Nar 24, 228: A Princess in Distress

A Princess in Distress
Summary: Caillin has disappeared, the weather has changed for the worse and Caedmon and Cedric are out searching for her. Things become interesting when Ruthgar and Victoria come into the mix. When they seek refuge in Victoria's tree house, an encounter with Shazaa leads to some tension.
OOC Date: 27/07/2013 (OOC)
Related: Recent logs!
Victoria Caillin Ruthgar Caedmon Cedric Shazaa 
South Woods, Darfield
The South Woods extend from the east side of the castle, for many miles toward the south. The trees are varied, from pine trees to tall oak trees. There are many paths in the woods, mostly from small game and deer. There are several known campsites, as well as some hiding places. The canopy of the forest is thick, causing the sun to hardly peek through. As a result, there is little grass, if any, on the floor of this forest. Vegetation and wildlife is abundant.
Nar 24th, 228

High up within the forest canopy is a cloaked and leathered figure that blends in to the tree line, nary a sound made though even without the deluge coming down one would not be able to hear those whispers of footsteps upon the branches of the trees. Amber gaze from deep within cloak hood will stare down as people venture into her part of the forest, a range which actually extends quite a bit, archers bow ever at the ready as the huntress tracks the path of those who wander. Crouched at the moment within a tall oak even as the winds batter through and water slakes, bow is slung over her shoulder, quiver at her back, watching and waiting.

Usually flaxen curls right now are soaked by the storm. Rain ripples through the bright face of the young princess as it would be a river.
Of course, Caillin is comfortably seated in the saddle of the as white as snow mare. Well, it was white, but right now even his belly is muddy as girl's ridding clothes and brightly blue cloak.
The mare trots slowly through a small path of road. When lightning flashes in the sky together with a loud thunder, Caillin flinches and cuddles up to the strong neck of her animal. She whispers something to her ear, carefully looking around with her grey eyes, examining each shadow in the woods. Slightly flinching, when old branches crackle too. Though, there is too much dark clouds in the sky, that girl could see something around.
She nervously chuckles "I guess we are lost, my dear Snowflake!"

Ruthgar had gone riding earlier today, as his proud black destrier Nightshade was in need of some exercise. That was the official reason for his brother though. Fact is, that the Ruxton had one of his darker moments and needed some time for himself. The dark grey clouds gathering had not bothered him much in the beginning, the air tearing at him and the thundering hooves of his steed had managed to distract him sufficiently. And then. A knight is not intimidated by the weather. Even if he should have been, probably.

The downpour has taken the Ruxton quite by surprise, and soon enough he is drenched completely, his black and red tabard plastered to the chainmail he wears underneath it, dark brown locks sticking to his face. He has come to the woods, not too far from the Castle perhaps. And casting a glance around him he tries to make out the path before him through a curtain of raindrops, narrowing his grey eyes a touch as he spots a lonely rider on a muddy horse ahead.

The clouds at first light hinted of rain, but nothing like this. Sheets of water are blowing almost horizontally, with loud peels of thunder and flashes of lightning erupting from the nearly black clouds. A group of four people - two of them guards in the heraldry of Kilgour, are braving the wind and rain. One of the riders, wearing dark and sturdy clothes suitable for weather like this, looking indistinguishable from a commoner except on close inspection, is Caedmon Kilgour. Identifying him would be difficult because he has the hood of his dark gray cloak pulled over his head. The other, who rides beside the chancellor, might be recognizable as Duke Cedric. However, in this weather, certainty is far from possible. The chancellor points toward a grove of trees and looks to Cedric. "If she came this way, she might have gone there for shelter from this," he almost shouts so that the other man has some chance to hear him over the pouring rain.

The Princess hasn't been alone, she's been followed ever since she encroached upon the Hawk's territorial boundary. Of course happening upon the Princess had been pure luck as the Huntress had been trailing a pack of wolves before the storm hit and forced the pack to alter their course back to their own hidey holes. The Oak that Victoria is in extends over the path that Cailin has taken, bridging to another Oak, large thick branches traversed by the nimble footed Ranger/Escort. Keen eyes pick up a figure just down the ways from Caillin and the huntress will pause, crouching down on the branch, both hands gripping it as she extends her legs out behind her to lay across the surface, knees sliding down to grip then as she watches and waits; the way this storm is brewing up she's going to have to lead them to safety. Bloody nobles.

<FS3> Caillin rolls Horsemanship: Good Success.

Caillin firmly clenches the reins with one hand. Another one is trying to put the hood back on her head, but that wind just tosses it away. Then, young girl is trying to wrap up into the cloak, that it wouldn't be so cold, but the wind does the same. It playfully wrests the cloak's fabric from the hand of Caillin and just lets it blow in the air.
Princess mumbles under her nose "Yes, they are so good on following me in the village, but when I need them the most - they are gone. Can it be called perfect guards?" However, princess' voice is more worried, maybe even afraid, but not actually angry.
Lightning flashes a few times again and the Snowflake snorts nervously. Caillin pats the animal "Don't be afraid. Imagine, that it is just adventure. The storm will go away and then, we will find our path home!"
However, thunder roars so loudly, that it looks like it just did it straight to the ear of rider and her mare. Animal stands on his left foots and starts skittering as quick as he can. Caillin just grabs reins with both hands and leans closer near animal's neck shouting "Not again!"

<FS3> Caedmon rolls Perception: Great Success.
<FS3> Cedric rolls Perception: Good Success.

His black destrier gives a loud whinny as Ruthgar reins him in for a moment, trying to get a better view of the rider ahead, but then his heels press lightly against Nightshade's flanks, and he approaches as swift as the muddy conditions allow, drenched dirt being thrown up by the hooves of his steed. Soon enough he is close enough to see a slipped hood and long dripping hair being tossed about by the wind. Then, in a sudden flash of lightning the maiden turns her head, and the Ruxton recognizes an all too familiar face. "Princess." he shouts, urging his horse onwards. Just in time to hear Caillin's shout and notice the agitation of her steed.

Without waiting to see if Cedric agrees, Caedmon rides. He glimpse of the usually white horse and his blonde rider. Finally, he spots something in the distance. He glances once behind him to the guards. Then he nudges his rain-soaked horse to a faster trot, and again into a gallop that might be reckless in the weather toward the trees. The horse covers the ground in long, swift strides until Caedmon is close enough to be sure of the rider's identity. In spite of the wind and thunder, he yells, "Caillin!"

Cedric is right with Caedmon, his own calvary mount not in the least phased by the storms effects a he keeps up with the lord chancellor. His own dark riding cloak and leathers keeping him quite dry as they ride, and while his own eyes may not be as sharp as that of Caedmon's, he still is able to keep up with him. "You'd think.. she'd learn to stop and stay in one location in a storm and if lost instead of trapsing all over the woods. "

<FS3> Victoria rolls Horsemanship: Good Success.

Silently cursing as the storm picks up in it's rage, the Huntress will watch the scene below with some ire; The Gods and Goddesses, on these particular days, can be such jerks. Especially when she just got her stock of venison smoked and dried, wine re-stocked and herbs and roots replenished, just so she could host a lunch party for the local wandering and lost Nobility. Glancing upwards beneath her hood she'll narrow a gaze to the skies; only reason for such a good hunt, huh?
With that last yell of sound and a huge gust of wind that sends rain in sharp angles towards the group on the ground the Escort is forced to act; she knows the moods of the forest and of the skies and this one is shaping up to be relentless and wicked. With a spring of her knees that sends her backside rising up she's propelled off the branch, hands still gripping the branch to aid her in her aim towards the ground and send her careening in through the whitewashed air of wind and rain to appear on the ground in a solid crouch. Pow. Up the cloaked and hooded figure rises, a hand raising up to gain the attention of those on the ground, most notably the princess, "Princess Kilgour." The huskied voice calls out, rising up just after a snap of lighting flashes the sky and a ground shaking rumble of thunder peels through the air, "All of you -" Idiots, "Follow me to shelter!" Both hands wave then to urge them on, the Huntress quickly darting forwards to reach up and grab the reigns of Caillins horse, hugging in to the creatures head to murmur to it as she tries to calm it down.
Regardless if the creature responds or not she's stepping to the side, left foot raising in the air, almost a dancers lift, to look down the path, "This storm is just getting warmed up, kick your mounts into action!" With reigns in hand the Huntress will come to the beasts side, pat it firmly before she vaults up expertly onto the horses back, Caillin in front of her, one arm going around the Princesses waist as she kicks the horse into action which sends it off towards her home. Which isn't far away. Forcing the others to follow, regardless.

The storm brings a voice. That voice. So similar voice. The Princess heard it not so long ago. She turns her head to the direction of the sound. Even if her mare gallops as mad, a wide smile flashes in girl's bright face as a sun, which is missing right now, somewhere behind dark clouds. "My lord! Attentive lord! Is it you?!" soft voice tries to outcry the storm "Quite a weather, huh?!" laughs Caillin and turns her look back to the mad mare.
She strains reins "Stop! Please, stop! You don't need to be afraid, Snowflake!" and girl strains reins even more. As firm as her fragile hands can. But it is not she, who stops the stud. Other hands grab the reins. Actually, another body apears in front of the princess.
At first she flinches and just starts screamin "My lord! My lord Ruthgar!" Caillin struggles as she can. But just briefly. When she turns her grey eyes at the rider behind her, girl grins "Nah, you won't kill me!" and soft laugh overcries the storm.
Princess settles more comfortably in the saddle, being in trusted hands now. Well, she thinks, that these hands are good. Girl peeks through the shoulder of stranger at Ruthgar "You love riding in the rain, huh?" For now young girl is not reacting to her cousin and the Duke. Maybe she did not hear them. Maybe she is just too surprised that Ruthgar is around. Girl just giggles and enjoys the riding now.

Ruthgar turns his head as he hears shouts and the sound of hooves coming from another direction. In a fraction of a second, he notices the four riders approaching and hearing one particular of them yelling the princess's name, his attention at once is back on Caillin and he moves forward to grasp the reigns of her steed when…

…Someone jumps on the the path from above. The face he recognizes in another flash of light is a familiar one as well. "Mistress… Victoria." Ruthgar mutters, the hint of a smirk appearing on his drenched features. Yet her hand on the steed's reins has him alarmed for a moment. Until he realizes what she is doing, that she is actually trying to calm the distressed animal.

Caillin's reaction to Victoria has him raise a hand in a subduing gesture. "It's alright, Princess. I think she is trying to help." And then, after a short pause he adds: "We will follow her, that is… if those riders following you have no objections?" There isn't any time to wait though for words of approval, as Victoria already leads Caillin's horse away. And so all he can do is follow her, offering a quiet: "Do not worry, Your Highness. But… why in the name of the Light are you riding out alone?"

"Snowflake is a fine horse, your grace, but he can be nervous," Caedmon replies to the duke over his shoulder. Then he glances forward again to see a dark shape drop from the trees. That triggers an alarm for him, and he urges his horse forward. The guards give chase, too, each drawing a sword. Caedmon comes closer to the pair, and can just discern what Victoria is attempting to do, and who she is after having seen the huntress at close quarters several times recently. He glances over his shoulder again and calls to the guards, "Friend," he calls to them, a single word to ease their own concerns. He begins to slow his horse and calls again, "Your highness, riding is a grand thing, but you should teach Snowflake to mind his manners and keep you close to the town." He grins toward the princess. Then he spots Ruthgar. "Lord Ruxton," he calls to the man. He frowns. "We have come from the castle after servants failed to find the princess." Then he cautions, "As you can expect, the king and queen might require a good explanation for why we find the two of you here."

Cedric keeps up with Caedmon and the guards. "Snowflake, is that what she calls her mount.. ?" his tone is just loud enough to carry to Caedmon but with the wind being this active who knows just how much further it'll carry. Though as the guards draw their weapons Cedric place his hand on his hilt but doesn't draw just yet as anything could happen and he'd hate to lose his blade in this dark and stormy weather. He catchs up and soon spots the princess. Ruthgar and even Victoria "Well this is a party now isn't it.. " as he slips past the Guards and even Caedmon to address the Princess. " I see you're in good hands your Highness but when your Guards lost you in the storm they were worried and raced back to get aid. Tis a good thing you were found and unharmed. " he looks to Ruthgar and bows slightly. "Lord Ruthgar, tis good to see you, how fair thee in this weather. " he says politely to the lord of Weston.

One of many massive oaks is approached, the Huntress dismounting and leading Caillins horse forward to tie it's reigns up against a large root in the mossy forest floor. Each footstep sinks down into the overly saturated moss, squelching and sinking the Huntress down to her ankles, though no notice is paid as she reaches a gloved hand up for Caillin, "Lets hurry inside." If the princess takes her hand she'll help the woman down, other hand reaching for her waist to make the landing a soft one before the Royal is let go so that the Huntress can lead the way down into the roots of the tree and then up into the bottom of the tree itself where a mossy entry way leads to a door that gets yanked open, the group yelled at, "There's a bloody storm, stop talking and get the hell inside." Waving her gloved hand she'll usher the group in and into her sacred place.

"I was not alone! I was not alone! It was bright morning. My two guards were with me. And then… That storm came, cousin!" explains Caillin nervously "Snowflake started to run as crazy. And guards lost me…" girl sighs. "I believe they were the ones, who informed you, my cousin about me…"
Caillin glances at Ruthgar "And I just asked if lord loves riding in the woods at the rain?.. I see him just now… I was all alone…" girl wraps into her cloak, to get some warmth.
After Victoria helps Caillin to jump from the stud, girl quickly runs where that woman offers. When she enters inside, princess just looks around curiously, waiting for others.

Recognizing Caedmon at once, as he is being addressed, Ruthgar turns, while his steed is following Snowflake. "Lord Chancellor. I believe everything is under control. I just came across the Princess by chance… I was riding out and surprised by the weather…" His grey eyes narrow a touch and a frown appears as he hears Caedmon's last remark. "What do you mean, I wonder? Do you mean to imply that I would forget my vow to honour the rules of chivalry? Lord Chancelllor?" His voice is a grumble, loud enough to hear for Caedmon, perhaps. "You mean to doubt my honour? And that of the Princess?" Pale grey eyes stare at Caedmon with open contempt at his assumption. "You heard my words. I arrived here only moments ago, my lord. She was alone. No guards. I rode to her to help. Not to dishonour her." This last part added with a firmer voice, loud enough for any close by to hear.

Cedric's less insulting greeting is met with a courteous incline of the head. "Your Grace. I'm drenched, but the Princess is safe." And so he rides on, dismounts at Victoria's tree house and enters just after Caillin.

<FS3> Caillin rolls Body: Failure.

When they came to the cluster of trees, Caedmon guides his horse to a tree whose canopy offers almost complete dryness. He dismounts, tethers his horse, and follows Victoria and Caillin into the refuge. "I know how Snowflake is, highness," Caedmon assures her. "Still, I have a duty, even when it isn't pleasant. The king and queen will expect to hear about this." If nothing else, they will want to know whether the guards face some charge of negligence. I cannot prevent that." He shakes his head. Then he looks to Victoria and inclines his head to her. "You have been most helpful, Mistress Skyhawk. Thank you," he adds. He looks around the shelter and guesses, "Is this your home?"

Victoria's Treehouse, Darfield
This delightful little hollow of a house is situated right within one of the large oaks in the forest. The entrance way comes from beneath the large looming roots of this tree, doorway covered in moss. The view out of the open air windows is that of beauty and nature, curtains of brown nearly the color of the oak itself able to be drawn at any time. There are four rooms that expand up and through the tree itself through winding stairs along the length of the tree; one a pantry where foods are kept, right near the bottom closest to the cool earth, another a small living space where cushions are arranged and a small table and one chair exists for the occupant.

Another space is for the kitchen which boasts a wood burning stove, pipe leading to the top of the oak to expulse smoke. And finally the sleeping area which is just a ton of overstuffed cushions stuffed with feathers. Shelves are built up around every room to house items of the occupant. Alongside weapons such as bows and arrows on the shelves and trinkets, there are small sketches of people; not well done, but the resident knows enough of the hand-drawn pictures though there is one of a large burly man with long hair. Plant life is also abundant in here, hanging from the ceiling and little alcoves in the walls, lighting provided by candles at night and natural light during the day. There is also a small alcove carved out to house a large bird of prey though no bird currently occupies the house.

July 27th, 228

Victoria pushes back the hood of her cloak, all the windows of her house secured against the storm, cloak unclipped and swung off her shoulders and hung at the entry way to the door on a wooden peg as she presses forwards up into the main living area, "You may all take shelter here for as long as needed, this storm will likely not abate for a few hours." The scent of a stew cooking on her stove is evident in the house, "You are free to my food and wine, there is a bedroom upstairs though I do ask that if one of your ventures thus that you do not disturb my leather work up there, you'll have to fare on the floor." Upstairs she's checking the pot of stew, giving it a quick stir and taste, woman moving quickly, "I assume there are more lost in the forest in this storm-" A pause, Victoria twisting round to look at the group, searching for Caedmon, the drowned rat status of them all a bit disconcerting, "Chancellor, may I borrow your mount for my search? As fleet footed as I am the search will be that much quicker." She's not much for idle talk it seems as she answers no questions in regards to her home or anything, already pressing past the group as she makes her way down the steps to her cloak again, bow still on her back along with quiver, waiting for an answer from Caedmon before she will dart back out into the tempest.

Caillin takes off the soaked cloak, tossing it somewhere. Girl frowns slightly, still looking around. Some kind of heat comes to her cheeks. Princess sneezes and chuckles at the same time. "It's nice place, but… I would like to go home… Maybe take a nap. It's cold," and she raises her hand to touch her cheek.
"Oh!" she gasps and slightly trembles. Girl is just burning, even is she is feelin cold. She glances at the young lord "My lord Ruthgar, cousin," *cough cough* "Can we go back to the castle?" and she takes a seat, putting her head on hands "Some sleep would be good," she mumbles and maybe because of a heat, tiredness or something, she just becomes very silent, just breathing heavily. It is hard to say if she is sleeping or just resting.

Cedric secures his mount as well to what ever will suffice as a hitching post and then following the others will enter the 'treehouse' and removes his cloak and hang it so that it'll dry in a spot that wont drench Victorias home.. "I am greatful Sir Ruthgar for your intervention and aid. " he looks to Victoria and gives the woman's hand a kiss' "and yours as well for your aid and hospitality during this storm. " he then moves over to Caillin and gently examines her face and forehead before saying. "Dear one, we were scared out of our minds with worry for your safety. I am personally just glad for the aid of Sir Ruthgar and Mistress Victoria for finding you safe and sound." and while not customary or even properly correct the Sutherland duke hugs Caillin and is just happy to find her safe and sound.

As Caedmon chooses to not press the matter any further, all Ruthgar has to offer him is a cautious glare, as the implications of the compromising circumstances of their encounter slowly starts to dawn on him. And pensively he removes his drenched cloak, hanging it over a post close to the hearth, before he offers Victoria a grateful nod. "Thank you for offering us the shelter of your home." The Ruxton knight lets himself drop into one of the seats, choosing to be silent for now. Although Caillin's fevery state catches his attention and makes him frown with worry. But a glance towards Caedmon and he stays where he is.

Shazaa comes moving from the bedroom pulling up his leather breeches as he does. He wears no shirt, as usual, and no shoes. He glances around a moment, stunned by the number of people in the tree house. Both brows raise as he looks around slowly, before his eyes fall on Victoria. "Vi'toria?" He moves toward her slowly, his gaze moving back toward the nobles for a moment, then back to the huntress. "Why all these people here?" He wonders loudly. "We do something wrong?" He automatically assumes the worst, when nobles arrive in the woods, and aren't hunting. He ties his breeches off to make sure they don't fall on him, his gaze still an odd look as he watches the nobles suspiciously.

Caedmon spots the pegs on the wall by the door and picks to hold his cloak. He turns while Ruthgar is speaking, sighs, and shakes his head. "My words are not accusation, but warning, lord," he explains. "She has guards, the two who are tethering their steeds outside. They should be with her. Their majesties will want a report after we left the castle so quickly. I trust my cousin. I also trust that my eyes saw you only on horseback. There is no law against riding in the rain, or I would have been in the dungeon long ago. Still, my judgement is not the royal judgement. If there are accusations, they will come from the crown. I will say only that you should be ready to answer the king if he asks." He shifts to look toward the fire where Caillin is seeking warmth, and then to Victoria when she asks for loan of the horse. "Take my mare, mistress, and go swiftly." Shazaa's sudden entrance grabs his attention, and the chancellor looks toward the man. His eyebrows rise, but he answers calmly, "Neither of you have done harm, master."

"Bad storm, Shazaa-" The Huntress calls up from the stairs by way of explanation, "They're here until it passes." Caedmons words have her propelling out of the door and to his mare then, the huntress unsecuring it and getting to know it a moment before mounting it and riding off to do her search for more lost souls.

Cedric moves to sit beside the fire and places his hands close to feel the warmth flow thru his chillled hands. "well I am greatful for Mistress Victoria's hospitality best we don't over do it. " he smiles before looking to Shazaa and studies him briefly. His focus back on Lord Ruthgar and then Caedmon. "I'm sure the king and Queen will vaule the lord knights work Caedmon, and with a simple explanation all this will be dropped, the only concern we have at the moment is getting dry and seeing to it that her highness is well."

Pale grey eyes shift to the Kundari as he enters, widening a touch as they behold his size. Ruthgar straightens at once in his seat, his hand automatically moving towards the pommel of his sword, but then, as he sees Victoria speaking with him, relaxing again. When Caedmon adds an explanation to his remark from earlier, the Ruxton gives an annoyed shrug. "If there are accusations from the Crown, I will answer them." He leans back, his gaze moving towards the ceiling as he shakes his head. Just a touch. Ruthgar's gaze moves to Cedric then, and a hint of a smile appears in response to the Duke's words of support. "We should stay here until the rain has ceased. I fear the Princess is in a bad state. To be drenched again would only make it worse.", he remarks, towards Caedmon. No need to be a healer to come to that conclusion.

Shazaa furrows his brow at Caedmon's word 'master' and the Kundari looks behind himself to see who the Chancellor is speaking with. He looks back to the man curiously, looking him over a moment. He may recognize the man, but isn't certain. A shrug is given, before he moves over to the stew, stirring on it slowly, as he looks down in the liquid. As the Knight reaches for the pommel of his sword, he sideglances at him with a casual, unconcerned look on his face. He then sniffs at the air audibly, his nose wrinkling abit callously as he watches Ruthgar. When the man begins speaking to Caedmon again, he simply looks back to the stew, stirring on it quietly.

Caedmon leaves his dripping cloak and joins the others by the fire. He nods to Ruthgar. "I would expect nothing less. Everyone deserves a fair hearing. I must report, but what I report does not in itself harm you." He nods to Cedric before continuing to address Ruthgar. "I share the duke's hope that they will focus on real issues, but I cannot count on it. The king has returned recently from long absence. He might assert himself in small matters that would escape him otherwise. Do not take my words for more than they are."

Cedric is quite happy warming himself up by the fire and occasionally glances to Shazaa and says. "you … enjoying your time here? " as he tries to be diplomatic, then Cedric runs his fingers thru his soaked hair and sighs. "Should have brought up the blanket off my horse so that I could dry off a bit while they are under the cover of the House."

Ruthgar can't help it but he feels he has to keep an eye on the Kundari. That way he does notice Shazaa's reaction, the wrinkling of the nose and the glance, and his pale grey eyes seem to lose some more degrees in temperature. His hand is no way near his sword now, but should the need arise, the Ruxton knight will surely have it drawn swiftly anough to prevent any serious damage.

Towards Caedmon he replies: "I understand you did not mean to intentionally insult me and the princess. I admit the circumstances may appear dubious. And if the King or the Queen will ask for my testimony in this, they will of course get it. The truth, and nothing but the truth. Lord Chancellor." Cedric's attempt at starting a conversation with the savage catches Ruthgar's curiosity, but not enough that he would join it.

Shazaa glances toward Cedric, a brow raising slightly, "Enjoying time here?" He speaks in a rough, gutteral tone and pace, his words coming quick, but he command of the Daereni language is certainly broken. "Aye, suppose I am." He glances around a moment, then back to Cedric, "This…" he pauses, seeming as if he is looking for the right words. He gives up, after a moment and says, "Shazaa live here." He nods once, to confirm his words, just as his eyes drift back to the knight, who seems to be staring at him. He watches him several moments to see if he is indeed staring, and finally he drops the spoon he is using to stir, moving to square up on the man, "You have problem?"

Caedmon turns from the fire to Shazaa. "You are better than when I last saw you, Master Shazaa," he says. Then he gestures to Cedric and Ruthgar, and he explains, "Mistress Victoria invited us here to wait for the storm to stop. This is Duke Cedric Crawford of Sutherland, and this is Lord Ruthgar Ruxton." He glances toward the door. "Victoria left, but she will return soon." Then he nods and echoes, "The truth, and nothing but the truth. Lord Ruxton. The guards told me that her horse bolted in fear. I understand that quite well. Snowflake has been sensitive to thunder from his youth. The king should know that already, too. If not, I will remind him." While he speaks, he notices the tension in Ruthgar's sword-hand, and that studious look to Shazaa. Caedmon glances between the two, and then peers at Caillin. He finds a chair and sets it by the fire before nudging her into the chair. "I'll fetch the blankets from your horses," he offers. Then he starts for the door.

Cedric watches the transactions between Caedmon, Ruthgar and Shazaa and nods. when Caedmon offers to get the blankets. "My thanks baron .. Later I'll go down and groom him I'm sure he'll ejoy that after being ridden in the rain." he looks to Shazaa and smiles "Well, I'm glad that your enjoying your stay and that Mistress Victoria is taking good care of you." he turns back to the fire and rubs his hands to bring more warmth to them.

When the savage moves towards him, Ruthgar is at once on his feet and his hand on the pommel of his sword. His dark brown locks still a bit damp and clinging to his face, it is the cold gaze of those pale grey eyes that is directed at Shazaa now, and it carries all of the frustration of the past weeks. In response to the guttural question, the Ruxton chooses a low voice with clearly pronounced consonants, to make sure his words are properly understood. "Do you… want me to have a problem, Kundari? What is your name, anyway?" He had obviously failed to catch it earlier, when the Forrester escort had spoken with the man.

Caedmon's further explanation about the peculiar situation is acknowledged with his head tilting a little to the side. "Lord Chancellor. I assure you I bear you no ill will. You have brought forth your concern, and I perfectly understand it. There's no need to linger any longer on this… topic. I will face any questions and answer them as truthfully as I can." And then the chancellor makes for the door. A low snort leaves Ruthgar's nose as he notices Caedmon's choice of momentary absence. But then his attention is back on the Kundari, and although he hears Cedric's words, only tiny parts of his speech manage to reach him. As he is concentrating on the tension that is almost irrevocably unfolding between himself and Shazaa.

Shazaa eyes the Knight from his spot next to the stew that is cooking, still squared up on the man, his hands to the side. He looks the man over, sizing him up, with a sneer on his face. Several seconds go by, and suddenly he is laughing, his deep laugh is throaty and loud. He shakes his head, "Nay, I no need to cause problem. I noticed you… watching me." His lips purse together a moment, his bottom lip poking out a moment, "I thought maybe you had problem." He makes no mention to the fancy noble man that he didn't answer Shazaa's question. In return, the Kundari does not answer his question of his name. His eyes narrow a moment, before he shrugs, "You are welcome here… to stay in my home. To eat my stew." He nods once more to confirm his words, before looking back to his stew. He lifts the spoon and begins stirring once more, watching the hot-headed knight from the corner of his eye. Shazaa shows absolutely no fear. It took seven men to beat him down before. There are only three here now. He isn't concerned.

Finding that no one has agreed to his offer, Caedmon turns from the door to find that the tension between Shazaa and Ruthgar has risen considerably. He walks slowly across the room. "Shazaa, Lord Ruxton, please," he urges. "We will be here for some time. That time will go better without fights." He glances again between them, and asks, "What grievance lies between you?"

Cedric watches as lord Ruthgar and Shazaa are so tense and then its broken as Shazaa offer his home and food, for which he had thought this house was Victoria's but in either case he's just glad to be inside and warming up. Though the offer of food does seem to appeal to him as his stomach seems to pipe up and rumble once the mention of food was said.

Ruthgar's gaze stays on Shazaa, his face unmoving as he feels the assessing stare of the savage upon him. When the man breaks into laughter, the Ruxton knight's mouth becomes a thin line of contempt. But only for a short moment. And his posture seems to relax. "Then I can assure you, that I do not have a problem. Kundari.", he replies softly, his gaze flitting downwards as he resumes his seat. If he is aware that Shazaa did not answer his question he does not choose to persist on it. Caedmon's worried inquiry is met with a shake of his head. "Nothing's amiss, lord chancellor. Only a slight… misunderstanding." the Ruxton explains, turning his face towards the Kilgour. His tone is calm, casual, and totally devoid of any emotion.

Shazaa doesn't comment to Ruthgar any further, as his gaze falls on Caedmon, "You will be here for some time?" He raises a brow, "You will be here as long as Shazaa say you can stay." He corrects the Chancellor, tossing another glance back to the Ruxton, then back to Caedmon with a raised brow, as if to tell him to get his Knight before Shazaa does. Another shrug is given, before he looks back to his stew. After a moment, he sets the spoon down, and moves to take a skin of wine, cracking it open and taking a long slow drink, his adams apple rising and dropping. After several long gulps, he returns the skin where he got it, and moves off toward the bedroom, disappearing up a set of stair.

Cedric looks to Ruthgar and says in clearly a jest .." charming fellow isn't he.." he turns to look at that stew as its aroma starts to get to him and he licks his lips. We'll If his stew is as good as it smells. I think WE'll do fine tonight before heading back."

Ruthgar leans back in his seat, ruffling his slowly drying dark brown hair with one hand as he pointedly avoids to look at Shazaa, prefering to stare at his own boots instead. His eyes flit to Caedmon for a moment, to perceive his reaction to the savage's words. Another, longer glance is cast towards Caillin who has fallen asleep in her seat, a spark of concern appearing in those pale grey eyes of his. "Indeed.", is his short reply to Cedric's jest, although it is uttered with little amusement.

Caedmon relaxes when both the Kundari and the knight assure that there is no problem. He remarks, in a self-deprecating tone, "Misunderstandings seem to be quite in fashion lately. Fortunately, fashion is a fickle thing." He watches while Shazaa disappears into the bedroom again, and then looks back to the door. "I'll gather those blankets, but I hope that the weather clears soon, so that we can leave for the castle and not burden our hosts further."

Cedric smiles at Caedmon and nods. "aye even though our host offered us the fare I'm sure he'd rather we not eat his food unless he had no choice "

Pale grey eyes have followed Shazaa on his way upstairs. "Misunderstandings…? I don't think so.", Ruthgar mutters, more to himself as he shifts a little in his seat. He clears his throat. "I agree with you, Lord Chancellor. The sooner we get back to the castle, the better.", he replies turning his head towards Caedmon. A mirthless chuckle escapes the Ruxton knight when he hears Cedric's comment. "Indeed. And who knows when Mistress Victoria will return…" And then his grey eyes are on Caillin again, on her feverish red cheeks, her uneasy sleep. While the harsh weather outside slowly starts to clear as a radiant sun manages to push through the grey rain clouds.

Caedmon looks toward the window when, as if on cue, sunlight begins to filter into the room. He nods toward the warm glow. "Agreed, and just in time. I'll leave a note to the mistress so that she'll know to return my mare to the castle. I'll take the princess on Snowflake." He glances to Ruthgar and Cedric. Then he urges, "We will ride."

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