|Search and Rescue|
|Summary:||The perspective inside the cave for the rescue.|
|Date:||June 4, 2012|
|Related Logs:||The trio of taken ladies leads into Laying Waste to Bandits Ahorse, the end of the log goes straight into Laying Waste to Bandits Afoot.|
|Bandit Hole — Wilderness|
|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 4, 289|
Drymouthed, tired, and upset, Jocelyn stirs. Her body is sore from sleeping on rocks for days, though there isnt much she could do about that. Probably why shes so upset. Conversation tid bits were heard around her before she opened her eyes. From lack of food, she's grown a bit weak, and so pushing herself up hers her muscles, but she does it. Propping herself up against the rock wall she blinks, looking around at the ladies that awake.
Rosanna is here, obviously, tucked into the corner she's made a terrible, terrible home of the last few days. She glances over at Jocelyn as the Nayland lady stirs, something of a very grim, tight smile crossing her lips — if not her eyes. Good morning, sunshine. Life still sucks.
As is everyone else, Jocelyn's hair is ragged and tangled and looks like some sort of bird made a nest of it. A hand is lifted and she scratches at her scalp. She shift is dirty and torn, you can see her knees as she draws her legs up to press them against her chest. Meeting Rosanna's eyes, her own are dull and give little away of how she's feeling other than her tiredness. One side of her mouth moves up as she looks at the lady.
Sleep was unheard of for every time the Charlton woman had attempted to do so something had jerked her awake. Still here, still in the hole as this was no sleep induced nightmare. "It is daylight, isn't it?" Her eyes were squinted trying to gage the hour of day by the mouth of the cave.
"Does it matter?" Rosanna says in a voice a bit hoarse with fatigue and lack of food.
Turning her head to the other Lady, Jocelyn blinks at her question and then turns her head some where to squint. Feeling dizzy from turning her head so quickly, even though it wasn't quickly at all, she closes her eyes and lays her head in her hand. "I don't see daylight. But it feels just slightly warmer in here…so it must be. Though that could be my imagination." comes the low horsed voice. Her voice strained from it not having been in use for so long.
"Aerick should be awake soon. He will be hungry." Cherise answers with both fingers twisted within the filthy length of her chemise. "He's such a good little boy. Sweet boy." Her reddened eyes, swollen and dried from lacking the energy to cry lazily gaze about their muddy prison. "Rosanna, do you hold guilt?"
"Guilt?" Rosanna echoes, her gaze sliding sharply to Cherise.
Jocelyn stares at Cherise in wonderment. That was an entire different type of ache, when it came to a child. One she didnt know yet. At the question posed to Rosanna, she opens her eys and looks to the Cherise. "I do not believe anyone should have guilt over anything at this time. There was little any of us could do to prevent this or know to prepare for it. Whether you speak of guilt over the situation or over anything else."
"True, very true." Cherise tells Jocelyn while Darra, the Charlton Handmaiden shifts against her lady. "None of this could be foreseen, though I wondered as our hostess that day had Rosanna felt… feels." The woman swallows and tries to clear her throat. "I hoped to say she shouldn't feel blamed. Not for this."
Some of the sharpness fades from Rosanna's gaze, now that there's no need for defensiveness. "Oh," she says, muted and quiet. "All right."
Glancing between the two ladies, Jocelyn nods very slowly to Cherise, "I agree." looking to Rosanna, she just stares for a moment. "Are you doing alright? Beside the obvious going ons?"
Cherise lowers her gaze as if she had suddenly gained an interest in her filthy and crusted feet.
Rosanna furrows her brow at Jocelyn staring. "How does anyone expect any of us to be doing?" she says rather unfairly.
Jocelyn just stares at Rosanna for a moment without saying another word. She doesn't even nod. Once that moment has passed, a whispered raspy voice says, "It was just a question of concern." There is another pause. "For you." though the voice is low, the tone has tightened.
It's easy to half sleep in this ridiculous cave, ignoring the world, as small as it has gotten. Tia stirs a little, as she hears some sound that catches her attention, even in her half asleep state. She first checks on Corrie, and then she looks to start counting women, just in case. They're all still here, right? Hopefully. Without even noticing, she rubs at her face, unhappy with the dirt that's now feeling ingrained everywhere.
Just outside the mouth of the hovel the ladies are kept in, voices can be heard; the bandits are antsy, tensions are running high as the hours clock by. "Oy," mutters the current watchbandit, flagging down one of his partners in crime. "I need ta take a piss." — "Off with ye, then," replies the other, striding over with his bow slung over his shoulder to peer in at the captives with a leery, gap-toothed grin. "Allo, allo, little preciouses!"
"I am sure it is appreciated." Cherise offers her unsolicited retort, trying to make Jocelyn feel not so slighted. She cares? Right when she is about to open her mouth one of their captors enters their prison. Her gaze narrows at the man.
Rosanna only looks at Jocelyn a moment more before her attention is dragged quite sharply to the bandit addressing them from the mouth of the cave. She glares at him.
"I wouldn't waste my energy at the moment, Lady Jocelyn," says Saffron from her spot in the corner. She is leaning her head against the stone, her appearance unchanged since she drifted to sleep hours ago. "Lady Rosanna will be much more companionable once she is rescued." She offers the Nayland girl a half smile before she looks over toward Tia as she stirs. "Did you sleep—" And then the invading voice gives her a start. She curls up tight against herself, knees pressed to her bare chest and shins firmly pressed together to give as much modesty as her own body can provide. She responds to him with a glare.
Tia is blinking a bit, yawning. Still tired, by far, but she can definitely say she did sleep. Sorta. "I - " she starts and then she goes quiet, her blue eyes glaring at the bandit as much as anyone else is, as she goes quiet. A hand finds Corrie's shoulder, warningly. Don't move, don't wake up, just stay still and be missed. That would be ideal.
The bandit is not impressed with this cool reception, ladies. His grin fades for a moment, and his bushy brows creep closer together. "That ain't no way to greet a gennleman, now," he chides, setting a hand on his hip as he studies the group. "You," he gestures to Rosanna with a flick. "You look like ye got a pretty voice, lady. Sing us a song."
Glaring eyes seem to be the thing, as Jocelyn joins in with the others in glaring at the bandit as he steps in. The greeting from the bandit causes her bite hard on her tongue to remain quiet.
"You're not a gentleman," Rosanna points out in a cold voice — that nonetheless can't hide a hint of tremor.
Tia covers her own mouth, careful around the bruise and such, but she's not saying anything as she just watches, her heart moving up to her throat now. Lesson learnd though - she's not volunteering nothing.
"You better start singing, you mouthy little bitch, or I'll whack the lot o' ye with this 'ere bow," growls the bandit, patting his trusty weapon threateningly. His expression snaps to accommodate another greasy smile, and he prompts, "An' the rest o' you better turn those frowns upside down, ain't nobody likes a sulky wench. Now. Sing!"
"How selfish of us." Cherise murmurs from her spot.
The threat thrown out only seems to enrage Jocelyn all the more. We're to be puppets now it seemed. But she glances at Rosanna, and then with a soft voice she starts to sing in her place. If Rosanna felt like taking over, that was for her to decide, but to prevent harm to come, Jocelyn's voice gets a little louder. Its an old lullaby.
Saffron tenses at Rosanna's words, and she looks over at the Groves girl with wide, pale eyes. "Rosanna," she says in whisper, a touch angry even as Jocelyn starts to sing on her behalf.
Tia's mouth is covered, but she's not really frowning, just more staring in disbelief. Her gaze goes back over to Rosanna, encouragingly. C'mon, Rosanna, just sing badly. Or something. A quick glance and a wince at Cherise, Tia's breath catching inadvertently. Jocelyn's attempt, Tia gives a smile at that, though it's weak and hearted. Hopefully Jocelyn's volunteering will work better than Tia's did.
For a long moment, Rosanna is silent. Then she picks up the tune of Jocelyn's lullaby in a voice that would likely be beautiful if the circumstances were better. The words are a little different, though. They include lyrics that sound an awful lot like, "My brothers are going to kill you." Her body trembles the slightest bit with emotions run raw and ragged like exposed nerves that can't quite cow to the demand.
There is a small touch of tension still in her jaw, but at least the girl is singing now. She is familiar with the lullaby, and she definitely doesn't remember the bit about brotherly vengeance, but what can you do? Obviously its a Lannister's lullaby. She glances over toward the bandit with a slight tilt of her chin as if to see what the bandit has to do next.
The bandit seems mercifully unbothered by Jocelyn's start to the singing, though he does eye Rosanna to make sure she's joining in. "Smile, ladies," he prompts again, conducting the melody with his pointer finger. He seems almost jovial, until his frown cuts in again, and he points at Rosanna. "You. What was that you just sang?"
A breath for a moment, as things at least look to be moving along okay. Though Tia's brows raise at the bit about brothers and killing. Hey, c'mon, she knows three versions of that song, and that's not one of them. Ohboy. And not surprisingly, the bandit catches it too. Peachy. Tia winces, slipping back against the wall, her hand still resting on Corrie's shoulder in case the other woman wakes up in the middle of this mess.
Jocelyn closes her eyes in despair when Rosanna decides to add words in to the song. If she wasn't singing she might sigh. At the commend to smile, her eyes open and she opens her mouth, bearing teeth rather than actually smiling. The song falters just a little when the bandit stabs a finger towards Rosanna. She knew that was coming. Keeping her eyes on the bandit she just keeps singing for her part.
"It's a song about bandits," Rosanna tells him, her gaze fierce. "And how they're drawn and quartered by noblemen after stealing their sisters and daughters." She swallows down hard, glaring at him. "Is it not to your taste?"
Stirring fitfully, Muirenn has been sleeping and silently laying beside her Septa since last night. Waking up from her doze to the sound of singing, the teenager rolls over and her shoulders shake with a cough that she not enough energy for. Her feverish eyes look around and then towards the mouth of the cave.
As Rosanna speaks, Saffron slowly closes her eyes as if she expects the worse. She breathes deeply through her bruised throat, and when she glances toward the bandit once more, she finds herself holding onto that inhale of air with a nervous quality. She finds herself waiting…
The bandit rolls his shoulders, and crick-cracks his neck before beckoning with a curl of his fat, stubby pointer finger to Rosanna. "Get 'ere, you smart mouthed little suckling pig," he tells her, adding a glare for good measure at the rest of the ladies. "And you," he gestures toward Jocelyn, "Shut up for a moment."
The Bandit's voice is really, finally, what wakes Cordelya up. She jerks against her nude cousin, head picking up, breath catching just a moment later. But she says nothing. Being that they are no longer alone in the cave, she doesn't dare interrupt. Instead, the still clothed Cordelya sits up slowly and wraps her arm around Tia's bare shoulders. If Tia admits, that is. She frowns in Muirenn's direction, worry furrowing her brow…
For a moment, Rosanna does nothing. Then she stands slowly, smoothing down her ragged shift with trembling fingers, and moves to the mouth of the cave where the bandit waits.
Jocelyn glances between Bandit and Rosanna, her voice slowly lowering, trailing off until it stops completely.
"Turn around," the bandit instructs Rosanna, baring his remaining, badly yellowed teeth at her. "And pick a friend."
Tia leans over against Corrie, still in her shift, though it's slipped down one shoulder, apparently. She watches as the bandit calls poor Rosanna up to where he's at, not good. After a moment, she leans a bit forward, trying to make sure she can get a good look at this guy, so as to be able to identify him later. Which in retrospect might not have been a good idea.
Content that she is not a friend, Muirenn closes her eyes and gives another soft cough. Opening them again she glances around and sighs gratefully as her Septa begins to dab more water on her hot skin.
Saffron tenses as she hears those familiar words, and she hastily looks over toward Rosanna. How many women in this cave do not want to be Rosanna's friend? She straightens up a bit as if to make herself taller, not about to shrink back and hide. She glances once toward Tiaryn and Cherise and then forward again.
Cordelya tries to gently keep Tia back, not wanting the older woman to draw too much attention to either of them. She doesn't speak, but her arm around Tia's shoulders tightens a bit more protectively and her breath quickens. Gods, how could they do this…
There goes those words again, pick a friend which causes a Cherise to bury her head against the trembling Darra.
Rosanna — turns around. There is something of regret on her features, although it's not enough to entirely snuff out the spitfire. She swallows again, looking at the ladies, perhaps considering who has already been hit. "Jocelyn." Well, if they're going to sing together…?
This bandit is particularly mean. He grins, and wriggles his chubby finger at Jocelyn, beckoning her to join Rosanna at the front of the cave. "And you, luvvie - you pick a friend too. Would hate for ye t'be lonely!" He chuckles at himself, clearly amused by his own ill joke.
Anais holds a hand over her brow, drawing a deep breath as the bandits take up their games once more. As adrenaline runs low, fear has turned to frustration and irritation, and the calm patience she displayed at the beginning of this ordeal is in increasingly short supply.
Jocelyn pushes back against the wall, slowly bringing herself to her feet. She stares at the Bandit as takes a step, slowly walking over to stand beside Rosanna and him. She glances around the room just as was first done by Rosanna, sighing just a little at the sight, no one was good for this. Weakly, she winces, trying to remember everyones name, But she says the first one that comes to mind. "Saffron."
Tia winces as the dang nasty bandit calls for yet another victim. You'd think he'd have enough up there. But as Corrie's hold tightens on her, she leans back again, not wanting to leave Corrie without what little protection (Hah!) she can manage to give her. A breath though as she watches, still fighting the desperation and hunger as much as she can.
The Banefort tenses up a bit as she hears her name. She glances toward Anais as if to see if she's heard correct, and then she slowly pulls herself to her feet. Everything aches, but she only winces a bit. She will not fault Jocelyn; it would be hypocritical. So, she takes in a deep breath and straightens up her shoulders as best she can. Out she strides, all muddy and bedraggled — oh, and naked, but that's an unimportant detail. Really. She strides out with slightly stiff steps to stand beside Jocelyn. Chin up, thattagirl.
The calling of Saffron's name registers for Muirenn and she rolls over and begins to pay more attention.
Wait, who, what? Ilaria is nudged awake, and she jolts to consciousness with a groan. It only takes her a moment to adjust to her surroundings, spirits drooping as she realizes that, yes, she is still in the cave. The goings-on near the front are enough to cause her to struggle to her feet, wincing at the stiffness in her body from sleeping on the hard ground. She inhales deeply, moving forward to touch Anais on the arm. "What's happening?" she whispers, eyes wide with fear as she stares openly at the bandit.
"They're trying my patience, is what's happening," Anais growls under her breath at Ilaria, though she takes another deep breath and composes her features before she lowers her hand. "It's Monday. Maybe they've gotten the ransom already." Because she's a beacon of hope, is Anais.
The bandit unslings his bow with a malicious grin. "Right, now back to me," he instructs, and once the ladies are all lined up - delivers a snappy blow to the backs of each of the knees, causing them all to fall forward. He guffaws, clearly pleased with his efforts. "Now," he says, pointing randomly at another three: Muirenn, the pregnant Cordelya, and Ilaria. "You three, here. And you stop talking to her, or the rest of em, you mouthy little blonde, or y'won't be goin' home."
Cordelya's eyes go wide as she's pointed at, shaking her head just a bit, a fresh sort of terror in her features. She squeezes Tiaryn a bit harder.
Cordelya's eyes go wide as she's pointed at, shaking her head just a bit, a fresh sort of terror in her features. She squeezes Tiaryn a bit harder, not yet getting off the ground. "Why? We… we didn't do anything. She's sick… " She nods towards Murienn, clear worry in her voice, though if it's for her or the sick teen it's not clear. Her free arm clutches just a bit tighter against her middle. "We've been good!" Corrie's northern, slightly lilting voice insists as firmly as possible.
Rosanna stumbles forward onto her hands and knees with a quiet whimper that catches in her throat.
Tia hugs Corrie tightly, not really wanting to let go of her goodcousin at all. Now there's definitely a coldness sliding through her, a fear that she's going to lose another relative. Another - oh, this is not good! Not good at all. "Corrie," she murmurs softly, her voice breaking a bit.
Saffron cries out sharply at the slap of the bow to the back of her knees. She drops forward onto the ground again, just giving a little choked sob that she has no control over. Her elbows give a tremble as she relaxes her weight into them. She then looks up toward the bowman through the mat of once cinnamon-red hair, though she does not glare this time.
Anais's hand fists at her side, all the better to avoid making a rude gesture to the bandit, and she bites down on her cheek to keep from making any response. She does, however, slowly start to shift, stretching out her legs as other woman are called from the cave and leaning forward to rub at them, restoring some circulation.
After the random selection Cherise's gaze darts from bandit to the chosen. And then to the man again, "Why do you want them? What for!" Someone had to ask and she was obviously not comfortable with Corrie being chosen.
"Yer goin' fer a little ride," explains the bandit (whose name is Fat Fingers) to Cordelya. "Now shut yer gobs, or I'll have ye gagged as well. That goes for the rest of ye, too! Let's go, and no funny business!" He shuffles a few steps back from the mouth of the cave to allow the chosen three to exit and come with him. They'll be bound and set a-horseback, taken for a scenic spin!
Jocelyn falls forward with a gasp, hitting the ground hard. Her hands move to stop her just a little too late, her reflexes were slow. Hitting her right cheek on a rock, slicing it open, hands scraped and covered in muddy rocks. Feeling the small trickle of blood both agains the back of her knees and on her cheek, she stays laying down on the stomach as she recovers, panting from her sudden loss of breath.
It is a few moments before the bandit's orders register through the fog of her fever. Muirenn coughs and contemplates. That her Septa gives a cry of horror must mean that hearing her name was not a hallucination. "Please…" she croaks. Her Septa eases the girl up into a sitting position and bathes her face quickly with water murmuring harshly, "You are a MALLISTER, Muirenn Jillain Rose! You are a lovely, vibrant woman, and you WILL not let them win." The words cause the girl's lashes to flicker and she ducks her head in acknowledgement as slowly she crawls towards the entrance of the tunnel.
Cordelya turns her head, kissing Tiaryn's cheek gently, "Love you…" She whispers to her good cousin, but then she forces herself up and away. She isn't going to get herself injured, or any of the other ladies further hurt, because she was disobedient. She flashes a look in Cherise and Anais' direction, her jaw set, trying to seem as if she knows she'll be fine, and then she follows.
Ilaria blinks, wide-eyed, and glances to Anais. Her mouth forms the word "no", but it is a silent protest as her feet carry her forward toward the Bandit. She bunches her hands into fists at her side, walking woodenly, wide eyes trained on the bandit. Her jaw clenches visibly, and her expression is stony at best.
Cherise shifts a little closer to Tia, "Corrie is stronger than we may be led to believe." She tries to encourage the woman a little. "The Gods are cruel to let anything happen to her." Or the rest of them.
Anais watches the others as they leave, offering a firm, silent nod in support, then quietly sets about putting on the rags of shift-pieces harvested from other people's shifts. Once that's done, she reaches over to gather up Saffron's as well. She's kept her hair in the braid she wore to the picnic this whole time, but now that the time for escape, rescue, or return is near, she starts to let it down, only tying the pieces at her temples back to keep it out of her eyes. Each motion has all the solemnity of a knight preparing for battle.
Tia's eyes close, and she does reply to Corrie, "Love you too, cuz," before the other woman is heading out. She takes a breath, watching Corrie as if the sheer intensity of her gaze can protect the other woman. And then she turns to Cherise, nodding her head once. "She is. She'll be alright." She really hopes so, anyway, since there's nothing they can do about it. "I don't like feeling helpless."
Now that the bandit has gone, Lucienne looks up from her place, frowning as she struggles to listen for sounds of movement outside the cave.
Saffron has returned to the cave, though she has run out of comfortable ways to sit. Bruised rump, stinging knees, she just resigns herself to leaning against her cousin even if Anais may wish she wouldn't. She starts to gently pet her cousin's auburn hair, quiet.
"Come on," Anais whispers to Saffron, pressing a kiss to her temple before shaking out the battered pieces of fabric. "Let's get you dressed." Keeping an eye on the mouth of the cave, she starts to help her cousin into the makeshift clothes.
"None of us do." And yet they were until either the men paid or well… "Our loved ones would not allow us to linger with such feelings for much longer." As today was the day their fates would be decided. Cherise does manage a small smile upon her bruised face. "Ser Saethwyr certainly wouldn't allow it."
Saffron laughs softly to her cousin, though she sniffs hard on her own threat of tears. She nods her head. "I've always wanted to wear one of these," she says in a battered voice. She then holds her arms out a bit so Anais can secure the bandeau-styled shirt and the painfully short skirt. She glances over toward Cherise, and she nods her head in agreement.
Rosanna stumbles back into the cave, her spirit somewhat diminished. She looks to Jocelyn and Saffron with something of guilt in her gaze, her chapped bottom lip catching between her teeth, but she says nothing.
Tia nods to Cherise, taking a breath again. As the others stumble back in, she looks their way. "Not hurt too badly?" she asks. "Is there anything we can do to help?" She keeps her voice low, not wanting to call in any other bandit, as she tries to distract herself from fretting over the Ladies who were brought elsewhere.
Jocelyn drawing herself up onto her knees, strapping her knees on rocks, as she draws herself up to her feet. She glances at Rosanna, shaking her head just a little at her look of guilt. She says nothing, she just walks herself into the cave, slowly and limping a little from the pain at the back of her knees. Wiping dripping blood from her cut on her cheek.
"I hope they bring swords," mumbles Luci, to no-one in particular. "And no gold at all. Just lots of swords, and spears." She wriggles her toes in the dirt.
Saffron catches Rosanna's look, and she answers in a simple shrug and shake of her head. "I would have done the same, had I thought of it," she says simply as she leans back down. Her gaze glances over toward Tiaryn, and she shakes her head. "No… we're okay."
"I'd say that's a real possibility," Anais murmurs to Lucienne, tying off the last of the knots on Saffron's clothes. "Which is why I'd like to be in a position to run if I have to." She shifts again, slowly stretching out her legs and reaching up toward the ceiling with a quiet pop of her shoulders.
"Being ready to run is a good thing. If we get the chance, take it, and don't look back. Because better some of us get out than none, and these bandits will use us against each other." As they already have all experienced. She gets to her feet, taking a few moments to stretch, and make sure she can even walk, never mind run.
"I hope they kill everyone," Rosanna says in a sharp whisper under her breath.
"Being ready to run is a good thing. If we get the chance, take it, and don't look back. Because better some of us get out than none, and these bandits will use us against each other." As they already have all experienced. Tia gets to her feet, taking a few moments to stretch, and make sure she can even walk, never mind run.
"I bet they kill everyone," whispers Lucienne with a smug look, right on the heels of Rosanna's comment. "If they ever show up, anyway."
The idea of running, let alone standing, makes Saffron weary. She has tried that before, and how did that go over? She still heeds the survivalist Flint's advice as she slowly pulls herself onto her feet, wishing that this ache would go away. She rubs at a bit of her hip before she glances down toward Rosanna and then Lucienne. She just frowns.
Rosanna offers a smile, small but sharp, to Lucienne.
Jocelyn moves over to the slow trickle of water that is their water supply, cupping her hand to get some water and splashing it over her bloody cheek. The pink water flows down her body and stains her already dirty garments. "If they are not all killed, I'll help arrange their demise." comes Jocelyn's raspy voice.
Lucienne laces her fingers together, and stretches her hands out wearily in front of her. She doesn't look like she's preparing to run anywhere - rather, settling in. She leans back against the wall, and sighs. "I hope they die slowly," is her next comment.
Anais continues to stretch, not wanting to draw attention with too many people moving around in the cave. She also doesn't say anything else, though there are a few glances toward Lucienne and Rosanna. Lucienne in particular. Like she's wondering how upset Jacsen would be if she ran and left his sister here.
Tia is in full agreement on the slow deaths for the bandits, or at least on the deaths. That's alll good, far as she's concerned. But - she does look over to the Ladies who aren't moving. "If someone finds this place, those bandits are going to be trying to kill us or use us against them however they can. At least try - because if you get to your feet and fall over because you're legs are all pins and needles, and we have to come back for you, you could be responsible for all of us dying," she suggests. Whether they try or not, she at least did give them a poke. She's back further in the cave, not so easily visible from the entrance. She thinks anyway.
Jocelyn slowly, limpingly, moves back to where she sat originally. Her hands touch the rocky wall as she slides back down, the palms of her hands burning from the scrapes and bruises that are forming from the fall. Sitting down on the gently, she places her hands to the back of her knees. Pulling her hand back to see nothing at all, at least she wasn't bleeding there. It was just starting to welt.
Every lady's favourite bandit reappears at the mouth of the cave, peering in with a feral grin. "Ladies," he says. "I come back for my song, aye. Who's gonna lullaby ol' Fat Fingers next?"
The Banefort looks up from her spot leaning against the wall in her makeshift clothes. She stares at the bandit with those pale, steady eyes. "Did you mother give you that name?" She blurts out before she can think twice about the question.
<FS3> Tiaryn rolls Singing: Great Success.
Oh, wait. Seriously. Tia is caught standing up, but she can sing a child's lullaby, she thinks. Of course, she's going to sing it as poorly as she can. Yup. She can't sing, not at all. Her voice cracks, her timing is off and she's off key by just a titch, enough to make the song irritating. But she's trying very valiantly.
Anais looks to the bandit. Just looks. But then, she was told not to say anything, wasn't she? Until Saffron is opening her mouth, at which point she snaps out a hand to try to cover it before anything more than mumbling can come out.
Jocelyn doesn't even look up at the Bandit. Not this time. Instead, she stares straight ahead of her, her jaw tightening as she clenches and unclenches her teeth. She will not give him the respect of even looking at him.
<FS3> Anais rolls Shut Up Saffron: Success.
"My friends're asking for ye out there," Fat Fingers warns Saffron with a leery scowl. "So'f I were you, I'd be nice to ol' Fat Fingers, else I might send ye out for the whole lot of em ta -" Tiaryn might count herself lucky that her terrible singing is interrupted by the sounds of combat; a long, low scream, bandits scrabbling, steel clanging, and "EAGLES! Cape of Eagles!" Fingers looks over his shoulder, drawing a short blade from his belt and wanrs: "You lot stay put, or I'll slit yer throats meself," before stationing himself side-on to the entrance of the cave, his nicked-and-notched blade at the ready.
It seems the first lesson Saffron is getting on their return is how to keep her mouth shut. Despite Anais's hand muzzling her words, she glares like cold fire over her cousin's fingers at the man with a challenging expression. At the sudden cry, she pulls Anais's hand from her mouth and gives her hand a hard squeeze. "Everyone back!" She croaks, wanting to ensure no one is close enough to get drawn into the fray if it comes right to their doorstep. Literally.
Rosanna startles at the sudden ring of steel outside the cave. And then her expression hardens into something fierce. "They're going to kill you," she tells Fingers with grim satisfaction before she pulls back to the back of the cave at Saffron's insistence.
Cherise's attention snaps to the cave's entrance. Strange but glorious sounds brighten her eyes. "Is that… what is that?"
The sound of Combat is something like music to Jocelyn's ears. She slowly lifts her head and turns it to the mouth of the cave, a slow smile comes onto her face. The brightest one she could muster with her hurt cheek.
Anais' jaw sets grimly at the shouts from outside, and she creeps back toward the back wall of the cave. Rather than cower, she crouches down, bracing against the wall. "It's not over until /he's/ down," she murmurs to the others, watching the shadow at the mouth of the cave. The one that still has a knife.
The sounds of battle can be heard, and that gets a wide eyed look from Tiaryn. Oh. Gods Bless them - rescuers. She hopes. She stays put for the moment, song coming to an abrupt halt. Which is good, really, cause it was offending her own ears. Such a massacre of that poor song. She'll have to sing it properly later. Much later. She agrees with Saffron though. "C'mon, if he's going to get us, he'll have to come after us." And they might be able to run around him, or some of them.
Saffron is close to her cousin, looking past the gaping maw of the cave. She can hear her heart bursting in her ears, and again a wave of adrenaline begins to sweep through her veins as the flight or fight mechanisms begin to kick in. She digs her heel into the dirty ground of the cave, and she nods over to Tiaryn.
"Don't even think about it," Fingers growls back into the cave, setting his eyes upon the girls poised to run. "I'll swing this sword across yer pretty lil throats!"
Anais smiles faintly at the bandit's back. She'd prefer not to get a sword across her pretty little throat, but she's not particularly interested in most of the other options, either.
Jocelyn doesn't even glance back at the others to see what their doing. She slowly just stands up, with her back against the wall. She isn't getting ready to run, but she's on alert for anyone that steps through that cave mouth that isn't one of the ugly bandits.
As the noise of battle rages outside, Fatfingers at the door barely finishes his snarky words before he makes a surprised, pained noise, and can be heard slumping to the ground. Stepping over him to push quickly into the cave, tugging the spear out of his chest to raise in case there are more, is Ser Kittridge Groves.
It's like night and day, the way Rosanna's face lights up. Haggard and filthy in her shift, she nevertheless springs up to her feet to launch herself into her brother's arms. MIEN.
She's seen that face before, plenty of weeks past and once over the "poor" death of their bandit guard Cherise slumps against her handmaiden Darra. Too much excitement.
A mostly naked Saffron Banefort has never seen Kittridge Groves before, or at least she doesn't remember him enough to recognize him. She is startled by the sight of him, and almost looks poised to attack when she spies Rosanna pouncing him and it causes her to relax some. She finds herself gripping Anais's arm very, very tightly.
Oh, now that's a lovely sight. Thank the gods! "First change of guards I approve of in this entire mess," Tia says, her smile bright and big. She moves over to Cherise, reaching a hand to help the Charlton lady if she needs any help.
When Kittridge steps into the cave, Anais lets out a heavy breath of relief. What was a posture braced against the wall to push off for a rush becomes a slump against it. "Oh good," she says, just a little bit of delayed hysteria in her voice. "I was afraid I was finally going to have to do something stupid." Granted, she's still wearing little more than a tube top, a mini skirt, and her own hair, but there's less dying in her future. "Saffron," she murmurs when her cousin grips her arm. "Have you met Lord Kittridge Groves?"
Tension seems a permanent thing along the bare lines of Roslyn's shoulders, her lips presses tightly together as she strains to hear the noises in the camp with only some hope playing across her expression in waved. A noise catches in her throat as she sees Kittridge, half a sob that never makes it to true form. She can't quite articulate anything, yet.
"Is that all of them?" Kittridge asks. He's dirty and dusty and blood-spattered and unshaven and looks like he hasn't slept anymore than them, but he's dressed like a lord at least and as he spots Rosanna, his face lights up with relief, too, and he wraps her up until he feet leave the floor. "Thank the Seven," he says, just holding her tight for a long moment before looking up over her head at the others. "Just sit tight in here, ladies," he says, "We'll have them handled in a moment, and get you home." It's then he spots Anais and Saffron being, you know, naked, and politely averts his eyes. "Is everyone alright?" he asks.
Jocelyn leans her weight against the rock wall, seeing Kittridge come through the door seems to make her even more tired as the stress starts to leave her body. In fact, she starts to shake, legs wobbling. Good thing she's leaning against the wall.
Lucienne lets out a sigh, her shoulders drooping. She ignores Kittridge's question, and watches the entrance of the cave: there are more where he came from, right?
"Muirenn's feverish," Anais answers Kittridge, entirely too numb to worry about her current state of mostly undress. "They took her, Cordelya, and Ilaria just a few minutes ago. Otherwise…" She looks at the ladies still in the cave, considering. "Some small cuts and bruises, and we haven't eaten since they took us, but mostly just our dignity."
"I have now," Saffron says breathlessly as she begins to relax from her death grip. She nods her head gently to Kittridge. She also glances toward the cave entrance as well, her eyes wide. "Can we go?" She asks the first of the rescuers abruptly.
"I'm fine," Rosanna tells Kittridge in a quiet whisper, even as her eyes brim with tears of relief. What, was he asking about anyone else? She clings to him even after he sets her down, seeming very loathe to let him go.
Kittridge doesn't seem to have any intention of letting Rosanna go, keeping an arm securely around her, though the other still holds that spear. "You can't go out yet," he tells Saffron, and the rest, "The others will let us know when it's safe. And we know they took a few, though we didn't know who. We have a group riding after to catch them also. We've got horses and a cart and blankets and things down the trail a ways to take you all back just as soon as they've taken care of the other bandits. Won't be but a few more minutes, I expect."
Finally, finally, Roslyn finds her voice, hoarse and raw from emotion. With it, she only questions sharply, "Are they all dead?" The edge of her words imply they had better be.
"A blanket," Anais says wearily, "Would be spectacular." And with those words, she lowers herself to the floor once more, dropping her head to her knees to relieve the lightheadedness of rescue before she does something silly like faint.
Tiaryn simply settles down now to wait, leaving Kittridge at the front to fend off any incoming bandits. Hearing that they have a group heading after the ones on horseback, that helps her relax a little bit more. She glances at Fat Fingers and then sniffs. "Remind me to sing that song properly later," she says. Expecting the rest of the women will know what she's talking about.
By both aid coming from Darra and Tia, Cherise can sit up right, so very thankful. She's closing her eyes perhaps muttering some words of gratitude to the gods. Her eyes raise to Tia and instantly wraps her arms around the woman's shoulders and neck unable to brace herself against the damn of tears that had broken.
Saffron actually casts Tiaryn a warm smile at her words, though her anxiety has not passed. She looks over toward Anais with a nod of her head in agreement. Yes, a blanket.
Kittridge releases his sister finally, to tug off his leather jerkin, and then wool tunic beneath, passing the latter to Anais. As Martyn enters, he says, "Ser Martyn, give me your shirt."
Even if Kittridge isn't holding her, Rosanna stays obnoxiously close to him, skittish and needy.
"They're nearly all dead, Lady Roslyn," Kittridge adds, repeating, "Won't be but a couple minutes."
Next person to make his way through the entrance is Martyn. He pauses as he hears Kittridge's words, looking around inside there for a few moments, looking for someone. "Where…?" he begins, before he nods a little, starting to remove the jerkin so he can remove that shirt. Still looking around a bit wildly.
Roslyn's jaw tightens at this answer, not seeming entirely satisfied that they aren't all bleeding all over the ground. Hey, she is still a Nayland. She nods politely for Kittridge's answer, however, before easing herself with slow movements to her feet.
Saffron has started to kind of hide behind the ladies as the men come piling in. She looks up with a perk of her ears as she hears something of a shirt. Her gaze continues to move past the gathering of rescuers as they pile in.
And then there is another non-bandit man that comes through the mouth of the cave, and then another. Jocelyn's shaking continues, but her dirt covered, blood streaked face slowly starts to brighten at the impeding rescue that is to come. A low laugh comes out of her mouth at realization.
Tia wraps her arms around Cherise, holding the other woman as she bursts into tears. But she looks up as Martyn comes in. "Lord Martyn. They took Lady Muirenn, Corrie and Lady Ilaria." She hugs Cherise a bit. "They're here, Cherise. It'll be okay." She's not crying, no matter how she'd like to. There will be time to break down later.
Nicodemus arrives shortly after Martyn, bade still drawn, the silver of the pointy bit gone pink with blood. When he realizes it's just allies and ladies, his quickly sheaths it. "Are all of you well?" he asks. "Is anyone hurt?"
Anais is not getting up at the moment, given the lack of general clothing going on, but her handmaid reaches out to take the tunic from Kittridge, murmuring her thanks and bringing it to Anais. As more men start to arrive, Anais makes short work of pulling it over her head, sighing with relief before she stands up once more. At least it covers her to mid-thigh, which is an improvement. "Thank you, Lord Groves," she says formally, clinging to the structures of polite behavior.
"Nico!" Oh look, he gets forgiven for the moment. With Kittridge busying himself with providing the two naked ladies with some decency, Rosanna rushes to her other brother to cling to him next.
Lucienne continues to stay huddled in her little spot against the wall, sullenly waiting for a more familiar face to enter the cave.
"They'll find them," Kittridge assures Martyn, and the other ladies, tone firm, assured. "The lady needs your shirt," he tells the knight, "Before we all get here." He holds out a hand for it once Martyn's got it off, and passes it to Saffron. "You're welcome, Lady Terrick," he says to Anais with a dignified nod that's a bit ridiculous given the circumstances but hey. They could use a little respect just now, probably, or something. Or hugs? He could also do hugs. "Lords Rutger, Dmitry, Kamron, Justin, and Inigo will be here in a moment," he tells them, "Along with Ser Jarod."
In the process of handing over his shirt in whatever direction it should be handed out, Martyn freezes for a few moments as he hears Tia's words. Standing completely still for a few very long moments, he takes a few deep breaths as he looks around to see that it's true. Looking absolutely unsure of what to say or do, until he hears Kittridge's words. "If they don't I'll hunt those remaining bandits to the end of the world, if I have to…" Letting the shirt be taken from him now.
A freckled arm emerges from behind Anais and takes the blindly offered shirt. She continues to use cousin's body to shield herself as she tugs Martyn's shirt over her own head, though it also barely hits at the mid thighs. At least it will cover up the bruises save for the ones on her knees and calves, and the stark purpling on her pale throat. "Thank you," she murmured to Kittridge with an exhausted smile. Then she hears Kamron's name, and she consciously gives the shirt edge.
Anais glances back to where Luci is huddled, sighing softly as she moves to crouch next to the other woman. "Come on, Luci," she says quietly, offering out a hand. "Jarod and Justin are going to be here in just a minute. You don't want them to see you like that, do you?"
If he's surprised to be (only briefly?) pardoned, Nicodemus is still quick to wrap his arms around his sister and hold her close as Rosanna rushes to him. "Rosebud," he murmurs, pressing a kiss to her hair, dirt and all. "It's all right, now. It's over." His gaze darts quickly around the other women as well, perhaps making sure none seem too badly harmed. or perhaps in search of another familiar face.
"So wait, No Flints?" Tia says. She doesn't believe they … "Wait, did they go after the riders? They'll get Corrie then." And suddenly Tia feels much better about that. Much. "And the others. Good." She stays with Cherise for the moment, until the other lady is ready to get to her feet.
It seems that silent offer of hugs is enough, or that her brother's name is enough to break Roslyn into a true sob. She steps forward without really thinking, her arms going around Kittridge for a moment as she adds another, "Thank you." It pays to be the first one in to the hole?
With the clash of blades diminishing outside Another comes in, and like others he needs to stoop down. His blade held low, "Kittridge!" comes a bark of a call, not out of ill manners moreso than trying to get the other knight's attention. "They're all but dead out there.." the Nayland calls out before he is taking in those assembled, and he turns his head for a moment. Quickly he is moving to tug off his belt for a moment. "Does someone need a shirt? A tunic?" Yes, the best question to be asked now. Rutger's good on that-priorities and all.
Jocelyn isnt naked. Her undergarmets have been ripped and dirtied, exposing her knees and below, but she isnt as naked as the rest of them. The white fabric is at least dirty enough to keep it from being completely see through. The sight and sound of Roslyn's crying has her looking over at her cousin. She cant seem to move. Her body too weak or still in shock from the sudden relief that she feels. But the sight from Roslyn is enough to have her own eyes brimming with tears, and then she sees Rutger and the tears slip down her cheeks.
More people flock into the cave, and none of them yet are Terricks! Lucienne is starting to look a little worried, until Kittridge names her two brothers in the number to be expected. "At least we're being rescued," she offers up dejectedly to Anais, sighing as she dusts her hands off on the front of her shift and accepting the offered assistance from her goodsister. She stands, and shoots another worried look past the growing crowd toward the cave's entrance.
Rosanna hugs tight to Nicodemus, her breath coming unsteadily against his shirt. She squeezes her eyes shut against the tears for a moment before opening them again at the sound of Rutger's voice. She looks at him from behind her brother, eyes wide and wet.
"Is it safe to go out yet?" Kittridge calls back to Rutger, before Roslyn hugs him. He seems surprised, but embraces her in return. "It's alright," he says, "You're safe now." Around her head he nods to Tiaryn, "Lord Anders and the tracker… Vis? Went after them. Lord Einar too, maybe."
Cherise's was slowly gaining control of her sobbing as the men had confirmed the demise of their captors. "Thank the Seven." She murmurs against Tia's ear while lessoning her hold of the woman. Yes is it safe? She expectantly awaits confirmation.
"Anais and Saffron were the worst," Tia says gamely. "Though I don't think any of us would say no to something warmer than what we've got on presently. And food." She wipes at her cheeks, and winces as she hits the bruise accidentally. "And thank you, Lord Kittridge. That is so good to hear." As the others come in, she looks to see them all, one by one. "Thank you all." Her voice breaks just a bit, but she's fighting very hard to not cry.
Having taken a few more moments to recover from not seeing his sister here, Martyn takes a few more deep breaths, before he looks around for a few moments. "How was she…? Her health…?" he finally says, a bit shakily.
There's a flicker of confusion in Anais' eyes at Lucienne's reaction. WE'RE BEING RESCUED. But she doesn't say anything just yet, instead just holding Lucienne's hand and reaching out for Saffron's as well. "My lords," she says, swallowing as more men come into the cave. "It's very tight in here, and it's been a trying few days. If we could go out as soon as possible, I think we would all greatly appreciate it." There's just a hint of strain beneath the words, though the facade is holding for now. "If not, I think this cave is /full/." There might be a little more panic in that.
"Not yet. Their fellow with the mustache was cut down by the Vance-We made short work of him." Yes Rutger is totally claiming his backstab on that. "Ser Mallister is finishing off one of the last ones with the Half Eagle. Any stragglers are to be rounded up. I'd say give them a moment then it will be safe enough for us to leave." said before he is looking back towards his sister is Cousin. "Seven be praised.." ushered out quickly before he is looking around-though his eyes stay towards Rosanna and there he blinks for a moment. "Oh my lady.." though that almost comes out in a whisper. Yes He's a little verklempt. No one is dead. GOOD.
Is is a brief embrace, made so by her own brother's entrance that has Roslyn peeling back with a caught breath and a shaky nod. She puts space between herself and Kittridge, moving for Rutger instead with quick steps, her hand catching his and fingers tightening against that solid flesh and blood. "Gods, I thought—," she says, forestalling herself where she sees that look to Rosanna.
Rosanna's gaze meets Rutger's, and she takes in an unsteady breath. And then she rushes to him next, because apparently she is just fickle, and — well, she doesn't hug him. She takes the dire circumstances as excuse to rise on her tiptoes, pull him down to her, and kiss him fiercely on the mouth. Countdown until a brother kills someone…
As more and more people pile into the cave, Saffron starts looking a bit nervous as if this is about as much claustrophobia as she can take. She nervously fidgets as she waits to be given the okay to pile out of the cave.
Nicodemus glances between Rosanna and Lord Rutger as weepy eyes meet, well, manly ones. ANd then he's not holding Rosanna at all, because she's got her lips meeting Rutger's instead. Nicodemus blinks, glances over at Kittridge and the coughs. LOUDLY.
Kittridge lets Roslyn go, and nods at Anais, "Any minute now," he promises her, and then Nicodemus coughs, and he turns, and glares. "Ser Rutger!" he says, loudly, "I think your SISTER would like to SAY HELLO."
Dania is in the background and is quiet. She is sitting very still and waiting and watching. Her long hair is still pinned up. She is too tall to stand properly in here.
Apparently, Rutger is not one to complain about being kissed in a cavern. Though as Rosanna does come in for the kiss, the knight does have some sense to drop his blade and embrace Rosanna so as to aid her in the kissing. Which he totally does back. And he allows lips to linger before, Kittridge's voice seems to clear the battle and kissing fog long enough to have him look over, and let arms come down. "I am glad you are alive, Lady Rosanna.." murmured softly, before he is nodding, finally. And there, propriety.
"Roslyn." And now he is looking to his sister.
Jocelyn wipes at the tears that at slipped out, sniffling and shakes her head. Though a wince comes out as she touches the cut that is over her right cheek. Her shaky hand falls to her side again, blinking her tear strained eyes. She glances at embracing, the worried faces and the strong ones alike. Since everyone is involved with someone and since its been said a few times that they cant leave yet. She stays against the wall, shaking and wrapping her arms around herself.
Anais' lips move faintly as she closes her eyes - in time to miss the kissing - and counts. Just counts.
From outside come's a voice, or three, that it is safe to exit. "Alright, everybody out," he says, giving Rutger maybe just a tiiiiny bit of a shove towards the cave entrance. Rosanna gets an arm hugged around her once more. For comfort, obviously. OUT WE GO.
Roslyn watches for a moment, that kiss. What else can you do when you are stuck in a cave so closely crowded together? Her hand not catching her brother's, she folds it back to her side instead, drawing a breath and then looking away. She moves to the entrance as if to look outside to see if it is safe.
Rosanna looks entirely unrepentant when Nicodemus COUGHS and Kittridge TALKS LOUDLY and Rutger finally pulls back. Her eyes are fierce and bright, and her chin is lifted as she's led out.