Inouv 23, 228 : A distressing find

A distressing find
Summary: Once the party is able to back forward progress again, they happen upon a distressing series of clues upon the road that make them worry further for their kin.
OOC Date: 12/12/201 (OOC)
Related: The first half of the trip - A trail of snowmen
Players:
Aldren Eoin Nylie 
The Road to Albion
See scene log for details.
Inouv 23, 228

Having set out but the day after her brother and good sister, Nylia's progress had been slowed by her odd need to make a rather interesting collection of snowmen along the snowy road as her party of guards and attendents made their way along. Between that and a particulalry rude snowdrift blocking the road, it had allowed Count Aldren and Lord Admiral Eoin time enough to catch up with the group….and the additional snowmen that had appeared around the stopped group.

With information exchanged, and a way forward found, the party had been able to again make progress onward to Albion. Nylie lightly shock her head at the handmaiden that had come along to fuss after her charge,,"I'm plenty warm, I promise." Giving an added tug to her cloak as if to prove it. Skirts settled perfectly so within the side saddle position. "No, I don't need anything." She'd sigh, but she knew well the routing of staff going on at the castle and her staff had gotten far to attenative as a result. Looking onwards towards the Count and Admiral to see if they might care for anything, doubtful. Then they don't have to deal with such fussing after either.

Having rode hard the previous day to catch up with his cousin, Eoin had only brought one man at arms with him, and he's now firmly ensconced with the Count's men, leaving the Admiral free to ride with the other nobles. With Aldren lagging a few paces behind, he takes the opportunity to exchange a few words with the Kilgour lady. "I spoke briefly with my Cousin last night, although I fear I left it too long and the drink had already taken it's hold. He confessed that he was uneasy, and eager only to push onwards, but I could get no more out of him."

Atop his grey horse rides the Count of Greenshire. He is pushing on in the saddle a few paces behind, a firm look of resolution on his face. He hangs back for a moment, his eyes darting this way and that. A look here and there at the other men and the little healer. Slowly he spurs his horse forward towards the other nobles.

It is off the road, and you almost miss it really. There is a crossbow bolt buried low in a tree trunk. How long it has been there… well probably not too long. It doesn't look overly weathered, though there is snow on it.

A slight nod comes from Nylie,"It does not surprise me, he was pacing about like some caged animal. I was not surprised he had no wish to speak to me of what caused him unease, but I had hoped he would perhaps give you some indication of what was causing him such worry. " Her eye occasional straying off along the path, perhaps taking in a particular lovely mound of snow and surpresing what ever urge might exist to turn it into a gather of snowmen. There was no time for it, and well…it was one thing to give into the childish urges when about on her own (well as must on her own as she could ever be as a Kilgour and Lady)..but with other nobles about. Perhaps it was staring that extra little bit at a particular lovely pile of snow that allows her to even chance noticing it, raising a hand slightly to point towards the barely glimpsed crossbolt and raising the question,"What is that? Surely someone woulnd't be hunting along the road, would they?"

"I think he might have done," Eoin starts, "had he not been so dep in his cups. Still, we are moving now and indeed here he comes." He gives his cousin a brief nod as the Count rides closer, then takes a moment to follow Nylie's point and peer at the tree in question. Holding one hand up to stop those following on he looks carefully for a moment then starts to dismount. "They might be, there's likely rabbit and such around in the woods. It's worth taking a look at though." He seems to trust his horse to keep it's place, for he doesn't pass the reins to anyway, but instead merely pulls his cloak about him and steps towards the bolt in question to take a look and, if needs be, remove it for closer inspection.

Aldren now has moved up quite close and is on Eoin's side. When Nylie points his eyes instantly scan and find the bolt. He frowns and dismounts as well. "Surely you have been at sea too long, Coz. Who hunts rabbits with a crossbow?" He says when they reach it and he sees it is a bolt. Now he looks around in all directions for any other clues as to what is going on. "Not to mention, the weather would not warrant any hunting this past week. He looks over at Nylie and whispers soemthing to his couisin. To the Kilgour he says, "good eye ma'lady."

A incline of her head is offered to Aldren as he comes up along side Eoin. Nylie remains seated upon her horse as Eoin dismounts to take a closer look, though she does direct her animal a few steps closer. A faint smile and dip of her head given towards Aldren at the compliment,"Thank you." Not exactly the 'outdoorsy' sort, she can't offer anything up on the matters of hunting, other than having raised the question to begin with. Though she does glance around to see if there is any other sign or clue to the reason for the crossbolt. But frankly…she's a musician…not a tracker.

"I hunt rabbits with crossbows," Eoin replies to Aldren with a grin, "if I use a proper bow then I have to stand, or at best kneel, and then the little buggers spot you and run away. You can lie in ambush with a crossbow." Now there's a thought, and he glances back across the way, "Cousin, we might do well to check the trees on the other side. If anyone was lying in wait there's a chance the trees might have prevented any evidence from being obliterated by the snow." He then starts to straighten as if to head that way when something else catches his eye and he drops down to one knee in the snow. Reaching under his cloak he pulls out his dagger from his belt and uses it to lift a small fragment of cloth from amongst the foliage at the base of the tree. Transfering it quickly to his gloved fingers and resheathing his knife he shows it first to Aldren, then Nylie. "I could be mistaken, given how much time I fail to spend around knights, but that to me looks like a fragment of an arming jack."

Aldren nods to Nylie. "Just a moment My Lady. We should rest the horses a moment anyways. Tell your men to break for a moment and take water." The Count now frowns at Eoin and says, "I suppose. I never have though. Cumbersome and noisy themselves. Rabbits are quick little bastards." He nods though at his idea and says, "Yes, good point." He begins to cross the road with him until he stops and finds the bit of cloth/metal. "Yes, it does." He sounds as worried as ever now and his eyes begin darting back and forth before he hurriedly goes to examine the area under the trees now.

Even if Nylie remains seated upon her horse, a few of her guards begin to dismount with talk of searching the area as others take to a slightly defensive positioning. They dare not risk being the next who were faulted for allowing harm to come to a Kilgour, if they can prevent it. Inclinging her head towards ALdren at his advice, before nodding to the captian of her guards who sets to seeing to it. And to seeing her attendents as well with the break now officially being made. Finally does she dismount herself, giving her legs a chance to be streched as she steps to take a look at the bit that Eoin has discovered. A frown coming,"Even if it is not as you say, it seems…that the crossbolt was not shooting at rabbits, perhaps?" A hint of question to her words, hoping perhaps the jump in her thought could not possibly be right.

"I doubt a rabbit wore this," Eoin confirms to Nylie with a grim nod, "again, please correct me if my limited experience at Darfield is leading me astray, but that colour of cloth is what I would associate with your Rioga knights." Offering the cloth across to her he then turns back to Aldren adn the guards, taking a few paces towards that side of the road, but not yet jumping in to join the search. "Any sign Cousin? We'll likely not find anything on the road thanks to the snow."

Rooting around in the area Aldren calls back to Nylie. " Either the man was a horrible shot or it was a rather large rabbit." He continues to search about and frowns when he comes up empty. "No, the snow has drifted in enough to cover anything. Though, no doubt the arrow came from this direction…" He crosses his arms and thinks for a moment frown on his face. "Where is that tRenden when you need him." He calls to one of the lesser ranger he brought and says, "You, come here." The man makes way and Aldren shares a few words. Pointing to the tree and then sighting up the line. the ranger nods, thinks for a moment and moves off further into the forest, along the line of flight. Aldren rejoins the others. "I am sure if there is something to be found hew will do so." Examining it he says, "Aye. LAdy Nylie, did your brother take Riogan knights with him?"

A closer look is given to the cloth when Eoin hands it over, especially when he broches the manner of color and the association, Nylie's frown simply deepens,"No, you are correct. It is….a color often worn by them." Frowning for a time at the bit of cloth before the woman looks off towards the direction now being searched. What thoughts might flit through her head are kept to herself in the moment. Aldren's question does however have her speaking,"I cannot be certain, but it would be customary for him to be assigned them as the Voice. "

Eoin does not look overly happy at having his suspicions confirmed, but with the far side of the road being well covered by ALdren and the guards he returns to the bolt itself to see if it can be worked out of the tree. It takes a few moments of careful work, but eventually he has it and takes a good look at the head of the bolt, looking for blood or notches. There's a speck of blood, and something else, but he's not sure what so he turns back towards the horses again he starts to clean the snow off the fletching to see if there are any identifying marks there that can be compared with any future suspects. He's about halfway back to Nylie when something else catches his eye though and he alters course. A small depression in the snow. It's easier to see once he crouches down besides it and, convinced now that he's not just seeing things, he gently starts to move some of the newer snowfall out. Stopping dead when the older snow starts to show a red tinge. "Cousin," he calls, not taking his eyes off what he assumes to be blood, "come take a look."

The Count frowns and says, "YEs, I would be upset if he didn't" He does not comment on the fact that they should have brought more he is thinking. Hearing his couisin he ventures towards him and bends down. An audible gasp is let loose and he looks all around, dread etched in hsi features. Looking to the Kilgour he shouts, "Lady, would your inform your men to stay vigilant." He looks back to eoinn and whispers something.

The Ranger calls out now, "My Lord. Come have a look." Aldren stands and goes to the man. He points to the cloth hanging in the branches and says, "Seems ta' be from a cloak. But, judging from the proximity and the flight path. Well.." He pauses before saying it. "My training would leave me to believe it was used as cover. An ambush setting perhaps." aldren frowns now and his eyes search again. "See what else you can find. Returning he calls to Eoin and Nylie. "My, Lord, my Lady. A moment please?"

Nylie's attention returns to the bit that she'd been given, worry starting to ting her expression. Though as Eoin returns to the bolt, Nylie's attention does stray back to him as it seems that has more promise to give clue to what might have happened. At least, Nylie has a good dozen guards amongst her party, something about her cousin Tyrel threatening to kill her himself if she did not have least so many set to travel with her. "Of course, Count Aldren." Though it takes but a look, no need for words, for the guards to stiffen, for eyes to stare out into the woods, up the road and take to an ever more watchful vigilance.

The Lady's attention however goes back to Eoin's progress in digging out the crossbolt. When he draws closer, her eyes widen a bit. And even as he suddenly turns and takes to walking off as something else catches his attention, there is concern to her tone,"Lord Admiral, be careful with that…the coloring on that tip…it looks just like a poison I have dealt with before." Obviously, more than a musician this one. And even if Eoin calls only for his cousin, Nylie starts to step in that direction…pausing though as Aldren asks for a moment. A hesitation before moving and ending up where ever the two men decide to meet and confer.

Eoin flicks his eyes over to the ranger as he hears the man's call and another piece of the puzzle slots into place. He's about to start carefully working to try and uncover more of the depression he's found, but then Aldren's request has him pushing himself to his feet instead. He;s about halfway to his cousin when the warning about the bolt is given and he glances down at the thing in his hands, suddenly very glad of his gloves. "Lethal?" he asks of Nylie as he shifts his grip towards the fletchings, then turns to one of the guards, "fetch me a bit of cloth, or blanket. Let us wrap this up safely before it does any more harm."

When the two have convered on him he says, "Something is certainly amiss. the ranger thinks there was an ambush set up. Confirming my worst fears. Let us try and keep this quiet for now though. I will not have our little party panicking." A look to the maids and the healer girl. "Though the men should be told to stay on high alert." He looks at Nylie and says, "Posion? What…." He does not infer as to why she know of posion but asks, "Is it native to darfield? Can you tell?"

"Aye, lethal, Lord Admiral. Please…be careful, wrapping it would be best as you suggest," comes Nylie's words, a touch more softly with the three convened more closely. Eyes do flicker towards Aldren as he finally grasps not causing panic amongst the group. "The men will remain viglant, Count Aldren, they do not need to be reminded to do so." Not with Tyrel so on edge and cutting down staff left and right. Aldren does not ask, and Nylie certainly doesn't offer explanation to how she knows. But she does look back to the bolt, not that she has much looked from it, least not until the poisoned tip is wrapped and secured. "It is a thing native to Darfield."

Eoin takes what appears to be a cut off of saddle blanket from the guard and wraps the bolt carefully. Doubly so when Nylie confirms that this isn't just some form of sleeping draft they're dealing with. Tying it with a couple of strips of leather thonging he leaves them a moment to walk the few paces to his horse before slipping the package into one of his saddlebags. Pulling his cloak back close as he crosses back he looks deep in through for a few moments before stating for the pair, "I couldn't tell you where from exactly, but the flteching, there's something about it. I think I've seen it before, or something very similar at least, at sea I think." Then another thought hits him and he frowns deeper. "I was talking with the Captain of the Rosey Dawn a couple of days ago, a young Mowbray. He was saying that he's heard reports of a pirate in Sutherland waters lately, the Crimson something or other. I was goin gto talk to the Duke about it but this little trip has rather got in the way."

As they speak of the arrow and wrapping it Aldren says, "Those feathers…That is not…" Confusion is now present on his face as Nylie says the substance is native, though he knows the arrow is not. Listening to Eoin now he says, "What would pirates be doing so close to the castle? So far inland?" He shakes his head now and returns a look to the ranger rummaging about. He calls the other over now. "Perhaps we should continue to Albion. I can send a few scouts out to see what more they discover.

Nylie does relax a bit with the poison tipped arrow safely stowed, but the talk and the information slowly coming around does not allow her to truly relax. A small stamp of her feet are given as the cold seeks to seep through her boots. It i towards Eoin she looks, he afterall knows more about the sea and therefore obviously pirates,"You do not think they would have…" she leaves the rest of the question unsaid, perhaps not daring to actually voice what might have happened to her brother, what the clues imply might have befalled the party she had set to following but a day or so after.

"The Voice of the King and the Royal Physician, theres a fine randsom there if naught else Cousin," Eoin replies, voice betraying his worry. He leaves the possible reasons there though, as that one at least would mean the pair would be well treated. He can't really answer more yet, but at the suggest to head on to Albion he offers, "send your rangers out Cousin, then ride on. There may be yet more to find on the road. I should take the bolt back though, check with my crew see if any of them have sharper memories than I and then go tell what we have found at the castle. If my suspisions are correct then I should but out while we have the window in the weather, it will not talk long to beat round this section of coast and if this is som pirate action then we can not hope to catch up with them ahorse."

The rangers come to the Count and he says, "You will follow what little there is to. Meet me at the castle in Albion. I expect you there within two days. We only have another ten hours at most to the barony so take what provisions you think you will need." He dismisses them and they bow with some /Aye's and ma'lord's/ Turning back to Eoin and Nylie he says, "Yes, good thinking Couisin. Lady Nylie, I would suggest you and yours return as well. Though it may not be as bad as we think. Perhaps this has nothing to do with our kin. I at any rate will continue to the Barony to see if they are there. You a re of course welcome to ride with me as well." His voice betrays that he does not think it prudent though.

All that betrays any hint of what Nylie might possible be thinking or feeling to hear the possible reasons, that her own worries are not misplaced, is a slight clenching of her jaw. She nods a little as she listens to the exchange between the men. Though her smokey eyes land upon Aldren and simply starre at him for several long moments at his suggestion. Thoughts are obviously turned over, all the things she could say, the response that could come. They are many and varied. But in the end it is an even tone that comes, words that belay some manner of sense,"With the weather and hint of danger upon the road, I would agree to your suggestion, Count Aldren. And I would not wish to happer the remainder of your trip" She had not become the Forgotten Sister by throwing tantrems and making a spectacal of herself. "However, I expect news to be sent soon after you arrive so I am not left to fret yet about my brother and his wife."

Eoin gives Nylie a brief nod as she agrres to head back to Darfield. "In that case My Lady, it may save us some time if you would take the bolt up to the castle and pass on the news, that way I can be on the move that much quicker." He doesn't move to take the bolt from his saddle yet though, that can be done later. He does however reach an arm out to clasp Aldren on the shoulder, "ride safe Cousin, and hopefully I'll be able to put into Albion tomorrow with reports of clear seas only tohear you have found them safe and well infront of the fire." The, turning to the Kilgour, "My Lady, we should make haste, for all that we are not that far from Darfield, the snow will slow us somewhat and I would reach the town before dark."

Nylie nods in agreement to Eoin,"I can see that the bolt and cloth," the bit he had handed her earlier being tucked away safely," and the news delivered to the castle. " Nor does she seek to take the bolt just then, there will be time later for that. Simply nodding to the Admiral before turning to return to her horse, there is no need to recall the guards and set them ready to move again, being vigalent upon their watch not of the surrounding area but the Kilgour as well they are already in motion once she is heading again to her horse. She gives a last look to Aldren as she reiterates,"I expect that news soonest, Count." Before looking to Eoin and giving a nod,"I will do my best not to hold us up any more than the snow already shall." Then her horse is set into motion and all haste is made to return from where they had. Not an exceptional rider, but by all rights experienced enough to not cause any more lag to the return trip then the snow causes.

Aldren nods to his couisin. "Aye. Make haste." With that he bows to Nylie and returns to his horse. A few words will leave the remainder of his guard waiting fir the Kilgour as ordered. In a flash he mounts and rides off with two others he chose. The rangers setting off on their own through the woods and off the trail.

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