The night presses in around the minute forest village like a cloak of velvet dark, the fog heavier than it has yet been throughout the day. A single great fire burns in the midst of the ramshackle collection of huts and hovels, the orange flame muted to a ball of mist in the night. Around it, some two dozen men drink and dice, and debate how best to dispose of their noble guests, who cannot be seen.
“I say we fuck ‘em and fergit ‘em,” one picturesque fellow grumbles, flicking snot from his nose to the fire with a grubby forefinger. “This is too much trouble, sendin’ notes an’ all.”
“Shut your mouth,” snaps another, lean and hard. This one is standing, and leaning on a staff as he glares at his men. “You know what the captain prefers. So keep your cock in your pants and wait. There’s a good lad.”
The door, if it can be called a door, to one of the shacks opens and a rough-featured knight emerges, looking towards the men around the fire with wary disgust. “The women ain’t had anything to eat in a while, need some water too,” says Ser Giles in a voice as rough as his appearance. He holds up his hands towards the men, showing that he steps out unarmed and isn’t attempting an ambush.
The fog drifts through the woods bordering the village, turning it into a half-forgotten dream world of shadows and shifting shapes. The moonlight carves strange fancies through the drifting tendrils, save when the occasional cloud throws the night into deepest darkness. A night bird calls somewhere, muffled, and is answered.
But there are more than birds than beasts abroad this night. Dark figures shift and slide through the trees and cold eyes watch the bandits. A lean man, his leather and mail bound with strips of cloth to stop any sound, turns to the men around him; he leans on a sword, the steel darkened with mud, his voice barely more than a whisper: “Are these all or did the one you questioned say there were any others?”
The lean man looks around sharply. “Aye. Lion, Rose and Hell-bitch first, and no tricks! I want to see they’re still here—they’re the money, they are. Can’t afford to lose another one like we did the Direwolf.” Chett turns a keen eye on the shack as his men all rise, mugs and plates clattering to the muddy ground.
So it is that Reyna Saltcliffe comes out first, to stand to one side of the door in a tattered gown and look back over her shoulder at the next to emerge.
“That looks like the right amount, give or take one or two,” Ser Myles says in a hushed tone. “‘About’ two dozen he said… He became most uncooperative when I shoved a stick in his eye.”
The Hightower knight squats in the shadows, squinting at the campsite. “I wonder how close we can get—the flames will have lessened their night vision.”
Liane follows when called, her arms crossed loosely over her chest. A bruise across one cheekbone and a split lip don’t quite add to the confidence in the tilt of her chin. She favors one shoulder slightly, which mars a straight posture. And when she steps into the fog and the moonlight, she curtsies politely to the bandits, though there’s no smile with it.
Lying in the muck alongside the Hightower knight, Ser Bonifer looks on wordlessly. Green eyes follow each lady emerging from the shack intently. As each form emerges, the grip upon the hilt of his sword tightens.
“As usual,” comments Dalton quietly, standing against a tree and looking to the others. “And the huts will help conceal us as well, but there’s no sense in overconfidence.” He peeks around a corner, eyes squinting at the distance. “It looks like they’re coming out. Fewer eyes outward, then - they’ll be watching for escapes.”
“Two dozen?” mutters Ammon and trails into silence as he gazes over the assembled rescue party. He crouches behind Dagur, and, like the Iron Serpent, is dressed in dulled, silenced mail. His sword is sheathed.
Kellyn meant so sleep. Really she did. But between the aches and pains and the restless mind, she hasn’t really managed it since that first night except in fits and spurts. She was trying when she was called out, so the Lady lion is groggy and red eyed as she steps outside. Not much to say to go with it, though. A bit tattered, a bit stiff, but she stands on her own with arms straight at her side.
“Or so. He passed out before I could get more,” Myles says, shrugging nonchalantly and scratching at his crotch. “Weren’t there more of the ladies than that?”
“Pleasant evening, ladies,” Chett purrs, beckoning his prizes forward toward the fire. “And now the rest. Line up, lads, and maybe you can have one sit by you.” He cackles then, and tucks Reyna under his arm with a proprietary air, dragging her forward, as another and another jostle forward to likewise claim Liane and Kellyn.
A fourth man, the snot-flinger, comes eagerly to the door. “I want my purdy Dondarrion!” he crows. “Where is she!” and he licks his lips.
Ser Giles sticks his head back into the shack and shares a few words with the ladies that remain inside, but he doesn’t step back in himself. While they aren’t his charges he still holds some kind of responsibility for them, though he’s in a poor position to do so.
At the shout for his true charge’s name the Dondarrion guard grits his teeth and stares down the vile man for a moment before he reluctantly sticks his head back in. But the man’s shout was loud enough to draw Carmella out and she looks as repulsed as her guard. She’s still got Ser Giles’ cloak around her shoulders, half-hiding the filthy yellow gown she’s wearing, the skirts still tied up around her upper legs.
“These many are…” the Iron Serpent starts to say to those around him before the scarred man crouching at his side touches his arm. He turns and looks back at the village centre, avoiding looking into the fire—and when he sees Reyna step out of the hut, there is murder in his eyes. But he turns back without saying anything.
“They are there or they are dead,” he says bluntly to Myles. “Nothing we can do about it.” He glances at the others: “Orson and Yonel have scouted out the village. Dalton, take a score of men and have them take you around. We go in together. I want none of the whoresons escaping.”
Liane’s shoulders stiffen as a rangy, greying man with sharp features takes her arm - with a fist around her upper arm, that is - and leads her toward the fire. With effort, she manages not to sneer at him, though she keeps her gaze straight ahead, on the fire. “Such a pleasant evening, don’t you think?” she says through clenched teeth in a forced attempt at politeness.
The Bar Emmon knight has said nothing - he hunted down ambushes for the King, after all - but the expression that he wears is black with hate. No quarter will be spared by Ondryn Waters, that much is plain.
Dalton shrugs at Myles’ question, turning back to the others a moment, then nodding crisply at Dagur’s order. “Signal, or should I wait for the sound of screaming?” Waiting for the response, he waves the requisite men to his side and, once he hears, leads them carefully around through the shadowed, foggy trees to the other side of the small village.
The venerable squire, generally a jovial presence, also remains silent since his first musings. At Dagur’s words, however, he clenches his sword hilt tightly with his right hand and nods once, with a deep breath.
One of the rounder “gentlemen” squires Kellyn at his side, cheerfully pontificating about enjoying a bit of meat on the bones of his lady friends. The smoke from the fire stings already red eyes, and rubbing them makes it even worse as Kellyn half stumbles into the bit of log she was supposed to sit on. A low curse - yes, a swear! - parts her lips as unshod toes smack into it, and a comic little hopping dance ensues before she is finally pulled down to sit.
As he sets Dalton in the correct spot, opposite of Dagur’s position, Yonel turns to Orson.
“Ready?” He asks while checking to ensure his ornate dagger is still tucked beneath his studded leather armor.
With a happy smile, Chett settles down on a log, dragging Reyna down onto his lap. “There now, be sweet, Rosie, and we’ll all be happy.” With one arm tightly about his prize, the bandit lieutenant brings a bit of meat to her lips—a bit of meat she accepts, then spits back into his face.
Chett curses and wipes the meat from his face into the dirt, where a scrawny cur skulking about is quick to devour it. And briefly, near to Chett’s belly in Reyna’s hand, there is a flicker of something red.
At length, the bastard girl emerges from the hovel, the captive whose surname affords her the least protection. Rosalind hobbles more than walks, visibly favoring her left leg. Her tattered skirts and undergown reveal that the woman’s left lower leg has been carefully bandaged, probably from a torn length of white silk undergown. The bandage is far from clean, though it appears some effort has been made to keep it so. A bit of blood has seeped through. Her face is pale, beneath her freckles. She is immediately “escorted” by one of the bandits, in a parody of gallantry, to sit by the fire. The man, with a grin, tries to pull the girl in to his lap, but she adjusts her position quickly enough to end up sitting beside him, instead of on him. Overall, Rosa is quiet, appearing demure, but her Lannister eyes are alert. Quite alert. The levelheaded girl tries to bide her time and wait for the right opening.
Orson, pulling up the hood of his black cloak, runs his fingers over the bowstring in anticipation. “Let’s go,” he says to Yonel and Dalton.
Carmella is not offered a log to sit on, but rather a dirty lap. She’s half-dragged back to the fire by the man with the active tongue and he sits first, keeping a tight grip to the Dondarrion’s wrist. Ser Giles takes a few steps after her but the bandit laughs, showing a mouth of blackened teeth and a dagger from his belt. “You’ll get a chance later good ser,” he taunts as he pulls Carmella down onto his lap. “I call first with this one, young enough to be a maid, I reckon.” He attempts a bold reach for her chest but Carmella smacks his hands away, uttering a curse as well.
Yonel nocks an arrow. With a quick prayer to the Warrior, he lifts his head, liquid green eyes reflecting the large fire. His jaw is set and displays his readiness.
Ser Myles draws a blade perhaps too finely crafted for a third son. But then, he is a Hightower, after all. “Let’s get this over with, Ser Dagur.”
Liane’s captor lowers his head to her ear, and whatever he says isn’t immediately audible. What /is/ apparent is the way the Uller heir pales in the firelight, trembling with the effort of not pulling away. His smile is distinctly unpleasant as he pulls her closer and wraps one arm around her waist, the other hand starting to wander. And Liane, for all her earlier defiance, just sits very, very still, jaws locked shut.
“If you don’t shut the fuck up,” Jonn Lannister, heretofore silent as the lion stalking the gazelle in the brush, growls at Yonel and Orson around the dagger clasped between his teeth, “I’ll kill the both of you before you can draw another breath.”
Myles moves off to join the others in surrounding the village.
Yonel grins at the Lion’s threat and nudges Orson. His gaze never leaves the village.
“No sound. When you see us,” are Dagur’s parting words to the Florent heir. He turns back to the clearing and tugs his leather gauntlets tighter before checking his armour; his movements are those of ritual and long habit.
By the fire, the cur snarls and snaps at the meat and the ironman’s eyes narrow. He leans in to whisper to a silver-and-black clad man beside him and the Reaver nods—and cupping his hands to his mouth, he produces a remarkably convincing growl even if it is far more like a wolfhound’s than a mongrel’s.
And nodding to Myles, the ironman rises; a hand against a tree trunk, he braces himself and tenses.
As the forces begin to divide themselves, it is obvious where Ser Bonifer has chosen to be; right where he’s lying. Not a word has escaped his lips since the arrival of the Serpent, and he doesn’t look as if any will be forthcoming in the near future.
He eases the simple length of steel that is his sword from its scabbard, pinching the blade to reduce the noise.
The sound of the sword leaving its scabbard wakes Ammon from his reverie. With a shake of his head, seeing Dagur tense, he slides his sword free with only the faintest whisper of steel on leather. With another sigh, he tenses and waits.
“We go in together,” re-iterates Dalton, watching Yonel and Orson, then looking forward, across the field, over the pairs of bandits and women, and, with an almost-sigh, drawing his sword instead of the bow slung at his side. His voice is low as he moves behind the pair of outriders. “If you must shoot anyone…don’t. Until they split up to engage us all. I don’t trust anyone’s aim in this mess, even my own.”
Yonel nods and remains focused on the fire.
Chett, laughing at his own japery, doesn’t notice the difference between the growl and the silent cur—but Reyna does. Beneath a tangle of hair she looks up into the darkness—
—and in the next instant, is lying on her backside in the dirt. “Little BITCH!” howls Chett, leaping up with a hand to his groin. “What’d you… what… wh…” He stares down at Reyna where he dumped her as if confused, then topples over like a felled timber, his eyes blank and lifeless.
Voice still raspy, or even raspier than before, Kellyn begins to launch into practicalities. “Truly, the financial gain to be had is certainly bet-” It is cut off when her companion sets to guffawing. “Time for gold later. It’s not here now, is it? Heh. I wonder if everything the Lannisters own is plated in gold ... have a look, will ya?” The last is called out to the man with Rosalind at his side. Kel’s host is too busy shoving the better part of a leg of fowl into his mouth at once after his words to do much about such things himself, then reaching out to use the ends of her skirt as a napkin. At least until he is lumbering to his feet in the wake of Chett’s shout. ” ... Wha’d ou oo ‘im?” he manages to spit out along with flecks of meat and spittle.
And with that quiet command, the Iron Serpent is out of the woods and racing towards the clearing even before Chett stops moving; the men with him pour out in a dark, silent flood hedged with steel. The bandits have not been entirely careless but the sentry they have posted on this side is the first to die, his startled cry stillborn as the ironman’s sword rips into his throat and he chokes on his own blood.
At Chett’s shout and the chaos that surrounds his sudden collapse the man gripping tightly to Carmella suddenly stops being so playful and glares at her, baring his ugly teeth. With his free hand he backhands her across the cheek, knocking her to the ground at his feet. “We warned you, you whore!” he spits at her as she lays, stunned, on the ground, far too close to the fire. He draws back a boot to kick her when she’s down. She cries out in pain and tries to get away, confused as to what happened.
Rosalind’s dinner companion leans over to her, murmuring something in her ear, then laughs roughly at what his fellow says about gold plated Lannisters. He makes a pull at her torn gown, trying to pull it down off her shoulder, but Rosa pulls away from him angrily. The man laughs and reaches for her again, but Chett’s howl distracts him.
Wounded in Dorne or no, Ondryn surges forward, blade snaking out in murderous fury, hacking machete-like at anything between him and his goal.
“That tears it,” notes Dalton at the shout from Chett, just a little too far to see the final result. “In we go.” And he springs from the forest at a run, sword drawn, raising his arm to call the others forward.
Liane’s captor looks up from his whispering of less-than-sweet somethings when Chett keels over, his eyes and his grip on Liane’s arm tightening. Roughly, he spins her around as he stands, taking hold of both wrists in one hand with a bone-grinding grip. Though Liane tries to open her hands to show she has no weapons, it doesn’t get her far as the man starts to use his leverage to force her to her knees. It’s then that the Uller heir makes her own attack, landing so her knee hits the arch of his foot. Hard.
With the Iron Serpent’s charge, the squire is right behind. For such a large man, with a bad leg besides, he moves quickly. His silence leaves something to be desired as the big man crashes through the undergrowth and into the imminent battle.
Reyna stares a moment too long at Chett as he falls, and is nearly speared by a roaring bandit while she lays in the mud. She rolls at the last moment, and scrambles to her feet, hampered by torn skirts as she tries to fit a gold chain over her head. For a moment it hangs crazily, caught in her tangled hair, but it settles as she scrabbles for a knife Chett dropped. She grabs then for Carmella’s hand, trying to drag her to her feet and away from the fight, not even wholly upright yet herself.
On the Serpent’s heels is Ser Bonifer, his long strides carrying him swiftly alongside the Saltcliffe.
“MOTHER FUCKERS!” words finally escape the knight in a raging battle cry.
A shocked bandit is shoulder checked to the ground. The man desperately holds up the haft of his spear to defend himself, but the big Buckwell knight cuts right threw it, burying the blade in the bandit’s collarbone and opening a river of blood from the man’s neck.
And now Jonn Lannister has found his mark.
His eyes narrow as he watches the bandits surrounding his cousin and wife.
When the ironborn issues the command, the lion leaps forth. With his right hand he rips his blade from its sheath, and with his left he tosses the dagger at the nearest target—leaving only the hilt sticking out from the hollow of the unfortunate’s throat.
Orson follows in Dalton’s wake, notching an arrow to his longbow. He peers through the darkness, ready to shoot down any of the bandits that might get too close.
Seeing Dagur begin his charge, Ser Myles joins suit, ducking around a ramshackle hut to run some sot through. The poor bastard didn’t even know what hit him, so distracted was he by the initial commotion. The blade is pulled out and immediately its bearer surges forward, parrying one stroke and dodging another. A muddy boot catches the one in the jaw, and he goes down hard. The other receives a severed arm for his trouble.
There’s three down already, thanks to a confluence of events involving surprise, luck, and skill. The knight stalks towards Carmella’s former captor, his blade dripping with bright red ichor.
Yonel moves behind Dalton, bow in hand. At the site of a bandit off to their left, Yonel kneels, draws, aims and releases. His liquid eyes see true and the bandit sprouts an arrow in his neck.
“Not so fast, I ain’t had her yet,” the licking bandit tells Reyna as he yanks on Carmella’s other arm, the girl looks like a rag doll for a moment. The bandit is stronger and soon Carmella is falling against him. The man is obvious to any that might have him in his sites, but as arrows begin to fly he attempts to use the girl as a shield. “You better get that idea out of your heads!” he shouts into the darkness. “‘Less you want this pretty to die too!”
As for the knight of Bar Emmon, he does not pause. When Liane drops to her knee on the toe of her assailant, she is low before him. Safe. Ondryn’s teeth grit, both of his hands grasp his sword’s hilt, and he swings it with furious might over Liane’s head, at the bandit’s exposed throat.
In the midst of the chaos, the jolly man yanks Kellyn roughly to her feet by the hair. The diminutive young woman is well dwarfed by him and lets out a surprisingly high yelp as it feels as if her scalp is being separated from her head. Always a planner, rarely a doer, she is left scrambling as others find more useful ways of trying to deal with their captors. She sticks to things she grew up with in the kitchen and simply tries to jam the rest of the chicken leg, splintered bone and all, down his throat. It would be ever so much more effective if she had any strength behind it and leverage. As it is, she finds herself being clubbed to the ground with a hand that feels about the size of a bear’s as it shoves at her face, and she finds herself stumbling, and landing with a bit of a crack with her head against the log. Not a good pillow!
Noticing a bandit rushing toward them, Orson draws and looses, and the bandit tumbles to the ground, an arrow impaled in his chest.
A bandit staggers, dazed, then bends to pick up his severed arm, his eyes blank. But the Iron Serpent does not linger to finish him; he is past, that scything blade clearing a path for him. Screams and curses sound all around; there is no longer any need for silence.
“Myles!” And with that call to attract the Hightower knight’s attention, he swings wide of the other man so that he is approaching his wife and Carmella from another direction; the bandit with them must split his attention between the two knights now.
Rosalind tries to take advantage of the commotion to give her assailant a shove and come to the aid of Kellyn, but she either overestimated her own strength or underestimated her captor’s, for the shove with all of her might has only minimal effect on his much greater bulk. It does not take a great effort for him to grab the bastard girl’s by the shoulder (for with her injury she is moves far from quickly) and give her a taste of the back of his leather-bound hand. The force of the blow knocks the bastard Lannister to the ground, stunning her, though she does not entirely lose consciousness. Likely she’ll have a pretty purple jaw to go with the gash on her leg.
Dalton moves through the village’s excuse for streets, Yonel’s keen eyes watching his back as his own fix forward, taking their path towards the campfire. His blade rises in a flash to deflect an attack from a wandering guard coming around the corner, though the surprise slows him enough for the blade to graze his shoulder. He ducks, then, the swing of his blade taking his opponent full in the side - the bandit crumples to the ground, grievously wounded, and Dalton moves forward, calling out to those following. “No time! As long as they’re not moving, we go forward!”
As the sides come together, fate, or fortune, brings Ammon his first opponent. He is a small man, unarmed for the nonce as he scrambles for his sword, and the squire’s blade strikes true in a shower of blood….and is wrenched from his grip, stuck in the dying man’s collarbone. With wide eyes, Massey scans the immediate area as two more of his enemies approach.
There’s a distinct pop and a snap when Liane’s captor curses and yanks at her wrists. With one hand holding her and the other raised for a backhand, he’s too slow to notice Ondryn’s approach, and Liane’s cry of surprised pain mingles with the man’s last burbled breath, a spray of blood pouring over her before he falls. For her part, Liane cradles her left arm, curling up around it to try to make herself small until she can focus and find a better way out.
His target completely oblivious to him, Myles continues his murderous trek through the encampment, the sudden battlefield littered with the bodies of men wounded and dead. The dead ones’ eyes are wide in an expression of surprise which will be writ upon their faces until their faces rot away.
Dagur’s call interrupts his train of thought however, and he looks over at the other with a nod. “You cannot win. Let them go, and your death at least will be quick. I promise it on my vows as a knight of Westeros. I promise you, you do not wish the alternative.”
He holds his blade at the ready, prepared to strike if either the need or the opportunity arises.
Yonel, closely behind Orson, rushes further in. Seeing another of the sorry fighters, he pulls and lets fly. The arrow aimed at the man’s heart, but hitting his right shoulder, causing him to drop the excuse for an axe that he was carrying. Before he can re-nock, Orson’s arrow takes the man in the forehead. The bandit is dead before he hits the ground.
Yonel looks at Orson with a grin and a laugh, “Show off.” With that the two delve further into the chaos.
Yanking his sword free of the dead man’s bone, Bonifer is immediately on the move again. Dagur’s shout draws the Buckwell’s eyes in his direction. When he sees the Ironman swing wide of one of the bandits, he knows what to do.
Swiftly picking up speed again, he lets loose another scream, “DIE!”
This bad guy is swift on his, though, and sidesteps the blow, only to lift his rusty blade to meet another flurry of blows before a smirk can even form on his face.
A roar of inhuman rage—not quite the roar of a lion, but it is close enough—comes from Jonn Lannister as he sees his wife and cousin thrown to the ground. He picks up his pace, lengthening his stride, and darts this way and that, taking a few cuts from bandits attempting to engage him.
He doesn’t even notice.
“Stay down,” Ondryn hisses to Liane as he spins, looking for another attack, another brigand to down, someone else to suffer for what has happened.
This should turn into a slaughter.
The licking bandit spins, yanking Carmella with him. She lets out a yelp and then she gasps as she spots the Hightower knight. “You ready to risk this little lady here, you son of a whore?” He spits at the Hightower and grips tighter to Carmella who looks as if she’s fighting back tears.
But in the darkness and fog there is also confusion and a less-patient man lets loose a bolt into the village, towards the firelight. With a scream loud enough to startle her captor, Carmella’s arm is impaled, an arrow meant for the man who now drops her to the ground. He looks at her a moment and then laughs loudly, calling out taunting curses at the stupidity of knights. It also leaves him wide open for Myles.
Reyna springs into a ball on the ground, arms over her head, as a bleeding bandit reels over her; he trips on her bare feet and falls to die face to horrified face. She screams, then, her first of the night, for the man’s face has been cleft in twain by some vicious blade.
She scrabbles backwards, crablike, and is snatched out of harm’s way by Harm incarnate—a leering brute with hands like meat hooks and a rusted axe. “Which one’s yours, lovely? Will I fight ‘im for yer favors?” And his hand fastens across her chest -very- intimately as he looks eagerly into the fray.
Myles throws himself at the bandit, unable to show concern for the injured woman at present. He brings the hilt of his sword up to smash the man’s teeth in.
Kellyn is good at calm. She’s very calm, in fact. Wind knocked out of her and maybe a little unconscious calm. But at least it leaves her captor free to not worry about keeping the toy in line as he picks up the log with a loud grunt and looks around for an attacker to throw it at.
Liane pants, curled up in a tight ball at Ondryn’s feet. She seems entirely inclined to do as he says for the moment, staying well down and out of the way of any further captors. “I need a blade,” she calls up to him. “Just in case.” Yet when she reaches up with her uninjured hand, she immediately blanches with a strangled cry - the other arm, to judge by its angle, is certainly broken.
The two men approach and Ammon Massey backs away with a nervous chuckle eyes, scanning the bedlam before him. Fate. It was definitely fate. And then the bandits rush. For a moment, Ammon hesitates, but with no other choice he charges the closer of the two, raising his arms to catch the downward thrust at the bandit’s wrist. Ammon pulls hard and to the side as his momentum carries both of them to the ground. The bandit loses his sword and Ammon scrambles towards it as the second bandit closes the distance..
Dalton, following his own orders, is rushing towards the middle of the encampment, looking from side to side in hopes of spotting threats from side lanes. The flaring of the bandits’ campfire and the surrounding bloody, screaming chaos is in sight, though, and it claims his attention as he bursts into the surrounding clearing, taking stock of the situation in front of him and missing, for the moment, what he might have passed on the way.
While Myles attacks the man who had moments ago used her as a shield, Carmella is left to scream on the ground, the arrow still protruding from her upper arm. She attempts to crawl a short distance away, lest she find herself stepped on, but each movement of her injured arm draws forth a whimper. She lifts her head and looks around but all around there is fire and shadows and other screams, screams of dying men.
Sword-hilt smashes that ugly little face of the Licker, and he goes down hard, clutching his jaw and writhing in pain. Myles spits on him, then reaches down and punches him out cold, sticking his blade in the dirt to mark his victim. Then he turns his attention to the bleeding Dondarrion. “Fuck!” he breathes as he examines her arm. “Lie still. It’s almost over.”
“You!” Jonn Lannister screams at the bandit holding the log. Then he… sheathes his sword. “Put down your stick and face me like a /MAN/!” The gold in his eyes reflects off the firelight—and it makes them very nearly glow with his rage.
“You need to stay there, my lady,” Ondryn replies, a mix of worry and outrage in his countenance at her arm’s state. “Please.” And then he surges forward to join again the fight. For the first time since Dorne, for the first time in many’s memory, the somber knight is showing a naked fury that only blood will sate.
Through the gloom, another arrow swishes through the air. With a gasp and a grunt, a brigand tumbles to the ground and another rushes toward them. With lightning-quick motions, Orson looses another barb, which embeds itself in his victim’s eye. Grinning, he calls to Yonel, “That’s five for me!”
Nock, draw, loose. Nock, draw, loose. Yonel and Orson, side-by-side, let fly a rain of death, each bandit falling with two, not one arrow.
Yonel catches sight of Dalton. With quickness and smoothness, he signals Orson, nocks, and aims.
“Fire,” he says to Orson, who had done the same. Two arrows sprout from the bandit that Dalton had missed in his rush.
A yelp is heard from the bastard girl, though likely lost in the din of battle, as she is hauled to her feet by a handful of red-gold hair. The hand in question belongs to her tormentor, who quickly has assessed his odds in the growing conflict. A rusted knifepoint is shoved under her throat, nicking it slightly as Rosalind is dragged in front of the bandit, like a human shield.
Men are falling all around him now, bandits and a few knights as well, as the Iron Serpent presses onward. He steps over Carmella and the head of cleaver-wielding man coming the aid of Myles’ opponent falls on her.
And then he is facing Reyna and her captor; his face is splattered with blood, his eyes cruel with the promise of more to come.
It’s convenient when an opponent comes to you when you’re carrying the very heavy weapon. And even better when they put their sword away. Jolly lifts the log over his head and simply laughs. “I’ll put it down alright!” And with that it starts a rather heavy, lumbering caber toss, end over end journey towards the Lannister.
Still engaged by the bandit with the highly developed reflexes, Bonifer sidesteps a thrust from the man. The knight’s free hand snaps out to capture the bandit’s wrist while his sword comes down to relieve him of it.
With nothing between it and Buckwell steel, the bandit’s head goes rolling across the ground.
Reyna locks eyes with Dagur for a moment, and her hand in her skirts shifts to reveal the knife she salvaged from the dead Chett. As the man slavers over her head, she blinks once, then stabs backward with all her strength. She doesn’t do much damage, but the slender blade draws blood and better yet, distracts him enough that she can pick up her feet and drop to the ground out of his grip—and out of Dagur’s way.
At the sound of a scream, Yonel and Orson turn to see the Lady Rosalind become a shield. Yonel turns to Orson and gestures.
“Go on, I’ll find another, but I’ll still be keeping count.” he says with a grin.
Liane is a bloody bundle of silks near the fire, soaked and splattered by the blood of her captor and engaged primarily with keeping her arm supported and being as invisible as she can. Her efforts are vastly aided by Ser Ondryn, who stays at her side, weaving a circle of death with any bandits who venture near.
The man who has lost himself a Dondarrion prize has his head snapped back from Myles’ attack, but after a moment of being stunned he growls like a rabid animal and dives at the Hightower. “No fuckin’ knight is gonna send me to the Seven Hells,” he snarls. He holds no weapon on his person, the dagger has gone missing, but he looks to attack Myles’ throat with his bare hands.
Ammon’s hand closes over the sword’s hilt. Success! He rolls to his back and swings wildly, not knowing where the approaching bandit is, apparently not caring. Consequently, he hits nothing. The bandit smiles, showing his crooked teeth and salivating. He brings his sword down in a heavy, overhand arch. Using the salvaged sword, Ammon raises it in a parry.
It’s not a very good sword, to be sure. Notched. Rusty. And it shatters under the impact of the bandit’s attack. But it does the job, and Ammon is able to roll once more to his feet, albeit unarmed again.
Turning to aide Rosalind, Orson slings his longbow unceremoniously on his back, and draws a longsword from his belt. He hurries toward his charge with cries of “Stormlands!”, jumping over dead bandits. Drawing his blade back, he thrusts it through the bandits face. Blood runs everywhere, spattering his armour.
Myles is caught off guard, and he is thrown away from the injured girl with a bandit on his back. No matter, she has a new friend to play with anyway. Myles, however, has a more pressing issue to deal with, like the hands around his neck. He sends a mailed fist blindly over hid head, searching for the bandits face with desperation.
Rosalind’s captor cruelly yanks her head back by the hair, cutting her with the knife enough to draw a bead of blood. He snarls at the attacking Stormlander, “You jus’ stay back now, or I cuts her throat!”
Yonel catches Ser Ammon engaged with another of the filthy scum. His hand draws back and notches an arrow on his string. He moves behind the bandit in the midst of the chaos. With a quick prayer to the Warrior again, he pulls back, steadies his aim and looses. However, a piece of a shattering sword, disrupts his release, the arrow merely catches the brigand at the back of his right leg. With a curse, Yonel slings the bow and rushes forward to finish the job.
The sound of a falling body behind Dalton whips his head around, and the corpse behind him sprouting arrows earns a wary nod. Forward again, toward the bandit riding Myles’ back. He gauges the arc, and lifts the sword in an overhand swing for the man’s shoulder. No time for art, just getting him to let go will suffice.
The Lannister turns to the side, and the log flies wide of him by a good half foot. “You missed,” he snarls, jerking his sword back out of its sheath with a ring of steel on leather.
The licking bandit fights dirty, using whatever her can to fight off Myles. There’s kicking and some biting if he can get his dirty teeth against Myles’s flesh. The insults continue as well, a spew of curses that become little more than shouts as the fight continues.
Carmella lets out another scream she finds a head on her and forgetting the pain for a moment she scrambles away, leaving it in the mud to hopefully get trampled. Yelps of pain drop from her tongue as she presses herself up against another shack, hoping to become invisible.
Orson comes to a halt, sticking the blade into the ground, as he pulls his longbow again, notching an arrow. His jaw set, he draws and looses. A last look of fear crosses the bandit’s face as he crashes backward on the ground, with an arrow sprouting from his cheekbone. Yanking his longsword again, he strides over to Rosalind and hands the blade to her, “Here. You might need it.”
With a sigh and a nod to his savior, Ammon moves away from the hobbled bandit. As he passes the bandit he disarmed and dragged to the ground his leg raises and comes down hard on the bandit’s head: once, twice, three times. The bandit stops moving. He retrieves his own sword. His trusty sword. A sword that will not break….
....and barely has time to raise it to ward off the next attack: another vicious overhand slash by yet another kidnapper.
And that is the end of the axe-wielding bandit.
The ironman is moving even as Reyna stabs the man. In his haste to reach her before another bandit can, he does not bother with a parry; his foe recovers with a howl of rage and swings at him. The axe peels a strip of leather from his chest and then his sword is through the bandit’s heart and he is past, swinging his wife behind him and whirling to face the fight.
“Are there more?”
There is no time to say anything else; he is not breathing hard but his voice is rough with battle-fever.
Yonel pulls the ornate dagger from under his armor while he sprints to the wounded criminal. Nearly soundlessly, he jumps on the man’s back and pulls the dagger along his throat. The only sound from the bandit is a gurgle of surprise as Yonel turns to Ammon.
“Well, that was messy.” he says almost cheerfully, “that is one more that I must tell Orson about.” With that, Yonel turns and takes off for more of the fighting.
Free of his opponent, Bonifer looks about to get his bearings, and sees Ser Myles in distress. With another running start, he flies across the ground between himself and the struggling pair.
“WHORESON” accompanied by a vicious kick to the man ribs, followed by the sound of cracking bones sends the man to the ground.
Quite pale against her freckles and splattered with the blood of her tormentor, Rosalind mutely accepts the sword given to her by Ser Orson, though it is obviously too large and heavy for her small frame. As it is, she holds onto it, still reeling from the clout to her head and the throbbing pain in her leg. The Lannister bastard, it would seem, has not been having a good day.
Standing his ground at Rosalind’s side, he looses arrows at approaching brigands, and they tumble and crash in the dirt, arrows sticking out from their faces or chests. Looking around to find Yonel, he cries out, grinning, “Twenty! Twenty-one!”
The rage rises up within Myles from the Seven know where, but it seems the knight reviled in Dorne is quite angry now, especially as rotted teeth search for purchase on his flesh. Suddenly the bandit is off of his back, however—attacked from two ways by two different saviors—and Ser Myles now has the upper hand. He throws himself at the bandit, pummeling his face with a mailed fist, and he shows no sign of letting up until the man is out cold and his howl of rage is exhausted. A pool of blood seeps from under the man on the muddy ground.
“You touched my wife,” the Lannister, lashing out with a flick of his wrist. A line of red appears upon the man’s left cheek. “You probably looked down her bodice,” another flick, a line on the right.
“YOU STRUCK HER!” he roars, tossing the sword to the other hand and turning in a complete circle before decapitating the bandit with a vicious backhand cut.
The head falls sidewise and rolls into the fire. Sizzling.
Perhaps the smell of burning flesh will wake up the Lannister’s dozing wife? One would hope so.
The now unjolly one charges forward, intending to meet the man in a full on wrestling match. But then - well, then there’s steel. He thought this was going to be a mano a mano thing…
Ever so groggily, Kellyn starts to sit up. She doesn’t move far, though, as the entire scene seems to spin before her eyes. After all, people don’t just throw perfectly good heads in to fires do they?
There - Jonn has made the death happen. And then - the caberlike log that was just tossed? It manages to fall backwards towards the poor Lion’s blonde head.
“Just…these,” Reyna gasps, reeling around dazedly. She stares wide-eyed as Jonn beheads his opponent, and turns with a cry to bury her face against Dagur’s back as if by not seeing it, it’s not all happening. Clearly, the Rose is at the end of her tether.
Muttering, Myles stops his assault and stands, breathing hard. “And stay down, you fucking son of a whore!” He trudges back over to the Dondarrion. “Say something, young lady.”
The log hits Jonn on the head and he curses, “Seven fucking hells!” With no other outlet for his violence, he impales the headless corpse with nearly the whole of his blade, riveting it to the ground. He twists once, still angry that the log hit him. The right leg gives an involuntary jerk, and Black Jonn kicks the body one last time.
Then, “Kellyn?” he inquires softly, dropping to his knees and looking critically at his wife.
A blink. Then, “Not twenty, no.” Rosalind speaks in a soft, slightly distracted tone. Someone’s neurons started firing again. Then she looks over at the Stormlander knight, blinking again. She shakes her head again, trying to focus, but the sound of her friend, Kellyn’s, name being called by a very familiar voice appears to penetrate the fuge caused by the vicious blow. “Kellyn?”
Carmella looks up at the approaching figure with eyes wide in fear. With the firelight behind him it makes it difficult for her to make out Myles at first but when she does there’s a look of relief in her face. “It .... it hurt,” she says in a choked sob, gingerly cradling her arm.
Liane remains where she is, curled up in a tight little ball. Only when it seems all the bandits are taken care of does Ondryn come down from his rage, turning to find Liane’s blood-spattered form there by the fire. The Bar Emmon knight moves to kneel next to her, hovering solicitously and murmuring something reassuring. When Liane looks up, she’s white with pain, and a little bit green and groggy, gaze scanning the area for the other women.
Yonel stops and looks around, his liquid eyes shimmering with the glint of steel off fire. All around him, the fighting has died down. Men lay groaning and some lay silent. He can still hear the sound of fighting deeper in the shacks.
With a sigh, Yonel begins to pray. A prayer to the Seven, over each of the fallen. A glint of fire and the dagger pierces the dying bandit’s throat. He moves to the next man and begins the prayer anew. A glint of fire, a new prayer, a glint of fire, another prayer.
The battle over, Orson tucks his longbow back under his cloak. His fingers reach for the quiver. “Almost out of arrows,” he mused. The he notices Rosalind and hurries to support her, letting the longsword clatter to the ground. “Are you alright, my lady?” he says, examining her eyes.
“I’m here somewhere,” Kellyn half mutters, half speaks. The seawater did a number on her throat. But she’s clearly not entirely there as blood mixes with the reddish tones of her hair. The woozy woman doesn’t bother with trying to get to her feet. Lying there seems particularly like a good idea. The unfortunate scent sees her limply turning her head away from the fire, though. “No breakfast fer me.”
Myles kneels. “Easy,” he says, looking at the wound. “You’re going to be fine, I think, one a Maester sees to you. Where is that damned Giles?”
He deftly reaches down and grabs the severed head still lying nearby, nonchalantly tossing it away as though it were a piece of wood.
Ammon circles his opponent, blades ringing. Sparks flying. And the squire’s expression changes. Once wary, alert, anxious, it relaxes. First he calms. Then he smiles. Then he laughs, chopping away. Ammon has trained for years at swordplay, that much is obvious. And the bandit he faces? Obviously not.
The squire presses the attack, forcing the bandit back towards the fire. Their swords lock, Ammon’s smile slides up one side of his cheek. His leg slips out, between the bandit’s two and he shoves him backwards, onto his back. He steps away, sheathing his sword. “It is over,” he says to no one in particular.
Some knights did not get to experience that much of the battle and Ser Giles was one of those unfortunates. His form is slumped over by the ladies’ shack, a hard hit to the back of his head left him down and out for the battle.
“Did ... Did you kill that whoreson?” Carmella asks of Myles, caring little for the niceties of courtly manner. In case anyone’s noticed, they are far from court.
Rosalind allows herself to be supported by the Baratheon knight. “My head hurts. And my leg. But I will live. Please, Ser, help me to my cousin?” Her pupils are equal, but her tone is still uncertain, probably still seeing some stars.
Dalton nods wordlessly to Myles as he turns the tables on his attacker, then looks around again at the mess of the dead, dying, merely wounded, and reuniting. Panting, breathless, he moves among them, assessing but not disrupting. He nods to Rosalind as he passes her and Orson, then moves towards Dagur and Reyna, waiting for an opening to ask the question on his mind.
With his chest heaving, and blood already drying all over him, Bonifer casts about for someone else to tangle with. Eventually his sword begins to drift slowly downward until the tip of the blade rests in the ground.
He lifts a shaky hand to his face, smearing blood and sweat as the adrenaline leaves him. Then, as if remembering how he came to be here, he begins looking frantically about.
“Elyn!” he shouts, to no one and everyone, “Elyn?!”
“I saw you with the chicken bone,” Jonn Lannister says quietly to his nearly insensate wife, putting his arms beneath her form and picking her up. “A nice ploy, but if it were me, you probably would’ve boned an artery.”
Then, “Rosa,” he says, turning with Kellyn in his arms to face his cousin. “How badly are you injured?” he asks somberly, unable to get a good look at her from his current vantage point.
“She left.” Liane looks up from Ondryn’s attentions, cradling her arm against her chest and trying to keep him from looking at it. “Elyn and Marian went into the woods to try to find a road or someone else to send a message.”
Myles stares at Carmella for a second, and then lets out a laugh. “He won’t trouble you any more. And that sort of language is not for young ladies.”
He glances ‘round, his face showing frustration as he yells at a sailor to run and fetch some bandages and such.
As Yonel gives the bandits the peace they do not deserve, he gives comforting words to those allies wounded and dying. The ornate dagger, glints of fire… the peace of death.
With a vindictive glance at Jonn, Orson gently carries Rosalind over to him.
Kellyn groans as she is swung about. Her head does a bit of dangling. “Why is the up down?” But she doesn’t have too much to say. At some point, Jonn might notice the blood on the back of her head. But for the moment, she’s mostly just being a bit of a rag doll outside the occasional commentary. “What did you do with a bone?”
Carmella doesn’t bother to blush, or if she does it can’t be seen beneath the dirt covering her cheeks. “There’s a lot here not ... not for young ladies,” she tells the Hightower knight as she slumps back against the shack. The head a few feet away, the one that had landed on her, is proof enough of that. “Can I sleep now?” she murmurs as her lids start to grow heavy.
The battle is done and all that remains is its aftermath, as dire as any hells a septon ever warned of. Blood soaks into the ground, churning the dirt into thick mud; bodies are strewn everywhere, many missing heads and limbs. The sickly smell of roasting human flesh fills the clearing.
But the Iron Serpent does not relax yet; an arm around his wife, his sword held ready in the other, he waits for Dalton. The cold fire in his eyes may be banked but it is far from spent.
“Did any escape on your side?” he calls to the Florent heir.
Ser Bonifer looks down at the lady who addressed his open query, absently at first, as if not understanding. Then his eyes focus.
“Son of a. . .” he utters, then drops his sword to the ground. His hands rise up to grip shadowy locks of hair, “DAMMIT!”
His grip tightens until his scalp threatens to part with his skull, “FUCK!”
The bandit Ammon was facing, half a boy really, looks ready for flight. Or fight. Until a glance around the village tells him of the futileness of such an act. He tosses his sword away and begins to sob, begging for mercy. The squire watches in disgust for a moment, before calling out: “Have we any rope?” At this, the bandit succumbs to hysterics.
Dalton listens as Liane answers the question he hadn’t yet managed to ask, and turns to the Uller lady for a moment. “Is there anyone else you know is missing?” he asks, matter-of-fact, then answers Dagur. “Not a one, though we left a fair few dying between hovels. I’m sure you understand.”
“No, Carmella, don’t sleep…” Reyna calls, without moving from where she is. She barely raises her head enough to speak without muffling her voice against her husband’s armor. “Don’t sleep…”
Then, in a far smaller voice and addressed upward to Dagur: “Is it over?”
Yonel looks up from his prayer. He smiles and yells, ” Why? Did you want to keep him as a pet?” He laughs and returns to his ominous duty, and finishes with another glint of fire.
“I took a gash to my leg from the rocks. It wants for clean bandages.” Rosalind replies to her cousin, when she is close enough to speak to him. “And my jaw hurts, but I will be all right. Kellyn? Kel, are you all right?”
Liane looks sympathetically to Bonifer, then shakes her head to Dalton. “No,” she answers. “Not that I can think of.” She still sounds a little shocked herself, though she’s struggling for something to keep her mind off the pain. “You didn’t happen to bring a Maester, did you?” she asks hopefully, Ondryn hovering protectively at her side again, trying to get a look at the arm she keeps against her chest.
Striding back to where he left his longsword, he picks it up and sheaths it, blood staining his hands. Glancing about, he sees Yonel praying with the dagger in hand. He calls out, “Yonel, stop praying for the bloody bastards. Let them burn in seven hells for what they did.” He beckons Yonel to him.
“No!” Myles snaps, perhaps a bit forceful. His tone softens as he repeats, “No. That’s probably not wise, my dear.”
Just then, a sailor runs over with bandages and dressings and other such medical things that it’s really not in Myles’ province to care about. “You know how to use these?” Myles asks, pointing at the stuff. The crewman nods.
“Then do her up as best you can so we can get her to a Maester. Carmella, stay awake.”
“No,” Ammon says in disgust. “I want him as a prisoner. There may be more of them somewhere. Other bands.” His icy gaze remains fixed on Yonel. “Stop killing them. Let them suffer.”
The three crewmen from the Warrior’s Sword show up, now that the coast is clear. The move from one lady to the next, with the offer of food and fresh water. Bandages are spared only for those who need them, as there are not enough to go around.
“She has been concussed,” the Lannister says, commander of many battles. “I’m taking her over there,” he gestures with a thrust of his chin toward where Carmella and the others are. “
He turns from her then, his beard shot through with blood and guts.
The brilliant response Kellyn has for how she is? “‘m sleepy.” Yes, there are definitely two for the concussed pile now. Blood, guts, and flecks of chicken - that’s what seems to be decorating the Lannisters at the moment.
At his squire’s question, the ironman looks across the clearing and calls back curtly: “Kill him. Myles has a prisoner.”
He glances down at his wife and his arm tightens around her shoulders: “It is. Are you hurt?” There is a different tension in his voice now; he glances at Dalton: “Who is missing?”
Yonel stands and wipes the dagger on his already blood soaked trousers. He takes a moment to find Orson, and smiles. With a quick merry chuckle to Ammon, he steps lively toward his partner for most of the battle.
“What’s your count you Rouge?” He yells to the Baratheon.
Carmella blinks slowly, her eyelids are like heavy weights and she’s just too weak to hold them up. Her head falls towards her injured shoulder and the jolt is enough to remind her of the pain. It also helps to wake her up. “Alright,” she says slowly, her tongue as heavy as her eyelids, but she does as Ser Myles tells her.
When Liane holds out her arm for one of the sailors, Ondryn looks as though he might fall into another rage. Liane looks green. She knows what’s going to have to be done about that broken, twisted arm.
“Promise me you’ll stay awake,” Myles says, pressing the issue. “If you promise me that you’ll stay awake, I’ll make that man suffer a hundred times worse than you did before I kill him. Would that make you happy?”
“Elyn Ryswell and Marian Stark, apparently,” is Dalton’s answer to Dagur. “They managed to escape…when, milady?”, he asks Liane, turning around again.
A thoughtful expression passes over his face. “About five or six, I should think.” “Though ostensibly, I felled twenty-one,” he adds, grinning. He shakes Yonel’s hand and nods, “Partner.”
“Nothing that won’t mend,” Reyna says, her voice a little stronger as she hazards to open her eyes. “Marian Stark and Elyn Ryswell ran away last night. They were… afraid of staying.”
She looks around at the carnage, and swallows hard on a hoarse throat. “Your timing is impeccable, my lord,” she says, clearing her throat.
Rosalind’s brow furrows in concern, “Should I..” but she doesn’t complete her question, watching her cousin and his wife pensively until one of the sailors bring her clean bandages for her leg.
“No,” the Lannister says harshly to his wife, reaching his spot a little to the side of Carmella. “Stay awake,” he commands her as best he is able—which is not good, considering his voice is filled with worry. He places her down gently on her backside, ensuring that she is braced. “Carmella,” he says then to his wife’s new bedmate, “you two must stay awake. Together.”
Orson ponders, “Maybe we should ride after the two.” He shrugs. “Who knows, they might run into some more bandits. The wood is full of them.”
Only after a moment allowed for panic and intense frustration does Bonifer compose himself. He paces while drawing deep breaths before looking to Liane, “Yes, my lady. When, and where to?”
His tone is a little more intense than he intended, and he knows it. More softly, he says, “This is very important to me.”
“He is half a boy, ser,” Ammon says to ser Dagur. “And he yielded. I will not kill him.” He studies the bandit youth for a moment, considering and then gazes towards the east. “My father is Lord of these lands. In name only, I fear.”
At Orson’s boast, the squire shakes his head and rolls his eyes. “There were four and twenty, ser. Your count is off.”
Carmella looks up at Myles again as if seeing him for the first time. “I ... I thought he was dead,” she says in a voice that would be more forceful is she wasn’t in her current state. She lets out a long tired sigh and then nods slowly. “See him ... see him suffer before ...the Stranger takes him,” she finally says in a low voice touched with a hint of venom.
More shapes and shadows have Carmella turning her head and wincing again. She looks over at Kellyn first and then up at Jonn, confused. “You weren’t here before,” she says to the Lannister knight before she looks to Kellyn again. “Yes, stay awake,” she tells the woman without knowing why.
“You wake up, ‘mella,” Kellyn mumbles. And so on through the night.
Yonel grins. “Hmmm… I do believe we have the same count. Though, there were a couple that were probably mine.” He shakes the man’s hand in return.
Yonel turns to the squire and chuckles, “Well, it seems you can’t count, my fellow hunter,” he says to Orson over his shoulder, “But it does seem that he has taken a liking to that young bandit.” To Ammon he says, ” You can parade him around on a leash and teach him to sit and stay and fetch. It will be great fun!” At his own joke, Yonel laughs uproariously.
“You mean the King’s Warden hasn’t cleared out the Kingswood?” Myles calls out in a cruel tone, apparently having heard Orson’s suggestion. “I suppose that was expecting too much.”
He shakes his head to Carmella. “No, not dead. I must question him first. But he will. I swear it to you, but you have to keep your end of the bargain.”
That being said, he stands and eyes everyone balefully. “Which fucking genius was shooting arrows into a melee?”
“Twilight yesterday,” Liane answers the men, looking away from the sailor. “They figured it would be better to leave now and take their chances than remain here and wait for an almost /certain/ encounter with-” Her words are cut short by a scream as the sailor takes advantage of her distracted to get the bone back in order. For a moment, she just pants, trembling, and Ondryn shoots a murderous glare at the sailor.
At the vulgar question, Yonel spins on his heel and shouts out, “Well, I was Ser! And I promise you that some are very grateful.” He eyes Dalton and Ammon smoothly.
Orson glares at Myles. “That idiot would be me, ser. Though I would expect you to be grateful none of them hit -you-.” He rolls his eyes.
But the ironman bites off the question with, “Later.” He studies Reyna’s face for a long moment as if to confirm her answer before nodding; the brutal set of his face eases somewhat, if not much. “Half the men to go with Ser Bonifer to find them,” he says briefly to Dalton before glancing across the clearing again. He stares at his squire and the prisoner as if forgetting what the matter is, then calls out, “Smiler.”
The scarred Reaver steps towards the weeping youth, a blade glinting in his hand.
The Lannister looks with concern upon his wife, and also upon Carmella. “Pretend I shot you,” he says without humor. “That should keep you awake long enough for the maester to fix you up.”
Then he stands and stares angrily at Orson. He lets Myles handle the other—
“Didn’t miss her this time, did you, you fucking ingrate?”
Rosalind tends to her own wound, carefully cleaning and bandaging it. She seems to sort of pull back into herself, quiet.
Glancing disdainfully at Jonn, he shrugged. “That was none of -my- doing.”
Again he rounds on Yonel. His usually friendly nature is anything but. “Yes, a pet. That is what I want. And while I am grateful for your help, I’d be dead without it to be sure, I’m sure the lady Carmella is anything but. Now, I ask again. Have we any rope?”
The Smiler approaches. “No,” he says, standing before the prisoner.
“I promise you that some are very grateful,” Myles says in an obviously mocking tone. “Tell that to HER, you fucking twit! I’m sure she’d love to thank you for saving from being deflowered by scum so that she could be shot by some unlanded knight with his first fucking bow!”
He points at Carmella, livid. “I ask, which of you fools shot someone we came out here to save?!”
Dalton nods to Reyna and Dagur, then, his report made, and moves off to leave them to their recovery. He meets Yonel’s gaze, and nods slightly, before answering. “Incorrect, Yonel. While I thank you for your intervention, that’s not even close to what Ser Myles was referring to. Someone sneaking up on me from a side street is about as far from a melee as one can get.” At Orson’s interjection, he turns to the Baratheon, wordless at first. “You, on the other hand…I _did_ mention the proper use for arrows in this sort of situation. I don’t believe shooting into melee was anywhere on it.”
Carmella looks up at Jonn again and her lips pull into a lazy smile. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” An obvious jest, a return to familiar territory as japes are sent between the two once again. She looks again to Myles and nods to him, though it looks as if she might not live up to her promise. All had been relatively quiet, so when Liane’s scream sounds she sits upright, eyes very wide as she looks for the source of the sound. Perhaps she might stay awake after all.
With the Serpent’s mention of men to aide him in his obviously intended search, Ser Bonifer has time to look to the argument brewing between those in the middle of the aftermath, though it’s obvious where his thoughts reside.
He steps away from Lady Liane, leaving her to Ser Ondryn. He comes to rest beside Myles.
Reyna reaches up a hand to touch Dagur’s face, blood notwithstanding. “No, Dagur. Not a single one of us,” she says firmly, making it an issue -now-. She leaves it at that, and while Dagur tends his own business, speaks her own.
“Ser Bonifer, she was well and whole when she left. She had her wits about her, and was of great help to us. And I believe they went west. They spoke of going west.”
Orson stares at Myles, unimpressed by his vulgarity. “I suggest you’d examine the fletching, before you fling accusations. Are they black and gold? If not, you should take your words back.”
Liane presses her lips together, white-faced, as the arm is braced. With the questions being taken care of, she simply leans back against the hovering Ondryn, shaking, but relatively whole.
Green eyes flick to the Rose, and the Buckwell knight does his best to look appreciative, although words seem to have escaped him for now.
Rosalind finishes wrapping her leg, in a practiced fashion. She looks around her at the harsh words and accusations flying and, if anything, her pallor worsens. She clasps her hands together to stop the trembling, as though the frightening happenings of the last few days have suddenly snowballed, punctuated by the anger of their rescuers. Rosa is a level-headed girl, not prone to hysterics, but it seems all she can do to keep from bursting into tears.
“You!” Myles says, wheeling on Orson now. “Weren’t you the one who shot at her in the Yard the other day? How did you even win your spurs?”
Orson shrugged. “Unhorsing Ser Tristan Fell. Just how is this relevant in our situation?”
Yonel pulls an arrow from his quiver. His eyes are ablaze like liquid fire. His jaw is set and the scar on his temple flares in the fire light. With a quick motion, Yonel nocks, pulls and releases on a stump a short distance away from Jonn.
In a disgusted and vicious voice, he spits, “Look closely at that arrow, Ser. It’s fletching from the Great Horned Owl of the Rainwood. If that arrow is the one that pierced that beauty than, I shall never live it down.”
“If you do that again,” Jonn Lannister says matter-of-factly, “I will twist your head off and make you kiss your own ass.”
“I don’t care who shot her,” he pronounces then, plucking the arrow lightly from the ground. “The fact is, you were shooting arrows at the backs of your comrades. By rights, we should flog both of you.”
“By rights, your cousin Rosalind may well be dead now if it wasn’t for our arrows,” Orson retorted.
Myles stalks over to Carmella and gingerly kneels down to examine the fletching in the firelight. “Owl feathers!” he says, and turns his burning gaze on Yonel.
Carmella watches Myles through half-lidded eyes, she even gives him a little smile as he kneels down. “Are we going home n…” But Myles’ shout masks her question and she draws back in a wince at the loudness of it. Confused and tired she looks over at Kellyn. “Kellyn, wake up. Please don’t sleep, I don’t need your husband mad at me again,” she murmurs, nudging the woman until Kel is muttering a response back to her.
Yonel’s face drains of all color. The fire in his eyes turn to a dull glaze. Almost as if in a dream, Yonel moves between the eyes of hate to kneel on both knees in front of Carmella. He bows his head and pulls the dagger from it’s sheath.
“Forgive me, my Lady. If you will it, I shall take my life for your grievous injury and my incredible negligence.” he says as he holds the dagger point to his heart.
Taking the situation into perspective, Ser Bonifer speaks up, loud and clear, “Our first priority right now is to see these women home. It’s why we came out here in the first place, right?”
“So let’s get them home and then worry about what to do with that one. . .” he says, indicating the Owl archer.
Unease crosses Ammon’s features as the Smiler approaches. The squire wipes sweat from his brow, retreats a step and curses. A quick glance towards the infighting brings another curse. And then his sword is once again in hand. With a curse, the squire turns towards the bandit youth, kicks him onto his back, and drives the sword home. It is not a killing stroke, a belly wound, and the boy will be a long time dying.
“Enough!” roars the squire as he once again approaches the group. “It was an accident! Grievous, yes, but an accident, and the lady Carmella will recover.” He stalks towards Yonel, intent on slapping the dagger away from his chest.
Dalton stands, impassively eyeing the pair for a moment while the others rage, then shaking his head. “It is a question of judgment. You have seen - hells, done - both the right ways and the wrong ways of an archer tonight. As long as you learn which is which, no one needs to fall on their swords tonight.” And with that, he moves off towards Rosalind as she shivers at the edge of the crowd. “Master, heal thyself?”, he asks. “Are you well?”
Yonel’s quick reflexes move to grab the boy’s hand and shove it away. A dangerous glint in his eyes.
“But we don’t have all of the women with us. In fact, I intend to find out which direction they took off in. You,” he says, eyeing Yonel, “my second will call on you soon to make an appointment, after we return.”
Myles walks over and grabs the injured, but still breathing bandit by the hair and drags him towards a hut. “No one disturb me for at least an hour.”
And he drags the man away to his fate.
Carmella turns her head back from Kellyn to look at the Stormlander in front of her. “Why is there more killing?” she asks, her words slurring a little. “No more blood,” she says as her head lolls back towards Kellyn. “Right Kellyn, no more ... stay awake Kellyn, you promised!”
The Lannister stares at Orson for a moment, and then barks out a laugh. He shakes his head bloodstained head. “It’s no wonder Sarmion’s half-mad, with knights like you two flocking to his banner.”
He jams the arrow back into the ground, and turns away with disgust.
Rosalind looks to the Florent lord gratefully, as his presence distracts her from the worsening conflict. “I want to go.” She murmurs to Dalton, a soft tone, barely audible. “Please, can we go?”
Yonel turns to the Hightower and with a steely look says, “I do not answer to you, Ser.” All geniality has left his usual boisterous voice.
The young man cracks his first smile as Yonel catches his wrist. And Ammon says “I am no boy, ser. I am two and twenty and I would thank you to release me.” He lowers his voice, whispering to Yonel under his breath. “Do nothing rash, ser. Their blood is up. It was an accident.”
Another barking laugh from the Lannister:
“A true knight does not refuse a duel.”
This spoken wryly, with no small amount of self-deprecating irony. The familiar glint has returned to his eye, as it often does after killing has been done.
He turns back to the Lady Dondarrion, ignoring Ammon. “When you come to your full health, seek me out and I shall ask you once again, my lady.” With that, Yonel turns away and stocks into the forest, his face hard.
“I don’t see any knight flocking to yours though.. Maybe a flock of birds to shit on that golden lion,” Orson says angrily.
Crossing his arms, Ser Bonifer looks down on the implicated archer, “You may not answer to him, but I sure as hell wouldn’t tempt fate.”
“We can go,” Dalton confirms to Rosalind. “There will be some looking for your missing friends, but the rest of us will be taking you back.” He looks around for those making ready to return to the ships, then offers an arm for Rosa to lean on if need be, and escorts her towards them.
“I was commander of my father’s army in Dorne,” the Lannister informs Orson with a mocking smile. “Ten thousand swords, probably more. I’m no maester to be counting higher than that.”
“Thank you, Ser.” Rosalind says quietly, accepting Dalton’s arm for an escort. She does have problems bearing full weight on her left leg, but manages.
A chuckle from the squire at Jonn’s comment, a shake of the head, and he is quickly before Dagur and Reyna. “You are well, lady Reyna?” he asks. His tone is icy, though the concern seems genuine.
Orson snorts arrogantly. “I don’t see any of them now, though. Whatever happened to them, I should wonder…”
Carmella watches the Storm knight depart but her face betrays no understanding of what was said. She wears a silly little smile that has no reason to be and she tries to sit up a little straighter. “My septa is going to be so furious, I ruined this lovely dress,” she tells Kellyn as she picks at the dirty yellow fabric with the hand of her uninjured arm. “You’re lucky, you have no septa.”
“Returned to their families, I expect,” the Lannister says dismissively. He may yet leap upon the smaller man and savage him, but he withholds his temper for the nonce.
“Dead or alive?” Orson scowled at the Lannister. “Next time there’s a rescue mission, I’ll just go by myself. And maybe Yonel, if he cares to join.” He spits and stalks away into the forest.
Looking up from where she has dropped down near Carmella, Reyna nods at Ammon. “I’m well enough,” she replies, her manner a bit stunned. “And you? Are you well?”
Rosalind walks toward the ships on Ser Dalton’s arm, needing his support to steady her steps. Gratefully, she puts the conflict behind her.
The Lannister watches Orson walk away, eyes narrowed.
Then he returns to his wife’s side, and sits down beside her, staring with worry alternatively at her face and growing stomach. “I never should have let her come,” he mutters to himself, his eyes closed.
Wiping his sword with a rag taken from some fallen bandit, the Iron Serpent returns from the ordering of the company that is to accompany the Buckwell knight. Tossing the bloody scrap aside, he sheathes the blade and glances after the departing archers. “Those two for later,” he grunts before glancing at the fallen bandit youth by the fire; he looks at Ammon, then, with a succinct, “Good.”
He crouches beside his wife and Carmella: “Rest. We will be here while the wounded are tended to, then back to the ship.”
Ammon’s answer to the lady is a nod, short and to the point. His attention turns towards Dagur. “Ser, with your leave, I’d like to return to Stonedance. For a fortnight at most.” He pauses, breathes and looks away towards the east. “These are my father’s lands. He should be told of this.”
Reyna’s eyes grow big as Dagur speaks, and she begins shaking her head wildly. “No, no no no nononoooooooo, not a ship again, please, Dagur, no ship, no ship….” And so passes the last shred of her composure, flung into the blood and mud as she clings to Dagur’s shoulders.
Ghastly screams can be heard coming from the hovel, often followed by the sound of someone yelling “Shut up!” only to be replaced by yet more screaming.
“Once we are back at the ships, Ammon,” the ironman nods. “Ask your father to send patrols if he can spare the men. That whoreson Baratheon is as useless as he is mad.” The cold anger in his voice is contained now, but no less vicious for it.
Whatever he means to say next is lost as his wife loses her composure; he tries to calm her but in the end when nothing succeeds, he shakes her—if gently—and repeats: “No ship. We will ride back, Reyna. No ship.”
A final scream resounds from the hovel. “Fuck! He died on me!”
As Jonn sees to Kellyn another knight approaches the injured Dondarrion and gently attempts to move her without making the injury any worse than it already is. Carmella looks up at him, wincing a couple of times as she’s jostled, but otherwise doesn’t offer much of a fight as he helps to see her back to the ship.
“Very well, ser,” says Ammon and, with a sympathetic look at Reyna he continues, “If you will excuse me.” Backing away, he moves off to tend to his minor wounds.
Shaking as well as shaken, Reyna subsides, swallowing hard and nodding, clearly trying to just breathe. “I…” she begins, then inhales deeply and tries again. “I killed him. That man there.” And she points to where Chett lies on his back, staring at the sky. “Do… d-d-do you need to get the d-d-dart back?” She leans closer and whispers something in the ironman’s ear.
Myles emerges from the hut and wipes a bloody hand off on a torn piece of shirt, looking ‘round. “Ser Bonifer, we go west.”
And without another word, he walks into -another- hut to sleep.
“Leave it alone. I’ll get another one made.” The ironman barely bothers to glance at the fallen man; when Reyna whispers to him, he laughs sharply. There is no amusement in it at all but it is a strange enough sound in this place to attract glances. It dies quickly enough: “Better a dozen like him than you.”
He glances around as men begin to toss the bodies in a heap: “Come, best get inside. We will need to leave in the morning and you cannot ride like this.”
Reyna rises shakily, still nodding. “I’ll be alright tomorrow,” she says as she points toward an empty shack. “You… won’t be long out here?”
“No longer than I need to be.” The Iron Serpent walks with Reyna to the shack, supporting her, then turns, searches through the milling men—and beckons, strangely, enough, the scarred, murderous-seeming Reaver.
“Smiler will wait with you until I return.”
Stranger still, Reyna looks comforted by the Smiler’s familiar presence. “Alright,” is all she says, ducking into the shack and away from the carnage, leaving the blood and bodies to the men whose job it is to dispose of them.