(514-08-07) Hail to the Thief II
Summary: Time to kick some bandits off Laverstock lands.
Date: 514-08-07
Related: Hail to the Thief, Part I, Hail to the Thief, Part III
eirian elrick padrig 


How could a poet better describe a lovely August morning than this? A soft western breeze toys with the ripening gold wheat in the fields, a fond hand ruffling wide leaves on fruit-laden trees planted in the orchard. Laverstock lands thrive under a cloudless sky, bringing out the farmers to toil at threshing grain or guide the livestock out from their pens, taking advantage of another fine, dry day to prepare for the predictions of a cold, long winter. Flat-bottomed boats sail up and down the length of the sleepy River Bourne, threading its course from Sarum north towards the border of Salisbury, and many a traveler will be setting out on the Roman road for the Earl's seat. A few birds wing around, chasing after insects for a meal.

But the faultlines of a disturbance ripple through the Laverstock manor, and down that same road where one of the villagers jogs back at a hobbling gait towards his small farmstead.

With Elrick already raising the alarm that there are potential bandits on Laverstock lands, the word is being spread through the household while he fetches his gear. With no squire, it takes a little bit of time for him to don the chainmail of a knight but a process he has gotten use to doing by himself. Walking to the stables of where his charger is resting, he saddles up Havok and makes sure everything is securely in place before mounting up. When he sees his cousin, a quick update is given on what the Laverstock commoner had run to the manor to tell him, "Paddy, I just spoke to Barris, he's the son of the farmer that lives off of the Roman road, the eastern part of our lands. Said he found a body and saw what could be bandits."

What would have been a peaceful day of healing and contemplating his place in life has turned into yet another violent crapfest, and no sooner had Padrig settled himself out-of-doors with some minor chores and a skin of ale than the alarm for bandits went up. In record time, Paddy is outfitted by his squire, the nimble-fingered Dey who for once did not drop everything, and mounted upon his charger who immediately begins prancing impatiently around the stableyard. Padrig tugs on the reins in slight irritation, but his expression smooths into something less ferocious when Elrick appears. "Aye, bandits? He told you where? Lead on, then. Dey! Mount up and follow, on the quick."

Failed.
Elrick checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 18.

Success
Padrig checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 4.

The Roman road is made in the tradition of the Empire: twenty feet wide, a gravel bed paved over by rock slabs fit together almost seamlessly. Wagon ruts are few and the long path gently curves with the countryside. A man could ride or walk it all the way to Camelot if he wanted, and there are precious few barriers along the way. Laverstock lands stretch along the way until running up against the Pitton domain, the orderly farms and pasture land as familiar to the two men as the back of their own hands. Nothing would seem to be amiss at a glance, and when they set out from the manor, the first league or two is surpassingly quiet. It's likely that Barris de Laverstock, farmer in his twenties, probably ran the five leagues from his family's fields and modest home all the way to the manor. In between here and there, the pair of knights get their share of travelers, nearly all on foot or the occasional donkey. Farmers with carts headed for market, a pair of musicians singing while they go, peasants and wanderers.

[Awareness] Padrig, however, notices that one of the 'peasants' is walking with a pronounced limp and has awfully good clothes for just a peasant.

Instead of riding at a full gallop, the pace that Elrick sets when the reach the Roman road is a brisk trot as he doesn't want to miss anything on the road or out over the horizon. For now though, his attention is more on the travelers on the road, which is probably the wrong place to look since it would be doubtful that bandits would be traveling so blatantly on the road. When none of the travelers appear to be in a hurry to be away from the direction they are riding to, that does puzzle the younger Laverstock Knight a bit, since if there were bandits, then there would possibly be burning, looting, and at least some panic.

It appears that Elrick's cousin is thinking something along those same lines, because he leans over in the saddle and murmurs: "I thought you said there were bandits?" His expression grows wary, and he straightens and clicks his tongue, ordering his charger to nudge itself ahead of a group of straggling women with a gaggle of children in tow. His gaze drifts almost insolently over the peasants as they pass, but one particular person seems to stick out to him a little more than the rest: a limping man whose garb is somewhat—off. Padrig circles back to Elrick's side once more and gestures with two fingers in a brief wave toward the peasant. "There, that one. There's something amiss."

The group goes by in twos or threes, strung out at a distance along the way. None have a great look of wealth about them, nor the expected urgency except where the unease of the knights starts leaking into their anxiety. A few of the women duck their heads and scurry along, urging the children forward like unruly goats to be coaxed into a corral. The limping peasant drags his foot over the stones, hauling himself forward on the makeshift walking stick fashioned from a stripped branch of some sort. He dips the brim of his hat much like the others nod and make their business elsewhere.

"That's what Barris said, and he ran all the way from his farmstead, I thought he was going to fall over before he could tell me any news. If he did, the geese would've had their way with him too." Elrick says, sounding a touch frustrated since an alarm about possible banditry is a serious issue. When Padrig points something out to him though, the other Laverstock's gaze fixes on the somewhat suspicious man, the one that is limping. Nodding his head, he then asks, "Do you want to approach him together or have one of us approach and the other keep an eye out? Maybe he has other friends in the area that will react." His voice is kept low for now, as to not raise suspicion, no use spooking their quarry just yet.

Critical Fail!
Padrig checked his recognize of 7, he rolled 20.

Padrig is fairly certain that peasant that is no peasant quite resembles one of the renown knights of the tourney field. Could he be *in disguise?*

Success
Elrick checked his recognize of 7, he rolled 4.

After several surreptitious glances toward the seemingly suspicious folk, Padrig sighs and offers Elrick a shake of his head. "Approach him for what reason, hmm? Limping? Wearing clothes? Nay, I cannot in good conscious accost decent people simply for a gut feeling." Paddy rests a hand on his thigh in a leisurely pose as they ride, eyes drooping to half-slits of contemplation. "I will ride ahead. Hang back, keep an eye out. If anything comes amiss, then you will have my back. If there is naught, then we've lost the scent and need to ride quickly. Sound like a plan?" His lips curve upward with a cheeky half-grin, and he does not wait for a response before his charger moves ahead and draws up alongside the peasants. He offers a cordial nod of greeting before riding on, doing his best to look as peaceable as possible.

Elrick sees there's something very strange about that fellow atop the fact he's limping. If nothing else he can recognize the embellishment on his tunic, which stands out. He last may have seen it at Arthur's tournament… on an imposing knight who did quite well, known as the Bloodfrank. In fact, the whole cut is a bit foreign to his eye, now that he thinks of it. Foreigner?

The travelers keep on the move towards Sarum or, for the other few, back towards Camelot. Whatever troubles beset the knights is far, far beyond their concerns on a delightfully sunny day. They are more than two leagues off from Barris de Laverstock's farm and the boring peasants in their drab clothes and floppy hats are more than happy to hurry themselves along to fulfill their business. Sunshine burns in the sky, and the suspicious fellow in question keeps on his way, his pace a bit laboured by as steady as they come. If he knows of the Laverstocks' paranoia, he doesn't show it.

No disagreement comes from Elrick when his cousin shows sense about stopping random travels on the roads just because of what they have heard from a third party. And when Padrig more or less tells him the plan about riding ahead while he stays behind to keep an eye out, the younger Laverstock nods in agreement. Before his cousin rides forth though, Elrick does offer a quick tidbit as his mind manages to produce a sliver of memory, "Take care, cuz, I think I've seen the embellishment on his tunic before, at the Pendragon's tourney. I believe the Bloodfrank had the same, it's a… foreign style?" That is the best that he can come up with as he is no fashionista. "I will have your back." A hand immediate rests on the pommel of his blade as he keeps his charger at a slow trot, one that matches those walking.

With the words of Elrick's lingering in his ears - "Bloodfrank" and "foreign style" and "tourney" - Padrig is somewhat distracted even as he passes the peasants and greets them. The fact that none of them seem particularly thrilled to see him, especially the one with a limp, is telling; it heightens his suspicions, and they breed like bacteria, consuming him to the point that he is practically half-hanging out of the saddle as he stares at the man with a dark, penetrating gaze. Suddenly, something seems to click in his head, and his expression brightens like a child receiving a sweetie.

"SIR LUCAN!" This greeting is bellowed with all of the vociferous energy of a crowd of fangirling ladies fluttering favors. It's enough to startle his otherwise indifferent charger who rears slightly and sends Padrig sliding backward in the saddle. He bobbles the reins rather comically before clinging to the saddle's edge and hauling himself back up into his seat; whipping the horse around he squares off in the middle of the road with this poor, poor peasant man."

"Sir Lucan!" He cries again, attempting to explain by way of vapid, windmilling gesticulation to Elrick the importance of this personage before them. "Of the battle with the fighting and the things!"

Success
You make a check for Lucan Recognize at 7, you rolled 4.

"Sir Lucan", such as he is, was happily shambling along with aid of his stripped branch. The world is grand and beautiful, he enjoys the day, and makes light of his day. Space separates him from the mounted knights on the road, and he joins with the other travelers on their way to Sarum. Until Padrig goes shouting at him. The traveler doesn't immediately respond, though his shoulders give him away in the slight straightening and the twitch of his spine, how he gains a slight stiff inch. A cry will not go without response. Though he is trying to be furtive, which makes sense if Sir Lucan were in fact wearing modest garb and headed back to the main city on the road from Camelot.

"Erm…" He shakes his head slightly, making a gesture to try to silence Paddy. His incognito state is not likely to register many interests. "Well met."

When Padrig reacts rather vividly with the person they have marked as suspicious, Elrick has a look of disbelief on his face. For a moment, he forgets to watch after his cousin to make sure swords aren't being drawn by bandits disguised as peasants as his gaze focuses on the exchange between this 'Sir Lucan' and his cousin. For now, he refrains from riding ahead to join the other Laverstock Knight, just listening and watching how the limping fellow reacts, as well as the other commoners in the immediate area. "It can't be…." He finds himself muttering under his breath.

Critical Fail!
Padrig checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 20.

(To Padrig) That's honest to God Sir Lucan. Why would the butler be sent to Camelot? Because of course Arthur is BUILDING it. Dorset is on fire. There's a war in the west with Belinans. It would be /illogical/ to announce you sent the man keeping your castle and your new wife happy, so you're going to hide it under wraps. It's a quiet mission, there are good reasons for it.

When a knight submits to the fanboi status, he does not understand or acknowledge what is happening outside of his sphere. For poor Padrig it seems as if time has stopped, and he and the peasantly-garbed Sir Lucan are connected by an umbilicus of glory, by that one breathless moment of truth that unites them in the deepest commonality: the awesome glory of being knights. Beneath him, Padrig's rouncy shifts uncomfortably at having been accidentally included in this intimate moment; clearly the horse is not interested in strengthening any kind of bond with his rider, but would rather be galloping away after bandits.

Luckily for Paddy, the faint snicker of dismay from the horse snaps him out of his drooling trance, and he glances up blearily in search of Elrick. His gaze lands on his cousin, but he is torn: should he stay or should he go? But Sir Lucan wants him off his back, and so he lets Padrig know: he should not stay, he should definitely go. Pained, the Laverstock knees his rouncy into wheeling about to ride toward Elrick once more, but he is far too dazed to say anything.

Sorry to break hearts and take names, but Lucan may just be exactly who he appears as. A man wearing a traveler's garments, leaning on a crutch, and no longer hobbling away. He is simply a great deal slower than one might be. He touches the brim of his hat in two fingers, and then proceeds on with no further a statement than the one already given. The road is long, and he has places to be that do not include exactly where he is right now. His foot drags as he goes, evidence to the discomfort implicit on him. Now they have a story to share over their cups later.

Since nothing suspicious besides Padrig being a complete fangirl, Elrick remains where he is when his cousin rejoins him. His eyes remains on the robed figure who is hobbling along before looking at the other Laverstock, "Really, Paddy? Really?" He can only shake his head with a sigh as he nudges his charger to continue on a fast trot down the Roman road, "It wasn't really him, though, right? You were just messing with me or some poor peasant?"

Twenty minutes of riding at an appreciable pace brings the men to Barris de Laverstock's farm. Clearly something has them in disarray because the dogs prowl around and no one is in the fields. The track down to the road is a clear brown line and a gate is shut, and a thin thread of smoke curls up from the chimney-hole of their little house. The front door hangs open and activity flutters around; they can see the older man, Barris' father Farren, emerge and head around to get a bucket of water and head back inside long before they reach the place. A little further up the small slope is a fuzzy copse of trees, reachable by trails or by turning later along from the road leading to the house.

"Yes, it was him," Padrig replies to Elrick in a surprisingly subdued tone, casting a suspicious glance toward his cousin as they ride down the road and pass the peasantry along. "But you do not have to believe me. You would have recognized him, I am quite sure, but let us not discuss it now. This wasn't supposed to be a ride for pleasure."

And so they pass quickly through their lands and come upon the the farm, and Padrig draws up short on the opposite side of the gate with nothing but a snort from his charger at the abrupt cessation. "What is this, then?" He rises up in the stirrups and gazes around, trying to spot movement on the fringes - something in his periphery that might flicker and catch his attention. "Let us see what they are up to." Leaning down, he reaches for the gate latch to open it and allow them to move through and closer to the house.

Success
Elrick checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 7.

Success
Padrig checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 4.

The men are aware there are no horses on the property and the road and property are quiet. The woods seem the likely place to find trouble, if any exists.

When they reach the house where the bandits were first reported from, Elrick slows his charger to a stop before gesturing towards the farmstead, "Paddy, this is where Barris lives, they said they saw what appears to be bandits." He then looks out towards the wooded area, frowning with some suspicion, "With the roads being clear and those we passed not raising any alarm, I wouldn't be surprised if the bandits took to the woods for cover." At first, the younger Laverstock was eager to head off into the woods but after a brief discussion with his Padrig, logic prevails and he tugs at the reins, angling his steed towards the House as they approach. "Master Barris! It is Sir Elrick and Sir Padrig!" Calling out to those that may have barricaded themselves inside as he had suggested, for safety.

Barris de Laverstock, like most of their villeins, lives in a rather humble affair with his wife, his father, and a child not more than four. Brindled hounds bark in excitement upon facing the two riders on horses, pulling out the man in question from his thatched home and patting his face with a dirty rag in an attempt to be presentable. Barris is a bluff fellow and looks no different than when Elrick last saw him, hair sticking up from where his fingers ran through it and wearing simple labourer's clothing: tunic and trousers. "Sirs!" He gives a bit of a rough bow and looks up goggle-eyed at horses and riders, pulling himself up. He shouts over his shoulder and his father comes out too, a shorter and weathered version of the son. Another bow.

"Forgive me, but the missus' tending them best she can. One is in a very bad way and the other, we lost him." He folds his hands together. "Wasn't aught to be done. He was cut up pretty bad, but she does what she can to keep him here," Barris says.

"Tending whom?" Padrig inquires, frowning and exchanging a look with Elrick before his attention turns back to Barris. He is impatient, but he does his best to bite back a flood of questions and instead presents them one by one, slowly, and to give enough time for the men to come up with an answer before moving on to the next. "Who was injured? It was bandits, then? And did you see which direction they went?"

Barris clears his throat. “Em, the men I found bleedin’ out. I ran to warn Sir Laverstock there at the manor soon as we saw. Not sure whether Glenn,” that’d be the neighbouring peasant, as both men are sure to know, “found any more men but we both heard the fuss, you ken.”

"The one is still alive, has he said anything since the time you left to come find me?" Elrick asks as they receive an update from Barris, any pleasantries or greetings dispensed as there is a business of bandits. "The roads were clear and there were no signs of any bandits there. Those that were walking along the road showed no sign of panic either, so they most likely did not see the bandits either. If there is anything else you can tell us before we depart in search of them, we would appreciate it."

Barris doesn’t bother with pleasantries either, though he manages to be a bit offput by that. The farmer is a bit overwhelmed by having his choice of people. "He moaned a lot, not really in tongues I much know. The missus was trying to keep him comfortable, though. You can come in, talk to him if you want. Otherwise it's up that way," and he points in the direction of the forested spot, "the dogs and I went. Lot of blood. not sure where the bandits headed."

Padrig shifts in the saddle and follows with his eyes the direction in which Barris points. Frowning, he pulls up on his charger to keep the horse from prancing in eagerness and glances sidelong to Elrick. "I think perhaps we should investigate the wood ourselves. If the man will keep, he will keep, and fat lot of good we'll do him by poking him with questions. Not if he's in a delirium, eh?" Looking back to Barris, he dips his head to the man in a show of gratitude. "We thank you, Master Barris, for your timely warning."

With an air of caution the two knights head up to the copse near the property line. Handsome oaks and young elms abound there, a fine place for the small watering hole ringed in pebbles where the well doesn't run dry. Stamped dirt from the dry summer clearly shows horseshoe and human boot prints, among smaller tracks. More obvious are the streaks of blood on the ground and a puddle of it in once place. In another, a fallen pile of personal belongings scattered along a line is plain: bits of cloth, a simple scroll, a broken link of chain. The broken off point of another knife glitters in the motes of sunlight. Clearly some kind of violence was committed here.

Nodding his head in agreement with Padrig, Elrick adds his own words as well, "Thank you Master Barris, once again see to the safety of your family. I shall return once this issue has been dealt with." With that, he turns his charger about so he can ride towards the woods with his cousin. The place that Barris had described isn't hard to find, especially when blood is evident. When items of note are spotted though, the younger Laverstock quickly dismounts and with a gentle pat to his steed, moves to collect the items that litter the ground. First the knife point that has broken off, checking it to see what the break looks like and to see if there is blood on it.

Imagine a knife broken by a bigger blade, that would be a relative estimation. It is bloody, the drying liquid no more than a few hours old.

Padrig follows Elrick closely, nosing his charger into the copse and pausing as the scent of blood hits his nostrils. He recoils slightly - for who is fond of blood? - but urges the mount forward slowly nonetheless until the scene becomes visible. Paddy stops and dismounts, sliding silently to the ground and leaving the charger to roam nearby while he stalks along behind Elrick. His eyes are bent upon the ground but focused more on the muddled tracks and blood trail than the objects themselves. "Anything interesting over there?" he inquires as he crouches beside the largest pool of blood and looks off in several directions as if to glean the path taken after the violent interlude.

Success
Elrick checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 5.

"A broken bit from a knife or dagger, it's bloodied so someone put up a fight. But he was facing an opponent with a larger blade, so the bandits may have swords, we best be on our guard." Swords are indeed deadly weapons, even in the hands of a bandit as they don't break easily like axes or spears. "There are some other items as well, a broken link from what appears to be a chain." Which he picks up to examine quicky before moving on to the scroll, "And a scroll."

Failed.
Padrig checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 14.

Unable to really make heads or tails of the assortment of prints and blood smears, Padrig peels himself away from the sanguine display and returns to Elrick's side. He peers at the scroll curiously, but if there are any markings upon it, it looks like nothing more than random scratches to him. "Can you read it? Is anything written?" he inquires, before looking back to the puddle. Something tugs at him, a hint at action, but he cannot quite place what next might be done. Instead, he hazards a guess and lobs it at his cousin in the form of a polite query: "Perhaps we can track them? I see quite a number of shoe marks, and there were no horses at the farm. It stands to reason they might've taken the mounts."

After tucking away the link of chain safely, Elrick picks up the scroll that was discarded on the ground and brings it towards Padrig so they can both look at it. "Yeah, we can work on tracks and maybe find how many there may be that left this place. Looks like quite the fight happened here." The younger knight does sound rather displeased since it occurred on their lands. For now though, the first task at hand is to look over the contents of the scroll to see if anything is recognizable before moving on to find clues from the tracks.

The scroll contains a list of numbers and all of it in Latin, which isn’t easy to parse through. Though even a common knight knows what Equus means, though some other business, well. What of terms like Media, Caucasia and Hephthalia? Good luck guessing at those matters. There are three entries for Equus, though, with their relative descriptors and the hefty marks of payment. A more interesting measure is the name Levcomagus, another city in the area and clearly something which might suggest they’re staring at some kind of manifest.

Padrig watches as Elrick unfurls the scroll, but except for a list of numbers - which any knight can puzzle his way through - the rest of it is a mass of puzzling nonsense that he could not even begin to understand. He flicks his fingers dismissively, perhaps a smidgen irritated, and shakes his head. "I couldn't make sense of that if you gave me a child's guide and ten years per word. Keep it, though, and if we fail to find our bandits, we can at least bring it back for someone else to look at. You know, someone with nothing more important to do than read." Tchah. Readers. Already Padrig is returning to the pool of blood and pacing about in an ever-widening circle. "One went off this way, but on foot. The horses go in that general direction, I think. Come look?"

When the scroll reveals the intricate characters written on it, Elrick can only release a sigh of disappointment as he can already tell that he will not be able to read the contents. He does give Padrig a smirk at his cousin's words, shaking his head, "Not even if you were given fifty, Paddy. Though it would be the same for me." He was about to joke that Eirian would be able to cover for his deficiencies but decides it may be too soon. He does roll the scroll back up before tucking it away with the other contents into his pack when he returns to his charger. Once the items are safely deposited, Elrick joins the other Laverstock at the pool of blood, nodding as he heads in the direction where the horses went, "I agree, we should follow the horses. Let's see if we can figure out how many by the tracks."

Success
Padrig checked his hunting of 10, he rolled 7. Modified 13.

Critical success.
Elrick checked his hunting of 5, he rolled 8. Modified 8.

Tracking horses through the wilds is no difficulty for those born to it. The green earth betrays the abrupt force of it, and after approximately a ride of five minutes, the paths of the horses clearly fork. One continues north and the other turns west, leaving a trail of broken branches and disturbed earth that Padrig can trace well enough. Elrick’s keen eye picks up that one of the horses was clearly fleeing at a much greater speed than the other — the northbound one — and the one veering west is eventually going to lead into far more fields and farmland than wild scrub, such as it exists on their property.

Padrig is back in the saddle in record time and clicking his charger into gear. The well-trained mount is only briefly reluctant to leave his grazing, but the thrill of the chase is thrumming through the rider. "This way," he calls cheerfully, although surely Elrick is capable of following the rather visible set of tracks. The charger pushes into a trot and rides quickly over the ground, and the Laverstock only has to stop once or twice to pace back and forth before picking it up once again. When they reach the fork, however, he pauses and leans over to squint at the ground; he looks north first, and then west, and then finally to Elrick. "Your choice here, coz. Which way now? The trail splits."

Being familiar with the lay of the land does benefit those whom the lands belong to and in this case, Elrick has no problems following the tracks with the assistance of his cousin, both pointing out marks and oddities to each other. A depressing into the soil, broken blades of grass and twigs, disturbances that marks a clear path as if they were walking the Roman road. When the tracks split though, the younger Laverstock tugs his charger to a stop and firsts looks to the west before his attention returns to the fork. Then he studies the tracks leading north, his brows furrowing in which Padrig would be able to tell that his cousin is not happy, "North, Paddy. That would be where the bandits went, it appears that one of the horses ran off with the others giving chase. We may be facing three…" An estimation from counting the hoof prints, the way they were displaced, and the length of strides.

Success
Elrick checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 4.

Success
Padrig checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 4.

Three bandits wander around to the north, and somewhere else, a lazy horse prowls the western lands without the least signs of being bothered. Padrig didn’t see any bootprints to the west, at the very least, or something that would suggest a fellow was chasing a horse at speed. The destructive trail continues north and eventually the pace will slow, the trail being fainter and probably evidence the humans flagging in chasing a full grown horse through rolling and delicate terrain. It’s a largely straight path — horses not being known for zigzagging like demented dragonflies to evade pursuit — interrupted by elements of the landscape. A few spent arrows suggest desperation or an attempt to bring the horse down, perhaps. Likely the bandits aren’t fighting one another. It is only with great success the men notice a strange gold-cream shape lurking at a distance, mostly because its shade is so surreal for this place. Further, they have the wherewithal to not plunge through a pile of bushes lacing a sheepfold to the bandits’ camp, where they’ve clearly gathered to try and recoup from their wounds or stage an attack on a horse that somehow outran them for… let’s not say how far. A really far fucking run for a mad horse.

"North it is, but three?" Padrig's rapid gaze scans the ground again, but he dismisses his chances at counting the pairs of feet; he can trust to Elrick's skill as much as his cousin can trust to his. And so they ride northward to follow through the gently rolling terrain; it would be a picturesque frolic, and a potentially romantic ride were they a pair of lovers escaping a day of chores rather than cousins hellbent on shedding some blood. After being led on such a merry chase, Paddy is surely inclined to run anyone through with his sword without being bothered to stop and ask a goddamn question first.

His mind is thus occupied with an endless stream of angry thoughts when the susurrus of the bandits going about their business of tending to wounds (wounds? ahahah) and resting after the glorified romp through hill and dale - and minus one horse, too. Ah, that must smart a bit. Stomping lightly, Padrig's charger pauses before they barrel through a line of bushes, and he leans down over the mount's neck on instinct. "Three of them?" he stage-whispers to Elrick, brow furrowed in furious thought.

Following the path that was left by the fleeing horse and bandits was not difficult, though Elrick almost feels sorry for those chasing on foot. Almost. Both Laverstocks appear to be in the same mood, no mercy to be offered to the bandits when they find them as they have already killed men on their lands. When their pursuit brings them to the makeshift camp, Elrick nods to his cousin, "Three. Shields up though, at least one is an archer." From the arrows that were left behind when the fleeing horse was being chased. "I'm ready to charge if you are, Paddy. Hopefully the bushes will give us enough surprise and they are too tired from chasing to react in time. We may have to duck an arrow or two."

In as quiet a manner he can, Padrig unsheathes his sword and raises his head long enough to take another peek. His quick assessment of the ragtag gathering merely confirms all of the details given him by Elrick, and he nods once to his cousin in agreement. It takes a moment for him to be sure his shield is settled firmly on his left arm, and then he plops his helmet into place and looks truly the knight. Hopefully he will not fall to a trio of crappy bandits, or he will never live it down. "I'm not particularly afraid of arrows, coz. Their fright might make them shoot wild anyway, if they even have time to string a bow." He shifts in the saddle and lines up his charger before nodding again. "Now." And then they burst through shrieking "FOR LAVERSTOCK!" Maybe a bandit will piss himself.

Combat

Critical Success.
Padrig checked his sword of 15, he rolled 20. Modified +5 for on.
Padrig rolls 10d6 and gets (2 5 6 5 6 4 4 4 5 1) for a total of: (42)

Success
Elrick checked his sword of 15, he rolled 13.
Elrick rolls 5d6 and gets (3 4 1 6 5) for a total of: (19)

Knocked down!
You make a check for Bandit2 Dex at 10, you rolled 14.

Round two

Critical Fail!
You make a check for B2 Suspicious at 16, you rolled 20.

Success.
Padrig checked his sword of 15, he rolled 16. +5 higher ground.
Padrig rolls 5d6 and gets (3 4 3 3 2) for a total of: (15)

Failure.
You make a check for B3 Sword at 9, you rolled 7. -5 for higher ground.
Knocked down!
Eirian makes a check for B3 Dex at 10, she rolled 17.

After charging into the fray, Padrig is perhaps just a little bit overzealous when he realizes they are outnumbered by one and two of them have turned on him. Before they can get their gear together in enough time to assemble a defense force, however, he has already drive his sword right through the throat of one bandit. The man slides to the ground in a heap and gurgles a few times on his own blood before finally perishing. This, of course, only helps to fuel Padrig's fire, and he wheels about with bloody sword raised ready to strike at the second bandit.

His shield is up to deflect an incoming blow, and he drives his sword into the second bandit's ribs with a brief punch of force to leave behind a bloody wound before he withdraws. "Yield now and you might..die slower.." Hmm. That didn't have quite the commanding ring he was looking for.

The brilliant Laverstock plan does appear to work as they catch the bandits off-guard, bursting through the bushes on their chargers. While the bandits run to collect their weapons, Elrick's steed is able to close the distance on his chosen bandit before the poor sap could reach his weapon. The sword slices painfully into the horse thief, knocking him to the ground and after turning his horse about, the Laverstock Knight points his blade at the fallen bandit. "Surrender or die. Pick one." It appears that the time limit for such a decision is only a few seconds.

The bandits on the field clearly did not anticipate someone riding them down at force, much less a double Laverstock whammy, their voices raised in a howling war-cry. Nothing quite like hearing the drumbeat of horse hooves not attached to the mocking equine that evaded their hot pursuit. The men, already tending to wounds inflicted on them from the earlier sortie, scramble to reach weapons instead of bandages. Swords are grasped and hauled from their sheaths, too late for Childeric as he strives to get to his feet and finds several inches of metal buried in his throat. He sinks to the ground with a gurgled scream, grabbing at the gaping red mouth opened several inches below the bloodied one. His fingers convulse around the life-ending wound without success.

It goes little better for Glew, whose sudden shout is met by crashing flesh and another Laverstock sword getting through the hardened leather garments he wears under the traveler’s cloak. The man’s lean, vulpine look is in no way wealthy or satisfactory, and the bandit tumbles back onto his arse, bouncing hard and already trying to get to his feet to slap away the sword when he’s held at point. Hatred burns in his eyes, but he’s already beaten about some and fate isn’t with them. “Yield!” The blade’s hurled aside in a moment of choice, seething rage stamped out. “Fuck it, I yield! New, do it” Unfortunately his friend, the one who raised the alarm in a shout, isn’t so willing, and Newlin swings the sword around at Padrig to try and cut at the mounted knight and deliver a blow of his own. Apparently, no, he’s not about to throw down his weapon.

"Your friend is not as wise as you are, do not move from that location or you will find yourself regretting it." Elrick says before tugging at the reins of his steed, turning the charger towards the bandit that chooses not to surrender even though he has also been knocked down. He is pretty sure that Padrig will have no troubles handling the other bandit but will not take any chances as he also rides in, blade swinging down with lethal intent. When a bandit chooses death instead of life, Elrick is glad to oblige.

Round three

Critical success.
Padrig checked his sword of 15, he rolled 17. +10 modifier, 20.
Padrig rolls 5d6 and gets (1 4 2 4 4) for a total of: (15)
Padrig rolls 5d6 and gets (6 4 2 2 2) for a total of: (16)

Success
Elrick checked his sword of 15, he rolled 1. +10 modifier.
Elrick rolls 5d6 and gets (3 5 1 5 3) for a total of: (17)

Failed.
Bandit 3 makes a check for Newlin vs Padrig Sword at 1, you rolled 19. +5 modifier.
Failed.
Bandit 3 makes a check for Newlin vs Elrick Sword at 8, you rolled 9. +5 modifier.

Alas, poor Newlin! "I have known him well, Rick: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy," Padrig declares loudly as his charger backs up a step or two before he drives it once again into the ribs of the relatively defenseless bandit and effectively skewers him right into the dirt. Panting heavily, the knight pauses a moment before yanking his weapon free and wheeling about to check that the third bandit has chosen to wisely stay the course of surrender. Now sweating profusely, Paddy shakes free his shield and secures it before wiping his sword blade clean and sheathing the weapon. Last to come off is the helmet, and he tosses his head to ward the droplets of sweat from his eyes. "I must go see a man about a horse now."

"Your friend is not as wise as you are, do not move from that location or you will find yourself regretting it." Elrick says before tugging at the reins of his steed, turning the charger towards the bandit that chooses not to surrender even though he has also been knocked down. He is pretty sure that Padrig will have no troubles handling the other bandit but will not take any chances as he also rides in, blade swinging down with lethal intent. When a bandit chooses death instead of life, Elrick is glad to oblige. Both Laverstock blades show just how foolish New's choice was for not surrendering as he is cut down rather easily. Then the younger knight's attention shifts back to the bandit, "I'll see to this one, Paddy." Sheathing his blade, Elrick dismounts swiftly and pulls rope from his saddle pack before moving to the remaining horse thief that is alive, ready to bind both wrists and legs together for now, to ensure the man doesn't try to escape.

It sucks to be a prisoner, as a bandit, but the other choice is a dead bandit. His allies spilled out on the grass, run through and throat-slit, give good testament to this. Glew holds still where he is, not really keen on being bound up and not precisely fighting it either. Without an interest in condemning himself further, he keeps his mouth shut and glum, morose loathing colours his miserable expression and hunched posture. Elrick need not fear shoveling shit with this one too much.

Failed.
Padrig checked his hunting of 10, he rolled 11.

Success
Padrig checked his horsemanship of 15, he rolled 3.

That glistening honey beauty does not simply stand around while Padrig tries to ride up to it. The bandits failed, and so does he. Simply put, Padrig’s horse is tired and charging about Laverstock lands does not a fresh animal make. One would think a horse raced this far is weary and tired, but then, that presumes the horse is a normal sort. And the knight’s attuned eye can see full well this is no mean nag, or anything remotely resembling the plow horses or great brutes in the fields so commonly found in Salisbury. It might be hard to bring to mind a horse of that weirdly pearlescent shade, for that matter. When Padrig’s finished salivating over meeting Sir Lucan and defeating two un(der)armed bandits, he can stare at their quarry right as it snorts at him, turns, and trots away on a liquid stride that makes his charger seem like a cart with square wheels in comparison. The flagging tail flutters behind it, a banner of the palest cornsilk. In pursuit, at least the Laverstock can sort of keep it in sight, but not close the gap fully, at least on the start.

That, gentlemen, is a horse.

Failed.
Elrick checked his hunting of 5, he rolled 13.
Success
Elrick checked his horsemanship of 15, he rolled 10.

Critical Success!
Padrig checked his hunting of 10, he rolled 10.
Critical Success!
Padrig checked his horsemanship of 15, he rolled 15.

The animal is truly a bedazzling spectacle of - horse - and Padrig is practically salivating at the possibility of taming the beautiful beast. His initial attempts at clucking and calling do nothing, causing the mount to eyeball him suspiciously before flouncing away in a beautiful, liquid display of true grace. He cries out a "yah!" and urges his charger into a quick gallop to follow, although the ungainly mounding roll of his mount pales in comparison to the serene glide of that which he chases. But still, he draws back and paces, crooning and circling in an attempt to garner more curiosity than hostility, and eventually it pays off enough that he can draw in the strange creature to snuffle at his fist in greeting. He laughs, a truly boyish sound of glee, and rubs the young animal's nose in greeting.

Leaving the bandit bound and trussed like a caught pig for the time being, Elrick remounts his stallion and rides after his cousin on his charger. Only when he reaches Padrig does he see that the other Laverstock has the golden horse in hand. Slowing to a trot, he lets out a whistle and nods his head appreciatively, "That's a beauty, Paddy. Well done. I uh… left the bandit back there just in case you get kicked in the head chasing this one. He's all bound though so we can go pick him up, and the other horse that went west as well."

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