Spring 1221 Chapter 1A: Death and Taxes

Cygna is taken out of the inn while the rest fight the innkeep; Charles is allowed to come along but his weapons are taken from him; the men do not handle the two captives roughly.

Once they leave the inn, they can see bodies being dragged out of the manor and being stacked up into bloody funereal piles. These are not the Baron's men, Cygna realizes. And they didn't understand a word out of my mouth, when I told them I wasn't the innkeeper's wife.

Hiems is left behind, in the widening pool of his own blood. As soon as the soldiers leave with Cygna and Charles, the innkeep's ACTUAL wife reaches out and drags Hiems unceremoniously under the table where she is hiding with her children (with a bit of help from the daughter).

She pulls a sprig of dried flowers out of a pouch at her waist and hands them to the fae magus. "Eat these, they will thicken your humours," she whispers, as she begins binding his wounds with his own shredded clothing.

(more to come)

Well, she'll have to insist and help him, since he'll barely conscious by then.

In a way, cygna being taken from him remind him of another lady, being taken from him, not by sword, but by all-too sharp words.

She is the mother of twin boys; she's quite capable of grabbing someone's jaws and forcing mastication :slight_smile:

Out of curiosity, where did Hiems put Liliana's sapphire? He may have activated it unwittingly by bleeding all over it.

Cygna grows a little concerned when she first realizes that these aren't de Montfort's men, then wonders if they might belong to the Prince of Gwyedd that Liliana had talked about at the meeting. If they are taking me to the prince, she thinks, I might learn something useful to either the covenant or the baron. She doesn't, however, like her chances when they learn that they have the wrong woman. And she likes Hiems's chances even less, since they obviously meant the innkeeper when they refered to "her man" and not Hiems.

Then she realizes that she may never see Hiems again, and tries to fight the tears.

She looks at the soldiers escorting her and Charles, sniffles, and then starts to sing. ((She's going to try to use her Enchanting Music to get them to trust her, but even if it doesn't work, she's going to keep singing so that they won't find it quite so odd when she starts to sing whatever spell down the road.))

"Silence yourself, wench," growls a soldier, though his tone lacks any anger. "Not like you know what I'm saying anyhow. Sian! This one doesn't speak Cymric, so she's all yours." A fourth man, ostensibly Sian, joins the group, and the two are marched the better part of a mile, to an encampment. Their wrists are tied behins their backs and they are put inside a tent, with four female prisoners-- likely nobles awaiting ransoms, gauging from their dress.

Outside the tent, Cygna can hear voices speaking in hushed tones. A man grumbles, "This isn't what I signed up for. I came to see my Prince restored his honours, and see him drive the English dogs out of Wales."

A female voice replies, "That's exactly what we're doing! The landless lord was squatting on Welsh land, demanding levies from Welsh subjects. By seizing the Baron's treasury, our Prince can better outfit the army to stand up to Llewelyn."

"Don't get me wrong, the Baron's a rotten piece of scum. Kidnapped Lady Elysante, his own cousin. I'm not saying he don't have it coming, but the time and place for that is on the battlefield. I didn't sign up to drag girls out of ther beds in the dead of night."

The woman scoffs. "I'm a girl, and more capable than you by far." There is noise as they scuffle, and she breathlessly utters, "See?"

Meanwhile, the innkeep is eventually beaten into submission. Hiems and the family remain hidden thanks to the darkness spell, and once the soldiers all leave, the old wife tends Hiems' wounds more properly. As he swims in and out of consciousness, he dreams Liliana's voice speaking to him: Get to the marsh and submerge yourself in the water, he hears, as clearly as if she were standing beside him. That should be close enough. The domain knows its own.


Excellent question.

They didn't have pockets at the time, so he must have put it into a purse (in which case it's probably safe), save if it was a collar (I see no reference of this), in which case it would have been around his neck (in which case it'd be lucky not to be bloodied)

(Must fight back an old RPG ingame joke to just stay there saying "aaargh")

Hiems doesn't really knows if he's hallucinating or not. Is it a dream? Or is it reality? And cygna! Where have they taken her? She should have fled. How stupid of him, he should have taken care of himself, should have known such a kind soul would sacrifice herself for him.

He'll stay out of it long enough (in short, long enough for him to restore his fatigue), but in the end, concern for cygna will be enough to have him gather his strength.
He'll cast Endurance of the Everlasting Cold (As "Endurance of the Berserker", with Sun duration)...
Casting total +14 - 05 - 03 + 1d10=5 - aura = 11 - aura vs lvl 20.
If he succeeds, it's barely, and he needs to spend a fatigue level. If he fails, he rests, and try again. 1d10=4. Rebelote... How stupid of me!!! if he relaxes and all, it's simple die, so if the aura is 1, he just needs to rest and try until he manages a 7 or better.

So in the end, he should succeed, with a Winded fatigue level taken out of him. Yet, as he feels a cold rush into his veins, all pain disappear, replaced by the serenity of Ice.
He'll get up, no longer feeling any pain, thank the Inkeeper and his wife, and leave them some money to thank them. He'll be generous, but not too much, so not as to give them ideas or risk them incurring their neighbours jealousy.
To the inkeeper's wife "I thank you for your generosity. You probably saved my life there. Thanks to you, I'll be able to seek out and help lady cygna. Should you need my help, come to the lighthouse near the town of Neston, and ask for me. I'll repay you in kind".

He'll then go to the Marsh, try to discover if this was real or not.

[color=red]"I'm not a wench!" Cygna mutters angrily but doesn't push her luck. She will content herself with looking and listening, trying to take in all she can and learn all she can about the situation. The fact that they think she can't understand them should work to her benefit, as they might be more likely to spill whatever beans they have in front of her.

I'm assuming Charles is put somewhere else.

The more she hears, the more she doesn't like either of the options regarding whose land this is. On the one hand, the Englishman is a greedy git who has no sense of honour – really...kidnapping your own kin? On the other hand, the Welsh prince is obviously a rebel who seems to be a kidnapper as well.

Once things seem to have died down, she will look at her fellow prisoners. [color=red]"I don't suppose any of you speak English, do you? How about Latin?"

She will make herself relatively comfortable, and then sing a Spontaneous spell to untie the ropes behind her. ((Should be ReHe base 3 ("Control an amount of wood", with wood seemingly equivalent to any plant matter, of which I'm assuming the rope tying her wrists together would be). Range: Personal ("things that he is wearing or carrying"), D: Momentary, T: Individual. So, final target looks to be 3. Or 4, if you thing Range should be Touch instead. Re 5 + He 5 + Int 4 + Aura 0 = 14 – 5 for No Gestures = 9 + stress die, ÷ 2 = ??? [color=red]♪♫These ropes are tight, and how they bind/To loose them now would ease my mind♫♪"))

If it works, she will keep her hands behind her and try not to let anyone see that she's free just yet.

All of the hostages speak English, and none speak Latin. So no one thinks Cygna's song is strange at all :slight_smile: The spell works fine and the ropes fall off her wrists.

It's about time something went right, Cygna thinks as she feels the ropes slip off her wrists. She still keeps them behind her, but feels a great sense of relief...at least mentally. She still feels like her spirit is chained, though, and will be until she knows Hiems is safe.

[color=red]"What's going on here?" she asks her fellow hostages. [color=red]"Who are these hooligans, and why have we been kidnapped by them?"

Cygna gets a few looks of disdain, before one of the nobles answers. "They are Welshmen, dear," says the eldest hostage, a greying woman with a hawk-like nose. "That should have been obvious by their barbaric speech. Even the peasant's tongue you address me in, is still far more sophisticated than that Welsh nonsense. As to why they've taken us... A hostage is only worth a ransom when returned alive."

[color=red]"I know they're Welshmen," Cygna says, a little sharper than she intended. [color=red]"But are they this so-called Prince of Gwyedd's, or are they merely bandits trying to make a penny where they can?"


[color=red]"How have you been treated, under the circumstances? They haven't...tried to take advantage, have they?"

Meanwhile, she will continue listening to what's going on outside, and silently praying for Hiems's welfare.

The elderly woman looks at Cygna like she's daft. "They're Welshmen," she repeats. "All Welshmen are brigands. We've been treated awfully. In case you're blind, we are restrained, as though we were common criminals, and not ladies of high birth. Which leads the question, why are you being held with us? Certainly no one would pay a substantial ransom for some common girl."

Note: Despite no longer feeling any pain, Hiems will move carefully. He knows his spell in an out, and have seen men under similar spells bleed themselves to death. He won't risk unraveling the inkeeper's wife efforts, unless of course he needs to in order to rescue cygna.

After an hour or so has passed, an armed soldier comes into the hostage tent. He says, in Norman French, "You lot are worthless to us without a ransomer. Will one of you tell me where your pretender Baron is, or shall I have to kill you all?"

Not even the tiniest moment of stunned silence passes, but a young and pretty girl blurts, "There's a secret passage, where he hid his cousin Elysante from that German harridan, Geirlaug was her name. I was Elysante's lady-in-waiting before Robert... showed me his favour. I can show you the hidden passage, my lord."

As soon as the wintry chill of the marsh water touches Hiems' skin, he can feel warmth flowing through his body. He feels a tug in the direction of Gallus Florensis' lighthouse. He can feel his wounds begin to mend as he feels the land across the water reaching out to him, draining his lost blood, and suffusing him with its magic.

Hiems heals damage when in Gallus Florensis' aura, the way a magical creature regains Might. When he is out of the aura, but the lighthouse is in view, he heals at half the rate he would within the aura.

Cygna merely smiles at the jab. [color=red]"Obviously they think I'm of more worth than you."

She then settles back as comfortably as she can while keeping up her charade of being restrained, closes her eyes, and thinks of Hiems. Daydreaming, fantasizing, praying, hoping that she sees him again, all the while trying to listen intently to what's going on around her, both inside and outside the tent.

Cygna looks from the young girl to the guard and back as they speak, trying to pretend that she doesn't understand what they're saying ((Com 1, no Guile)). I don't know if Cygna knows that Robert is Baron de Montfort (I'm not seeing that it was mentioned during the Prelude thread, but that doesn't mean somebody else didn't tell her that afternoon/evening).

If she does, she will hiss [color=red]"What are you doing?" in English as she looks her in the eye.

Hiems would never betray anyone so easily, Cygna thinks.

"This is quite strange.", notices Hiems more intellectual side, as detached as ever.
"This isn't normal at all, and I don't like it!", warns the human in him... "but... I must rescue Cygna. Whatever happens to me... is secondary"
And the Ice in him? The ice doesn't care about nothing.

He'll stay there until his wounds are closed enough that they don't risk worsening, and then, he'll go after cygna. His spell will hide the pain, and he'll have time to heal later, if he survives. But he mustn't lose time. Such a noble lady in the hands of scoundrels like this? This musn't be.

Whether she'd known in advance or not, contextually it's clear to Cygna that the girl's "Robert" is the Baron in question.

The military man reaches forward to take the girl by the arm, but the old woman interrupts. "Actually, this foolish child is lying. She was never my son's lover but she has always sought to ingratiate herself with him, much as she is attempting with you, now. Robert's lover is this pale trollop," she suggests, inclining her head towards Cygna. "She is most likely to know how to find my son."

The captain glares at the old woman suspiciously. "Why would you help us find him? You're his own mother," he chides accusingly.

"He abandoned me to your mercies. You're reasonable men and will not harm him, so long as he accedes to your demands. Once his whore helps you find him, I will make sure he cooperates with your Prince."

The captain's brow knits in consternation, before he seems to relent. He takes Cygna by the arm, and is surprised to see that she is unbound, but lets it slide, as he leads her out of the tent.

Hiems feels good enough to move around after an hour or so (the wounds are still there, but they are stanched and will not worsen, so long as he's prudent in action, and his spell will keep him from feeling the effects of the wounds). Where/how will he begin looking for Cygna?

That's interesting, Cygna thinks at the revelation that the old woman is the baron's mother. Then, as the crone calls her a trollop and Robert's lover: [color=red]"Why, you....how dare you, you old..." she sputters as she starts to struggle to her feet (presumably to be pushed back down by the guard)

Cygna goes with the guard, muttering "furiously" that the old crone would throw her under the bus, as it were, like that.

The captain takes Cygna outside the tent and beside a cookfire, where he offers her a seat on a wooden stump and gives her a wooden bowl of hot venison stew. He sits down and watches her carefully. "Help us locate Robert, and I promise you, no harm will come to him."