Umbra 8, 228: Swift Justice

Swift Justice
Summary: Roslin and Caedmon ride to visit the camp of Aldren's troops and witness the count's justice.
OOC Date: 12/10/2013 (OOC)
Related: None
Aldren Caedmon Roslin 
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.
8 Umbra, 228

On the edge of the city some hundreds of soldiers from the Count's county linger, they seem restless and the obvious goings ons of a militarized presence are there to be seen. They are divided in half by a fifty yard no mans land and operate indivdually from each other. Aldren progresses slowly through the middle as he offers commanding looks to both sides. As he and any others who have found their way here, weather to inspect, accompany, or just plain be in the same place at the same time, would see that the fronts of each camp assemble and bow accordingly. The Haravean is riding ahead of a small force of a maybe a half dozen green and white adorned guards,and any who would be present with any others of course, and when they reach the end of the line only a few whispered words are given.

As the overcast sky lends its mood to the unescapable feeling that hangs about, two of the Greenshire guard turn right and Aldren signals to the rest to follow him to the south to inspect the camp with them if they choose. A few nobles and four guards along with any maids that are present would follow.

Sounds of cursing, gambling, and even perhaps whoring can be heard by the keenest of ears if they listen. Aldren just continues as they move slowly, nodding to each man as they see him and grab a knee. There are men about whose business is proper as well. Some sharpening their swords and thinking of home, some simply speaking while at watch near their post. For the most part The Count seems pleased and behavior is at least assumed in his presence despite what the sounds from unseen areas would lead you too believe. Surely the sound of blood thirsty men who long to be done with this business is heard as they day draws to an end. Aldren once again turns to his company as they deepen into the camp and howls and curses become louder, "The men of the county fear little save never seeing their families again. They long to ride." He lets that trail off and looks forward again sitting high in his saddle.

War is coming. It's in the air now. In the water. In every breath. Roslin is living and breathing it, as much as a woman can. She is frustrated, those close to her would realize. She wants to do more - to ride out to the Laniveer on her own and broker a peace or some such. Something. Anything. But, as a woman and a Princess there is little she may do just now but to wait for what will come. Her hair is up in a regal, high crown of braids today, and the golden crown nearly woven into it. Her dress is purple and long, draping over the side of her large mare with a delicacy only velvet provides. Thin threads of gold have been woven into the skirt to make it shimmer. The underskirt and bodice are cream, though both are decorated with golden beads. A gold eight-pointed cross hangs about her neck. She looks more regal today than even she does on most days, which is saying something. She rides beside Caedmon, the Voice of the King, among many Kilgour guards, a Kilgour banner, and two maids. She speaks softly to the redhead beside her. "Are there more troops still coming in from the countryside?"

"Count Aldren recently spoke of calling more of his banner-men to our aid, your highness," Caedmon answers. "I have sent similar requests to the Duke of Crawford. We will have ships as well, coming from Sky Forest and eventually Greenshire. I pray that these are some of those. We shall see soon enough." He guides his horse to the top of a hill and pauses there to survey the land below. Then he nods and looks back to the princess. "A camp of some size," he confirms. He saints, and then nods. "I make colors of green and white there. Those would be the Count's." Gathering the reins, he nudges his mare toward the camp. When he sees an armed sentry, he slows his horse, and calls, "The king greets you!"

Aldren has slowed now and speaks from horseback to a sergeant nearby. He must be near the sentry for when he hears Caedmon's voice he turns. Approaching quickly he calls the man off and says, "Voice, Princess." He offers nods to each in turn and steers his steed so that he may turn around and lead them in if they dare.

Roslin lowers her head in a slight nod of respect to Aldren as the group approaches. It seems like a wave of movement - the waters receding before the group on horseback as the common men pause to kneel for the Royal until she and her group pass, rising afterwards to continue on their business. She doesn't smile - the stern look on her face is an indication that she is entirely focused on what's going on around her. She nudges her horse after the Count. "Tell me, Count Haravean," the Princess says. "About what it is we see here - how many men, how they are camped, how ready are they to move."

Caedmon inclines his head to Aldren when the count notices them, and he nudges his horse forward. He guides his horse into place behind Roslin so that the princess and her guards might advance. After the princess has passed, Caedmon nods to the kneeling men and then follows. "We surely will not wait for Laniveer to come to us. That much is certain," he remarks.

As the princess nears him he slows his horse a bit to let her catch up. "Well, there are some seven hundred and perhaps a half." He looks over his shoulder now this way and that. "I have them split into two factions. I still await on word from the crown as to how we will deploy them. I feel divided they are more easily moved. Especially if some should stay in the city and some should march." Just then the sounds of men within their cup ring out. The count smiles as he looks away, turning back he says, "They behave better in smaller groups as well." He smirks a bit to her before the look alleviates itself from his face.

He hears the voice now and responds, "The men are surely sick of waiting." He nods to him with a knowing smile and adds, "They seem restless but that is not a bad thing. Good thing it was thought to keep them outside the city though." He pauses, "Surely Wenna has told you of blood feuds in the county? Another reason they are separated. Due to region. Grudges die hard in the County. Loyalties run deep. I fear the longer they sit idle the worse for marale. I've had reports." He seems somber now and looks about the camp again as more howls and shouts go up.

"I imagine they'll be marching soon enough." Roslin says, looking this way and that, nodding to some men as they go down and kneel. "I agree that keeping them out of the city was wise. Aside from many other reasons, it keeps the people from a siege mentality. Sieges can be exceptionally unruly, I have been told." She nods still to the men around her, looking then to Caedmon with a brief brightness to her eyes. "Nor should we wait to meet them. To wait here is to lose this war and our country. We must meet them on the field, and I am particularly pleased to hear that these men are so prepared for that. Tell us, Count Haravean - what reports?"

Caedmon nods solemnly when Aldren mentions blood feuds. "She has told me about the feuds, certainly," the Voice confirms. "Even if there were no such rivalries, The princess speaks well about protecting the city from worry." He looks with approval to Roslin, and then returns his attention to Aldren. "Between men like these and your cousin's fleet of ships, we are far stronger."

Aldren frowns to the redhead Roslin. "Reports of men who mean to kill each other. And not for lack of Veers. Despite distributing the men according to region blood feuds go as far back as the first era. There are men from the county who will cross paths with others in this setting who otherwise would never see each other-hence the separation. Still, folks have no need of disguising who they are. This environment throws salt into old wounds despite precautions." He looks to her now sternly, "Men die in this camp for deeds their kin committed before they were born." He shakes his head now and seems guilty of something as he refuses to meet anyone's gaze for a bit.

When Caedmon speaks he nods along and slowly returns himself to the conversation. "I feel you are right. I have often thought of mending warring factions on the field to secure bonds of war and commoradiery. But then I think of my sister. It was a boon from war that Fallon derived his marriage from. I feel it is best to keep them separated as best I can. The ones I know of at least…." The count seems quite uneasy now but keeps his head high and commands looks from all those he passes.

Roslin smiles a little under Caedmon's look of approval - smiles like a 16 year old girl who was just told she did something well. She blushes, but continues along, letting the stern-ness return to her features. "I do not question your wisdom for how you have arranged them, My Lord," Roslin says with a nod. "And as the Voice has said - there is nothing that does more to unite than a common enemy, history shows us. Perhaps with the common invader, your men will find more love for each other in the blood of their enemies." She continues to nod to men as they ride, though she makes a point to do so more equally than before, knowing that the separation is of importance. "When the order is given, how long will it take for your marching host to be ready to move?"

Roslin smiles a little under Caedmon's look of approval - smiles like a 16 year old girl who was just told she did something well. She blushes, but continues along, letting the stern-ness return to her features. "I do not question your wisdom for how you have arranged them, My Lord," Roslin says with a nod. "And as the Voice has said - there is nothing that does more to unite than a common enemy, history shows us. Perhaps with the common invader, your men will find more love for each other in the blood of their enemies." She continues to nod to men as they ride, though she makes a point to do so more equally than before, knowing that the separation is of importance. "When the order is given, how long will it take for your marching host to be ready to move?"

Caedmon stops his horse beside Roslin's and listens while the princess asks her questions. "Your men seem well equipped," Caedmon observes while he glances around them at the warriors. "However, if you find that any man is lacking in weapons or armor, do not hesitate to bring that matter to my attentional."

Aldren listens to Roslin and nods to her. "There is no argument here on that. As far as the idea. Though you will find as you grow older wounds fester. A man's pride is worth much." He frowns and adds, "they would be ready to move within hours though. They travel light and yearn for home." He offers a reassuring look before he addresses the Voice. "I thank you for that. And the recomendation to request fletchings some weeks ago." He squint now and adds, "My sister, of all she knows of healing. Have you or the crown considered what she knows of poisons?"

"I cannot say myself - though it does not seem something that my father would likely give ear to," Roslin says, nudging her own horse along as they look over the men. Her voice drops a little at the topic as the groups ride. "And that does remind me, Cousin, I did wish to congratulate you. I got so caught up with all of this that it slipped my mind until just now. So please, do accept my congratulations and my apology at their coming so late." She turns back to Aldren. "I, for one, would be most interested in the topic."

"We have discussed that matter of poisons and other precautions on several occasions, count," Caedmon answers quickly when Aldren asks. "No healer can cure them unless she first knows what they are. Even I know that we can apply certain salves to arrows to give the wound a more lethal bite." While he rides, when the princess offers her congratulations, Caedmon bows his head to her. "I was sure that you had weightier concerns than my good fortune, your highness," he acknowledges. "I need no apology for that."

The count listens to both and offers a nod of congratulatory types as well. But returns to the topic. "I've heard there are ones that are lethal within an hour." He lifts his hands in wonderment and adds, "I've no idea if that is true but if it were, it should be considered. Long bows often graze far away targets. There are some advantages to be had if we were to use them in the city's defense." He pauses, "Though disadvantages surely exist as well." He says this slowly and the sincerity is plain. A quick glance to the princess is given on her words of her father but that is quickly cut short. A scream comes from within yards of them and Aldren stops his horse. A quick motion of the hand is all that is needed for a man on foot to investigate the origin of the odd scream. The Haravean remains idle and motions to his guests within the camp to do the same. At this time two of the guards that remained position themselves in front of him and the other two split the difference aside the Kilgours. One camp faced and one looking to the woods.

"Though this would be a large quantitty of whatever it is you propose-" Roslin begins to say, but the scream has her whipping her head around to see where it came from. Her horse pulls up to a stop, and the guards gather around her tightly, nudging away Caedmon and Aldren a bit. She is, after all, Royal. She exists with her two maids in a circle of Kilgour swords. "What is it?" she asks, quietly.

Caedmon's mare remains calm but stops abruptly when the man nudges her with his knees. He looks first to Aldren, and then nods to the guards who are moving to surround the princess. With one soft click of his tongue, he instructs his mare to step aside. Then his eyes follow the guard from Greenshire whom the count has dispatched.

As the princess's own guards do what needs be done. Aldren moves his steed a bit away allowing them room. A respectful nod is given to them and their prowess in their charge. A bit of relief takes him and he stares in the direction the man went off. Without turning to Roslin he says over his shoulder, "Surely nothing, just the happenings of a occupying force." He turns far enough now to look a her, "As I said, they grow restless, this is to be expected." His look is affirmative but the quickness with which he turns back to examine betrays something else. An odd scream to be sure.

Roslin is tense. She is, after all, a woman and a child at that by many standards. Despite her calculating exterior, it would be strange if she weren't afraid for her own safety. "Do men often get so restless that they turn their energies violently on each other?" She asks, sounding just a bit shocked by this premise.

Caedmon glances to one side toward Roslin, and notes her subtle shift of unease. "That depends on many factors, your highness," he advises solemnly. "The man, the march, the enemy that he is approaching, and even the time of year can count toward such restlessness." Then he adds, in a proverbial tone, "Some kettles heat water more quickly than others." Then he assures. "You are in no danger from these. I cannot be sure about the Laniveer."

The commotion grows louder and the Count stiffens. A quick glance behind him is given to the Kilgours and the overwhelming surge of protection-a good and proper thing- before he straightens in his saddle. From between two tents the man he sent and another emerge. The former being thrown to the ground by the latter wearing only a loin cloth. They are not alone though, a young girl scrambles frantically from within their mists shouting as her fresh bruises shine within the waning light of the illumination Cri bounces back. She is as naked as her birthing day and Aldren frowns. As he dismounts he shakes his head but does not look back to the voice or the princess.

As he approaches the drunken Greenshire man shouts at his fellow Grainarian, "She'd don' agreed! She'd don' sai-" Now the Count's hand is upon him from behind and he turns with a back hand. Aldren is caught off-guard and it send him back a step. He scowls now and as the man realizes his mistake he takes a knee, but it is to late. The Haravean is atop him with his own back hand and the fact that he was on his way to bend helps him to the ground. Two of green and white guards approach now but the Count holds a hand, they stop. He rushes his cloak from about him and sweeps it over the girls. A few whispered words and she is off. Disappeared through the maze of tents that glide into the view of the east. As he turns now a quick apologetic look and nod is given to Caedmon and Roslin before he addresses the man on the ground. "You! Where is your commanding officer?!" The fellow who was earlier knocked to the ground presents himself. Aldren looks none too pleased. He does however hold scorn back for the sargeant. Pointing to the half naked man he says, "Half his rations. And double his duty. Two hours to sleep a day. The rest will be spent helping the watch with the rebuilding of city hall." He is fuming now and adds to the man, quiet, but not quiet enough, "You will be on the front lines. Do not doubt it." The man shrinks back a bit and bows to the ground. "My lor-" A look cuts him off and he slithers away back into the camp.

Nudity, blood, violence, and bruises are quite difficult for a Princess to stand. She has, after all, in her life had little if any exposure to these things. Even to the mention of these things. So as the scene unfolds, Roslin's face turns a shade to match her hair and the Princess averts her eyes, more from the man than anything else. But when Aldren begins to hit the man, even as little as he did? That, the Princss does not shy away from. She is astutely aware of how she must look to others, and as soon as the naked man has been seen off, she has lifted her head again with a stern and unhappy look. "Such a man should lose the ability to take a woman in such a way, following such a scene." She says, lowly and darkly.

When several people rush from amidst the tents, Caedmon clenches his hands around his mare's reins. The scene unfolds swiftly, and Caedmon nods when justice comes to the derelict soldier. Roslin's recommendation receives a subtle shake of his head. ""The man needs discipline, but we need the man, your highness," he answers. "I am sure that the count will handle the matter more completely once we have victory."

As the Count is finished threatening - no promising - the common man, he begins to make his way back to the party. Removing his gloves he tucks them in the back of his breeches and curses under his breath to him self. When he re saddles he hears the princess, quietly he remarks to her. "I've ordered men gelded like horses. This was not such an occasion. I am appalled but cannot take his…essence. for lack of a better term, for a strike." He frowns no and adds, "Trust me. His ultimate punishment will be just enough. Unless he survives. Then I may be the one who suffers ultimately." He looks solemn for about two seconds before he laughs. "do not worry your self my princess." He nods to Caedmon after and adds, "Surely from what the girl told me he has been punished appropriately." He ponders and says, "She most likely will find her way back to him on her own accord. But still, city hall will gain and he will earn any right to life he may have." Aldren looks up now to the planet Cri, "The gods will decide." These last words are for no one in particular but quite loud.

"Believe me, cousin. Were it not for the morale of his comrades, I would have ordered it done by my men for his crime." The Princess says, her words full of fire and Kilgour fury. "There are other pressing matters. As long as the men remain ready to fight, that is where our focus must remain. Count Haravean - tell me, a detachment of which faction shall remain behind as a final protection for the castle?"

Caedmon nods when Aldren hints at the possible punishments that await the man, and how he would treat such infractions under different circumstances. Then he answers Roslin, "He will pay, highness. Of that I have no doubt." He looks to Aldren. Althogh the man's lament is not clear, that one word, 'shameful,' is enough . "Do not worry, count. The crown would not judge all of Greenshire by that one man. Your reprisal speaks more eloquently than his foolishness."

Aldren listens along and looks away with a wicked smile as the princess lets her own cold fury light the way. He does his best to not nod any admirable looks to her and against his better judgement plays devil advocate, "Sweet princess, his crimes are a mystery to us. I myself almost struck him down for all to see for his hands being laid upon me." He slows his pace and looks to her now. "You put it well and plain yourself, there are more pressing matters. And should you begin to flex the lords muscle…well, men lose there will to fight for you. It is a world of gray, not black and white. Timing is everything." The words are quiet and as much as possible for her alone and polite. He also adds some bits that surely are only heard by her. When he is done that curious look does lend itself. "You are wise beyond your years. But somethings need be observed from an unbiased stand point." He pauses and adds after his little bit of advice, "I've no idea. That is another reason for keeping them separated. I await word from your father or your brother, Tyrel." He clarifies, "Or the Voice when he knows." He nods to Caedmon, not pressing, just obligatory. He adds to the Baron, "Thank you. I only wish a better display could have been seen." He sort of smiles but it is clearly a mask of his own shame from the camps actions.

Roslin nods to the words, still looking … stony. She speaks quietly to Aldren, her voice low for his ear as he came close to mutter his own portion. Once it is said she tugs her horse's reigns back. "I shall see if I cannot find an answer to this question sooner rather than later. Please continue the viewing, my Lords." She pulls on the reigns again, preparing to turn and go.

Caedmon remains at a distance from Aldren and Roslin throughout their exchange. He looks to Aldren and recommends, "If you have not done so already, send scouts forward to secure the optimal advance positions for your men, and be ready to move the rest into place. I doubt that we will have a long wait now." When the princess urges them to continue their review of the troops, and then prepares to turn her own horse aside to leave, he inclines his head to her.

Aldren allows the princess her two coppers and draws back quite quickly. The look on his face betrays confusion. "ARe you.." He laughs now. Not loudly, more a chuckle and a squinted look of, yes, more confusion, He speaks quietly to her though. The second part is for all to hear. "Of course I would not. I do wonder what good it would do to inquire on the bounds of your powers here? If you wish the man now you may have him. I will not allow discord in my camp though." He is not unkind but a bit annoyed and that is plain.

Roslin settles back on the horse a little, chuckling. "As I said my Lord, I recognize the wisdom in your manner of handling this matter." She reaches down to brush the horse's mane, smiling over the masses that are still nearby, or at least able to view her among her guards and ladies and banners. She is a Princess, a lovely one at that, and hopefully her presence may have somewhat assisted morale. Somewhat. She speaks lightly and airily. "I have no wish to supersede your justice on the matter. I only wish circumstances were different, that a stronger punishment might have been possible." Her words are soft, heard only by those on horses just around her. "Forgive me, in these times and these circumstances it was wrong of me to tease you. Go about your business, my lord. I am sure we shall talk again soon."

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