(514-06-10) Marlboro Mission
Summary: Robert sends a group to ask support for summer raids.
Date: 06*10*514
Related: {$related}
acwel brynmor catryn cyndeyrn deryn drustan elrick signe uwain 

As the party assembles, the meeting place is the fork in the road that leads to the nothernmost manors, and beyond that, to Marlboro. As everyone is gathered, the orders are relayed: they are to ride north, into Marlboro, and secure the support of the Count there against the upcoming Saxon offensive. Their journey to the northern manors of Salisbury is uneventful, though an affair of a day or two.

The Knight of Woodford leads the van of the expedition, squire in tow as the group of emissaries come ever closer to the borderlands. With the coming spring, the crops are once again growing in the fields, leading to a tranquil landscape and roads that are easy to travel. Some thunder crackles afar as drizzle starts to fall, and the sun starts to recede into the horizon; perhaps stopping by a nearby manor would be of interest to this group of travelers.

Cyndeyrn checked his heraldry of 8, he rolled 4.
Critical Success!
Brynmor checked his recognize of 5, he rolled 5.
Critical Success!
Deryn checked her heraldry of 6, she rolled 6.
Acwel checked his recognize of 3, he rolled 14.
You check your recognize at 3, you rolled 10.
Critical Success!
Drustan checked his heraldry of 3, he rolled 3.
Uwain checked his recognize of 5, he rolled 1.

Just before departure, Drustan had spent a few days having various squire hopefuls 'show off' for him. He finally selected one from his mother's home of Lake. Perhaps out of desperation in the end, but the lad didn't show himself to be entirely useless. Still, the boy is new and the Falt knight is new to the mere practice of having a squire. The two have been a bit out of sorts; an odd-couple to entertain the rest of the campaign for certain. Where Drustan is stoic and reserved, the boy seems to want to do little more than chatter away in excitement. Afterall, he did become a squire only to immediately go off on a mission. It's exciting! There is a look to the skies as the thunder cuts through the otherwise tranquil day. Drustan nudges his mount a bit further up on the column. "Southcott," he names the place, perhaps as others, too, recognize the coat of arms. "Perhaps they could provide some shelter from the coming storm."

The leader of the expedition seems none the wiser about the peculiar characteristics of the banners that delimit whose manor this land they cross belongs to. Acwel glances to the others, then back to the banner, and continues to have his horse march across these fields. As he cannot recognize it, he nods to Drustan's statement, contemplating his suggestion. "Perhaps we should do as we planned in Exeter and offer coin in exchange for our stay. What do you think, Sir Cyndeyrn?" He wonders of the Dinton knight, while slowing down the pace of his mount and allowing the rear guard to catch up with the van.

Being on the road for a good day or so is not Brynmnor's idea of a good time. Unlike the week and a half long journey from Salisbury to Carlion, with a party of this sort, he couldn't very well sneak off whenever he wanted for a little nap. That said, it's not that he didn't at least try to sneak in a little nap here and there whenever the group stopped for various reasons. Of course, it's not that Brynmor had to stop at all to slip in some zzz's. His far too energetic horse is always eager to move and follow the crowd, so all that its knight had to do was hold on, eyes open or not. So this is how it went throughout the rather uneventful trip, with the Steeple Langford knight's heavy-lidded eyes being only half-open most of the time.

Beside him, is of course, his squire Guffud! Guffud is far more attentive and wide-awake than his valorous knight, so when they approach a manor finally, it is the squire who reacts first, calling out… to rouse the sleeping Brynmor, "Sir. Do you which manor this is?" And just like that, speaking through a ywan, his eyes slowly opening as he pretends that he was awake all this time and hearing whatever it is that Drustan says, because he's not paying that much attention, he mutters, "Yeah. what he said. Scouthcott. Or something."

Picked up outside Woodford manor as the group passed on their way north, Deryn joined with her squire in tow, a young man who's been with her a little while yet. Luckily, he doesn't speak as much as Drustan's squire does! As the thunder rolls across the sky above, threatening to leave them drenched soon enough, her gaze turns from the grey and black clouds to the banner that flies over the nearby manor. Nodding her head to Drustan's words as the House is named, she glances to the others in the group, and more specifically, to her cousin as he questions Cyndeyrn.

Trotting along with the others, Sir Uwain nods to Drustan at his suggestion. He looks toward Sir Acwel then, and pulls his horse aside the trail to stare up at the sky for a long moment, searching for some sign there. Some sort of indication of the spirits at play in the great skies above. They were certainly not beyond the reach of such malevolence, but with a little effort, they could probably push through the storm and take shelter amongst the trees or in some barn somewhere further along.

Signe's been here. All in grey on a white horse, mostly leathers suitable for a lady to ride in. She has her bow strung behind her, a quiver, a small saddlebag, and lastly a handful of pebbles. These are most important, for she uses them to entertain herself, occasionally throwing one at the back of Brynmor's head, or at his ear. She knows his habits, and whether or not she can tell that he's awake at any given moment, she's still bound to catch him dozing sooner or later. And should he be hit and look around, he'll only see Signe staring off into the distance, distant.

Signe checked her awareness of 7, she rolled 16.

Armed and armored as usual, mounted atop his great dark chocolate steed, Cyndeyrn bears the ride with his usual quiet stoicism, engaging in little enough chitchat, although occasionally taking opportunity to glare at Brynmor for what seemed like a lack of attentiveness! Or, perhaps, he might ride nearby and peer over to make sure that he was awake at all. As they approach the manor, he looks out ahead but doesn't add to those in the chorus who recognize the colors flying; his lack of protest might be taken as agreement. Riding up a little further, with his own squire hustling in train behind him, he comes up closer to Acwel but answers his question without strong opinion, as the spoken-of plan was never one he really endorsed in the first place! "It would be rather unchristian of them to demand it, I would say, but if it is your mind to stay here, we will give as asked, whether in coin or other compensation of service."

Cyndeyrn checked his awareness of 8, he rolled 1.

Oh good, it was raining. Catryn looks down at her wineskin that conveniently holds water and holds it out to catch rain drops. Of course none make it in and she peers down at it before closing it and taking a tighter hold of her reins. Her horse lopes along at the same pace as those around her, and she takes a look around at those nearer. Cyndeyrn gets a bit of a scowl, but that's all she acknowledges for the moment.

Drustan checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 15.
Acwel checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 13.
Brynmor checked his awareness of 11, he rolled 17.
Uwain checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 16.
You check your awareness at 10, you rolled 18.
Elrick checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 9.
Deryn checked her awareness of 10, she rolled 2.

"It would," Acwel agrees, "but the greed of man sometimes exceeds their hospitality, however well we might treat fellow knights and travelers in our own land," the knight vassal of Woodford points out, looking to his cousin, then to the others, right as they come across a fork in the road; right and left. "Does anyone know which way we might be heading in order to pay our fellow Salisbury knights a visit?" Even if said knights are from the northern part of the county, at any rate.

"This time of year, such storms are prone to becoming rather expansive." Not quite the end of spring, not quite the beginning of summer. Just enough heat in the air to combat the cool nights. Clouds become battlefields of their own accord. Drustan looks back to his squire; the lad doing a well-enough job of keeping his own mount and the third horse with their gear in check. Slate eyes shift forward to the manor they near once again. He leaves the decision of whether to simply ask or to offer coin at the outset to the other two; his opinion was not sought for. Leaning a measure to the saddlebags upon his steed, the Falt knight pulls free his dark grey, padded coat and tugs it on. The only marking upon the attire of his own allegiances is the raven upon the breast. The query comes and he spends a moment attempting to recall… but it'd seem he doesn't have that sort of knowledge to him. Thus, he remains quiet, securing the coat about his shoulders.

"The road veers off here," Cyndeyrn will point out, since evidently the split in the track is indistinct enough in the rain and perhaps further obscured by the muddy conditions it encourages. "Left to the manor, if we do wish to stay. Going much further or camping in the rain is not likely to be good on the group's general condition. I cannot imagine any good knight that would turn away a party in such a looming storm. Indeed, we might ask stay only long enough for it to pass, and then continue on if they are troubled by our presence."

As the rain begins to fall, Deryn is certain to pull her own cloak about her, to shield her and her armor from the water as best as able. The hood is pulled down to shield her face, though wet it soon becomes when the wind blows against her. Quiet is the lady knight, studying the fork that comes to the road, "Left." It would seem she is at least familiar enough with the road to be able to offer a firm agreement with Cyndeyrn's own suggestion as well.

At least one of the knights present is without a squire and that would be the one hailing from the House of Laverstock. He appears to have no issues seeing to his own kit though, a cloak already worn with hood pulled over his head to shelter him from the drizzling rain. Despite the weather working against them, Elrick has no problems seeing, glancing towards the other knights as they are deciding on where to go, "If we decide to continue on, I have no issues taking point, rain isn't hard enough to obscure my sight." The offer is made.

"I can always ask." The voice is Signe's, and it's quite a pretty if grave one, suggesting the worth of her taking on such a role- or maybe coming along at all. She meanwhile lifts her hood over her head, though her fair hair is slightly darkened from the rain already.

Despite being awake, Brynmor feels a tiny pebble striking the back of his helmet, making that familiar clink, that the others may have heard throughout the entirety of their ride! With a deeply furrowed brow, he turns his narrowed eye to regard the other knights in his company, but the downpour does hinder visibility. And yet he cannot help but keep this more than annoyed glare focused on his Cousin, or sister, or both: Signe. "The rain is surely coming down hard." He voices his complaints, "If I didn't know better, I would believe that it was raining pebbles or stones of some sort." With the others all discussing strategy, Brynmor isn't one to just butt into the conversation and thus listens when he can, though already he grows weary of the prattle of chatter, but his eyes flicker in the direction to the left, where it seems the consensus wants them to go. No that he has an opinion of any of this.

After a twisting road, when they ride due left, the group arrives at Southcott Manor, which seems prosperous, judging by the stone walls currently under construction, as well as renovations that have been done on an old Roman compound. Indeed, the faith professed by those inside is more easily recognizable as that of Rome, considering the decorations of the little chapel.

They are received by armsmen, the armored individuals opening the gates for them as soon as they introduce themselves as knights serving under Earl Robert. The atmosphere in the manor is thick with tension, one can hear the echoes of a smith's hammer slamming against metal not too far from them, and the manor house itself, as they approach, is abuzz with activity.

News of Saxon raids have definitely not been well received here, it seems.

The sight of the Roman chapel brings a measure of calm to Drustan. The Falt seems rather pleased to see this, nodding to a man who is working nearby the structure. "I do believe they will not turn away a party on a mission such as ours," he finally speaks up. "They are already making preparations themselves. To learn of what we intend on, we should surely find these men and women of God willing to provide shelter for at least the duration of the storm, if not more."

Riding along, Catryn takes Cyndeyrn at his word since she can't exactly see ahead of her so much. Rain, vision, anything. Catching sight of the welcome committee though, she draws back on her reins gently, murmuring to her horse. Still, even now she doesn't speak to anyone about anything, just observes.

Deryn may hold to Pagan beliefs, she was however, brought up within a Christian household. Still, the lady knight is able to recognize the chapel and those about it, nodding to any who look her way. Staying with the party, she speaks up quietliy, "I would agree. Their hospitality should at least welcome us long enough to dry out from the rain.."

"I agree," Acwel replies to Drustan, the Woodfords every bit as Roman Christian as the Falts. The horse is set to walk slowly, as he nods to the armsmen and those laboring away, outside. Once they've approached the manor house enough, the expedition leader dismounts, the reins of his horse in his hand for a moment before his squire comes closer to safeguard the pure-white charger. He wanders over to the closed door and knocks, waiting.

After seeing the Roman structural designs, Elrick appears indifferent on the outside, as if what religion the people they will be seeking shelter with belong to makes no difference to the Pagan. He does take note of the guards and the sound of smithing hammer banging away on metal does not escape notice. "Looks like they are making proper preparations, perhaps we can see if any here wishes to join us." Is the only verbal note that the Laverstock makes, the only thing putting him at ease.

Once Signe has made her offer, she falls silent, riding almost at the flank. Religion is not always outwardly obvious, but the smudged black around her eyes- apparently something to do with her faith- probably doesn't help her look like a proper Christian girl. So maybe she's not a good face for the group. Indifferent.

His head tilted to the side, making him look almost thoughtful, Brynmor regards all of this activity with a wary eyes. Not that he was suspicious of the people of Southcott, but it did make him nervous seeing people working so hard and so quick to prepare for the summer raids does remind him of how quickly summer was now catching up to all of them. "The worst they can say is no." Brynmor says in agreement of simply going up and asking them for shelter, before adding in, but this time in a mutter, "Or they could send us on some grand task to earn our keep. Let us hope that it's the former." With that, he urges his horse forward in line with the rest.

Continuing near Acwel, Cyndeyrn makes the same approach that the group all seems to agree on, his own suggestion long since voiced and in agreement with the rest. The signs of military preparation are certainly noted as they approach, as are the ready armsmen and other signs of militant activity. "This does not bode the best for our chances of securing aid in general," he will remark, if not to anyone in particular. "If they are pressed as this, they may not wish to dilute their strength sending aid to the south. Then again, if it comes to war, more than simple raiding, there may be little choice for anyone involved. The High King will guarantee better organization throughout all of Logres, than we have dealt with in years prior." Or… so he hopes!

Acwel checked his orate of 10, he rolled 18.
Drustan checked his orate of 10, he rolled 14.
Cyndeyrn checked his courtesy of 8, he rolled 4.
Deryn checked her courtesy of 6, she rolled 13.
Elrick checked his courtesy of 10, he rolled 1.

The mutter from the Steeple Langford Knight is overheard by the Falt, who gives a wry chuckle in answer. "I would presume that is why we have the coin. Our mission is a touch urgent, but we would be remiss in not having something on hand to offer. Though I would think, upon hearing of our mission, they should be willing to offer something. Though they may ask us to swing a hammer a time or two-" He may be teasing. There's a certain spark in Drustan's eye as he says it, before shifting his charger to move on ahead a measure in their column. Perhaps he does not want to risk being peppered with rocks by remaining too near Brynmor. To Cyndeyrn's words, there is a slight grunt of understanding. "So near the borders as they are, we cannot blame them for their preparations. It may not bode well for us, but it is certainly understandable."

Uwain checked his courtesy of 10, he rolled 7.
Brynmor checked his courtesy of 3, he rolled 5.
You check your courtesy at 3, you rolled 12.

"Who is there?"

A booming, masculine voice comes from just behind the door, whatever buzz of activity inside suspended while the answer is not forthcoming.

"I am Sir Acwel de Woodford, Vassal Knight to His Grace Robert of Salisbury," the Woodford declares, standing in front of the door, "We have come here to ask for shelter."

The voice is not forthcoming for the Woodford knight, it seems, because it answers, "We are busy with preparations against the Saxon raids here, Sir, you might be best served riding around to Up Avon."

Drawing in a breath and exhaling it slowly, the Salisbury knight turns to the others. Perhaps they might contribute to convincing the man!

Catryn isn't very good with words, but then again she had never claimed to be. Leaving the talking to the more diplomatic of the bunch, she listens in silence. There's a glance to Cynderyn, green eyes flickering over him at his words, a slight nod of acknowledgement. Hearing the voice, the question, she opens her mouth to speak but wisely thinks better of it and snaps it back shut. Her eyes rest on Acwel as he makes his introduction, her expression impassive. when no pass is granted, no permission to enter given, she scowls, "So you would let the Saxons attack us out here?" Yeah, she's not good with words.

The uninviting answer at the door has Elrick shaking his head slightly, especially after Acwel had identified himself as being a vassal under the service of the Earl. The Laverstock is at least well tempered enough, in public, to not offer a snark response to the man. However, when Catryn does for them, he does glance over to the Burcombe and offer an amused grin which is probably hard to see in the rain.

As ever, Cyndeyrn is not too far behind Acwel, and dismounts in like fashion, letting his squire come up and take the horse's reins before continuing ahead, catching up with the man leading their little party. "Good sir, we understand your troubles, as Salisbury has suffered raids aswell. Indeed, Sir Acwel and I recently dispatched a party of a dozen-odd Saxons in Imber, who had raided a manor there. So, if you do fear for your manor, would not our presence guarantee you a night's safety, if nothing else? If you are pressed to feed us, we have rations, and require stay no longer than till these rains have passed, so we might continue on our journey in better, safer conditions."

Signe checked her orate of 14, she rolled 1.

Now that the group have set forth to plead their case and make their request to those of the manor, Brynmor takes this opportunity to lend a hand by not going up the way Acwel just did. Instead, he hovers behind, taking this very opportune moment for that little bit of shut eye. But just before his eyes close, his mind already starting to drift, he states flatly, "I suppose, if we really wanted their shelter, we could all line up and do a little song and dance for them. Maybe even send our sweet little damsel." He speaks of his cousin. "Who could turn away that face?" He would offer up his /other/ cousin, Catryn, but from what he can tell, she isn't really helping! Then there is silence on his end, when he probably actually does fall asleep.

He's been raised to be good with words and interplay between manors and people. Drustan, however, isn't entirely keen on such things. He was not selected for this campaign because of any especial ability with words. Thus, the man remains back, looking to the chapel once more with jaw tightened. No, he will leave this for someone with a keener use of language and terms of flattery.

Other times, Deryn might be one to talk. Today, however, it would appear that she decides to hold her tongue, especially when the man within speaks to her cousin in such a way. A frown mars her face, brows furrowed above her eyes as she stares through the rain at the solid door before Acwel. Hmmph! Overhearing some of the comments from the others does at least start to make her smile.

"Good sir," Signe calls to the voice, "I'm cold and wet. I'm wet. And a lady. Are you going to let a cold, wet lady languish at your doorstep?" It's not her finest speech.

Perhaps because there were some people in the group who are eloquent enough to make their case, the door opens after some debate inside between a multitude of voices.

Finally, when that door opens, they might spot an older knight, with a bright red beard and a little overweight as well as his sons, all ginger-haired, but tall and wiry. The older-looking of the two might be a knight himself, clad in chainmail as he is, while the younger is obviously a squire.

The ladies of the manor stay in the back, looking out through the door to the expedition.

"You have a point, Sirs," the older knight remarks to the group at large, holding the door open for them to come on in, "we are waiting for news from our huntsman, who went to scout the woods, but he is yet to return, forgive me for any offense; it was not meant, but with times such as this, well, I am sure you would understand."

As quiet as the wind, Sir Uwain stands with the others and presents his most courteous face. His face somehow saying, 'I'm a pleasant young man, please let us get out of the rain' and then follows the others as necessary. "I could go look for your huntsman, I'm sure he wouldn't be too hard to track," he tells the older knight.

Once the doors open and they are offered ingress, Drustan leans to instruct his squire to take their rouncy and his own mount to the stables and tend to matters. The lad seems quite keen to this (even a stable is something out of the rain, afterall). When the Knight of the manor speaks to them of his huntsman, the Falt does straighten. That's something that speaks close to his own training, afterall. A slight twitching of his jaw, near that scar, and a hand falls to the pommel of his blade. In echo of Uwain's words, Drustan tilts his head in a nod. "I would be glad to go out as well, Sir. If you could provide us a description of the man and the last direction you knew him to be traveling in, at the least?"

Signe is indeed wet! Unfortunately she's not entirely in linen, so there may be disappointment. No details are forthcoming on that matter. Dismounting, she takes her bow and bag from her horse, handing the animal off- or whatever needs to be done- and offering her most gracious smile to the Christians. She's a nice girl, see? Even if she doesn't cannibalize Jesus on a Sunday. She curtseys, and moves out of the way of the rest.

"Thank you," Acwel tells the fire-bearded knight, nodding to his words. "I do not think that would be a good idea, Sir Uwain; riding out alone, in the rain, would be a disadvantage if the worst of situations could come to pass. Right now, I say we enjoy this good Sir's hospitality and pledge to help keep watch of his manor for as long as we stay." The Woodford knight wanders further in, and with a quiet word to the ladies of the house, excuses himself as he sits down at a table.

With their entrance secured, Cyndeyrn will begin forward, while his squire likewise begins to turn off and take his mount away with the others. There is a pause, though, as everyone starts offering to go rushing off into the woods, and he looks up at the sky. "How long is he gone, and what way?" There is, say, a dubiousness in his look as all the others immediately declare that tracking him down will be easy, given the rain. He then nods an echo after Acwel. "It depends on the skills of this whole lot, but it could prove a difficult errand to say the least."

"Did sending Signe forward really work?" Brynmor wonders aloud, but he won't brag about it being his idea and everything. Instead, with the help of his squire, he dismounts and prepares to finally find a suitable place near some fire to stretch out, dry up and snooze. He gives a respectful nod to those he passes, but he really cannot wait to just get inside. "You are all very kind," He will murmur, "And if there's anything that we can do…" He leaves that out in the open, especially once the missing huntsman is brought up, a fact that makes him regret his own words! Obviously, unlike Uwain, he isn't going to volunteer to search for the guy. "This is a.. uh.. nice place you have here." Sniffing the air and taking in the aroma of whatever is being cooked over the fire, he then comments, "Whatever that is, it smells really good." Perhaps, he could use some food and drink before the nap.

Listening to the red haired people inside, Catryn gives a laconic grin, brief and not at all sincere. Better she keep her mouth shut than expound on anything said. Riding forward with the others, she also takes interest in the huntsman, "Tracks would be covered in this rain," she finally allows. There's a shrug, "Probably he's found shelter for the moment, safe and warm with a fire."

Once the door has opened to the group, Deryn bids her time to enter with the other knights, giving but a brief look about if only to take note of those within. A nod is passed to the ladies of the house before attention is given over to the conversation, "A many thanks to Southcott and it's hospitality." With those speaking up of going to look for the huntsman, she may well offer her own help where needed, be it on the hunt, or staying behind at the house.

Acwel rolls 1d20 and gets (19) for a total of: (19)

The squire inside the manor heads out to help his fellow knights-to-be in the stabling of the horses, while the older knight strokes his beard as he considers Cyndeyrn. "He went to the hills south of here, after scouting the woods near Pewsey. I heard tale that a band of Saxons has been ravaging the land near Clatford and Levcomagus and passed by Bedwyn, harrassing and killing travelers as they come across them. But they must not be too many, or the other manors in that direction would have already met them in battle. Nevertheless," he pauses, calling out for a name as the lady scurries into the kitchen, servants coming forward with bowls containing soup as well as bread and mead and somewhat cheap wine for the knights to drink, "I would be remiss not to allow my fellow knights of Salisbury to spend the night here until the rain is gone,"

Perhaps fortunately for Brynmor, he is going to sleep under a roof tonight, as the drizzle outside becomes a torrential downpour following another loud ring of thunder. That one was close.

Acwel rolls 2d6 and gets (2 1) for a total of: (3)

There is a willingness to go find the missing huntsman, but Drustan never made comment of it being easy. Oh no, he knows well the sorts of places a huntsman will go in search of suitable prey. When it is decided to leave it be for the time being and get in from the rain, the Falt simply nods and leaves his own charger to the hands of his squire and those who can assist from the stables. After grabbing a single saddle bag, of course. He slings this over his shoulder, entering the hall proper. Fingers are swept through damp curls, dragging the rain-darkened locks away from his features. "Our thanks to you, Sir, for your hospitality and I must say that whatever the Lady of the house has prepared this evening smells grand. Any you are willing to share is a blessing, brother. I would be glad, too, to attend morning prayers with you and yours." Maybe he's feeling a bit more at ease now. The others did the heavy lifting of saying flattering things. He'll just sweep in for the profit of drink, food, and a dry bit of floor to sleep on.

Once the main door is open for them, Elrick waits for a few of the other knights to proceed through before he nudges his charger forward on a slow, wet trot. Ready to dismount and get himself out of the wet weather. As the horses are being stabled, the Laverstock listens in on the latest news of the front, eyes narrowing at the mentions of Saxons, obvious displeasure at what he is hearing. "Could be a scouting party." He remarks dryly before offering a copule word of thanks for the offer of shelter for the night. Elrick does look towards the gate they just entered from, his focus now obviously on the Saxons that may be roaming in the countryside.

"They seem prevalent almost everywhere now," Cyndeyrn will answer this news of a band ranging to the southeast. "As, apart from those we met in Imber, I heard tell of a raid near Du Plain some days ago." Which, for the geographically inclined, means there's basically Saxons coming from every which way! Except maaaaybe the far southwest. And he will answer back to Elrick, "I would suspect, though their main aim to raid, all those who do make it back with their plunder surely do inform upon the situation here. The Earl and I spoke the other day, and he is increasing patrols on the whole, so that if any larger band or army might approach, we will be warned well in advance and able to retreat our population inside the castles and walled cities." Turning again to the man who has let them in, he will then echo the thanks that the others offer and move still further within, to get out and away from the rainy chill.

Signe has, at first opportunity, moved to take a place at the fire. Of no remarkable constitution, it behooves her to get warm as soon as possible. And in doing so she can ignore, for a time, any of the curious looks or grimaces from the less well-traveled members of the household who may not have encountered a pagan priestess in the flesh. Because it is her tendency to stare back, and that may not contribute to the stability of their position as guests.
So she is gracious, smiling and bowing her head when she's handed soup and wine. She glances behind her at the talk of Saxons.

"Du Plain?" Acwel grows thoughtful at Cyndeyrn's reporting on that, reaching for a mug of mead, which he sips from before he scoops some of the soup with the wooden spoon that was provided with the bowl. He blows on it to cool the morsel before eating. It is only after a few spoonfuls that he speaks again, "If that is the case, then should we come across this band, meeting them in battle and eliminating them hinders the Saxon efforts against Salisbury."

Brynmor is already settled down at the table with Acwel, prepared to graciously accept a mug of ale and some good hot food if any are offered. This talk of Saxons though, does bring him to offer some input, "Actually," He says to Cyndeyrn now, where the man may be, "a small group of us who dutifully remained behind during the week of our good King's wedding did encounter a Saxon scouting party along the South East of Sarum. We were able to fend them off, one of them even racing towards who knows what, I would assume some sort of Saxon encampment, but with a prisoner in tow, I figure Earl Robert's men would be able to get some information from him."

Catryn allows her horse to be stabled, somewhat reluctantly, watching it being led away was difficult. Her sword is at her side, her food rations and water are with her, she was set other than her horse. Turning her attention to the others, she looks between each of them, eyes coming to rest on her cousin. Her lips quirk, "Welcome awake, Bryn." Because he's family, she's friendly to family. Elrick gets a quick look over and a nod, but mostly, she listens.

Once settled in place, Drustan opens his coat once again; allowing it to dry and perhaps help warm the damp tunic underneath a measure. He's not quite ready to remove it. The man utters thanks, with a broader smile to whichever young Lady of the house might bring him a mug and bowl. Hey, you can't turn off the charm! There's a glance up and to a few of the others as they speak of the Saxon activities. "I would hope they are not approaching from the Camelot forest." As Falt lands are some that lie closest to the vast, dangerous wood - his concern is certainly understandable. There's a drink of mead and the knight sits a measure straighter. "But certainly we would not avoid battle with any Saxons we may come across in our mission. It would be our duty to see them put to the blade."

Again, Deryn is quick to thank the lady of the house for the food and wine, taking her own to the table. As the conversation comes about those that have met up with various Saxons, she tilts her head, considering. "I went on a mission for the Earl during the wedding tournament - bandits who took over a few wagons of wine just north of Carlion. Though the leader was a bit more trained.." Could it have been Saxons in disguise? Who knows!

The door opens again when the squires all take shelter, most of them soaked from the rain, Brynmor's looking rather unhappy indeed, while Acwel's sneezes and grimaces. Someone's catching something, it seems. They sit down at their own little table and accept their food and drink, speaking amongst themselves. Looks like the redhaired younger son of Southcott actually appreciates the company of people at near age.

And for sometime, the rain muffles the sounds of metal being worked outside, or shouts over the din of yet another sonic boom.

Other sounds can be heard as well, if one puts their senses to it…
(+check awareness)

Signe checked her awareness of 7, she rolled 11.
Cyndeyrn checked his awareness of 8, he rolled 1.
Acwel checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 19.
Drustan checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 5.

Now that Brynmor has food and drink, he isn't overly grouchy, but he does mutter incomprehensibly to cousin Catryn when she tries to poke fun of him. He just knows that she is! When his squire comes in all soaking wet, the Steeple Langford simply frowns, "Go warm up by the fire. There's food and drink too. I don't need /you/ of all people catching your death due to a little bit of rain."

Brynmor checked his awareness of 11, he rolled 2.
Elrick checked his awarenesss of , he rolled 2.
Critical Success!
Elrick checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 10.
Deryn checked her awareness of 10, she rolled 1.
You check your awareness at 10, you rolled 3.
Uwain checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 16.

The Falt Knight's own squire, while dripping wet, seems quite pleased for an evening to chatter with the others and enjoy a proper meal. He's still in good spirits, overall, but this is a highlight to him so far. Drustan looks sidelong at the lad, contemplative, but decides to leave him be rather than issue any orders. Even a squire needs time to be who and what they are: a growing boy on the verge of a long journey. He's drinking something deep when there are shouts without. Brow furrowed, he sets the mug down — heavily, but thankfully enough drained to not spill — and is quick to his feet. The padded coat flaps a measure against his torso, but he's moving towards the door with a hand upon his pommel. "Sir," to the Knight of Southcott. "Were you expecting anyone?" He does not reach to open the doors, no, but he is on the ready. Just in case.

As both Brynmor and Deryn add tales of further saxon woe, Cyndeyrn nods. "I am sure I have not heard of every engagement, and that others have occured even beyond those mentioned by any here. Clearly, as the warmer months draw near, the saxons grow more bold, and we can only expect to see more of them in the coming months, than less. This is, after all, the purpose of our mission - to speak with our neighboring county about coordinating on the larger matter." As he is talking, chatting more about the saxons, the Dinton knight does also hear some of the sounds from out front. The question has already been raised, and so he looks to their host while turning back toward the door, pausing in any effort to make himself comfortable!

Being one of the later ones to step inside the shelter, Elrick did not even get a chance to pull off his wet cloak and shake off the water when his ears picks up some odd noises. The Laverstock freezes for a moment and cocks his head towards where they just came, "Rider approaching!" He immediately calls out in warning, then as he hears something else, he frowns, trying to filter out the noise of rain pattering on the roof, the sound of work being done, "It's the Huntsman. He has returned and is heading here in haste." So much for removing his cloak. The Laverstock turns, not walking outside just yet.

Deryn turns along with others who might be closer to the door and pick up on the sounds from outside. A slight frown marrs her face, though she doesn't exactly pick up on the words spoken. The clue to that comes from the Laverstock who informs them all. "Well.." Setting her food aside, she takes a quick sip of her wine before waiting, seeming prepared for whatever might come.

Hearing Bryn, Catryn chuckles softly to herself, but he does have a good point, "Anais, get dry and warm, eat something." It's not issued as a request, her voice is firm. Hearing voices, a voice or plural, she isn't sure, but she places her hand on the pommel of her sword and looks towards the gate. It wasn't looking good, any sort of rush to get inside is bad. Really bad. "The huntsman?" The words echoed, "Something is following him, likely."

Just as Brynmor is enjoying a hearty bowl of stew and some good ale, he hear something, amidst his own badgering of his squire. Though it is Guffud who probably hears it first, being that sort of child, ever alert and vigilant… and hyperactive! The two, knight and squire, share a look, but that does not stop the Steeple Langford from popping a warm piece of bread, all drenched in delicious stew into his mouth, before chewing. Maybe it was a fluke, who was he to say, and yet he listens even mroe keenly now. With the inquiries regarding any guests that the Lord of the manor might be expecting, Brynmor decides to finish off some of his ale, before being offered a refill. "For all of our sakes, Cat." He says in wry tone, "Let us hope that the huntsman simply angered a herd of deer and perhaps there will be good hunting before the night ends and delicious meat to carry the manor all through the summer and fall."

The huntsman knocks desperately on the door as soon as he's reached it, prompting a look of annoyance from Sir Deiniol de Southcott, (who may have introduced himself at some point to his fellow knights and the guy running this plot forgot about it so let's pretend) as he takes the door.

"Sir!" The thin, ratty-faced man draws in a deep breath and puts his hands on his knees, bending at the waist for a moment, his pale skin looking that much paler after whatever he's seen. "There's a band of Saxons headed here! Maybe half a dozen, maybe more, I couldn't tell."

It is only then that he realizes there are more than just two knights in the household, his hand swiping rainwater from his face as Deiniol turns to the group at large. "So it is, then. Will you help us deal with them, Sirs?"

Stepping back from the door, hand still at his sword - though certainly not drawing it - Drustan's features are drawn in concern. When the huntsman gives his report, the Falt knight straightens and turns to his squire. The boy looks like a deer caught at a stream; spoon halfway to his mouth. He's pretty much sputtering as he tumbles over his seat and starts scattering to head for the stables to retrieve mount and shield. "Cloak, boy!" This is said as the taller man drags off his coat and tosses it towards a nearby bench. Beneath, he wears his maille, overlaid with a grey tunic. "Of course, Sir Deiniol. We are at your service for your hospitality."

Well, Cyndeyrn gets proven right, it seems! Let in some knights out of the rain, get some free defenders in case you are subsequently assaulted! No doubt, the Dinton would have preferred the logic of his argument to have merely been true in the more abstract, theoretical sense, but the situation is as it is. "As we said, sir, to have us here is to have extra swords at hand to defend the place if needed. We ought meet them without, if they are not yet upon us," he then suggests, "they fight afoot as often as ahorse, and so we'll have better advantange meeting them in our customary fashion."

Being closer to the door with his cloak still on, and not hunkered down enjoying that delicious looking stew and ale, Elrick is already on his way back outside and into the rain. The scowl on his face is most evident as Saxons have put him in an even fouler mood, causing him to miss the chance at warm food and ale after a long ride. Curses are muttered under his breath as the Laverstock heads towards the stables, his steed will be needed. It appears that he has the same intent at Cyndeyrn, he is not going to wait behind these walls, the fight will be taken to them. "The quicker we finish this, the quicker we can get out of the damned rain."

Signe might pale just a little. Memories of saxon raids from her tender years, the threat of what the beasts could do, do not fade with time. However, the best way to avoid a saxon ravishing is to stick things in them first. Besides that, she's just the sort to charge her fears as a way of coping. So she rises, unceremoniously picking up her bow.

Brynmor is sorely disappointed that those sounds he heard were not the deer he so desparately wanted them to be. Not that he would've helped the group go out there and hunt them to begin with, but that would mean that he would still be here and enjoying the rest of the meal and perhaps a little shut eye. But, NO. Saxons tend to ruin every damn thing. "Every damn thing." He voices this, "Every damny time. Can't those Saxon bastards leave well enough alone." Does this stop him from eating a good spoonful of the warm meal and then polishing off his second mug of ale? Nope, he does that in record time. With his knight still sitting there, chowing down, Guffud, the Steeple Langford's squire, hurries over with his knight's helmet and cloak and sword and all the various things he knows that Brynmor will need to valorously join the others to defeat those Saxon bastards, as his knight calls them. "C'mon, Sir Brynmor. Our Saxon foes await our wrath!" the far too chipper boy exclaims as he struggles to fit Brynmor's helmet upon his head, all without the Steeple Langford complying or cooperating to make the squire's job easier.

Deryn takes another sip of the wine before she rises to her feet upon hearing the huntsman's story. Ready to head back out into the rain is she once more. Her squire looks to her, then nods, seeking to help as needed, runningout before to fetch the horse so recently handed over to the stable there.

"Yes," Acwel replies to Sir Deiniol, seemingly not much for words anymore before he nods once, agreeing with Cyndeyrn and the others. He gestures for his squire to approach, murmurs a few orders to the young man and starts to head outside. "Knights of Salisbury, let us introduce these Saxons to the warm hospitality of Hell." And just in case, as soon as he's out of the door, he draws his sword as the squire comes to outfit him with his helmet and shield, bringing Saint about for the Woodford knight to mount.

Alerted by the rider, Catryn had her hand on her sword, but when there is the mention of the Saxons, without hesitation, she draws it, "Anais, my shield!" She barks out to her squire who immediately hustles into action. With her sword in hand, she prepares for the invasion, not taking time for her now stabled horse. Damned if she hadn't have held on to it when she could have.

And soon, from their gear, Cai — Drustan's squire — appears with the primary necessities. His knight's helmet, shield, and the requested cloak. The Falt handles the helmet as the squire puts the waxed cloak into place. It will help a small measure with the rain, at least. Already the man is shifting into an even quieter sort of focus; mentally preparing for the battle ahead. The squire, however, is so new that he finds himself fumbling with the shield's straps. The poor lad is jittery; a blend of nerves and excitement making him not entirely useful… until Drustan offers the smallest hint of a smile. Seeing his Knight's — outward, at least — confidence is enough for the lad. The shield in place, the man nods to the Sir of Southcott, ready to move forth.

Annnnd Signe slips out the door too.

Mounting up, Sir Uwain prepares his blade and grunts an acknowledgement to the others. He was well ready for battle, and quickly. "They may have bows, keep your shields ready," he calls out, not that he expects he needs to tell the others how to do battle.

Deryn is out the door, soon to thank her squire when she brings forwards the charger that had yet to be relieved of his saddle. Mounting up quick enough, she's handed her shield to band into place. Quiet is she like many of the other knights, her gaze upon the gate and the surprise they shall give the Saxons on their way to the manor.

Well then. From the warmth, back into the rain, the various knights hustle to their purpose. Cyndeyrn is out quickly and with long strides, calling to the stables, where, with the huntsman shouting and all the knights pouring back out, the selection of young men have no doubt figured out that something is going on. So things are being readied even as the Dinton arrives, his horse led to him half way. While his sword is with him already, though not yet drawn, the squire helps him affix his shield and helm before aiding him into the saddle as well. Once there, the boy hands him up a lance as well, which the knight tilts upward before riding to join the others in the loose formation being assembled. "Let us hit them hard on the road rather than let them come here and do havok to the townspeople."

With his helmet on his head now a big piece of warm, buttered bun in his mouth, Brynmor is practically dragged out the door by Guffud, or pushed.. one of those. Once back upon his ready and able mount, Stone, Brynmor chews on the delicious bun and murmurs with his mouth full to that annoying squire of his. "Mmmfmm" Whatever that means, Guffud nods firmly and hands the man his shield in accordance to the other guy, over there, who brought shields up to begin with.

Once all the knights are ready and have started to gallop out to meet the Saxons, the group meets the band not too far away from Southcott; they are seven, in total, with one man in some old suit of armor, clearly in disrepair and as such, likely spoils of looting he was overused with the passage of time.

Six of them wield axes, the seventh, the aforementioned likely leader, has both an axe and a sword. They talk amongst themselves. Several workhorses trail behind them, carrying, among other things, and most cruelly, one might add, a young woman in a cage. Likely tribute to whoever they answer to. She weeps, silently, her hands squeezing the bars tightly or slamming at them, powerlessly.

Let none say that the Saxons are not brutal savages; they are, and judging by how dried blood stains their clothes, they are proud of it.

Catryn follows suit, slipping out the door, but only after her squire had brought her helm and her shield. Properly equipped, she tightens her hand on her sword, bracing herself to fight. There were women and children inside to protect, innocent people. Taking a deep breath, she prepares for the real thing. No competitions here. An epithet is muttered harshly when the Saxons are close enough for her to notice the woman in the cage, and her rage grows, she prepares for the battle.

You check your lance at 10, you rolled 3.
Brynmor checked his lance of 13, he rolled 4.
Drustan checked his lance of 10, he rolled 7.
Acwel makes a check for Saxon 1 Axe at 14, he rolled 9.
Acwel makes a check for Saxon 2 Axe at 14, he rolled 19.
Acwel makes a check for Saxon 3 Axe at 14, he rolled 10.
Brynmor rolls 6d6 and gets (4 5 4 2 3 4) for a total of: (22)
Uwain checked his lance of 15, he rolled 16.
Acwel makes a check for Saxon 3 Uncon at 8, he rolled 19.
Critical Success!
Acwel makes a check for Saxon 4 Axe at 14, he rolled 14.
Acwel rolls 5d6 and gets (4 6 2 4 2) for a total of: (18)
Acwel rolls 5d6 and gets (4 6 4 2 5) for a total of: (21)
Acwel rolls 10d6 and gets (5 4 5 3 2 6 5 5 3 2) for a total of: (40)
Elrick checked his lance of 15, he rolled 16.
Critical Fail!
Cyndeyrn checked his lance of 15, he rolled 20.
Cyndeyrn rolls 12d6 and gets (6 5 5 5 6 2 6 1 4 6 4 2) for a total of: (52)
Acwel makes a check for Saxon 5 Axe at 14, he rolled 11.
Elrick rolls 12d6 and gets (2 2 2 3 2 1 2 4 3 3 1 3) for a total of: (28)
Acwel makes a check for Saxon 6 Axe at 14, he rolled 11.
Acwel checked his Saxon 6 Uncon=8 of , he rolled 17.
Acwel checked his sword of 15, he rolled 2.
Deryn checked her spear of 15, she rolled 8.
Acwel makes a check for Saxon Chief Axe vs Acwel at 11, he rolled 6.
Acwel makes a check for Saxon Chief Axe vs Deryn at 11, he rolled 6.
Acwel rolls 5d6 and gets (5 5 3 3 2) for a total of: (18)
Deryn rolls 4d6 and gets (4 6 1 6) for a total of: (17)
Acwel makes a check for Chieftain Dex at 14, he rolled 11.
Signe checked her bow of 10, she rolled 13.

The knights and the Saxons meet in battle, with six of the valiant knights galloping towards the slaving, raiding, raping enemies of theirs.

Brynmor's lance strikes its target in the chest, splintering and knocking the Saxon back with such force that he is unconscious at the end of the Steeple Langford's strike.

Catryn de Burcombe's lance doesn't hit its target, barely avoided by the Saxon who then meets her shield as he swings his axe at her. Thankfully, that and her chainmail avoid her injury.

Drustan de Falt's lance is parried, and the Saxon manages to make a swift strike to the man's side, cutting through the links in the chain and opening a small cut.

Elrick de Laverstock strikes his foe right on the neck with his lance, snapping the man's spine and severing his head from his neck in an exposed fracture that gushes blood everywhere. Seems like the vultures will have a feast tonight.

Cyndeyrn de Dinton's lance trespasses the Saxon on its receiving end, a piece of the man's collapsed lung leaking through the hole left in his body from the now shattered lance.

Uwain de Tisbury and his Saxon enemy have a confrontation in which both display incredible skill, the lance almost striking home and the axe sailing in an arc to the knight's chest. As it is, the lance shatters the axe on impact, with neither the clear winner in the exchange. One thing is certain, though, the Saxon is disarmed, and this will allow the Cymric man the advantage of the sword.

Acwel and Deryn fight the chieftain, with the head of the house trying, but failing to strike the Saxon who returns the blow, which is thankfully absorbed by his shield and chain, while Deryn seizes the advantage to jab the man on the back, causing him to howl in pain, enraged.

The brutal impact of the initial charge makes clear why Cyndeyrn was so eager to meet them on the road. Knights are cavalrymen by training, and against foes not properly armed, their tactics are devastating. None proves this truer than the Dinton knight, who puts his lance straight into the chest of one of the saxons, into it and through. Impaled on the weapon, the man is carried some distance with the charge, and then let slide down the far end of the angled lance. He is shaken off, lung and all, to land in a bloody pile, before the rider wheels his mount, looking toward the remaining melee.

The rain is the least of worries, truly, once they are on the road out of the village the manor presides over. Drustan does lean low over his charger's neck; giving them a smaller profile and keeping the bulk of the downpour out of his eyes. The helm helps little in this regard, really. He has a lance in hand; he is not entirely keen on the weapon, but one takes every advantage they can get. Shaking his head briefly to clear his eyes, the Falt knight sights on one of the Saxons — perhaps one near the caged woman — and sets his charger to… well charging. His lance is on target, yes, but the saxon is quick enough to respond. The lance is knocked deftly aside and the Falt knight's teeth bare as the rough axe cuts through tunic, chain, and leathers beneath. In the hit, he drops his lance. However, the man is not out; as he draws his sword, he draws his mount about for another strike.

Drustan checked his sword of 15, he rolled 18.
Acwel makes a check for Saxon 3 Axe at 14, he rolled 2.
Drustan rolls 5d6 and gets (4 6 3 3 1) for a total of: (17)

When his lance strikes, Sir Uwain grins viciously, but then realizes that the two had become entangled and damaged beyond current use. He could undoubtedly still jam the broken piece of wood into the man, but he has a better weapon at hand for this challenge. Drawing his sword, he wheels his horse about and engages the man with the swiftly moving blade. "For the King!" he yells out.

Charge! Catryn is spurred forward by the thought of the woman and what she may have to endure, or have had to endure, from the ruthless Saxons. Her lance is deflected but she finds the bad end of an axe against her shield. With a growl, she draws her sword and goes right into attacking the man who had gotten her attention. Trying to place her shield between herself and the axe of the Saxon, she engages in combat.

Uwain checked his sword of 15, he rolled 13.
You check your sword at 15, you rolled 8.

One of Elrick's pride and joy is slaying Saxons, his sworn enemy, while on horse back. What better and messier way than to do it with a lance, a brutal weapon by the results of his first charge. The lance, which isn't blunted like one to be used in a tourney would be, strikes home. Being that this isn't a competition, it doesn't hit the Saxon's shield, instead the Laverstock's aim was a bit more lethal, parting head from body with a nice spray of blood. Riding through the Saxon formation, he wheels his charger about and kicks into a hard gallop, "For the King! For the Earl!"

Acwel makes a check for Saxon 4's Dex at 8, he rolled 18.
Uwain rolls 5d6 and gets (6 5 6 6 2) for a total of: (25)

Deryn rides at her cousin's side, and when he distracts the chief with the swing of his sword, she jabs at the man from behind. Sure, ganging up on the poor man is not fair, but nothing is quite fair in war, is it? Pulling back her charger, she seeks to attempt to engage the man again, enranged as he might be. One of them may get another strike at the chief, right?

Acwel makes a check for Saxon 4 Uncon at 8, he rolled 11.
Critical Success!
Elrick checked his lance of 15, he rolled 15.
Elrick checked his sword of 15, he rolled 5.
Cyndeyrn checked his sword of 15, he rolled 1.

Signe misses, her arrow flying not far from the saxon cheiftan, but she soon has another knocked. She aims for the cheiftan, tracking his weak spot as her uneasy horse prances.

Acwel makes a check for Saxon 6 Axe vs Cyndern at 7, he rolled 10.
Acwel makes a check for Saxon 6 Axe vs Elrick at 7, he rolled 1.
Elrick rolls 5D6 and gets (3 1 2 4 2) for a total of: (12)
Acwel makes a check for Saxon 1 Axe vs Catryn at 7, he rolled 1.
Acwel makes a check for Saxon 1 Axe vs Uwain at 7, he rolled 9.
Chieftain, with a third person probably to attack him too."
Catryn rolls 4d6 and gets (2 1 3 4) for a total of: (10)
Signe checked her bow of 10, she rolled 13.
Acwel checked his sword of 15, he rolled 19.
Deryn checked her spear of 15, she rolled 2.
Cyndeyrn rolls 6d6 and gets (3 6 1 6 1 5) for a total of: (22)

While not as eager as some of the others to go head on with their opponents, Brynmor, at least, feels comfortable enough with his lance in hand and his horse charging forth to run one of those filthy Saxons down. He's amazed at this successful endeavor, for he can barely see in all of this rain! So when he actually strikes his target and knocks the guy down, that adrenaline rush pushes him forward to some sense of victory, "That's what you get for interrupting what should have been a pleasant meal and conversation followed by an even more blissful nap." He knows that he's not really speaking to anyone who can hear him, but the man does like to hear himself talk. And with that, he pauses in the distance to gauge the saxons who remain standing, the poor fools! There's hardly anyone for him to actually fight, so with that in mind, he brings his horse back to where Signe stands with her cute little bow, being all protective and chivalrous. "Looks like they'll be able to finish the rest off." He bravely states, though looks ready to rush off if any of his fellows should falter.

Acwel makes a check for Saxon Chief Axe vs Acwel at 14, he rolled 6.
Critical Success!
Acwel makes a check for Saxon Chief Axe vs Deryn at 7, he rolled 7.
Acwel rolls 5d6 and gets (5 3 4 3 1) for a total of: (16)
Acwel rolls 10d6 and gets (3 2 6 3 2 4 4 2 4 2) for a total of: (32)

The Knights make quick work of the Saxons; soon, the vast majority of them are lying on the floor, unconscious, or dying. It would be a matter of expediency to take out those already down, at any rate, while the Chieftain and one stubborn son of a whore remain up, though the latter is struck twice.

Said Chieftain turns around, striking Deryn clean on her back, eliciting a rooster of blood. The wound is deep, but it is thankfully not mortal. Unfortunately for the chieftain, it also opens him up for an attack by Acwel, who sticks the tip of his blade into the man's shoulder as he shouts out in pain.

Drustan checked his sword of 15, he rolled 12.

Even as his blade makes short work of one man, Sir Uwain's horse starts doing what angry warhorses do. It starts bucking and snorting, and biting, smashing its huge hooves down on the fallen Saxons who've toppled from their horses. The big man riding the horse just has to hang on a bit and try to settle the horse down, leading it away from the others to get it under control. "Easy there, horse, they're dead!" he tells the horse and pats it on the neck. Turning in a circle he wipes off his blade with the help of the rain, and one of his undergarments, then puts the weapon away. He'll need to oil it later.

The dance of her horse leaves Deryn open for the Chief's axe, and it's her turn to cry out in pain when he manages to score the hit to her back. That… is going to leave a bit of a mark! Tugging on her reins, she pulls away, putting some distance between she and the chief before he might try and hit her again. With so many other knights about, she doesn't worry that he might run, and gives another a chance at him instead.

The next pass, sword in hand, is also successful. It is certainly and clearly Drustan's more favored weapon over the lance. With the aid of others, the Saxon collapses down in the mud. It's then that the Falt knight wheels about his damp and muddy charger, heading towards the woman in the cage. He swings down from his saddle once near enough to her, approaching as he sheathes his blade. "All will be well soon," he starts, immediately attempting to soothe. "There is a manor not far, where you can be fed and changed to dry clothes. What is your name? Are you injured?"

After the initial charge, the rest is just the business of hacking up the rest, the saxon formation so smashed and bloodied that the others are little match for the knights upon them. Certainly, there is still some melee, and even a wound dealt to one of the Salisbury lot, yet the enemy is quickly surrounded, penned in by iron and horse, left struggling to defend as blades fall on them from every direction. Cyndeyrn rides back in with Elrick, and between them, some man is hacked down in graceless fashion, before the Dinton urges his steed into the last remaining bit of combat, eager to help put down the chieftain before it causes any more harm. It is hard to say what fate finally befalls the man, which knight claims him, as he is soon brought down under a rain far crueler than that which pours down from the heavens, a rain of iron and blood.

With his lance lodged into the corpse of the first Saxon he rode down, Elrick helps the Dinton Knight dispatch the second Saxon warrior without much trouble, his blade cutting into the man and turning him so that he would receive the full impact of Cyndeyrn's blow. With that, he turns his charger to see what hostiles remain. At first, he was about to ride down another Saxon raider but Drustan cuts the man down with ease. With the Chieftain the only one left, the Laverstock Knight holds back, not wanting to crowd that battle even further and cause potential friendly damage, keeping an eye on the engagement in case the Saxon chooses to flee.

Signe too has gotten to the cage, and she's examining the manner in which it is closed, whether with a lock or something more easily budged. "What is your name?" she asks the woman, pausing to look her in the eye. "And from where do you hail?"

When the knights cut their way across the two Saxons left standing; the one that is not a chieftain is stabbed, slashed and chopped, howling in pain as blood and his life leave his body, falling face-first into a puddle of mud, which some would argue is where he belongs.

The Chieftain is the only one left then. The knights gather on him like locusts on grain, the ensuing storm of swords the ultimate proof of the Cymric hatred for these invaders; blood leaks from seemingly everywhere on his body, but more conspicuously from his groin, where surely the blade of Catryn de Burcombe struck him last, and cruelly; what was severed on the body is just beneath the corpse's thigh. He had no time for last words, as it were, his eyes wide open as though in shock.

The girl looks at Drustan and cries in relief, having watched the brutality from afar. She is dirty, her clothes are in rags, and her eyes are red from crying and lack of sleep. "Y-yes," she murmurs, collapsing to the floor of the cage as she looks up to one of the knights who saved her, "M-Mair, Mair de Manningford. I was heading to Up Avon with my maid and my brother when they k-killed him, and… they… her…" she cries, unable to retell that part, breaking down before her full story is told.

Having his horse trail behind his cousin, Brynmor keeps one eye on the battlefield, noting that only the chieftain remains. It's a good thing, he didn't expend all of that energy and effort into joining their ranks, for there would be very little for him to do. This makes him nod sagely to himself. Once he does reach the cage, his piercing eyes look the woman over, noting the filth of her clothes and how she is in such a state of disarray. "We'll get you out of there." He announces, "And there will be a warm fire and a hearty meal to fill you up." Looking thoughtful now, his brow furrowed, he then frowns, "I only wish we had gotten to you and your entourage sooner."

While Signe examines the lock, Drustan approaches the lock nearer. There is a glance for the Steeple Langford, should she need aid with the lock itself. A good sword strike can do many a thing. The Falt, however, moves nearer and offers a hand through the bars to the young woman. "Lady Mair, I am very sorry for what has befallen you. We will see to it that you are tended to and any ills resolved by the kind folks at Southcott. They will surely be able to see you well before getting you an escort home." His voice is kept even and low; despite the hitch in breathing from the battle.

Signe checked her awareness of 7, she rolled 6.
Drustan checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 17.
Critical Success!
Cyndeyrn checked his awareness of 8, he rolled 8.
You check your awareness at 10, you rolled 5.

Signe understands quickly enough what had happened to the maid. The fact that the maid is not also in the cage causes a grim and disturbed look to cross her face. "Brutes, worse than than beasts," she mutters darkly. She then draws back, gesturing at the cheiftan. "No doubt the key's on him," she says.

With the battle at end, Cyndeyrn takes a brief survey from astride his mount, and there sees something on the body, so recently felled. And so, well, he shall nobly dismount and retrieve it! "Yes, I see something," he will call, even as Signe points it out, and with a little effort and just a little more saxon blood transferred onto him, he will heroically retrieve it. Well, loot it from the body. You know. With key in hand, then, the Dinton will move to the cage, working at the lock once he arrives beside it. "Aye, the manor here should be safe for you until the morning and clear weather," he agrees, as others have made note. "We will see you safely there."

Catryn is good with striking him in the groin, likely it was dead on aim after them having a woman caged.. and she looks towards the maid, then towards Signe, a look of understanding passing from her to the lady. Closing her eyes a moment, only a moment, she attempts to come to terms with being too late for something or other, before looking back towards the Cyndeyrn, offering a slight nod to him.

Mair de Manningford runs into Drustan's arms, as he is a knight, and closer to her, and also is wearing armor, which means he is more likely to serve as a human shield. Still, she cries, and cries against his chest, enveloping her arms around him as she hears the words from the other concerned knights and Lady. She nods, unable to say anything for now, almost as if in shock.

Soon enough, the knights are welcome back as heroes by the people of Southcott, the workhorses and the rest of their carriage brought back into the manor by stablehands willing to risk the rain to do so.

"Thank you," Sir Deiniol states, the man's lips curled into a grateful, sincere smile. "For as long as I draw breath, you will always be welcome to Southcott, brave knights. I give you my word as a knight."

Acwel makes a check for Lady Delyth's Amazing First Aid at 20, he rolled 18.
Acwel makes a check for Lady Delyth's Great Chirurgery at 18, he rolled 11.

Only once certain there are no others to worry with, and her fellow knights have things in hand, does Deryn turn towards the manor. Yes, she's in pain, and she's heading for the healing while she can still stay on her horse! Her squire meets her, helping her down, hissing upon spying the broken chainmail and the blood already soaked into the under tunic.

And there's a poor, battered Lady in his arms. Drustan does not appear to mind. Not that he's thinking anything, but it shows that she still has a good measure of her faculties about her. "It'll be alright, I promise." Not anytime soon, likely. Death is something one is raised to expect, but witnessing such things as the Manningford lass has? None wish for that. Drustan will ride back into Southcott with Mair before him upon his horse, delivering her into the arms of the younger women of the Lord's manor to be taken away and tended to properly. He, himself, directs his squire — who, let me tell you, will be talking about his knight for days — to take his shield, helm, and charger to the stables. The man himself sinks to a place by the fire to resume eating; brushing off all cares from his own injury until others, such as Deryn, have been tended to.

Acwel rolls 1d3 and gets (1) for a total of: (1)
Acwel rolls 1d3 and gets (2) for a total of: (2)
Acwel rolls 1d3 and gets (1) for a total of: (1)

With Mair on her way, and escorted by the younger knight of Southcott and two rather trusted commoner able-bodied men, the knights enjoyed the hospitality of the good Sir Deiniol until dawn, at which point the outporing was over.

Their travels took them beyond the other side of the river, and further north besides, with Sir Brynmor, who somehow made use of the wagon that carried Mair, sleeping through the entire passage. Truly, a man with such distinguished sense of prudence (or rather, exarcebated laziness).

Soon enough, a day and a brief passage at a manor later, they arrive at the capital of Marlboro, Wandborough, home to an impressive castle and a large, bustling city. The small folk look curiously at the knights bearing heraldry and colors that might be unknown to them, even if, as members of embassy, they bear the standard of Salisbury in their travels, certifying who they are supposed to be speaking for.

Count Elidyr, the sovereign of these lands, sends out his guard to receive the representatives. Once they have been properly housed, fed and bathed, they are summoned to speak with him at his court hall.

Traveling this far north, Elrick has grown more quiet as they enter lands unknown to him, as for all of his life he has stayed in Salisbury. At the sight of the city and the large castle though, even the Laverstock looks impressed. The hospitality offered was also much appreciated and he can't wait to return home to regale his family of this tale, more to torment them at what they have missed. When summoned, Elrick is dressed as neatly as he is able to with the clothes that he had brought, while trying to maintain a courtly manner. Since he is not the one leading this diplomatic mission, he is standing off to the side of the group as they gather in the great hall.

Careful has Deryn been upon the ride, sitting far straighter in the saddle than she started off! Glad is she upon reaching this new city and the hospitality that is shown to them by the Count. Either availing herself of a chiruregon here, or one perhaps found in the city, she'll hopefully be feeling a little better afterwards, not to mention with a good bath. Dressed in courtly dress of split skirt and tunic in her House colors, she shows up when bid to take her place amongst the other Salisbury knights.

The Knight of Woodford, well, the vassal knight, not the family knight, bows before the Earl, also clad in courtly clothes, bearing the colors of his house. He raises as the greeting is done to regard the much higher placed man, starting the introductions, "I am Sir Acwel de Woodford, and I am here as representative of your ally, Your Grace, Earl Robert de Salisbury. And these are my companions," he gestures with a rehearsed flourish to them, allowing the knights their respective introduction, and perhaps someone to introduce Signe as well, as is proper.

Standing out of the way once escorted in, Sir Uwain lends the support of his manor and family without necessarily needing to say anything. When introduced he bows his head, states his credentials and then goes back to remaining stationary, like an overly tall statue. The group of large knights undoubtedly a bit of a spectacle in themselves. With a few over six feet tall. He cleans up relatively well, and is wearing a fine tunic in the family colors, his hair combed back from his face.

Signe inquired of someone- just someone- as to whether a lady's dress or her robes were most acceptable for the introduction, and she has dressed accordingly. Upon her introduction, she curtseys deeply, her head lowered.

Dinton's representative will accompany all the rest, of course eschewing his heavy arms and armor for the visit to the Count, favoring instead a surcoat with the colors of his house over his usual tunics beneath, with only his sword worn at his hip. When Acwel introduces them before the Count, he will dip into a bow and make his own introduction in kind: "Sir Cyndeyrn ap Cynfarch de Dinton."

It is all well and good that the ride to Marlboro is without further incident. There wasn't the time to get leathers and chain properly repaired. The leathers would be fine, really, but the chain in the state the axe rended it? Well, the Falt knight finds himself not even wearing it the following day. Simply tunic and cloak atop the boiled leathers. He's left it to his squire, when there is time, to examine it and begin selecting rings with which to repair it. Cai truly is getting a crash course in being an heir!

When they are, at long last, introduced to the Count of Marlboro, Drustan has tried to clean up by a measure. It is difficult, for the length of the travel and the battle they fought just the night before. Still, he has brought a courtly outfit and is able to present himself in that… albeit somewhat stiffly, from the healing wound beneath. The man's tunic does bear the marking of Falt; that black raven upon a field of white. It is subtle, but more than he — or many in his house — would usually wear. There are times, however, when such is necessary. When his turn comes, he bows as well; again, with minor difficulty. His own greeting, however, is spoken after passing well-wishes to the Count and his family: "Sir Drustan de Falt." There is a glance for Signe and should her cousin be unable, he provides: "The Lady Signe de Steeple Langford also attends to our party." For all he rejects it at times; he has been well-trained.

Acwel checked his orate of 10, he rolled 5.
Critical Fail!
Deryn checked her orate of 3, she rolled 20.
Signe checked her orate of 14, she rolled 18.
Drustan checked his orate of 10, he rolled 9.
Uwain checked his orate of 2, he rolled 4.
Elrick checked his orate of 5, he rolled 14.
Cyndeyrn checked his orate of 3, he rolled 9.
You check your orate at 3, you rolled 14.

Once the Knights have made their introductions, Elidyr looks them over and nods once to the group, acknowledging their station and introductions. A mousy court scribe furiously takes notes of their introductions and the Count's response, no doubt embellishing whatever comes next for the annals of Marlboro history.

"Very well, good Sirs, and how may I help my friend, the Earl Robert de Salisbury?" The man is straight to the point, it seems, as he folds his hands behind his back, straightening his posture while regarding them.

"Your Grace," replies Acwel, trying to meet the man's gaze as he speaks, "as of this season, an army of Saxons marches towards Salisbury. Raids have already begun, some with grim results. An army, it is said, marches even now towards Sarum, threatening the wellness and prosperity of the people of Salisbury. The Earl requires your assistance in this time of need, Your Grace, that we can beat back the invaders and show them true Cymric justice, once and for all. And as a token of goodwill, should you have any task you would see carried out in exchange for this favor to our people, we are, all of us, at your service."
There is a glance over his shoulder to his companions, then, as though the Knight of Woodford expects some of their insight to be added to the request!

Meanwhile, the Count continues to look at all of them, not focusing on anyone in particular, save when Acwel was addressing him directly, but even so, he nods once, expression thoughtful.

Deryn makes her own introduction, then steps back again, listening as her cousin proceeds to sell the count their reason for being in his castle. All is going well with her, and she even has something to add that would be help their cause, but when her mouth opens… BEEEELCH! Cue instant embarassment for the lady knight - that tonic the healer gave her? Potent stuff!

Signe is preparing to speak, in her fairest and most endearingly sweet voice, an entreaty that would have brought all men to attention in the room. Unfortunately, a sideways glance brings a rather brutish looking knight to her attention, and the fact that he is staring at her with a fixated, grotesque leer distracts her entirely. How…dare…he. What is she, a harlot? is he looking- he's looking at her- how dare he! Time to stare this brute down.

When it comes to the safety of the realm, Drustan is apparently capable of swallowing his ire in regards to his upbringing. The man steps up to stand by Acwel's shoulder; leaving it clear that the heir of Woodford is, indeed, the leader of their campaign. The Falt knight stands at an easy, but respectful stance. He nods, in answer, to what Acwel says. Agreement. "Salisbury has suffered some grave losses to Saxon raids over past seasons. We are fortifying and preparing, but any aid Your Grace finds fit to offer, we will be eternally grateful. There are raiders even near your own borders, for we had to dispatch a raiding party just last night." A grim reminder, perhaps, of what assisting Salisbury can prevent; Saxons making it to Marlboro lands.

"But, indeed," Drustan continues, looking over briefly at the belch. Ahem. "We are pleased to prove our worth and dedication in completing a task for Your Grace and Marlboro, our allies to the north."

Not a man who is known for his words, especially in such a noble crowd such as this, Elrick is smart enough to remain silent. Relying on his courteous and courtly manners of proper bows, he laces his fingers together behind his back as he listens to Sir Acwel and any other of their group who chooses to sleep. The Laverstock would have a much easier time speaking loudly if he were in a tavern with a few tankards of ale already in him.

The Count listens to Drustan and Acwel, though Deryn's belch is paid some attention to, even a lifting of an eyebrow by the court scribe. Then again, that mousy scribe ought to be doing her job instead of judging people for their inability to hold back their belches. Still, something surely is written on the annals about that. Bad scribe.

"We do not have many troops to spare, Sir Acwel," the Count replies, his expression grave, "seeing as most of our troops are currently committed against an act of aggression by our hostile neighbors. However," and he allows, lifting his chin slightly, "I believe I can send a relief force with you, as long as you knights fulfill a task for me."

He pauses for effect, before continuing, "A Fortnight ago several knights from Rydychan engaged in raiding against the manor of Mildenhall. They have taken the heir, Sir Dilwyn, under pretenses that he has despoiled the innocence of the younger de Oxford daughter. Their intent with him, as far as I have been told, is to execute him in a manner most brutal, and such an act would surely have to be answered with a declaration of war. As that is exactly what I seek to prevent, I request that you to Swindon, where Sir Dilwyn is being held and will be put to trial, as they seek swift justice with their impious ways. Should you rescue him, you will have your army."

Likewise, Catryn remains silent, doing as she always does when no proper or nice words come to mind. She remains silent. Perhaps it's not often she holds her tongue when all she wants to do is utter scathing remarks, but she does manage, in this strange land with the Saxons around every corner. She looks at Deryn at the belch and smirks, because that's mostly as close as a smile as she gets.

Acwel checked his energetic of 16, he rolled 6.

"Very well, Your Grace," Acwel accepts, bowing to the Count. "We shall ride out to Swindon by next dawn, where we will see about this matter as soon as possible and, the Lord willing, we will bring back your knight, hale and healthy, back to your court." He turns to the others in the expedition, particularly Drustan, to whom he nods, before he speaks, "Be prepared to depart as soon as possible. Men with a want of vengeance do not wait very long before they seek to exact it."

The tale the Count tells brings a furrow of concern to Drustan's brow.. but also one of thought. He does not voice much, no. He waits for Acwel to issue official acceptance before giving a bow of his own. The Falt begins to step away, slowing a measure as Acwel speaks to him. There is a nod. "Of course. We should spend the eve collecting any supplies we may need," such as a new lance for Cyndeyrn. "And being well-rested. I do not presume that this will be an easy mission to see completed, but I understand the Count's desire for… outsiders," Knights, under an allied neighbor, "to handle the situation." His voice is low enough to not be of a bother to their current host, but loud enough to the others in their party once they have all gathered properly once more.

"Excellent. Godspeed, then, Sirs, and I will be awaiting your return eagerly," the Count replies, nodding again as he waits for the next petitioners in line to make their case. The life of a feudal lord.

Whether there is injustice done or the boy is guilty of his crimes, Elrick himself does not appear to care, for they are here on a mission of greater cause. It is to acquire much needed reinforcements to defend their homes, so this task that the Count has assigned them will be one he sees completed. He will of course adhere to Sir Acwel's decision if diplomacy is preferred to win the boy's release, but if not, there will be work to be done and no much time for delays.

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