Page 505: The Stranger's Minions
The Stranger's Minions
Summary: Lord Daryl and Ser Perrin have a face-to-face meeting with one of the Imps.
Date: 10 December 2012
Related Logs: These Woods Be Haunted
Perrin Daryl Imp 
In the Woods, Terrick's Lands
A clearing in the woods.
December 10, 289

It is night, and therefore a rather ridiculous time for a pair of noble knights to be out in the woods. Haven't they heard that these woods are haunted, possessed by the Seven Imps — a rather unorthodox superstition from the religion of the Seven that involved the seven minions of the Stranger. The story itself is frowned upon by the High Septon, but every religion has it's odd old wives tale. They always say that the Stranger's seven angry imps will come getcha if you don't straighten up. Now Daryl and Perrin have arrived at the very clearing where the baker's boy's body had been found. It is a little stretch of daisies and nightblooming jasmin and poppies. There are trees overhead that make this clearing more of just a loose space of trees. The horses are nervous as they enter, almost uncertain about the closeness in which the forest grows. There is a spot on the grass where the daisies are dead and flat, emphasizing where the body had fallen.

Daryl lets out a long exhale of breath as he rides along, his horse trotting slowly while he keeps his head on a swivel. "Whoaaa," Daryl assures softly, patting the neck of his horse. "Relax." He whispers, his eyes scanning the trees. "Alright." He doesn't seem scared, but he is one hell of a wary man. He leads his chestnut brown steed towards the spot where the baker's boy was found, and then peers again into the woods. Another exhale of breath. He made a promise he intended to deliver upon. And now he was staring at it. "Fuck," he whispers under his breath, before leading the horse into the woods more, attempting to keep an eye out as he looks around. Peering up towards the night sky, he attempts to determine how much light the celestial bodies have granted him for the creepy walk into the haunted woods. A look to his saddle, and he considers lighting a torch.

Perrin wasn't that far behind Daryl. After their talk in the stables he went after him, and now he has followed the Lord to these clearing. Shadow, his horse lets out a soft whinny and the second born of Broadmoor whispers "Easy boy, easy." Opening up the face shield portion of his helm with a gauntlet covered hand he looks out across the open spot just in time to see the Lord lead his horse back towards the woods. A clicking sound and he leads his horse just at the edge "My Lord," he says softly. Eyes searching about the whole time. "Lord Daryl," he says a tad louder.

What the? Are the imps calling his name? Wait…Daryl turns his head towards the call, his eyes squinting through the slitted holes in his steel helm. "Lord Perrin?" He inquires just as quietly, then waves the man over. "Follow me." …Yes, follow the newly appointed deputy into the woods at night where the site of a recent murder happened. Relying on starlight for now, the Ashwood leads his steed in a bit further, waiting for Perrin to catch up if he so wish. "Think this is the spot." One hand feels in his belt compartment. Stinky vials…Check. To the saddle. Torch…Ready to be lit. The Ashwood moves in a little more, atleast not giving off a light presence to be spotted by. "I'm glad i'm not the only man who's content with an…'empty hole' as a lead." He peers around, eyes trying to adjust and look about his surroundings. One hand lightly rests on his blade hilt.

As he is want to do at times, Perrin tilts his head and cuts his eyes to Daryl after following him into the woods a bit further "I had figured you were as tired of those restrictions that they put on us as I was. I took my chances," he explains his presence. He looks back over his shoulder to the clearing through the trees "That is where the boy was killed you think?" He asks turning back to Daryl. A brow wrinkles as he watches the man check his belt and then rests his hand on the sword hilt. Shadow is turned so the doesn't have to keep looking over his shoulder "A waste of time clunking about the woods with an army if you ask me."

"Right." Daryl agrees with Perrin, stepping further into the darkness. "This is useless. Mind lighting this?" Daryl moves to hand over the torch to Perrin, speaking quietly, "They can evade a stomping army, but two fellows keeping quiet? Now we're both hidden." He pauses, then speaks softly, "Maybe we should wait on the torch until we absolutely need it. Your call." Either way, his hand is at the ready with a smelly vial contraption as well as his sword. "Stay close." Daryl doesn't just go straight in, he pokes around a bit, looking around for anything…Any lead that could help.

"Another knight, or it looks like two," comes an eerie voice from the trees above. There is a rustling movement amongst those branches, and a hooded shadow moves across the canopy. There is no follow-up voice, no harmony of taunting like the young Terrick retainer had blubbered about. It is a single, perfectly bored voice. "Let me guess… you're looking for that Noble girl."

Perrin takes the torch, looks up trying to peer through the canopy of the trees then looks to the clearing "The clearing is lit well enough, back here in the woods we shouldn't be seen. Lets hold off on lighting it." Oops, spoke too soon. Quickly his eyes take from the clearing and looks back tot he trees over head. His arm crosses over him while his hand grips the hilt of his sword. He remains silent for a time, jaw tightened, eyes narrowed trying to find the source of the voice "Yes, that's right," he answers. Maybe loud enough. "Where is she?" The question all but sounds more like a command demanding an answer.

"Above," Daryl warns softly, and he gives his horse a little tug to turn him in the direction of the voice. He uses his other senses, his alertness to try and listen, sense, even smell if he can the phantom figure above them. "No light," he agrees, and his voice, a bit more smooth and welcoming than Perrin's speech, "That's right." A pause…"And i'm assuming you don't just dwell about the canopies at night for fun, either…Meaning either your hiding…And you need something too, or…You too are looking for something as well?" Either way, that vial is gripped within the dark. "Maybe we can help eachother." His voice is confident, no shake in it.

"Always searching for the little waif," the voice drones boredly. "She isn't all that special you know." It pauses, and shuffles amongst the leaves again, moving to another tree. "That maid girl… Inna they call her… she is a better prize to seek than the little Noble girl. She doesn't cry, she doesn't make a fuss — she got herself some backbone." A bored yawn soon follows those words, stretching out the next set of syllables. "Probably why the Hunter hasn't ripped it out through her throat yet." Then there is a pause. "And what does the little Knight offer me?"

Perrin nods, as if Daryl could see it, when he gives the warning of 'Above'. Shadow dances a little, the space opening up a bit between he and Daryl. "She is special to me, very special." Perrin says, trying with all his will to keep his voice in check. Mostly doing a fairly good job at it, sort of. But when the voice talks about ripping out the backbone his teeth bare and he hisses. "Why don't you show your self instead of hiding in the trees?" Then after a brief moment "What do you want? You know what I want." His blade draws out of it's sheath a couple of inches. It's more of an instinctive move than willful.

Daryl slowly removes his steel gauntlets, pocketing the vial in his belt compartment and then very quietly attempts to dismount his horse, tying the beast to one tree while he continues to speak, "Well. I am no knight. But it is not only the noble girl I seek. No child should be taken from their family." As the horse is tied, and his steel gloves removed, he attempts to quietly trace which tree that one shuffled to, and then, while his horse is still tied to that tree, (and hopefully in the dark it appears he too is there, a simple diversion.) the Ashwood sets bare palms on the tree trunk, leather leggings raising as he begins to silently scale the tree he thinks the voice is up in. He closes his eyes, and speaks no more. He can't give away his position. Eyes shut as he shuffles up the tree, a flashback of a young Daryl swept away by a stream outside Hollyholt. Eight days in the wilderness. His eyes open as he continues to scale the tree quietly in the dark. Now's not the time. If he can successfully scale the tree and grab one of the mysterious figures,

"Have you considered, Knight, that none of these children were taken? Perhaps they walked out into the woods, seeking a change… seeking to no longer be under the rule and reign of men and women who, by the blood in their veins, deem themselves more worthy of this land than them," the shadowy Imp retorts from his spot in the trees. If the Imp has noticed that the knight has started to climb his tree, he does not give that away in his posture there in the branches. He tilts that hooded head as he regards Perrin. "And yet, it was just the old man and the boy who searched for the children before she went missing… do you not care for them?"

Shadow continues to dance, Perrin lets the horse do as it wants to a point. Now he isn't looking straight up and has backed away from where Daryl is climbing. An Ashwood climbing a tree. Well the Haigh never looks at him, his eyes fixed on the figure. He laughs, loud and clear "And the other day I saw a fish flying." Again his laughter rings clear "Do not toy with me, imp. Those children did not walk away to be free of the shackles you claim they had on them." Shaking his head "Do not speak as if I were a child, for I am not. Speak plain if you would." Perrin's eyes narrow "Yes," comes the word, forceful and strong "I care for them all. I want them all back. Had I known they were taken before my kin was, I would still be here." A deep breath "So, are we to continue this banter or are we going to actually speak. Where such speech gets us somewhere? You asked me a question and I answered and asked you a question, will you not answer mine?" Blabbering, maybe. Drawing attention to himself, more than likely.

Nearing the top, Daryl peers towards the unmoving figure, positioning himself so that he'll scale up from where he -thinks- the figure is facing away. Making that last escalation, the Ashwood moves to silently find footing and then move to snatch the figure, in his hand clutching one of those vials, ready to shatter on the figure and release that smelly goo he concocted as he moves to grab him. His grip would be firm and steady, but the Ashwood knows neither him or the imp would likely want to fall from this height. "And the -dead- ones?" Daryl will hiss if he does grip the figure, "What about -them-?!"

"You know nothing," the Imp remarks to Perrin. "We have given those willing a chance to change the Cape itself, return it to how it once was… before your kind came along." Then Perrin goes immediately ignored as Daryl comes reaching to grapple the Imp, and he turns on Daryl with an angry snarl. "THEY FAILED." The Imp evades being grappled, though the abrupt gesture tosses his hood aside. Whatever they had expected to find beneath the hood, it could not have been this. His face is more of an emaciated skull with heavily sunken cheeks, greying skin, and dark rings surrounding his strangely dark eyes. There is not a strand of hair on his head or eyebrow. When he grins, it is with a smile of missing and broken teeth. "And so have you, little Knight."

A hiss through bared teeth comes from Perrin "We are here! We are here to stay. That is the facts and that gives you no right to steal and murder children!" Then as Daryl lunges for the imp, his blade comes ringing from it's sheath. Perrin has seen death before. On the battle fields. He has seen those that were dead half eaten by crows. But nothing had prepared him from the sight he catches a glimpse of. His resolve falters for a moment and then he pushes through it, willing himself to be strong. Fighting all his natural instincts to flee. And that is a fight he can win and it gives him strength. Again he hisses "Where are they?" he demands, eyes flitting between imp and Lord.

Shing! Daryl's sword becomes unsheathed as well, and think how poor Daryl feels, staring death face to face…On a tree top. Where it likes to hang out. Don't freak out, don't freak out…Daryl, still on the other side of the trunk begins to attempt swift descent, using leg strength and his free arm to descend, his sword arm ready to swing upwards at any attempt to boot him off prematurely. "I'm no knight." He assures on his way down, keeping his voice calm, without fear. In reality he's probably scared out his wits. He seeks to move down safely, but also quickly…And will sacrifice scraped hands to do so if he needs too. "Untie my horse, Perrin!" Daryl calls on his way down, tone urgent.

"Then get out of my tree," the Imp snarls just as the Ashwood man starts to slide out of his tree. He looks down after the two men with a furious expression that edges into that eerie voice. "And get out of his forests. You want that noble girl back, you will find the watery cave… and there, I will take the pleasure of feasting on your throat." The imp reaches up, tearing his hood back over his head before he starts to leap catlike to an intersecting branch of a near-by tree.

Perrin only has to hear the command once from the Lord of Ashwood and he spurs Shadow. His horse feels the tension in the air and before it begins to move forward it rears up, hooves pawing at the air. They land with a thud and before one can blink an eye he's beside Daryl's horse. Untie, right. He grabs the reins that Daryl had used to tie him up with and gives them a firm jerk. Even while Shadow dances around underneath him. He looks up just as the imp begins to speak "Fight me here and now, by the Seven! Grrr," he growls as it leaps away from one tree to the next. "I fear you not, Imp," well he might, but he won't show it. "It won't be you feasting, Imp. You can count on that! For I shall see you with my sword run through you."

"And the others?!" Daryl calls to the imp, but not expecting an answer as he slides the remaining way down the tree, his hands catching a little and scraping a bit. Doesn't slow him down any, the deputy racing for his horse and hissing out to Perrin, his calm demeanor now shaken. "Did you fuckin -see- that thing?!" The Ashwood seems a little shaken, but mounts his horse quickly, not bothering to put his gauntlets back on as he swings the steed towards the exit of the forests. "We got what we came for," Daryl assures quietly, "Now we have to get back to the Roost, with all due haste!" A look over his shoulder and he kicks his horse hard, prompting it to shoot out of the woods like a bat out of hell. Upon reaching the road, he speaks to Perrin. "I planted a tracking scent. We need to get the bloodhounds out by morning. Lets ride!" Again another kick and a "Hyah!' and the thundering of hooves trample the earth as the deputy races back.

"You fear me," the voice says as the Imp seems to vanish into the looming shadows of the night. "You fear us all." The voice is retreating into the thick of the woods, heading further north. "Remember my face…" And then all goes quiet.

One last hiss is directed to the Imp "I fear nothing," he yells after it! All the while he is dashing out of the woods on the heals of Daryl. Perrin begins to laugh. Not that anything was funny, but his nerves have now claimed him. Once he gets them back under control he looks to Daryl "What the Seven Hells was that thing?" His breathing comes fast and hard. He looks to the Ashwood and shakes his head "I can not believe you climbed that tree! When I saw what you were doing," his voice trails off and he shakes his head. Wait! Looking to Daryl "You did what to it? A scent?" Then he laughs for real and dips his head to the Lord "Well done, My Lord, well done!"