RP:Your Toll May Be Paid in Blood

From HollowWiki

Part of the Defection Arc

Xalious Mountains

Synopsis: Skylei is doing her Skylei thing, traveling, when behold! Anann, and her rangers! Anann charges Skylei a toll. Skylei refuses to pay. A group of 30-ish warriors train let a barrage of arrows loose on Skylei. Skylei momentarily protects herself with a column of fire, but that's all the moderately gifted pyromancer's got. Thankfully, Javier and Hildegarde save the day! Skylei does not escape unscathed.

Skylei knows these roads. She's travelled them more times than she could count. And so, perhaps it's unsurprising that the half-elf isn't paying as much attention as she should whilst she instinctively skirts the edges of the craters. The ranger moves quickly, hood pulled over her face to avoid betraying her gender. Dressed in the traditional light leathers of her people and with her face obscured she could easily be either male or female, elf or human and this mask of anonymity suits the lone traveller well. Strapped to her back is the blackwood bow that never leaves her sight and for once she doesn't hold a book underarm. This journey, it seems, has been made for pleasure rather than her business. Eventually, Sky would pause in her ascent and bend over to rest her hands on her thighs to catch a few quick breaths before continuing the climb.

Anann charges down this narrow road, at the head of a small column. Her massive warbow is strung, a common occurrence these days on these rides. Beside her, slightly behind her rides the first of her scouts, a lithe female sergeant. Her horse is smaller than the big stallion Anann rides, more suited to the light cavalry work she performs. Her weaponry is more suited to that as well. Her fingers are closed around a small but powerful composite bow and she carries a sword on her side. Behind come a number of archers and more scouts, all flanked by me-at-arms. All wear a tunic of cheap brown cloth, to replace the ones they discarded when they left Chartsend. Coming upon a lonely figure on the road, Anann raises her left hand, closing the leathery fingers into a fist, indicating the column to halt. She nods to the sergeant, who rides off to the side, followed by two more scouts. Once they are in a decent position, Anann slowly trots forward, making space on the road for men-at-arms to come forward and lower their spears. "Good day te ye..." the archer's voice sounds loudly.

Skylei has heard rumours of what has been occurring on this road for the last few weeks and so, at the sound of horse's hooves on rocky ground, the half-elf had quickly taken her bow from her back. No arrow had been strung; Sky has no desire to appear confrontational, after all. She simply wants to feel the sleekness of the wood beneath her fingers and know that, should the need arise, she will be able to defend herself. Her head is kept low as she responds to the greeting in a traditional elven fashion, "And may the gods bless you this day." Even her voice doesn't betray her gender; elves, after all, are famed for their androgynous tone. As she waits for a response, and to see if she will be granted passage, a hand reaches into her hood to fiddle with her hair that has been forced to hide within. A long single braid falls free, indicating for the first time that the traveller is in fact female. Still, she doesn't raise her head. There is no eye contact. Sky is not spoiling for a fight.

Anann lays an arrow across the thick, long yew stave, but keeps the bow levelled. The scouts to the side do the same. She watches the other woman carefully and lets her mount approach a few more steps. "Sure, no' seen many people on dis road teday... wha're ye up te now?" She approaches a few more steps now. At this distance you can clearly see the needle nose of the bodkin she strung. Her eyes twinkle with mischief, but the muscles of her arms, chest and back show the discipline she has had to show to learn to shoot the bow she carries. It is larger and heavier than that carried by nearly anyone. But with a smile on her face, it is hard to see her as a threat. The levelled spears behind her though, are perhaps a different matter...

Skylei mutters a single word, "Travelling.". It's difficult when you live on one side of the mountain range yet find yourself having to travel through Bandit County to get to the place that you need to be. She knows of no alternative route and so, she has taken her chances and decided to travel through the occupied territory. A few more words are added to her explanation of what she's doing, "I'm on my way home." Only now does she lift her head from the debris on the ground that had seemed to hold her attention for the longest time. Stormy eyes would meet with Anann's smile after she had scanned the surrounding threats. They betray no hint of amusement, pleasure, sadness or fear. Skylei has long perfected the elven art of holding a clear visage. Whatever emotions may be chewing away at her insides, they will not be seen on the surface. Fingers flex against the bow in her left hand and she would ask a direct question to the woman holding a much more impressive bow, "Might I continue…" A pause ensues for a few seconds longer than it should before she utters a final word, "please?"

Anann rolls her shoulders and lightly fingers the arrow, using the leather pads that are the fingers of her left hand to pull lightly at the cord. "Sure, where's home now?" The archer asks with that vague smile. Her smile is that sort of smile that can hide any emotion, though often it is just an expression of good-humouredness. She noticed the hint of a storm in the veiled eyes of the half elf, which put her on her qui vive. She releases that string and behind her back makes a signal to the men-at-arms, causing them to stir slightly. Laying the fingers back on the string, she continues to smile down at the woman on the road "An' wha's yer name?"

Skylei answers both questions with ease and simplicity. It is as though she doesn't even have to think before she responds. Uneasy eyes stay on Anann, though she senses the movement of the men that wait behind Anann, "Craughmoyle. And it's Hel. Just, Hel." With a quick pause and a sigh, the half-elf would push the hood down from her head, revealing at last her true race; you can never disguise those half-pointed ears, no matter how hard you try. It is as though she is laying all of her cards on the table, "Been staying with the dwarves that own the mountain equipment shop; the Cadwr's. Perhaps you know'em?" Sky eyes the brown cloth tunics that the men adorn before looking back to Anann, "Or maybe you don't. What your men are wearing doesn't look dwarf-made."

Anann shakes her head and now raises her bow, though not drawing the string. Behind her men dismount and walk off the road, taking position on both sides of the road, their own staves strung and arrows knocked. "Knew a lass called Hel once, she was a right devil in bed like. Ye're no' a Hel, an' when ye're lying abou' yer name, I can' trust ye on where yer home is now." She raises her voice a bit and her eyes narrow a bit, the smile gone, replaced by an empty look "Please, don' lie, or we detain ye until we can make ye stop lying te us..." The last statement is made in a tone that betrays how much she dislikes having to deal with people in this manner, but there is very little other choice for her right now. She would really like to be in the Forest with nobody to keep her company but herself, or perhaps her lover. But alas, that is not the case, and it won't be for a while by the looks of it.

Skylei uses the name Hel a lot. In fact there are probably a good hundred people that she's met who would attest to the fact that she's called Hel. In fact, given that Anann's little 'army' is made up of folk who came from Chartsend there are likely one or two of them amongst the number that know Skylei as 'Hel'. In fact, Sky remembers full well having a discussion with several Chartsend rangers about her love of dwarven runes. Backstory verified if Anann cared to check. Sky's not worried at all by the fact that Anann doesn't believe her. "Y'know the Barrel in Rynvale? Lived there for a good year and a half and y'know what they call me there? Hel. Lived in Chartsend for a while too. They call me Hel there. In Cenril where I work, they call me Hel. I dunno what else to tell you." Sky would shrug and look to Anann as though she is simply unbothered by the anger in Anann's voice. "My name is Hel and you can ask anyone y'want to verify that fact." Try though she may to remain confident, Skylei sees that this is likely to end badly. She runs a finger through her hair to push the shorter strands away from her eyes. Good sight is imperative.

Anann smiles again and suddenly raises her voice. She had plenty of practice on the parade ground, and her voice sounds loud across the range, without shouting or sounding forced. "Sergeant Azarah, report." The lithe sergeant that rode off earlier, slowly trots back, while another scout moves from the back of the column to take the place she left. The sergeant halts just short of Anann and salutes her. "D'ye recognise dis woman?" Anann asks, glaring down. The sergeant looks at her for a moment, now much closer by. She nods "Yes ma'am, she lived in Chartsend, not sure she doesn't live there now or not. Do know she is a member of the Keepers though. We were supposed to know all members ma'am, gate duty and all." ... A big grin appears on Anann's face, a slightly malevolent one now. "Well, look at dat now... Seems we're in luck teday, we'll be seeing some profits after all..."

Skylei does very little. She simply stands and waits and watches. Hand would continue to run through her hair as though it is a nervous tic. Internally she's raging with debate. She has two options. Fight and flight. Of course, the third option is submission but Skylei is a Lucindio, and Lucindio's never submit to anything without a fight. As Anann rounds back on her, the half-elf maintains her stoic visage. She doesn't feel the need to respond to these ridiculous taunts. If Anann thinks she's going to exploit anyone using Skylei she is so -so- sadly mistaken that Sky is struggling not to laugh.

Anann nods to the woman down there "Hel or not Hel, I'd like te know yer real name, not wha' odders call ye. An' I'd like it if ye lay down yer weapons, den we can talk about yer passage, so we can." She decides not to state any consequences, as those seem rather clear with a dozen arrows strung and aimed at the woman. Even if she can deal with arrows flying at her from two sides, there's the levelled spears of the mounted men-at-arms, who are just waiting to ride her down. Anann simply keeps smiling at her, not threatening. "See, all belonging te Chartsend or de Keepers are required te pay a toll, until Alicia comes down te talk te us, after de abuse an' insults we suffered. So if ye like te pass here, best we talk abou' dis amicably, amity becomes radder tedious, so it does..."

Skylei is saying nothing more than she's already said. She rolls her eyes as though she is indicating she is completely bored with this stand-off, "I told you already, it's Hel. Helena if we must be formal. If you've got a problem with that" Sky shrugs as though she is completely indifferent to the threats that are being thrown her way. Skylei's not easily shaken anymore, "well, that ain't my problem." As for that bow, it stays firmly in hand. It's not loaded; she's of no visible threat. "I might consider lowering my weapon, if you all lowered yours. Until then, we'll keep things the way they are, aye?" No reference is made to Chartsend, none to the Keepers and Skylei certainly isn't going to mention a toll. Anann would be disappointed if she emptied the half-elf's pockets. She wouldn't find much more than two or three gold coins and a handful of coppers. Sky's profession doesn't afford her much by way of wealth.

Anann 's arrow thwacks into the earth before anyone even noticed she'd hauled the cord back to her ear and released. Casually she nocks another arrow, her face blank. "See, yer name is o' no relevance, dough I do like knowin' exactly who I'm dealin' wi'h. But righ' now, ye'd best understand de situation. If ye don' lay down yer bow an' any odder weapon ye migh' be carrying, we'll assume ye mean us harm an' take ye out. An' den we'll take dat toll from ye an' we'll see whedder ye're capable of movin' on or not. It's yer choice now, bu' I do really prefer no' killin' people now." With that, she moves her mount off the road, allowing full space for the men-at-arms to charge, while from both sides of the road, and from the side cords are now drawn. "Really, ye don' look like ye're stupid now..."

Skylei lifts her brows at the continuous threats that roll from the lips of the woman, "I'm sorry, you're being utterly ridiculous. Attacking a lone traveller without provocation on a public highway surely violates more laws than it's worth." Skylei pauses and grins wryly, "Unless of course, I'm connected to some valuable organisation or hold weight in a city…" Skylei looks at the group of men that Anann commands and shakes her head, "Not like you've got a particularly large contingent here. How many Frostmawian's do you reckon it would take to wipe you out? Not that many really…" Sky inspects her fingernails as though she continues to be utterly bored, "And the Cenril Guard. Their discipline is better than yours. Even with a smaller group of men you'd struggle." Skylei smiles sweetly to Anann. "I'll wager you've got a sweet deal here. I've heard the rumours." Skylei taps her head, "Now how would a politically insignificant creature know any of that?" Skylei is enjoying herself now, though the bow still stays in her hands, "And how much are you willing to risk your position here on one little half-blood?"

Anann frowns and returns to smiling "Sure, ye want te tell me how de Cenril guard is goin' te get enough troops liberated from deir own wee war te take on our fortress? An' I'm no' really worried abou' Frostmaw eidder. I would like te hear from ye wha' kind o' porkies ye've been told dough." She gestures at the sergeant beside her "Her word ye're a Keeper an' an inhabitant o' Chartsend is enough fer me te hold ye. I have declared me intentions te de leaders, I have declared me intentions te ye. Far as I'm concerned, any sway ye may have wi'h odders is only a bonus like. All I'm after is sortin' de problem wi'h dose bastards, if ye claim te have furder contacts who migh' be able te get dem te come an' talk, so much de more important no' te let ye go now..." She is close to bursting out laughing at the attempt to be casual and the attempt to talk her way out of this, seeing as the situation is politically far more complex than most even realise. But when people don't bother to talk to Anann and only listen to the rumours spread by others, there is of course no way to know that. Even as it is deeply disparaging, it is actually almost funny...

Skylei rolls her eyes. She hasn't been living in Chartsend for weeks; that much is no lie. She's now just going to be sarcastic. Skylei can talk the hind legs off a donkey, indeed, she could win Olympic gold for talking, when she wants to. And her sarcasm knows no bounds when placed in such an idiotic position "Sorry, I wasn't aware that lowlife bandits were in the habit of taking political prisoners based on nothing but words." Skylei rolls her eyes yet again, "If you want to talk you'd do a great deal better than holding up innocents on the road. You want an alliance, or some kind'a deal? Go offer the cities something they want rather wasting your time on people whose significance you know little of." Skylei would gesture back in the direction that she had initially come from with a nod and no respite from her dripping sarcasm, "Y'know what? I've changed my mind. I think I fancy spending a day in Kelay."

Anann sighs and raises her bow, drawing the cord back to her ear and sending the bodkin flying across the short distance to the half elf. Before it reaches, she whistles and knocks and draws again. At the whistle, the dozen bows behind her and the three to the right of the road are drawn to the full draw. As Anann releases her second armour piercing bodkin, the others release too, sending their missiles whistling across the road. The few scouts who had remained at the back of the column send their missiles over the heads of the rangers before them, aiming blindly at the spot on the road where they know the woman to be before coming to ride round the two lines of men-at-arms to join the other light cavalry men on the flank. Six composite bows are drawn from there now, twelve big war bows from the standing archers, and Anann's own find arrows laid across them again, their cords drawn and released. This volley is lower, aimed at the woman's legs. As they knock arrows for a third volley, the destriers of the men-at-arms chomp at their bits, just begging to be released to the charge. And Anann is no longer looking for an amicable settlement. More insults to her good name cannot be tolerated, and the path of amity is the only one that remains open.

Skylei :: Lightly armoured and armed with only a bow, Sky cannot help but think that this attack is ridiculously over the top. She's a bloody scholar. She's of little-to-no threat. Anann clearly has a complex, or the overwhelming need to overcompensate for something. Sky, briefly feels sorry for her, until an arrow grazes her shoulder. It stings, but doesn't cause any lasting damage. By then any pity that had been growing the half-breed for the ill-tempered, poorly spoke bandit is completely destroyed. Attacking innocents on a highway is never forgivable; not morally, not in the eyes of the gods and not by law. And Sky has found herself in a rather sticky position. She's under fire from nearly every direction. In fury she fires several arrows without bothering to enchant them. The first finds its mark, the fleshy front of the shoulder of one of the standing archers temporarily disabling his drawing arm and making him fundamentally useless until he receives treatment. The second misses its mark, and imbeds itself in the neck of the next soldier in the rank. If Skylei had had times to stop and wince, she would have done. Serious injury is not her thing. But she doesn't have time to stop and think because if she stops, she dies. There are arrows flying thick and fast and it is only by sheer virtue of the fact that the gods must be blessing her steps, and that Skylei is treeborn and thus knows how to avoid an arrow and move at only the speed known to elves and their kin, that none have imbedded themselves in her flesh. Yet. It only takes a few second more before an arrow imbeds itself in her armour. Leather only offers minimal protection, but slows the bullet enough that it doesn't imbed itself completely in her lower back. It makes little difference. Skylei still screams with frustration, rage and pain as the arrow forces its way into her flesh. Her pause had been her downfall; a second arrow hits her in the ribcage. If Skylei had been angry previously, know she is a raging inferno. Sparks start flickering in her fingers and she looks around for an escape. Her magical prowess is limited, her mana control weak, but the daughter of a pyromancer has all the untapped potential in her to create an inferno. She doesn't of course, create an inferno. She's not that powerful, after all. Instead she, somehow, in her rage and fury and desperation is able to produce something akin to a lightly raging column of fire. In the centre, there is Skylei, bent to the floor and desperately bearing arrows from her flesh and allowing the wounds to be exposed to the air. This column is likely somewhat impenetrable by arrows alone and thus provides Sky with a few moments of brief respite. But her mana control is limited and easily exhausted. Sky can't hold it in place for long.

Javier rides into view with an entourage of larketian knights, numbering seventeen total. Once in view, the paladin can see the scene unfolding before him, and he instantly urges his horse onward into the fray. The knight next to him flies the banner of Larket, a signal that they approach.

Anann sees one of her archers wince as an arrow buries itself in his shoulder. He drops to a knee and grimaces, dropping his bow to the ground, knowing he can't draw it now. But none of his mates looks after him, none worry about him while there is work to be done, arrows to be loosed. The archer uses his good arm to draw his short sword and he moves out of the way of the other archers, moving to the back of the double line of men-at-arms, cutting off that retreat to the woman should she escape the volleys and a charge of the men-at-arms. Another arrow flies from the wounded woman and buries itself in the hood of one of the men-at-arms in the second line who looks startled, then sighs in relief at the arrow's head not having come a few millimetres closer to anything important. The man next to him grins at him and nudges him, then lowers his hand to calm his horse and keep it in check.... The archers hold their arrows, knowing arrows have trouble flying through fire. Anann herself holds that immense bow of hers drawn at full draw, even when she sees Javier and his knights showing up. For her the time for talking is over, the time of killing has broken, and she is just waiting for a chance to loose that killing bodkin. She hated the killing, when people could just reason and not resort to insults based on rumours, even when she herself was being reasonable. That was one problem she never had with the knight of Larket.

Javier is upon the scene after closing some distance and seeing the scene before him. From her perch he can see Anann, that look within her eyes. But, looking about the paladin sees only a small army standing against one, a woman that he vaguely remembers from when he was in the tourny in Chartsend. Nodding to his men, who flank out beside him, the paladin, the Knight-Commander of Larket, calls out to Anann, his tone that of a calm and collected man. " Hail, elf-friend. What manner of business have we happened upon this day?" He looks to Skylei, and nods for her to move behind them. The knight places his hand upon his blessed blade, its protective powers ready to be called upon should they be needed. But he hopes they won't be. Most times him and the elf, Anann, can discuss matters in a more cival manner. But for now, Skylei is granted protection by the larketian knights, shield raised, while Javier stands in front, eyeing Anann and that bow he knows is capable of felling him in an instant. " Let us talk, Anann. It has been some time, has it not?"

Skylei eventually runs out of control and energy and the fire-column that had provided her some degree of protection vanishes to nothing. She's left crouching on the floor, with two arrow shafts in her hand and two open bloody wounds. Thankfully, she's left the arrowheads in place so she's in no likelihood of dying from blood loss any time soon. Just as she prepares for a further onslaught of arrows she granted a new kind of protection. Admittedly, it's from someone who she really isn't all that keen on; though, at this point, Sky would have likely kissed Javier for sparing her, however briefly from the next wave of arrows that would have soon fallen on her flesh. She simply stays where she is, head down and eyes trained on the floor. She's done here. She just wants to leave.

Anann slowly, very slowly lowers her bow and touches her heels to the flanks of her chestnut stallion. She moves it into the road, in front of the men-at-arms. She gives a nod to the sergeant who was by her side, but now rides out to the six scouts and takes them around the back of the group of knights. They keep their arrows knocked, but don't draw, even if they now have a target again. Anann spits as she walks her horse forward a bit "Javier... it has been some time, an' it has been at better times ye've shown up te talk te us. Mind, she..." She nods to the woman behind the shields "Is probably happy te see ye like. When ye try te pay toll wi'h insults, like I'm used te from dose Chartsend buggers, we'll take de toll from yer corps..." She spits again, an angry glint in her eyes now and she draws again, aiming at Javier now. "Insults lead te killin', as ye know..." Then she relaxes the bow again, "She's a Chartsender an' a Keeper, she pays fer her passage, simple as..."

Javier knows that even with his knights, to fight would be a losing battle against these brigands and mercenaries. Yet, still, he never loses his calm. The man knows there are always more than one way to skin a cat, and he often looks for the way that causes the least bloodshed. " Very well, a toll then, paid in full and then some." The man nods to a knight, who reaches down into his saddlebag and procures two large pouches of gold coins. Two-Thousand in fact. More than enough, by far, and Javier knows it. To refuse such a gross overpayment would make Anann seem the bloodthirsty would-be warlord that Javier knows her not to be. She is course, rough and hot-headed, but she isnt a vile woman. " Payment, to avoid this needless bloodshed, and to allow her to leave." Javier keeps his men guarding the woman, but chooses to release his grip upon his own weapon, as a sign he wishes peaceful resolution to this encounter.

Hildegarde had been returning from Rynvale to Frostmaw via the air, the quickest and most easiest route, when she heard what sounded like some conflict from a distance. Being of a silver nature, her hearing was well-tuned; finer than any elf or lycan might have! The dragon's leathery wings flapped harder, carrying her more quickly to her destination before she dropped behind Skylei with the most furious of roars; a roar that simply said: 'do not test me'. As the roar died down, the thunderous rumble of a growl could be heard in the dragon's throat before words in a familiar voice spewed forth, "There are no tolls in Xailous! Xailous is a free land, the people go freely, this woman has been harmed unjustly," her eye darts between all gathered parties, as a plume of frost snorts from her flaring nostrils. The knight has rarely been seen in her truest of forms and one can understand why: she is an enormity, scales thicker than any armour and talons sharper than any legendary sword, she is a sight to behold and beware. "Xailous has her defenders," she said lowly, "in the form of the mage's guild - and they are formidable - and the dragons who dwell here." A glance to Javier and his knights is offered, "I would speak to you, Lion of Larket, of matters relating to this when such a time is offered - but not in this place, we'll do that in the proper place, if you would be so kind." Her eye turns to Anann, "As for you. Xailous has naught to do with Chartsend or your disagreements with any relating to it. Indeed, I will not tolerate you or your men enforcing a toll upon the people!" she growled, plume of frost billowing from nostrils and maw alike. Her wings shift for a moment, "All are welcome to live in Xailous, but none are welcome to threaten it or her people. You are warned," she said with an almost sad expression - as sad as a terrifying dragon can do - and sad tone, "and I advise you listen well." The knight then falls silent for a long moment before dipping her massive head down and towards Skylei, "Lady Skylei, you are harmed. In case you do not recognise me or my voice, it is I, Hildegarde the Silver. I would offer you safe escort home, if you would allow me such an honour."

Skylei lifts her head, disappointment clear in her eyes as Javier offers payment to the woman who had attacked her with little provocation. There's something not right here. Sky is not a military woman and so she has no idea of the tactical considerations that may be at play in Javier's mind. Indeed, all she is at this point is a scared, lone woman who is bleeding onto the road she has walked thousands of times before. When she speaks it's without sarcasm. Indeed, it is the words of a defeated creature, "Whilst I appreciate your assistance and likely now owe you my life, I wasn't aware that attacking lone women on a public highway was something that Larket condoned. I'd heard such good things about Larket's revival. I see I am to be sorely disappointed. Either way, I'll be sure to repay you. I don't like a debt unpaid…" This defeatist attitude doesn't last long. Skylei eventually gets up from the floor and rounds on Anann, though she keeps her distance. She's like an angry animal in the way she paces back and forth, shaking with every step. "This," Skylei points at the men that had until a few minutes ago been volleying her with arrows "is disgusting. This is extortion on public roads of private citizens. And if you treat a single woman in this way, gods only know what else you've been engaging in. You and your war band should be locked away and tried." Skylei pauses and uncharacteristically spits on the path in the direction of Anann before concluding her words, "And preferably executed." Skylei, is fuming and rightly so. It's fortunate that Hildegarde is so calm in her approach towards the half-breed because otherwise Sky is akin to a volcano. There's only so much she can take before she explodes and leaves a wake of destruction in her trail. Skylei simply nods at her. The look in her eyes screams, 'Get me out of here'.

Anann completely ignores the dragon who just came barging in, offering her another insult. It seems nobody bothers to check her side of any story any more, which means there is likely to be more bloodshed in the future, but right now she wants the business of the day to be over with. So she addresses Javier "Generous payment, ye sure dis shayte is worth it te Larket?" She smiles, not bothering with any civilities to the woman now, after her calling her a bandit, issuing threats, refusing to lay down her weapons upon several requests, knowing only one thing would happen. "I'll have dat bow an' her arrows an' she can be taken te Larket te be tended. As she can', ye can send a messenger te Chartsend in her stead." She walks her horse closer again, her bow now lowered. She takes the arrow off the string and transfers her bow from her right to her left hand, offering a hand to Javier to seal the agreement, before looking down at the woman "See, ye heard her jus' now. Had she kept her bleedin' mouth shut, she could go wi'hout furder trouble, bu' now I am forced te assume she means te kill de lot of us on sight... Meanin' next time, I have good cause te kill her on sight..." It is then she looks up to the dragon "An' dat goes fer anyone who agrees wi'h her words now... if ye agree I should be killed before ye talk te me proper, ye're te be killed on sight..."

Javier can see with the sudden arrival of Hildegarde, his presence is no longer needed. Or wanted, seeing how Skylei deems his attempt to end the situation without anymore fighting wasn't good enough. The woman's tone, and her words are responded with a wave of his hand. " I did not try to help, to have you owe me." To Anann he says. " And I do not answer to you." Then back to Skylei, he says. " Larket has no claim upon Xalious, so we do not "tolerate" anything, we just know where our jurisdiction ends." And to Hildegarde, the mighty dragon, he replies. " You seem to have things under control here, so my men and I are no longer needed." With that, the men stop shielding Skylei, and Javier and his men take their leave of the scene. The horses trotting off at a steady pace back to Larket.

Hildegarde can hardly believe someone is capable of ignoring a dragon dropping before them, but it doesn't anger or irritate her. "I did not agree you should be killed, I have no desire to kill. But I will not tolerate the abuse or threat of my people," she said sternly. "As I said, all are welcome in Xailous. There are no tolls here. If you continue to enforce tolls or to harm the people, justice will come looking for you, it won't be pleasant either." That said, the knight watches Anann for a moment longer, "Please. Make the right choice and stop enforcing these tolls. You can earn an honest wage in Xailous, you know that. Violence isn't always the answer," she said, before watching the Larketian troops march off. "I will return soon, Lady Anann. I wish you would speak to me then," she said, before dipping her head onto the ground so Skylei might sit upon her neck and be delivered to wherever she requested.

Skylei is sick of Anann's threats and idiocy. She hears them loud and clear. She's to be killed on sight if they see her again? And what? They've already tried to stick her full of arrows once today and that hadn't ended particularly well for either party. She just wants to leave. She simply repeats her plea to Hildegarde, though verbally this time, "Shall we go? I don't wish to be here anymore." Hildegarde has already dipped her neck for the half-blood to climb aboard and she does so with as much dignity and grace as she can. Her hands have been pressed against her wounds, but are quickly taken away and latch onto the silver. She mutters something surprising, "Frostmaw. Can we please go to Frostmaw?" Even with this done Skylei has enough fire in her belly to mutter one last thing to Anann, "I did warn you not to cause me trouble…"

Anann roars a command to mount up to her archers, who now tend their wounded mate and help him mount too. Meanwhile, with another threat issued against her, Anann lays another bodkin across the stave, knocks it and draws the cord back to her ear. Addressing the dragon, calmly, but obviously angered, once again, just as the situation seemed to have been diffused, just as the stupid woman's life had been saved by a party of knights, who were then slighted and left her to bleed on this road, leaving the dragon as the only one standing in the way of Anann and the rangers killing her on the spot. "Ye take her away quickly now, or she dies righ' here an' righ' now. Bleedin' t-hreat after t-hreat is all de answer I ever get from Chartsenders an' Keepers. Get dis shayte out o' here...." She spits and looks Hildegarde straight in the eye "I keep me word, I do not bodder de folk o' Xalious, bu' dese Ranges belong te nobody, an' I do wha' I see fit here. If ye want te stop bloodshed here, ye get dose bastards Alicia an' Eliason te talk te me, instead o' t-hreatenin' me too." She calls another command "Sergeant Azarah, form de column! We ride back te de Dún." She glowers again at those before her "De tolls are fer dose o' Chartsend an' de Keepers, until Alicia an' Eliason come an' talk instead o' try te solve a problem by first t-hreatenin' and den ignorin' de issue." Then she nods to the bleeding woman "An' anyone issues a t-hreat against us... " She lets that phrase trail off, grimacing, knowing she does not have to finish it, knowing also that it is also anyone would ever expect: threaten their lives, you're likely to face death at their hands.

Hildegarde gave a small bob of her head to Skylei, as if confirming she had heard where she wanted to go. "Eliason no longer has ties to Chartsend, Lady Anann," the knight answered, "he has no part with it. So unless you have a personal trouble with him, your business is just with Alicia," she said. The knight then spread her leathery wings again, watching the column form and prepare to depart as she too rose up into the sky and headed off towards Frostmaw to drop off Skylei and tend to her.

Skylei just holds on tight. She's never flown on a dragon before. She's also never been attacked for travelling on what should free roads before, so that's two new experiences in one day. Lucky Sky. Next stop, Frostmaw