(514-08-17) Grand Theft Heifer
Summary: What happens when two Bodenhams decide to steal a god-cow.
Date: 514-08-17
Related: None
idris bran niclas mari 


Norgales isn't the civilized sort of place that Sarum is. The old Roman province still has roads and the occasional wooden bridge, but every Logres knight and peasant knows the hills of Wales are dark, dangerous, and full of ornery people who like their sheep a bit too much. They may well even have tails, the men and the women alike. But for the moment, on a sunny day, the unimportant and forgettable village of Greenstock - whatever that translates into in the gargling language of the Cambrians - is helplessly entrapped beyond the front lines of a skirmish with Belinan and Arthur, oddly placid. An easy ride leaves behind the sheep fold and the cattle pens, the orderly grain and the sorry little huts for a killing field. The sort of place that men from the Cameliard camp might reach on a patrol, particularly if they turned left rather than right at a ford in a fast flowing little creek in the dark wood, and someone left strings out to trip up horses. Thus, here is Greenstock, remembered by none in history except at tax time, as fat and placid a village as one could expect.

Few residents are about, and those who are constitute the young, the old, and the women folk. Anyone of fighting age has gone with the levy or hidden in the hills to raid their neighbours, it being that season. Standing in the middle of the green, however, is a tempting sight: a wicker cow. It's life size, if not slightly larger, strewn in flowers, leaves, and berries. Who knew Cambria had flowers? The thing even has a few colourful scraps of cloth tied to its horns. Funnily enough, there is a split in the cattle pens. Several red and white cows stand together, chewing cud or flopped on their knees, tails swishing at flies. One cow, though, sits apart in a much greener paddock of equal size. That one is a lustrous red-brown, practically shining in the sun.

Critical Success!
You check your intrigue at 13, you rolled 13.

Failed.
You check your awareness at 10, you rolled 17.
Failed.
You check your folklore at 2, you rolled 11.

Failed.
Bran checked his folklore of 2, he rolled 3.

Success
Bran checked his intrigue of 10, he rolled 2.

Why are they here? Idris is a little confused, but since he's one of the few to actually ride out with the Cameliard people on a patrol, or raid — he's not sure what this is anymore — there's an odd look to the villagers who are, ostensibly, much more primitive than he could ever dream to be. He runs a hand through his hair after removing his helmet for a brief moment, putting it back on and wheeling his horse around to try and find his brother. The expression in his face is, quite literally: 'What are we doing here?'

Eirian pages: Critical success: You have heard that Greenstock has an *incredible* cow, a majestic cow, that they pretty much treat like a ridiculous divine bovine. It would be funny if not for the fact that cow produces enough milk, in such abundance, that it supposedly gets its own line in the kingdom's general accounting. The cow is obviously not magical, according to gossip among the Knights, but it really is favoured by the court and *especially* the tax collectors. Reliable Moo!

Bran comes a-trotting up beside Idris just when his brother seems to be looking for him. He nods once and keeps quiet for a while as they head along through the welsh countryside, slowing as they encounter the village. "Probably some pagan nonsense. Who can understand these savages?" he murmurs quietly, keeping his words low and volume down as he scans their surroundings with a careful eye. "Maybe it's time for this to become much less of a peaceful, quiet scene don't you think?" a sidelong glance is offered in Idris' direction before he's one again scanning and eyeing the village. When he sees the paddock, he stares at the cows and their placid chewing. "What's that one about? King Cow?"

"Something about a cow they regard like a god . Something like that,," Idris replies, scowling in apparently displeasure, "one of the Cameliard knights actually explained to me, or tried to. I found myself more and more confused as to the significance of that creature the more they talked. I wonder if they realize that if someone wanted to steal it, it wouldn't take too much to find the right one." It seems he, like his brother, is quite displeased with the idyllic scenery they find themselves in, right now. "Indeed, maybe it's time this changes."
You paged Eirian with 'Are we in enemy or friendly territory?'

The villagers are peasants, labourers, not the sort of people who ever go to court. They instead celebrate a wicker cow and go about their tasks, which means gabbing at the well, scrubbing their hovels, and working hard weaving, mending, and patching. In short, it looks like a slightly crude Salisbury village. It's notable none of the men about are younger than ancient or older than children of ten, and thus present very little threat to a pair of riders. Though the appearance of the horses, if the pair have taken no pains to conceal themselves, sets a small ripple of action from one boy smacking a stick on a rug to peering goggle eyed instead. He doesn't know a Bodenham from the butt end of the Pope. "Huh." The kid just staaaaares.

"I admit I didn't think it was true. It sounds like withcraft." everything sounds like witchcraft to Bran some days. But it's clear the cow is valued and large and appears better than the rest of the herd. He listens to his brother then nods, "On the chance that our compatriots are correct and not simply addled or drunk, perhaps we should confiscate the animal. At the very least, we'll have a feast and rile up the bastards." he glances around again and returns the boy's stare. "Get back to work, boy!" he barks sharply at the kid, then remarks to Idris, "The only trouble it seems we'll have is having to return slowly back to camp but it's early still."

"Maybe we should do just that, then," Idris agrees, glancing around, and pointedly ignoring the boy staring at them. "Get lost," he barks out after a moment, nervous enough about being observed. The wicker cow earns a rather strange look from the Bodenham. "Really? This is what passes for an idol here?" He wonders incredulously, before pulling on his reins and getting ready to jump over some fences to get to the aforementioned brown-red heifer. "Let's go, brother, your idea is genius."

So here's the kicker. Bodenham boys, hilarious you might be, but the boy has no idea of what words are coming out of their mouths. He scrunches up his face, cocking his head. He sticks a grubby finger in his ear and twists back and forth, then asks a question right back. He whacks the rug half-heartedly; the hope of not having to clean it prevails.

Critical Fail!
You check your str at 12, you rolled 20.
Failed.
You check your horsemanship at 15, you rolled 19.
Success
Bran checked his str of 14, he rolled 1.
Success
Bran checked his horsemanship of 15, he rolled 10.

When the boy speaks back in some incomprehensible gibberish, Bran turns his his toward the kid in a clear attempt to intimidate him and maybe shut him up. He doesn't seem overly concerned, simply annoyed. "Leave the idol, who cares. Take the flesh and blood animal." so he begins trotting over in that direction, watching as Idris moves forward to make his triumphant prison break a reality. Except it doesn't go too well for Idris. Bran watches incredulously as the simple task of freeing some cows goes so poorly. "Really, brother?" he asks with a shake of his head, moving to finish the task. Bran opens the gate and waits for the cows and Idris to begin shuffling on out. "Get the one we want and let's get out of here. If you can manage it, that is." maybe he'll be amused later but he's not right now.

Oh, this is trouble. Idris tries to open the door, but his chain gets stuck on the fence, which does make said gate get open, though the cows remain exactly where they are. He is trying to pull on his sleeve as insistently as he can to avoid a tragic outcome of being caught trying to cause a stampede when Bran comes to the rescue. Of course, the cows slowly start to roam out and moo, and most of them brush against him on the way out. God, the sink. The Bodenham wrinkles his nose and tries to contain a sneeze that just comes outright before he manages to free his hand, pulls on the reins of his horse and starts to ride to where their true objective is. "Who knows, Bran, I might have gotten dumber since I got hurt by the Saxons. Healers didn't tell me I had a head injury, though," he quips in a bit of wry self-deprecation.

Wavy and unkempt is the hair on this main, brown and longer locks on top than the sides and back. His blue green eyes peer out from beneath curls of that hair. Chin comes to a soft rounded point under his narrow nose. Scruffy face, light below his cheeks, but thick under nose and on his chin. Its hard to tell if he's trying for this or if its simply the best his hair will grow there. Eyebrows are borderline thick as well, suggesting the face hair could fill in much more given the chance.
He wears clothes for travel, the coat of arms of Horton displayed most times. A belt at his hip.

Freeing some cows ending up with Idris trapped in the gate is, admittedly, only fair. Greenstock is a village blessed by a stupendous heifer, a glorious gift from God and all his saints. St. Elizabeth, no doubt, smiles on the fine brown heifer. When the two knights trot in on their big horses, however, the alarm comes from children and those few souls out. The boy isn't quite running away like mad, but he shouts something that raises an alarm of kinds. Heads poke out, the conversation at the well stops. Neither man needs to know Cambrian to understand 'Hey, that's our cow.' The tone carries the proof of dismay.
The red and white heifers are very slow to follow the prodding, almost as though they might happen to refute Bran's authority. The bovine mosey is not very fast, and they are not even building up to speed. Instead they mill around in front of Idris, squashing him for a while. The horse can't be pleased, navigating through a wall of milk sacks on legs. One stops in front of him as he tries to ride away and gives a friendly low. "Moo."
The brown heifer, glorious as she is, eats her grass and looks totally concerned. Typical App 17 cow.

Failed.
Niclas checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 15.
Failed.
Niclas checked his folklore of 2, he rolled 15.
Success
Mari checked her awareness of 12, she rolled 11.
Failed.
Mari checked her folklore of 2, she rolled 4.

Having been behind near the battle of Norgales, Niclas was on garrison before, helped in the retreat and thus, being fresh from said battle, he is one of the ones pulling extra duty to patrol when camping and regrouping. He'd pulled a straw, is on patrol with Sir Mari. They'd gone away all serious, it was a serious business. But now, they're off and away. "So, are we going to be all swords out here, serious … or do I get a smile." He looks towards Mari, a grin on his own face. "I have to admit, I'm hoping for the latter, a smile. Cause way better than finding somee Powys Knights wandering about." Though he reaches to pat his sword. He is in arms and armor as befitting someone on patrol on a war campaign.
Mari
Slightly above average in height, reaching approximately 5'2" with brown hair kept back in braids then left to tumble free to frame her youthful features. Aquamarine eyes hold intelligence and survey the world with a wary look.
Wearing either chain mail, reinforced chain or hard leather. Pants, boots, tunic, shield, she carries all the trappings of her station as a knight.

Riding along, Mari had been mostly silent except for the part where she wasn't. Her squire was animated, talkative, exuberant, outgoing, and Mari has to call her down more often than not. Hearing Niclas, she tilts her head, looking in his direction, wearing the same serious expression. "Uh, a smile?" She gives him a forced smile that does absolutely nothing for her average looks. "There," she gives a suspicious look, "Why a smile anyway?"

"Perhaps you weren't so smart to begin with." now Bran is joshing with his brother as the latter attempts to get the damn cow. He's idly kicking at the ones passing by and keeping an eye on the villagers on the off chance any of them come to get physical with their sacred heifer. "We should be gone by now. There's no need to stay longer than we need to. Let's go, Idris. Before this peasants decide they might want to try their luck. We have better things to do." yeah, like steal a single cow!

Success
Eirian makes a check for Cow Siz at 18, she rolled 8.
Failed.
Bran checked his size of , he rolled 15.
Success
Bran checked his siz of 16, he rolled 10.
Failed.
Niclas checked his heraldry of 3, he rolled 4.
Success
You check your siz at 15, you rolled 9.
Eirian rolls 1d20 and gets (6) for a total of: (6)

Four red and white cows happily stream over the green, starting to graze out there as long as the Bodenham men aren't interfering with them. They are placid creatures who enjoy eating their food, but several of the villagers come out snapping their cloths and towels to shoo the bovines back towards the paddock or the field. None are succeeding so well as that boy who beat a rug with a stick, snapping his stick against his side. Two of the heifers go to stand near the tall wicker cow strewn in flowers and other offerings. They moo happily in front of their votive offering.

Meanwhile, the overly pampered brown heifer in her separate paddock is reluctant to be nudged along by the Bodenhams. How rude those knights are, and she barely ambles forward a few steps before releasing a cloud of methane to express her displeasure. The bovine's heavy udders sway under her, proof of her milking excellence.
Eirian pages Idris and Bran: Oh God, the cow smell. x.x

Alright! Idris and Bran manage to pry open the paddock's door, with the younger Bodenham grumbling something under his breath before he starts to snap the reins of his horse in the general direction of the cow in an attempt to startle her. Then, with some help by Bran, he starts pulling the cow out, reaching for his traveler's bag for a length of rope they can likely wrap around the cow's neck carefully and guide her well away from her captivity. "Now let's get the hell out of here, seems like we attracted unwelcome attention." The cloud of methane by the cow has him holding his breath, looking rather unhappy at his brother for a moment. 'Why did we do thi'?'

Unaware of the location, or the situation, it would seem Niclas is forgetting the patrol all together. "What? Yes, of course a smile." Forced smile noted. "A real one!" He eye rolls. Looking around at the trees, hoping for a a fruit tree maybe, some food would be nice about now. Makes patrols better. "I mean, I could start with compliments or something. All true, if they come from me, its always the truth on how pretty you might be." He turns back towards her, "And very true. I think I spent too much time away from Woodborough."
Once Sir Mari spots the small area with the two knights on horseback raiding for cattle, he turns to look. Squinint a little and moving to a tree, pulling at her arm. "Hey, I'm sure they're scouts from Powys. Do we report back, or is it up to us to deal with this situation?" All said on the quiet of course, trying to be sneaky and out of sight for the moment. The situation did get that serious with the enemy so close to the camp like this.

Deepest darkest Cambria has no fruit trees, only spooky trees that have gaunt branches that want to dig into the souls of good Cymric men and women. Evil, miserable trees.
Failed.
Niclas checked his flirting of 10, he rolled 14.

It's with a roll of her eyes that Mari looks away and notices the little village, the men on the horses seeming to rouse the cattle. Brows lift, was it another raid? What was going on? Niclas' words bring a look back to him, "You're such a flirt," she groans, but she just motions towards the cows and the pens, "Let's deal with the situation, it doesn't seem like something to report back if we can handle it." She peers at the others, all suspicious like.
Success
Mari checked her suspicious of 16, she rolled 11.
The cow is being driven or dragged along, and balking somewhat at the rope around her neck. The other red and white cows mill around except for the two guided over by the wicker bovine. The efforts to get out of the village are slow, and not easy when the villagers — almost all women, elderly men, or children — crying out in dismay that someone would dare run off with their prized livestock. But against two knights, what can they do? Cry, implore, throw a shoe?

Well, if there's any pleading, and begging, and crying, Idris will have none of it. But he looks to Bran, his older brother, for the final and ultimately moral authority on these matters. He's a man with very simple wants and needs. Maybe if there was a particularly attractive maiden in the crowd, he'd consider about making a trade about the heifer. That's how these things work, right? A woman for the magical cow-deity.

Eirian rolls 1d20 and gets (19) for a total of: (19)
Success
You check your awareness at 10, you rolled 9.

Idris rolls 3d6+2 and gets (6 1 5) for a total of: (14)

"Only for a pretty girl, not like I flirt with everyone." Or maybe he does, who knows. Niclas is quiet, listening to her and her suspicions. With a nod, he moves to take his mount towards the other mounted knights, "Cover me." He says to someone who most likely doesn't have a bow at all. Then he lifts his voice. "Halt. You've no business here. I shall claim you as prisoners of Salisbury, under the banners of Sir Edryd, Marshall of Cameliard. You will desist this business at once and come with us to our camp, not two leagues from here." He's sure he's right, he doesn't recognize these two at all.

Mari notices them and as Niclas points out that they could be the other, raiders, taking the cattle. Bad, bad news. The suspicion remains and she glares at Niclas for the comment, but there are more important things at stake. Wait, "Cover you?" She kicks her horse into gear, drawing a weapon, backing him up since they are moving in. Yeah… she doesn't recognize anyone either and she puts on a fierce look.. as fierce a look as she can manage with her youthful features.

"We are in Powys," Idris replies, his hand drifting to his sword while he looks at the two. He can't possibly take on /two/ knights for very long, but damned if he wouldn't try if he has to. He espies a pretty girl on the crowd, though, flashing her a smile— then looks at the cow in tow. Tough considerations in mind. "I am Sir Idris de Bodenham, of the mighty house Bodenham in Salisbury. Perhaps you ought not to try and fight me but with me, yes?"

Critical Success!
Eirian makes a check for Cow Str at 15, she rolled 15.

Success
You make a check for Charger Strength at 30, you rolled 17.

The statement is impressive as the Brown Heifer starts moving along, ambling because, well, she was already directed to go. At least she does not stick her nose up in the air, but she keeps heading down the path. Once in motion, she stays in motion, a principle of ambling along and dragging Idris quite suddenly with her. Or rather, his horse considering the rope is attached to that poor warhorse, and now the two are condemned to make their run for freedom, to be united in some awful story about lovers in a dangerous time.

A slight look and nod to Mari, a nod, yes cover him. This is serious business. THough really he does take it serious. His hand moving for his sword as the demand to halt is given. A pause at the name, a thought over that. "Ah, Bodenham, yes, off to the south." He nods his head, relaxing some. "We're in luck then, Sir Niclas de Horton, in Salisbury. Under Lord Knight Hywn de Up Avon." He nods back to Mari, then spurs towards Idris, "A hand, what are we about, food for tonight?" Cows, his thoughts are on his stomach given this situation now.

Mari certainly has his back, or his side, either way she does draw her sword and faces the Bodenham. When the introduction is made, the suspicion doesn't falter even an inch, doubting he may not be who he says he is. "Who is your head of your house, Sir de Bodenham?" The words come out more clipped than she had intended, but reasons! The cows are the least of her worries, she's more concerned with finding out if the man is really who he says he is.

It seems that the cow and the Bodenham's horse are in a contest of strengths. The horse snorts and whines when the cow starts pushing away, but the charger digs in and keeps the damned heifer from trying to push back.
Idris looks inconvenienced for a moment by this, looking over his shoulder to the cow as he helps by tugging on the rope, while still keeping a look at the pretty lass he had just seen. "Do you mind if I trade this one for a girl, Bran?" He wonders, knowing what his brother's answer will be, of course.
To the other knights, he offers a nod, despite the slight expression of discomfort he makes when he tries to make an effort. "Nice to meet you, Sir Niclas, other Sir. And my head of household," he points over to his brother, Bran, "is right there."

Success
Eirian makes a check for Cow Str at 30, she rolled 8.

Success
You make a check for Charger Strength at 30, you rolled 15.

The villagers are dismayed and angry. Bran isn't entirely cruel so he pulls his knife from his belt and flings it toward the ground. An offering, right? Fair trade! Nice sharp knife and Bran can totally get more. "Let's go, brother." he speaks in a murmur and then turns in time to see the two others approaching. The Bodenham knight seems affronted by the idea that they would be taken prisoner, but Idris has handled the introductions. Bran spurs on his horse and trots up to the trio, "Only one lovely lady is coming with us, brother. Let's go before the peasants try anything stupid, yes? You can find a prettier and nobler girl back in Salisbury. Well met, knights," he begins, turnign his attention to Niclas and Mari, "but we should be going with this ridiculous cow with its endless milk. I would have rather run into a war band, I should think."

Sorry, Bran, but a cow isn't worth a knife. Especially a cow with her own statue. The bovine in question is rapidly moving on, straining against the rope as an animal will, refusing to be restrained. Clearly that is a problem to be rectified by leaning even /harder/.
A mournful cry rises from one of the girls, and then finds an echo in another of the women. One of the elderly men joins in, and then it's a cacophony rolling from the adults to the older children in an eerie ululation that makes the animals uneasy. Men, possibly, too for the intonations are so at odd with Christian hymns. It's the kind of song that can cool enthusiasm and put a weird knot in the belly.

Seeming to be in a good mood now, the situation of scouts passed, Niclas considers their words. More Sir Mari's for the moment, head of house, good question indeed. Not sure if he knows exactly who is head of house of Bodenham off the top of his head though. Seem legit just the same. Going in front of her most likely, Niclas will move to help with the cow. A slight frown at endless milk, as he'd been hoping for lots of beef immediately probably. "Ah yes, milk …. we've not seen any warbands as of yet." With the lament of the cattle, he'll move quicker to help Idris at least.
GAME: Save complete.

"Doom upon you!" shouts one of the villagers in bad but passable Cymric. Have a horrible day! That's just what one needs.

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