(514-09-03) One Night in Dorset - A Hard Man Humbled
Summary: After rescuing Young Ed, Elrick has some questions…
Date: IC Date
Related: One Night in Dorset - Prelude, Little Flesh, Little History
elrick 

NPC played by

eirian 


When the men come back at the depths of night into the camp, Salisbury's men have largely taken to their tents and every approach is met by a challenge from armed sentries more than a little twitchy about defense given the failings of the last few days and weeks. The mood and morale are not spectacular this far to the south. "Young" confesses himself to be Young Edwyn de Broad, otherwise called Ed to distinguish himself from his father, the Great Edwyn. The man is vanishing exhausted by their arrival, having no doubt spent more of the day and night forcing a heavy wagon through the Overcountry Track.

He follows about Elrick like something of a wolfhound expecting to be beaten as a traitor, though nothing like Rhodri de Chalbury, aka Stills, his hostage. Rhodri stays silent and grim the whole way, and the trip probably involved a lot of accusatory glaring at the archer - for good reason.

With the proper countersigns given to the sentries so the returning party are not pin-cushioned with arrows, Elrick allows the other knights of his party to take the wagon to the quartermaster where the items can be catalogued and recorded, as well as the surplus of cheese which the men may be pleased with. The prisoners they take will also be processed and secured where prisoners are taken, the glares by Rhodri de Chalbury are ignored as the man is no longer a concern unless ransom is being paid.

As for "Young", Elrick leads him away himself to another part of the camp. First stop though is to see if there are some left over hot meal, a stew perhaps and some bred. If so, he will have his 'captive' take a tray as well, noting how weary the other man is. Then the Laverstock would lead Edwyn the younger to his tent, he is not being treated as a Dorset captive but someone who is returning home. "Edwyn, you will be returning home to Broad, though not before Lord Rheinallt is rescued from Dorset clutches. I've been told you know where he is being held captive though, and I need to know." The conversation begins in the privacy of Elrick's tent.

Young Ed almost thrills to the sight of other Salisbury men, though he doesn't show it. Not fully until they are away from the sentries, and deep enough in the camp he can be sure no one will slap him in stocks or chains. Bread or beer is accepted with thanks, even as the man's colour returns by the minute. There is simply something about being on one's own side. He pinches his grimy tunic sleeve. "I can hardly believe I'm 'ere." He has the decency to swallow before speaking, tearing into the bread with zest otherwise. "Don't know the hows and whys, but good enough to be out. Don answered me, for certain."

He squints at the question, flipping a crumb-stained hand through his hair now that his archer's cap is off. "Fark and nails, you're for Rheinallt? Err, right. The lord's coolin' himself in some old house on Dorset land. Why've I ta' do wi' it? He ain't going nowhere. Woulda run no doubt if he could bu' no fool's gonna fall for taking eyes off 'im. In his place I'd be running too."

It appears that providing Edwyn with a warmer reception was the correct choice as he sees life returning to the main. Elrick can only imagine the toll on the other man who was forced to fight against his own people, who his true loyalties lie. "You can thank Mother Don and also your family. Though it is because of the situation your family has been placed in that the assistance of knights were sought out."

When the de Broad begins speaking of his lord though, the Laverstock listens and nods his head, "I am for Salisbury, and I know the de Broads would be too if they were not shackled as they are now by Dorset. As you say, he cannot run because he is being watched, but if we can free him and bring him home, think of how he would feel. To be freed of the chains that bind you, not only Lord Reinallt but your family as well, would be able to fight for the side where your true loyalties lie."

"Curse bein' on the border an' all. You know the gits cross the river ain't so bad, bu' they call us up an' we go." The lament of every Cymric man is voiced by Young Ed, who smooths his mustache and tries to make less of a mess downing a decent meal. "He ain't half bad, Rheinallt. Ain't ever gonna ha' a square meal wi' me, but don't mean I think bad 'bout it. He's caged up somethin' fierce, probably wonderin' if they mean ta take him out or such. Ain't right."

He chews on the bread and the cheese with gusto, finally unwinding a little. "A few o' us out there bein' pressed ta fight like 'is. Knights are the worst o' the lot, running us like they 'spect we'll leave. Damn right, ain't from Dorset. Pissants, the lot o' 'em. So yer gonna ask me t' be a guide, yeah?" So much for leaving that open. "Or am I stayin' 'ere til it's all settled up? Won't be mad a' that. All tha' ends well."

That lament is understood by Elrick as well, as he knows that they all move at the whim of the higher lords of the land. But he doesn't voice his opinion, as it would do the Earl a disservice if his knights speak of such. When more details are shared, the Laverstock knows the mission won't be easy, as the lord is being heavily guarded, which isn't a surprise.

As for whether Edwyn will be coming with them or not, he doesn't exactly order it, preferring to convince the man that conscript him, "The choice would be yours, Edwyn. However, the sooner we rescue Lord Rheinallt, the sooner you all get to go home. I am sure you have friends who are under the boot heels of those Dorset. With your help, we would reach our destination faster instead of sending a party with a map bumbling about. I will also put a word in with Rheinallt of not only your assistance with his rescue but with the liberation of the materiel tonight."

"What use is a map? Got patrols and sentries same as 'ere." Young Ed shakes his head roughly. "You go off a road an' then what, you nae know where you got to. No use. Maps is nice for some things bu' gotta walk t' know where you go." And there he just set himself up to be a guide and he seems to realize it, that he stepped into another marshy walk and not a nice time in bed. His face practically demonstrates the knowledge like the page of a manuscript.

"Thrice cursed Dorset, ye never gonna let me go. I suppose that's tha'. You give me time t' sleep or is it now?" Since that's the only question left.

Shaking his head, Elrick answers the man's question, "Rest up, you look like you could use it. What use is a guide if he can't stay awake enough to show us the way? Finish your meal and get some sleep, I will go find you a bow, arrows, and a dagger if you need it. If the fighting starts, you get behind us and just feather them with arrows."

But the Laverstock is not done with talking though, only saying enough to alleviate Edwyn of his concerns since he basically volunteered his own services. "We need a plan though, as I do not feel like taking on an entire war camp. Do you know the number of sentries they post? I will also need to know what the Dorset camp layout is and where they are keeping Rheinallt, and how many guards."

Young Ed has the task of finishing up the last of the breadcrumbs, not knowing when his next meal will come. He listens to the Laverstock, fighting off a wave of fatigue, and then scratches his head. "You go' any kinda bread left? No' meaning tae eat, bu' show you what I mean."

He clears off his wooden tray and smacks down a piece of cheese, then points at it."They got Rheinallt at a house. No' so fancy type bu' they use it for some kinda gathering. We go t' the barns an' load up, then ride out." If there's bread, he uses a torn strip to represent another building a bit of a distance away. If not, the barn is a patch tugged from his belt. "So we go 'ere t' load up. Lotta guards there, supplies an' all. The nobles an' such go here t' th' house. All around's a mess, used t' be fields bu' now it's just muck. Horses an' tents and all when they got t' leave early. Rest's forest. Then the roads come in, o'er the downs, and there's one like here tha' hooked up wi' the track. You got it? It's all open 'round and they watch more in day than night, bu' at night there's the men."

At the request for leftover bread, Elrick moves near his bedroll and find one more uneaten roll tucked off to the side, offering it for Young Edwyn to use if he needs. When the layout of what is either a farmstead or manor is taking shape, the Laverstock focuses on the makeship schematics. As the information begins to filter in, one can easily see the knight's eyes focus on the layout as well as plans that may be brewing in his mind.

"So the barn is heavily guarded due to supplies being inside… and the house is what the nobles use, no doubt a more comfortable spot to rest than on hard ground." Looking over the crudely constructed map. "How far from the forest to the barn and to the house?" Since the area is open all around, they will have to close the distance without cover. The safest choice would be the shortest length from cover to house and Elrick is hoping they could use the forest for that. "I might have to ask for the assistance for a few more archers… for a small group of knights to assault this directly would be suicide."

In his mind, he is thinking of ways to come up with a distraction, perhaps a arrow lit aflame to be shot at the barn, to start a fire. While the guards are putting that out and looking for the culprit, maybe the horses could be released from their tethers and sent running scared. That would also cause a further distraction, as well as prevent any riders chasing them until they have the horses under control. Anything that will allow a group of knights to slip towards the house unnoticed.

The layout is typical for an average farm, with a house towards the middle and the barn lying out at a distance. Young Edwyn chews on his inner lip, and then tears a few pieces of bread off. "They got some kind o' coop or somethin' o'er here, like so. Never really noticed much. Then the roads come like this." He tears off two strips of crust to simulate the paths, one leading in towards the house structure and another that meanders away from the barn. A few more additions are made, the longest strips of bread placed back to back to create a bit of a fringe around the property.

"Huh. Fields 'round the house, so they get inna way if you run outta the forest. It's like a big hole, house an' barn in the middle, cut like so by them paths. You're not gonna get no trees up t' a roof, I tell you that, but the fields are flat as mud out 'ere." Again he chews while he thinks, and the archer says, "Within bowshot, definitely. Now you do an all-out run, here to there," he draws a line where the forest cuts in a little closer, "an' you'll get to the barn faster bu' nae the house."

The ugly drawing:

"Depending on what forces I can gather to assist me…" Elrick says as he continues to study the map according to Young Edwyn's description, he points to the southern part of the 'map', "I will have the knights and myself, and you, positioned at the southern edge. If I can, will see about getting a detachment of archers up north of the barn where they can fire off some lit arrows to possibly see about causing a distraction by fire." Then he narrows his slightly as he studies the crude creation a bit more, "Where are the horses being tethered and the Dorset camped out? Is it by the coop?"

"They go wherever they want in the fields. All of it's ruined, ye see, makes nae difference. Dunno who owns the house bu' they ain't really arguin' now. Maybe they get spoils if'n they ha' all these people." Edwyn de Broad strokes his jaw and scratches at a patch, yawning pretty hard. "Nae around the south part o' the barn, though. They'd only get in the way. That route there, the south one, it goes straight tae Dorset and they wanna be in and out quicker than a man in a French who….oooo…" He chomps his mouth closed. "More like 'round tha coop. Outta the way. Some over 'ere by the west side I think but I'm nae sure. It's there for where they let Rheinallt walk 'round sometimes."

That news causes Elrick to look up sharply, "Wait, where they want in the field? So the horses aren't tied down?" If that is true, then it is horrible camp discipline, which means a few fire arrows in the directions of the horses will spook them as well. It can be an easy hit and run for the distraction group where they fire off a few arrows and then ride off. The plan is beginning to take shape in the Laverstock's mind. "How many lords and knights did you see coming in and out of the house?" The other possibility is to capture the whole encampment if they are able to secure the lords as hostages before the soldiers realize what is happening, but that is definitely a riskier play.

He's asking an archer. Whatever is suggested goes right over Edwyn's head. He's a footman as an archer, and a horse is a luxury he does not get unless somehow he starts earning an awful lot of money. "Well you can' bloody stick them in a barn that's occupied, can ye? They stay picketed there in the field by the coop fo' a time when we're loadin' and unloadin', all watched by the squires methinks. Can't stick 'em in a coop either, it's only about wee high." He suggests around waist height, maybe a bit higher than that, gesturing with his hand. "Number's not the same. All based on need, sometimes it's five o' six when I was there. Important meetin', tha' had a whole lot more people bu' I don' know much about how many. Usual like it's three or four guards onna house an' two to three onna barn? More if they camp? Now if there's nae camp it's the same roughlike and maybe patrol, but no horses or tents or such."

The numbers varying in the camp is definitely a variable that Elrick does not like, "Is there any location near this farm where we can build a small camp ourselves? I am thinking of observing the Dorsets for a few days and strike when most of their men are gone." As for more men guarding the house than the barn, well, perhaps the distraction will draw them away. But if they are able to catch them while they are rotating men out, they may be able to take the whole thing. "Thank you Edwyn, I will think on this. If there is anything more to tell me, now's the time. Otherwise get some more food if you're hungry and sleep, I will have to talk to the commander to see if I can requisition some men for this."

"Well, the forest would be it, though it's plenty patrolled fo' Salisbury men," Young Ed says slowly, thinking it over. "There be some houses 'long the way, I'm nae sure much if there's any occupants left. They may've fled or you roost 'em out. Farmers don't care ta fight, but I can think o' a few places in range. More o' a walk if you prefer bu' nae up against the barn there. More this way." He points to the east, tapping the forest. "North's got fightin' wi' us, an' the Camelot Wood. None be likin' tha' very much."

There is a slight nod as Elrick looks back down at the created map, still thinking the possible plans over. They won't be going out tonight, he will have to make the requests and find the men, then get some rest himself, but his mind will be working until he falls asleep. "Thank you Edwyn, get some more food if you want and rest up, we may depart as early as tomorrow." He may have his people camp out by the southwest, since the north is the front and chances are, Dorset will be patrolling the northern section of this encampment and the east leads more towards Dorset, where the archer just informed him they have more that way too.

"I'll be ou' havin' a nap. You just shake me 'wake when you need me t' do my thing," says Edwyn, saluting a bit half-heartedly by smacking his chest. He is dead awake by this point, the food and prospect of actual sleep rapidly undermining his ability to keep his eyelids open. "Honest man and we do what we may, yeah? Don keep ye safe an' whole." With that, he waits leave to be allowed to go faceplant.

The salute is returned to Edwyn and with a nod, Elrick dismisses the man so he may either sleep or get more food as he chooses. The Laverstock's attention would return to the food map on the table, studying it further. One does not run blindly into an important mission waving their swords.

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