(514-04-24) A Musical Offense
Summary: … or the return of a knight who has been long gone from Salisbury.
Date: April 24th, 1515
Related: None.
darchelle gilchrist 

It’s quite a lovely day of an early spring. The sun is high up in the sky and shines almost equally brightly as she does during the warm days of summer. Each early spring is unpredictable and catches people unprepared. People dress up warmly, out of habit left after the winter or just expecting to have rainy and cold days of the next season. It’s quite a hard period of adjustment to most of the people, especially to both riders and their horses. So, those who travel back to Salisbury from a far North have two options this a bit too warm day of the spring. One is a road by the river, which weaves through the hills. This road would be too tiring because of the mentioned warmth. But it’s too dangerous to take off the warmer clothes, because the wind is still tricky and some casual illnesses might catch. So, the travellers would have another option - a small road through Savernake forest. The trees would provide shadows and the climate is comfortably cool there.

The forest is already green and some sweet aromas of early flowers may reach anyone’s nose. The birds are already chirping their songs, while rabbits and other animals run all around trying to find meal, or just enjoying awakening nature.

The road through the forest of Savernake is the one Sir Gilchrist de Woodford has chosen, a stately knight all in arms and maille, seated on a dapple grey courser, and a squire on his horse following close behind. And while having a squire for someone who was a squire himself till late summer last year might be a little odd, this lad was entrusted to Gil by a local Yorckshire Manor, the lad being 14 years old and going by the name of Sean. His knight, while not of exactly appalling features, is not the kind that will make the ladies' heads turn, too serious is his expression, and too evident the scar, his beard only partially hides. He is young, hardly older than 23, and still a survivor of battles as mhe returns from the far North.

“Cah cah!” a lovely chirping of the songbirds is interrupted by a crow in the depth of a forest.

“Cah cah!” another crow answers in a nearby tree. Then it shoots up into the sky and few others follow. The birds fly toward the east from where the previous kin called.

Huge and old trees idly play with a skittish breeze. Various bushes are murmuring exciting tales too. Though, one smaller bush shivers uneasily as if trying to create a stir.

That is when a sound of an arrow piercing the air may be heard. It hurtles but two inches from the top of Sean’s head and disappears in that troubled bush. A harsh squeak is followed by a group of songbirds raising from the aspen and landing on a farther birch.

Then the forest grows quite for a moment.

Critical Fail!
Gilchrist checked his Awareness of 10, he rolled 20.

The Woodford knight has allowed his thoughts to drift for a moment, allowing his horse to find the way, as Gilchrist contemplates a matter that distracts him to such a degree, that he does not even hear the arrow coming. It takes the small sound of terror, issued through his squire's lips for the knight to look up, and ask. "What is it now, Sean?", his tone slightly irritated.

"It was an arrow, Sir," young Sean insists, pointing in the general direction from whence it came. "And it almost killed me!" The hand of the lad moves already to his shortsword, ready to draw it. While Sir Gilchrist does not content himself with that. His eyes lock briefly with Sean's as if to make sure. Then, with a hissing sound, the Woodford draws his sword from the scabbard, and wheels Spot around.

"You there… in the trees. Get down here, so we can settle things." Gilchrist calls, his tone authoritative, even if it is little more than a lucky guess.

“Put down ya sword, sir!” a soft laugh comes down from a nearby oak. A slender white leg shows up from behind the leaves and it’s soon joined by the other. The archer shins down gracefully from the tree and once it’s feet reach the ground, the person turns to the knight and his squire.

One look proves that the archer is a natural redhead. She has long brightly chestnut hair. Her hair is straight from the roots to the girl's shoulders and curly from the shoulders down to the small of her back. Elle wears a cluster of small feathers in both of her ears as earrings. The feathers are white at some parts and brownish at others. It dangles around the young woman's shoulders and blurs with the auburn curls.

Elegance to the overall look of the Elle is provided by the flawless white skin, decorated with a few tiny freckles on her cheeks. She is smiling brightly what makes a small dimple appear on the right cheek. She does have expressive eyebrows, which match the color of her locks, and a deep gaze in the shade of the fresh spring grass.

The slim form of a lady is covered by a light linen dress. The bodice of the dress is dark brown, while the skirt is pure white which is tied with some ribbons to reach but the girl’s knees. Easier to climb trees like that! The neckline of the dress is pretty wide. However, many of the leather lacings curl towards her neck. Some are very close to her neck, some go down to her navel. The strings are decorated with colorful stones and wooden miniatures or more feathers. The waist of a petite girl is surrounded with a light leather belt. A part of the belt falls down to dangle somewhere around her knee. The dangling part is decorated with many feathers of various sizes and colors.

Darchelle is carrying a hunter's bow and a bunch of arrows on her back.
“If I wanted to murder you, boy, you would be dead now. But you are more than alive here! You two should be more careful,” the pagan frowns playfully and moves toward the bush, where her arrow disappeared, “You almost scared my prey off!” Half of the girl disappears in the bush and after a moment she turns to the pair holding a dead rabbit and an arrow in her arms.

A tiny branch with some leaves is stuck in a mess of her curls, but Darchelle doesn’t notice that, “Seee…” She shows the rabbit.

Hearing the call, Sir Gilchrist looks up, frowning slightly when he beholds that leg in the tree. Still, he will not lower his sword, until the lass has climbed down. "A girl.", he murmurs, giving Sean a pointed stare. But then his attention is on the woman, and he assesses her briefly, taking in the scratches, the wild hair, the feather earrings. His frown deepens.

"My squire," he states curtly to her rather lax address, "did not expect arrows flying at him. And we were merely riding along this road." His tone is polite with that slight hint of indignation boiling within. A slight shake of the head there, as he sheathes his sword.

Sean stays silent, even if he studies Darchelle curiously, his eyes following her as she vanishes into the bush, then lighting up as she returns and shows the rabbit.

"Do you have a name, girl?", his knight asks, giving her a dark look.

Darchelle laughs, “I do, Sir! Everyone has a name. My friends call me Elle!” She beams broadly, “Merely riding along this road? Did not expect arrows? Sir! What are you teaching this boy? How to be murdered as soon as possible?” Her amused eyes find Sean, “The danger might lurk behind any corner, any tree. Bandits might use any opportunity to steal your shiny boots!” She laughs and her gaze briefly peeks at the boy’s shoes.

Then her curiosity is turned toward the knight, “Your journey must be very long. You seem to be tired. We could lit a fire and I would share my prey with ya, if ya wish!”

"There were plenty of arrows, and more than that where I come from," Gilchrist replies with a frown. "I assumed we'd have safe travels this far South. I didn't expect the forest to be filled with… red haired vixens that obviously are not acquainted with the rules of hunting." He gives her a glare, clearly displeased. "Elle, you say? Which lord do you serve, Elle?"

Her impertinence seems to make him clam down rather than to open up. His features are taking on a rather stoic cast as he explains: "My teachings of my squire are none of your business. But as you seem to be somewhat local… isn't there an inn further down the road?" This remark also answer to her generous offer.

Elle rolls her eyes, “You assumed. That is that best way to be killed! Maybe you fought in a battle, but the war is endless! You know, between greed and generosity…” She looks down at her rabbit and frowns a bit, “It’s not polite, sir, to say that I know little of hunting. I spent more time in a forest than at home,” she looks up at Gilchrist then, “I am one of the best hunters and you are lucky that you met me! I will lead you out safely. Also, if you consider me local, you know well to whom I serve!” She makes a pause and then continues, “Though, are you sure you want to go to the Inn instead of having a lovely dinner in the halls of our Mother Nature? The Inn will be smelly and filled with various drunkards by this time…”

The girl rubs her nose and looks at the road, “But I can show you the way. It’s not that far to be honest…. But I would suggest to stay here!” She looks back at the pair but then smiles broadly to Sean, “Maybe we will meet a Unicorn! I befriended one recently and he even allowed to me to pet him!”

"What does a lass like you know of war?", counters the knight coldly. "Last time I was in this area, there wasn't a risk of getting pierced by an errant arrow." His frown dims a little, as he considers the girl. "I was merely being honest. And you mistake me, I didn't doubt your hunting skills, I just remarked on a lack of knowledge in regards to hunting rules. You never shoot an arrow when there is the risk of an unintended target to get hit."

Her persistence in her offer of sharing a meal with him out in the woods finally draws a faint smile from his features, but he shakes his head. "If the area is as dangerous as you say, we should indeed proceed to the inn." Darchelle's remark about a unicorn draws Gilchrist's attention briefly, as does her pointed glance towards his squire. "Sean will agree with me that an inn is much safer than a camp by the road." Safer in so many regards. Gil is no fool, he may be a pious knight, but even he picks up on how Elle addresses the the squire.

“Huh? Oh… really?”, is all Sean manages, looking intrigued, before his knight decides the matter, and he lowers his gaze.

Darchelle snorts, “There was no risk to hit unintended target. When I release the arrow I know exactly where it will strike!” She rolls her eyes, but she doesn’t look angry. There is that charming smile in her features all the time.

Finally she nods, “Alright. I will show you the way. Just give me a minute. I need to take care of this,” she raises the rabbit, “And you two could dismount during that time. I have no horse, unless you are ready to ride while a lady will be walking!” She chuckles and then moves to the side of the road, where she settles down. The young redhead withdraws an arrow from the small body of her target and then takes out a knife from her shoulder bag. She skillfully does everything what has to be done to meat and furs.

When it is done, she secures the meat and furs in a bag. She stands up again after some time and looks at the men, “Ready?”

"Then you saw Sean very well, and let the arrow fly, despite him riding in the direction you were aiming your shot.", Gilchrist opines drily, keeping his tone calm though. To Darchelle's suggestion he nods his head and dismounts, leading Spot along at the reins as he follows the wild red-haired girl. Even if he does not comment on her remark about going on foot at once. Sean dismounts as well and follows with his horse, his gaze for now downcast mostly as if not to anger his knight.

While Darchelle gets to the task of dealing with the rabbit, Gilchrist waits patiently, his arms crossed before him, his gaze lingering on the Woodford with moderately curious caution. He is rather tall, and of robust built, and there is a longsword hanging from his belt in its scabbard. When she is done his brows twitch upwards and his arms uncross as he gestures for her to come over.

"You can ride with me," The Woodford intones with a slight frown, he is a knight after all. "I'll help you up." Holding Spot at the reins, he offers her his knee to use as a means to help her mount if needed. After that he'll get on his horse right behind her, one arm used to secure her in her seat, (nothing more!) while his other hand holds the reins. "Off we go," he says, with a glance towards Sean, and so the three people on two horses follow the road further, in the direction of Up Avon.

It’s obvious that she saw Sean very well and it was just more amusing for the girl to take such type of a shot. Though, she makes no comments on that and does not indulge into conversation, while dealing with the rabbit.

Darchelle checked her proud of 13, she rolled 8.
Darchelle checked her Horsemanship of 10, she rolled 7.

Darchelle just shrugs at the man’s offer to ride with him, “The weather is nice enough to take a walk, but if you insist on riding…” She moves toward Spot and the redhaired beauty can’t hold her laugh full of pride when the man offers his knee to her, “Excuse me? I can do this myself,” she states and reaches to grasp a part of the saddles. She pushes herself up and the young woman quickly appears on the horse.

As mentioned before, the skirt of her dress is tied with ribbons, making it knee-length. This way she is able to settle on a horse quite comfortably. The young huntress looks down at the man with that self-confident grin in her flawless features.

Darchelle checked her Chaste of 7, she rolled 3.
Darchelle checked her Lustful of 13, she rolled 15.

Darchelle squirms mildly uncomfortably once the man gets on his horse and his arm is wrapped around her slim waist. She is smaller than the knight, so her raised head wouldn’t disturb to Gilchrist to see the road, but she leans it to the side nevertheless. The breeze will blow her red curls to tickle the man’s chin.

Gilchrist checked his Chaste of 13, he rolled 7.

Sir Gilchrist stands back when Darchelle declines his help, watching her with an unmoving mien as she mounts his horse with effortless ease. "I see you can," he comments to her words, before he swings himself onto Spot and comes to sit behind her. If her discomfort and awkwardness is noted, it does not show in his unmoving mien. When Darchelle leans to the side and the wind tears at her red tresses, the knight will lean to the other, as if to avoid the distraction of her hair. His arm staying where it is, just serving the function from keeping her from falling, as he gives Spot more rein, along with an encouraging click of his tongue. With Sean on his horse following along, the dapple grey charger will pick up speed, hooves trampling the ground in a merry canter.

Some time has passed, the inn slowly coming into view, as the road rounds a small hill, when the Woodford knight finally addresses her again. "You saw a unicorn?", Gilchrist inquires, a bit of curiosity showing beneath the reauired layer of politeness.

Darchelle was just sitting in the saddles and looking around. Not much she can do as a simple protected bag. Yeah, she feels like that since she is not used to just sit there and not control the stud. So, she shifts few more times uncomfortably, but time makes her get used to such position and the stranger behind her back. So, when the inn comes into view, Darchelle smiles broadly again and even giggles out of nowhere. She just feels amused.

The question draws her attention from the horizon to the Gilchrist. She looks up at the man. Her eyes wander from his chin to his nose and then find his eyes. Elle chuckles, “Yes, I did. We were hunting when we saw a unicorn. A man wanted to hunt him down but his relative, a very beautiful young woman, stopped him. She said that such a wonderful animal shall be free and unharmed. Then I wanted to at least pet him. So, I stepped into his view and started to sing. I can sing very very nicely. He liked my song. Approached me and allowed to me to pet him.”

Gilchrist checked his FolkLore of 2, he rolled 19.
Gilchrist checked his Trusting of 7, he rolled 2.

It is not like Gilchrist is used to transporting young maidens on his charger either. And so he is relieved as well to see the inn in the distance. When Darchelle raises her gaze she will have the chance to get a look at his beard, and the scar that runs over the lower part of his chin, an even nose (so far unbroken), and a pair of grey-blue eyes that look curiously down at her.

Her tale Sir Gilchrist de Woodford listens to with polite curiosity, and the way his expression shifts into a thoughtful smile indicates he sees no reason to disbelieve her words. "A wondrous tale, that," the knight remarks. "And one you may tell your children and grandchildren of." He has only heard vaguely about the legend of unicorns. His gaze shift to the road ahead of them, where the inn comes closer into view, then back to Darchelle. "You can sing?" A question that shows likewise curiosity and surprise. And it also keeps the conversation going, when the Woodford tugs at the reins to make Spot slow his pace down a little.

Darchelle checked her Singing of 13, she rolled 11.

“Aye, aye! I can sing!” Darchelle nods, leaning forward just a little bit to pet the manes of Spot. “I could sing to you, if you want?..” It does sound like a question, but the girl does not wait for an answer. She leans a bit more forward and starts to hum quietly into Spot’s ear.

She slowly slowly raises up and Elle’s humming grows louder at the same time. Then she starts a song in a soft and melodious voice. She is trying to be quiet that just the knight and his squire could hear her. The song has low and high tones, and she can successfully show the beauty of her voice and a true talent. Though, at the same time her song is quite fun and would make people stand up in a tavern and go to dance. Also, it just stresses out that this lovely creature who petted a unicorn at the same time has a wild side and a good humor, what the pair of travellers were able to get to know at some point in the forest.

Darchelle checked her Lustful of 13, she rolled 12.
(OOC: For the choice of a song)

"A lusty young smith at his vice stood a-filing.
His hammer laid by but his forge still aglow.
When to him a buxom young damsel came smiling,
And asked if to work in her forge he would go.

Rum, rum, rum. Rum, rum, rum.
In and out. In and out. Ho!

"I will," said the smith, and they went off together,
Along to the young damsel's forge they did go.
They stripped to go to it, 'twas hot work and hot weather.
They kindled a fire and she soon made him blow.

Rum, rum, rum. Rum, rum, rum.
In and out. In and out. Ho!

Her husband, she said, no good work could afford her.
His strength and his tools were worn out long ago.
The smith said "Well mine are in very good order,
And I am now ready my skill for to show."

The girl sometimes looks up at the man with a cheerful grin in her freckled features and she starts to sway in the saddle and her feet move in tact. She even leans to the side to peek at the squire and gives a wink to him, and then she just looks around and joyfully continues, if not stopped.

Red hot grew his iron, as both did desire,
And he was too wise not to strike while 'twas so.
Said she, "What I get I get out of the fire,
So prithee, strike home and redouble the blow."

Rum, rum, rum. Rum, rum, rum.
In and out. In and out. Ho!

Six times did his iron, by vigorous heating,
Grow soft in her forge in a minute or so,
But as often was hardened, still beating and beating,
But the more it was softened, it hardened more slow.

Rum, rum, rum. Rum, rum, rum.
In and out. In and out. Ho!

When the smith rose to go, quoth the dame full of sorrow:
"Oh, what would I give could my husband do so.
Good lad with your hammer come hither tomorrow,
But pray could you use it once more ere you go!"

Rum, rum, rum. Rum, rum, rum.
In and out. In and out. Ho!

Then finished she just claps for herself and giggles before looking up at the knight, “The journey is more fun with a song, right?”

OOC: Gil makes a roll to see if he is affected by the choice of song
Critical Success!
Gilchrist checked his Lustful of 7, he rolled 7.

At first the Christian knight does seem to be pleased with her humming, and even the faint hint of a smile tugs at his usually so stern features. It is when she adds words to the melody that he slowly appears to become a little uncomfortable, and the smile fades into a frown. Gilchrist turns to look back to his squire, shaking his head, exhaling as he turns his attention to the road ahead of him, fixing a point there, the inn that will save them all, as the expression of his eyes becomes darker and darker.

His squire may try to bite back a chuckle, but as Darchelle glances back to him he lowers his gaze and maintains a serious expression, too aware of his knight's hardly contained fury.

And Darchelle continues. Singing about irons that are heated in the forge, softening, hardening… the analogy really is too thin and obvious to really mistake its meaning. It is enough to make Gilchrist's ears turn all red, and he coughs and then clears his throat. His hold about the redhaired maiden becomes laxer and his hand about the reins tenses considerably.

The Christian knight holds himself in perfect outward poise, as they reach the inn finally, where he brings Spot to a halt and helps Darchelle dismount with determined hastiness. A pointed glance he shares with Sean, the knight wheeling Spot about - he obviously not with the slightest intention of dismounting as well.

"A good eve to you, but Sean and I will have to ride on, I fear. We are expected, urgently in fact.", Gilchrist tells her flatly without looking Darchelle in the face. A nod he offers her, then gives his squire a pointed glare. He and Sean then riding off, while the redhaired singer of ill-timed bawdy songs remains standing there, left to entertain herself at the roadside inn.

Everything happened so fast, that the redhead was not even sure what happened. She blinks at the knight in such a sudden hurry, “Wha-what?..” she kind of stammers, “I didn’t even want to come here…” she drawls at the knight and his squire riding away. Though, then she just shrugs, “Christians…” is all what she drawls before another voice of a young woman may be heard coming from the Inn, “Darchelle? IS THAT YOU?”

That is when the ginger huntress runs off toward the Inn and gives a hug to her friend. Both disappear inside.

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