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Sites of Interest
This log features roleplay that occurred before the change from Blood of Dragons 1.0 to Blood of Dragons 2.0 on 01-07-2013 in order to accommodate the new canon information from The World of Ice and Fire. Because of this, there may be details in this log that no longer apply to the current iteration of the game. For example, some characters may have been altered or even written out of the family trees and some events may have been changed. This message is displayed with all Blood of Dragons 1.0 logs and does not indicate that this particular log is certain to feature outdated details.
Riverlands: Brackens and Blackwoods: Fighting in the Ford
IC Date: Day 5 of Month 1, 164 AL. (about 12 pm)
RL Date: September 03, 2012.
Participants: Ammon Massey, Ardros Piper (NPC), Balian Blackwood (NPC), Brus Bracken (NPC), Farin Prester, Kenron Piper (NPC), Luthor Rivers, and Ryckon Westerling.
Locations: Riverlands: The Ford.
Comments: [Puppets and "(NPC)" ran by: Andry Chester, Balerion, Dermett Corbray, Elrone Darklyn, Jannia Tully, and Jyana Arryn.]

Summary: [The fight between the ever-feuding houses of Blackwood and Bracken continues, as they jump into another battle, this time at the ford. A battle that comes after the Brackens were nearly defeated at Pennytree.]

The feud continues, even despite—perhaps in part _because_—the Brackens failed to burn down Pennytree in reprisal, and were forced to depend on the likes of Tailcutter and Ryckon Westerling to help cut them out of the battle when the Blackwoods closed their claws around the reavers.

Blood remains hot on both sides, and has grown hotter with injury and loss and defeat, and there have been skirmishes all across the borders of the land now, as outriders and raiding parties have been sent from Stone Hedge and Raventree to cross the boundaries and do what damage they can in the name of honor.

And now another skirmish seems like to happen. Bloody Brus Bracken has led a force several score strong, heavy and light cavalry mixed, temper up and wanting to set some Blackwood holdings aflame… only for the troop to stop at the edge of a forest path, looking out to the ford where half a mile distant, maybe, someone spotted movement.

“What I’d give for a far-eye,” Ser Brus announces, scowling, pondering. He gestures a gauntlet covered hand and says, “Looks like they’re making for the ford ahead of us—bastards think to come onto our lands and try their worst.”

Luthor stands in his stirrups to have a better view his dark eyes scan the ford before he sinks back into his saddle. “What I wouldn’t give for a dozen archers,” the Riverlands bastard counters. “If they mean to cross then we’d best meet them at the water’s edge.” He shakes his sword loose in its scabbard as he delivers this advice and behind him those of his men who rode with him do the same.

“And godless bastards at that,” intones Ser Farin in a deep, metallic tone, from inside his helm. “Let us be quick about it then, and trap the filth in the ford.” He turns to nod at Luthor as his cousin suggests the same, and pulls about to gesture for his handful of men to follow.

There, the sound of horses chuffing at their bits echo across the water even as the Bracken commander wishes for sight, rather than sound, to give away his enemy.

The sight comes in that next instant—fifty or so mounted, formidably armored men break through the last of the scrub and trees of the forest, approaching the water’s edge with Balian Blackwood at their helm.

“We’ll cross here,” the man says to the Blackhand riding at his side, “No signs of those whoresons yet; I’ll wager they’re keeping to the bank on the other side.”

How right he is, the Blackwood commander does not seem to realize. Yet.

Like his good-nephew, hidden in the trees some distance away, Ammon Massey stands in his stirrups and considers the ford. His steel plate armor is a bit more battered than it was a few days earlier; the black paint of his shield is chipped and flaked, revealing the hewn oak beneath.

Ammon’s right arm, his good one, rests close to his ribs on that side in an unconcious attempt at protection; his shield is held close and stiffly at his left side—that arm took a nasty wound in the fighting at Pennytree.

Ammon Blackhand awaits Balian’s orders from his place beside the commander. And when that man speaks, Massey simply nods. “Best be ready, then.” His voice echoes in his great helm as he flips the visor down and draws his blade.

Then, with a kick to his horse’s flanks, the Blackwood host warily enters the swirling waters.

After the horrors he experienced on the battlefield at Pennytree, Ser Kenron looks more than a little jaded. Dressed once more in his plate armour—with more than handful of new dints and marks upon it—and his blue surcoat, Ser Kenron nods and follows his fellow knights in silence. He readies his shield—a replacement for the one that was smashed to splinters in the previous skirmish—and draws his sword, this time following the famed Ser Luthor amongst his band of riders.

Though now a knight, and proudly wearing his new, gilded spurs, Ryckon still rides with Farin and Luthor’s group out of habit, nodding to their orders, though he certainly seems to give riding with Bloody Brus some thought. But he sticks with the men who brought him where he is today as they ride to the water’s edge and attempt to ambush the Blackwoods as they cross.

“Best to stay on guard,” Ser Ardros Piper states, riding somewhat behind the two at the front. He rubs his broken nose and the scar that crosses his cheek; a bitter reminder of the skirmish at Pennytree. As such, he keeps his wits about himself this day, shield held closely to his body and the pace at which he rides is almost sluggish as the Blackwood side crosses the waters.

Readjusting his helmet and making sure that the straps of his breastplate are fastened, one hand remains on the hilt of his blade while the other grips the reins a bit more firmly.
Bloody Brus gives a grunt of acknowledgment and says, “Catching them while they cross would be sweet… but it may be more than we can manage.”

He eyes the approaching force, the banner of Raventree Hall apparent readily enough, the white weirwood and ravens on shields… and other shields, too, including the dancing maiden of Piper. He turns in the saddle, armor clinking with the motion, and looks to Ser Kenron. “Your brother again, Kenron. Best fight on the right, when we charge, and we’ll see to him.”

There’s preparation and restive anticipation among the other men-at-arms on their horses, more than one muttering a prayer, others patting their horses’ necks to soothe them.

Ser Kenron nods glumly at Bloody Brus’ words, pulling at his horse’s reins and veering him towards the right hand side of the column. By the looks of the frown on his face, Ser Kenron had momentarily forgotten about his brother’s allegiance with the Blackwoods. For the moment, however, any concerns or grievances about his brother go unspoken, knowing that that particular die has already been cast. He spits on the ground below and watches the Blackwood column from his saddle.

Some niggling prescience draws Balian’s sword from its scabbard as his company fords the river; a veteran’s awareness that in this moment, with their progress stalled just enough by fighting even this shallow current, they are vulnerable to what may lay across the water’s edge.

They splash out from the river in twos and threes. Here and there a blind hoof contends with the uneven bed beneath the river’s surface, but no manned horse fails to break across the bank.

Some moments, then, spent with manes twitching out sprays of water. Some men, dripping from where the river submerged their legs—cleaning away what might remain of the road’s dust and dirt—shake their braces free of lingering wet as best they can.

Balian, atop his barrel-chested destrier, scans the trees ahead. “Be on the ready, men. I sense eyes in these woods, and not those of the Children of the Forest.”

A nod and a grin is given to Ardros from the mute, Brutis. As the horses clop across the water, he taps the hilt of his sword, letting the Piper man know that he is ready for battle. Looking away now as Balion speaks, Brutis’ eyes scan the tree line for these invisible foes.

Farther back in the Blackwood party, Callan’s sword is drawn as he catches the sound of steel shifting in the fore of the group—as they are saying up in the front, best be prepared. Man-at-arms to the Blackwoods, he managed to escape Pennytree without the severe injuries—or death—some of his comrades suffered.

But still he eyes the woods warily as his mount finds sound footing out of the river. He frowns as the water continues to drip from his boots, but keeps his eyes on the trees and his ears with his commanders as they rise on the bank.

The fording is easy enough, true, and Ammon remains at Balian’s side—a poor substitute for the Iron Serpent perhaps, but there it is. For his part, the Blackhand pays no mind to drips of water or dust.

His eyes are on the forest; his sword gripped tightly in hand. And in response to Balian’s chatter about the Children of the Forest:“Aye, my lord. Eyes—I’ve a bad feeling about this.”

“Best to draw, Brutis,” Ardros recommends when Balian starts the whole sword drawing, eyes glancing across the field, gaze narrowing slightly. The steel of the sword slides out of its scabbard with a sharp, ringing sound, the blade kept lowered for the time being. “On your orders, cousin,” he tells Balian.

Luthor shifts in his saddle ducking his helmed head towards Bloody Brus. “As you say,” he says of not facing the Blackwoods at the ford. He scans enemy again and spots Ammon crossing the ford and frowns. “Always something,” he says and turns then to Farin and Ryckon. “If either of you cross blades with Ammon, I’d appreciate it if you’d take him captive. I’ll see you get a suitable ransom for him.”

That done he twists in his saddle and addresses his lightly armoured men. “Keep close. We’ll let the heavy horse hit first then we’ll see if we can’t hit the Blackwoods while they’re busy.”

Maybe Bloody Brus has a sense that Balian’s noticed something—the turn of a helmed head, the hitch and slow of a horse’s gait as it splashes across the ford—because he turns his own head, spits, and then lifts his hand to his visor. “That’s it. At them!” The visor slams down, the sword is whipped from the scabbard at the saddle, and he spurs his destrier forward. When it breaks into daylight, he roars, “STONE HEDGE!” And others follow behind.

Chaos!

If there is a moment during the lull before combat in which a man can compose himself, it is lost on Ammon Massey. Riders burst from the trees, riding down at the Blackwood host, and there’s nothing for it but to counter-charge.

And so Ammon Blackhand finds himself flying uphill even as the Bracken host flies down—and in the middle no less. Sword gleaming in the morning’s light, Ammon bears down on the first rider he sees.

As fate would have it, that rider is Bloody Brus Bracken. Who says the gods don’t have a sense of humor?

Eyes shift uneasily left and right as they watch the tree line intently. *CRACK* Eyes to the left, *SNAP* eyes to the right, then the loud roar of Bloody Brus, “STONE HEDGE!” and Brutis’ attention shoots forward. Heeding Ardros’ counsel he draws his blade, a hand and a half when there is a need, a hand will usually do atop a horse. He sends the Piper man a quick nod.

Whatever response Farin might have had for Luthor is swallowed back down in the moment that Brus calls the charge. Gilded spurs are set to horseflesh, and a quick “Heavy horse, it is!” is thrown out to Luthor as the Prester lordling on his great brown destrier begins the charge, down the slope and towards the ford, the looser dirt nearby the rivers getting kicked up and sizable mounds as its hooves dig in.

When finally he does reach the Blackwoods, his blackened iron morningstar is brought about and crashes down towards the first man he can find - which happens to be the mute, Brutis. “HOSTER! FOR HOSTER BRACKEN!”

Silently, Ser Kenron kicks his horse into a gallop. As the speed increases, the mysteriously mute Piper knight suddenly begins screaming and cursing, his sword raised high in the air. “FOR HOSTER BRACKEN!” he barks, rattling in the saddle as muddy, soft earth sprays up from beneath his horse’s hooves.

Attacking the Blackwood left, Ser Kenron’s horse slams into that of a man-at-arms towards the rear of the group. He brings his sword down in an arch, hard towards the man’s exposed thigh.

The veteran knight’s soothsaying proves true—the Bracken force animates in a rush and fury—

And the Blackwood’s tightly gathered host answers at the call of their commander: “FOR RAVENTREE!”

Thundering hooves split the earth, battle crys scatter birds from the trees. Balian charges ahead of his men, a glinting, growling force of a man.

His sword swings through the air with sickening precision, aiming first for the legs of some man’s mount.

That blade connects with deadly certainty, sending the unknown man careening through the air as the horse hits the ground. Balian’s trained destrier jumps and dodges that fallen mount, hastening through the press of Bracken against Blackwood as the man atop seeks his next target.

Luthor’s men are in a tight not around them when he charges thundering down the hill in the dust of the first rank. Still, Luthor’s sharp eyes make out the Piper banner on one of the flanks and he directs his men that way with the point of his sword. They thunder on for a few more seconds before with a tremendous crash they hit the Blackwood lines.

Luthor drives a shield into a man’s face and slashes at a second man before he finds himself where he wants to be, face to face with Ardros Piper. He rakes his horse with his spurs and drives forward to meet him sword raised as he shouts. “Piper!” and brings down the sword aimed at Andros’ shoulder.

Ryckon lowers his visor as battle breaks and rides down to the ford with the others, but then he sees a certain Blackwood beginning to break through the lines, and he rides for him. Mounted on his own destrier, he charges for Balian and swings a mace for his breastplate. “Balian! Do you remember me?”

Straight to the ear the Prester man’s cry rang, and up goes Brutis’ shield. *CRACK* is the sound that a morningstar makes when it meets that of a solid redwood shield. Brutis grunts at the impact and pushes back with his shield to make way for his sword to swing at Farin’s shoulder.

The Bracken forces sweep down, shouting and roaring their battle cries, and fall upon the Blackwood forces like an avalanche—and Bloody Brus Bracken is near the front, his huge horse barreling down the slope of the bank. And so he crashes into the front of the Blackwood force strung out across the water, and swings at the first man he meets!

For all that he came warily into the fight, it appears Ardros wasn’t quick enough to react to Luthor’s attack. The grasp on his shield slips momentarily when Luthor simply /hammers/ his shoulder, dislodging it with a nasty pop. The knight screams, holding flimsily the reins of his horse to turn around and chase Luthor to strike him on the flank as the Smallwood bastard finishes his first pass. One that nearly throws him off his horse, one might add.

“I’LL GET YOU, RIVERS!” He shouts, rage and pain both clearly seen on his face.

Ah, some stout fellow swings and misses, prattling some nonsense. The Blackwood knight growls a laugh through the grate of his visor. “Do you remember how to fight, boy?”

And then comes that sword, swinging it’s sharp edge for the Westerling’s mace-arm.

Though he was waiting for it, the charge and the yelling leave Callan looking wide-eyed, and the man ends up off his guard as the Piper knight slams his sword into Callan’s thigh. Callan grunts out a cry—surely if he were standing that could have felled him. But even as he groans he swings with grim determination toward Kenron, aiming for the shoulder of the man’s sword arm.

Farin’s shoulder, however, is well protected by armor, and while the sword slides down the plate and bites into mail, the force has mostly been absorbed by then. His opponent remains silent, however, and so too does Farin follow suit, the horns of his helm pointing dangerously at Brutis’ face, as the Prester knight follows his movements, and delivers a crushing blow towards Brutis’ collar.

Luthor is taken unawares by the blow to his side and falls from his horse to splash into the churning water at the river’s edge. The mail clad knight struggles in the slick mud and fast moving current before his riderless horse crashes past obscuring him in the frothing spray.

The two knights come together with a crash; Bloody’s Brus’ sword comes down, and Ammon brings his shield around to block. Too slow. Far too slow. It would seem the weariness of the battle a few days past has not yet left Ammon Blackhand—or perhaps the Bracken knight is simply more skilled.

Brus’ sword strikes Ammon’s pauldron with a crash; sparks fly and steel armor is dented. But Ammon is not defeated yet; his own sword comes arcing down toward his foe.

Ryckon is still moving when the sword hits, dissipating the force of the blow, which is not hard enough to pierce his plate armor. After Balian is past his sword arm, he turns to swing for the older man’s back. “I am no boy, I am a knight,” he proclaims, no doubt grinning under his visor. “Which is more than you can say.”

The man’s strike hits hard and fast into Ser Kenron’s shoulder, though his plate armour protects him from any serious damage. The Piper knight grimaces momentarily at the plight of Ser Luthor Rivers and roars in defiance. “FOR HOSTER BRACKEN!” he repeats in an attempt to deter any wavering Bracken soldiers, before swinging another blow towards his opponent’s neck.

Another bark of humorless laughter echoes through Balian’s helm; that boastful youth makes no connection, yet again. The Blackwood’s destrier dances away from the swing, turning so that the man mounted atop might backhand a blow towards the boy-knight.

It comes quickly, that heavy drop of the blade’s edge, in line to slice at the groove between breast and shoulder plates…

Brutis raises his shield after his hit was received by Farin. The quick exchange proved advantageous as the Prester knight’s blow was intercepted. Much as he did before, Brutis moves Farin’s morningstar away with a stiff push of his shield. Turning his wrist, he swings to cut sideways and toward the armour protecting Farin’s ribs.

The horses whicker and snap at one another, the water splashes on their hooves, men scream and yell—it’s chaos, chaos and battle and the ancient feud. Bloody Brus’s sword hammers at Ammon Blackhand, that knight of House Massey, but the warrior does not fall—and rocks Ser Brus in the saddle with his steel retort. He saws at the reins, shifts his weight, and his destrier half-dances, twisting in place just as Ser Brus’s sword lifts and slashes across in a back-handed blow for Ser Ammon’s helm.

After Luthor falls, Ardros grunts, apparently the pain he received from that shattering blow was unexpected despite the nasty pop. A glance over his shoulder to confirm his opponent isn’t, in fact, standing up or throwing things at him and then charges towards Bloody Brus, sword in hand. “Hey, boy!” He calls out to Ammon Blackhand, “I am going to help you with this. BLACKWOOD!” A flick of his wrist and the sword is angled towards the Bracken host’s leader for an overhead slash, aimed to the man’s shoulder, perhaps his back, even.

But Ammon is not too slow -this- time! Sword strikes shield; more paint is chipped. But Massey is unharmed! None would ever claim that Ammon Massey is a quick man, but he’s certainly strong. And that big, heavy, blade flashes out now, cutting horizontally toward Brus’ midsection.

A calculated lean, and Callan’s neck is clear of the blade—though he does take nick along the line of his chin that opens a thin bloody line. Using the weight of his mace to bring him back around toward the Piper with force toward the man’s ribs, Callan grimaces as a few drops of blood slide down his neck. “Fuck Hoster. RAVENTREE!” he shouts as his weapon arcs.

The blow comes, not exceptionally hard on Farin, but definitely as a surprise. Sideways blows are not usually dealt with the force applied such as it had been, and Farin finds himself grasping at his horse with his shield hand to remain mounted. The great destrier snorts its derision and turns about, affording the Prester knight an opening for a quick blow - either of opportunity, or desperation, as he holds on to his horse.

The groove is sliced, and Ryckon bleeds under his armor—but it is his left side, not his right. Thankfully the side of his weapon arm, is unaffected, and so the new knight can go on fighting. With a grunt and the swearing of, “Gods,” between his teeth, even that meant to get at the Blackwood. Again, he rides back for Balian, swinging for his chest.

“We’ll burn Raventree to the fucking ground!” Ser Kenron taunts, laughing as the man’s mace falls short of his ribcage. With the man unbalanced in his saddle, Ser Kenron raises his sword and aims a heavy blow at the man’s shoulder.

In the wild chaos of the fight, all sense of organization quickly lost in the difficult ground around the water’s edge, and it’s not helped by the fact that Bloody Brus Bracken lives up to his name, blood on his mind and little else.

And so he’s nearly cut off from all help when Ser Ardros Piper, having flattened his man, rushes in to back Ser Ammon, and now Brus is set upon from both sides. His shield takes a battering, his sword slams away a swing—and then with a roar, he’s cutting at Ser Ardros, a heavy over-hand blow aimed squire at the man’s visor.

The sword turns sideways and smacks against Brutis’ back, a grin slides up on his face shown freely through the open face of his half-helm. It is to his advantage that Farin has lost some balance. Brutis uses that opening to swing again towards the Prester knight’s shoulder.

The well-timed interception of shield between mace scathes only the black and gold paint from its surface. Engaging that arm to push off the attack leaves Balian contending with his balance before swinging his sword again.

This swing is not the one of before, sharp and slicing, but a sideways swing meant to connect the flat of his blade with the formidable weight of the boy-knight astride. There is power behind it, yes, if not the aim of a man with all his might well-placed.

Two against one: Massey and Piper against Bracken. And while Bloody Brus Bracken is distracted by the heir to Pinkmaiden, Ammon takes advantage. His sword flashes again, a nasty vertical arc toward the top of Bracken’s helm.

The blow he takes to his helm makes his ears ring, Ardros seems to sway for a moment before a hand absently checks his visor; here’s a big nasty dent there, and his cheek is sliced open, but he’s not going to leave it that easy for the Bracken. Laughing, he maneuvers his mount so that it turns only so that he might flank the man again, aiming to run the sword across Brus’ ribcage and arm at a gallop.

Farin is trapped, but his cadre of Prester men-at-arms are not far off. The mute’s blow rings out against his pauldron, digging in to the metal, but not doing much more damage to Farin than keeping his balance off. Still, the Prester knight’s skill as a mounted warrior keeps him in the saddle, as his weight is thrown into his stirrups in a more desperate attempt to stay on.

The destreier wheels about again, faster than one might expect, and there is a brief window for Farin to strike out - and he brings his morningstar crashing down

Another well-timed dodge, and the blade skims harmless off Callan’s shoulder. “Big words for a man without BALLS!” Callan heaves the mace toward gap between Kenron’s legs—aiming for both the more sensitive areas of the man as well as shooting to make the horse rear, should he connect more with the saddle than the other fleshy meat.

Grabbing onto his saddle, Ryckon manages to stay ahorse, with a grumbling grunt echoing metallically through his helm. Riding forward only a little this time, he aims his wide swing of the mace for the area of Balian’s stomach that has hopefully been exposed by his Balian’s raising of his arms for his own swing.

Some have fallen on either side, but such is the chaos that no man has a chance to yield, to seize a prisoner—it’s on the next foe, and the next. Bloody Brus is in his element, his steel armor turning away blows, his horse snapping at those coming too near as he roars his battle cry, “Stone Hedge! Stone Hedge!” The roar can be heard over the battle, echoing out of his visored helm as he dances with Blackhand and the heir to Pinkmaiden, their swings missing and his own blows raining down.

The grin is swiftly wiped from Brutis’ face as the morningstar hits with a loud *CLUNK.* A few spikes of the morningstar pierce the young bastard’s right cheek. Involuntary tears well up in his right eye as the pain spreads across his face. Every corner of his features twist up in a form of pure hate as he spits a mouth full of blood. He narrows his eyes as he takes a swing with his sword, to the ribs again if he can find the opening, a backhanded swing to the knee if he cannot.

It was his horse that saved him, churning up the sticky mud enough to pry himself free and climb onto the beast’s back. Finding himself on the far bank, the Blackwood bank, Luthor has a moment to collect himself and watch the battle unfolding in front of him. “We’re losing again,” he spits then kicks his horse towards the ford at the battle that lays on the other side.

In a battle such as this, it is difficult for one man to continue a duel with such a formidable foe. Men ride through your area and fall dead in your path and charge between you, and Ryckon and Balian become separated. Or maybe Ryckon is taking advantage of the opportunity to flee, but clearly a brave new knight would never do something like that. Separated from the Blackwood, he rides to aid Bloody Brus with a swing for Ardros Piper.

The heavy blow to his nether-region slams into Ser Kenron steel codpiece, bringing an unearthly growl from the Piper knight. Unfortunately for Callan, however, the mace becomes entangled amongst the bent and crippled steelwork of the armour, offering Ser Kenron a brief moment of advantage. Mustering what strength he can under the circumstances, Ser Kenron swings his blade at the side of Callan’s face!

The heir to Pinkmaiden is Brus’ target again, and again, Ammon attempts to take advantage. With a squeeze of his knees, Ammon maneuvers his horse to bring himself into a better position to attack Brus. And he is just in time to see a familiar squire—no, knight!—drive the heir to Pinkmaiden into the dirt.

Ammon’s blade arcs not toward Bloody Brus Bracken, but toward the helm of Ser Ryckon Westerling.

The mute’s mid body attack cuts right for Farin’s ribs, but the Prester knight takes a lesson from his uncle Ardros and deftly blocks it with his shield, as he finally recovers his place in the saddle. Wheeling about the opposite way as he has been, he attempts to turn the tide in the battle with a feint - an overhead smash with his morningstar that twists at the wrist and becomes a chest-battering motion by the end.

First comes a strike from Brus to his breastplate, and Ardros seems about ready to elicit a response to that, sword raised overhead—and then suddenly there’s like fifty pounds of mass weapon struck on his side. He falls off the horse, and as it speeds away, he gets dragged along, to a lot of shouting and curses. “FUCKING HELLS!”

Reaching for a knife at his belt, he slices his way out of the saddle. He’s going to have to catch up with his mount and ride it back to battle now. Depending on whether he can keep on fighting with so many parts of his body hurting like hell or bleeding.

“Run, boy, run!” Balian taunts with a wild laugh, even as the war dance of his destrier removes the Blackwood from reaching the newly made knight himself. That sword, its edge blood stained from that single, solid slice into the young man’s arm, swings out again as another man comes upon him.

It connects well, sending that anonymous Bracken fighter at an odd angle from his saddle—but Balian presses on, seeking out another…

There—Luthor’s visage comes into view. Another unknown target, but it matters little to the Blackwood what names these men might have. They fight for one name— and that cannot stand.

The blade skewers through the air as Balian roars mightily, thrusting for the man’s midsection.

A booming laugh is what Ser Brus gives to Ardros Piper’s fall as the new-made knight, Ser Ryckon, smashes him down. “Well done, boy!” he shouts, the dark eyes glimmering in the slitted visor, and then he joins the youth in assaulting Blackhand—no time for niceties, this, and after all, Blackhand had no compunction on joining Ser Ardros against him.

Somewhat annoyingly, Ammon seems to be poking Ryckon’s helm lightly with his sword. Westerling casts Massey a look, though it is up for interpretation what sort of look it is, Ryckon’s eyes shielded by a visor as they are, and he swings… but Ammon is already down. “Thanks, ser.”

Proper control over shield and horse can be just as deadly as the weapon itself. Brutis turns his horse sharply as Farin takes his swing, though a second too late and the morningstar would have crashed into his chest, it barely misses Brutis, though the move makes an opening to take a swing at Farin’s knee. He pulls his sword back and aims low with an upthrust of a swing.

Balian may not know Luthor but Luthor certainly knows the face of Balian Blackwood. His eyes go wide when he sees who he faces and before he knows what he’s doing his sword flicks out to turn the hilt of his foeman’s blade. A smile crosses the knight’s features, visible through his open faced helm. “I can see why a squire bested you,” he spits across their blades before he unlocks his sword from Balian’s and slashes at the opening under the man’s arm he creates.

And it would seem that that knee was where the majority of Farin’s weight was held, for as soon as that leg is relieved of pressure, the Prester knight takes a tumble…half in, half out of the saddle, but certainly not in any proper pose to fight. His shield is lost into the ford as the Prester lordling elects to keep a hand on his saddle, where his rump ought to be, instead. It will take a while before he can untangle himself and fight again.

The force of Kenron’s blow sends Callan tumbling down the muddy bank and into the waters. He lays there a moment—but he does like to breathe air, not water, and so the man pushes against the mud and the rocks to raise his head. And there is his horse, standing idly and looking at him. Judging. He mutters, and begins to drag himself toward the beast with a grim expression.

That tangle of blades may succeed in leaving Balian’s underarm available—but Luthor’s miss takes no advantage of it.

“Best this, prattling cunt,” Balian growls, using the momentum of his wheeling arc to bring that blade’s edge down again with a massive force.

The Blackwood man-at-arms despatched to the watery turf, Ser Kenron rounds his horse and surveys the skirmish, looking for a new target. His armour is even more dinted and the man is breathing heavier after the damage to his groin but he looks eager for a fight.

Turning his attention to the new made knight may not have been the wisest of courses—Brus’ blade strikes Ammon like a hammer. Massey tumbles from horseback, landing with a clatter in the dirt amongst the trampling horse hooves.

Down, but not out.

Ammon rolls quickly out of the way of the stomping steeds, coming to one knee in the dirt and mud. He still holds his sword, his eyes remain on Bloody Brus Bracken and Ryckon Westerling.

Down falls the Blackhand—but Bloody Brus has better thing to do than try to capture the knight. He shouts at Ryckon, sword sweeping in the direction of the youth’s former master—“There!”—and then he’s sweeping away, horse rushing on to the man he most wants to fight, the hated Balian Blackwood. And so he does, brushing past other men, hammering a passing blow at a Blackwood that rings his helm like a bell and makes the man reel, and then he’s trying that same blow at Blackwood.

Without an opponent for now, Ryckon, still bleeding from his left shoulder, looks around the battlefield and sees where his former master has just fallen, nodding at Brus’ direction. A sigh echoes through his helm and he rides after Brutis, swinging for his helm and casting a glance down at Farin. “I thought I was done saving you.”

With massive force does Balian strike and with massive force does Balian’s blade land. Luthor’s leather and mail is ripped open by the blow and blood stains both red. The knight bites back a scream causing more blood to paint his bottom lip. At the very least he is no longer prattling. His mind instead is on revenge, he brings his sword raised in the missed strike at Balian’s arm down again aimed at Balian’s head.

Removing his helmet as he stands up following a brief disentanglement with the river’s current and the mud, Ardros wipes a wet hand across his bloodied cheek, feeling blood drip from his already broken nose as well. There’s a dent on his side, and several on his breastplate, but he finds his horse quickly, jogging towards it with just a brief pause to collect both shield and sword off the ground after putting the piece of armor back on.

It will take awhile until he gets to remount his horse and head back into the fray, but for now, his eyes are on the battle, his jaw set. The day certainly doesn’t seem to be smiling upon the Blackwood side of this conflict.

At the fall of their man, the Prester men that accompanied Farin come rushing on by, Brutis turns away from Farin. Electing to swat down a few Bracken men instead, though that game of easy pickins’ ends swiftly as Ryckon—Farin’s former squire, now newly made knight—is in his fore-view with a deadly swing towards his head. Brutis ducks to avoid the blow, and manages that nicely, he takes a left backhanded swing to Ryckon’s back as he rides on by.

Rising slowly, but rising still, and Ammon is on his feet again. But the battle is changed, and men aren’t where they were just a moment before. So -now- there is a brief respite, as Ammon gets his bearings.

Another grumble, and Callan finally puts hand to rein, and climbs with a pained grimace back into the saddle. A quick survey of the field—and his eyes land on Balian, harried by both Brus and other knight. “Shit.” Spurs to flanks, and Callan splashes through the water toward his master.

There is no time to laugh, to growl, to spit some other insult as the Bloody Brus’ attack sweeps upon the Blackwood knight. That shield comes up and mutes the roar Balian launches from within his helm—but it stops the Bracken’s assault.

And leaves an opening that, this time, Luthor finds to his advantage. Now that visor rings not from the man’s own shout, but the crack of sword against helm—leaving a dent, and altering the next chop of Balian’s sword through the air.

That swing targets Brus, Luthor forgotten even in the aftermath of that mighty hit, and though Balian arcs his blade blindly—it’s deadly edge makes for a certain path towards his foe.

As Ryckon comes riding in, and then is unhorsed alongside Farin, the Prester knight can only grunt and pull himself back up in a long, loping swing that makes certain that his horns do not end up goring his own horse. Finally atop his destrier again and with degree of control, Farin swings about, ordering his men to cover Ryckon until he too can remount…before he scans the field for a foe.

Spotting Ser Ammon Massey—seemingly Balian’s number two on this march in the absence of the Iron Serpent—sheepishly rising from the floor, Ser Kenron sees this as an opportunity for personal glory. “MASSEY!” he roars, pointing his blade at the man, before kicking his horse into a gallop. Mud and water spray up around his horse’s hooves as he bears down upon the man, swinging his sword in an arc at his chest.

“Damn you, Blackwood, and your murdering kin!” Bloody Brus curses through gritted teeth after Balian’s blow manages to catch him under the arm as he was lifting a blow, and though the steel does not pierce the links of mail it does crush and mangle links, and beneath such a blow the flesh is sure to be bruised black and blue in time. But Bloody Brus Bracken doesn’t shy from a fight nor from an injury, and after his curse he kicks his horse forward, angling to get past Balian—and then unleashing a vicious back-handed swing in the crossing.

Now that he’s regained control of his steed, landing upon its back and startling it into a gallop, Ser Ardros charges across the battlefield to fight Luthor Rivers again, now that the other man is beset upon Balian alongside Bloody Brus. He holds his sword in front of him much like a lance for a few moments as he closes in on the foe—only to swing it wide to strike the man before making the first pass.

A half look of shock as Ryckon goes down, Brutis shrugs, no doubt he thinks it was a lucky shot and that he caught the boy off guard. He doesn’t look to see if Ryckon is alive or not, he figures someone else will finish him off. Instead, he goes back to his task before he was interrupted by the Westerling knight, slashing at a few straggling Bracken men on the outskirts of the battle.

Splashing hooves rise onto the mud. Callan takes one last moment to shake the water from his face before dropping his helm. Teeth clenched, he aims for Brus Bracken himself in defense of his master, and slams his mace toward the sword arm of that figure. “RAVENTREE!” he roars as the weight carries down.

A name, carried above the din of battle, is all the alerts Ammon of his impending doom. He spins, saving himself the worst of the Piper knight’s savage cut—but it is hard enough, rending the steel of the breastplate and cauldron and knocking the Blackhand off balance.

Still, stumbling as he is, and afoot where Kenron is ahorse, Ammon manages to swing his sword upward—not at the knight who is trying to kill him, but at the soft, sweet, underbelly of the horse.

Ryckon is unbalanced by Brutis’ backhanded blow and attempts to grab onto his saddle or his horse to stay mounted, but to no avail. He topples and falls, landing on his already-bleeding left shoulder with a Valyrian curse regarding one’s mother. Blinking blearily from the ground, he attempts to grab one of his horse’s reins to pull himself up and prevent the destrier from riding away.

Farin does finally spot Brutis again, and a snort can be heard from behind his helm’s grate. His destrier is spurred forward again, and though he has no shield to speak of this time, Farin trusts in his silent offense to do the work for him, as the horse is barely set to a walk to come up behind the fortunate mute, morningstar ready to strike at his spine.

The shield is not so fiercely protective this time around—Balian is too slow, to unbent by that shattering crack to his head—perhaps concussed, even. His destrier kicks up and turns, leaving the man’s shield arm all too vulnerable to the Bloody Brus’s hefty swing.

That arm drops like dead weight at the man’s side, but his fighting arm is still sure and strong—and that gauntlet grip strengthens on the hilt. He swings again, angling the edge for the Bracken’s neck.

The thrust fails to find his horse’s underbelly and Ser Kenron can only laugh. He rounds and spits on the floor, wiping mud from his face with the back of his steel gauntlet. Another tap to his destrier’s flanks and the horse is once again at a gallop, a snarl on the Piper knight’s lips as he raises his sword for another swing at the Massey knight.

“Yield, Massey!” he suggests from behind the thunderous din of his horse’s hooves. “YIELD!” he repeats, squaring the swing of his blade once more at the man’s chest.
A glint of sunlight off Ardros’ armor gives him a way and having caught sight of it in the corner of his eye Luthor ducks and the blade that would have struck him sails past. Teeth gritted Luthor swings his blade out quick to catch Ardros’ torso as they pass each other.

A Blackwood man-at-arms swings at him and Ser Brus is able to fend it off, but he’s distracted ... and so Balian Blackwood’s quick to the mark. It’s a blow fit to take off a head, but not when there’s steel between blade and flesh—and so Brus’s head is still connected to his shoulders, though his gorget now has a long, deep groove, and Bloody Brus is almost driven from the saddle by the weight of the blow.

Again his destrier saves him, well-trained beast, shifting to keep itself under him, spinning ‘round and snapping at Blackwood’s hoers which neighs and threatens to rear. And it’s just then that he manages to gather hold of himself, rise in the stirrups, and hammer a blow down at Blackwood, all his might behind it!

A good blow from his master—something like a grin crosses Callan’s bloodied face. Maybe he is enough to keep Balian from injury after all. Maybe. And Brus misses his next swing! Seeing an opportunity, Callan lets out another feral roar and arcs his mace toward the side of the Bracken’s head.

Ammon is warned this time, sidestepping the Kendron’s charge and taking the knight’s sword on his shield. Not quite so black as it once was, that shield; the remnants of the old Massey sigil, long since painted over, are begining to show through the chips.

But then, as Kendron flies past, Ammon receives the first bit of luck he’s had all day—his horse, not more than a few yards away. The Blackhand sprints, or as close as a man can sprint in full armor, hauls himself into the saddle, and spurs his steed in the wake of Kendron.

Ammon’s blade arcs down at the Piper knight, slower than earlier, perhaps.

After Ardros is caught on the side by Luthor’s strike, he brings his spurs into the sides of his horse, forcing it to make a rough turn around as he lifts his sword, albeit somewhat winded by Luthor’s attack. “Time to settle this!” He shouts at the other man before finally slicing forward with the blade, to return the favor upon the enemy’s torso.

Farin’s own personal revenge will have to wait, it seems. On his way to attacking Brutis, another pair come across his path, and one of them he can’t ignore: his cousin Luthor doing battle with Ardros Piper. Steeling himself for his dubious lack of honor, Farin switches his plan of sneaking on Brutis onto Ardros instead, maneuvering himself around until he can attack the man’s rear side, pincering the Piper in and bringing his ‘star to bear on Ardros’ back.

Ryckon says soothing nonsense to his horse as the bloodshed rages around them and pulls himself up to stand once again. He picks up his mace from the ground, narrowly avoids a Blackwood man-at-arms charging past with a spear and yelling, and remounts, quickly and clumsily but effective nonetheless. Now ready to fight again, the Westerling knight searches the field for an opponent.

“TRY AGAIN, YOU DICK-LESS WHORESON,” comes the Blackwood’s scream in the face of the Bracken’s miss. That shield is still too low to make a difference, how little it needs use given the way the horses dance and snap at one another, keeping the men apart.

Callan’s efforts remain wholly unnoticed by Balian, whose focus marks only one face, one man—and one strike levies against the Bloody Brus; a thrust, straight for the side where breast and back plates leave a seam just wide enough for a well-placed strike to slide between.


Unexpectedly, Ardros seems to charge into Luthor, only to have his sword locked with the other man’s and then receive the full impact of a mass weapon to his neck. His eyes roll back into their sockets as he falls to the side, neatly off the horse. There’s a huge dent on both his helmet and armor, and he doesn’t seem to be moving much.

The blade connects swiftly at Ser Kenron’s forearm, dinting and then sliding off of his steel vambrace. Cursing first at the miss that connected with Ser Ammon’s shield and then even louder at allowing him to remount, Ser Kenron is once more at a gallop, bearing down on the man. “YIELD!” he repeats as his surcoat flutters around his chin. He swings his heavy blade at the shoulder of the man’s sword arm.

Luthor turns Ardros’ blade and raises his own blade to counter when his foe is struck down from behind. Luthor keeps his blade raised until he recognizes the armor of his cousin Ser Farin. He grins then, “Well timed,” he says then casts his eyes down at Ardros a predatory grin on his face. “Cover me coz,” he says and then painfully he slides down from his horse and goes to Ardros’ side. “Yield,” he commands the Piper heir putting his blade to the man’s throat. “Yield and live.”

Whether Ryckon is taking the lessons of the past into account during his next charge or not is up for debate. On the one hand, he triumphed in the past in a situation like this, but then, more recently, he failed utterly. No doubt he hopes to tip the balance for the former, as he charges for Balian once again, hopefully arriving before Brus can strike back, swinging his mace and shouting, “Hoster Bracken!”

Ammon is too slow to bring his sword around to parry this time. Blinded a moment by the pain and shock as the Piper’s blade strikes into his pauldron, his own sword arm hanging slack at his side, Ammon does what any man would do in his situation.

He attempts to smash his shield into Kenron’s face.

Brutis is oblivious to Farin’s presence, of course, he is not deaf either and he snaps around to the sound of another Blackwood man going down, Ardros Piper it would seem. Another grin to the Prester knight—if he should see it,—as Brutis runs his tongue over the inside of his cheek, he spits a wad of blood and phlegm to the ground. As Luthor and Farin go to take Ardros hostage, he raises his sword up and rides forward to take a swing at Farin’s shoulder, he doesn’t wish to see another fighter for Blackwood become a hostage.

Again Callan swings at Brus, again he manages to turn it—but his eyes are quick to Balian Blackwood, and that distraction might well have been his undoing when Balian stings him with another blow. Again he’s buffeted, again he manages to cling on, driven by rage and hate and a monstrous kind of will that will never yield itself to a Blackwood—Brus fights on, and he shouts the ugliest word he knows when he punches an ugly, hacking blow at at Blackwood’s arm: “BLACKWOOD!”

And even before it lands, Ryckon Westerling slams into Blackwood with horse and mace, and flings the famed warrior from the saddle. Bloody Brus must gape behind his helm… and then he curses. “Damn you, ser!” he shouts at Westerling, his destrier almost trampling Blackwood. And then he laughs, and with a wild whoop he calls, “Give them steel!” And now that man Callan gets the full force of his ire.

Farin grunts a half-chuckle from behind his helm’s visor. “It was owed, cos. Take the prize,” he grunts, turning about to cover his cousin while he collects…only to find that the mute had seen him after all, and followed him here. Sheildless still, Farin lashes out with ‘star as quickly as he can, deflecting the blow, before bringing it about again for a center-mass attack on Brutis.

Ser Ammon’s shield, thrown up in reaction, slams into Ser Kenron’s chin. Pain jolts through his head and the man feels a slight click in his jaw, though it does not faze him. He grunts, and then swings his blade towards the back of Ser Ammon’s head, hard and purposeful.

Well, certainly Callan means well enough, even if he is not landing the sort of blows that would actually help Balian win here- and then Balian is down, and Callan feels the sick crunch of Brus’s sword against the side of his helm, letting out a scream of pain in response. But still, with his master prone and unhorsed- Callan must defend him through the pain. He cries out as he heaves his mace with all his might toward the side of Brus’s face. !

Brutis nearly falls out of his saddle, twisted sideways as the blow from Farin’s morningstar crashes into him. Surely twisting his knee in an unwanted manner as his boot is stuck in the stirrup. His horse takes off wildly, stretching his right leg over the saddle of his horse. His half-helm is near stuck to his head because of the dent Farin left on it, and a look of shock on his face brings a bit of hilarity to the vision. That and no scream or sound coming from the man’s open mouth makes him look like a mummer playing a game. At least the horse knows where he is going.

Down goes the Blackwood’s Balian—a man so sure of his saddle, until that saddle’s hold on his warhorse snaps from the weight of weathering so many rocking blows.

In his stupor, the might Balian can do naught but cling to that braided mane, fingers slipping even then…

But he is not without resources and his men fighting beside the Bracken and Blackwood knights see their commander sink to the ground.

In a rush, batting away the last of their opponents strikes, they come to Balian’s aid—one takes the reins of his horse, two others take the arms of the fallen man. “RETREAT,” comes the hoarse, painstaking call from Balian, his helmed head lolling even as the last of his strength is used to sound the call. “AWAY WITH ME, MEN!” And others take up the call, finding for their commander another horse and sturdy saddle—fighting any remaining Brackens to clear the path for that beaten and bloody knight leading them away.

As Farin’s men catch up, the Prester sets them all about to Luthor, to see to it that he remains covered while he collects Ardros Piper. Farin himself, however, has spotted a familiar figure not too far away. He rides towards Ammon Blackhand, even as the first forces begin heeding the retreat call.

“AMMON,” he roars out, riding him down until he is close enough, “Yeild now! You will not survive a third battle; and we will spare you if you yield!” The morningstar is raised, and Farin is closing in, sweeping around Ammon and making certain that if he intends to escape, it must be through Farin.

Ryckon whoops gleefully as Balian is once again defeated by his hand. Well, once again, Balian had been worn down by fighting others for quite a long time, but Ryckon is still the one to deal the final blow. He lifts his plated shoulders in a shrug in response to Brus’ curse. As Balian begins to retreat,

Ryckon shouts after him, “I am Ser Ryckon Westerling, and this is the second time that I have defeated you.” It is a boast framed as a mere statement of fact without any pride, and hopefully it reaches Balian’s ears before he is unconscious or too far away.

There’s a sense of the tide turning after Ser Ryckon deals with Balian Blackwood, the great warrior left vulnerable and in need of aid. The Bracken forces take up the call to give them steel, and cries of “Stone Hedge! Stone Hedge!” ring out. Bloody Brus is roaring right along with them, even as the Bracken man Callan tangles with him, swinging away to try and keep Balian Blackwood from being seized. His destrier shifts in the shallow water, hoofs big as plates splashing the water, and Brus leans forward to scythe a blow at the man even as the Blackwoods start flying.

*CLANG*

Kenron’s blade strikes the back of Ammon’s helmet squarely. Ammon slumps across the back of his horse’s neck, his arms fall limp to his side and his sword tumbles from nerveless fingers to land, glittering, in the dust of the road. His horse, given it’s head, wanders aimlessly a moment. And Ammon Massey begins to slip sideways in the saddle….

....Only to grab frantically for the reins a moment later. And when he has caught himself, when he is righted in the saddle, he shakes his head to clear it. The retreat is called, and Ammon looks around—and here is a familiar knight, riding around him and shouting nonsense.

“Prester?” Massey’s voice echoes from the confines of his helmet. “Yield? Why are you on the Point?” When he lifts his visor, his eyes are unfocused; they close against the sudden light and Ammon jerks to the side to escape those painful rays. It is only another moment before he loses his grip on consciousness and falls into the dirt once more.

Callan keeps his horse between Balian and Bloody Brus as the retreat is sounded—he knows his place, after all. His eyes wide, they sneak a glance to see if Balian is clear… and Callan is paid for his trouble with an exceptionally fierce blow to the shoulder. The dip in weight turns his horse, the mount now facing the retreating path of Balian’s forces.

Callan lets out a rather strangled cry, the dent in his armor clearly digging into his shoulder. But still, his legs work well enough, and he spurs his horse into a gallop in pursuit of Balian—and well away from Brus.

Luthor’s men join Farin’s in surrounding him, they’re bruised, beaten and bloody, but all of them are accounted for. Luthor puts Ardros in their care and stands painfully. “Gods,” he breathes holding his side. “I know where Anton got his strength from,” he says looking down at his captured foe.

He spots Ammon then and begins to limp in the man’s direction, two of his men following him ready to catch him if he falls.

“This one’s mine, Prester,” Ser Kenron spits, snarling at the famously wealthy Westerland knight as he attempts to steal his prize. Dismounting and sheathing his blade, he grabs Ser Ammon under the armpits and hoists him from the muddy ground. He calls for assistance from surrounding men-at-arms, a number of them cheering and whooping at the routed Blackwood forces.

Noting the impending arrival of Ser Luthor Rivers, Ser Kenron nods at the bastard.

There’s a cheer from the Bracken men-at-arms, and hoots of derision, cat calls and curses… and then the work of collecting the prisoners, men dragged half-drowned from the water, made to throw away their swords and yield themselves up. It may be the Brackens lost one or two as well, men-at-arms, lesser knights .... but there’s no doubt who carried the day this time, and earned the richer rewards.

Brus lifts his visor, and spits again, as he eyes Ardros Piper being man-handled to be carried off in a daze. “How you’ll explain that to your lord father, Kenron, I’ll never know,” he says, before he laughs. And then with a sweep of a sword, he commands, “Back to Stone Hedge with our prizes!”
And then, the morningstar is lowered. In fact, Farin spies his retainer amidst those following him, and tosses the weapon off to him; while the Prester knight himself dismounts (willingly, this time) and tromps forward to Ammon’s form.

Farin is second there after Kenron, with Luthor’s men closing fast. The wealthy knight with his gilded spurs and elaborate helm looks to the Piper. “Ammon Blackhand is a worthless purse, Ser, if you intend on asking the Masseys. His House has all but cut ties; I will pay you more than they, and you will have your gold faster, as well, if you yield him to us. He is…an olf friend.”

Luthor takes his place beside Farin, and holds off the impulse to lean on him for support trying to stand tall in the face of the Piper knight. “Take my cousin’s gold, ser, or I will buy my good-uncle back with another sort of metal,” he bids Kenron as he raises his blade and leans it against his own shoulder.

With Ser Ammon hoisted by two men-at-arms wearing the blushing maiden of House Piper, Ser Kenron studies his prize with a steel gauntlet, slapping at his face in an attempt to rouse him. This is unsuccessful. He turns to Ser Farin and shrugs. “So be it. I’m sure you’ll make more use of this man than-”

Ser Kenron stops mid-sentence and stares incredulously at Ser Luthor Rivers and his threat of violence against a man who has risked so much for the cause. “On second thoughts, I believe I’ll keep him,” he announces bitterly. “I will not barter with those who threaten me with violence.” He turns tentatively to leave, nodding at his men to bring his hostage with him.

One of the Bracken knights calls Bloody Brus’s attention to the dispute over Blackhand, and the Bracken knight rides up to the men, other Brackens about him. “What’s this?” the black-whiskered knight says, “Already fighting over spoils without a drop of beer in your bellies?”

“I suppose you will not be wanting your brother back, then?” Ser Farin calls from behind him. Unarmed, and without a sheild, but with those menacing bull horns protruding from his helm. “We have Ser Ardros. We were going to ransom him to your lord father, but if you will not deign to parley with a worthless man against your brother’s honor…tell you what, Piper.

Give him to Ser Luthor, and I will discount Lord Piper a portion of the ransom for your brother, and we will call it even. Or you can keep your man, and we ours.”

The talk of his brother halts Ser Kenron in his tracks. He turns to Ser Farin and stares at the man for a moment, a distasteful look on his face. Finally, he spits to the floor and turns to leave once again. “Fine, you can have your man,” he says, beginning the walk back to his horse, mud squelching beneath his boots.

He notions for the men-at-arms to turn over Ser Ammon to the other knights with an annoyed flick of the head. As he mounts and grabs the reins, he frowns once more at Ser Farin Prester. “Just don’t speak to me about my brother’s fucking honour,” he sneers before riding away.

It is then that the prisoner begins to shake, violently and unexpectedly—so unexpectedly that the Bracken men drop him, and the fit continues on the ground, for a moment.

And then Massey is up on his knees, helmet tossed aside, retching into the dirt. “Rys!” he shouts, voice slurred and spittle on his lip. “Where’s Rys? Where?” Ammon looks around, wide eyed and unfocused.

“‘Discount’? Are we merchants, to haggle?” Bloody Brus says wonderingly, and gives a crass laugh. Then Ser Kenron settles matters, and that’s that, so far as Brus Bracken is concerned. “Gods be good, now we’ll get moving, or the Blackwoods will be back to catch us with our breeches down. ON TO—”

His shout’s cut off as men exclaim and drop Ammon Massey. They fall back, not sure what to do, and then someone has the sense to try and restrain him and keep him still. Brus looks disgusted and says, “Tie him to a saddle, and we’ll sort out a litter at Buckle before we make way to Stone Hedge.”

Luthor nods to the two men who followed him to go pick up Ammon and bring him with them. “The squabble seems to be resolved,” Luthor says putting away his blade and nodding to Brus. “I’ll see Kenron gets some coin for-” then Ammon begins to shake and Luthor mouth snaps shut. He moves to Ammon’s side and struggles to kneel next to him. “I’ll see him to Buckle,” he says to Brus then with another nod to his men begin to help the shaking knight off the ground.

“Come on, uncle, we need to go, we will talk of Rys later,” he soothes with a worried expression. He glances at one of his men. “Ride ahead and fetch Watty, we’ll need him at Buckle.” The sellsword nods and moves to do as he is commanded while the rest move their two injured prisoners to the horses.

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