(514-08-07) Hail to the Thief III
Summary: Padrig has a shiny new horse, and now Elrick wants his.
Date: 514-08-07
Related: Hail to the Thief, Part I and Hail to the Thief, Part II
eirian elrick padrig 

Padrig checked his hunting of 10, he rolled 7. Modified +3.

Critical success!
Elrick checked his hunting of 10, he rolled 13. Modified +3.
Elrick checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 4.

The lone survivor of the horse thieves, Glew, is bound and tied as he rides astride a horse he'd rather not be upon. Unless, of course, the Laverstocks enjoy running a man behind their horses as they travel over emerald hill and drowsy marbled vale. Padrig will have a time trying to even get a saddle on the impressive Oriental horse he has managed to corral at least with a rope, but the beast has a light, spritely step that almost feels like riding upon air. The native horses of Britain simply cannot compare, built for another terrain entirely from the misted isle on the edge of the world.

Taking a path back towards the point when the other horse cut westward takes time, slower than their original approach if they aim to use caution and faster if Padrig and Elrick cut loose with any concerns about further bandits in the camp. Glew has nothing to offer except confirmation of no more men on their part, though that's still embellished in a note of shiftiness, probably induced by watching two of his compatriots sliced to ribbons by the knights collectively. While the Winchest… err, Laverstocks ride west, the sun is starting to lower in the sky after marking its highest point and the fields spread out before them. For that reason alone it's not entirely difficult to spot animals moving along the gentle folds of earth arranged towards the hilltop fastness of Sarum, vaguely visible in the distance. What is more difficult is ascertaining whether it's another of those strangely pearly gold-cream horses or something else, and more to the point, whether they can actually approach a horse that has stuck itself precisely in the middle of a field where any kind of approach will be seen for a good quarter-mile and it can run in whatever direction it likes without the least kind of impediment.

Finding the tracks that head west after choosing to go north is not an easy task for Elrick as he is also rather distracted by the prize that Padrig has claimed. That exotic breed is indeed a beauty, certainly much prettier than the rider who is no doubt having the time of his life. A bandit to mock and ridicule while sitting atop such a rarity. It is up to Padrig to find the tracks that lead west though as the other Laverstock is apparently not capable this time, his heart apparently no longer in it as much as it was before with the main threat neutralized. "Yes, yes, Paddy, the horse is beautiful. I am sure it will shit rainbows as well when we get home."

With a majestic creature in tow using part of their spare rope as lead, Padrig shifts atop his charger and looks down at the bandit whose bound hands are hooked neatly to the other section of rope. Unable and unwilling to share his saddle with an unwashed miscreant, he is forced to drag the poor fellow along at their rather gratingly sedate pace as they follow the tracks into a section of fields. It does not bode well for a horse hunt, but it is a rather pretty sprawl of land. "I am sure it will shit rainbows long before we get home if you keep up all that fuckin' sweet talk, you ponce," he replies in a mutter, tugging at the lead rope for the bandit just to work out a little of his sudden irritation. "There, up ahead, I think that's the second one. You want that we should try and corral him off somehow or would you like a chance to catch him yourself?"

It might be possible Padrig's new horse is the model for a unicorn, minus the obvious spiral of tooth pointed to the sky. He could fashion one from a stick and make a go of it, at least. The horse prances and tests him at every moment, attempting to buck away from the least touch of guidance to do whatever he likes instead of behaving. That makes the bandit's suffering even worse, for he's pulled this way and that on the end of a tow line. Neigh. The Oriental snorts and the charger, too well trained, has to put up with the horse equivalent of Caerwyn twinkling around on gossamer hooves. Elrick's mount isn't quite so temperamental in that respect, not having an unfamiliar animal tethered to him.

The other Oriental is down there, grazing on grass like another bandit in the demolished group, cocky as all get out. Munch munch. He is an evil horse, and will eat all the tender shoots so no one else may have any.

"Let's corral him, I am sure it will spot one of us and flee in the other direction. I do not have the confidence you did when you claimed your prize…" Elrick says as he looks out in the distance, spotting the horse that is in the middle of the field. "Shall we tie off the bandit and your new steed here?" He asks as he waits atop his own charger, ready to ride off in one direction to begin the retrieval process of the second mount. Such opportunities are not to be squandered when it comes to valuable resources like horses. "We need to make sure this one is secured first, though with the bandit tied on, it would be harder to drag dead weight along if it breaks free."

"No, we separate them first," Padrig replies, eyeballing the bandit warily and shaking his head before gesturing to the lone tree nearby. "Even tied up, leaving him sitting about with a horse is just asking for them both to disappear. Club the man if you have to; at least if he's unconscious he won't move." He slips down from his charger and lets the animal wander away to graze for a minute while he sets about freeing the bandit's lead from that of the steed. The latter shall be given room to graze while tied loosely to a branch; the former shall be strapped to the trunk, preferably beneath a busy bee hive. "Let's go," he barks to the man, leading the way toward the tree and assuming Elrick shall follow.

Whether the bandit shall protest, throw a tantrum, or call names, none of it will matter in the long run as Paddy secures him to the trunk. He is determined to have a matching pair of beauties in the Laverstock stable, and one spindly weasel is not going to stop him. He checks the knot once for tightness, loosens his sword threateningly with a glare for the bandit, and returns to his charger and the saddle once more.

The evil herbivore chews up another mouthful of leaves and shoots, tugging free a bit of a resilient bush. Now it denudes the landscape in Laverstock lands, a ridiculous prancing creature despoiling Salisbury as though it has not a care in the world. Its tail wafts in the wind, mane lifted in pearly banners, and it lifts its head to almost pose at how evil and wondrous it is. Or perhaps it smells the horseflesh on the wind, another equine noted when the direction changes. Dark, intelligent eyes peer up in the direction of the knights, oh so far away. Unfortunately there is no beehive near the only tree in the vicinity for the bandit to be stuck next to, or the men to launch a sneak attack from, because the Oriental is not that foolish to go near the only source of cover about.

With the bandit and the first prize secured, Elrick is ready to attempt to claim the second with his cousin. Looking out to the open field, he can only sigh as the Oriental horse is already looking in their direction. "This won't be easy, Paddy, and I have a feeling we will have to ride hard to chase it down." All in a day's work for a knight, especially when it is to increase the numbers in their stables, horses being part of the livelihood of their occupation. With a glance to Padrig, the other Laverstock says, "Ready to ride when you are."

Padrig exhales slowly in a sigh and nods to Elrick, tilting his head as he gazes right back at the wee beastie in the distance. He narrows his eyes, but is startled by the fact that he perceives the horse has narrowed its eyes as well. Well fuck right off, then. "We'll flank it," he announces gruffly, shaking his head to free himself of the animal's spell and casting a sweeping measure of the field in the immediate vicinity. "You on the right, I'll sweep up the left. Go slow so we don't spook it. Go—nonchalantly?" He nudges his charger into a pleasant, lazy amble sweeping wide to the left to make an arc out toward the horse.

Wee beastie is nearly as tall as Padrig and then some. That lovely nonetheless stands about, tail swishing, almost in anticipation. Quite the pity neither of the knights has the least idea of what kind of stock they are dealing with, other than four-legged herbivore able to run considerable distances without issue. A pretty horse, and one who seems to be altogether canny to the fact they are coming down the way towards it on the slow, gentle incline. Which is exactly no doubt why its equine strategy speaks of a cagey retreat to go eat some poor buttercups, chomping through without hesitation on those flowers made the paler by its presence.

While the knights take their time in their flanking approach, the flowers suffer in their delay but it is a sacrifice that must be made to increase the chances of success for the capture of this exotic breed. Elrick's charger matches his cousin's casual trotting pace as they approach at an angle, spreading out in both directions. Eyes remain on the prize that is feasting on the buttercups, an occasional glance directed to Padrig to make sure his cousin isn't in a full gallop yet. This Laverstock will remain in that trot unless the Oriential breed bolts or he sees his cousin increasing speed.

Elrick checked his horsemanship of 15, he rolled 2.

Padrig checked his horsemanship of 15, he rolled 19.

You make a check for Evil-HorseRaffe Dex at 20, you rolled 17.

There is no reason at all for Padrig's horse to find buttercups so delicious, nor for the Oriental to mince away once the pair of knights come towards it. Flowers dangle from its mouth in a long chain and it chooses then to start trotting away, those long, abominable strides throwing clods of soil up into the air and one directly launches into a small pile of flowers productive with bees. The insects of course fly up in a tizzy and scatter on geometric lines shot at Padrig, while Elrick manages to pull ahead, keeping on the confounding path the horse takes. But the thing is bloody fast. It flattens its ears and the little game of chase becomes an all out gallop without the benefit of a herd of wild beauties, its stride picking up as its legs lengthen out and it eats up the ground. Run, Laverstocks, run.

Elrick checked his horsemanship of 15, he rolled 2.

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

Seeing his cousin momentarily occupied with a swarm of angry bees, Elrick can only try to spur his own charger on with greater speed as the chase is now on. Leaning forward a bit in his saddle to reduce the drag that his body creates, his eyes is focused on the eyes. Time to see if his charger is capable of outrunning the Oriental breed, with the assistance of a rider directing him. "C'mon Havok, let's get that horse. Show them the Laverstock's stable is superior." Quiet words to help urge his mount forward.

There is no reason at all for Padrig's horse to find bees to be particularly threatening - he is, after all, a charger bred for war; this horse can wade unfazed through hordes of screaming, bloodied and mangled men wailing on each other with sharp instruments and twitch nary an ear. But no, of course he cannot stand one single swarm of disturbed bees kicked up from their daily rounds of la-la-la amidst the flowers collecting pollen. No, he cannot possibly do anything except balk like a startled princess and rear back, screaming rather girlishly and attempting to fling Padrig from the saddle while trying to dodge the bees…who are likewise probably trying to dodge him. A stream of curse words floats gently along the afternoon breeze as the Laverstock struggles to stay aloft, sawing at the reins frantically and begging for the gods to either kill the horse or set it to rights.

Through sheer willpower alone he manages to keep the charger from losing its mind entirely, and after extracting themselves from the harmless swarm, Padrig whips the charger to bear and kicks it into a gallop. Luckily it has a lot of adrenaline to burn, so the mount makes an insane break for the fleeing horse.

The gods have a sense of humour which involves firing bees from a horse cannon at Padrig, who is apparently too fortunate in his berserk rages for Lugh and not nearly amusing enough for gentle Mother Don. While his charger rounds like a lunatic, the fury of a bee on his rump sends him bolting forward in a mad panic when it stings, or maybe pretends to sting. It could well be that poor, dear Sir Laverstock is about to charge straight through Dorset by way of the Camelot Forest on a deranged horse barreling at one horsepower through the countryside without consideration for grass or rocks. Havok is a bit more seemly about the affair, but eventually the two men are going to have the option of converging like an arrowhead on that golden beast plowing on through the grain fields and grasses, leaping over a dry creekbed and pounding across a plain not altogether different from the high Central Asian steppe it was bred to. But gods above they are going to run, and there may be a point when neither flagging horse — falling back to a canter, rising again to a gallop, retreating in waves — finally break from Laverstock lands. That point will be the River Bourne. Or possibly the gates of Sarum and crashing through the Countess' new nursery and straight out the other side of the wall.

As for the Bourne, at least the river is visible from here…

When there is a clearing ahead of them that leaves an unobstructed path to converge on their quarry, Elrick takes it as he nudges his charger slightly to change directions, angling in on the Oriental breed. Slowly he closes in, only to see, much to his surprise, his cousin also catching up at incredible speed. Either something happened or Padrig his charger some sort of nitro boost. Elrick is not one to complain though, because the exotic breed is bracketed from both sides, leaving him to either try to speed up or slow down.

The two are riding hell-for-leather toward the horse, and Padrig has a moment of panic wondering if he's going to be able to pull the brakes on his clunker as they *whoosh* right over a small dip in the ground and continue to fly toward the fleeing creature. "Head him off! Get the rope ready!" he bellows to Elrick as he tugs on the reins in an attempt to slow his charger down. The gods are with him; the horse slows incrementally as they draw in closer toward the suspiciously faery-like mount and drive it, hopefully, right into Elrick's waiting lead.

Flanked by two men, the Oriental wants nothing to do with being caught or crushed. A piercing whinney blasts the air like a trumpet and it flags a moment, then bolts forward like it wants to get away. Now or never, the moment has come where they capture or lose their quarry for another couple hundred meters and pray their chargers can keep up before one of them breaks a leg in a rabbit hole.

One hand remains on the reins while the other, Elrick's dominant hand, reaches for the rope with the noose. Time to snare themselves a horse and he knows that the longer they wait, the more likely their chargers may snare themselves on some unforeseen obstacle with dire consequences. The moment the Oriental breed flags in preparation for a burst of speed, the attempt at capture is made.

The rest is now out of Padrig's hands, and he tugs hard and brings his charger about in an arc to let out a last burst of energy before he rids it into a standstill. The horse's sides heave from its frenzied run, but at least the Laverstock has managed to stop the animal before it risked being blown. He circles around again and turns to see if Elrick has succeeded in catching their prize.

Elrick checked his horsemanship of 15, he rolled 8.

That rope twirls around and stretches out over the void. A noose wraps around the horse and snatches its head, an awkward angle that forces the horses into a dangerous tandem pairing. Havok is tired and has to stretch out to catch up with the other horse, and their tortured run comes down to a slowed end when the Oriental has to pace itself to avoid a hideous end of strangulation on its proud neck. Sweat rolls down its flanks and it heaves for breath, same as the other horses, but the rope holds for all the Laverstocks struggle to keep the animal contained. They've their second prize: a stallion.

Even when the rope snags onto the horse's neck as intended, Elrick's task is not completed just yet as he has to control both his charger and the newly captive exotic, doing what he can to slow both creatures down. Luckily, both are tired from the chase, one that was fleeing and one in pursuit. When the Oriental breed slows and matches pace with Havok, relief ripples from the Laverstock Knight as he has both horses in a gentle trot, turning them about so he can return to Padrig with prize in hand, "Damn, these horses are quick. I've never seen such a breed before."

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