[Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Pendragon: Tales of Chivalry and Sorcery is the place to go if you want to play Pendragon. Cpt._Funkotron will be your GM, with assistance from CarrieVS.

Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby CarrieVS » Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:44 pm

Terrwyn begins to question the woman while Eliver hastily considers his options. She gives her name as "Gwylan of Ashwick, Esquire, Commander of the Crossing" and denies any knowledge of the fleeing rider or anything else.

"Captain," Persidius says, "This person is wasting our time. We must be quick."

Persi is right. They've no time, nor men to spare, for minding prisoners. If they're to spare them, it can only be to release them.

"He's got a point, El," Miles chimes in. "These people know nothing. Let's hurry on, before all Summerland is alerted."

True enough. He comes to a decision. "We're not here to offer quarter to Summerland rats." Eliver snarls at the woman officer. He raises his voice to be heard by the knights behind him, "Deal with them all and let us get on our way. Make it quick," he adds. Make it clean, he means, at least in part. He's never been inclined to take enjoyment in killing the unresisting, and even if he wanted to make an exception here they haven't the time.

The Summerlanders had thrown down their weapons at their commander's order, and the Cymric knights now have them surrounded. One man tries to beg for his life, his pleas cut off with his breath. Another spits in the face of his executioner. But in the main it's bloody but as orderly and efficient as it could well be: little different than slaughtering pigs. Gwylan of Ashwick has the dignity to stand quietly and not offer resistance that would too obviously be futile.

His squire, Jack, brings Eliver his horse as the last of the bridge defenders are being put to the sword. He mounts up and as soon as the forty knights and all their retinue are more or less back in order, they ride on.

Succeeded Vengeful. Succeeded Merciful.
  • 4

The Dungeon Master wrote:Those who don't want to be baptised, make a dexterity saving throw.
User avatar
CarrieVS
TCS Redshirt
TCS Redshirt
 
Posts: 7047
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:43 pm
Location: By my wild self in the wet wild woods waving my wild tail
Show rep
Title: Swamp Thing

Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Cpt._Funkotron » Sun Aug 25, 2019 6:10 am

The executioners take but a moment to hand their bloody implements to their squires, a few making swift and sloppy signs of the cross, before mounting up to press on. The Forty Knights ride hard into the Forest of Gloom. True to its name, the sunshine of the clearing transitions into a dense canopy of trees that almost blot out the light entirely. The effect is something like the appearance of early evening, despite it still being a clear mid-morning. The air is thick, humid, and sweet. The scents of fruits and flowers accent the ordinary oppression of sweat, horseflesh, dirt, and steel that usually accompanies a knight riding through rough country. Captain Eliver knows from its reputation that the road through the forest shouldn't ordinarily take more than a day's ride to traverse at a steady gallop. Inasmuch as any road is well traveled in these days of violence and isolation, this road is said to be at least moderately so. It is a common route for pilgrim's headed to Glastonbury, and the flow of trade and itinerant labor from the small kingdom is thought to be as steady as from any other corner of Britain. Yet after a day's ride at an excellent pace, the Forty Knights encounter neither hide nor hair of any pilgrims or merchants, nor any end to the seemingly interminable forest.

This is not necessarily a cause for concern. They had not been riding through the forest for a full day; they had set out a full two hours east of the wood, at Devizes that morning. It could well be that the end was but a league or two over the horizon, and they would come to the outskirts of Bath by the following morning. It could also well be that they had mistakenly turned onto a disused and circuitous trail without noticing, for the road proper itself is little more than a dirt path a few yards wide. In which case, they may have to spend the better part of the next day traversing the forest, but they seem to have been riding more or less in a consistent direction and the wood can only be so large, so they're sure to come clear of it before long and get their bearings wherever they emerge. The lack of traffic might be a confirmation of their suspicion that Summerland was preparing to invade. Were that the case, the road to Salisbury is the last road that Summerlanders would plan on taking, and any Salisbury travelers would have been held back by the wildfire of Modron's Wood. In any case, at some point along the journey it is decided that it has grown too dark to continue on, and camp is set up for the night.

The woods seem to exist in two states; the dense jungle of the gloomy canopy, and disparate patches of open sky, maybe on average a hundred yards across, dotted every few miles along the road. The clearings usually feature a hillock or some other natural feature. One features a mossy standing-circle. The clearings provide a sense of time and a general dead reckoning of their direction. It's within one of these clearings, atop a wide hill, with the sun dipping just below the horizon, and the blanket of greenery stretching out in all directions, that the Forty Knights, their squires, Lady Adwen and her maid, make camp for the night.

Captain Eliver's dinner is thoroughly over-cooked, that is to say burnt. His squire Jack, who'd been entrusted with the fire while the elder squire Rhidian looked after his master's armor and weapons, had fallen asleep without remembering to keep an eye on the spits and to take them off the flame when they were done.

***

Adwen dreams of a woman, perhaps in her mid-to-late twenties. She is beautiful, with pale skin, blue eyes, and honey hair. She wears a fine, warm, lilac gown trimmed with miniver, beneath a rough, common, dark grey cloak of wool. It is the dead of night. She is kneeling in the grass atop a hill, on the edge of a wood. It is not a dense wood like the Forest of Gloom, but a sparse and spindly upland wood. The woman is weeping. Moaning. Wailing. Bawling her eyes out. In her hands is clutched a sword, the point dug down into the grass before her like a christian knight offering a prayer to God. The sword is ancient, the hilt of some alloy of gold, with strange foreign runes etched down the length of the blade. A bright, but distant and flickering source of light faintly illuminates the woman in the darkness of a new moon, and shines dimly on the surface of the sword, and in the small jewels of its pommel. The woman's cries are both mournful, and wrothful; pitiable, and terrible. Condemned, and condemning. Her eyes are barely open, but that open part of them fixed on one solitary thing, which Adwen cannot see. The woman's cries grow louder and louder in her ears, ring in her spine, and shake her down to the pit of her stomach.

***

The wind howls like a torrent through the Forest of Gloom, the campfires flicker nearly to extinguishing, the tents fill like sails and seem almost to pull free of their pegs. The sound of the wind almost seems to take on a kind of vocal quality, whistling through the branches, singing through the valleys and over the hills. As the gust rages on, the similarity it bears to a human voice grows stronger. It starts to sound like a kind of high-pitched wailing, like that of a woman. Many knights are up out of their bedrolls and looking around; almost no one could sleep through something like this. The moon is full, and silhouette's the edge of the canopy. It catches on something small and somewhat round or ovular just at the treeline, about ten feet off the ground. The sounds grows louder and clearer, the shining shape draws nearer. It is unmistakably a something like a voice, but more than a voice could be. It wails, it cries, it sings, it shrieks, all at once. The shape grows brighter and clearer; it is a face. A woman's face. Pale and horrible as curdled milk, young of feature like a maiden with hollow cheeks, sunken dark eyes, and azure lips stretched wide open, unmistakably the source of the horrible, indescribable, unimaginable voice. Her crooked teeth are bright red, as are the tears, blood, or both that stream down from her soulless eyes to her thin, undulating throat. More of the creature begins to shine in the moonlight, and of its own accord; a flowing tattered gown of black flapping wildly in the unruly wind, draped across long, scrawny, spindly arms holding a pure white sheet between them. The sound of the shrieks become unbearable, bone-chillingly loud. There is not a man among the Forty Knights who does not feel some measure of terror at this unholy apparition.

Everyone Except Adwen, roll Valorous. Adwen, and those of you who succeed Valorous, you may attempt to roll Faerie Lore. If your Cowardice prevails the trait challenge, you are paralyzed with fear and will be of no help to anyone in the present circumstance. If you fumble Valorous, or roll a critical success on Cowardly, you automatically flee in terror.
  • 4

ImageImageImage
User avatar
Cpt._Funkotron
TCS Camper
TCS Camper
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:46 am
Location: Virginia
Show rep

Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby KleinerKiller » Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:29 pm

The unearthly shrieks send many among their number fleeing into the darkness, sobbing and screaming as if they're attempting to drown out the creature, but the true knights among them stand steadfast despite the soul-deep dread they all share. Squinting against the freezing wind, Adwen and Leiryn recognize the threat: a banshee, faerie harbinger of death, and unfortunately not one of the benevolent, "crying for the dead" variety.

Luckily, though, Leiryn knows banshees can be harmed just as easily as any human, if not so easily killed. He draws his trusty bow, nocks an arrow, and lets everything around him fade from view except his target and the weapon with which he'll strike it down... and royally screws it, the arrow veering wildly off course and disappearing into the night sky. Miles and Terrwyn join in seconds later, hurling spears with all of their might, but the buffering wind is too great and both are sent spiraling back to the forest floor. The banshee's screams continue unabated, as if none of them had made a move in the first place.

As the trio make another attempt at a direct attack, Eliver's mind races to a different approach. He tears his attention away from the battle -- if it can be called that at this point -- and turns to the men at his command who haven't yet succumbed to fear. "Any good Christians among you, make yourselves useful," he shouts, straining his throat to make himself heard above the wind and wailing. "Recite as you were taught! Doesn't matter which verse, just as fast and loud as you can, lads!" The effect is immediate and several of the knights begin shuffling to the front, drawing attention away from another wave of far-flung projectiles.

The sound of shouted scripture rises to fill the air, shaky but clear. Blinking through the tears as the gust batters his face, Leiryn lets another arrow fly, and this time watches it sink into the banshee's gut dead center. If she is at all hurt or angered by this, she has no time to show it before Terrwyn's spear glances across her head, tearing a bloody chunk out of her already grotesque face -- Terrwyn's ensuing hail of gleeful taunts nearly drowns out the screaming then and there. It's not quite enough damage to kill the wretched thing outright, but as the knights' voices climb and their recitation steadies, it all seems to overwhelm her. Her tattered mouth draws into a momentary sneer, and, in a flash of blinding light that could have been mistaken for a bolt from above, she vanishes into thin air.

The screams linger for a moment before slowly fading into a distant echo, leaving the knights in blissful silence, save a few whose ears are still ringing.
  • 5

"Your mind is software. Program it. Your body is a shell. Change it. Death is a disease. Cure it." - Eclipse Phase

NEW REVIEW! Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)
User avatar
KleinerKiller
Time Waster
Time Waster
 
Posts: 1863
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2015 6:34 pm
Location: Newfoungengzealaustrermany
Show rep
Title: Prick With A Pen

Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Cpt._Funkotron » Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:09 pm

As the howls die down and the knights sigh in relief and cactch their breaths, Eliver's squire Jack sits up from his bedroll, yawns, rubs his eyes, and asks what all the racket was about.


***


The next day progresses much the same as the previous one. The Knights now number only Thirty-Eight since Sirs Brandon and Porlas, of the Earl's household, were driven into the woods by the Banshee. The remaining party thunders through the gloomy and otherworldly forest, full of sparkling brooks, gnarled and twisted trees, flowers of every conceivable color, and birdsongs like no other, broken up every few miles by wide open clearings. They come to one such clearing, much wider than the others and featuring a very high hill. They can see in the clear sky that the sun is directly overhead, which means that they've been riding for a day and a half. At the top of the hill, no end of the great green canopy is in sight. The only thing which interrupts the interminable green horizon is what looks like a ruined stone tower about half-a-mile north, far from the road. As the tower is seen, and discussed, shapes can be seen coming off of it, merely dots at this distance, perhaps falling masonry. The dots start flying, and drawing nearer. They start looking like birds now. They draw nearer. Those aren't birds wings. Are they bats? They draw nearer. Those are too large to be bats. They draw nearer, great red leathery wings flapping through the blue sky, reptilian screeches heralding their arrival.

"Wyverns!" shouts somebody, and he's right. The creatures, two of them, sweep down at the elongated column of knights, squires and pack animals. The bodies of the creatures, from deadly claws to horrible snouts, are a bit larger than those of a man. Their wings at full stretch are some six yards across. Their horrible teeth are almost the size of dinner knives. They swoop overhead, and snatch up a young little valet in their claws between them, mauling and scratching at him in their quest for purchase, and heave the short scrawny youth into the air with powerfull pumps of their great wings. The horrible screams of the squire fade into the distance as the Wyverns carry him back over the treeline and towards the distant tower.

"My son! They've got my son!" screams Sir Kennian. She is a woman-knight in her mid-thirties, respected and battle-tested commander of Roderick's household knights. "We must go after him!" she shouts, riding up to Captain Eliver urgently.

Players may roll Faerie Lore if they'd like special insight into Wyverns.
  • 5

ImageImageImage
User avatar
Cpt._Funkotron
TCS Camper
TCS Camper
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:46 am
Location: Virginia
Show rep

Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby CarrieVS » Tue Aug 27, 2019 10:57 am

"I doubt we find your boy alive," Eliver says. Surely the beasts will begin to eat their prey as soon as they return to their roost. Yet that doesn't mean they can afford to continue regardless. "But there seems no end to this blasted forest - the beasts could be back unless we deal with them." He looks around at his principle companions, "What say you?"

Sir Kennian's eyes sparkle with barely-restrained tears but behind them is the fury of a she-bear when her cub is threatened. She seems on the verge of starting off in pursuit herself, help or no help.

The Lady Adwen smiles gently and keeps her tone calm and compassionate, "What Sir Eliver says is, unfortunately, true. The longer you tarry, the more likely we will be unable to recover your son."

At this, the woman knight turns and spurs her horse without another word. Adwen sighs softly. "That was, perhaps, the exact opposite reaction I hoped for."

"Then we might yet save the lad?" Eliver asks. "Do you know aught of wyverns?"

"Wyverns are not like other creatures, they are smart and malicious. If the boy is shrewd, he might be able to delay the inevitable, as wyverns are known to, ahem, play with their food, for lack of a better way of putting it."

"Then we ride!" Eliver announces with scarcely a pause, and turns his horse's head to follow Sir Kennian.

The lady interjects again, "Ah, Sir Eliver, would it not be best to make a plan? Do we even know where the boy is being taken?"

"That tower, surely?"

"And what is your intent?" She cocks one eyebrow. "Are you planning to ride up with swords drawn, making yourself a target? They most certainly would take their food and run."

Eliver's face falls. Put like that it seems perfectly foolish, but what else could they do? "You mean fly. Well, have you a better idea? You seem to know much about these monsters. From what you say we've little time for anything elaborate. Can we plan as we ride?" The less time lost the better.

"As I said, these creatures are smart, and as they can fly we would not present much of a threat. We need to give them the impression that fighting us would be better that leaving."

Persidius comes up next to his wife and has his say. "They won't know which of us are the most likely to slay them though, will they, My Lady? So our only chance is to send perhaps our best half dozen knights to bring them to battle and pray they take the bait."

"As I am not well-versed in the way of strategy, I would defer to your greater wisdom, My Lord, although that plan does sound as though it has merit," Adwen replies.

"What the Lady says is correct!" Terrwyn adds her voice to the hasty council. "She's not being hardhearted. I also remember these creatures can't just be hunted down and killed. If they could they would be foxes." She smiles at Lady Adwen as if to assure her of her backing.

Eliver considers all this for the briefest of moments. "Our six best, cos? That'd be you, and Sir Miles, and probably Leiryn - not least as someone who can bend a bow may be needed. Terrwyn, you seem to know something about our quarry too. And it's my duty to come, surely. We couldn't stop Sir Kennian if we tried, nor would I. That's six." He looks around at who else is close enough to have heard their intentions, "Sir Lycus, you command here until we return. Be on guard and shelter the smaller boys particularly. Now" Eliver raises his sword in the general direction of the tower and the increasingly distant Sir Kennian, "Ride!"

The five friends kick their horses into a gallop and race after the stricken mother.
  • 4

The Dungeon Master wrote:Those who don't want to be baptised, make a dexterity saving throw.
User avatar
CarrieVS
TCS Redshirt
TCS Redshirt
 
Posts: 7047
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:43 pm
Location: By my wild self in the wet wild woods waving my wild tail
Show rep
Title: Swamp Thing

Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Cpt._Funkotron » Wed Aug 28, 2019 7:26 pm

After the knights bolt into the woods in hot pursuit of the Wyverns and the boy, Sir Lycus is left in command of the remainder, along with Lady Adwen, and is left awaiting their return for a number of hours before they pitch camp for the evening.

Sir Lycus, who had been a suitor for Adwen's affections before she'd married Persidius, brings her some supper that night, and says "I wouldn't worry, my lady. Captain Eliver is probably hatching some clever plan that needs the cover of nightfall. As for your lord husband...well, some men in this life get all the luck in the world." he raises a wine goblet in her direction. "A man like your husband gets second helpings. If any of them'll be alright, it'll be Lord Wayford."

Lady Adwen, who had convinced her husband to let her come along despite knowing to could be dangerous, was trying to project an air of calm to hide the concern she was feeling. Taking the food from Sir Lycus, she smiles slightly. "Did I say anything about being worried, good sir? I know my Lord, and those he took with them, and I'm more concerned the fighting will take overly long and the boy will be lost. That's all." She wasn't going to touch the comment about her husband getting all the luck in the world. "Do we have adequate patrols keeping an eye out for danger?"

"Sentries posted around the camp, but I wouldn't send men farther into these woods than I could throw them. They're...not quite right."

"That is true... there's something about these woods that makes one uneasy."

"Nothing a good night's sleep won't cure at any rate. Captain Eliver should be back soon...er, with your husband of course, and before long we'll have made it to open country to do what we do best. Good e'en, my lady." he bows and walks back through the darkness to another campfire nearby, with a small group of friends the son of Amig had begun to gather around himself at court ever since the night of the bear.

That night, Adwen dreams of a Wyvern banner. The banner is burning. The smoke is filling her nostrils and throat; the sounds of men screaming horribly in pain and panic filling her ears. It is not a very long dream, and it gradually fades into a different one. She dreams of Lord Amig sitting at a table in a dark room with two other men who Adwen doesn't recognize, both richly dressed, both with somewhat dark features but of no real resemblance to each other or Amig. One is younger, perhaps late twenties, the other is older, but not as old as Amig. They all have silver goblets of wine in hand, and all raise them in toast of each other.

***

Of course, for the six knights, no time had passed at all. The woods they crash through are thick, brambly, rocky, and treacherous. Miles, Terwynn, and Leiryn manage to catch up to Sir Kennian. Sir Persidius takes a while longer navigating his horse through the thickets. Sir Eliver is thrown from his saddle entirely and lands badly on a sharp rock, needing time to brush himself off and remount before he can rejoin the others.

They all come, in their own time, to a clearing about the ruined tower. The great winged beasts swoop down and each take a knight for themselves to 'duel', seeming to possess some sense of sportsmanship. Almost immediately, a wyvern swipes down at Miles with its daggerly mouth unhinged and wide like that of a viper snapping at a field-mouse, which Miles brings to great effect by thrusting his spear point down the monster's waiting gullet and felling it to the ground, disturbing the soil as it skids and slides to a gory halt. Just a moment after, a Wyvern snaps Leiryn in the shoulder, and falls with it's claws digging into the knight's belly, bringing him to the ground with the beast atop him.

Kennian is then brought down by her foe in a similar manner, Terwynn takes a scratch, and Leiryn's Wyvern clamps hard down on the helpless knight beneath it, its razor teeth sinking through the hard double-layered rings of his chainmail as if they were nothing, blood pouring torrentially out of the curved row of punctures it leaves. Meanwhile, Persidius has just emerged from the thickets, cursing and swiping at branches, and Miles has run to Leiryn's rescue. Together they begin laying into the grounded monster and do it great injury as it tries to swivel its serpentine neck between them, even as Persidius is warding off his own airborne foe newly arrived from the tower.

Eliver arrives on the scene, his armor sporting some dirt and scattered leaves and a slightly bleeding cheeck, but nonetheless ready for action. Kennian then, unlike Leiryn, manages to strike up at the Wyvern atop her, although not hurting it seriously. Terwynn takes another, smaller scratch. Miles and Persidius manage to slay the Wyvern which had felled Leiryn.

Miles then rushes to the aid of Sir Kennian, who together slay the wyvern atop her. Eliver takes a wild swipe at his wyvern as it sweeps down at him, only receiving a bruised arm for his trouble. Terwynn's spear is struck from her hand by her beast's claws. Persidius lands a solid gash on his.

Sir Kennian, now free of her opponent, rushes into the tower like a woman possessed, in pursuit of her son. Eliver tries the same tactic again, this time being tackled off his horse and onto the grass like Leiryn and Kennian had been, as is Persidius at around the same time. Miles finishes off the Wyvern he'd struck from the sky at the outset.

Miles rushes to Eliver's rescue and together they begin to strike back at the beast. Terwynn takes a more serious wound, almost falling from her saddle. Persidius comes to a kid of draw with the Wyvern on top of him, neither managing to hurt the other as such, but Persidius striking a tooth from its mouth with his sword.

Terwynn is bitten again, beginning to feel woozy and veering dangerously to the realm of unconsciousness. Eliver is bitten as well, but at the cost to the wyvern of being speared in the side by Miles meanwhile, the beast slumping down onto the captain in reply.

Persidius manages to kick upwards with enough power that he becomes free of the wyvern's weight and regains his feet. His and Terwynn's being the last remaining, these intelligent being know they've been licked and try to flee, Terwynn's successfully, Persidius' unsuccessfully. Persidius smites his wyvern.

***

The boy is alive, but just barely. His mother carries him down the tavern in a frightful state, coated in blood. The five able knights, the rescued boy, and Sir Leiryn himself close to death as well, rush back through the woods from whence they came and return to the camp.

The knights back at the clearing, who have been awaiting their return for a full day are full of questions, but none of them have apparent answers. Adwen sets about healing the wounded, with the help of her maid and a few squires, an assembly line forming of linen bandages being cut and bowls of fresh water being brought. The most gravely hurt patients are attended to first. Sir Leiryn is brought back from the brink of death, but just barely. The boy, called Ypas, is also barely saved. The wyverns had bitten him toyingly all over, and scrtched him deeply down the side of his face with their claws, tearing one of his eyes out. Although Adwen's medical arts have done him well, there is nothing to be done about the disfigurement. He'll likely be known by the other children as "Eyepatch" from hereon out. Eventually, everyone who has been hurt is treated in turn.

By the time everyone has been seen to, the sun is setting. Camp is pitched for the night, the journey to resume on the morrow.

***

The raiders pass another few clearings the next morning, a roofless stone church of some kind, a bubbling brook, and an old earthwork. The fourth clearing they come across is a wide and flat field, at about mid day. Movement can be seen on the other side of it, a mass of men and horses. A rider sent out to survey the force comes back to report a force of three or four hundred men, some full three-score Lances or so.

"That's five-to-one, and they are all fresh. These are fearful odds. Captain, there would be no dishonor in retreating. We dealt Cadwy an injury at the crossing, and now we know the force, the path, and the hour of his advance. The expedition has well served its cause, now our lord would be best served by preserving his knights for the battles to come. We can fall back to Devizes and join with the forces kept there" says Sir Lycus, a couple knights behind him nodding, muttering, and glancing fearfully at the far-off army.

"Do you expect to live forever, Lycus?" rebukes Sir Kennian passionately. "If we withdraw, the fighting follows us to our villages, our houses, and our families! How many acres need burn before the bastard Witch-King is brought to justice? There are more of them than there are of us, but mostly of them are infantry. I would hardly count most of them equal to two-score knights and as many armigers. We have ridden days now, endured mighty winds, howling spirits, and winged monsters, perils beyond the ilk of mankind. Those are but men over there, let us be about our business as knights brave and true, and go murder those fuckers!" she says, several of her fellow knights of Earl Roderick's household cheering in agreement.

"W-hat if we made them come to us, attack us on favorable ground?" pipes up young Sir Leo, whose advice no one had asked or would have asked. "That last clearing we passed, that earthwork, it looked to me like an ancient fort, palisade all rotten away, but the ditch and rampart should still be of the same old use. If we fall back there, the terrain could nullify their numbers. A-and it would be unmilitary to just leave us there, because if they tried to march past us or go back to Summerland, we could ride out and threaten them from the rear. They'd have to attack us. We wouldn't be able to use our horses, but neither would they."

"That's an even worse idea than charging them headlong here and now" says Sir Lycus. "If we did that, even in the imminently likely case that half of us die in the attempt, at least the other half could ride back to Salisbury. If we hole up behind that earthwork and they surround us, withdrawal won't even be an option."

"But we'd have the best chance of beating them" argues Sir Leo. "And even if they encircle us and try to starve us out, however long we last buys that much more time for the knights back and Salisbury to marshal their forces, gather allies, that kind of thing."

"Run and hide? What kind of knights are the pair of you?" says Sir Kennian. "Our lord and our land are at stake, this is what we live for. There are our foes, let us ride out to meet them!"

"I yearn for nothing greater than to bring slaughter upon the Summerlanders, I just wish we had more men" says Sir Lycus.
  • 5

ImageImageImage
User avatar
Cpt._Funkotron
TCS Camper
TCS Camper
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:46 am
Location: Virginia
Show rep

Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Cpt._Funkotron » Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:52 pm

"Sir Lycus, we should have been through this wood two days ago. Six of us left the path for no more than an hour, and returned a day later. What if we turn tail back to Salisbury, and don't reach it until days after the Summerlanders do? These woods aren't right, but they're Cadwy's woods and I'll wager they work to his advantage and not ours."

Lycus frowns, not seeming to have considered this.
He shakes his head "Then what are you saying? You can't be suggesting that we fight that. Flight is our only reasonable option."

"I don't know if flight is an option at all. Unless you mean being lost in these woods while Cadwy's men ride through Salisbury, so that at least our skins are saved. I don't like the odds of battle any more than you do, but if we can't rely on escape anyway, I don't know if the fort is such a bad idea as it seemed, at least compared to the others."

He fidgets a little, looking back and forth between Eliver, the other knights, and the distant lines of the Summerlanders.
"Well it would at least...it would give us time to plan-...I mean-" he is interrupted by Sir Kennian.
"Well I don't like the idea of sitting around in a fort; suppose they do as Lycus says and just try to starve us. We would lose the chance at a proper charge like we've got here and now."
"But even if that were the case, it would buy time for Sir Elad and the other castellans. And assuming they do attack us instead, it would be our best chance."
says Sir Leo
"Who asked you!" say Lycus and Kennian in unison.

"Thank you, Sir Leo. Whichever we choose, I'd rather have three poor options than two. But we best choose quickly." Eliver turns to his companions who are nearby as usual. "I'm not sure which I dislike the least. What say you?"

"We are knights, let us meet the enemy with steel." says Persidius.

"Yeah, what he said!" Says Miles, waving a severed wyvern head.

"Yes, alright, but meet them with steel back in that fort where we'll probably all be slaughtered, or out in that field where we'll definitely all be slaughtered? I'd rather be 'probably' dead than 'definitely'." says Sir Kamek, stepping up behind Sir Leo's shoulder.

"Also, you totally knew what kind of job you signed up for, my dudes. I don't want any nonsense against whatever plan Captain El comes up with!" says Terwynn.

"The trouble with the fort is that it wastes one of our only advantages. There's nothing so easy as fighting footmen from horseback: at Odon, they were more than four times our number but we cut them down like corn. This isn't so very much worse. And perhaps we'll be able to retreat to the fort if things go evilly."
Eliver raises his voice to be heard by the rest of the company. "I wish the odds were better, but we are where we are. I ask a great deal from you, but Salisbury needs a great deal from us all. I hope we can win, but if we can't, I fancy we can sell our lives dearly enough that Sir Roderick is the gainer by it. Let's bloody the bastards' noses!"

Sir Kennian and her cadre of followers cheer uproariously, with a woop and a cheer from Sir Leo and his supporters, the rest grunting or nodding.

***

The battle lines are drawn, narrow as they are. The raiders are divided into two maniples, one under Captain Eliver, the other under Persidius. The situation does not seem as dire as it had at the mouth of the clearing. The Summerlanders have only about half again as many knights as the raiders have, and the nature of the terrain on the far side of the field makes it awkward for them to deploy in th traditional way. The raiders might just have a chance. Still, the odds are not in their favor.

The Summerlanders are all arrayed against them a hundred yards away, their line stretching impressively and imposingly far past that of Salisbury. In the center can be seen the banner of Cadwy, white and blue horizontal waves, with a red sword upright. The banner is carried out a few dozen yards by a rider into the middle of the field, alongside another rider carrying a white flag, both flanking a very short, strange-looking herald with a long braided beard, in a tabard of the same colors riding a white pony and carrying a small golden horn. He calls out to the Salisbury knights for a Parley.
  • 4

ImageImageImage
User avatar
Cpt._Funkotron
TCS Camper
TCS Camper
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:46 am
Location: Virginia
Show rep

Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Cpt._Funkotron » Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:37 pm

The herald, Eliver sees as he approaches, seems to have a bit of an odd appearence. In addition to being about as tall as a child, his skin has a rough, dusty brown quality. He has a short pug nose, an exaggeratedly prominent brow, and a wide slit mouth, with very thin lips.
The riders either side of him look like ordinary men.

Eliver waits for the herald to speak

The herald's braided dark beard hangs down to mid-chest, almost obscuring the device on his tabard.
"By your sigil I take you for Sir Eliver of Woodford. I speak here for Lady Melwaise of Gloom, Queen Consort of his majesty, Cadwy, King of Summerland, whose host you behold before you."

"You are not mistaken" replies the Captain.

"Are you here at the bidding of Earl Roderick, or upon your own initiative?" asks the Dwarf.

"At my Lord's bidding."He refrains from mentioning that it wasn't precisely Roderick who sent them, or that it wasn't precisely for this purpose or expecting to encounter this force.

"And it is his bidding that you ride to make war upon the lands of King Cadwy?"

Miles mutters "you started it".

"It is not his desire that King Cadwy's depredations upon the lands of Earl Roderick should go unavenged" replies Eliver.

"My lady has given me no answer to these charges, but being that I take your answer for a 'yes', I have but one message from her majesty: 'Turn back now, or meet your doom. If you raise steel against us, you shall all face the shackle or the grave. Think not to fight and flee, for the Lord of Gloom holds no refuge for you.' Thus says my Queen." The dwarf looks back over his shoulder, and the Queen herself can be seen. She is helmless, long auburn hair falling over one shoulder of her strange gold-colored chainmail, riding an uncommonly large and fine white steed, with what looks like gold detailing in the tack and saddle. She is much taller than the knights around her, but not hulking, rather statuesque. She is very beautiful, in a proud, distinguished, and intimidating sort of her way. She looks like she could be of any age between twenty-five and forty. Her unearthly, violet eyes, twinkling almost seemingly with their own source of light, beam like quarrels directly into Elivers at the great distance. A squire-maiden with the same color of hair beside her carries the queen's helmet, another on the other side carries a strange-looking mace.

"Is your lady's host not arrayed here to make war on Salisbury?"

"That it is, for to meet and answer the war that Salsibury has brought to Summerland. You have slaughtered my king's garrison at the crossing, and have now come into his land thinking to bring rapine and pillage. It is the cause of my lady's host to repel you, and then take just recourse of Roderick of Salisbury for his crimes."

"If your lady would not fight a force so numerous as ours, let her turn back, and disband her army, and give her word to carry no war to Salisbury. An she do, I will turn back as well, and my company shall attack none in Summerland save in our own defence, and I will answer for my decision to my Lord."

The dwarf shakes his head, not registering the sarcasm. "You are deep in the lands of my king, it is you who must withdraw, or face slaughter. This army marches onward, through your 'lines' such as they are or otherwise. The promise of peace from a cornered raider-captain binds not your earl, and will not hold back my Queen's vengenace."

"Very well." Eliver turns his back on the herald to ride back to his own lines.

"Tell your men to pray to whatever gods they keep" says the Herald, as he and the flagbearers also ride away.

Eliver makes no response or sign of having heard


***

Resistance was the last thing the host of Queen Melwaise had been expecting, much less a full-frontal assault into the heart of their lines. By the time their knights were setting off to meet Eliver's well-aimed charge, the knights of Salisbury had already built into a full gallop and had their lances couched and primed. The knights all endure a hail of hastily-shot arrows, but are undeterred. Captain Eliver knew exactly where to hit them, and his vastly outnumbered band of warriors hit them hard. The enemy counter-charge seems to waver even before it is struck, and is driven back shortly after impact. Sir Miles beside him, galloping boldly ahead, endures the lance-strikes of two enemies at once without losing his seat, returning to skewer one of the offenders through the heart and spine, killing him outright with the mere force of his arm, but losing the spear in the process. Eliver himself, who led his company to great effect, was himself unhorsed in the first charge, and then struck down grievously, almost fatally, in the melee. All of his compatriots were preoccupied driving the foe back as he had orchestrated, and so the loss of their commander does not impede their victory in the first clash of the battle.

Persidius rides boldly in front of his men into the fray, holding aloft only his famous sword-arm. He vanquishes a lancer who has the misfortune of missing him, another lancer strikes true, but the point comes awkwardly and can draw no blood. Another knight comes to replace the first in the melee, and strikes him unconscious. Terwynn meanwhile holds her own in an orderly manner, receiving a small cut in the charge, and returning the favor in the melee. Persidius' flank drives the enemy knights to withdrawal.

Even despite Sir Eliver's and Sir Persidius' fall, the tide of the battle takes a perceptible shift. Now that the first charge has been won and the knights are driven into retreat, the soft underbelly of the host, that is the infantry and archers is exposed to the knights of Salsibury and poorly deployed to resist them, just as Sir Eliver had counted on when he led the charge. So awkward is the position of the enemy that even as Terwynn is laid low with a lucky arrow in the chest, the knights she had taken command over after Persidius had been wounded drive them back regardless, inflicting heavy casualties. Sir Miles meanwhile, who had taken over for Eliver and been driven into a vengeful passion for the fall of his love, leads his flank to totally crush the enemy, killing two infantrymen himself and leading his men to slaughter nearly fifty.

Queen Melwaise's men may soon have been driven into a route at this point, was not the golden horn of the Dwarven Herald sounded in retreat, and the withdrawing Summerlanders obscured behind a glimmer of the air and a thickening of the branches and thickets between them and their pursuers.


***


All told, the Knights of Salisbury suffered only nine casualties, including three of the commanders, and seem to have inflected seventy on the enemy. None of the friendly losses were deaths, merely wounds. Lady Adwen and her maid again enlist the valets in helping them to tend the wounded.

Sir Eliver, as he regains consciousness to the sounds of wooping and cheers and the news that the Summerlanders had all fled, meets Sir Lycus' eyes and says nothing

"Alright, so it worked this time" mutters Lycus with a reluctant smirk before walking away.
Shortly after the battle is concluded, Sir Brandon, one of the knights who had fled the Banshee on the first knight, returns to the camp. He begs forgiveness on his knees for deserting the party, and explains that the other knight who had fled with him died after falling from his horse and breaking his neck.

"Poor fellow... just goes to show you should face danger head-on" says Miles.

"I wish we'd had you back sooner - we would have been glad of even one more knight, but I'm glad to see you all the same. It was no mortal foe that unmanned you: it's no wonder that some few couldn't stand it. Let us say no more about it." says Eliver.

"Thank you captain" he says, rising.


***


That night, Captain Eliver, Lord Persidius, Sir Miles, Sir Terwynn, Sir Leiryn, and Lady Adwen share the captain's tent, making a modest sort of feast of their trail-provisions and what little food and wine that could be looted from the packs of the dead or fled Summerlanders. They discuss all that has happened, and what their next move ought to be. The prevailing mood indicates that falling back to Salisbury would be the wisest course of actions. Lady Adwen is not just there to offer advice, but also to check up on the bandaging and conditions of the wounded; of the five knights, only Miles is of any condition to do any fighting or hard riding. The rest all look halfways like corpses already in their white linen wrappings, black eyes, various scrapes, and yellowing bruises all about. Terwynn must try not to breathe too hard lest abdominal arrow wound vex her, Leiryn can't seem to sit up straight in comfort as he has sustained some kind of injury to his spine, and Eliver is running a mild fever. Despite being practically run-through with a Lance, Persidius seems to have fared the best of those four.

At sunset, a wind suddenly starts to pick up, the small pavilion around them starting to vibrate slightly. Rain starts to pour. A few minutes into this, there is a clap of thunder, and the sound of a large flock of ravens all swarming and "CAW CAW"'ing just outside the tent flap. That latest sound subsides and is replaced by another.

"SALISBURY..." comes a familiar voice.
"Why..." he says as the carved head of an ornate white staff leads the parting of the entryway followed by an arm cloaked in black.
"Is it ALWAYS...SALISBURY?!" says the head of the Archdruid Merlin as it follows his arm and stands inside the tent in front of the five knights and the lady, totally drenched with rain.
"Did one of you piddle in the devil's eye and forget to tell me about it?!"


SFN
Eliver crits Battle (FP), Queen Melwaise succeeds Battle
Random battle events: -3

Battle intensity: 22

Battle round 1:

Eliver succeeds Battle, opposing commander succeeds Battle: no modifier

Missile round:
- Archer 1 vs Miles: miss
- Archer 2 vs Miles: miss
- Archer vs Eliver: no wound, KD averted

Melee round 1:
Miles (Bold):
- charge vs knight 1: Miles defeated (wound of 3, KD averted)
- knight 2: unopposed charge. Miles defeated (wound of 2)

Eliver (Orderly):
- charge vs knight: Eliver vanquished (wound of 6, auto-KD, fall damage 5)

Melee round 2:
Miles (Bold):
- knight 1: Miles defeated (wound of 7, KD averted)
- knight 2: enemy knight slain (mortal wound of 33, Miles crit)

Eliver (Orderly):
- defending vs knight: Eliver vanquished (wound of 18, unconscious, MW, enemy knight crit)

Eliver crits Battle (FP), opposing commander succeeds Battle: Decisive victory


Persidius succeeds Battle, opposing commander succeeds Battle: no modifier

Missile round:
- Archer 1 vs Persidius: miss
- Archer 2 vs Persidius: no wound
- Archer vs Terrwyn: no wound, KD averted

Melee round 1:
Persidius (Bold):
- charging knight 1: enemy knight vanquished (wound of 3, KD)
- charging knight 2: Persidius defeated (no wound)

Terrwyn (Orderly):
- charge vs knight 1: Terrwyn defeated (wound of 3, KD averted)

Melee round 2:
Persidius (Bold):
- knight 2: Persidius vanquished (wound of 19, MW - unconscious)
- knight 3: enemy knight defeated (no wound)

Terrwyn (Orderly):
- knight 1: enemy knight defeated (wound of 2, KD averted)

Persidius crits Battle (FP), opposing commander succeeds Battle: Decisive victory

Random battle events: -3

Battle intensity: 5
Casualties round 1:
- Salisbury: 2 wounded (Eliver and Persidius)
- Summerland: 8

Battle round 2:

Miles impassioned by Love (Eliver)

Miles succeeds Battle, opposing commander fails Battle: -5 to enemy skill

Missile round:
- Archer vs Miles: miss

Melee round 1:
Miles (Orderly):
- archer (melee): archer slain (mortal wound of 33, Miles crit)

Melee round 2:
Miles (Orderly):
- halberdier: halberdier vanquished (wound of 20, MW, auto-KD)

Miles succeeds Battle, opposing commander fumbles Battle: Crushing victory


Terrwyn impassioned by Fellowship

Terrwyn succeeds Battle, opposing commander fails Battle: -5 to enemy skill

Missile round:
- Archer 1 vs Terrwyn: miss (fumble)
- Archer 2 vs Terrwyn: wound of 15 (MW, KD)

Terrwyn succeeds Battle, opposing commander fails Battle: Decisive victory

Battle intensity: ??

Casualties round 2:
- Salisbury: 7 wounded (Terrwyn, 5 other knights, 1 armiger)
- Summerland: 62


Victory: Enemy retreat in good order.
  • 6

ImageImageImage
User avatar
Cpt._Funkotron
TCS Camper
TCS Camper
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:46 am
Location: Virginia
Show rep

Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Cpt._Funkotron » Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:36 am

As usual, taken from discord logs and spruced up a bit.

Adwen has the grace to blush, Persi winces while suppressing a guffaw. "I'm sure I'd remember doing that" Eliver laughs and then winces. "If you have any monsters for us this time, I pray they can wait until tomorrow." The Archdruid chuckles from his belly darkly as he shakes some of the wet from his sleeves and starts wringing out his long beard like a washcloth. "Oh-ho, my boys. Fear not, I'd say you've done just enough fighting for the time being- by a long shot!" the last part is not said jovially, but flatly.

"Perhaps come summer the enemy will be ready for more. Seems unfair to press them now." says Persidius.

"Almost funny you should say that, it would be funny if it weren't bleedin' catastrophic" says the Magician with an emerging Cambrian brogue, as he picks up Persidius' goblet and drains it back without so much as a how-do-you-do. After a second, Merlin turns his head and performs a spit take into the grass, scrunching his face up and licking the sides of his mouth with a disgusted look at Persidius. Miles tries not to snort and mostly succeeds "I don't know why he drinks that stuff" says Eliver. "British wines are much too sweet. Best with seawater but salting will suffice inland" says Persidius. Adwen gets up and procures another goblet, filling it for Merlin.

"Castawhat?" says Miles through his mirth, directing the conversation back on track.

"Catastrophic seems about right of late. What with the business with the bear, and the business with Imber, and the business with the rats... it's a strange story, that one, I wonder if you've heard it. There was a hermit who could break bridges and mend them all in a night, who said I'd thank him later and then stole away before I could.
"So, what else is there that we don't know about yet?" asks Eliver.

"Romans" he mutters under his breath along with a string of mostly inaudible obscenities, taking the offered goblet with a nod and a "Thank you, my dear", taking another long drink and a gargle to cleanse his pallet before swallowing and saying to Eliver, "Yes, yes, you're welcome and all that. In the category of things that I know and you don't, a library could be built. Of that which directly pertains you and the whole bloody realm at present, I shall need a chair another drink." he says, handing the goblet back to Adwen, and procuring a curious looking stick with a cup on the end of it from his robes. Adwen refills all the goblets, Miles looks around to see if the others are less confused than he is.

The wizard takes his drink and a seat, and takes a small wad of something and puts it into the cup on the end of his strange stick. With a snap of his fingers, the wad in the cup seems to burn, glow faintly, and let off a smoke. He places the other end of the stick to his lips, seems to suck in, which excites the burning material in the cup into an even brighter glow, and breathes out a stream of smoke. He takes and releases a deep breath, waving the stick around for emphasis as he talks.

"I've only just been to see Roderick, he seems on the whole to be on the mend. Couldn't do anything for his arm I'm afraid; Black Magic and all that. His Lady Wife is up and about already, and it looks like their boy should grow strong. Now that I've got the good tidings I bring out of the way, I should preface the rest of what I'm about to tell you by saying that I myself suspected King Cadwy's involvement two years back, after the Ginger went all crispy and her stepson tried to knife me at Lincoln. He is the closest and most powerful enchanter, and the one seemingly to stand the greatest benefit. I warned King Uther seven years ago that Summerland was not a hornet's nest worth kicking, and for some reason he was sore surprised when he had to march his army down this gloomy road without my help. Something like this was bound to happen eventually. Your Sir Elad acted in sending you here with the best political and strategic cunning he could muster with the best information he had. No one could fault his reasoning, which is why I have no choice but to conclude, that it was precisely the sort of reasoning the true culprit intended him to follow. I'm afraid you've got the wrong Sorcerer."

Persi grumbles , "perhaps not the correct one, but there is never a wrong sorcerer."
"Who was it then?" asks Eliver.
"I don't know" he admits simply. There is a reserved kind of weight behind these words, as the world-famous sorcerer of monumental power allows a weakness to be seen. "But it couldn't have been King Cadwy."
"Why was he ready to invade, then?" asks Miles, Indignantly.
Merlin puffs on his pipe. "My dear chap, how long would you guess you've been riding through these woods?" he asks with a slight air of dry amusement.
"It's been about three days... but now that you say it..." begins Eliver.
"Aha." he nods, seeing the understanding dawn on Eliver's face. "Did anyone happen to mention somebody by the name of the Lord of Gloom? He is a powerful member of the fair-folk, son of High King Oberon himself, and is the father of Lady Melwaise of Gloom, Cadwy's Queen whose acquaintance I think you've just met. He rules this forest, in the topsy sort of way that the 'Good-Fellows' rule anywhere, and while you may only think you have ridden three days, in reality the fair plain of Salisbury bid you farewell three weeks ago."
"Bloody devils! " exclaims Persidius.
"Not quite, but I take your meaning. Ever since you crossed that bridge, you have ridden through a labyrinth without any turns; stretched, kinked, and bent to the Lord of Gloom's will while his daughter marshaled the forces of her husband to ride against you. You see, Cadwy's court is a bit 'touchy' shall we say of late, and it is not the policy of Queen Melwaise to take any slight against her husband's lands without just rebuke. Shall I explain why this is, and how I happen to know that Cadwy is not the malefactor you seek?"
"I wouldn't object to hearing it" replies Eliver.

Merlin puffs on his pipe a few more times, shapes starting to form in the smoke swirling around the middle of the tent. "You see, it all started with that bear you slew, four years ago. Your Marshall was right that he was an ally of Cadwy, a member of his court in fact. A Prince of bears, called Mavros; an intelligent creature with a touch of magic about him, of the kind of which there are only a few dozen per species. King Cadwy never really stopped considering those woods between Summerland and Salisbury as his territory, so he gave Mavros free reign of them for hunting and roaming. Bears are territorial creatures, so when the poachers of Imber started ranging farther afield for game, Mavros did as bears do." He briefly glances sideways at Leiryn. "After the death of Mavros, Cadwy apparently, as the jackdaws have it, voyaged north to farthest Thule, the land where it is always winter, and indeed for christ is unknown there, never Christmas. He went there to pay his condolences to Lord Arktus, the King of the Bears. In his human form, Cadwy fears no weapon; no sword, no axe, no spear, arrow or any other kind of ironmongery may harm him. But while he resided at the Bear-Court in Thule, he ran afoul of an adventuring Dane; old King Shield they call him. They had some sort of disagreement between them, King Shield struck Cadwy most grievously, and King Cadwy laid a curse on the house of King Shield's great grandson or something like that; I'm not sure which happened first, and it hardly matters. The point being, without getting into the flibbedywobbly of the magic involved, which none of you would understand anyway, is that as Cadwy can scarcely be harmed by weapons of steel, he is also hard-pressed to recover from any such wound he does receive. Consequently, he has spent the past two years collecting wrinkles in the healing springs of Sulis, as helpless as a newborn. His wife and his court have endeavored to keep this a secret, which was an easy task given how secretive the bunch are already, because if word got out that the Witch-Kingdom was without its Witch-King, then the sharks would all flock to the blood in the water. That is why Melwaise was preparing to march into Salisbury in answer to your crossing, as a show of strength to conceal the true weakness of Summerland."

"I'll be sure to tell everyone I meet, then." jibes Eliver.
"It would be useful to know what will harm him for the future." muses Persidius.
"You'll do no such thing if you intend to leave this forest alive, Sir Eliver. That is not a threat, but an offer. I can lead you safely from this place, in either direction, in mere hours. I need not do so. If you want my help, the good of all Britain requires your cooperation." says Merlin.
"I spoke in jest." That is mostly true. "We'll speak of it to no-one, if it matters so much. And we beg your help."
The wizard nods, satisfied. "Tell me, what do you know of the Duke of Cornwall?"
"A boon companion of King Aurelius, God rest his soul." says Persidius.
The wizard casually raises his cup in a minor toast and allows a few drops of wine to pour out of his cup in remembrance. "Correct, anything else?"
"They say he has a beautiful wife." offers Eliver.
"That he does, so the singer's say. Igraine, she is called. Her father is the King-Across-the-Sea, son of Oberon and half-brother of the Lord of Gloom, making Igraine and Melwaise cousins of a sort, you might be interested to know. But come sirs, you beat about the bush. Surely you know that the Duke stands in rebellion of our King."
"I thought that was obvious" says Eliver.
"Well I heard he's a great Duke" says Terwynn.

"Perhaps so, but what may not be obvious for I doubt you will have heard , is that last year, while most of the knights were gallivanting around France with the crown prince, Duke Gorlois secured friendship of the Pictish federals in Jagent, and with them many of the southwestern barons independent of his Dukedom. With the king's favorite hound Ulfius preoccupied with the Saxons in the south, and his new boon companion Corneus preoccupied with the Saxons in the north" he pauses, chuckles and looks at Persidius "not to mention with the roaming bands of Picts, what was it, a hundred strong each or more? But I digress. With Gorlois' new allies, and most of his barons unable to help him, King Uther's campaign against Cornwall this year relies a great deal on soldiers and supplies from two of his greatest magnates, who lay in the path of his march. Would anyone like to guess which two magnates they would happen to be?"

"Is one of them Salisbury?" asks Terwynn.
The wizard nods. "And the other is Summerland. Given recent events" he pokes the head of his staff into the tent flap, pulling it back to view the raven-riddled battlefield. "I'd say those plans are prrrretty well and shot to hell now!" he says with exasperation, his 'r's trilling in his peculiar accent.
"As far as Salisbury goes, we only lost one man, and he not in fighting Summerlanders: he broke his neck fleeing a banshee. And we only used three days of provisions in a whole three weeks." says Eliver.
"You can't honestly think your victory today, as valiant as it may have been, has settled matters. She'll be back, and in greater numbers. As I told Uther seven years ago, Summerland is not a hornet
's nest worth kicking. And someone has gone to great trouble to get you to kick it."
"Then is it Igraine, if she has faerie blood, who's been doing all these things to set us off after Cadwy?" guesses Eliver. "I'd say it was this King of Bears but from what you say I guess that's what the true culprit wants us to think, too."
"Witch-kings and Faerie Duchesses..." mutters Persidius.
"Don't be ridiculous, bears can't cast spells. I like your thinking in regards to the Duchess, but confoundingly I can't agree. Igraine was my next suspect after I ruled out Cadwy, but as near as I can discover, every single drop of her faerie blood went into giving her a face, a voice, and a body men would kill and die for." says Merlin, shaking his head ruefully and getting a distant look in his eye.

"Well unless these blasted woods can turn time backwards as well, I don't see what we can do about it. We planned to turn back for Salisbury now in any case. What else would you have of us?" The last part is asked quite sincerely. Eliver has no doubt that the wizard wants something from them.

The wizard produces a sealed scroll letter from nowhere in what looks like it might have been a genuine sleight-of-hand. "You will go to Bath, parley with King Cadwy, and negotiate a truce. I have here your authorization from Earl Roderick to speak in his name. It is imperative that you come to a settlement. As I mentioned, Queen Melwaise and Duchess Igraine are cousins, and Cadwy has long chafed under Uther's rule these past seven years. If Summerland joins forces with Cornwall, this rebellion may well last years. And I suspect that such a development would be precisely to the aims and purposes of whatever enchanter has been plaguing you. Think back to Lincoln, how the Ginger's son in law tried to have me assassinated. He almost succeeded. Think what would have happened. Not only would I be dead, but Uther would surely be set against Roderick, and sword or no sword, such a signal of disunity would have surely lost Corneus, and with him, the whole north of the kingdom. King Uther could have spent years and thousands of lives bringing the Cumbrians to heel by force of arms. That knight who tried to kill me did not strike me as a clever, scheming sort of chap, and he wasn't ensorcled either, I can always tell. Remember, he blamed Roderick as well as me for some reason. Why? Someone or something must have given him the idea. Everything from the Incubus to the resurrection of Marvos seems to have been done to indirectly set the realm into chaos. It's like the big rocks at stone henge. Once one falls over, it knocks another one down, and then another, and then another, and once that's happened, it's a dickey of an afternoon getting them all back up again, I can tell you. I think this sorcerer doesn't just have it out for Salsibury, I strongly suspect they have it out for all of Logres, and they are not yet finished."

"Our captains are too injured to do anything but ride back to Salisbury. Going to Aquae Sulis in this condition with Sir Lycus in good health is not an option, Archdruid." says Persidius.

"I can ride to Bath as well as I can to Salisbury, and I fancy, rather better than I can out of this forest without the good will of Merlin." This is said as much to Persidius as to the wizard. Eliver turns to Merlin, "Besides, I am somewhat indebted to you. But I must ask, if I go to Bath, with such of my friends as decide to come, will you also be able to help the rest of our men safely out of the forest, or must they find their own way if you are to be guide to Bath?"

"It is but a matter of a few hours in either direction if one knows the way as I do. I can guide you all to the gates of Bath, and then bring any who wish to go no further back to Salisbury. Alternatively, they can stay camped here, and I shall return for them."

"Then I'll come to Bath and try to coax the hornets back into the nest." declares Eliver.

Merlin nods, puffs his pipe, and starts looking around at the others. "I go with him" says Miles, the next to volunteer. Eventually, all six are agreed to attend the Parley at Bath.

"Good now, that that's decided, there's still the matter of this other culprit. As far as I can tell it could be practically anybody, save for this one damnable peculiarity; why Salisbury? Always Salisbury? Of all places? This secret enchanter seems not only to stand to gain from the ruin of Logres, but has also some sort of local interest in Salisbury as well. I cannot reason it. Do any of you have any reason to suppose you've given some sorcerer reason for offense?"

"We seem to annoy you on a regular basis" jokes Eliver, which earns a smirk from the Wizard.

"Levcomagus is the first I'd suspect of a vendetta against Sir Roderick and Salisbury. I don't imagine he's a magician, but perhaps he could have some ally or agent who is." offers Eliver, seriously.

"It will require some thought. I'll keep both my ears to the ground. In the meantime, it would be in our interest to keep this between us. The King has a land to quell, he doesn't need any distractions; and it wouldn't do Prydain any measure of good for all the knigths of the land to ride off smiting every midwife and juggler from Ireland to Cathay. Meanwhile, keep an eye out for things out of the ordinary...signs...portents...strange sightings...unnatural creatures; unicorns, cockatrices, beavers, that kind of thing. The deeds this enchanter has done are not easy, and the magic of the lands in which they dwell will not be unaltered. And take note of unusual dreams; they are often how the spirits of the world speak to us" says Merlin.

At this Adwen seems to frown, and Merlin begins to eye her curiously. She asks to speak with him in private, and he obliges. He magically conjures up a tent of his own nearby, and they seem to hold conference for a short while. Eventually, they return, Merlin with a serious, muted, thoughtful look on his face.
"Get some sleep, all of you. We set out at dawn" says the Archdruid before heading back for his own tent.
  • 4

ImageImageImage
User avatar
Cpt._Funkotron
TCS Camper
TCS Camper
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:46 am
Location: Virginia
Show rep

Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Cpt._Funkotron » Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:09 am

Merlin is up and about, prodding the knights awake with the end of his staff, before first light. By dawn they are on the road. He instructs them to follow on foot, leading their horses by the reins, until they are clear of the forest. "Watch and follow my steps closely" he advises. He moves strangely, keeping on the road but zigzagging across it in odd patterns, at some places walking in wide circles for several revolutions before walking back exactly the way they had originally come. After an hour of the knights, ladies, squires, and horses following the sorcerer in this absurd conga line, the dense foliage begins growing thinner, and natural light untainted by the gloom of the forest touches their skins once more. Once they are clear of the woods, Merlin permits them to remount. The thin track that had lead them through the forest turns onto the ancient cobbled Road left by the Romans, the Via Fossa, which runs at its extremes all the way from Exeter to Lincoln.

The temperature is unseasonably warm, and the sun shining very brightly. Although it is still only spring, it feels like mid-July, their cloaks and gambesons becoming quite stuffy. This place is called "Summerland" for a reason. The sky is a perfect blue, the scenery a bright green, and all the hovels they pass the epitome of rustic charm. A plump shepherdess drives a flock of sheep, already burdened in thick winter coats after what could only have been a month or two since their spring shearing, through a meadow rich in wildflowers of violet and red. Male peasants can be seen fishing lazily on the banks of a river with tankards in hand, and eyes on the womenfolk bathing downstream. Mischevious children and dogs race through a grove of apple trees.

Not every place they cross is so jovial, however. At one hamlet, there is quite a scene taking place, as a calf was born with two heads. At another, a sinkhole opened up and swallowed a church. At yet another, an entire field is swarming with crows which cannot be driven off, only into the air merely to land again as soon as no one is looking. Merlin pauses at the edge of the field, raises his staff, produces a loud bestial crow-like sound by some means, and the crows depart.

A man in a straw hat with a wagon full of barrels at the next crossroads asks the knights, in his strange accent, if they'd like to buy something called "Zoider", which they assured is some kind of strong beverage. Merlin offhandedly tells Persidius not to bother, since it doesn't come salted. While he's got them stopped, in an effort to engage them in conversation and thereby improve his odds at a sale, the 'Zoider' man asks the knights if they've heard about the Lord of Wells, who'd been eaten by water-leapers some months ago. Of course they haven't, so he goes on to explain that he'd heard that Sir Urswn had returned some weeks ago as a ghost, haunting his old castle and terrifying the locals, demanding tribute of raw fish, white wine, and peas (which he can beard gorging himself on every midnight), and furthermore crying out to be avenged, lest he lead and army out of hell to destroy the entire kingdom.

Merlin explains after they pass that a mere ghost can't really lead an army out of hell, but that the invasion of the water-leapers into the marshes, the haunting of Wells Castle by Sir Urswn's ghost, and all of the other strange things they had seen so far were likely a direct result of King Cadwy's injury. "The land and the king are one; if there's one thing you remember of what I tell you, remember that. As King Cadwy is weakened, the barrier between his kingdom and the things which lie waiting in the dark places of the world grows thinner. Many rulers are tied to their lands by the ancient bonds of ancient blood; it is an old magic, subtle and almost inscrutable. Its potency varies greatly depending on the particular land and the particular bloodline. Your lord has a touch of it himself, drawn from the blood of King Salis, although these days that blood is all but spent. King Cadwy draws his kingship from his grandmother, Queen Sulis, after which the Waters of Sulis are named. Sulis had been the sister of King Salis, from which your House of Salisbury is descended. Now that I think of it, I suppose that makes King Cadwy the extremely distant great-uncle of Earl Roderick. Anyway, Sulis was powerful enchantress, known for her wisdom, her gift of healing, and her proficiency for curses, regarded by many after her death as a lesser goddess, and well she may have been. The Romans, when they came to these shores, worshiped her as an aspect of Minerva." Those knights who are passingly fluent in history will quickly deduce that such a genealogy must make Cadwy himself centuries old. Merlin makes no remark of it. "At any rate, as King Cadwy recovers, as he assuredly will before long, the pestilence upon his land will subside."

After a few hours of riding, sight-seeing, and exposition courtesy of Merlin, they arrive at the old Roman walls of the city of Bath, although this is not their destination. They follow the road and the river another mile yet, until they come to the base of a great hill which overlooks the city at a distance. Atop the hill is a grand, imposing, and beautifully maintained castle of stone. The banners of Cadwy fly from the parapets.

Merlin of course directs the knights to raise up the banner of peace, and does all the talking with the porter above the gate. He explains that they are a delegation from Earl Roderick, here to offer terms of peace. Before long, after they have all given their names, the Dwarf Herald comes up to greet them. "Christ's mercy be upon you. I am Sir Alcias, the Chamberlain of the King. My lord and master, his majesty King Cadwy of Summerland, whose keep this is, offers you the Hospitality of this place, and hopes that your stay will be comfortable, and your mission fruitful."

The diplomats must accept the extension of Hospitality, which binds both host and guest, to be permitted entry.
  • 5

ImageImageImage
User avatar
Cpt._Funkotron
TCS Camper
TCS Camper
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:46 am
Location: Virginia
Show rep

Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby CarrieVS » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:59 pm

"Our thanks to his Majesty: we are glad to accept his hospitality, and I hope that the fruits of our mission will be to his gain as well as ours," Eliver answers.

In an undertone to Persidius he says, with a mostly straight face, "Cos, try not to accidentally marry anyone."
  • 5

The Dungeon Master wrote:Those who don't want to be baptised, make a dexterity saving throw.
User avatar
CarrieVS
TCS Redshirt
TCS Redshirt
 
Posts: 7047
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:43 pm
Location: By my wild self in the wet wild woods waving my wild tail
Show rep
Title: Swamp Thing

Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Cpt._Funkotron » Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:59 am

The gates open for the party.

"You go in alone, I will return in a few days after I have brought the rest of your knights back to Salisbury and run some other errands. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if this doesn't go well, your lord is going to need all the help he can get. Have fun" says the wizard, before walking off back the way they came.

Inside, they are welcomed by Sir Alcias. "Follow me, ladies and gentlemen, and I shall show you to your quarters where you may rest and freshen up after your hard journey. You are to be housed in the west tower, and are all welcomed to make use of the Guest's Bathhouse; merely ask a servant and you shall be escorted there and tended to. My lord shall receive you in his hall tonight, where a feast shall be held in your honor."

Everyone roll courtesy.
  • 4

ImageImageImage
User avatar
Cpt._Funkotron
TCS Camper
TCS Camper
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:46 am
Location: Virginia
Show rep

Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Cpt._Funkotron » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:33 pm

Eliver is privately insulted that neither the King nor Queen are there to meet them in person, Persidius meanwhile takes note that the Hospitality they are being shown is exceptional and far in excess of the norm, although he distrusts its motive.

Some attendants come to take the horses, and the Chamberlain escorts them into the outer ward of the castle. Caer Sulis is roughly triangular in shape, stretched between nine towers and divided into a great lower ward, where the bailey of an ordinary castle would be, and an upper ward consisting of three towers at a raised elevation, something like a motte. They pass through the South Gate, between a large stable and paddock and the kitchen area surrounded by an herb garden, where servants can already be seen rushing to and fro. The center of the courtyard is mostly an open field, with squires and pages doing various excersizes. In the center of the courtyard is a life-size bronze statue of a woman in a flowing Roman stola, atop a five-foot high marble plinth. They are taken left past the stables and further past what seems to be the castle's armory, several forges working at full blast. Past the workshops, they come to the West Tower. The tower seems to be about three stories tall, the bottom two hold well-appointed guest chambers, with feather beds, coal braziers, carpets, tapestries, and interior modesty curtains, to divide the spaces as needed. Both of the guest chambers are at the disposal of the Salisbury knights to divide how they wish, but the third story is a guard house, the hatch leading up to it from the second floor being firmly locked.

"Please call upon me if you have any needs; if they are honorable, I shall fulfill them" says Sir Alcias. "Those of you who are wounded might avail yourselves of the bathhouse. You have the freedom of the castle my lords; all except for the upper ward, which I must insist is strictly out of bounds. We feast at sundown."

Image

There are several hours until the feast, how do you spend them? Take a nap, go to the bathhouse, explore the other parts of the castle, or something else?
  • 5

ImageImageImage
User avatar
Cpt._Funkotron
TCS Camper
TCS Camper
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:46 am
Location: Virginia
Show rep

Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Cpt._Funkotron » Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:16 pm

Everyone decides to go to the Batthouse together, Leiryn who is by now still slipping in and out of consciousness, has the decision made for him by his squire.

The Batthouse is a large fine building of stone and stucco with a tile roof. Within, it is divided roughly into two halves, a hot side and a cold side. The hot side is divided up into a row of smaller bath chambers divided by walls and curtained doorways, the baths themselves recessed into the floor about four feet and lined with well-fitted stone, each fed by some means from a series of pipes. The water from the pipes is perfectly hot already, with no detectable means of heating it in or near the bathhouse. The water instead is drawn deep from the hot spring deep beneath the earth, said to have been raised by Sulis herself, part of the network which also feeds the much less potent Urban Baths down in the city, and the king's own bath chamber up in the keep. The other side of the building, the cold side, consists of one long pool of water kept tepid-to-cool, about five feet deep. Female servants in sleeveless garments and short skirts are ready and waiting to collect the party's clothes and prepare their baths for them. The air is thick with steam and sweet burning insense, one can hardly see farther than five feet in front of oneself on the hot side. Once entered, the waters are not only warm and soothing, but almost seem to massage the skin of its own and soothe the mind. The sound of harps being played fills the air. The Salisbury knights, Adwen, and the the servants of the bath are not entirely alone. One of the hot chambers is occupied by a young man who no one recognizes and who does not deign to introduce himself. In the cold side, some time after everyone has gotten settled, a beautiful female armiger of auburn hair, who the knights had seen bearing Queen Melwaise's helmet at the last battle, comes in seemingly afresh from the sparring field, grimy and bruised. She strips off with the help of a servant and dives into the cool water, keeping to herself and swimming laps unless someone disturbs her. When Leiryn regains consciousness, the first thing he sees is a young woman, not dressed like the servants, with curly brown hair and dark eyes, peering down at his face curiously and helping with his bandages. She looks into his eyes, almost *past* them in fact, looking for something. She only remains for a few moments, and then she is gone, called away, lost in the steam and smoke.

Six hours pass like half an hour, and before long more servants come to fetch the knights to their chambers to dress for the feast.

The knights all find that in their time in the waters, many of their wounds have either vanished entirely or healed at the pace of weeks or months.
  • 4

ImageImageImage
User avatar
Cpt._Funkotron
TCS Camper
TCS Camper
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:46 am
Location: Virginia
Show rep

Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Ladki96 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:44 pm

Terrwyn scans the inside of the bath. Ugh, so much steam. Ah-ha, there's the private section! There are quite a lot of pools in use. Maybe - this one? She lifts the curtain and walks in.

"Eeeeeep!" yelps Eliver, flailing and turning crimson. Miles looks alarmed for a moment, but when he sees that Terrwyn is alone, he laughs. "It's alright, El - it's only Terrwyn."

Eliver sputters and tries to form words. "We were just-"

"El. Please." Terrwyn rolls her eyes. "Everyone knows. Except your cousin, I guess, but that's because he's too stuck in his own butt to notice stuff. The rest of us just don't care. Plus, you must be blind not to notice my own love for the ladies!" she laughs.

"See?" says Miles. "I told you, no reason to worry. Now Terrwyn, get thee hence! We're busy."

"Alright, alright! No need to brag. I'm not going to be alone today either, I will have you know! But better not let the husband's kin know," she winks at El.

Terrwyn learnt her lesson. She peeks behind the next curtain. Score! She straightens up and casually walks inside, only to stop in "surprise" a few steps in. "Oh - I'm so sorry, my Lady!" she looks at the floor. "I thought... no one was using this one. I do beg your pardon."

With everything that had been going on during this journey, Adwen honestly couldn’t wait to soak in the pool. While she was enjoying the chance to learn exactly what it was that Caius and the others got up to while they were away, this was not exactly her idea of a good time.

Adwen had settled into the pool as soon as they were given permission to. She didn’t expect to be alone for long, considering she wasn’t the only woman around. Smiling slightly when Terrwyn walks in, Adwen gestures at the pool. “You are more than welcome to join me, good sir. The pool is big enough for the both of us.”

"That is very generous of you, but there are many pools. I wouldn't presume to intrude on you. But if you are quite alright with it-" Terrwyn sees Adwen's smile and replies with one of her own. She strips and slides in. "Ahhhh, is this how kings feel?"

“Is there a reason I should not be alright with it?” Adwen quirks a single eyebrow as she leans back against the side of the pool to relax. “The water here is quite nice. I daresay it might be the perfect temperature for a good soak.”

“I was afraid you may be upset with me, for I did speak utter nonsense last eve. I must have been delirious from the wounds. I can't even remember what was said…”

“You said nothing inappropriate, if that’s what you were wondering. Or, at least, nothing that needs to be discussed elsewhere.”

Dare she hope? Terrwyn wades closer to whisper. “I meant every word. You deserve better than this. Uh, not this bath, I don’t think it gets better than this, but um, that is to say… you are beautiful, as well as intelligent. I am thankful, for you saved my life. I am thankful, for you exist.” Have Adwen's lips always been that pink? Pink and pretty… Terrwyn leans in. “Allow me to thank you for all that you have done.”

Even with her eyes closed, Adwen can feel Terrwyn moving closer. “You are far too kind to me, Sir Terrwyn, but you have no reason to thank me for doing something any good healer would have done. You are clearly a very capable knight, and this group would be lost without your skill.” She opens her eyes to look upon the other woman. “If anything, I should be thanking you for giving me a chance to prove my worth on this journey.”

This woman! Who is actually being seduced here?! Terrwyn puts on a big grin to hide her red cheeks. “Well, we could spend all evening thanking each other, but I rather had something more interesting in mind.”

The smirk that curls Adwen’s lips is borderline devilish. She most certainly doesn't want to cross any lines, but she also wants to have some fun. “Something more interesting than thanking one another? And what would that be, dear sir?”

“I prefer to show than tell, if it pleases my Lady.”

Image
  • 5

Image
User avatar
Ladki96
Time Waster
Time Waster
 
Posts: 1044
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:32 pm
Location: India
Show rep
Title: =)

PreviousNext

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron