Bandits in the Woods

Bandits in the Woods
Summary: Still heading to the fortress, our traveling group comes across the bandits which had caused the problems at the village of Rikton.
Date: 18/10/1329
Gauvain Jaren Myrana Marla Claire 

Taniford Wilderness - Deep Woods
The road connecting Laketown in the north and Wolveshire in the south is a winding one. Made with carts and wagons in mind, the road winds around the larger of the hills. Tall hardwoods tower overhead; in summer the leaves provide a canopy from the sun and skeletons of the branches reach out in the winter, like a dead man's fingers. Around one of the bends the road opens up and grass has grown in a meadow, free from the shade of the trees. A favorite spot for weary travelers, a small spring provides a steady stream of fresh, cool water. And since it's a favorite of travelers, it is also a favorite of bandits that make the woods their home. Some call it a waystation, while other's name it the 'bandit hole.'

To the north, one may find themselves in Laketown, while the south leads to Wolveshire.

Oct 18, 1329

The day before, the Prince's party had come into the territory claimed by the Mountain Fortress of Brenton. There they had followed a plume of smoke and had found the village of Rikton, under assault by a band of well armed, and organized bandits. After a brief battle killing five of the men, the Prince and his small party had driven the bandits off. They had stayed in the village to make sure there were no repercussions.

Today, a rider half rides, half stumbles into the village square. The man had been haggard, scared, and bleeding when his horse stumbled into town. The village elder of Rikton, Erek Landsmen, who had accosted the Prince and his party the day before now stands before the group, wringing his hands. "My lords. The local healer is seeing to the man. It turns out a a merchant caravan has come under attack not thirty minutes from here." He clears his throat. "I know jsut yesterday I was wroth with you. But I know now you are not the cause of these attacks and are here to help us my lords, and lady." The man swallows. "We need that caravan sers. Please. Stop the Bandits, and get us those goods…. Please…."

"I'm beginning to think demolishing the Fortress of Brenton would be more useful. At least the stone could be used to build something else." Sir Jaren Cassomir notes rather dryly towards Gauvain Tarris, even as he moves over to gather his shield and helm from where they rest nearby, "Can Bethany get the horses ready?" He assumes they're certainly not going to leave these people standing idly by.

"I can certainly assist with those who need a healers touch," Claire replies, settled within the confines of her cloak with a smooth stand to look between the men. "Or will you require assistance of a combative sort? I am sure that the guardsmen with me can lend an archer's hand to support the men with us. One of them at least."

Marla had arrived during the evening, catching up from an errand the Prince had ordered. She arrives from the stables leading her golden stallion by the reigns, "Aye." She says simply to the request, looking the others over before peeling down the mounting stirrup and grasping the saddle to climb up onto the horse.

Simply giving his daughter a look and DARING her to question him, Gauvain nods as she runs to saddle the Knight's mounts. "I think that is a yes." He says evenly as he picks up his own helm and settles it on his head, beginning to fasten the straps. "I think I am going to have a very long, very involved talk with the Lord of this place." He states evenly. He looks to Claire. "You should come with us. There will be the butcher's toll to pay when this is done."

The Ride is not a long one, and Bethany has the horses ready quickly. It also isn't long before they can hear the shouts of battle and the song of steel. Cresting a hill the party comes upon the scene. A man sits atop a horse, holding a large axe in his hands. Large wide shoulders draped in Chainmail and a pot helm rests upon his head. There are Eight other men still standing from the bandits, in leather, wielding axe, and spears. Many are going over bodies, pulling off boots and rifling through pockets. Bodies lie on the ground, men who were clearly the Caravan's guards filled with arrows, or bleeding from wounds by hand axe or spear.

One man tries to crawl away, but a Bandit casually sticks a spear in the middle of the man's back. The tip ripping through armor and the man arches his back form pain before he dies. Eyes and mouth both wide in fear and pain. Three bandits look up at one of the wagons speaking to a woman. "Come on down now miss. It'll go tha much easier on ya."

One of them laughs. "Tis true g' Mistress! We can be real gentile like."

The Three laugh before it's cut off by the man on the horse suddenly shouting: "KNIGHTS!" He gestures with his Axe. "Get yer bows ready lads! Try not ta kill dem horses eh? They look like fine animals! But kill the men and we can get us some nice and new shiney armor!"

"I suspect a few of your armsmen would be most welcome, Milady." Sir Jaren comments to Claire, "Whoever you can gather…we must make haste." Jaren notes, before moving to inspect his newly-prepared horse, and mounting up, apparently satisfied with the work. He makes the rest of the ride in relatively silence.

As the sounds of battle become clear, Jaren shifts his shield from his horse to his arm, holding off on drawing his bastard sword until they draw closer to striking distance, the better to maintain control of his steed in the interim.

"Nine of them. This ought to be interesting."

Marla slips her sword from the sheath, glancing to Jarrod, and offering a confident smile at the comment from the other knight, "Well, we can ask." She offers in an assured manner and rotates her sword around her hand with a showing flip as she holds the reigns in th other hand. Her voice picks up and she calls out to the nine, "Surrender in the name of the Queen, or prepare to meet a swifter justice." The sword locked in the gauntlet grip. Her heels press to the flanks of the powerfully built mount, causing it to sidestep and snort in preparation for the anticipated change towards the bandits. The reigns are released and she points the sword towards one of her chosen to mark him. Her shield is clasped and raised a little higher than jousting level.

The man that the woman lashes at snaps his fingers back and spins around as the man on the horse calls the warning. He grabs an arrow from a quiver at his side and lets loose in a quick snap fire that flies at Jaren. The other two join him, turning and forgetting about the woman, and firing an arrow each at Marla. The shafts closing the distance and whistling as they go.

Three men form up with their spears and hold them to bar the path of Marla as she charges forward. Two men run to the side and raise their own spears to block Gauvain's path. The man on the Horse smiles and spurs his mount, moving down the hill at a gallop heading for Jaren. He holds the massive Axe in his hands and appears to be a man who KNOWS how the Axe works.

Gauvain rips his Bastard Sword from it's sheath and holds his shield level, ready to deflect arrows. The men with spears running to intercept get a slight frown. He notices Archers firing and he calls out as he charges down the hill: "ARCHERS!" As a warning to both Jaren and Marla since he can spy whom they are aiming at.

There's only the two - one who has already proven himself as a capable hand with the sword and the other accompaniment may or may not be her officially assigned guardsman, but has been present throughout the excursion with the Blue Guard. Claire, for her part, has hunkered down against her horse with a frown and a silent muttering to herself about weapons. But for her, the first priority will have to be those injured once the bandits are fought off.

Jaren brings his shield up at Gauvain's warning, simultaneously drawing the long blade at his side. The arrow fired in haste deflects off the metal plate that girds his forearm. "Appears they're not in a polite mood." Jaren notes towards Marla with just the barest hint of wry humor to his tone, and then spurs his mount forward to meet the Axman halfway. He urges his steed to -just- a fraction faster than might be expected, bringing his shield up as though he's focused entirely on deflecting the Axman's strike, but Jaren's speed gets him there a fraction of a second faster than anticipated, while the Axman is still in his backswing, and then Sir Jaren lowers his shield and instead launches a quick thrust of his blade aimed to catch the fellow right under the arm and puncture deep into his chest.

Marla's steed tears across the field to close range with the bandits. her sword raise high and swing in a sweeping arch as she aims the horse to pass the man letting her bring down the blade with the momentum of the pass and the full weight of the blade to score a hit. Not the most lethal but the horse is already spinning about in experienced fashion from the jousting lanes to charge again the Blue Guard's target.

Closing the distance, Gauvain swings the bastard sword in his hand in a downward slash toward one of the men before him. The blade lashes in a wicked arc toward the man's face. His Horse rears at the sudden stop, forelegs lashing, and armor shod hooves flashing in the light.

Jaren's strike is sure and true, the blade slipping under the Axe as it is raised to bring it down on Jaren's shoulder. The blade impacts, and the man grunts, but the chain and the movement causes the blade to rake instead of stab. It splits open the chain and leaves a raged gash oozing blood. He hisses and brings the Axe around and down to try and hit Jaren's shield arm. "DIE YOU POMPED UP FLAMING WHORESON!" He screams at Jaren.

The Three that closed with Marla move in to attack the Knight, but her blade lashes out first, taking one man at the shoulder. Blood sprays as the leather armor proves no match for the woman's sword. He falls clutching at the stump where an arm once met shoulder, spraying blood at his comrades. One of the men backs up, sending a quick jab with the spear point toward Marla's head, while the other man leaps up bringing his spear in a powerful stab toward the Blue Guard's right shoulder as he screams: "DIE WENCH!!"

The Three Archers begin to notch another flight arrows, beginning to look a bit on the frightened side as the Knights move in. One of the men on Gauvain has his face split open, an eye falling out in a gout of blood as he drops his spear and falls to his knees clutching the ruin of his face, shrieking in terror and pain. The other man tries to sta the Knight in the ribs, exposed when he slashed.

Up atop the carriage, the young woman huddles back against the chests and rolls of canvas that are lashed up there, her heart pounding and her voice gone from terror. Her shoulders hit the wooden chest as she tries to find something better suited for defense— but there's nothing, and she just watched her whole company cut down. There's nothing she can do to aid the knights either except to pray. Panting, she clamps a hand over her mouth and watches the battle, shaking where she crouches amid the shipment of goods.

Jaren brings his shield up once more, angling it so the axe skids across its surface and deflects harmlessly away, before bringing his blade around once more, this time aimed for the fellow's throat as he answers the Thief's bellow:

"Not today."

As the charger rolls about the spears come up, Marla feels the poke of the spears to either shoulder, wincing just a bit as they slide off past her guard. It smarts, the poking point lancing at the full plate she wears and sinking in with little remaining momentum. a strong blue mark will adorn her right shoulder come morning, and a faint bit of blood will need to be cleaned the padding. The red head chooses her new target from the spearman, pointing her blade, and calling out, "You are next." Marla pronounces and signals a quick leap from the horse to bear down her sword arm on the man to let her try to make good on the boast.

Gauvian shifts in his saddle, barely getting his shield in place to knock the spear aside as the remaining man jabs at him. "Altheara guide thine soul to your judgement." The man whispers. He narrows his eyes at the man who just tried to stab him. "Bornas, judge these men. Lend me strength to send them to thine judgement." He thrusts his blade toward the man's neck, the sword jamming forward, and favor flapping as he does so. "Ravas, burn the wicked…." He continues to pray.

Jaren's blade lashes and the Axe man rips his head back, but not before the heavy blade splinters the gorget, and severs the man's jugular. His eyes narrow even as blood bubbles from his mouth, and he lets out a gurgling scream as he tries to hit Jaren with all he has left. His fingers go weak after the attempt and he slumps in hsi saddle, to fall to the ground with rattle THUMP as he impacts the ground. He opesn and closes a hand, eyes staring wide at the hand as his life blood leaks out, and he stares forever as the last air escapes his lung in a gurgling rattle.

Marla's attackers grow confident as the spears impact, but their weapons just were not up to the task of breaking armor. Marla's counter hits the man square in the chest, severing ribs, bones and tissue and ripping his chest open. He lets out a scream as blood fountains out and he slams hard into the ground. The other man throws his spear aside and rips his Hand axe out. Swinging hard for Marla's left thigh in an attempt to drive her to the ground, and off the Warhorse. His eyes wide in terror.

Gauvain dispatches his man as the archers finish knocking arrows. All three let loose at the big knight. The shafts whistling once again as they fly through the air.

It's towards the wagon that Claire and her group deviate towards with a swift tug on the reins, changing her direction to spot the woman who was briefly spotted. Moving at a quick trot, she comes up on the other side with her head peering towards the opening. "Hello," she calls over the sounds of the melee not too far away. "Is anyone in there?"

"I-I'm alright-" comes a shaken voice from up atop the roof of the wagon itself. A moment later there's a scuffling sound of fabric and a white face in a dark cloud of mussed hair and hood peeks over the side down at Claire. "Inside- my maid was inside the carriage. Is she alive? I d-don't know if they saw her."

A timid voice says form inside the wagon, and clearly under some cargo, "I'm not dead. Yet."

Jaren once again brings up his shield, leaning forward a bit to brace for the impact of the mighty blow the bandit swings at him with his last breath. The Axe clashes against the shield with the clatter of metal on metal. Seeing the man slipping out of the saddle, Jaren turns about in time to see the other bandit attacking Marla, and spurs his mount in that direction, the chestnut steed closing the distance in a few long strides, and he once again lashes out, dipping his blade low to try to catch the arm of the bandit that's continuing to attack the other knight.

"We need to get you and the other young woman out of there. Or we can maintain watch," Claire remarks, nudging the horse closer to the wagon to place one hand against the frame and to anchor herself. "Are either of you injured?" Asked with a frown marring her features, she glances up abruptly with eyes trying to focus on any particular person fitting that occupation.

One more dead. Again. Marla is poked, rather frustrating to be having such an off day, the spear not passing the metal, but giving the knight likely another blue mark for the morning, thank the gods for full plate. She glares as she sneers down on her opponent. "You shoud have run." She growls to him, sparing a glance about the field to confirm the state of the battle. Then she watches as the other Knight charges in her direction coming. Instead of repeating the leap attack of before, she back her horse and pulls to the side before lurching him out of the way and leaving the spear man in the clear for the Jaren to finish without worry of the horses colliding.

The shield is raised as three Arrows whistle in. They impact hard and fast, one after the other with loud THUNK THUNK THUNKs as they slam into the heavy shield. Gauvain growls as spurs Strider forward, giving the bastard sword a twirl as he goes and whispering, "Stilltha. Give the dead rest. Ease their pain and soothe their hurts." The massive warhorse lowers his neck, and flattens his ears, fairly snarling as it lets out a snort and Knight and horse close the distance between them and their foreman.

The Bandit stnading there, with an axe dripping blood. He knows he can't win, but he believes he can take this Knight with him. "Stupid bitch. Kharnas take ya!" He says as he raises the Axe to try and swing it down toward Marla, but then Jaren is there.

Jaren's blade lashes out, arcing in the fading light of day and connecting with the man's arm at the elbow. The heavy blade of the Bastard Sword splits fless, shatters the bone and rips the arm off at the Elbow. The man's arm flies ten feet through the air before it slaps the ground wiht a meatly SPLUT. Blood sprays as the man falls to his knees screaming and clutching the stump of his arm. He falls onto his back and lets out a piteous shriek that splits the air.

The three Archers, seeing the blood splatered Knight and the massive horse he rides charging toward them, each do different things. One of them drops to his knees and calls out: "MERCY! Mercy my Looooords!" Wailing as he does so.

One of the men turns and runs. Faster than he has likely ever run in his life. And the third? He draws a hand axe of his own and leaps at Gauvain, screaming a wordless battlecry as he goes. Attempting to drive the axe into the Knight's midsection.

Upon hearing that her maid is alive, Myrana gives a shuddering sigh of relief, passing a hand that's spattered with blood over her eyes. She leans back against the crates lashed to the roof where she'd been pushed to safety by one of her guardsmen before he was cut down from behind, feeling a wave of nausea and dizziness prickle over her— but before she can give in, she grasps at her leg where the soft wool of her riding skirts is darkened a ways above her knee. Swallowing a grunt, she sits back up, swearing under her breath.

"Please help Sylvie out from wherever she's hid herself; she's old." This will probably earn a sharp reply from her maid, but Myra gives Claire a wry, pale smile, still shaking. "I'm not sure how I'm going to get down, but I'll… I'll figure something out."

The screaming of the one-armed bandit is soon brought to an end, as Jaren lashes out and runs the fellow through the neck with a quick stab of his blade, and while he's already out of his misery, Jaren pays no mind when his horse tramples the fellow as he brings it about, surveying the remainder of the battlefield a moment before concluding that the affair seems to be coming to a close, and with at least one prisoner to be had. So he wheels about and lifts his visor, looking towards Marla, "Are you all right, Sir Marla?"

"My guards can assist you," Claire answers with a terse voice in reply, one of them moving to dismount while the other remains vigilant. "And how badly are you hurt?" It wasn't a negative answer to her question, the shouts around her still drawing her attention with a quick flicker of her eyes to one side and back to Myrana quickly. "And we can get Sylvie out, somehow. It would be best if we can get rid of the bandits first and foremost. Well, the others at least."

The fleeing archer takes Marla's attention, and she turns her horse towards him, ready to charge off after when the question stops her. She rotates the sword in her hand and assesses herself. Checking the metal and fittings in quick order, the red head nods as she speaks, "I am fine, take him before he decides to get avenging shots or makes the treeline." She states with a motion to the running remainder. She gives up on the pursuit though to check on the victims and make certain there are no wolves hiding in them.

Another clang, and Gauvian slides off his horse, easily. "Ravas. Lend my blade your fiery conviction." He heas and he slashes at the man that dared to swing at him. It is a contemptuous slash, aimed to sever the arteries at the neck. He begins to walk forward toward the man who is pleading for his life. "Mercy? YOU want Mercy?" The Knight asks as he sees the battlefield. Killed man, and remembering the dead at the village. "Tell me PEASANT. Where was YOUR Mercy yesterday? HOW MANY CHILDREN AND WOMEN DID YOU KILL?"

The man tries to raise his axe to defend himself, but he's already bleeding. Blood fountains down the front of his leather jerkin and he falls face first burbling and bubbling as his life blood oozes from his throat. The man pleading scrambles back, eyes wide in terror as the big Knight slowly walks toward him. That Bastard sword dripping blood and running down the fullers. "P-p-please my Lord… T'was only an old man. A kindness really…."

The rest of the field is eerily quit except for the man running for the trees, he spares a glance over his shoulder, and trips, too terrified of the Knights that ripped he and his compatriots apart. He begins to scrabble to his feet.

Sylvie pushes a barel out of her way and peeks her head up next to Claire. I can get me self out m'lady. We should worry about the Mistress."

"It's just a glancing cut," says Myrana, rather more meekly as the Healer takes a no-nonsense tone with her. Look when a doctor yells at you, you know you're in trouble.

Jaren nods once to Marla, then spurs his mount forward again, only to have to rein him in when the fellow trips, and instead circling around to cut off any further escape, levelling his blade towards the man and noting, "Surrender now, and you keep breathing at least a little while longer." One of two of them alive would be good both to discern if there are more of them, and to allow for some proper justice.

Marla leaves what remains of the active fighters to the other two Knights after a check to confirm Guavain is in control of his situation. Then she sweeps her leg over the horse and dismounts to land on her feet and start towards the healers tending the wounded. Her eyes scan over the survivors. "Once the wounded are ready, we shall gather up the fallen and escort the rest on to safe haven." Her tone implying she is willing to wait on the announcement, soft and patient.

Glancing cut, indeed. And Claire's the Queen looking for a spot of tea. It's enough that her resulting expression is just as dubious before she moves to dismount without assistance. It should be fine. It better be, otherwise… she'll manage. With one hand managing her skirts, one slippered foot moves to the step that would hoist her into the wagon with a better glance at the roof of the structure. "What happened? And do -not- tell me nothing if the young woman is that concerned about you," she explains with an upturned face, hearing the meekness before another pause comes and another answer is attached to her words. "I happen to be a healer."

"Yupp!" the man says as Jaren rides in front of him. He tosses his bow aside, and rips his belt off, letting it and the axe there fall to the floor.

Gauvain stares at the man. Just stares. "He was alive peasant." He says evenly, and with narrow eyes. He looks to his sword arm and snarls. It would be so damned easy to just gut the man. A stab to the gut. It would be agonizing, and he'd die over a week. No better than he deserves. Gauvain takes a deep breath. "I'm going to kill you." He says evenly. Then gives the man a full backhand with his shield. The man is lifted from the ground and slams into the wagon with a crack. He slumps to the ground. Still breathing, but nowhere near being in the land of the awake. He stares and looks to blood covered sword again before he spits and moves around the wagon. "My Lady." The Knight says, much softer but with the same dour expression. He lifts his visor, but still has his blade drawn. "Do we have any survivors?"

The rest of the field is dead. Nobody moving except the man Jaren has, the two women in the wagon, the Lady Claire, and the three Kngihts. Somewhere a raven CAWS. One lands and hops over to the man in the chainmail.

Myrana swallows, caught red handed. Literally, for she is compressing her leg rather tightly with one hand, and the maroon wool is stained with an upward seep of blood over her thigh. A long gash mars the fabric on the outer side of her leg a few inches below her hip. To a healer's eye, it'd be immediately obvious that it missed the artery; otherwise Myrana would have died by now. Still, she looks very pale, and the tarpaulin she's half reclined on with her back propped against a lashed down stack of chests is marred.

"It felt just glancing." she insists, shaking. "Are they all dead? Master Bartriff—" that must be the guardsman who pushed her up onto the roof and is now dead as a doornail on the ground on the opposite side of the carriage wagon, having been cut down from behind. She takes a shuddering breath, tightening her jaw. "Oh gods." She jerks back to full alertness as the bandit hits the wagon with a crack, letting out a startled gasp.

Marla walks around once, and then turns her gaze to Claire. Her blade is wiped with a cloth and then sheathed, "My lady Sollinger.. The other knights will aide and watch over you. I will ride back to get someone to get the wagon going and get the.. Other things dealt with." She says and dips in Claire's direction before turning back towards her horse. The red head doesn't bother to pass he choice along though, she simply moves back to her mount and climbs aboard before starting back.

Jaren nods solemnly, and gestures with the point of his blade for the fellow to move over to the trunk of a nearby tree, where Jaren clambers off his horse and uses whatever he can scrounge up to bind and gag the fellow for the time being. He looks up as Marla starts to ride off, frowning just a bit. She should've had Claire looka at her injuries, but…ah well. She wouldn't be the first knight to shrug such things off. Once the first bandit is bound, he moves over to do the same for the one Gauvain bashed into unconsciousness, making sure he won't be going anywhere if he wakes up. He's silent as he works, and only once all that is done does he turn his attention back to Gauvain, then look over the wagon itself, "Unfortunate we couldn't have arrived sooner, but at least the ladies are safe."

"There are two women here," Claire calls back, reaching out abruptly to keep her balance when the man is slammed into the wagon for whatever reason. Looking up at Myrana, she continues with a query of her own. "Will you come down," she asks, looking to Marla with a brief explanation of inquiry before nodding to Marla. "Thank you, Sir Marla. I will tend to the other injured as best as I can before suggesting we can and should move on." The other knights injuries are not remarked upon, yet. Surely, the'll be addressed later.

The two men are bound and gagged easily, and the one that is still conscious, just stands there as he's bound and gagged. He has a defeated, depressed look, and he sighs dejectedly.

Gauvain slides the bastard sword into its scabbard. He lets out a deep breath then slings his shield on the saddle, and removes his helmet. He hangs his head and shakes is, beads of sweat come down his forhead as he thinks. "Jaren." He says quietly to his friend. "I am going to have a very. Very. Long talk with this local Lord." He takes a deep breath and lets it out. "We should have run them down yesterday Jaren. We let this happen." He punches his shield. The Gauntlet slamming into the shield with a metalic :KLANG. "DAMNIT!"

"We don't yet know for certain they're the same group. It's not uncommon for multiple parties to operate in any poorly-tended area." Jaren notes, moving to unfasten and slide off his helmet, "And…he who leads our party did not seem to wish it. Even so, you are correct. This Lord has much to answer for, but do no take the blame upon yourself. We cannot bring the Queen's law where it has not reached in only a day."

Myrana nods, and very carefully pushes herself up to try and climb down the side of the ladder, white-faced and shaking still. Everyone in her party was killed except for her elderly maid, and while her eyes are dry and her lips set into a grim line, it'd take an inhuman monster to not be affected by what happened to her party.

After her maid has pitched her arms and cheeks to make sure she's not dead (old ladies!) Myrana takes a slow breath and leans against the carriage, looking like she might be ill. "Thank you."

Gauvain nods once and puts the visored helm on the saddle bow. He nods once and reaches up to finger the favor hanging off the Bastard Sword's hilt sticking over his shoulder. "You're right. Battle lust." He says as if that explains the whole thing. "Come. Let us see if we can help the Lady Sollinger with the survivors."

"Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be many." Jaren notes, moving to secure his helmet and shield on his horse once more, then heading back to the wagon, He pauses a respectful distance away from where Claire is working, having cleaned and sheathed his blade, and takes up a position watching not the Lady Sollinger and company but rather looking outward just in case there might be more of these bandits out there. He doesn't imagine so, but it never hurts to remain vigilant.

Nodding, Gauvian looks around him as he comes up on the Wagon and leans in to look. He looks to see if there are bodies, then he spies Myrana's leg, and he looks elsewhere. Turning as he does so, so the Favor waves like a flag as he does so. He clears his throat. "Just… You know. Let us know when you're ready to depart My Lady. Are the survivors okay? Are they in serious medical danger?"

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