RP:The Leaving of Chartsend

From HollowWiki

Wildlands Outside Venturil

Synopsis: Anann rides with about 100 rangers in defaced Chartsend uniforms. The meet Eboric on their way to Xalious. Eboric is suspicious. Anann retells how Eliason yelled at her for arresting and trying Josleen, so she and these 100 men defected. Eboric offers her a position in Venturil. Anann turns it down, but offers aid in future Venturil dealings in exchange for supplies.

Anann rides through the plain at the head of a column of Rangers, making her way to her beloved Forest. There are elves, humans, half casts, quite a few men-at-arms, some scouts, carrying small but powerful composite bows, and bulky archers with yew war bows who look slightly out of place on horseback, but all of them seem competent on horseback. They are a strange gathering, but they have two things in common between them: they are skilled soldiers and Rangers, and they all wear tunics that look like those of the Chartsend Garrison and the Desert Legion, but all defaced. The coat of arms sewn to the front of the tunics has been torn off by every single one of them, a trail of scraps of fabric trails behind them through the plains where they have just ridden from. Something just happened there which has caused these close on hundred men to ride off with the archer, and it is sufficient to make them be talkative, regardless of the reprimands of the three sergeants who try to calm them.

Eboric 's men are never far from the border, and only the best scouts and soldiers of Venturil are chosen for those patrols that watch the werebear's troublesome neighbor. In fact, the cyning himself often rides to meet with these men, as he has done on this very evening, to ensure that he has only the latest news from the border. And so it is the massive warrior, mounted upon his pale steed, that leads his men onto the plain, wanting a closer look at the armed forces. "Declare your names and your business," one of the scouts calls as soon as they near Anann's party. The warlord remains silent at first, his keen eyes taking in the defaced uniforms, the war bows, and Anann herself, who is known to him.

Anann raises her bow high and gives a shrill call, to slow the column. She slows her chestnut stallion down herself and slowly brings him to a standstill at the head of the column of Rangers. She spreads her arms, the massive yew bow she carries held out in the right hand, but making it sure that everyone sees she makes no attempt to nock an arrow. The sergeants behind her roar at the men to halt and be silent now. Finally standing, some of the men rip the last remains of their tunics off and eventually silence sets in. Only then does Anann speak, using that parade ground voice of hers to roar her declarations at the scout who asked, but her eyes firmly fixed on the furry warrior on his pale mount "Me name's Anann, dese are me Rangers. We wish te pass te Xalious an' nottin' more"

Eboric spurs his horse forward, the beast's ghostly aura causing some of the living steeds to shift nervously away. "I know you, Anann. You were with Alicia, when I brought forth the Foregengan spring to mark the border." His eyes dart once more to the torn uniforms, and he raises an eyebrow. "Your rangers wear Chartsend uniforms, although the clothes seem to be in bad repair. How am I to know that you are not a raiding party, or perhaps spies?"

Anann acknowledges the cyning with a nod and smiles at him "I was, so I was. Dat was Alicia, an' as far as I was concerned den, we were allies." She gently pushes her heels back to close the gap to the cyning, only dropping her big muscular arms when she is close to him "Dere was a wee bit o' a fallin' out wi'h de commander o' Chartsend. Dese men an' women chose te join me in leavin' radder dan stay wi'h him." She looks around and gestures at the Rangers. A man with the markings of a sergeant major moves to the front of the column. He is a big burly man-at-arms and seems to be ready to be called upon, or to lead the Rangers in a charge. Whichever is needed now really. The road West is now closed to them.

Eboric shifts his gaze to the man-at-arms, and simply smiles. The werebear, should he dismount, comes near to reaching seven full feet, and even the burliest of his large and burly soldiers looks a child in comparison. Choosing not to make an example of the sergeant major, the warrior speaks again to Anann. "Trouble in the beach resort? Who might have thought? I will give you and your men safe passage, of course, and even an escort to see you past that troublesome fort that Alicia built next to my Causeway, but perhaps in gratitude you might tell me of the troubles you have, and the things you might know?"

Anann nods and extends her left hand, the hand with the thick skinned fingers that grip the cord of her massive stave. Her right hand of course holds that bow. "Shake on it, we'll all dismount, yer men an' mine, an' we can talk like. Hate bein' polite wi'h de treat o' force all around, so I do..."

Eboric gives a faint smile of amusement, but shakes the offered hand before wheeling his horse and giving the order to dismount. His men obey at once, with the exception of four, who ride out some distance from the party, there to act as lookouts in the event of any hostile approach. The king dismounts as well and returns to Anann, his ghostly horse remaining still, where its master left it.

Anann shakes that hand and dismounts as well. She gives a whistle and all troops in the column dismount too, apart from the burly sergeant major, who now rides to the back of the column to keep a look out there for any Chartsend troops who might be following. Anann steps forward to the werebear, leaving her horse to walk a few paces and beginning to graze. "First o' all, I was trainin' a regiment o' rangers fer Chartsend to guard deir borders. I did dis as part o' a deal wi'h Alicia, who had promised me te lend me troops te fight fer me Forest if de time comes te reclaim Her fer Herself." She spits and mutters some curses about both the drow and the Elves, then looks up at the warrior again "I foun' a woman goin' trough de administration o' deir armies an' affected an arrest, arrangin' a court. It was de Commander's lover, whom I didn' know, but she couldn' show any authorisation fer it. Could no' let her go eidder, now could I. De commander an' Alicia were both absent an' de officers agreed she should answer. At de trial, he showed up, insulted me, treatin' me as a subordinate an' raged agains' his officers. Could no' stand fer dat, so I rode off, dese men" She gestures towards the Rangers "Elected te come wi'h me radder dan stay under his command."

Eboric listens to the elf in silence, a silence that continues a long moment after Anann subsides. "From all that I have heard, Anann, you acted only with the best interests of their own city at heart, and for that loyalty your honor was insulted. In Venturil, acts of loyalty are rewarded, not punished, and my men do not allow their lovers to intrude on the business of my troops. Should you ever wish for better treatment, there is always a place in Venturil for good fighters. I cannot offer the same promise of aid for your forest, as the drow and I have had dealings before, and I owe him a favor, but I can offer pay, housing, respect, and, if you should ever wish it, there is much land to be had here in the West."

Anann said, "I wouldn' expect ye te offer me de same terms like." She gives a vague smile and purses her lips "I cannot join ye, fer de sake o' dese men. Dey need te settle inte a new life outside o' Chartsend. I will take dem te de Xalious plains fer now, an' we will see where we go after dat." Biting the inside of her cheek, she looks back at the rangers she has lead away. "Mind, if ye have a wee gig dat does no' involved Chartsend, ye can call on me. I'll need supplies te keep dem goin' t-hrough winter like..."

Eboric smiles slightly. "You forget, Anann, that I am not at war with Chartsend. They go about their business, and I go about mine. Currently, my workers are engaged in clearing the jungle to the south of the city. There's logging work aplenty, and the loggers must also be protected. There are great lizards in the wildlands around the jungle, and small pockets of felines in the jungle itself, that made themselves my enemy by attacking my workers not long ago. I have put down the ones I have found, but there may be more little groups of them as the clearing continues." He glances back toward Chartsend. "I need more troops. Chartsend's constant threats demand a heavy military presence here, tying up more and more of my men. Tell me, do your former allies intend to declare war?"

Anann smiles at Eboric at his first remark "Ye're not in a hot war like, ye're in a cold war. Dey are t-hreatened by ye, ye are t-hreatened by dem." She turns, looking at the dismounted column "Dey have been taught dey should fight ye, dey won' fight fer ye now, even if I tell dem. Not even te help ye clear de bush like." Turning back to Eboric, she thinks for a moment "Dey won' declare war on ye any time soon, as far as I can see. Eliason's sister is dead, he is hurt like, so is his lover, dat ditzy girl Josleen. Alicia is absent. De officers will not be too pleased righ' now, de troops are shaken by wha' happened. Dey just lost close to 100 men, includin' deir bows, swords an' spears... an' horses..."

Anann nods to the king of Venturil and clicks her tongue to draw her horse closer. She grabs the reigns and mounts, waving at the Rangers to do the same. It's just then Sergean Major Uí Ború calls a warning. He raises two fingers and races to the head of the mounting column. At a gallop he approaches the king and the archer. He curbs his light horse just before them "Two men-at-arms ma'am, full armour, mounted on destriers. " Anann nods "Tank ye Sergeant Major. Take 2 men-at-arms te ride at de back an' inform Sergeant Azarah her lights need te hold de flanks and organise a rear guard. Bows at de ready please." She nods again and the sergeant major moves off and the archer turns to the king again "I tank ye fer dose supplies. My offer stands as well. If ye have a gig in which we are not te be fightin' fer ye, ye can call on us." She raises her bow and begins to move forward, the mounted Rangers following her stallion, slowly moving through the hedge of Venturil troops, riding towards the mountains and the Xalious plains