(514-10-31) The Stapleford Caspall-Uisce
Summary: After a few deaths in Stapleford, Sir Claire calls in some assistance.
Date: October 31, 514
Related: None
claire drustan erylys annora 


morag gareth 

All Hallows Eve, 514.

While the harvest season is slowly coming to a close, the dire warnings from Stonehenge are just starting to come out about the coming winter. To the south, armies are gathering at the Dorset and Salisbury border, preparing to go to war. Families are doing without their husbands and sons, men and women alike called to service.

However, it is also the end of the foaling season in Stapleford, and there's a problem. During the last few weeks, several herds have been driven into stampede, young foals crushed under the hooves of other horses. There have also been a few disappearances, men that have gone to the men to tend to the horses have not come back.

Because of this, a few of the pagan commoners have sent word to the Manor that they need assistance, as well as to the Pagan temple that their lands require blessing and that the demon that is wreaking such havoc must be blessed away or hunted down.

Gareth makes a check for Annora FaeLore at 15, he rolled 6.

Stapleford is still under the tentative leadership of a woman. A newly married Sir Claire is trying to lead her house towards Winter months and having just become newly married, things looked like they might be put to the test. But with the armies gathering, Robert sent word to keep Stapleford ready to move. With most of the manor trained to fight, they are something of a commoner militia that is not afraid of death. That's a powerful force to reckon with should anyone try to come south nearby. But when things start going wrong, its up to her and her husband. Word has been sent and help requested. Burcombe was her first thought and seeing who they sent was a surprise. Claire has been awaiting their investigation since arrival, telling all of her people to cooperate fully and answer all questions. The Knight has kept her armor near, as well as her blade, even now as she waits by the large oak in the center of the manor's land watching the land to the north.

With the news that travels down to Sarum, a huntsman is dispatched, one that can make the trip without issue. Erylys will arrive to the manor on the back of a horse, though a kennel boy drives a small wagon in which several dogs are riding, each one's leash tied to a bar. Extra weapons are found within as well. Not knowing exactly what might be causing the trouble, Erylys came prepared for just about anything.

It hasn't been an easy time for Drustan. The man was still recovering from one of his worse wounds during the wedding and thus, with most forces sent south… The decision was made thast he could — should — remain. Still healing, newly married, and his wife having to take the reins to lead the household. It was a proper fit, even if it left him feeling a twinge of 'useless.' The problem was, yes, very much a problem. For Drustan, however, it presented at least an opportunity. The man is waiting alongside is new wife; already in his armor. Nearby his squire waits, holding the reins to their horses. If men are disappearing without word, something is awry and one must remain prepared. With the sound of the wagon coming up the road, the Falt looks in that direction. "I am glad there are souls to spare to assist in these problems," he notes quietly to Claire.

Annora arrived two days ago after having received word from the commoners of Stapleford. She brought a few acolytes with her to assist, and with them to investigate the scenes where the stampedes may have occurred and the testimony of the cmmoners, the new high priestess of Danu has come to a possibly unusual conclusion; until the call for a huntsman has answered, she has ordered all beasts and men to stay away from the local bodies of water save wells, and even those she has insisted should be manned with caution. She has not revealed to the general population as to why, but Claire as the head of house and whichever commoner has taken the lead on behalf of the people are quietly informed that she believes that this may be a problem of faerie.

With Annora informing Claire and Drustan and Erylys, out in the nearby pasture, a group of stallion and mare are being kept under watchful keen of the local gentry. The new foals have been seperated from the herd since it seems those are the ones being targetted, but it has made many of the horses nervous. They gallop and feed, while making their rounds.

Claire checked her Awareness of 12, she rolled 14.
Gareth makes a check for Annora Awareness at 10, he rolled 3.
Erylys checked her awareness of 10, she rolled 5.
Erylys checked her awareness of 10, she rolled 5.
Drustan checked his Awareness of 10, he rolled 17.

Erylyss slips from her own horse's back, nodding her head to the gathered group with a respectful air about her, "I am Lady Erylys Berwick St. James, Earl's huntsman. I was sent here to see if I could lend a hand in any way?" She turns, listening to Annora speaks, brows soon to furrow slightly at the high priestess' comment, "That is not good.."

Immediately does her gaze turn towards the restless horses, eyes to sweep over the creatures before coming back to rest upon one specific one, a brow raised upwards slightly. "Well.. well.." Intriguing.

"Agreed. With Dorset pushing belligerence to the south we should pray thanks that we have at least these resources available. This will require a trip to Burcombe in return." Claire gestures for her Squire to bring her armor as she notes the Huntsman arriving. The chest plate and arms go first, leaving her distracted as the girl of about 15 goes about getting her Knight ready. There are only a few glances outward as she prepares herself. "Faerie. This cannot be good. I never put much belief into it but the commoners and now Priestess Annora. This will be impossible to argue." Gotta face it now, whatever it is. Looking back to Erylys, she nods. "Sir Claire de Stapleford. This is my husband Sir Drustant de Falt. I am hoping to avoid trouble with fae but trouble is trouble and must be addressed." She then double-takes out towards the horses, but seems to see nothing.

Over his leather and chain, Drustan wears a dark grey coat that bears a whie raven upon the breast. The man has kept the heraldry of his family name through his Knighthood, though he retains the more muted hues. Silver is a rarity and saved for courtly presentation… if then. The man has not yet put on his helm, but his squire has it on hand. There is a slow exhalation at Claire's words, but he tilts his head to Erylys as introductions and greeting are offered. "Thank you for coming, Lady Erylys." He seems a touch more skeptical in regards to it being a fae influence, but nothing is spoken aloud in regards to that. He largely keeps features that are not quite smoothed, but schooled… if his lips twist downward from time to time. But can one blame him? So recently wed in and already there is trouble afoot.

"No, it is not." Annora agrees, eyeing the mare. "Huntsman, before you make approach, I think it would be wise if I place a blessing upon you and your weapons. The faerie are not keen on that which has been sanctified." The priestess turns a diplomatic smile toward the head of Stapleford. "I understand that it is difficult to believe in that which you have never witnessed, Sir Stapleford, but if you think upon it, we never see the air we breathe, save when it moves the world around us. Faerie is oft the same way. I might extend a blessing over the herd as well, with your permission."

Critical Fail!
Drustan checked his Selfish of 10, he rolled 20.
Gareth makes a check for Capail-Uisce Enchant at 15, he rolled 13.

While Annora and Erylys discuss plans and enchantments, the horse they noticed earlier makes a move. Moving towards the front of the herd, the other horses follow after it, it's beauty and grace unparalleled amongst the horses, as it meets Dustan's eyes. There is a pull on the knight's heart - not a terrible one. But he wants to take this paticular mare for a ride.

Claire finishes having her armor strapped on. If there is to be trouble on her lands, she's not going to stand off to the side. But she -is- listening. Fae don't like sanctified things? Interesting. The swordbelt is put on and she seems ready, taking the helm from her squire and holding it under her arm. Looking to the priestess, Claire shakes her head. "You misunderstand. Apologies, as it were my mistake. Our family has some very pagan beliefs rolled into Christianity. We keep an open mind to others. My personal beliefs do not change truthes. Truth is what it is. If you see advantage to blessing, please do. Even upon myself." She then looks back towards the herd.

Erylys nods to Annora, "Please, would you?" Any blessing the High Priestess will offer is readily accepted by the pagan huntress. As the beautiful mare begins to edge the other horses forwards, she murmurs, "Might wish to make them fast, however. She has the herd starting to move." Which in her mind, is not a good thing, if they're heading for the water or away from where they might be protected easier.

As the Priestess discusses blessings with Claire, Drustan is watching the herd. Where before he noticed nothing amiss, the man seems to be watching the mare that is leading the others rather intently. After a moment, he just sort of… begins walking in that direction. It's Cai, his squire, who notices first. The lad takes a few steps forward with their own horses in tow: "Sir?"

Annora is already gesturing to one of her acolytes, who povides her with a small vial. Uncorking it, she lets some of the green liquid within spill onto her fingers, and as swiftly as she might, calls upon the Mother of All to bless Erylys. While doing so, the liquid is gently bushed against the woman's eyelids. Turning toward the herd, she espies Drustan moving forward. "He's charmed," she says sharply, "Sir Claire, have your husband held fast. Lady Erylys, swiftly, now."

Annora is completely correct - the young man is enchanted. The mare moves towards him, however as the others start to respond - she moves back again, the mare suspicious - especially of the women as she snorts and beckons towards Drustan to try to get him to seperate from the others. It's such a lovely day for a ride, isn't it?

Critical Fail!
Gareth makes a check for Annora FaeLore at 15, he rolled 20.

Claire watches everything as it starts to unfold quickly. Her eyes flick to her new husband as he steps away. She frowns. It's Annora's voice that brings her back. "Charmed? I-" You know what? She's just not going to question it this time. People are vanishing and now there's a horse flirting with her husband. "Cai. Ellee. Secure Sir Drustan with me. Put him on the ground if he will not listen." Annnd Claire is moving to grab him by the armor and hold him back. "Husband!" she says sharply to get his attention.

Erylys wastes no time, her bow slung from her shoulder and an arrow notched and let fly without hesitation on the part of the huntress. With Drustan under the creature's charm already, now is the time to shoot and ask further questions later. "Be gone with you from this land. You are not wanted here.." Steps forwards are taken, and even as one arrow flies, she is reaching for another as she hurries towards her own mare to mount in case the fae mare begins to gallop.

Erylys checked her bow of 10, she rolled 9.
Drustan checked his Selfish of 10, he rolled 17. (+8 Modifier - Succeeded)

The Falt Knight continues to move forward. Perhaps a bit more quickly… until Claire has grabbed at his armor. It's when the arrow lets fly from Erylys' bow that Drustan's eyes start to clear. Somewhat. Just a little. He blinks a few times and starts to speak, but instead tries to pull from Claire's grip. One arm is quickly wrenched away from Ellee. "Should we not be focusing on the- the-" he has no word for it. "Whatever it is? Leave me be!" Wounded pride or perhaps he's unaware of just how far 'gone' he was for a moment.

At this point, Annora's called for the Huntress to move forward, but then there's Drustan to deal with, and so she hurries over with the vial of green liquid held tightly. "Sir Claire, I might be able to release him if you'll permit me." Yes, annointing Christian knights, there's a great idea.

Gareth makes a check for Kelpie Avoidance at 15, he rolled 13.
Gareth makes a check for Horse Avoidance at 10, he rolled 3.
Erylys checked her faerielore of 10, she rolled 19.

Annora's order and Erylys firing on the kelpie may not have been the greatest idea in the world. As the arrow flies, the mare dodges aside gracefully, and the other horses scatter slightly, almost hit by the arrow as it hits into the ground. The herd keeps close to the strange mare, making her a more difficult topic as she runs away from the crowd and then trots back, looking at the small group to determine her next move.

Claire watches as Ellee is wrenched from and she gestures for him to be held once more. The wife moves in front of him, putting herself between him and the horse. "Eyes to ME!" she commands of him. "Knight to Knight, you will stop your forward movement or we will set you upon the knoll, Sir Drustan." She glances back to the horse, then to him. "Please, Sir Drustan, husband, stay yourself from action. Let the Huntress work." A quick glance to Annora and she shakes her head. "Not yet. Please. Give us a few more moments unless he says to do-so."

With Claire before him and the herd moving in around the mare, Drustan is better able to focus. There's a clearing of his eyes, bringing the slate blues into a more sharp focus. He blinks a few times and relaxes a measure. There's a tensing of the man's jaw- pricked pride, indeed. "I'm here," he states simply, though his eyes drift to the field. "Whatever it is, why is it going after the foals?" The menfolk, well, that one's less a mystery now.

Watching as the arrow flies past the darn fae creature, Erylys will not easily give up. Mounting her mare, she kicks the horse in the sides, heading straight for the herd, slinging her bow to her back and taking up her spear as she charges forth. If nothint else, she aims to break the fae creature's concentration off of Drustan to allow those tending to him, a chance to do so.

Gareth makes a check for Annora Faelore at 15, he rolled 14.
Erylys checked her spear of 10, she rolled 6.
Gareth makes a check for Kelpie Avoidance at 15, he rolled 11.
Claire checked her Awareness of 12, she rolled 17.
Erylys checked her awareness of 10, she rolled 9.
Drustan checked his Awareness of 10, he rolled 9.
Gareth makes a check for Annora Awareness at 10, he rolled 15.

"Sir Claire," Annora suddenly grows still. "I believe I know what we're dealing with here. The horse is a kelpie, and it may charm those who approach it just as it did your husband a moment ago. If she is attacking the foals, it is because she sees them as weak; they are known for drowning sick, weak children in the same manner. She may be hoping to mate with one of your stallions to produce her own offspring. Or her own foal may already be born and mixed amongst them. They have been separated, have they not?"

As Erylys comes charging in with her spear, the kelpie flees from the spear attack, again, bringing the pack with her, keeping the horses with her as a shield of meat as she circles around the outside of the pasture, and pulls back towards the crowd. Turning her attention to Erylys, the mare snorts in anger, as if daring her to try to charge again.

Claire waits until the look in his eyes clears. Only then does she begin to release him. Stepping back, she gestures for the two Squires to step away as well. "Thank you, husband," she says quietly to him, patting his chest plate twice. Moving out from between him and what's happening, she stands by his side and looks to Annora with the question that her husband asked. The answer doesn't sit well. Her jaw clenches for a moment before there is a quick nod. "They have all been separated. I can keep armed commoners with the herd at all times but…" They nearly had her husband entranced. "What happens if she mates and has a foal? I would venture to guess it would be bad."

"I wonder if she already has," Drustan says, in response to Claire's wonderings. The man is not ensorcelled again, thankfully. He does appear to be himself… if a rather annoyed version of himself. He takes a few steps past his wife, pointing towards the distant foals. "There is one- there, see? Trying to get away from the others, seeming to want to get to the- what did you call it? A kelpie?" His hand falls to his sword, resting there for the moment. "Sir Erylys, we may wish to separate it from the herd. We have suffered losses already. I would rather not see more of our herd felled in the pursuit of one."

At that, the high priestess' mouth presses together in tight disapproval. "It is a dangerous creature, but no moreso or less than any wild thing. If your concern that it foretells a doom, it does not. If you allow it access to the foals it may simply locate its own and be on its way back to its realm, but there is also a risk that it may kill the sickly once unleashed amongst them."

Glancing over her shouler as Drustan calls to her, Erylys shakes her head, "No knight am I.. just a huntress, Sir." Amusement glimpsed briefly upon her face before she turns her head towards the foals and nods, "I see it.. Let me go get it out." She'll change her course of direction, riding for the pen the foals have been kept in. Signaling for the peasant there to open the gate, she rides in, cutting the foal apart from the others and herding it to the open gate so it might ride out.

The Stapleford woman looks to her husband but says nothing. There seems to be no disagreement to what he has to say. But the Priestess' words have her nod once again. "Doom would be unfortunate. This House does not need such a thing. Is that mare the cause of our missing men? Or could it be something in addition to that creature?" she asks, voice cold as she stares at the horse.

Gareth makes a check for Kelpie Forgiveness at 10, he rolled 6.

"So we bring the foal to it, rather than allow it unfettered access to the rest," Drustan notes, watching as Erylys makes her way to do just that. The man leans back on his heels, crossing his arms. There's a glance to Claire and he tilts his head slightly. "Is it possible the men will be returned? To have so many lost over… such a petty thing- the beast had best go and be on its way. There are many who would seek revenge."

Gareth makes a check for Annora FaeLore at 15, he rolled 5.

"It is likely that it is, in the same way a wild animal would." Annora looks regretful. "But killing her, rather than allowing her access to the foals, or even a viable mate, will likely offend the local minions of the fae. I would counsel to let her do as bidden. She will thin you herd, but only of the sick and weak. Likely any motal lives she's taken were those that prevented her from her goals."

With the foal released, the small creature darts immediately at a surprising speed to join with her mother. There's no doubt that kelpie are faster and more nimble than the horses that are currently in the herd. As mother and daughter are reunited, the kelpie releases her hold on the herd as she moves towards her foal, nuzzling it. Then she looks up towards the others, especially Claire, who she may very well see as the landholder and there's a tip of the kelpie's head before she starts to lead her foal off, taking a few steps before they start to pick up speed.

Erylys checked her faerielore of 10, she rolled 7.

Erylys watches as the foal is reunited with mother, riding her own mare out of the pen and letting the gate close behind her. Heading back to the group, she dismounts, her spear kept at hand. Overhearing Annora's comment to the couple, she nods her head, "I have heard of them. Heard stories that they are an odd blessing to have - they'll make your herd stronger next year, keeping the weak and sicks ones from damaging your herd further. You lose a few now versus many later should sickness spread through the herd?" As the two fae creatures turn and gallop off, she cannot help but watch them quietly, with respect.

Claire stands there in her armor, gloved hand resting on her hilt. The words are all spoken but she looks none too happy about any of it. "Mortal lives taken," she repeats. "So our men are out there somewhere upon the lands, dead." She takes a long breath, exhaling through her nose in anger. The dip of the mare's head to her gets no response from her. Those cold blue eyes watch the horses run off. Her head turns suddenly to look at the Huntress and Priestess. At the moment it would seem she does not consider this a blessing. "Shall I expect more of this? Do I tell my commoners to not pursue loose mares and foals, lest they be killed?"

"Your commoners, upon being told this is a kelpie, will likely be well familiar with how they must proceed. Assuming the majority are pagan." Annora says. "I am sorry for these losses and if you wish I will remain until the bodies are found and identified. If they are pagan, I will put their souls to rest."

"So we may find ourselves with a stronger herd in coming years… But in the meantime, there are children who have lost their father and fewer hands working the fields." Drustan glances towards Annora, arching a brow. "Does not sound much of a blessing to me." But hey, he's no pagan, so what does he know. The man reahes a hand out to Claire's elbow; just a light thing. "At least they will have an answer and-" he does glance to his wife, but then back to Annora. "I imagine they would be pleased for the aid and to have a Priestess in their midst to help them through."

"I am most sorry for the losses you have endured already, Sirs." Erylys states quietly, soon to nod to Annora, "I will help as well, if you'd like?" More than willing to hunt for dead bodies is the huntress, if it means families with closure. Tilting her head, she looks back to Claire and Drustan, frowning a little, but offering no comment. She is well aware it's not an easy thing to take in.

Claire hears the offer from Annora and takes a long breath once again, but this one seems more an effort at calming herself. "I appreciate the offer, Lady Priestess. Sincerely. But this will take a few days. Our commoners have their own way but if agreeable, I will tell them of your offer. I imagine they will accept and be thankful." She does not react to the hand on her arm, either. They've already lost Gideon. Her older sister is doing her own thing. There is some frustration there, but further it goes unvoiced. To the Huntress, she nods. "A gracious offer that we accept. Thanks be to you. To both of you." Her eyes move between them. "We are Stapleford. We have suffered losses but we will move forward as we always do. Your help in resolving this matter will not be forgotten. Particularly to Burcombe for your counsel."

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