|Tangling with a Bear|
|Summary:||Master huntsman Kain rides into the Roost carrying a mauled child and calling for healers. Goodwoman Dania and Lady Muirenn take the boy while Lord Justin and Kain go to seek the wounded bear that killed the boy's father.|
|Town Squire, Terrick's Roost|
|The town square of Terrick's Roost was once considered well-kept. The stone streets run right up to the building fronts around the edge and the locals have kept the spaces between free of grass and weeds that might otherwise sprung up between them, although dark streaks of stubborn soot have crawled in between the stones. There are several homes and shops located here which show the scars and cinders of the sacking of the town at Ironborn hands. The ruin of the town's Sept can also be seen from here with its ornate stone front rising above the surrounding structures just down the cobblestone road.|
|May 16th, 289|
Quiet morning in the square today. Your general noises of rebuiling of buildings and people getting on with their daily lives. All in all, it's not something that would be particularlly note-worthy, as the general ambiance of the area itself sounds rather normal. Biggest news of the day being the wagons of supplies brought in a few days earlier, which are most likely still being divvied out.
From the stable a tall woman appears she leading a 16.2 hand gelding. The gelding is bay and shows he has draft in his bloodlines from his build. He is a mild mannered beast that plods along beside her. The woman is dressed simply in a brown linen gown and a sage green linen apron dress. Her long hair has been braided and wound up into a bun that rests at the nap of her neck. Holding her hair in place is a bronze comb. She pauses as she reaches out to pat the bay's neck. "Sparrow my dear boy, are you ready for this?"
The thud of hooves and the snorts and the smells of horses disrupt the quiet. A muscled palomino gelding, two grey mares, and a chestnut gelding crest the horizon of the roadway into town. The youngest Mallister seems to handle the palomino admirably as she chats lightly with her maid and Septa. As they reach the outskirts of the square, light pressure on the reins slows the gelding down from a trot.
That relative sense of normalcy doesn't take much to be shattered and it's the galloping of hooves that does it. There's a single horse coming into the square, it's direction having been from the east gate of the Roost. The cloak gives Kain away. It's his trademark and more often than not, what he's known to wear at almost any time of the day. There's no cart being pulled by that old quarterhorse that he uses to deliver his caught game, the straps that tend to be connected are dragging against the ground, metal hooks clinking and chiming randomly against the stones in the path. The wind has pulled down his hood, revealing a dried bloody gash on his cheek.
But there's something more important to of causes such a display, as suggested by what the hunter carries in the crook of his arm. Which looks to be a boy, no older than twelve. "Healer! I need a healer!" he cries out in start contrast to his normally whisper-quiet voice. At closer inspection shows there's tears in his leather armor and over half of the ranger's arrows are gone from the quiver that's strapped to his thigh. "I need a damn healer!" he repeats, reigning his horse in, to start and lower himself down onto the ground, making sure to keep the boy steady in the crook of his arm.
Justin is walking without his horse, coming from the direction of the coastline into town. His hair is damp with salt water though his clothes are dry, suggesting he might have been swimming in the morning wake. His gaze catches on the horses and goes to the bay gelding Dania holds that he's to help her train. As Justin comes up however, the incoming rider distracts him. The lord moves to intercept and draw Kain's attention, "Here, Master Kain! Goodwoman Dania is a healer." Justin steps nimbly to see that Kain's horse does not run him down but that the rider can't miss him.
The gelding snorts but does not shy when the sudden racket and nose comes into town with the arrival of the man on the horse and the boy in his arms. "Stand." The tall woman says sharply to the bay gelding as she drops his lead rope. The gelding puts his head down to the ground as he is now in his mind ground tied. The tall woman moves forward towards the man with the precious bundle and Justin, she must me Dania. "Give the boy over, when did this happen?" She calls up to him. She is not smiling as she moves and reacts. She appears to be strong and sturdy. "Lord Terrick get the Lady Muirenn's horse." She hopes her quick actions will be received kindly and the Lady does not mind her dragging her into this.
The cries are startling enough and words that make folk still on edge after the seige look up, on edge. Turning her head, Muirenn frowns and slides off of her horse giving the reins to her guard. "Minnie…get in my saddle bags and bring me…" there is a pause for though she knows what she is doing she is not a healer according to Maester Pyrs's insinuations and *he* should know. Sighing she smiles wryly and changes her crisp instructions, "Ser Angolm, please secure the horses. Minnie, Septa let us see if we can assist, for Mistress Dania seems to be in town today."
Kain has long forgotten about the gash that runs from the side of his nose down across his right cheek. It's dried for the most part, but deep enough that it's still bleeding a bit, suggested by the streaks that have run down from it. His leather armor is shredded at the shoulder but it appear it did it's job in protecting the hunter. "Bear attack…" he grunts aloud. "I came across a man and this boy during my hunt to check my snares. Sunk over half my arrows into it's side to distract it from the boy." Pause. "It didn't appreciate that." Suggesting by the deep scars that run along man neck, this isn't his first time dealing with a bear solo. "The boy's father…" he just looks at Justin and shakes his head, not needing to finish.
As for the boy himself, he is unconcious and looking dangerously pale. There is what might've been a rope used for a rabbit snare tied around his leg, cutting off blood flow to mangled leg from large, ursine teeth, claw marks rending gouges in his chest. His breathing is shallow and he's develouped a sweat on his brow. "I did what I could." he utters, handing him off to whoever he's directed to. The moment he does so, he lower himself down to one knee, hand holding the side of hist chest. "I'll be fine. Take care of him."
Justin looks to see where Lady Muirenn and said horse are but her guardsman already goes to hold it for her while she dismounts. So instead he takes hold of Kain's horse's bridle to steady the animal while the child is hoisted around and lowered from the saddle to Dania's arms, "A bear?" He thins his mouth hard at mention of the boy's father, "Stranger's piss!" Not like him to swear, not at all - and especially not infront of the womenfolk. "Where, Kain? A wounded bear will be far more dangerous, now. We'll have to go at once to track it and bring it down. The meat is too badly needed to waste." Justin glances over his shoulder at the various horses, any one of which he might command the lending of to go back to the tower and get his own, as well as his arms and armour.
"Lady get those bags you talked off. Bring that man in. I need your help and you have skill, this will take two of us." Dania says over her shoulder she is already moving towards the inn with the boy she will assess him once he inside and out of the dirt. "Justin, take Sparrow." She has him cradled in her arms.
Heedless of her gown, Muirenn follows and nods to her maid "you know the ones. Do not bring just the herbs but my chirgeonry instruments as well." As if they have done this a hundred times, as Muirenn follows Dania into the Inn, Septa Waldsteinia pins up the sleeves to the teenager's gown up to the shoulders so as to leave the length of her arms bare . "Huntsman come with us also for your wounds need attention also. Ser Angolm, when you are done with the horses go to the kitchen and assure us a steady supply of boiling water." Calm, matter of fact, the instructions are delivered . "Now..lets see what is the worst damaged…did the bear get the artory?"
"They weren't hunting for, bear, I can tell you that much…ah. They were surprised and unprepared." Kain leans back on to his rear for moment, just needing to catch his breath. Which is proving to be a bit difficult at the moment. "If you're lucky, you'll find it dead. Put at least three arrows through it's neck. With any luck, it's bled out by now. And even if it did, I didn't have the time nor the strength to try and drag it back with us." he points out, jerking his head at the boy in Dania's arms. "That took…ugh, precedence." With some effort, he gets back onto his feet. "I'll go with you, my Lord. I'm not," he pauses to touch his fingers to the gash on his face when Muirenn mentioned his wounds, fingers come back with blood. Frowning, he wipes it on his pantleg. "I'm not out of the game just yet. That man deserves a proper sending off. Gave up himself to shield his son."
And were it not for the nameless man using himself as a buffer to protect his son, they'd both be dead. And it's likely because of that sacrafice that there has been no aterial bleeding. Perhaps one was nicked in the leg, but not severed entirely. The boy's breathing continues to be shallow, the feeling of his skin Dania's arms is getting slightly chilly and clammy.
Healing and tending of grevious wounds, Justin knows nothing about. He leaves that to the women as he looks back to Kain, listening. Justin nods curtly as he continues to hold to the bridle of Kain's horse, stroking it to calm and let it rest, "I hope you have - we'll fetch hounds from the Tower and we'll make certain of it, Master Kain." A shift of his jaw and he adds grimly, "The Warrior will be pleased with the father's sacrefice to save his son. The life isn't wasted for nothing." Justin looks to the boy who he hopes will live before he releases Kain's horse. He turns to walk quickly to Dania's gelding and take up the bay's halter, "I'm borrowing your horse, Goodwoman Dania. I'll have a man bring him back from the Tower for you."
Into the inn they go and up the stairs to the room Dania has claimed. Orders have already been given by the Lady. In the meantime it is time to treat the boy and get him stabilized. Shock is a major concern along with injuries.
<FS3> Justin rolls Animal Handling: Good Success.
Oh boy. No saddle and Dania's gelding is a tall one! Justin manages by taking a handful of mane and stepping as far back past the shoulder as he can, then does a quick run-hop to throw a leg over. He'd never be able to do it in armour. Even if he's leapt on the bare back of a horse a thousand times, there is a moment's struggle to get himself upright without stirrups, or saddle to grab onto but he does it! With only the halter and reins, Justin aptly turns the half-draft with leg preasure and lead rope. Thankfully the gelding is plodding and gentle and it's more an issue of getting him /going/ than him behing jumpy or spooked. It's going to take heels to flanks and maybe slapping the rump to get the horse going briskly.
Kain lets his horse rest for a time, while he himself tries to get some energy back. He'll ignore the gash on his face or the few cracked ribs on his chest until the bear is brought down. If it hasn't already been so. So while Justin is off getting his thing, the hunter takes his moment to look over his leather armor. He frowns, no much is going to be salvagable after today, straps holding together the shoulder and peices to the chest are in tatters, easier to just get an entirely new one than try to repair it. At least the bracers and greaves are still all in one peice. Then he looks to his quiver. He'll need to invest in new arrows after this, until he finds the ones he shot into the bear are still there and the shafts are still all in one peice. Leading his horse out of the way, he takes a seat on a nearby bench, trying to ignore the pain in chest now that the adreneline has worn off.
It does take a little while for Justin will have to change into his partial maile, get his own horse, and the hounds. But when he comes back he has two other riders with him who are also mounted, men of the Tower and probably Hedge knights. There are also four tall hounds to help track and keep the bear occupied if found still alive. Justin himself has doned his maile, has short bow and quiver thrown over his back, and carries a spear. He has exchanged docile big bay farm gelding for his slightly more elegant grey who's eyes are bright with excitement, the horse's steps prancing as he breaks from gallop to trot and then pulls up reluctantly to a halt. The hounds mill about, going at once to sniff of Kain and his horse, keenly interested in the outting.
Justin looks to the hunter, "Are you fit to ride, Master? Lead the way, if you be so."
"I suspect I'm really going to hate myself tomorrow." is the response Kain gives after a moment. Looking at what's left of an leather shoulder plate, he reaches over with a hand and tears it off the one last half-torn strap it had been clinging onto. Rotating his arm, it's clear that this is his shooting arm, needing free range of moment, even if he looks a bit stiff at the moment. "But I never leave a hunt undone and that bear has made things somewhat personal for me. I'll pray it's already dead." At that, he checks the string on his bow before pulling himself up and into the saddle of his horse, ending with a grunt in pain. His old quarterhorse might look a bit weary, but the short rest has certainly helped. "Let's get going then."
Justin gives a curt nod but ere they turn their horses, he reaches back to select about half of his own arrows to hold out to Kain, "For your quiver. I can't do anything about your jerkin for now, but we'll see if we can get you a replacent. You've lost yours in proper service and you shouldn't suffer for doing so on top of injury." That said, Justin calls the hounds to heel and turns his grey to follow Kain's lead back to where the bear attack happened, the other two riders falling in behind.
"Just doing what is required, my Lord." is all that Kain says on the matter, taking the arrows that are offered and sliding them into his thigh quiver. "I appreciate the gesture, but right now, that's the least of my concerns." Spurning his horse forward, he leads the way out of the Roost and into the forest lands beyond.
The place where the hunter leads them to is not too deep into the wood. Deep enough to be cautious, but not as deep as he and Justin went weeks earlier. They pass Kain's wagon, his equipment having been dropped as he went to investigate the noises he was hearing. As they continue to ride, they slow their pace, hearing the roars of pain from what sounds like a bear in the nearby distance. They pass by a clearing that holds the body of a bloody and broken body, a leg wholly gone, looking as if it was knawed off. "So, I didn't finish him off." Kain utters with a snort. Now, but he certainly wounded the creature. The blood trail is easy to follow, along with bits and chunks of human flesh in a clear display that the animal was eating on the go.
If Kain said he thought he'd mortally wounded the bear and it likely to have bled out, Justin is then prepared to find a dead bear. Only that's clearly not the case. He grimaces and nods, "Apparently not." He gestures ahead, "Seek!" He calls loudly to the hounds to loose them to go after the bear. They can make certain it's not getting any further and distract it from going after man or horse while they close in themselves. Justin doesn't go for his bow but lowers his spear as they push through the brush towards the aweful noises. The poor dead man's body is noted by all the riders though they do not stop, yet.
What they find when they start moving through the heavy brush is just more blood, and a wall of trees against an outcropping of stone set into a hill, making it a dead end. The barking of dogs and the weak roar of defiance that meets draws them closure. This is where they find the bear, but it's nowhere near the challenged it once posed to Kain earlier. So maybe, the hunter was half-right. There's about ten arrows sticking out of it's side, with at least two imbedded in it's neck. Likely there would've been more, but the brush probably knocked or pulled them off. The trio of hounds circle around, growling and nipping at the larger creature.
And it's a pretty large bear. Male by the looks of it. The amount of blood they followed here gives the idea that it doesn't have much strength left in it to fight, batting in futile at the quicker canines that surround it. The torn off leg is nearby, half-eaten. "It may be in it's last moments, but it's still a threat." the huntsman utters. "I'd suggest finishing it from a distance. Unless you'd just like to spear it and be done with it, my Lord."
Justin's grey gelding becomes antsy as they approach the bear, all the smell of blood and the beast's noises making the horses skittish, to say the least. The young Terrick lord draws up his horse, the grey half turning to swing his hind quarters around as he rolls his eyes, head high. For a moment the grey fights the bit and legs, wanting to turn and bolt, but Justin keeps him firmly facing the bear. "I'd like that very much, to go in close and finish him." He sucks in a breath and lifts his spear, "But it /is/ wiser to finish him with the bows than risk needless injury of horse or men, unless he charges." So reluctantly he gives a nod and calls the hounds to back off.
The bear, apparently, has other ideas. It rears up on it's hind legs for a moment, roaring in defiance to the horsed and armed men before gathering apparently what strenght it has left. It falls back down to all fours before starting to lumber towards the group. "Get back!" Kain exclaims, bow suddenly in his hands. "He's charging!" Even as he pulls back an arrow on his bow to take a bead on the rampaging animal, one that will not be denied or be seen picked off by arrow, he winces at the pull, chest burning. When he lets it loose. It sinks into a shoulder, causing the bear to dip down a bit, but it keeps coming. Coming right for Justin.
If a horse could turn any paler than the grey already is, Justin's horse looks spooked out of it's itty bitty horse brain! The gelding tries to back and turn, Justin checking the horse hard with reins and heels to keep him straight. The gelding rears, fighting him before grim faced he forces the horse down by throwing his own weight forward in the saddle, "Damn you, go!" Justin rams his heels into his horse's flanks and raises the spear. With all his might he tries to keep sharp focus on sinking the steel into the bear, aiming for the heart if he can. Whatever he does, the bear will be upon him and his horse almost at once, it all happening very fast.
<FS3> Justin rolls Animal Handling: Good Success.
<FS3> Justin rolls Spears: Good Success.
<FS3> Kain rolls Marksmanship: Great Success.
The arrow Kain fires must've gone deeper than he thought because it takes the bear off-stride as it makes it suicidal charge at Justin. To which, it's a clash of two large bodies. Greeted with the point of the spear, the Terrick's aim is more than true, driving down through the shoulder and peircing it's heart. So even while the creature may die in mid-leap, the kill cannot shut off forward momenutm, crashing to the rider and horse combined. It doesn't end up pinning Justin or his horse under the massive weight of the furry creature, but the impact is certainly felt. The body ends up being stopped by the trunk of a tree.
Kain himself had back out of the way, only able to watch it all unfold. The moment it ends, he gets off his horse, making sure Justin is still in all one peice. The bear, for it's part, has finally gone still.
The grey horse nearly falls, scrambling back on his haunches and leaping aside with the impact, nearly unseating Justin from the saddle! But high cantle and pommel are there to cradle a man and knowing he might need it, he had grabb'd a knight's saddle. The spear shaft is ripped from his arm and hand, painfully wrenched but serving their purpose. Then Justin has his attention filled by turning his horse and keeping theterrified animal in hand. The hounds are baying, barking excitedly and they fall upon the bear when it goes down, coming under foot. It's over almost as fast as the bear had suddenly charged.
His horse now under better control, Justin sucks a few quick breaths and says grimly, "It is done. We've need to butcher it and get that man's body to the Sept for Rights." There's certainly a gleam in Justin's eye, adrenline in his blood and pleased before he adds low, "And we've need to see if the boy has living family." Justin strokes the trembling grey's neck, "Good boy."
"Gladly, my Lord." Kain says, walking forward to the slain creature. He wouldn't approach it he if suspected it was still alive, having been around enough animals to know when one is truly dead in comparison to when they're just playing. "Fourth bear I've managed to bring down or help bring down." Shouldering his bow, a knife flashes in his hand, usually the one reserved for skinning and deboning. Walking up to the bear, he kneels down to pick up one it's massive paws and with quick, efficent strokes, cuts one of it's claws off at the quick. This is silently set into a pouch on his side. "Indeed. We'll need at least two horses to drag this back to the Roost. I can do a proper dressing of it there. I will…need a bigger knife for it." he says, wincing and touching his side. "Yep, now I remember what cracked ribs felt like." Looking away to the side, he now moves over to retreive the man's half-eaten leg. This doesn't seem to bother him so much, being around dead flesh, doesn't matter what, he stopped being squimish over years ago. "I'll bring this man's body to the Sept. I'm sure you'll want to take back this bear personally. You finished it off, my Lord. It is your kill."
The hounds are called back to give Master Kain room to work, one of the other riders taking control of them. When his horse is quieted enough, Justin dismounts and makes certain both his own horse and Kain's are suitably held by the fourth rider so they don't get free. He comes over and briefly puts a hand to Kain's shoulder as he examines the bear, "I don't care about that. We can send a wagon for the meat - just open it up and we can gut and quarter it to cool until then. I think your ribs hurt and it is you who all but finished the bear off by yourself ere ever we came." Justin gives Kain credit where he thinks it is due. Removing his hand, he steps around to put a foot against the beast and see if he can extract the embedded spear. "At least you'll get /some/ of your arrows back."
"I learned long ago that taking a bear down with nothing more than a bow is a game of chance." Kain notes simply, a particular memory making his run his hand over the old scars on his neck, and then to the one that will likely be a newer on his cheek. "It was only be luck that I was able to deterr it enough to back off long enough for me to retrive the boy." But he nods, starting to get to work at cleaning it. Which, with the size of this bear, there is going to be a hefty amount of entrails. "I probably did, but that can wait for the time being, yeah? In either case, I'm just glad there was someone else here to assit with this. And for the boy." As he starts to cut at the neck and then downward, it does make him glance at it's hide. "Huh, yeah, arrows. Seven knows I'm going to need those back."
It takes some effort but the spear just won't come free. Justin has to draw his dagger and kneeling, cut it loose. So since he's going to get bloody doing that, he may as well help with the butchering. He's not nearly as good as it as Kain so he looks to the other man to tell him what needs doing in order to make it more efficient and go quickly. The other two men are not idle, the one with the hounds taking them back to the tower to fetch a wagon and the other tending to their horses. Justim wipes his brow, sweating in the summer heat without breath of the sea to ease them here in the trees. "I hope the boy lives, and I hope he has other family to look after him. If not, we can see he's settled with someone who can teach him a trade."
It's going to be back breaking work, gutting the bear, propping open the body cavity, skinning it out and eventually quartering it. By the time they get that far, working together, the third man is helping when the horses are restful enough to tie, the wagon sent from the town arriving to load up the meat when it's ready. If nothing else, it's turned into a more exciting day than Justin had expected!