|The Other White Meat|
|Summary:||The first white meat being ladies.|
|Date:||03 June 2012|
|Related Logs:||Continues from Pre-Raid Picnic.|
|Tordane Tower and its environs, the site of the ill-fated picnic, and later in the woods.|
|03 June 289|
Kittridge slipped back out of the tower at some point, it seems, because he jogs back up the stone walk now. He has changed his clothes and washed his face from earlier, but doesn't look any less exhausted, though that is momentarily superseded by haste. "Ser Kamron!" he calls, slowing only once he's met the men assembled, "Sers. News from the trackers. They may have found them. Come inside, please, I'll show you on the map what the messenger from the site said."
Martyn nods a little again, before he nods at Alys, "Thank you, Lady Alys," he offers after a few moments. Looking around for a few moments again, he nods at Garett for a few moments, before he blinks as he hears Kittridge's words. Getting to his feet and moving in the man's direction a bit quickly. "Finally some news…"
Dmitry draws himself to his full height, turning alert dark eyes toward Kittridge. In light of the potential for true action, he for once holds his ridiculous tongue, primed to move and rocking forward on the balls of his feet.
"Of course, Lady Alys, you have all our thanks, I am sure, for thoughtful generosity," Inigo says with a flash of brilliant smile that dims again quickly. He glances over at Kamron, chewing in lieu of agreeing or disagreeing with his belief on knights. "That is certainly the idea," he says after swallowing, now looking Dmitry's way. "Ready, waiting." There has been a lot of waiting. But apparently, no more? He sits up straighter. "Have they?" The question is rhetorical. A moment later he is on his feet, mouth set in a determined line. "Good." Is this a case where any news is good news?
Kamron bows to Alys as she depats, "Thank you again, Lady Alys." He brings his claimed apple up to his lips, about to bite into it when Kittridge comes out. In an instant, he's whirling around toward Kittridge, "They've found them?" He's already forgotten the 'may.' By the time he's spoken, he's already four steps toward the door, and tossing the apple off to the side and calling over his shoulder, "PERCY! Ready the horses!" And then back to Kittridge, "Where are they?" he must really treasure his cousin.
"May have, Ser Kamron," Kittridge has not forgotten, "May. They have no spotted the ladies, but," he says, heading straight for the maps, unrolling one, tossing it aside, and pulling out another to stick his finger on a spot, "About here," he says, "They've found a camp. A half-dozen armed men, and a cave with the entrance partly covered that they have a guard on and all seem to be watching warily. The trackers stayed long enough to learn that much, and then raced back to tell us."
Alric listens as things seem to be making progress. Heading along and watches the map as well. "That sounds like it is the right spot." He says a bit hopefully. "All we need now is the approach." He says, looking between the other men. For now letting the others speak.
Martyn makes his way over to the maps as well, staying close so he can see where Kittridge is pointing. "How does the area around the camp look?" he asks, after a few moments of pause. "Woods? Open land?" Looking between the others, and back to the magical spot on the map.
"A cave." Garett states plainly, cane rapping with every step he takes. "So they are using a form of natural defense. Suggesting a hillside or something like that. Probably only leave three ways of enterance." Martyn beats him to the punch. "No doubt. Whatever sides are left guarded are most likely going to have their sentries standing about. Or hidden."
Hands folding loosely behind his back, Dmitry slants a look across the unrolled map. His dark eyes skip up to Kittridge, and then along the faces of the other men, his own reserve cool beneath the twitch of his dark eyebrows. "Naturally we are expected," he says. "Presumably the land cannot be /too/ open, if there is a cave and its entrance is in cover? My heart hopes for cover, personally. I should hate to alert our targets in advance of our arrival with too noisy a frontal assault. The fair hostages might become terribly uncomfortable."
"Woods, Ser Martyn," Kittridge says, "Dense forest, like everywhere we've been searching. A bit of a clearing around the cave where they've made their camp, but not much. Plenty of cover," he nods at Dmitry, "But not a lot of room to manuever easily, either. We'll need to approach on foot, and bringing a large party seems to me too risky. A dozen men at most, leather armor, and we should ride at once. That's what I would advise we do. The scouts who found it can give us more detail when we arrive."
Kamron shakes his head, "'May' is enough, unless we've anything better." He gestures over to Martyn's questions, leaning over the map to study the area that Kittridge indicated. "Looks like woods on the map. Only half a dozen? There have to be more of them to have killed the guards that quickly. Probably sentries in the woods around. We'll have to get people in close to kill them before they can sound the alarm. Then a flying column — afoot, of course. Straight to the cave." He nods to Kittridge, "A dozen for the actual assault. I'd like to get another half dozen to deal with the sentries." He's already reaching up to undo the sling around his neck, "But we'll leave the majority here if this is just some random group of bandits."
"I see why they would have raced back. That sounds promising." Inigo has not forgotten the 'may', either, but armed men warily guarding a cave are unlikely to be innocent, anyway. "Only half a dozen men? Seen, anyway." It sounds a little low to him. "Cover works both ways, but I agree that the less we announce we are coming, the better," he says with a nod before frowning at the map. "Not really my area of expertise, I admit, sneaking around."
"I'm going to suggest hitting all three sides at once." Garett notes, reching forward to point at three different locations in a triangle format. "Set men on three points, and have them all close in at once, focusing on reaching the cave as the end point. This will give none of them a way out. I would eighteen men, Ser Kamron. Six on each point to make it equal. Coming on three sides will confuse and seperate them enough that they won't really have a chance to mount any kind of decent offensive."
"My best skill is to strike from a distance," Dmitry murmurs of himself, hand tugging lightly at the strap that bears the quiver at his back that he has just been kind of wearing around. "If we keep ourselves lightly armored and have a care not to make too much noise — whichever dozen men approach should be able to get close enough for arrows even if we haven't a passel of sneakthieves in our pockets." (When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail; when you have a quiver, everything looks like a bullseye.)
Martyn nods a bit as he hears that, looking between the others, "It may not be my arena of *expertise* either, but I'm skill rather competent at it," he offers after a few moments of pause. Nodding a little at Kamron's words, "Some of the best archers then, to take out the sentries?" Pausing a little bit as he hears Garett, "Sounds like a wise course to me, Ser." Turning to look at Dmitry as well, nodding to the part about the arrows. "Perhaps part of the group good marksmen, and then some fast people who can secure the cave entrance before the enemy can do much there?"
Alric nods as he is about to say the same thing about using the archers, as he had suggested earlier as well. "If we can try and get as many people as close as possible, without being detected, and then kill the sentries with arrows it should let our main force go in quicker, before they can realize what has happened." He suggests, looking towards the others in the room.
"Even if our scouts somehow managed to underestimate their numbers by half, which I doubt, I don't think we're likely to need more than a dozen," Kittridge says, "And the more we bring the more chances of getting seen and caught out. We can have archers take their shots and the rest rush in after to take care of sentries and the others in the camp before they can get to the cave. Best to leave the ladies in it until the captors are rounded up, anyway. This seems simple enough," he nods at the general agreement, "So come, we should ride at once, sers."
Kamron yanks his breastplate to the right with a grunt and a flinch of pain, reaching up under the steel to tug at the laces holding his chainmail to his arming jacket. "Arrows aren't a sure kill in the forest, Lord Dmitry. A knife in the throat is." He nods to Garett, "Three directions makes it easier for them to hold us up. Twelve straight up the middle will give us weight of numbers. We can slam right through them. It doesn't matter if we get them all. It matters if we save the women. And we need to hit them hard, fast, and concentrated to do that." He gets the sleeve untied, and skins it off his left arm, hissing sharply the entire time. Evidently, he means to be out of his steel and in leather in time to ride as soon as they're out the door.
Garett shrugs. "Whatever you gents are gonna do, as long as it works. I just feel that 'divide and confuse will work better." he says lazily. "Can't exactly ride a horse, so you won't see me getting in on all the fun."
"It does matter if we don't get them all, Ser Kamron," Kittridge disagrees as they mount up, "If even one can get to that cave, it will go poorly. And if the women are in that cave and we try to pull them out before we've taken care of all the bandits, we risk them getting injured in the crossfire or something. That doesn't seem a risk worth taking to me, when we have the ability to avoid it." He flicks the reins, and starts down the road, riding at a quick pace back to the forest.
Dmitry drops a shoulder in a partial shrug. Already geared in his leathers out of not prescience but a low-level nervous tension, he makes use of that for fuel to speed his quickened stride. "As you say, cover works both ways," he says carelessly. "I assure you, I shan't be leaving my blade at home." He pats it fondly at its hilt, angling to claim his horse by its bridle with a soft clicking of his tongue. Mounted, he angles the horse to briskly fall in with the others.
Moving to get out of his own armor in a similar way as his cousin, Martyn looks around for a few moments, hurrying out with the others. "Hard, fast, concentrated…" he agrees with Kamron, before he adds, "Difference between 'getting them all', and 'keeping any of them from getting inside', Ser Kittridge. Main priority would be keeping any of them from getting inside. Getting them all would be the second priority, but it would be nice if we can…" Looking around for Xander, his squire for a few moments, giving the man a few instructions under his breath as he removes his armor to get out now. "And my hunting bow," he adds at the end of what he said to the young man.
Kamron shakes his head at Kittridges words, tossing his maile sleeve to Percy and then adding the next one, the squire dropping both, and then stepping up to pull off Kamron's breastplate. One Mallister nods to the other, agreeing "I just mean getting to the cave entrance, and holding it. I don't care if the fucking bandits get away for the short term, so long as we save all of the women." With his chausses still on, Kamron hauls himself into the saddle, groaning in pain as he does, "You're coming only as long as it takes me to get these things off, Percy. Too many and we risk warning them." The lanky squire looks like a kicked puppy, "But… Ser… I wanted to…" And then he deflates, hauling himself onto his own horse so he can keep up with his knight long enough to finish taking his armor.
"Then you had better be very surprising." Garett intones. "Because the moment you loose that first arrow, someone is going to go into that cave to either hold them hostage, or just outright start killing them." he states a bit gravely. "So. You know. Keep that in mind when you storm in. Because they're going to have to time react when you charge in. And right now, when you go in, there's going to be a moment where they're either going to guard it, or they'll all go in the cave. Did anyone say how big the opening is? For all we know, they go in there and bottleneck the rest you who try to go in after them. Remember that when you light this candle."
Kain is pacing, waiting off by Justin's horse. Every so often he'll lean against a tree to support, but waiting on hearing back from Stonebridge is a mind-numbing affair. One that gives you a lot of time to be doing a whole lot of nothing when you'd rather be doing something. Which is odd for the ranger, who is more used to sitting in one spot for hours at a time waiting for a game pass through range of his bow. But here, not so much, he putters about, until he finally goes back to the tree Justin's horse is next to, toying with the string of his bow.
Having been part of their group the day before has Pariston being not too far away from where Kain and Justin are at the moment. Though still just looking around the area, having the other two in hearing distance.
Thank the Seven that no one stole his horse tied up out here a little ways from the road, nor pifflered his saddle bags. Justin opens the other side up and brings out a bit of travel rations, dried meat, hard bread, slices of very dried hard cheese, and dried fruit. Thankfully he has the waterskin to help get it down. With the cloth in hand, he brings this back to where Kain is and offers the hunter some of his fare so that they both might eat a little. Justin looks around, "Pariston and Lord Einar should be catching back to us, if they aren't already here."
The ride back to the clearing isn't a short one, but it's made as quickly as can be, a column of armed men ahorse kicking up a nice dust cloud to announce their arrival before they pull in. Kittridge draws to a halt as soon as they're in and is quick out of the saddle, already free of clunky, noise-making armor, dressed just in cloth and leathers, spear and bow at the ready. "Which of you are the trackers that found the camp?" he calls out, heading towards the men waiting; some of them searchers, some those he left to coordinate their efforts.
It's been a wild ride from Stonebridge. Kamron managed to get all of his metal armor off and handed over to his squire, but now he's lean and mean in his leather arming jacket and breeches. His left arm is clasped tight against his chest, but apparently there's no chance that he's going to miss this. His horse is blowing hard from the ride, but Kam just swings a leg up and over the saddle, sliding straight down to the ground. That landing too draws a grimace, but it doesn't slow him, advancing at Kittridge's right shoulder. He probably has questions of his own to ask, but that won't matter until the first one is answered.
As the thunder of hooves crescendos to a dull roar with their arrival, Dmitry pulls up to a halt after Kittridge and swings down from the saddle in a fluid shift of motion, armed with bow and quiver and sword. He smiles sunnily as he tips a saluting gesture toward Justin in particular.
Martyn is also out of his usual armor, and into leather at the moment. Like some of the others, he's carrying a bow as well as his sword at the moment. Bringing Miramis in for a stop, he slides off the horse now, moving over with the others, offering a bit of a nod in Justin's direction as he spots the man.
Justin looks tired and is dressed in his worn hunting leathers with jerkin, rather than his partial maile. After their group's unsuccessful scouting of the woodcutter's camp in the hope of picking up fresh evidence of the women, it was Pariston's idea to look for caves. So they turned with Kain and Lord Einer to that venture, seeking suitable areas that Kain especially knew of in this area that had the sort of ground suitable for such things to be found, the right kind of stone. Moving quietly in two pairs but all four occationally coming together to compare what they had seen or not, the cave and the men they sought was eventually found. Now the four are resting and awaiting the riders.
With a bit of dried food in his mouth, Justin indicates Pariston, Kain, and Lord Einar before he's able to swallow, "We did, Ser Kittridge. Goodman Pariston here, it was his idea to seek for caves, and Master Hunter Kain who knew where we might find them."
Alric rides not too far behind in leather to be able to move more swiftly in the terrain. Getting of the horse and walking a few steps behind Martyn. For now having decided to walk along. Glancing over his shoulder as he searches for the Charlton sworn knight.
The pale grey horse that is Justin's is tied to a tree, ears up and eyes bright at the arrival of the men and their horses. Justin's long bow as well as a spear are set to lean against the tree.
Pulling up to a halt as the others do, dust kicked up in a cloud around them, Inigo is not as quick to swing down from his saddle as some. He holds tight to the reins as his horse dances in place a moment and then stands still with a snort. He slides out of his saddle then, tipping his head in silent greeting at those already here. "Good idea," he says about the caves, fussing with his leather armor and weaponry. Check, double-check.
"How are they arrayed, and how are they armed?" Kittridge asks Justin and Kain and the others without preamble, "Tell us while we hike there. It is a hike, right?" He turns back and looks at Kamron and those assembled and says, "Pick out the most suited in whatever number you think we need, Ser," to the Mallister, "Leather armor only, everyone on foot. Let's go quickly, and quietly."
"Told you he was the best tracker between Dorn and the Wall," EInar says with a faintly satisfied smile. The young Flint is dressed in the leathers that served him well enough on Harlaw and has his crossbow slung on it's usual shoulder strap. He watches the arriving men for a moment, raising an eyebrow slightly as it seems to be Kittridge in charge, even though there are Mallisters and Terricks present. Interesting. But then, if he recalls correct it was one of the Groves ladies who'd organised the do in the first place, so maybe that's why. "About an hours hike, I'd say," he offers in responce to the question, "A little over hal a dozen men."
Kain, in gilly cloak, colored intentionally with the colors of the forest and parirelands steps away from the tree when his feet feel the vibrations of hooves on the ground before his ears hear them coming. Staying quiet, he listens to Justin recite the line of recent events and where they had been traveling the past day. "It was a well-thought idea." he admits. At the question of weapons, the ranger speaks up. "Lightly armed, my Lord. An assortment of clubs, bows, knieves. Armor seemed standard fare for the kind of men that can't readily afford a decent kind. Leathers made from hide. Though I wouldn't be surprised if they stripped any dead guard's arms and armor either. A few of them wander the edge of the clearing and move in shifts as well as sentries."
Oh, hey. Its the Charlton Knight, that Songbird fellow. He is riding up on his dark brown courser from off the road and onto it again. Jac slows to a trot as he comes up to the men, in his own leathers with the sword on his back. He looks between the gents with a nod of his head, dirty face steeled. He stops beside them, overhearing the last of those details from Einar. "Oh, have we heard good news then?" He has been out of the loop while he asked about the hamlets without a bit of good news himself.
Dmitry checks the cuff of one boot and then straightens up. "A pleasant hour in the woods, then," he says. "What a walking party we shall make."
A swig of water to clear his throat and Justin's packing up their all too brief repast to shove it back into his saddle bags. As the others of his own group speak up to report the details, Justin says, "Are you sure you wish to hike, or to ride, Ser Kittridge? We can go afoot if you wish for stealth, though it will be hard to do with so many to keep .. quiet. If we go a horse, I wish to change back into my maile." He doesn't seem to mind if the Groves Knight is running things, since Ser Kamron had spoken well of Kittridge. He's a bit young himself and hasn't earned his spurs to be leading all of the others so Justin quietly complies without the slightest fuss.
If Kamron is going to bristle at taking orders from Ser Kittridge, he's going to do it much later, once everyone is safe. He turns around with a nod, looking back to the others, "We'll take the four trackers, plus Ser Kittridge, myself, Ser Martyn, Ser Inigo," he looks around the group, frowning in thought, "Lord Alric — one of your men. Are there any Naylands here? Each of the women should have someone there they know."
Pariston shrugs, "I wouldn't be able to do much about it if we didn't have people that know the area." He says as he offers a kind smile to the others. Wearing leather and carrying his hunting bow slung over the shoulder. Being quiet for now, as usual he is not one to talk much with nobles. So he just walks along silently.
Desmond is attempting to remain out of the way. Armed with his usual daggers and light armor, he lingers near the back of the contigent, eyes on the walking… bush that is Kain and his gilly cloak.
Alric looks to Kamron as he is addressed by the Mallister. "Ser Caddock. Sworn to the Charltons." He offers to Kamron. Though wanting to go himself as well, but he isn't too good at it all. "I could go along." He still suggests. As Kamron did mention having people that the ladies would know. "Will that really be enough?" He asks Kamron, looking around a bit.
Martyn nods a bit as he listens now, looking towards the forrest rather more carefully now. Frowning a bit lightly to himself, before turning to look to the others again now that he hears his name mentioned.
Though he was distracted before, Justin did not miss Dmitry's odd little salute. He nods to that man and Martyn while he awaits Kittridge's answer.
"Afoot, I think is best, Lord Justin," Kittridge says, after listening to all the scouts have to say, and nodding, "The other Sers and I agree that a stealthy approach to the site is most important, so they don't hear us coming and move against the women until we're in position to stop them." He glances back at Kamron, and says, "Agreed, ser?"
"Point me at the villains and I will knock them down for you, Lord Ser Kamron Mallister," Jac says as he pulls his courser forward, nodding his head to Alric. He sweeps out of his own saddle at Kittridge's suggestion, giving his old comfortable steed a nose knuckling before he looks back over toward the others.
Kamron grimaces a moment, "Fuck me blind. And someone who knows Lady Ilaria Haigh." That one must've slipped his mind. He looks to Alric, shaking his head, "You said yourself, Lord Alric, you're not a fighter. We need a dozen strong fighters." He looks around, then nods to Jac when he spots him, "Ser Jac. Grab your gear." He looks at those he's already named, "That's nine. Three more." Kittridge's words draw a nod, "Stealthy until we're spotted, then an all-out rush to the cave mouth. We -have- to get to the women before they do."
Einar glances sideways to Pariston, "Everything will probably be madly chaotic and nothing like as planned, but if we get the chance to do things in an even remotely ordered manner then you make sure my goodsister is unharmed and I'll ensure the same for Lady Cordelya." Then spotting Desmond, he gives his fellow squire a brief nod before listening to the plans, what with not having been around when they were formulated and all.
"I certainly hope you aren't planning on leaving me out," is Dmitry's light remark, paired with a slight lift of his chin. His arms are a loose fold across his chest, eyebrows up and dark eyes bright as they flick back and forth throughout the gathered knights.
One of the rabble that Kain seems to have drummed up for the occasion is one Ser Farrell Keane, the older knight casually trotting his courser, Fluke, up by the walking bush that is his colleague. He gives Kain a quick grin and a wave, dressed in whatever leathers he could scrounge. "Hup, I know how to slip in somewhere all quiet-like, M'lords, or I can fight on the line. Either one," pipes in the hedge knight as they begin to deliniate roles for the upcoming advance, giving his horse a pat on the neck.
Well then, no donning his partial maile in that case. Justin picks up his long spear and sticks it as high up into the branches of the old tree as he can to keep it safe until his return. His grey gelding he pets, pouring the rest of his water into his steel cap for his horse to drink before he puts that back into his saddle bag. When that is done, Justin picks up his long bow and restrings it before checking his quiver, "Very well then." Though more likely he'll use his sword if there's any close fighting.
"I know Lady Ilaria, Ser Kamron," Desmond offers, lifting his hand as he moves to catch up with Einar.
"Lord Justin," Kain quietly offers. "Probably for the best that we went in on foot. Surprise is still our best advantage. For the time being." he says, pulling his hood back up around his head and bring his short recurve bow into his hands. Then Kittridge says the same, so his word will probably mean more than the ranger's. In Farrell's ever so non-chalant appearence, he looks amused. "I was wondering when you were going to show up, Farrell." he offers. "Up to the front with me, then."
Jac looks down at himself, and then up at Kamron. He flashes the former Bracken squire a broad grin. "I'm a minimalist, Ser… send me along." He then looks over to Desmond, sizing up the youthful knight. My Gods, was he that young… ever? He gives Desmond a nod of his head, and then he looks back to the noble knights.
Alric nods to Kamron, though grinds his teeth a bit. Having wanted to be in there as well. Though as the Mallister says, he isn't a great fighter. He moves over towards Jac instead, whispering to the man before the knight is able to run off. Then he just looks around for a bit.
Einar knows Ilaria Haigh, she's one of his many, many cousins, but what with the Flint boys already accounted for with rescuing the Flint Ladies he isn't in the best of places to offer. Thankfully thoush, Desmond does and he just nods in agreement with the Westerling.
Martyn looks over to Alric as Kamron speaks to the man, offering him a bit of a nod, as if to say that they will get them out. Checking on his own weapons, a bit carefully for the moment, ready to go whenever they've decided it's time for it.
"Oi, Farrell." Kain adds suddenly, looking over his shoulder. "No hourse, mate."
Pariston nods to Einar, and that is more and less all he does while listening to how the others seem to make up the strategy. "Don't worry, I'll make sure she's safe." He tells Einar, starting to walk ahead a bit, mostly since he knows the way and not really have more to do there. He doesn't leave, just move out from the main group while he waits.
Kamron looks over to Desmond, nodding sharply, "Right." He frowns as Farrell and Dmitry invite themselves along, settling his attention on Dmitry for a long moment, "If you fuck this up, Lord Dmitry, I will do something unspeakable to you." He looks once more to Alric, "Sorry," and then he's focusing on the hedge knight, "What house are you sworn to, Ser?"
"It's Ser Dmitry, if you don't mind," is Dmitry's mild and immediate reply to this.
Keelin's been searching the woods, up and down and all around, with no luck. He's as happy a man as any other here, but at the moment, he simply is standing there. He'll go where ordered to, expecting that the Mallisters are more than aware of his own skills. Such as they are.
"I'm aware," chortles Farrell with a grin, already in the process of slipping off the saddle and settling Fluke with whoever is left behind to care for the other horses. Giving the horse a pat, Farrell bows his head to Kamron as he's addressed. "None, Ser Mallister. I spoke with you some time ago about the banditry issues, but it seems they came up on us from behind before we could attack ourselves," answers Farrell with a quick grin, adjusting his leathers and making his way to follow off after Kain. "Hm, a tad late I suppose. Need to make sure they don't burn down the camp while I'm gone."
Jac tilts his ear down to the Young Lord, and he pulls back just a touch to meet the man's eyes with his own dark stare. "It will be done, Lord Alric." Then he looks back to the other knigths and lords at hand. He listens to the chatter, but unless asked or he finds himself compelled to interrupt, he keeps quiet.
Einar nods to Pariston and starts to amble after the man, turning to say to Desmond as he does so, "You know the Lady you just entrusted yourself with is my cousin right? Don't make me have to come after that hat of yours with a torch." Despite his words, his tone is light enough to indicate he has no actual fears ont hat issue.
"Ser Kamron." Kain pipes up, again having to turn away from his way from making it to the front of the group, be more of the scouty type. "If it's an issue, ser, he's with me. Not wanting to a problem, but Ser Farrell's more than capable. I asked him to do his own searching while in the area and meet with me here if he found anything."
His horse seen to and still tied, his bow back into hand, Justin moves to quietly take up a position near to Pariston to wait for Kittridge to tell them to move out and show the way. He is rather grim of face and gives a nod to what Kain said. Nonetheless, there is a brightness to his pale grey eyes, eager for what they hope to come.
Martyn offers a bit of a nod in Keelin's direction as he spots the man. Stepping over to Kamron, he gestures in the direction of Keelin. "His sister is with my sister, isn't she," he offers very quietly now.
Alric nods as it does at least give him some comfort knowing that Jac will be there. Taking a step back and knows it's for the best, not wanting to ruin things after all. He moves over to the horses, leaving room for those that will actually be going to rescue the women.
"How is it that every Lady I smile at, you're related to!" Desmond breaks his grim expression with a joking tone. "What do you think I'll do, prance off with her the moment we free them? Tch. You'll not have my hat, Lord Ears."
There's little enough for him to do while everything gets sorted out, thought Inigo stands a little straighter and nods when his name is mentioned. Otherwise, he is fairly quiet, if attentive still, not lost in thought. "I'm sure Ser Dmitry will not fuck this up." He hopes, anyay, now that he's spoken. Farrell gets eyed with some suspicion for being here and unsworn, even when vouched for by Kain.
Kamron keeps frowning at Farrell until Kain speaks up, then looks over to the huntsman for a moment before he nods, "Ser Farrell." Martyn speaks up then, and Kamron looks to Keelin, "And Ser Keelin. That's our twelve." And then he's turning away toward the scouts, "You said an hour?" He looks to Kittridge then, "Ready when you are. I'd like to suggest Lord Justin to command the sentry-killers." As he passes Keelin, he murmurs, "Keep an eye on the hedge knight."
"Haven't you heard?" Einar replies with fake exasperation, "I'm realted to everyone. That and the Mother hates you." A glance to Kamron and he confirms, "Aye Ser, about an hour, assuming a direct route."
Kittridge nods to Kamron, "If you think it best, ser," he agrees, "Let's go, then." He looks to Justin, Pariston, Kain and Einar, "Lead the way then, if you would." And down the trail they go. It is an hour of tramping down narrow tracks, fording streams, ducking beneath branches and around brambles. After about an hour, the scouts leading the way will know they're nearing the encampment.
Justin is patiently waiting for all his eagerness, no figitting. His gaze goes to Dmitry as the others keep speaking of him fucking things up, and he frowns. Do they say it like it's a Terrick thing, or specific to Dmitry's past actions? He has no idea. Ser Kamron mentions his name and then he simply stares at the knight for a moment, "Me, Ser? I'm not sure that's the …" and then Kittridge is speaking up to agree to it. Justin thins his mouth and stops any further protest. He instead nods when the order is given to head out and show the way. So he glances to Pariston and Kain, then turns to do so. He moves quietly enough, experienced with such country.
Farrell chuckles at the suspicious eyeing he's garnered, giving a little elbow to Kain as he follows. "Aw don't you worry, boyo, this sort of thing's pretty common. Used to it myself, nobility don't tend to care about my professional reputation; I won't be draggin' yours through the mud, tho' it looks like we'll be dragging ourselves through it before it's all said and done." He keeps his faint grin, looking to the gathered men here. "Tho' the way it looks, I doubt we'll be seein' any fightin'. They'll probably all run off 'fore we even see one. Might as well be raidin' them with an army."
Along Pariston's side hangs a sword as well, and knife at the boot as usual. The bow being first priority for him at the moment though, as he carries it over his shoulder, ready to take it down once they come closer to the cave. Moving swiftly, or at least as swiftly as one can in this terrain, and while makin sure to keep in pace with the rest.
Desmond isn't going to sputter and pull Einar into a fighting match now, however tempting it may be. "She does not /hate/ me," he mutters, staring straight ahead, watching the trackers move.
Keelin has bow and arrows, and his sword, but he's in leathers, so as to be a lot more quiet and harder to see in the woods. He simply falls in at the rear, keeping watch on his step, and occasionally glancing behind the group, as he walks quietly.
Oddly, it doesn't seem quite so long a trip on the way back, possibly becuase Einar can count off the tell-tail landmarks that indicate they're getting closer. After one particualr fallen log he glances across to Justin, Pariston and Kain, raising an eyebrow to silently ask 'close enough?'
"You'll do fine, Lord Justin," Martyn offers, before they start moving. Looking between the others as he moves alng with them, keeping quiet for now. Looking rather determined now, eyes narrowing a bit the closer they get.
Kain glides through the woods, steps making all but whispers of noise as he passes through, intentionally avoiding the larger branches to step on. "It is common, which is why I asked you to come along. Too bad your buddy was nowhere to be found. And we'll find out just how desperate these men truly are. But I'm going to move up front with the other. Stay behind, but with the frist group of men. I'm sure it'll get rowdy soon enough just the way you like it." A light smile and nod, he moves forward with Justin, Pariston, and Einar, silently drawing an arrow out of his thigh quiver, just in case.
When they draw close enough, Justin makes a hand signal for the others to stop and be quiet. Without saying a word, he looks back among them and starts to point to each man who's carrying a bow who he has been observing to move with reasonable stealth on the trek out the past hour or so. First among them are Kain and Pariston, and then to others including Einar, Kittridge, and Dmitry. He mimes drawing an arrow and knocking it without yet doing so, then gestures for the archers towards the four outter most sentries. Justin looks back to see if they understand, without his speaking a word. It seems there are four outter sentries, one guard right at the cave entrance, and three others loitering near to him, sitting around.
Pariston looks over to the other scouts, readying his own bow as well. Just in case after all. An arrow pulled out and he starts sneaking more now. Letting the others do the talking. Making himself ready to take aim and fire when needed. Listening to Justin, or at least seeing him at the corner of his eye.
Einar with there being more archers than outer sentries, Einar glances to Parisotn and makes note of which of the bandits the man is aiming for. Might as well made dan sure and double-tap the bastard. A broadhead bolt is drawn from the quiver he carries and carefully readied in the now tensioned weapon. Lifting the stock to his shoulder he sights and then waits, taking deep, slow breaths to ensure there's no twitches or shakes.
Kamron nods to Justin, echoing Martyn's sentiment, "You've done well so far." He looks to one of the men still at the picnic site as they turn to leave, "Get word back to Stonebridge to bring up horses for each of the women who were kidnapped, and a carriage just in case." And then he's off into the woods with the others. He may not be as quiet as Kain and the professional hunters, but he's not an aurochs in a china shop either. As Justin tells off those to kill the scouts, he pulls the leather sheathing from his axe-head, drawing the weapon from its loop and holding it down along his right arm, ready to make the charge as soon as the first sound of warning is given.
Dmitry draws an arrow from his quiver, thumb stroking its fletching as he glances from Justin with narrowed dark eyes toward the sentries. Bow lifted in hand, he cants his chin in the direction of one of the sentries. His blink quick, he does not quite smile, but cants his head in a kind of angled encouragement for his cousin. Pacing with a quiet care to his motion, he slips between the shadows of the trees to claim an angled vantage on his target, and waits with silent caution, bright-eyed and alert.
Kittridge halts when the scouts leading the way signal, and turns back to make the same 'stop and be quiet' motion to the column behind them that Justin made. Then he turns back to watch Justin's instructions, a couple quick hand-gestures used to confirm the positions of the men up ahead. He looks to Kamron and whispers, "Should we pick a count, long enough for us to fan out and try for the sentries, and you rush in with the others when we're done? Or just go when the first one screams?"
Desmond backs away from Einar to join those without bows, one hand on the hilt of his blade as he crouches amongst the shrubs.
As he moves, it would seem like Martyn has some experience in keeping silent when outside. Pausing, nodding a little bit to himself, he moves his hand to the hilt of his sword, but keeping the bow ready as well, in case he'd need that one at some point. Moving in a position near Kamron, ready to start running when it's needed. Offering a momentary quiet nod now.
Justin then motions to spread out and take up positions as needed for the archers so that they can get clear shots at the outter sentries first. Nice, good shots, unless they decide to go for shooting the men closer in. But well placed shots can be silent unless someone cries out to raise the alarm. Justin licks his lips and draws a clothyard shaft of his own, laying it over the hardwood of his long bow. He gives a nod to Kamron's whisper and then makes a handmotion to his mouth in an obvious motion of mimicing the sound of a pheasant to use as their signal - nevermind pheasant don't care much for deep woods. He then moves off to pick his own target, mindful of which men the others seem to be choosing so to be certain that each of the four will get at least one or even two arrows aimed for them.
Kamron leans in close to Kittridge's ear, keeping his voice as quiet as possible, "The less movement, the less chance of anyone hearing anything. I say we just rush as soon as someone makes a noise."
Such fun, a stroll through the woods. Inigo was truthful when he said sneaking around wasn't his area of expertise, though with care and in leathers, he isn't clunking around and letting everyone know where he is, either. He just isn't silent like trackers. When they've gotten close to the area with the cave and Justin signals to stop as they've gotten close, he does so. He stands ready, trying to stay under cover, and waits for orders since he is not of the men to take out the sentries.
Although the hedge knight is stealthy but without too much skill at ranged, Farrell hangs back with the other men and crouches down as he awaits the signal to move forward. He carries a stony expression, eyes watching carefully into the darkening landscape as he waits.
Kain is a spectre the color of the forest, moving at a low crouch. Finding the small clearing in the distance, he kneels down. Then he picks his target as the others with him do. The only noise he makes at this point is the sound of the bow stretching as the arrow is pulled back and aimed, breathing now slowed and perice, held in only at the point of release.
Although he wasn't asked to be ready to shoot, Keelin simply pauses and stays quiet, perfectly willing to do whatever is needed. Staying still is something he can manage, and he does just that. He reaches for his sword, making sure he's ready for the rush as well.
Kittridge nods to Kamron's whisper, and then turns back as Justin gives further info and instructions, and nods again at that. Along with the rest, he fans out as silently as possible around the clearing, taking up an angle on a sentry, arrow knocked and drawn, ready.
Of course, Dmitry's much-vaunted competency with his bow and arrow is one thing; the trees apparently give him a lot more trouble. His quiet is limited to his held tongue, eyes wary dark and focused on his target. He trips over the root of one of the trees, and catches himself with a skinned palm on its lowest-hanging branch. His breath huffs, almost perfectly quiet; the noise of cracking branch and rustling leaves is a lot less stealthy.
Well, all seems to be going well, they are all moving quietly to spread out and take up excellant positions to shoot. Justin can see Kittridge just barely through the foliage, but Pariston and Kain are either a bit too far off for him to see or blending in well. Justin waits for them to stop when he hears … something. Followed by another soft something that sounds like a bowstring released! At once he lifts his hand to his mouth and makes the loud, startled whir-whistle that a pheasant makes when breaking from cover before there hoped for surprise is utterly undone! Dropping his hand to draw back the long arrow until the fletching softly brushes against his own jaw, Justin takes careful aim and releases his own arrow! Aimed right for the throat of the man he's managed to get fairly close to.
As Justin signals, Kittridge releases his arrow as well and, though he wasn't able to get quite as near to his target as the more accomplished woodsmen, his aim is good, and the sentry is dropped quietly enough to not draw immediate attention.
The signs of alertness in his target bespeak an end to patience. Dmitry does not waste time for thought — or concern about orders; he looses his arrow with careful aim and watches with liquid relief as it strikes true. Lashes fanning briefly shut, he wastes a moment on an exhalation that bears only internal kinship to prayer, and then slides another arrow in a long, silent swish from his quiver.
Pariston is completely hidden and only gives off the sligthest of movements. His arrow pulled back and released towards his target, when Justin signals. His aim good and having been fairly close makes him hit his target right in the throat, having the man fall rather quickly and without being able to cause any immediate alarm.
The unmistakeable twang of a bowstring draws Einar's attention for a moment, before he catches himself and turns back to the sentry he's aiming at. With the Justin's signal following rapidly afterwards he looses the bolt only to see it fall to the right of it's mark. It might have been the distraction, it might have been the fact that Pariston had already dealt with the guy, who knows. Either way though, he's quickly about reloading and then scanning for a new target amongst those bandits further into the clearing.
While Kain might hear something of a rustling not too far off, the scraping of a boot and pulling a branch, he doesn't move, out of fear it might be a sentry searching for them. Instead he hears an arrow release and the quiet gurgling of a man getting struck down. He doesn't take his eye off the man he's focused on and when the alert goes off in the sound of a flying bird, he lets his own arrow fly from his fingers. The man it strikes doesn't have to time to react, drilled in the chest and toppling over onto the ground in silent fashion.
The bolt that Einar sends wide of the mark may not be needed to take down the sentry, as Pariston manages that, but it keeps on going, into the clearing to lodge itself in the dirt. One of the bandits gathered there spots it and, confused, says loudly, "What the fuck?"
The sounds of bowstrings ans striking arrows are, by themselves, soft sounds that might be easily missed with the breeze ruffling the tree tops lightly. Question is, are any of the outter sentries hit able to cry out?
Kamron tenses at the rustling and the soft twang of bows from ahead. And then there's a curse from the clearing, and he's immediately up on his feet, hissing, "Now!" His axe his held down at his right side as he runs forward, ignoring the bandits for now as he rushes through the trees directly toward the entrance to the cave.
As Kamron moves, Keelin is not far behind, sword drawn and held tight to his side, as he races in along with Kamron. Hedge knight? There's a hedge knight he's supposed to be watching? There are bandits to kill and women to rescue. CHARGE!
Frowning as he hears that curse, Martyn moves forward as fast as he can, not drawing his weapon until he's gotten a bit of the distance taken care of first now. When he's gotten a bit of the way, he draws is sword as he keeps on moving.
"Well then, I guess that's the signal," muses Farrell, grinning over to Desmond as he waves at him. "Come along, young Lord! Best we get in there before we miss it all!" Farrell doesn't mind not being supervised, drawing the broadsword from his baldric and rushing his way in toward the camp, trying to edge on the outskirts of the battle to avoid early detection.
Not quite the intended plan, but atleast Einar now has a new target. Mr Observant over there. Bolt loaded, bow raised he takes a moment to sight again and to block out the noise of the other charging past, then looses another bolt, hopefully with better results this time.
His arrow sent, Justin at once knocks a second but the exclamation from the clearing has him turning his head sharply towards the area he had last seen Kamron setting up the second group. They'll be making a rush and he'll dare not shoot again for fear of hitting their own men, so Justin drops his bow and draws his blade to start moving in, quiet as he can at first unless he can hear the others moving, then in a sudden rush! Bows are NOT exactly a knight's prefered choice anyway!
Jac has been waiting for the signal, and once Kamron says the word, the Songbird Knight is on the move with his sword readied. He glances around the area, waiting to see the first sign of aggressive movement as they run for the cave!
As armed knights come charging into the clearing, the bandits look on in shock. There are three, who seem to've been sitting around eating until the one spotted the bolt and shouted. They reach for their weapons, but aren't the quickest, clearly caught off-guard. The bandit on the other side of the clearing, guarding the cave-mouth, is even slower to respond, rising and turning around to stare, open-mouthed, at the on-rushing horde of armed men.
Desmond snaps out of his focus when Farrell calls to him and jumps up after the rush, drawing his daggers. Someone's got to keep an eye on this mangy hedge knight.
The last time Kain had to draw and fire in a rapid succession is when he had to deal with a bear that almost killed him. Granted, he'll take bandits over bears most times. That man dropped, the moment he's loosed the first, his drawing hand draws another arrow, pulling it back, he now has moving targets to content with, takes a bead on one in particular, aims, draws in his breath and lets it go to fly through the air.
Dmitry sights down the bow through the trees, tracking movement with alert eyes as he looks for another target to shoot rather than joining the main mass of the charging column. He waits patiently for a clear shot.
Once that exclamation comes from in the clearing, and Kamron gives the signal to charge a second later, Kittridge, like Justin, is dropping his bow and, spear in hand, charging into the clearing.
Justin hisses as he runs, "Don't shoot our own!" But he dare not shout it for there could be more bandits they don't know about that would be drawn in, and might be, yet!
As he's running, Keelin does clue in on something. "See if we can capture 'em. They might know something," he calls out. Well, they surely don't look like they know what they're doing, as he bursts into the clearing.
Kamron is headed directly for the bandit at the mouth of the cave, and he moves fast when he's not in armor. There should probably be battle-cries here, but that might alert any other sentries that they haven't found and killed. Instead, he charges wordlessly, his left arm still tucked in close to his stomach, but he brings his axe back with his right arm, slashing in at the man's neck, aiming to overpower him directly and keep his attention so that his cousin beside him can finish the bastard.
Kittridge is one of the last into the clearing and he, like Kamron, Martyn, and several others, sprints straight for that cave, trusting the others to deal with the other bandits as necessary.
The bolt, tipped specifically for leather and animal hide, probably makes a very satisfying thunmp and it hits the observant bandit solidly in the abdomen. Unfortuantely, Einar is too far away to hear it, what he does her though, is the equally satisfying gurgle the man makes just before he crumples to the ground. No time to rest on the success though and certainly no clear line of shots so he slings his bow back over his shoulder and draws his sword, moving forward to help with the mopup, should it be needed.
While his compatriots cut through the bandits, Jac leaps and move across the ground as he continues for the cave. He already is trying to get sight of the women within…
Moving the rest of the way for the same bandit as Kamron, Martyn growls a bit as he swings his sword for the man's abdomen now, full swing, and with the momentum from his run as well. Not holding anything back, as all of his fury, worry and frustration goes into that slash.
No sound comes from the cave, or at least no voices. As Jac nears, he'll hear a scraping noise from inside, and what sounds like it might be footsteps, or movement, but it's difficult to tell over the noise.
Desmond keeps moving as the men engage the bandits, trailing closely after Jac. He pauses at the footsteps, squinting into the darkness.
And just like that, the bandits are all down. One to Einar, one to Kain, one to Farrell, one to the combined slaughteration of Kamron and Martyn. No more appear out of the woodwork.
One of the man was running to enter combat with the charging knights and others. But he doesn't get that far. The arrow released from Kain's bow finds it's mark, hitting the man squarely in the chest. He cries out and falls at a run, trumbling end over end until coming to stop and unmoving. His face under the gilly cloak's hood is somewhat grim. "Poor sods." he utter lowly.
Jac passes the transition from dirt to stone with ease, though he skids to a stop as he peers within the darkness. He still has his sword in hand, but he tries to keep it from looking intimidating in his hand should the ladies spy the naked blade.
Farrell darts into one of the guardsman at the mouth of the cave, not too far from Kamron, and takes advantage of their surprise attack. He's also not much one for shouting, especially in this situation, bringing his broadsword down in his left hand at the surprised fellow's head in an attempt to cleave through his shoulder. He stands no chance, a horrific gurgling being his only protest as the bloodied man falls toward the ground. Farrell draws a dagger from his belt to hold in his free hand as he nods silently toward Kamron, ready to head inside with him once he goes.
Justin comes in the second wave a bit behind Kamron's group since he had positioned himself to take out one of the outter sentries with his bow. His blade drawn, the pathetic old sword is much rust pitted and knicked, rehoned, polished and oiled to gleam once more as best it might. But it does nothing to hide the fact that it's a blade that was salvaged and no self respecting knight would carry, or suire either, unless he was dirt poor and had no better. Still, it can be used to kill a man even so. Justin's eyes are bright and he's still silent as he comes up to stop and pauses to listen. There's no sound of the women's voices.
With the signal given by Kamron ('now' seems pretty direct enough), Inigo takes off at a run with the other men. Running, he can do, no problem. Charging the cave, he glances around as others take out the bumbling bandits with apparent ease. He slows from a run reaching reaching the cave, squinting inside and at the others there, sword in hand.
As people begin to enter the cave, footsteps come suddenly charging towards them out of the darkness. Or— hoofsteps?
Jac has come to the makeshift door, keeping his blade-tip pointed down to the earth as he does so not to allow it to intimidate when he opens the door. He is ready though, in case something jumps out at him.
Pariston as the area seem to be clear Pariston starts towards the cave as well, now having his sword at the ready. The bow most likely not going to help them much in the darkness of the cave anyhow. He is a bit behind the others though.
With the men dead, the camofluaged Kain emerges out of the literal woodwork, letting his bow hang at his side now that the danger has apparently passed, though he does take good long moment to look at the treetops, incase there were any scouts hiding up above as he makes his way out into the clearing. "Well." he ponders, looking over the low number of bandits about. "That seemed rather…anticlimatic. I expected more men."
Kamron looks around the clearing as the red haze fades from his vision. He raises his axe to point toward something across the clearing, and then there's a sound behind him from the cave, and he looks to Martyn and Jac, "Out of the way!" And then he's quick-stepping to get out of the way of the entrance to the cave.
Well. So much for catching one alive to question. Keelin does check, but he's first aid is nonexistent. He's the one doing the killing not cleaning up usually. "Bugger it," he says simply, unable to help. Then turns to look towards the cave, at Kamron's words. "You'd expect them to come rushing out, I'm sure," he says.
Kittridge runs up to the cave, reaching it just as Kamron is telling people to get out of the way. "What?" he says, confused, "Are they not in there?"
"Move!" Jac says in time with Kamron as he jumps aside the door, though he drops to a swat with perhaps an aim to take out someone— or something's— legs.
Martyn frowns a little bit as he prepares to move towards the cave entrance, blinking for a few moments, before nodding at Kamron's words. Starting for the side of the entrance, he throws himself forward, to get out of the way now.
Einar had been heading towards the cave, and is still in truth, far enogh away not to hear the sounds eminating from within. Kamron's call and movement though are plain enough and he backpeddles quickly until he's at what he believes to be a safe distance as he sheathes his sword and starts to make ready his crossbow again, just incase.
The knights scramble out of the way as what comes charging out of the cave is no lady, but a pair of wild boar. Luckily they are not looking to gore so much as escape, but that doesn't mean they aren't ready to bowl over and/or injure whoever is in their path.
Farrell sure misses his horse about now, diving to flank the entrance of the cave and be ready to ambush any hostiles that fly out of the cave. He, instead, looks incredibly surprised at what pops out. "Well. Haven't seen somethin' that odd since that merchant tried siccin' his pet raven on me," Farrell grumbles to himself as he regains his posture, probably figuring the archers will take care of dinner.
Kamron's warning that /something/ is coming out makes Justin raise his blade to a guard position first, not leap out of the way! The sound of hooves make him at once think they have found the stolen horses, and if well hidden, might explain why it has been so hard to find tracks of so many horses in woodlands that has been depleted of them by the Ironborn and poverty in these parts. Yet what comes charging out is smaller and fiercer! The young Terrick lord throws himself clear, barely in time! Justin hits dirt and rolls to the side without being trampled.
"Run!" Inigo turns right back around and sprints fast as he can right back away from the entrance hearing the sound on oncoming hoof-beats. There is little dignity in this, but he is not getting run over if he can help it…or gored, apparently, as the case may be. Light on his feet, he does escape the cave mouth, looking a little surprised at the pair of boar. "Our ladies are looking a bit rougher than expected." What? Humor is a totally acceptable coping strategy for disappointment.
Kain has only just started to come into the clearing when the boars got loose. Blinking, he starts heading over to the side to make sure he doesn't get in their way. And seeing others taking a bead on them, he doesn't bother to shooting them.
Jac Caddock does not wait to see what exactly bursts from the doors, but since its obviously not a Lady, the Songbird Knight cuts his sword in front of him with the purpose of slicing at the piggies' legs with a bellow.
Desmond just barely manages to avoid getting trampled, and it seems folk are gearing up to shoot at the stampeding boards. He scrambles to the side, hoping to evade any arrows that may be loosing, and alas, he cannot appreciate Inigo's amazing joke at the moment.
Still working on throwing himself out of the way, the boars manage to catch his legs as he tries to get out of the way, and he's sent flying a bit more than he intended, landing with a bit of a thud, and a bit of a pained cry. Thankfully, he dropped his sword on the way through the air, and he landed face down.
Kamron catches a boar-shoulder in the back of his leg, spinning him further out of the way, although certainly not in the way he was hoping. The blow sends him to the ground, but luckily it's his right shoulder that hits first, rather than his left. It's still enough to cause him to explode with a loud, "FUCK." He hauls himself up to one knee.
Emerging from the shadow of the his friend the tree, Dmitry has his bow lowered but with his arrow still fitted in place; it will only take him heartbeats to bring to bear and shoot. He sucks a little on his teeth as he has only just started toward the others, alert in the sliding passage of his dark eyes. He yelps at the sight of their hairy tusked ladies charging out of the cave and stumbles backward in surprise. His old friend, the tree root, is still there; as he scrambles out of the way, he takes a pretty ignominious fall, smashed with hard-bruising force into the trunk of the tree in the glancing passage of a wild boar. He'll have to take up axe work next.
Kittridge does not turn around and get out of the way in time, too busy being confused by Kamron's suggestion and disappointed that the ladies don't seem to be inside. As the boar come charging out he fails to step sideways fast enough, and gets a nice tusk-slash across the thigh that has him shouting a curse and tumbling out of the way.
Einar brings his bow to bare as the boar burst out of the darkness. With the mass of bodies at the cave enterance he can't get a clear line to shoot. SHifting round the clearing he tries to get a better view and a safe shot.
Huh what? Get out of the - but there's a hurt bandit - and then he catches sight of the charging boars, and his eyes widen. He starts to dive out of the way, and almost makes it, but the boar that has gone flying by Martyn manages to catch Keelin's legs in midair, with a one two smack, taking a nice gouge out of his leathers, but only leaving him with a scrape on his leg. It hurts, but at least it's not deadly or anything. "Maiden fuck - " he manages, before he hits the ground off to the side and his intended roll stops short. Ow.
Barrelling past their initial obstacles, the boar split up, one running directly back into the woods, knocking Dmitry around in the process, the other, more confused and directionally-challenged, running at Einar.
What the hell? Justin rolls back up onto his feet and stares at the fleeing wild pigs before he looks back to the cave, at first incredulous and then quickly replaced with cold anger and dissapointment. He sucks in a breath and moves to look inside to see what, if anything, is in there besides the two pigs. Justin expells a cold hiss, "Maiden's fucking tits!" Those who know him know he almost never swears.
Desmond jerks when Justin suddenly curses. Then slowly gets to his feet, wiping the sweat from his brow. "I hate pigs."
Kamron pushes himself the rest of the way to his feet, gesturing with his axe out into the chaos of the clearing, "Let the boars go if they aren't dead already." He works his right leg a bit, wincing as he does. Best not even think of how his shoulder feels. "Someone check inside that damned cave just to make sure. Someone else find me one of these fuckers who's not dead to haul back with us."
Kittridge gets to his feet with a grimace, looking down at his leg, spending a moment poking at the bleeding gash, and then heads for the cave, limping a little. "Was that it?" he asks, "Just the boar?"
By the way he hangs his head and only stands there after looking in, Justin didn't care for what's in the cave. He sheathes his pathetic, dinged up sword and says far too quietly, "There's only pig shit." He lifts his gaze to seek out Kain, Pariston and Einar … whereever they are in this mess as if to ask them silently how it could possibly NOT been what they had been seeking? Without saying another word, Justin starts walking straight back out into the woods to go and find his bow. He looks really pissed.
"Just a boar," Jac says as he slowly begins to haul himself back straight. He glances into the hovel of the cave, glaring into the darkness as he keeps himself in a position to jump out of the way should something else come hauling its ass out.
Einar had, thankfully, been tracking the boar that charges him, maybe it knew? The first bolt is away quickly enough and finds it's target in the boars side. Bloody mindedness, strength or just sheer momentium keep it coming though and he breaks off to move out of the way. FOr some reason though the animal seems to have taken offense and makes the turn as well, leading to a scramble to load anf loose a second bolt. Someone above must have been watching though as it hammers home through an eye socket. It's definatly momentium that takes it the last few feet this time, but as it slumps to the ground at the young Flint's feet, the animal is very, very dead.
"…All right, come on… Uh, Ser… Floral. Let's check inside." Desmond beckons to Farrell and heads back into the cave after Jac.
Dmitry makes a slow, cursing scrabble of effort as he drags himself to his knees with the leverage of a tree branch. He hisses through his teeth as he surges from his kneeling perch to a standing one, and then hunts around in the dirt until he finds the arrow he never actually got a chance to let loose at the *^&$ pig.
There's a bit of a groan from Martyn as he starts getting to his feet a bit slowly, stumbling for the first few steps as he moves back to retrieve his sword, looking down to see the torn and bleeding area around his ankles now. Letting out a bit of a growl in frustration as he hears what the other said, he moves over to the bandit the Mallisters brought down, the very dead one, and slumps to his knees by him, slamming his fists into the dead man, repeatedly. Take that, you dead bandit!
It takes a moment or two, but Keelin gets to his feet. He rubs at his head a moment, and then checks his own gashed leg, frowning. well, gash is too strong a word, though he'll have bruises on both shins. And a nice hole in his leathers. Bugger. He has to pick up his sword off the ground, and once that's done, he pauses. "This one over here was still alive," he says, heading back over. "If he didn't get trampled by the stupid pig."
"I /prefer/ Ser Prettytoes, M'lord," corrects Farrell with a careless snicker as he shakes his head, his weapons at the ready as he slips into the cave and attempts to sneakily intrude to investigate.
The matter of pigs under control, Kain decides to do something a bit more constructive; he's searching the area. The encampment the bandits were using, searching over the bodies, and generally looking tracks to and from the area that's not their own. The encampment is of the biggest interest to him, go through sacks and packbacks, and anything else that might give him a clue as to wether or not these bandits are tied to the bandits they're actually looking for.
"Son of a fucking bitch," Kittridge curses, and then turns away from Justin and his bad news to glare at a tree, jaw tight to hold in another shouted curse, fists clenched tight as he resists the urge to flail angrily. After a moment, he gets it under control and turns back, "None of the bandits still living, are they?"
Catching sight of Justin as he heads back into the woods and calls out to the man. "Lord Justin!" Bending to extract the bolts to see if the are reusable he notions to the animal at his feet. "Most likely stolen from your peasantry, reckon that makes it your's to distribute as you see fit." There's probably a fwew starving villages around or such he's sure, that or they'll dine well in Stonebridge.
Kamron moves over to Martyn, shifting his axe into his hurt left hand to reach down to grab at Martyn's shoulder to try and pull him off the dead man, "This won't help, coz. We need to get back in case the trackers find something else." Each step by the younger Mallister is a limping one, but it's still a step.
The boars dealt with, Inigo brushes himself off and moves to check on the bandits, see if they be living or dead. Maybe someone didn't outright kill one? He eyes the one Martyn is beating on. Well. That's one definitely dead. "I don't know."
Planting his fists a few more times in the face of the corpse, Martyn adds a few attempted kicks as Kamron drags him off. Tears in his eyes as he looks to his cousin, nodding a few times. Not moving for the corpse again now, at least, as he takes a few very deep breaths. "Looked so good…" he mutters, finally.
Once he has his bow, Justin comes back out of the trees. He sees what Kain is doing and nods, "We need to search … to see if these people are even linked to those whom we had /thought/ were here." It's then that he looks around to see if any of theirs got more than lightly hurt. He frowns to Einar, then nods, "The meat will be appreicated, aye. It'll be heavy to carry back but we can gut it out first and cool it." Justin is then distracted by what Martyn's doing over there. After a pause, he raises a hand to rub over his face, tired with no sleep the past few days and no ground gained afterall.
Keelin limps back over to the one that he was looking at when the boars charged. "This one is still breathing, though I don't know for how long. Anyone know what to do to keep him breathing?" he calls out.
Moving with a stiffness at variance with his usual grace, Dmitry winces his bruised and battered way over to the others. He says, "Not I, I'm afraid."
Kamron studies Martyn again for a long moment, then nods his head, looking over to Kittridge, "We need the trackers out again. And it's going to take us longer than an hour to get back." He gestures down to his leg, and then to Kittridge's. Shifting his axe back to his right hand with a groan and then slipping it down through the loop at his belt, he adds, "Look at it this way. We've got a method that works." He looks over to Keelin, then asks Kittridge, "Leave a couple to see what they can get out of him while the rest of us get back?"
"Put pressure on the wound?" Kittridge suggests, limping over towards Keelin and the not-dead-yet bandit, "Not much help beyond that," he admits. At Kamron's suggestion, he turns back, and then nods. "Aye, let's split up."
With literally just shit in the cave, Farrell comes out with a shrug as he sheathes his broadsword and dagger. "Well. I hear that's good for growin' some crops, but that's about it." Farrell shrugs, slapping his hands together after a job well done and beginning the trek back to his horse. "Back to scoutin' it looks."
Kain is just going to keep doing this searching, trackery, rangery thing that he's doing. The idea that he may of caused innocent ment to die since this wasn't who they were looking is already starting to bother him. Fingerless-gloved hands go through random backpacks. Weapons, not very good ones, which are tossed aside. More clubs and knives and whatnot. A few pouches full of odds and ends, suggesting irreuputable activities. But heirlooms he might be able to pick out or had seen recently. He frows, before getting back up to his feet, heading to Justin. "Lord Justin." he states. "I don't see any ties to these men with the ones we're looking for. Looks like theives or squaters. Poors ones at that. But Master Pariston had a good idea. There are more caves in the surrounding regions. There might be others that're using them."
Desmond heads back out with a curse, perhaps just to blend in with the rest of the cursing, pissed off men. He nears the wounded bandit and stares at Kittridge. "We didn't bring along any healers?"
"I can't believe I left my maester in my other pocket," Dmitry mutters undervoice. His feud with the forest has made him cross evidently.
"That is about all I can say about it as well. I know little about healing," Inigo agrees with Kittridge, standing nearby Keelin and the one breathing bandit, though he doesn't look happy about it.
Martyn actually goes back to the one corpse he was beating up, but only to make sure to wipe any blood from his sword off on the clothing of the dead man. "Shall we head back, then?" he offers, voice prehaps a bit colder now. See, getting some of that frustration out is good, even if it was on a corpse. Nodding at Kain's words, but he doesn't say much more now.
Kittridge blinks at Desmond, and then says, "Ah. No. I don't think we did. Not generally very good at stealthing about in the forest, maesters. But… yeah, that was a stupid oversight. We'll definitely will want one near next time." He scrubs at his face, looking suddenly very tired, and shrugs at Keelin. "Let's do what we can for the man, and half of us should go ahead to pass along the news. Is he fit to be carried out, you think?" he asks of the bandit.
Einar heads over to where Keelin is standing and glances down at the wounded man. "I know a little about herbs," he mutters, "but I'm not convinced that's going to be doing him much good." He tilts his head for a moment, thinking, "all we need do is stablise him while someone goes for the horses, he can be ridden back to Stonebridge, or The Roost if that's closer, and seen to properly there. I think he'd have a better chance that way rather than being carried over that terrain."
Justin turns his head to listen to Kain and frowns, "Innocent men, then, of at least what we seek." He glances to Kittridge, then says, "We can't leave them. They'll need burrying. Let us at least put them into the cave so animals don't get to the bodies ere we can return to see it done properly." Then he sighs, "Gods forgive us." He reaches out a hand to lightly touch Kain's shoulder, then turns to set his bow against a near tree that he may set to doing just that with the nearest body.
Keelin shrugs at Kittridge. "Your guess is as good as mine," he says. He glances at Einar though, and nods. "Looks like you're it, Lord Flint. Cause you seem to have a better idea than the rest of us. What do we need to do?"
"Deaths are on my hands." Kain offers. "Maybe of not what we were looking for, but I still helped lead us here." He nods at Justin. "Right. Leave them in the cave for now, see that they are given proper rights, but there are more caves to look through and we should get at it while there's still light. Dayling is burning away and I'd rather make the most of it." That said, he'll go about starting to drag bodies into the cave.
"Hm. Sad but necessary. Certainly not the first innocent men butchered in a skirmish, certainly won't be the last," adds Farrell with a shrug toward Kain, giving him a couple pats on the shoulder as he passes by. "Doubt it's a first for many of us at all."
"Innocent of kidnapping the women does not mean innocent overall," Inigo says, his conscience apparently not bothered by the afternoon's events. Although, he didn't attack anyone personally, so maybe it's easier then. Still, he moves to drag one of the bodies into the cave, at least.
Kamron nods to Desmond and Kittridge, "Next time we bring the horses in a little closer, along with a few guards and a healer." His right hand clenches and releases, clenches and releases. At the discussion of hauling the squatter or thief out for medical attention, he growls, "Fuck him. Scouts back out, and the rest of us back to organize the next raid. That's what I say." He looks over to Justin, "Drag them into the cave if you want, Lord Justin, but they aren't honest peasants, and we have more important things to do than burying thieves." He nods sharply at Inigo.
Desmond runs his palm up the side of his face, over his bandana. "Next time…" His gaze drifts to Martyn where it lingers for a moment or two. Then the bodies being dragged into the cave. Perhaps the older men are more forgiving from their years but Desmond has to snort at this.
"It sounded like it could be the place," Kittridge says to Justin and Kain, "You could've scouted it for a week without knowing it was pigs in there instead of the women. We should've captured these men instead of killing them, that's not on you." He rakes a hand through his hair, and nods, "If you could, Lord Einar, whatever you can. He might know about others hiding nearby, if we can speak to him. I'll see horses sent back to carry him out if he lives and you who stay if he doesn't." And with that, he too is heading back towards the path, picking up his bow on the way.
Martyn nods a little bit as he listens, "And the more time we spend here, the more time we lose in finding the right place," he mutters to himself, before he starts off down the path as well.
Einar is not entirely sure where all this talk of innocent men is coming from as they look decidibly dodgy to him. Nodding in agreement to Inigo he then turns to look at Keelin for a moment, but hearing no oher volunteers he just gives a brief nod. Kamron's outburst is noted before he adds after it, "Or maybe Ser Kamron, he might know of other groups in the woods and caves." Sort of like what Kittridge just mentioned.
Justin never said they were innocent men, only innocent of what they'd thought they had done. He makes no comment, seeing that the bodies are at least put into the cave rather than left to rot where anyone might stumble upon them. When that grisly task is done, Justin picks up his bow and starts to head back as well. Somewhere along this hunt he's going to have to lay himself down and sleep a few hours or he'll be no use tomorrow.
Kamron nods to Einar, "So find out. I certainly don't have any idea how to do that." And then he's limping off into the woods, heading back the way they came with the rest of the group departing immediately. He's holding onto himself relatively well for now, despite the frustration, worry, and pain, but it's a fragile sort of stability. And this is going to be the second night the ladies are in captivity.
The bandit who is not quite dead yet gurgles unpleasantly, and lifts a dirty hand to clutch weakly at Einar's sleeve.
Keelin looks down at said bandit, and shrugs. "Let's see what we can do, Lord Flint." He's volunteered, because if this guy knows anything, then he'd like to know. He does give the guy a glance. "You can save us the trouble and just start talking," he suggests, as he sheathes his sword so he has both hands free.
Feeling more that just a little out of his depth at this point, EInar watches as the majority of the party fade back into the trees. Hmmm. The grip on his tunic draws his attention back to the matter at hand though and he looks down at the bandit before kneeling in the grass beside him to get a better look at the extent of his wounds. "Some water perhaps?" he says to Keelin, "they should have some supplies around here somewhere. Assuming the group heading back to Stonebridge haven't helped themselves. Then back to the man on the floor. Hmmmm.
Keelin looks around to see if he can find any water, as asked. Huh, apart from the guys, what's left in this place? Curiously and trying to help, he's on his feet, limping over to wherever it looks like there might be something resembling supplies.
Jac steps up toward the pair with the bandit, and he looks over Einar and Keelin with his hands hooked on his sword belt. "I would be much more keen to save the man if he could tell me where he might think the bandit folks are hiding."
The bandit doesn't necessarily look opposed to talking, so much as he's having difficulty at the moment. He tries to clear his throat, and fails, and his eyes roll like he's struggling to stay conscious.
Keelin's search at least nets him a waterskin, if nothing more, and he promptly limps back over to where Einar is, passing that over. "It's half full," he reports, pausing to look at the poor bugger who is trying not to die. "Here, let's get you at least a bit of a drink?" That's what the water is for, right?
Jac drops into a squat now beside the bandit as he looks over toward Keelin, and he nods his head as he folds his fingers together. The man looks down into the face of the fallen man, and his own expression is stern. "Drink up, drink up," he says in a simple, void voice. He glances over toward Einar and then back to Keelin before he returns her gaze downward once more.
Well, that is the general reason Einar is trying to save him in all honesty, he's just being cautious so as not to accidentally kill the man in the process. "Stay still," he warns the injured party before carefully probing the flesh around the crossbow bolt sticking out of his abdomen, gently. Then the man's eyes roll and he stops, wishing, for more than one reason, that Corrie was present right now. As Keeling returns though he nods his thanks and instructs, "just a little, wet the lips. Too much could cuase us more problems." Assumign that'll be done he turns to the scrip at his belt, and rumages through to see if he has anything for the pain. Milk of the poppy is out, but there are some dired herbs that mgith do the trick. TO Jac he adds, "Ser, if you could find me a cup or somesuch?"
Keelin opens the waterskin, and actually does check to make sure it's water with a sniff of it. At least he wants to not poison the fellow, right? He puts it to the man's lips, careful to follow instructions at this point. Just wewt the man's lips, not too much there. And then the water skin is pulled back, as Keelin watches to see if that did anything at all.
The man licks his lips, and swallows. It takes him a couple tries, but he manages. "You— you ain't come for the pigs," he wheezes. It seems his deductive reasoning is still functional, at least.
Jac looks toward Einar and then he starts to look around with a slight tilt of his head. He stands up slowly, and he begins to move about the site in hopes of finding a cup of some kind.
Einar nods to the man, taking the ability to talk as a good sign and notiong for Keeling to repeat the wetting of the lips sould it appear that he needs it. Pulling something from his scrip he waves it briefly infront of the man then starts to crush it in his hand. "This is willowbark, it should stop the pain a bit. Normally taken it tea but we'll just have to do what we can in the conditions. You're right though, our aim wasn't the pigs. We were after fair fairer creatures. I don't suppose you'd happen to know anythign about that would you?"
Keelin blinks once. He nods back to Einar and keeps watch on the fellow. "Someone's coming for the pigs? Who might that be?" he asks. Willowwhat? Oh, that's the ugly tasting stuff no doubt. He is kind of glad it's not aimed his way at the moment. Jac's motion is noted through peripheral vision, as Keelin keeps watch on the dying bandit. And if he looks like he needs a little bit more water, then Keelin will oblige carefully.
The man chokes down the willowbark water, coughing a little, which is an unpleasant sight and sound, with the way it makes the wound suck and bleed. "F-f-fair?" he asks, confused, eyes rolling from Keelin to Einar and back.
With the sound of that cough Einar shoots Keelin a look that basically says 'you know what, I'm just going to cut right to the chase on this one'. To the bandit he replies, "I'll be clear. Not far from here a group of people recently went missing, you wouldn't happen to know anything about that would you? Wouldn't happen to have maybe seem or heard anything that might be of use to us?"
Keelin shrugs as Einar looks his way, and watches for a moment. He's got a question too, but doesn't want to interrupt so he waits a bit, trying to let the guy concentrate on Einar's question before he goes back to, "The pigs. Who's coming for them?"
Cutting to the chase is probably wise. The man struggles to swallow enough to clear his throat again, licking his lip, and saying, "Wwater." When he gets some, he says, "Dunno 'bout… m-missing. R-r-rod. Rodrygo. Said said he was gon st" he coughs, blood spattering his lips, "Steal our pigs," he gets out, eyes closing, though he breathes still.
Einar wishes for a moment that a Terrick had remained, given they're probably the most likely to have heard of any Rodrygo fellow. Since there are not though he attemtps to rouse the man again but gentle(ish) slaps to the cheeks. "And where might we find Rodrygo?" is asked, should any sign of counciousness appear, after all, even if he's not the guy with the lady's it'll be useful to pass on for later investigation.
Keelin passes the water, carefully wetting the guy's lips as he asks, and he frowns a bit, glancing at Jac and then Einar. "Stealing pigs is not exactly nice. No clue who Rodrigo is though." He looks at the poor guy, and adds, "Did he say when? Were you waiting for him to arrive?" Seems like a good quesetion - cause if they show up right now, the trio left here might be in a bit of a pickle, right?
The man takes some slapping to rouse again, eyes rolling around, unfocused. "W-west," he mumbles, "Hill. N-n-ne—…" He trails off, eyes slipping closed again. Still not dead.
Einar is as unfamiliar with the local geography as he is with the local villany although he does, almost instinctively glance west as the man indicates that it is the direction of interest. "Nine maybe?" he asks Keelin, "nine miles? Or near?" Truth be told, he's not sure, and not entirely convinced that anything he can try to bring him round gain won't kill him. "I think we still have to try," he mutters, mostly to himself, really not rating the man's chances of suriving being moved. A few more slaps it is then, and maybe a little water too before he glancing around for anything that might work as an alternative to smelling salts.
Directions? Wait. West. Hill? And what the heck was the last bit anywa. "Fuck," Keelin cusses, glancing at Einar again. "Can ye wake him up again?" he asks, because well, admitted pig thieves might well be more trouble than just that? Or not, but it's the only clue they've got on anything so far. He shrugs to Einar, as he tries to figure out the N sound, not sure what it might be. "Come on, you bastard. Tell us something we need to know," he mutters. Though if Einar gets him conscious enough, he'll give him a bit more water sure.
It takes slaps and water both, to get anything like consciousness out of the bandit. He doesn't volunteer any more information, just sort of gapes at them blearily. Huh?
"Rodrygo," Einar says slowly and clearly, "To the west, a hill. What else can you tell us? We can stop him if you help us." Worth a try surely.
Seems worth a try, though Keelin is still a little worried that this Rodrigo guy might decide to wander by while there's just the three of them here, with dead pig, dead men, and no prize. Except hey, three guys. Bollucks. He actually moves to look west, just to see if there's anything he can see, other than trees.
"Ro-rod…" The man fades out for another second, and then back in again, clearly on his last legs, as it were. "Hill," he repeats, "C-cri-iick… b—." He trails off on a vowel sound, and stops breathing.
Einar glances across to Keelin. "That'sall we're going to get I'm afraid. Help me with the body?" Setting the water skin to one side he makes a quick sign of the seven over the corpse before reaching to try and tug out the bolt so it can be reused. No need to worry about further damage to the man now. That done he stands and reaches for his legs, starting the drag towards the cave enterance.
Keelin nods, perfectly willing to give a hand with the heavy work. And used to it, besides. "Sure, might as well put him in with the rest, and then start treating that boar? Be ready to go when they get back with the horses, right?" he suggests.
Einar nods to that and adds, "Did you catch that last bit? Crick I think, then something beginning with a B although he didn't manage to finish it. Between us I figure we should be able to remember all that." He does not ask however, just which one of them gets to tell Justin that it appears it might well have been innocents that litter the cave after all.
Keelin nods his head. Rodrygo. West. Hill. Ne - something. Crick b. I wonder what the crick and the hill are near." Sigh. "I guess if we think this Rodrigo is anything worth following, we can maybe focus some searching in the right direction." He sets to work on the self assigned tasks, waiting on their incoming relief.