|Tracking a Hunch|
|Summary:||Justin sets out to begin his own search for the missing women. He runs into Pariston, Lord Einar, and luckly Master of the Hunt, Kain. Though there is some disagreement, the four set out together to seek the woodcutters' camp and any sign of the missing women or their horses.|
|Related Logs:||A Wonderful Day For a Picnic, Laying It On The Table, as well as Terrick's Roost bandit hunting logs.|
|Worn Road, Terrick's Roost|
|This is a dirt road that leads away from Terrick's Roost towards Stonebridge, it passes over several low wooden bridges. (It is a day's walk to reach Stonebridge from TR.)|
|June 2nd, 289|
A rider comes west along the road on a pale grey horse that is mostly white with darker grey mane, tail and legs. The single man is young, dark haired, and is wearing partial maile with a black surcoat. An unstrung long bow is carried along side his saddle with quiver, and he is carrying a spear as though he meant business. Yet, as Justin draws closer to the meeting place where the women had gathered ere they were abducted, he slows the gelding's canter to a walk, his pale eyes wary of others who are likely about. No retainer, servant, nor guard rides with him.
There is a horse tied up close by as Justin approaches. Hearing the approach of Justin, Pariston looks over towards the man on horse. Coming out into vision, raising his hands. Bow held in his hand, just showing that they are on the same side. "Ser." He guesses, inclining his head. "Still nothing for me, have anyone else found out something? Or at least some kind of strategy?" He asks in a soft voice, perfectly calm it seems. The Flint colors clearly visible.
Justin shifts his weight slightly back and rather than using the reins, that is cue enough for the grey gelding to halt. The dark haired Terrick lord studies Pariston warily, "I've seen you before. Who are you and who can vouche for you?" At this time, Justin doesn't bother to correct Pariston's assumption as to his proper form of address, though he has no spurs upon his boots.
"Pariston Vis, I'm with the Flints. One of the Flint lords should be able to. Lord Anders or Lord Einar. Seeing as both the Young Lord's wife and Lord Einar's good sister were both taken, I though I am of better use out here." Pariston states, still speaking in calm fashion, moving swiftly as he approaches Justin. Though making sure not to move too fast. "Got any leads?" He asks with his brows narrowed. "You from house Terrick?" He asks, guessing the colors and whatnot.
The grey partly turns at light preasure from Justin's leg, yielding away from it so Justin can watch the other man and evade him easily if wanted. However, the name rings a bell to place the face, "Ah yes, now I remember you. Very good. I've no liking to run into one of /them/ out here pretending to be one of us to keep track of what we are doing." He likewise keeps his voice quite low. Justin throws a leg over to dismount, keeping his spear in his right hand and the reins in his left. He begins to lead his horse away from the road, "Come and I'll speak with you. Are you any good with tracking? I do not know where master Kain has gotten to and he's the one who usually scouts with me. Have you seen him?" Justin's low volume baritone sounds like he doesn't expect Pariston to know the man he means.
Once they are a bit out of sight of the road, Justin stops to tie off his horse and secure his long spear up in the branches of the tree as though he wasn't intending to take it with him, yet. His hands then free, he nods, "I am Lord Justin Terrick. I believe I may know where the bandits have taken the women."
Pariston listens to the man, shaking about master Kain. "I have not, at least not to my knowledge. I know I'm not the only one tracking things out here. But I should be able to help, I'm quite used to tracking things. I'm just not that familiar with this area." He explains. A nod at the introduction. "Where to my lord?" He asks, since the other man seem to have a clue. A hopeful smile present, be it only a small one. His bow at the ready as they are about to start off. "I believe Lord Einar should be around these parts as well. I was with his earlier." He explains. Trying to take a look around, trying to find the Flint. "He's probably not too far off."
Justin gives a nod and instead of taking his long bow from his horse, he starts to unbuckle his belt. His sword he hooks over his saddlebow and the removes his surcoat, "I've need to change into my leathers." And when he can, Justin bends over to try and shrug out of his heavy maile shirt. Obviously it wouldn't be quick and quiet enough for scouting. It takes some effort, being far easier to do with someone to help him, but he manages it as though used to doing for himself rather than having servants. Justin opens up his saddle bags to pull out his leather jerkin and roll up his maile to put into the saddlebag in the jerkin's place.
Einar is indeed not too far off. Having heard hooves coming along the road he'd ducked into cover to see who approched. Justin he doesn't recognise, but Pariston's easy manner with him is enough to convince the young Flint that he's not a bandit. Not that he particularly looks like a bandit mind, but you never know. As Justin changes he crosses the distance between them, given Pariston a nod and a slightly raised eyebrow, figuring the hunter-come-armsman will fill him in on the identify of the newly arrived.
"I was wondering if at some point people who I recognized were going to pass my way." says a quiet voice from within a tree that's situated above Justin. Given how he uses his cloak to blend into the colors of the forest, picking Kain could be a bit difficult to do. That is until he he pulls his hood down, bow clearly held in a hand with an arrow. Though, seeing it's peole he knows, and not someone dressed in the more crude armors of a bandit, the knocked arrow is set aside into his thigh quiver. Dropping down from the thick branch that had been supporting his weight, he hangs from it by two hands until he drops down to another further down on the tree. He repeats the process until he lands solidly onto the ground. "Good to see you out here, Lord Justin."
Pariston keeps his eyes open as the other man changes armor Soon enough spotting Einar, and as he do he nods to the approaching man. Putting his bow to the side. "I could help you, My Lord." He offers to Justin. Gaze moving to Einar, "This is Lord Justin Terrick." Pariston has seen the man before, but it did take a moment before he remembers exactly when. He notices Kain, if he has seen him earlier or not could be anyone's guess. But for now he does react a bit as he hear the voice. Starting to move over towards Einar as Justin and Kain speaks. "Found anything new, Lord Einar?"
The grey notices Kain before the men do, the horse shying back a bit. Justin at that moment has his leather jerkin over his head to pull it on. He setttles it but he notices Einar's approach first, thinking his horse reacted to that new arrival. Justin reaches over to take up his sword belt to buckle it on, watching the other man and studying him before Kain moves to speak, then come down from the tree, "Kain! There you are, Stranger's nuts. Just the man I had been hoping to find." Justin glances down to secure the straps of his jerkin and makes a negative movement of his head to Pariston, "I've been squire enough years, I know how to do it myself, thanks." It is helpful that the third man is identified as Justin finishes changing his eagle tooled arm guards for plain brown leather ones. Only once he is finished does he take his long bow and quiver from the horse to string the bow. Justin looks to Kain, "You know where I'm keen to look. Have you been that way already yourself?"
Einar flashes Pariston a smile of thanks before blinking slightly at the Kane's arrival. It seems that he, for one, had not spotted the man's presence. It's only a moment though and then he's recovered, turning his attention instead to the Terrick. "Lord Justin," he says in greeting before answering the actual question posed. "I've found rabbit holes and hoof-prints, although all that tells us is that a busy road is travelled by people on horseback." He glances b ack towards where has emerged from and shrugs, "too much of a mess over there to read anything into them though I fear. We'll just have to hope the bandits were polite enough to use ways where their individual tracks will be less hidden."
"Taking my time, Lord Justin," Kain replies, letting the cloak fall about his body, everything beside his feet and head being revealed, the rest of it a blend of woodys-related. Like a medeival gilly suit. "I watch from random perches for odd movement, getting a lay of the land, and trying to plot trails that I can see. As it stands, there are far too many to trace, and perhaps far too many men seraching. Groups of five or more become too loud. The addition of dogs don't exactly help. But the spot you speak of? Yes, I had intended to go there first. Maybe notice a change in things."
The Terrick gives Einar a nod, "Lord Flint." He apparently knows a few names of that House. Justin looks back to Kain and listens to the hunter, "Aye, too many trodding all over sign. But you and I can go in quietly, as we did before. Those strange pens we sighted have bothered me. Now we can go and see if they have been put to use." Justin keeps his voice quiet, also used to the woods and speaking softly. He glances back to the other two men, "I don't suppose … one of you, or someone you know might look after my horse? Kain and I will have need to go afoot from here."
Pariston shrugs as he listens to Einar, "I see. Let us hope for that. Or that one of the women tried to at least use something in their possesion to give us a lead. A necklace, or long piece of thread or whatever. Anything that we can connect specifically to them." He suggest, sighing a bit. Then he remembers Justin's words, looking over to see about that. "The groups might be able to scare them. That way, if we get close, they might do something to give them off. Just as long as they don't know that we know, we should be all good. Though indeed, it does make tracking a bit harder." He offers to Kain. "But it's a large area, a few men would be too few." He goes on. Then at Justin's word he shrugs, "I could stay for now, though I will do better out searching than staying here. I'll try to have someone take care of the horse."
Einar glances back to Justin as he makes his request, looking almost faintly puzzelled for a moment. He replays the words in his head and then blinks. No, the man did just ask that. Straightening slightly he replies carefully, "I'm afraid Lord Justin, but if you have a lead on the whereabouts of both the Young Landy of my house and my goodsister, not to mention the other women, then we're coming with you." He's entirely ignoring Pariston's offer for now, so far as he is concerned, the northern hunter is in the party, not being left behind to hold a horse.
"What it is that we plan to do, my Lords." Kain starts, looking between them. "The faster we can agree to something, the more daylight we'll have to work with." Looking back at Justin's horse, he shrugs. "Take anything of worth, Lord Justin, and then rope him to a tree in reach of decent grass. We're not very far away from the location of that area. Your horse should be fine for a few hours by himself." He secures something under his gillly cloak, an errant rattle on his person now silenced. "We should all go along. And I say that as a man who prefers to work alone. This is…a unique situation."
Of course Justin didn't mean for /Einar/ to watch his horse, but that the other Lord might have someone with him who might. Einar can take his offhand request any way he sees fit to interpret it. With quiver of arrows settled and long bow in hand, now also dressed suitably for hunting or scouting, Justin starts to head off. Only, he doesn't go very far before he stops and looks back to the others, "No," he simply says. Firmly, quietly, as though he doesn't expect to be challenged. "It's not a lead, it's a hunch based on something Kain and I scouted out before in this area. Which may or may not be related. Either way, we've far more chance /not/ to be found out if only two of us go, who have been there before." His voice still quite low in volume, Justin quietly adds, "Forgive me, but I do not know either of your woodcraft skills but I know Master Kain's and my own. /If/ we find anything, we will return here to pass on the information. We'd need a good sized group if the women are there." When Kain suggests otherwise, Justin frowns at the man. "Dragging along everyone else who wants to go is unwise. They can do more good to search elsewhere."
"Lord Justin is right. If it's just a hunch then there is no need for all of us. Me and Lord Einar can head in a different direction, then we'll meet up back here. How much time do you need?" Pariston speaks, looking to the other hunter and his lord before looking to Einar. "Just keep track of where you've been, if we keep reporting back at least once every few hours we will know where we have searched. I'm sure the place will be quite hidden though, but still. One search to begin with so that we can cover all grounds. My bet would be either farmhouse, cave, or near a river. Most like somewhere they can hide near a river, and perhaps under our sight. A small cave at the water or some such." He suggests, starting to move already. Though he will of course make sure to let the others have their say as well.
Expect a challenge or not, Justin's getting one if he thinks he can cut the Flints out now. "You've never been north have you?" Einar replies to Justin, "you needn't fear for our woodcraft and Master Vis here is the finest traker between the wall and dorn." A quick glance to Kane to indicate he doens't mean to insult the man. "Call it what you will, a lead or a hunch, it's the best we've got and we're coming along. Or we'll simply follow you anyway, but I can't help but feel that working together will get us further." A notion to Kane, "You're man is right though, time is pressing and we should be making distance rather than standing here discussing."
"I don't mean in a group." Kain replies simply. "If I give them the location of where we wish to go, we should break off into two pairs, and then meet each other there." he suggests. "We can cover more ground and have two more sets of eyes for when we arrive. I'm arguing over how useless it might be to check it out but…" he glances at Einar and Pariston. "If it were my family that had been abducted, I would want something, -anything- to do." Then he shrugs. "If we work in a group, but as pairs, we could manage to get more done without appearing to be so suspicious to any who might be watching us. And if I was a wise bandit guarding over a prize like the one they've gotten, I'd have my own scouts out and watching everywhere in the local area." Shaking his head, he lets out a breath in exasperation, then looking up at the sky, gauging the height of the sun.
Justin gives Partison a polite nod for the other's agreement with him. He assumes no further argument and turns to start off once more when Einar speaks up. He stops and looking back, his eyes narrow, "This is land I was born to, Lord Einar, and spent most of my time scouting since I have returned. You don't know it." As it that is enough said. However, if Kain has a suggestion, that man probably has a good reason for it. So Justin hears him out. The Terrick is quiet, considering Kain's words. Justin frowns and thins his mouth. He looks back to Einar to study the man before he says low, "I'd rather you not. But if you are going to be bull headed rather than smart, you may do as Master Kain suggests. I /strongly/ suggest you stay well back from the hamlet and get no closer than to see if they have the missing horses. We dare not entice them to hurt the women, if they are there. You understand?" Justin's steely tone and gaze is for Lord Einar rather than Pariston.
Pariston nods, "Whatever we do, we should be moving." He says, the words might be stressing but the man himself seem still rather calm. "We can move around to the other side of it, and continue that way if there's nothing there. While you two move in the other direction." He suggests, trying to please them all, if that is even possible. Muttering something for himself then just moving along with whatever they have decided on. "Perhaps in such case it would even be wiser to split up. Seeing as you have more knowledge of the land, we should have Master Kain with Lord Einar and me with you perhaps. I can track quite well, and from what it seems master Kain can as well."
Einar is, in all honestly, perfectly happy with Kain's suggesting of splitting to reach the desitination. While it is of course possible that the wrong location could be supplied and the subsequent failure blamed on the FLint's lack of familiarity, that isn't exactly the kind of trick he expects from a Terrick. It's to Justin he speaks though, rather then his man. "I have no doubt of your familiarity with the land Lord Justin," a peace offering? "But equally, I am sure that you are in no doubt of my need to investigate all and every lead in relation to the kidnaping of three of my house." Mustn't forget the baby after all. "Missing horses can be easily spotted and if there is ntohing else there to arise suspissions then I see no harm in not approaching too closely. I'll give you my word though that any closer approaches will only be made if it is determined there is no other way." Pariston then gets a glance and a shalow nod, he's agreeable to that is the Terricks are. Either way really, but probably best one noble and one woodsman rather than a noble/smallfolk split.
"Lord Justin, this is the only way for everyone to be pleased and for us to get some work done." Kain offers to the Terrick. "So that no one gets lose, I will go with the Lord Einar and Master Pariston can go with you." Pause. "That is, if that is alright with you. Everyone here has a personal stake in this. We have a common goal here, let's use that to our advantage." Well, maybe except for Kain himself. He just works for the Terricks. The ranger doesn't talk often, but apparently, he does when he has something worth saying. "If everyone can agree that, we can be on our way."
It is Pariston that does most to ease Justin's concerns. He looks to that man and his frown bates, "That I think I can agree to that. Less likely to have … bumbling around. Forgive me that I do not know either of you, but I have a sister, my brother's wife, three other women of ours, as well as a friend, and a woman to whom I'm likely to be betrothed to, among them. So of course I do not wish this done foolishly." Hearing Einar as well, Justin nods, "So be it. Let us then go. Whatever we find, meet back here as swiftly as we may."
An of course, hopefully no one will steal Justin's only horse while they are gone.
Well, yeah, there's that.