feeling they are more like trained hounds. Hounds that belong to some bandit that is well armed and armored, perhaps an Ironborn that never left these lands."
Well that answers the main question Mortimer had had concernin this whole gathering. Turning to Erik he answers quickly, "that Ser is news to us. All we had heard was that the Lady was missing and presumed taken by the same woman as was met in the woods here. There had been talk infact of ceasing the search here and offering our resources to Heronhurst as it was felt likely that they had moved in the direction, either becuase of the fight or for some other reason. Thank you though, for we can now focus the seach in that direction rather than simply all wooded areas."
Then it's his turn to listen to Perrin's words, answering the initial questions first, "Aye m'Lord her parents claimed her," followed by a single word for the second one, "hanged." As for the talk of tales, that provokes a shake of the head, "there are many stories suddenly being remembered, but there's nothing been seen on Roost lands that suggests anything has escaped from times of old to haunt us. I must ask your forgiveness once again though m'Lord for I shall come to the search plans presently. I should note though, that the girl found was not the only loss from Highfield, an infant boy was found there too, although we've had no responce from them to messages sent to share news and searches." Erik is given a quick glance before he adds, "I'm told there are two gone from Highfield too, although I'm sure Ser Jast has more details on them than I."
"Surpised m'Lady?" he then says to Saffron, "no, not surprised, but we have time yet. A week or so at least if things run as they have before." Not that he wants it to last that long, but equally he has no mind to dwell on the though tof dead children. Sticking with the Mallister theme he then nods once to Martyn, "I can confirm that they bleed same as any other creature Ser, although it should be noted that they are armoured to a degree. Their fur is somewhat matted and that has been used to help tie on patches of mail."
Freya remains silent but nods sagely at Saffron's speech. Not much for playing stateswoman with such issues usually she can see the wisdom in steeling oneself at the moment so nods respectfully at the remarks. "The connection is very unusual however… Just two people and some trained wolf dogs - has anyone seen this hunter character the wailing woman keeps referring to?" Freya had heard the stories about a 'child of the forest' but wasn't willing to raise the matter for fear of being ridiculed. And though she didn't share Erik's bandit theory she doesn't speak on that other than to frown at Erik as he speaks.
A snap of his finger "Oh, has anyone reported any missing horses?" Perrin looks to the gathered group, asking them all. "We found a campfire with the remains of a horse that had been feasted upon. I have a feeling that this is their main source of meat. Mayhap's this lead us onto their trail as well?"
Turning fully to Saffron he nods "I admit that I am prejudiced in finding my niece, My Lady. But you are right, all are important to those that love them and it would be wrong of me to single one out above the other's just due to the fact that she is like a daughter to me. I thank you for reminding me of this." A cloud passes over Perrin when she speaks of another dead child "Why would you suggest such, My Lady? Is there something you know that we do not?"
A smile "If they bleed, they can be killed," Perrin notes both to Martyn and Mortimer's previous words. Perhaps he needs something to fight, to do more than ride in circles along trails that seemed to him to be made to specifically drive him up the wall.
"Wise words, Ser," he tells Eric "But I am starting to discount the Ironborn theory. Why would they take and then kill only children. It just doesn't seem like them."
The descriptions that Freya uses, hunter and wailing woman seems to cause him thought as his lips press together. But for now he doesn't speak those thoughts.
Darek is no longer wearing his soaked ringmail, but there's something about his hunched stance that suggests he still remembers well the downpour from earlier today. His hair is slicked back and still wet, freeing his face from the usual waves of luxurious brown hair. He sidles into the courtyard, scanning around, and moves over toward the collection of nobles, courier, and Deputy Sheriff. Knuckling his forehead and bowing his head, he clears his throat, "Lord Sheriff. Wanted to see if you needed anything." Never hurts to butter up the Sheriff when your girl is a 'former' thief. Freya's question draws his eyes up again, "I've seen the Hunter, Mistress. Tall and broad, wearing furs, with a stag's skull for a helm, he rides a creature that's not quite a horse."
Erik then looks back to Mortimer and nods his head to the Deputy, "I had hoped that it was just an isolated incident but anyone who isn't blind can see that they are all connected now. Though why they are taking children from all over the Riverlands is beyond me, especially a noble girl." Taking the noble stirs up quite the hornets nest as knights like Erik perhaps did not care as much now cares quite a bit more. "If we are still turning up empty on this side of the border, I will push further into the lands that I am sworn to. In the direction of the old Camden ruins."
When the boys from Highfield are mentioned, Erik shakes his head slightly, "Ser Jac's squire, Squire Boldt, I believe is currently working hard to find those boys. I am sure he will bring results for us soon. And let us not bring up the silly ancient tales to make this even more complicated. A bandit armoring his wolves and steed, wearing a skull helm, does not make some sort of mystical creature. Only those who lose their senses would see him as such. Whether with a spear or a sword, we can give him what he deserves which is swift death."
When Darek finally makes his appearance, Erik turns his gaze to the young squire and nods his head, "Squire Boldt, I am glad you can join us. Have you found more tracks or clues as to the whereabouts of the two Highfield boys?" His brows does furrow slighlty at the mention of the Hunter and the description, along with the bandit's steed.
"You have seen this, with your own eyes? This Stag helme'd man riding such a beast?" Perrin asks quickly with the arrival of another. His own eyes fixed on the man.
As the Highfield Sheriff patronizes her, Saffron's smile takes on a bit of sharpness. She turns toward Martyn as she taps lightly at the top of her baby bump. "As I am told, it was first Kingsgrove and then Highfield that suffered the first disappearances… two in Highfield, in fact." Then she looks at Erik. "If only the initial investigation had not been handed off to a squire, but instead given proper attention, the Lady Hafwen's disappearance could have been prevented entirely." Then she looks to Perrin, and her smile gains a bit of a gentle quirk. "You have searched high and low for a pair of fairy tales, my Lords. Worse yet, you are searching high and low for the Hunter of the Woods… do you even know his story?" Then she casts a glance toward Darek, and she bows her head gently. "My Husband has spoken highly of your Knight, Squire." She gives the boy room, though, to answer the question posed by the second son of Lord Haigh.
"A squire of Highfield has Mistress," Mortimer replies to Freya, "he's staying down at the inn in town to aid with the search. He has not been seen on Terrick lands although the woman did refer to him several tims while we spoke. Best description I can give you is a large man with some form of elaborate skull helmet, riding a mount disguised to look unnatural." Thats how he parsed Darek's description anyway.
At the question of missing horses he shakes his head, having heard no such stories since summer, when several of the noble ladies were taken. Erik is given a nod as he suggests taking his own search into Highfield lands, as that makes what he still has to say easier, then Darek also gets a brief nod in greeting. He doesn't though, note outloud the differences in the lad's description of the Hunter from last time he'd heard it. Sensible lad.
With no apparent further questions he moves on, turning to Perrin, since he was the one to bring it up. "The search m'Lord. To tie in with the searches already on going," Darek gets a hasty glance, "I'll be taking yourself, Ser Mallister and any others who wish to join us, up towards the boarder with Highfield. Ser Jask is of course welcome to search his own lands but I am under instruction from Lord Ozric that any searches in Terrick lands must include either myself or the Lord Sherrif. I am sorry to have to inform you that Ser Justin is, at present, out on patrol himself and so for now we must go as one group. We can look into splitting up further once he returns though."
Following on from Darek the 'other' former thief dissembles. "The odd horse could be a Zorse - used to have one of those in my Da's carnivale. It was considered exotic even in Kings Landing," suggests Freya - somewhat helpfully. "Have to hear more about what it looked like to be sure."
"Not quite a horse, Squire?" Martyn offers to Darek, offering a brief nod to the young man. "How so?" He then nods a bit in agreement with Perrin's words about things that bleed and their abilities to be killed. He looks around for a few moments before he spots his own squire, waving the young man over, handing over his sword with a few muttered instructions. The squire immediately heads off with the weapon, after a quick nod to his knight. Looking back to the others again now, he pauses at Saffron's words about the Hunter of the Woods. "Perhaps you should summarize it for us, my lady?" he offers her, a bit quietly. Pausing about the mention of the order from Lord Ozric, he makes a mental note about something.
Darek shakes his head at Erik's question, "NoSer. The tracks twist and turn, then disappear entirely, Ser. I still have hopes for young Mott, but Eian, the baker's apprentice, he's been gone a long while." The smiles that usually dimple the young man's features are no where in evidence at the moment. He blinks as more questions roll in, and he bows his head to Perrin again, "Yesser. In a clearing southwest of Highfield. Tracked him after, but then lost him." Saffron's words cause him to purse his lips, and he adds, "Milady, I found him after. The Hunter. I just couldn't keep finding him. No one's been able to." He blinks at Freya's question and Martyn's follow-up, "A what? Does it have scales, Mistress?" He gestures to the Mallister, to make it clear that he's answering the knight's questions too, "Or a tail like a lizard-lion? If so, then maybe it was a… whatsit. Zorse." He sounds doubtful, though.
Freya shakes her head, "Not a Zorse then - unless it was a Zorse made out to look like something completely different. A Zorse is just a strange black and white striped pattern horse alot of folk have trouble recognising because its very rare here." She shruggs helplessly.
It's Saffron's mention of a story "The Hunter of the Woods, My Lady?" Obviously Perrin hasn't heard this story. But with all he has heard of late Perrin wants to hear more "Would you care to tell us?" He grins as his thoughts have matched Martyn's.
Darek's mention of trails that disappear gain a nod in agreement and a muttered "Exactly what we found as well." Perrin's gaze goes blank when Darek tells that he has seen this first hand. "Well if it has been seen once, we know what to look for again. We shall find it, kill it and save the children." He's a Knight, he can believe in no other scenario.
With no apparent word of complaint from either Perrin or Martyn about the search arrangements Mortimer breathes a slight sigh of relief. He really hadn't been sure how that would go down and was not looking forward to the prospect of having to bounce any complains back to the Young Lord.
With the mention of story telling and such he decides that now would be a good time to take his leave, there'll be time on the ride tomorrow for more questions should any arise. And sleep maybe, although sleeping in the saddle is not as easy a feat for him to accomplish as for other, more experienced riders. "If you'll excuse me m'Lady, m'Lords, Mistress, Master," he starts, giving a qick glance round to ensure he hasn't missed anyone, then to Perrin, "I'll see you here in the morning m'Lord, say an hour before first light?" It's earlier than he'd like but such is the way of things.
Erik's smirk only grows wider on one side as the Lady Saffron assumes to know the job of a Sheriff, but knowing that causing a scene now would be inapporpriate and hinder the search right now. When the new restrictions comes in from Lord Ozric though, the Jast Knight furrows his brows again, looking a tad frustrated now. "Deputy, I suggest you try to convince Lord Ozric otherwise. Or does he not know the updated situation with just how many are missing and who?" Obviously Ozric does not know of Lady Hafwen now amongst the missing and possibly on his lands, "Going out as one party would delay the search for the missing as we cover much less ground that way. If Ser Justin is unavailable, perhaps we can have other of the Terrick's household guide us?"
"He was a Child of the Forest — or, I suppose, is. During the time of the First Men, he was one of the greatest hunters," Saffron gently rubs at the top of her belly in such a way that comforts her. "There are various stories about the Hunter of the Woods — some say he hunted the Andals themselves. He communed so deeply with the woods, he became part of them." She tilts her head a bit. "If you don't mind a Lady's opinion," Saffron offers nonchalantly, "You must ask yourself, how to hunt a hunter. My guess is that the Hunter only appeared to Master Boldt because he wanted to. So, make him want to come out." The Mallister shrugs, casting Erik a glance. "Just my opinion."
"With bait you mean Lady Saffron?" Freya asks somewhat disturbed, "Human bait - a child?" Freya even though she is saying it does not appear to want to countenance the notion.
Perrin nods to Mortimer "First light, Master. I and my men shall be here. You know your lands much better than I so you do me great service in taking us on with your party. We shall be at your disposal." He looks to Martyn to see what he thinks of the idea. But his mind has already been made but it's not his place to speak for others. "In Lord Alric's message to me these guidelines were laid out. I do not know and I hope I never will know what it would be like to have such a situation on our lands. I find it refreshing that you welcome us to your keep and allow us to take part in the search on your lands." It's is a decision that he has made for himself and his men. He nods to Erik, respectfully when he objects.
When Saffron begins talking Perrin turns to her and listens, a slight tilt of his head as he does. "Having only been a hunter myself I went to where I thought my prey would be. You are not suggestion that we stake out a child are you?" There is a hint of a smile upon him. Clearly he is asking her opinion on what to do.
Darek shakes his head at Freya, "No, Mistress. This wasn't like anything I'd seen before." He quiets for the story, nodding to Mortimer as he heads off, then shakes out his hair, running his fingers through it to further the drying process, "Don't think the Ser much likes armed men and lords and knights trotting all around his lands, Milord Sheriff. Although he didn't seem to complain about me so much. But the Deputy Sheriff — that's Master Trevelyan — " He gestures in the direction that Mortimer wandered off in, "he's been going out every day, so it shouldn't be so bad." Saffron's story draws a nod, "I've heard stories of the Hunter, Milady, but not quite so much." There's a pause, and a frown, "He's certainly never had knightly training, Milady. He didn't know he shouldn't charge into trees. Even whatever the… uh, whatever his mount is, it won't charge a tree. But I guess that fits with a Child of the Forest."
So close… As Erik spaks Mortimer turns to the knight, listening as he does so. "I am sorry Ser, but those are my instructions as I was given them last night. Lord Ozric is aware of Lady Hafwen's disapearance, although as I said before we have only found out now what it was that has brought the search back this way specifically." Tired he may be but he's going to stand his ground on this one. "There are other searchers out there Ser," he reminds patiently, "covering other ground, and with your new information they will be directed towards the borders." Darek gets another look there, to ensure the lad has heard. "I am sure though Ser, that Lord Ozric would welcome a chance to discuss any issues you might have with his decisions in person for I do not have the authority to change them."
No child will be used as bait," he then states firmly in an attempt to quell any such suggestion, however much in jest it might have been. Then shaking his head at the talk of Children of the Forest he turns back to Perrin and gives a nod in acknowledgement, "Aye m'Lord," before turning back to Erik to see if he has any final reply.
Martyn nods a little bit at Mortimer's words, then pauses as he listens to the others. "Well, if Master Boldt here managed to get the Hunter to want to see him, perhaps he should try that again?" he asks, after a few moments, letting out a bit of a sigh.
The explanation appears to be good enough for Erik, at least for now because he knows that Mortimer has no sway over such decisions. "Thank you Master Trevelyan, for your assistance. I will be sure to speak with Lord Ozric as soon as he is available." But the Terricks' availability seems rather sparse, as he and Lord Daryl were only greeting by Lady Anais upon their arrival, and no one at all when he himself was at the Roost a week or so earlier.
When the story of the Hunter begins, Erik does turn his attention Saffron respectfully, but he appears to not take the story of the Hunter or this person being some sort of Child of the Forest very seriously. To him it is just bed time tales to give to the children, pure fiction, and a bandit that is taking advantage of that with his armor and steed.
Mortimer nods once to Erik as the knight replies. "I will leave word to tell him of your wish," he answers, aiming to insure that the matter is dealt with prompty either way. Having already taken his leave of the others he simply offers a general nod to those assembled before turning and heading for the stables. He's going to need to borrow a horse in the morning, and letting the stablehands know now rather than at some crazy hour of the morning seems a sensible idea. After that though it's home, and warmth, and being dry, and food, and then maybe sleep.
"Master Boldt said that he appeared to him, and he is not a child," Saffron points out to Freya before she turns back to the others with a roll of her shoulders. She nods to Darek. "There is always a point where the story ends and reality begins. We are now in that reality. The Hunter was a series of stories about lust, hunger, death, rebirth, and power… and now we have a Hunter who seeks those things as well." She shrugs her shoulders a bit before she looks after the Deputy. "He will need to sleep at some point," she adds with a bit of a frown.
Darek frowns at the talk of the Hunter finding him, reaching up to tap his chest with one finger, "I found the Hunter. Tracked the way he took Mott." He looks around the group, "But Master Trevelyan and I proved that you can't find him by smashing around with a bunch of men. We've been searching with a half-score sailors from one of the Terrick ships the last week, and we haven't seen sh — " he casts his eyes over to Saffron, clearing his throat and knuckling his forehead, " — anything. I think we need to turn him into prey, not treat him like a bear or a boar. Hunt him down to where he sleeps, then go back and get more swords and take him."
"I've seen and felt all of those things - maybe I could be the bait," Freya suggests helplessly unimpressed at the fatuousness of her comment. But then some stupid ideas seem to work just to insult the intelligence of mortals. "Where does he sleep?"
"According to this story?" Freya clarifies.
Perrin thinks on the words spoken by Saffron. He seems to mull them over as he watches the Deputy make his way to his home. "He does need it, My Lady. And so shall this Hunter of the woods. Surely he has to have a lair. Somewhere he feels safe. " He turns back to Saffron still thinking on the words she spoke of the Hunter. There is something there nagging at him and he just can't bring it forward, not yet. He grins and nods to Darek "My thoughts as well. Or, we bait him with what he his lacking. He has power over us, taking our children. Knowing what we cherish." He holds up a cautionary finger "A trapped boar or bear is most dangerous. We must lure him into safety, where he feels safe. You did well in tracking him," or did the Hunter allow to be tracked, he wonders. "You have seen him. That is more than the rest of us." But there is still something, he's missing it or a part of it anyway.
"We can make plans on how to kill this Hunter after we find him, whether it is by luring him out to ambush or just storming his lair. But we should not be counting our chickens before they hatch." Erik says as he looks at those who remain, apparently eager to continue the search but with the groups being hamstrung by the Terrick Lord, it will take quite a bit of time.
Just as Perrin is about to say more, one of his men motions for him. With a nod to the man Perrin turns to the others "It seems that there are matters I must attend to. If you all will forgive me," He smiles and again bows as best he can in his armor "My Lady Saffron, it was good to meet you," he says politely before turning to everyone else. "And the same to you all as well." He waits the proper time before he makes his way to where his man is and they begin to walk off, speaking softly to one another, their words not carrying much past one another.